Thursday, December 24, 2009
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Some cute things she's said lately:
Yesterday morning, I told Molly that baby Joe and Xander were coming over later in the day. Molly recalled that the previous week Xander had left his toy train here. (I had put it away and hadn't mentioned the train in a week.) She said, "Xander forgot train. I'm sorry!"
A short time later, she was put in time-out. After two minutes were up, I asked her why she had received a time-out. She answered, "Stop touching mama's phone."
My phone was ringing, and she came to tell me, "Hear phone, mama. Go get it."
Molly can be a loud talker, especially when she wishes to say something embarassing. A male grocery employee was stocking a shelf. He had somewhat shaggy hair, but not long. Twice we walked by him as we shopped. Both times she yelled repeatedly, "What's lady doing, mama?" Oops!
A new house is being constructed next to ours. Workers were framing out the first floor. Molly was feeling outgoing and yelled to them, "Hi!" After no response she continued, "Hey! Hey guys!"
Driving today, I began singing "Twist and Shout!" After singing, "Shake it up baby now," Molly challenged me, "Oh, no shaking baby, mama."
At the grocery store, Molly got a free balloon. She played with it some but grew tired of it. When we returned to the car, she became interested in it again. She told me sweetly, "Thank you mama, getting Molly balloon." I love that she can be grateful and polite. It warms my heart.
Country music often reminds me of my dad and makes me cry. Today, Molly heard me and asked, "What's the matter, mama?" I told her. She then made some fake crying sounds and said, "I'm sad, too." It was both sweet and sassy!
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Our neighborhood consists of new subdivisions surrounded by ranchlands and homes with small plots of land sometimes housing horses. Yesterday I noticed an old lone horse in a yard very close to our home. I looked for a minute and was amazed to see an antique bathtub near the fence with a hose poised above it. At our family's home in Michigan, my dad used a nearly identical tub for watering his horses. I smiled as I remembered him filling it.
At a beautiful hilltop, I occasionally see a herd of horses. They are varied in color, healthy and cause me to pause and enjoy. A few days ago, I saw just one shiny black horse running through the field. I thought of my dad, healthy and free in heaven.
A nearby ranch has rolling hills dotted with robust cattle. They are so peaceful, merely grazing and rhythmically swinging their tails. I love that sight. I know that my dad would love it, too. So, I stop and imagine he's standing with me enjoying the beauty.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
I'm proud of her, and she seems so grown up. I'm also relieved because the binky battle was becoming a pain! We restricted it to her bedroom, but she'd bring it out often, and we'd have to discipline her for it. I'm very happy to say, "Bye bye binky!"
Monday, November 9, 2009
Having lived mostly in suburban Midwest and Texas, I felt like I was reading about the culture and food of a foreign people when I browsed the pages of the Jack Daniel’s Spirit of Tennessee Cookbook. Scattered among the recipes are stories of people, places and customs. Not to be missed is the history “Miss Mary Bobo’s Boarding House”, while I wish I had skipped “Possum and Sweet ‘Taters”!
The recipes themselves are a thorough collection of Southern favorites with modern adaptations and creations. While every chapter contains recipes calling for Jack Daniel’s Whisky, like Intoxicated Chicken, there are many dishes that are just representative of the food served in Lynchburg, Tennessee, the home of the Jack Daniel’s Distillery. I am eager to try Lynchburg Lemonade (p.20), a spiked citrus drink. I also have dog-eared the page with instructions for Chocolate Souffle Cake (p.160), a flourless cake perfect for my gluten intolerant husband. I think I’ll skip the possum and just make the Tipsy Sweet Potatoes (p.74)!
Monday, November 2, 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
It is very difficult to take pictures of Molly. I had to bribe her with candy corn to sit still and smile. Even then, it was quite a chore! Her Ma Mere got her this new rug as well as a new bedding set that she'll use when she moves into a twin bed. In addition to being very cute, we play little games on the rug, too. We say, "Put one food on a purple circle and one foot on a pink circle." Very educational!
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Browsing the list of available books, this one caught my eye immediately. I am often interested in books that relate faith to practical examples. I also married into an Irish family that is passionate about their roots; then again, aren't all Irish families like this? So, this was a perfect way to learn more about a great piece of recent Irish history.
