These Days// Spring is Coming

…we are trying to thrive and grow. Good things take time!Aviella's first bath 296…we sit on the couch and eat pie and hold the baby.pie1IMG_0827…we are more than ready for spring. The red finches are building a nest on the front porch and the daffodils are tentatively poking their heads through the ground. (Never mind those two inches of snow last week and those freezing temperatures that are back this morning — yesterday’s thunderstorm was an encouraging sign!)march5…the mail is so much fun! Lots of happy cards and packages. :) (Yes, our mailbox seems to have sad run-ins with snow plows and careless drivers)march3…have been so gray and dreary and overcast. So we light candles, turn on Jim Brickman Pandora, and work on little projects like photo announcement designing, photo books, and addressing dozens of envelopes. I like cozy days. :)

..life is calculated in 2 1/2-4 hour segments. Now what time did she last eat?  the foggy brain tries to remember. (Hungry babies aren’t too impressed when their moms take pictures ;) )IMG_1713

 …and what have YOU been doing these days?

Newborn Tidbits

IMG_0663 aviella7

Pink tulips. Little legs that like to curl up. Those big dark eyes that stare innocently into yours. Polka dotted sleepers. Folding tiny socks. Falling asleep on the recliner at 3 am. The delight of discovering little unique characteristics that were already happening in the womb. Finding a new normal. The realization that I am the mom. :O  (Can this really be true?) The wonder of new life.

These are precious days.

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Introducing

Aviella Joy
March 12, 2015
6 lb + 15 oz
20 inches
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SHE'S HERE.

…and she’s stolen her daddy’s heart already!IMG_0522

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Some of you may have guessed what the sudden blog silence was all about. (Kudos to the friend who emailed and wondered if the silence meant baby)

Why yes, it did. :)

We’re so grateful and blessed to have our healthy little girl safely here with us.  There are adjustments, of course, but that’s to be expected. (Even pregnancy insomnia couldn’t adequately prepare one for being on demand every several hours ’round the clock) It’s an honor to care for such a precious miracle. We’re enjoying her so much! Praising God for His generous gift to us.

The First Time I Traveled Halfway Around The World

Ahhh, I can’t help but think that my mind will always turn to Australia when the month of March rolls around. I can just see myself as a white-haired old lady sitting in her rocking chair reminiscing to anyone who will listen, “I remember that first time I got to travel halfway around the world…”

Exactly a year ago, we were boarding a plane and headed west to a land I had never been to before. I was over the moon ecstatic, as you can well imagine. :) In fact, I’ve never been that excited about the prospect of sitting in one spot for so many hours straight. ;) It was a necessary means to an end, and I actually didn’t mind the flying all that much. Good thing, because fifty hours of in-the-air time is a long time.australia[And here would be a perfect place to insert some journal entries from a year ago. Only — I have pregnancy brain and have no earthly idea where that travel journal currently is :/]

A few memories that come to mind:
Those many times we ate lamb (mmm!!), but especially the time we were hosted for a formal dinner by a well-to-do sheep rancher + his wife at their original English home. There were at least four different couples there plus Jonathan’s boss & his son — and when they seated us, they mixed us all up. I ended up between the host and Bill the rancher, across the table from my hubby. Quite unique! [There are sheep everywhere in Australia!]IMG_3561The day we toured Sydney and then ended up at Manly Beach. Dipping my toes in the Pacific Ocean all the way on the other side of the world? Fantastic!aus155And this little charming oceanside fish ‘n chips restaurant didn’t hurt the whole experience. Num!aus151Cooking in an Aussie kitchen! I was happy to have something to do with some of my time, while everyone else was occupied with speaking at workshops for three days. The lady of the house we stayed at was heavily involved in coordinating the workshop, so she was busy from morning ’til evening. It was fun to have everything ready when everyone came in — tired + worn out from the day. She had these lovely travel placemats to use, burlap-look napkins, candles for atmosphere — she gave me instructions for the main dish, I added a nice salad and veggie, and voila — dinner. Most adventuresome was figuring out the Celcius oven, cooking without the normal measuring cups, and finding kangaroo in the freezer! ha :)aus221aus203Lots and lots and LOTS of flying time. I did a lot of reading. And writing. And sleeping. I also learned how to do Sudoku in the back of airline magazines. ;) (It may or may not have been out of pure boredom)aus54

Australia, it was good. I hope to be back someday!

