Saturday, November 17, 2012

Catching Up

Ever since joining Facebook, we've neglected this little bloggy place. Small, quick, frequent posts fit more easily into our busy lives these days. We'll be working on updating/backdating with pictures in the next few weeks. It would be nice to finish 2012 with a year-in-review, even if it takes multiple posts! In the meantime, here is your gratuitous silly picture of the day:

I think he needs a bigger hat.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Becoming Mother

This is my second year celebrating Mother's Day, an this past year has been...interesting. One year ago, life was similar to the way it is now, at least on the surface: I have one son. Life is challenging. I am always tired. But on the inside, things are very different. I tried to articulate these feelings along the way, but they haven't always come out the right way or been received well.

There are two articles in particular written by experienced mothers that touched me this past year, and I want to share them here in case you haven't yet read them. Hearing the truth, hearing the hard, raw, socially unacceptable truth is very freeing.

Don't Carpe Diem
"Being told, in a million different ways to CARPE DIEM makes me worry that if I'm not in a constant state of intense gratitude and ecstasy, I'm doing something wrong."

I immediately identified with this author. During pregnancy and my son's infancy I had this expectation that every moment would be blessed and beautiful and enjoyable. Ha! Turns out that the blessing was in the mess. I let go of expectation after expectation, but it was still so very difficult that I was unsure I would make it to the next day.

"Maybe the fact that it's so hard means she IS doing it her own way...and she happens to be honest."

And honestly was not something we mothers are expected to give. No one wants to hear about how my whole day, whole entire days of my life, were dominated by poop and sleep-deprivation. Nope. Society is unwilling to sympathize with such a negative picture. But I appreciate this author's heart:

"And here's what I hope to say to the younger mama gritting her teeth in line: 'It's helluva hard, isn't it? You're a good mom, I can tell. And I like your kids, especially that one peeing in the corner. She's my favorite. Carry on, warrior. Six hours till bedtime.'"

My confession: most days were an agonizing countdown until my husband would return home from work and bail me out for an hour so I could at least cry alone and not have to hold anyone else while doing it. Of course it felt like failure. No one told me this was ok to do. That for many, many women, this is reality, this is normal, and it's ok.

And it doesn't mean failure. It means acceptance and perseverance are working.

Here's another encouraging article, and I'd be surprised if you haven't read this one yet:

To The Mother With Only One Child
Admitting that we lose part of ourselves as we gain a family member is freeing. It's all right to grieve, and it's all right to laugh in the face anyone who expects your life to carry on the way it was before.

Top lessons I've learned in the past year:

They were right: He did eventually sleep. Thank God! No seriously, THANK GOD!!!! And though we chose the harder path of not doing mainstream sleep-training, we are at peace with how our unique little person transitions to sleep. We refused to traumatize him into submission--because that's what it would have been for him--and feel the payoff in security and confidence were worth the wait. He usually sleeps all night now, and takes a predictable afternoon nap. Not that he loves it, oh no! he tries to rouse himself with thrashing and talking. This shift has been one of the biggest sanity-savers in our family.

They were wrong: It got easier, not harder. But that might be because he was a particularly challenging infant. We have a perspective now that lots of people don't. A perspective that allows us to smile when our toddler climbs into bed to greet us in the morning. How can we not love his joyful face and sweet kisses and insistence that "Up! Done!" because he is so excited to start the new day with us?

I REALLY appreciate my mom. I can only try to put into words how thankful I am for her work, how now I understand a little bit of what she meant and felt, and how suddenly all those sighs make sense. The "you're-just-as-stubborn-as-I-am" sigh and the "why-Lord-why" sigh. The "you're-so-beautiful" sigh and the "job-well-done" sigh. It's just the beginning of a deeper understand of my own mother.

I was not born to be a mother. It's a process, not a job, and I'm still becoming Mother one step at a time. I've heard it said that a woman's physical purpose is to bear children, that her body was created with beautiful design to bear and nurture babies. While the defiant child within me wants to scream, "That's not all we're good for!" I have to remark that pregnancy and birth are an amazing miracle. But being a mother is beyond physical. If it were solely physical, I would have broken long ago.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Three Things Friday

Coffee Morning via

Three things I realized this morning:

1. An early morning walk by myself in the brisk cold does a mama good.
2. Uhm, I can use my husband's credit card almost anywhere. On accident, of course. *wink wink*
3. Starbucks is probably the happiest place to be before 7am, especially during the holidays. Even if people enter scowling, they will be smiling by the time they leave.

