The First Pictures

Dear Baby,

Going through the thousands of pictures of you is a momentous task. Thousands of pictures, each one with a tiny nuance or slightly different facial expression and how can I possibly choose which to keep and which to delete into digital nothingness?

I'm getting there, slowly, but there's a folder of pictures I just don't like to open. Not yet. It's the folder of the first photos of you.

I avoid looking at them, even now, because it's just too hard, yet.

September and October.


This Week: An Announcement! {BIG NEWS! "This Week" Is Moving!}

If you've been reading here for any length of time, you are probably familiar with my chatty weekly round up of pictures and blessings and links.

It started up as Blessings this Week, and then changed to This Week, and now it's changing again! 

Sorry to be jerking you around.

I haven't been writing much (focusing instead on learning how to mom and other projects), but I really miss writing here. I need to get back into it. But I've been... overwhelmed. And I needed to make some changes.


Small Wonder

In this moment...

I could worry about germs

I could be concerned about splinters

I could think about how I really should sand and refinish our front porch


Makers Gonna Make

This little corner of the internet has been pretty quiet this summer.

Writing here on this blog has been an awesome creative outlet for me, but with a little baby sucking up most of my mental energy, words have been... not... coming. (See? No vocabulary left.)

My daily allotment of words have been going to these sentences:

"No no, that is not a safe activity. Find a safe activity, please!" 
"Happy guy! 
"Do you want to nurse? Nuuuuuuurrrrrrse?" 
"Cords are not for babies!"
"Biiiiiiig boy! Biiiiiiiig boy!"

And after saying those things over and over all day, there's not much left in my brain for blogging.

But! I've been spending my summer pouring creativity out elsewhere.

Here's what I've been making this summer!


Cow's It Going? : a bovine adventure

Today, during our usual living room playtime, I noticed cattle in our pasture.

This wouldn't be a problem.... except that our pasture isn't supposed to have cattle in it. Currently, it's got about 50 little delicate baby trees that might make a delicious snack for some cattle. And also, there's not a good fence between our pasture and the cornfield, so these cows-gone-rogue could get themselves good and lost in the cornfield pretty easily.

Trevor got out the four-wheeler and it was off to get some cattle back home.


DIY Onesie Extenders

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We love (LOVE) cloth diapering. It's been going really well so far- we haven't had any issues at all, I'm not adding to a landfill, and they've more than halfway paid themselves off already.

The only trouble we've come across is that sometimes onesies don't cooperate over the extra fluffy bum. We end up with compression leaks when the snaps are too tight in the crotch area, or we have to size up the onesies so they are long enough to go over the larger cloth diapers.

So I took it upon myself to make a couple extenders!


Gradient Dyeing (or 'Ombre' Dyeing) a Woven Wrap Using the Siphon Method

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When I made my first DIY woven baby wrap carrier, I decided that I didn't want to dye it (at least not right away). Part of my reasoning was that the baby was already born and ready to be worn when I made my first wrap, and I was antsy to get started wrapping him, and partially it seemed a little daunting... so I just kept my wrap natural. I've worn my baby in a "natty" wrap for the past five plus months, and I love that wrap. The one thing that's not ideal about my natural wrap is that it's hard to tell which rail is which, so learning new carries requires extra close attention, and tightening can be a little tricky sometimes, too.

When my sister in law mentioned that she might like me to make a woven wrap for her, though, I decided it was a perfect opportunity to do some experimenting with dye. I asked her if she'd prefer a certain color, and when she said she'd maybe like pink, I fell down the rabbit hole of different dye colors and methods and I neglected all my responsibilities doing research.

So, after lots of research and planning, I decided to go with a gradient (or "grad") dye, rail to rail.


How to Make Your Own DIY Woven Wrap

tutorial how to make a woven wrap DIY baby carrier

I love wearing my little guy.

Babywearing has become something of an obsessive hobby for me lately-- it's wonderfully practical, of course, but trying different carries and different ways to wrap up my honey is a fun challenge and I've really enjoyed spending way too much time watching tutorials and trying new things. I have a stretchy wrap (a Moby) that was given to me, and it was my gateway wrap, but stretchies are a little limited in types of carries, so I've been using a woven, too.

