Friday, May 29, 2009

A Few of My Favorite Girls...

A very wise older woman once told me that you'll never have friends like those you have when you all are having babies together...these are a few pictures of those baby-having girlfriends to me! I did a horrible job of capturing a picture of every girl, but here are a few fun moments we had tonight at our ABF party. My Willow Creek girls are the best!Little Miss Prego got some well-deserved pampering...look at that, a head massage from a real mime clown! Just be glad I didn't capture every pose from her!Here's another true Little Miss Servant--she not only tackled the feet, she gave them a royal treatment that looked more professional than what you pay for at the spas! Amazing!!!
Ah, look at those cheesy grins! Of course, who wouldn't be smiling after fondue and enjoying some homemade, east coast soda drinks!This little gal brings a huge smile to my face every time I hear her testimony and how she is growing and glorifying God in everything she does!
Little Miss Spectacular Hostess was giving away some wonderful prizes! It was great to spend time with my girls from church! I love them! God has totally blessed me with friends that love me for who I am but also continuously challenge me by their examples and their words to grow in Christ and live completely sold out for Him (while having tons of fun together, too!)! Sorry I didn't catch as many pics as I thought...I do love you Amy, Dana, Liz, and Julie! Next time, please stand in front of the camera more! :)

Fantastic Friday!

Here's a quick recap of some pretty exciting events!

Yesterday, I picked up this Beijo bag at a garage sale for $2! I got home and went to the Beijo bag website--it retailed for $95! So, here's the question: do I keep it or try and sell it for profit on craigslist or ebay? Let me know what you think!
Next, we headed to Christopher's Fine Jewelry to try and hock off some old gold. My sister-in-law got an awesome trade-in awhile back, so I had to try it! This is my weird class ring--who doesn't want to hold on to a stone lapped in gold with Estherville written on it!?! (Actually, I truly wish I had my sister's class ring--they goofed and put our masots name on the ring instead of her name, so it said "MIDGET" on it. That would just be funny to wear!) Anyway, I had three old cheap rings (one was from my high school best friend's ex-boyfriend; she gave it to me when they broke up!) and three old nasty brownish gold chains that I didn't even know were really gold but had to try. The total for trade in: $180!!! Isn't that crazy! I'm so going to be looking for nasty gold jewelry at garage sales!

This picture is from my big savings trip to Target a week ago, but several people have asked about the coupon deals at Target. Here's my trick: I'm always on the lookout for coupons. Target is absolutely the best when it comes to coupons! They will take a manufacturers coupon and a Target coupon for the same item. It happened to be an excellent "stacking" week! I always check and to find more coupons! It's worth the time and effort! I'm even beginning to see a trend with coupons for organic foods! Yeah! If you have more questions, give me a hollar! I love saving money and seeing the rewards of coupons!

This is Cloe enjoying her most favorite birthday present! Sorry if you got her something else, she really loves those gifts too! This one just happened to steal her heart and give her some great entertainment for over an hour.

Here's the finished product! I love it!

Lastly, I got to join Cloe at the park for lunch today! The kindergarten classes were on a field trip to the library and fire station in Waukee, and parents could meet up with the class at lunch time. I love watching Cloe interact and play with her classmates, but the best feeling of all is that she still loves to hold her mom's hand, sit by me at lunch, and give me lots of hugs and kisses while we're together! She's the best little girl in the world! I can't wait for summer vacation to begin!
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Just bobbin' around...

The other day I poked my head out the door just in time to catch the boys racing up the sidewalk like this. The really funny part is that Carson (2 pounds lighter and 2 inches smaller) is the one giving McClain (our big lug) a ride. They were giggling and having a blast! I love summer time!

...these were on the grill out back. We love grilling, and we love kabobs! Kabobs are so simple and are an easy way to serve up fresh vegetables in a way the kids think is fun! These are steak, yellow, orange, red and green peppers, and onion kabobs just seasoned with a little black pepper, garlic, and sea salt.Our side dish was a potato packet. We got this idea a long time ago from my sister-in-law, Katie. We just cube up some potatoes, season as desired, and plunk it on the grill.

Voila!And a steamy voila! I thought the steam added a cool effect!

So, happy summer!
Hope you're grill is going and you're kids are giggling!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend Fun!

Memorial Day Weekend was a lot of fun for our family!
The kids and I headed out to Okoboji on Friday as soon as Cloe got out of school.

