Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Festivities

I'm combining pictures from our church's "Trunk Or Treat" event with the ones from trick-or-treating in our neighborhood. Our church had our yearly Fall Festival on Sunday night with one little change...we had all of the games and activities inside, but the candy was outside! As people walked up to the front door to enter the event, they walked through a line of cars with our trunks all decorated and adults dressed up, passing out candy. It was so much fun! We got to meet so many kids and interact with their parents; I didn't even have a chance to take Bella inside to play the games. (I promise we'll do that next year!) I didn't get many pictures of us outside, but here are a few of us before we left.

Our family picture. We had to put tights and a long-sleeve shirt under Bella's Tinkerbell costume, but she still looked adorable!

Steve is dressed as Captain America and I am ready for a masquerade ball! We found all of our goodies at Target and I was pretty impressed by Steve's willingness to participate! My dress is an old prom dress that's been in my closet. I got it zipped at 14 weeks pregnant! I'm not sure how and it wasn't the most flattering look, but at least it stayed on and it was an easy costume to put together. I'm pretty sure I've tried this dress on while not being pregnant and couldn't get it zipped, so I think God was having mercy on me!

...and masks off! We had a great time and I was very happy to get home that night and take the dress off!

Bella was so excited by Steve's mask on Sunday night that she chose the mask over her Tinkerbell costume when we went trick-or-treating in our own neighborhood. Of course, after about 5 minutes, she freaked out about having the mask on, so she just walked around with her Captain America t-shirt on. We must have looked like really lazy parents! :)

At our very first house, the people weren't there, but they had left a bucket of candy. Bella was pretty convinced she could just "swap" her bucket for theirs.

This is how Bella and Liam approached every door. At two of the houses, they knocked and then opened the door before Erin and I could get to them! Good thing people were very laid back when they saw two, adorable toddlers!

Carrying our loot back down the stairs.

Walking with Daddy.

Worn out and ready to go home. Next year, we might make it a little longer, but the kids had a great time, we got some good candy for Mama, and Bella was in bed at a decent time!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Steve's 30th Birthday!

Happy Birthday to our wonderful husband and daddy!

Having a major milestone birthday when your wife is pregnant is not a great recipe for a huge party weekend. Friday was Steve's birthday; we had a fun dinner out at one of our favorite local restaurants. We took Bella with us and she did great. We headed over to Trey and Whitney's after dinner with Steve's favorite birthday dessert - an ice cream cake!

On Saturday, we dropped Bella off at Whitney's again and had a lunch/shopping date. It's so nice to get out every once in a while without the little human! We went downtown, ate sushi at our favorite Thai restaurant, and did some birthday shopping. It wasn't exactly a party weekend, but Steve had fun and I was awake after 9:00 PM!

In honor of our handsome, strong, wise, and gooooood-lookin' man, I've been thinking of some ways that Bella is the mirror of her Daddy:

Bella LOVES spicy food! She definitely gets this from Steve (and he seems to get it from HIS dad, so it's a cool connection!).

She tries to whistle; this may seem random, but Steve and his dad are always whistling. And they're really good at doing it on pitch! I can barely whistle and definitely can't do it on tune.

Her little blue eyes make her sensitive to the sun just like Steve, so they always sneeze as soon as they step outside.

I'm sure there's many more, but these are some of the little things that Steve and I noticed this past weekend.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Dance Party In "St. Louis"!

I will be so amazed if this video actually works! I took it on my phone, so no promises on sound and clarity. This is the video of Bella and Mel dancing to a scene from "Meet Me In St. Louis".

My phone can only take 30 seconds of video at a time, so we continued the fun below...


I finally ordered a Puggles shirt for Bella this week! I have to confess that my main motivation for taking her to church on Wednesday nights has been the cute shirt. She loves it so much that she wanted to sleep in it last night, so I took some pictures of her playing on the couch this morning.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Moments Of Chaos, I Mean, Bella!

