Friday, April 27, 2012

Love: The Week.

I had a much-appreciated girls' weekend. Way fun.

I brought out the pear placemats for summer. Love my little breakfast club.

This little lady is now pacifier-less, sleeping with just her blankie. So big.

I have a new appreciation for my minivan. I never wanted to drive one EVER and still have a complex about it at times ... but it's really so great and roomy and sliding-door-ish and all of that.

Nomi's bestie came over to play and they were matching. It was just too cute.

We made more mud this week. It was way fun.

I joined in the fun this time and we were all covered in the squishy goodness. Very spa-like, right? ;)

We even made sand castles. I can't give my kids the coastal childhood I experienced ... but I can improvise. ;)

Have a lovely weekend, friends.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Three Months: A Letter.

Dear Lydia,

You are now three months old.

Holy cow.

(Gahhh baby double-chin! LOVE!)

You, baby girl, continue to be a source of joy and love in our family. You are still in the sweet snuggly stage where we pick you up and you just melt into our shoulders, quietly grunting, all shmooshy and perfect. But, sadly and happily, you are also becoming much more aware of the world around you. You hold your head up proudly and love to survey all that is going on around you.

You've moved into your bouncy chair during awake time, which you love. You kick and bounce and giggle at the moving toys and the music. Your face lights up every time we set you in there and it's the cutest thing. You also love to watch your siblings play and they provide constant entertainment for you.

You eat roughly six times a day and typically go to bed between 7:30 and 8:00. We've started giving you a dream feeding, since you take your last feeding around 6:30 and aren't usually hungry by the time you're ready for bed. You wake up around 3:30am to eat and fall right back to sleep (thank you!) and usually wake up for morning around 6:45 or 7:00. So, you basically sleep from 7:30-7:00 with a dream feeding and a real feeding in between. We'd keep you up later if we could, but, you are a sleepy bug. And we have no problem with that! Also, you're beginning to prefer your fingers rather than your paci. You'll still take a paci, but prefer to self-soothe to go back to sleep.

You do this new little "trick" that we like to refer to as "broken wing". When someone picks you up, you wrap your left arm around their neck and stick your right arm straight out behind you, to balance. It's adorable. You look like a little birdie with a broken wing (which, now that I type that out, sounds a little morbid ... sorry). But it's so cute. If "broken wing" is a bit to sad-sounding, we also noticed that it looks a lot like the penguins your Dad and I watch on Frozen Planet. Nerd alert! Either way, it's cute.

Your siblings love to interact with you and make you smile and I do my best to include them in whatever I happen to be doing with you. Like, for instance, this photo shoot. Brother was a big help with his camera ...

... and sister loved crawling all over you. It's safe to say you've been initiated into the sibling club.

We love you, baby girl. Our lives are fuller with you in it.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Gift With A Purpose.

Hey friends!

With Mother's Day quickly approaching, I thought I'd throw out a gift idea. If you are vacillating between the usual jewelry or chocolates, let me make a recommendation for something way fun: Pajama pants. Or lounge pants, for those of us who might, um, wear them all day. 


So! These aren't just any pajama pants--these are Punjammies, an extension of the International Princess Project, an organization that provides aftercare for women who have been rescued from the sex trafficking industry in India. To quote their website, "When a woman escapes from this life [prostitution], she has few options. Beyond their emotional and psychological trauma, women in India who have been forced to work as prostitutes cannot easily enter schools, return to family systems or secure jobs to support themselves. A high-quality after-care center is one of the best options a woman has for rebuilding her life."

Punjammies are created by women in aftercare. By purchasing Punjammies, you are empowering these women. They are learning a skill, you are changing a life--a life that most of us can't imagine. Each print is beautiful and unique, just like the women who make them.

Images from Punjammies website

I've already ordered mine and, if you feel so led, I would encourage you to do the same. A gift with a purpose. 

Have a lovely day, friends!

Monday, April 23, 2012

It's Fun, Too.

I've mentioned the struggles that I've faced in this journey (my youngest is almost three months old), so, now I want to share some joys, too, for a little encouragement. All three kids are bathed and in bed, the dishwasher is running, the laundry is put away, and, for the most part, everything is in its place. And, my husband worked late tonight, so this feat was a solo accomplishment.

See? It's hard at times. But not impossible.

Some more noteworthy sweetness:

-Cub and Naomi's blossoming friendship. These two adore each other. They also boss each other and are learning to share (yippee, siblings!). But, their love for each other is awesome. The first words out of their mouths when they wake up is to ask for the other. "Where's Nomi?" "Where's Kay-bub?" Love.

