Monday, June 20, 2011

The Cuz Gets Married

At the end of May we journeyed up to TN to celebrate Jon and Leigha's wedding.  The girls love their cousins, Jon, Josh and Jacob, and their cousins are super sweet to them them.  Now the girls finally have a girl cousin and they are super excited about it.  

All of us gals ended up matching in our black and white dresses, which was quite by accident, but I am sure it made for great pictures.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Fourth Year of Strawberries

About a month ago we trekked out to a farm not too far away for some yummy strawberry picking.  This was actually our fourth year at this particular place, and we managed to pick our usual two buckets.  True was on my back this year, as opposed to inside my tummy, so I came away with different aches and pains. And then the following night, Dave and I made our first batch of strawberry jam.  I gave jam making a whirl last spring for the first time, and quickly became obsessed.  We go through jam quickly at this house, so after the strawberry batch, I made peach, and plum and triple berry.  We opened our last jar the week before we went picking, so I went through an entire year without having to buy jam.  Sweet!

I think we were successful with our strawberry jam this year, and I am looking forward to making peach and plum in the coming weeks.  Random side note: as I was taking these pictures of the girls this crazy lady kept jumping into the picture and trying to tell the girls how to can only imagine their reaction to that, but it did make for an eventful picture taking moment.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


I love risotto.  I also love gnocchi.  A few winters ago we planned to go to Prague with our buds Jim and Kristen.  The morning we were to leave it dumped 18 inches on us and we had to cancel our trip.  Instead we bummed around our little place in Hensctal, ate some spicy, BB (butt-burning) chili, rode sleds, and ate at our favorite Oriental restaurant.  The next morning we decided to go to Lucerne, Switzerland, which was much closer than Prague and we could drive there for one night.  That night it was raining and cold, and after walking around all day we stopped for dinner at this little Italian restaurant.  The first thing they served us was a bubbly aperitif.  I usually do not like bubbly alcohol drinks, but it made me warm inside and it was a perfect start to our dinner.  I ordered gnocchi and I cannot think of gnocchi without thinking of that night.  It was a great night.

The nice thing about risotto is I can actually make it, unlike gnocchi, which I will leave to the professionals.  So here is a wonderful recipe from P-dub.  I did not use wine in this, and I added my own variation of veggies.  It was WONDERFUL!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Little Ballerinas

The girls took ballet this year.  I signed them up late (October), but it was a sweet little program at a local church, and they could be in the same class.  They loved it, although at times I wonder if that is really Annelise's thing.  Hadleigh Claire loved every minute of it, and Annelise especially liked jumping from dot to dot and making faces in the mirrors.  She did pick up a few moves, and overall I think it boosted their confidence.  We missed their "big" recital, but still were able to dress up for the rehearsal, ballet buns and everything.  It took me an hour, lots of gel and hair spray and bobby pins to get their hair up.  I am hoping to get their hair a bit longer for their next rehearsal (next spring).

Friday, June 10, 2011

Victory Garden

We have a victory garden!  This is our third year with a vegetable garden and it looks like it is going to be a great year.  I am so thankful that we started this three years ago, and we have gotten a lot of practice and experience over the last couple of years.  We started small and keep growing it, so it has fun to see the garden evolve.

Dave and I read several gardening books this year and decided we wanted to give the square foot gardening method a try.  So far, so good.  I am still not exactly sure where my cucumbers and zucchinis are going to grow, but we will see how it all plays out.  We also decided to move the garden, so it now sits right outside our kitchen door.  This is a nice location for watering purposes, and it also helps me to remember to check for veggies and bugs that might kill the veggies!

Our neighbor had a bunch of granite stone sitting in his side yard, so Dave went and asked them if we could haul some away for them, and they agreed!  Insane!  So our garden is made out of granite and it looks lovely.  My only complaint is that I think we barely get 6 hours in its current location, so it seemed to take the veggies a little longer to get started, but now they all look great, and we haven't had to put any pesticides on it yet (of course we have organic pesticides).

We planted most everything from seeds, except those dern tomatoes.  I just cannot seem to grow a tomato from a seed.  We also bought the sweet potatoes, but I think next year I will grow those from seeds.

This year we have enjoyed spinach, which is already past its prime, romaine (and I am so happy with this variation).  We also planted basil, and have a huge rosemary bush in the front yard.  Yum!

Tri-colored Bush Beans (purple, yellow and green)



Sugar Snap Peas (Holy Moly)

Red and Yellow Cherry Tomatoes

Beef Steak


Jalapenos and Tri-Colored Bell Peppers (yellow, orange and red)

Lemon Cucumbers and Persian Baby Cucumbers

Pumpkins and Sweet Potatoes


Monday, June 06, 2011

Speckled Butter Beans

We have a wonderful, amazing produce stand near our house, and I swear by them.  If they say it is good, it is good.  If they don't have blueberries it means they are not good yet.  I have made a couple new finds this year because of them.  The first was baby Vidalia onions.  Holy Moly.  They are out of season now, so you'll have to remember to look for them next March/April.  I could have eaten one of those onions straight up.  The second thing I discovered was fresh English peas, which are amazing, and I still have one bag frozen int he fridge (OK, they were fresh and I bought several bags and froze different than the bag of green giant peas I usually eat).  Last week I bought a bag of fresh speckled butter beans.

