Monday, February 28

Top 10 signs you've just transitioned from working woman to motherhood

10) You look in a closet full of clothes and think, "I have nothing to wear."

9) Your new cubicle is a couch and three sided pillow (aka The Boppy).

8) Whereas Outlook once ruled your schedule, you now plan your day around feeding schedules, naps, and the weather forecast.

7) You rotate between two pairs of shoes.  All shoes with heels have been thrown in the burn pile... or perhaps just gather dust (depends on where you are in that love, hate relationship). 

6) Whereas, morning showers were once a part of your basic getting ready routine, they are now optional and counted a luxury. 

5) Your new alarm clock is an unpredictable whimper and whine.

4) Your new briefcase is a black leather tote with the words Medela discreetly written on the flap.

3) You view laundry as your new full time job.  Onesies and burp clothes are your toughest clients.

2) Whereas you used to dread the amount of emails in your inbox at the beginning of the workday, you now look forward to checking your email to see if anyone else is out there.

1) You've never had a more demanding boss.  He/she can actually yell for you and warm your heart all at the same time.

Did I miss anything?

Monday, February 21

Rock n' Rollin'!

It happened.  On Saturday... it really happened.  The most exciting part of our three day weekend.  Bella rolled.  As in, she rolled over.  Yes, our little girl rolled over for the first time!

She really did surprise us.  It was like something just clicked, and ever since Saturday, we can't lay her on the ground without her going for a roll.  She's officially making us nervous.

So without further ado, here she is!  Disclaimer: This is actually the second time she rolled over.  If it makes you feel any better, we also missed the first time in our crazy scramble for the video camera.

I love that baby drool.  You can tell she worked really hard for that one. 

And I promise I don't talk in a high pitch baby voice on a regular basis.  I do have a normal voice, but I seem to have lost it in all these videos I keep posting.  She's just so cute, I can't control myself.

Friday, February 18

Patsy's Blackberry Cobbler

This is not my photo. Good food pictures don't happen in this house. 
Nope, this cobbler pic belongs to this woman.
I don't know who Patsy is, but Patsy has stolen our hearts, as well as our sugar lovin' taste buds.  She created a recipe for blackberry cobbler that is like medicine for those of us southerners living up north. 

Over Christmas, my mother in law gave me the new Pioneer Woman's Cookbook.  And like her website, I love, love, love this book.  I read it like one of those easy novels you plow through on a vacation.  It's a cookbook, yes, but it's so much more.  And the recipes just happen to be amazing... and full of butter... or red meat... or bacon grease... just depends on the meal.  I've been working my way through a few of them, consequently adding to our waistlines while I'm at it.  (The calories don't compute well for those of us living in a 675 sq foot apartment.  Pioneer Woman has a serious advantage on that big ranch of hers.)

So, Patsy's Blackberry Cobbler.  This is, hands down, my favorite recipe for the month.  My husband lit up the first time he popped a bite in his mouth.  So then I made it again, and then again.  And then we collapsed from a sugar high.  We're taking a break and working through withdrawals.  What I love about this recipe is that you can mix up the filling... blueberries, mixed berries, peaches, etc.  So the recipe never gets old.  The other thing I love is that the ingredients and instructions are simple and straightfoward.  To add to that, it's pretty impossible to mess this thing up.  If you did, you could just sprinkle some more sugar on top and all would be well. 

You can find this recipe at The Pioneer Woman.  I would post it, but she does a much better job of it.  She gives step by step instructions with pictures and that commentary that I just can't get enough of.  Plus, it's her recipe, not mine.  And I love her and don't want to ruin our friendship. 

And I also love this recipe... in case I didn't make that clear.

Have a great cobbler eatin' weekend!

Monday, February 14

Valentine's Day Blooper

This year, Mike did an AWESOME job with our "Valentine's Day, Engage-aversary" extravaganza.  We snuck away for some R and R out in Pennsylvania's Amish country.  We had our own little cottage at a place called The Artist's Inn (Check out their creative and funny artwork.).  The fields around it are covered in snow, and the traffic on the roads consist of horse and buggies.  We could hear them outside our window until almost one in the morning!  Anyone want to take a guess as to what Amish people are doing out that late on a Sunday night?  We don't know, but Mike and I sure had fun guessing.

