Friday, December 31, 2010

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Hey Look! A Kid Post!

I realize that it's been a while since I actually wrote a post about my kids. That is the original purpose of this blog--to document their lives as much as I possibly can, as the sands of time slip quickly through my fingers.

(That little cliche would get me an A+ in eighth grade English. Woot!)


So! A six month old and a twenty-six month old! It's safe to say that I'm adjusting. I've been adjusting since Naomi was born and I have a feeling I'll be adjusting for the next eighteen years or so. By "adjusting", I mean that somehow, someway, the children are clean, fed, growing, and happy, and I am at least fed and happy. And growing (Christmas sweets ... boo). There are days where I stop amidst the whirlwind and wonder, "Wait, where am I? What's next?!" Even though I feel that I've gotten the hang of it, having two little bodies with two different needs and personalities is somewhat dizzying, and I've found that meeting both of their needs simultaneously sometimes means those needs are met only halfway, and that's totally fine.

I think it's safe to say I've relaxed since Cub was born.

Speaking of Cub, let's start with him.

He is a bundle of fantastic energy and sweetness. He is still very much my cuddle bug who loves to snuggle when he wakes up. He crawls into my lap with his (very much worn) Mr. Lion and we snuggle as he sucks his thumb and wakes up. His vocabulary floors me. This evening he crawled into my lap while I was feeding Naomi some peas, and, peering into the bowl, he asked me very clearly, "What is in the bowl?" I looked down at him and asked back, "When did you begin speaking in complete sentences?" My boy, who was such a quiet baby, loves to talk. And he's quite efficient at it. I'm wondering if Naomi, who is not a quiet baby, will be the opposite and hate to speak! We'll see. Either way, it's so fun to share conversations with Caleb, to discover things and watch him wonder at everything. He loves to run and play and is becoming more and more like a little boy.

He is still very much a compliant and easy-going little guy (firstborn), who generally does what I say when I say it. But, we do have some challenges with instant obedience, with him responding immediately to whatever I am requesting of him. I'm not a huge fan of the "I'm going to count to three!" concept (it gets a little drawn-out sometimes), so, when I sense that he's being a tad ornery, I will get on his level (after making a request) and remind him, "Caleb, you may choose to obey or disobey. Just remember, if you disobey, there will be a consequence." And, sometimes he presses the line and chooses to disobey. And then I follow through. I've learned that, at this age, distraction is the rule. He gets so distracted by everything. It's my job to make sure he's focused and understands what I'm asking of him (to "bring him back to earth" sometimes!). Tonight, for example, he wanted a cookie. I told him that it was almost time for dinner, and that he may not have a cookie. He asked again, and I responded with no. He started to whine, so I sent him to his room (I tell him he's more than welcome to whine and get it out, he just has to do it on his bed). Then he came back and asked again. And again. And again.

I realized after a while that I was allowing him to continually ask me, when really, he should just accept my "no". We were both growing frustrated with the asking and the refusing, and then I remembered ... he's two. He's TWO. And, as I mentioned, distraction is the rule. I again got on his level and, not mentioning the word COOKIE, I told him he was more than welcome to have some grapes and cheese, if he'd like. Bam! That was it! He never mentioned the cookie again, and happily munched on some grapes. I think his little mind just gets a little one-tracked at times, and, rather than try to derail him completely, I just need to steer him in a different direction.

He loves everything to do with trucks, tractors, balls, and trains. He is a boy through and through, and it's so fun. We've been working on Psalm 23 (he fills in words when I pause) and we're almost finished. I tried making it a song today and (very lamely) sang it to "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and Cub almost immediately started singing what he heard. A good friend told me that singing verses to kids is the best way for them to learn them, and I think she's right! Cub is our little dude and he delights us as much now as he did the day he was born. We're in love.

And we're in love with his little sister, too.

Naomi continues to be our spunky, happy-go-lucky little lady. She smiles at anything and everything and loves to laugh. She's definitely a Mama's girl and she sometimes fusses when I'm not around. Thankfully, her brother serves as a fantastic distraction and if he's in the room, she's fine. She loves to sit and play with toys, but continues to HATE being on her stomach. So, I don't see crawling in the near future. However, she has discovered that if a toy is out of reach, she can grab it by reaching and falling forward to her stomach. At some point, she'll realize that obtaining things requires movement, much to her chagrin! She babbles all the time now, making lots of "ma-ma-ma-ma-ba-ba-ba-ba" sounds. She reaches for everything. She passes toys from one hand to the other, and then, eventually, it ends up in her mouth!

