Friday, May 29, 2009

Our new neighbors

A few weeks ago, Eric noticed we had something new in the neighborhood (aka our porch):
These two gorgeous eggs (which later became five) hatched earlier this week, and it's been neat to watch the mama bird bringing worms to her young. Being a new mom myself, I felt a connection to her when her babies were squawking for food! I'm sure these little birds will leave the nest soon, but we've enjoyed watching their lives unfold.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Loose ends

*First, as promised, here are some pix of the adorable cousin duo, Addison and Natalie:

(Sorry they're so small--I couldn't get them to upload any bigger. Natalie is on the right in the first pic, and on the left in the bottom one. It will be really neat for these girls to grow up together! I only had three cousins total, and my kids already have seven!)
*I feel like I've been pretty scattered lately with my blog--and with a lot of other things in my life, too. I don't always remember who I've told what, so if you'd like an update about something, feel free to ask.

*If you're interested and haven't read it yet, you can click here for my dramatic re-telling of how I spent Memorial Day 8 years ago.

*A random question for you--in the summer, I prefer to avoid using the oven when possible. I'm hoping to find a few new recipes to add to our warm-weather menu, and wondered if you have any suggestions? We're a bit tricky--I don't eat red meat (no pig or cow!), and my husband is allergic to tomatoes and citrus fruits. Yikes, huh? I'd love to hear any ideas you have . . .

*Finally, thanks to Anne Marie for the Kreativ Blogger award. As she said in her post, it pains me that the spelling is as such, but I'm still grateful for Anne Marie's kind words to me!

Friday, May 22, 2009

A lesson in contentment

Like most kids, Nathan will often ask for more of something before he's even finished with what he already has. For example, at the grocery store, they often hand him a roll of Smarties at the check-out. (Sometimes I'm thankful for the distraction, other times I'd rather pass on the extra sugar!) Before he's even half-way through the treat, Nathan regularly asks for more candy. Wanting to curb this attitude, I usually say something to the effect of "Nathan, please don't ask for more. You need to be thankful for what you have."

Fast forward to yesterday morning. We sat down at the table to color, and Nathan opened his box of crayons. He started handing me some, and then said (you guessed it!): "Please don't ask for more, Mommy. You need to be thankful for what you have." At first, I was amused by his words. I hadn't asked for any crayons, let alone more, and it was kind of funny to hear my words repeated back to me verbatim.

Then as his words sunk in a bit more, I thought, "Thank You, Lord, that he's getting it." Of course it's OK to ask for more in certain situations, but I'm trying to teach contentment and thankfulness (especially) when Nathan receives gifts or special treats.

But then, I had a third wave of realization--I thought of Jesus saying those same words to me: "Please don't keep asking for more, Carrie. You need to be thankful for what you have." It was a poignant reminder to me that so often I selfishly clamor or daydream for more, and I need to be thankful--for all that I've been given.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Another weekend re-cap

Last week was unusually busy for us. Here's some of what we've been up to:

Nathan is totally into tractors right now. My father-in-law gave him a 400 page (!) encyclopedia of tractors and Nathan loves looking at it. He can differentiate between half a dozen tractor brands, and points them out enthusiastically whenever he has the chance! We recently went to a local tractor show, which was quite a hit with him.
My college roommate Hayley came to town with her family. We hadn't seen each other in years and had a great time visiting. The best part was walking around the campus of our alma mater, and stopping by our old room. It was fun to reminisce about our freshman year, Hayley--thanks for coming! (As a sidenote, I'd be curious to hear how many of you keep in touch with your college roommate(s)!)
Then we headed to Lincoln, Nebraska, for the weekend to attend the wedding of Eric's cousin. It was so great to see family, and especially to meet our niece, Addison (who is a month older than Natalie). I didn't get any shots of the two of them on my own camera, but will share some soon. Even though this next picture is dark, you can see that Grandma and Grandpa had their hands full!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Weekend re-cap

We had a nice weekend--here are some highlights:

