Wednesday, May 23, 2012

It Is Well...

... with my soul! (That's one of my favorite hymns. Love the story behind it!)
I wish I had time (and brains) to write a real entry- an entry pouring out what's going on in my life, giving you a peek into my soul.  Let's face it. Pictures will give you a peek into my life, but not into my soul... and there is a lot going on in my soul.  I have really never felt more in love with my Lord and Savior than I do now.  I am learning so much because I have simply asked.  Guess what! God does what He says! There have been so many areas where I felt like I was lacking.  I knew I was lacking.  I need Him to fix me so badly, and no one else can do the job. Lord knows I can't.

It's been the plea, the cry, of my heart that I could know Him better, and He is granting my wishes.  I have found there is no one better to go to than my God to confess my troubles, flaws, and shamefulness.  And I have found that He cares deeply about the details of my life.  Every. Single. Detail.

I asked that He give me a heart that is loving and a passion for prayer, and He almost immediately granted my prayer in such an amazing way.  Also, there was this book that I really wanted to borrow from Nanci, but she had already packed it away (since they are moving), so I was bummed. (It never occurred to me to just purchase it. I rarely borrow books- I normally just buy one for myself, but for some reason that didn't even enter my mind.)  Then, Sunday, a friend bought a bunch of boxes stuffed with books to our fellowship gathering and, lo and behold, there it was.  Not only was it an answer to my prayer for the book, but the book itself was also an answer to my prayer about prayer!

God is not some impersonal being in the sky.  If someone honestly seeks Him and desires to know Him, He reveals Himself and answers their requests in such amazing ways.  I wish I had time (and the wording) to explain all that He has made plain and clear to me this last week.  God is so, so good.  I feel like doing cartwheels, y'all.  I'm not saying that everything in life has been perfect, but God has shown me how and why I can and should be praising Him even in the icky, sticky parts of life (like Brandon losing his keys this morning).  He is weaving all threads of my day together.  He has allowed the events of my life, and nothing is a surprise to Him. I can thank Him for those things that would normally cause complaint because I know that His hand is on it, there is a reason for it, and He is using all things for my good.  He is using the events of my life to refine me, to make me better, to work out the imperfections.  I've had a major attitude adjustment this week which has enabled me to love people that I was having a hard time loving... and I'm really grateful for that.  God showed me that I was not being very loving, and then I told Him I wanted to have His love overflow from me, and He granted me that.  That's just how awesome He is.

I think I've become one of those people who just wants to hug and pray for everyone.  I used to hate those kind of people, ha! (I also often find myself saying, "Praise the Lord!" I have to laugh because I used to roll my eyes at those "religious weirdos" who always seemed to have a reason to say, "Praise Jesus!" But there are just so many reasons to do so!!)

Anyway, picture time!

I cannot believe my Jubilee is two months old.  Her eyes are still a bright, bold blue.  She smiles and jabbers a lot, and she's beginning to chub- up.  I had to move her into size two disposables.  We've been on the go so much that using cloth diapers hasn't seemed all that reasonable (plus, I have enough laundry as it is, which is hard to get done when you're out and about a lot). I do still use them... enough to do one load of diapers a week, which keeps me from feeling guilty about spending all that money on such an awesome cloth diaper stash.  (She did get a lot of use out of her newborn diapers, and she's pretty much outgrown most of them.)

He's teaching her about snakes :) Biggest sister, littlest sister

The kids are really great with her.  Nolyn loves to read to her, and Merika likes to sing songs to her.  Brandon has this magical daddy touch (and voice).  When she's super upset (and has been fed and changed), he will soothe her to sleep by singing to her.  I cannot tell you how many conversations Brandon and I have had in song.  That's right, we converse in song to one another while he tries to soothe her.  It's quite funny! (The kids sure get a laugh out of it!)
That's Evie on the left and Molly Jo on the right, in case you couldn't tell.  Both of them are wearing their homebirth t-shirts.  (Evangeline's says "A midwife helped me out.")  Every now and then, Molly Jo reminds me of Evie, but for the most part, their features are pretty different.  My mom swears that Molly Jo looks just like I did as a baby.  *Shrug*  Doesn't matter to me! I somehow landed five cute kids, no matter who they look like.  (And, to answer a couple questions, we call her by all her names here- Molly, Molly Jo, Jubilee, Jub'ee...  Also, we do not know whether her organs are flipped or not. It is not urgent that we know right now, as long as we are aware that they might be flipped.)

Love! We are really excited about the grass fed beef steak we are about to devour.

