Friday, December 31, 2010

The Year 2010

At the beginning of 2010, Jack was a tiny little blob in a photo on Marie's shirt.

 I was 12 weeks pregnant with him.

Now he's 6 months old and holds my heart in the palm of his tiny, squishy hand.

The world is a sweeter place with him here.

He's just about 20lbs, can sit up when he wants, is constantly grabbing at things, is always happy, and wants momma's milk only. And he's a snuggler. In a word: perfect.

 At the beginning of 2010, Marie was 18 months old.

She was still very shy with strangers, but was not at all afraid of using her voice in many forms (babbling, screaming) around her parents.

Now she is 2.5 years old... what?!?!?

I refuse to believe it.

She's an athlete through and through. She loves to sing and dance and be in pictures. She adores her baby brother. She's finally putting together sentences. Every day she blows me away with her smarts! She's the most beautiful baby girl on the planet and I love her, love her, love her!

At the beginning of 2010, Derek was working at the Counseling Center and at Riverfront. He worked a lot. But he always found time for his girls.

He wasn't very happy. He felt like he was stuck... going nowhere fast.

Now Derek is working at The Crossing Educational Center, RETA, and running a Micro Soccer Academy. He works a lot. He still always finds time to spend time with his girls and little man.

But now he's happy. He led our family to Indiana by completely trusting God. He loves his jobs; he loves being in full time ministry; he loves knowing we are exactly where God wants us.

At the beginning of 2010, I was 3 months pregnant with my 2nd baby.
(This is at 18 weeks)
I was always exhausted and felt fat from day 1. But of course it resulted in another beautiful blessing so it was more than worth it.
I loved our "corner of 5th and Emmett" house; I loved my jobs as wife, mom, and jewelry designer; I loved spending time with my friends and the wonderful ladies at Oasis. I dreaded the move.

Now I am not pregnant, just fat.

I still adore my "jobs." I love living in Elkhart, but have learned through the whole experience that it really doesn't matter where we live, as long as we're together. I'm happiest when the 4 of us are all together.
I'm so proud of my amazing husband and my beautiful babies. I'm so thankful for our wonderful church. Life isn't easy entering 2011 but I wouldn't change a thing because I know we're where God wants us and doing what He wants us to do.

Happy New Year! Here's to 2011!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Blessings Jar

A little while back I talked about wanting to make a "God Box." I haven't actually made one yet bc I haven't been able to come up with what I wanted this God Box to actually look like. Last night I came across this post on one of my favorite blogs and I LOVE the idea!

It's a Blessings Jar. Instead of making a big box to fit everything in (or maybe in addition to?) we'll have a homemade blessings jar with some paper and pen nearby for daily use!

Blessings Jar

I just love this idea. I'm thinking of finding some scrapbook paper that has rocks on it and writing the blessings on the white side then folding them in half so it looks like a jar full of rocks. (Refer to Joshua 4 for why I want to do this!)

Whenever I get to making it, I'll show it off. It may just be a regular jar for awhile until we get into our new house!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Jacobs Christmas Recap

After celebrating Christmas with the Johnson fam on the 21st, Derek, the babes, and I loaded up in the car and drove to Cleveland on the 22nd. The 23rd... yes, our 5th anniversary... we drove the rest of the way to Scranton.

We celebrated 5 wonderful years that night by going to my favorite PA restaurant (Thai Rak Thai) where I ate my whole plate of drunken noodles with beef. YUM. Then we stopped at Mannings for some milkshakes (desserts go into a totally different compartment so there's always room no matter how full I am! Right, Sister?). Then we saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. We were the only 2 customers in the entire theater. I mean not just in the movie we were watching, but the entire theater. It was a little creepy. But the movie was fantastic and totally should have been in 3D!!

Christmas Eve service and yummy Christmas Eve finger foods followed.


We were ridiculously spoiled with a million presents!

I love being a mom because presents for the babies are presents for me! I felt like I was given an entire children's clothing and toy store!

But technically all of that stuff wasn't for me. Some of the things that were just for me were...

501 Tv-free Activities For Kids (501 TV-Free Kids)A Lineage of Grace: Five Stories of Unlikely Women Who Changed Eternity [Book]
Photo Credit


So, needless to say, I've been spending much of my time reading and taking pictures. I could totally get used to this.

Tomorrow and Thursday is filled with my wonderful friends. Friday Derek and I are going away without the babies for the night. Happy Anniversary to us!! There will most definitely be pictures as Derek and I both have an addiction to the Canon.

