Monday, January 31, 2011

The H & H weekly #1

He thinks that covering his eyes means he is hiding and no longer responsible for obeying his parents. He also liked how his baby sister held his hand today.
She has the most divine little nose and snores the world’s sweetest snores.

one week.

Much of the last week of my life has been spent like this and I have no complaints.  I can’t believe she’s finally here.  Of course, she’s even better than I imagined.  Some moments I look around at my little family of four and I become lost in the richness and blessing of this life.
We first laid eyes on her last Monday evening after what I consider to be a great c-section experience.  Unlike, everything leading up to the decision to have another c-section, it went smoothly and I even talked to the nurses and staff throughout the whole thing.  It sure didn’t feel like we were in surgery, but surrounded by a great group of kind people who were taking care of my and my baby.  Prior to confirming our decision to go that direction, the details were frustrating and nothing seemed to be going the way we thought it might.  I believe that everything played out this way for a reason and when that undeniable peace came, I knew everything would be fine.
And when Matt held up his hands through the glass to announce her weight of 10 pounds 3 oz, I knew we made the right decision all over again.
Within minutes of leaving the operating room, Matt and h joined me in our room and we were never separated again.  I really appreciated the way the staff placed importance on you being with your baby and working to accommodate that rather than the opposite.  With H, it was almost three hours before they brought him to my room and there was absolutely nothing wrong with him, I hated that.  But this experience, minus one major disagreement with a nurse who lives and breathes the American Pediatric Association laws, we were surrounded by kind, friendly, and helpful individuals during our entire stay.
And here we are a week later, my little lady is snuggled up on my chest, which is her absolute favorite spot to be.  I’m in love.  She’s beautiful and healthy and melting our hearts daily.  She is a great sleeper, at night I often have to wake her for feedings, I hope hope hope this is a sign of things to come.  She’s content and peaceful, except when she’s hungry (kind of like mommy).  Her brother is warming up to her more and more each day and it’s so fun to see him interact with her.  She is his baby, “bebe,” and he’s so  interested in her, while still unsure.  I would say he’s handling the change decently well, minus some acting out here and there.  And in this past week, he seems so grown up, I’m at a lost for words, wondering where my little baby boy went.  I tell him many times a day that he’s my baby too and even though he’s a big boy now, that will never change.
The actual physical recovery has been harder due to the demands of being a mommy of 2. I mean, you never realize how many times a day you reach down to pick something up, until you can’t.  But I’m trying to take it easy and the husband has been a superstar when he’s home, I’d be lost without him.  And thank the Lord for drugs, they are nice too.
At least three times a day, Matt and I look at each other and say, we have two kids, wow.
My cup runneth over.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

always a camera and coffee…

Why hello, blog and friends.  I’m coming back soon.  I have stories, so many stories, plus pictures galore of endless newborn loveliness.

Things are all a bit blurry, and crazy, but honestly, this is the good stuff, these moments, and there’s always a camera and coffee nearby.

So for now, I give you a preview…IMG_6414


life is sweet.


one tired mama

Thursday, January 27, 2011

family of four.

And now, please direct your attention to the right side of this blog, as you note the new addition to our family photos.   A family of four, that’s us. love.

My heart is very ooey-gooey, newborn mushy these days, I’m sure you’ll understand… We came home tonight from the hospital and I couldn’t wait any longer to add the little sweets to the blog.  Oh, the things that excite me. 

Good night to all.  I’ll sleep again one day.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

why hello, lovely.

 she couldn't be more amazing.
10 lbs. 3 oz., 22 inches

We're quite smitten, although the jury is still out on what big brother thinks.  

More to come soon... there is sleep to be lost and more gazing at our little lovely.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Dear baby boy

