Broccoli & Cheese Twice Baked Potatoes

   This is the view to my left as I type this:

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Nosy little guy! He is supposed to be napping, but mean ol’ teeth woke him up early.  He has learned to step up onto the little reading chair down there, and is so proud as he stands big, taking it all in.  🙂

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  I have a recipe to share with you and then I need to go snuggle that sweetie-pie…….this recipe is a starchy side AND a veggie all-in-one, how can you go wrong?!

BROCCOLI & CHEESE TWICE BAKED POTATOES (click to print)

Recipe by Once  A Month Mom

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  • 4 medium Potatoes
  • 1 cup Broccoli florets, steamed (or use frozen broccoli and steam)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar Cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup Ranch dressing
  • 1/2 cup Sour Cream
  • 4 T. butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder

Directions: Wash and poke holes in each potato. Cover each in foil. Bake at 400 degrees for an hour.

Remove from oven and unwrap the foil. Let them cool for 30 minutes.

*Use a hot pad or kitchen towel while handling the potatoes, they will be very HOT*

Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise. With a spoon, scoop out the insides, carefully leaving a 1/4 inch in the skin. Place all the scooped out middles in a large bowl. Set the potato skins onto a cookie sheet.

Mash the potatoes with a fork, mash only until lumpy, not smooth. Then add the broccoli, ranch dressing, butter, sour cream, garlic powder and ONE cup of the shredded cheddar cheese. Mix together well.

Spoon the mixture into each of the potato skins. Top each with remaining cheddar cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

  Dig in, these are so GOOOOD! 

  Gotta go play…….someone special is waiting for me!

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~T

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Gooseberry Patch

Miz Helen’s Full Plate Thursday

This Chick Cooks

 

Happy 1st Birthday, Pax!

  Today is Paxton’s 1st Birthday!

Here are some photos from the Oh-so amazing First Year we’ve had with him:

Welcome home, Paxton!

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One month:

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Two months:

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Three months:

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Four months old:

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Five months:

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Six months old:

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Seven months:

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Eight months old: 

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Nine months:

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10 months:

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11 months:

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12 months:

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Oh little one, slow down.
Stay in Mommy’s arms a bit longer,
For time is slipping by like sand in an hour-glass.
The busyness of life, robbing precious moments sitting on the floor with you;  reading, playing patty-cake, blowing raspberries on your soft tummy.

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Oh little one, slow down.
It’s just not fair for you to grow up so quickly
Toddling away from me at every chance,
Le
arning new things at every turn.

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Oh little one, slow down.
Give Mommy a chance to catch her breath from this whirlwind called life.
Stay a baby for a moment longer,
Let me draw you close to my heart and drink in your sweet baby smells.
Let me feel your little hand clasp mine.

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Oh little one, slow down.
For you are my last baby,
The perfect final puzzle piece in our big picture…..
God knew we needed you to make our home complete.

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Oh little one, slow down…..
even if only for but a moment in time.

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Oh little one, please slow down, for I need to hold you in my arms just a little longer…..

 

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Oh little one, how I love you……

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xoxo Mommy

”No one else knows the strength of my love for you.  After all, you’re the only one who knows what my heart sounds like from the inside.”230

 


 

 

 

The Story of Paxton

  I am madly in love with this little man: 

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    And there is not a day that goes by that I don’t scoop him up in my arms, bring him up to my cheek and just breath a prayer of thanksgiving for his life here on earth with us.  He is a gift straight from my Heavenly Father. 

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  As with all our successful pregnancies, Paxton was a surprise.  I took a pregnancy test based on a gut feeling, and it immediately showed negative.  Ok, good, I was hoping for a bit more time to decide if we wanted a 4th.  After 2 babies back to back (Tylan & Avery) I had asked the Lord for a 2 year break.  I had started consulting Him about these things, as obviously Birth Control should be called Birth UNcontrol at our house. The 4 we have here on earth were all surprises, and the 4 I tried to plan, are all in Heaven! 

