Valentine's Babies

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Friday, December 24, 2010

A Year With God

I was given a copy of A Year With God by the publisher, Thomas Nelson.  I thought this book was fine.  I read other reviews, about it, that were pretty harsh - and some that were glowing.  I'm going to take middle ground on this one and give it three out of five stars.  I enjoyed each reading from this daily reader.  The focus is on the words of God - all Old Testament readings.  I found that a refreshing change from most Christian literature.  Also, it wasn't as "fluffy" as most daily readers.  I like that in a book. I found one factual error - but it was just the wrong name of a Bible character and a typo - the main points weren't heretical or anything.  On Amazon, other reviewers seemed to be looking for things about which to complain.  I think new and different perspectives on the Bible and God's words are interesting and I can learn from them.  I like the undated pages.  I'm a pretty sequential person, and I like that I can read three days or one day at a time without feeling like I'm skipping ahead or falling behind.  It's a good book.  I would buy it.
Thanks for reading my review.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Give the Word Bible Contest and Giveaway

So here's a little blurb about a contest from Tyndale Press.  Here's some information about the contest - and how to enter to win.  You do not have to be on FaceBook to enter on their FaceBook page.
Tyndale is highlighting three ministries, Wycliffe Bible Translators, Oasis International, and The Dream Center, (click on the link to learn more details about these ministries) and by voting for one of these ministries you’ll be entered to win one of many prizes.
 
To enter, visit the NLT Facebook page by clicking here.
There are several levels of prizes you can win, here are the details:
 
With the Give the Word Bible Contest and Giveaway:
    • Ministries win: Each time the NLT Facebook Page reaches a fan count milestone, votes will be tallied and the three ministries will receive cash donations from the New Living Translation and Tyndale House Publishers.
    • Everyone wins: Everyone who enters on the Bible Contest website wins a free download of Matthew West reading the Christmas story.
    • Daily NLT Study Bible winners: Vote on the NLT Facebook page and you will be entered to win two NLT Study Bibles—one to keep and one to give away. A new winner will be chosen every day.
    • Weekly Give the Word Locally winners: Tell us about a deserving local ministry on the NLT Bible Contest website and they could win five NLT Study Bibles and $250 worth of NLT products.
    • One Grand Prize winner will enjoy a unique trip customized just for them and their family (or three guests of their choice), to Wycliffe Bible Translators world headquarters and the WordSpring Discovery Center where they will experience firsthand the exciting world of Bible translation. The Grand Prize winner could also choose to donate the value of the trip--$2000--to Wycliffe instead.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Mom

This is life for me most days.  Juggling both babies and trying to get the house cleaned.  I've had struggles with contentment lately.  Wishing away some of this lifestyle.  But today I really came to grips with some things.  God has given me so many blessings.  I have two, healthy and lovely babies.  I have a husband, who is not only incredibly handsome, but he's devoted to me and to his family. 
I was feeling the warmth of fresh baby puke on my back and thinking about how unhappy I am and how rough my life is.  That was when I realized that I could have actual problems.  What If one of my kids was sick?  What if my husband stopped coming home at night?  What if my belongings went up in flames?  What if I truly had something to complain about?!
I realized (again) that I have a pretty charmed life. 
I'm going to try and work on my attitude a bit today.  

Monday, December 13, 2010

Siblings

Sometimes they just play together like this.  Miles will be busy in the Pack N Play and Lily will ask to get in.  I think it is so cute when they are in there together.  I'm so thankful that they love each other so much.

My Fashionista



Every morning - for as long as I will let her - Lily Ann piles on layer after layer of fine clothing.  Then she changes it.  She tries on different shoes, hats, jackets.  She even tries to squeeze into her baby brother's clothes.  She walks out in some of the most precious "get-ups" and it makes my day.  These are just a few of the pictures I have of some of her wardrobe picks.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Ahhhhh . . .

