Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Project 365

January 24, 2009


I was cleaning up after dinner while Liza was finishing her food. I had my back to her and she started saying "I do it! I do it!" I turned around and tried to figure out what she was talking about. Then I realized.... she was excited because she got her fork to stand on top of her cup. Go Liza.

January 25, 2009


Nothing special for the picture today. Just enjoying my camera. I love it!

January 26, 2009


Jason is in love with blankets. He gets REALLY excited when we put one on the floor for him to play with. He crawls all over them, sits up, smiles, starts crawling around again, lays down and snuggles it. Jason is awesome.

Anniversary Celebration

Mike and I had a wonderful day celebrating our sixth anniversary. I think it is the most memorable one so far. We always try to plan something special but the past two years have been tough because we had either a newborn or I was massively pregnant. We have an agreement where we take turns planning what to do for our anniversary. I didn't feel that it was fair to put it all on Mike and this way we don't both make plans not knowing that the other one was making plans. Follow? So I get to plan the odd years and Mike gets to plan the even. He went all our for me this year!

It started the night before our anniversary. We were having some friends over and he's done this before and it always embarrasses me... he asked one of our friends to pick up a rose and bring it along for a surprise for me. Sneaky Mike! I was surprised. And it definitely got me looking forward to what would come the next day.



In the morning as I was getting ready I found a jewelry box on the bed. Mike took one of my watches that I LOVE but haven't worn in forever because the battery died.... and he got a new battery for it. Yay! I love it!

Mike arranged for his family to watch the kids over night. (They are so helpful with the kids!) I think that in itself was an awesome gift! To get to wake up in the morning without having to think about which kid to get out first.... or to be able to go out and not have to worry about making it home in time to pick up the kids and get them in bed.... it made it a lot easier to relax.

We spent a few hours at the Grove City Outlets browsing the winter clearance racks. I LOVE a good bargain so this was actually a lot of fun for me. I of course found some great deals and came home with a few things without spending much money. Success!

Then Mike took me to eat at Shakespeare's Restaurant. There is kind of a story that goes with us and this place.... back in college when we were just friends, Mike and some guys had this great idea that they would all ask a girl on a date to eat at Shakespeare's and for fun we would all get dressed up. Mike asked me. And I was supposed to get a dress. So I did... but I hadn't told him I had found one yet. (I should explain that I was kind of hard to get along with sometimes at this point in my life so Mike doesn't totally look real bad with my next statement.) Then Mike canceled on me. So we never went. Sometime after we were married we were talking about that and I told him I had actually bought a dress... he's felt bad ever since and was determined to take me there sometime. :)

The food was AMAZING!!! Definitely worth the price. The building in the photo below is the restaurant. It's a neat place.



After dinner we came home and rented a movie.... The Great Debaters. I recommend it. It's an inspirational story of overcoming hardships. I enjoyed it!

The last thing we got to do on our extended date without kids was breakfast out. It was a good way to end the date before picking up the kids in the morning.



I am so blessed to have a husband like Mike. He is so good to me and such a great father to our kiddos. I'm in love.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Mondays with Mike

(Taken directly from “Great American Statesmen and Heroes” by Catherine Millard)

In 1831, four Nez Perce and Flathead Indians (from Oregon) came to St. Louis seeking to learn the secret of the white man’s success, convinced that the white man’s God was more potent than their own. Their request was that missionaries be sent among them to tell them of the white man’s God.

In 1866 there appeared in a lecture by missionary Henry Spalding an account of the sorrowful appeal of one of these Indians to General Clark when they were leaving to go back to their own people. Said the Indian:

I come to you over a trail of many moons from the setting sun. I came with one eye partly open, for more light for my people who sit in darkness. I go back with both eyes closed. How can I go back blind to my people? I made my way to you with strong arms through many enemies and strange lands. I go back with both arms broken and empty. My people sent me to get the white man’s Book from Heaven. You took me where you allow your women to dance, as we do not ours, and the Book was not there. You took me where they worship the great Spirit with candles, and the Book was not there. You showed me the images of good spirits and pictures of the good land beyond. But the Book was not among them. I am going back the long, sad trail to my people of the dark land. You make my feet heavy with burdens of gifts, and my moccasins will grow old in carrying them. But the Book is not among them. When I tell my poor, blind people after one more snow in the big Council that I did not bring the Book, no word will be spoken by our old men or by our young braves. One by one they will rise up and go out in silence. My people will die in darkness, and they will go on the long path to other hunting grounds. No white man will go with them, and no white man’s Book, to make the way plain. I have no more words.