To my dearest little boy,
As you are sleeping quietly in your bed, the house is clean and still, and sounds of Explosions in the Sky softly fill the room, I begin to write you another letter.  I’ve been writing to you since before you were born, since the day we found out that you would be coming into our lives.  These letters fill the pages of a journal that I treasure and will keep for you to have one day.  I write these letters to remember the moments both ordinary and extraordinary, because together they make up this incredible story.  The journal is packed full of firsts and precious brief moments that I never want to forget and truths that I want you to always know.
Tonight, I write you a different letter, because even though we’ve been talking about this for months, we are just hours away from starting a brand new chapter in the story of our family.  For over two years, we’ve loved every second of being a family of three, daddy, mommy, and you.  It’s been the most amazing time in our lives, a wonder, an adventure, and a whirlwind of ups and downs.  Something new was always coming before we even realized it and we held on tight embracing those memories, while opening our hearts up to what was approaching.  Time changes when you become a parent, it lasts forever and not at all, simultaneously.  I know that life existed before your arrival, but that part is blurred and foggy, as it seems you’ve been a part of our lives forever.  And while life was great before we took on the role of daddy and mommy, I’d never want to live another day before that time.
You are an absolute delight.  Of course,  you are wildly good looking. You burst with love and joy and a general sense of wonder about the world around you.  You’re curious, smart, clever, funny, crazy, opinionated, and at times downright impossible.  Your spirit is sensitive to anger, tension, danger, and you show genuine concern when the characters from your favorite movies are in harm’s way.  You are drawn to the people who are quietly confident and peaceful.  You are reluctant of those who are not.  I see so much of your daddy in you, in your kindness and awareness.  You two are certainly buddies and I melt when I see you together, but most of all you are a mama’s boy, through and through.  No matter what, you will always be my little baby, my firstborn,  but I’ll be proud to watch you grow into the person you were created to be. 
And here we are on the brink of a change, as you are no longer just our baby, but you are becoming a big brother.  You, my little boy will be a phenomenal big brother and I can’t wait for you to meet your baby sister.   Being a big brother is a very important job, because you get to be a teacher, a protector, a friend, and at times, trouble.  As a teacher, you’ll be able to share all of the things you’ve already learned and are learning.  As a protector, you’ll keep your sister out of harm’s way and keep the stupid boys away from your sister.  And as a friend, you two will grow up and have many adventures.   And the trouble part, well, that comes with the territory.
So my love, I want you to know that while I’m overflowing with excitement and anticipation to meet your sister, I’m also savoring these last moments, where I get to be mommy to just you.  I’ve only ever been your mama, but now that is changing and the emotions range from joy to uncertainty, because there is only one me and soon, two of you.  However, I think we’ll manage just splendidly and it won’t take long to wonder just how we ever got along without her… and how delightful it will be as a family of four.
There is something about love, something limitless and unending and while our hearts burst towards you, our little boy, love will simply be multiplied as we welcome another child to our family.  Don’t ever worry about love running out, because the very source of it is this gushing spring that will never ever cease, and as long as we are receive life from that power and we cling to that truth found in the Creator of all, our ability to love with grow and grow.
So for tonight, sleep well my sweet, under your warm blankets, surrounded by your bears and cars, marvelous things await us…

Dear baby girl

My dearest little h,
I get to meet you so very soon, but every moment that stands between then and now seems like forever.   I don’t know just how or when you’ll decide to make your debut, but I know I’ll never forget it. 
I can still remember the first time I saw your brother, I heard him cry and tears welled up in my eyes.  I can’t explain the feelings that overwhelmed every part of me, but perhaps one day you’ll understand.  The doctors put him in your daddy’s arms and brought him close to me.  I melted the first time I saw his face, one eye closed, squinting at the brightness of the room and as your daddy held him up to my face, I breathed him in and placed a kiss on his cheek.  My life changed that day and I can only imagine how your arrival will add to the beauty and mystery that is this life. 
Your daddy is eager to meet you and I know you’ll just adore him, because I do.  He’s the kindest, most loving, most patient man that I know.  Sometimes, I think he’s too patient, but usually, he’s just the right amount, the perfect balance of me.  Also, he’s a softie.  You’ll figure that out soon.  He has the biggest heart and while he is a dreamer, he’s practical and willing to invest the hard work to make things happen.  He is already aware that when it comes to your wardrobe and accessories, he is in serious trouble, but I promised him that we will try to be reasonable.
Your brother  is a wonder.  He’s a kind soul, like his daddy and he doesn’t respond well to tension or frustration.  He’s also the funniest thing around and we have been laughing for the last 2 years, because of him.  He’s a lover and rather fond of his mama, sharing mama will be brand new and it might take some getting used to, but I know he’s really excited to meet you and everyday he rubs my belly and says, “Baba,” which is his attempt at saying  Harper.  He’ll get it.  You’ll probably recognize his voice, because he’s noisy and says hi to you and everyone else about 1,000,000 times a day.  He loves trucks, trains, books, and Toy Story.  I can’t wait for you to meet him and to watch you two be brother and sister.  I loved having brothers, I know you will too.  It might be the most exhausting thing I’ve ever done, but I know that being mommy to both of you will be the best ever. 
I can’t wait to teach you so many important things, like how you don’t really have to match, even though other people might say otherwise and how to stand in front of the ocean and feel the salty sea splashing across your face.  I’ll teach you how to be a lady, not a princess, because princesses tend to be selfish, lazy, and spoiled.  Ladies are lovely both inside and out, their beauty radiates, and they are smart,  capable, and strong, while soft and kind.  We’ll have so much fun having tea parties with vintage tea cups and homemade scones, we can even dig for worms too,  we’ll create beautiful art that makes the world more wonderful, and we’ll laugh and dream and grow.
I know it will be a while before we can do most of those things, but until then, I’ll hold you, love you,  feed you, change your diaper, keep you safe and warm.
We’ll see you soon my little lovely.  

Friday, January 21, 2011

baby growing diaries #16

Due date.
What a joke that is.  Everyone knows that the due date is just the middle of  38-42 weeks, right.  So, while it gives you an idea of when you might have a baby, it also brings false hope to the still pregnant mamas and all the adoring fans of baby.  People should put less stock in those pesky little due dates.  Stop giving them credit they don’t deserve. 
However, this morning I had my 40 week check-up, and a tiny little breakfast date with the husband (hooray) and for the love of all that is sane and holy, I got out of the house, glory. glory. glory… even if with the wind-chill it was –(insert ungodly number) degrees out there.
(Still no car here, but my mom came to the rescue for the appointment.)
Back to the story, my appointment was good, minus that number I saw on the scale.  Unfortunately, the husband says that he’s pretty sure I still wouldn’t get picked to be on the biggest loser, I beg to differ. Whatev.  Well, things are progressing in the whole body-getting-ready-department and I can live with that.  So, spirits are good today, still increasingly uncomfortable and currently movements are all rather penguin-esque, but the end is near, and not in a doom & gloom sort of way, more like, a light at the end of the tunnel.
Also, here are three things that are making my day:
  1. H has started saying, baby, and it’s just about the most ridiculously precious thing we’ve ever heard.  Heart melting precious.
  2. This darling birth announcement.  I‘m in love.  Except, I already have plans.
  3. Most of all, ask me if I’ve had my baby yet, go ahead, ask….  ASK… and then you shall find your answer here.
40 weeks today.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

file under: husband’s favorites.

