Monday, December 17, 2012

{Mama Recommends}

In the wake of all that has happened in the last few days, I needed to focus on something simple and good. As a Mama, one of the sweetest times in my day is when Jackson and I are reading books together. There is sweetness about sitting together and reading book after book and watching him react to the narrative and illustrations. I'm pretty sure there are some families who would give anything to toss aside the laundry today and read to their babies.
Over the past year we have read some of the greatest children's books. I cannot take credit for these literary treasures. Trip is the one who goes and searches the shelves for great books. When he had exhausted that search method he started using the internet to search out even more. I am so grateful for his joy at finding these books.

We have been blessed that our library has a great children's section. If your library doesn't carry one of the books below, REQUEST it! You'll be delighted to add it their collection.

So, without further adieu...

Click, Clack MOO: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin

Rescue Bunnies by Doreen Cronin

Knuffle Bunny Series & The Pigeon Series by Mo Willems
~actually ANY book by Mo Willems is a "must read"

The Bear Series by Karma Wilson

The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn

Loren Long has a collection of books that he has authored as well as others that he has simply illustrated. If he is ANYWHERE on the cover of the book, CHECK IT OUT. Among our favorites are the Otis series, Drummer Boy, Toy Boat and Windflyers.

Brian Lies has a clever "Bat" series.

Lasso Lou & Cowboy McCoy by Barbara Larmon Failing

J. Klassen has two "Hat" books that are hysterical.

The Snowman Series by Caralyn Buehner

Here Comes the Train by Charlotte Voake

A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead

...and finally, our favorite book from this year ~
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce

I could have listed 100 more books, but these were among our favorites. If you have one that you consider a "must read", please let me know.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The First Christmas Pageant

For weeks we have listened to Jackson sing the cutest songs in preparation for his preschool's Christmas pageant. He was so excited to have us come to hear him. He must have asked me ten times today, "Mommy, are you sure you can come hear me sing?!" And each time, I would assure him that this was a special night and we wouldn't miss it.
Before tonight I had never had the chance to be in the audience and anxiously await the entrance of my child in a program. As a teacher I was always concerned that my class would be on time and that they would do well. But being on the the other side of such an important event at a school was so special.

As his class entered I could tell that he was anxious to find us. Trip and I dropped any sort of "cool" facade and waved wildly making sure he knew we were there and that he found us. Once he saw us he had the biggest smile and, if possible, more spring in his step.

I have looked forward to a night like tonight ever since Jackson was born. I love everything about the Christmas season. But the chance to see and experience it through the eyes and mind of a child makes you truly stop and reflect upon what Christmas is really all about. 
~ Luke 2.11~
For unto you is born this day in the
 city of David a Savior, 
who is Christ the Lord.

Henry {6 months}

I find it completely inappropriate how fast these first six months have gone. I cringe to think that the next six months will go equally as fast. The thought of placing a candle on a cake makes my heart just race.

I find myself savoring the time in this stage more so than I did with Jackson. Part of me loves the simplicity that our lives are right now and part of me knows the milestones that are lurking around the corner.

Speaking of milestones...

Mr. Henry, the only big change this month is your determination to crawl. You have a shuffle and scoot thing going on right now. But, like you brother, you seem to only know REVERSE. This frustrates you terribly and you roll your way to the intended target. Don't tell Jack, but while he was at school you rolled your way to one of his firetrucks and squealed with joy as you grasped it for the first time.

You are a traveling champ. The Thanksgiving trek to Ohio was, dare I say, enjoyable because of how well you did in the car.
You love to eat. Peas and apples are among your new favorites. And it shows! Two more pounds and a half an inch in growth. Your still hanging off the top end of the chart in height, but you made it on the chart in weight.

What I love most about you is your smile and your laugh. You are so ticklish. If I need a good Henry laugh, I know exactly where to tickle. And the laughter of little boys in this house is such a wonderful sound.
Henry, you are such a joy to us. We have treasured these first six months with you and we look forward to what the next six will bring.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Henry {5 Months}

