Friday, October 19, 2012

It's his birthday!

today he turns 28
nine years ago, i told him "happy birthday" for the first time
we had just met, but i knew him enough to know he didn't have much of a sweet tooth
what i didn't know, was that he made an exception for cookies
which is why is mom made a "cookie cake" or "pizookie" every year for his birthday

fast forward a couple of years
we're newlyweds, and his mom lives clear across the continent
so i decide to carry on the tradition

it's taken us a couple of years to find the perfect recipe
but we did, and now we refer to it as "THE" cookie
perfectly chewy, just the right amount of sweetness and whole wheat, believe it or not!
Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

- 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter (I sometimes pull it out of the fridge a bit early so it's easier to cream)
- 1 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips 
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour (Trader Joe's has the best price I've found)
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup brown sugar (I sometimes use a tad less if I want something less sweet)
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 large egg

- Preheat your oven to 350*.
- Whisk flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.  
- Using a hand or stand mixer, cream the butter, brown sugar and vanilla extract on medium speed until well combined - about one minute.  Increase mixer speed to high and beat for 15 seconds.  
- Stop the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the egg.  Blend on medium speed for 30 more seconds.  
- Add the dry ingredients and combine on low speed until just a few dry streaks remain.  
- Add the chocolate chips and mix for a few seconds until combined. 
- Scrape the batter into a greased 10-inch round cake or pie pan.  
- Press the batter into a smooth and even layer and bake until lightly golden and puffy around the edges (the center should still be quite soft) for 18 to 20 minutes.  
- Cool for 10 minutes then run a knife around the edges to release the cake.  
 - Try to let cool a bit before digging in, it tends to fall apart when still warm. (we're not so great at this step...)


 happy birthday, daddy; it's been a heck of a year!
we love you so much and are so happy to celebrate you today - here's to another year of adventures together.
love, your girls

Monday, October 15, 2012

three quarters of a year down

these little bugs turned 9 months old today!
i took these pictures at lunch
i love their sleepy, we-just-got-up-from-a-nap faces
i love how their hair is now long enough to get a little "messy" now, maybe even to curl a bit!
how they light up when they see family and friends, 
how they make silly faces, 
how big-girl they're looking with their teeth coming in
even though they're still so small (their outfits today were newborn onsies and 4 month pants!),
how every month that goes by, we get to see more of their little personalities.
and let me tell you, they've got some spunk to 'em!
what i don't love, is that their sick (again, i know!)
pretty sure it's just croup so it's not a huge deal
but they're pretty sad about it
and their appetites are suffering a bit
so if you have a minute, we would appreciate your prayers!

happy 9 months, girly-cues...feel better soon!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

this heart was once dead, and now it overflows

this one's gonna be long 
so grab yourself a mug of something warm and have a seat, 
i want to share with you a bit about a journey i've been on

because my heart is full,
but my words feel clumsy
and i have never been very articulate,
despite having much to say

the past nine months of my life have been a roller coaster
full of emotions i can't control
and i like control, so it's actually been a bit of a rough go

countless times, i have looked at daniel, tears tumbling down my face, and said,
 "this is the hardest thing i have ever done"
"God obviously has more faith in my ability than i do"
"this isn't fair!"
etc etc etc

i've struggled so deeply
with stress about not being able to be "the perfect mother"
with comparisons to others who seem so pulled together
with loneliness and guilt
with fear about not being able to care for my babies properly
with despair about the ugliness that lies within me because of my sinful nature
the anger
the frustration 
the insecurity

i've also experienced much joy
in those early morning quiet moments when i've stolen a moment with the Lord
in those late night cuddles when i've nursed happy, healthy babies
in the midday business that's yielded so many firsts...
...smiles, rolling over, teeth, sitting up, babbling, "twinspeak"...

with the girls being born in january, 
i've had a chance to experience life differently this year right from the beginning
there has been much anticipation, anxiety and excitement about what lies ahead
"what will the next season with my littles be like?"
i wonder, pray, dream...

let me tell you, it hasn't been at all like what i thought it would be
the first few months were a blur
dark, cold and sleepless days and nights 
led to breakdowns, postpartum blues, anxiety, panic attacks

then we hit spring, 
still not much sleep, but a bit more rewarding 
the longer days were uplifting
but not as uplifting as the family and friends who literally put their lives on hold
to support me 
hold my babies 
listen as i rambled on about my fears and struggles
put up with my irrational and often harsh words 
reassure me
pray for me
send encouragement my way
bring me little things to brighten my day
wash my dishes, (because i never could keep up with the bottles, pump pieces, etc)
change hundreds, probably thousands, of diapers
fly countless miles so i could take a break now and then
make sure i'm eating
and the list goes on...

