Month: September 2009

  • Olivia at 4 Months


    Little Olivia is growing right up. How a little baby goes from newborn to four months old in what seems like much less time than four months is amazing to me. How we’re almost at the end of September already when it seems like that week was just the end of May is crazy. I must be getting older. :)

    This stage with Olivia is just so fun. When my babies are tiny, I think the newborn stage is my favorite. When they out-grow that and reach the next stage, then I think that stage is my favorite. I guess they’re just all my favorite. But Ben, especially, is loving a more responsive child, one who loves interaction and talking, one who can just giggle her heart out… Her personality really feels like it’s emerging. She is just a sweetheart of a baby, seems very tenderhearted already.

    I ran out the door the other evening to take a quick photo shoot before it got too dark. I was messing with some of the lighting settings on my camera, and think I set them too light. Baby looks more light-skinned on these pictures than she does in real life.

    This dress was given by a friend… Just darling!


    Closeup of those precious eyes and kissable lips.


    Olivia has been a delightful baby, ever since she passed the somewhat colicky stage. She smiles so readily, although when she isn’t smiling she can look so serious.




    I love the interaction between Zoe and Olivia. Zoe just adores her little sister, and can make her giggle and laugh so much! Of course, that just does wonders for Zoe’s ego, and she tries to  love on her all the more. Zoe’s pet name for Olivia right now is “Love of my Life.” :) )


    Yes, Baby is a thumb-sucker. I think it’s the darlingest thing ever! But I’m still trying to push a pacifier on her, because I can take a pacifier eventually but not a thumb, but she will often push it out and stick in her thumb.


    Silver shoes – whether baby-sized or me-sized… I just can’t resist.


    She seems so big on this picture!


    And a few indoor pictures. A baby picture-post is clearly for the grandparents and aunties/uncles who hardly get to see her. I know other people just won’t appreciate it as much. ;) And that’s okay.




    When she smiles, there are dimples in full glory. How she got this stray gene, I don’t know. But I am delighted!




    So, far-away family ~ this is for you.

    And anyone else that cares to see pictures of a beautiful baby. :)


  • I Got Flowers.


    I was on my last nerve Monday evening by the time Ben returned home. As in, not much patience left with a particular two-year-old, or with a slow internet, or any other thing, for that matter. Last nerve for sure, Ben was giving me strange side-glances when he thought I wasn’t looking.  After supper, he man-handled (okay, refused to let me in the house) me and insisted I go run the few errands that were pending.

     I ran into town to pick up the featherbed I had taken to the launders earlier in the day [the cat had been locked in the house accidentally on Sunday morning when we left for church, and when we got home we saw he had pooped AND peed right on our bed, soaking both sheets and going through to the featherbed. I was furious, and ready to have a cat's head...].

    After I picked up the clean version, ever so thankful for laundromats, I stopped in at Walgreens, Dollar General, and Bealls Outlet for a few moments each. Just because I could. Just because I had coupons. Just because I didn’t have to unbuckle and rebuckle three people everytime I went somewhere.

    It was delightful respite just to have a few moments alone. I do love my children with all of my heart, but I’ve been a big overwhelmed lately [post-partum blues?] and just needed a little break…

    When I returned home, my little family was delighted to see me, and I them. An hour of solitude, albeit running errands, does wonders for the soul. Zoe had been wailing and grumpy, Ben said, but cheered immediately when I entered the door. I was rather surprised. I mean, she does that for her daddy, but I didn’t think mommy was that big a deal. You know how it is, you sometimes wonder if it would really matter if you’d just leave for a week.

    And then I saw it. A little vase of flowers. And a little note.



    Ben had taken the girlies on a little walk and picked some wildflowers and honeysuckle and put them in a quaint vase. They wrote a little note telling me sweet things that every mommy loves to hear, then set both the note and the flowers on the counter waiting for me when I arrived.

    Wow. My family loves me. Even if I feel like I have had a rough week and have been impatient with Zoe. Even when I’m exhausted in the evenings. Even when it feels like I don’t have much to give. They’re happy to see me. They just like me, even when I feel so unlikeable!

