Month: September 2008

  • Autumn in Pennsylvania…


    A few pictures to come of a lovely 10 days in Pennsylvania! Before I do that though, I must give all the credit for my new header to my sister, Ervina. Honestly, I have no idea whatsoever how to make a header like that and she said I’d need Fireworks or some other program that I don’t have to learn how. So, all the praise goes to her. :)

    I took so many pictures while I was there that it’s hard for me to decide what to post and what not to… So, bear with me as I show you my wonderful Barkman family and some of the people I was with!

    Liz is a childhood friend of mine and we were delighted to be at her wedding! I played the piano during the ceremony, and then had a lovely time with the Glicks afterward!

    During the ceremony


    Mr. & Mrs.!

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    This was her wedding aisle… so pretty!


    The Glicks


    This was so cool – read the sign on the barn door!


    The lovely Leatherman family!



     I loved this – chocolate milk for all!


    Our trip to PA was going to be just a short weekend, but my family called me a few days before we traveled up to let me know they were buying me a plane ticket to stay longer! I was amazed, humbled, and very grateful!! It was one of the best weeks ever!

    I must say something about this… When we lived in the city we were only a couple blocks away from this very cool park, and would take all our guests that would ever visit to see this very cool fountain. In my early days of marriage I dreamt about the darling children we’d have one day and how we’d take them to the park and let them splash in the water. When we moved 12 hours away that dream was banished, at least for the time being. So after a lovely breakfast at Rachel’s, we walked downtown to the Market and stopped in at this lovely fountain. And my dreams came true about my little child playing in Binn’s Park!

    the creperie

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    the park






    love these little teefers








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    So that’s a brief summary of my time up north… Crisp autumn days, family times, Zoe’ adoring her Papa and Nana and aunties and uncles, seeing some of my old friends and wanting to see others, visits with sister-in-laws and cousins…  It was a lovely time, and I am so indebted to my family for providing a way for me to be there! Thank you, thank you!

    And now baby is ready for lunch, so – tootles and happy weekend!

  • Zoe’ – 13 months old


    These one-year pictures of Zoe’ are a little belated, but somehow when the baby is over a year the exact months aren’t as big a deal as the first twelve months. Not sure if that sentence made sense or not… But anyway, these are what we’ll call Zoe’s One Year Pictures. Taken my sister, Ervina, and myself. Jana was a photographer too but I haven’t gotten her pictures yet…

    We were in PA, and it was one of those evenings where the lighting was just delicious. I hardly edited these pictures, it was so perfect. Now, I’ve taken pictures before where I bragged about them a little because I thought they were really good, only to look back a short while later and realize they weren’t all I thought they were. So, this time I humbly submit these pictures for your viewing, gently reminding you I’m not a professional. 

    In the fields of Pennsylvania…

    Props: Mom’s old chair, Ervina’s hat, Claudia’s beads, God’s nature

    My second-favorite.



    These lovely pools of blue I look into every day…  Her daddy thinks she has killer eyes. But beware, oh ye young men, she has a fearful father! :)





    It was a bit of a challenge to keep the hat on…



    And one final – my favorite. Naturally photogenic she is. :)

    I was telling a friend the other day that having a child of my own somehow makes the world seem a little purer, a little brighter… Makes me see the world as it was meant to be, with innocence and unfeigned love. I am so privileged to be a mommy to this little girl!


    Some of the rest of us…


    A few of the aunts and uncle..


    And I have many more pictures of a wonderful time in PA, but that will have to be for another time…

    Happy Thursday to all!


  • Professor Zoe’


    It’s been a big week.

    …finding out that some of my friends here in Jesup are moving away for sure, and another friend that may be moving soon after
    …finding out that my dad (as well as mom) have Lyme Disease, my dad so badly he’s hardly able to walk at times
    …being incredibly homesick for my family and friends
    … being youth leaders for the next year, along with Jeff & Andrea (this is something I’m excited about, although it’s a big responsibility)
    …an investment property we bought that’s brought on scary legal problems
    …Zoe is sick and grouchy because of teething
    ….along with other things that are weighty and aren’t appropriate for a public place

    I was feeling such a hunger for God. For him to just sit me on his lap, like I did as a little girl with my daddy. For me to know that I’m cared about and loved by him. Lately it seems like I’ve just known it in my head, but my heart doesn’t quite believe that he really does care. That I truly matter. That it’s going to be okay.

