Month: July 2012

  • There Was Once a Garden Party…


    [this is the first installment of the Barkman/Yoder wedding (not my own but my sister),
    beginning with a bridal shower done splendidly by the maid of honor [also my sister, Claudia].
    i don’t like to say things are my favorite, because every party is unique and special.
    however, hypothetically, if i were to have favorites, this one would be it.]

    It was absolute perfect fairytale-ish evening, and i must begin with this.
    Two evenings before the beautiful wedding,
    the bride was relaxed enough to simply be and enjoy a dinner in her honor.
    Most brides would be stressed with an evening event so close to the wedding; not Ervina.
    ‘Stress’ was not even a word experienced the entire wedding week.
    The loveliness of this evening was only a foretaste of the beauty and peace to come.

    Might I show you a glimpse of

    The Garden Party

    [words written by the bride, Ervina]

    Once upon a time, not very long ago, the best maid of honor in the world threw a splendid party for her bride-to-be sister.

    Some of the bride’s dearest friends were there, the ones that live so much of life with her.

    And everyone wore lace, because lace is very party-ish.

    The party was full of bright colors. There were jelly beans in vintage glass bowls.

    And homemade popsicles with real fruit that the maid of honor had experimented with for weeks to get just perfect.
    And delicious food fresh off the grill.
    A friend made her famous scones, just for that night. Chocolate chip scones, with icing.

    Coffee was served in glass mugs (the bride’s favorite).
    For dessert, they ate gelato with pretty spoons, because everything is better with pretty spoons.
    Somehow in the middle of things, a boy slipped in. But that was ok, because everyone positively adored him.
    So among doily banners and strung lights and sunlight peeking through the trees,
    they soaked in the warm summer evening and laughed and talked and celebrated.
    It really was too lovely for words.
    And the bride-to-be felt like the luckiest woman in the world.
    Because she was.
    And that is only a beginning of so much loveliness to come… :)
  • The Sweet Life (and admittedly wild & crazy)


    These are the days that are so incredibly sweet and precious.
    Full of baby kisses, baby laughter and coos, big sisters’ adoration. Little Man is changing almost before our very eyes, it seems.
    The little baby stage is of the deepest sweetest possible, so innocent and pure.
    I bend down to kiss his sweet face and I’m almost intoxicated by the delicious baby smell.

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    [typical attempt at a family photo]

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    These days are so full, so overflowing with life and love and overwhelming and tears and laughter and tired.

    These are also the days that I feel rather like that gerbil in the middle of the wheel.
    Turning, spinning, going around and around and around and going… where, exactly?
    My weekly to-do lists from pre-baby that were miles long
    (okay, some of it was due to nesting, I do have to admit. and that syndrome passes with the birth of a child)
    have gone to two or three things a week.
    Namely, get dressed each day, and make sure no one goes hungry.
    Okay, so that’s not quite accurate. But it’s close. 
    Anything accomplished on this little list of mine? You better believe it gets crossed off with a Great Big Flourish!
    We celebrate the small things. :)

    This being a mother of several children is not for the faint of heart. 
    I’ve only gone away with all three kids three times by myself to date: the hardware store, the goodwill-type store, and the post office.
    We’re staying nice and tight with the Little Cottage these days.
    My admiration grows by the day for those women who are mothers of more children than I.
    I’m also realizing why people of generations past used to hire and maid and have her live in with them fulltime?
    Um, yes, I’ll take two, please.
    Ben is so kind about letting me get outside and walk/run after he gets home,
    something about that is so revitalizing.
    And lest I seem too energetic, let me hasten to add that some days [many days?]
    I pass on the offer to go for a run out of sheer exhaustion.

    [first bath by Nana, with an audience of sisters.
    and no, his first bath wasn't at ten weeks old.
    some of these pictures are rather dated but i haven't blogged in ages, okay? ]

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    But I can’t even describe how unbelievably precious these days are.
    I mean, I look at my three little kiddos and my husband and they’re all so beautiful and healthy and precious,
    and I can’t believe I’m so lucky.
    Just look at these three. They’re mine. They’re ours. The product of the love between my husband and I. 
    But however did I grow up so fast and have three kids?

    The Three Littles that I call my own.

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    [this is where everyone goes first thing every morning:
    find Baby and cuddle if he's awake,
    or wake him if he's not :/ ]

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     I still feel like their big sister some days, we just have so much fun together and laugh a lot.
    We read Stuart Little together, we make pretties together,
    and now we have to go search in a trash bag in a dumpster for something valuable Olivia threw in last night
    and just told me this morning [after the trash was hauled out to the dumpster].

    And then other days I find myself just wishing to go have a good cry somewhere.
    Even the bathroom isn’t a safe place, because what do you know, my kids have radars that find me anywhere I go.
    If they’d find me crying in the dark stall of the shower I’m afraid they’d be scarred forever.
    The tears come not from feeling like I’m going to lose it, or that I’m drowning in this ocean of baby and diapers and kids that need to get along better.
    It’s more the constant busy, someone is always needing something.
    The job of being mommy is far bigger than I am. How is there enough of me to reach around to everyone?

    [As I write this is a rare moment of quiet - the girls are both writing/coloring quietly (amazing for Olivia) and the baby is asleep on my lap.
    Sweet little boy that he is. Little arms stretched way over his head in complete relaxation and trust. ]

    These are days I just want to freeze because I adore having my house full of little children.
    What an unforgettable time of life. There are so many funny things the kids say that have me constantly in stitches.
    Their discovery of the world around them,
    their color combinations in outfits that are downright terrible sometimes and adorable other times,
    the purring over their little brother…
    It’s such a sweet life.