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P.S. Here are a few posts from last year, if you want to see a few more pictures.

G'Day From Australia
Aussie Photos
Adventures in Sydney// Aussie Photos, Part II

Hello, Little Baby

[No, this is not a birth announcement. I wish! :)]

Well hello,
 Little baby.
Your eyes have never seen the sun
You should know
Little baby
That I am the lucky one

Little one,

It’s MARCH. This is your month, baby!

Even though you keep me up at night (already?!) and give me some mighty hefty (painful) kicks from inside…We’re so excited to meet you! Don’t wait too long to come out and see us. After all, you’ll have way more room to explore out here. ;). Only 10 more days! Or will you come sooner?

We have your white crib set up. I’m sewing you a soft fuzzy blanket and getting your little room all ready for you. Your name is all picked out and we’re so curious — are you a little lad or a little lassie?

I can’t wait to be your mama and welcome you to the big bright world. IMG_0291 IMG_0295

I get to be the one to hold your hand
I get to be the one.
Through birthdays and broken bones
I'll be there to watch you grow
I get to be the one.
 How does someone so small
 Hold my heart so tightly
I don't even know you
I love you completely

[Lyrics courtesy of JJ Heller: click here to listen for yourself to this positively darling song]

Love Challenge Revisited

A few weeks ago, I posted a Love Challenge for February.

So how did I do?

Week 1 // Feb 1-7

Since I decided to do this challenge on the 4th of February, there wasn’t a whole lot of time left in the week. I ended up making these, minus the sandwich bun toppings (really, they are just an incredibly soft roll) with plans to give a basket of them + apple butter to our soon-to-be new neighbors. They’re working like crazy to get into their house sometime in February. Well, this was a fail. We ended up eating them ourselves, as they never made it over to the neighbors. Ooops. Sometimes the good intentions never get carried out.

Week 2 // Feb 8-14

My in-laws were on vacation for almost 2 weeks, and they came home this week. Before they arrived, we stuck a few things in their house to welcome them home. A plate of sweets + fresh creamer in the fridge so they could have their coffee right away. :)

Week 3 // Feb 15-21

This week was BUSY with lots of Valentine’s Day party prep and other things going on. Saturday we had a looong snowstorm that lasted from 11 am ’til well after dark — I think it was still snowing at 10:30-11 pm. Just for fun, I mixed up a batch of doughnuts. After they were all finished and dripping in glaze, we packaged some up, bundled ourselves up, and traipsed through the soft snow to visit some neighbors and deliver our treats. I think we enjoyed it almost as much as they did!IMG_0225

Week 4 // Feb 22-28

I had a hard time being intentional this week, for some reason. I thought of different things to do, but lacked the energy and motivation to carry through with them. (Letter writing + sending gluten-free cookies to a friend at Bible School) A few misc things I ended up doing were making a little snack of cookies + coffee for the Bible Study hosted here on Wednesday night (just because I could) and also texting a friend to ask how they could specifically use prayer right now.

Somehow, it looks like there is a common theme almost every week… Food. *sheepish grin* What can I say, it’s fun to give people goodies. ;) This challenge was good for me, because it kept me accountable and reminded me to consciously look for ways to bless and love other people around me. It’s easy to get caught up in myself, especially in the month of February when there are events like birthdays + Valentine’s Day. :) I’ve also been rather occupied with preparing for our little one + taking care of the sick husband — and of course those are the top priorities of who I love and take care of first. It’s good for me to learn how to love others at the same time. :)

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How about you? Did anyone else join me? If so, I’d love to hear from you about the specific ways you found to love others around you.

Things I’m Lovin’ On This Tuesday

Oranges. I must have a citrus deficiency this winter because I cannot. get. enough. oranges. Enter favorite new grocery store (which I just discovered is conveniently only one mile away from husband’s vball league games AND they’re open ’til 8 pm most evenings), an almost guaranteed supply of luscious organic juicy oranges… ahhh. HAPPY.IMG_0236Wee little clothes, all washed and ready to be filled.IMG_0283Kombucha. New batch. :)IMG_0246My birthday gift! Handmade by my favorite person. :) [The white pallet]IMG_0296

Links:

 Scripture reminders.IMG_0270

What little things are you lovin’ today?