..."popsicles on the porch"...what a great afternoon treat and our favorite way to spend time together! These are simple and precious moments! Princess #1 and Princess #2 along with Little Man #1 and #2 are my inspiration for most of these writings.

Monday, March 17, 2008

0 Days to Go....

and still waiting!

A few years ago, before the birth of our first child, Tim and I took a Christian birthing class. I learned a lot of valuable information, not only in preparing for the physical act of giving birth but also in preparing emotionally and spiritually.

As I was reading over my classroom notes the other day I came across a devotional on perseverance. Perseverance requires patience and waiting on the Lord.

Patience and waiting on the Lord. Wow...how appropriate being that I have reached my due date and still NO baby!!

As I wait, I've been reminded that even through the painful and yet beautiful experience of child birth the Lord is continously revealing himself to us, sanctifying us and drawing us closer to Himself. From beginning to end i.e enduring 40 weeks of pregnancy, waiting for the onset of labor, perseverance through labor, surrendering our bodies to the process, exercising patience, trusting the Lord for a healthy delivery, etc...I am reminded of what it means to surrender myself completely before Him. And that as I do, all these things and more the Lord can and will work in and through me as I seek Him. Wow...what a bigger vision of childbirth and the sanctifying work Christ is doing in and through us!

So, here I am patiently waiting on the Lord! Below is an excerpt on Birth and Rebirth taken from my class workbook from First Birth Ministries. It highlights the beauty and awesomeness of childbirth and how it parallels to our own spiritual journey.

Birth and Rebirth (by Kadis Greco RN)

God uses the physical process of labor and birth to point us to who He is and what He has done. When one looks at pregnancy, labor and birth, it is no coincidence that the gestation is 40weeks. The number 40 is associated with a period of time spent searching, wondering, listening, receiving, etc... The time periods completing 40 in scripture, all seem to have as their common denominator, "a period of preparation" before an "important event or ministry".

  • The Israelites wondered in the wilderness 40 years after being freed from slavery in Egypt and before entering the land promised to their ancestors.

  • Moses spent 40 days on top of Mt. Sinai, speaking with God in the midst of the thunder and the fire, receiving the Ten Commandments for the people to follow.
  • Elijah underwent a period of 40 days discovering that God is not necessarily present in the thunder and the fire, but speaks in a barely audible still small voice.
  • Jesus faced three different temptations in the desert.

Within all these periods of 40, there is something new being formed. It’s not too far a stretch to say that these experiences resemble the 40 weeks of formation that all humans experience in their mother’s womb.

It was a time when God was teaching His people who He was/is preparing them for the work He had ahead for them. The same is true in pregnancy. The ministry of parenting is eternal work and blessing that God is giving us. He wants to prepare us.

There is a wonderful illustration of God's love and sacrifice for us if you simply look at birth. Just as a mother becomes burdended by the increasing weight of her baby in the last trimester of pregnancy, and she carries this weight and burden on her body, making simple tasks more difficult, so did Jesus take upon His phyical body the burden of our sin by voluntarily going to the cross for us. He physically bore the weight of the crossbar as He walked up to Calvary, and bore the full weight of our sin.

As a mother labors, she submits her body to a power she has no control over. Scripture is very clear that even the physical event of birth is something that God does, not man. She suffers and travails, experiencing pain. Not the kind of pain that means something bad is happening, but it is the kind that means something good and wonderful is happening, her baby is coming forth to be born. (first birth) Jesus upon the cross, sacrificing Himself (to the point of death) so that we could be born spiritually, (second birth) to live with him eternally.

Notice that even the cardinal movements of birth (the series of movements a baby must go through before and during his journey of birth) parellel with the steps of salvation.

1. Baby--He is surrounded by darkeness inside the womb of his mother, only able to see difused light. Man--Sinful man is in darkness, unable to see clearly, blinded by his state.

2. Baby--He is bound to the uterine wall (placenta) by he umbilical cord (2ft long)totally dependent on his mother and God to set him free. Man--Man is in bondage to his sin. He is totally dependent on God to set him free.

