I want to be in all senses of the words, All. Things. Mama.
As far back as I can remember I've wanted to be a mom, not just any mom, but the mom that stays home with her kids full time. The mom who loves even when she is not loved back, who can't breathe without thinking of her kids first. The mom who loves teaching, playing, cooking, baking, laughing, and kissing owies. The mom who is ALL THINGS MAMA. My husband and I scrimp so that dream can be fulfilled. Being a mom is not part time for me. It is something that has captured my heart. All of the going ons of my life start with thoughts of my kids. My kids consume my love and my life and I allow it because, with God's help they are the essence of what makes me a mother. This is me...

kids: the reason for moms

kids: the reason for moms

Friday, December 24, 2010

transitioning traditions...

This is the year of traditions---mainly new traditions that I make up as we go along.  I'll do something and then 10 minutes later I'll let Darrell know that it's our family tradition, like the fact that I made cinnamon rolls this morning.  Oh ya, it's tradition for us Cummins' to make cinnamon rolls on Christmas Eve morning, and it just started THIS morning.  But, it's still tradition.  It's something my kids will remember and possibly carry on to their families.  Here's a memory for the record:

Just so you know, the cinnamon rolls pictured have not yet been baked... ;) Freshly cut and sitting on the stove rising before baking.
Something else that just started this morning...Melanie and I delivered warm cinnamon rolls to our neighbors.  She even said Merry Christmas to them..in a tiny little voice.

Other traditions leaked into our family from things I grew up with.  For example, we are having enchilada casserole tonight.  My family would switch between that and lasagna every year for Christmas Eve dinner, and look at me, carrying it on! Yes, I'm already planning a possible lasagna next year. :o)

Traditions are fun, create memories, leave people happy and full.  I'm happy and full, full of sugar from our breakfast of cinnamon rolls and coffee.  (oh ya, and full of love! Eastie said love you, ok, "wub you" about 3 times to me this morning.)
Oh ya, and Guapo's new name is Bop Bop--Easton started that tradition yesterday.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My favorite things of 2010

In no particular order...

-cinna spin cookies


-fresh outta the bath babies


-clean kitchen before bed AND a clean toy room with a "lone" little girl playing in it right before bed :)


-Happy kids


-Easton saying "bye bye da da" and "uh oh mama" and "hola" with his huge, gappy, toothy smile

-This hair:


-Lazy mornings with coffee and a view of the Christmas tree, add kids playing and it's perfect




-Family pictures

-The way Melanie views everything in her world as a Daddy, Mommy, and baby--Two sets of snowmen have become Daddies and Mommies this Christmas to the same little ornament--lol

-The cowboy stuffed under our couch...lol


-My kids climbing on EVERYTHING~!


-Family trips to let the kids experience new things.

-Birthdays and my kids playing together..

-And this little dance number...be sure to turn up your volume :)
video

-These outfits and this drawing of a face that Melanie created:

-Finally, the fact that God provided for us consistently during one of our hardest years!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

He's one and I'm stunned..

Stunned at how beautiful and heartbreaking motherhood can be.  Beautiful because you grow these miraculous little beings and care for them and watch them do things you never thought possible.  Heartbreaking because it goes so fast.  Heartbreaking because sometimes you watch them get hurt.  Heartbreaking because you watch them grow, then go...
My little boy turned one.  He's my baby.  He's now one.  He took two steps yesterday. Seriously, how is he already one??? He said "wuv you" to me last week.  He's one.  I can't get over that he's one.
A good friend took his one year pictures for me.  She did a wonderful job.  Her name is Kate.  You may already know her.  She works at the Oasis Cafe at the Sunrise Medical Clinic.  If  you don't know her, go meet her.  She's a good person to know and she takes great pictures!  Here's proof:

As I write this, I have a two year old little girl passed out sleeping next to me in my bed.  She is independent as ever, talkative, knows what she wants, and is loving getting attention (from everyone) more and more each day.  Scary.  My babies aren't babies.  They're learning to be grown up.  Time to savor everyday, slow down, and pay more attention, so that nothing is missed or lost and no regrets are to be had.
Good night--here's to finding the good stuff in life!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Will you pass me the thankfulness, please?

