So glad you came to visit today! Here at my little corner of bloggy world I share a little bit about everything--family, parenting, goals, struggles, photography, recipes, n more! So curl up with a cup of hot tea {or not} and feel free to peruse around my site! Check out my sidebar for links. And come back again!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

I'm in love...

...with paper plates, and I don't know how to stop. Help!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Oh sweet baby

I'm not sure how many of you also follow our family blog where I post a majority of our pictures, but these are my latest two favorites from a lil' photo shoot I did with Carter on Wednesday. Look how cute he is!

Head over to see the rest of the pics from that day....

Dear Mommies...

Parenting is truly the hardest job in the world, especially that of a mother who, in most circumstances, carries the heaviest weight of child rearing. I don't know if you're like me, but I struggle daily with the challenges it brings. It's exhausting, dealing with the same issues all day every day--sibling squabbles and fussing. Disciplining and correcting every time. Anger yet trying to show patience. Dealing with constant demands whether it be preparing a meal, fetching juice, changing a diaper, wiping a bottom, or feeding a baby, etc And that's not even touching the responsibilities of house keeping. It's just demanding. And really we see so little for our efforts, receive so little appreciation.

But I don't write this to complain. I write this to offer hope. There are many rewards of parenting. Children are beautiful, one of life's very greatest blessings. And it is God's will for me to raise and cherish them. He will provide the strength I need for each day, each moment, if I seek Him.

I came across this verse doing my Bible study the other day, and it was very encouraging and I wanted to share.
"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. " Galatians 6:9

Let us not become weary as we parent our children, for at the proper time, we will reap a harvest if we do not give up! These are our children! Be blessed!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

10 Days

Just a quick update before I head off to bed here...

* We made it through our first days with Kevin back to work, night shift even. It all went quite smoothly. Kids watched a lot more TV than normal, but I'm not going to feel too bad about it. We'll get there.
* Friday afternoon we finally got the go-ahead from the doctor to take off Carter's bili blanket for his jaundice. What relief! I was sooo sick of the machine and all the limitations that came with it!
* I'm very tired. Carter is doing much better about sleeping in his own bed now that he's off the bili blanket. And he sleeps decent at night, still waking every 3-4 hours though for a feeding that takes about 45 minutes, sometimes 1 hour if I doze for awhile in the middle. But I mostly can't sleep well because he's had some big spit-ups lately and every sound he makes I put my glasses on and peer over the bassinet to make sure he didn't spit up all over himself. He's usually fine and I lay back down only to check him again a few minutes later. I do this for the first three hours, it seems, until he's awake for his next feeding, usually around 1 or 1:30am. Then after that point I'm so tired I actually get decent sleep for a couple hours until feed time again, usually around 4 or 4:30am. He eats pretty well and lays back down, without a whole lot of up and down up and down or crying business, so I'm thankful for that. But still, I'm tired.
* I've been able to manage a nap most afternoons. Sometimes it helps, and sometimes I'm just more tired and can't wake back out of it. But that's just for a time. It'll get better soon.
* Today I braved church alone with the kids. Kevin works again next weekend, and I didn't want to just keep skipping because I really miss the fellowship, so I figured we'd just go for it. It went surprisingly smooth. I made sure I told the kids firmly beforehand what my expectations were, that as soon as I said it was time to go, they needed to come right away. (something we seem to always have issues with at church) I knew I was NOT going to be able to chase them around the church and deal with a big fit while at the same time juggling Carter who I expected would be crying in his car seat (but didn't). Anyhoo, it was all fine. We stayed for an hour after church just visiting with everyone and letting the kids run around since they've been cooped up all week. This week we'll be getting back to a lot of our normal routines, and I'm looking forward to it.
* Tomorrow Kevin starts his four days off, so I'm really looking forward to some family time. It's kind of a full week with appointments, prayer meetings, Bible studies, errands, n such. But all good things.
* Next Sunday I get to see my brother and sister-in-law as they head to Omaha to do house-hunting because they're moving back this way soon!! Can't wait!!
* I trimmed Hannah's bangs yesterday. They'd been hanging down to her nose. Figured it was time to fix that. Now she looks even more grown up. How did she grow up so much in just 10 days?
* I watched part of the Hope for Haiti benefit concert the other day and now I have Justin Timberlake's "Hallelujah" totally stuck in my head and on repeat in iTunes. So beautiful, though I'm not sure about the lyrics, all about David's sin with Bathsheba.... I suppose we all have our own sin, and for that we also stand before the Lord singing Hallelujah.

