An American Hero

Yesterday the Cincinnati tri-state area got the word that Matt Maupin, a young solider missing in Iraq since April 9, 2004 was found in Iraq over the weekend. The army has informed his parents that his remains were found in Northern Baghdad and DNA conclusively confirmed that they were the remains of Matt. Matt was a 2001 graduate from Glen Este High School in the Cincinnati area and joined the army. His convey was attacked in 2004 and he was considered missing/captured ever since. There was a video released a week after his capture and another a few months later claiming to be of his execution but that was never confirmed. He was the only solider still listed as missing in the Iraq war.

I was so sad yesterday when the news was released. I think most of us knew that this would probably be the outcome but we wanted so much to think there might have been hope for Matt. I’m just glad that his parents will now have closure and remains to bury giving them somewhere to visist to honor his life and his sacrifice!

My heart and prayers go out the Maupin family, his mom Carolyn and dad Keith, his wife and son. I thank you for such a wonderful son/husband/father who was willing to put his life on the line for his country! The whole country grieves with you now as this journey closes and we wish you peace as the new journey of moving on begins!

My heart and prayers go out to all of our other soliders and their families. I hope that we will be able to bring you home soon! Until then thank you for all that you do to keep America the country we love today!

Easter 2008

So, it’s Thursday night and I’m finally posting Easter pictures! I’m such a slacker! We were in Indiana this year for Easter. My Grandma is selling her house so she wanted to have one last Easter there. So we went up to spend Easter with my mom’s side of the family.

Saturday night Bri colored Easter eggs with her cousin Chase. She was very proud of her creations!

Last year we found Ressurection Eggs at the local Christian bookstore. They are really great! There are 12 plastic eggs and each one has on object inside..except for the last egg which is empty. The different items represent a different part of the Easter story. For example, the first object is a donkey to represent the donkey that Jesus rode into Jerusalem. The final egg is empty to represent, of course, the ressurection. We loved the idea of the eggs so we bought them. Easter morning Steven hid the eggs around the living room and Bri and Jonah got to go hunting. After they found the eggs we sat around and read a little passage about each object as Bri opened up the eggs. We had to majorly cut it short because the passages were very long and she’s only three, but I think she got the point! Next year I think maybe we’ll hide the eggs at the begining of Lent and have them find two eggs a week in preparation for Easter Sunday. Maybe that will hold her (and his by then!) attention better!

Just a few more pictures… their baskets. I was proud of them because the candy was all homemade. This was something my mom did for us growing up and I’m so excited to be able to do it for my kids. It’s so fun and soooooo good! The only things we bought were the Easter window clings (they are gel and Bri loved them!!!) and Little People eggs that open and have little people in them. We try to keep Easter gifts pretty low key so as not to over power the real reason for the celebration!

And a few pictures of them enjoying their candy, yum!

It was a very nice Easter and I was grateful to be able to spend it with my family. It truly is my favorite holiday!

Menu Plan Monday

Boy have I been slacking lately! I haven’t done a menu plan in about 6 weeks and I have to be honest we’ve been totally lost. I realize now how awesome these plans are with making sure we are eating well and eating early (instead of at 7 or 8 because we had to defrost something!!!!) So without further ado, here’s what we’re eating this week.

Monday: Leftover Easter ham, baked sweet potatoes, fruit salad
Tuesday: dinner at Mom’s
Wednesday: Pinto beans and ham (using Easter ham bone), cornbread
Thursday: Fiesta Chicken Pasta, salad, rolls
Friday: No-Fuss Tex-Mex Roll-Ups, refried beans, mexican rice
Saturday: Stir-fried Rice Pot, pineapple
Sunday: Whatever we didn’t get to eat this week!

Have a great week everybody and happy eating! (Oh, I’ll be posting Easter pics tomorrow so stop in and see what we did this Easter!)

Good Friday

The holiest (and my favorite) week of the year is coming to a close. Today is Good Friday. Growing up I always felt like the Friday before Easter never got the recognition it deserved. After all, without Good Friday, Easter Sunday wouldn’t have been nearly as remarkable a day as it was. Without Good Friday, Easter Sunday wouldn’t have even been necessary really. When I began dating Steven I started attending the masses with him during Holy Week. I thought they were wonderful and I still do.

Last night was the annual Seder meal at St. Joe’s. To start it off we have a traditional passover meal (well, I guess it’s traditional I’m not sure) and then we have a chicken dinner. Afterwards we go to mass. The highlight of that mass is the washing of the feet. Representatives from different organizations in the parish come forward and have their feet washed by one of the priests. This is done in remembrance of Jesus washing his disciples feet, and the charge we are given to wash the feet of others. Granted some think this is a very literal interpretation, but it is also very symbolic. We are urged to think of the many ways we can “wash the feet of others” without really washing their feet. It is a really cool point in the mass.

Today we decided to go to the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption in Covington for the Good Friday mass. Plans quickly changed however when both children started acting like holy terrors. We decided it wasn’t worth the fight and decided to leave. This is a very solemn mass and one that really makes you contemplate the agony of the Crucifixion. Many don’t like to dwell on the pain that Jesus suffered on the cross, but we all have to admit that it was necessary for our salvation. The Cathedral we were at is such a gorgeous church! I had to post some pictures because it may just remind people of a certain famous cathedral somewhere in Europe.

