Thursday, February 26, 2009

Nap time is a go!

I think we finally have a good naptime routine here and it is making me SO HAPPY! It has worked 3 out of 4 days this week and a few last week so I'm thinking we are headed into a habit. I just keep Grace up a little longer, the girls and I start lunch at about 11:30, we have daddy's lunch all ready to go when he gets here. We visit some and dad eats then Dan lays down with Sophie in our room (he always gets a little nap at lunch anyway) and I nurse Grace and get her down. Then, then..... THEN I have about two hours (more or less) to myself! To clean, to read, to pay bills, to blog.

Honestly it has made our mornings better, our afternoons better, our evenings better... our house cleaner and that makes for a happy mommy, a happy daddy and happy kiddos!

Ok, time to make the most of this time and finish getting this house ready for company! We are so excited to have my mom, Junie, and my Aunt Debi here this weekend. Aunt Debi is coming to meet Mr. Ike and to photograph him and the rest of the fam. We are super excited! Sophie has been counting the hours to see Junie!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

My Princess

Sophie is LOVING her dance class! The week before last, Mrs. Viviana deemed that next week would be 'Princess" day and that the girls needed to dress appropriately. She had her son dressed in a suit and he opened the door for the girls. It was sweet, but I can say for Sophie that the best part was the cupcake after class! :)

My princess, last week.

There were a few girls out last week with sickness, so Mrs. Viviana wanted to give them the opportunity to have a Princess party too. So... we had a repeat party this week. Sophie didn't mind!

My princess this week. :)


The princesses danced together and it was TOO cute! So was the free-styler dancing. They all get into it so much and they all have their own style and moves that are adorable!

Sophie really was a princess yesterday. We had a great day. (I sure document the difficult ones enough, I need to remember the good days too!) She was kind, obedient and a lot of fun to be with. After nap time we made sugar cookies from scratch. Obviously she had a fun time with the sprinkles! They were yummy and they didn't last too long!

I love you my princess, Sophie! (Whether we have a good day or not!)

Valentine's Day 2008 Recap! (In Pictures)

I know I am behind, but I still want to document our Valentine's Day Celebration. We had a fun weekend filled with family, friends and l-o-v-e!

A little l-o-v-e decorating
A little l-0-v-e crafting for the girls. I found this tutu-shirt here (love her blog!) and I knew it was just the thing to get the sewing machine back out for! I finished them on Thursday night and the girls were tickled with them. They both looked super cute when they wore them on Friday. :)
Also, a little l-o-v-e candy making! I found these here and they were pretty easy to make (with Sophie & Dan's help) and they were pretty yummy. We made about 40 this year. Last week I bought a large set of V-Day sprinkles so hopefully I can make lots more next year.
We started celebrating by heading to a little get together Friday morning at my friend, Jerusha's house. We all had a good time visiting, playing, eating, and making cute crafts for the Daddy's.
Cheesy Gracie!
In the afternoon, the girls and I delivered all of our Valentines to our friends and family. We spent a while at the airport visiting with lots of loved ones including Mr. Ike. This is when my camera bailed on me. :(
In the evening we had the pleasure of having dinner and desert over at MiMi and Papa Don's house. The Neufelds were in from Kansas and we had a great time visiting with them! It was Muncle Baby's birthday, but unfortunately he wasn't feeling good, but we still got to hang out with Aunt Suzy! It was a wild and fun night. (As usual when all 6 of the kiddos are together!:)
Sweet Cousins... Sophie & Holiday

The boys... Justice & Fisher

So... this brings us to Saturday, Valentine's Day! We enjoyed a relaxing day at home. Dan let me sleep in a bit and brought us home some yummy donuts. I ran some errands, we gave each other our gifts and cards.
It was a great day...until we got about an hour out from going to our church's progressive dinner! It got pretty hairy there for a little while and we finally arrived at the church in a bit of a huff! Thankfully, it all worked out and we had a wonderful time with our friends as we traveled from house to house eating and eating and eating and laughing! :)

Here we are enjoying from Fettuccine Alfredo at Spinelli's
Here are our sweet and funny friends, Brandy & Chris.

And our sweet friends, Mandy & Andy who now have a brand new baby boy, Andrew!

