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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Determined to Walk and Through the Eyes of a Child

I realize my youngest is a bit behind with his large motor skills but that doesn't stop this Mama from being completely stoked that he is walking.  He took his first steps a couple weeks ago (on Father's Day) but hasn't shown much interest in walking since then.  Last night he was determined though and I was so excited/relieved.  You can watch the video below.  Please excuse my over excited baby talk voice.  I normally don't talk that way but I will use any means necessary at this point to get him excited about walking!  ;)



Through the Eyes of a Child

There are so many major (political and moral) issues going on in the world right now, namely marriage no longer being classified as a union between one man and one woman and the shutting down of the bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks.  Don't worry, I am not going to harp on these issues in this post.

The purpose of this post is to say that these big issues are being discussed in main stream media and all over the radio.  There has been no turning away from it recently.  It's not that I want to close my eyes to it because I am fully aware and involved in what is going on with these issues.  It's just that I know my boys will one day be asking me about these issues after hearing of them through media outlets or their friends talking at school.  And the other day I got to thinking about how I am going to explain these things to Garrison and Ethan. 

I can only imagine what Garrison's face will look like when I have to explain to him what abortion is.  There is no sugar coating or downplaying what it is.  And it makes me wonder how pro choice parents explain abortion to their children when asked about it.  Would a mother downplay it by telling her daughter that a baby in someone else's tummy (who has been or will be aborted) is different or less meaningful than the younger sibling that mommy might have carried for her daughter?  Telling a young child (or even a pre-teen) that it's a "woman's right to choose" is illogical.  It would be interesting to view a child's reaction when first told about abortion.  I can't imagine there is a child out there that would shrug this off as a woman's right to choose as opposed to killing an unborn child.  I just know how innocent children are and I am so fearful of shattering or suppressing that innocence one day.

Since Garrison has been about two I have been having open discussions with him about child predators.  Of course the conversations were always age appropriate.  When a couple of teachers/coaches were recently arrested close to our town for sexual child abuse I knew it was time to go a little deeper with that conversation with Garrison.  I didn't get into sexual details of course but I had to explain to him how sometimes these adults can manipulate children (for example tell them they will hurt their family if they say anything, which is what one of the local coaches said to the little girl).  When he asked why people hurt children I told him some people are just sick in the head.  It's almost as if I could see a piece of innocence shed from his soul in that moment and it made me cry for my son.  And the most heart breaking part was his response: "Mommy, if anyone ever tried to hurt me like that I would tell them that Jesus loves them and that is wrong and they need to go see a doctor to get their head fixed."  I guess this was somewhat of a shining light in this dark world to know that my son can still hold on to that sense of naivete and compassion for someone who is such a "monster" in an adult's eyes.

You may be thinking that children are na├»ve and just don't understand the reality of how the world works.  But God commands us to see things through a child's eyes instead of through the jaded eyes of the modern world.  This is such a powerful scripture:

"At that time the disciples approached Jesus and said, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said, “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.  Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me."  ~Matthew 18:1-5


He tells us to become like children.  I want to sustain a child like joy.  I want to sustain a child like faith.  I want to sustain a child like view of moral issues and have clear black and white boundaries of good and bad, righteous and evil.


~Jewels*


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

20 Week Abortion Ban - Stand with Texas Women? Shame on You!

If you know me or have read any of my posts you know where I stand on abortion.  No matter where you stand on the issue I impolore you to read this ENTIRE article before dismissing this as a pro life post.

The Texas House approved a law Monday that bans abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy.  It also requires that any abortions be performed in surgical centers by doctors with admitting privileges. 

I am absolutely appalled at all of the women protesting this ban, no matter where they stand politically.  They have labeled themselves "Stand with Texas Women".  Even if we take politics and religion out of this issue I find it hard to understand the logic behind the protests.  This is part of the reasoning critics of this bill have given:
"Of 42 clinics providing abortions in Texas, five meet the more stringent surgical-center guidelines that have been proposed, Busby said. She noted that 87% of Texas counties don’t have an abortion provider, meaning women already travel an average 43 miles to get abortion."
~LA Times

Seriously?!  These people are protesting because they might have to drive across the state to have an abortion?  The option to have an abortion is still there people.  Is the next step to start pushing for abortion providers to come to your house so you don't have to be inconvenienced at all? 

Most women find out they are pregnant around 8-10 weeks.  This would still give women a large window of time to decide to have an abortion. 

Let me share with you what is going on around the 20th week of pregnancy:
  • He weighs around 11 oz.
  • He is around 6 1/2 inches from head to bottom and 10 inches from head to heel.
  • He is swallowing more which is good practice for his digestive system. 
  • You can see a video here of what the baby looks like at this time. 

