Sunday, November 29, 2009

Baking for Christmas...

I realize I just did a post about baking a few weeks ago. But, that was for Thanksgiving... so, I thought I'd share my Christmas baking list and see if anyone else has such a list that they might like to share?

** White Chocolate- Raspberry Bars
** Oreo Truffles
** Ultimate Sugar cookies (of course!)
** Splenda Gingerbread Cookies
** Cranberry - White chocolate & Macadamia Nut cookies
** Norwegian Forest Cookies

Also, a few websites that have really great {and simple} Christmas cookie recipes. Tis the season! YUM...lots of great ideas and a lot of them are for already made (store bought) dough. If you are short on time...this might be a GREAT site for you! Another site with quick and easy recipes! I get this one's daily recipe, which I've never done YET, but they all look amazing! More of a health nut? Or, just trying to incorporate a more healthful approach to cooking? This site may be helpful to you!

Have any to share? I'm always looking and always interested! Have a wonderful Christmas season and a happy time of baking!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Christmas Time is here

Can you even believe that it's Christmas time, again? This means a few things to me...
1) I have def got to finish painting and getting this house set up
2) My baby girl will be 1 very soon!
3) We head to FL in 3 weeks for a non-white Christmas

Today, Brad and I are working around the house - getting things cleaned up, rakes stored after the rest of the leaves are bagged (**yes, we STILL have leaves). I hope to get out my sewing machine to work on a mini-apron for Ava. She loves being in the kitchen with me and I thought it would be a cute idea to make her one. And of course there are the daily tasks: load the dishwasher, take the laundry to the basement, vaccum the living room, scrub the tub, sweep the kitchen floor... just another day in paradise! ;)

I still need to order some Christmas cards. However, the more I think about it... I really DO love writing our cards and just sticking a family pic inside. So, I may once again go the untraditional route and hand write our cards. I think I'm one of the only ones left who do this... oh well.
And, once all the house work is done at the end of this day - the Christmas music will be turned on and the boxes of decor rescued from the basement. {ahhhhh} I do so love this time of year. :)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Looking back a year

Lastnight on the way home from a quick mall outing - Brad and I were chatting about what our life was like just last year at this time. I was VERY pregnant, we were very tight financially, Brad was battling with his job and wondering just exactly what God had waiting for us...because it couldn't have been that for much longer.
And although things were so rough - we still had so many reasons to be thankful. We were surrounded by good, godly friends that loved us. This picture was at our Thanksgiving dinner last year - with the Jackson/Crocker families :) I think there were like 30 of us so we met at the church. So much good food and fellowship!
I'm amazed at how the Lord's timing is always perfect. Our Ava came 3 weeks later...
Today, the day before Thankgiving, my heart is so tender to the fact of how blessed we are. We have family, we have a home, we have a job, we have an adorable daughter, etc. This past year has been quite the chapter in Pausley Land Adventures thats for sure. We are eager to see what this year holds!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Things loved, things hated

Do you ever have one of those weekends where things just don't go quite as planned? If you have kids I'll answer that one for you... yes. Well, I just had such a weekend. My parents came in for a weekend visit and I was SO excited! We had a great visit with them - and went out to eat @ Bostons pizza, one of Brad's fave places. Overall great weekend! {I miss them already}... so, whats a gal to complain about?! Well, on Thursday night prior to my parents arriving the NEXT day Ava started to get a head cold. It's only her 2nd of the year - so I shouldn't be upset about that... however, she just started heading downhill and FAST. My poor little monkey. She was such a trooper all weekend and just loved being with "Grammy and Grampy" - but she felt miserable, thus saith the runny nose, goopy eye and wheezing chest. (dread, dread, dread) I gave her all weekend to recover, because she usually does, but not this time. So off we go this morning to see the Dr. 1 hour later we left the office carrying a nebulizer (sp?) and perscription for eye drops.

So, while I LOVED the visit with my parents. I was super disappointed that my little doll was a sicky and just didn't have as much fun as she could have. Now to learn how to do this nebulizer for an 11 month old... grrr.

On a lighter {much lighter} note - My Gold Canyon Candle order came in! I have been waiting to fill my home with the smells of Pumpkin Pie and Mulled Harvest. Now I SO am :) On top of that my mom brought me a house warming gift of what else but a candle! A Yankee seasonal candle, at that... my fave! Those are def things LOVED. How can you not love these things?!

Sunday, November 22, 2009


We are so proud of our dear Mother Linda :) Boutique worker, extraordinarre! (sp?)
Very rarely does one have a mother in law in the newspaper! So today I am beaming with pride for the Pausley family!
P.S. They are coming to stay with us THIS week!!! :)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Breaking my own rules...

if your volume is on you've probably already heard what I mean.
What IS this? Christmas music in November? BEFORE THANKSGIVING!?

