Archive for the ‘Pictures’ Category

She’s a Whole Hand!

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

This is the first birthday in the family to fall on a Sunday in a long while. This matters greatly, you see, because of the way birthdays work here. Since Levi’s day off is Sunday, we tend to save their party, cake, and presents for Sunday afternoons. On the morning of the actual birthday, pancakes and perhaps one small gift are served up. Little Red got to have pancakes and cake in the same day! Lucky girl!

I seem to have a knack for getting a decent “blowing out the candles” shot. Not this time. Dangit. So, I jokingly asked Audrey to pretend really quick, and she obliged. Posed or not, she’s a cutie.

Her obsession with Hello Kitty continues. Especially very tiny Hello Kitty things. These are more pieces to a little town-themed play set.

AJ found a new favorite for her – a Hello Kitty that is purple! Purple being Audrey’s favorite color, this was quite the find, indeed! Bonus: she gets to color the dress!

Of course, there was also a pretty little outfit from Miss Sabrina – who always seems to pick something the girls would pick for themselves! It came with shiny purple shoes, but those are saved for “church time,” because they’re so fancy!

I can never seem to get over each birthday that comes along. Each one takes me farther and farther away from the baby stage. Further up and further into uncharted territory. Yes, I’ve had a five-year-old before, but not THIS five-year-old. I may be the best expert on my kiddos, but I’m certainly learning that they’re experts on me, too.

This journey we’re all on together is an interesting one, to say the least. There are challenges and delights around every corner, and signs at regular intervals that say in big, bold letters: “This too, shall pass!” I welcome these signs.

It’s the other signs, also placed at regular intervals that I tend to ignore. The ones that say “We’re growing up, Mom!” Yeah. I just ignore those most of the time. On birthdays, though, they cannot be ignored.

“I’m a whole hand today, Mom!” she told me excitedly, along with a very apt demonstration. I cried.

Happy birthday, my little Apple-cheeked Monkey Sunshine! You never fail to delight and exasperate me. Part of me wants to keep you pocket-size always. Part of me longs to know you as an upright woman of God. Part of me wants both at the same time. I love you so much, Little Red, and I always will.

Day 14: Who am I without them?

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

I cannot imagine my life without my kids. They don’t know it, but I have learned more about myself – my TRUE self – since I birthed them. I thought I was “me” before I had kids. Not true. I am even more “me” than I ever was before I had them. Kids ask so much more of my character, my time, my emotions, my very being than anything or anyone ever has. Seeing my own weaknesses and strengths in these little people, has been like looking into the clearest mirror. Every flaw, every beauty fully revealed in all its nakedness.

There is nothing more humbling or more challenging than raising children. The glorious mix of agony and ecstasy that defines being a mother is actually undefinable. And I cannot imagine my life without them.

This was today’s topic in the 30-Day-Photo-Challenge.

I was going to post a picture of Jesus, as he is the ultimate answer to this question, but I didn’t want to be that obvious. Still, He is an integral part of why I cannot imagine my life without my kids. It is He who made me a Mother. It is He who guides and directs me daily through the quagmires and meadows of parenting. It is He who defines my whole family and life. I could not navigate this life as a Mother without Him.

What about you? Is there anyone you can’t imagine your life without?


Day 12: Words Squeezed In

Friday, February 18th, 2011

A picture of something I love. Well, that was easy.

I found this note on my bedroom door at the end of a very rough day, which capped a very rough week. Can you tell he couldn’t quite fit all the words in, so just squeezed them in where he could?

My heart melted – the cliche works here, folks. It really did. Everything that child put me through this week was worth every minute. Levi and I were both home at the time, so we hunted him down and smothered him with lots of love. He may be crazy and disrespectful at times, but he has a heart of gold.

I found out later that he also wrote little notes for each of his siblings, and posted them at the heads of their beds. They are still there. The kids don’t want to take them down, and I won’t be the one to make them.

How about you? What do you love?


A Sprinkling of Us

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

Life has been so crazy the last few weeks. We seem to do a weird cycle every few months where there is always something on the calendar, and I long for rest. I think that’s why I’m so dead-set on Sundays being slow-down-and-do-nothing days. You may have noticed that I simply haven’t posted everyday lately. Part of that is due to the busyness of things lately, and partly due to my computer being commandeered in the late evenings by my sister. Her laptop’s wireless card broke, so that’s her only chance to get online and take care of some things.

Anyway, I thought I would take a break from the photo challenge to just share a few pieces of my life lately. Probably not in any particular order either.

Schel likes making new friends. Even if she has to tackle them to do it. Big Audrey definitely doesn’t mind, though.

These sillies joined little C in his “I’m-so-tired” rocking ritual. They added some serious decibels to it as well. (See video below.)

For Valentine’s Day, Levi took me to a local micro-brewery, where I had a glass of “Passed Stout” along with my smoked salmon enchildadas, which were amazing! Yet another new place to try, and I’d like to go back. Only this time, I want to take a group of people – this place has a marvelously laid-back “hanging out” feel to it.

Check out the beer menu:

That is some serious creativity, folks. They have a bumper sticker above their kitchen entrance that says “No crap on tap.”