Our first stop was in Estherville to visit my Grandma Reed. We all love her so much! She always has a stash of treats and toys for the kids. They also love to take her for a spin in her wheelchair.
Next we headed to Okoboji to meet up with my parents and sister's family at the campground. It was a short night...
...this is our mom on a mission. She yanked us all out of bed at 6 am to head off to garage sales around the lakes. I'm not a morning person. It was raining. I was not pretty, literally. Thankfully, my dad's got my back, and we finally found our way to a coffee shop. Praise Jesus! seriously. We did find a few good things, but mostly just teased my mom about her energizer bunny excitement for these sales.Later on, we headed over to the Vic's Corner Flea Market. It's fun to browse through all sorts of antiques. I also found out I have a quite a few antique heirloom dishes that have a pretty price tag on them!

Everyone loved roasting marshmellows! Carson is enjoying his new chair, the bonfire, and the sweet treats that all come with camping!
The boys' favorite thing to do in the camper was to peak their head out and hollar, "Hey people!"
On Sunday, we headed back to Estherville for church and another quick visit to Grandma Reed. She was "tickled pink", as she would say, to have all the great grandkids loving on her.
I wish I were a better photographer because this picture just doesn't to justice to how beautiful the Dickinson County Court House looked for Memorial Day. It was surrounded by flags and blossoming trees. Kind of brought out some deep patriotism to see this and put into remembrance the sacrifices that have been made so we can live in a free country.Back at the camper, we had all sorts of fun blowing bubbles!
Carson found this special rock and requested that his sister "paint it beautiful" for him. I love that the boys adore their sister and admire the things she enjoys! The rock is already painted and setting pretty by the front door.This little missy had a big surprise for all of us: she hopped on one of the little bikes my dad had brought along and just took off without any training wheels. Who knew? I had been dreading those first spill when the training wheels come off, but she just took off like it was the most natural thing in the world! Good job, Cloe!!! Family Bingo! The resort we stayed at had family Bingo every night. My parents really enjoyed having all the kids along to play. We didn't win any prizes, but it was a fun outing!The boys loved playing on the caboose at the play area.I know this seems to be the only pose that I ever take of all three kids...I like it! Okoboji was still a little chilly, but the kids loved stomping around in the sand and shallow water.The lake had a great breeze for flying the stunt kite! Here's the handsome kite flyer. I love him!
Carson was telling Grandma and Grandpa that he wanted to stay with them forever.My little lovey boys!
Pretty girl in front of some beautiful old steps.
My mom told us these steps are probably around 100 years old. They use to have a taxi service across the lake so people could more easily commute around Okoboji and Spirit Lake.
I wish we had been with a real photographer (Chris?) here to capture it better, but Cloe still loved posing for me!The drive home!
All that fun sure wore us out! You can see Cody following us, too!Here's one happy, content momma! The camping trip was a fun success!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

This is a picture of our family four years ago. We were smiles on the outside...but not so much on the inside. I had taken a pregnancy test earlier in the week and it was positive *yeah*! Then over the long holiday weekend, I had started spotting. To add to that horrible feeling, Cody had something go majorly out of place in his neck, and he was in excruciating pain. Not wanting to spoil the special family day that we had planned, we put on smiles as best as we could and headed off to the Henry Dorley Zoo.
It's strange, I have no idea what I had for breakfast yesterday, but yet I can remember and replay the events and the conversations I was having with God that day four years ago. Sometimes, it was a complete cry for help and other times it was complete peace of mind. I knew God was in control, but letting His control rule over my emotions was a challenge.
Desperate feeling times aren't necessarily ones I seek after, but it's amazing how God uses them to draw us closer to Him. I've had several more of those "times" in the last four years...mostly because of the news we found out 24 hours later: TWINS!
It was the strangest feeling to go to the doctor's office and have a mindset that God gives and God takes away...we would choose to say "Blessed Be the Name of the Lord" no matter what happened at that visit on Tuesday. I went alone--Cody was getting some help for his neck. It was a cold, sterile room which confirmed the worst in my mind. Then to hear the words, "Here's a heartbeat." (sudden relieved sigh) Then the words, "And another heartbeat." Obviously I was still a little stunned at the finding of a was this another view? Nope...two babies! I must have looked like I'd been struck with pixy dust. The doctor went on in a very non-emotional way to tell me not to get my hopes up--many times women carry a "phantom twin" who miscarries and the other baby goes on to be delivered full term. Too late for that--my hopes were already there: twins!!!
I remember the phone call to Cody (this may be too revealing of how quickly materialism creeps in!): "We're gonna need two everything! How are we going to get two beds, two high chairs...this is going to be expensive!" "What are you talking about? Is the baby ok?" "Yes, there are two heart beats!" "Whoa..." .silence.
The next few weeks were filled with prayer, fear, and wonder.
The rest as they say is history! I'm sure I'll fill in more details as different "anniversaries" of moments in time come to mind.
This is one of my stories of grace. I love Psalm111 that encourages us to remember what the Lord has done for us!

