Sunday, March 30, 2008

Riley's big night

Last night at church David baptized Riley. That was my third baby to be dunked by their daddy in the big inflatable pool at church. I love that our church invites the fathers to have that honor. Last night I was thankful for many things. Obviously thankful for Riley’s decision and that she is a girl after God’s heart. Also, thankful for our big, fun extended family we had surrounding us and celebrating with us afterward.

But what I was most thankful for last night was my husband. Watching the joy he got in baptizing his little girl melted my heart. He is a strong and amazing man with a heart for raising a Godly family. He is an incredible leader and he is passing that down to our kids. He knows the power a father holds and he puts everything he has into his role and savors it all. He inspires me to be as good of a mom as he is a dad. And for all those things, I am insanely thankful.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Precious Treasure

Check out Riley’s custom designed hunk of bling. She was so excited when she came downstairs to show it off. She explained that she had taken an old Halloween ring, a shiny rock that she had found on the floor of an arcade on our vacation, and some Elmer’s glue and created this masterpiece. I had to show her how close her ring compared to the cool cocktail rings that are making a comeback.

I kind of find it charming that my kids collect trash. It makes me want to pull my hair out, but at the same time I think it is adorable that they can see worth in things I find worthless. I definitely would have trashed the items that made up this smashing new ring, ya know? And look at those items now, all shiny and pulled together and transformed into a precious treasure. All because Riley took a little time and looked at them in a different light.

Isn’t that what God does with us? He looks at all of our trash, all of our broken pieces and junk that appear worthless to the untrained eye and He sees it in a different light. If we are willing, He is ready to pull us together and bring out the shiny and beautiful that was always there. He is ready to show us we are a precious treasure. Oh, He is a master at that, if we will allow it.

Thank goodness He is a collector and transformer of junk, just like Riley.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Chocolate Molten Rock Star

This was a rock star that fell from grace. You know so many rock stars do. It normally looks like the picture to the left, but on the tragic night pictured below, it ended up all over the floor.

The lesson I learned here is that you want to place your brand new brightly colored and adorable ramekins in a pan with sides, not on a cookie sheet.

I also learned that my friend’s husband finds nothing offensive about tastin’ a little somethin’ off his own floor. And that he is precious enough to clean up a huge mess of chocolate and shards of glass while his wife and her friends mourn the loss of their beloved rock star.

This is easy and so good. It's like the chocolate molten cake at Chili's only better.

Chocolate Molten Cakes

4 squares BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup powdered sugar
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
6 Tbsp. flour

PREHEAT oven to 425°F. Butter four 3/4-cup custard cups or soufflĂ© dishes. Place on baking sheet.
MICROWAVE chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 1 min. or until butter is melted. Stir with wire whisk until chocolate is completely melted. Stir in sugar until well blended. Blend in eggs and egg yolks with wire whisk. Stir in flour. Divide batter among prepared custard cups.
BAKE 13 to 14 min. or until sides are firm but centers are soft. Let stand 1 min. Carefully run small knife around cakes to loosen. Invert cakes onto dessert dishes. Serve immediately, topped with ice cream and chocolate sauce.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

Yesterday we had a fun day dying eggs and having an Easter egg hunt in our backyard with cousins. Today, we celebrate that Jesus rose and changed the course of the world. I wanted to write something eloquent about that, but then this morning I read Natalie's retelling of the incredible story and I decided to link to that instead. It is short and worth reading! Here is Yesterday.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Spring Break Adventures

We just got home from Chicago. My sister and I took our daughters to the American Girl Place. I just can not even begin to describe what an incredible trip this was. Our girls are best friends and are more like sisters than cousins. We had the most amazing time together. We laughed until we couldn’t breathe. We ate way too much. We shopped. Oh, did we shop. And we bonded even closer than before. Which I wouldn’t have thought was possible. Here are a few highlights from our trip.

It was the first plane ride for both girls!

Ready for bed in matching jammies!

Shopping at the AG Place

Lunch at the beautiful American Girl Cafe

We had the best table in the cafe. Right in the center, overlooking Michigan Avenue

Check out the adorable dessert. The flower pot is filled with chocolate mousse

The girls had a photo shoot and got their pictures on the cover of a souvenir AG magazine

Leaving the store about 8 hours after we got there. It was a full day, with shopping and lunch, and hair styling, and photos, and the theater, and shopping, and shopping...

David and the boys weren’t that interested in the American Girl Place (I know! Whatever!), so they went to a hotel 20 minutes from our house to swim and watch movies and eat junk food. The highlight of their time was when a rock band staying in the hotel approached the boys to tell them their hair was cool and started talking and found out Garrett plays the guitar and Tyler plays the drums. And surely David mentioned that he plays Guitar Hero and Rock Band any time he gets the chance. Anyway, they gave them an autographed cd and made their night.

