Thursday, July 30, 2009

First Birthday Extravaganza

We had a family party for Jude at my parent's house. Nevertheless, I felt the need to make invitations. So I did. Here it is.

Now you can't have a fish theme and not have some sort of water to play in so our friends let us borrow their big, inflatable water slide. Jude was not all that into it but Asher and Reagan had a blast!

Aunt Renae held Baby Reed, the newest addition to the Rives clan, and let him dip his toes in. He and Jude both thought the slide was little over the top.

Then we moved inside for cake. A friend of my mom's made the most adorable cakes I have ever seen. This is Jude's own personal smash cake, which he thoroughly enjoyed.

And this was the big cake. It tasted just as good as it looked!

Jude was a little reserved at first.

But we assured him he could go for it. Oh, and he did.

Mama and Daddy with their birthday boy

Mamaw and Poppy grab their photo op next. Please note Jude does not stop eating in either picture.

And these, dear readers, are a post unto themselves.

I tried to make cute little favors for the party and, as I should have expected, things did not go according to plan. These are little soaps made to look like the fish that you might when at a carnival. Looks easy to make, right? Wrong. But more on that later.

So the first birthday party went down as a big success (party favors notwithstanding.) Special thanks to Mamaw and Poppy for graciously opening up thier home and to all the Riveses who came all the way to Hamshire, TX to be a part of Jude's day. We had a blast celebrating with you all! Let's do it again next year, ok?

Roughin' It at Poppy and Mamaw's

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tip #37 from Jamie's Guide to Surviving and Thriving with 2 Little Boys

No need to buy new outside toys to accommodate both kids. Just shove them both in the old one.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Happy Birthday, Jude Rives

He did it. He turned one on me. My little curly-headed, thumb-sucking, runny-nosed, mama-loving, smart as a whip, climber with a flair for the dramatic is a big ol' one year old now.

I tried to recall the events of this day, 2008, but with all the drugs and the general anethesia, my memory is a bit cloudy. An eventful day to say the least.

We had a little family party for him at my parent's house. Asher thought it was his party and there was little evidence to contradict that notion, save Jude's name emblazened on the cake in bright orange fondant.

Turns out Jude loves cake as much as his brother. Only this time, the icing was not quite as messy. Good for clean-up, but makes for a less sensational picture. Per tradition, we had to take the cake away from the one year old to avoid seeing it again. Those Rives boys love them some birthday cake.

Today we celebrated by playing at the "inside park" (a huge play structure at a large church near us) and then having lunch with Kelli and her girls at Jason's Deli. We know how to live it up around here!

Check back soon for more party pics and yet another post in which I try to do something new and crafty (a favor for Jude's party) and it goes horribly wrong. Are those getting old yet?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

in less than a week

Jude turns one.

I keep looking through pictures trying to figure out where my year went.

I'm gonna have a one year old and a two year old. Yes, I'm still a little overcome by it. Because I'm now far enough out that all I remember are the sweet little coos and the tiny onesies and the swaddled up baby burrito.

I know there was much sleeplessness and feeding woes and non-stop crying (oh how that boy carried on so) but that memory has faded.

Again, I feel the need to state that I love where we are at. It's nice that the boys are getting more and more independent. It's nice being able to have them play together while I eat cheesecake and watch my stories with the volume loud enough to drown out any cries.

But I can still get a little nostalgic, right? Lord help me when they leave the house. All of you that have crazy mothers-in-law (I personally do not fall into this category,) have compassion on the poor woman. She is probably just now recovering from her baby turning one.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


1. Yes, the stevia and real half and half are working out just fine. Not quite as sweet, but still good.

2. Yes, I made my own granola and it is delish. I used this recipe and tweaked it a little by using pumpkin seeds instead of nuts and 3/4 stick of butter. I bought most of the ingredients in the bulk foods section.

3. No, I have not had a diet coke in a while. When I want a soda, I drink a real one. I've actually lost a few more pounds since I've cut out the diet stuff. Bonus.

4. Yes, I really did read one book and decide to make lots of changes. I've been thinking about why, all of a sudden, I was ready to give up so many things I thought I could never live without and invest a lot more time and a little more money to eat a diet of mainly whole foods.

