Daily Reads

2.29.2012

Did you happen to read this post by Kelle at enjoying the small things? So many of the things she writes about strike a chord with me. This post - about celebrating with friends as they welcome new life - has me smiling through tears. (Again! That happens a lot when I read her blog!) 

My family is expectantly awaiting some new additions. My brother and his wife are due to have a daughter in June. It's a joyful time. We just can't wait to cover that little girl in kisses! But there is pain too. We are still grieving the loss of their first daughter, Maggie, last May and a miscarriage in July. My sister and her husband are expecting too. They are completing the process of becoming foster parents, with the intention of adopting the children who come into their home. More cause for excitement and happiness, but it is bittersweet too. I believe that God has a plan to bring just the right children into their family, but we know that these little ones will likely come from a past filled with pain and brokenness. 

There will be heartache along with happiness.

There will be many more tears along the way for my brother and his wife, for my sister and her husband, and for all of us, as we support them on their journeys. Kelle's post reminded me of how important it is to be there. To be the village that helps raise a child and support the parents. Her post reminded me, above all, to celebrate. Because, although it is never easy, every little one is so very precious. She writes:

"Having a baby is a life-changing, soul-stretching, glorious occassion, and if there's one opportunity to deepen a friendship, it's rallying to celebrate the miracle of birth, the triumph of adoption, the undeniable fact that having your heart stretched with love for a new child is a very, very big deal.

Someday, several years from now, my friends and I will gather for coffee, and we'll talk about our kids' college applications. How much car insurance costs for teenagers. How we love our daughter's boyfriend (Oh God, I hope). But we'll remember that the depth of our cherished friendships began when we showed up long ago. When we held out our arms to hold eachothers' babies for the very first time. When we made mothering an infant seem a little less isolating because we stopped by, we brought meals, we rocked and kissed those newborns and we celebrated.

Because it takes a village."


Stephen, Joy, Vanessa, Grant - we love you and we already love your children, too.
xoxo

2.27.2012

Signs of spring


Every year around this time I get a pretty serious case of spring fever. 
It manifests in a variety of ways: 

Obsessively scouring the ground for the first crocuses. 
(I know they're not going to show up until the middle of March. Still, I look.) 

Filling the house with flowers and green living things - this year that includes our own greenhouse. 
(Cilantro, basil, rosemary, and tomato sprouts.)

Also, Easter candy. Lots and lots of Easter candy.

And trying on all my favorite summer sandals. 
Just to remember what it feels like to bare my toes.

In the meantime, even if we have to bundle up I will wear bright pink lipstick.
(Michael's pointing to a picture of a cow here. 
Seem's he is also anxious to get outside and get closer to nature.)

We will play in the sun, even if it's indoor sun...

...and we'll pour our energies into the important things. 
Like learning to wink.

Hope your week is off to a fantastic start!
xoxo

2.24.2012

Rooms I love

I want to put on my best pair of sweatpants, take a hot cup of coffee and spend a sunny afternoon daydreaming in this room.
It is just perfect.
 via

2.23.2012

In honor of the upcoming Academy Awards, a couple of infographics. These (from Vulture) made me laugh:

See the rest of the slideshow here.

We went out to play

I know it's blurry, but I love this picture. 

He has done a lot of this in the last couple weeks - walking around our little condo, pushing his car and smiling proudly, his valentine balloon bobbing along. There's not much space but he has a great time. 

I've been dying to take him outside and turn him loose in the fresh air, and yesterday we had our chance. It was even better than I thought it would be.

He took off with a big grin and didn't look back.

He noticed everything. Pinecones, leaves, the wind in the trees. 
He showed it all to me, pointing with his tiny little finger.

After a little while he got tired and started to sag a little bit.
I offered him short rides on his car, and he accepted grudgingly. He seemed to think that rides on the car are for sissies, and real babies stand up and push the car.

I still can't believe how cool this kid is.
I've never had so much fun going out to play.

2.22.2012

Is there anything happier than this song?
Feels just right for this sunny morning :)

2.21.2012

This morning

...I'm having a hard time finding the motivation to get things done. The long weekend is behind us, I am without a car today and we'll be staying put, so nothing seems too urgent. While Michael naps I'm having a second cup of coffee, catching up on some blog reading, and reveling in all the inspiration.

