Friday, December 31, 2010

2010: Year In Pictures

To continue with tradition, here's 2010 in pictures {which may as well be called "Lizzy's First Year In Pictures" since she's what I took photos of 95% of the time!} I tried to choose photos that I may not have posted on the blog before, so hopefully it won't be total deja vu!

We spent New Year's last year with great friends...Kaitlin and I were both pregnant and kind of miserable. I couldn't wait to meet our little one...and 10 days later, I did.







In August, Lizzy met her future husband, Jaxon. As you can tell, she was pretty excited...





Wednesday, December 29, 2010

On Running.

I have never liked running. I have also never been very good at it (I'm SLOW). In high school, when we used to do conditioning for basketball, I'd worry so much about it that I'd physically get sick.

But somehow, I've also always really wanted to run a 5k. So, I've started the Couch to 5k program a number of times, but have honestly never finished. I get up to the point where you're supposed to be running 3 or 5 minutes at a time, and I give up. I'm not really sure whether it's a mental thing or a physical thing.

Anyway, you may have noticed on my sidebar that I've started the Couch to 5k thing up again. I haven't really been taking the prescribed days off, because for me, it's usually better to get into the habit of doing something nearly every day. If I start out only doing something three days a week, it's easy for me to get busy and not take the time.

It's been going pretty well so far. I followed this tutorial on how to make my own "podcast"/mp3 with my own music and voice prompts instead of using the ones you can download online with the crappy techno music, and that has been really nice. I don't have an iPhone, so previously, if I wanted to use my own music, I had to watch the clock the whole time, and that's not good for me--again, I think it's kind of a mental thing for me.

Last night though, I did the Week 3, Day 1 workout...and I'm back into the 3 minute runs. I stopped for 5 seconds during the second 3 minute run, but other than that, I finished. I have to admit's a little bit discouraging...if I'm having a hard time running for three minutes, a 5k seems so out of reach!

Also, I'm getting major shin splints, which sucks. My shoes are less than a year old, so I don't really think it's them. I got some arch support inserts (I have freakishly high arches) and that helped a bit the first day, but they're back to hurting a lot...maybe at this point I SHOULD start taking a day off in between runs. But, I'm not convinced that it's not something I should just "push through" either.  Any magical shin splint recommendations?!

Also...what's your favorite song to run to? Right now, I love "King of Anything" by Sara Bareilles  and "Til I Collapse" by Eminem for the longer runs, but I need some new ideas!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas In Photos

For the past 11 or so years, my family gets all dressed up and goes out to dinner for Christmas Eve. It is one of my favorite Christmas traditions!



Dinner usually lasts about three hours, and Lizzy did so well, even though she was up WAY past her bedtime!


(my sister and I)

Then, we spent the night at my parent's house on Christmas Eve. In the morning, I made monkey bread.


And we opened some presents



Then, we headed back to our house, got Lizzy down for a bit, and hung out at home for a little while. Usually, we open presents to each other, but Justin and I had exchanged gifts earlier in the week (he gave me a gift certificate to get my hair cut, and I gave him a book of DIY boudoir photos). We were so blessed with gifts to Lizzy this year that Justin and I decided we would keep the two bigger gifts that we had purchased for her birthday, so we really only gave her a stocking this year...which was totally fine.

After being at home for a couple of hours, we headed to Justin's parent's house for Christmas dinner. It was a great time, and unfortunately, I have NO photos...I don't know what I was thinking! 

We got home shockingly early (around 8pm!) and thankfully got Lizzy to bed. I went for a run, and then we watched A-Team (well, Justin watched A-Team and I fell asleep).
On Sunday, my parents came over and we lounged around watching the Colts game. Lizzy LOVES to watch football: 


She also checked out some of her new Christmas gifts:



It was a great weekend. I feel so blessed--I have an amazing family, and amazing friends!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


It's such an honor to be able to write another post about the incredible blessings we've received this month. They have been truly humbling and amazing.


Do you see the abundance of gifts under the tree? They are all due to the kindness and generosity of our friends. Because guys, basically all of those gifts were sent to us or dropped off to us from friends. Largely Samantha and Lisa

Seriously, I'm pretty speechless. All I can really say is thank you, and we've been so blessed. 