Yea, I'm breaking rules. My parents are on their way from Ohio to HERE and I'm just really excited and feeling all festive.

So, enjoy my little playlist that I actually took some time and thought in putting together. And, enjoy your Friday :)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Things I'm baking today

Well, all of the sudden we have company coming. LOTS of company. My parents are coming this weekend and now we have more family coming next week, for the whole week. I had been planning on using next week to get all of my Thanksgiving treats baked, but looks like that has been moved up to today. :) Thought I'd share, in case you are looking for some Thanksgiving-ish treats, yourself.

Apple & Oat Bars
3/4 c. flour
1/2 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 c. solid shortening
1 egg
1 small apple (peel/core/chop)
3/4 c. quick oats
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 stick unsalted butter @ room temp
1 c. brown sugar
1 t. vanilla
1/2 c. shredded sweet coconut, chopped.

1) Heat oven to 375. Coat a 9x9 pan with cooking spray.
2) Mix flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a bowl.
3) Beat butter, shortening and sugar in large bowl until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Stir in flour mix, apple, oats and coconut. Spread in pan.
4) Bake for 35-30 minutes. Cool on rack, then sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cut into bars.

Oatmeal Ginger Chewies
2 c. old fashioned oats
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. allspice
1/4 c. shortening
1 egg
3/4 c. sweet, dried cranberries
2 c. flour
1 T. ginger
1/2 t. salt
1 stick unsalted butter
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. molasses
1 t. vanilla

1 1/4 c. powdered sugar
2 T. + 1 t. water

1) Heat oven to 350.
2) Mix oats, flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and allspice in a bowl.
3) In another (mixing) bowl on medium high speed beat butter and shortening until creamy. Beat in brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg and molasses, then beat in vanilla.
4) On low speed beat in the oat mix. Fold in cranberries. Drop by 1/4 c-fulls, 2 in. apart on ungreased pan. Press in to make them into circles (about 2 1/2 in). Bake 1-16 minutes or until cracked.
5) Stir ingredients together to make glaze. Brush atop each cookie.

Cranberry-Nut Crunch Cookies
1 lb. almond bark
1 c. crunchy peanut butter
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
1 c. dried cranberries
1 1/2 c. mini marshmallows
1/2 c. chopped nuts
1/2 c. shredded coconut
3 c. rice krispies

1) Place bark in medium bowl - heat for 1 min in microwave. Then stir and scrape bowl. Heat another 30 seconds; stir and scrape. Continue at 10 second intervals until melted.
2) Mix in cranberries, peanut butter, marshmallows, nuts, coconut and spices. Slowly add cereal 1 c. at a time until coated.
3) Dollop mounds of the mix onto wax paper covered cookie sheets. Place in fridge 20 minutes. Serve.

No, I didn't say these were all healthy :)
And, fyi...this is my first time making all 3 of these recipes. But, I've had them set out for weeks and I'm very excited to try them all. Especially the "no bake" at the end - sounds like it might be a "Sugar shock", but, still delicious!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

a very small reminder...

Tonight I'm writing and things are little blurry...
You see, in the midst of life tonight, I think God was trying to get a hold of me and remind me that EVERY minute counts. And very often He uses my daughter to remind me. Tonight is one such night.

I rushed home from a coffee date with a friend, passing Brad as he left for a church meeting, scooped up a whining Ava and made her evening bottle one-handed-ly. (not a word, until now) Rushed to the chair to feed her, all the while feeling like, "come on kiddo, let's make some time here... drink, drink, drink... almost done, come on..." Which I NEVER do. I treasure her bottle times and all the more recently as I know they will very soon be gone..forever. :( But anyway, feeling rushed and grumpy I rushed her through it. Finished the bottle, rushed upstairs and got her into the tub - and then got to sit down and just watch her. She loves bath time. She loves bubbles (lots of them), she loves her starbucks cup bath toy (yea, we spend tons of toys) and rubber ducks and especially loves laying on her belly to "swim". I just sat there and watched, honestly kind of jealous of how care free she is. Ever feel that way? Sometimes I think, "oh, kid...if I could just have 10 minutes of your "not a clue-ness" (again, new word) what a new person I would be. I basked in her innocence and pure joy at just playing in our (un-washed) bathtub. The whole time she's "talking" to me and splashing here and there... showing me her toys and smiling. Precious. Just completely precious. After the water had gone cold (because she won't get out before!!!) I scooped her up as I have been doing since she was 4 weeks old, swaddled her in the bath towel and rushed to her changing table for lotion and jammie time. Key word...rush. Slathered the lotion on, diapered her up, got the girly dino jammies (yes, there IS such a thing) on - popped the paci in her mouth, covered her with her two blankies, rubbed her head "goodnight", closed the door and headed back to clean up the bathroom...

