Saturday, June 21, 2014

A Frozen Birthday Party

We looked forward to our friend Niamh's 3rd Birthday party all month long and finally, on the first day of summer, it arrived. The day would have only been made better if daddy could have gone, too, but he was home "painting" - masking off walls and then wrestling with a sprayer - while we were away. Bob of all trades we call him :) Many people celebrated with Niamh, but these pictures are from the lovely Jamma (the host (Beth's) amazing mama) specifically for our family so they're, um, mostly just us. Just trust me that the place was packed. Also, I had the best key lime cupcake of my life, adorned with the most adorable Frozen-themed edible snowflake decor. mmm. Not sure exactly what was in the punch - pineapple sherbet and raspberry lemonade?? - but all three kids were angels the whole time, regardless of the fact that we left the house when nap is usually starting. Tonight they're "sleeping" on the couch-bed while daddy paints both rooms (twins + Ayara /Soleil's room while he visits /new baby room /maybe shared nursery??). Of course by sleeping I mean so far not at all (even though they really chose very little sugar at the fiesta - #momwin!) We shall see...


Almost 19-weeks-pregnant here!
Any tips on growing out short hair at an awkward length?
Don't our friends have amazing yard space?!
Taylen: blue shirt, Dayr: green cap, Ayara: pink dress + blue tights
I wore Bob's shirt this day. :)

Blogger Tricks

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Pregnancy Update: Pregnancy Number 3 (baby number four) // Week 18

[How Far Along]
18 weeks as of yesterday (I know it's not an exact science but I like having a day of the week to look forward to, to mark my countdown as "officially" moving on, so...) Hello, month #5.

[Baby is the size of]
A can of soda or - if you're eating well (and I do believe I am) - a sweet potato. num num

[Weight Gain]
Up two pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight. I'm extremely pleased with how well my body is handling this baby. My first go-round produced 11 pounds 3 ounces of twins at 36 weeks gestation. That's a lot of baby. And I'm sure you remember the jaw-dropping weight of baby girl, Ayara, because it was 12 pounds 3 ounces, also at 36 weeks delivered. I sincerely believe that my mind and my body are working in harmony to grow a smaller baby. Fine by me.

I've felt the baby move on-and-off since Memorial Day weekend.Last week after Taylen lunged at me from the couch - planting his knee on top of the baby - I felt nervous not getting any movement. I made a last-minute appointment at the clinic and they were kind + found baby's heartbeat right away putting my anxious mama heart at immediate ease. 

Sleep is textbook prenatal-style: exhausted, often fall asleep as soon as I lie down, sometimes can't sleep due to restless legs and arms (usually means I'm too too tired), and on and on. Bob's great about challenging me to a game of basketball, or motivating me to take an evening walk so rest comes easier. The number of times I wake in the night to pee remains ridiculous.

[Maternity Clothing]
Love it. Seriously. I enjoy the maternity pieces I've got, and I also enjoy the giant bump in non-maternity wares, too. 

Fresh and crispy still: grapes of all colors, carrots, apples, chopped salad, cucumbers... even oranges.

[Best Moment this week]
Watching Taylen, Dayr, and Ayara kiss the baby bump and say (although I may have coached them) "I cant wait to meet you", the smiles on their faces lets me know that they mean it.

[Looking forward to]
A scheduled doctor's appointment next Tuesday, 19 weeks, and setting up the "half-way" ultrasound at that time. Also, hopefully sharing some appointment attendance with Bob, its much more fun that way :)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

a slower pace: thoughts on line-drying laundry

It's no great mystery that our life has been slowing down over the last year. If you're wondering how that can be with three toddlers and one on the way I will tell you: it's all God. It started probably long ago but for this story's sake it started last November when I started to question the importance of the sponsor-driven blogging I was doing, as well as the time I was spending using social media - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest - even my iPhone was in question. I felt a strong urge (and pleading from my husband) to simplify life and live in a quieter time, more able to hear what God has in store for us. I am sure there are plenty of people who find their life calling through social media and the like, I am just equally certain I'm not one of them. Easily distracted and do-it-now-while-you're-thinking-about-it-before-the-moment-passes is usually more my style. 

For me a slower and quieter life has looked like this: giving up my iPhone in favor of a more old school type that simply calls and texts. It has the ability to take pictures and "browse the Internet" but those features were so clearly unimportant to the cell designers when this particular phone was made that it's really more of a hassle than anything. I just don't bother. It's also meant blogging less, which gives me more time with my family and quality time as a human to enjoy life instead of constantly trying to "capture it". And doing without Facebook, Twitter and Instagram almost completely. I say almost because I have followed a Facebook link on more than one occasion for a company phone number, etc., and I did stalk a friend's recent delivery of her baby on Instagram via the computer, just to scope sweet baby cheeks :) Guilty + guilty.

Another way I've slowed down is by reading more actual books. I've gone through so many since giving up Facebook that I feel like a newly educated woman again. Bob and I have more to talk about than we have in quite some time, and it's deep topics, not just what so-and-so did on his vacation via social media. (Who cares?)