Monday, December 20, 2010


- I've been reading Outlander Book 2 (Dragonfly in Amber) lately and I feel like I'm in an Outlander vortex. Seriously, all I want to do is to sit and read...all day long!

- How are you guys doing with the December photo hunt list? I honestly haven't even LOOKED at it in weeks. I have this sneaking suspicion that practically all my shots are going to be crammed into the week between Christmas and New Year's.

- I've mentioned before that my whole family gets dressed up and goes to dinner at this fancy schmancy restaurant on Christmas Eve. So, I really needed a dress. My mom, sister, and I went this weekend to look for dresses, and I had a HELL of a time. We went to Ross, TJ Maxx, JC Penney, Macy's, and Kohls...which just about rounds up all the shops here in town. I felt like 98% of the dresses were cut like pencil skirts--hugging the hips and belly area. And that sort of cut is just NOT flattering on me right now on this post-baby body. I need the dresses with "structured fabric that nips in at the waist and then flares out slightly over the hips" that would make Stacy & Clinton proud. I did end up buying a dress from Ross, and I do like it, but I really wanted this dress. They just didn't have it in my size in the store. Maybe I'll pop back by today and see if any that were being held got released back out, but I'm trying not to hold out hope since online it does say it's unavailable in store.

- I wish you guys could see my computer screen right now. Remember about this time last year when I was very pregnant, had a leg spasm, and kicked the laptop off the couch? Well, the broken screen is finally catching up with looks like there's moss growing everywhere with all the dead green and black pixels!

- Yesterday, at the used bookstore, I found this children's book:

Seriously you guys, I laughed so hard that I cried inside the store. It was hilarious, and so I immediately bought it for Justin. Apparently, there is a whole series of books about Walter the Farting Dog, and possibly even a movie starring the Jonas Brothers. Who knew?!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Three Things

1. I decided to make "Surprise Kiss" brownie bites for the cookie exchange tomorrow. They are SO, SO simple. Here's how you make them:

-First, grease the ever living daylights out of a mini-muffin tin. Next, pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees.
-Make brownie mix. Out of a box, or homemade...your pick.
-Fill the super-greased muffin tins about 3/4 full with brownie mix.
-Stick a Hershey Kiss (I used Hugs) in the brownie mix. You don't want it to touch the bottom of the tin. Leave a little bit poking out of the brownie mix.
-Pop in the oven for 15 minutes, then let cool.
-Take the brownie bites out of the muffin tin, and then spread melted Baker's chocolate, or some melted chocolate chips (I added a dash of butter to mine) on the top of each brownie bite. I then topped with festive sprinkles. As an experiment, I topped one of the brownie bites with some coarsely ground sea salt...and that was DELICIOUS.

2. Little Miss is now occasionally letting me put headbands on her, which I think are adorable.

3. Ever since we got our new TV (a Vizio LCD), sometimes when we play DVDs, the whole screen will intermittently flash black (there's still sound). It continues to do this every 5-10 seconds for the life of the movie. But not every DVD does this...only some of them. It doesn't happen at all with live TV. It seems like it must be some sort of copyright protection thing, but it doesn't make sense that this didn't happen with our older TV. Our DVD player is the same, so I know that's not the issue. I know this is a long shot, but does anyone have any idea how to fix it?!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


- Justin got a Shake Weight at his company's White Elephant exchange. It is hilarious. Even more hilarious? It's actually a killer workout!

- We're doing a cookie exchange tomorrow at Mom's group, and I honestly have no idea what I'm going to make. I was going to make brownies and top them with this cream cheese and caramel fruit dip that I make, but then I realized that the dip/frosting really needs to be refrigerated, and that's just a pain in the butt. So, I'd love suggestions for an easy but unique, nut-free cookie recipe. I need two dozen, and probably won't be able to start making them until 8pm. So, basically, I need something unique and delicious, but also easy. Tall order, no?

-I made Justin's Christmas present yesterday, and I really want to blog about it, but he reads this blog sometimes, so I can't just yet. But remind me to blog about it after Christmas--Lisa and Kait, I'm talking to you!

