Wednesday, April 28

Check out this Give-A-Way!

So I have a new favorite company that I want to share! It's called Earth Mama Angel Baby. [And it's based out of Portland, Mrs.{B}]
 I especially love that G's Mama Hughes has always called him her angel baby!

They were kind enough to sponsor a give-a-way for Mamas over at my Momtourage site! So pop on over to my other site and enter, because I know you would love to win this!
[NOT restricted to Pittsburgh residents!]

Tell me: have you tried any of their products or do any of them look like something you would love to try?

Sunday, April 25

PICKY? Say it ain't so!

Graham has become slightly choosy in the food category of late. It can't be! I don't know if I can deal with a picky eater. So tell me, how do kids become picky? They start on vegetables. Those are the first foods they are introduced to. How can they suddenly not like them? One thing I've noticed for Graham is texture. He absolutely won't touch a piece of broccoli, cooked or raw! And green veggies in general he seems to be slightly leery of. He has always loved green beans, and suddenly, not so much. He will still eat peas, but again, for the texture, I just think he likes anything in the shape of a ball. :) He has always had a strong aversion to eggs, weird, right? He really can't stand them - hard-boiled, scrambled, omelet... One success: for some reason he liked my recent zucchini & tomato frittata. That was shocking. was good! :) He has also decided to steer clear of kidney beans as well. I will give him a mouthful of food with a bean mixed in (even mashed!) and he will pull out the food, take out the bean and put the rest back in his mouth. Ingenius, really! He WILL eat any fruit, any time, any where. Taking him thru the produce section at the grocery store almost causes him to hyperventilate. :) So far it's not too big of a deal. He still eats most things without a problem. We're just having to get kind of creative on how we sneak in the big-bad veggies  (since it's not really an option for him not to eat them)- zucchini & squash in his lasagna, peas & corn mixed in to his taco, lettuce & tomatoes in his chicken salad wrap (he loves anything in a tortilla!) or when desperation calls, even dipping a bite of a pasta dish in a dab of yogurt! The only problem is that I have to feed him these dishes. If we give him his own dish, he very seriously picks thru all the food and only pulls out the bits he wants. Hmmmm, I suppose he will only let me feed him for so long! A friend is passing along Jessica Seinfeld's cookbook, I'm very interested to look at that! So...I am just wondering, does every kid go through choosy-stage? Do you have any tricks-of-the-trade?!

Thursday, April 22

"Playpen in a Purse"

When we were expecting little G, we had taken a parenting class offered at our church.
Led by Randy & Lynne Hilton (parents of 8), they knew a thing or two about parenting!
One of the tips Lynne told us about was the "playpen in a purse" concept. Which, simply put, is training your child to stay on a blanket when necessary.
I thought it sounded like such a great idea, however, as time went on, we didn't really have a huge need for it to be put into practice. Well, until now! We recently went to dinner at a friend's house and since G finished eating before the rest of us, he took off like a little tornado. A little hard to enjoy chat & dinner with our hosts! SO, we decided, it was time!
Andrew actually did it with him for about 10 minutes one night, and of great shock to us - he understood immediately! He wasn't crazy-happy about it, but he understood! So the next day I decided to try it while I was working on the computer, since it's in a very non-kid-proof area. I put him on the blanket with his toys and immediately, sad, sad tears!! But the funny thing is, he realized he had to stay there and didn't even try to "escape". So after a few minutes of sadness, he got busy playing with his toys. And stayed content for about 10 minutes or so. amazing!
It came in handy again this week with our little projects going on!
Sometimes he'll look up at me and clap 2x (his please), and if I shake my head no, then he goes back to playing. Somewhat cute!!
So, it hasn't been tested out of our home, but we're certainly hoping it will make the difference between sitting & enjoying a meal vs. chasing after a very busy little guy!

Anybody have any other tips on training during this stage?

Wednesday, April 21

sneak peak................

I realize I am posting like a maniac this week, don't know how that's happening, except to say, we love 7pm children's bedtime. :)
So the color is coming.............
The chaos has really arrived!

Tuesday, April 20

Stretching a buck @ Target..................

