Olivia Gets a Promotion

My First Sunday School Paper
Olivia was promoted to her 2 year old class yesterday!! I couldn't resist getting a picture of her and her first Sunday School Paper (even though I didn't get around to taking it until this morning).


AJ Learns a Lesson

Mom: AJ, would you like to tell everyone what you learned today?

AJ: Ummm... I learned that it's bad manners to throw up all over mommy when she is feeding me my carrots.

I used to think that the "projectile vomit" stories were more hyperbole than fact. Today, I joined the ranks of women who have witnessed this very real natural phenomenon. One bite of carrots. One gag. The rest is a blur.


Olivia's Room

Here is my el cheapo craft project for Olivia's room. I bought these three little cork boards from the dollar store and painted the frames white. Then I mounted those pre-painted wooden things from Michaels on each one, and hung them with colorful ribbons. Very easy and very cheap.

I hung a picture I made in college (yeah Children's Lit!) above her dresser. Fern and Wilbur add a nice classic children's literature touch. The red and white quilt hanging on her chair was handmade by my best friend from childhood, Sarah (Huett) Sprunger. My grandma made the Raggedy Ann doll sitting on the shelf above the window. What a treasures! I sure wish I could do that stuff!
Well, that's Olivia's room so far. I have been waiting to post on it until it was "done", but I don't think it will ever really be done, and this is probably as good as it is going to get for a while. Little by little :)


Mother's Day Recap

Mother's Day 2005: I sat on the couch recovering from a C-section, sobbing through those heart-wrenching Mother's Day specials and holding my newborn.

Mother's Day 2006: I was treated to a delicious lunch at Black Angus Steakhouse. mmmmmm... and Olivia was on her very best behavior.

Mother's Day 2007: I was up until 3:00 a.m. with a feverish restless infant. Up again at 6:30 to make final preparations for the big Mother's Day luncheon for the Spanish ministry. Since I thought that AJ was just going through a yucky teething thing, he came to church with me, but stayed with me. Thankfully, a few kind ladies saw this poor mamma trying to fill fruit cups, set out silverware, etc. while holding a sick baby and helped get everything set-up. God provides! I slipped into the service to sing, and slipped back out again to finish up in the kitchen. AJ was not getting any better. His fever was now beyond a "teething" fever. On my way home, I was pulled over for going 42 in a 30. Uggghh! I have never been pulled over in my life. I just gave the officer everything in my glove box because I didn't know what the registration was. It was a horrible experience...how much is this going to cost... I'm going to have to tell my husband....all the people staring at the dummy pulled over on the side of the road....then the lecture about how I need to drive more slowly especially with the little ones in the back...... I already felt like a horrible mother for dragging my sick baby to church, and I just wanted to cry. As I waited for the officer to return, I looked down and my gas-light was on. I don't know how long it had been on, and that made me nervous. The officer returned and, thankfully, I was given a warning. Whew! After a quick stop at the gas-station, I took Olivia home and took AJ to the emergency room. An ear infection, not teething was the source of his woes. As soon as I got home, Alex had to get to the evening service. Just when I thought that the day's drama was pretty much over, AJ was stinky. I would normally use the changing table, but the diaper and wipes were right there, so I changed him there on the living room floor. Olivia came over with her little bowl of goldfish crackers and sat down next to her brother. As I was cleaning AJ's bottom, I listened to Olivia repeat over and over "EAt AJ, EAt". I wasn't paying any attention to what she was saying, until I looked at her goldfish crackers, then looked in AJ's mouth and there was a goldfish in his mouth! Olivia was telling him to EAt while putting the cracker in his mouth! Before I could get it out, AJ started choking and turned red. I had no choice but to turn his still very very poopy body over and do the baby heimlich (sp?). Out popped the goldfish, and the only damage was a smattering of poop on AJ, mommy, and the carpet. My dear husband came home and handed me a tall hot Hazelnut Latte, and we laughed together about my terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad, Mother's Day :) Honestly, the best gift of the day was having a sick little one. As I sat rocking him at 2:00 that morning and felt his warm little head nestled between my neck and my shoulder, I thought of how blessed I am. I sat there and thought of how no thing or experience could ever compare to what Olivia and AJ bring into my life. I sure do love being a mamma!