I think it's because I realized someone else (the Big Wig Food Marketer/Processor Guys) were calling the shots on what was in my food. I felt duped, taken advantage of. I don't need someone adding omega 3s and iron to my cheese product and telling me it's health food and that I should eat lots of it. I want to eat real cheese with real ingredients that I can pronouce and just enough of it to feel satisfied. I'll take my nutrients from their naturally occurring food of origin, thank you very much.

I don't want to trick my body with chemicals that make it think it is getting something sweet. I want to eat the sweet things God created and fully savor them and have my body know exactly how to utilize what I just put in it. I want to quit obsessing about how much fat or carbs or protein is in something. If it is real food with minimal to no processing involved, I want to receive it with thankfulness and eat up. And then stop. That stopping part is key. As the author states, "Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much."

I'm definitely still working it all out. And although I'm making progress, I have miles to go before I sleep. Case in point--Chuy's chips and creamy jalepeno sauce. Consumed tonight by me in mass quantities. The very thorn in my tex-mex loving flesh. Not the hill I'm gonna die on right now.

5. No, Kris is not ready to cut back on the meat-eating as much as I am. So I will continue to prepare some for him. I love that carnivore.

6. Yes, my next homemade cooking project will be graham crackers. My boys love them some carbs so I will take back control over what is in the snacks I give my kids and make them my own darn self. So there, Nabisco.

Friday, July 17, 2009

You Are Not Going To Believe This

Instead of this

and this

in my coffee tomorrow morning, I will sweeten and cream up with this

and this

First diet coke, now this. Here's to baby steps. I'll let you know how it goes.

I have been reading In Defense of Food and that sudden jolt I felt whie reading was apparently my paradigm shifting. Hence the change up of the morning routine. More changes to come!

Thursday, July 16, 2009


We went from this

To this

Judah will turn one in just a few days. This is way more traumatic for me than Asher's first birthday. I think because I was almost 4 months pregnant then and didn't get as nostalgic knowing I was about to relive all those newborn experiences.

But Jude is supposed to be the baby. But I don't think anyone who wears 18 month clothes and eats roast beef sandwiches falls into that category.

So while I rejoice in the year God has given us and am profoundly grateful for each day with our boys, I'm getting a little freaked out about how fast it's going. I have two big boys (literally--they weigh within a few pounds of each other.)

But, I must say, big boys are a whole lot of fun, too.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Two Outta Three Ain't Bad

For the life of me, I cannot remember what we ate for dinner Monday night. In fact, I don't really remember anything about Monday other than that I went to step class. But I am recovering from a killer kickboxing class and am on my second glass of wine, so that may be why. Nothing rebuilds that muscle tissue like a little vino.

But point is this: last night and tonight, I made some pretty good dinners--a rare occurrence indeed. I usually never am all that thrilled with what I cook because it is either incredibly boring or an attempt at not being boring that goes horribly awry. My giftings lay in other areas. Won't it be a fun day when I figure out where those areas are?

The Shrimp Burritos and the Blackened Chicken Pizza were both winners! I attribute the success of the pizza to the fact that it is a Paula Deen recipe--copious amounts of butter cover a multitude of sins. Nevertheless, it tasted good and I did not cry or cut myself.

Mission: Accomplished.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Free Gao

from ChinaAid and Voice of the Martyrs

100,000 Signatures Urgently Needed

Kidnapped Christian human rights attorney Gao Zhisheng has been missing 153 days, and with each day that passes, his life hangs in the balance. The petition asking for Gao's release is now very close to 100,000 signatures, and we need your help to reach this goal quickly.

ChinaAid President Bob Fu has been invited to speak at a Congressional-Executive Commission on China roundtable on July 10 where he will present about Gao Zhisheng's case. Please help make a greater impact for Gao Zhisheng's freedom by helping us to reach 100,000 signatures so that the petition can be presented at this important meeting. This is a great opportunity to have a voice before U.S. lawmakers and the media on behalf of Gao, and to pressure the Chinese government to immediately reveal Gao's whereabouts and condition.

Please encourage family and friends to sign the petition today at Free Gao and be a part of this movement for freedom and justice on behalf of Gao Zhisheng. Thank you for your partnership to free Gao Zhisheng and to expose, to the world, the truth regarding his case. We are committed to pressure the Chinese government until justice is brought to victory.

Monday, July 6, 2009

My Boys: An Update

As you may or may not know, I do not have a baby book for either kid. If you do not know me, you are aghast at this unforgivable oversight. If you know me at all, you could not be less surprised if you tried.

