No No!

We have a linen closet in our hallway that seems to beg Judah to open it. He isn't allowed to open it, but the temptation is great, and I often catch him with his grubby little hands reaching for the door knob.
"No, no Judah. We don't open that door. Mommy has all her towels and sheets neatly folded in there."
Usually that will stop him from opening it. He is generally very good at verbal instruction.

The other day I saw him watching himself in the mirror on the closet door. He reached his hand up to the knob and then quickly pulled it back saying "NO NO JUDAH!"

A second later his little hand was reaching for the knob again. And a second time he pulled it back saying "No! No Judah!"

He repeated that a third time, at which point I dissolved into a fit of laughter, which startled him from his temptation and he joined me in laughing, although he didn't know what at.

While his little escapade was funny it made me think about us and how we play with sin. God's word has laid out for us what is wrong and sinful, and yet so many times we try and see how close we can get. Instead of staying away from the "closet door" we stand in front of it, trying to reach it, wanting desperately to open it. Knowing it's wrong. Telling ourselves it is wrong. But not able to walk away from the lure of sin.

Nineteen months into this parenting thing has taught me so much more about God and His love and His grace than my twenty one years of life prior to being a mum.


Bye Bye!

A Wesley sandwich

Esther's flight left at 1. The boys and I took her to the airport after one final stop at McDonald's for two large vanilla ice coffees. Our local McDonald's has made a ridiculous amount of money off us the past four weeks!

But anyways... can you imagine waking two little boys and carrying them in all their just-awoken-glory into an airport terminal? Me neither.
So Esther was dropped off at the door and sadly she didn't get any kisses or hugs or "bye bye's" from Judah. He snoozed the entire time. I tried to awake him so he could see her leaving, but he would have none of it.

Hopefully Esther made the flight and her bags didn't go over the allotted weight limit! Because on top of buying iced coffee she bought STUFF too. And I gave her stuff. Almost an entire collection of shoes.

See, Paul isn't one of those oblivious husbands. He notices things. And has thoughts on things. And I care what his thoughts are. For the most part. He hated most of the shoes I had when we got married. It took me three years to really care, but I have finally gotten rid of almost every pair of Paul-hated shoes. I think the only Paul-hated shoes are a pair of boots that I love. The boots can take the hate.
The shoes, however, are happily on their way up north to a new closet where they'll be worn and loved.

We're going to miss you Esther! Thanks for everything.



I spent a lot of time trying to think what the most efficient means to coupon organizing would be for me. What works for one does not work for another. Believe it or not there are tons and tons of different way to organize these little pieces of paper.
I had organized them before, but the system wasn't working for me. This time I think it'll last.

So here it is - my pink binder:

You open it up an my scissors, pen and post it flags are right there (so is my contact info in case it gets lost! But it's all blurred out... just in case one of you are stalking me ;)

I have used baseball card holders to hold each coupon. The coupons are categorized (and tabbed) - there is "Baby" "Free - or nearly free - After Coupon", "Commonly Used Groceries", "Paper Products", etc.

The categories are for all the coupons that I get in the mail or pick up in stores.
The actual weekly coupon inserts that come in the mail (there is a Smart Source insert and a Red Plum insert, and once a month a Procter and Gamble insert) are clipped and filed according to which insert it came in.
Each insert has its own section, and they are in order - and labeled - by date.
I follow a lot of websites that let you know what deals and coupons line up with each other, and this way I can find the correct insert and coupon quickly.

I have managed to find a way to get 5 - 15 extra coupon inserts a week. Those inserts I keep intact, organized by which insert they come from and the date. The actual coupon book logs how many of each insert I have, so if I know there is a great deal on something I will clip the coupon from the extra inserts and place them in a special place in my coupon book.

So there you have it - my coupon book :) Perhaps a little OCD. But hey... it helps me keep better track of the deals and makes me feel organized! Now if only my kitchen were so fine tuned!


Baby Face

Love these expressions!
He makes me laugh.


I am - very slowly! - making my way through Dr. Dobson's book Bringing Up Boys. I love the book. I am already completely enthralled with my two little men, but this book has me excited about all the stages that are to come. It is an encouraging and positive book. I borrowed it from a friend, but I think I'll get my own copy.

Judah is a very busy boy. He amazes me with how gentle he is with his brother. He will stop mid-activity to go kiss Wesley. He puts his arms out to "hold" Wesley, and we let him (with our arms underneath!) Judah will hold his brother for all of 5 seconds, and then will wander off.
Both boys cry if the other one is crying.