BEFORE 20 weeks:
  • Your baby can hear your voice
  • His brain has started designating areas for all five senses.
  • His kidneys are producing urine.
  • The hair has started to sprout on his head.
  • He flexes his arms and legs.
  • He has ears.
*All of the above are facts from Babycenter.com*

I could go on and on but the baby I have described above, at 20 weeks and even PRE 20 weeks, is just that...a baby!  A living human being.  Studies have shown that when abortions are performed after the first trimester the baby can actually feel the pain.  I'm sorry if that is hard to hear but it's true. 

Supporters of the bill say this bill will raise the standards of womens' health care and I could not agree more.  Even if you are pro choice and decide to have an abortion before 20 weeks are you really okay with going to an abortion clinic that does not meet certain standards or requirements?  To me this bill and the requirements within it provide additional protection for the woman.  Apparently people have not been listening to what has been going on in the news lately.  Let me point you to a few articles discussing recent illegal abortions in Philadelphia and Houston.  Trust me, I am providing the ones that don't give all the disgusting details.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/05/14/pa-abortion-doctor/2159193/

http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Houston-doctor-accused-of-illegal-abortions-4519565.php


This is going on in Wisconsin right now and I couldn't agree with it more.

"Just days after the passage of legislation requiring an ultrasound before an abortion, a bill proposed by an Assembly Republican would require an abortion doctor to make burial or cremation arrangements for an aborted fetus. Proposed by Rep. Garey Bies (R-Sister Bay), the legislation would require a fetus more than 10 weeks old to be either buried, cremated or donated for medical training or research. The woman would not have to give her consent to the arrangements, nor would she have to be told they are occurring, under the bill (Phillis, 6/23)."
~Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


To the "Stand with Texas Women" group I would say shame on you.  You are not standing with this Texas woman.  You are making this Texas woman ashamed to live in a state with heartless women who are making abortion seem as if it is something to be praised and admired.  You are making it seem like strong women choose to abort instead of give their babies up for adoption.  You are discouraging other women from giving their babies a chance at life, whether they choose to raise them on their own or not.

I stand with the Texas women (and all women) who choose life for their babies.  I stand with women who sacrifice 9 months of their life so their babies can have a chance to make this world a better place.  I stand with women who love life and understand just how very precious it is!  I applaud women like Ethan's birth mother who selflessly decided to follow through with their pregnancies and give babies like Ethan a chance at life.  I know he has blessed mine beyond measure!







 
 



~Jewels*




Monday, June 24, 2013

Rough Riders and Skinny Chicken Cordon Bleu

We went to see the Rough Riders play in Frisco Friday night with Garrison's baseball team.  Despite it being ridiculously hot outside we had some great seats in the shade.  Here are some pictures from the evening.

Cole, Jackson and Garrison
Love this picture of them!


 Cole, Jackson, Caden and Garrison
Garrison hasn't quite learned about personal space yet. Good thing his best friend Caden doesn't mind.

 
 
The most exciting part of the game?!  Daddy caught the winning ball the closing pitcher threw out to the stands.  Garrison and Garrett were beyond excited!  I think they both fulfilled a childhood dream that night. 
 
 
Garrison with the winning ball!
 

And the night ended with an awesome fireworks show.  This looks more like an explosion but I promise it was a great show!
 

 
 
 
Skinny Chicken Cordon Blue
Serving Size: 2 pieces
Old Weight Watchers Points/Points Plus: 8
 
This is another great Skinny Taste recipe I came across and made last night.  I absolutely loved it.  My only small complaint would be that it wasn't as creamy as I would have liked but I guess that's what you get when you go "skinny".  I might try it with reduced fat cream cheese instead of the sliced swiss next time around.
 
I brought leftovers for lunch today and I think I actually like this dish reheated better than straight out of the oven which is a plus.
 
 
Ingredients:
  • Cooking Spray
  • 3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts (slice in half lengthwise to make thinner pieces)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 egg and 1-2 egg whites
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs (or crush up croutons)
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 6 thin slices of deli ham
  • 6 slices reduced fat swiss cheese (or try reduced fat cream cheese)
 
Directions:
Preheat oven to 450.  Spray a large non stick baking sheet with cooking spray.  I lined mine with foil and then sprayed the foil - easy clean up!
 
Slice the chicken lengthwise in half to get thinner breasts.  (You just laughed at that didn't you?)
 
Season chicken with salt/pepper.
 
Lay chicken on a working surface and place a slice of ham on top of the chicken and then the cheese on the ham.  Roll the chicken and put the seem side down.
 
In a bowl whisk the eggs, egg white(s) and water.
 
In another bowl combine the breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese.
 
Dip the chicken in the egg wash and then breadcrumbs. 
 
Place chicken on the baking sheet seem side down.  Spray the top of the chicken with more cooking spray and bake about 25 minutes or until cooked (no pink in the chicken).
 



