Thursday, January 29, 2009

let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

yesterday we were buried in snow. 12.5 inches to be exact. more snow than i've seen in central indiana since i've lived here (granted...i DO remember this kind of snow growing up in northern indiana). it meant we were able to have daddy home with us for our wednesday, and it meant we were about to "suit up" and do some playing outside this morning. kate was mesmorized by just standing on the porch taking in the mountains of white...and when she finally ventured out off the shoveled porch she went face first in the snow seconds later...and decided to return to the porch and watch from the safety there. elizabeth, on the other hand, was absolutely delighted and charming--leaping through the piles of snow, throwing herself into it, giggling, and all out going crazy. we tried to build a snowman, but it just wasn't packing snow...but someday this girlie is going to get the snowman she has been dreaming of building ALL winter! (and i chuckle looking at these pictures to realize that of the three rounds of "snow play" pics we have this season the girls are wearing a different combo of coats, hats and mittens in each of them!--guess that goes to show we are blessed with hand-me-downs...and that i refuse to pay the price for a full suit of snow gear when we only wear it a couple times a year! i also find it hilarious that the jacket elizabeth wore during round 2 is the one kate is wearing today...just goes to show how close in size these two really are...have i ever mentioned how often i get asked if they are twins?)

here's michael...digging out the drive round #2....

kater gator...on her safe porch...and venturing out in the snow libs and i had "tromped" down to a manageable level!

elizabeth tests out the depth with her hands...

and then proceeds to flop down for a snow angel. i think having over a foot of snow to flop in surprised her, because she never got around to moving her arms and legs!

jump on in!

cheesing it up before sliding down...does that grin say it all...or what!?

whee!!....actually it was quite a slow ride down since she had to push mounds of snow as she went!

she decided to jump into the massive pile at the end!

and then slide over the mound stacked up from daddy shoveling the porch...

just seconds after this final pic, she realized she had snow in her boot...freaked out (yes...really, freaked out)....and decided it was time to go inside. kate thanked her!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

ten smile tuesday

usually ten smile tuesday is one of my favorite of the easiest to post. but i must admit...this week i seem to be drawing a blank. i think, perhaps, it is that it is starting to seem winter (a bone-chillingly cold one at that) has been going on forever. now, i love the beauty of the snow...and honestly, i welcome the change of pace and the natural "down time" that seems to come with winter, but i think i'm just feeling kind of "ugh" about it by now. it seems our days look so much the same...inside, not doing much to leave the house per se, our first MOPS meeting of the year was cancelled due to the dangerously sub-zero temps...and on and on. my dear bloggity friend andrea posted the other day...about the "winter" of sorts in her heart...a lack of joy , etc...and the post resonated with me. i am simply praying that the Lord would let His Word wash over my heart and awaken a renewed joy in me...a joy that permeates even the "mundane" and exhausted days...a true joy that is not dependent on my circumstances. a joy that is a blessing to my husband, daughters and friends...

and it is. ten smile tuesday...and i suppose there is no better way to chip away at the "ugh-ness" than by counting my blessings (even those that seem a bit un-spectacular...and even those that are striving toward and looking forward to some fun upcoming times!). so here goes...ten smiles...photoless...because i must admit that my camera has been sitting up on the desk in the office...and hasn't even been turned on since last tuesday!

1. breakfast for dinner...and i don't mean omelets...i mean french toast or waffles or pancakes...this seems to be popping up on our menu at least once a week this winter. tasty, budget friendly, and quite frankly...loved by all!

2. thirty minutes last friday morning...the girls and i had just arrived home from a quick outing to the store, and i realized it was above 40 degrees (for the first time in AGES!)...and of course, 40 felt like 80 to my outdoor deprived self...and so, i plopped hats on the girls and let them have at it with sidewalk chalk, the tricycle, wagon, etc. while i cleaned out the van. how refreshing...and bonus that my van doesn't look nearly as trashed anymore!

3. a date with my hubby thursday evening. (see, this is why i do my smiles...until i started typing i had completely forgotten this blessing!). my dear friend geneva called wednesday looking for a last minute sitter that night, and when i said sure, she offered to watch our girls the next night. mike and i were able to enjoy a tasty dinner at ted's montana grill (bison burgers...YUM!) and then chatting over dessert and hot tea at panera. delightful!

4. peach cobbler. peaches were on sale for $.98 a pound this i stocked up and then made peach cobbler for our flock group meeting saturday. it was scrumptious. and if my auntie phil gives me the green light i will most definitely share the recipe--just want to be sure to give credit where credit is due and find out where she found it first!

