Friday, December 2, 2011

a little flour, 18 months

Our little Oliver turned 18 months old today- wow we now have a little year and a half year old. Halfway to 2!
Some favorite things that he has started doing this past month: peek a boo has been a game he's enjoyed for a long time but he just started doing it himself. He'll put his little hands over his eyes and hold them there...until we come move them. He'll laugh as we say "peek a boo!" it's so darn funny because he doesn't quite get the part that he needs to move his hands!
He's also started touching our faces when he says our names. He'll say, "mama" and reach up and touch my cheek. He started doing this when my parents came to visit us. My mom asked him where grandma was and he reached up and touched her face. How sweet that memory is! Thanks for giving that gift to your grandma Oliver!
He has also started talking to himself more and laughing too. I'll hear him gabbering away with his toys then he'll chuckle and gabber some more. It's so funny to hear him and wonder what in the world is going through his head.
He has also started to outgrow his second nap. I am so thankful we scheduled him early on to have a sleep, eat, play pattern as it really seemed to teach him what to expect. He goes to bed without any problem, as well as naps. However I am thinking it's time to start putting him on just one nap a day. He will take a morning nap and quite often here lately when I put him down for his afternoon nap he'll talk and talk and talk, take his socks off, throw them out of the crib, talk, turn on his sleep sheep- cry if it's on the whale noises (not sure why but he hates that sound, he prefers the rain), I'll go in and turn it off, lay him down and finally towards the end of nap time, he'll fall asleep. In which case I usually have to wake him up if it's getting close to dinner time. So I think we will be converting to one long nap.
We are also working on some training sessions with Oliver. Teaching him to be still and quiet throughout the day, to teach him to listen. He's been doing great with these 5 minute training sessions and has learned to sit still quietly- usually sucking his thumb.
We've also been working on shapes, counting, and colors for the past couple months. This month (actually 17 months) he finally recognized the four shapes I was teaching him. It was an exciting realization to me to see that he really knew what each shape was. After months of nothing (which was okay, I don't pressure him to learn, we have fun) he just suddenly knew them. It was encouraging to me to see that the time we spend looking at letters, numbers, shapes and colors is now starting to click in his mind.
He has also really started to mimic us- a lot. He has learned animal sounds: sheep, dog, cat, lion, gorilla, monkey, cow, horse, rooster (this one is hilarious and sounds like 'goodle-oodle-oo), and a duck.
There is never a dull moment here in our house!
oliver is 18 months and loves peek a boo!

But moving right along here... today was just like any other day. I treasure each day at home with this little guy. Even if he follows me around when I need to be in the kitchen. I decided that I would give him something new to explore while I baked bread.
Our kitchen has laminate flour so I had Oliver sit down and plopped a bowl with some flour in it right in front of him.
He poked one little finger in it and looked up at me and grinned. This new texture was pretty exciting and I could see his little mind taking it in. He was cautious to play with it, almost expecting me to say no, don't touch. But I encouraged him to touch it, and gave him a spoon to swirl it around.
Oh my.
What a fun thing this was!
The next thing I knew he had dumped it on the ground and was happily playing in it, as well as tapping the spoon on the bowl.
The belly laughing! I didn't expect him to be as thrilled as he was, and it was so much fun to watch him laugh at the joy of flour.
I ran to get the camera so I could take some pictures for Jonah. I am so glad I did. I treasure these shots- you can see the gleam in his eyes from it all.
What a fun little boy we have!

