Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Cookie Day 2008

Every year, my mom, Shannon and I get together and spend an entire day baking Christmas cookies. It's such a special tradition. I always look forward to it.

This year was really fun, because my girls (and Jake, too) really got into it.

We started with Peanut Butter Blossoms and my girls were in charge of taking all the Kisses out of the wrappers. They did great. But every time I turned my head, J would sneak a Kiss!

We took a break in the middle of the afternoon for my parents to take their Christmas card picture. Here are a few of my favorites.

I like this one, because Jake has his arm around Em. Too cute!

Poor Baby C!

This one was the winner!

We did sugar cookies and the kids really enjoyed it. I would roll the dough and then let each of them choose a shape and press it out. After the cookies were baked, they all were able to shake the sprinkles on.

Needless to say, it got a little messy. Here's J putting the cookie cutters on like bracelets.

All together, we made PB Blossoms, sugar cookies, turtles, Cream Wafers and Shannon made some Cherry Mash (shout out to our hometown proud, St. Joe!). A delicious and calorie-rich mix of Christmassy-goodness.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Prayers for a Beautiful Friend

My beautiful friend, Beth, is amazing. (Pictured center here, with the other amazing women in my Life Group.)

Today we celebrated her and her journey towards motherhood. It wasn't your typical baby shower, because Beth's pregnancy has not been typical. You see, Beth's baby was diagnosed early in the pregnancy with Trisomy 13. It's a chromosomal abnormality that the doctor's say is "incompatible with life."

It's been nothing short of horrific and petrifying for their family. Beth and her husband Aaron are in our Life Group. And I have to say it's been amazing to share this journey with them.

Even though they are facing a very uncertain outcome, their faith has been unwavering. Beth has been blogging. I can't tell you how much her insight into scripture and her personal thoughts during the pregnancy have blessed and challenged me.

Can you imagine such a prognosis for your son? I certainly cannot.

So, I write this post to celebrate my beautiful friend. But, also to heed your prayers. Beth is 37 weeks today. Her belly continues to grow and baby Jeremy is very active.

We believe we serve a miracle-working God and ask that you pray for a miracle in this situation. Pray specifically for the growth of his heart. Pray for strength for Beth and Aaron.

They are an amazing couple and I have no doubt that God will be honored and praised regardless of how this story unfolds, but they have a difficult road ahead.

The photos below are from the nursery at Beth's house. They will paint the walls this week, but before they do that, they invited friends and family to come over and write prayers and scripture on the wall.

It was really cool to read what people had written. (Click on the photos to view them larger.)

Our Cotton Candy Girl is Dedicated

Baby C is about the sweetest baby in the world. And Saturday was all about her. We had C dedicated at our church. The ceremony was special. I teared up as they read about her and showed her pictures. I was so proud.

She is such a gift. And truly a miracle. I am so grateful that she is here.

Afterwards, we had dessert at our house with family. It was a really special time and it felt good to just focus on our baby girl for the evening.

My beautiful family. I'm stinkin proud of this group.

Andy and I during the dedication ceremony. Check out the family on the left. She had twin boys younger than my twins and a baby, older than my baby. If I had to guess, it looks like she had 3 boys, in 12 months.

Needless to say, they had their hands full. I so wanted to reach out to them and say, can I help you?, hold something?, somebody?

I remembered that I had seen this mom while at a work meeting in Capstone, before C was born. I was so distracted watching her out the window. She whipped out her triple stroller and was loading kids into it from the back door of her mini-van.

I remember during that meeting wanting to run up to her and say, "I have twins too, and I'm about to have a baby! And I'm scared out of my mind! It looks like you're doing it! Let's be friends!"

I didn't get to meet her that night, but I'm gonna look her up. I'm sure we'll have some stories to swap.

Christmas with the Colts

We had a really busy weekend. It started Friday night at the Colt's Christmas party. It's such a nice event, totally for families.

We ate some food... you know, the healthy stuff. Mini hamburgers, mac n cheese, chicken strips, egg rolls. And of course, you can't forget the dessert. Mini donuts for the girls. They came in these cute little individual cups, all warm and delicious. And while I wasn't looking, Lo ate all 6 of her donuts. I was a little stunned. That girl was wound up after that!

So, it's a good thing she could run it off on the Colts' indoor practice field... (look close. the girls are waving at me!)