Only... I never made it there. You see, my normally very sleepy, happy to be in bed girl started to cry. Usually I would just chalk it up to being over tired and give her a second, but, this cry sounded different. It was a sad cry, very rare from my Ava. So I cracked the door, re-patted her head and headed out again... more crying. What was this about?! She doesn't do this. It was then I felt the Lord pull on my heart - "Why on earth are you rushing tonight? What is so important that you can't take 2 minutes and slow down?".... HUH? Where is this coming from? I have things to do.... bathroom to tidy, TV show coming on... dinner still to eat... It IS her bedtime.

I heeded the call - stopped making excuses and turned around to head back into my baby's room. I gently picked her up and she laid her head on my shoulder with her face in my neck - the whole time she's gripping my arm as if she's afraid I'll put her down....again. And only then I realize how I just rushed her night - she hadn't seen me because I was out, and, my guess is that she kind of missed some "mommy time" tonight. Rather then gently stroking her hair while she had her bottle... I shook my foot impatiently. Instead of taking time to massage her and speak gently to her while putting the jammies on - I rushed and barely uttered a sound, maybe a "no" when she reached for my sweatshirt string... Rather then bending down to kiss her goodnight - I settled on a head pat. {can you just FEEL how sad I feel about this} So I held her. I held her tight, and I moved to our rocking chair. While I rocked her she started to sing and I just lost it. Her tiny little voice just singing this very gentle song of nonsense... coo's and babbles, mostly, but the most beautiful thing I've ever heard. I kissed her head and whispered over and over how "mommy loves you", "I love you"... and I felt her grip loosen a bit. After she finished her song, I stood up, gave her another smooch on the head and put her back to bed. She smiled at me with that silly yellow pacifier in her mouth and we said goodnight. After I closed her door I just cried. Why do I keep forgetting what's REALLY important in life...and why does my 11 month old have to be the one to show me?! So, tonight, my Ava sang to me and reminded me that Life is precious - our life, together is precious... and it was a great reminder to me that EVERY moment counts. Every single one.

How are you spending your minutes?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Happy Homemaker Monday


My friend, and fellow SAHM, Becky does this "Happy Homemaker Monday" post often on Monday's and I always look forward to reading it. I thought I would give it a try. I'm not techy enough to totally understand if I'm copying "Html's" right, or not...forgive me if this fails horribly. Deep breath - here we go...

The Weather in my neck of the woods: FREEZING....ok, mid to high 40's. But, feels so cold considering we were in the low 70's only last week.

One of my simple pleasures: Laying on the floor and letting Ava crawl all over me - not caring a bit that house work is not done.

On my bedside table: Well, our bed is STILL on the floor and no tables...but, beside me I do have two books I'm reading and my bible, along with my fave pen.

On my TV: Off...until MNF.

On the menu for tonight: Well, I'm boycotting grocery shopping until Thanksgiving so I'm trying to use up all of the random things in our cupboards. Tonight we had mashed potatoes with sausage. Brad loved it.

On my to do list: Finish painting the livingroom and reading nook. Mop the front porch.

New recipe I tried last week: Pork Kiev (stuffed pork chops, basically) Pretty good. :)

In the craft basket: Hmmm...need to get one of those. However, I do have 3 terra cotta pots waiting to be painted and set out for the holidays. :) We'll see what a can of red spray paint can accomplish.

Looking forward to: MY PARENTS COMING IN FRIDAY!!!

Homemaking tip for the week: Use the extra shelves in your entertainment stand for baby books and larger toys - they are hidden until needed behind the closing doors.

Favorite blog post from the last week: (Sigh) Really enjoyed my hubby's post about his thankfulness the Jesus is NOT like us. (

Favorite photo from the past week:

(5 months old)

Lesson learned the past few days: God holds our futures in His hands. No amount of planning or prepping changes His divine time.

On my prayer list: The family of little Brooklyn as she came to the world stillborn. I saw her story in the obits this last weekend and just bawled for an hour...don't know them, but cannot imagine the pain of that.

Monday Muse: Marriage Conference

I'm completely exhausted this morning, and I have a ton of work to get done - but, I had to take just a few minutes here to share my Monday Muse. Oh, and by the way... Can you believe Thanksgiving is NEXT week!?