 Brandon and I are doing fantastic.  He switched back to working regular hours this week, so while I miss our time together in the mornings and afternoons, I am glad to be back to our regular routine.  I know he is too. He is growing so much spiritually as well, and I've really enjoyed talking over what God is teaching, how we are growing, etc with one another.  Sometimes we call each other just to share a verse or thought that really excited us.  I am truly a blessed woman to have such an amazing husband.  It's hard to believe we nearly divorced a little over 6 years ago. We are totally different people now! My mom is always bringing up how proud she is of us... how proud she is of our marriage, of our parenting, etc.  She saw us at our messiest, and I know it makes her so happy to see all of her children finally become MATURE and stop acting like childish fools. (Right mom?)


  #cantina #lupetortilla #lunch

We went into Houston to go to the Central Market grocery store and decided to take my mom out to lunch while we were there. Lupe Tortilla's is one of my favorite Mexican Restaurants.  So yum!  Evie enjoyed coloring her tomatoes.....

All the wonderful things awaiting us.. Which one to pick??? First world dilemmas
Maybe I need to make some of these this week. #yum Doesn't this make your mouth water?! #dessert #tinyfood #houston #centralmarket

So many pretty desserts!  I really loved their produce aisles as well because of all the bright hues. I really wish I would have snapped a shot of the rows of root vegetables. The array of colors was amazing!  While all the lovely desserts did catch my eye, our grocery cart was full of mostly fruits and vegetables. (I've been on a real greens kick and bought a lot of cabbage, spinach, and various other greens to "stew" in my cast iron skillet.) We did allow for one splurge though....


Brandon had Monday off, so we made this big day of it, which meant we got caught in the nasty Houston traffic on the way home. I ended up dropping him off at Terry and Nanci's since the men's meeting was at their house and the fellas were going to have supper together.  Then the kids and I headed home, unpacked groceries, and opted for a simple supper of cereal.  I was so tired, but it was only 7pm, so I had to brew myself some coffee to stay awake! I wanted to finish my From Prison to Praise book, plus I needed to catch up on my bible study!  Jubilee was exhausted, so I nursed her right when we got home, and she conked right out.

Me, on the other hand...

I was still up when Brandon got home from his men's meeting... which ended far earlier than it usually does. (He almost never makes it home before midnight!)  I had my women's bible study this morning which was awesome. I just LOVE how God is using our Beth Moore study to expand on what He's already teaching me through his Word and what my husband has shared with me (and it went along GREAT with the Prison to Praise book!).  He really knows how to orchestrate the details of my life.

We've really received a lot of parenting-praise lately.  A visitor came to our fellowship meeting Sunday and made several remarks to Brandon throughout the evening.  He was especially impressed with how well Evangeline listens and obeys.  God's grace, I say.  I know the kids aren't perfect, and of course they do embarrassing, parent-humbling things after I do a little bragging on them, but they really are great kids. I'm really thankful for Nanci and Terry because their parenting tips have been so helpful! I sometimes call Nanci in a mini-panic asking her how to deal with certain situations, and she's always full of godly wisdom.  I am really blessed to have them as friends.  I am SO indescribably thankful that the Lord put them in our lives. He knew how much we needed them!

She's even cute when she cries! Nothing says, Hi I'm lactating! quite like this.

I think I'm officially one of those annoyingly ever-optimistic people.  Everything makes me laugh and smile, and I am almost always humming or singing.  God is just THAT good.  I mean, my baby was screaming her head off, and I was trying to comfort her, she wouldn't nurse, and I was just smiling thinking, "This is great!" and I wasn't even being sarcastic.  (Then I had to laugh at the big boob-juice spot on my shirt!)  I mean, she's adorable even when she's screaming... not that I want her to scream, ha!

I made this awesomely delicious dinner tonight- Cooked spinach with sausage and garlic, homemade mac and cheese (NOT the kind with Velveeta), fruit salad (mango and apples), and these super yummy carrot fries.  Yeah, carrot fries. They were totally nomnomgood. (Quarter large carrots lengthwise, spray with olive oil spray, season with salt and whatever else you like- I used Tony Chachere's- and bake at 400F for 30 minutes.)

I sprinkled a bit of parm on them too. I didn't bake them in this dish, btw.  I just didn't want to put a huge pan on the table, so I moved them to this serving dish.

I was trying to juggle a screaming baby while grating cheese and doing a bunch of other things and turned to find Evie dumping out Tony Chachere's seasoning ALL OVER HER PLATE. That was ALL the Tony's I had left... we use it A LOT...sooooo, I'm going to have to make an emergency run tomorrow, ha!

Silly girl.  Good thing we were almost out anyway.  Little stinker!

