Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Some Pictures

Here are just a few shots from the past few weeks. We had lots of fun. Wish we could have seen everyone but hopefully we will soon!!!
Elyse sitting very lady like in her Christmas dress.


Out of about 40 shots Dennis took of this group, this is the one I choose as the best. No, there are no baby smiles (despite some very funny daddies) but the three mamas look great and that's what really matters, right?!



And of course the familiy shot. What a good lookin' bunch!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Book Clubs

We're finally back in town. Totally exhausted from the trip. We had a great few weeks (hopefully I'll post pictures of Christmas soon). I'm excited to get back into a routine again...it's been awhile.

One thing I've loved lately is reading. I've really taken off in my reading because I've joined two book clubs. The first is one for my mom's club. We've read Twilight and we are in the middle of Barefoot. The second book club is the "Dennis and Andrea book club." It really started mostly because Dennis wanted me to read Watchmen, which is a graphic novel, a fancy way of saying "really long comic book." In my agreement, I told him that I got to pick a book for us to read together. I choose American Shaolin. I'm almost done with that one and I'm loving it!

Sharing books with friends has been great. Not only does it keep me motivated, but I love having someone to discuss the reading with. I have always needed interaction and this gives me a way to interact with my friends over a book.

Over at Simple Mom, she is starting a book club for 2009. I am really interested to read all of her selections. Click on the icon in the right column to see more.

What books are you reading?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Itty Bitty Art

I know I haven't blogged in awhile. We're traveling for the holidays. But when I saw this video, I had to share.

Needle Sized Art
Very incredible story! Not only is this mans art cool but he got a ton of cash for it!


Pretty crazy. I feel bad for poor Alice.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Thankful Friday

1. Dennis comes home for the weekend today from his Kung-Fu (Marine Corps Martial Arts) School! Yipee!!!!

2. I love this. Elyse loves watching the fish swim. She has been going to sleep so much better. And, she can turn it on and off herself so sometimes in the morning, I hear her music and she just lays in bed and watches the fish.

3. My daughter is a neat person. Her favorite thing lately is to ask me to put something "back." It can be annoying at times but it has resulted in a much neater living room (and fewer milk cups forgotten on the kitchen table). I just want to know: 1. Is this my daughter? and 2. Who can I thank for this!?

Have a great weekend!!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Two Sweet Girls


Here's a picture of my friend Lindsey's baby Ellie sleeping. Isn't she sweet. I don't think Elyse would sleep through a shot anymore so I had to take advantage of seeing Ellie.




And here's a picture of Elyse in her jammies. She learned how to turn the TV on and off in the hotel room and it was very exciting!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Two funny things Elyse does that I don't want to forget.

1. When we say "I love you" to Elyse, instead of saying "I love you" back she just says "Too." As in "I love you, too." Ditto, mom.

2. In the car the other day, Elyse hid her milk cup under her leg. She started looking around the back seat saying "Milllkk.....miiiillllkk...." (Knowing full well exactly where her milk was). Then, she pulled the milk out from under her leg, held it up high and yelled, "MILK!!" Today she did the same thing, hiding her hand under the pillow and saying, "Haannnnddd...hannndd".

I love this girl.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Welcome Baby Cale!!


Another beautiful baby boy to welcome!!! Our friends Brandi and Jeff welcomed there beautiful baby boy. I don't know any of the details yet but, I've been able to get the news and steal a picture. Congratulations!!! We can't wait to meet him.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Christmas Cards

I'm trying to make my own Christmas card design this year so I can just order them as prints. Here are some of my options so far. What do you think? Let me know which is your favorite! The pictures are just to play with and most likely I'll use a different one for the actual card so don't factor that in.

A



B




C


D




E



F


Monday, December 1, 2008

Bad Bad Blogger (And Flickr)

So I've been a bad blogger lately. I guess I just haven't had much to say. I'll try and be better. I promise.

Since Elyse was born I have been trying my best to post pictures of her here. I'll admit, I've been bad lately and was asked by my dad to add some new pictures. So last night I finally uploaded some shots. But I'm going to try putting them here instead. I've heard that Flickr is AMAZING. I'm not sure why yet but I'm going to give it a try. I think you can leave comments on the pictures so please do. I think you can also drag the picture from the website to your computer so you can have the actual file. Pictures can also be ordered and mailed or picked up at Target. I've heard there is a lot more but I'm still learning.

So anyway, check out our pictures from November (mostly Elyse with a few of Dennis and I thrown in!) and have a great week.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Welcome Baby Brayden!


