Sunday, December 19, 2010

Family Traditions

Wow!  The semester is FINALLY over, and I feel like I will be able to breathe for a while.  I've been absent for weeks--delving into the text books to finish the semester.  Glad it's least for a few weeks.

So--Thanksgiving is gone...although I still have pictures to share of Thanksgiving Day with Brett's family. One of their family traditions is making homemade hot tamales. They normally do not make them on Thanksgiving, but because Brett's brother was in from out of state, it was the best opportunity for everyone in the family to participate. It's definitely a lot of work, but it's worth it!

I've always thought about family traditions--and have always thought about the ones I would want to have when I had a family.  Well, now that time is here, and so far I don't know how well I'm doing :)

I love families that have traditions that span the years because it gives everyone in the family something to look forward to.  I remember as a little girl going to look at Christmas lights every Christmas eve night, and coming home to the presents that some how made it under the tree when we were gone!  We were always allowed to open ONE gift on Christmas Eve as well.  Those were fun memories, but I would like to create many more.

My friend, Dana, gets a small "mini" gift every day of December for the kids (and even the adults too--I think). I thought about narrowing that idea down to maybe. . .the 12 days of Christmas (instead of 25). . . and getting little stocking gifts each day.

Of course, I want to share the Christmas story, the real Reason for Christmas celebration, as a family.  I have many friends that also celebrate Christmas morning with a birthday cake to Jesus in celebration of His birthday.

I don't think it is every too late to develop traditions and make memories.  I just may need some ideas :)

So . . . .what kind of family traditions have you had in your family that bring great memories?  Please share!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Much to be Thankful for!

There is something about the holidays--that makes me want to eat turkey!  Every year (for my entire life) I think we have eaten the same thing on Thanksgiving--at least as long as I can remember.  Because I was working this Thanksgiving, I was going to be staying in town with Brett's family.  They were having a non-traditional Thanksgiving dinner (more about that later), but I still wanted some good ol' stuffing and turkey!

So--I decided to make my own!  Now--I've never cooked a turkey before or stuffed one.  And I've never made sweet potato crunch either.  I've never had to do these things--because my mother always did them so well ;)  I purchased what I thought was turkey "breasts."  Much to my surprise--it was an entire turkey sans the legs!!  But I think I did a pretty good job of cooking it (even though the injection I bought fell to the floor right before I was about to use it--shattering the glass and sending buttery garlic sauce across the kitchen floor!  I was very Thankful that Lydia was not present!

So--on Wednesday night we had our Thanksgiving meal.  And I have to turned out pretty good, especially for my first turkey :)

Sunday, Pastor Mike spoke about thankfulness (fitting for this week) and about complaining.  There were many other points, but what I walked away with was how important it was to be thankful--and to simply have joy!  So often, it's easy to complain and whine and feel "stressed" out, but in truth, I have much to be joyful about!
I was walking through Wal-Mart when I spotted this mug.  I thought it was perfect!  I am going to have coffee or hot chocolate in it daily--as a pleasant reminder--to be joyful--in season and out of season!

For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross...
(Hebrews 12:2)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Pigs Feet and Paninis

Last week (I think it was last week) I was in Fairhope, AL for four days for orientation for school.  I attend University of South Alabama, but the program is online, except for this one week.  It was difficult to leave Lydia--but Daddy and Dana took great care of her when I was gone.

