Friday, April 29, 2011

The Still Small Voice...

This morning I read posts from these three lovely ladies:  Emily, Jami, and Laurie.  The funny thing is that I typically avoid the computer in the morning, but I was feeling down, disconnected, and ineffective, so I decided to hop on biblegateway to see what the verse was today:  "I know that my redeemer lives and in the end He stands on the earth" Job 19:25

After reading the posts from these amazing gals, and then a verse in the height of Job's suffering, I was reminded of the most important point:  The holy reign of my Redeemer.  The importance of giving Him the first place in my life and heart and allowing Him to guide my days.

I felt so much encouragement.  I had such a week of doubting my effectiveness as a mom...wondering if I was doing my best, and at the end of the day when tucking them into bed, I wondered if my children would call our time together a 'bust'. 

I'm far from being a perfect mom...but the Lord doesn't measure my days or effectiveness by how many tantrums my little miss throws.  Or by whether or not my home looks perfect at the end of the day.  Or by any other standards we sometimes place on ourselves. 

He just wants us to rest in Him.  He wants us to give Him the moments that belong to Him in the first place.  In each of the stories I read this morning, He was the still small voice telling me that He is the one I should be striving to be be placing my trust in.

Thanks girls...I needed that this morning.


Surviving Week 1 And A Recipe...

So, the kids and I made it through our first week of B back to work.  I feel like such a baby writing this, but this week was really hard!  It was so nice being able to team-up with B on getting the kiddos ready and fed then out the door for preschool drop-off or errands etc.  And, there was something about the presence of dad that kept the kiddos in line.  When he was home, a brother/sister brawl was rare, and overall the household was pretty peaceful.  As for me, I simply loved having him around for lunch or just hanging out while the kiddos were napping.

Well, I hate to admit it, but after B went to work, something strange settled over our household.  The kiddos have been fighting over toys, shows, food, drinks, pillows, shoes, who-touched-who, and have just been a bit surly.  The little miss is having a particularly difficult time with B being gone during the day.  She asks for him, and has had a few sad moments when I've told her he was at work.  We all miss dad.

Even Stella has been a bit naughty and is back to her old antics of stealing the kids lunches...she wouldn't have dared with B around.

Thankfully, the week wasn't a complete bust...getting out of the house as much as possible seemed to do the trick.  We had so much fun together, and the kiddos had me cracking up as usual:

I'm sure that with any change, it just takes getting over that initial hump before getting back into a routine.  This week was tough, but, I won't take for granted how much time I get to have with my kiddos.  It is such a blessing to be home with them, and I'm so grateful to B for being such a hard worker so I can be on the home front.

To be frank, B has been wiped out too.  We both crashed on the couch the other night downloaded an episode of '24' (we're just now watching them...we're lame) and made Chocolate-Peanut butter Fondue.  It is nothing fancy, but oh-ma-goo-ness is it good!  We just sort of dump and go and don't measure anything, but you really can't mess it up.  These measurements are sort of a guess, but I think it's pretty close.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fondue

1/2 C Chocolate Chips (we use Ghirardelli 60% Bittersweet chocolate)
2 tablespoons of Peanut Butter (used Skippy natural)

place ingredients in a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave on high at about 20 second intervals, stirring until ingredients are smooth (I did this a couple of times).
Use dippers such as pretzels, bananas, a spoon or a finger (clean preferably).

Have a great weekend friends!

Thursday, April 28, 2011


A few weeks ago I was searching for fabric to make a bunting for the little miss.  I came upon an endcap at the store with a huge stack of bolts of fabric with a sign that read $1.  I asked the clerk if they were a $1 per yard and she said no, they were a $1 per bolt!  I may be a novice seamstress, but I know a good deal when I see one! 
Superman endorsing the awesome deal...

Each bolt contained 5 yards of fabric. I did a little easy quick head math and figured that I could make a set of curtains for our bedroom windows (two large) for under $5 per window!  Cha-ching!  I snatched up several bolts of the heavy-weight greyish-brown decor fabric for the windows (which is the very color and weight I have been searching for but couldn't find for under $20/yard) , and two bolts of a super-cool jersey fabric with a modern graphic design.  Given my addiction affinity for scarves, I thought the jersey would make awesome scarves for spring and summer.

revelling in my new addiction scarf...

So, let's do the math bolts of fabric (5 yards each) at a $1 per bolt = $7 total for 35 yards of fabric!  Woo-Hoo! (here's me doing a happy dance!)

Not exactly thrifted, but hey...a deal's a deal!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

When The Kids Are Away, The Parents Will...