My friend from high school Dana gave birth to her first baby yesterday!!! :)

Here is a picture of baby Brayden. Isn't he adorable!? Congratulations!!! We can't wait to meet him.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

SHE CAN WALK!!!


Elyse can officially walk!!

She took her first steps on Sunday while Dennis was watching her. She stood in one place with a remote ('mote') in each hand, danced to Dennis's song a bit and then took four steps!!

Of course when I came down I tried to have her show me but she wasn't in the mood.

But Sunday night and yesterday Elyse started going and she is getting better and better!! We practice by having her stand at the ottoman and bring me a Goldfish (I could get used to this!!)

Here's a blurry picture for now. I'll hopefully post a video soon.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Personal Touch

I liked this Daily Word today.

I am a kind and compassionate expression of Spirit within.
At the office, on a bus, or in a store, I may be around people without having a conversation or any other interaction with them.Yet when I ask a coworker who seems overloaded with work if I can be of help, when I take my package off the seat next to me on the bus so someone can sit down, when I pick up groceries for a neighbor while I'm at the store, I reach out with a personal touch.

The impersonal gives way to the personal touch that flows from Spirit within. I understand that no one is meant to be a stranger in a world created by God. I recognize people as a part of my team, as fellow travelers in life, as neighbors wherever they may live.

"But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him." --Luke 10:33-34

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Thankful Friday on Saturday

1. Flannel sheets and cuddling with Dennis.

2. This video. It cracks us up! I think we can all relate.


3. I'm going to see Twilight tomorrow! Not as excited as some of the teeny boppers I've seen but still looking forward to it. (But I think the main character should just brush his hair and that makes me feel old!)

4. Elyse can say more and more words everyday!! It is great because I can usually figure out what she wants. Some recent additions are "off" "fish" and "bib". I counted the other day and she has over 50 words which is AWESOME!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Win A Quilt

For those of you who don't know, my mom is an AMAZING quilter. She even has her own book.

She also has a blog (I copied her) and she is giving away a quilt!! I'm not kidding. Go to her blog and make your guess!!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

What do you drink???

For a long time, I've been a regular Diet Dr. Pepper drinker but as of this month, I decided that I don't drink soda. I just really don't know that it is made of and that makes me nervous.

But tonight I'm thirsty...really thirsty for some Sprite or Diet Coke or Root Beer but those are now off limits. I'm tired of milk and water.

So, I'm wondering, what do you drink? (I'm talking non-alcoholic here...we could go into that list another time!)

I'm looking for something that isn't a bunch of chemicals and isn't full of calories either. (If I'm going to take in calories, I'd rather they be in the form of brownies!)

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Pictures...

I got a remote for my camera so I'll be able to take family pictures without having to push the timer and scramble into place.

So I could take some of Elyse and I together....



And of course some of her by herself...

Monday, November 17, 2008

Discoveries


Elyse has learned that she gets lots more goldfish if she grabs them herself...


And that her finger fits perfectly in her nostril.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

You must be present to win...

Today we were back in church after weeks of sick and travel and the sort. And it was a good thing. Well, it's always a good thing but today, I especially liked the message.

The point of the message was "Live in the Moment." Let go of the past and don't worry about the future.

And while I love a good philosophical sermon as much as the next girl, I love it when I get to hear the "how." Of course I know to live in the moment but when thoughts that lead me otherwise come up, what do I do? We learned some practical steps today and I thought I'd share.

The first thing to do is ask, "Is there a problem now?" I'll use the example of selling our house. We will likely be moving next summer and will want to sell our house. In case you didn't hear, the housing market isn't so great and I worry about what will happen.

When I ask myself the question "Is there a problem now?" The answer is a big N-O! We have a place to live, we are lucky enough to be able to pay our mortgage and the walls are the pretty green that I painted myself.

Here are five more steps to bring us back into the present when thoughts of the past or worries of the future come up:
1. Feel the feeling. I'm anxious about selling the house, worried and regret our decision to buy. I need to feel each of these things.
2. Take 2-3 deep breaths and connect with God.
3. Come up with denial and/or affirmation statements. Here it might be "We continue to be grateful for the abundance in our lives and God will provide for our every need." Have this ready when the worry comes up.
4. Think, "Is there anything that is mine to do?" And if so, do it. I might make a note on my calendar in January to ask friends about their real estate agent.
and finally...

5. Say "Thank you, God" for the spiritual teaching and growth from this situation.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Thankful Friday

1. Elyse really does finally seem better today. She's drinking and eating and is in a pretty good mood.

2. The fact that we have our own washer and dryer...I can't imagine this week with a sick kid if we had to trek to the laundromat!

