Shattered Hearts, Broken Promises

The voices in her head are taunting.

Cruel, hateful words come from their lips…

Stupid.

Foolish.

Blind.

So very Trusting.

So Naïve.

The sky is green and the grass is blue today, Tonya!”

She responds, “Oh really?! How lovely that must be!”

She is Stupid.

How could she be SO incredibly blind?

How could she not feel her in the bedroom with them?

Who is HER you ask?

Why, the other woman of course.

  The day I was told the truth, my heart fell down. Down, down, down, until it fell out.

I felt it.

I heard it fall to the floor and shatter.

  Or maybe that was the sound of the glass Cinderella Happily Ever After Castle I had lived in for nearly 10 wonderful years. As it came crashing to the ground, millions of tiny shards of glass pierced my body. My chest felt as if an elephant was sitting on it, my breath coming in short gasps, my stomach churned and I feared I would vomit.

All this as I stood in the laundry room, staring over the heads of our 4 children, to a man with haunted, sorrowful eyes. Our 4 precious ones were between us, lined up to wash hands for supper, after returning home from an evening at church.

Desperately trying to keep the smile pasted to my face, I cheerfully say: “Let’s wash hands and then eat some supper!“

Anything to protect them from what I knew was coming.

Let’s back up a bit:

It was July 10th, 2011. We had gone to pick up Dale from a weekend away at Men’s Encounter. A Spiritual “tear you down and build you up again, lay it all before the cross” kind of weekend. He said we’d talk after the kids were in bed about all the Lord showed him. I was excited, anticipating our quiet time! Anticipating the changes I knew I’d see in him, hoping he’d be ready to kick things up a notch in our home, to really step into the position of the Spiritual leader.

As I was sorting Dale’s laundry, just moments after we arrived home, I found a note, written on a yellow piece of paper. I had already read another stack of yellow notes, encouraging words from roommates from Encounter, so I figured this one was one he had missed.

There was a reason this one was isolated. This one was alone because it housed a dark, ugly secret. No, this one HINTED at a dark ugly secret, but I knew, instantly I knew. The sweet letter to Dale from a leader, suggested another couple to “help us through this difficult time”. As soon as I saw the couples name he suggested we speak with, I knew. I knew their story; the lies, the women, the betrayal. I knew, and it was all I could do to keep it together for the 2 hours until bedtime. I am still not sure how I stood to make supper, my body in such a state of shock.

As Dale tucked the children in, I walked to the laundry room, I’m still not sure why. Maybe to see if I could find my heart? Maybe to re-live what occurred only moments before, or was it hours by now? It all was a blur, I was moving in a cloud, no, my worst nightmare. Unable to stand another moment, I sunk to the floor, back against the cold dryer and wrapped my arms around my knees, burying my face in them. Pressing my forehead down HARD on them. Shaking from head to toe, wanting to bawl, yet nothing. Not one single tear came. Is it possible to be too hurt to cry?!

Yes.

I heard, rather than saw, Dale enter the laundry room once the kids were settled. The familiar pop-pop of his knees as he sunk to the floor, was another stab to the heart. Everything I knew was a lie, the familiar and strangely comforting sounds, yet another painful reminder of all that was lost. This man I loved and adored now represented hurt, betrayal, & indescribable heartache.

 Head still on my knees, I hear a whispered, tearful, broken….

”I’m so sorry, Tonya. So, so very sorry.”

I cannot write the words that spewed from my mouth, the vomit in word form that came. They are too awful. I am too ashamed that those words were in me. But they were, and they spewed forward like hot lava.

“Who was she and how many times?”

I spoke through clenched teeth. Hate pouring through every pore of my being, pulsing with every beat of my broken heart.

If looks could’ve killed, Dale would’ve been dead in an instant, joining the cold, lifeless “Old Tonya“ on the floor. She died the moment she heard the news, you know. She died, along with all of her childhood hopes and dreams of one day having her own happily ever after.

I could only look at him a split second at a time before looking up, down, re-burying my head in my knees, ANYTHING except looking at my betrayer.

I couldn’t.

This- this disgusting thing across from me, was my HUSBAND.

MY LOVER.

MY SOUL MATE.

MY BEST FRIEND.

The man I loved most. The man I SAVED myself for. The man I gave EVERYTHING to. How could I feel so much hate for someone I loved so dearly?

LoveD so dearly? Past tense? In that moment I didn’t know what I felt. It was so jumbled I couldn’t make sense of it.

So I just poured putrid, hateful words from my lips, calling him every bad name I had ever heard.

And do you know what?

He just wept and took it.

“I know,” he said, “I know. You aren’t calling me anything I haven’t called myself 1000 times.”

