Nov 29, 2008

And the list goes on...

MY weekend getaway to Bolivar, MO, to see Sissy (Erin) & Ryan turned into 4 more days at their home. Shawn didn't get to stay that long as he had to return to work, but Wild and I stayed on and hitched a ride (imagine 3 adults, 1 baby, 1 cat, & lotsa gear in a Honda Civic) to Chanute for Thanksgiving. Since the Bilby's don't have internet, I had Shawn write a quick note for you all (see Nov. 25)--just so you wouldn't have worried about me (now wasn't that nice?).

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I'm compelled to share some things for which I'm grateful:

My Lord: His grace, especially. And for revealing His beauty to me, and for continuously restoring His joy in me

Shawn: He continues to wow me, ever since we wore high water jeans in 7th grade & I became jealous that he was a better drawer than I (he is). He is my knight, my prince, and an incredible father

Wild Man: Our son has captured my heart and delighted me in ways I could have never dreamt. He is the culmination of all my right decisions in life

Family: For cradling me during life's hardships-for celebrating with me during its victories. For coaching me as I plant, grow, wilt, and flower, as all humans do

Friends: I especially delight in seeing you happy. I am thrilled to learn from/with you

Undiscovery: I don't know what I'd do if I already knew everything there is to know

And some others:
Recipes: Because I haven't quite gotten the whole "a pinch of this" and a "dash of that" thing

Wine: I know nothing about it but feel somewhat refined and cultured when I have the occasionial (ok, maybe, rare!) goblet-full--and because it's more entertaining to relive a headache with it as opposed to Advil

Burp cloths: Because Wilder and I just don't have that many outfits

Eye drops: Lasik surgery was great and all, but eyes drier than one of my pathetic houseplants are no picnic (suddenly this has turned into a gripe rather than a thanks--oops)

And, lastly:
novels. brownies. chicken salad sandwiches. christmas lights. cute birdhouses. weed killer. post-it notes. q-tips. picture windows. gravy. rocking chairs. chinese take-out. scalding showers. epidurals.

Nov 25, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm away from my computer for a few days; pictures and updates to come soon.
Happy Turkey Day!

Nov 19, 2008

Naomi's Revel Bars

I've had this recipe for a few years. I don't make it often, but when I do, and take it to a function, it's always a big hit (the girls in small group really liked it on Monday)!

If you haven't noticed yet, I really like baking things with oatmeal as an ingredient; have always loved oatmeal, raw & cooked. When I was younger, I would take little pinches of raw oatmeal and eat it as a snack; it would make quite a mess on the floor! Also, oatmeal reminds me of my Grandpa Dunning, who ate oatmeal for breakfast every day. I remember eating it with him--I even remember what the little pot on the stove looked like; white with little flowers painted on it...

Naomi's Revel Bars

1 cup (2 sticks) plus 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened, divided

2 cups packed brown sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups uncooked quick or old-fashioned oats
1 package (12 oz) semisweet chocolate chips

1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly grease 13x9-inch baking pan. Beat 1 cup butter and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer until blended. Add eggs; beat until light. Blend in vanilla. Combine flour and baking soda in medium bowl; stir into butter mixture. Stir in oats. Spread 3/4 of oat mixture evenly into prepared pan.

Combine chocolate chips, milk, and remaining 2 tablespoons butter in heavy small saucepan. Stir over low heat until chocolate is melted. Pour chocolate mixture evenly over oat mixture in pan. Dot with remaining oat mixture.
Bake 20-25 minutes or until edges are browned and center feels firm. Cool on wire rack. Cut into bars. Makes about 36 bars.

Nov 18, 2008

We Did Some Grown-Up Things--A Date, Even!

THOUGHT you might like to see some pics from the weekend. The mild weather on Sunday afforded us the chance to be outside raking leaves and stringing Christmas lights (thank you, Shawn, the house looks sparkly and pretty except for the part where there are no lights because I broke one of the bulbs...). We also got to do "grown up" stuff like dinner/wine with friends on Friday night, and a date at the movies Sunday (Quantum of Solace, the new 007 movie, which was good, but not as good as Casino Royale; to borrow from Shawn's words: the plot could have had more layers). Also, Wilder enjoyed time outside in his stroller while we worked, as well as play/reading time with Grandma & Grandpa Harris! Grandma read him all of his books!

p.s.--I also had time to make a dash to the library/biblioteca, where I picked up Nicholas Sparks' True Believer and Message in a Bottle (yes, I got suckered in again--was going to get The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd but the Sparks section was beckoning my name. What can I say? I get a kick out of sappy love stories!)