I think it drives some people crazy to hear about other people great deals that they score. I don't want to drive you crazy. :) I post this because a) I am so thankful & it is a blessing to us b) because I only learned how getting these kind of deals was possible by seeing others people's successes.
I have been slow to get into the deal game. #1) I was absolutely opposed to running to 6 different stores a week #2) for me, I could have consistent savings by doing all my shopping a wal-mart.
Recently I added CVS to my game plan. If you see all the rite aid/walgreens/cvs deals that are posted each week, it can be quite overwhelming. So I kind of kept an eye on all 3 and until I decided that CVS has the total best plan. You can buy products and immediately use your "extra bucks" on the rest of your purchases, they don't hassle with you over coupons (my walgreens experience!) and they have amazing promotions. I could go on about the deals I am [slowly] starting to score there, but I am sure that would bore you. So all that to say, IF you're contemplating any of them, CVS might be worth your time!
I also see Target deals posted, but Target just isn't convenient for me to get to, so I usually don't go. However, this week, I was totally lured by a hobo bag. :)
So I spent some time going over the Target deals for this week, printing my coupons and making my plan! (yes, it does take SOME time, but I figure that part of my job description is stretching our dollars as far as possible) :)
I was able to get all these products for just $10! (Total without sales/coupons would have been $33!)
Polo shirt for Andrew - $8 sale, $3 coupon=$5
Pure & Natural hand soap - $3 each, $2 coupons=$1 each
Pillow - $2.79, $1.50 coupon=$1.29
Johnson's buddy soap - $1.02, $1 coupon=2 cents :)
Annie's mac-n-cheese - $1.25. (I didn't have a coupon, but it was on sale, and well, I just love mac-n-cheese!!) This organic one is my current fav!

And the bag lure that brought me in (but you never know IF you'll be able to get the deals other people have).....SCORE. This amazing (it's actually orange) hobo bag - 74 cents (after my coupon, which apparently is not available anymore!).
So I'd say for this week, it was worth the trip!
I hope you're able to snag some great deals this week as well!

Sunday, April 18

A touch of spring & a little chaos........

We are in the serious mood for home projects. In fact, we were at Home Depot twice this weekend. So it's kind of sunk in that we are in the house to stay for a while, so we are on a rampage to make the most of it!! Just love seeing some new spring flowers!
So, right after we told our landlords that we were staying, [besides doing a happy dance] :) Dennis says to me, "You guys can go ahead and paint if you want to." EXCUSE ME, WHAT??????? We were actually going to ASK for that possibility and they came to us! So then I [sweetly] said, how about the borders, could they be taken down? "
Oh, sure."
*cue angels singing.*
So little cutie-patootie, you are not long for this world....................
In fact, this was the scene the very next day. :) My DH is very hard at work (bless him!) and let's just say our house is going to smell like Downy for a while!

So then, it turns out that our toilet has been leaking into the ceiling. So sometime this week, we will certainly be having a little construction in the house. Oh, the joys! So between using the bathroom in the basement (thank goodness we even have that option though!) and the computer on the 3rd floor, I think I'll be getting my exercise for the week!

And oh, yes, I have a little plan in mind to spruce up this entrance [pending landlord approval!]

Friday, April 16

The house that almost was....

Well, turns out, we are not going to be purchasing a home at this time. I don't have a very concrete reason, except to say, that Andrew & I (individually) began to have serious hesitations about entering into such a big investment at this time. We don't know if it was the wrong home? wrong place? wrong time?, but the bottom line is that we decided to back out before we were in too deep. :) Being the case that we both began to have these feelings and then as we began to talk about them realizing the other was feeling the same thing, we definitely knew - we had to get out. So basically, we had paid for the home inspection to be done (and $500 is nothing to sneeze at), but that was the only $$ we had into it at this point. And we absolutely feel 100% peace, so after getting out there are no regrets. And hey, we learned a LOT about home buying in the process!
So it was fun to dream for a short while about painting every room and not living under a floral border :) or having some parking spots and a backyard, but we're feeling quite content right this moment about staying right where we are. And the best part? Not leaving our little neighborhood that we have come to love so much and the many great neighbors that God has blessed us with.
So.............Garnet Way.............looks like we're here to stay. (at least for now!)

