Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thanksgiving and Black Friday

We had a great Thanksgiving this year! Lots of family, lots of food, lots of blessings!

At about 2 AM on Thanksgiving day, my mom and my younger brother arrived at our home. We visited for awhile, then went to bed, only to have Charlie wake up at 8 AM (instead of the usual 9). We then headed out to my aunt's house for a big family gathering. We had so much fun, eating, visiting, and playing bingo. Even the kids got to play! Chuck played so well, he quit so it'd be fair for everyone else. Hehe. He bingo-ed 4 times! Anyhow, as we headed back to San Antonio, the dopamine kicked in and Mom, Adam, Charlie & Chance quickly fell asleep and slept the entire hour + drive home. I wish I'd gotten a picture of that.

Thanksgiving 07
[Mom helps Chance play bingo. He really enjoyed it, much more than I expected him to.]

Thanksgiving 07
[Chuck and Adam concentrate hard on their bingo cards.]

Thanksgiving 07
[Our attempt at a family photo...There's always at least one kid that doesn't want to cooperate!]

Black Friday was also an interesting day. For some time now we've been wanting to get a laptop, so we could run Windows (we only have Linux and Macs), in order to run some photo software, etc. So when Chuck saw that Best Buy had two kinds for $400, he decided to get up at 2 AM and stand in line in the freezing cold, hoping to get a voucher for one of them. By 4 AM he realized that he was too far back, they were already sold out. Obviously, this was quite disappointing, but I wanted to record it because then something amazing happened. He went over to Wal-Mart...and not just any Wal-Mart, but the Boerne Wal-Mart in hopes that it wouldn't be as busy as all of the San Antonio ones. The nice thing was, it was already open, so he was able to wait inside in the warmth. And he had seen that they also had a laptop on sale, but no specs were given, as it was a "secret" sale (Wal-Mart didn't want people to know in advance). So he waited until 5 AM sale time, where he was the first in line for a laptop that cost $388. The amazing thing is, it's actually a better value than the other two that were being sold at Best Buy. It was a neat twist, I think...kinda like the underdog still claimed the victory. So that was our Black Friday adventure.

We spent the rest of Friday making a gingerbread house, cooking our own Thanksgiving dinner, and then exchanging Christmas gifts. Definitely the epitome of family time. :) Today has been equally as fun. First, Mom got up with the boys, allowing Chuck and me to sleep in. Then they made us breakfast, and served it to us in bed, that was a neat experience! Of course, Chance wanted to sit with us and eat all of our food. He even took off with my milk and drank it all. Ha! Later Chuck and I went on a date to lunch and shop a little more, and then this evening, we all went to church. Charlie was excited about the kids' time that they had tonight, and my mom was happy to hear Max Lucado preach for the first time (she's a big fan). Afterwards, we drove to Boerne to check out the "Dickens on the Main" Christmas festival in the downtown area...but the weather made us decide to come home. It's misting and about 40 degrees...not good weather to get the boys out in. But they did enjoy all of the Christmas lights, so it was worth the trip.

Thier Paparazzi in Action
[The Thier Paparazzi in Action!]

Granny & Bubba Visit
[Adam helps Chance open his gifts.]

Granny & Bubba Visit
[Charlie puts together a gift from Granny and Bubba.]

Granny & Bubba Visit
[Adam "Bubba" shows off one of his gifts.]

Granny & Bubba Visit
[My first experiment in Photoshop Elements...and a pic of Charlie thanking Granny.]

Granny & Bubba Visit
[Chance, enjoying the playground at church.]

So that was our eventful and blessed holiday. What'd you do for yours?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Wintertime is Soup Time...

If you've known me for very long, you probably know I'm not much of a cook. I'm attempting to change that, but overall it just doesn't thrill me. I'd rather be cleaning and organizing the kitchen than actually getting my hands dirty. Chuck deserves a lot of pity for this, since that man LOVES good home-cooked food. Thankfully, he also enjoys cooking, and tells me that if I liked it as much as he does, we might be fighting over who gets to cook. But during the week, the cooking duties are mine. And since everyone is posting Thanksgiving recipes, I thought I'd do something out of the norm: soups! The weather is supposed to go from sunny and 80 degrees to VERY cold tomorrow (which means like, in the 40s for us Central Texans), so why not make some soup?! I know, it's Thanksgiving tomorrow, but maybe once you get thru all your leftovers...

