Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Welcome Joseph and Jacob!

I was reading back through the blog recently and realized that I never wrote about a pretty major event that took place in our family. 

On August 30, 2012 Andrew and I were made uncle and aunt to Joseph and Jacob, our beautiful twin nephews!!!

Hurricane Isaac hit at just the right time for us because we were able to evacuate in time to be in Alabama for their birth.

I can not tell you how sweet they are and how loved they are by their big brother and sister. 

It has been a little crazy adjusting to four babies all 5 and under but my in-laws are major troopers. I just wish I were closer to be able to help (and snuggle!). 

I just wanted to welcome them to the world even if it is almost 4 months late! And I am sure James is super excited to be born into such a fun family of cousins!






Merry Christmas from Santa's littlest elves!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Hate Cannot Drive Out Hate

I, like most of the nation, am overwhelmed with sorrow for the events that took place in Connecticut last Friday. I think being a soon-to-be parent has made it even more overwhelming for me personally. 

I have read a few things lately that have helped me gather a little perspective on how to interpret such an unimaginable tragedy. 

I can't begin to fathom walking in the shoes of those who were affected most personally by Friday's loss but I will continue to pray for them, for their community, and for the bright future that still awaits them. 

This quote by Martin Luther King Jr. and this scripture from Romans seem to echo one another. I am bearing them in mind as I search for the best way to respond. 

Thank you to Molly and Jeanett for sharing them. I hope they will bless you as they have blessed me. 

Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

11x14 Romans 12 Mounted Subway Scripture Art.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Christmas Tour of Homes

I have been so excited for today's blog post for weeks! I am linking up with one of my favorite bloggers, Kelly's Korner, for a Christmas tour of homes. 

Normally my home is pretty decked out but since we are living in a smaller space and have a lot less storage we kind of went Christmas Lite. All we had was what we could fit in my car when we went home one time this fall and since I'm not a very good planner, we ended up with a really odd assortment of things.

To make up for it, I am also going to show you two other special homes, my BFF Katie's and my Mama's! (They both might kill me so make some really sweet comments down below, k?) 

This is the big picture of our living room. I hung live wreaths with gold ribbon on the inside to bring in a little Christmas tree scent since we weren't getting a real one. I got his idea from my friend Callie who did it last year. I just thought it was stunning in her home! 


This is our entrance table and tree. We took one of the trees we typically have out by the front door and put it in a galvanized bucket. Then decorated it with only our favorite ornaments since all of ours wouldn't fit. I just put some other random nick knacks that  happened to make it to New Orleans on the table . 



I hung another wreath in the dining room. One of my favorite things went on the table, my glittery red and green tree that my mama gave me. This was the day of the SEC championship so I  was getting ready for company. And that's all I'll say about that. 


As a result of the lack of decorations I tried something new this year. I took some of my favorite Christmas cards from past years and framed them and stuck them around the house. Don't know if I'll do this every year but it's good for now. 



More accouterments adorning the book shelf. Love looking at my niece and nephews with Santa everyday!


Lastly, the Willow Tree nativity that I so cherish! It is the main focal point on our entertainment center. Sometimes I want to leave it out all year. 


Moving on to Katie's! Just look at her beautiful kitchen table. I love the bright green and Fiesta Christmas china!


Chalkboards and Happy Everything platters are so in. Don't you love that little elf? 



And finally, how breathtaking is her mantle? The red trees were her grandmother's. Y'all know I love sentiment so I think this is my favorite part of her home! This is her first Christmas with her hubby in their new house... so exciting!


OK y'all. There are few sights I love more than the house I grew up in all decorated for Christmas. My mama out does herself every year and I am always left speechless. This year the theme is simple and understated. I haven't seen it in person yet but I think it is going to be one of my favorites. She used classic velvet ribbon rather than big bows so it has a very old-timey, Charles Dickens feel. Here goes!

Buffet with live garland and willow tree nativity (like mother like daughter!).



