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Showing posts from January, 2012

2012 Book 5: The Postmistress

Another war story for the year. The Postmistress by Sarah Blake is about a wife who is waiting at home for her husband to come back from war and the letter that is never delivered to her.
The start of this book felt a bit erratic to me, but I am glad I finished it. I think I need a break from war stories.
Excerpts from the book: All there was was the story she had told, not what happened around the edges.

Life seemed to her like a city hotel with many floors. She did not like to think of all the hallways she'd never seen, nor all the hallways that she might have walked along if she had gotten off at a different floor. She didn't like to think that there was more than one hallway than the one she was in...

When we know there are people in need, right now, in the same breath as what we are breathing, we cannot look away. It is no abstract. We have to go. That is humanity. The whole thing relies on it. Human beings do not look away.

One day someone you saw ever day was there and the ne…

2012 Book 4: Shanghai Girls

Shanghai Girls by Lisa See is a historical novel about two sisters who end up immigrating from China to America in the 1930's. It is a glimpse into what it would have been like to be an immigrant of Asiatic descent during a difficult period. 
Ultimately it is the story of two sisters who love each other and support one another through some very difficult times in their lives. They deal with jealousy and betrayal as well as an undying loyalty to one another. It is a good read, though difficult at times.
Excerpts from the book: "An educated woman is a worthless woman." – Confucius
We may look and act modern in many ways, but we can't escape what we are: obedient Chinese daughters.
I thought I was modern. I thought I had a choice. I thought I was nothing like my mother. But my father's gamblings has swept all that away. I am to be sold – traded like so many girls before me – to help my family. I feel so trapped and so helpless that I can hardly breathe.
In Shanghai, life…

Pin It: Crayon Monogram

This week I had to bail on craft day since Jack wasn't feeling great, but I did manage to squeeze in a Pinterest craft earlier that I thought I would share.
I came across this Crayon Monogram Artwork a while back and thought it would be cute for a nursery. My sister's baby shower was this past Sunday and I decided to make her an "L" to hang in her little one's room. Her baby, Levi, is due in about a week. 
She loved the gift and laughed that I had made sure to get her some artwork for the nursery {when I was preparing for Jack to arrive, I had my nursery art done before we did anything else in that room!}.

The best tip I can share for this project is to use an exacto knife to score around the entire crayon and then snap it in half. First I tried cutting the crayons with scissors. Then I tried a chef's knife and then wire cutters. All failed. Daniel thought I should try softening the crayons in the toaster oven first, but I had visions of melted crayons that…

Jack's First Shots

Jack's 2 month PED visit went well. He is in the 55th percentile for length at 23.5in, 60th percentile for weight at 12lbs14oz and 90th percentile for size of head at 16.75in! Our PED says that just means he has a big brain. We think this explains why he still sometimes has the bobble head effect – the poor little guy's body is half the size of his head – in terms of percentiles anyways! This visit also encompassed the dreaded first round of immunization shots. Now I don't want to get into the debate of should you or shouldn't you {obviously we chose to proceed} but I did want to write about our post-shot experience.Jack was a little trooper during the shot process. He held tightly to my finger while he screamed, but within a couple of minutes he was back to being completely calm {before our nurse even left the room}. We gave him a few minutes to cuddle before dressing him again. After the series of shots he seemed a bit subdued. I felt bad that we couldn't treat h…

My Sister's Baby Shower

Sunday morning Jack and I made the two-hour drive over to Nashville to attend my sister's baby shower. Her due date is in two weeks, so not very long until Jack has a little boy cousin. I think it will be so much fun to see these two little boys grow up together. Of course, Izzy will be a great big sister/older cousin – she is already smitten by Jack.

The shower was lovely. Our Aunt Becky and cousin Moriah drove over for the event. They enjoyed holding Jack while I attempted to take photos during the shower.

I surprised Izzy with a jealousy gift – a cooking outfit complete with chef's hat. I think it is safe to say she loved it.

After the shower my brother met up with us and we went to Chili's for dinner. Our waitress did a fantastic job and didn't seemed phased at all when Izzy knocked over a bowl of salsa – life with a two-year-old.

It was nice catching up with my siblings. I am definitely enjoying living closer to them.

Jack and I drove home that night in the rain. R…

Wildcat Grill

{image via} Last Friday night we ventured out with Jack to meet up with friends at the Wildcat Grill. It is a fairly new eating establishment in the Scottsboro community and it did not disappoint. Cheap burgers, fast service AND they removed an item from our friend's bill just because she wasn't a huge fan of her chicken fries.

