Thursday, July 31, 2008

tardy wordless wednesday

At the mall yesterday, Maggie scored her first balloon and a new pair of sunglasses. I told her this was her "special balloon" and all day yesterday and today, she was running around with it calling it her "spesh-y boon." I couldn't really get her to hold still to capture her joy-filled expressions. Oh well.

16 weeks

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Blogs to check out

I really love my crockpot. And I've started to use it once a week, usually on Friday nights becuase this is the night I find myself most consistently feeling like, "Let's just grab Chipotle" when Aron gets home from work, regardless if I have a meal planned or not. I have solved this problem by doing a crockpot dish this night and have found it to be very fulfilling and helps us save our "eating out times" for special ocassions.

I found the following link on my friend, Allison's blog. The creator, a woman named Stephanie, has committed to using her crockpot every day this year! She makes everything from apps, to soups, to entrees, to drinks, to desserts, etc. I can't wait to try something new. Click here to view her recipes.

Laurie sent me a link to a great blog, "Flipflops and Applesauce," where the author, a mom, posts crafts and outings she does with her kiddos. Some fun, creative stuff there. She also interviews other mothers from time to time. Click here to see more.

Monday, July 28, 2008


I came across this blog where a woman makes homemade toys and puts them in huge ziplock bags in trees or in public places with a sign attached that says, "I'm yours! Take me home!" Kids write to her afterwards to tell her where they found the toy and what it means to them. It looks like you can make things, too, and donate them to the cause. I think the author is an Aussie, but I'm not certain. I love it!

dallas zoo

Today, we joined our friends at the Dallas Zoo. Erin and her son Hudson, and Maren and her daughter, Tessa, and Mags and I all took the DART to the zoo. It was about a 35 minute ride there and back and was an enjoyable experience overall; this was my first DART ride. It made me miss Chicago's public transportation system. We arrived not long after it opened, in order to see as much as we could before it got too hot. But, it was already pretty hot when we arrived, so we tried to do as much as we could right away. We took the African Safari tram, saw the chimps and mandrills, and went into the reptile house. This place proved to be quite frightening to Maggie and she did not want to be near the glass of the snake habitats. I don't blame her! :) After lunch, we headed home. It was enjoyable overall, but definitely an activity to be done in other months of the year.
Entering the park

Enjoying the penguins and the misters that were nearby!

Checking out some birds in the indoor aviary
Playing on the big turtle
Last stop before lunch--the giraffe

Sunday, July 27, 2008

our baby

Of course, added to my happy thoughts list is also that we are having another baby! It still feels surreal to me at times. We find out if we are having a boy or girl on August 14th and I just have this feeling that it's another girl. I think it's mostly because we had a girl first and the chances that you have another of the same gender are higher. I came from 2 girls, my mom came from 2 girls; than again Aron says that has nothing to do with it. Regardless, I think this is a girl. I actually even dreamed that it was last week! But, it would be equally as thrilling to have a boy (I will be surprised if it is though)!

Aron refuses to indulge me with *any* guesses of what this baby might be, so will you, dear blogging audience, do so? I'm curious to hear your thoughts!

happy thoughts

Last week was a bit of a rough patch for me, and it took until Wednesday or Thursday to realize I was down. I could pinpoint several triggers, but found little solace in reflecting on why I was feeling what I was feeling, initially. For a variety of reasons, it was a long, quiet, lonely week. Some weeks are just like that. I did try to be in the moment and in prayer. Our family is in a time of transition, gearing up for the possiblity of full-time seminary for Aron (still not sure if that will yet work), or full-time ministry. I long for clarity and yet, it remains at large. Aron's job was particularly draining this week and has been since we got home from vacation in early July. In the past 3 weeks, he has pulled several almost-all nighters, only to turn around and work a 12-hour or more day. It's insane. We are eager for change, ready to move on to a different lifestyle than this job has been giving us for the past several years. It's a good job, don't get me wrong, and yet, long-term, it's not a fit for our growing family. We'd appreciate your prayers in the coming weeks as we make some decisions on what is next.

In the midst of this week, I realized I should compile my "happy thoughts" list, like my friends Shel and La do when things have been tough. I love to do this kind of list (I'm a list person anyway), as it puts the negative or discouraging moments into perspective.

