Saturday, February 27, 2010

Princess but not Cover Girl

Molly will not pose for pictures!  I tried snapping a dozen pictures of her, but she won't sit still and look at the camera- or smile!  We made our first batch of mother-daughter Tollhouse Cookies!  It has been years since I last made a batch of ordinary chocolate chip cookies.  I measure the ingredients, and Molly loves to pour them into the mixing bowl.
Here she is napping with the pillow MaMere gave her.  She is such a sound sleeper that even the flash in her face didn't make her stir.  For some reason, I think she looks a lot like Uncle Tim in this picture!

Friday, February 19, 2010

A Hostage's Tale

Twenty-four hours ago, I pulled the package containing Buried Alive by Roy Hallums form my mailbox. I just finished reading it a few minutes ago. Hallums was working as a contractor in Baghdad when he was captured from his office one evening. In this book he details his nearly year-long captivity.

The conditions in which he was held were horrid. He lived on little food, faced countless beatings and existed in just a few cubic feet of space. During his stay, he described the numerous hostages that came to share his suffering, but then left as their ransoms were paid. Amazingly, the tone of the book is very positive. I was concerned that the book would be difficult to read emotionally. However, while he tells of his experience in a matter-of-fact way, Hallums does not describe the most horrific details. He maintains hope for his rescue by focusing on his family and asking God for signs.

The story ends with his dramatic rescue by the US Special Forces. I finished the book with grateful reflection upon the sacrifice and skill of our armed forces serving in Iraq. From cover to cover, you’ll find Hallums likeable and entertaining as he recounts his captivity and delights in his eventual freedom.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Pickle Update

Molly's nickname is Pickle.  She is the sweetest little girl.  If we bump into each other, she says "I'm sorry!"  She is very good with her manners.  "More milk, please!" she'll request.  She is definitely a stubborn two year-old at times!  She hates it when I dress her or fix her hair.  That is the worst time of day for us!  Usually some kind of chasing ensues. 

We've been casually working at potty-training for several months now. She's good about peeing in the potty when I take her. She is also very good about using public toilets. On our trip to Michigan last month, we were delayed about eleven hours. We would have long run out of diapers if she hadn't done a super job using the potty at O'Hare.

Recently, I've let her go "bare butt" for an hour or two in the evenings after her bath.  During these times, she is awesome with using the potty.  She'll go into the dark bathroom by herself and use the potty.  Last night, she went in the bathroom for maybe ten seconds and ran out telling me she had gone poop.  I was doubtful.  After all, it was dark.  Maybe she just felt like she went.  Sure enough, there it was!  So, we're doing the "bare butt" method as much as possible. 

At our meal times, one of us usually prays and then we'll ask Molly if there's anything she'd like to thank God for.  Then, at bedtime, we would pray for her grandparents, aunts and uncles, and a couple special prayer requests in addition to praying for Molly.  The last few nights, Molly has wanted to pray at bedtime.  She'll start by praying for Papa (we thank God for his life, even though he doesn't need prayers in heaven!) and a couple other special people.  She then starts looking around the room and praying for anything she sees, "My blankets, mine animals, my backpacks, the blinds, my bunnies, my kitties, my blankets..."  Ryan and I stifle our giggles while she continues to look around unaware.  I guess she has learned that bedtime prayers take several minutes because it seems like she goes on and on.  Now I know how she feels!

She is very creative and makes up words, games and songs.  Yesterday I had a bucket of clean soapy water on our patio.  I was busy cleaning the grill, and she began entertaining herself with the bucket.  She had a ball squeezing the frothy water out of a cloth onto the concrete and declaring that she was "milking a cow"!  She milked the cow for ten minutes and then started pushing the soapy water around with a broom.  We have a really clean spot on our patio now!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Emily Cooks

Be sure to check out the new recipes I just posted on my cooking blog:  Emily Cooks

Bon Appetit!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Snow Day

We got 12 inches of snow here in Texas!  People don't shovel their sidewalks here, because the snow melts so fast.  I hear water running down the downspouts as the snow melts from the roof.  Ryan had a day off, and we are enjoying him being home with us. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Dads: Perfect Valentine's Book for your Daughter

Thomas Nelson Publishers sent me a complimentary copy of Love Your Heart by Tim McGraw and Tom Douglas to review on my blog.  I was very excited for this book to arrive.  It will be perfect for my toddler daughter in a year or two. 

The main character is a spunky, imaginative girl named Katie.  Katie's very best friend is her dog, Palio.  As the book starts, she is talking with her dad over breakfast about her options for the school talent show.  She is immediately likeable and interesting.  Her relationship with her dad is heartwarming as is her decision to help out a friend sacrificially.  There are many good points in this book to have a deeper discussion with your child about loving others and being just who God created him/her to be.

The illustrator, Abigail Marble, has done a fantastic job capturing the action in her beautiful and colorful pictures. Even the text of the book is done in different fonts and colors which also grabs the interest of the reader.

This Valentine’s Day, snuggle up with your little girl and share this cozy tale. Then, talk about the talents God has given her and how she can use those to help others!

