Monday, December 21, 2009

A Letter to the Baby

To the sweet little life entrusted to our care,

On Sunday evening, December 20, 2009, you were just 8 weeks old in my womb. You were precious from the beginning, and we were already so excited to meet you! However, over the next few hours and days we would learn exactly how precious you are.

I began spotting, which made me a little worried for your life. I did some research to see if I had cause to be concerned about a miscarriage. My concern was confirmed that spotting was an early sign of miscarriage, and I learned that if that's what was happening, there wasn't a thing anyone could do to help you. Our good friend, Mary Schutz (a labor/delivery nurse) confirmed what I'd learned, but prayed with me and comforted me. I felt so overwhelmed that I couldn't help you, my sweet baby.

The spotting continued that evening. Daddy was very concerned for you and for me. He began to pray. He called out to our Mighty God and King to save your life. Through tears, we acknowledged that God is the Author of Life. We confessed that He created you and numbered your days before you were even conceived. We prayed that God would show his power and his mercy and save you or raise you from the dead. God, and ONLY God, could save you. Daddy prayed for the Holy Spirit to bring peace so that we could rest.

As we were trying to fall asleep, the Holy Spirit reminded me of Hannah in the Bible. Hannah longed for children and she cried before the Lord to bless her and open her womb. God heard Hannah and answered her cry. When her firstborn, Samuel, was born, she knew he was a gift, and she gave him back to the Lord. The Holy Spirit reminded me of the names we had picked out for you. If you are a boy, your name means a gift made by the Lord. If you are a girl, your name means joyfully consecrated to the Lord. Sweet baby, we long to meet you and hold you, but we know that you belong to the Lord. He has given you to us, but we dedicate your life back to the Lord. We will treasure you as the gift from the Lord that you are, however long you may be a part of our lives on this earth. As one more measure of peace before I drifted off to sleep, the Holy Spirit put the song, "Mighty to Save" by Hillsong Australia in my heart. I've heard it before, but it was so much more powerful at that moment. I've written out the words for you, but the part that kept running through my mind was, "My Saviour, He can move the mountains, My God is Mighty to save, He is Mighty to save. Forever, Author of salvation, He rose and conquered the grave, Jesus conquered the grave."

Everyone needs compassion,
Love that's never failing;
Let mercy fall on me.

Everyone needs forgiveness,
The kindness of a Saviour;
The Hope of nations.

Saviour, He can move the mountains,
My God is Mighty to save,
He is Mighty to save.

Forever, Author of salvation,
He rose and conquered the grave,
Jesus conquered the grave.

So take me as You find me,
All my fears and failures,
Fill my life again.

I give my life to follow
Everything I believe in,
Now I surrender.

My Saviour, He can move the mountains,
My God is Mighty to save,
He is Mighty to save.
Forever, Author of salvation,
He rose and conquered the grave,
Jesus conquered the grave.

Shine your light and let the whole world see,
We're singing for the glory of the risen King...Jesus (x2)

My Saviour, He can move the mountains,
My God is Mighty to save,
He is Mighty to save.
Forever, Author of salvation,
He rose and conquered the grave,
Jesus conquered the grave.

My Saviour, you can move the mountains,
You are mighty to save,
You are mighty to save.
Forever, Author of Salvation,
You rose and conquered the grave,
Yes you conquered the grave

God was beginning to open my eyes to just how precious you truly are.

I slept peacefully, though I spotted more through the night. When I woke up, the Holy Spirit didn't give fear or worry a chance, as He put these lyrics in my head, "Life, life, fullness of life. And joy in the presence of the Lord!" Little One, you are loved! Mommy and Daddy love you so much! You are precious to us, but I will never understand how precious you are to the One who made you. I can't even begin to imagine how much Jesus loves you and how precious you are to him. He created you and formed you with His own hands. He has given you life, and He has sustained your life. Little One, you are destined to do great things for our God and His Kingdom. At least in our family, you will forever be a reminder that life is a wonderful gift.

New life is an incredible gift, but ETERNAL life is the best gift of all. How perfect God's timing to remind us of the most precious gift of all. On Christmas, God GAVE His only Son, Jesus, to save the world. To give us eternal life.

"Thank you, Jesus, for the gift of this precious baby. Thank you for life and life again. Thank you for your life. Thank you, Father, for the gift of Jesus and the gift of eternal life."

Love always,


Monday, December 7, 2009

I LOVE this part of being a mom!

Adon is holding Gabe, like in this picture, and kisses him on the head about every 15 seconds!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Happy 3-Month Birthday Gabe!

It's hard to believe it's been 3 months already! Gabe has learned so much in these short months. He:
  • coos and "talks" a ton!
  • smiles almost all the time.
  • rolls over from his tummy to his back (for two months now!)
  • sleeps well, up to 11 hours at night.
  • goes 3 to 3.5 hours between feedings.
  • weighs 15+ pounds and wears 3-6 month clothes.
  • watches the mobile and lights in the swing.
  • can grab the hanging animals in his bouncy seat to create lights and sounds!
Gabe is a joy and a delight! He is so laid back. He is a wonderful baby, a treasure, and a gift! We love you so much, Gabey Baby!

So the day begins...

This is how it went...child #1 woke up crying/screaming at 4:30. J had been getting up the last few nights at this time to console child #1, but since J had to get up to go to work today, I went in to console child #1. Once quiet, I went to the bathroom on my way back to bed. Child #1 was no longer consoled. Changed child #1's diaper. However, child #1's discontentment woke child #2. Warned child #1 to be quiet and lay down and went to console child #2 before he woke J up. Child #2 refused to be consoled without eating. Began to feed child #2 when child #1 decided it was time to get up for the day. Firm warning to child #1 to get back into bed. Child #1 cries loudly in protest. Child #2 didn't eat complete meal, he just wanted to be held at 5:30 a.m.!!!! Child #1 was out of bed again. Reminded child #1 it wasn't time to get up yet, get back in bed. Changed child #2 and put him back to bed with a few whimpers. Gave child #1 a stern warning to stay in bed and rest quietly. Dragged my feet back to bed only to hear J's alarm clock going off at 5:45. Dear sweet husband let me stay in bed and made his own lunch. Said children let me sleep a little while before they both demanded breakfast. I attempted to reheat some coffee, but it boiled over in the microwave. Child #2 is currently sleeping, while child #1 plays with his books. T minus 2 hours until family naptime begins!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Aromatic Cooking and Baking

Today is my normal cooking and baking day. However, with the volumes I've been producing lately with my pumpkin excitement and surplus of tomatoes, I'm running low on my grocery budget and freezer space! I can hardly find anything in the freezer without something falling out!

So, in lieu of a whole day in the kitchen, I'm trying a new recipe for dinner. It's an attempt to be frugal, use up some ingredients from the back of the pantry, and still make up for not cooking and baking all day. It's called Everyday Cassoulet (a bean and sausage casserole) from my Betty Crocker cookbook. It called for dried or fresh thyme, which is actually where I got the idea for this post.

I've been growing a number of fresh herbs in my garden this summer. I'm not a fancy chef, so I knew very little about spices and herbs. I really only used seasoned salt, garlic powder, and onion powder, unless a recipe called for something else. In fact, I had to leave all of the little tags that came with the starter plants in the herb pot, so I would know what was what. Slowly over the summer, as my recipes called for them, I would learn about that particular herb (i.e. how/when to cut it, dry it, use it, etc.). I'm far from an expert, but using the fresh stuff, as opposed to the dried spices, has really expanded my knowledge and recognition of them. The stuff in my pantry is so old, it hardly has any smell or flavor. The fresh herbs are SO aromatic and add so much flavor to the dishes I use them in.

When I made all of that tomato paste, I had a bunch of extra herbs that cut and washed just sitting on the counter in separate bowls. Over the last few weeks, they've dried, and it's been so handy to have them almost ready to use. It's an inspiration to pick some more and wash it up, just to have it ready. Plus, as the fall settles in, less and less will grow. Next summer, I may not grow as much variety, but grow more of the stuff I use most. (I have plenty of sage if there's anyone interested!)

On the baking side of things, today I had a tasty spice cookie made by my friend, Darla. It looked like a snickerdoodle, so I was surprised when I tasted the nutmeg in it! I was equally surprised with myself that I could tell that nutmeg was the spice used! I think I recognized it, because I had ground some fresh nutmeg with Aunt Barb one time. Thanks Aunt Barb for encouraging my culinary desire, and providing ample learning opportunities!

You can help me learn more, too!! What are your favorite spices/herbs to cook with? What do you use them in? I look forward to hearing from you, and maybe trying some of your recipes!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Computer Issues

It's been an interested week around here without our laptop. It crashed last week, and I was petrified we'd lost everything on it...all of our 2009 pictures (including everything we have of Gabe), all of our freshly modified budget, and numerous other important documents.

