Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 goals, December roundup

And just like that, 2013 is here and gone. Wasn't it just yesterday I was proclaiming all the goals I had for the year, and my plan of action to accomplish them? All in all I'd say I did fairly well, considering all that has gone on this year in our family. But I did learn a few things about goal setting.

1. Don't make such a long list when you are still a newbie parent.
2. Don't make such a long list when you are still a newbie parent.
3. Don't make such a long list when you are still a newbie parent.

So what are my goals for 2014? I'll touch on that in a separate post. No goals this year per say, just some key words I want to focus on throughout the New Year.

For now, here is how December 2013 went down . . .

(Per usual, just sticking with recipes and scriptures. I did do a little bit of computer clean up, some blogging, and some zero reading, but I am OK with that!)

Stove Top Stuffed Chicken - Usually I avoid any recipe that calls for stuffing and rolling meat, because seriously, who has time for that? But this was easy, super tasty, and went along with the overall holiday feel since you use lots of good old fashioned stove top! (You know you like it. Don't try to deny.)

Bacon Wrapped Green Bean Bundles - Made these for Christmas dinner. To. Die. For. A tad labor intensive (we cooked the bacon slightly in a pan before wrapping/baking in oven) but worth it!

Corn Casserole - So easy & so delicious. . . & so not healthy. . . ha!

Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes - Made this with my sis. We made it extra nutritious by also adding cream cheese, and by increasing the amount of butter and sour cream. Oh, and we used butter milk. When you are 36+ weeks pregnant and it is Christmas day, stuff like extra butter & sour cream don't really matter. Or that is what I told myself anyway. Hey, at least we added one sweet potato to the mix to give it some extra vitamins.

Yay for cooking this month even if most of the ingredients are on every heart doctors "naughty" list!

To end the year I selected back to back scriptures from Psalm 40.

Psalm 40:2-3 "He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. (3) He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord."

There are several personal applications I could make to this verse, but here is the biggest impact for me. . .

2013 was a year full of testing and therapy for Clara. I would have to go back and search blog posts to even truly remember all that went on, all the different Dr's, all the different appointments, and all the different opinions and treatment options (this is exactly why I blog. . . so I will remember). January of 2013 was when we were just a few weeks into her OT and testing. God has brought us a long way since that time. As scary as it might be, and as unsettling as some of the "what ifs" of Cohen Syndrome, God has "lifted us out of the pit, mud, and mire and gave us a firm place to stand," by giving us an answer. A diagnosis. A place where we can confidently put the testing and past behind, and move forward. He has put a new song in our mouth. He has given us a rock to stand on; He has given us a foundation where we can praise and thank Him, and continue to trust His plan for our daughter (and future daughter/children). And our hope, through all of that, is that "many will see" and also put their trust in our amazing God.

Does this mean we won't ever question her future or worry about outcomes? No. We most likely will. Probably even later today. But when those feelings arise we can reflect back on Psalm 40:2-3 with hope, thanks, and praise.

Photos courtesy of Tiffany Fetter

Our family is blessed by each and every one of you. Thank you for your love, support and encouragement these past 12 months. I hope you all have a lovely last day of 2013, and a safe and joyous start to the New Year!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Weekend Links 12/20/13

Just a few links to start off your weekend. And maybe if you're one of the really lucky ones, today kicks off a loooong holiday weekend that extends well into next week!

It's no puzzle: keeping holiday traditions simple - The Art of Simple
Beauty in Brokenness - Lisa Leonard via (in)courage
When Holidays Hold More Sorrow than Joy - Dana Butler via (in)courage
7 simple ways to make the most important people in your life feel important - The Art of Simple

Between all of Clara's appointments, work, and getting the flu 2x (really. . . how does this happen to me? I tested positive for the flu on Monday and have been on the couch all. week. long. My parents have had Clara ALL week. Seriously, they are amazing. Not sure how we would have functioned without them this week.) we just simply had no time for taking and/or sending Christmas cards. If you sent one to our family, thank you! We have loved each and every one. Maybe we will combine Camille's birth announcement into a Happy New Years card to share? Since my free time will surely increase once she's here, right?

Although I have no family holiday photo to share, I will leave you with Clara's Santa picture this year. No smile, but no tears either. So I'm counting this one as a win!

She did give him a majorly hesitant "WHO ARE YOU?" look when we first sat her on his lap, which I wish we would have captured. It was pretty classic. She then started wiggling so much Santa had to hold down her arms which covered up her cutie Christmas shirt, ha, oh well!

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays from our family to yours!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Clara 19 months . . . and a million more pink glasses pics

19 months on 12/2/13. . .

Can y'all tell I am getting lazier and lazier with the whole monthly sticker thing. Slapped it on her pajamas one morning, put a headband on her, and called it a day. I tried to have her face the Christmas tree, as watching the twinkle lights always makes her smile, but she really just wanted to lunge and reach for it the entire time. :)

Not much has changed overall since 18 months other than a definite diagnosis and. . .