Anyway, this past weekend our church put on a marriage conference in downtown Des Moines @ the Embassy Suites. Thrive was the name, getting connected to your spouse was the game. Our speaker, Pastor Nesbitt ( did an incredible job of opening up and becoming vulnerable with he and his wife's story - in order to teach and challenge us. Brad and I had a great time together and left feeling challenged and motivated to WORK at our marriage. Remembering that there is none perfect... and no matter how good things are going, there is always work to do :) I won't go into everything that we learned - because it was a lot, but, I will tell you that this was our first outing alone without our Ava girl. Thankfully, some family members offered to take her overnite so we could go - and what a blessing that was! So we had a lovely dinner out with friends, checked into the hotel and just enjoyed our stay surrounded by church friends and good, godly teaching.

During the conference I saw a lot of couples wearing the shirts that say, "I love my wife", "I love my husband", and, I want one. They look like this if you haven't seen them...

I just felt so proud of the people I saw wearing them - and it sounds so silly, probably, but, it really IS a statement. To wear a shirt this day in age where husbands are belittled and marriage as a whole seems so unpopular. I thought it was a beautiful idea and a great testimony. So, hunny, this is on my Christmas list. :) And, the mug!

Saturday morning we got up early (without the sound of a little girl in the other room calling for me) and headed out for some good coffee. Brad whisked me away to a local coffee house called "Amici" and I got one of the best Caramel Macchiato's I've had in a long time :)
Little things like that have always been a big deal in our marriage and it was so cool to be able to just up and go like the good ol' days.
I love my husband. I love his sensitivity to the word and to our ministry. I love his humor, though sometimes more abundant then needed. I love his smile. I love his personality. I love his easy-going-ness. I love him. What a special treat to get to go out, get away from the norm and receive two days full of truth, undistracted and totally focused on each other and moreso our God.

Friday, November 13, 2009

A little lady...

My little girl....

Daddy said this outfit made her look so much older, and now, looking at the picture - I think I agree. "Note to self: don't put her in this outfit unless you want to cry more".

Ava is growing up and changing a little more every day.

Just this morning she has learned how to click her tongue, "talk" on the phone (which, everything is a phone), and "read" books. It's adorable to watch her pick up a board book and turn the pages acting like she's reading it, all the while blubbering some baby language to explain. Precious.

I'm amazed at how smart she is, how quick she moves and how loving she is now - with bear hugs, slobbery kisses and just gripping me with all her might when I pick her up at night.

She says more things now, too. She loves "talking" to "dat" (dad) and when she's sad, she always calls for, "momma". She shakes her head "no" when she doesn't want what she's given to eat (not always so cute), and tries to sign something with her hands often - but we have NO clue what.

It's hard for me to believe that just a few months ago she looked like this...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I wanna be like Samuel

Back to 1 Samuel this morning...
Man, there is some good stuff in there. Everytime I read through a book in the OT I am refreshingly surprised at just how many things I've missed over the years. It's fun to find new topics, verses and stories.
Today I am challenged about the way I love people. And, after reading through chapter 12 - I'm convinced I have a lot of work to do. (sigh) You see... I wanna be like Samuel - and love people the way he did. Here's an example...

"Then Samuel said to the people, "Do not fear. You have done all this wickedness; yet do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. And do not turn aside; for then you would go after empty things which cannot profit or deliver, for they are nothing. For the Lord will not forsake His people, for His great name's sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you His people. Morever, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and right way. Only fear the Lord, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you. But if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your king." 1 Sam. 12:20-25

The Israelites were at it yet again. God has protected them and provided for them over and over, but in chapters 11 and 12 they are complaining to Samuel that they want a king to rule over them. Never mind the fact that the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob WAS their king... they were blinded to that, and wanted a king of their own, I guess a "tangible" king. Someone they could look at.
Samuel tried (in his God given wisdom) to explain to them they did not need or want a king over them... but, as we read so many times - these chosen people forgot their God and desired another. So, to tie up the lose ends of the story... God let Samuel know that his job was to find them a king. This was a sin for Israel and in vs. 19, after Sauls coronation we see them saying collectively, "And all the people said to Samuel, "pray for your servants to the Lord your God, that we may not die; for we have added to all our sins the evil of asking a king for ourselves."
Trouble was brewing....God knew it, Samuel knew it... but rather then tearing them apart - talking down to them or condemning them, Samuel was an ENCOURAGER. He loved these people. He gave wise insight and advice on what they should do next. See vs. 20-25 again.
Samuel knew they were in trouble. And, if you read on in the very next chapter the new King Saul was at it already, making unlawful sacrificies and hiding in caves. But, the point is, despite all of that - though he could see the sin and stupidity...he still loved the people. He even made the statement, "Morever, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and right way." (vs. 23) He wasn't giving up on them any time soon. And, you know, I want to be like that with the people I love. I want to love the teens I minister to with this kind of love - "yes, you are doing something dumb, but I love you and will keep praying and teaching you the GOOD way." It's so easy to get disappointed with people, give up on them and walk away.
Today I'm challenged to love people the way Samuel did. Not without a few tough words here and there...those are important sometimes, but with the action of prayer, conviction and change.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Feeling all nostaglic

