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The Adventures of Nick & Brittany

Amelia: an update at almost 2 years

Our sweet Amelia Caroline was born on January 7th 2014 and she has not ceased to teach us about ourselves and God since.  We had a typical pregnancy and great birth and Amelia continued to grow and learn as all babies do.  Around 6 months we noticed that she was behind but nothing that was too concerning to her doctors. Around 9 months we were considering physical therapy to help with her lack of mobility (she was not rolling, crawling, really moving).  Right after her first birthday we went in for an appointment with the North Carolina Children’s Development Services agency fully expecting that she would qualify for early intervention based on her need for physical therapy.  We were told instead, that our daughter was significantly delayed in every area, and in some areas scoring in the 3 month range (at one year old).

We began receiving services through the early intervention program about two months later and have seen Amelia learn and grow and develop in ways that she had not during the first year of her life. She is currently crawling on her hands and knees, pulling up to standing, cruising on furniture and with the help of a walker, babbling, holding her own sippy cup, feeding herself by hand, understands many words- can say a few (mom, dada, nana, bub-short for bunny) and for all of these things we praise God!

I felt the need to write this out because I want to make clear what may be difficult to discern between Instagram posts and pictures. We love Amelia and accept her and receive her as a blessing from the Lord regardless of her abilities now or potential abilities in the future. Through therapy we hope to help Amelia achieve as many “normal” childhood milestones as she can but her value and worth to us and to God are by no means contingent on her meeting any of these milestones! When I post pictures of Amelia on social media in celebration of a milestone met, it is simply that- a celebration- we are rejoicing in all of her hard work and God’s grace in allowing her to acquire a new skill (just like any parent would).

Amelia has taught me so much about the character of God through her existence and so much about myself- namely that I often base my worth as a person, wife, mother, friend, woman on my abilities. She has so challenged this view because if I believe my worth is based on what I can do then surely hers must be too.  I, just like my daughter am infinitely precious to God because He created me in His image. And the purpose of my life is not found in what I achieve, contribute or succeed in but in living a life that honors and points back to my Creator as the Glorious One- and the greatest achievement accomplished by Christ who humbled Himself and took on flesh and lived the perfect sinless life I (and you!) can not live, dying in my place- bearing the wrath of God that I (and you!) deserve for our sins, and then was raised from the grave victorious over sin!  The purpose of my life and yours and Amelia’s is to bring glory to this great God who has made a way for sinners to be reconciled to Himself.

Amelia’s developmental delay, whether for just a season or for the rest of her life is an affront to the message of this world which screams that your worth is found in what you can do (what you look like, how much money you make, what type of job you work, etc..) and beckons me to embrace Jesus and His message, “For we also were once foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another.  But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy,”- Titus 3: 3-5  If you are in Christ, you are loved and accepted by God based on the merits of His Son alone.  And if you are not trusting in Christ, I implore you to throw off the back-breaking yoke of this world and run to Jesus in repentance and faith and receive His love and acceptance not because of what you have done but because of who He is and what He has achieved!

Amelia was the name that we felt the Lord gave us for our sweet girl before we even knew she was a girl, and we later learned that the Hebrew version of that name ‘Amalya’ means ‘work of the Lord’. We praise God for His workmanship on display in her life and pray that He would continue to glorify Himself through her!

October

Salvaged rusted trunk turned coffee table

The past couple of months I have been frequenting thrift stores looking for furniture and things we can use for our house.  I am learning the art of  “thrifting” and have had some recent success.  The biggest rule: patience pays. You have to be willing to go often and be content to leave with nothing, 90 percent of the time.

One of my recent and favorite finds was this old, antique, rusted trunk found at our local Salvation Army for $14.

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I was so excited when I found it, I ripped the sticker off and may have jumped up and down a little.

