A Job Year

Friday, December 31, 2010

Job was allowed to endure horrific things and compared to boils and sores, my life doesn't seem so dim. I have no right to compare my trials and hardships to those of Job, but it seems to be a good fit to describe our year. It was simply "a Job year".

Like Job, we have been allowed to endure some less-than-ideal situations this past year. I could sit here and sing my song of woe and my flesh would deeply want to blame and resent a certain little boy for all our troubles, but the Spirit within me says, "No. That was for your good and My glory." And it's true. It was a year of sanctification; to cause me to draw nearer to Him and to become more Christ-like. God sent us the perfect catalyst that would spur great things masked in misery - a sick, moody baby boy, who mirrors our sinful state and shares my temper and short fuse. Every day, I was forced to face how much more work in me there is to be done. I was forced to see the ugliness of my sin and the effect of that sin on my relationships with not only my family, but also with God. I'm still having to face these harsh realities. In a way, Drew is to blame. God used him to shake me awake. And awake I am!

I do not regret the trials. I do not resent these convictions. I am thankful for them. I welcome them. They were indeed for my good and God's glory. As I face a brand new year and reflect upon the year past, I walk away with some familiar, yet profound truths - God is so very good and we are so undeserving of His grace, sacrifice, and provision. May He have all the honor, glory, and praise, forever and ever!

Many blessings be poured upon those who are in Christ Jesus this coming year.

Our Christmas

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I trust you all had a wonderful Christmas. Sorry for the delay of this (but you're used to that by now, right?) and the lack of posting lately. I got overly ambitious this year and piled my plate high with all sorts of holiday projects. Why did I do that? Because I'm a glutton for punishment, I guess. Who knows.

To start off my ambitious Christmas season, I took it upon myself to make all crochet gifts for my family, since they're impossible to shop for. Along with "commission work", I had a total of about thirteen projects to finish in about a month's time. Somehow, I managed to do all but one - which was finished a day or so after Christmas, but it was going to be shipped later. Still needs to be shipped. Argh. Anyhoo, the projects were a grand success and I challenged myself with some patterns I wouldn't normally attempt. Thank you Ravelry! On the downside, I think I may have given myself Carpal Tunnel. Bummer.

Part two of my ambitious Christmas season was an insane amount of goodie-making (for me, atleast). I baked severally types of cookies and even made caramels for the first time. I will post recipes later (as they were also a huge success!), but I made these yummy Mint Kiss Cookies, Oatmeal Raisin Cookies for my grandpa, Oreo Cookie Balls (YUM!), and Apple Cider Caramels. I wanted to make Root Beer Float Cookies, but I ran out of time. Finishing a gift seemed a little more important on Christmas Eve night. Talk about cutting it close!

But on to the fun stuff! Here's the boys on Christmas Eve night, both sporting their new PJ's and begging Daddy to spin them in his chair. Drew, of course, was oblivious to all the going's on's, but Rob was extremely excited about Christmas. He just couldn't wait to see what all those funny-looking packages under the tree were!

Prior to this, we had enjoyed a nice day together as a family (Matt had the day off - yay!) and then went to my grandma's house for dinner and fun. It was such a blessing to have everyone "home" for Christmas this year - Aunt Janice and Cousin Emily included! It's just not Christmas without everyone there. Everyone thought the boys were delightful and enjoyed their playful youth, as they flitted about the room, chasing dogs and playing with toys Grams had set out for them. We were having so much fun, we kind of forgot to go to Christmas Eve Service. Oops.

We spent the initial part of Christmas morning as a family, letting the boys have a chance to unwrap their gifts at home. We were awoken by Rob at 6am, but he had completely forgotten about Christmas all together, until we reminded him. Things were quite different after that - he couldn't sit still in our bed! Finally, Drew woke up around 7am and we opened gifts. Matt and I had already "opened" our gifts - a mutual gift of a new HDTV and Blu-ray Player. We're finally caught up with the rest of society!

The boys made out like thieves, of course. Rob got various things - his favorites being a Thomas toy and Lightening McQueen car. Both things he asked for and asked for, which is unusual for him. Drew got a walking-along/ride-on car and some books he can chew on. They both got completely spoiled by my folks, of course. We had quite a bit to lug back from Buhl!