- Lizzy has been *so cute* lately. She's becoming more coordinated, and constantly does the "round and round" from Wheels on the Bus. I love that she'll do the motion once or twice and then applaud herself and say "Yay!". Also, she adores all her cousins, but she is especially enamored with Payton right now, and constantly walks over to the side of our fridge where Payton's school picture is, grins, and yells "PAY-PAY!!"  Lizzy doesn't know it yet, but I'm taking her to watch Payton and the school kids sing Christmas carols later today. She's going to be so excited :)

- I cannot believe that Christmas is next week. Ridiculous.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Exclusion of Eliza Schaaf.

I'd like to tell you a story about a woman named Eliza Schaaf. I wish that it were a fictional story, but it's not. It's a story that makes me incredibly ashamed of my alma matter, Southern Oregon University.

The heart of the story goes like this: Eliza Schaaf is a 20 year old woman with Down Syndrome. Eliza graduated from Ashland High School (the high school in the town that SOU is located in) with a modified diploma last June. During her time at AHS, Eliza participated in standard classes (not special education classes) with an assistant. Eliza is well-known in the small community as an exceptional student, and was even the keynote speaker at a Down Syndrome event locally.

One of Eliza's desires was to attend college. She enrolled as a non-admitted student in one class this fast fall, Intro to Ceramics--something I believe Eliza was already familiar with. Eliza's parents made contact with the professor ahead of time, explained that Eliza has Down Syndrome, and that she would likely have an educational assistant. They made it clear that they did not expect the professor to alter the curriculum for Eliza, and that if it was a better fit, they were open to Eliza auditing the class instead of taking it for credit. Eliza wasn't concerned with the credit, but just wanted to be included with the general class. The family paid about $700 for Eliza to enroll.

Eliza attended the class with her mother as her personal assistant. Eventually, the decision was made that Eliza should audit the class, and her parents complied. At the end of December, with 13 classes completed and 5 to go, Eliza received a letter from SOU's administration that she was withdrawn from the class because her presence in the classroom supposedly created a disruption to other students. She was no longer welcome to attend classes, effective immediately.

Eliza was angry and hurt. She made contact with one of her classmates, who was very surprised that Eliza had been dropped. Eliza's classmate made contact with their other classmates (19 in total), and deduced that no one from the administration had spoken to anyone in the class about Eliza. Every member of the class signed a petition that Eliza had not been a disruption in class, and asked that she be reinstated to finish out her last five classes. The classmates presented their petition to the Associated Student Body, who passed a resolution in Eliza's support that she be reinstated immediately.

However, despite overwhelming community support, the involvement of State Representatives, and protests by SOU's student body, the administrators at SOU ultimately did not let Eliza finish her ceramics class. The last day of classes has come and gone, and Eliza is devastated. In a letter that she wrote, she says,

"On November 8, I got a letter from Alissa Arp the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. She said I can’t be a student at SOU anymore. I was told I couldn’t go back to class. This did not sit well with me. I have projects to finish. I am still frustrated and upset. I do not know why the SOU administration won’t let me be a student. I try my best. I don’t bother anyone. I just do my work. I come to class. I have now missed 3 classes. I am not happy about that."

Those are the facts. More information can be found at

And now, I have to say that I am ENRAGED at this situation. SOU has always touted itself as being a place of inclusion--as being accommodating to students with disabilities. During my time at SOU, I took many of my law classes with a student who was deaf. She had an assistant who would stand at the front of the classroom and sign during lectures. Was this occasionally distracting? Yes. BUT, there was also no question in my mind that the importance of my classmate's access to education far outweighed any minor distraction that I may have encountered due to her personal assistant's presence in the class.

My classmate? She's often featured on fliers from SOU's alumni association's requests for financial support. She's touted as being a perfect example of how SOU accommodates traditional and non-traditional students alike.

Except when they don't, apparently.

Because the bottom line, from my perspective, is this: Eliza paid to audit a ceramics class. SOU gladly accepted her money, and allowed her to do that. SOU decided that she was a disruption in class, and kicked her out. The fact that she was a disruption is something that every single one of her classmates denies. But even if she were a disruption in class, it seems to me that the appropriate thing to do would have been to allow Eliza to finish her last 5 classes (one to two weeks worth), and then to address her participation in any further classes at THAT point.

Right now, I am ashamed to be a graduate of Southern Oregon University.

