Wednesday, November 23, 2011
The second thing that I am grateful for is that even in a grocery store there's grace to be found. Even when it involves twin toddlers, mommy looking on the shelves and not paying attention, and...wait for it... an 18-count carton of eggs. Yep. That's right. Eggs, all over the floor, our cart, dripping down our cans, and on my kids clothes and hands.. thank goodness also for being in the aisle where there were sanitizing hand wipes! The rest of that story along with some photos to come after Thanksgiving.
I get to host tomorrow! Oh and, we've upped our numbers for Thanksgiving. Eleven adults and eight children! Woo hoo! I'll also post pics of our Thanksgiving feast once I wake up from my food coma. :)
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
21. I am grateful for new days. The chance to have a fresh start. The reminder that God's mercies are new every morning. What a gift!
22. I am thankful for Panera and some time to myself!!
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Friday, November 18, 2011
Thursday, November 17, 2011
17. I am thankful for girls' night out with one of my best friends, Janine! She is taking me out for my b'day where we will consume delicious sushi, wine, and maybe even a movie!! Can't wait!
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
14. I am thankful for change. Specifically, the change in seasons. I really am grateful that I live in a place where I can see the seasons change dramatically from one to the next. It's so amazing to watch. Almost as if I've never seen it before or maybe that means my memory is horrible.
15. I am so grateful for the gift of family. And when I say that, I think that I have really been thinking lately about how having such a great family means I am not alone in this world. And it would just really be no fun to be alone. So.. I am glad that I am not alone, selfishly. :)
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Friday, November 11, 2011
Soo here's to sleeping in tomorrow morning!! Cheers!
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Our church, Flatirons Community Church, is just so great. I love how authentic it is, how we are one big melting pot of people, backgrounds, and ideas, and our staff are just so great! Thanks to our church for being so wonderful and such a great place to go to for spiritual encouragement and refreshment of my soul!
You can check it out here!
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Here's to being grateful for a roof over our heads, heating in the winter, and air conditioning in the summer!! I am so blessed!!
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Do make it soon and savor over the sweet pears, crispy bacon, and cream cheese and scallion sauce. It's that good!
Pear and Bacon Pizza
1/2 package of bacon
1/4 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/3 cup pecans, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 12-inch pizza crust
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
Honey (optional, but why would you skip this part?)
In a small prep bowl, mix the brown sugar and chili powder. Place a cooling rack inside a jelly roll pan and line with bacon. Sprinkle brown sugar mixture on top of bacon. Bake in a 400 degree oven until crispy and delicious, about 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 450. Slice pears into thin slices and toss with lemon juice, set aside. Finely chop green onions and then mix with cream cheese and black pepper. Spread over crust.
Chop bacon and add to crust. Arrange pear slices over the bacon, then add the pecans and top with feta cheese. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until cheese begins to melt and brown. Remove pizza and sprinkle with basil. Drizzle honey only if you desire.
It makes 10-12 appetizer servings and about 3 dinner servings. So make a few if you're serving a crowd!!
And when my peace and quiet is interrupted, I hope that I am able to be grateful for what I did have instead of wishing for more or having regrets.
Monday, November 7, 2011
This is what we saw from our front yard on Halloween night, just before taking the girls trick or treating. So stunning and even better than this picture shows.
Sunday, November 6, 2011
Hillary is a delight. She is honorable and authentic, warm and caring, heartfelt and lovely. She is just wonderful.
You see, I not only get to be her mentor but I also get the privilege of having her pour love, attention, and time into our little girls. She has such a great heart for them. So loving, so sweet, and at times more consistent in making sure they do their sign language than I am! She lives in our basement and we get to have in our lives every day which is just plain fun!
Hillary has graced our lives with far more than just babysitting. She has brought so much more to our world through her wonderful desire and ability to dream up great ways of celebrating life. One great story of how she celebrates so well is when summer had ended. She told us both that we had to celebrate the end of summer and then the beginning of fall! SO, that very night, the last night of summer, the three of us went outside, made s'mores in our fire pit, and talked about our favorite memories of the summer! We even brought out a speaker and played summer inspired tunes like The Beach Boys! It was so much fun and such a great memory maker!
