Wednesday, July 23, 2014

big changes in our small world.

we have had some pretty big changes in our small little world over here.

mike has been a United States Marine Corps infantry officer for the past six and a half years.
he trained to be an officer for eight years previous to that.
he's wanted to be a Marine since he was twelve years old.
so, i knew when i married him that this was a life commitment.
not just to him, but to the Corps.
i knew that he was going to be an amazing officer.
i knew that we were in this for the long haul.
i knew that the Marines were going to be our life.

so during the past year, when we were sensing that the Lord was leading us in a different direction, we tried to ignore Him.
we were happy.
it was really, really hard sometimes, but we were happy.

but, then, mike became...less happy.
i think he knew before i did that the Corps that he fell in love with was not where he was supposed to be.
and i can't be happy if he isn't.
so, we prayed and talked and prayed some more.
and mike told me that he didn't know if this was where he was supposed to be anymore.
and all that ignoring i was doing started to make more sense.
and all those little pulls, those little tugs, in a new and totally foreign direction seemed to connect.

we have investments in south america.
mike visited when i was pregnant with jack.
and i got to go last fall.
and we fell in love.
so, when i say we are being pulled in a foreign direction, i mean it quite literally.
we began to see that maybe the Lord had something different in mind.
something exciting.
something scary.
something brand new.
but we started to listen to Him.
and started to realize that we both wanted this new adventure after all.
even though it was never, ever something we expected.

so, a few months back, mike decided to leave the Marine Corps.
this coming from a man (and i can brag on him because i'm his wife and this is my blog) who started #3 out of over 300 Marine officers.  
and rose from there.
he is always at the very top of his classes and his peers.
his superiors offer him whatever positions he wants.
he has more awards than i can count.
but most of all, and what i'm most proud of, is his character.
his superiors and peers constantly say what a moral example he is and how they aspire to be like him.
i am and will always be in awe of his dedication.
i am and always will be so very proud of him.

anyway, i digress :)
the point is that his decision to leave the Corps was unexpected, shall we say.
but that makes him all the braver in my opinion.
i can't even imagine how hard this change must be for him.
he was twelve when he wrote to the commandant and tried to apply for the Marines.
he's almost 30 now.
i can't imagine how scary making that decision for our family must have been.
but that just shows you what a servant of the Lord he is.
and i love him all the more for it.

but now to the specifics.
we are in the midst of this massive career change, a move across country, and a brand new baby on the way.
to say that we need prayers is an understatement!
we will be living in an extra house of my in-laws in san antonio for the next six months while we adjust to the new baby boy and continue our research on south america.
in february, we have flights booked for quito, ecuador, and then plan on traveling all over south america for the next seven or eight months.
with three kids.
and no job.
but we've diligently saved our pennies for a rainy day and guess what? this big adventure is our rainy day.
some people buy a house.
we get the glorious privilege of having daddy home with us for the next year and a half and not have to worry about money.

oh, we'll be busy :)
mike will be researching investment opportunities in south america and working on a new-found passion, writing.
i'll be homeschooling our two oldest in the fall and adjusting to our new little one.
but, more than our rainy day buying us some needed time off, we are using it for this grand adventure.
how amazing to travel as a family for such a long time!
how amazing for our boys to get that kind of once-in-a-lifetime cultural experience!

sure, there are risks.
but no life is worth living without them.
we might get down there and realize this isn't for us.
and we'll come straight back to texas! :)
but, who knows?
we might just find something extraordinary and a new life calling at the same time.
we will leave the details up to Him. 
*please continue to follow this blog for our adventures in south america and as a guinea pig for the blog's new co-author, mike!*

Sunday, July 20, 2014

frittata spaghetti

we don't have pasta too often but we always, always have leftovers.
i think it's because we like our pasta swimming in sauce.
so, i'm always left with two or three cups of cold pasta that is stuck together and can't be reheated.
(in my opinion.)
what to do?!

frittata spaghetti!

you mix it with some eggs and some parm and voila!  an easy and quick supper!
or brunch, with a peach spinach salad. or appetizer, if you cut into little squares and garnish with creme fraiche!
my boys love this cold from the fridge too!