I would say the burgers are on par with Five Guys {aka cooked to order} and there isn't barbeque on the menu {a rarity in this area}. Also, our friends ordered fried pickles {to share} and it was a huge basket, more than enough for four of us. Wildcat reminded me a lot of the Burger Barn {back in the day} in Searcy, AR – basically a smalltown place with lots of high school students, but oh-so-good. Especially for ~$5 for a good burger and fries.
We will be back.
Jack slept through the whole meal.

The Best Gift

When Daniel and I were visiting family in Arkansas last week, my parents gave us a couple of Christmas gifts for Jack. One was My First Read and Learn Bible. It is a board book and tells Bible stories in really simplified terms with beautiful pictures. Perfect for a little one.

The other gift, though for Jack, was a great surprise to me. It was The Christian Mother Goose Treasury book that my dad had given to me on my first Christmas. This is one of the best gifts I have ever received. I remember reading this book as a child and had forgotten about it. I love that we get to pass it on to Jack now.

My parents also gave me my baby book. It was such fun to read through it and reminisce with my parents. Much of what my mom had written about me could apply directly to Jack... The minute Cheree was born, she was very alert and looking all around.
Cheree nurses very eagerly and seems to enjoy it a lot. For the first 2 months she slept quite well and didn't usually wake up crying... She doesn…

Pin It, Part II

Our second Pinterest craft day was a success.
Laura finished her Paper Book Wreath
and started working on this daily calendar
{seen on DesignSponge via one of my favorite bloggers: AshleyAnn}.
While I worked on the baby blanket I have been knitting for Jack. 
My inspiration for the blanket was this blanket from PurlBee.
My Nana actually made us this gray baby blanket after the PurlBee pattern
and I used this easier pattern for my first knitted blanket.

First Date as New Parents

Last Friday, Daniel and I drove all the way to Searcy, Arkansas to go on our first date without Jack. My parents were thrilled to watch our little man. As we went out the door we gave last minute instructions and then had faith that they had raised three kids well and Jack was in good hands.
We made our way into town to Midnight Oil for coffee and dessert. Our very first date, almost 10 years ago ended at MO. It was an epoch first date that lasted over 8 hours. It was sweet to go and reminisce about that date so long ago. 
On that first date I was nervous and made sure that I looked my best. On this date I was tired and had spit up on my shirt, but I know that Daniel loves me more now than he could have imagined back in 2001 – spit up and all.
We talked a little bit about Jack but mostly we reminisced about the past and dreamed about the future. We also felt really old because a lot of the people at MO looked like they were 12. We felt better when we saw some actual college students…

2012 Book 3: Heaven is for Real

I on a roll – three books in two weeks. Awesome. I know that as Jack gets bigger it is probably going to be more of a challenge to squeeze in my reading.

The third book I read this year was Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo, Lynn Vincent, Sonja Burpo and Colton Burpo. It is a fascinating glimpse of heaven through the eyes of a little boy who almost died due to a ruptured appendix. 
I am a believer in heaven and it was very interesting to see heaven through the eyes of four-year-old boy. Sadly there is a cynical part of me that has doubts about the truth of the story. But I really want to believe in Colton's experience... it really did seem for real.
As a new parent, the first part of the book about how Todd and Sonja Burpo almost lost Colton was extremely difficult to read. I am a fairly stoic person and I have to admit to crying while I read. It made me want to hold my little boy a little tighter.

2012 Book 2: Catching Fire

My second book for the year was Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, part II of The Hunger Gamestrilogy. In Catching Fire we learn that Katniss and Peeta have become symbols of rebellion against The Capitol and President Snow is bound and determined to make them pay for this rebellion.
Catching Fire was very fascinating though it didn't quite hold the same intrigue for me as The Hunger Games did. I think this is because I found the storyline in The Hunger Games to be very unexpected and I found myself anticipating much of what happened in Catching Fire. That being said, Catching Fire is still a great book and I am looking forward to reading Mockingjay and finding out how the series ends.

Jack is Two Months Old

Can I please hit the pause button? My baby boy is growing way too fast.

I never thought I would be the type of person who would be over the moon about a baby, but I am. And so is Daniel. It makes us wonder why we waited so long! Just kidding, the timing for baby Jack was perfect and we adore everything about him.

Shortly after he turned one month old, we had a pediatrician visit where we discovered he was gaining 2 oz a day {average is 1 oz}. Now at 2 months old he is already 13 lbs. No wonder my back hurts at the end of everyday!

