Monday, October 22, 2012

I'm featured!

Guess what?  I am featured over on That Mama Gretchen's blog today!  She's a real life friend who is navigating the adventures of two little ones not quite two years apart (just like me!).  Check out what I had to say - maybe you'll learn something new about me. :) And have fun checking out Gretchen's blog - it's a favorite of mine!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Goodbye Grandpa (a year later)

I wrote this a year ago, but just wasn't ready to post it.  After re-reading it today and tearing up, I realized that it was time.  As heart-wrenching as it was, this is what happened just as the girls turned 1 and 3 last year.  And the memories are precious.

Today we drove to the three hours to say goodbye to Grandpa. Well, four hours when you count all the potty stops with a toddler in the car. Regardless, my prayer was just that we would have five minutes with Grandpa before he went Home to heaven. Getting a call at 12:30 (when we hadn’t eaten anything and were still 30 minutes away) saying we needed to hurry left me praying even harder. My prayers were more than answered. Not only did we get to go straight to his room when we arrived, but the girls got to come too. Honeygirl was her typical shy self at first, unsure of Grandpa with his various cords and IV’s. She did go right to GiGi and ask to sit on her lap though. There was her compassionate, sweet heart again – a snuggle was just what GiGI needed from her great-granddaughter. After spending a good 10 minutes in his room at least, we headed out to go to the waiting room where everyone else was. By this point, I think the tear stained faces had impacted Honeygirl. The minute we walked out of the room, she started sobbing in her daddy’s arms, “I want Grandpa Sherbie, I want Grandpa Sherbie.” My poor mama heart couldn’t handle it. It’s so hard to explain death to a not-quite-three-year-old. My poor baby just knows that something is not right: Grandpa Sherbie is in the hospital, everyone is crying, and he can’t really talk (oxygen mask over his face and sleeping a lot of the time). I held her and cried with her in the waiting room. After awhile, we pulled ourselves together and went back to see him again at her request. He woke up and told us he loves us, and Honeygirl sat on his bed and hugged him. A precious memory I hope I don’t forget. After some more snuggles with GiGi, I whispered, “I love you Grandpa” in his ear and we left.

I’m told that after the girls and I went back to GiGI’s house for rest time, there was an amazing time of prayer and hymn singing that lasted about an hour in Grandpa’s room. About 20 of his children and grandchildren surrounding him. What an amazing sendoff. I’m so thankful that the nurses were lenient and let him be surrounded by so many of us who love him so much. As I write this, it’s late and we are driving home. Before finally falling asleep, Honeygirl asked three different times if we could pray for Grandpa Sherbie. Her sweet little prayer was that Grandpa Sherbie would not feel sick anymore and that he would get out of his bed. Grandpa is still hanging on, but we know it won’t be long. Soon Grandpa will be Home. Goodbye for now, Grandpa.

PostNote:  Grandpa Sherbie did indeed go Home shortly after our visit.  And Honeygirl's third birthday was spent at Gigi's house, eating cupcakes with family after a beautiful memorial service celebrating Grandpa Sherbie's well-spent life.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Giraffes and sparkly shoes

I don't know if anyone else actually enjoys reading about the antics of my children, but I know that if I don't write things down, I will never remember.  Others told me that, but like a lot of others, I'm sure, I thought my mind was a steel trap.  I thought that the stories were too good to forget.  They are my children, afterall.  I should be able to remember these priceless things they say and do, right?  Well, it turns out after having kids, my mind is more like spaghetti.  So, now I try to write things down.

