Month: February 2011

  • Happy Things!

    Happy Things…

    … The first glimpse of spring on the maples!
    The weather here has been divine – and coming from me, that’s saying a lot. :)


    … Being involved a bit in a Widow’s Banquet our church did for ladies in the community.
    These roses made me nostalgic for my former days at a florist shop…


    … making some lace scarves. I just love the feminine lace & ruffles this spring!

    … Finding strawberries on sale – fresh from Florida! – for seventy-five cents a quart.
    I made 75 chocolate covered strawberries for the Widow’s Banquet, a few for ourselves, and made our year’s supply of strawberry jam!



    … Friday night bike rides through the neighborhood. Chasing down an ice-cream truck we heard somewhere off in the distance, blaring “Yankee Doodle” until the poor driver must go batty, and finding the “truck” was actually a hippie van with ice cream pictures on the outside and a huge horn in the front. To say I found this amusing it putting it very lightly. :)


    … The anticipation of tomorrow.
    I’m going to be gone for a little while, because…


    I get to spend an entire week with some of my favorite people in the world…

    My three beautiful sisters and mother and grandmother [and my two daughters]!

    I live almost a thousand miles away from all of them, and rarely am able to spend more than just a lunch or breakfast with all of us together. So to be able to together for a week, in the sun, with all of them, is just beyond exciting.

    My heart beats wildly just thinking about this!

    Florida, here we come!

    My sisters, my best friends.



    And after that high excitement, I’ll be back. :)



  • Of Princesses and Pink Cupcakes.


    The past few weeks since the girls have returned to good health [after the two-week illness bout over Christmas] have been so wonderful. These are the kinds of days I imagined when I thought about what being a mom would be like one day in the far future. :)

    … happy, giggling children
    … happy chattering
    … occassional fights, but nothing to disturb the day too greatly

    [The Dining Room mantel]

    Valentine Princesses 053

    Valentine Princesses 068  

    Valentine Princesses 070

    Valentine Princesses 076Valentine Princesses 059



    However, I live in the real world like everyone else, so not every day is like that! [see previous post]

    But the past few weeks Zoe has been over-the-top happy. As in, giggles after almost every sentence she says. At stuff that isn’t even remotely funny. Fits the perfect description of “chatterbox.” So sweet to her sister [well, except for when I'm on the phone catching up with friends I haven't talked to in months; then, well...]. Just generally happy almost all the time. It really is quite amazing. Not that she wasn’t usually happy, but now she’s just gushy happy.

    Olivia, on the other hand, is in rough waters with teething. Part of her sickness over Christmas, along with the flu, was getting all four eye teeth at once. Since finally cutting those, she’s still been sooo grumpy, and it dawned on me through a talking-with-a-seasoned-mom-moment that she is also cutting her 2-year molars early. Sooo, still working on better days with that poor child. At least now I have more sympathy. :(

    [Anyway, that part was for my mom. :) It's not like everyone else is interested in hearing about someone else's teething child. But Nana? Yep. She'll listen for hours. ♥]

    Zoe has also been living in the imaginary world of being a Princess. This just thrills my heart, seeing the innocence, the core desires of a girl’s heart being voiced so unassumingly. “Mommy! Look at me! I’m a blue-ti-ful Princess!”

    [She has a lisp, or a "listhp" :) , but most of her words are pronounced correctly. But she always says, "blue-ti-ful." And I think it's so precious I'm not about to try to change it.]

    There is no shame in voicing the question, “Do you like me, Mommy?” just to hear a reassuring YES along with a tight squeeze. Or in asking, “Am I blue-ti-ful?” to hear the pride in a parent’s voice in the YES, because parents generally think their child far exceeds normal standards of beauty, blinded-by-love though they may be. There is no shame in enjoying beauty, in being beauty. “Mommy, watch me dance!”

