Thursday, September 19, 2013

Happy 2nd Birthday, George!

My sweetest George!  I really love birthdays.  I've specifically loved my birthday for the majority of my life.  I think my mom always made such a big celebration out of each and every birthday I've ever had, even now that I'm thirty years old.  The anticipation of turning a year older, and the party and gifts and everything else that goes along with birthdays- always makes it such a special day.  

But now I have you.  And I think back to two years ago, when your dad and I became parents because the Lord gave us you.  I feel like anything less than declaring a national holiday to celebrate your birthday seems insufficient.  I know that sounds silly, but I fully recognize what a blessing- in the truest sense of the word- you are to us.  You bless us with your laughter, joy, and love.  You bless me with your snuggles, and how much you love for me to sing "Jesus songs" to you.  You bless your dad when you flip out with excitement when you hear him come in the door at the end of the day.  You bless the people you meet with your sweet spirit and tenderness.  

I say all of this, because I hope you know how much your dad and I celebrate your little life, and who you are to us.  I am thankful that each and every year, we will get to celebrate you for an entire day.  We have so much to celebrate in you, George, and we treasure who the Lord is making you to be.

Your dad and I have racked our brains thinking of ways to make your birthday so special.  I mean, your day-to-day life is pretty fun, so it's actually hard to think of things we can do that would be out of the norm.  You've told us that you want a 'piggy bank' with 'coins' in it for your birthday, so we went to make that together at DIY Crafts, and you can start your own little savings (Pop would be so proud!), and we just had a little family day together.  We ended the day with family dinner, cupcakes (thanks Mama Zo!) and presents. 

George chose the car piggy bank.  Naturally.

 How are you two years old?!

 Really practicing how to blow out candles.

 Presents from Mom and Dad!

...and now for a trip down memory lane.

One year ago, today.

Halloween 2012

First steps

This picture is possibly my all-time favorite.

Easter 2013

Bunk Beds!

This could be my second favorite picture.

Fourth of July 2013

I love how much you love 'jobs'.

George, there is so much I wish I could share with you about our little family right now, and so much I'm glad you don't understand just yet.  What I do know, is that the Lord created you, and gave you to your dad and me for the most specific purpose.  You are our treasure, and we take such joy in being your parents.  I pray that you continue to follow your dad as closely as you do now, because he will lead you, and protect you.  As I look back over how far we've come in just two years, I am excited about the years to come.  We love you so, so much, George.

Happy 2nd Birthday, George!
Love, Mom and Dad

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Cooking with Ina

Ever since Clay and I got married, I've found cooking to be soothing and adventuresome, all at the same time.  I sort of got in a rut with cooking over the last 5-6 months, for obvious reasons, so we started to rely heavily on take-out or the same 3-5 tricks I could pull out of my sleeve at a moment's notice.

After Nan was born, we received an influx of, how shall I put this..."comfort foods".  On multiple occasions, I'd open our door to find entire cakes, boxes of cookies, and dozens of these little treats...

Clay, George and I are lovers of sweets, for sure.  But it was time for fresh produce to take over our house, since I rarely craved fruits and vegetables when I was pregnant with Nan.

So in mid-August, we celebrated Saty and Scooter's birthdays (they have the same birthday...just thirty years apart!). 

I was going to be doing the cooking, and I realized that I haven't really cooked since sometime around February.  I dusted off my two favorite cookbooks and rekindled my love for the kitchen.
This little gem is from Pioneer Woman's cookbook, and it is a no-brainer.

 Real life.

 Then I tried it on some grilled bread.  It was so refreshing for food to taste really good again.

 I have an intense love for a good tomato.

So after the birthday dinner was over, I wanted to keep going.  I know this might sound strange, but since our lives seemed to fall apart, I needed something that was trustworthy.  I needed to use my brain and my hands and have an instant fruit for my labor.

When George was a teeny baby and was up (seemingly) all the time, I started watching Barefoot Contessa on the Food Network.  Something about her was so calming, and she made it seem like you could cook absolutely anything in your own little kitchen.  Clay gave me her cookbook, Foolproof, for Christmas this past year.  I cracked it open and decided to try to start cooking through it.

