8/4 recap

just a few snapshots of gibson's 2nd birthday...

THANK YOU everyone for making him feel so special and loved on his birthday.



my little agent gibs! 

i can not believe you are 2 today.  didn't you just have a birthday??

in a year's time you have learned to walk, run, jump and gallop.  you've gone from saying (and signing) words to speaking sentences.  you have definitely discovered your sweet tooth, and make sure that you don't miss out on your share when everyone else gets a little treat.  when you fall, 95% of the time you get back up and return to what you were doing as if the tumble didn't phase you one bit.  you have become a big brother, and you fill that role well by trying your best to make him smile and laugh.
oh my chunk monster how you've grown.  you grow more independent every day, eager to do whatever your big sister does.  but even though you may not need my hand to guide you through those treacherous cracks and bumps on the sidewalk, i will be close by ready to hold you in my arms when you need me.
i love your smile, your hugs, your snuggles and your happy face.  i'm so glad your mommy (and i'm sure daddy would tell you that he's glad to be your daddy)! we are both so thankful that the Lord has given us the opportunity to raise, care and love you.
love and hugs on your birthday,



school days: time to read

since she figured out how to write her name a long while back, it seems that my dear daughter has been fascinated with writing.  then she figured out how to write "mom," "dad," and "ty," and was even more enthralled with filling empty pages with words. 
 she would ask how to spell words and write them out, make little "notes" for us on a daily basis with pictures and our names on it, copy words from a book (willingly on her own), on and on and on.
 and just this past week, we reached a new milestone.  reading.

at first, i was hesitant to admit that she could read.  i mean, i wasn't mentally prepared for her to be ready to read.  and quite honestly, i didn't expect the whole process to happen so naturally...as if it were part of our daily routine.  it felt so unobtrusive. organic.

i remember ty struggling a lot in kindergarten and 1st grade with reading, and so i didn't know what to expect when the time came for emma to learn to read.  i guess i thought there would be a specific day that i would officially start teaching her to read....a designated date and time where we would sit down and practice sounding out letters, reading simple words, etc.

but over the past couple of months, i noticed that she was naturally starting to understand the connection between the letter and its sound.  i think her little writing kick was actually helping her figure this out.  so, last week while we were at the library i figured we'd give one of these books a go.  if she was receptive to the idea trying to read on her own we would go with it, if not then no big deal.
well, we went through it together the first time, with a bit of help from me.  but by the 3rd time around she had read the whole book on her own.  they're not very long, and given her steel trap memory the story and words were easy to memorize.  at that point, i wasn't quite sure if she was actually reading the words or just memorizing the content and using the pictures to remind her of what each page said.  so when we returned this week, i suggested we check out a couple more of those little books.  she was very excited about the whole idea and brought home 2 new ones to read.

this time though, i tried to have her sound out the words on the page.  i was a little apprehensive about doing this, because if she wasn't ready then the experience would be frustrating and it would only discourage her from wanting to read (flashback to ty when he was learning to read).  but i figure no harm done in trying as long as we stop if she gets frustrated or distracted.
let me say, that i am a proud mama for her efforts.  we went through both books the 1st time in one sitting, and she was able to successfully sound out most of the words on her own.  by the time daddy got home, she didn't need my help and had 2 sight words under her belt: "the" and "was."

the girl likes to "read" already (during her quiet time she would have a mountain of books piled on her bed ready for perusal), and i'm pretty certain that once she can really read on her own she'll be sleeping with her books!



...and they're growing up right before my very eyes...*sniff*


wordless wednesday::spring awakening

hibernation season is done...

more wordless wednesday here and here.


yo mama!

i hope all you mamas had a wonderful mother's day!

we started the day with baby dedications at church.  we had 8 babies dedicated yesterday, which i think is quite an impressive number for a church that averages 60 people a week.  it's such a blessing to see all those babies...it make me smile to see God at work!
of course, we dedicated our sweet baby cash (thank you aunt corrie for manning the cameras!), promising to "train [him] up in the way he should go..." what a privilege it is to care for our children.
 we ended the day with a pleasant family gathering at our house, and gram sharing incriminating stories of her kids.  it was a gorgeous day so the kiddos and their cousins spent most of the time playing outside.

this mama is so thankful for all the precious (and not-so-precious-but-will-laugh-about-later) little moments.


abandoning an old stand-by

chocolate chip cookies.

some people like them crunchy.  some like them chewy.  some might even like them a little on the cakey side.  but whatever way it is, you usually can't go wrong with a sweet treat like the chocolate chip cookie.

in our house, homemade chocolate chip cookies don't last very long.  and we like ours chewy.

my old stand-by has always been the nestle toll house recipe (i even have it memorized), and i've always thought it was pretty good.  but then, one day, a friend brought over some of her homemade chocolate chip cookies and they were aMAZing.  they were far better than any batch i've ever made.  they were chewy and dense and had the right amount of chocolate chips.  they tasted like they were from one of those gourmet bakeries.  yummmy!

anyway, after tasting those cookies, i was determined to re-create it.  at first i tried changing the toll house recipe a bit, by using more brown sugar and less white sugar and melting the butter (apparently these "tricks" are supposed to help give you a more chewy cookie).  but the result was not quite right.

then i came across this fantastic recipe online from cook's illustrated.  if you like dense, chewy, gourmet-style chocolate chip cookies then this is the recipe for you.
one bite and you will be in love with them forever.  i don't think i'll ever go back to my old stand-by recipe.  and now dear readers, i think one of those cookies is desperately beckoning me to come over and eat it.


spittin' image

don't these two look so much alike?  can you guess which one is gibson's baby photo and which one is baby cash?
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