We always have a GINORMOUS tree. It's not decorated yet in this picture but you get the drift. 



Mantle with greenery, pine cones, and lights.


Staircase with greenery, magnolia leaves, and ribbon.


I adore how she hung the outside wreaths this year. That ribbon is the best. 


And the piece de resistance, the front door with the giant wreath welcoming me home for the holidays in just one week. Praise the Lord!



Hope y'all enjoyed seeing mine and my closest gal's homes this year. Merry Christmas! 


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

It's a... BOY!


So it’s official, we are having a baby BOY! We found out Monday at our 20 week ultrasound. Seeing our baby for the first time in many many weeks was one of the most exciting things I have ever experienced. It was so amazing seeing a recognizable baby rather than a teeny alien baby. He was perfect and beautiful and perfect!

We waited with so much anticipation all day for our appointment but the few minutes we sat in the waiting room felt like HOURS.


When the nurse was measuring all of his little baby body, I spotted the telltale parts and immediately said, “It’s a boy isn't it?!” She confirmed it and Andrew and I lit up with excitement.



When we left our appointment we immediately called our families to tell them the good news and that our precious baby boy would be named James Timothy. James is Andrew and his daddy’s first name and Timothy is my daddy’s first name.

That afternoon we ventured out baby shopping for the first time. We hit four baby stores. I think it was the most enthusiastically I had ever seen Andrew shop! We tried to use a little restraint and only bought one special thing for baby James, an adorable Christmas stocking from Pottery Barn Kids. I wanted to get him something that he would have forever and Andrew liked the train because his stocking growing up had a train on it. Now every year we will remind him that the stocking was the first gift mommy and daddy bought him when they found out he was James! (I am also going to have his name put on it.)



At 20 weeks, my tummy seems to be getting bigger and bigger. I am trying so hard not to go overboard with the Christmas goodies that abound but it has not been easy. My appetite is back in full force and I have cooked more the past 2 weeks than the entire time we have lived in New Orleans!!


 Gah! I can't believe we are past the halfway point. Here's to this being the BEST half!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Happy Days are Here Again!


So, I have had a big resurgence of fun in my life in New Orleans as my morning sickness has slowly but surely begun to subside. However, I have been AWFUL at documenting it. I have practically taken zero pictures over the past couple weeks which have basically been the best we have had here in the Big Easy.

Just to catch up so as not to forget any of the memories we are making during this exciting season of our lives, I am going to make a list.

1. Two weekends ago my sister-in-law Heather and her friend Amanda came for the weekend. We had a great time exploring the entire city. We spent a great day down in the business district and French Quarter that included a stop at Anthroplogie which made me extremely happy! I am loving their Christmas ornaments right now!

Anthropologie
2. We ate at a little restaurant on Jackson Square called Rivers Edge. It was sort of blah… definitely not the best New Orleans seafood by any stretch. However, dinner was redeemed with beignets and hot chocolate at CafĂ© Du Monde followed by a really interesting haunted history tour in the Quarter. What a sordid past (and present) this city has!

3. We had our 16 week doctor appointment and it was totally uneventful and great!


 4. The seminary held a holiday market where folks set up booths and sold handmade items. My favorite by far was the free sample of wassail in the Lifeway store (not from a booth nor handmade, whoops!). And Andrew won a raffle. Two handmade bars of soap… cool!

5. Two of my sweet seminary friends invited me to run in the Color Run with them this past Saturday and boy am I glad I did! It was ridiculously fun and so weird! I loved it. Thanks Stasia and Leah!!



6. One of my BFF’s from college and her husband came to NOLA for a babymoon this weekend and we had the pleasure of hosting them Saturday night. Autumn is 28 weeks preggo with a sweet baby girl named Snow. We ate at a FANTASTIC restaurant called Olivier’s down in the Quarter. All four of us completely cleaned our plates… I mean completely. That’s how good it was. The best part might have been finding a parking spot on the street right by the restaurant. This never happens to us!