The following morning, she and I baked up some apple cinnamon scones and drank hot apple cider with a cinnamon stick! Then we had a wreath hanging ceremony where we hung up our Fall wreath on the front door! So great! It was so much fun and so simple to do! I absolutely loved it!
Here she is! The woman of the day! Hillary made me a birthday cake complete with 31 blazing candles!! AND, she cleaned out my car on top of keeping the girls for the afternoon and evening while my mom and I celebrated my birthday with shopping! She's amazing!
Today, I am supremely grateful for ALL the things you do for us, Hillary! Thank you so much for being such a beautiful light in our lives and for caring for us so well and so much! We love you tons!
This year they went as cupcakes!! And yes, they are as yummy as they look!!
Posing for pics in front of our house. With Tank and Lambchop in the ranks.
I went as the Baker, with my apron as my costume. I forgot to grab Jacob's apron before we left, which I'm sure he was grateful for. :) Oh and the girls are holding mini fake pumpkins.
LOVING the candy choices! A sucker in Piper's mouth, another in her right hand, and a candy bar in her left! Options, people! It's all about options! Lily also loves having several choices. :) All they ate that night were those little mini tootsie pop suckers and some m&m's.
Saturday, November 5, 2011
Piper: She is such a peanut and spunky little thing! Her hair is straight as a stick and long enough for the cutest pig tails! The other day I dressed her in a little animal print dress and put her hair in pig tails and Jacob exclaimed that she looked like the little girl from Flintstones! Pebbles!
Piper is both a snuggle bug and wiggle worm!! She loves to snuggle and then loves to sit up and move on to something else. Her smile is beautiful and I love to tickle her just so I can stare at it! Her eyes are still as blue as ever and she is constantly looking around and on the go.
She loves her sweet pea blanket when she sleeps or rides in the car and is obsessed with books! When I'm driving somewhere I'll glance in the rear-view mirror and see her holding a book on her lap like she's reading the paper! It's so great to see! I absolutely love it!
One of the things I have been doing with her lately when I put them down at night is stick my face up next to the rails of her crib and ask for a kiss. She always giggles like she's about to be tickled and then eventually comes over and pushes her face up next to mine and I kiss her all over!! Then I reach in and tickle her like crazy!
Lily: Oh my sweet Lily Boo!! What a precious little girl who has the cutest waddle when she walks around the house! It is hysterical! She has stolen our hearts with her warm smile and soft cheeks! She also loves to cuddle, especially when she has just woken up from her nap. It's the best!!
Lily is obsessed with blankets! She loves anything soft and that is capable of being wrapped behind her back and over her head. She'll even pull my scarf off my neck and pull it behind her so that she can snuggle with me. It's really so sweet. One of the reasons she likes blankets is because her dad will take her on a ride in one of the blankets from our living room. It's one of those thick red ones that she'll pull off the couch and drag over to her Daddy, all the while saying "Ooooh Oooooh Ooooh Ooooh!"
She has the warmest and rosiest cheeks ever! And those in addition to her little rosebud mouth makes her the most beautiful Lily ever! While her sister has straight hair, Lily has curls! I'm told they come from my mom's mother. I can also put her hair in pig tails and since she has some curl, her tails curl up in every direction! It's really fun how different she is from Piper!
When we are riding in the car, Lily also likes to read and she sometimes likes to steal things from Piper. One time, I looked back and they were both touching feet across their seats! It was really enjoyable to watch and listen to since they were both giggling incessantly. Speaking of feet, if it were up to Lily, she would never wear shoes or socks longer than 5 seconds. She loves to put them on and then take them off! The great thing about tights are that they can't be pulled off like socks! Haha! Another thing she loves to do is cross her ankles when she's in her carseat or high chair.
And when it's bedtime, I have a little tradition with Lily as well. She lays down on her back and puts her feet up in the air and then I pull her blanket up in the air and lay it over her so that she can kick it off! Or, I'll stick my fingers through the holes and tickle her neck which makes her giggle with delight.
I love my twin girls!! They fill my heart with joy and happiness! And I am just so blessed and so thankful for them today and every day!
