Monday, December 14, 2015

{Foodie Post No. 2} Chile Relleno Soup & Floutas

Upon the request of one of my readers I am going to go ahead and post the recipes for the Chili Relleno Soup and Chicken Floutas in spite of having no pictures of the step by step process. I could hold off and post until I make it again but, who knows when that may be?

The original recipe I found on pinterest, actually I found someone who had reblogged it into a healthier version so I followed her link over to the origin of the unhealthy version: House of Yumm.
You are welcome to simply go over there for the recipe but after rereading her recipe I see I did one or two things differently, so, I will write the whole thing out here.

Chile Relleno Soup
5 Poblano Peppers
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Butter
One onion chopped
1/2 cup of Cilantro chopped
4 cloves of garlic crushed
1/2 cup Flour
2 cups Chicken Broth
1 cup Milk
1 cup Cream
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
1 cup Shredded Pepper Jack Cheese
2 Eggs, divided
2 Tbsp Flour
1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil (or any frying oil)

To start off with rub a little olive oil over your Poblano Peppers and place them on a foil lined baking pan in your oven. Broil on High for about 10 or 15 minutes making sure to turn them to roast all sides. Once they are looking shrively put them into a ziploc bag (or paper bag) and close it to steam them.

In a 2 quart sauce pan saute the Onion, Cilantro, and Garlic in the Olive Oil and Butter. Once they are soft add the flour and stir until it is browned; about 2 minutes. Add the Chicken Broth, Milk, Cream, Salt, and Pepper. Bring to a low simmer.

Once your peppers have cooled enough to touch remove them from their bag and peel off the skin. Being careful not to shred the peppers, remove the stem and scoop out the seeds. Save two of the peppers whole, chop the other three and add to the soup. Continue to simmer 15 or 20 more minutes.

Whip your Egg Whites for about a minute, until frothy, and add the flour. In a separate bowl beat the Yolks.
Put your frying oil in a skillet and begin to heat.
Taking the two Poblano Peppers you reserved, carefully stuff a small amount of Shredded Cheese into each. Dip the stuffed peppers first into the Egg Yolks and then into the  Egg White Flour mixture. Add them to your oil and fry each side 1-2 minutes.
Add the rest of the Shredded Pepper Jack Cheese to your soup and scoop servings into two large bowls, place the Chile Relleno's on top of the soup and enjoy!

I had a lime so I squeezed some lime juice in the soup and over each bowl because what goes better with mexican cooking than fresh lime juice?!
I found the soup was more than two servings worth so if you want to take my word for it buy two or three more Poblano Peppers and make more Chile Rellenos. Also, you could just skip making the soup all together and just make the Relleno's because, if you're like me you'll agree that they are on the top of the "Best things to order at a Mexican restaurant' list and that is why you made this recipe in the first place.

Chicken Floutas
1 Chicken Breast shredded
Taco Seasoning
Cilantro chopped
Lime Juice
4 Tortillas

Add a heavy amount of taco seasoning to the shredded chicken breast. Throw in a handful of chopped cilantro and squeeze about half a lime's worth of juice in. Mix that all together and then evenly distribute it between the 4 tortillas and roll very tightly. Fry on each side until golden brown and crispy in 1/2 cup of oil.
I made these during the first few steps of the soup recipe and fried them in the oil the soup recipe called for. I then reused it for the Chile Rellenos.
Since these were done before the soup I put them in a pan, squeezed whatever was left in the lime over them and put them in a 375 degree oven to keep them hot and crispy for dinner.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I! Comment letting me know if you make it or do anything differently and share your result :D
A low quality picture of this meal but alas, it is the only one I took

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Life in December

Thanksgiving has come and gone and the end of 2015 looms near.
my dinner plate on Thanksgiving Day
Thanksgiving; as I predicted, was wonderful. I don't know about you but I enjoyed 3 days filled with feasting, reheating, and feasting again. I spent time with family and friends, played several rounds of Euchre, and just in general thoroughly enjoyed my favorite week of the year.
I also won NaNoWriMo, hitting 50k on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving I believe so I was able to focus solely on the food to be prepared.