Here's the disaster area of a living room. I'm pretty sure they enjoyed every moment of destroying it.

And yes - Baby Boy is now standing and cruising! We're waiting for him to walk anytime, now!

Sugarbean's first Christmas. I think he enjoyed playing with Brother's toys more than his - and vice versa.

I'm quite surprised how well-behaved they were. They even both got a decent nap. I was really expecting a rough day with them, but they both did really well.

I'm totally in love with this photo. Drew absolutely LOVES his great-grandpa. He was climbing all over him any chance he got, it seemed. It makes my heart smile. :)

Maybe they get along so well because they share a personality? Either way, it's a very sweet relationship they have.

My beautiful cousin, Emily, modeling the hat I made for her. I accidentally made it too small, but she loved it and said it was "perfect". If she's happy, I'm happy!

I love this girl - fake blonde hair and all.

We decided to bring our Wii over to play. It was a huge hit with everyone, so I'm glad we decided to do so! We even got Grams and Cher involved. Grams played a couple games of bowling and here's Cher showing off her mad archery skillz.

I love seeing you happy, Mama. It looks good on you.

After dinner, we started playing with all the little wind-up toys we had attached to our gifts thanks to Jan. We had initially set out to "race" them, but being a sadistic bunch, we ended up making them fight each other. Yep, that's my family.

We tied up the evening with playing with the boys to wear them out a little more - as if they weren't worn out from the day enough.

It was a great day all around. I'm so glad everyone could be there this year. It makes Christmas so much more delightful. We can't wait to have everyone back together again.

So, thank you to all our family and friends who made this Christmas season so wonderful. You blessed us in so many ways! Merry (belated) Christmas!

Drew at Eight Months - Part Two

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

So, my brain is gone. I just now realized that I had posted a picture of Drew, but no update. Sorry about that.

Drew is growing like a weed. Despite being only 8-months-old, he's already wearing 18-month-clothes and size 4 diapers. Yes, you read that correctly. He's also trying to pull up on everything, even though he just learned how to crawl not two weeks ago. He's been able to pull himself to a standing position onto various objects, usually something unsteady. He's smarter than we think he is and regularly surprises us with his stealth. Whether it be lunging for your feet when you're not looking or escaping the confines of the baby gate - he's quick. He's started playing with Robby more and more and has even started chasing him around the room or attacking him if he's laying on the floor, unsuspecting. Their favorite activity to do together is screaming and giggling in the backseat of the car, taking turns setting each other off. Drew has earned the new nickname of Tiny Terror because he will scour the living room for anything he can get his hands on, promptly rough it up/drool on it/chew on it, and then move on to the next item. We've had to "hide" our Christmas tree on the other side of the baby gate to ensure it's safety. He currently has 1 1/2 teeth that are driving us all crazy, but he is a completely different baby healthwise than he was a month ago. I am a new believer when it comes to herbal alternatives. The chlorophyll is doing it's job quite well. Now if we could just get his second tear duct to unplug, we'd be doing good.

I think we're finally forming a good relationship with our youngest son. He's happy, he's playful, and he's mellow...the majority of the time. He still has a moody side to him, but we've definitely enjoyed him for the first time in eight months. Sad, but true.

Drew at Eight Months

Monday, December 6, 2010

Getting geared up for his very first Christmas. No smiles, but this little stinker is FAST, so I was lucky to get this one. Even the shiny garland wasn't enough to keep him distracted.

Egg Nog Cream Pie Recipe

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Matt isn't a big fan of pumpkin. Okay, he hates it. So, when I set out to make our Thanksgiving menu, I set out to find a fallish alternative (I bought a pumpkin pie for Rob and I anyway). In my search, I came across this. Matt generally doesn't like egg nog, but has just recently been more open to the taste, so I offered this delicious-sounding pie. As I'm posting this, I have yet to actually try this pie, since it hasn't set yet because I'm a dummy and put it in the fridge to cool with the plastic lid, causing the heat to linger. I'll let you know when I actually try it, but here's the recipe anyway. If you manage to try it before I do, you're on your own.

