Thursday, March 28, 2013

Thankful Thursday

Today I'm thankful:

--to get to visit with my sweet Brooke!  She is a special friend to me (we were teacher neighbors and crafting pals) who moved far, far away a while back.  Well she came into visit this week and I was lucky enough to get a lunch date :)  It also gave us both the chance to visit and catch up with our other teaching buddies.  I just miss her so!

--that my sister amazingly found a stuffed Fievel during a consignment sale just like the one Hunter had growing up!  It's been so special to see the light in his eyes remembering his childhood friend (and singing that sweet little song!); but a new little light is added seeing his little girl play with and love on his childhood friend.  He's a little (or actually pretty big!) stuffed animal our little family will treasure.

--that even after all of the disasters of Easter last year (lost dresses, burnt lunch...), my family loves and trusts me enough to host it again this year :)  I have a lot of fun things ready for the kids, and it'll be a grand family day all the way around.

--to be so involved with such a fantastic youth group.  We're headed off to LTC this weekend for them to showcase their leadership skills and talents in multiple categories.

--that Hunter finally gets to go back to Easter with his family at the camp.  Because of LTC being on Easter every year, we've missed his family at the camp since we've moved.  He's missed it so badly, and this year, he decided he's going to go.  I'm thankful for his time with his family, for he and Bella to have some time together, and for Bella and I to have some time apart :)  (Don't take that wrong at all...I adore my sweet daughter.  But being a stay at home mom, and really just a mom at all, I don't get much time to not be on duty.  It's going to be nice to have a couple of days "off".)

--that I learned how to make royal icing and pretty cookies!  I had a good time making them for Easter this year--even though my kitchen is a complete mess from it...

--for a husband who tries.  Back to LTC--that requires a lot of hours and planning and practices.  So Sunday, I had to go up to the building early to work with our kids on their events.  Hunter stayed home with Bella who was still napping.  When he walked in for services, this is who came with him...

First of all, check out those bows!  Second favorite:  stockings AND socks.  Third:  last thing I told him before I left was that it was supposed to be chilly out so to put her in long sleeves or a jacket; he opted for sleeveless.

Now, although I may be poking fun at my boy's fashionista skills for our wee one (and he will probably kill me when he finds out I did so on here), I will have you know that I didn't touch a thing!  A lot of moms would rush to change her and "fix" her outfit--and had we been somewhere else, I may have been more tempted to do so.  However, I did not.  My sweet baby was bathed, dressed, and to church on time.  And daddy did it all!  I just don't want to forget this silly, special memory :)
(and he didn't just throw something on her, he really tried!  He was so proud of getting pink touches on everything down to the socks and shoes--even though none of the pinks matched, haha!  Love it.)

--for my sweet, loving Jesus.  The perfect sacrifice who not only died a horrific death to pay the price for my horrific ways, but also rose again to offer me life everlasting with Him in Glory!  Thankful doesn't cut it, but it's what I have to offer, so I do.

be grateful, give thanks.

love, angie

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Thankful Thursday

Today I'm thankful:

--that Hunter and I were able to come to the Tulsa workshop this year!  He has never been and I haven't been in years--the week is filled with lessons and worship and fellowship.  Such a blessing.

--for my sweet husband.  There is childcare offered at the workshop, but tonight's keynote was Francis Chan (hello!) so it was extra packed and the childcare room filled up before I got her in there.  She has not slept much at all these past two days--remember this is my child who sleeps 12-14 hours a night and  takes a 3 hour nap--so she is ex-haus-ted.  This meant we had to keep her with us during the worship service, AIM presentation, and lesson--and she wasn't havin' it.  I had her out walking the concourse for a bit, but my boy came and took over the parenting duties when Francis began his talk.  I am so incredibly grateful for that selfless act.

--that childcare is offered at the workshop!  Even though we didn't get her in tonight, she was in there Wednesday night and most of the day today.  It allows us to be able to really focus and absorb the lessons, and also allows her freedom to play and make new friends!  Win, win, win.

--for my laptop!  I have been wanting one for about as long as I can remember.  Then Hunter and I jumped on the Apple train full steam ahead about 3 years ago--so now, I've specifically been wanting a MacBook (which made the price range higher and the reality further away).  Well, today, we decided that we would make the plunge.  So during our lunch break, we scurried off to BestBuy and got my long awaited prize.  Fun!

--for the changes occurring in denominations (particularly our tribe, the Church of Christ) which are somewhat leading to some unity under the blood of our Jesus!  This was made blatantly apparent tonight as Francis Chan spoke (or that he was even invited).  His talk wasn't even a planned out lesson, but rather a guiding of the Spirit on what this audience needed to hear from him.  And it was just that--one of strength and unity.  Powerful.