I usually only buy things that I know what to do with, but we LOVE beans and eat them often, so I thought I would figure it out.  It is actually hard to find a recipe that doesn't involve bacon or ham.  What is it about pigs and beans that go together?  Not sure, but it seems to me I would be ruining a really good cup of beans if I cover them up in bacon.

So I found this receipe off Myrecipes and we all enjoyed it.  I did not make their version of cornbread because I love my mom's recipe, and that worked just fine.  The girls devoured it, of course it helped that cornbread was on the top of it, but it really was pretty yummy.  This was our main dish.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Six years and 600 posts ago we started this blog.  We actually started it so that our friends and family could track us as we traveled Europe.  That was a lifetime ago, it seems.  Our adventures are not over, but our travel has been slowed to a snail's pace.  It will never be what it was 6 years ago, but maybe we will pick it up a bit as the kiddos get older.

Our adventures used to include climbing on glaciers, driving on curvy roads to mountain tops, trying to communicate to people who do not speak English, learning new cultures, Army and our adventures include trying to take care of three kiddos.  Yesterday I made it to the pool for the first time this summer with all three kiddos.  Not 5 minutes before we all jumped into the water, and HC was stung by a bee.  I had to hand True off to a stranger, and ask another mama (stranger) to watch Annelise, so I could take care of HC.  It was an adventure.  How can I do this?

And Dave is great about turning all of our adventures into funny stories...thank goodness for Dave.  Happy 601st post.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Peter Rabbit

Upon seeing this little house in the Botanical Gardens, HC exclaimed, "Peter Rabbit!  I did not know that he lived here!"

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Meeting Noah

A couple weeks ago I had the privilege of meeting my new nephew Noah John.  My bro and sis-in-law, Chris and Rubie came out for a week to visit us and they brought their 4 month old baby along with them (thankfully).

I had actually been hoping to take the kids back to Cali for a visit this winter, but several factors brought me quickly to my senses.  The first being that my parents are keeping an exchange student this year, so all four of us would have been squeezed into one room, and the second and most determining is that trying to take 3 kiddos under 5 on an airplane is insane.  I am sure it can be done, but it would have been at the expense of my sanity and maybe a few others too.  Fortunately I thought better of it, and so Chris and Rubie and Noah decided to come to us.  That meant they got to meet True, we got to meet Noah and Dave got in on the action too.

We had a sweet week of visiting and catching up, as it had been a year and a half since we had last seen each other.  The girls love their Uncle Chris and Auntie Rubie, and of course baby Noah was a super star!  While they were here we also took them to the Aquarium, to the Botanical Gardens and to Stone Mountain.  We also fit in a wonderful dinner out at our fav restaurant with only adults...thanks Lrod for babysitting!

The girls were super sad when they left, and Annelise asked why they can't live with us anymore.  And they have both gone back into our guest room and talked about how it smells like Uncle Chris and Auntie Rubie.  Sweet.  We miss them tons, but are hoping to meet up with them again in NYC next summer.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Happy Easter

Happy Easter a little late, and a little blurry.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Callaway Gardens

We have been busy...big breath.

In early April we took the fam down to Callaway Gardens for a fun weekend away.  This was our first time there as a family and it was beautiful weather and beautiful gardens.

We rented a little house outside the gardens, so we ended up just spending one full day there.  The rest of the time we spent puttering around the complex where the house was.  It had a little playground and a putt-putt course, and a pond with boats.

We also braved the fine cuisine of Pine Mountain...why is it that the food is usually LAME in these little towns?  Just a random side note, but a year ago Dave and I spent a weekend away in North Georgia.  There are tons of farms up there, beef farms, dairies, and other veggie farms, and those farmers drive all their stuff down to Atlanta to sell.  No one up there wants to eat fresh grass fed beef, and fresh eggs...this doesn't make any sense to me.  But, whatever.  It is always an adventure eating in small towns.

In Callaway we visited the Butterfly Garden, and the girls went nutso.  HC was wearing a flowered dress and there was a beautiful blue butterfly that landed on her tummy.  She was so excited.  Annelise, on the other hand, was batting the butterflies away, sweet Anna.

It is such a joy to spend time with my little family, and I always walk away feeling super blessed.  We are looking forward to another family vaca in the near future.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

True is 9 Months

Sweet True is 9 months and this has been quite the month for him!  He is sitting up pretty well, when he has a mind to do it.  He is also a proficient roller/scootcher and can get almost anything.  He loves to show off his skills.  He is an expert at the pincher grasp and successfully feeds himself cheerios.  YEA!  He also loves dropping things, everything.  Food, toys, you name it, he drops it.  This might be his personality, or this might be a "boy" thing.  I hate saying things like that.  I mean, can't a girl like to drop things?  EIther way, it is different than the girls.  Whether that is because he is a boy, or because he is a different child I am not sure.

