Friday, September 27, 2013

7 Months Old

Howdy, y'all!  This is Isaac again.  Guess what?  I'm 7 months old now!

Mommy just got this new Bumbo seat for me for free at the birth center!  She was so excited because she has been wanting one for awhile.

I'm really good at sitting up on my own now, but sometimes I still tumble over, so the Bumbo seat helps me stay upright without falling if Mommy can't be right behind me.  I like it a lot and play in it all the time!

This is my rocking chair.  It's another place I like to play with Mommy.

Mommy says I am really growing up!

Lately, I have been practicing getting up on my hands and knees.

It's my new big boy skill.

I haven't figured out how to go anywhere though.  For now, I simply rock back and forth on my knees.

I can't wait to learn how to make myself go forward!

In the meantime, I just flop back onto my belly to play.  I can also scoot backwards!  
(Wow...this rug is so fascinating...)

Well, that's all for now.  Stay tuned until next time!
(P.S.  Do you like my outfit?  It used to be my daddy's!)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Thankful Thursday

601.  Beautiful fall weather!

602.  Full recovery from the horrible hemorrhoids (at long last)!!!!

603.  A husband who works diligently to provide for our family, allowing us special lunches out like we enjoyed today

604.  New board books for Isaac

605.  7 months of life with our precious little boy

606.  A great start to our AWANA program at church

607.  The opportunity to be a full-time homemaker (thanks again to that hard-working husband!)

608.  Isaac's health (as I've been reading a book called Tiny Titan about a family's difficult experience with a very sick little baby)

609.  Crock pots, dish washers, and washing machines

610.  Answered prayer for issues at church

611.  A new family who have been visiting our church

612.  Hot showers (after 6 months in Bolivia with very few, I so often step into ours with a thankful heart)

613.  A Skype call with a dear friend far away

614.  Pink and purple blooms on my plants - they make me smile!

615.  Leaves just starting to turn golden

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Passing On Some Yumminess...

I apologize for the quietness on the blog lately!  We have been extra busy, Isaac has been extra energetic and in need of more guidance in his daily activities, and I have been extra tired. :)  But here I am again, ready to share with you some yummy recipes we have tried these last couple of weeks.

Have you ever made green bean casserole with fresh, whole green beans and no cream-of-something soup?  I had not...until this lovely little recipe popped up on my computer screen.  Well, actually, I didn't even make this one; Nathan did.  But since I helped by finding it and buying the ingredients, we'll say I was part of it, 'k?  Anyway, this casserole was SO TASTY!  It seemed a bit laborious, but super delicious.  A great way to use green beans from the garden! (Note: you can totally use whole wheat bread for the topping if you want the fiber content!  We did, and it turned out just fine.)

Oh, and while we're on the subject, here is another recipe using fresh green beans that is my standard go-to when I need an easy way to prepare them.

With the start of an AWANA club at our church on Wednesday afternoons as well as the need for a quick and easy lunch right after church on most Sundays, I have been utilizing my crock pot a lot more than in the past. As a result, I've been scouring the internet for good crock pot recipes!

This honey mustard chicken dish was amazingly easy to throw together and only calls for 5 ingredients (if you don't count salt and pepper)!  Better yet, these five ingredients are ones I nearly always have on hand.  We really liked the flavor of this dish, although the chicken turned out a bit on the dry side.  I'm not sure if it was due to the altitude issue here or the time it cooked, or what exactly.  Regardless, I'm going to try it again sometime and slice the chicken up so the sauce can saturate it a bit more.  Even with slightly dry chicken though, there was plenty of extra sauce to smother it with, so all was well!  My husband even said, "This sauce is really good" - and he doesn't usually like mustard!  (score!)

