Monday, April 30, 2012

Home | Scenes from a Monday

Not pictured are Seb, wearing only what you see in these pictures + his loafers, and Cody taking the trash to the dumpster (likely the cutest thing they do together), and an evening jaunt around Duke Gardens where Seb skinned his nose, poor man, and tried repeatedly and without hesitation to walk straight into the water. In the meantime, this stomach of mine gets larger and larger. Are the midwives sure I'm not already full-term? It sure does feel like it...

Home | Thankful days

Today I'm thankful to be able to cuddle on the couch with my croupy little man, for humidifiers that enable said sick toddler to sleep through the night, for my daddy because it's his birthday today, to be able to season my cast iron skillets (because I'm so over teflon), eat cinnamon raisin bagels with cream cheese for breakfast, to have all the windows open, and to have a mother-in-law who makes the sweetest and most beautiful blankets for her grandsons. This one, in soft turquoise, is for the baby, and looks just like Seb's white one that he currently won't part with for two seconds.

Cody took Saturday in addition to Sunday off this weekend (after writing a paper that I'm pretty sure sucked the life out of all of us) and will soon be done with his first year of Div school! Exactly a week from today we'll be making a pit stop in Wilmington to celebrate my little sister's birthday and to break up the 11 hour drive from here to Michigan. Then we'll be spending a blissful week in Hillsdale, where Cody will spend the morning hours writing his last paper of the semester, and where Seb and I will spend the morning hours trying to find the Hillsdale library, taking walks in all the familiar places, and exploring the natural wonders of the Arb. Oh, and visiting lots of old friends, too. Our trip doesn't end there, but you don't need to be bothered with all the details just yet, I think. So this week I hope to do some deep cleaning, like to our shower and and area rugs, some dusting and maybe some nesting, because who knows when this wee little babe is going to show up.

P.S. If you're looking for some crafty/DIY/nesting inspiration. Kaite doesn't disappoint. I'm contemplating making her my personal seamstress...

Friday, April 27, 2012

Food | Strawberries

We finally made it happen.

The strawberries at Whitted Bowers Farm were ripe, red, delicious, and organic! It made for a really fun morning and left me wanting to go back for more.

I unfortunately forgot to tote my camera along, and since I don't have any of those crazy phones that take cool pictures, the trip went undocumented. But sometimes it's just good to sit in the moment. So while I sat in the moment, Sebastian sat in puddles... and strawberries... and rocks.

He wasn't very into strawberry picking, which surprised me a bit, but he was very into the puddles left by the rain we've been having this week. Before I knew it, he was just sitting right down in the middle of the deepest one, perfectly content. I'm pretty sure he explored every aspect of that big puddle.

I find myself trying to keep Seb clean most of the time, but I have to remember how important it is for him to have messy experiences. He needs to be free to explore the world around him, see what mud feels like, and watch the way water splashes when you run through it.

There should be a lot more exploring like that.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

North Carolina | Pullen Park makes for one blissfully happy toddler

We had strawberry picking on the docket for today, but the weather looked pretty iffy, and since it's 45 minutes away, we didn't want to risk it. Instead, we met up with our friends in Raleigh and checked out Pullen Park! We chose this one because A. said that there were train rides for $1, and since Sebastian is obsessed with trains right now—making the sound, but saying dhoo dhoo!, instead—I knew it would be a big hit.

I was so excited that A. and her little Z. introduced us to this park because I've been trying to collect ideas of fun things to do when Cody's parents come to spend a week with me and Seb at the beginning of June. Of course, little baby might arrive early, and then we'll be guaranteed a week of endless excitement! But just in case baby comes around his due date, or later, Pullen Park will definitely be on our list of fun things to do. In addition to train rides, there is a carousel and little boat rides for the kiddos, as well as paddle boating! This is a cool park, let me tell you.

So, dear strawberries, I'm sure you taste yummy, but we're not so sorry we had to take a raincheck after all.

Ready for an adventure!


The train is coming the train is coming the train is coming!

Are you sure this thing knows how to get us home? Here, let me plug it in.