Such a sweet moment.  My two babies are napping peacefully.  Believe it or not - this picture isn't even staged.  I was laying between them, trying to get Lily Ann to sleep and playing with Miles at the same time, when I noticed - they were both falling asleep at the same time.  It's as if they'd had a little meeting and decided, "let's give mom a breather this afternoon."  However it happened, I'm enjoying a the break.  I love these babies so very much - but it sure is nice to be able to take some time out and enjoy a little peace.  I haven't done much to keep this blog updated lately.  So now this can be erased from my mental "to do list".  Now I'd better pick up the house (again) before second shift.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Your Money God's Way

This is another book review for the publisher, Thomas Nelson.  I read Your Money God's Way: Overcoming the 7 Money Myths that Keep Christians Broke by Amie Streater.  It was a pretty good book.  The author shares many stories of people in really tough financial situations and outlines solutions to their problems.  She writes with a lot of honesty and a bit of humor and grace.  It is difficult to read through a book about personal finance and not fall asleep - but this one was much more interesting than I had anticipated.  She promotes an 80-10-10 plan (giving 10 percent, saving 10 percent and living on 80 percent of your income).  She also endorses the Dave Ramsey philosophy of financial freedom.  I'm down with all of that.  This is a good book and I recommend it.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Thank You

I just wanted to thank you if you've been clicking the amazon.com link on my blog to do your amazon shopping - or the kellyscloset.com link for your cloth diapering needs.  I don't know who it is that has been shopping through my website, but some of you are and I really appreciate it.  Even though it costs you nothing more, for each purchase you make, I earn 5-6% in advertising fees when you click on the link through my weblog.  With the holiday season approaching, I do hope you'll continue to remember to visit the weblog before you shop online.
And, again, thank you SO MUCH for shopping - and for reading my weblog and voting in my mindless polls.   :)
-amanda



 

Family Update

Here are some recent pictures of the whole family.  We have moved back to the desert - and we're all very happy and healthy.  As you may have noticed, I have little time to update this little weblog lately.  But I'm having a great time being a mom to these two, wonderful babies.
Adam is working hard so that I can stay at home with these little blessings.  We are making some pretty big  sacrifices to afford this luxury - but it is really important to both of us.  I'm just thankful to have such a hardworking (and exceedingly handsome) husband and some amazing, lovable, chubby babies to cuddle.
God is so good to us and we couldn't be much happier. 









Chocolate Bicycles

A close friend of mine gave us a popsicle-making mold.  I made some healthy fudgesicles for Lily Ann.  She called them bicycles - chocolate bicycles.  And she loved them.

Here's the recipe:
3/4 c. coconut milk
2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1-2 T agave nectar (to taste)

Combine these ingredients in a saucepan, over low heat - just until mixed.  Then pour into popsicle molds and freeze. 

What makes this recipe healthy?
1.  Coconut Milk - Contains medium-chain fatty acids that are easily metabolized and used by the body.  Also, the fat in coconut milk is over 50% lauric acid.  Lauric acid is the component found in human breast milk that protects infants from certain illnesses.  This nutritional benefit is unique to coconut milk and is not found in other foods.
2.  Cocoa - High in Iron.
3.  Cinnamon - Cinnamon is a great source of manganese, fiber, iron, and calcium.  Even in very small amounts, it has been shown to have a regulatory effect on blood sugar.
4.  Agave Nectar - Agave nectar is sweeter than sugar, the glycemic index is much lower than sugar and it is all natural, from fruit and has no funny "fake sugar" aftertaste. 

Friday, August 20, 2010

Let's Do Lunch

This is another book review that I'm posting for the publisher, Thomas Nelson.  It is a review for a book called Let's Do Lunch, by Roger Troy Wilson.  He is a formerly obese man who devised his own plan to lose 230 pounds after trying countless other popular diet plans.  He not only successfully lost the weight, but he has kept it off for more than fifteen years.  Actually, he is the living proof that this plan works.  I was already sold on the program when I read his bio.  But I read the rest of the book to give it a fair nutritional analysis.
It was a quick read - and I really like that.  The introduction was long, but enjoyable.  The diet plan was pretty good - overall.  Mr. Wilson is, obviously, not a nutritionist.  There are a few inconsistencies, overstatements and nutritional errors - but nothing too grievous.  Also, he is not a gourmet chef - if you don't mind cooking with some very mainstream convenience-type foods - you're fine.  But if it pains you to use Hellmann's fat free mayonnaise, dry Ranch dressing mix (loaded with MSG), Borden fat free cheese, or other shortcuts in a recipe - you may not like his suggestions.  Those were my only problems with the book.
Otherwise, his main suggestion (without stating it) is to watch your saturated fat grams and avoid refined sugars.   That is the diet we all should be following - and one that i always sometimes stick to myself.  :)
R.T. Wilson's book was good - for the most part.  I think someone could follow the plan and lose a considerable amount of weight without feeling hungry or dissatisfied.  I give it three out of five stars.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Mom & Dad