My dad picked it up and took it to his IT guys. After some diagnostic tests, they found that the cooling mechanism (he compared it to the radiator of a car) was filthy...which explains why it would frequently overheat and shut itself off. They also found that some of the sectors on the hard drive were bad. However, we learned today it's been fixed and "working perfectly." I have no idea how much that will run. My dad took care of it, and said we'd sort it out later. He's even going to pick it up for us tomorrow. Thanks, DAD!!!

I'm so grateful we didn't lose everything. I think we'll be getting an external hard drive soon to back up everything, just in case. I'm also thankful that J had a desktop we could hook up to use in the mean time. I'll be glad to get this beast out of the living room and bring the baby swing back. I'll, hopefully, be able to start posting pictures again once we get the laptop back.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Great new/cheap/tasty recipe idea

I actually started this post on 9/9/09. My computer froze before I finished it, and then promptly shut itself off. We couldn't get it back on, and my dad took it in to the shop. We got word today that it's been fixed (no idea how much that'll set us back, though). Hopefully more posts to follow more frequently...and with pictures!

I'm really trying to be frugal with what groceries we buy, so this week, I'm trying to use lots of things we have at home already to make meals. Lunch today was a HUGE success.

I decided we'd have quesadillas. Here's how we usually make them....

1. Open package of tortillas.
2. Put one tortilla on a plate.
3. Open shredded cheese.
4. Put shredded cheese on half of the prepared tortilla.
5. Fold tortilla in half.
6. Spray tortilla with spray butter.
7. Sprinkle tortilla with parmesan cheese.
8. Nuke plate with tortilla for 45 seconds.
9. Eat quesadilla.

BORING! Simple, but very boring. I had a little inspiration to dress these up a bit, so I ran with it. Here's the new, creative, frugal way to make quesadillas with stuff we already had on hand.

First of all, we had no shredded cheese. We had a block of cheese, so I grated it myself. We had some black beans in the freezer that I had previously cooked. We had some leftover corn from dinner last night, and we only had one frozen chicken breast (what can you do with one frozen chicken breast that will feed a whole family???). So here's what I did:

1. Boil the chicken breast (I didn't even thaw it out) until there's no pink inside.
2. Shred the chicken using a fork to hold it in place and another fork to shred it.
3. Put corn, black beans (drained), and shredded chicken in a large skillet to heat them up. Season as desired (we used seasoned salt, garlic powder, and onion powder). Move the mixture to a bowl.
4. Brush one side of a tortilla with olive oil. Put the oil side down in the skillet.
5. Top with a thin layer of cheese.
6. Add a thin layer of the chicken mixture.
7. Add another thin layer of cheese.
8. Top with another tortilla, and brush the top of the tortilla with olive oil.
9. Cook on medium heat until the bottom tortilla is browned (it will shrink).
10. Flip the whole concoction over to finish cooking. Quesedilla is finished when the bottom tortilla is browned and shrinks to about the same size as the top one.
11. Cut into triangles with a pizza cutter.
12. Serve with sour cream and whatever random fruits/vegetables you have. We had applesauce and carrot sticks.

I didn't have to buy a single thing to make this, AND everyone liked it. I should get some bonus points or something, because it was healthy!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Tired Mommy

I'm reading through a series of books written by Gary Ezzo. I re-read Preparation for Parenting (On Becoming Baby Wise), when Gabe was born. We incorporated the principles within the first week of his birth and never looked back. We were so grateful to get more sleep when he started sleeping 9-10 hours around 9 weeks of age.

Then I read through Preparation for the Toddler Years (5 months - 15 months), albeit a little late for Adon. Most of it was already in practice, but we learned a few new things. For example, we now require eye contact and have cracked down on first time obedience.

Now, I'm reading On Becoming Toddler Wise. So far, my favorite quote is, "There is no question that a toddler's mom is a tired mom, and for good reason. The emotional and physical energy needed to supervise an energy-packed tot can take down the most physically fit mom. If your toddler happens to be a boy, add... fifty percent more energy. Never so beautiful does this child look to his weary mom as he does when he closes his eyes in sleep." Oh, so true! I can only imagine how it will be when they are both mobile! I'm looking forward to this new stage of toddlerhood with Adon and all of the adventures and fatigue that come with it.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Busy-ness of life with a newborn

I know it's been ages since I posted anything, but what else is to be expected with a newborn around? However, my friend, Elisa has been posting at least every other day, and she gave birth a week ago! Thus, I am motivated to post a little more frequently. My first mission...finish Gabe's birth story! Stay tuned...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

That's not how I left you...

I laid Gabe on his tummy (with his head on the burp cloth) so I could get Adon up from his nap and change his diaper. This is how I found him when I returned!

Rolling over at 1 month beats Adon by a whole month! The doctor didn't believe me when I told him Adon rolled over at 2 months. He certainly won't believe me at Gabe's check-up on Friday that Gabe rolled over on his one-month birthday. Happy Birthday, Little Guy! Where has the time gone?

Look what I got!!!

I went to the produce stand to get some bananas today, because J and Adon go through about 5 pounds a week! I picked out about 6 good California peaches and was ready to check out. Next to the cash register was a box of bruised peaches majorly marked down. Now, we're not talking bruised so bad you can't eat them. Just a soft spot here or there. Easy enough to cut out spots. The 6 California peaches I picked out were $2.90. The 32 bruised peaches in the box next to the cash register were $2.00!!!!! First, I'm going to make some peach muffins. Then I'm going to peel and cut them to freeze and use for smoothies and peach cobbler and....oh, the possibilities! Please let me know if you have any good ideas/recipes that I can try with my new-found treasure!

PS - Did you know you can often ask for "ripe" bananas at a produce stand if you want to make some banana bread/muffins? They're about half the price of the regular bananas!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

More to report

  • Adon just said "maa maa" (yes ma'am) without any prompting and immediately obeyed!!!
  • Adon continues to love on (sometimes too much) his little brother.
  • Gabe is chilling on his tummy with his paci in his mouth.
  • Gabe gags when he doesn't want something in his mouth (i.e. paci, food supply). It's really funny.
  • J is home from Springfield. It's so nice to have some middle of the night help again.

Monday, July 13, 2009

So much to report!

  • I just noticed yesterday that one of Adon's molars has broken through his gums. I didn't even know it was coming in! He bumped his mouth and it bled. When I inspected it, I found a chomper in the back! However, he's missing a bunch of teeth between his front ones and that molar. :o)
  • Adon knows how to pretend. We've been saving empty Pringle's cans for VBS at church, and Adon loves playing with them. He took the lid off, stuck his hand in, pulled out a pretend chip, and munched away pretending to eat. He also offered pretend chips to everyone else, who also enjoyed munching on pretend chips!
  • Adon knows how to pick up his toys and books. He's become soooo helpful! He can take his shoes to his room and put them away, put dirty clothes in the laundry basket, bring blankets and pacifiers to me for Gabe, and he's learning more things every day.
  • Adon is down to nursing just twice a day, morning and bedtime. We've eliminated the afternoon/nap time feeding unintentionally, but the afternoons have just been too busy.
  • Adon learned so many new words while Aunt Donna was here. In the last couple of days, he's started saying, "Yes, ma'am" but it comes out like "ma ma". It's really cute!
  • Gabe has started to have some head control. He lifts it up and then it flops back down.
  • Gabe is eating every 3 hours, but at night he's been going 3.5 to 4 hours. One night, he even skipped a feeding and went almost 5 hours! I felt really good after that one.
  • Adon loves his "bubba" so much! He always has a hug and a kiss for him. He tries to put (shove) his paci in his mouth. He says "shh" when Gabe is sleeping or imitates my shushing to calm Gabe when he's fussing.
  • I'll report more as I think of it. I've started the post on Gabe's birth story, but have been too busy/tired/obsessed with Facebook to finish it.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Still No Baby

Sorry to leave so many of you hanging with that last post, but it's kinda disappointing when contractions stop completely.

My doctor's appointment yesterday went well. There was some progress, but not like we've seen week to week. It was almost a relief so my brain can slow down.

Sunday, the ladies from church had a "diaper" shower for us. We are so incredibly blessed! It only cost us about $10 out of pocket to get the absolute necessities for cloth diapering Baby. There are, of course, other things that we'll need as the kiddos get bigger or would be nice to have (i.e. swim diapers). But in the meantime, we're completely covered. The newest diapers are in the laundry now as we wait for Baby to come. (The new ones have to be washed and dried 5 times before they're absorbent enough to use!!) I'll try to get some pics posted of the kids cute little bums with their awesome diapeys.