I find it kind of odd but, for me, it is as if Thanksgiving marks the end of my year and the start of the new one. I mean, I still enjoy celebrating the actual beginning of the next year, I will soon be trading lists with mommy planning for that family feast of snack foods and then staying up New Year's Eve to watch the ball count down the last few seconds of 2015 and then wish my family a "happy new year" as we all start 2016 together. But, for some odd reason, perhaps because celebrating Christmas has never been a part of my life, Thanksgiving is the end of this year before the celebrations of the next. So since Thanksgiving has come and gone I find myself and the stalemate of the year, the days with out time, I simply wait for the new year to begin. 
I have pulled out the projects that all got set aside in November due to NaNo. I have been trying to work on them between feeding Jerusha, folding laundry, planning dinner, and keeping myself alive. Jerusha has been a sweet joyful baby while she is awake but recently she has been sleeping a lot, waking often demanding to eat.It has certainly been taking its toll on me, between her and growing another baby I find myself exhausted nearly always. It's not even that I want to sleep, I just feel so wiped out. I probably am not eating nor drinking enough to keep up with my babies demands let alone my own bodies needs. Here's to hoping I do better.
Success in projects include:
Hanging our 'Adventure' map and cork board on the wall, although we haven't traced our adventures in.
And that is it, I had finished braiding my t-shirt strips for my rug but found it to be too short so I am in the process of cutting more, I really hope to dedicate an entire post to that project, and SOON!
I took down our fall decorations and put up a few wintry ones.
I have a dresser for Jerusha now so that forced me to go through her baskets of clothes. I boxed up 6 - 9 month items and pulled out 12-18 month. Several of the 9-12 wont fit her much longer but I wanted to get a few more wears out of them :) After going through her clothes and putting them all in their place Jerusha's room is much cleaner and less cluttered.

I don't have much other news in my little bubble. Last night I made a yummy dinner of Chili Relleno Soup (Chili Relleno's being my favorite thing to order when we go to a Mexican restaurant) and Chicken Floutas and I really wish I'd have done step by step pictures and made a post out of it. I really enjoyed the dinner and found it to be much easier than I had expected (which is why I didn't bother to take pictures when I started ;))
Well this post must come to an end because a certain cheerful chubster is getting less cheerful without my complete attention... 

Oh, one other note; Wesley's Thanksgiving gifts to me were a curvy maternity pillow (I'm not exactly sure what they are called but they are a m a z i n g   and a new Bible. As sad as it makes me I was in need of a new one, my much loved 11th birthday gift from daddy had seen too much wear and tear and now as I juggle a baby in church it has become impossible to keep my old Bible all together. I hate to retire it so I probably will continue to use it at home but I have a struggle there as well. My new Bible came with a reading plan which Wesley and I have started and because I want to be familiar with my new Bible I'm using it, which I'm afraid has left my treasured most favorite Bible neglected :( I will find the balance.. I would also note that I am pretty picky when it comes to Bible's and Wesley did an excellent job trying to find one that meets my specifications.

And now off I go to mommy :)

I hope you enjoyed this installment of my bubble and hope that soon I will get back into the blogging groove and have topics for you instead of just rambles. ~Haley 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Thanksgiving Week Is Upon Us

