Flowers from My Beloved
Flowers from Daniel after I had Eliza

Daniel doesn't bring me flowers very often and quite frankly, he finds doing those type of romantic gestures kind of hard.

We've had discussions about this, you know.

At first I have to say I was disappointed that he wasn't that kind of man. The kind that is always thinking of ways to knock a woman's socks off... flowers, vacations, chocolates, sappy cards. I would get frustrated and feel jipped that he didn't think of these fantastic ways of showing me his love. But then I calmed down after a couple of years and settled into loving who Daniel is. I made a study of my husband and found out the ways he shows his love. And what I found knocked my socks off.

He is smart - I know I can ask him any number of hard questions and he'll either know the answer or he finds it out. He is devoted to me - he comes home as soon as he can every night. He doesn't go anywhere else... he just comes home. And he dives right into helping me out. He doesn't think about how tired he is from work or whether he deserves to have a break, he just makes it all about me. He is openly affectionate - he loves me with his words and his arms. I never feel unloved. So though he may not bring me home flowers, he does my dishes and vacuums the floors; he makes keeping the house as clean as I like it to be a priority because he knows it is important to me.

I love knowing him intimately. And because I do, I can see the ways he loves me clearly without the flowers and chocolates.

Daniel loves me with his whole heart... could I really ask for anything more?
Daniel pointed out a sign today at the health food store that boasted:

" Has a delicious nutty flavor" and said:

" Hey Honey! They're talking about you. You're a little nutty!"

So, yeah, I am a little nutty and here's why- I actually look forward to going to bed with my newborn, knowing that she's going to wake me up in approximately two hours, three if I am lucky, to nurse. And I can't wait! We leave the closet light on so I can barely see... and what I see are beautiful eyes looking up into my face with a little tongue that is going a million miles a minute in anticipation. I love snuggling her body close to mine feeling her relax, listening to sweet happy baby sounds.

So call me nutty, call me crazy but I love the night. Sure, I am tired every day but these moments with my tiny baby girl are so fleeting.

Wow! What a wild six days it has been.

Sunday is when it all started... early Sunday morning. I woke up at about 4:30 a.m. for good, although I had been having contractions all night long. I was hungry, really hungry so I wandered out to the kitchen for some toast and juice. I distracted myself with little tasks and some blogging until it was time to get ready for church. Nothing spectacular was happening so we went to church and I tried to ignore my body for the rest of the afternoon. It kind of worked but by evening I was really uncomfortable. We called my midwife and she arrived about 10 p.m. We had set the birthing pool up and things were ready to go, all except me. My body basically called it quits. Kristen, my midwife, decided to go back home so she could get some sleep. She lives nearly two hours away so it was a tough decision but it was the right one. And I needed to go about my nightly routine and get some sleep as well. I was exhausted.

At about 1:30 I woke up with a killer contraction and knew this was it. "Go big or go home" is my motto and I was already home, so I had to go big. I labored and tried to sleep for a couple of hours but then it just became too much. We called Kristen and her midwife in training, Kristi, to come over. I wandered around the house; I tried to eat, tried to drink, I had my mom braid my hair but finally gave up trying to work through the pain and got in the birthing pool.

I was in a ton of pain by this point but amazingly enough I was able to manage it much better than I had thought I would. The water felt so good and I was able to relax in between contractions. Daniel held my hands through every one and I felt secure in him. Tarrah came over and it was nice to "chat" and have a good friend beside me. She made sure my eyebrows never got askew - a serious pet peeve of mine. Really, I'm quite vain.

Kristi arrived around 5 a.m. and checked me - I was nearly ready to push. I was having a hard time believing that this was really happening for some reason. I remember asking Daniel a ton of times if I was really going to have the baby that day. He probably thought "You are crazy, woman!" Kristin arrived about an forty-five minutes later and checked me again - I still had a tiny bit to go but my body was already pushing.

Finally, finally it was really time to push. I had prayed and prayed over this part. Pushing is truly hard for me. I have had long pushing sessions with both Eve and Judah and I desperately wanted this time to be different. But, it was not to be. Apparently, I have a narrow pelvis and my babies require a lot of work to be born. A lot. I honestly didn't think I was going to be able to do it. I was completely and totally exhausted. I had nothing left to draw from.
Close to the end, my contractions spaced out a bit and I was able to sleep for a minute or two in between each pushing. My mom also made up a honey and water drink- which was totally disgusting- but between the little cat naps, the drink, and a lot of prayers I made it through.