    My children teach me so much about God. And about relationship with God. About going to God honestly with the questions I’m feeling. It’s not silly or ridiculous. That’s what relationship is about – honesty and being vulnerable with our hearts before God. Not pretending that everything is okay if it isn’t. Being honest if we need a hug today. Being real with God, like Zoe was yesterday morning, “I’m sorry I wasn’t being nice to you, Mommy…” I’m intertwining the various relationships here, but I hope you follow. No wonder Jesus told us to be like a little child…

    So the combination of Princess-love and hearts and pink and Valentines’s Day called for some pictures. I don’t claim to be a good photographer, and sometimes I’m rather embaressed to put up my shots, but you know, this is our life; we’re normal, we’re not perfect, but we invite you as friends. Although I would love to take a real photography course sometime, just to learn more about it. Any good suggestions? [on one that wouldn't break the bank account?] Some of you “real” photographers have given me tips here and there and I love when you guys do that.

    These pictures were taken in evening light, and I just loved the softness about them.

    Princess 1

    Princess 6Princess 2

    Princess 3Princess 7

    Princess 4Princess 5  

    These following pictures were taken on a cloudy day, and I thought the lighting would be perfect. But just as we started taking pictures, the sun broke through the clouds VERY brightly and thus the harsh lighting. :(  Re-doing wasn’t really an option, because, well, my girls aren’t really photogenic. :) It’s more like I run after them trying to snap a few pictures that hopefully will turn out. Olivia especially. She’ll probably wonder why I hardly have any pictures of her. And I’ll say, “Because you were always a blur, a whirlwind of running.”

    Valentine Princesses 202

    But if she is fascinated by Zoe, then we can get a few still shots. But definitely not posy-posy. Oh no.

    Valentine Princesses 146

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    Valentine Princesses 123

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    Valentine Princesses 160

    Valentine Princesses 124

    On my chalkboard in the dining room, which adjoins to the living room, I have written:

     - enjoy little things
     - smile at my children
     - choose to Trust


    So because I want to make it a point to do fun little things with my children, and to meaningfully look into their precious little faces and smile into their eyes…

    …and since Zoe is SO into pink [that was the first color she recognized, and it's still her favorite today], and because this book is one of her favorites ever ever ever…

    …we made pink cupcakes for Valentine’s Day. We had SO much fun! I felt like a little girl myself, and I don’t normally enjoy baking all that well.

    I am not a baking genius, lest this picture fools you. My secret lies in the next picture.

    Pillsbury Cake Mix, you are my new friend. You make baking so easy, and look so amazing. Baking right after breakfast was actually easy, due to these easy ingredients:

    Pink Cupcakes with Pinkalicious 002

    Other than Zoe cracking an egg and it sliding down off the counter and running down the cabinets and making a puddle on the floor ["I can do it! I can do it!!" she had emphatically told me], and other than batter flying around the kitchen when she was mixing up the batter with the electric mixer, it was a grand success. She chattered like a magpie during the whole 2 hours, or however long we were baking. I hope she remembers times like this, because this day will go down in my memory as pure loveliness.

    [Pajama-clad and morning-hair glory all three of us. I look like I was either 1) crying my eyes out the night before, or, 2) just woke up 3 minutes prior. Neither was the case.]

    BUT - the point of this picture is the matching aprons! They were a gift from my sister Ervina, and I’m sure she has no idea how much we love wearing them together. And if I forget, Zoe will remind me. She loves it that much. And besides the fun we have wearing them, we can think about Auntie Ervina and how much we miss her… ♥

    Zoe’s role as Assistant Gourmet Artist was taken seriously.

    Pink Cupcakes with Pinkalicious 013

    This part of putting on the sprinkles delighted her little soul to no end. “Enjoy little things…”

    Pink Cupcakes with Pinkalicious 025Pink Cupcakes with Pinkalicious 027

    Pink Cupcakes with Pinkalicious 033  

    And of course, whenever there is baking, there are always eager tasters.

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    We wrapped a couple of them up in little paper wrappers, inspired completely by Rachel. Never in a hundred years would’ve I thought of such a cute idea.