Sunday, November 27, 2011


I have so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. God is so good, so loving, so gracious and so giving to me that it's often overwhelming. How much He loves us!
This year was special for several reasons, one was the fact that my parents were able to come visit us over the holiday. This in itself was a direct answer to prayer. I had been asking God to somehow be able to see them soon- for Oliver to meet his grandpa. The answer came through some friends of ours that offered their sky miles to us- so that we could fly my parents in. How amazing it is when you know that God gave you a very clear answer. He provided a way and took care of all the details.
It was very special to see my mom and dad in the airport, and to have Oliver welcome them with a hug. Very special memories that we will always cherish- we even have it on video.
These younger years in our sons life seem to fly by too quickly. It has made me realize how important it is to stop and enjoy the simple moments, and to remember to see things through his eyes. What may not seem all that exciting to me, may be something that completely thrills him! Jonah and I are slowly starting our own traditions that we can share with Oliver (and any future children in our lives).
I loved the time with family though, it went smoothly for the most part, and we all had a great time together. We also welcomed my sister and her daughter into our home for part of the week as well. A full house of family for sure! It was so nice to catch up with everyone and just spend time together.
The Thanksgiving dinner was my first- first time cooking it ALL anyways. I was happy to have my mom there to help me prepare everything, she has many years of experience at this, and I came to appreciate that even more after I finished all the cooking and baking for the day!
Did you know turkeys come with a little flap of skin to tuck over the legs? Gross yes, but also very handy when you are roasting the bird! Our turkey came out golden brown and was moist and delicious!
oliver was hanging out in the kitchen waiting while we prepared the big meal

And even though it took some work and time, I was happy with how everything came out, it was delicious. Everyone seemed to enjoy the food and we had a lot of leftovers that carried over into sandwiches, soup and more to come! Pie is always wonderful to have leftover too since I don't make pies that often. A yummy treat.

Our menu: herb roasted turkey, cornbread sausage stuffing, sweet potato casserole, cheesy mashed potatoes, bacon wrapped green beans, whole wheat rolls, cranberry sauce, green and black olives, cran-apple pie and pumpkin pie.

I have much to be thankful for as I mentioned earlier, and this bountiful table filled with savory delicious foods is one big thing to give thanks to God for. His provision is so evident. As I looked around that table at those beside me I can see God's hand on us. It is so evident that He will take care of us. I am reminded of this when I think back over this past week. I don't take for granted the food on our table, and the roof over our head. I know that there are so many in the world that go without because they don't have a choice. And I am mindful of this as we head into the next holiday season.
Each year I feel like I am prodded to do more for others, to give more, to love more, to be less selfish...and it seems I fail. I get wrapped up in the spirit of Christmas as forget the very reason we celebrate this upcoming day.
I pray that as we leave Thanksgiving behind we don't forget how much we have in our lives that we are thankful for. Our freedom, both physically and spiritually, our shelter, our food, our family, friends, clothing, salvation, and our relationship with Christ. To whom much is given, much is required. May I not miss what is required of me!

thank you Lord for this special reunion and abundant meal

thank you Lord for black olives!

reason to celebrate, seeing my mom and dad!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Well it's been quite a week.
We've all been sickie sickies here at home.
It started Monday night when we heard Oliver crying in his crib only to discover he had thrown up. I was hoping it was something he'd eaten and not that dreaded virus that threatens to turn everyone in the family ill.
Well it was the latter.
I ended up sick a couple days later, followed by Jonah the day after me.
It was not fun.
Cleaning up after Oliver was tough, but not as hard with my sweet husband right beside me. Five times we had to get up and get Oliver, strip him, the bed and put him back down with wonder that he may or may not throw up again. Vomit is a hard thing to deal with- at least for me. It makes me queasy to even think about it, let alone see it. But God is gracious and provided a wonderful mate in my life that jumps right in without hesitation, and we got through it.
I am also so thankful we weren't all sick at one time with a little 1 1/2 year old underfoot. We were able to trade off watching Oliver while one of us was upstairs sick. Right about the time I was recovering, Jonah became sick so we swapped places.
Now here we are on the tail end, recovering. It was a rough sickness as our appetites are still not where they normally are. It kind of just lingers on.
I was able to disinfect the house yesterday, and today I'm cleaning our bedding again. I may run through and clean the house again in a couple days.
Because it's Thanksgiving week!
I have MUCH to be thankful for, but this week we are welcoming my parents into our home. A long awaited visit that was orchestrated right down the very details by God.
This is another post that is sure to come sometime soon.
For now just another day at home, resting up and playing with a very bouncy happy little boy.

