Month: July 2009

  • Zoe’ Turns Two


    My daughter is TWO! How can that be?! Sometimes I stop and wonder if this is really *me* that has two children, and the oldest one is two! :) My life just amazes me sometimes!


    For Zoe’s birthday this year, we decided to just spend a family day together. We have been rather busy, Ben has been working 6 days a week, and family times haven’t been very frequent. So, in lieu of a party, we had a family day at the beach!

    Her day started early – at 6:30, but she was far too grouchy to remain awake, so after breakfast I tucked her back in bed for another hour or two. She awoke in a much better state of mind, and was delighted when I put candles in her pancakes and sang “happy birthday” to her several times! She then started singing “happy birthday to zoe!” and just giggled when doing so! I don’t think she really understood what was going on, but whatever it was, she liked all the special attention!

    Soon after she got up, I told her that we were going to the beach that day! Zoe’ absolutely  loves  the ocean, and was just thrilled! It took us a bit to get out the door – just getting out the house is a bigger deal these days because the baby first has to be fed, the lunch has to be packed, the sunscreen and chairs and drinks and snacks and lunch and stroller and beach towels and sand toys need to be loaded in the car (whew!), then both babies are loaded in, and finally – we’re off!

    After a quick stop at Target to pick up a few necessities (I think it was necessities. Sometimes I make up “necessities” just as an excuse to go to Target because I hardly ever go that hour distance!), we picked Ben up who had been working half a day close to the islands.

    A picnic lunch at a park just a short distance away from the ocean… I think she liked this almost as much at the beach itself!


    looking up through the big oak tree above the picnic table


    Zoe’ is so difficult to photograph. She is very photogenic, if she’s in the mood. But most times when she sees the camera she runs away giggling! Most of these pictures were taken playing peek-a-boo or some such thing!


    Fun-loving mischievous girlie!



    Then on to the ocean! The waves were a bit bigger than normal, but normally there are hardly any waves at all because the beach is so gradual. So it was still great to play in, and she was able to “jump” the waves with daddy’s help!


    I love my little big girl!


    She didn’t even seem to mind the salt water in her face. I was surprised at her!



    Baby Olivia in the stroller. She did really well to be on the beach several hours. See those little chubby cheeks she’s getting? Still a tiny baby, but filling out a little bit!


    Yes, he does have a farmer’s tan. :) But it doesn’t affect his daddy skills one bit! :) He was wearing a hat because he had been outside a few days before and his poor head got fried!


    After several hours of playing hard, Zoe’ was tuckered out! She fell asleep when we went on a little walk…


    Pizza and cupcakes were the menu when we got home late that evening! I had great visions of darling pink cupcakes, but um, they didn’t turn out very well. And they tasted terrible.  I made a white cupcake recipe from Taste of Home, and put coloring in to make them pink, but it was nothing worth repeating! So, Zoe enjoyed her one with the candles, but that was the end of that!





    And a bowl of ice cream to finish off the little party!


    Zoe’ doesn’t like being two. She can hardly hold up the two fingers, and then becomes frustrated and says, “No! One!” Yeah, I know other people that want to deny their age too… :)

    At Two:

    … Zoe’ is talking and talking and talking. She is such chatterbox, and is one of those children that *needs* to tell her mommy every thought in her mind at every waking moment. :) So far it’s not gotten annoying because it’s so cute! She’s starting to come up with such fun little saying that just crack me up and we just laugh and laugh together! She has a sweet little lisp so I can understand her most times, but other people don’t always know what she’s saying.

       The other day I asked her if she needed to go potty. “I don’t think so. I’m fine.” She responded nonchalantly and plain as day. Oh excuse me! Perhaps I should have asked if she needed to use the ladies’ room, as grown-up as she responded!

       Another time she was playing on the couch and fell off the side. “Zoe has ouchie! It’s BAD!” She told me! I was trying to comfort her but just started laughing at her so much that she stopped crying and was laughing too! I think she will be dramatic like her Barkman aunties… :)

    … She is ridiculously passionate about horses. No, we are not re-doing her room in horse wall-paper, although I’m sure she’d be thrilled! She has several horse books, play horses, and now a stick horse from Grandma for her birthday.

    … Curious George is her favorite character. We have several big Curious George books and she will literally spend hours a day looking through them! Grandma Yoder gave her a monkey backpack for her birthday and she wants that on her every hour of the day! So cute!

    … She is now the owner of two kittens! That was Ben and my gift to her for her birthday, and between them and entertaining them with kitty toys sent from Papa and Nana for her birthday, the Curious George books, and her horses, she is busy from morning to night! I heard her yesterday when she was feeding the kitties, “Pray! Titty tat! Pray!” :) ))

    … Zoe’ loves a particular book called “Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes” and we read from it almost every day. The other day it was left in the car that Ben took to work, and she walked around in the morning saying, “Where’s Jesus??” while looking for it! It was so precious!!

