Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve

I'm sure John and I will be up late wrapping, wrapping and more wrapping. I plan on taking a little time to relax together and talk about how truly blessed we are. I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas and enjoys some magic tonight. I also thought I'd share the words of my favorite carol because we truly are celebrating the holiest of nights!

O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,


It is the night of our dear Saviour's birth.

Long lay the world in sin and error pining,

'Til He appear'd and the soul felt its worth.

A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,

For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

Fall on your knees! O hears the angels' voices!

O night divine, O night when Christ was born;

O night divine, O night, O night Divine.

Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming,

With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.

So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,

Here come the wise men from Orient land.

The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger;

In all our trials born to be our friend.

He knows our need, to our weakness is no stranger,

Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!

Behold your King, Before Him lowly bend!

Truly He taught us to love one another;

His law is love and His gospel is peace.

Chains shall His break for the slave is our brother;

And in His name all oppression shall cease.

Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise us,

Let all within us praise His holy name.

Christ is the Lord! O praise His Name forever,

His power and glory evermore proclaim.

His power and glory evermore proclaim.
(John Sullivan Dwight)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

It's Begining to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

Holy Smokes! Has an entire month really passed since my last post? With a rambunctious three-year-old, a daredevil eighteen-month-old , and Christmas to prepare for, I can hardly find time to go to the bathroom, let alone come up with any witty words or download all the images off my camera to post. Yet at this very moment the toddlers are napping, I've wrapped up some wrapping and "the stockings are hung by the chimney with care"-- so I'll try.

Our family has been lucky enough to visit with ALL of our combined parents and in-laws already this holiday season. Since both our parents divorced, this rarely happens so it has been quite a treat. How wonderful for Carleigh and Nicolaus to enjoy time with Grandma, Grandpa, Nana, Pap, Nanny, Grandpa Rich and Papa. And if you're wondering, the kids have the names down pat, John seems to be the only one who gets confused!

Christmas cards have been mailed, the tree is trimmed, Santa has been sat upon, and Selph the Elf (our Elf on the Shelf) has been on the lookout since December 1. We have finished our shopping with two weeks to spare so all that remains is some baking and enjoying the rest of the season with friends and family. And with all the gift giving, eating, drinking, and being merry...my wish for everyone this year is to take some time to remember the true reason for the season. Little Baby Jesus was born who ultimately gave us the greatest gift, the gift of salvation when he died for all of us on the cross. No gift under the tree or stuffed in a sock can top that one!



"Glory to God in the highest!" -- Luke 2:14

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for all you have created and how you have blessed my family and me. I am especially thankful for time spent during the Holidays with family and friends. I pray they all take time to glorify you everyday and not just this time of year. In the busyness of the season, help me also to remember your perfect plan and your faithfulness and to pass on the knowledge to my kids that we've already received the perfect gift in Jesus.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Three

Nicolaus,

I can hardly believe when you wake up tomorrow morning you will be a three year old! Someday when you are a parent you will understand the bittersweet emotions your child's birthday can bring. I am so excited for what you will discover in the next year of your life, yet a little sad the last year has gone by so quickly. You are my greatest joy and I thank God for blessing your Daddy and me with you. Your excitement and raw zeal for life I hope never goes away. You are sensitive, smart, fun, funny, handsome, outgoing and oh so loving. You love music, learning, and absolutely adore your sister. I just know you will be best buddies forever. I enjoy being silly with you and being a comfort for you. I hope you always know you can be your true self with me. One of my favorite parts of the day is snuggling with you in bed at night, singing you one last song and hearing you say "I love you Mommy," as I close the door. I love you too, Nicolaus!


Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for all that you have created, but most of all thank you for the family you created on the day Nicolaus was born. On this eve of his third birthday, I pray for guidance in being the kind of parent you want me to be and leading both my children with the grace they deserve. Help me to lift up and encourage Nicolaus in all the things which make him unique. Help me to find patience on days when all I feel is frustration. Help me to offer them the tools they need to be morally strong and spiritually motivated. Ultimately help me fill them with the knowledge of your love and compassion. In Your name I pray. Amen.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Nicolaus and Carleigh dressed as Hansel and Gretel for Halloween this year. Nicolaus wore the Liederhosen which were John's when he was little and Carleigh's nanny sewed her beautiful dress. They are so cute I just want to eat them up! Does that make me the wicked witch of the tale?