First, I have to say that Fairhope is awesome!! I want to take my husband back for a little vacation.  We were able to stay at the Grand Marriott Resort for a discount, but even without a discount, it would be worth it for a short vacation.  The grounds are gorgeous!  The property is kind of like an island surrounded on most sides by the bay with "beaches."  You can see the water as well as the whimsical and romantic great oaks surrounding the property.  Here is a link to see pictures Grand Hotel Resort

After our test--I sat out on the beach at the resort--with this spectacular view (Thanks IPhone!)
In addition, you can fish, boat (there is a Marina), a Spa (which I was too buy to visit--but desperately needed/deserved ;)  And then there is the little town!  Oh my--what a quaint little community filled with shops and great little eateries!  If you are looking for a new little place to go that's only 3.5 hours from Baton Rouge, I recommend it -- especially if you don't like commercialized vacations!  Go to Beautiful Fairhope for pictures and info.  And by the way--no one has paid me for this advertisement ;)

So why pigs feet and paninis?  Well, I ate at Panini Pete's one day.  They were featured on Diners Drive-Ins and Dives--a very cool show that I love to watch.  (I stole this pic from Panini Pete's website--didn't have my camera.)  And by the way--the panini--was awesome!

And now to the pigs feet -- well-- that's what I practiced suturing.  A kind pig allowed me to perfect my skills!  But I have to say that embroidery and smocking DEFINITELY helped my suturing!

Only 2 tests to go!!  I finish the semester in mid-December and CAN'T WAIT!!!! Only one more year to go!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Worthwhile Reading

So.  Yes.... I have been gone ....too long.  But this post is not to talk about where I've been :)

I was just sitting at my dining room table...studying (of course) and thinking about my dearest friend, Lisa.  Lisa and I have known each other since I was that makes 22 years!!  That is a very long time.  I was the maid of honor in her wedding (wearing the green velvet dress with my very SHORT CURLY permed hair--we will spare the pictures and the laughs for now) and her 9 year old daughter was the maid of honor in mine -- (She refused to put on any kind of bride's maid dress--and I threatened a velvet one ;) Just kidding!

I was just studying about children's obesity, and I thought about how I have been at her house on early school mornings when she is fixing salads and fruit and sandwiches and homemade taco soup to send with her kids to school.  She tries to avoid excess sugars and fats--to help her children to develop healthy lifestyles.  She sings with them, reads to them, and teaches them wisdom and godly ways.  I could go on and on about how wonderful of a mother she is.

She recently wrote this post on her blog--and I have been delinquent in posting a link to it.  It is such worthwhile reading.  I hope you stop by her blog and take a peek.  Her posts always inspire me to develop family traditions and value the relationships of those around you--especially family.

So....has Lydia been "Worth the Sacrifice" --  You betcha!!

9 months old--already!!  My big girl has 6 teeth and is already starting to stand on her own!!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Celebrating Breast Cancer Awareness Month. . .

in honor of Aunt Ricki :). . . .with PINK bubble wrap!!
If you know my husband....You'd understand :)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Some things new

Wow--it's been a while since I've posted.  Been a little "hairy" around here.  For the last 3 weeks I've had a test every Monday.  Each test covered 300-500 pages of material!!  Oh my!  So I've been studying a lot.  And crying a lot.  And being REALLY thankful for my dear friends who've been helping out!!

So, on Tuesday--I took a breath.....and we all played!  Brett, Lydia, and I all went to Tanger Outlet.  We shopped, ate out, and we came home and Brett and I watched Letters to Juliet.  It was a great day. It made up for the last 3 weeks.

 So onto the NEW things....Lydia wore shoes for the first time!  I got these cuties at a consignment sale.  Never worn--for $10 (regular $36!!)  I was afraid she would hate them...but she didn't flinch.  That's my girl--she's ok for change (at least now)

Lydia also got "teething biscuits" for the first time!  What a mess, but she loved them.

And I got new jeans.  Well sort of (hehe).  Brett has ALWAYS wanted me to get a pair of "worn" jeans.  I always refused.  So when he told me they were only $14.99 I agreed to try them on.  And I thought....I spend most of my time in coffee shops or at home on the porch studying anyway.  So why not.  He was happy......and I was too.  After all--only $14.99 for a pair of $49.99 jeans.  Just don't tell my mother I paid money for an "old" pair of jeans!

Of course, these "new" things are all temporary, but ONE DAY--we will all be able to experience how God will take all of those things hurtful or painful and make them ALL NEW!  Revelation 21:1-5

Be encouraged is only a SEASON!