He is a great eater, as are all my children (we are blessed!), and devours anything that we put in front of him.  Although this last week he also got really sick on something and the poor little dude was puking up broccoli and sweet potato.  It was nast.  I stayed up with him a good portion of the night, and it was really heart breaking to have to hold him over the toilet.  How do you help a 9 month old?  The poor little guy did not know what hit him.  He recovered well, and I hope not to repeat that for a while.
True is full of funny faces and funny sounds.  He is constantly squeaking and squealing and screaming and screeching.  He is so ready to talk, and he has a lot to say.  He is always looking for the girls, so as soon as he wakes up/they wake up he wants to be near them.  Of course they feel the same way, which is really sweet to see.

Thank goodness we are making progress in the sleep department.  He is sleeping mostly through the night.  He will usually squeak around 1am.  I have no idea what the story is, but that is his time.  Usually he goes straight back to sleep, or sometimes he cries for a while.  It all depends, but for the most part we are leaving him to work it out.  His naps are becoming more reliable and life in general is getting better.  It is nice to have a nice baby, but this sleep thing was really throwing us for a loop.
He is a great road-tripper, so we are taking that to the bank and this summer I am taking the kiddos up to OH to visit their great-grandparents.  It is a 10 hour trip, so we will see how he does this summer, hopefully as well as he does these days.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Neighborhood Easter

The very first activity we attended in our neighborhood was the annual Easter Egg Hunt three years ago.  Our house was under contract and we thought it would be fun to attend and meet some of our new neighbors.  HC was barely two and Annelise was a baby, so there was not a whole lot of egg finding going on that year.

Remember the good old days when we used to use real boiled eggs for egg hunts?  Now folks buy plastic eggs and stuff it with candy for the kids to find.  Lame.  I would prefer trying to find a use for lots of boiled eggs.  Now I have to confiscate all this candy and stuff my girls eggs with teddy grahams.  I actually did do that the last two years, but I think my girls have short memories because today they did not even ask for the candy.  So, the candy is on top of the fridge and if you happen to be at our house sometime and want a snack feel free to help yourself.

Not that our children do not eat candy...well they certainly do not eat much of it.  The other day some one was marveling at the idea that my girls have never had a carbonated coke, no sprite, no mountain dew.  Since I do all the shopping it is not a big shocker (I drink water and that is about it), and of course Dave is a dentist and well...sodas are pretty bad for your teeth, so Dave and I are a good team.

About the candy, either we are meanies or our children do not care enough to give us a hard time about not getting candy.  Actually HC asks to chew gum at least a couple times a week.  But she knows when she is 33 she can chew all the gum she wants.  We like making up arbitrary numbers for things.  So the other day it was my sis-in-laws birthday and HC asked how old she was, and I told her 29.  "Oh, so AUntie Rubie isn't married?" she asked.  I was so confused, and then I quickly remembered that I had told her she could get married when she is 30.  "Well, Auntie Rubie got married before she was 30, she did not follow the rules."  Hmm...I wonder how long this will last?

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

HOW We Teach Our Children, Pt. 2 of 3

So now that you know WHY we do all these things, we come to the part that you all have been dying to read…I know…HOW do we do all these things.  I think that one of the reasons I wrote before about finding out what you love and what you are good at, is because how we teach our children should reflect who we are.  What works for me might not work/appeal to someone else.  Cool, figure out something different.  I would love to hear other ideas.  But we cannot neglect this responsibility, even if we don’t enjoy it…kinda like I cannot neglect my bathroom.  And unlike the bathroom (in theory I can hire someone else to clean it), I have sole responsibility to train my children.  It cannot be left to Sunday school teachers, or youth group counselors.  I really tried to make this co-herent, but I really think I lost my brain when True was born, so most attempts these days seem to fail.  Take this for what it is worth.

Circle Time.  
Most mornings, right after breakfast we have "circle time".  CT can last anywhere from 15 minutes to 45 depending on the day and the mood of the girls.  We talk about what is going to happen during the day, eg. ballet or playgroup, and then we move into reading our children's Bible, doing our catechism questions, memory verse and then we end with singing and praying.  I have gotten really good at doing all this fast, because I have an antsy 3 year old.  I make everyone sit still during the Bible story, and then I let Annelise loose and work with HC on the questions and verses.  Annelise will still be int he room with us, but I do not make her sit still, she just runs around and plays.  And then she will come and sit down for our singing time and our prayer time.  I try to be really flexible with this time, sometimes the girls are really into all of it and we will sit here a long time, and other times they are squirmy and we read the story and sing and are off.  Even with doing all this, we are usually onto the rest of our day by 8.15.  I think this is also where my personality comes out, because I do this a number of different ways, and am always trying new ideas.