Frittata Spaghetti
Makes one, 10" frittata
6 eggs, beaten
3 tablespoons whipping cream
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Zest of one lemon
3 cups (leftover) whole wheat spaghetti
2 tablespoons olive oil

Whisk all ingredients except pasta in a large bowl.
Fold in pasta.
Heat oil in a 10" non stick skillet over medium heat, until hot.
Slowly pour egg and pasta mixture in and swirl/spread with a spatula until mixture reaches edges of skillet.
Cook over medium heat until the frittata starts to turn golden brown around edges, about 6-7 minutes.
Carefully invert onto a plate and slide back in, cooked side up.
Continue to cook until cooked through, about 5-6 more minutes.
Slide from skillet and cut into wedges.
Serve hot, room temperature, or even cold!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

summer crafts, so far...

we are in between moving, packing, traveling, visiting, and etc but here are a few crafts we've been enjoying so far this summer!  when we get settled, we'll continue crossing off our summer fun list :)

feather painting and bird watching!

shaving cream balloons

an ocean in a bag.
j thought that beads and bugs definitely go in his ocean :)

splatter paint eggs!

*use tempera or washable paint or else your driveway might be permanently "beautiful"*

shaving cream + corn starch + food coloring = "gak" sensory tub

mostly, mv liked it.

but jack got into it eventually :)

fourth of july fireworks!
straws, swirled in red, white, and blue!

bubble wrap paint stomping

and for his last night in our virginia home, we kept michael up till it was dark (past his bedtime), and enjoyed some glow in the dark bowling and firefly watching! 
he had a blast!

when we get settled in our new home in texas, we'll continue crossing off our summer fun list!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

on the road!

well, we're off.
we are on the road from virginia to texas.

it's been a great two years.
going to dc's many attractions.
seeing the leaves turn colors.
building snowmen.
picnicking on the national mall.
picking apples.
camping in the mountains.
seeing the cherry blossoms.

we are happy to get back to the homeland.
God's country.

we'll miss all our friends and neighbors dearly.
but we are looking forward to a new chapter in our lives.

(i still haven't written that post on our big life changes.)
(but, i will.)
(i promise.)

for now, wish us well on the road, 36 weeks pregnant and hauling a massive moving truck.
prayers are appreciated :)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

our fourth + my thirty-first

our holiday weekend was quiet and relaxing.
our boys were having a blast in texas with their grandparents and we decided to have a little date night.
my birthday is two days after the fourth so i always get a bonus at the end of the holiday :)
below are some pictures of our little weekend!

35 weeks pregnant with baby gabe!

thought i'd self-mani for the day :)

we feasted on the last of our steaks in the freezer (moving does have it's perks!) with roasted brussels, smoke gouda gnocchi, and watermelon
fruit pizza for dessert!
and mojito pops!
(mine didn't have the lemoncello...)

land of the free because of the brave.

my brave.

next, it was off to our favorite date night place for a last date for my birthday!

we will miss this place so much!

we had clams in chili-garlic broth, smoked beef tongue sammie, braised short ribs, and duo of quail and housemade sausage.  

then, home for a krispy kreme doughnut cake!
with sparklers.
(weird late-pregnancy cravings at their finest.)

i couldn't resist the duck face.
one of my presents was this awesome hat.
i'm in love.

we had a great weekend but now, it's back to packing!

Friday, July 4, 2014

healthy popsicles!

happy fourth!
need a sweet treat for the kiddos without the sugar rush afterwards?

my babies love these. 
yes, they've had the occasional "commercial" pop, at their nanny's or a friend's house but at home, we try to keep the sugar level down. 
or at least all natural. 
so, i saw these on pinterest a few months back and decided to give them a go!
healthy and packed with fruit, i see them as a big win over commercial brands. 
and during the summer months, my boys have one a day so i guess they see them as a win too ;)

Healthy Popsicles
Makes however many you'd like!
Chopped, diced, or sliced fresh boys like segmented clems, kiwi, blueberries (i get the frozen, wild berries to save some money), grapes, strawberries, etc etc
Pure, no sugar added, coconut water

Add the fruit to the top of a popsicle mold, push in a craft stick (or plastic utensil, if you get desperate!), and fill almost to the top with coconut water!
Freeze and enjoy!

Monday, June 30, 2014

toddler meals, part 3!

we amuse ourselves.
but hopefully you can benefit from my amusement!
have fun and your kids will have fun eating too!

on a whim, i bought a little can of those raviolis.
guess what my kids didn't eat.

nothing cuter than a baby bel mouse!

be careful with this one.
michael was very disappointed when he got to the bottom and there wasn't ice cream. 

and we do love our buffets.

apples with almond butter on top and sprinkled with unsweetened coconut flakes, pecans, and mini chocolate chips!
good for mama too!

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