Friday, October 30, 2009


Here is Liv enjoying some cuddle time with Reese. 

The jump from having 1 child, to 2 was very challenging.  I suspect it is partly because our first child was still a toddler in the midst of refinement.  What am I talking about?  Does the refinement ever end?  Whatever the case, the jump from 2 to 3 children has been much smoother.  I am sure it is because I now have 2 very capable helpers, as Liv is 6 years older than Reese, and Holland is 4 years older.  Reese is quick to smile at each of the girls and loves hearing their voices!  

One day as I was cooking, Reese was fussing a little.  I asked Liv to peek and see if Reese had a messy diaper.  "Yep!  There's POO!"  Ok, I'll get to it in a minute.  But before I knew it, Liv was instructing Holland to grab a diaper and some wipes, while she started stripping Reese down to her diaper.  Holland responded with such speed and grave dedication.  It seriously brought tears to my eyes: both girls rushing around, taking care of their baby sis.  

And really, Reese looks rather content and well taken care of, yes?  

I just had to include this shot, as it proves that Liv gets so much done in one sitting by using her feet.  I have seen her do this a dozen times while constructing projects, but it's the first time I have ever gotten a photographed record.  (see her laying out the clean diaper with her foot? She also uses these monkey feet of hers to anchor the duct tape roll so that both hands are able to dispense. ha ha!)  In this picture, Holland is packaging up the dirty diaper into a nice, compact bundle of trash.

I am happy and blessed to have such cheerful helpers.  And Reese is so blessed to have such caring sisters.  

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Liv's Climb to 6

Now We Are Six - A.A. Milne

When I was one
I had just begun
When I was two
I was nearly new
When I was three
I was hardly me
When I was four
I was not much more
When I was five
I was just alive
But now I am six,
I'm as clever as clever;
so I think I'll be six now
for ever and ever

Our first born is 6-years-old now, as of October 14th! I remember receiving age-6 clothes for Liv when she was first born. I thought it was ages away. Now I laugh at myself, for the years literally flew by.

I call Brian my Mad Scientist, because he is always inventing, always improving things around the house. I am always in awe of his will to make something better. I have a tendency to "make do" and just deal with things being subpar. Brian, on the other hand, can often be seen with a needle in hand, reconstructing fight shorts or gloves to "make them better". Living with an inventor like himself makes for a life that is anything but dull, slightly messy at all times, and an unbelievably fun childhood for our girls. One of his recent projects has been a rock climbing wall. In our backyard. I appreciate how Brian is constantly making ways for our family to share activities together. He also takes the girls 2 nights a week to boxing practice with him...because he wants to include them and spend time with them. They love it.

But I digress...this post is about our new six year old! Perhaps I go on and on about Brian on this post, because Liv and Brian share a love for inventions together. They also talk often about the complexity of electricity, the way a cell phone works, or the unique ways in which certain animals defy evolution. They both excel at Math and can see abstract solutions to household problems. He started a rock climbing wall a few months ago and Liv was out every waking moment helping him finish it up. She hammered and drilled boards and generally kept Brian company out in the yard. We also had help from other family. I give props to our nephews Tristan and Gavin for their tireless contribution, to Uncle Mark who took off work to come meet our new little Reese and on his vacation worked alongside Brian and his boys to get the wall finished, and to Brian's brother Jeff who logged in multiple hours and rock climbing expertise. With the completion of the wall in sight, Liv asked for a climbing party. Brian finished the wall within minutes of her little party. Here she is climbing on the finished wall. Thanks to her awesome dad for creating such a fun home for us!

And here is Holland....her climbing debut. This is a very typical picture of Holland...dressed for fashion, regardless of the activity. :o)

Liv asked me to make her a climbing cake. I do well with "messy" cakes that don't require smooth lines or lots of decorating technique. I piled four layers of cake on top of each other, then 3 mini cakes, stacked like a pyramid, then 2 muffins and 1 mini muffin--all glued together with chocolate frosting. The result was a large chocolate mountain, mounded with white snow (frosting) covering the mountain. Chocolate rocks served as the "holds" .....

....and a couple of toy figurines served as the climber and belayer.

Twizzler candy was used for a rope and harness.

