Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Rockin' Years

This is one of those oldies but goodies.  No matter what phase of life we're in, Hunter and I will always be in it together.  We happen to be in the "rockin' babies" phase right now--and let me tell ya.  It has been an incredibly rewarding and indescribable blessing--but it's been tough and we've had to work together more than ever.

"Rockin' Years"

I'll do everything I can to make you proud to be my man 
And I'll fulfill all of your fantasies

I guess we're promising a lot, but for now it's all we've got 
And I'll stand by you thru our rockin' years

Rockin' chairs, rockin' babies, rock-a-bye, rock of ages 
Side by side we'll be together always 
And if you'll hold me tight when you love me 
That's all I'll ask of you 
And I'll stand by you thru our rockin' years 

I'll be your friend, I'll be your lover 
Until the end, there'll be no other 
'Cause my heart has only room for one 
Yes, I'll always love you, and I'll always be here for you 
And I'll stand by you thru our rockin' years 

Rockin' chairs, rockin' babies, rock-a-bye, rock of ages 
Side by side we'll be together always 
And if you'll hold me tight when you love me 
That's all I'll ask of you 
And I'll stand by you thru our rockin' years 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

a song a day--God Gave Me You

I've always been a huge musical person.  My mom laughs at me because I sing a song for just about anything that goes on in my life.  I have always loved to sing, listen to music, and create it.  I took piano lessons from age 4-13.  I was also in band grades 6-11, playing the flute, piccolo, keyboard, and pit.  I loved it and I miss it.

Needless to say, music is a powerful force for me.  I appreciate talent, both vocally and instrumentally.  I also appreciate the lyrics and pay attention to them sometimes more than the music itself.  

So I decided I'm going to try to do a song a day with a little blurb of why I love it so.  Most of them will be for my boy--just a heads up for those of you who get annoyed with the helpless romance.  Sorry, that's just the way I roll.

"God Gave Me You"

I’ve been a walking heartache
I’ve made a mess of me
The person that I’ve been lately
Ain’t who I wanna be

But you stay here right beside me
And watch as the storm blows through
And I need you

Cause God gave me you for the ups and downs
God gave me you for the days of doubt
And for when I think I lost my way
There are no words here left to say, it’s true
God gave me you
Gave me you

There’s more here than what we’re seeing
A divine conspiracy
That you, an angel lovely
Could somehow fall for me
You’ll always be love’s great martyr
And I’ll be the flattered fool
And I need you

God gave me you for the ups and downs
God gave me you for the days of doubt
And for when I think I lost my way
There are no words here left to say, it’s true
God gave me you

On my own I’m only
Half of what I could be
I can’t do without you
We are stitched together
And what love has tethered
I pray we never undo

Cause God gave me you for the ups and downs
God gave me you for the days of doubt
God gave me you for the ups and downs
God gave me you for the days of doubt
And for when I think I lost my way
There are no words here left to say, it’s true
God gave me you, gave me you.
He gave me you.

I truly believe that Hunter and I were given to each other through God's plan and design.  We've been through a lot together already--and every day brings a new adventure.  He's my love.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

generational mouthpiece

We had the privilege and honor of taking our youth group to Soul Link--a large youth rally in Houston--this past weekend.  The theme was "a frayed knot vs. afraid not".  It focused on fear and forced these kids (and us adults with them) to take a hard look into their lives and how much hold we allow Satan to have on us through our fear.  I'll have a whole post about this later.

But in the last keynote session, the speaker (David Skidmore) mentioned something that I found quite interesting.  

Katy Hudson was a talented teenager, who after receiving her GED during her first year of high school, decided to pursue a career in music.  She produced an album, writing or co-writing all of the songs on the album.  

The lyrics are incredible.  He played the song "Search Me" and had the lyrics scroll across the screen as we listened.  

