Thursday, May 29, 2014

on a rainy day in may

As much as I love cool, rainy days, they aren't really a friend to mothers of young children. By nine o'clock you start counting down the minutes to quiet time and another countdown begins for when daddy gets home. 

I might as well confess, for those of you who don't already know, I'm a bit of a chocoholic. And basically, the only thing worse than a long, rainy day stuck inside... is a long, rainy day stuck inside with no chocolate in the house.   

My thought process went something like this:


Oh wait.... don't we have a few cubes of melting chocolate left over from Christmas on a top shelf somewhere in the kitchen? WE DO!!!!!! 

*dance party*

But what would I do with it? Eat it straight? I'm not quite that desperate... Do we have any pretzels?

No... dang it. 

Graham crackers? 


Wheat thins don't seem like they'd do the trick... 

Animal crackers? 


Believe it or not, Madeline was totally game with dipping her favorite snack in chocolate.  

We sorted the broken crackers from the whole ones, talked about the different animals and had a really great hour just being together.

Most importantly, we both made it to quiet time and neither of us threw a tantrum :)

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

two things I hope I never forget...

First, this beautiful little girl who spent most of spring in a Christmas dress. Black velvet bodice, big poofy skirt. The works. I don't know how because it's getting HOT. But every day without  fail she requests it and wears it even when her hair is dripping with sweat. Such a girl :)

Second, watching the relationship of this brother and sister develop. In particular I'd like to remember that right before I took these pictures Madeline asked if,"Please mommy, can you leave so we can play?"

I'd probably be offended if it wasn't the sweetest thing to watch from around the corner.

It's amazing how long the days can seem and then little things like this happen and it seems to melt mostly away. Luke will be five months old tomorrow and I can hardly believe it. The days are long but the years sure are short.  Long, exhausting days, sometimes I-think-I'll-explode-days, but I wouldn't change it for a thing.

Monday, May 26, 2014

stop and smell the roses

Thank you Madeline for reminding us what life is all about :) 
And thank you Baltimore for being so beautiful in May.

p.s. A very happy birthday to the best Dad & 
Grandpa anyone could ever ask for. 
I love you dad!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

you can't be grumpy with this guy around

Do you see that face!? It's SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO CUTE!!!!!!!!! Can you tell when Daddy started feeding him? It's when his face goes from clean to messy. Daddy seems to do more painting and less feeding... luckily Luke doesn't seem to mind :) Luke bud we LOVE YOU!!!!

Friday, May 23, 2014

trial of my faith...

Believe it or not, those two adorable babes in blue put us through the ringer last Sunday. There's a reason little boy blue is yawning.

Two words. 

Stake Conference.

It's like I could tell it was so good, and I knew other people must be feeling the spirit, but we got nothing. I realize I'm over exaggerating a bit, but *sigh* a two hour sacrament meeting... Part of enduring to the end, maybe? 

Thank goodness they're so cute :)

And for the record, Luke, it was not very nice of you to wake everyone up this morning at 6:00am and go back to bed at 6:15am leaving mom & dad with your very energetic sister. We're tired, bud, so maybe you and Madeline could sleep in tomorrow? Thanks.

I think it's called a date?

You know, when two people go out and do something together, remembering why they love each other and enjoying one another's company. That is a date, right?

It had been far too long since Jeremy and I had some alone time - out of the house. Babysitters don't exactly grow on trees in our neck of the woods, and paying them once we find them is another hurdle. There are lots of great people willing to come watch our kids and we are so grateful, but it still would be nice to just hire a teenage girl who isn't juggling her own work, family, date night, etc. ya know?

Well a week ago some friends of ours insisted on coming over and putting our kids to bed. Cue Hallelujah chorus. It was glorious. Just Jeremy and I, walking through our neighborhood that we love so much, eating dinner and walking home. Peace. Quiet. No stroller. Wonderful.