Right now it's cute. The day I am on my own with two crying boys I think I'll start crying with them :)

Judah is starting to notice Paul's absence more now. Paul has affectionately dubbed Judah "Buppy" and when Judah is missing Paul he walks around chanting "Daddy, Buppy, Daddy, Buppy." Paul gave him a camo print Bible and he carries that around with him too.

Last night Paul sneezed and Judah thought it was hilarious, so they "sneezed" at each other for a good 15 minutes. This morning when Judah was down for a nap I happened to sneeze as I walked by his door. I could hear him jump up in his crib and he said "Daddy?!"

The other day I was unloading the dryer and Judah put a toy in it. I pulled the toy out and tossed it a few feet away. Judah said "Uh oh!" and went and got the toy, and put it back in the dryer. We repeated that cycle until the dryer was emptied of clothes and I could close the door :)

Judah's developing a passion for books. I need to hit up some yard sales and get him some new ones... we're all rather tired of the 10 Little Lady Bugs, Goodnight Gorilla, The Growing Carrot and his Medical/Body book. He'll carry a book over to one of us, tug at our hand and say "Ba!" with great enthusiasm.

Balls, bottles and books are all "ba" - those are three of his favorite things, but he won't call any of them by name.
He's picked up on the fact that my name is Jessica, and sometimes when chattering to Esther or Paul he will call me Jessica instead of mommy or mama. He's never once tried calling Paul anything other than dadda or daddy.
While he's not allowed to call me 'Jessica' (just in case anyone's wondering!!) I do think it's rather smart of him to of pieced it together.
Wesley still remains nameless to him.


Funny Face

Taken by Essie


True Love

I discovered a new hunting ground for coupons - gas stations! It seems an unlikely spot, but my sweet man discovered this treasure trove.

Yesterday we were on our way to a local driving range to hit some golf balls around and Paul stopped at a gas station to by me an Icee. A blue one. You know a man loves you when he'll buy his woman a blue Icee prior to the date. Blue tongue, blue lips, blue teeth. What could be more romantic then that?

Anyways.... so he is in the gas station and found some Coke and some Dasani water coupons just sitting in there. He grabbed a few of them and gave them to me when he got in the car.

It was more romantic and sweet to me than a bouquet of flowers would've been. My man *gets* me. He's a coupon convert. And he didn't even make fun of me for gushing over them. In fact I could see the wheels spinning in his head "Wow... all I need to do is find some coupons for her and she'll think it's romantic? Dude, why didn't I realize this before?"

Today I stopped at two more gas stations. Under the guise of getting another Icee. Or maybe checking for coupons was my excuse for buying an Icee ... regardless - I found coupons at the first gas station, and I bought an Icee there. I found nothing at the second one, and didn't buy anything at the second one.

At the first gas station the lady rung up my size Large Icee for the price of a Medium Icee. Large is about .20 cents more than a Medium - I caught the mistake and told her I thought she was charging me too little.
She looked at me like I was talking jibberish and said "huh?"
I told her that I'd ordered a Large, and I thought it was a bit more than what she was charging me.
She said "Oh, uh... I guess I can charge you more then."
As she starts to re-ring it I told her "It's not that I want you charging me more, it's just I don't want you to get in trouble for not having charged enough."

I have never seen such a quick transformation in a person before. It's not that she'd been mean prior to that, but she'd been grumpy and not pleasant. After I said that to her though she became sweet and pleasant and smiled.

Being under charged by .20 cents might not seem like such a big deal - and to be honest if I'd only noticed once I'd already gotten out the door I probably wouldn't of walked back in- but I am so, so glad that I was able to put a smile on someones face simply because I paid the .20 cents I owed the store anyway.

Back to yesterdays date... here are a couple pictures of us at the driving range. Wesley was with us too, but he snoozed in his car seat the entire time.
If you've never been to a driving range I suggest you try it out! It's a really fun activity, and the man that worked there even came out to give us some pointers! It was really nice of him. Though I remain helplessly bad at it.



Bloggy friends are so cool. I have never met CRYSTAL in real life, but we faithfully read and comment on each others blogs. We e-mail occasionally and we've even traded bags of tea with each other. We both have this thing for tea.
She makes gorgeous jewelry and I've ordered a few pieces from her.

She sent Wesley an outfit, and he's modeling the shirt above. The shorts are a tad too big still and the vest is too hot right now.

I did take pictures of him in the complete outfit, but I just got a new laptop and it doesn't yet have my photo editing program on it... and Wes has red eyes in the pictures. So the full outfit pictures will have to wait :)

So yes folks, I did get a new laptop. It is so cool :) Paul went with me on Saturday and he made me so proud.
Our sales dude was a man named Xavier. He was nice and he knew his stuff. But so did Paul. Paul is pretty smart about computer stuff and Xavier couldn't actually tell Paul anything he didn't already know.

