Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 in review!!

I'm pretty sure it feels like 2010 went by in a blink of the eye.

Last year at this time we were preparing for many unknowns. Ryan was about to leave for 3 months for Army training and I was preparing to take on a full-time-working-mom-with-my-husband-away challenges. We went into survival mode and got through it despite countless ear infections and sickness for Titus. In survival mode, you just do it and don't have the time to
think otherwise or ask for help. Although, I never want Ryan to be gone for a deployment or school EVER again, I know that God can sustain me and I can get through it.

Once he came home we enjoyed time together on a fun-fun-fun family vacation. It was a blessing for me to be distracted and work while he was gone to pay for it!!!

Time after the vacation was more challenging. Learning to live together again, a big job disappointment amidst hards church issues in Oregon challenged us in ways we had not encountered before. At times we felt disillusioned and great disappointment. God in his mercy drew us closer to his heart during that time and we grew from it. Now, I'm thankful for the challenges.

Great times were to be had this past fall. Titus has grown and changed in so many ways. Our baby changed to a little boy and is starting to talk in sentences and runs everywhere he goes. He will always be one of my greatest joys. We are so blessed that God saw fit to give him to us!

We started this fall with fresh dreams. Ryan's internship this semester was strictly focused on our family. We took a night a week to talk and think about what the mission of our family will be going forward. We knew "in general" what we longed for, but writing it out was powerful. From that a mission statement was birthed.

We aren't the same as we are this year as we were the last. I am having breakthroughs with anxiety and stress that is evidence of God working in my life as never before. Although our life is not near perfect, we have grown. We still have things to work on, job unknowns, etc etc, but I've seen that no matter what we go through in the future, God will go with us. His presence in my life is sustaining and will give us what we need each day.

I pray 2011 is a year of great joy and blessing for each of you. It's such a comfort to know that although we change to another year, God stands outside the calendar!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

Sit back, slow down and savor the goodness of the season. The God of the Universe came as a helpless baby to redeem an utterly helpless people from the pit of hell.

Let us not rush or be overwhelmed with life... the cooking, the clean up, the worries of today or the fears of tomorrow. After all, it never was about us in the first place! For one day (and preferably more) may we savor the gift of love God gave us and give it back to one another.

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Luke 2:14

Merry Christmas!

The Epp Family

Thursday, December 9, 2010

21 months


(this mustache came off with one wipe.. in case you're wondering :)

I can't believe my little boy is almost 21 months (Saturday). Crazy! Titus and I have had a blast this past month. I have so enjoyed being home with him 24/7 and he has become my little buddy during the days. I really like the kid he is becoming. He loves people and never meets a stranger. He loves to sing, dance and wrestle with Daddy.

Titus has made big strides in his obedience this month along with talking. He hasn't been throwing as many tantrums and yelling no. PTL! Oh my, my favorite thing in the entire world is when he comes up to me and says, "Hi Mommy" and plants one on my lips. I also love when he will answer my questions. It makes the guessing a bit easier. He is amazed by Santa and lets out a big "HoHoHo" whenever he sees anything resembling. He also loves dogs and calls him "dogdog. His newer thing is calling everything that looks similar to a horse, a "yo." Not sure where "yo" came from, but my guess is something from yeehaw? He calls donkey, camels, cows, horses etc. a "yo."

Titus has also been quite the character. He recently has been coming up with various tricks to delay nap time or bed time. His tricks include saying juice, eat eat, more, rock. All of them usually don't work except for rocking. That gets me every time and thankfully, after a few minutes and songs he will lay down peacefully. He doesn't mind if I keep rocking though! ;)

He is independent and prefers to "walk walk" in the stores with me. Sometimes this works and other times, not so much! He loves to drag his little potty into the bathroom and grab his pretend phone and pops-a-squat on it. He especially likes to do this when Ryan or I are using the bathroom. I know, all the family secrets here!

He is beyond adorable and so much fun. I think this is my favorite stage.. again!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Rookie Mom Wednesday


Welcome to Rookie Mom Wednesday at Under My Umbrella. It is Wednesday right?? Let me tell you my one of my rookie mom dilemmas. I tend to be slightly overprotective and overreactive. For instance, when Titus was 1 and the doctor found his iron was a little low, I bawled on the phone with the nurse. Bawled. Poor nurse. I'm sure she wasn't prepared to handle all my hormones that day. I really am not a big crier, but this one got me. Maybe it's because I was always really careful with what he ate, and didn't understand why and therefore thought something was reallllly wrong.

Not sure if I will ever outgrow this whole parinoid mom thing, but either way, I'll always try to take as good of care of this little guy as I can! One of the things that means is trying to find healthy food for him to eat.

There just one dilemma. We aren't living the "Whole Foods" lifestyle. Granted, Trader Joe's helps a ton, but the reality of affording ALL organic meats and veggies just can't happen right now. Anywho, I really like this substance of such for it's healthiness and cheapiness.

I now introduce you to Quinoa. It' s a type of grain that's high in fiber and pro
tein. Also it can be found organic and is affordable!

Here is my fav recipe to use Quinoa with from All Recipes. It's called Turkey and Quinoa Meatloaf. (I cut the salt and brown sugar in half and use ketchup instead of tomato paste).


