Thursday, April 24, 2008

Taylor Joy is now 23 months old...I can't believe she will be 2 soon!

She is such a blessing to us. She always wants to be with us (saying, "Hold you!") and holding our hands. Almost every time she asks me to hold her, I drop what I am doing because I know that a few years from now she won't be asking me to hold her and I want to take advantage of this time with her. I want to treasure everyday.

Some of the precious and hilarious conversations we've had this month are:

Me: Taylor, what color is this leaf?
Taylor: LELLO!
Me: No, the leaf is green.
Taylor: I know.

Taylor (at bathtime) and she toots.
Allen: Oh, Taylor! What do you say when you toot?
Taylor: More! More tooting!
Me: (laughing from Beckett's room)

Anytime we are eating and Allen or I have finished our plate, Taylor says, "Nudder one, nudder one!" or she says, "Big one!", wanting us to eat a big something or another. So much for moderation when Taylor is around!

Taylor has really picked up pronouns this month, saying things like, "I doing it!", "I eating it!". It's really very precious that everything she says is said with so much enthusiasm.

Another things she does is share her most treasured items. For instance, her nanny gave her a bunch of candy eggs for Easter and she has been able to have one egg after she eats a good dinner. Well, every time I have given her a candy egg she has generously shared half of her candy with me, even though candy is her most favorite thing! Seeing her share with such a cheerful heart reminds me and teaches me that the Lord loves a cheerful giver and is so willing to bless us when we give back to Him, just as I wanted to give Taylor more candy after she had given so much to me! Thank you, Taylor, for teaching me such a valuable lesson!

The last story (I promise!). Yesterday she got scared about something and she wanted me to hold her. She said, "Scared, mommy." I told her she didn't need to be scared and was about to ask her why and she said, "Have Jesus!" I was so proud of her to have such confidence in Jesus that she knew He is the one who wipes away our tears and is always by our side.

Now...for your viewing pleasure:

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A Day on the Farm

We went out to Yonder Way Farm last week and had so much fun! Taylor Joy wore herself out playing with the other kids and all the farm animals. She LOVES animals but she's also very cautious, so it took some major hand holding and showing to get her to touch those ginormous piggies and those sweet little baby goats. They were precious!

Here is KK and Lyndon in the Barbie car:

Here is Taylor, not so sure...

Here's me "showing" her it's fun...

Those cuties...

Proof that 3 month old Shane is a good bit longer and bigger than my 4 month old Beckett!

They just sat there so sweetly...I think they will be good pals.

Thanks for having us, Lynsey! I should have taken pictures of your house! It's SO cute! Maybe next time...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

4 Months

Beckett Cole has been in this world for 4 whole months!

Happy 4 Months, Beckett!

He is the sweetest little thing. He loves to laugh! The things that make him laugh this month are:

-tickling his tummy
-holding him up in the air
-nuzzling up against his neck and ear
-raspberries on his tummy

Things he LOVES this month are:

-his mobile
-his bouncy seat
-baby einstein
-his mommy (always!)
-rolling onto his back during naptime and squealing/playing on his own

He is such a little treasure to us! More and more each day!

Monday, April 14, 2008

25 Ways to Clean with Vinegar

You know how people always send you those useless emails about some college student who needs to know how many people have the name Kendra, etc...? Well, this isn't one of those. This is actually useful!

Do you have any uses for vinegar besides the ones listed here?

1. Add 1/4 cup vinegar to laundry, along with the usual soap, to brighten colors and make whites sparkle. This will also act as a fabric softener. Also helps kills athlete’s foot germs on socks.

2. Soak or simmer stuck-on food in 2 cups of water and 1/2 cup of vinegar. The food will soften and lift off in a few minutes.

3. Remove ink stains from clothes by soaking them in milk for 1 hour. Then cover the stain with a paste of vinegar and cornstarch. When the paste dries, wash the garment as usual.

4. Appliances sparkle if cleaned with a vinegar and borax cleaner. Mix 1 teaspoon borax, 1/4 cup vinegar, and 2 cups hot water and put it into a spray bottle. Spray it on greasy smears and wipe off with a cloth or sponge.

5. Deodorize your sink drains: Pour a cup down your drain, let stand about thirty minutes, then run cold water.

6. Use vinegar instead of laundry softener. Vinegar prevents your clothes from getting that waxy build up on them.

7. Remove water stains from leather by rubbing with a cloth dipped in a vinegar and water solution.

8. Loosen food grime and clean the microwave: Place a microwave-safe bowl with 2 cups water, 1/2 cup vinegar inside the microwave and microwave on full power for 3-4 minutes (it needs to boil). Keep your microwave closed for a few minutes to allow the steam to loosen the grime, then open your microwave, carefully remove the bowl, and wipe clean.

