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Thankful Thursday #122: a year of happiness

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On New Year’s Eve, Dennis and I celebrated quietly at home, going through our memory jar.  We started this last year and I think it will be something we do every year.  Throughout the year, we fill a jar with paper memories, then go through them at the end of the year. It’s a fun way to remember all that happened in the last year.

If you’ve been reading my blog for at least a year, you might remember the bittersweet post about 2012’s memory jar.  I have copied it below this one for you to read if you have the time or interest – it’s so awesome to read that already having what we prayed for in our arms.

Anyway, while going through 2013’s jar, we ran across this fortune:

Today I’m thankful that this fortune came true.  Thank God for our little miracle! :)

* * *

Thankful Thursday #97: a fresh start – originally posted January 3, 2013

Our Memory Jar, filled with paper memories from 2012. The pictures included in this post are all things found within the jar.

Despite not doing a recipes “best of” to recap for 2012, I am a little introspective on the year.  In one way, it was a hard year. Really hard.  In all other ways, it was great.  When I think back on this year, all I feel is happy, so I’m thankful for that.  But I’m also thankful for a fresh start.

Regular readers know that 2012 was the year we really tried to have a baby–and I mean gave it our all.  And did not succeed.  We finally got ourselves checked out after eight years of casually trying and nearly a year of gung-ho trying (you know, with all the charting and timing and hooplah), and the urologist said it is “very unlikely” that we will ever have a baby together naturally.  That was really tough to hear.

Right now our future is uncertain as far as children are concerned.  We are doing what we can, including praying and taking natural supplements (there’s nothing doctors can do to help besides IVF, which we are not interested in), but our window of opportunity is fairly well shut.  Haus is on the older side to become a first-time Dad (45) and knowing what it’s like for a child to be raised by older parents (my Dad was a surprise, born to my grandparents when they were in their late 40s) and how it can make them constantly afraid that their parents will die while they are still growing up, I feel it’s not right to keep trying.  And yet it’s also something hard for me to give up.

I have been thinking about fostering to adopt for almost as long as we’ve been trying, and while this is something Dennis and I will have to decided between us, it is definitely one avenue of opportunity for us to raise a child if we do not have one of our own.  I am finding it terribly hard to totally give up on the hope of having one of our own right now, so I don’t think 2013 will be the year for us to go into the foster program.  2013 is more likely going to be a year of transition into parenthood, Lord willing, one way or another.

Anyway, besides the trial of trying to conceive and month after month of disappointment, and the weight gain brought on by my emotional eating, this has been a wonderful year.   While the photos in this post are showing our paper memories, there were many more wonderful memories made that you won’t  find on paper.  Lots of laughter, lots of hugs and kisses, lots of celebrations, long walks & talks, lots of love. We are happy, we are healthy, and I am thankful.

While I do yearn for children, I’m also desperately thankful for the “alone time” Dennis and I have had with each other for fourteen years.  I know being a parent is really hard, and we are so totally spoiled without them, and I do count that as a blessing.  I’m sure I will miss the freedom I have now if I ever lose it, so I do try to appreciate it while it is mine.

That said, I’m dreaming of what 2013 will bring.  While I’m hoping and praying that it includes a child, something that I do have control over is my diet and I’m getting that back under control.  No more, “This baby stuff is so harrrrrrd, whiney whine whine whine,” while shoveling in chips and sour cream dips, and squirting pastry bags full of leftover icing in my mouth. OK, so I don’t really whine like that, and don’t really squirt pastry bags full of icing into my mouth (though I have been known to do so in the past), but you get the idea.  I’m not going to milk the baby stress excuse to eat whatever I want in huge quantities.  Not any more.  I’m ready to “give birth” to the food baby I’ve created from overeating.  Especially since he’s decided to take up precious pants space and I really don’t want to buy bigger pants (I’ve already done that too many times).  Food baby be gone!

