Ellie Bells

So, my baby is two.

There, I said it.

Ellie is like space mountain fast going through her life, right in front of my eyes.

This post is just an outrageous amount of photos (and a few videos) of her over the last couple of months, a photo-montage without the music, if you will.  However, if you put Bon Iver on Pandora, it might be super cute.

Here is our first beach trip.  I took the kids alone.

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IMG_3277 IMG_3356 and pizza of course from Pleasure Point Pizza (in close contest for worst bathroom ever…)IMG_7887
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dress up at a birthday party
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She enjoys being my coffee date when the twins are at preschool.

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She loves to say the following all the time:

“Mama, I’m SUPER hungry.”

“Mama, I’m SUPER tired.”

“Mama, I’m SUPER ______ (fill in the blank)”

Ellie is always SUPER something, because not only is it her favorite adjective, it is her only adjective;-)  At first I would get concerned, like oh no, she is SUPER whatever it was, and I’d get right to action on whatever it was she needed.  Now I know a little better.  She also loves to yell, “NO THANK YOU!” if she is less than pleased with the given situation.  Ahhh, the two’s~

Ellie loves putting her babies down for a nap
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My all time favorite Ellie noise that I cannot replicate – it’s magical.

This is what she does EVERY time I make a smoothie.  She yells at the top of her lungs, “SMOOOOOMEEEEEE”  then “NOISE!!!” “Headphones!”  Then she has both of her siblings trained to go into the pantry and get these for her, and put them on her ears…

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When she turned two earlier this month, we celebrated and took her to the beach.  That was her party.  It was totally fun, and very exhausting, because the beach isn’t exactly next door – but my family is an adventurous bunch, so I am blessed.

Ellie loves her gramma Lyn.

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And her papa.  Sitting in one of her happiest places.IMG_8349

Presents at the beach.IMG_8370 IMG_8469

Those little feet

such tiny legs

she will go so far someday

but for now she is still my big girl in her tiny self.

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Here is what I will call the chocolate face realization photo-lapse…IMG_8376

the first step is awareness, followed by disgruntlement (why’s my face look like that?!?)IMG_8378

sadness, such pity
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then acceptance.IMG_8381I just followed her around for two minutes.


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photo IMG_8419 IMG_8429 IMG_8431 IMG_8452 IMG_8460 IMG_8464Cousins and best buds.
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a brother is one of the best gifts in this life.  Everyone should have at least one brother.

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and a sister.IMG_3868

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such a fun day.

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And now… professional photo time!  A few weeks ago, we had these taken.  One of my former 8th grade students took them.  (http://www.dannymontemayor.com/ ) He is so great with kids, that when they asked him to stay and watch Micky Mouse Clubhouse, he agreed!  Nicest grown-up move ever.  Notice how Ellie makes herself RIGHT at home next to Danny;-)

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Here we are around 8:15 in the morning, it’s not even 50 degrees outside… I was willing to make the sacrifice for the early morning shadow light.  Ellie complained zero times about being cold. I think the kids were too distracted by the fun to even consider it was freezing.

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Ellie trying her best to keep up with her older brother and sisterTheAnthonyFamily (18 of 330) TheAnthonyFamily (20 of 330) TheAnthonyFamily (42 of 330) TheAnthonyFamily (18 of 330) TheAnthonyFamily (42 of 330) TheAnthonyFamily (49 of 330) TheAnthonyFamily (54 of 330) TheAnthonyFamily (68 of 330) TheAnthonyFamily (82 of 330)

sisters.
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and a hug from a brother.TheAnthonyFamily (91 of 330) TheAnthonyFamily (92 of 330) IMG_9830 TheAnthonyFamily (128 of 330) TheAnthonyFamily (160 of 330) TheAnthonyFamily (164 of 330) TheAnthonyFamily (194 of 330)

this girl loves her daddy.

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and while Davin and I were taking these…

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Ellie was doing this…

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Well that’s just fine
TheAnthonyFamily (285 of 330) TheAnthonyFamily (291 of 330) TheAnthonyFamily (292 of 330)She knows she’s loved.

 

I was blind, now I see

So, I feel like I should update the world on the migraines I was having.

I purposely have given it some time, time enough to have gotten at least 12 to 16 (or more of them) by this point.  That’s a generous underestimation, but I’d rather underestimate than over-inflate.

