Saturday, June 30, 2012

Our Little Cookie Monster

This little cute mischief maker has been at it again!

This morning he came into the kitchen and I said, "Phin what is by your eye?'s chocolate.  Where did you get chocolate"

His response?  "From my room."
Me: "What do you mean your room?"
Phin:  "I ate cookies in my room."
I glanced up to notice the Keebler Fudge Stripes I bought yesterday were missing from the counter.
Me:  "When did you take them to your room?"
Phin:  "I sneaked down this morning when everyone was sleeping."

I then asked him to bring them downstairs....and this is what is left of our nearly full package of cookies!

I intended to use them in a trifle today but let the kids each try one yesterday.  He obviously really liked the sample.  I asked him why he left three, assuming he'd say he was full or his tummy hurt, but he sweetly said, "I wanted to leave some for the rest of the family."

How kind of him.;)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Top Ten Things I Have Missed about Marc while he's been gone...

Marc is in Lebanon.  He is having a great trip and we have fared well.  This is the longest he and I have been apart and the longest the kids have been away from him, as well.  God has been very gracious in providing family and friends who support me  (mowed my lawn, called, email, dropped off cupcakes, gave invites to dinner or offers to drop off dinner or babysit).  Yes, we did just fine physically, but we all miss him like crazy.  Now that I am safely harboring at my parents (yes, I did escape here this weekend because faring well or not, I am TIRED!), I can blog about his absence without worrying some weirdo will find out online and come knocking;)

Top Ten things I am no particular order

1)  Pillowtalk
2)  Telling a gazillion stories about things my kids say or do to someone that finds them equally as adorable
3)  Having the dishes done and breakfast taken care of every someone other than me;)
4)  Seeing Marc roll around on the floor with the kids...giggles abounding
5)  The smell of my freshly showered, shaven, and cologned man;)
6)  My Food Network-watching partner
7)  Making fun of him as he flexes in the mirror (bam...busted on the blog;)
8)  Praying with him every night
9)  His conversation on the drive down to Chicago (we put on the DVD player and it's almost as good as a date- 2 1/2 hours of real conversation...this trip was decidely a bit lonely)
10)  His compliments...constant and sometimes annoying when he's present, but when he's absent, I find myself wondering where my cheerleader is;)

I am so thankful for my husband.  I am so thankful we are in the home stretch now.  We have survived the week and have 3 days to go...can't wait to see him!!!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Chloe is TWO!


It's hard to believe that two years has passed since this precious, miraculous day....June 15, 2010

We had no idea when we looked at her precious squishy, red face, that she would so perfectly live up to the meaning of her name.  Chloe means, "Verdant or Vibrant".  She certainly is...she is a ball of personality and knows how to work a room;)  

Saturday we had her second birthday party.  I had lots of themes swimming through my head but in the end decided to focus less on a creative outlet for me and more on what CHLOE would enjoy.  All of our children like music, but it seems to flow in Chloe's veins.  From the time she was itty bitty, she has fingered the piano keys instead of pounding on them.  She has been able to carry a tune since very young and lights up when her favorite songs are on.  She's got moves Jaggar as never seen!

I invited a few little two year old friends.  I decided to do a little music class.  I ordered our favorites for everyone- maraccas, scarves, cymbols with handles, eggs, etc.  I also made rain sticks.  I really wanted a big drum, but restrained myself from spending the money- as it turns out Jimmy John's Sandwich trays make AWESOME group drums;)   I also had bubbles (Gymboree's for the occasion, because they are by far the most superior bubbles on the market;) and I ordered a parachute, but we ended up going outside for the bubbles and got distracted by the playset and we didn't use it;)  We had pizza (her FAVORITE food) and an ice cream cake;)  It was in many ways the most simple party we've done, but it was perfect for our little ball of joy.

We love you, darling, Chloe- every little mischeivious bit of you;)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Airduct Adventure FOILED!

My son is upset with me.  Actually, he cried pretty hard.  It was kind of a heart breaking anguish type of cry.  Boo! for having to be the responsible voice of reason!