We started the foray into solid foods and so far she has eaten peas, green beans, summer squash, and carrots. I made some baby food for her and our freezer is stocked with the aforementioned peas and green beans, and also mango, acorn squash, and pears. I have some zucchini and apples that I plan to whip up and freeze as well. After she transitions to a new food successfully, I go back to feeding her peas or green beans for a few days, just to remind her of those tastes. I know once we go to fruit, she'll be in heaven!

She is a great napper, but still struggles sometimes at night. Let me say now that if she were my firstborn, I would be appalled by this, thinking I was a parenting failure. I think it's fair to say that with Cub, I based his sleep habits directly on my parenting abilities. Seriously--for you first time Moms, how often did you hear, "IS YOUR BABY SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT? MY BABY IS SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT. JUST SO YOU KNOW."

There's this peculiar connection between night sleep and parenting awesomeness.

Well, I know better now.

Naomi is my little Variable X, who is just an entirely different little person than her big brother. She wakes up periodically, needing her paci (we let her cry for a bit and if she builds and builds, then we get up and help her find it). Her stomach continues to be sensitive, so there are times when that wakes her up, too. She no longer wakes up to eat, so that's good, although there have been times where she gets so worked up that a bottle is the only thing that will soothe her. On good nights when she sleeps through, she sleeps from 7:30 to 6:30-7:00ish. Little Mouse. Oddly enough, I don't mind the sleepless nights too much. She's already HALF OF A YEAR OLD, and I know that soon she will be sleeping just fine and graduating college.

I don't mind helping her find the paci.

She has a pretty consistent day routine, taking four naps and eating six times. She's a tiny thing--90th percentile for height, but only 33rd percentile for weight--but she's growing and sturdy, with the most delicious baby thunder thighs. She keeps us on our toes, but she is an absolute delight.

Phew! I've written a lot here!

If you are still reading, then bless you.

I love being a Mom of two. We know that we are blessed immensely. In the midst of the chaos there are two beautiful children, laughing, learning to play together, learning to share, smiling up at me from in the tub, sitting on the couch in footy pajamas, and sitting at the breakfast table, bedheaded and perfect. Yes, there are days where I wonder if I've lost my mind. But honestly, my brain was a small price to pay for the loveliness of these days.

Have a lovely day.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Picture Taking.

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas!

We spent most of last week at my in-laws' house. Even though we live in the same town, we still like to go and stay the night during the holidays, since the best memories are usually late at night and in the morning, you know? Pajamas, games, leftovers ... all fantastic. On Wednesday, as we were heading out the door to leave for their house, I glanced behind me and saw my camera bag sitting on the floor next to our fish tank. I lingered for a minute before deciding to put it in the car, just in case. For as much as I love taking pictures, sometimes it can begin to feel a little stale, with the pressure of pleasing clients taking away my joy in the hobby. I find myself using my phone to take pictures more than my camera, and I knew I needed to take my camera along and fall in love with it a little bit more.

I left my heavy-duty (and more pricey) zoom lens in the bag and clicked on my 50mm set lens. I wanted to make myself move my feet to get my shots. I shot in manual the whole time, too, to play around with the settings and have some fun trying different things. I had the time, so I needed to use it!

The morning of Christmas Eve, I stepped outside of my in-laws' house to take some pictures of the scenery. I found the palette to be breathtaking--the muted greys and greens contrasted starkly by dry yellows and burnt oranges. I loved it.

Later in the day, my father-in-law and I bundled up Cub and set out for a walk through the neighborhood. While G-Ma and my husband stayed home with Naomi, we ventured to the pond to let Cub burn some energy. He absolutely loves to throw rocks in the water. And I was happy for the photo op with my cute little kid!

("BIG splash!")

(Papa threw a "BIG rock!" in the water, hence the crater-like splash pattern. :) )

(A neighbor stopped us and offered to take our picture. Ta-da!)