  I had to quickly set the negative test down to go deal with crying 1-year-old Avery, got busy and totally forgetting all about it.  When I came back much later, I swooped it up to throw it away, glad none of the kids had found a new “play thing”, Gross!  Just as I am an inch from the trash can, I glance down to see 2 very distinct lines and….

Gasp!!!

  Where did that second line come from??? It sure wasn’t there before!!!!  Woah, guess that’s a big YES after all! Good thing I hadn’t already thrown the test away!!!!!

  God sure has a sense of humor……

Remember my “2 year break” request? 

Guess who was due 2 weeks after Avery turned 2? 

Baby #4. 

  Dale said next time you should tell the Lord you want a 2 year break between PREGNANCIES, not a 2 year break between children! lol  🙂  After being pregnant so many times in a row, 8 in 8 years at this point, you just kinda run out of fun ways to tell people you’re pregnant.  This go around, we decided to announce it to the world via facebook like this:

“Apparently, the world is in need of another Ferguson.”

  People flipped out!  “What?! Does this mean what I think it does?”   🙂

Why yes, yes it does.

143  It wasn’t long after this that the complications began;  like a week of big time bleeding.  Thinking I had miscarried yet again, we went in for an emotional sono…immediately they find our little peanut.  Praise God, healthy and thriving!!  I am curious if Paxton was a twin, but this side of Heaven, we just won’t know.  (I wonder the same about Tylan, I had 2 bags of water with his pregnancy!)

 By the 2 month mark,  I was contracting every day.  It seems each and every one of my pregnancies  was to be a complicated faith-walk the entire way through. Obviously this 4th and final little Ferguson was to be no exception!  

  By 14 weeks I was on light bed rest due to more contractions with severe cramping that felt like a miscarriage in process.  Thankfully that was not the case.

  Soon after this, it was time for the exciting sono…….boy or girl? Something fun to look forward to no matter how many times you’ve experience it! 

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  ”It’s a boy!” the sono tech told us.

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Then, she got quiet. 

  She kept going back to this one area of my placenta.  I don’t know if you can recall what it feels like lying there, tummy exposed, bladder full, heart pounding with anticipation, smiling and hoping all is well, watching your little one on the sono screen….asking “Does everything look ok?”  Waiting for that reassurance. 

None came. 

  Instead she handed us a slip and told us we needed to contact our doctor for another diagnostic sono.  Suddenly, our happy sunshiney day had dark clouds rolling in:  Fear.  Worry.  Anxiety. 

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    See that spot that looks like a hole?  That was the area of concern.  We were sent home to wait the month it takes to get into a Fetal specialist for a level 3 sono.  Can  you imagine?  A MONTH of not knowing what was going on inside?! 

  Miracle of miracles, God moved as only He can, and we got in to the specialist 7 days later.  Just like the last time, the sono tech can tell you nothing, so again we waited for the phone call, just 2 days this time. (2 LOOOONG days)108

We were diagnosed with a Complete Circumvallate Placenta. This condition can result in low birth weight, preterm labor (this explains all the contractions I’d been having!!!!), preterm emergency delivery and intrauterine growth restriction…aka baby not getting the nutrients or oxygen needed to grow and thrive.  

  Another thing that occurs is a white band forms around the perimeter of the placenta, causing further blockage of minerals and oxygen as well as preventing the toxins to be removed from the placenta as the baby goes to the bathroom.

  If that wasn’t bad enough:  Pregnant women who experience circumvallate placenta are at a very high risk to deliver a premature baby or have a miscarriage. The “hole” we saw was the curled placenta, which means it is not properly attached.  Often circumvallate placentas continue to curve and curl throughout most of the pregnancy, creating a chance that the placenta will detach and the baby will need to be delivered immediately (like within minutes) by Caesarean section. If the placenta detaches before 25 weeks of gestation, there is a significant chance of miscarriage.  