3. Baby (Flexion)-- As he is readied for birth, his head is flexed forward, his chin resting on his chest, looking downward at his chest (heart). This MUST occur in order for the baby to be born normallly through the birth canal. Man--as he is forced to look inward at his heart, he realizes he is a sinner. Man MUST realize this before he can come to a saving knowledge of Christ.

4. Baby (Internal Rotation)--The baby must begin to turn to look down, so that his head will maneuver through the birth canal. Man--must repent, turn away from sin, the old ways.

5. Baby (Extension)--As he is pushed downward into the birth canal by the force of the contratctions, he has no control. He begins to extend his head upward, toward the outside world. Man-realizes he needs God. This can only happen through the conviction of the Holy Spirit, not His own power. He needs a Savior and turns to look upward to the Light of the world, asking for forgiveness. He accepts what Christ has done, and wants to be with God.

Baby-As the baby descends, he passes through the amniotic fluid (98%). At a point in labor, the amniotic sac will break open so that the baby can come forth. Man--In most stories of deliverance in scripture, water plays a roll. Moses, placed in the water by his mother, was delivered from death. The Israelites passed through the Red Sea upon their deliverance from Egypt. Man is baptized, in obedience, to represent the death, burial, and resurrection.

6. Baby (External Rotation-Restitution)--Upon the birth of the baby's head, he must turn externally for the shoulders and the body to be born determining the birth completed! You cannot put a baby back into his mother's womb once that baby has been born. He is yours!Man--As man's heart changes inwardly and he repents, his outward behaviors change and repentence is complete by his life changes. Rebirth is complete! There is no going back for the man, after rebirth. Once he is reborn, he belongs to God!

Birth and Rebirth are both something that God does, not man.

Wow! As I mentioned earlier, what a beautiful reminder of the awesomeness of childbirth and how it parallels to our own spiritual journey!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Where Did My Baby Go??

Isabella is so excited about turning 4 in just a couple of months. In fact, that's all she talks about around the house. As Tim would say, that's all she's ever talked about since her 3yr old birthday last May! It is true! But lately she is becoming more and more aware that her birthday really is just around the corner. And in her mind, turning 4 is the marking of becoming a "big" girl,something she discovered all on her own.

So, using her words, we began talking with her a few months back about how part of being a "big" girl meant that she could now sleep without a diaper on. This definitely intrigued her so we began leisurely night training her.

I say leisurely because even though we've been night training her for some time now, we never actually took her out of her diapers. It wasn't something that we purposely set out to do, but for whatever reason, we just never took the time to go out and purchase a protective mattress cover. And being that we didn't want her to accidentally ruin her mattress, we just kept her diaper on. The other thing that attributed to this was that despite wearing her diaper to bed, she was actually doing very well. So, I guess in the back of our mind we didn't really feel the pressure of having to run out and get one. I mean, of course we had the occasional accident every now and then (all the more reason, we needed the mattress pad), but overall we were very surprised at how well she was doing.

Isa knew she was doing great too! She'd wake up beaming from ear to ear each morning as she'd proudly proclaim, "look mommy, I'm a big girl! I didn't pee-pee in my diaper!" As she continued to wake up successfully (and victoriously I might add), she began vocalizing earlier last week that she didn't want to wear her diapers to bed anymore.

By Friday evening we were in for a little surprise as she became insistent and refused to put her diaper on before bed. However, we were in the middle of putting the girls down and weren't able to run out and buy one right then and there. Also, knowing that with Tim's job we NEVER try anything new on the evening before church, we told her we'd pick up her mattress cover over the weekend. If she didn't have any accidents on Friday and Saturday night, then after church on Sunday, she wouldn't have to use a diaper any more! With that, she was so excited!

Sure enough Sunday evening came and Isa so cleverly reminded us that we had promised her that she didn't have to sleep with her diaper on (because she was a "big girl" now)! This time Mommy and Daddy were prepared and Isa watched with joy as we put her new mattress protector on! So, Monday night was the first "offical" night we took the plunge and let her sleep without her diaper. Sure enough, she woke up beaming from ear to ear this morning telling us that she didn't pee-pee in her pants because she was a "big girl" now!

