Thursday, May 31, 2007

Tasty Thursday #9

Hosted by Trista at The Pumkin Patch.

This week is BBQ/Grillin' Edition
Since hubby does all the grillin, I don't have any meat recipes, so I thought I'd go with a great side dish. This is great for grillin', picnics, family gatherings or anytime!

I love pasta salad. But there are things I don't like about some, so a while back I was looking for a pasta salad that would suit me. I decided to take what I liked from some and leave other things out, and this is what I came up with. It is very simple and basic, but has always been a crowd pleaser. You could easily add in other things you like, or leave something out to suite your taste!

Easy Pasta Salad

1 box rotini pasta (I like to use the tri-color)
1 bunch broccoli, cleaned and cut into small florets
Tomatoes, diced (I usually use 2 large tomatoes)
Shredded cheddar cheese - at least 2 cups
1 16 oz. bottle Ranch dressing

Cook pasta until just tender. Drain and shock in ice bath. (DO NOT OVERCOOK! It will end up very mushy!)
Once pasta is cooled, mix all ingredients in large bowl.
You can eat it right away, however I think it tastes best when refrigerated for several hours or overnight.

I always try to make this the day before or early in the morning for later that day. When you are ready to serve, stir it well. You may wish to add a little more dressing at this point, as some will be absorbed. I usually end up adding a little more.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

15 Years of Bliss....

Well, for the most part anyway!

It was 15 years ago today that I married the man of my dreams. One year after we began dating. We were both 19 years old. On that day, I really couldn't even imagine what 15 years would do to/for us. It seemed so far off. But wow, it's here, and I'm amazed. And I am more in love with this man now than the day I married him.

He is my very best friend. I honestly can not imagine my life without him right by my side. He is much to big a part of me. Sure, I could stand on my own, but I just wouldn't want to. When we married, we became one, and it would be like part of me were missing if I didn't have him right here. Not to mention, life wouldn't be nearly as fun. He makes me laugh and he laughs at with me. He listens when I need him to. He lets me cry on his shoulder. He's there to hold me if I just need to feel safe or loved. And he PUTS UP WITH ME!! And that's saying a LOT! And he lovingly puts me in my place when I need to be brought back down to earth. I LOVE him for that!

15 years - we've been through a lot. The good, the bad and the ugly. And even some beautiful. We've laughed with joy and cried with sorrow. Birth and growth, death and loss. There has been plenty of both. And I believe it has all made us stronger. I am so thankful he has been by my side through it all.

I prayed for specific things I wanted in the man I would marry. God definitely grants us the desires of our hearts, because even those things that may seem so insignificant to some, but important to me - I got in him. And much, much more.

He is loving, patient, kind, tenderhearted, caring, gentle, strong, passionate, giving, adoring, supportive, encouraging, honest, funny, hardworking and downright amazing.

And he is the most amazing father. He loves our kids with all his heart.

And he loves every little part of me. He has taught me so much, and built me up. He has had a HUGE part in making me the person I am today.

Of course he's not perfect, but he's perfect for me. And of course our marriage hasn't been all rainbows and roses, but we have had a wonderful marriage. And those trials have helped make us even closer.

I am so very BLESSED to be called his wife.

Honey, I love you with all my heart! Thank you for giving me the best 15 (16 counting the one we dated) years of my life! I can't wait to spend the rest of my life with you! Thank you for loving me! HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!

Surely I'm NOT Old Enough.....

To be the Mom of a TEENAGER!!!


(Warning - this is long!)

How on earth did that happen? 13 years ago today, at 10:34 AM (On our 2-year wedding anniversary), my dream came true. I became a Mom. I had wanted to be a mom for as long as I can remember. That was my ultimate goal in life - to get married and become a mom. I wanted to take care of my family. I am so thankful God granted me this wish!

However, on the day CJ was born, it was quite a bit of a shock. You see, he was born on May 30, 1994, but he wasn't due until September 14! I was only 24 weeks pregnant when he decided to make his appearance.

I had absolutely no trouble conceiving him. And my pregnancy had been wonderful - no complications whatsoever. I had just begun showing and was so excited that I was going to be wearing maternity clothes. My mother in law had just bought me a beautiful red maternity outfit that I was going to wear to church on May 29. I never got to wear that outfit. We went to the hospital on Saturday, May 28 at the advice of my midwife, as I was having some spotting and some very light cramping. We fully intended to leave the hospital to go shoe shopping to get a new pair of shoes for my new outfit.

Was I surprised when I arrived at the hospital. The nurse asked if I was in labor, and I looked at her as if she had 2 heads. Of course I wasn't in labor! I wasn't due for 3 and a half more months!

And I was more surprised when the nurse could tell I was confused by all the things they were saying while they were checking me (we hadn't even had any classes - so I was clueless as to what was going on!) looked at me and said something like, sweetie, you are in labor. Your contractions are 2 minutes apart, and you are fully dilated.

How was this possible? We didn't know, but we would soon learn God was in control through it all.

They attempted to stop my labor. Magnesium - what horrible stuff! It would take me from being completely fine, carrying on a conversation to completely broken out in a sweat, everything going black, and horrid vomiting in a matter of seconds.
But whatever it took for to keep my baby in as long as possible, was fine with me.

I was told at the beginning that if I had him then, he only had a 50% chance of survival. But if I could "keep him in" for 3 more weeks, his chances would increase to 80%. So we were set to be in that hospital for at least 3 weeks. Whatever it took.

That was Saturday.

On Sunday, when we realized that we were looking at a long stay, Chip decided to go home to tie up some loose ends and get us some clothes and things we would need for the stay. Home was 45 minutes away.

While he was gone, it was decided that it wasn't so safe for me to be getting up to use the bathroom, nor was it safe for me to be lifting my body to use a bedpan. So it was determined I needed a catheter. So, in it went.

Now, I had had catheters more than once due to some childhood bladder issues. I knew what it was supposed to feel like. So when they were "all done", I looked at the nurse, and said, "You put it in wrong." She looked at me like I had 2 heads!


"You put it in wrong!"

"I don't think so."