Egg Nog Cream Pie

2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 cups egg nog, divided
6 eggs, yolks only
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 graham cracker pie shell (8-inch)

1. Place the sugar, cornstarch and salt in a 3 quart heavy sauce pan and whisk together.

2. Whisk egg yolks with 1/4 cup egg nog in a small bowl. Then add the egg nog mixture to the dry ingredients in the sauce pan and whisk together.

3. Add 1 3/4 cups of egg nog to the sauce pan and whisk well. Cook on medium high heat until the mixture thickens, stirring constantly.

4. Remove from heat and add vanilla and remaining 1 cup egg nog; whisk well. Pour into the graham cracker pie shell. Refrigerate. Top with whipped cream.

George Washington's 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Washington's words in his Thanksgiving Proclamation are so beautiful and God-glorifying. If only we had leadership like this today, working to do God's perfect will instead of fighting against it in disobedience and arrogance. How different our country would be if we had kept this God-honoring mentality.

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to "recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:"

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3d day of October, A.D. 1789.

G. Washington


Snowy Saturday/Drew Update

Monday, November 22, 2010

We got our first snow this Saturday, so of course the two older boys had to head outside to play. Here's them working hard on their snowman.

Rob decided to take the supervisor position instead.

They finished just as the sun started coming out. Both pretty stinkin' cute, if you ask me. :)

Meet Sam. Sam the Snowman. Hi Sam!

An artsy shot I took. He was trying to look up at me, but the flakes kept getting in his eyes. He finally gave up and enjoyed the feel of the flakes hitting his face.

As you saw in an earlier post, I made Rob this adorable earflap hat. His poor little hands kept freezing on Saturday because we lost his mittens, so I made him a pair to match his hat today. I'm pretty proud, as they're the first I've ever successfully made!

Here's Drew's side-to-side hat. I think it turned out pretty cute! I made it gray to match his stormy personality.

And here's just a really cute shot of The Drewster. That smile says it all. We have seen a noticeable change in him in the last week or so thanks to the chlorophyll. He's much calmer and happier. He still has his moments, but when he cries now, it's for a reason and not just because he's miserable. God is good!

Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies

Photo Credit: Our Best Bites

I saw these and I HAD to make them, so I was excited to know that I had an excuse to when I saw that we needed to bring a dessert for our church's Thanksgiving Pot'faith'. Needless to say, they went quick. Thankfully, each of us were able to have atleast one here at home prior. They are simply awesome! Thank you again, Our Best Bites!

Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies

1 C butter flavored Crisco
1 C creamy peanut butter 
1 C sugar
1 C packed brown sugar
1 t vanilla
3 eggs
3 C flour
2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt

1/2 C creamy peanut butter
1/4 C (4 Tbs) real butter, softened
2 C powdered sugar
2 t vanilla
2-3 Tbs milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cream shortening, peanut butter, and sugars together until light and fluffy, 1-2 minutes. Add in vanilla, and eggs one at a time. In a separate bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt and add to dough. Mix to combine. The dough will be very soft- that's normal!
Roll dough into 1/2 inch (or a little larger) balls, roll in sugar, place on ungreased cookie sheet and do the little forky criss-cross thing.
Bake for 6-8 minutes, or until puffed and set, but not browned.  Remove from oven, let cool on baking sheet for 2-3 minutes and then transfer to cooling rack.
Filling: Beat peanut butter, butter, sugar, and vanilla together until smooth, if needed, add milk until desired consistency is reached.  When cookies are completely cooled, spread a layer of frosting on one side and sandwich together.
yield: about 4 dozen sandwiches (I ended up with just shy of 2 dozen)

Neither Naptime Nor Monsters...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Bet your mailman isn't this cute...

Photo-Themed Update

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

 I've finally figured out hats (couldn't figure out how to make the crown for some reason), so I've been in hat-making mode. It started with a friend of mine from church requesting a flapper hat (pictures to come...maybe) for a 20's style party (see what you started, Lark?). I was happy to give it a go and now I can't stop. This is Rob's new earflap hat to match his new coat. It's a little big, but It's still really cute on him. Can't leave Drew out, so he'll probably be the next recipient. Rob himself is doing good. We're battling some sin areas (i.e. arguing, back-talking, bossiness, and tantrums, mainly), but he can be an incredibly sweet kid when he wants to be. And a riot, I might add. He's always eager to please and entertain.