Dale came across the laundry room and wrapped his arms around me, the tenderness finally provoking tears, and I cried into the chest of the man who caused this pain. Loving him and hating him so fiercely I didn’t know which way was up. Sobbing, pounding his chest with my fist calling him names, yet clinging to his neck like a life line. He is all I know. My heart and body so inner-twined with this man that I feared I would never be just “me” again. I shove away from him, no longer able to tolerate his touch.

For 6 hours, we were in separate rooms of the house. 6 long hours I was locked in hell, being kept captive by my ugly thoughts, by the imagining of horrible details far worse than the truth I was told later.

Dale kindly asked if I’d like him to move out?

I spewed from my mouth:

NO. You deserve to stay here and see what you pissed away. What you lost for 15 minutes on your office floor. You deserve to see those kids faces and imagine your life “Every Other Weekend.”

He made a bed on the couch that night.

Bastard.  Served him right.

I sent an email to a trusted mentor of mine, who had helped us through some of the hurdles before our courtship:

“I sent Dale to a Men’s Encounter weekend, well, what a weekend it was. My marriage is over.
Who’d have thought that me sending Dale, hoping he’d come back ready to be the leader of our home, would unleash a year-long secret. A secret of ultimate betrayal. Every moment of every day for the past year, my husband has lied to me with his silence. Has held me in his arms and made love to me, promising me the world, telling me how good we were together, how much he loved our life…..lies. I want to puke.

Did I tell you my dad cheated on my mom? That it rocked my world at age 17 when we found out? I remember my mom sitting on the front porch, sobbing.
I didn’t speak to the Lord or my dad for a year. My earthly father had broken my heart, what did I have to say to my Heavenly Father?

Nothing.

Fathers couldn’t be trusted.

  Now? I am living my very own hell on earth. I have been so fearful of this from the get go. I begged Dale to be true to me. I checked Dale’s phone often for weird numbers, asked questions about what I thought were lip stick stains on his shirt etc. I’ve spent our entire marriage, begging him to be truthful, I constantly asked him about temptation and porn.

He told me he wasn’t like other guys, that he didn’t have wandering eyes since I was the only girl for him.

LIES!

  My trust and questions got me nowhere. And look at me now. Naive and stupidly trusting, blinded to the truth. Thinking we were happy when we obviously weren’t. Thinking I was all Dale needed, when that was not the case.
I am a happily ever after kinda girl. I just wrote out our whole love story on my blog in May, prompted by the Lord to share, so others could see how the Lord had taken a man who had made some big mistakes, healed him, and used him to teach me about forgiveness. To share how He brought us together, scripting us a beautiful love story, healed my heart and allowed us to become one.  4 beautiful children later, I am living my very own dream come true. How could things be going so WRONG!?
I saved everything for Dale. I prayed for him every day from age 13 on. I wrote him love letters each and every birthday, promising him I was still praying for him, waiting for him, anticipating the day the Lord brought him into my life. When I turned 19 I was able to finally replace “Dear Future Husband” at the beginning of the letter with “My Dearest Dale”. What a moment! What a thrill it gave my heart to finally have a name at the top of these letters!

He didn’t save himself for marriage like I did, but I forgave him, trusting him to change. Guess I wasn’t worth waiting for then or now.

Married to my first love at 20, having our first child at 21. 8 pregnancy’s in 8 years did a number on us.

He stole my everything.

My kisses, my love, my purity, my heart.

I have been robbed. Robbed by a slut named xxxxxxx, an agent he was running appointments with, who took it upon herself to reach across the car and feel him up. Dale’s ring didn’t stop her from trying. Worst of all, DALE didn’t stop her from trying. No wonder we’ve gone through 10 of our hardest months financially. The Lord spewed us from His mouth. No wonder He removed His hand of blessing on us. We all suffered because of Dale’s stupid mistake.
I am so angry right now I could puke. Scream. Sob.

  So there you are. One ugly spewing email. I am scared to tell anyone of this. Scared because I already get flack for my life being too sunshine-y. Too happy. But I really meant it. Every stinkin’ word. I really was THAT happy. I thought he was too.
I have an 8-year-old, a 4-year-old, a 2-year-old and a 10 month old. What in the world am I going to do?

Please don’t tell anyone.

I am so ashamed. ~T

I pushed send, no longer caring if someone found out my ugly secret, I needed counsel, I needed to be told how to breathe, how to live with this pain. After I pushed send, I crawled to bed, alone.

So alone, faith shaken.

Someone pinch me. This can’t be my new life. This can’t be real.

I crawl to bed and roll over. My hand naturally falls to Dale’s side of the bed, as is my habit of nearly 10 years. Except this time, it finds no warm body to draw comfort from. Instead, it rests in the dip of the mattress where Dale used to be found. My heart aches with the emptiness of my new life, my new reality.