Two and a half hours of hard pushing did me in, but when I saw Eliza's face I couldn't remember any of it. Now, when Kristen had me stand up to get out of the birthing tub all the exhaustion came rushing back. But for those couple of minutes when I first laid my eyes on beautiful Eliza all I felt was joy. Pure joy. I remember Daniel looking in my eyes, his eyes reflecting the wonder I felt, and then giving me a kiss. Two people who love each other so deeply and with that love bringing a child in this world... it is an amazing moment. Nothing compares to it. Absolutely nothing.

Just as Eve and Judah are, Eliza is my joy. There is something about a newly born baby - so fresh from Heaven - that thrills my heart in an indescribable way. I look at her and sometimes can't believe that she is here, in my arms. I watch her move and my body knows all of it - I remember feeling those movements in my womb. I love to stare in her eyes and remember all the places and things we did together while I was pregnant, but now with the knowledge of who I was doing them with. I love to see how God made her - all the little things that make up Eliza. I spent so long wondering and imagining what she was going to look like, longing to know what she was going to feel like in my arms.
I am so thrilled she is here. I am so grateful for her life. Now, I pray for the wisdom I need to mother her.

Eve and Eliza
Eve had asked Daniel and me awhile ago if she could watch the baby being born. I wasn't exactly for it since I felt it might be a bit stressful for her, but Daniel thought she'd do fine. We talked it over and agreed that Eve could be with us for the part where the baby was about to be birthed, as long as someone was with her and able to take her from the room if it became too much.
Those last few minutes before Eliza were born were really intense for me, but I do remember a couple of specifics - the new morning sun shining in my face making me feel as if I really could birth this baby, and I remember seeing Eve's face.
I am thankful she was able to witness her sister's birth, I am thankful I could see her face when she realized that we had a girl, and I am thankful that I will always have the memory of her being with me and Daniel.


I know, not posting for days is so unlike me. But, if you had an Eliza to wake up to each morning you would understand. She is amazing; so delicate and fine. She has the sweetest raspy little voice I have ever heard and her dimples completely melt my heart.
She is true a miracle - a miracle I worked really hard to get into my arms. It is amazing how quickly I have let the remembrance of labor go this time. Don't get me wrong... I can recall it all perfectly, but it doesn't matter anymore. When I look at her I don't remember the pain and exhaustion, I just see my gorgeous baby girl.

Today, my early morning hours were spent looking into beautiful dark murky newborn eyes that stared back into mine; little smiles were given, whispered words of love and adoration spoken into delicate ears, tiny kisses sprinkled on unimaginably soft, lavender scented skin and then I watched my sweet Eliza drift to sleep curled in my arms.

She is my distraction; you'll have to forgive me.
Welcome to the World....
sweet Eliza Dove

Our beautiful baby girl was born at 8:34 this morning. Andrea worked hard and was absolutely amazing!! Everything went extremely well, thanks to all for your prayers, we felt them. Our daughter is beautiful and adorable and perfect.

She was 7 lbs. 8 oz. and 20 1/2 inches long

Glowing Mama and her baby girl!
***I'm guessing by tonight or maybe tomorrow morning we'll have our baby, unless something crazy happens. Daniel will keep you updated as much as he can. C'mon Baby!

Just wondering if this is "the day".

We will see.
I had another prenatal visit yesterday morning... You know, I am so over them. They aren't even exciting anymore, just simply a reminder that I haven't had the baby yet. During the visit I received some highly disturbing information. Apparently my belly has gone from measuring in at thirty-six centimeters to thirty-eight centimeters in one week! One week! I almost croaked. I am so thankful I have zero propensity for stretch marks because otherwise.....

Our baby is doing good, and according to the information above it has no qualms about growing. Me... I'm uncomfortable. I can't bend over anymore, my knees hit my belly when I walk up the stairs from doing laundry, turning over in bed unassisted-Ha!, on and on it goes. But, this is all typical end of pregnancy stuff and it's okay. I could have complications like high blood pressure, pre-eclampsia, or gestational diabetes. But I don't. I have a perfectly healthy pregnancy; all I have to deal with is the typical aches and pains. So, I am thankful for each day this baby grows in my womb, I enjoy each night I sleep for hours on end, and I enjoy being able to run an errand or two without having to think about a nursing schedule. Those changes will be here soon enough. When they are, I will be thankful that I can bend over with ease, and take the steps two at a time, that I can sleep on my stomach, and hug my kids tight.

Really, it's all just perspective.
Evie Coffee
It's the favorite part of the day for the kids.... when Daddy makes "Evie coffee". It's a splash of coffee, a bit of honey, and a whole lot of milk, made with Daddy's love. And it's consumed in 4.2 seconds, precisely, by Judah - who takes after me. Eve sips little sips. She takes her time just like her Daddy.
We love coffee here at our house and apparently, that love starts early.
Baby Names
** Wow! I can't even tell you how much fun Daniel and I have had going over the names you all suggested! I love it! You gave us some really great ones to mull over.... I feel such great responsibility with the naming of our child, but it's also so much fun and you gave us some names I never would have thought of! Thanks to all who gave us suggestions! I love that some of you are name fanatics like me!

