• Indian Squaw vs. Hipster Mama

    Disclaimer: this may or may not be the true account of a husband and wife who love each other more than life, and yet sometimes still find themselves trying to learn the language that each other speaks.

    It was a rainy, blustery day. We’re getting the effects of Hurricane Isaac, and boy, is it ever dumping.
    Because of that, it was a day that me and the kiddos all stayed at home. We slept in (all the rain that we’ve been having calls for that), got dressed, Zoe did school work, I did house work and laundry, we took naps, and enjoyed one another’s company in a relaxed sort of way.

    Later in the afternoon though, I decided to put a bit more time into my appearance.  Husband was coming home soon, and I wanted him to be glad to be coming home to ME. J

    My hair was a bit out of control – to be in control it has to be washed with only conditioner that very day – and to top it off it was high humidity because of the inches of rain we’ve been getting which results in frizz! But let’s do a deep side part, and hmm, a side braid worked well. Yes, let’s see, and add a headband with flowers. Yes, that’s it. Change skirt, brush teeth, ready for Husband. Very simple and fresh.

    I was busy preparing dinner when he walked in the door. I greeted him the customary smile and hug (kissing waits until after he brushes teeth too ). I didn’t expect a comment on the hair or outfit – neither was really out of the ordinary, and he’s not a man given to many compliments.

    “Oh wow, an Indian!” he pointed out, after the hug. “Your hair looks like an Indian.”

    “An Indian?!” I sputtered. “Um, that’s not exactly the look I was going for.” (Thinking to myself, um, more like hipster mama, if I reaaaaally stretched my imagination, and if Mennos can be hipster. But a squaw!! Either I was not pulling the look off that I was hoping for, or else he was oblivious to the cool look I was portraying.)

    Guess that whole hipster idea is out for me, I thought to myself.

    [a recap the next morning, same hair and outfit, with "feathers" on the last picture.
    thanks to zoe's photography]

    It dropped at that for the rest of the evening. I’m not one to take things very personally, unless it’s meant to be taken personally, and he most definitely didn’t mean it that way. He just says things how they are, and that’s that. No use getting offended about it. We spent a happy evening as a family, eating brownies and ice cream,  Ben playing “I Spy” with the kids. We just had a NUTS busy schedule lately, and it was absolutely wonderful to all be at home for an evening for no agenda except each other. I forgot all about the Indian comment.

    Later, as we were getting ready for bed, Husband said, “Hey, I liked your hair like that tonight.”

    I gave him my “Yeah RIGHT” look and rolled my eyes, thinking he was kidding me.

    “No, I’m serious. I thought it was cute.” he insisted.

    I raised my eyebrows at him. “WELL. This is the 21st century, and telling someone she looks like a squaw isn’t exactly a compliment,” I informed him.

    “So you really thought I didn’t like it?” he asked.

    “Of course! I thought you thought it looked dumb.” I answered.

    He then wondered aloud what else he’s been telling me that isn’t exactly a compliment to me, and said he might have to take a course in communication.

    “Not communication,” I replied. “Just compliments.” I got the giggles. He laughed again.

    ( I love that we’re honest about stuff, even little stuff. When we first got married things like this would’ve bugged me for days, but I wouldn’t have had the guts to just be honest and laugh about it besides. It would have put me in knots for days wishing I could just learn how to say what I thought, and then become a much bigger deal than it really was. Being married longer has wonderful improvements. J )

    “Okay,” said Husband. “Give me some pointers.”

    Oh wow, really?  I should have been making a mental list for this Monumental Occasion.

    “Compliments 101,” I began. “No. Indian. Comments.”

    “Okay,” he chuckled. “Got that one.”

    “And 102, please find other words than ‘cute’ and ‘pretty’. When you use those words it sounds like I’m definitely NOT beautiful or gorgeous or anything of that sort, but you have to find a way to say soooomething nice so you say, ‘pretty’ or ‘cute.’ I don’t like it.”

    “Oh noooo,” groaned Husband. “Those are the two words I use the most!”

    “Exactly,” said I. “That’s why they’re out.”

    And we had another fit of laughter.

    Today he sends me a text…………….
    “…You’re still the love of my life. And you’re beautiful, not pretty.” :)

    Hmmmm, that’s more like it, Husband. J

    Signed, the Indian Squaw



  • There Was Once a Garden Wedding…



    follow this post here.



    And so it’s part two of the wedding, way back in June!
    I am so excited to finally have the pictures uploaded and ready to show you!
     [And edited a bit too, but that sounds funny for me to say since I just take pictures for fun.
    Talking about editing makes it sound like I think I'm a professional or something, and I so am not.]
    It’s been something on my want-to-do list ever since the day after the wedding.
    Three babies, a crazy summer, Zoe starting K-5, and numerous other things have almost brought blogging to stand-still for me.
    But even if I never blog again,
    I am determined to show pictures of one of the most beautiful weddings I’ve ever been to!

    Let me introduce you to

    The Wedding of Kenneth & Ervina
    ~ a garden reception ~

    This wedding was so special. From the calmness of the bride the week of the wedding,
    to the many people that helped set up the reception, to the fun bridal party ~ it was just beautiful in every way.

    Ervina was a bride unlike almost any I’ve ever seen.
    Her prayer was that her wedding and week of the wedding would not be a crazy and stressful time,
    as weddings can often be, but that it would be a time of peace and joy.
    And her prayer was answered.
    Ervina was radiant, refreshed, and peaceful the whole week.
    I’m her sister, and to say that I didn’t see her stressed for a moment is saying a lot.
    Her peaceful spirit carried over into all areas of the wedding.