I'd like to see Eliza's story more widely circulated, because I just don't think it's okay. I'd like to see more people sign the petition to allow Eliza to return to school ( Even though it's no longer an option for her to continue her ceramics class, I think it is important for Eliza to see how many people support her, and feel that the school acted incorrectly.

Monday, December 13, 2010


On December 1st, I blogged about the money crunch we were experiencing this month. It was one of the first times this year that we've experienced questions about how to pay our basic bills, let alone food or gas {Justin is not on salary--he's an hourly employee that is also partially commission based}.

I blogged about my internal battle of knowing that when we follow the path that God calls us on, our needs will be provided for, but the battle of actually waiting on the Lord, and trusting for that to happen. It is so hard for me to sit patiently and wait sometimes. Sometimes, it is so hard for me to trust, even though I do believe.

Therefore, do not be anxious, saying, "What shall we eat?" or "What shall we drink?"  or "What shall we wear?" For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. ~Matthew 6: 31-32 

I am so excited to write this post, because the ways in which we have experienced provision in these past two weeks have been humbling and absolutely awe-inspiring for me:
  • I was able to participate in a craft fair, and made a modest amount selling headbands. I was then invited to participate, free of charge, into a second "shopping night", where most of the participants were young moms, and made an average of  $17 an hour {it's especially important for me to look at the hourly breakdown, because at the onset of the initial "Crunched" post, I was contemplating looking for a part-time retail type job, that likely would have paid minimum wage. I did not think that this was what God wanted, but I wasn't entirely confident in His ability to provide for our needs at that time}. 
  • The weather over the weekend was spectacular, and I was able to do a pending photo shoot.
  • My parents gave us an incredible monetary gift, saying that they were "paying it forward" from a time when their parents had done the same. 
  • Justin's parents gave all their kids our Christmas present early this year, which was part of a grass-fed cow, split four ways. What a brilliant gift!
  • So many friends, many who aren't aware of our financial situation, have dropped off Christmas presents for Lizzy.
  • I've had several instances in which people who have no clue about our financial situation have spontaneously given us things--whether it's one of the older ladies at church giving us the leftover chili from the lunch at the craft bazaar, or the mentor couple from Bible Study saying that they have a huge bag of their granddaughter's old clothes that are Lizzy's current size, and asked if we accept second-hand clothes (um, yes!).
  • For the first time ever, we actually received formula samples and checks in the mail. One of them was a $12 check, for the exact type of formula that Lizzy usually uses.
These are just a few examples of the way we've experienced provision in the past two weeks. It has been such a good lesson for me that God will provide, just not always in the ways that I anticipate--for example, I thought that most of our monetary need would be answered in the form of a Christmas bonus for Justin, which they typically receive the Friday before their Christmas party (which was this past weekend). But Friday came and went without a check. Even though that opportunity didn't arise this year, so many others that I would never have anticipated did, and our needs have been met. God is so good.

Will Justin and I be getting each other lavish gifts for Christmas? No. We *might* do small stockings for each other, depending on how things go. But our fridge is full, we have gas in our cars, and we were able to get the little kids in our lives small Christmas gifts. Our needs, and even a few of our wants, have been provided for.

It sounds so bizarre, but I am actually really thankful for our money crunch this month, because it's re-framed things for me. It's made Christmas cookies and buying a yearly ornament for Lizzy feel like the special treats that they truly are, rather than givens.

Thank you guys for your prayers and encouragement these past few weeks. My heart is so full.

Friday, December 10, 2010

One Week, Three Books

So, one of the benefits to having a toddler who will ONLY NAP WHILE LAYING NEXT TO YOU, is that you get a lot of reading done {the other benefit is obviously toddler snuggles}. So, in the past week alone, I have read:

Outlander. Whooo boy. This was one steamy book. I was a little wishy-washy at first because it felt like a Danielle Steele romance novel, and I'm not usually all that into romance novels. Nor am I usually into books set in the 1700's or 1800's. And it was a LONG book, and I wasn't sure that I was ready to invest in such a darn long romance novel. But in the end, I actually enjoyed it a lot. Parts of it were HARD to read (as in the characters go through some pretty awful stuff), but it's been a long time since a book has kept me up past midnight to read and so I've got to give it kudos for that. Also, I'm cursing the fact that between all the libraries in the county, there are only 4 copies of book number 2 in the series!

