Friday, September 26, 2008

Here's Cooper!

This week we had the pleasure of visiting my friend Heather in the hospital and meeting her 2nd child, Cooper Quinn Billups. He is so adorable and is the spitting image of his older brother Boston. Boston was there to visit also and he and Maddie really hit it off. I'm sure the other patients really appreciated the high-pitched squeals of laughter as they ran around the room and were "hiding" from the adults behind the hospital curtain! :-)

Boston playing with Cooper's toes.

Boston & Maddie caught in a moment of seriousness. :-)

There's my happy girl!

Thursday, September 25, 2008


P.S.--For all the little boys (and girls!) out there who will now be begging their mommies for the Bob the Builder power tools work bench, I got it at Target for just under $30. I just looked online and for some reason it doesn't show up on Target's site, but they did have it in the store.

OK, this is crazy...I just found it on Amazon for $80 BUCKS!! Hurry people, RUN to Target and snatch it up before they realize their mistake! :-)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Hard Hats Required

Maddie definitely has a masculine side. :-) Although she loves her dolls and girlie stuff, her obsession for the last 6 months or so has been construction equipment. She watches the cartoon "Bob the Builder" on TV. She can spot a "hoe" (short for backhoe, but she calls just about all of the construction equip. "hoes") a mile away and knows which way to go on the freeway to see the most hoes. Her favorite book is called Trucks and she has learned how to say (and identify while we're driving) dump truck, mini loader, concrete mixer, tow truck, digger (she calls it a "scoop-dump"), garbage truck and mail truck. So, when Grandma & Grandpa Frank sent some money for us to buy her something new, I knew just what was on the list!

First she got a remote control backhoe that can move forward and in circles and lifts the scoop up and down. It also plays music (REALLY loudly, I might add!). She played with it so much the first few days that she wore out the batteries already! :-)

The other awesome toy was a Bob the Builder work bench--just like Daddy's! She loves to use the light & especially the power drill (on everything in the house!) and bang with the hammer. I'm sure her perfect day would be to just go sit at a construction site and watch the hoes at work!

Thank you, Grammi and Grampi, for many hours of fun to come! :-)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Hello Autumn!

Autumn is by far my absolute favorite time of year. I love everything about it...
  • the cooler days and crisp nights (yes, I even love the rain! I'm a true Oregonian!)
  • the outdoors turning shades of red, orange, yellow and brown
  • falling leaves
  • pumpkins and apples
  • the start of school and football season--Go Oregon Ducks! Go Ohio State Buckeyes!
  • getting to wear jeans and corduroy pants with sweatshirts and cozy sweaters (I am sooo NOT a hot weather girl!)
  • lots of homemade baked goods and comfort foods for dinner
  • curling up with a blanket to watch movies and sip hot cider
  • watching Little Women for the thousanth time and saying all the lines by heart
  • celebrating birthdays (my friend Christine's at the end of September, my aunt & uncle's/my sister-in-law's/my nephew's and mine in October, Maddie's and Keith's in November)
So, in honor of the first day of Autumn, here is a new recipe I tried recently and totally fell in love with--it will be a favorite, for sure!

Pumpkin-Raisin Cake

1 cup all purpose flour & 1 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 15-ounce can solid pack pumpkin
4 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil (I used 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce instead...very moist without the fat!)
1 cup raisins (I like golden raisins)

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup butter, room temperature

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease 15 1/2 x 10 1/2 x 1-inch baking sheet. Stir first 8 ingredients in large bowl to blend. Add pumpkin, eggs and oil and beat until blended. Mix in raisins. Spread batter in prepared pan. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool in pan on rack.

Beat cream cheese, powdered sugar and butter in medium bowl to blend. Spread frosting over cake in thin layer. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Refrigerate until cold, then cover and keep refrigerated.) Cut cake into bars and serve.