The things I do for the love of coffee. Getting our coffee in bulk from a fair trade company is going to be a little bittersweet, because it will mean the end of my morning bean runs.

Saturday, October 22, 2011


Today we took a little field trip today to St. John's to visit some friends. They have a dog, which Miles LOVED, and a gander, which Miles found terrifying. Even just walking by the fence and hearing it honk scared him worse than we've ever seen! I guess to a pint-sized human, a giant aggressive bird with crazy eyes must look and sound like a Jabberwocky! I think he's going to have anatidaephobia.

But to make up for it, I think our little family has discovered a love for the sweet neighborhood of St. John's!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Meal Plan Monday

Ok, here's the plan this week. Let's hope we can stay on track!

Breakfast: zucchini bread, goat yogurt
Lunch: quinoa & roasted veggies
Dinner: beans & rice, salad

Breakfast: kamut puffs, almond milk, banana
Lunch: PB&Js, fruit
Dinner: pasta with pesto sausage & white sauce, salad
Prep: thaw zucchini muffins

Breakfast: zucchini muffins, goat yogurt
Lunch: hummus, bread, cheese
Dinner: leftovers
Prep: thaw ratatouille & chicken

Thursday (CSA pickup day)
Breakfast: kamut puffs, almond milk, banana
Lunch: grilled cheese sandwiches
Dinner: Freezer meal! Ratatouille & chicken

Breakfast: zucchini muffins, goat yogurt
Lunch: leftover ratatouille
Dinner: pizza with pesto sauce & veggies
Prep: chop for OAMC

Saturday (OAMC Day)
Breakfast: pancakes, fruit
Lunch: grilled PB&B sandwiches, salad
Dinner: roast chicken, veggies, salad
Prep: soak oats in the morning

Breakfast: soaked baked oatmeal
Lunch: tuna melts
Dinner: tomato soup & crackers, salad

Monday, September 26, 2011

Meal Plan Monday

Today marks the beginning of the Plan It, Don't Panic Meal Planning Challenge! Head over to Keeper of the Home to see the linkup and learn more about the challenge.

It seems quite common the start the week on Monday, and to plan the week's meals from Monday-Sunday. Of course I do things differently! Here's my process:

Tuesdays: our CSA posts the weekly share info on their blog so we know what we're getting. I write down our share contents & other seasonal produce on my planning sheet, plan out meals, and queue up my recipes.

Wednesdays: there is very little food left in the fridge mid-week. Meals are creative, to say the least.

Thursdays: CSA share pickup! In the peak summer months there is also a Thursday afternoon Farmer's Market, so I can also pick up fruit or other vegetables. We usually start dinner late these nights, so a quick meal is important. Freezer meals to the rescue!

Fridays: I drag the baby along grocery shopping and hope I get it all done. It's tough to haul bags of groceries home, even with a stroller (did I mention we don't have a car?). When there are too many heavy items like cans and almond milk and sweet potatoes and peanut butter and kitty litter all in the same week, I defer it till Saturday.

Saturdays: the big Farmer's Market happens this day. It's the perfect day to pick up flats of fruit, large squashes, raw honey, goat cheese, and homemade kimchi, since my strong husband can carry things, too. We will also pick up remaining groceries this day, and it's a nice family walk. Food prep, big batch baking, and once a month cooking happen on Saturdays because it's the day I'm most likely to get baby-free time in the kitchen for a few hours.

Sundays: finish up any food prep for the coming week, such as mixing up grain salads, soaking beans, and freezing food for later.

I want to mention that I rarely plan out breakfast or lunch on a daily basis. I'll have 2 or 3 options for breakfast every morning: granola, muffins, or eggs, always with some fruit and yogurt. Lunch is usually leftovers or sandwiches. On the weekends I might plan something special. I decided to go with themed days for dinners, with flexibility to allow for whatever seasonal vegetables we get each week.

