Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Blessing #58 - Simple Faith

Most of the time, Brandon struggles with focusing. It's just in his genes, he's a boy, and he's four years old are just a few of the reasons he doesn't focus on one thing for too long. For that reason, when Brandon's mind is thinking about Jesus, we always answer his questions. Shad and I call them our windows of opportunity. They pop up when you least expect it, and for some reason they always seem to happen in the car. One day, while we were riding down the road, B asked me, "How far away is heaven?" I told him it was very far away. It's so far we can't drive or fly to heaven. I explained the only way to get to heaven is through Jesus. Then he noticed a tractor, and just like that the window closed.

Shad and I both felt like we were making the right decision not pushing Brandon into salvation, and using our little windows of opportunity, but then Saturday, the window of opportunity became a door.

Shad and B were in the car when B asked, "Daddy, I need to ask Jesus in my heart to be my Savior so I can go to heaven." Shad turned the car around and came home to see me. He knew if B was going to trust in Jesus he wanted me to be there (he's a good husband like that). When they got home, Shad and I talked with Brandon, and then Brandon prayed the sweetest simple prayer and asked Jesus to save him. The next day at church, he excitedly told everyone that, "I asked Jesus to be my Savior, and He saved me!"

Both Shad and I agreed not to push him, but we were both astonished when he came right out and asked to be saved. I don't know why I was so surprised because that's exactly how I got saved. When I was six, I walked up to my first grade teacher at my Christian school and said, "I need to get saved!" (I was much more direct, and not nearly as eloquent as Brandon.)

I'm so thrilled that Brandon came to trust Christ early, but I wouldn't be fully honest if I didn't tell you that I am nervous. So many kids that get saved early struggle with assurance. I never struggled with that area, but I struggled with apathy. Jesus was just common to me. I saw Him only as my ticket to heaven, and not the One that I needed every moment.

You may think it's wrong for me to even think these thoughts, but this is one area that I don't want to mess up in parenting. Matthew 19:14 has really helped with my nervous feelings. It says, " But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven." Just like Brandon had simple faith in Jesus, I have to have simple faith in Him too.

Blessing #57 - 29th Birthday Adventure

Instead of doing a normal Project Life post today, I decided to post pictures of my birthday adventure to Baltimore. About five years ago, Shad and I started doing birthday adventures. My first one was supposed to be to a go-cart track, but I got sick. His first one was a day on 4 wheelers, but he got hurt in the first ten minutes.

For some reason, we kept at it, and have had nothing but wonderful birthday adventures since then. For this birthday adventure, we decided to explore Baltimore. We had driven through the city on several occasions, but we had never really explored it. the day did not go as we planned, but I think we ended up having more fun. We will definitely be going back, there is so much more to see.

Shad's sister gave us tickets to the aquarium for Christmas (Thank you very much Shannon). We decided to use those on my birthday adventure! I love this picture of Brandon looking at the dolphin tank.

You have to check in your stroller at the aquarium, but they give you a baby carrier to use. Collin enjoyed it, and even fell asleep in it.

We were riding on the bus headed to our car, but then we saw this "Goodwill Boutique" out of the window. We had to get off and check it out.

We were going to pose for a picture on the balcony of Barnes and Noble, but both Brandon and I got caught up in Collin. It was a really sweet moment that Shad captured.

This was not a posed picture. Shad checked to see what was inside this children's museum that was closed, and his little shadow had to follow him. My camera is always ready, so I snapped a picture of this sweet moment.

1 fountain + a little wind = lots of fun

After we gave this street performer some money, he asked if I had any requests. I requested one of my favorite songs, "Fly me to the Moon." It was beautiful, and my favorite moment of the day. Dancing on the street...or dancing at all is not Shad's thing (he can't clap on beat), Brandon refused to dance with me, and Collin was sleeping. I had three boys and no one to dance with. So I tapped my toes and sung along. When we walked away, he started playing "Happy Birthday" for me.

Poor wittle Cowwin was so sweepy. The boys were such troopers. We were out the whole day. Collin never cried and Brandon never whined.

