Archive | February, 2010

How we conquered pappy.

28 Feb

Little Kamryn has always loved her pacifier, also known as pappy. Whenever she gets sleepy, hurt, mad or pouty, she would ask for it. Pappy and her blanky. Her two sources of comfort, other than mommy of course! I mean, with a face like this- how could you ever say no to giving her what she asks.

I have always thought it was adorable. However, what is not adorable is to have a 2 year old that still wakes up throughout the night when her pappy falls out and on the floor…and you have to get up several times a night to retrieve it. We decided several months ago that when she turned 2, that was it. No more pappy. Well, her birthday came & went and she still had pappy. I never had the heart to just take it away completely. Plus, she only used it at night…and Ryan & I had a hard time wanting to interrupt our nightly routine to try to wean her off…maybe a little laziness on our part.

So here are the steps we took to finally conquer the pacifier. We heeded the advice of other parents & devised a plan. It took a couple of months, but it finally worked! First, we started trimming a little bit off the tip of the pacifier. Just a little at first. Kamryn noticed something wasn’t quite right, but it didn’t bother her too much. Second, we started talking to her about how she was a big girl and big girls didn’t need pacifiers. Then a few weeks later, we trimmed some more off. It was about 1/3 cut. She would say, “pappy’s broke..want nother one.” But we stood our ground. She got used to using the trimmed pappy…only using it at night, but still sucking away! So again, we trimmed it down…over half way gone now. You could tell, she wasn’t liking it – but she still asked for it at night. She was not using it the same anymore…she mainly just played with it or chewed on it. It slowly was becoming less & less important to her. We would tell her off & on – “You can throw it in the trash if you want. Pappy’s broke. You’re a big girl now, you don’t need it.”

This goes on & on until…well, this past week. After breakfast on Wednesday, Kamryn went over and on her own accord, threw pappy in the trash. We made a big deal about it – jumping around dancing and clapping – and she was SO proud of herself. We took her to Toys-R-Us to buy her a special toy that she could sleep with instead of pappy. She loved it. She tells everyone, “throw pappy in trash…no more pappy.” SO adorable. She now has a Barney doll that she sleeps with instead. The first night without pappy, she did cry and asked for it. She cried for about 30-45 minutes in fact. I went in there several times, picked her up and reminded her that pappy was gone, she was a big girl & momma was so proud of her. She only cried one night. Yep, ONE. Since then, she gets her blanky, her Barney and crawls right into bed and goes right to sleep. My big girl!!!


Get real.

24 Feb

Over the past few years of my life, I have set a goal for myself. BE REAL. Be open & honest. Be transparent. Be…well, be myself.  Hi, I’m Traci. Nice to meet you. If you want to know something, I’ll tell you. If I’m excited, hurt, upset, happy or angry about something, believe me you’ll know. This may or may not be a good thing all the time! My life is an open book. I don’t hide things well and now I think, its OK because I don’t want to hide things anymore. Ask Ryan. Ask my family. Ask any of my friends. Ask my coworkers. I have come to determine that life is way too short to be something  you aren’t. To put on a facade just to impress people – well, I’m just over that. Its very tiring! And its a lot more stressful trying to “play it cool” than to just be honest. Being who God made you, now that IS cool. Being the same person at work that you are at home & that you are at church – that is incredibly freeing. Living from the inside out. I strive to please God with my life & yearn to be more like Jesus daily. But I fail and I screw up all the time. I am not perfect. Because of God’s grace, as long as I am running towards him – I am on the right track. He is at work in my life, molding me into who He wants me to be and I love that! At a college bible study I used to go called Paradigm, Jon Randles used to say all of the time, “What’s in a man, comes out of a man.”  What’s on the inside, shows on the outside. You can’t hide what’s going on in your mind & heart from God – He knows. And I’ve come to find that if you are transparent with your life to others- God can use that in awesome ways – this can be such a great testimony to those around you. Being real helps to hold you accountable in your walk with Christ. As I’ve mentioned on here before, I’m so thankful for our community group. We have made some dear friends through this & for that I am truly thankful. True community is a beautiful thing. Ryan & I have been starving for this for quite some time and have just found it recently. Friends that can come together, share and be real with each other – its amazing to have this. So I want to encourage you two things here in this post. 1. Try to live from the inside out. Let others see the real you. If the real you needs work, thats OK – we all do! Set your eyes on your Maker and He will help direct your steps & give you the strength you need to get through. There is such freedom in Christ! 2. If you don’t have a community of friends that you can share life with – find one immediately! Pray for this. Having people come along side you, pray for you, encourage you, and hold you accountable, its vital. Not to mention a lot of fun!