...And then a bird pooped on me... but we needed to head home to feed Luke, anyway.  Still a great night :)

p.s. sorry to be so mia this week. Lots of great things happening here! Painting furniture, sewing curtains, etc. OUR LIVING ROOM WILL SOON BE A BARREN BEIGE WILDERNESS NO MORE! 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

garden update

^^see that tiny green speck? That's our first little sprout of rosemary! 
I think I'm most excited about the rosemary plant. mmm....^^
Our little garden is growing! It seriously makes me so happy. I can't believe how well it's doing. We aren't exactly green thumb people, but I'd like to be someday. And this is giving me hope. If you remember last month we planted some cilantro and basil. They were doing so well that when we bought pots for transplanting them we got some other seeds as well. 

We now have cilantro, basil, oregano, rosemary and chives. On Sunday I put some green onion bulbs(? is that the right term? I'm telling ya I know nothing about this gardening stuff.) anyway, put them in some water because I'd seen on pinterest they continue to grow in just water. Well Jeremy thought I was crazy so he made me plant one in dirt too, and booya, my water ones are growing faster :) 

We also have three plants outside thanks to a friend in the ward. She gave us a thyme, sage and tomato plants which are also doing well. Jeremy and I have been talking a lot about what we see in a garden someday. You know, the kind you put in your yard not in pots. I'd love to have a greenhouse with lots of flowers, but I suppose... the food plants are the ones we'll tackle first. That's all a long ways away, though. So for now we're enjoying our happy little garden windowsill. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

the chocolate cake that changed my life (and my waist)

Since living here I've made our favorite chocolate for friends on a few different occasions and gotten fabulous feedback. Such good reviews, in fact, that one friend asked me to make a couple cakes for a party she was in charge of at work. Well those co-workers of hers thought the cake was pretty darn good, too, so I decided it was time to share the recipe.

This recipe was submitted to our family cookbook by my uncle Creed, and I'm not sure where he got it, but it has always been a favorite in our home growing up and in my own home now. It's moist and rich and delicious! And, importantly, easy :)

The Chocolate Cake That Changed My Life

2 C sugar
1 3/4 C flour
3/4 C cocoa
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 C milk
1/2 C vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla
1 C boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Grease and flour two nine inch round pans or one bundt pan. (I can't hear the word bundt without thinking of this clip from My Big Fat Greek Wedding. bahaha). Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans and bake for 30-40 minutes. Cool completely, then frost. 

And here's where the cake gets really easy... I frost it with chocolate fudge frosting from a can. No joke. That's the way I like it. It's not because I'm too lazy to make frosting, I just like the canned stuff best. My parents think I'm crazy, but there you go. 

If you do make a bundt, I recommend microwaving your frosting for a few seconds and drizzling the frosting on. Even easier. But a layer cake is always beautiful, too. We do that when I feel like doing more work :) 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

this boy

Master Luke is four and a half months old already. HOW IS IT HAPPENING SO QUICKLY!? Wasn't he this squishy baby yesterday? These photos are actually from about a month ago when he was starting to get the hang of tummy time. Now he's rolling around, starting solid foods and weighs a whopping 16 pounds!

At his four month checkup this week, Luke couldn't stop grinning at our dear old doctor. This doctor of ours is pretty much a dinosaur, but Luke sure loves him.  Cold stethoscope and all, he was smiling away. Of course when the needles came out that smile left his face, but it was pretty cute up until then.

This boy is a true delight to be around. It's never hard to get a grin from his soft chubby cheeks and his happy personality often makes others smile, too. I never tire of looking into his round, blue eyes. It's easy to see he already has a love for life and I look forward to seeing the great things he does in his time.

This boy loves his sister. You'll often find him scanning the room trying to figure out what where she is and what she's up to.  It'll be fun to see them play more and more, especially when he has a little more choice in what they do. For example I walked into the room today to find Madeline riding on his back exclaiming,"Go Luke, go!"

This boy loves his daddy, too. He's got a nervous smile reserved just for him. I'm pretty sure he can't decide if he should be excited or scared whenever he see's daddy's face coming in close... probably depends on how recently his daddy shaved. (Confession: we all brace for daddy's scruffy kisses, it's not just Luke :) )

But I think if I'm being perfectly honest, I'd have to let you know that this boy has an extra special spot for his mama. Probably has something to do with the fact that I'm the one who feeds him all the time, but I like to think he's becoming a little bit of a mama's boy because of it. Just a little, ya know ;)  I love the stare-offs we have while he's nursing. And how sometimes he can be a little flirt, and then gets bashful. Oh this boy has my heart.