Nov 15, 2008

Where is Thumbkin?

WILDER has found his thumb!We figure he'll need braces (my overbite, Shawn's underbite) someday anyway, so, why fight it? Click lower left-hand button to view video.

Nov 13, 2008

Product Review

I finished the Harry Winston book and will provide a quick review later! I thought it would be fun to also do periodic "beauty product reviews" since I love products! Guess that comes from living with two sisters and sharing everything, including one bathroom!
Today I took a break from chores and smeared on a Mary Kay revitalizing facial mask, something, that, in my junior high and high school years, I did twice a week, as recommended!! Sundays and Wednesdays, if I remember correctly (I make myself sick!). According to the packaging, the MK Revitalizing Mask is an "invigorating clay-based formula containing natural ingredients, botanical extract and special oil-absorbing ingredients, and exfoliates dead surface cells to retexture and refine the skin's surface. Leaves skin totally clean, revitalized and radiant. Helps makes pores appear smaller."

I like that it is clay-based; although it's "fragrance-free" it has that distinct smell that comes with a clay-based formula, which I relish. I also like that it is a bit gritty, and it didn't dry my face; I even skipped moisturizer. Also, it's a fairly economical choice at $14. My only gripe: as it hardened, my face began to feel really tight and I was ready to wash it off before the 10 minutes were up. Lastly, for those readers who prefer natural ingredients, this isn't the mask for you and you could try Origins Paradise Found Balinese Body Glow. (confession to my sister-in-law: yes, I tried it in your shower a couple of weeks ago, but just a little dab!) Note: it's a scrub, not  a mask--but is superbly delectable!

Happy pampering!

Nov 11, 2008

Weekend Happenings

I love it when folks come to the Clarence Castle--ok, it's not a castle but a 1300 square foot 1950's brick abode nestled in a neighborhood close to the Arkansas River, with mole hills to boot--apparently these pesky rodents like being by water--I love having the linens fresh, bathroom sparkling, candles lit, cookies freshly baked (gee, I talk about cookies alot!). This weekend, Drew and SG came to stay! We played Cranium WOW, shopped, watched a Mason (or Shriners?) parade (not on purpose; it was happening while we were downtown and was a little creepy; hadn't imagined that would be Wild's first parade but I was in the car nursing so it was hard to miss), ate donuts, and went on a proper double date at Bella Luna Cafe. We also talked about their pending nuptials in June and how Shawn will design their correspondence and be a best man. And, to top it off, my parents arrived on Sunday, bearing more baby gifts and enchiladas for dinner. What a treat to have people in our home. I LOVE IT!

Grammy and Grampy (our nephew Max calls Daddy Gramp Pa Mustache!)
Drew & SG-pros at spoiling Wild
Cranium requires undivided concentration and seriousness. Marley even had to referree.
p.s.--our beautiful son is three months old now. THREEMONTHSCANYOUBELIEVEIT? Also, we think he may be allergic to kitties because he was acting awfully miserable around my friend's kitty today; I have a call in to the doctor....guess he's taking after his daddy!

Nov 10, 2008

Cookies as LAOK's (little acts of kindness)

A story of vulnerability at it's best here, folks, or, rather, honesty...our neighbor a few doors down, who is a bit of a kid-at-heart, broke a leg after falling off his segue (you know, those upright things on wheels that look like they belong on the Star Trek set). I found this a perfect opportunity to take him some cookies and proceeded to make a batch of chocolate chip ones. However, and here's where my mistake begins, I did not take them to his house upon their direct exit from the oven. I held on to them. Literally. Then I sniffed them--inhaling their sugary scent. Then I ate them. All. 

A few weeks later, I admitted this to him! Can you believe it? Deeply remorseful for my act-of-kindness-gone-selfish, I decided to redeem myself. So, I made these Peanut Butter Jumbos, and delivered them on the spot. My neighbor was so grateful for this gesture. I was, too, for I didn't want my sweet tooth to fail me again. I have so many things to grow through!

