Archive for January, 2009

his birthday!


Today the love of my life turns 33.  I know I’ve shared much about him on this blog & how wonderful I think he is.  But, I don’t think I’ve told you yet, about his gift for writing.

Adam wooed me with letters and I still have every single one of them.  But, I think my favorite letter he ever gave me was from our baby girl.  We found out we were having a little girl in May 2002, about a week before Mother’s Day.  This letter is the very first Mother’s Day gift he ever gave me.  After reading it, you’ll see why I fell for this man & why I love him even more today:


This is my first chance to talk to you , and it seems like a good occasion.  I know we haven’t met yet, but I know you pretty well.  I think you know me too, or at least you feel me a lot.  I’m getting bigger everyday, and it’s getting smaller in here.  I bet that I won’t be able to stay in here forever, and that scares me a little.  But if I get to meet you then, I will be very happy.

I can hear you talk sometimes.  It makes me feel good.  I don’t know what you’re talking about, but I like the sounds.  I like it when you sing to me.  Is that other voice I hear my Daddy?  Sometimes he talks too much.

What is it like out there?  I’m sure it is much different.  One thing I do know is I’m learning more and more all the time.  I know I’m very smart because I can kick my legs and wave my arms already.  I’m counting on you to teach me how to do things out there.  And teach me the difference between right and wrong, so I can make good decisions.  I want you to be proud of me.

Are you goint to take good care of me?  I hope you do.  I’m going to need a lot of help at the beginning.  Someone has to feed me, and bathe me, and hold me and hug me.  And I am so glad that that person will be you, Mommy.  I love you so much already, and I know you love me too.

Promise me one thing.  Promise that you’ll love me no matter what.  I don’t know if I’m going to be pretty, or skinny, or short, or tall.  But I’m your daughter, and I hope that’s all that matters.  I promise that I will love you, and I want us to be best friends.  Happy Mother’s Day, Mommy.  I can’t wait to meet you.


Your Daughter

Adam, you’re one of the best gifts God ever gave me.  You are such a special man & your dedication to our family is appreciated more than you’ll ever know.  Ava, Garrett, Grady & I are better people because of you.

Thank you for loving us…



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Garrett’s bedtime prayer:

“Dear Jesus, thank you for the day.  Thank you for Christmas & for decorating the Christmas tree.  Thank you for Mommy & Daddy making some dinner.  Thank you for our family & friends.  Please help us to stay in our beds & bless this food for our bodies & have a great day tomorrow.  Amen.”

praying-hands1Garrett has become the official “pray-er” in the house.  He loves saying prayers before meals & at bedtime.  This is a bit ironic because when Garrett was about two years old, he would scream whenever we prayed.  He would yell, “No, stop it!”  What can I say?  The boy really wanted to eat his dinner.  Though there were some “terrible-two” days, when I would have told you it must be demon possession…

I’ve been reflecting on my prayer life recently.  I know I’ve said this before, but I am ever in awe at the amount of things I learn from my kids.  And here I was thinking Adam & I were supposed to do all the teaching!  I love Garrett’s prayer & what it models.

  • I love that overall, Garrett’s prayer is a prayer of thanksgiving.

I’ve noticed that the first thing Garrett does when he prays, is say “thank you.”  I tend to default to “God, please help me/God, please guide me/God, please show me.”  So, praying “thank you” first, is something I have to be intentional about.

  • I love how conversational Garrett’s prayer is.

I used to think my prayers needed to be very proper.  One problem with that was I became so focused on my words & religious “verbage” that I wasn’t very personal with God.  I couldn’t completely open my heart to Him because I was too stuck in my head!  I’m much more relaxed now.  I am still respectful in my prayers & humbled by my God, but I find that I pray more freely when I don’t focus on sounding so formal.

  • I love that Garrett’s thankful for the everyday things.  And while it may be simple sounding to me, it’s a big deal to him.

hanging-ornament1Take Christmas, for example.  Garrett loved decorating the Christmas tree this year.  Loved it!  He was in awe of all the ornaments & lights & would tell me how beautiful & magical is was.  I’m amazed at how the older I get, the more I have a tendency to complicate things or overanalyze them.  Why do I think it is that it’s okay for a four-year-old to still be thanking God for something he did two months ago, yet silly, for me, as an adult, to do the same?  I get just as excited as Garrett when we put up our tree.  So many of our ornaments have a little story that goes along with them & those memories are so sweet.  I have ornaments the kids made, ornaments from when Adam & I were dating & then married, some from the year I was born…I could go on & on.  I particularly love our family ornaments.  It’s cool watching us go from a family of two to a family of five!  But, honestly, I think I stopped thanking God for decorating the Christmas tree the moment the last ornament was hung.