On our way out of Baltimore, we took our time, and passed by CAFE EINSTEIN! I wanted to yell, "It's a birthday miracle!" Unfortunately, it wasn't open, but I did get a picture with the sign.

The day went nothing like Shad planned, but we had so much fun. It truly was an adventure.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Blessing #56 - Lessons from my Son

When I became a mother, one thing I did not expect was all the lessons my son would teach me. I spend my days teaching Brandon about many different facets of life: don't play in the street, be grateful, say yes ma'am and yes sir, don't put anything up your nose. With all the lessons I have taught him, Brandon has also taught me some important life lessons: having a zest for life, noticing simple joys, and how to identify an articulated tractor (actually, his tractor movies taught me that one).

Friday, on my birthday adventure, we found ourselves on a bus in Baltimore, and I found myself learning another life lesson from Brandon.

As we rode, Shad had to stand at the front of the bus to hold our folded stroller. The only seats near Shad were handicap seats, so the boys and I sat towards the back of the bus.

Shortly after we sat down, two men boarded the bus. I wish could tell you that I did not prejudge these men, but as soon as I saw them, I labeled them. I stared through my sunglasses as the men staggered up the aisle. These men were very drunk.

My mother's instinct screamed inside my head, "Please don't sit beside us. Pleas don't sit beside us. Please don't sit beside us." Of course, they sat down right beside Fortunately, they immediately went to sleep.

Still protective of my boys, I thought, "Please just go to sleep and don't talk to us."
However, they soon woke up and noticed Collin who was jumping in my lap. One of the men looked at Brandon and said, "Make sure you take care of your brother. I take care of my brother." Part of me wanted to tell Brandon not to reply, but Brandon, in classic Brandon style, stood up, flexed his muscles, and said, "Yeah, I can take him." (He completely missed the meaning of "take care")

At that moment, the other man woke up, and they both broke out into laughter at Brandon and his flexed muscles. At that moment, I actually looked at the men's faces and realized they were brothers too. When they stopped laughing, the first man said, "My name is Mike, and I'm an older brother just like you." The other man slurred his words,"I'm Mike...no...I'm Danny." (To be honest, I kind of giggled on the inside at Mike...Danny's slip up.)

We talked for about ten minutes. Mike shared that he had 12 kids and 42 grandkids. Brandon with his ticking time bomb mouth shared with them, "When my mommy went to the hospital, Collin came out all by himself...ALL BY HIMSELF!" Even in his state of mind, Mike looked at me and said, "Did he just say his brother came out all by himself?" I rolled my eyes and nodded yes, and the men broke into laughter, again.

As they got off the bus, they waved at us, and told us to have a good day. After they left, I realized although I gave the men many labels just based on their appearance, I missed seeing one important label...a kind heart. It was apparent that these men, despite their rough exteriors and lot in life were genuinely nice men, and I guess Brandon could see that all along.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Saturdate with Southern Plate: {Granny's Sheath Cake}

Well the day I have built up for a month is finally here. Please excuse me for one minute.

tap tap tap...

testing, testing, testing 1, 2, 3...

la la la laaaaa...

Happy birthday to me! Happy birthday to me! Happy birthday to me...eeeeeeeeeeeee. (holding it out for meaning) Happy birthday to meeeeeEEEEEE! (hitting a high note at the end)

This week, I made Granny's sheath cake recipe for my birthday cake. Yes, I know it sounds sad that I make my own birthday cake, but I started this last year and loved it. I love to cook, and my birthday cake gives me a great opportunity to make pick out just the recipe. This recipe is only in the cookbook and not on Southern Plate website.

Brandon and I ate a slice of this cake about an hour after I made it, and it was good. Then we had another piece several hours later and it was GREAT! If you are planning on making this cake for a function, I would definitely suggest that you make it the morning of or the night before the event. I guess the icing and the cake just need some time to get to know each other.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Blessing #55 - A Prime Year

On Saturday, I am turning 29 (for the first time). Part of turning 29 really creeps me out, and I have no idea why. However, a much larger part of me is very excited! Why? Simply because 29 is a prime number.