Friday, November 4, 2011
And speaking of cooking, I have to share this recipe with everyone! Even though we have snow on the ground, I still consider it to be Autumn and therefore am making and eating lots of soup these days! Which reminds me, I need to whip up a big batch for the weekend.
Ok, so here's the recipe I made last week:
Butternut Squash Soup
(from The Kitchen, in Boulder) An excellent restaurant with delish food and wine!
This can be made with any winter squash, which usually start coming in around October. You’ll need about 1 1/2 pounds of peeled and chopped flesh, so when buying a squash, weigh it and imagine that you will lose a small percentage of the weight.
This recipe involves a very basic technique that can be used for almost any hardy vegetable; just changing the seasoning as desired. We puree the soup, but you can also serve it unblended. Serve piping hot with a glug of olive oil, grated cheese, or just straight up … but you really do need some crusty bread with butter.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, sliced
2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed from stems
Pinch of crushed red pepper
Salt and pepper
1 medium butternut squash
A few grates of fresh nutmeg
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock, or water
1 cup heavy cream
1. In a large saucepan over low heat, melt butter; add onion, garlic, thyme, crushed red pepper flakes, a pinch of salt, and a couple of turns of the pepper mill. Cover and leave to sweat for about 15 minutes (you want the onions to be almost melted, without coloring). Add squash and nutmeg, cover again, and sweat for another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. (This really brings out the flavors of the vegetables and all the sugars.)
2. Increase heat to medium-high and add stock or water. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes or until everything is very soft.
3. Transfer to a food processor or blender (or use an immersion blender) and puree to a smooth soup. Return to pot and add cream; heat through. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
I doubled the recipe when I made it so that I could eat more and maybe put some in the freezer for later. I think I froze a quart of it and we ate the rest. :) It's just that good and so simple.
Here are some pictures from when I made it last week. Even the twins helped!
Piper and Lily are both becoming more interested in what we do in the kitchen. So I pulled up chairs for them and had them put the squash cubes in a big bowl for me while I chopped the rest! The twins really had fun digging their hands in the cubes!
Here is everything simmering away and smelling wonderful. Squash, thyme, garlic, onions, butter.. yum!
Don't you just love the color of this soup! It's so pretty! The soup being pureed in my food processor. You could also use an immersion blender.
Mixing in the cream.
And the final product! A bowl full of yumminess! I drizzled some olive oil, a grate of parmesan, and even some extra nutmeg. But seriously, just eat it straight up with some bread. That's the best way. It's so good on its own that you don't even need all the extras on top. Just bread and butter on the side.
Now, go make it and tell me what you thought of it!
Thursday, November 3, 2011
Write one thing I am thankful for each day for the month of November. Hmmm.. I think I can do that! Well, truthfully I know that I can do that it's just making sure I don't forget to share those things here!
So I know I am a few days behind so I'll do three things to kick things off with a bang!
1. I am most eternally grateful for Jesus! How He saved my soul from eternal separation from Him and how He loves me unconditionally at all times! I am so grateful!!
2. I am definitely grateful for the one man in my life who knows me better than anyone else and continues to commit himself to me every day of his life! Thank you, Jacob, for being faithful and true, for loving me so incredibly well, and for making my life so much fun!
And one for today...
3. SNOW! I love the snow! I am enjoying these big snowfalls we've had recently. They make everything so pretty and sparkly! I just love it and am so glad that we get to experience it!
Monday, October 17, 2011
I arrived at the church where the event was to be taken place and walked down a sidewalk and on either side of me were huge bunches of balloons all tied together. Pink, blue, and white (for miscarriage). I had no problem preparing myself for the next few hours because grief was in front of me all the time. The balloons, the t-shirts that families came in wearing with their babies names or footprints on them, a memory table for you to display anything you wanted that had to do with your baby(ies), mommies wiping away tears, people hugging one another, etc. It was so moving and so sad. So many losses and so many hurting hearts. I could not help but think about how wonderful Heaven would be for so many. It just put it into perspective for me just how many people out there are going through loss and grief.