Luke we sure love you. Thanks for being in our family :)

Monday, May 12, 2014

happy mothers day

It's fitting, I think, that I'm writing this at 4:30am the morning after mother's day, hoping a certain baby in this house will soon go back to sleep, but I did want to quickly jot down what a great mother's day it's been. 

Jeremy went above and beyond this Mother's day making sure I felt loved and appreciated, and I sure did. He gave me a beautiful framed picture of our family in addition to a wonderful meal and giving me a lot of extra help with the kids. I think mostly, though, I just feel loved that on a daily basis he is such a wonderful partner. He makes being a wife and mother easy and enjoyable and I truly am grateful for that. And grateful for the sacrifices he makes allowing me to be home with the kids all day every day like we both have felt is best.

I'm grateful for the chance to be a mom. Madeline and Luke are the best kids I could ever ask for and I love being their mom. In fact is a privilege to be their mother.

I know there are those, including one of my closest friends, who haven't yet been able to bear children. I've glimpsed the ache she feels and am overwhelmed with happiness when I think about the day she becomes a mom. By whatever means it happens, whether in this life or the next, that is one of the days I'm anticipating most in my existence. I'm grateful for what she has taught me about motherhood.

I'm really grateful for my mom and all she's done. She is one amazing woman. I could go on and on, but I'll just say that I didn't realize how much she really is super woman until I was on the phone with her this week. She had kids home from school for all manner of illness this week. One sister had a stomach bug and was starting to throw up while we were on the phone. Obviously I was fine hanging up and finishing our conversation later, but she just tucked the phone between her shoulder and her ear and said,"Oh it's alright. She's almost done." Hello multi-tasker! Maybe I'll be that good when I have eleven kids too ;) 

Grateful for my mother-in-law for helping make my husband who he is today. Grateful for the future mothers my sisters will be and for my sisters-in-law and all they've taught my about motherhood.

I've been so overwhelmed today by the kind words people have shared about their mothers in church and on social media. Isn't it amazing that a holiday can unite so many people from so many different walks of life? And such a worthy holiday, too. 
Finally, I'll add that we got to Skype with my brother Christian who is on a mission in Argentina and it was such a treat. It's amazing to me to see how much he's grown and changed and what a remarkable man he has become. Hearing he and three other missionaries sing "Called to Serve" in Spanish was a special thing to witness.

So to your mom and my mom, to every mom around the world, whether they have borne a child or not, Happy Mother's Day. What a privilege it is to be a woman.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

birthday twos

^^Madeline was in heaven^^
^^The most effortless, soft, perfect tulips. Almost like roses...^^
^^This little boy melts heart! He's just too cute.^^
^^I just want to cry every time I think about how she's moving next month!^^
 ^^family picture fail....^^

My birthday dreams this year consisted of family, friends, a beautiful park (here's the pictures from last year) and chocolate cake. Words aren't flowing too freely today, but I'll just say it happened, it was perfect and it makes me wish my birthday came more often, just for the excuse to get those four stars in alignment more than once a year :) Oh and I was also very grateful to be sharing our celebrations with two other friends. Madeline's friend was turning two, I turned twenty-two, and another dear friend turned fifty-two. 

You know when you're growing up and it's a pretty big deal to have your "favorites list" all prepared and ready to go, just incase someone happens to ask you?  You have your favorite color, favorite animal, favorite number, etc. Well my favorite number was always two. It's even, it's manageable, it just felt clean and happy to me (I know... I spent way too much time as my eight year old self contemplating my favorite number. But these things were important!) And then, when I was maybe ten? I had an epiphany. If my favorite number was two, it really should be twenty-two, because that is (wait for it..) two twos! So I guess this was a pretty big birthday for me, finally getting to turn the age of my favorite number ;)