Wednesday, April 14

A Pretty Fun Day.................

Very good news - the broken camera appears to be working! Grandmas & Grandpas rejoice. :)

I had arranged for our Momtourage to attend the [free!] Pittsburgh Symphony Tiny Tots concert. I love that they offer these concerts! They are about 30 minutes and usually they read a story which is interspersed with various songs by the Symphony.
We decided to take the bus (always an adventure!), so G & I hopped aboard and headed on our way....

We were actually pretty early, so we stopped at this little area downtown to kill some time.

loving chasing the pigeons. (poor things!)What's that face?!!In Heinz Hall...
We had our biggest group ever - over 30 moms, dads, a grandma, and kiddos!After the concert, some of our group headed a few blocks over to eat lunch at the park.

Guess whose child instigated the messy playing-in-the-leaves caper?
yep, that would be mine.......... Also enjoyed burying himself in leaves.
Let's just say he came home a little dirtier than I would have thought!
And on a sentimental note............
his feet are now touching the stroller bar. sniff, sniff.

Monday, April 12

Sometimes Weary....

Getting out of bed this morning was very difficult. I ALMOST went back to bed with Graham's morning nap! It's been one of those weeks where I am completely overwhelmed. Of course, the triplets are heavily on our mind as well as various other circumstances of life.

From the end of the earth, I call to you, when my heart is faint.
Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I. Psalm 61:2

Saturday - Graham fell off a 3-foot playground platform and landed on his face. (He backed just out of my reach and off the stairs). I had deju-vu of Cole. However, he landed screaming, which was a good thing, I guess. Praise God for his protection. He has quite the war wound (oh how I am missing my camera!) on his face, but after 2 minutes, he was back up there. Whew. I kind of wish it would have given him a little fear. My first 3 gray hairs. And if he lives to adulthood, it will be a miracle at this point. I am seriously considering a helmet for him. Seriously.

Sunday - Andrew was home! Basically we gave each other a high-five and then spent 3 hours discussing paperwork. We have a task before us that is requiring immediate decisions & actions. Yes, we are purchasing our first home! (Don't recommend signing papers and then having your hubby leave town for a week.) Last week was really crazy. So this week we have to get our negotiations in as far as the inspection went (which raised a lot of red flags -boo). So just LOTS of decisions to make in a very short amount of time. Overwhelming!

Hear, Oh Lord, when I cry aloud. Be gracious to me, and answer me. You have said, Seek my face, My heart says to you, Your face, Lord, do I seek. Psalm 27:7-8

So this week, as I look at another crazy full-of-scribbles calendar, I must preach to my self, hourly...ok, minutely (that's a word, right?) that what I truly need to do today, is love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, and mind. I must think on the blessings of salvation and God's gift of grace to me and his abundant blessings in my life. Or else I will be impatient with my son, short with my husband, and have a very unpleasing attitude. (All things I am pretty sure I managed to do this weekend. unfortunately.)

Joys of the weekend
Friendship - my dear friend, Cara was here this weekend. She encouraged my heart so much and I am so thankful for her friendship. I had to laugh as we were strolling our babies thru the park, that I couldn't have imagined this moment when we met 10 years ago!! What a gift to have a friend who will listen, talk, love, admonish, and sharpen you as iron.

Great find - My neighbor, Christi, had a yard sale and I was able to score seven 15x19 & 11x13 silver metal frames for $3! Can't wait to see what I can do with those!!

Dinner - were invited to dinner by a couple in our church, Paul & Cathy. What a joy they are to our family and we are just loving the times we get to spend together with them.

God is good.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have it's full effect, that you may be perfect & complete, lacking nothing. James 1:2.

Friday, April 9

Lincoln's Update

We praise God that Lincoln came through surgery well. Is it not unbelievable that they can do open-heart surgery on a 3lb. infant??
He remains in the Critical Care Unit at St. Christopher's hospital in Philly. Joel is staying at the Ronald McDonald House there and will probably be there for at least 2 weeks. His & Andrew's parents were able to drive up for the weekend.
Tyler & Allison seem to be doing well. They are receiving some breathing assistance at times, but continue to progress. They are hoping that they can soon take in some milk as they have only been on feeding tubes up to this point.
Laura did leave the hospital and will be staying with her parents for a while. Praise God that her family lives so close and is able to provide constant, steady support as well as be able to care for Jack & Emily.
We just continue to pray for the whole family of 7! It is amazing that hundreds, if not thousands, of people are lifting them up in prayer. We know they are in the hands of the Great Physician.
(These pics are Lincoln post-surgery.)

