Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Making the Most of a Rainy Day

One of my good friends here in Scottsboro has so graciously offered to open up her pool every Wednesday this summer for moms and kids. Mainly in our church, but certainly not restricted to that. This is such a wonderful thing for several reasons-great opportunity for moms to visit, kids can play, and I can hopefully make a little progress in the tan department. I don't need some super dark tan, the pasty white look is just not very flattering on me. So, I woke up this morning all geared up for some fun in the sun and instead looked outside to a dark sky with the pitter patter of steady rain. SAD!!

That's okay, I thought. The Lord must have other plans for this day. So I shifted gears in my head (and heart a little as well) Because a rainy day inside with my kids, with nowhere to go, can get rather long. And I have to ask the Lord to help me trust Him and give me wisdom even to know what to do with such a long day. Steven was taking his mom back to the airport in Huntsville and I would've gone with him, except he wasn't leaving until after lunch, and Luke really isn't old enough to skip his nap yet. I was on the phone with my mom, and she said "why don't you just let Ellie go?" Hello!! I don't know why I hadn't thought of that. Ellie would love it and it would give each of them a little alone time. They are at each other's throats these days-but that could be an entire post by itself. So, Luke and I grabbed some lunch and then ran a few errands around town. I put Luke down for a nap and had a few quiet hours before Steven and Ellie got home. If Ellie is home, her nap/rest time consists of me going back and forth to her room, pulling her down from under the shade, telling her to be quiet, telling her to lay still. It usually ends with me standing at her door, and if she starts to get up, I make her lay down again. I know this sounds harsh, but I know she is tired and if I can get her to lie still for just a few minutes, she almost always falls asleep.

Anyway....after Luke woke up, wouldn't you know, it had stopped raining and the sun was out. So, I thought we would at least get in about an hour outside. They loved playing in the puddles! They got soo dirty and wet, but after all, what is a childhood without splashing in puddles? Then Ellie decided to get out her rain gear, even though it had stopped raining. Luke, of course, wanted to put on something, so she decided to share her hat. After they had gotten good and tired and dirty and wet-I stripped them down and carefully carried them to the tub. It was an enjoyable day after all, AND I finally folded and put away the mountain of clothes in my living room.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Snack of the Week

These are two yummy snacks I have recently discovered. They seem pretty healthy, although I am no nutritionist. It is getting to be popsicle season and these Breyers Pomegranate blends pure fruit popsicles are the BEST! It is a treat in and of itself to watch Ellie and Luke, especially Luke eat them-outside only OR over a bowl with towels at the table. (It gets rather messy) Maybe I will include those pictures at another time.

The Fiber One bars come in several different flavors, including a peanut butter and the other is caramel, I think. But I have only tried the chocolate. They go great with my morning coffee. Just thought I would share some of my favorite things. I would love to hear anyone else's!!!!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Great Dinner

I made this dinner the other night when my mother-in-law was in town. I wanted something a little bit nicer than the normal spaghetti, but something that wouldn't take forever or be super complicated. This meal was just that. I highly recommend it!

Bacon-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin
1 pork tenderloin
steak seasoning (I used McCormick Grill Mates Montreal Steak Seasoning)
bacon slices

1. Preheat oven to 425. Remove silver skin from pork tenderloin, leaving a thin layer of fat. Sprinkle seasoning over the pork. Wrap pork with bacon slices. Secure with toothpicks. Place on a lightly greased wire rack in an aluminum roasting pan. I usually add a little bit of water to the bottom of the pan to give added moisture.

2. Bake at 425 for 25 min. (although it actually took about 10 min. longer than that) or until a meat thermometer registers 155. Increase oven to broil. Broil 3-5 min. until bacon is crispy. Remove and cover with foil; let stand 10 minutes.