Last night, I happened upon a recipe that received immediate approval and jubilation from the mister.  I can only take credit for half of the recipe, but half is fine with me, as long as I’m sharing with good ole’ PW.  Honestly, the Pioneer Woman has yet to share a recipe that we do not like.  It’s a bit ridiculous, and by ridiculous, I mean awesome.
If you like a little spice to your dinner and you’re a shrimp lover, take note.  We like the shrimp around here, very much.  Also, we’re big on the spice, especially with operation: have this baby underway.  I didn’t take a picture, because I never do… please forgive me.
We’ll call this:  Spicy Lemon Garlic Shrimp… Pasta.
{Photo from PW}
  1. Follow this recipe to prepare the shrimp.  Except,  I only used 1 lb. of shrimp and cut the rest of the ingredients in half. I added one whole sliced onion and three sliced bell peppers, one of each color (use whatever colors you have or prefer).  Add the onions and peppers to the pan and cook with the shrimp.  The flavor in this dish is out of this world.  Feel free to add hot sauce, if you’re into that.  I am.
  2. Boil some water, make some pasta… whatever you prefer, this part is pretty easy, right?
  3. Pour contents of shrimp, veggies and all that delicious garlic butter into a dish.  Toss with the pasta.
  4. Eat.
  5. The End.
We served it with garlic bread and you can never go wrong with that.  Enjoy.
That Pioneer Woman hasn’t failed us yet.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Dear Daughter: Tiffany writes

As we countdown the days until meeting our baby girl, I asked some friends to write their thoughts on having a daughter.   It means so much that they would take time to share their stories and I get more excited with each letter.  I hope you enjoy them too.


Tiffany writes:

I always, always knew I wanted to be a mommy of little girls. With my first pregnancy, I wanted a girl so badly that I had completely convinced myself that I was having a boy. Surely I just wouldn't be lucky enough to be granted this desire of my heart. However, God promises to give us the desires of our hearts, and I truly believe He placed that desire there, because He knows me better than anyone! He knew the trials I would face, and He knew that my sweet girls would be a constant reminder to me of just what an awesome God we serve.

Emma and Addison have such different (BIG) personalities. Emma is a true Mama's girl, glued to my hip whenever possible. She's brilliant, clever, funny, creative, sarcastic, challenging and curious. At almost 3 years old, her questions have changed from "what color is that tree?" and "can I have milk to drink?" to "why is that tree green?" and "can I have coffee to drink?" She keeps me in check, picking up on my attitude and copying EVERYTHING she sees me do. She's a mama to her her dolls, her younger sister, her cousin, and pretty much any child she meets.

Addi never EVER meets a stranger and runs to explore and learn everything she can about the world around her. She lives for the spotlight and craves attention. She dances as though she may never get another chance. She gives the best bear hugs and loves to snuggle. At 18 months old, she's like a sponge and is becoming a little mockingbird, imitating all she sees her big sister do. And just over the past few weeks has become obsessed with the potty (yay?!).

Being a mom to girls is an adventure. It's fun, challenging and also a bit scary. I see so much of myself in each of them (and not just because they look so much like me at their respective ages). I feel so protective of their little hearts and pray for them everyday that they will grow to fall in love with the lover of their souls.

Emma Shay and Addison Michaela, you are the most precious, crazy little woozles, and I just wouldn't have been complete without the privilege of being your Mama. I love you both with all my heart.


Thanks Tiffany, your descriptions of both girls are just overflowing with pride and love.  Lovely.

Monday, January 17, 2011

baby growing diaries #15

A few night ago, at an hour much too late to be awake for a very pregnant mama and a very hardworking daddy, we were talking to H and telling her just how ready we were to meet her.  We started talking about what she will be like, her personality and such.    In my head, I already have an idea of what kind of little girl she will be.   Of course, I really can’t know until she decides to vacate her temporary home, but I’ve sort of been thinking about this for a while.  Frankly, I think she’s going to be ridiculous, funny, the silliest thing you’ve ever seen, and spilling over with personality.  Maybe, just maybe. Now, saying all of this means I’m in for a real adventure, but isn’t all of parenting that way?
To give you a better picture of the little wonder I am imagining, think Lola from Charlie & Lola meets Olivia the pig.  Now, I have always loved Olivia, (for reasons other than sharing a name) she’s hilarious and so clever.  I even started collecting the books just for myself. 
If you aren’t familiar with Lola, here’s a segment of the show, I wish it was more popular here in the States.  Honestly, I crack up every single time I watch and this started before I had any kids.  Lola is just amazing and she’s a tiny bit dramatic too.  The following video is a little long (10 minutes), but if you have the time, you’re certain to be entertained.
I just adore Charlie & Lola.
It makes me laugh just to think of h being this perfect mix of these two characters.  But, maybe she’ll be completely different, who knows.  I guess there’s only one way to find out.