The ceremony went well. They sang a few songs, some of which I helped pick out. Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus, Untitled Hymn by Chris Rice, and Jesus Loves me. The songs were sung by someone they had come in for the music, not the actual songs played over the speakers. I think that helped me because I wasn't so emotional going up to speak just after hearing Untitled Hymn. It was still hard to hear, but it could have been harder had it been Chris Rice singing it. (Untitled Hymn was the song we had played at Molly's memorial service. It was the last song we listened to before we went outside to release balloons to Heaven for her.)
Then there was a time where two of the women who help with the walk got up and read off the names of all 140 babies who were being remembered that day. That was incredible hard to listen to. And when each name was read, the families of that baby would get up and place an ornament on a magnolia tree to remember them. It was really bittersweet.
I got up to speak and the first thing I said to everyone was "I wish I could hug each and every one of you and tell you how sorry I am for your losses." I was just so moved by all the sadness in the room and all the hurting hearts. It was so palatable. So heavy with hurt.
I went on with my talk, spoke mostly about Molly's story and talked basically about how we can have perspective in the midst of loss and pain and suffering. I just shared with them my own journey through grief and loss and then encouraged them to put their hope and trust in Jesus to help them through this most difficult season.
It went really, really well. I saw a lot of nodding heads while I was speaking and a lot of people crying along with me when I talked about removing life support from Molly. I did start to cry a few times but it never lasted long and I was able to get through it which was good.
Then we all went outside, got balloons for our babies, and then did a short walk and released them into the gorgeous blue sky. The weather could not have been better. It was dry and warm and absolutely no humidity!
Then I stood at the resources table and sold a few of my books and signed a few as well. I got to tell several of the moms and dads how sorry I was and got to hug a few too. It felt good for me to hug them and tell them how sorry I was. I genuinely felt their pain because I am where they are.
All in all, it was a fantastic trip. I am SO glad that I went and did it. I was so nervous but so glad that I followed through with it. It was a great reward for me. I also really enjoyed the quiet and the time alone. It was refreshing for my soul and heart. I was able to rest and do a lot of thinking and processing.
Thanks so much for the prayers!! I am SO grateful for them all!!
Friday, September 30, 2011
I will be speaking for the chapter in Houston, TX! I was so excited to take a plane ride, by myself. And walk into my hotel room, by myself. Eat dinner, by myself. Have breakfast tomorrow, by myself. I think you get the point.
I am speaking about grief and loss and the perspectives that I have gained as a result of going through those losses. I'll mostly be sharing Molly's story and about how her precious little life drew me closer to the heart and throne of Jesus.
Pray with me that the power of the Holy Spirit will speak through me and use me as a tool to share the hope and grace of Jesus Christ to those who do not know Him. That it would not be me that they hear, but instead the gentle nudge of the Holy Spirit beckoning their hearts towards Him. I am just so humbled and in awe that I get to do this.
Woo hoo!! I am super excited and probably will be really nervous come tomorrow. I hope I can sleep, but if not, oh well! I'll sleep great tomorrow! :)
Friday, September 16, 2011
I have just spent my second full day in a leather office chair, around a conference table, watching slides go by rather slowly and listening to various people talk and talk some more. I have been away from my twin girls both days and am ready to be a mom again.
I am exhausted. Both mentally and physically. Thankfully, it's the weekend.
To put it plainly, these classes are part of our journey towards adoption. They are required for international adoption. For a few years now, both Jacob and I have been praying and seeking God’s will for our family. We have wanted to adopt for some time and it seems that God is working alongside us and directing us as we work towards that goal. And we are really excited about this!
I’m sure this will feel like such a tease, but for now that is all that I have to share. We don’t have any particulars in place, no specific child we have chosen, not even where we will be adopting from has been decided.
We will share more as we know more.
For now, we covet your prayers for us as a family. Your prayers mean a lot and we look forward to sharing more soon.
Monday, June 13, 2011
How is that three years have flown by already? I am so thankful that my memories of you are still so fresh and clear. I remember all the moments of holding you in my arms, feeling your little chest rise and fall with each breath, and kissing your sweet skin from top to bottom.
