Tuesday, March 31, 2015


"a portrait of each of my children, once each week, in 2015"

Cruz: Two of Cruz's favorite people, Charly and Hayes, came over on Sunday for our annual egg dyeing party.  Boy was it nice to have more room this year!  The kids stay at the table a little longer each year and are fascinated by the whole process.  Cruz's favorite part was dipping (ahem, dropping) the eggs in the cups of food coloring and using the egg holder to lift them out and check on their progress.  Before too long, they were done and we spent the rest of the afternoon rethinking the circular design of our house layout!  I wonder how many laps the three of them made!

Mila:  This picture makes my heart melt.  This is the essence of my girl, sweet and proud and ready to be a part of everything this world has to offer, whether it's ready for her or not!  We went to a community egg hunt Saturday morning and she loved every minute of it.  From getting to carry around her very own bucket, to getting to intersperse with lots of other kids, she was completely in her element.  When it came time to hunt eggs, she discovered a small patch of grass full of plastic eggs, plopped down in the middle of them, and carefully added one by one to her bucket.  She hardly moved a muscle!  She clenched onto that bucket all the way to the car, grinning her scrunchy face grin from ear to ear.     

Monday, March 30, 2015

let them eat cake // a recipe

This cake.  It was one of the best I've ever tasted, let alone baked.  Perfect for St. Patrick's Day with its Guinness flair, yet too good to only make one day a year.  It's a dark, moist, and savory cake, almost a meal in itself, and would be a perfect way to celebrate a dad's birthday, Father's Day, or the start of the barbecue season.  Bookmark this one and I promise you won't be disappointed.

Recipe adapted from Nigella Lawson.  I love her idea of the cream cheese frosting that represents the frothy head of a freshly poured Guinness beer.  The frosting is to die for, but the cake is so good you could eat it plain. 

for the cake:

1 cup Guinness
8 oz (or two sticks) butter
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa
2 cups sugar
¾ cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 ½ teaspoons baking soda

for the frosting:

8 oz cream cheese
1 ¼ cups confectioners sugar
½ cup heavy cream (or whipping cream)


1.  Preheat the oven to 350ºF, and butter a 9" spring form pan.

2.  Pour the Guinness into a large saucepan, add the butter in slices, and heat until the butter is melted on low heat.  Whisk in the cocoa and sugar and stir until melted.

3.  In a separate bowl, beat the sour cream, eggs, and vanilla with an electric mixer and pour into your saucepan.  Whisk to combine.  Lastly, whisk in the flour and baking soda.  

4.  Pour the cake batter into your greased pan and bake for 45-an hour.  Leave the cake to cool on a cooling rack.  It is a damp cake and will take awhile to cool.

5.  When the cake is cool, lightly whip the cream cheese until smooth, and mix with powdered sugar using an electric mixer.  Add the cream and beat again until it makes a spreadable consistency.  Ice the top of the cake so that it resembles the frothy top of a pint of beer.  

This was of course excellent the day I made it, but I was impressed with how long it kept its consistency.  The next day, I popped my slices in the microwave for a few seconds and served it slightly warm.  It was wonderful on its own, but would have been even better with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.  


Saturday, March 28, 2015

good things // and a prayer for a friend

One of my colleagues, a woman I admire and respect just about more than anyone else, lost her 22 year old son last week.  She talked about her kids often, and it was easy to see they were her whole life.  I haven't been able to get her out of my mind since, and cannot comprehend how someone goes on after the unfathomable loss of a child that young.  Everything else has seemed so trivial, so small since receiving her email, yet, it's made me go through the motions this week in such a different way.  As a mom, I now feel empathy in a way that I believe only a mom can feel.  Unspeakable tragedies like these knock the wind out of you, as you realize that in a matter of seconds, your whole world can turn upside down.  It's easy to choose fear when you look in your babies' faces and realize that we can't really control what happens to them, that we can only do so much to protect them from this world.  But thankfully, there is a God that is much bigger than us and that in times when life is completely upside down, we can trust and find hope in His promises.  This world is a temporary one, and I'm reminded in moments likes these how important it is to be deliberate and intentional about how we choose to live them.  I went about my week feeling a little more present in the little things.  I concentrated on their faces a little more and drank in the details - Cruz's voice, Mila's blue eyes, the way their hand feels in mine when they reach up to grab it.  I listened to them closer, played with them more, put my phone away and studied Mila's face when I rocked her to sleep.  I read one more book to Cruz, snuggled a little longer, and stayed up well past midnight to reconnect and laugh with my husband.  
Social media has given me a chance to get to know Lynn's son a little bit more this week.  He had the kind of smile that could light up a room, and it was easy to see that people were just drawn to him, the kind of person you just wanted to be around.  There is a picture of him hugging his mom and their eyes are just lit up with happiness.  This picture exudes a relationship I pray I have with Cruz someday.  And I have a feeling these small details and little moments will be the fuel that helps Lynn get through the days to come.  God gives us so much beauty in our present, beauty that helps us navigate this temporary world, especially when it feels dark and hopeless.  