Dear Daughter: Megan writes

As we countdown the days until meeting our baby girl, I asked some friends to write their thoughts on having a daughter.   It means so much that they would take time to share their stories and I get more excited with each letter.  I hope you enjoy them too.


Megan writes:

A surprise. That’s what she was. I will never (EVER) refer to any of my children as “accidents,” but finding out in July 2009 that I was twenty weeks pregnant with a little girl was certainly not what I planned to learn as I visited the doctor that morning. The rest of that day was a whirlwind of excitement, nervousness, worrying, joy-sharing and dreaming about this next, beautiful phase of our lives. It did not take long at all to adjust to the fact that we would soon become a family of three and that “life as you know it will never be the same,” as SO MANY folks will tell you.

They were right. Though she was quite comfy where she rested inside me, the doctors were not content to allow her to stay any longer than forty-one weeks and five days, and so, she was gently
evicted and invited to come live here in the outside world with us. I’ll always believe her birth was a miracle…after fully dilating and pushing for two hours, the doctor came in and made us aware that she refused to move down any further. Thinking it was her size, they advised moving to a c-section before the baby was in any distress. Andrew and I agreed, and I welcomed the quick relief that came from the anesthesiologist. Just a few moments later, the memory as vivid as ever, I heard the doctor say, “Dad, stand up…here she comes!” He was so focused on me I had to tell him, “They’re talking to you, babe.” Andrew rose and I heard those few precious cries; then, a little scrunched face peered over the curtain above me and my eyes, while filled with tears, met those of the best blessing this life could’ve ever imagined. When the doctor told us later that her cord had been wrapped around her several times and that a c-section was the right move to avoid any danger for her, my heart filled with gratitude for a God who sees what we do not.

From that moment on, Adalyn Rose has continued to be the best surprise of our life. Thinking back to those first few months of her life when, though she adores her daddy and the rest of our family, she was always most content to be in my arms…remembering the first time she looked in my eyes and recognized, “Hey…you and me…we’re special, aren’t we?” Oh yes, my dear one, we sure are.

Though it’s only been fourteen months, I have watched her bright eyes and sweet smile continue to make every day better… as she perfects her animal sounds and sticks her tongue out to play a game with Daddy. As she hugs her baby doll and does little spins in place when she hears music, as she sits on my lap learning to wink and brush my hair ever so gently. As she runs around the rooms with snacks and sippy cups, making messes and then helping me clean them up. Then, when she hears the key in the door, peering around the corner knowing Daddy is finally home! Loving that she wants to sit on the countertop as Mommy makes dinner, just so she can be close to me. Knowing that, no matter how hyper, she will still fall right asleep as soon as we snuggle up together on the couch. Telling her there’s a baby in Mommy’s belly…I know she doesn’t fully comprehend, but I also know that she comes over and sweetly kisses my belly which holds her baby sister. She will be an excellent big sister…for sure.

She began as a surprise to us…something entirely unexpected, but so worth the wait, effort, time, preparation, money, stress, worry, and love poured out. And she continues to be, every day in new ways, a reminder of the sweet love our God has for His children…if it’s anything like the love I have for this little gem (and already possess for her little sister, to debut in just two months), we are blessed beyond measure.


This is simply beautiful, Megan. Thanks so much.