As usual, J was a little more adventurous than Lo. J jumped on the inflatables and got a snowgirl painted on her arm.

And these weren't your average carnival facepainters, these ladies were really good...

This photo just makes me laugh. Lo is proving with age that she is a clone of her daddy, often in her own little world. She was in the middle of the endzone and decided to squat down and enjoy her sucker from Santa. Such a lady, I tell ya (she's a lot like her dad, but her lady-like ways are probably an accurate reflection of her momma).

The party was complete with a visit to daddy's office, to feed Baby C (yes, she was there, too, although there are no pictures to prove it). They got to try on his Lucas Oil Stadium hard hat, play with the nerf basketball and write on daddy's white walls.

Merry Christmas and Go Horse!


The girls go to MMO two half days each week. I'm always amazed at the things they learn at school. But, I think what I love the most is that they are developing friendships for the first time.

They both love their new friend, Avery. Avery's mommy just had a new baby and since we know adding a baby to the family can be a bit stressful, we offered to let Avery hang out with us one morning to give her mommy a break.

We've only had her over once, but I'm sure it was just the first of many playdates.

This picture is adorable. I loved watching them play. They were such little girls. They were eating popcorn, talking and coloring at the table.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Guilty (again)

I'm guilty (again) of bloggy neglect.

We've had a bit going on. Family in town, friends in town, huge party for hubby, Christmas party (already!) and new work project.
I'll have some picture proof of all the fun, real soon.

So, here's a little pic to cheer everyone up and hopefully keep you coming back for more!

Sweet Baby C will be 5 months old on Wednesday! I can hardly believe. She keeps living up to her cotton candy reputation, by sleeping 11hrs at night and smiling at anyone who talks to her.
Here she is in her ski hat, ready to hit the slopes. Or for a quick ride in the car!

Saturday, November 29, 2008


I love having twin girls. Watching them grow side by side is simply fascinating. These girls are so completely different from each other. And here is one example:

They both love popcorn (I guess they're not completely different). And around here, it's one of many typical afternoon snacks. I'll pop a bag when Lo gets up from her nap and when J gets up second (and she is ALWAYS second)(loves to sleep, that girl), she'll smell it from upstairs and say "Popcorn!"

To help the girls excersice their independence, I let them choose their own popcorn bowl from the plasticware cabinet.

And it never fails. Lo ALWAYS chooses the biggest bowl she can find and J ALWAYS picks a little one. I thought it was just coincidence, but ever since we started this little tradition, they've always picked this way.

I'm still trying to figure out what this interesting pattern means for their future. Not that I ever overthink things. But, still. Fascinating, isn't it?

Progress report

Today was the day. It marked the end of two months with my trainer and the first time on the scale since I started my routine with her. Here are the stats:

10.5 lbs lost
4.1% body fat lost
5.25" lost (2.5" around my hips/stomach)

Feeling really good today. Although I realize I still have a lot of work to do.

Any advice? What do you do to stay motivated when you have a big goal?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I'm a good neighbor!

I'm so lovin' my job right now. For those who don't know, I'm the Comm Director at my church. Which means I get my geek on when it comes to helping the church communicate its message effectively, break down stereotypes and speak the truth compellingly.

We just finished a series, using the book Living a Life on Loan. We finished the series by mobilizing our entire church to serve in the community: 2400 people, 29 organizations at 51 locations, to be exact. It was awesome!

Our goal is to take the momentum from this experience and begin to shift our DNA as a church. To see service become a lifestyle and not something that you check off your i-gotta-do-this-so-i-don't-feel-guilty-anymore list. To ask yourself daily: How have you loved today?

I just can't tell you how exciting it is to be a part of the inner-workings of pulling this thing off right now. I like my job, but to be a part of energizing 3000 people towards a life of service is beyond cool, in my book.

We're working on tools that will help build community and encourage story-sharing. Relational tools make me giddy!

I'm simply humbled and amazed that God uses me in this way.

I'm excited about how it will influence our community. I'm excited about how it will influence me.

Aren't you excited, too?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Countdown Begins

I can hardly contain myself. I've been training with Cindy for a month and a half, now. At two months, I get to get back on the scale, reassess my body fat percentage and take my measurements.

And I'm excited about it! Crazy, right?

