Sunday, February 24, 2013

Weekend Update in iPhone Pics {2.24.13}

A few months back I wrote a weekend update post and joked that I couldn't do the weekend in iPhone pics because I didn't have a cool fun. Flash forward to the future and here I am. My lovely weekend started when I got to wake up Eva on Friday morning - as in she slept in long enough for me to wake her up instead of vice versa. That's always a great feeling. She looked super cute and cuddly under her blankets so I had to snap a quick pic. I was glad to see that she was nestled under the blankets because I always worry about her room feeling so cold. Usually she is standing up and bouncing around in the crib so I can't tell if she's used her blankets but her feet are frigid. Now I can see why...check out those foots pjs poking out from the blankets :) 
The reason I woke up that munchkin was so that we would have a chance to all eat breakfast together before Ryan and I went on our date! Date night! At 10 AM.... So my mom came up and played with Eva for a few hours while Ryan and I saw the movie Safe Haven (loved it!) and grabbed some pizza at our favorite hole in the wall place. It was supposed to be our romantic Valentine's date that got a bit delayed. We even made the effort to get dressed up in trendy blazers but it was so cold that we wore our jackets the whole time and this was the only photo we managed to take.
Friday evening we took food to our friends, the Mckinneys, to celebrate the birth of their new baby girl, Eleanor June! I will gladly bring someone a home cooked meal in exchange for a few moments of holding a newborn. Eleanor was very beautiful and good natured. Eva was quite interested in her.
Saturday morning was still chilly but Eva had been antsy to play outside for a few days. I hate it when it is too cold and windy and she just goes to the door and gestures to go outside. I would much rather her be able to run and play! I am trying to convince her to love wearing sunglasses like her mama because she frequently cries when the sun gets in her eyes in the the car. We have window coverings but they are never at the right angle. Plus little kids look adorable in sunglasses. Win, win.
Saturday night we went to Ryan's parents for a family birthday celebration for his dad and brother in-law. Eva and Mallory got to rockin' in the chair so we tried to take a photo - this is Eva's gigantic "CHEESE" smile. She squints her eyes and smiles so big! 
We tricked the older cousins into taking pictures with us by making silly faces. Whatever works. I love all these little girls so much and have such a great time when we are all together. 
Today was finally warmer so we took Eva to the park after her nap. (Also you can't really tell but I got Eva's hair into a tiny top ponytail today under her hair clip.) She got to swing and slide and .... fly a kite! My dad got her the world's tiniest kite for Valentine's day so we gave it a whirl. She  liked to watch us do it but wasn't so sure about doing it herself. We will work on it.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Two steppin' three day weekend

Now that it's almost time for this weekend I'd better do a quick blogging catch up about last weekend. Don't you just love 3 day weekends? Even as a stay at home mom I still think they are fun! 
Our weekend fun started Friday night when I met up with Ryan at the C3 Conference hosted by Fellowship Church. This conference is designed to encourage and teach pastor's and church staff during the day and offer good teaching with exciting worship in the evenings. I joined Ryan there on Wednesday and Friday nights, taking advantage of the free childcare they provided. (Sidenote: both times I picked Eva up from the childcare I was told that she was such an extremely friendly child. Yep. That's my little girl. She loves people). I really enjoyed the C3 conference, especially the time spent getting to hear different speakers share their stories. 
On Saturday we sent Eva to go spend the night at Nana and Papa's house. We had to drop her off for the night because we had a packed night starting with dinner at Pappasito's to celebrate my BFF Erica's 29th birthday! Holla! Happy Birthday, girl! You have a full year to countdown to the big 3-0. 
All my best friend's and our hubbies had a delicious dinner and then we headed out to do some country dancing. Erica was seriously one of the best dancers out on the floor. We used to go together back in college and her talent for dancing has far surpassed mine.  
My dance partner. It was good to get to dance with this handsome fellow. I really don't think we've gone country dancing since we've been married (maybe once?) which is crazy because we went a lot back when we were dating. We should go again sometime soon!
Sunday afternoon I picked Eva up from Nana and Papa's and we went to stay the night with my parents while Ryan went out of town with some youth. Eva really liked playing my parent's piano - what a budding musician! She was also thrilled to spend some time playing with my parents' two big dogs. She would sit on them and chase them and pat them - it was all amusing to her. I have a great video but my phone and computer won't upload it right so you will just have to trust me that she really likes dogs. Really.
We finally headed home on Monday afternoon. It was good to be gone out of the house for a while this weekend, but that munchkin definitely had some pay back or adjustment time on Tuesday. She was very clingy and emotional. At first I was worried that she might be sick but then it hit me that she just needed to know that her routine and normal life were still good. So I spent the day giving her extra love and being extra patient. And now I'm ready for more fun this weekend!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Announcing a new award winner!!!!