Monday, October 17, 2011

Things I'd Love to Blog About

...if I could only find the time!

1.  Grace Based Parenting. A book by Dr. Tim Kimmel and a class I am taking at WCOG. The class leader Jennifer Miller has a great Blog. Check it out!

2.  My tug-of-war with a certain 15 lbs

3.  All the knit and crochet projects I have planned

4.  Our visit to the pumpkin patch

5.  My Tuesday morning Bible Study. Oh what would I do without Women in the Word and their Little Hearts program which watches the kids during those three awesome hours?

6.  Toddler tantrums

7.  Making applesauce

8.  How I feel about the passing of my latest birthday

9.  My personal style...or lack thereof

10.  All the amazing things my kids are learning (and teaching me)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Steppin Out Saturday - An Oldie But Goodie



Shirt: JCrew
Jeans: Ann Taylor Loft (even though you can't see them)
Earrings: Ann Taylor (I think)
Bracelet: Pandora

My mom took the kids and I out for lunch in celebration of my 32nd birthday. In my Fall clothes storage box I happened upon this JCrew wool shell from ages ago. I forgot how much I loved it! And aside from my engagement ring and wedding band, my Pandora bracelet is my favorite piece of jewelry. Each charm means so much, stands for a part of my life.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The County Fair!

Summer's end brings county fairs all across our country. Every year we go to the Shenandoah County Fair in Woodstock, Virginia. I think this year the kids (at least Nicolaus) could actually enjoy and possibly remember it. Even though it was WAY past their bedtimes, we chose to go at night so they could experience the bright lights along with the other sights and sounds. They were amazed and really couldn't decide what to look at. We listened and danced to bluegrass, fed the animals in the petting zoo, rode the carousel, and Nicolaus and I shared a ride on the ferris wheel where he could "see everything from up here!" We made it home unscathed, except for Carleigh who actually was bitten by one of the goats that "doesn't bite."





Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Fresh From the Garden


We are already halfway into August and finally able to enjoy some of the vegetables John we grew ourselves. The garden sucked didn't do very well this year. A combination of no rain right when we needed it and our decision to grow heirloom varieties (which grow VERY slowly by the way) made for a late harvest. Granted, we do have several huge, yummy Mr. Stripey tomatoes on the vine, but we will probably be pulling off many before the first frost. I'm thinking fried green tomatoes. Anyone have a recipe they would like to share?

Monday, August 15, 2011

No Excuses

...well almost.

Now that I have what was the best yard-sale find EVER


A brand new pair of Adidas


and two willing participants


There is no reason for me to not get into the shape I want to be in...except for the fact I have to let this sucker heal


As soon as it does, we are hitting the road and I am losing the ten pounds I managed to put back on after working so hard last Winter.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Good Music

Sometimes Nicolaus and I have the best conversations. I thought I'd share one exchange which really touched me.

We usually listen to PER (Positive Entertainment Radio) in the car. I can't remember what song was playing but from the backseat I hear

Nicolaus: What's this music?

Me: This music is about Jesus and his love for us

Nicolaus: Like in my book?

Me: Yes Sweetie, just like in our books

Nicolaus: I love Jesus

Me: I love Jesus too

Nicolaus: Are we going to meet him?

Me: Who?

Nicolaus: Jesus

Me: Yes Sweetie...someday

Nicolaus: That's GOOD music!

Friday, August 5, 2011

More Words Everyday

It really does seem like Carleigh says a few new words every day. Just this morning she uttered a perfectly recognizable "milk" and even said a half-recognizable "excuse me" when she passed gas at the dinner table (what a proper little lady, I know, but at least she had manners enough to laugh excuse herself).