I posted this morning about our missions conference, but I couldn't resist adding a few updates about Bella. Some moments that I want to make sure I remember...

Picture day at preschool. I tried and tried (and tried!) to get a cute one of her without her cup or jacket, and actually standing up, but no go. At least her smile is pretty stinkin' wonderful!

Rolling all over the floor right after I did her hair for church tonight. I have no doubt that she does this on purpose; she's a crafty little human!

I love that her attempts to say "cheese!" come out silly. She usually looks just slightly annoyed at the camera; like she's about to tell someone off.

Bella's favorite movies this week are Pocahontas ("ahontas!") and The Little Mermaid ("arel"). My favorite thing to watch lately is whenever songs come on during these movies...Bella will sit down on the floor at the edge of our bed and try to sing along. She only figures out every few syllables, but it's priceless! It's one of those "pride" moments as her mom. I love to sing and have grown up singing with my dad. I like to think that she gets it from me.

Hmmm...what else? She likes to put her head on the floor while she's standing, peer back between her legs, and say, "I see you!" It makes me smile, even if I just got done scolding her.

Her favorite movie last week (and for about the last three weeks) was Meet Me In St. Louis. If you don't know this movie, I weep for you. Bella learned how to copy some of the dance moves and I'm going to see if I can post the video of her and Mel dancing. It will make your day, even if you don't like musicals!

Acts 1:8 Missions Conference

This past weekend was our church's missions conference, and I finally have the energy to write about it! There were ups and downs, and just a few kinks, but overall, I have to say it was an amazing, inspiring, humbling, and challenging event!

The weekend started off with a dinner on Friday night that was for our missionaries, our church staff, elders, deacons, and missions committee. i was very nervous about this event, because I had never planned a dinner event like this before, but it turned out to be my favorite part of the entire weekend. The food was delicious and we had a warm, intimate time with our missionaries, just sitting around and talking.

Saturday was our "get serious" part of the weekend. There were teaching sessions on evangelism and some great lessons on Acts 1:8. Traditionally, this verse is always taught from a geographic perspective - your "Jerusalem" is your family and friends, your "Judea" may be your neighborhood, and so on. We're trying to teach people to look at it from a cultural perspective - your "Jerusalem" are those people who are most like you in values, ideals, background, etc. and your "ends of the earth" are those who are the most different they could be from you, even if they live next door.

Saturday night was an evening of dinner parties with our Sunday School classes. We divided our missionaries and Sunday School classes into host homes and let them visit and share about their ministry. On Sunday morning, we stayed with our normal schedule and did the same idea as Saturday night - missionaries were assigned to different classes to share. our whole goal for the weekend was to allow our members to be exposed to as many missionaries as we could. We ended the weekend on Sunday night with an incredible prayer and praise service where we broke into groups of 3 or 4 and just spent time in prayer for our partners in ministry.

It was a busy weekend as you can tell, but it was such a blessed event, too! I'm doing one of Beth Moore's Bible studies and last night in her video lesson, she spoke about how we should be involved in ministry work that we know was only possible with the power of the Spirit. That's how I felt about this weekend! There is no reason I should have been able to work on this weekend with no energy, growing a baby, and watching 3 small kids. It was truly a "Spirit work" and I felt so thankful to be a part of it! Steve is very thankful to have his wife back, too!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

White Chili and Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

I don't post recipes very often, but I'm hoping that it will remind me to actually make these wonderful foods again! What I love about chili is that you can't mess it up, especially white chili. I am not a huge fan of spicy food, so it's always hard for me to make regular chili - I never know what level of seasoning will taste good to other people. With white chili, I just throw in a bunch of food and let it simmer. Yummm!

White Chili Recipe

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 onions, chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 tablespoon chives

  • 2 cans corn [I used a Southwestern mix that included black beans.]