Wow. Makes me think…trying to imagine the hopelessness of those without God.

O that we would realize our darkness and seek the light. Then we could be a light to those in darkness around us.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

It's my anniversary!

Six years ago Mike and I got married.

Mike and I met at Slippery Rock University and became friends. After a while we became a little distant and I took a semester off because I needed a break from school. When I went back to school I was a hurting person. A lot had happened and I was bitter and angry and I wasn't really thrilled about the idea of going back to school. I remember praying and telling God that if I was going to make it through the semester that I needed Him to give me the best friend possible. And then I waited for God to send a great girl friend in to my life.

I didn't get a great girl friend. I got Mike.... and that turned out to be much better!!! :) We started hanging out again and spending a lot of time together. Then one day I woke up with the thought "I like Mike" and it surprised me. But I realized that I did like him... a lot! We started hanging out more and spent our evenings just talking and talking and talking about everything.... life... past, present and future. Hopes and dreams. Failures and successes. But we just remained friends.



After a while I decided to start making it obvious and I would tell Mike that I liked him. His response was usually something like "Yeah I like you too." And that was as far as it ever got. We had that conversation a few times. (If you can even call it a conversation!) But still we just remained as friends. As I look back I know that God was working in both of us and bringing us both to a place of healed hearts, forgiven hurts and in the process built a bond between us that was so strong it could last through anything.

On November 2, 2002 we had our first "official" date. Later that night I asked Mike if I could finally be his girlfriend and he said yes! And then that same night we began discussing our wedding and how soon we wanted to have it.... because we just knew.

A lot of people had their "concerns" and we were always hearing someone say that they thought we were moving too fast and maybe didn't know what we were doing. But we did. Even our pastor wasn't certain. He said something along the lines of "I usually go home after a wedding and do a happy dance. I will do one for you if I see you together in a year and you are still happy. I'm going to marry you in the church because I have a feeling that if I didn't you would just go some where else anyways." He was right about the last part! And he should have done his happy dance for us!

I hope that people now see that we DID know what we were doing. That we did understand what we had between the two of us.



On December 2, 2002.... only one month after we started dating, Mike proposed and of course I said YES!! We set the wedding date for January 25, 2003 and started telling everyone. It was fun! We got married on a cold, snowy winter day but it was beautiful.



Since that day we have had six years together. Some great and some only good... but we know that we are strong and we will make it. We promised each other from the start that we would never even use the word divorce... it's a cheap shot in an argument in my opinion. We made promises to each other and God and we intend to follow through. There has been much more joy than there has been sorrow in these years and our family is growing and we are adjusting. Life has been good to us and we are looking forward to the rest of a lifetime together!







Saturday, January 24, 2009

Family Night

About once or twice a month we like to have what we call "family date night". We usually order pizza and watch a movie and then play with the kids until bed time.

And that is just what we did last night. Papa Johns is our favorite pizza and we always order there. It's the best! I like to order out on our family night so I don't have to worry about dinner and dishes and can therefore just relax and have fun and enjoy my family. Mike always picks up the pizza and grabs a movie.

Then we eat in the living room and (hopefully) enjoy the movie. Last night we watched Horton Hears a Who and I LOVED IT!!! It was so much fun. Liza ate about ten times slower than she usually does because she was so in to the movie. It had Mike and I laughing and that is always a bonus! There are so many annoying kid movies out there but this was not one of them!

I definitely recommend Horton Hears a Who!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Project 365

January 19, 2009

I love watching Michael and Jason play together. Mike is so good at making him laugh. Here he is just tickling him and Jason is laughing and laughing. It makes my day.

January 20, 2009

My baby is 11 months old today! 11 months!!! I can't believe it. Where has time gone!?? Wasn't he just born a week ago? And here we are walking... never crawling anymore. He is eating mostly all food that we eat... no more baby food. Learning a few words.... his new favorite is car. He loves cars. And when he hears the neighbors dog bark he goes to the big window and barks back. I love him. I can't believe he is almost one year old!!

January 21, 2009

Our sixth anniversary is on Sunday and I am so excited! Mike has made plans and his parents are watching the kids. Today Mike left me a note saying "Happy 5 year 361 day anniversary..." (I know... mushy post. But it made me happy!!)

January 22, 2009

Today Liza is 2 years and 4 months old. She has grown up so much just in the past few months. She is beautiful, well behaved and funny. I love her hugs. She is talking, talking, talking. I can't believe the things she says. She's a smart one. Wow! I can't believe she has been in my life for this long already. It's flying by.