*A swim day with friends on Tuesday
*Friday coffee with Erin and earlier, shopping in downtown McKinney with our kiddos
*Making a new recipe last night, sweet potato soup (one of Patrice's)--amazing! I'm longing for fall...
*Aron playing guitar most evenings this week
*Starting Leif Enger's new book, So Brave, Young, and Handsome, and falling in love with reading all over again
*Maggie's sweet spirit
*Remembering God's faithfulness in helping us sell our house so quickly, in this down-market
*Journaling and time alone last night at Starbucks

Saturday, July 26, 2008

maggie musings

I have been really loving this age with our girl. She has this incredible personality and we often look at eachother and say, "where did that come from?" in relation to a funny response she has or a silly thing she says. One of my favorite stories as of late has been Aron catching her talking to herself in her full-length closet mirror telling herself to, "Obey" over and over again. This is a key phrase we use with her as we are training her heart. Too sweet! She also often attempts to share her sippy cup with her mirror image (something I once did with my orange juice when I was a child, except it was to my shadow and there was no lid on!). She loves to read our theological books and often can be found sitting in front of the bookshelf, flipping from cover to cover multiple time. In fact this week, she insisted I, "Read book," and procured some Francis Schaffer and Jonathan Edwards, to which I obliged and read a paragraph or so of each, to which she quietly listened. Amazing! :) Lots of things are "silly" to her these days, including "silly dada," "silly mama," and "silly Maggie." We have taught her to "rock out" in the car to music and she is working on throwing out her rock n roll sign with her fingers, though for now, it's only holding up the index finger. She also can, believe it or not, sing "do, ra, me, fa, so, la, ti, do." On several occasions she has perfectly done it out of the blue! Mostly, it's just a few notes on the scale, but still, it's delightful!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Dark Knight, in review

Last night, like so many other loyal Batman fans, we flocked to the movie theater to see the latest installment, "The Dark Knight." Brad and Tammy joined us and Erin was gracious enough to babysit Maggie. We bought our tickets ahead of time and were in line early, after a quick dinner at Potbelly. Brad and Tammy visited us last summer, while we were still living in Chicago, and Tammy and I went on a Christian Bale hunt one day, after learning from some crewmen that he was filming at a nearby hotel. We almost made it up to the ballroom, but alas, were not allowed in the end. Another friend in the city was a loyal fan as well and was on location during the scene where a car explodes and Joker cards come raining down...she kept some for mementos. I was a bit jealous, to be honest.

But, back to the reason for this post, to share my thoughts on the movie. Almost the entire original cast remained intact, while adding the faces of Aaron Eckhart, as DA Harvey Dent, and Maggie Gyllenhaal, as the lovely Rachel Dawes. I was eager to see Gyllenhaal's performance, as I thought Katie Holmes initial role was not terribly compelling. Alas, Gyllenhaal disappointed, not being passionate enough or tormented enough; she didn't stand out like I was expecting. The movie also had scenes that were a bit lengthy and possibly could have been cut, but overall, this movie was actually better than its predecessor. Eckhart was a wonderful addition to the cast; he is a stand-out performer and carved out a name for himself among such renowned actors. With spot on humorous moments and stellar acting roles by Bale, Ledger, Caine, Freeman, and Oldman, this movie cannot be missed.

And so it's in writing--Ledger's Joker completely diminishes Nicolson's original portrayal. More dark, complex, and twisted, Ledger created a character you believe in; if I met him on the street, this is exactly what I would encounter.

Grab your popcorn and soda, get in line early, and go see this movie tonight. Leave the spandex at home, though; Bale wears it best.

welcome, audrey claire!

One of my very best friends, Laurie, gave birth to her second daughter yesterday morning. Audrey Claire (who's name they kept secret) arrived in this world at 11:09 am, weighing in at 8 pounds, 9 ounces, and measuring 20 inches in length. The birth was a real dream; after induction, she arrived not 5 hours later! Dad Jonathan and big sister Elise are so proud! Congrats to you all! I can't wait to meet her.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

children's reading corner

Mo Willems fantastically writes and illustrates these books for young children. With delightful humor, stories conveys the importance of friendship, love, encouragement, and a variety of other character traits. A one time illustrator for "Seasme Street," Willems has written several children's books; here, I am specfically recommeneding his "Elephant and Piggie" series. You will laugh out loud!

wordless wednesday


Saturday, July 12, 2008

Tea clothing on sale

My favorite line of clothing for kids, Tea, is having a huge summer clearance sale. I am all about good prices, but quality and look it also important. I feel like this brand totally has it all. Their sale prices are very reasonable right now, too. Check it out here.

in training

Maggie has really been into "pig-back" rides lately. While I was cooking dinner on Friday, she kept trying to put her doll on her back. I cleverly tied her blanket around her and she carried the doll around like this for quite some time, thoroughly loving it! Now, when our new baby arrives and I am carring him/her in the sling, Maggie will already be an expert with carrying around her own "baby." :)

dog days

She was totally captivated!
This guy has been a part of the club for 20 years. His dog jumped up on him and caught the frisbee--quite impressive!

