Friday, August 27, 2010

pure awesome

Have you seen this website?  It is aMAzing! It cracks me up so much.

Catalog Living

Its a blog by actor/comedian Molly Erdman- she's in those Sonic commercials.  She takes pages from catalogues and puts funny captions on them.  Cracks me up every time.

And if you are anything like me and have serious envy issues every time you get your Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, or Anthropologie's in the mail, than this site will help put things into perspective!

Here's an example of one of her posts:

Life’s simple pleasures…

After a long day, nothing pleased Gary more than sitting down to a tasty bowl of rocks with his best friend Gus at his feet.

Friday, August 20, 2010

"Am I pretty, Mommy?"

She's been into princesses lately.  Obsessed, really.  She watches the movies, she reads the books, she puts on her tutu and dances around the kitchen and announces to us "I am a princess, and Daddy is the prince!!"  She is ALL. GIRL.

Lately she has taken to standing in front of the full-length mirror, brushing her hair and making different faces at herself.  Yesterday I walked by and she said to me, "am I pretty, Mommy?"
"Oh yes, Abby, you are my beautiful girl, and I love you."
"Okay," she said.

Her question stopped me in my tracks, though.  Where in the world did that come from?? Is she just repeating back things she's heard me say, or is she really beginning to wonder about her looks? And even if she doesn't really "mean" it this time, how long before she really does?  How long until she thinks differently about the clothes she chooses in the morning, or the way she fixes her hair, or, (yikes!!) makeup!!! Or her body- those chubby yummy knees I love to kiss, and her sweet belly I tickle, and her face that is so beautiful to me it takes my breath away sometimes- when will she start despising these, too?
Or, how can I shepherd her well so that she doesn't end up struggling in these ways (or at least, struggles less?) My tendency is to want to shelter her completely from all the ways the world speaks about beauty. I could take away all the Disney movies, get the princesses out of the house, and heck, let's just get rid of the television all together! That thing is the devil!!

But that isn't realistic, or even healthy.  I can't shelter her forever, and someday she is going to need to know how to interpret the world around her, and all it's mess, for herself.  So maybe Jesus has something more for my parenting.  Maybe He wants to redeem the broken ways the world speaks about beauty and give us a whole picture of who he has made us to be.

Maybe Cinderella can teach us that though she was pretty on the outside for sure, her looks weren't what made her truly beautiful. Prince Charming had a lot of other women to choose from and they must have all been just as pretty as Cinderella.  What made her stand out from all the rest was her kind and gentle spirit.  And how she served her stepmother and stepsisters with a cheerful heart even though they oppressed her.  And how she cared for the lowliest of creatures- the mice and the barn dog.

And while I teach my girls about the qualities that Cinderella had that made her beautiful, I can also teach them about where the power comes from to have these qualities.  Because I can't make myself more beautiful.  Try as I might, I just can't make myself kinder, or gentler, or more just, or more giving.  I always come up short.

There was One who did all these things perfectly, and who knew from the beginning that despite my best efforts I would fall short, but who put his Spirit in me to give me the power to life a life of beauty for Him.  And I can teach my girls about Him, and how he is making them more and more beautiful as they trust in Him.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Dinner Tonight: Bulgogi

(image from

This is quickly becoming one of our favorite meals, and one of my favorites to prepare.  Beef Bulgogi, also known as Korean Barbeque (but don't let that name fool you, it tastes NOTHING like American BBQ). Marinated steak cooked quickly in a skillet, served on a small piece of lettuce with a sponful of rice, and a little dallop of hoisin sauce on top, rolled up and eaten with your hands... yummy goodness!!

The first time I had it was back in Harrisonburg at our friend/neighbor's house.  Heidi is one of the best cooks I know, and she invited me over for lunch one afternoon and this is what we had.  I had forgotten about it until a few months ago when on a whim I emailed her and asked her for the recipe- I was craving it something bad! This summer I have probably made it 4 or 5 times, and will make it again!  Andy loves it, Abby loves it, it's super easy to make, and if you use a lean cut of meat it's pretty healthy, too!  (Or you can go even healthier and use chicken.  But we love us some red meat around here.)  And, it's one of those meals that you can eat a ton of and just feel gooooood when you are finished- not stuffed, not "I can't believe I just ate that, I must have gained 5 pounds," and not, "that's it??" Just satisfied.

Anyways, here is the recipe I use.  If you google "Bulgogi" you can find other, much more complicated recipes for it.  But I am all about homemade food that has few ingredients and still tastes heavenly!

Marinate beef for several hours in:
3 T. soy sauce
1 T. sesame oil
1 T. sesame seeds
1 clove garlic, minced
1 t. sugar
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
-Cooke rice. I use white sticky rice especially for sushi, it works the best, but you can also use jasmine or brown rice.
-Saute beef in a skillet or fry pan on the stove until done, 8-10 minutes.
-Serve with rice on a small piece of lettuce- Bibb, iceberg, or any other.
-Top with a little bit of hoisin sauce or soy sauce.  Roll up and enjoy!

-You can buy sesame seeds pretty cheap in the asian section- cheaper than in the spice aisle.
-I usually pick a thin piece of beef that is especially for sauteeing.  But you can use whatever cut you like.

See?? Easy Peasy!!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Summer Happenings Part 2

Weddings of college friends are the best, aren't they?  There is really nothing like these mini-reunions; getting to see old friends and meet new spouses and children, watching your friend marry the woman/man of their dreams, and going crazy on the dance floor together, just like the old days! We had the privilege of being part of the wedding of one of our closest friends this summer.  Chris Loose was one of our groomsmen, and then about a month and a half ago Andy got to stand beside him as he married his love, Rachel.
To make it even better, the wedding was only 45 minutes from our dear friends the Weymouths, so we got to spend lots of time with them as well, and Abby got lots of time with her bestest friend Lallie-B.

