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

Monday, September 28, 2009



My dad is visiting from Florida for the next few weeks! He got here last Tuesday
(thus, the lack of blog posts) and will be here for another week or so. This past weekend, Paul watched the girls so that my dad and I could head over to Annapolis for the Navy/Western Kentucky game. It. Was. So. Much. Fun!

We got there quite early and were met by Bobby at the front entrance of the Naval Academy. Bobby is in his second year there at the Academy and can you believe that I used to babysit him?!? He's 21 now and just as sharp as I always imagined he'd be; the exact kind of guy you'd imagine would be in attendance at such a prestigious academy such as the Naval Academy.

Bobby led us all around Annapolis and I was SHOCKED at how many people he knew. And not just academy students, but actual shop owners and residents! He was the perfect escort; so gentlemanly and never forgetting to introduce us to any of his acquaintances and friends.

And as luck would have it, I forgot my camera so I have NO pics of Annapolis or Bobby, but trust me, Annapolis is beautiful and Bobby is great!

Anyway, once we walked with Bobby back onto campus, we went our separate ways and Dad and I headed to the stadium to wait for kick-off.

The weather men called for light showers but the day had been so beautiful that I honestly didn't believe we'd see a drop of rain. I was wrong...

As soon as the game started, so did the rain. And I had NO jacket. It was cold, it was wet, it was miserable. So I, coming from an Air Force up-bringing, married to an Air Force member and an Air Force veteran myself, purchased a hoodie from the clothing concession with NAVY across the chest for a whopping $30! It did the trick though. I was warm and dry in minutes and very able to enjoy the game with my dad :)

Monday, September 21, 2009

All at Sea

It's crisp outside, the red leaves are falling slowly and softly onto the green grass outside and the skies are a misty grey. With my ritualistic cup of coffee in my hand, I'm headed out to sea for the day :)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Fall Decorating


I am SO in the fall spirit! I know the first official day is still 5 days away, but I don't care. I've been deprived of a real fall for the last 4 years (living in Hawaii) and so this year, I'm making up for it!

I LOVE the cute and colorful banners that you can find on Etsy for just about any holiday. So, after spending WAY too much time in front of my computer yesterday, looking for the perfect one for my breakfast room, I decided that I was just going to make one myself! Well...almost myself.

I ran to Michaels and bought everything I thought I might need and then came straight home and called my next door neighbor! She has EVERYTHING one might possibly need for any kind of craft. Including a Cricut!

After 3 hours of sitting across the table from one another, having to take intermittent breaks to check on our kiddos, and a couple of trips back and forth to her house, we finally did it. We made the cutest fall banner and I. Love. It!

So, aside from the few (just a few Paul, I promise) things I want to do outside on the front porch, my house is officially fall-i-fied!

Apple cider anyone?

Sisterly Affection...bleh!

Izzy: "Oh, whatcha doin' there?"

"Okay, I guess that's alright"

"Okay...that's enough..."

"Get me outta here!"


So, I know I didn't post much this week. It was just a teensy bit hectic. Mostly due to the fact that Izzy was sick :(

Izzy is such a happy baby. She's pretty even tempered, happy to play on her own, pretty content unless she's annoyed or hungry or poopy. She jibber jabbers non stop and it's just become a part of the background noise of my life (along with a million requests a day to change into a new princess dress from Eva).

Now, when Eva is sick, she's just like me. I don't like to be alone. I used to follow my mom around the house with a blanket wrapped around my shoulders, 3 pairs of socks on my feet and my used to be pony-tail all lop-sided on the side of my head while she did her regular house work. She'd always instruct me to go back to bed, but it was lonely in there. The couch became my home base when I was sick. That way, I could see where she was and talk to her when I felt the urge. Eva is JUST like me in that way. When she's sick, she wants company. She's miserable and sad and needs extra love, which I'm more than happy to give her as I feel her pain.

But not Izzy. Izzy just wants to be left alone. Where she's normally very ready for affection, she would prefer not be to touched or messed with when she's not feeling well. She doesn't need any extra mushy gushies and when she's ready for a nap, she grabs her blanket and starts crawling up the stairs.
My Little Miss Independent.

Blueberry Pancakes

Sometimes, I like breakfast for dinner. Sometimes, the smell of shallots and garlic in the skillet just doesn't appeal to me and I want something wholesome and sweet. The girls don't usually mind when I lean in this direction. I think Eva would eat pancakes and waffles all day every day if I let her.

But this particular night, it was whole wheat pancakes with blueberries...yum!

Eva gobbled hers up before I could even grab the camera, but Izzy savored hers.

Yay for blueberry pancakes!

I think she even purposely left some around her mouth for later :)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Bush Gardens


Over Labor Day weekend, we were informed that Bush Gardens was allowing military members and their dependents access to the park for FREE! Paul and I love free. So, we loaded up in the an and made the trek down to Williamsburg along with over 1/2 of the whole Cortez clan. The girls had such a good time seeing their cousins and Paul had a grand time riding the roller coasters. Yes, just Paul as I was sick.