    [July 4th, with new little handmade dresses]

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    [funny faces are the thing to do for pictures these days]

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    [the sisterhood  ♥♥]

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    And it’s busy. I’ve always disliked when people talk about how busy they are.
    But truly? This time of life is busier than I ever expected. 
    Three children four and under. There is so much they are learning to do, and so much they still need help with.
    So much continually training and trying to stay consistent with discipline when I’m tired because of little sleep is a big-time challenge. 
    I sometimes feel feel busy and overwhelmed by the role that I am called to fill. 
    How can I ever train them well, teach Zoe to be unselfish, teach Olivia not to be a mean teaser, teach Hudson to be a boy that is not a terror to his world?

    Then other days I walk around misty-eyed that I actually have been entrusted with such beautiful souls, and I’m in awe.

     I want to treasure it, knowing these days are so short.
    I look back at Hudson’s newborn pictures and can’t believe the change in just 10 weeks. 
    It’s okay if my house doesn’t get cleaned every week right now (right, Mom? :) ),
    or if it takes 3 days long to clean it in-between interruptions when I do attempt it,
    as long as every night there is a cleanup time and at least everything looks tidy at the end of each day. :)
     I suppose I’m learning to let go of some things in order to embrace the changes and learn a new sort of normal.
    Still learning, after 10 weeks.

    [Papa, with his first grandson]


    [Uncle David is soooo fun]


    [my dad and i]


    [the little monkey that is otherwise known as olivia]



    [my precious sonshine]




    People ask me if it feels different to have a boy.
    And I say, yes, and no.

    At first I was scared to death to even call him anything sweet.
    We’ve always called our kids sweet names, and with a boy I was afraid I’m ruin him if I would [thanks to his paranoid father :) ].
    But after a week or so, I decided that this is my little baby, and boy or not, he’s going to have sweet names.
    Of course, hopefully a little more tailored for the Man-Child.
    But he’s become “Sonshine” and “Little Man” and “Sweet Son” and “Huddy” along with others.
    We’ll see what sticks. :)

    And also at first, as thrilled as I was to have a boy, a son, I was uncertain about what this would entail.
    I know at least a little about girls: not boys.
    Sometimes having a boy scares me because I’ve seen so many poor specimens of boyhood.
    I’ve seen far too many rude, belching, bullying, mean boys.
    There are so few I can point to with Hudson as he grows and say, “There is a boy that follows Jesus.”
    Wow, it’s scary sometimes.

    I know nothing about raising a son.
    I do know that I don’t want to emasculate him and take away who a man really is just by wanting him to “be nice.”
    And yet since when are boys allowed to be selfish simply under the name of “they’re just boys”?
    [I'm not thinking of anyone in particular, just so you know!! :) ]
    I want to come to terms with the fact that there is a side of boys that I won’t ever understand.
    I have two brothers: I know they’re rough and tumble, they’ve got unbelievably energy,
    they like things like basketball and skateboards and parkour.
    [YIKES if my son ever jumps off buildings and does flips on the way down like my brother!]
    However, I’ve also seen that men can be tender, they can learn to care about the people around them,
    they can be taught [some] manners and [a great measure of] decency.
    It will look different than it does with my daughters, and I want it to.
    I want Hudson to be a he-man.
    But I want him to be a Man in the real sense of the word, not just because that’s his gender.
    A man because he follows Jesus with all his heart.

    Now I feel like I’ll be scrutinized by anyone who knows me, and poor Hudson will be watched like a hawk as he grows. :)

    I think the aspects of raising a son have thrust me upon the Lord in whole new ways.
    I realize afresh that this is far greater and far bigger than myself.
    If not for Jesus, this thing of parenting and motherhood would be a dismal failure.
    It is God alone that brings purpose, that provides strength,
    that imparts wisdom to both me and to my children each day, moment by moment.
    God doesn’t just give us things to equip us for this task: He gives us Himself.


    And it’s summertime! What a great time to be alive.
    The heat is oppressive some days, making my kids look like they’ve been in the pool at 8pm,
    when they’ve really just been outside and sweating bullets.

    We’re enjoying fresh salads! Who knew that blueberries would add such a pleasant taste?

    [yes, i realize this picture doesn't have anything at all to do with the rest of this post, but...
    it's the small things, right? :) ]

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    Little Man is now 10 weeks old! It’s amazing how he’s become so much a part of our family.
    We can’t imagine life without him, and 10 weeks ago we couldn’t quite imagine life with him. ;)

    He is growing and changing so fast, weighing at over 13 pounds.
    He’s gained twice the recommended weight for infants, but has put it all into length.
    He’s also grown 5-6 inches since birth!
    Little boys sure eat a lot more than girls, that one thing I do know. ;)

    [i could gaze into those blueberry eyes forever]

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    How we {{{ LOVE }}} him!

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    And have you ever ever ever seen such an adorable onesie? I have super talented friends! ♥

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    Happy weekending!

    I have a fun one ahead of me ~ my sister Jana is coming to spend some time with us, and we’re super excited!
    We have plans to make THE best marinara sauce ever, and maybe hit a junk shop together, and…
    I love sisters. :)