Wednesday, December 23, 2009

funny boy

Jackson said, "Look Mom - Santuh Cawz is a ballerina!"

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Every year about this time, I find myself in a reflective sort of mood. I enjoy looking back and trying to put everything that's happened into perspective. Today, cleaning out a folder on my computer, I found all of these old headers for our blog. These represent hours of work- I don't mind telling you that our blog layout is my baby. It's an area where I can flex my creative muscle and get out of the box for awhile - it brings me so much joy. I thought some of you might enjoy a peek back in time at the evolution of a header.

Inaugural Edition (August 2007) through August 2008

August 2008 - October 2008

October 2008 - December 2008

December 2008 - January 2009

February 2009 - May 2009

May 2009 - September 2009

September 2009 - December 2009

December 2009 - Present

Hope you enjoyed that. Stay tuned for our all new look in 2009 2010- I think you will enjoy it. If any of you want to make a custom header or tweak your blog a little bit, let me know. I'm no expert, but I enjoy helping and I can usually find a way to get it done.

Also, we're going to be taking the blog private (too many weird-o's out there), so let us know if you want to be included and we'll get you set up.

Thanks, and God Bless all of you.

~ Ben

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Monday, December 7, 2009

new addition

Luke Townsend
8 lbs 14 oz, 21 inches
December 1, 2009 4:07 pm

Monday, November 30, 2009

inching closer

I hope ya'll had a wonderful Thanskgiving! We sure did. We went to Pawpaw and Gigi's house since it's just 45 minutes up the road and I'm not allowed to travel too far away. You have no idea what it meant to us that they would stay home so that we could spend thanksgiving with family, so that we wouldn't have to spend it all alone. So very selfless - but it's just who they are. It was such a peaceful, yummy thanksgiving - just what I needed!

So my dr wants to induce me some time this week. Actually, they want to do it tomorrow if there is a bed available but we'll find out more about that today. I've been having some contractions since last night so hopefully I can just go in on my own and not have to worry about any of it. A lot of emotions go into this. Part of me is very ready to have a new sweet little boy in my arms and another part of me just wants to spend more one on one time with the sweet little boy I already have.

Jackson and Ben are my world. They are who God put me on this earth to experience life with. I truly believe that. I have had the best time these past two years being a first time mom...Jackson has just made it such a joy and blessing. I struggle some days about giving up our routine, the only life Jackson has known and honestly I can't remember what life was like before him. I get so scared that he's going to think I felt the need to replace him or that he wasn't good enough so I needed to just 'try again'... I'm sure it comes from all of the therapy sessions I've had with people. When you hear so many problems, struggles and issues coming from the world around you, you can't help but fear that your family will ultimately feel the same way. It's like a fireman whose house catches on fire or a dr whose loved one gets sick and can't make them better. Just fear really, but as emotional and hormonal as I am right now I can't help but be moved by all of it. So, I'm asking each of you to help me with something. Something crazy and irrational but a desire of my heart nonetheless. I want you to make sure my boys know a few things... things that I hope I can tell them myself but if for whatever reason I can't that you'll do it for me. Find them on a crowded street someday and say, "Hey, I knew your crazy mom and man I just have to tell you this..."

Make sure they know how much I love them. How much I prayed for them...both of them. That I asked God specifically for these two boys. That they have always been wanted, always been loved and always, always been my joy. Make sure Jackson knows that the only reason I ever wanted to have more children was because I wanted more of what I had with him. Being a mom of one has been so great, how could being a mom of two not be even better? Make sure they know that people will hurt them, fail them, disappoint them but God never will...even family members, those who are supposed to be on their side. Make sure they know that there is no such thing as perfection and that they are perfectly imperfect exactly the way they are. Oh and most definitely make sure they know that I gained over 30 pounds with each of them and if that isn't love, I dont know what is... ha!

We've had to move so far away from everyone that we love because of Ben's job. I know God has us here for a reason but it's really hard to see that somedays. Having children is something you want to share with those that you love and having another baby has just highlighted the distance. I miss our family and friends and it breaks my heart that we aren't closer to all of you... so if nothing else we could eat cookies in my living room on a tuesday afternoon while kids are running around screaming and throwing balls at anything in the house that is remotely breakable. Is it ridiculous that that sounds like a slice of heaven to me? Maybe so...I don't know about you, but I've come to really love almost everything I used to think was ridiculous.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


This little boy...