Friday, January 14, 2011

baby growing diaries #14

Wednesday night, the husband and I had a romantic little night away, courtesy of the OB triage department at our local hospital. 
I had been having contractions everyday for a few hours, but they always tapered off,  Wednesday they started a 2pm and didn’t stop.  They got stronger, longer, and closer together, until they were consistently 3 minutes apart.   I called the hospital and explained my case, I also told her I that I just wanted to be sure this wasn’t just more contractions and she agreed that all the signs pointed to labor.  When she asked me how painful they were, I said, “Well, they hurt a lot.  It’s hard to move or talk and I just have to focus on breathing, but I don’t feel like I’m going to die, should I feel like I’m going to die?”  She actually laughed and said, No, but after how the evening transpired, I believe she is wrong.  I am, in fact, supposed to feel near death, if I am actually having this baby.
Note: before you get confused, yes, this is my second child, but he was born via a scheduled induction, 12 hours of laboring + epidural, and a c-section, this is a whole new game to me.
Anyways… My mom came over to watch H and we headed to the hospital.  However, we didn’t tell anyone at all, just in case, so don’t be offended.  That way, if we did get sent home, we wouldn’t have to deal with the questions and calls. 
Naturally, we had never actually visited the hospital and got a little turned around inside while searching for where exactly we need to be.  At first, we went up a set of elevators in a building connected to the hospital.  Upon the opening of the doors, this lady looked right at me and said, “We’re having  a pajama party, and we’re lost.”  To be clear… I was not in pajamas. She was not in pajamas.  I looked at her with the fierce irritation and a look that could melt ice.  Then, she proceeded to talk to me, as if she had been waiting her whole life for me to get off the elevator and join her pajama party and where in the world do we go conversation.  And she kept talking and talking, as I looked at the signs and maps, realizing we needed to go back down.  Her husband emerged from the elevator and she proceeded to tell him all about this party we were having.  I was irritated, I mean, what the…
And I take full responsibility for what happened next.  I turned to look at her and said, “Ma’am, you are the only one having this party.  WE are not having a party.  WE are not doing anything.  There is no party.”
I’m not going to lie, that felt pretty good.  I suppose it was a little harsh, but really, I’m not sorry.  I’m not.
A nurse checked us in and assessed that I was 2-3 centimeters and contractions were looking good.  So, we walked around for ages, talking about all the people we passed, gushing at the little newborns, and stopping to work through the contractions.  We returned to our little closet of a room and another doctor, who wasn’t my favorite and severely lacked bedside manor  told me that I was only dilated to 1cm and that we should just go home.  I was frustrated at the contrasting reports and “probably” took it out on her, she left and the attending OB came in and talked to us, confirmed that the magic number was actually 1, not 2-3, and that she’d actually like to just keep us for the night, let us sleep and see how things were in the morning. So, that is what we did.  Except of course, every single contraction launched me into this strange state of awareness and discomfort and then back into a deep sleep.  It was trippy.
The short version of the story is as follows:  in the morning, nothing had changed, contractions were still going, so they sent us home, thinking they might see us back again later that day. It was annoying, like insanely annoying and I was so frustrated. 
We got lattes and donuts, because at least that might help a little.  By mid afternoon, the contractions had stopped.  BORING NATION.  I even scrubbed and cleaned out my fridge, nothing.  Now all I have to show for it is a clean  fridge. I’d rather have a baby. 
This morning at my weekly appointment, I was dilated to 1.5 cm.  Honestly, what is half a centimeter?  That’s not anything.   Of course, the only real news my doctor had was, any day now.  Strangely enough, a random man at the post office told me the exact same thing.  If I would have seen him first, I could have saved an entire trip to the doctor.  Now sure, he didn’t tell me about the whole .5 centimeters thing, but for real, I could have lived without it and the method at which this tiny, tiny change in dilation was discovered. Can you say ouch? 
Oh well, at least I have a good story to share with you and now I can be a member of the “false alarm club.”  Cool.  Part of me thinks that “pajama” lady is still wandering around the hospital as lost as can be inviting guests to her imaginary party.
39 weeks.  Any day now…

Dear Daughter: Shelby Writes

As we countdown the days until meeting our baby girl, I asked some friends to write their thoughts on having a daughter.   It means so much that they would take time to share their thoughts and I get more excited with each letter.  I hope you enjoy them too.


Shelby writes:

they are getting bigger.

nothing odd in this and really, it shouldn’t come as news. they’re children. the job of children appears to be to grow (or to clutter one’s household, interrupt one’s sleep, and use up one’s extra income that one otherwise wasn’t sure what to do with. either way). but it feels as if since Peri and Evie came along, the two of them have ganged up together and are riding time like a carnival pony, spanking its butt to go faster! and faster! until i expect to turn my head one day and catch them making off with my car keys.

it goes faster than i thought it could. i understand now the difference between toddlers and preschoolers. having girls as well as a boy. suddenly, Peri my open wee girl, has this life, this world unfolding for her beneath the surface of everything. she has eaten from the tree of knowledge, she knows now, that the world is a naked place. "i don't want to tell you," she declares, when i ask about her day at preschool. it's partly not knowing how to collapse 3 hours into 3 seconds. it's partly the complexity of realizing that her answer could--perhaps not to me, but could, somewhere in the mystifying judgment of the prosaic world--be wrong. and then we laugh and she makes up something to tell me and she cocks her funny little head and i can see her, at fourteen, twenty-four, forty-four, the woman inside the girl. Peri--you are smashing.

i look at the age where nothing is cuter, in her mind.
in truth, her wise, sweet, chatty, constantly-in-motion little self, with her apple cheeks and her wild pique and her gorilla hugs, gets cuter every day. she blows my mind, surprises me at every corner. she seems to be her way. keep it up my bright and beautiful, sweet wild thing.

dear Peri, dear Evie…
this is your mother speaking. every day you girls grow more lovely, more headstrong and yet more considerate. i love you more than i can possibly put into words. you have brought us laughter and sweetness. you have made my life infinitely more, just by being in it.



Thanks so much for sharing this, Shelby.  I love your perspective on being a mother.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Well.