Sunday we will be visiting our New Life church family!

Then... HOME!

The only reason I'm looking forward to getting back to life as usual is because of this...

All we're waiting on now is the loan money. That is projected to arrive in January. 

Woot! Woot!

For now, I'm loving being at the inlaws and back in the city and state that has always held a special place in my heart.

Enjoy the last couple days of 2010!

Celebrating Jesus

This Christmas season I spent a lot of time contemplating how I wanted to bring up my children regarding Christmas. I've come out the other side of the holiday with a passion to raise my children celebrating Jesus' birthday on Christmas, learning to give, and learning to be grateful for what they're given.

This Christmas we did have a great opportunity to begin teaching that with a new tradition my extended family (parents, sibs, gma) began. We decided to make dinner for a family less fortunate. We all considered people we know and prayed about who God wanted us to bless and shower with His love. We eventually decided on one of Derek's students and his mom.

Through the collaborative efforts of 10 adults, we brought them dinner (I made yummy apple pie. I'll post the recipe I got from MOPS soon!), some soup for the following day, a Walmart gift card, and one gift for each of them (Derek made a bracelet to match a pair of earrings I made for the mom).

I'm so proud of my man.

We crowded in their little kitchen, told them about Jesus, prayed with them, and left with full hearts.

I can't wait to do it again next year!

And I cannot wait to raise my babies with this tradition. Even though we don't have much according to U.S. standards, we have more than enough to bless others. And we are filthy rich with the love of God.

I'm so grateful for Christmas and the opportunity to celebrate as the angels did that silent night a couple thousand years ago. I'm so grateful for a family that loves others. I'm so grateful for Jesus.

We were super blessed (and continue to be!) here at the inlaws. More on that soon. For now I'm linking up over at MODsquad -

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas!!

And a blessed new year!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

5 Beautiful Years

December 23, 2010 will mark our 5th anniversary! I can't even believe it. It's so amazing to walk through our church decorated beautifully for the wonderful Christmas season, and remember our beautifully decorated wedding in this same church. I really had no idea we'd be back 5 years later.

I am so blessed. I mean ridiculously blessed. 5 years ago I married a man I still do not deserve. What a beautiful, wonderful, ((eventful)) day!

The further away we get from the Christian "bubble" we both grew up in, the more and more broken families we come across. It just breaks my heart that it is not normal to be 26 years old and still have both sets of parents together and happy. We've been learning how incredibly blessed we are to both have that. Thank you, Ma and Dad Jacobs. Thank you, Momma and Dadda Johnson.

And we've been challenged to do the same. What an amazing legacy our parents have left for us. We plan to leave the same for our children, by God's grace.

I beg of you, every single person who comes across this blog, to please do the same. Commit to your vow. Change the world, one God-glorifying marriage at a time.

I am passionate about this. And I'm SO thankful for a husband who shares that passion.

Now on to the anniversary celebration! This was us at our rehearsal dinner 5 years ago...

Our 1st Anniversary was probably our very favorite. We spent the weekend in DC!! It was gorgeous and historical and awesome and enlightening and fantastic and lots and lots more!

Our 2nd Anniversary I was almost 3 months pregnant. Our last anniversary childless. We stayed in a B&B in Windsor, Ontario and spent the day at the Science Center in Detroit. We are not fans of school, but we love to learn!

Our 3rd Anniversary, Marie came along. It definitely had it's stressful moments! But due to lots of snow, the B&B we stayed at in Chicago was empty. So thankfully we didn't have guests to drive crazy with a screaming baby. We did have a wonderful time, tho, going to various museums and looking at and dancing to lights! (See video below!) Oh, and Derek restored my American Girl Doll, Samantha, and took us to the American Girl Doll store in downtown Chicago! My man is good.

Our 4th Anniversary... Derek and I are trying to remember right now as I don't have any pictures of it! I remember we had Marie stay at the in-laws for the night and Derek and I made a Christmas craft then went somewhere and did something... can't remember that part... oh wait, we think we went to a movie, went to my fave PA restaurant (Thai Rak Thai), and played poker with Derek's friends where we were spoiled silly with a Wii system! (And I got second place in poker. It's all coming back to me now!)

Sadly, I don't even have a pic of the two of us together the whole month of December! We lost sight of what is most important in a family - the marriage relationship. Kids are so distracting! But in order to have a healthy and strong family, you must have a healthy and strong marriage. SO looking forward to some time away for this Anniversary! It's been so long.

Here's a memorable pic of our 4th Anniversary month...