Another crock pot recipe we tried from the same website is called Root Beer Pulled Pork Sandwiches.  Seriously, I think my husband would be happy to eat pulled pork every day of his life.  It is his FAVORITE!  And this was a winning recipe.  Easy to make, easy to eat. :)

This week, we'll be trying a Brunswick stew in the crock pot, so if it's any good, I'll let you know.  In the meantime, if any of you have super yummy crock pot dishes, please pass them on!  I'm always looking for ideas in this department now that I need them at least twice a week. :)

Last night was Chinese night here.  Nathan is not a big fan of Chinese food, but he does like General Tso's Chicken, so when my sister-in-law shared this recipe, I thought I'd give it a try.  We also had two guy friends from church over, and the dish was a hit with everyone!  We all agreed that it didn't taste much like General Tso's Chicken from a Chinese restaurant, but it was definitely delicious and a recipe we'd eat again!  Everyone thought it fit more in the orange chicken/sesame chicken type of category (even though there was nothing orange in it...maybe just the sweetness factor?).  For sides, we had this recipe of fried rice (made with smoked turkey sausage instead of ham) and egg rolls.  So good!

Okay, I think that's all the recipes I'll inundate this blog post with for the time being.  But stay tuned!  More are sure to come in the following weeks as I have fun experimenting with new dishes! :)

Saturday, September 14, 2013

A Legacy of Love

Two weeks ago, my grandfather turned 90 years old.  He is a WWII veteran, has conquered colon cancer twice, still runs his own business, and plans to live to be 100!  Yes, he is quite the guy!  In celebration of his birthday as well as his and my grandmother's 65th wedding anniversary, a grand party was recently held in Houston.  Friends and family came from all over the country to join in the festivities.  My sister and her family even came from Ukraine where they live as missionaries to take part.

Unfortunately, I was unable to be present at the celebration.  My hemorrhoids had just started to heal up again and I was afraid another trip to Houston might cause a relapse.  It was hard to miss such an important milestone in my grandparents' lives, but in the long run, it was for the best.  

Thankfully, my cousin, Katherine, took lots of wonderful pictures commemorating the special occasion!  I thought I would post a handful of them here.

Lydia, Katelin and Nathan's youngest, who just turned one!

Melissa, the big sister, age 2 1/2.

My sister, Katelin, and her precious girlies.

It's party day!  Mom, Melissa, and Papa pose for the camera.

Grandmommy and Grandaddy with the ever stylish Melissa.

Some of my cousins' children from Arkansas.

The Day Family - back in America!

The happy couple.

Mema and Papa with their four daughters.

During the celebration, the floor was opened for the guests to share memories and tributes about my grandparents.  After my sister shared her memory, she read this letter that I sent in for the occasion:

Dear Mema and Papa,

Well, today’s the day of your grand celebration!  I so wish I could be there in person to honor your lives and your marriage, but since a painful physical condition keeps me homebound for the time being, I am sending this letter in my stead.  

My understanding is that today’s special occasion features the sharing of memories.  As I have thought back over 28 years worth of memories with you two and tried to select a particular one to write about, I have realized the difficulty of this mission.  In the words of  a poetic movie heroine, “I could no sooner choose a favorite star in the sky.”  

Do I share about the frequent shopping excursions I went on as a little girl with Mema and all those times she wanted to bless me with a new, frilly dress or a pair of pretty shoes?  Do I write of the Monday evenings I spent sitting on the couch next to Papa watching baseball and cheering on the Astros?

Maybe I should share about the times Mema cared for us when Mom had to coach gymnastics all day.  After we finished our school assignments at her kitchen table, it was time for playing cards, renting a movie from Blockbuster, and eating cookies that only Mema kept stocked in her cupboards!  And if we spent the night, it was practically a guarantee we would be served cinnamon-sugar toast for breakfast - a speciality I have yet to be able to replicate in the same way to this day!

Of course, I could also share about summer days at your community pool which was way more amazing than ours!  Yours had a slide, a high dive, and push-pops from the snack bar.  Not only did you take us to the pool, but you also got in the water and played with us!  Now that’s the kind of memory that sticks in a kid’s mind!

I remember you coming to every play I performed in over the years as well as taking our family to Broadway productions like The Sound of Music and Beauty and the Beast.  You were there for every birthday party, and you made every Christmas full of the kind of tradition that lingers with a person long after she grows up and moves away.  

