Thursday, December 3, 2009

Ethan's 1st Birthday!

Today is Ethan's 1st Birthday.

Ethan, in 34 minutes at 9:53pm, you were born. We are so thankful for the opportunity to be your parents. You are sweet, smiley, expressive, boisterous, strong-willed, strong, and oh so fast. You Papa and I are amazed at the way in which the wonders of your life show us the wonder of Christ's creation.

This month you are obsessed with pulling up, cruising, sorting, stacking, matching, pointing, working on more words, and you've started to let go and try independent steps (you need to get a little stronger yet). Your Papa was working away for a while and he was AMAZED at how you advanced in that time.

We love you so much, and we love every new milestone and phase. Although, we pray to hasten the day that your milestone will be salvation. Oh what a joy that will be to witness.

Happy Birthday sweet angel!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Listening to the still quiet voice

It's been a while since I've posted. And, basically since Ethan started crawling I haven't been posting regularly. While Joel's been gone this fall I've had a bit more time to contemplate. For me, too much time to think usually isn't a good thing:), but God is always working.

I'm a big fan of rules, order, keeping everyone safe by following the rules. And yet, God never said that His way for me, or my family would be safe, or orderly. Instead He said it will be just where we're supposed to be, just what we need.

If I've ever talked to you about our life in the Army, you've probably heard me talk about how Army life affords us the unique opportunity to come face to face with our dependency on God's sovereignty in our lives. And I do truly believe that. And I do truly believe, at any given moment that I'm striving to live that out. And then God shows me yet another area of my life, where I've drawn the boundaries and said but I don't have to trust you here because I've got this area covered. It's plenty safe. It doesn't real need to be a God thing.

When Joel leaves for training, I am forced to face the reality that his next deployment is closing in on us. As nutty as it sounds, the combat part isn't what's getting me right now. I suppose the Lord has chosen to keep him safe thus far, and who am I to worry about the inevitable danger he will be in?! But now, I am a scared parent. Scared that I can't be enough for Ethan. Scared that he won't melt in Joel's arms when he comes home. Scared that I'll resent him for missing a year of Ethan's life for a job I know he is called to. Yet, there is a real part of me that wants loving Ethan and I to mean that this job isn't worth it. It's so hard for me to comprehend leaving Ethan for a weekend, so how can he leave for a whole year?! Even beyond that, how can he want to leave.

And yet, the still quiet voice says, "Have I called you to this place?" "Yes Lord." "Then that is all you need know."

Tomorrow is our 6th anniversary. Joel is out of contact for the next 2 weeks+. I am more in love with Joel now, then I have ever been. I am deeply thankful for the Godly husband, and father that he is, and for our sweet Ethan. I know that God has our steps laid out for us, and it's not for me to worry about how inadequate I am as a mother, or how Joel's time away will effect his relationship with Ethan. Ultimately, I make God smaller every time I doubt that He is big as I know He is. He's got this. I'm the one who needs to let it go...yet again.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Pumpkin Patch

Today we had a lovely outing, with Kirsten, to a local pumpkin patch. I believe that the last time I visited a pumpkin patch was on a Butler field trip or preschool field trip, is that right mom?

Yeah, not our best shot. A nice gentleman took this photo of us...without the best results. But, we captured the moment:).

We also ventured into the corn maze, a new experience. While we didn't cheat and cut through the corn rows, we did end up exiting the maze at the entrance. So we made our way around the maze...talking all the way...I'm not ready to admit that our chatting had an effect on our navigation;).

Ethan had a wonderful time sleeping during most of our visit. He woke up just as we were finalizing our pumpkin choices and he LOVED the pumpkins!

At first we were trying to capture him and he kept being distracted by all the bright orange "drums" around him:). So, we decided he needed a pumpkin in front of him to play with if we wanted to get a photo of him! All in all it was an easy, inexpensive outing, and one that will continue to get more fun through the years as Ethan, and subsequent children, grow.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Clearing out the digital camera: Videos

This video was probably from 2 months ago shortly after Lady had her last haircut. We had been having trouble with Lady scavaging Ethan's food while he was eating it in his highchair. We had ended up escalating the volume of our voices in exacerbation. Not productive. And definitely not the sort of example we want to set. So we went back to a training technique we learned in her puppy obedience classes many moons ago-the spray bottle.

