Month: April 2012

  • The Waiting Game


    So. Day Six.
    Not before due date.
    After due date.

    I should be used to this by now.
    Third pregnancy.
    Third time being overdue.
    And it’s only Day Six.
    Not Day 11 or Day 8.

    But goodness, what a mind game!

    I think the strong contractions and having two days of being in bed three weeks pre-due date
    made me hope that perhaps this would be different.
    But it’s not so.

    “You’re a crock pot,” says Ben.
    One that only functions on warm, I add.
    There’s no “high” or “low” setting, much less the oven’s “broil” setting.
    Nope, it’s just warm.

    At least I know the most I will go is a week more.
    Two weeks over is the most that I’m allowed.
    Whew. :)

    Sooo, what does one do to pass the days,
    to try not to just live in survival mode,
    but to actually enjoy each day?

    Ann Voskamp style, there’s a list. :)

    For one,
    take one day at a time.
    Don’t look at the week I could still have the babe in incubation.

    //due date day: coffee with whip. it’s worth the splurge//

    Beach Day, 045

    // also due date day: pancakes with blueberry topping. also with whip.
    like i said, worth the splurge. :) //

    Beach Day, 046

    Don’t get excited about contractions, unless they would continue over long periods of time.

    // due date day: helping Zoe with K-4 books, while making My Faire Lady orders.
    enjoying the chilly day, and the rare chance for a fire in the hearth in April //

    Beach Day, 035

    Plan fun things. After  the due date. So that you’ll actually look forward to being overdue. :)

    // A Day at the Ocean! I wish I could do this daily… :) //

    i just love my little two-year old. how such a little person can have such a personality just trips me out.
    goodness, is she ever fun.

    and i love her little grammar misuses, and hope she doesn’t discover ‘he’ and ‘she’ for a long time.
    “Him left him book at our house!!” said with great drama and wide eyes, is quite a typical reaction to something quite small.

    and the way she runs with her elbows… it looks so funny, but oh so adorable.
    please stay two forever.

    and then i remember, this is also the child that picks scabs in bed and smears blood all over clean sheets…
    … that grabs a bowl from up on the counter and splatters milk all over the floor…
    … that doesn’t like to ask for help in the bathroom and then smears poo all over bed sheets…
    … that sends us on a roller-coaster of emotions, ranging from exasperation to adoration.

    umm. maybe you can grow up a liiiiiitle bit. :)

    Beach Day, 094{Nesting} 248
    Beach Day, 098Beach Day, 078

    and sweet zoe… still set on having her “jack” or “rose.”

     Beach Day, 087Beach Day, 086

    i asked a friend if she’d like to go with us, and was it ever a fun day!
    my kids had friends to play with, and I had a dear friend to talk to. ♥

    Beach Day, 092Beach Day, 058

    // to document that i indeed did go to the ocean. :)
    the day of the due date was cold and windy, so we went the day after.
    it was absolute perfection! //

    Beach Day, 120

    Beach Day, 125

    today I spontaneously planned a Picnic at the Park day with a few other moms from church.
    i’m ready for some lady friends, some out-of-the-house time,
    and conversations that consist of more than, “You’re STILL pregnant?!!?” :)

    Thank God for the kindness and encouragement of friends
    So many people have sent me messages and notes and phone calls,
    some people have made me baked food,
    a friend from out of state sent me money for take-out!!
    and seriously, it all feels like a hug straight from God.
    Thank you, thank you…

    // delicious blueberry muffins, made and dropped off by my sweet piano student,
    whose lesson I canceled because of being overdue and uncomfortable //

    Beach Day, 133 

    Continue with the Nesting.
    Not only will you have the cleanest house on the block, but it will also
    a] help pass the time
    b] help you not think about how desperately uncomfortable you are.

    // new slipcovers for the living room. bought with compliments of My Faire Lady.
    uglysofa is where I found them, Pottery Barn brand, in fact, for a price I could afford. //

    before & now
    not so very different, but just a little touch of brightness


    the neutral palate is a bit of a challenge. i think it takes more work to pull it together…
    still working on that one!

     fun little bike pillow found on clearance at Tar-jay…

    nesting 006

    aqua shams found in my linen stash from when we used to have a guest room…
    folded over and pinned in the back, they now work as couch pillows. :)


    Remember the wise and beautiful words of a sweet friend:

    nesting 013

    Sugar Words.
    How I need that reminder in these days when it’s so easy to be selfish,
    when discomfort is a part of every moment.
    This isn’t about me.
    This is about letting Jesus live in and through me, even now.
    Especially now.