There's a rule in our house (when Brad is home) that no Christmas music is to be played until after Thanksgiving day. We love Thanksgiving, and it seems like it gets skipped over every year. So, I am thankful for this rule that my husband has so lovingly placed over us...because then it does make me appreciate every holiday - especially one that really is so important. :) That being said... Brad has no problem with me jamming out to my Christmas tunes once in a while when he's not home...and, I do, every now and then.
This morning I'm feeling very nostalgic. Not sure why... But, I love it. I'm remembering being a kid and how life was when I lived at home with my parents. No bills, no kids of my own, no pressures comparitive to now. I'm reliving Christmas memories...even though, as mentioned above... I want to keep Thanksgiving SO special. These Christmas memories keep popping in, and one of the biggest parts of these memories is the music.

My mom does the holiday season right. I remember the house being decked out in all kinds of beautiful holiday displays.... seasonal candles lit, and music on just setting the mood for celebration and reflection. I have a few records burnt into my mind thanks to a certain, "Celebrate the Season with Tupperware" holiday tape my parents would play for years. Good ol' 1987 tan colored casette tape. Wow, weird to write that. I actually looked forward to hearing this tape every year...and (Secret) I took it with me when I went to college, got married, etc. Even though I have NO tape players anymore... It's just such a special part of my childhood, I can't ever let it go. I have every song memorized - each unique way the artist would drag out a note, and I know the timing perfectly of air space between each song. Nostalgia. :) I found a few of the covers of the actual records that are on the tape - and it was so fun to actually go through and find sound clips on line... fun to relive the past and the wonderful memories that accompany each familiar tune.

So, I finish some painting, house work, and other momma duties... I might have to take an emergency trip to the good ol' Salvation Army - find a tape player, and fill my home with the sounds of this wonderful tan colored tape, again :)

Monday, November 9, 2009

A trip to MN

Wow, talk about a whirl-wind weekend. My head is still kind of spinning.
This last Friday we loaded into a jeep with our friends, Aaron and Laura, and headed some 4 hours north to Minneapolis. The plan for this overniter was a trip to the Mall of America and Ikea. {very big smile} I had never been the mall and, well, Ikea is just something I really, really like. Fun stuff for cheap :)
So around 1 oclock we headed that way. I was surprised by how well Ava traveled, until the end of the way there when she just about had a melt down right there in her car seat. But, its like I said, "we all feel that way, we just can't act like that". And, it was the truth. Long 4 hours. I was able to get a quick pic of the pre-meltdown whining for posterity...

How is she still SO cute even while whining?! :)

We arrived @ our Hotel, unloaded our stuff (after running into a family from our church), then hopped back in the car to make our way to the mall - about 2 blocks away. So nice and close!!! First on the agenda was to get some FOOD! Since, none of us remembered to bring snacks we are all starving and had no interest in seeing anything other then food. Even amongst the millions of stores... Anyway, dinner was @ the Twin Cities Grill. I don't think we recommend it. I'll just leave it at that. With bellies full it was time to take a spin around this massive mall. And, I have to tell you - I just wasn't even sure how to begin! Every kind of store you could imagine was there. I know I sound like a true tourist...but I SO was this weekend. We even took pics in front of things... I know, I know... silly tourists! We decided to call it an early night so we could rest up for our day of shopping to come. The hubbys went to the hotel pool and the wives/baby went to bed. End of day #1...or so I thought.

If you've ever stayed in a hotel with a baby you may relate with what happened next.