I was bummed. I haven't ridden a roller coaster since before Paul and I got married and I was very excited to explore the risk taking part of myself that I've had all locked up since I became a mother, but alas, the tummy grumblings began on the way down to the park and the congestion and stuffiness only got worse as they day wore on. By closing time, I was miserable.

Still, I did get some cute shots of the kiddos making a wish at one of the fountains in the Italy section of the park.

And of course, my favorite part was the Clydesdales. I just love those big lugs. We got our picture taken with one of them, but the best part was seeing the rest of them in their stables. One sweet guy walked over and gave me a big ole kiss. I. Was. In. Heaven.

The girls had fun and were very well behaved...I was impressed. Eva rode the train that goes all around the park successfully(and that's a big deal considering the you know what she gave us on the Metro last time we tried to ride it) and Izzy sat nicely in the stroller for most of the day.

We had such a great time with our family and once again, counted our blessings for the opportunity to live close enough to be able to do this kind of stuff with them.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Izzy Walking


Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Quiet Day

This morning was not quiet. Between a trip to the commissary, followed by a trip to the bank, a willful 13 month old and a bored 3 year old, this morning was anything but quiet.

But this afternoon, peace...

and quiet.

Along with a steaming cup of acacia berry tea with honey and a little bit of Giada on Food Network, it was the perfect remedy for our not-so-quiet morning.

Thank God for nap/quiet time.

Commissary Find

I found these gorgeous Macintosh apples at the commissary today.

We're usually a Fuji family, but man, I saw these shiny babes and the Fuji apples were a distant thought.

I smell an Apple Crostada coming on.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Open Windows

Fall is whispering.

It's not all the way here yet, but you can feel it's cool breath waiting in the air.

I sat in my breakfast room this morning with the windows open and watched my white sailcloth curtains billow in the breeze.

Life is good.


So, I was reading a blog the other day, and in one of the author's recent posts she poses the question of whether or not people's lives are as perfect as their blogs seem to make them out to be. It was interesting for me to read this, because I myself have pondered the same question numerous times. Of course, my most sincere hope is that people are able to find contentment in their lives and their circumstances, but lets face it...sometimes, that's hard.

I tend to be an overly transparent person. If someone asks me how I'm doing that day, I tend to be honest; "well, so and so, today I'm really struggling with patience/forgiveness/gossip/etc, etc." Naturally, I will sometimes give the "right" answer of, "oh fine, and you?" but for the most part, I really value honesty and transparency. I tend not to invest much time or energy into relationships that I feel are surface-y or shallow, perhaps even to a fault. I just really enjoy the intimacy that comes with having a relationship with someone who loves you despite yourself and all of your flaws and is willing to get their hands dirty in your messes...because let's be honest, life is messy.

Life is messy and full of drama. If there is no drama in your life, then you either have no authentic relationships or you are a vegetable. If you really have found a way to become numb to the issues that surround us day in and day out just because we live on this earth amongst people, than I would say that you're missing out on some incredible opportunities to love and grow.

As much as we all want happiness in our lives; as much as most of us value that image in our minds of skipping through fields of wildflowers in long flowing dresses with perfect bodies and dewy skin and the cheeriest of dispositions at all times...it's not real. Life is messy. And the end goal of life is not that we were insanely happy or that everything in our lives fit nicely into a cute little box and had it's perfect place on a neatly dusted shelf, the end goal of life is to find contentment in our Maker even despite the mess. The end goal of life is Holiness. And to get there, we have to go through some valleys and fires and messes.

So today, in this post I want to say a BIG thank you to the people in that God has put in my life to help me get through my messes. The people who haven't been afraid to be honest with me and who have listened with patience and graciousness as I revealed the innermost workings of my heart to them. To the people who have loved me despite myself and my mess.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

And the Winner is...


Per Random.org

Min: 1
Max: 9

Result: 2
Timestamp: 2009-09-03 10:20:37 EST

Katie's suggestion was:

Let's see, idea #2. Pecan Pie! Caramel cake, buttercream icing, crushed pecan sprinkles. And even talk your talented sister-in-law to make some pecan jam. I've never had any, but I've heard about it.

Congratulations Katie! Shoot me your address and I'll get your cupcakes in the mail to you the beginning of next week for sure!

Thanks everyone for entering! Rest assured that there will be another Giveaway and the beginning of the Holiday season full of some of the yummy suggestions you all had!

Aaah Marriage...

**Actual e-mail conversation that took place not 10 minutes ago**
(some remarks deleted for I am married to...well...a man...)

Me: So, what are we doing tonight?

Paul: Dunno, babe. I'm open for suggestions

Me: are you totally against seeing Julie and Julia? It's playing at the Egyptian at 7 and Columbia at 7:20.

Paul: YES. That is a girl movie all the way. I'm pretty there isn't one [man] in the whole movie.

Me: Yes there is. The main character is married. What about (500) Days of Summer?

Paul: Who's in that?

Me: Zoey Deschenal, but she's not the main character, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is...it's supposed to be Juno-esque as far as the cinematography goes but it's a different story line...obviously.