Ever since I read the book Fermat's Enigma a few years ago, I have had a fascination with prime numbers. When they show up in the world, I pay attention.

Warning: Strong mathematical content to follow. Read slowly.

Prime numbers are numbers whose only factors are one and itself. For example the factors of 24 are 1,2,3,4,6,8,12,24, but the only factors of 29 are 1 and 29. It's beautifully prime.

Prime numbers are the individuals in the number world, the rebels. All the other numbers are only products of putting primes together. For example, 24 can be made by multiplying 2 times 2 times 2 times 3, but a prime number is a beautiful, unique piece of art.

Primes are not only individuals and rebels, but they are also mysterious. One of the greatest mathematical mysteries is finding a pattern to the primes. The security of our debit cards and other information is based on the mysteriousness of primes.

So although it creeps me out that I'm only one year away from...thirrrrrrty, I can't help but smile knowing that this year, I'm in my prime.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Blessing #54 - Milestones

This has been a week of milestones for my boys. I guess it's their birthday presents to me.

Collin started sitting up last week, and this week he decided to start "army crawling" on his belly. Slowly but surely, he is getting where he needs to go. In fact, as I type this he has moved from the front of the room to the back of the room to the loveseat where I am sitting. Here are some pictures of Collin in action.

Not to be outdone, Brandon read his first words this week: cat, sit, cup, bat etc. He is also interested in picking out his own clothes now. Notice he still prefers blue jeans and his rain boots.

Motherhood is a complex world of mixed emotions. Seeing my boys accomplish these milestones brings me a small amount of sadness because I realize they are taking just another tiny step (or crawl) out of my nest. However, these milestones bring me great joy because I also realize they are just one step (or crawl) closer to soaring.

Project Life: May 9 - 22

If you want to see more Project Life posts, click on the badge at the top of the post to go to The Mom Creative. Last week, I did not get to put up my Project Life post because of technical difficulties so here's two weeks of our pictures.

Monday, May 9- For some reason Brandon felt the need to hold my mother's day card up for cars that went by.

Saturday, May 14- Because "going to a concert" is on my 30 before 30 list, I went to see Franscesca Batistelli at a local church. (for free!) She was great! I love singing "I lost my keys!!!!" with the crowd.

Tuesday, May 17- I was working on a few projects that involved paint. I put some paint in an old baby food container and a cut out diaper box. Brandon didn't move from that spot for 45 minutes!!! He got a couple of dots of paint on the floor, but it was acrylic so it came right up. We will definitely be doing that again.

Wednesday, May 18- Collin learned how to sit up on this day! I took this picture, and right as I went to snap it, Collin started to fall over. I love the moment it got.

Wednesday, May 18- Collin sits up. He's getting so big, so fast.

Friday, May 20- Brandon cleaned his room without being asked. I decided to treat him to strawberry picking. He'd been asking ever since they put the strawberry flag out to show they were ready. He loOoOoves to pick strawberries. I gave him a small basket, and I told him once he had filled it up, he was done. He took off, and did a great job. He picked really good strawberries! Now, "picking strawberries" is my new good behavior bribe.

Friday, May 20- He's was helping me cooking, and by "helping" I mean happily drinking a bottle and distracting me with his cuteness.

Saturday, May 20- We went to a bbq festival in town. (Yes, it was awesome.) I saw this sign, and I knew I recognized it. I saw the guys that ran the booth, and I knew I was right. I asked, "Ya'll were on the show Shark Tank weren't you?" They were, and I had to get a picture.

Saturday, May 21- Last year, the house down the road had a live mariachi band for a birthday party. It was wonderful! Saturday, I was sitting in the house and I heard the trumpet warming up. I just looked at Shad and squealed, they're back!!! Last year I did not get to see them. This year we drove by, and I had to get a picture, and they were just as awesome as I imagined them to be...although they were a little more pink.

Saturday, May 21- In celebration of a live mariachi band, we were dancing in the yard. After a while, Brandon felt the need to breakdance, and utter cuteness followed.