The author begins by giving a brief history of beer. He provides a case for the morally acceptable consumption of beer; it seems like he is trying to at once appease and attract those opposed to all forms of drinking. I found it interesting to learn how the first beers were most definitely brewed accidentally in ancient times and how beer plays a role in stories ranging from the ancient Sumerians to the pilgrims to modern times.
Early after beginning it, I was struck that this was a history book. There are hundreds of names and dates littered throughout this story of the Guinness family. Stories chronicle lives of different family members throughout many generations. Because of its format, I did not find it effortless reading. I had to prod myself at times to continue reading. I'll hand it over to my history teacher husband next, and I'm sure he'll be immediately enthralled!
What is fascinating about these accounts is the passion that many of the Guinness family members and employees had for easing the suffering in their generations. The Guinness company blessed their workers with unheard of benefits. The medical care, educational opportunities, and recreational activities provided were beyond compare to those provided elsewhere. There are countless stories of benevolent programs formed as big-hearted men and women became troubled by rampant disease, inadequate housing, overwhelming alcoholism (interestingly), and godless living.
Mansfield ends the book with a summary of lessons learned from the Guinness history. By reviewing these, I was motivated to let the Guinness men and women be my mentors and to pursue integrity as well as passionately work on the count of the down-trodden.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
As Dad struggles with multiple physical difficulties, I am reminded that 100% of us will die. His opportunity to meet God face to face probably will come sooner than the rest of ours. The reality is that we are not fully complete on this earth. Even little Molly is so full of life, but true abundance of life will be ours only in heaven.
I love this verse because God promises that we will be filled with joy in His presence (and ETERNAL PLEASURES!). When we spend time with Him here on earth we get a glimpse of that. I love to imagine what it means to be full of joy. We get joy from so many things on Earth- a deep conversation with a kindred spirit, an exquisite meal, the beauty in crashing waves or a tree-lined lake, learning something new and wonderful, love given and received, and the satisfaction of accomplishing a task.
I believe that all of these things, and others we can't imagine, will be ours in God's heaven. He says that He will make a new heaven and a new Earth. How cool will Paris be in God's new Earth?
So, today I believe God's word. I seek to walk with Him and in His path of life. I pray for a miracle for Dad, but I also recognize that eternal salvation for sinners that repent is the greatest miracle.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Unfortunately this morning, Molly was up from 4:40-5:20 this morning. She was in her crib most of that time, but I couldn't sleep. Then Ryan needs to get out of the house by 5:45, and I was emailing a document for him while he finished getting ready. I didn't fall back to sleep until after 6. Molly slept until 8. Great- the only day that I have to get up early, she sleeps until 8!
Today is my only babysitting day. Baby Joe (8 months old) stays from 7:30-4:15, and Xander (26 months) is here from 11:30-7:15. The day is a whirlwind of naps, playing, time-outs, diaper changes, trips to the potty, prayers for obedience and wisdom, snacks and meals. None of them are on the same schedule. Thank goodness Molly and Joe nap at the same time. (Xander does not nap.)
Xander sleeps in late, and his dad told me that he had breakfast at 9:30. So, when I sit Molly down for lunch at noon, Xander has to sit at the table with her. He picks at his lunch. I then put his lunch in the fridge, and he ends up eating it mid-afternoon! He's not used to sitting for meals with his family around a table. So, this is something I'm training him to do at our house. He's here at dinner time again, but usually he's not hungry due to his late lunch (except for the week he refused the food I offered at lunch and didn't eat until dinner. That time he chowed down!).
Molly uses her diaper and the potty each about 50% of the time. Xander is not potty trained, but his mom wants me to put him on the potty. So, several times a day, all four of us are hanging out in the bathroom together. Altogether I changed four poopy diapers today and washed my hands 32 times. Actually, I didn't count the hand-washing, but that's probably pretty close! And, that doesn't include the many washings of tiny hands!
Joe is a sweet and contented baby. He likes playing with toys or sitting on my lap. I wouldn't be able to do this otherwise because the toddlers are so high maintenance.
Whenever we transition between rooms or activities, the older two get crazy. After the afternoon naps, we settle into Molly's room and play with toys and puzzles. As soon as Joe's dad arrives to pick him up, and we head into the hallway, Molly and Xander go crazy. They think our house is a racetrack! So, even though it had been a laidback playtime, it looks like Kiddos Gone Wild.
