Monday, March 28, 2011

Currently Snacking On...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

She's Growing Up.

 My little big girl is 17 months old now.  She's friendly, animated, dramatic, opinionated, and sweet.  She eats about 5 clementines a day and blows her nose on everything.  Her "hi" is two syllables and she loves to give hugs to animals.  She's still a great eater and loves her sleep.  Her feet must have gone through a growth spurt because I bought her new shoes about a month ago and almost none of them fit now.  She can't stand anything in her hair and will yank it out about 5 seconds after it's in.  She is happiest outside where she has free reign to be her own boss.  She eats dirt like nobody's business and has recently required that she help me "make her bed" every morning by helping me fold her blanket.  She loves having a project, her best bud is "Marmo," and she loves a long wagon ride around the neighborhood.  I feel pretty stinkin blessed that I get to hang out with her everyday.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What's in a Name?

We've selected nomenclature for our next offspring.  Here's the thought process behind it all.

We've always liked the name.  To us, it sounds timeless, feminine, classic, and sweet.  We have one friend by this name (we love her), and although it's not after her, she is the only one we've known.  Lydia is a Biblical name, and although we are not ones to choose necessarily on that basis, it is always interesting to research the story of the person that God wanted mentioned in His Word.  Not much is mentioned about her, but what we do know is taken from the short passage out of Acts 16:6-40.  Here's what I've gathered about this woman from reading.
She seemed strong and competent, warm, open-hearted, and caring.  She seemed to have her priorities straight with prayer, worship, and keeping God first in a busy life.  She managed a thriving business, maintained a home, and offered her home to a crowd of strangers.

She believed in and was a worshiper of God, but something hadn't clicked yet and her heart had not been fully open to God.  After praying with Paul, she experienced the joy of brand new faith and would never be the same.

As a result, she and her entire house came to know the Lord and she opened her house to the ministry of Christ.  She became a servant, tending to the needs of the missionaries.

I pray all these characteristics for my daughter.

Another Biblical name.  To us, it sounds strong and assertive, and will serve as a reminder and testament of where God had us in our marriage during the months expecting our second daughter.

"Let me go where you go.  Your people will be my people and your God will be my God."  -Ruth 1:16

This is probably one of the most well-known verses from the book of Ruth.  It was the charge given to us at our wedding and I still remember hearing it and standing beside my husband-to-be.  If you go and read the story from the book of Ruth, loyalty is a theme that is prevalent.

Chris and I have journeyed through hard times in our marriage and I continue to look at the verse above and remind myself of the promise we made to each other and to God.  Regardless of the circumstances, loyalty is something I choose.  I will go where he goes and will stick by his side.

So, Lydia Ruth it is.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

More Fun: The Play by Play

Our 24 hours together was wonderful.  As expected, when I got home from dropping off Vera, Chris was home from work.  We both changed into our running gear and took off for our runs around the neighborhood.  (We run separately at this point since I am so slow.  And by slow, I mean that it's like I wave cars to go ahead when they are stopped at a stop sign for me because it would take much longer for me to cross in front of them instead of them just going.)  We made a huge salad for lunch and ate out in our patio.  What a beautiful day it was again.  One thing I have realized is that I rarely sit down for a meal, minus dinner.  I typically am a grazer and eat throughout the day.  I will snack on whatever Vera is snacking on and eat when she eats, but it is rare to sit down with a plate and take time to eat.  I miss that.  Eating yesterday made me slow down and enjoy meal times again.  There was no reason for snacking when I was able to eat balanced meals.  It felt good to be hungry and look forward to dinner.