We of course are thrilled to have one officially out of diapers and the timing couldn't be better with the next one on the way. However, I can't help but feel a little twinge of "where did my baby go" as we mark the official ending of her baby stage!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

WFMW: Sippy Cups and Germs

When one child is sick, you know it's just a matter of time before the other one gets sick too! This was the case about a month ago when our oldest had a fever, cough, aches and chills. We knew it was just a matter of time before the little one got it too!

In attempt to avoid the inevitable I, like most moms, kicked it into overdrive trying my best to minimize the spreading of germs. I did everything from lysoling the house down, washing the linens and tried to keep the kids from eating or drinking after one another.

As you know, trying to keep them from eating and drinking after one another is no easy task! However, that same week my mother had just given the girls these adorable sippy cups with each of the girls favorite character on them; a pink Disney Princess cup for Isa and a purple Minnie cup for Elianna.

The girls of course went nuts over them! They loved the idea of having their own personal cups that only they could drink out of. Because of that, my mom suggested using their cups as a teaching tool about germs and not drinking after others (especially when sick)!

Because it can be difficult to reason with little ones at this stage (and because mama doesn’t really like them drinking after other people anyway), it turned out to be an effective and easy way to keep the girls from drinking after one another and laid the foundation for teaching them about germs in general.

In addition, not only are they learning to drink from their own glasses, but since these are the only cups (they each have two) the girls want to use, it’s actually cut down on dirty dishes. So much so, that we’ve even tossed around the idea of getting rid of all the extra sippy cups! It works for us!

For more WFMW ideas, be sure to visit Shannon at Rocks in my Dryer!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Car Seat Shopping

Tim and I are in the process of researching and selecting yet another car seat. This is perhaps one of the biggest purchases you can make for your baby. Because of that, Tim and I have spent quite a bit of time researching car seats, with safety being our top concern.

While there are many great car seats on the market, we have found Britax car seats, though expensive, to be well worth it for safety reasons. We’ve actually purchased one for both girls.

Elianna's in the Roundabout

and Isabella is in the Marathon

We hope to have our newest one in a Britax model as soon as possible too! I say we hope to have him in one soon because up until recently we were not aware that Britax made an infant carrier (the kind that is removable from the car seat base).

You mommy’s know that having an infant carrier that is removable from the car seat base is such a huge convenience! Sadly, at the time we were reviewing car seats,we were unaware that Britax made one. So, we went with the most popular one on the market.

A few years later, here we are again preparing for our newest addition and back at it…researching car seats! Since Britax does have an infant carrier on the market, we’re now tossing around the idea of purchasing the Infant Companion carrier below.

The other alternative would be to keep the current infant carrier we have and plan ahead (knowing that we will ultimately move the baby into Elianna’s Roundabout seat) thus moving every one over one. With that in mind, we would need to purchase the next size Britax model, the Regent for our oldest.

As I have been researching both car seat models, I came across some interesting links on car seat safety. Click here, here, here or here. I have spent the past few years researching the safest seats, but some of the information on the sites below is full of concepts that are new to me; especially those links referring to the importance of rear facing children (beyond 1 year and 20 pounds!) and the importance of children using the 5 pt harness (as long as possible) vs seat belted booster seats.

Whatever Britax model we end up purchasing next, we'll definitely be purchasing from this website I found called
hipmonkey. The proceeds from car seat purchases go to support the Kyle David Miller Foundation.

This is an organization that helps provide car seats to those in need so that all children have an opportunity to ride safely in vehicles. Go to the
Kyle David Miller Foundation to view their website or click on the video below for their story. It had me in tears, but is extremely informative and something to consider. Knowing all facts and options can help you make a more informed decision. I learned a few new things this 3rd time around that I never knew the “full extent” of before.
For example, my kids are currently in a 5 point harness system, but from time to time they ride in my mother's vehicle that is only seat belt protected and not equipped with the latch system. After seeing this video, I'm doing more research to find out about safely securing children in older model vehicles.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Simple Pleasures

Despite my aching prego back, yesterday did bring a few simple pleasures.

Here are just a few snippets….

Breakfast: Since I'm getting around a lot slower these days, Tim's been taking the lead getting the girls up and fed before leaving for work in the morning. That in and of itself has been a real blessing and treat for the girls!