That is all I have to say (finally, right?), so get ready for it.  The epic ending to my blog:

Still makes me laugh.  Check out the blog Den’s cartoon is featured in here if you missed it last January.  Peace to you all, may 2013 bring you much happiness.

Love, Veronica

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Thankful Thursday #121: happy Thanksgiving!


Happy thanksgiving! I hope you’re enjoying your holiday with family and/or friends and that there’s lots of delicious food in your future.

Since time is scarce these days, I have a short and sweet Thankful Thursday today.  Something special happened on Tuesday – all my Moms showed up at our house at the same time without even planning it!  Phyllis came to spend a couple days with us and help around the house, bless her, Momma Donna stopped in on her way to work to meet her newest “grand-baby”, and my own mother, who just arrived in Wichita on Saturday and just in time to meet baby Joshua, came over to spend some more time with him (she also came to the hospital.  And for the record, the excitement finally kicked in – she is so in love with him! So happy for that. :) )And the craziest thing is, even my foodie Mama joined us from California without knowing it, calling me to congratulate me on Joshua’s birth.  I’ve said it before, but God has such great timing.  How wonderful for him to orchestrate this special day. :)

I know you’d have rather seen Joshua than the nursing cover over my chest, but I wasn’t about to break his latch when we’ve been working on it so hard.  And you’re welcome for me not flashing my boob! lol

Happy thanksgiving! May you find many things to be thankful for this year.

Thankful Thursday #120: God’s perfect timing


I’m quickly closing in on three years of Thankful Thursdays, having started them after Thanksgiving 2010.  Hard to believe! If you ever wondered how it got started, you can read the first one here.

Today I’m really excited to announce that my husband was temporarily promoted to a Team Leader (TL) position at his work place.  And yes, this means a pay raise!  (If you ever wondered what he does, he works at an inbound call center selling life insurance.  Now, instead of being on the phones, he will be supervisor over a group of other insurance salesman).  The timing of this is really uncanny, or perhaps I should say divine, because it so perfectly coincides with me taking unpaid maternity leave.  He starts training on Monday, and his first higher paycheck will come the week Joshua is due.  *shiver*

I have not shared much about my plans for working after baby comes, and that’s because my plans aren’t set in stone.  I will be taking unpaid leave, and during that time we will be able to see if we can handle living on one income with a baby.  If so, I will be resigning rather than returning to work.

Though Den isn’t getting a staggering raise, it will help a lot!  And since the promotion is temporary, he will be able to see if being a TL is something he could do/would want to do permanently.  We’re both hoping and praying that opportunity presents itself, which it very well could from what he’s heard, because the raise would be much higher and help compensate for the income we’d be losing without me working outside the home.

When you’re waiting and hoping for something, it can be hard to appreciate God’s perfect timing.  Before we got pregnant, I felt almost panicked because it felt like it was already too late and I thought maybe children weren’t part of the plan for us at all.  But then my workplace announced it was closing and almost exactly a month later, I was pregnant for the first time in my life.  One of my first thoughts was that with the REC closing, this was the perfect opportunity to stay home with a baby (my hearts’ desire–I want to be there for all his firsts!), if we could swing it financially.  I also couldn’t help reflect on how there was never another time when things were so perfect for us to have a baby.

For one, Dennis wasn’t ready to be a father until this year.  He was willing for my sake, but not ready.  He told me he was ready just three months before we got pregnant.  Two, we didn’t have insurance when we were younger, and our income was even more pitiful.  Three, I had some health issues that didn’t completely resolve until about 2011 and would have made having a baby more complicated.  This year, we both have jobs, both have insurance, both were ready (OK, so I was over-ready! lol!).  Perfect timing!

But me not working is so scary.   I could possibly keep my job for up to another year, and voluntarily resigning before I actually have to is a scary thing.  I have the higher income, so to see it completely disappear is intimidating since we’ve relied on it for so many years.  Add a baby into the mix, and it borders on the impossible.  So it just really seems like a God-thing to have Dennis get a promotion right in the nick of time!  And I’m just so grateful.