    The morning of the wedding dawned clear, bright, and perfect as anyone could wish.
    And really, the whole day was simply perfect.
    The ceremony was like a worship experience,
    and the sweet presence of Jesus was so clearly evident that day!

    Because of how the day was planned with the photographer and everything else, it was such a relaxed morning.
    The bride went running early in the morning, and returned for some quiet time with Jesus before the day began. ♥
    Some of her friends brought her Starbucks coffee as she was getting ready,
    and another brought souffles from Panera for the bridesmaids!
    Goodness, it was fun.

    Shoes – purchased from Target.com
    Embellished with flowers and feathers by yours truly

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    Dress Sash
    Francesca’s provided part of the inspiration with the cream flowers,
    and I filled in with the white, lace, and bird cage veil netting.

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    [goodness, not to draw attention to it or anything, but i'm rather in awe of her tiny waist!]

    My grandmother helped me finish up the last stitches. These hands are precious…

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    Beautiful bride’s bouquet.

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    The Bridal Party went to a beautiful old train station for the pictures.
    Most of the pictures I have from there are thanks to a friend of the bride who snapped a few for me.

    Ervina had an assortment of flowers for the bridesmaids to make their own bouquets the morning of the wedding!
    I thought it such a lovely idea. Each bouquet was so unique, and reflected the style and personality of each bridesmaid.

    My sister Jana ended up making mine for me ~
    in between helping the bride with hair, french manicure on her toes,
    my two girls with curling irons for their hair and getting dressed, my own self to get ready, I didn’t have a moment to spare that morning!
    I loved the bouquet she made for me. Peonies are one of my very favorite flowers, and I had several of them!

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    The bridesmaids were asked to wear lace, in shades of cream, ivory, or soft pink, and could make them any style.
    Ervina’s dress was lace also, so the only thing she asked was that they be knee-length to set her own dress apart.
    The dress I made from a sheet and a piece of lace from an antique shop turned out rather to my liking,
    although making it in my two-week postpartum state for the wedding at 5 weeks postpartum was rather a challenge.
    [can we say that crunches began in earnest two days after the baby's birth, and other forms of exercise began much earlier than usual?]

    The shoes were also our own choice. 
    Remember the shoe dilemma I posted about before the wedding? So many pretty shoes, and I can only pick one pair?
    I went a bit more fun and choose the cream with polka dots. I’ve worn them quite a bit since, so I think it was a good choice.

    So many darling shoes!

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    The Bride & Groom

    The day of being a bride… it’s a day that is gloriously wonderful, a dream come true.
    Ervina was radiant and gorgeous.
    Kenny’s eyes said it all as he looked at her ~ this man adores his bride.

    The Groom & Groomsmen

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    Bridal Party

    This is the only picture I have of the whole bridal party, so forgive the blurry, not looking, etc. etc.

    Bride & Sisters

    These two are the best friends in the world.


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    A light-hearted moment.

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    Father. Mother. Third Daughter. Third Son-in-law.
    [except we don't call them in-laws in our family. we just call them brothers.]

    Mother. Daughter.

    The Barkman siblings

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    Sister with Big Little Brothers.

    Sisters again!
    This may or may not be one of my very favorite sister pictures ever.

    The Barkman Family, now with three married daughters!

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    [edit: HOW could I forget to add that this particular flower girl was found in the swimming pool by Rachel Beachy and husband,
    during the reception?? Fully clothed in flower girl attire and all. Thank goodness for friends. :) ]

    Flower Girls and Program Attendent

    The Yoder Family ~ Groom’s family

    Again, the only picture I have of the whole family. Sorry you all!
    [is it better to not show it at all or to show it with half the people hidden?]

    Kenny and his four beautiful and sweet sisters.
    I don’t know who is more lucky – Ervina, to have them for sisters-in-law, or they, to have Ervina for a sister-in-law.

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    The dashing Mr. & Mrs. Good

    Kenny’s nieces

    beautiful sisters~

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    Jillian, darling flower girl

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    The most darling little two-year old boy present [nephew of the groom]

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    The Reception was held on my parents’ beautiful property underneath a tent large enough to hold 350 people.
    It was gorgeous, it was simple, it was breathtaking.
    It had a feel of elegant and royalty, but with the ease and enjoyment of a garden party.

    I think I especially enjoyed it because our very own wedding was set in this exact spot seven years ago.
    A big white tent was set up in the meadow,
    the grounds were meticulously prepared by mom and helpers for months before,
    and it was just a magical feel about it ~ both our wedding, and Ervina & Kenny’s!
    Being there in that place with a wedding brought back so many special memories!

    Ervina & Co. (meaning friends, family, & relations) helped create an outdoor seating area.
    It was Ervina’s brainchild, and we enjoyed helping far too much.
    Part of my wedding gift was the ‘Mr.’ and ‘Mrs.’ and ‘happily ever after’ pillows I made for them, which they used at the seating area.

    The sofas and chairs were picked up at yard sales and second-hand stores, with the exception of the white sofa.
    This beautiful vintage sofa my mother found for free beside the road!
    It was missing legs, but that was easily remedied for the occasion.
    I gave my family strict instructions never to part with the sofa.
    I will carry it upon my back, from Pennsylvania to Georgia, if need be,
    before they are allowed to sell it! :)
    That’s how much I love it.