3. A new photography group I found on Meetup!

4. Progresso Italian Wedding Soup for lunch.

5. Elyse likes to "honk" everyone's nose, even her babydoll and the picture of the guy on the Cheerios.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Free Photobook from Snapfish!

Yesterday on Oprah, they announced a giveaway for all of us. A free photobook from Snapfish! Click here. The coupon only lasts until Friday night so check it out today!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Then and Now


Elyse on the Turkey platter a year ago.





And here she is from a few days ago!

How things change in a year! :)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Cleaning

I can cook, I don't mind laundry and I am the one in charge of managing our family finances. But, my one "domestic" weakness is cleaning. I'm not sure why. Don't get me wrong...our house is not a pig pen, I just have trouble making cleaning part of my routine (especially when a certain one year old cancels out my efforts in only a few seconds). In my mom's club, one of the ladies shared with me her strategy for keeping the house clean and I've been giving it a shot. It has worked so far!

Each day there are a few tasks and after they are finished, I'm done! Here's my list:

Everyday:
Sweep
Wash Diapers (as needed)
Empty the Dishwasher


Monday:
Clean off Counters
Clean cabinet surfaces
Take old food out of fridge and clean shelves
Mop kitchen and dining room
Clean under burners


Tuesday:
Laundry (from start to finish!)
Wash Sheets
Make Baby Food
Rotate Baby Toys

Wednesday:
Dust wood
Vacuum entire house
Fabreeze Furniture

Thursday:
Wash bathroom floor
Clean Shower
Clean Sinks
Clean all glass and mirrors in house
Wash Baby toys
Clean Toilets

Friday: (I'm usually tired and lazy by Friday so it's not much!)
Collect Garbage
Water Plants

Monthly:
Clean Carpet
Clean out trash cans
Change air filter

To you neat and tidy people out there, is there anything I'm missing?????

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sick...


Here's Elyse eating her popsicle, about the only thing she was willing to eat today. Doesn't she look pathetic??


Sorry I haven't been blogging as much lately. I'm back to work and that has been taking up my time and, poor Elyse came down with the stomach flu Friday night. I hate being sick myself but it was just terrible to see her sick. She seemed better yesterday but is sick again today (luckily no throw up but it has moved down south). And, Dennis seems to be feeling under the weather today too.

This is no fun. I can't wait for my babies to feel better!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Thankful Friday!

1. This book. I'm almost done. I was supposed to be done by Wednesday for my book club but when I sat down to read Elyse kept coming up and saying "dun." (done). I guess she wanted to play.

2. Dennis is not out of town for the month of November like he was supposed to be.

3. Elyse made it the whole time without crying at the gym today!! Woo-hoo! Yesterday as I was walking out with my screaming girl the lady there said "it just takes some time for them to get used to it." Well, isn't a year enough time???

4. I'm back to work (I didn't have a class last month) and I'm really enjoying my new students.

5. I have made it a week without drinking soda. I decided I no longer am a soda drinker. I was highly tempted today by a can of Diet Dr. Pepper in the fridge but I resisted the temptation.

6. We've purchased plane tickets to come to STL for Christmas!!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Brown Bear Quilt

As you can see from this we love Brown Bear in our house.

My mom found some new Brown Bear fabric and made this great quilt for Elyse. We are lucky girls to have such a talented Nana! :)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Cookie Monster



It appears Elyse has a lot in common with her mama...she tried the cookies I made tonight and couldn't get enough!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa is one of my favorite spiritual examples. I ran across this quote of hers and I thought it was worth sharing:


The success of love is in the loving - it is not in the result of loving. Of course it is natural in love to want the best for the other person, but whether it turns out that way or not does not determine the value of what we have done.
Mother Teresa

Friday, October 31, 2008

Thankful Friday


All Elyse wants to do lately is "wak." She shouts it and grabs my hands and leads me wherever she wants to go. We caught a shot of all three of our shadows as we practiced walking.

1. Dennis is home from San Diego! Last week, Elyse and I were gone and then he was gone all this week so it is great to have time together as a family again!!

2. My little Halloween pink monster. We surprised Dennis at the airport and I think he got quite a kick out of seeing us. I think we also made a lot of people smile during their travels!

3. Hot fudge sundaes.

4. My classes start back up on Monday. I had the month of October off and I have to say I loved it but I have missed getting to know my students and helping in the beginning of their college careers.

