"If the God you believe in as an idea doesn’t start showing up in what happens to you in your own life, you have as much cause for concern as if the God you don’t believe in as an idea does start showing up. It is absolutely crucial, therefore, to keep in constant touch with what is going on in your own life’s story and to pay close attention to what is going on in the stories of others’ lives. If God is present anywhere, it is in those stories that God is present. If God is not present in those stories, then they are scarcely worth telling." ~ Frederick Buechner

18 July 2014

Blueberry Week

Well, I think I've been poked, pricked, and prodded enough to last me a lifetime--or at least, until next year's round of doctors' visits.

I think Little Lady is beginning the teething process, as there have been copious amounts of drool, gnawing action, and uncharacteristic fussiness going on around here. She also didn't nap well today, and so by the time N got home (an hour later than usual, because he was making up for coming home early this week so I wouldn't have to take both kids to all my appointments), I was more than ready for a break. So once dinner was done, N took both kids to play in Little B's room so I could have a breather before the bedtime flurry.

Next thing I know, I hear lots and lots of giggling coming from Little Lady as her big brother plays on his "rockstar guitar." N brought them into our bedroom briefly so I could see B dancing and strumming his little plastic guitar, and A just laughed and laughed. She adores her brother; she smiles whenever he's around, and the more he performs, the more hilarious she thinks he is.

We have been experiencing some record lows this week here in the north Dallas area, which I'm LOVING. I wouldn't mind if this weather stuck around for a while, but I suppose I should just be grateful that we got it at all. Now if only all the mosquitoes would just go and die, because I made the horrible mistake of opening all the windows a couple days ago to enjoy the cool, fresh air and have been regretting it ever since. Those nasty, evil little buggers have been feasting on me and the children.

And yes, we have screens. With no visible holes.

Mosquitoes are evil.

The cool(er) weather has provided me with good baking temperatures (because really, who wants to turn on the oven in the middle of a Texan summer?), so I've taken advantage of it (and the abundance of blueberries I now have in my freezer).

On Monday, we had blueberries in our yogurt at breakfast. On Tuesday, I made blueberry pancakes with the aid of my trusty little helper. Typically, I make large batches of this pancake recipe by Homemade Mothering and keep it in the refrigerator. But it makes a lighter pancake, and I wanted something that would provide enough density to balance out the blueberries.

So, as I often do in these circumstances, I winged it.

And B ate them all up!

I also made some lemon blueberry muffins on Tuesday. I was working quickly to make them after dinner, so I didn't take the time to take photos, but by happenstance, N met with his mentor that night. And I had sent a little container of muffins with N. And his wife posted a photo of them the next morning. Yay, Lori!

Then, this afternoon, while Little Lady was refusing to fall asleep, I decided I needed something quick and easy to make for dinner. So I put her in the Ergo, and as she "sang" and growled (I think it's hysterical that she does that, especially because B never did), I made Crockpot Blueberry Crumble and ham & veggie omelettes. I used vegetables that B had picked on our adventure at a local community garden earlier this week. He was so proud that I was using them!

As a side note, when I told B we were having omelettes for dinner, he threw his hands up in the air in excitement and exclaimed, "Omelettes?! Omelettes are my FAVE-rit! They taste kind of yucky but they're good!"

I inquired what part was yucky and what part was good, and he replied, "The inside is the yucky part and the outside is the good part!" I'm assuming he is talking about the texture of the eggs, but regardless, he ate everything I served him on his plate.

It has been a long week, mostly because I've had a doctors' appointment every day except for today, so we haven't gotten to do hardly anything else or hang out with any friends. I'm so glad it's Friday!

Have a terrific weekend, everyone!

14 July 2014

An Eventful Monday!

Last night, we had our life group friends over for dessert in celebration of N's birthday. He typically favors pies over cakes, so I was surprised (and a little relieved, because let's face it, a cake is much less labor intensive than a pie) when he requested pineapple upside down cake for his birthday. He also wanted cherry vanilla ice cream, which prompted one of our friends to inquire whether N has an affinity for cherries.
After all our guests had left, the kids were asleep, and as we were cleaning up together, N commented that he had never had so many kids at his birthday before.

I can't decide whether that's funny or sad.

Today was N's actual birthday. My sweet husband empties the dishwasher for me every morning before he leaves for work, so as a surprise, I did it late last night and left a "Happy birthday!" note in there for him to find. He had slept in an extra half hour this morning so that actually worked out really well!