    - Her hair is finally growing out! Her almost-hairless stage lasted quite a while, and although it’s still wispy, it’s coming in very well and looks darling! It’s gotten so sun-bleached this summer and is almost white right now!

    - Still has the chubby baby fat cheeks that jiggle when she runs! :) I’ll be sad when she looses that!

    - LOVES to help. It’s very precious, she’ll run up to me and say, “Zoe’ help! Zoe’ help!” whether it’s getting laundry off the line, folding washclothes, making supper, wiping up the kitchen floor… I must have patience with her, because if I don’t she will soon loose the mentality that work is fun! Then when she’s 10 I’ll wonder why she doesn’t want to help me! I must keep sight of the end goal – working together one day, and one day life will be more efficient! For now, this is the training stage…

    And that’s our little two year old!

    Zoe’ Grace – I just love being your mommy!


  • Saturday Ramblings


    I’m sitting in the kitchen with Zoe’ on a lazy Saturday… Ben is working today, so we’re allowing ourselves to just relax!

    Zoe stories:

    -Zoe has learned to use the word, “too,” and tacks it onto almost anything she says. “Zoe eat ‘nola (granola) TOO.” “Mommy sit here TOO.” So now she’s eating “‘nola TOO” while mommy “sits here TOO.”

    -Zoe’s version of Bible Stories. Feeding of the Five Thousand: “Peoples eat fish and toast!” (toast is her favorite thing)”. Baby Moses hidden in a basket: “Mosee in boat in pool!”

    -Reading a book to herself, sees a picture of a snake. “OOOOH! Snake GET Zoe! Snake EAT Zoe!” Looks at me and laughs because she knows that’s not what the books says. She has quite the imagination!

    Last night Ben was putting Zoe to bed while I was changing the baby in the same room. In a moment of murmured prayer voicing the need of God we both feel so much these days, Ben said aloud, “God, how are we able to raise these children?” Zoe was sitting on his lap, and even though he wasn’t talking to her, responded emphatically, “Yeah… YES MA’AM!!” Ben and I both laughed so so hard! It’s been a few long days for us, or rather I should say long *nights* with Zoe, but this was such a dear moment! Seemed as though Zoe knew exactly what he was talking about, and thought too that we needed help from above! She  crack me up!


    My lovely sisters on Queen Street!


    I think they are all so beautiful! Whenever I’m around them, I feel like the ugly duckling! :) But they’re all so sweet, I can’t feel inferior!


    I wish we could’ve gotten all four of us together…


    This looked like a paparazzi shot of Ervina.


    Breakfast at Rachels…



    I was telling Ben this week that the 8 weeks since the baby is born has seemed like a blur to me. I look back on them and it all looks hazy, crazy, and tired. :) The baby has been sleeping through the night for several weeks already - something done completely on her own! I’m not good at letting babies cry through the night, it just tugs too hard and I feel so sorry for them! So this sleeping 6-8 hours is completely on her own! And I’m so thankful!

    Olivia had been semi-colicky for several weeks. Nights were great, but during the day it wasn’t unusual if she’d only sleep an hour. Total. And she cried a lot of her waking time. At first holding her would calm her down, but then that didn’t even help. I didn’t know *what* to do! I tried to be careful what I ate, but that didn’t make a difference. While we were in Pennsylvania a friend told us she took her partially-colic baby for cranial treatments, and that seemed to help her. We were able to get an appointment, and although it was just one time, it has made a HUGE difference in her! She seems like a different baby now! Happy so much of the time, and will now just smile and smile instead of cry and cry!

    The specialists who treated Olivia thought her problem came from the 50-hour labor, when with each contraction her head and body were pushed diagonal instead of vertex, thus putting a lot of pressure on her neck and head. It may or may not have been that, but the massage treatment they gave her has given me a relaxed baby!! I am SO thankful!!

    Zoe, on the other hand, has turned into a waking-up-every-few-hours infant. Not sure why – if we knew we’d try to solve the problem immediately! One night I was up with her at least 10 times. The following night I slept in the guest room with her so I would at least be right with her when she woke up, rather than going back and forth from our room to hers, but that didn’t even make a diffierence for her. Last night was slightly better.

    But need I even *say* that when you don’t have more than 45 minutes to an hour of uninterrupted sleep at a time  all night You. Feel. Exhausted. So my days have been just trying to stay afloat amid the oceans of laundry and housework and meals. :) It’s been an exhausting time. Probably why the past 8 weeks seem like a blur.

    In the midst of all that though, it somehow feels like we’re coming to a new normal. Most days I don’t feel totally overwhelmed, as I did at first. I really wondered how in the world I was going to do this the first few weeks – be a mother to two children one and under! I still have some days like that, especially when the nights are bad, but most days are enjoyable and filled with smiles.

    my two precious daughters! how can it that i am a mother to two children???


