Saturday, November 20, 2010

Happy Birthday, Susannah!

To my Gorgeous Girl, on her first birthday-

I CANNOT believe how quickly this year has gone! It’s been a wonderful adventure, Susannah, and I’m so thankful for the 365 days we’ve had together. You have been such a gift to our family - in more ways than you can imagine.

You are a gift in and of yourself. Your sweet disposition, laid-back attitude, and unique sense of humor have added light and life to our family. Everything is more fun because you are here. You’ve made Aaron a big brother (and continue to teach him some important lessons about sharing and being kind). You’ve given dad a little girl to spoil endlessly (he’s been wrapped around your little finger from those first moments).

You’ve been an extra special gift to me, dear daughter, and one I didn’t expect. As I awaited your arrival last year, and even in the first few months of your being, I felt a lot of apprehension about having a daughter. After all, my experiences in the mother-daughter relationship have been rocky at best. I feared I might be doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past, or that I would be inadequate to be your guide into womanhood, but this year has put my mind at ease. Your birth was the most empowering experience of my life, and it birthed in me a new kind of faith in myself. In becoming your mother, I have become more confident, more assured of myself, more attuned to the still, small voice within me, and more certain that, with God’s help, I can be the mom that you deserve. It has been profoundly healing to be part of such a positive mother-daughter duo.

There has been precious little time that you and I have been apart during this year. “I love it,” said one man at our church, “that wherever you go, that kid is right there with you!” It’s true. You’ve been in my arms or riding in a sling in almost every place imaginable, from singing in the church choir to swimming in the pool and everything in between. We might get some funny looks as I walk the aisles of the grocery store wearing you on my back, but I love every minute of having you close, knowing you’re safe and comfortable.

Here are a few things that are “so Susannah,” and make you our one-of-a-kind girl:
  • Your “scrunchie face” - you wrinkle your nose and breathe in and out loudly. This face means your happy or feeling humorous. It always get a laugh!
  • Trucks and cars are your favorite toys. You’ll zoom them along the top of the train table and make a little motor sound. Only a girl with a big brother would master this kind of play.
  • When you sleep, you need it to be really, really, really dark. You’re so used to sleeping in my closet that you have a hard time in a new setting.
  • Your ivory blanket with satin edging is a must when it’s time for bed. I’ll lay it over my shoulder, and you reflexively lay your head down and start sucking your thumb. This is one of my favorite times of the day, when it’s quiet and just the two of us.
  • You can sign “more” and “all done” at the dinner table. You certainly aren’t shy at telling us either of those things!
  • Though you know how to crawl on all fours, you still prefer your crazy belly scoot to get somewhere really fast.
  • You’re a mama’s girl through and through. When you’re fussy and sqirmy, one hug from mama usually settles you down. I love that!

Thank you, Susannah, for all the ways you’ve blessed our family this year. We’re so thankful that God made you a part of our family, and we’re looking forward to all the adventures ahead of us.

Lots of love,

Here's a look back at Susannah's one wonderful year:

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Better Late Than Never!

I finally got my act together last week and snapped a few frames of our girl before the big birthday. I know we're way closer to the 12-month mark than 11, but better late than never, right?

She's now a crawling and cruising machine and, as usual, had no interest in sitting still for my camera.

(made with Be Inspired: Heidi v2 by WM[squared] and All Fall Down and Early Bird by Erica Zane)

What a gift this precious girl is to our family. It's shaping up to be a wonderful week of celebrating Susannah and all the ways she's blessed our lives.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Happy Digital Scrapbooking Day!

Hello, friends! Some of you regular readers know I'm a little bit of a scrapbooking nut. And today there are lots of you visiting here for the first time (you're my fellow scrapbooking nuts!!) as you ride the ScrapMatters blog train. Welcome, all!

The month of November and the Thanksgiving holiday took on a new meaning for me last year. On November 20th, our family welcomed our daughter, Susannah. That meant I ate last year's turkey dinner with a teeny little babe in my lap. Here's a page I created about that day:

I'm so thankful for the gift this girl has been to our family - and totally shocked at how quickly her first year has gone by. In just a few days, we'll be having her first birthday party. Oh, my!!! Here's a look at my big girl and me as we trick-or-treated last weekend. Isn't she the cutest little cow ever?

Why all the talk about Thanksgiving and being thankful? Because of this kit!

The ScrapMatters Design Team whipped this up to celebrate today's holiday, and you can get it free with a $20 purchase in the store. There's a huge party happening today with challenges, chat, games and prizes (not to mention a monster of a sale.) To keep the festivities rockin', I made you a little something...

Sorry, bottle of wine not included. ;-) Download link is no longer valid.

Your next stop on the blog train is Becky (Hoo-Rah). Are you lost? Don't worry, the ScrapMatters blog will help you find your way.