    The two following mornings the honeysuckle has been a delightful smell as I ready in the bathroom, but even more so is the memory of my precious little family, who love me despite the many times I fail. God is loving me through them…


  • The Room of the Little Ladies.


    The Little White Baby Room. Or Babies’ Room. I worked on it mostly before the baby came, and just haven’t gotten around to putting pictures up.

    You know, sometimes I’m not sure about posting about projects I do. Sometimes, I think, it can be a little bit like “See what I can do!” like you see in kindergarden: “Look at me, mommy!” And you want comments so you can feel good about yourself. I know. I’ve been there, embarassingly. Don’t get me wrong – comments totally make my day!

    And having projects to work on are my love. That kind of thing is where I am gifted, more than in “churchy” kinds of gifts. I love seeing what I can do with what I have in my hands, hardly spending any money (my husband likes that too!) yet creating something beautiful. And I love to read about what others of you have done and things you’re working on.

    But I guess what I want when I post is to be an encouragement and inspiration, rather than someone who tries to brag on herself. Does that make sense? I want my heart attitude to be right, and then my posts to spring out of that.

    So, with that said, I’ll take you on a little tour of the girlies’ room…

    The whole room is neutral – white and brown. It started that way before Zoe’ was born, and we hadn’t found out what gender she was beforehand. So I started collecting things that were white with a tint of brown. Years down the road this will probably look completely out of date, but for now, I like it! My goal was to redo the room with using mostly things that I already have and/or making new things out of existing material, and not spending much money.

    When you walk down the hall and come to the second door on the right, this is what you’ll find…

    The Room of the Little Ladies.


    Ben had brought this panel home from work one day, probably about a year old, thinking it was too cool of an unwanted example from the job to throw away! We stuck it away for a while…  Then when I was working on this room, I came across it, and thought it would be a great place to nail on these little butterly and snail hangers from a garage sale for their bath towels…


    The Baby Corner:
    This idea was given to me by my sister-in-law and by my friend – to put the crib in the closet! The room is so small, and to put both the crib and toddler bed and changing table all in one room would have made it feel so crowded. I didn’t know how I was going to arrange it, and was talking with some women about it one day. Such female talk, I know.  Babies, Coupons, Shopping… :) “Put the crib in the closet!” said Sonya. “Put curtains in front of it!” said Linda. And what great ideas they were!

    The crib is still borrowed from Mama Yoder. She so kindly offered it to let us use when Zoe was a baby, and we’re still using it!

    I was looking for a brown/white sheet to use in the crib, and couldn’t find one anywhere. Sooo, I made one. Brown with white polka dots.


    Inside the crib:  I made a few pillows, and then splurged and bought a baby down comforter with some birthday money. I had bought the bumper and skirt when Zoe was a baby at Pottery Barn, on the clearance rack for not much at all. The white and brown from it inspired my theme for the room.


    I am just in love with down comforters. And the baby-sized one is too cute for words. :) Olivia looks so snuggly and cozy under it!


    Behind the crib on the wall: Some ornaments I bought anywhere from 10-50 cents a piece. The frames in the background are picture-less as of yet, because I am having trouble ordering pictures from my computer [ordered three separate times and each time they come back blurred - help anyone??]. But the frames were glossy gold that I spray painted white.


    To hold back the white curtain panels: I looked through my box of “stuff” and found these things - they are actually iron outdoor plant holders.


    And on the floor, something I was wanting for a long time and was able to use a gift card to cover most of the expense. This sheepskin floats back and forth from the bedroom to the living room and I often use it as a play mat for Olivia.


    Difficult to get a good picture of the full effect because the room is so small and my lense not capable… But this is the Bed in the Closet. :)

    The board above the bed reads, “Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice”.

    The panels were made of patterned white sheets that I sewed together and mounted on a  bamboo rod, cut from the backyard.



    Ben found the little bookshelf at an auction for under $5, I think…


    I store Olivia’s blankets in a basket on top of the bookshelf for easy access…


    The other side of the room:

    Found these two shadow boxes at Goodwill… The little boots were given by ny sisters for Zoe as a baby.


    I made a pillow for the rocking chair to match the curtains and the rest of the brown/white theme in the room.