new fascination with his sunglasses!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

going on strike

For some reason months 16 and 17 in the life of our son have brought on some new behavior.
Dinner strike.
I'm not sure what it is exactly about dinner time, the food is still good, colorful appetizing. And Oliver loves to eat.
Breakfast- favorite for him.
Lunch- gone just as quick.
But dinner.
Alas dinner hour brings a challenge. To EAT. Maybe it's the lateness of the hour. 5 o'clock may be late to some you know.
Maybe it's the evenings fare. Although I don't claim to be a fancy or gourmet cook.
Maybe it's the approaching bed time that seems to cloud Oliver's mind and distracts him to the point of just saying no to food.
Whatever it may be, we have found ourselves searching for ways to encourage him to eat. I understand that he will not starve if he sits through and entire meal staring at his food, only to have his tray cleared away at the end, touched or untouched by him.
But if it's becoming a nightly ritual for him I can't allow him to skip too many times. After all this seems to be developing into a pattern.
And so on this particular night he was given his dinner- fish cakes, green beans and mashed potatoes along with a baked apple.
Well the apple was of course the one thing that he wanted. Great to eat fruit, but not until the rest of the food has been eaten. Sweets (apples with cinnamon and sucanat ) are desserts.
So we tried removing the apple from sight. To no avail.
And we brought the apple back in, within view, with the rest of his food on his tray.
The approach this time- and no I don't believe you can reason with a 17 month old, that is not our parenting style- was choice.
Our conversation, " Oliver you have to eat these green beans and fish before you can have apple".
And guess what?
He started shoveling in those greens so fast we had to slow him down. Hand over fist, bean after bean and a frantic pointing at the apple when he arrived at the last bean. He was saying " dis, dis, dis!" his word for "this", while pointing at the apple hoping he could now have a delicious bite of that wonderful food!
A bite of apple later, we had him eat all of his fish before he was given the rest of his apple.
I still can't believe that he understood the concept of logic and reason. He is 17 months old.
We have to be careful here about approaching this sort of thing. We don't want him to learn that he will always receive a reward for obeying, because he won't. Encouragement and praise yes, but not special treats.
But you know what? As new parents, being first time at so many things is challenging. What exactly is the best approach for .....well whatever new situation we encounter. It's tough, and very much a daily learning experience and a daily dependence on God for wisdom in the moments!
And throughout all of it, he ate his dinner.

Operation Christmas Child- our box

Well we did it. We successfully wrapped and packed our box for Operation Christmas Child this year. It was fun shopping for items as I had to be creative with dollars that went towards it. I was able to pick up mostly almost free items using coupons and sales at some nearby stores. I found that my Rite Aid had some great deals (believe it or not) when you take advantage of items on sale with what they call "UP's" on items that equal store dollars.
Having collected all our items we sat down and wrapped the box. I think that was probably the hardest part of the whole project. It's not easy to cleanly wrap a box bottom and lid separately. I found gaps in the corners and covered those with more tape and paper.
Oh well, at least it's now wrapped, and I did the best I could. I know one thing- those corners are NOT coming unwrapped on route to it's destination!
I reallly wanted Oliver to watch and help as much as he could. I know at 17 months his helping may be more like orchestrating on my part but it was fun to have there. I know if we continue to do this yearly (I'm thinking it will be a great tradition to start) he will become more aware of what we are doing and be able to join in more.
The wrapping was a process, but we did it. Oliver helped tape it up, sort of. I think he was weirded out by the stickiness of the tape.
I then had him help me fill it up with our items.
Unfortunately when it came time to put the shiny red car in, he didn't want to let go of it. I know it was a wonderful car to play with for his little hands, but after some tears and encouragement, and me stepping in to drop it in...we finished it. (Perhaps we can look for a shiny little car for him for Christmas)
Oliver helped push the lid down.
Jonah willingly took some photos of us.
And I'm excited to send it out! I'm thankful for some images from this process as I'm excited to be able to do something small for a child in the world that has little to nothing this Christmas.
I well remember the faces of all those kids in the DR and how they simply had nothing. What a wonderful blessing it is to be able to give. And we can all give.

