Thursday, October 1, 2009

Birthday Cake

Whoever came up with the idea for allowing a one year old to have an entire cake to himself must have been a glutton for punishment (no pun intended).
I know, these pictures are a week after his birthday, but we didn't celebrate until this week. I thought the cake eating was cute, but take a look at the tub that Steve had kindly scrubbed spotless for me the day before. Needless to say, he did it again, and I will reconsider the chocolate frosting next time.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

My Sweet September Baby

A very happy birthday to you, my third little man child. And stop growing so fast.

love mama

Thursday, September 17, 2009

I almost built an ark

I had to put up a new post. That picture of Steve glaring at me every time I opened the page was getting to me.

So those of you who live round these parts know that it has been raining a wee bit the last few days. Or should I say dumping large heavenly buckets-full of water?
Now normally I like the rain- the coziness of being indoors-the excuse to make a pot of hot chocolate with lots of whipped cream, not to mention little piece of home it represents. But this warm, sticky, jungle rain is a different monster, especially when it starts invading your personal space. Unfortunately, Steve took the camera to Memphis with him this week or I would post some pictures of the the predicament I was in last night, around midnight.
We had a leak- a major one in our kitchen ceiling. It started by the bathroom door and spread- spread till it was coming out of the recessed lighting in the kitchen- spread until the sheet rock started to crack and bulge. I called Steve in a panic, standing in the middle of the room, surrounded by post and pans quickly filling with water, expecting to be electrocuted every minute or at least to have the sagging ceiling come down on my head. He was of course, very calm about it and suggested I find the point in the ceiling that looked like falling in the most and poke a large hole through the sheet rock. So i got a chair and started poking. The sheet rock was pretty saturated and I soon had bored a dime size hole. The mistake was that I was standing right under it. That's right- a shower of gritty rainwater was my reward. I put a big bucket underneath, cleaned myself off, and watched the water from the hole pour down, relieving the weight of all the water that had spread around the kitchen. It helped, but I am not sure how much damage was done. We might be looking at replacing the ceiling of the kitchen.
At any rate, I was really tired by this point, so leaving plenty of towels and buckets behind, I went to bed. I was awakened at 4:30 in the morning by awful screaming. I jumped out of bed to find Etienne standing in the kitchen in a big bowl of water with soaked jammies and yelling his head off. He was so confused, he didn't know where to go. So I hauled him out, dried him off and we got back to sleep.
First thing this morning, I called someone to come fix the roof. I am hoping they will come soon- it is supposed to pour again tonight. Maybe I should build an ark.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Here we go, over the hill!

I never post about my husband, so here is a quick shout out just to say Happy 30th Birthday honey!

This picture just captures everything I love about you- your patience, kindness and understanding, not to mention your clean cut, well groomed appearance at all times. Most of all I love it that you let me take pictures of you.

All joking aside, we couldn't ask for a better husband or father. And don't worry about turning thirty- I will be joining you soon enough.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Some days are like that, even in Australia

First of all, name that book.

Second of all, let me tell you a little story.

Yesterday started badly when both boys woke up at 6:30, having soaked their beds. I figured it was going to continue on this way when I realized there was no electricity in the house. A storm the night before had knocked down a few trees up the hill which in turn knocked down a few telephone poles. We talked to one of the guys working to get things fixed and he said they would have to replace several of the poles, so we would be without power for most, if not all of the day. A few things had to be decided right away. What should we do about the food in the fridge? The forecast was ninety degrees, and without AC, this did not bode well for the milk and the frozen chicken. We decided to fill the fridge with ice and hope for the best. We also needed to decide what to do about coffee. Emergency Starbucks run or cold instant coffee? Unfortunately, cold instant coffee won the debate. Then there was the matter of urine soaked bedding stinking up my laundry room. I just shut the door on that one.

Needless to say it was a long day, wherein I had to try and describe to James how electricity worked and why he couldn't watch Curious George. He finally figured out that the wind had blown out the power, kind of like a huge candle, and the men in the street were trying to light it again.