Tomorrow night is the Easter Vigil. This is the night that new members will be baptized and confirmed into the Catholic church. After about 9 months of preparation it is a very joyful time for them, and it is a very joyful mass. It is probably my favorite of all of the masses during Holy week, aside from Easter Sunday of course! We will be out of town this year but I think we are going to try to go to the Easter Vigil in my grandma’s town because we love it so much.

Then of course Easter Sunday. Easter has long been my favorite holiday. I would even put it ahead of Christmas. Without Easter Sunday Jesus’ birth would have just been another birth (with exception of the miraculous conception part!) I feel so lucky to be able to call myself a Christian. I feel so blessed that I know my Savior. I know that He died to take away my sins. I know that He rose from the dead to give me everlasting life. I know that He will return to us one day to take us home with Him. I hope I will always live my life worthy of His love and His sacrifice.

Happy Easter to you all! Have a blessed weekend!

Big Boy Jammies

I love jammies! Especially for kids, they have the cutest jammies. There comes a certain time in your life when it’s no longer appropriate to where Hello Kitty jammies, but then you have kids! To me there is nothing sweeter in the world than seeing your children, after a bath, all wrapped up in their favorite jammies. In the winter I love the fleece footie jammies, they make the babies that much more snuggly (is that a word??!?!?!) But then they start walking and footie jammies aren’t so safe anymore. In comes big boy jammies. That’s where we are right now. The weather is getting warmer and Jonah is now walking EVERYWHERE! Time for new jammies. We were at Wal-mart last night and they had jammies on sale, and my mom just couldn’t resist. So Jonah got two new pairs of big boy jammies and he looked so cute. The Lightning McQueen ones he is wearing in these pictures also have shorts that go with them that are too cute! He just looked so cute last night I had to take some pictures to share with all of you. (Did I say yet that he looked so cute?!?!?)
Congratulations to my old friend Diana and her husband Henry on the birth of their new baby girl, Kamryn Taylor on March 11th! I am so happy for them! For those of you who know Princess Di wander over to see pics of her new bundle of joy! Have a great weekend everyone!

Tumbling Monkeys

Our Brianna loves to play games. She could play board games, card games, matching games, computer games and puzzles for hours. This year for Christmas she got a great game from her Nina called Tumbling Monkeys. It’s for ages 5 and up but Bri loves it! It kind of reminds me of the game Kerplunk with the marbles and the sticks, do you remember that one?!?! We used to love it and the premise of Tumbling Monkeys is the same. It has a palm tree that you fill with brightly colored sticks and then you drop these plastic monkeys in it. The monkeys hang from the sticks and then you roll a dice and pull a stick according to the color you rolled. The goal is to end up with the least amount of monkeys, but not according to Brianna. She is convinced that the winner is the one with the most monkeys! She is so funny because if she pulls a stick and the monkeys don’t fall she says “Oh, I got stuck!!!” She has so much fun and it is fun to play with her now that she’s learning how to take turns. It’s also helping her with her colors since she has to pull the stick that matches the color she rolls. Games are such a great way to teach kids how to play fair and to have some quality time together. So if you have preschoolers go out and get this game, I bet they’ll love it as much as Bri does! And if you don’t have preschoolers yet buy it anyway to have on hand. It really is a fun game and great for mommy time or family time!

Spring (?) Break

Today officially begins my week of spring break! I have needed this break really bad! Then we wake up this morning to snow. As I write this we are under a blizzard warning, expecting a possible 15 inches by Sunday morning!!! I can’t believe this! First of all, I can’t remember a blizzard in Cincinnati in my lifetime. It’s kind of cool but come on- it’s March for pete’s sake! I’m supposed to be enjoying sunshine and birds, and instead I’m watching my daughter build snowmen!!! Does anyone else think this is a bit bizare????

Well, if it has to be snowing, and right now that’s the only option, we might as well make the best of it right! Steven got off work early and after stopping at the grocery he came home and took Bri out to play. She has been so excited all day and couldn’t get outside fast enough. They spent a little over an hour building a snow man around a big boulder that sits outside our building. It turned out really good.

If Bri looks exhausted in this photo she was! She had been playing hard with daddy and it started showing on her little red face! This is how she looked before they went out to play:

Jonah was taking a nap while they were outside so I decided to use the quiet time to scrapbook. I haven’t scrapbooked anything in quite a while so I was excited. The snow gave me the inspiration to scrap last year’s sled riding pictures of Bri. (See, I said it had been a while!!!) I was so excited with how they turned out I thought I’d share!

Sometimes waiting for the right inspiration pays off! I hope to get quite a few layouts done while we are snowed in this weekend!

Pray please for mom. She is stuck in Florida right now. She went down for a conference and it looks like right now she’s stranded. I told her to make the most of it, after all she is in Florida, but she’s really bummed out and worried about when she’ll get home. So just keep her in your prayers!

Well, that’s all for today! Be safe wherever you are!