Jack


It’s “A Million Pictures Time” because, um, it’s that time. Decidedly so.

I’m enticing those of you who don’t care about my pictures with a dang good sweet potato pie recipe I found. It’s a variation of one on the Food Network. It uses cream, but I found that diluted the flavor. Here’s what I did instead:

SWEET POTATO PIE

2 pie crusts
2 pounds sweet potatoes, for 1 1/2 cups puree
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
Pinch salt
3 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup dried sweetened cranberries

Topping:
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 stick butter (I used coconut oil)
1/2 cup crumbled shortbread cookies

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Prebake your pie shell about 7 minutes.
Prick the sweet potatoes with a fork and cook them in the microwave about 4-5 minutes until soft. When cool enough to handle, peel the sweet potatoes and puree the pulp in a food processor with 1/2 stick butter and a pinch of salt. Measure 1 1/2 cups puree into a bowl. In another bowl beat the eggs and sugar until the sugar has melted. Add the eggs to the sweet potato puree and whisk well. Add the dried cranberries, orange zest, cinnamon, and nutmeg and stir well to combine. Pour the mixture into the pie shell. Cover the edges of the crust with foil to prevent burning. Place the pie pan on a sturdy cookie sheet to catch any spills. Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees F about 35-45 minutes. Remove from the oven.

Meanwhile, saute the shortbread cookies and the pecans in the butter. Then put the pecans and cookies on a baking sheet and bake them with the pie for about 10 minutes to toast them. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the cooled pie and serve immediately. Makes 2 pies. One to eat, and one to give away to someone who may only eat crappy pie this holiday season (make sure yours didn’t turn out crappy first)…

And here’s the best hot chocolate in the world:

NUTELLA HOT CHOCOLATE

2 tablespoons nutella (but you can vary this amount on your own preferences)
1 1/3 cups milk or soymilk

Put Nutella and 1/3 cup milk in small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk until blended. Add remaining milk, increase heat to medium-high, and whisk until hot and frothy. Soooooo good…

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Poor Jack. Evil uncles.

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You might think we are actually laughing about something hilarious…Nope, we’re faking a fun laughing picture.

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Cutting out snowflakes and drinking Nutella hot chocolate.

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Oh Beautiful Christmas Tree! Yes, I realize the topper is leaning…it still is, because frankly I think it’s better that way. I don’t know why. I dislike perfectionism, but love perfect that isn’t perfectionated. Like nights where you hang out with people you love and put crooked stars on Christmas trees and drink hot chocolate.

I also want to add some from the farm, because I like the idyllic pastoral scenes:

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Farmer Jack.

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Fake posed laughing again– this time in a field. I had this one planned before we even went to the farm. No, I’m not a dork. Okay, yes I am.

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If Jack ever runs for president, I’m totally using this picture in his campaign.

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We wuv each other.

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Yes, we do.

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Last Halloween, there was a tiny sumo wrestler running around my house… This year, I went out in my yard to find a little gnome rummaging through my flowers. He was so cute, so I decided to keep him for always.

So here’s the story. I keep on finding my yard mowed and new flowers blooming when I go outside, so I thought there must be a neighbor doing all of this for me. But yesterday, I went outside, and I saw a little blue hat running around my car. I thought, “What was that?” Thankfully, I caught up with the little blue hat, and discovered a little garden gnome, no taller than my knee, trying his hardest to hide from me.

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Once I caught up with him, though, he was VERY bossy. First, he told me my grass had gotten too long again and he was very upset about it.

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Then he went up on my porch and started telling me how I needed to water my flowers more and get better pots for them.

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He got so mad at how badly I took care of my garden that he was about to leave. But, then, my roommate Natalie managed to distract him from leaving by giving him a pumpkin to look at, which he got very curious about.

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While he was distracted by the pumpkin, I grabbed a pillowcase and caught him in it. I’m not going to put a picture up of that so that he won’t ever try to criminally prosecute me for kidnapping him. I’m hoping he’ll just forget…

For scientific purposes, here is what a gnome face looks like:

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And here are what gnome feet look like. Notice the slightly inturned nature of their position:

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And here is a gnome butt. I’ve always been curious as to what a gnome butt looks like. I thought there might be others that share this secret curiosity:

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Anyway, I’m so happy I caught him. Everybody should try to meet him if they get the chance. My little gnome and I wanted to tell you Happy Halloween!

(Oh, and here is the less than 2 months old Sumo Wrestler from last year. I originally cut his diaper into a thong, but then he got hungry and while I was feeding him, he pooped and it came out the sides all over me. Bad call. Apparently this picture is taken post-pooping on me. With his papa, too.)