In Adon news...he climbed into the chair in the living room all by himself! He toddles mostly by himself, making occasional stops at various furniture to re-steady himself. He has also discovered that Daddy has nipples and armpit hair...both of which make funny sounds when touched! He also has been dealing with allergies (I think) the last couple of days making him cough and his nose run. I think he senses something is about to change. He's been very snuggly and clingy. He's not eating much and not been his normal cheerful self these last few days. I can't wait for him to meet the new baby. Twice in the last week, he's very gently given hugs to little people (his size and smaller). One of them was a three-month-old baby. It made my Mommy heart so happy to see how gentle and loving he was.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Contractions are about 10 minutes apart. Please pray that this is the real thing. I'm so ready!
We're really thinking it could be any day now. Unless I make negative progress, I don't think my body can keep the baby in another 2 weeks. We're delivering we
dding cakes today to help pass the time and make a little extra money. I'm so thankful for J. He's actually doing all the work while I stay in the car with Adon
No news to report. My body is continuing to get ready to deliver the baby with additional contractions and a few other signs. I've been feeling pretty nauseous.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Yes, I'm still pregnant.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Doctor's Appointment & Bargain Shopping

I went to Kmart today to take advantage of their double coupons...again! However, they didn't ring all of them up right. I waited for an hour for them to correct it and finally had to leave for my doctor's appointment. I left my phone number for them to call me about it. Well, they called and needed my credit card to actually do the correction. So, I went back after my doctor's appointment and waited at least another 20 minutes for them to fix it. Oh, well. I got about $58 of stuff for about $12, plus I got a $14 coupon off my next purchase. I'll be going back tomorrow to finish the shopping I didn't get to do today since they took forever to correct their mistake. I also went to Target today, armed with sales and coupons. My total was about $56 after sales, but before coupons. After was $12 and I got a $5 gift card out of it! Some of it was stuff we needed. Everything else, I just stocked up on because of the great prices. As J was putting stuff away, he asked, "How much salad dressing do we need?!?!?!" My response was, "They were only $0.12 each!" He just laughs at my coupons and free stuff and says we're running out of room. Is it possible to run out of room for free stuff??? :o)

Today I went for my 37-week appointment. Even though I'm closer to 38 weeks, I'm measuring at 37 weeks. The doctor commented on how much I had "blossomed" in the last week. I knew the baby was getting bigger. I had a short reprieve from the heartburn and rubbing on my ribs, but in the last few days the baby has filled up that space. I'm even more uncomfortable now. I can't even sit comfortably without my ribs feeling bruised. The baby is definitely head down, and I'm now 4 cm dilated and 75% effaced! This is huge progression from just 9 days ago. I'm quite excited since I was barely 2 cm and 50% when my water broke and I went to the hospital with Adon. I'm glad that my body is already doing good work and will have that much less to do when the real contractions start. I've been having quite a few Braxton-Hicks contractions, but nothing regular or painful. However, they've become stronger and more intense over the last couple of days. Sometimes it's hard to tell if the baby is moving (this one is really strong) or if it's a contraction. I'm trying to remind myself that it could still be 2-3 weeks before the baby arrives, but this major progression makes it hard to think that way! We washed baby clothes today and talked about packing our hospital bags. I don't think I'll be packing tonight, though, because I'm super tired from all that shopping. Here are my theories on why I'm progressing rapidly:
  • I'm still nursing Adon. This releases Oxytocin which causes contractions. The contractions, though they are Braxton-Hicks contractions, are still causing effacement and dilation.
  • I've been drinking lots of red raspberry LEAF tea (not raspberry flavored tea) every day. This tea is great for the female reproductive systems (and ironically, increases a man's fertility!) and has strengthened my uterine muscles. Therefore, each contraction does more work than it would have without the tea.
These are just my theories. While there is some basis for them, there is no scientific proof for them. The doctor ended our appointment with a smile, "I may or may not see you next week." My next appointment is on Tuesday, so we'll see what happens. However, we don't really have a set plan for when the baby comes. My parents and Jamie are in Springfield, MO for state championship soccer tournament until tomorrow evening. One of my best friends, April, will be out of town this weekend. Our fabulous neighbors will be on vacation next week. My sister, Donna, won't come from Texas until at least the 17th. So, we'll have to play it by ear to see who can stay with Adon when I have to go to the hospital. I've had quite a few contractions since I put Adon to bed an hour ago. I haven't gotten up or done anything to see if they stop, so I'm not sure if it's the real thing.

I'm enjoying some Mud Pie ice cream (which should wake the baby up!) and then I'm headed to bed to get some rest...just in case the baby decides to come tonight! (wink, wink)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Cookie, please

I'm utterly amazed at how quickly Adon is picking up the signs we've been teaching him. His execution isn't perfect, but it sure beats the grunts and whining. His newest sign is "cookie" since he has had more than his fair share of them with my parents owning a bakery! Yesterday, while the house was being spider-bombed, we went to the bakery/deli for lunch. After lunch, we went into the bakery and waited our turn in line. When it was our turn, I told Adon to tell the lady what he wanted and he signed, "Cookie, please." It was the cutest thing!! I'm so proud of him!

He also now knows, please, thank you, more, all done/gone, and cookie. We'd have taught him milk, except he already does that sign when he wants to be tickled. No sense in confusing him (or me!). I'll have to learn some more signs to teach him.

He's walking so much now. Still toddling and using his arms for balance, but he's getting more and more brave with the distances he attempts. I'm so thankful he's walking before the baby comes. That's been our prayer!

Slowing Down

With 18 days until Baby-day (well, the estimated Baby-day), I'm really starting to slow down. I feel so tired even after not doing much. I have a few more things I'd like to prep for the freezer, but there's no way I can do a whole day of it as I have the past couple of weeks. Today, I have to make bread (for J's lunches), so I thought I'd make some Blueberry Banana Muffins as long as I've got the oven on. Perhaps, I'll get one main dish made up for the after-the-Baby-arrives-freezer-stash. I've got some ground turkey I need to use up, so I'm thinking about Mini Meatloaves (made with BBQ sauce instead of ketchup and baked in muffin pans). This is one of J's favorites, which is always a little extra motivation for me to cook. :o)

Well, the ants are gone. However, the bug man had to come back yesterday to spray/bomb the attic for spiders. We've seen a number of brown recluse spiders since he was here to spray in March, and he's been back 3 more times since our semi-annual spray to take care of these blasted pests. The final straw, which is why we opted for the bomb, was a spider on the couch cushion next to me Sunday night. Needless to say, I dreamed there were spiders in my bed all night, and I didn't sleep well as a result. I hope we done with those nasty pests. I can't take any more creepy crawly things.

My 37-week doctor's appointment is on Thursday, which is actually closer to 38 weeks than 37 weeks. I'm anxious to see what she has to say. I've been having quite a few Braxton-Hicks contractions (probably curtousy of Adon's nursing). None that are painful, but I can tell they are getting stronger. My mind keeps wondering when the baby is going to come. I know I can't do anything about it or to speed it up, but I can't stop thinking about it. I'm usually ok during the day when my mind is preoccupied, but when I lay down at night, my mind goes into full gear..."Is it gonna be tonight?" Which is completely silly, since I still have 18 days until I'm even close. However, I haven't been sleeping well because my brain is on overload..."Was that the baby moving or a contraction?" I've done this before, I'll know when I'm in labor. But my mind races on. Plus, with crazy dreams and having to use the bathroom 2-3 times a night, my mind has plenty of time for thinking and not sleeping. This could be a big contributor to why I'm so tired and really slowing down. I'm so thankful for a gracious husband who prefers my rest and well-being over a tidy house! I'm looking forward to taking a nap or two when Adon does today. Only 3 more hours until our first nap!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Ant Paranoia & Other Stuff

Apparently, the AC repairmen stirred up an ant hill. I woke up this morning to ants all over the window, the walls, and the kitchen table! GROSS!! I immediately called the bug man. I had planned to cook and bake all day today, but I was not about to have ant infested food! I did get everything on my list made, but I was killing ants all day. However, J and I both have ant paranoia now. It feels like there are ants crawling all over us and biting us. I can't wait for the ant bait to kill them all. It could be worse, I suppose. They could be everywhere. Or we could still be without AC.

Side Note: As I'm typing, J is playing Incredible Hulk on the XBOX 360. He just figured out how to throw humans really high. They bounce. They get up and run away. They land on taxis. And I'm laughing...because he's laughing hysterically at the bouncing people. :o)

Adon is officially toddling! This evening, he walked from his room to the fridge (about 10 steps). He walked from one side of the kitchen to the other (about 10-12 steps). He even did it trying to drink from his cup! He's so cute! He is so proud of himself and looks to me or J for a cheer when he reaches his destination.

He is picking up some more signs and using the familiar ones sort of regularly. We've also been teaching him how to pick up his toys. I'm sure it will take a bit of time before he'll do it on command, but it will be nice to have a "helper" pick up toys, especially with another little person around.