After lunch, we put our swimsuits on and headed over to the pool.  We stayed a couple of hours, laying out, getting in the water, and reading our books.  For some reason, just laying still and being quiet really forces you to slow down and relax.  It was a perfect way to begin our time together.  After pool time, we went home to get Marlow, then headed to the Greenbelt for what is our all-time favorite past time.  We love to hike, but we especially love hiking with our dog.  Unfortunately there is no water in the Greenbelt right now, but it was still so fun hiking in the ravines and up and out of the cliffs.  After we were good and sweaty and when we knew Marlow needed some water, we came home, cleaned up and headed out for dinner at a local sports bar to watch Purdue in the tournament.  We shared a meal and got to cheer on our Boilermakers.  After dinner, we treated ourselves to a movie (second movie at a theater within a month--a record for us!), then headed home for an early bedtime.  Isn't that funny?  We both thought we'd want to be out on the town late, but with the crowds in town for SXSW, we didn't want to venture downtown and have to pay for parking, etc., so we just went home and got to catch a few hours of extra sleep.

Today we woke up, had breakfast, then went to Town Lake for our runs.  We brought Marlow, too, and he enjoyed getting his swim on.  We stopped by the Farmer's Market on the way home and just walked around.  I don't go as often as I used to, and especially now that we are strict with our budget, but it's still fun to see what is in season and who the new vendors are.  Afterward, we headed home to wait for the girls.  Our friends dropped off Vera and their daughter, whom we are babysitting for the day.  They are perfect playmates and now the parents get a date, too.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Oh Happy Day!

I had two separate friends approach me recently about keeping Vera.  They knew that with the nearby arrival of our second, that we would appreciate some time together.

Yesterday my friend kept Vera from 10am until 8pm!!  She picked her up and dropped her back off bathed, fed, and in her pjs.  I didn't sleep well the night before because I was so excited to have a day off from being a mom.  Maybe that sounds bad, but I hadn't realized how overdue I was for a break.  It was nothing short of glorious.  I told Chris that I knew I would miss her but that I would let her go with joy.  How often does someone offer to babysit all day, no questions asked?  Seriously, I felt so blessed.  Here's the play by play of how I spent my time.

Body Pump
met up with a friend for coffee
came home, made lunch, ate out in the patio, journaled
took an hour long hike with Marlow
layed out at a pool for over an hour, read my book, got in the water
went to dinner with my hubs
came home, played a game

I once had someone keep Vera for about 5 hours and it was right before her birthday, so I spent my time crazily driving from place to place and going in and out of stores getting things for her party.  It was exhausting and miserable, in my opinion.  I told myself I wouldn't waste my time like that again.  It was so nice to not have an agenda, to not go into any store, to have alone time, and to live at my own pace.  I cannot tell you how healthy it was for me.  I feel like I lived.  I remembered that I like myself.  I'd forgotten how much I loved to just sit and read God's Word.  I found that if I can be active, outside, and with Marlow all day long, I am blissful.  Chris commented how nice it was to come home to a happy wife.  Sadly, it's true that I don't remember the last time I really laughed. It's not at all that I dislike my life as a stay at home mom.  I feel completely blessed in being able to raise my daughter.  It's just that when there's no relief from the wonderful yet exhausting ride of motherhood, it can grate on you.  I felt no guilt in allowing someone else to hang out with her yesterday.  And from several texts and pictures throughout the day, the consensus was "dang, I love your girl."  What a compliment.

But that's not all.

Wait for it.

It just so happens that it worked out for today to be the day when friend # 2 would offer to keep Vera OVERNIGHT.  Holy Moly...seriously?  Um, yes please.  Of course, I'm holding on a little tighter and giving extra hugs and kisses this morning, but when I drop her off around lunch time, Chris will be home since he is taking a half day, and I'll get to have 24 hours of uninterrupted time with my husband.  That is rare and I am so thankful for friends who step up to offer this kind of love and service to us.  It means so much, especially not having family who live nearby.  I'm sure I'll give you a play by play of what we end up doing.  :)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

You'll Need a Fork For This One

Marshmallowy, peanut buttery, chocolate yumminess. Enough said, right? These are super tasty but super sweet. You'll have to brush the fuzzy socks off your teeth, if you know what I mean. And you'll definitely need a fork to eat these. It's basically a white cake recipe, pipe in some marshmallow cream, and whip up the most divine creamy peanut butter frosting. The frosting is really where it's at.