Baby boy's doing okay. We're still hit and miss on his health and mood, but we've been trying the herbal route with him because we're desperate. The pediatrician isn't helpful whatsoever and tells me to "keep doing what I'm doing". Well, what I'm doing isn't helping. Now what? His eczema isn't clearing up, his tear duct is still plugged, and he's, more often than not, miserable. Two trusted friends from church suggested we try him on chlorophyll (yes, the green stuff plants make). I was skeptical and still kind of am, but I have noticed that he has been a lot more mellow lately than he usually is. If that's all it did, it would still be worth it! We'll just have to wait and pray for the best. I just wish he'd be happy and healthy. Other than that, he's trying to crawl and gets very frustrated that he can't. He likes to yell at his limbs as if to say, "Hey! DO SOMETHING!", but he has figured out how to go from a crawling position to sitting up on his own. He's also into EVERYTHING.

On Saturday, a family from church asked us to do a shoot with a unique prop - a firetruck! Mom and Dad both volunteer with the Filer Fire District, so we shot nearby just in case they got a call. Rob has a new-found love for firetrucks, so we were planning on getting together with this family eventually so he could see one up close. Two birds, one stone! We didn't tell him where we were going and as soon as he saw the truck, his jaw dropped and he said, "firetruck" under his breath. He also got to RIDE in it, too! My friends were so sweet and completely made Rob's year by letting him get the full tour of of not only the truck itself, but the firehouse, too. So, he got to try on a helmet, see inside of an ambulance, and climb all over various trucks parked there. Talk about little boy heaven! You can see a few of the results from our shoot by visiting my set on Flickr. The hat, by the way, is my first attempt. I didn't care for the pattern.

In other news, Matt still hasn't heard back from PSI, but is kind of hoping they don't call him. He'd like to stay with Pepsi, especially since it's been brought to their attention that they're losing drivers due to poor pay, hopefully nudging them towards raises. The Lord's will be done, but we could certainly use a little more. This barely scraping by thing is getting old and stressful at times.

As for Thanksgiving, we've decided to go it alone this year. We were invited by a sweet family from church, but we're a "legit" family now - we need to start making our own traditions. Thanks to our church family, we'll be able to make our own dinner and enjoy the day as a family, thanking the Lord for all He has provided and continues to provide. May it be glorifying to Him.

Home life's been challenging and tough lately, but we try to cherish the good times. God is pulling us through, as He always does. It's a season meant for us to bunker down through the storm under His strong foundation. Prayers appreciated.

The Many Faces of Drew

Friday, November 5, 2010

He can be such a goof, when he wants to be. Trying to enjoy the good times.

A Scary Sight

Thursday, November 4, 2010

It's only a matter of time...

Update of Sorts

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Is it really November already? I can't believe this year is almost over. Crazy.

Yes, he's sitting up now. Also crazy. He's still not 100% stable on his own yet, but definitely getting there. When I went to grab him out of his crib at 4am this morning, he was sitting up all by himself, much to my surprise. It was dark, so I think he was sitting up, atleast. He's still trying to figure out crawling, but I anticipate it within the next month or so. Also, I discovered a tooth last night at dinner. It's made him quite "fun" to deal with today.

I'm definitely starting to see a strong bond and relationship between the two boys. It gives me great joy to see them interacting with each other more, in a positive way. It makes my heart smile to hear them cracking each other up at random times.

Rob's potty training? *crazy laugh*

Matt applied for a job with PSI Waste Systems and had an interview yesterday. The recruiter he spoke to prior to the interview made it sound like they were SUPER interested in him because of his driving experience with Pepsi, but then the interview itself seemed lackluster. We'll see how it pans out. There's definite pros and cons to him switching, so we're leaving it to God to hash out. Things tend to turn out better if He takes over anyway.

Really quite irked about the holidays anymore. My grandparents headed south again, and my aunt is leaving to visit my other aunt back east, so we're ditched for Thanksgiving. Again. I'm not holding my breath for Christmas. I think that's all I'm going to say about that.