Through this skin you see My heart
Through this laughter you feel My pain
Even through this mask you see My face
For You are the only one who really knows just who I am
And you search me 
And you know all the secrets of my heart 
And you search me
Revealing the mysteries of who You are 
You search me
Growing up never comes Easily 
In Your hands, You're the potter Molding me
Then why do I wear this mask and play this game Of hide and seek 
When You are the only one who really knows just who I am 
My Father, my Father You are my Father, oh, and I am Your child
And you hear my cry, even at the midnight

Her album wasn't successful.  She wanted to be a mouthpiece for the youth of her generation.  But her production company failed, and therefore her album didn't stand much chance.  

So a few years later and some experience with other albums that didn't get produced, someone heard her.  They thought her music wouldn't sell, but her voice would.  Does she look familiar yet?
This was when she changed from Katy Hudson, a Christian model and vocal inspiration, to Katy Perry.  She went from "Search Me" to "I Kissed a Girl."  She is afterall a mouthpiece for this generation as she'd always hoped--but sadly, quite the opposite of her original intent.  

What will you give up (or what have you given up) of yourself to succeed in this world?  What message are you sending out to those around you?  Was the sacrifice of self worth it?  

Satan is an Imposter.  He does not try to hide or distort his identity.  He deceives you of what yours is.  Don't fall victim to this world. 

What does your life say?

love, angie

Thursday, February 23, 2012

a kitchen pantry...finally

If I have one major complaint about our house--we have no extra storage!  All we have are the bedroom closets.  While they're good sized closets, things still tend to struggle to find a logical home.  We have very little bathroom storage (one under the sink cabinet in each), no coat or linen closet, and no pantry.  I've had to get very creative in placements--and things still tend to overflow.

But now that we have the baby bug, things had to change.  Especially now that she's getting old enough for us to venture into the land of rice cereal and baby food, her supplies were multiplying in my kitchen.  Without a pantry, I was already using my largest single cabinet and two double doored cabinets for food, as well as my largest double doored cabinet for appliances (crockpots, blender, George Foreman grill, toaster, etc.).  And they were bursting at the seams.  I had to do a major purge this summer to get all of that to work when we took over our previous appliance storage cabinet as an impromptu desk/office space--AJ's bedroom took over our office.  So now I needed something for all of her things.

I finally was able to get my hubs to get me a storage cabinet :)  We debated on him building one; paying a fantastic woodworker to create us a built-in desk/pantry/storage area (would have been amazing, but way out of our wise budget); buying one at a furniture store; constructing one pretty much exactly like this with shelves from IKEA (this will probably happen in our next house...or this one if we stay here long enough); or just going cheap with the little cube system.  All I really needed was a simple cabinet with doors (I have to be able to hide the cluttered look).  But we couldn't find something that seemed so simple...  Well, when Hunter went to Target (you know, that addicting store of wonderfulness?) to get the cube system we had decided to settle on, he found exactly what I had been looking for--not sure how we missed it the night before!

It fits perfectly in our skinny little corner by the windows. Nothing fancy.  And it was cheap (even better).  But it gets the job done.  Just a simple cabinet with doors.

a peek inside...

I also attached a 3M hook to the side of it to hold her eating bibs.  This gives easy access for table eating without the mess :)  Or at least without as much mess...

Since the extra cabinet is now the panty, my kitchen cabinets are filled with Bella's supplies.  They are usually more full than this, but we're packing for her weekend at Mimi and Papa's so they're a little bare. Normally, that formula shelf is full all the way across (that's after pay day at least, and then it slowly dwindles it's way across), and that big hole on the right of the shelf below it is usually full of bottles.  There's also our dishwasher basket, bottle liners, and formula containers there, as well as extra nipples and bottle lids inside the bowls (another Target find--$2 for a 2 pack of the big ones and for a 4 pack of the small ones...great deal!)  The cabinets in the bottom picture hold her sippy cups and bowls, cereal/food/snacks, and all the components to my Baby Bullet (super excited about that!  Christmas present from my madre).