Okay, that's it for now. Time is slipping away, and I must get to bed and catch the zzz's while I can! Hope you have a great week!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Raw beauty.

a completely raw, unedited photograph of the truest of beauties.

I look at a baby, my baby, and I think...
Pure beauty.
God's creation.
Intricately made.
Uniquely designed.
Child of God.
Utterly sweet.
And so very very loved.

I could just stare at this all day long. What a sweet babe.

One week.

Carter is 1 week old today! In short, this is how I would describe how it's been...

It's been wonderful
and hard
at the same time.
I'm in love
with my little boy.
I'm tired.
And crabby.
Carter is a little jaundiced.
And has to be hooked up to a machine.
I'm tired of the machine.
But thankful for the machine.
So glad it's not a "tanning bed" kind.
Hoping his levels come back better today.
I've been beyond engorged this week
but am finally almost back to normal.
I feel really great.
Haven't taken any medicine since delivery.
Sqeeeeeezed my way into pre-pregnancy jeans yesterday.
We finally took down our Christmas tree.
Kevin found a snake skin in the basement.
I'm terrified.
Kevin's going back to work today.
Which means
I'll have the kids all day (while he sleeps)
AND all night (while he works).
The kids are excellent big siblings.
Hannah thinks Carter is "her baby".
It's super cute.
Carter sleeps all day long.
On the couch hooked up to his machine.
But yesterday
he was finally alert for two long periods
of the day.
He's such a sweet boy.
I totally adore him.
But I remembered all too quickly
how much I hate
night feedings.
I can't stay awake
to keep Carter awake.
I fall asleep sitting up
and wake an hour later
and have no idea if the baby even ate.
I lay him down anyway
and snuggle in my bed
and a minute later
he wakes up again.
And we start all over.
How do you stay awake for night feedings?
Have I mentioned that I'm tired?
And that all the kids' noises
all day long
make my head ring.
I nap when I can though.
And I remember that
in just one week
we'll probably have a whole different story.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The birth story of lil' Carter.

So based on our fast labor experience with Hannah, we knew we weren't going to dilly dally around with this next one. At the first labor pain we were going to head right into the hospital, and it's a good thing we did! Because this labor experience was very similar and nearly as short as Hannah's!

