Saturday, August 27, 2011

10-11 months

little butternut is 10.5 months...he is hilarious and so so sweet. lately, however, he is quite the reminder that patience is not a natural human quality. he gets especially frustrated when dinner is over...the boy can EAT. at his last weight check he was just over 20lb in the 50th %, 75th% for height, and 90th for head circumference. he eats tons of solid food (his favorites being homemade bread and whole milk yogurt), and still nurses 3 x a day. he can only seem to concentrate on nursing if we are in a dark room alone because apparently he has things to do. he is very busy making messes, army crawling and pulling up. i think he may skip the normal crawling as he seems to prefer the uber-inefficient method he has worked out of dragging his body across the floor propelled only by the right foot. marit may be our only child to actually crawl and she was the one in the brace! anyway, miles is well-loved by us all and we are so thankful for this wiggly, smiley, cuddly bundle.
and it is time for baby gates!

lamenting the gate

who are these babies?

i thought about having a contest to see if people can correctly identify these children at the same age in the bath. miles took his first tub bath this week and it prompted me to look in the archives at the others at the same age. it just seems so clear to me, but then i am mama. look at them, if you can correctly id them and a winner emerges, maybe i'll make you some fresh bread or something. if everyone gets it correct, you may have to settle for a hug next time i see you...seriously, could my babes be any balder?




Sunday, August 21, 2011

my everyday hero

adam spent the better part of yesterday under our house sealing up 110 year old gaps between joists, wall, floor...hopefully to render our house more "rodent proof" and maybe a little more efficient. and a little update on the rat problem, the score is now: adam 2 and rats 0. i am thankful for my husband/very own mighty hunter...

Saturday, August 20, 2011

i hate goodbyes

we were able to spend a little time this weekend with some dear friends on the way from language school to the mission field. brooke and i have been pregnant at the same time for all three of our pregnancies. she has been such an encouragement to me over the years...a truly precious friendship. it was sweet for the kids to play together a bit and to remember the faces of the ones we pray for so frequently. we miss them terribly, but are thankful for skype, blogs, facebook, vonage that help to keep us all connected. and we know the Lord will use these dear people to further His kingdom in the mountains of peru as they work with peruvian healthcare professionals and students. i'm thinking (if not sooner), our 10th anniversary should be a visit to peru?

miles and caleb are the farthest apart (3 months) of our pairs

beautiful eliza looks like her mommy

anna grace and eliza cooking some costa rican fare for marit and graham

sweet friends

Sunday, August 14, 2011

niece,nephew, niece

got to enjoy tom and kelly's kids yesterday and meet the newest one! goodness, you forget how small they are when they are new. i don't have the baby bug yet or anything, but my my how precious is this bundle. beautiful gift you are sweet girl! and just so you know, tko, i'm praying for you to get a job come fall in the southeast. i can't handle any more of my family moving far away. lots of love!

Friday, August 12, 2011

the everyday

we are almost done with night float...hip hip hooray! it has not been nearly as bad as it could have been, but we are glad to see it go. God has been so gracious to allow adam to get a little sleep many nights so we have actually seen him a good bit during the daytime. poor marit has been dealing with her first case of swimmer's ear. adam's schedule has enabled him to take the older kids swimming for a bit before dinner most days the last couple weeks. pax gets swimmer's ear all the time and, in case you wondered, treatment is pretty much the same for canine and human cases. and both dog and child strongly dislike the eardrops part. anyway, here are a few photos for us to remember these normal end-of-summer days by...

lots and lots of puzzles (one of graham's favorite, favorite activities)

this poor kid is having a hard time with his fourth tooth...been super cranky and clingy lately and i can see that tooth just about to erupt...

adam let marit pick out some flowers when they got her it any wonder she picked these? pink daisies to marit are the very definition of beauty.

only at the bidding of a precious daughter will a man so carefully color a picture of hello kitty

most of our "preschool" consists of lots and lots of reading, coloring, letters and such. here marit is telling graham what she remembers of beauty and the beast. i love this stage when their little brain memorizes things so easily and is so ready to repeat.

our "percussion section" during family worship (we are growing into a more consistent flow with fw)

we start many mornings before it is sweltering with a run at a nearby nature area and we observe all manner of creatures-great blue heron


marit is learning to set the table...these are her favorite placemats (again, is it a wonder?) from great grandma

graham loves to "walk" pax

these are sweet days for sure. of course the camera was not ready to catch the many, many chaotic moments when everyone is falling apart (including me) as that is part of "normal" life around here too. sanctifying work this mothering is. i am not patient nor am i always cheerful and thankful, but God is all the time working His Gospel into my heart more and more and often by the challenges i face as a weak, weak, weak mama! can i just confess my absolute inadequacy and His absolutely sufficient grace?

tomorrow miles and i are going on a road trip to hang with my sweet niece and nephew while my brother, sis-in-law, and 1 week old baby girl head to the funeral of kelly's sweet, sweet grandmother.