Thanksgiving week is upon us and here I sit, at 10:13 AM still dressed in pajamas watching my snotty, sniffly, sunnny little, eight month old struggle to open a board book.
This morning I have folded three loads of laundry (not because I was ambitious and washed all of that this morning, no, because I was lazy and have been putting off the folding every time I have washed laundry in the past week). I made a small pot of coffee to help with motivation on my to do list. And I am trying to schedule my week.
It is Thanksgiving week and not a single thing has been done in preparation for the big day. I haven't even gotten the Mexican Wedding Cookie recipe out let alone started them, buckeyes, or bon bons. I have gone over my Google Docs of Thanksgiving food and discussed it with my mother. So there is something. BUT my parents house doesn't have the fall decorations out yet so there is another thing out of place as we near the big day. Oh well, I am sure the things necessary to Thanksgiving will get done. Necessary, say, like the gathering of my nearby family to feast on foods we prepare and sit around remembering our blessings in this past year and most of all the fellowship of my family praising God for said blessings.
I need to write a list of the blessings and tape it to my family's kitchen wall as I do every year, people then add to it and word things their own way. This year the list will contain at least these: Birth of Jerusha Ann <3, birth of Crete Braxton, the new baby boy mommy is expecting, the new baby I am expecting, safety and fun on the trips Wesley and I made this year; Niagara Falls, Holden Beach, Ohio, the trips my family went on; Fort Morgan, Illinois to meet Crete, my parents trip to Florida, the trip to St. Louis my family and our family took together, the safety daddy has been blessed with this year driving for UPS, Daniel walking away unhurt from his recent accident, Wesley and I purchasing our first home, having our first family reunion, the safety and fun my siblings and or family enjoyed during sports, skiing, hiking, and the like, and I am sure there are many more little blessings that could be added to this list.
Whether or not we get every little thing done traditionally for this years Thanksgiving Day I know it will be my new favorite Thanksgiving as each one has become before, because each year we add more blessings, be in  new family members gathered round the table, or just new memories created throughout the year and on that day.
This year my in laws will be staying in town for thanksgiving, as well and I look forward to spending some time with them and participating in our family gift exchange. [We each have drawn another family members name and we give them a gift and express our thankfulness for something about them.]
I am also anticipating exchanging gifts with my husband. I already gave him part of his gift which were a pair of brown dress shoes, the rest he will get Wednesday evening as he works all morning Thursday. This tradition began when we were engaged and I added him to my list of immediate family, all of whom back in my more thoughtful years received gifts and thank you notes from me each year. Sorry guys,  I know, I'm slipping.

Also something I am thankful about.. I decided to go for the 50k words again this year and although I am still 2,656 words short I feel close enough that I can be excited in this success. I was able to be Jerusha's mommy, continue growing our new baby, and write nearly 50,000 words most of which I enjoyed and am happy with. So even if I don't find the time to write that last 2,656 words and win NaNoWriMo, it will be a success (and I will find the time even if it is not until 11 o'clock November 30th).

One more tidbit of news in my little bubble; I had my first midwife appointment and was able to hear my new itty bitty baby's heart beat <3 I have reached my second trimester and can not wait to watch my belly grow as the baby inside nears its day of arrival =)

Our Thanksgiving spread from last year..

 The things I am most thankful for <3

Monday, November 2, 2015


November has always been one of my most favorite months. It holds my absolute favorite holiday ever. Oh, how I love thanksgiving. I love the crazy hectic week before hand filled with sugary sweetnness of making buckeyes, bonbons, and mexican wedding cookies. I love spending the month reflecting on the past year and taking note of all the loved ones who have made my life better and better. I anticipate the night before that glorious thanksgiving day on which my sister, mom, and I stay up late rolling out pie crusts, making fillings, rewashing pots and pans, and over again and over again the cycle goes until the last pie, lemon meringue? is cooling on the counter. I love Thanksgiving morning, putting on an outfit, carefully selected and do my make up and hair; ready to create new memories. So, I'm looking forward to all of the above with great anticipation, with excitement, and with nostalgia of Thanksgiving's past and all the traditions and memories.

Thanksgiving is what I love most about November BUT five years ago I was introduced to yet another event that makes November just the extra best. NaNoWriMo; National Novel Writing Month.
There is a website to follow, fellow novelists to connect with, writing prompts, word warring, and so many other adventures over there. The goal is to write 50,000 words of fiction. To write a novel in one month. Once you hit 50k you are officially a winner, you can print off your certificate, buy your winner t-shirt, and consider editing the mountain of very, extremely, scarily, raw material that your fingers typed. Okay, so it is a very nerdy thing and oh, how I love it.

My first year, 2011, I made it to 50k on day 12. 2012 it took me 17 days. In 2013 my mother thought I should be too busy planning a wedding, hanging out with my fiance, and giving any extra time to her and the family and not noveling so that year I failed (no hard feelings mommy, I didn't really have any plot or ideas anyways). Last year, 2014, I "won" by the 19th, I loved everything I had written but as I had competed the immediate task at hand I closed the file having 50,872 words and didn't open it again until a few weeks ago. I never came close to actually finishing the novel. And where am I going with all of this? Here we are; November 2nd and I haven't signed up to do NaNo this year. I have a feeling I may debate writing this year until November 30th.. I really want to try but I'm so worried I'll fail and as long as I don't actually commit I can't actually fail.