Our vacation consisted of nothing but drinking tea, reading, napping, and eating lots of homemade cookies provided by our innkeeper, Jan.  Oh, and I should add that this was also our first official family vacation.  Bella loved it.  Wait, let me clarify.  From what I've heard, I've decided family vacations are a success when you come home with a healthy and happy baby.  And so, we didn't have to burn or throw away any of Bella's clothing.  We also didn't have to pay for replacements or an extra special clean up.  And no, we didn't accidentally send Bella off in a buggy never to be seen again.  So what I'm trying to say is that I think Bella loved it. (Setting the bar low is key to feeling like a successful parent.)

Oh, but there was that one little blooper. I realize what I am about to do is a little immature- especially for a Valentine's Day post- but we were trying so hard to catch Bella's cute gurgling noise she's been making lately, and well, er, we got this instead:

A low point in my blogging... yes, I know.  Bella, you'll never forgive me.  I understand.  Happy first family vacation!

Friday, February 11

Happy Birthday, Dad!

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Before this week comes to a close, I can't let it pass without saying Happy Birthday to the best daddy in the world.  My daddy. 

There were a few things my daddy did for us growing up that I think all dads should adopt.  They all revolved around his consistent communication to his girls of grace and unconditional love.  So in honor of my dad, I will share just one. 

We had this back and forth chant we would do at bedtime every night.  It went a little something like this:

Dad: Now why do I love you so much?

Me:  Because I'm your girl! (We had to say it with gusto.)

When we ran home with As on our report card or a blue ribbon from our swim meet, Dad would do this chant with us.  When we disobeyed and had just finished receiving some well deserved discipline, Dad would do this chant with us.  He would even put notes in our school lunch boxes with little fill in the blanks for our part.  There wasn't one event in life that Dad didn't want his girls to know that it didn't matter how successful or unsuccessful we were, he loved us because we were his.  Not because of anything else we did or didn't do.  Does that not sound like the love of a heavenly Father?  He mirrored that so well to us.

So Happy Birthday, Dad.  I'm so thankful for another year with my Dad and look forward to more to come!

And just for kicks, here are some of my favorite things to do with Dad:

Sit in his lap and hear his stories.  He is a FABULOUS story teller.  Does all the voices.  I'm a little big for the lap part these days, so here is a cute picture of nephew Cole at Christmas.

And dance, of course!  My dad can cut a rug!

Wednesday, February 9

My New Job is Official

The maternity leave has officially ended.  My limbo days are over. On Friday, I turned in my blackberry, packed up my files, tipped my hat to Outlook, and said hello to full time baby smiles and diaper changings.

This week begins my official role as a full time mom.  Mike and I have received nothing but encouragement and support for our decision to leave the world of DINKS (double income no kids).  In fact, the more co-workers, friends, and women I've talked to about this decision, the more thankful I've become for what is truly the gift of staying at home. 

Nevertheless, it is a big decision and transition.  It is not a role I entered into without care or concern, and I've been asked a number of times how I'm handling the big shift.  Thankfully, I received some wise counsel from a mentor of mine back at the end of college that I've carried to this day.  This particular woman had worked hard at her job for a good number of years and was extremely successful.  But when her first child came, she stopped everything to become a full time mom.  When I asked her how she handled the transition, she told me she had disciplined herself throughout her career to remember her identity in Christ.  Because of this, she never felt defined by her job.  Neither did she feel defined by the fact that she was now a mom.  She was protected and fulfilled by her identity in Christ and therefore didn't get wrapped up in the culture's labels.  Sounds simple, but this has been really profound for me as I've thought through life's many transitions, both those behind and before me.  Looking to Christ has been the key to a successful transition.

In addition to this, I've also had a lot of help along the way- i.e. lots of meals from friends, special "rescue" visits from family, etc.  A very special thanks belongs to two people in my life for really paving the way for this new role.