Perhaps I could be in charge of pushing the pedals...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Home | Textiles make me happy (and so do chubby fists)

While in Virginia, Mrs. B. took Em, L, Seb and me to a couple amazing thrift stores. The second one was new to all of us and was absolutely amazing. I totally splurged and bought these two pacifier clips, which were handmade by a local lady . How could I resist? Em got a sweet little Pinocchio one for L, which is just adorable. Seb is using the car one right now, and loves it, but when he saw that I had a pacifier for the baby—one that I had bought for him and he refused to use—he decided he wanted it, but he just chews on it because it's too small. What a kid. The last picture is of a burp cloth I made for the baby. I might eventually get around to practicing my quilting skills on it, which was the whole purpose of making it this way. Regardless, I just love it, and can't wait to use it!

We are all doing well around here even though Cody is swamped with paper writing.  Although last night when I told Seb it was time for his bath, he ran up to the bedroom where Cody was studying with the door shut, knocked several times and said, "Dada bath! Goba juwe u!" and then kept knocking until Cody came to the door. Cody, the usual bath-giver, explained to Seb that he didn't have time tonight, and then after a few minutes, went back into the bedroom and closed the door. As soon as the door closed, Seb looked at me and said, "nooo nooo nooo, bath!" I'm pretty sure Cody's heart was breaking.

As for me, I've gotten much more tired in these late weeks of pregnancy, which is making it very difficult to make good eating choices and, since sleeping isn't so fun anymore, I end up squandering Seb's nap time away, trying to get motivated to work out and do something productive, like oh, get ready for this baby! I just keep saying, "Okay, tomorrow." Maybe tomorrow will be better.

But we have been keeping busy, and in a good way, despite our weird schedule. Seb and I were able to attend my women's bible study again yesterday morning for the first time in weeks, which was really nice. Today is another story time at the library, and Thursday we're going strawberry picking! Saturday is the farmer's market, where Seb just loves to listen to the street musicians, and well, Friday? I'm sure we'll find something to do...

The best recent news is that Cody's new glasses finally shipped. I am entirely too excited for my own good, and can't wait to show you what ones he picked!

I hope you're having a lovely week.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Baby #2 | Some thoughts near the end

Some mostly giddy thoughts, and one 3rd trimester reality I can’t ever seem to be prepared for, as I enter week 32...

Wow, sleeping is just a nuisance... I wish I didn’t have to sleep. This thought surprised me when I was pregnant with Seb, and just yesterday surprised me again. Apparently I’m a slow learner. There just comes a point in pregnancy when your stomach is so heavy, it’s almost painful to roll over because of that split second when all the weight of your baby/amniotic fluid/placenta crush all the rest of your internal organs, and then there’s the bathroom trips every 30 minutes to 2 hours in the middle of the night, which inevitably hit in the middle of your sleep cycle. I’m shocked I haven’t fallen over or run into a wall in the middle of the night!

There is another little soul in there! I think this often now, thanks to Bethany who, when she held Sebastian a few days after his birth, exclaimed in wonderment, “He’s an immortal soul!” Thanks, Bethany, It’s one of our favorite memories of Seb’s first week of life outside the womb.
We get to name a human being. Yes, I’ve already done it once, but it just amazes me to think about it. I love names, and to me, this is an extremely important and exciting job. It just hit me recently how near we are to decision time, and makes me giddy to think about bringing a little baby home from the birthing center and having him be a part of our lives, name and all. Also, a few little hints on our names: We love Saints names, I particularly seem to like names that show up in Disney movies, and most of the names on our list sound like old man names. Yea. How excited are you!?
That moment when I’m doing some mundane, run-of-the-mill task, like brushing my teeth just hours after the baby is born, and thinking, “I’ve done it! The baby is here! He’s right over there and I’m just brushin’ my teeth!” Goodness, that’s just one of the best feelings.
And finally,
Hhmm... this baby is due June 20th. Okay, I have just about 2 months exactly. Cool. Wait a minute... Seb was due June 15th, but he was born on May 29th. So technically, this baby could come in ONE MONTH, not two... Someone please tell me how to prepare for this baby’s birth.
One thing is certain, 
I am positively giddy about this new baby. What will he look like? What will we name him? 
Oh my gosh he’s going to be sooooo tiny!
I can’t wait.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Mama | Courage to do the little things