Perhaps shoveling all that snow Wednesday afternoon really was too much for me, because around bed time later that night I started feeling the early labor aches (9:30pm). I showered and laid down for a little bit but that same back ache kept coming every 8 minutes or so, just like I'd had with Eli and Hannah's labors. After about an hour and a half of it, even though it was still very mild and I could almost still lay very peacefully through them, I knew I should probably wake Kevin and start getting things together. It was about 11:15pm at this point. I called the night sitter and we had to figure out how to get her since their van was broken. I felt unsure calling her in already since labor was still so mild, but I wasn't fooling around this time! Kevin went to town and picked her up and by the time he got back nearly 40 minutes later, the pain was definitely starting to get a lot more uncomfortable. She came, we gave her a short bit of instructions, and off we went. It was about 12:30am by this point. Right after we left the house we hit a thick wall of fog. Ugh. All I wanted was to hurry up and get to the hospital now that we were in the middle of nowhere and you know, we're in the truck! I prayed that God would lift the fog, like he parted the Red Sea, and I was pretty frustrated that He didn't, but I did pray the whole way "just get us there, just get us there..." I was starting to moan through contractions now and they were coming about 3 minutes apart, so with a 30-minute drive through thick fog I was feeling uneasy about whether we'd make it in time. BUT we did! Whew!!! We checked into the hospital at 1:10am, and by the time we were settled and I was changed into my gown and all that and the nurse finally checked me I was at 8cm already, water bag still bulging. So I decided to stick it out the rest of the way with no meds. The nurse contacted my doctor to come in to the hospital right away. Contractions continued, hard and miserable, but thankfully short (maybe 30 seconds long?) and with each one I could feel that we were getting closer. The doctor broke my water and while she was doing that the next contraction started coming, and it was time to push! Midway through the doctor gave me an episiotomy, I continued pushing and out he came just a few minutes later! 1:50am, just 45 minutes after getting to the hospital. They laid Carter on me right away and did everything with him right there on my belly. I've never had that before so all the gooeyness kind of weirded me out, but wow, what an amazing experience. Sort of. I mean, I still hate the whole labor process. It hurts. So bad. But I'm so thankful it was short again. And based on Carter's weight, 7 lbs 9 oz, I'm glad he came 2 weeks early or he would've ended up being quite big! I'm just so thankful for the timing of it all! One day before Kevin's 6-day off of work, so he either won't have to take much time off at all and save his days, or he'll get a super long break at home, whichever we decide. Except the fog, the weather was clear. No blizzards! And we keep being told there's a big a snow coming the end of the month. I never did get to try all my Nettle Tea for labor (anyone want it?? I'll mail it to you!), and I never would've expected the lil' guy to come 2 weeks before the due date (Eli was 7 days after the DD, and Hannah was 3 days before DD) even though I was kind of hoping he would, but it all worked out just fine and with the beautiful blessing of Carter James!

Aside from being quite tired, I've been feeling really great! Very little pain, I haven't taken any pain pills or anything since the one immediately after delivery. I've been up and walking around and already enjoying the freedom to sleep on my belly again! =)

Carter was a super sleepy baby for his first 12 hours. I nursed him a little 1 hour after delivery but then he was not interested at all for the rest of the day! I was a little uneasy about that, because I still wasn't confident that he was really latching on well yet. But around 6pm he finally started showing interest in eating and I've been able to get him to eat well every 3 hrs-ish. Which is what I need to go do right now, so I better scoot!

But there's the brief update with much more to come soon!

You can see a lot more pictures over at the family blog!


Carter James
7 lbs 9 oz, 20 inches
January 14, 2010 born 1:50am

We're all home already and doing great! Details and pictures to come soon!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Digging out!

It's a glorious 40-degrees and sunny here today! Compared to sub-zero temps we've been having, this almost feels like spring! I mean really, that is a 40-degree surge! I finally let the cats out of their shed; I'm sure they're happy.

We need to get our propane tank refilled so that means digging through the 4 ft-drift covering our entire sidewalk so the guy can get to the tank. Since Kevin won't be home from work 'til later tonight when it's dark and we're having such nice weather now, I got a little start on the sidewalk. Careful not to overdo it though, of course. Check out how deep the snow is!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Monday Meanderings

Bible Study
continue word studies on the fruits of the Spirit. I've been working on this for awhile ,and now this week at church we're starting the Beth Moore Bible study on the fruits of the Spirit, so I'm excited to see what she adds to my learning and growth! This year I especially want to work on self-control regarding anger and time management!

Memory Verse
Isaiah 41:10 "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

Husband Encouragement
Join him in things that he enjoys. ie play a video game together. I'm the world's worst player but it would probably make him feel good if I gave it a try again.

Train Them Up
* Responsibility chart. I realized last week that I need to come up with something as more of an instant-reward instead of only waiting 'til the end of the day to evaluate. I think that would help motivate the kids to remember their responsibilities throughout the day without me reminding them all the time. Haven't figured out what to do yet, whether it's a mini M&M each time, or a "button" they collect stickers on throughout the day. So I'll keep thinking on that one.
* I also want to start something like the If/Then chart. Mostly I want to really get in the habit of using a Bible verse for every discipline/correction.
* Continue morning Bible time with the kids. I've been trying to read a Proverb and Psalm a day, either at breakfast or right after.