On the way to Asheville we stopped for the night at a hotel, to break the trip up a bit (8 hours is reallllllly long with a toddler and a newborn!!).  The girls did GREAT with their first hotel stay!  I have to say, I was not looking forward to this part of trip- too many bad memories from my childhood of road trips to MInnesota and Disney World.  Me+Dan+Matt+8 hours stuffed inside a cramped station wagon+two beds in one tiny hotel room DOES NOT EQUAL fun.  Especially when it came time to decide who got to sleep on the lone cot.  But I digress....
Charlotte's new favorite way to fall asleep

Abby got a double bed all to herself.  Lucky girl.  Enjoy it while it lasts, kiddo...

Once we got to the Weymouths, it was party time!!! The girls wasted no time breaking it down.

We are saving these up for their dorm room walls.  That's right I said it- we have already applied for early admission for them to be roommates at JMU in 2026. Class of 2030!!
(ummm can you even imagine 2030?  That seems forever from now.  I will be 46. YIKES.)

After bath time, snuggle time before bed

Abby's favorite thing all weekend: going through all of Lallie's accessories.  Shoes, hair clips, head bands, oh my!!

The girls: Lallie Beth, Madeleine, Charlotte, and Abby

Alexe set up mini pedicures on the front porch. 

Such cute pink toes!

We left Abby with the Weymouth's Friday afternoon so we could go to the Rehearsal Dinner and then the wedding the next day without our crazy preschooler in tow.  THANK YOU THANK YOU Weymouths!!! Seriously, you know you have good friends when on top of having house guests in and out of their home for 7 days, they are also willing to watch your kid for you for almost a whole weekend.

At the rehearsal:
They look so happy!!

I wish you could have seen his face all weekend.  Chris is normally a happy guy, but I have never seen him smile so much in the 8 years I have known him.

At the wedding:
Chris and Rachel met while serving together on an InterVarsity mission trip to Mongolia a few summers ago, but their relationship didn't technically start then.  Chris went back to Mongolia to do full time campus ministry for a few years, and during his time over there Rachel ended up going over for a period of time as well, and their romance began then!  They are such a great match for each other, and their story is such a reminder to me (and everyone!) of God's sovereignty, provision and care for His children.    Their reception was Mongolian themed, including the cake!  How fun!!

In Mongolia it is custom for the bride and groom to sing a song to everyone at the wedding reception. So, Chris and Rachel sang a song to us in Mongolian as well!  

What a handsome couple!! Rachel was gorgeous, and glowing.  

It was so great to catch up with so many college friends, and some of our best friends in the world
William and Amy Roy, Me, and Mark and Emily Davis.  William, Mark, Andy, and Chris lived together for a year after college, the year Andy and I were engaged.  I have so many great memories with these guys, and now with their spouses, too.  Such great friends!

William you are going to be an amazing Dad!  No pressure!! haha

I'm pretty sure we were cracking up at Chris dancing to Freebird.  A tradition from his college days.

Yep, and here it is.  Rachel joined in and Chris's air guitar solo became a duet.  This was probably one of the highlights of the evening.

It was fitting that our good friend Brandon caught the garter, as he and his wife, Amy, got married a few weekends ago!

Sending them off

I know I keep saying this, but what good friends we have!  Chris has been such an encouragement to Andy over the years.  He has played a big part in some of the major moments in our relationship- when Andy was first deciding whether or not to pursue dating me and then when he was praying about marrying me, during our engagement, at our wedding, and he was even present for our first big fight! So, this wedding was really special for us and really more like having a sibling get married. We love you, Chris and Rachel, and we can't wait to visit you in Boston!!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Sister Love

Saturday afternoon.  Jack Johnson's soundtrack to Curious George is playing, Bruiser is curled up on the welcome mat, soaking in the sun.  I am working on crust for a cherry pie I have been craving for weeks now, and the girls are "playing" in the living room.  Charlotte is lounging in her bouncy chair, and Abby is perched next to her on the floor, reading books to her.  Charlotte's eyes are fixed on Abby, and nothing, not even Bruiser's surprise BARK at the mailman going by, can tear them away from her.  Normally I am her favorite person in the world (which has nothing to do with me and everything to do with nursing), but when Abby walks in the room, nothing else in the world matters!
Abby is talking so sweetly to her, pausing every couple of minutes to show her a picture from one of her books.  Charlotte tries to talk back with little coos and gurgles.  I want to bottle this moment up and keep it forever- the peaceful calm, the warmth, the love and joy between sisters.
How I long for them to cherish and enjoy one another like this as they grow up into young women! Only by His grace!!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Summer Happenings Part 1

There has been SO MUCH going on this summer, we have hardly had a moment to stop and catch our breath!! We've been out of town a lot for some pretty significant events- a big wedding, family reunions, big birthdays, a baby shower for some really close friends- and, we've had visitors and lots going on around Norfolk, too!  I'm going to try to get caught up over the next few days (err... maybe weeks?  we'll see!!).  Here is part 1!

Dan and Katie came for a visit in June.  We slept in, enjoyed big breakfasts, played games, and went to the beach!
Katie is SO good with the girls.  It probably helps that she has a lot of other nieces and nephews already! The girls (Abby especially!!) totally dote on her and she is so good about playing with them and loving on them.  

Our typical beach positions:

I cannot, for the life of me, get him to take a serious picture!!

Is the beach not the best place in the world to take a nap??

Swaddled, nice and cozy!

Abby let us bury her in the sand.  It took us a while to get her to stay still enough to build the little mermaid body around her.  She loved it.  For about 5 seconds.  Just long enough to snap this photo!

She wants to be just like her aunt.  I love it!