Just a little something from my heart to yours…love you all!



21 Feb

Need a new twist on lasagna, pizza, or spaghetti?  Try this! It’s a Rachael Ray recipe that I found on Food Network’s site. Super easy, doesn’t take long, and delish!


  • 1 pound pasta curls (recommended: campagnelle by Barilla; short fusilli or cavatappi twists may be substituted)
  • Salt
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, a couple of handfuls
  • Handful parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup sliced pepperoni, cut into thin strips
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
  • 1 green or red bell pepper, seeded, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 1 onion, quartered then thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 12 crimini mushrooms (baby portabellos), thinly sliced
  • Black pepper
  • 1 (28-ounces) can crushed tomatoes
  • 3/4 pound fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Loaf of crusty bread


Preheat broiler.

Bring a pot of water to a boil, add pasta and salt the water.

While the water boils combine ricotta, Parmigiano, parsley and pepperoni in a large bowl and reserve.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat with extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan. When the oil is hot, add the peppers, onions, garlic and mushrooms. Saute 6 to 8 minutes until tender and mushrooms are dark. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper. Stir in tomatoes and reduce heat to low.

Add a ladle of starchy cooking water to the ricotta just before you drain the pasta. Drain pasta then toss with ricotta and pepperoni mixture. Pour pasta into a baking dish and top evenly with peppers, onion and mushroom sauce. Top with a layer of mozzarella, oregano and red pepper flakes. Place under hot broiler and melt cheese until golden and bubbly. Remove and serve with crusty bread.

Our new (used) jogging stroller.

20 Feb

Thanks to our sweet friends Matt & Cristy – we now are proud owners of a double jogging stroller – yay! We’ve wanted one for a while, but never wanted to fork out the dough for a nice one. They had this one just sitting in their garage not being used, so they said we could just take it. Um, OK! This morning, we took it out to the trails for the first time and had a great time. The girls LOVED it and now, Ryan & I can run together. Gives us a lot more options of ways to work running into our schedule. Especially with Spring approaching!

On the calendar…

19 Feb

We are officially registered for two 10k races that I’m rather pumped about. At the end of March, the Tyler Azalea 10k and in April, the Austin Capitol 10k. Yay! The one in Tyler begins right across the street from our house at the park & runs through a beautiful historic neighborhood, called the Azalea District. This race is supposed to be very pretty because of the azaleas in full bloom! Ryan & I along w/several of our friends are doing this one. The race in Austin is the largest 10k in Texas. It starts on Congress by the Capitol and ends along Lady Bird Lake. REALLY excited about this one! Ryan, Dad, and I are doing this & I’m hoping some of my Austin family/friends will join us. I need to start training for both of these races very soon…like tomorrow. Hoping for some warmer temperatures so that running outside in the mornings will be an option again! I miss it.

Something else we put on our calendar today that I am totally stoked about….we’re going on a CRUISE!!! This Fall, we are joining Aaron & Jamie along w/a lot of other friends on a Carnival Cruise that leaves from Galveston and stops in Cozumel & Progresso. SWEET! I know its months away, but I already want to go shopping for a new bathing suit & some fun dinner attire. Twill be a blast, no doubt.

Move that bus!