Friday, November 11, 2011


Today is a special day.
Veterans Day, yes. I am so thankful for those that sacrificed sooo much for me to enjoy the liberties I do.
Happy Birthday too- to my older sister, who lives far far away as a missionary overseas. I love her and I'm so thankful for her in my life!
But today also marks a milestone for me. 11/11/11, what a perfect day to celebrate my completion of reading through the Bible this year!
I started out at the beginning of the year with determination and hope that I would finish. In all my life I was never able to say I had read through this dear Book from God. I had never finished it cover to cover.
As it happened, I was reading a fellow bloggers post and she shared a Bible reading plan that she had just finished. I clicked the link, downloaded it, printed it and that was it. I began my reading.
I really loved the plan as it lets you check each box as you finish, giving a real sense of satisfaction :)
I have to say that it was wonderful reading through it all. God spoke to me in different passages and verses, and my printout of my plan is filled with scratchings and scribbles of verses that meant so much for so many different reasons. Now I look back over my plan and I am really glad I took some notes of different verses- I will save it for future reference as I again read through His Word.
So, why not begin again? It's been such a huge blessing to read through it daily. Sometimes I missed a day or two, but it was easy to get back on track and the plan helped me refocus and follow through.
My next goal is to read through in chronological order. The Bible isn't actually laid out this way, so reading in chronological will be interesting indeed. It's a history book after all and I think it will be interesting to read it as it all took place.
But I may not do that just yet, I may wait until the New Year...and I may not.
My thoughts right now are to do some studying over the next couple months, maybe focusing on a certain passage. I'm not sure what it will be yet. I'm praying for some guidance here.
One area that I have been really wanting to dive into personally is to become more learned about Theology. To know more about His Word, to have more knowledge.
In my church we have a women's Bible study every other week and I have really really enjoyed it. It's been a rich time of learning, and many of the women that share have been given so much godly wisdom, not because of their laziness, but because of their diligence in the Word.
One lady encouraged us to become diligent in studying the Bible. To be theological. Sure our husbands may be this, but why do we as women think it's too hard, too complicated to dive in and really study?
I feel I use that excuse in my own life- the books written about doctrine, beliefs ect. can be a bit daunting. So I remain in the dark.
Is this right?
To further challenge us, my friend also went onto say that we are teachers in our own homes. Raising our children, guiding them in the way they should go, and also being there to give an answer to Bible questions. We are counsellors to our husbands, the ones they seek out when they are needing encouragement, and wisdom in life.
We are also called to offer encouragement, wisdom, and sometimes strong guidance to friends that need it, and how in the world can we do all this if we are not seeking out His wisdom?
To me this was something I felt convicted about. How can I possibly think I can offer council of any sort if I'm not studying what His Word says? I don't want to be the one to offer worldly advice to others.
And so, I have been challenged in this area personally. To dive in, to absorb. Who says it's too late to learn? Thats foolish. You can always start right where you are- and I think God will bless your efforts.
If you would like  to read my reading plan it's found here.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Giving a gift for Operation Christmas Child

Operation Christmas Child.
It's that time of year.
I hear about this every year. And yet that's all it ever amounts to. I just hear it and go on with our lives. Ho hum.
Well this year I actually stopped, clicked on the link (not sure where I saw it posted online, I think a fellow blogger) and read about what all it entailed.
After I read through what all is involved I was surprised at how relatively simple- easy it was to make a shoebox for a child. And what a fun box to pack. This year they are even offering a tracking option in which you pay $7 to allow tracking on your box. You can see where in the world your box ends up- which is pretty cool.
I know we don't have extra (well, isn't that an understatement compared to the rest of the world?), but we are to be generous with what we have, and I'm going to shop smart to pick up some items to fill up a box for a special child somewhere out in the world!
The collection week is coming up quick (November 14-21) so we don't have a lot of time to pack a box, but really a shoebox can't take that much time.
I'm so excited to do this as a family and even though Oliver doesn't really understand, perhaps it will be a new tradition for us.
I love this time of year!