As always, I wish I had taken more (and better) pics! We really did have a sweet celebration this year. It was definitely made sweeter by the sweet little treats for the girls by their thoughtful grandparents and great-grandparents. We are about through all the candy! Yay! It is time for a candy fast around here! :)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Daddy's New Rig!

Two weeks ago we said goodbye to our little black Saturn and welcomed home a big ole white Ford F-15o! Daniel has been very gracious to drive my little car for to work and back for the past three years while we waited for the opportunity to buy another vehicle. It was a little comical to see him fold up his l-o-n-g body to get inside it. :) It was far from practical for toting around all his tools, but he took it all in stride. We were both pleasantly surprised when we finished our taxes about 4 weeks ago and saw how much we were going to get as a refund. (Thank you, Grace!) Dan started to scour the internet for a great deal on a used truck. He felt like the Lord was going to give Him a blessing and He sure did! We still needed to sell my old car.
The Saturn was a great car. A super cute, sporty little car that I bought on the day of my high school graduation back in 2000. (It was the bulk of my graduation gift.) I put many, many miles on her driving from Mena to Tulsa, from Mena to Tyler, from Tyler to Tulsa, from Tyler to Dallas, etc. It was a great car and I paid it off the summer before Dan and I married. Unfortunately, the first winter that Dan and I were married I was hit in the Saturn. What a bummer! They fixed the car, but it was never the same. It had some real issues and we knew it was going to be difficult to sell. But, the Lord provided a buyer who knew exactly what he was getting and was excited about it! Woo hoo! So we received our tax money in the morning and sold the car the same day. What a blessing!
The next day we drove to Ft. Smith to look for a truck. We went to a TON of used car lots looking for the right truck. Then Dan told me about a specific truck that he had found on Craig's List. It was about an hour away in Farmington. We got online, called them and we were on our way. Dan felt more and more certain about it the closer we got. We made the owner an offer and the truck was ours! YAY! YAY! YAY! I am so happy for Dan. There is plenty of room for us and the car seats and all of Dan's tools. I am so thankful that he has a vehicle he can be proud of and that he doesn't have to scrunch up his legs in the Saturn anymore.
Thank you, Lord!
Here are the girls at Cheddar's (our new favorite restaurant) before we started car shopping.
Here I am behind the wheel! :)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

the dash

I'm a little down this afternoon. It has been a long day. Yesterday, I noticed that something had been draining out of one of Grace's ears. I had seen it the day before and thought it was just ear wax. Anyway when it came back I realized she might have an ear infection. She hasn't ever had one before and I thought that the other symptoms she had were from teething. I took her to the dr. today and she does have an infection in both ears. Poor baby. I had a very difficult morning with Sophie today and there is nothing that drains me faster than a huge fit. I willed myself (by the Grace of God) to not get angry with her, but instead to love on her as I was disciplining her, but she would not calm down.

This afternoon Daniel and I went to a funeral for his 91 yr old aunt. She was a sweet lady. A spunky woman and I have no doubt that she is in Heaven with Jesus. Her funeral was at the church that I grew up in. I seem to only go there for funerals lately and it always makes me sentimental. I started thinking about how I want my funeral to be, about how neither of us have life insurance and we both have no plan if something were to happen. When we left I talked to Dan a little about it. I told him I wanted all fresh flowers at my funeral. He looked at me like I was crazy because I never talk about stuff like that at all. I don't know why, but for some reason I am really emotional today. I read a little more about sweet baby Cora this afternoon and my heart broke for her family once again. Her chubby cheeks and sweet disposition remind me of Grace.

I so want to live a life of joy and love and self-sacrifice. I get so caught up in the flurry and the messes and running to and fro. I want to invest my life. I want it to count. I want my family to know that I love them. I want to teach my girls to look outside of themselves and their wants and to love Jesus and to let Him love through them. I want to care for the poor and most of all to lay up treasures in Heaven. This life is all we see and know right now, but in reality it is a fleeting moment. A simple dash.

God give me an eternal perspective.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Mr. Bean

Pappy poses as Mr. Bean wearing Grace's hat.