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    Kenny & Ervina 996

    The guest book signing area, complete with Claudia’s vintage record player
    that was actually playing as guests walked through and signed.

    My husband helped create a doorway going from the outdoor seating area to the tent reception,
    from beautiful old doors from Kenny & Ervina’s actual house that they had bought and were remodeling.

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    The guestbook, ideas by Ervina, carried out by Jana.

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    During their nearly two years of dating, Kenny & Ervina wrote many letters to each other.
    They chose to do this rather than emails, for the sake of old-fashioned communication,
    the fun of getting real letters in the mailbox, and having the hand-written notes.
    If you notice, the top letter went all the way to Cambodia,
    and it was not the only one Kenny sent during Ervina’s 3 months there the summer of 2011.
    There were a  bundle of letters at the wedding, but securely tied with ribbon lest guests think they were free for the reading. :)

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    A chalkboard timeline of significant events of their relationship.

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    Refreshements before the meal included make-your-own yogurt parfaits,
    and three kinds of drink: iced coffee, strawberry lemonade, and sweet tea.
    I’m not sure if the drinks were the hot item or if the guests kept returning for refills or because of the adorable straws in blue vintage jars.

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    My husband Ben and daughter Olivia, with my brother James.

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    Table Arrangement Details

    The guest tables were set up in long rows, with white tablecloths and linen runners placed on top of them.

    The centerpieces were wildflowers and flowers from friends’ gardens,
    snipped and set in glass vases of all kinds - Ervina found them all over at thrift stores and goodwills.
    It created such a symmetry, and yet diversity, that was gorgeous!

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    Soon after Kenny & Ervina’s engagement in October, Ervina and Claudia began collecting plates and goblets for the wedding.
    Not just for the bridal party, but for all 350 guests!
    It created such an elegant atmosphere with the real china, and yet the uniqueness and diversity of the plates made it fun and relaxed.

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    As for favors, Ervina and some of her friends made strawberry jam and put it in small glass jars, embellished with lace and twine.

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    The Bridal Table was similar to the guest tables,
    but with all white and green arrangements, chargers, selected plates & goblets, and cloth napkins.
    There was a gentle beauty that was breathtaking about the day, and about the reception, and particularly this table.
    It was such an honor to be seated there!

    We made the lace hoops from lace Ervina collected throughout her engagement and from large embroidery hoops,
    and hung them alternating with glass jars with candles.

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    Our own little family. ♥


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    And thus concludes the day of loveliness…
    May their marriage be even more beautiful.

    To see more images, visit the photographer’s website here.
    Tori captured some beautiful exquisite pictures of the day, and her style of photography is so natural and creative!
     If that post receives 25 comments, Ervina will be enter a drawing for a big enlargement, so comment away on there! :)





  • Tidbits & Snippets


    The computer is propped up on the butcher block countertop in the kitchen,
    providing me with Fernando Ortega while I’m attempting my baking day.

    It’s not every week [or every month, for that matter] that I designate an entire day to baking.
    But, you see, there is a long-anticipated weekend with extended family in the lovely region of southern Ohio this weekend,
    and there is much preparation to be done.

    The kiddos are writing on the kitchen chalkboard, as I write,
    fulfilling what I hoped for and envisioned when we were designing the kitchen.
    Baby is in his bouncy seat, playing with his little toys
    [since when did 3 month old boys become old enough to play with toys already?].
    Cinnamon rolls are baking in the oven and spreading an old-fashioned aroma throughout the whole house.
    I should learn to love baking, if just for that smell. :)

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    [Zoe's rendition of the alphabet, by herself]

    Adding to the “mmmmmmm” factor in my kitchen there is also Pam overspray on my floor,
    singing a duet with flour-dusting beside it.
    There are dishes overflowing my sink, cookie crumbs on the floor from sneaking kiddos.
    There was both a spider and a roach the size of small dogs in my kitchen this morning that I killed with fervor.
    I do think I will need a deep-cleaning when this is all over!

    This summer has been one-of-a-kind in its busyness.
    While I’m not even sure what all has made it seem the dizzy merry-go-round that it is,
    I do know that simply having an infant that eats every few hours is one of the things,
    along with 3 family weddings since March,
    and a major bathroom remodel at school that we’re partially in charge of and provide much manual labor for.

    For once I may have a short and sweet little post on my blog. :)
    This is just a little popping in to say ”hello!”

    My sister has been begging for pictures, and said I can just put up a few and say, “Each picture is worth a thousand words.”
    So, this is for her. :)
    One of these days, if I ever attempt a catchup, there will be an overabundance of both words and pictures.
    Just a warning/brace yourself. :)


    She’s a little monkey.
    How one little child can melt me in a puddle one minute and exasperate me so completely the next,
    I’m not sure. I do know that we adore her, and we can’t imagine our family without her.

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    huddy 1

    I caught this picture one Sunday afternoon, just wanting to capture the sweetness of them napping together.
    Baby gave me a little smile in his sleep, which absolutely slayed me.

    It’s so hard to believe this little guy just turned three months old.
    WHERE did time go? WHAT happened to my baby??
    People guess him around 6 months old already, and that’s his clothing size
    [although I try to squeeze him into 3 month clothes that are too cute to pack up already].