After N left, B and I quickly ate breakfast and made a birthday card. B dictated what he wanted me to write on the inside, and part of the message included, "I hope you like your card. It's adorable." I had to pretend that I needed a drink of water to keep from laughing when he said that part.

We were going to our monthly outing to the Nature Explore Family Club at a nearby Environmental Education Center, and since B wanted to get Daddy a balloon for his birthday, I had to wake the baby up before she was ready so we could fit everything in this morning. Thankfully, she's a pretty happy little morning person!

We picked up the balloon and headed off to "the garden center" (which is what B calls it). The topic today was "Yummy in My Tummy: Fresh from the Garden." Last month, we talked about pollination and all the different pollinators, which led nicely into today's lesson about fresh fruits and vegetables.
After the lesson in the classroom with Miss Charlotte, we all walked over to the community garden.
There are fifty raised garden beds in the community garden, tended by about thirty gardeners from the local community. Much of the produce is donated to food pantries. After a water break, we took a little tour of the herb garden, where we got to smell various plants, including sage, which B declared smelled yucky.
We also got to taste stevia and spearmint plants--B quite enjoyed the former but spit out the latter. Together, they are called "nature's garden gum."

The kids then got to pick fresh produce from the garden, wash them, and bag them to bring them home! What a treat!
After B was done washing his goodies, we walked back over to the tables, where Miss Erin had sliced up from fresh Armenian cucumbers. Those were crunchy and delicious. I have never seen B eat cucumbers quite so enthusiastically! He kept going back for more!
Then Miss Erin asked for a volunteer to come help her pick a watermelon from the garden, and Little B enthusiastically went off with her (which actually surprised me, given B's normal unwillingness to leave us, but everyone there is so nice and great with the kids). He helped twist that melon right off the vine and carried it all the way back to the table all by himself.
We were sent home with our produce and some sunflower seeds from some giant sunflowers that one of the volunteers had grown. Such a fun outing!

N's office isn't too far from the Environmental Education Center, so we headed over there to surprise him.
The man at the registration desk tried calling his office extension several times, but there was no answer! So after waiting several minutes with an excited little boy who was getting increasingly impatient to see his daddy, I finally took this photo and texted it to N.
He came out right away to get us. We hadn't visited this office yet, so we got to meet some of his team members, including a lady who had sent us a pretty little wall hanging for A when she was born. It was nice to put some faces to names!
Once we got home, we had lunch and both kids quickly conked out from an eventful morning.
Unfortunately, I had to spend the afternoon at the dentist's for a postponed appointment (N had to unexpectedly go out of town the day of my original appointment).
I came home numb and tired from the pain medication, so we ordered a pizza and called it a night. I promised N that one of these years, I won't be under the weather or first-trimester pregnant for his birthday!

Hope everyone's week is off to a good start!

13 July 2014

An Even Bigger Big Boy Bed

Less than a year ago, Little B graduated from his crib to a "big boy bed" as we began preparing for Little Lady's arrival. We didn't want him to have any notion that that baby was taking anything away from him, and since he had already been climbing in and out of his crib with ease during the day (but not at night, thankfully), we figured it was time.

We found his toddler bed at a yard sale. It was in amazing condition (the sellers were grandparents and the bed had been used maybe three times before their grandchildren outgrew it!), a terrific bargain, and just the right size. We were thrilled with the find and the plan was that he would be in it until the baby outgrew the crib. Then she would use the toddler bed and we would convert the crib.


We didn't count on our tall three-year old outgrowing that "big boy bed" in less than a year! He's the height of some five-year olds, and he had been telling us that his feet hurt at night. Turned out that his toes were sticking through the slats at the base of the bed! We took to tucking his blankets in under his mattress at night so his feet couldn't push through.

When we first moved to Texas, we popped into our local IKEA, just to check things out. We had seen a reversible loft bed that we thought looked like a lot of fun for "someday." Last month, I found one in great condition (it just had a sticker on one of the boards) on an online garage sale site for an amazing bargain, so we picked it up and hid it until just the right time.

Last week, N had to make a trip down to Houston, and B missed his daddy so very much. All things considered, things went really well ... until the lights were turned off and song/prayer time began. Then the tears began to fall on that fuzzy blue blankie, the one he used to suck on before I hemmed up the borders with flannel. 

"I just miss Daddy, Mama. I just want Daddy to come home." 

I stroked his hair and told him I was sad, too. I cried with him and prayed for him. And later, as I nursed the baby, I listened to my little boy's sniffles turn into muffled sobs as he tried so hard to "not wake up baby sister."