Another 'nother way I've slowed down is the diminished use of the dryer in our home. Actually it'd be more accurately described as the joyful doing of more of the household duties in general, but for this post's intents and purposes... the dryer. I am fairly certain that I owe my renewed vigor for line-drying clothes in part to two recent reads: All You Need is Less by Madeleine Somerville, and Almost Amish by Nancy Sleeth. Both women write, in their own ways, about the simple joys that can come from line-drying clothes, as well as the positive environmental and financial impacts, too.

"All in all, it had taken about only ten minutes longer than hurriedly throwing everything into the dryer and pressing "Start," and I'd been able to get outside and enjoy some sun and fresh air too. I was hooked. Laundry, usually one of my most hated chores, suddenly became enjoyable." -Madeline, All You Need is Less, p.93
Any old line between two posts will work for drying laundry, here are some of my own personal nuggets of wisdom for first-timers:

1. Before you fold and bring in dried laundry, give it a good shake. More times than I prefer (that would be anything over zero, for the record) I've found a critter in a line-dried garment either before or, the less desirable, after I've brought it inside. Also on that note: you might want to clear cobwebs from the lines before you hang clothes, too. Just a suggestion from a spider-a-phobe whose "been there."

2. Double up on safety pins to save. Here's my tried-and-true method: let's pretend we're hanging a basket of washcloths. I would clip one side of one washcloth, and clip up the other side with a second pin. When I bring up the second washcloth to pin I would overlap the last place I clipped. Make sense? (See photos for examples) That way you're saving space + pins (and therefore money, too!).

3. Take note of the weather. Especially windy days are good for drying loads quickly (got somewhere to be? not sure the rain will hold off?) and extra sunshiny days are great for "bleaching" whiter items. If this is your desire consider adding a 1/8 cup of lemon juice to the wash, too - aids in the all natural "bleaching" of whites.

4. The benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. Most often when I'm hanging clothes my kids are outside playing; benefit number one: they get to see me work, benefit number two: I get to be near them while they play. Also, if they're not around me I can use the quiet moment with beautiful bright colored clothes, fresh air + sunshine to clear my head, or even say a quick prayer. I remember reading about a man who loved to do the dishes because it was his time in prayer with the Lord, that always stuck with me as a great reason to love chores. And finally, the sense of doing something worthwhile with my time - caring for my family, extending the life of our clothes by treating them with care, saving our Earthly and financial resources - is worth the few extra minutes it takes to hang.

So there you have it, my thoughts on line-drying clothes. Have you ever "gone there" with your garments? What was your experience? If you haven't - what's holding you back? I'd love to hear from all sides! Leave your comments below and be sure to check back, I'm a firm believer in every comment deserving a response :) 

Monday, June 9, 2014

recent adventures + a whole lotta photos

This man. This amazing man. What a dedicated hard-worker I've married. Bob has had some unscheduled time off from work recently, by no fault of is own, and instead of lazying about (which isn't really in his nature but would probably be my first choice in that situation) he's been working day and night for our family, to build us a more simple and sustainable life. Seriously? What a guy.

The list of projects that have been done in and around this home in his shortly-over-a-week-off include: putting the finishing touches on rabbit hutches (now we just need some rabbits!), building the chicken's a nesting box from scraps, cleaning and organizing the shed (as well as both of our favorite activity - purging! - said shed), cleaning out the car (a big, dirty job) and turning around Ayara's car seat for the first time, starting and distributing compost tea over the entire garden, fishing for - and preparing for dinner - fresh Bass from the Great Lakes (thanks Dad for taking Bobby with!), and much much more. 

Along with ALL THAT there has even been some time for fun! We took an evening stroll in and around Elk Rapids recently, stopping for pizza and a great park date. Then we took the scenic route (as if anything else exists in beautiful Leelanau County) to Leland and saw Maple City, Cedar + Good Harbor along the way. Stopping in Suttons Bay, my old stompin' grounds and High School city, for pizza + another park night. This time off has been renewing for all of our souls. Yesterday afternoon while all three tots napped we were even able to sneak in a midday movie, doze on-and-off, and wake in time to hear the film's banter before Ayara woke up for the night. Another park date + a family movie night ensued. I mean, seriously? I feel like I'm living a dream. (See photo above for appropriate dream-like image). 

As for personal time, I've even had a bit of that! Today Bob's big heart took him to his mom's to do work, and my heart took me to the beach with a girlfriend and five kids between us, the youngest of whom just turned one-month-old! Be still my heart. Much, much more of this, please! Like the picture above gestures, it's just another day in paradise. God is good.
 bump at the beach^^

 Elk Rapids, MI ^^
 photo by Bobby ^^ 

 squirrel... nuts. yeah. ^^

 family portrait? ^^

 loverssss ^^

 superhero twinkies ^^

 photo by Dayr ^^ 

 preggo crack ^^
swinging the bump, below 

Friday, June 6, 2014

... a tender note

It is pleasing to my soul to see this. My son, three tender years old, deep within nature, holding and caring for, and not-to-mention crunchily "baby" wearing his favorite Teddy. He was so happy. Taylen, you're going to be such a great caregiver someday. Selfishly I hope it's for your own kids (otherwise it's just not fair!) ;) but whoever is so lucky as to cross your sweet and kind path will be all the better for having known you. 

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