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our first garden

loving the pool

our first garden

a garden visitor

What do I love this Monday? The feeling of summer that’s in the air. I mean, I’m not looking forward to the heat, but I love summer. I love sunshine and gardens and the pool. This year, we have all of those things in our back “yard” of sorts (it’s hard to call our tiny space in the back of our townhouse a yard).

We caved and bought Elisha a kiddie pool. It gives us something else to do during the day, he loves it, and we can all work on our tans together. He loves the bath (and the sink), so I figured the pool was the next logical step. It’s been very much a success, but I must admit I find a kiddie pool a bit high maintenance considering we don’t have a hose or access to one anywhere near our townhouse. Buckets of water from the sink are kind of annoying, let me tell you, especially since he plastic inflatable thing needs to be emptied and cleaned often because of things like bird poop and bugs. I don’t even think covering it would make a difference, but the smiling baby is totally worth it.

In fact, the baby smiling is really worth it after this rough month we’ve had. Three molars at once, some verbal milestones (he knows a lot of words and signs, even if he doesn’t always use them all when he could), and who knows what else have made sleeping rough and the crankies a constant battle. These past couple days have been on the up and up, however, and I’m not complaining about how worn out a dip in the pool makes little E.

He also loves to jump in first thing in the morning. It’s so cute.

A toddler is a completely different adventure, and I think I still cringe inside a little even when I type that word. He’s still my baby… but he’s gotten so big!

Another new adventure for me is gardening. We’ve got two raised beds out the kitchen door with eggplant, tomatoes, cucumbers, and various peppers. I’ve got some lettuce and mizuna to plant, too, but I need to knock the bottom off of two clementine boxes to fill with potting mix and seeds. I should hurry up before it gets too hot, really. Summer is creeping up on us fast … and I’m excited!

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Sink party!

Sink party!

Sink party!

Sink party!

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morning sun

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Well, 14 months of Elisha have come and gone. Swiftly at that. I have to confess that these past few months after his first birthday have not been my favorite moments in parenting so far: first year molars and a lot of cognitive development have often left me tired and frustrated. Don’t get me wrong—we have an awesome baby—but his new abilities of walking and talking have brought with them a whole host of challenges very different from simply rolling over or crawling.

Elisha is a very sweet boy. He loves to cuddle, he gives kisses, and he is often very concerned about other babies when he sees or hears them crying. He’s a curious boy. He loves to explore and discover, especially if music, dogs, or the outside are involved in the activity. He is also a strong-spirited boy. He gets that from both myself and his father, whether it’s fortunate or not. Sometimes, it’s not a bad thing, but other times, it’s definitely difficult.

Overall, toddlerhood is a whole new set of experiences for both of us. A new chapter in parenting that has different ups and downs than having a newborn or having a mobile baby did.

Watching him grow and change is a special joy. There isn’t anything I’d want to change, even the hard parts.

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in process

in process

it was a blur of a weekend here at the house. i mostly spent it screen printing for a wedding invitation job for a friend’s sister who’s getting married in july. now that those are all done (150 invites and 150 rsvp cards, all with 2 colors screened by hand on my Gocco. whoo), i feel as though i need a weekend from my weekend.

my weekend my weekend

my weekend

my weekend my weekend

i did finally manage to spend some time relaxing yesterday, while all of my work was drying in the kitchen. please excuse the plumber’s crack on the boy … it’s somehow difficult to keep his training unders up. also, he loves the Bananagrams bag. sometimes, he thinks it’s food and will point at it and/or carry it around smacking his lips loudly (his own made up “sign” for food). other times, he’ll hold it to his head like a phone. bananaphone! i love it.

oh, an the fork. one of his forks went with him everywhere this weekend, and i mean everywhere.

little E will be 14 months old soon, and we’re just not in a hurry to wean from breastfeeding around here. one, he’s not a fan of cow’s milk, and two, i believe there are still definitely health benefits for the boy. lastly, he’s pretty much been teething like a maniac since his first birthday and when there’s nothing else he wants to eat as his first year molars claw their way through his gums, far be it from me to deny him the comfort and nutrition of breastmilk. don’t get me wrong, on good days, the boy can throw down food with toddler abandon, but on days that he is obviously in discomfort, chewing is not on his list of favorite things to do. yes, it can be frustrating for me to put up with the acrobatics of a nursing toddler, not to mention the occasional bite from an overtired, cranky boy, but, i know that the rewards are still there for both of us. he’s comforted and fed. i have a baby asleep in 15 minutes or less. no complaints there.

