What are you reading?

I love books.  Have I mentioned that before?  Or maybe a thousand times?  I have had a love affair with books since turquoise and mustard shag and heavy polyester turqoise damask were semi-acceptable choices for a bedroom.  I think I was around 6 or 7 then and reading the Grandma's Attic series by flashlight, wishing I had lived in the era of baked potato hand warmers, shoe button rag dolls and pump faucets you had to prime (what was I thinking?!).

My love of books continues, but most of my reading time now consists of the great writings of Sandra Boynton rather than Jane Austin.  So, now instead of plowing through pages I write wish lists of books I'd like to read.  Some of them I've started but left abandoned next to my bed in hopes that I'd eventually get back to them.  Others are in the "I really should read this" category.  Still others are books I long to get into, to savor page by wonderful page.  All of these are on my list. 

Wonder what they are?  Here's a few of my latest (and not so latest) additions:

So Long Insecurity (Who doesn't love Beth Moore?)

Simplify your Life (I've had this forever, but my desperate need for organization has brought it back up)

If Jesus were a Parent (I've already started this and after just the first chapter think EVERY parent should read it)
Redeeming Love (the only reason I haven't started this one is because I know I won't be able to put it down)

Guerilla Lovers (Vince Antonucci is funny, real and challenging.)

I became a Christian and all I got was this Lousy T shirt (started this, loved it, had a baby, didn't finish it)

Forgotten God (I really liked Crazy Love, so I thought I might like Francis Chan's second book)

Boundaries (explaining why I need to read this would require a whole other blog post x 1,000)

Deep unto Deep (started this morning and I will never be the same, but I'll write more about that tomorrow)

My Sister’s Keeper  (I know, I know, a year too late, but I still want to read it)

Toddlerwise (the first two in the On Becoming series were great, looking forward to this reference)

As I look at this list, the saddest part of all is that I own ALL except one!  I'm beginning to think the best present I could ask for is a whole day to snuggle with a quilt and read with no interuptions.  Isn't that every reading mama's dream?
What are you reading?  What do you think I should add to my list?


First Birthday Madness

I promised I'd share pics of Elli's first birthday/my "craftiness" once I finally got a hold of them. Well...du du du dah...here they are!  Since Elli was born day after Valentine's and her middle name is Valentine I chose to include V-Day into her birthday and had a "Lovebug" theme.

One giant love bug  (made from foam board covered in tissue paper, spraypainted chipboard letters and glittery cardstock) and lovebug invitations (I got the ideas for these from here and here)

I think the invitations were my favorite thing from the party (and the easiest to make)

My lovely friend Chrissy stapled hundreds of coffee filters so that we could make these

I loved the way these pom poms/flowers turned out. SO SO SO easy!

Coffee filter flowers, lots of ribbon (clearance valentine ribbon) and glittery foil hearts (it looked a bit more dramatic in person)

Cake area-more ribbon, handmade lovebug streamer and paper accordian hearts that I found in the wedding section of the party store, coffee filter pom poms in the windows and a handsome man trying to get my skype account to work so that Auntie Katie could see the birthday girl

Old fashioned candy, Nana-made cookies, dipped strawberries, dipped pretzels and handmade nutella balls (I used this pb ball recipe substituting nutella, hazelnuts and subtracting some sugar)  I made the cake too (inspired by one here).

Elli became a bit shy during the Happy Birthday song

She had more fun playing with the cake than eating it

Her first strawberry (and her favorite food at the party...my little health nut)


He Know What He's Doing

Wow, we have had quite the few fun-filled days!  In a matter of three days we had our little lovebug's birthday party with family, celebrated Valentine's day and the enjoyed Elliana Valentine's actual birthday on Monday!  I can hardly believe it...somehow between what feels like just last week and this week she went from a tiny snuggly mushball that I couldn't stop staring at to a sweet, goofy, ultra-genius (at least according to me), chatty, mobile toddler that I still can't stop staring at....can you blame me?

[Besides enjoying the most wonderful daughter a mama could ask for, I also had a BLAST getting ready for her lovebug themed party.  I can't wait to share with you about it...but due to a camera malfunction (or perhaps daddy malfunction) my camera was downloaded onto hubby's computer instead of mine and that will have to wait for another day.]

Elli is living proof that God hears our cries.  Her name, Elliana, actually means "The Lord has heard me".  He doesn't often answer in the fashion or timing we would like Him to, but He DOES answer.  His answers are so much more perfect than ours.  It feels obvious, but we so rarely act as if we believe these five words...HE KNOWS WHAT HE'S DOING! 

I now have new cries that I'm placing before God.  Heart's desires, hopes and dreams have been spilling out with each breath.  This time, however, it's different.  I know in my heart that everything is working out in the palm of His hand, the same hand that formed my precious Elliana.

holy experience


'Til we'll be together

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We are by the sea this week.  Much like my Mama, the sea feels like home to me.  It's consistant rushing hum in the background is a constant whisper of God's immeasurable greatness and the depth of His love.