5. Beautiful fall weather!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Vote!

This website had some really great "Get out the Vote" posters. Here are two of my favorites:



Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Wean-Her


Elyse drinking real milk right from the carton (you can see she does take after her daddy!)

So it's official (I think)...Elyse is officially weaned. At least I think so. I thought that was the case last week but gave in to her cries when we were visiting friends and she was screaming bloody murder in the middle of the night and waking the entire house (weaning while on a trip is not recommended).

I thought I would be sadder than I am. It's really OK. I will miss the closeness and cuddles we had on a regular basis. And oh how I will miss being able to eat everything in the pantry without gaining extra weight. It was hard when she was first born but by six months (yes, it really did take that long) it was easy. I'm glad we decided to go this long but I am also glad we are stopping now.

To think, I'll be able to go somewhere for the whole day without Elyse and not have to worry about her going hungry. Now, if I could only figure out someplace to go!

P.S. Try and say the title of this post three times fast without giggling! :)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Pictures from this Weekend

Elyse and I had a great time visiting with friends this weekend!!

The crew: Me, Lisa, Shirley, Lindsey with Ellie, Elyse and Haven


It's fun to have a lunch buddy!!

Haven and Elyse raid the cabinets in their coordinating jammies.

Out for a ride

Elyse, Nick and Haven hanging out

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Back in Town...

Sorry there haven't been any posts the past few days. Elyse and I went out of town to visit a few friends. I'll post pictures tomorrow!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Chicken Spedini


I think my mom made this recipe up. You will see that there aren't exact measurements for everything but you should be able to eyeball it. This chicken was DELICIOUS...Dennis said it might even be his new favorite dinner. We had it with some orzo pasta and some broccoli.

Give it a try!

Thin Chicken Breasts
Italian Dressing
Italian Bread Crumbs
Prosciutto
Baby Swiss
3/4 C Chicken Broth
2 T Lemon Juice
3 Cloves minced garlic
2 T melted butter
2 T flour
Mushrooms

Marinate chicken in Italian dressing 1-1.5 hours. Coat chicken with italian bread crumbs and saute in olive oil until browned (do in batches). Return chicken to pan and top with procuitto and baby swiss. Top with lemon butter sauce.

I changed it a bit: After browning the chicken, actually cooking it all the way through, I put the chicken in a 9x13 pan, topped with procuitto and Swiss and put under the broiler for just a few minutes. I watched it and once the cheese started to brown I took it out.

Lemon Butter Sauce: Boil chicken broth, lemon juice and garlic. Mix butter and flour together in separate bowl. Add to brown. Bring to boil to thicken. Add sliced mushrooms and simmer 3-5 minutes.

For some reason I thought I was supposed to buy white wine for the sauce and made a special trip to Target. I just drank it instead (don't worry, just a glass) and actually recommend getting some wine to compliment this meal.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Bag O' Textures


Our Parents as Teachers parent educator came over the other day with a "Texture Bag" as I like to call it. It is a bag full of little "pillows", each fabric a different texture. Apparently it is a good age for Elyse to explore these textures and since she loved them, I decided I could make one too. Here's how I did it.

1. First I went to the fabric store and bought fabric with lots of different textures. I just got 1/8 of a yard of each and that was a lot more than I needed. I also bought a bag of stuffing. All together it was only about $8!!



2. Then I cut the fabric into little squares. To make it easy, I made them 1/8 yard by 1/8 yard so I didn't have to make as many cuts. I learned for the last few that I could actually cut double squares and fold them in half. (Notice the Smirnoff in the back...this may be why the squares aren't perfect!)

3. Then I put the squares right sides together and sewed around the edges leaving about 2 inches unsewn.

4. I then turned them inside out, stuffed them and hand stitched the openings together. It would actually probably be even easier to sew the openings together on the machine.

5. To make the bag I used some leftover fabric that I had. I first made a button hole towards the top. Then I folded the top down over the button hole and sewed, making a casing for the ribbon. Then I folded the right sides together and sewed three edges, leaving the top open.

6. Last but not least, I attached a big safety pin to a piece of ribbon I had and fed it through the button hole into the casing I made at the top of the ribbon.

Trust me...this is far from perfect but I can guarantee Elyse doesn't care if the squares are perfect or if my stitches look neat. She just says "oohhh.." when she takes out each square.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Isaiah 30

O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you. Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, you teacher will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right tor to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it." Then you will defile your idols overlaid with silver and your images covered with gold; you will throw them away and say "Away with you!"