He was making quite a bit or ruckus in his room during nap.  I have a stiff neck and therefore a splitting headache, so I was trying to sleep myself and became very frustrated by his antics.  I went to his room and there he was on the floor- all of my scrapbook pens in front of him along with his Toy Story toys.

Mom: "Phineas, what are you doing?  Why aren't you napping and what you are you doing with my pens?
Phin:  I can't nap, mom, we are having an adventure.
Mom:  What kind of adventure are you having with my pens...if you write on your toys with those it won't come off.
Phin:  I would NEVER write on my toys, mom.  We are having an adventure.  I couldn't find a screw driver so I am trying to use your pens.
Mom:  For what?
Phin:  I am going to take off the vent so I can crawl in there with my Toy Story guys!
Mom:  What?
Phin:  we are going into the vent!

You can probaby predict what happened from there.  A) I informed him he probably wouldn't fit and if he did, that was very dangerous and he'd probably end up stuck or hurt and B) if just his toys fit in we might lose them forever cuz we might not be able to reach them to get them out.  He was crushed...crushed.

If you have seen Toy Story 2, you'll remember the toys use the Elevator shaft and air ducts to get to Woody and use them again to go after Al when Woody and the rest of the Woody's round up gang are in Al's suitcase bound for the airport..

Phin pretty much lives Toy Story and I guess his adventures are getting bigger with age.  I just hope he doesn't try to get the toys to drive the car....better be on the look out and be ready for more dream destroying;P


Ava is a pack rat, or, if you are a more optimistic sort, sentimental.  She hates to discard things.  I have had her in a total meltdown on numerous occasions because I threw out art work or something.  I've tried being direct and I've tried being sneaky.  There is just no good way to keep the house clutter free and Ava happy. I just try to pick my battles.  The truth is she seems to be an artist through and through and sometimes she makes VERY imaginative things with "trash" (like her homemade circular knitting needles she made from old chopsticks and wire- impressive!).

There has been a bit of an ongoing battle of sorts between Ava and I re. a Cheesball container in her room.  I think it's gross, she is going to make something out of it.  Our concession, after asking her to throw it away numerous times and finding myself in a debate about it's worth, was to make sure it was washed properly and free of crumbs.  Mind you, it still has annoyed me.  Why have an empty Cheeseball barrel in your room?!  It just is calling for the garbage can every time I walk in and it has taken every ounce of self control to not sneak and toss it.

Yesterday I was preparing for Chloe's musical birthday party and I wanted a big drum.  I can't justify ordering one, but I was sort of wishing we had one.  Then I walked into Ava's room.  Instantly noticing the menacing Cheeseball container proudly proclaiming it's spot on her dresser.  Angst filled me, I had to hold my hands back to keep from picking it up and throwing it in the trash...and then it hit me!  "That Cheeseball container looks awfully drum like", I thought to myself.

So today, I nonchalantly (feeling totally sheepish inside)asked Ava, "Hey Ava, would you mind if I used that Cheeseball container for a drum at Chloe's party?"  She confidently said, "Oh Sure Mom!  It makes a great drum."  As I walked out the door, she cheerfully added, "See mom, take it from me- you just never know when you are going to need something."  AYE!  I think I just took two steps back in my decluttering battle....but I do have a "drum" for Saturday;)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Oh that I would Ever Stay....

Do you ever read My Utmost of His Highest by Oswald Chambers?  It's great.  The man packed a lot of truth into a few paragraphs and I find myself chewing on the truths he pulls from scripture all day.  This morning as I read, my heart was crying out, "Let this be true of me!"  Oh! that my abiding in Jesus would not be crowded out because of self interest!  Oh! that my sainthood would be written over every space in my life, every nook and cranny pointing to Christ's redemption over my imperfection.