    It’s really surprised me how this late-term pregnancy has brought out so much selfishness in me.
    The energy the kids have, the lack of energy I have, is a combination that is not easy.
    I find myself wanting them to behave just so I don’t have to deal with discipline,
    rather than taking the time to care for their dear little hearts.
    I see how much I care for self right now, rather than focusing outward…
    God and I are having lots of talks these days. :)

    I so look forward to feeling better though,
    to where a walk with the kids or a trip to the park doesn’t feel overwhelming.
    To where sitting on a sofa reading books to them doesn’t make me feel like I’ll suffocate from lack of oxygen. :)

    There is a reason for the discomfort, I do believe.
    The scariness of labor?
    Still there, but I’m so ready for the baby that I don’t care as much about pain levels anymore. :)

    // the wedding invitation of a dear sister. ♥
    and another invitation of a brother-in-law, a week after. and a lovely sister-in-law’s picture.//

    nesting 016

    The last few days I’ve been thinking…
    with the anticipation of the baby, the expectancy, the waiting, the fervent preparation…

    What if the return of the Lord would be anticipated and prepared for this much?

    With this little baby coming there is so much thought and preparation.
    The whole house is being purged and cleaned from top to bottom.
    Not a single drawer or corner will be left untouched, given enough of time.
    There are eyes to see DIRT and DUST that never even bothered me before.
    To be honest, that I never even noticed before. :)
    Areas to clean that never crossed my mind before.
    An old toothbrush is my new best cleaning friend, and boy, do we ever go places together.
    That little crack that collects dirt and grime. It must go.

    Before I go to bed each night, the house must be in perfect order.
    All messes put away,
    all dishes stacked in the dishwasher or neatly back on shelves
    but certainly not on counters or in sink,
    everything neat and tidy.
    Just in case tonight would be the night.

    What if it would be like this on a soul level for me, for all Christians anticipating the return of our Lord?
    Such purging, such cleanliness of life and heart,
    no nagging sin left,
    a purity, a full concentration of things eternal, everything filtered by perpetual readiness -
    the Lord’s return may be at any moment, and I want to be ready.
    Just in case tonight would be the night.

    There are so many allegories to be drawn from this.
    It’s really been so challenging for my soul,
    and to take my focus off of the waiting at present and onto the eternal perspective on waiting.
    It’s just really hit me how the process of waiting on a child is really a bigger picture
    of the longing for the return of our dear Jesus…

    So today I pray for the Lord to prepare my heart for HIS return,
    even more than for the arrival of this much-anticipated child.
    Because if I am ready for Him, then everything else will be okay.
    I need Him to purge my heart from it’s selfishness and stubbornness,
    from the short temper with the girls, from the focus of self and discomfort these days…
    and I want to be refreshed and restored by HIM, by Jesus Himself.

    So, I’m not exactly feeling top-of-the-world today, :)
    but I want to find Jesus in this day,
    worship in the waiting.
    [tried to play this song on my site, but playlist didn't have it]

    It feels silly to even write about going overdue,
    because, my word, it’s not that big of a deal!!
    But the waiting is where I find myself, and I don’t want to just try to survive it.
    I want to thrive in it.
    Even as I write that I think, “Oh God, help me!”
    because it seems that in the smallest areas it’s easiest to justify selfishness.

    And I want to find room for gratefulness too.
    One older lady told me that back in the day she went THREE WEEKS late.
    Oh goodness, I’m so glad I’m not allowed to go that long! :)

    And in whatever wait you find yourself, may you find Jesus too…




  • Mother’s Day Specials


    {edit: because of link issues on Monday,
    I’m extending this sale through Wednesday, April 25}


    In honor of Mother’s Day,
    and my due date,
    and springtime,
    I’m running some Mary Kay specials!

    [yes, I'm still doing this. :) ]

    All Mary Kay items are 20% off
    [not just the ones on this page]

    Monday and Tuesday, April 23-24th, only!

    There are a few new items that Mary Kay has come out with that are so lovely,
    and just in time for Mother’s Day!


    Mint Blossom Pedicure Set, $24 before discount

    With this luxurious set, she can enjoy the relaxation and pampering she deserves
    without an expensive trip to the salon! This invigorating set in a mint blossom
    scent includes emery board, pumice stone, icy foot gel, foot fizzies and a
    coordinating bag — perfect for giving! Mint blossom scent includes notes of
    zesty lime, lemon sorbet and cool mint leaf.