Liv kept asking us why the belayer was sitting on a muffin. :o)

Happy 6th birthday Livvy Loo Hoo!

This picture was taken on the actual eve of her birthday. We went and saw a 3D showing of Ice Age. This is what we call Liv's "Erkel" stance. She is so, so silly.

We have enjoyed the richness of our life since Liv's grand appearance 6 years ago. She has filled our home with generosity, innovativeness, efficiency, energy, motivation, silliness, excitement, and lots and lots of laughter. Oh, and loudness. Those of you who know Liv know that she has only one volume. And the mute button definitely has malfunctioned. :o)

It has been a fun year watching her grow. She is reading books every day, She has changed her mind about being a baker someday and changed it to (surprise, surprise) an inventor. She has created mouse traps, a scooter, purses, recipes, sculptures, etc. The list could go on! Sadly, the bonuses of being her mom and receiving inventions for free are coming to an end. Liv recently informed me that she will no longer be giving projects away for free. If I want one of her projects, I am to come to her office with a handful of pennies. Or 3 quarters, a nickel, and five pennies.

She has mastered the art of the big sister, showering both Holland and Reese with hugs, handmade gifts, and her time. She will often grab a book to read to Holland or Reese, snuggle in bed with Holland if she is scared of the dark, and change Reese's diaper without anyone asking her to. She also memorizes extra verses at Awana's and EVERY time gives the extra candy to Holland. It is because of her example that Holland has learned to enjoy the sweetness of putting others first. What an amazing first child she has become. I am blessed beyond measure to have her in my life.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Holland's 4th Birthday

Our sweet Holland turned 4-years-old in September! This has been such a big year for her.  She went from being the youngest child to the middle child with such grace and stride, surprising us all with her pure love for Reese--no jealousy at all!  She also professed Jesus to be her Lord and Savior.  And she has also informed us of her great career calling:  "to be a girl who takes care of dogs and also a girl who rides giraffes". That's our girl.  I love how the part about riding giraffes is tacked onto the end.  She is very dramatic that way.....she's always been good at adding just the right words to add a big punch to her statements.  For instance, today she told me that I am the best mom she's ever had.  Notice the last 3 words?  Do I break it to her that I'm the only mom she's ever had?  Better not.  

Holland is endlessly compassionate, sweet and charming, remarkably sensitive, and she genuinely appreciates the beauty all around her.  She also is our little daydreamer.   She has been enjoying cooking and baking with me, has learned how to do new watercolor paintings, and has pleaded with me to teach her to read...which I am, and which she really, really loves.  She is also a cheerful and mature little student in her Awana's class and has been great at memorizing her verses.  I also see her reaching out to other kids, making them feel welcome.  What a gift she is to us!  

For Holland's birthday, she wanted to go to the apple orchard, so we met a couple of dear families out there to help Holland celebrate.  Here's a picture of Holland at the apple orchard holding a...dandelion. :o)

Here she is with her friends at the apple orchard, picking....dandelions.  

I love Mary's spirited apple attire.  So cute.

And Liv was so proud of her apple collection. 

I love how Kedrick's lips are the same color as the apples. :o)

I love this shot.  Holland appreciates her cards and pours over each one.  She notices each detail and takes in the uniqueness of each one.  Her friends are interested, too.  

And here is our sunshine girl, Holland.  Happy birthday sweet pie.  

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Tofu Carrot Spice Cake

First, I'm not about to tell you that this recipe is a health food. But it is a HUGE amount healthier than the recipe listed on the back of the cake mix box.

Not long ago, I was reading a recipe involving brownie mix, tofu, and water. It was designed to sneak protein into a dessert.

I kept thinking....what about Spice Cake mix, tofu, and carrot juice in place of the water? I was sure the carrot juice would mask the mild, but still present, taste of tofu. I couldn't stop thinking of this recipe and decided to experiment. I was not disappointed! This recipe is AMAZING, and I'm not talking, "yummy-for-tofu amazing", but really, truly amazing and I would bet money you couldn't tell there was tofu in this cake. The original recipe instructed the baker to mix brownie mix with 12 ounces of tofu and a fourth cup of water. I decided to increase the liquid to 1/3 of a cup since carrot juice is slightly more dense than water. Instead of frosting, I mixed powdered sugar with a little bit of milk and spread it over the cake to make a glaze. I didn't want to ruin the healthy benefits of this recipe with high-fat frosting. My recipe is below:

Spice cake mix, any brand
1-12oz. package of soft tofu (generally used for smoothies and sauces, etc.)
1/3 C. carrot juice

Follow the directions on the back of the cake mix box. Add your own ingredients if you would like. (for instance, I thought a cup of grated carrots would make this taste more like a traditional carrot cake!)