And, get this... I made it myself.


This Week: 05.18.2018

Grateful For: A wonderful Mother's Day weekend!

We went camping-- the first time camping with little E-- and it was just such a great weekend. Despite the rain and cool weather, we had a really great time.


This Week: 05.04.2018

And just like that, it's May already! Wasn't it snowing like 20 minutes ago? How can it be May?!


Blogging through the Bible 04.30

Another week has passed me by, and I haven't gotten to dig into Mark at all.

It's just been one of those kind of weeks, you know?

BUT-- even though I don't have a good word for you today, I know a group of bloggers who do-- and so I encourage you to head over and check out what they have for us from God's Word today!

...   ...   ...
This post is part of the Blogging through the Bible link up!

Members of my Blogging through the Bible group have each chosen a book of the Bible to study and write about! This is a fun opportunity to get to know more Christian bloggers, and to dig deeper with them into God's Word!

Please stop by some of these blogs to read what they have to share today!

(If you're interested in joining in on the link up, I encourage you to join the Facebook Group!)

DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging habit, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. You may see a full disclosure by clicking on my "About" page. I will only promote products that I use, enjoy, or take a shine to. All opinions and reviews are my own and are not influenced by any compensation I may receive.


This Week: 04.27.2018

Grateful For:
A caring family, sunshine, warm days, my husband's currently flexible work schedule.


Failing Followers: questioning the qualifications {Blogging through the Bible}

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For the past few months, I've been hooked on babywearing.

What started as a practical way to snuggle my boy while also getting things done has become something of an obsession. According to my husband, I watch approximately 100 hours of wrapping videos a week. He knows all the terms, too-- cross passes, slack, top rail, tapers, transfers... and he's never even wrapped himself! Sooo maybe I talk about it too much. Haha. I'm hooked! What can I say.

To be honest, I think it's kept me from getting a little stir crazy- learning new ways to tie my wrap and perfecting the carries that I know already has satisfied my need to be intellectually stimulated, and I've found a community of like-minded geeks online. I like it. I like it a lot. I wear my little fellow almost every day, usually in several different carries a day.

And so, when someone asked me if I'd like doing a beginning baby wrapping class at the nearest Guiding Star, I was excited. I really enjoy sharing my passions (ahem, obsessions) with other people. And my husband would probably appreciate it if I talked to someone, anyone, else about figuring out a double hammock tied saltwater.

But as I thought more about it, the insecurities started popping up.

I mean, I've been wrapping for less than a year. I only just started getting back carries figured out. I've only ever wrapped one child (as opposed to folks who "tandem wear"-- or wear two children at one time). Who am I to teach other people??


This Week: 04.13.2018

My totally naive self thought that after having this baby, I'd still be writing as much as ever.

Maybe more, even, I thought...  since I'm not really working anymore. Being a "stay at home mom" would open up hours and hours to spend thinking and writing and reading, right? HA.

I sorely, sorely misunderstood the time commitment and intellectual commitment my little miracle would bring along with him. I kind of knew that having a baby would be work, but I don't think I realized (and I'm not sure you really can realize, until you're in the thick of it) just how much brainpower and energy would go directly to loving and caring for my little fella.

Soooo. Yeah, not writing as much as I'd like to. By any means.

And so, after doing almost no thinking about it, I've decided to use these Friday posts in a more all-encompassing way and fit a whole bunch of things into one quick, chatty blurb. We'll see how it goes. Let me know what you think.

It seemed nearly impossible, but we've burned through the huge stockpile of wood that was cut and stored in a shed already when we bought the house. Trevor's been going out and cutting up the dead fall in our grove, so the fireplace is still a-goin'. 


Failing Followers: misunderstanding greatness {Blogging through the Bible}

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I kind of knew that being a mom would be challenging.

I mean, I've been around kids my whole life- I grew up in a relatively large family, my mom did home daycare for a while, I have oodles of nieces and nephews...

But I guess when I thought about being a parent, I didn't really take into account all the things that came with it. Especially after we waited and prayed for this child for five long years... I guess that I somehow thought that after our battle with infertility, I'd come through the flames infinitely patient and wise and even-tempered.

