Friday, May 27, 2011

Manicures

All of the Lee children are thumb suckers.  Ella found her thumb at six weeks old and never turned back.  I distinctly remember the night that Ella found her thumb.  We were staying in a hotel and for some reason we did not have a pack-n-play so I was sleeping in the bed with Ella.  The night she found her thumb she sucked it all night long, VERY LOUD.  Needless to say, I did not sleep at all that night.  Miller would not take a paci and did not suck his thumb.  I did not force the paci and really only tried to give it to him during the day when he was upset.  I thought we were in the clear with him.  Then at four months old Miller found his suckin' thumb.  After seeing how difficult it was to get children to stop sucking their thumb I tried very hard to get Sara Wells to take a paci.  But she would not do it, it only made her more mad.   It only took 8 weeks for her to find her thumb.  So, we have three thumb suckers.  

When Ella turned 3 I stopped letting her suck her thumb all the time (of course I have not done this with Miller yet).  I really laid down the law about sucking her thumb during the day.  Somewhere in the "laying down the law" about sucking her thumb, Ella became a nail biter.  We have worked and worked and worked on not biting her nails.  I told Ella if she stopped biting her nails I would take her to get a manicure.  She had no idea what a manicure was, but she it made her really excited.  It only took about 6 months after that for her to finally stop.  I don't know if it was the manicure, or she was just tired of me constantly telling her to get her fingers out of her mouth, but something worked and Ella stopped biting her fingernails!  It actually happened about 2 months ago and we just got to go.  I feel terrible that it took me so long to keep my promise to Ella, especially for something that is such a big deal.  It is just difficult to find time to leave with only one child.  But we did it yesterday and she was thrilled!

Anxiously waiting
Ella picked out the brightest pink on the shelf.  
The picture does not really show just how bright that pink is.
Such a big girl!!!
The end result.  
This picture makes polish look like it is hot pink.
It is not.
It is electric pink!!!


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Again?

Just when I was starting to get used to my kitchen (when I say getting used to, I mean not burning every single thing I cook!  Not used to electric stove top and the oven is soooo hot) I found out I will have to get used to another new kitchen.  You heard me right, we are moving again!  The rental that we are in (the house next door to "our" house) sold!  I really cannot believe that it sold.  It has been on the market for so long and had at least 2 or 3 contracts that have fallen through.  Murray and I never expected it to sell this soon, especially before we are anywhere close to getting things started at our house.  We knew it was a risk, but thought it was worth it to be so close to our house.  We just did not see it working out like this.  I love our street, it makes me sad to leave, even for a short (hopefully) time.  And it makes me sad for the kids to leave their friends.  However, judging by this picture, I think as long as we bring the TV the kids will be fine.
Since school has been out the kids really have not watched that much TV, which is so nice!  This was just the 20 minute reprieve mommy needed to finish cooking dinner.  There was silence from 2 for 25 minutes.  Even the TV cannot subside Sara Wells' strong desire to be held, she lasted about 5 minutes today.  But every 5 minutes counts!

When we were in seminary our pastor's wife led a discipleship group for the seminary wives at our church.  Her goal was to be very honest with us so that we would be prepared, as much as possible, for what life in the ministry would be like - both the good and the bad.  I feel like because of that time, I have pretty realistic expectations of what life in the ministry can be like.  It is such a joy and privilege for our family to serve the Lord in full time ministry.  The Lord blesses us in so many ways and I would never change what we are doing.  But there is also heartache and heartbreak, and I know the longer we are in ministry the more of that we will experience.  As I have thought ahead about what it will be like when those really hard times come (you don't have to be in the ministry for that to happen - they will come) I have always thought of our home as our safe place.  Things all around us may be hard, but at least our family will have the safe haven of our home.  And when I say our home, I don't mean "home is where the heart is."  I mean home, our house with all of our things.  I just walk in the door at my house and feel a sigh of relief, comfort.  I just never imagined we might not have it anymore.  When we moved next door, it really did not seem like that big of a deal, a little hassle, but we were close and things did not seem that different because we are still on the same street with all of our neighbors.  But the thought of this move is different.  It is like all of my securities are being stripped away.  Talking with Murray's mom after I first found out the house sold, she shared with me what she had just been studying in her quiet time that morning.  Every situation that we are in is a gift from the Lord because it is an opportunity to trust Him.  In light of all that has been going on recently with the tornados both here and in Missouri, the word gift just did not seem appropriate to me.  But gift is the perfect word.  What an honor and privilege that the Lord actively works in my life to make me more like him.  Right now I don't understand and I am frustrated that I have to move.  But really, what is important here?  My ultimate goal for my life and the life of my family is to glorify God.  And if moving 2 times in 2 months or 12 times in 12 months is going to bring us closer to the Lord, than praise God!  I have to be honest with you though, tears are streaming down my face as I write this because it is hard to let go.  It is scary to say, I really am ok with whatever you have in store for us.  Even though there are tears, I know that what the Lord has in store for us is more perfect than I could ever imagine.