Then, the tears came…..

Wracking sobs; the ugly kind of cry where you scream, choke and do the ooh-ooh-ooh between sobs, trying to catch your breath. I kept thinking I was going to vomit. Maybe I would’ve felt better had I been able to.

Sleep evades me that night, my mind returning to the scene he described to me….its ugly beginnings in the car, then on the floor of his office with a woman I don’t know, but HATE. HATE!

Literally pinching myself to make sure this isn’t a nightmare. All I want to do, is go to bed, curl up next to my loving, faithful husband and fall into a peaceful slumber………

But, those days are gone.

I cried all night in my lonely bed; hurting, imagining, despising. Dividing up our home, our furniture; trying to decide where I would live, how I could support 4 young children, how I could take Dale for all he had, how I could make him as hurt and miserable as he made me. Thinking of the “D” word we swore we’d never speak:

DIVORCE.

Well, all other promises had been broken, why not this one too?

Little did I know, that Dale was out on the couch, weeping along with me and praying his heart out. He knew he didn’t dare come offer me comfort. He said it about killed him, he’d never felt so helpless. So hopeless.

All this as I sobbed myself into an exhausted slumber, the last thing I recall is the clock reading 3:12 am.

5 am comes and I wake suddenly and sit up all in the same moment. What a bad dream!

I glance behind me and see an empty spot in the bed. Dear God. It wasn’t a dream, but my new ugly reality. Instantly the tears were back and I WAILED at the injustice of it all. WAILED.

Instantly, Dale came from the living room to my side, offering his arms, wanting so badly to bring me comfort. Repulsed by his touch, I shoved him away. I needed to clear my head, so I left out the front door, sitting at the end of the sidewalk crying out to God, crying:

WHY? WHY? OH GOD WHY? in to the still, silent morning. Birds just starting to stir and sing their cheerful song, the sun turning the sky a lovely pink color as another day dawned.

How could life go on as if nothing had changed?

Hadn’t the World stopped turning last night at 6 pm?

I‘ll never forget that sunrise as long as I live. It was beautiful; pinks, oranges and purple.

As I cried out to the Lord out there at the end of the sidewalk, watching the dawn of a new day, something inside of me broke. I felt it occur. In the same instance, I knew as sure as I know my name, that He spoke something over me.

“Divorce is NOT the answer.”

{Sigh}

“Yes, Lord. I know.”

I had known it all along, but was trying to justify it.

Just like that, peace that surpasses understanding washed me from head to toe. Instantly, my churning, sick gut silenced. In the next second, a thought flitted across my mind, and I was on my feet before the thought even finished:

Our marriage is worth fighting for.

Our marriage IS worth fighting for.

OUR MARRIAGE IS WORTH FIGHTING FOR!

Yes, Lord, yes! It is!

I marched back inside, thankful it was still early and the kids were sleeping through this, and I walked past the couch where Dale was sitting. Just sitting there, head hung, lonely and broken in the darkened office. I went to my jewelry box and got out my wedding rings, placed them in a velvet box and walked back out to the office. I slide them across the desk to him, looked him in the eye for the first time since he told me his truth, and said that we had 4 very good reasons to stay together; that I still loved him inside all the hate, that the love was still there. I went on to say:

“Our marriage IS worth fighting for. And one day you will be able to slide these rings back on my finger and make me yours again because I. Choose. Us.”

He wept. Just held the ring box and wept.

“I don’t deserve you.” he whispered.

No, you don’t!” I spouted, “But I love you and I said I do until death do us part, and unlike you, I meant my vows when I said them. You know the crazy part? I don‘t know HOW to be Tonya without Dale. You are all I know, and I am too entwined in you to remove myself. I‘d never be a whole again. There’d always be jagged edges from where I unwound my life from yours. I love you too much to give up on us.”

Less than 12 hours after the lovely Castle I lived in came crashing around me, I had made my peace that Divorce was not an option.

So, now what?

Little did I know, the Lord was already beginning a work in us.

A Supernatural one.

More tomorrow…..

Listen, before I go and before you begin to comment and send me messages, I ask you this:

Remember that I choose to stay with Dale. That I love him, and that I am rebuilding a life with him. That you just now, got put emotionally where I was in July. We have been fighting tooth and nail for our marriage the 9 months since then, so please, temper your words accordingly.

Also, please pray for us to be protected from the attacks of satan. We know we may lose “friends” over this. We know the rumor mill will fly and in the days to come, we will have to answer lots of questions and may have to defend ourselves and our decision to stay together, as even good friends can give bad advice.

Please pray that our words would be seasoned with salt, that we would be able to show the Love of Christ to all we share about this matter in the days to come. That this ugly could be used for HIS glory. That beauty could come from these ashes we call our marriage.