 Woo-hoo! I have been awarded a Leibster blog award by my friend, Ashley.  This is an award given to small blogs who have less than 200 followers, and it was just really exciting to receive it.  
The Rules
     1.  Post 11 random facts about yourself.
     2.  Answer the questions the nominator came up with
     3.  Create 11 new questions for those you nominate
     4.  Choose 11 new bloggers with less than 200 followers
     5.  Let them know about their nominations :)

My Answers for Ashley's Questions - Before I even start let me say that I am the world's worst person at picking a "favorite" anything. Best friends? I have 3. Food? The list is endless. So I will try to narrow it down and limit excessive commenting and narration, but know that it is killing me.
   1.  What is your favorite book and why? Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. This book, based on the story of Hosea from The Bible, tells the story of a man who relentessly pursues a woman despite her sins and troubled past. I like how it parallels the way God passionately pursues us, but also I love a good romance story.
   2.  If you could change something about the world, what would it be? I would go back to having homes with big front porches and make it more culturally normal to just sit outside and visit with your neighbors. People are too afraid of getting to know each other these days.
   3.  What does your perfect day look like? It would involve laying out by the pool, visiting the spa for a massage and mani-pedi, some shopping, and lots of yummy food. And of course I would want the people I love there with me for various parts of the day - Ryan, Eva, my family, my friends. Maybe not all at the same time. Who wants to plan this for me?
   4.  What is your greatest strength? Humility. Hahaha, just kidding. Obviously my greatest strength is my sense of humor....oops, there I go being humble again! But in all seriousness, I think I am a very loyal person. Once I am your friend, I am your friend for life, even if we don't talk often. I don't ever talk negatively about the people I care about behind their back and I will almost always give somebody the benefit of the doubt.
   5.  What is one thing you wish you did better? Sometimes I wish I was better at sports so that I could fit in at athletic gatherings. I'm the one who shows up for the conversation but nobody wants on their team.
   6.  Aside from your parents, who has had the biggest impact on your life? My former college small group leader, Katie, had a huge impact on my life. She was my friend and mentor during a crazy time in my life. She led our group with lots of encouragement and was a great example of how to live life as a godly woman. She was wise and funny. She was there when I got baptized and when I got married. I don't get to talk to her often...but I still love her! I hope I can lead girls like she led me.
   7.  What is your favorite movie and why? Anne of Green Gables, because I have such sweet memories of watching it with my mom and The Notebook because it is so romantic.
   8.  If you could describe yourself in one word, what would it be? Creative. Cooking, organizing, parenting, crafting, my home...I think my creativity is what makes it all work.
   9.  What was your favorite thing about high school or college? I really miss doing theater in High School. I was so lucky to go to a school that had such an awesome theater department and loved being in so many shows! One of my favorite college memories is the time I was hanging out with my friends Katy and Jackie and we cause some mischief around Denton. We just did some random, hilarious things to some houses that our guy friends lived in. They paid us back way worse, but Jackie ended up marrying on of them so I guess it was worth it.
   10.  Favorite childhood memory? When my mom would take me to the library she let me check out a million books. Seriously, I don't know what their limit was, but I would take home huge bags full. My mom also taught me how to read upside down, backwards, and in the bathtub. Those are important life skills.
   11.  What is your favorite attribute of God? His always and forever love. Our sins are never too far for us to return to Him and find ultimate love and forgiveness. It is never ending.