I have the best husband in the whole world! He's so supportive and helpful. He's in the kitchen now, cleaning up from dinner so I can rest after cooking all day. His mom did a phenomenal job in raising him. I'm so blessed! I hope that Adon learns from his example so his future wife will be equally blessed! By the way, today I:
  • cooked a pot of black beans (some of which we used to make black bean burgers for dinner, the rest we'll freeze for later use)
  • baked two loaves of bread
  • made three bags of bread mix
  • baked a batch of sugar cookies
  • baked a double batch of brownies (one to take to church on Sunday for a pot luck meal)
  • baked cornbread for the baby stash
  • cooked 6 pounds of chicken breast to freeze/use for meals for the baby stash
  • prepared ham & cheese calzones to freeze for the baby stash
  • picked some herbs from our garden and staked the pepper plants, which were falling over from the storm last night (we have a few green tomatoes and a TON of mini yellow squash)
  • burned my finger getting stuff out of the oven
So now, I'm going to rest and put my feet up.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

More Good News & Bad News

Bad News - 4-5 hours after the AC technician left yesterday, our house was hotter than when he left. We realized while the vents were coolish, they were putting out minimal air. So, we turned the AC off and ran the attic fan to pull in the cool night air. We called the repairman this morning to schedule another visit. Fortunately, they were agreeable to come today, despite our street being closed for resurfacing. The guy cleaned out a clogged hose (from all of the cat/dog hair, my hair, dirt from having a high traffic house, and failure to change the filter frequently) and it began to really pump out some cold air! However, the thermostat kept shutting off the AC even though it wasn't cool in the house. The repairman said we need a new one and he would charge $190 to replace it or we could do it ourselves for around $40. Hmm...let me think about that one. The charge for labor for today was almost another $100.

Good News - The AC has been running almost all afternoon and it's finally cooling off in here (even though we'll probably turn it off since it'll be around 68* tomorrow). Also, they didn't charge us for another service call, just the labor. The whole thing cost around $250, which isn't anywhere near a new unit. Thank God it's working before it gets too hot and I really can't sleep!!

More Good News - At my 36-week+ check up today, the doctor said I was already 2 cm dilated! I know this means nothing in terms of when I'll go into labor, but it was exciting to me since I was barely 2 cm with Adon after my water broke. I'm glad my body is beginning to do the work! That just means it'll have less to do later! We're still 25 days from the estimated arrival date, but we're getting more and more excited by the day! Also, I'm planning on baking/cooking a lot tomorrow to get some more meals ready for the freezer. I'm looking forward to a cool day to do it, too!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Good News & Bad News

Good News: Our air conditioner is fixed!
Bad News: It's still 85* in the house. It cost $159 for the guy to spray our unit with the hose!

We've postponed calling anyone to look at our air conditioner for fear they'd only tell us we need a new one and there was nothing they could do to help. We waited as long as possible (it was 93* today) to call, and thankfully, they squeezed us in today. Fortunately, the guy didn't tell us we need a new one, but that it was really dirty. He hosed it off and it's working. He also showed Jer how to do it to save some money next time. I'm thankful it was any easy and quick fix. I'm thankful we won't stick to ourselves anyone (once the house cools down and I take a cold shower!). I'm thankful I don't have to make Adon suffer through hot naps. I'm thankful that my hotter than normal very pregnant body will finally have some relief!

Good News: We saved $1,800 getting Jer's car "fixed."
Bad News: It cost $209 to get Jer's car fixed.

We had a coupon from a big chain for an oil change and Jer needed an oil change and an inspection to get his car licensed. When we picked his car up from the oil change, they had a list of recommendations (including an oil pan gasket leak) totaling over $2,000 that they said needed to be done. Common sense said to get a second opinion, so we took his car to our regular, very trustworty, mechanic. He informed us that not only could he not find the leak, but all of the other recommendations were bogus! He did say Jer's car was leaking transmission fluid and was due for a full transmission fluid flush. So we got those things fixed and saved a bundle of money. However, it infuriates me that those chain stores can make such claims and take poor, innocent people to the cleaners! I'm so thankful we got a second opinion. I'm thankful we saved a bunch of money. I'm thankful Jer's car works fine.

Other good news...only 26 days until my estimated due date. Adon figured out how to climb into his stroller today. He can almost climb up onto the couch. He walks several steps on his own. He actually lets go of something all by himself, takes a few steps to a nearby destination, then looks at me or J to clap and cheer! Also, he's the smartest kid in the whole world! We're teaching him some simple sign language to help with manners and to differentiate his grunts/requests. He picks them up so fast! He's mastered about 4-5 different signs and easily repeats them and is close to signing without any prompting. It only took him about 3 days to learn them! It's amazing how fast his little brain soaks stuff up.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Too Cute...

Adon, on his hands and knees, looked at the full dog food bowl this evening and shook his head no. Also, Adon took about 8 or 10 steps today!

In other news, it's been pretty warm, and our air conditioner isn't working. I've been trying to stay cool the best I can, but I definitely don't remember being this hot when I was pregnant with Adon. I just keep reminding myself that my mom was pregnant through the whole summer without air with Jamie (and my dad slept through it in the heat of the day). I know we need a new air conditioner, but several people have mentioned it just might need some freon. However, I don't want to pay for a service call for someone to tell me we need a new unit and there's nothing they can do. If anyone knows someone willing to come out and look at it, please let us know. We don't mind to pay for the freon or work on it, but don't want to waste money for them to tell us that nothing can be done.

Only 5 more weeks until D-Day! People from church usually bring meals for a couple of weeks after a baby is born. However, I'm compiling a list of meals to make and freeze in the next 5 weeks for those still groggy weeks after Baby arrives. So far, I've got:
  • Lasagna (one 13x9 pan will make 4 meals for us)
  • Broccoli/Rice/Cheese/Chicken Casserole (makes at least 2 meals for us)
  • Brown Bag Burritos (2 meals)
  • Ham & Cheddar Calzones (1 meal)
  • BBQ Chicken Pizza (1 meal)
I've made up 4 pizza crusts (using fresh herbs picked from my garden!!) and frozen them to use for pizza/calzones. Anyone have any good ideas for meals that freeze well?

I'm also working really hard to keep our groceries as inexpensive as possible to allow enough money for these extra meals. This week...I only spent $60 for two weeks worth of groceries plus enough food almost 10 freezer meals! Thank you, Jesus! Now, I need a cool day to cook/bake these meals without sweating to death!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Adon's First Steps

Adon has taken one or two steps here and there, but he's up to about 3 steps with some motivation (i.e. Mommy or a cookie!). This is just in time for the arrival of the new baby. I've been praying that he would be walking by the time Baby was born. I couldn't imagine trying to carry two around. I can barely carry Adon anymore, because my hips disappeared with my ever-growing belly. Here are a couple of short videos of the excitement! You'll have to turn your head sideways for the first one...I couldn't figure out how to rotate it.

Way to go, Adon! We're so proud of you!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Free Pictures, Today Only

I just got 25 free pics from for a Mother's Day promotion using the promo code PRINTS. Today is the last day you can use it, so hurry and get your free pics!

I used mine to order the rest of the pics I needed for Adon's baby book and ordered some others I'll put into a photo album. I'd really like to be up-to-date on Adon's baby book before Baby #2 arrives...6 weeks to go!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Adon thinks all handheld items with buttons are phones and holds them up to his head. It's extra cute because he puts it behind his ear.

Our First Week of Cloth Diapering

After my cloth diaper class last week, I attended the cloth diaper garage sale at Cotton Babies. I got a couple of things, but not nearly what I had hoped for. I bought the other cloth diapers and accessories I would need for Adon, including a sprayer for our toilet. The sprayer was J's request, and I got a good deal on a dented package. I then registered for all the smaller stuff for Baby along with some cloth wipes. Total spent...less than $190! Currently, for Adon's generic diapers, this is about a year's worth of diapers. However, if we had to use Pampers for Baby (as we did for Adon), this is less than 5 months worth of diapers. Plus, we can use them for a number of babies!!

I washed (and re-washed) the diapers to prepare them for use, got all of the accessories in order, and started our adventure the next day (last Sunday). We've experimented with a couple of kinds of diaper covers and have settled on the ones that work the best for Adon. We also had a small leak with the sprayer, but J fixed that right away. We've had no blow outs and most amazingly, no soaked sheets in the morning! This has made it all worth while, just in itself. I don't have to rush into Adon's room in the morning and change him right away out of fear that he peed through and soaked his sheets. I've also heard from other parents at the diaper store that they switched to cloth diapers, and the poopy blow-outs stopped. While we haven't had one with Adon in a while, before he ate table food, they were a daily occurrence. I'll be so glad to not have to worry about them with Baby. The only downside has been the extra bulk over cloth diapers. We just bought a bunch of 12-month summer clothes for Adon that are now snug with the extra bulk. We were able to exchange some of them, but it won't be a problem going forward since we'll know to plan for the bulk.

Even with traveling and extra laundry, it has been really easy. Cloth diapers today are definitely not what I remember my mom using. We have successfully completed our first week without a single disposable!! I would definitely encourage any mom to consider switching. They're barely more work than disposables and oh, so much cheaper!!