    Pictures above the changing table, Walmart sells these wooden-looking frames (they’re actually plastic) for $3 each.


    The rocking chair corner.


    I bought this amazing, gorgeous picture, painted by my extremely talented uncle, at my grandmother’s auction a few years ago. It still hasn’t made it into a frame, although that’s the idea in the future. But it’s it just beautiful??


    The changing table/dresser – found in the back shed, unwanted by a previous renter. Redone now, and perfect for this room! These pictures are really bugging me on this picture, they sure don’t look straight!


    Zoe’s Little White Bed corner, which I’ve elaborated on in another earlier post…


    Trunks – for looks (they’re so cute!), so Zoe can climb out of bed, and to use for the girls when we travel.


    Little black chair we bought at a garage sale for $2.




    And that’s the room of the Little Ladies!






  • Excerpts from my latest read…


    I’ve been on a book reading binge the past few months. Perhaps it’s because I’m breastfeeding and have a lot more sit down time, although some of that sit down time is reading Pinkalicious and other children’s books. Pinkalicious, by the way, is THE darlingest girlie book ever. Zoe and I have gotten it at the library several times already!

    Just finished reading How Children Raise Parents by Dan Allender. A deeper read, super good read, something that I wasn’t able to read in a few days, kind of had a few books going at the same time because I would read a few pages from this one, then take a break and digest it.

    Here are a few excerpts that were highlights in my going through it.

    “The church was established as a place of grace, the one sanctuary where we should be free to honestly admit our weakness and failure. But in practice it’s the place where we are most likely to hide our flaws from others. Sadly, we replace a quest for grace with a charade of comformity.

    The goal of many who attend church is to get something from God without being found out by people. Of course there are people who attend church to make business contacts in the same way they would as a member of a social club. But the vast majority of people attend hoping to gain spiritual meaning or a moment of connection to God.

    Equally represented are those seeking safety and stability, those who want an endorsement of how they are living rather than encouragement to embrace the bold risk of the life of faith. These people are similar to those who hit the ski slopes not the enjoy the exhilaration of barreling downhill atop two thin blade of fiberglass, but in hopes of reaching the bottom of the slope without falling on their backsides. It’s not hard to pick out the safe skiers. Their stance is stiff and their movement slow and plodding. Their turns lack openness and elegance. In the same way, some go to church to better get through the week, but they are not there to aim the pointy ends downhill and to engage the agony and ecstasy of pursuing God.

    Likewise, parents fall into the trap of working hard not to fail rather than passionately pursuing God’s leading in the lives of their children.  The parent who is governed by a regimen of rules and responsibility is the parent whose primary hope is to raise morally upright children. Period.

    Helping our children come to know Jesus is only the first step. The bigger pursuit is that we want them to follow God without compromise. We want them to catch the passion of living boldly and taking big risks as in following God…”


    “Just as God’s character is expressed in the polarities of strength and mercy, so he calls us to another set of opposing forces: individuation and intimacy. We obey God when we week to distinguish our individual self as unique and unlike anyone else (individuation). We also obey him when we give ourselves to others for their good (intimacy). Individuation requires us to experience each moment as a choice to be the person God made us to be. Intimacy requires us to choose to yield our individuality in order to join another in becoming something great than our individual being…”


    “God in all his wildness reveals himself to us when we move, even when we blunder and choose unwisely, rather than when we sit passively waiting for the right answer to show itself. The more we are obedient to subdue and fill, with eyes and heart open to him, the more he will guide and reveal his excruciating passion for us…”


    “In my failure to live out God’s character [before my children], I come face to face with the awful and awesome strength and tenderness of God. In that encounter, I am invited to embrace his love in order to offer that love to my children. If we are to learn God’s character in the midst of failure, how much more so are our children?”


    And now we’re off to finish the rest of a lazy, rainy day… So far – baking cookies, naps, watching a movie. Next – Ben returns home, and all will be well. :)


  • You Know You’re A…


    … Stay-at-home mom when

    you take a trip to the closed library,


    loaded with a dozen kids’ books,

    at 8:45 p.m.

    and it feels like quite the outing.