Friday, October 29, 2010


This week Kate found her thumb and really seems to like it. I think it's adorable and won't mind if it sticks around, as my other 2 weren't thumbsuckers.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

hosting friends over "pick your own dinnerware" taco soup

Most of our friends do not come from the same group and this is something, ongoingly, that I lament. I long to have a half dozen couple friends who all hang out, all the time. But for now, I am thankful for what I *do* have. And over the last few weeks, I've realized that some of my loneliness stems from this fact and thus, have tried to set up dinner dates with these friends.

One of my favorite memories of childhood were the nights my mom implemented "pick your own dinnerware." My sister and I had a blast scouring the kitchen for unusual item might hold our meal: a mixing bowl? a juice glass? a serving platter? a cookie sheet? And of course, what utensil(s) we might use to eat our meal: a ladle? a giant serving spoon? a spatula? measuring spoons? We were giddy with excitement for over this one, simple pleasure. Kids are so easily pleased.

I've started this with my own family and I do find it works best with a soup-like meal. My meal of choice has been a taco soup in the crock-pot: 2-3 uncooked chicken breasts, 2 cans of corn, 2 jars of your favorite salsa, and 2 cans black beans. Cook on high for 3 1/2-4 hours, shred chicken and put back in crock-pot, then serve. Top with chips, tomatoes, cheese, greens, and sour cream. So good, healthy, and EASY.

Our friends Jason and Lindsey (who is starting a photography business, including newborn and birth photography; she's so talented!) joined us and rocked silly serving bowls (a star, anyone?), spatulas, and salad tongs. Another night our friends TJ and Jessie joined us and my crazy husband ate his meal out of a teapot. Maggie found it hilarious.

Try it one night, I promise for an entertaining family meal.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

what's fall without a visit to Pumpkin City?

Last year, October 2009, with cousin Jacob

This year's sibling pic, October 2010, aka "do-you-know-how-hard-it-is-to-get-all-of-them-to- both-smile-AND-look-at-the-camera-simultaneously?!" (if you're a mama, of course you do)

Curren was in *hog heaven* both driving this car, the tractor above, and the train (not pictured)

Monday, October 25, 2010

things i may never get around to blogging about, but want to

I know I'm not the only one who goes through seasons of "we are doing absolutely nothing right now," and other times of "our calendars are too full, we are doing too much!" Finding that balance is tricky for me, as I like to stay busy, but I hate packing too much in and feeling overwhelmed. This photo to me is a summation of both--empty beach, yet one busy boy to chase.

Right now, life is all about living day by day (really, this is a good lesson to be learned for anyone). Each day's work for me bears much of the same mundane activities (making breakfast, cleaning up, reading books to the kids, enjoying my fresh, hot coffee and cream only to turn around and clean out the coffee pot to get it ready for the *next* morning) and trying to maintain a certain level of household cleanliness and order (cleaning bathrooms, doing laundry, inputting the receipts in Excel, keeping up with the calendar, making a groceries list and trying to stay on budget, doing errands).

It's important to schedule in time for activities I love like reading, blogging, crafting, catching up with friends on the phone, etc. I came across this post last year from one of my favorite blogs, Simple Mom, and found it very helpful when it comes to "self-care" and I've been trying to follow it ever since.

Most days I feel I'm just going through the motions and not able to do a great deal of things for myself. One such thing is blogging about topics I want explore further or that have been on my mind for a long time:

*children learn best by playing
*my ongoing struggle with loneliness
*where is "home?" I've lived in so many places and yearn to settle down
*how I can be more involved in helping end human trafficking as a stay-at-home-mom; I mused on this in an earlier post
*is social media worth the time suck at this season of my life (probably not)
*teaching my kids how to save their money
*teaching my kids how to care about the people in the world around them

Maybe one day...

Saturday, October 23, 2010

my amazing trio

LOVE them. That is all.

Beauty in Art: A Musically-Inspired Lite Brite

How incredible is this video? The concept, the lyrics, the colors? The ending gave me goose bumps. I love seeing God's people creatively expressing themselves through unique mediums. The ending moves me to the place of tears. And arm chills.

First school field trip aka: "I can't believe she's in school already!"

Despite a week filled with rain and cooler weather (which I LOVED), our field trip was thankfully not canceled on Friday morning. We headed out to Tanaka Farms, a local pumpkin patch, for Maggie's first pre-school field trip.