Shortly after Ethan gained proficiency at hands and knees crawling, he started to discover his room. In anticipation of the play opportunities that he would have with bins of toys within his reach, I reorganized his room a bit for our crawling man. So, I heard some noise in Ethan's room and came in to discover he had taken his block bin out and was tasting his blocks one at a time:).

I wish I had captured Ethan's first go round of this exercise. He was absolutely SLAMMING the highchair. He had a delightful time all along, as you can see in the video.

Ethan is 10 months old!

Ethan was 10 months old as of Saturday. He is still in love with crawling as his mode of transportation and is not super interested in practicing walking. Instead, he is very interested in crawling, sitting, and dancing. Then, sitting and figuring out how to manipulate objects. He loves to try anything that makes lots of noises and involves banging. He tries to make drums out of lots of items. He also spends a lot of time dancing on his knees and singing to himself. It's neat to see him develop his own play, and of course, play with Lady. Ethan is finally more interested in assisted standing. He really enjoyed standing early on and then, I suppose because he is so proficient and speedy at crawling, he become downright opposed.

Ethan is saying his own version of: yes, that, Lady, Daddy, Dada, and Mama. Some words are clearer than others but, it is great that he is getting to a stage where I tell him the name of an item/person and he attempts to emulate the sounds. Ethan is also waving with abandon and more clearly communicating when he is ready to get out his highchair.

I cannot believe how close he is to being 1 year old?! It was so delightful to see his cousin Ella 2 weeks ago, and marvel at what we have in store in a mere 5 months.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Baby Sam

UPDATE: Baby Sam was born healthy and they are still figuring out if he will need any surgery or treatments. Thank you for all your prayers.

A friend of a friend is 37 weeks pregnant and just discovered that their son, Sam, has at least one serious heart defect and will likely require immediate surgery. I have added Sam's button to my left sidebar. Please feel free to click on the button and read more about Sam's story from his parents. Please pray for the wisdom of his medical providers and parents. That his heart defect would either be healed or else, that is something that can be healed. Finally, pray that Sam's family is a light for the Lord in the way they approach the thrown of Grace throughout this trial and entrust their son to Jesus.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Ethan is 9 months old!

Thanks to my neighbor for supplying these photos of Ethan and Sophia. Ethan is into kissing girls these days:)...oh man!

What a sweet boy!

Wow, I am seriously remiss. My last post was when Ethan turned 8 months old...

It has been a wonderfully busy month!

Mom and Dad came to visit at the beginning of the month and we had a lovely time, I will post about that soon.

As far as our sweet little man well he's busy! He still prefers to have us close by, really he wants us within touching distance:). He has made the transition to full on hands and knees crawling and now he's lightning fast! He spends a great deal of time taking books off of shelves to taste every book and bang them against each other, taking clean clothes out of the laundry basket for shaking, and attempting to yank cords, a CO monitor, and safety plug covers, out of the wall. He now eats lots of different table foods and needs 3 meals a day. Cashew butter+____ is still his favorite food option. I am particularly amused by his plum skills. He likes to suck the essence off of paper thin slices and then, and only then, chew them up. Ethan is also having more temper tantrums but part of that is a 9 month ramp up, part of it is a need to eat more frequently, and part of it is temperament. I am certainly in a place of prayer asking God to make me calmer as he ramps it up, I am the model for how to handle his emotions...with the Lord's help:).

Ethan still hates being in the nursery at church on Sunday, and chapel during Protestant Women of the Chapel (PWOC) bible study. I am toying with the idea of scrapping the nursery all together and just keeping him with me...any suggestions?

I love you my sweet Ethan, you are a joy and a blessing, and I'm so thankful to be your Mama!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Ethan is 8 months old!

Ethan tried blueberry pancakes this weekend! He mostly likely the texture in his hands:).

Today marks 8 months for Ethan.

I probably say it every time, but I am amazed at how quickly he has grown! He know looks much more like a toddler than a baby, losing his chubbiness in all but a few spots. Ethan also sports a 4 pack so just be ready if you tickle him because there are abs of steel waiting to deflect your movements:).

Ethan is very vocal, loves commando crawling all over the house, enjoys chewing on purse straps and electrical cords, and loves to scrunch up his nose and give a toothy grin

whenever you catch his eye. He is still very attached and concerned that we are around, but he's becoming slightly more independent and just all around content.