"Yes you did - I just wet all over myself."

The nurse, with a very puzzled look, decided to check. She gave a very concerned look to another nurse.

"Sweetie, your water just broke."

I have no idea what I said after that, but I knew I was crying. I knew what that meant. And I was TERRIFIED. It had only been a day - not 3 weeks, and my husband had gone home. He was going to miss the birth of our tiny baby - what was I going to do?

This was before we had cell phones. Cell phones hadn't even been around that long, so of course we didn't have one. But he did have a pager. So they paged him. He had JUST arrived home. So he turned around and sped back to the hospital. He arrived in 25 minutes. (Remember, we lived 45 minutes away!)

He was sweating, and I could tell there had been tears streaming down his face. But he made it, and CJ was still safe inside...for now.

It was determined my water had only ruptured slightly, and there was a slow leak. There was still enough fluid for him to stay a little longer.

It was now Sunday night. I was completely miserable. My head kept sliding down and hitting the wall, as they had my feet higher than my head, hoping gravity would help keep him in longer. I had not slept since we got there, and I was so uncomfortable.

I began to rub my belly and sing to CJ. Then I began to pray. I prayed the hardest thing I ever had in my life. I told God I was miserable and asked for him to bring me some comfort. I told Him I'd do whatever I needed to do for the sake of my baby. I thanked Him for this life He had given us. Told Him I'd do whatever I could to make sure he always knew what God had done for him, and raise him the best I could in the way God would want me to.

But, I told Him that this child belonged to Him, and that if He wanted him, He could have him. But I asked that if He wanted him, to go ahead and take him, not to wait 3 weeks or longer. That I couldn't bear the discomfort another day if He was going to take him. And that if He was going to let me keep him, then to please make me as comfortable as possible.

And then the most amazing thing happened. Something I had NEVER experienced before in my life. And kind of hard to explain. But it was perfect peace. It felt as if a blanket was being placed on me, and covered me from my feet to the top of my head. I felt so warm and so incredibly at peace. And I even fell asleep after that. I still didn't have any idea what was in store, but I knew God was with me and in control.

Monday morning I awoke at about 5:30. I was feeling contractions. I woke Chip up and told him it was time. I was not afraid. I still didn't know when this baby was born, if he'd be alive or not, but I wasn't afraid.

(I'll skip through all the details from that point until he was born - or I'll never get finished with this post!)

He was here. I couldn't believe it. I wanted a little boy, but until this moment, didn't know if this baby was a boy or girl. And no one else cared. That wasn't important to them at this point, so no one announced it. I looked down and saw him, and I screamed, "IT'S A BOY!"

Later I found out that my Mom who was sitting out in the hall (both of our parents were) heard me and began to cry.

A few minutes after he was born, there was a tiny cry. Only one, but it was a cry. He was alive, and I knew what God's answer was.

Then he wasn't breathing. He was completely purple. I had no idea. The doctor placed him in my arms, bagging him as I held him. She said, "The baby is not breathing, but it's important for mom to hold him right now." She was bagging him as she spoke. I never heard her say that. I never saw the bag attached to him. All I saw was a perfect little life God had given me. He was alive.

I was amazed as later I watched video of me holding him those couple of minutes, as I talked to him and told him how much I loved him. I couldn't believe I had never seen that big bag attached to his face.

God blocked that from me and allowed me to see what was important. This perfect little life. God is so amazing.

Later that day, when everyone had gone, and Chip and I were all alone, it hit us what a long road we had ahead of us. I already had God's promise that this baby boy belonged to us, that much I knew. But we had no idea what to expect over the next weeks, months, or even years.

And it dawned on us that it was our 2 year anniversary. What a gift! What emotions we were feeling at that moment. We just held each other and cried.

I won't go into details of the months in the hospital. This post is already much longer than I had planned on it being.
But a longer story short, after being told of all the possible things that could be wrong with him (and there were a LOT), he was perfectly healthy. And God had already given us the peace that he would be fine, that the Doctor's and nurses were concerned that we weren't taking the situation seriously at times. They just couldn't understand what we already knew!

To their amazement, we brought our precious baby boy home on August 19 - almost a month before he was due to be born. He weighed 2 lb. 2 oz. at the time of birth, dropping to 1 lb. 14 oz. before he began to gain. He was right at 5 pounds when we brought him home, and he was almost 3 months old.

And then I blinked.

Because now he's 13! My precious baby boy is a teenager. I can hardly believe it. He is growing into such a fine, handsome young man. I am so proud of him.

I love you with all my heart. You are truly a gift and a miracle from God. And even when it doesn't seem like it, my love for you never waivers. I may get upset or irritated, but my love is still constant. I love you unconditionally. I am so proud of you and the wonderful young man you are becoming. We've had some tough days lately, but I'm just praying for God to help you and me both through those tough spots, and for them to make us stronger and just make us love each other more. I just don't ever want you to doubt my love for you. You are an amazing kid. You are smart and funny. And you have such a generous and kind spirit. Sure, sometimes a little attitude gets in the way, but I think that's just part of growing up. I imagine I had some of that same attitude when I was your age. But you are an incredible kid, and I can't wait to see what God has in store. Actually, I can wait, as I don't want you to grow up TOO fast, but you know what I mean. I can hardly believe the tiny baby they placed in my arms 13 years ago, has grown up so big already.
I see so much of your Dad in you, and that makes me very happy. I have to admit, it scares me a little when parts of me come out in you. Especially when it's not the good parts. I am so thankful you have such an incredible father to guide you and train you. Because of that, I know you are going to be a great man some day.
But for now, can you stay my little boy for just a little longer? It's just not fair how fast you are growing up. I love you son - so much. And I'm so proud of you. And I thank God for answering my prayers and allowing you to make me a Mom.
Love Always,

Monday, May 28, 2007

Ruthi Has a Crush!

On a MUCH older man....My neighbor!!

Oh yeah, I'm in BIG trouble with this little natural-born flirt on my hands! WHY oh WHY did she have to get THAT from me? Not her hair or eye color or anything like that - that would just be too easy!

