Monday, August 16, 2010

Experimenting in the Kitchen!

Our Fredericksburg trip was rather fruitful! We came home with a peck of peaches (plus a small box full thrown in for good measure), and we had high hopes for our fuzzy friends! Bill was determined that we were going to make ourselves some jam - not just any jam, but jalapeno-peach jam. We LOVE spicy-sweet jam poured over a block of cream cheese paired with crackers or chips. Yummy.

So - we decided to give it a go! Here is our purdy peck o' peaches:

And here they are peeled, pared, and prepped for puree! I think the one smack-dab in the middle is smiling! :)

Then the peaches were introduced to some spicy friends! And a splash of zing...

After all the mixing and mingling in the blender and getting sugar-coated in the sauce pan, they needed to be separated and put in a nice bath!

After their bath, they were left alone to settle a little...

We still had some jalapeno-peach goodness in the blender, but not quite enough to fill the remainder of our jars... so we thought a new friend might liven the party. Meet red pepper!

This group got a little messy and required separation, bath, and settling time, as well...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

All Over Again...

While Bill and I actually celebrated our 13th anniversary on the 2nd of this month, we weren't able to really do anything together until this past weekend. We are so blessed in having all of the kids' grandparents living in the same town, and the two sets that were available were kind enough to take our three precious Cs for the weekend so Bill and I could get away. And get away I needed to do! Life has been chaotic and stressful lately, and getting away to do a whole lot of nothing was high on my list!

We went to our old standby - Fredericksburg. An easy 2+ hour trip with lots of shops and wineries; it's always a good time. But this time, I didn't even want to do that! I wanted to relax. And, unfortunately, relaxing is VERY difficult for me to do. Very. Difficult. I can't seem to just be still - physically or mentally. Thankfully, I have a wonderful husband who knew how to help me relax! (Even though he was stressing me out with the surprise of what he had planned to help me relax!!)

I found this adorable little lodge called Angels Lodge Above the Creek. (I didn't even want to do the usual Bed & Breakfast! I wanted a big, fat, fluffy, cozy bed and a pool!) We booked ourselves a room, and off we went! As I mentioned, Bill told me that he had a surprise planned for us for Saturday. While I have to admit that I DID have an idea that it may include a message, I had no idea what all he had put together! We went to a little hole-in-the-wall day spa called Tranquil Pastures Day Spa, and - together the entire time - we got facials, quasi-pedicures, hot tub time, sauna time, lunch, champagne & roses body wrap, and a full hour message.


We enjoyed mimosas throughout the morning, and the lunch was incredible! A Greek-type salad, pan-seared tilapia that I ate every bite of (you're going O.O right now if you know me!), pasta, and a yogurt parfait. Oh - it was amazing. The whole day - simply amazing! We laughed at how silly we looked - especially when we couldn't move our face because of the "beneficial mask." We talked about our lives - where we started, where we are now, and where we'd like to go. We enjoyed one another... immensely.

Afterward, we oozed out of the spa and headed back to the lodge where we took a dip in the nice salt water pool. Perfect in 103* heat! Then we got cleaned up and headed down to the main street for a little window shopping and dinner at our favorite grill. Dinner, however, was interrupted when we found Fromage du Monde. We couldn't help ourselves - we HAD to get a cheese plate to share! It was AWESOME!
Then we happily visited Water 2 Wine next door - our first visit, but (already) not our last! We found the most amazing wines there! Let's just say we ended up with the 10% discount! ;) I loved the White Cranberry Pinot Gris.

And I loved spending time with my best friend and the love of my life even more!

And... we FINALLY made it to Bejas Grill - our FAVORITE place to eat in Fredericksburg! We got started on the prickly pear margarita, triple sampler, and quesadillas far too quickly, and I failed to snap pics. I know how disappointed you are, but I assure you they were all picture-worthy! (Especially the very pretty pink prickly pear margarita!) But, I did snap a quick pic of the two of us before we left... not that it really looks that much different from the one before!

As for Sunday, we got out of the Lodge quicker than we anticipated, and the peach stands weren't open yet. Alas, Wild Seed Farms was open! We had never been there before. (That seems to be the theme of this F-burg trip!) I am so glad we stopped in for a visit! It was so beautiful! My thumbs are far from green, but I love to look at flowers and plants and dream about what my yard could look like if only... We walked around and enjoyed the plants, the flowers, the pottery, the critters (including a cat with one ear, a spider the size of my hand, and a butterfly house!), and the goodies that WSF makes and sells. It was a really nice way to spend a sunny summer Sunday morning.
This hibiscus was the size of my head!
By this time, the peach stands had opened, and we picked up a peck of peaches. (I love saying that! LOL!) *Check the next blog entry for what we plan on doing with said peaches. As we were making our way back through town toward home, I noticed Bill slowing down... hmmmm... what was he doing? I should've known... looking for Fromage du Monde again - this time for lunch! So we stopped in (after a quick run into W2W where they recognized us from the night before O.O) and ordered lunch. Bill went all out - a grilled cheese panini with turkey! I guess it makes sense to get a grilled cheese sammy in a cheese shoppe, no? Well, I hesitated, but couldn't resist trying the Hill Country Peach Salad. Oh. My. Gah. Baby spinach, toasted almonds, grilled peaches, feta cheese, rose petals, and a peach-strawberry vinaigrette. Wow is really the only word that came to mind... with... each... bite! And while we made memories that will last a lifetime and ate wonderful morsels that will forever be a part of our waistline, my heart is the part that is ultimately touched the most. As we settled down for a quiet, childless slumber our second night, Bill wrapped his arms around me and, just before drifting off to dreamland whispered, "Thanks for letting me fall in love with you all over again." My heart skipped a beat as I realized - in my absence of a reply - that indeed I had allowed that very thing to happen. And in allowing him to fall for me again, I tumbled head over heels once more myself.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Perfectly Anxious