Friday, November 4, 2011


I have been diligently working away at couponing, meal planning and grocery lists this past week.
All of which are not exactly something I would choose to do willingly. I really have a hard time with each of these. But I have been challenged lately to work harder at these things because they are some thing I not only need to do but must do. They are my responsibility.
My job, given by God, is to run the home. To be the home maker. Not lead the home- that is my husband's God given gift, but to organize and efficiently keep it in order. It's something I think some women shy away from, or procrastinate or somehow justify not doing for the sake of so many excuses. I fit right in there.
It's easy to put other things ahead of these tasks that, well are not exactly my favorite. I have laundry to finish, a little boy to teach, emails to respond to, bathrooms to clean, meals to cook...and on goes my list.
Yes these items need to be done too, but along with the ones that I well, dislike.
But I know that I am more than capable, and God is willing to help with each task He has expected me to do.
I'm not a failure. In fact I can be pretty determined when I set my mind to doing something. Firm even.
So I jumped in this past week. I knew the road before me would be long and frustrating as I planned out meals, researched sales and coupons and wrote my grocery list.
And guess what? I finished it. (meal plan here if you'd like to look)
I was determined to finish no matter how long it took. And I did. Thank you God for helping.
I prayed over the time I invested as I headed to the store and I feel God blessed the efforts I put in.
Will it get easier? I am hoping so. I'm starting to see a reason to all the madness.
Meal plans= less stress each day, less money on store trips, and more time for other things. So it does make sense. I think I forget that planning always equals more time in the long run.
And the coupons.
I struggled using coupons for the fact that I try hard to keep our foods more whole food based, or with as little processed foods as possible. It's tough to do this on a small budget but also with coupons as so many of them are for boxed, canned, packaged processed junk that really shouldn't even be on the shelves, because of the unhealthy things that are in them. (thinking of sugary cereals, microwave meals...etc.)
But I was again challenging myself to find the best deals, whole food or organic, without stocking up on things that were unhealthy.
The first thing I did when I was researching coupon deals was to look for all the free things. By free I mean the things that you end up getting free when you use the coupons combined with sales. Now these items can often be junk items if they are food, but not always. Free things were also toiletries or paper products such as toothpaste, kleenex, cough drops, soaps etc. When I saw those as free I knew that even if we didn't use some of them, I could still pick them up and donate them to others. Now that is awesome! Also, some of the freebies actually make you a little money when you have coupons that pay for it, with overage. So even if you don't use the items, buy them to make the little overage and donate them.
After I found all the free items and made sure I had the coupons necessary (that's key), I then looked at sales for things we could use.
After shopping between Kroger and Publix (they are minutes from each other where I live) I was able to stock up on some great items including: organic soup, organic broths, organic granola, annie's mac and cheese, natural eggs, salsa for cheap! I also picked up some other basic groceries including produce, which I could spend a little more on with the savings. I picked up a turkey for a great deal at .79 lb for Thanksgiving. Overall between the two stores I spent roughly $58 or so. $19 at Publix (saving over $19) and $38 at Kroger (saving $25 or so).
Also for the free things I headed out to Kroger on a special trip just for those. My total from that trip? I was paid over $7 back. That was pretty awesome. I think that was what encouraged me to try a little harder at coupons. A word of encouragement- you can coupon, save and still buy healthy good food for your family.
Shop sales, in season, and stock up when you have coupons combined with sales on good foods. I thought it was kind of like hoarding to stock, but you want to buy a bunch when it's at it's lowest price so that you are well stocked until the next sale. And I don't greedily buy things we don't use. If something is free, I'll pick it up to donate if we don't use it.
It's a lot of fun to chip away at our budget and get things as low as I can. We don't have wiggle room when it comes to going over so I have to shop smart, there isn't an option here!
Here are the groceries from my two grocery trips:

Also I stick to one site for all this-
I think this helps me tremendously, otherwise I'd be all over the internet searching for sales.
I also shop at Aldi for things, and CVS- but that's another story for another day.
Be encouraged women, you were made for the calling God has on your life- being a home maker, managing all the tasks at home, training up your children, what a huge blessing and honor it is! You are capable of doing all this too, with God's help, don't give up.
Psalm 128:2 
For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee.
I also like the translation in the ESV that says:
You shall eat of the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.