Thanksgiving was wonderful! I am stuffed full of the big heaping plate of thankfulness we all consumed on Thursday.  Too many blessings to count..and if I really did eat them for dinner I would weigh a thousand pounds.
Since last Thanksgiving we have been blessed with another child, my husband's job, and many more things that are too many to sit and write.  It's an overflowing cup of love that we call our lives.  God does not let us down.
If  you did not try a serving of  thankfulness this year, go ahead, take a bite, it's delicious and it's the best meal you'll ever eat! It also makes you a better person.  My goal for now until next Thanksgiving is to be more thankful, not take anything for-granted, and show my gratitude to others more often!
So, here goes, I should start now
Thank you Lord for EVERYTHING
Thank you Darrell for working so hard and being a good hubby and daddy
Thank you Mom for raising me and now being a great Grammy to my kids and for cooking a delicious Thanksgiving meal this year!
Thank you Dad for always making us laugh, giving us diaper money for our kids, and being a fun Grandpa or Papa (as Mel says) to Melanie and Easton.
Thank you Mom and Dad Cummins for everything you do for us and for your awesome grand-parenting skills toward Melanie and Easton too!
Thanks to all friends and family for being a shoulder to cry on, a person to laugh with, a someone to eat with, the one to drink coffee with, a hand to hold, a listening ear, for all the things that my friends and family do for me...I am thankful!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I sleep through the night..most of the time.

How many people have heard these sarcastic remarks after announcing they are going to be parents? "After you have kids you'll spend the next 18-20 years not getting a full night of sleep." Or my personal favorite: "Congrats, say good bye to sleep" followed by a huge bout of laughter.  NOT funny nor original and a real nice way to make something happy and positive into something negative. Although, in the last three nights the no sleep thing has been somewhat true in my life, besides those last three nights, and since having two kids, I've been getting some pretty darn good sleep. And it isn't because my husband is getting up with the kids.
I can't decide.  Was I just blessed with great little sleepers or did my husband and I do something miraculous to train up sleeping babies?  A little of both possibly?  Who knows.  I do know that when we brought each baby home they started sleeping through the night quite quickly.  Melanie stopped getting up to eat after 12 weeks and Easton only took 4 weeks.  We also found that both our babies preferred sleeping on their tummies.  Go ahead, say it, "You're not supposed to let them sleep like that!"  Well, we did.  And they survived and they got LOTS of sleep.  The second we put them on their tummies from their back they would fall asleep and I'm talking THE VERY SECOND.  I remember the first night we gave in and let Melanie go on her tummy.  She was laying in the bassinet on her back fussing, crying, and definitely not sleeping.  We turned her onto her tummy and it was INSTANT sleep.  Keep in mind, both Easton and Melanie were huge when they were born and were able to lift their heads the day they were born, so we were not worried about letting them sleep on their tummies.  Doctors do not recommend letting babies sleep on their tummies and I'm not saying this is what you should do.  Just saying it worked for us.
We also rarely let the kids sleep with us.  If they're sick, that's one exception, but other than that they are on their own.  I think this taught them to put themselves to sleep, because we also just laid them down and left them alone.
Every baby is different.  Who knows how we really got good sleeper babies.  I'd like to think it was my good mommy techniques, but maybe God knew I wouldn't be good to anyone if I didn't get enough sleep.  Maybe just maybe He was giving not only me, but the whole world a gift by letting me have sleep because He knew what I would be like to others without it.  I would probably be a monster. :)
 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

daydreams about napping...

Highlights to my day so far:
1.) Both kids up at 4:30 am
2.) Throw up on the couch
3.) Everyone back in bed at 5:30am :)
4.) Bible Study
5.) Putting the kids down for naps and finding them both in Easton's crib awake a half hour later
6.) Easton's new sailor arm dance move whenever he hears Christmas music
7.) Knowing an eggnog latte is making it's way home to me by way of my husband
8.) Calling friends to get some adult conversation in the mix! (Thanks Aili and Skyelynn)
9.) Easton saying "uh oh" every time the show I'm watching switches to a commercial
10.) Wishing for a nap but never taking one
Here's to all the mom's who have a list of "highlights" a lot like this one!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ideas before sleep