7. We have been attending a church called Edgewater Baptist and yesterday we had a fantastic service followed by what might have been the best church potluck I have ever attended. And my husband is in ministry so I have been to my fair share. And we are Baptist. This is saying a lot. I completely skipped the meat and went for about 5 different casseroles and a bowl of bread pudding that I don’t currently have the vocabulary to describe. It was DIVINE.

As we gear up for Thanksgiving, I think it is apparent that one thing that I am truly thankful for this year in the return of my appetite. Praise the Lord it’s just in time for my mother-in-law's sweet potatoes!!

Linking up today for YOLO Monday

Friday, November 16, 2012

Easy Chicken and Dumplings

Ya'll. I haven't posted a recipe in quite a while. Heck, I haven't had a recipe to post in quite a while. Unless basic instructions for pouring a bowl of Raisin Bran count. 

But lately, I have been getting back in the kitchen and last night we had a meal that was too good and too easy NOT to post. 

It was a really shortcutish, mostly boxed and canned, version of chicken and dumplings and I really had very low expectations that it would be good, much less something  I would share with anyone.

I mean chicken and dumplings is one of those things that is usually only good when someones grandma uses a century old biscuit recipe and a 19 hour stock making process. Or when it comes from Cracker Barrel. 

I don't claim to be a chicken and dumplings expert, but these seemingly rudimentary ingredients made for a fast, bang-up meal on a cold winters night (of 63 degrees because we live in South Louisiana remember?).

I didn't take pictures because, duh, it wasn't supposed to be that good. But here is the picture from where the recipe was originally posted, MyRecipes.com. However, this is my tweaked version based on some recommendations I read in the reviews and our preferences. 

MyRecipes.com


Easy Chicken and Dumplings

32 oz reduced sodium chicken broth
2 cans cream of chicken soup (we used low fat kind)
2 tsp Better Than Bouillon reduced sodium chicken base (or reg chicken bouillon)
3-4 (or more) carrots sliced into coin sized pieces
1 rotisserie chicken, meat pulled off the bone 
1-2 tsp. dried thyme
pepper ( lots!)
1 can Pillsbury grands jumbo buttermilk biscuits 

Mix every thing except the biscuits in a stock pot and bring it to a boil.
While you are waiting on it to boil, flatten each biscuit with your hands and use a pizza cutter to cut them into dumpling sized pieces (or you can  just tear them with your hands). Once everything in the pot is boiling, start dropping the dumplings into the pot a few at a time. They will puff up and it will get crowded, don't worry. Just stir it every few times your put dumplings in to make sure they are not sticking together. Once they are all in, give it a good stir and reduce it to a simmer. Cover and let simmer about 15-20 minutes. Stir a few times throughout. While they simmer, the dumplings will shrink back down and everything will thicken a little more. Taste it for flavor... I ended up adding more pepper and thyme at the end. 

I'm linking up today with Kelly's Korner, probably one of my favorite bloggers on the planet. She is just the sweetest cutest wife and mother EVER. Of course I don't know her in real life but I secretly wish we were friends! 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Oh Baby

So, I haven't said a whole lot here on the old blog lately, mostly because the past 3 months have been, well... tough. 

I hate to complain because I know that so many people, friends of mine even, are longing for a little one and would trade the wait for my morning sickness any day.

But I've got to be real. There have been some days where I thought it would kill me. Days where I could not understand how anyone ever survived a pregnancy AND chose to do it more than once. Does pregnancy make you lose your food and your marbles?

I am super fortunate that I have been prescribed a medicine that seems to keep the actual vomiting at bay (not the nausea in its entirety) but EVERY time I have tried to stop taking it, guess what happens? Yes, even as recently and this Monday. Hello 15 weeks! I thought you would be a little more kind. 