Here is today's reading, taken from here

Where our self-interest sleeps and the real interest is awakened. “They . . . remained with Him that day . . . .” That is about all some of us ever do. We stay with Him a short time, only to wake up to our own realities of life. Our self-interest rises up and our abiding with Him is past. Yet there is no circumstance of life in which we cannot abide in Jesus.
“You are Simon . . . . You shall be called Cephas” (John 1:42). God writes our new name only on those places in our lives where He has erased our pride, self-sufficiency, and self-interest. Some of us have our new name written only in certain spots, like spiritual measles. And in those areas of our lives we look all right. When we are in our best spiritual mood, you would think we were the highest quality saints. But don’t dare look at us when we are not in that mood. A true disciple is one who has his new name written all over him— self-interest, pride, and self-sufficiency have been completely erased.
Pride is the sin of making “self” our god. And some of us today do this, not like the Pharisee, but like the tax collector (see Luke 18:9-14). For you to say, “Oh, I’m no saint,” is acceptable by human standards of pride, but it is unconscious blasphemy against God. You defy God to make you a saint, as if to say, “I am too weak and hopeless and outside the reach of the atonement by the Cross of Christ.” Why aren’t you a saint? It is either that you do not want to be a saint, or that you do not believe that God can make you into one. You say it would be all right if God saved you and took you straight to heaven. That is exactly what He will do! And not only do we make our home with Him, but Jesus said of His Father and Himself, “. . . We will come to him and make Our home with him” (John 14:23). Put no conditions on your life— let Jesus be everything to you, and He will take you home with Him not only for a day, but for eternity.

Monday, June 11, 2012


Thursday was Ava's last day of Kindergarten.  Wow!  The mere thought brought tears to my eyes as the day approached.  Time seemed to be slipping through my fingers.  I started to realize Ava was picking up on my angst, though I had not expressed my nostalgia.  I realized she was confused about how she should feel.  I decided I wanted to help her celebrate, not mourn time's passing.  We started to count down the days and when Thursday came the excitement was palpable.  Wouldn't you know it, the change in perspective was good for me, too!  I was thrilled for Ava and beaming with pride at the ways my little girl has grown this year.

 Her last day as a Kindergartener...

 Ava's classroom theme this year was owls, so I found this cute little owl template on pinterest....

Here's the backside...but wanna know the best part?...her teacher is a Pinterest browser too and she made these for the kids, so we brought ours back home;) It was really difficult to have an excuse to have Hershey bars lying around;)

Ava and Mrs. V.  (Ava brought her flowers, she had all the kids sign beach balls for one another that said, "I Had a Ball in Kindergarten".  I am so thankful for this woman.  I've alluded to some difficulties Ava had in Kindergarten.  Mrs. V was amazing.  Ava learned not everyone is kind, but Mrs. V helped her learn to advocate for herself in really tough situations and reminded her that she could decide how to react.  I really love this woman for loving my baby girl.

 Summer= time for beach going!!!  I'll take any excuse for making cute cupcakes;)

I wrote "Welcome to Summer" on the Slip and Slide...

 See that speck to the left of the tree...that is Ava.  She brings new meaning to the term "a running start"

 Chloe ran around the slip and slide...but never on it;)

 My Pride and Joy!

I love this picture, because right before she struck this pose she said, "Do you want a picture of me as a First Grader?";)

Our Watertable...thankfully though it's aimed at preschool age, Ava still loves to play in it with her siblings;) 


Forget the small bottles, in honor of summer, I stocked up;)

 Our Welcome to Summer Dinner  (Hog Dogs (roasted in fire pit), Baked Beans, Cheetos, Fruit Salad made with mangos and berries, and beach cupcakes)

 I gave each of the kids a Welcome to Summer bucket...

 The best thing in the buckets?  SILLY STRING!

Welcome to summer!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Quotes from the kids

1)Phin walked in our room this morning while I was getting dressed.  As always, he commented, "that is a pretty booby cover, mommy."  Then he said, "I don't know if Papa has boobs or not, cause he is all covered in black."  (referring to his hairy chest).

2) We got in the car to go to school.  We've been counting down this final week.  I put on my seat belt and said, "Where are we going?"  Usually, Ava will say, "SCHOOL!"  Today, she said "You should go to Road 66."  I replied, "what's that?"  Ava's reply, "The place you get kids.  You know, mommy, the song that says, 'Get your kids on Road 66.'"  LOL....ha ha!  We've been listening to the soundtrack from cars all week;)  (Yes, I did inform her of the real lyrics and then had to explain 'kicks' after she said, "who would go to get kicked?!")