11 More Random Facts About Me (in case you just want to know me more!) 
1. My hands and feet are usually ice cold. Consider yourself warned if you ever shake my hand.
2. I really want to travel to Italy, Ireland, and Spain. I would love to experience those cultures and see more of the world!
3. I hate to vacuum. I have the kind of tile floor that needs to be vacuumed all the time. #ironic
4. I am currently writing a children's book series. No, you can't read them. No, I won't even tell you what they are about. #topsecret
5. I am literally counting down the days until Hawaiian Falls opens and we can go swimming again. #93 days.
6. I really want more babies one day. Maybe 3 or 4? Maybe just 2. #wewillsee #dontrushme
7. I love using the hashtag symbol (#) to add emphasis to my thoughts. Ryan laughs at how frequently I use them on instagram, especially since I don't even have a twitter account.  #getoverit
8. I shamefully watch The Bachelor every week even though I have lived long enough to know that it rarely works. I still believe in love every season!
9. If Ryan and I order different food when we are out to eat I always want a bite of his but secretly don't want to share mine. Ooooh, that is so unfair and such a double standard. But it's true.
10. I eat a bowl of regular oatmeal and a cup of coffee for breakfast almost every morning. Occasionally I will mix it up with a bowl of cereal or Saturday morning breakfast treats like pancakes or danish rolls.
11. I am scared of lightning storms. They never bothered me as a kid but now they honestly freak me out. The sound of close thunder and the bright flashes of lightning really bother me. It didn't help when a house just down the street from us was recently struck by lightning and completely destroyed. I just pray through the whole storm!

My nominations - Okay, I don't have 11 people. I am going to pick 2.
1. My sister in-law, Amanda.
2. My friend, Elishia.
If anybody else wants to answer one or more of the following questions just for fun I would love to hear your answers.

My questions for my nominees:
1. What is the best thing about being 30 or being soon to turn 30?
2. What are your make up bag essentials?
3. What are your favorite family traditions?
4. What advice would you give to an 18 year old about to go to college?
5. If you had to spend a snow day at home with a friend who would you choose (not a spouse)?
6. What is one thing you would change about yourself?
7. What is one thing you think most people are surprised about when they get to know you?
8. What are the first 3 things you do when you wake up in the morning?
9. What are you looking for in a future spouse/what attracted you to your spouse?
10. What is the best/craziest job you have worked?
11. What are your favorite qualities of your close friends?

Friday, February 15, 2013

What a {LOVE}ly week

As we wrap up this week of love I wanted to share a few photos, starting with the ones above which are the "Behind the Scenes," of our Valentine's Day photo shoot. Behind every sweet photo of a child, like the one I posted yesterday, is the hard work of a mama (or professional) who is trying to get that child to look cute. When I took the photo for the Valentine's card we sent Eva's grandparents I snuck outside while Ryan kept her entertained. I find that it's best to have everything ready to go before trying to take a photo. We got her to ignore the bright sun and smile big, and then I rewarded her with some sidewalk chalk fun! In the photo above on the left, she is actually running away and hiding from me behind a wall, and her face ended completely covered in pink and purple chalk.

Earlier this week Eva did some finger painting with purple, pink, and red paints. This was my first time to open the Crayola finger paints that we have and I liked how they painted and dried, but they have a funny odor. Has anyone else noticed that? I'm just thankful that they are washable because when we do finger painting the paint ends up all over the place.

On Valentine's Day we had a few friends over to decorate cookies. Eva's friend Ellie helped her put gobs of frosting and sprinkles on the cookies. The more sugar the better, right? I was hoping Eva would use her hand to spread the pink icing on the cookies, but after dipping her hand in it she put all that icing right into her mouth (we set aside her cookies just for her). I don't give Eva sugar very much but it's fun to bend the rule on holidays :) While the girls played I got to hold baby Reese for a minute. I love this little guy so much! And then we took some cookies down to the people at the office (share the love, share the calories).