And there you have it, my not-so-wordless wednesday!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Photo Friday- highlights

Here are a couple of my favorite Instagrams from the last week or two:

I love watching my husband interact with our children. He may seem grizzly, but he's a total teddy bear.

It's really hard to believe it's been two months since she was born. I'm still trying to wrap my head around that. How can it be that it feels like she was just born yesterday, yet it also seems like she's been here forever?

Fixing my girl's hair brings me back to the days my own mama would do my hair!

My boys are so funny! Nolyn was doing his silly dance while we played Mother May I.

Is this not a stunning photo of Merikalyn?

She loves putting her pennies in the bank! She has no idea what money is about, but she knows it sure is fun to plink them into her piggy!

We had the pleasure of having lunch with my Dad and Granny when they were on the way out of town (headed for San Antonio to celebrate my cousin's graduation!).  They were kind enough to hold Jubilee while I scarfed down my burger (I love Fuddrucker's!).  You can tell they really didn't want to hold her, but felt obligated. *wink wink*

I'm pretty sure her eyes are going to stay blue!

Yep, that about sums it up.

Say it with me, "Awwwwwwwwwww...."

Evangeline conked out on our bedroom floor. She looks like she's still in action, though! This is one of my favorite, favorite photos of the week.

Super squishable cheeks, y'all!

And last, but not least, tiny baby feet with cute little shoes!

It's time to {tea} party!

 I had promised Merika that, as her (9th) birthday party, we would go to the local tea room with some of her girl pals.  We did that yesterday and followed it with some yummy "froyo" at Menchie's.

We all got "prettied up", including me.  I haven't worn a dress in forever, but I donned one for today's festivities.  I grew up wearing only skirts and dresses, but now wearing a dress just feels... awkward.  I wear skirts now and then, but dresses just aren't a reasonable thing for me to wear since I'm nursing, so the dress has to have easy boob access (and most of them don't) since I can't just lift up my whole dress in a public place to breastfeed. I mean, I'm all for nursing in public, but that'd probably be taking it a little too far, right?  It's one thing to flash a little breast while nursing (although I almost always use a cover in public), but a whole 'nother to flash your undies.

Tea date this morning! I haven't worn a dress in a while, y'all! This also serves as my 2 month postpartum photo. Don't pass out, but I am actually wearing.... heels.  The things I do for my daughter. #teaparty

I also had on heels, which made my hubby all excited, but I ended up tossing them aside just before we left for a cute pair of flip flops. I often wonder how I managed to wear them suckers. Heels are completely impractical and insane.  After having Evie, I decided heels were stupid torture devices women impose on themselves, and the half-hour I had them served as a reminder!

My gals and I are ready to {tea} party!! All prettied up for Merika's tea party (a belated birthday party)

The girlies looked super cute in their matching dresses (my mom bought them from the Children's Place, but I often find matching outfits for infants, toddlers, and girls on Zulily.  And, of course, Evie had to wear her "tea" hat. I love these faces! Ah! They are so awesome!

My friend Rebecca and I sat at one table, and the girlies sat behind us.  (I was waiting for Rebecca and her daughter Hava to show up when I took this.)

Analisa and Merikalyn

Oh-my-gosh-y'all, how sweetly southern is she with that pinky?

Like I said, we went to Menchie's afterwards and, yum!  I should mention Rebecca and I are total goof balls... which is why I love hanging out with her. She's pregnant with her SIXTH child, FYI. This will be her FIFTH boy. Havilah is her only girl! (That's Hava sticking out her tongue in the background.)

(That's Nanci's daughter, Emily, on the right. She's a giant eleven-year-old. She's taller than I am!)

BAHAHAHA. Yep, we're dorky, but you know you love us anyway.

I love Emily!!!

And, lastly, CAN YOU BELIEVE MY BABY IS TWO MONTHS OLD (yesterday)???

*Sigh*  I love her.

I feel pretty content with our family size, and really, right now, the thought of another child kind of makes me panic a little.... but I usually feel that way the first months after giving birth.  I just can't imagine having another baby really soon (remember, Evangeline was nine months old when we conceived Jubilee), but I do know that if God did give us another wee one, we would be super excited.  I mean, I hyperventilated a little when I found out we were pregnant with Jubilee, but of course, now I'm thrilled to have her, so it would be the same if we had another baby.  I always look back and think, "MAN! What if we were have stopped with two.. or three... or.."  I'm really grateful for each and every child God has so graciously given to us.

Last night I was snuggling my kiddos before bed, and I realized my oldest son's cheeks are still super baby-soft and kissable... and they aren't going to be that way for much longer.  I had to smother him in kisses, and he had to pretend it was annoying, but I know he loved it.

Kids are awesome, aren't they?