Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
1 Corinthians 3:17

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Apple Pancakes Recipe & Other Stuff

Well, we did it. That first week of new beginnings; new schedules, teachers, classmates; new (and some old) anxieties, and the raw nerves and excitement that are all part of the process. It was actually a pretty great week.  :) Jonah and I enjoyed a lunch date on Tuesday when the others had their first day back. And on Wednesday, that first full day, when I would have wondered all day long Now what?, William and I escaped to the beach for that official last hurrah of summer (and an early anniversary celebration). It was super foggy, so no pictures to share, but we walked along the coastline pathway for a couple miles (which I have always wanted to do), ate our picnic lunch (no extra money, as in in ZERO dollars, since our double garage door broke this week) and then strolled along the ocean's edge. This had multiple significance for me -- First, it was lovely, so there's that. Second, I was really grinding my sad-looking calloused feet into the sand as we walked. Nature's pumice, you know. Third, well, it's the beach! With my husband, just the two of us! It was fun! One of us finds it impossible to ever be at a place where you normally go swimming, and then not go swimming, not naming names. I bet you can guess. On our walk back to our stuff, we got caught behind a small inlet of rocks where the water was deeper and the waves crashing in around us, and I was sooooo sure we could make it through without any mishaps. Ha! As I was waiting for a new wave to pass (because you can't see to get your footing when the water and sand are swirling all around your feet), I turned my face to look back to shore and SPLAT! A wave exploded against a large rock beside me and the resulting splash drenched me. We had a good laugh over that one.  =)

Jonah seems really happy with his new school, our church's Christian school. I used to feel such guilt over things like sending one child to this school and another to that one, but each child is different, and they need and want different things. I do think I have finally learned that parenting each child is mostly like starting all over again. The things you learn may carry over from one child to the next, but the actual practices and techniques? Not so much. Have you ever heard that saying that raising kids is like making pancakes? That first one is either undercooked or burnt because you don't know how hot the pan should be, or how much oil you add, and then by the 3rd and 4th pancake, you've figured out the heat and the oil and the timing, and you've got it right! Oh if it were truly that easy, ha!

So on my first official official alone day- Thursday- I had to bring Luke into the vets because he just seemed so off (yet another reason we have limited resources now). I broke down when the vet said if I'd waited until afternoon, I would have found Lukey dead somewhere because his bladder would have burst by then and killed him. My heart was pounding so hard! I didn't even get to say goodbye because they whisked him away so quickly to save him. They were afraid it was going to rupture or burst any moment, and that would be fatal. My poor, poor baby. He should be ready to come home later this morning and I can't wait! Neither can big brother/BFF Sneakers, who has been beside himself with grief in Luke's absence. If it weren't so pitifully sad, it would be kind of cute!

Something else far less traumatic has been on my mind...I'm looking for input so feel free to share your thoughts. I finally decided on a new name for my Etsy shop (which is so, so hard for me!) and was feeling pretty good. I was setting up a Facebook page when I discovered a hugely popular shop with about the same exact name- Roses and Ruffles, as opposed to my Rose & Ruffle. Is it too close? I thought I did such a thorough search to avoid this type of thing, and I never saw the other shop until I'd already renamed mine. So I have been hiding the page instead of trying to get "likes" because of this. Ugh. This probably sounds silly or lame or both, but it has me really worried/annoyed/concerned. Any thoughts? Thanks.  :)

Oh right, the recipe! HA Let's just make this long post even l-o-n-g-e-r!

The Best Apple Pancakes
  • 2 cups flour (I use unbleached flour)
  • 1/4 cup or so wheat germ
  • 2-3 Tbsp ground flax seed
  • scant 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1-2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup oil 
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-2 apples, peeled and chopped
Place dry ingredients in large bowl; add remaining ingredients (except apples) and whisk together. Add apples when well blended. Keep some aside for the inevitable naked pancake or two.  :) These are the best pancakes for fall! They taste so good with maple syrup, honey, or what we loving refer to as "Sugar Sauce" - confectioner's sugar with a dash of cinnamon, vanilla extract and milk. At least the pancakes are a little healthier.  =) **I forgot to mention that this is the recipe doubled, which is pretty much the only way I can feed this crew of mine, ha!**

Looking for another great fall recipe? Check out my easy One-Bowl Apple Squares're welcome!  ;)

Okay, I'm off to the Post Office to mail my favorite baby dress and adorable birdie bib, and then off to the vets to get our little Lukey! Thanks for reading my rambling! Have a wonderful Saturday!

sharing here 
 & here

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Firsts and Changes...Take a Deep Breath

I feel like this should be my mantra these days. Inhale, exhale. Deep breath. So much change, so many firsts. I adore the excitement surrounding Back to School, but it is always an adjustment. And usually it ends up kicking my rear big time. I'm sure this year will be no exception with all four kiddos once again attending four different schools (at least Caleb's and Isabelle's are in the same campus!). This morning went very smoothly, but Jonah doesn't start until tomorrow, so we'll see how the "real thing" goes. I have made a life or death oath to myself to pack as much of the lunchboxes as I'm able to the night before. I believe this will save me from a long, torturous demise over the long haul. Don't think I'm kidding.  =)  What ever will I do when my counter no longer looks like a little assembly line of lunch boxes and sacks and water bottles?