First, I tried to remove the rust with soap and hot water. Then I decided I would just try to paint over it with some chalk paint because I was too lazy to sand it all off  (also, the lady at the store told me that Annie Sloan chalk paint adheres to everything including rust and that I shouldn’t have a problem-false.)  A few coats later and the rust was still coming through the paint.  We made a trip to home depot and bought some water-based Kilz and applied that over the chalk paint (cringe) and after it dried applied another 2 coats of Annie Sloan’s Old White followed by clear wax then dark wax.  A weeks worth of naptimes and 6 coats later we have a coffee table that I love.

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If you are interested in using Annie Sloan paint and wax- I spent some time researching beforehand and found this video especially helpful for applying the dark wax: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nz9Bem69Wb0

Sausage and Bell Pepper Pasta

This dish is so easy and delicious.  We are not big pasta fans around here but we love this. It has 6 ingredients and is super simple to put together.  The most amazing and important component of this pasta is the sausage- my favorite kind is Johnsonville’s New Orleans Spicy Smoked Sausage (that’s a mouthful).  I would really recommend using this kind or something equivalent like another brand of Andouille or spicy sausage.

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Ingredients:

1 onion, chopped

2 bell peppers (any color), chopped

1 package of Johnsonville New Orleans Spicy Smoked Sausage, sliced thin

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 jar of pasta sauce (we like 4 cheese pasta sauce from Harris Tetter/Aldi)

angel hair pasta

1.) Cook onion, peppers and sausage over medium-high heat with a tsp. of oil until onions and pepper soften and fat is rendered from sausage, about 15 mins.

2.) Add minced garlic and stir for 30 seconds.

3.) Add in pasta sauce and turn to medium-low heat to simmer covered for 30 minutes (longer is better if you have time).

4.) Serve over pasta with grated Parmesan on top.

I like to serve it with these dinner rolls: http://moneysavingmom.com/2013/11/30-minute-rolls.html

Enjoy!

Getting big

Amelia on her first day of VBS.  I got to help out with the 2nd graders so she went to nursery for the week.  We both had fun and were exhausted by the end of the week!

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This is her favorite spot in the whole house, other than her crib.  She loves to sit on the couch like a big girl and look around, talk and chew her hand.

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Nick’s first Father’s day

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I am so thankful for this man.  He has loved and cared for us so well during this season! He works so hard during the day to provide for us and then comes home and jumps right into the chaos- feeding, changing diapers, snuggling and reading stories.  He is so actively involved in Amelia’s life and she couldn’t adore him more! God has shown me so much grace in this season through this man and his Christ-like, sacrificial love for me and our daughter.  We love you so much Nick!

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Amelia wrote Nick a Father’s day card (with a little help from mom) and was so excited to give it to him!

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We had a sweet weekend together- watching Star Wars (Nick’s favorite), getting outside and picnicking at the art museum.

4 months

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This girl. I praise God for her sweet little life every morning. I am thankful that she has now decided she likes to sleep at night and has been sleeping through the night for the past several weeks. She loves people especially her daddy.  She loves to nap. She loves to play and talk and chew everything. She has recently started to laugh which is so sweet. She loves to sit up and look around but has no interest in rolling over or being on her tummy in general. She is a super happy, super easy going baby and she is such a blessing to us! We continue to pray that God would help us to entrust her life to Him, that He would continue to grow and sustain her and that one day she would experience new life in Christ!

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Thrifty

Recently, I have really enjoyed popping into different thrift stores, making small purchases and essentially figuring out how to make something beautiful out of nothing.  Below I reused an old flower vase given to us to make a terrarium with the addition of some inexpensive succulents.

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I bought some small succulents from Lowes, lined the bottom with rocks and filled it up with some cactus/citrus soil.  I am notorious for killing all things green, whether by over watering or neglecting but this guy has held up nicely for almost a month now!

Another cheap find from the thrift store was this tray at .50 cents.

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Although, not terrible, I figured with the addition of some pretty fabric and burlap this guy would make a great centerpiece for our coffee table.

Supplies:

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Tutorial: http://www.marthastewart.com/287716/handmade-decorative-tray

And the finished project-

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 Also, if you don’t have a tray in mind, you could easily do this with an aluminum baking sheet!

Sweet moments with daddy

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