But this book; it needs finished. But what if I don't have 50k words worth of story to tell?! Ugh. Still not sure what to do but I'm leaning towards jumping back in to the writing world with out actually signing up that way if I don't make 50k I won't fail since I never committed.

At least if I don't feel successful this month for completing NaNoWriMo at least we know it will still be a great November, because, no one can take away Thanksgiving ^_^

Hopefully I'll be back before the month is up gone to at least update you on Thanksgiving festivities.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

My Growing Bubble

We have some exciting news that we've shared with our families and friends so I thought I'd share it with any blog readers that I may have accumulated...

Baby news aside...

I've now been to a pumpkin patch and it was rather fall-ish and fun. I am a lover of fall (much as it pains me to admit, I fall into that cliche group of girls who love fall; the colors, the spices, the baking, that wonderfully crisp air, and pumpkin on occasion although it is not my favorite flavor or texture.. however, orange is my favorite color..) and the pumpkin patch seems to be the epitome of FALL. 

I was  s t a r v i n g  though so we didn't stay much longer than picking pumpkins and taking pictures. We then quickly drove to my mothers where she had made taco soup, with hominy, basically my all time favorite soup.. along with broccoli, and potato, and anything but tomato based veggie soups ;)

So far in this pregnancy I haven't experienced any sickness just slight nausea but I know it is early and may yet be coming. I have been craving an unhealthy amount of sweets, unfortunately, so I had better stick with the 5k running program one of my sister-in-laws and I are doing.

Your prayers for my pregnancy would be such a blessing to me! I am looking forward to watching God's work in our growing little family <3 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Food {Post One}

My sister over at Simple Inspirations has a series going on called try something new where every week she makes a new recipe. I'd really like to get on board and do something like that, too but {1} It would require I learn to follow recipes and {2}I'm not sure I'm ready for that yet :P
I have been reading a book about keeping your pantry stocked with the "essentials" and how that will make it easy to throw together new dinners but I have a lot of work to do on my pantry. Currently I shop week to week and hope to get things that make meals; I rarely even have an idea of the weeks "meal plan" when I shop :/ Here's to hoping I do better!
Anyways, last night I made this dinner and took a few pictures to share. It was something new and it was quick, easy, and yummy :)
I started with some chicken breast I had cooked in the crock pot on Monday and then I fried up some bacon pieces, added some mayo and canned jalapeno's. I also had a loaf of Jalapeno Cheddar bread left over from market to make the sandwiches out of.

These are a few of the seasonings I threw into the mix. Oh and a splash of apple cider vinegar.

After I mixed that up, sliced some cheddar, I assembled them on my griddle. They were getting crispy on the other side but the filling was still kind of cold so I threw them in the microwave. Walla. Dinner! :D It was a little spicy but pretty yummy. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

What Defines You?

Last night I finished reading Whipping Boy The Forty-Year Search For My Twelve-Year-Old Bully by Allen Kurzweil. I was left in a state of deep thought, consideration, and ultimately disappointment.
The whole book centers on, exactly as the title indicates, Allen's obsession with finding Cesar, a boy who was in his life for not even a whole year. Allen spent his sixth grade year at Aiglon, a boarding school in Villars Switzerland and in that amount of time Allen says of Cesar "[He] entered my life and reshaped it forever."
Now, I was never bullied so maybe I have no right to pen my thoughts and conclusion of Allen's life but I did read his book and feel the need to share my opinion on not only Allen's view of his life but my own as well.
Through out the book and all the way to the end Allen blames (and credits) Cesar for making him into the person he is today.
I find that shallow. 
He let the events of sixth grade define who he grew up to be. It defined who he was as a husband, a father, a friend, professional, and a writer.
Looking back in my life I can admit to a time that I did the same. I may not have dealt with bullying but I did go through some trials and for a couple years after that time I let it define me. 
I struggled with self worth, I hated life, I hated myself, I wished I was never born, I cut, I convinced myself to be suicidal. Then one day, I'm not even sure when, I finally admitted to myself what was truly happening. Daily I was choosing self pity over God's grace and the life He had given me. I didn't really want to admit it but the truth was that I was deciding which parts of my life were allowed to shape me. I chose only the times I had been hurt, scarred, and at my lowest and let them run my life. I was choosing the life of self pity and essentially creating the identity I wanted. 
I say all that to point out our motto shouldn't be:
We Are Defined By What Has Happened To Us 
We Are What We Allow To Define Us 
Join me in breaking away from letting negative events in our lives define who we will become and choose rather to be who we want to be, be who Christ wants us to be. Be alive and full of love, full of joy, full of all things honorable. Grow throughout life and don't simply let your life be "reshaped" "forever" due to a few, or even many, low points of life. Let us be the generation that stops blaming our past for everything today; lets be stronger than circumstances!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Two Years Together