I layed Ava down in her hotel crib (smaller then a pack n' play) after a quick tub time and bottle, where she fell right to sleep - even with the 50-some-inch TV turned on. She hadn't napped all day and it was almost 10pm so I guess I shouldn't be shocked...but still. So, I breathed a sigh of relief - we WILL get good sleep tonight :) You see, my daughter LOVES her bed @ home and usually its difficult to get her to have good nights of sleep when we are away from her crib. But since she dozed right off, I was thrilled and ready for a relaxing night to gear up for our busy day to come. Then 11:30 came... Ava cries out. She's got her head smashed up against the white metal bars of the crib (no bumpers here!) and has lost her pacifier. So I correct the situation and put her back down - she's out again. Sigh...back to bed. Midnight... same thing. 1:30 same thing... 2am - I'm about to lose my mind at waking up every half an hour - completely exhausted and remembering my days of nursing all through the night. So I wise up - I wrap the extra cushy hotel blanket around the base of the crib to act as a bumper - flip Ava back over onto her back so she won't bunch up in the corner and whine and lose her paci, then I go back to bed. I doze off only to have a dream about bed bugs and wake up itching all over... then, I hear Ava everytime she rolls over, breathes or talks in her sleep. Add that onto Brad's sleeping sounds which will remain unmentioned... I think finally around 2:45 I fell into somewhat of a good sleep. At least, I wasn't itchy, too hot, or hearing anyone else move around me. Then... the sun started to come up which told Ava she should get up too - that was around 6:30am. Only after she had woken up again at 5am just to whine in her sleep - causing me to get out of bed, AGAIN, to walk and check on her. For all I knew she was suffocating in the hotel blanket... which, she wasn't. So, I gave in, and walked over to get the monkey from her "cage". Then a great thought came to mind - "hey, she's still sleepy, maybe she'll sleep in this HUGE bed with us for another hour or so". So I lay down with her in the middle, she folds her arms like she's going to go for it - then, sees daddy... (who, for the record slept well all night as he doesn't hear anything when he's asleep). At that point she lets out a very excited shriek, and rolls over to him to grab his face. Good morning daddy! So, needless to say, the Pausleys were up at 6:30...for good. And, momma was exhausted...and...what are these little red dots on my arm?! Was it a dream?!

Day #2 was still awesome. We got to the mall before the stores opened and stayed well into the early evening. I found some adorable baby clothes for Miss Ava @ the Carter's store and a b-day gift for Brad somewhere else. We had some good mall food, saw lots of cool shops we'd never been to before and got in LOTS of exercise!

It was a lot of fun to walk the mall as a family... and Ava took a 45 minute nap in the stroller - which was heaven sent! She wasn't fussy or anything the entire day, and we just had a great time! Brad and I decided we won't be bringing more then 2 children here (that walk) at a time in the future. :)

After our time at the mall we headed over to Ikea across the street. Our goal was to find a bed... a platform bed, to be more specific. And, good news - we FOUND one :) And even better news - it was marked down $100 dollars off! So overall, I would say... it was a great overniter..and I did catch up on sleep.

Friday, November 6, 2009

"Hannah's Vow" and parenting today

Oh, Hannah... we have so much to learn from you.

"Then Elkanah her husband said to her, "Hannah, why do you weep? Why do you not eat? And why is your heart grieved? Am I not better to you then ten sons?"

So Hannah arose after they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat by the doorpost of the tabernacle of the Lord. And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish. Then she made a VOW and said,
"O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your maidservant and remember me, and not forget your maidservant, but will give your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head." 1 Sam. 1:8-11

Infertility. Something thousands, if not millions, of women battle every day. I can count on my two hands (and feet) close, personal friends who are "dealing" with this. Friends, family, ladies at church, neighbors. Infertility is an all too common issue in todays world. In the book of 1 Samuel we are let in on a little "situation" of Hannah, the favored wife of Elkanah, being tormented and teased (basically) because of her infertility. Vs. 6 uses these words, "And her rival also provoked her severely, to make her miserable, because the Lord had closed her womb." Wow. Infertility is a fairly personal matter - can you even imagine the pain of having someone tease you about it? All the while popping out babies of their own on a regular basis?! In this day in age you don't (at least I don't) hear a lot of people (or any) making fun of infertility. All this to say - imagine being Hannah at this point in time. Not only is your womb closed and you are struggling for joy on a daily basis, but now your husbands other wife is making you miserable and teasing you to the point of no escape. What do you do?!