I then construct a fort out of a card table, blanket, and towel. We camp beneath it to read books, watch a Sesame Street dvd, and do puzzles. Ryan's working late, so the three of us eat. We wind down playing outside as the air gets a slight chill to it. We come in fifteen minutes before Xander's mom is due to arrive. After removing shoes and washing hands (again), I watch the clock intently as we do a couple final puzzles.
After the kids go, the husband is fed, and Molly's bathed, I'm exhausted. I start longing for a glass of wine to unwind with, and remember that it's October 1. (We only buy alcohol once a month to cut back on the grocery budget.) Woohoo! I've worked hard for this one, baby! Oh, wait, Ryan needs a shirt ironed for tomorrow... and a lunch packed, too. Back to work!
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
After the bath we were dancing along with "Dancing with the Stars". We all dance because Molly commands us to. "Daddy dance. Mommy dance," she says. All of a sudden, she stopped mid-step, and folded her hands. "Pray, pray," she implored us. How sweet that she would want to stop and pray!
Molly loves learning new words and names. She'll point to pictures in her books and ask, "What's that?" or "Boy's name?" Last week, in Walmart, she'd point down each aisle and ask, "Lady's name?" I'd respond, "Honey, I don't know. We haven't met that person." I'm thinking that I'll become a lot friendlier with strangers because of Molly!
At the park this evening, she looked beneath the play equipment and asked the name of a metal support holding up a platform. I told her it was a post. She repeated that word a couple times. It struck me how trusting she is. She believes everything that I say. I am the expert on words and names. Ryan and I taught her almost everything that she knows. That is humbling and amazing! I was thinking about how our faith in God should be the same way. Some people ask how I can reconcile my religious beliefs with my scientific knowledge. I guess that I trust God's word the same way Molly trusts mine. There's a lot that I don't know, but I do know that God is entirely good, and I can take Him at His word.
Monday, September 14, 2009
- We are potty training today. Molly is good about using the potty when I ask her at the right time, but she's not good at telling me when she needs to go. She's had two accidents in her Elmo panties and three successful pees on the potty. (She drank a lot of water this morning!)
- It has been cooler and rainy for several days here. We got caught in the rain while out jogging this morning. Oops! Molly stayed mostly dry under her canopy, but I was pretty wet.
- I'm thankful for the rain which was needed. It also helps us save on our utilities- no running the sprinklers or AC.
- The cooler weather means that it is hot chocolate season (and hot tea and coffee!). We enjoyed some Abuelita this morning. If you don't know what this is, you need to check it out! (Click here.)
- I love the drive home from Central Market via 30 and 199. This route passes through several very diverse neighborhoods. The upper class yuppie Chapel Hill shopping center, the downtown/hospital district, the Northside (Mexican town), Lake Worth (redneck-ville) and our little section of suburbia.
- Molly loves to help push the buttons on the microwave. She has learned the number zero very well because we use it a lot. I'm going to have to start cooking things for unusual amounts of time- 44 seconds, 1 minute and 38 seconds, etc. so she learns a variety of numbers.
- I'm off to quickly update my cooking blog- emilycooksintexas.blogspot.com !
Thursday, September 10, 2009
1. Price Compare - Several times I've purchased a one pound bag of organic whole (not baby) carrots for less than conventional. At Walmart I've twice found the organic to be less expensive. At Super Target, I've found these on special for 79 cents on two occasions.
This week, our Kroger ad had organic raspberries on sale for the same price as the conventional. Make sure to check the fine print in the ad; that's where I saw that the organic was included in the sale.
2. Check "sell-by" dates. Recently I noticed that all of the Laura's Lean Beef (Lean natural beef, raised without growth hormones or antibiotics on an all vegetarian diet- from their website) at Kroger had sell-by dates on the next day. I found a worker in the meat department and asked if they could be reduced because of the date. He told me that they would be $2.99 a pound instead of $6.99. That is a great deal for 4% and 8% ground beef. I bought four packages and threw them in the freezer immediately.
Because organic products don't often sell as quickly as others, stores often have a supply that is approaching the expiration date. Look for reduced prices on these. I've also found organic cheese and yogurt greatly reduced that had expiration dates several days later.