As I’ve explained to a few friends, had I not physically written about having such intense pain, I might feel a slight doubt that they were ever that bad, or that I really ever had them that often.

Because I don’t have them anymore.

I. don’t. have. them. any… more.

Where do I put that in my box that I made to contain God?  What room does that go in, in the house I’ve made for God and how he operates?

He blew the roof off my house.

I kinda feel like the guy in the bible times when Jesus healed him and the Pharisees questioned him intently (because they were super angry – Jesus wasn’t the Messiah they were looking for) and the guy who was healed said in John 9:25, “…One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.”

He didn’t have a good explanation.  He just stated the facts.

I always thought that was lame, that someone who’d experienced such power and freedom would surly be able to give a really solid answer about who God is and how he works.  Really nail it in the answer.

I always thought to myself, if that were me, I’d totally have a better answer.

I don’t.

Except that I prayed, and others prayed and I was obedient mostly obedient to ask for prayer when I felt him lead me to do so.

And, one of the last times someone prayed for me to be healed, I felt tingles up my back, the kind you get when you hear really, really good news, and the right side of my head felt warm, and I had this incredible sense of overwhelming peace and happiness and excitement all in one.

That’s it.

I used to have consistent, horrible migraines, and now I don’t have them anymore. And the only thing I can chalk it up to is prayer, and not even my own prayers.  It was the prayers of others.

Occasionally I start to feel the very, very slight beginnings of a migraine, and then I will say to Jesus, “Thank you Lord that you have set me free from migraines, thank you that you have healed me by your power and I don’t need to be afraid that they will come back.”

And then it’s gone, so quickly in fact that I’ll forget most of the time that I even felt any beginning of pain at all, until I feel it again a day or two later, and then it goes away as quickly as it came.

I wish I could give you this amazing thesis on God’s healing and how it works.

Honestly, I had planned on it.

But, I don’t have one.

All I can really say is that I used to have migraines and now I don’t have them.

How freeing is it to write that sentence?

You have no idea.  Or maybe you do, maybe you’ve been healed.

It makes me want to jump, and kick my legs really high to the side in the air like a newsboy.  It makes me want to do fist pumps and say, “I knew it!  I knew God was right!  I knew he’d heal me!”  And then yell, “God rules! (O’doyle drools)  I just got a little piece of heaven here on earth and I’m going to hang onto it!”

I hope I do.

I hope I never forget what God did in my life regarding migraines.  Because it might be the memory I need to have the faith to walk through the next trial in this life, trusting Jesus.

I was so excited in writing all this, I decided right then and there to have a party about it.

Some of you might be thinking, “you’re ridiculous Rebekah, who makes a party for God when they get healed of migraines?”  THIS girl does.  Party-hearty-city all up in he-ah.

When I told my kids why were were having a party (WITH cupcakes), Eli said, “Yes, and Mommy, Jesus made my bad dreams go away, and Jesus healed the men with scabs and he said go to Jerusalem and the teacher had happy faces on her fingers.”  Ellie yelled, “I no cry”, which is in reference to a few weeks ago when she randomly started crying when we’d drop her off for kids church.  After a few agonizing drop-offs, I decided to pray for her, and then have the kids lay hands on her and each pray a three-year old adorable prayer.  When we dropped her off, she didn’t cry.  God answered a tangible prayer right in front of my little kids. We celebrated in the hallway and ever since have prayed for Ellie, and she says, “I no cry.”

So it turns out we had lots of reasons to celebrate some of the beautiful things God is doing in our lives.  Here are the photos;-)

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God is so good guys.  He loves us so much, that he doesn’t stay in our boxes or houses we make for him.  He’s bigger and better and more awesome than that.

Thanks for reading.

Don’t Underestimate the God you Follow

So I’ve been hearing the same message lately these past few weeks.

Some might chalk it up to coincidence, others like myself might say, “Hmmmm, I think perhaps God is trying to tell me something, and apparently I’m NOT listening, because he feels the need to keep telling me.”

By the way, each time I hear this message, I start to tear up.

Guys, I’m not the cryer in my family.  I won’t say who is, but it’s not usually me.

Each time, this message hits me like a brick right to the center of my soul, to the core of who I am, and then it sends resonating waves of truth throughout my whole body.