Hannah's answer astounds me every time I read it.... She vowed her baby to God. Yup. In a time when probably every female hormonal, emotion based decision was pulling her heart strings - she (probably) got down on her knees and promised the Lord that should He bless her with a male child....she would give him back, willingly. Willingly. Give him back?! Willingly?! Now, I'm not you - but, let's be honest for a minute. If you battled with the fact that you were unable to have children for years and years, all the while every other lady around you was having kids of their own - would your heart be tender enough to say, "sure, give me a baby and I'll hand it right back over?" Mine...would not. At least, I don't think so. Keep in mind that my miscarriage now factors into everything I am. So, especially after losing one baby... I cannot fathom being selfless enough to give up another to a temple...far, far, away. But, I WANT to be that kind of faithful woman of God. And, maybe that's why Hannah intrigues me so much. I want to be like her. I want to have her sure faith and trust in the great, "Lord of Hosts", which by the way refers to the characteristic of God as being the commander of Heaven's army (my words). The defines the title as: (Christianity / Ecclesiastical Terms) Jehovah or God when regarded as having the angelic forces at his command. WOW - she sure knew who her God was, no sissy, for sure.
1 Samuel goes on to tell the happy story of how Hannah did indeed concieve and bear a son, Samuel. She followed up on her vow and took him to the temple to serve the Lord - and serve he did. Samuel grew to be an awesome prophet (seer: NKJV), leader and Godly man. He was sensitive the the voice of God and in turn was key in finding King Saul....

We don't read in later chapters how Hannah became bitter or depressed from giving away her first born son. There's no big chapter about the "show down" at the drop off that day - gnashing of teeth, tears flowing, her grasping at Samuel as they took him into the temple... nope, she just obeyed and went on with life. And the best part - God continued to bless her obedience by giving her more children. I'm sure it was not her easiest day. Wondering if there would be anymore children... feeling her heart rip in half as she watched her toddler take Eli's hand and go into the temple. How would YOU feel after years of barren life, watching the only part of you walk away forever? Yea, that's how I felt too.... (choke). But, obedience is satisfying. Maybe not immediately, but ultimately.

Some take aways that I found from this TRUE story:
-Hannah's vow was used by God to grow Samuel. A great prophet and leader who was well known and respected.
-"talk about submission!" Am I trusting God with my baby?!
-If Hannah had gone back on her vow - my, how Israel could have been different. Idolatry, fear and forgetting of the TRUE God was already happening... how much worse it could have been. Samuel was key in OT prophecy, recapturing the Ark of God and judging over Israel for many years. On top of that he ridded Israel of idolatry (Ashtoreth and Baal) and restored cities previously taken by the Philistines.

I'm not asked, today, to give Ava to a temple in down town Des Moines. But, I am responsible to raise her as a servant. What kind of leader am I raising? What kind of leaders are you raising? God had big plans for Hannah and Samuel and used their obedience to further His kingdom. Same goes for us - we may not be in line to choose the next "king", but we do raise leaders in this country, in our schools and churches. Just something that was on my heart today as I read through this great book of 1 Sam. :)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Tis the season for...Mexican food?

Despite the fact that all of my ga-zillion autumnal recipes are crying out for me from their recipes boxes, magazines and cookbooks... In the Pausley home Mexican fare is on the menu quite often. Last night was just such a night.

Mexican Lasagna (in almost no time!)
1 c. chopped onion
1 t. minced garlic
1 t oil of choice
4 c. cubed cooked chicken
3 (10oz) cans enchilada sauce
2 eggs
15 oz. ricotta cheese
1/2 c. minced cilantro
12 no cook lasagna noodles
16 oz. shredded fiesta blend cheese
1) In large skillet, cook onion & garlic in oil until tender.
2) Stir in chicken and enchilada sauce. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered for 5 mins or until slightly thickened.
3) Meanwhile, in another bowl combine eggs, ricotta and cilantro.
4) Spead 3/4 c. chicken mix into greased 9x13 dish. Layer with 3 noodles, 2/3 c. ricotta mix, another 3/4 c. chicken mix and 1 c. shredded cheese. Repeat layers twice. Top with remaining noodles, sauce and shredded cheese.
5) Cover and bake at 375 for 30 mins. Uncover; bake additional 10-15 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand to cool and serve.

A couple of notes about this recipe:
-I REALLY like flavor. You can't leave out the cilantro! And, I personally felt like the chicken meat was lacking something...when I make this again I will cook my cubed chicken pieces in cumin, I think, or maybe chili powder. But, if you prefer a more mild approach the above recipe does the trick.
- going along with flavor - I used mild enchilada sauce...but it comes in ALL forms, including a really spicy one and even a green chili one. So, be creative and make to your liking.
-Lastly, there are no veggies in this...which bothers me. Especially when dinner is how I hide veggies in things so, I mean... Ava will eat things :) I think this would be good with a can of corn thrown in - or maybe Hominy or.... even diced tomatoes/peppers blend.