It made me laugh because at one point Xavier points to a sticker on a laptop and said "I know, I know - you're going to ask me what the difference is between this (pointing at an AMD sticker) and INTEL."
Two days earlier Paul had spent a lengthy amount of time explaining all of it to me. So I found it funny because Paul definitely knew the difference - and how to explain it. But Paul's so gracious he let Xavier tell us the difference. I think it made Xavier feel good.

Which is, I believe, exactly what Paul wanted. Paul wanted Xavier to like us. Because once we'd finally picked out the laptop Paul said to him;
"So Xavier, are there any items you're able to toss in to make the deal even sweeter? Incentives or anything?"

Xavier liked us, because he offered us everything that he was able to give out. We got a free (after mail in rebate) lap top bag, Anti Virus software, wireless router and a printer/scanner combo.

I am slowly getting everything from my old laptop moved over to my new laptop, so blogging may be slow. I haven't gone anywhere though! I'll be blogging more again shortly.


Voice Mail

A snippet from a voice mail my 19 year old brother left for me;

"Hey Jess, just wanted to call and say thank you for the belt buckle you bought me for my birthday. I love it, love it, love it. Say thanks to Paul for me too. Oh... uh... and to the two individuals you bred. I can't remember their names."


Thanks for the shirts and socks Uncle Craig & Aunt Amanda!



My Week

Sometimes I have moments of genius-ness in the kitchen. And sometimes I have moments of sheer stupidity. This week I had both :)

I somehow managed to bust our blender. In the nearly three and a half years we've been married I've managed to break two blenders! Now in all fairness our blender gets used almost daily. It gets a lot of lovin'. But this weeks busting was impressive - somehow the blades broke off in the middle of a blend. It literally broke. So now we need a new blender.

Moving on... my moment of genius-ness... I made up a recipe for chai cookies! I couldn't find one online, so I made one up. You can see the recipe HERE - they are everything I could hope for in a chai cookie!


A Love Letter...

There's love in the air people. Or something else. Like a scam perhaps.

I have recently started writing on a site that allows you to publish content on any subject you want and you get paid based on how popular your content is. In order to do this you need to set up a profile, and you can put in as much or as little information as you want.
My profile includes a picture of myself and a little blurb about being happily married to my husband and having two sweet little boys.

I received this message from a "Miss Marry" this morning;

"Hello My name is Miss marry am 23yr old . I saw your profile today and it really acttract me alot i believe that you are the man i have been looking for to share my love; How is your health? i hope all is well with you. I believe that we can move from here ; but remember that distance;age and colour dose not matter what matters is the true love and understanding; in my next e-mail i shall include my pictuer; i been waithing for your reply mail me with this mail address (xxxxx@xxxxx.xx.xx) for further introduction.
Bye hopeing to hear from you soonest."
The only editing I did was to remove the email address.

So apparently I look like a man. A man that is happily married to a husband. With two little boys.

Oh the things that amuse me!



My sister took this picture and it makes me smile - he looks like a mad scientist. :)

Paul is gone this whole week, and last week he pretty much only slept here. He had some ridiculous hours and we barely saw him.
I miss him.

Someone commented to me and said "Well, it would be better if he were deployed overseas, that way at least you'd be making more money."

Nope. I'm sorry. It wouldn't be better. Paul and I don't complain about his work schedule. We are grateful for his job. God so very clearly led us to where we are right now and we feel blessed.

Certainly we'd like to have regular hours, a routine and not so many overnights ... but we don't have it. And yet we are content.

It is possible that one day he could be deployed. It's actually quite astounding that he hasn't yet been deployed. And while I am grateful that my boys have their daddy here and that I have my husband here it would be ok - in fact we would still be blessed and find contentment - if he were deployed. It wouldn't be easy. Or fun. Or our first choice. But we would be ok. And I would be so proud of him.

But until that does happen please don't ever tell me that it would be better for him to be deployed overseas for more money than for him to work an 18 hour shift day after day here.
I'd rather have him safe in my arms than any amount of money a deployment could offer.



We were out today on a walk and this lady approached us, pushing two little girls in a stroller.
She made some small talk about Wesley and then said;
"Ma'am, may I ask you a favor?"
I said of course, and she seemed to take her time in getting her favor out. And then she said;

"Could you please buy my children some food? They haven't eaten in ages."

I felt horrible. I had all of $2 on me, which I didn't want to just hand to her - not because I mistrusted her, but because I didn't want to insult her request. There weren't any places within walking distance to buy food from, other than the farmers market, and they didn't take debit cards.
I wasn't close enough to my car to jump in and go pick something up for her children.