-Lydia is becoming more and more a part of the family. The big kids love to make her smile. Naomi is absolutely smitten with her and loves to help me dress her, change her diaper, rub lotion on her tummy, etc. It's so fun. Her routine is going well and all three kids typically go down for naps at the same time, which is kind of like the heavens opening up and pouring down glory from above.

-I feel more empowered than ever. For all of the brain-dead and klutzy moments, there are great moments, too. Even if it's just a shopping trip where we receive compliments on good behavior, it's great to feel like the kids and I ... we're doing this. And maybe, just maybe, we're doing this well at times. Aaand I'm pretty sure the compliments are born out of an expectation that with three small ones, a fit is inevitable or, at least, Mom's head will explode. When those things don't happen, people seem to appreciate it! ;) Since Cub is not in any sort of school program yet, if an errand needs to be run, all three go with me, and learning how to make that happen is a pretty good feeling.

-My husband and I are strong. I remember when Cub was born, my husband and I would glance across the room at each other and wink whenever Cub did something cute or noteworthy. It was like our secret language, like, "Look! We made this little dude and WE THINK HE'S AWESOME." Well, now that there are three, the opportunities for winking have tripled (if we're able to pause long enough to do it) and we've loved and encouraged each other through the highs and lows of it. We still go to bed chuckling about something one of the kids has done (typically Naomi, our funny bug). I can't imagine this journey without him by my side and I love that we both delight in our kids together. He loves our kids. And I love him for it. We've also learned how to give each other space for our own interests (for me, it's Zumba, for him, it's hobbies). We take care of each other, ourselves, and the kids. So important.

-I've lightened up. I'm picky about how certain things are done, but I've learned that a cluttered countertop or a pile of folded laundry that's been sitting there for two days isn't the end of the world. Because I'm busy. It's just the truth. It's meeting one little need after another, all day, every day. I'll catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and sometimes I frown at the mom pooch (gut?) that I'm still harboring and will probably have for a while. And then I tell myself to remember all of the things I've done today--all of the nursing, the laughing, the playing, the laundry, the meal-preparing, the feeding, the reading, the chasing ... and suddenly I like my reflection. If a pooch is what it has taken for me to get to live this life I'm living every day, then I'll take it. A thousand times, I'll take it!

-I love naps.

(Sorry. Had to throw that in there.)

Have a lovely day, friends.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Love: The Week.

Little Lydia Ladybug, on her way to church. I mean, really. The cuteness.

I got an order from and the kids have had a hayday with the box. I fold the wings in and drag the kids to a new room. They like to try to guess which room I'm going to. I like to try to guess how long it will take before my arms and legs give out. PHEW.

Okay. Have y'all tried I hadn't given them a whirl, but after my order, I decided to try. I opened a window and a window and compared prices between the two, and they were mostly within a few cents of each other. With free shipping to boot, I happily placed a big order with It came the next day and now we have plenty of toilet paper and fabric softener to last until June. I love running errands with the kids ... just not when it's a frantic we-ran-out-of-this-necessary-item errand! We'll see if I prepared wisely. And, don't get me wrong ... we'll still frequent the Bullseye. It has my heart.

We had massive storms last weekend, and they cleared the air for beautiful weather this week. This is baby bunting and I on a walk. Have I mentioned how much I love the sling?

I tried a new Pinterest-y recipe this week. I didn't have all of the ingredients, so my version is very modified. Anyway, the filling you see is avocados, red onion, cilantro, and olive oil. I wrapped them in won-ton wraps (which were supposed to be spring roll wraps ... oops ...) and pan-fried them in olive oil. HOLY YUM. They were delicious. Naomi ate three.

I was recently joking with some friends about the trends emerging for spring. I saw a link that listed twenty-five of them, and I liked only two: Neon being one, nautical stripes being the other. I'm old and un-trendy, I know. But, here I am, trying on neon for size. Hard to miss me in a crowd!

One of our hens absolutely refuses to leave her nest. We think she's trying to hatch this group.

And, lastly, poor buddy got a fever this week. I hate when he's sick ... but I do love the snuggle time!

Have a lovely weekend, friends!

Thursday, April 19, 2012


My Dad has always done private contracting and when I was a kid, one particular house he built was fairly close to our own. After school, my Mom and brother and I would drive over to the work site to hang out for a bit. My very favorite thing on the site was a massive mountain of dirt that was leftover when they dug out the foundation. My brother and I would climb that mound every evening and get completely filthy, digging and burrowing through the soft, freshly dug dirt. One of those really great childhood memories.

So, when the storms from last weekend left an impromptu shallow pond in our backyard and the kids ended up in it fully-clothed, I acquiesced.