I’m not a salesman.  Marketing and advertising are not my forte.  When it comes to my art, I don’t want to spend time convincing people that they need to buy something, I just want to make great art that inspires others.  I want my work to speak for itself, rather than me finding 101 ways to assure you that your life is lacking without it, because truthfully, your life is probably going to be just fine.
I don’t devote numerous hours to catchy slogans, and enticing offers, because that isn’t me and it takes away from my creativity.  I like to create.  I don’t like to sell.  Which brings me to the well.
A few months ago, I announced that Matt and I started a campaign with Charity Water to raise money to build a well in a village in Africa.  I was moved by the harsh reality that these people risk their lives everyday with the simple act of taking a drink of water.  From the beginning of life, babies have no choice except to consume the disease-filled, murky water which threatens the length of their lives and parents have no other options, because there is no access to clean drinking water.  The sick stay sick, the young never become old, and the hope of something different is non-existent.  This is a way of life for these people, a sad reality. 
A few years ago, Scott Harrison started Charity:Water, a non-profit that builds wells in under-developed countries.  These wells bring life and clean water to entire villages for the small cost of $5,000 dollars.  Clean water gives these people the chance at a longer life, better health,  more productivity, and a greater sense of dignity, because they no longer have to drink the same water as the wildlife that roam the land. 
Knowing that I can have a part in bringing water to these people excites me.  As a mother, I couldn’t imagine giving my child a cup of water knowing that it was full of parasites and diseases that could make him sick.  Thankfully, I live in a country where water is abundant and I am fortunate enough to not even drink the water from the tap, because I keep a pitcher of filtered water in my fridge.  I use water more times throughout my day than I even realize and I know I take it for granted often.
So, for the past few months, we’ve made raising the money to build a well our giving project.  I’m not saying this to gloat or anything, but I believe this is a life changing project.  I also believe that I am not the only one who would agree.  Because I am not a salesman, I’m not going to spend time trying to convince you that you need to give.  I know there are multiple causes that are worthy of supporting, but I do want to remind you of our project with Charity Water. 
We have 47 days left before the campaign will close.  At that time, if we don’t raise all the money for the well, all contributions will be added to another project, so in theory, we’ll still build a well.  However, I’m rather confident that our goal can be met and an entire community of people’s lives will change.
If you want to be a part of this life giving project, you can read more about Charity: Water here.  You can also go directly to our campaign page and donate any amount you wish.
Feel free to spread the word, because it’s going to take more than you and me to make this happen.  And it’s a beautiful thing when people come together for the good of others. Don’t you agree?

dear daughter: Lori C. writes

As we countdown the days until meeting our baby girl, I asked some friends to write their thoughts on having a daughter.   It means so much that they would take time to share their thoughts and I get more excited with each letter.  I hope you enjoy them too.
Lori writes:
I absolutely love having a girl. Besides the obvious~ they are SO fun to dress!!!~ there are treasures each and every day that come with having a daughter. There is a bond between a mother and a daughter like no other. Every stage is different. My daughter is 12 1/2 now and we have been through many phases together now. I've cried, laughed, endured, and clung to each phase.

We have always loved each other, but it changes and grows all the time. Her needs change and I have to learn how to flow accordingly. My deepest desire is to teach her to love God with all her heart, to love others freely and to have a quiet confidence within herself.  I want to teach her to give sacrificially, to be grateful for all she's blessed with, to have humility in all things, but to also be bold, daring and confident in everything her heart wants to accomplish. I want her to be comfortable in her own skin, have a healthy body image and to always look out for the underdog.

I also want to be surprised by what she learns on her own. In many ways, she's teaching ME all the time. As a mother, I think it's one of the greatest gifts we can give our children~ to let them know that we can learn from them too.  A daddy and a daughter also have a bond like no other and it is something to behold! I adore watching how my husband and daughter love each other. It makes me love them both all the more.

After having my baby girl, I wasn't sure I could be a mother to anything BUT girls. She was just so easy, so calm, so happy, so pretty and dainty...but when our son came 6 years later, we were somehow able to know what to do with him too. Whew! You are going to love seeing how Hudson reacts to this little bundle of loveliness that is Harper...and oh man, when they begin playing together and having to each phase. I cry at every birthday, both at the loss of what will never be again and in rejoicing who she has become. It's a wonderful thing to see a beautiful baby girl blossom into a beautiful young lady.conversations with each will find your joy is complete.
Thanks Lori, this was beautiful, so much to look forward to!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

baby growing diaries #13


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I packed my bags*, now what?

P.S. The last picture is my favorite.

*I should have waited longer to pack.

Monday, January 10, 2011

the boppy cover

So much for a weekend project, this was finished during H’s Friday afternoon “nap.” Some days he actually sleeps, others he plays quietly in his room.  Either way, it works for us and he’s not crawling all over me, interested in the sewing machine and scissors.. you know, totally toddler appropriate toys.
I was intimidated by the boppy cover for the sole reason that most tutorials I found used a zipper.  I understood the value of being able to unzip and throw it in the washer, because we all know where there is baby, there is a mess, but I had never sewn a zipper on anything.  I was a tiny bit nervous.
Naturally, I found that once I decided to be smarter than the sewing machine/zipper duo, it wasn’t any harder than sewing two pieces of fabric together.  Do you ever do that?  Think something is so hard that you hesitate and put it off and then once you finally set your mind to it, it’s not nearly as difficult as you imagined? Now, I’m all what needs a zipper? Zippers for everyone!
Anyways, I followed this tutorial.  It was very helpful and easy to use.  It suggests that you trace the boppy and add 1 inch for seam allowances, make sure you do this, because once it’s pieced together, it can be really, really snug.  I mean, you want it to be snug, but not so much that stuffing the pillow into the cover is harder than the entire sewing project.  I added the 1 inch allowance, but when I make another cover, because I will, I might even add just a bit more.
I used these two fabrics: Fans in Sprout and Starling in Pink. Originally, I was only going to use Fans for both sides, but I love the fabric so much that the idea of having more left over was too enticing.  I adore how it turned out, totally unique and unlike anything prepackaged in store.  When I make my next cover, I might use a minky or a soft jersey for one side, something with a bit of stretch… and probably something grey, you know I can’t help myself.
If you’re looking for a boppy cover and you’re not a fan of what the stores are offering OR because the cute covers can cost as much as the boppy themselves, I definitely recommend making your own.  Let me know if you do or have, I’d love to see pictures.
Hmm, now all we need is that baby…

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Oh, my little Asher Lev.