I asked her to give me a moment and I looked in the diaper bag - I had four dried fruit strips and a bag of gummy strawberries. I usually have granola bars and other snacks too. But sadly not today. I started to give her what I did have and she said no, she didn't want to take it.
Thinking at first that she didn't want someone elses food I started to reassure her that these were individually sealed and they hadn't been opened.

"Oh no ma'am," she said, "I can't take away your children's snacks."

I wanted to cry. Here were my babies in a super nice stroller, with full bellies, nice clothes, smelling good. And this woman was concerned about depriving my own children of their snacks when her own children hadn't eaten real food. I was embarrassed about all that my children did have.

I assured her that my boys would be completely fine without their snacks, and that we would love for her girls to eat them. She was still hesitant to take them, but at my insistence she did and she gave them to her girls right away.

She thanked me and we parted ways. When we were a bit of a distance away from her I stopped to check the diaper bag again. I was so sure I had granola bars in there. I always have granola bars! But again, I couldn't find them. I saw that she was watching me checking my diaper bag and she'd stopped walking, so I grabbed my $2 and took it over to her, apologizing for not having anything more to offer her and her girls.

This woman has been on my mind since we left her... I wish I'd had more with me to share with her.
I had considered offering her the diapers, wipes and blanket I had in my diaper bag but I couldn't get over my own American-ized self thinking "that's gross to get those things 'second hand'" (tho they were all clean!!) I wish I had offered, because now I will forever regret that I didn't offer, which I think is far worse than being embarrassed because I did offer and her turning her nose up.

A Walk By The River


Speaking in Riddles

Drive Thru Lady: May I take your order please?

Me: Can I have a large coffee please.

-the computer screen at the drive thru shows "1 large coffee"

Her: Is that all?

Me: Actually... can I have an extra large please?

-the computer screen at the drive thru shows "2 large coffees"

Me: No, no - could I please have one SIZE extra large coffee.


Death Row

A while ago Jessica Seinfeld was on Oprah talking about her cookbook Deceptively Delicious.
The idea behind these recipes is that you puree vegetables and 'hide' them in the dishes so that your children are eating vegetables without actually knowing that they're eating vegetables.

On the show Jessica Seinfeld had an assortment of dishes from her cookbook that she'd made ahead of time for Oprah to sample. One such item was brownies. 'Death Row Brownies' as Jessica said her husband, actor Jerry Seinfeld, calls them. He calls them that because he thinks they're the best brownies in the world and if he were on Death Row he would pick those as his final meal.

These brownies were said to have pureed carrots and pureed spinach in them. Yes folks, that should have been a sign. Spinach and Carrot Chocolate Brownies. Doesn't that make your taste buds tingle?!
Regardless of how icky it sounds it did have me curious. And then Oprah took a bite and SHE declared them delicious.

This past week I was shopping and found the cookbook on sale. I adore cookbooks, and I was already curious about this one AND it was on sale. It was too much of a coincidence to pass up on. I had to have that cookbook. So have the cookbook I did.

At the ravings of Jerry Seinfeld and Oprah I decided that these 'Death Row' Brownies would be the very first thing I tried making. So on Saturday my brother and I made these.
Let me tell you this - I totally agree with Jerry that these are Death Row Brownies. But not for the same reason as him.

These brownies could be used as a means of torture to kill victims on death row.

They were the grossest thing I have ever intentionally created in my kitchen.
Either Oprah has strong gag reflexes and lied on public television or she has an odd sense of 'delicious.'

I'm willing to accept the slim possibility that maybe I did something wrong with these brownies to make them taste like you were eating moldy dirt (my sisters description.)
Against all logic and common sense I am going to attempt to make this recipe again. I really do want to like them. And I'd love to be able to eat a brownie and say "there, I've eaten my veggies today. Might as well eat another plateful." *grin*


Days in Pictures

My dad, brother Caleb and sister Esther arrived on Thursday afternoon, it was a short visit with everyone, and then this morning dad, Caleb and mum headed home, and Esther is here until the end of the month.
It was a fun time together.

Judah wearing his uncle's hat and aunt's sunglasses:
Judah was all about trying on peoples stuff - here he is in his grandpa's glasses:
Wesley and me
Judah and his aunt Essie
Judah and Grandpa had matching boots!
Judah and Grandpa modeling said boots:
Wesley and Grandma cuddling:
Aunt Essie and the boys:
Uncle Caleb cuddling with his nephews:
Caleb was so cute with the boys!! Friday night, after Judah was in bed, Caleb and I were looking over some pictures from earlier and he says "Man, I miss that kid (talking about Judah). Even though he is just sleeping in the other room I miss him." So sweet :)
My parents and my boys and me:
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