I was telling Cody on Sunday night that I just can’t stop thinking about what a blessing my trip to Virginia was to me, and how I felt that it bolstered my courage in ways I didn’t think were possible. I said to him, “It just shouldn’t have been that way. It should have been stressful.” 
And certainly parts of it were stressful. 
We got stuck in traffic both on the way there and the way back—adding an unwelcome hour both ways—and the day that we arrived, Seb woke up from his afternoon nap early, more upset and exhausted than I’ve ever seen him. He then proceeded to fall over constantly as his legs gave out from under him. Yes, that part was a little more than scary. Thankfully, I have a very wise mother-in-law who gave me some advice and tips as to what to do should it get worse, and how to make it better in the meantime. I watched him closely the rest of the day, coaxing him to watch a movie by giving him fruit snacks, and finally getting him to lay down with me and watch Tom and Jerry without trying to jump up and run on his weak legs. I was also his sole caretaker. No Cody to help with that random diaper, to brush Seb’s teeth at night, to just be there and help take over for a few minutes when Seb was being cranky, or to talk me back into sanity.
But somehow, by the grace of God, it was peaceful to be away with just my little man. There was something beautiful about being just the two of us for a few days. I was tired in the mornings, but wasn’t discouraged by the responsibilities of the day, or the lack of time I was able to put into my regular afternoon routine—which I generally guard with a vengeance. The truth is, I struggle with being content. I struggle with taking joy in the mundane, and I struggle to feel free of burdens. It’s a lot harder being a stay-at-home mom than I thought, or at least a lot harder to transition to being a stay-at-home mom. My trip revealed to me that I was unconsciously feeling trapped. I would look at pictures of tropical vacations and wish so badly that we could go on one. Just last weekend, a few days before my trip, Seb and I were waiting for Cody outside of Duke Chapel and I saw a bride being photographed before her wedding. I was on the phone with my mom and just blurted out, “I wish I were her right now, because tonight she’s going to stay at a nice hotel, and tomorrow she’s going to fly off to some exciting honeymoon destination.” Suddenly, any thought of adventure, as I sat in a hot car with a hungry toddler and my enormous belly, both dressed in shabby clothes, seemed like an elusive dream, at best.
God has perfect timing, doesn’t he?
Later Sunday night, just before bed, I was catching up on the Daily Office and read Psalm 16. Verse 8 says, “I have set the Lord continually before me. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” Now, I don’t read my Bible every day without fail, but these last weeks have been good. The Psalms have been opened up to me, and I have been filled with so much joy and hope as we’ve moved through Holy Week and the Easter Season. I can truly say that reading the Daily Office has been the highlight of my day. That verse in Psalm 16 hit home. Our trip to Virginia shouldn’t have been peaceful; lots of things in life shouldn’t be peaceful. But when we set the Lord continually before us, we will not be shaken, even when we should be shaken.
I think I’ll look back and say that it was a red letter trip. God revealed so many things to me during that time away, like areas of selfishness, and ways in which I’ve taken certain things and people for granted. It has also noticeably changed the way I’ve approached caring for Seb, and made me more adventurous. Sure, to the world it may not seem that I’m being very adventurous, but to me, taking the initiative to take Seb to the library to play with the trains while Cody studied on Saturday morning, or taking him again for his first ever story time, are a big deal. Even letting Seb play in bowls of water with measuring cups can be an adventure! This week we’re going strawberry picking with friends, and even though I’ve been thinking for a month that I wanted to go when the strawberries were in season, I fully believe that before my Virginia trip, I would have let the opportunity pass me by.
The transition to motherhood has been difficult for me. I’ve been scared to try “mom things,” and felt a little out of place as a 24 year old, about to have a second child, surrounded by a sea of women who are waiting much longer to start their families. If you’ve ever felt that way, be courageous. Step out and be adventurous, even if adventure now means simply joining story time at the library. When I observed my sweet toddler turning bright red as everyone started singing, clapping and doing the hand motions to songs, he had a beaming smile on his face, but shyly hid his hand in the crook of my crossed legs. Adventures can be scary, or make us uncomfortable, but they’re so worth it. I can’t wait to be more adventurous for and with my boys.

P.S. Stay tuned for parts II and III.

Food | It's been nice knowing you, Microwave

This weekend was our first without a microwave. I've been wanting to go without one since Cody and I got married, but held off for one reason or another. All those reasons seem to be gone now, so we took the plunge. My parents got rid of their microwave (actually the one we've been using!) when I was in high school, so I am very aware of what life is like without it, and really, it's definitely a life I can live with. The boy's daily breakfast of quick oats, raw goat's milk, and raw honey will require a bit more time and planning on my part, and we will potentially need to acquire a few more small pans for heating up leftovers and baby food, but I think it will be time well spent.

