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  1. a little something

    March 30, 2016 by louissa

    Ah! The afternoon.

    Laundry is rolling, soup is simmering away on the stove, two little boys sleep upstairs, and I’m sitting down to pause for the first time since this day started rolling and I think, “Ah! We made it!” (Made it = mama had a great attitude all morning long because maybe all that praying and scripture reciting and begging for Holy Spirit fruit is paying off???) Anyone else know that feeling?

    I’m making black bean soup for tonight. And just a few days ago I made rice and lentil casserole. My kids are going to grow up thinking that such food is totally normal. And my poor husband probably dreams about the life he used to lead which included steak and chicken and roasts and everything meat. He talks often of the day we’ll have an extra freezer and can split a cow with his parents. I should probably buy more meat for my family.

    And these two:

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    They don’t actually sleep in this bed together. Yet. I kind of can’t wait till they do. I mean, I can because I can only imagine the difficulty we’ll have in teaching them that they do need to actually sleep even when in the same room or bed, but some of my best childhood memories are from sharing a room and bed with siblings. We didn’t always sleep that much either. Last night I randomly remembered a phase my older brother, younger sister, and I went through when Older Brother would set his alarm for 5am and we would wake up extra early just so we could play “Snakes”. Our snakes were friendship bracelets we would drag along the floor.

    We were totally normal. Not weird at all.

    BUT I LOVED IT. And I watch how much fun my boys already have together and I get all sorts of happy inside that they’re already becoming friends. God, keep them friends. Best friends. Always.

    Off to fold laundry! Happy Wednesday!


  2. a snowy Wednesday

    February 10, 2016 by louissa

    Hi there.

    It’s been snowing since I woke this morning. It’s pretty – this fresh, currently clean snow – and on these days I’m thankful that I did my grocery run yesterday so there’s no reason for me to load my two charges into a car that needs to be cleaned off to go anywhere.

    The few years of working — when work was 1/4 mile away from where I lived and most days I walked there (my life has always been so… easy.), I used to grumble on these days and be openly frustrated as stay-at-home-mom after stay-at-home-mom posted to the world wide web about how amazingly splendid these snowy, chilly days were. Yeah, sure, you can enjoy it because you get to stay in your slippers all day long while the rest of us tie up our boots and scrape ice off our windshields. Easy for you to celebrate the wonders of winter.

    I know. Great attitude. I’m really sorry for how much growing I needed to do at twenty.

    I especially hang my head in shame since here I am now, a stay-at-home-mom, and the only time I start to be done with winter is on the days it’s too frigid to take my two sweets outdoors and the cooped-up-ness starts to bring out extra mischief from the toddler (Because, please, we have enough mischief in our house. I don’t need more medicine bins pulled out, walls drawn on, or “tricks” that involve convincing the baby brother to jump off our toy chest into the waiting — but not strong enough — arms of the toddler brother.). Otherwise, I stay in my slippers and post to the world wide web about how pretty freshly fallen snow is.

    Basically, I wasn’t very good at rejoicing with all the blessed women who could stay put in their warm homes these days.

    I’d like to think I’ve grown up a lot in that area since those days of working in a little gray office. But oh my, if this winter has done anything for me, it’s shown just how much I need to continue growing. In so many areas. The good news is that I want to. I wince as emotions and habits are being revealed for what they really are — sin in my life. I am thankful that as I go through this pruning time, my church is also starting a series on the Holy Spirit. How I need His constant power in my life.

    So there’s that. Snow and slippers and growth and Holy Spirit empowering us to break away from areas of sin.

    There’s also all the cooking that goes into this season. I love summertime food, and I think I would be fine barbecuing some sort of meat and serving it over salad almost every single night, but I do love that my pots and pans and oven get a bit more use during these colder, darker months. I thought I would share a few favorites — although I sometimes hesitate to give out recipes since I don’t normally follow them completely as written, but that should make you feel at liberty to tweak to your liking as well!

    And pizza dough that’s become our favorite for when we have Friday night pizza!


  3. a happy sort of friday

    February 5, 2016 by louissa

    Yesterday I realized that for the first time since my sweet Ellis was born, we’ve had a set schedule to our days for three whole weeks straight. This is rather bittersweet since, at least with my babies, regular and predictable sleep times don’t come till they’re leaving the days of infancy behind, but I am fully embracing this new feeling of having structure and rhythm to our days and weeks.