Sunday, May 22 - A few months ago, I saw a pair of ducks at the church. Sunday, we saw the momma duck with all here ducklings following her. It was beautiful. For some reason, I get teary eyed now every time I see a momma and baby animal.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Blessing #53 - Cocopirate

Two weeks ago, Shad found Cocopirate at a yard sale for 50 cents, and I never expected to be calculating that little scary guy as a blessing, but today, I am.

Soon after Shad bought Cocopirate, I put a picture of him on facebook. One of our friends, Ryan, saw him and commented, "Man, that thing is creepy. I've seen too many horror movies to allow that pirate in my house...hehe" He then went on to say how it reminded him of a story about a scary African warrior doll that comes to life, and that's when the idea came to me. I could give Ryan and his wife Sheena Cocopirate! It would be a funny joke, and I would get that creepy little creature out of my house. Win win (for me at least). I asked Shad if I could give Cocopirate away, and he was against it, but as soon as I told him my plan, he was all about it.

Wednesday, I dropped Cocopirate off at Ryan and Sheena's house while they were both at work.

I attached a note to him that read...

RRRRRyan and Sheenargh,

When I heard how much Ryan loved me, I knew I had to get herargh. So I started walking...actually hopping because my legs are connected, but that's neither hear nor therargh! So I come to you with open arghms asking for love. (Technically, I have a knife attached to one of those arms, but let's focus on the big pictargh.) I guess I'll just make this simple...I'm your's



Ryan was the first one to get home, and when he came up to his front steps, this is what he saw...

After Cocopirate startled Ryan, Ryan put the doll in the bathroom to scare Sheena when she got home, and it worked, beutifully. Actually, I think he scared her a couple of times with it because Sheena has now hid it in their house.

One thing you need to understand about Sheena and Ryan is that their hobby is shooting guns so I was a little nervous about startling them. Fortunately, Cocopirate survived with no major injuries, and now has a brand new home.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Saturdate with Southern Plate: {french breakfast puffs}

The other night, I was feeling all warm and domesticky, and I decided to make french breakfast puffs from Southern Plate. I believe this recipe is only in the cookbook and not on the website.

Anyway, I started cooking right before Brandon went to bed. He ran in and asked what I was making. In an excited voice, I told him, "These are muffins because Mommy is making you a special breakfast for tomorrow. Just go to bed, and it will be ready when you wake up." He gave me a kiss and scurried off to bed. Seriously, that's how it went.

When the oven timer told me that my french breakfast puffs were done, I opened up my oven, and was surprised to see that my muffins looked more like donuts. They had fallen. When I tried to get the muffins out of the pan, they completely crumbled. Here are my "muffins."

I looked at the recipe to see what could have gone wrong. The recipe called for one cup of sugar so I put in 1 cup of sugar easy peasy! Right? However, when I read the recipe more closely, I realized I was only supposed to put 1/2 cup of sugar in the mix and save 1/2 cup for dipping the muffins in when they were done. FAILURE to read and FAILURE to cook.

However, I don't cry over spilt milk or crumbly muffins so when life hands you crumbly muffins make bread pudding because you win some and you lose some because you've got to know when to hold 'em. Know when to fold...Okay, I'm done.

When Brandon woke up the next day, he was so excited for his "special muffin breakfast." Let's just say he wasn't nearly as excited to see mushy bread pudding. Life Lesson # 532,234 - Never promise food until it's done!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Give Me Five Friday: {brandon's commercials}

Brandon loves commercials. It seems like he only has to see a commercial once to start repeating it, so we have to be ready with the remote when commercials air. Here are just a few of his favorite commercials.

{five of Brandon's commercials}

1. The Empire Carpet Commercial - This was the first commercial he ever noticed when he was around two. Suddenly, he loved to sing, "Eight hundred five eight eight two three hundred EMPIRE!!!" If we ever need carpet, Brandon knows the number to call.

2. A few months ago, he looked at me with a very serious face and said, "Mom, depression hurts." I would be alarmed, but I realized he had seen the Cymbalta commercial.

3. I knew we were in trouble when he saw the "smoke free cigarette" commercial. Sure enough, just a few days later, he would pretend that he was smoking. After some long talks, and an embarrassing incident with a sucker stick in front of a teacher, he now knows that smoking is not good for your body.

