Month: October 2009

  • Claudia is Here!


    When sisters are together, well, it just seems that that is how things should be. Being almost a thousand miles apart from all three of them is just not an ideal situation. So when one of them wanted to come spend most of a week here, I couldn’t have been more delighted!

    The babies love her… we all love her!


    This week is so special, Claudia! You could stay a month and we couldn’t get tired of you!


    She’s beautiful, she’s fun, she’s witty, she’s talented, she’s passionate about God, she has really cool style… What more could you want in a girl?



    Zoe asks for her every waking moment, and hardly allows Claudia to leave her sight. And I’m beginning to hear some “Claudia quotes” coming out of Zoe’s mouth. That makes me happy, because I like Claudia quotes. And I like it that Zoe is learning to know Claudia as an individual person, rather than just another person in a larger family.



    She brought this really cool lollipop for a photo shoot with Zoe… of course, Zoe was thrilled beyond words and would do anything we asked. AFTER an hour of being not so cooperative BEFORE the lollipop…




    What a great week! Not happy that it’s ending, but happy that I’ll get to see the rest of my family – today!

    Cheers to a great weekend and week ahead!


  • My Daughters and Me.


    Claudia is here. And what a lovely, lovely time we are having with her! I think she could stay a month and we’d only like her more! Zoe asks for her every waking moment and is quite the imitator – I see her doing little “Claudia moves” and sayings. :) Maybe I’ll have a little bit of Claudia left here even after she’s gone!

    I had been wanting to do an informal photo shoot with my girls. I can’t remember doing one since Olivia is born, where it’s my girls and me. Yesterday late afternoon the backlight was just beautiful through the bamboo in the backyard. So we ran out and took a few pictures. Okay, a LOT of pictures. :) I thought I was only going to put one or two on here, but I couldn’t decide!


    I had picked up the dress that Olivia is wearing when Zoe’ was a baby, and wore it often on Zoe’. Months later, I found a bigger size for Zoe’ that she would wear at 2 years. Knowing I had matching dresses and was expecting again, I was hoping for a little girl to dress her up in them! Meanwhile, the shirt I was wearing was given to me by a sister who didn’t want it. *cough* So we’re matchy-matchy without really even trying.



    This is one of my favorites, with the bamboo leaves blurred in the foreground and the backlight in the background.



    My precious little daughters. I love having two girls! I would love to have four girls, like there are in my family. That scares Ben just a little. :)


    Names were a big deal to Ben and me when we were naming our children. Meanings of names, I should say.

    “Zoe’ Grace” means “Life of Grace.” Not physical life, but vivacious, exuberant, and bubbling-over life of the soul – which can be given only by God. I loved that. She was named that at a time in my life when I felt so much in need of that life. And God has been that to me through her. So beautiful.


    “Olivia Caroline” means “Messenger of Peace and Joy.” And she has been that to us! She arrived at a time when my heart was in the midst of many wrestlings, and she has truly brought peace and so much joy to us! I think it’s so beautiful how God has laid names and meanings on our hearts that speak destiny to our child, but that also speak of the blessing they are to us *right now*!


    Olivia and Zoe are both blonde-haired and blue-eyed, but they look so so different from each other! Olivia is growing up, but she is still our petite little baby!



    Tomorrow – we’re off to a family vacation! Excited doesn’t even begin to describe us right now. :)




  • Zoe at Play.


    Because we are so far south, the weather is suitable for outdoor play almost year round.

    A few weeks ago we thought autumn had come. It was a bit cooler for a few days.  But alas, it didn’t last, and we’re back to hot and humid once again. Running the a/c just so we can sleep comfortably at night!

    And while I’d rather have cooler weather for a change, it really is nice for my little girl. She loves being outside, and if I let her, will be out for hours each day. She’ll play with her “titty-tats”, play in the sand in the driveway (“makin’ a pie!”), and all sorts of imaginative things.