I'm a big fan of Hip Paris. These two recent posts (Kid-friendly travel and What to do with one month in Paris) have me longing to get back to the City of Light. (We don't have a trip planned, but I have already spent way too much time picking out which apartment we will rent from Haven in Paris.)

And, speaking of Paris, check out these adorable party animals that Jordan made for her son's birthday celebration. Just too cute!

And, speaking of birthday celebrations, it's only 52 days until Michael's first birthday party! (I may or may not have downloaded a countdown app just for this occasion.) I'm working on making one of these for him to wear on his special day. Spiffy, but not too spiffy to get cake and frosting all over it :)

And, speaking of special days, this post by Kelle made my heart swell. I just love how all of her posts are woven from beauty and sincerity. Every one of them is pure goodness.

And, speaking of goodness, here are a few pictures from our long weekend. 
Michael and I had lunch with a friend on Friday and then we took a walk outside. 
It was cold, but he didn't mind.
Wrestling with his Daddy and Mozart.
Who's stalking who?
After church and an afternoon with our small group we went to the market 
and stocked up on lots of yummy food...
...which I dipped in chocolate.
My favorite shot of the weekend.
These guys love their music :)

I hope your week is off to a fantastic start! xoxo

2.20.2012

Rooms I love

I love this library/dining room combo. 
It's beautiful as a sunny workspace, but wouldn't it be magical all lit up for entertaining at night? 

2.17.2012

Fill in the blank Friday


Happy Friday! I can't wait to spend the long weekend having fun with my guys. We don't have anything planned except eating, relaxing, and playing. What a treat! Today I'm linking up with The Little Things We Do for Fill in the Blank Friday - click the link to play along!

         1.  The love of my life is  Tim - God's great gift to me :)

2.   Falling in love is  easy when you've found the right one! Staying in love takes work, but as far as I can tell if you work at it, it just keeps getting better with time.

3.  Marriage is  all about being a team - supporting and serving each other, respecting each others' feelings, setting goals together, working together, giving each other a break, and having fun together.

4. The longest relationship I've ever had was   13 years with Tim! (Fourteen and a half if you count the friendship that came before the relationship.)

5. The key to a good relationship is   being Christ-like. And seeing the best in each other!

           6. I feel loved when Tim tells me he's proud of me :)



7.  My favorite quote about love is   from a book called Gilead by Marilynne Robinson: "Love is holy because it is like grace - the worthiness of its object is never really what matters."


2.16.2012

10 months old

The months keep getting more fun with this little guy. His world sort of exploded (in a good way) in the last month. He started blowing kisses, pointing, clapping, and cheering (specifically, he started cheering for waffles and his Dad coming home from work). He gives sweet hugs and kisses to us, and he is friendly with friends and strangers too. He's really verbal, which is a kick. He hums and chatters while he plays, while he eats, and when he is going to sleep. And the other day when Tim walked in the door for lunch Michael put one hand in the air and with a straight face yelled "Da-da!" (think "Norm!" from Cheers). He's making new expressions all the time, which keeps us laughing :)
He has four teeth now (two on bottom, and two on top), he wears 12 month clothes and size 4 shoes. He has started eating a lot more lately! He loves bananas, berries, cheerios, mozzarella cheese, waffles, steamed carrots, scrambled eggs, and yogurt. And drinking out of our glasses. He's still nursing about four times during the day and usually once during the night. He sleeps about 11 hours at night and takes two naps during the day totaling about 3 hours. A few times he has stood up from a squatting position. He cruises pretty quickly when he's holding on to furniture, but he still prefers crawling as it is the quickest way to travel.

His favorite things are baths, being naked, reading books, walking with his new push-car, taking Ella outside, Bible class, playing with Ella, wrestling with his Daddy, listening to music with his Daddy, being chased and tickled, having his back scratched, having his legs and feet massaged, and Sesame Street. He's still not a fan of the carseat or having his diaper changed, or any other form of having to be still (as you can see in the first photo - he's humoring his Mama, but he can't wait to get out of that chair).

Happy 10 months, Michael! 
We love you more and more with every day that goes by.
xoxo 

2.15.2012

"Are you ready to go to the store, baby?"