Like last Thursday when we went to the zoo.  According to the weather predictions, rain was to return Friday after something like 85 dry days, which by the way, must be a record.  (And yes, the rain has returned now).  Anyway, I thought going to the zoo would be perfect before the rain hit.  So off we went.  It was quite chilly, so we pulled out the coats, hats and mittens and went on our animal hunt.  We actually managed to see the majority of the zoo, which we don't usually do.  And a ton of animals were out, which is always fun!  The black bears were close to the edge of their enclosure, so we got to see them up close.  And the orangutan came right up to the window where we were!  Two highlights, at least for me.  :)  Honeygirl was pretty excited because the zoo had already started to prep for the annual Zoo Lights Festival - meaning there were Christmas lights everywhere!  It was fun to talk about the different colors of lights, as well as different animal displays.  Like the giant peacock made of lights on top of the insect zoo.

We had seen almost everything we wanted to see, and had even enjoyed our picnic lunch while overlooking the elephants.  The only things left on Honeygirl's list of must-see animals yesterday were the giraffes and the tigers.  So off we headed to the giraffes.  As we stood above, looking at the giraffes, Honeygirl stuck her foot through the railing.  That prompted a discussion on how it's not a good idea to stick our feet out into the giraffe enclosure.  However, in the meantime, Sweet Pea decided to copy her sister as she often does.  She stuck her foot through the railing and kicked hard.  Well, her little pink sparkly shoes weren't on quite tight enough.  And off it flew.  Sweet Pea didn't seem to care in the least.  However, Honeygirl was distraught.  She was sad for her sister, and terrified the giraffes would eat the shoe.   Sometimes there is a zookeeper outside talking about the giraffes, but as luck would have it (or not), no one was to be found.  So I gathered up my tearful Honeygirl and oblivious Sweet Pea and headed to the next exhibit.  We did eventually find someone who worked at the zoo, and Honeygirl was rather frantic.  "Mom!  There's a zookeeper!  Can he get Sweet Pea's shoe?  Talk to him!"

After explaining our conundrum, he graciously offered to walk back to the giraffes with us and see if the shoe was reachable.  Otherwise, he said the zookeepers go into the exhibits at night to check for stray items like pink sparkly shoes.  Fortunately, the shoe was close enough to the edge of the exhibit for a zookeeper to reach it.  Sweet Pea still didn't seem to care that she only had one shoe on, so the reunion didn't really matter to her.  But Honeygirl lit up like a Christmas tree.  She was super relieved that the giraffes didn't have a pink sparkly meal.

Ironically, Sweet Pea has now been the one to excitedly tell people that her "shoe fell."  "Giraffe."  Go figure.  At any rate, it seems that we will carry on with our unique adventures.  Wouldn't want life to get too dull....

Friday, October 12, 2012

Butternut Squash Soup

I tried a new recipe this week.  Butternut Squash Soup!  You may remember what the girls were up to as I cooked it up....  (you can read about it here.)  I combined a few recipes for my own creation and was quite happy with how it turned out!  Here's my recipe:

Butternut Squash Soup

3 lbs unpeeled butternut squash, halved and seeded
1 large onion
1 garlic bulb
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp dried thyme
3 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and cubed
8 slices of cooked bacon, chopped

1. Cut squash into eight pieces.  Place cut side up in a 1-in deep baking pan.  Cut 1/4 inch off the tops of the onion and garlic points and put them on the pan as well.
2. Brush everything on the pan with the olive oil and sprinkle with thyme.  Cover tightly with foil.
3. Bake for 1.5 to 2 hrs at 350.  Uncover and let stand until lukewarm
4.  Remove skin from onions, garlic and squash.  Combine all vegetables, as well as apple cubes, broth and cream in a large bowl.
5. Puree in small amounts in blender or food processor until smooth, then transfer to a large saucepan.  Add salt and pepper (and thyme if you forgot to add it before like me!)
6. Heat through, but do not boil.
7. Garnish with bacon, or mix the bacon in.  Whatever suits your fancy.

