Important Post Regarding Child Safety

Please take a moment to hop on over to the 2DewDrops Blog and read this important post about child safety...

Tara, a pastor's wife and the mother of TWO sets of beautiful twins utilizes her blog to share her life with others for the purpose of encouragement and exhortation. I have learned quite a lot from the ministry of Tara as well as from her Mom, Linda (who I was privileged to work alongside for a year and a half!) They are a very sweet family and this post is especially helpful. I hope you will take time to read it.

The past few days...

We have been....

Enjoying the first veggies from our backyard patio garden--- a yellow squash and a zucchini!
(I'm so proud of my husband and his green thumb!)

Searching for recipes... ahem. Doesn't she look mischievous?

Making Birthday Preparations!!!! Tomorrow our little Lu turns ONE!!!


A note to Lucy

Dear Lucy, 

At exactly this time one year ago, I was doing this: 

This weekend, I intend to do this:


I fully intend to spend 95% of the weekend preparing to make pink cupcakes and deciding which pink shirt to wear and touching up my pink toenails and getting pink plates and napkins ready and making your pink birthday banner (and finding a pink shirt for your daddy to wear!!! HAHA, don't tell him!) and enjoying EVERY single minute of it. You will always be my baby but you will never have a first birthday again-- I accept that I am going overboard and I plan to whole-heartedly enjoy being over board!

Let's get ready to party!!!


Happy 2nd Birthday little Joseph!!!

Two whole years ago today, our sweet friends welcomed Joseph Jr. into their family!!!
We Love you "T" Family!!!!


Lucy's 1st Birthday Photo Shoot

        The lovely and very talented Pam took these beautiful shots of Lucy this weekend at our favorite local park! Lucy was a trooper and Pam really knew how to get a wiggly little girl to sit still, having two little darlings of her own. I CANNOT believe Lucy will be ONE next week!


Lucy's Dedication Day

            When Lucy was just a bun in the oven, Lance and I searched for a verse for her that expressed our prayer for her life. After careful consideration, we settled on Deuteronomy 6:5, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” There is much truth in this chapter of the Bible and it gives what we believe is a biblical mandate for being Godly parents and having a Christ-centered home.

         I get a very substantial lump in my throat every single time I read Deuteronomy 6 and I ponder the amazing privilege and responsibility of being a parent. Verses 7-9 talks about the frequency with which we are to teach them, “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” I cannot read this passage and not deduce from it that I am to be in constant teaching mode to my child, whether by the words that come out of my mouth or by the way I live my everyday life and the ways in which I fulfill my daily commitments. What a challenge! Reading this I am learning more and more each day the truth in the statement that the greatest gift I can ever give my child is to be a mother with a growing relationship in Christ. Otherwise, the task of raising my child in the Lord is insurmountable at best. I need God's strength and grace every single day in this.

       Lance and I have put off dedicating Lucy in church just because we have been "waiting" for the time when we were in a more permanent situation-- some time in the last month or so, we realized it was time to publicly share with our church family our desire to raise her in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. These sweet people we worship with at Emmanuel have been behind us as we have been married and now have become parents. Many of them have prayed for us along the way and certainly lifted us up during this job situation. Dr. Heisler, our interim pastor at EBC, (have I mentioned what a blessing he has been to our church? God provides!) helped us in sharing our desire to parent rightly with our church on Mother's Day. He clearly shared how we do not see our child's dedication as a salvific event but as a way for Lance and I to commit ourselves publicly to raise Lucy in a Christian home and to point her to God with our lives. He helped us to humbly ask our church family to come alongside us and to pray that we would have God's grace and wisdom as we parent. It is our sincere hope and prayer that we will always be found faithful as Godly parents and that she will come to know Christ's love and salvation for herself one day.

      Many of you have prayed for us and with us as Lucy came along and as we have searched for a job-- Thank you  for loving us so. We would covet your prayers as we continue down this road.


Mother's Day... Then and Now

2009--- Just days to go! 
(WOW, by the way-- It's easy to forget how huge one can be and feel!)

2010-- Loving being a mother!