a perfectly
good day because
she's sure that
she should be
anxious about

*By Brian Andreas (I swear, even though he has NO IDEA who I am, he had me in mind when he wrote this!)
*Found in "Some Kind of Ride"

Friday, August 6, 2010

Lunch On A Stick

Not that one would normally cheer for food on a stick, but when you're at the end of the summer and desperate to make it through one. more. lunch... you do what you have to do! And, for some reason, placing eatable items on a skewer somehow transforms it into something that is interesting, tasty, and craved by the likes of a 6 and 3 year old. Goal accomplished.

I know, it doesn't look like much, but they were THRILLED! And THEY ATE!

I give you... LUNCH KABOBS!

*Please excuse the attire. No - it wasn't a black tie affair, I was serving lunch kabobs to two very busy "super spies!"

Thursday, August 5, 2010

This Is The Day!

This is the day!

This is the day!

That the Lord has made!

That the Lord has made!

I will rejoice!

I will rejoice!

And be glad in it!

And be glad in it!

That little chorus, based on Psalm 118:24, has been in my brain since I put it on my pillow to rest last night. Even after waking several times last night to very frightful and disturbing dreams, I would sing that in my head to push the ugliness out and welcome sweet slumber back in. Upon opening my eyes this morning, that was the first thought I had. And then I realized...

This IS the day that the Lord has made. Not unlike any other, but this day (in my life) holds a lot of possible change.

As many of you know, I am having to resign my position as Stay At Home Mom in exchange for a position that pays a little better. When Bill first approached me with this, I was crushed. The thought of leaving my children - especially the newest model - hurt my heart. Squeezed it so much that it leaked out of my eyes in the form of warm, salty tears. A LOT of warm, salty tears. Anyway, after a summer full of three kids, I got to thinking that maybe this back-to-work thing might not be so terrible! ;) Not even that thought, however, made me excited about entering the realm of the classroom. ::sigh::

Then... one of my dearest friends called me with a job she figured I wouldn't be interested in - because it was really more than I wanted. I have to say, it was the first time I felt a twinge of excitement about going back to working world. And I still feel that excitement. I want this job. And, today, I interview for it. I'm filled with nervous excitement... after all, I haven't interviewed for a job in 10 YEARS! (Oh, sheesh, I'm starting to shake at that thought... ) But so many have been praying for me, encouraging me, and supporting me that I think I can do this.

And then there's this morning... my sweet Carter Chance woke at 6:30. He needed a diaper change, a little of mommy's milk, and some cuddle time. He got all of those things and, in my arms with his cheek against mine, he began to breathe the sweet breaths of sleep once more. I kissed his cheek and stroked his oh-so-soft hands and arms... and then I thought, "This is what makes me love my unpaid position the most. This time that I can never ever get back once it is gone." And - for the first time - I was sad at having to interview today. It's hard to want two very different things so very much. But I do.

However, I know the best thing for our family right now is for me to have a paying job. And this job really seems to be the best of both worlds for me. I feel it is an answered prayer (to Bill's prayers, particularly *tee-hee*). I guess we'll see what the actual answer to the prayer is in the next couple of days. Right now, I need to go get ready for my interview!

Psalm 118:24 ~ This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Monday, August 2, 2010

We've Come A LONG Way, Baby!

We were just "kids" on the day we said, "I do." But we were kids in absolute LOVE! Nothing - our being in college, only working part time, having no money, being so young - NOTHING could keep us from walking down that isle to become husband and wife. A fire burned in the middle of our chest that no man could put out. That fire will burn eternally within both of us, and no matter where we go or what we do, that fire of love will keep us warm.

We were so quick to fall in love. We met in the drive-thru of a bank where we (reluctantly) worked together. Four months later, we were engaged. Eleven months later, we were married. And, here we are... 13 years later. While things have changed so much, I know they are all for the BEST. We've come from our 1 bedroom apartment with $5 garage sale avocado green couches to a home we designed and built for our family. We've gone from part-time jobs to full-time careers. And, most importantly, we have gone from "you and me" to US. We are a blessed and happy family of five. Without the love we share, there's no way we could be the family we are today. Just imagining that the two of us - falling in love so many years ago - turned into an amazing journey to parenthood that would include the three most amazing and beautiful boys I have ever seen! Blessed... we are truly blessed.

