Monday, April 30, 2012

We interrupt this Grocery Bag for a public service announcement

Image courtesy of Flight72 Collectables

Our grocery bag for this week has been indefinitely postponed in light of the recent household development of a stomach bug.  After early pick-ups from school this morning, the introduction of sick buckets for the car ride home, loads of extra laundry, and an afternoon of scrubbing up vomit, I have imposed a family-wide fast.   My bears are currently sleeping on towel-covered pillows and I am praying for a full night's sleep for everyone.  We need it.  Thankfully, the BRAT diet does not require much forethought or meal planning.  Sorry Grocery Bag, we'll see you next week.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Sunday with the horses

Is there anything sweeter than a Sunday spent together? 

How about a Sunday together at the park with the horses?

 I don't need a lot of words to tell you about our time at the park.
To be honest, we didn't do much.
But, we did enjoy a lot.

Our afternoon was simple,





and fleeting.

The week ahead is beckoning.

We'll be ready.  

We have soaked up our Sabbath day, together.

Friday, April 27, 2012

April Milestones

We have been growing a lot this month!

E-Bear has learned to catch a ball.
G-Bear wrote her first sentence.
Buddy Bear is munching on sugar snap peas.

Overheard at the dinner table:
"Dad, do you wanna listen to my snap?   It doesn't snap."  

Overheard in the kids' room after time outs, after Mom explains WHY we don't do certain behaviors:
G-Bear: "I guess I didn't think about that when I was doing it."
Me: "You know, G-Bear, lots of children, and sometimes even adults, forget to think about the consequences of their actions before they do something."
G-Bear:  "I don't really know how to think like a grown-up yet."

Overheard in the playroom when T finds G-Bear standing on our firetruck, trying to reach a top shelf:
T:  "G-Bear, be careful."
G-Bear:  "Dad, don't worry.  Four and a half girls are VERY brave."
What will we do now that she has turned five?  Heaven help us when she is fifteen.

Overheard as a man walks by wearing a Superman shirt:
G-Bear: "E-Bear, look, Superman."
E-Bear: "That's not Superman.  Superman wears a cape."

Overheard just before Buddy Bear's birthday:
G-Bear: "Mom, can I have my five dollars that I got from my friend for my birthday."
Me: "Sure, G-Bear, why do you need it?"
G-Bear:  "I want to give it to Buddy Bear for his birthday.  Here, see, I made him a picture to go with it."

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Cousins are a blessing

"There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind."
~C.S. Lewis

Life is an adventure.  
What a blessing to have cousins to share in it.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Grocery Bag

Welcome back to our Grocery Bag.  So far, our month has been filled with fun celebrations, travels and birthdays.  This week, we are refocusing on our labors at work, home and school.  With late work nights, school events and chores to do, our meal plan needs to flex its strength and preparatory power!    Here are my ideas for dinner this week.

Day One
Fettuccine alfredo with bacon from Cooking Light Magazine
with spinach salad and pears
Here is one of my favorite pasta dishes.  It comes together in a flash.  
We often add green peas to the pasta for extra green :)
If you cook a whole package of bacon, use half for this recipe and save the rest for tomorrow's soup.

Photo and recipe from

Day Two
Edamame Corn and chowder from Everyday Food Magazine
with homemade bread and carrot sticks
I'll use us the rest of our bacon for this quick, flavorful soup recipe. 

Photo and recipe from

Day Three
Thai larb from Cooking Light Magazine
with tortillas, romaine lettuce wraps and apple slices
This is one of my favorite ways to use ground chicken or turkey, a real treat in our house.

Day Four
Lentil chili from
with couscous and fruit salad
Another family favorite, quick and easy.
Photo and recipe from

Day Five
Thai honey peanut tofu from Tasty Kitchen
with basmati rice and steamed peas
This is one of my favorite ways to cook tofu.

Photo and recipe from

Blessings on your kitchen this week!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Buddy Bear First Birthday

Okay, get ready for the first birthday play-by-play.
Happy first birthday, Buddy Bear!

We had a great time celebrating our Buddy Bear this weekend.  We really think he enjoyed being celebrated too!  Our little guy lit up like a birthday candle when we woke him up by singing "Happy Birthday To You" on the morning of his birthday.  T and I had stayed up late the night before, decorating our living room with our perennial 1st Birthday decorations.  We had our traditional cereal-with-sprinkles birthday breakfast and then opened a few presents before T had to leave for work. Our little buddy was a pro at opening his birthday box, with a little help from his sibs.