    We have this little thing we say to each other when she goes outside. I’ll say (from Peter Rabbit), “You may go into the fields or down the lane…” and she’ll finish, “But not on the road or in the woods!” Sometimes she’ll tease me and say, “Not in Mr. McGregor’s garden!” :) She is an avid Peter Rabbit fan.

    I ran out with the camera one day when she was wide-open with her fun.  She was running so fast I didn’t have time to adjust the lighting on my camera, so it’s a little over-lit. But I still like it.


    I love these pictures of pure childhood. So innocent. Everything is right with the world. She has high expectations of people, of how loving everyone is to her, and most of the time her expectations are met. Life’s biggest disappointments are not playing with Roland or Blake when she wants to, or that it’s naptime instead of playtime. Wow. I want her to keep that innocence as long as possible.



    We gave her these two cats for her second birthday. She just adores them, and begs to go out and play. They are the sweetest cats – good thing, too, because she is still learning how to be gentle with them. See below.


    They can look strangled but they’ve never hurt her. Pretty amazing. I think I’d react if I were being strangled. If they get tired of her, they’ll run up a tree. :)

    These cats remain nameless, and we simply call them, “The Kitty Cats.” Or, as Zoe’ calls them, “da titty tats.” The did have names when we got them, but they were named after two kinds of beer, and we didn’t really want our just-turned-two-year-old running around saying beer names! :) Any good cat names out there?

    Good thing Zoe’ loves them so much, because they don’t get a lot of love from Ben or me. We’re just not big cat lovers – especially not when they try to run in the house every chance they get, or when they are accidentally left inside the house and make messes on beds, or when they walk all over clean cars and leave dirty footprints… But our little daughter adores them, so they stay. :)



    Childhood innocence.

    “… Unless you become as a little child, you will have no part in the Kingdom of Heaven.” – Jesus


  • My Favorite Lunch


    I have this favorite lunch, see.

    It’s super healthy, delicious, and just a little bit a work, but not too much.

    Start out with these ingredients:

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    Not that fancy, and a little as four yummy things: Romaine lettuce, Caesar dressing, grilled chicken, and pita bread. I like the whole wheat. More fiber. Ha! No, just makes everything seem more healthy- like.

    I make this almost everytime we have grilled chicken left over from the night before, which is rather often.

    Mix it all together like this:


    You can add tomatoes and black olives if you like. I usually don’t because it looks so delicious already.

    And voila – you’ve got yourself a Chicken Caesar Pita!


    You know it’s gotta be good, because even Zoe loves it. :)

    Perhaps now it’ll be someone else’s favorite lunch?


    I have pictures/stuff/things from the past few *months* that I keep thinking I’ll blog about. But alas, no time. The past undefined length of time has been about:

    • working on the investment property in B-.  Ben has been working there every free Saturday since April, about 7 months. I’ve been there cleaning several days in the past week and a half. There is a “for sale” sign in the front yard… finally.
    • planning a Church Campout for our congregation, about 80-90 people, coming up in less than two weeks.
    • planning a Ladies Tea Party Supper with Linda for the ladies at church. Kind of more Pottery Barn style than lacy Victorian.
    • family vacation coming up in a couple days – a good part of a week at a location in South Carolina. Think beach and water and a loving family. I can’t wait.
    • I’m back to teaching piano again, after taking a break over the summer. Just a couple students, but I’m enjoying it.
    • Enjoying “cooler” weather. I say that in parenthesis and somewhat sarcastically, because it is still about 80-90* today. But it IS cooler than it’s been. Gotta count your blessings, right? :)
    • Shopping for clothes for Zoe – who until a week ago owned only 2 long-sleeves shirts to make it through the winter.
    • Knitting 7 scarves  in a week’s time for a friend’s project. Watched the long version of Pride & Prejudice while doing it. Thanks, Veronica! :)
    • And certainly not least, but a very wonderful thing indeed, is my sister Claudia visiting for a week! Zoe adores her, Olivia smiles at her unceasingly, and I am overjoyed with happiness. I love having her here.