It was two years ago today that I said yes to the best adventure of my life ^_^

At the top of Mt. Elbert, highest 14er in Colorado, surrounded by some of my closest friends, Wesley asked me to join him on the adventure of our lifetime.

I know I've ranted about time, and how people say it "flies" but in my case it doesn't seem to be. Last night as Wesley and I discussed the last two years of our lives it was hard to believe it has been only that; two years. I truly feel like I've lived and loved a life time's worth since he's been by my side. We've had so many adventures since we became engaged and then married. We have the most perfect, beautiful baby who is in and of herself our best adventure yet.

Words can't describe the love our little family holds, nor can they come close to touching the wonders of how God has blessed our relationship; from the years of friendship to these two years as a couple. Oh how I love to be a part of this story He has written <3

Here are a few pictures of us taken while in CO

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Holden Beach, NC 2015

This past week Wesley, Jerusha, and I spent the week in Holden Beach, NC with lots and lots of relatives for the annual family reunion/vacation. 
I brought my sister Shelby along, as well, and she added to the fun and I know I'm hoping we get to bring her along again in the future.. ;)

It really was a wonderful week. Wesley hadn't had a true work-won't-dare-call-me-vacation since 2014's beach trip so it was simply wonderful to watch him relax.

Jerusha loved the water and, much to my pleasure, hated the sand. That made cleaning her up easy ;)

We spent most of the week simply hanging out with family and relaxing, either playing Euchre, Banana Grams, or swimming. We never did have any waves worth mentioning and that was a bit disappointing but, there's always next year :)
One evening we went putt putt golfing at Fantasy Isle and out on the pier, I think, besides shopping, those were our only off-beach activities.

On our last day there Wesley purchased two Chinese lanterns to set off after dark. It was a little drizzly but knowing it was our only chance we went for it and they did work :) They were much bigger than I expected and so, so cool, it was a perfect ending to our stay.

I've wheedled out a few pictures to share with you, enjoy :)
Jerusha, taking it all in. Literally. She loved the salt..

Jerusha looking out to sea

Ellie drinking her morning coffee

Jerusha and her daddy
Ice cream at Fantasy Isle

Ice cream shop that shares my name :)

The Smith Side (Plus Shelby ;))

Our sand creations Pyramid, Volcanic Mountain Range, and Castle

The Chinese Lanterns

The Whole 2015 Beach Clan

Thursday, August 6, 2015

...catching up...

Finally, after nearly two months I am back.
Where have I been?
Home. Mommy-ing. Wife-ing. Sister-ing. Daughter-ing. Living.
So many times I wanted to sit down and write a blog post and it’s not that I’ve been too busy, it’s just that my thoughts have been too scattered to put together a readable post.

In early July we went on a trip to Niagara Fall’s and I really planned on coming home and writing a post about that adventure but due to my phone not working I didn’t have pictures to use; now I have them but it seems like too distant of an event to post about now.

My birthday came and went and I considered posting about that but, I hate my birthday’s, the expectations I have, the knowledge that the day will never live up to them, and the further sensation that my expectations are ridiculous anyways making me a selfish horrible person leaving us at: not worth celebrating or writing a post about.