he no longer requests to nurse in public unless he’s tired. our nursing is now mostly centered around nap and bedtimes. before you explode with how terrible that must be for my child—how will he ever learn to sleep on his own? oh the horror!—i’ll just say this … i highly doubt my child(ren) will be unable to sleep on their own at 3, 4, or 18 years old. there will come a day that Eli sleeps on his own, and there will even come a day that he sleeps through the night (he still wakes up once to eat at night … sometimes twice).

there are definitely times that i want my body to myself. i get impatient and frustrated when there’s whining or biting or upsidedown antics. so, i’m no supermom in that respect.

to be honest, when Elisha was born i didn’t even know if we’d make it breastfeeding to begin with. it took 8 days for my milk to come in (instead of the standard 24-72 hours that all those nurses and baby books swore to me), and if it wasn’t for the assurance and help of an aspiring lactation consultant friend, i would’ve given in and supplemented with formula instead of enduring and waiting. instead, i was comforted knowing colostrum was all that my newborn needed, even though it never felt like enough. in retrospect, little E was just a hungry baby. he still is. he ate often, and i’m thankful that i was able to feed him on demand. after my milk came in and we all got to know each other better, E settled into a schedule all his own. we didn’t have to impose one, and my milk supply even endured my returning to work and pumping twice a day while at the office. i was blessed to be able to go home and feed him for lunch, and now that i’ve quit my day job to work for myself all these months later, i’ll admit i was happy to put the pump away.

i understand that not everyone will have or has had the great experiences i have with breastfeeding, but i do feel like so many new moms aren’t even given the choice to even try it. some are afraid of the whole thing, and others are simply pressured to supplement with formula when it’s not necessary or even to stop breastfeeding early. since breastmilk is a supply and demand sort of function (funny how that works out so well), i often wonder if my milk would have come in at all if i hadn’t endured the long wait.

i’ll admit that parenting has taught me a lot about patience from all sorts of angles. some of them, i wish i could’ve learned differently, but others have been worth it entirely. breastfeeding has been one part of this journey i have no regrets about. little E will wean eventually, and we’ll move on to new parenting adventures and hopefully more children.

i look forward to it all over again.

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My Son the Collector

My Son the Collector

My Son the Collector

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as of this April, i’ve officially been a Christian for 10 years. i came to Christ in college (at a secular college of 40,000+ people no less), thanks to the examples of roommates and close friends and despite being a liberal arts student from a non-religious household. because i have no real family history of any form of religion being shared or practiced in the home, i suppose i have always been nervous about sharing about how awesome God’s love is with my children.

well, at the moment, Elisha is making all of that terribly easy (thanks, Lord. you always provide when i’m not looking!). he loves, no seriously loves, his Bible. he even says it (sort of; it often comes out like “mamol” instead of “Bible,” but it’s still cute). he’ll take it off the shelf, even if its’s stuck in a crowd of other books. he asks to read it every night before bed (unless he falls asleep in the car while we’re out, then it’s straight to bed on those nights). it’s awesome.

we have a Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones. the illustrations by Jago are amazing. i love them! it’s hard to get an example off the internet, so the next time you’re at a bookstore, see if you can find the book. some of the stories are vertical. some of the stories are diagonal. some of the illustrations are just beautiful.

Elisha obviously isn’t old enough to understand the stories or really understand any theology, but it’s really great to be able to read to him about God’s Never Stopping, Never Giving Up kind of love. it’s fun to watch him point to the cover every time one of us says Jesus. for him to be raised knowing the kinds of things that both Justin and I didn’t know or care about until we were adults is really exciting for me. having the security of knowing Someone created and cared for you from childhood will hopefully be a comfort and a blessing for Elisha, an opportunity and a joy i didn’t know myself until much later in life.

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.[a] 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:4-9)

to be able to pass on our faith instead of hold it back, to be able to bear fruit in His name, is something i’m not taking for granted. it makes having children even more of a meaningful experience than it already is.

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