Thursday, October 28, 2010

Ethan's Fall Party

Ethan had his class party today. I like to call it his "fall" party because (as I teach Ethan to say) I don't prefer Halloween. Everything about Halloween is creepy to me... spiders, death, black, orange, etc. I wish it didn't "ruin" the fall... I get creeped out just going grocery shopping, but I am on a tangent... so I will stop for now. Fall is my favorite time of the year and I do love costumes, I do love dressing up... and Ethan was so excited about getting to wear his costume today! He wanted to go as Ming-Ming from the Wonder Pet TV show.
It was fun to see him with his class. They paraded around to all the other classrooms and I just loved seeing him interact and for most of it he just held onto his teacher's finger.
He is a sweet boy... can't believe he is this big already!
I made the princess a little cape and was delighted that she ACTUALLY wore it! Before she just ripped it off anytime I got it on her! She had fun putting all sorts of new stuff in her mouth!
The cupcakes I made for the party were inspired by (this) blog.

I am a fan of parties and all the fun that goes into the preparation. I keep pinching myself to see if I am actually living this dream... my little guy is growing up so fast!

Here is a picture of the back of his cape... the Wonder Pet logo (in case you have never seen it!).

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Fellowship

Yesterday I had my Bible study up for a little group bonding time. A couple of girls had brought a recipe to me a couple weeks ago for Peanut Butter Cheesecake. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to try it out and so two of them came up on Saturday to make this. It was super easy to put together! We washed this dessert down with Chai coffee, laughter and good conversation. What could be better than that!?

I asked them to creatively draw ONE WORD on a piece of paper to describe what God had been teaching them lately. It was so encouraging to hear what God is doing in our group. I felt blessed. How about you... what has God been teaching you... in ONE WORD!??

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Recipe
Crust:
1 1/2 cup finely crushed chocolate graham crackers (I used the generic oreo cookies)
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 T sugar (I left this out because I used cookies)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Combine crackers, melted butter and sugar and press into the bottom and 1 inch up the side of a 9 - inch springform pan - set aside.

Chocolate Filling:
1 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate pieces

melt in a pan over the stove... then remove from heat and add
1 packages of cream cheese
2 T milk
1/2 t vanilla
2 eggs

Pour half into the bottom of the crust... set aside the other half for the top...

Peanut butter filling:
1 cup peanut butter
1 package cream cheese softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
Blend until smooth then pour over the chocolate filling in the crust... top with the rest of the chocolate filling and bake for 45 minutes. Outer 2 inches of top; will be slightly puffed and dry-looking... the center will look darker and wet but when you shake it should be "set" (I guess that means not super gooey!


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Ethan vs Eden... It's Not a Competition!

(Eden is all about purses lately... she loves them!)

I have been thinking a lot about Eden getting lost in Ethan's shadow. He is talkative, fun, lively, and relatively easy... he is also OLDER so we can do a lot more things together. Like for instance this week we have been busy planning and making his costume. Eden has been challenging, like normal and lately I feel twinges of guilt. It is much easier spending time with Ethan - he is gentle, Eden is wild. Ethan sits quietly while we read, Eden is a violent blender of motion. Ethan can communicate, Eden mainly squeals her high pitched screams.
BUT, BUT, BUT... I want Eden to know without a doubt that I LOVE HER... and so I have been looking for ways to include her, to make things special JUST for her, and looking for things that she is especially interesting (beyond whatever toy Ethan is playing with). Tonight I am working on a special costume just for her... I think it is more for me than for her. I want to make an effort of loving her, being with her, and figuring out how to be her Momma...
In the back of my mind I am planning a Momma date with my little girl...
I think we need some time together... just to be girls!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Costume Making Process

(lunch break.... we are loving this fall soup season)

This morning we worked on Ethan's costume. It was wild... like most things around this place... I find it quite challenging to sew straight lines while holding a Tornado (aka Eden Eve)... but as my Mom knows... I never sewed straight lines anyway! I was thinking of how I love having my kids apart of my life. It forces me to be creative!!! I am a task oriented person - thru and thru, but since Ethan was born I have made the choice to be more focused on having a relationship with him - than FINISHING a project. That has been huge for me. I think it really helps that I am not a procrastinator! I start projects early because I know they will take TIME. When I find I am focusing too much on a project or I am getting frustrated by the continual help I am "receiving" - we take a break and play a game or like this morning... we played with our imaginations (I was a guinea pig - he was a duck for a couple of hours). Of course those especially tricky parts of the project I simply do during nap time... when I can have enough peace to concentrate!
Ethan is super thrilled about his costume. Here he is cutting out the pattern we made... I just loved seeing his determination and concentration as he cut it out! We got the body made... and now onto the head, legs and feet... He is going to be one cutely costumed kid! And the best part... this costume won't be just worn ONE day... I have a feeling he will be wearing it for the next couple months!