He LOVES Lady and has recently realized the fun of holding onto her tail, eating her tail, and tugging on her tail. Lady also LOVES Ethan but she's not such a fan of his new tail fascination:). Thankfully, she handles it well and her biggest disobedience regarding Ethan is TOO much fascination with and willingness to interact with him.

Ethan has also become more interested in other children when we're out and about. A few weeks ago we went to a sit-down restaurant, a rather rare occurence, with an Aggie friend. While we waited for our table Ethan yell-talked for about 5 minutes straight until the 2 toddler girls across the way noticed him. Then he stopped...oh man:).

Ethan is LOVING the baby wrap, as am I, and we now spend a great deal of time split between the baby wrap, and him crawling. I think it's a funny juxtaposition but whatever works!

He is trying more and more solid foods and although his appetite is supressed from a virus, he has been surprising me with both the frequency and amounts he is hungry for.

Joel's work schedule of late has afforded us more opportunity to add in more to Ethan's nighttime routine. For some time Joel had been getting home at or after Ethan's bedtime, 7pm, and so I was generally scrambling to get him bathed, fed and in bed. That led to a slightly overstimulated Ethan when he initially went down, which led to his panic and fighting sleep. Now we are all doing baths, prayers, reading his bible. After I feed him he calmly falls asleep...well most of the time at least!

My mom has shared a great deal of wisdom with me but that was one of the parenting morsels that I have most recently savored. She wisely identified that part of my constant struggle against sleep as a child, well lets be honest here as a Rachel:), had to do with an insecurity I felt that I might miss out on something or someone. She read after I was past the age of necessity, a suggestion that both parents be part of the nighttime routine. The idea being that this instills a sense of security in the child that mama and papa are here now when I go to sleep, and they'll be here when I wake up. That seems to be exactly what Ethan is fretting over. So, we are working towards making him feel secure.

I am so thankful to be your mama Ethan. I love to see your smiles, receive lots of kisses and sweet cuddles. I cannot wait to see what God has in store for us next!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Urgent need for Stellan prayers

UPDATE 9:48AM Tuesday, July 28th
Stellan is stable, praise the Lord! He has finally had some significant breaks in his SVT because of massive amounts of heart medication in his system. He just had a blood transfusion and his kidney function isn't so great but he is not in immediate danger. There are still plans to fly him on a medical transport, along with his parents, to Boston for another ablation. It is likely that this surgery will help his current heart trouble but cause others that may require open heart surgery. Please pray for his bodies continued endurance and that the Boston plans would be finalized soon. While we're at it I think we might just pray for a miraculous ability to repair Stellan's electrical pathway without damaging his AV node. God's name is known through our response to time's such as these.

Prayers for Stellan

Stellan has now been in SVT for 3 days and his body, particularly heart, function is deteriorating. His core temp is low, his extremity pulse is thready, and his heart is no longer supporting his kidneys sufficiently to function. They were recently able to get his blood pressure up a bit but he still needs intervention. Right now they are not even sure if they are able to get Stellan to Boston for another surgery or not. Please pray for IMMEDIATE wisdom for Stellan's doctors. That they would come up with a solution for the time being for his condition. Pray for endurance for Stellan's heart and body, that they would have the ability to stand up to the beating this SVT is having on him. Pray for his family that is now traveling to be with him that they would safely and quickly arrive. Pray for his parents in particular that they would be his best earthly advocates with clear minds. Pray that the Kangaroo care they are now engaged in would help keep Stellan warm and his body enduring.

God has certainly brought me to my knees this morning. Please pray. If you would like to keep updated you can do so through MckMama's blog or her Twitter page. I'm not a Twitter user but I am following her tweets continuously this morning. There are also MckMama supporters that have started a Prayer Chain ala blog to see more prayer posts.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Thankfully, we don't get sick very often in our household. Colds occasionally, sure, but fevers are quite rare. But today, and last night, Joel has been sick. He is currently running a temperature of 100.5.

In Butler women temperatures that is nearly your deathbed;) since my normal temperature is more like 97.2!

