"I have come that they might have life and have it to the full..." -John 10:10b

Thursday, October 30, 2008

For Liz


This post is dedeicated to my blogger friend Liz over at Mabel's House. I don't know Liz very well (although I'm sure we'd get along great...we have the same taste in friends LOVE YOU ASH!) but I know from her blog that she is an incredible writer and that she loves Halloween. So Liz, this is for you...

I have to be honest with you girl, and this may disappoint you but, Halloween has just never been a holiday that I look forward to. It just wasn't really celebrated in my house growing up. We went to the Harvest Party at church, ate some candy and called it a night.

But this year for some reason, I've been counting down the days. Perhaps it's because of all the cute posts of your elegant but fun decor along with the sneak peak chapters of The Secret of Cold Springs, or maybe it's because I've recently discovered the Barefoot Contessa's Halloween menu and tablescape or it could be the adorable Pooh costume hanging in my laundry room just waiting to be donned by my adorable Éva. Whatever the reason, I'm in the Halloween spirit this year.

So much so, that I got the uncanny urge to bake some of Ina's shortbread cookies today and decorate them with classic jack-o-lanterns, ghosts and bats. As I sat there with my orange royal icing, delicately spreading it on the crisp shortbread, I thought to myself, "I wish I could take some over to Liz. I bet she'd like these."

So girl, Happy Halloween! These cookies are for you, even if all you can enjoy of them are their pictures.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Few of my Favorite Things

I know that every mother must have moments in her day when she thinks to herself, "Man, my kid is so adorable/funny/cute/quirky/weird. I need to write that down so I can tell her about it when she's older." Well, that's been happening to me a lot lately.

For example, Éva has added an object to her brigade of things that go to bed with her. She lays down, cuddles up with Lumpy, her blanket and a few books, and then she asks for her "Einstein Bok." What is this, you ask? Well, it's the box that her Little Einstein fruit snacks came in. She has finished all the individually wrapped packages of fruit snacks inside and is now thoroughly enjoying the yellow box with all the Little Einsteins characters on the front. So weird. But memorable none the less.

She has also begun to dress herself. And boy is she...creative. She recently came down stairs with a pink tank top over a white T-shirt, her fairy wings, and a sleeve on her head. Oh no, you read right. A sleeve. You see, Paul sometimes cuts the sleeves the off of his old shirts to make them "muscle shirts." He wears them to go running or to work in the yard and every now and then, we'll find one of the amputated sleeves in random places around the house. I'm not sure where Éva found this particular sleeve, but she took one look at it and apparently saw a fashionable chapéu. We think she may have subconsciously learned this from our friend, Ben who uses cut-off sleeves as a make-shift doo-rag when he's working outside...way to go Ben!

And Izzy. Izzy has reached the seemingly never-ending phase of taking whatever is in her hand and putting it in her mouth! From my fingers to shirts to our noses, anything that comes near the hands, goes in the mouth. This is the stage where the germ-a-phobe in me comes out! Yesterday, I captured her trying desperately to grab the crazy straw in my water mug. She would make a frantic swipe and then immediately pull her hands to her mouth in hopes that she had caught something, only to realize she had missed. You could literally see the determination in her face as she focused in on the hot pink hue of the straw, formulating her next strategy. I watched this a little longer than I should have because, although she never grabbed the straw, she did manage to bat at it hard enough to send the entire mug to the floor, spilling water everywhere!

But who could not LOVE this face?!?

Friday, October 24, 2008



Sigh...her father taught her this.

Home Made Tortillas


One of the perks of marrying into a Mexican family...home made tortillas with every visit from the in-laws. YUM! Mazie taught me how to make them, and technically, I can make them, but not like her. Oh no, hers are amazing. I love to eat them with some scrambled eggs and sausage and a little bit of salsa.

We warmed some up for dinner last night to eat with "That Meat" (a concoction made with ground beef, potatoes, flour, water and various Mexican seasonings) and beans.

Paul snapped away with pictures...this is my "now what are you taking a picture of?" face.

