Celebrate Veteran’s Day with a Mommy with Twins

Ever feel like your arms are full with baby…full of love and full of things to do?  Well, my dear friend Leeana Tankersley (pictured with me above) knows that feeling well with energetic twins that will be turning 2 soon.

Leeana is a Navy wife and she has written an amazing book called Found Art:  Discovering Beauty in Foreign Places. In honor of Veteran’s Day, I hope you enjoy this excerpt from Found Art:

The war has asked an impossible amount from so many. It has asked us to relinquish husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, mothers, and fathers. It has asked us to sit and listen to the many voices who comment so knowingly on a life they have never experienced. It has asked us to come to terms with the costs associated with such an enormous cause, and for some, it has been an inestimable cost. Beyond all other burdens, the war has left us with the inordinate task of grieving the death of our youth. This is the most unnatural and incomprehensible grief to bear.

Where is God in such loss? Where is God while the world is splitting at the seams? I have shaken my fist at him a time or two and asked him what he could possibly be thinking.

I have watched young widows grieve, and such tragedy is just about the worst thing to witness in this world. I have seen soldiers, sailors, and Marines weep bitterly for the loss of their brothers and sisters in combat. I have shared a sidewalk with a young uniformed boy one week and read about his death the next I have sat in the stabbing fear of possible loss myself. But I have never stopped believing that God was there. I cannot perfectly reconcile the horrible injustice in this world with the love of God. I don’t have the right answer to such a dilemma that would, once and for all, quiet such questions.

Here’s what I do know: Despite their grief, I have watched young widows survive. Despite their anger, I have watched soldiers heal with time. Despite my fear, I trust again. These are the places where I see God. We are able to go on—not in the ways we might have if this war would have never happened, but we are able to love again and trust again and believe again and breathe again. That is God, for I know I am incapable of these mighty efforts on my own.

I have so few answers when it comes to the theology of war. Most days, I just feel full of sadness and then rage. I hate that our world is so terribly messed up, and it seems as though the innocent and the young are constantly paying the price. In the face of the world’s cruelties—and they are plenty and varied and ever upsetting—I will choose to hate the injustice. I will choose to look for God, even if he is hiding in the smallest fold or the slightest crease, because I know in the very deepest parts of me, undoubtedly, he is there.

The following excerpt was taken from Found Art: Discovering Beauty in Foreign Places (Zondervan) by Leeana Tankersley. Leeana is a Navy SEAL wife, and her book chronicles the year she and her husband lived in the Middle East during the war in Iraq. Follow Leeana at www.gypsyink.com.


Pumpkin Station with Baby Lucy

We had a great time at the local pumpkin station.  Lucy went on her first train ride – she seemed to like it 🙂

The Joy of Veggie Burgers

I’m always on the hunt for a quick, easy, healthy finger food to feed Lucy.  She loves feeding herself now which is great.  My latest discovery…she likes veggie burgers!  I was making one for myself and realized, this would be yummy for Lucy.  All sorts of veggies in each bite and I could cut it up and serve it so easily to her.

It’s a hit!  So the next time I go to Costco, I will be getting more of these veggie burgers.  (I like to eat them wrapped in lettuce, with mayo and curry powder mixed together).



Eye Appointments for Your 12-18 Month Old

Our optometrist offers a free eye examination for babies 12-18 months old and yours might too!  I took baby Lucy this morning for her pain free eye exam.  Of course, one look at the doctor (a stranger!) and she started wailing.

I explained that it wouldn’t hurt a bit and this was the friendly eye doctor.  The doctor did a splendid job of looking into her eyes even if she wasn’t very cooperative.

The doctor looks for congenital eye conditions and other problems.  He checks if the baby’s eyes are moving correctly.  Lucy checked out just fine which is wonderful.  The early eye exam is so important because if there is a problem, it can make a big difference to correct the problem early on.

So if you have a baby, put it on your checklist to see the eye doctor, optimally between 12-18 months.

Happy Birthday Baby Lucy!

My baby has turned ONE!

We had to laugh because with our firstborn, we had a party with an elaborate ocean themed cake that my mom made, complete with green plants coming out of the cake.

For our second born, we had a quiet party with family.  My mom had beautiful cupcakes with fondant that spelled out N-O-E-L-L-E.  The cupcakes were arranged in tiers with pink roses throughout.

This year for Lucy, I made homemade cupcakes with vanilla frosting and used chocolate sprinkles to spell out L-U-C-Y (I was very proud of myself).  Thankfully my dad saved the day and the photo op by carving a watermelon – isn’t it amazing?

I am so grateful for sweet Lucy.  She wakes up first in the morning, babbling happily to herself for about 20 minutes and when I get her, she is like a puppy dog.  Instead of wagging her tail, she kicks her legs.  She is completely adorable as she crawls and pulls along the floor to follow me throughout the house.  I am savoring each day with her as we aren’t planning to have any more kids.  So this is it.  I’m happy and sad.  My baby is growing up!

Mary Kay Giveaway – No More Dry Hands!

I’m having a new monthly Mary Kay giveaway and this month you could win a full-size hand cream to restore those dry, chapped hands (that you keep washing 50 times a day to keep baby clean and healthy!).

If you don’t already have a Mary Kay consultant, you are eligible to win this great product from wonderful consultant Tina Smith.

Just hop over to my new “Arlene Pellicane” blog and leave a comment.  The winner will be randomly chosen and announced on Monday!  Happy hand cream!

Camping in Kings Canyon National Park

Here’s my husband and the giant Grant Tree in the sequoias.  Walking through the groves was so beautiful.  We got there before the tourist bus which was a treat.  Kings Canyon National Park is a 6.5 hour drive from our house.  We left at about 3:30 am to beat the Los Angeles traffic.  The kids were so excited to be driving in the middle of the night surrounded by their pillows and blankets.  It was truly one of the highlights of the trip to have them giddy with excitement!

Camping is a great way to have an active and cheap vacation.  And the views don’t get much better!  Thankfully we stayed in a cabin which is my idea of roughing it (walking to the bathroom in the middle of the night in bear country).  We hiked around the Grant Groves, took a trail that was 9 miles round trip (we only made it 4 miles which is what I predicted), and walked up this steep staircase on Moro Rock for a spectacular view.  As you can see, this is not a hike if your kids are prone to wonder off!

One of the unexpected blessings was having a romantic time with my husband.  I didn’t really expect this since we were traveling with our kids and with dear family friends who have 4 kids.  But James and I held hands, whispered in each other ears, and kissed.  It was wonderful.  I left Kings Canyon with great memories, beautiful pictures, and a very grateful heart.