Monday, August 27, 2012

22 months

Here is what is going on with Noah this month according to;

By now your child will begin to set goals for himself. He'll have particular ideas about what he wants to do, like pushing his toy car down the path or fitting all the pieces of a puzzle together. He'll also care about the results - you'll see he's pleased when he's successful and frustrated when he's not. It's all part of his burgeoning independence.

Now that your toddler can communicate using both words and gestures, you can expect him to become quite bossy. Mostly he's experimenting with how his ability to communicate affects the people around him. For instance, he might yell "Stop!" when you start singing his favorite song. It's not that he really wants you to stop singing. He's more interested in seeing how you respond to his order. If he demands "Help me!" when he's playing with a toy, you're witnessing a huge developmental leap. Rather than throwing a toy he can't operate, he can now ask you to help him figure it out. "Look!" is another frequent command. Usually this request signifies a need for your approval. He may want you to compliment one of his scribbles, block towers, or simply acknowledge that he put on his socks.  Use your toddler's bossy behavior as a springboard to teaching "please" and "thank-you." For example, when he says "Help," teach him to say "Help, please!" You can also use his demands to get a conversation going. When he says "Stop," ask him to explain why he wants you to stop doing whatever you're doing. Although your toddler probably doesn't have the vocabulary to give you a real explanation, you may be surprised at how well he expresses himself.

Your toddler may delight you and a few other special people in his life by showering you with affection. He will freely hug and kiss you, and (usually) come to you when called. He doesn't totally understand what it means to cooperate, but he recognizes that it makes you happy when he does. He may even be willing to help with some chores, such as putting away books and toys when you suggest it.  Other children go through a standoffish phase around this age. If yours isn't particularly loving or cooperative, be patient. Keep in mind that this can be a confusing time for toddlers. They have many feelings but they can't always express them with words.

A typical 22-month-old's vocabulary consists of about 20 words, and most toddlers can also combine a couple of words to ask questions or make statements. But before you start counting the number of words your child uses to judge whether she's on track, remember that toddlers understand many more words than they can say — and comprehension is an integral part of language acquisition. So in that context, her "vocabulary" is probably much larger than you think. You may also notice that your toddler has begun to mimic the tone of your speech. When you exclaim, "Oh my goodness!" or "Stop that!" or "Thank you!" she'll repeat it with a similar inflection.

If you point to body parts on your child or a doll and ask her what they are, she should be able to name five or more. If you ask her, "Where is your foot?" or "Where are your ears?" she should be able to point to the right places. She'll also enjoy singing nursery rhymes with you. Even if she can't say all the words, she'll try to repeat some of the song and even attempt to carry the tune.
At this stage of the game, listening skills are essential to language development. To encourage your child to listen as well as speak, read children's books that have repetitive words or phrases and ask your child to fill in certain words as you go along. Singing nursery rhymes again and again is another great way to improve listening skills. Your child will naturally want to sing along with you, and she'll need to remember the words to do that. The melodies attached to these rhymes can make it easier for your child to remember the words. Think about how much easier it is to remember the words to your favorite song than your favorite poem or story.

Most toddlers love to look at books, and you may witness yours holding a favorite book and pretending to read it herself, labeling familiar objects. If you hold a book upside down, she should know it's not in the right position, but she'll probably be able to recognize some pictures even when the book's flipped over.

Even though your child's attention span is still relatively short, don't feel compelled to read quickly in order to finish a story. In fact, the faster you read, the faster she'll lose interest in the book. Instead, read slowly so that she understands what's happening, and allow her to scan the pages and look for objects that she can point to and label. You can stop when she gets tired. Spending time reading with care is much more important than getting to the end of the story.

Noah is continuing to get smarter, more fun, and is looking and acting like a little boy.

Two weeks ago we had a rough week in which Noah become unmanageable every time that he didn't have my full, undivided attention.  Fortunately, I get to give him my undivided attention a lot, but I don't want to raise a spoiled brat that throws a fit when his dad and I try to have adult conversation at dinner with each other and friends. 

His vocabulary continues to be excellent, saying well over 100 words, and lots of sentences.  He can now count as high as 11, usually leaving out 3 and 7.  He can also get as high as I with the alphabet, but normally stops at E.  He's starting to show an interest in learning colors, but doesn't quite have any mastered yet.  He knows all the body parts, most animals, and the sounds that they make.  He knows a few shapes, and most vehicles.

