This Abundant Life

This Abundant Life
"I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." - John 10:10

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Top Ten Things I Never Imagined Doing While Getting Over the Flu

  1. Scrubbing Rotten Milk out of Sippy-cups
  2. Having my stomach pummeled by 30lbs of laughing sticky-ness
  3. Shopping for wooden food in my living room
  4. Blowing the noses of one duck and one frog
  5. Preparing multiple tiny meals which all receive the "DON'T WANT IT!" response
  6. Latin Dancing to the ending credits of Toy Story 3
  7. Cooking and eating invisible eggs, chicken and pasta, at a plastic stove with little pots
  8. Wardrobe changes and video shooting with a pretty lady
  9. Cleaning Toddler poop off the baby swing
  10. Retrieving a person walking on my dining table, swinging the iron chandelier
I hear that whole laying in bed, watching grown-up Television or sleeping the day away Thing is totally over-rated.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Chef Jenn

I think I know why so many stay-at-home moms get into cooking/baking.
  • much of the time you can do it with your kids
  • it doesn't require packing everyone in the car and listening to them screaming from their car seats
  • you have to feed people anyway, you may as well make it interesting
  • if you are staying at home, in the first place, you often are looking for ways to spend less on food
  • it's a flexible activity that often works well with interruptions
  • it's controllable...a concept that pretty much goes out the window with babies!
Anyway, it's become a new hobby and a definite phase I am going through. Lately, I've been learning how to make soups because a) they are really easy, b) they often freeze really well, c) they can be made inexpensively and nutritiously, and d) the ones I'm making are good for weight control and over-all healthy eating.

I wanted to write this post because I discovered the absolute ease of making broth/stock. Those boxes of broth are expensive and have little flavor...but you need broth to make soup.

As you know, I get all my ideas from other people and am, myself, completely incompetent in the kitchen...which proves you don't have to be a good cook to enjoy it : ). So, here is me following vegetable broth instructions from this website and here is a DELICIOUS and VERY EASY chicken broth recipe from Heavenly Homemakers. I can't wait to make more...just waiting on whole chickens to go on sale!

BTW...I freeze this broth in canning jars (only 3/4 full) and pull them out when I'm ready for them. I'm trying to slow down my learning new things, lately, so that I can pay more attention to loving my 2-year-old...but when I have the time, I am totally going to learn canning!

BTW (2)...apparently, using veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, etc...will make your stock stinky...that's not what you, Google which veggies to stay away from.

Most of these veggie pieces are from meals I had already made this week. Just keep a bag of scrap veggies in your fridge (or in your freezer, for longer periods) can see my frozen onion pieces at the bottom!

It's always good to have some extra help! It's even BETTER when there is an additional person in the background sucking ice off the dirty kitchen floor.

Give your pot a look-over, and be sure you have everything you need...pour in the water and add some spice!

Next on my list...Veggie Mama's Split Pea and Lentil Soup!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Menu Plans! - - Remember THAT idea?

I've GOT to do this! The baby weight's GOT TO GO!


Oct. 27-31


Breakfast – green smoothie/soaked oatmeal

Lunch – black beans and quinoa/turkey sandwich

Dinner – Bombay chicken from freezer/roasted brussel sprouts



Breakfast – eggs and toast

Lunch – leftover Bombay chicken/leftover quinoa

Dinner – grilled veggie sandwiches



Breakfast – green smoothie/eggs

Lunch – leftover grilled veggie sandwiches

Dinner – OUT



Breakfast – pumpkin scones

Lunch – OUT

Dinner – Avacado, orange and walnut salad (minus the walnuts/add chicken from freezer)


Sunday (Halloween)

Breakfast –cereal and green smoothies – whatever I have time for (and CANDY)

Lunch – OUT /CANDY

Dinner – OUT / healthy fruit crisp for party / CANDY


November 1 – 7


Breakfast – eggs/blueberry muffins from freezer

Lunch – turkey sandwich

Dinner – spaghetti and meat sauce



Breakfast – soaked oatmeal

Lunch – leftover spaghetti for Bic/fish taco salad for me and lunch guest

Dinner- fish taco salad



Breakfast – green smoothie/banana crumb muffins from freezer

Lunch – peanut butter and jelly

Dinner – split pea and lentil soup/spelt biscuits



Breakfast – baked oatmeal (at the bottom of her menu plan)

