Friday, May 29, 2009

People Who Have Changed My Life

My neighbor and friend, Lurenda, lost her little girl, Olivia about a week after her birth. Olivia was born very premature. Today would have been Olivia's third birthday. In honor and memory of her, Lurenda asked her friends to share someone who has made a difference in our lives in the same way that Olivia touched so many lives in her short life. I cannot think of any one person in particular that stands out above anyone else so here are my thoughts on this Friday morning.

My college roommate Meredith, a new mommy herself! She would not remember this but sometime our junior year, I was struggling with a relationship and she calmly looked me in the eye and asked if he was a Christian. I could not answer. She then said "Renie, can you imagine him not being with you in paradise?" While it took me a few more years to act on her sisterly love for me, I did finally make the break and the result was meeting....

My husband, Philip. I guess most wives would say that their husbands have had a lasting impression on them and for good reason. My husband, Philip, accepted me for who I was, warts and all. I remember that deep talk every couple has when they lay it all out on the table, with pure honesty. As I finished sharing my sordid past, he shared his and it was virtually spotless. I felt so ashamed and fearful. How could this wonderful man love me? He looked deeply in my eyes and simply said that I was his love, that I was to be his bride, forgiven and washed pure, just as Christ loved the Church. I have never felt such a powerful rush of emotions as that moment, in Kentucky, nine years ago.

And of course, my children. No one, especially me, could have imagined me loving my calling as a mother as much as I do. Each morning, I thank God for these little blessings and how much they depend on and adore me and my husband. They are living proof that God programmed us to desire love from one another and to love Him.

Dear sweet Olivia, thank you for the opportunity to reflect on people in our lives that have made us be better people because of their unconditional love for us.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Overhear on our Neighborhood Walk Tonight

Mommy, lifting Little Philip up and cradling him in her arms:
Philip, soon Mommy isn't going to be able to lift you up like this because you are getting to be a big boy. Sometimes wants you to stay my little baby boy so I can cuddle like this forever.

Little Philip:
No, I want to be a big boy!

I know, and you are getting to be a big boy.

Little Philip:
I want to be a big boy because I want to be a daddy.

Philip, it will be a long time before you get to be a daddy.

Little Philip:
You have to be six years old to be a Daddy.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Rainy Day Activities

It has been raining for about year solid now, or at least it seems that way. When it rains like this, our already small house has magic walls that seem to come in around us even closer, especially when Daddy is working in his office. Want to see Daddy's office? Yep, that's our living room. So when the rain begins to make us climb the walls, we go to the McWane Center, an incredible three story children's hands on science museum here in Birmingham. The last time we went Daddy went with us. The McWane Center has this great game floor that Little Philip loves. His favorite two games are dodge ball and a bug squash game. While Little Philip was excavating a nearby dinosaur bone yard exhibit I caught a glimpse of Big Philip and Helen on the game floor with another daddy and his little girl, competing in a friendly bug squash competition. This other daddy is a friend of ours, a physician who, if you notice, keeps both hands on his infant daughter at all times. You can tell the difference between these two daddies in the video because our daddy uses the one-handed hold approach in order to use his smooth jazz hand move each time he lunges to squash another bug.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Overheard at the Moss House tonight

Philip and I cleaned the house today from 8:00 - 4:00 p.m. solid. We did not get to our bedroom but the rest of the house is spotless. We had some friends coming over for dinner around 4:00 p.m. (can you tell we have kids?) so at 3:30 I threw myself in the shower to get ready. I could hear Philip finishing wiping down the bathroom counter on the other side of the shower curtain and I was thinking about how grateful I was for all his help. So I told him so.

Honey, thank you for all your help today. I couldn't have done it without you.

And thank you for shaving your legs for me.

As we near our eighth anniversary this July, romantic interludes like this still make my heart flutter.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Chocolate-Rasberry Burritos

Note, the above picture is of chocolate banana burritos but imagine the same thing with chocolate and raspberries for the below recipe. Remember, we ate ours before we thought to take a picture so use your imagination!

Because there were several requests for this, I am posting the dessert recipe Philip made for me on our camping/farm getaway. This recipe is from the Better Homes & Gardens Biggest Book of Grilling.

Chocolate-Raspberry Burritos

4 8-9" flour tortillas
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup fresh raspberries
2 T. butter, melted (it must be butter, not margarine)
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
4 T. sweetened cream cheese (just soften and add a little powdered sugar)

Stack the tortillas and wrap in a piece of heavy foil. For a charcoal grill (i.e., real man's grill), grill foil packet on the rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium-low coals about 5 minutes or until tortillas are warm and pliable, turning packet once. Or simply wrap tortillas in paper towels and microwave for 20-40 seconds (that's what we did).