He is such a sweet little boy and loves to give hugs and kisses, to us, and everyone.

He pooped on the potty 2 or 3 times this month, but now hasn't shown any more interest in it in over 3 weeks.

He loves music and loves to dance and will even sing a few of the words to some of his favorite songs.

He's starting to try to stall bedtime, and will ask for extra hugs, kisses, or even to poop on the potty... anything to not have to go to sleep.  He's usually pretty cheerful about it though and goes down happily and easily once I leave the room.

He recently got a bunch of hot wheels cars and trucks and is absolutely enamored with them, lining them up and driving them all over the house.

He's in a phase where he really likes to have everyone in the house in the same room.  He just wants everyone to be around each other all of the time.  If Jeremy or I leaves the room we hear a repeated "where mama/ dada go" until the missing person returns.

He's finally starting to expand the extremely picky palate that he developed for several months.  He's still not eating most meat, but will eat turkey or hamburgers.  He'll eat some vegetables again also.  And always all fruits and dairy products.  He's also starting to eat rice, with some type of sauce (usually a stew or curry) on it.  And he eats pickled jalapenos straight from the jar.  Although he calls them "spicy", not jalapenos... probably because I tried to convince him he wouldn't like them and told him they were spicy, then when I finally gave him some he said "I want some more spicy".  Now every time he sees the jar he asks for some "spicy". 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

::this week::

praying: for revival in our city, for our whole city to be transformed into the image of Christ, displaying His likeness and character to the world.  for our gathering starting next month.  for ever single thing I do and word I say to be done in the love of Christ.  that I would be so full of Him that I couldn't contain it and He would continue to overflow from me to others.  for patience, and to trust in the Lord and His timing.

praising:  1.) our sweet community of friends here in NOLA.  without our asking, 3 different couples approached us to bless us by paying for our hotel and food for our anniversary.  I am seriously moved by this, that our friends love us so much that they would like to bless us in this way.  my heart is full and I feel loved and cared for and excited to enjoy some fancier things that Jeremy and I would not have been able to afford in this season.  2.) the amazing miracles that we have gotten to witness and be a part of lately.  we just found out that a women who Jeremy prayed over recently for stomach cancer went back to the doctor and there was no sign of cancer in her stomach.  the Spirit is moving in this city in a mighty way.  3.) a really good week... I've had 4 different kiddos in and out of my house that I've been watching this week and they've all been very obedient (mostly), gotten along, and had lots of fun.  really grateful that I get so much time to enjoy, play with, and invest in some little ones.

reading:  Psalms, Joshua, Dreaming with God by Bill Johnson

cooking:  pumpkin cream cheese bars, pizza, spinach and black bean enchiladas, spicy chicken enchiladas, chicken pavlava, fish tacos with black bean and corn salad, spinach mozzarella breakfast casserole, green curry lentils

creating:  cloth baby wipes for a friend, re-covered living room pillow, t shirt for Noah's birthday party

doing:  hosting community group and several meals with friends

pondering:  Joshua 3... when the priests and 12 leaders of the tribes of Israel had to step into the Jordan river before it dried up.  Thinking about how often God requires us to step out in faith to receive His promise... that our circumstances may look contrary to His promise, but that we need to believe, be obedient, and step into action for His word to come true.  The river did not dry up until their feet had stepped into it, proceeding forward despite the obvious challenge before them in the natural realm.  This speaks to my heart right now as we transition into full-time ministry, and in the natural realm our circumstances look a little discouraging... clinging to God's promise to us and stepping into the Jordan to receive our promised land... a land of rest, and overflowing with milk and honey.  This continues to be a difficult lesson for me about stepping into action despite how my circumstances appear.

celebrating:  our 5 year anniversary (Aug 25)!!!!!  enjoying a 3 day weekend; a day of family time on Friday, a stay in a nearby hotel for me and Jeremy for Saturday night, and a romantic dinner for the two of us.  looking forward to some one on one time with my sweetie including some workout time, pool time, and time spent resting in the presence of the Lord!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

::this week::

praying:  emotional, spiritual, and physical healing for so many people we know in need of 1 of those.

praising:  new life in Christ for 2 people that Jeremy has gotten to pray with over the last week!