Cut to last night, rocking my freshly bathed little boy to sleep.... I was actually afraid that I was going to literally drop him as my super-angry little overtired rage monster made serious attempts to throw himself out of my arms while screaming at the top of his tiny lungs.


Failing Followers: stagnant in the sacred {Blogging through the Bible}

gospel of Mark Christian devotion about the transfiguration

I was probably about ten on one particular trip home from Grandma's.

My grandparents lived more than two hours away, which, at ten, felt like an eternity. We were getting back late in the evening, our van quiet with my sleeping sisters, and from my seat in the middle of the van, I felt cozy, warm, secure. I was struck by an overwhelming sense of contentment, and as we pulled into our neighborhood, I piped up and asked, to my parents' confusion-- "Can we drive around for a little longer?"


Mark and Messy Disciples: a review so far {Blogging through the Bible}

Have you ever started a project that turned into something much, much bigger than you'd expected?

I have.

In fact, I do it all the time... (for example, refer to my idea of refinishing the wood floors in our house). I start with the idea and I understand the basic concept, but the actual execution is much, much more intense that I expect.

This devotional series in Mark has been no different.

To be honest, when I started exploring the book of Mark, I kind of thought that pointing out the mistakes the disciples made in this book and then how we as Christians make the same mistakes would be somewhat uncomplicated. What I didn't realize was that this series was going to expose me.


Failing Followers: rejecting the hard truths {Blogging through the Bible}

This past Fall, I sat in our little sterile hospital room in the NICU. I'd just woken up from a nap on the makeshift couch-bed that had been my sleeping spot for more than a month, and my little guy snoozed peacefully in his crib, monitors quiet and his little heart rate bouncing happily on the screen.

It had been a long, long journey. I was worn out, tired from waking up every three hours at feeding times, tired because my body was recovering from surgery, tired because even with all the monitors and nurses, I was terrified that my baby would stop breathing, tired because periodic breathing sucks. The night before had been particularly rough- for some reason my poor tiny baby had been throwing up his feedings, spectacular enormous spit ups that didn't seem normal to me at all, and I was worried. I'd changed his little outfit three times overnight because he just kept soaking it.

My phone rang- it was my husband. I answered the call and relished the sound of his voice- I was tired from missing him, too.

"I have some sad news," he said, and I heard my big strong husband's voice catch a little. "Bear died."


Failing Followers: missing the miracle {Blogging through the Bible}

A few years ago, I was walking home from my job in the office of a Bible Camp to find a camper, a middle-school aged child, alone in the parking lot.

My first, split-second reaction was, He's not supposed to be there. Where is his counselor? Chapel started ten minutes ago.

And then I noticed how still he was. He was just standing there, stock-still (not typical for a middle-school boy). His eyes were fixed on a spot just beyond him.

There was a deer, not a hundred yards away, peacefully grazing on the grass at the edge of the gravel parking lot.


Our Farmhouse: An Easy Wall Paper Back Splash! {a farmhouse remodel how-to}

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We bought our 1930's farmhouse a few years ago, and between work, play, and having a baby, we've been chipping away at remodeling and reclaiming it. We really bought this house for the land (21 acres of Iowa gorgeous!)--- the house needed quite a bit of work. From refinishing the hardwood floors (quite a project), carpeting the living room, and painting EVERYTHING, we've made some good progress.

But there was one major eyesore that we couldn't decide how to remedy... the kitchen back splash.


Failing Followers: paralyzed by the need {Blogging though the Bible}

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In the morning, I wake to the sound of my phone alarm chimes or to my son cooing in his crib next to me. The sunlight streams through the window to my room, and as I greet the day, everything is quiet and calm. It's a far cry from my college years- living in the heart of the city with car horns and sirens breaking the stillness. Back then, there were people who lived just on the other side of a thin wall, or a stone's throw across a dingy alleyway, and now my closest neighbors are almost a mile away (if you don't count the cows).

And yet, the world seems noisier somehow.

Especially this past week.

I open my computer, or turn on my phone, and the peace of my cozy little haven is shattered, crashed in on by the hurt. By the need.