    Limited-Edition™ Mary Kay® Mint Blossom Pedicure Set

    Limited Edition Thinking of You Mother’s Day set - $30 before discount

    Let Mom know she’s one of a kind with this doubly fragrant gift set featuring
    the Thinking of You® fragrance. The Moisture Rich Shower Crème, enriched with
    shea butter and vitamin E, cleanses and moisturizes skin in one easy step. The
    perfume pendant offers a rub-on fragrance that feels like a creme but applies
    like a powder.

    Limited-Edition† Thinking of You® Mother’s Day Set


    Peach Satin Hands® Pampering Set, $34 before discount

    Exfoliates dull, dry skin. Wraps hands in instant hydration. Leaves hands
    feeling smooth, silky and supple. Available in a delightful peach scent and a
    fragrance-free scent that’s ideal for everyone.



    Satin Lips Mask and Balm Set -  $18 before discount


     Mineral Eye Color Bundles$19.50 before discount
    A trio of eye colors specifically for  blue, brown, hazel, or green eyes.


    TimeWise Miracle Set

    The TimeWise® Miracle Set® provides incredible age-fighting results to help you
    maintain younger-looking skin. The set offers 11 age-defying benefits in one
    skin care regimen: cleanse, exfoliate, freshen, energize, hydrate, smooth, firm,
    soften, protect, rebuild and reduce fine lines and wrinkles. And it even works
    with sensitive skin. We tested our TimeWise® Miracle Set® on individuals with
    extremely sensitive skin, people with rosacea.** The results showed that people
    with skin sensitivities can experience the same great age-fighting benefits. The
    Miracle Set® includes:

    ~TimeWise® 3-In-1 Cleanser
    ~TimeWise® Age-Fighting Moisturizer
    ~TimeWise® Day Solution Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 35*
    ~TimeWise® Night Solution



     To order, go to my Mary Kay site - .
    [I will give you the discount even though it's not mentioned on that page.]

    All items listed above, plus all Mary Kay items are on sale at 20% off retail price, plus free shipping!
    Today and tomorrow only, April 23-24th!

    Enjoy this lovely springtime!





  • ~ Nesting ~


    A strange phenomenon has hit me the past few weeks.


    This isn’t the chicken-on-the-egg kind of nesting. Oh no.
    This is the song-bird-flitting-around-nest-building-a-home.
    Think robin, bluebird, chickadee.

    One would think that perhaps nesting would be limited to the birds.
    But perhaps the instinct is given to far more mothers preparing to give birth?

    It’s the preparation of a Nest for a wee little one who doesn’t care for the world how clean the house is,
    or if he has a drawer or a box or a cradle to sleep in.
    The little one has no idea if the house was newly-housecleaned, or if it has been years since a good cleaning.

    However, the mama knows, and she wants her Nest ready and perfect for the precious little arrival.
    You’d think a good weekly cleaning would suffice.

    But oh no.
    This Nesting  is of a different sort.
    Very strange things happen within the mother.
    There are outrageous bursts of energy, even as she carries a basketball-size tummy everywhere she goes.
    Her eyes take on new lenses, and see things that need to be cleaned that she never even noticed before,

    She climbs atop of piano and balances on tall headbands, trying to reach that last little inch of window trim.
    She tries to step down safely, and most times does, but sometimes the bench falls out from under her.
    But she’s okay.
    She’s nesting.

    She uses toothbrushes and bleach and cleans dirty corners that were never there before.
    She could write a tutorial on how to make rabbits from dust bunnies found underneath the master bed on the hardwood floor.

    She hands rags and cleaning supplies to the other a-bit-bigger-birdies in the home and they crawl under beds and in places where basketball-belly-mother cannot go, and they think nesting is fun too.

    It’s a very curious phenomenon.

    She could write articles about deep cleaning and how to sanitize every inch of your home and not miss a single dirty corner as she’s Nesting. But she knows that within a month of the arrival of Wee Birdie she would look back at the article and laugh, because this is most definitely not normal, and quite clearly a perk of pregnancy. And she enjoys the season of nesting and house-sanitizing because it is a season, and feels quite sorry for those folks who live with these cleaning-lenses all the time.

    And the clock ticks, and this nesting is a race against time.

