The picture just can't do it justice.

For one, I wasn't even looking through the viewfinder when I took it, I was driving. Two, there's just no way I could get all the color in just a second of exposure. Three, God's creation cannot be interpreted by a digital camera. My eyes could scarcely take it in. My mind was blown by the beauty. My heart overflowed.

Above me, the backdrop of bright blue was barely peeking through a looming curtain of blue-black, turbulant storm clouds. They spread their rippling fingers down into the blazing stripes of orange, yellow and red that were smeared across the horizon at a slight angle. The land was flat, unobtrustive, and I could almost imagine my car flying into the hemisphere without a road beneath it, about to crash into the majestic view before me. The entire span was so full of drama and movement, so full of contrast and visual power, I was humbled by the site of it.

The fact is, God did not have to paint the sky this way. We could have existed under an umbrella of black or white, never knowing the force or beauty of the plummeting sun. You have to ask yourself the question: Why? God has already given us the answer:

O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.
-Psalm 8:1

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
-Psalm 19:1


Great Recipes to Try

Here are some recipes I've discovered lately that I really love:

Taco Seasoning (Just like Taco Bell's!)
We actually had this for dinner tonight. It really did taste a lot like Taco Bell's seasoning. My mom gave me a box of mini taco shells that she wasn't going to eat and I had half a bag of shredded lettuce left over from sub sandwiches, as well as half a tomato, so I decided to make Tacos. The shells were a little small for eating the usual way, so we made taco salad instead, crunching up the shells for the topping. It was really good!

Whole Foods Hot Chocolate Mix
I found the link to this recipe on a friend's blog - and for some reason I cannot find the link to it right now.... I loooove hot chocolate. Especially when it's homemade!

Classic Baked Acorn Squash
This recipe makes amazing squash. I love acorn squash to begin with, but this makes it taste like dessert.

Pumpkin Pie Dip
I made this for a fall party I went to a few weeks ago. Despite the fact I made a huge batch, the majority of it was gone by the time we left. I still have a few spoonfuls left and I love dipping mini pretzels in it. You can never go wrong with Taste of Home!


Jesus Loves Me! Loves Me Still...

Sometimes it's hard for me to get into the message or the worship music at church. I listen and I try to let it sink in, and I know I learn, but it often fails to stir me up. I leave feeling informed, but not convicted. But then I come home, and I'm reading Max Lucado's children's books to Micah as he falls asleep, and I'm singing "Jesus Loves Me" to him.... and there it is. God is working through these small things intended for children and babies to call me home, to correct me, and to chisel away at my heart. Did I just need to get back to the basics? Back to the heart of things? Had my foundation cracked? Were the meatier messages at church slipping through my fingers because my hands had become too weak to receive them?

I think singing the lyrics to a song I've known since I was two years old (at least the first verse - my dad taught it to me while my mom was in the hospital having my sister) reminds me that God is the same today as he was 24 years ago, and he has been beside me this whole time.

Jesus loves me! this I know,
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong;
they are weak but He is strong.

Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.

Jesus loves me! loves me still,
'tho I'm very weak and ill,
that I might from sin be free,
bled and died upon the tree.

Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.

Jesus loves me! He who died
heaven's gate to open wide;
He will wash away my sin,
let His little child come in.

Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.

Jesus loves me! He will stay
close beside me all the way.
Thou hast bled and died for me,
I will henceforth live for Thee.

Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.


My Little "Soapasaurus"

That's what it says on Micah's bathrobe. I haven't used these much until lately. I've found they are a great way to keep him warm while I put his baby lotion on after a bath. Tonight he wore his robe for a while because his pajamas were still in the dryer. I just bought him a new pair (size 12 months!!) and they have monsters on them. They are his first pair of jammies that are not one piece with footies. They should fit him a little longer. I'm hoping so.