Lunch – pea and lentil soup leftover

Dinner – fabulous meatloaf (from freezer) /salad



Breakfast – eggs/toast

Lunch – meatloaf leftover

Dinner – beef (from freezer) stir fry



Breakfast – breakfast crepes

Lunch – stir fry leftover

Dinner – sloppy joes from freezer



Breakfast – cereal

Lunch – salmon/tuna melts

Dinner - leftovers


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Need to FUNCTION

I laugh at myself and my blog posts about struggling through the days with two little ones. I mean, I have many friends with more than two kids and, even my own mother has SEVEN.

I find it interesting that I am so confused by the "difficulty" of two...or one, when I had one. I wonder why I'm so shocked that the little precious-es require lots of time, attention, and love. I mean, that's exactly what I wanted to give to my children before I had them...and now it takes concentration to remember how much I do enjoy takes a real intentional attitude toward mothering. If I'm not being intentional, the whole "caring for" isn't actually that fun.

I think that each mother has her own set of issues that keeps her from thoroughly enjoying her children for the short time that she gets to care for them. Mine have to do with wanting to do (or finish) projects, learn new recipes and bargain-shop on line...all of which are totally silly, but not, ultimately wrong. They are only wrong when they keep me from enjoying this beautiful, incredible gift from God: being able to stay at home with my children, care for my family's needs and be an example of the PEACE that is found in a life with Jesus.

When I am discouraged by how far I have to come in this process, I am reminded that "He who began a good work in me will be sure to finish it."

I have been trying to set aside "ideals" for actual "function." Below is a picture of my new living room set up. The layout defies about 100 cardinal decorating rules and is definitely something I would steer others away from.

There are multiple focal points. The seating area is too spread out. The rug is WAY to small. Etc...Etc... But, now Gwen can push her baby stroller through the house at the same time that Gus is laying on his blanket. I can nurse the baby while Gwendolyn dances, without any barriers between us. So, I'm trading form for function and working on being okay with it!

Such problems I have: a fridge that's too full...a home with too many beautiful things to move around : ).

Monday, October 18, 2010

What Do You Get After 5 Days of "3-day potty training?"

Well, in the Bickerton Home, you get yourself a big box of PULL-UPS.

Yup...there she is, my big girl who is 100% capable of being 100% potty-trained...but has decided that it pleases me too much...and that's bad for her REP. So, now we just go potty when SHE wants to...but I'm not cleaning up any more pee - hence the Pull-Ups.

Look at my little man...he's just hoping these big, pink pants won't be hand-me-downs.

These pictures make our big potty-training efforts look like a lot of wasn't...but I'm having fun, now, as I look back!

I guess it turns out that, sometimes, spending a lot of money on non-biodegradable material filled with chemicals is better for the environment AND your health...well, better for my home environment...and my mental health!

Friday, October 08, 2010

We look good, don't we??

Yeah, I'm exhausted, bewildered, and using homeopathic concoctions and cheap red wine to relax. But, God is good and I'm learning to pay attention to the things that matter...why is that so hard, anyway?

I look forward to seeing more of you all, in the blogging world, soon...I do miss it so!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Menu Plan (September 12-18)

My adorable nephew, Levi (AKA Nay-nay). Don't you just love him?!!

Menu Plan (September 12-18)


Breakfast – cereal

Lunch – Bombay Chicken (from freezer) and Quinoa

Dinner – Dinner Out


Breakfast – simple soaked pancakes

Lunch – Bombay chicken leftover

Dinner – Lentil and Rice Casserole and green salad


Breakfast – Eggs and toast

Lunch – Lentil and Rice leftover

Dinner – 5-Minute Southwest Layered Salad (with shredded chicken from the freezer)


Breakfast – Eggs and Fruit

Lunch – Leftover southwest salad

Dinner – Salmon Melts and green Salad


Breakfast – Eggs and Toast

Lunch – salmon melts leftover

Dinner – Chicken Pesto and Rice


Breakfast – Green Smoothies and oatmeal

Lunch – Chicken Pesto leftover

Dinner – Beefy Enchilada Bake

Dessert – Strawberry shortcake or (this recipe) Strawberry Shortcake


Breakfast – Breakfast Burritos

Lunch – beefy enchilada Bake leftovers

Dinner – Dinner Out

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Menu Plan (September 5-11)

My Husband took our little angel away today, to play with her cousins at Grandma and Papa's house. Mommy had a marvelous time without her! I even got my menu done. But, I do love you, my beautiful Gwendolyn!

