Thursday, October 28, 2010

Our love afFAIR with the State Fair

Well, doesn’t that just sound silly even typing it?!  But, we did really enjoy the state fair this year.  Each time we went.  For free.  Awesome.

Round One (I suppose I should be embarrassed that we have a round one, but I’m not!)

The soft opening/employee preview party for the Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park!  This technically happened the week before the Fair, but the fair atmosphere was there, so I’m considering it as part of our 2010 experience!  If you’re in Dallas…let’s go!  It is such a great little aquarium with a wonderful staff, and they have expanded it with many intentional spaces!  The kiddos can touch rays, observe sharks, and participate in the Tide Pool touch tank as well!  We love it!



First Day of Fall! and aquarium opening

Round Two: We appreciated the generosity of SMU (ahem, the tuition) to pay for State Fair tickets!  We went with some of Donald’s school buddies and had a good ol’ time!  We introduced Abi to the DART system – and she is in love!  Best way to get to the fair for sure.  Abi’s already talking about the Blue Line, Big Tex, and the fair next year!

The train…

Texas State Fair with SMU

The Fair…


The Family…


Round Three (Oh, I’m reliving the insane amount of food eaten, bird shows watched, and lovely times had)

State Fair #2

Haha…oh, and the food.

State Fair #21

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

On our journey home…

Our car ride home in the good ol’ Prius (thank you Big D & Malia for being generous with your gas-loving car!) was seeming to be like most journeys up and down the I-45 on our return trip from celebrating Jenny’s birthday.  (Insert a BIG Happy Birthday to you, dear sister Jenny, we love you!!).  There was laughter, sleeping (not just abi mind you!), Starbucks, and various home improvement discussions, and of course silly weather.  It is not uncommon to have heavy rain, beautiful sky, warm temperatures, cold temperatures, etc.  Because it’s Texas, right?  However we did experience something on this day that is entirely unlike anything I have ever experienced before.  As we were nearing Corsicana (spf. passing through Rice, Texas) we noticed an unusual cloud – donald was the one who brought it to all of our attention.  “Is that a tornado cloud?”  Surely not, I mean, my goodness, what are the odds of that?  We continued to watch for the next few minutes – and sure enough, it was a large, amazing, powerful cloud that began to drop the illustrious funnels.
(Pardon the pictures, taken through the car window)  This was the 2nd funnel cloud that we saw drop.
SAM_1035 SAM_1036
I really do gain an appreciation for the iphone on at least a weekly basis.  Donald was able to see the estimated pattern of the tornado (NE at 35 mph) and to do a quick search of what the national weather service recommends for you to do if you’re in your car and you are very near a tornado (GET OUT!).  We drove for about another minute to a safe place to park on the side of the road – you would have thought there were fireworks, I-45 was lined with vehicles- and I tried to stay calm for Abi.  I had the craziest range of emotions.  Part of me was completely and totally mesmerized.  What an amazing thing I was being able to witness with my own eyes!  The power of nature is really indescribable.  And the other part of me was really beginning to be quite fearful.  I had such an overwhelming rush of how small I am.  How NOT in control I am.  I am able to write this with calmness now, but I really did have a feeling of understanding that it is truly the Lord who numbers our days, we are just called to live them fully and purposefully.  It was a worshipful experience in the midst of chaos. 
Once we parked, got out of our car, we saw the tornado pass over I-45, and then begin to diminish.  Here’s what the phone caught.

We then decided to continue our drive home, and less than a mile were greeted with the horrific scene of what occurs when a tornado reeks havoc on the landscape.  A huge semi was on its side, and underneath the truck was a crossover SUV with its roof smashed in.  There was a car completely thrown upside down.  Debris everywhere.  As we passed the school, it was surreal to see how the children’s playground was kept perfectly intact, and just on the other side of the high school, the football bleachers were turned around and upside down.  I could just stare.  Our precious abi.  This is where she really began to be concerned and noticed that something wasn’t quite right.  Her little heart was so concerned for the truck driver, “the truck flipped over” kept coming out of her sweet mouth and then would follow with “But it’s OK now?”  We just kept emphasizing to her (and to ourselves) that we were thankful for our safety and we prayed that the truck driver and the other car drivers were able to see a doctor quickly and would be healthy again soon.  The sweet mind of a child.  She really is a teacher!
We are filled with thankfulness, and amazed at the power of nature.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Love with which we perform

(eesh, I’m even copying the title of this post from the article!)

As mommas, whether we’re in our homes 24/7 or not – I think we fall guilty to the idea that at times our work doesn’t matter.  Because of our selfish inclination towards discontentment, it is easy to overlook the great and glorious role that we have been called to as wives and mothers – or at least this idea rings true in my life more times than I wish it did!  This article (full article found here) has been such an encouragement to me this week, I hope that it raises your heart and spirit towards worship during our, at times, “daily wonderfully mundane.”