Micah is changing so much every week, I thought I'd write down some current "facts" about him before I forget.
  • He could care less about solid foods. He still prefers breastmilk and will only eat about a tablespoon of baby food on any given day, if that.
  • He has been sitting up on his own for a few weeks, but he still requires some type of "crash pad" behind him for those times when he feels like arching his back all of a sudden!
  • He has one tiny little tooth - the bottom right one.
  • He loves the blanket that I crocheted for him while I was pregnant. I love this.
  • His favorite toy is his food bowl.
  • He likes to be carried on my hip, facing in. (That's a big change from before, when he only wanted to be carried in front of me, facing out.)
  • He loves to grab our faces.
  • He giggles when you say "bloop bloop" or make a popping sound with your lips.
  • He loves taking baths!
  • He no longer cries when he's wet, which means now we have to actually check.
  • He likes to fall asleep with a blanket over his head (don't worry, his blankie is "holey")
  • He screams a lot when he is laughing and playing. It's very high pitched and loud!
  • He likes to chew on wet washcloths. 
  • He can push himself up on his arms all the way and roll over both ways, as well as turn around on his belly.
  • He thinks trees are funny... and laughs at them when the wind blows.
  • He always wants to hold my fingers when he's tired.
  • He grunts as he's falling asleep.
  • He loves wearing his snowsuit: it always puts him to sleep.
  • He is fascinated by books and enjoys opening and closing them over and over.
  • He loves taking naps next to me on the couch while I watch TV.
  • He loves hugs and kisses!
  • He loves dogs!


Creative Play

I've gotten bored of the same baby toys and games, day in and day out. Today I was on a mission to do something "new" with Micah. I pulled out a cookie sheet and filled it with just enough warm water to cover the bottom. Then I laid that on top of a beach towel on the kitchen floor. I put a handful of bath toys on the cookie sheet and let him loose! It was so funny to watch him spend the first ten minutes staring into the water. He would place his hands in the water for a few moments and then take them back out. Periodically he would lower his face to a few inches above the water and stare at the reflection of the kitchen lights. The ripples in the water caused by moving toys around really caught his attention. We played for quite a while! He didn't even make that much of a mess, either!

What are some creative games you've played with your babies? I'm looking for more ideas!

Baking Things

I've never been much of a baker or a cook, but lately I've come to the realization that there is a whole lot more food in my pantry than what meets the eye... I just have to make it!

From fried rice to giant ginger cookies (shown in the photo above), there of tons of things I can make from scratch and save a lot of money in the process. It just requires a little extra creativity and a little searching (through my cookbooks) to find what I can make from the various basic ingredients I already have.


Another Season

In my last post I mentioned that Micah had no teeth yet. I spoke too soon! Saturday afternoon, I noticed that my fussy little boy had a "split" gum - and in that little opening was a tiny tooth coming through! This morning he was in much better spirits; the hardest part is over. Today I could feel the sharp little point with my finger. Pretty soon it will be big enough for me to take a photo. I can't believe it's happening already! People always tell you how fast children grow, but you never realize how true this is until they sprout right before your eyes.

The temperature around here is dropping fast. I pulled out Micah's snowsuit and we wore it to church this morning. I discovered that he loves it, and it is a surefire way to get him to doze off. He is so snuggly in that thing! We went to a harvest party last night and our little guy didn't end up going to bed until 10pm or so. As a result he was very tired today, and ended up passing out for over three hours this afternoon. For a little boy who usually sleeps 30-40 minutes at a time, this was shocking! I didn't know what to do with myself during that time. I ended up reading an entire magazine while waiting for him to wake up. My house was already clean so basically I had nothing to do but lounge and wait for him to wake up. I guess I can't complain about that!

Our family is going through some big changes right now. We are hoping to move 30-45 minutes north of where we are currently, but the housing market may prevent that. I want to live closer to our parents now that we have a son. He needs to be close to his grandparents! We have also been hit pretty hard by the recession. The increased cost of living combined with me working only part time from home has made things financially tricky. Moving would mean lower expenses, as well, so I'm hoping that works out. But, I know that God has everything under control and he might have something better in mind for us, so I'm keeping an open mind. In the meantime, having our house listed means it has to be spotless 24/7. This is perfect for me - it will force me to make keeping my house clean a habit, something I've been wanting to do for a while. I'm tired of cleaning in spurts and then letting things get messy again. I have found that it's much easier to maintain a spotless house than a "ruffled" one.