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Jack and I flew up to Chicago to see the rest of the Taylors and Pam this weekend. I love my family. Hopefully one of them will soon send me pictures of the weekend to post up.
Spending time with them, seeing them laugh, not as many tears now, seeing little boys just starting out in life…learning to share, to play, to love. Looking at my nephews, little Isaac (3 months) and Levi (2 years), I realized that I love those boys in a motherly sort of way. I don’t know what it is, but I just have this protection that I feel over them that I don’t necessarily feel over other kids (other than Jack Jack, of course). Maybe because I know they have a little bit of Nathan and Jack blood running through their veins, and Jack and Nathan a bit of theirs, and, after all, they’re family…I’ll love them forever. But not just Isaac and Levi, all of them. And I was just overwhelmed with love for our family, mine back home, and Nate’s in Oregon and Illinois. And that, in turn, made me think of my little family that is just mine, the one that was, and the one that is now, and the one that will be. And then I wrote a song. For Nate. For Jack.
Since I still lack the ability to record it still, here are the lyrics.

Miracle

We laid the baby down
Made nightly love
Then fell fast asleep

Went to work each day
Full of its toils
And came home every night to say

“Honey, I’m so glad
That I have you to come home to.”
We did and said it right,
But did we really know the miracle?

If we hadn’t gone to Oregon,
What would life look like now?
Your son would know a father’s love
I’d still be your wife.

You’d kiss me every morning
And hold me close at night
But would I still be blinded to
The miracle of
Ordinary life?
The beauty of
Every day
Every day

I lay the baby down
Snuggle up closer
Then fall fast asleep

Live and work each day
Full of its toils
And come home every night to say

“Baby, I’m so glad
That I still have you to come home to.
I know I make mistakes
But life with you is just a short-lived miracle.”

If we hadn’t gone to Oregon,
What would life look like now?
Your son would know a father’s love
And I’d still be your wife

You’d kiss me every morning
And hold me close each night
But would I still be blinded to
The miracle of
Ordinary life?
The beauty of
Every day
Every day

But I see it now
How I see it now
And I’m so grateful for the time that
I get with you, I get with you…
I got with you…I got with you.

Thank you for my new song, God.

I know, I know. This was originally supposed to be a song blog, and I have very few songs up on here. Please know that I am working on that. But I just remembered last night about this video from Skillman’s “Day on the Green”. It was so much fun. I love Skillman Bible Church. They’re my favorite small church ever. Anyway, some of you have probably seen this one, too. But, maybe some of you haven’t. But this one is “Little Great Man”, written for Jack Jack. I thought I would post up me singing a song on Nate’s bday cuz he would like that.

The video cuts in late and cuts out early, but here are the lyrics. I’ll put an asterisk next to where the song begins and ends on the video. Oh, and the lovely, wonderful, beautiful girl on the violin would be Laurie. She’s so pretty. I look so bored sitting next to her, but I’m really nervous as all get out. You should have seen us practicing for this with Aiden and Jack running around like wild banchees…

Little Great Man

Little, bright-eyed Jackabee
Full of wonder and wonders to be
God gave you sorrow while still a baby
To grow you stronger; a special blessing

**Your father was the greatest of men
You’re his living legacy
Even so, we knew you’d be greater than
We ever could have been

Dream big, work hard, and get down on your knees
To thank God for every single thing
Grow your love and give it away
Learn to grow from whatever comes your way.

And, my boy, know that I will pray for you
With a mother’s love.
And although I think of you as mine, I know
That you’re really God’s.

My little baby…God’s little great man.

Lord, hear my prayer as a humble mother
Give me wisdom and strength beyond my years

May I guide this life that You have given me so
Tell me what to do
And I see, he’s not mine to keep so I
Give him up to You.
The last time I held on too tightly,
You took it all away.
So this time I’m gonna release my grip
Though weeping I may pray.

There’s only gain if I lose him to You
**Look with favor and draw him to You
Give me wisdom to raise a great man
May he one day grow into the mightiest oak in all the land

Be bigger than my prayers I pray
I give him up to You.
Give me strength to always, to always
Give him up to You.
It’s all I can do
I give him up to You.
It’s the safest but hardest thing to do…
I give him up to You.

My little baby…God’s little great man.
Little baby…little great man.

To see the video, click here.