Daniel looked at me Monday night and said:

" We just get worse at this with every child, don't we."

A name. We need a name.... this child needs a name or at least options. Poor Judah didn't have a name for two days. We called him....wait for it... "Baby." Original don't you think?

I have no desire to repeat that scenario with this child. I am a namer - I've named everything. Our cars, our Thanksgiving turkey, our computer, on and on ....Eve named our house, so apparently I've handed that trait down. It goes against my grain to not have a name, especially for my child.

With Eve and Judah we went with biblical names, but this time I have been craving the classic, rarely used, but not weird names. I adore the name "Vivian" and I really thought Daniel was good with that, but he told me Monday he just can't do it. So, that's out. We both really like the name "Eleanor". Daniel is mulling that one over he said. That at least shows some promise. "Eleanor" was my great-grandmothers name and I know it sounds archaic, but the more I let my mind think about it the more I really like it.
My favorite name is "Eliza" but it's not going real far with Daniel. I can just see a little girl with curls like me, a little turned up nose like Eve's, and big blue eyes bouncing around our house. The problem is that I would have to give the middle name "Jane" which I don't really love. It would just be wrong to go and have a "Liza" without the "Jane." (Thanks a lot Vince Gill! But, it's okay I still love you...)
I also adore the name "Violet." I tried for that one when I was pregnant with Judah, but no dice. And then Jennifer Garner went and named her daughter that. Judah was suppose to be "Moses" but Wow! was he just not a Moses. Gwyenth Paltrow went and used that one. I don't understand why these people don't clear their children's names through me first! I mean, C'mon!

I know growing up I had a looong list of names for my future children. I just can't find that list anymore.... I think my mom stole it so she'd never have to hear any of those names being used for her grandchildren.

Will you help us get the creative juices flowing? We like names that are considered fairly normal, not hard to spell, not modern, and easy to say. Oh, and boy names are good too but I'm pretty sure we have one nailed down.

Besides, I will be shocked if this baby is a boy.... but that would be nothing new, right Mom?

The "Big" Stud

So, I might have had a minor nervous breakdown Sunday night. Might have.

Okay, I definitely did.

It all started from the hamburger I used for dinner - it tasted really funny. And after just having food poisoning I kind of flipped out a bit. I ended up sobbing on the bed, feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders.

Not that I am ever dramatic or anything.

So there I am with my hyperventilating sobs while Daniel tries to comfort me. Then I heard the words:

"Clearing schedule... take leave... I'll be home to help."

Whoa! People, this is a minor miracle! Daniel has sixty-six days of vacation time right now because it is so hard to actually take time off in this job. Starting tomorrow I get to have my husband home with me for at least a week, and depending on when this this child in my womb decides to show it's face, perhaps more. I am thrilled!

My hyperventilating eventually stopped and I made another dinner for my family. My heart felt a little less in turmoil, and the list in my head of things to get done seemed much more manageable. Thank God for a good husband.

Perhaps I should pull out the tears more often...

Just kidding!
My Chimes

I know, I know. I'm writing about chimes...boring. But, with me it's the little things. Always has been, always will be.
I bought and hung these chimes not long after we moved into this little home. I bought them specifically for their sound yet also because the red wood at the bottom was weather-proof. If only my heart could have been just as weather-proofed. I haven't touched them in years, but today as I was about to take their picture I noticed a black spot. My fingers gently brushed it away. There can be no black spot on my beloved chimes.

The song these hollow metal rods sing is beautiful to my ears. Not too high, not too low. Just perfect. They have sung to me these long three, almost four years. They have sung whether I was happy or sad, in the good times or in the bad times; the song never changed. Though it does increase in intensity with the wind of Fall and Winter, and becomes gentle and quiet in the breezes of Summer, wavers between gentle and wild in Spring, the song is always the same. How I wish I could always have had my song stay the same these last hard years. Always believing that God knew what I needed, what was best, that He loved me, that He was always close. But, my song changed with the wind. How I wished I could have been beautiful and unchangeable, letting the winds of change toss me around but having my song - my beliefs never be moved.

