29 May 2013

but it had been made good by grace

And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear.”
-Matthew 13:3-9 
 
Sowing Seeds in a Field, Vincent Van Gogh

"The ground is described as good: not that it was good by nature, but it had been made good by grace. God had ploughed it; he had stirred it up with the plough of conviction, and there it lay in ridge and furrow as it should lie. When the gospel was preached, the heart received it, for the man said, 'That is just the blessing I want. Mercy is what a needy sinner requires.' So that the preaching of the gospel was THE thing to give comfort to this disturbed and ploughed soil. Down fell the seed to take good root. In some cases it produced fervency of love, largeness of heart, devotedness of purpose of a noble kind, like seed which produces a hundredfold. The man became a mighty servant for God, he spent himself and was spent. He took his place in the vanguard of Christ's army, stood in the hottest of the battle, and did deeds of daring which few could accomplish—the seed produced a hundredfold. It fell into another heart of like character;—the man could not do the most, but still he did much. He gave himself to God, and in his business he had a word to say for his Lord; in his daily walk he quietly adorned the doctrine of God his Saviour,—he brought forth sixty-fold. Then it fell on another, whose abilities and talents were but small; he could not be a star, but he would be a glow-worm; he could not do as the greatest, but he was content to do something, however humble. The seed had brought forth in him tenfold, perhaps twentyfold. How many are there of this sort here? Is there one who prays within himself, 'God be merciful to me a sinner'? The seed has fallen in the right spot. Soul, thy prayer shall be heard. God never sets a man longing for mercy without intending to give it."
-C.H. Spurgeon 

27 May 2013

Weekend... stuff

"You are my delicate chain-smoking flower."
-J

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'ello there!
Life with Ellie: She slept really well this week. I'm excited-- once she even went for 6 hours straight. (I don't say this to brag about our stellar parenting method, because we don't have one. We haven't intentionally "trained" her, though sometimes we do let her cry for a while if it's time for bed and she is still stubbornly awake. I think this is just God's kindness to a tired mama.)

I know Ellie might decide to wake up three times a night again. If she does, oh well. For now, I'm enjoying it!

Little missy had her first chiropractor experience on Monday. Her pelvis was all locked up and her collarbone was out (birth is not the most ergonomic process). She screamed bloody murder the entire time . . . she hates being woken up from her nap, let alone poked and prodded by a complete stranger. Poor baby.

However, she is now noticeably more relaxed and doesn't hyperextend her back all the time. Yay!

I think that being a mom gets more fun all the time. Ellie can tell when we are in the room, smiles at us a lot, and likes being "played" with (i.e. tickling her feet, bouncing her on my lap, singing and making funny faces). She is definitely a little person, not only a bundle of noises and needs.

Yes, I get frustrated when she wants to be held for hours at a time and I can't do everything I think I should-- even with Ellie in the Ergo, some things are still impossible or at least a lot more complicated. But on the whole, I love having this girlie at home with me all day. She is growing like the proverbial weed, and I am glad that I get to be here for so much of her life.

My parents sang this lullaby to us every night before bed. I sing it to Ellie now.

22 May 2013

ahoy, discoveries! vol. 10 [newborn edition]

I have kept a small person alive for more than a month. Does that entitle me to have opinions on baby things? Yes? Well, here we go.

First of all, babies have a tendency to make messes at inopportune times. Like you're in the middle of changing them and they decide to pee without a diaper on. Well, for moments like that, you have handy dandy changing pad liners: toss the dirty one in the hamper and switch it for a clean one. Smart.

Want to give that messy kid a bath? You need Gerber's washcloths. They are soft but thin, exactly right for the small nooks and crannies on a chubby baby. A more substantial washcloth wouldn't be as effective.

Everybody registers for Aden + Anais blankets, but I would actually recommend these instead: Bambino Land organic swaddle blankets. (I got mine at half price on Zulily, so keep your eyes peeled.) They are delightfully fluffy. They also have a bit of stretch and are larger than Aden + Anais, which makes swaddling a cranky, flailing baby much easier.

And speaking of swaddling, The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp has been a lifesaver. I read it before Ellie was born and it made perfect sense-- recreating the womb environment, comforting baby rather than trying to make her "independent," looking to history and tradition instead of new and improved ideas. I tried his technique when she became inexplicably fussy and . . . magic. No more crazy fits of screaming.

I love the Ergo so much I can't even say. Allows me to weed the garden, wash dishes, fold laundry, and go grocery shopping with two hands and a contented baby. On fussy days when she doesn't want to nap by herself, I pop her into the Ergo and she drifts off while nestled against me. My back doesn't hurt either. (I must say that Ellie is definitely a cuddler; if your baby is not, she might not like it as much.)