God is a God of restoration, of total healing…….

Trust me, I’m experiencing it with each and every breath I take.

~T

This post shared with:
Unveiled Wife

To Love, Honor and Vacuum

A Holy Experience  

Busy Day Chicken & Weekend Potluck #15

 Needing some new supper ideas?  Well this recipe is fast, easy and all kinds of good!

Busy Day Chicken

(click title for easy printable)

Busy Day Chicken (1)

Ingredients

  • 8 whole Chicken Breasts
  • 8 slices Swiss Cheese
  • 15 ounces, weight Can Of Cream Of Chicken Soup
  • ½ cups Chicken Broth
  • 2 Tablespoons Minced Onion
  • 2 cloves Garlic, Pressed
  • 16 ounces, weight Box Of Herb Seasoned Dressing Mix, Dry
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste

Lay chicken in a greased 9 x 13 casserole dish. Salt and Pepper to taste. Place cheese on top of each breast.
In a bowl, combine chicken broth, soup, garlic and onion. Spread over chicken and cheese. Sprinkle dry dressing over all.
Bake UNCOVERED at 350* for 45 minutes.

Busy Day Chicken (3)

Simple and oh-so delicious!

Now, on to Weekend Potluck, where Friends & Foodies meet and eat ALL Weekend Long!

Today, we need to discuss a little bite… ummm… bit of business with our sweet friends who link up their recipes here each week. If you are just swinging by to check out the recipes, then cruise on down for the link to the goodies at the end.

   For those of you that contribute, we adore our blogging friends. Truly. We love our linky party, too. It is awesome having all these recipes show up on our blogs each week. We appreciate it so much that we have made a commitment to promote those recipes as much as possible with only two rules:

1) Link back. You can use the button or a direct link within your post.

2) Follow us. You can choose to follow anyway you like but you need to follow ALL co-hosts (The Country Cook, 4 Little Fergusons, Meet Penny, Sunflower Supper Club AND The Better Baker) by either RSS feed, Daily Email Digest, Facebook OR Twitter.

If you do not follow these two rules, we will not delete your link, but we will not feature or do any special promotion of your recipe.

Unfortunately, some of our favorite recipes this week, (INCLUDING the one we wanted to feature with the most clicks) did not link back from their posts. We love, love our blogger friends, and hope that they appreciate us enough to remember to do these two tiny things in exchange for the work we put into bringing traffic to their websites.

Now, on to a more delicious subject ~

Last week’s party had so many amazing recipes… a RECORD number of LINKS! Yay and thank you! 

Here are this weeks delightful recipe picks ~

a bowl full of comfort

Chili Verde by The Domestically Impaired Guide to the Retro Kitchen Arts

Reeses Peanut Butter Cookie Brownies

Reeses Peanut Butter Cookie Brownies by Hun… What’s for Dinner?

Reeses Peanut Butter Cookie Brownies

Fruit Pizza by Stella B’s Kitchen

If you were featured today, please feel free to grab the red “featured” button from my sidebar.

Your hosts ~

Remember that when you link up, it shows on all FIVE blogs. Plus…

We TWEET. We PIN. We LIKE.

We want you to get as much exposure as possible so that your time here is well invested.

Linky Guidelines: If you wish for us to promote your recipe or want to be a featured recipe, you must follow these instructions. Please link up to your exact post and not the main page to your blog. Also, LINK BACK HERE from your post so that others can find the fun. (Need help linking back? Read this.) You can use the button or a direct link within your post. If you have a recipe to share, please be sure that you are following ALL co-hosts (The Country Cook, 4 Little Fergusons, Meet Penny, Sunflower Supper Club and The Better Baker) by either RSS feed, Daily Email Digest, Facebook or Twitter. Thanks so much for participating!

Click the link below to be taken to a whole new page of deliciousness:



Owning My Truth

  I am ready to own my truth.

  On September 1st, I wrote this post: Broken.

  I had to, for I felt fake, limping along trying to remain positive and sunshiny.  Trying so hard to keep this blog normal and happy, but failing.

    I had to let you in on a piece of my heartache, so I could move forward in my tragedy.  And, just as I hoped, you lovingly supported me.  Wrote me beautiful emails and lifted up prayers on my behalf.  Thank you.  If you haven’t read it yet, please take a moment and do so.

  For 9 months now, I have mulled over when I was to share what Broke me in such a way. How to go about it, asking the Lord to show me what to do and when to do it.  Asking Him to tell me WHY I had to share this heartache. 

  And He showed me, in a way I could understand, that this hurt was not to be wasted.  That He had plans to bring me hope and a future, that He planned to take the broken pieces of our lives to create a beautiful mosaic for HIS GLORY.  After He showed me through scripture, He went ahead a confirmed it through 3 different people, who are from totally different parts of my life, each of them having no idea the other person had just said the same thing…..