3. Shop online. My husband has follows a gluten free diet, and Envirokidz Organic Crispy Rice Bars are a staple in his diet. I often order these in bulk from amazon.com. Orders over $25 ship free, and they have a program called Subscribe and Save where you get free shipping and a 15% discount for signing up for periodic deliveries of your products. A few months ago they had an Earth Day special where you could get a free reusable grocery bag and $15 off of your order of Natural foods over $45. They often have various specials on different categories of products.
4. Sign up for coupons. Mambosprouts.com sends out coupons in the mail and has printable coupons on their site for organic products. Check out the Earthbound Organic website and click on the Products tab, and then Free Stuff and More. Occasionally coupons are available here. On the bottom of their site you can click to join their newsletter list. On the Horizon Organic website, you can print out coupons and subscribe to their enewsletter.
5. Be Creative. In an attempt to move toward more natural foods, I enjoy finding healthier options to conventional foods that aren't as pricey as organic. I buy wild caught fish because it contains less mercury than farm raised. A local grocery store recently had wild caught mahi mahi advertised for $2.99/lb. I asked at the fish counter for several frozen filets. The worker brought some from the back that was still frozen and individually wrapped. These are great keep frozen for future meals.
I'm also trying to avoid sodium nitrite in processed meat products. I noticed that Kroger had packages (Kroger brand) of uncured bacon that was all natural. The meat isn't from organically raised pigs, but it is free of nitrites and nitrates. It costs just a little more than conventional bacon. Similarly, Hormel Natural lunch meats are 100% natural and are often on sale for prices comparable to other lunch meat options. It is also easy to find coupons for these products.
As more people attempt to eat naturally, the costs of these products should fall. In the meantime, be a smart shopper as you move toward organic.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
She loved her 2nd birthday party. She was happy and well-behaved. She ate and ate and ate, especially when her daddy kept giving her red frosting from Elmo. The frosting on the cake was an inch thick in most places! She got help opening gifts from her friends, which she didn't mind. All of her gifts were perfect- books, puzzles, clothes, a few small toys.
Monday, August 31, 2009
After reading some of the elaborate invitation and decoration ideas, I assertained that many of these people spend the equivalent of an entire 40 hour work week in party planning. I wonder what they sacrifice to pull off the perfect party for a toddler- sleep, personal hygiene, time with their kids??? Then, there are the things I just shake my head in amazement about- inviting 24 toddlers to your home for a party? Why?
I then read the synopsis of a party that was in a league of its own. I was skimming when I came across the part about the rented tent and tables to seat 150 adults and 45 children. This party for a one-year old featured ponies, followed by the appearance of several life-size Sesame Street characters in full costume. At the end of the party, the delighted guests ran out to make their selections from the ice cream truck rented by the hosts.
I can say proudly that I am not a BPM, a Birthday Party Mom. The only thing homemade at Molly's party will be a layered bean dip (and of course, my mom's cheese ball). The Elmo cake will be competently made by Sam's Club. I also spent more time with my birthday girl today than I did party planning. Hurrah for run-of-the-mill birthday parties!
Monday, August 24, 2009
During our house search, we put bids on several houses available through the HUD Good Neighbor Next Door program. We did not love any of these homes, but the program offers them at half-price to teachers. So, we would have gladly purchased one of them at a 50% discount. We did not win the lottery on any of these houses because there were a lot of people competing for this good deal.
We then looked at houses available through the general HUD listings and private sales. We found a couple HUD homes that we liked and put bids on them. On neither of these did we have the highest bid. We weren't really discouraged because although they were very nice houses at great prices, we didn't fall in love with them.
We then found a home in a short sale in a beautiful neighborhood. We really liked the floorplan and yard. We put a low-ball offer because we had heard that often great deals can be had on a short sale if you are willing to wait it out. So, we put our bid in and waited.
As we continued to look, we found the home that we loved, a foreclosure fresh out on the market. We had been looking in a price range for which we could afford a fifteen year mortgage. This one was a little out of that price range. We felt like this was the perfect house for us, and it was the one God wanted us to have. Writing our offer, I felt like God was telling me to just submit to Ryan and go with the amount he decided on. On a Friday, we put a bid a little higher than the list price and decided to go with a twenty year note.
On Monday we learned that the selling bank had received three offers after ours. Each bidder was asked to submit their highest and best offer. We increased our offer by a few hundred dollars. Again, I listened to Ryan and didn't give any input.