reading:  Deuteronomy, Psalms, Dreaming with God

cooking:  lemon bars, white chicken chili, jalapeno cheddar cornbread, pizza, huevos rancheros, spinach mozzarella breakfast casserole, bacon skewers and prosciutto wrapped melon for a women's brunch

creating:  more Christmas stockings, another re-covered living room pillow, favor tags/ bags for Noah's bday party, appliqued t shirt for Noah's bday party

doing:  planning, setting up for, and attending a women's brunch for our church women's ministry, hosting community group, several walk and playground dates with friends

pondering:  I listened to a sermon recently that mentioned how these sermons we listen to, testimonies we hear, etc. should be activating our faith and spurring us on to greater faith, greater love, and a greater outpouring of those two.  The speaker talked about how if that isn't happening, then all of this spiritual "food" (sermons, discussions, books, etc.) is just entertainment.  I am convicted that I have just been entertained a lot lately.  That I have been learning a lot from things that I listen to, watch, and read, but those have not changed what I do that much.  I don't want to store up knowledge that is not producing fruit.

Absorbing the truth from this quote in Dreaming with God... "Prophetic ministry is not to be focused on the sins of the world.  It takes very little discernment to find the dirt in people's lives.  The prophetic in its purest form is designed to find the gold in people's lives and call it to the surface."  Praying that I would be able to see the destiny of people, to see who they were created to be, and to speak that over them in an encouraging way, spurring them on into the righteousness and calling they were created for.

ministry update:  God continues to make it clear that full-time ministry is where he has us.  He is opening doors to way more opportunities that we can respond to right now, especially with Jeremy still working full-time.  We have not had to look for ministry opportunities, they are coming to us.  One day Jeremy went to a vitamin store and got approached and involved in spiritual conversations with 2 people just in that 1 store, he even ended up in one person's car praying with them.  We will have a once a week prayer/ worship/ ministry gathering starting in Sep, more details on that to come soon.  We are still having a little confusion with the set-up of our ministry with the state and our non-profit status, but hope to be passed all of that soon.  We still have yet to ask anyone for money/ support for our ministry, but have had multiple individuals/ families express interest in supporting us.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

the final stocking

now my stocking is done and the whole collection is complete.

Monday, August 13, 2012

another stocking

now Jeremy's and Noah's stockings are finished, just mine left to go.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Christmas stocking

the last several years in a row I have been wanting to sew us Christmas stockings.  every year I forget about it until I start decorating, and by then I'm in full swing of holiday parties and gift making and never have any extra time to sew stockings.  so this year I started early.  I'm designing and sewing 3 different burlap stockings, one for each of us, and this was the first to be complete.  a quick and easy project that I hope to use for years to come.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cake

I made this peanut butter chocolate chip cake.  It is DE-LIC-OUS!!!!  It may be my favorite cake batter (to lick off the spatula) ever... if you're into that sort of thing, which I am!  The cake tastes a lot like a big, moist, peanut butter cookie with chocolate chips sprinkled on top.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

::this week::

praying:  for wisdom and clarity for the details with Bastian.  for wisdom, clarity, and God's presence for our gathering starting next month (more to come on that soon).  for favor for Jeremy in all that he does... I used to pray this for him every day, and then I stopped, and without me telling him he could notice, so I'm re-committed and spurred on to pray this for him every day again, in awe at just how powerful and effective prayer is!  for revival in our city.

praising:  a calm, peaceful, and restful week this week.  last week was busy, especially with getting ready for the baby shower.  this is the first week in months in which we have not had anyone over for dinner, and it has been nice to have some sweet time with just our family of 3.  Noah was really disobedient last week and it was a rough week.  really thankful that the Lord has given him a much more gentle and obedient heart this week!  really thankful for the sweet friends/ community that we have here, and the ways in which they have been blessing us and loving on us lately.  Darnell's new life in Christ!  (see "doing" below). 

reading:  Psalms, Deuteronomy, Dreaming with God

cooking:  pizza. fried rice, black beans corn and rice casserole, loaded potato casserole, Thai tilapia red curry, slow-cooker Indian curry, chocolate chip peanut butter cake

doing:  beginning party planning for some october and november birthday parties and beginning planning for homemade Christmas gifts. some walks and play dates with friends.  a trip to the park with our community group in which we got to love on some kiddos (and one kid prayed with Jeremy to receive Christ!).  enjoying having more kiddos around this week; I started watching another girl noah's age 1 day a week, and baby hayden is back after 2 weeks of not watching her.  a back to school/ awkward stages party at a friend's house.

creating:  knock off anthro mug, decorations for some October birthday parties, starting some new Christmas decorations for our home

pondering:  The Lord has been continually highlighting the word "remember" for me in my time in reading through Deuteronomy and Psalms.  Moses continually challenged the Israelites to remember the miracles that the Lord had performed among them and the ways in which He had brought them out of Egypt, and then the wilderness.  Yet, the Israelites continued to be fickle and distracted by their current circumstances, forgetting the faithfulness of the great God that they served.  Trying to cultivate a heart that remembers, gives thanks, and worships my almighty God.  A heart that is not dictated by my circumstances, but that is dictated by the power and love of my Lord, a heart that believes and expects Him to show up in mighty ways.