Mini Vacation

Anytime we get to rest and someone plays with Adon while I rest is considered a vacation!! However, I forgot my camera, so we have no pictures. J has settled into his new two-week rotation at work. Every other week he gets 7 days off in a row. The first day of this break was spent in Springfield, IL with Caleb (J's best friend) and his parents. It was nice to catch up and relax. Mrs. Kietzman was so generous and gave us a gift card to Smokey Bones for lunch that day!

Thursday night, April met us in Springfield and we drove to Bloomington to visit J's family. Friday morning, we visited with J's great aunt, Aunt Retta (short for Henrietta). She recently had a stroke and J hasn't seen her in about 5 years. It was the first time Adon and I got to meet her. That afternoon, we got to see our friend Miracle from Peoria. She brought her three kids and it was the first time we got to meet 5-month old Janie! Talk about adorable! Adon did great with her! We've been trying to teach him "gentle" in preparation for Baby's arrival, and it was so exciting when he gentle stroked Janie's face! This was a major accomplishment since about a month or two ago he smacked another baby in the face! Friday night, we had dinner with the Kings (J's sister's family) and J's dad and stepmom. It was so good! Later that night, J started Return of the King, the third Lord of the Rings movie. I've never seen the Lord of the Rings movies before, so we watched the first and second ones in J's previous 7-day break. Unfortunately, we didn't start the 4 hour movie until about 11 pm! I made it about an hour and a half before J told me to go to bed. He told me he couldn't hear the movie, because I was snoring. :o) Gotta love an honest man!

Saturday morning, Tara cut and highlighted my hair and waxed my eyebrows. I felt so pampered!!! I think the last time my hair was even trimmed was maybe October, and maybe a year since I last had it highlighted! What a treat! Thanks, Tara!! Aunt T also cut Adon's hair and showed me how to cut it to look like a little boy's haircut instead of a military kid! April spent some time with her family before heading back to St. Louis. We had a lovely nap in the afternoon and dinner at J's dad's house. Back at Mom's we watched (I really tried to stay awake!) the last Bull's basketball game on TV.

This morning, was perfectly wonderful! We had breakfast before Grandpa drove down from Toluca. Then, we sat on the porch just shooting the breeze and enjoying the delightful weather! Adon did NOT enjoy being in the grass! He was on all fours and quickly stuck his butt in the air to get his knees and legs off the grass. Then he picked up one foot to get as much out of the grass as possible. All that was holding him up were his two hands and one foot! He was so cute as he squawked in discontent. Even a wagon full of toys couldn't distract him from the pokey grass. We had a HUGE lunch of chicken and dumplings! We're letting lunch settle before dessert and a (hopefully) light dinner. J and Grandpa (or Happy, as the great-grandkids call him) are watching the Cubs game. It's so nice to just relax!

Tomorrow, we're going back to Springfield and then back to St. Louis. We'll enjoy a couple of days at home before J's next long stretch at work.

On a side note, we've been working hard to get Adon to have an afternoon quiet time. He's done extremely well with it while we've been away from home. I was really worried we'd have to start all over again when we got back home. Also, cloth diapers are a cinch! More on that later.

Kids Say...

"I wish Adon was my brother, too. He's so cute!"
-Ashlin King, age 7 (Adon's cousin)

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Adon now stands by himself! He can also walk fairly steady holding only one hand. It won't be long til he can do it on his own!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Baby News

Tomorrow, I will be 31 weeks. We have 2 months from Monday before our precious little person's much anticipated arrival! It seems as though time has been flying lately, which is a nice relief since it seemed to stop for a while just before that. I'm on my every two week visit to the doctor. In about 5 weeks, I'll start going every week. Dr. Cartwright may do another ultrasound around 36 weeks. She says I'm measuring on track, but that I'm measuring bigger than with Adon (although I weigh less now). She's concerned the baby will be much bigger than Adon. We're not worried in the slightest since she thought Adon would be so little and he was just perfect. According to my Week by Week book, Baby is about 3.5 pounds and nearly 18 inches!

I attended my cloth diaper class yesterday at Cotton Babies. Wow!! It was so informative...2 hours of information! I made it through the first hour fine, but then my brain went into overload. Adon was a champ through the whole thing! I think I have a general idea of what we'll use, but I have to sit down today to make a list of all we'll need for two babies of different sizes. They're hosting a yard sale tomorrow with about 10-12 vendors (moms) selling their used cloth diapering supplies. I'm praying for favor and God's wisdom to know what to buy and to get some good deals. I want to get enough to get started with Adon so I can have a little practice under my belt when I have to do it for two! What I'm not able to get, I'll be registering for. I think it will be fun, but I'm a little overwhelmed. As Jeremy would say, it will be an adventure!!

I also tried on the Ergo baby carrier last night. AMAZING!!! I was totally in love with our Jeep one, but this one is awesome! The girls at the store were super helpful and friendly. They let me try on the display model and helped me put Adon on my back and wear him around until our class started. I couldn't believe it fit, since I am 7 months pregnant! And it was soooo comfortable. My back hurt a little bit after wearing it, but not as much as if I was just carrying I had two free hands. I think Adon enjoyed snuggling so close to me. He kept laying his head on my back! :o) This is definitely going on our registry!

Please pray for me to find some good deals at the yard sale tomorrow!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Text Posting

If this message posts, then I can successfully post to our blog via text message! How cool is that? I feel like I just caught up with technology...we'll not really. But at least feel like I discovered something really cool. If this posts...I may actually post more often!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Adon's new accomplishment

Adon can turn himself around on the couch and our bed to slide off! I left him on the couch and went into the other room. When I came back, he was on the floor, and there was no thump! I didn't believe it, so I put him back up on the couch and watched him do it! Yesterday, Adon was in bed with us in the morning. I left him with Jer and went to the bathroom. All of a sudden, I hear him crawling from our room to the bathroom! I asked Jer why he let him go, and he said he didn't that he got down all by himself. Unconvinced, I put him back up on the bed and watched him turn around and slide down backwards!

Now we just have to work on the steps! He crawls to the edge of the steps in our room and grunts to indicate he's ready. I'll turn him around and he'll slide backwards...but he won't come down until I turn him around.

In other news, the baby is much more active than Adon was. I feel the baby kicking (hard) and moving all the time! Only 10 more weeks to go!

Baking Day Success!

Thursdays are my normal baking days. Lately, though, they've been pretty boring...just making bread mixes and muffins for the upcoming week. We have plenty of muffins and bread mixes leftover from last week, so I got to experiment with a few new recipes today.

I tried Whole Wheat French Bread Rolls to go with our lasagna for dinner. This was my first attempt at making bread WITHOUT a bread machine, so I was a little nervous, as bread can be finicky. This was a major success, though!! They came out of the oven just as we were ready to eat dinner. J ate three of them (they were about the size of hamburger buns)! They were scrumptious with a little bit of honey and butter. MMMM......I put the uneaten ones in the freezer for another time. I bet they'll be good for sandwiches!

I also tried a new whole wheat bread recipe. This was the first time I made bread dough in the bread maker, then baked it in the oven. If you're interested in the recipe, let me know. When I copied the recipe into Word, I forgot to include the I have no idea where it came from. The jury is still out on the success of this one, since it's too warm to slice and try. Although it looks pretty good, and the crust is much softer than our other one.

And finally, I made the easiest simplest peanut butter cookies ever!! Three ingredients and 15 minutes from start to doesn't get any better. Plus, since we haven't been grocery shopping in a couple of months, it was nice to find a recipe not requiring lots of ingredients. These were super tasty. I left enough out to try and for dessert and put the rest in the freezer, so we're not tempted to eat them all tonight and then we'll have a few stashed away for when we're hit with a sweet tooth craving...which around here is almost every night!

I would have taken a picture, but I already put everything away. As I was cleaning up, I saw a chubby little hand reaching up onto the kitchen table about to grab a peanut butter cookie! It was so cute! Let me know if you try these recipes how you like them or if you have tried any new tasty recipes lately!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Super Yummy Black Bean Burgers!

The last time I made a major shopping trip was February 2, during which I bought a month's worth of groceries. Since then, we've started the Crown Financial Ministries class at church, and I've learned (or been reminded) how much differently God's plan for money is than society's (and ours!). In an attempt to honor the Lord with our finances and use the money He's given us wisely, we've made a few changes. We recently reset our grocery budget envelope as it had some major IOUs in it. I am determined to only grocery shop with money that is in the envelope and not create any IOUs. To date, we have $7 in that envelope. This is the first time it's been positive in probably over a year!! And it's been over two months since I went shopping!! It's taken a lot of work and creativity, but God is so faithful to stretch what we already have and make so much more!