I have had to remind myself that the purpose of this time is really to introduce my children to God.  It is not for them to master the subject (like that is possible).  Sometimes I will get frustrated if HC has a hard time remembering the answer to a question about we have been going over this for 3 weeks, why is this still hard?  But, wow, she has a life time to learn all these things, and truly they can never really be mastered, so at this point I am encouraging her to memorize and remember, but if she has a hard time getting it that is OK.  I have also realized that the catechism can be a great resource, or it can be drudgery.  I am trying to use it as a resource.  We are memorizing the questions and answers, but I will also spend time talking to them about it.  We have spent countless hours talking about the Holy Spirit and how he regenerates our hearts/washes our hearts all clean.  We do use the real word, regeneration, but then also make it understandable for the little ones.  It is fun, and the girls like talking about these things.  It gives them a language of faith, and something for us to talk about at other times of the day.

A couple days ago HC was talking about the mean lady in "Tangled".  "She was not a nice lady, Mama," she said, "her heart is dirty, she needs the Holy Spirit to wash her heart all clean."  Or we were talking about our friend, Jess, who is going to Ethiopia to "tell people about Jesus, so that the Holy Spirit can come and wash their hearts all clean."  

I am a big memorizer.  I think it is very important, and a great way to get information into their little brains.  The nice thing is at this age it is super easy for them to memorize.  I hope by memorizing I am giving them something to draw on later in life, and I am giving them a working knowledge of the Bible.  Sometimes we do solitary verses, but often times we will do passages or chapters of scripture.  We often do this in our "circle time" in the mornings, but I have also done it in the car, and at the table during a meal.  Sometimes I will pray the verse.  Sometimes I will just repeat it a couple of times a day, and sometimes I will have them repeat it with me.  I have picked passages a number of diferent ways.  I like using the call to worship from my church's worship service, or I'll use the verse that goes along with a particular catechism question we are learning, or a passage I have found and enjoyed.

Random Ideas.
Sometimes I pick a theme.  Recently we worked on Psalm 23, so I worked with the girls on memorizing the passage.  We read a little story book that talked about Psalm 23.  And then I taught them a song that had parts of Psalm 23 in it.

Last fall we read through the Psalms, so every morning at breakfast I would read to them a couple of Psalms.  

Sometimes after we read the BIble story in the children's Bible, I will read the REAL story in the REAL Bible.  Call me crazy, but it is fun, and the girls really enjoy hearing it read again.  I think there is something powerful about the real, written word of God.  Call me crazy, but doesn't it say something about it being living and active?

We sing a lot in our house.  Dave is very musical, and I can carry a tune and I remember songs very easily, so we sing a lot.  We sing in the car, we sing in the house, we sing outside on a walk.  Dave sings with them every evening while he puts them to bed, and I sing every morning with them in our Circle Time.  Dave is great about teaching them all the fun songs with the fun motions, and I am really good about teaching them hymns.  They know numerous songs, and if we teach them a hymn we teach them all the verses.  I personally think that hymns are a great way to teach them/me about God.  Do I need to convince anyone about that?  DOn't get me wrong, there are some crap hymns out there, but there are also some awesome, wonderful amazing hymns written by John Newton, Issac Watts, William Cowper, etc.  We also love a lot of songs written by Stuart Townend and Keith Getty.

Confession of Sin.
I'll refer to my previous post on this subject.  The girls are getting better at doing this, and it is very interesting to watch.

Dave and I have a lot of new thoughts about this topic, and I could probably go on and on for a while about it.  Our children need to be attending worship with us!!!  And we need to help teach them what worship is all about, and how to participate in worship.  Thankfully our church does not keep children and parents segregated, and at 4th grade the children are in the worship service for the whole time, sermon and all.  But Dave and I are getting a little crazy, and we are starting to bring HC with us for the whole service.  There is a lot of thought and prayer that has gone into this decision, but for our family we have decided it is the best decision for now.  We might change our minds at some point, but it is sticking for now.  HC and Annelise come to sing for the beginning part of the service, and then HC has the privilege of worshiping with us through the sermon and the sacraments.  And Dave and I are working hard to help her understand and participate in what is happening in the sermon and the sacraments.  It has been cool, and I am thankful that we are doing it.  There is a little teaser, and I should probably write a whole post with all my day.  Bottom line, worship is a means of grace.  Sometimes it is "boring" and sometimes it is "exciting" but either way it is necessary and important and it is a way to experience God.  There is something powerful about the proclamation of the word...not because our pastor is so awesome...but because God has made it powerful.  To me learning to worship is a discipline, just like learning to read, spell, and add.  It is hard work, but it is necessary work, and we felt that HC was ready to begin to learn how to worship with us.  I'll keep you posted on how it goes, but the other day she was telling one of our friends how much she enjoys attending worship.  She is also super anxious to have a chance to eat the "crackers and grape juice", and asked if when she was 6 she could take communion.  I haven't broken the news that she will likely have to wait until 10 or 11, or whatever age she is when she makes a public profession of faith and joins the church (but around here, it is usually around 10).  

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Is That Paprika I Smell?