Monday, May 23, 2011

"Do Your Pose"

Last night at dinner between getting up 57 times to get more milk, more water, napkins, a fork, more chicken... I noticed Ella and Miller talking to Sara Wells and then dying laughing.  I paused from being "busy" to see what had Miller and Ella dying laughing.  Sitting in front of Sara Wells, Ella would say, "Sara Wells, do your pose."  Without fail, Sara Wells stopped everything to flash the cutest, melt your heart smile.  
Then they all fell apart laughing.  It is really fun to see them all three interacting together.  Especially Sara Wells.  Usually it is Ella and Miller trying to take care of Sara Wells (which usually produces tears), Sara Wells taking their toys(always produces tears, sometimes hitting) or Miller and Ella taking Sara Wells toys (always produces tears with kicking and screaming).  But with this little game they have started, Sara Wells knows that she is being cute and is the focus of all entertainment.  She gets so proud of herself.  This morning with the camera close, I wanted to see if it still had the same effect.

Here is Sara Wells begging for food,which usually cannot be stopped until she has gotten what she wants. (I just realized how bad these pictures make me look.  My daughter is begging for food because she has just woken up and starving and I am snapping pictures dying laughing at how cute she is.  Oh well, she won't remember how hungry she was, but now we will all remember this cute little smile that she gave us.) 

"Sara Wells, do your pose..."
Immediate.  Every time.  It is THE CUTEST thing!


This next picture makes me very sad...
This is my bag packed, ready to go.  But it has not be able to leave yet:(  Murray is out of town and the kids and I plus my mom have been planning to go to Iowa to visit my brother and his family since Murray planned his trip.  We planned this trip because we had to cancel our trip to Iowa at Christmas because of sicknesses.  We were supposed to leave early this morning and make the 12+ hour drive today (me, my mom, 3 kids and the dog - don't be jealous!).  But with the horrible weather that is going on in the midwest, we postponed the trip a day.  There are still storms forecasted tomorrow, but later in the afternoon.  So, my new plan was to leave super early Tuesday morning to try to get through St. Louis before the storms hit.  Well, tonight as I gave Miller his bath he started to complain about his ear.  Within 3 minute he had completely come undone by the pain.  This is the boy who when we go to the doctor for a normal check up, they look in his ear, tell me that he has a horrible ear infection and I am completely clueless.  So, I knew if he complained about his ear hurting it must be pretty bad.  A neighbor (who is a doctor) looked in his ear and confirmed, yes he does have an ear infection, but would not give a prescription.  I called Miller's doctor (who knows our doctor neighbor) fingers crossed, hoping he would call in the prescription.  Nope.  Have to be seen early in the morning.  Sadly, that means that we are having to postpone our Iowa trip another day, maybe two because as of now they are saying 'tornados likely' right on our driving path for Wednesday.  I am sooo sad, but am trying to have a good perspective and a good heart.  I have done pretty good dealing with our house situation, being in rental and being in total limbo resting that God is in control of that situation.  But for some reason, this has been much harder.  I have been asking myself, "what does this expose about my heart?"  It is a trust issue.  Do I really believe that God has my very best in mind?  Sure, it is ok to be sad that my plans are falling apart.  But I have to rest in God's sovereign plan, even when it is different than mine.  If I trust God, I have to believe (with my mind and heart) that these changes in our plans are the VERY best for our family, even when I don't understand why.