In light of all of that, I've been experimenting with some new recipes to use up some "dusty" items in our pantry. We had a bag of great northern white beans that I (actually J made it!) used with some (super on sale) chicken and some other stuff from our pantry to make a white chili. We were sorely disappointed, because it was too spicy for us. I wound up sending the rest of it to my dad. However, we only used half of the bag of beans, so we still have a pound to be used for something else...please let me know if you have any good recipes using these beans.

Another new recipe we tried was black bean burgers. I was a little skeptical as I was modifying a recipe in the cookbook to suit our family's tastes. (The cookbook recipe sounded really spicy.) Personally, I love black beans, but they are not J's favorite. Bless his heart though, he always tries what I fix. These were so not a disappointment!! In fact, I loved them a ton! I think it's one of my new favorite recipes...especially considering how cheap they are! Fortunately for us, we got most of the ingredients and condiments from the bakery, so they were even cheaper! Here's the recipe for anyone interested...super easy and super tasty (and super healthy)!!

Annie's Black Bean Burgers

Makes 4 burgers

1 can (15 oz) black beans, undrained
1 cup plain bread crumbs
1 egg
Spices to taste (we used seasoned salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and cumin)
1/4 cup cornmeal
2 Tbsp. olive oil

Put black beans into food processor, and process until slightly mashed. Mix beans, bread crumbs, egg, and spices together. Heat skillet and oil on medium heat. Form into four patties about 1/2 inch thick. Coat with the cornmeal (makes the burgers slightly crispy). Cook on medium heat 4-5 minutes on each side. Serve with your favorite condiments.

J thought they were a little bland, so I'll add more of the spices next time and probably use diced onions instead of onion powder. For condiments, we used a smidge of mayo, lettuce, tomatoes, onion, and pickles...all on a whole wheat bun. They actually only had whole wheat rolls (not actual buns) at the bakery so we made eight baby burgers instead and J made some cooked carrots to go with them. Oh man am I glad we have more beans! My mouth is watering just thinking about them!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Giraffe Boy

We found this in the box of clothes from Sharron! He was a little perturbed at first, but then it was like he didn't even have it on. At one point he was crawling really fast and put his head looked like the little giraffe was charging!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Doctor's Visit and Other News

I saw the doctor this week for my 28-week checkup. She said I was 4 pounds lighter than at this time with Adon and that I look skinnier than the last time she saw me...which is funny because the scale tells me I'm about 4 pounds over my goal. My blood pressure was great, but I have been having dizzy spells a few times a week to the point I feel like I'm going to black out. The doctor said to watch out for sugar crashes and eat more protein. That was also a funny thing to me, since she told me with Adon that the more protein I ate, the bigger he would be. She also said my mid-section is measuring right on track. With Adon, I was measuring up to 4 weeks smaller, so the doctor thought Adon would be super tiny (around 5 pounds). Now that I'm measuring on track and feel much bigger, she thinks this baby may be a lot bigger than Adon was. We may have another ultrasound in a couple of months to determine the baby's size. However, I'm not worried in the slightest. The baby will come at the right time and there's nothing anyone can do if he/she is bigger or smaller than "normal."

I've ordered and received a 3-month supply of raspberry leaf tea to help prepare my body for the delivery. There are some major health benefits provided by this natural tea, and I can't wait to see the difference it may provide when the baby comes.

In other news, we've enjoyed J's first "seven-day" with his new shift. He's only working 3 days a week (13- and 14-hour shifts) and every other week he gets seven days off in a row! It's a major adjustment for me, because I don't have a normal schedule anymore. I'm trying to adapt to him being home so much (after a year of not seeing him much) and still get things done.

Adon is starting to toddle while holding onto me with just one hand. He jabbers up a storm. I know he is really trying to tell me something, but I can't always figure it out. He eats pretty much everything we do now, which is super convenient...however, it makes me more careful of what we eat so he eats healthy. We cleaned out his dresser and packed up his "baby" clothes to make room for all of the new clothes he got for his birthday. I'm excited for him to be able to wear some of his new warmer weather clothes!

That's about all I can think of for now.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Cloth Diapers

I'm so totally excited!! I've asked J a number of times about switching to cloth diapers, but he was too grossed out by them. He, out of the blue, told me a few weeks ago that with the new baby coming, we should make the switch to save money!

I was a little overwhelmed to learn of all the cloth diapering options, and know no one (locally) who uses them. I couldn't even find a retail store that sold them. I've been putting off doing research on them, because I was afraid of choosing the wrong ones. Well, today I found this awesome store called Cotton Babies. They even have a cloth diapering class!! I called right away and signed up for the class. A major bonus is that they have a registry! I was worried that if we switch, how will I ever tell people what kind of diapers we will use, as a couple of people have mentioned having a diaper shower for us. The registry will make it so easy! Plus the registry is online, so our out-of-town friends and family won't be so confused!

However, the icing on the cake came when I was perusing their website this evening...they have a Diaper Grant for Missionaries!! I was completely amazed to read, "We want to give in a practical way towards the ministries of people who are giving their life to strategically spread the gospel among the unreached. The Diaper Grant for Missionaries is a practical way that we can make a positive impact on a missionary family's life on an ongoing basis." I mean, WOW!!! I'm even more excited about attending the cloth diaper class...and a number of other really cool ones they offer. Anyone else ever consider using cloth diapers? Let me know if you have and your experiences if you've used them. If you haven't considered them, all I can say is...they're not what they used to be and you should at least check it out!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

My goal for the day...

"My tongue shall declare Your righteousness and your praise all day long."
-Psalm 35:28

Lord, Please keep my tongue from grumbling or complaining. I will choose to take my thoughts captive and proclaim your righteousness and praise instead so that you may be glorified. Amen.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Saving Money Takes Time

I redid my menu/grocery list last night to incorporate two meatless meals per week (we decided on veggie pizza and breakfast for dinner). It did take some time, but I estimated that it would save us $8 per week! Boy, was it worth it!

We also have Adon's birthday party next weekend, for which we need to buy food. I rummaged through my pantry to use what we already have on hand and added to my list the rest of the items. While I was laying in bed last night trying to go to sleep, God began showing me other ways I could save His money. My dad is making chicken wings and ravioli for the party, so of course we need sauce to go with them. Instead of buying honey mustard and marinara sauce....I'm going to make my own! I found (what looks like) a good recipe for the honey mustard, which would require me to buy nothing! Looking for the recipe brought back some fond MoBap memories of mixing my own honey mustard in the cafeteria to go with fries or on one of Joe's famous chicken patties. :o) I also found a recipe for marinara sauce, which is bound to be cheaper than buying it pre-made (although I'll make sure it is cheaper before I buy the ingredients)! All I'd have to buy is some tomatoes and some onions.

I'm also going to comparison shop the veggies for our veggie tray between Aldi's (they have surprisingly good produce) and our local produce stand, to get the best price. I know all of this will take some extra time, but like I said...I'm on a mission to stick to our grocery budget.

You might be asking, "Why now? What's changed?" Well, through teaching our Crown Financial Ministries Sunday School class, Jer and I are learning/being reminded of things we haven't been practicing. This week's lession reminded us that God owns everything...including the money we thought was ours. If I were spending my Dad's money, I'd be sure to get him the best why should I be any different with my Heavenly Father's money? To get into the habit of asking before we buy ANYTHING, J and I are putting little notes on our credit/debit cards reminding us to ask God if what we're purchasing is something worthy of His money. We feel we've been good stewards for the most part, but we know we have a lot of room to improve.

I'll let you know about the success of the mision after I do my grocery shopping this week!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

On a Mission...

I'm on a mission to stick to our grocery budget! Talk about a challenge! We only have $40 a week, but I'm determined to do it. I'm going to incorporate some ideas I found on, like two meatless meals a week. Some of those meatless meals are:
  • Veggie Pizza
  • Breakfast (pancakes, waffles, or crepes & fruit)
  • Baked Potatoes with broccoli & cheese on top w/ a side salad
  • Sandwich Night (i.e. grilled cheese)
  • Cheese Quesadillas
I'm also watching the grocery store ads, especially for the meat I am going to buy. What ways do you save grocery money for your family?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Modern American Dating

This is a great quote regarding today's dating. There's much to think about in these few short words and much to prepare for in the not-to-distant future! Let's be counter-culteral and keep our children pure!

By the way, Voddie Baucham, Jr. has an incredible vision for his family. We "met" them in a video produced by Vision Forum called "Return of the Daughters." You should definitely check it out...especially if you have daughters.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

I've been having lots of heartburn lately...I guess this baby will have lots of hair like Adon did. Speaking of hair, Adon's hair is so wild when he wakes up! He had a good chunk on the side of his head spiked this morning. It wouldn't lay flat, even after I brushed we made the best of it and spiked the rest of his hair for church! You can see it in this video. Adon LOVES his books. He's got quite a few on the bookshelf that he's allowed to play with. Everyday, he'll pull some of his books off and sit and "read." Sometimes he reads out loud, and sometimes he just looks at the pictures and turns the pages. Toward the end of the video, you'll see Adon's new fascination!