    As I mentioned before, we had lost 4 babies at this point, so this was a HUGE point of fear for me already.  I began pleading with God for His hand to protect our little Paxton and keep him safely attached in the womb.  The Lord gave me this verse through a dear friend, which I personalized and CLUNG to the whole remainder of the pregnancy:

152Psalms 112:7  “(She) does not fear bad news, nor live in dread of what will happen. For (she) has settled in (her) mind, that Jehovah will take care of (Paxton).” 

Oh wow, this was JUST what I needed to hear!

   This is already longer than I had intended, so I am going to fast forward and sum things up a bit.  Basically, we were without a doctor until 32 weeks pregnant.  No one wanted to take a patient with a CV placenta and allow vaginal delivery, I was considered too high risk to deliver at the Birthing Center of my choice, so we waited, doctorless.   Do you know how awful that felt?  How scary it is to be contracting and wondering, what happens if this kicks into full labor? Do we just show up in ER praying a Doctor we can tolerate is on call?  So we prayed and waited and prayed some more.

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  With CV placenta, 32 weeks is a monumental turning point in the pregnancy.  It is the determining gestational age for whether or not the compromised placenta can handle the increased demands for food and oxygen from baby or not.   There were 2 scenarios:

 1) Do a Level 3 sono and see his growth had stopped and/or his oxygen supply was compromised and go in for an early C-section and live up in NICU with a premie for a while.

  Or 2) Do a Level 3 sono, and find out he is growing just fine. I am then released to the doctor/midwife of my choice with a free and clear bill of health. 

  You better believe we spent those 32 weeks PLEADING with our Heavenly Father to feed our child since my body was not able. To give him oxygen so there would be no problems later. 

  126Mostly, I felt betrayed by my own body, which was supposed to be the safest place on earth for my litte one, yet it was the reason he was in such danger. 

  I spent a total of 6 1/2 months on the recliner in my living room, cramping, contracting, crying at times, praying and trying to be Mommy to a 6, 2 and 1-year-old.  I relied heavily on Dale, family and friends for the day-to-day tasks.  Even back to school shopping was done via cell phone from my living room, as my mom walked up and down the aisles describing items to me.

    During this time, prayers were going up constantly from family and friends and church prayer chains.  We were so blessed to find out an elderly lady from Dale’s aunts church, after hearing of our situation, committed to get up at 5 am every morning to pray for Paxton and I for 2 hours.  She paxdoesn’t even KNOW us, but felt led to intercede on our behalf.  I had tears in my eyes and goose bumps all over when I found this out. 

FYI: I want to be JUST like her when I grow up.  Wow.

   So our 32 week appointment day arrives and with it the big “Make it or break it” appointment….the one that determines whether I could have the natural birth of my choice, or if they were going to need to take him early by C-section and put him in NICU.

    Hearts pounding, we enter the sono room, pleading with the Lord for all to be well  And you know what, 30 minutes later, we had our answer:

Paxton was doing just great!!!!!!!!

 In fact, MORE than just great.  He weighed in at 4 pounds 5 ounces already!  The average size for 32 weeks gestation….3 pounds 3 ounces! 

 Praise the LORD!

Not only was God feeding him for me, he was feeding him WELL!  Look at those fat cheeks:Paxtonschubbycheeks

  004We were released from the fetal specialist to our midwife with their blessings and no substantial fears of further complications from this condition.  Praise Jesus!

  As I approached the end of a 9 month-long miracle, I breathed  a sigh of relief; all the fears, prayers, hours and tears from months of bed rest were coming to a close.  Only God Himself knows the extent of His covering over Paxton this pregnancy.  His power was made perfect in my body’s weakness. Hallelujah!

  So when they let you off of 6 1/2 months of bed rest, designed to keep your baby in, you naturally think your baby is coming out as soon as you are up and about again. 

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Nope.

Not mine. 

  He was cozy in there and he wasn’t budging.  In fact, he made me wait until the morning AFTER his due date.  Stinker!

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At 4 am, August 17th, I woke up to a POP-POP noise.  That was weird, I thought, did Pax just kick my tailbone?  Nope. I had just heard my own water breaking.  Holy cow. Craziest sound/feeling EVER!