My friend Tristi posted something she was thankful for every day for an entire month.  I so looked forward to reading her prayers of thanksgiving everyday!  I learned a lot that month.  One thing that really jumped out at me was how much I take the little things for granted.  When I look around I am amazed at the gifts I’ve been given:  my husband, our children, our home, our families, our church, health, clothes, school, two reliable vehicles, our jobs, heat, a washer & dryer.  Even our fireplace & the ability to roast marshmellows to make smores in the middle of winter from the comfort of our family room.  Really, the list is huge!  I need to be more diligent in thanking God for everyday moments.

There is one more reflection I want to share.  One of the biggest things I’ve learned about my prayer life recently is I tend to turn to God when something may be taken from me as opposed to when something is given.  Take our refrigerator for example.  Amazing how I never thanked God for the fact that we have one, but oh my word, I was so quick to ask for help in finding a new one.  Once I realized what we might lose (in this case, perishable items), my prayers came instantly.

Along the same line, I find that I’m quick to go to my knees in times of desperation, but not in times of thanksgiving.  I’ll pray fervently for help, or for an intercession, but often times my “thank yous” are tossed in like asides.  Unfortunately, I remember to thank God for what He gives me when I’m faced with the possibility of losing it.  So, I need to remember to thank God for all He has given, and not let my thanks be determined by my circumstances.

So there you have it.  That’s a lot for a little guy to teach his mommy!  Garrett, I look forward to the day when I can show you this post & you can understand how much your prayer did for me.

Thank you God for children who teach me.  Thank you for continually working on my heart.  Thank you for keeping it soft & pliable so I’m open to instruction, change & areas where I need to grow & not hardened against it.  And thank you for another year of decorating our Christmas tree.

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Adam & I were at a party recently, where we had a terrific salsa.  The recipe was kindly shared & actually, was very simple. Being that last Friday was Mexican cuisine night in the Newton house, I thought it’d be a perfect opportunity to try recreating this little gem.

So, I only needed three ingredients for the salsa; picante paste, a tomato & some fresh cilantro.  Thus, begins our little excursion.

Grady & I found the tomato & cilantro quickly & then we hit the Hispanic aisle of the grocery store to look for the picante paste.  I never heard of picante paste (in fact, I don’t even know what picante is), but I’m very familiar with tomato paste.  So, I assumed I was looking for a small can with the word picante somewhere on it.

We were in that aisle for 20 minutes looking for this stuff.  I went through every single item, but I couldn’t find picante paste.  So then I just started looking for anything with the word picante on it.  I saw salsa picante & pa-chay picante, but no picante paste!  I remember thinking, “If this recipe is so easy, then this ingredient shouldn’t be this hard to find.”  I was about to ask an employee for helping finding the picante paste, but then realized it was almost time to pick up Ava from school.  So, Grady & I left the store with two of our three ingredients.

I got home & told Adam how I had trouble finding picante paste & asked if he had any ideas on where I could get some.  He laughed & said, “Kel, you needed Pace Picante, not paste.”

Now, at this point you could see how one might confuse the words “Pace” and “paste.”  I mean, they do sound similar.

Oh, if only that’s where it ended…

You see, when I looked at the word Pace, I didn’t read it as rhyming with “race.”

“Pace?  Is that how you say it?,” I asked.

And that my friends, is when the lightbulb went off.

I looked him straight in the eyes & said, “The store had tons of Pace…but I thought it was pronounced pa-chay!”

I’m not sure which of us busted out laughing first, but we’ve had a lot of fun with this story the past few days.

Anyway, I went back to the grocery store the next night to pick up the Pace.

And yes, the salsa turned out great.  Definitely worth the two trips!


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the fridge

Our refrigerator is broken…again.

