Tuesday, October 1, 2013


Jesse and I have each loved the name Logan since before we met each other.  It's been on our "boy list" for a long, long time.  We decided to give our son's middle name after my dad, Mark.  Our little Logan will be blessed to grow up with the two most wonderful men I know--his daddy and his papa.  I'm so thankful for this!

Exactly a week after we found out that I was pregnant, I was hit with Hyperemesis Gravidarum again.  If you've been following my blog since my days of pregnancy with Kayleigh, you might remember how completely incapacitated I was during  my first trimester.  I had hoped that it was just a complication with that pregnancy, and was really hoping that it wouldn't happen again.  However, apparently that's just how I do pregnancy.  Fun stuff.  This time, though, instead of being sick from weeks 8-14 like I was with Kayleigh, I was sick from weeks 6-20.  And I had a toddler.  Like I said, fun stuff :)

When I was 14 weeks along, I experienced bleeding and ended up in the ER.  It was the scariest day of my life.  Thankfully the baby was ok, but the doctors put me on strict bed rest until week 20.  I couldn't do anything more exerting than walking, and wasn't allowed to lift my little girl.  It broke my heart!  God was so good, though, and saw us through it.  We were blessed by family members, church family, and friends coming out of the woodwork to help us.  People brought us meals, came to clean our house, and gave me entire days to rest while they entertained Kayleigh for me.  We were humbled and exhilarated  by the love that we received during that very difficult time.

I'm 30 weeks along now, and finally feel like I'm rocking this pregnancy thing.  I can't believe we only have about 10 more weeks until we meet our little guy!  Jesse and I preregistered at our hospital yesterday.  We are so thankful that Logan will be delivered at the same hospital where Kayleigh was born.  We love the people there.

Jesse and I don't feel like it's really sunk in yet that we're having another baby.  Pregnancy is one thing, but bringing home another little person is such a crazy idea right now.  We're over the moon excited, but at the same time, it's hard to wrap our minds around.  A baby.  We've done that before.  But we've never added one when we already have another.  Sometimes we feel like we've just figured out how to do this whole parenting thing with one.  Other days, we still feel like we don't know what we're doing.  And yet here we are, adding another one to the mix?!?

All it takes though, is snuggling someone else's newborn, or looking at pictures on Facebook of friends with their fresh little squishes.  It takes me back to the days of milky tongues and feathery hair that smells so, so good.  I can't wait to bring our little Logan home, to cuddle in bed with both of our children in the mornings, to teach Kayleigh how to help take care of her little brother.  Watching her lovingly pat my tummy and give "Baby Logan" kisses is enough to make my heart burst.  

Before Kayleigh was born, I remember crying to Jesse that I didn't know how there would be enough room in my heart to love another as much as I love him.  Kayleigh's arrival showed me that hearts aren't confined to a certain amount of love--they keep growing and growing.  10 more weeks, and I know this heart will triple in size.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Catching Up

It's been a long time since I've posted anything.

A really long time.

Part of it's because of how crazy FULL life has been in the past few months, and the other part is that even in the slower moments, the thought of writing a catch up post was so daunting to me that I put it off some more.

Let me start with the most beautiful part.

The day we took this picture, we had no idea that we were no longer a family of three...

But my goodness, life has changed so much since then!  Our sweet little "Brubaby #2" will be joining our family in mid December, and we can't be more excited.
Meet Kayleigh's little brother, Logan Mark!
I have so much to share about my pregnancy, but I'm going to save it for another post :)  There is SO much to catch you up on!

So, just a few days before I found out that I was pregnant, I also found out that I was losing my job.  The online ESL program I was teaching through lost its funding, and just like that, my position was gone.  It was heartbreaking.  I truly loved teaching those classes and connecting with students from all over the world.  That job was such a blessing during my first [nearly] two years as a stay at home mom.  I miss it terribly, but I'm so thankful that God provided it in the first place.  It was a wonderful growing time for me, and I was definitely stretched.  As untimely as it was to lose nearly half of our monthly income the same month that we found out we were adding another little one to our family, Jesse and I truly see God's hand in it all.  My pregnancy with little Logan has been far more difficult than Kayleigh's, and I was so sick that I would have had to resign anyway.  (But I would have killed myself trying to do it all first.)  It's definitely been tight financially ever since, but we've been leaning on God fully, and He hasn't let us down :)