  I was going to be asked to share, to own my truth rather than hide behind it.

  So it is coming, first thing Monday morning.

The truth. 

All of it.

  This story I will share with you has been baptized and transformed into HIS story. Praise His name!  We are being made strong, because God never orders anything without paying for it, because he is a Gentleman. He wouldn’t have us go through this without supplying everything we need to accomplish it, and He is, He has!

  Satan already tried to stop this story from coming once, when he had my newer Dell crash.  3 computer techies looked at it and deemed it un-salvageable, even ones who had near perfect records of saving the un-saveable.  I was devastated at the hours lost, the sleepless nights writing until wee hours of the morning, wasted.  

  I will not be stopped by the devil. 

  So, as the Lord prompted, I re-wrote the story and it is ready to share. Hours of tears, puffy eyes and sleepless nights have been put into these posts that are coming.  3 weeks of them in fact: Monday through Thursday, April 30th-May 17th.  (Weekend Potluck will continue as usual!)

This will not be light reading, but I hope you’ll stick with me. 

  Now, I will warn you…..

The most religious may not hear it, for it messes with their “religious programing”. They have it all figured out, of course.  However, they will gossip about it to their church friends…

”Did you read what Tonya wrote this week? What was she THINKING!”

Some will have pride issues…..

 “I would never do that, because I do not sin!”

The pious will not lower themselves to hear, or receive it. They don’t want to get muddy with real life problems……..They are too good, too churchy, to admit sin actually happens, because it makes them feel uncomfortable.

“Tonya didn’t need to share that openly. Dirty laundry was not meant to be aired.”

  No matter your stand, it is coming:  Monday, April 30th, 2012 at 7 am.

I have been praying for you for 9 months.  Yes, you my dear reader, that your heart would be ready to hear my truth.

 Because the truth will set us free…..

~T

  

Taco Cornbread Pizza

  Oh man, did we ever love this dinner!  I think you will too, as it comes together easily and tastes great! 

Pizza goes South of the Border in this……

Taco Cornbread Pizza

Taco Cornbread Pizza (2)

Ingredients

  • 8-½ ounces, weight Corn Muffin Mix (I did a batch of Nana’s Perfect Cornbread instead, and made 2 cornbread crusts)
  • 1 pound Ground Beef
  • 1 package Taco Seasoning, 1 Ounce Packet
  • 2 cups Mexican Cheese
  • 1 jar Taco Bell Taco Sauce (I Used Medium), 8 Ounce Bottle
  • 2 cups Lettuce Shreds
  • 1 cup Grape Tomatoes
  • Sour Cream, Optional Garnish
  • Green Goddess Salad Dressing, Optional For Drizzling On Top.

Preparation Instructions

1. Prepare corn muffin mix as directed on package. Spread batter into greased 12 inch pizza pan (I used my Pampered Chef circle baker). Bake at 400F for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

2. Brown meat, drain, add taco seasoning. Cook until no longer pink. Drain. Pour Taco Sauce over crust, until it covers nice and thick like pizza sauce would on a pizza. Top with meat mixture, sprinkle 1 cup of the cheese.

3. Bake 4 to 5 more minutes until cheese is melted.

4. Serve with lettuce and tomatoes on top of each piece.

Taco Cornbread Pizza (1)

5. Garnish with Sour Cream or Green Goddess Salad Dressing drizzled over top.

Taco Cornbread Pizza (3)

 

 

YUMMMMMMM!

~T

Happily Ever After: Engagement Session

  I was so thankful to get the opportunity to photograph this darling couple!  They are getting married this summer and are doing things Gods way.  I am so proud of them for standing by their beliefs in a world that doesn’t support that!  I wish them all God’s best as they move forward on one of the most amazing, hard journeys one can embark on…becoming one in marriage.  The very picture of Christ and His church. 

IMG_3917_yesIMG_3928IMG_3944IMG_3919_LOVEIMG_3955_cineramaIMG_3930_IntroducingIMG_3944_polaroidIMG_4033_familyIMG_3964IMG_3989IMG_3968IMG_3974IMG_4069_ringpopIMG_4092-colorpopIMG_4105_boostIMG_4103IMG_4105_boost_I DoIMG_4109-vintageIMG_4112-tight cropIMG_4116IMG_4144tight cropIMG_4166IMG_4181softIMG_4189IMG_4193IMG_4203IMG_4231_middleIMG_4286 (2)IMG_4308-borderlessIMG_4318_signatureIMG_4340IMG_4375IMG_4341-b&wIMG_4356b&wIMG_4403

Congrats, you two! 