    But she takes time for naps if she’s tired,
    and trips to the park with the other little birdies.
    And crosses things on her list of to-do’s for the Nest.
    And prays to live these last days with Grace.
    Not tenseness,
    not being grouchy about being uncomfortable,
    not being irritable if she goes overdue, as she has with the other two birdies.
    But with Sweet Grace.

    {Nesting} 293{Nesting} 296

    {Nesting} 302{Nesting} 298

    {Nesting} 253

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    {Nesting} 249{Nesting} 248{Nesting} 246

    {Nesting} 244

    [spring mantel inspired by The Lettered Cottage]

    For real, this Nesting thing is amazing even to me.
    How I can be at the very end and have the bodily shape I do and feel the uncontrollable urge to purge and clean and organize and sanitize…

    I must look quite large at this point,
    and feel very conspicuous going out in public, even to Walmart.
    This was confirmed the other day when I was in [ha, the cleaning aisle of] Walmart,
    and a complete stranger [older male] passed me and said,
    “Hey! Didn’t anyone tell you not to swallow that watermelon seed? Ha ha ha!”
    Wow, Sir. Someone sure missed the tact end of things in your child-training.
    I smiled and nodded politely.
    He thought it was a great joke.
    It only confirmed my feeling that I should not be out in public.

    Zoe is wild with excitement about a new little baby.
    Giving her the gift of siblings is ever so special to me.
    I’m so grateful to God for giving us that gift!
    She’s constantly saying, “I’m so excited about our baby coming I just can’t wait!!!”

    [my new screen door off the kitchen, bought with money saved from My Faire Lady. love love ♥]

    {Nesting} 445

    [Ballard Design Company, I love your style. And your coupon/discount email.]

    {Nesting} 446

    Ben and I were talking baby names the other night.
    I had ideas picked out last September already, but apparently we haven’t discussed as much as I thought.
    Two weeks before baby is due Ben says,
    “I remember the boy name we’re talking about, but, what’s the girl name?”
    Um, Husband! Am I really lacking in communication that badly?

    Zoe has her own ideas of baby names.
    Very excitedly one day,
    “I know what we can name our baby!!
    If it’s a boy we can call him ‘Jack’ like ‘Jack and Jill went up the hill’!
    And if it’s a girl we can call her ‘Rose’ because no one else would think of that name!”

    So it’s been baby Jack and baby Rose ever since then. I think Jack is really cute actually. :)

    [front porch in lovely spring time]

    {Nesting} 440

    {Nesting} 431

    [confederate jasmine in all the sweet blooming glory]

    {Nesting} 430 {Nesting} 427

    And it’s really amazing to me, but somehow my physical appearance and baby-belly is so lovely to Zoe.
    “We should always tell pregnant mommies that they’re sooo beautiful!” she said once,
    and she compliments often on how pretty she thinks I am.
    I asked Ben if he put her up to that :) and he said no.
    I was surprised, and her compliments mean all the more.

    Olivia, on the other hand, says things as they really are:
    “You have a weally big belly, Mommy!!”

    The excitement of meeting our new little one is sky-high.
    The other two children it was just Ben and I that were excited.
    This time it’s Ben and me plus two very excited sisters!
    The suspense of not knowing the gender only adds to the excitement.

    Zoe is declaring she wants eight children of her own,
    and that she wants five brothers and five sisters. :)

    I actually get butterflies thinking about meeting this precious little baby,
    and finding out what it is!

    Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice?
    A trio of little girlie sweetness? Yes, please!

    {Nesting} 276{Nesting} 275

    Or Snakes & Snails & Puppy-Dog Tails?
    A little man in the house? Yes, please!

    {Nesting} 271{Nesting} 273

    Either one would not be a disappointment.
    God knows the perfect family arrangement for us.
    It’s not like any other family in the world ~ it’s unique to us.
    And we can’t wait to find out!

    It’s FOUR DAYS until my due date.
    Tuesday, April 24th.
    Which, so beautifully, is the very day that Ben and I started dating, in 2004!
    No, we didn’t plan this. :)

    But my record is to go late, soooo I’m planning a beach day in celebration of my due date. :)
    Just to make things enjoyable and not focus on the date itself.
    My theory is, with a record of 11 days late and 8 days late respectively,
    that if I do enjoyable things before and after my due date,
    I don’t notice the discomfort of late-term pregnancy as keenly.
    And it makes me look forward to the days ahead, rather than dread them.
    However, I do hope very much I don’t go the full two weeks overdue that my midwives allow…

    But Sweet Baby Love, if you do decide to come early, or on time, or late,
    know that we are so ready for you, and so excited to meet you.

