Month: October 2013

Family Pictures

We love getting our family pictures taken just in time for fall. 

Well when I say “love”, I mean a certain level of stress is involved to find four perfectly coordinated outfits, pray that the girls are in good/smiley moods, and hope that the weather cooperates.  But I guess it’s worth the end result:

A great photo to use for our family Christmas card AND it lines up well with MG’s birthday (and now Bea’s half :)).  Here are some of the wonderful photos our friend took for us.  I just love them.  She is SOOOOO talented!! 

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Change

“Sometimes…I wander about in this house that Nathan and I renewed, that is now aged and worn by our life in it. How many steps, wearing the thresholds? I look at it all again. Sometimes it fills to the brim with sorrow, which signifies the joy that has been here, and the love. It is entirely a gift.” Wendell Berry Hannah Coulter

First of all, I need to apologize if I know you in person and this is the first you are hearing of our news.  Although there was a great amount of thought put into it, once the ball started rolling, it rolled fast.

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We’re moving.

But our journey involves a little bit of a story.

I like to think it starts this July, when we found ourselves in California with my family, enjoying a little vacation.

Bea was a brand new babe and we were soaking up all of the family time we had as the thick of summer was upon us.  As much joy as we had, something felt off.  Our future was uncertain.  It had been a whole year since our summer of disappointment, but our job luck had not turned around for the better.  Behind closed doors, we lamented  that N had not had any job interviews up until this point.  A year prior, he’d already had about half a dozen under him.  It was July, time was running out for things to change, even though we felt as though we were more than ready for them to.

One of the things I enjoy about our family vacations is that we always read a book before our trip, chosen each time by a different member of the family.  This time my dad had chosen The Pursuit of God. (Tozer).  One sunny afternoon we were sitting outside discussing it and my dad suggested that we share prayer requests and subsequently pray over each other.  N and I shared what was on our heart: for God to open doors, to show us the next step (whatever it was we were READY to follow, we just needed Him to show us).  They prayed and my dad ended by saying that he felt we were on the brink of a big change.  I felt it too. I prayed for clarity.

Not long after we returned home, N received a call for an interview.  The first one all summer!  We were reserved but allowed ourselves some excitement.  He got the call on a Monday and scheduled an interview for that Friday.  On the Thursday night before, they called to tell him they were cancelling the interview: they’d already chosen their candidate.

Well that was quite strange, but laughable because it seemed to fit right in with all of the previous job interview experiences he’d had thus far.  The doors always closed but for reasons always unpredictable and sometimes just bizarre!  Another week would go by before he would get another interview lined up.  The strange thing about this next one was that before he even had the chance to interview for it, he was offered a job at another location!

Yep, it happened that fast.  We were over the moon excited!  The next job, the next direction, a step into our future.  We finally had a clear picture of where to go next.  The only hang-up about this job was the commute.  It was at least an hour drive one way.  In fact, he almost didn’t apply for it, but at the last minute changed his mind because he had some strong connections there.

We knew the commute would be daunting, but we were determined to make it work.  “We can do anything for a year.”, we told ourselves.  At the end of a year we would reevaluate.

God had begun preparing my heart for the next change long before I even realized it.  At some point that summer, we had discussed moving out of state in order for N to pursue his doctorate in another location.  In thinking about an out of state move, I began to process what I would have to leave behind.  I grieved over the loss of our church, our small group, my play group, my friends, N’s family here, MG’s school, MOPS, book club, the ease of our location, heck, even the hospital where Bea was born.  I grieved and then  made peace with each loss.  Some were easy, others more difficult.  Included in these thoughts were all of the things I would sell or give away before that  move and I began readying my house for a giant purge.

It was in that way that God prepared me for a not-as-grand-but-still-big change that was coming.  I had made peace with leaving those things behind so when God began stirring our hearts again, I was already on the other side of this process rather than starting from the very beginning.

As it turns out, an hour commute is pretty brutal.  Especially when you leave in the early dark and don’t get home until 5:30-6.  The initial start up was a rude awakening for all of us and we all felt the effects, even MG & Bea.  So while we gritted our teeth and determined to bear it, I also continued searching for our next house.  I tried everything to find something that would put us just a little bit closer to his job but still allow us to stay a part of the communities we’ve been involved with.  However, whether it was time, money, or location, something was always hindering us.