Hugs, T

IMG_3956 (2)_square

Operation Big Boy Bed!

  Remember that Dr. Seuss book?  About poor Ned whose bed is too small?

 IMG_2759

When he lays down his feet stick out the bottom!  POOR NED!

   Well, that is what was happening to poor Paxton, too! 

  Due to space issues, he and Avery both used a Mini Crib from birth on, rather than a full-sized one.  If you are tight on space you should check them out, we have been SO happy with it! Just Google “Mini Crib”.  We got a beautiful cherry, sleigh-style one that I LOVE!  (Make sure you order the coiled mattress to go with it, NOT the one that comes with it for free.)

Here are a few really old photos of the mini crib, one from Avery when she slept in our room for the first 9 months of her life, the second of Pax this winter.  Apparently, remembering to take a photo of the before Dale took it apart was beyond my thought process……

 

  So anyhow, poor Pax had started waking up during the night, being generally restless and would cry because his feet would sometimes stick out the bottom between the slats. 

  Do you recall just the other day, a post called “OH Pax! No-no!”?

  If you read that post, you will TOTALLY understand why I was really, really nervous about this transition from his cage, I mean crib, to a big boy bed!  I had visions of him wandering around destroying my house all night, or worse yet, letting himself outside to play!!! 

Here goes nothing……

  The first night I put him down, he immediately, like before I even left the hallway….came out.  Pointing “Uh? uh?” to his crib, which had been slid into the living room temporarily until we could take it apart.

“Yes, buddy. Crib is bye-bye. Come with me, let’s go back to your big boy bed.”

  He did, quite willingly I might add, and this is the sight that greeted me the next time I peeked in.IMG_0830

Awwww…..

IMG_0832

Such a BIG boy!  He is sleeping MUCH better, and doesn’t come out until morning!!! YAY!   

Love my lil’ Tankers!

IMG_6874

Tonya’s Tips for Transitioning to A Big Kid Bed:

1) Work on First Time Obedience ahead of time.  After all, it is your WORD and nothing else, that will keep them in that bed.  If they don’t listen to you during they day, why would that change at night?

2) Set clear guidelines for your expectations for this new bed.  Destiny went to a big girl bed at age 2, and we used to make her call to us to be allowed out of her bed.  “I’m AWAAAAAA-AKE!” she used to call sweetly after naps, or in the morning.  Obviously, we have loosened up some since our eldest was born, but we do still expect our children to stay in their new big kid bed until morning, when they are free to come out without asking permission.  If they disobey and come out at bedtime, we make sure we have clearly stated the consequences ahead of time and follow through if the rules are broken.

3) Stick to familiar bedtime routines.  This shouldn’t be more change than it has to be!  For example, don’t stop rocking right away, if your child is used to that before being laid down. Sing the same songs, go through the same motions, the end result just being that you lay them down in the big bed, rather than the crib.  We eventually change from rocking to kneeling beside their beds and rubbing their backs as we sing and pray, but that doesn’t need to happen right away.

4)  Do not use this time to take away a binky or blankie.  Paxton should give up his binky by 18 months according to the people who make those rules, but at our house, they are allowed until age 2, after which we snip off the tips.  I am thankful he has a few more months of getting used to his new bed, before we take that next step towards “Big Boy” with Binky removal. 

5)  “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”  If you have a full-sized crib, and your child fits fine, allow them to stay in their crib until after they turn 2! Why not? We just chose 18 months, because we knew he wouldn’t fit in that tiny crib until he turned 2.

{Sniff sniff}  My last baby is growing up TOO fast!

~T

Call Me Lazy….

  I am too pooped to party today, so call me Lazy, but I am going to do a bit of a cheater post. 

  See my sweet baby? 

Oops, that’s not why I shared this photo….

  I meant, see my owie wrist?  Who knew that editing photo sessions for hours on end could re-trigger on old college injury?!  And shooting a wedding all day Saturday could make it even more sore? 

  Soooooo, instead of typing out the 2 recipes I want to share, I am just going to send you to the recipe originators.  Ok?

  Recipe 1:

Southwestern Chicken Pizza

(click title to be taken to original post)

From Becca at Crumbs and Chaos

  Avocado, cilantro, jalapenos, and shredded chicken, all on a pizza! How can you go wrong?  Head on over to Crumbs and Chaos, check it out and tell those sweet sisters Tonya sent ya.

Sw Chicken Pizza (5)

Sw Chicken Pizza (1)

IMG_3814Before I go on to dessert, you’ve gotta check out these photos.   Dale was making the pizza dough for me since I wasn’t home yet, and he was letting Paxton “help”.

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Nice.  Guess we’ll be needing new jammies.  AND to get out the vacuum.

