Saturday, February 28, 2009

Love at first sight


Friday, February 27, 2009

Remember When?

Do you know what caused this look of satisfaction?

This. I put on rubber boots, stumbled out into the torrential rain, down the cellar stairs {in the dark} and hauled up a box full of antique Barbie toys all by the glow of my trusty flashlight.

Did anybody else have this? As I recall, it was my very first piece of Barbie paraphernalia. I got it from Santa along with a very basic Barbie & Ken in bathing suits. I spent many a Saturday afternoon on the porch with this pool. The shower no longer works and we're missing a chair and the base to the life-guard stand, but despite over twenty years of life, it still looks pretty good and more importantly still makes my heart race.

Ella was sad that all we did tonight was scrub it down and lay it out to dry, but I know that tomorrow brings hours of pool party fun. Unfortunately the weather doesn't look like it will be cooperating, so we'll be using the dining room chandelier instead of sunshine and a big quilt instead of grass. Otherwise, the day should go exactly as planned.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Chicken Wing

Josh has been working on a masterpiece at my parent's house today, helping them get ready for my sister's wedding. I have a stack of bills to pay, note cards and invitations to order and tv to watch. Chicken wing {as I've taken to calling her, which in turn brings on riotous laughter} is naked, eating biscuits and in a less than fabulous mood. I tried taking a picture of her long after-bath curls, but she cried and snarled at the camera. She looks like a rock star with a mullet fresh out of the shower. Instead, here's a photo most of you have likely never seen. From her birth announcement... over two years ago. Precious right?

We've got lots of fun planned for the weekend, so I promise more recent photos and fun are soon to follow. Have a great Thursday.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

McDonald's & Basketball

Know what we did tonight? Ate chicken nuggets, got a Hello Kitty watch, jumped off the bleachers with Cory and cheered Sweet Daddy on.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Eyes on the Prize

So the potty training has been going well around here, all things considered. We're doing great with tee-tee, but having some problems with the other half of the spectrum. We've really been practicing and she is trying, but the girl has some issues and they complicate things a little. She had a rough day both Friday and Saturday, with only one successful potty-trip both days. We went through endless pull-ups and she was really frustrated with herself. Heck, I was frustrated, too. Yesterday, things went much better. We even ran to the potty mid-service at church last night; she had exactly zero accidents. When I dropped her off this morning I reminded her that we were shooting for no accidents again today and that if she called me to tell me she'd been dry all day, I'd stop and get her a prize. Recession or not. I walked through the toy section and let me just say... $10 for pretend shoes is ridiculous. What happened to $3.88? There were some, don't get me wrong, but I could see that the first spill would have them split apart and there would be too many tears to count. Instead, I took a spin through the "real" shoe department and bought these beauties for $7.50 - I'd say that's a bargain. I wish I had taken a picture of her sweet face, too, because she was tickled pink! I even told her if she kept this up all week that we'd dig that antique Barbie pool out of the basement after all. Please pray the weekend brings weather above the 30 degree mark.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sunday's scripture

Don't you love it when God speaks to you? Especially when he answers a prayer exactly the way you wanted or affirms your place in life? What about when He give you a firm no? Even worse... what about conviction? We are studying a book on Sunday evenings called The Pursuit of Holiness and I have really enjoyed the sermons. Tonight our pastor preached on The Power of Conviction. Here is the scripture that really knocked my socks of:

"Don't copy the customs and behaviors of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is. As God's messenger I give you this warning: Be honest in your estimate of yourselves..." Romans 12:2-3

Um, thanks... I think. Over the past several months I have grown increasingly uncomfortable when thinking about the amount of time I spend in fellowship with God as opposed to the time I spend doing other things. Playing with Ella, watching television, working, blogging. I have come to recognize that I am missing out on a huge portion of my relationship with Him. I'm spending little to no time studying the word or in prayer and I'm seeing that evidenced in other areas of my life.

One thing John outlined tonight that I think will be especially helpful in the coming days comes from 1 Corinthians. Every decision I make brings me closer to the cross or takes me further away; in what direction is my life moving? He gave us four questions to examine when making any decision in life.

1. Is it helpful physically, spiritually, mentally? {6:12}
2. Does it bring me under its power? {6:12}
3. Does it hurt others? {8:13}
4. Does it glorify God? {10:31}

Please join me in examining what direction your decisions are taking you. Pray for me as I work to adjust the many areas of my life that are leading me in the wrong direction. Be patient with me if that means I'm not blogging everyday. I promise to keep you updated, it just might not be daily. And if it is, it might not be what you are used to reading. I hope that God will begin a new work in me and that it will be evident in all that I do, even blogging. I hope that the Lord will use this outlet to enlarge my territory.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Bloggy Vacation

Seriously... did y'all think I wasn't coming back? I know it's been a week since I blogged and it isn't for lack of trying! I started a few times, but just couldn't make it come together. Then I worked a lot, went to watch Josh play basketball, straightened the house, cleaned out the basement, cleaned off both our porches, sent Josh with a two trucks and two trailers to the dump and cut our phone line. That means the internet wasn't working. Thank goodness it only lasted about an hour, I realized that I'd stapled through the phone line while working in the basement and quickly rectified that situation. Whew, I'm back.