Monday, February 16, 2009

30 Things About Me (I couldn't stop at 25!)

I'm sure you've seen's a facebook phenomenon! :) Random facts about myself have been swirling around in my head for weeks now. :)

1- I love to swim. (Mainly underwater with my eyes open.)
2- Dr. Pepper will always be my #1 drink. I love it from an ice cold can. Sweet tea comes in as a close second.
3- I am completely un-coordinated. This makes me very un-athletic! I am decent at snow-skiing and water skiing which is pretty cool.
4- So far I have traveled to three continents... North America (including Central America), Europe and Africa.
5- I love cross-cultural missions and I pray that me & my family will be able to serve overseas again in the future.
6- I am thankful for the Grace of God and the Love of Jesus every day. It is scary to think of where I know I would be with out Him.
7- I really enjoy cooking.
8- And decorating.
9- And crafting. :)
10- Falling in love with one of my good friends, Daniel totally took me by surprise, but our love has blessed me every day for the past seven and a half years.
11- Two little brown headed girls have stolen my heart! They fill me with so much joy and awe!12- Parenting is by far the most challenging endeavor I have ever experienced. (Maybe it's Sophie? ;)
13- I am brown-eyed red head with a semi-olive completion. The cool thing is I can tan.
14- I am pretty much a turbo nursing mama. I have been pregnant or nursing for the past FOUR YEARS STRAIGHT! :)
15- I love school and learning. I prefer to learn by lecture and note-taking. If I hear it and write it down it's in there!
16- I doodle constantly. If I have paper I write about what I am talking about/listening to or I just write invisibly with my finger.
17- I love "chinese soup." It's this soup that comes from the "Chinese" store that is very similar to ramen, but has an additional oil flavoring that goes in it that is spicy and yummy!
18- I use the word "yummy" often. Pretty much all Mexican food and home-cooked food by either of my moms would be classified as "yummy!"
19- I love my family SO VERY MUCH! (natural and through marriage)! I cherish spending time with my parents and siblings more and more every year.
20- I have to copy Jaclyn because it's true... I love and admire my grandmothers SO much. I cherish the time I have with them and the special relationships that they have with my daughters.
21- I have developed Gestational Diabetes with both of my pregnancies and sometimes I fear Type II Diabetes. However, not enough to cut out sweets!
22- I am addicted to blogging. (Is there some kind of AA for this kind of thing?)
23- I am by nature a Messy. I am married to a Cleanie. We're working through it!
24- My sisters hold a very special place in my heart. I have a blood sister, a step-sister, an adopted sister, an "almost" sister, and two sisters-in-law. They are all sisters of my heart.
25- I am an introvert and I pretty much stink at making friends.
26- I would do anything in the world for my little brother. What can I say, "He wears me down!"
27- I could listen to Sara Groves every day.
28- Spending one on one time with Daniel is my favorite thing ever! I love our acronyms and inside jokes and goofiness and our love!
29- When I was younger I wanted to be a teacher, a politician, a fashion designer, a missionary, a counselor, a teacher, a mom, an interior designer, an event that order. If I could find a way to incorporate them all I'd go for it! :)
30- So far I have never received a speeding ticket. (KNOCK ON WOOD!) :)

Thanks for hanging with me and thanks for being my friends!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Miss Gracie B.

I just put Gracie down to sleep a few minutes ago. We've started the "cry it out method." Cry it out = no fun! Thankfully, tonight the crying has already stopped. This sweet little one thinks that she doesn't need much sleep lately. Her naps have been a little hit and miss lately. No naps or short naps also = no fun. I think (hope, pray) that we will get settled in a new sleep routine soon. It would be ideal if she would be on the sleep schedule as Sophie that way she would have one longer nap each day and they would be at the same time so I could have some downtime/work-time/craft-time too. We shall see!

(Can I just insert here that I am quite ready to wean Miss Grace. I have now been pregnant or nursing since January of 2005. Four years. I think my body (and mind) is ready to rest for a while. However, I also don't want to short-change Grace. I've read that children still need sucking time into their second year. Sophie didn't wean until she was 21 months old. I was pregnant with Grace, very sick and had to wean her. Grace has no pacifier and isn't a thumb sucker. Apparently, I am the pacifier! I am trying to cut back her nursing to morning, naptimes and at night. And I am offering her a sippy cup with water or juice often. I am ready to be able to go away for a couple of days with Dan and I am SO ready to consistently sleep through the night and wake up in the morning not hanging off the bed with her in my spot. :) I love my girls so much and I want to be the best mom to them and I really need some wisdom... any advice??)