    I’ve been praying that God would show me that I am his beloved daughter. Not where I try to believe it. But where I just know in my heart of hearts. Even on the hard days when I am homesick and sad and have big things on my mind, to know that I am loved and cared for. By God.

    The other night I was laying in bed, almost sleeping, when I decided I would check on Zoe one last time. She’s such a wiggler in bed, and I wanted to make sure she was covered up. In the shadowy room I could just make out her sleeping form, and my heart was overwhelmed with love for her. She’s such a precious baby.  She has brought us an incredible amount of joy, and to think we were scared to death sometimes before she was born! She’s been teething and grouchy, but oh, how I love my daughter…

    As I was standing there over her crib, feeling so privileged to be her mommy, to thankful for this little treasure, it was as if God spoke the words to my heart, “I love you even more than you love Zoe.” I was overwhelmed. The utter love I was feeling for Zoe’ made his words even more meaningful, and that was what my heart has been longing to know. My heart, not my head. Wow. It was such a God-moment.

    It was that same night that Zoe, because of teething, woke me up every half hour of the night (no joke), and where I finally brought her to bed with me around 4am so I wouldn’t have to get up and down so many times. I laid her on my chest and she fell asleep, but she put her tiny little hand up on my cheek and kept it there, as if to say, “I just want to know that you are closeby.” I totally melted. And my heart echoed those words back to God…

    That same morning, around 6 this time, she threw up violently all over my bed, on the sheets, blankets, featherbed, everything. The first time ever. I had thought I would be grossed out over that (I was going to mention what all came out but I’ll refrain), but my first thought was for my baby, caring for her, making sure she was okay… I am finding that it is such an honor to care for my sick little baby. I hate it that she’s sick, but I love taking care of her. I remember when I was a girl at home, I used to like being sick because my mom would take such good care of me and make me feel so special…

    So I am not getting much done around the house, but I am enjoying these moments of a sweet blonde head laying on my shoulder, of reading books and looking at the horses…. of being taught about God from my little daughter.

    I thought I would be teaching my daughter about God. I was wrong. She is the one teaching me.

    Thank you, Jesus….


    Edit: I should clarify that after several more tests, my dad does not have Lyme Disease. The doctor had even put him on medication for it, thinking that’s what it must be. But after more testing, the doctors came to the conclusion that it must be an unusual case of arthritis… So, just wanted to clarify that.



  • I’ve been working on…


    …domestic projects of late!

    Last Saturday was a day at home, and since my cleaning is done on Monday, bills and bookwork on Wednesday, grocery and errands on Thursday, and laundry on Tuesday and Friday (just ask me about my new organization rampage sometime!!), there  remained nothing left to do except “play!”  So play I did…

    Ben’s sister, Beth, happily surprised on by coming down for the weekend to visit all of us! We had so much fun seeing her again! To celebrate her coming home, the Yoder family spent the day together on Sunday, and I brought the dessert for lunch…


    Pies still make me nervous when I make them, so please bear with me as I gloat just a little in the fact that I made three from scratch  including the crusts. Whew. That’s huge! Sour Cream Apple Crumble, Pecan, and Coconut Macaroon, to be exact.

    Along with all the other “domestic duties”, one of them is ensuring that my young, exloring daughter does not take in more than her share of minerals… For some reason, this is her favorite place to play in the deck! She can have her little bucket of water and some toys, but oh no, in the dirt and pots she wants to play…


    She always sits with her legs crossed like this – and it just tickles me because her legs are still so chubby they hardly will cross each other! But in the highchair, in bed, playing with toys, reading books – it must be the most oh-so-comfortable pose for her!


    A few weeks ago I was at Goodwill and found an adorable red and white sundress – in women’s size 14. Earlier, I had read about the idea to make a little girls’ dress from Goodwill finds, so the idea is not original with me. Just have to clarify that one. I love to copy other brilliant (and cheap) ideas.


    I was so excited when I saw this little dress take form… Until, that is, I tried it on my  daughter. Or rather, attempted to try it on my daughter. I hadn’t used a pattern or anything, just tried to eye-ball it. Which is not a very good idea with a very growing child. The adorable little dress would not even fit over her head! One the second attempt, I was able to slide it down over her wiggling, squirming, chubby body, but once it was on I was afraid I would have to cut the thing down the side to get it off. I think I was almost as clausterphobic as she was at that point – and greatly disheartened. I’m not a big-time seamstress, so for me to try to do this was a Big Attempt…

    So, I tried again. I think I have enough of my dad in me that makes me stick at something even when I’m frustrated to death…


    Zoe’ was having so much fun pulling ribbons and whatnot from all my sewing boxes.