Creamy Cheese Grits and Spinach

1 (5 oz.) pkg. fresh baby spinach
1 c. quick-cooking grits
1 1/2 c. vegetable broth
1 c. 2% reduced-fat milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 (8 oz.) pkg. shredded Italian cheese blend

Coarsely chop spinach. Bring grits and next 4 ing. to a boil in a med. saucepan over med.-high heat; reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 10-12 min. (although you might want to watch it, because I find grits do not really take that long) Stir in spinach and cheese until well blended and cheese is melted.

It was great and a good way to get some spinach into my kids. Although, contrary to their normal mealtime habits, this time it was Ellie who was unsure about the green stuff in her grits, and Luke ate them up. Mom also made a huge strawberry cobbler from all the strawberries we picked the other day. Soooo good!

And because I can't end this post without a few funny Ellie and Luke things (mainly for my family because I know they get a kick out of it) here are two things that made me laugh. So, lately when Ellie complains, or doesn't want to eat, or is whining about something, etc. we are trying to explain to her how blessed she is. I know there is no way for her to really get it, but we're trying. So, we've been telling her that there a little boys and girls in the world who do not have NEARLY as much as she does. And that some don't have beds, or even mama's or daddy's to love them. So now, whenever she sees a child on TV or out-she says "Mama, they don't have a mama?" And then the other day, she even asked about Elmo "Does he have a mama?" Like I said, she doesn't quite get it.

I guess this is really more of a funny Steven story, but it still made me laugh. So if you ask Luke just about any question, he will nod his head up and down. You can have a lot of fun with this. He was in a pretty bad mood yesterday morning and Steven said "Luke, are you grumpy because of inflation and rising gas prices?" And Luke nodded. I guess he should be, if gas keeps going up we might be driving a motorcylce with one of those little pully things in the back for the kids to ride in. :)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Strawberry Picking

For a few weeks now, I have been seeing signs all over town about fresh picked strawberries-we pick or you pick. I thought it would be a very fun family outing for us. The weather was great today, so after the kids naps (well, Luke's nap and Ellie's semi-rest time) we went. It was so much fun! I think I had just as much as fun as they did. We had 2 baskets that we filled up to the top. Ellie worked so hard and was able to pull them off the bush pretty easily. Luke had a little harder time, when he would grab the strawberry, it would just squish in his hand. So I would pull them off and then he enjoyed dropping them in the basket. The very first one I handed him, he put straight in his mouth. He eventually got the concept, though. Now we have a huge basket of sweet, soft strawberries. As I was picking, my head was spinning with all the endless baking possibilities-fresh pound cake, angel food cake, strawberry pie, chocolate dipped strawberries, strawberry bread. I wish I had the time and energy to make strawberry jam. I have done that once with a friend who knew what she was doing. It makes the best stuff! Anyway, we had a great time and even got to see some horses up close, which Luke was a little nervous about, but Ellie thoroughly enjoyed. I was hoping the strawberries were organic, but the farmer said no. Oh well, at least they're fresh AND I supported local farmers.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

A Busy Weekend

So, I don't have a lot to blog about, but for those of you who are breathlessly waiting to see what we've been up to since last weekend, I thought I would end the suspense. Haha, I am just kidding. Although, with my recent blog interest, I have to say that I am very curious as to what other bloggers have been up to. What is it about that? The interest with getting a glimpse into other people's lives. One very interesting fact that LB told me-There was a lady on the Today show that has been blogging for 7 years. And since so many people now read her blog, advertisers are paying her to advertise. Get this-she is making so much money off of that, her and her husband were able to quit their jobs and live off of all the advertising!!!! Keep reading my blog, people!

