Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The United Body of Christ

"The devil does not want us to talk things through. His scheme is to have us remain silent and allow walls to go up. This way he is able to defeat us separately. He can't defeat a United Church."

 That's my Dad's quote up there. He has a lot of insight. God has shown me time and time again how cutting off communication allows Satan to do his best work. When the lines of communication are down, we can start to imagine all kinds of false realities/motives/attitudes and pin them on the people we are not talking to. When we get face-to-face, heart-to-heart, and allow ourselves to see the image of God reflecting from another person's soul, it's really hard to still conjure up false impressions of who they are.

Confrontation can be hard. It can be scary. It can cause pain. It can sometimes make things worse. HOWEVER- if it is done in love (confronting the issue, not the person), it can only make things better. LOVE being the key word there. And not just saying it, not just hoping you're doing it in love, and not just thinking you're gonna be loving... Those are all in our own strength. It's in surrendering to the power of Christ in us, asking for his eyes and heart toward others, because only in and through him do we have the power to truly love those created in His image. 

I wanna die to me, and live for Him, and learn to choose relationship over taking offense any and every time, because when we are a united body, fighting together, and not against each other, the gates of hell cannot prevail against us!! 

Monday, February 27, 2012

routine+flexibility= laid back perfection :)

There are a lot of thing in life that I don't have "figured out." I was never a routine person growing up. I like spontaneity. No week looked exactly like the week before it. I like random. I like surprises. I like being able to go with the flow, not have everything all figured out; plan, but not necessarily stick to "the plan" if something unexpectedly better throws my plans out the window...

Yeah. That's all great for a free spirited, young, single or newly married girl without a ton of responsibility. But I have babies now. And secretly, I always liked it when people had a routine. A schedule. People who didn't waste time, who knew when and where they were going next...

There is one area of my life that I am starting to "figure out," and it is making me want to figure out other areas as well! I shared before how I have a regular day of the week that I grocery shop. Somehow, having a meal plan makes everything else in life seem to run more smoothly. I hate the feeling of dinner time approaching and not knowing what I'm making, not having anything thawed out, not having the right ingredients for what I want to make, and having hungry boys waiting on me to make the next move... SO, what works for us:

1. I make a meal plan on wednesdays, after the sales have come out in the newspaper.
2. I grocery shop on Thursdays. It's like a date for me and the boys, Drew loves to go see the lobster tank, and get his free cookie and lollipop.
3. I buy what I need for 3 to 4 meals.
     ~This works because a.) we usually go to Shaun's parents one night of the week for dinner b.) I make enough that we can have leftovers at least one night & c.) I usually have 2 or 3 casseroles frozen that I can pull out if those 3 to 4 meals aren't enough.

Besides buying 3-4 meals worth of ingredients, I also replenish our breakfast/lunch stash. I like to have a smoothie and a half a grapefruit for breakfast (currently). So I usually get fruit and yogurt on a weekly basis. And I like to have salads for lunch, so spinach or romaine and salad toppings are usually on my list too. Drew will eat whatever I eat, but his breakfast is usually cereal or toast and fruit, and his lunches vary. So for me, routine has worked wonders in our life in this area.

I apparently am not the only one that likes a flexible plan for meals. Read this post to see another example of what can work.

Once I had Thursdays established as grocery shopping days, I started doing a women's Bible study on Wednesdays. So two of my weekdays have regular occurences now. My best friend is a hairdresser, and we always joke about how we wash our hair twice a week. I never had a set two days, but she did. I never knew what I was doing week to week, but now that I do, my two "hair washing days" are Tuesdays and Fridays. (This is not to say that I only shower twice a week!!! I just only wash my hair twice!)

Our evenings are even starting to fall into place: Every other Tuesday we have home group, Wednesdays are prayer meetings at church, Thursdays Shaun gives drum lessons, and Fridays are usually family nights (and Shaun often does the cooking for family night!) There is still plenty of room for flexibility in our week. Every weekend holds different plans, Monday nights are free nights, family night can be saturday if we have plans friday, and I like to plan little outings with friends on Mondays Tuesdays or Fridays that are different every week.