Yesterday I visited your doorway with several close girlfriends. It was truly a wonderful time, remembering you in various ways, and feeling so proud of you for the way you continue to touch so many lives in such a profound way. It is true that one day our bodies will fail and God will beckon us to his throne, calling us to leave behind this fragile world. And when we do go Home, we leave behind us a legacy. You, my precious daughter, have left quite the legacy. You have brought so many to feet of Jesus. You have taught others what it means to enjoy each and every moment we are given, for it might be the last. You have been embraced by so many, even those we will never meet this side of Heaven. Molly, you have shown your Mom and Dad what it means to build our foundation on Jesus Christ.
24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
I cannot and do not ever want to imagine what it would be like to walk through grief and not know our Savior Jesus. What a tragedy and what hope would I have? None. And yet, I can only pray that those who do not know Jesus would come to know him through grief and be changed forever.
Molly, thank you for showing us to the feet of Jesus. For giving us a renewed perspective on our relationship with the Lord and how we cannot do this life alone. I miss my sweet girl so very much! I wish I could hold you in my lap and read you a bedtime story, tucking you into bed and kissing you on your sweet cheeks. I cannot wait till one day, not too far from now, when I will be called home as you were and when I will no longer shed tears of pain and sorrow. I will not be able to stand on my feet, but collapsing to the ground as I open my arms and watch you run with joy towards me! Your laughter, your smile, your joy, your precious heart! I cannot wait to hear you, see you, and feel you all over again!! What a reunion it will be! I cannot wait!
Until then, I love you so much!
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Hmmm, I like Easter!! And these plastic egg things that have yummy things inside!!
This is where we found Piper that morning, sitting in the middle of all these eggs. She had pulled the bucket down off the table and then discovered a rainbow of colors! She had cracked one open and was eating through the foil to get to the chocolate. Yum.
Lily and Piper ready for the onslaught of Easter Eggs!!
Pour on the eggs, Daddy!!
Piper liked helping Daddy with this wonderful game of "give the baby more chocolate!!"
Here Lily, have some more!!
They were so excited!! They kept kicking their legs in excitement which resulted in all sorts of eggs flying in various directions. The dogs were a little wary of this.
Piper working on eating through the plastic to get to the good stuff...
Lily is wondering which egg to crack first, blue or yellow?
First Easter baskets!!
Piper was pulling out the yellow grass instead of playing with her new things. Typical.
Lily checking our her Easter basket and wondering what to pull out next.
Then we had an Easter Egg hunt with a total of about 200 eggs and an even bigger total of 4 kids to hunt them. It was brutal!! And the best part about the egg hunt, all of the eggs were left at our house when everyone went home. Maybe that had something to do with the parents wanting nothing to do with any more candy lying around their house. Hmmm.
The lineup! From youngest to oldest: Lincoln Zumalt, Andie Rizner, Isaiah Rizner, and Avery Zumalt.
Piper and Janine, Mommy and Lily, all trying to stay warm by the fire. It was a chilly day to be searching for eggs!
Hmmm, who hid that egg??
Mommy and Lily
Piper and Janine, one of our good friends who we used to live down the row from.
Avery is telling Isaiah, "Look!! Eggs in that prickly tree!! Get them for us!!"
The proud hunters and their loot!!
The sign on our front door, "Today we celebrate Lily and Piper's 1st Birthday!"
The dining room, all ready for action! Thanks to my sister, Laura for all of her amazing decorating skills! On either side of the table are posters, one for each twin with pictures of them over the course of their first year! My older sister, Ashley, does that for her boys every year so I thought I would pay her a compliment and copy it! :) After the party, I taped them to their bedroom door. It's always fun to look at them every time I go by their room.
Happy Birthday Piper!!
Happy Birthday Lily!!
Piper has given me the thumbs up on my baking skills.
Piper's cake, up close. Check out those dig marks in that cake! Girl wasn't messing around. :)
Lily, on the other hand, not so much a thumbs up. We did find out later she was getting sick which is why she didn't eat much of her cake. Poor baby girl. But I do love her face in this picture! It's her classic face.
Sweet Lily, watching everyone around her instead of digging in to some yummy cake. She did clap for herself at the end of the birthday song! That was a hit!
Piper and her cousin, Gabby, who came to visit for their special occasion!