We enjoyed a tractor ride, the petting zoo, a corn maze, getting to pick several vegetables to take home (beans, radishes, green onions, and carrots), and of course, picking out a pumpkin. Kate did superbly in the Moby, sleeping most of the time. Many thanks to my friend Katie for watching Curren (who would have been rolling in the mud from the moment we stepped on the farm, I'm sure).

Maggie thoroughly enjoyed the trip and getting to hang out with her new friends. I enjoyed getting to connect with the moms, too.

Friday, October 22, 2010

rustic chocolate pie

Does the name of this dessert catch your attention? It did mine. My mom sends me recipes from time to time and I filed this one away until the perfect opp arose.

I served it tonight and it was *delish.* With some decaf coffee and good friends, who wouldn't love it? It has now become a staple dessert for company. Now, go make yourself some (recipe here).

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Thunder Cake

We awoke to thunder and lightening and rain yesterday morning and as soon as Maggie came downstairs, she declared, "I want to make Thunder Cake." How does a mom refuse that?

Either I found this book at a garage sale or my mom sent it to us. Regardless, it's a wonderful story about a little girl and her Russian grandma. A storm is brewing on the horizon and the little girl is scared. Her Grandma teaches her how to make "Thunder Cake" and takes her mind off the weather. When the storm finally hits, they sit down to a delicious treat. And you are reading that right: there are tomatoes in it! The secret ingredient. And I'd make it again.

It was a perfect treat on a wet and stormy day!

Kate: Month-by-Month (1-2)

Here is Kate at 1 month old (top chair) and 2 months old, or 11 weeks old as of yesterday. By far, she is my most mellow child at this stage and is the best sleeper, still! On average she is up once a night, sometimes twice. I also started sleeping her on her tummy much sooner and I think it has contributed to better sleep. She truly, truly LOVES her siblings and lights up when either of them come around. Curren recently has started to "read" her books while she is in the swing: i.e. he lays them on top of her and "talks." It's awesome! I will also often find him rocking her forcefully in the swing (he's all boy, what can I say?), giving her his prized green blanket, or giving her tons of kisses, having just put all his weight on her stomach to hoist himself in her face. Maggie sings songs all day long to her, holds her hand, and gives her things. It's really wonderful to see the older 2 being so loving and attentive.

In the last week, Kate's smile has really emerged and it lights up her whole face and wrinkles around her eyes and her chin disappears into her neck. It's simple the best. She also has started cooing and "talking" more which is super fun. And by far, I've enjoyed this newborn phase the most with her, maybe because she is so easy, or maybe because I know she's my last. These days are filled with alot of everything and alot of nothing, but I'm taking them all in stride.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


This age is one of my favorite with my kiddos. It seems for both we blinked and they were talking up a storm. I'm surprised he's talking this early, actually, as experts (aka: moms) tell you that boys mature slower than girls. Maggie started saying alot of words early(prior to age 1) and it just never stopped. Between 13-15 months of age she was speaking in short phrases. Curren said his first words right around 11/12 months of age, but there really hasn't been much beyond "mama," "dada," "dog," and "ba" (for everything from his blanket to a ball) and maybe a couple more for the past well, 8 months.

But, look out! This boy has been listening and is now officially downright chatty. His words include: choo-choo, all aboard, train, a plethora of animal sounds when asked what the respective animal says (moo, baa, ssss, roar, quack, neigh, arf, meow), butterfly, milk, Maga (for maggie), night-night, pillow, jesus, blanket, shoe, sock, hot, no touch, yes, coffee, airplane, spoon, fork, edamame, cashew, banana, oatmeal, car, truck, book, table, horse, duck, moon, ocean, colors, door, red, blue, flower, jump, run.

And it's like he learns at least a new word daily when Aron and I relay what we've been hearing to eachother. And Curren apparently knows how to count: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. What?! It must be that older sibling thing.

And he gives the BEST kisses. It's like the light went on one day and he now purses his lips together and makes the biggest smooching noise when he kisses us (btw--we are a lip kissing family. And it's funny as I didn't grow up that way, but I think I just wanted to do this with my kiddos. Anyone else?).

He tells us vehemently if he doesn't like a song, be it on the iPod or one we sing. His current favorites are "Baa Baa Black Sheep" and "He is Jealous For Me." And I'm remiss to admit that he LOVES our iPhone; it has been a closet secret for us for almost a year, as he started playing with it occasionally around 11 months. That boy knows his phone. However, it appears we aren't the only parents who give our kids an iPhone...from time to time. The NY Times ran a most interesting article about toddlers' current favorite toy. Look out.