My Sweet Little Man

Olivia and Mommy

The Mother's Day Luncheon

A beautiful pink annual was given to each mother. Each plant sits in a trimmed white luch sack that has been dressed up with a little ribbon woven around the edge. Cute, somewhat easy, and inexpensive!


AJ's First Veggies

So, AJ, what do you think about this thing called the

May I present the 4 stages of eating solids

Stage 1: DENIAL

Stage 2: Disappointment

Stage 3: Gagging

Stage 4: Disgust

A few pictures are worth a thousand words!


Alex gives me a hard time about my love for making everything a tradition. He insists that it isn't a tradition unless we do it more than once or twice. That means that just because we had a nice walk on the beach on the first weekend in June doesn't necessarily mean that we have a family tradition of walking on the beach the first weekend in June.
I can say, however, that Thursdays have taken a traditional turn for us. In the morning, I take Olivia to play on the playground at church. She loves going to the "pay-gwown". Alex comes out to meet us for his lunch hour and we all go to Crackerbarrel or Pizza Hut for lunch. MMMM. Maybe if I were more nostalgic I'd pack a picnic, but for now I'll settle for hot blueberry pancakes.
This evening we sat on the porch, and Alex got out his guitar. He was serenading me with the loveliest song he wrote just for me... "Leah my tortilla..." Olivia ran circles around everyone, and AJ calmly observed all that was happening around him.


Baby Shower


La Iglesia Bautista de Northside held its first baby shower last week. The Lord brought a young mother to our ministry who has been separated from her husband and in need of care and support. We were thrilled to embrace her and welcome her new little one into the world with a "lluvia de regalos" (rain of gifts).
The invitation was a simple quarter sheet of blue cardstock. I glued small foam animals in the center, and a knot of ribbon at the top.

For favors, I stuck a magnet on the back of some little wooden animals I purchased from Michael's. They were already painted, and I just had to write the theme verse on them with a white paint-pen. Not super-original idea, but it worked and it was quick!
For the table, I used a light blue plastic table cloth and brown package wrap for runner. The leftover ribbon from the invitations ran down the center of the table to "tie it all together". I placed the favors down the center of the table (yeah-- double duty!). I originally planned to use a big foam animal footprint (like the Clemson claw) and stamp that on the brown paper, but I couldn't find one and I didn't have the time to "whip one up". That was a little disappointing since the theme was more on animal footprints (more on that to come) than on the actual animals. BUT-- you do what you can, and I think it came together nicely!
The refreshments were SIMPLE, which for those who know me might find that a little suprising :) I love to go for it when it comes to event food, but I didn't want to be frazzled for the night and making a really great spread stresses me out!
HOMEMADE SALSA that turned out a little on the hot side-- tricky jalepenos
ECLAIRS from the frozen food section at Wal-Mart
LEMON BUNDT CAKE filled with cream and fresh strawberries.
The theme "Walk in Love" (as illustrated by the animal footprints) was taken from Ephesians 5:1-2. I wrote a devotional for the ladies, and my husband kindly translated it for me so that I could give it in Spanish. The challenge that evening was to consistently give of ourselves for those around us as Christ gave Himself for us. This is a great passage for a shower that may be attended by some unsaved ladies, since the Gospel can be clearly presented. In fact, another young woman who is expecting approached me after the shower and told me that a lot of her friends are unsaved and that she would like the same devotional for her shower :)
So why was this shower such a big deal to me? It marked a significant victory in my life. It isn't about the decorations, the favors, or the carefully crafted theme. This shower was about showing the love of Christ to a young mom in need.
I'll be very honest with you. I can plan an event like this in my sleep. I am even one of the .0001% of the population who actually feels completely at ease speaking in front of a thousand million people. That's just how God made and gifted me. So what was the big victory? The entire shower was in Spanish, and my hunk of a Spanish-speaking husband was out of the picture for the evening. I am in the process of learning Spanish, and I have shed many tears over this place of weakness in my ministry.
One thing that God is teaching me during this season of life is to EMBRACE the STRUGGLE. Don't run in fear. Don't avoid the discomfort. Don't grasp for relief. At the end of the struggle is blessing. Acts 20:24 has been a verse that challenges me in this area.
"But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God."
I guess that a good rule in life is to not take yourself, and in this day and age, your BLOG too seriously. I blog to keep up with friends and give grandma her fix of kiddo updates and pictures, but I did want to invest a little more time in this post because I know that I'm probably not the only young woman out there who battles with fear while trying to fulfill her responsibilities.
I've thrown a shower or two, but this was the first time I waved goodbye to the last guest, closed the door, bowed my head, and thanked God for being all my ability in my inability. How kind He is to strip me of those things I would naturally glory in or be motivated by, so that all I am left with is "Lord, I want to do this because I love you and I want to be obedient to you".