Take a road trip...sheesh where was your mind?  This is a family friendly blog friends, so we're keeping it G-rated around here.  Even if we did embrace some romantic moments because we were sans kiddos, I'll never tell.  And you can all let out that collective sigh of relief now.

Anywho...last weekend, my parents came up from KC to watch the kiddos while B and I took an impromptu little get-a-way to Minneapolis to celebrate his new job, relax, reconnect and reflect on these past 8 1/2 months, before starting the new routine.  We had such a great time together, but in true Jackson style, it wasn't without a little drama.  Now, it was nothing like last year's Minneapolis trip where the little Mr. decided to offer his free lawn-watering service to the good people of the sculpture garden.  He's very generous like that.

First, on our way to the good city, we noticed our car was pulling a little to the right.  We stopped, and B gave the tires a look and noticed the front passenger tire was low...the culprit?  A screw embedded in the treads.  He was certain the tire would make it the rest of the way,  so we filled up the tire and made it the rest of the way to Minneapolis, where we had the tire repaired quickly.  We laughed that most likely the worst had happened and we could now freely enjoy our trip.

We made a pit stop at Ikea and the Mall of America where we had a celebrity sighting:

Elizabeth Berkley from 'Saved By The Bell' and *ahem* 'Showgirls' was doing a book signing.  I was like, "Oh, my goodness...I watched "Saved By The Bell' every Saturday morning!"  and B was like, "Yeah, she successfully made the departure from that type-casting." Whatever.  I discretely snapped her picture so as not to draw attention to my utter dorkiness.

After I came down from the high of a celebrity sighting, we spent the rest of the afternoon walking around the Uptown area where they have great shopping, a huge selection of restaurants and eclectic people watching.
We ate at our favorite pizza place, Pizza Luce, and had dessert at Sabastian Joe's (hands down the best ice cream ever!)

Pizza 'Athena' and the 'Ruby Rae' at Pizza Luce...their Baked Potato pizza is also amazing...

The next morning we slept until 7:30 (that's like sleeping til 10:30 pre-kiddos)...
Then went to Spyhouse in Uptown for coffee:

I spent the morning chilling like this in an Eames chair:

We wrapped up our whirlwind trip eating more, walking, window shopping and then we couldn't go home without feeding B's pension for good architecture, so we checked out the Guthrie Theater by french architect Jean Nouvel. 

Herein lies our final bit of Jackson drama.  I chose to stay in the car, because frankly I was pooped.  B left the car keys with me, and decided to do a walk around and take a few pics. He quickly came back and said I just had to walk around as well, because the views inside the building were amazing.  So I got out, locked the car door and walked over to Brent who said, "Great, let's go...where's the keys?"  We both peered into the window to see the keys sitting in the ignition.  Crap!  My fault.  So, he called for a locksmith while I pouted at my utter stupidity...luckily I have a super-gracious hubby.

AAA arrived, popped the lock in 20 seconds to the tune of 63 bucks (such a rip) and we finished up our tour on a good note with an amazing view of the Mississippi River from a cantilevered portion of the building:

So, drama aside, we had an amazing trip and were back in time to spend Easter with the kiddos and reflect on what a mighty God we serve!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Where Do I Begin?...

Hey friends!  It's me!  You remember me right?  You don't?  Well, I suppose it's been a while since I've posted.  I took a break.  I know, I know...I'm like the queen of inconsistency and am always taking breaks from posting.  I just needed the freedom to have time away to think, pray, and connect with God and sometimes that means just a smattering of posts here and there.  Are we still cool?  I hope so!

Well, the last several weeks, we've been in the throws of watching God move mountains and obstacles, and throwing doors wide-open for us to walk through!  8 1/2 months ago, B was laid off from his job as an architect. It wasn't a complete surprise as architecture firms across the nation were hit hard by the deflating economy, but, nonetheless, it was a punch in the gut (I wrote about our journey and all God has been teaching us Here, Here and Here , sorry friends...there doesn't seem to be a Cliff Notes version of God lessons available).

Well, two weeks ago, B got a job offer, he accepted, and today was his first day at the office!  The staff welcomed him with exuberance (all are former co-workers from his previous firm, how crazy is that?!).  In true God-style, it was a place we never expected, and the timing in which God opened the door was perfect!  We are still reeling and in awe of how it all worked out.  God's hand was in every meeting, e-mail, and phone call during the last couple of weeks and we are completely blown away, yet grounded in peace and confidence in the direction God is taking our family. 

We are staying in our same town, and from the outside our life remains the same (same house, same friends, same church), however God has permanently left his fingerprint on us and from the inside, we will never be the same again.  We were two people who loved God, but definitely made our own plans and only consulted Him when we felt we needed a little direction.  He didn't have the place in our lives He deserved. 