I always thought I didn’t like beer. Turns out I am actually a beer snob, and I don’t actually know anything about beer. I can’t stand Coors or Bud or anything like that. I prefer darker “hoppy” beers. Whatever “hoppy” means. This amuses me.

I had my first public speaking engagement last night at our local Birth Network chapter meeting. I spoke on how changing positions can make your labor go faster (yes, it really can), and I loved it!

I was kind of nervous about my approach. I was confident in my ability to speak, and my knowledge of the subject, but a bit worried about the “fill-in-the-blank” handout I chose to use to help folks remember what they learned. I thought it might be a little cheesy, but the response was really positive!

A huge shout-out to my good friend and fellow doula, Carrie A, for the loan of her pelvis and baby, as well as being a kind moral supporter for me. I really was nervous, and her presence really helped me stay calm and confident. Her hubby was kind enough to get a couple of shots for me too, and here is one of them:

Other News of Note in the Faery Inn:

  • Dain is mastering the art of potty-ing with quicker success than I thought he would. I think the “Marshmallow-for-Everyone” approach is working well.
  • All four kiddos have come down with some sort of nasty fever/cough/puke bug. Thankfully, the puking seems to be finished, but the fevers are sticking around.
  • AJ and Schel are moving out this weekend. That is just weird. They’ll be moving into a friend’s basement temporarily, as this will be a mutual benefit. I think she’s planning on getting her really and truly own place by summertime, with the help of tax return funds.
  • I finally read “Mansfield Park” for the first time, thanks to Sabrina. And I loved it. A very different feel to this one than other Jane Austen books.
  • Schel is signing “Eat,” “More,” “All done,” and is waving “Hi” and “Bye” with much enthusiasm!
  • My Dad is off of his self-injections. Now we’re just keeping an eye on the brain tumors. His appetite is back, for the most part, though Mom still has to drive him around everywhere.
  • My mom is back on facebook, and I’ve really had a blast chatting with her when she’s on. I love my Mom. She’s sort of awesome and stuff.

I realize I haven’t done Thankful Thursday for a couple of weeks now. Honestly, it has simply slipped my mind. How about I promise to be back next week? Good.

How about you? What’s going on in your life?


Day 10: The Stews.

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Today, I am supposed to post a picture of the person(s) I do the most messed up things with. I don’t really do much that could be considered “messed up.” However, the Stews are connected with many oddball, messed up inside jokes. I will not regale you with their explanations here. They have become almost a secret code for us. However, I can relate an anecdote from very early on in our friendship that just might give you an idea of our “messedupedness.”

In our base housing in DC, we had a small, half-bath downstairs. We had all gotten together to hang out, and were probably playing the LOTR trading card game. (One stone of the foundation of our friendship is made up largely of geek stone.) Stewy got up to avail himself of the bathroom. It was just around the corner from the living room. Less than 15 feet away.

It took me only two seconds to look up from my cards, horrified, exchanging significant looks with Levi & Sabrina.

I yelled across the room, “Are you peeing with the door open?!?! SHUT THE DOOR!!!” My horror was mixed with (what I thought) was an unholy desire to laugh. Levi and Sabrina submitted immediately to the laughter.

From the bathroom, all I hear is “I’m peeing with the door open, and I like it.”

He did shut the door, but that did it. We all collapsed, laughing fit to kill. Apparently, they just felt THAT comfortable in my house. And that’s a good thing, right?

Needless to say, we are a messed up bunch of friends, and I cannot WAIT for them to get here this spring! It will be so awesome to finally have our best friends here, even if it’s only for a little while. (The Air Force has an annoying habit of moving people around on you.)

How about you? Any “messedupedness” in your group of friends? Or are we the only weirdos on the planet?


Day 9: My Man In Black

Friday, February 11th, 2011

I think Jesus gets the default top positions for today’s topic: The one who has gotten me through the most. If it weren’t for Him, I wouldn’t have married my own personal Man in Black.

This man and I have come through more together in the ten years of our marriage than I think I ever went through in the nineteen before that. I can’t even begin to name it all. Personally, I’d rather not dwell on everything he has brought me through. Unless I am wrong (and I am never wrong), I sometimes feel like we’re headed dead into the Fireswamp these days.

It is his loyalty, his honesty, his sense of humor, and his stubborn presence in my life that has become something I count on, second only to Jesus Himself. He’s still the very same man I married nearly ten years ago, just more mature. And with facial hair. (No mask though. That would be weird.)

However, it is his unconditional love that has been my mainstay – above anything else. No matter how horribly I can behave at times, he stubbornly refuses to do anything but love me. Just me. He has never ONCE asked me to change. Never. He has just accepted me.

He doesn’t always understand me. (I don’t even understand myself half the time anyway.) He doesn’t always agree with me. He’s not often Mr. Perfect. But he loves me.

He loves me.

“And a man who can do that, can plan my castle onslaught any day.” ~Inigo Montoya

In other words, he’s my Man in Black. And unlike that twit of a woman, Buttercup, I won’t leave him when we emerge from our Fireswamp. We may be singed a bit, and not unscathed, but we’ll be together.