Ruthi adores Jake - always has, and seems to think of him as a big brother. She squeals when he comes to play with CJ and chases him around. And he adores her too.

But recently she has "fallen in love" with Jake's DAD! She is just ga-ga over him. When we go over there, she climbs right up in his lap and seems to forget Daddy is anywhere around!

Today I took the kids out for pizza - Chip had to work today, so he left me some money to take the kids out for a treat. Then I had to stop and get some groceries. When we came home, Robby was out working in his yard. CJ was watching Ruthi while I got the groceries in when I heard, "RUTHI, GET BACK HERE!" I ran out, and she had gone to see Robby. She was being SO flirty! He told her he liked her hair, that it was pretty, and she said, "I yike my dress, it so Mommy put it on me" and she was rubbing the dress as she talked. She just talked and talked to him. Then she said, "my sun my eyes" (the sun is in my eyes), "get my sun gasses, I be yight back". She ran to get them, and went straight back to him. I tried to tell her that Robby was trying to work, but she wanted to be right there with him. I finally convinced her she needed to go in and put George (her stuffed Curious George) to bed. So she agreed, but fully intended to go right back to see Robby. When she realized I was not taking her back out, the wailing began!

So I did what any good mother would do...I bribed her diverted her attention by offering her some yogurt. It worked...until the yogurt was gone. She has been having little fits ever since - she wants to "GO SEE YOBBY!"

I am so in for it with this one!

But just look at how cute she is!!

Menu Plan Monday #7

Happy Monday and Happy Memorial Day!

We had a couple changes in plans last week, so the lasagna I was going to make on Friday will roll into this week. CJ's birthday is Wednesday, so he chose the meal for that night. However, there is a small possibility that could change, since that is also our anniversary, so we could end up eating out. I guess we will just wait and see. Saturday we are planning to have a family birthday party for him, so we will be grilling out.

So here's the plan as it stands right now:

Monday: Hubby is working, so I'm taking the kids out for pizza

Tuesday: Blazy's Pepperoni Studded Lasagna ~ Salad

Wednesday: Carbonara

Thursday: Chicken Cream Cheese Enchiladas (From Annie's menu last week!)

Friday: BLT's ~ Macaroni Salad

Saturday: Hot Dogs & Ribs on the Grill, ~ Potato Salad ~ Pasta Salad ~ Corn ~ Baked Beans ~ Birthday Ice Cream Cake

Sunday: We have a birthday party to go to, so if we are still hungry, it will be something quick - like sandwiches or leftovers.

For more menu ideas, be sure to visit Laura at I'm an Organizing Junkie!

Friday, May 25, 2007

100th Post!

This is my 100th post! And apparently it is the tradition in blogville to make the 100th post to be 100 things about yourself. So, being so traditional and all (LOL), I'm going with it. I'm not all that exciting, so I don't know if I can actually come up with 100 things, but I'll try. These are just random facts.

1. I was born in Georgia.
2. Shortly after I was born, we moved to San Fransisco, CA, where my Dad was stationed in the Navy. We lived there 2 years.
3. I've lived in Georgia the rest of my life.
4. I can't imagine living anywhere else.
5. Except maybe Colorado.
6. Or the beach - anywhere!
7. When I was little, I wanted to be a teacher when I grew up.
8. But mostly I wanted to be a wife and mom.
9. I am a wife and mom.
10. And I am a teacher - we homeschool.
11. I got married at 19. I was one month from being 20.
12. I became a mom at 21 - one month from being 22.
14. I gave birth to a preemie at 24 weeks gestation. He weighed 2 pounds, 2 ounces. He's about to turn 13. And you'd never know he was a preemie.
15. I miscarried at least 3 times between the birth of my two children.
16. I became a mom the second time at 32. She was one ounce shy of 10 pounds. No, I did not have a c-section.
17. I will be married to the love of my life for 15 years on the 30th of this month.
18. We bought our house (closed on it) 1 week before our wedding.
19. We have lived in the same house all this time.
20. I love where we live, but would love to have a bigger house.
21. I really want a scrapbook room.
22. I LOVE to scrapbook and make cards and other paper crafts.
23. I would do it everyday if I could.
24. But sometimes I have to clean house.
25. I love to have a clean house.
26. But I don't always love cleaning it.
27. I watch a LOT of TV. - Too much, I'm sure.
28. And I spend a lot of time on the computer.
29. My house would probably be sparkly if I didn't have a TV or a computer.
30. But I'd be a little bored. I like my internet friends, and my mindless entertainment.
31. I love to sing. And I directed a children's choir of 150-200 kids until Ruthi was born. But I don't think I can sing well at all.
32. I also love to dance, but can't do it well either.
33. I used to be painfully shy.
34. Most people don't believe that now. But I have witnesses!35. I still have times when I'm shy - but not like when I was younger.
36. I love animals.
37. If I could, I'd live in a farm with LOTS and LOTS of animals of all kinds.
38. But only if I could pay someone to clean up after them.
39. I only want play with them and love on them.
40. I love to eat. I mean REALLY. It could be a hobby. I love to savor everything that goes into my mouth.
41. But I'm trying to eat less so I can be healthier.
42. I hate having my picture made, because I'm unhappy with the way I look.
43. I don't want to be like that, so I'm trying to change it.
44. I love to go camping - tent camping. But only when it's cool during the day and cool/cold at night.
45. I hate to be hot.
46. I don't care for most sports, because they require me to be outside in the heat.
47. I don't do well outside in the heat.
48. Unless I'm at the beach.
49. Or at least at a pool.
50. I love the water!
51. I love to roller and ice skate.
52. Sadly, I don't know if I'll be able to do those things again.
53. I broke my ankle a couple years ago and it still bothers me enough that skating would be difficult.
54. I broke my elbow when I fell while roller skating.
55. A week later we went tent camping - I was in a soft cast.
56. A week after that I had a wedding cake to do. Good thing it was my left arm!
57. I broke my right arm before I went into the second grade. I jumped out of a swing and landed wrong.
58. I miss being a kid - the part where I didn't have much responsibility. Too bad I didn't know to enjoy it then!
59. But I love being a wife and mom, and wouldn't trade it for ANYTHING!
60. Being a mom is the hardest, but most wonderful job I've ever had.
61. All my other jobs, I only liked for a little while and then got tired of them.
62. I don't think I'll ever be tired of being a mom!
63. My kids give me lots of things to scrapbook.
64. I don't think I'll ever actually be caught up on their books.
65. I don't think I'll ever get tired of scrapbooking.
66. Hopefully soon, I can actually make some money with this hobby that I love!
67. I am so glad I have internet access and have discovered message boards and blogging.
68. It allows me to have adult conversations!
69. I probably talk to people on the internet than I do "real life" people.
70. I have made lots of friends, some whom I've been able to meet in person!
71. I love to cook.
72. But I don't always like to clean up.
73. I love to bake too.
74. I baked and decorated cakes for a "living" for 14 years.
75. I still do cakes occasionally, but not really for profit anymore.
76. Wedding cakes became too stressful.
77. Part of that time, I worked in bakeries, but I most of the years I did it from home.
78. I love to make baked goods for family at Christmas time.
79. I also catered for a while.
80. I love to throw parties, showers and such, where I can make fancy little foods.
81. I have little to no fashion sense.
82. My hubby picks out my clothes.
83. He takes me shopping and picks everything out.
84. If it weren't for him, I'd probably still be wearing clothes from the 80's.
85. I am very thankful he's good at picking things out.
86. He likes to shop more than I do.
87. I like being at home.
88. Sometimes I'll go a week without leaving my house.
89. But I love to go places too. But not for very long.
90. We usually take short vacations, cuz we get homesick.
91. I could stay gone longer as long as I have internet access!
92. Someday I want a beach house. I love the beach!
93. And I want a mountain house. I love the mountains!
94. I'd like to learn to snow ski and water ski. And hopefully not break any bones.
95. I've only been out of the country once. I was 2. I don't remember it.
96. I'd like to travel to all 50 states.
97. And I'd love to travel to several countries.
98. I am a horrible procrastinator. - But often I work well under pressure.
99. But I didn't procrastinate on this. I typed it before my 100th post so it would be ready to go!
100. My dream job besides being a mom is selling my handmade crafts. I'm half way there!