This little boy I love.

And Lord willing, this time next week, I'll have two.

What a blessed woman I am...and I am ever grateful.

Friday, November 20, 2009


Once there was a cat.
Somehow, he ended up under a pavilion by the river.
He was very hungry. All the time.
One day, a young couple came to his pavilion to eat nachos.
He tugged at the lady's heart strings.
She convinced the man to put the cat in the car with them.
His breath was stinky like the ocean.
He made himself at home.
And our home became his.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

New Blog

I would love for ya'll to head over to a new blog I just started. The link is on the sidebar of this blog and is called, "The Big Red Pot"... I promise I am by no means a cooking expert but I do LOVE to cook and I absolutely love to share and try new recipes. I've had little bits of that here and there on this blog but thought it would be fun to have one blog just about our family and another blog that has deals, recipes and menu plans...that way if you just want to see how we're doing you can check on us here but if you want to see the other side of things you can check over there! As a sneaky ploy to get you over there bonus there is a giveaway going on if you check out the very first post..incentive? bribery? not me...

Besides - I like to have my hands in 5 different cookie jars all at once and having two boys under 3 sounds too tame to not throw another project in the mix... *read into my sarcasm* This boy would never, ever give anyone any trouble. He's my perfect angel all the time. Aren't all 2 year olds?

Hope ya'll are doing well and remember to keep us and this new addition in your prayers over the next (very) few weeks.

p.s. - while you're over there, check out the awesome background that my hubby created from scratch... as he does with almost all of our blog backgrounds. He's such a talented gem to have around... no I will not loan him out. Ok, for a fee.


Monday, November 16, 2009

A Thankful Daddy

Yesterday we relished the fact that Bethany was done working outside our home. She came home, exhausted as usual, and fell asleep in her chair in the living room. I knew she was more tired than usual, because she hates going to sleep on Sunday morning. That’s just what a great mom she is – even after working two overnight shifts, she still wants to stay up with her boys.

When Bethany first started working last October, I admit, I was a big baby. I wasn’t sure if I could handle Jackson all on my own. It’s embarrassing to admit now, but I just didn’t feel adequate to be mom and dad at the same time. See, ever since Jackson was born, he’s been surrounded by his parents. I was out of work for the first eight months of his life, so we were blessed to be together all the time. Even when I started working again, he had Bethany 24/7- I didn’t know how he would respond to not having her at bedtime. Thankfully, I underestimated him and myself; we never had a problem. My greatest obstacle was my own fear. What I thought would be a traumatic separation for him ended up being a priceless father-son bonding experience. We would eat dinner, watch tv, play with toys, read books and then I would say his prayers with him. He didn’t cry, he didn’t scream – he just got in his bed and went to sleep. I was amazed.

Starting the first of January, Bethany shifted to two overnight shifts (Friday and Saturday) so that Jackson would never even know she was gone. That’s tough- if you’ve ever worked an overnight shift then you know how much it messes up your schedule. You spend all weekend working and then come home and go right back to being full time mom. Bethany, as always, did it without complaint.

With the new schedule came a new challenge: keeping Jackson occupied in the mornings while Bethany slept. I had to become more resourceful, more creative, more willing to go places with Jackson. We discovered a huge park that was walking distance from our house. We found trails to hike, creeks to throw rocks in, swings, slides, lakes, all sorts of things that keep little boys (and daddies) occupied. I learned how to always be prepared – never leave the house without a diaper, wipes, something to drink and a snack. I learned to trust my instincts as a father (I had the best example). I get so caught up in getting somewhere or accomplishing something specific that I forget that the big picture is just spending time together. Some my favorite memories involve nothing more than just slowing down and letting Jackson lead the way.