Brother Lawrence was a 17th century French monk who spent most of his life as a humble monastery cook (shoe cobbler was another of his noble professions). Not much is known of his life, save for his collection of letters and writings in what is now known as the classic, “The Practice of the Presence of God.”

The man was brilliant. He understood, as a simple cook, what the wisest and intellectually astute of our age fail to grasp. And what this mama fails to grasp, time and time again.

Who we are is not defined by what we do. Our daily work is given to us as a gift from Him, not as the etched nameplate of our identity. The liturgy of laundry and scrubbing of bowls is a divine opportunity to give Him glory — not only by using their monotonous rhythm to focus on prayer, but to do our work well as a means to please Him. To give Him thanks for an opportunity to serve.

From God’s perspective, there is no difference between twilight hours of Scripture reading and running our daughter to ballet class with a happy heart. Our moments of paying bills on time and sweeping the floor under the highchair are as glorious as kneeling before His throne, hands upward in praise.

Do you praise Him in your daily work?

As mamas, we can radiate the beauty of grace when we kiss owies and bless them with Band-Aids.

When we work diligently in the workplace and handle the drudgery of paperwork with thanksgiving, we recognize God as the giver of all good gifts.

When our husbands relay their excitement about the playoffs and we listen intently without our minds wandering, we acknowledge God’s creativity in how He has crafted us each uniquely with passions, gifts, and desires.

We can gladly sweep the early fall leaves off our front porch, knowing He is honored when we steward the home He has blessed us with.

We can fold the laundry — again and again and again — knowing that He is honored because we are delighting in where He has us.

When my firstborn was an infant, I had this quote from Brother Lawrence inked on a notecard and thumbtacked to the wall:

“We ought not to be weary of doing little things for the love of God, who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed.”

You can change diapers to the glory of God. Be encouraged that His Spirit pours forth over your hands as you work, diligently, diligently, diligently, for His pleasure.”


Monday, October 18, 2010

Baby Wallace Pregnancy – Week #23

Well, we’ve gone from Ireland to the great state fair of Texas – pretty much on the same level, don’t ya think?!  I endured the few strange looks (I mean, just for a millisecond!) to grab this little picture – oh what we do for the sake of documenting memories!  I am just glad that Big Tex is a part of this pregnancy. 


At week 23 of growth, baby Wallace:

Is about the size of a large mango (the same 11 inches as last week), weighing in at  1 lb 4 oz – based on our anatomy sonogram on Friday!! 


(this picture to give a representation of if I was growing a bushel of babies)

We loved the anatomy sonogram!  It is such a sweet time to get to sweet our little man/woman moving around.   Thankfully he/she looked perfect.  Thankful beyond words.  Biggest news from that appointment is that he/she is still a mystery.  The sex of baby is in a sealed envelope – we’ll see how long that envelope remains in its present state.   Our little mango was in the “hammock” position most of the sonogram with their arms behind their head.  We really hope this is indicative of their personality in general!

Fantastic baby change this week: Baby is becoming more aware of the outside…get ready world!  Loud, consistent noises are now familiar to their sweet little ears.  Blood vessels are forming in lungs to prepare for that lifelong task of breathing!

Baby Activity: Baby is a-moving!  You can see him/her jumping and jiving from the outside if I’m wearing a more form fitting shirt – that seems pretty crazy to me!  If baby starts to move, and donald or I poke back, they’ll respond – that seems so special to us!  Let the bonding begin!  I’m starting to feel big.  Laugh along with me, please, as I have 17 more weeks (Lord willing) to go!  Leaning over, squatting, oh goodness…I feel like Rachel on ‘Friends’ during the final pregnancy episodes. 

Abi updates: Abi has started to understand the beautiful phenomenon of nursing a baby.  She talks quite a bit about how I will feed the baby when they come.  Oh goodness.  She is more aware and interested this week in how this little wonder will affect her.  Wisdom from more experienced mommas in this realm is most welcomed!  We’re trying to stress how our family will change but be so much better!  That her life will have some differences, but so many things will stay the same.

A glimpse of our joy!


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Abi Diet – Cauliflower Mac ‘n Cheese

You might be familiar with Jessica Seinfeld’s ' Deceptively Delicious’ cookbook, but if not – it’s a goodie!  The cookbook is designed for momma’s who have kiddos who just do not like to eat healthy food…it’s the sneak attack way of working in zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower and the like into a daily diet.  Thankfully, Abi’s always been (well, knock on wood!) a great little eater, but it’s wise to think ahead!  And, on our journey to eating more “real food” this book has been great over the past year or so, as we are able to break away from poor habits or unhealthy recipes and find some other, more nourishing alternatives. 