Then, on Christmas Day, I stuck Naomi by the back door to play with the lighting. Ma petite souris est tres belle! (In my opinion, of course. :))

It was a lovely week and I'm so glad I decided to bring my camera. It was good to remember that even if everyone else in the whole world decides they hate my pictures and never hires me ever again ... I still love to do it. And I have the cutest little models, whose lives are precious and worth capturing. So fun.

I caught some other moments, too, like ...

... Caleb and G-Ma making Christmas cupcakes ...

... Naomi rolling around in the same walker her Daddy used as a baby ...

... Dadda and Caleb making a gingerbread house ...

... Dadda frying a turkey and not catching the house on fire (yay!) ...

... and Uncle Andrew in an awesome pose while modeling my new pink ear warmer that I love.

I have pictures of opening presents, too, but we all look a little tired and I'm not sure I have everyone's approval to post them on the Internet. :)

Yay for pictures, yay for family, and yay for lots of fried turkey.

Have a lovely day, friends.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas.

May your day be merry and bright.

Friday, December 24, 2010

'Tis the Eve.

Still, still, still,
One can hear the falling snow.
For all is hushed,
The world is sleeping,
Holy star its vigil keeping.
Still, still, still,
One can hear the falling snow.

Sleep, sleep, sleep,
'Tis the eve of our Saviour's birth.
The night is peaceful around you,
Close your eyes,
Let sleep surround you.
Sleep, sleep, sleep,
'Tis the eve of our Saviour's birth.

Dream, dream, dream,
Of the joyous day to come.
While guardian angels without number,
Watch you as you sweetly slumber.
Dream, dream dream ...

... of the joyous day to come.

(Still, Still, Still circa 1819)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Spreading Christmas Cheer.

: take a christmas card and write something nice inside

: then bake some christmas cookies and wrap them festively (cellophane and paper plates count. also, the same christmas cookie recipe you use for everything all the time also counts)

: hire a cute delivery boy, wagon-pulling abilities preferred

: and make some special deliveries to the people behind those privacy fences. your neighbors.

: we even met neighbors we hadn't met before. their names are john and alice. they fly an american flag and a wwII flag outside on their flagpole every day. cub loves to stop and look at the flags while we take walks. john has a great-grandson named caleb. he patted my caleb on the head.

: i don't know why it took me so long to meet them.

: but i'm glad i did.

(comfort and joy, indeed.)

Monday, December 20, 2010

I Love Presents From My Sister-In-Law.

She knows I like what she likes.

Polish Pottery for my collection.

A bag she sewed for me.

Earrings she made from antique Mongolian buttons.

I love them all.

(And I love her, too. Very much.)

Sunday, December 19, 2010


I realize that today is the fourth Sunday in Advent and I cannot, for the life of me, find the fourth reading that I wrote last year for Love. So, I instead have turned to the pamphlet I received in 1991, when I was eight years old, that we received when we assembled our Advent Wreaths. It's the same pamphlet my family used for years, even after we moved across the country and changed churches. Its well-worn pages are written for children's ears to hear.

This reading refers to the fourth candle as the Candle of Faith. So, here you go!

This candle reminds us that Mary was chosen to be Jesus' mother because of her faith in God. Joseph, Mary's husband, had faith in God. He believed what the angel told him. When the baby was born, Joseph named Him Jesus. The shepherds had faith in God. They believed the angels, God's messengers.

In a country far from Bethlehem, in the East toward the rising sun, lived men called "Magi". "Magi" means wise men. These wise men had been studying the stars for a long time. They belonged to a religion that taught that stars could reveal the thoughts of God. Night after night--week after week--year after year, the wise men peered at the twinkling lights ... waiting and watching. Would they ever see a sign from God, they wondered?

Then one night, something very unusual happened. There was a new star in the sky! The ancient Hebrew scripture said that one day a King would be born, a Messiah sent from God. The star would be a sign of His coming!

The Magi, who were led by the star to the Christ-child had a long, difficult journey. They did not come the same night as the shepherds, but much later. When they found the Child, God's Son, they were filled with great joy and fell down and worshipped Him! They gave their precious gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to Jesus. The Magi, by faith, believed that the child was the Messiah, God's Son.

Advent: Preparing Our Hearts for Christmas
Rancho Community Church

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: What Color Are YOUR Nails? :)

(Not sure I'm digging the purple. Or the staying-at-home-all-day hair. Ha ha.)

(These posts are never wordless.)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

No, You May Not Have My Blood Type.