He chases Jack around and just LOVES him! Sometimes, Jack will rub his nose on Adon's hand, which makes Adon scrunch up his nose and giggle. We're trying to teach Adon to be gentle with Jack and not bang on him...hopefully we'll have this figured out before the new baby comes!

Adon can say a few words now, though to most people they probably sound the same. He says Da Da, Jack (one of our cats), and dog, but they all sound like "da" each with its own emphasis. He still won't say Ma Ma. He's learning what a lion and a cow say. He thinks a cow says "nnnnn," and every once in a while he'll say "mmmm" for a I know he's getting closer to Ma Ma.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Baby Update

All is well with little person #2. Today was a boring doctor's appointment. I suppose boring is a good thing, though!

Adon is on the brink of walking, we think. He's pulling himself up on the door frames and walking along the walls. He walks readily when he's holding onto your fingers, and has started to lunge from one piece of furniture to another...though without taking any steps!

Adon and I had a nice lunch at the Deli today. I had an ultimate meltdown (super amazing grilled cheese) and a cup of tomato bisque soup. I thought I'd better get my fill of grilled sandwiches and soup before it's too warm for them. Adon had a half of a (regular) grilled cheese and some melon and grapes. He finished off his lunch with a green sugar shamrock cookie from Grampy. Man, that kid loves his sweets!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Update on Jeremy's Job/School

Here is an update on Jeremy's job and school. Jeremy graduated from Paramedic school in December at the top of his class. Despite the national passing rate for a first attempt on the written test being only 50%, Jeremy passed the first time! He also passed the practical portion of his license exam in January. Jeremy then applied for and received his paramedic license from the State of Missouri. When he turned in his license at work, he received a modest raise in his pay. He's in the process of completing 80 hours of paramedic "ride-alongs" required by his employer and has put a bid on a full-time paramedic shift that will begin in April if he gets the shift.

After several weeks of attempting to reach the Mayor's office to discuss a sponsorship for the St. Louis Fire Academy (to begin in April), Jeremy finally made contact with his office today. Jeremy was informed that not only is the City of Florissant not hiring, but that they do not sponsor anyone for the Academy...this is contrary to what we were told back in the Fall. Needless to say, we are greatly disappointed and puzzled by what has transpired. The next Academy would start in September. However, without sponsorship, there is no way we can see how it's possible. We would need about $8,500 plus health insurance for Jeremy (required by the Academy) in order to pay the tuition and our bills while he is in the Academy (and without work). Also, there is a lottery to get into the Academy. So, basically, J's name would be put into a hat with everyone else who wants to go through the Academy. We know God will provide if that's the direction He has for us. After today's conversation with the Mayor's office, we are thinking, What now?

We know God is so faithful and good and gracious and merciful. We are so thankful to Him that Jeremy has a job and got a raise. We are so thankful for His constant provision and for health insurance for Adon and for me. He continually sustains us and He is our Hope! Please pray that God will give us wisdom and direction and speak clearly to us what His plan is for our family. Pray that He will open doors for us to get where He wants us. Pray that Jeremy would be encouraged through this time as he feels he is blindly leading our family. Until God speaks, we will wait on Him and trust Him.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Funny Question

This made me chuckle...

Question on a Child Development Quiz:

New Experiences:
A. Actually change the physical structure of your baby's brain
B. Are filed away in Baby's subconscious and will be accessed later when the new information is needed
C. Make Baby anxious and uncomfortable
D. Will turn Baby into a Liberal

Right answer: A - New neural circuits are strengthened every time they are excited, actually transforming the structure of the brain.

Funny answer: D - We better never expose Adon to new experiences!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Splendidly Glorious!

This day was a gift. A wonderful gift. After a rather long weekend, today was a wonderful day. I had minimal chores to do, and the weather could not have been more perfect. I read my Bible this morning and did my Bible study, then I did my chores while Adon had a nap. When he woke up, we went on the best walk. The temperature was perfect and no jackets were needed. It was sunny with a slight breeze blowing my hair back. I was just adoring how God gave us this perfect day and the opportunity to enjoy it. It was just what I needed, a day to rest (though not do nothing) and a day of refreshing in the midst of the cold dreary days of winter. The last song on my iPod before we got home was this Chris Tomlin song, and it sums up my heart of adoration to the Lord for this splendidly glorious day!

Chris Tomlin - You Do All Things Well

Mountain Maker, Ocean Tamer,
glimpses of you burn in my eyes
Worship of Heaven fills up the skies.
You made it all, said, "Let there be,"
and there was, all that we see.
The sound of Your voice, the works of Your hands
You do all things well. You do all things well. You do all things well.

Star Creator, Wind Breather,
strokes of your beauty brushed through the clouds.
Light from the Heavens touching the ground.
And you made it all, said, "Let there be,"
and there was, all that we see.
The sound of Your voice, the works of Your hands
You do all things well. You do all things well. You do all things well.

Imagination runs wild, and breathes the breath of life.
Across the field, across the miles;
You made it all, said, "Let there be,"
and there was, all that we see.
The sound of Your voice, the works of Your hands
You do all things well.

You made it all, said, "Let there be,"
and there was, all that we see.
The sound of Your voice, the works of Your hands
You do all things well. You do all things well. You do all things well.

Adon's New Trick

I know I'm terribly behind in posting pictures. I'm actually in the process of backing up and removing them all from our computer for fear our computer may crash and our precious photos would be lost forever.

BUT...Adon learned a new trick yesterday. He can now blow bubbles in my water bottle! It's not uncommon for me to share my water bottle with him (it has a straw). But yesterday, he figured out that blowing bubbles in it is even more fun! Long live the floaties!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Too much to post

I have all of these things running around in my head to post, but never get a chance to do so in detail. So I'll give you a quick recap on events in the Shindel household as of late include:

  • J passed both of his paramedic tests. We are waiting for his license to arrive in the mail.
  • J turned 32 and we celebrated his birthday the weekend before with my family. I was going to make him a special dinner and have tiramisu for dessert on his actual birthday (the 11th), but I got sick and J made his own birthday dinner.
  • We spent Valentine's Day watching a movie at home, because J got the bug I had. However, Adon spent his first night alone at Grammy and Grampy's. We were glad for a little time alone, even though J was least Adon didn't get sick!
  • Adon ate his first Paczki.
  • Adon attended his first birthday party for a friend.
  • Adon got a new pair of Stride Rite tennis shoes and can now stand on his own for up to 8 seconds...though he doesn't realize he's doing it.
  • Adon says Da Da very well and babbles a lot.
  • Adon gives kisses...very wet, open-mouthed kisses. :o)
  • I finished our taxes and the taxes of two friends/clients.
  • I took major advantage of a sale at JoAnn's to stockpile fabric for my current sewing project.
  • I made my first pair of baby shoes and a newborn hat for a shower gift. I'm quite pleased with how they turned out (despite a few failed attempts with a bad hat pattern).
  • We found out that the new baby is...healthy and doing very well. But you'll have to wait until he or she arrives to find out any more!
I have to say, for having a bad case of pregnancy brain, this is a pretty good recap. I'm sure I'll remember something else as soon as I post this, but this is good for now.

A few good cats...

Well, two good cats...are in desperate need of a good home. We love them so much, but 3 animals are just too much to care for with a little person to keep up with and soon a sleep-deprived mommy and a newborn. Not to mention, it does get a little expensive to keep up with feeding 3 animals.

Jack and Jill are wonderful 3 year old cats (though they're still playful). They are very loving and affectionate and are extremely good with children. They've even let small kids tote them around quite awkwardly. They are from the same litter and have been together since birth, so they must stay together. They get along great and look after and clean each other. There is just one caveat...Jill is slightly special needs. The vet said she's got separation anxiety and was taking medicine for a while. However, in the last year or so she's not had any medicine and has had no problems. Also, one of them (no idea which one, maybe both) is a chewer. We will occasionally find tiny teeth marks on random items. However, nothing has been noticed in the last year or so.

They are currently in our basement, keeping each other company. We didn't really want all of the cat hair in the baby stuff, so they've been down there since Adon was born...almost a year ago. Please help us find a good home for them. The last thing we want to do is take them to the humane society, but we're getting desperate. We've been trying for quite some time to a good home for them. Please help!

Monday, January 26, 2009


Besides death, they say it's the only thing you can't avoid. I did an estimate on our taxes last week as a reality check, and was disappointed to discover the minute refund we'd be getting (much less than I anticipated). I was just waiting for all of the tax documents to come in the mail so I could file and get our chump change back. However, I was super excited when I got my W-2 in the mail today! I miscalculated my income, so I quickly did another estimate...we'll be getting about what I hoped we would! And next year, we'll get to have another deduction for Baby #2!! Praise God for kids!