We've just been crazy busy around here and I don't see the light at the end of the tunnel. Not even a spark, really. We're finally having the house appraised on Monday and we're working furiously to make it presentable. We're trying to eek out a little more money so we can whip this place into shape. We were fantasizing in Lowe's last night and laughing about the regularity of our redos. We've been married for almost seven years and in that time we've renovated two houses and we're gearing up to renovate one of them for a second time. We decided that although we're growing out of our house a little that we love it and aren't ready to leave. Instead, we're going to put a privacy fence around our acre and landscape the heck out of it, put on a fancy new roof and rebuild our back porch, add a second bathroom, spruce up the laundry room and finally get our kitchen cute. I couldn't be more excited. And secretly... I'm hoping there will be enough money left over to fund our little Thanksgiving excursion.

All that to say, I'm sorry for bailing on you and I'll try my best not to let it happen again. I've really missed you and I'm tickled when people email me to see where the heck I've been. Just to catch you up, I thought I'd share a few pictures from the past week. The photo above is of me & El at a tupperware shower for my sister on Valentine's Day morning. Ella was being uncooperative for the photo op, so I put my tickle fingers to good use and got a smile out of her after all.

I know I'm probably embarrassing my only child by posting potty pictures, and maybe Gran will fuss and I'll ultimately remove them, but I got such a kick out of this occurance. She was spending a little quality time in there and requested a book to pass the time. Fancy Nancy to be exact. I wonder where she picked up that little habit?

My two favorite people snuggling in the princess bed, reading some books {above} and having their weekly beauty shop session {below}. How adorable are they?

And last, but certainly not least... a little impromptu Valentine's tea party in the clubhouse with our favorite, honorary, uncle Patrick. He was more than willing to indulge this princess with some chocolate cupcakes and tea. Not long after this party we put the clubhouse back in its box. It was sort of taking over our dining room. I'm sure it will make regular appearances around here, especially on rainy days, but I was kind of glad to see it go.

I hope you guys are having a wonderful weekend and enjoying the beautiful weather. We are working outside today and pretending that spring has sprung. Afterall, my forsythia and by bulbs are blooming up a storm. Did I mention that Ella found my stash of childhood toys, including a fabulous Barbie pool in the basement this morning? I'm sensing a mid-winter pool party coming on.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Moments

For whatever reason my photographic habits have been a little lacking lately; and the story-making around our house hasn't been particularly exciting either. These things together make for some pretty boring blog posts. I haven't really been crafting, we've all been sick at some point and we're still getting things ready for our appraisal {hopefully that'll happen in the next few days and I can start blogging about our renovations instead of the preparation for said renovation}. At any rate, I never intended this blog to be a baby update page or daily photo journey... I always wanted to share a little more about our lives than that, it just seems there isn't much to share right now.

Watching the changes outside makes me thing of this verse: To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted. Ecclesiastes 3:1-2. Even more than that, it makes me realize how quickly the seasons change and how fast our baby is growing up. It seems like yesterday that our months of prayers were answered and so soon after that we were welcoming her into our lives. For those of you who don't know, we had a minor health scare the day we were scheduled to come home from the hospital. Ella had to have an echo cardiogram and we had to stay in the hospital a few more days. Thankfully, everything was and is okay, but those few hours of waiting taught me a lesson about the brevity and uncertainty of life.

For that reason, I am totally captivated by the smallest, seemingly insignificant moments of our life. As wonderful as accomplishments are, I find myself enjoying the smallest things and crying at the sweetest gesture. I try to remind myself on a daily basis that I am far from in control. There is certainly Someone setting our lives in motion and guiding our every move. As tightly as I cling to the answered prayer {currently running around naked} in our house, I know she doesn't belong to me and never really did. I am so thankful for the opportunity to borrow her and to enjoy the little things she says and does, but I can't hold onto her forever. God hasn't promised me a single day and there isn't a single thing I can do about it. Instead, I can relish every day, memorize every photograph in my mind's eye and love her more every minute.

Here are a few of those seemingly insignificant moments from the past few days. Moments that are so sweet. Moments that SD laughs about when I come running camera in hand, but absolutely understands the importance of. Moments that Ella won't even remember tomorrow. Moments that I am oh so grateful for.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Enamored...