At a store in the mall. Last stop. Long lines. Ready to go home.

I hand the cashier my items and swipe my credit card.

Cashier: Did you find everything okay?

Me: Yes! Thank you.

Cashier: Do you have any coupons or gift cards today?

Me: Nope! Not today!

Cashier begins taking clothing off the hangers.

Cashier: Would you like to save fifteen percent by opening a store card?

Me: No thank you.

Cashier: You can save fifteen percent on your store purchase today!

Me: No, thank you.

Cashier: If you open a store card, you can get fifteen percent off this purchase and then five percent of subsequent purchases (limitations apply)!

Me: No, really, I'm good. Thank you, though.

Cashier puts clothes in bags.

Cashier: Okay. And what is your phone number?

Me: What?

Cashier: May I have your phone number please?

(I make up a number.)

Cashier: We don't seem to have your number in the system. Can I please have your home phone number?

Me: It's not listed. (Meaning: We don't have a land line. Leave me alone.)

Cashier: You will not receive any promotional or sales calls, we just use it to know where our customers are coming from.

Me: It's not listed. But thank you.

Cashier: May I have your email address?

The line is growing longer behind me.

Me: Okay, yes, lalalalahereisanemailaddressInolongeruse.

Cashier: Thank you! And what is your first name?

Me: Katie.

Cashier: And your last name?

Me: May I ask why you need my name? It's on my card.

Cashier: For your email address. You will not receive any promotional--

Me:--(I give her my last name.)

Cashier: Okay! Great!

Me: Alright. Thank you!

She reaches the bag to me and pauses.

Cashier: And would you like to donate five dollars to St. Jude's Children's Hospital today?

Okay, really? Seriously? Who can say no to that??

Me: Sure, that would be fine.

Cashier rings a bell and cheers.

Cashier hands me my receipt. And my bag.

I turn heel to leave as I hear her beginning her spiel with the person behind me.

And we wonder why the lines are so long??

Monday, December 13, 2010

That's a Wrap!

For years, I was known as the Gift Bag Lady.

Last year, I bought wrapping paper.

This year, I bought ribbon.

That's right. I stepped up my game. All of our gifts are wrapped and ribboned.

(And it was actually really fun! Who knew?)

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Today we are celebrating the third week in Advent. This week may also be known as "Gaudete" Sunday, which is Latin for "rejoice". We first lit the candle of Hope, signifying the hope of the patriarchs of old as they anticipated the coming of the Savior, and also the hope that we hold onto today that Christ will come again. We then lit the candle of Peace, as a prayer that we might allow God's peace to rule in our hearts this season, putting aside personal differences to recognize the fullness of the celebration of Christmas morning. And today, we celebrate.

Today we will be lighting the candle of Joy.

Luke 2:8-14 says: In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. "This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased."

As with Peace, Joy can be difficult to find amidst the distractions and struggles we face this time of year. But, the charge from Paul to us to "rejoice in the Lord always!" remains true. Because, despite those things that stand in our way or the things that we allow to block the light of God's glory in our lives, God has given us more than enough for which to be joyful. This week, let our focus remain on what we know to be true: That God sent His only Son for us. That He broke through heaven to experience a human birth and a human life. He did not come in a blazing light of glory. He chose instead a manger as His place to begin an earthly life and He chose shepherds to celebrate His arrival. The King of Kings and Lord of Lords chose poverty. Christmas morning is a miracle. And friends, THAT is our reason for joy.

Let us pray.

We praise you God for the things You have given us for which to be joyful. Open our eyes to Your truth and fill us with Your joy as we celebrate the birth of Your Son. And we pray the psalm that says, For You, O Lord, have made me glad by what You have done, I will sing for joy at the works of your hands! You are holy and worthy to be praised. In Christ's name, Amen.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Love. Kind of.

My baby girl has croup.

I do not love that.

However. I do love her and her exuberant sweetness in spite of a very sad illness. Here she is, receiving a "steam treatment", where we run the shower as hot as it will go, close the bathroom door, and enjoy the sauna as it slowly clears her lungs and flattens my hair.

Some Mother/Daughter bonding.

Get better soon, baby girl.

Until then, I will return to my designated posts: The nursery floor or the couch closest to your door.

Love you.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

In the Mailbox.