18 Feb

The show Extreme Makeover Home Edition is here in Tyler! They had the kickoff this morning and are surprising the family & starting the build next week. How cool is that?! I went with some co-workers to the kickoff event this morning and it was SO cool. I don’t know about you, but I can’t watch that show without crying. Well, being at today’s event was no different! Cue the tears. Listening to the guy who created the show share, watching vidoes from past builds, hearing from the design team, and seeing so many people from our community rallying together to help a family in need…it was very moving. I am pumped to see all of this transpire next week here in Tyler and help out & get involved when/where I can. They will also be collecting cans of food for the East Texas Food Bank during this process as well as accepting blood donations. If you live near or around Tyler and can help in some way -you should! There is a website dedicated to this specific Tyler episode, you can view it here and get all the details, dates & even sign up to volunteer for a specific time slot.

A few of my latest faves.

17 Feb

Over the past couple of months, I started to have some patches of eczema on my face. I guess the cold weather was drying out my face – and probably running in it didn’t help. I had these dry patches that itched like crazy & would get red and then peel. Not fun! So I tried a ton of different stuff and even went to the Dr. But this Origins moisturizer has been the one thing that has helped. I use it every morning and every night and my face has been so much better. I love this stuff!

Bear Naked’s Original granola is the I love it in yogurt, in my oatmeal, or by itself. Plus, its packed with protein! Makes for a healthy, yet tasty little afternoon treat.

Stanley’s Bar-B-Q here in Tyler = amazing. Seriously. The brother-in-law sandwich is ridiculous…chopped brisket with sausage & cheese. Delicious! This place has such a cool vibe. This definitely ranks at the top of our favorite restaurants!

We are reading through this book in our community group. Just finished Chapter 7 and I must say, its rocking my socks off. Seriously giving me a much needed kick in the rear. If you haven’t read it, you should check it out. But prepare youself to be challenged. Awesome.

Snow Day & Date Night.

13 Feb

Yesterday we woke up to a beautiful surprise – SNOW! It rarely snows here in East Texas, so for us- it is very exciting! The college where Ryan works was closed for the day and the girls school was delayed. So that morning, we all played in the snow & made a snowman…it was a total blast! Kamryn wasn’t quite sure about snow…she didn’t want to stand in it. But Addi absolutely loved it and never stopped smiling the whole time we were out in it. Our electricity was out for a long time as well – so we were thankful to have a gas stove so we could make french press coffee & pancakes. It was a great morning! Then, last night – Ryan & I got to go out on a date (thanks Uncle Jeff for babysitting). We met up with some other couples from our community group at this yummy new Italian bistro. Had such a great time! We are truly thankful for the friends God has blessed us with and the true sense of community we are starting to feel here in Tyler.

Wonderfully Made.

10 Feb

Our two kids are complete opposites. I mean totally different. Sometimes I wonder how they both came from the same place!

Addi is very curious, very sensitive, always thinking & contemplating, always talking or singing, incredibly sweet and caring, rarely relaxes, very particular about everything, has a loud girly high-pitched voice, doesn’t like to be alone, very outgoing, likes to be the center of attention, and she looks just like her Momma.

Kamryn is laid back, easy going, loves to cuddle, has a soft deep voice, doesn’t say much, cries if made the center of attention, plays well alone, has a temper like no other, can scream absurdly loud, is such a Momma’s girl, gives the best bear hugs, gets shy around strangers, loves her blanky and pacy, and she looks just like Ryan.

Completely different and yet both perfect. Just the way God made them! I wouldn’t change one thing about them. I love that they are both unique in their own ways. Sweet babies.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” –Psalm 139:13-14


7 Feb

I love my daughters. Nothing warms my heart more than when they wrap their little arms around me or plant a big, wet kiss on my lips.  Having children has been such a joy. Ryan & I both LOVE being parents to these two. They try our patience, they test our limits, make us want to pull our hair out at times…but gosh, its all so very worth it! To hear Addi sing as we ride in the car, to see Kamryn’s eyes light up when either Ryan or I walk into the room, to watch them dance all crazy together to music…its all priceless. I am thankful. I love my daughters.