I chatter with Michael as we get ready to go run our errands. I hold him on my hip. I push all of the carseat straps out of the way and straighten out his clothes so there won't be any uncomfortable bunching during the ride. He listens intently, smiles sweetly. He pats my face. What an angel. 

I lift him into the Jeep, bending him at the waist so as not to bump his head or entangle his feet in the seatbelt. I gently lower him into he carseat and...he arches his back and howls like there's a fire under his bottom. 

His hat slides down over his face and his jacket twists around him. He marches in place for a moment and the carseat straps end up right where he is going to be sitting. I keep my cool. I tell him it's time to buckle up because we have to be safe while we're in the car. I manage to pry the straps out from under him and fold him at the hips to sit him down in his seat but in the struggle he ends up sitting crooked in the chair. 

Now he goes limp. He is 18+ pounds of completely dead weight as I try to position him correctly in the chair. As I put one of his arms through the strap he leans forward, and with the free hand he un-velcros and removes one of his shoes. I tell him we have to leave our shoes on because it's cold outside. I put the shoe back on and he has gotten his arm back out of the strap. I can't decide if it's more funny or infuriating and I laugh through gritted teeth.

I manage to get both straps over his shoulders but they are too tight to snap. That's because in the melee they have become twisted. Michael clamps his mouth shut and makes sounds like a threatened cat. I untwist the straps and snap them in place.

He sneezes and an outrageous amount of snot gets all over him and the carseat straps. I reach into the front seat for a wipe and when I turn around he has again removed his shoe. I clean up the snot, put the shoe back on, finish buckling him in, and apologize for torturing him in this grizzly manner. I give him his sippy cup and a toy. He promptly throws both of them out of the carseat. The sippy cup lands on the ground in a puddle of I-don't-know-what. I bend down to pick it up and when I stand up I whack my head on the open car door.

At this point I really need to take a deep breath and calm down. I'm sure I must look like a crazy woman. My face is contorted with a mix of anger, laughter, pain, and frustration. I'm talking out loud to myself as I close Michael's door and turn to walk around to my side.

And that's when I see my neighbor sitting in her car watching us and laughing. 
We've been at it for about ten minutes and she has been watching the whole time. 
True story.

~linking up with Monday Mom Musings~

2.14.2012

Valentine's Day

I got up and made waffles with berries for my valentines this morning. 
Michael really liked it. I've never seen him eat so much!
He actually cheered with his hands in the air at one point.
That look in his eyes! It cracks me up! And makes me nervous.

I got a little crafty this year. 
The cards in the stores didn't seem special enough for my guys,
so I made my own (saw both ideas on Pinterest). 
For Tim...
...and for Mikey :)
And I whipped up some of these for later! 
We're staying in and getting Thai food from our favorite place tonight.
Sounds perfect to me :) 
Happy Valentine's day!! - xoxo

2.13.2012

Rites of motherhood (and a date with my love)

From the moment Michael was born I loved him with all my heart and knew he was mine, but it was a while until I started to feel like a real mom. I had enjoyed all of the wonderful, beautiful parts of motherhood - giving birth, feeding my baby, seeing his smile, holding him and breathing his sweet smell, talking with him and singing to him - but I knew there was another side to this motherhood thing.

Then, when he was six weeks old he had a medical procedure - nothing serious but it was painful and scary. I had to swallow my own tears and hold him as he went through the pain and then do my best to comfort him. In the car on the way home I cried and thought, "I'm a real mom now." A few weeks later I woke up in the middle of the night with a stomach bug. Between trips to the bathroom I would nurse my eight week old and try to rest. I was laying on the bathroom floor when I realized that the day would start as usual in just a few hours - nurse, change, play, nurse, nap, repeat - regardless of how I felt. Again I thought, "This is real motherhood." In a weird way I felt proud. I was joining the ranks of all the mothers who had gone before me. 