: Gloves for our postal lady. :

... And neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night ...
will stay her from the swift completion of her appointed rounds.

And, well, we're known for having some pretty fierce ice storms around here.

Sometimes it can be easy to take the mail from the mailbox and overlook the hands that put it there.

(Hands that might appreciate staying warm.)

'Tis the Season. :)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Black and White

: petite : posture : precious :

Monday, December 6, 2010

Then and Now.

My friends and I at our Christmas party last year, with preggo bellies ...

... and the three baby girls who joined us this year.

What a joy!

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Today we are celebrating the second week in Advent. The word "Advent" means "arrival" or "coming". We use the wreath to prepare and ready ourselves for Christmas morning. The evergreen represents the life that can be given through Christ alone and the roundness of the wreath signifies that that life is everlasting. The lit candles remind us that Christ is the light of the world. While the tradition of the Advent wreath dates back to the 1600's, its significance still stands even today, in traditional and non-traditional services alike, as Christians come together to recognize the importance of bringing our focus back to the miracle of Christmas morning.

Today we will light the candle of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6--"For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace."

For some of us, Christmas is a time to gather with family and loved ones. But, also for some of us, Christmas is a difficult time, through family crises or differences that have grown between us and loved ones throughout the years. And, sometimes the memories surrounding this season are just difficult. This week is a significant week in Advent because it focuses on the truth that Christ is the Prince of Peace. We are encouraged to put aside differences and focus on peace--to focus on reconciliation--and to truly allow the peace of Christ to rule in our hearts. Christ's birth happened in the middle of great civil unrest, when the prayer for peace cried out throughout the country from God's people. And today we continue to pray for that peace--within our homes and around the world.

Let us pray.

Lord, make us your instruments of peace. Where there is hatred let us sow love, where there is injury, pardon, Where there is despair, hope, where there is darkness, light, and where there is sadness, joy. Oh, Divine Spirit, grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love. Let us focus on your peace and remember Your words that say 'Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.' In Christ's name, Amen.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Love (Family Portraits)

: thanks to my cousin, Kristin, for the quick shoot at my parents' house! :

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Good Morning.

The kids are entertaining themselves in the living room while I get to enjoy my morning cup of coffee and toast (with almond butter--y'all, wow, why did I wait so long to try this stuff??). The morning dishes are rinsed and in the dishwasher, and my laptop is wedged on my kitchen table between a Bumbo, its tray, three decorative vases (that truly only get in the way, but oh! festive!), an opened box of wipes (we've had runny nose mornings this week), and Cub's placemat and sippy cup.

Mornings never cease to amaze me in this house.

It's my favorite time of day. As a recovery from a Thanksgiving week away, I'm not waking up early but instead letting the kiddos take care of it, so every morning I've awoken to Naomi's coos coming from her bedroom (we finally ditched the monitor--with this little lady, a wood floor with fantastic acoustics separating her room and ours is sufficient). Because the coos are not cries, I shuffle into the kitchen first, get a pot of coffee going, make her bottle, turn on the Pandora Christmas station on our iPod, plug in the Christmas tree, and sneak into the nursery to peer over the side of the bed. The biggest most wonderful and beautiful smile, accompanied by several squeals, greets me as I lift my giddy lady out of bed. We settle on the couch for her bottle and eventually the door to Cub's room opens and he emerges, in all of his adorable bed-headed cuteness. I put Naomi in her jumper and shuffle into the kitchen to prepare their respective breakfasts (this morning it was oatmeal with wheat germ, a dollop of plain yogurt, topped with bananas for Cub, and the usual boring baby oatmeal cereal for Naomi). I feed Naomi in her Bumbo as she leans from side to side, reaching for the aforementioned festive decorative vases, and Cub, after his prayer ("DearJesusthankyouforfoodinJesus name AAAAAMEENNN!!!"), manages to get oatmeal in every crack and crevice in the table, chair, placemat, chin, hand, etc.

After a massive clean-up involving chin, hand, and nose wiping, the kiddos return to the living room where they play and I settle to my current spot, with my cup of coffee in hand, to take a deep breath and thank God for the beauty that is mornings at our house.


Good Morning to you!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wednesday With Words: I Like Long Necklaces.

My very talented friend made this. I love it.

You can view her Etsy page here.

Also, Happy December!