5. naps. seriously, i am so thankful that the girls are good nappers. (well, perhaps rester is the better term for elizabeth who has recently stopped sleeping during most naps). i love my girls, but i do so treasure that time in the afternoon. after a long week or so with elizabeth fighting "resting" i am so thankful that she is getting better at staying in her room and "reading" quietly or singing to her animals (or whatever it is she does quietly while resisting the lure of sleep for two hours!). i don't know what i would do without this time...but i know it wouldn't be pretty!

6. looking forward to some hang time with friends...a playdate with one tomorrow, some girl chatting and connecting time friday morning, and then hanging out with "neighbors" from church for the superbowl...

7. looking forward to the arrival of my sister and mom for some much needed and anticipated girl time early next week. i am so excited i can hardly contain myself.

8. fresh homemade french bread....its just tasty and so easy to make and smells so good...whats not to love!

9. a husband who has made it possible in the course of the past three or four weeks for me to do all of my major grocery shopping over the weekend. whether he has come along and made it a family affair (thus satisfying my restless need to just get out of the house) or staying home with the girls, it has been a huge blessing. honestly, i just don't have the motivation to do the car seat dance and wrangle both girls in and out of the car in the cold, cold weather!

10. the fact that at this very moment the aforementioned hubby should be nearly home! he left early to avoid rush hour with all the crazies on what a quickly becoming VERY snow covered streets. so i will be rousing the nappers, finishing the touches on our soup and bread dinner, and then snuggling down for a nice family evening.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

ten smile tuesday

my goodness...where did time go. when i posted the granola bar recipe i fully intended to come back and post smiles later. clearly that didn't work out! but here i am...chock full of smiles.

1. snowy fun....this was our second playing in the snow adventure this year, and kate was absolutely thrilled! this time elizabeth wore snow pants so she could zip down the slide...and was delighted to literally "fly" off the end of the slide! and, of course, what would snowy fun be without a cup of hot cocoa to finish it off!

2. whole wheat and berry waffles for dinner...

3. heat. seriously...the past week of frigidness reminded me just how grateful i am that God has provided us with a warm house to take shelter in!

4. to fill our chilly days we enjoyed LOTS of coloring...
...and elizabeth amazed mommy with her growing writing skills. we have done lots of practicing tracing, etc. but i haven't really emphasized her writing her name or letters, as she just didn't seem to be there yet. so imagine my surprise when she wrote her name....she had me write each letter to show her, and then on her own paper she'd try it on her own. here is her very first attempt at writing "elizabeth"...if you look closely all of the letters are there....the z doesn't look much like a z, the a is more of a lower case a than uppercase (which is what i had showed her)--the a is the first letter on the lower part, and the t seems to be hanging out on its lonely down below. but heart was bursting at the seams to see her accomplish this!

5. ...and then there's kate...our firecracker...our goofy girl. its seems she is picking up more words and more ability to communicate each and every day! her current vocab consists of mama, dada, go-go (mugho), doggy (sounds like dough-gee), shoes (oosh), hi there, bye, more (which is more like MOW!), peas (please), and pat pat (she loves to pat the Bible and other books) among a few well as her budding animal noises...dough-gees say "woof-woof" and she definitely likes to tell us that a sheep says BAAAAA! what a girl!

just in case you are wondering why in the world she is wearing a t-shirt over her PJs...that would be because the lil' stinker has figured out how to take her jammies ALL the way off in the middle of the night (as i discovered one morning when i walked in the nursery to find a diaper clad kate grinning at me over the crib rail!--and yes, i'm quite thankful the diaper was still on!). since the weather was SO frigid (and our poor little heat pump just couldn't keep up...meaning even the inside wasn't overly warm), we decided a t-shirt would do a fabulous job of covering the tempting zipper just in case she had the inkling to strip down in the middle of the night!

6. our blanket fort. when stuck inside and bored one surefire remedy is a blanket fort...after all, EVERYTHING is better in a fort...snuggling up with books, watching a show, playing with blocks, or just getting tickles from daddy!

7. getting out. once it finally warmed up a bit we were all excited to get out of the house for a nice visit to the library...and dinner at chick-fil-a....gotta love their playland for burning energy!

8. an afternoon out. mike's sister, kim, was in town this past weekend, and on sunday afternoon i met up with my m-i-l, her twin sister, and kim for tea downtown. it was a lovely afternoon. (i didn't have my camera, but kim perhaps if she sends a picture i'll add it to the post later)

9. a wonderful fresh encounter prayer service on sunday evening. we weren't planning to go since i was at tea all afternoon, but plans changed, and i'm so glad we ended up going. my heart so needed the worship and fellowship...good times.