And no, my son’s name isn’t Asher, it’s just a reference to my favorite book in the entire world.
Considering that both his daddy and I are artists, we get really excited about watching our little boy display signs of creativity.  I hope to raise all of my children in a home where art is encouraged rather than stifled, because I know how precious unhindered creativity is to the soul.  Of course, we won’t force them to be artists, because that’s not the point either.
Our little boy is a collector, he gathers various things around the house and holds on to them all day long.  It’s not uncommon for him to store the most random things in his favorite places, like his little bus or the shoe box that holds his collection of matchbox cars.  On any given day, you would find some of the following: the letter T puzzle piece, the tiny little Santa that broke off a Christmas ornament (his fault), some random tag from his train pajamas, a few cars, a handful of animals, and a pencil.IMG_2160
He would carry a pencil  around all day long and  for a while we let him, until he discovered that a blank sheet of paper was very similar to a white wall, and suddenly the entire apartment had become his canvas. Naturally, this delights my creative soul, but we try to deter wall art, at this point.   So,  we gave him a white colored pencil and broke off the lead.  Tricky, tricky.  Point for us.
He prefers pencils to crayons. If given a choice, he will always choose the pencil.   He also prefers to draw with you, rather than to sit and draw alone.   At first, this annoyed me, because the very idea of letting him draw was so I could accomplish something else.  Yet, the more I think about it, I love that art is a special thing we do together and he really enjoys it. Quality time at its best.  I mean, daddy is better at playing cars or piggy back rides, but drawing with my son, I can do that.  He could sit on my lap for the longest time drawing and scribbling all over the page.
Two days ago, we  sat down and I drew all of his favorite things like: trains, dogs, cats, cars, monkeys, and birds.   I also spelled out each word because he’s picking up letters all the time.  Then we spent forever pointing at each item as he named them all, over and over.    He carried around the picture for the rest of the day. 
And just a while ago,  he scribbled on a paper, pointed and said, “choo-choo.”  He repeated himself until I acknowledged that his masterpiece was indeed a choo-choo.  After my praises, he did his little, “I’m so proud of myself” shrug.
My heart melted again. 
And since this blog is the place where I document and remember this beautiful life, I just had to share.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


Large Wooden Ampersand
{image via Hindsvik}
I have a thing for ampersands.  I mean, the word alone is amazing. If I collected things, which I rarely do, it would be ampersands.
ampersand. ampersand. ampersand.
Anyways, I still haven’t packed my bags, but I did make a cute headband for Harper’s little head.  I felt like that was more important.  Oh, and I designed her birth announcement, as least in my head.
This weekend, if I am not having a baby, which would be my first choice, I’m going to make a cover for the boppy with this breathtaking fabricFans in Sprout
And here’s my final thought for today… Hospital gowns, are they still as hideous as they were two years ago and if so, WHY hasn’t anyone done something about this? 
Yes, these are the things that concern me.
Happy Weekend.

dear daughter: Lori C. writes

As we countdown the days until meeting our baby girl, I asked some friends to write their thoughts on having a daughter.   It means so much that they would take time to share their thoughts and I get more excited with each letter.  I hope you enjoy them too.
Lori C. writes:
It is through my dreams and ideals that I live my life. Some might say that is the wrong way to go, that I set myself up for disappointment, that I need to be more realistic. The truth is, I am plenty realistic- I just choose to be more passionate about what could be instead of what is. Call me crazy, but I know God has big plans for my life, why should I try to limit His workings with all my realism and such? So when asked what is so very wonderful about having daughters, it is by thinking about what could be that I can best answer this question. I look 1 year in the future, when hopefully some of my daughter's hair has grown and I can finally put a ponytail in it. I see my girl(s) in 5 years, being the mothering type to their brothers, filling my heart with pride and joy and a little anxiety as I hear them say and do the same things I do. A few years from then, and they are starting school and asking questions to which I don't even know the answers. Taking ballet classes. Going to soccer games. Helping me bake cookies. Preparing a meal by herself for the first time. Being grossed out by what her brothers bring in from outside (or thoroughly enjoying what ever they are doing, depending on what kind of girl she really is : ) We are hosting sleepovers, and I listen to my girls talk and giggle the night away. There are pink tights, hair bows, Easter dresses, Barbie dolls and Judy Blume books. A few years later and we are talking about college. Or music school. Or missions. Or whatever God has put in her tender heart as a passion and talent. My daughter(s) have grown into beautiful, graceful young women, and even when they don't believe it, their mom always will.
Right now, I have an 11 month old daughter, and a little girl due in March. I am so excited to see them grow up as sisters, sharing their lives, and their clothes, and their love. I look forward to teaching to cook and clean and love and shop and read and sing and bake and take care of babies. I look forward to one day having these young women around to talk and joke with and hug. This is something I can't look forward to with my son, who will grow up and still be my little boy, forever.
Having a daughter, and soon 2, is an experience like no other, one filled with reflection and wonder, beauty and joy. I only hope that one day, my daughters will have daughters that bring them as much light as they have already brought me.
Beautiful, Lori.  Thank you so much for sharing.  Those girls are so blessed to have you as a mom.
More dear daughter letters are coming next week.  I hope you enjoying them.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