Then like a fresh wind of change, my parents suggested something new.  Why not sell our house and rent (temporarily) near N’s job until we know where we are going to end up long term.  The plan felt right for so many reasons: we would be free of the burden of a house, we would save money, we would be free to make an offer on our next house when the timing was absolutely right and we’d know exactly how much money we had to work with.  AND most importantly, we’d get our family back.

A few searches was all it took to land us on our next home.  It is perfect for us in so many ways.  The best one being that is in an area that is familiar and dear to us. It is a much, much shorter commute to work, and still not far enough away from our communities that we have to close all doors permanently.

And after 3 years without, I even have a little art studio.  That is probably my favorite part.

Not long after finding this house, we put our house up for sale and within 48 hours we received an offer that we couldn’t didn’t want to refuse.

So we are (temporarily) moving. Into a rental, into a lovely little community not too terribly far away from “home”.

It may be a little unconventional.  We may be a little crazy.  But we are so excited.

This next little adventure of ours will involve: some paring down, some simplifying and living with less, a shared “sister” room, a time to re-live some memories and create new ones, a chance to live burden (mortgage) free for a few months, the ability to step away and decide what we truly want AND need in our next house.  A moment of clarity.

Our life there already feels peaceful in so many little ways.  I cannot wait for it to fully begin.

N accepted this job offer on July 22, the day I wrote this post.  I could sense it then.  That this would be a year that would stretch and grow us, that we were about to walk down a new and uncharted, but wildly exciting path. But if you had told me then, a mere three months ago, what we’d actually be doing, I WOULD NOT HAVE BELIEVED YOU!  Funny how God works sometimes :).

As you can tell, the story cannot possibly end here.  For now, we will be living life in our rental for the forseeable next few months, but my realtor.com app has still been getting quite the workout as I try to figure out where to land my family permanently. Some days I chose a suburban tradamer with walk-in closets and a master suite.  Other days, I chose a re-habbed 1890’s farm house on 2.5 acres.  For now, that is possibly one of the more fun parts of this journey: not knowing how it ends.

But you can be sure I will fill you in when I know.  Stay tuned,

BLOGtober: A moment in your day

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This.

This is the moment in my day I look forward to every single day.  It comes like clockwork in the exact middle of the day and is as ritualistic as afternoon tea.  No matter what the morning brings, whether calm or crazy, it is an afternoon gift of peace.

Bea and I sit together and rock.  She with her eyes closed.  I listen for Big Sis to either fall asleep or create some imaginary world that is only visible during afternoon quiet time.

I catch up on emails, Facebook, Instagram, blogs…in that order.  Most of my blog posts are written with my left arm cradling her and my right single-handedly pecking at the keyboard.

When the paci has dropped out of her mouth, her limbs are still, and her breathing is relaxed, it is time to transition her into the crib.  Usually that is when my moment of peace is broken and I become once again productive.  But not always.  Sometimes a hot bath or a long nap wins.

Our afternoon ritual keeps me centered.  We both breathe deeply during this time and is nice to be forced to sit and be still for a minute or thirty.

That has been her best gift to me.

Next up in BLOGtober was supposed to be: Most embarrassing moment (s). Spill.   But apparently I have no secrets and have already covered that one here.  So I’ll skip ahead to: what do you miss? (a person, a thing, a place, a time of your life…)

In which I endorse glue

OK, in full disclosure,  I was NOT paid to endorse this product.  But I sure wouldn’t mind it if they offered (wink, wink).

Girlie Glue

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Having two girls, I have accumulated quite the mass of bows.  I love dressing my girls and even better, finishing off their outfits with a cute bow or clip.  Some people tease me about it, others nod in agreement, but it is rare we will leave the house without a hair accessory for both girls.

I discovered “girlie glue” this month and I am hooked.  All I can say is: I wish I’d discovered it sooner (and by “sooner” I mean exactly 3 years ago).  So I am passing the love onto you.

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When I ordered, I got a promo that included a few little bows and felt Halloween shapes. Whenever Bea wears them, we always get tons of compliments (and a few comments like, “how in the world does that stay on there”).  So consider this my  PSA.