While some may not agree, 8 1/2 months of no job, and seemingly no prospects, was the greatest gift God could have given us.  During this time, God moved in the hearts of others, to bestow a generosity we could never fathom...I wish I knew who each of you are.  You blew us away by your anonymous gifts.  I have spent many nights crying and thanking God for each of you.  I continue to pray God blesses you many times over for what you did for us.  You are manna...unexplainable, but for the grace of God moving in your hearts.  Thank you.  Then there were the friends who made a commitment to us and never gave us the opportunity to turn them down.  Thank you, may God richly bless you in all you do.  God himself multiplied His blessings...we can't explain's God-math.  My friends, are you getting the picture of how He miraculously provided?  A few people asked me why I wasn't upset or scared or angry during this could I be bitter when God moved so graciously?  I was in awe of Him and took every opportunity to give Him the praise...because it was nothing of ourselves, we could not boast.  The greatest lesson we learned as He drew us to Him is that man can not live on bread alone, but by every breath of God (Deuteronomy 8:3)...we knew this, believed it, but did not live it out.   Our needs and our desires drastically changed during this time...being in communion with Him far out weighed the physical.  He promises to care for the physical, and we trusted in His promise, (Matt 6:25-34) knowing God never breaks His promises. 

He made life for us simple.  lovely.  beautiful. 

We will never again look at our lives as our own.  All that we have is not ours to keep.  Our desires are not our own; being obedient in all that God asks of us, no matter what it looks like.  Realizing that every opportunity not seized to proclaim His honor and glory is an opportunity lost.  That every good and perfect gift is from above.  Do I wish for a second that this hadn't happened?  That He would have chosen an easier means to capture our hearts?  No.  Not for one minute do I wish for something different than what He gave.  We are grateful, and thankful for this time.  It was difficult and painful, but the beauty was seeing the blessings that came freely when we clung to Him with all we had in us.

Our greatest prayer is that we do not become like the children of Israel of the Old Testament, who even after God came to their rescue time and again, showing them they had His favor, they quickly forgot and slipped easily into their old ways.

We want to be changed for His glory, or this time meant nothing.

Well, this post is quickly becoming a mini-novel, so I will wrap it up...

We are rejoicing in God's provision and perfect timing!
God is good all the time!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Choosing Gratitude...

I went out to the mail box today to find this book from my sweet friend Mary at Giving Up On Perfect!  Mary has been a dear friend since high school...she is such a sweet gal with a heart for the Lord and a wit and humor that literally sends me into peels of laughter.  Just read one of her posts and I guarantee you will feel as if you've known her forever.

But, back to the book.  I feel like Mary knows me so well. 
When I opened to the first chapter, I just knew this was exactly what I needed to read in addition to my quiet time:

The quote reads: 
'The Power of Gratitude:  Seek to cultivate a buoyant, joyous sense of the crowded kindnesses of God in your daily life.' Alexander Maclaren. 

Speaks for itself don't you think?
There is something about the beauty of life's trials...they either bring gratitude towards our Heavenly Father, or bitterness that life seems unfair.  My prayer is that my heart continues on the path of gratitude.

It's easy to focus on the circumstance and forget about the purpose of trials:

James 1:2-4
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete,
not lacking anything.

This is at the heart of developing gratitude...understanding that the trials are to draw us near to God, strengthening our faith and reliance on Him and experiencing His provision as He walks us through difficult circumstances.
I am so eager to continue reading this book,  and get to the heart of having an overflowing sense of gratitude toward our Heavenly Father, in whatever His will is for my life.
Thank you so much for this book Mar! 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Sayin' Bye-Bye To The Paci And Other Big-Girl News...

Well, the little Miss turned two on Friday and on Sunday we officially gave the paci the boot, cold-turkey style.  My brother and sister-in-law are expecting a sweet little boy in August, so Eva donated her paci's to baby Mason (in theory). 

*Preparing to 'give' the paci's to the baby
**Forgive the cabinet doors...we're in the process of refinishing our cabinets...

We helped her gather up all of her paci's (five total) and place them in a bag.  As we prepared to say good-bye, she gave a longing look in the bag, then reached in and pulled each one out for one last suck before placing them back in the bag.  She looked like a smoker taking one last drag before calling it quits, knowing deep down it's the right thing to do, but boy, it's hard to say good-bye.

*Saying Good-bye

Daddy took the bag out to the car and drove away to 'give' them to Mason.  When he came back, he had a little gift from Mason to Eva...a little Hello Kitty.  It's kind of cool how a kiddo still in utero can go shopping.  He's like a fetal prodigy.  

*A gift for the big-girl

Our first night paci-free went pretty well.  There was a little fussing initially and asking for the paci, but she fell asleep on her own and slept through the night!