He even relented to a bath last night. You have to understand that I have been trying to sell him on the wonders of baths for the entirety of our marriage. I was quick to break out the peppermint oil and such. And of course, he kept Ethan's tugboat in there to keep things manly (name that TV show)! I was pretty excited.
But anyway, he is currently out of his covers feeling stifled but I'm sure we will be covering him back up with blankets and quilts soon enough.

Ethan is thus far separate from the sickness and is crawling all over the house oblivious to Joel's feelings of crudiness. Let's hope it stays that way!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Turkey Spinach Ravioli

About 2 years ago, after slowly but surely cutting out more and more foods from my diet, I cut out all cow's dairy. It was hard but it made a world of difference. Towards the end of my pregnancy until now I have been back on dairy although still in moderation. It makes life A LOT easier:).

But while I was living non-cow's dairy, I had to get creative in my cooking. For anyone that has ever had to cut dairy out of their lives, Ashley I'm talking to you:), any amount of prepared foods that you were accustomed to buying are in all likelihood outside of your diet. You see pretty much everything has some milk product in it. Whey is particularly popular as a commercial thickener. So even filled pastas from the grocery store were off the grocery list because of their contents.

Thankfully, I love goat cheese.
If you don't I'm so sorry for you because it is creamy and delicious!

Whether you have dairy issues or not, you will love these raviolis!

1 Onion
6 cloves Garlic, minced
1 lbs Ground Turkey and/or Hot Italian Turkey Sausage
1 package Frozen Chopped Spinach (defrost and press out water with paper towels)
6 oz Goat Cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste
I package Wonton Wrappers (preferably round)
I glass of water for assembly

Add onion to a saute pan and saute over medium-high heat until the onions begin to sweat (If you are using a nonstick pan there is no need for oil but otherwise you will need a tablespoon of oil in the pan before begin to saute). Add the meat and de-cased sausage to the pan and begin to brown. Now add in the minced garlic begin careful to keep it on top of the meat so it does not burn. Continue to cook the meat until all the pink has disappeared. Drain any fat out of the pan and then allow the meat to cool for a few minutes. In the meantime, add the spinach, goat cheese and salt and pepper to the food processor bowl. Now add the meat and pulse until a thick paste is formed. You want the filling to be able to hold it's shape but it should not be dry.

To assemble your raviolis layout wonton wrappers on a baking sheet and spoon a generous teaspoon of filling onto each wrapper. Now set aside a stack of wonton wrappers, and wet your finger in the glass of water. Wet the edge of the wonton wrappers and then place another wrapper on top and press with your fingers to seal the edges. It may be necessary to press down the filling some to make the shape easier to close.

After all of your raviolis are made, allow them to set out to dry for 20-30 minutes to dry slightly. This will help them to hold their shape and not stick to each other too much when they are cooking. If you needed to, you could complete this process ahead of time and refrigerate them or freeze them in their current state and just cook them before serving.

When you are ready to serve, prepare a stockpot of boiling salted water. Cook raviolis in batches, making sure that there is sufficient surface area with each batch. The cooking process will likely only take 1-2 minutes for each batch. Remove to a platter as they cook, and cover each layer with marinara sauce to prevent sticking. Once all of the raviolis are cooked, pour the remaining marinara over top, or reserve to serve on the side. Enjoy!

My Pathfinder

This morning Joel graduated from Pathfinder school! I am so proud of him and man, am I thankful that God knows all there is to know about sling loads and landing zones! Each time Joel has one of these important Army schools to complete, we are afforded another opportunity to remember that it is not by Joel's ability but God's that he will get through it:). We are so glad that it is over and I know that his company is happy to have so many soldiers graduate.

This isn't a particularly informative picture. But it is a familiar sight for the family members of military personnel. You've got to love how hard they work to rid themselves of their neck?! You should have seen the way Joel had to screw up his face for the Fish "mean face" his freshmen year in the Corps...I did my best to keep him from making it in front of me...seriously.
Yay for diplomas!

Ok, also not very informative. I actually have no idea where Joel was in this formation:). This was after the graduation ceremony. Joel's company, Pathfinder company, sent 20 people through the school and 12 made it! The school previously had about a 15% pass rate?! So the Battalion commander was happy with their preformance, and letting them know it.

Congratulations Joel, I'm so proud of you!