--that Arabella did so well on the long drive up here!  She didn't sleep as much as I had anticipated she would (I'll chalk that up to the front facing car seat...), but she kept herself pretty well entertained and happy.

--for some major doors being opened for us as we trudge through the planning of this youth rally!  This has been a true step out in faith for us and our whole congregation, and it's exciting to watch it all play out and come together.  We are praying strongly for this event, specifically to be an outreach to the youth in our community.  We covet your prayers of agreement with us over this.

--that my Otterbox is slim and hard enough to slip in my pocket, and that the charger flap tucks tightly into itself.  I know this may seem odd, but those are the two major reasons I hated other people's Otterboxes and swore I wouldn't get one unless I had to.  I'll probably still opt for the LifeProof case eventually, but this one was SO much cheaper and could be delivered to me the next day, in time to leave for our trip.  Plus, it's lime green with some dark plum purple so it has enough pizazz to make me smile :)

--for each and every one of you.

be grateful, give thanks.

love, angie

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Thankful Thursday

Today I'm thankful:

--for the announcement that one of the boys in our youth group has committed to a 12 day mission work in Brazil this summer!  We also have another, one of our college girls, who is returning to the field in Haiti!  We could not be more proud of these kids stepping out in faith and dismissing their fears, willing to walk straight onto the foreign field in the name of our great and mighty Savior.  It's just incredible to witness.  I am beyond thankful for them and their willingness to live our the Gospel.

--that I get to visit a very dear friend this weekend, whom I haven't seen in quite a while!

--that Hunter and I (and our Arabella) get to go to the Tulsa Soul Winning Workshop next week!  I haven't been able to go in years, and Hunter has never been.  It is a fantastic conference, full of worship to our sweet Lord and Savior, challenging lessons that inspire growth and action, and fellowship and togetherness with thousands of other Christians.

--for toys to pick up, dishes to wash, and laundry to fold...  I have a very active family who loves me and needs me.  How could I not be thankful for those signs of reassurance to that sentiment?

be grateful, give thanks.

love, angie 

Monday, March 11, 2013

C is for Cookie

nom nom nom nom!

If there were any type of cookie that I could easily sit down and eat my weight in, it would be sugar cookies with royal icing.  Something about that thick, hardened icing that adds just the right amount of sweet...oh mylanta, SO good.

At the baby shower I helped host a few weeks ago, one of the other hostesses had made some cookies just like that (and I may have eaten several at the shower and then taken even more home for Hunter and to chow down on...dangerous).  The girl who made them is a major DIY queen and pretty much anything she creates is fabulous.  But since she's not a baker by trade, I figured I might be able to do this if she could (royal icing and decorating intimidated me big time).  She led me to an absolutely amazing blog (seriously, this woman's talent and eye for creativity is astounding) Sweet Sugar Belle.  {I have always admired and envied those people who are talented in the world of cookie decorating. I've got the baking part down just fine.  But like in any other artistic medium (painting, drawing, etc.), the decorating isn't so easy for me...}

Switch gears with me a little.  This past Thursday/Friday, I kept my youngest niece since both grandmas had things going on and my sister was in a bind.  I can only remember very few times that I have kept my nieces and/or nephew and we not make and decorate cookies!  It has become quite the "Gigi's house tradition".  I did it for the first time when Aby, my oldest niece (who is about to be 7--what?!), was just 2ish.  She fell in love with the fun and ever since, it's something we all love to do together :)  So since I was going to have Kailyn--and the other two birds would be over for dinner the next night to come pick her up--we of course had to make cookies!  And since I was making cookies, I decided to try my hand at the royal icing/piping/decorating gig...

December 2010, Cakes instead of cookies, and at Mimi's instead of Gigi's--we just can't get away from decorating the yummies!
May 2012, I kept all of them for the night/day, so of course--we made cookies!  Bella enjoyed the afternoon in her baby swing :)
So I got on the website, researched her recipes, fought back my fears, and trudged forward.  We hopped off to Wal-Mart to get the few items I needed to make them and headed home to start the fun!  I made up the dough while the girls watched Miss Patty Cake and played--Bella loved having someone to play with!

{Let me just take a second to give a HUGE shout out to my boy who majorly surprised me a couple of Christmases ago with my KitchenAid mixer...I LOVE it, and these cookies wouldn't have happened without it!}  

These pictures (especially the one on the left...) are not the most flattering, but they show how truly excited I was!

This shows the absolute difference is our personalities.  Hunter is simplistic--black and white, clean lines and edges, order. I live in my own organized chaos!  Straight lines get boring after a while and I can't settle on color patterns because I love them all.  He got me a white mixer (which I LOVE no matter the color) which is so up his alley.  Had I picked it out myself, who knows what color it would have been with all the options they have!  Lime green?  Yellow?  Light Orange?