  Next up, a yummy dessert from my friend, Holly at Life as A Lofthouse.  If you have a sweet tooth ,than this is the dessert for you. It will seriously make your teeth curl it’s sooooo sweet and yummy.  Cut them small, or you’ll make yourself sick!

White Chocolate Marshmallow Cake Bars

(click title to be taken to the original post)

from Holly at Life as A Lofthouse

White Choc. Marsh bars (1)

Make these recipes, and soon!  Thanks girls for letting me share your yummy pizza and bars!

Off I go to edit a bazillion more photos.

Hugs! 

~Lazy 

Oops, I meant…..

~T

Smoky Applewood Chicken Avocado Wrap & Weekend Potluck #14

  Picture me this, you get home from the grocery store JUST in time to throw everything in the cupboards, but it’s supper time and the kids are all at your feet whining that they are STARRRRRRRVING.

  You have TONS of food you just bought, so no eating out.  But, there is no plan and no time.  What do you do?

  WELLLLL, you grab the Rotisserie chicken you threw in the cart at the last-minute, (Hallelujah!) and come up with a new, savory, smoky, and OH-SO-GOOD Chicken Wrap!  Yay for thinking on the fly!  This Mommy Brain does work once in a while! :)

Smoky Applewood Chicken Avocado Wrap

(click title for easy printable)

Ingredients

  • 32 ounces, weight Rotisserie Chicken, Pulled Off The Bone
  • 2 cloves Garlic, Pressed (or Garlic Powder In A Pinch)
  • 2 Tablespoons Smoky Applewood Rub From Pampered ChefApplewood Smoked Chicken Avocado Burritos with Black bean ^ (5)
  • 3 whole Avocados (cubed)
  • 15 ounces, weight Can Of Corn, Drained
  • 15 ounces, weight Can Of Black Beans, Drained And Rinsed
  • 2 cups Shredded Colby-jack Cheese
  • 8 whole Wheat Tortillas
  • Sour Cream
  • BBQ Sauce

While chicken is still warm, pull from bone, remove skin and shred. Season with Smoky Applewood rub seasoning and garlic. Keep warm until serving.
Drain and rinse black beans and corn and mix together. Set aside.
Cube avocado.
To serve: take 1 whole wheat tortilla and spread with a thin layer of sour cream, drizzle with bbq sauce, add chicken, cheese, black beans & avocado cubes down the center. Roll tightly and dig in!

Now for Weekend Potluck, where friends and foodies meet and eat all weekend long!

Last week, we mentioned that we were going to add a new co-host to our Weekend Potluck team. We are SO excited to announce that we actually added not one, but TWO fabulous blogs to our party:

My sweet friend, Mrs. Marsha Baker from The Better Baker and Kim & Julie, 2 midwest gals from my hometown, blogging at Sunflower Supper Club.

Please make sure to swing by and welcome them!!!!!!!!!!!!

The recipe with the most clicks was ~

white sheetcake recipe

Grammy’s White Sheet Cake by Eat Cake for Dinner

Recipes that caught our attention ~

Jalapeno Grilled Cheese Sandwich recipe

Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese Sandwich by Galley Kitchen

Chocolate coconut candy recipe

Mounds Bars by That Skinny Chick Can Bake

If you were featured today, please feel free to grab the red “featured” button from my sidebar.

Your hosts ~

Remember that when you link up, it shows on all FIVE blogs. Plus…

We TWEET. We PIN. We LIKE.

We want you to get as much exposure as possible so that your time here is well invested. Linky Guidelines: If you wish for us to promote your recipe or want to be a featured recipe, you must follow these instructions. Please link up to your exact post and not the main page to your blog. Also, LINK BACK HERE from your post so that others can find the fun. (Need help linking back? Read this.) You can use the button or a direct link within your post. If you have a recipe to share, please be sure that you are following ALL co-hosts (The Better Baker, Sunflower Supper Club, The Country Cook, 4 Little Fergusons, AND Meet Penny) by either RSS feed, Daily Email Digest, Facebook or Twitter. Thanks so much for participating!
Click on the link below to be taken to a whole new page of deliciousness!!!!!!!!!!!



OH Pax! No-no!

  Destiny and Tylan did NOT prepare us for Avery and Paxton. 

Guess the Lord likes to keep us as parents humble, doesn’t He? 

The first 2 were easy, laid back, didn’t get into trouble much, were very tender-hearted and then…….

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We had Avery.095

  Sunshine to thunder clouds and back, all in a matter of minutes. 

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No middle ground. 

 Crabitha I will never forget when she was 5 months old and threw her first fit, arching her back and practically sliding down my leg, limp as a spaghetti noodle.  I gasped and stared at Dale across the room, whose mouth had also dropped open.  We knew then, we were in for a WHOLE new ballgame!