What had started out as an innocent game of throwing rocks in the water soon turned into a mud-slinging free-for-all. And all I could think about was that dirt mound as a kid--the soft, squishy mud between my toes and how absolutely glorious it felt.

Needless to say, I was thrilled that my kids were feeling the same thing.

Naomi's white tutu is now brown, but, it was worth it. Kids being kids--it doesn't get much better than that.

Have a lovely day.

Monday, April 16, 2012

That Which Doesn't Kill You, Will Sanctify You.

It's safe to say that these past ten weeks have brought about the very best in me, along with the very worst. What frantic moments in motherhood take away with one hand, they give with the other. Every day is constant. Every day is taxing. Some days are more constant and taxing than others (can something be "more" constant? Eh, I think so!). If the kids are grumpy (including the baby) or if I'm grumpy or if the laundry pile is a mountain and the to-do list is seven pages long and I'm desperately trying to salvage the day with nothing on my side but a quick prayer and a cup of coffee ... those days can be hard. The days where I feel like I'm one step behind. Put several of those days in a row, and they go from hard, to despairing.

There have been a few days sprinkled in these past few months where I've honestly felt like I simply cannot go one step further. I cannot change one more diaper. I cannot explain one more "why". I cannot wipe one more nose, read one more book, make one more meal. I am spent. Beyond being spent, I am expended. To the fullest extent, I am used up. And these are the days that leave me staring out the window, eyes blank, with my husband holding my hand and telling me I can do it. The nights that begin with me crying myself to sleep while he prays over me. I can do this. We can do this.

My friend and mentor drove into town to help me paint my laundry room last week. We were discussing the parenting books and methods that ensure all sorts of promising things with an easy 1-2-3 step process. Follow these guidelines and parenting will be magically easy. Straighten your Super Mom cape--these results are guaranteed!

And she sighed as she reached up the wall with the rolling brush and murmured, "Parenting is so much more than that ... it's a sanctification process."

Her remark resonated with me. I've often referred to this as being a refining duty. I feel like I am being stripped away and that hopefully something golden and wonderful is laying beneath these frantic ugly-cry meltdowns and burnt grilled cheese sandwiches. But to be sanctified ... to be made holy. Something that is sacred. And I realize that the stress and overwhelming feelings that accompany motherhood are not only from the exhaustion and the expenditure, but they are also from the heavy sense of responsibility. To raise my children in the way they should go, when I can barely see straight. It hadn't dawned on me that in the efforts to show my children the truth in God's holiness, that I am being sanctified as well.

Within these frazzled days lie hidden opportunities to see the sanctification process in motion. That every trial and teachable moment holds the challenge to come through as better on the other side. Parenting is sacred.

I'm not sure what the process looks like in its entirety--I've only been at this for three years. Just with three souls in three years! The time has been busy, but ultimately short. But even in that spanse of time, I feel as though I've become a new person, been stretched to my limits and rewarded in the best of ways. And maybe that's what this process is about. To see God's goodness and understand Him through the testing. And through the rejoicing.

I wanted to write honestly here and I hope this makes sense. If any of this resonates with you, hang in there. I am toasting you with a sippy cup of juice as we go through this sanctification together.

Have a lovely day.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Love: The Week.

Daddy and his littlest lady. He's quite smitten.

As I headed out the door to Zumba, my little girl fussed and my big girl wanted "up". See why I want to be strong?? ;)

Way yummy fish tacos: White corn tortillas, guac, fish (I recommend tilapia but had to use salmon, since it was all I had--quite fishy!), shredded red cabbage, drizzle of jalapeno ranch. Yum.

An attempt at a pic whilst grocery shopping. Welcome to the parade! (Look at Lydia's tiny head and that huge yawn! She loves to sleep in the sling.)

I attempted white jeans for the first time. They weren't as scary as I thought they would be. I took this picture to send to my Mom. Who already owns white jeans. Also, whenever I take mirror pictures, I raise my eyebrows. Why is this? My natural smile has un-raised eyebrows, but when I see my reflection, up go the brows. I notice this when other people take mirror pictures, too. What gives? Hence, I look slightly evil. Sorry.

Food, jeans, babies, grocery shopping. Welcome to my week. Welcome to my life, actually. :)

Have a lovely weekend.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Going Through The House: The Laundry Room.

I know. I KNOW. The whole point of beginning the "Going Through The House" series spurred from my intentions to decorate the formal dining room. Which is pretty much becoming the one room that I HAVEN'T DONE YET. I just keep getting ... detoured.

When major life changes happen (like, say, childbirth and adding a third baby to the family circus under your roof), we all react/respond differently. Some eat chocolate. Some watch sappy movies. I tend to dye my hair with a cheap box of color and then randomly and sporadically redecorate portions of my house.