~Jewels*

 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Work Quirks

I don't even know what this title really means.  I just like the sound of it. 

I have worked in offices with 200 people and I've worked in offices with 5 people.  Both have their pros and cons I suppose.  I really do enjoy where I'm at and the people I work with but there are times where I just find myself staring back and someone and thinking, "What the hell?!". 

I am in a very small office now and we have an audio system that plays music only in the lobby area of our office (where I sit).  In case I'm not making myself clear I am the ONLY person who can hear this music.  The owner likes to keep it on the classical station.  That's all fine and good but for some reason that music drives me up the wall.  It is the antithesis of relaxing music to me.  He knows I listen to my radio at my desk unless there are clients here and the other day he mentioned that is perfectly fine with him because he understands how the classical music could get bothersome after a while.  So can someone please tell me why he felt the need just a bit ago to turn up the classical music to what had to have been almost full volume?!  It was a song that sounded more like a marching band than Mozart and I jumped out of my chair and immediately expected a marching band to appear in front of me in our office.  No such luck.  Reminded me of the movie "The Other Sister".  Anyone?!



I know you have to learn to work with different personalities when you are in the corporate world but I swear (for my last two jobs at least) I continue getting the short end of the stick.  My boss really is a nice man but he is just so very odd.  He likes attention apparently so when he walks out of our office (even to go to the bathroom) he will literally stand there and jiggle the doorknob until I acknowledge his presence.  I thought maybe I was overanalyzing things so one day so I tried something new.  I pretended like I didn't hear him jiggling the knob to see if he would go on his merry way.  Oh, no...he kept a jigglin' until I finally looked up.  He also likes to have odd staring contests with people.  You know those people - where they aren't sure where to look when they talk to you and they run out of things to say but they continue standing in your personal space and just staring?!  So I have just learned to stare back in silence until he turns and walks away. 



I have blogged before about the owner of the previous company I worked for.  I would definitely say he was ranked up there on the wack job scale.  I used to chauffer him around town (even though he had a car here) and every time we rode in my car he would roll the window up and down, up and down, up and down.  I couldn't quite figure it out so I just let him continue on.  (In hind sight I think I should have locked the windows to see what he would have done.)  Anyhoo, one day we were riding along and he looked at my dashboard in an obvious manner and proceeded to ask me if I had dogs.  I told him I did.  He then asked me if they ride ON the dashboard.  Now, I could have been offended that he thought my car was dirty but instead I just laughed...and said "yes, yes they do". 



After working in the corporate world for a little over 10 years now I have learned that you can't take things to seriously.  I take my job and duties in that job seriously but I have learned that you just can't figure some people out.  I have met one too many people with screws loose up top and you just have to learn to let it amuse rather than annoy you.  That's my two cents at least.

If I was going to have a super awkward boss I would much rather have someone like Michael Scott (The Office).  Enjoy these clips!!!



~Jewels*




Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Keep the Spark Alive

I know marriage is not easy, especially when you add kids to the mix.  But it saddens me so much to talk to people who seem to have just given up on having a successful or happy marriage.  I am not talking about extenuating circumstances where there has been unfaithfulness or other major issues.  I'm talking about just your every day married couple who has been married for 2 years or 30 years and don't have any kind of spark or even friendship left with their spouse. 

I have had the chance to observe many married couples and along with many other things I feel like one of the keys to happiness in a marriage is keeping the spark alive.  This doesn't mean you have to get it on 7 days a week.  It doesn't mean you have to have weekly date nights.  It just means that you have to remember what you love about that person and keep it at the forefront of your mind when things start to get stagnant.  And it means you have to actually work at your marriage.

Anyone who has been married for more than a few years knows that marriage is hard work.  Mine is far from perfect.  But I know that when we do have those sporadic date nights, a long one on one conversation or just a good laugh together it connects us.  That connection is what keeps marriages going.  It makes us realize why we love the person we chose to spend a life with.

I hope if you get anything from this post it is that you should try to connect with your spouse and remember what made you fall in love them all those years ago.  If you have lost that spark get it back.  Don't give up and don't let things get stagnant.  I saw a great quote yesterday:

"Decide what makes you happy and fight for it." 
 
When Garrett and I are empty nesters I know I would much rather be living with my best friend than just a roommate.  And I choose to fight for our marriage and keep the spark alive!

I love Luke Bryan's song, "Do I".  You can watch the video below.



This is the kind of marriage I want when I'm 80.


And a final thought...




