Madden hit 8 months yesterday and boy is he ready to go! He’s rocking back and forth, pulling up on his knees and trying with all of his might to get this crawling thing figured out. Oh, is my life about to get a bit more crazy! Both of his bottom teeth have come in and I think the top two won’t be far behind. While he is such a happy baby and so fun to be around, he’ll also let you know when his needs are not being met. Everyone has become quite familiar with Madden’s high (think very high!) pitched squeals and when they start, we all stop what we’re doing to tend to our littlest man! I find it quite smart that he’s figured out a way to get every single member of our family at his beckon call whenever he so desires!
His pictures this month were so good that I couldn’t decide which ones to post! So I’ve included several, plus a few of all the kiddos! You’ll note how difficult it is to get all four kids looking at me and smiling at the same time when you see the pics. Oh, and our beautiful outdoor setting and spring clothes were made possible because we’re visiting Nana and Poppa in Mississippi. The weather has been outstanding all week…praise God for some sunshine and plenty of playtime outside!
Laura kind of takes jabs at me every once in a while because I have a blog but I write on there like every 6 months…….at best! I thought this year, instead of getting a cheesy card or writing a letter, I would write a post to her on her blog. While this would be unexpected by her, for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out her password so I had to call her and get it. Right…not as smooth as I hoped it would be. But, I digress. This blog is one of my ways to wish her happy Valentines day, be able to claim blogship, at least for a few more weeks, and fight The Man at Hallmark. Its a win for her, me and guys everywhere.
If you are reading this blog today, more than likely, you have read it before or do so on a normal basis. I actually get on here sometimes and read through each post about our family and life (I skip the recipes…though if you want to make your hubby happy, try the cinnamon rolls and/or the cowboy nachos). Obviously, I know the stories already but I like to hear them again. I enjoy reading and re-reading my wife’s take on what is happening in our lives and what God is teaching her through our circumstances. Each time, I am reminded how wise my wife is….a charge she denies. I think wisdom is being able to look at life through the lens of God’s character and promises. This is how she treats life and is the majority of what she writes about on this blog. Really, I read because it makes me so proud of my wife. A quick read will show that the last few years of our life haven’t been tremendously easy but it has been a pleasure for me to have front row seats to how God is sanctifying her through these trials. Seeing sanctification in our own lives is usually pretty difficult. Even when others tell us they see God growing us, we can be quick to just think we have them fooled or that they don’t know us very well. Community is a blessing God uses to encourage us that the work that He began is being completed and that even if we can’t see it, others can. The day I married Laura, I was proud to call her my wife. These last few years and how she has grown through them have only strengthened that.
I really wrestled with how to write these thoughts and wrote and erased for literally hours. Strange, considering I wanted it to be nothing more than a short few paragraphs (This could explain why I don’t blog too much). In the end, the answer was pretty clear. On the inside of her wedding band are the words Proverbs 31. It is about the virtuous wife and what characterizes her life. The foundation of it is a woman that fears the Lord and it is off of this foundation that the rest of her life is built. Her life is characterized by hard work, dignity, strength and overall care for her household and the needy. This is my wife. Now, this lady in proverbs 31 was not perfect and the description of her was not exhaustive. She was wise and daily becoming more wise. In that way, I see my wife. Out of all of the descriptions in Proverbs 31, I can’t find one where I feel like she has not greatly matured or has taken steps back. I really like v 29 that says: “Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all.” That is a verse that I would use to describe Laura. I am so glad that God has blessed my life with her. I truly don’t deserve her but that just shows the grace of our God. Laura, you are an amazing wife to me and I look forward to the rest of our lives together.
For the last couple of Sundays, I’ve tried a variety of recipes for breakfast. I was looking for something I could make the night before and then pop in the oven Sunday morning in order that our kiddos could have a hot, yet special Sunday morning breakfast. In order to be on time for Sunday school, all six of us have to be ready and out the door by 8:50 am and we usually don’t get home to eat lunch until 1:00 or 1:30. Obviously, that can make for a long morning for my four little people which makes starting the day with a full belly that much more important! One thing I work hard at is making Sunday, the Lord’s day, a special, peaceful day focused on worshipping Jesus. Kevin and I wake up extra early to ensure we aren’t having to rush the children to get to church, knowing that rushed children yields bad attitudes and frustrated parents. We only listen to praise music or hymns on our commute to church and Kevin prays for our church, the service and our family the last few minutes of the drive before we pull into the parking lot. We take a long rest time in the afternoon and make sure to play a game or take a walk or do something as a whole family on this day. Our church also has an evening service that we absolutely love, but because of the ages of our children, the long drive to and from our church and having a nursing baby, we’ve had to refrain from going the last few months. So, for now, we use these evenings to have some good quality family time and I have come to really treasure our restful Sundays.
I share all of this to explain why I was trying to find an extra-special breakfast recipe for this extra-special day of our week. My initial desire was to make homemade cinnamon rolls, but after reading through several recipes, I decided they were just too much effort and too time-consuming. I love to cook, but I’m not especially crazy about baking and most recipes for cinnamon rolls looked like more than I was willing to take on! Then I ran across this recipe on the Money Saving Mom website. When I read the directions, I thought “I have found our Sunday morning breakfast!” Kevin didn’t want me to get too excited in case they totally flopped! Well, let me just tell you…I think these cinnamon rolls are the best ones I’ve ever eaten! And I probably spent twenty minutes of actual baking…the bread machine and the oven did most of the work. I edited a few parts of the original recipe, so I’ll post how I made them below. I’m guessing everyone’s bread machine is a bit different, but I needed more flour to keep the dough from being to0 wet and sticky. Oh, and in case you need more encouragement to try these out…Kevin has not stopped talking about them all day!
Put the following ingredients into your bread machine in the following order and select dough cycle.
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm milk
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 egg plus 2 egg whites lightly beaten
1/2 cup sugar
4 1/2 cups flour (I used unbleached all purpose flour as I was running low on bread flour)
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons of active rise yeast
Once dough cycle is finished, roll dough out into a large rectangle. Mix 4 tablespoons of melted butter, 1 1/3 cup brown sugar and 2 tablespoons cinnamon. Spread mixture over dough. Roll dough and cut into 1/2 inch rolls (I got 21 rolls total!) Place in greased cake pan or pans (I used a large 12″ cake pan, but you could divide the rolls into two 8″ pans in order to save one for later.) At this point, you can cover the rolls and refrigerate overnight. Bake at 325 for 25 minutes (one large pan) or 20 minutes (two small pans).
Mix 2 tablespoons milk, 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar, 4 tablespoons softened butter and 1 tsp vanilla. If icing is too dry, add a little more milk. Spread on rolls immediately after baking.
Snow, snow and more snow…that would pretty much sum up January at our house! So, the kids have to get a little more creative to have fun while being indoors 90% of the time, but the winter hasn’t been near as bad as I had imagined it to be! Here’s a few pics from the past month…these definitely showcase their personalities!