I thank God every day for you, my love... my best friend. I pray for your happiness and well-being. I pray for our love to continue to burn within and for it to never, ever be extinguished.

13 - considered a lucky number - has become so much more than luck. It's become 13 years of bliss and blessings. I look forward to the next "lucky" set of years ahead.

August 2, 1997 - I married my best friend.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Getting the Word Out

While I could probably spew a ton of venom in how I feel about this situation, I feel Leila - in all of her amazing grace - says it perfectly. And I'm not about to muddy it with my sinful nature and thoughts.

Please, if you can, spread the word. Help a family honor their lost loved one - a man who fought for our protection, safety, and right to call ourselves Americans.

And here's Leila's blog:

Writing for J.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Fallen Deserve Honor!

The grave of fallen soldier? Unfortunately - YES - this is the grave of SPC Jason Dean Hunt who lost his life 11/5/09 in the Ft. Hood Shootings.
8 months later, his widow chooses to honor him this way. His family continues to beg and plead to have a headstone placed here for them to visit and bring flowers. So far, EVERYTHING they have brought (flowers, pictures, etc.) have been "discarded" (thrown away) because there is no vase/headstone - thanks to his widow. What a shame.JD has a family that continues to love and miss him daily. They long for a place of rest for him that shows honor to the man and soldier he was. They long for a place to visit where they can lay flowers and photos to help their hearts to heal. They long for a marker - a way to tell others where his body is buried so they may find him, sit with him, and be still. We all know JD is not there - he is in a much more beautiful place than we can fathom until we see him there. But, for now, for those left behind to mourn the loss of a son, a brother, an uncle, a friend... for now the need - no, they DESERVE to see honor brought to this soldier's grave because he was, indeed, a man of honor.

God bless you, Leila, and the rest of your family for not only having to live with the tragic loss of JD, but for having to fight so hard for the right to mourn him peacefully and respectfully.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I Have a ONE Year Old! ... for the 3rd time...

And man, oh MAN is it bitter-sweet! While it is so much fun seeing all of the things my Carter Chance can do and loving the smiles, babbles, and cuddles I am getting from my "chunky dunker," it's hard to realize that he's not that tiny baby I gave birth to a year ago... and... the toughest realization... that these are my last "firsts." It's so hard to give up and let go of this time in my life. I never knew I would love being a mommy so much that I would want to do it again, and again, and again...

At any rate, we had a lovely family get-together after church on Sunday to celebrate the 3rd ONE year old in my life. And it was a lot of fun! Good food, good family, and great memories.

Another great Nana creation: The 1 cake!
Mommy helped blow out the candles on Carter Chance's personal cake:
Carter Chance decided he needed to do a taste test before serving his guests:
How he spent most of the party: cloth diapie and cupcake hat!
Not sure about this taking steps thing... crawling is so much easier AND faster!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Eight Months of Making Me Smile!

And so many more smiles to come!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Starting Out a New Year With Amazing Memories!

Our holidays were spent in the most magical, happiest place on Earth. And, if I have to spell it out for you, well, you're obviously not among the land of the living!!!

If necessary, here's a hint:

It was amazing!!! I must admit, however, that I was a little upset when Bill first suggested we spend Christmas there. But, after thinking about our boys and how much they would love every minute of being there, how could I NOT want to spend Christmas there? Yes, we were away from family, and it kind of put a kink into Christmas gatherings... but I think we made it work well. And, I have to say, the grandparents were wonderful and understanding about it all.

Walking into Magic Kingdom on Christmas morning was breath taking! The Christmas decorations are more than you could ever imagine, and the castle... well... it's just... magical! Caleb and Connor were awe-struck, and seeing them experience it all was one of the best memories I'll ever have.

We had fun taking a ride in the tea cups! I always say I was sitting in a tea cup with a couple of little sugar lumps! ;)

Experiencing the Earthquake at Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory at Downtown Disney. Eight scoops of ice cream, eight toppings of your choice, bananas, whipped cream, and cherries. Oh my aching stomach!

Character lunch at The Crystal Palace. We had lunch with Pooh, Piglet, Eyeore, and OF COURSE... TIGGER!!! (We had to trick Connor into getting close enough to take a picture!)
We really did so many amazing, fun, exciting, spectacular things... I could make a blog four miles long about it, and the pictures would probably overload blogspot as a whole. So, I'll keep it simple, and I'll keep it sweet. The memories mean more to me than any stranger who actually takes time to read the blogging of a SAHM, and they'll be in my heart and head forever... or at least until absolute dementia sets in... But I do have to say... Thanks, Bill, for making me step out of the Christmas box and giving our kids a gift they'll treasure forever in their hearts!