    I say it’s my personality but perhaps it’s just that I’m controlling, but I love routine. I love knowing what to do when to do it, and knowing that chances are, I’ll be able to tackle whatever it is I’m supposed to tackle. I’ve learned where my expectations should be in these days of having a three-year-old and fifteen-month-old as my constant companions, so I made myself a very simple chore chart the other day. No more trying to clean the house top to bottom and do laundry and have a fancy dinner on the table all in one day. Now it’s all spread out and I know what my day will look like (sort of).

    The husband saw my list hung on the refrigerator one night and commented, “You don’t do chores on Friday?” I just laughed. That’s the day where the boys and I will spend (starting in two weeks!) the morning helping with a local homeschool enrichment program. By the time I get home, I’m doing really well if I can throw a load of laundry in and get dinner on the table and still be smiling as I feed my family. So no, no set chores for that day, babe. Just the general maintenance.

    And today, I loved my “free” Friday. Two boys with runny noses and a bit on the tired side, I was so happy to not do much other than sit and really spend my day with them.

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    Books read, new games taught, castles built — a cozy-up day in comfy clothes with no place to go.

    One babe still sleeps (he was tired — we’re past the 3 hour mark) and the little boy plays while coming to lean up against me every two minutes and say, “Mom, what you doin’?” I think we’ll keep doing this Just Hanging Out thing until it’s time to light some candles for the night. And it’s feeling like a Hot Sandwiches, Carrot Sticks & Peppers, and Chips & Salsa sort of night for dinner. Let’s just keep things simple, shall we?

    Happy Friday.


  4. hey 2016

    January 20, 2016 by louissa

    January 20, 2016.  A new year.  I feel a little late in the game this time ’round since this is our first “normal” week since Christmas.  I missed the New Year hubbub in the midst of fighting a fever that lasted a few weeks.  Moms aren’t supposed to get sick.  I have no memory of my own mama ever getting sick despite the fact that she was constantly surrounded by snot, vomit, sore throats, and feverish kids.  I mean, not constantly, but with nine kids she must have had more exposure to all sorts of things than most.  But me?  I get sick.  I got the stomach bug a year ago.  A virus or bacterial infection or something (the doctor never really did tell me what it was) this year.  So what’s wrong with me that I’m a mom who gets sick?  And what’s coming next year?!

    There are multiple reasons why moms aren’t supposed to get sick.  It’s terribly inconvenient (especially when you have little ones and you are the in-home daycare provider), The Husband loses weight because you’re not cooking which makes you look like one lousy wife, and in a few short weeks your babies grow up SO MUCH.  I laid in bed for longer than I would have liked, finally got up, and so many changes!

    The three-year-old talks.  Like, really talks.  Full sentences!  Asking questions!  Genuine expressions of love and gratitude without being told to express love and gratitude!  How did that happen?  And my baby is suddenly not a baby.  He toddles about and points to show you what he would like and plays Ring Around the Rosie and thinks he should have his own plate and feed himself at every meal (have I ever mentioned how much I struggle with sticky, messy kids?!) and is generally showing us, his world, that he now has an idea of how life should go and lets us know when he’s not thrilled with us for not going along with his plan.  He wasn’t doing that 4 weeks ago.  4 weeks ago he was still my easy, laid-back baby.  Now I have two boys with set ideas.  And I’m one mama who also has ideas for how things should go.  It’s a crazy, fun home these days.

    So the calendar year changed while I was spending day after day in bed.  And winter also came.  We all knew it would.  After an incredibly warm December and start to January, these temperatures seem extra cold.  I thought of last winter and how faithful I was to bundle up one toddler, strap a baby into his carrier on me, and take a walk almost every single day.  Adrian asked repeatedly to go outside yesterday.  We were having one of those days where the seconds seemed to be dragging by, the baby wasn’t super happy because of a cold, and the toddler wasn’t super thrilled that mom was “back” and so was order and routine, so after being asked to go out to the snow for the hundredth time, I finally agreed.  Two boys bundled up and one mama somewhat bundled (I need proper gear for these single digit days!) and out we went.  Two minutes later the baby was looking at me like I was torturing him and he started to whimper as the biting wind took our breath away.  Three minutes after that we were inside removing all the gear and thanking Jesus for a warm house.  How did I take so many walks last year?

    That’s all.  Hey 2016.  Hi regular rhythm of life.  Hello structure to our days.  It’s good to be back.


  5. i will be joyful

    December 22, 2015 by louissa

    Christmas week is upon us! I started yesterday feeling the energy that always accompanies this incredibly wonderful week — it’s filled with extra practices for special Christmas music, menus being decided and responsibilities doled out for a family feast, and then there’s the panic that accompanies when you actually go through what you’ve purchased for presents only to realize that there are some major holes in the stocking department. No worries, a quick morning trip to our world’s favorite Walmart yesterday helped that incredibly.