It can be hard to take a leap of faith, but these examples of how God provides helps a lot.  I honestly feel like we’re going to make it, no matter what.  Thank God for his perfect timing.

Thankful Thursday #119: A Dr. Seuss Baby Shower


It’s appropriate that I’m posting this shower, my third (but not final), on Thursday, just in time for Thankful Thursdays!  I’m so incredibly grateful to God for giving me the most wonderful second family I could have ever imagined, and for all the wonderful, loving people in my life that made four showers necessary!  I may be spoiled at this point, but I do so appreciate all the love, encouragement, and support we’ve gotten since finding out we’re pregnant – in the form of comments, cards, prayers, words, and gifts.  I love that so many are celebrating with us! :)

This shower was thrown by my family-in-law– cousin Andrea spearheading it with help from her three sisters, her Mom, and my sister-in-law, Joan.

Hostesses & sisters Andrea & Jessica with their beautiful baby girls.

~Photo by Katerina~

Aunt Becky (Andrea, Jessica, Katerina, and Tessa’s Mom-you can see why they’re so beautiful!) and Auntie-to-be, Joan.

~Photo by Katerina~

~Photo by Dennis~

I was so impressed with all the creativity that went into this shower!  I was in love with everything on the food table and it took me a while to look past the food and notice the letters spelling out Joshua’s name, painted to match our nursery.

~Photo by Katerina~

~Photo by Dennis~

I had these letters pinned on my Pinterest registry and hoped I could talk an artist friend into making them because they would have cost quite a bit from the Etsy artist who was selling them (not that they’re not worth it, but I’m thrifty).  I never did ask anyone since Momma Donna put vinyl decals over the crib, but I’m so glad Andrea saw my pin…and made them herself!  I had no idea she was an artist, let alone an amazing artist!  She surprised the heck out of me.  I cried, especially when I saw that she managed to incorporate a Bible verse into them.

My only regret about our Seuss theme is that there are no good Seuss quotes about or connection to God or the Bible, but she nailed it with this translation of of Psalm 127:3, which could have come straight from a Seuss book, and she made it even better by putting a cross in the middle of it.  If that isn’t the most wonderful, creative thing, I don’t know what is.  Thank you so, so, much Andrea!  You are a treasure.

~Photo by Katerina~

I know I tend to focus on food, but like I said before, this is a food blog after all, so I figure if you’re reading, that’s what you’re most interested in too.  Each thing on the table had a cute Seuss-y label.  These seasoned crackers (“fish food”) were made by Auntie-to-be, Joan.

~Photo by Katerina~

“Who Food” by cousin Katerina (Andrea’s sister).  She cut the cheese into fun shapes. :)

~Photo by Katerina~

Did you just die? Because I almost did when I saw these Lorax Nutter Butters and truffula trees made with chocolate wafer rolls and coconut marshmallows melted onto square cookies (possibly Lorna Doone shortbread).  Andrea did these, of course, as well as all the signs and the truffula trees in the jars with the signs, made with fancy spiral straws and pieces of feather boas!  I could just die.

~Photo by Dennis~

I can’t get over them.  Sorry, moving on beyond these cookies are hard.  But I’ll try.

~Photo by Katerina~

Green Eggs & Ham Pretzels? Seriously?  Too much cuteness!  Becky and Katerina made these together – just some white chocolate melted on top of pretzels with a green M&M in the middle.  Love.

~Photo by Katerina~

So colorful and cute! They were the perfect size and even had little sprinkles inside. Not to mention delicious!

~Photo by Dennis~

Pink Yink Ink Drink made with diet 7-Up and slices of lemon, lime and orange.

~Photo by Katerina~

~Photo by Katerina~

Each table had books with covers made to look like Dr. Seuss books, drawn by Andrea’s daughter, Faith.  I guess we know where Faith inherited her talent from!

~Photo by Dennis~

We started with games created by Tessa, who helped from afar while on her mission trip in SE Asia.  I thought that was really neat that she could help from so far away so that all the sisters were involved!