Because our world, my friends? Our world is loud and it is needy.

There is so much hurt.


Failing Followers: forgetting who we follow {Blogging through the Bible}

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Working at a Bible Camp was an awesome experience.

Trevor and I both served in outdoor ministry for several years- and we loved it. Even though both of us had behind-the-scenes jobs, we were still plunged head-first into what I'd call "Camp Culture."

You know, campfire songs and their corresponding actions, large group games in which counselors chase children wielding tube socks full of flour. I know that when someone yells, "God is good!" you're supposed to shout, "All the time!" and then they'll say, "All the time!" to which you respond, "God is good!" And I know about ninety million mealtime prayers... all put to song, also with hand motions and lots of clapping.


Failing Followers: the pressure of popularity {Blogging through the Bible}

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When I was in middle school, I was painfully aware of who the popular kids were.

There was one girl in particular... I wanted to be her so badly. She wore name brand clothing she bought from the mall, and I wore hand-me-downs from my cousin. Her hair was perfectly blonde and never had fly-aways; mine was always pulled back in a frizzy ponytail. She took dance lessons and moved so gracefully, even playing volleyball in gym class... and I... well, I was the girl who tripped over her own feet and ducked when the volleyball came my way.

But even more than her clothes, her perfect hair, and her grace; I wanted to be known like she was. Everyone at school knew her name. She was famous- well, as famous as a twelve-year-old in a Wisconsin suburb could be.

I spent those three years of my childhood wishing I could be someone I wasn't- looking for just the right shirt at the second hand store, brushing and brushing my hair, joining the school musicals in hope that I could maybe glean just a little bit of that popularity for myself.


Failing Followers: messy discipleship and the Gospel of Mark {Blogging through the Bible}

There are a lot of things I've never done.

There's an old Veggie Tales song called "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything.." and sometimes I feel a lot like I should be an honorary pirate.

I've never licked a spark plug, and I've never sniffed a stinkbug, and I've never painted daises on a big red rubber ball. I've never bathed in yogurt, and I don't look good in leggings, and I've never been to Boston in the fall. 

Of course, none of those things really matter all that much, but there are lots of things I've never done that hit a bit closer to home.


How We Do It: Cloth Diapering

We started cloth diapering a little late in the game- we didn't get our first cloth until our little guy was three months old. With all the craziness of being in the NICU and then finally adjusting to being home, I didn't want to add anything else to our routine until we were all settled. But when I finally got started, I was hooked! And like anyone who is overly passionate about a small area of their life, I wanted to share it with you! So- cloth diapering... this is how we do it!

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Of Bottles and Seasons

I plopped the bottle into the mug of steaming water. It was Thanksgiving day, and not only were we surrounded by our loved ones, but also by those delicious Thanksgiving smells- turkey, pie, corn casserole... it was no wonder that my little guy was getting hungry.

After letting it warm for a while, I sat down to feed him.

"Why are you holding him like that?" my niece asked.

It was a good question.


Blessings this Week: 01.19.2018

Raccoon tracks by the barn

Well it certainly has been a while since I've written a blessings post, and I'm tempted to go way back and recount all the many, many blessings from weeks past... but that's an overwhelming thought, because there have been so many!

Instead I'll just jump right in on this week!


My Heavy Duty Diaper Bag

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One of the biggest baby gear decisions I had to make was about the diaper bag.

<ominous music> DIAPER. BAG. It's kind of a big deal. I mean, you're going to be hauling this thing around with you daily for the next year or so. A diaper bag falls into the category of "everyday gear."


Baby Gear I Love (and one thing I don't): Three Months In

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We're three months into this parenthood thing, already. I know! It feels like yesterday that we brought our little baby home.

It's been completely wonderful and pretty tiring and a bit... challenging. Being a mama is a lot of work! Of course, just look on any baby registry or mommy blog and you'll get nine hundred million suggestions of gear to help make things easier. I really try to keep the baby stuff minimal and only get the things that we'd really use. And while the list of things I use a lot is a little different than I expected, I think I've got it narrowed down to the top 6.

Here's what we love so far!