I love creating the excitement WITH him! I love what it teaches me as I force myself to include my kids in the details and seek to enjoy the process... even though it can be adventurous and a tab bit challenging at times...
it is definitely worth every ounce of EXTRA energy!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Little This and A Little That

The weather has remained... gorgeous! Fall can be found around every corner and every morning walk we take is cherished. I don't want to think of the weather changing... just yet... so we will enjoy THIS DAY! Ethan is saying the funniest things. Having conversations with him is humorous and enjoyable. We laugh A LOT together! This morning he asked me to come snuggle with him because he wasn't brave anymore... he was scared.
I was more than thrilled to jump at his offer... I love snuggle time!
We are in the process of making his costume for his class party and he is beyond pumped...
I will post pictures... someday!
Tonight a student (Shula) is coming up to make Mozambican food for our Bible Studies. She has made some before... just for us and it was delicious. It is fun to have tastes of Africa in our home as we continue to dream about our little son, Mardoche (just got our Dossier package back from the translator!). Waiting is difficult at times... not gonna lie... especially when you don't hear ANYTHING (I pray for you often, Celina!!!!!!).
And finally... I made these Thyme Cheddar Twists that a dear friend posted on her blog (here) for dinner last night. I just had to! They were perfect... especially since the pot of soup I made to go with them... ended up in the compost pile. I hate throwing things away so you can imagine how bad it was... not sure WHAT went wrong... but it was VERY WRONG!

So there is a little of this and a little of that from our world.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Kid Friendly

Last night some friends stayed over... they have a son Ethan's age. Ethan was in heaven! It has been fun to listen to them play together... making up stories, imagining things, and making large messes. The comment was made... "It is so nice to stay in a home that is kid friendly."
Isn't that the truth (for those of you who have traveled anywhere)!?! Kid friendly can mean a lot of things, but the first things that come to my mind are homes that encourage play, aren't afraid of being a tad bit messy, and aren't covered in glass figurines! I love to see my kids explore and discover new things. Lately they have been playing (aka fighting) a lot together. I love to see the games they make, the things Ethan talks about with Eden, and the messes they make.

I know my kids will grow up faster than I want...
so for now I am enjoying them just being kids!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Faith of a Child

Fall was in the air today... that freshness mixed with the "winter is right around the corner" chill. The sun was bright and the colors brilliant. We played at a park - running, climbing, and searching for leaf treasures. It was fun to just have a slow-paced day.
Before we played in the park we did a little bit of shopping - and while we were in a store Ethan saw a train set thing and he stood there in awe... studying each part of it and trying to convince me that we needed to buy it. I made the lame comment of maybe you could get it for Christmas. I didn't think much else about it. We got home - laid the kids down for a nap and when Ethan got up after his nap he wandered upstairs and stood by the stairs just looking at me. Then he said quietly... "Momma, I think we should get the train set now. Christmas is a really long ways away and I just don't think it would be good to wait that long." He had the most wise, profound, and pensive look on his face. I wish I could have taken a picture. My heart melted... I went over to him and got down on his level to talk with him. He then went into great detail about the train, the tunnel, the houses, trees and a lot of other things I hadn't even noticed, but I can guarantee are on that display! He was convinced deep down in his soul that he needed that train. I tried the "money" argument. "Ethan, it was expensive and we would have to save our money to buy it." Well, he didn't understand that so he started to plead that we drive back to Great Falls to buy it... big tears were forming in his eyes. So I tried the travel bit. "Ethan, the store would be closed by the time we got there and we just can't drive back all that way just to get a train." Then I told him why don't we pray and talk to Jesus about the train. He thought that was a good idea! So we prayed ... when I finished he smiled really big and said,
"Jesus said He has a train picked out for his little boy!!!"

