July 28, 2012

Pool Fun!

July 28, 2012

We have had so much fun in the pool this summer.  Colton was very timid (to say the least) at the beginning of the summer, but he is doing much better now!

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I’m not a big fan of flotation devices in the swimming pool, but Claire loves her little float and Colton does great with this noodle under his arms. His swim lessons from last summer are coming back to him.

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Chris has become a first class multi-tasker. Notice him holding Claire’s hand while his other arm is under Colton. Claire has to be in on the daddy-business. She likes to have his full attention – kind of concerns me about Baby B’s arrival.

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Colton loves to hang from the diving board and walk to the end…

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… no jumping off yet!

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I LOVE this big smile!  Really just LOVE it!!

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Daddy gets a great workout in the pool!

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Brother did it… now I want to do it!!

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Ahh… a great day!

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I love summertime!


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July 27, 2012

A Decade

July 27, 2012

The more time goes bye the harder it is for me to remember a time before Chris was in my life.  I prefer it that way.  Today we are celebrating 10 years, a decade of marriage!  It is like I blinked and here we are.  Our first two and a half years of marriage we were college students, the last four years we have been parents.  It is amazing to think about where the Lord has brought us from and brought us through.

What has 10 years marriage taught me?

  • I cannot rely on my spouse for my total happiness… that is too much responsibility for any one person.  I have to learn to lean on the Lord more and more each day.
  • That I am valuable.  I know that my husband not only loves me, but he finds me valuable.
  • You have to be friends.  Chris is my best-friend and I would not have it any other way.
  • My bad mood will rub off on others (ahem, my hubby) so “fake it until I make it”
  • Do not ever criticize your husband to others.  Never de-masculinize your husband… you should be his biggest cheerleader at all times.
  • Do not fight in public (around family, friends, etc…) or around your children.  Have your disagreements in private.  Sometimes if you wait until you are in private you may just forgot what your disagreement was about.
  • Holding hands is important so hold often!
  • Always have each others back… be in one another's corner – even if the other is wrong.
  • Everyone needs downtime.
  • Know and utilize his love language.  It is important to work at making your spouse feel loved … not the way I feel it, but they way he feels it.  Just because our needs are not the same does not mean that his needs are not important.
  • My spouse (or my children) do not complete my, Christ does, but my husband makes me want to be a better person.
  • Teamwork is important… be a team!
  • That a happy marriage really does exist.

Happy Anniversary My Christopher!  If I had to choose again, I would choose you!


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Warm Lemon Pepper Chicken Salad

Served warm, this main dish salad gets its fresh flavor from our Lemon Pepper Rub.

Ingredients:

8 oz sugar snap peas

1 1/2 lbs "B" size red potatoes

2 tsp salt

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 tbsp Lemon Pepper Rub, divided

1 lemon

1 garlic clove, pressed

1/4 cup olive oil

1 medium red bell pepper

1/2 small red onion

1 jar (6 oz) marinated artichoke heart quarters, drained

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Directions:

1.  Place peas and 1/4 cup water in Large Micro-Cooker.  Microwave, covered, on HIGH 2-3 minutes or until crisp-tender.  Drain using small Stainless Mesh Colander; rinse under cold water and set aside.  Slice potatoes using Ultimate Mandoline fitted with v-shaped blade.  Place potatoes, salt and enough water to cover into Micro-Cooker.  Microwave, covered on HIGH 13-16 minutes or until tender, stirring twice; drain and set aside.

2.  Meanwhile, heat Grill Pan over medium heat 5 minutes.  Rub chicken with 1 tbsp of the rub.  Spray pan with olive oil using Kitchen Spritzer.  Cook chicken 7-9 minutes or until Digital Pocket Thermometer registers 165 F and juices run clear, turning once.  Remove from pan; set aside and keep warm.

3.  For dressing, juice lemon to measure 2 tbsp.  Combine juice, remaining rub and garlic pressed with Garlic Press in Small Batter Bowl.  Slowly add oil, whisking constantly; set aside.

4.  Thinly slice chicken, bell pepper and onion using Santoku Knife.  Combine peas, chicken, bell pepper, onion, artichokes and parsley, if desired, in Stainless (6-qt) Mixing Bowl; mix well.  Add potatoes and dressing; toss gently.  Serve Warm.

Yield: 6 servings


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July 26, 2012

Staying Cool - 4th of July Randomness

July 26, 2012

We had a fun, but low key, 4th of July Holiday.  However, I was a huge slacker with taking pictures!  I did get a few of the kiddos on the dock and in the lake.

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Claire is not as crazy about the lake as she is the pool… I’m not either!  It was so hot though that both she and Colton made it quickly into the water.

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The lake makes me nervous and they are not allowed anywhere near it without life jackets.  We are fortunate to have a super nice and clean lake.  If I am not mistaken Norris Lake is the cleanest in Tennessee.

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Below baby K is getting her first dental checkup from Aunt A.

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Once again, Daddy doing the work in the water while momma snapped the pictures.