    Pink Cupcakes with Pinkalicious 044

    Pink Cupcakes with Pinkalicious 043

    I love white cake stands, but have none of my own. So, putting a plate on top of a white milk glass bowl creates the effect I’m looking for. At least, until it has to be moved. :)

    Zoe was making all kinds of faces that morning for the camera. These are for my mom too. :)

    And thus ends my rant on how FUN it is to have two little girls. :)
    I would like to have 2 more, just like them, please. :) And then boys may start after that. But I LOVE having two little girls!

    [And now I've used up all my picture allowance on xanga for the month. And it's only the 15th. Premium suddenly looks appealing. So if you see me uploading strange amounts of pictures to facebook, it's because I can copy and paste, thus the odd size picture assortment...]

    And that’s the post Of Pink, Of Princesses, and Of Cupcakes.



  • My Kids Will NeVeR…


    It seems that a lot of my posts lately have been about children… And well, that’s just where I’m at right now – in the thick of it with mothering. And loving it. Well, most days. :) But truly, being a mother is one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever been given.

    I was laughing to myself the past few weeks, thinking of what real-life mothering actually is as opposed to merely thinking about it one day in the far future. And how having children erases any bit of pride in my conceps about child-rearing!!

    Now, I think there is a LOT of good in thinking about having children and what you want your home to be like prior to being there. There’s got to be a vision, a goal to work toward, or else you’ll flounder. You have to know where you’re going so you can aim toward that direction. I’m a firm believer in having a purpose and vision for one’s family.

    But what I was laughing about was my unrealistic expectations of my children. And how wrong I was to expect that of them, as well as other children [not just my own].

    These are some of the ideals I was upholding, not even so long ago. I didn’t realize the adventure that children bring along with their little selves!

    My Kids Will NEVER. . . 
    [taken from a journal entry on 8 October, 2008, wherein I only had one crawling child, and wherein I had several unwanted experieces with various children. These are all actual accounts. My own comments now are in parenthesis.]

    1) Don’t EVER let children jump on someone else’s bed. We had [event] at our house a few weeks ago, and at the end when everyone had left I went through the house cleaning it up. When I got to our bedroom [OUR master bedroom], I was furious: just that afternoon I had washed the sheets on our bed, fluffed the featherbed and down comforter, and made the bed. [There are few simple pleasures in life better than a freshly laundered bed]. Those little kids had jumped all over our bed; flattening my hard-fluffed bed as flat as if I hadn’t washed them it in several weeks. Needless to say, that did not leave a good impression on me…

    My Kids 5My Kids 10

    2) Definitely potty-train your children before 3.5-4 years old, so they don’t go around peeing on the kitchen floor of the [place away from home], and babies crawl around IN IT. This makes for very disgruntled mommies of those babies. And if your child would ever dare do such a thing, then by all means, clean up the puddle.

    My Kids(6)-01

    [Speaking of adventures with children, Olivia was born in the car under this Hampton Inn sign!]

    3) If, at a ladies luncheon, there is a shortage of food, do not let your 3, 5, & 7 year olds repeatedly fill their plates and eat to the fullest, especially when the pregnant lady for whom the luncheon is in honor of [this wasn't me; it was my friend] does not get enough of food, and when many of the ladies present have not even yet had firsts, much less seconds or thirds. [Most of the ladies went to Burger King after this because we were sooo hungry! Due not entirely to the unmannerly children, but also to the shortage of food by the caterers.]

    My Kids 9

    4) Do not, I repeat, DO NOT allow your children to play in the church nursery at any time [especially not along during a church service]. Not to make 5 [F.I.V.E] trips back and forth for books which lie mere feet away from mothers trying to put babies to sleep [which was me] because the trips back and forth wake them up everytime they’re almost sleeping. Not after church, for even though the service is over, I guarantee you not many mothers want their child rudely awakened by “monkeys” [I was kind enough back them to write it in quotation marks that day] in the cribs all around them, lights on full blast.

    [end of journal entry]

    Along with these, I had visions of a perfectly clean house all the time. Really.

    My Kids(5)-01

    Really, what was I thinking???  If that is really my goal, that’s really shallow.