January 23, 2009

No this picture is not turned the wrong way... this pileated woodpecker was on the bottom side of the branch. I noticed this bird last summer and tried to get a photo but every time I went out to take one it would fly away. There were actually two of them. Then we hadn't seen it for a while. Yesterday it came back but I couldn't get a picture because the sun was directly behind it. Today it was right outside our door and I was FINALLY able to get a decent shot.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The girl can talk!

This morning at swim lessons Liza told the instructor "I have a little brother Jason." Since when did she learn how to put together sentences! Next thing I know I will be having complete conversations with the girl. Two years and four months old today.

Liza is still loving swim lessons. She gets REALLY excited when she is in the water. Lots of splashing... splashing mommy. Which she thinks is REALLY funny... so I get splashed... a lot. But it's worth it. It's kind of a special little time for just me and Liza and we like it.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Snow Mountain

61 degrees inside..... 16 degrees outside

It's been cold out lately but we still have tons of snow. I haven't been able to take Jason out to experience the snow because I don't have good, warm winter clothes for him. And we don't have a sled to pull the kids around in.

SO...

We brought the snow inside! Last year I had seen another mom post on a forum how they filled the bathtub up with snow so the kids could play. The bathtub wouldn't work for us because the bathroom is just too small. So Mike agreed to shovel some snow in to the swimming pool in our living room.



It was Jason's first time with snow and he wasn't quite sure what to think. He kept looking at us to see if it was ok and we tried to encourage him to check it out... I don't think he trusted us. He insisted on staying real close by our sides and had a serious look on his face the whole time. Jason spent most of the time watching everyone else play.




Liza.... well she was Liza. She loves pretty much anything and gets super excited and jumps right in... literally. She had a blast. Liza picked up a big chunk of snow and started yelling "rock!" She thinks snow balls are snow rocks... and no matter how many times we tell her they are snow BALLS she doesn't care. They are still rocks to her.



It was a really great time and it was so nice to do something different. We have been stuck in the house so much lately and some days I am sure that the snow will never melt... so we might as well have some fun with it. And thankfully Mike was all for it and didn't mind doing all the work to get the snow inside and then back outside when we were done.

Good times with the family!

Zumba

I don't know if you can actually call what I did for the past hour aerobics... but that is the category it falls under at the gym. Me and a friend decided to try some zumba. I had heard it was lots of fun. Ok. I can agree with that. But if I hadn't paid $25 (on top of my gym membership) I wouldn't go back.

Basically we stand there and shake our hips for most of the hour. It's just some different latin dance steps I guess. Last time I was at the class the instructor told us to "make it sexy!" I just feel really silly the whole time and I can't take it serious. The worst part is that the instructor doesn't give any verbal cues so you have to watch her closely. Usually I can just stare at the instructors feet in an aerobics class and get all the steps just fine. Not this one. Sometimes we get to stand still and move our hips... which means I get to stare at her butt. Yep. Fun haha.

I've come to the conclusion that it's the instructors excuse to have a little dance party once a week. But I guess that is ok because I was in a bad mood when I got there and I was smiling when I left.

Oh... my favorite thing about the class... the other people. Tonight there was this cute little old couple. The lady didn't have a clue and the little old man was trying his hardest. He was super cute. I think I could have had just as much fun sitting and watching him try to figure it all out. Then there are the people that think they can dance soooo well haha. And they get all in to it and they actually look really silly. I love it. It makes my day. I feel silly. I look silly. And I know it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Potty Training

We started potty training Liza. She isn't quite 2 1/2 but I think she is ready. She has become very independent lately and wants to do everything by herself. And sometimes that means she will decide her diaper needs changed... so she will get out a diaper and a wipe and take it all off and wait on the floor for a little bit of help.

On Sunday night we were at a friends and there daughter is about the same age. Liza got to see her use the potty and actually pee on it so I took advantage of that. The next day I asked her to do it like her friend did... and she sat on the potty.

We are doing ok for just being two days in to it. The first day we put her on a lot and she actually peed twice and got all excited. Today she went two times as well... but she did one better and actually told us she had to pee! That's pretty huge.

Maybe tomorrow we can do a little better. I hope so!

I think something that has made things go ok was something my friend reminded me of. I had heard it before but forgot. That advice was to not make it ask Liza whether or not she would like to sit on the potty. Instead I will tell her when it is time to try. There are times in the day that we will just make it a habit... one of those times is before meals... because once she starts eating she is NOT going to stop to eat. The girl likes her food!