Adam and I spent some time in Golden Gate Park - enjoying the botanical gardens.  We had young Miles with us - but he was sacked out on Daddy's chest the whole time.

Getting Bigger


Here are some pictures of our boy.  As you can see, he isn't missing any meals.  We are thankful for such a healthy - and lovely little boy. 

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Knee Bouncer

www.kneebouncers.com
That's Lily Ann's favorite website.  I wanted to share this little picture of her playing on my computer - and recommend this website to all of my friends who have little ones.  It has a lot of free, fun, educational games geared toward toddlers. 

Monday, June 21, 2010

BabyDaddy

I just wanted to take a minute - in this season of Father's Day - to honor the father of my two kids.  He's a great dad.  And i mean it.  He loves being a "family man" - and i love that about him.  I'm so thankful to be partners in parenting with such a good guy.  Did I mention that he is incredibly good looking too?  That's quite a bonus :)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

A Little Girl

Seems like it was just yesterday that my Lily was a baby.  Now she's a little girl.  Truly I can't say that I feel like it has all gone too fast.  Thanks to my husband working so hard for our family, I've been able to stay at home to raise her.  I haven't missed much.  I feel so fortunate to have been around for all the amazing milestones.  I know I'll miss that little baby in some ways - but this little girl we have here is so much fun. 

More Pictures of Lily Ann Turning TWO






Here are some pictures from Lily's birthday celebration.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

She's TWO!

Today is a great day!  Lily Ann is TWO today.  I remember the joy that filled my entire being the moment she was born.  And, now, I can't imagine life without her.  She is sunlight to a dark and dreary day.  She is a precious gift that God gave us.  We are so thankful and blessed to have such a lovely and sweet daughter.
Happy Birthday Lily Ann!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Captivating

I am reviewing this book for the publisher, Thomas Nelson.  The book is called Captivating, by John & Stasi Eldredge.  I really enjoyed reading this book.  It was written well and a quick-read.  The perspectives were fresh and interesting.  The book would be of interest to most women, but especially to those with rough backgrounds and/or painful upbringings.  I would recommend it to a friend.  I was inspired by the authors to unveil my heart to God and fully delve in to my relationship with Christ on a deeper level.


Friday, June 4, 2010

More Miles

A friend of ours came by yesterday - with his new, fancy camera.  He took some great pictures of our boy.  Just thought I'd share them.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Lily Ann

Lily Ann went to the beach with daddy this morning.  She's such an awesome big sister so far.  She needed a little special "one on one time" with her favorite guy (who also happens to be my favorite guy).  
Also - here's another picture of our new baby.

Miles is Here!

Miles was born on Wednesday morning - 5/26  (6:01am).  7 lbs.10 oz.  20.5 inches long.
Another happy hypnobirth.  Things went very well. 
Lily Ann has been giddy since we brought him home.  She is so sweet with him and loves to kiss his little head and pat him.  He's just a little joy.  We are all getting settled and trying to figure out a new rhythm of life here.  So far, things are lovely.
God has blessed us.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Due Dates are for Library Books


So we are all still waiting on Miles.  According to the cyclic dates, he is four days late.  But according to measurements, he would be right on time if he came today.  I'm not incredibly uncomfortable.  He's in a safe and warm place - I'm just anxious to hold our sweet baby in my arms.  And - admittedly - I'm anxious to be able to move around a little easier and get down on the floor to play with Lily Ann (and be able to get back up without the assistance of a fork lift).