In mid-July, Jesse let me know that he felt that we really needed to move closer to our church.  It had been an idea that we had talked about throughout the year since he started working there, but I hadn't expected it to suddenly become so pressing--especially since mid-July was just about when I was starting to get back on my feet and join civilization again (pregnancy-wise).  But just like that, we were searching for a new place to live that was closer to church.  This was no small feat, since our church is in a very wealthy area (which is exactly why we had been commuting for the past year!) and moving closer to church also meant moving away from some of our dearest friends.  For the past two years, we have been so blessed to have our friends Tyler and Stacey (and Bine!) living just a few doors down.  They were the Mertzes to our Ricardos, or the other way around, however we wanted to look at it :)  Giving that up was one of the hardest things ever.
Just a few short months ago, this whole gang lived within walking distance of each other.  What a blessed two years it was to be just steps away from the Stovers and the Pratts!  I'll always look back on those years as some of the happiest of my life.  I loved, loved, loved being neighbors with some of our best friends.  (The Pratts moved to Northern California about 2 months before we moved, so don't think that I don't love them, too--they were just already gone!)

Living in our new town is quite an adventure.  Like I said, we can't afford to live in the actual city where our church is, so our new surroundings are quite different from where we just came from!  In our old town, we lived on a main street and were within walking distance of a Target, CVS, Starbucks, our bank, the library, tons of parks, recreational areas, the Post Office, and a ton of other things.  From the window of our new home, I can just see cows.  Cows, cows, cows...and dirt.  There is nothing within walking distance, and we haven't even found a good grocery store yet.  It's taken some adjustment, but I know that God will bless us by this move.  

One of the biggest differences, however, is that Jesse can come home between teaching classes and leading youth group and attending meetings.  The schedule of a youth pastor is a crazy one, and living so far from church often meant that I didn't see him from before 7am until after 10pm.  There were at least two days a week that Kayleigh would go the whole day without seeing her daddy.  Now that we only live 10 minutes from our church, Jesse can come home for dinner or swing by to change his clothes.  It's so wonderful!

This is such a big update already, and I feel like I haven't even caught you up on everything!  I'll have more to share in the days ahead.  I've missed all of you!  It feels like this is the very first time things have slowed down since my aquarium post back in April.  So many things have changed since then!  Lots of trials, but God has turned them all into good things.  Praise His name!!!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Lavender Lemonade

If you've been around my blog for long, you know how much I love lavender.
And if you've ever spent time with me in person, you know how I can't resist lemons.
And now my little girl does, too.  It makes me happy :)

So, in my world, there are few things more perfect than the blend of lavender and lemon.

To make the perfect lavender lemonade, you will need:

♥ 1 & 1/2  cups of fresh squeezed lemon juice
♥ 1 & 3/4 cups white sugar
♥ 1 tablespoon culinary lavender
♥ 8 cups of water

To prevent the sugar from settling at the bottom of the pitcher, create a simple syrup.  Slowly stir the sugar and 2 cups of water in a saucepan over low heat.  Add the culinary lavender to the pot, and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.

Once the simple syrup is cool, strain it to catch the lavender buds, and combine it with the lemon juice and water.

Add some ice and a few slices of lemon, and you have a lovely, refreshing summer drink!

Friday, April 12, 2013

A Trip to the Aquarium

God has blessed us with some wonderful friends who live within walking distance of our home.  Last Saturday, all three couples packed up our little beauties and took them to the aquarium.  We had a blast!

{Kayse, Jon, & Emily} {Tyler, Stacey, & Sabine} {Kayleigh, Jesse, & me}

It's hard to get three wiggly BFFs to sit still for a picture :)

The dads, on the other hand, had no problem with that ;-)

These two mommas are some of my greatest blessings!  So thankful for them!

And so, so thankful for my little family.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

18 Month Check-Up

Yesterday was Kayleigh's 18 month check up.  She's still top of her class in height (wonder where she got that from?) ;-) 24 lbs and 34 inches. 

 We wanted to treat her to an ice cream after getting 4 shots, but when we got to McDonald's, she was sound asleep!

So, we treated ourselves in her honor :-)

Next time, Kayleigh, you'll get a cone of your own.
We love our healthy, growing girl!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter! Love, Kayleigh Grace

There's something so sweet about seeing your child sit in the wicker rocking chair that was yours when you were her size.  Thank you, Lord, for our precious girl.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Christos Anesti!

