Course 1 Complete

Last night, I finished Course 1 of the Wilton Method of Cake Decorating. They even gave me a certificate of merit!

I am having a blast. Check out my final project. I thought it turned out really cute.

Course 2 starts next week and I'm going to learn the basket weave technique!


Swimming with Gam and Papaw

Last Friday, we went up to the McCord condo on Morse Lake and went for a swim in their indoor pool. My mom and dad were just relaxing their for the day, so the girls and I crashed the party.

They had a fun time playing in the water in their floats. Jillian was very fearless, splashing and kicking like a crazy lady. Lauren enjoyed splashing and liked to be pushed around the water in her float.

Notice how full the girls diapers are. I didn't have any swim diapers. It's amazing how much liquid those puppies can hold.

Hanging out

It's been so hot here the entire month, so we've not done as much outdoors as we would like. But, the girls don't seem to mind. They never seem to get tired of their toys. In fact, I think I'm more bored with their toys than they are.

Lauren's newest interest are books. She loves looking at the pictures and smiles when you read to her. Her favorite is a Baby Einsten book called, "What Floats?" I'm not sure why she loves it, but she truly does. This picture is of her with all her books, making the same cheesy face she seems to make every time the camera is around now.

Jillian also likes books, but still loves to simply bang toys together. She is such a silly girl. I love watching her funny personality emerge. She loves to get in Josie's bed still and will giggle when you come to get her out. I had put away their "Johnny Jumper" because they weren't all that interested in it a couple months ago, but now Jillian will jump and spin in it for the longest time.

The girls do a lot of mimicking lately, too. They mimic noises and now gestures - they're learning "hi" and "bye-bye." It's so amazing to watch their brains develop in new ways all the time.


Gearing up for the season

Last night, Andy and I enjoyed attending a preseason game against none other than the Chicago Bears. It was awesome and the highlight was our Uncle Steve Quinn (circled in red below), who sang the National Anthem. And did an amazing job, I might add. We were so proud of him!

Fair time

Last weekend we took the girls to the fair. There will be no memory for them, other than these few photos. We only stayed a few hours and they did so well. Andy and I enjoyed the fair food and we enjoyed being outside for a change (the weather was perfect!).


Spray park fun

We have several really cool spray parks close to home. Some friends invited us to play today and so we joined them.

It's been awhile since the girls have been out in the water, but Lauren really loved it and was more courageous than I expected her to be. She was crawling right towards the spray and was very curious. She even was leaning over a water spray and when it came on, it went right in her face (and up her nose). She wasn't very happy about that, as you can imagine.

Jillian had fun, too. But more by just watching all the kids and taking in the scenery.
You can't see her sweet face, but the third baby in the pic is our (sorta) cousin, Jacklynn. She's stinkin cute (check out her blog).

Lauren loves to splash!

Jenni: Cake decorator extraordinaire

I've wanted to take the Wilton cake decorating classes at Michael's for the longest time. I finally enrolled in the first class and last night was our second class and our first opportunity to decorate a cake.

I was sick, because after baking and icing the cake at home (to decorate in the class), I turned a corner and the cake slipped off the seat in between the seat and the door. I pulled over and luckily it was salvagable and I was still able to have fun decorating with the techniques we learned: stars, dots, zigzags, writing, outlining and the first step of rose-making.

I'm having a blast and I can't wait to make my girls birthday cake next month!

Mommy's Birthday Party

On Sunday, we celebrated my birthday at my mom and dad's house. Here are a few of the highlights.

Singing the birthday song.

Uncle Mikey!

Uncle Ryan and Uncle Jason - we are so loved!

Cousin Sophie is the best!

Gam (my mom) loves her grandbabies!

Happy birthday to our friends!

Our friend, Kai, turned one on July 31. We weren't able to stay at his party very long, but we heard he was pretty much a natural when it came to devouring his cake. So, the girls wanted to stop by the other day to hang out with him and ask him for some cake-eating pointers. Really they just played.

