Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Power of a Piggy Bank

Quinn has two piggy banks. One was a gift from one of my sweet co-workers, Cristen. She and I were "neighbors" at school for several years until I had to switch rooms. She decorated the piggy bank for Quinn. The other was a bank we bought for Quinn the Christmas I was pregnant with him. Since I had a due date of January 5th, we had given consideration to the fact that he could come early, potentially being here in time for Christmas. So that year we bought a couple of "just-in-case" of them being this piggy bank. We chose one with a fire truck on it (of course) and had his name painted on it. Both of these banks are in his room.

Throughout the year, Buddy and I put a lot of our pocket change into these banks. Sometimes when Grandma and Grandpa, or Nana and Papa come, they pull out their wallets so Quinn can "feed" his piggy. Then each year, I plan to empty the banks and roll the money to put in his savings account. I did this last year too.

I just emptied out both banks, sorted the coins, and rolled them. I've got $49.10 to put in his savings account. It's amazing how those pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, and even dollars add up!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Friends are Friends Forever

Well, it's been about a month since our friends, Ryan and Alycia, moved away. They were in town this weekend taking care of some things and we got to visit with Alycia and Alex at church on Sunday. It's been different not having them here. Yet, how we met in the first place is different too.

Some of you may know this already so indulge me. Here's how we met. Alycia and I were pregnant with our boys at the same time, and ended up in the same childbirth class. I'll never forget that day. We were at the very first class, and everyone in the room had to give their "stats"...due date, what you were having, what you did as a job, etc. Alycia and I both said the same thing...."I'm due January 5th, I'm having a boy, and I'm a teacher." As soon as we had a break, we made a bee-line for each other and started talking. We all sat together the rest of the class, and for the rest of the sessions. We also took a hospital tour together, which was the last class. I remember telling Buddy on the way home, "They sure are a nice couple...too bad we'll never see them again." Little did I know.

Fast-forward to March 2008. My maternity leave was over and I was taking Quinn to daycare for the first time. I remember looking around the room and seeing other babies there, but one baby seemed "familiar" to me. How can a tiny baby that I've never seen before seem familiar? A few days later I got my answer. As I was getting into my car after dropping Quinn off, I saw a man get out of his car and I thought, is that the guy from childbirth class? That afternoon, I pointed to a cute little redheaded baby and asked the teachers what is mother did for a living. When they said she was a teacher, I knew. I left a note for Alycia in Alex's diaper bag with my phone number, and the rest is history.

We spent that summer getting to know each other better and for the boys to have play dates. I invited them to our church, and they eventually became members. Quinn and Alex got to play together almost every single day of the week, between daycare and nursery at church. You never saw one without the other. Then the twosome became three, when Alex's brother Joseph was born last April. Quinn also got to go play with Alex on Monday nights since their house was right down the street from our fire station.

This past fall, Ryan was offered a great opportunity with his job that has moved them about three-four hours away. We all miss each other so much, but they have moved to the same area as Buddy's sister, so we will still get to see each other...just not as much. I am so happy for the opportunities the Lord is giving our friends, especially Alycia, who now gets to be a stay-at-home momma!

Here are a few pictures of Quinn, Alex and Joseph.

This was October 2008...the first trip to the pumpkin patch.

This was April 2009...Easter Egg Hunt at our Pastor's house. Joseph was just a few days away from making his entrance.

April 2009....Quinn meets Joseph! Alex was with his grandparents this night.

Halloween 2009....SuperMan and a Super Saint Bernard! On a funny note, do you remember when I wrote about Quinn outgrowing his Halloween costume? Well, Joseph wore the dragon costume this year! He outgrew his original costume too!

And throughout this post, I'm reminded of lyrics from a song made famous by Michael W.Smith.

Friends are friends forever
If the Lord's the Lord of them
and a friend will not say never
because the welcome will not end.
Though it's hard to let you go,
in the Father's hands we know
that a lifetime's not too live as friends!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Perfect Potato Soup

We've been having such a cold spell here in NC, but finally the weather is beginning to warm up a least back to normal-for-January temperatures. I like that I live in a state where we get to experience all four seasons. One of my favorite things about winter is making and eating soups! I have finally been able to re-create my grandmother's vegetable beef soup. Buddy's mom gave me a great recipe for a creamy chicken noodle soup. But what I've been wanting this year was Potato Soup.

It must have been on everyone else's minds too, because during these weeks of super cold temps, several of my Facebook friends have been talking about making Potato Soup. So I poked around on the Internet looking for Potato Soup recipes. I found several that sounded good except for one item here or there. So I took the good parts of the recipes and played around until I found a combination that sounded good to me.

Perfect Potato Soup
3 1/2 cups of cubed potatoes
1/3 cup diced onions
1/3 cup diced celery
3/4 - 1 cup diced cooked ham
3 1/4 cups water
3-4 chicken bouillon cubes
1 teaspoon salt and pepper (to taste)
5 tablespoons butter/margarine
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
Shredded Cheddar Cheese

1. Combine potatoes, onion, celery, and water to a stock pot. Bring to a boil, then cover and cook on medium heat until potatoes are tender. Add bouillon, salt and pepper.