10. last but not least...i just love this i thought i'd include it. kate LOVES her daddy...thats for sure. she had just finished dinner and wanted nothing more than to be in his lap....can you see the little grin on her face. priceless! i'm so thankful for my husband...and my girls are so blessed to call him daddy!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

homemade granola bars...YUM!

**on a sidenote...yes i know it is ten smile tuesday...and i will get to that eventually...even if it becomes ten smile wednesday or thursday!

came across a recipe in our new fav cookbook (america's test kitchen baking cookbook...which i bought the fam as a Christmas present)--and let me tell you that so far we have loved everything we've tried...rosemary and olive oil focaccia bread, their pancake recipe, challah...and more. but these granola bars tasted SOOO much better than the store bought variety AND they don't have high-fructose corn syrup, etc... and as an added bonus, i snuck some chopped carrot into the recipe to hopefully slip a veggie past kate! try'll love 'em!

7 cups old-fashioned oats (don't use the quick cooking...apparently the consistency doesn't work)
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tsp salt.
**1/2 cup finely chopped carrots--optional!--or you could try another veggie
3/4 cup honey
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 cups chopped nuts (whatever you prefer...I used almonds this go's what we had on hand...they suggest almonds, walnuts, pecans, or peanuts--I think cashews would be tasty too)
**dried fruit (microwave with water briefly to "soften")--optional

1-Preheat oven to 300. Combine oats, oil, salt, and carrots (if you choose to use a veggie). Toss together so oil coats mixture; then place in oven for 20 minutes...stirring frequently. (When you remove this from the oven bump the temp up to 375.)

2-In the meantime, combine honey and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and add vanilla and cinnamon.

3-In a large mixing bowl combine oat mixture, honey mixture, and nuts (add any dried fruit now as well). Toss and stir until well coated. Pour this mixture onto a foil lined 18x13 baking sheet (be sure to grease the foil very well to prevent sticking!). With a greased metal spatula press the mixture firmly down onto the pan. Bake in oven at 375 for 35-40 minutes, rotating the pan once during baking.

4-Remove from oven and cool for 15 minutes. Turn out onto large cutting board and cut into bars. Let them cool completely, and enjoy. They will keep for up to two weeks in an airtight container!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

20 minutes of delight...

i know, i just posted yesterday...don't want to shock anyone by actually posting more than once a week...BUT, i simply had to share. it was quite chilly...but i don't think elizabeth and miranda even noticed the cold...and kate, well...i think the pictures speak for themselves! (hard to believe that in last weeks smiles i was posting a picture of elizabeth on her tricycle...that's indiana weather for you--especially this winter!)

my girls...elizabeth was trying to encourage kate that snow is really neat-o...kate, who was struggling to move well all bundled up wasn't too sure!

she did warm up after mommy helped her zoom down the slippery snow slide...

elizabeth, kate, and miranda

elizabeth decided this might be her best opportunity to build her very own frosty...i didn't have the heart to tell her she might need just a wee bit more snow! :)

libbers also decided she liked the taste of snow...oh how this takes me back to my own childhood! (just don't eat the yellow snow!)

could there be anything more thrilling than the snow!? why, yes...watching the garbage truck come by up close and personal. elizabeth was shouting "HI!" and then proceeded to ask the garbage-men if they liked the Christmas cookies she gave them...precious!

need i say more...i think this is my favorite picture of the whole bunch. i guess this says volumes about whether kate liked her first time playing in the snow or not! :) she just stood there pointing, grabbing the door handle, and repeating something that sounded an awful lot like "out!, out!, out!"

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

ten smile tuesday

so much to many smiles we've been delighting blessed...and yet, i don't even know where to begin. i suppose my past few posts--chock full of pictures--pretty well sum it up. so here goes...some smiles from the past week in our little world.

1. safety...this morning i headed out for Bible study...and though there was a bit of snowy slush on the road it didn't look too bad, so off we went...ready for a semblance of our normal routine. the drive was smooth sailing until a little over halfway to church, when a truck about 6 cars ahead of us on the interstate suddenly slid sideways and was plowed into by a huge electric/utility type truck. fortunately we were able to stop without too much sliding (as were the rest of the cars around us)...but i will definitely say my heart was racing! i prayed that those involved in accident were okay, debated whether i should go on or turn around...chose going to church since that was closer than turning toward home...and crept on to church...praising the Lord to arrive safely (especially after seeing even more cars sliding through intersections, spinning, and otherwise fish-tailing...made me thankful for the van, which handles far better in icky weather than my little car did!). needless to say, we are extremely thankful to be safely home again, and snug inside our little house...with no need to venture out again!

