Bubbles (and balloons) are a big hit in our house right now...

Future Pianist?

In this last pic....this is her face (see the raised eyebrows and sneaky twinkle in her eye...?) waiting to see what I will do when I just told her "no standing on the chair, please stay seated on your bottom" and she is started to rise up....oh the testing phase has only just begun!

Hand Foot and Mouth

 Sophia has had hand, foot, and mouth disease this week - a virtually harmless but incredibly uncomfortable virus (reminded me of chicken pox). It started with low appetite and what I thought might be a cold...then 102 fever...then blisters on her hands, feet, butt, thighs which spread to her arms and a few in her mouth. I am so glad she didn't have it worse than she did, but sure am thankful to be on the other side of it! Last Saturday we spent a lot of the day cuddling in bed, even watching Sesame Street (which if any of you know us, there is practically NO tv in her life!) and eating gold fish and frozen bananas. I'm happy to have my girl back and be able to be out in the world again! Having been quarantined while Eric is out-of-town was making me very stir-crazy and feeling isolated. It makes me realize how much I enjoy our play dates and walks with friends -- and of course having Eric come home in the evening!

The pictures were so hard to capture....the blisters were more apparent in person than portrayed on camera but you can see how little they are, it looked kind of like a pimple-blister-rash.


A few videos

Here are two videos of Sophia lately....

first is her being the cheerful little helper that she is! She is helping me dust and LOVES to be involved in anything I am doing...cleaning, cooking, laundry, vacuuming - it is really fun! (except when I am handling raw chicken or a hot pan! then it is hard to distract her from trying to help)


Helping me unload the dishwasher (by climbing in, naturally...)

Another video - Sophia's verbal skills are growing! I caught a few words/sounds on video this morning...she still knows a lot more signs than words. she is very communicative!




It has been a challenging 9 days and I think part of it is unmet expectations on my part (of the timing) and sudden hormone changes. Migraines this week as my body adjusts haven't helped me feel any better.
I will let these excerpts from another mom's written experience (found on LLL's website) describe some of the emotions I've been feeling about letting go. Though weaning has been so much more abrupt and sooner than I'd ever hoped, I am so thankful for the almost 16 months of this special bond that Sophia and I have shared. I can rest easy knowing it was her initiative and not for a lack of offer on my part. I'm so glad I cherished each time I was given, the weight of our day erased as she lay blissfully asleep in my arms.

"We breastfeed in silence. We breastfeed in dialogue. We breastfeed asleep. We breastfeed in a chair at the end of the day until all the light is gone from the room. I hold him, knowing, wistfully, that he will never remember this. But somehow, I feel in my intuitive heart that this will have helped shape his perceptions of himself and me.

I see how he finds his peace. Orders his world. I see how blissful it is to sit with him at dawn and nurse him into another day. I see how breastfeeding him for comfort has made him more comfortable in general. More patient. More respectful of my needs. More able to calm himself. More centered. Happy.
I see how it has made me more patient, more centered, able to calm myself. I see the look of deep knowingness in his eye, as if we've been walking the planet together for a couple of hundred years. I see how breastfeeding has become part of our rhythm, our rhyme, our understanding of each other. How it has given our relationship a whole other layer of connectedness. And how that connectedness has influenced my parenting choices, how I perceive him, and how he responds to me.
I can also see how he won't go down to sleep at night with anybody else but me. At least, not at this point. Not now. Not yet.

I used to think of breastfeeding as the essential connection between us. I couldn't imagine, and sometimes worried about, how we would relate to each other after he was no longer breastfeeding. It was part of our language. Our understanding of each other.
Now, in retrospect, I realize that nursing is only one aspect of motherhood. One way of connecting. One way of comforting. On the other side of the nursing journey now, motherhood continues, of course. And, in some ways, for me, it is just beginning again.
In letting my son decide when to stop nursing-when to let go-I have learned about letting go, too. About letting go of one thread while holding on to others. Letting go, letting go, until more threads are loosened, unraveled, untethered, like a dancing kite that has set itself free."

Lu Hanessian
Englewood NJ USA
From: NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 21 No. 1, January-February 2004, pp. 4


Dinner tonight

Snap shot of our table at dinner tonight...



Day in the life of us...

So I have seen a few friends do this and thought it would be a fun challenge - to record a day start to finish and later be able to look back and see where all my time goes. When Eric asks me, "what was your day like?" usually I manage to fill him in on anything big (new words, signs, motor skills, etc). A lot of time though my day is summed up into one adjective: today was great... interesting... challenging... speedy... entertaining... busy -you get the idea!