And yes, we really want to have pizza every week! We won't have cheese and pepperoni very often, though. One of our most recent pizza creations was simply olive oil, garlic, and thickly-sliced golden tomatoes. Even the baby loved it!

For the purpose of this challenge, I'll be listing my menu plan in the standard Monday-Sunday format. Here's our Menu Plan this week!

Monday: Beautiful Beans
Cuban black beans & brown rice

Tuesday: Fresh Veggies
Fresh veggie stir fry

Wednesday: Leftovers
yep, leftovers...might add an egg
Prep: thaw chicken kabobs, locate & soak skewers

Thursday: Freezer/Crockpot Meal
Honey Chicken Kabobs

Friday: Creative Pizza
Pesto pizza w/vegetables & goat cheese

Saturday: Special
Baked sweet potatoes topped w/leftover beans
Prep: soak oats

Sunday: Soup
breakfast: Baked Oatmeal
Butternut squash soup

Friday, September 16, 2011

Christmas Countdown Begins

I know it's not even Halloween yet. Don't worry, we're not going to hang up any lights before Thanksgiving. But we are going to plan ahead and make this Christmas a peaceful, enjoyable one. We are super excited to have the opportunity to fly down to Southern California and see family (Kurths and Speeds)! We've never traveled so far with a baby, so that will be an adventure too.

Anyway, this countdown to Christmas begins TODAY on 100 Days to Christmas, a very helpful blog. We have 100 whole days to plan, create, and generally just get it together ahead of time so we can relax and enjoy the holiday for the all the real reasons and not be overwhelmed by all the trim and trappings. Maybe this year we can make those cards we've always wanted to do...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Hello Mornings Challenge

source: Inspired to Action

For the last year (since Miles was born), sleep is the one thing I've needed the most and been gotten the least. Things are much better now, but our nights, mornings, naps, and evenings still aren't as restful as we'd like. Oh well, there's only so much you can do with a high-need baby who fights sleep!

So now that I'm at least getting adequate rest most nights, I'm challenging myself to do something different in the coming weeks: I'm going to get up earlier and maximize my mornings. I'm in a group of about 20 ladies with the same goal and same desire to spend time with the Lord first thing in the morning, so there will be lots of encouragement!

I'm so worried this whole challenge will be derailed, but I'm going to try; if Miles needs me during all the early morning hours, then maybe I'll get a break later and make up for it. Pray for me, and wish me luck!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Monday, August 29, 2011

Birthday Dinosaurs

Other than Miles turning a year older (for the first time), the other exciting part of the dinosaur party was freezing the little buggers in ice. The idea was Sarah's (to give proper credit). We filled empty half gallon milk cartons with water in a three step process and buried a dinosaur in each. During the party the ice blocks kept our drinks cold and later we let them out to melt in the sun.

Sean and Paul with non-frozen dinosaurs.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A Birthday For Miles

The dinosaurs have come back just in time for Miles's birthday!
Miles's birthday party was on Sunday August 21 at Washington Park in Portland. It was a beautifully warm day and the theme was thoroughly dinosaurs. There was volcano lava cake, stegosaurus cupcakes, dinosaur ice blocks keeping the beverages cold - and a pinata that could probably cause dinosaur extinction if it were just a little larger. Thank you to all our friends, and all the little babies, who came out to celebrate Miles with us. A special thanks to Sean McKeever for taking most of the good photos, and to Sarah for making the cakes and most of the pinata.

A volcano cake for the Birthday Boy!

Stegosaurus Cupcakes for everyone else (with almonds).

Miles blows out his candle with a little help from Mom and Dad.

What do I do with this?

Miles eats his cake.

A wee brontosaurus wanders up and asks for a bite of cake.

Miles lets him clean the plate while he moves on to the pinata.

Whoa. What is that?

Paul and Sarah made the pinata - it took days!

Miles thinks it is pretty funny that we're hitting the big blue thing.

Next, everyone else takes a turn. Anders gets a little help from Weston.

Ezra takes a swing with David.

Faye has done this before, but still needs a hand from Donna.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Miles likes to be busy

Miles is a very busy boy! From birth, he never liked to just lay on a blanket and look around at stuff; he always had to be in motion, even when sleeping. Before he could crawl, this meant we had to be in motion all the time, but now he happily zooms around the room on his own and gets his hands into everything (you may remember that he loves the tupperware drawer in the kitchen).