Carleigh's Words:
Daddy, Momma, Buddy (for Nicolaus), Nanny, Nana (both for her Nana and banana), kitty, pretty, milk, baby, bite, ball, balloon, bubble, please, piece, cheese, more, moo, woof, eyes, teeth, bath, pee-pee, poo-poo

And if this picture doesn't say "DIVA" I don't know what does. And she's only 15 months...

Monday, July 18, 2011

Monday Mac-N-Cheese

It has long been said that humans are creatures of habit. I definitely fall into this stereotype. I like routines, I like lists, I like to know what to expect. My kids are the same way. I swear their nightime routine is the reason they both sleep so well. Every evening we do the same thing--dinner, bath, pjs, story and bed. Every. Single. Night. When we slip up just a little, even if it is to have dinner over at a friend's house and we stay up just a little past the kiddos' bedtime, we pay for it for two to three days.

Part of my routine includes a weekly meal plan and every Monday we have macaroni and cheese for lunch. This weekend, I read a letter sent in by a subscriber of Parenting magazine about how she modifies her instant mac to make it a little bit healthier for her kids. I was intrigued and decided to give it a try. Besides, I still have a hefty supply of organic sweet potato baby food I need to use. The outcome was a really creamy, pretty tastey alternative to regular mac. And, it doesn't make me feel so guilty for feeding the kids something so processed. But hey, we can't all be diva's in the kitchen for every meal...there are other blogs for that.

All you need is:
one box of mac-n-cheese. I used Kraft whole grain.
1 jar organic sweet potato puree/baby food
4 TBS plain greek yogurt


Cook the noodles per the box instructions.
Once you have strained the noodles, stir in the puree, yogurt and cheese powder.

Enjoy!

Note: After this meal, 14 month old Carleigh reached her bowl out and asked for more (the first time she has ever said "more")

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Steppin Out Saturday - Oh Yes a New Dress!


Dress: Marshall's
Shoes: Famous Footwear (I think)

Saturday we headed to my Mom's house for her 60th birthday cookout. I thought it the perfect occasion to wear the dress I treated myself to when I went shopping in Charlottesville a month ago. For the last three years I haven't bought any new clothes except for maternity wear. Its the perfect summer dress--light and flowy, goes great with both sanals and flip-flops. I can even wear it as a bathing suit cover up. My only mistake: I should have worn those flip-flops. My feet were killing me after a couple of hours on my feet running around after the kiddos.




Monday, June 27, 2011

Look Out World, Here She Comes!

video

I'm not quite sure how it happened, but our little girl is walking! How is it possible she has reached this milestone already? Honestly it feels like we just brought Nicolaus' little sister home from the hospital last week, not last year. So where will your little legs take you precious Carleigh? Mommy can only imagine...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Sunday Supper

John and I have decided to try out a new dinner recipe every Sunday. We seem to fall in a rut of always eating the same things, especially with two toddlers who are often very particular about what they will and won't eat. And, with the weather being so wonderful at the start of this summer, we are working our way through the cookbook Dad and Janice gave John a few Christmases ago, "Grilling: Where There's Smoke, There's Flavor." This Sunday we made Honey Harissa Kofte with Radish Tzatziki(recipe pg. 60)--a fancy schmancy lamb kabob. It was wonderful! The prep needed was a little more than we are used to for kabobs, but so worth it. The kids even liked it...at first. Next time we will omit the red pepper flakes wich made them more spicy than their young tastebuds could handle and they ended up feasting on cereal bars while John and I gorged ourselves on enough food to feed an entire Big Fat Greek Wedding. John maintains that photos of food never look as good as they really taste, but you can be the judge. We paired the lamb with hummous, pita, and a cucumber, tomato, feta salad.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

We Have a One Year Old!

* 19 lbs 13 oz
* 29.25 inches
* Laughing like a little chipmunk
* Eating everything
* Almost walking
* Still taking 2 naps most days
* Pointing at everything
* Starting to play with stacking toys
* Likes to "sing" along with Nicolaus
* Identifies her fingers and toes
* Words: Kitty, Mama, Dada, Pretty, Ball, Nana (for banana)
* Still a Mommy's Girl