Enjoy! Arriba arriba!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Playing in leaves

Aren't weekends great? Well, I mean, the ones where you don't have a thousand errands or things to get done? We just had one of those really relaxing weekends a few days ago (sigh). While I was finishing up some dishwasher loading/baby feeding time Brad got to work outside raking our leaves. We had to buy a rake after we realized as home owners...its just one of those things you HAVE to spend money on if you own...a yard, with a tree... that sheds thousands of leaves a day :)

I found myself stopping and watching him a few times. Stuffing massive amount of miniature yellow leaves into those huge paper bags. This is a dream come true. It's always been my childhood dream to 1) own a house 2) have a yard 3) have a yard with a TREE in it. So now at 27 years old it felt good to watch my hubby take care of things outside and just breathe out a "thank you" to God for providing such wonderful, everyday moments of blessing.

The most fun was letting Ava have her first experience in leaves. I remember being very little and doing some pretty impressive diving into huge piles of the crunchy fun things... and I so hope thats a part of her childhood as well. Every kid needs to experience dried up leaves in LARGE piles :) Did I mention it was like 70 degrees that day? So we stripped off her socks and plopped her right down in the middle of pile of leaves - waiting to see her reaction. At first, she just layed, "what is this? and, why are you two idiots smiling at me like that?". Then she slowly moved around, never touching one specific leaf - just feeling out her surroundings. It was adorable to watch her take it all in. "hey, this could be fun".

Then....Daddy sat down. Have I mentioned that recently Ava is ALL about daddy. No sooner had he reached the ground when Ava lunged to him for protection from these silly, crunchy, leaves. It was heart melting. And, it gave this momma just another glance of what my walk with the Lord is like. Lunging to my Heavenly father when life is scary, this case... a little uncomfortable. Brad, of course, scooped her up and began the tickle/kiss game which she just loves. And again, I found myself (behind the camera) thinking... God rejoices in ME just like this daddy joys in our Ava. Parent hood is an amazing window into understanding my relationship with God.

The leaves were a hit...especially now that Ava had daddy rolling in them, as well. :) I am truly, truly grateful for days like that. When the world and all in it just seems to stop so we can enjoy these very special moments that we only get once. There will be more - but, not like this one, exactly.

Monday, November 2, 2009

a reminder...

"If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you."
John 15:18 (ESV)

Friends, family, fellow laborers in the ministry, teachers, counselors, mothers, fathers, band directors, doctors, presidents...believers...

"Do not be surprised, brothers,that the world hates you."
1 John 3:13

Those feeling down tonight... neglected...tormented... persecuted... slandered... hurt.
Remember that our sinless, spotless, wonderful, forgiving savior KNOWS. He knows our hearts, our hurts, our dreads. He sees our wounds, our bruises and battle scars. He is not surprised when we are under attack. He's not taken off guard when people injure his children... He knows, He cares, He Heals. Praise be to God!

God's word reminds us tonight - "Don't be surprised!"
God's word reminds us, "the world hated Him before it hated us"

and the saddest part...when His children hurt each other...He sees that too. He feels that too.

Be reminded - they hated HIM first...and, HE forgave. He died for THEM. He died in obedience to the Father for YOU, for ME, for THEM.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

**answered prayers**

It was one of those fall days where everything seemed perfect.
The leaves had just exploded into shades of yellow, orange and red.

Wind passing by us was crisp.

Life was at its peak of pleasure as we gazed at all of creation shining before us.

You could smell the trees.

You could feel the sigh of earth as it relaxed in the stillness.
And that's how we felt...still.

I'm discovering the relationship of mother/daughter.
Although always a daughter... this is my first shot at the other side.
I'm overwhelmed with responsibilty.
I'm captivated with love.
I'm eager for the future but hesistant to let go of the now.
My daughter challenges me.
I'm challenged to love.
I'm challenged to try.
I'm challenged to live.

While I try not to live in my past
This time of year always brings a bit of pain for me.

It was around this time two years ago that we found out we were expecting our first baby.
It was around this time two years ago that we started to tell our families...
It was around this time two years ago that our precious child went to Heaven,
before we even said hello.
I don't think I'll ever forget.
And, that's ok with me.

God, in His sovereignty gave me my Ava Edyn.
Because, you see... it was this time last year that I was carrying her.
It was this time last year that I felt her kicks, jabs and pokes in my belly.
It was this time last year that my heart had started healing
and my hope restored.
It was this time last year that the nursery was finished, crib was set up and we waited.
While my daughter is not my idol.
She is my answer to prayer.
She is my reminder that God hasn't forgotten and He never will.
And when I think about baby #1,
I can't help but wonder what Ava's ultimate purpose is...
why she was so special to be allowed to come to me.
To hold, to kiss, to love.

It was a perfect fall day.
It was a perfect reminder.

(All photos by: Katie Swanson,