I am really looking forward to November. Not only is Thanksgiving in November (my favorite holiday), but my birthday is in November as well. It's not the same as it was when I was a kid, but it's a fun excuse to get together with my family, eat my favorite dinner and indulge in birthday cake.


What a Chunk!

This was taken on September 25th.

This was taken today.

The weight gain in his face (and everywhere else) is crazy! We started solid foods around that time as well... I'm thinking that might have something to do with it.

No teeth yet!

Face of His Father

So this afternoon I was taking pictures of my little man and he was really hamming it up for the camera.

He is really cute. I'm not just saying that because I'm his mama. I know from the very core of my left brain that he is extremely cute. My right brain practically seizes every time he smiles from cute overload.

All of a sudden he whips out this face of shock or horror. I have no idea what was going on in that mind of his, but it exploded all over his face, I happened to catch it on camera, and I proceeded to laugh uncontrollably until moments later when Eric walked in. Of course, upon seeing the photo, he reenacted the face.

This only proves how much our little man looks like Eric. It's amazing. And of course that face makes me laugh just as much when Eric does it.

I captured another "look-alike" moment while Eric ate a bagel and Micah ate a.... binkie. Yeah. I promise you; this was not posed!


One Year Ago

One year ago, I was expecting! It's hard to believe that I am a mother now - and that my baby is six months old already! I can't believe how much I love him. I always knew I would love my children, but I never anticipated that my heart would break every time I picked him up or looked at his sweet little face. I'm so full of joy.


Metaphorically Speaking...

If you want an apple, you can do one of three things.

1. Sit at your table and pray for an apple.
2. Plant some apple tree seeds, care for the seedling every day and pray that it will bear fruit.
3. Go out and buy an apple (but you only get one.)



Congratulations to Danielle, Tracey and Lindsay, (entries 23, 12 and 7, respectively) who are the lucky winners of a free canister of Wet Ones Antibacterial Hand Wipes. I will be notifying these ladies via e-mail of their prize, and as stated in the rules, they have three days to respond, otherwise the prize will go to the next person in the randomly generated sequence.


FREEBIE!! (Wet Ones)

It's FLU season! As if we weren't worried enough about our kids and family members catching the seasonal flu, now we're running around, trying not to catch H1N1 ("Swine Flu"), too!

What's the number one rule? WASH THOSE HANDS!

But what if you are in your car? The park? The pumpkin patch? What are you supposed to do then?

The answer: use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or antibacterial hand wipe. There are a lot of products out there to choose from, I'll admit, but Wet Ones happen to be my favorite, and that's why I agreed to do this giveaway. Why do I love Wet Ones?

Once upon a time, I had a travel size bottle of hand sanitizer in my purse. While getting into my car, I noticed a really strong odor coming from the passenger seat. I looked over to see the bottom of my purse completely soaked! Upon opening my purse I discovered that my bottle of hand sanitizer had broke and spilled everywhere. Fortunately it didn't ruin my cell phone, but it was a close call! The bad news is my purse and its contents stunk for a week!

Wet Ones Antibacterial Wipes come in a canister that fits perfectly in your cup holder, meaning you'll never deal with the hassle of hand sanitizer spilling all over your stuff like I did. They also clean up gunk while they sanitize, so they are perfect for kids' messy hands - you can't say that about hand gel.

I was thrilled to receive two free samples of Wet Ones. (Now I have one for the car and for the diaper bag.) I also have a FREE canister of Wet Ones to give out to three lucky readers. To enter, all you have to do is fill out the form below. Spread the word!

[This contest is now closed! Thanks for entering!]

A big thank you to GolinHarris for contacting me for this giveway!