This Girl

I FINALLY finished Hallie's birthday post... four months late!  Whoops!  Life has been crazy hectic since September, and even more so since January.  I feel like it's slowed down a little now, so hopefully I can return to being a somewhat-regular blogger again!

This girl, this Hallie-Girl.

What can I say about this crazy girl?

This girl drives me absolutely crazy, yet keeps me sane.  All I ever wanted was to be a girl-mama, and this girl made that dream come true.  She turned my world upside-down.

(Not that she's girly, of course!  I wouldn't want anyone to get the wrong idea about this little sassafras.  Oh, she loves her princess toys and stuffed animals, but this girl can be more wild and noisy than both of her brothers.)

This girl, this Hallie-Girl.

What can I say about this beautiful girl?

I am constantly in awe of her confidence.  Regardless of what everyone else is doing, this girl has a persistent desire to be her own person.  Maybe it's because she is surrounded by boys, maybe it's because she's like her mama and likes doing things counter-flow.  Either way, this girl is one of a kind.

(When every other girl on the planet was asking for Frozen birthday parties, this girl wanted Katerina Kitty Cat, from Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood.  Do you know how difficult it is to plan a Katerina birthday party?  Very.  So Mama decided to go with Frozen.)

This girl is (finally) starting to get along with her brothers, using her extraordinary imagination for good instead of torture (haha).  Watching the three of them play together makes my heart happy.  This girl is always eager to help, eager to mother, eager to serve.

This girl, this Hallie-Girl.

What can I say about this spicy girl?

This girl is quirky, dramatic, sassy, and loud.  She's got these eyes that are always lit up with some sort of mischief.  These eyes with a color so hard to describe, I just call them "Hallie eyes."  When asked what color they are, she has been known to respond with "sparkly!"

This girl is bold.  This girl is risky.  This girl punctuates everything with an exclamation point.  This girl is always finding that line she isn't supposed to cross and walking it like a tight-rope (gets that from her Daddy).

This girl knows how to push all my buttons, but she's always pushing me to be a better mama, a better person. This girl is my refiner, the one who exposes my flaws so that I can bring them to the Lord.

This girl, this Hallie-Girl.

What can I say about her?

She's a rare jewel, a unique gift, and one that I am thankful for every single day.

Happy birthday, Wildflower... even if this post is four months late!

Some of my favorite pictures of your third year + fourth winter.

Swinging is STILL your favorite thing to do.

You've turned into quite the Daddy's Girl and I couldn't be happier.

My beauty.

You're my snuggliest! 

Birthday ice cream date with Daddy.

You are breathtaking!

Our Story -- Part 5

Ahh, so sorry it's been six whole months since I've updated this!  To be honest, I just ran out of steam and inspiration.  Good thing for y'all it's our seventh anniversary today and celebrating gave me a little bit of extra inspiration. ;)
PART 1 | PART 2 | PART 3 | PART 4

It was now October, and with October came the annual PKMK retreat for our district, a retreat I'd been attending since seventh grade and a weekend I looked forward to more than anything else all year.  (PKMK stands for Pastors' Kids & Missionaries' Kids.)

Our youth pastor drove us up, but had to be back at church on Sunday, so guess who was asked to come pick me and my siblings up on Sunday?  Yeah, that's right.  Drew.  There weren't many people who could drive that Morrow bus, haha.

Needless to say, the ride home was a long one.  Drew was his typical friendly annoying self, chatting up my siblings and trying to engage me in conversation, as usual.  I rebuffed all attempts, as usual.

My parents were out of town attending a wedding and all my siblings were staying with friends, so when we got back to Williamsburg, Drew went around dropping them all off.  I was "house sitting" for my parents and, as Drew had our van, it made sense to drop me off last.

When we got to my house, he offered to help me bring in my bag and a couple other things that had been left in the van.  But then when he was done, he just casually plopped down on the couch.  Clearly the guy had been invited over for Sunday lunch a few too many times.  I wanted to hint that I was tired, that I had a friend coming over to stay with me, that I wanted him to leave, but I didn't.

Finally, after a few (long and awkward) minutes passed, he spoke.

"Can I tell you something without it being weird?"

Because prefacing it like that definitely won't make it weird...?

"I guess?"  I replied, although it's possible that I only nodded.  I had a strange feeling that I knew what was coming.  Sure enough...

"I, uh... I have feelings for you.  Is that weird?"

Weird?  Nooooo!  (Sarcasm.)  I mean, there was only an almost-eight year age gap.  There was only the fact that I'd been trying to send the message for about three months now that I was not interested even in being friends.  He was only the weirdest guy I knew (not that I knew a lot).

