Monday, January 23, 2012

Hello, Blog World

There are so many post ideas swirling in my mind and passing in fleeting thoughts.

Sadly, there is no time to get them organized and posted.

Such is life.

Four kids are a lot of little people to take care of.  Did you know that? 

Do you like sentences ending in prepositions?  Me neither.  Oh well.

Anyway...our lives are full, blessed, and the days are going by super quickly.

I've felt like we've been on an unending marathon of activities lately.  Only it's the marathon where you run around from thing to thing like a chicken with your head cut off, but there are absolutely no real exercise or weight loss benefits from this sort of marathon.  Oy.  Not a lot of sleep involved in the marathon, for that matter, either.

So, someday I'm sure life will slow down and favorite memories, activities, recipes, pictures, and fun times will be posted.  Someday.

For now, I have to leave you with one of the most touching, well done documentaries from John Piper.   
(No, he's not related to Peter Piper, Carson.   Yes, he's a little older, but he's also still alive, Cloe.  No, we don't know him, McClain.  Can we just take the 18:44 to watch this?  Thank you.)

Grab a tissue.  It's a good one!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

There's a new love in our house...

Our family loves fresh salsas!

Recently, we found a new, yummy looking fresh salsa recipe on Pinterest.

Tapatio was the mystery ingredient.

We sent Cody off to the store in search of the new hot sauce.

He returned.  Success!

We chopped, diced, sprinkled and stirred.

Our mouths were watering.  Could this be as tasty, delicious as we were all hoping?

Yes!  Success!

Try it!  Definitely a keeper!  Thanks, Tapatio!  We love you!

Chunky Avacado Salsa

original recipe found here

1 avacado
2 tomatoes
1 small can or 1 cup frozen white corn
1 can black beans
Green onions
Garlic salt
Tapatio sauce

Chop up your tomatoes and avacados.  Drain and rinse corn and black beans.  Dice up the green onions and cilantro.
(Really, just use as much of all the above ingredients as your family likes!)
Toss together.  Season with garlic salt and Tapatio sauce.

Enjoy with tortilla chips...or just by the spoonful!

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Big Birthday Party!

For months and months and months (literally), our boys have been dreaming and planning for their first big "friend" birthday party...
a pirate party!
We invited mateys from each of their classes to a playground center for treasures and adventures.  
Yo-ho!  We weren't lacking with either!  
T' party was a lot 'o fun!

Here are a few tips party tips we learned along the way:

*If a theme can be nailed down far in advance, appropriate invitations, decorations, and loot bags can be picked up on clearance as stores switch out merchandise.

*Renting a play facility for a flat rate is totally worth the money when it comes to entertaining a large group of rowdy energetic boys--there was no wear and tear on our home and the clean-up was all left behind!  

*Making and decorating birthday cakes that your children love will not kill you.  Promise.  After searching Pinterest (of course), I followed the directions here for the little pirate guy cake and took ideas from here for the pirate ship.

*Two cakes baked in oval casserole dishes and layered make the perfect shape for a pirate ship!  No hard cutting or shaping involved!   Stack on a glass cutting board for a sturdy platform.  (Make your favorite boxed cake mix with milk instead of water and you'll end up with a cake that tastes superb!)

*Buttercream frosting is super easy and much more delicious than frosting in a can.  The faithful red-checked cook book says to make buttercream frosting like this:
Beat 1 stick butter (at room temperature) until fluffy.  
Add 2 cups powdered sugar and beat.
Pour in 1/4 cup milk and 1 tsp. vanilla.  Mix well.
Beat in 2 more cups powdered sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
For chocolate buttercream frosting, add 1/4 c. cocoa powder.  Delicious.

*Cakes that are frozen are much easier to decorate!  Use a toothpick to draw lines for the ship boards in the frosting.  Embellish with candy, cookies, or anything that could resemble parts of a ship or a pirate!  Get creative!

*Small character toys are inexpensive but add a super polished, fun look to any cake!

(Yes, this is pirate cake numero dos.  We had one on their real birthday and one for their party.  I like the second one best.  Practice makes almost perfect!)

*Boys have a lot a lot a lot of energy.  Next time, rethink inviting 21 little boys to party.  Cuh-ray-zee.

*Lastly, cherish every.single.chaotic moment.  They only turn six once!

What are your favorite birthday party tips?

Monday, January 9, 2012


Can you believe this beautiful weather?

If you're not from Iowa, we've been enjoying crazy, record-breaking warm temperatures lately.

It may just be a coincidence, but when our boys were born six years ago, we also experienced an unseasonably mild winter.  I was super leery of carrying babies on ice and snow was petrified of falling in slippery parking lots in the freezing temperatures.  So, back then, the warmer weather was a huge answer to prayer.  And guess what, it's just as much an answer to prayer this time--with just one baby to carry!  Sorry...we're done having babies, so next year, it's probably back to snow and ice.  Haha!

