November 27, 2009

It's the Most Wonderful Time...

... I had a wonderful Thanksgiving and now am ready to celebrate Christmas! I love love love Christmas time and am excited about all of the fun things already planned...

and with the new season: a new BLOG BACKGROUND :)

Yay for Christmastime!

November 25, 2009

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and of course Thanksgiving is all about the food! Every year we spend Thanksgiving at my grandparent's house in Palestine, TX. Since my Grandma passed away when I was in college, my mom and aunts now prepare our meal for the day! This year my mom signed me up to make one of my favorite recipes which is my Grandmother's Sour Cream Coffee Cake!

So this morning I set out to make it and I think it turned out well!

Here's the recipe:
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Topping: 1/2 cup nuts, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1 cup sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat Oven to 350
Cream sugar and butter
Add eggs and vanilla and beat well
Add dry ingredients with sour cream
In a separate bowl mix the topping ingredients together
Spread 1/2 of the batter in a greased 9x13 pan
Sprinkle with 1/2 the topping
Add rest of to batter and smooth to an even layer (which btw... easier said that done!)
And sprinkle the remaining topping
Bake 35 minutes at 350 degrees
*Can refrigerate overnight and bake in the morning; freezes well

This is what you get:

November 22, 2009

Putting People First

So the other night I was catching up on all of my shows on DVR and since I was doing other things at the time, I listened to most of the commercials instead of fast forwarding. And in the course of a couple of hours the same commercial came on 3 times and every time the same thing made me cringe a little...

They had a commercial for Friday Night's 20/20 in which Barbara Walters was interviewing Sarah Palin and part of the commercial had her asking Palin's husband Todd "How did you feel when she told you you were going to have a Down Syndrome Baby"

Now I work with infants and toddlers who have developmental delays and disabilities, so "people-first" language has been drilled in my head. This meaning that they are a person first (i.e. he is a baby with Down Syndrome). Therefore saying that the disability does not define the child.

I'm not writing this as a rampage against Barbara Walters... I know she means nothing by it... like I said people first language has been drilled into my mind so much that when I hear things I perk up. So I went to look a little at people's comments regarding this and found how many comments thought that this complaint that people had was petty. And I can definitely see where they are coming from... it seems petty to be complaining about the order of wording when they are being so supportive of this family of a child with disabilities. I found the following message from a parent of a child with Down Syndrome and I thought it explained things pretty well so I wanted to share it:

With all the Sarah Palin interviews, I love that there is discussion of having children with Down syndrome. Unfortunately what makes my skin crawl and blood pressure rise is these interviews including language that is down-right inappropriate. I admit, before Mary, I probably would have said the same thing -- BUT once you know better, you do better. So with my below statements I am hoping those who read this will now know better.

Referring to Palin, they say, "She found out she was going to have a baby that IS Down syndrome." (I am talking about you Oprah and Barbara Walters)....Really? My daughter IS Down syndrome? Last time I checked she IS a fun, chatty, perfectionist-little lady who happens to HAVE an extra chromosome. For those of you who don't understand what the big deal is, let me tell you, as a parent, the difference is profound. Mary isn't DS, she has DS. She isn't a Down's baby, she has an extra chromosome.

Part of the problem is the flaw of the English language. People aren't trying to be offensive, they are just using the same sentence structure they always hair, brown tree, cute boy....the adjective is in front of the noun. But people, please don't use my daughter's "disability" as her main definitive adjective. She is so much more than a Down's baby. She is my baby, and now my little girl. Once you get to know her, you honestly don't even see the DS anymore. So knock it off media. Get the language right. They are people WITH DS. Not DS people.

Anyway... like I said I really did not intend this as a bashing of the language used... I just feel as though people don't know how it sounds when they say certain things so I wanted to comment on it because this is a subject near and dear to my heart.

Kind of on the same note (but very different)... while I was doing some reading that evening I found in several articles the fact that 90% of women who receive a diagnosis of Down Syndrome choose to have an abortion. Seriously, I started crying when I read this fact. I guess I knew that doctors do these genetic screenings during pregnancy so that termination is an option. But it shocked me that the percentage is so high. I think of all the babies I work with who have Down Syndrome and the amazing potential they have... their smiles that can light up a room and brighten even the worst day... their hugs and kisses that they give... the intelligence and progress that they show every day and my heart broke to think that this is considered enough of a deterrent that a baby should not be born. Anyway... I'm not really going to go on about this because it makes me too sad.

Sorry... I really hope this didn't sound like I was preaching... Just something that was on my mind this weekend!

November 20, 2009


So last weekend, my cousin Christy posted the following as her facebook status:

Let's see how many people can do this. Every day this month until Thanksgiving, think of one thing that you are thankful for and post it as your status. "Today I am thankful for..." The longer you do it, the harder it gets! Now if you think you can do it then repost this message as your status to invite others to take the challenge, then post what YOU are thankful for today.....