Business is quiet. We had a shoot last week, but ended up rushing things and flubbing up an order pretty bad. Thankfully, it was a friend from church, who was incredibly understanding and forgiving about the whole thing. I get frustrated with the slow trickle of shoots and the mistakes I make on them, but I also see God's grace in all of it, in that He's giving us lots of opportunities and time to improve. I'm very thankful for that.

Life's just...life. Crazy, stressful, and filled with lessons learned. I can't say whether it's good or bad. Just life. I'd worry if it was anything else.

Slow-Cooked Pulled Pork Recipe

Monday, November 1, 2010

I had a pulled pork recipe I used to make with pork chops and BBQ sauce, but this one is SO MUCH BETTER! I first made this recipe for a family in our church while their mom was away taking care of her mom (a big thanks to the Sanstrom family for being my guinea pigs). It was a pretty big hit, so we tried it for ourselves tonight. Our nostrils were tortured by the savory smells bellowing from the crockpot all day until FINALLY it was dinner time. To give you an idea of just how good the pork was, Robby, who is fickle about what he eats sometimes, ate FOUR HELPINGS WORTH of meat. Yes, it was that good! The meat is tender, juicy, and flavorful and the smell of it cooking is AMAZING. All you need is a little BBQ sauce on your sandwich for that extra zing. Thank you yet again Campbell's Kitchen!

Slow-Cooked Pulled Pork Recipe

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 boneless pork shoulder  roast (3 1/2 to 4 pounds), netted or tied
1 can (10 1/2 ounces) Campbell's® Condensed French Onion Soup
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup cider vinegar
3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons Frank's Redhot (optional)
12 round sandwich rolls or hamburger rolls, split


1. Heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pork and cook until well browned on all sides.

2. Stir the soup, ketchup, vinegar and brown sugar in a 5-quart slow cooker. Add the pork and turn to coat.

3. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 to 9 hours or until the pork is fork-tender.

4. Remove the pork from the cooker to a cutting board and let stand for 10 minutes. Using 2 forks, shred the pork. Return the pork to the cooker.  Divide the pork mixture among the rolls.

Molly and the Leash

Saturday, October 30, 2010

When I was growing up, I had a dog named Molly. She was my best friend, mainly because we were so alike. We were both antisocial, oversensitive, misunderstood, and never fully trusted anyone. I recall the time my aunt tried to leash-train Molly. As you can tell, Molly wasn't your ordinary dog. She did things her way. This made leash-training her...interesting. As soon as my aunt put the leash on Molly, she immediately threw herself at the very end of the leash, yelping and writhing on the ground as if she was demon-possessed. This, of course, shocked my aunt, who was watching all of this go on, yet she patiently took a step forward in hopes that Molly would get used to the leash. Each step was just as dramatic as the last, though. Over and over again, Molly would throw herself around, yelping as loud as she could. Eventually, she did "get over it", and started walking with my aunt on the leash. Then another bomb dropped. My aunt changed directions. The whole show started all over again, with Molly fighting every step of the way. I don't know if she ever got used to the leash. Strange dog.

My point? The story of Molly and the leash is a perfect illustration of my walk with God thus far. Molly and I had much more in common than I thought, despite her just being an animal. It's made me see things from God's perspective on this road of sanctification. When I got saved, when He hooked that metaphorical leash to me, and we started to walk and I realized I didn't have total control of my life anymore, I freaked. Unfortunately, I still tend to do this when trials come my way. I throw myself at the end of God's will, kicking and screaming. All the while, He's patiently walking behind me, guiding me on the path He's chosen for me. Eventually, I break and obey and trust my Master, walking the way He's commanded. Until He changes direction and we're back to square one. And yet He calmly starts the lesson over again, knowing I'll just freak and throw myself to the ground just like I've done so many times today. That's amazing grace.

Unlike poor Molly, I will eventually "get it", but my leash-training days are far from over. How about you, Christian? Are you a Molly? Do you fight God's hand in your life? Are you trusting Him fully to guide your path? Submit yourself to Him today and trust His loving hand. Otherwise, it's going to be a very long and exhausting walk Home for both of us.

Drew at Seven Months

Friday, October 29, 2010

Holy smokes! My baby boy is going to be seven months old tomorrow! This year has flown!