I love my husband. I have been so blessed to be married to him for 5 years and his one-and-only for 7.5 years. Looking forward to 5 more decades of marital bliss!

Happy 5th Anniversary, Baber!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

My Highest Calling

I have no doubt that God has called me to be a wife to Derek and a mom to Marie, Jack, and the future kids He blesses us with. But sometimes figuring out what that looks like day to day is complicated.

When do I leave the mess and spend time with my babies?

When do I leave the babies to play by themselves and tackle the mess?

How long should Marie have to wait for Derek and me to catch up on our day?

The past couple weeks have been rough as mentioned in the last post. Rough days/weeks always translate into a messy house. Always. I keep putting off the cleaning, justifying it with the need to spend time with my kids and my husband. I kept wrestling with whether or not it's really all that important to spend time cleaning. God would rather me invest in the lives of my kids, spend time in His Word, provide for my family.

Then I came across this 3x5 card Derek had tucked away in his Bible that had three reasons why he appreciated me. I only remember the 1st - that I keep the house clean and together for him.

So I finally caught up with the dishes.

Keeping up with the house chores is an important part of my calling.

Another important part is obviously my Baby Girl. I love that kid. so. much.

She's having a little more patience with crafting so I've been trying to be all over that. I love the look on her face when I ask her if she wants to make something with mommy. I wish I could capture a picture of it. She loves hanging out with mommy.

I. Love. That. Kid. So. Much.

We made this for her Sunday evening Sunday School teacher. She's Marie's favorite teacher.

She's colored several more that are hanging in the kitchen. These and the snowflakes Derek cut out of paper and hung from the livingroom celiing are our only Christmas decor this year. Makes me sad. But my Mother-in-law always has beautiful decor so I should get my fill while we're there!

I've also got chocolate covered pretzels in Marie and my before-Christmas agenda. I love being a mom.

I love being a wife.

I love my calling.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Irritating the Enemy

Lately my life has felt like a chaotic mess. It's really hard to function normally when in constant pain. I feel for those people who have to deal with chronic pain for their whole lives. Thankfully, mine will be gone soon after Jan. 6 when these wretched wisdom teeth are gone forever.

It was really cool to see God answer a very specific prayer. The other night I was stressed out. Tylenol wasn't cutting it and I just couldn't imagine hurting for another month. So I finally gave in and asked God to either provide a way to get these teeth out earlier or take away the pain. And I trusted Him to do it. He did, almost immediately.

I still get a little pain here and there, but for the past couple of days it has been almost non-existent! Thank You, Lord!

Just in time to get an infection and suffer through two straight days of serious fever. Ugh.

The fever did finally break but I'm still enjoying a painful infection.

The list of ailments this family has suffered since moving to Indiana outnumbers my fingers and possibly my toes.

This morning Derek told me to be careful walking into Church. I said, "I'm not pregnant so it's okay if I fall." He said, "We don't need to spend any more time at the hospital!"

We've done plenty of heart searching to see if there is sin causing this mess.

Finally, Derek had an epiphany. Life in Scranton was nice and comfy. We weren't really doing anything for the Lord so Satan saw no threat.

Here. Here is different. Derek is in full-time ministry. He's impacting kids. He's changing lives.

Satan hates it.

I'm good with that.

So now that the fever is gone, Jack's ear infection is healing, my teeth pain is minimal, and I know we're making Satan mad, hopefully some cleaning will happen! And lots of Christmas crafts and learning about Jesus with my Baby Girl!

Here's to the happiest time of the year!!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Why I Hate to Cook

I miss having internet during the day. But I must admit, I get a lot more done in a lot shorter time.

So really the only negative to not having internet during the day is my online jewelry business suffers. And since iPhoto wasn't working on Derek's laptop until just a couple days ago, my poor little business came to a screeching halt - online. In the real world, DandLs DangLs made a killing over Thanksgiving :)

And speaking of Thanksgiving, I'll eventually get to working on those pics. What a wonderfully crazy week it was!!

Yes. Week.

So that doesn't really have anything to do with this post except maybe to preface what I'm about to say - there will not be any pictures on this post.

Now for my point:

I hate to cook. Always have. I've attempted to make it more enjoyable by making a meal plan and leaving the kids with Derek when grocery shopping. I even have a great recipe box and several wonderful cookbooks.

But still, every evening I groan.

Why all this hate?

Let's see what the list says...