I've definitely been on a bit of a soup kick lately. And because I'm not much of a cook, ya know it's gonna be simple...


Tortilla Soup

First of all, ya need some chicken, either shred up some from a rotisserie chicken, or my personal favorite: buy the premarinated HEB brand chicken fajitas and grill'em up! I usually make fajitas with the soup, and use it for quesadillas.

Here are the rest of your supplies:
2 cans of black beans, rinsed
4 cans of chicken broth
1 pkg of frozen corn (I prefer the white corn, but you could use sweet)
2 cans of rotel (you can go as spicy or mild as you want!)
1 small can of tomato paste

1 bunch of cilantro, destemmed and chopped up, for garnish
shredded cheese (cheddar, colby jack, whatever) for garnish

I told you this was easy... Just throw everything into a pot and let it simmer for awhile. Then add the cilantro and cheese, and even avocado if you wanted. You can half this portion for one meal, although I like to make a large portion and either share with a friend, or just to have leftovers. The boys love it for lunches, with tortilla chips to dip into it.


Tomato Basil Soup

I found this recipe thru a friend at church who was once a caterer. I didn't even know I liked tomato soup until I had this! How can it not be good, with heavy cream in it? I didn't say it was healthy, hehe! It's great, and the boys love to have grilled cheese sandwiches to dip in it. The boys love to dip anything, can you tell?

Here's what you need:
1 can of 12 oz tomato juice (comes in a "coke" can on the fruit juices aisle, near the V8)
2 can of 14 oz crushed tomatoes
1 can of 8 oz tomato sauce
4+ garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tbsp butter
fresh basil (you can use dry basil if you need to, just add it in earlier)
salt and pepper to taste

In a sauce pan, combine tomato juice, crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce and garlie. Simmer for 30 minutes, until it reduces down by about 1/4. Stir occasionally so it doesn't stick. Add in the heavy cream, butter and chopped basil. Garnish with Parmesan cheese and croutons.


Cuban Black Bean Soup

Sometimes it looks too good to eat

This one is a crock pot recipe that Chuck loves. I can't believe I found it in a magazine! First you'll need 2 ham hocks...I think you can by them in the meat section, although I usually buy two hams, cook'em, slice them up for lunch meat, and save the hocks (bones) with some meat still on, for this recipe.

Here's what you need:

1 1/3 cups chopped onions
1 Tbsp minced garlic (you could also add in 1 Tbsp chopped ginger, yum!)
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced (don't worry, it won't be spicy)
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp each of dried oregano and thyme
1/4 tsp pepper

2 ham hocks (1.5 pounds total)
4 cans of black beans, rinsed
2 cans of chicken broth
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

You can garnish with a chopped hard-cooked eggs. And corn bread is always a good complement to this soup.

Mix the onions, garlic, jalapeno, and seasonings in the crock pot. Top with ham hocks and beans. Add broth.
Cover and cook on LOW for 7-9 hours (This will make your house smell delicious, and bring your family to the table hungry!)
Take out the ham hocks, take the meat off the bones and add back into the soup (discard the rest, or make your dog happy with the bones). Stir in lemon juice and garnish with egg (optional).


All of these soups work well as leftovers, and can even be frozen for a later date. Translation: when you're only 6 months pregnant but already nesting, this is a great way to get ready for that baby coming. ;)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Zoo Part 2

Chuck got his pics up, so I had to share a few more.

Here's Elijah, kissing/attacking his momma. I love this age!
Zoo with Melanie and Meesh

This is Elijah when he turns on the charm. He is so photogenic!
Zoo with Melanie and Meesh

Here's Charlie, and a funny story. He climbed up there to growl at the jaguar, trying to scare him. Of course, the jaguar was not impressed. But then Charlie got scared because he couldn't figure out how to get down. LOL
Zoo with Melanie and Meesh

And here's Charlie, putting his hand thru the grate because there was a large school of fish near the surface. What you don't see is that this was the same pond that contained alligators. Needless to say, he didn't get to play in the water for long!
Zoo with Melanie and Meesh

Here's Kaleb, making a funny face for his Uncle Chuck. I just wish I would've gotten a pic of him with his momma... Melanie's the only person we didn't catch on camera.
Zoo with Melanie and Meesh

And lastly, a scrapblog to remind the boys of the animals we see at the zoo.
SA Zoo

So things have been busy and good, but nothing in particular to share at the moment. Just enjoying the family time, and visits with friends this holiday. Happy Thanksgiving!!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Other Side of Chuck

One day while in the office, we joked that I should register To my surprise it was available, and so I registered it, and started blogging on it. I have decided that I will start using that to post my more geeky articles so that I don't bore Angies plethora of readers. So for the couple that actually read my posts, feel free to check out And if you are curious as to why, then check out this post. See you guys on the other side!