Happy Scrapping!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


If there was any shred of doubt that our commitment to family chiropractic care was paying off, this morning's appointment erased all doubt.

I'd been feeling concerned that Susannah wasn't sitting up independently or crawling, so we started seeing Dr. Tony once or twice a week to go after the problem. There had been good progress before today: Zannah was pulling herself into a sitting position and - as our last update told you- pulling up on the furniture. But the crawling wasn't happening yet.

Dr. T put our baby girl on the table, wiggled here her and pushed on her there. "Hmmm, that's interesting," he mumbled under his breath. One more small adjustment. Then he put on on the floor and...


The entire office heard me squeal with delight.

Here's a quick sample of her new mobility:

Friday, October 22, 2010

Did I say she wasn't standing yet?

I had just posted the last entry when I looked over and saw this. I think she's trying to make a liar out of me.

Her smile in that second photo is so undeniably Susannah. More of a smirk, really. You can just tell how pleased she is with herself. I love this girl!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The birthday countdown begins!

It's totally impossible that we're just a month away from the big birthday. I still think of her as a little baby, but she's clearly speeding towards toddlerhood. Check out the new skill she learned today:

She's climbing up on everything now - the couch, the train table, the dishwasher... She doesn't pull up onto her feet yet, but as long as she can reach whatever object she's after, she's a happy camper. Poor Aaron is having to find a new spot for his treasures. He used to be able to put things on the train table a know they were safe from Susannah's reach, but that's no longer the case. I think we're in for some lessons on sharing. :-)

And just for my own memory, we weighed her at Dr. Tony's this morning: 17 pounds, 10 ounces. For being such a chub in her first few months, she's really turning into a skinny-mini! By comparison, Aaron weighed 19lbs on his 1st bithday. Tony commented this morning that he thinks she'll be tall, too. Her legs are getting loooong. We've made quite a few trips to his office in the last two weeks, trying to get her left hip working well. She's still not crawling on hands and knees, and I was beginning to worry. But she's making good progress, and will now sit up to play with a toy as well as bend her left leg more while she scoots across the floor. Won't be long now and she'll take off!

30 days to go! I'd better start planning a party.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Chef Aaron

Aaron's third birthday has come and gone, and he was gifted with some REALLY wonderful presents. One of my favorites was an apron and chef hat made by Auntie Rebo. I just LOVE the fabrics she chose. Isn't it cute?

I emailed this photo to her so she could see her handiwork in action, and, of course, she made a scrapbook page about it. Wanna see it? And wanna see the one I made? Head over to Rebo's blog today to see what happens when two scrappers use the same photo and the same supplies to make two very different (cute!) pages.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Happy 3rd Birthday, Aaron!

Dear Aaron,

When Dad and I welcomed you into our family three years ago, we had absolutely no idea what we were in for. No idea that the sweet little baby face we stared into that night would grow into a bouncing ball of energy that could not be contained. No idea that you would so quickly learn the art of temper tantrums and parental manipulation. No clue that it would be such a battle to train you to listen and obey what we asked of you. We also had no idea how wonderful it would be to hear you call us Mama and Daddy, and to watch you grow into such a  spectacular little boy.

I asked you a few questions after dinner last night in an attempt to capture Aaron at three. Here's what you said:

  • My best friend is: James and Eli and Jakey and Tyler and Myles and Molly and Sam...
  • My favorite food is: Mastacolli and mapyle syrup and pancakes.
  • My favorite color is: blue
  • For fun, I like to: cook and play guitar
  • My favorite song is: Get Back Up (by Toby Mac)
And as I though more about the things that make you you, here's the list I made:
  • You love diggers and dump trucks and anything else that's big and has wheels.
  • Your sense of humor is second to none. Your giggle alone can make me laugh, but when you're doing silly dances or making up your own funny words, you can get the whole room rolling with laughter. 
  • Spicey Cat is your sleepy time friend, and you're still "borrowing" your sister's pink blanket, plus a white one of your own.
  • You're a super fast runner, and athletics, like most everything else, seems to come easily to you.
  • You have more energy than we know what to do with.
  • You love his sister like crazy. It's been a big transition for you this year, going from only to oldest, but you have surprised us all with your genuine affection for Susannah and the way you care for her. You're an AWESOME big brother!

There are so many special things about your three-year-old self that I would like to bottle up and keep forever, but I know that I can't simply describe you with a laundry list of your likes and habits. You have a spark, Aaron, and I see it every time you smile and your eyes light up. There is something deep inside you that's just beginning to take shape, and I'm so very excited to have a front row seat to watch you grow.