When it comes time to leave our little house this Spring I will gently pack my chimes away, making sure to hang them at our new home the soonest moment I can. I only hope I will have learned a good lesson from my chimes. That I will hear the gentle reminder they sing to me from my porch.... " Always believe that God is for you, Andrea. Let the winds of change toss you where they will, but always keep your heart the same. He is a good God"
Nap time around our house is sacred. I don't skip those two quiet hours as a general rule. Though I still can't quite figure out who needs it more - me or the kids - I'm thinking it is me. Judah totally passes out each time; Eve on the other hand still naps once in awhile, but more often than not though she just quietly plays in her room.
I know many mothers use naptime to catch up on housework, make dinner, etc. but not this mother. Nap time is Andrea time. I am completely selfish for two hours. I eat my lunch, read, blog, sleep. Basically anything I want to do. Sometimes I just need to flop on the couch and sit there for a little while.
For me, the most enjoyable part of nap time is the quiet. I thrive on quiet. I am not an extrovert in any sense of the word. Being around people, while I thoroughly enjoy it, exhausts me - Daniel and Eve on the other hand - it energizes them. So naptime is my time to recharge, to regroup and pull myself together for the second half of my day with the kids.
And I think it is really important for the kids as well. We all need a break from each other. Eve needs some quiet time to use her imagination, to play with the toys Judah has tried to jack from her all day long, to color - create. Judah on the other hand simply needs sleep. Otherwise, he's a bear. And not a teddy bear either - he's a growling, angry, tired bear. No fun at all.

How do you deal with nap time at your house? I read a blog awhile ago that said she also does a quiet hour in the middle of her morning. She gates the kids in their rooms and takes that hour to do housework alone. This is in addition to nap time. Interesting...

My curious mind inquires about you....

Look! I'm a red head again... Daniel is my hero colorist.

Sigh.... I wish I had more exciting news for you about yesterday, but I don't. We just had a busy day. Daniel colored my hair, and then Eve had her first haircut. It nearly killed me and Daniel. Snipping away her sweet blond baby hair was really, really hard for me. I took off about three inches because I couldn't handle any more. I totally appreciated all your suggestions and seriously thought about each different one. Eve requested that we not cut it short, and Daniel gave me sad puppy dog eyes when I talked about even trimming it, so you can see the decision to simply trim was already made for me.

Before the trim

After the trim

Then we, like the crazy people we are, went shopping at Costco. I knew our area was expected to get a big storm today and I wanted to make sure our water supply was stocked up. But, seriously, who can leave Costco with just water? Apparently not me. The kids had fun looking at all the "Frosty" and charmed nearly every passerby. We always have a blast at Costco - I'm positive they put something in the air system there.

Later in the evening, after I had successfully ruined a batch of homemade eggnog (which is totally gross if you've never done that before!), we went to a live nativity with the kids and some friends. It was like ten degrees out! It was SO cold, but fun. Afterwards we went back to Sam and Tarrah's house for Christmas cookies, hummus and veggies, pound cake with raspberries and whipped cream, successfully not ruined spiked eggnog, and some great company.

So, you can see we had a busy day. I have had a lot of regular Braxton Hicks the last three days but so far they haven't turned into anything serious. And hopefully I won't go into labor today since we are getting inundated with snow. I'm not so sure my midwife could even get here because of the storm. That would be classic, wouldn't it. Even though I believe Daniel could handle the birth, I would be totally freaked out! It sure would make for a good story though. I just hope it doesn't end up that way. I'm so not into that whole unassisted birth thing!

Although you can't tell here, Daniel is super thrilled because the snowplow just went by and buried the driveway the exact moment he had finished clearing it. Timing is everything.

The Belly
My midwife, Kristen, came yesterday morning for a prenatal appointment. Hard to believe we are having an appointment every week now. I love that we sit on my couch and talk. No time limit, no pressure, no travel. I feel like Kristen can really pay attention to the baby and to my needs. I can talk to her about everything I am feeling- my fears, my excitement, my stupid questions are never stupid. It is so amazing to have everything from the very beginning of the baby's life to the actual birth happen at home. And I am thankful that we are able to have it this way.
Daniel stayed home for the appointment and was able to hear the heartbeat. I love that. For some reason, with all of our babies, I can never hear the heartbeat. I've tried over and over, but no dice. But, since I am the one who gets to feel the movement of our baby, I think I have it best.

I measured in at 36 weeks which freaked me out! Kristen said that the baby has dropped and it is normal to measure smaller. Phew! I am so over 36 weeks! I do believe I am perfecting "the waddle" in which case her dropping prognosis is right on. The baby felt great to her and is good to go. Hint, hint baby...

We talked about what we are doing with the kids when I am in labor, about the birthing supplies, about labor itself, the size of the baby.... I can't believe it is almost here. Truly, this weekend would be wonderful. But so unlikely. I usually go full term; I am good with that because it is good for the baby. Before Christmas would be lovely though. Time will tell...