As I gaze upon His most soothing, yet most powerful acts of creation my heart is drawn to the beautiful mixture of gentle love and terrible strength that only the Creator can possess.  Each wave is pulled in from the shore and my heart is pulled to my Savior.  The lyrics ache within...

It's just a little while longer 'til I see You
It's just a little while longer 'til I know You
It's just a little while longer 'til we'll be together

I'm am anxious for the days of gazing at the sea together, Him and I.


Book discussion group...

Beth Moore is having a book discussion for her new book SO LONG INSECURITY on her blog. 
I'm joining...what about you?


Friday Favorites: Baby travel

Friday Favorites are back!  Woot woot! 
As some of you know I've been traveling quite a bit over the past two months.  We have been to Walla Walla, Wa, Seaside, OR, Kansas City, MO, Auburn, WA, and Sacramento, CA all since the week before Christmas!  We have one more mini trip back in Seaside next week and then our worldly travels will be DONE for a while!  Yeah for home! 

In the midst of all of these travels Elli has been quite the trooper and I have discovered a handful of products that have made traveling with a baby so much better!  Today I'll only share two because I could go on and on about them all.

Graco Mosaic Lightweight Stroller:  I LOOOOOVVVEEE this stroller!  When we knew we'd be hitting a few different airports I really wanted to find a stroller that wasn't difficult to take with us.  We ended up going to Baby Depot inside Burlington Coat Factory and testing out quite a few models including the highest rated on Consumer Reports.  This was hands down the best one there within our price range. 

Here's what I like about it...
1: I can easily open and close it with one hand which is nice at security check points 
2:  It has a good sized, easily accesible basket.  This feature was simply not available in any other models we checked out.  They were either really small or really hard to get to.  This one was perfect. 
3: It has a 5 point harness but you can only use the lap belts if you like
4: It manuevers easily, even with one hand. 
5: It has a cup holder for me
6: (this is my FAVE feature) it has a recline that's adjustable with ONE hand.  All you have to do is pull on a strap for it to sit up or release a little latch to lower it. 
7. It's adaptable with an infant carseat (we've grown out of that phase, but it'll be nice for the next baby)
8. The individual handles make it easy to slip an extra bag on

Can you tell I love it?  There are a few things I don't love, but they're so minor I don't mind them...
1. I can't easily lift it with one arm (that might have more to do with the fact I'm a weakling)
2. It's umbrella isn't very user friendly and pops off the bars once and a while. It doesn't offer much shelter either.
3. I don't love the pattern we have (Ogee), but it's all that was available at the store.

Okaayyy...here's one of my other favorite new baby things...the Kiddopotamus Tiny Diner .

I'm what my sisters would call a "classic first time mom" and a bit of a germ freak.  The combo leads to a bit of paranoia when it comes to Elli's contact with public surfaces.  Airplanes in particular gross me out after a good friend's daughter contracted impetigo on her face from a plane seat.  So, this little mat was a great solution for my little finger food eater.

The mat is made of a sturdy silicon type material and rolls up compactly into its scoop (aka food catcher) so that it's easy to stow in the diaper bag.  When unfolded it covers a good amount of table surface and attaches with really strong suction cups.  Elli loves to throw stuff off the table and hasn't been able to move this mat yet.

The best part is that this little piece of mind is around only ten bucks!

There you have it!  I'd love to hear what some of your favorite things have been in the past couple months.  Leave a comment and you just might be surprised what treat appear!

Have a happy weekend!


Whatever He wants to say

I fumbled out of bed, baby in tow and sludged into the morning routine. Baby's bottle-Baby's breakfast-playing with baby...then nap time.  Sweet, sweet naptime.
All the while I feel like I'm going to explode.  Echoes of my harsh words from before I had even lifted the covers ring in my heart.  Why?  What is my problem?!  Everything's fine!  1000 different thoughts, lists, and must are floating around in my head.  I need a moment.  Just a quiet moment with no pressure.  I need to find answers.  Really important, big answers.  God will you please answer?!  A harsh tone lifts from my dark heart for the second time today.

Now, I remember.  He came just yesterday during a morning much like this.  He had melted away the invisible pressure that nags my shoulders.  So...I go there again.

I drink in the black words on the white pages and no longer ask for answers, just His voice.  His voice, saying whatever He wants to say.  God smoothes the wrinkles of worry in my soul and breathes hope into my heart.  Not with answers, but with love.  Pure, faithful love.

Answers will come.  In the meantime His voice crumbles my anxiety and satisfies all my needs.  My soul sings.

" The Lord is my chosen and assigned portion, my cup; You hold and maintain my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; yes, I have a good heritage. I will bless the Lord, Who has given me counsel; yes, my heart instructs me in the night seasons.  I have set the Lord continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad and my glory [my inner self] rejoices; my body too shall rest and confidently dwell in safety."  Psalms 16:5-9

holy experience