I have had a few really good days sprinkled in lately. I have actually been able to stomach the smell of my kitchen and prepare food. Not everyday, but some. My appetite is better and I find myself more motivated to do things other than wear sweatpants and watch E News. 

So here's to things looking up! I am clinging to the hope that I WILL feel 100% better by 20 weeks, maybe even by Thanksgiving. Please Lord! 

In the meantime, here are some funny things that have happened since we have known about little Johnny Appleseed. And in case you didn't know, it's hip to compare your fetus to a fruit and ours is now the size of an apple. However, we wont know if it is a Johnny or June until early December.

Dear sweet husband of mine tried to order What to Expect When You are Expecting and we wound up with this. Somehow we skipped right past needing this manual.  
This book obviously gives useful advice. I mean who would have known without reading? 
And what baby wouldn't need a Whirlpool Bubbling Spa and Shower? Can we get that in my size?
I haven't read Fifty Shades of Grey so I would never have know it to be recommended for postnatal and postpartum care. hmm...


Monday, October 22, 2012

The Big Announcement Post


I’m sorry for being MIA for what seems like an eternity. Since my last post was about evacuating for hurricane Isaac I thought I should let you know that yes, we are still alive. We did not get blown away like it may have seemed.

We have been going through some major life changes and I tend to sort of retreat from the world during major life changes. Andrew and I got some very exciting and overwhelming news and I have been taking time to process it in my own head, with Andrew, and with close friends and family.

Sometimes I feel like the internet, with its countless uses and advantages can tempt me to surrender life’s sacred things to public spectacle. Maybe I have a tiny introvert living inside of me but I often just want personal things to be personal for a while before they are given over to the internet for opinion. I know it sounds odd coming from a person who LOVES to blog but I think everyone using the internet should wrestle with where to draw the line with sharing.*End soapbox*

I realized that I couldn’t keep our changes a secret forever nor did I want to. I just needed some time to soak it all in before telling the world (or the 5 or 6 of you who read this). So without further ado… sometime around April 28, 2013 Andrew and I will be receiving the most unexpected outpouring of God’s love, a baby.

We are thrilled, humbled, overwhelmed, and overjoyed. I really don’t have the words.

Otherwise, there is not really much to report on life in New Orleans the past few weeks. For me it has consisted of nausea, working, sitting on the couch, nausea, sleeping. 

Rinse and repeat. 

Andrew has been a super hero. I don’t know how he does it but somehow he has managed to wait on me hand and foot, work long hard hours, take care of the house, and maintain his school work. And by maintain I mean make all A’s. He’s one of those people who can do it all and it makes me so proud and a little jealous.

I’m hoping when this sickness business is over we can get back to some of the fun things we enjoy + baby projects. Until then, I’m trying to take it all in one day at a time… sometimes it still doesn’t seem real!


Monday, August 27, 2012

Isaac Headed My Way

     As most of you know hurricane Isaac is headed right in our direction. The news told me this morning that it is not as strong at this point as it was predicted to be so that's a plus. I did pray that it would just fizzle out so if in fact it does, let it be known that I bend God's ear in weather emergencies. 

I jest.

     Seriously though, the seminary is open and operating as usual today but we should expect to hear more later this morning. 

     There is already a run on gas but fortunately we filled up yesterday. I also went to the grocery store to buy some provisions in case we lose power. I didn't unload the groceries when I got home so that if we did evacuate, I could just grab them for the road. 

     This morning I was trying to find the almonds I bought and realized I left an entire bag at the grocery store and came home with someone elses Pilsbury Flaky Twists with Icing. 

Dern.

     I sincerely apologize to whomever was planning to ride out the storm with Flaky Twists... hopefully you made it back to the store quickly because I'm sure they were first to go in the hurricane pillage, they sound delicious.

     I think Andrew and I will survive. If only on apples and water. (Flaky Twists died from a lack of refrigeration)

Happy Monday to you all and here's to not getting blown away!