Yes, he's in a laundry basket. Why, you ask? 1) He's all over the place and 2) it's stinkin' cute. That's why. He is rolling EVERYWHERE and getting into EVERYTHING. He's also trying his hardest to figure out how to crawl walk. Instead of practicing getting up on his knees, he's decided to just go for trying to get up on his feet, in a bear crawl stance. He also loves to stand up against the ottoman, with assistance. This is quite cute because he wiggles his little butt like he's grooving to music. I remember Robby being a lot of fun at this age. So far, Drew's been no different. He started babbling last night, saying "blah blah blah". He's still quite moody at times and has a very low tolerance for pain, still. I think he'll just be one of those kinds of people. Any little discomfort makes him quite upset. It's something we've tried to get used to, but since he's always been on the sickly side, that when he's really sick (he just got over a cold after his bout with HFMD), his extra-moodiness can be quite taxing. He doesn't beat around the bush about how he feels and is usually very vocal about it, too. He's a pretty content fellow the majority of the time, though.

I really hope he keeps those gray eyes. They are stunning. Thank you, Mom.

Birthday Cake

Thursday, October 28, 2010

I just had to share this. It's a photo of my super delicious birthday cake from Mi Pueblo. It's a three leches cake (it had a layer of caramel and sweetened milk on the bottom), strawberry in the middle, and glazed strawberries and whipped topping and chocolate on top. Oh. My. Goodness. This cake was awesome!

Speaking of my birthday, it was definitely one of the better ones I've had recently. It will never compare to last year, when Matt took me out on a surprise date. I think that will always be my favorite, but this year was really nice, too. To start, Matt scheduled his vacation that week, so we got to spend extra time together and I got a little bit of a relief from my mommy duties. The morning of my birthday, we all went to breakfast at Depot Grill, where I had the best pancakes EVER. Then we went to Mi Pueblo to order my cake. That evening, Cher came over and watched the boys so we could go to a musical at one of the high schools. It was called "Curtains!" and despite some unnecessary profanity, it was fun to watch. It was just a nice, quiet day spent with my family. What a blessing.

I'm curious to see what 27 has in store for me.

Buzz Lightyear Afghan

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I made this themed afghan for Robby, who's absolutely OBSESSED with Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story. It was meant for a Christmas present, but he may end up with it early, since it's getting cold here quickly; especially at night.

This is the first ripple afghan I've ever made and I had a blast making it. Lucky for me, I have two more to finish.


So, of course, after I wrote yesterday's post, my stubborn tot decides to stay dry all day. I guess we'll just play it by ear.

*sigh* One day at a time...

By the way, my son calls pooing "making brown". I about died.

I Surrender

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

This is my white flag of surrender. I officially give up on potty training. For now.

After getting to the point that all three of us (Matt, Rob, and myself - Drew could care less) wanting to bang our heads against something solid, I've finally decided to throw the towel in for the time being. Rob's just not ready; plain and simple. So all you moms that successfully potty trained your tot at the ripe age of one can keep your snickering to yourselves. It's just not going to happen here and now.

I know my son. And I knew better, but selfishly pushed forward anyway. He does things on his own time on his own terms. Always has; always will. That's why he rolled over "late", crawled "late", and walked "late". Because he's my child and he wants it HIS way. I can't help but feel like a slight failure, though. I was *thisclose* to being freed of one extra diaper change.


Banana-Cue A la Mode Recipe

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Last night, we found ourselves watching Bizzare Foods on Netflix. If you've ever seen the show, you're probably wondering where this post is going. I promise you that this recipe is 100% disgusting critter free. Trust me. The host was in the Philippines, more specifically Manila. While browsing the street vendors, he talked about a tasty, treat-on-a-stick called banana-cue (or banana-que). Basically, it's barbecued banana; although it never actually goes anywhere near a grill. Still trying to figure that one out. Hmm. Anyway, we consulted Chef Google and found a simple recipe. We didn't have saba bananas, so we used regular bananas. Really, our version didn't turn out like traditional banana-cue, but that didn't diminish the yumminess factor at all. We served ours hot on some vanilla ice cream and it was decadent. That's really the only word I can use to describe it. It was definitely a dessert you savor. Really, the only thing that could have made it better would have been either whipped cream or a little chocolate drizzle to top it off, but it was amazing as-is. If you're thinking "banana split", you'll be sadly mistaken. Think warm, candied banana. Mmm.