So don't give up! It will be worth it.

wedding, family, and beach fun

We've been busy this past month.
Oliver had his first long car ride. First trip to the beach too. And first time sitting through a wedding. My brother in law got married to a lovely new sister in law, so we made the drive to Florida last week...wait, I mean the week before that (what day is this?). The 7 hour car ride started to get a little hairy at the end, but overall Oliver did great. And he successfully sat quietly through the wedding- my biggest fear. I was praying for him and for me :) My sister in law saved the day with some goldfish crackers. I have never given him these (I'm pretty choosy about what he eats, and I try to avoid processed foods whenever we can). BUT let me just say, thank you Jesus for goldfish crackers. They were a wonderfully quieting food. And Oliver sat and chomped while I held him in the back, and watched the ceremony.
The reception was at a Bed and Breakfast that had a lovely little outdoor area for tables and dancing. We stayed there overnight that last night and loved it. It was my second time staying at a B&B and I have got to say I am loving the experience you get at them, in comparison to a hotel. The personal attention and the food....oh my the food! always sooo good. My mind had visions of Jonah and I running our own little B&B somewhere tucked away...minus all the work, time and patience it must take to make it work! It just looks like such a fun job to meet so many people in their own walks of life and to cook too...
I think I was drooling a little over the massive kitchen that the owner cooked all our food in! I am so thankful for our own home, and our own kitchen, I truly am, but it was fun to take in all the space, the deep sinks, huge stainless steel fridge and ginormous center island. Think of all the meals you could make- at once!
We also had such a great time staying with family and visiting with everyone. It's not often we all get to get together on Jonah's side, so it made it even more special.
Oliver loved seeing everyone, exploring new spaces (hmm, must take after Jonah who easily adapts to change and traveling) and playing with his cousins. His first experience at the beach was a lot of fun too, he loved it. Loved the water, loved the shells, loved the sand- and ate it too.
It was sad to say goodbye to the time away, to family. But we were thankful it went so well, and thankful we could be there.
Great memories! We have many photos from the week, too many to post. I'll have to add some photos in another post, such sweet ones!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Oliver's messes

Love this boy.
He is really getting into everything now, and it's hilarious!

I came into the living room the other day to find this. Oliver had taken every book out of his book bin. He was quietly reading THAT's why he was so quiet!


Busy Busy.
Oliver is all over the place now, walking away. He is getting faster and faster and it is sooo much fun watching him! My days are definitely not dull- never a dull moment!
I love being at home with him. Every day is confirmation of this and I thank God for the privilege.
We celebrated Jonah's 29 birthday this past weekend. Such fun.
My goal was to be creative in my gift to him. So after some brainstorming I decided to create a sort of scavenger hunt.
I called a friend of ours and asked if they would mind if we borrowed their tent over the weekend. Then I shopped for a few special things Jonah liked, and placed them around the house, so that he would find them on his birthday. The tent idea was for us to have our own little campout. I purchased s'more supplies and put them in a basket with some matches and candles and his headlamp. I scurried over to my friends house to pick up the tent, came back and set it up.
Another little surprise was a box of popcorn with an old classic movie I borrowed from the library. A little Bob Hope and a bag of popped corn, sounds like a lovely night.
I then made clues for each of these two gifts, hid the gifts and had Jonah find them. The first clue he found was the popcorn and movie- that was for that night as his birthday was on a Thursday. The next clue was the basket of outdoorsy stuff that lead him outide- where the tent was set  up. We broke into that on Friday night and 'camped out' in the tent. What a fun couple of nights!
I loved surprising Jonah and he had a lot of fun celebrating his birthday.
I would love to do surprises like this more often, they are worth it, and the time with Jonah was definitely the best part of all.
apple/blackberry pie

finding his campout clues!

Oliver loved the tent!

we also had sparklers at our campout

Add caption

nothing like s'mores, yum!