The last version of this message came to me in the car this morning, as I was pondering my life and if it mattered that I try to be a mom and ALL that entails while balancing what I really want to do for myself; invest in friendships, write, spend time with the Lord, pray,  row, paint my nails and pick out outfits, organize my closet and put on makeup, try to do my hair, and snuggle kids past bedtime, and make top-knots in my oldest daughters hair, and put piggies in my youngest even though she pulls them out five minuets later and make a home and have healthy dinner on the table and smile at my husband when he looks at me.

I feel it all pull in each different direction, and I can’t do it all at once.

I haven’t worn makeup in two three days, I’m wearing the same clothes I wore YESTERDAY (it was a decent outfit actually).  I did however make an entirely plant strong delicious menu, grocery shop with three children, get all the laundry done and serve dinner.  I even played a little bit with my kids and gave each one a bath, and snuggled one of them well past her bedtime.

Last night I was so tired by 9pm that I finally decided to stop working and just do my nails.

If I just stop, and let God direct me, like a sailboat in the wind – it’s not so hard.  But when I try and start my engine and get somewhere, I find that even though I’ve gotten somewhere, it’s not the twenty other places I wanted to be as well.  And I keep trying to get somewhere.

So in the car, as I was sweeping up all my frustrations into a big pile of grouchy leaves, God blew them all away with this same message, again.

I was listening to K-Love and Josh Wilson’s song, Pushing Back the Dark came on:

    One million reasons why, you shouldn’t even try.

    After all you’re just one heart, a single candle in the dark.

    And there are shadows here, feeding on your fears,

    That you don’t have what it takes – who are you to make a change?

  But oh, oh, don’t underestimate the God you follow.

     Whatever you do, just don’t look back.

     Oh somebody needs the light you have.

     Whatever you do, just don’t lose heart.

     Keep on pushing back the dark,

     Keep on pushing back the dark.

How can that make anyone NOT want to tear up just a little bit?

Saturday I heard the message during worship when God spoke to my heart and said he wanted to use me to speak to others even though I think I’m unqualified, afraid and not very eloquent, and lacking in pretty much every other way.

And then it was there again in the sermon, when our pastor shared how all the apostles were regular guys, ordinary people in whom GOD did extraordinary things.

I keep thinking that if God is going to use me, I’m going to feel different.  I’m never going to doubt myself or my abilities, my thoughts will always be organized and clever, I will have more than enough time to write and share my inspirations.  I will never get grouchy at my kids and yell, “NO!  NO YOU MAY NOT PLAY BUBBLES OUTSIDE because I am still cleaning up your mess INSIDE!  I am still sweeping up all your crumbs from lunch and I don’t want to clean up ANY more of your MESSES!  ALL I DO IS CLEAN UP YOUR MESSES!  NO MORE MESSES.”  <insert very sad toddler eyes>.  This comes from a mother who has wiped an excessive amount of bottoms and noses and what-not the past four years of her life… and she is tired, and God says in spite of herself, he still wants to use her.

And that makes me want to cry.

Because I am so very, very, very imperfect.

And I’ve believed that God would REALLY, REALLY be able to use me… ONCE I was perfect.

That is not what is actually happening.

Before that it was Wednesday night when I was questioning if anything I was doing in life really mattered and I got a text from a good friend and I felt like Jesus said, this message of encouragement is a reminder from me.  You ARE serving me, what you do matters.  I AM using you.

I feel like God is saying, I am going to use you in the grocery store as a stay-at-home mom, in the preschool drop off’s and pick ups, in the sweeping of the crumbs and the wiping of the noses, in the phone call with a friend and the everyday, ordinary stuff.  

I struggle with the desire to be a REAL writer, and like, full time write.  How dreamy does this sound to me?  VERY.  I see people leaving for work with a briefcase in hand as I drive my kids to preschool and I think, “Wow, what must it BE like to get to wake up and know you get to go work ALL day at something you love?”  Now, that person may have a job they hate, but they get to drive in the car – in silence, if they like, ALL the way to work.  #mycarisneversilent. They get a REAL lunch break #igetup20timespermealtohelpsomeonelittle, and maybe they even have a job they love.  My dream is to someday become a writer, and have that be my REAL job.  To fill out my productivity schedule that I downloaded from the storylineblog.com and actually GET TO DO IT.  I fill it out now, and I’m lucky if no one interrupts me during the 45 minutes I woke up super early for just have time to myself.  I’m trying to get somewhere and go after my goals but I get stymied at 7:45 in the morning until about 8:30 at night.  And if that little genius schedule is right, my brain should only work about 30% to it’s creative capacity by then:-(  But God doesn’t care about brain capacity.