Several days passed, and we didn't hear anything. I fretted about whether our offer was high enough. Again, I felt like God was going to provide this home for us, and if so, our offer was good enough.
On Saturday morning, we got a call from our realtor. "Are you sitting down?" he inquired. Surprised, he told us that even though our offer wasn't the highest, the bank had chosen ours because we were using a conventional mortgage. Both he and the listing realtor had never seen a bank take a lesser offer. We believe that God works in unconventional ways to accomplish His purposes.
It is a great responsibility living in this home that God provided. Since He worked it out for us to be here, we need to use our home to serve Him by loving our neighbors and blessing others as they visit.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
I've decided that it is somewhat silly to use the baby jogger. I get a lot of exercise while Molly SITS! When we are in our new home, I'm going to jog to a nearby middle school. I'll get Molly out, and we'll jog a lap together on the track. Then, she comes home a little tired, too.
It is getting a little easier at the park. I used to get more exercise than she did: scrambling after her, lifting, sliding, and pushing on the swings. Now, she can safely be more independent on the play equipment. Yesterday, I strategically placed myself so that I could grab her if she got too close to a place where she could fall (Actually I point these spots out to her and tell her "Danger!". She'll repeat that every time she climbs up, pointing and repeating, "Danger!") It felt weird to be at the park and be just standing in one spot. A little rest for mom- how unusual!
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Friday, July 31, 2009
Friday, July 17, 2009
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Brink Arch Entrance
Front Hallway with nice tile
Extra Room (Den, Office, or Dining Room)
Immediately to the right when entering the house
Kitchen with tile and a skylight
(Center of the home)
This will be our new home in 2 weeks!
The initial documents and inspections are complete.
The home is a single level brick with 3 bedrooms, 2 baths
in Northwest Ft. Worth. (Eagle Mountain-Saginaw) This is
a great area to live! We are closer to family!
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Me: "Was that too bossy?"
Ryan: "I'm used to it."
Me: "Was that too bossy?"
Ryan: "No. It was alright."
Molly immediately picked up on the word "bossy". She started exclaiming, "Bossy! Bossy! Bossy!"
She's our little repeater!
Monday, June 8, 2009
- Friday was Ryan's last day of teaching for the year. Today he's cleaning, moving to a new classroom, and doing paperwork.
- Molly had her first nap without a binky last week at my parents'. We were going to attempt to put her to bed without binky that night.
- While putting Molly to bed without binky, she flung herself over the crib rail. I caught her. We then hurriedly converted the crib to a toddler bed. We let her have binky to not make too many changes to her world.
- Molly had her first bout of food poisoning/stomach virus this weekend. She was a real trooper.
- We have finalized travel plans to MI June 28 - July 6 to visit friends/family and attend my cousin Katie's wedding.
- We have been house shopping and have been outbid by a couple hundred dollars on one house and a couple thousand on another.
- We are looking for a 3 bedroom one-story and prefer flooring other than carpet/vinyl. A covered patio is also on our wish list.
- Our tv stopped working last week, and we are not going to replace it until after we move. Ryan had a tough time facing reality this weekend when missing a golf tournament and the Belmont Stakes.
- Ryan shaved his head completed bald with a razor. I think he looks hot.
- My mom's birthday was Saturday, but we didn't celebrate with her yet due to Molly's illness.
- We bought a zoo membership and are enjoying visiting the zoo while they open an hour early on Mondays in June just for members. We'll be leaving shortly for our visit.
- Molly is saying all kinds of words. She can identify some colors, thanks to the M&Ms we give her when she uses the potty. She can also identify a couple letters.
- The only number Molly knows is "two". But, she conceptually understands it. She'll hold up a couple binkies or stuffed puppies and say, "Two!"
- I just finished the first novel I've read in awhile, Midwives by Chris Bohjalian. I really enjoyed it.
- We have reserved a bunch of books at the library because Ryan reads a lot during the summer.
- This is Ryan's only week off (after today and besides our week in MI) because he starts meeting with his cross country runners for summer training next week.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Molly and I went to CA to meet Ryan's mom who was there to babysit for a friend's daughter. We got a great deal on the airfare, and it was a great opportunity for Molly to see her Ma Mere and hang out with a new little friend. Molly loved playing in the ocean and was excited when the waves splashed up on her legs.