Nap time today was a little rough, but this evening she was exhausted and went right to sleep with no fussing!  Yay!

We're just so proud of her.  She's really such a strong little girl and adapts to change so well.  She potty trained like a pro, she's adjusting to being paci-free, and soon she'll transition to a big girl bed!

It definitely seems like in just a matter of a few days she's gone from baby to big-girl :(  I guess I'm going to have to start a campaign to convince B that three is the magic number.  Anyone want to be my campaign manager?

*p.s.  I have so much to share with all of you...but it will have to wait for a few more days! 
I will just say God is so good and we are rejoicing in the Jackson household!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Two Years Ago...

She made her grand entrance...

Our midwife called B over and said, "Well, come take a look at what you've got!"
With tears in his eyes he exclaimed, "It's a girl!"

She joined our family with gusto...and fit right in with the craziness...

She's the girl with a plan...looking for action...

Her heart is tender...and she loves her brother...

She is the sweetest gift...

My sweet Eva...
Do you know how much love fills my heart for you?  You are a precious treasure, and being your mommy brings me more joy than I could have ever imagined.  You have brought our family laughter, excitement, mischief, joy and tenderness.  You have such a sensitive heart for others...and that is an answer to prayer.
My greatest joy is to pray with you before bedtime and watch you slowly close your eyes and whisper HIS name.  That's all you say.  I pray you whisper HIS name all the days of your life.  I pray your heart is sensitive to HIS calling.  I pray you find your satisfaction in HIM. 
I pray you grow in wisdom. 

You are precious.  You are beautiful.  You bring so much joy to us.

I love you so much my sweet girl!

Happy Birthday my love!


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Breakfast Date...

They had a date. 
It was simple...toast for him and second breakfast for her...

 After one bite, she made his toast hers...

He didn't mind...he simply made more...

And she ate all of that too...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Read From Someone Else's Heart...

Hey friends!
I'm not writing a post today...okay, technically I am, but I feel like my friend Mary really hit the ball out of the park today, so I'm sending you her way.  What she had to say today truly got to the heart of what I think many of us as wives, mothers, daughters, and friends often feel about ourselves.

I've read so many posts lately of fellow bloggers beating themselves up about the way they are perceived, or comparing themselves to the talents of others.  Please read Mary's post...I hope it blesses you and changes how you view yourself...I know it did me.  Please visit her over at (in)courage today, and, when you get a chance, visit Mary over at Giving Up On Perfect. She is witty, talented and just an all around amazing gal!



Friday, April 1, 2011

Peanut Butter, A Boy, and A Dog...

Let's start off with the cast of characters:

Peanut Butter...

A Boy...

And a Dog...

The little Mr. loves peanut butter...a lot.  It ranks right up there with pizza.  The trouble, is that for the past several weeks, I've found evidence that he has been sneaking peanut butter behind our backs. 

First, it was the peanut butter smeared spoons placed back in the silverware drawer.  I'm usually the lucky one to find them when I'm groggily searching for a spoon to stir my morning tea.  Yuck.

Then, it was the heavy odor of peanut butter on his breath pretty much all day long.

One morning (scratch that several mornings) I woke up, only to find him hiding under our work station with a jar of peanut butter and a spoon.

But, the final straw was the one morning that we all payed the price for his poor attempts at covering his tracks.

We got up, and like most mornings, we were running late and needed to hurry and get the Mr. to preschool.  I encouraged him to hurry with his breakfast, while thrusting shoes and socks in his direction.  I walked into the kitchen to discover that something was captivating Stella's attention.  She's extremely lazy, so to see her up and attentive after eating breakfast at 7am is really unusual.  Usually, she's already back in bed, wishing we'd all go away.

Anyway, she had her head shoved into the space under our work station and she was stretching with all her might to reach something near the back, all the while making this horrible licking/smacking noise.

I shooed her away and peeked under the desk to discover an open jar of peanut butter and a spoon.  In true mastiff style, her face was covered in drool and she was quite pleased with herself and the extra protein she had just consumed. was gross...and there was a mess.

Now, all I can tell you is that it was a brand new jar of peanut butter, and either Stella or the little Mr. managed to eat half of it in one sitting.  I got bits and pieces of the story, but the final conclusion was that when the Mr. heard us get out of bed, it spooked him and he forgot the jar and the spoon in his hiding spot.

The other thing I can tell you, is both the Mr. and Stella had a bit do I say this delicately...digestive issues.  There was no denying the evidence there my friends.

But, you know, we haven't had a problem since.  No more peanut butter spoons.  No more hiding.   No more misplaced peanut butter jars.

Sometimes natural consequences provide the remedy to a sticky situation.