Here's what we've been up to:

 Long walks in the sunshine!  Ahhh!

 A little baseball practice at the park!

 Family drives to fun sites it our city--Mater lives just south of downtown Des Moines!
Climbing on crazy big Monster Trucks!

If only tomorrow was May 1 and spring was here for good!
How did you enjoy this beautiful weather?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Happy Six Months, Baby!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

We interrupt our regularly scheduled blogging...

Oh wait,
there's been no regular schedule here on this blog since our little man showed up!

He sure is cute, though!

Anyway...thanks to a fantastic government teacher in high school, who I am just now really appreciating to the fullest, I occasionally get a little geeky spark of enthusiasm for politics.
This enthusiasm especially sparks every four years at caucus time.  Living in Iowa, the caucus is BIG NEWS because we hold our caucus first in the nation.   

(All you other states, edging in on us:  back off.  Seriously, you've got mountains, oceans, beaches, waterfalls.  We've got lots of corn and the first caucus.  Let it be.  Let it be.)

I digress...

So here's a quick look at the fun we've had around here with the Iowa Caucus:
 Our venue for the caucus was moved to an events center to accommodate over 1,200 people.  There were media people swarming like crazy!  Several of our neighbors were interviewed by CBS, CNN, Rutgers, and a news station from Dallas (hello, Rick Perry).  Maddox even got a little snuggle from Soledad O'Brien, an anchor from CNN!  She took a big 'ol whiff of his sweet baby head and said, "I love the smell of babies!"  Too bad my camera was stuck in the back of the stroller.

After each of the candidates was represented with a little speech from a local resident, our precinct got a surprise visit from Rick Perry.  He was very suave with his southern drawl.  Unfortunately, he placed fifth in our precinct.  Sort of felt bad for the guy after going to all that work to charm us in person.

As we were waiting to drop our ballets in the box, a very sweet elderly couple complimented our children on their nice behavior at the caucus.  They asked our children who they were rooting for.  Carson got a really snide look on his face and said sharply, "Barack Obama!"  Nice, kid.  
The old lady teasingly said, "Oh, we don't say that name here, young man!"  Well played, nice lady!

Today, the media and politicians began flooding out of our area.  However, we did catch this live broadcast from the MPR at our coffee shop right before our Bible Study.  Pretty nifty!
Lastly, I wanted to catch a picture of the hotel really near our house where all the news satellite trucks parked.  I happened to be stalking passing through the parking lot just as Michelle Bachmann's bus pulled up for her to deliver her withdrawal speech.  I sat perched in my vehicle trying to capture a picture of the famous gal.  She's there--I promise!

So there you have it:  a glimpse at the Iowa Caucus!

Lots of candidates, information, phone calls, signs, debates:  politics.

Fun to experience, but now...back to my regularly scheduled life!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy Birthday,
Sweet Little Men!

There are two things in life for which we are never truly prepared: Twins.
~ Josh Billings

Today you are SIX!

You have to know, sweet boys, every year on your birthday, I comically breathe an inward sign of relief that we've somehow kept you alive for another year.  

You daily test the limits of your safety 
by fearlessly climbing trees,

energetically running down the cracked, uneven sidewalks, 

furiously riding your scooters and bailing into the grass to stop, 

rapidly riding your bikes down the sloped driveway toward the street--turning only at the last second, 

intensely (yet somehow lovingly) beating each other with anything remotely shaped like a sword, 

sprightly hanging from the swing set with jump ropes turned lassos,

nimbly jumping and diving at every possible opportunity.

You both, as they say, are ALL BOY.

And I love it!

McClain, you are absolutely as sweet as they come.  You love to plant surprise kisses on my cheek and still unashamedly hold on to my hand anytime we're out and about.  You have a tender heart and care deeply for your whole family.  We pray you will continue to grow in confidence and be unafraid of what others think of you.  Your approval is found in Christ alone.  We're so thankful you asked Jesus to be your Savior just last week and claimed His forgiveness for your sins.  God has good plans for your life, McClain.  We are humbled God has chosen us to be your parents.  We love you!

Carson, you are so energetic and completely full of wittiness.  We are always guaranteed a good laugh when you're around.  You are a natural protector and always stand your ground.  You have a fierce love for your family and show it well with tight, quick hugs.  We pray you will guard yourself from pride in your own strength and abilities and place your confidence totally in Christ.  You already have an understanding of salvation and those wheels are continuously turning as you soak up God's Word.  God has good plans for you, Carson!  We are humbled that God chose us to be your parents, too!  We love you!