So, back to the weekend. On Friday I went to B'ham for Kelly's birthday. She is one of my best friends from Auburn. Her husband, Heath, put together a dinner at cheesecake factory. Yum!! I was able to see quite a few college friends, which is a rare treat. Saturday morning, Laurahelen, (who is one of my other best friends), Hayley Tucker, and I got manicures. Another rare treat! Last night, Sarah and I went to see Prince Caspian. Very good, by the way. Although Ellie gave us a quite a fit about going to bed, thanks to Steven, I was still able to go. And to keep the busyness of the weekend going, we kept some of our friends' children this afternoon. You should have seen all of us in McDonalds. We were all shoved into the booth and there were chicken nuggets and fries (and ketchup) everywhere. Later in the day, we went to a graduation baccaleaurate service(I have no clue if that is even close to being spelled correctly), where my dad was the speaker. (He did an excellent job) And Ellie had fun jumping off the bleachers at the high school gym. We finished off the day with a graduation dinner for the graduates at our church. So, there you have it. A very busy weekend, indeed. Tomorrow starts our first week of Ellie being out of school for the summer. We will have to get creative in our activities so that we do not get so bored. I think we will readjust and get into a "summer routine", but it may take a few weeks. Also, we are moving along nicely with all the interior trim in the house (crown moulding, baseboards, interior doors, etc.) So...that means paint colors will come soon! Very exciting, but lots of pending pressure to find the perfect colors. They're so tricky, you know. You're sure you have the right one, and then you put it up and it starts turning on you. Anyway, I will keep you updated.

These are a few funny Ellie quotes that I have been meaning to post:

She is bouncing around-really hard. "Mom, I wish I had a tail like Tigger." Pause. "With my bottom"

Steven, Ellie, Luke, and me are all playing/lying/wrestling in the bed a few Sun. afternoons ago. She pats Steven's stomach, giggles, and says "Daddy, it's like a pig, Daddy" I was laughing so hard.

Lately she has been mentioning 2 imaginary friends, who she sometimes says are her little boys. Their names are Dee and Kurla. Where in the world?

She's doing this a lot now: She's sitting on the chair watching a movie and wants me to go get her something. (kitty, lipstick, juice, etc.) I don't like to make a habit of just bringing her stuff. She is perfectly capable of getting most of it herself. So, I tell her "Ellie, if you want it, you can go get it." And in this really dramatic, pathetic voice "But mom, I'm soooo tired, and I don't feel very well."

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Mother's Day

This was my third Mother's Day. My first mother's day Ellie was 2 weeks old. I was still recovering from a long labor and delivery and was pretty much a nervous wreck. I dashed out of the house for like one hour in between feedings to eat dinner with Steven at Outback. Things have changed so much in just 3 short years. So we didn't really have anything planned because right after church, my mom was leaving to drive my youngest sister, Kate, down to Camp Marannook where she is working this summer. It hit me during church that it might be nice to ride with her and maybe Steven would keep Luke, and I could take Ellie. I know that does not sound like much fun, but it's so weird what becomes a treat once you become a mom. Sunday afternoons just might be the hardest day for me as a mom. I almost feel drugged on Sundays, and since it is always a battle to get Ellie to take a nap, there really isn't much rest on Sundays. So, the thought of sitting in a car, riding, while Ellie was thoroughly entertained by her DVD player, and not having to make or clean up dinner, sounded really nice.
So, that is what we did. And after we dropped Kate off, we headed to Evergreen, Alabama to spend the night. Evergreen is a teeny little town off the interstate, which you might have passed if you've ever been headed to the beach. It is not so teeny to me though, because this is where I have spent my entire life visiting and where lots of my best memories were made at my grandmother's house there. I have grown up hearing story after story of my mother's childhood in Evergreen. She absolutely adores this place and I do love it too. My grandmother was one of 4 girls, and they all grew up and raised their children together in that little, southern town. So, my mom grew up around all of her cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents. My grandmother and her oldest sister, Lucille, have both passed away. But Florence and Mary are still living there and so we were able to visit with them a little. My mom's sister, Mary Ann still lives there as well. My sisters and I have always been very close to her and we try to make it down to Evergreen as often as we can.
Anyway, it was a quick, but relaxing trip. Ellie enjoyed it, I think. She certainly loves any chance to be the complete center of attention. And she certainly was on this trip. She loves to watch movies, which at times, I am very thankful for. But, on the last leg of the trip, we had watched Mary Poppins so much, I thought if I heard chim-chiminee one more time, I would pull my hair out. So...I stopped at the nearest Wal-Mart I could find and let her pick out a new movie, any movie, just a different one.
Luke had a good time with Steven. I think he maybe ate as unhealthy as he possibly could have while I was gone. Steven can eat almost anywhere. He might eat fast food every single day if I would let him. And he doesn't really cook. So, when I leave Luke or Ellie with him, I know they will be getting a good dose of greasy fast food. And that's okay, I know that going into it. But when we were coming back Monday afternoon, Steven called and told me he and Luke had a "man's meal" for lunch. I asked what did he mean, and I almost wish I hadn't asked, because he then told me "Huddle House, of course". AHHHHH!!! My little baby was eating at Huddle House! Last time I was in there, I could hardly breathe from the cigarette smoke and there was a roach on the floor. At that point, I pressed down a little harder on the gas, so that I was sure to make it back home for dinner. Let me just say, for Steven's sake, that he is a great dad, and although he took Luke to Huddle House, he takes excellent care of Ellie and Luke when I leave them with him.
These are a few pictures from my great aunt Mary's house. It is so beautiful in south Alabama. I wish the azaleas had still been in bloom. Ellie had a blast running around and she even took a picture with me!!! Also, I included a picture of her mother's day present to me. She made it at preschool. A bunch of flowers, made out of her hand prints. So cute!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Recipe and a Few Other Things

