Thursday, April 26, 2012

Singing a Prayer

Sometimes it's too hard to pray. So I find a song that says what I mean, and I sing it. It's not pretty, my neighbors and kids suffer, but it gets it out. This song, by Switchfoot, is so perfect. I have to sing along with Mandy Moore so that I'm not screeching so terribly... but the Switchfoot version is better (video below).

Sometimes life brings us to our knees. It's in that position that I most successfully communicate with my Savior, who loves me personally and perfectly.  Read it and sing it if you need to. This is where I am.

Only Hope

There's a song that's inside of my soul
It's the one that I've tried to write over and over again
I'm awake in the infinite cold
But You sing to me over and over and over again

So I lay my head back down
And I lift my hands
and pray to be only Yours
I pray to be only Yours
I know now you're my only hope

Sing to me the song of the stars
Of Your galaxy dancing and laughing
and laughing again
When it feels like my dreams are so far
Sing to me of the plans that You have for me over again

So I lay my head back down
And I lift my hands and pray
To be only yours
I pray to be only yours
I know now you're my only hope

I give You my apathy
I'm giving You all of me
I want Your symphony
Singing in all that I am
At the top of my lungs I'm giving it back

So I lay my head back down
And I lift my hands and pray
To be only yours
I pray to be only yours
I pray to be only yours
I know now you're my only hope

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Braggin' on my Boys

Andrew is a genius. For serious. This kid is already smarter than me and it's humbling. At least it puts the whole to home-school or not question to rest... 

Rusty recently started talking about how he wanted to teach Andrew how to play chess. I thought it was much too early, but sure enough, in a couple days, Andrew was setting the board up perfectly and offering to teach me how all the pieces move. He knows how to castle (?), the names of all the pieces, and how they all move. It's incredible. The other day I found him sitting on the ground playing both sides of the board... correctly... by himself. Harvard better clear a spot for Rusty's baby! 

Judah goes "swimming" in a cooler in the front yard. 

This one's mine!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Shoot for the Stars

Every once in a while I get incredibly motivated to be the kind of mom who lands herself prime spots on Pinterest... it is generally short-lived but fun. This weekend I bought some beautiful strawberries and made whole grain, naturally sweetened, strawberry shortcake, with home-made whipped cream... for breakfast. That's right. Pin it. Fun, unusual, and healthy! I crown myself mom of the hour (Saturday April 21st from 7-8AM). Naturally the rest of the day was a major culinary fail, as I had the kids eat two packages of Lance peanut butter crackers each, for lunch, and leftover cold pizza, for dinner. Do not pin that. 

Feast your eyes!

2 pints of strawberries, drizzled with honey (apprx. 2 T.), leave to sit while the shortcake is mixed and baked.

*Preheat oven to 475

2 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
2 t. baking powder
3/4 t. salt

*Mix these ingredients in a large bowl

3 T. honey
1/3 c. cold cream or whole milk
8 T. butter (melted then cooled)
1 egg

*Mix these ingredients in a separate bowl

*Combine wet and dry ingredients until JUST MIXED... seriously... only that much. The above picture was over mixed and they were a tad dense for my taste.

*Spoon 1/3 c. scoops of dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, bake for 12-15 minutes.

*Cool for 10 minutes or so before serving.

After pulling the shortcake out of the oven whisk 3/4 c. of whipping cream with 2 T. maple syrup, or honey (I prefer maple syrup), until peaks form and it looks like, well, whipped cream! 

Split the shortcake and pile on the strawberries and whipped cream!

Serve it to happy boys with a smile and a song.

Document the moment as one of your finest!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

April Birthdays!

Three of the four of us have April birthdays! Here are some pictures of Andrew's cook-out party, and my girls night out celebration! Rusty, unfortunately, had to work on his birthday and wouldn't let me have people over to celebrate his on a different day... Next year!

Andrew's bday was celebrated with a grill out and chill out party! Our amazing friends and neighbors enjoyed the ideal weather, Rusty (Grill Master) Tounget grilled up some hot dogs, and Andrew played with his friends; it was perfect. 

My sweet-heart girlfriends joined me for a night of live music (he was surprisingly great) and some kid-free conversation. It was a breath of fresh air for me, and exactly the way I wanted to celebrate the fact that God has given me 27 years on this planet. Thanks girlies, it was amazing.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Nightmare on South Main

I made a trip to Wal-Mart to get groceries and supplies for Andrew's party this weekend (it's his actual birthday today)! As if Wal-Mart isn't an exciting enough trip by itself, I decided to make it extra special by locking my kids, groceries, phone, and keys, inside the car in the parking lot. Yep. 

Here's how it went: Me and the boys spent twice as long as we should have shopping, (mostly because I forgot my list and ended up sitting cross legged in the middle of the party supplies aisle writing down the list on an Ulta coupon while Rusty read it to me over the phone) but overall we had a great time, and the boys were angels. 

After shopping I turned on the car, my Ben Howard cd came blasting back to life and, with a smile formerly unknown within this short of a radius to Wal-Mart, I joyfully put the kids in their seats so I could unload the shopping bags into the back, singing to myself all the while. 

After unloading, I put the cart back and walked to my door. At the very moment I put my hand on the handle to open it, the thing LOCKED... Right in front of me... Like a practical joke was being played by somebody nearby with an extra set of keys! I exclaim a few words that I won't repeat here and go straight to panic-mode. What am I supposed to do? I can't call Rusty... I'm not walking away from the kids... I'm not strong enough to simply punch through the glass and liberate my children... I'm freaking out. Yes, all these thoughts ran through my tiny little brain. All of a sudden this parking spot that I had previously Hallelujahed about, because it was so close to the front doors AND a cart collector whatchamacallit, became the scene of my most publicly humiliating moments in a long while. "Attention all four-million, free in the middle of the day, walk down the middle of the parking-lane, rollback shoppers! Some lunatic mother is about to put on a great show right outside the East door, take a look!" 

I took a deep breath and yelled (the music is blasting, remember), "ANDREW, BABY! TAKE OFF YOUR SEAT-BELT AND OPEN THE DOOR FOR MOMMY!" F. to the Y.I. nothing sounds sweet when you're yelling.... Andrew looked at me like, "Lady's gone crazy, I know I get spanked for taking off my seat-belt." So I smiled as sweetly as I could and began to mime the action that I desired him to repeat. So picture this... all 5'10" of me playing freaking charades with my four-year-old. When I see that's not going to work I start the yelling again, "ANDREW, I'M NOT GOING TO SPANK YOU! (*stranger inevitably dials CPS*) PLEEEEAAAAASE PUSH THIS BUTTON ALL THE WAY UP!" At this point I am sweating and my hands are shaking and I'm really beginning to wonder what on earth I'm going to do. I even tried to cup my hands and yell directly into the seam of the door just in case the reason my child was looking at me like I was a buffoon was an issue of not being able to hear me. Being heard is rarely an issue of mine. The miming and yelling went on for a few more minutes before Andrew, thank the good Lord, tentatively unbuckled his seat-belt, and easily unlocked the door. In order to keep from getting locked out again I crawled across Andrew's lap and into the drivers' seat from the back right side of the car. 

After getting everybody strapped back in, I take a deep breath and Andrew said, "I think you need to say thank you to me."

Doing the best that I can! ;)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Phamily Photo Phun!

My allergies are KILLING me! Have I said that yet? I mean, for real, I want to turn my face inside out and rub it on the carpet... Or use a mascara wand to scratch the back of my throat. To vivid for you?  ;) Okay I know I have a flair for the dramatic, but we've been stuck inside a LOT lately in order to keep these rants to a minimum. One of the ways we entertain ourselves?? PICTURES, and lots of them. Thought I'd share. 

Monday, April 2, 2012


My first impression of Harvest Bible Chapel of North Raleigh was... well, it's better explained in story form.

First of all, let me just say, being back in the market for a church makes for a cynical, hard to convince, church visitor. Our very first week at Harvest we had been invited by CJ and Aimee Davis. I did NOT want to go, but Rusty made me. I. Hate. Visiting. Churches. To be more clear, I despise large groups of strangers. I have, thus far undiagnosed, social anxiety that makes me spastic, loud, nervous, and sweaty, in new social situations. On the drive to Harvest that very first week, my conversation with Rusty went a lot like this: J-"If you leave me alone with these people for one single second I will kill you. Seriously. Don't do it." R-"Got it." We pulled into the parking lot of Fox Road Elementary School, and as I muttered under my breath about how terribly I did not want to do this I shoved kleenexes into the armpits of my dress, so as to fool all of you into thinking I wasn't sweating like an awkward, undeoderanted, middle school girl. But I was. We were greeted by smiling faces when we walked in, at the nursery check in, drop off, by the bulletin hander outers, Aimee, and CJ. So far so good. The Davises made us sit with them in the second row, which was a strike against  them because seeing as I'm a giant (who still decides to wear heels), I prefer to sit towards the back, so that I don't feel like I'm blocking the view of 95% of the stage during worship. The sweating increased. Then, Mike got up to preach, and was SO enthusiastic that I was frightened. I sat there thinking, "Nobody. In the world. Is this pumped to be teaching about Jesus. They're just not." After the sermon, the Lord's Supper was offered, I had to let it pass by without partaking. Humbling. When we got in the car, after I unstuffed my armpits, I exhaled for the first time since entering the building, and said to Rusty, "Whew. Not going back there!"
We spent the next few months visiting other churches and after finding ourselves STILL in the market for a church, CJ asked us to please give Harvest another chance. Providentially at the end of our rope, we agreed. October of 2011 we started our consistent attendance at Harvest and we've learned these things: All those smiling faces that greeted us our first time, they are all still there, smiling, and sincerely happy that we are there. That nursery, where we dropped our kids, teaches my children every single week about a God that loves them, a Savior that died for them, and the grace that is within their reach that will grant them eternal salvation if they'll only just trust. The worship, that I was so concerned about impeding with my giantessness, is going to happen no matter what, because this is a body that looks to the Lord when singing and praising every single week. Mike, the enthusiastic preacher, is in fact that pumped to be teaching about Jesus and His love for us. He is, in fact, that enthusiastic, period. The Lord's Supper is a meal taken in spite of our wicked hearts, and as a reminder that we desperately need the body and blood of our Lord and Savior, every one of us. It was given with love, and granted us grace and mercy, undeserved but celebrated. Yes, I had to shove paper towels, keleenexes, toilet paper, or some absorbent medium, into my clothes for multiple weeks until my "condition" was tempered. But some representative of our family has been in attendance every single week since we gave it a second shot. I am hopelessly hooked on Harvest. 
I am so very excited to be celebrating this week the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus. God has been exceedingly kind to have brought us into fellowship with this body of believers. I love you, even if I haven't met you yet. Thank you for serving as a member of the body that has strengthened my faith and challenged me to work on my weaknesses.
Those in Raleigh who are looking for a place to worship, serve, and be served, check us out!

My Puppies

Rusty has been playing Chess with the boys, and we found them setting up their animals on their pegboard like chess pieces! Nerds in training!


While I have no knowledge or skills to pass along, I do get my couch snuggle time in on a regular basis.

They love it.

Outdoor snack time is SO much cooler than indoor snack time.

My fearless boys race down a hill in front of our house. The helmets are new, and have already been rocked against the cement a couple times. Skull saving success.

Oh yeah, AND Rusty is bound and determined to teach me how to ride the motorcycle. This weekend I coasted it down the hill, lifted my feet onto the pegs, and brought it to a complete stop. All without killing myself OR hurting the bike. Lesson one, CHECK!