I have to say, one of my favorite parts of making this soup was when I was prepping the squash and Honeygirl came into the kitchen.  She took one look at the baking pan and gasped, "You're cooking, cheese!"  I suppose squash does look kinda like cheddar.  And my girls sure do love cheddar cheese!  I think Honeygirl thought her dream had come true and we had started making our own at home. :)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Happy Birthday Honeygirl

Happy 4th Birthday, Honeygirl. Where has the time gone?  I still think of myself as a mama to two little girls.  But that is becoming more and more untrue.  You have grown so much.  About a month ago you desperately wanted a lunch box.  As I tried to distract you, a store clerk asked if you were going to be entering kindergarden or first grade.  "Ummm...she's still three."  When you want to, you can act so grown up.  And now that you are growing out your bangs, you look quite grown up too.  My little girl isn't so little anymore.
You are learning how to sound out small words like "cup" or "hat."  You know all your ABC's and the sounds they make.  You are learning how to add and subtract in single digits.  You are enjoying science experiments with me.  And you have an amazing memory.  You sometimes ask me about things that happened a year ago!  Plus you are learning Bible verses, which makes me so proud.  This summer at family camp, you learned a whole string of verses (Philippians 2:14-16).  I had no idea you were capable of that.  Wow!
You love playing with your little sister.  I think your favorite thing to play is "mama and baby."  I hear you informing Sweet Pea that you are her mama and she needs to listen to you.  Yep, you're definitely an older sister. :) You are becoming a great little helper to me, and when you want to, you are a great helper to your sister too.  Sometimes I hear you helping her find something she can't seem to locate, or helping her in the bathroom when she wants to sit on the toilet.  You can be so sweet.  We have our rough times too.  You like to test the boundaries on a daily basis, but I am hear to tell you they will not change.  I have your best interests in mind and want to do my best to be the best mama possible for you.
I love that you ask how many kisses and hugs I want every night.  I love seeing your compassionate heart.  And I love watching you grow.  I will always love you, Honeygirl.  Happy Birthday.

Breakfast with you this morning at IHOP, and you all dressed for your princess party with friends. 

 Look how much you've grown since your last birthday!

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Things They Say (and Do!)

This morning my sister posted a photo on Facebook of my 9 month old nephew unrolling the toilet paper in the bathroom.  The caption was "and so it begins."  And I have to admit:  I thought to myself, this is only the beginning.  And she has a boy!

Then I went on with my day.

Fast forward to late afternoon as I was prepping dinner.  The girls were actually playing nicely together, upstairs, while I was trying out a new recipe.  Life seemed peaceful.  Yep, too peaceful. But before I even had a chance to realize it was too peaceful, Honeygirl came downstairs completely naked to tell me some water had spilled, but not to worry - she had cleaned it up with a towel.  She had the towel in hand and it was SOAKED.  Interesting.  And alarming.  So I did what any mom would do:  I grabbed my phone and ran up the stairs.  On my way, Honeygirl informed me that they were soaking their bums when the water had spilled.  WHAT?!?

And this is what I found:

Yes, they had filled both sinks in their bathroom with water all the way to the top.  They had stripped down and were sitting in the sinks.  And water was everywhere.  All over the counters.  And all over the floor.  Lots of water.  Everywhere.  Books were in the water.  Their clothes were in the water.  The rug on the floor was now in the water.  Ugh.

And they were having a blast.

So dinner was a little late tonight....

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Goals update

It's been awhile since I've taken a look at my goals for this year, so I thought I'd do that today.  Here is my list:

Read 12 least three being non-fiction.
Try one new recipe each month
Floss daily (the lady that cleans my teeth says you MUST floss twice a day. For real? Flossing once a day would be a monumental improvement for me!)
Get back on track with sending birthday cards to all family members
Finish potty training with Miss J and start with Miss M

I'm excited to say I'm doing well!   Back in June, I compiled a list of all the books I had read so far. Here's the rest of the list at this point:

9. A Mile in my Flipflops by Melody Carlson
10.  Coming Home by Karen Kingsbury
11. Stranded in Paradise by Lori Copland
12. A Place Called Blessing by John Trent
13. Mr. Darcy Broke my Heart by Beth Pattillo
14. A Month of Summer by Lisa Wingate

And although I started reading Love and Logic, I sadly didn't finish it before it had to go back to the library.  Turns out the waiting list for that book is quite extensive.  Hmmm....  So....I finally bought it off Amazon with a gift card I had tucked away.  And it just arrived last week!  So I'm thinking that it should be the next book on my list.  Now that I've made it to my goal of 12 books (and even a little past that), maybe I'll update my goal to 20 books.  Yikes!  Not sure if that will be realistic with only a few months left, but we'll give it a go.