One thing I would love to see on anyone else's blog is great recipes. I love new recipes and trying new things. Unfortunately, my family isn't always too sure about it. Especially Luke-if it's something he isn't sure about, he will just open his mouth and let it all fall out. Anyway, I will be posting recipes from time to time, this being my first one. I first had this when Steven and I were engaged at one of our showers. Deeelicious! I somehow got it in my head that I wanted to make it yesterday. My dad grilled some hamburgers. The burger season has officially begun! So I wanted to make a great dessert to finish off the meal. It has a few different names, but we'll just call it Brownie Mocha Trifle:

1 pkg. brownie mix
4 tsp. instant coffee
1/4 c. warm water
1 3/4 c. cold milk
2 (3.4 oz) pkgs. white chocolate instant pudding mix
2 c. cool whip
3 Heath bars, coarsley chopped

1. Bake brownies according to pkg. directions (cake method)
2. Dissolve coffee in warm water. Add milk & pudding mix. Beat until thick. Fold in cool whip.
3. Cut cooled brownies into chunks. Layer 1/3 brownies into bottom of bowl. Top with 1/3 pudding mixture, press lightly. Sprinkle with 1/3 Heath bar. Repeat layer 2 more times. Top with some more cool whip. Sprinkle with Heath bar crumbles.

*It is best if it sits overnight, but is still good if even if it's just been a few hours.

Okay, so on to a few things about Ellie. I didn't get Ellie and Luke down for a nap until later yesterday, so I ended up waking them up at almost five, because I didn't want them to stay up all night. It's usually not good when I have to wake them rather than let them wake up on their own. But for some weird reason, yesterday was particularly hard on Ellie. She immediately started crying and kind of flailing(sp?) around in her bed. I had already gotten Luke up so he was sitting on her bed with me. I decided we would leave and let her have some time to wake up. But after awhile it only got worse. She just kept screaming and screaming. Luke looked at me worried and through his pacie said "Eyie?" I tried holding her, that didn't help. I was asking her everything I could think of and she wouldn't answer, she just kept crying, well, shrieking really, at the top of her lungs. This went on for probably 45 min. She finally got okay when we got to my parents house for dinner. All this to say, who knows with babies and children? Maybe she had a bad dream? Maybe she was mad I woke her up?