To each his own.


One day last week, I walked into the laundry room, flipped on the light, and almost went cross-eyed from the fluorescent-ness of the fluorescent light that spanned the ceiling. Since we moved in, I've hated that light. In fact, I have a hatred for fluorescent lights in general. When I worked before having babies, I used to wait as long as possible to turn on the fluorescent lights in the office. My boss usually walked in and flipped them on for me when he had had enough of the darkness. I HATE THEM.

So, the light in the laundry room? I decided it was just time to replace it.

And, while I was at it, why not ask for some help and just repaint the room, too.

Firstly, check out the old light:

So ... fluorescent. Blindingly auto-shop-ish. And if you peer closely enough ...

Yes. Those black dots are DEAD BUGS. IN MY LIGHT.


The light needed to go and I wanted to replace it with something a bit more ... elegant. Because, let's face it: I stay at home full-time and most of my work is done in the kitchen and the laundry room.

I liken this to gussying up my cubicle.

Here is a picture of the laundry room "before".

The wall color wasn't bad. Neutral, nothing special.

And here is the laundry room "after":

Fresh! Clean! Blue-ish grey-ish!

And check out that fun light.

This is actually the light that used to hang in our dining room. I liked it just fine, but the shades that came with it were frosted and bell-shaped, which is okay, but it didn't have the personality I was going for in this room. I wanted something a little ... cleaner. So, rather than buy a new light altogether, I just repurposed this old light by replacing the shades. These are clear bubble glass and reflect the light beautifully. The whole room is brighter!

I haven't added many accessories, because, let's face it: It won't take long for this room to get cluttered on its own. For now ... I'm enjoying my new workspace. :)


Have a lovely day.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Is Breastfeeding Gross?

I had someone approach me with a curious question before Lydia was born. The question had left my mind until this past weekend, when I was feeding Lydia in our room. She was smiling and grunting and the moment was sweet ... and the question again crossed my mind.

They wanted to know if breastfeeding was gross.

At first I had to stifle the urge to laugh. What in the world? The idea of breastfeeding being gross had never crossed my mind--ever--but when I saw the genuine concern on her face, I realized she was being serious. She was married and wanted to start a family and was honestly worried about the prospect of breastfeeding, because up until that point, the function of her boobs had been purely sexual.

So then I started thinking about it, and this is where I throw out a huge disclaimer, letting you know right now that my approach to answering this question will contain both honesty and humor, so, you know. You will see the word "boob" several times. Just roll with it, okay?

Because honestly, for some women, the idea of someone latching onto their boob--someone that they don't know yet, really--is slightly frightening.

And when I think about it that way, I can understand why someone might have their apprehensions.

For me, breastfeeding was a no-brainer, since I was breastfed and my sister-in-law, the one whom I first saw go through the whole having-a-baby thing, breastfed as well. Breastfeeding just came with having a baby, in my world. But actually having a baby, and going through the breastfeeding process ... it's different when you experience it for yourself. For some women, they don't make enough milk. For others, it's way too much work. And, frankly, for some, they just don't like it. But I would always encourage a Mom to at least give it a whirl and then make their choice.

But is there a possibility that it could be gross? That it's just a tad too intimate for some women?

Every woman's body is different, every woman's life experiences are different, so there are really several factors that come into play when attempting to answer that question. But, this is how I would break it down:

Let's use an example. Like, say, hugs. Hugs are nice, right? We would probably all venture to say that hugs are a good thing. They make us feel good!

Well, not really. Hugs are all fine and sweet as long as they are from someone we like. All it takes is that One Awkward Person, whom we all know, who makes their way towards you, arms open wide, and you freeze and try to shirk away, thus resulting in the ever-popular "side hug", as your getaway meets their embrace and you're stuck there for two agonizing seconds of awkwardness. Bleh. We've all been there. Hugs are sweet and fine as long as you like the person approaching you. But if you don't like that person, your defenses go up and the sweet hug becomes an annoying prison. The point I'm reaching is that there is more to touch than what is purely physical. It is just as, if not more, mental and emotional as well!

The same goes for breastfeeding, I think.

When my baby is born and in those first few moments of his/her life when they put him/her on my belly and the breastfeeding attempts begin, my thoughts and hormones are all baby. Whether you ultimately breastfeed or not, I think most moms would agree that from that moment, everything is focused on doing what's best for the baby--whether you are experiencing elation or terror--you realize that this tiny person's survival is based solely on you. So whether that means that they latch onto your boob, your toe, or your nose in order to live, you acquiesce.