But filling in the blanks on Seuss books was HARD.  I’m sure I’ll be a Seuss expert in no time, but I hadn’t heard of a single book on the game.  I had to get creative.  “I will not kill anyone today.”

~Photo by Jessica~

Dennis stayed for about half the shower, then escaped with his Dad to a gun show (how funny that he did the same thing at my Lil’ Pumpkin shower, leaving with his Dad to go to the shooting range. Men and their guns! ha!).  We were blessed that his old friend, Stacia, could make it, and he got to spend some time with her.

~Photo by Joan~

If it weren’t for Stacia, Dennis and I never would have met.  I’m about to go off on a tangent here, and hope you’ll bear with me…or you can just move ahead and skip this paragraph.  To make a long story short, she was in a bad car accident (she has been a paraplegic ever since) and was in Wesley hospital at the same time Kirstie Alley’s father was there for an operation.  Kirstie connected with Stacia while visiting her father, and then gave her some Dianetics and Scientology books (she’s a Scientologist and started the mission in Wichita, if you didn’t know).  Stacia wasn’t interested, but when Dennis came to visit, he took Dianetics, as he loves to learn and read everything.  He was intrigued, and one thing led to another, and he ended up on staff at the Church of Scientology in Wichita.  Not long after, I filled out a personality test they’d put in the newspaper and ended up taking my first class there, and eventually ended up on staff too.  We married two years later! I know that’s a crazy story (and I didn’t even include the part about dating Dennis’ best friend first-lol), but basically we have Stacia to thank for bringing us together!  And it was so worth all the grief we went through as Scientologists in our early days.

~Photo by Joan~

Stacia is one of the most loving, truly sweet people you could ever know.  I was so glad she was able to make it, as we hadn’t seen her (or her daughter, behind us in the picture above) for about ten years!

~Photos by Dennis~

Gift-opening photos bore me, especially when they’re of myself, so I made a couple collages so I wouldn’t bore you too much with them.  I started off opening the  big gifts (with some help from little Madalee, Den’s third cousin) since they were closest, and just feel so blessed we got the few big things left that we really needed!  A gate with a swinging “door” to block the stairs leading to the back door and basement once Joshua begins to crawl.  The door you can swing open on it will make letting Jessie through it to go to her doggy door and outside so much easier!  A bunch of Den’s family chipped in to purchase it, along with the high chair/booster seat that I wanted instead of a regular high chair. It came highly recommended to me by three Moms because it doesn’t take up extra space (you put it on a regular chair), it’s easy to clean, and you can travel easily with it.  So glad to have that!  And Phyllis, Den’s Mom, also got us a car seat.  We had bought a used one from our neighbor but feel so much better having a new one that we don’t have to worry about being out of date or having any issues, plus it’s padded better for an infant and doesn’t have any sawdust on it (we’re having some sawdust issues right now-lol). Hurray!!

~Photo by Dennis~

We got a lot of cute baby clothes, a lot of useful things like wipes, a lot of special things like handmade blankets, burp clothes, and  bibs, and on the left of the collage above I’m opening a gift of big, thick books filled with Seuss books, fairy tales, and Winnie the Pooh stories.  I have to say books are one of the most exciting gifts for me because I loved my Mom reading to me and plan to do the same for Joshua.  Jessica also gave me some Seuss books too and Joshua’s library has grown so much that Dennis has to re-install our bookshelves to make sure they’re stable enough to hold the weight (he thinks the brackets were put in upside down).  A good problem to have. :)

~Photo by Joan~

This blanket was made by a woman I’ve never met!  Do you remember Janice? Well her Mom made it for me – mind blowing!  See what I mean about me getting spoiled?  :)

Just had to share this lovely photo of my Mother-in-law and Aunt Becky (Aunt Lois in the background) – Katerina takes such beautiful photos.  And I also wanted to share it because right now, on this Thankful Thursday, my gratitude for my second Mom is filling my heart.  I just got the most wonderful letter from her yesterday and while I know I will never stop yearning for my own mother to return to the more reliable, there-for-her-loved-ones person she used to be, Phyllis more than makes up for my Mom.  She’s like two Moms or more in one.  She’s even saving money for a hotel so she can stay in Wichita for a while after Joshua is born to help us out with cleaning and cooking while we’re settling into a new routine with him.  Wow.  (For the record, I offered her our couch, but she wants to give us some alone time with Joshua even while she’s here – see how thoughtful she is?)