Sophie is sleeping at her sweet, sweet great-grandparents house tonight. I'm sure she is having the time of her life. I always did! In a few minutes I am off to finish cleaning/organizing the play room. It has been an all day affair! I really wanted to do this one afternoon when I was all alone and just hammer it out. But, that hasn't happened or if it has recently I have needed to do other things. Anyway, this morning I just bit the bullet and decided we would get it done today. It has been a long day and there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel. I'm about to put on some good ole Andy Stanley preaching and get it knocked out. (Dan is out working on Aurora, our Saturn. Hopefully it won't be ours much longer!)

I'll leave you with some cute pics of Grace that Kori captured at the hospital during my sister's 2 day labor & delivery of Mr. Ike. Grace did really well! She is really starting to come into her own lately. Dan & I thought she was a really docile and mild-mannered girl (didn't she have to be since her sis is WILD CHILD, Sophie?? :), but this little one has a "personbality" of her own! She is a climber (we caught on top of an end-table the other night), and a bee-bopping dancer. It is too cute! Unfortunately, she is also a hitter. She thinks it is very fun to pop people in the face. Well, either a kiss (more like a lick) or a pop. She got a little out of hand this evening and she got disciplined. Her pouty face was the cutest little sad face. :(

Grace with Pappy, Mammy and Pappy's wonderful cell phone!

With Sweet Ma Ma Ma

With Aunt Jac. (Jac was w-a-l-k-i-n-g!)

Hanging out with Aunt Britt in Jaclyn's room.

Sleepy Grace the next morning. This toy is one of her favorite birthday gifts.

With Mommy

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Psalm 103

Psalm 103
A David Psalm

O my soul, bless God.
From head to toe, I'll bless his holy name!

O my soul, bless God, don't forget a single blessing!
He forgives your sins—every one.
He heals your diseases—every one.
He redeems you from hell—saves your life!
He crowns you with love and mercy—a paradise crown.
He wraps you in goodness—beauty eternal.
He renews your youth—you're always young in his presence.

God makes everything come out right;
he puts victims back on their feet.

He showed Moses how he went about his work,
opened up his plans to all Israel.

God is sheer mercy and grace;
not easily angered, he's rich in love.

He doesn't endlessly nag and scold,
nor hold grudges forever.

He doesn't treat us as our sins deserve,
nor pay us back in full for our wrongs.

As high as heaven is over the earth,
so strong is his love to those who fear him.

And as far as sunrise is from sunset,
he has separated us from our sins.

As parents feel for their children,
God feels for those who fear him.

He knows us inside and out,
keeps in mind that we're made of mud.

Men and women don't live very long;
like wildflowers they spring up and blossom,
But a storm snuffs them out just as quickly,
leaving nothing to show they were here.

God's love, though, is ever and always,
eternally present to all who fear him,
Making everything right for them and their children
as they follow his Covenant ways
and remember to do whatever he said.

God has set his throne in heaven;
he rules over us all. He's the King!

So bless God, you angels,
ready and able to fly at his bidding,
quick to hear and do what he says.

Bless God, all you armies of angels,
alert to respond to whatever he wills.

Bless God, all creatures, wherever you are—
everything and everyone made by God.

And you, O my soul, bless God!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Two Week Menu

This morning the girls and I braved Walmart to stock up on groceries. I know might sound bad, but I don't normally take the girls grocery shopping alone. Either I go when they are with grandparents or we all go as a family or even sometimes Dan goes. I have had some fear about taking them to Walmart alone. I'm trying to get rid of some faulty thinking like... I can't do much in town with both girls or... I can't clean very well with both girls. There is some truth to both of these thoughts. But, at the same time I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. (I know that can sound so trite, but it is TRUE!) He has given me these girls as a gift and this is where I am in life. I realize that this time of having small kids at home is only a short season and I want to embrace it and enjoy it. Soooo, we went to Walmart. We had a few incidents! It was a long hour and a half, but the girls did pretty good. At the end Sophie opened a container of sliced mushrooms and Grace made a good snack out of them. EWW! :)

The great part of a long shopping trip is the benefit of having lots of stuff to eat and being able to have a good game plan on meals for the next couple of weeks. I thought I'd share a few of the recipes.