Besides growing, in the last month Jack has continued to develop in all areas. He holds his head up fairly well {though he still has the bobble head at times}. He now coos and tries to talk back to us when we talk or sing to him. He loves bath time and I think he has learned bladder control {no more peeing the second we set him in the water during bath time and rarely peeing on us during diaper changes}.

Jack has improved in his eating habits – he no longer acts…

Crock Pot Chicken Enchilada Soup

Crock Pot Chicken Enchilada Soup Recipe adapted from from SkinnyTaste {the SkinnyTaste version is probably a little healthier}
1/2 cup onion, chopped and sauteed in 2 tsp olive oil {I skipped this step}3 cloves garlic, minced3 cups low sodium fat-free chicken broth8 oz can tomato sauce1/2 cup chipotle salsa15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained15 oz V8 tomato juice {the recipe actually calls for 14.5 oz can of petite diced tomatoes, for some reason I was out of tomatoes, so I substituted V8 juice and it was great... in the future I might add tomatoes in addition to the V8}.8 oz can whole kernel corn1 tsp cumin1/2 tsp oregano2 skinless chicken breasts1 tbsp ranch dressing {I used this as a thickener, I think sour cream, cream or milk would also work}shredded cheddar cheese {optional as topping}sour cream {optional as topping}Directions: Put everything {except ranch dressing, cheese and sour cream} into a crock pot.Cook on low heat for 4-6 hours. Remove chicken and shred w…

2012 Book 1: The Secret Garden

To kick off the new year I read on of my all-time favorite books, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. This is probably the only book that I have read multiple times. When I was about 11 I had a copy and it was dog-eared. I read that book so many times I had entire passages memorized. I absolutely adored it. I still love it.
Excerpts from the book: If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.
One of the strange things about living in the world is that it is only now and then one is quite sure one is going to live forever and ever and ever. One knows it sometimes when one gets up at the tender solemn dawn-time and goes out and stands out and throws one's head far back and looks up and up and watches the pale sky slowly changing and flushing and marvelous unknown things happening until the East almost makes one cry out and one's heart stands still at the strange unchanging majesty of the rising of the sun--which has been happening every m…

Our Chunky Monkey

This morning Daniel and I were a bit late for church so we ended up in the "training room" – a special room for parents with infants and toddlers. It was nice to not have to worry if Jack got noisy {which he really didn't}.
Anyways, there was a couple sitting in front of us with a little girl. Both Daniel and I noticed how well this little munchkin was holding up her head. She was smaller than Jack so Daniel began to worry that Jack must be behind developmentally {Jack is 8 weeks and two days old}.
After church someone asked the couple how old their daughter was and they said, "Four months."
Well that made us feel better since Jack can still sometimes be a bit of a bobble head... but it also made us realize how huge our little guy is. Granted I think the little girl was probably small for her age, but Jack continues to grow like crazy. At his one month pediatrician's appointment he was already 10 lbs 11 oz. Today I weighed him and he is 12 lbs 6 oz! Crazy how …

My Yearly Challenge

Long ago I gave up making yearly resolutions. They always seemed to be things like "quit biting my fingernails" or "lose weight" and I never managed to achieve whatever it was that I was resolving to do {I still bite my fingernails}.
In recent years I have taken to thinking about a word to be a theme for the coming year and this has proven to work well. It helps me to be more purposeful in how I look at the year.
In addition to this, last year I took the time to make a list of things I would like to accomplish in my life time. This list helped me to really pinpoint my dreams and was great in motivating me to cross things off my list.
Last year I managed to mark six things off my list: 10. Become a mother 45. Run a half marathon
46. Read 52 books in one year (my third year to do this) 58. Design a line of greeting cards
98. Visit an aquarium 100. See a bear in the wild and I made headway on another two: 5. Climb/hike to the highest points in all 50 states {added …

Cloth Diapers

When Daniel and I first learned that we were expecting, one of our primary concerns was how much this kid was going to cost us and how we could combat any of these costs. Since I am currently a SAHM {who sometimes freelances from home} I thought that using cloth diapers would be a great way that I could help save us money.

About the time we started to consider CD, I had a friend write a great post about how she decided to use CD. I also came across in-depth posts about CD on Bower Power and Young House Love. All of these first-person accounts got me excited.

After much research, Daniel and I agreed that we were definitely going to give cloth diapers a try. We loved the idea of saving money and the green factor was also nice. We weren't sold on buying the most expensive diapers but wanted to try a couple of options before we fully committed. 
To start out we tried the Kawaii, Just Simply Baby and Rumparooz brands {we have one-size-fits-all in all three brands}. Below is a recap of ou…