December 31, 2007

A New New Year



I was looking back to one year ago and came across my New Year's post for 2007. I have confessed in the past that 2007 was a bit of a bust. Some bumpy times. But looking at my goals for the year, and now seeing how I succeeded in every one of these goals, I feel victorious!
Here's the post (and a couple little added notes), and I think that it will remain for 2008. Can only get better and brighter.




I see this new year as a blank page full of promises and possibilities.


Rather than state resolutions, I have goals similar to my prayer every night as I end my day- May I be a better wife tomorrow, a more patient mom, a more organized homemaker, effective servant of the Lord, as tomorrow is a new day.

I love a new start.

I hope for superficial things like provision to go on our vacation to Colorado this June (done). And for a new car (done!). To read more books (did that). And to become a better knitter (yes!).

I hope to grow closer to my friends, and be a better friend to them. (And who knew I'd make so many more for-sure-to-be-lifelong friends this year as well?)


I hope for my family to live a "greener" life.

I hope to get rid of extra "stuff."

Whether it be emotional or physical baggage.

And appreciate more of what is truly important.


I hope I continue to keep my eyes open for what is truly important, and never let "moments" pass by unnoticed.

I hope to not set limits or expectations, or make judgments and assumptions, and only hope to focus on what is good and true.

I hope to always know my purpose, and to put it to good use.

I hope to always look forward and not back, up and not down...

Yes, in this New Year, many treasures await...

photo credit: photographer Ashlee Allen, Nest

December 30, 2007

Adventures In Babywearing: Year In Review 2007

As I did last year, here is first sentence from the first post of each month in 2007.

January-
I see this new year as a blank page full of promises and possibilities.

February- I am so very proud to announce the launch of my best friend Ashlee's newest endeavor, bringing style and comfort to your everyday babywearing...

March-
I just posted one of my favorite photographs ever here.

April-
I was shopping at Goodwill the other day with my Mom & the three boys.

May-
What could possibly be pink at my house- the den of all boys?

June-
I've been working on a mixed tape CD for an upcoming roadtrip.

July-
So you all know by now that we are always trying in little & big ways to live more green.

August-
In collaboration with the Crazy Hip Blog Mamas sharing their Childhood Dreams, I'm re-publishing this post from last year's Elementary, My Dear.

September-
My boys looooove this.

October-
I type with heavy fingers that are more like thick thumbs attempting to translate my hazy mind into a comprehendable blog post.

November
-
I won a gift certificate to Amazon.com thanks to Beth and so I purchased Veganomicon (can not wait for this to arrive!) and also officially started on my Christmas shopping.

December-
I keep teasing hubby for saying snow snorm instead of snow storm yesterday when he was actually trying to make fun of something I had said, but anyway, we had an ice storm today and I am all prepared to be stuck in the house if necessary.

Happy New Year, everyone!

December 28, 2007

Babywearing Tip Of The Week: N.I.P.



Most often known as Nursing In Public but now new meaning to me... Nursing In Pouch. Never did I think I'd prefer this over all other carriers for nursing, but my new favorite is my Peanut Shell pouch. I'm not just saying it, people. I mean it. What a revelation! And here's another tip- win one here!

December 27, 2007

What Are You Into This Month?

This Month...

The Thing I've Been Working On The Most: My dream of finally being ahead of all the laundry (I know it has to be possible!) and knitting the never-ending scarf for me.

TV Show Worth Watching: If you know of one, please let me know!

The Christmas Present I'm Loving: I finally have a speaker dock for my iPod! And I can't wait to hang my new birds.

My Favorite Blog Entry From This Month: I'm His Boo

Blog I Am Always Visiting: This month an old friend of mine has really amped up his blog. (A dad's perspective- go figure!) And a tidbit: Way back before I knew hubby, he & Adam had lockers next to each other in school. At the same time Adam & I were friends in youth group. Later, after hubby and I started dating, we found out this friend connection and attended Adam's wedding together. It was neato.

Movie I’ve Seen (In or Out of a theater): Just watched Waitress- perfect if you're due for a good cry.

What I'm Most Looking Forward To Next Month: Turning 31 and entering a brand new year. Sounds so great. And the fact that we have absolutely no plans for 2008. It is wide open with possibilities.