After a much needed nap time Eva and I went to the park to burn off some of those cookies we ate. She decided to try going down the slide on her tummy and had a blast. Also while we were there another little girl and boy were playing with her. The four year old boy went up and gave her a hug and said, "You're so cute. I love you." And so it begins....

Finally Ryan came home just in time for dinner. I surprised him by picking up pizza from Italian Bistro, his favorite pizza place. I called ahead a few hours early and asked them to place the pepperoni's in a heart shape. They laughed but it turned out great! And last, our family Valentine's: Ryan got me the movie The Blindside, Eva made Ryan a card at the library this week, Eva ended up getting 3 new animals for her Little People Zoo; and I surprised Ryan with these cards and notes of encouragement. Check out my friend Rebekah's blog for the Free Printable of these fun cards. I used all 8 and hid them places for Ryan to find throughout the day, including while he was at a conference.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day! Who could resist loving this sweet Valentine? We hope everybody feels loved today!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Be fearless.

"Don't be afraid; just believe."
Mark 5:36 (NIV)

A few minutes ago I was working through my Bible study on the book of Mark. The theme for the chapters was looking at your fears. One of the opening questions in my study was to think of a time when fear kept you from doing or saying something you thought you should and to look at what you were really afraid of.

In reflecting on times when I am fearful I realized that most of the time my greatest fear is awkardness. This is irnoic because I find myself in awkward situations frequently, so maybe I should just quit being fearfull of it. But I am. I want to be liked. I want situations to be comfortable. Don't most people? 

Often the situations that I fear awkwardness in involve sharing my heart openly with somebody, inviting someone I don't know to church, or sharing the truth of Jesus and His amazing love and forgiveness. When I step back and look at all of those situations, though, I realize that past my fear of awkwardness is the incredible opportunity for someone to feel love or connected with or ultimately to know Jesus more. Shouldn't that be worth it? Yes! But I'm a real person and it is still intimidating.

I love that my daughter is fearless. She can walk into a room of people and make friends with anybody. When we are outside she will fearlessly run and play for as far as I will let her. She is not afraid of jumping on the couch (although maybe she should be). The only time I really see fear in her is when we go to the doctor's office and she remembers getting shots - so I guess that, like most of us, she has some innate fear of pain. 

I really, really want to be more fearless. More like Eva, and even better, more like Jesus. He approached many awkward and painful situations boldly because He knew that God was with Him. His desire for us is that we would be fearful so that we would have life abundant. How often do our fears stop us from something so much more awesome? Knowing that the God who created everything loves me passionately and is worthy of my trust should allow me to live fearless, believing in faith that He is with me every step of the way.

Finally, I just want to share that as I was praying through my list of requests I could suddenly see that almost every single request could be related to fear. I definitely did not judge the fear that these people face, but I did pray for those specific fears. So if you are on my prayer list, I hope that today and this week your life is blessed with faith and fearlessness!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Her first puppy love.

This weekend was the best weekend ever because we got to puppy sit for our pastor's family dog, Teddy. Despite the fact that Eva literally tried to puppy sit (as in sit on Teddy), we think Teddy liked us too. I have been missing having a dog sooooo much over the past year since Cosby died. I seriously have to remind myself that this is not the right time in our life for a dog every time we play with a friend's dog or get to pet a puppy at the park. I absolutely love sweet, friendly dogs and look forward to the day, many years from now when we are all done having babies, when we get to surprise our kids and tell them that it is the day when we are getting a dog. That will probably be the best day ever.

So for now I will enjoy getting to be a pet sitter. At first we were thinking that Teddy might not be allowed to come play at our house because we don't have a pet lease and when we signed our lease the office was very clear that they did not want us sneaking a dog in. We decided to do the honest thing and actually ask the lady in our office if we could bring Teddy over for a few hours at a time while his family was gone. She really likes the other family and us as well so she agreed that would be okay, especially since we could keep him on the tile floors. Hooray!!!! Every time that Ryan and I would walk down to get Teddy from his home Eva would just stand by the door waiting and squealing with anticipation. She didn't want to play or eat or do anything until Teddy arrived. When he would have to go back home she would stand by the door saying "BYE! BYE! BYE!" for a couple of minutes. Cuteness.