Linking up here:

stillbeingmolly

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Craving the Familiar: A Pimento Cheese Story


     About a week ago I was really craving something familiar. Iwouldn’t say I was homesick exactly, just a little wistful. I was enjoying all the things New Orleans had to offer that were different from my home-grounds but still feeling that tiny tug in my heart for normal.

     My thoughts turned to food, as they often do, and I remembered that my favorite restaurant in Athens, GA posts recipes of some of their popular dishes on their website, generous right?

     Those who know me well know I am referring to Marti’s at Midday. Y’all. There is an over abundance of great dining options in Athens but Marti’s always and forever will be my favorite. In fact, I love it so much I had them cater my wedding and have never regretted that decision.

     On a given weekday you will find people lined up out the door for homemade pita chips, to-die-for chicken salad, soups of all kinds,knock-your-socks-off mint sweet tea, and my personal fave… pimento cheese; the quintessential southern lunch food.

So you know where this is going….



I made some.



 Something I had never done before. 



And am so glad I did. 



Matter of fact, you should too.



In a thought, perfect taste of familiar.



Click here or on any picture to check out this recipe and plenty of others by Marti’s at Midday.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Workin Hard for the Money



     Hello World, long time no see. I had the idea that I would be a blogging machine once we moved but to be honest, I just haven't felt like it. And that's OK. The day blogging starts to feel like a chore is the day I am out! Chores are one thing I do not like.

     However, I have great news to share and decided now would be a good time for a quick post. I GOT A JOB! Yeahh! It is not a fancy shmancy social work job but it is a job in the Psychology and Counseling department here at the seminary. I had the interview last Friday and started.... Monday. Yea. That was fast. 

     I am basically a secretary; a totally unfamiliar field for me. I think God has been teaching me some humility through it already. Don't get me wrong, secretaries are vital to practically every institution but I didn't exactly go to school for 6 years to be one. I am grateful nonetheless and am trying to focus on taking this job as seriously as I took my previous job even though it is not a "career" move, whatever that means. 

     On another note, one of my all time favorite home bloggers, The Inspired Room, is going to be hosting a Fall Nesting series so get ready for some Fall related posts come September! 


     I'm also going to be posting a great pimento cheese recipe that I have been hoarding for a week and a State of the Apartment tour, so hang in there while I get back into my blogging groove! 

AND

Linking up today with YOLO Monday.... a day late. 
Par for the course!


stillbeingmolly

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

10 Apartment Details to Love


     I was SO nervous before we moved that I would have a hard time really feeling “at home” in our campus apartment. Feeling at home is a very big deal to me. I find it extremely comforting to be in a home that is not only pretty but also cozy, lived in and comfortable. I need my home to be a safe haven, a security blanket of sorts especially in a new and unfamiliar, if not otherworldly city. I decided ahead of time that I would be very intentional about making the apartment homey no matter what its bare bones looked like. There are not many places that pretty linens and good art can’t fix.
     You can imagine how pleased I was when I opened our front door to find our apartment possessed an immense amount of charm all its own. Walking into a room that smelled of fresh paint and had sunlight streaming in onto beautifully polished old hardwood was like getting kisses from God. Our little campus apartment is certainly not perfect. I wish the counter tops weren't permanently stained with Lord-knows-what and that I could find that enormous roach that got away, but I think you and I both can find some joy in noticing the beauty in the details, don't you? So here are my favorite details in our New Orleans apartment that have nothing to do with my stuff and everything to do with a home that was prepared for us long before we got here.   
 Nine windows pour sunlight into six rooms.
Original wood. 
 Odd free space turned bookcase.
Big basin sink, coffee mug for perspective.
View of the chapel steeple and park from the kitchen.
Cooking on gas. 
Elephant trunk (my term) bathroom faucet. 
Red for hot and blue for cold. 
Honeycomb tile. 
 Four closets. Need I say more?
     I'm curious, what details do you love in your home that others may not notice?
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