Banana-Cue A la Mode

Vegetable Oil
Brown Sugar

1. Heat oil in deep fryer or deep pan on medium-high heat.

2. Cut bananas in half. Roll in brown sugar to coat thoroughly.

3. Drop into deep fryer and cook until brown and crispy. Drain and re-coat with brown sugar. Fry again until brown and crispy.

4. Drain. Serve hot over ice cream. Savor.

Unplanned Potty Training

Robby has decided on his own that he wants to be potty trained. Right now. Well, as of early last week. This came to as quite the surprise, as I assumed he wasn't ready and wouldn't be until he was 2 1/2-3. Just goes to show that trying to plan anything around children is down-right laughable.

So far, Rob is doing fairly well. He's definitely grasped the concept of going on the potty and he's getting better at letting us know he has to go before it's too late, but he's not staying 100% dry yet. We bought the spiffy Pull-Ups with Cool Alert (they get cold when wet). I never wanted to use Pull-Ups, but I'm strapped for cash right now and can't afford to do that much laundry right now. With Matt being on vacation all next week, it should be easier to stay on top of his training. I can't tell you how excited I am at the aspect of not changing one set of diapers! We're getting very close! Still trying to figure out how to keep him dry overnight. Tips welcome.

By the way, the potty shown here is the potty chair we bought Robby. Him, Daddy, and Brother went to Walmart Monday night to pick one out. I thought it was really cute because it matches the boys' bathroom. =)

Uncle Nate's Visit

Monday, October 11, 2010

My brother-in-law came to visit and have me do his senior photos this last weekend. It was a very short visit - only a little over 24 hours, really. Way too short, but we made the best of it.

Nathaniel flew in on Saturday morning. A couple hours after getting here, him and I left to go do his senior shoot. It was a little awkward being out with my husband's brother alone, but we ended up having a really fun time - mostly laughing at each other. He can be quite ornery; much like his older brother. He very much enjoyed having his nephews all to himself and let Robby get away with murder. "But he's so cute," he told us. "How can I tell him 'no'?" All I can say about that is turnabout's fair play, Nate. Just wait until you have kids. :)

Sunday, we went to church, went to Sunday School, came home, ate lunch, and then Matt drove back up to Boise so Nate could catch his flight back to Denver. He was here so briefly, that it seemed like he wasn't here at all, now. But we accomplished what we set out to do and my in-laws were extremely pleased with the results. I admit I was slightly worried again; even more-so than I was with Emily's shoot. Everyone wants to try and impress their in-laws. I'm no different. I was worried about what they'd think about my photography style, since art is so very objective. Thankfully, they were very impressed and paid me many kind compliments. So many, in fact, I felt almost uncomfortable.

I'm no award-winning, pro photographer. Just blessed by God's good gifts that are used to bless others. He gets ALL the glory and credit for the work my meager hands produce. I am so grateful and undeserving of His kindness.

You can view more of Nate's senior photos by going here. A huge thank you to my in-laws for taking a chance and flying their son by himself on his first plane ride so I could do his photos. I'm deeply humbled and honored.

Sick Baby Boy

Friday, October 8, 2010

No smiles from this little guy today. Thanks to my step-mom's diagnosis over the phone, we figured out that Drew has Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease. He has been absolutely miserable and screams in pain more often than not due to the sore throat and lesions in his mouth. He did have a mild fever yesterday and the night before, but thanks to some Infant Motrin, his fever broke sometime last night. Unfortunately, there's not much that can be done. All we can do is comfort him, help ease his pain with pain-relievers, and let it run it's course. Please pray for his comfort and recovery and for our endurance and extra patience.

On the flip-side of things, both boys are up-to-date on their shots and Drew had a check-up on Monday. He received the cleanest bill of health to date (this was prior to his HFMD episode) and now measures 27.8 inches long and weighs 19.4 pounds. He is a BIG BOY. To give you a comparison, Robby measures about 36 inches and is about 29 pounds. Not looking forward to these two hitting puberty.