Many, many times in the last two months I have read blog posts, news articles, and opinions on various political, scriptural, and social issues, and I thought about writing rebuttal posts to share what I see to be the truth on any such issue but instead I spend a few days ranting to my husband or sister about it then move on. It’s not that I’m unwilling to stand for what I believe; it’s just that I haven’t decided if this is to be a blog giving a glimpse of my mind or a blog giving a glimpse of only my life. Also, some of those rants would pertain to only a small group of my followers, many of them are on concepts foreign to most of the world; ideas of courtship, purity, modesty, and such.

So today I decided I was going to write about something simple. Just a small step in bettering myself and the home I care for. I have made a goal to work on projects I have either started or ones I have on my to-do list and finish them.

On Tuesday I went to the library and got a few random audio books on CD  to get me started on my list of projects
the tshirt rug I started to pass the 9 months of pregnancy...
 the scarf I started knitting Wesley while we were engaged...
 painting the last two walls of the kitchen (this project may have to wait as I have run out of the $7 can of miss tint and haven't got a budget for full price paint with our vacation right around the corner ;))
 And un pictured is to make our "adventure board". 
[I didn't bother taking a picture since so far it just consists of an over sized cork board. I plan on painting the border, getting a map, pinning the map in the center, coloring in the trips we've made, making an "Our Adventures" title to hang above the board, AND print a few pictures that we've taken along the way to pin around the map :) ]

So there you have it, my plans for the upcoming future. As I check items off that list I'll post a picture of the finished projects. (I know, I know, more promises of posts.. go ahead and roll your eyes readers, I certainly wont be offended)

And today my back decided to go out. I guess that means the sit down projects come first.

Also, who would have thought a 4 and a ½ month old baby would be too much for a person to lift? My 19+ pound baby girl is. Thankfully she’s making it easy on me today by napping often or occupying herself with toys, its only the times I have to lift her off the floor to feed her that we’re struggling with.

Now I’ll go ahead and post a few pictures of family happenings since my last post and maybe elaborate on a few of them   

technically this happened before my last post I believe but.. I never posted about it so here you go. My whole side of the family got together for family pictures :) and one of our own
                                                                                                    little family :)

we went to St. Louis for a Cardinals game on a super spontaneous little trip with my side of the family
and here are a small selection of the many pictures we took on our Niagara Falls camping trip. Seriously, it was amazing. We had a perfect stay at the closest KOA and enjoyed spending a Friday evening and Saturday morning touring the falls. We went on the Cave of the Winds tour and the Maid of the mist boat tour. Both were very cool but the Cave of the Winds was my favorite. You could literally hang onto a railing and walk into the water fall. SO. COOL. The Maid of the Mist was pretty awesome, too because it gave me a much better perspective on how big and powerful this section of God's creation is. And made me stand in awe at how little a part this seemingly huge, powerful part is.

This is one of the several pictures I took the Monday evening on which Wesley rallied a few of our siblings and his dad into going to an Indian's game :)

super random, I know, but I snapped this one afternoon as 
I was front porch sitting watching our baby girl grow :') <3

And this is from just this last Sunday when Wesley, Jerusha, and I met up with a few siblings of his, Shelbs, and a brother-in-law and niece at McCormick's Creek Falls and Wolf Cave :)