I might have rejoiced that this was a great excuse for not having to cook, but I actually really like cooking. After a salad dinner, we headed to church where we had the difficult task of voting to accept our pastor's resignation, and of trying to decide who was going to decide who our new pastor was going to be. The meeting went late, and the kids were really cranky so we loaded them up quickly in the van. Then Steve turned the key and nothing happened. He tried again- dead. So we just looked at each other and smiled. What else? James piped up immediately, "Did the wind blow the car out too?" Something like that.

Steve tried several more times, but to no avail, so he jumped in the car with someone who lives close to us and was going to return with our other car, and then get a tow truck or something to get our van back home.
James was really worried and kept asking what we were going to do. I was trying not to do the same thing, so instead of panicking with him, I said, "Don't worry James, the Lord will take care of us," as I continued hopelessly to turn the key in the ignition.

With that, he went to the car door, opened it up and yelled to the night sky- "HELP US LORD!" He sat there, watching and waiting for a few seconds, then with a pout demanded why God wasn't coming to fix the car. I tried to explain that God doesn't exactly work that way, when the car suddenly came to life with the next key turn. I couldn't believe it, but it seemed very simple to James. He had asked, and been answered, so he said "Thank you Lord," and went back to his seat. Steve pulled up soon and escorted us safely home. When we got there, the lights were back on.

I could go on and on about the lessons I learned (hopefully permanently) yesterday, but I figure they are pretty obvious. Some days are worth having for the lessons they teach. Oh, and the chicken stayed frozen!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

I don't usually do this but...

I read something that I want to share.

I have had so many conversations with people lately about how difficult life seems to be right now, either financially, spiritually, physically, or circumstantially- you name it. I have been feeling in the dumps too- anxious,worried, frustrated, impatient. Again- you name it, I got it.
Then I picked up a little essay by Andree Seu from her book 'We Shall Have Spring Again'.
She says this-

"I have been waiting for the day when I can amass just enough spiritual capital to achieve some independence and not have to go begging God for every little thing. I have envisioned what it would look like: I would have read enough great books to be respectable in polite society. I would have attained enough competence in some skill area to amount to something. I would possess surplus purity of heart the way I have stockpiles of paper towels in the pantry, not having to fight for it anew every day in prayer.
I always think it's just around the corner, this time to coast. In the meantime I am constantly desperate for God.
There are precedents to my frustration in the tale of the widow from Zarephath. A stranger blows into town and asks for bread.
'I have nothing baked, only a handful of flour and a little oil in a jug. Now I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it and die." (I Kings 17:12) She is already counting herself dead.
At this point Elijah can, if he wants to, open the storerooms of heaven and make it rain fig cakes. But he does not. He only promises, "The jar of flour shall not be spent and the jug of oil shall not be empty until the Lord sends rain upon the earth."
Every day she comes down to the kitchen (is she biting her nails?) and there is just enough for the day.
We like a little more margin than that, thank you very much. But God is not into comfort zones. He dispatches disciples to preach with no staff, nor bread, nor bag, nor money. His heavenly caterers send manna enough for the day, but try to scrape up Wednesday's dinner on Tuesday and you'll get maggoty manna for your unbelief.
Recently I counted all the essays I have stockpiled over the years. They were a buffer against writer's block, a safety net in case the Lord didn't come through, a comfort zone in which the comfort was not having to rely on God. Maggoty, every one- stale and dated. Each one taking hours to write, each one representing time I didn't spend with my kids.
Simon the Sorcerer (Acts 8) is merely the crassest illustration of my desire to own the gifts of God as a commodity. Who needs moment by moment relationship with God? Just sell me the ownership of the power of the Holy Spirit to wield independently of Him. To Me be the Glory!
I am humbled but happy. Begging God daily is the right place to be. Not to possess anything in myself, but to draw the day's grace as the branch draws from the vine. In your right mind, you wouldn't want it any other way.

Don't you love it when you read something that speaks right to you? I hope this helps any of you out there who are struggling with the day to day.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Summertime Uniform

What do you get when you combine-

Three little dirty, popsicle-covered boys
Hot weather
Jumping in and out of the pool all day
Potty Training
Some really groovy new Pixar emblazoned briefs?