    It’s funny, how when you have a baby that is small and petite
    you think she’s just absolutely perfect and adorable and you’re so proud of her littleness.
    And when you have a baby that is on the top of the charts and fast outgrowing clothes and gaining weight
    you think that is perfection, and you couldn’t be more proud.
    I’ve had it both ways, and both ways are so perfect.
    It makes each one so unique, so original. I love it!

    tea party, ben's 32 089

    He’s still a little baldy, with just a few hairs sprouting a’top his little head.
    With my girls I would just wear hats and headbands to draw attention elsewhere.
    This little guy? Well, let’s just say he and Mr. Clean would be good friends on appearances. :)

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    Ben stopped me while I was mowing on Saturday and said I needed to take a picture of Hudson.
    He had taken him outside with the rest of us, and Hudson fell asleep with Zoe’s thoughtful props.

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    Nearly every day I think about how perfect Hudson is for our family.
    Before he was born I just couldn’t even imagine our family with a boy.
    Of course I wanted a son one day, but after two girls, we just kind of seemed like a girly-girl family.
    I grew up with four girls all in a row, and thought that was perfect.

    It’s just so beautiful to see how God hand-creates each family.
    To be so unique, so original, so perfect for them. Girl, girl, boy. It’s perfect for us.
    Even though I still hope for my four girls some day. And a brother for Hudson. :)
    I suppose we’ll wait and see what God’s Perfect for us is.


    We spent a day with Anthony & Jana one weekend, since they live only a few hours from us now!
    We visited their charming little southern home, enjoyed Jana’s good cooking,
    and had fun with family because so close for the first time since I moved here 6 years ago!

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    tea party, ben's 32 066

    ^^ this is what they could be like in seven years, we told them, if they follow us. :)

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    Olivia sure likes her Uncle Anthony.


    Zoe turned 5 the end of July, and we celebrated with a day and night at the ocean. [more pictures later]

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    [Little dresses compliments of Auntie Ervina. Next time, find one in my size, please?]

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    Ben turned 32 last week, and we had a little in-house party, with in-house people only.
    Because of our busy summer, and being gone so much in the evenings,
    he requested that we have no guests but just enjoy a family night. We did that.

    tea party, ben's 32 082tea party, ben's 32 076

    Birthdays mean you pick the menu.
    Husband chose Taco Salad.
    Really? He’s too easy to please.

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    On his birthday with the three kiddos.

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    Something so important to us, but hard to make happen. Especially since Baby #3.
    Such an event calls for dressing up, and a picture to remember it by.
    Oh, and a tripod, since there was no Zoe around to take a picture.

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    We celebrated seven years in June, and I have to say, this past year has been my favorite yet.
    God is so good to us. He’s so faithful to redeem, to continue to work in us despite our weaknesses.
    And marriage is worth fighting for!
    I’m so humbled when I realize that my marriage isn’t just about Ben and me -
    it’s about being given the sacred opportunity to showcase Jesus Christ to the world.
    I read This Momentary Marriage by John Piper within the past year or so,
    and marriage has taken on a whole new wonderful meaning.

    And now the dishes are washed and food in the freezer. I find myself humming along to “Arky Arky”
    which the kids requested during their visit to the kitchen and I forgot to change the music afterwards.
    Sometimes I think being a mom is like being given a second childhood. :)

    Wishing you all a beautiful week!
    ~ clarita


  • 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]

    cooking, sewing 025

    [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? :) ]

    cooking, sewing 001

    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! ♥

    MSE - 7.17.12 013


    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. :)




  • Little Baby Goodness.


    It’s been a whirlwind past two/three weeks.
    A lovely whirlwind, a busy whirlwind, when you’ve got three kids including a 4-week-old baby.
    But when a sister is getting married, and a husband’s brother tying the knot a week later,
    we wouldn’t miss it for the world!

    We’ve been home about 2 days now, trying to make order from the unpacking chaos.
    Trying to figure out schedules again.
    Trying to be a mom of 3 on my own during the day
    (my mom spoiled me when I was there for 2.5 weeks).
    Whew, it’s busy.

    We took time to continue K-4 the past two days.
    Obviously, the books haven’t been finished from the school year.
    Zoe read her first word all alone today.
    I, ecstatic, shrieked and squealed and hugged her tight like any good mom would.
    She promptly burst into tears (seriously, tears were rolling) and said she doesn’t want me to do all that.
    So, the next words I gave her a high-five and that worked perfectly.
    Is she even serious? I’m quite puzzled. Is she really a girl???

    I have pictures that need to be downloaded from camera to computer.
    I’m so excited about Ervina’s (my sister) wedding pictures.
    Her wedding makes me smile with happiness every time I think of it.
    I can’t wait to share. :)

    But I have some pictures already loaded and edited from Hudson’s two-week pictures.
    I was a little nervous about trying to take his pictures.
    All I’ve ever done is girls, and that’s been girly-girl pretty much every time.
    I for sure didn’t want to horrify his father and do something taboo
    (his father is paranoid that Hudson might be a pansy because of two sisters. and mom).

    These are already a month old (HOW can a month go by so quickly)
    so he’s already looking older and more filled out, but these are his newborn shots.
    Probably birth announcement pictures, if we send them out.
    (we forgot with Olivia, how awful).

    I saw an idea somewhere for a “nest” sort of picture, and tried to do something with that,
    since it fit my whole Nesting syndrome and all. :)
    The women who see it say, “Oh, it’s a nest!” and the men all say, “Why is he in a wreath??”
    Must be the right-brained, left-brained thing going on.