Monday, October 3, 2011


Thea Speaks-thankfulness

I started this post with a link to a friends blog.
Because it's the very thing I really needed to hear right about now.
What a day.
The weekend really led up to today I suppose.
We had a garage sale and it was a success. But the success was after many days of planning, prepping, praying...hmm, and I can't think of any other 'p' words to throw in there.
It was a full day, and I was so thankful we were able to share our driveway space with friends of ours- who also sold a bunch of their own stuff. I think it made the overall sale look fuller, and it was soo much more fun having them there to hang out with us all day. We walked away with a nice chunk of money from it, so thankful for God's provision through it.
But it was pretty tiring.
I didn't realize how much so until today. I crammed too much into one day. That's the truth. Today I thought I would 'catch up' on so many things- meal plans, grocery shopping (I did get these items done) cleaning, laundry...
I hardly felt like I really got ahead, or a start, on any of these to do items. And today Oliver was on strike for naps. And for good behavior. Sigh.
I love my little boy, but today I did not understand what was going on with him.
Jonah had a day off today, which was so much fun- if we had been able to have done something fun together! I feel like I ran around like a chicken with it's head cut off, trying to work at this and that and never getting it all done. Have you ever felt like that?
And with all this, Oliver was crying.
I came home after finally getting our groceries (the meal planning, couponing, and organizing of all this before I left for the store took me a good 2+ days) to a house with dirty floors, toys strewn out, laundry in the washer ready to be dried, and a crying little boy. I felt like I was spinning like a top on the ground. And my sweet husband held me and said- what is one thing you are happy about today? He was gently reminding me of what I had to be thankful for amidst all the craziness of the day.
After dinner, a bath, and tucking in a little boy to bed- and after listening to him cry it out before he fell asleep...I stopped to read this blog post from a friend.
How appropriate it was to be reminded of what I need to be thankful for. I say need because I really do need to be mindful of all that I have to be thankful for. So much. Everything really.
The dirty floors in our home that God provided for us. I have floors- for that I should give thanks.
The toys strewn all over the floor were another thing to be grateful for- so many friends and loved ones had generously given us those toys for our own little one. He has so many choices of things to play with!
And the laundry in the washer- it was clean. It may not have been in the dryer yet, but we had a place to clean our clothes, in fact we had clothes to even clean.
And my husband. How I love him. He can see farther than I can sometimes, past the present circumstances into what is truly important. How I need to learn this when I get all worked up like a mad woman.
And Oliver.
I don't know what had happened to make him so dramatic tonight, choosing to cry and whine when we told him no. How much I love this little boy, even if he acts ugly sometimes. I know it is not the first or the last time and I pray for wisdom throughout it all.
In the middle of crazy days like this I need to stop and give thanks for all that is around me. For the present life we live, for those that we live with, we see daily. What a blessing it is to have each other. At the end of the day, I don't care if my floors and clothes are dirty, I care about hugging my two men, kissing them, loving them.  But more importantly I have a God and Father that loves me sooo much more than I can love another. He knows what my steps will be in the day, He knows what I'll face and who I'll hear crying. Have I continued to give Him thanks for what He's given me? Have I surrendered the day to Him each moment, trusting Him to lead me and use me each hour?

Thank you Father for loving me, for providing meals, groceries, time to organize meal plans, a washer and dryer, a house to live in, beds for us to sleep in, a husband that loves and leads, a son that affectionately loves his mom and dad, a place we can close the door, turn off the lights, and find rest in. May I be mindful of how I need to 'turn off the lights' of this crazy world and just quietly find rest in You. Perhaps that is what You have been speaking to me all day long.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

15 months

Oh my goodness, how long has it been since I last posted?
I can't really remember and I haven't looked on my blog to see my last dated post.
We've honestly been so busy just living our day to day that I kind of dropped my posting here.
But what have we been up to?
Here we are about a month into the school year already- hard to believe. I know school starts earlier here than it does in the north. I certainly don't remember starting school until 'real' fall began. But Jonah has been moving right along, and I am so proud of him. He is such a hard worker and a natural teacher. I wish I could sit in on his new class- photography. There is so much I have to learn yet, and he teaches me new things every time we do a shoot together.
I love my husband and I am so thankful for him in my life, by my side. Thank you Jesus for bringing us together!

