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

Thursday, December 31, 2009


This time last year, I made a whole list of resolutions. Things I swore I would accomplish because I was convinced they'd make me a better person, a better woman, a better wife, a better mother, a better Christian.

For example:

I resolved to read 52 new books, 30 fictional and 22 non-fictional...I've read exactly 2 all the way through and they are both boring, self-help books...it's a guilty indulgence.

I resolved to lose 40 lbs. I've lost 10. But I did join a gym that I L.O.V.E.

I resolved to do be more patient. I opened my Christmas present 3 weeks early (it was a new camera...YAY!).

I resolved to read the Bible in a year...I got to II Corinthians .

I resolved to save more money. I also discovered Jo Anns and Michaels, so...

I resolved to spend more time in the Word and in prayer. I had good weeks, and I had bad ones...

I resolved to cook healthier and go organic where I could...we had ramen noodles for dinner last night.

I resolved that we would watch less TV as a family...then we got DVR and I discovered Nick Jr and Law and Order: SVU marathons every Tuesday on USA.

And the list goes on. So this year, I have a few different resolutions...a little more doable...and not so "have-to-be-done-by-December 31st of 2010." Here it goes...

I resolve:

To give myself a break. To not be my own worst critic and to cut myself a little slack.

I resolve to do the absolute best I can, relying on the Lord for patience and wisdom and discernment so that my children not only feel loved by me, but by Him, whatever that might look like from day to day, each of the 365 of the coming year.

I resolve not to define myself by the number I see on the scale or by how much folded laundry is on the couch, or by what I think other people believe about me.

I resolve to be honest with myself and others about my strengths and weaknesses and to say "no" when I need to say "no"...and "yes" when I need to say "yes."

I resolve to choose contentment for all the material things I have been blessed with when the pages of the Pottery Barn catalog are sticking their tongues out at me and chanting, "nanny-nanny boo boo."

I resolve to talk to my girls more about GOD's plans instead of my own, whether that be His plans for our lives or even just for that particular day.

I resolve to chill out...

And to lose 30 lbs :)

Happy New Year to you and your family! May the coming year be littered with the blessings and promises of God. May you find everlasting fulfillment and joy unspeakable in the comfort of the Creator's arms. If you know Him already, I pray you feel closer to Him with each passing day and if you don't know Him, I pray that you meet, from the bottom of my heart.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Snack Time

Izzy has recently decided that she must sit at the "big girl table." Her high chair is far too primitive and she believes it no longer suits her. Unfortunately, she has learned to climb up onto the seat of the picnic table in our breakfast room and LOVES it. The "unfortunately" part comes in because she hasn't quite nailed the getting down part and has fallen off a few times, sending me into a panic causing me to follow her around examining her pupils and disallowing her to fall asleep at nap times.

snack time 1
Snack Sequence
Snack time 2

However, it is fun to see the sense of accomplishment all over her chubby little face as she sits up straight and proud like a big girl at the big girl table.

snack time 3

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Eva talks incessantly. Like, all the time. Like, sometimes Paul and I actually have to ask her to stop talking for a second so we can talk. And I love it. I love that she wants to talk to us and that her mind is constantly going. But sometimes, I just need her to stop. SO I can think...hear other things...function.

fashion 2

In all of this constant jabber, Paul and I sometimes notice a word escape her sweet mouth that we don't quite see fit for that particular sentence. For example...

Eva wears a pull-up to bed. She is potty trained, but still has night time accidents more often than not and so she wears a pull-up. In the mornings after an accident-free night, she'll wake up and exclaim loudly, "Look Mom, I drive!" Which, in Eva land means "Look Mom, I'm DRY."
Or, if we're in a store and Eva suddenly feels the need to use the ladies room, she'll tug on my shirt and say, "Mom, I need to go peep."


Or, say you ask Eva if she would like some yogurt for a snack. If she wouldn't, than instead of giving you a simple "no", Eva would say "no, I didn't," as she shakes her head, giggling.

Tinker Bell

Or, if you tell Eva that there is something that she needs to do, and hasn't done like clean her room, her response would be a frustrated, "Yes, I am." Which, in Eva land means, "yes, I did."


All of these little Eva-isms make for many laughter filled conversations and in their own little way, keep me grounded and calm when I might otherwise be inclined to fly off the handle for no good reason.

I mean who could be upset at someone who desperately needs to go "peep" in the middle of a commissary excursion?


Monday, December 28, 2009

Our Christmas

We had a White Christmas...my first one ever! It wasn't fresh snow, but hey...beggars can't be choosers, right?!?!
We got up, opened presents, had a big breakfast, played with our new stuff, went to the movies, came home and had some finger foods for dinner that included sausage bisquick balls, ham rolls, chips and dip and of course...cupcakes!