  • 4 cooked, boneless chicken breast half, chopped

  • 2 cans chicken broth [I used 1 regular box of Swanson's Chicken Broth]

  • 5 cans Great Northern beans

  • 2 cans large Butter beans

1. Cook the chicken. We bought thighs instead of chicken breasts, because they were on sale and the meat came out so tender! Also, Steve grilled it for me instead of boiling it; this added an amazing smoky flavor to the entire dish.

2. Once the chicken was cooked, I literally just poured everything into a pot, added a lid, turned the heat as low as possible, and let it simmer all day (12 PM - 5 PM). I stirred it about 3 or 4 times throughout the day. So easy!

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

  • 2 cups packed brown sugar

  • 1 cup vegetable oil

  • 1 1/2 cups solid pack pumpkin puree

  • 2 eggs

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 tablespoon ground ginger

  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cloves

  • 1 egg white

  • 2 tablespoons milk

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar

  • 3/4 cup shortening

  • 1 pkg. of cream cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease baking sheets.
2. Combine the oil and brown sugar. Mix in the pumpkin and eggs, beating well. Add the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, 1 teaspoon vanilla, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Mix well.
3. Drop dough by heaping teaspoons onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 10 to 12 minutes. Let cookies cool then make sandwiches from two cookies filled with Whoopie Pie Filling.
4. To Make Whoopie Pie Filling: Beat egg white and mix with the milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 cup of the confectioners' sugar. Mix well then beat in the shortening and the remaining cup of confectioners' sugar. Beat until light and fluffy. [The only thing Mel changed was to add the pkg. of cream cheese. It made the mixture a little less fluffy, but really enhanced the taste!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Pumpkin Carving Party

We invited a bunch of friends over on Saturday for a pumpkin carving contest and party. It was so much fun! I made two big pots of white chili (which was divine, if I do say so), cornbread, all the toppings for the chili, and Mel made pumpkin whoopie pies (Oh my word!). For the little ones, we had mini pumpkins and a painting station set up. We ate, hung out, carved pumpkins, and played games. My energy was sapped by the time the game playing started, but Steve and I are claiming to have been there in spirit. We combined our friends with Mel's friends from her small group. We've had them over many times before, and we love them! I always have the best intentions for taking pictures, but when you're in the middle of "friend time", it's hard to stop for the camera.

Very focused on her own pumpkin.

The girls at the pumpkin painting table. This went over so well!

What's a party in the Fall without s'mores? The picture came out a little funny with the fumes from the flames, but Mel and Bella got some yummy, bonding time in.

Finally getting to hold little Sharpe! (This is where we'll be in 6 more months!) He is so beautiful and precious - I could have stayed in that chair all night!

Mel and Evangeline, the little girl of her small group leaders.

Beautiful, orange pumpkins, just waiting to be carved

Carving in progress! I will have to post the picture of Mel's tomorrow with some other Halloween decor we have up. Our pumpkin got donated to a friend who started to carve hers and realized it was completely rotted.

Mel's whole gang!

Later this week I'll post the recipe for my white chili and Mel's pumpkin whoopie pies. Oh, and our Halloween decorations!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Gluttons For Punishment

Sometimes it's nice to make decisions that you know you're going to regret later, but they're just fun at the moment! I have to gauge this decision a lot with we let her jump on the couch? Do we wrestle with her, knowing she may use her new skills to take out another kid?

This week, we decided to ignore the practical and have some fun with Bella's legs and a pen. We let her decide what we would draw and then Steve and I took turns creating artistic flair. There was a sun, cat, dog, multiple butterflies, Steve's attempt at a duck, and my very sad version of a motorcycle. Totally worth the bonding moment, but I'm sure we'll be deep-sighing in the very near future.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Visiting The Pumpkin Patch

Steve and I love, love, LOVE our pumpkin patch! We have visited the same one for the last three years and it rocks our world! For those of you who live in the North (or Midwest) and can visit a real farm, our pumpkin patch may make you sad, but it works for us. The Methodist church down the street organizes it every year to raise money for a school they support in Haiti. They are incredibly friendly, have great prices, and it's never packed with too many people! We also love that it's right down the street so we can go and do our annual visit as part of our Saturday morning errands. (Do I sound way too excited about a pumpkin patch? I'm just excited I wasn't throwing up!)