John 4:34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.  Matthew 4:4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘ Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’”.  In Matthew 4:4, it is not every word that preceded from the mouth of God, but every word that proceeds, word as in rhema, the living and active word of God.  Trying to be quiet, to listen to and dwell on the word of God, not just His written word, but His current and active spoken word.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

anthro knock off mug

I was inspired by these knock off anthropologie mugs, to make my own S mug.  I don't think that my version is anywhere near as cool as the actual anthro mugs, or the knock offs, but I was able to make this from mugs, stamps, and paint that I already had on hand, so for free, I'll take it.  It's a fun way to add some personalized design and color to our existing white mugs.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Saints Football Baby Shower

We had the privilege of hosting a baby shower for two sweet friends who are soon to be expecting a new addition.  As soon as my friend knew she was pregnant she had already started dreaming up themes for her shower.  Since her husband played college football, and currently coaches high school football, she thought that a Saints theme would be fun.  She also wanted a co-ed shower, which I thought went perfectly with having a Saints football theme.  It was perfect, very guy friendly and not too baby or girlish.

The invitations were fun.  I found a free ticket template on the internet and filled in the appropriate details and party information.  I printed them on white cardstock, cut, and stuffed in envelopes.

The decorations were fairly simple.  I made some bunting out of black and gold car stock, and  misc. Saints items that we already had lying around.  I used astro turf to cover the table and laid out some black and gold mardis gras beads on it.  I made food tent cards with black and gold bunting, and some black and gold cupcake wrappers and toppers.  I also made "pentalty flag" lollipop favors for everyone. (shown in the football bowl)

The time together was fun.  We ate, played a Saints trivia game, chatted, and showered the couple with prayer and gifts.  I had planned to have a football toss outside for one of the games, but changed my mind last minute as New Orleans is VERY hot in August.

The food wasn't exactly New Orleans, Saints, or football related, but I stuck with most of the couple's favorites.  They love Mexican food, jalapenos, and fruit desserts, so I catered to those tastes.  It was more hearty that most dainty shower food, which fit well for a lunch time, co-ed, shower.  Here's what I served;

alcholic, and non-alcoholic beer
carnitas (with homemade pickled onions and jalapenos)
queso blanco (but I used a can of rotel in place of the jalapeno and tomatoes)
banana pudding

Here are some of the gifts that I made for the baby;

a pink rosette headband and C onesie

 a Saints/ black and gold rosette headband and a football onesie

a cuddly football blanket

a soft, crinkly football tag toy with the extra material from the blanket

Slow Cooked Carnitas


This is an easy crowd pleaser.  Serve the meat with tortillas or shells and your favorite toppings.  I like homemade pickled red onions, lime wedges, jalapenos, cilantro, red cabbage, pico de gallo, and avocado slices... but cheese, sour cream, or chopped veggies would be great also.

-3-4 lb pork butt
(ingredients below you need twice, once for cooking and again for the final sauce, so you need double the list)
-juice and zest of 1 orange
-juice and zest of 1 lime
-4 cloves garlic, minced
-1/2 tsp cayenne
-1/2 Tbsp salt
-1 tsp pepper
-1 Tbsp cumin
-3 Tbsp hot sauce
-2 bay leaves
-2 tsp dried oregano

Combine orange- oregano in slow cooker, stir.  Place pork butt in slow cooker and turn to coat.  Cook on low for 10 hours.  Remove from slow cooker, throw away the juices/ fat.  Shred meat with two forks, discarding fat.  In the cleaned out slow cooker make an identical sauce to the original orange-oregano cooking liquid.  Toss with meat.  (At this point you could refrigerate overnight and reheat the next day).  Cook on low 1 more hour prior to serving.  Adjust seasonings as needed.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

recovered pillow

I recovered an old throw pillow.  I used a neutral muslin, stenciled the wording on, and sewed the pillow cover.  Another quick and easy project.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

patchwork dishtowels

I finally sewed the patchwork dish towels that I've been planning to make for weeks.  They were quick and easy, done within 1 nap time.  I love the way that they add more fun pops of color to my kitchen!  It's fun to finally get to share something that I've created again, since all of my recent projects have been secret since they are for the upcoming baby shower this weekend.