I noticed that Justin has started reading the book too, so I'll have to see what he thinks of it.

Mockingjay. The last of the Hunger Games Trilogy. I was so, so excited about this book, and I ended up kind of irritated after having read it. I felt like there were THREE BOOKS worth of build up, and only about 50 pages of resolution.

I just felt like the author had an ending in mind, but hadn't really spent enough time thinking about how to get there. There were so many loose ends that I didn't feel were appropriately addressed.

My college roommate from my sophomore year and I Facebooked angry rants about the ending of the book to each other, and it reminded me how much I wish that I had a group of women to do a book club with down here!

The Wednesday Sisters--This was a quick, easy, and enjoyable read for me. Essentially, it's about five women who meet at the park, and decide to get together and form a writing group. They become fast friends. This book reminded me a LOT of both The Jane Austen Book Club and The Friday Night Knitting Club.

It wasn't a heavy or life-changing novel, and it was a bit trite, but it was still a fun read, and one that found me tearing up at the end.

And there you have it. I suppose that I recommend all three, even though Mockingjay ticked me off...because if you've read that far in the Hunger Games series, you have to finish it out. Now the only question is what to read next while I wait for my name to come up for the next Outlander book at the library?!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Letter to Lizzy- Eleven Months

Lizzy Loo,

In the last few days, I feel like you have really started to look and act like a toddler, rather than a baby. You just look so different, even from a couple of weeks ago. You have also been babbling and talking to yourself constantly. People even comment about what a talker you are when we're out and about. And you are--right now, you say Ma-Ma, Da-de, Bo (which means Bones, our cat), ki-kah (kitty cat), ohhhh!, and hey!. You also shake your head "no", which sometimes means yes, and are working on the signs for "all done" and "more".


You're still mostly interested in books, and know which shelf on the bookshelf contains your books. Every morning, you like to pull all your books off the shelf, and spend hours each day reading your favorite ones. Right now, your favorite is "Llama, Llama Red Pajama"--I think we've read it at least 20 times a day since we checked it out from the library, and any time I put it down, it spurs a tantrum that lasts at least 10 minutes.


Typically, you aren't too interested in the TV. We've attempted watching some borrowed Baby Einstein movies and whatnot, and for the most part, you could care less. However, there is one video that has lots of footage of live animals, and you're just starting to become intrigued.


The other day, while watching the animal video, I decided to take some photos of you, because you literally don't sit still ever anymore. And I'm so glad that I did, because you were making the silliest faces ever, and I ended up getting my favorite picture of you to date:


You're also at the point where I literally cannot turn my back on you for a second, even if I'm in the same room. Case in point--the other day, you were playing on the floor. I was in the same room, but turned my back to grab some laundry to fold. By the time I turned back around, you had climbed up on the couch and then up the couch to the window ledge to look outside.


Sweet girl, you've also been testing boundaries and limits in a major way this month. For example, you know that you're not supposed to play with the Christmas tree. But yesterday, you'd toddle up to the tree, say "Mama!", and then shake your head no. I'd say "That's right, we don't touch the Christmas tree." You'd reach out, touch, it, and then run away laughing.


You've also been intentionally hitting and pinching lately, and laughing when that person squeals in pain or says "ouch". I know that you're at the appropriate stage developmentally--knowing things you're supposed to do versus not supposed to do, but not always following the rules. But we've still been trying to set the stage with appropriate discipline, which is hard sometimes, because you're a born entertainer, and find ways to entertain yourself even when you're in time-out.


But let me tell you sweet baby girl, even when you're testing our patience, your dad and I love you so much. You are so silly, and make us laugh every single day. You don't like to snuggle much anymore, so sometimes if you happen to fall asleep on us, your dad and I will both hold you rather than laying you down in your crib like we probably should, because there is just nothing better.

Love you forever and for always,
Your Mama

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Christmas Pickle

Growing up, our family had one Christmas tradition that was pretty unique--the Christmas Pickle Ornament. Some say it's a German tradition, some say it's a scam to sell pickle shaped ornaments. Either way, it was {is} fun for us, and we plan to continue the tradition with Lizzy and any future bambinos.