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This glue is $5.99 per tube and is made of all natural ingredients–including agave nectar.  The day our little package arrived, MG was so excited to help me accessorize Bea.  She carefully looked through our options and picked out the black, dotted spider for Bea’s head.

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This was shocking because in her world of scary things it’s 1) bears, 2) spiders, 3) having wet sleeves.

Nonetheless, we squirted a pea-sized amount on the backside, per instructions.

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We contemplated for a minute before placing it in the perfect spot:  Just to the right of her head

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(before)

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(after)

They claim it stays put for 24 hours and I have not found any reason to disagree.  I love that it doesn’t slip and slide around like a headband or clip.  There is no “drying” time and wherever you place it, it stays! (cause in the words of a fellow Sweet Mama, “ain’t nobody got time for that”)

At the end of the day (or for multiple costume changes per Big Sis’s request), it washes off with just a little bit of water.  I love that it is gentle on their heads too: it didn’t pull or matt her hair at all.  DSC_0114

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Okay all you moms of girls (especially those baldies or thin-haired ones) and on behalf of all of the future bow lovers of America, you can order some “girlie glue” by following this link: girlieglue.com

Enjoy!

Month Five

Guess who is five months old today?

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It’s me!

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Yep, Baby Bea is speeding through these months and I can not believe it’s already been five!  As N and I were reflecting on this last night I told him, “there’s not one thing I would change about her.”  And it’s true.  I literally cannot think of a single thing that is frustrating, annoying, or difficult that she does.  God must have known that I would need such a mellow, easy going babe for my second because that’s exactly what I got.  I think we’ll keep her 🙂

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Here are the views we have most often seen this month:

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She is finally interested in toys and spends about 90% of her waking hours on her belly.  Putting a few toys in front of her keeps her entertained for the longest.

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Sitting up with a little help (Big Sis is always there with a willing hand/chokehold).  Also tested out the Bumbo this month and she will sit for a few…especially if sister is doing something entertaining.

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These fingers!  They are grasping EVERYTHING they can reach.  Watch out if you try to hold her while you eat: I’ve had multiple plates/silverware/bowls flung onto the floor.  She is deft!

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She finally has enough (thick, gorgeous) hair to hold just a clip!  So fun!  But I also discovered “girlie glue” this month and watch out because I am about to devote an entire post to it.  Total game changer.

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Though perhaps not at first glance, she is a big fan of the Beco.  Once again, even more so  if sis is doing something entertaining.

Bea has also been so fun and giggly.  She has this amazing ticklish spot right in the folds of her neck.  Gets her every time.

She has tested and approved the Jumping Jane.  MG thinks it is Bea’s personal swing and likes to “push” and “spin” her in it.  So cute!

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Sleep has been a breeze this month.  I usually rock her to sleep but sometimes she wakes up when I lay her down in her crib.  In those times, I’ve experimented a bit with “crying it out” because I’m not exaggerating when I say she doesn’t cry.  She usually lets out a few grunty protests and then eventually finds her thumb and nods back off.

She is wonderful.

BLOGtober: The Thing(s) you’re most afraid of

I’m by nature a fearful person.  Becoming a Mom has only increased the fears that run through my mind.  I will spare you from my most deepest fears in case you are a mom too and haven’t already thought of them.

Instead, here are the things which often make up my nightmares.  Very telling, I think:

-sharks

-alligators

-suffocating

-fleeing/hiding as a Jew in the Holocaust

-and please tell me I’m not the only one who still dreams they are in high school and can’t remember their locker combination or what class they are supposed to go to next.  So stressful!

Next up: A piece of advice you have for others. Anything at all.  Well this whole blog is full of advice, so I’ll skip that one and go to:
A moment in your day (this can be just a photo or both a photo and words)

Life with Two {part three}

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Assuming you have a relatively “easy” second child, it is amazing how quickly you look up and they are sleeping through the night, are on a fairly systematic schedule, and you don’t even remember how you got here. You do, however, remember agonizing for the three months that your first child didn’t sleep through the night because you were in a black hole then and you never knew when it would end.  You do remember reading and re-reading book after book, searching for the perfect schedule, wondering why the math never added up on how many hours of sleep they should be getting per day.  You do remember googling every symptom and following advice after advice, rather than listening to your own God-given intuition .  It is amazing how {some} babes will thrive when you let them.