Setting the scene – there are few things that I enjoy more than Josh Groban and Jim Brickman while cooking…thanks, Pandora.


Here’s the recipe:


  • 1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni (or whatever type of noodle you prefer!)
  • Nonstick cooking spray (blah, blah, blah…unfortunately, it really is helpful for this recipe, as I have tried it without, and regretted it)
  • 1 TBL. EVOO
  • 1 TBL. flour
  • 1/2 cup milk (recipe calls for skim, I always use what is on hand…last night it was 2%)
  • 1/2 cup butternut squash or cauliflower puree
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (yep, the whole bag – I tend to like colby jack, hubby prefers medium cheddar)
  • 4 ounces (1/2 block) nonfat cream cheese (just telling you the recipe, I subscribe to a “go big or go home” attitude here – it’s the fattening version in our household)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. paprika
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper (I replace this and the other two spices with seasoned salt, which any lover of the Pioneer Woman will have on hand!)

Prepping for baby #2’s food already?  Nope, a whole cauliflower will make the 4x the serving size for this recipe, so I just freeze the rest in 1/2 cup portions.

IMG_6609 IMG_6610


  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the macaroni, and coo until al dente.  Drain in colander.


  • While macaroni is cooking, coat a large saucepan with cooking spray and heat over medium heat.  Add the oil, then the flour, and cook, stiffing constantly until the mixture resembles a thick paste but has not browned, 1-2 minutes. (I would hold off on this step until you’ve cooked your noodles and just use the same pan…all about minimizing dish washing time!)


  • Add the milk and cook, stirring every now and then, until the mixture begins to thicken, 3-4 minutes.  Add the vegetable puree, cheddar, cream cheese, and seasonings (I actually add the seasonings at the very beginning of this step, after the addition of the milk – tastes better that way!) and stir until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth.  Stir in the macaroni and serve warm.



Happy Cooking!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Baby Wallace Pregnancy – Week #22

This week was pretty significant in that baby took his/her first big out of town trip!  Baby came along to Ireland with Donald & I.  I think that right around Week #25 is when I would no longer recommend taking  a really big trip.  I felt great 99% of the time, but I was tired at the end of the day (LOTS of walking, which was amazing), and my stomach muscles (what muscles are left) started to hurt a bit on some evenings.  So, I imagine this will be the most special pregnancy picture that I take.  With it come beautiful memories and reflections.  We are thankful!


(PS, don’t really like this picture, I don’t feel like I’m this big yet…but for whatever reason our blogging program won’t let me post the picture that I do like…and I’m too lazy to figure out the problem!)

At week 22 of growth, baby Wallace:

Is the length of a spaghetti squash (11 inches), weighing in at almost 1 lb!  Amazing.

Fantastic baby change this week: Baby is really starting to look like a newborn inside this ol’ belly!  Tiny teeth buds have begun to form underneath the gums and baby has a a nice layer of laguno (fine hair) covering their sweet little body.

Baby Activity: More pronounced movements, which are able to be felt from the outside (now really working on having abi feel them!) and I am finding that I am actually sleeping much easier!  I don’t know if it’s from being to tired after such long eventful days or that my body is used to being pregnant…but either way, I’ll take it!  I feel the uncomfortable shifts are beginning to happen.  While my back isn’t hurting yet, I can really tell that it is more uncomfortable to lean over, bend for various things during the day, and that my stomach and sides hurt after standing for a long time.

Abi updates: Not as much baby talk this week due to our separation, BUT, one of the sweetest memories, which I will long cherish, occurred this week in the morning when we were lying in bed together.  Abi lifted up my shirt so she could see my baby bump, and began to sing songs to the baby!  I just sat and smiled and closed my eyes making mental pictures.  How sweet and beautiful.  After each song she sang, she would sit up, clap her hands, and yell “yay, baby!”  Delight.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

5 years

It is hard to believe.  5 years of marriage.  October first 5 years ago was such a beautiful, significant day in life.  Just another day for so many, but the start of something amazing for us.  It has been a journey of 5 years – laughter, learning, sharing, experiencing, and being overwhelmed with the grace that has been bestowed on us.  I can not imagine (nor do I want to!) the person I would be without my donald.  The Lord’s grace and mercy has been shown so clearly in using that wonderful man to shape and teach me.  5 years of love, much love.

Day One:



Year 5:

IMG_5861 IMG_5863

What a hubby I have – classic attire.  He is truly the best.  Makes me laugh and feel so loved.  The morning of our anniversary…and that afternoon we departed for: IRELAND!!  More on that to come, oh my goodness, what an amazing country.  We’re in love.