foto friday::autumn joy


I love this passionate, spunky, determined, sweet and joyful girl! Such a gift.

he’s been a goober lately, but I love him too. So much going on in that brilliant brain of his!

 

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recipes of the week

I’m attempting to be more regular about this ol’ blogging thing. πŸ™‚ We’ll see how long THAT lasts, huh? But I used to do a favorite recipe post and I currently have quite the stack of delicious morsels to share with you.

Roasted Apple Spice Cake – deb from smittenkitchen has yet to steer me wrong. I am anxiously awaiting her cookbook, which my sweet friend Lindsey pre-ordered for me for my birthday in June – it should arrive on my doorstep on Nov. 1. One more week! This cake is off the chain fabulous. Simple, not too sweet (which I really appreciate these days) and delicious. I love a fall apple cake warm from the oven – this is one to keep for sure. To make one 9×13 cake like i did (the recipe as written makes a DOUBLE layer sheet cake – which is gigantic), just halve the cake recipe and do 1/3 of the frosting recipe.

Butternut Squash Chicken Stew with Quinoa – I came across this on Pinterest and its been a winner. Everybody likes it in our house. (thank goodness for that!) My only tweaks are to leave out the olives because who likes THOSE in stew? Gross. I don’t like them anytime, but especially not randomly tossed into a stew. Sometimes I also add kale or chard for some extra nutritional punch.

Coconut Chai Coffeecake – yep. so good. Crunchy, dense, buttery topping on a perfect crumbed cake. You’ll want a steaming mug of coffee to cut through the sweetness, but that’s the whole point of coffeecake, yes?

Pumpkin Scones – a basic recipe for recreating something similar to a Starbucks pumpkin scone. But better. I usually skip one of the glazes because otherwise I find them wayyyy too sweet, but that’s just me, I’m sure. I also found that the liquid amount is too little – I always add a bit more than the recipe calls for. Favorite way to do these is to make them the night before, shape them and pop them in the fridge. Then pre-heat the oven in the morning, bake and glaze the hot little bites of fall just before serving. We had these at Taylor’s birthday party earlier this month.

Kale Slaw with Red Cabbage and Carrots – I’m totally obsessed with this salad. I’ve made it approximately 6 times in the past 4 weeks. Thankfully, I have an abundance of kale in my little hydroponic deck garden. The apples, cashews and pop of brightness from the lime juice really make it work. How can something sooo healthy for you taste soooo good? Try it! It would also work with spinach if you’re not a big kale fan. But if you haven’t TRIED kale, I implore you to get some and join the kale party. Stat. It’s such a beautiful salad too.

And now, all the recipes I haven’t yet made, but are on my to-make-ASAP list:

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls – I know, right? Two of the best things about fall – pumpkin and baking warm, cinnamon-ey things, put together! I will make a full report on how they are as soon as I make them.

Double Dipped Apple Doughnuts – I think I’d call these deep friend apple rings, but ya know, she didn’t ask me. πŸ™‚ I bookmarked these ages ago. I bet they’ll be tasty!

Earl Grey Chocolate Cake – This week I broke out the tea pot and have been making an enormous cup of strong earl grey with cream and a touch of sugar most mornings. This cake intrigues me to no end…once upon a time I had an Earl Grey truffle at the amazingness that is Theo.

I promise, I do cook really healthily 90% of the time and don’t continually bake my way to 300 lbs. Not that the past three recipes would give you that impression or anything. ahem.

Pumpkin and Sage Ravioli – I will probably not make my own pasta sheets for this (I’m not Martha Stewart, poppets), but i absolutely adore these flavor profiles, so I thought it sounded like something i should make. Totally girly food.

Brussels Sprouts Salad – as addicted as I am to pan-fried or roasted brussels sprouts, I have a sneaking suspicion that I will eat the entire bowl of this salad. Possibly in one sitting. Good thing they come in 2 lb. bags at Costco. πŸ˜€

So now that you’ve gained 23 pounds just by reading this post, let me know what delicious recipes you’ve tried lately!

lately in the motherhood

The kids are in a fun stage that usually leaves me laughing during the day and exhausted by the time they go to bed. I’m quite certain I’m biased as can be, but they sure seem like clever, adorable, sweet and sassy little people that I’m so glad belong to us.