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Whole Foods Birthday

Well--this week Lydia turned 7 months and moma--well I turned more than 7 months ;)
Lydia 6.5 months
So to celebrate (and to get out of the house as we were both going a little stir crazy--I've given up trying to study, really study, with her--because I get frustrated--and don't want to live like that)--so off to have some FUN!

Fun for me these days--is a great stroller ride to Whole Foods!  It's just a hair over a mile--so round trip I get a 2.5 mile walk for exercise, and she gets wind in her hair.  Lydia LOVES it!

On the way to Whole Foods--we also stopped by the Gap.  I've been having this gift card as a result of a baby gift I returned that didn't fit, and I found this Denim romper  I love it! and I got it 50% off because of a sale and then another 25% off sale prices--only on the day I happened to stop by!  It's the perfect romper for fall--and the perfect romper for a visit to the PUMPKIN PATCH! Now I'm not sure which pumpkin patch we are going to, or when--but I can't wait!  (Any recommendations?)
Chantilly Cake from Whole Foods (picture borrowed from someone else--I didn't have my camera ;)
While at Whole Foods--we bought a piece of this wonderful Chantilly Cake!  We sat and ate it together (Lydia liked it too).   It was scrumptious!  I think this is my favorite cake.....ever.   I had never tried it before, but I WILL find a recipe or make one myself (when I get the time haha).

Then we went home--and both took a nap!  My kind of birthday celebration :)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Quarantine:  Voluntary or compulsory isolation

Yep--that's us--quarantined!  Last Wednesday I became quite ill--with "gastroenteritis."  We'll just keep it at that.  I was actually so sick, I ended up in the ER to get fluids.  That never happens.

Well, then Miss Lydia got it, too.  In the midst of all of this... I had my first test of the semester coming up (tonight in fact), so when I recovered after two days, my dear friend Lisa agreed to keep Lydia for me all day Saturday so I could study while Brett was working.
Sleep, sleep, and more sleep----that's what we've all been doing

Do I need to tell you what happened?  Yep.....Lisa and ALL three of the children--up last night....sick!  I was shocked that it spread that easily!

So--I took my test tonight....and right after it.....Brett started.

Smoothies made from Lydia's frozen baby food, yogurt (for good "bacteria") and juice
Well.....we are quarantined.  Don't come over and we won't come to see you, either ;)

So..the moral of the story (all stories have some kind of moral, don't they?).......
There are many things in life that are contagious.....some are good--like laughter, joy, encouragement while others are deadly--like negativity or gossip.  And often, it's the bad that spreads so quickly--most of the time you don't even realize you are spreading it. 
So before you send your viral negative words around--like death and disease--try spreading a little laughter, joy, encouragement, or positive words instead.  That won't need to be quarantined!

And by the way--amazingly--with God's grace (I got an "A") yippee!!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

She's mine too :)

My mother brought over some pictures of me--and yes--Lydia DOES look a little like me (even though Brett likes to take all the credit).

That's me at 5 months!!
Here are pics of my sweet girl at 6 months old.  I finally got around to taking them this week.  We just LOVE her :)

This one focused on her LEFT eyelashes!  It's somewhat blurry--so I made it blurrier for effect.  I just loved her expression.

Now back to studying :(

Friday, September 3, 2010

Seasons........they do change

For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace

A conversation with a friend yesterday made me think about seasons. She just had a new sweet baby, and was reflecting on the difficulty of having a newborn (getting up every hour at night, etc.) especially while having a toddler as well.

I immediately thought about seasons. Not only have I (as well as everyone) walked through many “seasons” in life, but I am also constantly reminded by my best friend that “This is just a season” when I lament over the difficult times right now being in school with the baby, etc.