Bet you all are getting sick of hearing about the baby!
Food Poisoning
Food poisoning at nine months pregnant, with two small children, rots.
I should have known better.

The End.

*I'm still alive... Thank you for the prayers - they are why I am still here. Now, I am going to go lose myself in sleep. Daniel promises me tomorrow will be better.
Recipe for Biscuits
I am about as Northern as they come. I was born and raised in New York but then married Daniel and moved to Alaska. Off we went to North Dakota and now I'm living in Vermont. You can plainly see I've got the Northern thing down to a science.

All that being said, when it comes to biscuit making I will happily step aside in respect to a Southern woman who can really make biscuits. But, until that happens, I will give you my pretty much never fails, delicious biscuit recipe.

There are a couple of different ways to make these fluffy creations. I always make my biscuits with heavy cream instead of with the traditional butter and milk. They feel less fattening (please don't take that to mean they are) and are a whole lot quicker to make.

Because I love you, I will provide you with both ways of making the biscuits. I do realize not everyone is like me in my consideration of heavy cream being a refrigerator staple.


2 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 - 1 cup heavy cream (or much as needed)

Mix the dry ingredients together. Add in the heavy cream until your dough is slightly sticky. Knead on a floured surface 10-15 times to make a soft ball. Roll out to 3/4 inch thickness; cut into biscuits. Place biscuits on a cookie sheet, close together but without touching. Bake at 425 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Now, if you want to use butter, substitute the heavy cream with 3/4 cup milk and 1/4 cup of butter, cut in with a pastry knife. Proceed with the next steps.

The biscuit cutter I use is a small plastic container with fairly sharp edges - highly professional, I know. The important part is that the top of this container is only 2 and a half inches across. I like my biscuits tall and very fluffy. A smaller biscuit will rise higher; choose your biscuit cutter with that in mind. I have used a small juice glass before and it works just fine.

One more thing, this is a basic recipe. You can add thyme and a little sugar to make delicious thyme biscuits, or perhaps some cheddar cheese; your creativity is the only limit.

Please, enjoy this Northern girl's version of a biscuit.


A little after nap Christmas tree time.
The Hair
Just for a little background on me: my training is in hairdressing; I was trained as a Colorist, to be more precise. I went through vocational school, during high school, and actually lived to tell about it! After graduating I got a job at this amazing salon. When I say amazing, I mean amazing. This place will knock your socks off. Seriously. I loved working there; it really was one of the best times of my life. But, then I met Daniel and I realized I couldn't breathe with out him. So, off I went to Alaska where I traded in color, fashion, great haircuts and fantastic friends for a huge moose living in my side yard, snow, domestic life, snow, hot water in the toilet(!), gorgeous mountains, LOVE, and a lot more snow. The snow really was out of control.

Now, I have a daughter. A daughter with a lot of hair - really gorgeous hair that has never been cut (except for her bangs which are now grown out). But, a girl can only grow her hair for so long before it starts to get a little crazy. Right now Eve's hair is wild - it really needs something. But what? I should know the answer to this question, it's just that when it comes to Eve's hair I am a little bit sentimental. I'll probably cry when the scissors come within a mile's proximity.

So, do you have any suggestions? A trim, a cute bob (sob!), layers, nothing?

Some days I just fail. Like today, for example. Impatient, snappy, tired. Add onto that, the amount of Braxton Hicks I've had leads me to believe they are straight from the Devil.

Today is not one of my shining moments.

While talking to Daniel this morning he asked how I was doing, and my answer to him at 10:30 was: "Shouldn't this day be over already?"

My kids deserve so much better than they are getting from me today. I'm digging deep, but it's just not deep enough. Sweet Judah asks me: "Okay, Mama?" I love that boy. But today I'm really not okay. Maybe tomorrow.

And Eve wonders why I keep talking to myself. But, I'm just praying. Praying for patience, for grace, for wisdom. And maybe reminding God just how done I am with being pregnant.

We all fail, don't we? We all have some days that just rot. We become the mothers or perhaps friends that we loathe. But God's grace is new every morning, He doesn't stop loving me because I'm acting ugly. Even though I seem to take those feeling upon myself, they are not true.

So, I'm going stand up, brush myself off and hope to have a great evening with my kids and husband. Perhaps tomorrow I will be okay - all day.
Happiness is....
Smothering a child's size red tinsel Christmas tree, found at the Salvation Army for four dollars, in white lights. It's made even better when decorated with felted nativity scene ornaments, found for two dollars. Meaning the kids can play to their hearts delight and Mama doesn't have to worry about anything breaking.
And a red tinsel tree.... it doesn't get much more vintage Christmas than that.