summer brought sunny, warm days 
(after a crazy cool june, that is)
the girls continued to grow,
and despite being super small for their age, they were healthy
and learning new things every day
it was exciting, busy, better

i finally began to look past myself and my struggle to see all that the Lord had done
the roller coaster of emotions and struggles carried on, but i was beginning to see His hand in it all:
His provision, His sovereignty, His grace, His goodness, His love
and to be truly grateful for it all 

"I am the LORD, and there is no other, 
besides me there is no God; 
I equip you, though you do not know me, 
that people may know, from the rising of the sun
and from the west, that there is none besides me; 
I am the Lord, and there is no other.
I form light and create darkness, 
I make well-being and create calamity, 
I am the LORD, who does all these things."
Isaiah 45:5-7

And now, as we move into fall and winter,
which are usually the toughest seasons for me to face, 
i've been battling my "end of summer meltdown"
(you know it's bad when you have a name for it)
it happens every year

but this year it's been...different (surprise, surprise!)
i can't even really explain how
it's been more of a back burner feeling than an actual moment where i melt down
maybe because i really don't have the time to sit down and deal with it; 
there are mouths to feed, bums to change and tears to be soothed away
but it's still hard to ignore the resident knot in my stomach...
i know it may sound silly to most people, 
but to me, it's a real life battle that i face
and it makes living harder
and if i'm not careful, it gives satan a chance to sneak into my head
to steal my joy, to turn my focus inwards instead of upwards, to keep me from giving thanks in everything

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.  Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour...And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
1 Peter 5:6-8 and 10-11

this morning, as the girls were napping 
(thank you, Jesus!)
i sat down with my Bible in one hand and my coffee in the other
 (once again, thank you, Jesus!)
and as i read, the Lord began reminding me of His goodness, His grace, how He has redeemed His people,
 how He values me and my cares (no matter how silly they are!),
how His grace is sufficient to carry me through anything that i come up against

 But he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for  my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10

when i started this blog, i promised myself that i would be real on it
that i would speak my heart and share both my highs and my lows
in hopes that at the very least, it would serve as an outlet for me, but more importantly, it may make a difference in the lives of others who feel the same way

the first three-quarters of this year have been the most difficult months of my life so far
and i'm just now getting to a point where i have the strength to share a glimpse of what has been on my heart and mind
but early on in this role of motherhood,
the Lord laid on my heart that I should share my experiences to minister to and encourage others
so here i am
because trials should not be wasted, but redeemed.

i know He is not finished teaching me and working on my heart
i know there is still so much to learn 
i know that i am on a journey of redemption and this is a season of much work in my heart

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. 
Philippians 1:6

i wish i could sit down and tell you all the details, 
but between my memory failing me and there not being enough time in the day,
this snapshot will have to do
i hope it encourages and challenges you
but more importantly, i hope it draws you to Him and tells you of how wonderful He is.
that He has a plan 
that we can trust Him
that He always comes through and He's always on time, 
even if it doesn't look that way
even if we don't see it come full circle in our own lifetimes

because when it's all said and done, its all about Him.  

Sunday, October 7, 2012

its been too long...

Well, I've done it again.  I've dropped off the radar for far too long.  I'm beginning to realize that at this stage in my and the girls' lives, that's just going to have to be the way it is.  

I love this blog:
the creative outlet it allows me,
the place to write and speak my mind and work through my thoughts,
the sweet little community of readers who've come along
--its wonderful.

But I'm going to have to come terms with the fact that consistent posts with two busy (read: non-napping) babies is just not going to happen.  There will be periods when I'll get to post often and periods when the girls get sick / we have to get ready to travel / new teeth cut through / things just get busy / etc, which is exactly what happened between the last post and now.  

I have, however, had my trusty iPhone by my side and a healthy Instagram addiction documenting little bits and pieces along the way.  And now that we're home from another lovely trip to see the fam in NC, I've finally been able to find a moment to share a glimpse of our past few weeks:

my little sickies
two front teeth! 
pretty scenery along the way
our time in NC


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