It made me think of a time when Laura Beth was little and she was going through a phase of being scared of a lot of things. (Mom confirmed this-not quite sure of her age) Laura Beth, feel free to make any corrections. Anyway, for some reason or another, Mom and Dad got it out of Laura Beth that she was scared one day (or night, I'm not really sure) that she thought they were really monsters dressed up like people. Soo funny! Talk about feeling like a bad parent. For the record, they were not scary parents, very loving parents.

Okay, last thing. I record a lot of things in our DVR. Sometimes I get around to watching them. So, during what was supposed to be Ellie's nap today, I was watching some of Dancing With the Stars. I know, it's stupid, but sometimes I watch it. I finally let Ellie get up, because she was clearly not going to sleep. I was about to see who got kicked off, and instead of turning it off because it's not something I want her to see and instead of having her best interest in mind, I was selfish and continued to watch. So, Ellie is sitting there with me watching the girl dancing wearing next to nothing and looks at me and says, "Mom, she needs to put a shirt on." I said, "You're right, Ellie, she shouldn't be wearing that. She needs more clothes on." So, when you think, when you're hoping they don't notice, don't pick up on things, you better believe they do! I know this also, because we recently went to a wedding where the bride was wearing a strapless dress. (By the way, I do not have a problem with strapless wedding dresses) Ellie was absolutely enamored with the bride-it might as well have been Disney World and she was meeting Cinderella. When we got back home, she started pulling her arms out of the sleeves to make her dress strapless. Yikes!

I pray that the Lord will give us MUCH wisdom to teach Ellie about modesty and beauty and help her to understand that this world tells us lies about what beauty is. We are desperate as parents for the Lord to do a work in our children's lives. And pray that God may be gracious towards us as He has entrusted these precious little lives into the hands of sinners such as us. What a HUGE responsibility! Praise God that His grace and mercy is limitless.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


On Sat., May 10 I will have been back in the South for exactly one year. And so I thought I would post a little tribute to Albuquerque, New Mexico. When I moved there in Feb. of 2003, it was the most foreign place to me. And when I left last May, I can say that I truly felt like I was leaving my home. It has been one of the hardest things to leave and I would have never expected that. I think for several reasons it became such a special place to me. One of the main ones is that it is where both of my babies were born, where I brought them home from the hospital, and watched Ellie take her first steps. And as any mom knows, those are priceless days. Steven was on staff at Hoffmantown Church, where his dad, Wayne Barber, is still the pastor. I thank the Lord for the time He allowed me to sit under His godly teaching. I know Steven is so thankful for those years with his mom and dad, just as I am thankful for the time to get to know them and be a part of their lives. There are so many dear people and friendships that we will take with us from our time there.
And let me just say a word about Albuquerque as a city. I once heard that someone called Albuquerque "the armpit of America". I would definitely say that is harsh. It does have some bad parts, but don't most cities? Don't get me wrong, it is VERY different than the South. It's an entirely different culture. But what an opportunity to experience and embrace that! The landscape is breathtaking, the weather unbelievable, and the food, over time, (it took a little while for my tastebuds to adjust) so, so good! I crave that stuff! Everyone eats green chiles on everything! Just to give you a little example-one of the combo #'s at McDonald's is a green chile cheeseburger combo. I am serious. Anyway, I am including a variety of pictures so you can get a little picture of our five years there.

Monday, May 5, 2008

New Clothes

These are pictures of the latest Barber children fashions. Most of them are new clothes that Ellie got for her birthday. No, not the precious new Gymboree clothes that Diana got her. But her Tigger and Pooh t-shirt, her $8 Cinderella crocs from Wal-Mart, and this really tacky flower girl dress that mom ordered for her off the Internet, which she calls "my beautiful dress". And since Luke wants to do whatever Ellie does at this stage, you can see him wearing my high heels with his PJ's. The last picture I thought I would include is some photography by Ellie.

A Few Things About My Day

I'm not just trying out different blogger templates every week. The reason that I now have another new blogger template is because when I had the last one, it kept saying that I had an error on the page. So, I decided to try another one to see if that would fix it. It did not fix it. I know absolutely nothing about computers. If anyone has any clue about this, your help would be greatly appreciated.