We have the infant insert, and while it's nice to boost Ellie up higher on my chest, it isn't truly necessary for her. However, if any of our future little ones are smaller than this Amazon baby, the insert will be perfect.

Sometimes, of course, I do have to put Ellie down. Bouncy seat to the rescue! This one is made by Fisher-Price; it's sturdy but lightweight, cute (no garish colors), and easy to tote around the house. Ellie likes it. She watches me in the kitchen, sits on the table while we eat, and hangs out when Mommy and Daddy's arms need a break.

I suppose there isn't a lot of variation between pacifiers, but we have these (I picked them up at TJ Maxx one day, attracted by the cute design and the "natural" way they are supposedly designed). They are extremely useful when Ellie needs something to amuse herself.

Baby fingernails grow fast and double as dangerous weapons. I like these nail scissors a lot: they are precise but safe. And the duck logo is adorable.

Clothes. Well, basically you can never have enough of these basic onesies, then cute pants and a cardigan to dress it up. Don't forget socks that are actually molded to fit around tiny ankles and chubby feet, rather than silly, shapeless foot mittens. Little Mouse has striped ones, but these in argyle are precious.

Ellie is a stomach sleeper. So when she wakes up at night and starts yelling for the milks, she can move. Once those little legs get going, as Jared says, "She migrates!" I have found her turned 180 degrees from where she began, halfway across the crib, even scooched up into a corner. Crib bumpers have saved her from whacking her noggin many a time. We have the Harper set from Pottery Barn, and I like it not only because of the pretty pattern, but also the very firm material. I never worry about her squishing her face up into it and suffocating.

Also on the crib front, I would recommend these organic cotton sheets. They have very deep gussets (so they fit tightly on the mattress, no slipping at the corners) and are very soft, which is especially important to me because Ellie does sleep on her stomach and has her face pressed up against the sheet all night!

20 May 2013

I've seen you before

My family watches a lot of British miniseries dramas. Over time we've developed a sort of game that you might call "Haven't I Seen You Before?"  It consists of identifying actors by the other characters they've played, and then pointing it out before someone else does.

Oh hey! I recognize that guy from Cranford/Horatio Hornblower/Sense and Sensibility!

Even Jared is in on it now. This weekend we were watching Little Dorrit when he suddenly paused the DVD and exclaimed, "Wait a minute-- didn't she play Persephone in the new Upstairs Downstairs?"

And by gum, she did.

18 May 2013

Weekend linkage

"Hey! Did your mom tell you to do that?!"
-Jared after Ellie spit up all over him

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Life with Ellie: Well, we discovered that our baby is cute even when she's sick. Yup . . . she came down with her very first cold. Runny nose, sneezing, and sometimes a little cough. She's better now, though, and really, she remained very pleasant through the whole thing (the only truly distressing thing about it, apparently, was cleaning her nose). She basically just slept a lot.

Of course, she passed her germs on to me, so now I'm the one with the runny nose. Sharing: it's what we do.

Another "first" was smiling at her reflection in the mirror. My wardrobe has a full-length mirror on one of the doors. If we stand in front of it, she doesn't always notice the reflection (because she gets distracted by the window! the fan! ooh shiny!), but when she does she just stares in awe and sometimes-- that precious sometimes-- she starts grinning.

And finally, I jumped into the world of cloth diapering this week. It's not nearly as complicated or difficult as I thought it might be. Yay! It makes a little more laundry, and that's about it. I'm just using prefolds and covers, and we have had none of the problems I feared (leaks, rash, etc). Besides, cloth diapers make for a really cute baby bum. :)

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Lots of funny stuff today. I may just email this one to my students. GET IT RIGHT.

Kid President and Josh Groban. Kid President's face when Josh says he doesn't dance? Hilar.

More kids, rockin' out to pop songs in the back seat.

Thanks to Luke for this: if Congress tried to get stuff done like roommates. (Some language, lots of laughs.)