One of my favorite traditions growing up was something my family said to each other every Easter morning.  As soon as we first saw him that day, my dad would kiss our foreheads and say, "Christos Anesti!"  Being well-seasoned in this family tradition, my three siblings and I would each chime back "Altheo Anesti!"

The beauty of those words is the same whether the truth is spoken in Greek or in English:

He is risen!  He is risen indeed!

The Saturday before Easter is usually a somber day, one where we think on Christ's death and the time He spent separated from the love of His Father, taking our place in death so that we could live forever with Him in Heaven.  While I am remembering that today, I just wanted to share this with you and remind you of the coming joy of tomorrow.

Our Lord is not dead.  Unlike others in the Bible who rose from the dead, returned to their lives, and then died again, Jesus did not die.  Nor, unlike other religions, is our God some inanimate figurine in a temple or on a shelf.  Our Christ was crucified.  He bore our sins so that we wouldn't have to.  He is victorious over death, and He is coming again.  He is risen.  Death could not contain Him.  Even the sin of the entire world--life after life through ages and ages--was not enough to keep Him in the grave forever.

Christos Anesti.  He is risen.

Those words in Greek contain special meaning to my family because of my dad's love for Greece and his fond memories of the years he spent there as a young adult, but the truth is there for everyone.  In every language, spoken and unspoken, He is Risen.  Alleluia!

As you prepare for the celebration of tomorrow, be reminded of what these words mean.  It's not written in the past tense--he rose, or he has risen.  He is risen--He was lifted up, and He continues to live.  The beautiful realization of the women at the tomb is the same for us.  Our God lives.

Altheo Anesti!

Here is my Easter gift to you--a free Easter Subway Art Printable!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Letter to my 18 Month Old Sweet Girl

My Sweet Kayleigh Grace,

When you were a precious little newborn, I remember sitting in a friend's kitchen and listening to her tell me that each month would be more wonderful than the last. I thought she was crazy. How could the "Terrible Twos" be more wonderful than snuggling this precious, pink and wrinkly little bundle that smelled so good and felt so wonderful wrapped in my arms? In the months since then, you have shown me that she was right.

Each month, you add new and wonderful things to your ever-growing list of abilities, and each one is more exciting than the last. When you were six months old, you sat up and waved and we thought it was the most exciting thing on the planet. When you turned 1, you toddled around the house and bopped to your favorite songs, and we took hundreds of videos and played your favorite songs over and over. But now? Now you can dance. And you can tell me which song you want to sing. And you lisp your precious baby words along to the song, and it melts my heart.

My sweet girl, your are your daddy's and my greatest joy. Each night is filled with "Guess what Kayleigh did today?" and "Look at her! She's so cute!" Daddy and I love sharing in our love for you. We love your precious one-fingered kiss (no "blowing kisses" for you--you pop your pointer finger in your mouth, suck on it, and then send the kiss over to the lucky recipient. Don't stop that ever, please. I'll cry!). We love the way you greet us in the morning with so much excitement, and then immediately ask where the other parent is, too. We love your love for "pretty" things and laugh at the way you manage to carry a tube of Mommy's lip balm, a hair brush, and your plastic jewelry while pushing a baby stroller and acting like a mommy. We love your caring heart, and the way you greet kids with an exuberant "Hiiiiiiiiiii fennnnnnnd! (friend)" We love the way you get down on the floor to pat your crying baby friends on the backs and tell them "S'ok, beebee." We laugh every time we remember the day that Daddy was sick and you surprised us both by carrying his laptop all the way from the couch to our bed because you knew it would make him feel better.

Though you knew about 25 words when you turned one, there's no way we could count your vocabulary now. You are so intelligent that I don't consider there to be anything that you don't understand anymore. Many parenting books say to speak to your child in short sentences or one-word commands because that's all they understand. We disagree. If I say, "Kayleigh, where's your cup? Go get it--it's in the kitchen!" You'll come back with your cup. If I ask you to go get your shoes so that we can go outside, you come back with two matching sneakers and a big smile while squealing "Outside! Outside!" Your favorite is when we ask you to do something to be helpful. "Take these keys to Daddy, please," or "Can you please give this book to Mommy?" We've learned to watch the weight limit that we ask you to carry, though, because if it's too heavy for you, you sit down next to it and cry like you're brokenhearted about letting us down. It's sad and adorable at the same time--but it shows so much of your servant's heart!