Wow - that was harder than I thought it would be. Congratulations if you made it through the list, but I don't blame you if you didn't. Told you it wouldn't be that exciting!
I'm glad that's over and I won't have to do that again!

Where do they learn this stuff? And some reflection...

I needed to change Ruthi. Before I got to her, she ran to the couch to lay down, covered herself with a pillow and told me she was going to sleep. I told her to come here so I could change her. This 29 month old child CLOSED HER EYES and went BLEH, BLEH, BLEH (very cute, by the way) as if to DROWN ME OUT!!! I have to say it kinda cracked me up. But I held it together, gave her a teeny tap on the behind, (and I mean TEENY!) to which she responded, "Don't pank me!" (in a sweet voice) and I said, "Then obey me" to which she jumped and did what I had asked her to. It was actually quite comical, and I could have laughed it off, but I do want her obeying when she's asked to do something. But it kinda baffles me where she picked that up! Is it just instilled?

It's just so funny to me how different she is than CJ - when he was that age, he was quite obedient. He was also quiet, laid back and very easy going for the most part. She is loud, high-energy and I'm finding she can be quite defiant! She is a challenge for sure, but I'm loving every minute of it.

I often wondered why it took so long to conceive and actually be able to carry this child. I don't know if I'll ever know why I had to go through the losses, but I think I do know why God allowed there to be so many years between our children.

When CJ was born, I was much more, um, uptight...and we did everything "by the book" so to speak...strict schedules, no rocking to sleep and everything. And I'm not saying that's wrong at all, but I think I missed out on a lot of precious moments with him in fear that I would "spoil" him.

Fast forward 10.5 years and I'm a very different person than I was then. Much more laid back and not at all worrying about what everyone else thinks. We've pretty much thrown out that rule book!

What's really funny, is we thought we were such great parents with CJ - he was so well behaved, so quiet and just a great baby/toddler. We were SO SURE it was because we knew what we were doing and were just fabulous parents! We rolled our eyes when we heard a kid screaming in the store or a restaurant. We thought, those parent's don't know what they are doing! We just didn't understand why all parent's weren't like us and knew how to control their kids.

God has a great sense of humor.

And we now realize, CJ's behavior had very little to do with our parenting skills. Maybe a little, but not that much. Children are just different!

We have had a good dose of humble pie since Ruthi came along. Now, she IS a good kid, and she behaves quite well in public, most of the time! BUT, lets just say that now, when we hear those screaming kids, we are thinking, "Those poor parents - they have a screamer!" And we NEVER roll our eyes anymore! And now, when our eyes meet those of said parents, we can smile and send an understanding look.

Is this due to the fact we threw the book out and can no longer control our child because of that? I don't think so. We still teach her right from wrong and we are teaching her about obedience. And she is learning. But things are different. She is a TOTALLY different child. And we discovered that very shortly after she was born. All the same "rules" don't work for her. Of course, we still discipline, but it's done a bit differently. Is it because she's a girl?....Maybe. But mostly because she is a different child altogether. We are learning what works...and what doesn't. We are taking it one moment at a time.

Yes, she is challenging, and she keeps me on my toes. But I honestly couldn't imagine it any other way!

God put her in our lives at THIS time for a reason. I probably wouldn't have been able to see the joy in raising her 10 or so years ago. Now I'm able let the little things go, and choose my battles. I didn't know how to do that before.

I've learned that some things can wait. She will only be little for a while (I learned that with CJ - I STILL can't believe he's about to be 13! - It went by far too fast!) and I need to take the time to enjoy her. The house my not be spotless, or, um, even clean some days! But what do I want her to remember - Mom always kept a spotless house, or Mom always took time to play with me? Definitely the latter. This is of course, why I'm often cleaning at 2 am, because she's asleep then! It doesn't bother me that toys are scattered, that I'm stepping on them, or cleaning them up 12 times a day. I know that all too soon, I'll miss seeing those toys lying around, so I'm not making a big deal right now.