Note: I didn't read the directions carefully the first time, so I made it in a 13x9 inch baking dish. If you do that, it'll need to bake for about 35-40 minutes.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

In Loving Memory

Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things. (Ecclesiastes 11:5)

Today we honor the memory of our precious son, Nicholas Allen Frank, who was stillborn one year ago on September 16, 2007. He had been with us for 23 weeks when we discovered that his little heart had stopped beating. Nicholas weighed just 12.6 ounces and was 10.75 inches long, but he was perfectly formed and so beautiful to us. He will be forever in the arms of Jesus, until we see him again one day.To all parents out there, hug your kids a little tighter today and thank God for the true miracle of their lives, for life can be taken from us all too easily. I no longer take pregnancy or the blessing of having a healthy child for granted.

One way I coped with my grief was to journal about my pregnancy and thoughts from a mother to her son. Here's a few thoughts I wanted to share:

I regret…
being scared to look at you or hold you right after your birth—and so grateful that your daddy and grandparents convinced me to—and now I wish I would have spent even more time with you; not thinking to ask someone to bring our good camera to the hospital, so the only photos we have of you are poor quality and don’t show your true beauty; going home from the hospital empty-handed, like this was some cruel joke; that you never got to know your sister and your family, especially your wonderful grandparents.

I wonder…
if you would have looked more like Maddie, daddy or me; what your personality would have been like; what you would have loved growing up—trucks, trains, mud puddles, books, the playground?; if you would have loved being outdoors just like Maddie; if you would have been a crazy, rambunctious ball of energy like all the other little boys I know.

I hope…
that when we see you in Heaven you’ll tell us your full story; that we will find ways to honor your memory and the short time we had with you on earth; that when we find the courage to have another child, somehow you would bless him or her with a bit of your spirit so that we may see glimpses of you.

I know…
that the reason why you were taken from us may never be fully known while I am still on this earth; that you are now in the arms of Jesus, waiting to welcome us Home; that your daddy and sister and I will love you and remember your precious life forever—you will always be our son.

“Profound grief changes you. It can teach you how strong you really are; it can renew your faith; it can leave a deep void in your life; it can remind you of what’s important; it can change your perspective. When you lose someone you love, life’s never really the same again.”
--Angie Lucas

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Baby Album

Yesterday I was lucky enough to have my mom watch Maddie for the day. She does this for me about once a week and I usually take advantage of the time by doing boring things, like grocery shopping and cleaning my house. Necessary evils. Well, yesterday I was feeling sad and heavy-hearted, so I decided to spend my free time doing something that revitalizes me--being creative! I went to Craft Warehouse and got a new pack of little journaling pages (a set that could make 3 baby albums was only $4.99!) and spent the afternoon making one album for Maddie's baby pics (yes, I'm behind a bit!) and a second album for a friend. The pages that are just patterned paper are for 4x6 photos. What fun! :-)

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Monday, September 8, 2008

House Photos

Months and months ago I posted some photos of our remodeled house, but I left out a few rooms and I figured it was about time to do an update. The kitchen is *mostly* done, except for some cabinet doors we need to have professionally painted and then installed (one of the next projects on the never-ending list!), then at some point we'll have a built-in table put in the dining nook in the kitchen. You know how when you're working so hard on a long project and you get it to that "pretty much done" point? Then you sit around and live with it for awhile and pretty soon you have to remind yourself, "Oh yeah, someday I need to get around to finishing that!" Yep, we're there. :-)

Our master bedroom...French doors lead to our backyard (another big project for next Spring!). Poor Lucy, she was so exhausted, what does she do all day? Lay around? :-)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Our New View

We have a new view out our front windows as of today...a freshly landscaped front yard! Over a year ago, when we started the second phase of our house remodeling, we had a crew come to level our yard and build a brick retaining wall and new brick columns on the front porch. Keith and my dad installed a sprinkler system, so our grass was ready to go. This past week Keith has worked tirelessly, building a brick flower bed around the perimeter of the grass and today he finished filling it with plants. Ta-da! The front yard is done! (Well, pretty much...there's always more tinkering to be done!) Hooray for my super-handy husband! :-)