  • I hate grocery shopping
  • I hate raw meat
  • I especially hate raw chicken
  • I even more especially hate raw chicken fat
  • I hate cutting raw chicken
  • I hate cleaning up after cutting raw chicken
  • I hate raw chicken fat.    oh wait, I said that.
  • I hate how making dinner interrupts my evening
  • I hate timing things to all finish at the same time
  • I hate trying to get dinner finished at just the right time
  • I hate coming home hungry and having to cook 
  • I hate how long it takes to make dinner
  • I hate how quickly it's eaten
  • I hate how long it takes to clean up after dinner
  • I hate raw chicken fat.    I know I already said that. It's just so true.
  • I hate when dinner just isn't as good as I thought it would be
  • I hate how dinner somehow tastes so much better when I don't cook it
There's probably more, but you get the idea.

As I wrote out that list, I realized that a lot of this hate comes from past events.

  1. I almost never cooked growing up. This probably wouldn't have mattered if it weren't for event #2.
  2. I basically learned to cook when I was a nanny to a very picky family.
  3. Just a few months after taking this nanny job, Derek and I got married. I was cooking TWO dinners 4 nights a week for 3 years. None of which involved cheese. I love cheese.
  4. The last couple of years in Scranton, Derek was working almost every night. I had to figure out how to have dinner ready for him to scarf down during his 10 minutes between jobs, or make something that could wait til he got home sometime after 10pm. 
  5. And when Derek was working every night, I had to try to cook with a high-maintenance baby who still chooses to be the most difficult right around dinner time.
Is there anyone else out there who hates raw chicken fat as much as I do???

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Egg Carton Counting

This is an idea I found on this website. I love it because, while Marie can count, she's still learning to grasp the concept of counting.

So I got an egg carton, cut it in half (we'll work on 7-12 after she masters 1-6) and had Marie help me put stickers in each slot.

Using Apple Jacks cereal, we placed the correct amount of cheerios into the corresponding slots.

(It's going to take a lot of prayer every morning before homeschooling!)

Then we moved to a new activity to work on her sorting skills. By this time the cereal was running low. She had started her own game of eating the cheerios as fast as she could before Mommy could make her do something with them.

But I managed to save a few to sort for a minute or two.

Of course Marie wanted Jack to have a part so she gave him the top of the egg carton. He wasn't sure what to do with it.

I must squish those cheeks.

Alright. Done. :)

A little side note...

Thanksgiving is coming much faster than I'm ready for. I've been trying to teach Marie a little about being thankful. I want my babies to be grateful babies. Today I'm thankful for my parents. I want to teach my babies to be thankful for their parents. In order to do that I need to be a good example.

I want to be a grateful baby to my parents. "Honor your father and mother..." (Ex. 20:12). I will forever be their daughter so I want to forever be a grateful daughter. I pray that my children will honor their father and mother as the Lord commands (with zero conditions).

So on my LONG list of things to be thankful for, I'm adding "my parents." Not only because they've given me countless reasons to be thankful, but also because God commands it.

Thank you, Momma and Dadda. Love you.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Daily Routine

As I sit here watching my ideal bedtime (for my current not-fully-recovered-from-stomach-bug condition) disappear into the distant past, I'm feeling that sense of disappointment... failure... kicking myself for wasting my life...

But I haven't today. I went grocery shopping with both babies. I went to one of Derek's classes at RETA. I spent time with my family. Put together a new post on my DandLs DangLs blog.

Considering the fact that my belly still makes strange noises and makes threats when I move around too much, and that my 4 month old has zero pain tolerance and is teething... It's been a fairly productive day.

But still I know I could have done much better with today. I starred this post on Google Reader earlier and read through it again tonight. I just finished writing out a simple daily routine that looks much like the one Crystal wrote, but of course tweaked just a little.

I'm very excited about this. I'm excited about the fact that it's normal and okay to not get much more done than just taking care of the babes at this point in my life. I'm excited that Crystal basically wrote out my routine for me. I'm excited to implement my new daily routine. And I'm most excited to not feel like I do now ever again.

After I've lived a basic daily routine for a while, I'll share what it is and how it's going. In the meantime, pray for me!

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Cor. 10:31

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Chicken Pot Pie

There are many different ways to make chicken pot pie. Most of which are very elaborate and time consuming. As I am not a fan of cooking and am all about quick and delicious, this recipe is perfect! My dear friend, Stacey, told me how to make this once as she threw it together herself. I don't know how I lived without it before!

You'll need:

Pie plate
(It doesn't have to be as awesome as mine)
 Mixed veggies, thawed
I usually just throw them in the bowl before doing anything else. They thaw enough.