First, to my husband, Mike: Thanks for making me a wife and mom and for prioritizing that role in my life.  Thank you for treasuring your family and for providing for us as Christ provides for his church.  It is a daily blessing to lean on you and to look to you for help and guidance.  I love watching you love me and Bella.

And to my mom: Thank you for making this a role I have aspired to.  Your role as a mother was always full of creativity and fun traditions.  You seized every opportunity to teach and train your three girls. Throughout my early mothering days, I've already found myself thinking about how you organized your home and loved your family.  You taught us how to love a husband and raise a family.  And now all three of your girls are following your example. 

And now, I interrupt myself to give you the latest on our little Bella bundle.  These days, we're all about smiles, wiggles, stomping feet, and yes, tummy time!

Okay, so she doesn't last long folks.  Give it 30 more seconds and this is what tummy time quickly becomes:

It's a rough life.

Wednesday, February 2

Cousins... but definitely not twins!

One of the many blessings of last week's travel to Texas for my grandfather's funeral was the fact that two little munchkins got to hang out... Bella Mae and Kate Eliana!  They are cousins who were born just four days apart back in November.  Only God could orchestrate timing like that. They have no idea how much fun this is, but their moms sure do!  And we are ready to capture these two together any chance we get.

As a sidenote, it was actually pretty special to see how these two could brighten any room they were in during what was a sad time for our family.  They really are precious gifts from God in so many ways.

Okay so this is the couch potato pose below.  A classic.  But seriously, could these two look any more different?!  I mean, can you believe these babies came from two sisters?

I love Kate's face in this picture.  She's like, "Seriously?  This is so staged."  And I'm pretty sure my child is drooling.  Nice.

And if we're keeping track of developmental milestones, note that Bella has figured out how to grin in picture #2.  Melt. Our. Hearts.  We live for that smile. (For the record, Kate can smile, too.  I've seen it.  It's also melt your heart good.)

Tuesday, February 1

I have a reading plan!

How many of you have made the New Year's resolution to read through your Bible in a year and failed by somewhere mid-February?  That's been my sad story for many years.  Last year consisted of two good months, and then boom, I was pregnant.  And the morning sickness came sweeping through.  And my Bible reading suddenly consisted of short verses about God's deliverance.

Other times I've tried reading through the Bible in a year, I've found that I'm regularly playing catch up and feel like I'm in one of those crazy food eating competitions.  I'd come to the table in the mornings and try to inhale twelve chapters of 1 Chronicles in one sitting.  Sorry, but I don't digest 6 different wars and 4 new kings in one sitting very easily.

So then I've ended up on the other extreme... the "I don't have a plan" plan.  And you know what happens with that plan?  Usually nothing.  On good days, I flip to a random passage and struggle to engage with the passage.  Yeah, that doesn't work so well either.

I'm changing things up a bit this year.  I've set what I think is a more realistic goal... the Bible in two years.  Yes, the legalist in me has discovered that there is no written rule saying you must read through it in a year.  You can do it in two... or three!  Here's the plan I found online, and the best part about it is that it gives you built in catch up days.  Wait, I mean the best part about this plan is the reading God's Word part.  The second best part about this plan is that it gives you built in catch up days. I mean, does it get any better?!  These people already knew I was going to fail.  They actually thought, "Bella is going to go bonkers on Diane a few days a month, and there may be a morning or two when the coffee doesn't get flowing through her veins fast enough.  So let's cut this girl a break."  I appreciate that kind of realism.  Oh, and yes, it is a one year plan, but I'm just breaking it into two.  They said I could do that, thank you very much. And doing that still allows me to get in the Old and New Testament each day.  Nice!

What's your Bible reading plan?  If you don't have one, I encourage you to jump on board.  Guess what?  You don't have to start on January 1.  You could start at the beginning of any month.  Today's February 1... hint, hint.  It's good to push yourself with a goal, a goal that by God's grace is reachable.

"He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD."  Deuteronomy 8:3