Many of his first toys were simple, and play consisted of manipulating the toy in his hands, mouth, banging it on things, shaking it to see if it made a sound, etc. Nowadays, Miles will give a toy a good shake, bang, and then THROW it if it doesn't do anything else! For example, he loves the mini tire pump that came with our stroller; pumping the handle to make air come out. Our growing boy sure could use some interesting playthings in his environment to help him learn about his body and develop his mind.

So here are the types of toys we like that Miles can use the most in the coming year:

Wooden Rainbow Stacker
In addition to working on coordination and organization, Miles can learn about colors, order, and choices. This one is sold at Babyworks, our favorite local baby shop where we've gotten cloth diapers and other baby supplies.

Wooden Thread Beads
This is another great toy for hand-eye coordination. The large beads are a great introduction to threading, as he won't be able to use lacing cards for another year or so. Another one from Babyworks!

Alphabet Blocks and Number Blocks
Not only are these blocks perfect for stacking and organizing, Miles can begin to learn his letters and numbers.

Wooden Rocking Horse
Being an active boy, it won't be long before he's ready to climb up on a horse for a ride. This one is low to the floor and very sturdy--perfect for a toddler still learning about gravity and balance.

Building Blocks
Great for learning different shapes and how they can stack.

Duplo Blocks (from Lego, of course!)
We both played with Legos when we were young, which helped us develop our creativity and sense of order. The baby-friendly larger Duplo blocks are even great second-hand, and the collection can be added to over time. Miles currently has only two Duplo Blocks, so he can't stack them very high!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Weekend Confessions

1. Sometimes I make chocolate cake for breakfast. And eat half of it by mid-day. In my defense, it's low-sugar, whole-wheat, vegan, and I'm breastfeeding a ravenous wolf cub who eats all of my calories.

2. I still haven't finished most of these projects. Some will become gifts now, but that's ok. Miles has everything he needs.

3. Like supervision. IMG_1563

4. Portlandia is totally true. This flier is about to get covered by another flier.

5. I think I get more excited about the zoo than my kid does.

6. I'm a very slow knitter. It took me 4 months to knit these socks. I'm never going to finish knitting a sweater for you, so please don't ask.

7. These two men bring out the best in me.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Wish to be Generous

photo credit: RevelationSpace

A little poetry is always soothing. On days when I can't put things into words, when everything seems like a failure, when I'm on the verge of becoming numb, it helps to get outdoors and connect with nature, with life.

A Wish to be Generous

All that I serve will die, all my delights,
the flesh kindled from my flesh, garden and field,
the silent lilies standing in the woods,
the woods, the hill, the whole earth, all
will burn in man's evil, or dwindle
in its own age. Let the world bring on me
the sleep of darkness without stars, so I may know
my little light taken from me into the seed
of the beginning and the end, so I may bow
to mystery, and take my stand on the earth
like a tree in a field, passing without haste
or regret toward what will be, my life
a patient willing descent into the grass.

-Wendell Berry

Berry has long been one of my favorite authors. In addition to poetry, he has a few great essays on economics and agriculture. The man fully understands and articulates what it's like to feel God in His creation, and how valuable that creation is to people like him...and me.

Monday, June 27, 2011


Wild men!

This past weekend was our annual church campout. A bunch of people from our church essentially take over Metzler Park and have a great time playing, relaxing, singing, and eating together. This year we had an additional camper in our tent...

So which tent is mine? And where's my hammock?!

Teaming up with another small family really made things run smoothly.

Camp management team: Sarah and LaVonne.

Cooking dinner: salmon and grilled broccoli.

The boys loved playing together. Anders is walking already so he was always on the move. Miles was more content to sit and look around.

Hanging out with friends in the field. Push faster, Anders!

Noticing the natural world.

The boys meet Murray dog.

Tag! You're it!

I guess this grass stuff is all right.

Enjoying outdoor church on Sunday morning.

On a little hike to the swimming hole.

I'm so glad we're bringing Miles into nature this early. He clearly loves it! I can't wait to go camping again!