On another note, I'll be doing a few tax returns this tax season to earn a little extra money. Please let me know if you'd like some help with yours!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Hairy Baby

I had heartburn so bad last night, I thought I was going to be sick. I haven't even laid down yet tonight and the heartburn is starting. Maybe it's because I didn't drink milk with dinner last night or tonight, but I think this baby is going to have a lot of hair like Adon did.

Friday, January 23, 2009

My Next Sewing Project

I have a couple of patterns for skirts I wanted to make and had even bought some fabric (ok, so AB bought the fabric) to make them. However, with my increasing belly, I can't take my measurements in order to make them. While I was feeding Adon this evening, I found this really cool sewing project on my igoogle How To of the Day. Every baby needs warm, cozy, soft shoes! After a quick browse, I thought they were simple enough that even I could make them. Actually, I'm pretty excited about them. If they turn out well enough, they may become the new gift of choice at baby showers.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

French Toast

Jer was off work today, so I made french toast to use up some homemade cinnamon raisin bread. It made me think of Donna, because everytime she comes to visit, we get cinnamon bread from the bakery and make french toast. We usually make the whole loaf and freeze the leftovers (to be put in the toaster for a quick breakfast). However, since the slices of homemade bread are so much bigger, we only got 5 pieces before the dipping liquid was gone. I think my dad's cinnamon bread makes much better french toast!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Why do groceries cost so stinking much?

In these tough economic times, we're always looking for ways to cut back and cut corners. We're especially trying to cut back on groceries, as prices continue to rise. In an effort to do that, I'm trying to only grocery shop once a month. This saves me time and only gives me one opportunity for impulse spending (instead of two or three). We use a two-week menu (for weeknights) and double it to go grocery shopping. We usually have leftovers on the weekends, but I'll get a few extra things at the store to make quick meals in case there aren't enough leftovers.

To further save money, I've just finished going through our menu and the grocery receipts from my last shopping trip to determine how much each meal will cost. Right now, they range from $1/serving (red beans and rice w/ sausage) to $3.67/serving (fajitas). I'm on a mission to find cheaper meals (that are still somewhat healthy). Please let me know if you have any ideas for cheap meals OR what your family does to cut down on grocery spending. Thanks!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

November in Review

Just a quick side note (3/15/09) - I can't believe how much Adon has grown and progressed since we took these pictures! It's hard to believe he's almost 1!!!

November - Adon is really getting around now. From the way he is pulling himself up, we think he'll be walking by Thanksgiving. He's discovered Max and is so fascinated with his crate.

On the 12th, I turned 28. Jer was working and then had school, so it was an uneventful day. However, he more than made up for it over the weekend. He got me beautiful flowers (including lilies, one of my favorites) and made a wonderful steak dinner. My mom made my favorite cake, Oreo-mint with an angel on top. And we had chalupa (another favorite) for our family birthday dinner, where we celebrated my birthday and Aunt Barb's (Nov. 11th). Actually, I was almost born on AB's birthday. I arrived at 1:16 a.m. on the 12th. My mom saved the highchair we used for the grandbabies. We had to rig it to keep Adon from sliding out of it, but he enjoyed himself nonetheless.

We have been a little slow to keep up with Adon's formal pictures. We actually did try to get 6 month pics taken, but with our photographer's schedule and Kari's wedding, they turned out to be 7 1/2 month pics. He's as cute as ever, and the most photogenic kid ever! Kudos to Barry Davis for the great pics. The link for the pics is just a sample of the ones would have taken an eternity to upload all of them and probably would have crashed our computer. Below are a few of our absolute favorites.

We dedicated Adon to the Lord and vowed to raise him in accordance with the Word of God. Jer spoke/prophesied over Adon as he explained to the congregation the meaning of his name...Adon - Lord/Ruler, Jeremiah - Uplifted by God. We firmly believe Adon will be a mighty ruler anointed by God to do great and mighty things!

Afterwards, we had a family lunch at the deli.

Adon started teething in November. He really liked gnawing on frozen grapes in this teether. However, we had to make sure he was sitting down with it since the grapes would stain anything they touched (or anything the juice touched when Adon shook it!).

We celebrated Thanksgiving with my family on Thanksgiving. Adon had sweet potatoes (a special one made just for him by Grammy) and cheerios for his Thanksgiving dinner. However, he was so tired, he fell asleep in the high chair while he was eating.

We spent the rest of our Thanksgiving weekend in Illinois with J's family. Adon is now big enough to play with the tractors!

For a little bit more about our Thanksgiving, head over here. However, it's not much more since I started the post in Illinois shortly after it happened, but because it takes so long to upload pictures there, I put it off til we got home...and then it never got finished.

Appliances are going, going, almost gone.

The appliances I removed from our pantry during my spring cleaning are going fast. I'm eager to get them ALL off of our kitchen floor so I no longer have to walk around them. However, Adon has enjoyed his temporary drum set. The remaining items are:
  • Smoothie maker (we have a newer/better one)
  • Chopper (ok, ok...this one came from the Target $1 section. I couldn't pass it up, but have never used it)
  • 4-cup coffee maker (this was inherited, but still works great...we just drink more coffee than this little guy makes)
  • Small saucepan w/ a cool venting lid (running out of storage space and we have other saucepans that are part of a set)
Please let me know if you're interested and we'll make arrangements to get them to you.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Spring Cleaning?

I got a spurt of energy this morning and attacked our second pantry...which is actually a hole in the wall with some shelves which we mostly use for storing appliances. In the three and a half years of owning the house, we have shoved so much stuff in there that it was more of a pain to get anything out than it was worth. I should have taken a before picture, but I didn't (and wasn't about to put the mess back once it was out). So here is the end result. A usable storage place where minimal (if any) items need to be moved to access everything, all like kind items (paper plates, cups, travel mugs, etc.) are gathered together, most-used items are on shelves I can reach, and there is plenty of space between things so stuff doesn't randomly attack you as you try to figure out just where the appliance is that you need. Adon did a great job entertaining himself while I worked. He played with his Wash-N-Go (car-matching magnet game), pulled almost all of the tupperware out of its cabinet, and tried several times to get into the trash can to find out what I was getting rid of. Without any further pantry.

Here is what has been removed from the pantry. Things we no longer (or have never!) used. We're looking for good homes for these lovely (some are new, some are very loved) gadgets. Please let us know if you can use them (we won't even charge you for these valuables!) or we'll include them in our yearly donation to the Goodwill or, better yet, save them for White Elephant gifts for next year!

Included are:
  • Electric wok (bowl is slighly warped and lit doens't fit right, but it's still usable)
  • Smoothie maker (we have a newer/better one)
  • Juicer (never used, still in its original packaging)
  • Chopper (ok, ok...this one came from the Target $1 section. I couldn't pass it up, but have never used it)
  • 4-cup coffee maker (this was inherited, but still works great...we just drink more coffee than this little guy makes)
  • Toaster (no idea on the condition, if you're interested, I'll test it out)
  • Small saucepan w/ a cool venting lid (running out of storage space and we have other saucepans that are part of a set)
  • George Foreman juice catching trays (we actually have the Foreman down in the basement and would be glad to donate to a loving home...we got a cooler one (aka w/ removable plates) to replace it)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

October in Review

Adon is beginning to recognize Grammy and Grampy and LOVES their snuggles!

Adon got more sturdy at sitting up and began to pull himself up on anything he could...including the box my new sewing machine came in. Jer got the sewing machine (along with his mom and Happy) for my birthday/anniversary. I was so surprised. It was the perfect gift!! Aunt Barb helped me learn how to read a pattern and sew my first few projects.

We celebrated our second wedding anniversary on October 15th. My mom made a little cake with our monogram on it for us, and J got these beautiful flowers for me.

Adon got his first taste of cereal. We tried to wait as long as we could to start him on food, so I would be home full time and have plenty of time for all the mess that might be made! It was so fun to watch J feed him.

J stopped by home while he was in the neighborhood while he was working one day. He loved showing Adon the ambulance he drives.

Because big boy can pull himself up now, he thinks nap time is play time.

We quit using the baby bathtub in the kitchen sink when Adon started grabbing the hot water handle. We quit using the baby bathtub in the regular bathtub when it got too hard to hold a slippery baby still. So, Adon had his first big boy bath without the baby bathtub.

Adon also celebrated his first Pumpkin Day! My first project with my new sewing machine was Adon's costume. For my first attempt, I'd have to say it turned out pretty well. It kept him much warmer than needed, since we had an incredibly warm day to go Trunk or Treating.

And lastly, we captured a few pics of Adon snuggling in his sleep...on of Daddy and one of his womb-bear. This year was rough on all of us. With Jer being gone so much for work and school, days would go by that he wouldn't see Adon. He'd leave before Adon woke up and come home long after Adon went to sleep. The times Jer was home and Adon was awake were cherished, and my boys snuggled.