A perfect day at the Zoo

Yesterday, the weather was absolutely perfect, and some of our family came from Austin to go to the zoo. It was one of those days that you think, "It's just good to be alive."

And, yes, I took pictures. Chuck took even more, which I'll share once he gets them processed.

First there was the jaguar. I have to admit, I'm a bit enamored with these creatures...and all wild cats for that matter. When I was a kid I dreamed of having one as a pet someday. Then I grew up and realized, that was more of a fantasy than it was feasible. But indulge me for a minute, and admire their majesty...

I love this one because of the reflection of Chance in the glass. (You may have to look REALLY close.)
I see 3 wild animals

Don't you just love the condescending pose, and the beautiful black and white markings on his chest?
SA Zoo with Justs and Bostons

SA Zoo with Justs and Bostons

Ok, I'll give the jaguar a rest. I am surprised he didn't start charging us for all the photos!

Then there were lions, and tigers, but we skipped the bears...oh my!
It's not easy being king...

SA Zoo with Justs and Bostons

But the best part was the family:

Daddy's Boy
Jason & Kaleb

SA Zoo with Justs and Bostons
Meesh & Veronica

They wanted to see who all could fit in this tent, so Chance decided to join them. But as soon as I whipped out the camera, he made a quick getaway...I love his action pose.
how many can you fit in a tent?

And I gotta close with this funky duck. The boys thought he was really cool.
funky duck

And that was about as much as my pregnant self could handle. ;) What a great day!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Baby Bump (#3)

Ok, by popular request, here are the most recent baby bump pics, taken by Chuck on the Riverwalk:

Angie 21 Weeks

Angie 21 Weeks

This was taken 2 weeks ago, I was 21 weeks along. I feel like I've grown a ton since then, but this is it for now! :) hehe.

Monday, November 12, 2007


Oh, I did have photos to share after all...sorta. Chuck showed me this website:, and you can make scrap book pages for free there. It could get a little addicting, so be warned ;) Here are some I've made:

Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch

Pumpkin Painting


Halloween 07

[I apologize for posting them as bigger than normal...I'm afraid that the normal smaller size will make it to hard to see...Then you'd get vision problems from squinting...and send me the dr bill.]

So if you decide to try it out yourself, I wanna see what you make! If you want, just post it as a comment here!!

More tidbits about the boys

I have more updates on the boys, but I had thought I'd wait until I process my latest batch of pictures. Hmm, nevermind...

Chance has some new words. He now says "look," although it's more like "wook." "Wook, Mommy, Wook," is the new phrase I hear all day. It's so cute, and irresistible. Also, he's started saying "please" ("pweeze") which makes it hard to deny his request.

Chance is getting more comfortable with babies. Maybe it's because we've had 4 nephews born since May. At first, he did not like it when I would hold a baby, but now he doesn't mind. He's actually somewhat fascinated by babies now.

Chance also loves to tickle people, although it's more like pinching, and not the greatest experience for the target of his tickling. He has become more rough and tumble now, I think in part to the fact that my dad loves to wrestle with the boys. Thanks, Dad! :-P

Also, he and Charlie are becoming more in need of a referee everyday. Today Chance was sitting at the table eating jello, and Charlie came up beside him, and said happily, "Let's share, Chance." Chance promptly exclaimed, "No!" and then a phrase I hadn't heard out of his mouth before: "Go away, Cha-ee." Chuck and I both had a hard time keeping a straight face as we corrected him on that one.

Charlie has often found that when he wants a toy from Chance, he can trade him for another toy. But lately Chance has been more reluctant to trade, and Charlie will tell me, "I was sharing with Chance, but he won't share with me." LOL I've tried a million times to define trading versus sharing...

Charlie is really growing in his learning.
A few weeks ago he started asking me how to spell certain words and identify written letters. His Aunt Mitsi got him a dry erase book where he can practice drawing letters and numbers, which he loves. And starting about a week ago, he busted out with the "A B C" song. In the last few months he's become quite the singer, always wanting to sing songs. I've been impressed with how many songs he's learned in Bible class at church...he's even taught me some new ones. Also recently the dvd player broke ( :( ) so we've begun listening to the Veggietales Greatest hits cd, which Charlie now knows by heart. In a way, I don't miss the movie player, because we get to sing together. One of his favorites is "God is bigger than the Boogie Man," and we often sing it together when he gets scared at night.