She kept pointing to the ghost saying, "Wha's this?"

Perusing the merchandise. How cute is she in her little leggings and polka dots?!

She saw this green one and wanted to give it kisses because it had a "boo boo." After she kissed it, she would look at me and say, "All better, Mama!"

Picking out some little ones for Mama's table.

A big one!

"Helping" Daddy load the wagon.

Our family picture. Next year, we'll be picking out pumpkins for Bella and a little brother or sister!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Bella's First Preschool Boo-Boo

I got a phone call this morning from the preschool office saying that Bella had gotten a little cut. I have to be honest...when I heard who it was, my first thought was, "What did she do?" She is absolutely fine; apparently, she got hit by a toy. Since our beautiful little human is incredibly over-dramatic, she was screaming like crazy in the office and the secretary suggested I come get her. Normally that means a 30-minute drive, but thankfully, I was working in the church office today on the Missions Conference, so I just had to walk downstairs. If she had to get hurt, today was day! Everyone was very sweet and I just told them this was payback for all of the times she had picked on Rex. I think the main reason she was crying so hard was that her teacher was trying to hold her head still so that she could apply an ice pack. Bella absolutely hates to be restricted - taking her temperature is a disaster - so that was the source of most of the drama. The cut is right below her eye. See how tiny it is?

And the Oscar goes to...

Monday, October 3, 2011

Here We Go...

We had our first OBGYN appointment today for Little Human #2, and I loved finally seeing him (yes, I said "him"; I just can't say "it") in there. Pictures make it seem so much more real. I don't know if it's been because I am more sick this time around, but it's been harder to feel like there is really a human growing inside of me. It was fun to his little arms and legs and hear a heart beating.

The Little Human's Official Debut

We spent some time in the doctor's office today, talking with her about our options. I am really interested in doing a waterbirth at home. A waterbirth is when you labor and deliver in a tub or birthing pool (which looks just like a kiddie pool). The main reasons that I'm interested in for doing a waterbirth is that I'd like to try to have Bella naturally and water is used as a great pain reliever. It may be all in the mother's head, but I'm up for whatever works.

My motivation for a homebirth is simply that the options for a waterbirth in a hospital are very limited. From what I've seen so far, a lot of the hospitals provide birthing tubs that are like jacuzzis. This may seem really weird, but those tubs seem so hard and uncomfortable to me. I like the idea of using a soft-sided tub in our own environment.

I've read a lot of articles and watched a lot of home videos, and from what I've read and the research done, there is no danger of the baby breathing in water when it first comes out. The umbilical cord is still attached and the baby gets oxygen that way. Plus, the baby is quickly pulled out of the water and onto the mother's chest; the baby isn't left with their head underwater.

We talked to the doctor today about potential warning signs that would lead us to change the plan and head to a hospital. She was very informative and gave us sound advice. She also gave us some medical centers in the city that deal with homebirths, so that was a good lead. At the end of the day, I'm not making this decision because I don't like doctors or hospitals or medical intervention. I love the way Bella was born and the hospital and doctors rocked my world.

This is just an "I'd like to see if I can do it" moment. I don't know if that sounds selfish; I hope not. As we move forward, if it seems like this option is simply not a safe or good idea, I have absolutely no qualms about changing the plan. And honestly, Steve's only about 70% on board at this moment. I'm not willing to do anything that he's not 100% with. He's agreed to do his own research and keep an open mind. We're moving forward to finding a few different midwives that we can interview.

So there it is! Our "baby story" so far...