Paul: ju-NO. H2, GI Joe, Final Destination. All good films!!!!

Me: Paulie..I do NOT want to see some testosterone charged, gore fest on our anniversary. So, I'm out of options.

Paul: Halloween 2. Michael Myers!!!

Me: um...you're crazy. So...then we seriously can't agree on anything. How about let's just
go grab dinner, walk around for a bit and head home?

Paul: You know you DID pick last time.

Me: yes, and I appreciate that you let me pick last time (although I don't even remember what it was we saw) but this is our ANNIVERSARY, not just any date and I want to watch something meaningful IF we watch something at all.

Paul: Something meaningful? What's meaningful about Julia Child?! Ooh,
look at me! I'm a 6'9 white woman who made soup!

Me: (silence...no typing...there are no words to even respond to this)

Paul: Where do we eat? Dave & Buster's??

Me: Seriously?!?! DAVE AND BUSTERS for our anniversary?!?!? Try again.

Paul: They got games and stuff

Me: (cradles my face in my hands and laughs out loud in front of the computer.)

September 3rd

Wow, even as I write this post, I discover that Paul and I have NO pictures taken of just the two of us this year. I don't know whether or not that's sad. Is that sad?

Well, we can remedy that tonight for sure, because we're going on a date! Yep, a real date. Dinner, movie, quiet conversation without having to bend over and pick up a kicked off shoe or a crayon every 5 minutes. We'll just gaze into one another's eyes through the whole dinner and spout off romantic things that would put Shakespear to shame. At the movie, maybe we'll sit in the back row (wink, wink) and it'll be just like when we first fell in love.

Okay, maybe my expectations are a little too high. In reality, it's quite possible that the only thing we'll talk about at dinner is the girls. I'm pretty sure that I'll miss them about an hour into the date and have the strong urge to call the babysitter just to inquire that they're still tucked safely in their beds. At the movie, I can't promise you that we won't have just paid $20 for us to both take a nap...but we'll most likely be holding hands the whole time, so that's not all bad...right?!?

Paul and I celebrate 5 years of marriage today. Five years ago today, we drove up to the Santa Clara County Courthouse and said "I Do" in front of a JOP and our dear friend Eddie.

No white dress, no flashy photographer, no cake or bridesmaids...just two people in love and completely devoted to spending the rest of their lives together. I cried, Paul's voice shook, we were both so nervous (I tried to put his ring on the wrong hand) but so sure that we were doing the right thing.

It's weird...5 years has gone by so fast but then I look at our lives now and the family we've made together, the life we've established for our little family and I wonder how we could've accomplished so much in such a short amount of time. It's by God's Grace that's how! God's grace and some amazing people that He's put in our path to be our voice of reason when we needed it. Some incredible examples of couples who've conquered complacency and indifference in their own marriages.

Unfortunately, we've known many couples in our short married life who chose to go their separate ways after a few years of marriage. I'm sure that considering how Paul and I met, and our somewhat short courtship, many of our peers probably thought that Paul and I would cave under pressure. But here we are, still going strong. We've had our hard times, and there will be more to come, I'm sure of it. But we're more committed than ever to keeping our marriage strong and our family intact. We've grown up a lot in the last 5 years, we've had too...but I'm glad to say that by God's grace and guidance, we've grown together.

Happy Anniversary Paulie. I love you dearly. This past year, as things around us have seemed to spin out of control and our world got a bit shaky, you stood strong and fearless and gave me something steadfast to hold onto. On the days when it's just felt like too much, you've allowed me to cry and mourn all the while reminding me of how blessed I am to be living this Life More Abundant. You've grounded me, given me the boost I needed when I wanted to fly and I'm so happy to have you by my side, my best friend.

You're an amazing father and it almost makes me chuckle. When we first started dating, I wasn't sure how fatherhood would suit you, but you've taken on this role with such commitment and fervor. You're an awesome daddy to our little girls. You're affectionate and attentive, calm and firm. At the end of the day, when I'm praying over the hearts of our daughters, I can earnestly thank God for blessing them with a daddy like you.

So Paulie, on this our 5th anniversary, I say I love you. I love you more now than ever. I love being your wife. I love that you accept me as I am (whatever that looks like from day to day, or moment to moment) and you long to see me reach my goals and be as content with myself as you are with me. That gives me such strength and confidence and I love you for that.

Happy Anniversary Paulie.

***PS I'll be posting the Giveaway winner later this evening...around 7ish...before we go on our date :)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Cupcake Giveaway

Okay guys...here's your chance. You can sample one of each kind of cupcake on my summer flavor list for FREE just by leaving me a comment with a cupcake flavor idea for my fall/winter selection! If you link my giveaway to your blog, you can enter twice!

Summer flavors include:

Pina Colada
Lava Flow
Key Lime
Strawberry Splash
Blueberry Lemon
Blackberry Vanilla
Dark Chocolate Raspberry
White Chocolate Strawberry

Winner will be announced Thursday night! Happy Entering!!!