Pray for Stellan

Prayers for Stellan

Sweet Stellan is having bouts of SVT again. Not only that, he is experiencing drug toxicity, and other electrocardio issues. Currently the plan is not surgery but an experimental drug combination that is currently understood by his doctors to be exclusive to Stellan. The long and short is that Stellan and his family need to be blanketed in prayer! Please visit MckMama and keep up with Stellan's progress. It has been amazing over the last several months how God has stretched my heart through the blog world! Blogs can afford exciting opportunities to reach out in the body of Christ and far beyond.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sunburn...this white girl should know better

"See what had happened was..." It all started with a Mommy & Me swim class. I was thrilled to read about it on the MWR Aquatics website! I convinced my neighbor to go with me and we were all decked in our swimwear with babies in toe. We decided to be extra healthy and walk through our neighborhood to the indoor pool where the lesson was to be held. We thought we really had it all figured out...Joel would have been proud of our planned early arrival:). The lesson started at 11am, so we decided to meet at 10:15 to begin our walk. The thinking being that we could get there at least 20 minutes before the class started to pay and generally get ourselves and the babies settled, brilliant no? We got there 30 minutes before the class starts and find out that the class has been moved to another pool! Apparently we weren't the only ones that didn't know about the location change since 2 other moms showed up right after us:). Anyway, I have now dreamed about this class and planned a great deal for it so I'm bound and determined to attend! My neighbor, not so much. But poor thing, she still had to put up with our walk back to our house. A walk which I took in true Butler woman fashion, at break-neck speed! I made the walk that took us probably 10-15 minutes on the way there in about 5 minutes on the way back. I quickly got Ethan into his carseat and threw our bags in the back and headed down the road to the other pool. As I was driving I realized that I had switched the sunscreen, which I liberally cover all organic beings with when more than 5 minutes will be spent outside, out of Ethan's bag...Thankfully, Ethan had an SPF 50 rashguard shirt on and a hat, so he was covered. I decided not to turn back, knowing I would get a little burned but it's only a 30 minute class right?!...

Well...45 minutes is all it takes folks. Especially when you're a white girl like me, and I'm talking color not ethnic generalization, that should know better. Also keep in mind, as I mentioned earlier, that this class was at 11am. For those of my readers that are tan and unaccustomed to sunburns, let me enlighten you as to the significance of that particular time of day. between 10am and 2pm the sun is at it's highest point and that is also when the UV levels are at their highest. Hence why I make it a point to wait until after 2pm, especially in Houston:), to spend extended time out in the sun. No matter how much sunscreen I have on, I tend to burn during that time period.

So the moral of the story, enjoy Mommy & Me swim class, but know that you'll pay for it later! Also, keep Vitamin E capsules on hand to slather on burns, that is why I'm so shiny! The burn wasn't awful but it was bad enough and the Vitamin E really helped my body to heal. Also, interesting to note, I may or may not be slightly allergic to the sun. I know, it sounds sad and hermit like...I tend to be rather sickly after extended sun exposure. The morning after this I woke up all stuffed up and sluggish. I'm just sayin'!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

There's a monkey an Ethan on your back!

Our next door neighbor was kind enough to let us try out her Sleepy Wrap last week. Ethan LOVES being cuddled up in a wrap and I have enjoyed the opportunity to get more done around the house! Yesterday I was catching up on much-needed vacuuming. You see, Ethan used to sleep through the sound of the vacuum-awesome right? Then he grew out of that, so I adjusted. I would clean while he played in the jumperoo or on a quilt. Then separation anxiety set in and things got complicated. Then the sound of one of the vacuums began to terrify him...So it had been too long since I had vacuumed:).
Ok, so back to the wrap. We had slowly been working our way through different wrap positions. It took some doing on my part, but we worked out the back carry wrap. Ethan giggled, babbled, nuzzled and generally amused himself. While I vacuumed the rug, and all of the floors. Instead of having a full-on panic when the vacuum scared him, this time he just nuzzled in between my shoulder blades:). So sweet. Needy. But oh so sweet!
It looks like I teased my hair and hairsprayed my bangs from this angle...ahh the wonders of being big-haired;)!

Wow, I started this post last week but I needed to go to bed so I saved it...and here we are...