Must Do
* mail out hospital forms
* stock up cupboards for easy post-baby meals, plus essentials like toilet paper and paper towels
* write notes for kids' childcare instructions
* confirm childcare plans for baby time
* move all the car seats back to the van
* make a pie for neighbor who so kindly keeps digging us out of the snow

Christmas decorations. Should probably take our tree down, huh? I love the glow of lights in the evening and have no desire to get out the big Christmas bin and wrap up all the ornaments, but it really must get done....

Menu - got this done while waiting at the doctor's office this morning!

Monday - spaghetti
Tuesday - egg rolls, egg drop soup, fried rice
Wednesday - chicken piccata, homemade macaroni and cheese, green beans
Thursday - Bible study night - toasted Italian subs, chips, carrots
Friday - pulled pork, fries, corn
Saturday - breakfast burritos, toast, fruit cocktail
Sunday - zuppa toscana soup

* baby appointment this morning. still about the same as last week, but the baby has dropped a little bit and is in head-down position. Our lane is clear now, herbal teas and nursing bras came in the mail today, and the forecast is clear, so I'm ready!
* MOPS tomorrow. We missed last month's meeting because of... SNOW! So I'm extra excited to see the ladies again, plus the activity I planned for the kids seems like a pretty simple but fun one!
* A new ladies Bible study starts up this week at church. I'll miss a couple weeks sometime because of baby, but I'm going to try to get in on as much of it as I can.
* On Friday Kevin starts his 6-day off from work (just part of the rotation). Seems like a good time to have a baby, huh? =)

Alrighty, hope you ladies are off to a good week! Join me with your meanderings!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Maternity Pics - 37 weeks

I'm just over 37 weeks and wanted to get a few more updated pregnancy pics before it ended and I possibly don't experience it again. (see my 28-week photo session HERE.) Some of these I did myself with the camera remote (a very cool little gadget, by the way, as long as you don't lose it), and then after awhile I had Kevin come in to take some pics for me with the kids. For most of these images I applied a Photoshop action from the Dazzle Effects 4 set. I like how they worked for these photos! It's always fun to play with, but it's not very often I can find a good match for the picture. Anyway, the photos...

my fave of the day
w. the kids. not exactly what I had hoped for, but it works.

and the traditional side profile just for good measures
Not much longer, folks!!

MORE winter!

I know, these are probably all beginning to look the same by now. But here are the pics of our latest storm. The plow finally went by on our road today (it's pretty fun to watch actually) and now we're just waiting to get the lane scooped out in the next couple days so we can carry on with our normal life. There's a tractor Kevin's going to go look at tomorrow, so I'm hoping it will work out so we don't feel so stuck all the time!

blowing snow and a sun dog
nothin' but white. snow drifted over road.

sun dogs again

5-yr anniversary

...was yesterday and we had a really great day! We were snowed in and didn't do much. Our day started early at 5am when we tripped our circuit breaker because of the space heater we were running extra hard that night. Eli woke up when everything shut off and he ended up in bed with us until I gave him the boot at 6am because he was still awake and just hogging my space. =) He went back to his bed but I don't think he ever did go back to sleep. Kevin had the day off, so we just hung around the house in our jammies all day. We had blueberry bagels, bacon, and scrambled eggs for brunch. We had a productive morning and got new shades put up in the kids' rooms, got the guest room tidied up again, and laundry folded and put away. In the afternoon while the kids were napping Kevin and I played a game (Ticket to Ride); it was a super close game but I won. We had a yummy candlelight dinner of lemon garlic pork tenderloin, seasoned green beans (I put garlic pepper on them this time along with the butter and it was GOOD!), cinnamon applesauce, fruit salad, and rolls. After dinner we watched the video of our wedding ceremony (I'm not sure we've ever watched it before and I thought it would be fun to share with the kids, though they kept asking where they were in the video.) While we watched the video we had cheesecake topped with homemade whipped cream for dessert. After kids were in bed Kevin and I watched an episode of Smallville and we too were off to sweet dreams. It was just a nice day and a great way to celebrate 5 years of marriage to my wonderful hubby!