I am a mother and I know I want to be home with my kids, and besides, no one has hired me yet to be a writer, so that also makes things complicated.

So today, my goal for the rest of the day is just to try and serve Jesus in everything I do.  Even though it seems like a job that is not important, and no one says, “hey, I noticed you just spent the last two hours in the kitchen prepping food, giving handouts to little kids, serving a meal and cleaning it all up while kissing boo-boos and refereeing the plasma car race in the backyard, even though you’d rather be writing, putting on makeup, taking a nap, doing pretty much anything else for yourself and not others…”  Well, actually, my husband thanks me ALL the time, but I digress…

Trying to have a good attitude by serving Jesus in smoothie prep

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Serving Jesus in playing trains

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Serving Jesus in cleaning dishes

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Serving Jesus in being an audience to my little girls performances

Look out youtube, this duo sensation is coming to your hit list soon!

And, serving Jesus in writing, currently one of my most favorite ways to serve him.

All I can give him is myself, and although it’s not much, he made man out of dirt, so he’s obviously good at working with what I would see as an general lack of adequate supplies.

Thanks for reading.

kale, kale, kale smoothie

So today I’m just drinking smoothies.  I accidentally ate two strawberries and some nuts, technically, those “could have” been blended into a smoothie.

I’m like fasting today, but it’s a pansy sort of fast.  But whatever, it’s what I felt like God led me to do.  I’ve been praying fervently about a few things this past week, and a few nights I was even sleeping/waking up/praying through the night and in my dreams – that sounds weird.

Did you ever get so excited about something when you were a kid that you couldn’t sleep, so you’d sleep, but wake up a bunch and also dream all about it?  I used to do this over amusement parks.  I stinkin’ love amusement parks.  Rides. Are. So. Fun.

I still do this as a grown up, but when I’m really wanting to see prayer change something or when I’m really excited about something.  Anyway, last night, I felt like God was like, “Hey, you’ve been doing a lot of praying and interceding, why don’t you take the day off from trying to be spiritual and just fast and drink smoothies tomorrow.”

Of course I was so down, smoothies are delicious, that is so easy, and I will absolutely try not to be super spiritual today, which most likely means, God actually wants to use me the way HE intends, not me trying to be spiritual FOR him, if that makes sense.  Also, all that interceding kinda wore me out, which means it’s possible I wasn’t actually going about it in the right way, and God is probably correcting that, but I digress.  I didn’t even have the energy to make dinner.  I just stared at my poor husband (who’d been up since 4:30am) and said, “please make dinner appear, I know I’m the stay at home mom, and it’s sorta a reasonable expectation that I have dinner for our family on a fairly regular basis, but I failed, and I’m tired, and I don’t like thinking about ingredients… the fridge hates me, and the freezer too – they don’t even have all the ingredients I need to make the things I want to eat!”

After picking me up off the kitchen floor, he took us all out to sushi.  Problems solved.  I got 99 problems but hunger ain’t one of them.

This smoothie was my lunch today.  I made it up after reading two different recipes, and not having all of the ingredients for either (I told you, my fridge is grouchy lately – I should probably get myself to a store), so I just improvised.  Davin tasted it and said, “you can still taste the beets, but that’s pretty good.”  He then drank the rest of it.  So, not groundbreaking delicious in his book, but I would easily toss this in once a week.  I rather enjoyed this little beauty.

Ingredients (makes 2):

2  1/2 cups of almond milk

1 cup chopped kale (if you hate bitterness in all forms, remove thick stems)

1 cup frozen blueberries

1/4 cup beet

1 cup frozen banana

Blend it all up until it’s liquified.  Splash in some more almond milk if your blender is struggling.