Other than that, they played a game of soccer in the 70 yard long hallway (David is sore). And "got in trouble” from hotel management. But not for the soccer, it was later. For disturbing the peace. Which I can’t imagine because they are normally just as quiet as mice.

I wonder if it was around the time of this photo…

Or this…

Anyway, we all had a great time and we are happy to be back together!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Worth a thousand words

A few nights ago I was flipping through the photos on Riley’s camera. I don’t do that very often and it is a strange feeling seeing things through her eyes, things that I didn’t even know were going on when they happened. I was quite entertained by the experience, so I decided to pick a few of my faves and share them. I also took the liberty of naming them. Because that is what you do with fine art.

I’ve titled this piece "Busted." This photo was taken in Cole’s room. To give you a little perspective, the C-O-L-E on the wall hangs above Cole’s bed. I am amazed by this photo because apparently Cole is levitating. I know this because we have a no-jumping-on-the-bed rule here, and I am certain that Cole would never break a rule. And that Riley would never encourage him by photographing his offense.


I refer to this one as “Manly Man” because this little guy is obviously quite secure in his masculinity. Look at him all lounging on Riley's Princess bed in his camo. Not ashamed one bit that he is being photographed among the pink and purple fluff.


"Hero." I love this picture because David loves this picture. You see, Riley has a very girly room, but on one of her shelves she proudly displays a football card of one of her Daddy’s football heros, Warren Moon. This alone completely melts her Daddy, but the fact that she is also attempting to photograph it in her spare time, well, he can just barely wrap his swelling heart around that one.


This lovely piece is called “Centrifugal Force.” Now I am no detective, nor was I a witness, but I can almost guarantee you that the fan was turned on high shortly after this shot was taken. I am praising God today that my children survived the dust storm that must have certainly followed. At the same time, it’s a good feeling to finally check “dust Riley’s fan” off my to-do list.


And finally, I present to you "10." I love that Riley has taken a couple of hundred pictures of her doll, Kaitlyn. Kaitlyn is always so cooperative in photo sessions. She sits very still. This was my favorite because we are all just so proud of her for studying her gymnastics book and learning to stand on her head. Look at her, all straight and strong. I bet she ended with a beautiful finish. I bet she stuck it.

And that concludes the showing of Riley’s photo art. I have a feeling I will be back with more.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Fondue fun

If you don’t have a fondue pot at your house, I beg you to get one. It is just so much fun to cook at the table. This is one of my kids’ favorite meals to do. We end up sitting around the table forever, cooking and talking.

Our favorite thing to cook is cubes of marinated steak. It just takes about 90 seconds to cook a cube, so you can have one cooking while you are eating the one you just took out.

And let‘s be honest, nothing says fun times like the anticipation of possibly getting a pot of hot oil spilled all over you or your loved ones, right? Aw, I'm just kiddin', it’s safe. The oil is very shallow and most pots have a magnetic attachment to the cord so if anyone pulls on it, it comes loose and the pot doesn’t move. You can also get cordless ones with the sterno flame thingy under it. So do it.

We also love to do chocolate fondue and dip fruit, pound cake, marshmallows, pretzels and occasionally fingers in it.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008


I enjoy looking through my kids’ Adventure Bible. I love how they take some things I have known about for years and make it look completely new to me. Possibly it is more on my level. Possibly I just cut myself down. Anyway, here is a paraphrase they did on the love chapter in 1 Corinthians. Read it and you will get a mind picture of yourself on some of them. At least I did. While I’m sure they were talking about standing in line at the water fountain or the slide, I pictured myself standing in line at Wal-mart. Many times that is not so lovely. But for the love why do they have 68 check-outs and only use three of them? Oh, um…back to love.

Love will stand in line and wait its turn.

Love looks for the good in others.

Love doesn’t always want what others have and it doesn’t brag about what it does have.

Love is polite, even when the other person is rude.

Love doesn’t always have to be first.

Love doesn’t get angry over the small things, and it doesn’t remember one reason after another to be hurt.

Love isn’t happy when someone else fails, but is happy with the truth.

Love will always protects others, especially those who are often picked on or teased.

Love always believes the best about others and is steady and true.

Soooo...looks like I might have a little work to do...

Monday, March 10, 2008

And they think WE are complicated

This weekend I heard my normally stable husband nervously mumbling to himself. Something about HD…LCD…I don’t know. This caused me to remember the new TV he has been planning to buy for, oh, a year maybe. So I said “Hey, why haven’t you bought a TV yet?” And here was his very serious answer. I’m not kidding.

He said he has Pre-Buyer's Remorse.