And yes, this is a kissing book.

I love you, Levi. I always will. Thanks for putting up with me and my hair-brained ways.


PS: Honey, I tried to work in your favorite quote. Couldn’t do it.

Day 8: Good Medicine.

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” ~Proverbs 17:22 (NIV)

I’m supposed to post a picture that makes me laugh. I’m just glad I have a bajillion to choose from, thanks to my short people. All I had to do was pick the most recent one. This short person is not technically mine, but I love her like she is.

This is Sassafrass enjoying her first bean quesadilla. Go on, laugh. You know you want to.

Feel better? Good.

What makes you laugh? I’d love to know, and laugh with you!


Day 5: So THIS is how much He loves me!

Saturday, February 5th, 2011

The birth of my firstborn.

I will never forget that moment.

The moment I felt the weight of him in my arms instead of my belly.

Before his cord was cut or the placenta was birthed.

Before I even saw his face.

I finally knew.

That I could never give him up for anyone’s sake.


And I thought to myself, “So this is how much You love me!”

And I wept.

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” ~John 15:13 (NIV)

This was day 5 in the 30-day Photo Challenge, and I was to share a picture of my favorite memory. I couldn’t think of a better memory than this. Today, anyway.

What is your favorite memory?


Photo Challenge, Day 1: It’s all about ME!

Monday, January 31st, 2011

Day 1: A picture of yourself with 15 facts.
1… I am a certified bibliophile. Let this song be a warning to all who might get between my nose and the book it’s currently in.

2… I love karaoke, and should probably go out more.

3… I don’t watch the news much. Either the kids are awake, or I don’t feel like being depressed.

4… My name means “Appearance of God.” It’s Greek.

5… I am a reincarnation of Anne Shirley.

6… I love scrap-booking, but only get to really work at it about once a month.

7… I’m a better person if I write at least a little bit everyday.

8… I work towards consistency in my life, but it seems so unreachable most of the time.

9… I think placentas are beautiful and miraculous.

10… I want to be a midwife when I grow up, but I’m entirely content to wait on God’s timing for it.

11… I wouldn’t mind taking a few classes, just for fun.

12… I have a strong desire to travel, but lack the funds. Levi and I will just have to be traveling old people.

13… First place I would go see, if I had my own way, would be the village in India where my little Compassion kiddo lives.

14… I am going to start running in a couple of weeks with my sister. We’re going to shoot for a “couch to 5K” program.

15… I am going to be 30 years old in June. I cannot WAIT!

Would you like to participate? You can find all the topics listed here. Please feel free to share 15 facts about yourself in my comments section too! I’d love to learn more about the folks who stop by and read this thing.

God bless!

School’s Not in Session Today (or, This Will Be Random)

Monday, January 24th, 2011

No Monday school this week, simply because we didn’t make it to church. A combination of waking up too late and realizing that all four of my kids seem to have caught Baby Schel’s cold. Nobody’s too far under the weather – just lots of snot and a mild cough.

You may (or may not) have noticed that I did not write anything on Saturday. I really don’t know why that is. It just didn’t happen.

Saturday was unusual for us. He traded days with a co-worker, working her Monday shift, and took Saturday off. Our church’s teens hosted a “Parent’s Day Out” fund-raiser, that I would have loved to take advantage of. However, I seriously did not remember that Levi would be off, making it worth it for us to do so. I feel so badly that we didn’t take advantage of their event for our date Saturday. Next time, I will!

Levi took me out for probably the best date we’ve had in months! We tried a place, new to us, downtown.

We were told it was the best Greek place in town, because, you know, it’s run by “Real Greeks!” So, their food is actually authentic. I had the Spanakopita, which is filled with all kinds of spinach-y deliciousness. Levi had a gyro, which was also good. I love good food. I loved the homey atmosphere.

After that, we had some time to kill, so walked down to a local coffee shop to enjoy a mocha and a game of Othello. I’d never played before (didn’t get a pic, dangit), and I won! I love beginner’s luck. It was so nice to walk around downtown and spot some restaurants we’ve never been to, and figure out which one’s we’d like to try. We both love trying new food, even if it doesn’t turn out to be that great. Conversation with an intelligent man, who is completely in love with me, over a plate of food, without the kids is such a novel experience, it would be hard for it to be ruined by bad food. Or that run-on sentence.

We made our way to the theater, where we indulged in a non-dollar movie: True Grit.

It. Was. Amazing. The dialogue was a riot, Matt Damon made a wonderful nincompoop, and Jeff Bridges? Well, he’s Jeff Bridges. He was wonderful. However, it was Hailee Steinfeld who stole the show. Go see it. Worth every dime.

Cold Stone topped off our evening, thanks to a half-price gift certificate, after which we stopped by a RedBox and rented The Social Network. (Two movies in one night – we are such wild things!) A powerful movie about how easy it is to let anger and jealousy undermine any relationships worth having. I was really, really impressed.

That’s all I really wanted to say about that.

In the meantime, here’s a glimpse of what school looks like most days now:

And Schel showing her interest in wooden puzzles, and how they work:

Told you it was going to be random. It’s all I’ve got today.

How was your weekend?