Friday, January 8, 2010


Which is it?

A bunny rabbit?Or just a plain ol' ceiling fan.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Wow, I didn't mean to do Thankful days for all of November and then quit altogether! Since Kevin doesn't have a Monday-Friday schedule and neither do the kids and I, mostly I just don't have much concept of what day it is and Thursdays pass me by! But today here I am, taking a moment to give thanks to the One who gives all things, including my very next breath.
"Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." Ephesians 5:19-20
* First, I am thankful that Kevin was able to get home from work this morning. He left last night just after the winds and drifting had started. And I knew after a night of more blowing, the roads in the morning couldn't be good for his return. They weren't good at all and often he had to drive in the other lane because of drifts, but he made it to town where he could then walk the mile out to our house. He's really been through a lot the last month in his trek to work. Getting his truck stuck three or four times now and then spending all day trying to dig it out so he can get his truck off the road and make way for plows to come through. Walking the mile to and from town in cold, windy weather at times when we know that country roads aren't clear but highways probably are driveable. And shoveling through the 4-5 ft drifts that cover our sidewalks at the house. He sure is such a trooper and never once complains! And now I am thankful that he is snuggled up and warm in our cozy bed, last night was his last night of this shift, and we don't need to go anywhere for a couple days, allowing time for the roads and our lane to get cleared once again!

* I am thankful for all the time I've had this week diving into God's word. It's not something I'm good at sitting down and doing, but this week I have, and it's been so encouraging.

* With our 5-year anniversary being tomorrow, I am thankful for this wonderful man who walks beside me through life. We've both grown so much in the 11 YEARS we've been together, and I'm so thankful for the work that God has been doing in our lives individually and as a couple. I can only look forward to all that is yet to come!

What are you thankful for today??

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

My sleeping babies.

It's my favorite thing to watch a sleeping child, especially my own babies. They're so sweet and calm and at peace, and I'm reminded of just how young they are. The craziness of our day stops, and it gives me a moment to just look at them and see the blessings they truly are...

when Kevin's working nights and sleeping during the day, Eli often asks to sleep next to Daddy at nap time. it's so cute and they both love the snuggles.

In the middle of it.

In between days of blowing snow, growing drifts, closed roads, and treacherous weather we have short glimpses of really how beautiful it can all be! The kids and I were already running late to get to a meeting yesterday morning, but when I stepped outside and saw the tree branches coated in a beautiful layer of soft snow, I just had to turn back to grab my camera. I'm glad I did!Throughout the day all that beautiful snow fell from the branches and covered the ground with these feathery flakes. I've lived in Iowa/Nebraska nearly all my life, but I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like it!
where's the sidewalk??a speck of color!

B-Day prayer requests.

Baby Day that is. I had an appointment yesterday--went well, I'm 3 cm dilated already but I know it's common to sit that way for a couple weeks, I'm not effaced, so I'm not getting hyped about labor starting tomorrow or anything. But it is a reminder that the day is coming soon! Specific prayer requests regarding our upcoming delivery:

* Decent traveling weather. Having no snow removal for our country lane other than a shovel and friendly neighbors, we've been seriously snowed in several times in the last month, and I can't help but feel slightly concerned for what it could be like during baby time. Yes, we've delivered at home before but not by ourselves (thanks to paramedics!) and we certainly wouldn't choose to do that again! So pray that the roads are fine that day and we're able to get safely to the hospital 35 min away.

* Childcare. We have a few people in mind to watch the kids when it's "time", so we pray that when the time comes it all falls into place smoothly and quickly and our people are available.