Cortez Family Christmas

More to come...but for now, I'm off to the gym to work off those Christmas L.B.'s!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Night to Celebrate


O little town of Bethlehem
How still we see thee lie
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight

Starry SKy

For Christ is born of Mary
And gathered all above
While mortals sleep, the angels keep
Their watch of wondering love
O morning stars together
Proclaim the holy birth
And praises sing to God the King
And Peace to men on earth

Oh Holy Night

How silently, how silently
The wondrous gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His heaven.
No ear may his His coming,
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive him still,
The dear Christ enters in.


O holy Child of Bethlehem
Descend to us, we pray
Cast out our sin and enter in
Be born to us today
We hear the Christmas angels
The great glad tidings tell
O come to us, abide with us
Our Lord Emmanuel

Oh Holy Night

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


I'm dead.

I have to be. This must be Heaven...at least this is how I imagine some small part of my Heavenly experience will be...

Dove Chocolate...


Aqua Blue...


Martha Stewart...


Holiday tips (how perfect)....



Faces of Izzy

Paul and I are continually confounded by the extremity in which Izzy expresses her current emotion, and then how quickly the emotion can change.

Faces of Izzy

For example, one minute she could be kicking and screaming on the floor, rolling all around in a fit of frustration and anger, her lungs pushing her cries out at full force. And in the very next moment, once something has peaked her interest, she is all smiles again.

Faces of Izzy

It leaves us scratching our heads, still trying to figure out what it was the set her off in the first place.

Faces of Izzy

And although this particular trait can be baffling and a bit overwhelming at times, I do take some solace in knowing that I will mostly likely never have to guess how my second born is feeling at any particular moment. I believe she'll always be more than happy to let me know...

Faces of Izzy

even if I'd rather not...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Breakfast with Daddy

Paul was able to sleep in Friday morning and go to work a little late due to his office Christmas party Thursday night. The girls and I all enjoyed the relaxed morning and the extra time with him. So much so that Eva and Izzy wouldn't even give him any elbow room at the breakfast table. Izzy insisted on being in his lap while Eva had her placemat squished so close to Paul's plate that I thought for sure it was all going to end up on the floor.

Breakfast with Daddy 3

The neat freak in me was tempted to make Eva scoot over and have Izzy give her daddy some room...

Breakfast with Daddy 2

but Paul seemed to be enjoying the closeness just as much as they did...

Breakfast with Daddy1

so I grabbed my camera instead :)

Breakfast with Daddy 5

Monday, December 21, 2009

As Requested

Okay, so a dear reader of my blog (and the mother of a treasured friend) requested that I share the recipe with you for Blackberry Dump Cake.

I am a firm believer that a recipe is meant for sharing! I don't believe in "secret recipes." I think that's silly. However, I do respect that other people do and so, I wouldn't share someone else's recipe without asking first.

However, Blackberry Dump Cake is no secret. It's the easiest thing to make...ever. In fact, most people make it with cherry pie filling and a can of pineapple chunks. SO easy.


2 cans of blackberries in light syrup
2 containers of fresh blackberries ***I mixed...I used a can of blackberries and drained out half of the syrup and then I also mashed a container of fresh blackberries with a fork and added that to the mix****
1 box of yellow cake mix
1 1/2 sticks of butter, room temperature

Dump the blackberries into a baking dish. In a separate bowl, combine the cake mix and butter. I just used my hands for this part. You should end up with little crumblies. Just sprinkle the crumble over the the blackberries in the baking dish and bake at 350 for an hour.

Viola! Dump Cake. And you can do this with any kind of fruit you dare to try!

Snow Babies

snow sisters
Snow Baby
daddy and daughters
Paul and Eva
Snow Baby 3

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Snow, Chili, and Blackberry Dump Cake

We were prepared for a lot of snow this weekend. The forecast called for 10 inches. People all over the DC/Baltimore area were in a tizzy on Friday afternoon. Gas stations were packed, people stocked up on water, batteries and other necessary grocery items. Paul and I scratched our heads and wondered what all the hullabaloo was about. After all, it was just a bit of snow.

Well, we got 26 inches of snow. It starting snowing Friday night and didn't stop until early Sunday morning. We were under a blizzard warning between 7pm and 9pm Friday and then again between 12pm and 2 pm Saturday afternoon. It. was. crazy.

26 "

Poor Paul had to go out and shovel our walk and driveway 3 times and merely half an hour after each attempt, you'd never have known he'd been out there.

Ready to Shovel
Shoveling 5
shoveling 4
Shoveling 3
Shoveling 2

Even the guy who drives the snow plow gave up after 3 or 4 rounds through our neighborhood. One minute he was plowing the streets and only moments later we saw his plow, covered in snow in the middle of the road sans driver.

Plow Mobile
Plow Mobile

And although I shoveled absolutely ZERO snow all day, I did find other ways to contribute...

Blackberry Dump Cake

But this morning, it's beautiful out. The snow has stopped falling and our yard has transformed into a wonderland of sparkling, powdery, white flakes.
Morning After
Morning After

Who knows, we may actually have a White Christmas this year.