I decided to do a scripture search on the topic—and this is part of what I found (paraphrased)

Exciting, fun, new seasons 12/10/08
Psalm 1:1-3 --you are blessed when you walk in the ways of the Lord--meditating on His truths all day.  You will be like a tree--always watered--and bearing fruit in season. 
All trees bear fruit in season.  Even nature has seasons for producing fruits and flowers.  Why should we expect that our lives would produce the same "fruits and flowers" all year round.  Part of my discouragement is the pressure I place on myself to "produce" certain characteristics etc. at all times.
A season of CHAOS (Gustov 9/1/08)
Life definitely has seasons.  I'm learning to embrace each one for what it holds--both good and bad.  Some are learning seasons, some are resting seasons, and some are down right confusing.  But all in all--walking through them with the right attitude makes me into a better person.  I think recognizing that it is different season is one of the most important parts of coping and dealing with the change/situation.  Embrace it.  Learn from it.  It will change.  Seasons.......they do change.....eventually :)

How have you dealt with changing seasons?  What have you learned?

Galatians 6:9  Let us not become weary in doing good,
for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
A season of stability, quiet :)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Well, for those of you who know me.....I'm rarely speechless!  Brett tells me I'm "passionate" when I get excited about some topic and ramble on.  I have (on occasion) been passionate--and I like it ;)

Her new ducky tub
Anyway--I had oral surgery one week ago--which has had me somewhat "speechless."  It just plain hurts to talk....even after a week--I'm not myself.  Can't wait for this to heal up.  One step closer to getting the braces off, though!

And a big thanks and big hugs to my friend who read my last blog post and brought over food!!  You are a dear.  The chili was wonderful, and the potatoes were perfect for my sore mouth!!  My husband is grateful--because over the last 4 days--all he has had is chili :)

Smiling at Daddy!
Just thought I'd post some fun pics of my baby girl for you to enjoy--because you can't have her in person ;)

Monday, August 23, 2010

11 + 2 = 575.26

Yes--I really do know how to add.  That is the 11 books I ordered off of Amazon and thankfully the 2 I owned already--for a total of 13 books for this semester totally $575.26!!  Yikes!

See even Lydia looked at my books and cried ;)

It's going to be a challenging semester.  I am looking forward to this semester as I start clinicals and begin focusing on the "practice" side of being a Nurse Practitioner.  I actually do enjoy studying, but it is a difficult program.  I'm open to any help :)  I'll take meals and babysitting offers any day :)

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged (Deuteronomy 31:8)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Meet Ellie!

Lydia has a fascination with straps.  I'm not sure if all babies do--but she will chew on any strap she can get her hands on.  Car seat straps, high chair straps, swing and bouncy straps.  She loves them!  Some times she is so enthralled by the high chair straps that I have a difficult time feeding her.

Soooo I remembered seeing some "strap" material (which is called webbing) at Hobby Lobby.  So Tuesday night I packed my little one up and we headed there to get some colorful webbing.

Ellie and the ball I made (Lydia was not very interested in it, though :)
I wasn't sure what I was going to do with the webbing after I brought it home, but after digging around in my scrap bags and sewing desk drawers.....Ellie was bornLydia loves her!  She will chew on her for 30 minutes at a time while playing with her "pig tails"  and the various textures of her "skirts."

Holding Ellie and her favorite blanket before nap time
Alas, one of my final creative outlets prior to school starting.....tomorrow (or rather today--since it is almost 1 a.m.)  She is a very unique little doll . . . unique and original like my Lydia.
A sneek peek of the other project I'm working on ;)  No webbing here!

Friday, August 20, 2010

I'm done!

Done with my CEN and homemade baby food!