Yes, we even love your "Stinkface!"
 You knocked my socks off the other day by counting to six when we thought you could only count to three, and since then, you've showed us that you can go all the way up to eleven. You love anything with color, and so far, you can successfully identify orange ("oink"), blue ("boo"), purple ("puhpul") and pink ("peek"). Your favorite is definitely pink.
Any time you find something pink (like my pink washcloth today, for instance) you get SO excited and point to it while dancing and saying "Peek!" so proudly. Ah, my heart. We love you!

Art is one of your favorite activities at home, and you get so excited when I bring out crayons, paper, paint, and glitter.  You decide who each artwork goes to, and you repeat their name over and over while you create.  "Ami," you'll say, looking into my eyes and nodding sincerely so that I get your point, "Ami."  Other current favorites are playing outside on our patio, where you love to play on the slide, decorate the brick walls with chalk, chase bubbles, talk to the flowers, listen for birds, and delight in our wind chimes.

Your contentment in your little world makes me so thankful, and I pray that you are always this joyful to spend time with your dad and mom.  You are God's greatest gift to us, and we are so thankful for you--for your beautiful heart and the glimpses we see of the loving young lady you will become. We praise God for you daily, sweet girl.

18 months in and I love you more than I thought possible when you were first born.  I only expect it to grow exponentially from here.

We love you!


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Beautiful Springtime Bunting

I've always loved bunting.  It's such a sweet and simple way to dress up a space, and it practically screams "Celebrate!"

When I put together an Easter/18 month photo shoot for my sweet Kayleigh Grace, I knew that I wanted to incorporate bunting as the backdrop.  I found her dress on clearance at Gymboree and fell in love with the rows of ribbons and colorful fabric.  I was so excited when I got home and found ribbon and fabric in my stash that perfectly matched her outfit!

What you will need:
  • Fabric (I used white for the triangles, and two patterned fabrics for the yoyos)
  • Sewing machine (or glue--it's up to you!)
  • Ribbon
  • Buttons, yoyos, any additional embellishments you would like to add
  •  String (I used white yarn, but would have used twine if I could have found mine)
  • Iron/ironing board (if you're a perfectionist like me!)

Cut a triangle out of cardstock or cardboard.  I just played with the template until I got one I liked. My template measured 6 inches wide and and about 6.5 inches high.

Fold your fabric lengthwise so that the top layer is just a little longer than the triangle template and iron the fold so that it is stiff and smooth.  Place the top flat edge of the triangle template on the fold and trace as many triangles as you will need for your bunting.

Cut through both layers of fabric, being careful not to cut through the fold.  When you are finished, each triangle should be able to unfold into the shape of a diamond.

To add visual interest, I did an ABC pattern of ribbon, fabric, and plain.  I'm planning to create a yoyo tutorial soon, so check back for that :)

For the ribbon, I simply cut lengths of three coordinating ribbons and then placed them on the fabric until I found something I liked.  You can see some of my examples:

I used fabric glue to hold the ribbons in place, and then I sewed*** the "V" along the border of the triangle to really anchor the ribbons.  If you choose to glue the two layers of the triangle together, just make sure that you glue your ribbons down really securely.

***Make sure that you leave about a one inch gap from the fold towards the point (as pictured in the first triangle photo).  This will give you the ability to slip your string through the space and hang it--like a curtain rod goes through a curtain.

Once you have sewn/glued the triangle pieces, you can snip the ribbon lengths to the edge of the triangles.

Assembling your Bunting
Now it's time to string your triangles together and get ready to hang them.  To do this, I took a crochet hook and taped my string to it, then pushed the crochet hook through the spaces in each triangle.  For the photo shoot backdrop I made for my daughter, I did two lengths of 6 triangles each.  Figure out how you will hang your bunting before cutting your string.  The nice thing about this lacing method for the triangles is that it's not permanent--if you don't like the pattern you made, or want to change the triangles around to be more aesthetically pleasing, just unstring them and try again.

Whether you're making bunting as a photo backdrop, party decoration, or room decor, this simple project will brighten the space and add a personal touch that you can be proud of.