Psalm 111

1 Praise the Lord!

I will thank the Lord with all my heart
as I meet with his godly people.
2 How amazing are the deeds of the Lord!
All who delight in him should ponder them.
3 Everything he does reveals his glory and majesty.
His righteousness never fails.
4 He causes us to remember his wonderful works.
How gracious and merciful is our Lord!
5 He gives food to those who fear him;
he always remembers his covenant.
6 He has shown his great power to his people
by giving them the lands of other nations.
7 All he does is just and good,
and all his commandments are trustworthy.
8 They are forever true,
to be obeyed faithfully and with integrity.
9 He has paid a full ransom for his people.
He has guaranteed his covenant with them forever.
What a holy, awe-inspiring name he has!
10 Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true wisdom.
All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom.

Praise Him forever!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A new game!

Here's a little game that I thought would be fun to play!

You're supposed to do the following:
1. Open the 4th picture folder on your computer
2. Open the 4th picture and post it on your blog

3. Explain the picture
4. Tag 4 people to do the same!

Here's my fourth folder / fourth picture:

I would love to tell you about this picture, but I actually have no idea where this was taken! How's that for a good memory! Actually our fourth folder is a copy of Calli's pictures from her freshman year at Faith. It's nice to see that Cloe's hair did finally come it quite nicely and my double chin is still hanging in there...
So what do you have? I'm tagging you four girls:
1. Katie
2. Abby
3. Jenn
4. Jessica

Friday, May 15, 2009

Strawberry Shortcake

I've always wanted to make Strawberry Shortcakes, but it seemed like the recipe might be a little too complicated. Nope! These were so super easy! They make a great summer treat!

Strawberry Shortcake
2 c. flour
2 T. sugar
1 T. baking powder
1/2 c. butter
1 egg
1/2 c. milk

In a large mixing bowl stir together flour, sugar, and baking powder. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In a small bowl, combine egg and milk; add all at once to dry ingredients and stir just to moisten. Knead gently on a lightly floured surface about 12 times. Pat or roll to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut into 9 biscuits.
Bake on an ungreased baking sheet in a 450 degree oven about 10 minutes or until golden. Split and fill with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. Serve warm!

The Tulip Festival

A week ago today, we were in Pella amongst tons of beautiful tulips, like these! I love the Tulip Festival! It is one of our very most favorite family traditions! Cody and I started going when we were in college...crazy how different the car ride sounds now! The Dutch pastries are still just as yummy, though!

My three babies! I was a little apprehensive about the Tulip Festival this year. Cody had a meeting and wasn't able to come with us, but thankfully, everyone kept it together, remained obedient, and we had a great time!My little monkeys! It was really fun to watch them hang! It probably won't be so fun when they hang from the top of the tree!

Every picture is a glamor shot when you're six years old!

Cloe really wanted to take a few pictures. I think she got the hang of it pretty well! She also took the picture at the top! Of course, now she would like her very own camera...
There you have it...a super fun day!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

This makes me feel a great sense of relief. However, Cody's plan of knocking him in the head with our hammer and then sharing the Gospel with him when he came to was a good plan. Gotta love being married to an aspiring evangelist.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Playing catch-up

Spring always seems to get crazy busy, and before I know it, the months are flying by too quickly! We've had some exciting events lately, so here's a bit of catch up!

Last Saturday, we had a Ladies Retreat with our church gals. I love to see what excitement Cody has created with the kids while I'm gone. This time, I came home to find my boys all decked out...scooters and helmets!
Future X-Game Professionals...

Big Grins!!
Next, we had a very traumatic fall. Cloe stumbled on the sidewalk on her way home from the school bus stop. I thought by the screaming and wailing I was hearing that she was being kidnapped or something. She kept that sobbing going for a good hour..."why did this have to happen, this is my first big owie, why did this have to happen, it hurts so, so bad, I'll never be able to walk again..."

Ouch! It's complimented by her bruise from a fall off her new scooter.
Oh, what wonders rainbow band-aids can do! (and a good strong dose of Tylenol!)
A little piece of injury artwork!

The boys had their first visit to the dentist and passed with flying colors!

Who wouldn't with these stellar glasses on!
McClain was the model little boy in the chair. He sat so still and kept his mouth open super big.Carson did quite well, too. Although, they kept referring to his tongue as "Curious George".
It was fun to see them handle this first dentist visit with such courage. I love that my children don't seem to be scared of doctors! It makes life so much easier!

Now you have it...that's what we've been up to!
Pictures from the Tulip Festival to come soon!