I'm still making tweaks here and there as I adjust to having everything in its new home.  With the move I was able to clear off my countertops (the previous home to all of her bottles and their accessories) as well as two shelves in her closet (which held all of the formula and unopened cups/bowls/spoons and the Baby Bullet).  All in all it has been a great adjustment!  I love having everything so easily accessible :)

Oh and while I was at Target, I couldn't help but snag up these little gems.  I have no idea what I'm going to use them for yet, but they were just too beautiful for me to pass up!

I may live in organized chaos to other people, but I really do love for everything to have its place (I just don't always do the best job of making sure it gets back in it!).  Loving my new storage space!

love, angie

What's your love language?

More importantly, what's the love language of the people you love?

If you haven't read any of Gary Chapman's books on the five love languages, I strongly encourage you to do so.

Obviously this is a great tool for marriage.  If couples will find out how to treat to each other in the way that makes the other feel loved, imagine how much stronger the relationship becomes.  Too often, we treat others the way that makes us feel loved--but they don't feel the same way about our actions that we do.  And this leads to many misunderstandings and arguments.

However, this tool can be used in any relationship you have in your life.  I was privileged while teaching to attend a conference given by someone who referenced this book often.  It made me look at my students completely differently.  Also, close friends, people at church, coworkers--if you take the time to examine them and notice what you think their love language might be, a more solid relationship has the chance to blossom.

This is a great tool for teachers,
youth ministers, and parents.

He has written The Five Love Languages, which covers just about any relationship.  However, I was also able to find the version for teenagers and for children.  I have not finished either of those, but the little that I have read, I have already been able to apply to my relationships with children in those age brackets.  It truly is amazing how much your relationships with people can improve if you take the time and resources you have to find out what makes them feel loved.

Great tool for elementary
 teachers and parents

If you're interested in finding out your own love language (to maybe share with others or help you better understand yourself) you can take the test here.  Have your spouse or close friend take it as well; then you can do things for each other that reach out to their primary language.

The test will give you a brief description of the language, but I strongly encourage you to read the book to get the full explanation and conceptualization.  It'll change the way you treat people!

love, angie

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

a change is gonna come

Today marks a year since we found out we were pregnant.  Holy mackerel.  It really feels like it was just last week.

She was a planned baby, but it's still really shocking to see that little test actually turn positive.  We had been in Dallas that weekend for Hunter's work.  I felt really bloated all weekend and my clothes didn't fit the way they normally did, but I figured it was just one of those times where nothing felt right.  Then I went to school the next day.  This is actually how I remember when we found out.  We weren't supposed to have school that day because it was President's Day.  However, we had a snow day earlier that winter and they made us come this day to make up for it (I know some of you are laughing at the fact that we had a "snow day"...).  Anywho, as I was teaching, one of my students (a short little girl in the front row...she was quite a mess, as in a handful) poked my belly and asked if I was gaining weight!!  It took everything I had not to smack her right there!  Then she so sweetly whispered, maybe just like 2 pounds?  The way she said it just made me laugh.  But I did tell I would find a way to get her back.  Well, her little comment triggered my brain to start putting things together.  We were trying; I felt huge (and apparently other people could see it too!); and I didn't have any energy.  So I came home and decided to take a test.  That was the longest three minutes ever, but this light pink line started to show up.  And I started to freak out!  I was laughing and tearing up--and I'm not gonna lie, I jumped around a little.

Now I had to decide how to tell Hunter.  He had always told me that I had to tell him before I even took the test--he wanted no surprises.  Yeah, right.  So I just left it sitting next to the bowl that he dumps his pockets into when he gets home--sure way for him to see it.  Those two hours waiting for him to come home also seemed like they took forever.  Anyway, he comes in on the phone...of course.  So I antsily await him to hang up and then he starts to give me a hug and tell me about his day--without emptying his pockets!  This never happens!  So I had to steer him over there and tell him to relax before we sat down to talk.  He's emptying his badge, keys, and then his eyes catch it and he double takes.  Too funny.  He holds it up and says, "is this real?!"

