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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Five Years

It's been five years today that Grandma went to Heaven. That is a CRAZY number to me. I think about her every single day. I miss her every single day. I need her every single day.

This book I wrote is about when you don't understand life and how easy it is to lose hope and faith when you lose someone you think you can't do life without. Five years ago, that happened to me, and five years ago I found out the hard way that through the darkest and coldest of days, God is faithful. Five years ago, I stood in front of a casket holding the hand of the dearest person on Earth to me and said goodbye, and in that moment knew, I wasn't alone, even though I had never felt more enveloped in loneliness. Grandma was the one who led me to the place where hope is stored up and given out. Yes, I miss her every day, but I could not be more grateful for the years I had with her. What she did for my life, and continues to do, can't be measured.

I knew that my step-dad had taken some pictures during those days right after we lost her. I knew they existed, but I had never really looked at them. Last week, I decided I wanted to see them and asked him to send them to me. When they came across my computer screen, I literally froze. The images were hard to see, yes, but also were such a reminder to me of God's faithfulness and that His strength truly is perfect when ours is gone. And mine was completely gone.

I don't know how I stood at her side at the funeral home and held her hand for over an hour. I could have actually stopped that sentence at, "I don't know how I stood." But I did. Matt told me that I didn't want to leave. I just wanted to stay there with her. I don't remember that, but I do remember looking down at her, studying every feature of her face and hands, trying to make sure I didn't forget anything. And I don't think I have. But what I am certain of is that, He stood there with me. With all of us.

I finished my edits today. August 31st. The book is out of my hands and will be in someone else's tonight. I wish it could be her's, but what a fitting day for me to finish. August 31st. I did not plan it this way. But there are no coincidences.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Jeb goes to KDO

Today is Jeb's first day of Kids' Day Out. (Click here to see him last year on his first day.) I ADORE that baby boy, but have LOVED my morning alone. It's been a long time....

So far I have gone to the gym and battled the elliptical, showered without worrying about what's going on in the living room, and started this blog post. Next on my list... finish editing, fold laundry, go get the boy. It's going to be a good day.

Here are some shots of him getting ready to "go 'cool and see my priends." (Does that need interpreting? Surely not.) What ever will we do next year when he starts the Shiloh three year old program and we have to cut his hair? As Scarlett says, I'll think about that tomorrow.

Friday, August 27, 2010

G-Pops and the Ice Cream

A few weeks ago, Matt's dad told me about a little contest they were having at his work... a little company based here in Northwest Arkansas. You may have heard of it.

I don't know the proper terminology, but some of the "big bosses" were asked to submit a recipe for homemade ice cream, then make it and serve it to the employees. The employees would then vote, and a winner would be selected.

Knowing how much we love do to homemade ice cream, Matt's dad, aka G-Pops, asked me if I would help him out. I agreed, and all this week, Jeb and I have been making ice cream. I decided to come up with a recipe that would be an automatic hit, Oreo Caramel Pecan. I mean, how can you go wrong?

We made two huge containers. Warning, you may gain a pound or two just by looking at the following picture.

Gigi, Jeb, and I went to Tyson today to help serve and cheer on Team G-Pops.

It was a huge turn out, and the competition was fierce. There was quite a bit of bantering among the various contestants, but in the end...

WE WON! Yay, Team G-Pops!

Here is the recipe if you are interested. We received a lot of compliments and oohs and ahhs. Definitely a keeper.

Homemade Oreo Caramel Pecan Ice Cream

Mix together 4 cups half and half, one can sweetened condensed milk, and a teaspoon of vanilla and add to ice cream machine.

When almost done, add 1 1/2 cups crushed Oreos and 2/3 cup chopped pecans. Set in freezer for an hour. Take out and transfer to freezer safe container, layering ice cream with a layer of caramel sauce. (Caramel sauce recipe found here.) Then top with more caramel sauce, Oreos, and nuts.

Seriously, it might just be to die for. Thanks to everyone at Tyson who voted for us! We had a lot of fun.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

My A1c rocks.

High fives all around. I got a great report today at my endocrinologist's, who, by the way, is around my age and just a super cool guy. I love it when a doctor talks to you non-doctorly. (My blog. I can make up words if I want.)