Our nighttime regime is in transition. Before, one of us would sing to Chance then put him in his crib and leave the room. Then we'd read a book with Charlie, pray, kiss and say "Goodnight," leaving him to sleep in our guest bed. I have a bed for Charlie in his room, but since Chance is a light sleeper and sleeps in there in his crib, we've let Charlie sleep in the other room. But last night, for the first time, I actually put them both to bed in the king sized bed in our guest room. We read a book, prayed, kissed, then I laid in there with them until they both passed out. It sorta worked... Chance woke up at 3:30 crying that he was scared. I know we're going to have to get them sleeping in the same room eventually, I'm just not sure how to get there. Any ideas?

And this morning, Chance woke up again around 8 which is a little early for him...because he had a fever. It was about 100 degrees, but otherwise he had no symptoms, so I put him in bed with me where he slept for half an hour longer, until Charlie woke him up. Once awake, he was acting normal besides the fever, but I was concerned. He wouldn't eat much, only an apple for breakfast. Then his fever broke and he was acting normal and wanted to eat an orange. Half way into the orange, he threw up. Considering his nose has been running for 4 weeks now (usually clear snot, but still...), I called the doctor who had me bring him in. The good news is, other than nasal congestion, he's completely well. And his tubes, which have been in for 11 months, are still there, which is remarkable! The doctor said maybe he threw up just from all the congestion...I dunno, but we'll be staying home until it passes. He's been energetic all day, and has eaten plenty this evening without a problem.

I have to say, I know this summer we had many health issues, and it's been so nice to go thru the last few months with little to no illness in our home. Also, I had complained often of how Chance was an early riser, but in the last 3-4 months, he's become my late sleeper. The boys rarely wake up before 8:30 anymore...which is so nice when you're pregnant and in need of more sleep! ;) I know I'll miss all this sleep once baby3 is born, but for now I'm relishing every minute of it! It's also nice to not be under a school schedule yet, in that respect. Kids may eventually break me of my night-owl personality, but for now, life's pretty easy going with the boys.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

"Oh God!"

I've blogged a lot lately, but not many funny stories about the kids. Probably because my pregnant brain doesn't retain the stories for very long.

Anyhow, since the sonogram incident, Charlie has not brought up the subject of the baby much. No more "my baby." When people would say, "Are you glad you're having a baby brother?" he'd respond, "But I already have a brother!" That was the extent of his communication about this great disappointment in his life.

Until yesterday.

Out of the blue, as we were sitting together on the couch he asked me, "Mommy, why are we having another boy?"

"Because that's what God knew we needed. Maybe it's because you're such a great big brother to boys that God thought you needed another little brother."

With accusation and realization he said "God!!!"

Then he changed his tone to more of a lament, "Oooh God! I wanted a GIRL." maybe God misunderstood.

Today we were in Target and noticed that all their halloween costumes are on sale 75% off, so I asked Charlie what he thinks his baby brother would like to be next year. He said a pirate (oh yeah, like they make pirate costumes in baby size!). And he (Charlie) would be a ninja, and they could fight. And now he calls him, "my other brother." At least he's getting's amusing to watch him work thru this. I know he'll be great friends with this little one, it's just fun seeing the transformation. I keep telling Chuck I want to name this one's middle name "Jonathon" since Charlie's middle name is "David." (David and Jonathon were best friends in the Bible.) We'll see...

Chuck left Monday morning for his week long trip to New Hampshire for his new job. Monday night Charlie was talking to him on the phone, and he exclaimed, "Mommy, Daddy got me a new hampster!!" So I got the phone back from Charlie and inquired of Chuck, the hater of all pets, especially indoors. He said he didn't know what Charlie was talking about. Quite a mystery...