Also, I have a couple other prayer requests. My father-in-law lost his job yesterday due to company-wide layoffs. Please pray for God's provision and for Dad's peace of mind as he looks for employment to support their family.

Matt applied for a different position within the company and had an interview yesterday. The interview went well, but they decided to choose another candidate who had seniority and experience. Matt will be looking into other employment or possibly going back to school to provide for our family in the very near future. Please pray for guidance and discernment on the matter, as he leads his family.

Somewhat related to my first prayer request, I have another shoot tomorrow. My brother-in-law is flying up from Denver for me to do his senior shoot. He'll only be here for a little over a day and a half, so we're kind of crunched for time. Please pray for ease of nerves and clarity of mind for me, as it's only my second senior shoot. We're looking forward to seeing him, though.

Thank you for your prayers.

Buffalo Chicken Ranch Pizza Recipe

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Awhile back, we had a pizza at Gertie's called the Buffalo Chicken Pizza. Surprisingly, we fell in love with it, but then our love affair ended there. Then, we got a Buffalo Wild Wings in town and our love for hot sauce was suddenly rekindled. I swear we put hot sauce on everything, now! We now make our own version of Buffalo Wild Wing's Traditional Wings with Medium Sauce thanks to an online recipe we found. Naturally, the next step was to make our own Buffalo Chicken Pizza, but (and I may be biased when saying this) I think our version turned out better than Gertie's!

Buffalo Chicken Ranch Pizza

1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 cup warm water (110° F)
2 1/2 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt

Buffalo Sauce
1 cup Frank’s cayenne pepper sauce
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/8 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
*Note: You won't have to use the full amount this makes. Add to taste.

Ranch Sauce
1 16 oz. container sour cream
1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch Dip

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
shredded mozzarella cheese, to taste

1. Mix together ingredients for Buffalo Sauce and set aside.

2. Mix together ingredients for Ranch Sauce and set aside.

3. Cube chicken. Season with salt and pepper and cook in a skillet with hot oil until browned. Toss chicken in Buffalo Sauce until thoroughly covering. Set aside.

4. Preheat oven to 450° F. In a medium bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.

5. Stir in flour, salt and oil. Beat until smooth. Let rest for 5 minutes.

6. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat or roll into a round. Transfer crust to a lightly greased pizza pan or baker's peel dusted with cornmeal.

7. Spread on Ranch Sauce. Layer mozzarella cheese, Buffalo Chicken, and some more cheese. Optional: Dash Frank's Red Hot on top, depending on taste.

8. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until crust is brown and cheese is bubbling.

Drew at Six Months

The Walker Reborn

Thursday, September 30, 2010

This boy LOVES his walker!

Grandma's Visit

We were blessed by a special visit by my step-mom, Kathy, this last week. She flew down on Saturday and left today. It's never a long enough visit, it seems. We always love having them here (even though it was just her this time - my dad had to work, unfortunately) and are always incredibly sad to see them go. It was hard dropping her off at the airport and even harder when Robby called out, "Grandma! Grandma!" when we got home. I really wish we all lived closer. We cherish the time we do get and pray for time together again soon.

Last night, we enjoyed the beautiful weather from the porch, watching the boys play while Matt was at AWANA. I snapped some photos - something I always forget or chicken out of when they're here. I never want to be a burden or bossy photographer, but always kick myself for missing memories. Kathy was kind enough to take this one of me and the boys. I love it.

Kathy, as usual, was a huge help with Drew, who has been quite cranky the past few days. We later discovered that he's frustrated by his immobility and that he now loves his walker and being outside.

This is the happiest I've seen him in days! Grandma sure has the magic touch!

Robby playing with his soccer ball. This kid is constant motion, now. It's incredibly hard to catch a shot of him sitting still!

Lots of loves from Grandma.

A little girl and her mom from our complex came to join us as we were sitting outside. Robby, always eager to entertain and amuse, was playing peek-a-boo with her. She was cracking up!

This was taken the next day. I felt bad that I was able to get so many of Kathy and Drew together, but not her and Rob. We made sure to fix that before her flight.

It was a great visit. Quiet, but full of laughter and good conversation. I sure miss her already. I hate good-byes.