 

 

 

  It was show time, FINALLY!  I always have evening babies, 2 of my 4 born at exactly 7:11 pm, so I figured we had a LOOONG day and evening ahead of us. 

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  But by 9:32 am, after only 2 hours of being at the Birthing center, I got to meet my little (BIG) man.  Apparently, the look on my face when they said he was crowning was priceless…..Like popped my eyes open, dropped my mouth open in shock, mid-contraction.  I seriously never expected it to go that fast, envisioning spending the afternoon in labor yet!

  And just like that, 16 minutes of pushing, and he was here, safely in my arms!

Paxton Clay Ferguson, my miracle, fed by the hand of God for 9 long months. Not only did God feed him, but He fed him WELL, like super charged God-food. 🙂

  This kiddo weighed in at 10 pounds, 3 ounces, 22 inches long, and although he was much more blue-grey in color than my others, seemed to be doing fine. Praise be to God!

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  This 4th and final birth, was the most laid back, hands off experience I have ever experienced. And soaking in the tub during labor? AMAZING! Totally takes the edge off contractions and helps you to relax. If you get the chance to birth at a Birthing Center with a midwife, I highly recommend it! It is a beautiful, peaceful, natural process!!!

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 After everyone was all settled in and cleaned up, they did an examination of the placenta.  It was found to be 95% covered around the perimeter by a white cord, as is common with CV placenta.  To have an over 10 pound baby off a compromised placenta is nothing short of a miracle………

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……..A precious gift sent from Heaven above.  Praise be to God for His provision and His hand on Paxton, caring for him in the womb when my body could not.

Guess what?! Tomorrow is Paxton’s 1st birthday!

   How is it that the first year takes us from helpless newborn to walking, jabbering, little mini-person? 

 Can’t we stretch the 1st year out over 2 years or something? Pul-eeeeeeeeeeease?

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{Sniff sniff}

~T

 CVP moms:  Besides tons of prayers and petitions to my Heavenly Father, I also was on several homeopathics.  They were Hyland’s brand, and one of the was to help with oxygen levels for the baby.  The other was a magnesium one to help slow down the contractions.  I could TOTALLY tell when they kicked in and wore off.  If you have CVP and are comfortable with the use of a natural, homeopathic remedy, despite what your doctor may have to say about natural things, this was very helpful to us. 

Ferrum Phos. 30X & Magnesium Phosphate

Hyland’s Ferrum Phos 30x — 500 Tablets
This product can help the lungs to distribute oxygen throughout the body. It helps carry the oxygen in the circulatory system.

Hyland’s Mag. Phos 30x — 500 Tablets
Hyland’s Magnesium Phosphate is the homeopathic version of the magnesium they give in the hospital to stop labor.

  I took about 10 of each of these 3 times a day.

  I give all glory to God for this miracle, and these homeopathics are one of the ways He allowed us to have the healthy baby we did.  I believe that with my whole heart.

 If you are Kansas local and are looking for a natural, laid back, incredible, natural, birth experience, please go to http://www.yoderbirthcenter.org/ for more info. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Tank Party for My “Tank”

  Ever since Paxton was a baby, we’ve called him “Tank”.  011  Maybe its because he was a huge kid at birth…  

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Or maybe it was because as he got older, and bulldozed his way through our home, the nickname just fit. 

“Why hello there Tank!”

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“Aww, Tank! Don’t cry!”

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    Naturally, as we approached Paxton’s first birthday party, it was only right that we go with the Tank theme:

A big thanks to Uncle Mike’s girlfriend, Mary, for making us this DARLING Tank cake!!!!! 044

  Check out these cool Green Apple Army Gummy Men I found at our local market.  What are the odds of finding gummy army men, and just in time for our party!?!?!  I just smiled and said “Thanks, Lord!”  It TOTALLY made my day!  🙂

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  They were the really soft kind of gummy, and tasty too!

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  Paxton doesn’t actually turn 1 until Wednesday, (phew, I have a bit longer to call him my BABY) but due to some family matters, we moved his party up a whole weekend.