    I keep being reminded of how blessed we truly are though. Yes, we have sleepless nights and times of tears of exhaustion, but we are healthy, we are all alive, we love each other dearly! And THAT is a lot to be thankful for. And something I need to keep being reminded of in the midst of overwhelming days!

    m little dandelion seed, as i call her on mornings like this! :)


    Olivia is growing. Not by leaps and bounds, but by little bitty ounces. :) I just love her tiny-ness! So opposite from what Zoe was like at a baby. At 8 weeks, Olivia weighs in at 9 tiny pounds. At 8 weeks, Zoe weighed in around 12 big pounds. They are as different as could be, even in their physical features, and I love it! Just amazes me at the same time at how unique they both are.


    Olivia, despite her small size, seems as though she’s already more agressive than Zoe was at this age. At 5 weeks I found her scooted about one foot forward on the bed where I had laid her. The same week I went in to check on her and she had moved forward and sideways about 6 inches each way, found her pacifier in the upper corner of her cradle, and was sucking on it! My mouth almost dropped to the floor – had my jaw been mobile enough, I’m sure it would have! And Zoe was spending the day with Grandma Yoder, otherwise I would have been sure Zoe was playing with her! So it’s already not safe to leave her on high surfaces alone… 


    The following pictures are from a lovely week in Pennsylvania – already three weeks ago! WHERE does time go??! The week was absolutely wonderful… I always forget how beautiful beautiful beautiful Lancaster County is. The grass is a lush carpet with no fear of fire ants, the weather splendid and perfect without gnats and mosquitoes determined to eat you alive. :) And even more than that – the family we were with and people we were able to see was just delightful! Even though it was a week, we didn’t get to see nearly everyone that we wanted to. After not going home for 6 months, it was just not enough of time to be able to see everyone, but therefore even more disappointing NOT to be able to!

    The girls’ trunks for the trip. Found them at a local antique/junk shop and they worked so well!


    Three Generations! These moments together were so special! Wailing Olivia didn’t think so though!


    Claudia was gone for part of the week we were there, and we missed her dreadfully!
    Lunch at Panera Bread one day inbetween Banana Republic and Salvation Army (my two favorite stores!)


    Love this adoring look on Zoe’s face! Papa is her hero!


    Handsome brother James! I really like this picture of him!


    Youngest brother David. I also really like this picture!


    Lovely Jana! Very typical picture of her! She is one amazing photographer, I’m bashful to show her any of the pictures *I* take!


    Lovely Ervina! One week with you was not long enough!


    my cousin, chloe, who is two years older than zoe! zoe just loved playing with her, and chloe was so kind to her!



    aunt beth meeting olivia for the first time!


    jana and beth meeting olivia!


    One of the reasons for our trip to PA was my sister Claudia’s graduation from high school! It was a beautiful event, and a perfect day! She gave a splendid speech, I was so proud of her!


    “HEY! Zoe’s eating my graduation gift!” We had bought Claudia this gigantic lollipop as a part of her grad gift :) and Zoe kept her eyes peeled for chance to get at it!


    I thought this was so cute – her programs in a vintage chest!




    Zoe with Papa


    Some of the young gents


    My dad offered Ben work for a week, which was the reason we were able to stay more than a weekend. I was *thrilled* for a chance to stay longer than expected! We were able to spend a lot of time with my family, and also were able to see Ben’s family and some of our friends during our stay there, which otherwise would not have happened in a 2-day weekend!

    Spent a lovely, wonderful evening with Wendall and Mary Jo! We used to do so much with them when we lived in Pennsylvania, and I miss them so much! She always makes and serves wonderful food and it looks so beautiful too! Chris and Beth were there as well – loved with being every one of you!


    Crepes with Bananas Foster. THEE most amazing dessert made by Mary Jo!


    Mariana and Zoe


    Darling Josie!



    They all took a bath together before we left. So cute!




    Got to spend a lovely few hours with my dear friend Bek! We met each other’s newest babies, and were amazed at how the others grew so much in the past 6 months!


    We thought the kids would play in the pool, but they ended up being in the playhouse most of the time! It was so cute to see them play together!


    Zoe and Brooklynn


    Also were able to spend an evening with our dear friends, Phil and Shelly. Deitrich and Zoe are 4 days apart (I was due before Shelly but she had her baby early and I was late, so therefore Deitrich is older. She won’t let me forget that one! :)


    One of the highlights of the trip was being able to tour my friend and mom’s cousin, Janelle’s, house one morning, and spend some time with her and her darling three children! Her house should truly grace an issue of the Victoria magazine, just charming as can be! And I didn’t get any pictures of it! I was so disappointed!

    Another special evening spent with Mark and Ruth! A delicious meal on the patio, with dear dear friends!