Feel free to share what you're into, too...




December 25, 2007

Gray Goose

It's tradition to have a photo taken of our boys wearing this special bomber jacket that my Dad originally bought Noah (from a truck stop!) They all have cherished their turn to wear the treasured coat. Here's Gray, at 22 months and below is Noah and Carter both at 20 months each. Gray definitely has the brooding look down, don't you think?

December 24, 2007

O Come Let Us Adore Him


He Brings Peace & Joy

Merry Merry Christmas.


December 23, 2007

Something To Think About As You Get Lots Of Stuff This Christmas

Thank you to my good friend Jil for showing this to me. If you get 20 minutes to sit the family around to watch, please do.



December 22, 2007

This Mountain Called 2007

When I close my eyes and really think about it, I am coming down the mountain. And it feels really good.

I was looking through all the photos I've taken this year and there are so many wonderful memories. One of my favorites is this one of my Aunt Susie & me (with Gray on my back) from our family trip to Colorado.



There seemed to be a lot of extra baggage weighing me down in one way or the other, internal struggles, and just life's goings on weaving in and out that made this year seem extra busy and bumpy.

But in the end, on the descent, I feel molded and trained. As I come down I pass the rocks I stumbled upon on the way up and they really aren't as big as I remember. As much as I am glad for it to end, it was a pretty good year. But now I've been there, done that, and am so ready for 2008.



December 20, 2007

Babywearing Tip Of The Week: On Traveling...

This week's tip was emailed to me by my friend (in real life!) Sheryl of Peanut Butter & Jelly Boats. She got to thinking about traveling this holiday and how babywearing has helped in the past:

I was thinking about our Thanksgiving trip. We flew. We did not take a stroller, I wore Ethan in the pouch and the boys walked along side us carrying their own backpacks
. It was SOOOOOO much easier than carting a stroller around the airport! I could wear him in the pouch and walk right through security. No folding and unfolding of a stroller to put on the belt to be x-rayed. Then moving through the aisle of the airplane to get to our seats was super easy. He was just right there, snug against me the whole time. I'll never take a stroller to the airport again!!

Also, the last time we went to Disney World, I brought the sling, just in case. It was naptime for Ethan and we were headed to the Winnie the Pooh ride. I took him out of the stroller and put him in the pouch. While other toddlers were cranky and fussy, Ethan was calm and laid his head on me while snug in his pouch. While other parents were trying to keep their kids happy standing in a 30 min. line, Ethan fell to sleep peacefully within 5 min. Then I just got right on the ride with him still in the pouch. He slept through the whole line and almost through the whole ride! It was so incredibly easy!





What Day Is It?

When I was little, my mom had wrapped our teachers' presents- little boxes of chocolate mints- and placed them under the tree. We came home one night to find that our dachshund Mindy had opened up all the boxes and eaten all the candy. No matter that chocolate is supposed to be bad for dogs- that dog lasted for almost 20 years.

The other morning I noticed Carter had a small bag of sugarplums. A couple weeks ago we had gone to a candy store downtown to get some sugarplums for the boys' teachers and then we always get a little bag for ourselves. The teachers' gifts were already wrapped by the store and placed under our tree. I was a bit surprised that we still had some sugarplums left over when I saw Carter with them, but didn't really think more about it.

Later that day I found Noah snooping under the tree amongst the wrapped candy boxes. My eyes got wide as I realized that maybe he had actually opened one of the boxes of sugarplums meant for his teacher. There was one box missing and he confessed (after he made sure he wouldn't be in trouble for telling the truth.)
I had a flashback to his other candy incident last year. He hid the contraband in Carter's bed. Already planting evidence.

I have all my Christmas shopping complete, but still need to wrap everything. I am kinda glad my laziness has paid off, so that we could have this heart to heart about not opening presents until you're supposed to. I joke about laziness. If only I could be lazy. That would be super.

I woke up today and had no idea what day it was. I really thought it was Friday and so Noah got a full practice spelling test from me before getting on the bus. Then I realized that his test is tomorrow. Well, he'll be all the more ready.

Oh, and I've got a new post up over at Close To Home.