For example, that night in February when he diagnosed me with Type 1 diabetes, I sort of needed a second to 'collect' myself from the news. And he very cooly told us, "It's ok to be upset. Don't be all tough. This sucks. I know. It just sucks. But you're going to be ok." Matt and I don't know what we would have done without him through all this.

Ok, back to the appointment. I rocked. He said I am doing great with the pump. My infusion sites look great (sounds scary) and my numbers were awesome. When I was diagnosed, my A1c level was off the chart, and the chart went to 13. Today, it was 6.1. A 6.5 is considered excellent. In other words, I got an A+.

If you're wondering what A1c is, it's also called hemoglobin A1c, and is a blood test that measures the level of glycosolated hemoglobin in a person's blood. That totally cleared it up, didn't it? Long story short, A1c levels correspond to a blood sugar levels.

So my 6.1 A1c level indicates that for the past 3 months, my blood sugar levels averaged about 135. Yay, me. I was so glad to be given a thumbs up. Dr. M was right. This disease does suck, but it does not control me. Not even close.

Now, on to tackle the nap mat.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wednesday Randomness

Random thoughts on a Wednesday...

1.) Jeb's nap mat isn't going to make itself. He has to have it by Monday, and I need to tackle it asap. I'll let you know how it turns out. Matt told me, "He's a boy! Just send him with the blue and red plastic mat." GASP! He knew by my reaction that what he said was REEE-DIC-U-LOUS.

2.) I go see my endocrinologist tomorrow. It will be my first appointment since getting my pump. I'm hoping he tells me my numbers are rockin'. I'll let you know about that, too. I've been trying so hard to be a good little diabetic.

3.) I should finish my book edits by Friday, and when I do... I'm going to tackle our bathroom. I'm hoping to take our cabinets from this...

... to something like THIS. I love how my kitchen turned out. I hope the finished product on the bathroom cabinets make me just as happy.

4.) I just got a text from the girls' school, reminding me not to forget that there is no school on August 31st. AUGUST 31ST. AUGUST 31ST. Try as I may, that date just keeps rolling back around year after year. I had forgotten it was so close. Here's my post last year.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Just Another Post about Fear

I love this picture of Grandma. It's always been one of my favorites. She was in her twenties when it was taken, somewhere in California, and is the only picture in existence of her on a beach.

I remember when I was a very little girl, asking her, "But why didn't you look at the camera?" And her answer? She told me she was terrified of the water and was afraid it might pull her in when she wasn't looking. Even as a little girl, I remember that seeming like such a sad answer. She was at the ocean, a place she always wanted to see, and yet she was so afraid of it, she couldn't enjoy or appreciate its beauty.

I realize, sometimes, that's exactly how I approach things in my own life. I talk a lot on here about fear, and that's mainly because it is, and has always been, the greatest obstacle I face in my day to day life. I have allowed fear to hold me back over and over again, and it's only until recently that I have begun trying to face it head on with scripture, books by people/authors I respect, and just being very open and honest about my struggle.

How sad to miss out on life's beauty, our ultimate life, because of fear. Websters says fear means to drive or force by frightening. I don't want to be driven by anything other than God's will for my life. When I'm forced by fear, I'm travelling down paths that were never meant for me. I want to be on His path, doing what He's called me to do, and doing it with a spirit of courage, knowing He means it when he says, ...

because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father."

I think we all have our own raging sea at our backs. It's so tempting to turn around and stare until it paralyzes us where we are. Believe me... if ever there were an expert in this department, I'm your girl. But I'm working on it. I'm trying to be "strong and courageous."

Oh, and Grandma... water was undoubtedly one of her biggest fears. She was terrified of it. But on July 21st, 1985, she walked out into it, holding my hand and the preacher's, and we were baptized, together. She was sixty-three, and it was the first and last time she ever went under water. Talk about strong and courageous... I had a great example.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Of Falls Past...

I know I shouldn't rush things. But I am chompin' at the bit for fall to arrive in Northwest Arkansas. I appreciate every season, but fall is the one that I anticipate the most and am always sad to see go.

