Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to our family, friends, and beyond!

I Chronicles 16:34 "Give Thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever."

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Turkey Pizza

It is pretty common around here for our sandwiches to be cut with cookie cutters or for a lunch or snack to be artfully arranged to look like an animal or object of Brady's desire. So, on a recent pizza night when she asked for a "turkey pizza", I wasn't surprised. Initially I wasn't sure what to do, but then quickly came up with this guy. Actually this is the original's cousin; on the first night that we had "turkey pizza" my camera's battery was dead.

You could make this much more elaborate with colorful veggies and what have you, but I went with what we had on hand. First I took a little dough ball and placed it in the oven for a few minutes, so that it would keep it's dimension on the pizza and still be cooked through. Then I shaped the rest of the pizza dough into a basic turkey outline shape, using my fingers and a knife to keep the feathers slightly separated. I used 2 different types of cheeses (over regular sauce) on every other feather so there was a little variety. Pepperoni and roasted red peppers alternated each feather as well. The turkey's eyes are raisins, his nose is a leftover pumpkin seed, his waddle (is that the right term) is a piece of roasted red pepper, and the wings are covered in pepperoni. SO SIMPLE! It only took a few more minutes than our ordinary pizza and was such fun!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Fall Activities

We've been having fall fun around these parts. The first photo is a hand/arm print tree B made for my mom's 60th Birthday! Below are pictures of our fall rice/sensory tub. We dyed rice orange, red, and brown. To do this you simply put white rice in a zip top baggie, add a little food coloring and a small amount of rubbing alcohol (this keeps the rice from expanding or cooking in the liquid). Then squeeze and smoosh around until the rice is fully coated in the color. Then place on a baking sheet to dry over an extended period of time or put in a really low oven to speed drying time. I think I put it in at 300 degrees for about 7 minutes. Before mixing it together in the tub Brady and I spent some time drawing shapes and writing letters in the rice on the baking sheet. Great practice in a new, interesting manner. Check out the action shot of the red rice being poured into the tub. Once it was mixed we took turns hiding orange pom-pom "pumpkins" and finding them. Again using those fine motor skills. Funny story, when I told B that we were going to dye rice, she said in a panicky voice, "Die!, I don't like dying!" She was really relieved when it was further explained. And I realized to far in that I could have used brown rice for the "brown rice"- oh well.

Next up was a little leaf-hunting. We took turns placing silk leaves around the living room and finding them. Kids love hiding Easter eggs so why not take that fun into other seasons and holidays? (This picture is not B's best-ha ha!)

First Best Friend

Brady has surely been blessed with many wonderful friends from birth. But, she has never quite had a friendship like she has with Ally, her first true best friend. These girls are like sisters, fighting one minute and giggling the next. Brady asks about Ally everyday. Are we going to go to Ally's house today? When are we going to see Ally? When can Ally come to our house? Is Ally at school today? Can I call Ally? Everyday! It is such fun to witness the pure joy a great friend brings to my girl. (Oh, and an added bonus: her mama brings me much joy as well!)

Thankful Turkey

We've added a "Thankful Turkey" to our daily rituals this month. We did this last year as well. I think I first got the inspiration from the great site make and takes. Here's how it works: First I drew a simple turkey in 4 parts- head, body, and 2 wings. Brady decorated and glued them together. Then I cut out 26 feathers out of various colors of construction paper, one for each day of November. Each night Brady names something she is thankful for, I write it on a feather and add it to the turkey. On our dining table we keep a little cup holder full of the needed items: sharpie, feathers, and glue stick. This serves as a helpful reminder. Last year we keep the materials near the door where the turkey is displayed and many nights we forgot all about it.
Brady says a prayer right after choosing the person or thing she is thankful for that evening. It's important to me that she realizes whom we thank. One night she had two thankful items, because we had eaten out the night before. Her prayer was extra sweet that night, "Dear God, Thank you for Daddy and Ally. Thank you for everything in my life. Amen." Looks like the thankfulness lesson is setting in!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

October in Arkansas

Sadly, I took very few photos of our fantastic trip to Arkansas last month. Our trips are so full that it is hard for me to remember to get any pictures. Here is a quick run-down of our busy, fun schedule.

Wednesday - made the trip, arrived in the evening and ate dinner with all 4 grands!

Thursday-Brady went to Gammi's school all day and pretended to be a 4 year old while I slept in

Friday- We shopped, ate, and got Brady's hair cut with Nana and Lilly Kate. That night we went to Gammi's school carnival. (the top pic is of Brady at the carnival)

Saturday- We visited my Grams (mom's mom) , Aunt Bliss and cousins in Searcy. (And even ran into Anna Grace.) That evening we headed to Nana and Papa's to spend the night.

Sunday- Little Rock Church and lunch with the Chandler Clan and Will, Chandler, and Wyatt's football game. Then dinner at the Thomas house. The second picture is of B with Mary Claire and Paxton. Stayed at Papa and Nana's.

Monday- Win and Erin came over to play in the morning. The third picture is of the two crazies in their costume garb! Then we went to Conway to visit Meme, Papa (dad's parents), and the Bishops. Beth and I got to have lunch alone! We stayed so late Brady crashed on the way home and ended up sleeping in her day clothes. (that has never happened) The last picture is of Brady and Papa. One of my favorite pics ever.