2. In a separate sauce pan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour with a fork, and cook, stirring constantly until thick, about a minute or two. Slowly stir in milk, so to not allow flour mixture to clump. Continue pouring until all the milk has been added. Continue stirring for about 4-5 minutes until thick.

3. Stir the milk mixture into the stockpot. Add ham. Cook soup until heated through. Serve immediately, and add cheddar cheese as a garnish.

I only wish I had gotten a picture of this! It made a large stockpot of soup. There was enough for our family to have for supper the night I made it, enough for me to take for lunch for a couple of days, and I had some left to freeze for another day. This was the best potato soup I think I've ever had. I hope you enjoy it too!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Two Years Old Today!

I can hardly believe that I am the mother of a two year old! It seems like only yesterday I was pregnant, and now my sweet little Quinn is TWO! Time has sure flown by with him, and I have enjoyed every moment of being his mother.

It has been such a big year. Quinn went from barely walking without needing help, to running and jumping and climbing all over the place. The only things he hasn't figured out how to climb on the counters and climb out of his crib. He loves to play outside and explore. He can entertain himself with toys, or he can be a fun playmate. He loves to stack blocks, knock them down and start over. He likes to build towers with his big Legos. He loves trucks and balls....typical boy! He likes books and listening to stories.

He loves music. Since I've joined the choir, our director will give us a CD every so often of songs we will be learning. When I play them in the car, Quinn will clap along to the songs, and saying "Yeah!" when the song is over. He loves to sing along with me and do the hand motions to different songs.

Quinn is a good eater! So far, we have not found him to be particularly picky. He has things he loves to eat, but when it comes down to it, he will eat any (and every) thing we put on his plate. We have progressed from bottles and baby food to sippy cups and using utensils to feed himself.

I am just so amazed at all he has done this year and can hardly wait to see if the twos will be terrible or terrific! Either way, he's my boy and I love him!

Here are a few favorite pictures of Quinn from this past year.
This is last year's first birthday party. Isn't he cute with cake all over?

This was from last February....not long after Quinn's first haircut and after we got Harry the Elephant.

This was near or around Easter time.

This was from the those curls.

18 months old
My Halloween Saint Bernard.
And finally, meet my two year old sweet heart!
I am so blessed to be the mother of this precious child!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Baby, it's cold outside

We've been having a very unseasonable cold streak of weather lately. NC is not known to be a cold-winter state, but every once in a while, we get really cold weather. For almost a week now, we've had daytime highs in the low 30's, with wind chill down to the teens and twenties. To me...that's cold! And trust me, I found out the hard way just how cold it was last night.

My dog, Tillman, had scratched on the door to our deck to go out. I wanted to make sure he actually did "business", so I went out with him, to shoo him off the deck. It's only a couple of steps down to the grass. I figured we'd be outside a minute or less. When Tillman came back up, I reached for the door....

...and it wouldn't budge! It was locked! By none other than my sweet little Quinn. He somehow managed to flip the deadbolt while I was waiting on the deck...and he could not/would not flip it back. So first, I begin to panic.

I'm outside. It's cold.
I don't have a jacket on. It's cold.
Quinn's stuck inside by himself. It's cold.
How am I going to get back in? It's cold.
I'm outside. It's cold.
And my husband is not home. And it's cold.
And all the other doors are locked. And it's cold.
And it's cold!!!!

Our yard is fenced in and I was afraid I would have to scale the fence to get out of the yard. For some reason, the gate was unlocked (that's a worry for another day, because I don't know why the gate was unlocked). I ran across the street to my neighbor's house and used her phone to call Buddy. (He had left about a half hour before to run a fire call.) Miss Cookie also let me borrow a coat, because I didn't have one on at the time.

Cookie said she would wait for Buddy to call back or get home so I could go back to the backyard and check on Quinn, who at this point, had been "home alone" for about 15 minutes. Much to my surprise, when I looked in the window at him, he was sitting on the couch, calm, content, and watching a cartoon on TV, as if being home alone was no problem. When I knocked on the window at him, he casually looked over his shoulder, threw me the cutest smile ever, waved and said "Hi Mommy", then turned back to the TV.

Gee thanks, son. I'm stuck outside in the cold, you're by yourself, and all I get is a wave and a smile. Since it was obvious Quinn was going to be no help, and I realized I was stuck outside, I picked up my dog, zipped him up in the coat with me, and waited.

Thankfully, our fire station is not far from our house, and Buddy was home in about five minutes to let me and Tillman back inside. But when you are locked out of your house and your toddler is stuck inside, it feels like forever.

So, lesson learned. Always take a coat when you let the dog out, and either hide a key, or give one to your neighbor. You never know when you might need it.

And Quinn...Momma still loves you and this story is funny now. (It wasn't so funny last night!)