Tuesday, January 29, 2013

8 months old!

Sweet baby, slow down!  8 months seems way too old.  You are less and less of a "baby" each day and it is blowing my  mind how fast time seems to fly.  Mom needs some time to catch up! But it's here, and there's nothing I can do to slow it down.  I enjoy this time each month to sit back & think about the ways you've changed & grown over the past month.  It makes life seem to stand still for just a minute, and that helps.
Here are some notable things from your 7th month of life:
You took two roadtrips this month.  One to your favorite state, Texas & one to visit friends a few hours away.  You were SO good and flexible on both trips and handled all the driving like a pro...maybe even better than your mom & dad :)
You also learned a few new words this month, DADA, BA (Bob) and HI :)  You do more & more jibber jabbering, but DADA is by far your favorite word to say now!
Early on this month you learned to pivot yourself around while seated & have yourself turning in all different directions.  You are also getting up onto your hands & knees more, prepping for crawling (yikes!)
Eating solids is getting more exciting & more messy!  You love your happy baby puffs & have gone from eating them to eating bits of bananas, avocado, plum & more. You are becoming more & more independent in your eating and are letting mom feed you less & less.
You love your play dates with your friend John.  You've also learned how to "share" things with mom & dad.  You like to hand us some of your favorite things like your wooden rings & paci.
You stayed in nursery at church for the first time this month- quite the milestone for you & for us!
And finally, your top two front teeth broke through & are making their way out to compliment your sweet, sweet smile :)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

E's 7.5 month pictures

Ephram had his 7.5 month pictures done recently with our favorite local photographer & friend, It's ME, Eloise! Photography
The shoot turned into a family one & was SO fun. The location was a friend's family farm & was also really close to our church.  We got several photos with our church in the background unintentionally, but I love it!  Such a sweet symbol of how we want our family life to be. Centered on Christ. 
Can't believe this little guy is going to be 8 months tomorrow.  It goes so fast.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Life's gifts

I got a new camera for Christmas.  SUCH a suprise.  I knew I would get some Christmas cash & get to start saving for a new fancy camera, but then my sweet husband & son surprised me with a Christmas letter in my stocking, telling me that they would take care of the rest. 
What gents.
So, when it arrived I HAD to rip it open, throw aside the instructions & try it out on my favorite test subject.  I found him hanging out with his dad in the bath tub, a family favorite, and snapped a few shots! 
These were my favorites.  There were of course, many failed attempts {reading the manual might have helped} but that's what learning's all about, right? 
I love the detail this camera picks up...I hope to capture many, many sweet & extraordinarly ordinary moments, such as these.  What a gift.  The camera, yes.  But really, it's these moments. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Thai Pork Enchiladas {dairy free}

Thai + Enchilada.  Not two words you typically hear together.  I got the idea for these Thai Pork Enchiladas from a pinterest find {surprised? probably not} and modified it to suit our tastes/pantry stock.
This meal was a HUGE hit in our house.  The enchiladas were brimming with flavor and nutrients.  Swiss chard, spelt tortillas, coconut milk, carrots.  Oh was it good.  And it was completely dairy free which was a HUGE plus for little E man & me :) 
Before I forget how I made it, {because I tend to do that} here it is:


Thai Pork Enchiladas

8 spelt tortillas (you can use whole wheat too)
1 lb pork tenderloin or another meat or bean of choice (chicken or black beans would go well!), cooked & shredded (if using meat)
1 tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
1/3 cup chopped/shredded carrots
1/2 cup chopped swiss chard (spinach or kale would work well too!)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 green onions, sliced
1/3 cup chopped/crushed peanuts + more for garnish
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro + more for garnish
2 1/2 cups coconut milk
1/3 cup + 1/2 cup sweet chili sauce (I found mine at Trader Joe's)
1/4 cup peanut butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.   Heat oil in a skillet or wok over medium heat.  Add onions and garlic, cooking for two minutes.  Add in the swiss chard & carrots, stir over medium heat until tender.  Add in salt, pepper, onions, peanuts, & cilantro and mix well.  Pour in 3/4 cups coconut milk & 1/3 cup chili sauce to your mixture & stir well.   In a separate saucepan, heat remaining coconut milk, chili sauce & peanut butter.  Combine thoroughly.

Pour about 1/2 cup of the coconut milk sauce into a 9x13 baking dish. Take your tortillas & one by one, spoon a portion of your pork/chard mixture on to a tortilla, roll it up tightly and lay seam side down in the baking dish.  Repeat until your baking dish is full of deliciously packed tortillas.  Pour the remaining sauce over the tortillas, being sure to cover each as thoroughly as possible.  Bake for 20 minutes, garnish as desired & enjoy with a bed of jasmine rice. Delish!! and easy too!

Friday, January 11, 2013

a thought for the new year...

His Mercies Are New Every Morning

God made me new many years ago, when he drew me to himself as a child through His son, Jesus Christ, and called me daughter.  However, I find that no matter how long I have been a new creation in Christ, it is still so easy to forget that I am His and that I am made new.  It seems that my sin nature is so quick to remind me of the “old” Ashley, the one who holds onto a grudge, who is quick to judge, who doesn’t honor her husband and who is full of pride.

It is here where I am ensnared the most.  I find that the quickest way to distract me from the Lord & His will in my life is to put before me the things about my old self that I am least proud of.  Rather just forgetting the old & turning back to the new, I immediately begin to focus on the many faults & flaws I have & dive into a vicious cycle of guilt, sin & despair, rather than seeking comfort in the shelter of the Almighty God & reminding myself (and thanking Him!) that in Him, I am new.

As I have realized this tendency in myself to become distracted by the “old” (the sin, the yuck, etc…) in my life & remove my gaze from the Lord, I have found that one thing always brings me to my knees & shifts my focus in the most humbling & refreshing way:  remembering the mercies of the Lord.

Remember my affliction and my wanderingsMy soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me. But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. "The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I will hope in him."- Lamentations 3:19-24.

I am made new, daily, because of the love of the Lord & his exponential mercies in my life.  I am refreshed when I remember than nothing I have done or will do, will ever separate me from the Love of Christ.  I am humbled and amazed that the God of the universe would choose to love someone like me, someone so inconsistent & wandering in my ways.  It is all that I can do, in the face of these great realities, just to muster up the strength to express my thankfulness.  And finally, my gaze is shifted from myself & my “woe is me” problems & onto the One whose love & mercies are sufficient for every need I have.

 His mercies are new every morning.