Since I started this post I picked up a Navy cotton interlock remnant of 4 yards for $5 so now Ethan has at least one wrap all his own and maybe 2! Otherwise, I'm using the rest of the fabric to make a nice cotton dress. I don't have any pictures of the new wrap yet but we did try it out and he fit beautifully. If any of you out there are interested in a baby wrap don't spend $40-60 buying a Moby or a Sleepy Wrap! Just buy 4-5 yards of cotton interlock (if you want a fabric with stretch) or a thin, non-stretch fabric. All you have to do is cut down the middle to make the wrap between 25-30 inches wide! I am not currently planning on hemming or finishing my fabric since the how-to's I have read suggest that it was unnecessary for them. I may make a slight modification to the tails so it's easy to tie, we shall see. And if I do chose to make that modification, then I will likely need to finish the edges I taper. Either way, make your own wrap and enjoy! It has certainly made my "cuddly" baby easier to handle and my arms and back aren't quite so exhausted:). In other baby wrap news, I used Joel as my guinea pig for trying other back carry methods I found on You Tube and well...just watch...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A very amusing laundry basket

Yesterday I was working on a whole bunch of clothing and household laundry so I was in and out of the room. But thankfully Ethan was completely self-amused. I didn't know what I owed the pleasure to, as I worked, but I certainly appreciated hearing sweet babble rather than ear-piercing screaming and crying:). When I got back into the living room Ethan had tipped the laundry basket and filled it with his stacking cups (basically his favorite toys-ever) and then swung the whole basket around, one-handed, like a pro:).

Tangential question alert. Are, palming a Fisher-Price train while propped up on the other arm, or swinging around a laundry basket when seated, normal developmental abilities? Or is my child gifted with superhuman strength?!?! Superhuman strength you say? I thought so.

So back to the laundry basket musician. Ethan continued to enjoy the laundry basket music after I reentered the living room and I was able to catch a bit of it on video.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Do you think we look related;)

Ethan at 6 months old:
Me somewhere between 6-12 months old: So what do you think?

I think I definitely need to scan some pictures of Joel to compare as well.

Nut butter through the ages

I made a cryptic reference today, in my most recent Facebook album, about how much Ethan is like me in his nut butter messiness, as evidenced in the above picture. As I said there, anyone who is related to me, or has spent enough time around my family to hear stories of me as a toddler, knows exactly what that means.

Alright, prepare yourself, because this is going to be a Rachel story;).

I am the 4th of 5 children, which I love and wouldn't have any other way! However, one of the hilarious, and only sometimes annoying, parts of having my birth order is that EVERYONE was there to note and retell my silliest moments. Not only that, since my brother is 13 years older, and my sisters are 10 years and 5 years older respectively, they were more than likely participants in changing my diapers, feeding me, and helping out with me in various ways. So really there love for me is deep and wide (Did anyone just have VBS/Children's Choir flashbacks because I just did!)...and learned;).

One of the favorite family anecdotes about baby/toddler Rachel is how much I loved _____& Peanut Butter. I apparently liked peanut butter on pretty much anything. I had a healthy and adventurous appetite at first and I wasn't shy (I theorize that this anecdote caught due to my extreme picky eater-ways that set in years later). Apparently I really went gaga for buckwheat pancakes with peanut butter and syrup...I know...I will pause while you judge my palate;)...I also spend a lot of time eating cheerio and peanut butter "sandwiches". On our trip to Houston Ashley recounted fondly that it was her job to sit at the ready and assemble "sandwiches" with a deft 2-part swiping motion that she demonstrated for me.
The next part of the story, invariably includes the fact that no matter what I chose to pair with peanut butter that day, I always ended up with it all over me! Caked in my beautiful hair (I'm just telling it how I've always heard it:)) and all over everything else. Something, like this, or maybe this, note the JIF jar in the forefront:). So it should have come as no surprise, nay, my heart should have immediately swelled with pride, when my beautiful son slathered himself in cashew butter the first time I served it to him on some Wasa crackers. I know what you're thinking, what kind of hippy dippy trippy mother are you?! Let the boy have some good ol' American peanut butter on Ritz/saltines/graham crackers/bread?! I know, I know. I STILL love peanut butter and Nilla wafers as a meal. But, my nephew has a peanut allergy. And, as many of you know, peanut allergies are scary. And the risk is higher for Ethan since his cousin has it peanut butter for him...until he's 3. As Ashley would jokingly say, at this point, "Poor Ethan!" And just because I've kept you for so long with my story, here are some additional photos from Ethan's cashew butter initiation:

Monday, July 6, 2009

Ethan is 7 months old!

