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!