But the white one will always match my kitchen...  Just makes me grin at how different we can be.
Back to the story.  It just so happened that about the time I finished the dough and was ready to cut shapes, Bella got tired--fabulous timing, kiddo!  KK (Kailyn) and I had a grand ole time using the cookie cutters to make some pretty fabulous Spring/Easter cookies!  She learned that flour doesn't taste good even though it looks like it would.  We also had some giggles wiggling with the cookie cutters to make sure they cut all the way through.  Love that kid.

Anywho, we popped them in the oven and then she went down for a nap too.  Both of them asleep at the same time?!  Perfection.  Plus it gave me the perfect window to tackle this royal icing and get those cookies decorated without distraction.

Surprisingly, I was able to achieve the consistencies I needed pretty easily.  After I figured out how to assemble my piping bag/coupler/tip, I went to town.  And might I say, for my first time, they turned out pretty good!  And more importantly, they tasted fabulous...  We may have all eaten WAY too many each...

I saved 3 cookies for each of the kids to decorate (and 1 for Arabella--her first time to join in on the tradition!) when they got there that night.  For them, I just use canned icing, separate it out and dye it fun colors.  Then they also get to go to town using their sprinkles.  This was the first time Aby got really artistic with her icing colors and sprinkles--they came out so pretty!  If I ever get her alone, we might move up to the task of royal icing decorating :)

My four little icing-istas!  I love getting to have special moments with them.  

Kailyn would put a layer of icing and sprinkle it up, then add some more icing and repeat.  She was still going strong until we made her call it quits.  She would have sat there decorating those same three cookies all night!

Evan decided this time to put tiny dollops of icing and then douse them in sprinkles...  His plate made me grin...

Sweet Bella bug thought she was hot stuff getting to make cookies with the big kids!  

 Aby refused to let me get a picture of her with her cookies, so I had to snap her mid bite (when she wasn't expecting it!).  I was really impressed with her creativity on this batch.  She's becoming quite the little artist :)

I had icing leftover from that batch, and since Hunter was so sad to come home and see the rest of the cookies had been finished off, I of course had to make another batch!  I was excited to get to add some Louisiana flair to these--and there may be a few left...but I have a feeling after today, there won't be...

He even wanted to help this time :)
And he got a little more creative that I had...
We had some Louisianas...
some fleur de lis...
some alligators and some crawfish...
I still have a little more practice to do on dough thickness and baking times.  And of course, the decorating skills will hopefully improve the more I make them!  But that can't happen all too often, or I will be a blimp...

love, angie

Friday, March 8, 2013

what I love about my bug...

What a reminder...  I'm one who easily gets caught up in my lists and my projects that I lose sight of my greatest responsibility, the charge I've been given, my ultimate task--to train my child in knowledge, wisdom, and understanding and to live a life that embraces and embodies the love and grace of our sweet Jesus.  She is my most important work.

This is such a fun age, this toddler but pre push-my-limits-and-independence two year old.  I love seeing the world the way she does--with absolute awe and wonder, yet with the utmost simplicity.  She's exploring and learning so quickly; becoming very creative; understanding and communicating; expressing emotion clearly; learning to set boundaries and abide by ones set by's fascinating!  And it's fun!

Here are some things I want to remember and love about this age:
--she is still my sleepy sleepersome (and I still LOVE that about her!).  Most days, she doesn't get up before 11, and a lot of days it's later than that (going to bed between 9 and 10 these days).  Her schedule is right up my alley since I love to sleep too!

--she loves animals.  Going to Petsmart to get Tech's food has become a fun outing because she gets SO excited looking at all of the animals.  Her favorite friend this week was a rat.  Not my top choice, but she loved "giving him fives" on the glass.
--speaking of animals, she is picking up on what the look and sound like so well!  She can identify several of them by picture.  She knows sounds for the dog, cat, monkey, tiger, lion, bear, fish (my favorite!), and duck.
--being the Saints fans that we are, Hunter has a football with their emblem on it.  The day she discovered it, I pointed to it and said, "Who Dat!" a few times.  Ever since, if anyone says "Who Dat!" she scurries off to pick up that football and point at the emblem.  I have to admit, it makes us quite proud!  She's bound to be a football fan as much as her daddy and mama like it. Start em young!