2. the chance to get outside and enjoy some bike and wagon time on a not-quite-so-chilly afternoon (i suppose this is was still chilly...just not frigid anymore!)...thirty minutes outside was a delightful change of pace for all of us!

3. enjoying new years eve with, games, conversation, sleeping children...wonderful!

4. having daddy home for another four day weekend!

5. my eager household they are helping me with the laundry (errr...playing in the basket while mommy folds...which is actually quite helpful!). actually i am thrilled that elizabeth definitely is growing in her ability to concretely help.

6. kater gator's budding independence. last night mike mentioned that her ability to communicate (albeit...still mostly non-verbal or "jibberish" that we are able to make sense of in bits and pieces) is growing by leaps and bounds. and i agree. in just the past week she has added a few words and LOVES nodding her head for yes...and asked me to "hep, peas"...(help please) after i said, "do you need help. ask mommy, say help, please." i love how obsessed she is with trying to master silverware and feed herself...she tries diligently with the spoon for quite awhile and then dives in with both hands. and yes, i will admit, this is a bittersweet smile for mommy...i want her to grow, to become more independent, and yet, at the same time i so want her to stay little and snuggly....the tension. but with the independence comes the incredible joy of her choosing to run over for a hug...or to linger in my lap for snuggles or a story.

7. a fabulous morning to run errands by myself and lunch with the girls. my delightful husband made it possible by staying at home with the girls on his friday off. getting four errands knocked out in just over an hour AND spending quality time with girlfriends...priceless!

8. our family trip to the children's museum

9. an impromptu get together with friends friday evening. we were finally able to connect with friends we've been wanting to have over for the past few months...the kiddos had tons of fun playing....the guys enjoyed some quality bonding time over a world war II game on the wii....and us gals had a chance to simply connect and chat. one of my favorite things about this particular family is that no matter how much time passes between visits, we can simply pick up...they are real and genuine, exalting in what God is doing in their lives and family...which is such an encouragement to my heart and life (which falls so short of perfection and desperately needs Jesus).

10. a warm, cozy sunday afternoon nap. (and actually i just might have taken one on thursday (and maybe even saturday) as well...shh...don't tell!). but really, isn't that what winter is for!?

Monday, January 5, 2009

grab a kleenex, press play, and simply take a moment to reflect on the amazing grace and love of our God.
Cardboard Testimonies from College Park Church on Vimeo.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

thanks poppy and grandmommy! (and GG too!)

our family enjoyed a lovely morning at the children's museum...thanks to my parents' generous gift of membership renewal. loads of fun were had by all! i love that no matter how many times we go the fun and excitement is always fresh!

elizabeth displaying her "catch"...poppy, she'd have made you proud!

sand table fun...

i think kate would have hung by the water table ALL day!

kate was absolutely thrilled by the slides...

perhaps elizabeth is a future race-car driver! when we passed the speedway on the way to the museum she did ask daddy if we could buy a race-car and try it out!

not sure exactly what lib's is doing...perhaps trying out for a dinosaur role in a movie!?

my favorite pic of the whole bunch!

AND...not sure if GG can get on and see the blog...but we're also quite thankful for our picnic table, which came in quite handy last night when our friends came to visit. thanks GG! we simply HAD to capture the moment with all four children sitting politely and eating their dinners...needless to say, the moment didn't last too much longer than this! :)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

happy new year!

Happy New Year! We're bumbling around the house today...taking down the Christmas decor (sad...sad...but much easier to do now while daddy is home than once he's back to work!)....and otherwise puttering around in exhaustion. Exhaustion because we actually made it to midnight last night--perhaps the first time we've done so since Elizabeth was born! And just to be wild, we even left the house...imagine that!? The past few years we've had friends over so we could still put the girls in bed, etc...but this year when some friends who live just minutes away asked if it would be a blessing if they hosted, we jumped on that offer....I do LOVE inviting people into our house and doing the whole hostessing thing...but seriously...the idea of not having to clean anything or prepare anything was delightful. We were able to tuck the girls away to sleep at their house...and at one point there were 6 children all soundly sleeping while the adults played dominoes, filled up on yummy treats, and simply enjoyed one another's company. And lo and behold, before we knew it midnight was upon us....we grabbed our sparkling juice and goblets...flipped on the TV to see the ball drop...did the clinking glasses and kissing spouses thing...and voila...a new year! Believe it or not we even stuck around chatting until 1 am...when we finally roused the sleeping angels, slipped them into carseats, made the brief drive home, and all tucked ourselves snuggly into bed. Granted...the girls still woke up at 8 this morning...far before daddy and I were really ready to be up and at 'em...but it was well worth the lack of sleep to enjoy a nice evening with friends!