Above all else, I’m thankful for this last year with Jackson. If Bethany had never gone to work, I would have never learned all of these things. I would have never shared those precious moments with my boy. We wouldn’t have built the bond that we have today, and I definitely wouldn’t have shaken off that first-time-parent sense of What if I do something wrong.

So, in the spirit of the season, to my wife, my partner, and my love – thank you for all you do for our family. Without your hard work, we’d be in dire straits. And to God, our strength and our provider, time and time again You have blessed this house. Thank you for my family, and all the blessings that You have heaped on my plate.

One last thing. Yesterday I was being a horse for Jackson- this means he rides on my shoulders and I half run/walk while he says, “FASS HORFEY!!” We were in the park discovering new parts of the creek where we like to throw rocks. The little guy was having the best time when, unexpectedly, I felt his little hands patting my face and then his head resting against mine. A few seconds later he planted a little kiss right on top of my head. My heart was melting…and I hear, “Tank too Dadee”. Oh man, I thought as my throat tightened, this is one of those moments…one of those moments people remember forever. One of those slides on the wall of your memory that flash before your eyes right before you die. This is the essence of daddyhood, and I’ll never ever forget it.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Ever wonder just how important that egg the brownie box calls for is?

*after baking for an HOUR*
As it turns out...very.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Menu Plan 11/9-11/15

This week I plan to have a new blog up called, "The Big Red Pot". It will be in addition to this one but we've decided to make this blog just about our family and possibly go private. The new blog will be mostly recipes, menu plans, product reviews and hopefully some fun giveaways. I think it will be a really fun way to have 'projects' outside of my new venture of being a stay at home mom.

But until then, here is our menu plan for the week. Trying to keep it simple so we can finish up some projects we have around the house. I plan on making a big pot of some sort of soup to eat on for lunch this week along with the usual other lunch options: sandwiches, salads or leftovers.

Monday: turkey pepperoni pizza crescents, salad and fresh fruit
Tuesday: chicken salad sandwiches and homemade sweet potato fries
Wednesday: lemon chicken, rice, fresh green beans
Thursday: brown bag burritos (put extra in the freezer)
Friday: Breakfast casserole and Homemade cinnamon rolls
Saturday: Out to eat with a certificate that expires soon
Sunday: Cola Braised Roast, mashed potatoes, green peas and biscuits

As far as baking goes: I'm planning on trying to make these pumpkin scones and a pan of brownies ben has been requesting for over a week now. I'll post later what happened when we made brownies last week...

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Fall Beauty

God's creation is so amazing and it always is more evident in least to me. These two cute boys are pretty amazing themselves.
After about a million, "Jackson! Say cheese!" he was done. I'm talking put a fork in him. Here he is channeling his inner bethany...
There, that's better.

36 weeks

Dear Luke,
I'm getting so excited about you getting here! I can't wait to see your sweet face, kiss your sweet cheeks and hear that big strong cry...I know you have one ;) We love you and are looking forward to your arrival.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

mega bump

For whatever reason so many of you have asked to see my big belly. Ok, so you just asked to see my belly and here it is...yeeeeeesh. Is it December yet?334 weeks and 4 days in my pjs :)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Menu Plan 10/26-11/1

I can NOT believe it is the last week of October! We stuck to last weeks menu every single day - I was so proud of us! I ended up making a White Chicken Chili soup to eat on for lunch and it was really yummy. Ben doesn't really like that so I enjoyed being able to have it. I like a lot of broth in my soups/stews so I added extra chicken broth and it was oh so yummy. The Broccoli and Cheese soup was ok but I think it needs a little tweaking.

I have to make Chili for Ben's work on Friday so we'll eat whatever is leftover from that friday night.

Here is this weeks menu with a super fun appetizer night on Halloween. What's for dinner at your house this week?

Breakfast - Cereal, Eggs, Cereal bars and Fresh fruit

Lunch - PBJ's, tuna salad, mac and cheese, leftovers


Monday: Pepper Steak, Brown Rice and corn

Tuesday: Potato soup, garlic cheese biscuits

Wednesday: My Mom's Chicken spaghetti, salad and bread

Thursday: Taco Salads

Friday: Chili and Baked Potatoes (or maybe fritos or cornbread instead?)