Teddy was such a fun companion and Eva was so in love with him. She would chase him around and pet him and get down on her knees to crawl after him like she was a puppy too. She also kept trying to kiss him. Yuck! I'm a dog lover but I draw the line at letting a dog's mouth touch mine. Oh, and you can't really tell but her pink shirt has a fluffy poodle type dog on it so she wore it on Saturday in honor of Teddy.

We are going to be at my parents' this coming weekend and I am excited for Eva to get to play with their dogs too. I'm glad she takes after me and loves dogs. Sorry, Ryan. We are definitely getting a dog one day. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Easy Diaper Cake & A Baby Shower

Saturday night I helped with a baby shower for our church's wonderful Children's Director, Stephanie. I decided that I would tackle my first diaper cake to make for Stephanie. If you look on Pinterest there are tons of amazing diaper cakes. I mean, woah, people really go all out. Mine may not be as snazzy as some of them, but I was pretty proud of how it turned out. I did some pre-cake-making research to find some of the best methods and documented below how I did it. It was really so easy, anybody could do it!

Here are the steps:
1. I bought a pack of 65 Pampers Swaddlers (size 1). For each individual layer I lined them all up, slightly overlapping, design side up (so the outside would be white). I miss those sweet tiny diapers and I love the smell and softness of Pampers Swaddlers. Definitely the best diapers ever. 
2. Start at the end that has the diaper the most wedged under the others (since you slightly stacked and staggered them) and begin rolling inward. Use your other hand to keep the roll tight and in line. This would be easier with a helper but I managed to make it work by myself.
3. When your diapers are all rolled up put a rubber band around it to keep them in place.
4. For the bottom 2 layers, I rolled up 15-20 diapers and then went back around the outside layer and inserted more diapers. I found it impossible to roll up the amount of diapers need in the bottom layer, so I think I did like 20 and then added 10-15 more around the outside, keeping the layered look going.
5. Make sure the rubber band is aligned. This helps keep the diapers straight looking when you stack the layer. The good thing about using Swaddlers is that they have a yellow line in the middle (the wetness indicator) that you can use to line everything up.
6. This photo is of my 3 layers before they are completely assembled. I think I used 9 in the top layer, 15-20 in the middle, and the rest (maybe 30?) on the bottom.
7. Use an empty paper towel roll to keep the rolls centered and together.
8. I used a hot glue gun to attach a ribbon to each layer. I glued the ribbon so that it would stay tight. I did not want to glue anything to the diapers so that they could actually be used. 
9. Repeat with other layers. Then the best step - decorate with cute baby things off the registry!

I also made Stephanie this banner using her vintage baseball theme. I found a link that has easy printable banner letters for sports themed parties. I love how it looked hung over this fabulous mirror (the party was not held at my home).

Stephanie (in the middle) and some of the ladies from the best small group ever.

I did not make anything else pictured but I want to share some of the other great decor! Stephanie's mom made it and I like how she layered felt for a textured effect. 

Another friend made the cake. We had cupcakes too so it was decided that we should send this home with Stephanie for the rest of her family (husband and kiddos) to enjoy the next day. I bet it tasted good. (Ooh - I did make those yummy zucchini squares on the left using my grandmother's recipe. Yay.)

 To make the flowers go more with a boy themed shower they put them in baseball gift bags. How creative is that?

For one of the shower activities we all decorated onesies for baby Brewer to wear. I thought mine was cute and funny, but it was early on and I didn't realize how funny some of the other ones would be. Also the paint got smeared on mine. Therefore, for my own pride, I am choosing not to show mine and instead feature this one that our pastor's wife, Kim, made. This was awesome! Stephanie, make sure to put Brewer in Kim's onesie and not mine, my feelings won't be hurt.

 The whole group -  I hope Stephanie (and Brewer) feel so loved!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Sometimes life gets messy.