These are the moments that I will miss when they are teenagers and know more than I do;)

Haitian Pregnancy

My friend Carla gave me this gift in honor of our "Haitian Pregnancy".  I am in love with it.  I loved being pregnant with my first two kids, LOVED it, and was gaga over it until the last trimester with Chloe when I swelled up like an elephant.  With the Haitian Pregnancy, waiting estimates make it clear I will feel pregnant about as long as an elephant (whose gestation period is 22mo., in case you are interested in that random fact).  The waiting will certainly be more excrutiating than any swelling every was, but this lovely gift she purchased when she was in Haiti, will give me joy each time I look at it.  It celebrates that indeed my heart is ever growing in love for this child.  Though my body shows no physical signs, we are indeed expecting another child.  It is cause for delight.  I couldn't think of a more perfect piece to have on our shelf.

Monday, June 4, 2012


My friend Chloe emailed a little over a week ago to see if our teeny covenant circle could somehow get together last minute.  Her husband had been out of the country for two weeks and was offering her a break.  She wanted to spend it with us, if possible.  Rox just returned from living in Africa for four years (we have seen her twice in that time) and Dre and I have connected by phone but I haven't seen her since before Christmas.  By some crazy chance (otherwise known as God's sovereignty), we were all available.  Wow- one night refreshed me more than I could ever express.  These ladies KNOW me- my strengths and weaknesses and they love me deeply.  We encourage one another and we challenge one another.  We all desperately want to live lives soley to glorify Jesus.  Our lives are all so different...but we are bonded in the Spirit.  Rox is a better writer than I am...check our her post and pic's...and while your there, surf around her blog and be remind of the wonders God can do when someone offers him their life;)

Adoption Update

Today we had our big referral phone call.  This was a couple hour conference call with marc, our director and myself.  She asked us lots of personal questions about ourselves and parenting and then asked questions about our children.

We were pretty sure of a few things before the phone call.  Though a "wall flower" might seem easier, the best thing for a shy child would probably NOT be our home.  We have three extremely active and outgoing children.  While that drains energy from a mama, we don't want our next child to get lost in the mix.  Of course, we'd take every effort to draw that child out, give attention, etc. but we are aware that it might not be the best match.  She affirmed that.  She also said something that CRACKED me up.  "You guys are a special family.  A child with a high verbal IQ is akin to a special need and that is a great match for your family."  LOL.  Who knew?!

We had been told to be prepared for an immediate referral if there was one.  Be prepared basically means "be ready to send the funds".  Upon referral you write you LARGE check....not that we haven't enough checks already;)  This check is the bulk of your adopton cost, however.  So we were prepared....and hopeful.  I so want the face and name for the love ever growing in my heart.

We did not get a referral today.  She does not have an immediate match.  She did say she'd prefer to place siblings because we live in a homogenous area, but will also place a single child with us since our plan would be to adopt a second Haitian child later (we recognize the need to a child to feel like someone else in their family looks like them).  So we'll see...

She does have children in the orphanage that she has not yet had the priviledge of meeting and assessing.  She will be traveling in a couple weeks.  Of course, we hope our child(ren) are there....but we also don't want to rush anything.  God is in control.  He has plans for our life and the life of our children so we wait in anticipation and expectation.  Praying continually.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Lebanese Barbeque Chicken

Recipe request granted;)

The Lebanese Name is Djaj Mishwi and it's very simple- but my, oh my, is it yummy...especially dipped in Hommous (Lebanese spelling;) or Tahini!

2 lbs.       Chicken breast, cut into 1- 1 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup    Lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp.    Pepper
2 Tbsp.    Olive Oil
3 cloves   Garlic, crushed
4 small     Onions  (quartered)
2 Large     Green Peppers (cubed)

Combine lemon juice, salt, pepper, olive oil and garlic, mix well.  Add chicken, onions, and peppers.  marinate for 2 hours in refridgerator, making sure to turn chicken several times while marinading. (or if your me- just shake the tupperware container ever half hour or so;)

Alternate chicken, peppers, and onions on skewers.

You can also marinate the chicken breasts whole of course and BBQ. I would still use the onions in the marinade though;)


Our Little Tattler

She looks sweet and innocent, doesn't she?  She's A.Dorable, for sure, but she is a trouble maker through and through.