Peanut Butter Jumbos
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups peanut butter
3 eggs
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 1/2 cups uncooked old-fashioned oats
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup M & Ms

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper. Beat butter, sugars, peanut butter and eggs in large bowl until well blended. Blend in baking soda, vanilla and oats until well mixed. Stir in chocolate chips and M & Ms.

Scoop about 1/3 cup dough for each cookie. Place on prepared cookie sheets, spacing about 4 inches apart. Press each cookie to flatten slightly. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until firm in center. Remove to wire racks to cool. Makes about 1 1/2 doz. cookies.

p.s.--this makes a TON of cookies (I made my smaller than 1/3 cup), if you must sneak in a taste before sharing with your neighbors. Not that I did or anything...

Nov 6, 2008

Chasing Harry Winston

OK, so I'm not quite ready to give an official review of my latest book find because I haven't read it yet! But, I'm just so excited to be reading for pleasure (soooo glad to be done reading pregnancy books; it just got scary after awhile) that I have to tell you about my latest find. It's Chasing Harry Winston, by Lauren Weisberger, the #1 bestselling author of The Devil Wears Prada (loved the movie, although I have yet to read the book). Anyway, the inner flap reads, "Lauren returns with the story of three best friends who vow to change their entire lives...and change them fast." It, too, is set in Manhattan, so it should have depictions of the sights and smells of the beloved city. Oh, just so you know, I don't read sci-fi, mystery, or brainy-type books. I tend to like shallow, girly, light reads (referred to as "chik lit"); I admit this is a weakness and plan to expand my literary repertoire soon. Very soon. After the holidays. Then, after I lose the 5 pounds-ok, maybe 10-I'm sure to gain during the holidays. And by no means does my choice to relish "beach reads" have indication of my inner workings as a person; I am not shallow.

And I have to tell you, just really quickly, about my library experience. Wichita has pockets of "cultural richness", if you will, but not all of these areas should be frequented by a white girl in heels toting her roly-poly  baby. The "Evergreen Library/Biblioteca" is closest to our house. I park my car thinking, oh yeah, Shawn and I have driven past this before, now I know where I am! I go in anyway, clomp through the doors and into a large room (rather small for a library, I note) bustling with computer users and curious (ok, LOUD) children. I ask the lady where the new releases are (is that what librarians refer to them as, or is that just at Blockbuster?), and she points to a row of books directly to my right. About two feet to my right, to be exact. I peruse the shelves and find the Jennifer Weiner read I had originally intended on picking up. But then I see the spine of the Harry Winston book and am immediately enthralled.

I'll let you know if it was worth finally reconciling my late fees.


Nov 5, 2008


 "So, are you enjoying being a stay at home mom?" 

"Oh my gosh, yes! We are having a blast. It is a dream come true!"

"And how's Wilder?"

"He's wonderful. Perfect. He's my wonder; I'd do anything for him."

To say I'm in a euphoric state over my new full time job would be an understatement. My and Shawn's intentions were for me to return to work after Wild's birth. What they say about the sacrifices one makes for his offspring is true--parents really will do anything under the sun for their babies. Although our pennies will be pinched to the point of developing finger blisters, those sacrifices will be worth it.

I respect moms who work outside the home, stay home, or choose a combination of both. The beauty of our country is that we're graced with many freedoms--freedoms that allow us to love and serve our families in conjunction with our convictions. 

I'm overwhelmed by the support and encouragement I've received in my choice to stay home. It's comforting to know that my friends would have been there for me just the same had I chosen not to take a break from my career. Though I've opted for the somewhat unglamorous (insert ratty t-shirt wreaking of spit-up, here), role of full-time mum, I remain grateful for the opportunity to be present at Wilder's milestones. While I won't be receiving a pay raise, I've just been given the world's biggest promotion. And the benefits?


Nov 4, 2008


WILDER was a pea-in-the-pod for Halloween; I assembled a quick farmer costume so we would sort of "go together." We went to the SHS (Shawn's work) Halloween party, where Wilder saw his friend, Grey (they even held hands!). It was a pretty hot day, so Wilder shed his fleece costume after a few minutes of being squeezed and ogled at. The bottom pics are of Wild in his nursery--Saturday morning, I think, when we had all the time in the world to enjoy his smiles and lie around in our PJs! 

My little man is getting so big--loves to gnaw on his fists and even had his first trip to the zoo (sorry, no pics)!