Well that's it for now. I hope you have enjoyed this catch up post. ~Haley

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Gifts of Love

Again, its been awhile since I posted but I hadn’t really had any lightbulb topics to write about, well, I had a few but I’d start typing and quickly realize it was turning into a rant and thought 1) I promised my next post would be more light-hearted, and, 2) I rant too much, as it is.
Last night though as I was lying in bed reflecting over my day I thought ‘this would make a nice, cheerful, loving blog post.’
This post is in honor of my husband, Wesley.
Yesterday was his 24th birthday. It was his second birthday we’ve celebrated married and probably 10th or 11th we’ve celebrated as friends. So, basically for a long time I and my family have gotten to be a part of his birthday celebrations and this year was no different.
I’ve been planning his ‘party’ for several months. Seriously, I ordered his present in May and have been discussing cake ideas with him since his last birthday! I had planned on having his family over to my parent’s house for cake, swimming, and whatever other activities people chose to do but then all last minute – spontaneous like all but two of his siblings went on a family vacation. Obviously plans changed.
Monday I started making his cake, a Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Cake (which, by the way, I thought I was the creator of but after instagraming #strawberryshortcakeicecreamcake I was proved otherwise by five other pictures popping up with the same hashtag). I baking a shortbread crust, sliced tons of strawberries, and made a strawberry sauce to keep the crust moist. Yesterday I layered a gallon of ice cream over the crust, breaking one of my favorite Santouku knives in the process, (Ice cream, people, I was cutting ice cream and broke a knife… maybe it didn’t deserve to be a favorite…) then topped it with whipped topping, and later, right before serving, spooned the sliced and sugared strawberries over it and piped more whipped topping on it in fancy little dollops around the edge. It was indeed a success although I made WAY too big of a cake, well, everyone got seconds, thirds, and etc. so I may be the only one who feels that way ;)
I invited all of the family that was in town over for Wesley’s birthday dinner of Mommy’s fried Chicken Strips, (she makes the best-ever chicken strips, trust me on this, I use the same recipe and they’re never as good) Oven Baked Fries, and Ramen Noodle Salad. One of Wesley’s brothers showed up after work and then another brother and sister-in-law arrived in time for cake J Not quite the party I had planned but it was still fun and full of yumminess.
Over the course of the evening people ate, swam, and had cake.
Last night as I reflected over the day I had anticipated so much I smiled knowing in spite of a few things not being as I had imagined it, it still was perfect. I also noticed something else. I had looked forward to this day more than I have ever looked forward to any of my own birthdays. I couldn’t wait to celebrate with Wesley, couldn’t wait to make his day has special as I imagined it should be, couldn’t wait to give him his present which I was so very excited about. In fact, Wesley’s birthday probably meant more to me than it did to him, and the only thing I can figure that made it so special to me was that I got to spend an entire day trying to show him how much I love and appreciate him.
People are always talking about the “five love languages” and although I’ve never put much stock in it or been able to narrow down which of the five speaks the most to me, yesterday I looked at it backwards. I think Wesley’s birthday meant so much to me because maybe I speak the love language of gifts, I’m not sure if I hear gifts, but maybe I speak it. That would explain why picking, ordering, and presenting Wesley’s birthday gift was so exciting to me, and why planning on a small party for him was important; why spending an entire day showing him my love in action was so necessary to me.
And trust me, I of all people know that Wesley is worth filling every day with ways of showing him my love and appreciation, and I try, but I’m glad we have some days set aside simply to honor the one’s you love.

Now I get to look forward to Wesley’s first Father’s Day and find ways to show him how it thrills me to have him be the daddy to our little girl <3 

I'd like to send a thank you out to those who celebrated with us, helping to make Wesley's birthday into what I thought it ought to be, thank you all :) 

Wesley's Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Cake

Wesley and his cake

The Gray and Blue Plaid Suit
you can't really see the pattern or color in this picture, 
but i think it is a pretty cool suit ^_^

Aunt "Bubby" and Uncle Luke playing with Rue
Shelbs put Jerusha to sleep and I'm thrilled to report she stayed asleep until about 3:30 AM :D

I know the pictures aren't great but I hope you enjoyed them anyways!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Love Has No Room For Selfishness

The years before mommy-hood are the years for selfishness.

I’m not promoting selfishness, I promise, I know it’s not an attractive trait. I don’t want to encourage you in the attitude of selfishness; we should all seek to be selfless, but I want to point out some things you may be taking for granted. Not just the nail painting, bathroom time, and sleep that I used as examples in a past post. Today I’m speaking more in terms of emotions and feelings.
When you’re single, you’re free to notice all the guys around you, consider each of them for their looks, character, and of course plain and simply, their attractiveness. When you’re married you lose that right. Once you’ve committed to one man it’s for life and you’d better not be noticing other guys around you and imagining what life with him would be like. That is unfair to your husband and yourself.