I am a little behind on Henry's five month post. It's for good reasons though. We had a very special AWNT come visit us for a few days and we were distracted by the fun. But alas, Henry is 5 months, 5 days today so before the month sneaks away, I wanted to post a few pictures and remember a few details.
Henry, at five months you are 27in long and 14lbs 6oz. 
{We grow 'em long and lean around these parts.}
You are in Size 2 diapers.
You wear 6-12mo clothes if they are separates 
& 9mo if they are one piece.
The biggest change this month was the introduction to food. I am using Super Baby Food again and unlike your brother you had an aversion to avocado. And not just a "meh, I don't really care for this" kind of reaction, a THROW EVERYTHING UP kind of reaction. Message received little man. No more avocado...{at least for a little while}. After that initial sadness, you have eaten everything else with great excitement. Sweet potatoes and bananas are real winners in your book.
After you finish nursing we always take a few minutes to read together. You have developed a love for books. And the best part is that you have started to "help" me turn the pages. Brown Bear, Brown Bear keeps your attention from the first to last page. And you think the way I read Moo, Baa, La, La, La is a riot. {You. Are. Welcome.} The joy you get from books is so special to me. Your big brother was the same way and he reads at least 5 books every day now. So, I am looking forward to rereading all of the special books with you!
Henry. Oh Henry.
You are such a lovebug.
I am so grateful for your sweet spirit. 
I am looking forward to what this next month has in store for you.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Trick or Treat?

{The following post is brought to you by "Hooked on Phonics".}

Everyone who knows me gets a real chuckle by the way I say, A-U-N-T. Don't get me wrong, I like to be funny. But this particular opportunity to provide humor to others has always been lost on me. 

I say A-U-N-T ~  "awnt". 

The rest of you yahoos say ANT. 

Why?? For the love of all that is good and phonetical do you slaughter 
a lovely title to so many ladies and reduce them to bugs? WHY???

Let's review similar words, shall we?




Speaking of that last word...oh I get taunted. Among those taunts are being told to read a book where the author uses pants to rhyme with AUnts. And the latest tricky act was done by my sister-in-law. And the treat??? She used my sweet baby to harass me. I mean...honestly.
What is that marching across my baby?? ANTS!!!
LUCKILY I think a lot of that crazy woman. In addition to silly pranks with phonetically sad words she also has provided not one, but TWO adorable pumpkin outfits to my kidlets.

Jack in 2009
Henry in 2012

The boys today...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Looking Back

Today, NINE years ago I went on a first date with good 'ol Trip Radtke. To commemorate that special date I am guest blogging at Re{de}fining. The blog belongs to my dear friend, Jenn. She is doing a series on motherhood for the month of October.  She asked me to share the journey that God chose for Trip and me to become parents.

Many of you already know Jenn because of the faithful prayers you offered for she and her family as her daughter Charlotte had her heart surgeries over the last few years.

So, why don't you go on over to her blog and read our story and then snoop around and check in on how God has been answering their prayers for both Charlotte, and her big brother, Sam.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Sunday Funnies

I decided to start Henry on some solids this week. Let's just say it didn't go over too well. I don't know if it was the avocado or the idea of his mother shoving a spoon in his face, but Mr. Henry had a few thoughts on the matter.



I think we'll have to try again in a few days.  

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Jack's First Field Trip

Jack's preschool class went to Kinsey Farms for their first field trip today. The school required at least one parent to chaperone their child. I had some reservations about taking Henry and when I mentioned them to Trip he said, "I'll go!" 
You might read that and think "oh, that's so sweet." But it goes beyond "sweet." Many of you know Trip's line of work, and therefore you know that this time of an election year is absolute INSANITY. So, for my husband to say, "I'll go!" was more than just "sweet" it was an incredible blessing.
I am so grateful to be married to a man who loves the details of being a father. He's not just on the periphery of our family's life, he is actively involved. This blesses me as his wife and gives our sons a godly example each day.
Truth be told, I think Jack was beyond thrilled that his Daddy got to take him. The two of them took off this morning in their jeans and boots and had a ball getting muddy. Between the goats, pumpkins, tree planting and fish feeding it was paradise for a little boy and his Dad.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Henry {4 months}

The four month photos to go with this post were a hoot. Henry is wiggling all around these days. He loves to roll around, bring his legs up, get his feet in his mouth, you name it - if it involves movement, the boy is moving!
The newest fun for all of the Radtkes this month was to hear Henry find his voice. And when he found it, HE WANTED TO MAKE SURE EVERYONE HEARD HIS VOICE. EVERYONE. The child sounds like a baby velociraptor or pterodactyl. It's unreal. The best part is when he's lying in his crib attempting to take his nap and you hear these sounds followed by giggles. So, not only does he hear his voice, but he thinks it's hilarious.
This past month put some chub on Henry. And let's be honest. Who doesn't love a good leg roll? I think he's weighing in around 14lbs, but we'll find out for sure next week at his checkup. He has been in the throes of a growth spurt these last few days, so I'll be quite interested what all this extra eating has done. Taller? Or wider? We shall see!
Happy Four Months, Henry. We love you!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Autumnal Bliss