Not only do I remember a myriad of little things in connection with you two like cinnamon toast and baseball, but I also remember the big events: high school graduation, my wedding day, and introducing you to my baby son.

So many memories woven together like a tapestry creating a beautiful picture over the years!  And in this tapestry are the strands which characterize you and for which I honor you today:  Generosity.  Family.  Hospitality.  Tradition.  Loyalty and faithfulness.  

I will forever be grateful that I was privileged to grow up having grandparents who cared so deeply for me and who were an active presence in my life.  

Sending much love across the miles,

Listening to the memories being shared...

Mom's turn!

A special birthday song Texan style!

Mema and Papa dance to some love songs.

Aren't they sweet?


Father and Daughter

I'm so grateful for the legacy of love and faithfulness I have witnessed in their lives!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Thankful Thursday

596.  A gray, rainy day perfect for catching up on some much-needed rest (today!)

597.  Leftovers in the fridge so I don't have to cook today :)

598.  Snuggles with my husband

599.  Kisses from my baby

600.  Fall is in the air!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

With Love from Isaac

Are you ready for a serious dose of cuteness?
I took these pictures a couple of days ago all within a three minute period.  
Talk about a variety of expressions!

Melt-my-heart cute and charming!

Talkin' to Mama

The response when Mama said, "No, you can't touch my camera."

My little Sunshine

Making discoveries...

...lovin' this chair.

Mr. Adorable

"Oooh, the camera again!"

"I want to touch it!"

"No, Isaac, you cannot touch it."

Yep.  That would be real life right there with my little boy. :)

Saturday, September 7, 2013

An Update on the Little Man

Behold the bucket head!

He somehow managed to do this himself! :)

Isaac has been eating solids now for about a month.  In addition to rice cereal, his menu also includes pureed squash, avocado, and sweet potato.  So far, sweet potato is the all-time favorite!  (Is this indicative of a sweet tooth like Daddy's???)

Watching Daddy do his stretches...

"Hi, Mom!"

A few fun expressions after we got back from a walk the other day: happy...





Isaac is now at the stage of development where he has an insatiable curiosity about the world around him and easily gets bored of toys and household items if they don't do something interesting.  He keeps me on my toes to constantly be looking for new play things and activities to satisfy his drive to discover.  He also wants to be a part of every thing I am doing, touching and tasting it all!  This makes life a bit challenging at times when I need to get things done without little hands always grabbing or a heavy baby sitting on my hip. :)  I have learned to make the most of his nap times, that's for sure!

However, I have also been making a conscientious effort to not let tasks take a higher priority than my child.  I try to get on the floor and play with Isaac every day, read books to him, take him on walks, and let him see and be a part of my daily activities as much as possible.  Now that he can sit up better on his own (though supervision is still needed), he is able to play in the kitchen sink while I work next to him doing dishes or preparing meals.  This has opened up a whole new world of delight for our curious little fellow as he plays with sink items, the faucet, the handles and sometimes the water too!

He isn't crawling yet, although he does often push himself backwards on the slick, wood floors.  I have the feeling that once he figures out how to propel himself forward with the act of crawling, it will make my life easier as he will be better able to entertain himself with his mobility, but harder as I will have to train him even further regarding what he can and cannot touch!

At six months old now, Isaac is definitely starting to make known his own will about just about everything and we are having to pick up the pace in the "train up a child" department. :)  Right now, we are working on teaching him not to touch certain off-limit items, not to roll over while his diaper is being changed, and not to whine/fuss about every little thing that displeases him.  It is challenging, to be sure, but I am confident that these training experiences will pay off down the road!  We are also working on simple sign language gestures to help him communicate with us...but we still have a long way to go in that department!

Despite the challenging moments, our little boy continues to fill our days with joy!  So often, an adorable smile or giggle of his has the power to erase whatever frustration I might have been feeling in another department of mothering, and I am reminded what a precious gift he truly is.  How we love our little munchkin!