Saturday, February 19, 2011

From 6 mos. to 12 yrs.

Today Teague is 6 months old. He had his first tiny taste of whipped cream from off of Brock's birthday cake last night. Even after all the babies I have had the privilege of raising I am still amazed at how quickly they grow into their own personalities. Even more so I am amazed at how much the little ones want to be like the big ones.
In these pictures you can see a glimpse of how Teague looks up to Crew already. What you can't see is how Crew pushes himself to be just like his older siblings. It's not competition- but more a strong desire to have and/or get to do what the other kids are doing.
And then I look on and wish for them to stay little and innocent just as long as they can! No wonder there is tension around here. =)
Brock was thrilled to score his first points at a basketball game this afternoon. The world still holds a lot of firsts for all of my kids. I am feeling blessed to be the one to look after them and to celebrate big and small milestones with them. It's a real chore with ongoing challenges every single day and with never-ending piles of laundry to do too. Yet I know I will look back at this time in our lives and say, "those were truly days of wonder and joy". I don't want to forget the importance of these days- from 6 months to 12 years and everything beyond too. They will be a blur for me someday not too far from now.
So I'm treasuring today. I hope you do the same!

Friday, February 18, 2011

When he came along...

Twelve years ago Brock was born into our lives and my heart and arms had never been more full. We all fell in love with him more and more as he grew- and that's still true today. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to handle the demands of two little ones at that time. (Teagan was not quite 2 when Brock was born.) That thought now makes me laugh when I compare life "then" to life "now". Oh how things have changed- and it really is hard to believe how quickly the years have gone by!
Brock still holds such a special place in our hearts and lives. He's gone from being the younger brother- very much a follower- to a dependable, exemplary bigger brother to a house full of kids. He brings a lot of laughter into our home. He is always willing to lend a hand to help out in any number of ways and he does it without complaining 99% of the time too.
He has big dreams for his future and I know he has the passion and perseverance in him to make them happen too. I feel lucky to have such a great kid born to me. Even though I'm his mom I consider him a great friend. I think the feelings are mutual. At least for now. =)
When Brock came along so many things in our lives changed that day. For the better!
Happy Birthday, Brock! We love you!
{The "winner" from the previous post is #17- Chris Cross. Email me your mailing address and I will send you some mail!}

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

I can't help but share a little bit of love with everyone that stops by here today. Heather (#36 in the comments from the previous post) is the winner of mail from me. But because I am feeling extra nice- or just nostalgic about handwritten mail- I've decided to pick one more person to get some mail from me. So leave another comment telling me your favorite dessert and I'll choose another person from these comments to get some mail.
But everyone wins today because I am passing along one of my Buttercream recipes! Yay for Valentine's, cupcakes, and homemade frosting that tastes divine, right?! This recipe is one from out of a children's book that I have made a couple of times. It's fairly easy and it is so creamy, sweet and velvety. We all love it around here! It makes enough for one cake or 24 cupcakes. Unless you like your frosting super thick. Then it will likely only cover 12 cupcakes for you. =)
Buttercream Icing
4 Eggs
2/3 cup of sugar
1 cup butter, room temp (I use unsalted butter.)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Directions: Whisk together egg whites and sugar in a bowl. Place bowl in a double boiler on low heat. Whisk occasionally until sugar is dissolved and mixture is very warm- about 150 degrees F. Remove from double boiler and whip with mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Put mixer on lower speed and add butter in small pieces. Next, add vanilla and mix until smooth.
Tint icing as you like.
P.S. Heather email me your address and I'll send you some mail! {nitty.grittyjodyatyahoodotcom}

Friday, February 11, 2011

Long lost art...

