"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

29 September 2012

A Photo Tribute to a Sweet Friend: Tanya

Our move to Dallas is just under two weeks away! The days are just flying by, and we are in the thick of deciding what to get rid of, what to have the movers pack for storage, and what we'll need while we're in temporary housing.

Temporary housing. That's another beast. We had originally been told that N's company would provide temporary housing until we found a house. It turns out that they will not, and so we have to find a place to live in less than two weeks. Any of you have Dallas connections?

As our move date draws closer, we have been trying to be as intentional as possible about spending time with friends. We had Tanya over for dinner this past Wednesday night. She brought these scrumptious miniature pears from the tree in their backyard. Little B just loved having his very own, perfectly-sized pear to eat. He kept asking for "More? Pey? More?"

N and I have known Tanya for almost as long as we have lived in upstate New York. When we first met her in 2007, she was just one of the teens in our church youth group. Over the years, our relationship has grown, and now, we cherish her as one of our sweetest friends in New York.

So here is a photo tribute to a dear friend who we will miss greatly when we leave. We'll be holding you to your promise to come visit us, Tanya!
Summer 2008: Until Little B joined our family, N and I went to this ropes course every summer.
Fall 2008: Our church retreat at Camp-of-the-Woods
Spring 2009: At Excel
Spring 2009: church senior graduation banquet

Summer 2009: the beginnings of our young adult (20Somethings) community group
Winter 2009: 20Somethings community group at our house
Spring 2010: 20Somethings community group at our house
Summer 2010: Tanya gave us our very first baby gift for Baby B.
She took me out to lunch and to get a pedicure (the second in my entire life) when I was having a rough pregnancy day.
She was also either the first or second friend to meet B after he was born.
Little B just LOVED Tanya, who was one of his very first babysitters.
Winter 2012: Little B's first birthday party
Fall 2012: Last time having dinner with Tanya
We will always think of you when we see him doing this!

28 September 2012

In Honor of Grandpas

I was the first grandchild on my mom’s side of the family. When I was born, my mom and I lived with my grandparents in Korea for a bit, because my dad was overseas. I’ve been told countless times of how my grandpa would strap me onto his back (in a society where traditionally, men are seldom involved in the raising of children) every morning and evening and take me on walks, saying, “The baby needs fresh air.”
Photo Credit: Deborah Roberts

We moved to Africa when I was 22 months old.

We would visit Korea in the summers, and my grandpa would take me — just me — to the zoo, to get ice cream, and on other special outings.

My mom always said I was his favorite.

My grandpa died almost three years ago, a year and a month before my son - his first great-grandchild - was born. It is one of the greatest heartbreaks of my life that I missed out on introducing my baby to him.

I follow this blog regularly. Kari writes beautifully, and she thinks and feels beautifully. She recently lost her grandfather, and I wanted to share them here and here.

If you've lost a beloved grandparent, I hope you have meaningful memories of them.

If you have the blessing of having grandparents who are still alive, make more memories.

26 September 2012

When Life Throws You A Curveball

Remember when I made The Blanket for Baby Tessa?

All three of Zoe's previous babies arrived early, so as she approached the 40-week mark, she was understandably QUITE ready for Tessa to arrive.

A week ago, I sent her this picture, mostly to make her laugh, but also because, having had a 11-days-past-the-due-date, 9.5 pound baby myself, I wholeheartedly sympathized.

Two days later, Baby Aram arrived.

That's right, "Tessa" was a BOY.

In his first introductions to the world via Facebook, he was clad head-to-toe in pink. What funny stories he will have as he grows older! And what great pictures for his wedding reception (if they're still doing that sort of thing when this next generation is getting married)!

Immediately, I thought of that very girly, pink-and-purple, flowery blanket I had crocheted.

"Well, that will not do," I thought to myself, and the following day (which very conveniently happened to be a Saturday), I took a little trip to the craft aisle.
Because I'm short on time and long on things to do before our move to Texas, Baby Aram's blanket is smaller than the other one. But it will work just fine for a wee little guy.

Welcome to the world, Aram Daniel! What an entrance!

24 September 2012

A Thanks-For-Loving-On-Us Gift

I've talked about the wonderful Holmbergs before here on the blog. N, B, and I just love them, and they have been such marvelous friends and surrogate "parents" and "grandparents" to us during the past couple years.

This afternoon, after our 3-hour-long naps following an early rising for the ADK Balloon Festival, we drove around visiting friends and delivering a few handmade, thanks-for-loving-on-us gifts.

One of the more special gifts I had made was for the Holmbergs. Jill is a fellow crafter, and she sews beautifully. We have been on the receiving end of several of her creations, and I wanted to give her something as well.

Remember my sneak peek a little while ago?

Ta-da! Here is the final product!

First Weekend of Fall

Yesterday was the first day of fall, and we had the best day. We went to get breakfast for the last time at our favorite breakfast place downtown (Country Corner Cafe). Seriously, if you are EVER in the Saratoga area, you have to get breakfast there. It is hands down the best breakfast place.

B learned to stack the little creamers.
 And then he realized he could drink them.
 Then we made plans to attend our last evening launch of the Adirondack Balloon Festival.
Our very first ADK Balloon Fest as newlyweds in 2008
Originally, we had hoped to spend this weekend in Maine with my college friends Rachel and Matt and their two little boys, but what with our recent travels to Texas and the variations in B's sleep, we decided to stay put. Hopefully, they'll be visiting us overnight next weekend!