Have you ever considered going without a microwave?

P.S. Seb really looks like that when he's eating his breakfast. He likes big bites that require intense concentration and warrior facial expressions.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Music | The Lamb has Overcome by Luke Morton

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Home | When baby finds a Granny Smith

Our first night back with daddy after our adventure to Virginia. It's so sweet to be home again. And gosh, Seb looks exactly like my brother Isaac in that third photo, holy moly...

Happy Saturday!
We're looking at attempting a library visit again and if the rain holds off, going to Duke Gardens, or maybe the farmer's market.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Little One | Good finds

Hi friends, I've been away because Sebastian and I decided on Monday to leave at the crack of dawn on Tuesday to go visit some dear friends in Virginia. More to come about the trip later, but I'll just say that it was both wonderful and empowering. Sure there were hard moments, as it was our first time traveling by ourselves, but it was such a refreshing trip for me, and so fun to see two of my friends who also have little ones and hearing about how they parent. I learned some amazing things from both of them, and felt challenged and encouraged. I can't wait to write down some thoughts and share them with you!

And since, of course, when you get home at 2:30 a.m., what else are you going to do bright and early the next morning but go shopping!? There is a consignment boutique in Chapel Hill that I had been wanting to visit, and decided that today was the day, and then Seb and I would go to the library afterward. Sadly, we never made it to the library because as we were in the mall, headed to The Red Hen, we stumbled on the Kid Cycle! Helloooo goodies! I bought a pair of loafers for Seb to help him stylishly fill the role of ring bearer in my brother's upcoming wedding, and two pairs of shoes for the baby boy who jumped on my bladder during the whole five hour car trip home last night (I love you, too, baby). I also scored in the puzzle department. Seb only has one right now, so these are for his birthday. I love old, used puzzles. And hey, check out the Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel puzzle. What a beauty. I'm pretty sure consignment sales make for the best shopping experience ever.

I hope your week has been adventurous and lovely just like mine!

P.S. Little boy shoes make me want to have a million little boys.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Style | Easy ensemble

I love this simple Madewell dress paired with Saltwater sandals.

I've gotten to that point in my pregnancy when, even though I have only two tanks that cover my impossibly huge belly and nothing other than athletic shorts to keep me cool, I've set my sights to what I'm going to wear after pregnancy. A task, which in my opinion, is just as daunting as figuring out how to dress during pregnancy. Suddenly, I've forgotten completely what I wore after Sebastian was born, so I've got a little brainstorming to do... An added challenge will be figuring out how to dress for the scorching heat while nursing! Dear Michigan, I miss your cool Summer breezes already.

Do you have any brilliantly simple summer wardrobe staples?

Home | Visitors at my window

Cody and Sebastian wandered around outside for a while yesterday afternoon so they could enjoy the perfect weather and give me some time to exercise. Imagine my delight when they decided to visit my window, even though Sebastian tried to skewer me with his stick. Okay, he wasn't after me, exactly, but it was close. I just love my men.

Today starts two weeks of craziness in which Sebastian and I will be going into some form of hibernation, trying to make it through while Daddy finishes up the semester. This time of year is always the hardest, but I'm excited to press through and try to be as helpful and supportive as I can. It's so hard being not only a husband, but a dad, while in school. I'm so thankful to have a husband who does it as well as he.

Happy Monday, friends!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Home | Sunday morning with Dad

Shenanigans with daddy before church. I nixed Seb's choice in shoes... you know, exercising my power to choose my child's wardrobe while I can. 
Those days are coming to an end, and quickly.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

North Carolina | The Durham Life and Science Museum

This morning Sebastian and I made our first visit to the Life and Science Museum. I had been wanting to take Seb for a while, and our friends who have passes were kind enough to invite us to come along! It was a beautiful day to do some exploring outside, and Seb certainly enjoyed every moment pounding on drums, getting dirty in a giant sandbox full of bulldozers and dumptrucks, checking out the farm animals, and observing the butterflies. Also, it didn't escape my attention that Seb likes to read all of the signs in front of the exhibits... just like his daddy.

We had so much fun and are hoping that your Saturday has been just as lovely. Thanks, LeAnn & Jonah!