Taylor:

  • started saying “peas” while signing “please” in the last 2 weeks.
  • will say “bah-bye” and kind of wave/open/close her hand when people leave.
  • cuddles her baby doll in her little rocking chair and says “bay-bee, bay-bee”.
  • discovered a love for climbing. On the furniture short enough for her, up and down the steps, over toys, etc. Β (wonk-wonk. :-/)
  • all of the sudden loves books and has stopped pulling forbidden books off the shelf in favor of her own board books.
  • is very much enamored with the very small ride-on, motorized Jeep toy. She figured out how to push the button to make it go and wants to be on it all the time if we’re playing outside.
  • bawls her eyes out if she sees her daddy leave without her.
  • finally has more hair coming in! And I think, praise be, that Kyle’s genes are coming through for me! Her hair definitely has a reddish cast to it and some curls are appearing. I’ve always wanted curly, red haired kids. And since Kyle had red curls from infancy to his late teens, when it started getting darker (and started disappearing altogether), I figured marrying him was a good bet for that. πŸ™‚

Jackson

  • “what you got-for?” = What did you forget? Anytime he means to say forgot or forget, he says “got for”. I love it.
  • At a stoplight, we observed a man next to us who had a very long (like ZZ Top long) beard. Jack’s sincere comment? “That’s a vewy nice beard.”
  • After a bath, he was cleaning his ears out with a q-tip and declared, “I’m getting the boogers out.”
  • “Mom, I’m finding for my toy gun.” Finding for = looking for. πŸ™‚ We’re working on that one.
  • He really likes the soccer gold (goal) Uncle Nate and Aunt Kar-yah (Karla) gave him for his birthday this summer.
  • Kyle got a cut on his hand and Jack asked if he was “blooding”.
  • When he sneezes he announces, “OH! I gah-bwess-you’d.” Is that similar to turning Google into a verb? I think so. πŸ™‚
  • “Last night” is his measure of time for anything we did in the past. A few weeks ago we took a harbor cruise of Lake Superior in Duluth. About a week later Jackson said, “Mom! We went on that boat yast night…and we went around the barber. Yet’s do that again!”
  • loves “Blues Clues”, “Dinosaur Train” and “Mr. Rogers” these days.

We’ve reached a stage where Jackson is more aware of things and pays pretty close attention to things that are said/overheard and simple explanations are not enough anymore for this big boy. Β The other day on the NPR were talking about the girl in Pakistan who was shot in the head, Malala. I hear his little voice pipe up, “MOM! THEY SHOT A GIRL?!!” I’m thinking: “Great. Now I get to explain the Taliban and their oppression of women to a 3 year old.” Needless to say, we’ve been a little more vigilant about what he hears/sees now.

Or another example – last week we had an appointment with an adoption agency to talk about their programs and interview their director. Enter “explain adoption to Jackson”. πŸ™‚ He got it pretty well I think. Later that day I was looking at adoption programs for various countries online and Jack saw the pictures of kids and said, “So, which kid we gonna adopt?” I hope we can help him understand this crazy process for his little brain. He seems cool with the idea of having a chocolate colored brother, so that’s a bonus!

And of course, a recent picture. πŸ™‚ That’s all the news that’s fit to print!

 

together for adoption and where we’re going next

 

so almost a month ago now, we boarded a plane for Atlanta and attended the Together for Adoption conference. In short, it was fantastic. Very informative, encouraging and eye-opening all at once. The plenary sessions were deeply theological (sometimes a little too much so for my poor brain) and beneficial. The breakout sessions were practical and plentiful – I wish only that I’d be able to clone ourselves so we could have attended more of them. Kyle and I took the divide and conquer approach so we could get as much information as possible in the time we were given.