For the kids, this just means more time at our house with Granna.  Lots of puzzels, reading, art and of course Chick-fil-a!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Apple Puff Pancake


I have a recipe to share with you that I just received.  My favorite publication came in the mail yesterday, Notes from Toad Hall.  It is a news letter written by Margie Hack.  She and her husband run the ministry Ransom Fellowship.  Ransom Fellowship publishes the magazine Critique that has 6 or 7 issues a year.  But my favorite part of Ransom Fellowship is Notes from Toad Hall.  Sadly this only comes 4 times a year and is usually only 6 to 8 pages, but when my copy comes in the mail, I stop everything I am doing to see what Margie has to share.  Margie has a way of writing that draws out God's beauty in everything!  Margie always inspires me to slow down and look at all the ways that God is working in and around me, in the things that seem good and the things that seem bad.  I have only met Margie briefly at our church in St. Louis, but I feel like I have known her for years!  Every time I read Notes from Toad Hall I feel like I am sitting in her living room having a conversation, always leaving uplifted.

In this issue, Margie included this recipe for Apple Puff Pancake.  I thought, if Margie likes it, it has to be great.  Since it is officially summer at the Lee House and we tend to get our day started a little bit slower in the summer, I thought this would be a fun treat for the kids.

Apple Puff Pancake
Heat oven to 450 degrees.  Melt 3 T. butter in cast iron skillet.  Make sure the sides are greased too.

3 apples, peeled and thinly sliced (I only used two)
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 t. cinnamon

Layer apple slices in iron skillet.  Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon over apples.  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until apples begin to soften and caramelize, stirring after 5 minutes.
2 eggs
3/4 c. milk
1/2 t. salt
1 T. sugar
3/4 c. flour

Whisk eggs and milk.  Add flour, sugar and salt.  Whisk just until smooth.  Pour over apples and bake for 15-20 minutes or until top is puffy and edges are browned.  If it doesn't puff, it is still yummy. (can serve drizzled with maple syrup)
(this is what it looks like when you put it back in the oven)
And it comes out looking like this!
(I will warn you, it does puff up a lot.  So, be careful which rack you put it and and make sure there is plenty of room for puffing.  I am still trying to get used to my new oven.  I knew I could not put it on the bottom because I have burned everything I have cooked on the bottom rack so far.  I decided to put it on the top rack.  When I opened the oven, the pancake and had puffed so much it was all over the elements.  That is why I have some very black burned spots around the edges of mine, yours probably will not have the charring like mine does in this picture.)
I am going to be completely honest, I am not much of a sweets person for breakfast.  As much as I love french toast and pancakes, they just make me sick if I eat them for breakfast.  I knew if I ate this, I would regret it, but I could not resist.  It looked sooo gooey and good!  And it was!  And I did regret it.  But it was so worth it!  I will say, I do think this would make a great dessert if you are having a few people over.  Serve it right out of the oven with some vanilla bean ice cream.  It makes me hungry just thinking about it!

I officially have a new helper in the kitchen.  Sara Wells is never far from me, she actually prefers to be in my arms at all times.  This is extremely difficult when trying to prepare meals.  I think the countertops in the new kitchen are lower than ours because Sara Wells can now stand on a chair and be at the perfect height to watch me cook.  Sara Wells put every apple in the iron skillet this morning for our pancake.  Watching and helping me cook seems to take her mind off the fact that I am not holding her.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

School's Out for Summer!

Somehow my baby girl finished preschool!  I cannot believe the day has come.  I just thought Ella would be home with me forever.  Our sweet time has come to an end.  I know that each stage in life gets better and better, but it is hard to let go.  I think I would have had a much harder time today if it was Ella's last year at her school, but she does have one more year with her sweet teachers and friends.  

Ella had three amazing teachers this year.  Mrs. Beth, Mrs. Amy (left for maternity leave in February) and Mrs. Angela joined the class in February.  I cannot say enough wonderful things about all her teachers!






Here is Miller with his sweet teachers, Mrs. Amy and Mrs. Asha.  Miller loved his first year of preschool!  I think he might have had crushes on his teachers.  Every day he was so excited to see Mrs. Amy and Mrs. Asha!






These pictures are from Miller's class party.  Miller was so excited all morning because he knew I was bringing ice cream to his class.  Miller is pouting in these pictures because his ice cream fell off his stick.


