Monday, April 30, 2012

Eli is Five!

Eli, when I'm with you, it's not just my lips that smile.  When I'm with you, I smile with my lips, my eyes, my cheeks, my heart and all the way to my toes!  You are so much fun, and you light up this whole family.  Thank you for all the snuggles and kisses you give.  I love your sweet lips.  Thank you for all the silly jokes you make.  You have such a good sense of humor!  Thank you for how generous you are.  You share and give things, but you also give your whole heart.  Thank you for how much you love your family.  You make each one of us love better.  
Eli, you are clever and witty.  You are always making jokes, and they are really funny!  You are smart.  You constantly surprise me with the things you've picked up just by listening. You are my snuggle bug.  I always feel loved by you.  Thank you for being interested in me, in your brothers, in your Daddy.  You are an encourager.  You give compliments well.
You are not a people pleaser.  You are a people lover.  And because of that people love you.  I can't wait to see who you become and where you go in your life.  For now, I'm glad you just want to stay right here with us.

Happy Birthday, my sweet five year old!  I love you with my whole heart!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Luke's Self Portrait

Luke came home from school with his first self portrait last week.  I kept asking him, "Did you do this by yourself?"  He doesn't do a lot of drawing at home, so I had no idea how much his drawing skills had improved since he began school.  We were way impressed!

I love the blond hair mixed in with the brown.  I'm not quite sure what the blue on the sides is all about, but he did confirm that he isn't planning on growing pigtails and dying them blue.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Pinterest Pickpocket

This week is teacher appreciation week at Eli's school.  I am a firm believer that there is not a teacher out there who wouldn't rather receive a group gift from the class rather than 20 paperweights.  Therefore, another mom and I organized a week of class gifts.  I wanted to not only buy something nice that the teachers would enjoy but to also come up with a creative, memorable gift that would let them know that what they are doing for our children is so appreciated.  So I stole one off Pinterest.  My day was Tuesday, and I made a photo collage of the class.  It took me to the maximum limits of my current creative and technical abilities (I say "current" because I'm determined to grow!), but I was pleased with the outcome.  So where Eli's teachers.

Can you spot my little cheeser?  It was hilarious taking pictures.  To the child, each girl smiled and posed sweetly.  Almost every single boy made a crazy face or refused at least once to have their picture taken.  I even had to take several boys' pictures again on another day (including Eli's).  Sigh. They're just born that way, I guess.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Thai Red Curry Shrimp

Kate, if you're reading this, don't waste your time.  You'll hate this recipe.  But for those of you who actually like red curry paste and coconut milk, read on!

This is my new favorite recipe.

Thai Red Curry Paste

1 TBS canola oil
1/2 c diced onion
1-2 TBS red curry paste
3 tsp brown sugar
1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (I used frozen, and thawed them first)
1 c green beans, cut into 1 1/2 in pieces (Again, I used frozen)
7 oz coconut milk (or use light for less fat)
1 tsp fish sauce or oyster sauce
3 tsp lime juice
1/4 c chopped green onions
4-6 TBS chopped fresh basil
2 c cooked brown rice

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onion and curry paste and saute` until onion softens, about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Stir in sugar.  Add shrimp; saute` 3-4 minutes or until shrimp are pink and opaque, stirring frequently.  Add green beans.  Stir in coconut milk, fish sauce, and lime juice.
2. Reduce heat to simmer, and cover.  Cook until green beans are tender, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat; stir in green onions and basil. Serve over hot rice.

I tweaked things to my liking, like leaving out the basil and adding the beans before the shrimp (can't stand tough beans and especially can't stand tough shrimp!), but it is a great recipe.  It's not as intimidating as it looks.  Give it a try.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

One part chalk...
Plus one part dinner...
Plus one part dirt...
 Equals one happy sweet boy.

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Munchies

Can you spot on my grocery list what Luke wants me to get when I go to the store?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Muscle Memory

I've been taking a class at the YMCA for about a year now called Body Combat.  It's a combination of boxing,  karate and tai chi. The class is a series of boxing, kicking, jumping, squatting, lunging, punching and other various unnatural movements set to really loud, really fast music.  When I first started the class I was completely lost and made a fool of myself on a regular basis.  I was weak, out of shape, absolutely intimidated and, honestly, only able to make it through the class if I gave about 50%.  Now, I am able to keep up with anybody in the room, encourage those beside me to push harder and give every ounce of mental and physical energy I have through (almost) each song.  Plus, I actually fill out the butt of my jeans because I have muscles where there were none.  It works, and I'm hooked.

This morning while in the class I found myself thinking about the muscle memory I have gained from being in this class. I find myself following the order of the routine without even looking at the instructor because my body knows what moves to do.  What used to feel awkward and unnatural now feels normal and powerful.  I know what I'm doing, and I'm confident that the moves are building muscle and endurance rather than just building humility.

The parallel to the battle of walking in spiritual strength grabbed me.  Every new challenge I face in my spiritual walk at first feels awkward and uncomfortable.  I feel week and unable.  I feel like quitting, hiding my face, laying down until the urge to fight back passes.  But if I persevere, I develop muscles where before I had spiritual "butt sag".  After a while, I recognize strength in me that I never knew I had, I begin to feel and look like the fighter I am in Christ.  I can keep up and encourage those beside me to push harder, and I can give every ounce of mental and spiritual energy I have through each obstacle.

"When your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.  So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything." James 1:3-4