I have several random pictures to post, but the battery in my camera has to charge first. So stay tuned. But until then, I have a little something interesting to tell about my day today. It was a very productive day as far as our new house is concerned. I will give a few updates about our house that we are building every now and then. But for the most part, I am so sick of thinking about it at the end of the day, that I don't really want to write about it. However, I will just let you know that we are self-contracting, meaning we(mainly Steven, but me too) are the contractors. We did not hire a builder, which basically means our lives have been turned upside down for the last 6 months. And that we are having to do a lot of dirty work ourselves. Sub-contractors do not clean up after themselves. So, we have piles and piles of lumber, sheetrock, insulation, old Beenie Weenie, yes, Beenie Weenie cans, bottles- you get the picture- piled all around the house on our lot. (It was on the inside, but that part has finally been cleaned out.) So, today my mom and Kate kept Ellie and Luke, and sweet Sarah joined us at the house to carry all that yuckiness to the dumpster, which is at the end of the driveway, which is at the top of the hill. Fun!

Okay, so Sarah and I are picking up scrap shingles from under the deck, which was pretty muddy and wet from rain. And in the course of doing all this, I uncover not one, not two, not three, but FOUR SCORPIONS! This may not be shocking to some of you, but I don't know if I have ever actually seen one in my life. And I lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico for 5 years and never saw one the entire time I was there. Maybe I am just not very well educated on these awful creatures, but I didn't realize they were in the South. I thought they were desert insects. Are they even insects? I don't know. Besides the scorpions, we also uncovered several HUGE spiders, one beetle, a cricket, and a few things that I didn't even recognize. I was just waiting for a snake, but fortunately, that didn't happen.

Thank you Sarah, for braving the spiders and helping us. And thank you, mom and Kate, for taking care of Ellie and Luke all day. I think they had a blast. And they were SUPER worn out. I know this because on the way home, Ellie was having a major attitude problem. I told her that she needed to be sweet. And she was crying and screaming at the top of her lungs "I AM BEING SWEET!!!!". I couldn't help but laugh, which only made her more mad. Thankfully, Ellie and Luke are now both sound asleep in their beds getting much needed rest.

One last thing...If you are reading this tonight, please say a prayer for my friend, Meg, in Albuquerque. She is being induced in about 15 min. She is pregnant with her second baby and is pretty nervous about it all. I have been there, done that, in that very same hospital-twice! I can definitely relate to being nervous. Please pray that everything will go very smoothly, quickly, and she will have a healthy baby boy as soon as possible.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Sweet Baby Boy

I just finished putting Luke down for a nap. Normally, that means literally just laying him in his bed, covering him up, and walking out of the room. Today, though, he was having some trouble going to sleep, so I asked him if he wanted me to rock him a little bit. Luke has always been a little bit more of a cuddler than Ellie. But due to the fact that I am a big fan of Babywise, I have never done much rocking. Every now and then it makes me sad that my babies aren't babies anymore and I didn't spend a whole lot of time rocking them to sleep. So today was a nice little treat. Luke cuddled up to me and I started rubbing his little arm. He LOVES to have his arm rubbed. That little, smooth, chubby arm and hand. I love having a little boy. I am so grateful that the Lord gave me the opportunity to experience raising a boy and a girl. I know I would love whatever He chose to give me, I am so just glad it was this. From the beginning, I have so often looked at his soft, baby features and wondered how they would one day turn into rougher, man features. I mean a girl will always be feminine, soft, delicate. But it's so hard for me to imagine Luke's soft, chubby, drooly chin and cheeks will one day have whiskers.

Anyway, back to the nap. So I had been rubbing that little arm for awhile and thought he was asleep. I stopped for a minute, and he was still for a moment, and then he reached down and grabbed my hand and put it back on his arm. This isn't the first time he has done this and it is just about the cutest thing you can imagine. Those are the little things that make EVERYTHING worthwile.