Being a mommy can keep your brain so busy thinking of the little details of feeding/changing/dressing/safety that you don't have time to think about when the big things are going to get done. Having set times to accomplish certain things helps me to not have to think about them or wonder when they're going to get done, and this makes just a little room in my brain for things I love: creativity, and extra time to be spontaneous!

p.s. if anyone has any tips on how they've incorporated a flexible routine into their life, please share! I love reading what works for other people and seeing if I can make it work for me too :)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Nolan Gray

This sweet boy. There is such a story to his little life. He is the second son of my best friend Ashly. She was pregnant with him during one of the most difficult times anyone could go through. Her husband Ricky's father was fighting brain cancer. The emotional upheaval for them of watching him fight, and then lose, this battle is something I can't put into words. Ricky was so close to his dad, as were his two sisters and his mom. His dad was even the best man in him and Ashly's wedding. Little Nolan was born two months after his grandfather passed away. He will never know him here on earth, but I can't even imagine what a beautiful meeting there will be in Heaven someday. 

As if that's not story enough to his life so far, Ashly went into labor at 34 weeks. They tried to stop it, and sent her home, only to have her go back into labor less than 24 hrs later. Nolan was born January 11, 2012. He was due February 20th. He spent the first several weeks of his life in the hospital. But he was a little fighter, and did awesome. His first name means Victorious Champion. His middle name is the brain cancer color, in remembrance of his Pop.  I was privileged to take newborn photos of Nolan when he came home from the hospital. These are just a few of my favorite ones. 

His Pop's baseball glove. 

There is such a sweetness to Nolan. He is so precious, so lovable. From the first time I met him in the hospital I could just feel that there is something special about him. Tears came to my eyes as I walked in and saw him with all the breathing devices and i.v.'s strapped onto him. He was here. Way too soon, but hanging in there like a champ. It was like his arrival marked the end to a chapter of difficulty, tears, and goodbyes that no one should have to say, and the beginning to a chapter of innocence, baby coos, and new life. So bittersweet. Life will never be the same for this precious family. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Valentines. {A Picture Overload}

So I know it's already a week behind us, but I just had to share our Valentines day on here... We partied all day long. :) I had a party for the boys at lunch time and a special dinner in the evening for Shaun and I while my parents watched the boys. Here's pretty much the whole day in photos :) 
These ended up dipped in chocolate for later. And below is the sweet boy who helped me make them. 

With a little chocolate on his cheek of course :) 

If I had girls, I would have done a flowery, girly, all-out decorated table for lunch. But I have boys, and they don't care too much for such things, so we had a balloon (in a pink vase, which is about as girly as it got...) and Drew's Lobster came to the party too... :) 

My firstborn. He helped me set up our party lunch in the living room, and even dusted the coffee table for me! 

Probably my favorite photo of the day. Drew got two valentine gifts: A Cherry ring pop and red play dough. Before eating lunch (but after eating chocolate...) we sculpted red hearts. :) 
Lunch! Along with raspberry yogurt, chocolate covered strawberries, and... 

Strawberry milk! You might also notice Drew's slicked hair.... He asked me to do his hair with gel like Daddy's for the party :) 

My second born, looking all like "I know you adore me, mom..." And I do. :) 

Showing me his ring pop! 

My lovebugs! 

I definitely don't take the time to try to get in pictures like I used to. It's just easier if I take them, and stay behind the lens. But the majority of my life is spent holding these two. So I took the extra effort, set the camera timer, and jumped in with them :) That's what most of the day actually looked like. 

Hug magnet! 

Holding his balloon, waiting by the door for daddy to come home! 

Flowers from my man! Stargazer lilies!! beautiful :) And my dad sent me pink roses. A week later, our house still smells wonderful, like a florist shop :) 

The set up for our dinner! 

Valentines Chalk board. 

After dinner we watched the movie courageous. And we cried. 

