A December to Remember...

or not.

To be completely honest, this December is not one I care to relive. We have so, SO much to be grateful for, but this month was completely draining on so many levels. Here's the recap...

-Around the first week of December, my mom started having severe lower abdominal pains. To make a long story short she ended up having a fairly large ovarian cyst that had to be surgically removed. All the test results came back benign- thank the Lord!

-Carter's birthday (and party) were on the 11th. We had a lot of fun, but as many of you know... even good, happy events can be stressful.

-A few days later my dad was hospitalized for critically low blood levels caused by internal bleeding. And by critically low, I mean the doctor said it was "one step above dead". After two blood transfusions, he was released to go home and rest. He still isn't "out of the woods" by any means, so please keep him in your prayers.

-Jeremy has worked all but two days this entire month. He had one weekend at home (the weekend of Carter's birthday), which means that he also had to miss Christmas. This was really hard for all of us. We are incredibly thankful for the dual income that the Redskins job provided (especially this time of year), but we are very glad it's over and we can get back to a sense of "normality"... whatever that is :)

I don't mean to gripe or complain in this post. I am fully aware of how extremely blessed I am. There are just certain seasons of life that seem more exhausting than others... and this month has been one of ours. We are certainly looking forward to the fresh start 2011 will bring!


Two Years Later...

Two years ago today, we brought our sweet baby boy home from the hospital. I cannot express the ways that he has changed my life. He is the greatest blessing I've ever received and was SO worth waiting for!
Here he is just a few hours after he was born...
The cutest newborn I've ever seen :)
And here he is at his birthday party this past Saturday...

I'll be back soon with details about his party!


My Favorite Pie Crust

Having a good, reliable pie crust is SUCH a blessing in the kitchen.. especially this time of year! I have tried a lot of different recipes, but fell in love with this crust at first bite. It's buttery (no shortening) and light, but not flaky. It is originally from Melissa d'Arabian's Potato Bacon Torte recipe, which can be found here. I have used this to make everything from apple pie to chicken pot pie- and it never fails! It also freezes really well, so make a few to keep on hand. You won't regret it.

Pie Crust
(makes 2 crusts)

1 cup butter (2 sticks), cubed and chilled
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
8-10 tablespoons ice water

Put the butter, flour, and salt in the food processor, and pulse lightly just until the mixture resembles wet sand. Add the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing briefly after each spoonful of water. Keep adding water until the dough just begins to gather into larger clumps. Transfer equal amounts of the dough into 2 resealable plastic bags and pat each into a disk. Let rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Remove 1 of the disks from the bag to a flour coated surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to a 10-inch round. Gently fit the rolled dough into a 9-inch pie pan.

*At this point, you can add the pie filling and then top with the 2nd crust or just toss the 2nd crust into the freezer and save for later.


A Year of Books

Hello there. We have entered the Christmas season in full swing! It's cold here in Tennessee, which makes it so much more festive! Life continues to be busy. My sweet husband has only 2 DAYS off work this ENTIRE month. We sure do miss him a lot. Thankfully, one of the days he is home is December 11th, which is also our son's 2nd birthday. Yay!

In reflecting on this year, I was thinking about some of the books I've read and thought I'd share a few that I enjoyed.

1. Francine Rivers' Mark of the Lion Series (3 books)
I cannot recommend these books enough. They were life-changing in so many ways for me! If you read any books in 2011, PLEASE make sure these make your list!

2. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. This one was a little out of my "normal" reading genre, but I loved it! It made me think differently about things like success, intelligence, and work ethic. Very, very interesting.
3. Something Borrowed and Something Blue by Emily Giffin. (Yes, I realize I'm about 5 years behind in reading these books) They are the equivalent of a good chick-flick... not life-changing, but really fun.

4. Bringing Up Boys by James Dobson. I wrote a post about this book here.
5. Loving Frank by Nancy Horan. Ah, I have a love-hate relationship with this book. It's a fictional (maybe historical fiction?) book about the life of famous architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. Based on the little research I've done on the book, my understanding is that the author used what facts are known about Wright's life (specifically his love affair with Mamah Borthwick Cheney) as the base for the novel, then filled in the details for us. I absolutely HATED how this book ends. In fact, I had a hard time even finishing it. That said, I really enjoyed the first 3/4 of the book... it's one you want to discuss with a girlfriend, sister, or your mom :)
6. Her Mother's Hope by Francine Rivers. This is the first book in a 2 part series. It definitely isn't my favorite Francine Rivers book (see #1) but I really liked it and can't wait to read the second book. It is on my dresser waiting for me :)


Hi, My Name is April...

and I'm a terrible blogger.