Apparently this is a sad paranoia that is causing otherwise strong and brave men to suffer. The symptoms, according to my observations and interviews, begin with an inability to fight a force that pulls the man into Best Buy to stare at televisions for hours and ask salespeople questions they already know the answers to. It includes, but is not limited to, intense internet research and scrutiny of different pixels and other odd numbers that females are completely unaware of. And finally, the paralyzing fear that if the man buys the TV today, a new and better one will come out tomorrow. Pre-buyer's remorse.

It is real, my friends. And it is plaguing our finest men.

Yesterday Riley and I had the boys drop us off at Target on their way to Best Buy. We were looking at flip flops. Flip flops. If you think they are cute, you buy them. End of story. No complications. No bondage. No pre-buyer's remorse. Freedom.

Thank you God that I am a woman.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Serenity Now!

Just needed to share what is happening in my home right now. We are having two bathrooms redone at one time. Apparently that seemed logical at some point. Here is a picture of my relaxing tub.

Doesn’t it just scream “tranquil retreat?” Yes, it does. And I think I’ve got it now, but the first middle-of-the-night when I forgot about the remodel and stumbled into our bathroom…well, I think I’ve got it now.

Oh, you must see the wallpaper we are ripping down. While I think I might appreciate the aesthetics of it if I were an elderly woman, I’m just not quite there yet. And although it is putting up a fierce fight to cling to the wall, I will get it all down. I will. And I’ll get it’s strong-willed friend, Coordinating Border, down as well.

And here is a picture from Riley’s bathroom.

Let me tell you, there is nothing funnier to a 5 and 7-year-old than a toilet sitting in a shower. They could laugh for hours over this. Me, on the other hand? Not so much. While I can appreciate the Dr. Suess Wacky Wednesday-like quality of the scene, the thick gray dust and six of us currently sharing one shower and two toilets has my humor taking a little break. It’s just not that funny, people.

But I have a dream. A dream that one day I will not be tied to my house all day long, and I will have floors…and toilets that sit on little holes with plumbing. A dream that my family will once again be able to breathe after treatment for tile-dust-induced lung infections. A dream that everyone will be placed into their rightful showers. Then I will never again take for granted the glory of the un-demolished bathrooms. At least not for a long while.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Mocha Fudge Rock Star

It’s time to introduce you to another rock star. I think you are ready. If you are not familiar with the rock star reference, click here. My sister first made this one for a girlfriend party. And I have forced her to make it a few times since. It is so good that it I prefer to be alone with it so I can really focus. She has made this for me before in an effort to get me to stop crying. I stopped. It was great alternative to pills or therapy. Try it.

Oh, by the way, the photo above is from a magazine. Picture it without the walnuts and wimpy drizzle on the plate. We pour the sauce on top of ours with large pitchers. What is up with that drizzle? She eliminated the walnuts because we want no lumps or foreign objects interfering with our pure fudginess, but you can feel free to add them if you are weird.
God bless you, sister-by-chance-friend-and-rock-star-maker-by-choice.

Mocha Fudge Pie

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips, melted
1-1/2 cups walnut halves if you are weird
1 unbaked pastry shell (9 inches)

2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup strong brewed coffee

Coffee ice cream

Directions: In a bowl, combine the first seven ingredients; pour into pastry shell. Bake at 375° for 25-30 minutes or until set. Cool on a wire rack. In a saucepan, melt chocolate chips and butter. Stir in cream until smooth. Remove from the heat; stir in coffee. Serve pie with ice cream and fudge sauce. Yield: 8 servings.

Monday, March 3, 2008

The Faith Swing

I love our porch swing. I love swings in general, but I love this swing because of the memories it holds. I think everyone in our family has cuddled up in a blanket on it at one time or another. I have gotten lost in countless books with my children on this swing. David and I have spent many nights sitting in the dark together here, listening to night sounds and talking. I love how it sits just under the roof so that you can sit there during a rainstorm and still stay dry, except for your feet. I’ve held a few croupy children in the middle of the night, all bundled up on this swing and felt the peace of the country surrounding me. I’ve also had some deep girl talk with my BFFs right here. But one of my favorite things about the swing is how we came to own it.

One year David’s parents were facing possible uncertainty concerning my mother-in-law’s job. I can’t remember the details, but due to circumstances that had nothing to do with her, there was a chance that her position might be eliminated and she might soon be without a job. About that time, they were given an unexpected bonus check. Obviously if you were given some extra money and didn’t know for sure what your financial future was going to hold you would hang onto the money for dear life, right? Not them. Instead they gave the bonus away to their three kids' families. There was never a doubt for them that God had their situation under control. They had no reason to panic. We bought this swing with that money. The money that, to me, represented their faith in God and NOT in money or their ability to control their life. And since then it has been known to me as The Faith Swing. Which I love.

By the way, everything worked out with my mother-in-law’s job….big shock, huh?