I did eventually get in the water, but no evidence of that!

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Colton was kicking and “swimming” here trying to make his way back to the ladder. Both he and Claire enjoy going up/down, up/down the ladder.

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These two love throwing rocks into the water.  These pictures show you just how dry it had been here.  It was so hot and dry – the lake dropped and most of the grass was burned up.  I think we went three weeks without mowing our lawn.  After the 4th the rain hit and did not let up until this week.  I read something a few days ago that said we had 15 days straight of thunderstorm warnings.  It has been random, scattered showers that usually do not last long.  Needless to say our grass is looking really healthy and our allergies are in full swing!

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We hope everyone else is finding ways to stay cool!


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July 25, 2012

Ready, Set, Go!

July 25, 2012

Ready!  Set!  Go!

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I love these two!

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Cannot wait to add a third little guy to the mix!


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July 24, 2012

Cell Phone Pictures–Summer 2012

July 24, 2012
Recently I made the switch from the Blackberry to the IPhone.  It was more a work decision than anything.  I really miss my Blackberry!  The one thing I do like better on the IPhone is the camera.  I take pictures with it all time… here is proof!

When Colton and Chris go to get haircuts Claire has to get in on the action.  It is so cute!  Of course it is just a pretend haircut!

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This picture really deserves a post of its own!  While visiting with my good girlfriend Christine, Colton was playing with my phone … later when I was going through my phone I found about 30 pictures of this pose!  Honestly, it cracks me up!  These two were making faces and attempting to take pictures of themselves.  I really wish Colton would have gotten more of her in the picture!

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17 weeks pregnant.  This was right after my morning sickness cleared up and I was actually able to lace up my shoes and hit a little bit of pavement.  I pulled in three very slow miles this day!  I miss running… sooooo much!

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Chris’ dad (Papaw) now has 20 chickens!  The kids love the chickens.  When we sing “Jesus Love Me” at night, Claire always adds in that Jesus loves the chickens too!

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Colton loves to feed the chickens through the fence and they both like helping to collect the fresh eggs!

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Because I’m silly and I take pictures of everything I snapped a photo of this outfit after I purchased it… this will be Baby Boy Brooks first church outfit.  Hopefully we will have a name nailed down soon and I can stop calling him “Baby Boy Brooks”.

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One of my favorite things about summertime is Vacation Bible School.  Prior to having Colton I taught the six year old class for several years.  It is always such a blessing.  Colton’s favorite part of VBS is definitely song time!

Here are a few shots I snapped of him doing the motions to one of the songs… he really gets into it!
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He was so excited about his craft necklace he made on the second night and also getting to hold the bible another night.

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We have been out on the boat a lot this summer.  Colton is always in the captains seat with Daddy…

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… and Claire… well, as soon as she steps foot on the boat she wants her blankie and me!  She lays down on my chest and is out in no time flat!

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Seriously, every time!

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When we have not been in the boat we’ve been in the pool… I just love Colton’s smile in this picture!

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Colton and Claire LOVE play-doh!  They can seriously spend 30-45 minutes sitting at the kitchen table playing with play-doh.

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This day my mom was over and she helped them make fun creations!

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I snap photos of my two in the car all the time… especially when they are sleeping!

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or being silly… or looking cute.

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This was Claire (sort of) wearing Colton’s boxers… she worked all morning to snatch them and get them on … “all by herself!”

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I love for my kiddos to wearing matching outfits… how much fun is it going to be next summer dressing Colton and his baby brother alike!?

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This was 4th of July at the Lake.

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Dancing to The Fresh Beat Band… seriously, everyone should witness this because it is soooo darn cute (if I do say so myself)!

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This is Claire in her own little world during Sunday School.  Colton will not stay without Chris or myself in there with him.  I thought after starting school last year he would, but nopers.  Its just not worth him being upset over so one of us always stays.  However, I think Claire could care less who was in there with her!

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They were outside playing one evening while I was making dinner… I looked out and Colton was pushing Claire on the swing.  This was just such a sweet brother/sister moment.  How do you like the rain boots?  Do you remember these from Claire’s birthday post?

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This girl likes to eat… just about anything including Mexican!

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After a recent trip to Home Depot Colton and Claire scored their very own Aprons!  They loved them, but Colton did not want his picture taken.

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Colton received some great gifts for his birthday.  One of the best was a little doctors kit.  They both play with it daily!  They use their table as an exam table and check each others heart, chest, ears, temp, and give shots.  Sometimes Claire’s baby is the patient.

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Then sometimes Daddy is the patient.

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And this ladies and gents… this is why we drive around with dirty vehicles!  Our kiddos are TERRIFIED of the carwash!

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I leave you with this… my current addiction!  If you have not tried the Chick-fil-A Chocolate Chunk Cookies you are truly missing out!  We typically do not eat sweets.  We definitely do not buy them and bring them home, but for some reason I have been craving these bad boys like crazy.  Ahhh, think I may need to make a trip to Knoxville tomorrow!

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