And we didn't think to take any photos of the two of us before watching a movie that would make us cry, so here's the best we got that night. I LOVE YOU SHAUN!!!! 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Awesome Winter Meal

For whatever reason when it has snowed this year it makes me want to make homemade bread. And for us, there's nothing like homemade bread and soup on a snow day. This is what we had on saturday when it snowed:
Homemade country white bread and ground turkey, white bean and spinach soup. It was really good :) (and healthy!) Below are the recipes for both

Italian White Bean, Spinach and Turkey Soup Recipe

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound ground turkey
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary or 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 (15.5 ounce) can cannellini beans or other white beans, rinsed and drained
4 cups (32 ounces) low-sodium chicken stock
12-14 ounces fresh spinach, chopped
Salt and pepper
1) In a medium stock pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add ground turkey, season with a dash of salt and pepper, break into small pieces and brown for 3-4 minutes. Drain excess fat, if necessary. Add garlic and onions and sauté for 4-5 minutes, until onions are soft.
2) Add cannellini beans, thyme, rosemary and chicken stock. Bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Mix in chopped spinach and simmer 5 more minutes. Adjust seasonings to taste.

(I used small white beans instead of cannellini beans)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

There's no "I" in Mommy....

Most people have heard the saying there's no "I" in team.... supposed to inspire you that you are playing for something bigger than yourself, that it's not all about you, that your team is the most important.... that kind of thing. Well that same concept can be applied to motherhood but in a much bigger way.

God gave me the revelation one time that he has set up the order that relationships take place in our life for a purpose, as a process. We grow up thinking life is about us. Then we get married and learn how to compromise, that it's not all about us anymore, and that we need to learn to put someone else's needs in equal priority with our own. Then we have kids. And we learn to become completely self-sacrificing. To die to ourselves. To put someone's needs higher than our own. To give up whatever parts of our lives would interfere with loving our kids completely selflessly. And oh what a process this is.

It draws us closer and closer to the heart of our heavenly father, how he felt giving the ultimate sacrifice, how his heart hurt and yet loved in such great capacities as he laid down his son for us. How his heart must be so full when he loves us SO much and yet watches us push him away when we think we don't need Him.

I have so much more "dying to self" to do.... But the irony is that the more I die to self, the more fulfilled I am. We must lose ourselves to truly find ourselves, we must die to live, we must be last in order to be first, give to receive. Oh the beautiful Kingdom of Heaven. It is so backwards to our natural way of thinking.

There is nothing I'd rather do than snuggle up with my babies. I'd rather come home early and take our time getting bed time snacks, reading bedtime stories, doing last feedings, praying together, and being cozy than staying out late to have "fun." It's a new kind of fun, and a season that will go way too fast. I want to soak up every second of it while it's now.

Yesterday I was at my best friend Ashly's. We are so outnumbered now... four little boys to us two girls. It just so happened that all four boys and two mommies were hungry for "lunch" at the same time.... So we got plates ready for Drew and Chase, and were each feeding our big boys with one arm and feeding our baby boys with the other arm. And obviously, that left no arm to feed ourselves with. We just looked at each other like "wow, this is crazy!" amidst the chaos (and it was definitely chaos- between boys taking each others sippy cups, standing in high chairs, not being able to take another bite if there were crumbs on their laps, spilling a bag of rice cakes and then mashing them into crumbs with their feet, and diaper explosions in the midst of it all...) But crazy is our new normal :) And after those four sweet boys were fed and happy, then we got to eat. It seems a little insane at times, but these memories will probably make me laugh and cry at the same time someday.

As I am typing this I'm sitting cross legged on the bed, Drew is riding piggy back on me, and my one thumb is in Isaiah's mouth... I love this mommy to little boys thing, and it's only possible through Jesus in me, constantly teaching me how to die to self. Thank you Lord!!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


I love this time of year... Even though I am not a fan of winter, I am definitely a fan of Valentine's Day!!! I just think it's awesome that there is a holiday designated to celebrating Love. And I don't just mean cards/candy/flowers, although that mushy romantic stuff is wonderful :) 

Growing up my dad always made valentines day special. There still has not been a year that's passed that he hasn't gotten me flowers, even now that I am married. Whether they showed up at school, or he had them delivered to our front door, they've always been there. I remember he even made pink eggs for breakfast one year. But it's not really the flowers or eggs that made it special. It was knowing that I was loved, that he was wanting to make me feel special and know that he was proud of me. 