Yard Work


My in-laws are the type of people that cannot stay sitting for too long. I believe it's what has kept them so young. Yosie is in his early 70's but you'd never know it if you spent any time with him. He's still a young buck at heart.

And Masie...always cleaning, cooking or crocheting. She keeps me busy when she's here. We go to the commissary about three times a week, the thrift store, Wal-mart and to the post office so she can send out her mass array of post cards bragging to all of her friends and family that she is in Hawaii and they are not. Not really...they are really sweet notes about how much she wishes they were here.

And yard work is almost always a part of their visit. This makes me feel a bit bad. Paul and I are horrible when it comes to the yard. Well, me more-so then Paul...he'll at least keep in cut and green. Maybe because we know that your home here is so temporary. It's hard to invest yourself into a house when you know that in three short years, you'll be moving on and the house will be staying only to be inhabited by the next family who will have it for three more years and so on down the line.

But Mazie and Yosie take one look at our yard and it disagrees with them. They immediately start plotting all the things that need to be done. Mazie will go outside whenever she's on the phone and pull weeds and Yosie will go out there and rake every few days. Paul will usually go out there to help...but not me. No pretending here. I HATE yard work. Sorry Mom. Maybe one day, when I have my own house I'll take pride in planting a colorful little garden in the front, but not now.

But I'm glad to see that they are trying their best to keep Éva from inheriting her mother's not-so-green thumb.

Anna Miller's


One place we ALWAYS go when Mazie and Yosie come visit is Anna Millers. It's Denny's with a Hawaiian twist. You'll always find fried rice on the menu as well as Spam.

Ah, spam. A Hawaiian delicacy (still trying to figure that one out after six and a half years of living here). Here's our little girl trying it for herself for the first time.

See as she considers it...

and then the bite!

She likes it ladies and gentlemen. Must be because she was born here.

Trip to Ala Moana Mall in Waikiki


One of our favorite things to do is head down to Ala Moana Mall to the Disney store and watch Éva’s eyes get big. We don't always buy something. Sometimes we just go in there to look and play with the plush toys only to put them back and be on our way.

Our next stop is usually the Apple store where Paul's eyes get big. We NEVER buy anything but almost always play with the IMACs and IPODS only to put them back and be on our way.

Next, Gymboree. That's where my eyes get big! But ONLY if there is a huge sign in the front that says CLEARANCE. Otherwise, I don't even bother going in and I continue on my way.

And after our eyes are big enough and we feel just discontented enough with our mediocre stuff...we head to the food court. Somehow, a full belly of Chinese food tends to make our IMAC-less life seem so much better!

Oh, and Jess...that Troy pillow is a virtual present to you from Paul and I. Yay HSM3!!!

Paul's Birthday Un-Party

Okay, so it's been a while, I know. We've been so busy. When Mazie and Yosie come, there's much to do. We do yard work (because, Lord knows that I don't touch my yard), we go to the thrift store and I'm even learning to crochet from the crochet master herself!

Anyway, here's a few pictures of Paul's birthday. We had yellow cake with chocolate icing and Ryan and Jacquie came over to help us eat it. Ryan even managed to get a few sweet chuckles out of our baby girl.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Happy Birthday Paul

Today is Paul's 28th birthday. And that's all I'll say because he is INSISTENT that birthdays are just not a big deal and should not necessarily be celebrated. I'm not sure if he's always felt that way, or if he just feels that way now because he's nearing the infamous 30!

Whatever the reason, today is Paul's birthday and he prefers that no one celebrate on his behalf. But rest assured we went to PF Changs and had yellow cake with chocolate icing anyway!!!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Time with Mazie and Yosie


Paul's parents came into town Thursday evening to spend some time with Éva and to meet their newest grandchild (number 12 for them I think), Izzy.

Éva, being her cautious self, was somewhat hesitant with them at first, but she and Mazie (grandma) soon became friends as Mazie walked all over the house, pretending not to see Éva anywhere. It seemed to intrigue Éva to watch Mazie look high and low, behind couch cushions and under her bean bag. And when Mazie finally "found" her, Éva squealed with excitement and they've been buddies ever since.