dear daughter: Angela writes

As we countdown the days until meeting our baby girl, I asked some friends to write their thoughts on having a daughter.   It means so much that they would take time to share their thoughts and I get more excited with each letter.  I hope you enjoy them too.
Angela writes:
All my life I wanted a boy as my first child....every one needs a big brother! However, God somehow knew that I truly needed a girl. She has changed my life in so many ways and made my life a daily adventure. Here are a few things that my little girl does that makes me say, "God, THIS is why I have a girl."
She asks a bazillion questions (I love making up answers to them)
She sits and plays with my hair
She plays by herself for hours
She puts everything away in its exact spot (I have created another OCD person in this world)
She loves shoes
She loves to match all her clothes and hair accessories
She can say the alphabet in French
She begs to wash the dishes
She loves to paint, color, draw, and play games
She started potty training at 1 1/2 yrs old
She has been able to buckle herself in her own carseat/booster seat since she was 2 1/2
She plays dress-up every day...and sometimes I let her go to the store in her outfit with the winter hat on in the middle of summer
She cooks me delicious meals in her toy kitchen
She has her ears pierced :)
She talks to herself constantly
She is a mother to all the children/cousins she plays with
She is the sweetest, funniest, BEST little girl in the world so blessed to get the chance to have a little girl soon...they are completely different and completely wonderful.
Thanks so much Angela  Knowing her sweet Katy, I can say she is all those wonderful things and so much more. 

Monday, January 3, 2011

Once upon a time in 2010.

I’ve been trying to capture my thoughts in regards to 2010. There was plenty of waiting, uncertainty, and more waiting.  There was moving, adjusting, and moving again.  More adjusting to the changes.  Plenty of puking and sickness, and more waiting (still).  It was  year of building, investing time and effort, long days and lots of trusting.  It was year of moving forward, even if the progress was slow and hard to see.  And while it wasn’t the most glamorous 365 days, the good times and the blessings were too numerous to count.  Did I forget anticipation? 2010 was full of it.

In all of these changes, with all of the growth and lessons, we remained grateful and confident.  Our love grew for each other, our son, and the little girl that we will soon meet.  Long days of working two jobs for Matt made us cherish the hours of being together.  And as we continue to settle into this new state, wondering if it will ever feel like our home, wondering if we will ever find that sense of “home,” we instead just found it in each other.  As much as we long for a greater sense of community and the place where our passions and talents will come to the forefront, as dreamers and lovers of change, we have come to the reality that “home” may never be a place.  Although, we’re quite certain it could be found on the coast of California, where the salty waves crash onto the shore and splash our faces.

We know that these years in our lives are seasons of building and preparing, times that will shape us into the people and family that we are called to be and so, we welcome them, knowing they are preparation for what lies before us.  Just like each of the snowflakes falling outside my window, I know that all the moments in time are necessary, because together they form the beautiful story of life.   Even if we could sum up 2010 as exhausting, I’m still thankful, because now we have arrived at the start of a new year full of mystery and possibilities, ready to be embraced. 

Dreams don't make your life easier, they make it possible to endure hardship. – E. McManus


baby growing diaries #12

The coffee is brewing in the French Press.  In four minutes, my head will be less foggy.  The sun is beaming down on the snow covered world.  My New Year’s resolution was for winter to end, but apparently, resolutions and wishes are not interchangeable.  I don’t really make resolutions, especially in January, it’s so trendy and when things become uber trendy, I tend to want to do them even less, which may explain my great desire to end my facebook days.  I’m considering it more and more,  besides, whatever happened to the good old fashioned text and email? 
One of the handy little apps on my phone tells me I have 2 weeks and four days left until my due date.  I’m going to be honest and say that I hope that day comes a bit sooner.  This time around, I love that sense of unknown, that at any moment I could go into labor, that’s the kind of thing that drives me wild with excitement.  I suppose most people would rather wish that whole part away and pencil in the time and place for these events to occur.  That’s boring.  Those people would also be the ones who have had their hospital bags packed for weeks. Boring again.
I have… pack , umm, made a list on my phone.  I’m thinking about the idea of packing soon, but since the no-car situation leaves me on a bit of unofficial house arrest, chances are good that I’ll be home.  Packing will give me something to do later, when I’ve done every other thing I can imagine. Plus, it will take a little bit of time for my mom to arrive and stay with the boy, so I’ll be fine.
Even as I write this, I find great entertainment in knowing that my words of last minute preparation may send some of my friends into a state of shock, causing them to hop on a plane and demand to pack my bags for me… but at this point, that would be awesome.  I’ll take all the entertainment I can get.  My ultra-relaxed personality wouldn’t work for everyone, but I think that in this current situation it’s best.  I have zero control over this whole ordeal, so why pretend that I do. 
After all, I did make a list.  Plus, I have this handy contraction timer app on my phone that I’m really excited to try.   I also know that somewhere in this room, there’s a phone number to call the hospital when all systems are go.  And, in my defense, I did get the diaper bag ready so that at least she will have a cute outfit to wear home.  So pretty much, I’m half ready to go. 
So tell me, friends, what kind of person were you?  Did you have everything crossed off your list months in advance or do you embrace the excitement of the unknown?  And furthermore, when did you have your bags packed?
37.5 weeks