I had another one of those experiences this weekend (the circumstances were a lot more pleasant, though!) For the first time we left Michael with someone who was not my Mom or my sister and went on a date. I'm blessed to be able to stay home with him full-time, and leaving him in someone else's care has been surprisingly hard for me. As I was getting ready for our date I had a flashback to one of the families I would babysit for as a teenager. Just before the parents would leave, the mom would come out of her room looking and smelling pretty. Her three kids would gather around her to say goodnight. She smiled brightly giving hugs and last minute instructions, and when she got to the baby she would kiss the back of his hand and her lipstick would leave a kiss for him to look at. I've never forgotten the way that baby would smile proudly and look at his mama's kiss on his hand. He was so young, and I was so young, and she was leaving her kids with me!? How must she have felt about that? And how did I become the mom who is leaving her baby with a babysitter?! "I'm becoming a real mom now."

I packed his favorite books and snacks into a bag, kissed him and smiled as I left him with our (wonderful, capable, awesome) friends. I cried a little in the car. Just for a minute. Then my husband put his hand on my arm and told me it would be okay. Through my tears I saw his smile and I knew he was right. And we had an amazing time together! 

I know there will be so many more of these challenges along the way. 
But I'm taking them one day at a time.
Michael takes his baby steps and I take mine :)


My handsome date :)
We even had time for coffee and dessert!
And Michael did great! 
He played the whole time and didn't cry at all (until we walked in the door). 
Then he passed out cold on the way home :)

Rooms I love

If Paris was a kitchen I believe it would look something like this....

2.11.2012

Truckin'

Michael and his new wheels :) He just took right off and hasn't stopped since.
(Tim added the genius soundtrack.)
video

2.10.2012

Fill in the blank Friday

Good morning and happy Fill in the Blank Friday!! 

1.  I started my blog because   I wanted a quiet place to focus on things that were beautiful, holy, and praiseworthy. I knew it would be good to put my thoughts and feelings down sometimes, but I also wanted to collect photos and images that were inspiring to me. In my mind all of that goes together - they are all things that add beauty and quality to my life, and hopefully to the lives of people who read along!


2.   One thing I love seeing on other blogs   are glimpses into other people's lives - specifically other moms of young children. If you're reading good blogs it's both reassuring (I'm not the only one who let my son wear pjs all day today! I'm not the only one who feels like my house is falling apart sometimes!) and inspiring (I never thought about it that way! How creative!)

3.  Something I love about blogging   is that it's available to everyone - both reading and writing! 


4. A favorite blog post of mine is probably   Michael's birth story. It doesn't do justice to the awesome experience of bringing my son into the world, but it brings back such sweet memories and emotions! I've never been so thankful, happy, in love, relieved, or as proud as I was on that day. (A few other, random posts I like: this one, this one, and this one.)

5. Something my friends in real life know about me that I've never before mentioned on my blog is   that I'm a physical therapist. I don't know if I've ever mentioned that on the blog!?

6.  My new favorite blogs to read are    rockstar diaries, and enjoying the small things. I realize these blogs are well-known and hugely popular, but they are new to me and I'm loving them!

7.  Some things I tend to avoid doing on my blog are   being political, and ranting about negative things. Neither of those fits my number one criteria of adding beauty to life ;)

Happy weekend!! xoxo

2.09.2012

Pinspiration

Are you on Pinterest? I am (find me here), and it has been a huge source of inspiration and fun! I love trying out the recipes and DIY projects that I pin. Some turn out to be a disappointment (like this cake), and others make me wonder how I ever lived without them! (Like this recipe for cilantro lime chicken - it is fantastic, and easy! The chicken cooks in the crock pot for six hours, then we serve it with black beans and spanish rice, and it is so, so good.) So, rather than keep them to myself, I'll be sharing some of my 'prize pins' here from time to time. 

Today I found one of my favorite pins, to date - ABC scripture cards. This one got me excited because although Michael and I read from a Bible story book every day, I am excited for him to learn real scriptures and not just the stories. This project is great, even for a very little one. There is one short scripture for each letter of the alphabet in an attractive, colorful template. 

I started by printing the scriptures onto cardstock, then laminated each page. 
Next, I trimmed the edges and cut apart the scriptures. I punched a hole in each one and put them on a ring. Easy as pie, and it took under an hour (counting the time I spent chasing my rug-rat around and pulling him down off of various furniture).
And it includes a bit of encouragement for the card-reader, too.
Now the fun part - sharing the words of life with my sweet baby :)

~linking up with Jellibean Journals~