On Tuesday, Charlie said something about Daddy and I said, "Daddy's far away in New Hampshire, remember?" He said, "He's getting me a new hampster?!" Ahh, I get it... ;)

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Love and Respect

This weekend Chuck and I attended a marriage conference. It was the first we'd ever gone to, and it was incredible! I'm not much for mushy emotional conferences, so we were both delighted to see this one didn't have much...make that "any"... of that! The speakers were Dr. Emerson Eggerichs and his wife Sarah. He'd been a pastor for 20+ years (and also has a doctorate in Family psychology) when he felt that this message about marriage was meant to be preached on a wider scale. The basic principle is really simple, based on Ephesians 5:33:

"However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband." (NIV)

He talks about how women have the need to feel loved and men need to feel respected. The first part of that probably comes at no surprise, but the respect part...that's not heard much in our culture. If you've ever read "Bringing Up Boys" by James Dobson or "Wild At Heart" by John Elderedge, you may have heard some of this. More and more I'm realizing how much I had been indoctrinated with feminism and it affected how I treated Chuck and viewed myself and my worth (which I wrote about here, for instance). This conference had a great message, well balanced and really explaining some things that had always been confusing to me (such as what submission really means).

It was so neat to see the little things I'd finally figured out over these almost 8 years come together and totally make sense (I'm a slow learner!)...things like how women prefer to talk face to face, heart to prefer to do things "shoulder to shoulder." I didn't realize that until a few months ago!! All this time I thought Chuck didn't want to bond with me because he didn't have this need to talk heart to heart like I did! And I even used to think it was absurd when I was in high school and my dad would say he wanted to spend time with me, but then he'd want to sit together and watch tv... I used to balk at that and say, "I don't get it. Just let me go out with my friends (who talk to me face to face), rather than sit here and waste time watching tv." Now I know that that was his idea of bonding...) And Emerson talked about "the crazy cycle," where "without love she reacts without respect," and "without respect he reacts without love." Want your husband to show you love more? Demonstrate your respect for him more. Novel concept, huh?

Emerson also got very deep into some Biblical principles which really made sense and there were a lot of "ah ha!" moments where everything worked together. And he showed us the bigger picture, the purpose of marriage. How God uses it to make us more like Christ. He said things like "God wants you holy more than He wants you to be happy." Definitely a message we need to be reminded of in this "love saturated" culture we live in. Yes, God loves us, but that doesn't mean that He will always make us happy. As I talked about recently, sometimes His plan for us means being uncomfortable...even experiencing great loss. It doesn't mean for a minute that He doesn't love us.

Anyhow, all this to say, if you ever get a chance to attend this "Love & Respect" conference, it's worth every penny! And there are books, small group curriculum, dvds of the conference, etc. on their website, Love & Emerson is also a talented speaker, and I had a lot of respect for his willingness to take on some hard topics, and explain things so simply. Most of all I loved how he and his wife both said, "This is nothing new, and not our idea. Ephesians 5 has been there for 2000 years, a treasure hidden in plain sight." This isn't a new fab in pop theology, but practical wisdom. I also loved how it was a conference that, although overtly Christian, was meant for anyone, and didn't intend to make anyone feel uncomfortable, regardless of religious background. I especially liked how it wasn't mushy, which means men can enjoy it! Chuck really did! Also, I gained quite a few insights into parenting, and I'm going to be changing a few of the expectations I had for my boys... This conference really equipped me to be a better mom, although that wasn't the intention!

So if you decide to enrich your marriage with this material, let me know...I'd love to hear what you think. :)

Love & Respect

Friday, November 2, 2007

The Zebra at Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch

Feeding a Zebra

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"You've Got a Friend in Me..."

Buzz and Woody showed up in style at a Halloween party and had a blast. Thanks so much for a great party, Sarah!! And here are the pictures:

Halloween 2007
[The group's "before" shot. I am amazed so many of them sat and posed for us!]

Halloween 2007
[Can't you just hear it, "You've got a friend in me..."]

Halloween 2007
[After dinner and playing, we headed off to "trick or treat." Charlie was totally into it, although Chance preferred to be held and watch the action.]

Halloween 2007
[Chuck's my hero for holding back can't handle it anymore now that I'm getting bigger.]

Halloween 2007
[The "After" shot. I counted 19 kids in this pic, and I'm not sure if this was everyone. It was so much fun!!]

And lastly, my favorite, and a totally lucky shot... Sarah set up a studio for us to take our kids' pictures with, and I had Charlie sit there while I practiced, just testing my settings. Well, I took this one shot with the flash then my batteries died (in the flash). Thankfully, Stacia came along with her camera and took over for me for getting a picture of both Charlie and Chance. But my one practice shot actually turned out to be a keeper! What do you think of it? I love it when this happens...
The Cutest Woody Ever ;)