Anyways... if you have potty trained and have some good advice I would love to hear it!

Apple Crisp

6 servings

1 cup uncooked rolled oats
1/4 cup flour (whole wheat, unbleached or parts of each)
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter (softened)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
6 medium apples, pared and sliced

1. Combine all but apples.
2. Place pared and sliced apples into a greased 8 inch square pan.
3. Put topping mixture on top of apples.
4. Bake in a 375 degree oven about 30 to 40 minutes or until apples are tender.
5. Serve warm or cold.

Monday, January 19, 2009

My silly little potato head



We were visiting a friend and Liza discovered Mr. Potato head. She fell in love with the glasses and was enjoying wearing them. I was enjoying it too. Liza can be so silly sometimes. She was so serious about the glasses. And every time she put them on they were upside down. I love Liza!


Mondays with Mike: Washington's Inauguration Address

Seeing as tomorrow is inauguration day, I thought I would write about the inauguration of our first president- George Washington.

George Washington was inaugurated on April 30, 1789. While he was being sworn in, he placed his left hand on an open bible. After taking oath he kissed the Bible and said “So help me God”. Now every president says the same phrase after the oath.

Here are a few parts of Washington’s first inauguration:

…it would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official Act, my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the Universe, who presides in the Councils of Nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that his benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the People of the United States…

..No People can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the Affairs of men more than the People of the United States. Every step, by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency….

…I dwell on this prospect with every satisfaction which an ardent love for my Country can inspire: since there is no truth more thoroughly established, than that there exists in the economy and course of nature, an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness, between duty and advantage, between the genuine maxims of an honest and magnanimous policy, and the solid rewards of public prosperity and felicity: Since we ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven, can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained: And since the preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the Republican model of Government, are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally staked, on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people….

You can find his full inauguration address HERE.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Project 365

January 14, 2009
Jason is getting so big, so fast all of a sudden. And his personality is really coming out. Lately we have just been enjoying him sooo much. Not that we didn't enjoy him before... but it has gone to a greater level. His smile makes my day.

January 15, 2009
Today we watched my friends two boys. They are really great kids and always fun to have around. But let me take a minute to explain this picture.... as you see Liza does not have any food. No, it is not because I starve her. It's because she has already finished her plate and put it in the sink. Ate it all! Look at the boys plates... hardly touched their food. Liza is a beast! The kid knows how to eat and she never turns down food. She will eat anything.

January 16, 2009

Liza got to play with her friend Ava again today. I really enjoy it when the two of them get together. They play hard. Both of them have great amounts of energy and they really do play TOGETHER. A lot of times when Liza gets together with other kids they all play nice... but they kind of do their own thing. These two or so entertaining together. Trouble haha.
January 17, 2009

Jason's new favorite thing.... pillows! Or blankets. Or just laying down on the floor randomly while playing. It's so stinkin cute! He will be playing and playing and then all of a sudden just lay down and get all cute and smile at us. Then he will get back up to play and a few minutes later do it again. I love Jason!
January 18, 2009

Ready for the Steelers game today!! Hopefully they win.
I found a function on my new camera that I wasn't previously aware of. You can do the self-timer to get a photo... but it does one better than that... you can set it to take anywhere from 1-10 photos! So instead of having to get up and reset it every time like I did with my last camera, I can just set it to take ten in a row. I am much more likely to get a decent picture that way. You should see if your camera has that option!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Psalm 15

I've been reading the Bible in a Year for a few months now and it always amazes me that I seem to end up on bits of scripture that are exactly what I needed. God is cool like that. :)

Today, the Psalm I read was very fitting for the things that have been going through my mind the past few days.

Psalm 15
Who may worship in your sanctuary, Lord?
Who may enter your presence on your holy hill?

Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right,
speaking the truth from sincere hearts.
Those who refuse to gossip or harm their neighbors
or speak evil of their friends.
Those who despise flagrant sinners, and honor the
faithful followers of the Lord, and keep their
promises even when it hurts.
Those who lend money without charging interest,
and who cannot be bribed to lie about the innocent.

Such people will stand firm forever.

Friday, January 16, 2009

I just asked Liza....

Me: Liza, do you want to learn to pee on the big potty?

Liza: No way! I no like it.


So that is where we are at with potty training. I just might have to have Jason sit on it a few times so that Liza thinks it is cool and wants to do it too.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Walking by Faith

I joined a new Bible study at the church I recently started going to. I wanted to be able to meet more women and hopefully connect with some older women who have been through life.... raised kids, experienced the ups and downs of marriage, etc. I want their wisdom!