Long days of wearing nothing but underwear, that's what.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Something to blog about

Life has been pretty slow around here- a lot of staying indoors to avoid the heat and working on potty training for my big boy Etienne. I know it is kind of early for potty training- he just turned two, but I really don't want to wait a year and summer time is by far the best time to do it. Thankfully he has been doing great so far. I have discovered he will do just about anything for chocolate.
Anyways- we did manage to get out of the house and into the pool last week. My kids are generally afraid of water. Seb hates his bath and Etienne screams if water gets anywhere near his eyes. James isn't bold near water either, but by the end of the day, Steve had him dunking under and even opening his eyes. Seb loved floating in his floaty thing and Etienne was the only one who stayed pool side most of the afternoon. For me, it just felt good to float for awhile.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

No time for subtitles

Well, if I don't put some pictures of my trip up now, I never will. I don't have the time to describe all the events highlighted, so have fun guessing what we did!

Summer 2009

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Back in time for fireworks

I know I haven't posted pictures of my time in Tacoma yet, but I thought I would get some of these fourth of July shots up before Moriah does. Hah! We got home at 4:15 am July 4th, so we were a bit exhausted, not to mention unorganized and surrounded by piles of unpacked luggage, but we decided to go with Andy and Moriah and crew to the downtown fireworks show anyways.
We met up at their house beforehand and took some pictures of our patriotic wardrobes (pardon Steve's black t-shirt- it isn't his independence day remember. And he is half British)

The show didn't start until late, so we had an interesting time keeping track of the kids in the darkness while we waited, (including bribing them with suckers) but once the fireworks started, they had no problem staying put.

Hope you all had a fun fourth!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

My surprise visit (extended version)

So I have been meaning to blog about my surprise visit to Washington (which was a surprise to no one but my older sister) before I got home again, but I am still here. My hubby called the day before I was supposed to leave and told me that since his business obligations would be taking him out of town a lot for the next few weeks, that I should stay here as long as possible. What could I do but agree? I mean, I miss my hubby, but since he isn't going to be at home anyway.....

So I am here for one more week. We are having a lovely, somewhat restful time with my family and have had many adventures with grandma and the nine grandkids in tow. I have a ton of pictures, but can't seem to figure out how to download them off of this PC. Man, I miss my Mac. So I guess I will just do a huge photo dump when I get back to Tennessee. Until then.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

All about James

James is four this week. I know, I can't believe it, time flies etc. He is a bright, cheerful, constantly hungry, slightly obnoxious child who occasionally does really sweet things. Sometimes there are ulterior motives. Yesterday, to get out of punishment for whining again, he walked over to me when I called him, gave me this really cheesy, sappy look and pursed his lips. I asked him what he was doing, and he said, " Mom, I just really want to kiss you," in a falsely affectionate tone of voice.
I will not reveal whether or not he got out of said punishment.
Last night I heard him talking to Etienne after they were supposed to be going to sleep. I put my ear to the door and James was saying goodnight to Etienne. Etienne responded with a thank you.
James said, "No, don't say thank you. Can you say I love me?"
Etienne responded, " I love me."

He got a birthday card in the mail from Grandpa Lewin yesterday, and was so thrilled about it. He asked me too read the brief birthday wishes over and over again. After about the seventh time, he sighed and said, "That is such a good story."

James wasn't sure what he wanted for birthday presents, but he was positive that he wanted a choo choo cake, so I searched the ever helpful internet and came up with a picture of this cake that I tried to copy.

If I ever make this cake again, I will hide it under lock and key to avoid the constant begging to see, touch, taste and smell it.
We took the cake to the park and I shared the sugar high with Moriah's kids. They did a pretty good job of running it off though.

Some other big things going on in James life-

We changed his name to Butch (ie. daddy got a little too happy with the clippers)

I tried not to weep when I saw it, so that James wouldn't freak out, but when he looked in the mirror, he buried his face in his hands and cried, " Mommy, I lost my head!!!" We are getting used to it, and hey, it will grow back.