I have waited months for a day like today. MONTHS. It has been an absolutely beautiful fall day. The weather a bit chilly to start, a glorious breeze, and a sky so blue you think your eyes deceive you by its perfection.
I have also waited for a day when BOTH of my boys could be outside. The heat and humidity this summer was no place for a newborn. But today was perfect for Jack and Henry to be outdoors.
We started out on the swings and then moved to the blankets where Jack searched for acorns and pointed out all kinds of things to Henry he saw in our yard. I don't think we had ever seen that many butterflies. Apparently they thought it was a perfect day too.

I'm looking forward to many more days like this one. 
Happy Monday everyone!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Henry {3 months}

Well, the “fourth trimester” has come and gone. Which means you are now 3 months. THREE!

Last month we had a “conversation” about the swaddle. You made it very clear how you felt about that being taken away. But just a few days after that night of sadness, you flipped FULLY SWADDLED from back to front...TWICE. {And people wonder why I call you the Mighty Meaty... } So, I had to make the call and put you in the sleep sack. At first your protests broke my heart. But within a week you made peace with the change and actually started sleeping even better. {You’re welcome.}

This month you learned that you love your thumbs. Yes, I said thumbS. You’re an "equal opportunity thumb sucker". You can't seem to decide which one you love more, the right or the left. To you, they are both yummy. But truth be told, in this political season, your parents are hoping you'll go for the right.

This month also brought new ladies into your life. We finally ventured to church and put you in the care of Miss Kathryn and the rest of her Waumba sidekicks. You stole their hearts the first night. I thought I was going to have to strong arm bribe her to get you back. Each week you do so well and this blesses my heart as I have the chance to worship without the worry of the your number being flashed on the screen and doing the walk of shame to the back of the sanctuary.

you are a sweetheart to the core. I can’t get enough of your snuggles. And I am savoring them. Because I have my suspicions that you’ll more than likely end up a wild man like your brother and you’ll be too busy one day for snuggles. And with recent events in our backyard, you might even be too busy for pants, too. Ahem.
Happy 3 months, Henry. We love you!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

While the Big Guy is at Preschool...

...Henry and Mama do photo sessions. Yes. You read that right. I actually dared to photograph that sweet baby with my pitiful excuse for a camera. Luckily his cuteness overpowered the sadness of my lens.

Friday, August 17, 2012

A Holy Perspective

This week Jackson turned 3 and started his first day of school. In the same week that we had celebrations and "firsts" a Sweet Briar sister said goodbye to her 3 year old son.

I never met Sarah's sweet boy, but I know that Carter helped many of us gain a holy perspective on our children.

In recent weeks Sarah let us know that some unusual things had started to happen with Carter. Many of us have been praying for him since he was first diagnosed with a brain tumor. But our prayers became even more passionate in this new uncertainty.

In the midst of this new information about Carter, my son seemed to reach a whole new level in his demonstration of the "Thrashing Threes."

As I sat one night and prayed for Jackson and his heart after a particularly naughty day, I stopped in the midst of my prayer and began to weep. And then I changed directions in my prayer. I thanked God that I had the privilege of praying for my healthy child and the challenges that his age now presented.

Let me be sincere. This age is ROUGH. I have quickly come to understand: parenting is not for wimps. And were I not strapped to the base of the Cross, I honestly do not know how I would discipline Jackson's sin nature without completely destroying him with my own.

The holy perspective that Carter's brief life has given me these last few days is that I have the privilege of participating in the upbringing of my sons. I have the privilege of walking with them through each of their days, both the fun and the naughty. And even more... I have come to understand that I am not in control of my children or their futures. They have been entrusted to me, one day at a time.

I would give anything for Sarah's family to not have been the godly example that I needed to gain this perspective. But I am forever grateful that her sweet boy's short life set the record straight.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

"I'm Huge"

Today, Jackson had his wellness visit.
He was particularly excited to see Dr. Silverman
since this year he didn't have to have any shots.
Woot! Woot!

Jackson, on your 3rd birthday
you are 39.25in tall and weigh 36lbs.
You wear 3T/4T clothes and a size 10.5W shoe.