So, I thought I'd try to hurry things up a bit by taking a little walk down memory lane with some snapshots of falls past.

Hurry up, Fall! This family is ready to see you again.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Mornings with Jeb

I miss my girls. I really do. But let me tell you... I eat up my time with my boy. 2 1/2 years have flown by, and my little 7 lb sweetie has turned into a wild man with a flare for the dramatic.

My favorite time of day with him is morning. He's just so darn funny... and a creature of habit. He wants his "cereal" and his "George" (Curious George) before his day can begin.

Every morning when he finishes his cereal and stands up, he always points to the big wet spot and says, "Dat milk, Mommy. No pee. Dat jus' milk."

Thanks for clearing that up, Son.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Quick Wall Filler

I had a big wall I needed to fill with something and only $20 to spend. (Sigh.) It was time to get creative. Well, sort of. This project was super easy, and I don't know how many creative juices were flowing.

I went to Hobby Lobby and bought a 50% off, damaged frame. While there, I found a cool decorative ball and used my 40% off gift certificate they send you online. And just like that I spent my $20. (Another sigh.)

So I called Matt's mom (aka, Gigi) and asked if she had any smaller frames she wasn't using. She did, and Jeb and I went over to get them. After nearly killing herself with falling boxes, Gigi dug around in a closet and found me several frames. Sweet. (Thanks for risking your life, Gigi.)

I came home, got out some ribbon, my new purchases, and used frames and pulled this together.

I love surrounding myself in beach pictures. That one of the girls is my favorite. Such sweet sisters...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Vegetable I Just Met

So, yesterday I was watching Dr. Oz. I'm being honest when I say, it was my first time ever to see the show. But as I flipped through the channels, the caption "Woman Loses 200 Pounds" caught my attention. I am a SUCKER for weight loss shows.

As I watched (aka, sat completely glued to the tv), Dr. Oz told the story of a woman named Nancy who lost over 220 pounds eating healthy and exercising. The before and after pictures were INSANE. I love a good weight loss story. Anyway, she gave some tips on healthy eating, and one of the dishes she made caught my attention.

It LOOKED like a plate piled with spaghetti noodles and covered in marinara sauce. She then explained that it was actually a plate full of spaghetti squash topped with marinara. Instead of being carb packed and high calorie, it was low in both and the perfect, healthy meal.

Ok, I don't know if I've been living in a dark closet my whole life or what, but I had never seen anything like that. Apparently, I am unfamiliar with spaghetti squash. In my defense, the audience ooohed and ahhhed, too. In the end... I had to try it for myself. And here's what I did....

I BOUGHT a spaghetti squash! (Yesterday, I didn't know they existed. Today, I OWNED one!)

Next I poked at least five holes in the squash with a knife and popped it in the microwave for 10-12 minutes on a few paper towels, turning it every 3 minutes or so. Then I took it out and let it sit for 5 minutes until it was cool enough to handle.

Next I sauteed some chopped garlic, onions, green peppers, and mushrooms in a little olive oil. (Love how that smells!)

It was time to cut open my squash. Oh the anticipation! I sliced it in half and dug out the seed part with a spoon, then took a fork and began scraping at the edges. And there they were! Spaghetti noodle stands! Check. it. out.

Is that not cool? (For those of you who knew about this secret vegetable, just humor me, ok?) Next, I transferred it to a bowl.

Added my sauteed veggies and a little salt and pepper.

Then topped it off with a little marinara and some parmesan cheese.

The big question.... How did it taste? Well...

After a few minutes, I totally forgot I was eating squash and not spaghetti. I was a little afraid the texture would throw me off, but it really is similar to noodles, plus, the veggies added some great texture, as well. Very, very good, and very, very healthy.

As far as nutritional differences... the spaghetti in my pantry has 210 calories per serving, and 45 grams of carbs. The squash has only 45 calories, and 5 grams of carbs. That's a big difference. Here's the Dr. Oz recipe if you're interested. Please know I tweaked it just a little. And here's another one that looked good enough to try. Happy fake spaghetti eating!