The basic premise is this: on Christmas Eve, you lay out the pickle ornament in front of the tree with the milk and cookies for Santa. Then, Santa hides the pickle ornament. In the morning, the first person to find the pickle ornament receives an extra present from Santa--in our family the extra gift is usually some sort of candy.


For the last several years, Target has carried pickle ornaments for $2 or $3, which also makes it an awesome White Elephant gift. We plan to take the pickle as our White Elephant gift to Justin's work party this next Saturday along with this "pickle poem" explaining the tradition:

To start a tradition that will surely last,
here's the story about the pickle of glass.
The night before Christmas it's hung on the tree
Santa does it secretly.
And on Christmas morning when you arise,
the first to find it gets a sweet surprise.
A family tradition for all to share,
you'll look for the pickle year after year

Monday, December 6, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas....

It was a busy, busy weekend folks. A good one, but a busy one. Nevertheless, by Sunday night, I knew it was going to be a battle to get Lizzy to sleep. I suggested that we hop in the car, drive to a street nearby known for their Christmas lights, return our Redbox, and hopefully the little one would fall asleep on the way home.

So with Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra singing Christmas songs, we headed out:




PS- that last house? Kind of my dream house. That two story deck, those shutters, French doors, oh my!

For someone who used to hate Christmas time, I'm definitely getting into the spirit a little bit more every year :)

PPS- Little one was out cold by the time we got home!

Friday, December 3, 2010

December Scavenger Hunt

Let me be honest...I'm not too jazzed about the list of photo hunt items for December. It's a repeat list, and just seemed like it would be a chore. I like a lot of the 5-item weekly scavenger hunts that I see, but I prefer a longer time frame and list. So, I decided to make my own scavenger hunt list for December that would challenge me personally, and keep me excited about photography during these winter months.

Anyone want to join me in finding and photographing these 20 items during the month of December? You do NOT have to have a dslr camera to participate! You do NOT have to be a pro to participate! Photo editing is welcome! Basically, the only rule is that ALL photos must be taken between Dec 1st and Dec 31st, 2010 (no archive shots). On or about January 1st, I'll do a blog post with a linky. Feel free to link up if you wish!

The List: 

1.  Water
2. Angel
3. Architectural Detail
4. Shoes
5. Something yellow
6. Your favorite beverage
7. Something taller than you
8. Bokeh with Christmas lights
9. Bubble
10. Pickle
11. Heirloom
12. Your refrigerator
13. Chocolate
14. Candid
15. Music
16. Produce
17. Key
18. Board Game
19. Candle
20. Fuzzy

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Lizzy Photos (and a few snippets)

I've mentioned before that Lizzy is becoming quite a little ham. She loves to be the center of attention, and definitely knows how to be silly enough to get it! She also clearly knows about cameras now, and if she's seated/trapped where she can't walk away, she will smile and totally ham it up:

faces of liz

IMG_3160Align Center

Also, I think I have mentioned this before, but she is SUPER into Pat the Bunny lately. If you're a momma of toddlers and don't have this book, I HIGHLY recommend it and see it at Target often. Lizzy already knows all the actions, and can read the book by herself for hours. Isn't the last picture of her "smelling the flowers" the cutest.thing.ever?!


-In other news, thank you guys for your words of encouragement yesterday. Honestly, it's still a daily battle to not freak out and just to TRUST, but I'm trying to keep my head. We really appreciate the prayers, and everything else.

-I'm reading Outlander, as you may have gathered from the sidebar. Holy lord, there's a lot of Scottish sex. I feel kind of like I'm reading a Danielle Steel romance novel....but I haven't stopped reading it yet!

-Our house is a total disaster. Between trying to cram in workouts and frantic headband making into any available nap time, the house is suffering. The fact that we haven't really been home much this week (and won't be) doesn't help. Friday was supposed to be our night at home, but my mom's group is having a craft night, and I am considering going--I definitely have some crafts to work on, and they're also having a kid's clothing and toy swap. Lizzy is just starting to need 12 month clothes, and we could definitely use a few more things. I'm thinking this swap is a definite blessing, even though I would MUCH rather snuggle up on the couch with my sweet husband all night at catch up on Glee and other TV shows.