    Because what does that offer God in eternity? “Well, God, yes I got frustrated at my children a lot because all they wanted to do was play and make a mess, but let me tell you, I KEPT A PERFECTLY CLEAN HOUSE.” When I think of it in those terms, really, an immaculate house isn’t the end goal. Yes, there are things that even children can learn about keeping things tidy, and I would like to blog about that one day in the future [about how to manage messies with small children - not that I've attained, but just talking out loud about tips that I've learned from other women in my short time of being a mother and what has really helped me]. But this time I’m blogging about letting go of unrealistic expectations.

    What really gets me about my above journal entry, is that within TWO AND a HALF YEARS of writing that, my child[ren] has done points 1, 2, and 4 of the “My Kids Will NeVeR…”  as well keep my house at a continual state of crumbs-on-the-floor.

    My Kids(2)-01

    I remember when Zoe was a baby, just beginning to feed herself easy finger-foods. I had placed her in her high chair and given her graham crackers while I was making dinner or busy with something. After a few minutes I checked up on her and was aghast to see cracker crumbs all over my hardwood floor!! Up until this point, crumbs rarely reached my floor. No kidding. But at that moment, I was struck between the eyes with the disturbing thought, My house will never again be the same, until decades from now when there are no more children…” And that was a very true thought. Because since that day, crumbs of all kinds have perpetually been on my floor, regardless of whether I sweep or mop every day.

    I remember when I was potty-training Zoe’, and she peed on the floor – not of our own house, which would at least have been better, but at the home of someone who had graciously invited us to supper. Not only that, but her little friend, a little younger and crawling, got all wet with her pee!!!! It was a deja’ vu of that instance not too long before [and the same poor little boy who crawled into both "accidents"!] and I saw my journal entry in my mind’s eye in bright red letters. Not that I had written it in bright red, but what I had written was haunting me. No, my child wasn’t 3 or 4, she wasn’t yet 2, but still, I had no control over the urine on the floor other than profusely apologizing to my friend and cleaning up the mess. I couldn’t control my child’s bladder!

    And I’ve found my child playing in the nursery after church, much to my chagrin… Not just once, but several times [although I'm not aware that there were any sleeping babies at any point].

    And just last week, on the way home from a friend’s house where quite a few ladies were working on a project for a widow’s banquet coming up, Zoe informed me that not only did she jump on the guest bed in the house [!!], but she did so after she was told not to by some of the other children [!!!!!]. Again, I saw red-letters somewhat mocking me, and the “perfect” children I was going to have…

    I will say, there is definitely a difference between kids that are out-of-control, and kids that are just being kids. But I think that I’ve too quickly acted like, or thought that, children need to act like adults instead of simply being a child of 4 years old, or whatever the age is.

    My Kids(3)-01

    I’m not saying the children in the above examples are without excuse, and the model child that I would like for my children to emulate. These really are not what I want my children to be known for. So, while I TRY to train my children not to jump on beds, not to pee on the floor, not to be little pigs at other people’s dinners, and to play in areas other than the church nursery on Sunday mornings, there are also other things,
    important things, to remember…

    … that children don’t judge other people like we do. If they see a house with toys all over the floor, they don’t think, “What a lazy woman.” They think, “Oooooh, this looks like fun! Can I play too?”

    that some of the best memories of a young child’s life as in  little, sometimes “messy” moments -
        - like “houses” built with couch cushions and blankets [one my my FAVorite memories as a little girl, thanks, Mom!! I know I made an awful mess with only about 20 blankets =D], or houses out of large boxes
         – or making dirt puddings outside, and climbing dirt hills in the yard before the flower beds are formed [even if they go 'necked' without asking, because if they ask the answer will surely be "no"
         - or making chocolate chip cookies with flour everywhere...

