Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas--INCOMING!

Today brought the biggest surge of testosterone yet. John's first day off work began with him taking the boys to Home Depot for PVC pipe and Wal-Mart for marshmallows and foam darts: Voila! Homemade blow guns for my 29-, 4-, and 3-year-old boys. (Since this is obviously something they teach in boy school, I won't include an extensive how-to. If you need one, your husband instinctively knows how to do this.) They are having a blast, and at least they agreed to stop shooting me for the second half of my lunch. Considering my kids' attention span and that their fun has lasted at least 3 hours, this is a big hit (...pun not intended).
Will in combat
Loading ammo

Can you guess what happens next?

John in action; his have gone all the way across the house, no problem. Baden was wearing his plastic armor at one point.

The stockings were shot by the chimney with care...

"Can Daddy please have the darts, Corinne?"

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Latest picture installment

Mom and Dad's 30th anniversary!

Okay, I love this picture! John really captured the boys and their brotherhood.

At Little Rock's Christmas parade!

Loves to read already :)

Our little Santa Baby

Souper Easy

Thai Soup (got it from Real Simple; they have recipes that just use two cans of chicken noodle soup, and this is one)

2 14-16 oz. cans chicken noodle soup (mine was condensed, so I added 2 cans water)
1/2 c coconut milk
2 t lime juice

Heat and serve with cilantro and lime wedges if you want to be all fancy. This one was simple enough I mixed a half-batch for myself and loved it--YUM.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

It's a...


I am a little overwhelmed by this. (No cool photos yet, by the way; Wonder Mom left the CD at the doctor. Nice. And they trust me with young children.)

Even as the specialist typed in those truly blessed words—"Male; no abnormalities seen"—the prospective energy level/intensity/groceries/testosterone coursing through my future household is a lot to imagine. Honestly, the idea of four children aged four and under has me gulping for a little extra air. Now I'm adding a little extra rambunctiousness, a bit higher volume level. There is a healthy dose of fear involved.

And then, next morning, I thought of Mary. The more I encounter life, the more I am transfixed by her reply to Gabriel, who has just described how Mary's life, her reputation, and (as far as she knew) her marriage would be altered by the most unexpected pregnancy. Here's her response from Luke 1:38:

"I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said."


I'm convicted that there's a whole lot of maturity wrapped up in that little verse. What if my response to fear, unexpected turns—or anything God sovereignly throws my way—was marked by that depth of faith, that depth of submission? Abraham had that kind of faith, and God built a nation on that; Noah had that kind of faith, and God saved his family from the world's destruction. This kind of faith has a pretty high value with God.

Christmas can somehow accentuate the things that aren't going as planned, as joyful, as peaceful as I wished they were. But from my vantage point, I think I could camp on this verse this season and discover a lot about the kind of heart that is "highly favored" by God (Luke 1:28,30).

Monday, November 10, 2008

Latest little familia update

Last week was hard for us. The election was largely a bummer (thank you for your sovereignty, Lord), but Monday was particularly difficult: The anniversary of John's mom's passing.

It was also very hard with some things going on at FamilyLife centering around the economy. Most of it came down on Thursday, his birthday. I have never seen John more ashen at work. He was really in the thick of it. We debriefed a lot on our birthday date on Friday--where we drove Mom's van because our van died on Thursday too...!

I think I have a music lover. Corinne bounces up and down to any rhythm at all (the mixer, the washer, immediately to any music), often clapping. When she's crying in the car, you usually just have to turn on the radio. I'll hear her up in her crib singing to herself! It's really sweet and really cool.

Will has a recent favorite game where he puts his nose on you and sucks in like a vacuum. He laughs and laughs. What a boy. He's REALLY DEFIANT right now, and whereas I seem to be handling that okay (four fits before church, one about whether or not he could play with the electrical outlet, the other about whether he could drink the hydrocortisone cream for his bug bite), I then am so worn out/sinful that I'm snippy about other stuff.

Baden is starting to read five-letter words, though he still gets vowels mixed up a little. He really seems to come alive with computer games on the net (math, science, and reading), so we'll probably get him a Reader Rabbit program for his stocking. I fold laundry and we both learn a lot! He's also really into mazes and the color red.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

A perfect steak

Steak is one of my husband's favorite dishes.

For the last eight years, uh, probably because I personally don't like steak, every one I have attempted to make has utterly failed. Badly.

