Saturday, August 30, 2008

"you can't change the whole world...

...but you can change the world for one."  --Charles  Buregeya (founder and president of Africa New Life Mission)
this is our Nelson.  he was born into a country devastated by genocide just a few short years before.  an entire generation of men, over 800,000 people, were gone.  In the years since the 1994 horror, Rwanda has been trying to heal from these events.  Africa New Life Mission is a group of Africans trying to bring redemption to a people defined by massacre.  i love what they do.  i have actually met many of them as they were frequent visitors at willamette christian church.  i also know several people who have traveled to Rwanda and see their work first hand.  One of those people was dear enough to send me this email with a picture of Nelson.  John Wooley said: "Everyone misses you guys here in Oregon-and I bumped into one guy who misses you from Rwanda!  Nelson is looking so fine, and he's one happy guy.  Thanks so much to you and Sonny for helping change his life!"  you see, this ministry is small enough that the staff can point out a child when given the sponsors' name.  i am so honored that our family can have this small connection to the rebuilding of the country of Rwanda.  of all i know of ANLM i am so impressed with how they reach out in real and tangible ways to suffering people in the name of Jesus.

Friday, August 29, 2008

smuckers' got nothin on me!

you know those super-cute, super-convenient smucker's uncrustables?  ready-to-eat, ready to throw in lunchboxes, even crusts cut off?  well, you pay for that convenience and who knows what products are being slathered onto that white bread.  
i decided to do my own a few years back and thought i'd share this process with you.  when i photographed this pbandj session i was still using pampered chef's circle cutter.  it worked great, but left so much waste.  i recently discovered a dino cutter that creates two adorable dinosaurs and leaves hardly any waste(yet gets rid of enough crust to please the little ones)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

supernanny, i need you!

we've been having a bit of trouble keeping noah in his "big boy bed".  lots of mornings i find the bedroom floor completely covered with the toys he pulled out and played with while he was supposed to be asleep.  
the other night i was doing things around the house an hour after i put the kids to bed and all was quiet.  as i walked out of the kitchen to go to my room, i passed our recliner in the living room.  i walked past, did a double take, and saw two little feet peeping out of a perfectly still blanket.  guess who?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

school update

so today is the official "one week" anniversary of ari heading off to the world of school.  he loves it.  that's all there is to say from his point of view.  and i'm glad.  there has been a few "bumps" along the way, but nothing major.  several meltdowns from lack of sleep and so many changes, a few tears from me the first time i saw him walking into the school alone, a couple of "stalker" moments where i cruised the parking lot during recess and just watched him play, but for the most part, all has been well.  noah has seemed to be quite happy with this "only-child" arrangement.  i thought he would be so difficult without his best buddy, but he has been quite content with all the one-on-one attention.  he still misses his brother and i thought i was in for a long year when we were in the drugstore no more than 20 minutes after dropping ari off for his first day and noah looked at me and said...

"is ari done now?"

Monday, August 25, 2008

all school "pic-mic"

noah was so excited for his first "official" pic-mic and casady's school picnic did not dissappoint.  there was lots of great people, tossing of the ball, and even all-you-could-want ice cream!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

happy 10th anniversary!

to me and my bff heather.  
man we've been through a lot together. 
lot's of hairstyles too....and no....this was NOT created on
i love you dearest friend!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

born too late

thanks to my friend, kristal sawyer (yes, she spells it the same as me and it makes me so happy) i was able to get a glimpse into the past...or what would have been my past had i been born a bit earlier. go ahead. laugh. it's o.k.
wanna try? go to yearbookyourself and load a pic. no. first get some kleenex. this is going to be some serious laughing.

Friday, August 22, 2008

shhhh, don't tell!

see this wonderful dark brown piece right by our front door? i meant to fill it with cool sticks and make it like a planter. after an hour of trying different combos at michael's i got frustrated and just brought it home. then it hit me....
the perfect spot to hide that ugly pile of shoes that you trip over when you walk through the door! that's an expensive shoe organizer, but looks oh-so-pretty:)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

can you just cook woman?!

noah (2 1/2, watching movie ): "mom, can you make us popcorn so it's hot?"
mom (leaning over to nuzzle his face): "yes....noah....i can. you know why?"
noah: "why?"
mom: "cuz i love you....SO......MUCH."
noah: "umm....can you talk from the kitchen?"

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

a picture says a thousand words...

and i couldn't put words to this anyways...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

tour de house part four-living and dining rooms

see why i had to combine living and dining room posts?
dining room
the varela "wall of fame"
our family contract on the left and date of establishment on the right

(Ari asked why it says 2001..."I was born in 2002" egocentrism!)
stole the plates on the wall idea from my favorite decorating blog

my favorite little corner
see the sqaures on the wall? mine is a poor imitation of this, but still looks pretty good

Monday, August 18, 2008

move over mcnuggets!

i am on a mission to get convenience food without the cost to my wallet and health. i LOVE convenience food cuz i think it's so yummy and so....well....convenient! i've tried several things already and love having the power to make something "packaged" my very own self! it is very empowering. for some reason when i look at things in the store all neatly wrapped and labeled it never even occurs to me that I could make that. longer! i tried my very own "mcnuggets" and boy were they good! i even sliced up some apple dippers on the side:) they really tasted so good and even my boys liked them (after years of the ones from the golden arches). super easy...wanna try?

