Sunday, February 22, 2015

Moments in Time

Let's talk about the dinner we had last night in Cleveland's Little Italy. 

One of the best meals of my life, but not only because of the food...

First came this fresh, hot bread that I'll just let you see for yourself. An herbed butter sitting in a pool of olive oil?! Flavor explosion. 

Our waiter told us of a "special salad" of the night on the starter menu, and when he got half way through describing it, I stopped listening. (I had already found the one I wanted. The one with basil, tomato, and fresh mozzarella. Fresh, delicious, safe.) Darin perked up somewhere in the midst of this man's monologue of le salad and re-described it to me when he stepped away, asking if I wanted to split as an appetizer. There was a sparkle in Darin's eye (I knew he wanted it - he loves weird stuff) and his cute side grin he gets when he doesn't know what I'll say. I threw caution to the wind and surprised him with a "why not"!

Shortly after, arrived THE salad: winter persimmons wrapped in prosciutto on top a bed of mixed greens with goat cheese and walnuts, tossed with lemon juice and a pomegranate vinaigrette. It sounds extremely pretentious, I know. But goodness gracious sakes alive, where can I buy me a persimmon tree?! I'm taking this salad back to Oklahoma!  

(Wouldn't you know I forgot to take a picture of it? And it was so pretty!) 

Then came our entrees. Darin got a fettuccini carbonara and I got the cheese tortellini that won all types of awards. When I took the first bite I was blown away. It was creamy yet spicy, hearty yet smooth, precisely al dente yet almost melted in my mouth.

It was perfect. It all was perfect. 

That meal, last night with my fellas, was one of those "moments". You know how life is comprised of countless minutes, but there are the moments that you experience that stand out and give life such meaning, but you can't really explain why?  A place in time you never forget and can relive in a heartbeat, almost as if the world stood still. "Moments", for me, bring insurmountable peace. We shared a beautiful meal in a small room of a 100+ year old building, watching the snow fall in the moonlight, eavesdropping on the tables next to us because we were so close together, laughing and reminiscing, and simply enjoying. 

Levi was sitting next to me, and kept leaning over to kiss my cheek and tell me he loves me. I think he was having a moment, too. :) Ezra .... well, he tore his bread up into tiny pieces and started lapping them up like a dog off of his plate, laughing with glee all the while. He was certainly having a moment of his own. Oh, life with littles is an unpredictable one! 

The food was excellent, yes, but it was the entire experience that made it one of the best meals of my life. It may seem silly to describe this dinner with such sentiment, but when you're so far away from family and familiarity, sometimes the minutes are long and overwhelming and hard. It is these moments with my husband and kids that keep me going. And I'll cherish every one. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Frozen Falls.

I'm so behind on posts, but the post I wanted to do before this one has all of it's photos on my phone, so I'm skipping ahead and writing about something else.  So future Whitney, these events are out of order. :)

We have been trying to make it over to Niagara Falls for a few weeks to see the ice cascading down them.  I heard it was pretty breathtaking, so it was high time we see it for ourselves!  We loaded up Sunday after church and headed to Buffalo, NY for the day.  And wouldn't you know, the temps plummeted and it was -8 that day.  NEGATIVE EIGHT. Up to that point, it was the coldest I had ever experienced ... until the next day when it was -15.

When we hit Buffalo, we ate at the place were buffalo wings originated! (Those pictures are on my phone.)  It was super delicious and such a fun experience.

By the time we made it out to the falls it had warmed up to -3. Awesome.  We bundled up as much as humanly possible and trekked on out there.


Luckily there were a few buildings we stopped in along the way to warm up, give ourselves some pep talks and keep on walking.


The closer we got to the falls, the more amazing the scenery became.  It was seriously like something out of a movie set.  Incredible.



The trees were coated in glistening ice, and there was a heavy fog surrounding us.



The settings was dreamy, but our reality was a total different story.

The kids were bawling because, well, life just hurt at that point.  We were in PAIN.  Husby was trying to run back to the buildings, and I was screaming at everyone that this was an adventure, a once-in-a-lifetime, and to enjoy it, dad gum it!! ;)




But let's be serious.  I took my glove off for 3 seconds and could not feel my fingers for the rest of the time out there.  It was BRUTAL!  I can't even begin to imagine what the windchill was.

The bridge to get the best pictures was closed (duh! Who comes this time of year?!), and so we didn't get to see the horseshoe part of the falls (Canadian side).  But what we saw from the NY side was pretty incredible.  Absolutely AMAZING.





I've never been in such awe of ice and snow as I have this winter.  It's been an experience to remember and treasure forever!!