Monday, August 8, 2011

in which ellen rambles

we've been plowing through nightfloat over here. last week i read jane eyre for the first time since high school. it was such pleasant company...the first piece of fiction i have read in a loooong time and a very nice departure from the parenting books...i need to use that part of my brain more often. so much to learn from beautifully written fiction *sigh* so wonderful...i've also been making a lot of bread sans breadmaker to cope with night float...trying out new things.

adam has been reading this one on charlotte mason style of learning as we think about homeschooling and do preschool around here this year (more on that later maybe sometime). i plan on reading it too when i finish a praying life-another sweet encouragement for my weary heart. we have been reevaluating some of our parenting methods in light of recent reading, scripture, and how our Father loves and cares for us sacrificially. how he calls us to holiness and obedience by his discipline, yes, but even moreso by his love as seen in the Gospel. i was helping the kids change their sheets the other day and i inadvertently knocked the curtain down (marit's bed is against a window). marit often knocks this curtain down and i usually get a bit frustrated with her for it so when it fell this time, she said "oh, mom!" disapprovingly...i brushed it off as an accident and had this thought: "i am far more gracious with myself than i am with my children." i've been thinking about that especially as miles is learning what "no" means as he is wildly mobile (in the inch-worm sort of way) and as graham is sometimes dropping his nap altogether which can result in a very weary and on-edge toddler by the end of the day. we have been thinking about how to come alongside our children and help them deal with their sin, to pity them as God does us and calling to repentance versus taking their struggles with self-control or cheerfulness personally and viewing them as people in need of subduing and conquering. it is a delicate balance, but one we want to try to frightens me to see the emotional wounds i am capable of inflicting with my frustration or impatience, to watch chins tremble and then harden in so counterproductive.

i have also been thinking a lot about identity...what it means to "boast only in Christ." go listen to this song. it has been my favorite for a while. i want to add things to who i am to make me more valuable or interesting or categorized, but Jesus has already given me value. i want to know things or do things because i am afraid of what might happen if i don't, but "perfect Love casts out fear." seriously, have you considered all the things we do or don't do with fear as a motivation? that brings me to my next topic...we are still praying about what next year holds for us. we are praying about one particular option that i cannot put here yet that is a little crazy, but we know our Father will not lead us astray.

night float stinks, but sometimes adam sleeps a little at the hospital so we get to enjoy his company a bit during the day...a rare treat! here are a few photos.
we visited the swamp yesterday

matching is rare for these fellas because miles usually wears graham's hand-me-downs, but the clearance rack provided this outfit:) aren't they so handsome?!

graham's outfit of choice as he helps me make dinner

Monday, August 1, 2011

oh old house

we are thankful for this house that shelters us and we love that it's old, but its age and location (in the city) mean we must occasionally fight vermin. yuck. many ancient pipes were never removed when plumbing was updated in the last few decades so there are literally highways for rodents under our streets. earlier this summer we saw a rat on our bird-feeder, but that was outside. the other day i was peacefully reading jane Eyre on the couch and kept hearing scratching in the wall. i told adam, he shined the flashlight into our pocket door opening and an ugly, long, naked tail and fuzzy behind was visible. we called our neighbor to bring his bee bee gun and they each took a turn...and missed that creepy thing (side-note: what is it about bee bee guns that immediately turns grown men into middle schoolers? they enjoyed this failed hunt a little too much).

now we have traps set and our exterminator coming in a couple days, but i keep hearing things. let's just say night float + roaming awful vile rat(s) = very uneasy wife.

i have two vivid memories of my fairly courageous brothers calling my parents as each has lived in old houses at times with fearful voices. i remember abe single-handedly took on his opponent and ended its life with a golf club. tom slept alone in his house on the top bunk with a bat maybe awaiting "ratsputins" evil appearance.

i'm not that brave.

more wedding

i realize i have gotten a lot of blogging mileage out of char's wedding, but it was such an important many beautiful people around, lots of family, lots of creativity, lots of sweetness in general. as life around here has been resuming "normalcy" (whatever that is!), i remembered i didn't really post many of my photos and i want them here to remember, but this is the last one probably. the professional ones were amazing and you can view them here and here. it turned out to be great that i had a dress with pockets because i carried around miles' pacifier, my camera, and my phone the whole day.
the rehearsal dinner was in this old-timey tavern at the park. it was a time filled with delicious food (rooster's beak anyone?!) and lots of reflection on char and jeremiah's lives to date. to close the evening, jeremiah's dad led the group in prayer and it was beautiful. i absolutely loved his family and it made me so happy to watch charlotte join such a welcoming, humble, Jesus-loving are a blessing.

the flower girls and the ring-bearer (Jeremiah's nephew), all four-year olds.

char was wearing our grandma's dress from her 20s at the rehearsal here with all the bridesmaids dresses. she gave us paint swatches and let us find our own dresses. a running theme of the wedding: nothing matches exactly, but together it works and makes one beautiful whole...kind of reflective of charlotte's style.

on saturday morning, bethany and kelly and i went to shop for charlotte's bouquet. she tried to grow flowers for bouquets, but they weren't doing well so we ended up finding her some flowers that morning and the bridesmaids carried marigolds. we also enjoyed coffee samples at fresh market

first moments in her dress!

just before processing

marit and aida could hardly keep their eyes off of charlotte and kept breathlessly telling her how beautiful she was. so. cute. the flower girls did an excellent job and ended up processing with me and sitting with grandparents. my amazing neighbor nicole made their dresses and headbands and we were able to buy them in support of their adoption fund. that made us happy!

our talented artist aunt kathy made her incredible earrings as a wedding gift

immediate family of the bride

some of my dad's fam

graham and benjamin testing out the get-away car (fire truck)

there was a little miscommunication about the fire-truck...c and j got ready to leave, all the guests lighted sparklers, they mounted the truck and then realized the driver had left and not yet returned.

they waited around for about 20 additional minutes until the driver came and left joyfully...a little anticlimactic, but by that point (that is, post actual wedding), no one seemed to care.

most of these people (and some of my mom's family too) came to lunch at our house the next day before everyone left town and we ate leftovers from the week. such fun!