Vanilla Cupcakes
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup very soft butter
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup whole milk
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

Marshmallow Cream

Peanut Butter Frosting
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
7 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softed
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

Vanilla Cupcakes:
Whisk together your dry ingredients in a large bowl (flour through salt) and set aside.
Mix together softened butter with the eggs, milk and vanilla extract.
Slowly add in your dry ingredients and fold together.
Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners and fill 2/3 way full.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until a knife inserted into the cupcake comes out clean.
Cool completely on a wire rack.

To fill the cupcakes:
Fill piping bag with marshmallow cream and pipe into the center of each cupcake.
Peanut Butter Frosting:
Sift powdered sugar into a bowl.
In separate bowl, mix together the butter, peanut butter and vanilla extract.
Then slowly add in the powdered sugar. Mix to combine.
Pour in the heavy whipping cream and mix until well combined and light and fluffy.

To decorate the cupcakes:
Frost your cakes and decorate how you choose.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Feelings Flashcards

I bought these at GaGa, one of my favorite baby boutiques in Austin, but you can buy them on Amazon, too, for a little cheaper.  I just love them.  The first night I had them I read each card to Vera like a book, pointing to the facial expressions and imitating them myself.  What I like about them is that they are hard and cannot be bent.  I also like that opposites share a card.  For example, 'calm' will be on one side and 'nervous' will be on the other.
There are 20 total cards, so 40 different feelings.  What a great way for kids to share and learn about their emotions.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Searching for Mrs. Right.

I have been trying to sort through some thoughts lately regarding friendships in my life.  Growing up, God answered I'm sure what were the many prayers of my parents and blessed me with amazing friends.  In college, I had wonderful friends again.  Though we rarely keep in touch, I know that I am just as special to them as they are to me.  Now in the phase of married life, I'm realizing that friendships as an adult look differently.  I'm not sure I can pinpoint the reason why, but for whatever reason, deep, close friendships are hard for me to find.  I will not discount at all the ones God has given me, but as ungrateful as this sounds, I feel like I am always looking for something more.

In my head, I tend to put people in categories.

* If  they are moving or will move or have ever mentioned the thought of wanting to move, I distance myself.  I think this is because I don't want to unload, get real, invest, share dirt, and then have that friendship be no different than so many others to where we lose contact.  I'm sure a lot of it is due to insecurities, but ultimately it hurts to share your life with someone and for it to go nowhere.

* If they already have a close community of friends in their life, I assume that I'm not needed.  I want to have a best friend and be someone's best friend.  Reciprocation is important to me.

* Then there are those people that I just don't click with.  It's frustrating because I see only good things in the other person, but whether it is due to different personalities, interests, etc., these relationships don't have deep roots and are short term.

For me, motherhood has felt very isolating.  I've mentioned that before.  I often find myself riding the roller coaster of depression, which can be exhausting.  I have so much to be grateful for, and I am.  Most of all, I am thankful for my God who continues to guide me and love me and show His power in my life.  I am also so grateful for a husband who will always be my BFF.  Where ever we go in life, it is comforting to know that I have both of them by my side.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Been listening to this a lot lately.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Room to Play

We finally finished the playroom.  What was once an office with huge furniture has become a space for kids and I'm so glad we did it.  I feel like we gained a whole room in our house.  We chose a new wall color, got new window treatments (using the old roman shades in the girls' new room), made an office closet, and bought 2 pieces of Ikea furniture.  Everything else we already owned.   Vera has really enjoyed having a playroom and I have really enjoyed the organization of her toys as well as this being pretty much the only room that gets messy during the day.  It is so much more manageable to pick up this room up every night rather than the whole house.  We also like that we can shut the door to the closet (the folding chair fits perfectly inside) and all things computer are hidden and out of reach.

We are hoping to sell the bookcases on Craig's List and the desk will go back into the attic of Chris's parents' house.  We've rearranged the other components (picture frame, wooden box, books, baskets, etc.) that were once in the office and found homes for them in other places in our house.