Yosie (grandpa) was a different story. Éva's hesitance with people never ceases to shock me. Yosie is the sweetest man with the happiest face and he ADORES his grandbabies. But for some reason, it took Éva a bit longer to warm up to him. He finally won her over by offering to take her to her most favorite place...the park.

Izzy is Éva's complete opposite in that area and will go to anyone! She LOVES a new face (like her momma) and will smile and coo at anyone who will give her any attention. So, she's a big hit with the grandparents!

We're so happy that they were able to take some time to come out here and visit. We love having the girls around family. It just doesn't happen often enough living out here in the middle of the Pacific. However, they do have their Uncle Ryan and Aunt Jacquie and we're so blessed for that. But we look forward to the beginning of next year and being able to make sure that all the grandparents get ample bonding time with the girls.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Roo's Sad

This morning, after Éva woke up and had some cereal, she asked if she could watch her Heffalump movie. I approved and turned it on for her.

For those of you who haven't seen it, about 10 minutes into the movie the familiar characters of Winnie the Pooh discover that a dreaded Heffalump has been in the Hundred Acre Wood. Because of this, they launch a plan to go in to the unknown Heffalump Hollow to catch one. As everyone practices their lasso skills on a barrel with a heffalump drawn on the front, Roo is told by Rabbit (who is quite bossy) that he is simply too young to join the expedition. Roo, of course is sad and turns around to trudge home as his mother is calling him in the distance.

Well, Éva almost always turns to tell me that "Roo is sad" at this point in the movie, but today after informing me once again that Roo was sad, she then put her arms out toward the TV, made her sweetest, poutiest face and said, "C'mere Roo. I'll hold you."

Too sweet.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

If You Want It Done Right


...you have to do it yourself.

Last night, Paul and I took Éva to get her first real hair cut at a salon specifically for kids. We did this because we knew that she would NOT do well with a stranger approaching her with scissors, and this particular shop would most likely have experience with kids of her nature.

We were right. Éva screamed and cried, but the lady was persistent and cut her hair anyway. We finally got Éva to calm a bit when she realized that they had flat screen TVs all over the shop playing "Happy Feet."

I asked the lady if she could do a bob and she said it was probably not a good idea for her first hair cut experience. She explained that it's a complicated cut and she would need Éva to be very still for the entire thing. I wasn't happy about this, but I settled for a trim just to get Éva acclimated to the idea of a hair cut.

Well...I really HATED the hair cut. I mean it looked like a mullet, people. It was bad. And although I'm so appreciative of the stylist's willingness to be patient with Éva, and although I know she probably did the best cut she could considering the situation, I really HATED the cut. So this morning, after I had decided that no, the cut had not grown on me, I decided to cut it myself.

Éva did great. She was super still and very patient with me as I tried my best to hone in on my years of watching people cut my hair and listening to them talk out loud as they worked. And I have to say, the end result is pretty good. I'm sure that a professional could've done a much better job but still, I'm proud and I think Éva looks great!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Turkey/Vegetable Manicotti

I recently discovered a cook book (Betty Crocker's Healthy New Choices) that was given to Paul and I when we first married. I do remember getting the cook book, I don't remember why I put on the top shelf to collect dust, but any-hoo, I found it and I'm trying many recipes from it.

Last night, I decided to make the vegetable manicotti. The recipe did not call for any meat, but I'm married to a carnivore and I don't think he would touch a vegetarian dish with a 10 foot pole, so I included ground turkey.

Because the recipe called for zucchini and squash, and because I am married to such a carnivorous man and have a very picky 2 year old, I tried to season the turkey thoroughly so as to mask any veggie taste the dish might have. And when I put the warm, hearty meal in front of my family, I was proud and hopeful that I had not only given them a delicious meal, but a healthy one too.

Well, this was the end result...

And this is what happened next. Notice the very distinct line of demarcation between what is considered "yummy" (the turkey, cheese, pasta and pasta sauce) and "yucky" (the vegetables). And no...this is NOT my 2 year old's plate. This is PAUL'S plate.

