"If the God you believe in as an idea doesn’t start showing up in what happens to you in your own life, you have as much cause for concern as if the God you don’t believe in as an idea does start showing up. It is absolutely crucial, therefore, to keep in constant touch with what is going on in your own life’s story and to pay close attention to what is going on in the stories of others’ lives. If God is present anywhere, it is in those stories that God is present. If God is not present in those stories, then they are scarcely worth telling." ~ Frederick Buechner

30 March 2012

When Things Don't Go As Planned...

For about a week now, I've had a blog post all planned out. I even took the perfect pictures to accompany it.

But the weather was so glorious last week.

And I've been crocheting squares like crazy for the swap I'm participating in.

There were mounds of dishes.

And laundry.

Little B didn't sleep well at all on Tuesday night, which is my Alone At Home night (well, except for Little B, of course).

Then yesterday morning, I didn't clean off my nightstand before Little B woke up. He got hold of my camera, dragged it out to the kitchen and let it THUMP on the floor.

And all my pictures from this past month are gone.


Those of you who know me probably know that I hardly have any baby pictures of myself, but those who haven't heard the story: When I was almost two years old, we moved from Korea to Africa. My mom put all my pictures into albums and sent them to Korea to my grandparents for safekeeping (at the time, she didn't know that we would be living in Africa long-term and fully expected to return to Korea soon). The man who she entrusted those precious albums to ditched them along the way, because his luggage was over the weight limit! This is something that grieves my heart in a way that I can't really explain. There's just something about not knowing what you looked like as a baby ... I know that most of the world doesn't, that they go through life without ever having a picture taken. But it makes me sad.

But as my sweet husband reminded me this morning, "We still have the real deal" in Little B.

Nich's good at making lemonade out of life's lemons.

18 March 2012

Spring Has Sprung

Ducks are fun. So are other small children. Little B likes to make friends and is a very curious fellow, to the point where we think that sometimes, he is altogether much too nosy. Thankfully, most people don't seem to mind.
"Awake, thou wintry earth -
Fling off thy sadness!
Fair vernal flowers, laugh forth
Your ancient gladness!"
~ Thomas Blackburn, "An Easter Hymn"
Ice cream cones are a delicious treat, and Daddy is very good at sharing.
Spring seems to have arrived to stay in upstate New York, and people are coming out of the woodwork to breathe the good, fresh air. We haven't seen any flowers budding quite yet, but there are small green shoots pushing their way up out of the soil -- it won't be long now! 
Collecting the sap from maple trees
On his own two feet!

The sunshine, warmth and the simple goodness of being outside seems to bring out the cheerfulness in everyone, and it's contagious! Our little family has had such fun these past two weekends. One of our favorite things about living where we do is how MUCH there is to do outside when the weather is nice. The Adirondack region is absolutely beautiful, and now that Little B is older, we very much look forward to many bike rides, hikes, swimming in lakes, and other Nature Fun this year. 

We found some of our Kindermusik buddies at the park.
Friends provide good opportunities to learn to share.
This weekend started with us leaving Little B at home with a night-time babysitter for only the second time in his life. B just doesn't do very well being kept up past his bedtime, so we have arranged for an at-home sitter while we go to community group.  We tucked him in bed early, and although he woke up while we were gone, he allowed her to soothe him back to sleep. We've decided this girl is a keeper for sure and are so thankful to have her be available for Little B.

A Sweet Moment
We also joined in the fun of NYS's 17th Annual Maple Weekend on Saturday, going to Sugar Mill Farm for a scrumptious pancake breakfast, which included homemade pancakes, sausages, fresh (hot!) maple syrup, and coffee with creamery-fresh milk and maple sugar. What a treat! We learned about the syrup-making process on a tour, starting with seeing the tapped maple trees to visiting the sugar hut, where they sold maple cotton candy (amongst other maple-y things). It made my mouth water for the maple ice cream at the county fair in the summer! Oh, I just love spring and summer!

A perfect day for a picnic lunch when we got home from church
A weekend of good weather also meant a trip to visit the ducks at the park. Little B is enjoying the freedom of trotting around on his own two feet when we are out and about now. The stroller now serves mostly as a baggage cart and the occasional napping spot. 

We also enjoyed our 50-cent ice cream cones from Stewart's for wearing green on St. Patrick's Day. I think this is the first year that we have actually wanted ice cream on St. Patrick's Day. Normally, it is still much too cold to truly want the celebratory ice cream cones (even when they were free!). 

We wrapped up the weekend with our Lenten season tradition of having friends over for Sunday dinner.

Our neighbor buddy, Carter, came to play in his cool wagon!
We hope all of you had a wonderful St. Patrick's weekend, too!

14 March 2012

Offering Incentives

Remember how I botched up the frosting for Little B's birthday cake last month? Well, if you know me at all, you know that I'm definitely of the "Waste not, want not" camp. I put that messed-up frosting in a container and refrigerated it for later use.

The perfect opportunity came when I decided to make homemade cinnamon rolls. The timing of that decision was a little precarious for our waistlines, since I had just baked chocolate chip scones the morning before. I don't bake often, though, so I figured it was okay.

Just this once.

Then I remembered that it was Monday night and that I would have Bible study the next morning. I decided to make a double batch. I posted a picture on FB that night, telling all my Bible study ladies that it was an incentive for them to make sure they showed up the next morning. (My discussion group leader joked the next day that I had been "posting pictures of sin on the internet.")