We spent the evening at the park, with a special dinner, a jello dessert and some time to ride bikes.  Buddy Bear made his first bike ride and LOVED it!  His smile said it all:

Buddy Bear's first bike ride.

This weekend we had a barbecue picnic dinner celebration with Nana, our cousins, Aunt K and Uncle T.  Buddy Bear was so excited when we brought out his cake.

Thankfully, we managed to get the candle blown out without any burned fingers. 

After all, those little fingers had important shortcake-tasting work to do!
Dude was thrilled to have his own piece.  It was almost too good to be true!

Success!  Delicious!

Eventually, Buddy Bear skipped the finger step and went straight to the mouth method.

He polished his piece off without any trouble.  
This little guy takes after his mom when it comes to dessert!
Yummy :)

Buddy Bear's first birthday cake.

 Thanks to everyone for helping us make Buddy Bear's first birthday so special!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Happy Birthday to our Buddy Bear!

From Baby Bear..... Buddy Bear!

We have a one year old today!

Dearest Buddy Bear,

Happy, happy birthday, sweet boy.  Where we once saw a baby, we now have a little buddy.  You are so much more than the baby of our family.  You are the irreplaceable smile that starts our day, the pitter-patter of hands and feet following us across the room, the little monster ever eager to discover every nook of our house.  You have always been so alert and happy by day, even as a new baby.  You are my buddy who keeps me company: sleeping by our bed, snuggled in a sling, tucked on my hip, riding in the backpack; I love every minute of having you so near.

But you have so much growing to do!  I know it because of how much you have already grown, right before our eyes....

April:  Sweet peaceful soul, you joined our fray on Holy Wednesday before Easter, just like your sister.  You were so kind to wait until after your Mom's birthday to come.  Your siblings ask for you first thing every morning when they wake up.  Your snuggles are so sweet, you are so easy on us all.

May:  Your smile arrives to make our day.  Each morning, as we eat breakfast, you look out the big living room window from your bouncer before you take your nap.  I love to have you close, so grateful for your company.  You keep me company while we do laundry, you sit with me during my medical school graduation.  We take you to the cabin for the first time and to your first baseball game.

June:  You are not yet playing with toys, but your brother and sister love to bring you plenty of them to keep you happy if you cry.  You can hold your head up, and you love to sit with us while we are reading stories together.  You check up with flying colors at our last visit with Dr. Dailey.  Your eyes are definitely brown now, always framed by your happy eyebrows!

July:   We are always on the go, so you spend lots of time in the sling or the front-pack, which is fine with you, because that is your favorite place to be!  You can get out of your swaddler at night, you can sit up in your bouncer, you are getting so big.  You meet your cousins for the fourth and are the youngest family member to help celebrate your GG's 90th birthday at the cabin.

August:  You made a cross-country move at the ripe old age of three months, but your bed is still the bassinet sitting next to mom & dad's bed.  You like to munch on your fingers, and by now you have found your toes.  You are rolling over and sitting in the Bumbo, which you couldn't do only weeks before in Minnesota!  Thanks for your belly laugh, your giggles, and for always trying to get my attention; you make me feel like a movie star.

September:  We take you to your first Carolina Football Game and to Boston to see your cousins.  You are quite the traveler by five months of age!  Now that G-Bear and E-Bear have started school, you and I have time for daily morning walks.  I love that time with you, as we go strolling through the neighborhoods.

October:  After chomping on toys for weeks, your first tooth makes an appearance!  Hallelujah!  You enjoy your first rice cereal and butternut squash.  You may sit in your bumbo, but not for long, because you are scooting on your tummy and playing in the exersaucer.  At six months, we celebrate with ice cream for us, applesauce for you :).

November:  You are the most adorable pumpkin at MoMo's for Halloween.  You weathered your first big illness like a champ, certainly better than your mom.  You surprise your siblings with your scoots, because you can now chase them around the room to see what they are doing.  They love to include you (even in their Tea Parties!), because you are one of their favorite friends.  We celebrate your first Thanksgiving feast with cousins in NC.