It's been my secret, I haven't told anyone,now I'm telling everyone.  I really want to write a book. A novel. The only reason I haven't started it is because I've been waiting for the "great book idea" to hit me.  The idea that will make my book a page turner.  Before I fall asleep at night lots of ideas run through my head and by the time morning hits, they're gone.  So, I've been trying to make myself get up and write them down.  The problem is I have to turn on our nightstand lamp to do this.  The minute I do that (even if it's turned on really low) my husband immediately says, "turn off the light."  Of course I oblige to his request because he has to get up at 4 every morning and it would be rude of me to keep him awake.  Therefore, last night, when an idea came to mind, I had my cell phone light on as I scribbled it down as fast as I could so as not to wake my handsome hubby.  I think its the one.  The story I've been waiting to come to my mind.  A lot of work is ahead of me.  Don't judge me if I don't finish it or if I finish it and it isn't an awesomely written, NY Times bestseller, work of literary art.  I don't even have a writing style. I'm not an author.  I just want to be one.  So now everyone knows, and if you'll excuse me, it's a little before 6 am and I have two sick little kids, standing by the couch,  fighting to sit on my lap, that I must tend to.  :)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

It's more beautiful, more wonderful...

Veggie Tales has taught me a lesson, well maybe a few lessons. Lesson 1: The world is more beautiful when you see it through God's eyes.  If I truly want to find the good stuff in life, I'm going to have to make it my priority to see what God sees.  Lesson 2: Kids need God...NOW.  God didn't tell us to "train up a child in the way he should go" for no reason.  We've been praying with the kids before bed for quite a while now, but talking about God's wonderful awesomeness is something that goes by the wayside in between the everyday toddler topics of juice, ABCs, crackers, animal noises, uh-ohs and 123s.  Don't you worry though, I'm thinking of ways to squeeze it into the day as I think more about it.  Lesson 3: Kids understand more than we give them credit for.  God is not too big of a concept.  I think I have a harder time understanding who God is and how merciful and gracious He is than kids do.  Kids keep it simple, just like God keeps it simple. Trust in Him and let Him do the rest.  God didn't say to have "faith like a child" for no reason either, right?
I think life would be more beautiful and wonderful just from learning these lessons from Veggie Tales.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Christmas deliciousness...

Holiday decorating has started early around here, only because I won some decorations at a baby shower and couldn't justify putting them away when Christmas is right around the corner.  And so...
A little taste of Christmas for our palettes.  Pretty soon the Christmas music will be playing and the kids will be dancing and the smell of Christmas cookies will be wafting...oh how I love Christmas!  Jesus' birthday is always the best party, as it should be.
Speaking of birthdays, December 4th, Easton turns one! He has brought and still brings us more joy than Christmas decorations ever could!
Here's to hoping a little bit of Christmas has come to your house, and if it hasn't, may it be on it's way and knocking on your door ASAP.

Friday, November 5, 2010

On a happy note...

I baked cookies (from scratch) for the first time in a couple months this week.  This may not sound "oh so happy note worthy" to you, but this used to be a weekly thing for me. Yes, I would make chocolate chip cookies EVERY week, sometimes twice a week.  For some reason, I fell out of the habit, and I think it was simply because my HUGE bag of Costco chocolate chips ran out and I was too cheap to replace them.  Well, I went to WinCo on Tuesday and bought two bags of chocolate chips and on Wednesday I became inspired to bake again while watching a Christmas movie.  But, instead of reverting back to my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, which will be posted below, I tried something new, which has quickly become a new favorite around here.  Chocolate chip oatmeal raisin..YUM.
I could be selfish and hoard these recipes for myself but considering the holidays are here I want to share. :)
Plus, these recipes are not my own, not mine to hoard, they were found by typing "chewy chocolate chip cookie" and "chewy oatmeal raisin cookie" into Google.  Tried and true internet recipes---tried by me and given to you! :())


Thick, Chewy, Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (add chocolate chips)

The trick to getting a really thick, chewy cookie is to chill the dough before you bake it. You can scoop it and then chill it, or, if you’re like us, scoop it, freeze them and store them in a freezer bag so you can bake them as you wish. I find they’re always thicker when baked from the cold — only a couple extra minutes baking is needed.
This is a half recipe. It makes a couple dozen standard-size cookies. (I get more because I make them tinier.) I always feel like I’m swimming in cookies when I make the full volume, but if you’re feeding a crowd, go ahead and double it.
1/2 cup (1 stick or 4 ounces) butter, softened
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together. Stir this into the butter/sugar mixture. Stir in the oats, raisins and walnuts, if using them.
At this point you can either chill the dough for a bit in the fridge and then scoop it, or scoop the cookies onto a sheet and then chill the whole tray before baking them. You could also bake them right away, if you’re impatient, but I do find that they end up slighly less thick.
The cookies should be two inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake them for 10 to 12 minutes (your baking time will vary, depending on your oven and how cold the cookies were going in), taking them out when golden at the edges but still a little undercooked-looking on top. Let them sit on the hot baking sheet for five minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool.