I went to sessions on attachment & attachment styles, trans-racial adoption, HIV & orphans, and fundraising/financial helps for adoptive families. Kyle addressed some of the things he learned on his blog. AndΒ Noel Piper’s main session on “What I wish I knew…” was so real, honest and helpful. I love that woman and I don’t even “know” her. πŸ™‚

We came home with a suitcase full of great resources, and packets from agencies. Meanwhile, our brains were full of information and our hearts full of a new awareness of how much we don’t know about orphans, adoption or any of this adventure on which we’re about to embark.

I feel like one of the main takeaways for me was how much better it would be to prevent orphans from happening in the first place. Next best is empowering communities and villages to care for their own orphans so a child can remain with their people in their culture. The next option is in-country adoption – another family in that country bringing a child into their fold. International adoption ranks low on the list. We also came to the conclusio we do not want to be placed on a waiting list for a “healthy” child. There are too many kids with minor illnesses/medical issues that can be cared for with a competent medical system to wait for a “perfect” kid.

So what’s next? We’re in the process of choosing an agency with a program for the country from which we’d like to bring a child home. We’re definitely hoping for an infant-toddler boy from an African country. We have an appointment with an agency here in MN next week and if that doesn’t work out, we’ll interview/apply with a different one in another state (which means we’ll have to do a home study here in MN with a MN agency).

If you wish to pray for us, I’d be grateful. Pray that God leads us to an ethical, reliable program with great in-country practices and a waiting boy that needs a family. Pray that we are able to negotiate these uncharted waters for our family with a minimum of complications. We are excited and confident that He who began this good work in our hearts will have His way.

one year with taylor charlotte

a year ago today I met my daughter for the first time. Now an entire year has passed – I cannot imagine our lives without her cheerful heart and brilliant smile. Taylor joined our family on her due date, bursting on to the scene at 11:56am. Since she was a whole pound and an ounce lighter than her bruiser of a brother was at birth, I felt like I had a “tiny” newborn. πŸ™‚

she quickly found her place in our hearts and home. Jack became a big brother (and he’s pretty good at it!) and we became parents of two. This year passed with remarkable speed and here we are with a busy, ambulatory, beautiful and curious big girl named Taylor Charlotte. I love her with all of my heart and never would have imagined the extent of the multiplied joy she adds to my life.

she’s the second born. the next one. πŸ™‚ so of course, we compared her first year to her brother’s, since its easy to think that a baby is a baby. But oh no. She is her own person for sure and for certain. An individual, cut from the same DNA, but sewn together by a Master Designer off a pattern all her own. πŸ™‚ I love her.Β Her smile is electric – she just lights up a room and my heart when I see her grin. Her excitement for life and her tenacious spirit will serve her well as life goes on. Β Her obvious passion and enthusiasm will be assets, I hope – she’s a pretty determined little lady. I look forward to getting to know her better and better as she grows – first into a little girl, then a young woman.

this year of being a mother of two has been a challenge for me. Not so much of me to spare between two people that need much from me. πŸ™‚ More tiredness. More moments of thinking I’m not cut out for this. But more grace. Always more grace. And cups of coffee. And naptime, oh blessed naptime. He who has called me (to motherhood) is faithful.

at one year old, Taylor:

  • weighs 22 lbs.
  • is 30 inches long
  • has seven teeth
  • has been walking for over a month
  • doesn’t crawl anymore
  • still likes to wake at night 😦
  • loves her Pooh blankie and her paci
  • adores her daddy and has a BIG smile just for him
  • lights up when she sees me
  • thinks Jack hung the moon, except when he knocks her down
  • can almost navigate the stairs properly – loves to climb, but is a little unsteady going down
  • eats lots of table food, but still loves to nurse
  • is nicknamed Tay or Tay-Tay

Yes, our Taylor girl has brought lots of joy into our lives. So much joy.

Taylor Charlotte, we pray that you would KNOW the love of Christ and be His beloved. Your daddy and I thank God for your life and ask Him to grant you the beauty of salvation, the wonder of His love and the exceeding greatness of His power at work in your life. Keep living life at full tilt, Taylor girl. Don’t let anyone stop you from running hard after God and in the direction of the dreams He gives you. We will love you and support you all the way, sweet girl. Love you forever. Happy First Birthday, Tay-tay!