* Labor itself. It's not a fun process, so I'm praying that it too will go smoothly and fairly quickly but not too quickly! Hoping that it will be a fairly fast labor, I'm going to try to do it without an epidural, just because it was so much "easier" to actually feel what was going on, as crappy as it hurts. I'm thankful for the epidural I had for Eli because his was such a LONG labor and I'd had NO sleep the night before, but if it's going to be a short deal then I'm going to try to tough it out. This time I'm going to drink a lot of nettle tea along with the regular raspberry leaf tea the week of labor and see if that helps diminish labor pains. Most importantly though we're praying for no complications and a safe delivery.

* The baby. A strong and healthy baby!

* Breastfeeding. Eli was terrible at nursing and it never did work for us, and Hannah was great, so I'm praying that this baby will latch on right away and breastfeeding will be a joy instead of a heart-wrenching battle.

* The kids. Praying that they will transition well to the new baby and Mommy's new demands.

* Me. Comfort during these final days, patience for the wait, strength to endure labor, and energy for all that is to come.

Again, I know that God has every detail worked out already. Good or bad, it is all for His glory. Thanks for praying, and if you know of any encouraging Bible verses for this time in life, I'd love to hear! You're such dear friends!

Added to my recipe book!

I tried a new recipe this week for Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup and let me tell you, it was GOOD and will definitely be added to my recipe binder! Both kids had THIRDS the night we had it and when we had it for lunch again the next day they both had seconds! That's certainly a good sign of a keeper!

Clink the link above for the recipe, but after looking at the reviews here's how I made it:

4 c. chicken broth
2 c. water
2 cooked boneless chicken breast halves, shredded
1 (4.5 oz) package quick cooking long grain and wild rice w. seasoning packet (I used a box of Uncle Ben's Long Grain and Wild Rice Quick Cook)

1/2 cup butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup flour
2 cup heavy cream (add in additional milk if soup is too thick)

1. In 1 Tbl butter saute a clove of garlic and 1/2 cup each of onion, carrot, and celery (I didn't have celery so didn't add it. It was an extra anyway).
2. Add in broth, water, and chicken. Over medium heat bring just to boiling, then stir in rice, reserving seasoning packet. Cover and reduce heat.
3. In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper, and flour. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in contents of seasoning packet until mixture is bubbly. Reduce heat to low, then stir in flour mixture by tablespoons, to form a roux. Whisk in cream, a little at a time, until fully incorporated and smooth. Cook until thickened. (mine was already super super thick so I didn't really continue cooking it)
4. Stir cream mixture into broth and rice. Cook over medium heat until heated through.

* Note: It thickened a lot after sitting in the fridge so when we reheated for lunch I just added in a little milk, and it was just right again!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Monday Meanderings - It's been awhile!!

Wow, with the holidays and crazy winter weather it's been forever since we've had a normal week! Time to get back to our routine!

Bible Study

word study on self-control/self-discipline

Memory Verse
Colossians 3:16 "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts toward God."

Husband Encouragement
* our anniversary is this week! so I'll plan a special meal of favorites

Train Them Up
* re-start kids' chore chart. we did it for a week and a half and now haven't done it at all for nearly a month!
* start reading Bible together at breakfast
* Bible verse: Luke 6:31 "Do to others as you would have them do to you."

Absolutely MUST Do
* Plan MOPS activities and send out postcards.
* Mail package.
* Finish hospital pre-registration forms.

Basement - especially the laundry area. I want to wipe down the dryer that's covered with lint.

Menu - Kevin's going on nights tonight so I'm trying to plan some things that are easy for him to take in

Monday - creamy chicken and wild rice soup
Tuesday - sweet and sour meatballs, green beans, applesauce
Wednesday - goulash, pears
Thursday - chicken caesar wraps, apple
Friday - 5-yr anniversary! pork tenderloin, rolls, cooked carrots, fruit salad
Saturday - ??
Sunday - leftovers

Dessert of the week: cheesecake

* Baby appointment today.
* MOPS planning meeting tomorrow. Not looking forward to the planning but excited to see everyone again!
* Our 5-yr anniversary on Friday. I think I want to get our wedding video to share with the kids.
* Kevin's work Christmas party is on Saturday, so we're hoping to go, but we'll see.

Join me with your meanderings! Have a great week, dear friends!