In the past, when I've needed to get in shape, I've always tried the same things. And the same things have only worked half-heartedly. I've been fortunate to never truly struggle with my weight, but I've always felt like I wasn't quite meeting my potential either.

Which reminds my, Cindy has a great new quote hanging in her gym now that says, "Don't let your mind cheat you out of your own potential." Or something like that. It's a good one though, right? And so true.

Here's what I'm doing different:
  • NOT getting on the scale (I've never thought I could handle this, because I'm obsessed with numbers, but really ignoring the numbers has been a huge key to my endurance)

  • Scheduled workouts

  • Strength training (this is my primary focus at Cindy's house and my homework is the diet and cardio)(I've never known how to do the strength training stuff, but I have muscles in my abs now that I don't think I've ever felt there before)

  • True accountability - Cindy is a great teacher and motivator, she makes me feel good about my best, whatever that happens to be on that particular day.

Now that it's cold outside and I don't have a gym membership, I'm trying to get creative with how to get in my cardio. So, last week, I checked out some DVDs at the library. There wasn't a huge selection, so I ended up with (don't laugh) "Dancing with the Stars: Cardio Dance" and a Biggest Loser workout.

Honestly, I haven't tried either one, yet. But, I'll let you know how they go. I know my husband is dying to know.

I've still got some work to do. I've still got that waterbed effect on my gut (moms, you know what I'm talking about), but I just had a baby four months ago... so I guess I'll give that some time.

But Saturday, Nov 29 is the day. Thirteen days and counting...

Friday, November 14, 2008

Four Chicks Makeover!

Four Chicks has a new face. And from now on, a new attitude.

My hope is to post more about my everyday life as a mom of twins + one, as a woman striving to become more like Christ, as a wannabe chef and as a church communications professional.

I'm not perfect. I'm not trying to be. I'm just trying to get better all the time.

I hope you'll keep visiting and I hope you'll tell your friends!

I've got some "Stuff" (see my new labels) on my mind and I'm excited to share. And maybe even start a conversation or two.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Chinese Foo

With a sick baby and a day in the hospital, we got some Chinese takeout for dinner Sunday night. I love that my girls are adventurous eaters. They even wanted to attempt the chopsticks like mommy and daddy. Cute!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

First trip to the ER

We took Baby C to the hospital today. The flu was just getting to be too much on her little body. They hooked her up to an IV and replenished all her fluids and calories. It was amazing to see the transformation. After a 30 minute drip, she was alert, cooing, laughing and smiling.

We were thankful for a new invention they used on her that shone a light through the bottom of her hand so that they could quickly and easily spot a vein. I think even the staff were surprised with themselves at how well they inserted her IV. She cried for only a minute and quickly fell asleep in my arms after it was over.

She was fascinated by the pink and purple tape around her hand. She's at that stage where she's just noticing and reaching for toys, so it was cute to watch her little mind at work, pulling at that tape all afternoon.

I was thankful for her sweet temperament. God has blessed us with some sweet babies.

And during my first trip as a mom to the ER, I learned some things about myself, too. I learned that I can (and should) trust my gut in making decisions for the care of my children. I felt calm, collected and confident as Baby C's mommy today. I knew what we needed to do, when to ask questions and when to push back. I felt proud of myself.

She's still not out of the woods. The trip to the hospital just got her tank full to hopefully ride the rest of this bug out at home. She's on a diet of electrolyte fluids for the next 24 hrs (she was on it for the prior 24hrs, too).

Please continue to pray. We really appreciate it.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Pray for my baby

Please pray for my baby. She's been pretty sick since Wednesday.

We've talked to the doctor this weekend, and we're watching to see if she needs to go to the hospital (in case of dehydration). Just flu stuff, nothing more serious than that.

I would appreciate your prayers.

Here's an extra cute video of her to put in your head so you don't forget to pray!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Something's gotta give

My baby girl is home sick today. We were on our way to dinner downtown last night with family and she threw up in her car seat.

The picture reflects what she's doing most today, but we're keeping a close watch on her fluid intake and any signs of fever. It breaks my heart.

But, my motivation to post this morning is less about my sick baby and more about thoughts that an unexpected change in my schedule have provoked.

Over the past few weeks, I've been struggling to figure out a few things. Mostly, my schedule.

I'm a firm believer in being a mom first. I have a part-time job, but I am happy to say that my work is done while my girls are either at school (two mornings a week) or asleep in their beds. It's a pretty sweet deal. It's work I'm passionate about and doing the work fuels my passion.