11 May 2013

Weekend linkage

The other day I went for a walk with Ellie. It was a beautiful day and at one point we walked beneath a flowering tree, in which were perched four boys about six or seven years old. Our conversation went like this:

Me: Hi there.
Boy #1: Oh no!!!! Get your camoflage on!
Boy #2 [ignoring him]: Hey, that's a cute baby.
Boy #3: What's her name?
Me: Elizabeth.
Boy #1: I have a basketball named Elizabeth.
Me: Oh?
Boy #4: You do not!
Boy #2: See you later.
Me: Bye, guys.
[I walk away and hear this . . .]
Boy #4: I wish I could marry that lady!

hahaha

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Life with Ellie: We started out the week on a pretty rough note, what with my mastitis and Ellie's sudden tendency to wail her head off and refuse to be comforted. By the middle of the week, though, the mastitis had resolved itself (I am thankful I didn't have to resort to antibiotics) and we had figured out how to calm Ellie down: I read The Happiest Baby on the Block while pregnant with her and decided to give its advice a try. Namely a tight swaddle, side or stomach position, loud hushing, rocking, and a pacifier if she wants.


It has worked almost every single time. She calms down quickly and will then contentedly be held or nestle in her seat, with her eyes wide open and mouth clamped down on the pacifier. Huzzah! I feel like a much better mom now. :)

"More than half of humanity lives inside this circle." Pretty astonishing.

Why did no one ever tell me how delicious homemade almond milk is?!

Really interesting article on a Russian Orthodox sect that's been on the move-- in exile-- for over a century.

Roller derby pseudonyms for literature majors, courtesy of MacSweeney's. ("David Chopperfield." Ha.)

Every generation is the Me Generation.

08 May 2013

5

Approximately five years ago I wrote my first post.

(It's not a very impressive one. Don't hold your breath.)

In five years I have gone globetrotting, moved four times, cooked a lot, learned a lot, read a lot, cried and laughed, fallen in love, gotten married, had a baby, become a crunchy mama, and hopefully grown more like Jesus.


Think back five years. Isn't it amazing how you have changed? Isn't it amazing what God has done?

04 May 2013

Weekend linkage

"So your finger is like a gateway drug."
-Jared [after I explained that when Ellie gets confused about how to use a pacifier, which she does on a regular basis, I let her suck on my finger and then slip the pacifier in]

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Life with Ellie: It's been five weeks already! My life is, of course, so very different from how it looked pre-Ellie, but I do feel more like me now. Though I will never be exactly the same as I was, I don't feel like a tourist in a foreign land anymore. It's not because she has suddenly become predictable-- to the contrary, our days (and nights) never look exactly the same-- but because I have chilled out and have gotten to know my little girl better.

She learned some new tricks this week: squeaking and spitting up. :) She's also getting a lot better at being by herself. I don't like leaving her alone too often, but she can happily kick her legs on the changing table for a while, or blink contemplatively at the world in her seat while I tidy up the kitchen.

At her one-month-ish appointment yesterday she was in the 65th percentile for weight (9 pounds 15 ounces) but 90th for height (22.5 inches!). Do we have a baby supermodel?

All that growing tuckers me out!

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Educational ghosts.

All the types of coffee you've ever (and never) heard of. "Americano: 1 part espresso 2 parts hot water. Mexicano: 1 part espresso 2 parts taco seasoning."

One more comic! What to do with those darn phone books they keep sending us.

Ever wonder what Queen Elizabeth I would look like today? Well, here you go.

Just so you all know, these brownies are splendid.

Less splendid. But hilarious. Aspic Glazed Lamb Loaf, anyone?

OK, something serious now. "Philosophers for Hire," an interesting post on Christians, college education, and what a "useful" major might really mean.

01 May 2013

Liebstering

My friend and fellow bloggeress Heidi recently nominated me for the Liebster Award. This is not so much an actual award as a way to say "Hey all, you should go check out this blog-- I think you'd like it!" Thanks, Heidi :)


Apparently, when nominated you're supposed to answer questions about yourself but I'm not sure what questions those should be. Instead I'll do what Michal did and give you some quirky facts:

1. My worst nightmare is to go swimming, turn around, and see a shark. I. Hate. Sharks. No matter how many times I watch Finding Nemo, I am guaranteed to jump and scream when Bruce shows up.

2. It took me five years after getting my driver's license to feel comfortable on the highway. Like, I would take really long alternate routes in order to avoid it. I still don't like driving in traffic with more than four lanes . . .

3. Russian literature and I don't get along very well. Anna Karenina and The Brothers Karamazov are two of the only books I have ever given up on. (I really enjoy Solzhenitsyn, though. The exception that proves?)

4. I was a picky eater when I was little. Well, maybe not super picky, but I disliked a lot of things that I love now: raisins, chicken, peas, milk, bread crusts, blueberries, and carrots. Weird.

I'm passing the Liebster on to these friends: That Still Center, Three Little Birds, Earth and Ashes, La Reverie, and Shannon Odell. So you should go check them out! And ladies, if you feel so inclined, pass it along. :)