Do you see how Eve still has those baby dimples in her hand? It makes me so happy to think she may have a little bit of baby left in her.
Pampers Product Review
A few weeks ago I was contacted by a marketing company interested in sending me Pampers diapers and wipes for review. I was sent the Pampers Baby Dry diapers and the corresponding wipes which are called Swipers.

I already regularly use the Baby Dry Pampers since they are the only diaper I've found that stand a chance with Judah. I've tried several different diaper brands such as Costco's Kirkland, and Huggies in the past, but they just didn't work nearly as well. They couldn't keep from leaking on a very regular basis.With the Pampers, Judah only leaks if he has had an enormous amount to drink and it is an overnight diaper. And Pampers smell great, don't they?!

I adored the Swipers from the get-go. They were thick without being too thick, incredibly soft, and cleaned very easily without me having to use more than a few at each changing. Another plus was the Swipers never felt cold to the touch. The Walmart brand, which I normally use, always does.
The only negative I could find with the Swipers was the smell. I have always bought scent-less wipes but these particular Swipers had scent added, and it was strong. I eventually got use to it and found I liked it, but at first the smell was over-powering.
Truthfully, price is major factor for me in the buying of wipes. So, while I do love the Swipers , I will be evaluating the price against the amount of wipes I get. I am willing to pay a bit more for the Swipers, since I really loved them, but I may need a coupon to go along with them as well.

You'll notice from the image above that Pampers has made wipes and diapers that correspond with each stage your child is in. I felt like the Baby dry and Swipers went quite well together, so I would have to assume they put good thought into the other Stages pair-ups. I heartily recommend this product to all you who regularly have bottoms to change!

What kind of diapers do you like and use on a regular basis?
Daniel and I were talking the other day about how much we want to see this baby, to know who has been banging around in my womb for nine months. I mentioned to him how I think I have forgotten just how much my life is about to change. Daniel in his characteristically honest manner said, "Yeah, you have."
(Can I just tell you how much I appreciate being married to an man who will be honest with me. He is never hurtful or pointed, always gentle. His honesty goes well with my realist personality. I don't appreciate having reality glossed over. And Daniel knows that because he knows me. Have I ever told you I really like him?)

At that moment I let my thoughts go and I mused on a few of my imminent realities.... many nights with pockets of sleep tucked in around nursing, gassy baby cries waking me up, needy older children, one arm less than what I really require, limited freedom, more laundry than I could possibly ever get clean, and no dairy. Whoa! Reality.
But then last night, in my half-asleep half-awake state, the feeling of holding a newborn cradled against my body was nearly palatable. The sight of tiniest fingers curled around mine was in my mind's eye. The infinite softness of a newborn baby's head rubbing against my cheek was so strong. And I remembered- this is also reality. Reality doesn't just hold the hard parts of having a new, very needy person thrust into my life, there is incredible beauty as well.

I'd like to think I am ready for this baby. I have everything I need and a few things I wanted. I am preparing my mind for what lies ahead - but in doing that I am going to choose to focus on the wonderful parts of reality with a newborn rather than the tough. The tough will come whether I focus on it or not, the wonderful is what will get me through.

And just one of those wonderful things is being able to squeeze my husband tight...
I can hardly wait!

Yeah, He Threw the Snowball..... It Grazed my Head
It looks like an innocent father and son moment... but no, they're conniving.

See, there they go

That's trouble with a capital "D"

You 're just pretending, right? RIGHT?


I really need for this new baby to be a girl. We have some conniving of our own to do.
Too bad for those boys.... I'm a lot more creative.
You Know You Might Have a Problem When...
Wednesday afternoon found Eve at the kitchen table constructing a birthday card for Daniel. She was very involved in drawing each member of our family with her glitter glue and markers when I heard her distress call:

"But Momma, I don't know how to draw the camera!"

Apparently Eve thinks the camera is part of our family.

I know I take a lot of pictures and my camera pretty much goes everywhere with us.... But a family member?!

The thought of cutting back on my picture taking makes me feel a little panicky, so yeah... I might have a problem.
My Dream
**You guys thrill me - every one of you that commented made my day. Though I was feeling somewhat vulnerable with this post, seeing the unique passion you each have is inspiring. We all truly have incredible dreams!

We all have dreams, don't we? Mine is this - to attend culinary school. At times my dream feels buried in my heart, but sometimes it is at the forefront of my mind. At times this dream burns away inside of me and my mind whirls with how I could possibly turn it into a reality. But, I can't. It just isn't possible right now. My focus needs to be on my children and my husband. They take precedence over my dreams; and while I know that some people may think that mindset is ridiculous, I am peaceful and happy in this deliberately chosen way of life.