  Here are the photos from his fun day:

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 Saprina all dressed up to party…..

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Guests arrive:

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Cool Dragonfly (already deceased) from Great Grandpa & Grandma’s house:028029

“Look Momma, I think it’s a bug!”

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“Got it…”

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“Uh, Momma?  I got it, but I don’t like it.”

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“Ewwwww!”

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Cake time!  Paxton spots it his coming….

“Dis!” he says.

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You can barely tell it, but in this photo he is pursing his lips and blowing the candle in these little teeny puffs. Clever boy!  087*Also not pictured: big brother Tylan, walking up to it and matter of factly blowing it out for him!!!!!  Nice.

Dig in baby, this is the first/last time you’re getting sugar for a long time…Enjoy it!

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“Here Mom, this thing came off….”

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Still going strong on the cake……till Momma cuts him off!

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Time to open gifts!

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Read that “Time for Mommy to open gifts, while trying to keep a squirmy, sugared-up, almost 1-year-old on her lap……”

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  Uncle Dan had arrived at the party in his super fun, 1964 Impala, so after the party, he let the kids have a ride around the property. 

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    Pax sure thought he was cool stuff getting to stand in the front seat while it was parked….

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“What do you mean I can’t drive until I am 18!?”

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“Can I just pretend, like this?”

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“Yes?”

“Ok, thanks, Mom.”

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  Aunt Viv, here from Oregon, brought presents for ALL the kids.  They thought that was a SUPER great idea!  She brought them each a darling new outfit!!!

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  078My last little Ferguson is a few days away from turning 1!

How is that possible?!?!

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~T

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Easy Schmeasy Caprese Salad

Easy Schmeasy Caprese Salad

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15-20 vine-ripe Cherry tomatoes (more if using Grape)

1 pound fresh mozzarella , cubed

20 leaves fresh basil

Kosher Salt and Pepper to taste

16 oz. bottle Kraft Sundried Tomato Vinaigrette

Directions:

Cut tomatoes in quarters, or if using cherry tomatoes, in half.  Rip larger basil leaves in half.  Drizzle the salad with Sundried Tomato Vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

I loved it…..annnnd, my family hated it!

Guess even non-picker eaters have their limits, so proceed with caution?????

Nah, make this for yourself and eat on it all week, leaving off the dressing until right before eating. This would be FAB piled on a toasted bagette.

~T

So this has nothing at all to do with this post, but Paxton was making me giggle today with his Full Contact Peek A Boo session…..

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Ladies Man

What can I say? 

Paxton is a ladies man!

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They just um, “flock” to him. 

Check it out:043

He is good at sharing:

“Wanna snack?”

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He is Kind:

“Hey there ladies, don’t fight, there is plenty to go around!”

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He is quiet, often pondering life and all there-in….

“Hmmmmm. Now where did I put that other cracker?”

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He is friendly:

“Hi! Welcome, come have a snack with me!”

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He is strong:

“I have the power to feed these chicks right here in the palm of my hand.”

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He is generous:

“Here you are, ladies….cheese crackers for everyone!”

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He has a great “appetite” for life:

“Wait, I want one too!”

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He is fashion forward:

“Come here….”

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“….I want to fix your hair. It’s kinda sticking up.”

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“Comb you say? Yes, you DO need a comb!”

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Paxton has some pretty girls at church too…..

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Paxton’s mine!                                                No, he’s mine.

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We are currently working with their parents for an itemized list of their dowry’s so we can make an informed decision on Paxton’s arranged marriage. 

Ok, ok, maybe not, but he sure has some great future choices!!!!! 🙂

~T

Mulberry Madness

  It’s that time of year again….

  The time where we have to be SUPER careful to take off our shoes before coming inside, since THIS is what we are walking on outside:

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A carpet of Mulberries 

And this, is how my kids come in after play time, which turns into snack time in our all-you-can-eat Outdoor Buffet:

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  Oh well, I can’t complain, they all love Mulberries and it’s a healthy choice.  Pax had 4 helpings tonight!  They are so nice and soft for near-toothless little ones. 026

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  So this may be TMI, but as you know, Mulberries stain little baby hands and faces……but, did you know that um, as time passes, the other end gets stained purple too?!  Just call him “Purple-hiney Paxton”!