But let me set one thing straight.  I'm no Queen Elsa.  The cold bothers me.  A lot.


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Walking on Ice.

Hands down, the best part of living up here is experiencing things we otherwise never would.  And the best part of those new adventures, is having them together.


The lake has frozen around 9 inches deep and the ice games have begun.  There are ice fishers all over the bay with their tents and heaters, drilling through the ice and catching some supper.  I've seen all sorts of fun ice sports taking place.  It's so amazing to me that this beautiful place that is such a hub in the summertime is also a fun place to come in the winter.  It feels and looks like an entirely different spot than this summer.


I am pretty fascinated with the frozen waters and decided it was time to go out and walk on it.  I'm not sure how many times in my life I will get the opportunity to walk above water, so this was an opportunity we had to snatch. We ventured out this weekend, and I can't tell you how exhilarating it was to walk on a lake!  Absolutely incredible!


Ezra was not a fan at first and had to warm up to the idea.  He was just certain he was going to fall through.  After he realized we were safe, he had a blast.


Levi was just in awe of it all and was fairly sure he saw a whale swimming around under there. ;)  That, or a shark.  Hehehe.


It is super fun experiencing these things for myself, but it brings it to a whole other level being able to give our boys these exciting moments and to share them with them.  We are certainly having a winter unlike anything we have ever seen before, and it has been absolutely amazing to witness.


I'm so thankful for these moments together with my precious little family.  Memories upon memories!


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Remember When I Blogged?

January.  It's already January.  And not just January, but a week into January.

Goodness, life only goes quicker the older I get and half the time my head is a spinnin'!

I hope everything had a very merry holiday season!  It all went by so fast it's kind of a blur to me, but we had a lovely Christmas in Oklahoma and a peaceful New Years back in PA.  It was so great to be with family and savor the moments of rest.  With this age of social media, and the busyness of life ... oh, it just gets harder and harder to blog!  Does anyone feel me?!  I remember the sweet days of babyhood when I had all the time in the world to blog any thought I had and every move I made.  Now I just Instagram it as I think of it, and if I don't do that, then forget it - it's gone into the abyss of my brain only to be remembered at 3:28 am on a random Thursday morning. And then I go to sleep and it's gone again.  Forever.

So here's a little update!

Life is moving along just swimmingly here.  The boys are growing and flourishing and blowing my mind every day.  I am blessed every day by those little gifts from God and I pray every day I do justice in being their Mommy.  Levi is now a yellow belt in Taekwondo (such a strong little thing!), doing awesome in homeschool (reading like a champ!), and growing in wisdom and in stature in the Lord just as we pray for everyday.  He continues to be the best big brother he could possibly be. Ezra is growing up so much that I can't even take it.  He is the most hilarious little thing, cracking us all up on the daily, and equally as sweet.  He's going through a shy phase and today for the first time, I saw his face turn red!  It was so sweet and cute - my baby! He wants to do everything his big brother does and has such an enthusiasm for life! I'm so proud of my boys.

Husby is doing great in his fellowship and we can hardly believe half of the year is up in our time up north.  He's right in the middle of tons of sporting events he's covering, so his weekends are pretty filled up with that right now.  I am eager for spring to hit so his schedule will die down and we can go on all the adventures we have planned!  Come on Husby, don't you know we moved here to explore!? ;) We are so close to so many exciting places that I want to do and see it all.  Fellowship has been exponentially better/easier than residency concerning the workload and time we get to see him.  It's been so nice, and I feel like for the first time in the kids' lives, we finally have a routine - Daddy is home at the same time every night through the week.  Seems like such a little thing, but you guys - it's huge.

The snow has officially arrived.  We've had over 37 inches so far, and in the next couple days we are expected to get 16-20 inches.  I'm LOVING the snow, but the cold hurts.  It's 16 here today and the wind has been blowing like I've never experienced (aside from tornadic conditions in OK.). :)  But to me, if it's going to be cold, we better have snow.  And snow we are having! :)

I didn't make any resolutions this year, per say ... but I did claim a verse to encompass my year.  It's short and sweet, plain and simple, but oh it says so much.

"He must become greater; I must become less."
John 3:30

Moving away from home, going out and exploring the world, stretching myself out of my comfort zone, and having experiences I otherwise would never have, I have really come to realize just how little this life is about me.  It's not, actually.  At all.  It's about Him.  And in America in 2015, that gets blurred much more often than it should.

In my life, in my speech, in my hobbies, in my health, in my marriage, in my parenting, in my friendships, in my relationships, in my writing, in my thinking, in my day to day and in my adventures --- Him.

More of Him.

Welcome to 2015, my friends!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas!

These boys make ....

Christmas trees brighter.