I have learned so much about God's love for me - while parenting Ethan. All I wanted to do was get back in the car and drive all the way to Great Falls to buy that train set, but at the same time I want what is best for Ethan... and that may NOT involve the train set that Ethan currently LONGS for. I am not much different than Ethan in my relationship with God. I have a hard time seeing the big picture and I want what I want when I want it! But like Ethan I want to be able to trust my Jesus.. and know without a doubt that He wants what is best for me!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Blooms

"In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous." Aristotle

My sweet peas finally bloomed... their smell is intoxicating.
Creation prompts my heart to worship the Creator....

"For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities - His eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse (Romans 1:20)."

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Roots

Hebrews 12:15 "See to it that no one misses the grace of God
and that a bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many."
A couple weeks ago a dear friend of mine - who knows me all TOO well suggested that I go through a Bible study on Facebook about bitterness. Through the events that have taken place in my life in the past few years I have found that a bitterness has rooted itself into my heart and influences my thoughts and actions.... "defiling many" whenever I open my mouth! When she first suggested it - Pride immediately stepped up and told my heart that the deep root was JUSTIFIED and that I controlled it... not the other way around! But humility struck a deeper cord in my heart and I rolled up my sleeves, put on my gardening gloves and grabbed the trowel.

As I have been sorting through my hurt in light of God's goodness and sovereignty I know that forgiveness is the solution for pulling up this beast of a weed... but forgiveness is so NOT OF US (me)! It is taking the offense of the offender and "letting them off the hook." I feel like if justice was done and maybe a little bit of fire came down from heaven and zapped the offender... then maybe I could forgive easier, but honestly the fire would have to fry me first... because I have been the offender way too often. Hum...
A couple days ago I was playing around in the soil of my garden - pulling up old plants... looking at their roots - for the sole reason of thinking about the above verse (I LOVE how God gives us such vivid pictures in His Word!). And I realized that as I pull up this root - it will leave a hole... it will be a ripping process because the roots are intertwined... it will take humility and grace, but that is what I long for... that is what I desire. I long for His healing, His grace and His love.... so that I may know Him more.

I feel so much freer now that the weeding has begun... it still hurts, but that is okay!

Monday, October 11, 2010

If It Looks too Good to be True...

It probably is!
I was cleaning out my recipe box and came across a news article I clipped out for The Miracle Slimming Soup... It claims that if you eat this soup you will lose weight... FAST.
Why not!?!?! So I chopped up veggies all morning long and mixed up this pot of dreams and wishes... and I'm going to eat soup all week long - and still lose 10 lbs (yeah right!). Losing weight is such a sensitive issue... every year I work with girls that are struggling with eating disorders - literally they will STARVE themselves to look a certain way or to obtain something they thing will fulfill them. I love food way too much to do that, but I do want to maintain balance. I would love it if those quick fixes really "worked" - who wouldn't want to lose 10 lbs in 2 days!!! Com'on! For the last couple months I have been trying to find things that I can do that I can MAINTAIN! Exercising for 2 hours straight - won't work. Eating all fresh and organic veggies - can't happen - I live in MT far from things that are fresh. BUT I can wake up and exercise for 20 minutes, I can stop snacking, and I can be aware of when I am eating because I am hungry or if I am eating because I am sad, lonely, etc! I don't want to give up my crumb top, baked goods, or chocolate... but I do want to be self-controlled, wise, and healthy.
I want to maintain because of these kiddos... I want to have energy and life - and not feel drained all the time. I am beginning to realize that I'm a roller coaster of emotions (hormone imbalance..? I am not sure - probably!). For the past couple months things have been hard (situationally) so it has been reflected in my emotional life... which reflects in my physical life! Some people tell me that my "depression" is from a lack of faith - I need to pray more or be more something, but I am realizing that it is what it is... a season. I don't want quick fixes - I want to learn how to maintain - to be consistent - so that is what is on my mind as I munch on my cabbage soup. So I'll keep you posted on how my miracle soup works... might be posting pics of me in a bikini by the end of the week... (but don't count on it!)!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Crumb Topping

I have discovered the deliciousness of crumb topping! I lost my zucchini bread recipe so as I was searching online I found a recipe. Someone had commented on it and said that it was way better with a crumb topping. I was intrigued... gave it a try and WOW!
So I tried it on top of an apple pie... Double WOW! Next I want to try it on pumpkin bread...

Here is the recipe so you can give her a try!