Here is another shout-out for roast chicken, and for my just in case you happen to recently turn to the dark-side and go vegetarian on all of us, have no fear, this is super yummy even without the chicken.  A yummy recipe for roast chicken without the chicken...odd, huh?

Roast Chicken Breasts with Garbanzo Beans, Tomatoes and Paprika.  Is your mouth watering yet?  I made this last night with a whole chicken, but I have also made it without the chicken, just roasting the beans and tomatoes together.  Yumm-o.  I leave out the red pepper for the kiddos, and they devour this every time I make it.  I served it over quinoa, with that yogurt concoction...mmmm.  Last night I even got a shout-out from little miss HC.  "Oh, Mama, this is so good, I am so thankful that you made it for me."  And she ate every last bite.

Annelise are almost every bite, but she is three and likes to fight back recently.  In fact, and this is just a random side note about my day was from down-under.  Really!  My multi-tasking abilities were put to the test, and I think I lost.  I try to let Annelise have full reign over her choice of clothes.  If you want to wear two skirts, go ahead.  A skirt under a dress, marvelous.  You want to wear two different socks?  Perfect, what fashion!  But yesterday, we made it all the way to Hobby Lobby before I realized that Annelise had left the house without panties.  Nice.  I should have turned around and headed home immediately upon realizing that.  Why I did not, I have no idea.  The signs were all there, it was going to be a fight.  Big breath.  At last count everyone is still alive, including Annelise.  What is it about being three?  Wowee, she is giving me a run for my money.  I love her little spirit, but wow.

Enough about that, just enjoy the chicken.  MMMMMMM good.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

My Sweet Girls

Last night I was lying in bed thankful for my family.  I feel very aware of how blessed I am.  There is much to be thankful for, and today I am thankful for my girls.  I have the privilege of being their mama.

One of the things that makes me very thankful is that they are just normal.  Normal little girls.  They are extraordinary to me, but to most they are just normal or average.  I am good with that.  In the past I think I wanted them to be above average, the smartest, the tallest, the best swimmer.  Recently I have thought I just want them to be kind.  Kindness is a wonderful virtue to possess, and it is also a work and fruit of the Holy Spirit's work in their lives.  Who cares if you a genius and a jerk?  And the likelihood of my children (or their friends) being a genius is slim...I mean, how many geniuses are there in the world?

Let me say, my girls have moments...sometimes hours.  But overall I think my girls are very kind, and it is wonderful to watch.  Annelise is so aware of children who are littler than she is.  When kids are over to our house she watched out for the little ones.  If they loose their sippy cups, she finds them.  She shares her toys with them and includes them in her play.  I think that is rare for a 3 year old.  HC does the same thing too.  Our neighbor's little boy is almost 2 and they love to play with him and pick flowers for him, and share their swings with him.  It is impressive.

They are so kind to each other...most of the time.  I love watching them play and fight and make peace.  I love watching them think of the other one first.

I am reading this book, "When Children Love to Learn" by Elaine Cooper.  It is actually required reading for the school that we will send HC to in the fall.  The book is an overview on Charlotte Mason's philosophy of education.  Mason was a British educator in the early 1900s and is brilliant.  I love her heart for teaching children and I am SO thankful that my children will get to attend a school that has embraced her all children are created in the image of God, and children should have lots of time to run and play outside, and children should have lots of access to living books (not textbooks).

Reading this book has just helped me to think through how I think about my kids.  Not that I have to choose between them being smart or kind, but just realizing in 10 years no one is going to care if they learned to swim at age 3 or at age 9.  No one is going to care if they started waking at 9 months or at 18 months.  No one is going to care if they learned to read at age 5 or at age 7.  But they will likely care if my child is kind.  Hopefully we are on the road.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Pioneer Woman to the rescue!!!  Red peppers are my favorite.  I love red pepper soup, red pepper sauce, and one of my favorite salads is romaine, red peppers, sun flower seeds with poppyseed dressing on top.  Yumm-o, red peppers!

I made this recipe last summer when I was prego with True and it became an instant fav.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Love by George Herbert

LOVE bade me welcome; yet my soul drew back, 
      Guilty of dust and sin. 
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack 
      From my first entrance in, 
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning         5
      If I lack'd anything. 
'A guest,' I answer'd, 'worthy to be here:' 
     Love said, 'You shall be he.' 
'I, the unkind, ungrateful? Ah, my dear, 
      I cannot look on Thee.'  10
Love took my hand and smiling did reply, 
      'Who made the eyes but I?' 
'Truth, Lord; but I have marr'd them: let my shame 
      Go where it doth deserve.' 
'And know you not,' says Love, 'Who bore the blame?'  15
      'My dear, then I will serve.' 
'You must sit down,' says Love, 'and taste my meat.' 
      So I did sit and eat.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Random Thoughts On Churches, Particularly the One I Attend

*These are just random thoughts about things that we are learning...

I realized the other day that I have never left a church.  It seems a little weird.  Even in all of my growing up years the only reason my family left a church was if we moved, and we moved to NP when I was 5.  I stayed at one church virtually my entire growing up years.  I went off to school, found a church my freshman year and stayed at that church until I graduated.

