Ryder turns three!

Much like a good Harry Connick Jr. song or a warm blanket out of the dryer, there are some things that just make me oh-so-happy.

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But one that tops them all is this unconditional love of a little redheaded boy. It melts me faster than a sticky popsicle on a hot summer day.

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I was privileged on Monday, and most properly the Saturday before, to celebrate that sweet boy’s existence and constant joy in our lives. Ryder turned three!

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New Orleans Beans

“Beans! beans!

Good for your heart!

The more you eat, the more you…”*

I have a new favorite recipe. Even more so now because it is one of the few dishes that I really, really, enjoy eating while pregnant. I suppose the protein has something to do with it. I discovered this dish from a Big Oven app I installed on my phone. Its called New Orleans Red Beans. After three or four times of making it however, I do a few things differently that save me time. Here is my version:

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Stormy Seas

Imagine a quest across the widest of oceans. The seas are raging. The waves are building in height with every waking hour causing the adventurers aboard to question their decision to ever embark on such a journey. The rains pelt down in sheets of cold, drenching, darkness while the boat, precariously perched high above the next swell, drives deeply down between the growling waves.

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Tracking April 2012

Dogs have this keen awareness about some things and absolute disconnect with others. For example, Toby, my yellow-lab-German-Shepard, believes that any doorbell, no matter if it is ours or one hosted via the television constitutes the best and most robust bark that surely will scare anyone away. Yet, his uncanny ability to know when I am pregnant before I even do amazes me. He becomes even more “my dog” and hovers around me like a small remora fish hovering around a whale to monitor its surface quality. I don’t mind the attention for the most part, but it sure makes for an interesting time navigating the house with a large dog circling my every movement. So without further ado, I hear by publicly announce that Mini Macks are officially being tracked to a number of three. Due December 16th, the newest Mini Mack will grace us with his or her presence. We are very excited! This also explains my recent desire for nachos for breakfast and very much disapproving of the thought of them by lunchtime.

In other exciting news, our Rory-girl turned one! April 12th she embarked on some of the greatest childhood activities: opening presents, eating cake with gusto, and reveling in the attention of family all around. dsc_0277

dsc_0260One of her favorite foods, spaghetti pie (recipe courtesy of Grandma Mack), was served and she encouraged all to have two helpings. Everyone kindly complied. dsc_0351

Ginger cats cookies, a snoopy doll, and clothes galore brought gleeful oohs! as cousins offering their assistance to “help” her along the way. dsc_0290

dsc_0297Ms. Aurora K. Mack even acted as though she had blown out candles and had eaten cupcakes all her life; dsc_0331 complete with a nap requested as the last handful went through her hair rather than in her mouth, “Nap!”

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I am smitten with this girl. I love how she says, “Hey” or “Hi” every time I walk into her room these days. Or how she is determined to do things herself – brush her teeth, eat anything put in front of her, keep up with Ryder in his various activities.  She is a doll and I am so thankful for her!

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Ryder has been busily planning his 3rd birthday (May 21st) and I am currently trying to figure out what exactly a horse cake or rooster cake could consist of. We like to be challenged and Ryder has not disappointed thus far in his birthday plans. He is also determined to challenge my ability to spell. Anyone who has ever known me knows that spelling has never been my strong suit. But lo and behold my dear little redhead is determined to change that.

“Awe man!” Ryder cries from afar.
“What?” I yell from the other room.
“I can’t spell ‘urchin’…”
“Um, okay. It starts with an ‘u’…”
“Ohhh! That’s where I messed up. It sounds like an ‘r’,” he says, “Now, ‘vulture’. That’s ‘v-u-l-t-…’?”
“u-r-e.” I yell from the other room and secretly think to myself, “Dear Lord help me. I hope I spelled that correctly.”

Also in Ryder’s current activities we have planted extensive gardens and plucked ripe berries with Oma in Pungo to make strawberry bread, butter, smoothies, and jam.

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Questionably, I am the one that has shown up with an odd case of poison ivy or something similar. Let me tell you, behind the ears is just wicked. How in the world does that happen?! A friend told me it is likely my dear dog, a.k.a. remora fish, has rubbed in the shrubs and brought generous amount of poisonous oil to hug me with. Why thank you.

Thankfully God had grace on me at the end of the month and allowed some respite from spelling with a two-year old and time to mend my itchy wounds. Chris and I adventured to Asheville, NC with a few friends, sans kids,

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to take in the Biltmore estate, downtown Asheville, golfing (the boys, not the girls…no thanks!), and frankly anything we wanted to do! Like eat a full meal while it was hot or sleep in past 7AM (what a joke, I still woke up every day on or before 7am.  I still looked forward to naps in the afternoon and yet didn’t have a kid to blame the need upon.)

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It was a blast though! Did you know the Biltmore has a painting on its library ceiling with the goddess of the four winds? Her name is Aurora. And she is the sister of the sun – I bet you he has red hair. Any sort of similarities with the Biltmore lifestyle and mine stopped there…although I have considered having an audio tour of my house just to gain a few extra bucks a month…college fund has to start somewhere, right?

Well, as with everything else this month, critters seem to know what’s going on before I do. The ants have officially made their pilgrimage to my kitchen yet again and I swear its because they know I am pregnant. If I see Antwan I am pulling a white flag. Or maybe I’ll just get Toby to hug him…

P.S. Thank you to Tim Mack for taking pictures at Rory’s birthday party!