Tuesday, April 6

The Trips....

Andrew's brother's wife delivered the triplets yesterday!
They were born on my sister's birthday, so I should be able to remember 4 birthdays in one day. :)
*UPDATE* Lincoln's surgery was moved to Thursday morning.
(They were born at 31 weeks)

Allison Joy is 3lb.13oz. and 17 inches.
Tyler Micheal is 3lb.15oz. and 17.25 inches.
Lincoln Christopher is 3lb.11oz. and 16.25 inches. Little Lincoln needs immediate heart surgery to repair a too narrow artery in his heart. He was transferred to a hospital in Philidelphia and is scheduled to have surgery on Wednesday afternoon. Please keep Joel & Laura in your prayers. You can only imagine how difficult it would be to have to immediately split as parents and be in 2 different places, not to mention not being able to see all the babies together.
Teeny, tiny miracles. We praise God for their arrival.

Monday, April 5

The Good & the Bad...........

The Good:
It was a wonderful weekend. Great weather. Andrew had some guys from church over to watch the Final Four. Duke won, Andrew [very happy]!
Easter Sunday was an amazing service at our church. Lunch with friends. Graham got 2 Easter baskets from neighbors. Time spent with neighbors. A long walk. Beautiful day!
The Bad:
Our camera officially quit yesterday. No Easter pics. :( Graham had picked it up a couple of weeks ago and all I did was say his name and he got rid of it immediately. Thank you for your quick obedience, buddy. But the quick slam on the floor? Not so awesome.
The Good:
Something special is in the works (! Not all details are finalized yet...but hopefully soon!
The Bad:
Andrew left at 5:30 am for a work trip to Phoenix. He will be helping doing some training in their office there. He doesn't return until 10 pm Saturday night! It might be a long week! We hope it goes by quickly. G is going to wonder where his daddy is and I hate that he can't understand.
The Best:
hApPy 21st bIrThDaY to my sister, Katie!
She is 9 years younger than me, but I love this girl so much! I remember jumping up & down on my bed when I found out I had a sister (after 3 brothers!) I also promised my mom I would bring her downstairs when she cried at night. And then promptly learned how to sleep thru a crying baby 4 feet from my bed. I guess that's where I learned to sleep so hard. :)
She is amazing. The hardest working and most caring person I know! She has been working 2 (or is it 3 or 4?!) jobs to help get herself thru college. On a rArE day off, I usually find her volunteering for an elderly patient, by cleaning, grocery shopping, or mowing their yard! I am excited that she gets to spend part of her summer in Myrtle Beach working with Campus Crusade. And I CAN'T WAIT for her visit in 6 weeks!!!

Friday, April 2

My Redeemer Lives...

There is a reason that our symbol of the cross is empty. And that is simply because Jesus did not stay on the cross, but is Risen!
We have been focusing on the Resurrection for the past few weeks on our church blog. And these are the lyrics to a song that we are singing this Sunday. I hope the message of Easter will resonate in your soul this weekend!
The darkest day in history was over
All was lost on the cross
Beaten, battered, bruised beyond description
You gave it all, what went wrong?
This couldn't be the end of Heaven's story
'Cause you came to save, to beat the grave
Three days and now they're looking for your body
But You were gone and now I know
You saved the day
The day you rolled the stone away
The empty grave is there to say,
You reign!
You saved the day
You tore the holy veil away
You opened wide the prison gates
You saved the day!
Rescued from the shackles of my failures
In the dead of night, You shined Your light.
Your gift of love is Hope that springs eternal
And because of You, all things are new.
You saved the day
The day you rolled the stone away
The empty grave is there to say
You reign.
You saved the day
You tore the holy veil away
You opened wide the prison gates
You reign!
(Words by Michael Neal, sung by PCD)
For us indeed, it is a very Happy Easter!