::this week::

praying:  for opportunities to love others in action and in truth and to manifest the Kingdom on earth as in Heaven.  for boldness for such opportunities.

praising:  some healing and freedom the Lord has been doing in me this week.  I was struggling with some hurt feelings and relationships but am happy to say that He is healing those.  more than anything, once I take my eyes off of myself, my hurts, and my circumstances I am able to use my thoughts and energy to praise and worship Him, and to enjoy Him and what He is doing.

reading:  Psalms, Deuteronomy, Dreaming with God

cooking:  pizzahuevos rancheroschicken pavlavapumpkin cream cheese barslemon barssoy sesame honey baked tofupassion tea lemonadefish tacossweet and sour red cabbagerefried beans, carnitas with pickled red onions and jalapenos, guacamole, salsa, blueberry cupcakes with lemon cream cheese frosting, baked bacon wrapped jalapenos, queso blanco, peanut butter and banana baked oatmeal

doing:  hosting some dinners with other couples, some walk and coffee dates with friends, planning team meeting for our women's ministry/ planning a women's brunch for next month, throwing a baby shower for some sweet soon to be parents, starting the very beginning stages of birthday party planning for Jeremy, Noah, and our friend Nina, it's going to be a fun few months! 

creating:  the finishing touches on the baby shower decorations, the same patchwork dish towels and recovered living room pillow that I've been working on for weeks


this quote from Dreaming With God... "When unbelievers lead the way in inventions and artistic expression, it is because the church has embraced a false kind of spirituality".  Being challenged by a new definition of creativity, one that does not only involve the arts as our culture tends to define it.  Knowing that I have the creator of the universe dwelling in and communicating with me.  Pondering what it would look like to see all believers tap into the creativity of their God, to see them lead the way in innovations, creativity, and wisdom in each of their industries as God gives them creative solutions, and they manifest His glory in all that they do.

a new understanding of what spiritual wilderness is.  I've always thought of it as a lack of the presence of God, of a dry season.  Upon reading Psalms and Deuteronomy this week I'm starting to see the wilderness in a new way.  God was present in the wilderness with Israel, He guided them by cloud and fire, each day, every step of the way.  He was present and dwelt among them.  He continued to do miracles for them providing manna, quail, and water from a rock.  I'm starting to see the wilderness as not a period of dryness from God, but as a discipline from God, a plan other than His original/ best, like it was for Israel.  I'm starting to understand that in those seasons He is still present, still guiding, and still speaking.  I'm understanding Psalm 65:12 The grasslands of the wilderness become a lush pasture,and the hillsides blossom with joy.  Along with all of this, I'm thinking about what it means to enter and live in the "promised land".  Deuteronomy 12:9-10  because you have not yet arrived at the place of rest, the land the Lord your God is giving you as your special possession. But you will soon cross the Jordan River and live in the land the Lord your God is giving you. When he gives you rest from all your enemies and you’re living safely in the land.  I'm wondering if I'm in my promised land, or in the wilderness right now.  I'm wanting to see myself, and others, live in their "place of rest" and "promised land".

Christ centered friendships.  I have a longing for relationships that are truly centered on Him.  I feel like so much of my time is spent thinking and talking about things that are of this world, that really have no significance or importance.  I desire relationships that are rooted in and based on Christ, where most of what we talk about is Him, His glory, and what He is doing in and through us.  I have a hunger for this, but it all starts with our hearts.  If He is truly at the center of our hearts and priorities than He will be what we think about, talk about, dream about etc.  I'm wondering why even when a group of believers get together it tends to be awkward to talk about the Lord (unless we are meeting for a Bible study).  Why are we more comfortable talking about worldly things than spiritual things?

enjoying:  we had a great time visiting family in VA, but are happy to be home settling back into our everyday routine with the friends and city that we love.  I have this week off from watching the baby and am enjoying some extra one on one time with Noah, and some extra time with friends... all before I start watching another toddler 1 day a week next week, in addition to the baby that I have been watching.  Noah and I have visited lots of playgrounds, taken lots of walks, read lots of books, and played, wrestled, driven trucks and been silly lots this week!