And then I moved here to Atl.  Oooh.  This almost blows my previous statement out of the water, but when  my job here was an internship and I was actually assigned to disciple some high school girls at a LARGE church north of town, so I started attending.  And I hated it.  I remember on Sundays crying all the way there and all the way home.  The pastor was great, everyone loves the pastor, but I hated looking across the theatre (seriously) and not being able to see the faces of the people on the other side.  I am just SO not into that.  Obviously some people are.  The other day my friend said, "Yea, some people like that if they have a child who likes cherries, they can send them to a Sunday school class just for them, just for little girls that like red cherries."  I laughed.  Fortunately for me, after 2 months of attending that church, I randomly woke up one Sunday morning, pulled out the yellow pages (it was in 1998 folks), looked up Intown, and thought...I know where Lavista Road is.  I got on Lavista and drove until I found the church.  I can still remember who was leading worship, what the text of the sermon was about and who preached.  I cried.  This time because I knew I had found my church.  Fortunately for me, the big church I was discipling kids at was in the same denomination as Intown, and had a Saturday night service, so I figured I was not totally cheating if I began to attend Intown.  And I did, and I did not feel bad, well maybe only once.  Since that day in December 1998, every Sunday I have been in Atlanta, I have been at Intown, save one.  One Sunday we visited the Westside church plant.  That was during the one week we thought we might buy a house over there.  Kinda crazy.

Why do all things lead to Germany?  We actually learned quite a few things while we lived there.  And quite a few things about church.  Like (can I say this in the PCA?) you can actually learn to worship God, even in a heretical church.  It is true, because we did.  And not just survive, but I would say we did learn to thrive there.  Not that I necessarily recommend this.  Actually I do not recommend this at all, I am just saying it is possible.  I had to relearn how to worship God apart from singing my beloved hymns.  After singing Majesty of the millionth time, it stopped getting on my nerves, and I was able to listen to the words and think about God, who is majestic and worthy of my worship.  The funny thing is that when I stopped looking for things to complain about I enjoyed the service more.  But I do not think it was just about what I did, I truly think it was a gift the Lord gave to us, to help us grow and worship him.

And the preaching...dude...crap...I could tell you stories.  And you might cry, because it was just that bad.  But sometimes even in the midst of a horrible sermon you would catch a glimmer of the gospel and we would just hold onto that with all our might.  Thank you God for that picture of yourself.  It was such a gift.  It actually wasn't all bad, the last 9 months we were there was had a wonderful chaplain who gave us lots of nuggets of truth.  Not what you might find in a strong church here, but enough.

It's funny because when we made it back to Atl and to Intown we just cried.  I think every service for a long time just made me was so rich and meaningful and wonderful.  I remember, shortly after we returned home, someone was complaining about how long a particular pastor took to do communion one Sunday.  Dave and I were so upset by the comments.  I just wanted to yell, you have no idea!  There were times when we had gone months without taking communion (because they only did it once/month) and to come back to doing it every week was so amazing, how can you complain about it?  How can you complain about having to listen to the gospel being preached?  Just because he did not do it the exact way you wanted it to be done?  Is that worth a complaint?  Is it worth a thought?

Dave and I promised we would never complain about Intown.

Well, of course that is not true.  We have complained about Intown, and I think it is a shame that I have to admit that.  And I complain about stupid stuff sometimes.  I mean stupid stuff.  I hate that.  How quickly I forget how lucky I am.  Here in Atl, I can be picky, but in Germany I could not.  Is it right to be picky just because I can be picky?  What a snob I can be, thinking that I know the right way, and if they do not do it that way I have the right to complain!

Unfortunately the longer I am at a church, the more I know, and the more I might wish I did not know.  And it sucks to know crap.  It sucks to see where the church is failing or struggling.  And it sucks to have friends leave and it sucks sometimes to be the one who has been left.  That is what happens at church sometimes.  It happened in my church in NP, at my church in college and at Intown.  It sucks because often times it means that relationship is over.  Over the course of 11 years my friends have changed, and that is mostly because we no longer worship at the same place on Sunday.  Church is like family, and there is something important and special about worshiping together.  It totally sucks when someone or something messes with that.  I hate when pastors mess up, and when elders mess up, and when the congregants mess up.  I hate how sometimes our sin rubs up onto other people, what a mess!  But I know that happens everywhere, and it is not particular to a certain church or a certain denomination.