 Refrigerator pie crusts, thawed
Set these out at the beginning, too.

 Cream of potato soup
No more Weis brand :(
-whatever you like to flavor your chicken with
-a little chicken bouillon if you wish
-salt and pepper

Chop up your chicken and cook it with your favorite seasoning.

Mix the cooked chicken with the veggies and cream of potato soup.
Add a little milk (quarter cup maybe?), salt and pepper, and chicken bouillon.
Stir together in a bowl bigger than this one.
I always forget to use a bigger bowl!
Line your pie plate with one of the crusts and pile in your chicken mix.

Cover with the second pie crust and cinch the edges.
Derek does not care about appearance, only taste. PTL!

Sometimes if I'm feeling really motivated, I'll melt some butter and brush it on the top. That is very rare.

It might not be a terrible idea to cut some slits in the top before baking. I don't know. I've never done it.

Bake until golden brown (20-30 min.)
(I wish I could give you a more precise bake time but our oven in PA was over 50 years old and the one here... well notice how the sun is long gone in the final pic...)
It took 2 hours to bake this in the stupid oven here!! 

I can't even talk about it anymore.

Don't worry. It won't take yours nearly that long!

The end result was so scrumptious that we forgot all about how stinkin' long we had to wait for it. Now I remember. Now I'm annoyed again.

Anyway, this is the perfect recipe for non-cooks like me! Enjoy!

(By the way, check out my DandLs DangLs blog for a discount!)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Before getting into what God seems to be trying to teach me about priorities, I've gotta brag on 2 of my top priorities...

Jack Edward is 4 months old already!

 He's grabbing at things, constantly smiling, is determined to sit up, loves his big sister, and is the most precious bundle of happiness on the planet. Oh, and he's 18lbs and 27in. Yep. There's a reason why I call him my Lil Squish.

The cutest pumpkin patch you'll ever see!

So God has been using blogs (since they seem to be my most recent obsession) to point out my time management and priority issues. It seems every major blog (translation: blogs that make money and have hundreds of followers) I follow is talking about managing time.

I'm notorious for wanting to do everything while actually doing nothing.

I wanted to join the crafting world. But when I couldn't seem to keep up with anything else, I finally decided that was not for this phase of my life.

I've been wanting to coupon badly. At MOPS last night, a lady came and told us all about how to do it. I was excited to minister to my handsome, hardworking husband by saving money everywhere possible. I spent the kids' nap time scouring the internet for coupons, printing, and cutting. I had to break to make dinner. When I opened the microwave to thaw the meat and saw a very large cockroach smashed in the door, I realized while we're living in this rental, it would be foolish to stockpile only to trash half of it from cockroach infestations. I think God put that disgusting... *shiver*... thing there to tell me to scratch couponing from my priority list for now. Sometimes God says no even to "good" things.

So I need to simplify, streamline... whatever other "s" words work here.

I'm still figuring out my priorities and how God wants me to spend my days. But I can't wait to be done wasting my days and finally lay down at night knowing I accomplished what God wanted me to. Maybe I'll sleep better!

This is the latest blog post I read that so far has been the most helpful! - Create a Time Budget

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Obstacle Course

One of the many blogs I follow using Google Reader is focused on teaching your children. Jenae, the author, has taught me a lot about how easy it is to teach Marie! Also reading all that she does regularly with her babies has motivated me to spend more time giving Marie my total attention.

With that in mind, the other day I decided on making an obstacle course for Marie. I got the idea from the Micro Soccer Academy that Marie has learned a TON from. (Classes start Friday!)

First she had to jump over the boppy...

It was more of a step over.

Then she weaved around cones...

(At first I went searching the house for things for her to weave around when I remembered we have a whole stack of cones for Micro Soccer Academy! duh).

Then she had to crawl under Jack's playmat...

Followed by a somersault...

(Or at least an attempt at one...)

Finally, she kicked a ball at some toilet paper rolls...

(I always have tp rolls on hand! Multi-functional!)

After a once-through, she ran right back to do it again (skipping the boppy part) and I had to race to set the tp rolls back up. It was short-lived fun, but fun none-the-less. She later got all the cones, put them in a sort of circle and ran around and around. That may have lasted longer than the obsticle course, probably bc she got me laughing pretty hard!

(Sorry about the horrendous pics. I don't really have a good excuse).

I've found that spending quality fun time with my baby girl helps me be more patient with her, especially on days like today when we're both sick and crabby. Today's much needed fun time is going to be outside with the bubble mower and bike.
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