Homemade Marinara Sauce

                      For quite a long time, I was a big believer in jarred Marinara Sauce. Prego was my favorite and it certainly still does in a pinch. I have, however, in the last couple of years enjoyed making my own Marinara as I can often make a big enough batch to freeze half and be able to serve it later. Making your own sauce often proves cost-effective and is a great way to utilize whatever fresh herbs and vegetables you have on hand. I tried several different variations of a recipe before deciding on the one below as my current favorite. As with anything else, it can be tweaked to your family's preferences. We like a thicker marinara sauce so this works for us-- but feel free to change it to make it your own!!! (Unfortunately, I do not have a recent photo-- but since I know that photos really are the reason some of you read this blog, I have attached a photo of an Italian Soup I made with this sauce as a base-- perhaps I will share this recipe sometime soon.)

 Cindy Lou's Marinara Sauce
1-2 tbs. olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, sliced (or minced if you like)*
1/2 an onion, diced
1- 6oz. can of tomato paste
1- large can (28 oz.) of crushed tomatoes
1- 15 oz. can of tomato sauce
1/4 cup of fresh basil, diced*
1/4 cup of fresh oregano, torn*
Salt & pepper to taste
1 tbs. Sugar
1/8 cup grated Parmesan cheese*

In a large Dutch oven or stockpot, saute the onion and garlic in the Olive Oil over medium heat until aromatic. Add the tomato paste and stir constantly until the onions and garlic are coated. Add the crushed tomatoes and the tomato sauce and stir well. Add the remainder of the ingredients and heat well while stirring constantly. Lower heat to low and simmer while covered for at least 25 minutes so that the flavors can deepen. Stir occasionally. Serve over hot pasta; as a base for Italian Soup; or you could just stand over the stove and eat it with a spoon...

This sauce freezes and reheats beautifully! Occasionally, we will make a double batch of this and meatballs and freeze them both separately only to warm them up another day for a quick and easy dinner-- Just boil pasta and there you go-- instant dinner!

*Note: In many instances, I have used dried herbs, garlic, onion and Parmesan when I have not had fresh ingredients on hand. This does not affect the taste and often makes the sauce more convenient to make--especially in the winter when our herb garden is dormant!


Wordless Wednesday

My big little girl!


Tiny Changes...

         A few days before Lucy was born, my sister in law gave me a piece of advice, "No matter what any one says, you hold your baby as much and as often as you want. Don't worry about "spoiling" her-- just take the time you are given and hold her as much as you want-- because before you know it, she'll be too big to want to be held." I have mentioned before how I have followed that piece of advice and have been very glad I did. Although I read many different opinions on putting your child to bed awake and letting them fall asleep on their own, I confess I did not do that.
         For the entirety of Lu's life, I have taken the last couple hours of her wake time every night and have held her. When it's almost bed time, she gets a bath, pj's and a bottle and I have held her until she drifts off to sleep-- usually during the last few sips of her bottle. After a few stolen moments of holding her close, we put her down in her crib and enjoy the rest of the evening together. So many of these nights over the last 11 months, I considered doing things differently whether out of concern for her sleep patterns or out of guilt over other responsibilities since I was gone during the day. I never changed things and now I am so glad I did not. In the last few weeks, during her bottle she has started to squirm and so we began taking her upstairs, praying with her and putting her down in the crib. The first few nights, we expected her to fight it, but she has just rolled over and peacefully gone off to sleep. Now that those long extended cuddling periods are all of a sudden few and far between-- I'm so glad I listened to my heart as a mother and not to the experts! (Sidenote, I ALWAYS follow the AAP on just about every topic. For example, Lucy has just now been given a blanket at night-- no taking chances there!)
        It's interesting how quickly things change and evolve. I hope I am forever aware of the fact that ALL we are guaranteed is today. I hope I continue to cherish every single moment, every single giggle, every single time I get splashed during Lucy's bath time, every bit of delight she shows when we play together, every time she is feeling under the weather and she needs to cuddle with her mama, every single moment is a gift-- even the current moment, as she is actively trying to unplug this computer's power source as I scramble to finish my slightly poignant thoughts. HA! I love my life. Even though it's actively changing. I love it and I love them.