Until now. A good friend is in culinary school, and after John had "the best steak of my life--no, the best three steaks!" at her house, I got her tips to make one for John's birthday last week, and TA-DA! Earned status in the top five lifetime steaks! A significant accomplishment for me! Now it's one of Baden's favorites, too.

I thought I'd share for those of you with carnivorous husbands...

1. Heat your skillet very hot; cast iron is ideal. Open your windows, because it will smoke.

2. Sprinkle room-temperature meat with paprika, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and meat tenderizer (careful, this has MSG for those who are allergic).

3. Brush oil (Anne uses olive oil) directly on steak.

4. Brown (sear) the meat on both sides. This will happen pretty quickly.

5. Finish the steak in a 375 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes. For medium/medium-well steaks, your thermometer should read 145-150; it will continue cooking after it's removed from the oven. Don't cut into it, because you want the juices to remain inside.

Bon appetit!

Monday, November 3, 2008

For goodness' sake, save yourself some cash!

My best online shopping tip this year: In your Google browser, type the name of the company you'd like to buy from and the words discount code (e.g. "Lands End discount code", "proflowers discount code", etc.). It will often bring up sites like retailmenot.com, on which people post the discount codes from their catalogs, coupons, etc. You can get free shipping, % off, dollars off...this has saved me $10 each on Christianbook.com, a flower order today, a swimsuit I bought this past summer--!

Use it for any site that allows you to enter a "promotional" or "coupon" code.

Ho, ho, ho! Hope it helps. ;)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Ta-da: Finally walking!

Just hit sixteen months, and just walking for about a week and a half now! Yahooooo! Great job, Corinne! She also just got her first teeth at 14 months, and now she has a big THREE. Hey, hey. That's my big girl.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Neighborhood Fall and Safety Fest

This was pretty cool--all for free and right around the corner. They had three inflatables (anyone else marvel that kids will wait eagerly in line to be "eaten" by an inflatable caterpillar and then climb through to be caterpillar poo?), an ambulance, a fire truck with safety demos, some cool games for prizes and candy, and free food.

In case you wonder at the number of children in the pictures...John had to work Saturday, so I was going to take the kids, all in their Halloween-that-we-don't-actually-celebrate-costumes. Then on our way out, our neighbor kids and their friends (they hang out at our house nearly daily) asked if they could come. So all eight of us walked up (yes, that's a 1:7 adult to child ratio. I think my prego brain must have failed on the math or something). But we did have a good time, and only about 20-30 minutes could have been considered utter chaos. Baden dressed as a fireman, so he was T-H-R-I-L-L-E-D to get in the fire truck.

The crew. As if the cloth diapers didn't seal it, yes, I may be nuts.

Contrary to the picture, Corinne loves to hang out with Jada, 8.

Gift idea for the person who has everything

I did this one year for my boss at work and it was a big hit!

The idea: A fresh evergreen wreath for their door at home or work for the holidays.

Here's one I found for $14.95, and if you order from Nov. 1-21 (they ship just after Thanksgiving), she only charges actual shipping costs (that's $10.64 for one of the zip codes I'm sending to, and $8.25 to the other). More than one wreath shipped to one place and you only pay shipping for the first one! How cool. Go to www.jillstwigwreaths.com, click the "winter" tab, then the link at the top for fresh evergreen wreaths.

Here's the picture. Ho, ho, ho!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The easiest muffins you'll ever make

1 box cake mix
1 can pumpkin (or 2 c. fresh)

Bake according to your box directions' time and temperature for cupcakes.


You won't taste the pumpkin, but they are super-moist and really yummy. I even let my kids eat 'em for breakfast.

Let me know if you want to know how to cook a pumpkin--makes great fresh pumpkin pie, pumpkin bars, pumpkin bread, pumpkin soup...(yeah, I saw Forrest Gump, too).

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Will has been asking daily whether the baby is still in my tummy. Now that I have a few days till my second trimester, the answer isn't really a secret. Then the other day:

Will: Mom, is your foot going to hurt?

Mommy, obviously confused: What?

Will: Is your foot going to break?

Mommy: Why would my foot break?

Will: When the baby comes out!

Hmm. Well, he knows it needs to come out! I think I'm thankful that it isn't through my foot.

Life insights from my four-year-old

Scene: Mommy has been crying because she just got an e-mail that, as we had been anticipating, David just passed away. Her back is to Baden.