Éva very contently gobbled up her pasta without notice of the lurking veggies under the mounds of spaghetti sauce and Parmesan cheese. Here she is making her "mmmmmmmm" face.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Chatty Izzy

I know the video quality isn't very good as I had to take this with my cell phone. But it seems our Izzy has found her voice and I wanted to share it with you. Enjoy!

A Virtuous Woman

"A good woman is hard to find, and worth far more than diamonds.
Her husband trusts her without reserve, and never has reason to regret it. Never spiteful, she treats him generously all her life long."
-Proverbs 31:10-12 The Message

Yesterday, I decided to do a semi-refresher course on the Proverbs 31 Woman for the week. My plan is to study 2 or 3 verses (starting with verse 10) in detail every day until I get to the end of the chapter.

Why, you ask. Because I've just had my second child and with that has come the temptation to forget that I am FIRST a WIFE and THEN a mother. I am married to an extremely patient man who doesn't seem to be bothered to immensely by the fact that my focus is almost always on the kids. But I've felt a bit convicted about this in recent weeks. After all, if we plan to raise spiritually and emotionally healthy kids, especially in this day in age, should it not start with a commitment to make our marriage the best it can be? And that starts with me.

I've noticed the trend in myself and others to be kinder, more gentle and happier with other people than we are with our own husbands, the men we I vowed to love, honor and protect all the days of our lives.

And by protect I mean, protecting his reputation. Verse 11 talks about the virtuous woman's husband having "full confidence in her." He can trust her to not be a blabber mouth (something I personally struggle with), he can trust her with their finances and their children as well as many other things. But most of all, he can trust that her heart belongs to the Lord and is being molded to do His will.

I've also noticed how my mood can really set the tone of my household. If I'm feeling flustered or anxious, I have a flustered, anxious family. But, if I can find contentment and joy, then I have a content, joyful family. As much as men are called to be the head of the household, women are called to be their loving and supportive helpers and I'll admit, that my attitude many days is less than helpful. In fact some days, it's downright selfish.

I admit that I am often tempted to take on the "what have you done for me lately" attitude and that never goes well, let me tell you. But verse 12 tells us that a virtuous woman is "never spiteful. She treats him generously all her life long." She doesn't complain about how hard her day was or pout that the budget is a bit tighter than usual. She looks at every day as an opportunity to love God through loving her family. The Lord calls us to be servants as He was during His time here on earth. He calls us to love another and forgive one another "seventy times seven." What I have failed to recognize in recent months, is that it starts with loving my husband.

So, I'll try this week to allow the scripture I'm meditating on to seep in and change my heart and therefore my actions and my attitude, knowing all the while that the Proverbs 31 woman is merely a barometer by which to measure ourselves by, and I will always come up short in one way or another. But I thank God for His patience and for blessing me with an incredibly patient and determined man. Because let's face it, if I were married to me, I would've thrown my hands up in forfeit a long time ago (sigh).

Silly Similarity

Okay, Pastor Brad, if you ever read this, please know that I mean this in the most tender and harmless way. But when I think of you, this is the first thing that comes to mind...

That's right, it's Crush from Finding Nemo.

For those of you who have seen this movie, you know of Crush's laid back, positive vibe. You know of his generosity and sweet nature all topped with that totally awesome surfer speak that is so native to Southern California. Believe me I know, I spent much of my life on the Space Coast in Central Florida and most of the surfers there do NOT talk like that.

Well, that's Pastor Brad. He's super laid back, completely down-to-earth and an incredibly generous person. He teaches with enthusiasm and passion and it's all with a slight hint of a So Cal surfer accent. And this makes sense because he is in fact, a surfer from So Cal.

Whenever I've tried to describe him to my family and friends, all I know to say to get them to really understand what he's like is this, "Do you remember that sea turtle from Finding Nemo? He's kind of like that."

And here's the hilarious part...last Sunday at church, he actually used a clip from Finding Nemo staring you guessed it...Crush.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Baby Dedication


Today was Izzy's baby dedication. It was short, sweet and perfect in all of it's casualness. Pastor Brad encouraged the congregation to join him in a beautiful prayer for our baby girl and for us as her parents. There, in front of our church body, we committed in prayer to raise Izzy in the fear and admonition of the Lord. We made a vow to God to train her up to look always to Him and not to herself for life's decisions both big and small. We promised to never get in His way as He molds our daughter's heart to do what HE wills for her, and not what we will.