Oliver has been growing like a weed. He is really developing his personality now and it's hilarious to watch him bloom.
He is 15 months now, actually getting close to 16 and really tackling the walking thing. I love being able to hold his little hand as he totters beside me. I often walk with him down the sidewalk to a park we have in our neighborhood. It's slow going, but I wouldn't rush it for the world. He is thrilled to have this new freedom too and walks all over the house now. He also loves to climb on things and his no fear mentality seems to be too often for my liking. One day he got himself up on our rocking ottoman while Jonah and I were watching. He was mad once he got up there because he couldn't figure out how to get down, until it tipped over. He was fine just a little shocked at it all. He hasn't ventured on the ottoman since then!
He has also discovered how to not only go upstairs but down, and will get all excited when we say 'lets go upstairs' because he knows not to go up without us there. However the other day when I had some friends over, he managed to climb all the way upstairs, without my knowledge as I thought my friends were watching him. They didn't realize he wasn't allowed to go up. Stinker. That was pretty amazing that he did that on his own- when he very well knew it wasn't allowed. Looks like we'll have to keep the gate up at the bottom of the stairs.
Oliver has really done well with learning 'no' for things. We've been teaching him this since he was around 10 months or so and I think that has helped him a lot. He still tries to do things even though he knows it's a no, but daily training... it will continually and consistently be daily training.
Another fun fact about Oliver, he has a fascination with his belly button. He's graduated from holding his hear (or ours) and sucking his thumb when he's tired, to playing with his belly button and sucking his thumb.
I'm not sure what the fascination is with this newfound body part, but it makes us laugh. One day when he's older we'll be sure to show him photos of all his little phases!
And the newest thing that Oliver has learned? What the elephant says.
We wave our arm out and say 'phrmmm' and he started mimicking this. So cute.
I can't believe how quickly he is learning things and copying us too. Truly the little mind he has is so quick and growing so fast, I think we underestimate what he is capable of doing!
We are truly enjoying all these milestones along the way, and looking forward to a very full fall! Pumpkins, roasted marshmallows and hot cocoa are a few things we have yet to introduce to this little boy!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


In honor of 9/11 our town created a memorial called Field of Flags. On this field almost 3000 flags were planted, row after row of our nations symbol. Each flag represented a life- for all the lives that were lost during that horrific day 10 years ago. The day America was attacked by a hateful and lost religious driven group of men.
I'll forever remember the day and the place I first heard of it. I'll forever remember the feelings that I felt while watching all the images fill the television, the papers and the internet.
On Sunday night Jonah and I took Oliver to go see this site that was set up for the lives that were lost.
What a breath taking and sobering sight it was to see the rows of flags standing straight and tall against the  radiant night sky.
I was reminded of God's handiwork, His creation amidst all the grief that comes with this day. I was reminded that He reigns still, and how much of a Hope we have in Him. A Hope that will never be taken from our hearts, our lives. As horrendous as it is to watch our fellow American neighbors die without reason, without cause, I know still that we can find rest at Jesus feet. He desires for us to draw nigh to Him and He will meet us there. I keep feeling the urge for Christians to arise out of these ashes, myself included. We are in a world that desperately needs to grasp onto a Hope, a Life everlasting. And I'm challenged to share with others this Gift from Christ, His Son that died for each of us.
I took this picture of Oliver Sunday night beside a flag. While I'm not one to read into images and try to see things that really are just coincidences (thinking of the crazy pics people post where they see Mary in a cloud, or on a piece of toast etc!) but as I was looking at it I realized that Oliver's shadow looks like a cross. It made me again remember how much I desire to share this cross with Oliver- to lead him to a loving and lasting relationship with Jesus, so that he can live a life full and devoted to Him. Because that is what we are here for, to bring glory to Him.