5:30 am - I hear Sophia calling, not time to get up yet! I heard her for a few min, turned over and thankfully a min later, she decided to snooze a little more so I got to too :)

6:07 am - Sophia is calling (yelling kinda) and this time I know she is really up. I roll out of bed, throw on my bathrobe and head into her room. She greets me happily, the morning light pre-dawn is coming through the window, so I open her blinds and she "WOWs" the sound the blinds make as they click/clack up. She nurses, still sleepily waking up. I change her diaper and put on her outfit for the morning. A friend (katie) and I talked about strawberry picking early this am, so I dress Soph in black pants and a red tank top (to prevent staining if we go). I know its going to be HOT again today, prob close to 90.

6:30-6:45 am - play quietly in her room. Until I hear Eric's alarm going off or him in the shower, we stay in her room reading or playing so he can continue sleeping (at least resting even if she is being loud)

6:45 am - Daddy comes in to say good morning and the cat decides to come too. Sophia lights up greeting them both...then we all go out to have breakfast and I start my coffee

7 - For breakfast, Sophia is offered homemade banana oatmeal muffin, homemade granola bars with cranberries and bits of dark chocolate (very few bits)...she doesn't want either. She does go for the plain greek yogurt and eats some spoonfuls. After that she decides she wants a piece of Life cereal that Daddy's eating, but as soon as he gives her a piece from his bowl, she walks it over to the cat bowl and "gives it to Marzell" after she walks away, I scoop it up into the trash to make sure she doesn't decide she does want to eat that piece after all

7:30 - Our typical morning routine of hugs & kisses goodbye to Daddy as he leaves for work. We stand at the glass door waving and blowing kisses until he gets in his car and drives away.

7:40-8:15 - I sit down at the table to write a couple of checks for a few friends going on short-term missions trips while Sophia plays with my shoes and tries to walk around the living room in them. I also think about how it is my good friend, Rebekah's, birthday and need to send her an email, call, or post on FB

8:15 - I heat up some whole milk in a sippy cup and we change her diaper, preparing for her morning nap. After she drinks 4 oz, I start to sing to bed her lullaby signaling sleep. She signs "eat" and says, "mmmm" which means I'm hungry or want food. I think she is stalling her nap but tell her that she is welcome to finish any breakfast that she earlier refused (the muffin & granola bar). We walk back into the kitchen and it is clear she still wants neither....back to her room, a few sad moments after I leave, but by 8:30 she is asleep

8:30-10:00 - I weed and turn over/till the clay soil, preparing it for planting tomorrow. I'm planning to get plenty of organic compost, vermiculite, and peet moss to condition the poor NC clay soil. I feel good getting what I need accomplished and that I cleaned up all my weeding (Eric will be happy!). I think about how sore I'm going to be tomorrow!

10:15 - I walk in the door, surprised I was able to spend so much time out there and anxious to get a cool drink of water. Sophia is talking happily to herself, maybe telling Daisy (lovey) a story. :) She must have just woken up - perfect timing. I head in to get her and she is pleased to see me. We play peek-a-boo and I chase her around in the crib (her inside, me outside the slats) for a few min, she is not in any rush to get out.

10:30 - I shower, and while we don't do this often, she plays in the excersaucer, which I have pulled into the bathroom. She can see herself in the mirror and plays with her hairbrush and toothbrush.

11 - snack time - I make smoothies with frozen banana, frozen blueberries, plain yogurt, ground flaxseeds, and a splash of orange juice. We drink those while munching on the granola bars (sophia only eats a couple of bites of bar but seems to like the smoothie) I put a glass of it in the fridge for Eric to have when he gets home

11:15 am - Sophia seems hungry for more so I decide to just start lunch. She is offered peas, broccoli, leftover curry chicken (which she dips in mustard and just sucks off w/o eating the chicken), mandarin oranges, and a dill pickle. She really wants more oranges and pickle but I cut her off b/c of the sodium content in the pickle and that she would eat 5 cans of oranges by herself but would have very acidic diaper rash.

11:20-12:00 pm - play time around the house and outside on the driveway. She practices walking up and down hills with my help and we sit in the shade reading "Brown Bear". I am just thinking that we are in need of an outing when my friend, Megan M, calls inviting us to join her and kiddos N & J at the science center! I tell her perfect and we'll be there soon. 5 min later, we are loaded up and heading out

12:15-2:30 - science center. Sophia loves it; everything from playing with J (who is a very active but sweet little boy) and N (J's big sis who is 4 and very doting on sophia, helping her and stroking her head), playing with inside toys and seeing the animals outside (got to pet a guinea pig, big rabbit, and sheep/goats). mental note to self: go there more often! that place is awesome and it is seriously 3 min away.