I finally took my Certified Emergency Nursing Exam Monay--and PASSED!!  I have been "planning" to take this for about 2 years now (wow--has it really been that long??).  I decided that if I didn't do it between semesters--it would never get done.  So--why take it?  Well--you learn some things by studying, shows professionalism, make a little more money.  And right now....a little more....goes a long way!
What you see:  butternut Squash, peaches, avocado chicken, figs, apples, banana mango

I'm also finished with making baby food.  Wednesday night I made chicken/apples, chicken/potatoes, and more sweet potatoes.  Last week it was mango/banana, kiwi/mango/banana--yum, and avocado/chicken/mango.  Can you tell I had a case of mangos!  Well--besides starting school on Monday--and not having much time to make any more--I also have no more room in my freezer.  We have more food for Lydia than we can fit.  Besides--I think I have enough to last a couple of months--and then she'll start eating more finger foods anyway (I think).
Carrots, more peaches, pears, kiwi/mango/banana, and behind this are the yogurt fruit blends :) (and chicken/potatoes and sweet potatoes in the ice trays!

I say I'm done....but I know I may feel the need to experiment with other foods one day (like fish :)

Monday, August 16, 2010

My gentle Giant

My neice came for a quick visit this summer.  Neither one of us had seen each other's babies.  This is baby Johnathan with Lydia. The ironic thing--is Johnathan is 1.5 months OLDER than Lydia! :)

He was born prematurely at 1 pound 9 ounces!  What an amazing miracle.  He has done so well--and his Moma takes very good care of him!  One day--I'm sure he will catch up with Lydia--until then--we'll keep them out of the boxing ring ;)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Where or where did the last month go?

Wow--one month since my last post.  I have actually gotten much better at blogging, but this past month--life was a little like a hurricane.

I finished a summer semester packed with 6 hours of graduate school, unending research, and a video project that stole many hours of sleep from me!  Thankfully--Grandma came to the rescue one week--to help out!  Lydia loves Grandma!

I have finally, thank the Lord, overcome a cold/allergic exacerbation that lasted 2 months!  I am no longer over-dosing on antihistamines of every shape, name, and size.

Immediately after school was over, we became (miraculously) owners of a rental property.  So that entailed late night cleaning (hauling Lydia with blankets, toys, and bottles), early morning cleaning (once again hauling lydia with blankets, toys, bottles, etc), completing the punch list, devising a lease, etc. etc. etc. Phew....glad that's over.  We have been blessed with wonderfully renters already!

We also drove to Dallas to visit friends and Brett's cousins.  Lydia had her first road trip.  She did great!  We swam, went to the Dallas World Aquarium, and ate great food (thanks to John!).  The temperature was 103-105 degrees (without the heat index)--so the zoo trip and the hiking I wanted to do with Lydia--was OUT of the picture :(  Thankfully the Aquarium was indoors!

Currently, I'm studying for my certification exam in ER nursing (CEN)--which I will take before I start school again on the 23rd! Wow--life is busy, the emotions sometimes run rampant, but I have a wonderful little girl who makes me smile every day, and a very supportive husband!  Thank you, Lord, for my many blessings!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Father's Image

Ok--She DOES belong to me too..... even though..... she looks just like her Daddy!

Ephesians 5:1-- be imitators of God, therefore as dearly loved children

Imitator: (from 1. To use or follow as a model 2. To copy the actions, appearance, mannerisms 3. To copy exactly; reproduce.

Wow--I read this scripture in an entirely different way now that I am a parent!! 

We are called to "look" just like our Daddy!  "Imitating" our Father in heaven should come easily (just as it comes easy for Lydia)--if we truly belong to Him!  Children will mimic whatever/whomever they are around--which tends to be there parents in the early years.  It's only when they grow older, go to school, etc.--that they start imitating others as they venture farther from home and develop other relationships.  Copying the actions, appearance, and mannerisms of God can be quite a challenge at times, but it is much easier if we stay closer to "home" and in relationship with God.

My prayer for our lives and Lydia is that as she grows, and even as she moves on--she will continue to look just like her Father--on earth and in heaven!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Homemade Baby Food--I'm Convinced.... again :)

Ok--so I am even more convinced that this is the best thing possible--making your own baby food!