    Nest or wreath. Whatever.

    But it cannot be denied that there is a whole lot of Baby Sweetness going on around here.
    Coming: overload of cute baby ahead!

    This little 10+ pound of sweetness has us melted in a puddle.
    I forgot how much I absolutely adore newborns.
    This little guy is preciousness itself.

    hudson - 2 weeks 226

    hudson -1

    hudson - 2 weeks 235 

    hudson - 2 weeks 207

    I {{ love }} yawning babies.

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    I also {{ love }} baby hands and feet.

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    hudson - black & white 5

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    Ben had picked up some old wooden coke boxes several years ago.
    Those were a little more masculine than some props, I thought.

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    [this is a bit too much like a Nativity replica, I think]

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    A little old wagon, bought for a dollar at a yard sale years ago.

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    Six weeks after his birth, we are more in love with him than ever before.
    Whoever knew that having a boy would be SO much fun? SO much fun.
    Dressing a boy seems incredibly simple but really fun.
    I have some wonderful friends who threw a fabulously beautiful baby shower for the baby
    and now Hudson has some great new clothes.
    [he had 2 sleepers to his name at birth]

    The girls have done so well with having a new baby in the house.
    I keep expecting a storm to come, and so far, it’s been sunshine.
    Sure, we still have the normal kid stuff, but amazingly it’s not been because of baby.
    I’m so thankful to God, because it sure makes my adjustments a lot easier too.
    Little Man still likes to eat often during the night, so I’m feeling the exhaustion of 6 weeks with not much sleep.
    Hopefully soon he’ll decide to sleep through the night. :)

    Little people are waking up from their naps and are hungry.
    Is there ever a time when little people are NOT hungry??
    I think they must all be having growth spurts around here,
    “I’m hungry” is heard scores of times each day.
    I thinking of setting [good, healthy, filling, get-it-yourself] snacks on the table at all hours!

    Happy Beginning of Summer!

    ~ clarita



  • and she’s married!


    It was a perfect June day.
    She was a radiant, gorgeous bride.
    He was a dashing, handsome groom.
    Their entire wedding day was a worship service to the Lord.
    It was just beautiful in every way!

    Kenny & Ervina - resized 

    [the four sisters]




  • I’m Thinking of a Wedding…


    … that will be in exactly one week from now, in lovely Pennsylvania.

    It’s my second sister’s wedding!

    I’m beyond excited.
    We leave tomorrow to spend some time with the family before the wedding.
    And to help as much as possible, of course.

    Without giving away too many secretive details,
    it’s going to be a church ceremony and garden reception.
    The evening reception is what I’m dreaming of ~ the candles, the magical lighting at dusk,
    the festive celebration of the Two becoming One.
    Such a beautiful mystery, and even more amazing to be able to represent a much greater Picture,
    that of Christ and His bride.

    I think weddings are a foretaste of Heaven.
    The forever of a marriage.
    The celebration and excitement.

    Zoe and Olivia will be flower girls once again, and they are thrilled.
    This time they know what to expect, and they are rather proud of their little role. :)

    They’ll be wearing this.


    Ervina, the bride, is as sweet as ever a woman could be. I adore her.
    She’s thoughtful and sentimental, which I love about her.
    Her Christmas gift to me was this:

    ervina 004  ervina 007

    ervina 009   


    Is that not the sweetest, most creative idea? 

    I was ever so delighted to accept!

    The bridesmaids will each be wearing something different. I think that makes it so fun and unique.
    The only stipulation was “lace and ivory/cream/blush colors.”

    There were quite a few lovely lovely dreses to be found.
    Namely, Downeast Basics [shown first] and Shabby Apple.

    The following is a bit of fashion eye candy to me…

    MAY12_laceyafternoon2_amberlight7612 APR12_timepiece_pastelrose2560 MAY12_forsyth_cream2556

     1420 1293 837  

    I bought from neither, but received inspiration from both stores and [said nervously] made my dress.
    [from a goodwill sheet and yards of lace from a junk shop, she whispers with a red face.
    husband was so embarassed, "we're not that poor, he said."]
    My dress is a combination of the two center dresses.

    My belt arrived just today, not day to lose, before leaving the next morning early.
    And I ordered both, because I wasn’t sure which one would look the best.
    The other will be given as a gift, I suppose!


    Triple Flower Belt 

    And shoes! We’re to wear flats, of whatever we like. Colorful or not. I’m going with a nuetral look.
    But oh, just look at the parade of shoes available!

    [target and payless online]

    targetrhinestone ballet 
    jewel ballet glitter ballet flats
     crocheted ballet 
    [these also came in a nude color, i think they're lovely]   

    I’m been making some of these as well…

    2012-05-31 Ervina's pillows 

    And little Hudson needed a shirt f.or the wedding
    Whoever said you can’t dress boys cute? I’m having loads of fun.
    Well, he’s only been out of a sleeper once, but still. :)

    ervina 016 

    Have a lovely weekend, this first of June!

    ~ clarita


  • Olivia is Three!

    Somehow Olivia and exclamation points go very well together.
    Her personality is so wide open and energetic I feel that I should end every sentence describing her in exclamations. :)

    But almost two weeks ago my little girl turned THREE!
    I find it hard to believe. She’s just a little girl, and how can one grow so fast?
    I wanted her to stay two forever.
    Yes, it has been our most challenging age with her, but oh goodness,
    THE most wonderful stage so far too.
    How one little person can be so completely exasperating and so completely adorable at the same time is beyond me.