Sprinkle 1/4 cup each of the chocolate chips and raspberries in the center of each tortilla; fold in sides and roll up. Brush burritos with half of the melted butter. Grill burritos over medium-low coals about 3 minutes or until the tortillas begin to show grill marks and the chocolate is melted. turning once. For a gas grill, preheat grill, Reduce heat to medium-low. Place foil packet, then burritos on grill rack over heat. Cover and grill as stated above.

Transfer burritos to a serving platter. Brush burritos with remaining melted butter. In a small bowl combine the sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle over the burritos. Serve immediately with sweetened cream cheese on side as a dip. (or just put a tablespoon of the cream cheese inside each burrito prior to grilling).

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Our Romantic Night Away

Despite our meager family budget living on one income, Philip and I have recently tried to find ways to keep the romance alive. That is, we try to do something for just us, as husband and wife rather than as mommy and daddy. This is hard to do when you consider what a night out cost. By the time you add in $10/hour for a babysitter, a modest dinner and two movie tickets, the cost starts looking like most of our monthly grocery budget.

Last weekend we headed to West Tennessee with plans to leave our children with Mamie and Bop and "camp" at the nearby Moss Farm. Apparently, Noah finished his ark because the rain started and it did not stop. Thankfully, the Moss Farm has a delightful farm house that kept us warm and dry.

Despite deciding the day before to make this trip, Philip managed to make some delicious chicken and vegetable foil pouches to marinate on our drive up. After marinating for about six hours, our dinner was absolutely delicious, roasted over a campfire, I mean, wood burning fireplace. So after a glass or two of wine and a nice walk through the woods before the rain started, we hunkered down inside and ate our dinner. Philip also brought the fixings to make raspberry and chocolate enchiladas. They were incredible. So incredible that they ended up being digested before either of us could take a picture.

We did our best not to turn on the TV, especially since the TV picture really doesn't work but we turned it on long enough to be sure we were not under a tornado watch or warning. Then we chatted a bit and went to bed at 9:00 p.m. This by itself, made the trip completely worth it. We tried to sleep in the next day but our bodies are so used to waking up early with the children that we only made it to 7:30 a.m. We made coffee and laughed about how little conversation we had for each other that did not involve our children. At lunchtime and with the rains subsiding, Philip grilled delicious burgers and we ate them with the organic veggie chips we picked up at the Amish bulk food store coming into town (that sounded like a SNL skit involving Martha Stewart but really, that's what we did). After that we headed back into town to rejoin the living.

It may not be the posh get away most couples dream of visiting but it was a blissful time for the two of us to reconnect.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Boys Being Boys

Today Little Philip and Helen had some friends come over to play. The girls stayed inside to play while the boys went outside to be boys. This is what I found a few minutes later. Is there anything cuter than two boys playing in the mud?


Monday, May 11, 2009

Overheard at the Moss House Tonight

Mommy: Daddy, did you change Helen just now?

Daddy: Yes.

Mommy: I guess that is why there is a big hunk of meatloaf on the changing table?

Daddy: It must have been stuck on her from dinner.


Daddy: Are we sure that's meatloaf?

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Love Grows Best in Little Houses

At bedtime, Helen was still howling from her bedroom five minutes after putting her down. She's a great howler, making us think someone is in there attacking her sometimes with the way she can change her pitch, pause, and then begin shrieking all over again. Call us bad parents but we believe in sleep training our almost fourteen month old.

At this point, Little Philip was being a darling in his bed, having had his three books read to him by Daddy, prayers said, and his "quiet time" alone with his last book complete. Little Philip's room is right next to his sister's. the living room is right next to both bedrooms. I told Big Philip that he needed to go in to check on Helen because I would just make it worse. On the way, Little Philip came to his door, cracked it and told Daddy:

Daddy, I want some white noise.

Mommy and Daddy want it too.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Spring Park Fun

The weather is so very nice right now. Well, not this week, but the temperature has been blissfully warm in the last few weeks. Our friends found a delightful little park one day and we all went for a picnic to let the kiddos get their sillies out. I found Marley, Max, and Philip all inside a tube on the playground. The conversation was quite amusing to hear as they all battled for their particular roles in "playing house."

Overheard at Breakfast Today

Hey, Mommy! When I'm six I'm going to shave!