Best Big Fat Chocolate Chip Cookie

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon. Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.
  4. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.


Happy Thanksgiving and A Merry Christmas to all!

Monday, November 1, 2010

I am so grateful...

And it's not just because Thanksgiving is throughly upon us, it's because God has given me little goodies from heaven and their names are Melanie and Easton.
My two little Halloween goodies dressed up like a fairy princess and a frog.  Easton ended up looking more like a leprechaun, but cute no less.
  Melanie became a candy monster this year.  She was beside herself with glee looking at her stash.  She even asked to have some "tandy" for breakfast this morning.  I was hoping for one more year of blessed "ignorance" to the whole candy thing because I didn't want to become the "mean mom" this year.   But it happened...she continuously fingered through her candy and pretended to eat it, ran away trying to hide with a piece of it, and we had to stand our ground and be the good, consistent parents that don't let their kids eat ALL the candy in one night.  It's tough, the parent thing. :)  So to make it less tough, the candy basket was accidentally on purpose "left" in the truck last night.  None of us ate any candy today.  But we did have cookies! We can't completely deprive ourselves, right?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Get ready..

Get ready because you are about to read the best money saving tip for the holiday season.  Maybe you already know this tip, I learned it from my friend Suzy.  If you are a person who does not like saving money or trying new things, you may not want to read on.
Do you send out Christmas photo cards each year? How much do you spend to make them?  At Walgreens.com their "Simple Holiday" card with only one picture starts at $15.99 for a set of 20.  EXPENSIVE.  After Easton was born, Suzy used Photoshop to create a birth announcement for him using several pictures, sent them to Walgreens as a digital picture and only paid 10 cents per copy.  This made the 30 copies I needed for family and friends only $3.00!!  
I do not have Photoshop on my computer and I do not want to buy it, so I found the next best FREE thing.  There is a program made by Google called Picasa.  Picasa is a free download and with it you can touch up photos, create borders and backgrounds for your photos, make collages and type on your photos.  This is what I am going to use to make our Christmas cards this year.  If you want to see examples of what you can do using Picasa, just look at my blog.  The top border of my blog was made using the program as were all the picture collages in my recent posts..  So there you go, was it worth the read?
Here's an example card I made using Picasa...keep in mind I just threw it together quickly for this blog post!  Now go and save some money!

Monday, October 25, 2010

And I think this says it all...


A picture worth a thousand words.  This picture tells why kids are worth the hard work, the tears, the fits, the never getting time to yourself unless you get up before they wake up life that is yours once you become a mother .  They look like angels, don't they? It probably helps that I added a "soft focus" feature to the photo, but still the same, in this picture they are my angels. I love them and even when I get frustrated beyond belief it all circles back to the fact that they are mine and worth every minute of frustration.  Children bring happiness to a home, giggles to a room, and everyday smart little comments to a conversation that make you wonder, "where did they learn that from?"   Take another look at the picture, it will say everything else that I don't write in this blog entry that should be said about the wonders of children.                                                                            
     

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tutu for a two year old..

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. Ecclesiastes 3:1
This last Saturday was a time to party! A time to celebrate our baby girl turning two, a time to wear a tutu, and a time to get together with family and friends.
Even a party is divided into "times" for each activity.  This is how Melanie's party went down.





Yes, there is certainly a time for everything, and this time was a success! Thanks to all who helped, and thank you Lord for such a precious and beautiful little girl!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A trip to the Danner Boot Factory a boring day does not make..

We drove to Portland. We looked at boots.  We bought some for daddy and a car seat to boot! :)
Why Portland you ask? Well, apparently the winter work boots are about $100 cheaper there and tax free! Thus, we bought a new car seat to boot, because, well, we needed one, and hey, no tax!
Surprisingly, boot shopping is not boring, it was quite fun..but when are spur of the moment road trips NOT fun?  I think the kids especially loved it that we took the portable DVD player so they could watch Elmo on the way.  Here are more pictures of our day...
It was a good day. Truly, a very good day..the kind of family day you dream of having before you even have a family.  And I'm so glad I get to have the family of my dreams.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Loving the things of fall...

And here are some of the fall things going on in our world.  Candlelit kitchens with cups of coffee and warm baked treats...