Sometimes I wonder what would have to happen to make me leave a church.  I have no earthly idea.  Sometimes God moves me into places I never thought I would go.  I am sure people do not usually set out to join a church for a few years and then move on.  But somehow I do think our family has been shaped by our experiences overseas, and when I think about complaining I try to remind myself of the wonderful blessings I have at Intown.  It is the place where Dave and I met, where I have been taught Reformed doctrine, and where 2 of my 3 children have been baptized.  It would pretty much suck to leave and I am glad we do not have to.  This is a very long post and I am not exactly sure what I am saying, except that it has been something I have been thinking about a lot over the last little while...and I needed to get it out somehow.  I am thankful for Intown.  I love Intown.  I cannot imagine worshipping anywhere else but at Intown.  And I hope Dave and I have the opportunity to seek its peace and purity for years to come.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Beer Light

Does anyone have a cool homemade beer light?  This is the new decor in the "Man" room.  Do you know what is funnier than having a man room in the house?  Hearing my three-year-old daughter talk about the man room.  Hilarious!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

WHY We Teach Our Children Pt. 1 of 3

Probably every Mama wants to be a good Mama.  I certainly did not set out 5 years ago to be a bad Mama.  The reality of motherhood probably hit me around the time Hadleigh was hitting 2 years old.  It went something like this: You are not the best.  So I accepted defeat somewhat gracefully, and started to wonder, if I cannot be good at the whole thing is there at least a couple areas I can be good at?

Usually I do not get the luxury of only doing things in life that I am good at, or only doing things that I want to do.  Sometimes, most times, I need to put on my big girl panties and clean the bathroom, or whatever it is that I do not want to do.  The last couple of years, however, I have really enjoyed discovering what I love about being a Mama and what I am really good at…hint…it’s not housework.

My bathrooms might not always be spic and span, my floors might not always be vacuumed, and my bookshelves might not always be dusted, BUT we will always have good food at my house because Dave and I LOVE to cook.  I love to bake and we love to make things from scratch, from cookies, to bread, to granola, to mac and cheese, to soup.

The other thing I love is teaching my children about God.  It is not only one of the things I love to do, but it is also something that Dave and I think is highly important, and I would hope all believers would put this as a high priority. 

I am going to break these ideas up into 3 different posts.  This first one will talk about WHY we teach our children.  The second post will be HOW we do teach our children.  The third post will be a resource list of things we use.  This list is ever changing and growing because I always love a new idea, and a new book or a new cd.

WHY We Teach Our Children
1. Want them to know the Bible
I want them to know the Bible, not just verses here and there, but to know and understand how the Bible works.  How do all the stories fit together into one big story?  How do these little stories point us to the bigger story of God redeeming the world?  What do all these little stories have in common and how do they show us Christ and our need for him?  Not only do I want my children to understand how the Bible works, but I do also want them to love scripture.  Scripture is an amazing gift, and the more we know of it and love it and immerse ourselves in it, the more we will know and love God.
2. Want them to begin to understand the authority of God
I think that part of the reason that we are the authority as parents is so that when we grow up we have a framework for the authority of God.  My children have boundaries, they receive consequences, they receive rewards, and they receive grace and mercy.  These all go back to God and his authority.  I cannot do whatever I want.  If I choose to live my own life there will be consequences because I am not the authority, God is.
3. Want them to have a language of faith
I want them to grow up understanding the terminology that believers use.  This is a little different from knowing theology and from knowing scripture.  I think this might be how to marry the two together. 
4. Want them to have a working knowledge of theology
I grew up knowing a lot of scripture, but with no working knowledge of theology.  I thought theology was lame and unimportant until after college, when I realized every believer is a theologian, some of us are just better ones than others.  Soon after I began college I began to wrestle with the doctrines of sin and sanctification.  I could proof text my way through an argument, but I could not use the whole of scripture to understand or articulate what I believed.  Theology is such an amazing resource to have at our disposal if I had been more versed in it my college experience might have been easier.
5. Ultimately we want them to have a relationship with Jesus.
This might be a given.  Who cares about all the rest of this if they do not have a relationship with Jesus, and yet I might argue that it would be hard to have a relationship with Jesus without these things.  I cannot make or grow faith in the heart of my children, that is the work of the Holy Spirit alone, however I can give  them tools to help them understand faith and God.  

Monday, March 21, 2011

Black Bean Burritos

While we lived in Germany we were in a Community Group that met once a week for dinner and Bible study.  It was a lively group, to say the least, and we started off studying Romans.  HELLO!  And the group was all over the map as far as theological beliefs, so it was interesting.  We finally began using Tim Keller's notes on Romans, which was fabulous.  And if you have never studied the Bible with Keller, I highly recommend it.  He is our family fav.

Our friends, Jim and Kristen hosted our groups and Kristen and I worked together and often collaborated on meal planning.  This recipe was one of our favorites, along with a chicken, mushroom quesadilla recipe that we used a couple times.  Every time I make it, I think of Kristen, and we make this recipe a lot.  Bean burritos were actually one of the random things I craved when I was prego with Hadleigh and Annelise.  Top this burrito with a little sour cream and yumm-o!

On a random note, Dave and I are getting physicals in a couple of weeks, so we are being more cognizant about our meat that cheating?

One more random side-note, I think I have mastered the art of cooking dried beans.  So I am making this with black beans that I cooked a few weeks ago and then froze...we'll see how it all goes.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Update on the Playroom

A month or so ago I had about had it with our playroom and all of our toys.  The nice thing about having a playroom is that we do mostly manage to keep all our toys in one room, but sometimes it felt like a war zone in there.  The girls were always good about picking it up with supervision and direction, which was great, but it was just hard for me to add one more thing into our daily routine, especially when it was usually at the end of the day when I am trying to make dinner.