  • 1/4 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 (20 ounce) package ground turkey
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon water


  1. Bring the quinoa and water to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender, and the water has been absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  3. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion; cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute; remove from heat to cool.
  4. Stir the turkey, cooked quinoa, onions, tomato paste, hot sauce, 2 tablespoons Worcestershire, egg, salt, and pepper in a large bowl until well combined. The mixture will be very moist. Shape into a loaf on a foil lined baking sheet. Combine the brown sugar, 2 teaspoons Worcestershire, and 1 teaspoon water in a small bowl. Rub the paste over the top of the meatloaf.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven until no longer pink in the center, about 50 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 160 degrees F (70 degrees C). Let the meatloaf cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Nutritional Information open nutritional information

Amount Per Serving Calories: 286 | Total Fat: 13.3g | Cholesterol: 126mg


Monday, December 6, 2010

Miscellany Monday

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

(1) Titus has been pretending to be a baby lately. He gets on the ground and crawls around with this sneaky look on his face. Then he crawls to Ryan or I and wants to hold him like a baby. It's hilarious.. to me at least. But, I'm his mom and don't we moms think everything our kid does is amazing? I do at least! His best bud, Simon, just started crawling, and Titus just started doing this so I'm wondering if there is a correlation. Titus LOVES Simon.. his parents, his dog, his crawling.

(2) I've entered the 21st century with an Iphone. On Friday, I decided to put our IPods on Craigs List just to see how long they would take to sell. My phone was blowing up with texts, calls etc for these 2 ipods. We sold that night and were ready to make the IPhone commitment. Love is all I can say. I've gone app wild and wow, how did I ever make it without my app with the cheapest gas in town, or my oh so fab vintage picture editing automatically, or a nutritional guide on my phone for every chain restaurant you can imagine?! My personal fav is helping Ryan and I sync our lives. I take our phones and we press them together and can trade any info deemed worthy. It's called Bump! Here's to not over scheduling and trading calendars. And yes, we may even facetime in our own living rooms with each other.

(3) We have hopeful-end-of-semester-blues. After a drill weekend right at the end of Ryan's
semester, we're ready for a sweet date in Charleston! :)

(4) This winter feels a bit easier for me. Maybe it's because I was on a mega dose of vitamin d at the end of the summer, maybe it's because we think this may be our last winter out west. It could also be because we have a trip coming soon. Who knows but I'm grateful! Granted, I still miss the sun (more for Titus not getting outside), but it doesn't feel like a weight on my chest sucking the life out of me!

(5) Titus is fascinated by Santa. Anytime he sees one, he lets out a "HoHoHo." Fascinated, but he doesn't want to get too close. We took him to the mall and he sat on his lap, but had a look like "I want to cry really hard" after 5 seconds. Pictured below is the president of Western in his Santa best!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Flash Mob..

Have you seen the Flash Mob dances? I could only wish to be in one smacked dab in the middle of Time Square, but since that won't be happening anytime soon, I'll just watch them on youtube. I recently saw this gig and thought it was fun. I think my favorite part is seeing the cute elderly people in it. Something about a little grandpa singing is heart out is endearing to me!

Ya know what I really want to hear about? I want to hear about the person in the food court who

1. Thought the return of Christ was happening and these random people were angels in disguise.


2. Thought they were suppose to join in and stood up and started singing. I would probably be the genius to think both!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Rookie Mom Wednesday


Welcome to Rookie Mom Wednesday! Perhaps each Wednesday, every other, or possibly just because it seems appropriate on a Friday, you'll here some random mama thoughts. In this case, it's basically Thursday! Want to hear my catchy slogan that all blog buttons MUST have. "Lessons, tips, and more from the mud puddles." If that doesn't sound like a pair of mom jeans, I don't know what does, but alas, here I am!

First off, here's the secret (that's not really a secret) about me. I


I like things organized. Honestly, I just function better. Everything has it's place and some things even have a label. Well, not everything is organized... there are certain places in our house that are "free spaces." Some drawers, the computer room and parts of the basement have been deemed ok to be messy.

Today, as I was trying to do some fun Holiday baking, I decided to be a little rebellious and give Titus a Buckeye and let him run around with it.

A buckeye is a ridiculously fattening peanut-butter-thing-dipped-in-chocolate. Heaven. The giving to a 20 month old who's running around the house was a Bad idea. See.. here.

Then I remembered why I initially thought that was a bad idea and put him here. In this picture, he is actually begging me for "more." He only got one.

We continued through nap and into the afternoon. Yay, another project before Daddy comes home. I guess I just thought we had to do all our Holiday baking since it's the first day of December. Maybe I was the one that needed the nap!

So we started making sugar cookies and decorating them. I set up little stations and quickly realized that 20 month olds don't do stations. Oh yea.

Then the light went off. I stopped to myself and thought,

"YOU are going to miss this moment of having fun with your child.. like having A LOT of fun if you obsess over the mess. So what if sprinkles go everywhere, there's a broom for that. So what if you ruin ONE nights dinner by letting your child have a cookie and lick some icing, it's not the end of the world. Embrace the moments.. NOW."

In that moment, I let it go and felt myself becoming a little more laid back! Our sugar cookies looked ridiculous, but they were yummy and the finger prints over them were quite cute. I will probably find sprinkles for months to come, but I taught my child the joy of licking his fingers. We made a mess and even Titus was looking around and saying "mess," but we had fun and laughed a lot!

The best part was that Daddy came home and saw us having fun and offered to help clean up! Score!

(The picture above does not show the mess, but if you look in the right corner, you may get an idea of little red dots... those would be sprinkles that covered our floors).