Enjoy! Let me know your ideas!

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Furry One

Doctor: Do you have chores at home?

Holland: Nope. 

Mom:  Yes you do, Holland.  Remember--your chore cards?

Holland:  Oh, yes!

Doctor:  So what are some of your chores, Holland?

Holland:  I don't remember!

Mom:  I'll give you a hint:  Who's the furry one at our home?

Holland:  Ah, yes.  Daddy!  

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Pumpquash?  Squakin?  

This is by far the most interesting thing we harvested from our garden this year.  It is my guess that our pumpkin seed had a little fun with our squash seed. 

What would you name this hybrid vegetable?  Or more importantly, how would you treat it? Humanely, we should not treat it any differently than it's cousins.  It's not his fault that he looks so different.  :o) But for tasting purposes, I'm not sure if I should treat it like a pumpkin, and toast the seeds, make pumpkin pie, etc.  Or if I should treat it like a yellow squash and saute it up in a little butter with salt and pepper on top.  Suggestions welcome please!  :o)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Scritch Scritch Scratch...

Warning: this post contains an image that may make you gag.

...Scritch, Scritch, Scratch...

This morning I heard the unmistakable sound of a.....

gosh I hate to even type it.


Get yourself toGETHER!

...I heard the unmistakable, shiver-inducing, make-my-hair-stand-up, sound of a mouse. I couldn't even stand to be in the the scratching seemed to come from behind the cabinets. In case you didn't know, I detest mice. I think I'd rather have a loose snake in the house, then a mouse.

Liv received a book entitled Mouse Soup for her birthday. In the book, it details the ingredients needed to make the gross delicacy. Brian asked Liv to buy some ingredients at the store so that when we catch it, we can make some soup. She wasn't thrilled. But did you know which ingredients are needed for Mouse Soup? It could come in handy someday. If you ever want to make some, be sure to pick up: 

a nest of bees 
two large stones
a thorn bush
ten crickets
a mouse

Note: the last ingredient is essential for your soup to taste like mouse soup.

When Brian got home, he showed Liv the in's and out's of a mouse trap. Always the inventor, she decided to make her own. Liv's "better" mouse trap is made from a stapler, a jewelry box drawer, plenty of yarn, and a dowel.  The dowel, separate from the other configuration, hangs from the ceiling. When the mouse comes to inspect the stapler, Liv plans on releasing the dowel.  Then, the dowel swings down to hit the stapler (which is preloaded with peanut butter, of course). The stapler then closes on the mouse.  Finally, the mouse falls into the jewelry box and is caught by a cushion of cut up yarn.  I think PETA would be very pleased by the cushion of yarn, but not so pleased by the staple planted in the mouse's skull.

We set 4 traps this evening and quicker than you can say, "let's make mice soup," it was caught. To set your mind at ease, and to not leave you in suspense for too long, we did not make mouse soup. I repeat: no mouse soup.

When we found the mouse near the trap, we all had to look, of course. Mind you, it was caught between the dryer and the wall, so vision was limited.

But Holland, always the animal philanthropist, cooed in her sing-song voice: AaaaH! He's SO CU-UTE! Then Brian scooped it up and Holland got to see it up close. Never one to be undone by a little blood, she asked him very sincerely if she could hold it. Thankfully her request was denied. But all night long, Holland kept asking daddy to pray for that poor mouse.

It's funny how kids can make you suddenly feel guilty for ridding your home of nasty rodents. But not too guilty.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Saturday, October 3, 2009

This Year's Mom of the Year Award Goes To....

My Mom!!!  Last Mom's day, I was able to nominate her for this prestigious award.  I just received news that she won.  

Check out the press video here.


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