    She doesn’t need much sleep. Even as an infant, she’d hardly sleep.
    She fights bedtime, and tries to find multiple excuses to put it off.
    On the 5th time out of bed, when we’re fit to be tied, she’ll say, “Oh, I fuh-got to give you a HUG!!”
    and how can a parent resist a kiss on each cheek and a tight little squeeze about the neck?
    For all her energy, she sure is a snuggler and a cuddler. I love it.

    // birth site, in a car  //


    She’s the one that gives us near panic-attacks as we see her carrying two-week old Hudson from one end of the house to the other,
    all across hardwoods, holding him around the neck so tightly he probably didn’t breathe the entire time.
    This is not allowed. But she’s “sooo bigger!” since the baby’s born, she thinks.

    She has a lisp that I hope she doesn’t outgrow for a long time.
    “I want to go to da pa-wick [park] an’ fwing on da fwings.”
    “Him weft him toys he-ah!”
    “Him wike him daddy.”
    “Wook! I have two ones!” [look, i have two ones; meaning, i have two]
    “Can you help me, Mom? I can’t hawd-wy do dis.”
    “Mom, the baby cwying! Him ‘CREAMIN’!”
    to the baby: ‘Hi, fweet-ha-weet!”

    She says things like “dand-aid” for bandaid
    and “bi-puh” for diaper
    and other little words that now the whole family says.
    I told Ben the other day that by the time our kids leave home
    WE – not the kids – will have no proper grammer left!
    And he said with a grin, “Dat okay.” :)

    // two weeks //



    // one year //

    Olivia - age 1 edited 3

    // two years //

    Claudia's pics, July 2010 154

    Ellerslie, Colorado 075

    Of Birthdays and Cake Pops 056Ohio Vacation! 064

    [this picture by c. smucker photography]

    From Olivia’s sommersaults in the womb just days before birth
    to her 50 hours of labor
    to her carbirth
    to her first birthday being spent at the doctor and hospital lab
    to her fiesty spunk in standing up to perfectionist older sister
    to her wild imagination [i.e. making mommies and daddies from her fork and spoon]
    to her infectious giggle
    to her gorgeous dimples
    to her long blonde hair…

    She has been a small form of the energizer bunny.
    She’s brought sunshine and laughter in wonderful degrees.
    She’s brought us to our knees in prayer countless times.
    ["I not wike angels!" after being told they watch over her at night so she won't have to be afraid.]
    She melts me in a puddle.
    She’s come from her bedroom before, saying, “I was pwaying to Jesus, Mommy.”
    She is a gift from the heart of God, and I am so humbled by His entrusting us with her.

    She is a witty one.
    When I was combing her tangly hair one morning:
    “Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Oh, Lord Jesus, COME!”

    When at breakfast one morning, Ben handed her a biscotti,
    she burst into song, “Bless the Lord, oh my soul!”

    Witty little comments come out of her tiny little mouth all the time.
    Her mother wishes she would’ve been given that gift as well. :)

    She is Little Drama Girl.
    If I forgot to give her vitamins in the morning, she’ll come to me later with a dramatic GASP, huge eyes,
    and in a tone of voice that says the sky is falling says, “You begot to give me VI-MINS!”
    Gasps and “sky-is-falling” voice is every-day common.
    I wonder how much time I spend laughing at her each day.

    // birthday girl at church this year //

    hudson. olivia at 3 125

    hudson. olivia at 3 137 

    Dear Sweet Girl, may you continue to be a messenger of peace and joy, as your name means.
    And may you fulfill all of God’s plans for you.
    And most of all, may you learn to love the Lord Jesus with all your heart…
    We love you with all of ours…

    My in-laws were so sweet on Olivia’s birthday.
    Our little family has had the tradition of doing something special together on birthday day, rather than big parties.
    But since Hudson was only two weeks old, and I wasn’t quite up to a day away,
    my mother-in-law and sister-in-law offered to help me out.
    Sonya made a darling little cake,
    the party was at Mama Yoder’s house with cousins,
    and I picked up a few little party supplies.

    hudson. olivia at 3 157

    THREE! She practiced long and hard before the birthday to be able to do this.

    hudson. olivia at 3 164

    We call her our little monkey, so hence the monkey blow things. :)

    hudson. olivia at 3 143 hudson. olivia at 3 167

    hudson. olivia at 3 181

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    Happy birthday, Lovies!

    A Day Off 016




  • The Sweetness that is Baby Hudson.



    It’s been a happy blur the past 10 days.
    A happy, sleepless blur, might I add. :)

    Thank you so much for all the congratulations and happy wishes!
    It really is so humbling to have so many people so excited with us!

    Today is the first day I’m on my own.
    My dear mother came when Hudson was 4 days old and stayed until this morning.
    I have no idea what I would have done without her.
    She ran the household, took care of the girls, and basically did everything but feed the baby so I could sleep during the day.
    She was amazing.
    My father came for two days, my sister surprised me for two days,
    and another sister who now lives in Georgia came for two days!

    And today, I’m back to being full-time mommy.
    To THREE children.
    The number really sounds bigger than it feels.
    It’s still just Zoe’ and Olivia, plus a baby.
    A sweet,   precious, darling, kissable, handsome little boy.
    We are smitten!