Entire outfits are arranged neatly in their storage hanger-things in every closet except Ethan's. (I suppose a high school freshman does not need his clothes to be laid out for him each morning. Hey, whatev. ha ha Not a great deal of effort in t-shirts and shorts anyway...) This makes me downright giddy. It's right up there with perfectly sharpened pencils and white socks straight out of the package. Once a teacher, always a teacher I guess.  :)  Homemade waffles-- the good ones with whipped egg whites added to the batter-- is a long-standing tradition in our family. My mother always made them for my brother and me on the first day of school, and I love making them for my children. Imagine if generations from now, my great- great grandchildren are making waffles for their children on this day, all because of what my Mom and I started. That's a really neat thought!

Jonah and I enjoyed a little trek through the woods our local Audubon Society after getting the other three off to school. It was pretty hot and sticky, so we were sweating buckets by the end! Jonah wanted to go see the birds of prey and the owls on display there, so we left poor Ryder in the car for a couple minutes and he howled and howled the entire time. He has such a weird cry/howl/yawning kind of squeal-bark...silly dog. One of the owls acts like it talks to you, looking you right in the eyes, blinking slowly and making this strange-but-adorable clicking sound with its beak. It's so cute I can hardly stand it! Jonah loves animals, and I wonder if he'll be like Jeff Corwin and travel the world to study them. I hope he'll take me with him sometimes. Especially if he goes to Africa. I've wanted to see safari animals in the wild for as long as I can remember.  :)

This past Friday, we loaded up a car full of Ethan's friends to celebrate his 14th birthday up at the resort (we had family over on his actual birthday the week before). It was so much fun! I think they all had a great time, and they were extremely entertaining to watch, and listen to. 14 year old boys are crazy fun! On Sunday, Ethan and I left church early because we weren't feeling well, and I ended up making a huge feast for dinner. I haven't had that much fun in my kitchen for quite a while! I made more delicious rolls -- I'll have to share the recipe. They are so, so good!

Now it's getting late and I'm really tired! Snacks and much-of-lunch are ready to go, outfits have been chosen, kids were cleaned and now sleeping soundly, so I think I'm ready to hit the hay. Good night!

Oh yes, I'm so sorry...I forgot about the giveaway yesterday. Nicole-Lynn, you are the lucky one! I will email you tomorrow. Congratulations!!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Baby Essentials GIVEAWAY for FRIDAY!

It's Friday!!! School doesn't even begin until next week and soccer schedules are already dominating the family calendar...and I love it! Thank you for reading my thoughts about adoption and grieving loss in this post. Today it's all about fun stuff! Time for a giveaway! I have no idea if 2 or 200 or nobody (boo, so sad) will be interested in this, so if you are that ONE person who leaves a comment, this will be your lucky day!=)

I also have this item available in my Etsy shop HERE.

Sweet, adorable Baby Essentials for you or someone you know!
This Gift Set includes:
1 Baby Bib has 100% cotton front, ultra soft and absorbent warmwear backing, and adorable ribbon ties.
1 Burp Cloth//Lovey Blanket is superbly soft and cuddly, snuggle flannel and fluffy warmwear. Measures approximately 8 x 17 inches. 
Machine wash warm or cold/ tumble dry low or warm. 
This, and all items in my shop, come wrapped neatly in tissue paper and natural raffia.
A small gift card is included at no extra charge, and this can be mailed to you or directly to the recipient.

I know the standard protocol is to get as many chances based on how many outlets in which you share the love. So we'll go with that.  :)  If you already follow this blog- thanks!- let me know when you comment; otherwise, follow along and introduce yourself. Tweet it, Facebook it, Blog about it...or don't. Whatever you want! Leave at least one comment {pretty please!}-- you know you want to!  =)

I'll pick a winner on Monday! Good luck & have a fabulous weekend!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

ADOPTION and Grieving Loss. And Moving Forward.