Some of my good things documented as of late...

142.  Saturday morning breakfast and way the sun seeps through our windows.

143.  Sunday dresses and the way she looks at him as if he is her biggest hero in her little world. 

144.  Bare baby legs on patchwork

145. Open-mouthed smiles and curly slide static cling

146.  That first warm-enough day for the park and an unexpected play date with cousins

147.  Her squeals as she chased them.  And the rubber ground that broke her many falls.

148.  The way they passed they fruit back and forth, back and forth.

149.  The way she loves to watch me get ready in the morning.  Especially when she flosses her teeth.  

150.  Unexpected house warming gifts from dear friends.  


151.  The way she sits, just the way I used to.

 152.  Kiwi Crates with Cruz and his patience with a little sis who wants to be a part of everything.

153.  Progress.  Making their rooms cozy.  

154.  Window seat chats before church.  

155.  And tiny little ponytails secured with a bow.

Thursday, March 26, 2015


We are nearing the month mark of living in this new house of ours and it finally feels like we are nearing the end of a chapter titled, "Unpacking".  The only thing that's been motivating me is the fact that this will not happen again for a very, very long time!  Every box I move out of here, every item I find a perfect home for is one step closer to being settled and we haven't felt settled in quite some time!  Moving in for us was like a domino effect of sorts.  The first domino that had to fall was getting through the hundreds of boxes we had the moving company just stack in towers in our basement.  This had to happen first for a few reasons.  First, we extended the large dumpster in our front yard for a couple of weeks, giving us lots of space to weed and dump.  Second, we discovered the basement floor was still quite dirty and we were making tracks on our wood floors every time we went downstairs.  And third, well, we needed to get through the boxes in order to find some important things that were missing!  We didn't have silverware for two weeks, we still haven't discovered the blender, and Cruz always seemed to request a long lost toy we had yet to uncover!  Typical kid, all the toys in the world unpacked and he was looking for THE ONE thing we hadn't found yet.  And they don't forget, let me tell you.  So, domino 1: the boxes; domino 2, a good basement cleaning.  Beau built an extensive shelving unit in our storage room, and I reorganized rubber maids, started a garage sale "room", and we stayed up super late one night mopping and re-mopping the basement.  It was a huge project completed and now Cruz and Mila have ample space to run, ride bikes, and throw a frisbee when it's too cold to play outside. :)

My Spring Break week involved domino 3, re-organizing, cleaning, and weeding the main floor now that everything was identified with a home.  I made several Target runs for organizational things (I should buy stock in baskets), and very slowly made some progress, room by room by room.  Window coverings were installed, our dining table was delivered, and I started adding a few touches here and there to make it all feel a bit homier.  Now that my canvas is clean (except those windows, which are going to be a beast), I can start with domino 4, decorating and personalizing each space.  This, of course, is what I've looked forward to, however, I want to be mindful of decisions and I know that all takes time and patience.  Our living room furniture gets delivered today and I can't wait to accent with lamp light and pretty colors very soon.

Moving into our house was not as I pictured it to be.  I guess things felt in flux so much prior to moving day that I assumed it would magically all go away when we stepped foot into our new home.  But I'm realizing more and more that a home is different from a house and must be cultivated and established over time.  Every simple routine - unpacking groceries, throwing in a load of laundry, warming up a bottle of milk, is feeling more and more like home every day we're here.  It's like your favorite pair of jeans - stiff at first, but worn in over time.  

Some pictures of our progress.  I told Wade I wanted lots of great camera light - turns out it's quite photogenic.



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