Now...  what do you think most men would do?  Come hug their wife?  Get excited?  Maybe even get a little light headed or pass out?  Nuh uh.  Not my boy.  He immediately got his computer out and started googling pictures of positive pregnancy tests.  Because the second line wasn't dark (but definitely visible), he didn't believe it was positive.  He even made me take another test.  Because it was so late in the day and I was very early in my pregnancy, that line was even lighter.  So Mr. Doubtful started raining on my parade.  I softly and simply told him: "I need you to be excited.  I need you to take me to a nice dinner.  And I need us to celebrate together and let this sink in.  Ok?  Ok."  And that's what he did--although he still wasn't completely convinced.

So we went to Saltgrass for dinner and held nothing back.  Hunter's nerves shone through as he drank an entire bottle of wine...ha!  He was starting to wrap his mind around it, but he wouldn't believe it until he saw it in writing.  So we stopped at WalMart on the way home and picked up a digital test.  But I waited until the next morning to take it since that's the most accurate read of your hormones.  The next morning, I had no trouble waking up to my alarm.  Popped up, took the test, waited those excruciating three minutes to read the word "Pregnant".  I went and jumped on him in the bed, shoved it in his face, and said "Do you believe it now, buddy?!"  And then it started to sink in...

Waiting to tell everyone was SO hard.  We sneaked in some of our friends on the phone (and my sister who lives away), but we wanted to tell our family in person.  It was so hard talking to anyone without giving it away!

Who knew that year would fly by as quickly as it did?  I can't even fully grasp how much our lives are different than they were at this time last year.  We've been so blessed with that baby bug, and every day we love her more than we ever thought could be possible.  We just sit and stare at her and giggle in disbelief that she's ours.

What a year it has been...

love, angie

Thursday, February 16, 2012

a handy tip

A few years back, my mom shared a brilliant cooking tip with me.  It's one that I use ALL the time.  And it's all about ground meat.

It's so hard for me to keep fresh meat and actually use it all before it expires.  Plus if you only buy a pound at a time as you need it, you're spending quite a bit o' cash.

So the secret:  brown and season it (Tony's, garlic powder, and minced onions are my staples of choice), drain it, separate it into quart size freezer bags, and freeze.  Then when you're in need of a pound of ground meat, pull it out, pop it in a pan with a little bit of water to keep it from scorching, and heat it up enough to thaw it out.  Makes things so much easier when you're cooking.

So now after just a little bit of prep time, I have five pounds ready to go.  Bring on the casseroles, tacos, Hamburger Helper, and anything else I can think of!

I always have at least one bag in my freezer ready to go (this is ground beef, but I also usually have some ground turkey done as well).  It saves so much time and hassle when I'm ready to cook.  Hope it helps!

love, angie

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

the cheese to my macaroni.

Anyone who knows me well, knows my strange and complete obsession with macaroni and cheese.  It stems, I believe, from my time as an only child after both of my sisters moved out.  By that point, mom didn't want to cook anymore--so she didn't.  Several--I can't emphasize that word enough--nights were spent at Wendy's.  And on those other nights, I often fended for myself; most times in the form of some good ole Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.  That is one item I will not skimp on in the grocery store.  Kraft all the way.

Macaroni is still my fallback option for meals. On nights that Hunter and I do our own thing, I often resort to the mac.  Days when I'm home to eat lunch (which is every day now), I often resort to the mac.  Hunter even told me the other day that I was "like a mouse in the kitchen, and my presence really couldn't be noticed.  You're like, 'Oh, let me just boil some noodles and I'll be good.'"  It's also my major comfort food.  It always makes me feel a little more like me.  I just love my mac n cheese.