It’s really hard for me not to want my Mom to be excited, and to want  her here with me, or at least have her want to be here with me, and doing the things she did for Lacey when she was pregnant with and had Owen.  But I have to be fair and acknowledge I’m blessed beyond what a lot of women are in that I have four Moms and they are so great,  it’s really like having ten Moms.  It doesn’t take away the pain, but it adds a lot of joy.  Thank you Lord, for this gift of Mothers.  <3

Can’t believe I’m going to be one soon! :)  Check in tomorrow for one final shower if you can stand all the showeryness! :)

Thankful Thursday #118: snapshots

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*Just a reminder that the sign-up deadline for the cookie swap is Monday so if you want to participate, make sure you join us before the cut-off.  Click the link to get the important information and to find out more.

Today I thought I’d share some random recent snapshots to illustrate some things I’m thankful for right now. :)

Just can’t resist that face! This is her adorable serious face.

Pumpkin spice everything! :D  Recipe here.

A crib filled with diapers and wipes.  My goal is to have it overflowing before we empty it out. :)

Reasons to laugh at myself.  I can’t seem to eat a meal any more without making a huge mess!

Joshua’s library is expanding!

This crazy man. :)

This crazy pair. <3

We finally have baby hangars…and clothes to hang!

Recipe here.

My crazy sisters. I think Danielle invented a new feeding technique here! lol

Yay for yummy, healthy snacks!

Your turn! What are you thankful for this week? Feel free to link to pictures and recipes. :)

Shrunken brain syndrome

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Today is Thursday, and I did do a Thankful Thursday, but accidentally posted it yesterday! Shrunken brain syndrome, I tell you. Anyway, if you missed it, I do hope you’ll check it out – it’s got our professional maternity photos in it and I’m in love with them. Thank you again, Stephanie!

Click the photo to open the blog in a new tab.

I also posted a recipe for a wonderful Smoky Red Lentil Chili, which was the only blog that was supposed to post yesterday, and it might have gone overlooked b/c of the double posting. So if you missed that one, I hope you’ll check it out too (click the photo). I’ll try to get my blog and my brain sorted out – lol.

Have a wonderful and very thankful Thursday!

Love, V

After hearing about all the dumb stuff I did yesterday, including posting my blog on the wrong day, a co-worker gave me these to smarten me up. :)

Thankful Thursday #117: professional maternity photos

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Update: It’s the shrunken brain, I tell you. I thought I scheduled this for Thursday and woke up to discover two blogs posted today.  Since there are already comments, I’m leaving it up. Be sure to check out the Smoky Red Lentil Chili as well. :)

You remember, Stephanie, right? The one that helped us with the nursery and bought  me this maternity outfit, as well as newborn baby clothes? Oh yeah, and she also won a gift set from Swanson Vitamins (love their products!) for me by entering a contest they had on their Facebook page.  Well guess what else she did?  She bought us a photo session with Jaclyn Marie Photography! I know, my head kind of exploded too.  Even experiencing this overload of generosity, it’s still hard to believe there are actually people like Stephanie living in the real world.

I was so thankful for this because it’s something I really wanted to do, but we are saving for the future and our one splurge ended up being the 3D sonogram.  Jaclyn did a beautiful job and I couldn’t be happier with the photos.  I’ll shut up now and just let you enjoy a few of my favorites.  OK, so I could only omit like five of the photos – I love them all so much!

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