Then, a couple weeks later, our friend Landon turned one (Aug 11). We went to his birthday party and were so jealous of his cool monkey cakes. He also looked like he had fun with his cake.

Happy birthday, friends. And way to go mommies, Kelly and Crystal, for doing such a great job with your beautiful baby boys!

Just being cute

Finger Foods

Since about the time we returned home from our trip in North Dakota, Lauren has decided she no longer wants mommy to feed her from the spoon. A product of teething, I'm almost sure of it.

That means, these girls are almost exclusively eating table food. Jillian will still let me feed her a little bit, so she gets her fruit and veggies that way, since she can't pick stuff up yet as well as Lauren. They also will eat a little bit of YoBaby yogurt from a spoon, but that's about it.

Their current favorite foods include: turkey meatballs (a great recipe, I'm happy to share), ditallini pasta (perfect size and shape) with parmesan cheese and/or cream cheese, bread, wheat tortillas with melted cheddar, grapes, bananas, peas, carrots, graham sticks, beans (black, pinto), bagels with cream cheese, cheese cubes and of course, Cherios!


Happy Birthday to me!

It's official. Year 26 has come and gone. If you were to ask me the cliche birthday question, "Do you feel older?", this time, I'd actually answer, "Yes." Probably because my life changed so much this year. Andy and I were talking about it this morning and I was inspired to blog. I bet you can't wait.

It was a year ago, this weekend, that I wrapped up my role as communications director at Northview. I attended the Willow Creek Leadership Summit Simulcast that day (Sat, Aug 12) and ate a cinnamon roll from Capstone (courtesy of my big bro) for breakfast. I savored every bite, especially since I was pregnant and it was completely excusable.

Then, Aug 12 to Sept 26 was a total blur. It felt like one LONG day. I remember week 32 of my pregnancy being the last week I was even a small bit comfortable. From them on, I lived on the couch - seriously. Slept there, ate meals there, watched TV there, cried there (a lot) and counted the minutes until each day was done. Quite depressing, but a sacrifice totally worth making, come late September.

It was the day I had been waiting for my entire life and fighting for for nearly three years. The day my beautiful baby girls were born. The day I became a mommy. The day I realized how much in love I was with my husband. The day everything in life took on new meaning.

Since that day, I've learned a lot about myself. In the beginning, so much of being a mom is motivated by pure adrenaline. Necessity forces you to make sacrifices you never knew you were capable of. Baby's gotta eat. Who cares if it's 2 am and your pain medicine has worn off.

But then, as your body begins to heal and you emerge from the fog, you start to realize that sacrifice now consumes your life. And it's allowed me to experienced brokenness like I never have before. Insecurity like I never have before. Fear. Gratitude. Love.

I think it's just the way God planned it. Painful, uncomfortable processes that allow us to understand his Grace and Sacrifice much more clearly. So what am I doing with it? I'm learning not to live for myself. To give freely, generously and joyfully. I'm learning the beauty of sacrifice. I'm certainly still a work in progress, but I feel like me and God took some pretty significant strides.

Plainly stated: It's been a good year. My babies are healthy and thriving, and so is my marriage. I've been to the Super Bowl, visited lots of far-away family and friends and lost 55 pounds (all baby, but who cares).

I guess all I can say is year 27, you've got a lot to live up to. No pressure.


Afternoon at the park

Sunday, we enjoyed an afternoon at the park. Just the four of us. We ate lunch and them played with the girls on the swings and the slide. Here are a few of my favorite pics.


Moving... FAST!

Now that the girls are both crawling, I anticipate I'm burning about 500 extra calories a day. They are moving all over the house. Their favorite new places are the kitchen and the entryway.

The nice thing about our house is if I shut all the doors, they can pretty much crawl anywhere and be where I can watch them.

This weekend's project? Babyproofing!