You are literally "off the charts".
It would seem that your father and I need to look into...
"off shore accounts" to feed you and your brother for the next 18 years.
Good grief.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


My sweet boy turned three today. 
Oh Jackson, what a wild year this has been for you. Within a few months of turning 2, you learned that you would become a big brother. This was quickly followed by a sudden change in your Daddy that would take many months to heal. I have thanked God so many times for placing you first in our family. I am confident that your disposition, strong will, and trust in Jesus allowed you to handle all that was asked of you at such a young age.

God continues to teach me so much about His love for me through you. Every fiber of strong will that your Daddy and I both have in us is in you. On the days you mentally wear me out, I cry out to Jesus, "Lord, please promise me you'll use this will for your glory one day! Or he may not make it to 3..pm."
You are honestly hilarious. I know a lot of parents think their kids are funny. But my word. You are. {You get that from me, because let's be honest, I have to have an incredible sense of humor to be married to your Daddy.} I can tell you that in these newborn days with Henry and trying to figure out this parenting gig with two kids, you have saved me from the sadness so many times with a facial expression, story or reaction to the happenings in our home.

Your memory is unreal. If we teach it to you, you know it. This has kept your parents very honest. {Thankyouverymuch}
Since you were able to talk I have worked on letters and numbers with you. As of your second birthday you were able to identify all 26 letters and numbers 1-10. This past year we spent a great deal of time working on letter sounds. If we ask you what letter a word starts with 99% of the time you answer correctly. What is so fun about this learning time with you is to see you look for words and determine the letters yourself and think of what other words start with the same letter. In just two days I am going to share the responsibility of teaching you with Miss Beth & Miss Robin, your preschool teachers. I am very excited for this chapter of your life to begin and to see how the classroom setting will challenge your mind in new ways.

~Anything related to a fire truck, car, or construction vehicle

 ~Hummus, cheese, any fruit, yogurt, pbjs,
homemade waffles, peas, carrots and broccoli

~Baseball, Football, playing in the pool or sandbox

~Sesame Street, Thomas, Word World and Clifford

And finally, you are obsessed with books and puzzles.
Happy Birthday, Jackson Lane. I love you very much.
I am excited about what this next year holds for you.

Monday, August 6, 2012

{Mama Recommends}

I haven't done a {Mama Recommends} post in so long. But, a dear friend recently asked if I had any recipes to share. I think she was hinting that she knew how much I loved food and that she was sure that I had tried something new in the last few months. {"Cough it up sister!"} She knows me well. I have tried a few new recipes and I think they are worth sharing.

Today, I'll share two of those recipes.

Full disclosure: A few years ago when I became a gluten free eater, I tried quinoa. I hated it. HATED IT. I tried to like it, but I just couldn't get it down the hatch.

Fast forward to last summer and one of my favorite Food TV people, Giada, made a quinoa recipe on her show. I thought..."Well, dang. If Giada has a recipe, to save face, I'll just have to try it again."

Here's the link to her Quinoa with Black Beans and Hominy.

Before you get all snarky about Hominy {of course I could have lost some of you with quinoa, now you're repulsed by weird corn} you have to at least try it. Bush's makes a can and it's around a $1, so if you're the 1% who won't like it, you won't break the bank.

Here are a few notes:
~#1 RULE ABOUT QUINOA - YOU MUST RINSE IT. Fine mesh strainer and rinse the heck out of it.
~If you don't have grapeseed oil, olive oil will work just fine.
~If you don't have agave nectar, honey will work just fine.
~If you are unsure about the hominy, try the recipe with one can. The ratio is still fine and then you can determine if admit you like it.

The second recipe was one I searched for in the weeks before I had Henry. I knew I wanted to make a few freezer friendly meals for those first months.  We are a family that loves all things pasta. And luckily, I don't have to make two batches of pasta dishes since I have found that Trader Joes noodles and pasta shapes are absolutely delicious. I would dare someone to notice a difference between their brown rice noodle and a regular noodle.

The site that I found it had a lot of good suggestions in the comments to make it "just right". So, here is the recipe with a few notes from me.

Baked Spaghetti Casserole

12-16oz oz spaghetti 
2 jars prepared spaghetti sauce {it calls for 1, but you definitely need 2}
1 lb lean ground beef/italian sausage/ground pork {your choice}
1 tsp Italian seasoning {I used dried basil and parsley}
1 clove garlic, minced
8 ounces cream cheese {room temp}
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated {I used the bag of Publix Italian blend}

Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.