"Yeah.  That's weird."  I shrugged, struggling to remain calm and indifferent on the outside, hoping my face wasn't turning bright red.  Inside, I was freaking out.

Silence fell.  Awkward silence.

Then Drew stood up.  "Well... sorry.  I can go now."

I could tell he wanted me to say something else, but my mind had completely shut down.  Although I'd kind of-sort of been expecting him to say something like this, it still felt completely out of the blue.  I couldn't think, much less talk.  So I didn't.  I just nodded.  And he left.

A few days later, I got an email from him, basically telling me he was sorry and he really didn't want things to be awkward between us.  We were friends, after all, and saw each other a couple times a week at church events.

But it was awkward, I told him.  And I didn't know how to make it not.

For a few months, things were weird.  He would come over for Sunday lunch and I would eat and then go hide in my room.  He started tutoring Destiny in math and I take my homework from the kitchen table to hide in my room.  He'd come over for a movie and -- you guessed it -- I'd hide in my room!

Eventually, the awkwardness started to go away, and we started becoming friends again.  But that's a continuation for another day. ;)

. . . to be continued . . .

Stay tuned!  I promise it won't be another six months before I write again!

Valentine Printable

I had planned on continuing my once-a-month Scripture printables this year, but just did not get around to doing January's.  So while I figure out what I'm doing there, enjoy this FREE valentine!

I used this for both of my kids last year and honestly will likely use it again this year since they're at a different school and I don't feel like figuring out something else.  Lol.

Bubbles are always a big hit for preschoolers! I got these containers at Hobby Lobby last year, but they're also available on Amazon.

Last year, I was in a rush printing and assembling them the day of their school party and couldn't find baker's twine to save my life, so I went with yarn.  Cute, but how much cuter would baker's twine be? I have some to use this year.  Yay!

If you'd like to download this FREE valentine for your own use, click here!

Oh, hey there

I really have been meaning to post.

Since school started, though, I've just felt really scarce, like there wasn't enough of me to go around.  The kids' school is twenty minutes away and it takes about ten minutes for pick up and drop off, which means almost two hours every day are spent getting them there and home.  Then I have groceries, or Costco, or laundry, or playdate, or something.  Seriously... I've been meaning to take my car in for service for months, and there just never seems to be time!  (Nothing urgent, obviously.)

So blogging has slipped.

I can't believe I still haven't written Hallie's birthday post!  It's sitting -- all five words I have so far -- in my drafts along with ONE paragraph of the fifth part of Our Love Story!  Oooooops.

So.  Both of those are coming soooon.  (I realize I've been saying that since November, but I really am going to try to carve out some time this month or next to actually write!)

For now, enjoy these pictures of the cute little pup we adopted a few weeks ago.  (I know.  I do feel insane for adding a puppy into this already crazy mix.)

His name is Ranger, and he's a cutie.

The kids just love him, especially the boys.  

Their favorite game is chase, though we're still teaching Ranger that it's not acceptable to try to rip clothes off of people. ;)

Winter Berry Muffins

Today I'm sharing one of my absolute favorite wintery breakfast-snack-dessert-things.
(Seriously, you can eat it for whatever!)

The recipe is my grandmother's, and calls for St. John's partridgeberries (or lingonberries), but if you aren't lucky enough to live in Canada, you can use cranberries!  Fresh or frozen work equally well.  I like to buy the cranberries in bulk around this time of year and then freeze them for future use. 

Start by creaming the butter and sugar.  

Add egg, vanilla, milk, baking powder, and salt to your buttery-sugary blend.

Then, mix in the flour.
My mom always did two parts white flour and one part whole wheat,
but you can use all white (or all wheat) if you like.

Pour in the berries and fold until incorporated.


And the finished product!

I am not ashamed to say that I could eat a whole batch of these babies in a few days.  Hey, cranberries are good for you, right? ;)

For some reasons my muffins didn't rise well this time, but it could be because I used almond milk instead of regular milk.  Oh well.  They still tasted amazing. :)

Cranberry Muffins Recipe

1/3 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups white flour
3/4 cup wheat flour

1.  Preheat oven to 350. Cream butter and sugar.

2. Mix in egg vanilla, milk, baking powder, and salt.

3. Stir in flour until blended.

4. Fold in berries until incorporated.

5. Fill muffin tins 2/3 of the way.  Bake for 20 minutes.

Tip:  reserve some berries to add in once you start getting to the bottom of the bowl.  If you don't, you might end up with some berry-less muffins!