-Steph

December 18, 2007

Christmas & Me

I'm it. Amy tagged me for some holiday hoopla of 12 Random Things About Me & Christmas:

1. I miss watching the Peter, Paul, & Mary special on PBS with my Dad every Christmas.

2. One of my favorite holiday movies was Emmet Otter's Jugband Christmas.

3. My favorite Christmas movies that are more recent are Elf and About A Boy.

4. I can remember so very clearly hearing Santa's reindeer on our roof when I was a little girl. I still sometimes think I can hear them on Christmas Eve.

5. If I could have the ultimate Christmas wish it would be to have all my family (Aunts, Uncles, Cousins) together for Christmas. We wouldn't even need presents.

6. I don't make Christmas cookies. Maybe someday. But for the longest time there have always been special diets or food allergies to work around.

7. I love love love love love when it snows on Christmas.

8. I have a nativity set that I used to keep out all year 'round, but Gray likes to play with it too much,
so I don't have it out this year.

9. It's hard for me to think of my favorite Christmas present ever because every year I get something really great. My mom is a really good gift-giver and she Santa stuffs the best stockings at her house.

10. I don't care for candy canes much. But I do like the cherry ones sometimes.

11. We did not decorate our house outside with lights or anything this year. We say it's to be more "green"- using less energy and so forth- but secretly we just didn't feel like it. It's cold out there, yo!

12. In closing, here's Carter singing you his favorite holiday song, even though it's not about Christmas, I think it still counts:

video

Oh, and I tag Jen at Mommy Instincts!


Fish Food

If only I could describe my horror when Gray came up to me giggling "Hee hee fish food, Mama."

I ran to the kitchen and found the fish bowl topped with a thick layer of red beta pellets. The entire container of fish food empty. Our little swimming pet Luna is ok. Traumatized maybe, but happy now in a clean and clear environment again. She may have to be moved to the top of the fridge if I am going to keep her safe from the two year old monkey-child living in my house. Help.


December 17, 2007

Inviting You In

I had hoped to participate in the festive Christmas Tour of Homes hosted by BooMama just like last year, but had just so much going on. It was too much added pressure. But thankfully, I am happy to say I can breathe easier today. The pressure is off. I have absolutely no commitments this entire week. No where to be. No deadlines looming. Nothing at all. And it feels so very good.

I think now I'd like to invite you in to see a few of my favorite things around my house this Christmas.

My new table runner from Tarjay. Nothing says holiday centerpiece like cheap ornaments and oranges. I think I make it work.


And now we're entering the Tour d'Eiffel section of my living room. My favorite ornament.



A song for you from the boys' favorite ornament:


video



And since last year I shared my holiday socks, this year I'll show you what socks I'm wearing today.





Now that's that. I am off to relax. No plans. Breathe. I think I'll finish knitting - something for me this time- a yummy scarf. Hope you have a fabulous holiday...

Love,
Steph



The Green Vest

Who knew it would be so popular? I honestly have to admit that I wasn't sure I even liked the vest at first, but after this weekend it's a winner. You can find it here at Lands' End. The Lands' End people were so nice to let me pick out some winter gear for a future review at Close To Home for NWIparent Magazine.


December 16, 2007

Me and the Snow



When I went to bed last night it was snowing and when I got up today it was still snowing. It definitely doesn't show signs of stopping...

I've also got another great giveaway up at
Close To Home today!

December 15, 2007

Uh, What A Week...

I type here in a foggy gaze- just waking from the first nap in a very long time. It was only about an hour but felt like an eternity. One of those naps. This week, wow, it almost did me in. But this week- wow- it really made me stronger.

Early in the week I had close friends much too close to the tragedies in Colorado. I was invited to be a part of the welcoming into the world of Capri Pearl, her birth was amazing and I am honored to bear witness. New life. Then my best friend lost her father. A life gone.

That's about all I can write or want to write about any of it right now. There's plenty more power in the unspoken.

I know that I'll look back eventually and will see a perspective I might have missed, a connection to the heaviness and spirit of this time. I probably should feel spent. Exhausted from the events of the week, but instead I feel renewed. Tired, but renewed. Now the snow is falling and it seems like even the outside is starting fresh. Everything is going to be ok.