Eric brought me these beautiful flowers--a pink one for Natalie and orange for Nathan (the florist didn't have blue ones)
Nathan got to go fishing for the first time--he loved it, even though they didn't catch anything! He came running in to tell me all about the worms, etc. I now have a container of nightcrawlers in my fridge--ewwww!
Sunday after church we had a pizza picnic at a nearby park. (Gotta love Iowa--grain elevators in the background!) It was nice to not cook and Nathan loved eating outside, especially since there were several geese on the pond.
We actually watched a movie in its entirety in one sitting (it's been awhile since we've been able to do that--anyone else relate?!)--Marley & Me. I'd heard it was sad, and resolved to not cry. I may or may not have succeeded with that. =) There was a portion of the movie that was uncanny in its relevancy to our current life situation: Working dad, toddler, newborn, dog who sometimes has the gall to bark loudly while aforementioned kids are sleeping, and a stay-at-home mom who sometimes gets overwhelmed by it all. Eric and I were cracking up when we saw those scenes!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Catalog hacks

I enjoyed reading this post awhile back where Meredith tapped into the inspiration of a popular home decorating catalog. In that spirit, here are some "hacks" now hanging in my home. =)

A year or so ago, I saw a giraffe print in the PBK catalog that I thought was really cute (However, it was $289!!) I put the page in my idea notebook for reference, and came across it this winter when decorating Nathan's room. One of our favorite babysitters (who unfortunately moved away!) is very talented artistically, so I asked her if she would be willing to try her hand at painting the giraffe for Nathan's room. Didn't she do a fabulous job? We love it--thank you, Kelsey!
When I saw this darling name banner, I thought it would be easy to create one myself at a fraction of the cost. I love how it turned out, and I spent less than the price of one of the catalog letters ($2.95):

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Honorable mentions

A couple of great causes that are worth participating in (and neither takes much time!):

*If you live in the U.S., you've hopefully gotten a flier about a nationwide food drive sponsored by the National Association of Letter Carriers called Stamp Out Hunger. Just set a bag of non-perishable food items by your mailbox this Saturday, and your postal carrier will deliver the items to a local food bank.

*I've posted about this before, but Campbell Soup Co. has a neat campaign called "Help Grow Your Soup." Stop by their site, and click on the red barn (you can do so once a day through June), and they'll donate a dollar to the National FFA Organization (an agricultural education group) "to help fuel the future of American farming."

(I also have to mention that it's Monica's birthday!)

Monday, May 4, 2009

With thanks

Thanks to all who left comments on Friday's post--the winner of the book is Renee. It was fun to hear from some people who've never commented before--I love meeting new blog friends!

Speaking of blog friends, I was totally amazed that two women whom I've never met sent gifts to welcome Natalie. How very thoughtful!

Angie sent this beautiful box, along with some cute washcloths (something we still needed--she was "sneaky" and asked my sister for an idea!)
My sweet blog friend, Katie, sent these nice gifts: recycled notecards, a pink onesie, and a darling dress with tulips on it.
Thank you, Angie and Katie, for these lovely gifts--we've been overwhelmed by the generosity of so many and appreciate your part in that!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Two-year blogiversary!

In honor of my two-year blogiversary this Sunday, here's a link to my very first post in which I compiled a list of 100 random things about myself. If for some reason that interests you, and you have the time, hop on over!

While reflecting on my experience with blogging these past two years, I also enjoyed re-reading my second post, in which I shared my "vision" for my new blog:

In addition to sharing random tidbits from my life, and what I'm thinking about, I want to use this blog as a forum to discuss and learn more about stewardship--making the most of what I've been given, a definition that goes beyond "just money". For example, I've been thinking a lot lately about what it means to be a steward of creation--of doing my own small but meaningful part to impact the environment.

To celebrate this little blogging milestone, I'd like to give away a book, just like I did last year. This time around, I'm giving away Keepsakes for a Mother's Heart, which is full of ideas for memory making activities. With Mother's Day approaching, this would make a nice gift for a favorite mom in your life. Of course, by keeping it, you'll be giving a different kind of gift as you are inspired to create "cherished moments" with kids you love (even if they're not your own!)

If you'd like to be entered in the drawing, please leave me a comment letting me know how you found my blog in the first place. Or you could share how long you've been reading my blog--that is, if you can even remember that stuff. If you don't remember either of these things, you can just say "hi." =) I'll draw a name sometime Monday. Thanks for joining me for the ride!