Surprises, surprises everywhere

It is only Tuesday, but shaping up to be a week of surprises in the Slaughter house. It is not uncommon for my girls to leave me little 'surprises' throughout the day. For example, yesterday, Estella Dru left me a silly band on my glasses before leaving for school. She strategically placed it somewhere she knew I'd be going soon. And the first thing she asked when I saw her after school was, "Did you get it?" I knew what she meant, and I was wearing it for her. (Not sure why she chose an orange whale, but let's move on....)

This morning, I opened the cabinet for a bowl of cereal, and found this, her first assignment of kindergarten. Now if that's not sweet, I don't know what is.

BUT, there were other surprises that were not so sweet.

Fooooooooor example. This morning, I got out my meter to prick my finger before breakfast. I don't know what the little device I use is called, but you dial it to a number intensity (aka how far you want the needle to stick out), on a scale of 1 through 9. You then push a little button, and a small needle shoots out like a little gun and pricks your finger. Sounds scary, but you get used to it. I barely even feel it anymore. UNLESS... someone changes the number setting without your knowledge from 3 all the way up to 9!!!! I pricked my finger this morning and literally fell onto the floor, wailing. I then noticed that the needle was out so far it probably hit bone. (That might be a little dramatic.) But let's just say I had enough blood to check my blood sugar ten times plus.

After, I went into the bathroom only to discover this....

I'm choosing to believe that this, along with the needle thing, was completely accidental and that no one is actually sending me clandestine messages that they are out to get me. But this is freaky, right? You know it is.

Surprises or not, I'm working on a fun project today that involves a big, empty wall and a nice, big something to fill it! Stay tuned! (If I live that long.)

Monday, August 16, 2010

First Day... Again

Hold it. Hold it. Hold it. Stop the music. There is NO WAY I have a kindergartner, ok? She only started preschool just yesterday. SEE!!

And Belle... she couldn't possibly be in second grade. I just got her ready for her very first day of school ever, too. I remember it clearly. She was four years old and climbed up in Daddy's truck without the slightest moment of hesitation and gave me a confident, "Bye, Mom!"

Oh wait, maybe I do remember her beginning kindergarten. But it just isn't possible for her to be in second grade, is it? I guess there was last year....

Wow. Where does the time go? My house is so quiet this morning. The first thing Jeb said when he woke up was, "Where my gurls?" He got over it upon realizing he had complete control over the tv, but still.... We miss them.

Here's to a great first day a school for Miss Belle and Miss Estella Dru! Their mommy has been thinking about them and praying for them all day.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

I am with you, Kid.

Am I the only one who feels like this summer flew by? Maybe it's because we did our 'big' vacation so late. Or maybe it's because I'm not quite ready to let the girls go.

Oh, I'll be honest. They drove me a little crazy sometimes. Those Slaughter sisters can fight, make no mistake about it. But we had so much fun this summer. As I talked about HERE last year, I just feel incredibly humbled and honored to be their mom. I hope I soaked up every single second of their sweet little lives this summer. And I hope they will carry the memories they made around in their hearts for a lifetime. Speaking of those memories, here's just a few...

Jeb grew tired of the ever-present paparazzi. (But oh how he rocked that hat.)

We swam (splashed) in the red neck, blow up, back yard, Target pool.

(Matt, look away.) We played dress up. (We ALL played dress up.)

We painted!

We made lots of yummy drinks.

Daddy and Jeb kept up with the yard work.

The girls went to art camp.

We took time to smell the flowers.

This little guy watched as...

...his daddy baptized his sisters.

We had some serious princess tea parties.

We baked a lot.

We held hands.

We went to the beach...

...and soaked up the sun.

We ate sno cones.

And we smiled. A lot.

And we did it all together... as a family... just like it should be. These days go by so quickly, just like sand falling through our fingers. I want to savor every second. This year has brought abundant change to my life... most of which I never saw coming until I found myself face to face with it. But every single change, whether welcomed or not, brought this family closer. And I remind myself, your Father knows what He's doing. Just trust. It's that simple. Trust and drink up every second of this life He gives you. Tomorrow isn't promised. I hope I make the best of all my todays.

Life loves to be taken by the lapel and told, "I am with you kid. Let's go". ~Maya Angelou