That title doesn't seem to match up with all the pictures, but I suppose it does show that life moves on, even in the midst of loss and grief. All day yesterday my mind just played and replayed the events of the past week, the ones where my heart was ready to explode with happiness because of our new baby girl and all of the details surrounding her soon-to-be birth, which all seemed so incredibly perfect. The joy very nearly erased the pain of waiting these two long years, eased the pain of rejection after rejection from birth families who were looking for something, someone, else. Browsing through aisle after aisle of newborn girl onesies and socks and sleepers, all because I could. I was in heaven! It has been over ten years since I've had an infant in our home, and I'm glad I was alone in the store because I was probably squealing louder than I thought I was. =) I loved every moment I had shopping for Isabelle and making her little outfits, but the circumstances of her adoption were extremely different, and we did not have the first 19 months together. We were tossing names back and forth (I've always had my just to get the other person on board, ha) and setting up furniture in our bedroom. Dreaming, quietly and out loud, celebrating, counting down the days, finding airline tickets, making plans and lists for parents who will take over in our absence...

And then, the phone call. Not the good one, the bad one. The one that leaves you breathless, desperate, confused and heartbroken. There are so many details that I can't possibly explain them all here. There were several calls that day, each progressively less hopeful. And by the end of the day, we had our answer: No. No, this adoption could not happen. No, there was nothing we could do about it. No, this was not our baby. No. No. No. We have so much to be thankful for, and even through this pain, we feel God's presence and protection over us. My heart aches for those who endure these trials without knowing God's peace and love because it makes all the difference.

So the good things? A beautiful trip to the ocean with my Mom. A new clothesline and sheets hanging out to dry. Gaggles of turkeys waddling through the yard in the early morning. Late-night hot fudge sundaes for the newest member of the high school soccer team after three days of intense try-outs (Go Ethan!!!!!!!). Doing girly things with my girl. Laughter with friends. And quiet times. Discovering new things I enjoy sewing, and even knitting again! **At the recommendation of family and friends, I'm going to sell some of the baby things I'm making, so I'm adding some things to my shop...let me know what you think!** I know everyone faces grief and loss for all sorts of different reasons. Some people shrink and withdraw and become bitter, others move forward with joy and grace and hope. I hope I'm more of the latter. If anyone who is reading this is struggling today, know that I am praying for you. I want to do something else, too-- if you're waiting on becoming a mother either though adoption or pregnancy, or simply dreaming about it and wondering if your dream will ever come true, I want to encourage you to hang on! I don't have any specific answers for you but I do believe with all my heart that God knows you AND your dreams, and He is faithful and wants THE VERY BEST FOR YOU! I remember a special little outfit I had gotten for Isabelle during the long wait to be with her, and every time I looked at it and held it close to my heart, I felt hopeful. I would love to be able to offer a little bit of hope to someone who is struggling right now, so I'm going to do a giveaway from my Etsy shop tomorrow. This can be for you or someone you know, a coworker, neighbor, sister, close friend.... anyone! Stop by tomorrow and I'll have the details.

Have a wonderful, hope-filled day!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Summer's Last Hurrah

And it has been a good one. We're heading to the beach today with my mother and doing a few other fun things this last week, so technically, it's more like an extended h-uuuuu-rrrr-aaaa-hhh. Fine with me. Aren't the scenic photos so beautiful? We visited a state park on the outskirts of the White Mountains Region and it was breathtakingly stunning. I regretted that we'd never been until now! It was super windy so it was one of those times when you're warmer when you stay in the water. Generally not a problem for three out of my four. Well, and the Mama Fish. I love that they take after me.  :)

There has also been much designing and sewing, cooking and baking, finishing up projects and starting new ones, and power nesting. Seriously. I want this house spotless and baby-ready for when we get The Call. As I look around me this early morning, it would seem that nighttime bandits have dropped by and hosted themselves a little party. I'd blame it on my children,'s totally me! Sewing is messy, ha! The bonnets above were for a customer- so cute!- and the glimpse of eyelet is all mine. I made a pink and white checkered gingham bonnet with lace as well. Size newborn. SQUEAL! Isabelle and I are in heaven dreaming and planning. I threw in a photo from Ethan's birthday party 13 days's such an accurate portrayal of life here. Lots of movement and noise, chaos at times, but lots of love too. Lately I look at them and truly marvel at how blessed I have been. They are all such unique, beautiful, wonderful human beings, and they are mine! Okay, I hear way too much noise upstairs, and the bickering is probably not too far off- sappy moment over. For the time being.  =)

Jonah is so funny sometimes. He was modeling his new suit for me with a twinkle in his eyes. "I look good," he kept saying. He sure does! I know what the three younger ones will be wearing for the first week of school, but not Ethan. The boy is picky. Picky! It may come as a surprise to him that I am not planning on washing his clothes every three days because he refuses nearly everything I get him and literally has three days' worth of outfits. He's been in a shirtless phase, gah, but I think he does know he's going to have put on a shirt for school. One can only hope... Ethan has soccer try-outs all week long. My son, a high school soccer player! I can hardly believe it!

Lots of fun stuff to do today...better get to it! Happy Monday!

ps- thank you a million times over for praying for our family and this adoption! and thank you for your support with my little Etsy shop- you are wonderful!
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