Prayer Request

Please pray for Dr. and Mrs. Horn

"Last Wednesday, Beth and I received news from her doctor, that Beth has a case of fairly advanced cancer. The Lord has chosen that for us. We are confident that the Lord is at work in all of this, He is sustaining us. The cancer is of two types. One type is in her upper chest area. There is a tumor in her upper chest, which the doctors are calling in situ, but the other form of cancer has broken out of that cell and is making its way into her lymph system. There is at least one major set of lymph nodes that has been compromised. We are asking the Lord that He would be gracious and not allow that to spread."- Dr. Sam Horn

Go to the Brookside Baptist Church website to listen to his messages preached at Brookside and Northland.


And here are the answers to Olivia's Birthday Quiz!
1. Key (kitty)
2. crazies (craisins)
3. eye queen coke (ice cream cone)
4. shoeys (shoes)
5. boon boon (balloon)
6. low (lotion)
7. nakeup (makeup)
8. fwen (friend)
9. moe moe (either Moses or Nemo)
10. peetsey (pizza)
11. nack (snack)
12. ban ban (bandaid)
13. pay (play or toothpaste)
14. bakey (spaghetti)
15. cookie (cookie)
dopie (doughnut)
cratchie (cracker)
Even thought she didn't get them all right, Erin will receive an autographed copy of my book if I ever write one for participating :)


Birthday Update

The Birthday Bash
Olivia's 2nd birthday has come and gone and I'm pooped!
We had a Happy Meal picnic at the playground with one of her little friends.
Even little AJ was enthusiastic about his sister's big day!
I made Stromboli with marinara sauce.
The best moment came when Olivia sat across the table from me and said "ish GOOT!" (trans. it's good!)
Lately, Olivia's new favorite dessert has been strawberries and queen (cream), so she got a Strawberry "Queen" Cake this year.

Birthday toys are so much better when Daddy plays with you!

Enjoying a little birthday batter

The Spread

Stromboli: Roll out Pizza Dough to about the size of a 13x9 pan. Cover with 2 c. mozzarella cheese, purple onion (about 1/2 cup, chopped), green pepper (about 1/2 c chopped), cooked italian sausage (I use 2-3 links-remove the casings and crumble and brown-- then freeze the rest), and pepperoni. Roll up long side and pinch edges. Slather with beaten egg (until covered-- you won't use the whole egg). Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with a marinara sauce. MMMMM!

Strawberry Queen Cake: Bake a Golden Vanilla cake, and cover with strawberries, strawberry glaze, and REAL WHIPPED CREAM. It is worth the extra effort (in my opinion) to beat the heavy whipping cream instead of using cool whip.