Huh, you learn something new everyday!

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  What a blessing to have such good little berry pickers, and you sure can’t go wrong with free fruit! 🙂

~T

P.S.  Guess who took his first steps last night?

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Sorry they are blurred, that kid was really movin’, and this momma couldn’t get her act together fast enough!

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Remembered to switch to flash…..there we go! 

BIG boy!

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After an exhausted week of this:

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This:

Breakfast

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Lunch

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004And this, from his mean old teeth trying to come in!  (4 at once, ouch!)

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  It was nice to see him happy and more like his old go-get ‘em self. 

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{Sniff-sniff} Have I mentioned my last baby is growing up WAY too fast?

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All done, daddy! That was exhausting!

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Paxton and The Trampoline

  The kids wanted me to come jump with them on the trampoline today.  I love to jump with them, but Paxton was awake.  I tell you what, sometimes it is so hard to know what to do with that kiddo.  He sits on a blanket while I garden, in his wash tub when we swim, in his swing when we swing, but when we jump?  Well, I guess he gets to come with?  I figured it was worth a try, even if I didn’t get much jumping done.

  He was not too sure at first…….maybe because big sis was bouncing RIGHT behind him?!??!?!

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View from above:

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View from below:  LOL!!!!! 🙂  That kid puts everything in his mouth! Trampoline included!

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BTW, jumping with a 20 pound baby in your arms is exhausting!

~T

 

Sweets & My Sweet

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These Candied Popcorn balls were great! We decided to do Grape flavor, which tasted JUST like a Jolly Rancher. Except chewy. Oh man, was this popcorn good and not healthy at ALL, but hey, you gotta live a little, right?! 🙂

Being Grape popcorn balls, I figured they’d be a bit more, well, you know….

Purple.

Guess that’s what you come to expect from a society that adds dye to EVERYTHING!

Here is a purple tinted photo to put your mind at ease, that these popcorn balls do indeed taste like Grape, despite their non-grapey color in the above photo.

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Candied Popcorn

Ingredients
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 cup White Karo Syrup
  • 3-½ ounces, weight Flavored Jello, Your Pick!
  • 12 cups Popped Popcorn, lightly salted
Preparation Instructions

In a sauce pan mix the sugar, Jello and syrup.
Cook on medium heat, stirring constantly.
Bring to a light boil or until all the sugar is dissolved.
Then pour over popcorn. Form into balls or spread out on cookie sheet lined in foil or sprayed well. Store in air tight zip lock or Tupperware. Popcorn can also be easily formed into balls and wrapped in tight Saran wrap.
Enjoy! Tastes best fresh, as in that night yet!!

And here is MY sweet~

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  I sure don’t get snuggles as much as I used to pre-busy crawler stage.  SIGH, I love bedtime snuggles!

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He is SOOOO sweet!

Happy Independence Day!! Enjoy your family!

 

God Bless America……without Him, we are nothing.

~T

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  “You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.”

~Erma Bombeck

Tub Time Traditions

  There is just something so darn cute about babies in the bathtub!

066069                          At around the 8 month mark, we take a bath time photo of our children in the sink.  I am not sure how this tradition got started, but it seems once I decided to decorate my red & black bathroom with black & white bath time pictures of baby Destiny, taken by my cousin many years ago, it was deemed necessary to continue,  as other little Fergusons turned 8 months old.

  Forgive me, but I am far too lazy to take these out of their frames and go scan them……

Destiny

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Tylan

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Avery

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Paxton

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Here they are as you see them in the bathroom…..I need to get Paxton’s photos ordered and into the frames already!

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  You have no idea how many years I walked into this bathroom, and dreamed of the day when I’d have 4 babies to photograph and fill this frame.     044

  Funny the things that can make you sing praises to your Heavenly Father, isn’t it?

~T