Menu Plan (September 5-11) - Click on the meals to see recipes!


Breakfast – Green Smoothies and Eggs

Lunch – Out with Family

Dinner – Italian Roast Wraps and watermelon


Breakfast – Baked Oatmeal

Lunch – Steak Salad - leftover from Sunday

Dinner – Grilled Veggie Sandwiches


Breakfast – Eggs and toast

Lunch – Grilled Veg Sandwich - leftover

Dinner – Chicken Tortilla Soup – from freezer


Breakfast – Eggs and Fruit

Lunch – turkey Sandwich and Chicken tortilla soup - leftover

Dinner – Spicy Lentil soup and Salad


Breakfast – Eggs and Toast

Lunch – Spicy Lentil soup – leftover, and salad

Dinner – Chicken and Brocolli Stir Fry


Breakfast – Green Smoothies and oatmeal

Lunch – Sweet Potato and Salad

Dinner – Chili and Cornbread – both from freezer OR Pizza

Dessert – Fruit and Yogurt


Breakfast – cereal

Lunch – chili and cornbread - leftover

Dinner - Chicken Pesto – from freezer, and Rice

Friday, September 03, 2010

Menu Plans for ME

I think I look very LARGE in this picture...but It's me with both my it's worth posting

Oh, there are so many Blogs I want to update on Augustine, pics of my beautiful family, book musings...but what I need most right now is just a little ORDER in my life! I need the basics to start running how I'm going to feed my family good food, give them clean clothes to wear and, somehow make our home more comfortable than just a huge pile of toys, dishes and clothes.

I've got to say, the CONSTANT nursing is really starting to get to me and make me CRAZY. But, it's very important to me, so I'm going to keep doing it. But, I've got to figure out how to make the other stuff go smoother, or I may truly go insane. It takes time and energy to get organized...but I feel like I am exerting MORE energy not having some procedures in place.

I often use my blog to "talk to myself," and today is no exception : ). I am going to begin posting my menu plans for the week (or the month) depending on how often I am able.

WHY? Is it because I am looking for more things to do? It's because, when I have had a menu plan in place, I have shopped smarter, spent less time preparing food, and have just enjoyed my day more. Also, I really want to lose this baby weight...while still eating well (and enough), for the health of my breast milk. That takes planning.

These menu plans will be, almost entirely, made up of recipes stolen from other people and will be based on the kind of food I want my family to be eating.

I have the right to change the menu on any given if you come to my house on "Taco Tuesday" and we are eating waffles...I don't want to hear anything about it! I also don't want to hear anything should you see me out one day, devouring a beautifully iced, chemical-laden cup-cake. I'm very interested in preparing nutritious, real food at home. But the Lord has given me many delightful blessings on this earth...and a cupcake is one of them.

Stay tuned for my menu plans...maybe you will see some things you like!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Augustine Mark Bickerton

Our Little Boy, Augustine Mark, was born on August 3rd @ 10:49pm. He weighed 6 lbs, 11 oz. and was 20 inches. It's so wonderful to hold him and the labor and delivery couldn't have gone better...Praise the LORD!

My Mom was a real blessing to me. She is also a wonderful Labor Doula, and I asked her to be in the delivery room, toward the end, to be an encouragement to me. She truly was...and Bic and I were very thankful for her assistance!

Our First-born...our little DQ (Drama Queen)

Grandma Bickerton!

Daddy, with his boy...Finally time to go home...Thank Goodness!

Augustine is just crying because the hospital stay was so annoying : ).

Our boy likes to cuddle.