He will also send you rain for the seed you sow in the ground, and the food that comes from the land will be rich and plentiful.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Thankful Friday

1. Elyse slept until 8!! EIGHT!!!

2. My favorite song came on (at the beginning) as soon as I got in the car this morning.

3. Elyse has remained happy (well not screaming) at the gym for two days in a row!

4. A rainy, lazy day.

5. Progress in weaning.

6. A weekend without much going on.

7. The Twilight series. I can't put it down!

Have a great one!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Giveaway

There is a giveaway at Small Notebook (one of my favorites) and I LOVE the prize so I want to win. By posting this, I get an extra entry. Check out the beautiful jewelry being given away at this website.

Funny Wedding

I'm taking a break from a week in the life. I may come back to it, I may not.

I saw this on the Today Show yesterday and had to share. Unbelievable!!

See more funny videos at Funny or Die

Monday, October 13, 2008

A Week in the Life-Monday

I noticed on a few blogs last week a "Week in the Life" project. I think it originated on this blog. I'm a little behind but I still thought it sounded like a fun theme for the week so I'm going to start today. I hope you enjoy a little insight into my everyday life!

7:20 Elyse woke up. Dennis went and grabbed her and brought her into bed with us. I nursed her. We all played peek-a-boo under the cover for awhile. Dennis had the day off (Christopher Columbus) so he took Elyse downstairs and let me get a little extra sleep (what a lucky girl I am!)

9:30 Woke up! Went downstairs. Played with Elyse. Hung out with Dennis.This is one of her new favorite toys. She shakes her booty! Drank some coffee, ate some oatmeal.

10:20 Read Elyse book and put her down for morning nap. Checked e-mail, picked up, put the dishes away, showered. Planned out meals for the next few weeks and made the grocery list.

12:15 Ate leftover stew.

12:45 Super long nap. Elyse woke up. I fed her lunch.

2:00 Family trip to the commisary (grocery store). Bought lots of food. Saved $6 with coupons (using them is my new resolution!) The cashier recognized the high pitched squeals of Elyse as she had been making them throughout the store. What can you do?

3:30 Nursed crabby baby and put her down for a nap. I went down and tried to recreate a cookie we loved from Tropical Smoothie Cafe yesterday. I added coconut and macademia nuts to a regular chocolate chip cookie recipe. Yummy!

5:00 Got Elyse up (she didn't sleep) and call mom on Skype. Dennis made dinner (he should be off everyday!!)
6:30 Cleaned up dinner dishes. Elyse planed with magnets on the fridge including one with a picture of herself.

7:00 Went to Target to avoid hearing cries. We are working on weaning from nursing and the goal is to drop the night feeding this week so Dennis put her to bed. Amazingly (and probably the first time ever) I left Target without spending a dime. When I cam home, Dennis let me know that Elyse went down without a peep. She called "mama" a few times but Dennis just told her "mama done." Realizing I would no longer be nursing her at night, I cried a bit. I am glad we are moving on but it makes me sad.

8:30 Put the dishes away, made Elyse's cereal for the week, poured a glass of wine.

9:00 Watched Jon and Kate Plus 8 and blogged.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Do Not Worry

With a crazy financial week, I think this is a good reminder:

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sew or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to this life.

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these; If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, "What shall we eat?" or "What shall we drink?" or "What shall we wear?" For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.

Matthew 6:25-34

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Daily Reads

Did you know that you can subscribe to blogs? There are a few different programs to use. I use Google Reader. If you already have a Google account you have a Google Reader account to. I love it because I can read all the new posts on my favorite blogs without checking each on everyday. If you do have a Google account, just click on "Reader" at the top to start your Google Reader account.

You can also subscribe to this blog by click on the "Subscribe to Posts" link on the right.

Here are some of my favorite blogs that I read on a daily basis. Check them out!

Digital Photography School
Mt. Hope Chronicles
Simple Mom
Rocks in My Dryer
Small Notebook
Ali Edwards
Hyacinth Quilt Designs

Are there any favorite blogs you would like to share?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Thankful Friday




1. I filled up the Prius for only $3.17 a gallon. What a deal!

2. The new plates came in the mail today for the Explorer. I no longer have to drive illegally with expired tags. And, I have to give props to the Missouri DMV...they were very helpful and the plates came fast.

3. Fun times at a local park with our Meetup Group. You would think based on this picture that we actually went to the beach (we've lived in VA Beach for almost two years and we haven't spent time on the sand) but, alas, it is just the sand pit at the park.

4. A REALLY great first birthday for Elyse. A great visit with my parents. Getting to see Denise and Gary. Fun times all around.

5. Dennis gets a long weekend for Columbus day! WOO-HOO!!

Have a great weekend!!