He was 7 months as of Friday:), close enough! Ethan is so much fun and we are thankful for the new and interesting ways he is developing. In the past month he has gotten more interested in crawling but he only goes backwards:). Ethan's is most definitely asserting his strong personality and a stubborn streak. The most recently he has decided he no longer wants to use his hands and feed himself, although he was fully capable 2 weeks ago. This has went to the point of him refusing to eat cheerios unless I was putting them in his mouth. Suffice is to say, we sat on the quilt for 10 minutes with him fussing and refusing to close his hand around cheerios or open his mouth to the cheerios in his hand...yeah:). He has also started flirting with strangers more and more and I can't get enough of his gap tooth smile! Ethan talks, and talks, and talks some more. He also can cluck with his tongue and he will try to get just about anyone to cluck back at him and praise his trick:).

He had such a wonderful time spending time with his cousins and he really took some developmental strides after watching all of them. It also made us wish that we lived closer to home and/or Ethan had siblings. Not anytime soon but nevertheless.
We bought Shepherding a Child's Heart thinking we were ahead of the parenting curve and now we REALLY need to bone up on Godly discipline and parental understanding. Thankfully, we also have a wealth of wise Godly parents to lean on.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Great Et Han

Our family returned yesterday from a wonderful trip home to Houston. I have a lot of pictures, and anecdotes, to share. But for today we must start with the legend of Et Han.

To give you some background, my brother-in-law Dylan is really big on nicknames. He delights in spending copious amounts of time arriving at the perfect nickname. So, even before Ethan was born, Dylan has been working on his nickname. He decided a few weeks ago that he would be Et Han (pronounced "E T Han"). When we came to Houston last week, Uncle Dylan proceeded to work his nickname branding magic by creating a whole elaborate back story for The Great Et Han. This video below shows a little snippet of the "lore" surrounding The Han as he also became known.

The best part of the whole thing, is that Ethan's "Han-like" stories, which are much like Chuck Norris "truths", are incredibly infectious! Joel, some friends, and myself, ended up telling our own Han stories to add to the lore. It was delightful and stinkin' hilarious! Thanks Dylan, I know Ethan will appreciate the special way you set him apart through this. Plus, hopefully he'll get a kick out of seeing this video someday!

Monday, June 15, 2009


God is perfect. His timing is perfect. His knowledge is perfect.
And then there's me:).

We moved to Fort Campbell in August 2008 and although we have certainly met some lovely and Godly individuals, building true friendships and a sense of community has been a struggle. It has certainly been our heart's desire but it just has not been in God's timing for us just yet.

Last week in Believing God the study was delving into what it means to believe that God can do what He says He can do. Specifically the focus was on how God works such miracles and wonders in our lives if we will just ask. It is certainly not news to me that God can and will work miracles in our lives and that we are called to bring Him prayers of thanksgiving for the works He does in our lives. And yet as we came together and shared the miracles that God has done in our lives, in the last week, month, year, I was struck by how much more there is that He does for which I fail to thank Him.

So this week has been a spiritual discovery seeking new eyes to see God's wonders and miracles in our lives. Along they way I may have reached a new level of surrender about our friend struggle OR, God just decided it was His perfect time, or BOTH! This past Sunday Joel and I were absolutely in sync all through Sunday school and church, feeling as if we really belonged. Ethan has had a tough time being left in the nursery of late.
We have had to leave church after Sunday school or during it the last several weeks because Ethan is such a sobbing mess and we don't want to distract the pastor. But this week, even though Ethan still cried when we left him in the nursery, we have a plan to make Ethan feel secure in the nursery!

The nursery workers and volunteers are really getting to know him better, which is such a blessing. Ethan calmed down and played on the floor with the other kids once I sat with him. Soon enough, he didn't notice that I was there. After a few minutes I successfully exited the nursery and caught the last few minutes of Sunday school! Then we had another meltdown a few minutes into service... but we have a plan for that one too:)!

So that was a bit tangential but I was thankful that there are ladies that care for him while we are in church and that are getting to know his temperament and heart. I was thankful that our Sunday school is getting to know us and we are getting to know them.