When I showed up I didn't know anyone! And there was a good number there. A nice lady came over and started talking to me. It made me feel welcome and put me at ease. (It can be awkward and intimidating sitting in a room full of people that know each other when you don't know anyone at all.) Anyways... after watching a video and announcements they split in to small groups for discussion. I could have gone with the other moms of young children but instead I got asked if I would like to join the group that the lady that was talking to me leads. :) I said yes that would be nice!

The thing is that I have PLENTY of opportunities to meet other moms of young children. I have a huge list of friends in that category. But for years now I have not been able to meet older women that would have the possibility to become mentors. I am the youngest in my small group and I look forward to getting to know the other women better!

The study is Walking by Faith by Jennifer Rothschild. She has an interesting story... when she was fifteen she went blind. You should read up a bit on her on her website.

I am really excited about this study. I am sure it is going to be a great one and I am going to learn a lot from it. I love growing and being stretched!

In the introduction Rothschild has a list...

A person walking by faith...
*willing to take a step
*follows God; gives up control
*responds with thankfulness
*perseveres, endures
*is guided by truth
*is willing to wait on God

A person walking by sight...
*usually plays it safe
*seizes control
*responds with bitterness and anger
*quits
*is influenced by feelings
*waits on things from God

Through this Bible study we are going to learn what faith is and that it can be well with our soul even if it is not well with our circumstances.

A photo challenge

I know a lot of my friends out there are interested in photography or digital scrapping... so if that is you, you should check out my friend Jodi's blog. She makes her own digital scrapping kits, offers teaching tips about photography and camera settings and photo editing, gives a digital scrapping freebie every Friday (or directs you to one).... and every Thursday she is going to post a photo challenge. It's to help us get outside the box and learn to be better photographers of things we normally wouldn't take photos of. (Or maybe you would... but I wouldn't!)

Last Thursday she told us to take a photo of glass... that's it... anything glass. During the week we all post and share out photos. It's just for fun. No prizes. Just a chance to challenge yourself to be more creative with your camera. Here is my photo of glass....


I just put the camera lens up to a mug we had in the cupboard and then let the sunlight reflect through it and snapped the photo. It was actually kind of fun. And it took me all week to think of that.

Check out Jodi's blog to see what the next challenge is if you are interested!!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Scrap-tastic!!

I really enjoy scrapping but I refuse to scrap all the photos I take of my kids... it would just be ridiculous to even attempt that because I take waaaayy too many pictures. So I limit myself... because what I do for one kid I have to do for the rest. I made a scrapbook for Liza of her first year. Instead of doing all the pictures I made an ABC book... A for Arrival, B for Bath time, C for Christmas, etc. And I will do the same for Jason. However, I finished Liza's a long time ago and I can't start Jason's until he turns one so I have all the pictures I want.

I needed another book to work on so I would have something to do on my scrap nights out with my girl friends so I called up my sister Linda. I knew she was like my mom in that they both take pictures and then put them in a box and that's it. Linda got out her favorite photos of my niece, Rayna, and sent them to me along with some money to buy materials and I put together a scrapbook for her.

Today I finished it!! I think the hardest thing about working on something for so long for someone else is having to part with it when you are done. I will be sad to part with this scrapbook... but I know that it will be greatly appreciated. And I will have another one to make for her some day after her baby in the belly turns one! :)



I am excited to be done with this book because I have another one to start! I took pictures for my cousin when he got married and I am good friends with his wife. I told her that I wanted to make an album for her when I got the time.... now I will have the time! And then of course I will have Jason's to work on soon because he turns 1 in February! Time flies!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

My guitar



I recently got my guitar out and started playing again after letting it sit in a closet for at least two years. I was really surprised how easy it has come back to me. And I love it!

I started playing when I was going through a hard time. I wasn't walking closely with God and I was a bit depressed. I worked at a camp and everyone there seemed to play guitar so I asked someone to teach me.

I found that praise and worship music was really easy to learn so I printed a bunch of stuff from the internet and then I would shut myself in my room and practice... a lot. As I played these songs I learned to worship God again and practicing became a time in my day that I looked forward to.

The more I played, the better I felt. The words of the songs became my prayers and I continued to draw closer to God every day.

The other day when I got my guitar out again I remembered how much those songs meant to me on those hard days. I remembered how far I have come and how much God has blessed me. I remembered all the lessons I learned as God carried me. And I am looking forward to worshiping God through music again... even though I am not that good. :)

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