December:  You are helping us decorate the tree with lights, decorating Christmas cookies with us at the table, riding Daddy's shoulders at the park, wrestling with your siblings, always smiling and never grumpy (unless it is the middle of the night).  Sweet boy, our Christmas is extra sweet with you, your smile, your babbles, your crawling (on Christmas Eve!) and the raspberries you learn to dish out.  You finish the month with cheerios at MoMo's -- what a fitting way to finish the year!

January:  You are the cutest Big Al on the block in New Orleans for the BCS game!  You love to splash at the Wolf Lodge pool with your cousins, and you have a great time playing in the tent with G-Bear and E-Bear on our rainy January days.  By nine months you are crawling out of your bassinet, and it is time to switch to the crib.  But where should we put you?  We settle on the playroom bathroom, and you sleep like a champ.  Before the month is out, you are standing and furniture walking.  Siblings beware:  there is little that is out of your reach!

February:  You are exploring and getting into everything!  Whether you are chewing on the power strip that belongs behind the couch, tearing into my cookbooks or emptying the toy room shelves, you are determined and successful.  You are waving hello, clapping along, eating voraciously!  You brighten so many days, including the first and only snow day of the winter.

March:  I decide to rearrange our shelves to be more welcoming for you, and you are very grateful.  Now you can tear into cups and blocks, pots and pans, tupperware and pantry food without my interference.  You are a tough little cookie--often bonking you head in your pursuits, but never staying sad for long.  You are eating big kid meals of chunks by yourself. You are endlessly pursuing your siblings, and they are endlessly delighted by you.  G-Bear loves to wrestle with you and pick you up.  E-Bear loves to roll on the floor and giggle with you.  They both love to wake you up in the morning or from your nap.  I love having you tug at my hair from the backpack, watching you open and close the screen porch door in delight, or playing peek-a-boo.

April:  You love your green blankie, you love to play ball, you love ice cream licks and you love to sing songs.  You play at the playground by holding onto the bars and crawling around on the bridge.  You hair curls around your ears now, especially when it gets hot outside.  You love it when I understand what you want, and you get frustrated now when you don't get your way.  Your babbles will be words before long, because you have more and more to say these days.  Your first molar tooth has come in, and you are working on several more!

Buddy Bear, even as you turn one, you couldn't be more irreplaceable in our lives.  You have a joyful, easy-going presence.  You are so adoring and loving toward your siblings, who adore you in return. They can't wait for you to wake up from your naps to play with them, even though they do pretend to run from you, little monster, in their make-believe games.  Thank you for snuggling me, hanging out with me, being my Little Buddy.   Daddy and I love you so much.   Happy, happy birthday, sweet boy.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A mid-week deep breath

This week has felt like a ride on a tilt-a-whirl.

I am having trouble keeping my bearings, moving from moments of delight to moments of disorientation with surprising suddenness.

The week started with a birthday for me.  
(Did that really happen?  Am I really a year older?)

Tomorrow, I'll have a one-year-old.
(Is this really happening?  Where is the baby that I just delivered?)

We are trying to re-entering life here after a visit away, 
while, at the same time, we try to figure out our life away as our time here begins to fade.

When I am riding a tilt-a-whirl, I never know whether I should smile or brace myself for a fall.

I realize how easily, in the course of everyday life, I become disoriented.  

This morning is a good time to wake early, say a prayer, and take a deep breath.  "Do not worry," says the Great Lover of our souls.  His handprints are all over our future; His life is our sure foundation.  

Monday, April 16, 2012

A happy birthday with my crew

Happy Birthday, Mommy!

My bears asked me over and over last week,
"what kind of birthday are YOU going to have, Mommy?"

Today, I got to go on a smoothie date with T, 
have dinner with my crew (and Nana, Uncle B and Aunt A!)
 and celebrate with our favorite kind of cake.

What more could a mom want for her birthday?

I can't miss the chance to thank my parents for getting me through so much of my three decades.  Mom, I am thinking of you, especially today.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A-Day 2012

  It's been over three months since our last Alabama football game.  

We were going into withdrawal.

E-Bear and his great friend, Cousin A.

So today, we had a great day cheering on the Alabama football team for A-Day 2012.  

The A-Day Game is really just an inter-squad scrimmage, 
but 'Bama Nation always shows up in droves.  

This year, we were amongst the masses, 

sharing a special family day with our cousins.  

All the cousins together.
This was a day of special memories that our kids will talk about for years to come.