Traditions more merry.


Jingle bells jinglier.


Presents more thrilling.


Cookies and candies sweeter.


Holiday lights more radiant.


Yard inflatables sillier.


Santa Claus more magical.


Life more joyful, fun, meaningful.


God's grace .... tangible.


Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Tinsel Townhouse.

I don't know about you guys, but I love peeking into other people's holiday homes.  When we drive around and look at Christmas lights, my husband and boys are ooh-ing and aww-ing about the yard ornaments and lights and I'm craning my neck and squinting my eyes to get a peek inside the windows.  Ha!  I just love the bright colors and cozy setting that Christmas decor creates.  

And here I am amidst the beauty of blogging, inviting you inside our townhouse!  No need for neck craning here! :)

(It drives me crazy that there is nothing on my coffee table.  But keeping it real, the boys sit on it more than they do the couch, so there's no point.  But it looks so empty in this picture!  I should have put the boys on it.)

The extent of the Christmas decor that we brought with us to Pennsylvania was ornaments.  That's it. Oh, and our nativity from Bethlehem.  We didn't feel like dragging everything up here just to lug it back.  So, we went the simple route with a real tree (though that wasn't real simple....), ornaments, and then I picked up a few things here and there to brighten up the place and make it exciting for the boys.

The one thing that I miss SO much this year is our Christmas village.  It's my favorite part of our decor every year and it makes me smile each time I glance at it.  I'll be extra excited to bust it back out next year!


We didn't have a good spot for the tree, so it's in the middle of our dining room.  Haha!  I love it! :)


Seriously, is there anything more wonderful than a Christmas tree?  I could stare at it all day ... and sometimes I do. But the top bugs me.  I'm not good at just having a star.  I like giant sparkly things shooting out every which way.  The boys love the star.  


Do you spy that cute pillow?

I fell in love with these two pillows this year and had to have them.  



And I found these little trinkets at Hobby Lobby that the boys love to look at.


We didn't bring our stockings so I picked these cuties up for the boys.  And we don't have a fireplace, so we hung them on the staircase with care.


I popped a few things in the kitchen too, for festivities sake.



There you have it, friends.  Our simple, easy, cozy tinsel townhouse.  


Yay Christmas! 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

I Saw Mommy Yell At Santa Claus

"I want to see Santa.  But I am NOT sitting in his wap," was an every day sentence around our house the past couple of weeks from our little Ezra Ray.

I told him how nice Santa is.

How FUN Santa is.

And how he was going to be right next to Bubby as he sat on his lap.

"I am NOT sitting in Santa's wap."

As we stood in line to see the Big Man, the boys were so excited.  Not a trace of fear to be found.


"I'm gonna tell him I want a mini Santa!" Ezra said.

"I'm going to tell him I want the Captain Toad Treasure Tracker game!" Levi said.

Wait.  What?  Why is this the first time I've ever heard of such a game and why is he just now deciding he wants Santa to get it for him? Toad what? Huh?? Man, it was getting hot in there.

When we were next in line and Ezra laid eyes on him in the big chair, he LEPT into my arms and wrapped those legs around me like baby Koala.  He was not going anywhere.  I needed someone to crank the AC and FAST.

"NO! NO! NOOOOOO!" he screamed as we approached Santa.

Pretty sure all of Cleveland could hear that baby screaming.

I pried him off of me, sweating and very near a full on heat stroke with my massive scarf and heavy winter coat suffocating every inch of my flaming red body.  I placed him on the bench next to Santa.

The child LOST IT.   Pretty sure the boys and girls waiting behind the door to see Santa thought they were in line to see the devil after this debacle.

"Here, move over Santa. Maybe that will help if he's not by you!"

Did I just order SANTA CLAUS to scoot over?  I'm fully expecting a lump of coal this year.

Sweet Santa obliged, engaged my excited Levi in Christmassy conversation, and Ezra continued to yell.

They squeaked ducks.


I made silly (sweating) faces.


Levi was shouting, trying to tell Santa what he wanted.

I tried to eavesdrop so I could write down that blasted toad game in my phone when he wasn't looking.

It. was. a. circus.


After we paid, I ripped my coat and scarf off and booked it outside as fast as I could - soaking up that 30 degree air and trying to get my face back to ivory instead of the current BLOOD RED state it was in.

As soon as Ezra received his candy cane and walked out of the Santa headquarters he was all smiles.  "I SAW SANTA CLAUS!! Oops! I forgot to tell him what I want."


No words, kid.  NO. WORDS.

And there you have it.

Later that night at dinner, we went around the table each recounting our favorite part of our day.

Ezra's?  "Seeing SANTA CLAUS!"


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