    I wouldn’t have it any other way, my sweet, sassy little Peanut!

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  Then there is Paxton, who takes Mischievous to a whole new level. 

He is the naughty to her theatrics.

  Did I tell you about the time I went out to photograph Banana Caramel Pinterest Pie and when I came back he had dragged over a kitchen chair and helped himself?

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How about the morning where he dumped the entire bowl of Oatmeal on his head?

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Or, when he dumped flour all over the place?  Escaped out the back door for the first time, or helped himself to the contents of the fridge?

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   In the last 2 weeks it has been as follows: 

Threw his binky in the toilet.  (Yes, the toilet was being used, otherwise the lid is not allowed to be left open. Yuck.)

Threw Avery’s special prayer bunny in the toilet, again it was being used.  Ew.

Hit Avery in the head with Dale’s golf club.

Hit Avery in the head with a golf ball.

Hit Avery in the head with her high-heeled church shoes.

Hit Avery in the head with a utensil. 

Hit Avery in the head with a train.

Poor Avery needs a helmet!  Paxton will smack his own bottom afterwards, “No no”, he says. 

  If you know it’s a no-no, THEN QUIT, DUDE!  Your sisters health depends on it!

  This torment seems mostly directed at Avery, as you can tell!  He just frustrates Destiny when he trashes her room and Ty when he knocks down his lego towers.

  He stands at the island to “help” with supper, those little grabby hands dumping salt and noodles faster than I can stop him.

  I clean up water messes at least 5 times a day as he crawls up on to the table and dumps his siblings cups out, then plays in them.

{Sigh}  A mother’s job is never done it seems.  If it’s quiet and you can’t find Pax, don’t walk, RUN to find him. You will be sorry otherwise!

  Now, our latest issue is……….

Markers.

  I hide them, he somehow finds them.  I hide them again, higher.  He finds them again, using a kitchen chair to do his job.  Hopefully they are all so high he can’t reach them (I barely can) and this will stop.  OF COURSE, I didn’t think to take a photo of my “decorated” walls, doors, couch and carpet before I scrubbed them, but here is how he looked afterwards:

(When he first came to me, I was very concerned that he was bleeding. This quickly turned to exasperation, as I realized he had found yet another marker!) 

Oh my gracious sakes! Who drew marker all over the walls?

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Ok, ok, you are right.  It was me.  {sigh}

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  I decorated my sock, too!  See?

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What do you mean that is a “No no”?

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This is some of my BEST work!

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You aren’t going to tell Daddy about this, right?!

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You ARE????????

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Sorry about the mess, Momma.

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Even though I am naughty, you think I’m pretty cute, don’t cha!?”

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Come on, you know you do……

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I sure love you, Momma!  I will be a good boy now.

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Sweet baby Tank, what would my life be without you and your siblings?  I love that each and every one of you are different and special in your own way!

  God is good and life with kids is great, so we’ll just smile and roll with it!  :)

~T 

Suiza Chicken Salad Sandwiches

The original recipe for this was called Chicken Suiza Melts, and was shared on Weekend Potluck a few months back, by Siggy Spice.  Looks like she got the recipe from a friend, who got the recipe from Rachael Ray’s site.  This original sandwich was served hot, with broiled cheese, which I am sure is deeeee-licious!  But, seeing as how it’s so beautiful outside, we changed things up a bit, and made it into a cold Chicken salad sandwich, spreading the bread with guacamole and slices of tomato.  YUM!  Try it both ways!

Suiza Chicken Salad Sandwiches

{click title for easy printable}

Chicken suiza salad sandwiches (2)

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • ½ cups Red Onion, Finely Chopped
  • 4 cloves Garlic, Pressed
  • 1 whole Lime, Juiced
  • 1 Tablespoon Honey
  • 1-½ cup Green Tomatilla Salsa Or Salsa Verde
  • ½ cups Sour Cream
  • 1 cup Shredded Mexican Blend Cheese
  • 1 whole Rotisserie Chicken, Skin Discarded And Meat Shredded
  • 6 whole Wheat Rolls, Split
  • 1/2 cup Guacamole, Or As Needed To Spread On Slices Of Bread
  • 12 slices Tomato (I used halved grape tomatoes)

Preparation Instructions

In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until the onions are softened and translucent. Stir in lime juice, honey and salsa verde and continue heating until heated through. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream and shredded cheese. Stir in shredded chicken and refrigerate for 2 hours or until chilled. Split the whole wheat rolls and spread the bottom half with a generous amount of guacamole and sliced tomatoes. Add some of the chicken mixture and top with the top bun. Enjoy!

(In a big hurry?  Wholly Guacamole is found in the produce section, and is smashed, seasoned and ready to go avocados! No additives!)

Enjoy!

~T