Much like that, when you’re not a mom you’re free to be depressed, dream wild dreams, and entertain other various emotions. It changes once you’ve had a child. When you’re a mommy your baby will come first physically, mentally, and emotionally. You can’t have a bad day emotionally and carry it over to you parenting. If you feel like you’re life is crumbling you no longer can entertain thoughts of suicide or self harm (I hope to God that none of you struggle with this, but I want to cover all bases) because your baby is relying on you. You can’t dream of traveling foreign lands with a side note of ‘find a babysitter’, your life is no longer your own, baby comes first. You must continue to parent when you’re having a bad (read: selfish) day and you simply can’t carry that selfishness through and base your actions off your emotional state.  That cuddly little ball of joy needs you. It needs you not only to physically provide for him or her but it also needs you to stay emotionally stable.
You aren’t your own any more.
Technically after marriage you lost that right, but any trace of selfishness you held on to you really need to let go once you’re a mom.

Take a step back and imagine the stress that is placed on your husband and baby as well as family and friends who love and support you, if you maintain an emotionally selfish stance.

If you aren’t open about your struggles you make it worse. If you let yourself view it as a struggle you make it worse.

Just let it go. Give up the emotions of depression, irritation, and any other selfish feeling. Discontented-ness? Selfish. Loneliness? Selfish. Low self-esteem? Selfish. Depression? Selfish, and it always has been; even before motherhood.
The list can go on, put whatever emotion you struggle with in and examine it to see if it places stress between your baby and you. If it causes you to distance your baby or puts a strain on your parenting; it is selfish.

On a similar note, yesterday as I got Jerusha up from a nap and set about changing a particularly messy diaper I looked down at her and said “It’s okay, I’m gunna clean you up, its my job.” Then as she was grinning up at me I had the urge to cry out an apology and wrap her chubby self in my arms. Kissing her cheek I corrected myself “No, I’m not doing this because it’s my job; it’s not. I’m doing this because I love you.”

There is something powerful in that and I’m not sure I have the eloquence or words to explain. So far not one part of being a mom has made me feel like it’s a job. From mid-night feedings to gassy-nap-less days; taking care of my baby is a need. I need to hold her. I need to change her diaper. I need to bathe her. None of those needs come with a feeling of responsibility. They spring forth from the depths of my heart, done with love and thanksgiving that God has bestowed upon me so great a charge and blessing. He has gifted me with this most amazing and unfathomably beautiful baby girl and He is trusting me to care for her. It all comes from love. Love shown from the Father in blessing me, love returned to Him in thanksgiving for the blessing, followed purely by love towards my baby, the blessing.
That’s not to say there aren’t late nights when I’ve felt incapable or irritable and over exhausted. There have been. But those selfish moments don’t change the fact that every way I am called upon to care for Jerusha thus far are out of love. And it is my desire to shed all trace of selfish feelings as I continue on the path of motherhood.

In a notebook somewhere there’s written an outline for a book I’d hoped to write. Its projected title was ‘A Love Driven Life vs. A Responsibility Driven Life’. I had lots of reasons to believe it would make a good book and it still might, but now that I’m a mother I have even more insight on how parenting can and will be affected by ones perception. Are you parenting out of love? Or responsibility?

Later as I shared with Wesley my thoughts and confession to Jerusha he smiled and responded “Now you know how I feel about you.” <3

I feel as if this parallels only to God’s love of us. He didn’t send His only son, Jesus, to live and die for us out of responsibility, He did it out of love. He had no need to feel responsible for us; the race who turned our backs on Him. He chose to love us though and sacrificed His only son that we may live. You’ve no idea how my love for Jerusha quivers and pales in comparison to His for me. I would never be willing to sacrifice her for another. Never. 

Thanks for reading my rambling thoughts. Soon I'll be more light hearted and post some pictures of Jerusha and projects and give you a glimpse of our life instead of just my mind ;) <3 ~Haley

Monday, May 4, 2015

Our Story

I was asked to share Wesley's and my love story over at The Long Way To Go. And although my first draft was waaay too long for their blog, I managed to whittle it down to an acceptable size. It is my favorite story to tell, you know, and I am a nostalgic and wordy person but I got it done. 
So, if you'd like to read it please pop on over to here and do so :)

In honor of the post over there I'm sharing a few of our wedding pictures here, Enjoy!