I bought stuff for
*Beef Enchiladas - we had these tonight with spanish rice, sour cream & mixed veggies for the girls. They were surprisingly good!
*Poppyseed Chicken- we LOVE this! We usually it with Jasmine Rice (love, love, love), fresh bread, and sometimes salad and another veggie... usually green beans (soph's favorite!)
* Aunt B's Pizza- YUMMY! I have been craving this for months. It consists of bread dough for the crust, pizza sauce, green chilis, sausage, black olives, and sliced mushrooms. Delicious!
*Little Cheddar Meatloaves- I got this recipe from my sis-in-law, Jerusha when Dan and I got married. It is the first meatloaf I ever tried and I actually really like it. I'll post the recipe soon. We serve this with mashed potatoes, rolls, and another veggie.
*Broccoli Quiche- So good, healthy and this can go for a lunch or a dinner. We'll probably have this for lunch tomorrow. :)
*Mom's Easy Chili- This is so simple, fast and good. You just brown the meat (2 lbs), add a packet of Williams Chili Seasonings and then add a large can of Tomato juice and let it simmer together. I have another fabulous chili recipe from my mother in law but it makes about 25-30 servings and a little bit of time. I like this easy one when I am short on time.
*Lasagna- Frozen! It's good stuff. :)
*Grilled Pork Tenderloin- This a new recipe, but it looks really good. We love pork roast. So tender and good!
*Macaroni Grill Chicken Alfredo with Linguine- This is a box meal that you add chicken to. Mom (Lisa) has tried one of these so I thought it would be good for something easy and different. We love Macaroni Grill!

When we add in some of our normal lunch meals... sandwiches, spaghetti (easy prego), egg salad, can soups I think we'll be set for a couple of weeks. Well, we'll probably eat out a time or two, especially since next week is Valentine's Day! :)

Bon Appetit!

*Special thanks to Kelly for posting such delicious recipes. We are still praying for sweet Harper and are so thankful to the Lord that she is doing so well!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Enough Said...

Cleaning the house while the kids are growing is like shoveling snow while its still snowing.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

My January Loves

I hope to continue this list of things I love about my housemates each month of this year. This was inspired by a great blogger, Kristy Glass.

Encouraging me and my crafting endeavors and buying my a wonderful cabinet for all my supplies.
Assembling the above gift!
Being so sweet about my birthday... insisting that I needed a large birthday hat and for the beautiful roses.
Your excitement over our imminent tax return
Your obsession with finding a used truck for yourself. The way you peruse Craigs list and ebay and auto trader!
For taking such good care of Sophie (along with your Mom) when I went to Ft. Smith with Jaclyn and for coming up there to get us.
For being such a great handyman...fixing stuff at Jaclyns & making our cool laundry set up
For taking care of the girls so I could go to a baby shower
For taking BOTH girls grocery shopping so I could get some work done.
Your dedication to God, home, work, church at all times.

I love watching you in your dance class. You know just how dancers sit!
Being so outgoing and cheerful in class!
For loving Ike so much
Watching you interact with Junie & Maddie.
For being "the perfect child" when you spent the day out of town with your family
For being a great sport about me & Grace's birthday
For reminding me to "smile" (melts my heart!)
Your newest drawings of faces... two dots for eyes a dot for nose a dot for mouth and two dots for cheeks. too cute!
for saying "i promise" such as "i promise i won't get in your craft stuff mom!" :)
Watching you paint clouds with your little apron on
Saying, "I not feeling really good right now." Because of your stomach "crabs"
How you love to say "tender"
You new names for everything in our home... all your friends
Watching you dance with Jaclyn's dress form that you named, Emma

Gracie B-
Watching you take your birthday in! You loved when we sang to you!
Watching you dig into your birthday cake. Yummy!
You're working on drinking from sippy cups. Good job!
The day I caught you in the hot chocolate and you had a chocolate mustache a beard!
Being so good and cute during the LONG wait at the hospital. Letting Jason H. walk you to sleep in the stroller.
Wanting to eat little babies up!
Trying to eat with a spoon for the first time. Messy! :)
Watching you realize that Sophie is somewhere and you aren't (like with Pappy) and you crying big alligator tears. (broke my heart)
Hearing about your perfect day when you got to go with grandma all by yourself, your delight, loving your long walks outside
Nap strikes... I don't love this, but it happens, huh...
Watching you get more and more brave in the walking, standing dept. You stand all by yourself and then slowly let yourself back down.
Constantly taking your hair bows out and then trying to put them back in.
Your disdain for shoes and socks no matter what time it is!