Sorry for the delay… I had people in town all weekend and decided to spend my time with them instead of on the computer. But, well worth the wait, a VIDEO of Jack! Yay! There’s another [closer] version of this on my facebook page if you want to see it. I couldn’t get the video from Carter to put on here.
Okay, he was happy all day except for this moment… He just got a little freaked out by all the loud people. Then I thought he would laugh his head off if I smashed his hand in the cake. Um…not so much. Then he wanted me to hold him, and I didn’t want to pick him up because then I’d be covered in chocolate. While I was pondering what to do about the situation, he rubbed it in his eyes… Game over from there. Haha. Felt really sorry for him in the moment, but, later on, I’m sure he’ll be laughing about it. Listen to the comments in the background, like “Make it stop!”, and about future therapy he’ll need at the end. :) Hey, it’s his party. And he’ll cry if he wants to.
I’ll put up one of him walking soon…

Happy Birthday, Jack! You are the joy of my life. I love you, little man!

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Man, Jack is killing me right now. He still sleeps with me, and I know everyone thinks that is a mistake, but in so many ways it makes life much easier for us. He sleeps in if I want him to. I feel it’s safer having him there next to me than in the other room. He knows how to climb out of bed when he wants to, and even when he wakes up before me he just gets down and plays in my room until it’s time for breakfast. And I don’t necessarily like sleeping by myself, and, if I don’t, he probably doesn’t either.
But he takes FOR-EV-ER to go to sleep. I have to put him to sleep by laying next to him until he is completely out, and it used to only take 15 minutes or so, but there have been days where it’s taken me 2 hours or so. Per nap. I took out his second nap of the day so he would be more tired and just crash. And that’s seemed to help some. It’s taken the time I have to lay with him down from 2 hours to like an hour. But, in that hour, God forbid the phone rings or I have to go to the bathroom and can’t hold it anymore because then it’s like I have to start over. For example, he is in his crib crying right now. He woke up at 9 this morning and hasn’t slept since and it is 4 right now. I started to lay him down at 1. After an hour of non-sleeping, we got up and let him play for 30 more minutes, but it was obvious he was too tired. So we laid down for another hour. Then I got frustrated and told him he was going to have to sleep in his crib. Stayed in there for 20 minutes with him, and he stopped crying but was just talking and laughing at me. So I left, and now he’s screaming again. It’s ridiculous. I have to get stuff done and Jack just needs to learn to sleep by himself.
I’ve tried putting him in his crib, and he will cry and scream for like 2 or 3 hours, until I know he is exhausted, but I feel more exhausted listening to him. After 3 hours, I usually take him out and he’ll fall asleep pretty quickly. It may already be too late for this, but I don’t want him to be deathly afraid of his crib either. It should be a comforting, bed-time place. And if I let him stay up, the suffering is great as he cries and moans and his little eyes get all red and tired. My eyes get red and tired from these shananigans, as well.
I originally wanted to do the attachment parenting thing where they let the kids sleep in bed with the parents and all that, because I agree with it, but they offer NO advice for this situation, just stuff like, “Maybe the baby isn’t tired,” or “It can be exhausting being a parent, but it is worth it in the end” type of advice. Makes me think they haven’t actually raised children. Ha. But I also think they don’t cater to single parents at all. So maybe that is the problem.
Does anyone have any parenting advice on how I can make Jack go to sleep? He’s just too stubborn and smart for his own good sometimes, I think.
By the way, he said “computer” today (yeah, I know, isn’t that crazy?), and we went to the dog park because he loves dogs. When a woman there asked him, “What does a doggie say?” He said, “Woof!” And there were about 4 other girls there, and they all heard him, and everybody was so surprised to hear him say it because no one was expecting to be in the presence of a one year old genius. :) I hope everyone knows I am joking to a small extent, because he’s just a normal kid.
But it’s still incredible how fast he learns things. Even so, somebody help me get him to sleep before I go insane!!!!!!!!

This is Jack when he first gets into the bath. I have a sneaking suspicion the contented look is really him peeing in the water…
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Awww…better. See what I mean? The first face just isn’t normal…
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Splash! We should all be so excited about personal hygiene.
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Chillin with ma’s guitar. Playin her a diddly. What? What do you mean I’m sitting like an orangutan?
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Walking!!! He just can’t contain his joy when he walks…I love him. Amy set him off and she spent the night with me last night because I think she’s special.
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The homies chillin in my backyard, smoking pipes and eating Ben’s pie.
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Ben’s delicioso apple pie…he wouldn’t tell us his secret ingredients.
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Our little pile of worldly cares that we left in the kitchen while we hung out in back.
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Cute Courtney!
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Ben portraying C.S. Lewis inadvertently.
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This week was fun…Thank you, God.

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