As for recipes, Pinterest has really helped me out with my goal of one new recipe a month.  I haven't been keeping track, but I think it would be safe to say we've experimented with at least one new one each month.  This week Butternut Squash soup is on the menu as our new recipe of the month.  Maybe later this week I can post some of the other recipes that have made it into a regular rotation at our house lately. :)

Next up is flossing.  Check!  I've only missed a few days this year.  (Partially because I ran out of floss for the first time in my life!)

Potty Training.  Wow.  This is something that makes me grin like a silly person now.  We've conquered!  Both girls are doing AWESOME!  But that whole story is for another day. :)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Happy 2nd Birthday, Sweet Pea

Happy 2nd Birthday, Sweet Pea.  It's hard to believe it's been two whole years since we welcomed you.

And I'm amazed at how much you've mastered lately.  Your sentences have grown to three words, occasionally even four.  I frequently hear things like, "stop it, [Honeygirl]!" and "thank you, Mommy."  You don't like to be left out of anything, which means there has been more yelling in our house lately.  But you've also gotten really good at quickly finding your stool and carefully placing it exactly where you want it so you are able to see everything happening on the kitchen counter.  You are quick to tattle on your sister, but even quicker to say sorry when needed.   You love playing with all the toys in the bathtub, whether there is water in there or not.  You can usually be found either playing with the doll house, or with a doll or two.  You know the importance of "Mommy milk" and eagerly climb on my lap at bedtime to claim some.  But you also spend time sitting in the rocking chair with your babies snuggled against your tummy, telling me you are giving them Mommy milk from your tummy. And you now go to bed with your six favorite animals and dolls (I counted tonight). Soon there won't be room for you in there!
You give the best hugs.  You have the greatest laugh.  And you such a fun-loving, silly girl.  I will always love you, Sweet Pea.  Happy Birthday.

 Your first experience with Pazookie.  I think it's safe to say you thought it was delish!  You didn't exactly share much with me.... ;)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Kickin' Colds

I don't know about your family, but it seems like once fall arrives (at least according to the calendar), we all land our first colds.  Boo.  It seems like I've been hearing a lot about Elderberry Syrup, so I thought it was worth a try this year.  The first little bottle I bought was a kids version that was black cherry flavored.  Yum.  Sweet Pea thought it was great!  She kept asking for medicine, which at least told me she thought it tasted good!  And actually, after a few short days, her cold symptoms were minimal.  Yay!  So when Honeygirl caught a cold on Sweet Pea's heels, I gave her some as well.  Unfortunately, since we had bought such a small bottle, we had to buy another one.  And this one wasn't flavored.  Let's just say she was less than thrilled with the flavor. And when a few days later I got a cold of my own, I discovered that I'm not a fan of the elderberry syrup we bought either!  It seems to do the job - our cold symptoms were minimal after about three days.  Mostly we just ended up with coughs that lingered a bit.  Otherwise, no runny/stuffy noses or sore throats.  Success!

But just today I saw another possible remedy:  Honey and Cinnamon.  Has anyone tried it?  Because that sounds a heck of a lot more yummy to me!  Here's what the site said:

Honey and Cinnamon to Cure Colds
Did you know that a teaspoon of honey (local - raw is best) and a 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon will usually knock out a cold within a day or two? Take twice a day for 3 days for best results. Both honey and cinnamon are antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal. 
Sounds good to me!  I know what we'll be trying next time a cold hits our house.  If anyone has tried this, I'd love to hear your experience!