Well, after that, I decided that he had earned his new bed. He was a great helper as we put the bed together.

And, as always, Little Lady was a chipper encourager in all our hard work and happy to give lots of giggles and kisses, as she absolutely adores her big brother.
Lying together on the Blue Bunny Blankie and giving kisses
We had one more surprise in store for our little man. A new big bed meant that he needed new sheets and blankets!
Covering his eyes as I took his new bed set out of its hiding place (in the guest room closet)!
He was SO excited that he let out a squeal and immediately embraced all the items in a big hug!
I think he approves.
For the past few months, he has been really into "Planes." He has loved airplanes ever since he was just a tot (moving to this area was great, because we see planes flying overhead all the time), but ever since we got him "Planes" for Christmas, he can seldom be found without a little airplane in his hand.

I have to admit, there was a tiny part of my heart that grieved at yet another change that signified my baby boy going from toddler to little boy. I nearly cried as he informed N that night that he didn't need his fuzzy blue bunny blankie to sleep with anymore.  

But it sure is nice to be able to cuddle next to him at bedtime and not have toddler bed rails digging into my back! 
We took down that front rail after the first night. It was an accident waiting to happen for us AND we could foresee B swinging from it. When he's older, we'll flip it over so he can have a loft bed.

12 July 2014

Blueberries for B

I have wanted to take Little B fruit picking for a while now, but it is considerably more difficult to come by fruit farms/orchards in our area than it used to be when we lived in the Northeast. I was pretty thrilled when I learned of a blueberry farm within an hour of our house!

Initially, I had planned on making it a weekday outing, but when I brought it up earlier this week, B said that he really wanted Daddy to come along with us when we went berry picking. Following a conversation with N, we decided to go as early as we could this morning (to avoid potential crowds but also to avoid the hottest part of the Texas summer day).

We didn't get as early of a start as I would have liked (we are sleep-deprived parents, after all), but we made it there in good time, chatting about Blueberries for Sal, which we have borrowed from the library several times, along the way. Little Lady had fallen asleep, so I waited outside with her in the stroller while N and B went inside to get the buckets.
I've never seen these types of harnesses before. So cute that they have kid-sized ones!
We saw so many of these guys. Guess they like those berries, too! B requested the "Hop, Hop, Grasshopper" song from Kindermusik several times as we picked berries.
I think he ate almost as many as he picked.
Someone was sneaky with taking pictures when I wasn't paying attention.
So generous with affection for his baby sister, who absolutely adores her big brother in return!
Our full bucket o' berries!
Flying like airplanes!
As we were checking out, N took B to the bathroom. The lady and I began chatting (is anyone surprised?). We talked about the amazing apple orchards up north, and she mentioned that she would like to have strawberries within the next few years. Fun! And when she found out that it was N's birthday weekend, she gave us a bit of a discount. What a nice treat!

We stopped in a "dusty little town" (as N called it) on the way home for lunch, because he had spotted a Mexican restaurant on our way to the farm. The food was pretty scrumptious, and because it's N's birthday weekend, we decided to splurge and get fried ice cream (yum!).

B took a nap as soon as we got home, and since A was fast asleep again, I ran errands while N did some yard work and cleaned up B's inflatable kiddie pool (it has been sitting in a dusty little heap in the garage since last summer). We spent the late afternoon happily splashing around and are now ending the day with a family movie night.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend, too!

11 July 2014

Cow Appreciation Day 2014

Earlier this week, I noticed on Chick-fil-A's FB page that today was their annual Cow Appreciation Day. For those who don't know, if you show up to Chick-fil-A wearing a full cow costume on Cow Appreciation Day, you get your entire meal free. If you wear a cow "accessory," you get a free entree.

I've been wanting to work on a "fun" crochet project for a while, one that would be quicker than some of the things I've had on my plate recently. I decided I wanted to make the littles cow hats for today.

I worked on them this morning as I waited for Little Lady to wake up. She had a late night last night, and she slept in until past 10 a.m.! Little B played nearby in the kitchen and then came and kept me company, doing his own "yarn work." He said he was making a "beautiful hat for Daddy."
I finished the hats just in time for us to head out the door for dinner.

This was the first time we have participated in Cow Appreciation Day. We figured out that, pretty much, if you wear a cow shirt and ears, it counts as a "full costume." I guess B and I have a craft project for next year!
And here is our Little Lady in her hat and a hand-me-down cow diaper from Little B:
Yep. Pretty much, the cutest little cows we've ever seen around these parts!