...On Tuesday morning (August 3rd) I had an appointment with my Midwife. I was 41weeks pregnant and 5 centimeters dilated. At 41 weeks, they like you to do a non-stress test and a measurement of the baby's water. Augustine was monitored for a long time, because my midwife was uncomfortable with the change in his heart rate, each time I had a contraction. Although she was honest in saying that the monitors don't necessarily tell us anything, given the information that was available, she, ultimately, suggested that we induce labor by breaking my water...rather than send me home and have me keep having contractions that may or may not be having a negative affect on the baby. For instance, there could be a cord issue.

Although we would have preferred to not induce labor, we were thankful for the Midwife's professional opinion and we got ready to have a baby.

I've got to tell the hours leading up to the actual breaking of my water...I was very nervous, scared, and upset. I was, mostly, really worried about my baby boy. Hearing "there may be a cord issue" was VERY difficult for me. Like everyone else, I've heard some bad stories. Also, I was anxious in knowing that we were going to purposely induce labor. Of course, I was very interested in not being pregnant anymore, but I also knew that the less you interfere with Labor, the less complicated it is likely to be...and that's kind of what I was going for.

My water was broken at 5:30pm. The Midwife was awesome, and stayed in our room for a while, talking with us about nothing serious and helping me to relax. After she left to tend to another mom, I tried to play a game of cards with Bic, but I was a real wreck. A couple hours went by and my contractions remained the same as they had been for many days and I was discouraged because the baby was being continuously monitored, meaning I was attached to short cords and couldn't move around much. As I sat there, feeling worried about my baby, I realized that this was not going to work. My emotional state was not going to help my labor progress. There are many mental aspects to giving birth!

I knew that no one could tell me that my baby was definitely going to be okay. I knew that no one could tell me that inducing labor wasn't going to lead to further interventions. But, I was desperate for something that was completely absolute "sure thing."

I picked up the bible I had asked my brother, Pete, to bring to the hospital. I stood up and began to walk 4 steps forward, 4 steps back (about as far as I could go, being hooked-up to the monitors). I read Psalms 139 and 18...over and over and over again.

God used His never-changing Word to remind me of His identity and MY identity. Those words began to renew my mind, soul and spirit...not because I knew everything would go well with the baby or the delivery....but because I KNEW that, no matter what, things would be well with ME. My God's promises to me would not be changed...and that's what I needed.

Well, somewhere, in the midst of this calming of my contractions began to get stronger...and stronger. If I sat back down, they would I just kept walking back and forth. About two and a half hours later, our beautiful baby boy was born...healthy, beautiful, and safe!

All Glory and Praise be to God!

And, a really HUGE "Thank you" and "I love you" to my husband...the BEST coach. He couldn't have been more Awesome!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Waiting Game

Well, he's still not here! We are actually very surprised. I assumed he'd be, at least, a little early. But...NO. Officially, little Augustine is one day past his due date...and counting.

I realize this is not actually a real reason to complain...but I'm going to do it, anyway.

I'm off to eat some spicy Salsa to try and get things going - and, YES, I have tried the other stuff : ). Well, I haven't tried Caster Oil...and I only went on ONE walk...

You can keep your fingers crossed for me. If anyone needs me, I'll just be home surfing boring facebook statuses, stepping over Cheerios (instead of cleaning them up) and answering calls with the phrase, "No. I haven't had the baby, yet."

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Below are some lyrics from "Love Song for a Savior" (Jars of Clay)...

In open fields of wild flowers,
she breathes the air and flies away
She thanks her Jesus for the daises and the roses
in no simple language...
...Someday she'll trust Him and learn how to see Him
Someday He'll call her and she will come running
and fall in His arms and the tears will fall down and she'll pray,

"I want to fall in love with you"

This song was on an album I used to listen to a lot when I was first introduced to Jesus Christ.

It's a nice song. Nice words.

But, quite frankly, this one always got the fast-forward from me. Why? Oh, I don't know...maybe it's because I shut down a little when confronted by overly-emotional expressions. Maybe it's because the ideas of "GOD" and "FATHER" don't feel synonymous to me. I don't know, I just think of this little girl, blissfully playing in this field of flowers and falling at the feet of Jesus, enjoying his embrace...and I just don't get. I don't "Feel" it. It's not that I don't consider the relationship a real one...quite the contrary. But, it's the blissfulness of what that little girl "feels" that I can't put my finger on.