Saturday: Halloween appetizer night! Pepperoni pizza sticks, veggie tray and grilled hot wings

Sunday: Apricot-Rosemary Pork Chops, mashed potatoes, green beans and corn

Jackson and I will do some Halloween goody baking this week - haven't decided exactly what yet. Last week we baked and decorated sugar cookies and early in the week I made an Apple Cinnamon Bread pudding. I had never made one before but Ben said it was really yummy :)

Thursday, October 22, 2009


My best friend Mary painted this for me...well, for the boys. Can I tell you how much I love it? I mean, seriously, this might as well be a picasso. We love you Mary.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

oh happy day

This morning we baked cookies. And then this afternoon when Ben got home we decorated them.
Jackson mostly ate sprinkles...
And icing.Oh happy day :)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Menu Plan 10/19-10/25

I've been doing really good about sticking to our menus so we can follow our budget. Starting on the first of this month we are "living" off of just Ben's salary since that's the way it will be once #2 gets here. I know it will be no surprise to those of you strict budget followers but man it makes such a big difference when you sit down and write it out...such a difference. I love grocery shopping. I'm talking LOVE going to the grocery store. If we had an infinite income there is no telling what I would come home with! So, that being said, it has been especially difficult for me to stick to my grocery budget but I have been doing it. Thank you Aldi, Kroger and Schnucks for your great sales lately :) Here's hoping I can stay on or under budget again this week.

I'm going to try to make Broccoli Cheese soup for the first time this week. Both Ben and Jackson absolutely love it so we'll see how it turns out. I'm going to follow this recipe but will probably tweak it here and usual.

Breakfast will be waffles, cereal, nutri grain bars and fresh fruit.

Lunch will most likely be:
Chicken strips or fish sticks
and if I'm feeling spunky, some sort of soup or pot of beans to eat on all week...for me of course :)

Monday: Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green beans and biscuits

Tuesday: Chef Salad and Baked Potatoes

Wednesday: Hamburgers, homemade fries and baked beans

Thursday: Apricot Chicken and squash

Friday: Double Decker Taco night

Saturday: Broccoli Cheese soup and Brats

Sunday: Baked Spaghetti, Salad and Garlic bread

Sunday, October 18, 2009

lazy blogger

Man I need to get to blogging like a pro again. Ok, I never blogged like a pro but I at least was consistent. I have tons of things I've been meaning to blog about I just never find the time. I mean, I have time in the evenings but I'm trying to spend as much one on one time as possible with Jackson during the day and Ben in the evenings before Luke gets here. Oh yeah - did I forget to mention sweet baby boy #2's name is Luke? Whoops ;) It may change b/t now and delivery because I'm crazy like that but as of now Luke it is. Speaking of delivery, I'm 33 weeks today. I had Jackson at 39 weeks exactly so I'm pretty sure I'll go two weeks over this time around. You know, just to even things out.

We went to visit family last weekend and had a really great time. Ben's oldest sister has a little boy born two days after Jackson and one just born in March. We celebrated both of them with a birthday party and baby dedication. Fun stuff and always great to see everyone. Man, we are a full house now. 7 grandkids and one on the way...bless PawPaw and Gigi's hearts.

We got to stay at my aunts house while we were in town and she fed us First night we had Jerk Chicken Pasta and Banana Pudding for dessert and then Sunday before we left she made us a big pan of her famous hot wings. I was in heaven... well until I weighed in this past Thursday but hey, what can you do :)

We also went to a family day at Ben's work before heading out of town and then to a pumpkin "patch" today but I'll blog about those another time. Here are some pictures of all the grandkids from the dedication and party. Hope ya'll are doing well.

Sweet baby Kaleb at his dedication
Two super yummy and super cute cakes

Hannah and Karleigh BFF - can't you just see the attitude in their expressions? I love it!
Jackson and PawPaw
Hudson - almost a big one year old
Birthday boy Kole
Cael - I love this picture and hate that it's blurry...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Full Circle

Remember this post? Well evidently I was right on the money when I said he would be ready for them in a little over a year...

This is what happens when you ask a two year old little boy, "What do you want to wear today?"