    And then I woke up today. And in more ways than one, my body was telling me that it’s a bit worn out. The achy head, the scratchy throat, an incredibly swollen gland, burning eyes, and issues in the nursing mother’s world which I’ll spare you the details of — I’m feeling a bit run ragged. And I was so glad for the excuse for a day of Christmas week routine. Pajamas weren’t taken off till 10, I watched the Curious George Christmas movie with my two boys, dough for Christmas Eve cookies was made and now sits in the fridge, and we took a walk to get some fresh air. Two boys now sleep and I’ll join them soon.

    I’m thankful for a bit of hush in the midst of a full — full of wonderful, good things — but full week.

    The other day the devotional I’m going through had us read a well known portion of scripture from Habakkuk:

    Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!

    Christmas is a joy-filled time. Sometimes, because of life, it’s hard to see the joy. Our eyes get clouded by difficulties, sorrow, struggles. And I’m struck that I can be light to those around simply by my ability to pursue and choose joy. No matter where I am or what I’m going through, God continues to give gifts and lavish His love upon me. That’s reason to be filled with joy. And sometimes I need to decide to seek and see joy in my life; to look for His fingerprints of goodness that surround and cover and are all over my life. He’s there. In the midst of it all. I just have to open my eyes.

    Now for a few minutes of afternoon sleep to make this day even more perfect…


  6. because boys sleeping mean I can continue to ramble

    December 16, 2015 by louissa

    My afternoons have been transformed this last week and a half. The baby, who has never been a very scheduled baby, and whose lead I’ve always followed, has suddenly started to transition to one afternoon nap. HIS NAP AND THE TODDLER’S NAP OVERLAP. This is an incredible thing in the life of a mom. I mean, yesterday afternoon I actually cleaned my bathroom. Like, scrub the grout with a toothbrush clean. And today I mopped my floors. This is incredible because of how full my days feel and yet how little it feels I get done.

    Oh, dear babies of mine, how I enjoy this busy, busy life you’ve given me. Just last night I sat at my mama’s kitchen table drinking coffee and eating Christmas cookies and talked of the mayhem you two energetic tots bring to my world. The broken decorations, the water from the humidifier tanks being emptied all over my living room floor, kitchen cupboards and the refrigerator being emptied in attempts to find food, vacuum filters and attachments being pulled apart and strewn all over, the bottom half of the tree looking absolutely dishevelled since it’s been the major battlefield this last week and a half and I’ve hastily redecorated it multiple times every single day.

    You two have so much fun together, and although there are moments I want to tear my hair out since going down to the basement to change a load of laundry is enough time for you two to get into something, I wouldn’t ever trade your energy for the world.

    Maybe someday you’ll enjoy sitting in one spot stacking blocks (do kids out there actually do such things?!), but for now I’ll enjoy the constant clamour of laughter, little feet running (even though they’re not supposed to) and little legs crawling (because why walk when you are so good at crawling), and the fact that half my day is spent redirecting you from trouble or helping you stay in one area and productively “play” (because yes, sometimes you have to actually teach a child how to play) or cleaning up from an incredible mess you made.

    And in the midst of that you run/crawl back to me for a kiss or you reach up to me with your sticky baby hands because you want a hug and I’m reminded that I’m the most important person to you. I will gladly kiss your dirty face (because my boys just somehow get so dirty) and watch your newest trick and tell you how awesome you are (because that’s your favorite word) because you are my world. Sometimes it feels like a monotonous, small world, but when I pause and see you for who you really are — future men — it seems like a wondrous, overwhelming world.

    And yeah, dear reader, you read that correctly. Our laundry is in the basement of our new home. It’s pretty much one of my least favorite things. I mean, for the basement of a house built in 1889, it’s pretty amazing, and the previous owners kept everything in impeccable condition, but can we just talk spiders? There will always be way too many spiders in basements. Moving our laundry up to the first floor is on our Someday list. It’ll happen. But for now I’ll keep going down and be grateful that at least I don’t have to go to a laundromat (because dirty, dirty boys).

    I’m off to go fold laundry because I have a few more minutes of quiet before my Energy wakes and needs my attention.


  7. december night ramblings

    December 13, 2015 by louissa

    December 13. A whole week of the glow from the tree lighting our small living room throughout the day. Cookies that are only made in December have been baked (and too many consumed). Christmas tunes are played during the rare moments when I can handle background noise (wow, being a mom has changed me!) or when I declare Dance Party Time (when I’m in the mood for attempting controlled chaos).