I learned something important that night.

I am too short to effectively roll out dough on our counter top. I don't know how this fact has escaped me for the past year, since I've made pies and rolls several times since we've lived here.

Anyway, here are some pictures for you to enjoy. The hubster needs a haircut in the worst way. Everyone keeps telling him he looks like he's twelve, and we can't have that.
See those strange-looking, smashed pastries in the bottom corner of the pan on the right? I claim no responsibility for those.
Nich's fingers in the frosting bowl. Tsk, tsk.

07 March 2012

60 and Sunny

It's hard to believe that it looked like this just one week ago.
Little B liked it well enough when the snow was actually falling, but once it was all on the ground, he was unimpressed.
He woke up cranky from his midday nap today. He was so full of the grumps that he didn't even really want any lunch. Thank goodness bananas are nutritious! They are one of his most reliable (will-always-eat) foods. Honestly, I think we both have cabin fever from being cooped up inside so much. Little B must have inherited a good portion of my tropical blood (which would explain his daily need to remove his socks from his feet). He's bored with his toys, so he tries to keep life exciting:
... by testing boundaries ...
... and hauling around Mama's kitchen items.
A light bulb went on in my head: It's warm(ish)! We can go outside! Without coats! We headed out to the park. B loves swings. Can you tell?
Then he noticed the other kids, most of whom were older toddlers or young preschool-age children. B is always very curious about other small children. From this point, all my theatrical performing was for naught. He would NOT look at the camera anymore.
"Mama will not be ignored!" said I. I turned him around so he could watch the children more easily and stepped in front of him to get what I hoped would be better pictures. You can see what a difference that made.
"Oh, that's a very nice snow cake you're making there in the sandbox."

02 March 2012

Being Intentional

"One of the things that Sally Clarkson said that really stuck with me was, "You are the Bible your children are reading." This reminds me that it's not what I say but rather what I do. I can tell her how important Jesus is to me but if it's my iphone that I'm spending the majority of my day with that's what she is going to remember.  I need to be reminded that everything I do is being watched, absorbed and lived out by the little people in this house. I need God's grace daily. It's only by him and through him that I can live each day with intention and purpose."  - The Farmer's Nest

This - and because I am accountable to God - is why I make (although, sometimes unwillingly - I mean, let's be honest :~)) the choices that I do:

- I don't turn on the TV during the day. In fact, it's easy for weeks to go by without us turning on the TV at all.
- I read to B every day. Whether it's just a Bible story at bedtime or several books throughout the day, we read books.
- I make most of the food that B (and we) eat from fresh or frozen ingredients.
- I pray aloud. I want B to grow up being in conversation with God.
- I stay at home, even though it means that affording daily necessities is hard and small luxuries are rare. The benefits for B far outweigh the comfort that extra finances would bring.
- I learn. It keeps me sane, and I want to model being a lifelong student to my child(ren).
- I sing ... and dance. Life is full of joy. I want B to know that no matter what, God is good and faithful.
What do you do intentionally because you have a captive audience?

Photo Credits:
1. Children Are Sponges.
2. Be Intentional.

01 March 2012

The Holy in the Mundane

As we walked out of Kindermusik yesterday, the snow was just beginning to fall heavily. Little B tilted his face up to the sky, and giggled in scrunched-nose delight at the cold wetness of the flakes against his cheeks. We trotted to the car, singing, "Snowflakes falling all over town, slipping, sliding, everybody rushin' 'round. There's an icy chill in the air telling us that winter's really here!" (Cool Yule, anyone?)

Winter seems to have finally arrived in upstate New York.

The snow continued through the night, and it has looked like this all day.
I'm kind of loving the fact that it is this beautiful outside in March. Typically, this month is so dreary, with the gray slush everywhere. Right now, it looks like the winter wonderland we've been missing this season.
Little B and I had an appointment at the chiropractor this afternoon, but I rescheduled it for tomorrow. Some days are meant for having a day inside, doing cozy things.

We played hide-and-seek with his pull-along zebra (I pull it around for a bit, B toddles after us, and then I speed up and "hide" it somewhere along the way. It's a game of which he never seems to tire these days.). I rearranged his nursery while he ingested copious amounts of Cheerios (I try to convince myself that they're okay because they're the multigrain kind.) We played a game of "fetch" of sorts, using a wind-up toy school bus he got for his birthday. We made a plaster keepsake of Little B's handprint using a kit his Mimi sent him for Christmas. We read. He napped. We kept looking out the window at all the snow. 
We played photo shoot. :~)
Then B decided it was his daily Take My Socks Off time.
I thought of making soup for dinner (after all, it is that kind of day), but we had broccoli cheese soup last night. Nich declared that it was a pizza kind of night, so pizza it was. I found a terrific dough recipe (finally!), and we piled on all sorts of scrumptious toppings.
Tomato sauce, spinach, sliced artichokes, red peppers, onions, shredded cheese, ground turkey
Little B ate an entire slice. This was after having two arrowroot cookies, a couple red pepper sticks, and nursing within the hour preceding dinner. I won't tell you how many slices Nich (or I) ate. Let's just say that there aren't as many leftover slices as we would have liked.

This late-in-season snow day reminded me to slow down and look for the Holy in the midst of every day life. I am grateful for so many things today, not the least of which is my husband washing the dinner dishes so I could take a hot shower.