Celebrating TEN Years

May 20th, 2000.
A day I'll never forget.  It was when Adam and I took vows, before God, that we would hang onto eachother through good times and bad.  That we'd love eachother, honor eachother and obey eachother.  That we would remain faithful to eachother in our thoughts, words and deeds.  That through sickness and in health we would not ever abandon the other.  And I promised to be my husband's girlfriend for the rest of my life.
So far - we're making it.  We've had some really rough times.  And, just like any other marriage, ours has problems.  But I will say - in all honesty - I wouldn't want to be married to any other man.  The tough times and the problems are nothing in comparison to the good times and the joy that our marriage has brought to my life. 
Adam is a blessing to me.  He's a fantastic husband.  He's a really good friend to me and an excellent life partner.  He loves his little girl and is a really good dad too.  I love to listen to him breathe life to her in the form of encouraging words and affirmations.  She will never have to wonder if her daddy thinks she is lovely.

Marriage isn't easy.  It is one of the biggest challenges in life.  But I'm devoted to honoring my vows forever.  Please always keep me accountable to that goal.  If you ever hear of me deciding to throw in the towel, or you ever see me doing something that isn't edifying my union with Adam - please set me straight.  Remind me of the promise I made, in front of God, to be an honorable wife. 

PS:  I know you may be wondering how a girl - so young - has been married for ten years already.  At eleven years old, I was a young bride, indeed.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Any Day Now . . .

We went to a birthday party, at the park, on Saturday. One of our friends took a picture of our little family as we came in.  From this angle, you can't clearly see how giant my midsection is - but it is quite large.  Adam's jacket (the only one that still fits) hides my hump pretty well too.  Miles should be here any day now.  Literally.  I would be surprised if he's not here within the week.  This morning, I walked about three miles - hoping.  Each day, I try to walk at least a mile or so.  But, so far, the walking has not encouraged any progress.  Maybe I should try skipping.  Does anyone have a pogo stick I could borrow?  Lily Ann is a little princess.  She's been talking about the baby boy in my tummy lately.  And the one in her tummy . . . and in Daddy's tummy.  Someone gave her a book about being a "big sister."  She loves it.  She wants to read it every day.  Right now she is napping with one of her baby dolls.  She's been taking extra special care of her babies lately.  I think she's ready for Miles to arrive too.  We all just can't wait to meet him.  Many challenges await - I'm sure - as we transition from a family of three to a family of four.  But I'm trusting that God will bless us with all that we need to muddle through this time of learning and growing.  I'm hoping that my next post will be a lovely picture of our new baby boy!  I'm going to eat some extra spicy food and then jump on the trampoline for a half hour.  (Just kidding).

Saturday, May 8, 2010

What a Difference . . .

At the risk of sounding totally cheesy - I'm going to share a really cool experience.  Over the last 15 years, I have done banking, mostly, with a "giant, monster mega-bank".  Keybank, to be specific.  I signed up with them in my early twenties and just kept all my accounts there.  When Adam and I married, I encouraged him to do the same so that we could merge accounts easier.  He did.  One thing that I learned to get used to was fees from the bank.  Fees for this, fees for that and so on.  It seemed they were just waiting for me to slip up a little, so that they could apply more fees.  However, the longer we had a relationship with this bank, the more trouble it was to just go to a different financial institution.  So, it seemed, we were stuck.  We referred to our bank as "the money pimps" and made jokes about it.  We were careful not to incur fees - but sometimes they got us anyway.
It was in listening to The Clark Howard Show one day that I heard how different things are when a person banks with a local bank or credit union.  In fact, the report was on how those "giant monster mega-banks" actually use computer software to increase the likelyhood of fees assessed on checking accounts.  It was eye-opening for me.  Adam and I were about to move and we were sold on finding a local credit union when we got settled.
Fast forward one year.  We've been banking with a small, local credit union since we moved.  We hadn't had any problems - and no strange fees.  But yesterday, we needed to withdraw a large amount of cash - knowing we'd be left with only about $50 in the checking account afterward.  Adam was in a rush and accidentally withdrew $100 more than we needed.  When he came out I checked the amount and was nervous that we'd incurred fees for overdrawing our account.  Quickly, I used Adam's iPhone to check our account status.  And to my delight, instead of charging us with fees - which they could've rightly done, our credit union had just transferred $100 from our savings account to our checking account when the withdrawal request was made.  I checked later - and there were no fees associated with this service. 
I was really impressed.  I'm still really impressed.  I was never impressed with the mega-bank. 
This is an unusual post - but I just wanted to share a positive experience. 