And if you choose breastfeeding, then your boobs become purely functional. It can hurt. It can sting. But, after a while, in my experience, I can't even really feel it anymore. The only "stimulation" I feel is when my milk lets down and oh, the sweet release of an engorged boob is AWESOME. But it's nothing sexual. It's purely ... maternal and natural. And honestly, it's really cool. Our bodies are amazing.

And can your boobs still be sexual? Um, YES. It might take a little getting used to at first, but again, everything is hormone driven. The way you feel when your husband walks into the room is different than the way you feel when you bend down to pick your baby up out of the crib. God created us to be brilliantly multi-faceted and somehow, we are able to play different roles. The transition between the roles can be tricky (really, whether you breastfeed or not!), but that just takes time.

So. Is breastfeeding gross? I don't personally think so. But ... what do you think?

Have a lovely day!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Friday's Here.

We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us;
and we ought to lay our lives down for the brethren.

1 John 3:16

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Easter-y Preparations.

This year I am hosting Easter. Why? Because I excel at biting off more than I can chew. That's why.

But, really, of all of the holidays, Easter is an easy one to host. No bazillion gifts for everyone. No fireworks. No turkey that requires roasting or potatoes that require mashing. I can handle this gig. I think.

So, to prepare for our guests, the kids and I have done a few Easter-y things around the house. Firstly, I decided to spring-ify our entryway.

Yes, I am the old lady who puts silk flowers in her planters. I tend to kill living plants, so until I get the hang of ... what's it called? Watering? I will continue to use fake plants in almost all of my outdoor decorating. If you start seeing plastic pink flamingos springing up all over my yard, then you'll know I've officially lost it. Until then ... I just toe the line.

I love my green berry wreath. Please note that its berries are bordering on a dullish grey from sun-bleaching. I bought this wreath from Pier 1 two years ago and I just can't seem to bring myself to replace it. So, instead, I embellished it with (fake) flowers and the letter "B", which is the first letter of my last name. It is also the first letter in the word "Bazinga" from my favorite show "Big Bang Theory". Obviously, "B" has a prominent place in my heart.

While perusing the dollar aisle at Target, I found some metallic eggs and the kids had a fun time decorating our "Easter Tree", which has no purposeful significance, except that it was just something fun for the kids to do. The twisted hibiscus was pulled out of hiding once again and the kids love to see their handiwork.

While Pinteresting some Easter ideas, I came across the idea of cutting the kids' Easter lunch into bits and putting it in plastic eggs for them to open during their meal. For example, one egg could have part of a sandwich, one egg could have a few grapes, one egg could have some pretzels ... you get the idea. This is genius because it means the kids will be occupied for at least five minutes opening each egg, giving their parents time to take maybe five whole bites of their meal instead of the usual two. Score! I decided it would be fun for the kids to paint the crates where we will put their Easter Lunch Eggs, and of course they had a blast doing it.

Speaking of Easter eggs, my Mom and I were commiserating over what to put in the kids' plastic eggs this year for their Easter egg hunt. I'm not a huge fan of tons of candy, plus, much like Christmas, I want to keep the gifts to a reasonable limit, since this holiday celebrates something much greater. We thought maybe something like fruit snacks or graham crackers .... and then Voila! The idea hit us:

Why not fill their eggs with fun Annie's food? Fruit snacks, cinnamon bunnies, chocolate bunnies ... all delicious and not too horribly bad for them. And shoot, it's BUNNIES! After all, we aren't total bunny haters when it comes to Easter. This is fun without being, you know, grotesquely indulgent.

And, for us, we celebrate Easter because we celebrate the resurrection of Christ. I think the eggs and, yes, even the bunny, are harmless and fine, but we still want to make sure we do our part to rein it in and teach our kids why this holiday really is a reason to throw a party! I plan on stringing up some spring garland and flowers the night before, so the kids will see it when they wake up--a very easy visual of the LIFE that we have in Christ. And one of our projects this week focused on that, too. Taking a cue from the sun we did in their bathroom, I taped a cross with some masking tape on a canvas and the kids did a lovely job painting all over it. I then removed the tape once it dried and the kids loved the finished product!

(The blue swirls are courtesy of Caleb. "I paint gently," he explained while painting. He then walked to a corner and read a volume on the philosophical approach to existential theology. And then he solved a Rubik's cube. Five times. Eyes closed. One-handed.)

Ta-Da! They are so proud of it. I know they do not totally understand the concept of Easter, but I want to at least introduce it. Even if it means scraping dried paint off of my kitchen table when we're finished.

There you have it! Our Easter preparations. How about you? Do you have any crafts or traditions you want to share?

Have a lovely day!