Dave and I tossed around several ideas, and then I got some input from one of my "older" mommy friends. I LOVE talking to my older friends because they have so many great ideas!  Who needs to read a book about parenting when you have wise mamas around who know you and your kids and can speak into the situation.  Love, love, love it!

So, my wise friend suggested that I just let them clean up the room unsupervised.  Interesting idea.  They know where everything goes, why not?  For the past couple weeks I have been letting them clean up the room by themselves right before dinner.  It is usually around 4.30 that I get them started, and they can eat their dinner when they are finished.  I have had to set the timer a few times, which means they have 30 minutes (or however much time I give them) to clean the playroom and eat their dinner.  We have had a couple close calls, but for the most part it has worked.  The girls do not want me to set the timer, so they are motivated to get everything cleaned up.  Annelise is even in the habit now of going into other rooms to check for toys and bring them back to the playroom.

Awesome...awesome...I love it!  One more chore that I can hand over to my 5 and 3-year-old.  And I suppose not only that, but this teaches them to care enough about their things to take care of them and put them away in a place where they will not get ruined.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Black Eyed Pea Salsa

I really enjoy P-dub and I think she has some fantastic recipes that our little family really enjoys.  This is one of our favs.  I made this last March when I hosted my neighborhood's Bunco night.  Everyone went crazy over it and I have made it often ever since.

We love it on chips, on pita bread, in tortillas, on top of quesadillas, and also just straight up by the spoonful and into my mouth.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Thursday, March 10, 2011

More on Bread

In my quest to make my own bread, and because I could eat a whole loaf by myself, I tried this recipe a few months back.  I really like it because I can make it quickly.  It needs to rise for 1.5 hours and cook for 45 minutes.  In my opinion that is a quick bread to make.  I also love this because I can use rosemary from my garden.  In fact, if you ever need rosemary and want to swing by I have more than enough to share.  Save that $3.

It is great with soups, salads, or actually really anything.  Give it a try.  Thank you Pioneer Woman!

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

True is 8 Months

I think that poor True is going to have to be happy with the two month updates because I just cannot seem to pull it together enough to do the every month updates for him...poor little man.  My sweet, sweet boy is almost 8 months old.  He has had a busy couple of months.

He had his first surgery at 6 months old.  Thankfully we have an amazing children's hospital in town (yea for living in big cities), and they took great care of him.  And, of course he is fine and did amazingly well.  Poor little man could not nurse past midnight on the day of his surgery, so Dave got up with him several times in the middle of the night.  Surprisingly he was not too fussy before they took him.  The hardest part for me was that I could not hold him before the docs took him (because I knew if I held him he would want to eat), but thankfully Dave was there and was fabulous at keeping True calm.  I am certainly glad all that is behind us.

True FINALLY cut one of his bottom teeth last week.  We are still waiting for his other bottom one, and of course his two top ones.  It is so amazing how different all the kiddos are.  HC cut all of her teeth right on time, Annelise's were all early, and it seems True's are late.  I am just glad that he finally got one of them out.

Sleep is slowly getting better, but is still painful at times.  It feels like just in the last two weeks has he really started napping on any sort of regular schedule.  A morning nap that is over by 9 or 9.30 and an afternoon nap from 12-2.  He loves to go down super early for bed, so it is lights out for the little man at 5.30.  He has slept though the night a couple of times (like after his surgery when he was on codeine), but most times he is waking up once in the night.  I'll be happy when that is over...hoping for some 9 month magic.  Amazing how every baby is so different...guess this all just keeps us humble.

True is finally on the move!  He has become an expert roller which is the sweetest thing ever.  I love lying down on the floor with him so that he can roll over and over and come to me.  Love it.  HE is working on sitting up on his own, but that is still a few weeks off I am guessing.  I am not anxious for any of this because the more he does the closer we will get to crawling...oh my!  I am not ready for that!

True is a lover of foods.  Everything we put in his mouth he loves.  He has recently discovered cheerios which are a real hit (now if he could only figure out how to grab them and take them to his mouth).  Mangos and carrots are a new fav too.  This is round three of making my own baby food.  I really enjoy it so much.  Even Dave got into the action and made some applesauce yesterday.

At his 6 month check-up he weighed 15 pounds, 9 oz, and was 27 inches long.  That is 25 for weight and 75 for height.  I am just happy he is still on the chart, both girls were down to 0% for weight at age 6 months.  He is a chunk compared to them.

Everyone LOVES True.  He has a very sweet disposition and enjoys lots of attention.  He has these eyes that just demand eye contact, when he gets it he bursts into an award winning smile.  He is a little snuggler and loves to be held and kissed and squeezed.  I love that, and am thankful that all my kiddos were snugglers (must be in the genes).  He is such a blessing and I am so thankful that he is part of our family.