December 13, 2007

Babywearing Tip Of The Week: Teaching Your Child To Nurture

This week's Babywearing Tip was submitted by Farrah from Baby Love Slings:

My son Lucas will be two in March. He is as rough-and-tumble as little boys come. He loves his trucks and trains and blocks and just about anything that goes "Vroom, Vroom." But he also loves his sling. I don't mean the one he rides in, although he certainly loves that one. I mean the one he wears, the one he uses to carry his puppy and dino and sometimes even his dump truck. He carries the things he loves and wants close to him. He is too small to put it on himself but he will bring me the sling and whatever he wants to carry and say "ing, mama, ing."


Children thrive when they feel valued, loved, and that the adults in their life enjoy being with them. That is why wearing your baby or toddler is so important: it fosters trust and a secure attachment with your baby and gives your toddler a safe place to reconnect and reinforce their bond with you. When we wear our children, we model for them that it is important to care for others. We are nurturing them and teaching them that they matter and that we want them to be with us. As mothers (and fathers), we want our children to learn how to nurture and love others out of the depth of nurturing and love they have received. Give them their own sling and teach them to care for the things they love just as they are cared for and loved. It is a great tool for encouraging your little nurturer in the development of kindness and compassion and love for others. I know that Lucas wants to wear his puppy in his sling because he loves his puppy. He feels loved when he is cuddled close to mama in the sling so it only makes sense to him that his puppy should go in the sling too. He is starting to make that very important connection.

Lucas is an only child so his only experience of babywearing is from being worn and occasionally seeing one of my babywearing friends with an infant in their sling. I know that if we are ever blessed with another child, the lessons of babywearing will be all the more poignant for him. Older siblings can learn to exhibit the same love and care they see you giving to their new baby brother or sister. It makes them feel important and valued by you when they are able to display the behaviors that are modeled for them. Dr. Sears comments on his website about the importance of role modeling nurturing behaviors for our children. "When we adults wear babies, we model for our other children that big people carry little people. Children and grandchildren are more likely to adopt the style of parenting that they received or witnessed when young. "

As parents, we all want to raise our kids to be compassionate, caring people. One of the best ways to do that is to model that behavior for them and then give them opportunities to exhibit the behavior themselves. Lucas and his puppy love their sling. He wears puppy or dino while he stands at the window watching the snow plows or while he sits in the living room playing with his trains. And me, I just watch and smile as my son kisses puppy's head. He is learning how to care for and nurture others. He is developing compassion and kindness. And that nurtures my soul too.


Give the gift of babywearing and nurturing this holiday. Shop Baby Love Slings at www.babyloveslings.com for all your sling needs. Use coupon code ABW for 10% off your total order. Order by Dec. 20 to ensure delivery by Christmas.

Oh, Capri

I wanted to update everyone that baby is here and I got to be there for it all! But, I'll leave all the details for Mama or Aunt Arianne to post- so keep checking back!

Steph


December 12, 2007

Prayers

There's a Mama & baby that needs prayer while being born today and my best friend needs even more love and hugs right now...

Steph


December 11, 2007

She Might Be Busy

Ah, so I might get to be a doula very, very soon... I am hoping baby can make it until my hubby gets home from work!

And there's also a new giveaway up at my NWIparent blog Close To Home!

-Steph

December 10, 2007

I've Been Cranky

I don't know how much longer I can blame it on hormones, but if I were Santa I'd be leaving a big lump of coal in my stocking this year. I haven't had the best of attitudes lately. I feel downright crotchety sometimes. Extra irritable. Daydreaming about hiding from my kids and anyone needing something from me. You know, the usual. (Right?)

I'm feeling extra guilty about it lately because my husband should be Hubby Of The Year and he has me for a wife. Or maybe that is why he should be Hubby Of The Year- because he has me for his wife. Oh I don't know who else could put up with me!

This weekend was extra crabby for me and he made everything as easy for me as possible. He washed the dishes every single time there was a dirty plate or cup in the sink. He let me escape for hours on Saturday and Sunday. And still I couldn't get over my cantankerous self.