I seriously have the best intentions, but somehow the days go by and other things become a greater priority. Forgive me.

Here's a look at what we've been up to over the past month or so. The highlights include: a visit to Gentry's farm, a trip to Orlando (just my mom, Carter, and I), my mom's 50th birthday party, the start of a new job for Jeremy and a terrible stomach bug for poor little Carter (no pictures included!)

Whew. I'm tired just thinking about the past several weeks. And there's no break in sight with Thanksgiving and Christmas right around the corner! Not to mention, the little man will be 2 in just a few short weeks! More on that later...


October Adventures

October has been a fun month for us so far! I have a lot to blog about, but I'm currently drowning in laundry and unpacking after our most recent trip to Orlando. As soon as I find my sanity (and catch up on sleep), I'll be back with tales of our adventures.

In the meantime,
here's a picture of us on our most recent date night to Maggiano's



Can we talk about cleaning for a minute?

I know there are people who love to clean.

My sister is one of those people.

I am not.

The problem?

I want a clean house.

So instead of actually cleaning, I usually sit around and think about everything that needs to be cleaned. And I think and think and think. Then, I start thinking about everything that needs to be organized, which is pretty much my entire house, and I end up feeling defeated and exhausted, though I haven't touched a mop or broom.

Also, many people (myself included) think that because you are a stay-at-home mom you have all the time in the world to clean your house... and therefore your house should always be clean.


I would make the argument that it is actually more difficult to keep your house clean when you do stay at home because a) there is a baby/toddler in the house most of the time and b) wherever a baby/toddler is... there are messes. BIG messes. Moral of the story: The more you are in your house, the faster it gets dirty.

I need to release myself of the expectations that my house will always be neat and clean. I need to start making lists, realistic lists, and plug away at them item by item. I also need to remind myself that one day I will have all the time in the world to clean- and that it will probably be much quieter and lonelier around here. Therefore, I will cherish today... messy house and all.



Current Loves

There are a few things that I currently L.O.V.E.

Pumpkin Spice Creamer. My sweet aunt mailed us (my mom, sisters, and I) 4 bottles of Pumpkin Spice Creamer this week. She put it on dry-ice and it survived! We were all jumping up and down and screaming when we saw it... ok, maybe just Amy and I were acting that way ;) We have yet to find it in ANY Nashville stores this year, which makes me sad. Very sad.

I've watched this video (click on link) at least 5 times already... it makes me happy... and if you grew up listening to this music in middle/high school/college (or just love JT)... it will make you happy too!

My sister found this amazing beverage at the Belle Meade Publix and so far, I can't find it anywhere else. Ginger Ale + Green Tea = deliciousness.

My little man is pulling on my leg.. so maybe I'll do a "Current Loves Part 2" later.. Happy FALL!!



I'm a little (or a lot) jealous of my hubby who is headed to "the city of brotherly love" today. It is one of my favorite cities because of its character, history, emphasis on the arts, and good food!

The last time I was there (in '06), Jeremy and I ate breakfast at Jones Restaurant. I have eaten at a lot of restaurants in my life, but this was seriously one of the coolest places I've ever been! The restaurant looks like it is straight out of the 1970's (in an awesomely vintage way, of course) and where else can you find Monkey Bread on the menu?

Other favorite spots include the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Rodin Museum.

But then again, I'm a lover of nearly all museums.


Our Life in Pictures (via my phone)

My phone often tells the best story of our life.
The snapshots I take on my phone aren't fancy,
but they are our reality.
So here's a glimpse at the past month or so
in no particular order...

(Please excuse the blurriness of some pictures...
*someone*, who often has dirty hands,
likes to play with mommy's phone and smudge up the camera lens)

Breakfast at Noshville with daddy
(after he got back from St. Louis)

*Take 1*
*Take 2*
At the airport, waiting for daddy

More waiting

I made my first bundt cake!
(my mom gets credit for the awesome icing drizzle)

Auntie Ashley had her wisdom teeth out last week
so we went to visit her...
and Carter got to "play" in Uncle Tay Tay's studio!

We went to Kohl's and found The Grinch

We went to Addison's 2nd birthday party!
Here's the sweet birthday girl...

I made a couple of gift bags & really like how this one turned out

Jeremy and I saw this "car" at Target. Maybe we'll downsize and get one... ha!

My mom and I went to ULTA for the first time.
I tried on hair extensions and fell in love.
Don't judge :)

Carter showing off his new Sesame Street shirt and Reese's ball.
Gifts from when Poppy and Bella went to Chicago.

My little man after church one Sunday.
It doesn't get much cuter than this!

"Carter, where are your nipples?"