Monday, January 17, 2011

Welcome to Recipe Monday!

So my friend Carly decided to do recipe Mondays and asked if anyone wanted to join her. I emphatically said "me!" but then realized I have a hard time keeping up with my meal planning and preparation, let alone blogging about meals! I had grand plans of which recipe I would do first but alas this is what I came up with. Anyway, to kick things off here for my first Recipe Monday I have decided I have a confession to make...

My name is Emily, and I like to buy in bulk. Then I like to forget about all the things I have bought, or the meals I have purposed them for, letting them go to waste therefore defeating the purpose of buying in bulk to save money...and then I like to cry about it.

So part of recipe Mondays will incorporate my goal to cook as little as possible and get as many meals out of one session of cooking/shopping as possible. With that said one of the things I always buy in large quantities is potatoes, especially in the winter. My last trip to the store I bought a huge bag of potatoes, carrots, and celery. Then I went to town on hearty winter meals. The first was ham and white bean soup. I used a ham bone my mother in law had given me and then the carrots and celery. The next night was roast chicken with vegetables and rice. The next night was chicken pot pie with home made gravy (an Ina Garten recipe that changed my life, more on that later) using the leftover meat and some of the veggies from the night before. The night after that was pot roast, again using the carrots, celery and potatoes. Yes, a lot of these meals have the same components but they are all so different that no one my family family seemed to notice. (Well besides Kaitlyn who informed me each night that she does NOT like carrots, but she will try one if she has to) By now the only thing I have left is potatoes and I am quite proud of myself for actually using what I bought...what a concept!

But tonight I had no leftovers and no meal planned out. It is times like these when it is so tempting to order in or head to McDonalds, especially on the nights Ben is at work. In the freezer I had chorizo, in the cupboard, potatoes of course :) I fried up the potatoes (cutting them in smallish matchsticks) cooked some chorizo, scrambled some eggs and we had breakfast burritos for dinner! A nice change from the usual breakfast for dinner routine and super quick! Add a fruit smoothie and we called it good. So the point of this recipe Monday is that sometimes you have no plan (okay a LOT of times) and flying by the seat of your pants can be economical and yummy too! :) I promise better meals, and pictures in the future! Happy Monday!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

What a Joyful Day

Today while driving to a play date Kaitlyn was talking my ear off, as usual, and mentioned that Jesus always protects us. I said "yes, he does" and then she said something I will never forget. She said, with a rather worried tone of voice, "well I know He loves me but I just don't KNOW that he's really in my heart." This is not the first time this subject has come up, the previous time was also in the car and I felt ill equipped to handle something with such gravity. I wanted Ben with me to witness the moment and help us pray. But this time I knew I couldn't put it off again. My girl was aching at the core of her being to know with all certainty that what she was wishing so desperately could be true. I told her that in order for Him to live there that she has to invite Him in, and promise to follow Him forever. It was the best I could do in the moment and I was trying not to overwhelm my eager four year old with ramblings of adult theology. She simply wanted to know He was there, for sure. I told her I would pray a prayer of salvation with her and that Jesus would be in her heart if we prayed it together.

After a short lecture about how I should not close my eyes and pray while I drive because I "might bonk something with the car" and after I assured her I would keep my eyes open, we prayed. I said the words, and she repeated them carefully, word for word, head bowed, eyes closed. When we finished I assured her that Jesus had heard her prayer and that he now lived in her heart, forever. When I looked back the smile on her face was indescribable, so peaceful and joyful at the same time. Let me tell you, the rain had nothing to do with the blurred vision I was experiencing in that moment.

Then the day went on as usual. She played, laughed, sang songs and cried about losing a hand of Old Maid to her mom. But I couldn't help but wonder...does she really get it? Which immediately I answer myself in my head "do ANY of us REALLY get it?" My fear for her is that being so young she won't remember that moment, that somehow things will become stagnant, common and boring when it comes to her faith. What a huge weight it is to feel responsible for helping to guide her on this path and help keep her excited in it. Mostly today I feel grateful that God saw fit to come to earth, save me, and continue His legacy in my child. Her future was written before she was born, but today I got a small glimpse of what it could hold, and the possibilities truly are endless.

So this is her, as she is today, four years old and teaching me so much already. Part of me can't help but sigh in relief knowing that compared to her eternal fate, everything else is "easy" from here. :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Family Photos

We recently had family photos done to capture our completed family. Knowing the completed dynamics of our family is so exciting to me, I love these pictures because they are the beginning of many to come. :)


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Am I a Girly Girl?

I don't think I ever put a hair bow or headband on Kaitlyn once. But now, knowing that Ava is my last little girl I have decided to take full advantage of girlishness and the cute hair bows that are everywhere right now. This is one of my favorite boutiques and they are having a sale right now just in time for Christmas! :)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Still in That Newborn Fog

We recently had pictures taken of Ava and I love them! I love that they capture her in our home, in her own environment. I love that they capture what I will most likely remember through a fog of sleep deprivation and the crazy task of being a mother of three with no manual. :) And I love that even though I am afraid to blink and wake to find my children grown and gone, looking at these photos is so exciting to me. It shows where my kids are and makes me think to the future about where our family is going.