It's amazing really that with a dad like that and a heavenly father who is constantly lavishing love on me that I struggled with self-worth. But I did. And especially around Valentines Day when I was in high school. There were several repeating themes now that I look back... whether it was not being invited to a valentines party being given by my "friends", or feeling like the only girl in school not walking through the doors at the end of the day with flowers from her boyfriend, I was looking to the stuff to make me feel loved and appreciated. Not because I wanted the stuff, but because I wanted to be seen as someone who had the "stuff." I wanted to have plans on valentines night just so I could say I did if someone asked me, and I wanted to have flowers in my arms so that people would think my boyfriend loved me. I was being fulfilled by all the wrong things. (And they obviously weren't fulfilling.) 

This could totally turn into my testimony at this point, but that's not what I started out to write. Once I fell totally in love with LOVE Himself, Valentines became a day that could no longer be ruined by any external circumstances. If I turn my heart over to the one who not only loves it, but my spirit and my soul too, I can't be let down. My life is my love story with Jesus, and I love to celebrate that!! 

Since I began dating Shaun we have had some unforgettable Valentines Days.  I don't mean because they were perfect, but sometimes the sweetest memories are because of the imperfections. I'm gonna try to see if I can remember them all.... 

2005: Got chinese take out and ate it in Shaun's car in the rain in the parking lot.... I just remember laughing together the whole time. :)

2006: I was going to surprise Shaun and make dinner for him at my parents house. (I was a horrible cook then, so this was a big deal.) The surprise got ruined, and I won't say how, and none of the food I cooked was ready at the same time, but we were together, and I tried. So it was good. :)

2007: Blizzard. It took longer for Shaun to drive to and from me then the amount of time we actually spent together. But again, we were together :) 

2008: We actually went on our first valentines date! We were married this time around, and we went to Texas Road house. But then I had to work third shift. :(

2009: Pregnant with Drew. Sicker than I ever imagined I would be. Watched six chick flicks in a row, and Shaun stayed by my side on the couch. He tried to cook for me that year (steak too) but I threw up just smelling it, and then cried when I walked past the kitchen on my way to bed and saw all the dirty dishes. (pregnancy hormones...) 

2010: Our second real valentines date in 6 years... went to Rosa Rosa and sweet baby Drew came along. He was a perfect angel. Also Shaun made my bouquet of roses that year, and it was the sweetest thing ever :) 

2011: Pregnant and sick again. Need I say more? :) 

2012: We have two date nights planned this year! (making up for lost time) Yay for two sets of grandparents who like to watch their grand babies. :) 

As I read over that all I can do is smile. Not because those sets of circumstances seem perfect, but because they are each such wonderful memories for me!!! And they were perfect because they were spent with the sweetest man I know (I love you Shaun!) and my heart was filled by the only one who truly can fulfill. (I love you Jesus!!!) 

I read on another blog recently this quote in regards to valentines day: 
"Disappointment is not even possible. I can't be let down. 
Because my heart believes God is all that can satisfy."


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Coffee Cake

I love a good coffee cake.... chocolate's fine, but give me a cinnamon-y or honey covered dessert any day... those are my favorites. Anyway I made this coffee cake to take to Todd and Bethany last night to celebrate Coleson's arrival :) It was quite good, and since it is only semi-homemade, it didn't take long at all to put it together. Enjoy! :) 


  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
  • 1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 (3.4 ounce) package instant butterscotch pudding mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan, or a 10 inch Bundt cake pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the cake mix, vanilla pudding mix, and butterscotch pudding mix. Add the eggs, oil and water, mix until well blended. In another bowl, stir together the brown sugar, cinnamon and nuts. Pour half of the batter into the pan, spread evenly. Sprinkle with half of the nut mixture. Cover with the rest of the batter, and sprinkle with the rest of the nut mixture.
  3. Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, then turn the oven down to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) and bake for an additional 35 to 40 minutes.