She's teaching me lots of things - things that maybe I wasn't ready to learn earlier. I'm learning to see things through her eyes. And it's a lot of fun! And I thank God for all these learning opportunities.

When I was pregnant with her, Martina McBride introduced her new song, "In My Daughter's Eyes". I knew I was having a girl. I watched her on the Oprah show singing that song at a huge baby shower for soldiers who were pregnant, and soldier's wives who were pregnant. I cried my eyes out right along with all those women. It became "my song". On the way home from the hospital after Ruthi was born, we had the CD in, and that song came on. I stared at her and cried my eyes out again. It was the perfect song, saying exactly how I felt. It states that "she was sent to rescue me" and I so believe that. She gave me a whole new outlook on life. Especially since had been going through a dark time after losing a very dear friend to us. When we didn't understand why God would take him home so early and things were just so, well...dark. There's really not another way to put it. And when Ruthi came along, it gave us hope and happiness again. It helped restore our shaken faith in God.

God's timing is always perfect. All the times when I didn't understand why I wasn't getting pregnant, or when I'd lose yet another baby, I didn't understand. I thought all those times were the perfect time to have another child. But God knew what the perfect time was, and that's when he gave her to us. And I'm thankful He knew better than I did! I really believe He knew I couldn't handle having two children close together in age, and that I would appreciate them much more this way. And that I would be able to handle the more spirited one when I was a little older and had learned to relax about things. There are so many reasons now, that I understand why we had to wait so long for her.

Wow, I really only started this post to share the comical moment from this morning, and had no intentions of writing all this, but it just flowed out! I'll end with the words to Martina's song that means so much to me.

In My Daughter's Eyes

In my daughter's eyes I am a hero
I am strong and wise and I know no fear
But the truth is plain to see
She was sent to rescue me
I see who I wanna be
In my daughter's eyes

In my daughter's eyes everyone is equal
Darkness turns to light and the
world is at peace
This miracle God gave to me gives me
strength when I am weak
I find reason to believe
In my daughter's eyes

And when she wraps her hand
around my finger
Oh it puts a smile in my heart
Everything becomes a little clearer
I realize what life is all about

It's hangin' on when your heart
has had enough
It's giving more when you feel like giving up
I've seen the light
It's in my daughter's eyes

In my daughter's eyes I can see the future
A reflection of who I am and what will be
Though she'll grow and someday leave
Maybe raise a family
When I'm gone I hope you see how happy
she made me
For I'll be there
In my daughter's eyes

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Tasty Thursday #8

Hosted by Trista at The Pumkin Patch.

This recipe comes courtesy of Paula Deen, so you know it's GOT to be good!

This macaroni has the best flavor - so yummy.

Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, cut into pieces
2 1/2 cups (about 10 ounces) grated sharp Cheddar cheese
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sour cream
1 (10 3/4 ounce) can condensed Cheddar cheese soup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Boil the macaroni in a 2 quart saucepan in plenty of water until tender, about 7 minutes. Drain. In a medium saucepan, mix butter and cheese. Stir until the cheese melts. In a slow cooker, combine cheese/butter mixture and add the eggs, sour cream, soup, salt, milk, mustard and pepper and stir well. Then add drained macaroni and stir again. Set the slow cooker on low setting and cook for 3 hours, stirring occasionally.

OK, the first time I tried this, dinner got delayed, and this was in the crockpot for more than three hours - BIG mistake! It got all curd-ly and wasn't creamy anymore, and kind of dry. When I did it the other night, I made sure not to over cook it. 2 hours is PLENTY of time. I think that even on the low setting, it just gets too hot. It was so much better the second time. The flavor is wonderful. I reheated the leftovers in the microwave with some extra milk, and it was great!

So Sweet

The other day I ran out to the store while Ruthi was taking her nap. Chip was working in his office and CJ was doing school work. I had asked CJ to listen out for her - just in case - but really figured she'd stay asleep since she had just drifted off, and I was only going to be gone a few minutes. Well, she woke up! But CJ is such a big brother, he knew exactly what to do. This is what I saw when I came in the door.

Is that not just the picture of sweetness? Moments like these just melt my heart. They may pick at each other and get on each other's nerves, but they just adore one another. Just so sweet!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Tackle it Tuesday #9

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

Well, today's tackle will have no exciting pictures. As a matter of fact, there will be no pictures of it at all today. And, my tackle won't be completed today. But I will get started on it, and I will post the photos next Tuesday.
Today I'm tackling my Business Binder. I really want to start generating some income, and it's just never going to happen if I don't get organized and a plan in place. I have all sorts of ideas in my head, but it's gotta go further than that if I'm going to get anywhere with this! So today I will start setting it up and get things together. I will continue working on it all week and hopefully have it all together by next Tuesday.
Thank you Marcia for encouraging me to do this!

I have one other tackle I'll be working on as well - cards. I need to get 3 more cards made this month - a graduation, birthday and anniversary card (mine!) And I need to make some for a charity event for a friend who is a pediatric trauma nurse - for them to have on hand for the families. I've already made over 40 cards this month (phew!) but need to crank out a few more. So I'll be tackling those too. I'll be posting those on my craft blog when I have them done.
So stay tuned!

For more tackles, be sure to visit 5 Minutes for Mom.

Check in....Week Two

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It's that time again. And guess what? I lost a pound! Which, if I'm being totally honest, I am actually quite surprised. As this week, I didn't do quite as well as I did last week. My back has been out, so I didn't exercise at all! I didn't even meet my water goal every day. I still did ok with my food portions and snacks, and I did manage to have at least a little something for breakfast each day.
I have decided I am going to make a chart. Visuals are very helpful for me, so I'm hoping this will be a big help. It will have blocks for the the things I need to do - eat breakfast, take vitamin, meet water goal, exercise. I love to have things checked off, so if this is in front of me, hopefully it will encourage me in my goals.
My back is beginning to feel better, so hopefully I won't have a problem getting the exercise in - I'll just take it slow at first. And hopefully soon, I'll see a bigger difference, and feel much better too!