I love walking out in the morning and being greeted by these smiling faces!
I get a kick out of seeing them in their robes!

Dinner: We had a great dinner and tried out a new recipe from dine without whine. I even got a little pat on my back from my 3yr old that said “Hmmm...mom this dinner sure is good. Thank you for my dinner! You did a great job!" After a long hard day it sure was encouraging to hear these words!

I didn't get to gloat too long...because my bubble was bursted when she followed it up with, "Could I have some more black please?!?" Black?? What do you mean I asked...what black? We finally figured out she was asking for more bacon! Hmmmm....bacon does kind of look black...maybe that's what she actually meant, but we know she knows how to say "bacon." So more than likely I overcooked it a bit. :)

Oh well! The "black" couldn't have been too bad because they both ended up eating very well that night! Simple pleasures!

After dinner horsing around: This was probably my favorite! A couple of weeks ago my mom brought over a few boxes with items she had saved for me and my siblings over the years. She asked me to go through them to see if there was anything I wanted.

As I sifted through the boxes, it was neat to reminisce and hear mom share stories about the things that she had stored away. Things like my first Easter bunny, a favorite stuffed animal, etc...but what was surprising was that among these sentimentals were a few crazy items that for whatever reason, she felt compelled to save.

Things like friendship bracelets I made when I was a kid, pot holders I weaved together, and my favorite…those plastic charm necklaces from the 80’s! I used to collect the charms, trade with friends and shamelessly sported this thing around my neck. Since I threw mine away, I have no pictures. However, I googled it and actually found one on e-bay!

Can you believe it's actually selling for $40.00--ha!

Then my mom pulled out a box full of old dance wear, jazz shoes, tap shoes and costumes from previous recitals. Things she had saved from our beginning years in dance. Since my girls love dressing up, how could I say no? I decided I had to make room for this box full of goodies.

Last night I finally decided to pull it out and let the girls dig into this treasure of goodies! Tim and I had a blast watching the girls try on outfit after outfit! It brought back some wonderful memories and gave me such joy knowing they were wearing the very outfits I wore when I was their age.

Thanks Mom for saving after all these years! It was truly a blessing!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Nesting: Phase 1

The weekend before last we had arranged for the girls to stay with Grandma while we attended a wedding of a very good friend of mine from high school. However, our plans changed at the last minute. Following my last midwife appointment, Tim decided it would be better for us to forgo our trip. He didn't want to take the chance of me suddenly going into labor away from our midwives or worst, going into labor while we were on the road (also why I wasn't able to attend the ladies retreat this past weekend)!

Since we had already arranged for the girls to stay with grandma the whole weekend we decided to take advantage of that time and instead spent the weekend cleaning, cleaning, cleaning! Sounds like fun huh?!

This wasn't the usual clean up schedule. This was spring cleaning, sorting, organizing, giving away, etc...all in preparation of our little one coming! Or as Tim would call it, "Nesting!" It felt so good to finally get some things checked off my "Before the baby comes wish list!"

And I have the best husband in the world...though he did get a kick out of teasing me for being blissfully happy about having an entire weekend devoted to cleaning and organizing (I've already admitted that I'm a freak!), he didn't complain not one time! We rolled up our sleeves and got straight to work! I love being "here" with my husband and working together as a team to accomplish our family goals; (or my "nesting" bug)!

Here is what we tackled:


  • Steam Clean All Rooms in House (3 brms, dining room and study)

  • Steam Clean Couches

  • Steam Clean Rocker in nursery

  • Steam Clean Carpets in Van/Clean Van

  • Wash baby Car Seat Covers and place car seat in Van

  • Place Baby Outlet Covers over appliance plugs that are in use

  • Hang up lights on girls doll house bed

  • Swap winter and spring clothing bins in attic

  • Put up Child Protective Gates- We've grown so weary of finding the perfect tension, latching and unlatching each time we wanted to use the gates that we decided to actually hinge them to the wall.

  • This is the gate we put up leading to our master bedroom which will help deter a couple of curious little gals and give mommy a little bit of privacy while tending to the baby.