On Friday, the Dog and Disc Club of Dallas put on a demonstration through the Highland Park library for the kids, free of charge. I called my friend Erin and we drove down together, stopping at Froggie's toy store afterwards (Celeste, I thought of you, as you introduced this to me). Here are a few pics from the morning. Hudson and Maggie enjoyed themselves, especially finding eathern treasures along our walk.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

maggie update

We have one hilariously, spunky girl. She still says "hi" to most anyone and everyone she meets and even shakes the occasional proffered hand. She loves to hug little kids her age and give kisses. And she is one verbal child. She has recently begun using short phrases and more and more pointing out things/talking about things without being prompted. During lunch yesterday she said, "More broccoli" and I didn't even ask her if she wanted more. She says "bye bye" to lots of things on her own and even to things that don't really make much sense. As we were driving home from dinner last night she said, "Bye bye water." What?! Later, it was, "Bye bye car." We were driving in our car. I was a bit confused. Oh well. She's been learning some Spanish words and can say a few of the basics including "hola," "adios," "que tal," and "muy bien." She really loves to draw (still scribblings at this point of course) and color with her Color Wonder markers (in my opinion, one of the best kid-friendly inventions ever). Also apparently we go to the park often and as of late out to eat many a night, because whenever we get in the car, she usually asks one of two questions once buckled in: "Park?" or "Eat?" She also is obsessed with counting, joyously saying, "three, four, five, six!"

And this kids *loves* music, often singing at the top of her lungs in the car. It's awesome. While in Bishop, my dad bought her this book that had a little piano at the bottom of it. The piano is part of the book, it doesn't have actual keys that play music. But, Maggie cleverly decided to start plunking away on them and singing. I'm not sure where she has ever even seen a piano. And she started calling it a "p-yo." Mom and dad taught her "Jesus Loves Me" one afternoon while I was out shopping with Shannon and when I got home, she was singing over and over, "Jesus, Jesus, Bible, Bible." Just.Like.That.

I love this girl.

and we're back!

It's been a crazy, busy, fun, relaxing, family-filled, past 2 weeks. We arrived back in Dallas last Thursday night from our travels to CA. I went out a week early, my folks joined me on the flight in Dallas, and we landed in OC, then drove up to Bishop, CA to be with Shannon, Steve, and new baby, Jacob! We stayed with them for over a week, mostly hanging out, loving on the baby, organizing things (which mom and I *love* to do! call us!), and doing some sight-seeing. Maggie loved Jacob, calling him by name on a daily basis and giving him lots of kisses and pats. Maggie also had her first experience feeding the ducks at the park. We hung out one afternoon with Shannon's good friend Abby and her 15 month old daughter, Gabrielle. Gabrielle ate most of her bread and Maggie enjoyed throwing huge chunks in for the ducks. It was awesome.

Bishop is actually quite beautiful, I was pleasantly surprised. The moutains were stunning. One day we drove to a small fishing village called Cardinal Village (where Steve had done some YWAM training years ago), ate lunch, got a tour by the owners, and Maggie had her first horseback ride...yes, on a real horse, all by herself. The video footage is classic. I must figure out how to upload video to this blog! She wore a cowboy hat (mom and dad have that picture; I need to get it from them) and said, "Giddyup!" the entire time. She was fearless and held on for the 15 minute ride (someone was leading the horse). I didn't hold her or anything. When Aron saw the footage, he responded incredulously, "You let her ride All.By.Herself?! You didn't even hold on to her?!" Uh, no. Should I have? Over certain turns and bumps I would put my hand up to support her, but she did fine. I'm proud of my little cowgirl! Mom and dad loved on Jacob, dad ran errands and kept us well fed (esp. on treats!) and we were able to meet some of S&S' friends. They are super blessed with an *amazing* community of believers.

And it couldn't have worked out any better, timing-wise, because last minute, Aron had to be in SoCal on business, so he headed up to Bishop for a long weekend at the end of June. Steve, dad and A grabbed coffee together on Friday morning, and then Steve and A went fishing for several hours. That afternoon we headed up to Mammoth Mountain to shop and look around, then out for a fantastic Mexican dinner at Roberto's. Sunday, we visited their church again (he is the youth pastor and loves it!) and A led worship that night for the youth group; it was an incredible time. He hadn't led in 1 1/2 years; a very refreshing time to see him doing something in which he is so gifted.

Aron had taken the following week as vacation time, so we headed back to OC on Monday, had dinner with some friends that night that we hadn't seen since we moved away 4 years ago, were able to get a night away in Dana Point on Tuesday night, spent Wednesday with his family and our friend, Jason, then saw Dawnielle and Asher on Thursday morning right before we headed out to the airport. Whew...

My folks took some excellent pictures and I want to post some of them later, but for now, here are few.