Monday, April 23, 2012

What's Your Name

Herb and I just returned from an AWESOME weekend away.  We went to the Real Marriage Tour and spent some time in VA with my uncle and his family.  It was so refreshing and really fun to get away.  But we really missed Levi!

While we were gone, Levi stayed with my mom, and my brother and sister-in-law.  I think they were helping him practice his name and age tricks, because he definitely couldn't do this stuff before we left.  Doesn't he sound like such a big boy?!

(If you can't see a video, click here to watch it.)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Round Two

When Herb and I got married, we weren't sure if or when we wanted children.  Of course, that changed pretty quickly for me, and by the time our marriage hit a two year mark, I was full blown baby crazy.  I spent another 2+ years obsessing over the idea of parenthood and finding activities to distract myself from the arms that ached to hold a baby.  And not only a baby, but I was pretty sure I wanted to have about five kids, although getting one seemed like a feat too huge to handle.

I loved becoming an aunt!!
I have always been a "baby person."  And when my own son came in to my world, of course my baby person-ness when into overdrive. But a weird thing happened.

Other babies suddenly didn't matter.  The only one I actually wanted to snuggle with was my own.

Even to this day, I think babies are wonderful, precious gifts and I am excited when a new one enters the world, but I don't have that longing feeling to get my paws on them and taken in their wonderful baby scent like I used to.  Yes, when you have a new baby, I am going to come visit it and love on it.  I'm just saying that at the end of the day, holding a brand new baby does not awaken an unquenchable thirst in me like it did before.

In fact, I would take a hug and a kiss from my little Levi over a baby snuggle any day.  I love that kid so much.

That being said - as much as Herb and I talk about expanding our family, I don't have a burning desire to have another baby. Some days I think it sounds fun, but most days I think sleeping for 8 solid hours at night sounds like more fun.  I guess I am a little concerned feeling like if I wanted to have more babies, I would know that now.  And I'm not convinced I do.  Wishy washy is the perfect term to describe me right now.

I'm sure if we were the baby making type this decision would be easier - heck - at that point it could just happen accidently and my mind would be made up for me.

In all fairness, this uncertainty could be my own defense mechanism knowing that there is no financial or logistical way for us to expand our family right now.  If I was hard core longing for baby at this point in my life, I would be up a creek without a paddle.

Either way, I know that our family planning is not in our hands, which is refreshing.  If God wants us to have more kids, I think he'll make it clear, and give us some direction on how to make that happen.  In the meantime, I am going to just enjoy my little guy.

Please weigh in on this - did you always know that you wanted to have more kids?  Did round two just hit you out of the blue and make you decide? Or did you feel wishy washy about the size of your family?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Small Patio; Big Love

I am so excited about the additional square footage recently added to our tiny house.  I mentioned the new patio before, but up until yesterday, it was virtually useless to us because we had no outdoor furniture.  If anything, it was becoming outdoor play thing storage, because of course Levi didn't actually play on the patio (he's one; he runs).

I have been hunting for great patio furniture for a while, but had a few things in mind.

1.  It must be affordable as in under $125 for table and chairs.  I was really hoping to find something second hand; my sister in law found a table and six chair at a yard sale for $25 last year.  
2.  It must be sturdy - I didn't want plastic stuff that was going to blow away since our porch is uncovered and pretty open.
3.  It must be on the smaller side - our patio isn't all that big, and again, Levi had a ton of toys already out there. 
4.  It must multitask and be comfortable for lounging and reading and eating a meal. 
5.  Seating for 4-6, preferably 6.  Our kitchen is only big enough for a small pub table.  Therefore, if we have anyone over for dinner, we have to eat on the couch and floor in the living room.  I was really hoping to find a patio set to accommodate us with guests, since we can't do that anywhere else in our house.

Looking for patio furniture for the last few weeks has made me feel like Goldilocks... too big, too small, too expensive, too chinsey...

And the the clouds parted and the angels sang....

The song was called Tullero, from Ikea.  It boasts a wood table, bench, and two chairs.  When I saw it online it was listed at $149, but could only be bought in stores.  Luckily, I had a trip to Pittsburgh planned for this past weekend, and I was really hoping to squeeze an Ikea trip in.

When my SIL Sarah and I got to Ikea on Sunday, there sat my patio set, the first thing you see when you walk up to the door, with a price tag reading $99.  Yup, it was even on sale.  I did the happy dance.

We lugged that 85lb box out to my car and had a nice long date with an Allen wrench last night.  It actually went together really quickly and easily.  As in one episode of Grey's Anatomy and one episode of the Office till it was complete.

The wood is dark and almost has a teak style too it, which I love, but of course since the price tag was so low, the finish isn't nearly as nice as teak.  In fact, I think I may want to re-stain it or put a coat of poly on it every year or so.  But for as thin and light weight as the set is, it feels so sturdy.  Even my doubtful husband was impressed.  I'm also contemplating cushions and pillows -but they feel slightly frivolous to me and the seating is comfy without it.

It seats four as you can tell, but the nice thing is the ends are plenty of room to pop on our two folding chairs for a bigger party.  Best of both worlds.

Speaking of the doubtful husband, we had fun "rearranging" our patio furniture last night and figuring out the best Feng shui for playing, eating, reading, grilling, and chatting.  I hope that we spend lots of time out there after Levi goes to bed.