Tonight--Lydia had avocado with mango and a little chicken (left over from us--ground with a food mill).  It was a little runny, so I added some rice cereal.  She ate it up!! LOVED it! and quite honestly--I did too (I could have licked her bowl when she was done hehe :)  For breakfast it's whole milk yogurt mixed with bananas, peaches, and apples.  It is soooo good!

I get so excited planning what I will feed her next.  What has been more "convincing" was a few articles that I read today describing the incredients in most jarred baby foods.  Did you know that most jarred baby food contains more than 50% water and even more "fillers" like flours? There's nothing wrong with water--but if I want her to eat sweet potatoes--I want sweet potatoes.  Water will be from a cup--not on her spoon.

So... enough of the rant.  If you have a baby (and if anyone is reading this)--set aside one day a month to puree and freeze food.  You can do a lot in one night and stock up for 1-2 months.  It's really easy.  In addition--your baby will be eating actual veggies and fruits and will transition to eating regular table foods much easier.

And if you make too much (fat chance)--you can use the extra cubes of purred vegetables in spaghetti sauces, chilis, soups, smoothies, etc. to add some fiber and extra nutrition to your foods.

Well--are you convinced?  I am.  Now--I just need to start working on me.  I need convincing that cake and cookies are something I shouldn't be eating so much of :)  I might become a ravishing animal if I pull it from my diet, but there's always a way to "tame" the beast.  If you hear me growl--you'll know what is happening ;)

Seriously--I think this is so good--that I've even though about making it and giving it away as baby gifts!  Kind of strange, I know--but I just want others to get the same "goodness."

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Daddy's Girl

For Father's Day (I know I'm a little late) I prepared the table for a nice breakfast.  Lydia was awake so we could all sit at the table.  One of Brett's gifts was a mug with the picture below on it.  It was his favorite gift!  I thought It was a little "girly" because the mug is white--but he didn't care!  I had her little footprint stamped in a nursery rhyme book--and there it is on his gift bag.  Daddy loved her footprint!

I also wanted to make sure I captured Lydia with her daddy.  She was sleeping prior to us leaving for church, so I had to wake her up.  As a result--she wasn't the happiest camper--although she's still cute ;)  And of course Brett was rushing me so we wouldn't be late.  But by golly--I was going to get at least ONE picture of them dressed up together!

I gave Brett 5 dress choices for her to wear--and he picked the blue one--even though he called it her "Elizabethan dress" all day!  That's ok--we like the Elizabethan look!

Happy Father's Day to the best daddy!  I only hope I am as good as a mother as Brett is a father.  He loves his little girl more than he could have ever imagined.  I'm so thankful that she will grow up with him!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Tuning Forks and Reheated Coffee.....

Well--that about sums up the last 2 weeks--tuning forks and reheated coffee!

Taking a summer semester of 6 hours of graduate school, working nights/evenings (while the baby sleeps), and having a 4 month old has been quite the challenge.

My mother came 2 weeks to aid in the cause--and I COULD NOT have done it without her!  She kept Lydia while I slept and studied.  This week I had an assignment that had to be videoed--we were up at 5:30 Wednesday morning (after I went to sleep at 3:30 am after studying)--dropped Lydia off at Dana's at 6 am(THANKS, Dana)--and went to the salon to film my project.  CRaZy!  And thanks to my wonderful husband who was up that early (he is NOT an early bird) to be my guinea pig patient!  Now I know how to use a tuning fork--and I'm loving the reheated coffee (even at 1 am).

This week will be somewhat better--but finding time to study and write papers for a research class is.... well.... not always easy!  But--with a wonderful, encouraging husband and a very cooperative baby--it's getting done.  Stay tuned for Father's Day pics!

BTW--the first tuning fork was developed in 1711.  They are used to test hearing and to tune instruments --hence "TUNing fork"  haha (in case you didn't know).  It also has other uses too.  Quite the interesting little metal object ;)