~Jewels*

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Cubs (Spring 2013)

I forgot to include an update in yesterday's blog about the Cubs' Championship game last Friday.  Let's just say fate was not on our side.  After a completely undefeated regular season and several playoff wins our boys did not play their best and we lost to the Rangers.  At least we came in 2nd place in our division which is one step up from last Spring.  I am so proud of these boys because they truly worked their butts off this season.  It stinks that we lost but we definitely lost to a well deserving team.  There was great sportsmanship all around which made me happy.  One of the Cubs moms is an awesome photographer and I wanted to share some of the pictures she got of Garrison and the team.  I can't wait to frame these and make a baseball collage in his room.










You had a great season #23!  We love you so much and are so proud of everything you have accomplished!


~Jewels*

Monday, June 17, 2013

Weekend Getaway, First Steps, Rend Collective Experiment and Custom Cards

Weekend Getaway

We went to Coleman this weekend to celebrate a 50th anniversary for a sweet couple in Garrett's family.  I always love escaping to Coleman!  The peace and quiet of the country life, the fact that Garrison doesn't ask to play on my phone once while we're there, the chance to get off technology for a while and relax with family - it's all priceless.  I wish I would have been better about getting more pictures throughout the weekend but I got some of these yesterday.  These are my favs!

How cute is this high chair?  Ethan sure loved it! 


If I could sum up "love" in a picture...

These boys love their Granny!
 



First Steps

Our precious Ethan finally took his first steps this weekend (seven to be exact)!  And the best part was it was on Father's Day!  I was so glad Garrett and I were both able to watch him walk for the very first time.  He did it a second time and Garrett's Granny got to see but Garrison has yet to witness it.  He sure tried hard yesterday to get him to do it again but I guess he hasn't learned how stubborn our little E is.  In his own time!

And he suddenly turned into a major Mama's boy this weekend.  You won't hear me complain about that.  Oh, how I love this sweet angel baby God has blessed us with!



Rend Collective Experiment

I am loving this new Christian band I just discovered.  They are from North Ireland and their sound is so unique.  The only song I have heard played on the radio of theirs is "Build Your Kingdom Here" and it's amazing!

You can watch the video by clicking on the below picture.  It's a pretty sweet video and really makes me want to watch them live!


Custom Cards

I came across a really cool website called Treat.com and you can build custom greeting cards there (add photos, change text, etc.) and they will mail them for you.  Make sure you allow at least a week (even more for holidays).  I have used them several times and it makes greeting cards so much more personal I think.  And the best part?!  The total cost is just a little over $4, so what you would spend on a regular Hallmark card.  Check them out here.



I hope you all had a great Father's Day!  I am so incredibly blessed to have a daddy who is such a Godly example in my life.  The love he has for my sister and I is unconditional and to know that our Heavenly Father loves us all even more than that is unfathomable (but so real) to me. 




And I am blessed to have a husband and best friend who is an awesome daddy to our boys.  I can't wait to see where God leads him and us in this life.

~Jewels*



Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Last Day of 1st Grade, Contagious Laughter, Go Cubs!

I was so glad I was able to take off work for Garrison's last day of school.  I went to the assembly at his school where he received awards for no tardies and perfect attendance all year.  I was almost as shocked by his perfect attendance award as I was when I was told I made the top 10% of my class senior year in high school.  However, I didn't feel the need to ask his counselors to double check the stats like I did in my situation.  :)

After the assembly we went to lunch with my parents and then my mom and I took him to see Escape from Planet Earth.  It was a great day spent with my (gasp) 2nd grader!  Here are some pictures from the day.

Walking into the assembly with some classmates.
 

 
Getting his perfect attendance award.
 
 
From last day of 1st grade to an office professional in one day!
(Playing at Papa's office)
 
 
He's got this down!
 
 
Showing off his medal.
 
 
He's all tuckered out.  Asleep in the buggy at Wal Mart.  WT?!
 
 
Enough energy left to ride his bike.  Doing a great job without training wheels!
 


Ethan truly has a contagious laugh.  I find myself laughing at him all the time.  Whether he's being precious, laughing his deep belly laugh or throwing a tantrum I'm laughing.  (I mostly laugh at the latter just so I can stay sane.) 

Here is a video from this past weekend I took of him.  Even when he wasn't feeling his best he still had a great belly laugh going.



This has to be my all time favorite photo series that I took from dinner last night of him and Garrett.  I'm just glad I got to sit behind the camera and laugh for this one.





 And here are two of my other favorite recent pictures of him.
 
  He's regularly standing up on his own.  Now if we could just get that walking part down!



I am so proud of Garrison and all the Cubs for continuing to have an undefeated regular season and playoff season this Spring.  Thursday night is the big Championship game and I'm not sure if us parents or the boys are more excited!  Here are some of my favorite recent pictures of our boys.  (I borrowed most of these from other parents.)

 
End of season pool party this past weekend.

 
Silly Faces!
 
 
 
After their win last night!


 Love these boys!
 


 GO CUBS!!!
 
 
~Jewels*