    We also put one up in the girls bedroom doorway and doorway leading to our home office. So far, it's been working out very well. The little nook area that was created here has even come in handy when we have company and need to contain our dog!


  • Organize and put away baby's clothes

  • Organize girls winter clothes and shoes to take to attic and bring down spring clothing

  • Organize linen closet in master bedroom

  • Organize Tim's undersink cabinet

  • My under the sink cabinet

  • Organize Girls under the sink cabinet

  • Clean out night stand drawers

  • Clean out kitchen junk drawer

  • We got everything done on our list leaving just a few more things to do for another weekend. We even found time to take a break Friday night and catch a movie!

    In addition to watching the kids for us, my mother also blessed us with some cash for a date night! We spent it at Perry's Steakhouse on Saturday night and enjoyed the Pork Chops...our favorite!

    After dinner we had dessert and coffee in the bar area while listening to some great jazz music! The musicians were too cute...they must have all been in their 60's or 70's and were absolutely incredible!

    To top off our evening, we took a nice little stroll around Town Center. Even though I couldn't hang that long (my aching prego back) we had a great time! It truly ended up being the perfect weekend!

    Phase II to come....

    Monday, March 3, 2008

    Menu Plan Monday

    Here's what's on the agenda this week! :) If you have any crock pot recipes, please share! With only 14days left until our little one gets here, I'm trying to makes things a little easier!

    For more recipe ideas, be sure to visit orgjunkie!

    Monday: Tomato Florentine Soup

    3 cups chicken broth
    2 (14 ½ oz) cans diced tomatoes with basil, oregano, and garlic undrained
    1 (15oz) can tomato sauce
    1 (10oz) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
    1 cup chopped onion
    1 ½ tspn minced garlic
    ½ tsp salt
    ¼ tsp pepper
    1 (9 oz) package cheese filled tortellini
    Garnish: Parmesan Cheese

    *combine first 8 ingredients in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low 5 ½ hours; add pasta and cook on low for 30 minutes. Garnish with parmesan cheese.

    Tuesday: Italian –Herbed Chicken

    2 21/2 pds chicken breasts, thighs, legs, skinned
    2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
    1 14 ½ oz can tomato wedges, drained
    1 90z package frozen artichoke hearts
    ½ cup ripe olives
    3 tbsp tapioca
    ¾ cup chicken broth
    ¼ cup dry white wine (or chicken broth)
    1 tbsp dried Italian seasoning, crushed
    4 oz linguine, cooked and drained

    Rinse chicken; pat dry. Set aside

    In 4qt crock combine mushrooms, tomato wedges, artichoke hearts, and olives. Sprinkle tapioca. Place the chicken pieces on top of the vegetables.

    In a bowl combine chicken broth, white wine, and Italian seasoning. Pour over chicken.

    Cover; cook on low heat setting for 7-8hrs or on high for 3 ½ to 4hrs. Serve with hot cooked linguine.

    Wednesday: Left Overs

    Thursday- Buttery Garlic Chicken (from dinewithoutwhine)

    2 eggs, beaten
    1 cup round buttery crackers, crushed
    1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
    4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    1/2 cup butter, sliced

    1. Place eggs in a shallow bowl; set aside.
    2. Mix cracker crumbs and garlic salt in a separate bowl; set aside.
    3. Dip chicken in eggs and then coat in crumb mixture. Arrange in an ungreased 13" x 9" baking pan; dot
    with butter.
    4. Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes or until juices run clear when chicken is pierced with a fork.

    Creamed Corn – B*

    1 cup canned corn
    1/2 teaspoon milk
    2 tablespoons sugar
    2 slices bacon, crisply cooked, crumbled and drippings reserved
    3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    1/2 cup water
    Salt and pepper to taste

    1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine corn and milk; add sugar.
    2. Place corn mixture and bacon drippings in a large skillet.
    3. In a measuring cup, mix flour and water together; blend until smooth. Add enough additional water to
    the measuring cup to equal one cup.
    4. Add flour mixture to corn and stir over medium heat until mixture is thick; salt and pepper to taste. Cook
    for 10 to 15 minutes.

    Friday: Bunless Burgers and Salad/Tator Tots for Kids