    And there is a sweet little antique cradle waiting for you right beside our bed…

    {Nesting} 449

    …with dear little organic bedding from Pottery Barn, found on clearance for a song…

    {Nesting} 262{Nesting} 447

    …where you can be rocked by eager little sisters…

    {Nesting} 454

    …and where you’ll sleep, when you’re not being held and cuddled and kissed upon…

    {Nesting} 457

     Dear Lovie, you are already so loved.

    ~ clarita

  • The Wedding {in pictures}


    The Wedding!

    and this blog have moved to

    Follow this post here.




  • [ Guest Post by the Sister, Part II ]

    I’m thrilled to introduce you yet again to…
    …my second guest post by my sister!


    Modest is Hottest Part 11 [or.... New Ideas for the Practical Woman]


    I, Claudia, have combined my love for photography with a fascination for unique clothing combinations, and am excited to be introducing a new and improved and most delightful post. 


    I am now in the official tenth month of my One Year Clothing/Shopping Fast. YAY! If you need a brief history of this decision, you may read our previous post: Modest is Hottest Part 1.

    Since last June when I made the decision to discontinue shopping trips, revamping my style and coming up with creative ways to wear what I already have in my closet has become my new personal favorite. So, without further ado, here’s my latest addiction.

    Skirts as Dresses



    SO FUN!!! I can barely get over it. I usually try not to over-style a new style, but I can barely pull myself away from this one. It’s, like, two for the price of one… or something.



    Since I wore this outfit on our last outing before the second-to-eldest sister got married, I just had to include them. I do adore sister pictures.)


    (Remind me why no one ever told me about this before? Like I said… SO FUN!)


    Where my clothes came from:

    1. If your family is nice like mine, you can mix and match from different closets. Last week I raided mother’s closet and found that cool skirt labeled #1… It makes a good dress on me and a lovely skirt on mother. 
    2. Skirt #2 was an old project of mine last year. I sewed it all up, in and around, and actually liked it.
    3. From a pile of clothes a friend was getting rid of. So kind of her.
    4. The black dress is actually my official Honey Brook Girls Choir Skirt. I don’t own it, but at least I can break the unspoken rule that choir uniforms have to be ugly.
    Accessories: One of my belts comes from a sister closet raid. One comes from the kind heart of a cousin. The purple cardigan will go back to its hanger in mother’s closet and my favorite cream colored cardigan was a Christmas gift from Ervina. Double YAY!

    How to Rock the Skirt-turned-Dress Look:

    Find the right skirt: It really helps if it’s a wide-mouthed skirt, has elastic around the waist line, or has a fold-over flap. Just saying, I don’t usually have a problem with it, but it’s a big bonus if I wear it as a dress and it actually stays up. :)
    Wear a belt: Otherwise you are quite prone to become acquainted with the unflattering wispy-willow tree look (see below)…


    Wear fun shoes:

    Shoes have the power to complete an outfit.
    Skirt #1 gets worn best with [puss-in-]boots from my mother
    Skirt #2: Plain ol’ flips given to me in Cambodia by a dear friend
    With Skirt #3 I get to wear awesomely fun black heels from sister’s wedding
    Skirt #4 was worn with my flats from the Official Jana Barkman-Swartz Wedding Reception

    Basically. I just always wear leggings. Yup. Even in the sweltering heat of a Cambodian summer. Even in sub degree weather. I’ve worn them ever since my grammy handed me my first totally-uncool pair (she called them “snugglies”… or something strange like that). I think I’ll keep wearing them even when the world kicks them out of style (God Forbid).

    Do something fun with your hair:

    This is just the funnest thing ever.
    Braids as headbands, feathers in hair or flowers that add great character. Just do it. Please, it makes life (and pictures) so much better.

    And that’s that. Experiment with it. Forthcoming: we will demonstrate how we love to layer dresses on dresses and leggings on leggings and…. ok. ok.

    Just kidding.

  • She’s Married!


    It was a most lovely day.
    Jana would win awards for The Most Lovely Bride Ever.

    My first sister to be married. ♥

    [there are actually five people in this picture.
    yoder baby #3 was tucked behind my bouquet. :) ]