A Dose of God's Word

Do you need some good words to jumpstart your faith?  We've attended some amazing churches in different parts of the country.  You can visit their websites to listen to messages online.  Check it out:

Apex Community Church

Trinity Church 

Monday, February 8, 2010

I'm a Winner!

Before this weekend, the last time I called in to a radio contest was in my teens.  Yesterday, I was just pulling into our subdivision when I heard the DJ on KLTY announce that the seventh caller would get a Family Four Pack of tickets to Sesame Street Live.  When I grabbed my phone, I noticed that my mother-in-law was calling me.  After several seconds of ignoring the call, pulling my car over, finding the radio station number in my recent calls (I had tried to call Saturday), and hitting send, I heard the phone ringing.  The man that answered asked me, "Are you excited?"  I was the winner!  I really think that Molly will like it; I hope that the tickets are good.  So, I learned that it isn't necessary to call immediately after a contest is announced.  It was probably 45 seconds after I heard the announcement before I actually called. 

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Molly and friends

We had three other two year-old girls and a couple siblings over to play on Monday.  They were all very well-behaved.  I can't imagine what it would be like if they were all boys! 

The next morning when Molly saw her table she remembered sitting there with "my friends"!  Cute!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Spiritual Game Plan

Ryan has made me into a golf fan.  We always would root for Tiger Woods in the major tournaments and loved to see him dominating in his red shirt on Sundays.  We liked his focus and raw talent.  His daughter Sam was born a couple months before Molly.  So, we also had an interest in seeing glimpses of his family, too.  Because of the recent events in his life, golf this year won't be the same.  As one of his fans, he let me down.

We also like college football.  While we are, of course, Michigan State fans at heart, we follow other teams, too.  We like to watch the Florida Gators.  Tim Tebow is one of our favorite players because of his leadership and great playing on the field, but also because of his unwavering faith. 

These men are contrasting examples of those without and with their priorities ordered correctly.  Living Life in the Zone:  A 40-Day Spiritual Gameplan for Men by Kyle Rote Jr. and Dr. Joe Pettigrew is a daily guidebook for men that want to order their lives God's way.  The book is full of motivating examples of famous men in sport that honored God by the way they love Him and their families.  The daily readings are both very practical and very specific.  All of a man's priorities:  God, marriage, children, friends, and career, are front and center in this book. 

As a woman, and also a wife, my opinion of this book is obviously somewhat skewed.  I thought the challenges to the reader cut straight to the heart.  It brings perspectives to a husband and father that he might not have previously considered.  I'll be placing this one suggestively on Ryan's nightstand!

I like the highly structured format of this book.  Daily, there are scripture references, questions for thought, and an assignment for life application, in addition to the discussion of the day's topic that is filled with examples and exhortations.  At the end of each of the forty chapters is a box to write praises and concerns.  This feature could serve as a kind of a mini-journal to review life issues. 

The writing is very readable.  If I were using this as a daily devotional, I would have a hard time not turning to the next chapter after finishing one.  That's how I felt as I read through it from cover to cover.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review on my blog.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Today while shopping at Target, Molly suddenly exclaimed, "That word says 'ox'!"  I looked in the direction she was pointing and saw this scene:

It took me a few seconds of scanning the shelves for a product containing the word "ox", but then I saw the Valentine decorations hanging from the ceiling.  Here's a closer view:

I found it amazing and hilarious that she spotted these from afar and recognized a familiar word.  I started teaching Molly a couple sight words a few months ago.  I decided to start with really useful and common words, for example, ox and vacuum.  She learned the word ox when I showed her one of her Sesame Street flashcards alongside two of her storybooks that just happen to contain ox.  (You can see these titles at the bottom of this post.)  She started pointing out the ox whenever we'd read one of these books or use her flashcards.  When we practiced words, I'd help her spell "ox". 

A couple weeks ago at storytime at Borders, Elaine, the leader, asked another little girl what her favorite animal is.  Sweetly, she replied, "A dog."  Next, she asked Molly, who answered, "Um... ox!"  Elaine very politely commented that Molly would fit right in in the 19th century.  I was somewhat shocked by Molly's answer because she absolutely loves her stuffed bear, bunnies and kitties (turkey, too), and is really interested in dogs and cats when we encounter them.  Having heard me recount this story, Molly loves to answer, "Ox!" whenever she's asked about her favorite animal because she knows it will get a laugh. 

I will never look at the sweet OXOXOXs written by Ryan's mom on card she sends the same way again! 

Monday, February 1, 2010

No Napping

This is the third day this week that Molly hasn't taken a nap.  It's been wonderful, BECAUSE.... she goes to bed by 7!  Molly has always been a deep napper.  I almost always would have to wake her up.  At about 18 months, I would let her sleep three hours.  Since then, I have decreased the length of her naps down to an hour and a half.  I'd then wait five hours until bedtime.  She was rarely ready for bed even then.  She'd party for about an hour, running out of her room, even with me consistently carrying her back repeatedly.  I'm sure some days she'll still need to nap, but I'm keeping her up as long as she's happy. 

Right now, she's hanging out by me using a pen and pencil.  The trick will be to still accomplish as much as I did during her long naps!  I'm planning to do my ironing after she's in bed tonight.  Hmmm, the dilemmas of a housewife/mom!