So, so very proud of her. Yes, she fights them from time to time but y'all, for the most part she keeps them on. We definitely didn't give her enough credit going into this because we were for sure it would be a fight. Meltdown beyond meltdowns, for days, so to speak. But nope, she seems to have taken to her newest accessory.

Pink itty bitty glasses = cutest thing ever in my book.

Until next month. . .

Friday, December 13, 2013

Weekend Links 12/13/13

Some great reads & podcasts included this week! Speaking of podcasts, I am really into them these days. It's just so convenient to listen as you are doing other things around the house & throughout the day...

When Christmas Hurts - (in)courage
When your "best of" list comes up empty - (in)courage
Having It All (a podcast) with Danielle Smith- The Happiest Home
Speak Love - The Art of Simple (last day to enter to win a copy of the book!)
An Interview with Candace Cameron Bure - Savoring the holidays & getting healthy for 2014 (a podcast) - Inspired to Action

A blurry but adorable pic. . . Clara's current favorite spot in the house. Sitting and watching the Christmas tree lights. Sweet girl will sit there, huge smile intact, and jump up and down on her bottom (her way of expressing excitement & joy &/or wanting more of something).

Happy Weekend! Time to knock out some serious Christmas shopping. Have. Not. Started. Thank you, Lord for Amazon Prime.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

2013 goals, November roundup

I debated even recapping my 2013 goals for November because, let's face it, I wasn't the most productive ever but then the thought of leaving off a month caused some anxiety so OCD for the win!

Here's what went down for November:

Easy Enchiladas - Really good! We added some refried black beans, chopped green chilies and grilled onions to the layers and it tasted great. We made this twice in one week!

Soul Sweet Taters by Pioneer Woman - So I have made this before, BUT it had been over a year so I am counting this towards my goal for the month. Plus, how could I possibly discount a recipe that calls for tons of butter, sugar (both white and brown mind you), whole milk and lots of other yummy goodness? Basically like dessert, discussed as a side dish.

So I am two for four recipes in November. . .  Bummer. But really, who needs anything more than Mexican food and dessert??? Especially at 30+weeks pregnant. Enough said.

Psalm 116:7 "Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you."

Psalm 40:1 "I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry."

Love both of these for so many reasons. Day in and day out there is SO much to worry about, be anxious about, stress about, etc. Yet we are told to rest. Rest in His goodness and faithfulness. Rest in the fact that He will provide when no hope seems within reach. The Lord has been good to us, and will continue to be good, despite whatever journey we are on for the moment (or for the long haul). And within this time of rest he grows our patience. Patience for God to work. Patience for God to follow through. Patience for God's timing. His ear is turned and hears each and every cry. The Lord has been good to me.

Computer clean up
I have actually done quite a bit on my computer over the last month so hooray for that! I will spare you all the boring details, but just had to document some progress in this area. Finally.

HAHAHA - I think my goal will be "I will read again once we are old and retired." The. End.

All in all. . .

November was one crazy month, so not a lot of goal work was done. BUT I will say, for the record, that part of my New Years goals for '13 was "give it my all but don't beat myself up if I don't meet the marks perfectly."  So, in the spirit of letting go of perfectionism (says the girl that couldn't get over not blogging one recap over the year. . . hmmmm) I am celebrating November as a success! 

And also thinking long and hard about any goal setting come 2014. Because I will have a toddler in therapy 5x a week, and a newborn, and I will still be working part time. I think my goal should be survival, no?

How's the year coming to a close for you? Any goals you are still working on?
Thoughts for your New Year? It will be here before we know it! 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013 in review

Just when you thought you had read all the Thanksgiving recaps possible. . . there's one more! Yep, I'm a little late posting these days but as I always say. . . better late than never.

We had a great Thanksgiving holiday. We spent three days in Galveston, Texas at a beach house my in laws so graciously rented for the family! So nice to just get away from home and relax for a bit (despite getting the flu and having to head home a day earlier than planned!). Clara got to spend lots of time with her three cousins on the Blackburn side, which was extra special because even though they are only an hour away, we never see them! We cooked & ate a traditional Thanksgiving lunch on Thursday and some spent time outdoors fishing, despite the cold weather.

Clara wasn't a huge fan of sleeping while away, so please excuse the bags under my eyes.

A few pics from our mini vacation (Sadly, we didn't get a single pic of Brandon's parents!) . . .

 Baby bump shot. . .

 Brandon going all Jase Roberson on us. . .

Sweet Sophie pushing Clara in the stroller. . . Sophie is such a good little mommy. . .

If my memory serves me correctly, Josiah caught the first fish!

 Time for some boat action. . .

 Precious Eli. . .

 Trying to teach Sophie how to push HARD to put the marker caps back on correctly. . .

And this would be when I smashed her finger in the cap during said demonstration. . . Aunt of the year right here.

Why wear my mittens when I can eat them instead?. . .

Our little family of three (or four I guess). . .

Clara snuggling with her Aunt Jamie. . .

First boat ride for Clara . . . she loved it! 

Such a great time and wonderful memories! Until next time. . .
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