But I do like to document milestones here so when, down the road, I wonder, "now when did Asher..." or "how old was Jude when he..." I can scroll through the archives and have all the info I need at my fingertips.

Ergo, this post.

Asher Owen

Stats: 2 yrs, 5 months/ 30.5 lbs/ roughly 36 in.

--a non-stop communicator who recently learned the word "because" and uses it in all sorts of non sequiturs; as opinionated as the day is long and does not keep them to himself (poor boy--I think we all know where he got that one); infectious laugh; irresistible personality

--a lover of music; can identify many instruments by sound; plays guitar, harmonica, drums, and piano on a daily basis; sings countless songs [among my personal faves are Doxology, Itsy Bitsy Spider, and My God is So Big (emphasis on BIG)]

--says "gotfor" instead of "forgot" and calls paper towels "wiper towels"; told me today that he did not eat "too very much" of his lunch; new stall tactic for avoiding bedtime is "teach me a new song!"

--a limit-tester; is being trained to obey but sometimes would just rather not (an inherited trait); very sweet, but hard-headed

--less adventurous when is comes to new foods (I no tink I yike dat); is made to at least take a "thank you taste"; could eat beans and rice daily from any hole-in-the-wall tex mex place you name; requests Chuy's and Pappasitos often; shares his mama's weakness for chips and salsa

--favorite toys now include his instruments, Little People and their paraphernalia, and his tools

--slowly emerging from the Elmo-hypnosis, but still remains a fan

--gave himself a spanking today for touching the fireplace (our little Martin Luther)

Judah Kristopher (Jude)

Stats: 11 months/24.5 lbs/not sure how tall (note to self: measure Jude)

--has officially rejected baby food; will only eat big boy food, and usually eats more of it than his big brother; still on formula because I have 2 cans left but enjoys a sippy cup of milk here and there as well; no more bottles in just a few weeks!

--a tender-hearted, fairly obedient child already; you tell him "no" and he complies! (a refreshing change of pace, I must say)

--very laid back and sweet; loves playing with Asher until it gets too rough (as it often does with a 2 yr. old); is happy most of the time and is slightly more inclined to cuddle than Asher was, but don't push it

--says "Daddy" very clearly; says "Mama" "bye-bye" and "bottle" less clearly; will sign "more" on occasion

--loves to clap (especially for himself), take baths, and play with the cool big boy toys that are around when you have a big brother

--an avid thumb-sucker and lovey-holder; the lovey makes all the wrongs of the moment right--it is amazing what that little piece of fabric does

--an early riser :( much like Asher at that age, takes only 1-2 hour naps and sleeps from about 7:30 to 6:30

--has 6 teeth (4 top, 2 bottom)

I'm sure there's more that I should record, but as it is nap time, I'm going to end here. I still like to abide by the "sleep when the baby does" rule :)

We Love a Parade!

We headed down to Friendswood on the 4th for their annual parade. I googled it and found out that this was the 114th year that Friendswood has held a parade!

We were hot and sweaty, but managed to have fun anyway. Asher especially enjoyed himself this year. He was just 17 months last year and I was 8 months pregnant, so we both had a much better time this year!

Grammy, Aunt Melissa, and cousin Reagan (AND THE STAR OF THE WHOLE PARADE WAS UNLCE SEAN WHO PULLED THE FLOAT WITH HIS SUBURBAN!)were in the parade so Asher and Daddy ran out to wave to them when their float came by.

The marching bands and the fire trucks were also a big hit!

Jude had fun, too. This may be one of my all-time favorite pictures of him, sweaty head and all.

A lady sitting in front of us, who told me proudly that this was her 45th year at the parade, asked if she could hold Jude. She looked like she had held a grandbaby or two in her day, so I let her. Jude sat there for quite a while--happy to be in the shade, I'm sure.

Here's our little family abiding by the "Make sure one person is not looking at the camera" rule.

After the parade, we headed to the park where they had food, music, and games for the kids. The boys enjoyed their first sno-cone (red of course to match their shorts.)

And I enjoyed my yearly sausage link.

We had just about melted away so we decided it was time to call it a day. Asher was still reeling from all the fun he had.

And Judah did not make it out of the parking lot.

Friday, July 3, 2009

the boy loves to eat

those are seeds, not bugs

kiwi and graham crackers

a simple, yet delightful combination

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