Here is where I apologize to all readers that I am not a professional photographer yet… also that I was lazy and didn’t take pictures until I was almost done when I realized, HEY!  This smoothie is super yummy!  I should share this one!  So you get the leftover scraps of photos.  I know, totally makes you want to jump up in the kitchen and make one!

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Maybe if I take a picture of myself drinking the smoothie, it will look more delicious.  I think the mistake I made here was inadvertently taking a selfie and also, a selfie of me actually drinking the smoothie, I’m pretty sure smoothie drink models just pretend to drink the smoothies, I also went went ahead and faced the camera TO the sun… I could go on.
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Maybe if I take an up-close photo? Nope, still looks like a regular photo of a smoothie in a broken cup. * note, I have dropped this poor cup more than once… we’ve had some serious disagreements over gravity and balance.  Get it together smoothie cup!  Get it together!
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For reals guys, it tastes yummy.

Try to imagine a cute mason jar, in perfect lighting, in a white kitchen, with a little bit of yummy plum colored smoothie spilling down off to the right of the jar and fresh flowers off to the side with lots of sunshine and no children.  Also include one of those cute black and white striped paper straws that I am too cheap to buy.

Thanks for reading!

My Favorite Chocolate Latte

This one is just about chocolate and lattes and a Pandora station recommendation at the bottom.  Nothing deep really.

Hershey’s syrup vs. Rebekah’s Simple Chocolate  – a coffee latte showdown.

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Hershey’s chocolate syrup is delicious in itself, although I always feel it leaves a slight aluminum taste in my mouth when I add it to a latte – I can’t explain this, I just taste it.  However, if I’m in a major hurry, I will totally pour it into my drink and run.

Hershey’s syrup is 100 calories for 2 tablespoons, which is how much I would add to a typical latte.  As a large, this would be a 220 calorie latte with loads of high fructose corn syrup, which nutritional people will say isn’t very good for us.  So, I believe them mostly, and I’ve attempted to make what I think is a healthier version.  I’m pretty sure.

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My version of this latte is precisely 195 calories in 20 fluid ounce form, which is a Venti at Starbucks, otherwise known as a Large at Peet’s, otherwise known as the best kind.  It has four real ingredients plus ice (or you can make it hot, as pictured):

1 tablespoon of unsweetened coco powder

1 tablespoon of 100% pure maple syrup

2 cups original almond milk

1oz shot of expresso (I am currently using Peet’s Major Dickason’s Blend)

Ice

I did the math for us: 100% pure maple syrup (52.5 calories), Coco powder (20 calories), 2 cups of almond milk (120 calories), 1 oz. shot of expresso (like 2.5 calories).

194.5 calories

Boom.  Deliciousness and simplicity.

Here are the step by step directions with photos

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Have small child photo bomb your picture in various ways.
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Trains at 7 in the morning.

Now that you’ve got all your ingredients gathered, prep your coco powder.
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Pull your shot.  You can do more than 1 oz. it will just taste a little more like coffee a little less like chocolate.  No shame in that.

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This is really the only super important part of the directions:

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Drop your tablespoon of coco into your hot shot.  When I was a barista in college, they taught us that a shot of expresso should stand by itself no longer than 20 seconds.  Stir the coco and expresso together until there are no lumps.

Add 1 tablespoon of maple syrup.

Swirl it a bit.

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Gather your ice.  Fill it to the line.  I didn’t measure it, because I just fill it to the line.  Then walk the line with Jonny (Cash, that is).

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Add your milk, leaving room at the top for your chocolate mix and then a bit more.

Pour in your expresso, coco, maple syrup mix.  Splash a bit of milk back into the coffee container and rinse out the rest of the chocolate and pour that in your drink too.  Waste not the chocolate.  Waste not.

Enjoy your 195 calorie large delicious beverage that has only 4 real ingredients.

Side note:  Please add Hillsong Young & Free to your Pandora account and listen if you need a kick you up and awake POSITIVE type of morning.  Every time it plays hip-hop, be sure to like it and your station will only get better.  I’m a fan of secular hip-hop, but it’s hard to get psyched for my day with my beautiful little children while hearing the lyrics, “Been around the world, don’t speak the language, but your booty don’t need explaining.”  That’s a no.  Ima’ bout to jam to Je’kob and Capitol Kings thankyouverymuch.  Similar sounds, greatly improved message.  Have a happy Monday!