But, I also lead my adult couples Life Group, co-lead a high school girls Life Group and currently work out three times a week with a personal trainer... and over the last week, I hit a wall. And come face-to-face with the reality that something's gotta give.

I'm not sure yet what it's going to be and ultimately, it may be nothing.

See, I'm working on this new process in my life. I listened to a really great podcast the other day from Mosaic Church out in LA. I can't even tell you exactly what the speaker was talking about, but it was a single point that he made that really stood out to me. He said he was talking to a busy mom, and she was telling him how she was seeking "balance" in her life.

He challenged her by asking where in the Bible she heard that God calls us to "balance." He said, it's nowhere in the Word. Jesus wasn't balanced. Paul certainly wasn't balanced. God doesn't call us to find balance.

He calls us to find rythmn. Although at the moment I can't remember where in scripture he found this, but it's made a lot of sense to me, nonetheless.

I'm a convicted girl. And one of my convictions is that I shouldn't push my convictions onto others. But, let me say plainly here that I am convicted to never use my kids as the reason why God can't use me in this season of my life. I don't think that my kids excuse me from making myself available to God.

YES! I am a mom first. Which means, the majority of my week is focused on my girls: nurturing, disciplining, feeding, dealing with poop. And they will always be my priority.

I want my kids to see me serving. Using my gifts and passions and getting fuel from it.

But, somewhere in the last week, I must have missed a beat. Things are feeling out of sync.

I know I'm going to have moments like this. Where I'm just plain over it. I want to quit every commitment I've made and stay at home and not feel so stinking rushed all the time.

But, for me, that will only feel good for like a week.

I need to take a minute (a mommy time out, if you will) and sometimes in life I just need a good friend to tell me to SLOW DOWN. But, most of all I need to have some serious heart-to-hearts with Big G.

In the meantime, maybe I should wear a sign: White girl, desperately seeking rythmn.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happy Halloween

We started out our Halloween day by oversleeping. Don't ask me how that happened. But, we got up and at em in a hurry and up to the McCord party barn for a really great playdate - with 60+ moms and kids. It was a zoo of preschool age children, but a lot of fun.

The kids had story time, a costume parade, crafts, lunch and impromptu dancing (see video below).

We came home for naps and got up to go trick or treating and be friendly with our neighbors. Then off to another party at the barn. This time for adults and kids.

Our family dressed up this year as characters from the Wizard of Oz: Baby C was Glenda the Good Witch, Lo was the cowardly lion, J was Dorothy (complete with ruby slippers), Andy was the tin-man and I was the scarecrow.

Baby C's cozy spot during the playdate. A pretty rough life, I tell ya.

Sweet niece (the butterfly), aunt Shan-Shan, Grammy and Lo. It takes a village and I'm so thankful that my village is close by to enjoy times like these.

This pic gives you an idea of the chaos that was the Halloween playdate. These are my people - moms, with babies strapped to them and toddlers at their feet, all while wearing a smile.

There's no place like home. I tried to get J to say that all day long. No luck.

Our family at the party. Aren't we cute?

Daddy dancing with Dorothy. Wish this pic wasn't fuzzy. But, it's still sweet.

The hostess with the mostest. Jme and Jac - she was the CUTEST little pirate!

Lo with her GGpa. It's special to watch how Lo is drawn to her GGpa.

Superman! My handsome nephew stikes a pose.

Aunt Shan-Shan showing us what a lion says "Roar!" Lo less than enthusiastic.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I love fall cooking

Fall is here... not in the calendar sense (that was awhile ago), but in the curl up beneath a warm blanket with a warm beverage sense. I am so excited to break out my Crockpot and try some new recipes.

My Grandma Dee was in town this last week. I love my Gma Dee for many reasons, but one is that she is a great cook. She's the one who taught my mom and my momma taught me... and the tradition continues.

She brought a cooking magazine with her and I snagged it to copy some recipes and tried this one tonight:
Potato Kielbasa Skillet

1lb red potatoes, cubed
3Tbs water
3/4lb smoked kielbasa or Polish sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 c chopped onion
1 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs brown sugar
2 Tbs cider vinegar
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp pepper
4 c fresh baby spinach
5 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled

Place potatoes and water in a microwave-safe dish. Cover and microwave on high for 4 minutes or until tender; drain.