Well, it's Monday. A good day to start fresh. I've promised to take my St. John's Wort again and just get over myself already. I'm married to the Hubby Of The Year after all. And I need to show up and make something of my title as the honorable wife of Hubby Of The Year. He deserves it. And so do I.

December 9, 2007

A Digital Video Camera! Overdue Library Book! And Something Growing Hair On It!

What are: Things you find when you move around the furniture?

And darn it I'm still looking for my sanity...




December 8, 2007

The Other Side Of Christmas

I still stand by my desire for a simpler, less-materialistic Christmas and, well, life for that matter. But an old friend of mine has a different view, and I have to say his version really spoke to me, too.

Steph


December 7, 2007

Target Lady

Tonight I was in Target amid long lines and few cashiers. The girl at the register I was waiting for could not have been more slow. Scanning each item with care and wonderment, and not the slightest sense of urgency to move the ever-growing line. I could not help but think of the Target Lady on Saturday Night Live. When it was my turn, she smiled and delighted in the sweater I was buying, the recycled wrapping paper I'd picked out, and then she scanned my flavored coffee syrup, stopped, looked at me, and said, "Do you ever watch Saturday Night Live?" I had to laugh. She said, "I'm so turning into that Target Lady. Where did you get that coffee syrup?"

I told her I totally knew what she was talking about, and the coffee syrup was in the, uh, coffee aisle.





December 6, 2007

Breastfeeding... Extended

For those curious about where I'm at with the whole extended nursing thing, check out my post- "I'm His Boo" today at the Chicago Moms Blog and all the sister blogs as part of today's topic day- all about breastfeeding. Should be some interesting schtuff!


December 5, 2007

For The Toes

I've got a new post up at my NWIparent blog Close To Home, if you're thinking about stuffing little stockings...


December 4, 2007

Wordless Wednesday: Gray's Look-Alike?




December 3, 2007

That's A Really Nice Haircut!



I finally gave in and did away with Gray's long blonde locks. They were just too scraggly and not working anymore. I love his new 'do... and so does he!

December 2, 2007

Thanks For Sharing

I'd like to take a break from the cute things my kids say or the latest baby carrier you might or might not need. I want to share with you what is on my heart.

I have been struggling with just what it is I've been feeling about the upcoming Christmas. Why is it so hard for me to "get in the Christmas spirit" this season, more than before? I think I've been mistaking this so-called "Christmas spirit" for decorating and shopping and wrapping presents and consuming and wanting and that's just not what I am about right now. And that's not what Christmas is about either.

I read a post recently by one of my favorite bloggers- Sara at Walk Slowly, Live Wildly, and it really spoke to me. A Strange Dimness. I can relate to this. I feel a strange dimness over the traditional worldly things for this holiday season, and life in general. How much time and worry we put into presents and decorations and is this toy made in China? and what we'll wear to a holiday party that only lasts two hours. I am guilty of this, yes! But I don't want to continue to be this way. Honestly... do those things really matter or even last longer than a few hours or mortal days and weeks?

I am not sure how much longer I can stomach all the excess of things and want for more things and the bigger and better and newer and so on and so on. More. More. More. On the outside we have everything or are talking about how someday we'll have everything. When inside us we are empty. It will never fill us up.

And I don't mean to sound like a Scrooge, because I still enjoy giving and receiving gifts and celebrating the holiday and listening to Christmas carols, and all that good stuff. But, I have moved my focus from temporary things and am fixing it on the forever things, and this now changes my view of pretty much everything. I want my main focus to be the things that last and the things that mean something. It would be wrong of me to go on blogging every day without telling you what's really behind my words and in my heart. And of course I am just growing here- taking baby steps. Baby steps hopefully in the right direction.

So evidently, in truth, I am longing for the real Christmas spirit, wanting to put the spotlight on the birth of Jesus, His only purpose to save this world. And oh, does this world need saving...

December 1, 2007

SnowSnorm

I keep teasing hubby for saying snow snorm instead of snow storm yesterday when he was actually trying to make fun of something I had said, but anyway, we had an ice storm today and I am all prepared to be stuck in the house if necessary. Except I haven't gotten groceries. That might be my only problem. But I have plenty of knitting projects! Here's what I've been working on today.




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