    My Kids(4)-01

    I guess I'm seeing in me that the the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder with messies for me can be a control issue. This is one little area of my life that I want to go exactly as I want, even if not many other areas of my life are turning out that way. So I've tried to control my children's messes. I've tried to control my life, wanting my house to look as clean and messy-free as it did before children. Somewhere there's fear involved in control issues too, I think... Fear of what so-and-so will say if they'd see my house looking like a hurricane blew through? Fear of being talked about [like I've heard some other moms talked about] who didn’t have every single toy picked up when Mrs. ______ stopped in unexpectedly? Not sure what all is involved in all these OCD tendencies…

    My Kids(1)-01

    But my heart has been experiencing new freedom as a mother the past few weeks. I’ve always enjoyed being a mother; my first baby was honestly not even an adjustment [although my second one was more so]. But now instead of just enjoying my role, I’m feeling empowered in my role. Not that I do everything perfectly – far from it. I apologize to my little daughters many times in the course of a week!

    I guess I’m recognizing some of the lies that satan tries to tell women – that he’s tried to tell ME.

    One of those lies being that a MOM [working mother, stay-at-home-mother, a housewife, a homemaker, a giver of life [physicially, spiritually, emotionally], a place of safety and refuge for her family, source of empowerment for her husband, a wear-of-many-hats [chef, laundress, housekeeper, landscaper, fashion designer (hey, all of us dress ourselves and our kids every day!), interior designer (and all of us do some form of taking care of our homes, though it varies in personal preference and style)]is worth less than a career woman, or a single missionary woman in China, or…. On and on satan’s lies accuse, until we are powerless to live the flourishing life that Jesus offers us…

    Jesus says… “Do not live by a spirit of fear, but of POWER, and of LOVE, and of a SOUND MIND…” He calls us to be empowered, to live passionately in all areas of our lives whether it be woman, wife, and/or mother. Listless, fearful, enslaved living is not part of His design for us!

    This is not to discredit the very difficult times that God allows us to go through. I recognize, in my own life and in the lives of people around me, that there are incredibly difficult dark nights of the soul to walk through. I’m not saying that in those times we just have to grin and bear it.To flourish is not always to feel vivacious and alive. But true LIFE means JESUS… To hold onto Jesus even when it feels like everything around us is going wrong.

    I did a study on the word “Hope” several weeks ago. I had been feeling so low emotionally, and honestly, was going into 2011 feeling like there was so little to look forward to. What was I going to hope for in this year, I wondered to myself? I’m a Type A personality that thrives on goals and lists and future events. This kind of personality has its strengths… and also its grave weaknesses.

    So I pulled out the Strong’s concordance and researched every word used for hope. I didn’t realize that “Hope” was used to many times in the Bible. Over a hundred times.

    And in every one of those hundred-plus times [except two, and those two were used to describe someone who is not a believer in God and how empty their hope is] the word “Hope” was talking about God Himself. I don’t feel like I can accurately describe all that went on in my heart after that study. But I realized that Life is God. And Hope is God. And God is Hope. And God is Life. If all we have left is God, we can still have Hope. In fact, that is really what Hope is. It’s so simple. It’s so hard to grasp.

    Hope says, “God, I feel crushed by [life's situation], and I want [particular thing/event/situation to happen/change], but even if it doesn’t, You still give meaning to my life. YOU ARE the meaning of my life.”

    This has really hit home in my heart since that study. That God is my purpose, God is my Life, God is my Hope; even if I don’t know what the future holds for us, even if I’m at home with my children day after day. There is meaning! There is purpose to my days!

    My heart rests in that knowledge. And I am a better wife and mother for it. More restful. More at peace with myself and God. More trustful of His sovereignty… And like all of life, I’m sure I will need to be reminded of this many times over in the course of a lifetime! So easy it is to forget what once felt like a thunderous truth…

    Okay, so I started with “My Kids Will NeVeR…” and I end with… a thinking out-loud of what God has been doing. Not sure how that fits together, but there it is.

    I wish for you today HOPE – that heart knowledge that God is enough… and more than enough… for today. For tomorrow. For ever.




  • Family/Music Room Re-do.


    This blog has moved! Follow me at the new blog,

    Follow the music room before & after here.