Little kids are super adorable. But boy are they messy! Before having a baby I was a pretty clean person. I cleaned and sanitized the whole house every single week. My things were always picked up and neatly put away. Now....let's just say I am more flexible. I still keep a clean home but life is sometimes messier than expected.

Let's take eating. Kids are messy eaters! Their hands get messy. Their trays get messy. And the floor beneath them? Messy isn't even the right word. More like nuclear fallout. We are working on teaching Eva not to throw food on the floor but some days it is an uphill battle.

Then there is the actually physical dirt. Kids love to play outside and the great outdoors is a messy, dirty world. It's so good for them to be able to play and run and explore though, so a little dirt is worth the fun! On days when I vacuum and mop I am shocked at how much dirt has been brought into our home in such a short amount of time.

And there are also the unexpectedly messy things. Toys scattered everywhere. Books, which would seem to be neat (think of a library), become quite messy when you have 30 of them sprawled out across the living room. Building Blocks? They come in a set of 100! (Oh, good......) Socks and shoes take adventures hiding all about the house. It's amazing.

My dad used to joke with me when I was younger that I oozed stickiness. Now that I'm a mom I can totally see what he was saying. That munchkin does in fact seem to be covered in sticky! The other day I packed a healthy snack of pears and peaches for her to take to an outdoor soccer game we watched - I might as well have smushed it all over her and said, "Go for it!" instead of putting it in a snack cup because that's pretty much where it ended up.

One morning on our way to church Eva and I literally only had to walk from the front door to the car parked in the driveway. She decided instead to run off in the other direction and fell straight into a pile of mud. The mother-of-the-year thing to do would be to take her inside and get her changed into clean clothes. Nope. I just used many baby wipes to give her a thorough brush off and off to church we went. Maybe God made kids so messy so that their mothers wouldn't get too prideful in how precious and adorable they are!

After a full morning of playing at the park, covering her face with sweet potato and yogurt, drawing with chalk, and lying face down in the grass (how else was she supposed to look at that flower close up?) my sweet girl went into the tub before nap time. At least these noisy, dirty people were created to clean up nicely!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Super Party

Kelly Rowland in Emilio Pucci, Beyonce Knowles in Rubin Singer and Michelle Williams in Rubin Singer 
Last night we attended an awesome Student Ministries party to eat good food and watch the Beyonce concert on TV. Oh yeah, I think there was some football game on too. Whatever. Back to the concert... Beyonce was amazing. And it was fun to see the Destiny's Child reunion. Definitely the best half time performance I've seen in a long time. On to the food....
I made this wicked deliciousness. It was called Ultimate Chocolate Chip Oreo Brownie Delight, made from a layer of cookie dough, topped with Oreos, topped with brownie mix. And it was completely calorie free! JK on that one, but it was good. All I had to do was combine and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. This was actually one of the first things I ever pinned on Pinterest and I had been waiting for an occasion to bake it when I knew most of it would be eaten so I wouldn't be left with all that chocolate temptation for myself. There was only 1 piece leftover. Success!

 I did not make this cake but it was cute and available for those more interested in watching that football game instead of Beyonce. In regards to the Super Bowl I was originally rooting for the 49ers because our pastor and his family really like them. I figured, why not? Then Ryan told me that Michael Oher, the man that the movie Blind Side is based off of, plays for the Ravens so I switched my vote. I really like that movie and thought that it would be an awesome end for that story for him to start off homeless and end up winning the Super Bowl. I'm sure Sandra Bullock was voting for the Ravens as well. In the end, I think we can all agree that I made the right choice.
Finally, the real stars of the night! We had 40 youth kids hanging out to watch the game. When Ryan and I launched the youth group at our former church we did it with a Super Bowl party so this is an annual tradition for us. Secret's out - I don't really care that much about football. But I do absolutely care about these students!
We were squeezed in every corner of this media room so it made for a difficult photo op. That's okay. It was lots of kids. Lots of food. Lots of fun.
Look at that star Youth Director! You might say he's the quarter back of Bara Student which case, I am totally his blind side.