 My first attempt was this slow-roasted filet of beef.  It was {pun intended} foolproof.  I stuck it in the oven for almost 2 hours and out came the most delicious dinner I've ever made at home. 

Then I tried this Chicken with Wild Mushrooms.

 Lastly I made Tequila Lime Chicken with Mexican Rice.

This is the dedication page in Ina's cookbook.  I love Jeffrey, and I'm wondering if it's because he sort of reminds me of Clay.  He's the ultimate bite-sneaker and always goes on and on about whatever his wife is making at the moment.  
Even if it might not be his favorite.

There's a lot that I'm processing through these days, and it's been hard and good and bittersweet.  I'd venture to say that might be what our life looks like indefinitely, and I think that's okay.  I look forward to and love dinner time at our house, when the three of us are all together around the table, and we get to catch up on each other's days.  George and Clay are the best people in the world to cook for, because they love anything and everything I put in front of them.  So maybe that's why I've become so fixated on researching recipes, and making mile-long grocery lists.  Because even the littlest effort on my part is met with great reward from my {easily pleased} audience.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Last Days of Summer

Maybe it's because George has become so verbal lately, but he wants to do more and more around the house.  He has his first 'chore' (I'm not sure it can be considered a chore if you actually want to do it, and love every second of it).  Anyways, his first 'chore' is feeding Harper.  The whole time he's carrying the cup of food over to her bowl he's repeating over and over, "I be careful Mommy!  I be careful, Mommy!"  Maybe I need to loosen up a little?

The other night he spent the night with Mama Zo and Pops, and Clay and I were about to go to sleep when we remembered that no one fed Harper dinner.  Things really fall apart without George here to keep us in line.
 This is the only picture we have of him feeding Harper :)

 Our church helps with a community garden in Fairfield.  Clay, George and I went to work out there a few Saturdays ago and we had the best time!  George took his jobs a little too seriously with the lawn mower and his wheelbarrow.

 No funny business for this kid.

 About to go back for another load.

 After running several loads of mulch in his teeny tiny wheelbarrow, I broke out the juice boxes and snacks.  It was like seagulls to a loaf of bread...the kids swarmed my cooler as soon as I unzipped it.  They were (verbally) disappointed in my snack choices so most of them walked away.  These two stuck it out with the juice box and fruit snacks.

 I think we've solved the mystery of where George gets his sweating problem from :)

 This is our friend, Hazel.  
And her pet guinea pig, Ostrich.

 This is the water slide at Hazel's fourth birthday party.

 This is where George wanted to spend all of his time during this birthday party.
No, we are NOT getting a guinea pig.

 This picture just cracks me up.
This lady was chatting up every person who walked past her...except George.
George is fascinated by other people, and I'm pretty sure he wanted to get the town gossip.

 So we finally got to go to a Barons game courtesy of my dear friend, Laurie!  She even had VIP passes for us so we sat in a box.  It was definitely worth the wait- and we can't wait to take George sometime soon.

 Last pool day of the year.  
We spent a LOT of time at the pool this summer.  George absolutely loves swimming, and he even worked up to going off the diving board at Shoal Creek this summer.  He swims all over the place (with floaties), and I love spending my days with him at the pool.

 George (and his dad) are suckers for a good popsicle!

So, the summer is officially over.  Parts of me are sad to see the summer end because I loved spending all day, everyday with George.  We had some really sweet times together with no schedule to inhibit what we wanted to do.  But there's also a part of me that is glad for this season to come to a close.  I'm excited for fall to come, and for the literal- and figurative- change of a season.  We have so much to look forward to this fall- George turns 2 in a few weeks, Clay turns thirty in October, and we're going to New York just before Christmas.  We have so much to celebrate in the months to come, and I am thankful for all of it.  After such hard months, I know it's going to feel really great to celebrate birthdays and holidays with people we love.

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance..."
Ecclesiastes 3: 1 and 4