Now, the point to all that jabber you ask?  Hunter, my loving, adorable, hilarious, caring, handsome, proud, hard-working, determined, stubborn, goober of a husband, is the cheese to my macaroni.  He is my safety net on which I can always fall.  He is the key ingredient to my life.  He's my absolute comfort.  And I really just don't know what I'd do without him.

So here, on Valentine's Day, the day that the world takes a minute to think a little more about who they love (sadly, it's often with cheap impersonal trinkets...), I'll join in the hulabaloo with a tribute to my cheesy compadre.

Dating...  May 2003 - September 2006

Engaged...  September 2006 - August 2007

Married... August 25, 2007

Honeymoonin' Newlyweds...  August-September 2007

 Homeowners...  October 2008

 Parents...  October 2011

I couldn't be more thankful.  Happy day of love--make every day your love day :)

love, angie

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

a baby day in the 100 Acre Wood...

I had the joy and privilege today of hosting a baby shower for my precious friend.  She's having her first little baby--a boy--in the next few weeks.  As you can tell, her theme is Winnie the Pooh :)

This has always been my favorite cartoon--I'll still gladly watch it now as an adult!  So it was fun coming up with ways to make this party a little special and unique with the help of my little forest friends.  Not to mention a little help from Pinterest...oh what a blessed creation of a website!

This was the tablescape.  Starting on the far left, we have cups, ice, sweet tea, and some pretty tasty punch.  In the center was an absolutely delicious cake made by Pronia's deli in Lake Charles--chocolate peanut butter and absolutely incredible...  The food we served was all themed around the characters.  We had Pooh's honey roasted peanuts, Rabbit's vegetable tray, Piglet's pigs in a blanket, and Tigger's jello jigglers.  The forks were placed in a "hunny pot".  And a friend of mine and I made the sign in the corner (thanks to her Mad skills with the CriCut!)--"There's a rumblee in my tumblee".

Again, that absolutely adorable and scrumdiddliumptious cake!

Each of the foods had honey pot labels with the corresponding character attached.

The name banner that my Crazy Cool CriCut friend helped me make!

Myself and the Mama-to-be!  

Her name tag...  I used a wooden square from JoAnn and ModPodged Winnie the Pooh Scrapbook paper on top of it.  The I cut out a tag in a coordinating color paper, wrote on it, and ModPodged that on my other layer.  I then hot glued a safety pin and ribbon (Pooh and "It's a Boy!") to the back.

"Give 'em your two cents..."  A place for guests to sign-in as they gave "counsels, cautions, and congrats" to the parents as a figurative two cents.  There was twine hung above here for them to clip these to once they were written on.  Then they could also help fill the baby's piggy bank with their literal two cents!

Another "hunny pot" filled with clothes pins to play that infamous baby shower game--you can't say "baby".  

The sign painted by another fabulously talented friend: "As soon as I saw you, I knew an adventure was going to happen."  --Winnie the Pooh

This was also a station for guests to address the envelopes of the thank you notes to save the mama some time.  The little note read, "Help the busy Mommy-to-bee by making yourself the addressee!"  

The mama had also made little candy treats as an extra thank you for her guests.  These filled the little basket along with a note from her.  

Another sign made by my fabulous friend.  This one's edges are wrapped in twine and there's a piece of it looped in order to hang it.  Plus a few of of our forest friends hanging out :)

Pictures of the mama and daddy as babies.  It was neat to see what this little guy might end up looking like.

I didn't get a picture but we also played a pretty fun game that I found at Party City.  I bought a pack of 12 miniature diapers and filled each with a piece of a popular candy bar.  The guests had to smell the diapers (which smelled MUCH better than Jax's will!) and guess which candy bar was in it.  It wasn't near as easy as I was afraid it might be!

All in all, it turned out really well, and I was so happy!  It was one of those things that I pieced together bits here and there, and I just really hoped they'd all come together and work out!

Jaxson got some new goodies; the mama got to catch up with some good friends; and we got to have fun and eat!  Good times...

love, angie