Caramel apple pies made of apples from a friend's backyard...
More candles and a touch of Halloween candy to make fall feel right...
And horsey rides in our pajamas...
And introducing our newest tradition of fall...
warming our hands on mom's hot mug of coffee...
She's always been my little Starbucks girl...

With autumn comes more memories and traditions.  Melanie is going to be a princess this year..still pondering Eastie's costume..any ideas?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I get these phone calls..

Almost daily, I get this phone call, sometimes I dial too, and it is one of the absolute highlights of my day! They're fun, these phone calls, because I can say whatever I want and the person on the other side understands.  You see, I have this friend, and to put it simply, she's really a pretty darn good friend, a best friend, the kind you can tell anything to and she'll be able to muster up a response that's both appropriate and leaves me feeling good and loved.  We're miles apart, like across the country far from each other, but in our hearts we're neighbors.
Just like neighbors we swap recipes, swap advice, swap stories about the crazy people and things in our lives.  We talk about our kids, husbands, the Bible, family, trials, hopes, basically everything. We don't judge, we just share.
Her name is Skyelynn, and she is just what her name says.  She is as pretty and nice as the sky is blue.  She is so special to us that if we ever have another girl, she will be named after Skyelynn.  I have not seen her in over 2 years.  She has not met my kids and I have not met hers.  BUT, someday this will happen!  It is often the subject of our phone calls.  One day, we plan to be real neighbors.  We plan to share a vegetable garden and make family dinners together with our produce.  It is our dream.

And even though she doesn't know my kids, at least in person, we talk about Tia Cielo (Aunt Skye) all the time. She sends them gifts, and I send her little one things too.  You know you have a good friend when she loves your kids without having met them.
She is the type of friend everyone should have.

Monday, September 20, 2010

made with love and sealed with a kiss.

Ode to Evite: You are so easy to use and have so many invites to choose from and the best part of all...YOU SAVE ME SO MUCH MONEY!  I used you yesterday to invite 41 people to my daughter's 2nd birthday party.  Let's see, 41 times 44 cents (the current price of postage)  equals $18.04 plus about $30 for store bought invitations comes out to a $48.04 savings..that's almost $50!
I have been criticized for using you Evite...some say you're not personal enough, well I say, how is sending something in the mail any more personal than email? Is it because you spent money on a piece of paper and postage that will eventually be thrown in the garbage?  I think the only way you can make a party invitation more personal is by delivering the invitation or news about the party "in person."  Therefore, Evite, I will continue using you for my party invitations, because even though you are not tangible, you are still made with love and sealed with a kiss!

Disclaimer: I am not criticizing those who like to use store bought invitations and send them in the mail. I love getting mail!  I am only stating my reasons for loving to use Evite. ;)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

When the time comes...

When the time comes I will tell my kids just how great God has been to us.  How we had no money, but somehow the bills were paid.  How we lost a baby, but were blessed 2 others.  How all of the things we considered to be bad, and sad, and totally life-changing turns for the worse, became good and wonderful and true blessings that made us stretch our faith farther than we knew it could go.
Our hearts are overflowing with blessings.  Things that have come to us, things that are happening now, things that are on our way from God that will change our lives and bring us hope.  He never fails to surprise us!
And when the time comes that they'll understand these things, these glorious happenings and truths of our lives, I will cry tears of joy while I tell them, hoping they'll learn from it and live differently because of it.
But for now, we pray simple prayers of "We love you Jesus, give us a good nappy wap", or "give us a good nights sleepys" AAAAAmen!  The simpleness that God loves and the faith of a child that He desires from all of us.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Shadows of a summer gone...

Summer's gone, so it seems.  We're headed into fall leaving behind our fun in the sun memories.  My kids grew by leaps and bounds this summer.  Easton's crawling, starting to pull up on things, really wanting to walk, Melanie's talking SO much, becoming so self sufficient, it's almost like they aren't babies anymore!  So we took pictures, A LOT of pictures, to remember the times when they were more like babies, times when they needed mama and daddy and thought we were cool, times we'll miss.
Times of pig tails and laughing..
Times of jammy playing babies after bathing..
Times of buying 25 cent tea "cuppies" that make a little girl happy..
For animal watching on warm sunny days...
For trying new things, with sunscreen in our hair!
and for learning to share...

For pink cowboy boots, and faux hawks that make us look so darn cute...
Too many summer memories to count, it makes us realize more and more what REALLY counts...



Family..family matters most in the end...the people God gives us to love and cherish on this earth.