Not since "My Super Hopeless Romance" have I been so enamored with a blog so quickly. One of my daily reads posted today about a blog she'd found and encouraged her readers to check it out for the photography and mad Photoshop skills. I was familiar with the blog, but had never visited before today. You're going to think I'm crazy, but I was so enamored with reading her love story that I got nothing accomplished at work this afternoon and my mortgage payment was late. How sad is that?

The funny thing is I don't even know if I like her blog from a day to day standpoint, I never got that far. I started out looking at the beautiful pictures and then I clicked a link on her homepage that said "Love Story: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels" and the next thing I know two hours had passed and it was well after the time I normally leave work. There are over 30 chapters in this love story, but buckle your seatbelts ladies you are in for a treat. It is about a city girl who gets swept off her feet by a real-life cowboy. A perfect post-Valentine's Day read.

Visit Ree and click on the Love Story button and prepare to be enamored.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Today's the big day and we have had a wonderful morning. Ella & I got up early and made our first attempt at homemade cinnamon rolls. Boy were they yummy! We took a cue from another blog and modified it a little bit; it was a hit with everyone. Sweet daddy got new undies {we'll spare you a picture}, mommy got beautiful flowers and the princess got a new Fancy Nancy book and a princess purse - who could ask for anything more?


Friday, February 13, 2009

Heart Week, Day 5

As far as Ella was concerned, today was Valentine's Day. She got up in a great mood and was thrilled to wear another themed outfit today and couldn't believe I finally sent her "cups" to school with her. Below are a few pictures of how she spent the day...

carrying her friend's treats into Heidi's

chowing down on a V-day cupcake

ella, parker & connor

madeline

maddie-boo

lauren

big ella

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Heart Week, Day 4

{{this posted was supposed to be up Thursday afternoon,
BUT I was having serious blogger upload issues.
Sorry for the Heart Week delay... I know you were all freaking out
when it didn't post. Right?!?! Do you sense my sarcasm?}}



Today we are busy getting ready for the big day! Mommy had some errands to run this afternoon to finish up all of our gifts and projects. Ella had quite a bit to do herself...

she colored cards from Old Navy for the grown-ups in her life;


she packed up the gifts for her friends at school;


she helped me wrap presents for SD
{and herself, although I managed to keep the contents a secret};


and set the table for our special Valentine's Day breakfast.


This day was going positively fabulous until Ella just {literally, as I type} tinkled in the floor, right by my foot, all over her big girl panties and her sweetheart pajamas. Just for that, I'm getting in the bed and watching Survivor with an ice cream sandwich in hand.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Heart Week, Day 3

There's not much room for Valentine's goodness tonight, although SD did dress Ella in her requisite red polka-dot top today. They stayed home together all day and played. They had lunch at the Huddle House and practiced drawing letters. They didn't take pictures and she didn't really miss me. I missed them. I always miss them more on days when they're at home together and I'm sitting in my little office watching the rain slide down the windows. That's why when I walked in the door...

We listened to that song again and danced in the dining room;


I watched her proudly draw an "E";


we shared a really, yummy, fat-free ice cream sandwich;


and did a little pilates in the playroom.


For those of you who have never exercised with a two-year-old... it is a lot of fun. I have to fight her for the mat and my circle, but it is so worth it. She says, "watch the TV and do what she says." Believe it or not, Ella can pose with the best of them, you should see her lift that tushy off of the ground! Now we're off to watch this and this and get up and do it all over again. Maybe tomorrow she'll miss me. And maybe I'll get to watch the sunshine instead!

Heart Week, Day 2

We were having company for dinner, so Ella & I got down and dirty with this cookbook.

My favorite recipe from the book is the Three-Cheese Pasta Bake. Here's what you do:

Ingredients

1 16 oz. package of ziti {or any small pasta}
two 10 oz. containers refrigerated Alfredo sauce
8 oz. container sour cream
15 oz. container ricotta cheese
2 large eggs, beaten
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese
a really great helper {seen below}

Directions

Preheat oven to 350*
Cook pasta according to package & drain
Stir together ricotta, parmesan, parsley & eggs
Stir together sauce & sour cream
Add pasta to sauce, stirring until blended
Spoon half the pasta in baking dish
Spread ricotta mix over pasta
Spoon remaining pasta evenly over ricotta
Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese
Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly

Because I'm wierd, I make fresh Alfredo sauce by melting a stick of unsalted butter in 2 cups of heavy cream over medium heat. Add 2 cups grated parmesan cheese, a pinch of nutmeg, salt and pepper. YUMMY!!



Did I mention that while we were cooking we were also dancing to this song?

It's our new favorite CD and even Ella requests it in the car. What can I say? She has great taste. Christian music has come a LONG way, my friends.



Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Heart Week, Day 1

Cute Ella in her new red & white dress, posing as usual...

then I showed her this...

and she did this...

and this...

Happy Valentine's Day!