2:30 - we get home, and get ready for afternoon nap (late) which I am hoping she will at least cat nap. I offer her a snack (cream cheese & homemade jam on whole wheat bread - she shudders after one bite...maybe the cream cheese is too tangy for her?), change diaper, nurse, and put down at 2:45. she talks and plays to herself and falls asleep around 3

3-4 - While Sophia naps, I work on helping a friend with creating an invoice for her diaper company. After sending it back to her, I prep dinner by chopping all the veggies I am using tonight in a veggie stir-fry over jasmine rice. Feeling glad to be one step ahead with that, I start this post and read a few blogs

4 - Sophia wakes up and is a little sad so we cuddle and read a few books in her rocking chair. She wakes up from shorter naps sad sometimes but it's already 4 so I am just happy she napped at all! I play the game "this is how the gentleman rides...the lady rides....this is the way the JOCKEY RIDES" with her on my knee bouncing up and down and in a matter of seconds she is laughing and perks up.

4:30-5:30 - free play around the house and snack (whole-wheat toast dipped in hummus). I unload the dishwasher and Sophia helps me with a few items. I am so thankful for her heart and earnest desire to jump in with what I'm doing.

5:30 Eric calls on his way home and asks if he can pick Sophia up to take her to a baseball game at school to give me a break. sure! do I want to come? so sweet to ask, but I think I'll decline with an empty, quiet house calling...

5:45-6:15 - Eric/Soph are at the GDS game, I make dinner while catching up with my sis and enjoy our uninterrupted phone conversation. We usually eat dinner as a family (or Eric and I eat together after she goes to bed) but I decide to start eating while I have both hands so I can do what is needed when they return

6:20 - My hunnies are home and it's dinner time! Sophia eats some peas, broccoli, & carrots out of the stir fry and leaves the onion, mushrooms, and celery as well as the rice. she wants to be up on our laps and drink some bubbly seltzer water from a can (like Mama & Daddy are doing).

6:45 - Bath time - I want to wash the sunscreen, animals' experience, and crowd at game off before she goes to bed. Eric cheerfully offers to give it to her and they have a fun time while I get her stuff ready for bed and get myself ready for a girls' crepe night with Katie M & Erin R.

7-7:20 - lotion, diaper, pjs - wind Sophia down and say goodnight to Daddy with kisses

7:20 - nurse, cuddle, sing lullaby and put down at 7:30. I run out the door late for my girls' date!

7:30-9:30 - enjoy banana-cinnamon crepes and strawberry-lemon crepes while we drink decaf and share mommy-hood stories. Erin has brought Holden who is 4 months old and Katie/ I share taking turns holding the sweet babe. He is cooing, smiling, and brings us back to when our tots were that small. We rejoice with the joyful things going on in each other's lives and share a few harder things too.

9:45 pm - home again - Eric and I have a needed heart to heart. He speaks truth and discernment and gives me some things to think about and pray about. We talk about fund raising and find rest in His control of our future. I realize I missed my "Jesus Calling" time this morning and it shows in my attitude and words. We also catch up on each other's days and I gush about my girl time.

11:45 pm - we crash into bed! tired~ what a late night for us both! usually bedtime is 10-10:30. my eyes close and instantly asleep as my head hits the pillow.

As usual, it was a full day!


Tiffany & Kevin's visit

Tiffany and Kevin came to visit for a long weekend this past Thurs-Sun. It was so great to see them and spend time together! We enjoyed going out to Mellow Mushroom pizza, playing cards, munching on yummy snacks, and Tiff and I went to a cooking class together (at the same Tea room she threw my baby shower at). We learned how to use tea in our cooking and even practiced incorporating what we learned for dinner that night! The highlight of Sophia's weekend was that Tiff/Kev brought their sweet dog, Buddy. He made her smile, laugh, and light up all day. :) I think a doggie is in our girl's future! She just needs to learn the sentence, "doggie please, daddy?" and we'll see how long it takes.... :) 

 blurry, but she is going in for a kiss....so cute. Buddy was so sweet allowing her to be all up in his face and following him around all day. :)

 This smile says, "I love Buddy! He's the best!"

Contemplating whether he will allow her another kiss... ? :)

Thanks so much for coming, Tiff & Kevin! We love you guys!

Birthday week for Molly/Annie

Annie turned 5 last week and two days later, Molly turned 7! It was fun to celebrate their birthdays through the week....starting with giving them their horse pajamas after dinner together at Josh/Meg's, then Annie's party at Chuckie Cheese's and then Mol's party at Stillwater farm.
Both M & A are such treasured sweet girls, we love them so much. What a privilege to be able to be at their parties and to get to see them week to week through the year. I enjoy having lunch with Molly at her school each week, getting to hear about her day and spend some one-on-one time. Sophia loves going to see Molly and gets plenty of attention from Mol's classmates! :) Next year I will get to eat lunch with Molly AND Annie since she will be starting kindergarten! I am so excited.

Chuckie Cheese's - Anne's party

At the farm - Molly's party

Awaited Easter Pics

Just now getting to post Sophia's Easter outfit pics....better late than never!

over-exposed...just having fun playing with light and how it interacts with the camera settings.

cutest bloomers!