As simple as this sounds, I know it will be hard. I know that as the girls grow up, Paul and I will struggle with making plans in our heads for the direction in which WE think they should go but knowing that ultimately, God's will for them must be done, whether we understand it or not. They may be called into the deserts of a foreign country or they may have the "simple" yet glorious tasks of being wives and mothers. Either way, Paul and I have the responsibility to nurture their love for their Maker and their desire to seek out HIS plans for their lives. Paul and I will have to remember everyday to place the lives of our children into the hands of the Father, knowing that He loves them more than we can possibly imagine and has a purpose for them.

I know I will struggle with letting go when it comes time. But I won't worry about that for now. Tomorrow will come soon enough.

"Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain." Psalm 127:1

Saturday, October 11, 2008


"I pray you'll be my eyes
And watch her where she goes
And help her to be wise
Help me to let go

Every mother's prayer
Every child knows
Lead her to a place
Guide her with your grace
To a place where she'll be safe

I pray she finds your light
And holds it in her heart
As darkness falls each night
Remind her where you are

Every mother's prayer
Every child knows
Need to find a place
Guide her with your grace
Give her faith so she'll be safe"

-Mother's Prayer by Celine Dion

Annette's Birthday Cupcakes


Today is the birthday of my friend, Annette. Annette is the kind of person who will go above and beyond for her friends, and heck, for people she just met. She's got a way about her that makes people feel at home and comfortable and the unique ability to keep a conversation fresh and interesting. She's also an incredible cook and I myself have been blessed countless times by her culinary expertise as well as her knack for hosting a gathering (my baby shower was beautiful). She is my Ina Garten incarnate.

That being said, imagine if you will that Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa herself comes to you and admires something YOU'VE made. Well, that's about how I felt when Annette loved a batch of cupcakes I made a year ago for her birthday. I have to admit, I can't take total credit for the recipe. They are a product of Giada DeLaurentis (my culinary hero)but still, I made them and Annette liked them and so I will take SOME credit. So, I made them again this year for her birthday. They turned out well I think.

And well, I believe whole-heartedly that a recipe is just no good unless it's shared. So, here ya go. Enjoy!


* 1 (18.25-ounce) box white cake mix (recommended: Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe)
* 1 1/3 cups water
* 3 large eggs whites
* 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
* 2 teaspoons almond extract
* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 2 (6-ounce) containers fresh raspberries, cut in half or 1 (16-ounce) container fresh strawberries, coarsely chopped
* 1 cup heavy whipping cream
* 1/3 cup powdered sugar, plus additional for dusting


Line 18 muffin cups with muffin papers. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Using an electric mixer, beat the cake mix, water, egg whites, melted butter, almond extract, and vanilla extract in a large bowl for 2 minutes, or until the batter is well blended. Using about 1/3 cup of batter for each cupcake, spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups.

Bake the cupcakes until they are very pale golden on top, about 15 minutes. Cool the cupcakes completely on a cooling rack.

Using a fork, coarsely mash 1 1/2 containers of raspberries in a medium bowl. Beat the cream and 1/3 cup of powdered sugar in a large bowl until firm peaks form. Fold the mashed raspberries into the whipped cream.

Remove the muffin papers from the cupcakes and cut the tops off of each cupcake. Spoon the raspberry whipped cream atop the cupcake bottoms. Place the cupcake tops on the cupcakes. Dust with more powdered sugar and serve with the remaining berries.

Maybe Just a Bit too Big


The girls and I are very blessed to have Paul home all month. One of the perks of being in the military is earning 2.5 days of paid leave every month. Well, Paul hasn't taken leave in ages and decided to take the entire month of October off.