Tuesday- We had lunch with dear friends Angela and Indy and their girls Violet and Johanna. That evening we went to a special reception and fundraiser for Andrew's Memorial Garden (we are still working on a more appropriate name) at CAC. The fundraiser was a special basketball game with the girls basketball team playing celebs from a local sports radio show. A great crowd showed up, much fun was had, and lots of money was raised!

Wednesday- We made our trip back home.

A Lovely Day

Today was a lovely day. Nothing all that extraordinary, but quite lovely just the same or maybe even more so. The weather was beautiful and much needed after five days of dreariness. We had a music and movement class at the library, then ate lunch and played at a favorite park. We ran into old acquaintances and made some new friends. At both locales Brady was on her best behavior. She was happy and quite independent. Climbing up playground equipment and going down slides while I watched on from afar! (not the norm for her) I overheard her introducing herself to other kids, "Hi, My name is Brady. What's your name?" So charming! Our time there was extended because it was so enjoyable. And when it was time to leave there were no fits, tears, or pleading.

We came home to a rested daddy and Duke eager to join in our fun. Brady had a quick rest time and then we set up a scavenger hunt of treats for Duke in the backyard. As the afternoon turned into evening there were books read and shows watched, tickle fests; dinner was made and eaten. Our day was seasoned with Brady's witty comments and thoughtful observations. Many times throughout the day I thought, "Man, I love this kid!" It was the kind of day I want to hold on to forever. The kind of day that makes all of those other kinds of days worthwhile. It was a lovely day.

These photos were taken of another lovely day this summer.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Brady's Big Haircut

While we were in Little Rock (post coming soon) Brady got her first major haircut. She had had one cut months ago, but it was really just a trim. This time inches were cut. B's hair is of many types much like her mama's. The hair underneath was comprised of somewhat tight spiral curls which were much shorter than the straight and often stringy tresses on the outside. So, the goal was to even it out a bit. It looks much healthier and is much easier to deal with and she was quite proud. So here are the before and after pictures. The hairdresser did a quick blow-dry job on her hair so it's much straighter than usual.

Halloween Food

The night before Halloween we had a little Halloween style dinner: mummies (hot dogs wrapped in crescent rolls and cheese), witches' fingers (apple slices with a dab of laughing cow cheese and almonds), and pumpkin roll-ups (tomato basil wraps with turkey, laughing cow cheese, and basil).
We also had some H'ween inspired lunches. Orange carved to resemble a jack 'o lantern filled with mixed fruit and jack'o sandwich (food colored l.c. cheese with dried fruit face details and snap pea crisp stems.)

Halloween Friends

The Halloween festivities gave great opportunities for spending time with friends. The above picture shows Brady with some of her classmates at her school costume parade. I love that picture because it captures the excitement and love these girls have for each other. (And also the differences in their height!) One of B's school friends is in the picture below. We were able to spend a little time with her at Trunk-or-treat and the dinner afterwards.
This next picture is of Brady and her BFF Ally. These two girls act like sisters- fighting one minute and laughing the next. A couple of days before H'ween we went to a special storytime and then to eat at our usual spot afterwards. These smiles are authentic!
On Halloween night we ran into a few of our favorite boys, too. Holidays are so much better when shared with good friends.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Halloween Queen

Here is my lovely little Queen. Brady decided months ago that she would be a queen for Halloween. And so it was. She wore one of her gorgeous princess dresses and Nana made her a perfect cape to transform it to the next level of royalty. Add to that a scepter and crown (it doesn't match, which bothers me and not B, so I let it go, although obviously not completely or I wouldn't be writing this sentence) and we're good to go. Almost everyone got it wrong as I knew they would, but her majesty was quick to correct! First we went to Trunk-or-Treat at Brady's school and then we did some trick-or-treating in a nearby neighborhood and to a few houses in our hood.

The night before Halloween, Brady said,"How about our family dresses up for Halloween?" I said, "Well.." And she replied, "No, not our whooole family, just me and you and Daddy." Ha ha! It was decided that Adam would be a doctor, since he was heading to work after the first event.
And I was given the role of "star performer". I pulled together a simple outfit, lots of jewelry, too much makeup, and teased hair. Most importantly I carried Brady's play microphone, so I received her approval. Pretty sure most everyone else was trying to decide whether I was in costume or just had bad taste. My Queen was happy, so all was well.

The What, Not The Where

Our time here in North Carolina is dwindling. Adam's residency will be over in 8 short months. Adam's interview process begins tomorrow. The light at the end of the tunnel is growing brighter. And that is a VERY good thing. But, it is also scary. There are just so many unknowns in this situation. For a long while I was focusing on the where. Where will we live? Don't know. Where do I want us to live? I'm still not sure.

Then one day it came to me: I'm focusing on the wrong questions. I should be concerned about the what and not the where. So, what do I want in our next home? I desire a home, a true home. There have been a lot of great things about living in North Carolina (and there will be more in the months ahead), but it has yet to really feel like home. I desire a good job for Adam that will leave him fulfilled, yet challenged, happy and full of peace. I desire deep, spiritual relationships; transparent friendships for all of us individually and as a whole. I desire a neighborhood that is neighborly. I desire a church home that is welcoming, engaging; where we know and are known, where we give and take.

Psalm 37:4 "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart."