Saturday, July 25, 2009

Explosions of Love

I've always said that I'm not a kid person. People usually don't know how to respond to that and end up saying something like "Yeah right. That's why you have 4 kids." Depending on the time, place and person, I might expand upon my statement. Those who knew me as a teen are undoubtedly remembering that my dad was (and still is) a children's pastor. They are most likely also contemplating all the babysitting I've done.

Don't get me wrong. I don't dislike children! On the contrary, I actually think they are pretty amazing. I just always feel a little out of my element. I'm not exactly sure what they're thinking or how I should be relating to them. Toddlers especially used to scare me. They look at you with those big silent eyes and Don't Say Anything. I figured they were looking into my very soul and didn't like what they saw. Frightening thought.

It amazed me, then, when I had my own children, how much I loved them. I admit that I was a little worried. What a relief to feel the explosive awe, wonder, admiration, love and protectiveness (is that a word?) when each of my wonderful blessings were entrusted to me.

I figured that this feeling would be confined to my children. I figured that having my own children had opened up my understanding towards other children, and that was all I could expect. I figured that four incredible heart expansions and bursts of love were more than I deserved or could reasonably expect.

And then I met Lucy.

Lucy is my first biological niece (I have an adopted niece that I love very much--she's a fabulous little girl!). Lucy was born on Monday the 20th. She is amazing. Whether it is because I got to meet her when she was so new and close to heaven, or whether it is the biological factor I'm not sure...People say that being a grandparent is even more fabulous--I'll just have to take their word for it, because this auntie thing is pretty amazing.

Introducing Lucy Noel:

Monday, July 20, 2009

Church Membership

Well, it's official. Chris and I went to the Membership Class at Cottonwood Church on Saturday and became members. This is a big step for us, and something we take seriously. It's a commitment that we don't make light of! We started going to their evening service instead of the morning service, and it made a world of difference. The worship was louder, longer and more intense, there were fewer people (still way over 100) and the word was still great. The kids much prefer the night service too. All of a sudden everyone is excited to go to church!

We love how Cottonwood seems so balanced, how people are encouraged to put their practical skills to work for God's Kingdom as well as their faith a prayer power. We are excited to get involved!

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Cookie Without a Name

I am on a quest. I received this cookbook for my birthday:

And I am determined to try every recipe in it. I have made 5 so far. Out of 1001. This may take me a little while.

So far we've had one loser, three that were okay, and one amazing winner called Sunflower Bran Cookies. The problem is that I made some substitutions and it would be false advertising to say that they have bran in them.

So I am not only on the Quest of 1001 Cookie Recipes, but also the Quest of the Nameless Cookie. Here's the altered recipe (as I made them):

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup quick oats
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/4 cup milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup sunflower seeds

Preheat oven to 375. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl; mix in oats. Beat butter and brown sugar in large bowl with mixer on high speed until creamy. Add egg and vanilla, beating until just blended. Mix in dry ingredients, then add chocolate chips and sunflower seeds. Drop tablespoons of dough onto greased cookie sheets and bake 8-10 minutes.

I made a triple batch of these for a pool party, and by the time I took a picture--that evening--only one was left.

Name ideas anyone?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Time for Another List

Our family is leaving in less than a week to spend the rest of the summer in lovely Lake Tahoe. Brilliant! Even if there is no a/c or pool, and even if I'd rather be there when there is 6 feet of snow! I'm excited to soak up a little bit of home, even if it's mostly cleaning and organizing. The kids are excited to see some of their friends, and the boys can't wait to do some mountain biking. We will not return to SoCal until Monday, September 7 because we are putting on a Christian Music Festival, Joshua Fest, over Labor Day weekend.

School starts Tuesday, September 8. The flexibility to procrastinate that was mine this last year is now gone since Timothy will be attending a brick & mortar school in the fall. So not only do I need to figure out what to take to Tahoe for the time we're there, but I need to think about what to take to help prepare for JoshuaFest, and what to take to help prepare for school starting in the fall.

Drat, it's time to start another list. (Good thing I like lists--too bad it's so much easier to write a list than to do the things on it.)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Favorite Quotes from War and Peace

I thought about putting this post over on my boring book blog (Vita et Veritas) but then I thought Nah! These are way too much fun!

I just read War and Peace, and was delighted with it. There were a couple of parts where his philosophical thoughts and description of military process had me skimming the page instead of reading, but not enough to get me down. I actually loved the way he combined the story and the philosophy; his writing spoke to me. This makes the 3rd Tolstoy piece I've read, and though I've liked them all (the other 2 were Anna Karenina and parts of The Kruetzer Sonata) this is my favorite. In fact, I think this makes the list of all-time favorites (yes folks, right up there with Jane Austen). And without further ado, here are a few of my favorite quotes:

"All we can know is that we know nothing. And that's the height of human wisdom."

At such moments Princess Mary would think how intellectual work dries men up.

"Your mother's milk has hardly dried on your lips and you want to go into the army!"

"Ah, my friend, it has of late become hard for me to live. I see that I have begun to understand too much. And it doesn't do for man to taste of the tree of knowledge of good and evil..."

Toward the end of the evening, however, as the wife's face grew more flushed and animated, the husband's became more and more melancholy and solemn, as though there were but a given amount of animation between them and as the wife's share increased the husband's diminished.

His words and actions flowed from him as evenly, inevitably, and spontaneously as fracgrance exhales from a flower.

For us with the standard of good and evil given us by Christ, no human actions are incommensurable.

But despite the fact that the doctors treated him, bled him, and gave him medicines to drink, he recovered.

Sometimes it seemed to him that other people were all as pleased as he was himself and merely tried to hide that pleasure by pretending to be busy with other interests.

...and by loving people without cause he discovered indubitable causes for loving them.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Shredding Water

My little water baby...a lover of water since before she was born...has announced that she knows how to "Shred Water". And you know, she's right! She tears it up. Good job Audrey!

-- Post From My iPhone

Friday, July 3, 2009

Silpat or Stoneware?

I love my Pampered Chef stoneware--especially for baking cookies. I've been curious about Silpats, though, (nonstick silicone baking mats) because I seem to see them used everywhere. I've finally gotten the chance to use one, Since my mom and dad got me one for my birthday. I made three different batches of cookies today! The Silpat really is amazing for nonstick purposes, although I must say that there really is nothing like stoneware for even cooking and no burnt bottoms. It was kind of fun using one of each--I just may continue to do that!

-- Post From My iPhone