9. Remove grease from kitchen walls: Put straight vinegar on a dishcloth to wipe grease off kitchen walls, or the stovetop.

10. Prevent mold and mildew in the shower: Wipe down tile or Formica shower walls with a sponge or cloth dampened with water and vinegar. The vinegar will clean the walls and inhibit the growth of mold and mildew.

11. An excellent toilet cleaner can be made from 1 cup borax and 1 cup vinegar. Pour the vinegar all over the stained area of the toilet. Then sprinkle the borax over the vinegar. Allow it all to soak for 2 hours. Then simply brush and flush.

12. Add a cup of vinegar to your mop water or mop floors with vinegar and water after a normal mopping. Vinegar removes the soap scum.

13. Annie Berthold-Bond says her favorite window cleaning recipe is to combine 2 cups of water, 1/4 cup of white distilled vinegar, and up to 1/2 teaspoon of liquid soap or detergent in a spray bottle. Annie says the liquid soap helps remove the waxy residue.

14. Boil vinegar and water on the stove to soak up bad smells from your house.

15. Fill your water reservoir halfway with vinegar to clean your coffee pot. Follow up by running 1-2 pots of clean water through to remove the vinegar.

16. Vinegar also works as a safe degreaser. No harsh fumes. Use it on grease, undiluted.

17. Clean vaporizers and humifiers by soaking unit in vinegar. Soak unit and then run water through it.

18. After washing your whites with bleach, run another rinse cycle with vinegar. The vinegar will help to remove the bleach smell.

19. If you have fruit flies, put some vinegar in a jar on your counter.

20. If your puppy (or child) has an accident on the carpet, apply full-strength plain white vinegar for about 10 minutes and then blot dry. You may want to test an inconspicuous spot first.

21. Adding a cup of vinegar to a dishwashing cycle will help clean your dishwasher and will also help prevent spots from forming on your glasses.

22. Vinegar helps to kill bacteria. Mix up a solution of vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Keep it in your kitchen to spray your sink and countertops.

23. Use vinegar to clean your garbage disposal. Run a tray of ice cubes with 1/2 cup vinegar poured over them.

24. Use vinegar, hot water, and a little soap to clean baby’s toys. Rinse well.

25. Use to clean your floors. Mix 1/3 part white vinegar, 1/3 part rubbing alcohol, 1/3 part water, and 3 drops diswashing liquid. Mix this into a spray bottle and you have the equivalent of a floor cleaner. Just spray and mop; also great for deodorizing a room and for a fast cleanup.

My oven is all but impossible to clean the grates. I sprinkle some baking soda on the grates and soak a stainless steel scrubber with vinegar and it makes them sparkle! Only until the next time I use my oven, though. Stink. That's why that doesn't get done very often!

Hope this helps!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The Shipley's

Our visit with Ryan and Cate was nothing less than wonderful! We're so glad they got to swing through C.S. on their way to Nashville. Here are some pics:

The boys...back together again and ready to play 42.

Taylor Joy and her favorite "Jessita!"

Cate showing Taylor some pictures on her camera...aka: the only way to get her to sit still for a picture. (the MOST active child I know!)

Intense 42 playing...

Me attempting to play Guitar Hero. I was actually horrible at it, but for some reason it told me that I rocked. (who took this picture anyway?)

Taylor Joy played too!

Jessita and a diaper-only Beckett...we had a poop accident when we got there and I had forgotten to put in an extra outfit for him after we had used the last one like the night before. It's HARD to remember all the things he *may* need! Can I get an amen?

The True Vine

This is a branch that Allen pruned a couple of weeks ago. I happened to see it about a week ago and thought to myself, "Wow! The leaves that are coming back are so full and lush and it happened so fast!"

Now, most days I would have just thought about it for 2 seconds and then been off to the next thing, but lately the Lord is showing me how to enjoy the little things and to see Him in everything, not just the things that are glaringly obvious or detrimental.

I was reminded of John 15.

"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

5"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

I am thankful that we are pruned so that we can bear MORE fruit, not just so that we will be tidy and clean, but because He has better for us in store. He says in the verse that we are already clean if we are believers, so that's not the purpose, but that we bring Him MORE glory by producing MORE fruit. At the time of pruning it might seem awful, like we are losing something that is SO ingrained in us, but then the spring comes and our fruit flourishes more than before because... YES, He knows what He's doing!

Lord, help me to treasure the pruning because I know the end result. Help me to be thankful that you are investing time in me because you see the potential for more ahead.

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