If anyone is looking for last minute ideas for teacher gifts, this is a great one and one that the kids can make.  I got this recipe from the wonderful Mary Saxon.  All of my good recipes are from Mary!

White Chocolate Truffles
Here is what you need...


  • White chocolate covered pretzels (of course they did not have them at the store so we had to make them, but I will say making the pretzels was the kids favorite part).
  • Pecan halves
  • Rolo's
  • White chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 300.

Unwrap Rolos (to be ready for next step).  This is a job for everyone.  Even Sara Wells had fun doing this.  The key for me was to be paying enough attention to her to grab the Rolo from her little hands before she stuffed it in her mouth.  She did get a few past me.

Melt the white chocolate in microwave safe bowl at 30 second intervals, stirring each time.  This is very important so that you do not burn the chocolate!

Cover the pretzels in chocolate.  We found it most effective to put handfuls of pretzels in the chocolate and then fish them out.  Place chocolate covered pretzels on parchment paper lined cookie sheets.
Place rolos on top of pretzels.  Put in oven for 3 minutes.

Lightly press pecan onto melted rolo.

Drizzle with white chocolate.
Fun, Easy and Delicious!

And what to do with the extra white chocolate?  Cover the rest of the pretzels!  
This afternoon I looked down and realized I ate almost half of them while filling out paper work.  I had to hide the bag so Ella and Miller would not notice how much I ate!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Finishing Strong


This weekend was Ella's last soccer game.  When the season started 8 weeks in a row seemed like a very long time.  But with a rained out game, a stomach bug and a tornado, the season flew by.  I think Ella had a fun time.  In hind sight I wish I would have signed her up for a team that was all girls.  Her team was made up of 5 and 6 year old boys and girls.  All of the boys on her team were a year older than her and much faster!  She got discouraged that she did not get to kick the ball very much.  But I will say her last game she did awesome.  She got right in there and pushed (in an aggressive, not mean way) those boys out of her way and took control of the ball.  At the end of the game she was so proud of herself.  She was and is most proud of her trophy.  The next morning Ella was in the bathroom with me while I was getting ready.  Admiring her trophy she said, "Mommy are you so proud of me for getting a trophy?  I did really good in soccer didn't I?"  The trophy is never far from Ella.  I may be reading way too much into it, but as a parent it is really neat to watch your child work really hard all season, even when they were not having the best time, and then be so proud of what they accomplished.  

A few action shots from the last game.

 Go Team Lightening!

In other news at the Lee House.  Things are slowly starting to get back to normal.  One of the Lee kids' (especially Ella) favorite activities is to put music on and dance.  Ella always has to have on a costume if she is going to dance which means that Miller has to have dress up on as well.  Ella chose her bathing suit today, so Miller stayed in the theme and found his sharks bathing suit.  You cannot tell in this picture, but Sara Wells is starting to love to dance with Ella and Miller.  Tonight was the first dance party in the new house.  There is something about blasting music and moving to the beat that can even make dark paneling and plush brown carpet feel like home:)

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Long Time

Hello friends!  I am so sorry it has been so long since I have posted any news.  We are now in a rental house, which is NEXT DOOR to our house!  (Could that be any more perfect?  The only catch is that it is For Sale, so I have to be ready to show the house.)  We just got the internet up and running, which is why there have been no updates.  It has also been a little crazy around here.  We still have no news on our house, so we are just trying to get comfortable in the rental.  I told Murray last night, the wall to wall plush carpeting takes me back to my childhood and there is something comforting in that:).

I realized in the midst of all this craziness (even the hectic rush to finish Easter outfits, before the storm) there are so many things that I have not blogged about that I have wanted to, Ella's birthday, Chloe and Fitz's birthday, Easter and a few easy projects.  So maybe over the next few days (or weeks) I will catch up.

I thought I would start with pictures from Easter.  I will warn you though, there is no good picture of everyone.  I don't know what it is about Easter, but it just never works out in our family to get a good picture.  I tried and tried, but it was just not in the cards.  The pictures are pretty funny though.

The Lee Kids
My Favorite Picture of the Day
 The Lee Kids with the Baker Kids
 Sweet Sara Wells loving all the attention!
 Chloe and Fitz
 All the Cousins