    The just-turned-three-year-old finds everything about this season positively THRILLING. Taking walks is not simply mindlessly sitting in the stroller anymore as his crazy mother drags him around town — he knows the route he wants to take to pass all his favorite blowup lawn decorations. He thought decorating the tree was magical, Jingle Bells is sung daily, and he’s been able to eat way more cookies this week than ever before which is obviously the best thing ever.

    We’re working on the whole Santa/Baby Jesus thing, but there’s slight confusion on the real meaning of Christmas or who Baby Jesus really is anyway. He recently informed me that Christmas is about Santa bringing him presents, and this morning he asked if the the overdue baby my oldest sister is carrying is Baby Jesus. I laugh as he informs me throughout the day of what he would like Santa to bring him. How does he even know that Santa “brings” gifts?!

    It seems that every Christmas season finds me wishing I was being more intentional; walking through this season more purposed. But I’ve been learning this: life with a three-year-old and one-year-old, regardless of how much you as an individual may like it, won’t ever be super routined. No day ever looks exactly like you think/want it to. You never have as much time (or energy) to do it all. And the romantic ideas of a little family sitting around the dinner table discussing God’s Gift doesn’t happen exactly as I picture it. At this point we do our rather short devotional reading and as much as possible we talk about how Christmas is Jesus’ birthday — try to help a little mind comprehend something about this holiday. And then the baby starts to cry and the toddler decides to join in and we end the conversation.

    Life’s all about being flexible anyway, right? I have to pursue grace daily for that flexibility to be my portion, but it’s needed and necessary to walk these days out in love. And I want that more than I want my perfect schedule and the perfect kid who sits surrounded by candlelight as we read lengthy portions of scripture (ha!).

    I have been working my way through Ann Voskamp’s devotional (just myself — a bit too much for my little guy right now!) and I’ve enjoyed it immensely. Simple, short, and what a refreshing reminder of the Great Love that’s on display through all of scripture! If you’re looking for something for you and your family for next year, I’d recommend! I’m eagerly looking forward to the years to come when we can go through it as a family!

    That’s all for now. A few random thoughts on this December night. Our two boys are now asleep so I’ll go and spend a few minutes of quiet with The Husband as we gear up for another week.


  8. thanksgiving 2015

    November 26, 2015 by louissa

    A husband who sent me off on a morning run and made eggs, toasted bagels, and brewed me coffee while I was out.

    An energetic, enthusiastic brand-new-three-year-old sitting quietly in the back seat on our drive home from our festivities suddenly exclaiming, “The moon! Dad, that’s an awesome moon?!”

    A babe falling asleep on my chest as I lay on the couch watching While You Were Sleeping. (That same baby taking his first faltering steps just last night!)

    Parents who open their home and hearts to all us kids (and our growing families) time and time again.

    A day spent with sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews, cousins, grandparents, and an aunt and uncle. So much conversation, laughter, and love.

    Ushering in the Christmas season at the end of  festive day by singing Jingle Bells and Deck The Halls and Rudolph in candlelight.

    An awesome God who created an awesome moon for my boy to notice. A God who gives me grace to live out the things He’s called me to. A God who saves, rescues, redeems. Everyday.

    The attempt at trying to get a picture of the four of us because hey, we all look decent right now. But really, getting a good shot with a three-year-old and one-year-old? Fat chance. But I love this. It represents this season of life quite well.

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    My heart overflows because of His goodness in my life.


  9. morning update

    September 2, 2015 by louissa

    I’m just over here finishing my morning cup of coffee and wishing for a Keurig for the first time ever in my life.  I could really go for a second round of my morning comfort, but the idea of making it seems like too much work right now.  (Whenever I admit to such things I think, “I am the epitome of laziness.”)

    My two boys are happily playing.  They like first thing in the morning best and I love watching them as they’re starting to discover the joy of having a brother to play with.  Boys are so much fun.

    Hey 2015, since we just put up new calendars and you just started and all, this September stuff that I’m seeing everywhere must be some sort of bad joke, right?  There’s no way we’re already in the month that will transition us out of Summer and into Autumn.

    But then again, the signs are here.  Mornings are darker, cooler, and grayer.

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    By mid-afternoon we’re still in shorts and tanks and stinking like pigs from the sweat that covers our bodies (we play hard around here), but that hasn’t stopped the leaves from starting to change color and fall.  Insane.

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    It also means that it’s been a year since we moved into this small village.  We’ve loved this year of making this area our home.

    Our little Joy Baby has passed his ten month mark.  I’m ignoring the fact that there are two short months till we celebrate his first big milestone: his first birthday.  He’s changing.  Growing.  Becoming.  He’s been a quiet, relaxed baby, but in the comfort of his own home with his own people, he’s slowly revealing his playful personality.  I’m trying to soak up all his squish and baby sounds and get every cuddle I possibly can. We absolutely adore him.