It seems Kaitlyn and Lance can do anything to Ava and she just smiles and coos...except when they simultaneously accidentally knock her in the head with their knees, then she cries (as shown below) but most of the time she is enamored with her siblings. Although having a newborn is challenging, these moments are precious and fleeting. I hope I never forget what is was like to hold my tiny children in my arms and smell that intoxicating smell only babies have. Here are some of the many photos...

Friday, October 8, 2010

Ava is One Month Old!

Dear Ava Lynne,
You are one month old today. It feels so bittersweet watching you grow, knowing I will never again hold my own newborn baby in my arms. I still remember what it's like to be pregnant, to have a precious life growing in my womb one moment, and be given the amazing, life-changing title of mother (once again) another. But soon even those memories will fade and our family will be moving into the next stage of our lives. You seem to be growing and changing infinitely faster than the other two did, and I am grappling to hold on to each moment as it slips away. Your tiny newborn cry is such a joy to me and even the long nights seem blissful in the face of certain reality that you are the final addition to our family.

And although I insisted you were a girl my entire pregnancy, it's only been in the last few weeks that I allowed myself to realize how much I WANTED another girl. Sweet girl you are such a miraculous answer to prayer, one I never even whispered. And as much as I dread this rapid growth process, I so look forward to your first smile, tiny giggles and watching you interact with your sister and brother. It's the "lasts" that scare me. If I had known the last day I was pregnant was the last day I would have held on tighter, rubbed my belly more often and had someone take a million pictures. I would have read bedtime stories to my older children knowing things would never be the same and squeezed them a little tighter when I kissed them goodnight. I would have told them, as I tell myself now. That there are such wonderful things to come, not to be frightened about the future or heartbroken about what's behind us. But all those things seem easier said than done these days. The realization that so many things I dreamed about my whole life have been fulfilled and are behind me and the uncertainty that comes with this next phase of my life. The necessity of new hopes and dreams for myself (and mostly for my children) and the I always knew I wanted to get pregnant and HAVE children.

I am not sure I thought about actually raising those children. Getting pregnant, growing a life, piece of cake! I think most people would agree, this is the hard part. I think I gasp and have my heart hurl into my chest about 27 times a day watching Lance attempt to climb the latter at the park. And my heart hurts for Kaitlyn when she gets her feelings hurt and soars with joy when I see what a sweet heart she has for her siblings. The reality that I have been given this awesome responsibility is so overwhelming sometimes. I am responsible for three tiny lives...for helping to shape, encourage and love them. And, eventually, let them go as adults, praying I did enough things right for them to flourish in so many ways. It's days like today when I repeat Matthew 6:34 over and over to myself... "Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of it's own."

So on this very emotional milestone day I can only promise to try and love you everyday the way I do today, and promise to try and remember this post when you are 2...and 12... and 15...and 22. :)


Friday, September 17, 2010

Welcoming Ava Lynne!!!

Dear Ava Lynne,
From the moment I found out I was pregnant with you, I knew you were a girl. I waited nine months to see your beautiful face and even though your daddy and I hadn't settled on a name, the moment you were born I knew you were an Ava. You were born on a Friday morning at 10:12am...ten days early.

About the time I was ready to go to bed on Thursday night I started feeling uncomfortable. I went to bed sometime after 11pm and woke up at 2am because I couldn't sleep through the contractions. I got up and began timing my contractions and took a shower. About an hour later I knew I needed to call Daddy and tell him to come home from work. He got home and we began getting ready to go to the hospital. After about an hour we called Nono and Papa and asked if someone could come be with Kaitlyn and Lance while they slept. Papa came over and we left the house around 5:15am. I was supposed to have my first Mops meeting that morning and had prepared things for my first meeting as a table leader the night before. So on the way to the hospital we stopped by the church and dropped some things by the door. By this time my contractions were completely sporadic and I was beginning to feel nervous about if this was really it. I asked your daddy to stop at Starbucks, he had been at work all night and I knew he could use some caffeine. I thought I wanted a snack but when we got there I didn't feel like eating and after a few contractions daddy said it was time to get me to the hospital.

When we got to the hospital they checked me in and said I was 5cm...I was going to meet my baby soon! After getting into our room and settled it was only a few hours before you were ready to arrive. You arrived with an attitude of your own and came out crying before you were completely born into the world. When the doctor announced you were a girl I just smiled, like it was a secret we had shared for the last nine months. I couldn't wait to tell Kaitlyn she had a sister, she had been talking about a sister since before I was even pregnant.

You are now one week old and the perfect completion to our family. It's only been 7 days and I cannot imagine our family without you in it. Lance emphatically calls you "VA!" and Kaitlyn asks to hold you about 28 times a day. She cannot get enough of you and is always trying to soothe you when you cry and play with you while you are awake. Lance wants to hold you a lot as well and is mostly very sweet and gentle with you, he's only whacked you over the head once all week.

Here are some pictures of our adventures as a family of five from the last week...