But, that decision doesn't take any of the fire from my heart.

The whirling started again from a simple contest announcement on our radio station's website. A drawing for a cooking lesson with one of the chefs at the New England Culinary Institute. Oh, how I wanted to enter - to win. I am so thirsty for knowledge.
But, I didn't enter. I just can't fit anything more in my life this month. And it hurts just a little bit. The chances of winning would've been slim, but the idea of entering, of pursuing my dream - even in this small way- would've been fulfilling.

I have searched for cooking classes or anything having to do with preparation of food - you would think with a major cooking school located close something would be available. Nope. Nothing is going on that I could get involved with. My hope is that wherever we move to next there will be opportunities for me to get involved in some sort of cooking classes.

I don't have huge aspirations, I don't desire to open a restaurant or a cafe. I simply, but deeply, desire the knowledge. I desire to know that I could do anything. To know in my heart - I could do great things.

If I could pinpoint a calling and use for the skills learned in culinary school, it would be to have younger women come into my kitchen primarily to teach them how to cook and how to bake. I would also like to give them the know-how when it comes to preparing menus and shopping lists. All set in the context of normal life. Nothing fancy or lofty; to just love on them and impart a skill. And that time will come, I know it will. Right now I am certain that I have my priorities straight and I am doing the most important job of my life.

As I work on settling the whirling down - having a new baby will certainly help - will you tell me what dreams you have? What makes a fire burn in your heart?
Happy Birthday Daniel

I'm crazy about him. Daniel is the sunshine in my life.

We were, as Robert on Everybody Loves Raymond says, "Meant.... to be."

Happy Birthday to the one my heart loves....
My Day
We are "wavers". When any one leaves from a visit to our home, we wave. In the nice weather we'll stand out on the sidewalk and wave, but during the winter we wave from in front of our big bay window. Either way, we always wave. Each morning that the kids are awake when Daniel leaves for work, they climb up the piano bench and wave good-bye to Daddy. On the mornings they are still sleeping, I stand alone, a wife waving to her husband - each wave sending him wishes of a good day and lots of love. I enjoy this tradition, but it's funny how many people it takes by surprise. Surprise or not, I know it is appreciated.

This morning it took Daniel awhile to leave, since he had to clean the snow off his car, but the kids patiently waited to wave to him when he pulled away. Then it was back to smoothies!

A little later this morning was Eve's last swim lesson at the gym. She did so well; she's improving greatly each week, becoming less afraid and more adventurous. Last week she even went all the way under the water! There was no repeat of that this week as full immersion isn't really her idea of a good time. Her teacher was wonderful, making each lesson enjoyable and full of learning. It was such a good experience for Eve and we look forward to the next session.
I must say that I sincerely wish I could grow a third arm between now and then - all the showering, clothes changing, and trying to contain a two year old pool-side while being hugely pregnant is not easy.

Unfortunately Eve's teacher wasn't real happy with me today because I was five minutes late. I told you I wasn't going to be perfect, didn't I? Trying to get out of the house being t-minus three weeks, give or take a couple days, with small children in full winter gear is no small feat. I am forced to assume this woman doesn't have children, because if she did, I don't think she would have been so quick to express displeasure with my tardiness.
I do realize that I shouldn't have been late. It was poor planning on my part.

After swim lessons the kids asked to go see Frosty and the Christmas tree that is in front of Daniel's office. I wanted to see Daniel, because seeing him always makes me smile. So, we did both. First we visited the Christmas tree, where Judah was highly offended by a bit of snow falling off an ornament and onto his hand. Highly offended. Because it was cold! And you know how he hates to be cold.

After the tree episode we visited Daddy in his warm office, quickly collecting and giving hugs and kisses. Daniel's office is not, to put it mildly, child-proof, so though we can never stay long it is always fun to pop in and see the one we all love best.

Then off to home we went. Ha! I wish it was that easy still... In actuality we slopped across an extremely slushy parking lot, loaded two wet, very snowy squirmy kids plus a cumbersome pregnant body into a cold van, then drove slowly home on a slick, wintry road.... but regardless of all the trouble, it was fun just to be together singing Christmas carols - very loudly - the whole way back to our house.

At home I had a half a gallon of soured milk awaiting it's magical transformation into a delicious cookie. Lately we have had the worst time with milk souring quickly. Either it's already bad when I buy it or I haven't gotten around to using it quickly enough. Either way, I was sick of the milk being wasted, so today I made Sour Cream Chocolate Chip cookies. Even after making the cookies I still have about three cups of soured milk to use. I am planning on making a few loaves of this banana bread. These cookies sound pretty yummy, and I might possibly make this Spice cake.

