Thursday, January 28, 2016

14 months!

Audra recently turned 14 months!

My baby is growing so fast... too fast!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

El turns FIVE!

Today is Eloise's 5th Birthday!
I can hardly believe it!
It's gone so fast!

We had an enjoyable day, though under sad circumstances.
I haven't posted here lately with updates about my father-in-law.
If you have kept up with my sporadic postings over the years, 
you would know he's been battling cancer.  Last Sunday he
took a turn for the worse and had to be flown to a major
hospital.  They sent him home this past week on hospice.
The doctor said 1-3 months... the hospice nurse said that
she will be surprised if he lives through next weekend.
She can just see signs he is exhibiting that point
toward that conclusion.

It's definitely sad.
My husband is grieving.
Though, honestly, he has been grieving for five years in
his own way(s).  We have tried to look at the situation 
with a positive outlook.  The doctors didn't think he'd 
live to see Eloise's first birthday... and here we are at
her fifth birthday.  He wasn't able to be up and around
to enjoy the celebration... but he was there.  He mostly
slept as his body is just so worn down and the medications
keep him drowsy.  But we celebrated around him and
I am sure he could hear the girls in their excitement as
Eloise opened some presents and ate her special
homemade strawberry ice cream (while watching the
Frozen movie with my MIL).  Pappy even smiled and
cooed at Audra and gave her a kiss before we left.

We appreciate all prayers... even just one that you may
have offered on our behalf over the years.  We know that
God hears every prayer.  He has answered ours in ways
we never expected.  Though the "miracle of healing"
never came, we saw 4+ years worth of miracles as
Gene was able to wake up each day.  Some days better
than others.  But some days GREAT.  Like the days
our girls were born.  He was hoping to live for just 
ONE granddaughter... and he ended up with THREE!
That sure is a blessing!  He had several treatments that
we believe helped to prolong his life... but unfortunately
the last treatment (which would've helped him to walk
with a cane again - as he had been confined to a wheel
chair and walker for awhile), was a gamble.  His health
was just too frail and his body couldn't handle it.  We 
didn't get the outcome we had hoped for... and while
we are sad that his time is coming to a close here on
earth, we are grateful for the time we've had.  We are
grateful he lived to see one more birthday for Eloise...
he was always so proud of her.

I was talking to my neighbor this morning when she
called to wish El a Happy Birthday.  I was filling her
in on Gene's condition... and she said she would never
forget answering the phone the night I had Eloise.
Gene was so excited and said, "We got us a girl!!
We got us a girl!!"  He was so proud.  And though he 
won't be around to see her graduate from high school
or dance with her at her wedding... she has some
great memories of her Pappy.... and we won't ever
let her forget.

So.  Happy 5th Birthday to our Sweet Eloise.
A blessing to so many... especially her Pappy.

 (Cory and his dad with Eloise the night she was born)

Friday, January 8, 2016

A Yummy Recommendation!

It's a new year.  I don't do New Year Resolutions because inevitably I break them... and I have enough to worry about besides guilting myself with broken "promises".  However, a general resolution I have built into my lifestyle (though I admit it is ALWAYS a work in progress)... is to try to do more healthy things for my family.  Giving our girls a healthy building block from the start has been important in our roles as parents.  Eloise's (and now Audra's) food allergies have played a major role in that decision... but in general, we just want our kids to be healthy and learn healthy habits.  Of course we don't always do *the very best*.  It's expensive and time consuming.  Living on one income with 5 people is limiting in some respects.  Cory always tells me when it comes to health and food, we will spare no expense - within reason, of course - haha!  So I try to do my best to make things from scratch when I can.  One thing that really bothers me is canned soup.  Why is it that you can CAN your own soup at home with minimal ingredients, but what you buy at the store has more on the label than you can count on TWO hands?  Not to mention the crazy names of things that are hard to pronounce - or even know what exactly it is or does.  So, in an effort to cut back on canned soup - though we DO still buy some, mostly organic - I came across this CREAM OF MUSHROOM SOUP recipe over at the Heavenly Homemaker Site.  

 It has been my go-to recipe when I need a "cream of [insert whatever here] soup".  I wanted to pass along the link so that you can give it a shot!  It's SUPER easy to make.  I usually make it while I'm standing at the stove doing other things and can keep my eye on it and whisk as needed.  It can easily be frozen and thawed for a casserole or whatever your recipes may call for.  Each batch makes approximately 3 "cans" of soup.  You should check it out!  While you're at the site, check out some of her other recipes, too!

Our Dinah Girl turned 3!  
We had Homemade Birthday Ice Cream instead of cake!

Our homemade ice cream consists of milk, maple syrup, vanilla and a pinch of salt.  Cory is always the one who whips it up and I don't know where he keeps the recipe (maybe in his head?).  If anyone would like the measurements, I will pick his brain and gladly email them to you! :)  It is simple and delicious!  Great for anyone with an egg allergy!