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    House projects are continuing.  The Husband works hard at his job and is doing well.  Adrian continues to make life a party for us.  Everyday that comes is another opportunity for me to learn how to lay down my life for my family.  I’ll be stretching myself and teaching two choir classes this fall for our local home school group.  We’ve rolled up our sleeves and found ways to serve at our local church.

    We have been richly blessed.


  10. Ellis Patrick

    June 22, 2015 by louissa

    Oh, you neglected little space.  So much living has happened these last nine months.  Like, a wedding anniversary.  A new baby.  Birthday celebrations all around.  The purchase of a house. First flights experienced by our two boys. The stomach bug for Daddy, Mama, and Big Brother.  The stomach bug again for Big Brother (those were some of the longest five days I’ve ever lived). Packing every possession we own in 2.5 weeks while caring for a toddler and baby. The Husband working long, hard days for a month straight to get us into our purchased home. And in general, trying to figure out life as parents to a toddler and baby while still being Husband and Wife.

    Ellis Patrick, I’m sorry I haven’t done the whole “here’s his birth story” thing.  I don’t think you’ll really mind down the road, but here’s a little something to try to catch up… You’re here. Created by God, brought into this world by me, your mama, in our small rental home on Friday, October 31, 2014 at 9:27am.  You arrived four days late.

    Labor was short and intense (somehow so much worse than what I remembered with your brother), and when I force myself to think of something other than the extreme and exhausting pain I experienced, I think singing.  My little bedroom, crowded with too many people for how small it was, filled with the peaceful sound of my mama (your nana), my sisters, your daddy, and even my midwife’s sweet assistant singing hymns.  I hated the pain associated with labor this time. You may say, “Don’t you always hate it?” It was somehow different than my first labor and I didn’t know how I was ever going to make it through.  I wanted somebody to stop the process.  I wanted to curl up in a fetal position, say, “I’m done now,” and have it all go away.  I did say, “I don’t want to do this. I can’t do this,” a number of times.  But when the singing would start — it was all I needed to help me focus once again not just on telling my body to relax, but reminding myself that the Creator of my body created me to bring forth life, and He was strengthening me through every wretched contraction.

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    Contractions woke me at midnight on the 31st and I was unable to get any further sleep because they were only fifteen minutes apart. By 4am we called the midwife and birthing team, and at 8:50am while in the bathroom I told my wonderful, amazing husband that I wanted to push.  My midwife, who told me after the birth that she had thought I wasn’t progressing as quickly as I had since I wasn’t “losing it” during the contractions (so nice to hear since I felt like I was not doing a good job of keeping myself together), calmly said, “Well, let’s get you to the bed and see where things are at.”  Surprised, she gave me the go ahead to work with my body and deliver you.

    I laid on the bed for what felt like an eternity with absolutely no contractions.  And I panicked that something had made my body pause.  Or what if the urge never came.  Why were there no contractions?!  It was the best break before a short, but hard process.

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    A few pushes and my bag of waters broke.  With the incredible direction by my midwife, I gave a few more pushes and your head was delivered.  She calmly told me to pause while she unwrapped the umbilical cord which was wrapped tightly around your neck (that was a bit scary and hard to do!), and then another two pushes and your shoulders and body came out. 20 minutes of pushing and I was done.

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    And there you were.  Long and big — 21.5″ and 9lbs 2oz — limp, blue, and a bit lifeless looking.  You gave us a scare those first 30 seconds, but you came around and were perfect after that.

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    I loved giving birth at home. I loved the ease of it. I loved the comfort. I loved being able to do whatever felt best as I labored and pushed. I loved having sisters and my mama in the room (more people than most hospitals would allow!). I loved hearing Adrian and his twin cousin playing downstairs. And I loved being home the second after I delivered our sweet boy. Home. I used my shower, sat in my bed, had all my things, and didn’t have to worry about getting ready to leave 24 hours later.

    You were a sweet, easy newborn, Ellis Baby. After getting days and nights figured out, you slept like a charm and were a content little thing. You’ve been here for almost eight months now. You grin easily and love to laugh. You’ve two teeth and two more about to push through. You absolutely adore your brother (as long as he stays a safe distance away from you) and you worship your Dad. You don’t sleep as well anymore and most mornings I wake with a knot in my back and a stiff neck from having you in my arms all night, but sooner than I know it, you’ll be past that stage and you won’t be demanding to be tucked safely by my side so I don’t mind.

    You are so easy to love.

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