Thursday, March 1, 2012

So, I failed, but...

I realized that I cannot do a post a day with my infant.  As soon as I finish my coffee and Bible study, he is ready to do another activity, and if I don't get a post written in the morning then all is lost.  Carson's top teeth are still coming in and he got his 6 month shots on Tuesday, so it has been a little fussy around here. (Hopefully, I'll get his 6 month post up before he turns 7month!)  Today is March 1st, and it is GORGEOUS!  There is supposed to be a high of 75 degrees with a light breeze.  Ahhh...  I'm sitting here with the windows open with the breeze and the sun pouring through.  This is quite the contrast to yesterday's thunderstorms.  It feels like Spring is finally here! Well, hopefully here to stay.  Spring is like my "New Year."  I never make New Year's resolutions because it just feels like nothing really changes from December 31st to January 1st.  No, I don't want to vow to exercise more when I still have my sweaters to hide the holiday gluttony, or do I want to challenge myself in a new way because I still have the Winter blues.  Spring brings new life.  I can see it and I can feel it!  The blooms of the trees and flowers.  The birds I heard two days ago outside my window.  It's the season of Lent, of sacrifice and discipline...and then Easter! Glorious Easter, when we celebrate Jesus defeating death and reconciling us to our God!  How changed my life would be if I lived every day as an Easter celebration!  My challenge for myself for tomorrow and the next day is to live as a redeemed woman- even if there are thunderstorms (literally or figuratively) I can rejoice:) 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Worth the wait

As I was driving around town waiting for Carson, the teething baby, to fall asleep, I thought about one of the worst times I just had to wait.  I think most mothers can agree that the four weeks in between your OB appointments in your first few months of pregnancy is rough.  I lived for those appointments, just to hear the heartbeat and know that my baby was doing okay.  During those few months, you cannot feel your baby move, so you are just praying like crazy for that little one.  I remember being so restless and anxious in between appointments.  I also remember time and time again, God was telling me just to be still and trust in Him.  

I feel like that is what Sarah and Abraham experienced while they were waiting for God to fulfill His promise to them.  God told Abraham that he would make him the father of a nation, but Abraham didn't even have any children.  After so many years of not producing children, let alone sons, Sarah had to be devastated- without hope.  Then after God told Abraham that he would have descendants  as numerous as the stars, did Sarah dare get her hopes up that she might have a child?  She decided to help God along, and in her impatience she gave her servant to Abraham to sleep with so they would have an heir.  If she had only waited.  Waiting is so hard sometimes.  I believe that in the waiting God has some of the greatest things to teach us about Himself.  I had to learn that no matter what was happening with Carson, God told me to be still and know that He is God.  Sarah needed to trust that too, even though her age (90!) and barrenness her whole life left her hopeless. Even though sometimes the wait seems unbearable, I thank the Lord for times of waiting.  During those times, I feel so close to our Creator.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Morning Coffee- I See You!

"So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him." Romans 12:1

In thinking of this scripture, I want to write at least one reflection each morning of Lent.  As a SAHM, I have struggled at times to find value in what I do, so I believe that the Lord will use this time to show me more of himself and how he is working.  As I was reading in Genesis yesterday for my Beth Moore bible study on the Patriarchs, I came across Hagar.  Hagar was Sarah's servant.  Sarah gave Abraham, her husband, Hagar to sleep with to bear a son.  After Hagar became pregnant, Sarah treated her pretty badly.  In Genesis 16, Sarah and Abraham kept referring to Hagar as "the servant."  They didn't even use her real name.  When Hagar ran away, God met her beside a stream in the desert (Really?  Who else can put a stream in the desert but God?).  When God talks to Hagar, he calls her by her name.  After that encounter, Hagar calls God, "El-roi," the God who sees me.

I think we all need that reminder.  I was lying Carson down for a nap that he didn't want to take.  He pushed himself up taking a second break from wailing to look to see if I was there.  He was like, "Look, Mom, don't you see I'm upset here?!"  That's what God showing up in the middle of the desert was to Hagar.  God saw her distress.  God doesn't just sit back and watch us on our own reality TV show.  He SEES us.  He already knew why Hagar was upset and running away.  It is so comforting to know that when I am home, by myself, with a screaming baby and I am so sleep deprived because his teeth are taking forever to come in and I have no hint of rest in the near future- God sees.  Also, even in the great moments He is there.  Carson was rolling around on the floor, and everytime he ended up in a different place, he would look up and I would say, "I see you!"  It wasn't enough that I was in the same room, he wanted to know I knew exactly where he was.

Do you have times like this where you feel like no one understands?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Five months, Baby!

Carson, time is going by so fast!  You started this month by getting your two front teeth in and now you are flipping back and forth from your front to your back!  You started making new faces, and your personality is really coming through. You laugh so much when we throw you in the air.  You talk to yourself a lot, especially when you are riding in your carseat.  Peek-a-boo is one of your favorite games.  Your hair is getting thick.  Today, you waited until it was quiet and let out a whole lot of gas at church and everyone that heard couldn't help but laugh.  Everyday I look at you and feel such joy.  I get a sense of how our Father delights in us, and I truly delight in you, my baby.  We love you so much!

I love that smile!  You are such a happy baby!

You are still not a huge fan of baths, but you are starting to splash around!  My chunky baby!

As much as I love your face, I love this sight!  I love watching you play and learn.  I also love that little bald spot on the back of your head!

My boys in their plaid!  Just like daddy! So handsome!

You like to practice walking!