Ava started tattling regularly about 4.  We had to use creative techniques to curb the behavior.  Phin didn't bother tattling, he would just pop 'em a good one and move on.  We had to teach him to use words.

Chloe is not even two and she has tattling down to a fine art.  I cannot tell you the countless times she waddles up to me saying, "Mama! Mama!  Pinyas 'it my weg"  (that is Chloe for "Phineas hit my leg") or "pinyas touch me".  Sometimes it's accurate other times, it is a complete fabrication.  Last week, they were both strapped in car seats and I spent a ten minute ride listening to nonstop "Mama! Mama!'s" followed by something Phineas did- like touch her, hit her, push her, etc.  He simultaneously is saying, "I did not.  Mommy, I did not do that."  I would have been comical if it wasn't so loud!

Last night, however, topped the cake.  Miss Mischief woke at 1am and would not stop calling for Marc.   She wasn't crying she was adamantly calling, "Papa!Papa!" and even throwing in an "I need you!".  It was the middle of the night- she was acting like it was morning.  Marc finally rolled out of bed, after we both realized she wasn't stopping and we weren't in the middle of a bad dream.  Marc walked in her room and said, "What do you need, Chloe?"  to which she promptly replied, "pinyas 'it my arm".  Marc stuck her pacifier in her mouth and walked out of the room.  It wasn't funny at 1 am.  This morning we laughed hysterically.  AYE!  We have our hands full with this one!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Five Question Friday

I am 'stuck' on the couch with a sick toddler, who just falls apart if mommy isn't right next to her.  It will certainly be a day of cuddling.  I downloaded a new novel on my kindle...cuz watchin' Dora is getting old;)

I love to read other people "Five Question Fridays"...and today I believe I will long as Chloe doesn't find enough energy to start pounding on the keyboard.

1. What were you scared of as a kid?

Lots and lots and lots of things.

I was afraid of strangers.  I remember pulling into many a driveway hoping the car behind me would think it was my house and not stop and kidnap me.  (They gave us a kidnapping talk in 2nd grade.  I don't remember much beside don't help someone look for their dog and don't take candy from strangers.  I do remember being very afraid)

I was afraid of my big sister.  To this day she still loves to scare people.  She was always patiently lurking somewhere waiting to jump out at me.  Man, she was so patient and persevering and I never knew when she would pop out and say, "boo!";)

I also remember being afraid for a time that my parents would die.  I think that is pretty normal.  But I had a few terrifying dreams that it happened and I still remember them.

I was also afraid of failing.  I was good at everything I did or I didn't do it;P  A character flaw my parents patiently worked on but didn't see fruit in until I grew up a big!

2. Do you sleep well in a hotel?

It depends on the hotel.  Cheap hotels=NO.  a)the walls are too thin and you can hear every other conversation or television show, b) cheap sheets, c)I always an worried the sheets aren't clean or that there are bedbugs;P

Nice hotels=yes....high thread count ironed sheets and a good mattress and I am in heaven.  Beautiful room makes it even better.  If there is a big giant jacuzzi tub with nice product samples....I'll sleep even better.  Although since buying our amazing bed (and I only use high thread count sheets)...I sleep just as well at home;)   Still I like having someone else clean after me and make my bed....especially if my children are with someone else for the night;)
3. If you could meet any celebrity, dead or alive, who and why?
Jeff Probst...cuz meeting him would probably mean I had gotten on Survivor....and I would LOVE to play that game/show!!!

4. It's a hot summer day. Do you prefer to be pool side or at the beach?

Definitely pool.  I love the look of a beach, so my ideal is an infinity pool overlooking the beach.  I am just really not into sand stuck all over me...or salt water or sea weed.  Of course here we have fresh water beaches...but the water is far too cold and there is still sand- so I'd pick pool any day.

5. What is your favorite summer dish?

Hmmm...I LOVE Johnsonville Beddar with Cheddars.  Yes, my husband works for them, but my love of the things is what made him interview for the job;)  

I also love Lebanese marinated grilled chicken and a good grilled Filet mignon.

I am not crazy about ice cream but if it's really hot- it hits the spot.

I love food- that has been well established...and I could make ANYTHING a summer dish:)