-put some corn flakes, special k, or other cereal in your blender/food processor. chop -them to oblivion. add some salt, pepper or other spices to taste and maybe a little flour as well.
-cut up some chicken (boneless, skinless is easiest)
-dip chicken bits in egg and roll in the crushed cereal mixture

wasn't that fun? you can buy or make your own sweet 'n sour, bbq, honey mustard, or any kind of sauce! i put mine in little ziplocs in portions of 8-10 so i can pull 'em out and microwave for a warm healthy, and oh-so-convenient meal for my boys!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

canvas + wrapping paper=cheap decor

when i had access to an ikea i took full advantage and purchased as much as i could for our new place in okc. the above pic is ari's bedspread and sham. noah's is coordinating but not the same as pictured in the boys' room post. i purchased a roll of wrapping paper that coordinated from ikea as well. i "wrapped" it around two canvases from michael's and glued a bit of ribbon on it, and ta-da!

Friday, August 15, 2008

look, mom!

we were at chuck e. cheese for a birthday party last night (happy birthday, finn!) and we went the whole two hours with noah not using one token. he thought it was great to run around, hop on rides that didn't move, and stuff himself with pizza, cake, and ice cream. at the end when i was about to pack up, he ran to our table with a pile of tickets bigger than himself, and said "look mom!" my first thought was-he stole them. how else would he score that load of tickets without a token? i asked him where he got them. he said "the man give them to me". then i thought maybe a kind soul had given him the tickets. i told him to show me. he took me all the way across the building to a casino type game that has an electronic arm that pushes coins. i saw no "man" in sight. thankfully a woman at the ski ball game had witnessed the event. she told me that noah ran up to the machine and hit it with both hands. i guess this was the "perfect" hit because the coins came down and tickets started shooting out! actually 81 tickets to be exact. she told me that noah would wait,, take a few, wait, take a few more, and then apparently got bored. he ran away and a kind gentleman collected all of the tickets and gave them to noah..."the man give them to me."

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

a very sad day...

...when this arrived in the mail.
my boy is going to kindergarten.
with a backpack.
and a lunchbox.
he's gonna be there all day. five days a week.
someone tell me this isn't happening!

Monday, August 11, 2008

our new addition

height: 71.3 inches
weight: 213.8 pounds
born: 2006
mpg: 72
color: black

proud papa is buying lots of "accessories" for and reading up on caring for the baby. mama is recuperating and managing with three little ones to care for.

kids of the world at the spray park

we were graciously invited to a red letter campaign adoption event at an aquatic center yesterday. we met a lot of great people who have adopted and who are trying to care for the least of these. there were kids from china, guatemala, the ukraine, ethiopia, to name a few. no matter their homeland, they all loved the spray park! i forgot my camera, but nicolette was splendid enough to capture a few pics of noah. ari was turning amphibian over in the big kid pool so we saw very little of him.
noah and sawyer having a great time in the spray area

noah thought it would be such fun to jump into ari's arms in the "big kid pool" and ari agreed. noah jumped. ari tried. much screaming followed from both boys. here i am attempting to minimalize the lasting trauma.

noah recovered and went back to bouncing higher than ever in the sprays of water (thanks for cheering him on, sawyer!)

Saturday, August 9, 2008

i heart science museum

Noah painting his face.
This is before he moved on to painting his hair cuz his face was full.

Lunch in the food court with Nicolette and Sawyer

Friday, August 8, 2008

potty-training...the sequel

remember back when noah was potty-training? well, oma visited, and he kinda lost that skill. i decided to wait until after the move to get back on the wagon and it's going great! will he hate me for this photo one day?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

tour de house part 2-bathrooms

bathroom number one
bathroom number two

when asked about his favorite part of the new house ari responded "that it has TWO i don't need to wait when dad is in there!"

not much "decorating" you can do when you've got mint green and evergreen tile in one and rasberry pink and light pink in the other...but we're just so excited to have TWO we don't care:)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


after years of trembling, fear, and dread, i finally tried my hand at making bread. worked! it actually tastes good. i even got fancy and used 1/3 of the dough to make rolls to go with our soup for dinner! this accomplishment is due in large part to my dear friend tiffany wagner who modeled this behavior for me time and time again as well as snuck a giant bucket of bob's red mill flour onto our moving truck so it was awaiting me upon my arrival. thanks, tiffany! i feel so empowered.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008