4. There is a toilet paper commercial where the man says, "Honey, could you toss me a roll?" and the toilet paper cuts his hair etc. I haAaAaAate that commercial because now, every time Brandon goes to the bathroom he says, "Mom, could you toss me a roll?" At first, I would run and get him toilet paper every time, but then one day I realized he had toilet paper and he just liked reenacting that commercial.

5. The new commercial he is quoting is by a settlement company that gets a person their money from a structured settlement right away. Brandon loves to quote what everyone in this commercial says over and over again, "It's my money and I want it now." It is not so bad, but I just know he is going to yell that in public one day, "It's my money and I want it now." I will look like the worst parent ever and say over and over again, "It's just a commercial!"

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Blessing #52 - Our Rhododendron

We have a large rhododendron outside our living room window that I has brightened up my view at all week.

This rhododendron sits there all year, and for a couple of weeks every year it blooms to scream at us, "Oh by the way, I'm gorgeous!"

I love having fresh (free) flowers in our house, and after taking that picture of our rhododendron, I couldn't resist cutting some blooms. Don't worry, I cut the ones toward the bottom.

Pink blooms and an aqua ball jar...be still my heart!

Our table...I still have not hung those last two plates on my plate wall. I've been looking at our rhododendron all week.

Having fresh flowers livens up the whole house, and it is totally worth the extra allergy pills and the either bee sting or spider bite I got doing it. I never thought I would say this, but I really hope it's a bee sting!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Curse #18- Harold Camping

Have you heard of Harold Camping? He believes that judgement day is going to be Saturday, May 21. I didn't do much research on him, but if you are curious just google him.

Anyway, the first time I heard of his prediction, my reaction was NOT...

"How dare he try to get attention off of this."

"Hasn't he read Matthew 24:36?"

No, that wasn't my reaction at all. Ever self-involved, my reaction was, "Is he kidding me? That's the first day of Birthday Week!!!"

Yes, that's right, I told you I loOoOoOove my birthday, and if you are keeping score, in May I have a Birthday Month, Birthday Week, and a Birthday. Oh! And don't forget Mother's Day.

Why yes! Shad has been complaining about being tired, why do you ask?

I don't worry too much when a random preacher predicts the end of the world (again Matthew 24:36), but I did pause when I heard that Isaac Newton predicted the end of the world in 2060. Isaac Newton the man that discovered GRAVITY and CALCULUS!

Funny story about calculus. Newton and this mathematician Leibniz actually argued over who discovered Calculus first. It was a mathematical throwdown! I always felt Newton should have just said, "Dude, I got gravity you take calculus.

Where was I? Sorry I had a math moment. Oh yes, out of all the days Mr. Camping could have picked, he picked the first day of birthday week. Thanks, Mr. Camping. Thanks alot.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Blessing #51- Birthday Month

I'm very proud of myself. I have really shown self restraint. It is May 16 and I have not mentioned once on this blog that it is birthday month...

until today.

Every May 1, I jump out of bed and yell, "It's birthday month," and for the rest of May, I say that same phrase hundreds of times.

No one over the age of twelve enjoys their birthday more than me. It's not the presents (although that's nice), it's not the attention (well, maybe a little), but it's just something inside of me that loOoOoves knowing it's my birthday month. If I were on a deserted island, completely alone, I would still jump up on May 1 and yell, "It's birthday month," that is if I find a way to make a calendar out of coconuts, but I'm sure I would.

Speaking of coconuts, see what Shad just had to get at a yard sale for 50 cents.

If that doesn't give you nightmares, I don't know what will. However, I have plans for Cocopirate which have made me grow to love his beady little green eye.

Anyway, my birthday is at the end of the month, allowing me to celebrate birthday month all month long. Really, all I do during birthday month is say, "It's birthday month," about 10 times a day. Yep, that's the extent of it, but I just love knowing it's my birthday month.

So be warned, I did my best not to mention it for a few weeks, but the next couple of weeks will be filled with multiple birthday posts.

Oh, and did I mention...

"It's birthday month!!!"