Mommy: Baden, I want to let you know that I just found out that David went to be with Jesus today.

Baden (like hearing a juicy bit of gossip): I hearrr-rd!


Scene: Mommy is praying after kids' bedtime, a little nervous about the prospect of sharing Jesus with next-door-neighbor.

Baden enters stage left with yet another creative bedtime request. Upon leaving, turns around and quotes from the Psalty CD he's been listening to...

Baden: Remember, Mom, it's not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit.

(Big hugs from Mom.)

Scene: Mommy calls Baden on her cell phone to make a better apology for yelling at Baden this morning.

Baden: Mommy, I forgive you. And I want to let you know that even when you do bad things, I still love you. And I want to let you know that even when you do bad things, God still loves you.

Mommy nearly cries, then laughs, and certainly feels even worse about yelling at Baden: I love you so much, Buddy.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Pics from the State Fair

It was great: $1 for parking, free admission, free rides, short lines, and just families with their kids. We actually got to see a zebu and a water buffalo at the petting zoo (as opposed to just hearing about them from Silly Songs with Larry). The expressions say it all, folks.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Update on David

From my sister Jennifer on Friday:
My dear friends and family, thank you for the overwhelming support and prayers you have offered on behalf of David and Chris's family since Wednesday. David passed away today. The swelling in his brain was so significant that it occluded his brain stem this morning around 3am. Although he was brain dead, he remained on the respirator all day and will continue to until they retrieve his organs for donation this evening. The family have all arrived back at Paul and Sue's now. Please pray for us all, especially Paul and Sue, and Chris and Beth. There's been such support from everyone that we have been overwhelmed and at times have felt such peace and joy that comes only because there is so much love between us and surrounding us.

My mom arrives tomorrow, another act of love from my family that leaves me speechless. Services will be end of next week. I will let you know more in a few days as things unfold.
Love, Jenn
Jenn's husband Chris (the groom here), and David, to the left between him and John
Chris and Jenn

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Please pray for David

My sister, Jenn, is married to Chris, a young doctor in England. Chris' brother David is a tree surgeon there. Wednesday David fell from a tree and was caught by his harness--but his chainsaw sliced major arteries in his neck. The retired doctor who lived there performed CPR for 50 minutes before David began breathing again.

Surgery was able to repair the arteries and muscle, but the level of brain damage looks severe to the point of being life-threatening. David professed faith in Jesus Christ about a year and a half ago, for which we are thrilled. They will begin to take David off sedation about nine tomorrow (three in the morning our time), when we will begin to see if he can survive without life support.

My mom is headed there tomorrow to be with Jenn and Chris. Please pray for Jenn; Chris; Chris' parents, Paul and Sue; and all the others touched by such a horrific accident. Most of all, please pray for God's glory and abiding presence. This has been a very hard couple of days for all of us...my arms feel so short, but I know God's aren't.


Welcome, Fall!: The Pumpkin Patch

A hay bale jungle gym! The boys loved it, and it reminded me of the ones Dad used to build for us in the barn!

A petting zoo--pygmy goats and sheep

The boys adored the hayrack ride; Will asked to do that during every other activity!

Tya, the girl whose preschool we went with!

A pig race. 'Nuff said.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Week in Paradise (a.k.a. Grandpa and Grandma's)

John and I took a week for intensive Peacemaker training and their annual conference in Orlando--an incredible time for me to enter into his passion and truly remarkable gifting. Wish I could tell you what an honor it was to be there with him, in an environment where he's so respected, but much more so, where John's heartbeat is.
The kiddos got to go to Grandpa Gary and Grandma Cindy's, and they had a BLAST. What a week! We were so blessed to not have to worry a bit about them and to have parents who truly enjoyed them, and somehow without spoiling them made every day nearly magical! Check it out.

Thanks to the VeggieTales Pirates Who Don't Do Anything, my boys are going through a (virtuous?) pirates phase. These were their latest swords from World Fest.

Corinne and boys watching the AR Game and Fish Commission's massive portable aquarium

Uncle Steven, Aunt Keri, and Corinne enjoy a smoothie outside of the tepee

face painting at Little Rock's World Fest

Aunt Keri and Will on the World Fest inflatables!

Playing in a tree felled by Gustav

New digs: A box from La-Z-Boy. Talk about the penthouse suite! I think Handyman Grandpa even made a shelf in there. They were eating hot dogs in their "house" when I called to check on them from our training in Orlando.