Sunday, September 28, 2008

Yellow and Sunshine

We've been pretty blessed with lovely September weather over the past week or so. Since we live on the coast of Lake Michigan, we try to go to the beach as often as we can. It's free and what kiddo doesn't love water? There's nothing like listening to the sound of the water, and all of the children laughing and playing. I love lazy Saturday afternoons!

L got back from N. Carolina late Friday night, after being a business trip for a few days. My Friday night consisted of E going to bed, and me laying on the couch, fully intending to watch the debates. I fell asleep a half hour into it, and L came home to a dark house, and McCain and Obama hashing it out. Why do they put the debates on so late? Yes, 9 pm. is late in my opinion. Sad, I know.

In completely unrelated news, a fabric store in our area is moving, and selling all of their current merchandise. I went a little fabric crazy a little while ago, dreaming of making E her first quilt for when she transitions to her "big girl" bed. My own big girl bed needs a duvet cover, so I bought fabric for that. And I found fabric to make E and I aprons, which I'm incredibly excited about making. Then there were, of course, dress patterns for E, and some cute fabric for that.

I noticed a lot of yellow in the fabric that I bought. Normally I don't like the color, but recently we painted our living room wall yellow, and intend on making my duvet color yellow. I think it's b/c our apartment doesn't get a lot of sunlight (especially in the winter), so maybe I'm trying to make some sunshine of our own? Not sure, but we'll let you know how it goes!

Gotta run, but hope you are all having a lovely weekend, full of sunshine!

Friday, September 19, 2008


One thing I really love about living in Michigan is the distinct changing of seasons. Fall is one of my favorite seasons for many reasons, but especially because of the beautiful colors, harvest, sunflowers, and of course, apple season. Yum.

When I was growing up, we did not have a lot of money. My dad worked many LONG, hard days to provide for our rather large family. My mom was then responsible for five busy children, and trying to maintain a clean home (somehow she did a much better job than I do now... hmm....).

Well, each fall meant the return to school, but also harvest season. We had a large garden - I wish I had pictures of it at its largest... it was a lot of work maintaining it. Every year we snipped green beans, made applesauce, picked potatoes, and the most work of all: canning tomatoes.

We hated canning tomatoes. Oh my, we would can large amounts every year. We would stay up late, with shriveled fingers, peeling the skin off of warm tomatoes, cutting them up and putting them in mason jars. Over and over and over again. We'd think we were done, and my dad would bring in several more bags.

My mom often says that we had a garden out of necessity. Feeding seven people is quite an expensive task, especially when you are living on one small income. Sometimes I think she's embarrassed by our meager upbringing, but I'm so grateful for it.

There is something very special about all of us sitting around the kitchen table, taking part in preserving the food that we grew on our own. As a child, I just thought it was neat to play with the bugs and dirt in the garden. Now, it was an experience not many people my age have of preserving the food for the winter, and knowing where my food came from.

Now we are renting, and don't have a garden. That's why I'm so thankful for farmer's markets. Though I don't garden (yet), we can preserve our food by freezing and canning, and enjoy it all year round... even in the dead cold of winter. We've done some preserving, and there's more I want to do - for ourselves, but also for E, who will hopefully have a special appreciation for this useful skill in such an uncertain world.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The 18 Month Old

This was E a year ago...

This is what she looks like today.

Wow. What a difference a year makes, eh? A year ago she was six months old - just starting to move, and now, at 18 months, she's on the run - always. I just look at these pictures, amazed at how much she's changed... and yet, she's the same. The same wide, beautiful dark eyes, and the same incredibly curious personality.

1. She loves music... she knows many of the hand motions to "Itsy Bitsy Spider", and will insist that we sing it over and over. She'll also get very frustrated if we turn the radio off or change it to talk radio. Lately I've noticed that she bops her head all the way home from daycare to whatever song is playing.

2. She's becoming all girl. She loves "boos" (hair clips, bow, rubber bands), and wants one in her hair at all times. She become very alarmed if she checks her hair, and there's nothing there.

3. She's combining words more often now. Tonight she pointed to a picture and said, "That a baby". Of course my favorite is when she told me "love you!".

4. She somehow learned to take her finger, put it to her lips and say, "hmmm" in a thoughtful way.

5. She's emotional.

6. She loves taking her phone, putting it to her ears, and saying, "Hi, Dad", then proceeding to talk in toddler-speak. She'll then wave at the phone and say, "bye!"

7. Do Princesses Wear Hiking Boots is her favorite book. Hands down.

8. Her eyes light up when she sees other little (yet slightly older) girls. It's amazing how quickly kids want to be like someone older/bigger than them.

9. She's discovered tantrums. Boy, has she.

10. She's learned to tickle herself (and others). She'll put her fingers on her belly and say, "tickle, tickle tickle".

So, Eden Noelle (one of the few times you'll ever see her name here), we absolutely love who you are becoming! Happy half birthday!!!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Baking With the Kiddo

As I've stated before, E gets pretty bored with me sometimes, so I'm always trying to think of different activities for her to help me with or craft projects that she would enjoy. Right now it appears to be easier/more fun to let her help me with baking projects, as opposed to cooking projects. Less chopping and more dumping.