Monday, February 6, 2012

my baby's giraffe

days before i had drew.

16 week old drew

2 years and 3 months old drew

I love the continuity. :)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Drew's big boy room

K, so when we moved into our home the last day of Oct. 2010, Drew was still sleeping in his crib, and I wasn't pregnant yet. So his room started out as a "nursery." (hence, the "before" photos) This next bit is going to sound like a long list of excuses (and it probably is) but I didn't decorate or complete his room until just recently. And "complete" is a relative term, I'm still not really done... After we moved in I was mostly unpacking and only did a few things to change up our house after the previous owners, then the holidays hit, I found out I was pregnant Dec. 29th 2010, and was then very, very sick for the next three-four months. By the time April came around I was so behind on the normal things from not doing anything that Drew's room was moved to the back burner. We then had the most crazy busy summer of our lives, between traveling, being in a wedding, working, (did I mention I was still working then?) and getting ready for the baby, I still didn't have time to work on Drew's room. We did manage to switch him to a big boy bed and move the crib into the baby's room (hence, the during photos) Then I had a baby the last day of the summer, (sweet isaiah!) and spent the next several months adjusting to life with two. And that is the end of my list of excuses. When I finally ran out of them, I decorated. :) All of this time I had been collecting things to  decorate Drew's room with, so when it finally came down to it, pulling everything out and hanging it up was so, so fun! And the best part is that Drew loves it too... 

I was hoping that it wasn't all just going to be to gratify myself, I wanted him to really enjoy it too. I picked a vintage car theme (Drew loves anything with a motor that goes) And now whenever anyone comes over he wants to take them to see his big boy bedroom. Here's a few photos of the process :) 

The bed was my mom's when she was in high school. It then passed to my little brother. When my parents moved in 2008, they switched to double matresses and this bed frame went in their basement. (I shop their basement for cool old things quite often...) So it's Drew's for now... (Thanks mama!!) 

I love this corner of the room. It's where I'd want to play if I was a little kid... I've actually already updated it a bit since this photo was taken... I'm thinking I'll have to do another entry on his "complete" room another time... haha. I love his little table from pottery barn kids- Christmas gift to him from Mommom and Pop when he was one. The photo collage is all photos from his two year photo shoot. His little book case is another piece of furniture I stole from my parents... (I'm sensing an underlying theme here...) It used to be in my Poppop's office. On top of it is a blanket made by my mommom Trudy. His little car piggy bank is also from Pottery Barn kids. Most of his books are on the top shelf, and the basket on the bottom shelf is full of trains... :) He also has a wicker toy box from "Gum maw" (Shaun's mom) which will someday be at the foot of his bed, but for now is in our basement play room. 

And as for the missing corner of the room... I guess I will include that in my later post... I got old wooden crates from Shaun's grandparents' farm that we are going to hang on the wall sideways as shelves. My old dresser that my dad and I stained together when I was little is also on that side of the room, along with a rocking chair and an AWESOME wooden, vintage car my parents found him at an antique store. And in that same someday post I'll include close ups of some other details of the room that are important to me. :) 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Drew's quotes of the week

-Drew has had a fever all week.... The second or third day he woke up he was playing with the thermometer in bed, pretending to take his own temperature. When it beeped, he looked at me and said "mommy, need, medicine." I said "Oh yeah, do you have a temperature?" And without missing a beat, and with a very concerned look on his face he nodded as he replied "forty, six." I cracked up and told him that was very concerning indeed... 

-Shaun and Drew have been "dubbing" each other with drew's plastic baseball bat... You know, like knights of the round table with a sword type of dubbing. Mostly Drew kneels and Shaun dubs him something like "drew, elisha, kauffman, warrior, son, arise" or something like that... Well when the roles were reversed, Shaun kneeled down said "drew, dub me!" Drew took the baseball bat "sword" in hand  and proceeded to say "dub you, x, y, z." Definitely a noble and historic dubbing in this house. That kid cracks me up. :)