    My favorite quote, which  reminds me of the northern states, that I borrowed from Jana…

    Delicious Autumn!
    My very soul is wedded to it,
    and if I were I bird I would fly about the earth,
    seeking the successive autumns

    - George Elliot. 



  • Shrimp Saning on Jekyll Island


    Saturday, October 10, dawned bright and clear. And hot! October it may be, but we still had a 90 degree day to head to the nearby Islands!

    Ben’s brother and sister, Chris and Beth, were visiting for the weekend with some friends, and the Yoder family decided to make an excursion to do some shrimp saning. I had heard of this before, but had never seen anything like it, so I was very intrigued with the whole process!

    October through December is when the shrimping is good here, so Ben tells me. And he’s lived here most of his 29 years, so I think he knows.

    The whole Yoder family was there for most of the afternoon, except for Mary Jo and Wendall and their beautiful girls. We missed you guys!!!

    Crossing the beautiful bridge heading to the Islands. The sky was so blue that day!


    And we’re heading to Jekyll Island! You see this sign, and then drive through miles and miles of marsh land. I should have taken a picture, except there’s nothing to see except… marsh.


    While we were getting vehicles unloaded and Rod was buying a sane net, the little kids were sucking lollipops. Zoe gave Karston a few licks.


    But oh boy, Zoe sure liked Aunt Jena, who gave it to her! Mommy doesn’t often treat her like that!


    After getting unloaded, hiking to St. Andrews Beach (one side of Jekyll, where long ago the black people were allowed. Back in the day, there were separate beaches for white and black people, and not so long ago, actually. This IS the south, after all. Growing up in the north, I didn’t realize how present-day some of this racial stuff was.).

     This beach has a lot of driftwood, and I actually really like it. Except that when the tide is up, there is really no beach at all. It was at high tide when we arrived, but soon started receding.

    Taking the net out for one of the first times. I’m sure I looked like a tourist; I was snapping pictures right and left because I had never seen anything like this before!

    Ben, Chris, Jeff, Tony in the water. Jena, Cash, and Karston standing on the beach.


    The net was about 75 feet long, I think. Took quite a few guys on it to drag it in and out of the water. Weights on the bottom and floats on the top of it.

    There were probably about 8 dolphins that were sxwimming around close to the nets. At first we all thought it was so cool! I mean, this felt like Sea World or something, except we were in the wild! But when the dolphins came so close that they were making holes in the net trying to eat the fish they saw in there, that was not so cool. Not in Rod’s brand new net.

     But later some of the guys were able to feed fish to the dolphins right out of their hand! Crazy! This little northern girl was completely amazed!!


    Showing the kiddos a fish that was caught in the net.


    Cash and Zoe running down the beach. They just LOVED the entire day!


    Sorting through the mullet (sp?), shrimp, and other various sea creatures. Tony is really attacking something. :)  

    This picture isn’t focused well, but I still like it because of all the action going on around the net.

    Love this picture of Zoe playing in the sand.


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    Mama Yoder rocking my baby to sleep – bless her!


    Papa Bob (as Cash and Zoe call Robert) with two of four sons.


    Zoe and Papa Bob walking the shore line. Love this picture too.


    Rod and Jena and their boys.


    A storm was gathering several miles across the water. The lighting was amazing, and another shrimping party passed by just in time to be on my picture.

    Having a little down time on some driftwood. This reminded me so much of the movie, “The Swiss Family Robinson” or something! Felt like we were on some deserted island – so so cool!


    Mama and Papa Yoder with Zoe and Olivia.


    Laurie waiting with the cooler while the guys were out with the net.


    And yes, they did catch shrimp. Take a look at this monster, will you? Around 6 inches long, at least.


    Definitely puts a new angle on shrimp-eating when you see what they look like in the wild. Ugh. I wasn’t so sure I could still eat them, although I normally love shrimp.


    But hey, they were free shrimp. And who could pass up on eating at least a few when Rod and Chris boiled the 200 shrimp for lunch the next day? Not a one of us, I say. And we cleaned up almost every last shrimp there was. :)


    What a fun family day!