You love giving Mommy lots of kisses!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth!

Carson, you turned four months old right at Christmas and what an amazing present you are!  You are flipping over like a champ and getting so frustrated that you can't crawl yet!  I have a feeling that when you do learn to crawl or walk, you will be all over the place.  You started getting exceptionally fussy, drooling like you were trying to fill a lake and chewing on everything you could get your hands on!  Around New Year's I felt your first tooth! The second one came out the very next day.  Oy!  You have had a rough time teething and it is making you wake up four to five times a night.  We have relied heavily on Tylenol and a vanilla scented teether that I like to refer to as your "chew toy."  You are able to sit in your bouncers and play (sometimes independently!) for short amounts of time.  At your four month appointment, you weighed 21 lbs and were 27 3/4 in long! You are slowly moving towards that 100th percentile, but right now you are still above that curve!  We love you more and more each day! 

 This is a video taken from our phone, but for Christmas we received a nice camcorder to capture fun moments like these!  We love to hear you laugh!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Holiday Treats!

I love making new and fun things for the holidays for people!  I went out on a limb a little this year with some creations, but I think they worked out well! For our neighbors I made s'more marshmallows!  I love making homemade marshmallows!  They taste so much better than store bought ones!  I used Ina Garten's recipe, but I wanted to spruce it up and make it fun for the kids.  Plus, what adult doesn't like s'mores??  I like making the individual marshmallows, but it is way messier this way.  First I used mini muffin cups with foil liners (don't use paper because the marshmallows will never come out!).  I sprayed baking spray in them and dusted them with powdered sugar so the marshmallows would come out easily.

I then filled the bottom of the cups with graham cracker crumbs and put a baking sheet on top and shook the muffin tray so the crumbs would stick to the sides of the foil.

Then I made the yummy marshmallows!  It's like fluff before it sets. 
 You have to scoop out the marshmallow quickly because it sets fast.  Then I wanted the marshmallows to have that toastiness about them, so I put them under the broiler for a few minutes.

 Lastly, I broke the Hershey bar into pieces and put them in the sides.  I wanted to put them on the top of the marshmallow, but of course I would really have to break the top of the toasty marshmallow to put the chocolate on top.  I think next time I will press the chocolate inside the marshmallow before I broil it.  They came out so cute and so good!! I think these would be good all year round!
I have been hearing awesome things about the chocolate and bacon craze.  I was dying to try it out, so when I was invited to a Cookie Exchange I thought it was the perfect time to test it.  Hey, if it flopped then there were hundreds of other cookies to munch on!(Also, I was told to bring 3 dozen cookies- I barely have time to bathe, much less make 3 dozen cookies.)  Chocolate bark takes no time to make and even less effort.  I baked a package of bacon on cookie cooling racks with a cookie sheet under it, so I could get nice crispy bacon and the fat dripped off.  I chopped the bacon in small pieces.  Then I melted a bag of dark chocolate morsels in a double boiler.  I mixed 2/3 of the bacon and some slivered almonds in the chocolate, spread it on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and sprinkled the rest of the bacon on top.  I put that in the fridge to harden.  I did the same thing with a bag of milk chocolate morsels.  I think the dark chocolate tasted the best.  I loved the sweet, salty and smokey flavors.  I think next time I will cut the bacon in bigger pieces and just sprinkle it on top instead of mixing it in.  It was so good!
Dark chocolate Almond and Bacon Bark! Yum!
My last new creation for the holiday was an Eggnog Cheesecake for my dad.  He loves eggnog with bourbon, and I thought a cheesecake would pair perfectly with the sweet, smooth eggnog.  I found a recipe with great reviews and it turned out heavenly!  It wasn't a dense mouthful of baked cream cheese.  It was so creamy, almost like a pudding.  I added 3 tbsp of bourbon into the cake, but you couldn't taste it.  Next time I'll add more:)  I decorated with nutmeg on top.  I also added cinnamon and nutmeg to the crust.  I think it would be awesome with some spiked whipped cream!  I baked it in a water bath as well and no cracking!  It was so good that my dad made sure he gave me back my spring form pan before I left so next time I see him I can bring another cheesecake!
(This is not my picture, but it looked exactly like this!)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Christmas in Captions

 Christmas with a little one is so much fun!  We are so excited to start our own family traditions with Carson, but this Christmas we decided to spend one last Christmas in Richmond at our parents' houses.  Carson saw more friends and family than I think we did!  So much love!  Our Christmas was filled with family and friend time, lots of food and more food, and a gratefulness for all that we have.
Christmas Eve, Jeff's parents have a Christmas party for friends and family.  We loved that Jeb and Rachel, our friends who recently moved to Charlotte, could visit with us for a little while!  I so miss them being in Hampton Roads!

Carson put himself under the Christmas tree!  BEST. PRESENT. EVER!

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Carson had the biggest piles of presents out of everyone...but guess what he liked the most?  Wrapping paper:)
Me and my little elf on Christmas morning at my dad's!

One of the best things about this break was that we got to rest and relax as a family

Carson loves his Uncle Johnny!  My bro moved to a new apartment, so we got to go visit.  I love Richmond and all its character.

Happy boy in his new toys!  He loves being able to play upright!

Can't get enough of that smile!
Bethany, one of my all-time favorite people, drove down to meet Carson!
Beth was one of my housemates in college and maid of honor.  I am rooting for California to give her back to the east coast!
Uncle Johnny got Carson a Mickey suit!

So high!

Our little family by the tree!
Our Christmas card/birth announcement!