Of course today was in the 80s and beautiful - Levi and I played outside lots, planted some flowers in pots, and even ate our lunch outside.

Oh, one more thing.

Do you know the trick to making your own potted plant arrangement?  I am only sharing because my mom didn't know this trick, and she knows pretty much everything.

Thrill - a plant that is the center of attention.  Maybe something spiky with height.

Fill - several plants that are inexpensive, low to the soil and just plain old pretty.

Spill - one or two plants that will spill over the side of the pot as they grow

Using that method, I made that potted arrangement for around $6, which is a total steal.

So, thanks to Jess for listening to me go on and on all weekend about patio furniture and Ikea, Sarah for going with me to Ikea and assuring me that this set wasn't too cheap looking, and Joan for posting about her adorable patio, which made me want to get on the ball with mine.  

Who wants to come over for dinner?!  The grill is on!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

I Love the Number 12: April

You knew it was coming, right?  Stay with me though - this month is a little bit of a stretch.  January, February, and March all had legit reasons supporting why 12 is my favorite number - special dates and addresses.  Today, let's talk about things that come in twelves.

You know, things that come in twelves are so special they have their own name.

A dozen flowers 

Twelve jurors

A dozen doughnuts 
(chocolate frosted cream filled please)

Twelve hours in a day

Twelve months in the year

A dozen disciples 
(fitting, what with this being the week after Easter and all)

Twelve tribes of Israel 
(one of which our son is named after)

A dozen eggs

Oh, and speaking of a dozen eggs, we had a fantastic Easter.  (Segue much?)

On Friday we met up with all Herb's siblings and their children and tried to get a professional picture of all the little cousins.  It was disastrous.  So disastrous that we almost didn't even purchase the picture.  After the picture taking madness, we had a party of 11 at lunch and I realized that I think our family is too big and awkward to try to go out to eat in this season of life.  Four kids under 5 - it's just too lofty a goal.  I would much rather have a nice dinner at home where the kids can run a muck.

Which is what we did on Saturday. We had a traditional Easter dinner with Herb's family.  Levi ate everything on his plate. Then he sat in his little man chair (which Herb lovingly strapped him to with a belt) like he had the fullest belly in the world.  Just like his daddy.

The kids went for a pretty involved Easter egg hunt and then the grown ups ate the candy.  Levi shouted "Egg!" over and over (see the video version here).

Sunday morning was a mad rush, because of course we overslept.  Luckily, I had already picked out everyone's outfit the night before (yeah, I dress my husband, don't judge).  We had a few minutes for Levi to  look at his first ever Easter basket.  He pulled out one item at a time with an excited squeal.

Our church service was awesome.  The pastor preached a message full of hope and reminded us that the joy of Easter is just the prelude to eternity and Jesus' return.

After church, Levi (and Herb) caught a quick nap and then we headed up to my dad's for another traditional Easter dinner (really though, can you ever have too much ham?).  We got to spend some quality time with my Sesame Street sister, and much to Levi's delight, we did two more egg hunts.

Levi even helped Joelle learn how to do an egg hunt.

This was really probably the happiest Easter we've ever had.  I love our little family of three.  I love watching Levi's eyes be opened to the excitement of holidays and the joys of a large extended family.  I love that he has so many cousins around his age.  We are beyond blessed.

And that is why I love the number 12 this month.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Toddler Theology

I love watching Levi learn new things.

One of my favorites lately has been learning to pray.  Before we eat, he sticks out his hands, we hold them, we bow our heads and close our eyes.  This week I peeked at Levi with one eye, and there he sat, chin practically touching his chest in toddler reverence.  It was so touching.

When we say, "In Jesus' name..." he shouts, "Mein!"  Which is Levi speak for "amen."

Tonight before bed, we read him the Easter story out of his kid's Bible, and at the end, he kept saying, "Jesus," which sounds more like "cheeses."  These are such simple things, but they get me so excited to keep teaching him about the love of God and the beauty of grace.

So, in the same vein, I have to share some totally sweet toddler theology I've heard lately.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 
The first story is from Evie, age four.
(Check out her momma's blog here.)

Evie: Miss Michelle - I learned about Jesus today!
Me: That's great!
Evie: But it was a the sad part.  Some bad men killed him and he died.
Me: Oh no, that's terrible!
Evie: Oh, but don't worry.  He was planning something special.
Me: Really?  What was it?!
Evie: Well, I'm not going to tell you!  But don't worry, I know what really happened.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

Our next vingette comes from my lovely neice, Ellie, also age 4.
Grandma:  Ellie learned the Easter story at pre-school.  Ellie, how does the Easter story start?
Ellie:  I don't remember the beginning, but I know the sad part.
Grandma: Okay, tell us the sad part.
Ellie:  The mean men told Jesus that he did bad things.  They put the nails in his hands and in his feet.  They made him a crown out of thooooorns.  And he had to carry his cross and then they put him on it.  And then he died.

The ladies de-crossed him and put him in the little caves and put a biiiiiiig rock in the front.  A rock so big even strong daddies couldn't move it.

Then the ladies came to see Jesus, but the rock was gone and the angels said, "He's aliiiiiiiiiiiiiive!"

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

With brilliant little theologians around like this, I'm sure Levi is going to grow up knowing the Good News!!

Ellie, Levi, Cora

Hope you have a very celebratory and happy Easter!