This is probably the fourth time that water leaks from the appliance on to the floor.  This time though, the freezer isn’t working & I noticed that everything is starting to soften.  Of course, I just went to the grocery store & purchased quite a bit meat, so unless we move quickly, we’re going to lose everything in there.

Unexpected, but necessary expenses are always fun, right???

Let the refrigerator research commence!

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our sweet weekend

Adam & I had the best weekend together!

Our kids went to stay with each of our parents, since they had a long weekend.  They were scheduled off of school last Friday & yesterday.  They had such a fun time with their “eemas” & “eepas,” as Grady would say.

Friday night, Adam & I went out to dinner.  We tried a new restaurant that a neighbor recommended.  It’s called Brio and let me tell you right now…

It. Was. Awesome.

It’s an Italian restaurant that’s a step above Olive Garden in regards to price.  Everything was incredible – the food, the service, the ombiance.  I highly recommend it!  Here’s the link to their website:

Brio Restaurant

We spent Saturday doing what all couples do when the kids are away…we cleaned!  We went through each of the kids’ rooms & pulled clothes they no longer fit in.  I also had all their baby clothes to sort through.  It was a huge job, but we made it.  We finished by bagging everything up, so we could donate it to Good Will.  That night, we went to a friend’s birthday party & had a fun time helping everyone celebrate.

After church on Sunday, we went out to lunch.  This time we hit Panera, again, a favorite of ours.  Afterward, we watched the Steelers/Ravens game with friends.  When it came time for dinner, Adam & I just looked at each other & grinned because the only plates we had to prepare was our own.  We’re so used to cutting up the kids food & pouring their drinks first.  So, it felt kinda odd just getting a plate for ourselves & then sitting down.

After the game, we went bowling.  I love bowling!  It’s been a while & neither of us are very good, but we have a great time together.  I think I switched bowling balls 3 times during the night.  Eventually I had to get a 7-pounder from behind the counter, but once I did that, my score greatly improved.  In fact, my ball even managed to stay on the lane as opposed to in the gutter.

I met my mom yesterday to pick the kids up.  Ava & Garrett chatted about all the fun things they did, while Grady cried.  He wasn’t ready to come home yet!

Anyway, while it was wonderful spending time together, just the two of us, there was something very sweet about having our kids home, tucked away in their beds.

We can’t thank our parents enough!  We appreciate all they did this weekend & I know special memories were made all around!


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linz2My baby sister turns 26 today!

My sister has one of the biggest hearts out there.  She is so endearing to our family &  has the best sense of humor.  Oh, and she’s a doctor now.  So, I guess I should also mention that she’s pretty smart.

One of my favorite things about her is she remembers the little things and is there for you in the day to day moments.  Even though she lives in Texas now, she intentionally does things to stay involved in our lives.  My kids always love their phone calls from “Aunt LeLe” & the cards they get in the mail (especially the stickers!!).

Lindsay, I hope you have a wonderful day!  I love you so  much & I am incredibly blessed to have a sister as sweet as you.

Tell Steve, “Hi!” from all of us!


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shall we dance?

Ava had her very first dance class yesterday!  It’s a combo class of ballet & tap.

She’s been talking nonstop about her first day, but yesterday she shared how nervous she was:

“Mom, what if the other girls don’t like me?”

“Mom, what if no one else has their hair in a bun?”

“Mom, what if the other girls are wearing tutus & I’m only wearing a skirt?”

“Mom, what if I can’t remember the steps?”

“Mom, will my teacher be a girl?  Will she be nice?”

My goodness!  Too many worries for a little girl.  I told her to remember that last night was everyone’s first day of class.  Maybe some of the girls have danced before, but they’re not going to know everyone there either.  I reminded her how much she loves to dance & encouraged her to have fun learning.

We got to watch the last five minutes of class & she did great.  She likes her teacher & said the other girls were very nice.  One girl even helped Ava tie her tap shoes.  “She’s six-and-a-half, Mom,” she told me, “so, she’s been tying her shoes longer than I have.”  In fact, her only complaint was that the class was only once a week, as opposed to every day.

When we got home, she wanted to dance some more.  So, I got out my tap shoes to dance with her.  I started dancing when I was five, & was very familiar with the tap steps in her routine.  I gave her a few tips on how to “shuffle,” and then we had fun tapping across the kitchen floor.

Here is a picture of me & a picture of Ava.  We’re both 6 years old.



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