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

What if it all Turns out Just Fine?

I read an article, when Lily Ann was about six months old.  In it, there was a direct quote from a mother that said something like "having a second child is not double the work, it is more like quadruple . . ."  When I read that, I recall thinking, "I'm fine with just one child.  I'll never be able to handle four times this workload."  Adam and I had agreed that we had our hands full and probably just needed to focus on raising our one little girl. 
Obviously, God had other plans for us. 
Throughout the past few months, very well-meaning friends and some family members have been warning me that Lily Ann is going to have some adjusting to do when Miles is born.  There have been lots of questions from people like, "how do you think Lily will handle having another baby around?"; "do you think she knows what's about to happen?" and "are you ready for what two babies is going to do to your life?"  Many have passed on stories of sibling rivalry, overall discontent and things being very hard for a young family with two small children. 
I do know that, for the most part, people are just making conversation - and/or trying to give us advice or wisdom.  But I've been getting the same kind of discourse from many different people lately.  And the other day, it was starting to get me down.  Every time I thought of our little blessing around the corner, I got nervous and saw images of how hard it would be to have "two under two".  I began to think of Lily's transition and I felt so sad for her.  I was fearing the worst and fretting about things.  It wasn't until I had a friend over for breakfast, who has two little ones, that I realized that things might turn out differently.  My friend, we'll call her Gertrude, said things like - "I found things easier with two"; and "I had thought things would be really difficult, but it seemed less stressful the second time."  This refreshing perspective reminded me that if I listen to the "negative Nellies," all the time - I will have more negative thoughts.  I was also reminded that there is just as much of a possibility that things will turn out really well for all of us with the addition of Miles to our little family.  Gertrude was a breath of fresh air for me that morning.  And still, this morning, when I remember our conversation. 
I know that Lily Ann will have to adjust to another baby in the house.  I'm sure every first child goes through an adjustment period when the second-born comes along.  I understand that Adam and I will have to get used to a new level of activity and new pressures with a second child.  I would be totally naive to think otherwise.  But who's to say this won't be a serious blessing and positive addition to our family?!  What if Lily Ann's life is enriched and happy because she has a younger brother to love?  What if things turn out just fine?  Those are the thoughts I'm having lately.  Gertrude gave me some positive "what ifs" that are invading my thoughts these days.  I'm really thankful for the change - and optimistic about the upcoming changes/blessings for us. 

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Daddy's Girl

Now it is true - Lily Ann is very well attached to her mother. She follows me around like a little shadow and gets very upset when we have to be apart. However, she absolutely loves it when she can have the attention of her handsome father.
She knows the sound of his particular footsteps when he comes up the stairs. She says "daddy" and looks expectantly at the door when she hears his walk.
She loves to pat him when he's sleeping. She likes to take walks with him and go to the beach with him. They have special dates at a nearby cafe' as well.
One of our friends snapped this photo of Lily and Adam at church together last week. I think it is one of the sweetest pictures I've ever seen.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Well . . .







I guess I had better make her a set of dress-up clothes. I found Lily Ann with our dirty laundry strewn all over the bedroom. She was happily putting things on and dressing herself all up in mom and dad's clothing. She was wearing one of Adam's workshirts with the sleeve over her head. She looked pretty smashing.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A Family of 3.75


It was so nice out today that Adam and Lily and I decided to pack a picnic dinner and eat at the beach. It was sunny and not too windy. What a nice time. The sun was shining just right to give us a good shadow picture of our (current) family of three. Only a few more weeks until our fourth arrives. Our midwife confirmed, last week, that he's head down and in the right position for his birthday.

What you may not be able to see in the picture is that I'm just about as big as a house :).

We've started to prepare for the birth with the same hypnosis we used for pain control with Lily Ann (http://www.hypnobabies.com/). We have a really nice doula and a VERY natural labor friendly hospital directly across the street from our house. I'm optimistic that things will go well and that our new little munchkin will enjoy a peaceful entry into this big world.

We are on the road to a new beginning . . . . a family of four.

Merry Christmas!

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