So that means I HAVE to make desserts, yes? That's been my excuse since I decided to make homemade cinnamon rolls. It was cold outside when we made these, and they really hit the spot. Oh did they....

Anyway, they ended up taking more time than I originally planned for, but the outcome was so good. Yum. I'd definitely keep this recipe as a birthday or other special occasion, when I feel more forced to spend the time.

The kiddo mostly played in some cinnamon and flour, and she helped me knead some dough (well, she had her own little ball of dough to knead). The result was a flour covered floor, child, mom, table, but it was so fun having her next to me. And she lasted longer than if she had been doing something else. Note to self though: have ingredients/measurements ready to make the baking go more smoothly.

Of course the result was 18 cinnamon rolls, and most of them would end up in my belly than L's or E's, so we gave some to daycare to enjoy. Now I don't feel any guilt about eating them. :)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Glimpses of Summer

Streaks of sunshine and lots of smiles

Lots of beach days
Camping with Friends

Taking E to pet the farm animals
Good food
Hikes in the woods.
Berry picking
Quality times together

We had such a fun and busy summer. E just has a way of making the most simple moments in life so memorable. I just love that about her. I'm looking forward to the autumn season, and all that it has to bring. Goodbye, Summer!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Happy Weekend To You!

I've gotten back into the groove of working out, now that we've settled into a routine with daycare, work, etc. When I was training for the triathlon, back in the spring, I was consistently working out five or six days a week. What confuses me is this: everyone talks about how exercising gives you energy, but it just seems to make me exhausted and sleep like a baby. While I like sleeping, I also want that energy people talk so much about. Any thoughts? Am I just meant to be a tired person?

With harvest season underway, we've been eating variations of vegetable dishes, and they are yummy. Last night I made up a concoction of zucchini, eggplant, red onion, tomato with olive oil, oregano and garlic sprinkled on it. It was GOOD. I am going to be so sad when the farmer's market ends, and we'll have to go back to the supermarket to rely on whatever produce I didn't freeze this year.

On the subject of food, we have had a breakthrough with E's relationship with meat. We've been eating a lot of salmon as of late, and we put a little bit on her plate, as we're always hoping she'll try something new and like it. She ate it, thought about it for a second, and wanted more. And more. More good news: yesterday she ate several little pieces of chicken, without any breading and any sauce. We did a dance around the room, I was so happy. :)

On that wonderful bit of news, I'll close this post with the picture below. E had a blast with T, the son of a couple in our bible study. She absolutely adored everything he did, and when he would try to sit up in the chair, she would "push" him back down. :) She is also saying "cheese" in this picture. Cute.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Life in a Nutshell

Sorry that it's been a while since I've posted. Life has been pretty busy in our neck of the woods. We had a nice Labor Day weekend - we saw J and A and the rest of the fam, saw some childhood friends, saw more family, went for a bike ride, and had a beach day with some friends.

Speaking of a beach day with friends, this is a pic of E and M in the approximate place that M's parents, K and R, got married a few years back. We met K and R through church, when R and I were both pregnant. Here we are over a year later, and these two have become good friends. They're even starting to interact a little, and that's been a joy to see.

Today is L's first day of class for the semester. He's teaching an Engineering class at the community college. Last year was his first year teaching the class, and it was pretty chaotic and a lot of preparation. We're hoping that this year is different, as he could use his notes from the first class.

L's trip to DC went well, though he calculated that they worked 87 hours in one week. Yikes. E and I made it through the trip unscathed, and even got into a routine. Hats off to single moms - you are pretty amazing to handle such a difficult task.

Anyway, E would carry L's backpack and say "Daddy" over and over. It was cute and sad. She also learned how to take a phone and say, "Hi, Dad!" when he would call. She's been putting two words together more often since then, and it's great being able to communicate more.

As far as my job and daycare goes, things are going well. It's been a month, and things are in a routine for the most part. Work has gotten significantly busier with the school year starting, so that was a little overwhelming last week. I got my first paycheck on Friday, and it's strange how proud I was to feel like I could help out a little bit financially.

E has enjoyed daycare, and actually, I'm convinced it's helped her sleep in other places. We stayed at L's parents house over the weekend. And she slept all night. And took a nap the next day. What?!! She would have never done this before. So, I guess in that way, daycare has helped her branch out of her only napping at home shell. :)

Well, it appears that I had a lot to say. :) Now that I've prattled on, I should get off and get some chores done. Hope that you all had a lovely and relaxing weekend!


Hi All!

I know that it's been a while since my last post - life has been busy, but we are very blessed. I just wanted you all to keep our bro and sister-in-law in prayer, as they travel first to South Africa and then to Zimbabwe, where they will be doing missions work over there, showing and sharing the love of Christ.

This has been quite a long journey for Jason and Ann to get to Africa - a dream that was planted in them as a married couple two or three years ago when they went to Kenya on a short missions trip. They've felt called since then to go for a longer stay, and will be in Zimbabwe (where L and his siblings were born) for a few months.

We are so proud of them, and have been praying for safe travels and that God's mighty work will be done. Please join us in prayer, as an army of prayer warriors praying over this couple as they serve God in this amazing way!

You can follow their journey in Zim here. Check back periodically to see what God is doing in the continent of Africa! God bless!