The weather forecast was looking unpromising for yesterday's launch, but when the skies cleared blue in the midday, we decided to give it a go.

Last year, B was just shy of 8 months old at the balloon festival. Although he delighted in seeing the balloons, he wasn't really engaged with what was going on. It was a memorable first balloon fest for us as parents. The line of cars to the airport c-r-e-p-t along, and B was still at a point where he HATED being in his car seat. He wailed and wailed until I got to the point where I felt like we were torturing the poor kid. We decided I would carry B and walk the rest of the way onto the airport grounds while Nich waited in that ridiculous line and parked. I think I walked over a mile with B that day, but the aching back was worth it! I remember sitting in the grass to nurse him, how the shrill siren of the fire engine startled him, how we ran into about a million people from church.
He was so itty-bitty last year!
Well, it was an entirely different story this year. Although the balloons didn't launch due to the coming storm, there were plenty of colorful kites in the air, crafts tents, airplanes and fire trucks to look at, and we made a fun afternoon/evening of it.
We shared fried dough and wood-fired pizza for dinner, and B made some friends with a Chinese family whose girls sweetly gave him his own bottle of bubbles to blow.
Since we really wanted B to experience the balloon fest before we move out of the area, we showered in the evening, set the alarm to attend the sunrise launch, and went to bed early. I woke up before N to pack up snacks, warm drinks (maple coffee for me and N and warm milk for B), fleece sweatshirts, extra just-in-case clothes for B, extra socks, boots to wear on the muddy ground. When N and I were ready to go and we had loaded up the car, I went in to get B out of his crib. He had slept soundly while I crept in and out of his room to get his things together, but when I picked him up, he let out a little mew of complaint. Once he realized I was taking him outside, however, he perked right up and asked, "Car? Daddy? Boots?" We had hoped he would fall back asleep in the car, but the novelty of being awake in the dark and going for a car ride was much too exciting for something so mundane as sleep. 
The first of the balloons to begin inflating

And here begins the excitement
This is about when he started yelling, "WAH-OOOOOO!" (wow) repeatedly and running all over the place in circles.
40th anniversary for the ADK Balloon Fest!
"YAY for balloons!"
They had a "petting zoo" of balloons with lots of different animal balloons, including a T-Rex.    
And a Spider-Pig.
Happy family at the 2012 ADK Balloon Festival!
We came home, took a 3-hour nap, had lunch, and made some visits to friends, dropping off some thanks-for-loving-on-us gifts (more on one of those in the next post!) along the way.

What did you do this weekend?

17 September 2012

S'more Cookie, Please

I got this recipe for s'mores cookies from a friend (our husbands served together aboard the USS Normandy) a while ago. Every time I make them, everyone gushes about how scrumpdiddlyumptious they are. Or, if they're just seeing pictures on FB, they talk about how they could eat 4 dozen of them.

Okay, that's just Andrew.

Anyway, I thought it was prime time that I shared the recipe for all your enjoyment.

Don't forget to make some extra for yourself. These will disappear before your very eyes.
Kristine's S'Mores Cookies
Makes around 20 cookies

3/4 c butter, softened
1/2 c white sugar
1/2 c packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
1 c graham cracker crumbs
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 c mini-marshmallows
2 Hershey bars, broken into pieces

*Preheat oven to 350*F.

*Beat together butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Blend in egg and vanilla.

*Combine flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl.

*Mix into butter mixture.

*Stir in chocolate chips.

* Drop dough by heaping tablespoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets, about 2" apart.

*Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and quickly press marshmallows and chocolate into the cookies. I find that about 3 mini-marshmallows and 2-3 pieces of chocolate per cookie is a good balance.

*Return to oven and bake 3 more minutes.

*Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for a while before transferring them to a cooling rack, or they will get "smooshy."

An Obsession

Little B has a vacuum obsession.

On Saturday, I wrote this on my FB wall: "B has been 'vacuuming' for the past 45 minutes, getting on his hands and knees to stick the hose extension under furniture, tiptoeing to "clean" the frames on the wall. He goes 'Eeeeeeeeeee' in varying degrees of volume and pitch and 'powers down' with his voice every time he stops and needs to move. He got tired about ten minutes ago and pointed to the vacuum body and said, 'Daddy, move?' So now Nich is following him around the house, pushing the vacuum while B "cleans" with the hose. Bedtime will be a bit delayed tonight."

In an attempt to create some peace in our household (a.k.a. clean without having to explain multiple times to my toddler that it is Mommy's time to use the vacuum), we bought a toy vacuum at a yard sale yesterday. 

A few weeks ago, I had asked N if anyone ever brought snacks to the monthly church admin. board meetings. He said no, so I offered to bake cookies for the next meeting. I found out that it was tonight at about 3 o'clock this afternoon. I also needed to make dinner, so I turned on "Signing Time" on the "big T.V." (the real T.V. as opposed to the laptop) for B. It's the only thing he will actually sit and watch. 

He sat there, cuddling his vacuum on his lap, munching on apple slices. 

Seriously. Vacuum obsession.

Here are some other, unrelated photos for your enjoyment.
A nice lady offered to take our picture on our flight home.
Little B's first "craft" from Sunday School. I love that he was allowed to move up to the toddler room!
Wearing Daddy's hat
Lots of running at the playground
Loves to swing!
Getting a ride from his buddy, Eli ("E-yai")