I don't have a photo of this, but James also has his first full blown case of Poison Ivy- tummy, legs, back, arms are well covered with little pink rashes. He doesn't seem to mind it too much. He just absently scratches all day. All in all, not the best birthday present though. He'll just have to start out year number four covered in Calamine lotion.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Still trying....

to get a good, frame-able candid of all my boys

At least act like you love each other.

That's a little better, but not very candid.

Daddy suggests laying down. Hmmm.

Mommy yells to "keep your eyes on Daddy!" Maybe if she stood behind Daddy the yelling would have been a good idea.

Well, we'll keep trying.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Playing peekaboo

The more children I have, the more I forget to look for baby milestones, like 'recognizes mommy' or 'able to grasp objects with thumb and forefinger.' etc.
'Able to play peekaboo' is usually on that list of milestones somewhere, so lest poor Sebastien be relegated to the role of unnoticed third child, I thought I would document this great achievement.

Peekaboo! from nicole lewin on Vimeo.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Birthday Pudding

So I am not a big cake fan. Well, really, I am not a big dessert fan- sweets just aren't my temptation (give me a big greasy cheeseburger any day). If I have to eat dessert, I prefer dark chocolate to anything else. I think I get that from my mother. I have memories of her coming up to tuck us in bed with the smell of chocolate chips on her breath. I think that must have been her end of the day splurge- a handful of dark chocolate.
At any rate, for my birthday dessert I opted for this super yummy, super easy dark chocolate pudding that I found in a magazine once. I have given this recipe to some friends already, but I thought I would share it again here.

Dark Chocolate Pudding

whisk together in a medium saucepan-
1/3 cup of sugar
1/3 cup of Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder (If you haven't tried the Special Dark powder, you haven't lived)
pinch of salt
2 Tablespoons of corn starch.

gradually whisk in 1/3 cup of whole milk (or less fatty version if you are on a diet. Obviously, the more fat, the better) until a thick paste forms.
Over medium heat, slowly whisk in 1 1/3 cups more of milk and 1/3 cup of whipping cream if so desired. Either way, the total dairy should equal 2 cups.
Let this thicken until bubbly, about five minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in four ounces of dark chocolate (chocolate chips or fancy candy bar, your choice) and 1 tsp vanilla.

Now here comes the fun part. You can eat it as is, or kick it up a notch. We added a generous splash of Kahlua, but Bailey's is fantastic too, or Grand Marnier or any other liquor of choice. If liquor isn't your thing, mint extract is excellent, or any other flavor that goes with chocolate.

to chill it, just cover it with plastic wrap right on the surface, to avoid that yucky pudding skin. We prefer to eat it warm, right out of the pan. This also makes a great pie filling. I must warn you though- kids make a mess of it.

When I asked James why he was deliberately smearing it all over his face, he said he just wanted to look like daddy. (Steve's current facial motif is a rather unkempt goatee)

Oh, and this last picture is my birthday present from my mom.
It is a smocking pleater. I tried my hand at smocking a dress for my latest niece, but it took forever to do by hand. So, since I have no daughters to smock for, send your orders in. I need to make some cute dresses for somebody.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!

Well, almost. My birthday is actually Sunday, but this morning was the best time to do our traditional out-to-breakfast birthday date. (if you can call a meal out with three kids a date) The problem was that our favorite breakfast cafe is no longer serving breakfast, which we didn't find out until we had all the hungry kids unloaded and ready to eat. Bummer!
Part of the reason we love that cafe is the location- lots of fun views of the river and beautiful walks. So we walked a bit and tried to figure out where else we could go.

We decided to go to a little hole in the wall restaurant we had heard of many times but never actually been to. It really was a tiny place, and very quaint.

But the food was great. It took a while to get our food, and we were really hungry by this point, so we held the kids off with Sebastien's cheerios (which Etienne ate painstakingly with a fork and knife)

until our giant pancakes arrived.

Then we had fun making Sebastien smile. This kid has the biggest mouth. Sometimes I think his face is going to split in two.

All in all, a lovely morning out and a nice way to start the last year of my twenties.