-I am terrified that Lizzy is getting her molars. I've heard that they typically come in around the one-year mark, but Lizzy already has 8 teeth, and she's acting like she's teething again (super fussy, grainy gross poop, drool city, sticking her fingers waaayyyy back in her mouth and chewing, hysterical if I try to feel for teeth, intermittent crying while taking her bottle, middle of the night screaming, etc). Ugh.

-Also, other mommas out there....have any of your kids been diagnosed with seasonal allergies? I am almost positive that Lizzy has them. She gets all the same symptoms that I do when mine are particularly bad, and my general practitioner even commented that she looks like she has allergies. But our pediatrician keeps insisting that kids cannot have allergies their first year of life. Frankly, I think that's bull....

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


One of the hard things about having a husband who works in the trades, is that there isn't necessarily a predictable paycheck every month--he isn't on salary, where we know that he will ALWAYS bring home X amount each month. Instead, his paycheck varies for a number of different reasons, including the fact that the drain-cleaning portion of his work is commission based.

Needless to say, when Justin got paid yesterday, it was a much smaller check than I think either of us were anticipating, for a variety of reasons. On my part, I had also completely forgotten that Justin had taken a draw last month to put a down-payment on a truck that he bought from a friend {which is another story and situation entirely}. Now, when I say it was a smaller check, I don't mean that it was a smaller check of the "oh, we'll have to scale down Christmas" variety. It was a smaller check of the "crap, this doesn't really cover our basic bills, let alone gas" variety.

{side note: sometimes I struggle with how much of the reality of our money situation to post on our blog. I don't want it to come across as though I'm complaining because we did choose this life. Also, I know my momma reads this blog and I don't want her to worry! Still, this worry about provision is sometimes a reality for me, and I feel like I also have to be honest about that.}

Months like this, I find myself questioning our decision for me to stay at home, even though I know we reached that decision after loads and loads of prayer, and that it was exactly what God wanted for us at this time. We've had tight months before {though not quite this tight}, and it has always worked out in the end. God has faithfully provided for our needs, always. Whether that meant a few extra photo shoots for me, or the appearance of some side work for Justin, it was always just enough. And it has been amazing to watch God provide that way in our lives. Doing so hasn't just been a blessing for Lizzy and I, it's made my faith in God's ability to provide stronger, even when things don't necessarily work on paper. It has really shaped the way I define "needs" and "wants".

That said, it is STILL hard for me to trust that we will be provided for, and that's definitely something that I'm struggling with today. It's definitely something that causes me to be scouring Craigslist for part-time jobs, even though I don't honestly feel in my heart that's what God wants.

Let me be clear--I'm not saying that we can just sit around, do nothing, and God will drop dollar bills in our lap. I do believe that God opens up opportunities in our lives that will allow us to be provided for, and also serve Him, like with the photography that has opened up for me this fall. And yes, I could {try to} pick up a seasonal part-time job, but I KNOW that isn't the path that God wants me to take right now, and would be serving myself rather than him. There may be a time in which I am called to work again, but that time just isn't right now. This isn't about stay-at-home moms being 'more Christian' or 'more faithful'--it's about prayerfully asking God what he wants us to do with our lives, and having faith that if we are following the path that God wants for us, our needs will be provided for.

And that's hard for me, because in my head, getting a job is the "easy" solution. I have to keep reminding myself that there are other potential solutions. I have the Christmas Bazaar this weekend, which will hopefully go well and bring in a little extra income. I have a photo shoot on Sunday if the weather stays clear. Justin is putting out feelers for some additional side work as well. If he receives a bonus this year, it will probably be in the next few weeks. We have an old clunker car that we've been meaning to list on Craigslist for parts. We have options. Last night, I still had moments of freak outs and anxiety, but sweet Justin just gave me hugs, and paraphrased Matthew 6:25-35. I fell asleep praying, and slept better than I have in months.

I'm still a little bit bummed that we won't be able to do up Lizzy's first Christmas like I would have liked. I just keep repeating a line from How The Grinch Stole Christmas that adorns our Christmas cards this year (our cards, which interestingly I had ordered before any of this had transpired...but how timely the message is now):

"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!" -Dr. Seuss
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