--if she sees me pick up my purse and get my keys, she immediately runs to the door and waits for me.  She definitely knows that means it's time to go!
--she knows what "change your booty" means and will scurry into her room and wait at her changing table for you.
--she will answer yes and no questions (if she wants to do something, etc.).  If she agrees, she'll shake her head yes and sometimes say yeah.
--if you ask for a hug while standing (and she's in a loving mood...), she'll run up and squeeze both of your legs.  If you ask for one while you're holding her, she'll snuggle in on your shoulder and usually give you some pat pats.  Kisses are wide-open mouthed lean ins.  Both are absolutely fantastic.
--she knows where eyes, ears, nose, teeth, and belly button are {and can say eyes, ears, and teeth}.  She also loves finding those on other people...including the belly button.  If your shirt slips up slightly (for example during a stretch) and she sees it, brace yourself; those tiny little hands are coming over to lift up your shirt and dig in your belly button.  It's not the most pleasant of experiences, but that pride beaming off of her makes it worth your while.
--I can finally get all of her hair pulled into pigtails and a single ponytail!  It only takes about 5 minutes for little strays to start to fall out, but the fact that it all fits is a glorious achievement for me!  That long hair in the front and long hair in the back business is tough to work with when it won't meet in the middle.

--we sing together every night before she goes to bed (usually a combination/rotation of "You Are My Sunshine", "Hush Little Baby", and "Jesus Loves Me" with few others thrown in).  She'll take her binkie out and sing a little bit with me, then pop it back in, snuggle in on my shoulder, pat pat my arm, and hum along as I finish the song.  Such sweet moments.
--her excited face is priceless.  The complete oval mouth, wide eyes, accompanied by a gasp or a deep, giggly "ooooooh".  LOVE.

--she also started doing this scrunchy nose, squinty eye expression when she's being silly.  It's probably my favorite face she makes--that little wrinkle in her nose gets me every time!
--this past week she was sick, so when she woke up early one morning, she got to come snuggle in bed with mama and watch cartoons for the first time (she's done both of those separately...just not at the same time).  And then we may or may not have {but definitely did} snuggle in and fall back asleep together.  Special morning for me and my baby girl.

--she now runs.  And she will run when she's being chased.  Or thinks she's going to be chased.  Or gets caught with something she shouldn't have.  So fun!
--speaking of getting caught...  She will go get something she knows she's not supposed to play with (most often the remotes and her wipes), bring them over near me and show me what she has, wait for me to stand up, and scurry back to put them up like nothing ever happened.  She's a rascal but it's actually pretty cute.  She puts them back exactly where she found them every time.  Limit pusher...
--she snuggles and cuddles and squeezes her stuffed animals and babies.  She gives them the sweetest little loves.  We found this monkey at Sam's and I decided he was too cute not to have :)  He's quite a bit bigger than her, but that doesn't stop her from loving him.  In these pictures, Hunter had tied his hands and feet around her so they weren't dangling and he was hugging her back!  It was hilarious to watch her toddle around with a monkey strapped to her, and even more hilarious when she wrestled him on the floor trying to get him off!

--she finally says Mama!  However, she prefers to call me Gigi...(what my nieces and nephew--and pretty much my whole family--call me).  We're working on that.  But when she calls me Gigi and I say mama back, she either retorts with another and louder "Gigi" or her favorite, "daddy".
--I mentioned a few posts ago that we were so lucky, blessed, relieved, that her guardian angels swooped in just in time as a 20ish foot ladder toppled over on her at church (it was folded and leaning against the pews).  It could have done some real damage on her tiny body (it took five of us to get it off of her...extremely heavy and extremely scary), but graciously and miraculously, she came out scared with a few minor cuts and bruises.  (The picture below is about 6 hours after it happened and the swelling had gone down.  It could have been SO much worse--Praise our God it wasn't!)

--speaking of that daddy of hers...  him coming home from work is one of the sweetest moments of the day. He used to have to come find her to get their sweet moment.  Now as soon as she hears his key in the door, she runs to the foyer to greet him with a sweet, high pitched and drawn out "hiiii!" before running up to him, arms raised.  Makes his day, melts my heart.  I adore how much they love each other.
--she got to turn to front facing in her car seat and she loves it!  Catching each other's eye in the rear view mirror and making a silly face is our favorite :)
--she's festive (no idea where she gets that from!) and is starting to enjoy "dress up"--at this point it's mostly just head gear since she doesn't really know the difference in what she's wearing as clothes just yet (except for the comfort level I'd assume).

--she can drink out of a straw (and it surprisingly didn't take much or long to learn...I showed her once, exaggerating what I was doing to get the drink to come up.  I put the straw in her mouth after that and she went to town.  Quick, she is.)
--she absolutely loves to climb and get into things (like my crafting tote in the pictures below).  She's still a little too short to make it up to the couch from the floor, but if the recliner is out at all, up she goes (and she has figured out how to put the chair out a little {electronic, pushes the button} for the purpose of getting herself up on the couch.  She can get up on the dining room chairs though, and the pews at church.

She is pretty much the coolest.  I can't believe us two goobers were able to create something so awesome.  How lucky and blessed we are!

love your babies and make sure they know how awesome they are.  

love, angie