But all that is for another day... I have Chicken Nuggets yet to make for dinner, plus dishes to wash, laundry to fold, floors to be vacuumed, along with children and a husband to care for.

Hope your Tuesday has been great!
A Stormy Monday Makes for Fun!
You wouldn't believe how quickly the bread I made on Thursday disappeared! Today I made more but also used half the dough to make Garlic Mushroom Cheese rolls. It is so easy to make these rolls when you already have the bread dough made. Judah stood in as my quality assurance since Daniel was at work. Somebody has to do the hard job of taste testing, you know.

It is really storming here, but even so, it is great weather to play in. So we bundled up to go outside... that only took a half of an hour. Uuggg. There was just one fit thrown... by the two year old, not me. Miraculously.

It's in the thirties today which is perfect playing in the snow weather. We had so much fun! There was an imaginary chocolate raspberry cake made, which made me happy. And my children ingested tons of snow, which made them very happy. It was a total win-win. I just wish that we could've stayed out for the entire afternoon but naptime called. Funny how I was the only one yawning.

Recipes for Scones and Sweet Potato Biscuits
My recipe on Tuesdays has dropped into the non-existent, hasn't it. I'm sorry about that. Here are the Sweet Potato biscuit and Orange Cranberry Cream scone recipes to try and make it up a little to you, and since you asked for them too.... Both recipes are incredibly quick and easy. The scones are always made when I have company over during the morning. They never fail to bring smiles.

Sweet Potato biscuits

Mix together:

2 cups flour
1Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

In separate bowl - mix:

1/4 cup oil
1 1/4 cup mashed sweet potato
2Tablespoons maple syrup

Combine the dry and the wet. The dough is very soft and somewhat sticky. You can sprinkle lightly with flour to help relieve the stickiness. Shape into a circle about 3/4 inch+ thick. Use a biscuit cutter or a small glass to cut out your biscuits. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

(***trick - I always use a 1/4 cup or so of milk and 1 cup of sweet potato instead of the 1 1/4 cup sweet potato.)

Orange Cranberry Cream scones

Mix in medium bowl:

2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt


1 1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 to 3/4 cup dried cranberries
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
Squeeze the juice of half an orange into bowl

Combine dry and wet. Knead gently in bowl between 5 to 10 times. On a lightly floured surface pat into an 8 inch circle. Cut into wedges and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. I brush cream on top of the wedges and sprinkle sugar over each of them. Bake at 425 degrees for 12 minutes.

(***Trick: I just add cream until the consistency is right. You want the dough wet but not real sticky.)


Terrified No More
You all don't even know how AMAZING it to have this picture to put on our blog. A simple picture with Santa? No way. No how.
This little girl we call Eve, or occasionally "Miss Thing" is terrified (in every sense of that word) of any costumed person. Terrified to the point of shaking, crying, hiding her face, completely panic-stricken. She's always been this way. And tonight was no different.
She understood that one of our intentions for the evening was to see Santa Claus. And she was fine with this fact until we actually saw him and made a move to talk with him. Then she lost it. Completely. Daniel and I talked to her, we explained, we comforted - nothing doing. As we started to leave it hit me. We were allowing her to be afraid and it needed to stop.
There is a time and a place for us to indulge her fears- to an extent. For us, as her parents, to be understanding with the fact that she's not going to be alright with certain aspects of life. But, in this instance, she needed to face her fear head on. It was Santa for goodness sake. We explained to her that we were going to take her into the store, that she needed to look Santa in his eyes, say "hi" - to have a polite conversation, then we would go.
It was amazing to watch the transformation of her countenance as she realized he was a really nice man. And most certainly not one to be feared. It helped immensely that he gave her a pencil, a lollipop and a coloring book. These items are serious currency in Eve's world.
When we took a break from the encounter to retrieve the new pajamas we had brought for the donation box next to Santa, I explained to her that after we returned I was going to take a picture of her sitting on Santa's lap. And she did amazing. A little stiff perhaps, but she tried to smile, she really tried. And I was so proud. So proud of her courage.

Judah was a little more skeptical of this big guy in the red suit. He wasn't real sure what to make of him. But, if his "Ce-Ce" was okay sitting on Santa's lap then he was going to be too.

He lit right up when Santa asked him what he wanted for Christmas. Apparently he wants "Fwosty!". Eve answered that same question with "a Rudolph the red nosed reindeer toy". Doable, don't you think!

In the end, I am thrilled that Eve experienced the opportunity to respond to Santa's question. It was worth the frigid 15 degrees, the tears, and the difficulty in making her do something she was so afraid of. Simply to see her face when it was all said and done.
Eve is terrified no more!
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