I have gone through a few boxes of miscellaneous stuff that I received a few months ago when my Grandma Shirley passed away. She was and always will be so dear to my heart. Her love and life inspired me when she was here and still touches me even though she's gone. She lived a very unique and yet ordinary life- from her birth to her death her life story is one I will forever treasure. Needless to say, as I look through some of the items she left behind I am so thankful for what a wonderful gift she was to me and so many others and I am so grateful for these miscellaneous items that connect me to her past. The are real treasures.
What you see in the photos above are just a few snapshots of some of the priceless items I feel lucky to have. In an old unmarked envelope thrown in with a box of recipe cards and old piano books and sheet music I came upon several letters that were saved from the early 1930's. Many of them were cards and notes sent to my great grandma on the birth of her little girl- my great aunt Phyllis. What I love about the cards/letters {as you can see in the top photo} is that they are hand-addressed with only a name and city and state. And they made it to their destination clear across the country! How amazing is that?! No zip code necessary, I guess! Things have changed in 80 years, I guess. =) What I really like about the old letters is seeing the handwriting and reading about the 'important' things that were worth writing home about. In one note from my great grandma's sister there is talk about the weather, what was in the oven for dinner, politics and the thought of looking forward to playing tennis and golf. It's easy to forget that there was a time when letters to weeks to be received and that chatting on the phone was impossible! We have it so easy with internet and cellphones, don't we?!
Among the treasures I also found a wedding invitation from my great grandma Lydia's wedding. It dates back to June of 1920- that's nearly 100 years ago! I can't believe it was just stuck in an envelope with no markings on it. It should have easily been in the trash and long lost by now. So that makes it even more exciting for me to have found it.
There's a full and much-loved/used composition notebook which was used to keep recipes and other newspaper clippings inside with practical household tips. You know something is old when many of the recipes are about pickling things and also some that include rabbit and chicken livers! One of the recipes I found has "over 100 years old" scrawled across the top of the card. It's mixed in with other recipes dating from 1967 to 1974. So that makes this Oatmeal Raisin Cookie recipe about 150 years old! I plan on making a batch just to see how they taste. There's also a cake recipe with the notation "Used for Genie's 5th birthday" next to it. Genie is my mom. I can't tell you how fun it's been for me to find such a book rich with memories, notes and lots of speckled splatters from the cooks as they went about their baking.
It got me thinking how some of the greatest treasures we have and will pass on aren't necessarily the things we spend a lot of money on, but instead the things that mean so much are things that connect us to past generations- to people and their lives. I have always loved getting and sending letters. I love to add lots of handwriting to cards I send- especially as things move more electronic and digital these days. I love writing notes in my journal and on scrap pages. I hope one day they will be treasured by people whose lives I've touched and left behind too.
In the spirit of that, the bottom photo is one of some sweet Valentine goodies I received from my {online} friend, Debee. Here is a link to her fun blog. She is so creative and has great photos to look at- check it out! Anyway, I thought I would have a little giveaway- I'll make up a little something with the things I got and some other scrappy things I have in my collection and I'll choose a random winner by tomorrow. I'm in the mood to send something handmade- somewhere. If you want a chance to be the recipient just say hello in the comments and feel free to tell me something you love about the past. I think it's more than time to bring back the fleeting art of handwritten mail. Wouldn't you agree?!

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Time for a little break...

I guess I didn't realize how long it's really been since I've popped in here and said hello. It's not like I don't have things to blog about- I do- but more that I never have a chance to get free time to do so! I sometimes feel like I am living the real-life version of the movie, Groundhog's Day. You know where each day is the same as the one before it?! With the winter dragging on here in Michigan and with three of my kids demanding diaper changes and near constant attention- not to mention packing lunches and getting in baths and daily routine stuff- it can feel like all I do is the same thing day in and day out! Which isn't the worst thing to have happen in life. I'm the first to tell you how much I like ordinary days. BUT, I do have to say I enjoy a little time to create, to play, to have fun, to not have to just fold laundry =), and to just get a chance to do something different once in awhile.
After a snow day due to the big national blizzard last week I decided I needed a little something so I signed up to do a Valentine card swap that I found on the Pink Couch blog. Sometimes I just need to force myself into doing something creative and crafty- for no real reason except for a break from routine. I made the card you see above and Crew did some coloring and cutting next to me while I made it.
Wyndham is still almost 100% of the time in her wheelchair. She does physical therapy a couple of times per week, but it has been slow going for her to get back strength and more so is her lack of desire to push herself a little harder this time around. We're hoping with more sunshine and springtime in the near future that it will boost her energy and desire to get back on her feet. Thanks to many of you who keep praying for her. We are all anxious to see her get some independence back!
I hope that I will be able to get back to posting more regularly too. I've missed writing {and thinking!} and sharing thoughts and hearing yours too. I am in need of finding more balance in life and taking more breaks that actually refill my heart, mind and soul. If you have a great tip or suggestion on how you recharge your life I'd love to hear it! Happy Tuesday everyone!