Hosted by Tales From The Scales.

Monday, May 21, 2007

A Few Pictures

We met my parents on Thursday to get Ruthi back from her visit with them, and to have a "Mother's Day" lunch since we weren't able to get together on Sunday. We ate at a wonderful place that waas different from any I'd eaten at before. It kinda reminded me of a cafeteria - very casual, with floors like you'd see in a school or hospital cafeteria. They had big round tables that sat 8 or 10 people (I can't remember for sure.) So you may end up sitting with other people. There were 6 of us, so they sat us at an empty one, and it wasn't too crowded, so we didn't have anyone else join us. In the middle of the table is a Lazy Susan that sits a bit higher than the rest of the table. There are no menus, they just bring out what they are serving that day and put it on the Lazy Susan, and you dig in. It's all you can eat - you just ask for more of whatever you have run out on. I have to say EVERYTHING I ate was WONDERFUL! Apparently they are known for their chicken, and it wasn't difficult to figure out why. It was fabulous! And there was cabbage (awesome!), barbeque, corn, beans, cole slaw, and I don't even remember what else, but it was all so incredibly good! They are only open 3 or 4 days a week, and I certainly hope to eat there again!
I took a couple of pictures when we were finished eating.

Ruthi with Nana

CJ and Ruthi with Poppy

When it was time to part ways, we had to switch the carseat back to our car. I got tickled at Chip "in" the carseat.

And look who was driving!

And one last shot. I'm trying to get over the fact that I'm not happy with the way I look in pictures, and get in a few here and there. I'm just considering the ones taken now and recently as "before" shots and hopefully soon I'll have some much better "after" ones! Since this was technically a Mother's Day celebration, I figured I'd get in a shot with my kids and my mom.

Once we left there, we went to visit Chip's Mom too. I didn't get any pictures while we were there. She had her hair in curlers, and I figured I'd be kind and not take her picture like that. But we had a nice visit and Chip's Dad made it home from work before we had to leave, so we got to visit with him too. We didn't get home until almost midnight and we all slept in on Friday morning!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Menu Plan Monday

This week is simple, basic, and well, boring. Hubby will be gone for three nights this week, so I'm making super simple stuff. No "real" cooking except for one night. My back is still giving me lots of trouble, so I don't feel much like cooking anyway. But here's the plan:

Brats ~ Macaroni & Cheese

Tuesday: Breakfast for dinner ~ Pancakes, Sausage, Eggs

Wednesday: Sandwiches ~ Soup

Thursday: Pizza

Friday: Blazy's Pepperoni Studded Lasagna ~ Salad (The link goes to the recipe at Food Network, but I spotted this on Boomama's blog earlier today and decided I MUST try this!)

Saturday & Sunday - TBD

I'm not cooking any extra stuff this week, except for some chocolate chip cookies to take to someone on Saturday. And I will do my BEST not to eat any of them!

For more menu ideas, be sure to visit Laura at I'm an Organizing Junkie!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Photo Hunt....Cooked/ing

This has been the easiest theme for me so far. When I first saw this one, I knew exactly what I was going to use.
This is a scrapbook layout I created a while back using a couple of my favorite photos I took of my precious Ruthi.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Bye, Bye Baby Girl

I met up with my Mom yesterday morning to hand over my precious baby girl to spend a couple of fun filled days with her Nana and Poppy. She was SO excited! This is the first time she's gone to stay without her big brother with her. She was VERY excited!

I explained to her that we would go see Nana, and then Nana would take her on to the house and then she would see Poppy. But when I pulled up and only Nana was there, she said, "See Poppy!" And I had to remind her that Nana was taking her to see Poppy.

She was very happy to get into her Nana's arms.

And here she is all ready to go. However, she's not even buckled up here (she hopped into her seat by herself and tried to buckle herself in) because we were going to go into the store first.

As ready as she was to go, she agreed to go into the store with us. Several times while we were looking around though, she'd say again, "Go see Poppy!" And I'd remind her she was going soon.

Nana got her some bubbles and she held on to them for dear life. She LOVES bubbles! She kept saying, "Blow bubbles", and I'd tell her she could when she got to Nana's house. Then later she'd say, "Go Nana and Poppy's, blow bubbles!" Did mention that she loves bubbles?

When I did actually buckle her in and say goodbye, she said bye with no hesitation. I got in my car and looked back over to see them both waving bye to me, and Ruthi was wearing a big smile.

My Dad called last night to see if we could translate what Ruthi kept repeating over and over. I wasn't home, I was at my neighbor's house soaking in the hot tub (sure felt great to my achy back!). So Chip translated. He told me when I got home, and he was hoping he had translated correctly. He did - he did good! (Sometimes he looks to me for translations, but he's gotten most of them figured out now.) Ruthi is having a wonderful time.

I talked to my Mom this morning, and she says that once they got to the house, Ruthi quickly became Poppy's Girl. (Hmmmmm.....wonder where she gets that from? :) - Oh yeah, I'm not afraid to say I'm still a Daddy's girl!) At home she's a Daddy's girl, so it doesn't surprise me that she's a Poppy's girl. But I think my Mom may be feeling a teensy bit left out. Sorry Mom!

My Dad sent me these pictures today. In the first one, she is holding a doll my Dad bought her when he was in Mexico.

And here she is again with her Nana.

Yes, I am definitely missing my baby girl, but I know she is having a wonderful time and getting ALL the attention she could possibly want! There's a chance she may be just a little more rotten when she gets home. But that's the way it's supposed to be, right?

She will be back home tomorrow. I hope she's ready to leave and come back to where she actually has to share the attention! I can't wait to get my arms back around her!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Check in....Week One

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Well, I didn't lose any weight, but I didn't gain any either. I met my water goal every day. I remembered to take my vitamin almost every day. I cut my portions down on every meal - I am VERY proud of that. I have stopped even if I still felt just a little hungry. And I was fine! I haven't snacked on junk food - only a few low calorie/fat snacks when I really needed a little something extra. Exercise - well, I did exercise 3 days, but I want to beat that this week. My back is out though, so we'll see how that goes!
My mom asked me this morning if I had lost some weight - I laughed. Maybe I should get in there and measure myself too. I'm doing strength exercise, so that does build muscle which could mean I'm losing inches (Ok, milimeters right now) instead of pounds.
My goals for this week: everything I've been doing, even better!

(Oh, and to get around to the other blogs and offer up some encouragement! Thanks for those of you who sent some my way, I will be by to visit...I PROMISE!)

Wanna join the challenge? Go to Tales From The Scales.

Tackle It Tuesday #8

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

I hope all you Mom's had a wonderful Mother's Day. Mine did NOT go as planned. Chip was supposed to be working, and the kids and I were going to go to my parents house. Well, on Saturday evening, I had a rib go out and was in tremendous pain. This has happened before, but this time was much more painful. When I woke up on Sunday, I could barely move and I knew I wouldn't be able to make the drive and wasn't sure how I'd take care of Ruthi. So my fabulous hubby called in and stayed home to take care of us. So I was lying down for most of the day. Of course then my upper back started feeling stiff from lying around, so I got up and SLOWLY began moving. After a while I was beginning to feel some better, thankfully. And that fabulous hubby? Well, since he was home, he cooked a fabulous dinner!
Yesterday I was moving around better - still some pain, but much more manageable.
This morning I am driving to meet my mom and handing over my precious little girl to her. My parents are off work this week, so Ruthi will spend a couple days loving on her Nana and Poppy and getting even more spoiled than she already is - if that is even possible!
Then I'm heading to my chiropractor. (He's not in on Monday's so I had to wait until today.) Then I have to go pick up some soft drinks for tonight. We are having a Neighborhood Watch meeting at our house this evening with hot dogs and stuff, so I have to get all that stuff ready.

And on to the BIG tackle! Last week on my list was to clean off my kitchen table. Well, I did that - technically. All nice and clean. (Sorry, no picture, but I'm sure you can use your imagination.) The problem still, though, was this:

These two chairs on the "back" side of my table keep collecting stuff! When I need to clean off the table in a hurry, everything gets dumped there. And I've been neglecting this area. So, my tackle is to sort through all this, organize and put things where they belong. There is a LOT of stuff there, so it's a pretty big job, but I hope to have it complete before the meeting this evening.
Once I get this done, I can finally start working on my business binder (another big tackle!) This has really been holding me up, as there are things in these chairs I need for that. This will be such a relief to get this done!
I'll be back with the after photo later!

Well, I didn't get the photo up last night, but I did get it done! My table AND the chairs are all nice and clean now!

For more tackles, be sure to visit 5 Minutes for Mom.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Photo Hunt...Five

This week's theme is Five. Though I had MANY things go through my mind for this theme, I didn't seem to have any pictures that would fit. I happened to open a box of old photos and found this cute picture and decided it would be perfect in spite of the poor quality from being an old photo.

This is my hubby (wasn't he a cute little boy?) and his 5 precious golden retriever puppies. Aaaahhhhh....puppies....gotta love it!

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Friday, May 11, 2007

Adjusting Ruthi

We went to the chiropractor this week, and Ruthi decided to get an adjustment. This is actually her 3rd one, but the first time I didn't have my camera - her adjustment wasn't planned. I asked her if she wanted a turn and she hopped up there like a pro - totally unexpected. But she has been watching us get adjustments since she was a baby, so she knew exactly what to do. The second time, or Dr. had moved to a new office, so it was unfamiliar, and she only stayed on the table for a couple minutes and that was enough for her.
This time I asked her several times if she was going to have her turn while CJ was getting his adjustment, and she told me know. She was too busy "playing puzzle". She loves this new office, because they have toys!

So when it was her Daddy's turn, she decided she wanted to check it out, and went to watch him for a few minutes. Then it was right back to the toys.
When it was my turn, Chip went out to the waiting room with her so she could keep playing. Soon, she came to see Mommy getting adjusted. When she came in, I asked her if she was going to have a turn, and to my surprise, she said yes.
So, when I was finished, she got on the table for her turn. She attempted to "end her turn" a couple times, but I kept telling her I needed more pictures, and that did the trick! She'd lay right back down so I could keep snapping. She did need the adjustment - I suspected she would from some of the things she'd been doing lately - and she did great. She was too cute trying her best to cooperate by doing the moves like putting her hand across her back, putting her hands above her head, and turning her head in the right direction. A little pro for sure. Here are a few pictures.

This last one is her getting off the table after 'riding' it to the upward position. She thought that was fun.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Tasty Thursday #7

Hosted by Trista at The Pumkin Patch.

This is a great recipe for lunch or a light dinner. We usually have a salad with it. I wasn't sure the first time I made it if my somewhat picky husband would like it, but he said, "What's not to like?" Everything in it was something he liked, so the combination worked for him. We think it is quite yummy. And it only takes a few minutes to throw together before you toss in in the oven. Yummy AND simple!

Ham and Cheese Stuff 'n Puff

5 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream
1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen chopped broccoli, thawed & drained
1 pkg. (6 oz.) Stove Top chicken flavored stuffing
10 oz. boiled ham (from the lunch meat section), chopped
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 375. Thoroughly grease 2 qt. baking dish or 9 inch pie plate. Beat eggs, milk and sour cream in large bowl with wire whisk until well blended. Add broccoli, dry stuffing mix, ham and 1/2 cup of the cheese; mix lightly.
Pour mixture into prepared dish; cover loosely with foil.
Bake 1 hour. Uncover; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and mixture is cooked through.

Makes 6 servings

Source: Kraft Food & Family magazine

The original recipe didn't say to grease the dish, so I didn't the first time. A LOT stuck to my dish. From then on I've just greased it with butter, and nothing sticks!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Tackle it Tuesday #7

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

Today holds a small list of tackles. It goes something like this:

1)Laundry catch up – 2 loads plus hubby’s uniform.

2)Ruthi’s room (yes...again!!)

3)Clean off my kitchen table (bigger job than you would imagine!)

4)Figure out my menu plan for this week, since I didn’t get it done in time for Menu Plan Monday!