~In a skillet, brown the ground beef {or meat of your choosing} until cooked through; drain fat and stir in spaghetti sauce.  Set aside.

~Salt the water and then break spaghetti noodles into 3rds and cook according to directions on packet. {You don’t have to do that, you can keep noodles whole, but I thought it was easier to prepare broken up.} 

~BEFORE YOU DRAIN NOODLES – save 1cup of the pasta water. Then drain the cooked spaghetti and place in a large bowl.  
~Add cream cheese, Italian Seasoning {or whatever seasoning you choose} and minced garlic to the spaghetti noodles.  
~Stir until cream cheese is melted and the spaghetti is thoroughly coated. It will be THICK. ~Thin to a creamy consistency adding pasta water in small amounts {1/4c at a time} until it stirs easily. You shouldn’t need the whole 1c saved, but you’ll want it just in case. The consistency your going for is “stirrability” - thick & creamy, yet easy to stir. {Yes, I made that word up.}
~Lightly butter a 9x13" pan.  
~Spread a small amount of meat sauce in the bottom of the dish.  Put the entire spaghetti mixture on top of the bottom layer of sauce. Then, top with remaining meat sauce.  
~Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top.

Bake for 30 minutes, until bubbly.

I always double this recipe. When I bake the frozen one, I bake it at 350 covered for 30min and then uncovered for another 25-30min. 
So, there you go! Let me know if you try either of these recipes. If you alter them in any way, let me know your choices. I always like to hear how people put their own spin on a recipe.

Bon Appetit!

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Mighty Meaty

Well Mr. Henry had his 2mo check up this morning.

This kid, The Mighty Meaty, weighs 12lbs and is exactly 24in long.

Now I know why we have a problem.
See this tag?

3 month clothing ENDS at 24in. 
It doesn't fall somewhere in the middle. 
Oh no...it ENDS.

I think Mama is going to have to hit the clearance racks this weekend to see if I can find a few 6mo or even 9mo pieces to make it through until the weather gets cooler. Because, hello. We live in Hotlanta. And it doesn't really cool down in these parts until, oh...late October.

What's particularly funny to me about this knowledge is that through the entire pregnancy Jack prayed for his brother every night. "Dear Jesus, please give him strong bones and a strong heart." I guess maybe he should have included, "But Lord, please don't make him bigger than me." Because at this rate, Henry will be right on target to kick his brother's hiney much sooner than any of us had expected.

Well, on that thought...everyone have a great weekend! 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Henry {2 Months}

Oh Henry.

You sweet boy.

It is amazing to me how fast you have changed from a squishy newborn to a baby with some lovable chub.
The greatest joy for me as your Mama this past month was to see your first SMILE. Oh...it's huge. You get this goofy grin on your face that just grows into this huge gummy smile and it just lingers while I do whatever to keep it going. Your big brother thinks I have lost my sweet mind. I. Don't. Care. The more smiles, the better the day.

You also began to coo and "chat" with me. Your brother started about the same time and hasn't stopped since. I have a feeling the day will come when I will hear myself say, "Henry, close your lips." But until then, I love your little voice.
You found your hands and you think they are DEE-licious.

Your sleep is awesome. Three to four naps a day and nighttime has been as much as 8 hours in one stretch. {Of course as I write this post you're going through a growth spurt, so the next few nights could be "interesting". ha!}

Speaking of growth spurts...you're nearing the end of your 3mo clothing options. This could make things, well, interesting. Here I thought having babies in the same season I would be saved from having to buy clothes. Well, so long as we have to consider snaps in, a, well...certain area of your body...we're in trouble. So, to save your manhood, I bought some onesie extenders. I'm hoping that they can tide us over until the next season.

I tried to drop the swaddle the other night. EPIC FAIL. You screamed at me for doing such a harsh thing. {I'm very sorry.} We'll try again in a month, unless of course you get this rolling thing figured out in the next week or two. If that happens, well Mister, it's gone.
I'm excited that it's August. It means we're closer to fall and the chance for you to experience the outdoors. {Your Daddy would like for me to point out that we're also a month closer to OSU football.} You've had moments to experience your first Georgia summer. But, for the most part, I have protected you from this ridiculous heat.

In just two weeks your brother will start preschool. Two days of the week you and I will have time together...just the two of us. I'm so excited about that one-on-one time with you.

I love you Henry!