I know that I am so blessed and often times I don't acknowledge that and I get so caught up in all the difficulties that I don't focus on the good. So I decided I needed to do this and I want to share a list of things I am thankful for here as well... some are repeats from Facebook, some are not :)

I am thankful for my Savior, my Friend, Jesus Christ and the abundant grace He shows me every day. In BSF this year, we have been reading the Gospel of John and I have been so amazed to read and get a deeper glimpse in the Person and Heart of Christ and just the amazing realization of how little I deserve His love, yet how freely He gives it!

I am thankful for good friends. I have been blessed with 3 of the most amazing best friends throughout the years! Nicki, Erin, and Lara are all there for me to laugh with and cry with and share my heart with and I am so grateful for each one of them! I love seeing how our friendships grow and change over the years and I look forward to many more years of laughter with each of them!

I am thankful for my family. My Mama Reed who has become one of my greatest friends in the last few years. She is always there to encourage me and bring me back to reality! My brother Nick who I am enjoying getting to spend time with during his season living back at home... who always shares absurd stories and quotes with me and lets me join him on Rock Band regardless of how bad I am! My brother Jeremy who gives me lots of reasons to laugh and who I am so proud of for all he has accomplished! And my sister-in-law Aja who helps to balance out the house full of boys I grew up with! I am so grateful to have gotten a sister almost 5 years ago when Jeremy got married... and I couldn't have chosen a better one!

I am thankful for my job. I have faced a lot of trials at work over the last year and it has been rough, to say the least. But I am thankful to have a job where I get to work with families and children every day. And I am thankful for my co-workers who are supportive and encouraging when I need it most!

I am thankful for my health. I have been thinking about this a lot in the last week... I know so many who are ill. My Sunday School teacher from when I was in High School was recently diagnosed with cancer that they found in his brain, spine, and lungs. His spirit through this trial has been so amazing to see and I know the Lord is already working a miracle in his life and his body. But I also have 2 of my babies that I work with who are in the hospital, both for the 3rd time in 2 months. I started thinking the other day about how so many of the babies I work with have seen more doctors in the last year than I have in my entire life. And it just made me feel even more blessed that I have not had to face such a trial recently.

I am thankful for cool weather. I love being able to come home and open the windows! I love being able to wear long sleeves. And I loved my $28 electric bill last month!! :)

I am thankful for my church family. When I moved back to the Dallas area, I took that opportunity to visit several churches and even started getting plugged in at one close to me. I was loving it and still miss it at times. But when the pastor at my home church passed away unexpectedly, all I wanted was to be back with my church family. I grew up in this church where my parents were charter members, where I was baptized, where I took my first steps at a church picnic. And since going back I have been given the opportunity to work with the youth group, teaching Jr High Sunday School and helping with sunday evening and Wednesday night activities. Every weekend I am challenged by these "kids" and encouraged by them and I feel so lucky to get to work with them!!

I am thankful for my puppy, Allie. Seriously, there is nothing better than having "someone" to come home to. I love curling up with her on evenings when I am home. I am so grateful to have her for company!!

I am thankful for the future. I feel as though I have a lot of exciting things coming up, and I can't wait to see the plan unfold!!

November 11, 2009

My Week with the Puppies

This week I am housesitting and dog sitting for my brother and sister-in-law while they are celebrating their birthdays in Jamaica! I have gotten a taste of having more than 1 dog and it's been a little crazy Granted... most of the craziness is because of my dog... because she is so excited to see her cousins and she doesn't like to sleep in new places. The first night we were here, Allie cried all night long... non-stop for 9 hours. I thought we were in for a long week, but we've all now settled into our routines and it's nice and calm (most of the time). Here's a look at our morning:

This is Sadie... probably the sweetest dog I know... she is so fun and treats Allie like her toy

Maggie May is not so fond of Allie (or the craziness when Allie and Sadie play... we call her the fun police). She spends most of her time hiding behind this chair
And of course my snuggle puggle, Allie! Finally settled down at Uncle Jeremy's!

November 6, 2009

Cinnamon Rolls

So I love to bake... I think this is pretty evident to anyone who knows me! My church's annual Holiday Bazaar is this weekend and when they asked for more donations for the Bake Sale, I was excited! Because I especially love to bake when I can give the goodies to someone else!!

So I thought about what I could make and I decided to try something new. I read about Pioneer Woman's Homemade Cinnamon Rolls a few months ago and have been wanting to make them. I've been thinking about making some at Christmas and giving them out to people, and I probably will still do that. But I decided why wait?!

So this week I set off to make homemade cinnamon rolls and I LOVE them!! They really were so easy to make... and even though it was a huge mess.... they are so good!!

I am looking forward to making them again soon!