    So while Olivia and Hudson are both down for naps, I’ll try to type as fast as I can…

    Hudson smiled at me for the first time on Monday, at 8 days old.
    I was the first one he smiled at.
    I melted.
    I told Ben right away,
    “Your son smiled at me…..” and he knew I was in love. :)

    This newborn baby stage… oh goodness, how I love it.
    Yes, he eats every two hours day and night, and I’ve slept so much during the day to make up for it.
    Yes, I’m going to be tired.
    But no, I don’t mind getting up with him.
    I couldn’t do this for the rest of my life, but for a season? Yes.
    And oh goodness, who knew one would have to use such self-protection
    while doing something as simple as changing a diaper? Wow. I’ve learned fast.
    It really is a privilege to care for this precious little treasure.
    He came straight from heaven, I just know it.

    I forgot how much I adore my little newborn babies.
    I like other people’s babies, but I’m not one that has to hold them for hours after church.
    But with mine? Well, I’m head-over-heels.
    By the time Hudson was 3 days old I had a kink in my neck from looking down at him in my arms so often. :)
    Now that mom is gone I won’t be able to just sit around holding him, while everyone else does my work!
    I think mom spoiled me. :)

    I’ve been reading in the epistles the past few weeks, and read just the other morning about younger women,
    how God wants them to “love their husbands, and love their children…” among other things.
    And even though I know it’ll take some time for me to find a new sort of normal for us again,
    I was so encouraged by the thought that this is God’s plan for me.
    Simple as that – to love my husband, and to love my children.
    And if that is God’s plan, then He will equip and strengthen me each day, each moment.

    With all the bustling around preparing for Hudson’s arrival, I now have no choice but to sloooooooow down.
    Slow way down.
    And even if I get nothing done in a day for the first little while except making sure no one goes hungry, that’s okay.

    I read a quote by Teresa of Avila yesterday, that will be referred back to often in these next few weeks:

    God is not so much concerned
    with the
    greatness of one’s work
    as the
    love with which it is done.”

    That is my challenge in these weeks of recovery, of finding a new routine, of Hudson joining us.
    To do it all in love, to remain restful and strengthened by God. 

    But a little BOY!
    I think we are still is disbelief that we have a little BOY in our family. :)
    Even though we were thinking boy, to have it be reality is so amazing!

    Ben is already planning a move out to the country. No more city life, he says.
    A boy needs a creek, and woods, and wide open places to play ball.
    Goodness, I had hoped to stay here for a decade, at least. :)
    He’s only half-joking…

    Me? Apart from being madly in love with this little man,
    (whoever knew you could be madly in love with two men?)
    I find myself quite in a quandary about what to even call him, as someone commented in the last post!
    I always called my girls such sweet names, but rather girl-ish names.
    And now, calling him “Hudson” sounds far too grown-up.
    Zoe’ is still “Sweetie” most of the time.
    Olivia is still “Lovies” and even refers to herself as that.
    So what names for the little man?
    Little Man? That’s what we’ve been calling him.
    Mothers with boys – any suggestions?!
    My husband is quite adamant that we do not make him a pansy. :)

    Okay, Little Man is starting to wake… and I hear a bedroom door open of the other napper.
    Oops, off to change bedding and clothing of Lovies. She must have slept harder than usual.
    This will obvious be a post written in segments. :)

    A Bit of Talk about Labor. :)

    // Day 11 overdue, on a walk to bring on labor!
    the nurse commented, surprised, that i was rather dressed up.
    i didn’t think i was, but i also don’t like a frumpy t-shirt look either.
    i responded that when you’re THIS overdue, you must keep moral high :)
    plus, i was expecting a hot date after my appointment. //

    Benjamin Hudson 011

    i was larger this pregnancy than with the other two.
    by the end i had about 5 shirts that still fit okay. :)

    Benjamin Hudson 013

    My labor was something I was honestly dreading.
    I’ve had difficult labors.
    My first one was 16 hours of contractions 5 minutes apart and closer.
    My second was 50 hours, 5 minutes apart and closer.
    It took me what seemed like forever to dilate, and with great pain.
    I didn’t know what to expect this time, but I prayed often.
    “God, be bigger than my fears. BE BIGGER.”

    And this labor? Honestly, it felt like a miracle labor.
    I never, ever dreamt it could be as it was.

    The Story, for those of you that care about labor & delivery. :)

    On Day 11 Overdue I had a midwife appointment.
    Because of being so late, I had to go every 2 days for a non-stress test and just make sure all was well.
    They had told me to pack my bags and take them each time in case I’d have to stay,
    and I almost didn’t. There were no signs of labor at all. None.

    I had started answering my phone,
    “Nope. No baby. No labor. No contractions.” :)
    to my family’s frequent calls wondering WHEN Baby would ever come.

    But I packed my bags and Ben went with me to Savannah, just in case I’d need to stay.
    The testing went well, Baby was doing great, I had a few contractions – but I’ve had mild ones for weeks.
    After the checkup, the midwife asked if I’d want to try some things to try to bring on labor.

    Of course, I said, “No, let’s just wait a few days and see what happens.”
    By Day 11, are you even joking, I was wildly rejoicing even at the thought of labor.
    But because I had no signs of labor, I really didn’t expect anything to happen.
    But worth trying? Sure, might as well.