Then on the "home" front, I have FINALLY made a neighbor friend:). All of our neighbors on the block have moved in the last month or so and we now have a whole new crop of neighbors. And with each moving truck, new hope was fostered in my heart:). Last week I brought some bread to my next door neighbor, whose daughter is 2 months younger than Ethan, and invited her to walk with us. Today she took us up on the offer and I discovered that she is a nice Christian woman and she wants to walk every morning:). It was so nice to converse in person with someone other than Joel...or Ethan:).

So here I am offering up some blog prayers of thanksgiving. For doing what He says He can do. In His perfect timing he has brought us into a sense of community here at Fort Campbell. And for that I am thankful.

Friday, June 5, 2009


Today, Ethan said Mama. He has said it 1 or 2 isolated times in the last week but I wasn't sure if he was just making M sounds or not. Then today, he said Mama and kept saying it! Once he saw how excited I was at his new trick he embarked on a marathon of mama's and mamamamama's. He even seemed to be using it with cause (yes I'm aware how INCREDIBLY biased I am) and said it when he wanted my comfort or my help. I'm still a puddle of loving mush as a result of all this.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Tooth # 3

Ethan cut his top right tooth this morning! He was REALLY fussy last night and early this morning, waking several times and being rather unhappy about it. Then he slept in and woke up at 8:30! When we checked, sure enough, his tooth had broken through and he was obviously feeling much better:). He has been very cheery this morning. There isn't much to photograph just yet but I will be sure to get some once the tooth is more visible.

And just because I love you and I know you are hankering for an Ethan fix, and I KNOW you don't leave within driving distance, here are a few funny shots of Ethan seemingly helping Joel out on his laptop. Seriously cute.

Hi Mama!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Ethan's outdoor adventures

Can you tell since this is my 3rd post within the hour that Ethan is taking a marathon nap?! 2.5 hours and counting...
We probably should have tried this sooner but we it's only been a month since it's really warmed up but we had not moved beyond putting him in a stroller. This past weekend we set up a quilt on the oh-so-soft grass on our front lawn and played with Ethan. Once we got out there and I saw how much Ethan LOVED it and mellowed, I remembered how my nephew Jackson would do the same thing as a baby. But in Jackson's case, he was born in Houston, in the spring, so they figured that temperament out a little faster than we did! Ethan laid on his back and stared at the canopy of trees with awe,
this was his view. The outing went so well that Ethan and I went out Tuesday afternoon to enjoy the yard again:). Ethan had a fun process of exploring that I was able to chronicle. There was excitement, then he decided to roll himself closer to the grass, and calm contemplation.
Ethan LOVES rubbing the grass through his fingers!
And then Ethan made yet another move to surround himself by his new friend, grass:).
And then the final move, there was no quilt in sight at this point!
And then there was a little more tree gazing.
Now add to your image of all this, that I am firmly planted on the quilt with my bible study materials strewn about me. This was all taking place around 5 or 6 in the evening while most of our neighborhood was driving home from work. We got some funny looks as people drove by. I imagined that they saw Ethan in the middle of the grass, by himself, and me ensconced behind him and grimaced. What IS that woman letting her child do?! All well, he had a wonderful time, and so did I:).

Another haircut and eating out:)

We are the old folks that went to lunch at 11:15 so we're the only ones on the patio at this point!

Ok, so I really cannot blame our lack of "going out" social time on Ethan. Joel and I were homebodies before becoming parents:). But, we definitely have taken it to a new level since his arrival! We also have a bit of difficulty figuring out what to do and/or where to find things in the Fort Campbell area. So, this past weekend I had another hair appointment with my wonderful stylist in Nashville. Whenever I have an appointment we make a day out of it in Nashville, a lovely city, and one that we do not spend enough time in even though we're less than an hour away. After my haircut we went to this very tasty New York style pizzeria across the street from my salon. And, because I get rather giddy when I get a restaurant experience so I took pictures to mark the occasion:).

Not the sharpest shot but I wanted to show Ethan's setup, his first outdoor restaurant experience, his Mimi will be proud!

Ethan's giving me the crazy eyes because he was sleepy and not interested in his car seat.

And this is the solution we came to, Ethan cuddled up while I ate...yep we're closer than ever these days:).

We had a great time in Nashville and the whole family was worn out by the end of Saturday!