In a large skillet, saute kielbasa and onion in oil until onion is tender. Add potatoes; saute 3-5 minutes longer or until kielbasa and potatoes are lightly browned.

Combine the brown sugar, vinegar, mustard, thyme and pepper; stir into skillet. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 2-3 minutes or until heated through. Add spinach and bacon; cook and stir until spinach is wilted.

Jenni's notes: I'm dieting, so I used Turkey Sausage, only 90 calories/serving. This is a fast, all-in-one recipe. I loved that it used red potatoes and fresh spinach (lots of vitamins). I'm definitely adding this one to my fall recipe repertoire.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Another pumpkin patch

We visited Russell Farms with Daddy, Uncle Mikey and Leigh Leigh. It was a great time and this patch was perfect for the girls age. We'll definitely being going there again next year.

My cute hubby!

We just picked ONE pumpkin this time, which made our collection complete - we now have 5!

It's great to have a Sissy, when it comes to see-saws!

Lo liked the horse swing, made from an old tire.

Family picture

The girls love their Uncle Mikey and Aunt Leigh Leigh!

Bored with her view

Bored with her view from the swing, Baby C has decided she wants to look at the room from a different angle. With her increasing strength, she's now able to get sideways in her swing. Although not on purpose, it looks like she's turning to get a better view of the TV. Sweetest baby ever!

Puzzle Me

I've titled this video "Puzzle Me" because that's what Lo says to me, when she wants me to sit down with her and work a puzzle. It's one of the girls favorite activities right now and they are both so good at them.

I'm simply amazed by their little brains. This puzzle is labeled for ages 3+, but is no problem for Lo.

This video is a little long, but if you haven't seen the girls in a while, this will give you a good idea of what they've been up to lately - lots of talking, singing and puzzle working. And there's a little clip of Baby C at the end, too.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


My friend, Danielle, tagged me in a game of Random Facts.

My job is to post seven random facts about myself. So, here it goes...

1) The temperature in my car must always be set on an even number... odd numbers just don't feel right to me. Sometimes my husband will drive the van and set it at an odd number just to bug me.

2) I am not a morning person.

3) I like my fingernails to be really short. I absolutely HATE dirt under my fingernails.

4) I overanalyze.

5) I have convinced myself that Qdoba burritos are a healthy food, despite the 800+ calorie price tag.

6) I dream of someday having a garden in my backyard, where I can grow organic produce and herbs. The problem, I don't have a green thumb. I hope I get one in the next couple years, because I think this would be a fun project to do with the girls, too.

7) I always looked forward to chicken nugget day at school... the warm wheat rolls, cheesy potatoes, nuggets and honey for dipping. Yum.

Now, if I were truly dedicated to this game, I would post 7 people to tag... but it's getting late and I'm pretty tired, so here are 3 people... no, better make it 4 (it's even) people I tag to join the fun:

1) Nicole A.
2) Shannon
3) Jaime
4) Beth

Workout Workup

So here's the scoop on my quest to get my body back.

I'm still working out with Cindy. She's so great.

I really think accountability has been the key for me this time. I'm such a goody-good and I like to be the teacher's favorite. So I do my best to do EVERYTHING Cindy tells me to do.

Which means, I'm working out between 4 to 6 times a week. Watching my portions. Counting calories. Not eating after 6p.

The funny thing about not eating after 6p; I thought I would be starving, and for a few weeks I was awful hungry, but she told me it would get better and believe it or not, it has!

So here's the most exciting news...

For the first time since January (when I started to show with Baby C), I fit into REAL jeans. No more elastic maternity waste bands!

I pulled them from my closet, took a deep breathe, got them over my booty and started to zip. Those jeans went up and on with very little muffin top.

It's time to celebrate... maybe with M&Ms? Probably not. Don't want to get too cocky.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Pumpkin Patch

Last Friday, I took the girls to the pumpkin patch at Stoney Creek Farms. We met up with some friends, who invited their friends and we ended up filling an entire hay ride with our group.

The girls were semi-interested in picking out pumpkins. Lauren was more concerned with setting upright all the pumpkins that had fallen on their side. It was pretty cute.

They also had some fun playground sets that the girls enjoyed. Lots of swinging and sliding.

We're probably going to another patch this weekend so that daddy can get in on the fun, too. Happy Fall!