    And finally a new dress emerged, still without a pattern, but this time sewn while the baby was awake, thus resulting in lots of fittings every few minutes…




    A little ‘embellishment’ to hide the seam in the middle of the red sash.





    I’ve been busy practicing piano to play at the wedding of one of my childhood friends…  My cousin, Cherie, recommended some music from Yanni, and I have just LOVED playing those pieces!! So fun to play again, it’s been a while since I’ve just sat and played every day for a substantial amount of time…

    But I’ve found that it’s very difficult to practice with a one-year-old! If I practice when she’s sleeping, she’ll often wake up. If I try it when she’s awake, she bee-lines over to the piano and wants to play too. So we have a little lesson – learning where Middle C is. I have a feeling we’ll be repeating that lesson for many years yet…

    (Her cheeks look like chipmunk cheeks because we had to give her chips to keep her happy for these pictures. We’re not indulgent parents. She was just tired. From all the dress fittings.  )



    So, sometimes during the course of that Saturday, I can’t remember the order of events, I decided that curtains need to be make for the two curtain-less bedrooms – the guest room and Zoe’s room. Ever since we moved here two years ago we kept thinking that we’d buy our own place and move. Soon. But it still hasn’t happened, so I decided that It. Is. Time. these rooms have curtains. There is something so warming about curtains. I remember I learned that from my friend, Bek.

    Ben and I helped Jeremy & Bek move when we still lived in PA, and I was so amazed when, on the day of the move, Bek put up curtains throughout almost the entire house. But as soon as they were up, I understood why she did. It brought such a cozy feel to the house, even though it was new and not lived in yet.

    So after two years in this house, I’ve finally remembered that. :) And it was just like I remembeed. I wasn’t sure if I’d remember much of the curtain-making skills I learned from my sister-in-law, Mary Jo, but it came back, little by little. I did go for the more simple styles, though, just to, well, simplify things.

    The curtain fabric for Zoe’s room was all given to me by a friend from church who has a window treatment business. These were just fabric scraps she was giving away, so I made two identical curtains for Zoe’s  bedroom.


    In the bedroom…


    And in the guest room…



    This was the day for the sewing maching to show out…

    A dress that Zoe’s been wearing has been getting a little short, but I wasn’t ready to tuck it away yet. A bit of tulle under the skirt should do the trick and lengthen it just  bit.




    I found this dress at Ross for $13.99, or something very cheap like that. I wanted just a little bit of length on it too, so since tulle seem to be the thing, well, this dress got it too



    But I thought something seemed amiss with the 2 red buttons. Either they needed to come off, or else there needed to be more red. So, we did this…


    But now I’m thinking maybe it’s too much red?? Maybe have some feedback on that??


    So that’s the extent of the sewing factory right now.

    A few things around the house…

    A Pottery Barn chalkboard that I picked up for a few dollars at the outlet a long time ago – cheap because it was missing the stuff to hang it up with. 99 cents at Walmart fixed that problem, and made me wonder why it’s been hiding in the closet all these months…


    A view from the galley kitchen looking into the dining room. The baskets on the wall are ones I got free from the Pampered Chef party I had at my house in July! I was so excited and happy about them! And grateful to the people who came to my party and (should I come out and say it??) bought things! These parties always make me feel a little bad, because people have to buy stuff so that you (the hostess) can get anything free…


    In the kitchen (photo was taken on the counter, but I usually keep it on top of the frig)… A wooden coca cola box  Ben and I found at a flea market in Savannah once upon a time. Was great to hold all kinds of garden goodies this summer, and I have visions of using it at a cookout with checkered napkins and salties filling the two compartments. Any other ideas?


    And this positively makes Ben blush with shame, because he thinks I did a terrible job on it. I found these two brass candlesticks at a garage sale, and thought I could paint them white for a shabby chic look. Well, I was in a great hurry hate to take so much time on little things, but I didn’t even dust them off properly or prime them before I spray painted them. Therefore, if you look veeerrryy closely, you’re see speckles of dust under the paint. And Ben can’t stand a half-way job. But, dust speckles or no dust speckles, they now adorn the dining room table.



    And now I’m projected out.

    And very VERY excited about the trip to see my family and go to Liz’ wedding in less than a week!

    Happy Saturday to everyone!