5)Grocery store (small trip)

6)Make a phone call I’ve been putting off to get a stupid mailing label to return something!

7)Call and make a hair appointment. (WAY overdue!) {Left message - waiting for return call.}

8)Finish making the cards I need for this month.

9)Figure out what on earth to get/make for Mother’s Day gifts! (Nothing like waiting till the last minute!!


And on top of that, I need to go to the Chiropractor!

I’ll update as I get things completed!

For more tackles, be sure to visit 5 Minutes for Mom.

Weight Loss Challenge...Goals

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Today is the day! The weight loss challenge begins today, and I am READY! (For more information or to join the challenge, click the button above.)

I am really aggravated with myself. I was doing quite well and had lost about 25 pounds before I got pregnant with Ruthi. I did great during my pregnancy, only gaining 36 pounds (though I looked huge!) and she was just under 10 pounds, so I thought I had done great. When she was 2 months old, I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight, all my clothes fit, and I felt great. Don't ask me what happened next, because I'm not sure. But I am now just a few pounds lighter than I was the day before she was born - very frustrating! And NOTHING fits anymore! I still wear my nice pair of maternity pants to church, because they are one of the few things that actually fit me. How sad is that?

My motivation? I don't want to buy new clothes when I have a closet full of perfectly good ones! I want to fit into them.
And, I want to be HEALTHY!

Of course, I want to lose weight, but more importantly, I want to FEEL GOOD! I want to take better care of this body! I want to be able to run and play with my kids and not get worn out after 5 minutes! I also want to increase my strength and endurance, and just feel better about myself and be happy in my skin. It's really not so much about the number on the scale. That is just a small part of it. I do not, however, want to set myself up for failure with a weight goal that may not be realistic. So, I'm setting my current goal to lose 20 pounds. And if I exceed that, then that's a bonus!

I've already changed a few things in the past few months - cut out soda's and sugar drinks except for an occasional one. I'm drinking mostly water these days, but I need to be drinking more. And I've cut my portion sizes at meals, but I could probably stand to cut back a little more. I'm really bad about snacking, and have already curbed that a bit, but need some more work there too. And, I have started using sugar free creamer in my coffee. So, here are my goals:

1) Eat Breakfast. (I'm BAD about skipping breakfast, and I know that's not a good thing!

2) Drink a MINIMUM of 64 oz. of water a day. (1/2 gallon)

3) EXERCISE! Since I really want to work on strength and endurance, I'll be using a couple of videos for core workouts. My goal is at LEAST 4 times a week. On alternate days, I want to do some aerobic activity, even if it is just dancing!

4) Cut my portion sizes down - a little bit more.

5) Snacking - snack less, and if I need a snack, make better choices. (Less chocolate! - this will be hard!)

6) Get more sleep! This one will probably be my most difficult challenge, but I really want to work on it. I know my body will function better if I'm not so tired!

I think that's it. For now at least. By the end of this challenge, I'd love to see a smaller number on the scale, but I really want to FEEL BETTER!!!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Mail Call!

Ruthi LOVES to open mail! I let her have at it with the junk mail, and it makes her very happy. But Tuesday morning Ruthi got her first package in the mail! It was from Nana - and she was SO excited! And of course, I HAD to take pictures - I mean this was a BIG DEAL!

Nana sent her two books, which she had to check out "all by herself" before I could look at them. Once she was satisified, I was um, permitted to read them to her. Then of course, she wanted Daddy to read them to her too, so she crawled up on him so he could do just that. Aren't they cute?

And for the record, Nana also sent CJ some mail too! He got a little puzzle with a message on the back, and $5. But him being, you know, almost 13 and all, wasn't too interested in having his picture taken with his mail!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Tasty Thursday #6

Hosted by Trista at The Pumkin Patch.

I had this on my menu this week for a dessert. It was very good. This is a perfect summer dessert!

Pretzel Surprise

2 2/3 cups broken pretzels. (Put in a bag and crush)
1 1/2 sticks butter, melted
8 oz. cream cheese
1 cup sugar
12 oz. Cool Whip
2 10 oz. bags frozen strawberries*
1 can crushed pineapple, drained
2 small boxes strawberry Jell-O

Combine crushed pretzel sticks and melted butter. Put in a 9x13 inch pan. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Cool. Cream together sugar and cream cheese. Add Cool Whip and mix well. Gently spread over pretzels. (Place large spoonfuls across the pan and spread lightly to cover the pretzels - pretzels will try to move.) Refrigerate. In a large bowl, mix 2 packages of Jell-O with 2 cups boiling water. Stir to dissolve. Add frozen strawberries and drained pineapple. Refrigerate. When Jell-O is fairly set, (doesn't take long) pour over cream cheese mixture. Refrigerate until completely set.
12 servings

For more recipes, be sure to visit Trista at The Pumkin Patch.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Mother's Day Giveaway - Apple iPod Nano!


Susan and Janice over at 5 Minutes for Mom are giving away a FREE Apple iPod Nano in honor of Mother's Day! Run over there now for details and to sign up for a chance to win! They will be announcing more giveaways over the next 10 days, so check it out. Gotta love a chance to win something FREE!

Finding the Skinny Girl!

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I just found this awesome challenge, and it's exactly what I need! I KNOW I need to lose weight, and I WANT to lose weight, but I have a hard time motivating and disciplining myself. I think this is just the ticket. For every 5 pounds lost, we get a GOLD STAR by our name! Now who doesn't love a gold star? The challenge begins May 8, so I'll be back to post my goals and such. For me though, this isn't all about weight loss, but about being more healthy as well. Though, I would like to find that skinny girl inside me in the process!
So, if you need a little extra motivation to get you going, click on the button above for more information and to sign up! (in the comments - the actual Mr. Linky will be up to sign up on May 8.) So who else is going to accept this challenge?

Ride 'em Cowgirl!

I know I've posted pictures of Ruthi on her horse before, but I just thought this was too cute. CJ put "loaned" her his hat. She's just missing the boots - (and I didn't feel like putting them on her.) She really loves this horse! Isn't she precious? No, I'm not biased at all!! :o)
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