1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup sugar (I tried it with plain on the bread and brown on top of the pie)
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup butter (I used melted butter... and that mixed in the other ingredients nicely)

Just mix these up and sprinkle on top of your baking goods to make delicious goodness!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Fall Project #4: Rock Walls

Today we finished a long-drawn out project... the rock walls in our front yard (all we need now is some topsoil for that cone shaped bed... hum - topsoil is like gold around this place)! I really like how they turned out. We were so blessed by four students that came up and helped us move these heavy rocks... we thanked them with a steak dinner and a deep dish apple pie (YUM!)! It was fun spending the day working on the yard in this beautiful weather. This unexpected warmth has been AMAZING! Micah was also able to finish the gate on our back yard fence... I am beyond thrilled!
The kids are soaking up all this outdoor play - getting them into bed at night is easy when they are worn out! I hope we get a few more days of this - it is wonderful!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday Photos

Here are a few things I saw today...
Yard work (finally) underway. Can you tell it is fall break and we finally have a few minutes to finish up some projects that need to be completed before the snow flies!?!
Fun poppies all in bloom...
My little princess...
Beautiful flowers in bloom!

Hope you had a beautiful Friday... we did!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Cider and Doughnuts

A couple years ago someone shared with me that their favorite part of the fall was when their family would harvest the sap from maple trees and make syrup. She said that they always would have warm cider and doughnuts... that memory has stuck with me and every fall I have wanted to do that. Since I don't have maple trees to harvest - I just stuck with the cider and doughnuts. I had this wonderful time planned for my Bible study girls... then it started to rain. I debated about doing it inside - but figured I would just wait til the last moment to decide. I made the doughnuts, warmed up the cider... and then just went for it and built the fire outside! I figured it was okay to get a little wet... BUT God gave us a lovely rainless time... with even some stars to gaze at... it was a fabulous time!
I think this may have to be a permanent fall tradition!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Preparing for Winter

I love fall... everything about it (except Halloween... which I totally dislike!)... I even love the fall cleaning. This morning Ethan, Eden and I spent the morning cleaning out the garage. One thing I posted way back in January was our desire to simplify things this year.... we are still doing that. I have been through the house several times - sorting through things - taking boxes to Goodwill... As we have been walking through this adoption process we have been overwhelmed by our excess! We have so much when our little child across the world doesn't even have regular meals. It has been humbling and convicting.
As I was cleaning this morning I was thinking about how Micah and I moved from Oregon to Colorado with all our belongings in the back of a pick-up truck. That was a time of crisis in our lives - brain surgery, a crazy living situation, and the end of college. As I look back I realize how insane that time was in our lives, but how much clarity I had about material possessions... we didn't need them! I gave away all our furniture and most of our other stuff - saving only the things that had sentimental value. This year I am trying to do the same thing... reduce the material possessions in our lives to free us up to give and live out what God is asking from us. Stuff is not eternal... so as we are physically preparing for the winter that is coming upon us... we are preparing our hearts and minds as well.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Fall Project #3: New Table Runner


In order to commemorate the beautiful sunflowers that graced my yard this fall - I made this new table runner for our table.
I really love it!
It is bright and fun, just like the real sunflowers.

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Train Wreck

I have been sitting around with a glazed over look for the past few hours and I need to get some motivation for my day, but I can't seem to find any. It has been a long week. One thing I know about myself is that I have steam to accomplish a lot, but it is only for a short amount of time and then comes the train wreck. The train wreck is here. My body feels exhausted - probably because my little sweetheart has been waking me up at 4:50 every morning for the past week. She continues to be fussy pretty much all the time... her wine/cry is like fingernails on a chalkboard. I had a long talk with her doctor yesterday and she told me it is most likely just her personality... fantastic - she will grow out of it... maybe! Ethan has been delightful - funny, witty, and talking so much I am not sure he has time to breath (he is into the call my name 10 million times until I acknowledge him). Also life has continued to play tug of war with my emotions. Last night we got a call saying that the second boy we are pursuing to adopt is no longer available - only to have another call 3 hours later saying... it was the wrong boy and the boy we are adopting is still available. So much is going on... Micah and I were talking about it last night - and life is overwhelming right now, but we are okay!

I asked Micah if I could have the day off tomorrow.
I think he said yes....
(A peek at what I am working on to keep me sane!)