Here's the thing...I just heard it for the first time, in a really long time, the other day. This time I wasn't trying to fit myself into the picture and see what it felt like there. But it was easy to image my little Gwendolyn running through a field of "flours" and laughing and loving without any hesitation. I vividly and simply envision the way she smiles and says "Jesis" when it's time to read her books at night and how the sound of her Daddy singing about his Savior, always calms her crazy little self.

When I think of Gwendolyn, these words..."Someday she'll trust Him and learn how to see Him...Someday He'll call her and she will come running"...seem natural. I actually DO think that is what will happen.

I am interested by this logic...because, if it's true for Gwendolyn...then it's true for me. My relationship with Jesus Christ does, in no way, hang on a feeling or rely on a notion of fancy flowers. But, the cynicism I carry from my "life experiences" has made the run through the field of flowers more like a tired sprint through the grocery store.

I'd like to say this re-evaluation of the song has changed my life around completely and I have been, again, re-born in the embrace of my Jesus. Alas, that's not actually true. But, I can tell you this...God Does Not change...He does not vary with my current emotional state.

And, the picture I see of my Gwendolyn has found me, also, looking out the car window for my own field of flowers...daring to believe it truly exists.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

My Babies' Rooms

I'm too tired and hot and lazy to write anything with substance, so here are some pictures of the kids' new rooms...

The Princess' Room:

Augustine's Room (AKA Gwendolyn's other room):
...It's so weird setting this room up for a new baby and thinking about how that new baby won't be's just strange...has anyone else ever felt that way??

Thank you, Daddy, for all your work on the not-so-fun parts about putting rooms together!

Friday, July 16, 2010

"It helps to listen, even when someone is talking about NASCAR."

My Title is a quote from my brilliant brother. He and his wife, Jenná, have recently embarked on planting a new church in the Tucson/Marana area.

He's one of those guys who learned a lot in Seminary...but learns even more in LIFE, on a daily basis.

Check out the new Blog for Holy Cross Church and follow along for an encouraging reminder of who God IS...and who we are, because of Him.

...just follow along to laugh at Pete. He's actually pretty funny.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Best Day EVER!

This last Saturday, my wonderful friend (and sis-in-law), Jenná, and I had plans to get a pedicure and have a little lunch. We are very close, like sisters, really. But we don't get to just spend casual, event-less time together very often. So, this would be a nice morning, and a nice way to celebrate the impending arrival of my little guy.

Being with Jenná would have been nice...but what actually happened, was one of the biggest blessings I've had the privilege of enjoying!

When Jenná pulled up to meet me at Starbucks that morning, out of the car came Jenni Thye and Amy Cooper! These girls are two of my very dearest friends. They were my room-mates in College and my beautiful bridesmaids, and now live out-of-town.

These girls know me well...and still love me LOTS! I miss them more than I realized!

After I totally broke down and cried for about 5 minutes (Jenni identified it as the hormones), I got to spend the rest of the day with them! It was truly wonderful and exactly what I needed. And, boy was it great that I didn't have to spend the entire day with just Jenná!!!!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

37 Weeks...and 1 day : )

Sunday was a stressful and emotional day. Actually, I've been having a few of those, lately. But, instead of showing those pictures...I'll just show the ones where I took a break from trying to get things done, put some blush on and made rice crispy treats with Gwendolyn...then ate them ALL.

My little Gwendolyn has been pretty bored with her tired, uncomfortable, HOT Mommy. There is NO WAY I'm going she's pretty much on her own...let's just say there has been lots of Barney-watching around here. But, the baby pool helps A LOT, too!

And, it wouldn't really be any fun without at least one fit.

We recover, much??

I'll tell you one thing, though...I'm really NOT going out there.

During the 1-hour trek across town to pick up a $40 double-jogger with a rotating front wheel!!! YEAH!!

I've decided to wake up every morning thinking, "this could be the day"...not because I actually have any idea when Augustine will come, but because it seems like more fun than waking up and thinking, "I have no idea when I'm going to go into labor".

So, this morning I shaved AREA 51 : ) and spent time relaxing...I'm READY!