Because of this, we've all been enjoying both later evenings and later mornings. Even Izzy has taken the opportunity to sleep in (much to my delight). So, this morning, still in our pjs, we all sat in the living room together just playing and singing silly songs. Éva ran off to grab her shoes (which isn't weird...she LOVES her shoes) and re-entered the living room with them on her feet. A few moments later, she got the bright idea to see how they might look on her little sister. Granted she managed to put them on the wrong feet, and they are still a bit too big, but it was the thought that counted and I was impressed with Éva's willingness to share one of her most prized possessions.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Hey Izzy Bee!


I don't know why, but in the last few days Éva's attentiveness to Izzy has become increasingly more noticeable. She will not go to bed or take a nap without giving Izzy a kiss and the first thing she asks for when she wakes up is "Baby Izzy" or "Izzy Bee" as we so affectionately call her. Éva has been asking to hold her more often and she also seems to get a lot of satisfaction in being able to get Izzy to smile or talk. This was incredibly obvious last night at the dinner table.

We try to make a habit of eating together as a family at least once a day and of course, we use that time to talk to eachother, including Izzy. And Izzy enjoys "talking" back. So, last night as Éva finished her dinner, Paul took her down from her chair and she immediately climbed into the chair directly in front of where Izzy was sitting in her Bumbo on the table, got right up into Izzy's face and said, "Hey Izzy Bee!" She then proceeded to tickle Izzy's feet and kiss them. She sang her songs and laughed every time Izzy smiled. And then, Izzy started cooing at her and letting out little squeals of delight. Éva looked at me and said with excitement, "She's talkin' to me, Momma!" It was adorable, to say the least.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Oh Bother


I know I must be breaking some kind of sacred Halloween rule to expose Éva's costume so early, but I just had to put this picture up. Her face is just classic, and oh yes...there is a story behind it.

Anyone who knows Éva knows her love for all things Pooh. Of course, her favorite Pooh character is Lumpy but she loves them all. I searched high and low for a Lumpy costume in her size but the closest I came was a size 24 months that would have to be shipped from Puerto Rico. So, Paul and I figured the next best thing would be the soft Pooh costume (with his Super Sleuth uniform from the show "My Friends Tigger and Pooh) we saw at the Disney Store not too long ago.

When we had originally seen it there, Éva instantly loved it. She got so excited and immediately started spouting the Super Sleuth Anthem, "Anytime, anyplace, the Super Sleuths are on the Case!" But we didn't purchase it because at the time, I really thought I would be able to find a Lumpy costume.

So when we went back this past weekend to pick it up, Éva of course fell in love all over again. I couldn't wait to get it home and try it on her.

Well, my goodness, you would've thought that I had asked the kid to poor hot lava all over her the way she acted when I attempted to put the costume on her. She wouldn't have it. But I had to make sure it fit. So, I held her tight and forced the costume on her little body one kicking leg at a time. And she was MAD, I tell you.

When it was finally on, I stood back to admire her. It was so cute, even with the runny nose and puffy red eyes. Éva finally calmed a bit but was still somewhat pouty (thus the face in the picture), so we decided to leave it on her for a while so she could get used to it. It took a while, but eventually, she decided she liked the Pooh costume and I don't think we'll have any problems donning it again on the 31st.

But don't hold me to that...

It's Official

...we have a thumb-sucker on our hands. Paul and I have caught our sweet baby numerous times pacifying herself with her thumb (I've even been jolted from my sleep in the middle of the night by her very loud sucking). Although we'll save a little money in the way of pacifiers, I can't imagine how on earth we'll wean a child from her own thumb. Guess we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Sister Love


The other night, as we headed out on our fairly routine family walk, the thought occurred to me that Izzy might be old enough to actually sit in the stroller instead of sitting in her car seat attachment in the stroller. I thought she would enjoy being able to take in the sights instead of being stuck staring at me the whole time. It made sense to me. After all, she loves to be facing out when she's held so she can see everything. And she did enjoy being able to sit in the stroller, but not so she could look at all the scenery. No, she just wanted to look at Éva. And she did...for the entire walk.

Monday, October 6, 2008

“Earth is crammed with heaven,
and every common bush is on fire with God;
but only he who sees takes off his shoes;
the rest sit around it and pluck blackberries.”

- Elizabeth Barrett Browning