Having two children is downright empowering.  I can’t believe how much I paralyzed myself over indecision and fears with one.  Somehow, having another has not only taken those away, but replaced them with an amazing sense of confidence.

This is the first time I’ve felt this way since Bea came along, but I wish I could freeze time right now.  The girls are at such a lovely stage and life is so much fun.  MG is responsible and independent, but also thoughtful and playful.  The independent part makes life so much easier.  She can put her own shoes on, get in/out of her car seat, do simple chores, wash her hands, follow a routine, and clean up her toys.  Bea is mellow and easy.  She will sleep on the go, held or on her own.  Will put herself to sleep if need be, and will wait patently to eat.  Strap her in the stroller or Beco and she will either sleep or watch big sis run around.  If you are nervous to have two because you think life will get harder,  I’m living proof that it actually may not.  And really, it might just get easier.  And definitely more fun.

Speaking of fun, here are some pics we took yesterday at the pumpkin patch :

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And speaking of independent, MG was quite sure she didn’t want to ride the “pumpkin train” without me, but she did however jump at the chance to do the inflatable caterpillar obstacle course (not once but twice) and THIS:

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(I had to pry her away)

I’m quite sure that age three is when the toys get more fun, the imaginations get more full, the play times get more independent, the helping hand gets more confident and enthusiastic.  Two was not so much my favorite, but I think 3 is going to be a blast!

And finally, there is something that a penny can still buy these days:

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Pure joy.

October Blog Challenge: Favorite Quote and why you love it

To narrow it down to one?  Too hard.  I love a good quote.  So I guess I will instead narrow it down to my (current) favorite author: Wendell Berry.  If you’re not familiar with him (not surprising), he writes both fiction and non-fiction, mostly from a farmer’s perspective.

Basically, he makes me want to move to the country and live off of the land.  He definitely romanticizes life in a small town built around community, but it is so fun to dream about.

Here is my current favorite:

To know that I was known by a new living being, who had not existed until she was made in my body by my desire and brought forth into the world by my pain and strength – that changed me….”  Hannah Coulter

Okay this one too:

“Most people now are looking for ‘a better place,’ which means that a lot of them will end up in a worse one…There is no ‘better place’ than this, not in this world. And it is by the place we’ve got, and our love for it and our keeping of it, that this world is joined to Heaven.” Hannah Coulter

If you are new to his works and interested, I would suggest you start with Hannah Coulter.  It is amazing to think that a man wrote this story, considering it is from a woman’s perspective and so very accurate.  The first time I read it, I cried through some paragraphs that were so beautiful they stirred me.

I also felt deeply connected to Mr. Berry’s characters because my family has relatives in rural Kentucky and I spent some of my childhood there.  (and it turns out some of these relatives know him rather well.  Must meet!!!)

Next up: The thing(s) you’re most afraid of

October Blog Challenge: Things that make you uncomfortable

Well…let’s see….

-hot tubs

-heights

-strangers around my babies

-crying

-related to that ^^  when you go see a movie and people are sobbing in the theater.  It makes it really hard for me to get into the moment when I can hear other people crying around me

-crowds

-telling people, I’m gluten-free

-compliments…but those are far less uncomfortable than critiques

-being late

-when people start talking about a book or movie that I haven’t read/seen but that I plan on and I just want to cover my ears and run away

-massages

-and finally the just plain…when someone else is uncomfortable

Next up:  Favorite Quote (from a person, from a book, etc) and why you love it

October Blog Challenge: Educate us on something you know alot about or are good at.

Okay, I’m cheating today, somewhat.  I’m answering this one by referring you to my Wise Baby post today:

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It is a craft which is something I would consider myself good at.

Unfortunately, this is my last Wise Baby post….at least for now. In this new season of life, N and I are both sacrificing some things in order to maximize the family time we get.  The Wise Baby, as much as I loved it, had to go.

However, I have loved the challenge of creating these fun little activities with MG so I hope to add more to the blog soon.

I know I’ve been alluding to being “busy” and life being “crazy” lately.  Lots of updates to come!

Next BlOGtober post: Things that make you uncomfortable.  This should be good!

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