    So, at 3pm, already dilated to 3cm on my own
    (who wouldn’t with a baby’s head parked way low at 42 weeks?)
    I was started with a few natural inductions things, homeopathic tablets and walking among them.

    The contractions started up with what I was given and doing,
    and I was organizing pictures on our laptop,
    walking a beautiful sidewalk trail with Ben,
    and generally feeling quite well.
    I could definitely feel the contractions, and had to breathe through them,
    but they didn’t hurt.
    It’s a bit hard to explain, because I could tell they were getting harder,
    but the pain didn’t accompany it.

    I kept telling the midwife,
    I don’t think this is the real thing, it’s not painful!!”
    and I fully expected the contractions to stop anytime.
    Husband and I felt like we were on a date as we were walking!
    It was CRAZY!
    Of course, the date was interrupted by contractions every 2 minutes, but still…

    At that point, even if labor had stopped, I was not permitted to leave Savannah.
    The midwives didn’t want a car-birth repeat.
    So we kept doing some natural things, to keep labor going if possible.

    By 9pm, after walking an hour and a half, we returned to the birth center.
    I was dilated to 7cm.
    And I was in disbelief.
    I kept protesting to the midwife, “This is going to stop! I don’t think it’s real!”
    And she would just laugh at me, saying no one has ever complained about labor being good!

    Soon after 9pm, my water broke, and the contractions picked up to a whole new level.
    One of the delivery nurses said she had never seen so much fluid, ever.
    I really think that all the fluid I had must have cushioned the contractions,
    because after it broke I was in immediate pain.

    [this is rather making me nervous, all this labor talk on my blog. yikes.]

    I was fully dilated almost right away, and the next two hours were alternating pushing and breathing through contractions.
    I finally realized that the baby was stuck.
    Olivia, though a car birth, was the easiest delivery.
    Hudson was by far the easiest labor, but the hardest delivery.

    Hudson was born at five minutes past 11pm.
    He was absolutely perfect.
    His daddy and I both sobbed upon his arrival, and upon hearing, “It’s a BOY!!”

    We’ve done it both ways, finding out gender, and not finding out gender.
    And let me say, that moment of birth and not knowing is unlike any other.
    So often I wondered why we had chosen to wait when it’s so easy to find out.
    At that moment, I was so glad we waited.

    Hudson had some bruising on his cheeks, nose, and eyes after birth.
    He had indeed been stuck.
    His head was 14.5 inches around – a full 2 inches larger than Olivia’s, and almost 2 pounds bigger.
    Zoe’s head was exactly the same as Hudson’s.
    Until comparing my three babies and their deliveries, I had no idea that head size is so very crucial.
    They say the baby’s size comes from the father, so, thanks Husband.  :)

    And that was Hudson’s birth experience.
    I say the labor was unbelievably wonderful.
    Those stories that labor doesn’t hurt? That I always laughed at and thought it was all a joke? They really are true.

    And I say the delivery was unbelievably hard.
    Those stories where the woman feels like she can’t do it? That she’s near death? They really are true.

    But overall, I feel incredibly, incredibly blessed by God’s mercy.
    It really was amazing – 7 hours of labor, after 16 abd 50? I feel so very blessed.

    A few more pictures, and then I’ll end this post-that-became-way-too-long…

    // first pictures after birth //

    Ben and his first son, named after him.

    BENJAMIN, named after my husband Benjamin, means “Beloved Son.”
    HUDSON, named after the great missionary to China, Hudson Taylor, means “God’s Heir.”

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    This chubby little goodness belongs to US! How are we ever so privileged?

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    One of the wonderful delivery nurses.

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    Little details…

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    newborn physical supplies, and luxury lotion I took along for after the birth…

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    First look of the sisters!
    The picture quality is poor, but the look on their faces is priceless!

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    First picture as a family of five!

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    The grandfathers… Ben’s dad, and my dad. This is the first grandson for my dad!

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    My parents and the first meeting.

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    I love baby yawns…

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    My parents with their grandchildren. Notice Zoe’s admiring gaze at her little brother.
    Overheard recently, “Mommy, can people marry brothers?” :)

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    My sister Ervina, who surprised me a month before her wedding!

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    Ben’s sister Laurie, who so kindly helped us for a day.

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    The baby’s bed must be perfect, Zoe thinks, and that means a doll pillow and a little animal.

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    Big Sister Love.
    The girls have done so very well with having a new little person in the family.
    I wasn’t sure what to expect, but thought we’d have some rough times.
    Almost two weeks later, they are both still adoring their little brother.

    Olivia was floating on air the first two days, and we could hardly even speak with her, she was so over-the-top excited.
    She chattered non-stop, and touched him constantly, and kissed him incessantly.
    “Him soooo cute, mom.”
    “Wook at him widdle hands, mom. Him so tiny.”
    “I fink him wikes me, mommy.”
    Oh, she’s precious with him.

    Zoe on the other hand, is equally as thrilled, but expresses it in more quiet ways.
    She sits and holds him for long periods of time, unlike Olivia’s 5-second wonders.
    She makes sure he has his paccy, and that his bed is perfectly arranged, and takes it all in with big eyes.
    And if I ask one of them to get something for me, I better make sure I have TWO jobs.
    Who knew there would be fights over who gets to help mommy with the baby?

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    They both fell asleep here, it was so precious. 

    Hudson & Zoe

    Hudson - day 4

    And so ends this long and rambly post, written at many different intervals. :)

    from the tired but happy mama…

    ~ clarita