You are loved, little Bear, more that you can ever imagine. Being a super sentimental mom, I know I'd better stop now before I get all weepy over this birthday. I am so thankful for the privilege of being your mama, and excited to see the adventures that await us in the year ahead. Happy Birthday, Aaron!!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Susannah update: ten months

You'll have to forgive my "just-the-facts" post here. I'm trying to get some of this down before I forget, but there's no time today to be witty. If you can hang with my stream-of-consciousness, I'll reward you with a cute photo of the sweet girl. :-)

It's been a big month for our Princess Peach. She cut her first tooth on Labor Day, and a second quickly followed. She's getting up on her hands and knees, and I know any day now I'll look down and watch her crawl away. Her vocabulary is now up to two words: mama and baby (what a wonderful pair to start with!!) And it became painfully obvious she'd outgrown her co-sleeper last week when she climbed right out of it. She's now graduated to a bigger bed, but still sleeps in my closet. We're joking that we've turned our 3 bedroom into a 4. Ha!

I weighed her yesterday and found she's still trimming down: 17 pounds on the nose (down about 1/2 a pound from last month). This is no cause for concern, as she came into the world with some - ahem - extra, shall we say? As she gets more mobile and is better able to regulate her body systems, she's shedding the superfluous poundage. The upside is that she isn't flying through clothing sizes quite as quickly. It's been nice to have her wear some outfits more than twice before outgrowing them!

"She's just a beacon," our friend Dr. Tony said when he saw her earlier this week, and that's a perfect way to describe our gorgeous girl. She has a sparkle all her own, and it's a lot of fun to see her personality unfold. She's playful and opinionated and so easy going. She's a lovely girl, inside and out.

She's playing with her baby and I'm playing with mine!

Daddy sure loves his girl. She's soooo kissable.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Today was...

A boat ride in a box...

A family dance party with our little rock star...

Some scooting around on the floor...

A run through the sprinkler...

And a snack on the deck...

Finished off with a bonfire and s'mores with the neighbors.

In other words, a wonderfully ordinary day. Hope you're having a great weekend, too!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

He said something funny, and I remembered it long enough to write it down!

Say No To Piracy by Pretty in Green, MandyMade, and Wyld Web Designs

"I'm a pirate cooker!" you loudly proclaimed, pulling a chair up to the stove to help me stir the morning oatmeal. I love your imagination, Aaron!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Two Beautiful Faces

I had a photo session here at the house this week, so of course had to have my two favorite faces test out my backdrop and lights to be sure everything was just right. I love these beautiful little people!

Friday, August 6, 2010

A Day at Navy Pier

Office life can get a little stressful, so Mike decided to take last Friday off and get some R&R. We had a long wish-list of all the family outings we wanted to cram into a few short days - days lounging at the pool or a trip to the beach at Lake Geneva - but when we woke up on Friday morning, it was overcast and slightly chilly. Definitely NOT swimming weather. Instead, we headed downtown to Navy Pier, to meet up with a few of Mike's family members in from out-of-town. When we told Aaron we were going to ride on a big ferris wheel, his immediate reply was "I'm probably going to be scared!" But he wasn't at all! In fact, Mama was the only one who's slight fear of heights was triggered (don't ask me about the sleepless night I had, thanks to nightmares about falling from high places). But all in all, it was a spectacular day of family togetherness. Hooray for taking the day off, Daddy!

P365 Cluster Frames and Capture Words by Scrapmuss Designs
Boys of Summer by Britt-ish Designs
date tab by Katie Pertiet

A day at Navy Pier! It had been years (decades!) since either Mike or I had visited this Chicago landmark, so when Mike’s Aunt Stephanie, cousin Nick, and Grandma Maz said they were headed to the lakefront, we jumped at the chance to join them.The highlight of our day was riding the gigantic ferris wheel and taking in the gorgeous views of downtown. A walk to the end of the pier and dinner at the Billy Goat Tavern (where Aaron had a great view of the tall ship coming in and out of the dock) rounded out this fun-filled day.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

It's been one of those days...

Apparently there's sassy juice in our town's water supply. Everyone's acting up around here! My dear friend, Rose, posted this on her blog today, and it's an appropriate sentiment:

Thank goodness Daddy is putting our little monster to bed. Here's hoping tomorrow is a better day!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

[overheard] no. 4

I must start writing things down more. I know there have been three or four moments this week when I collapsed in giggles at what came out of Aaron's mouth, but darned if I can remember most of it now that I'm sitting at my computer to get it recorded. Here's a little taste of his hilarity.

Before lunch, the prayer went like this:
Aaron:"Dear God, 
Thank you for food,
and our bodies,
and Rosie,and Anderson,and James and Eli
and all our blessings.
Mom: "Is James a blessing in your life?"
Aaron: "Yes, he's a gentleman!"

A new favorite expression: Holy Moly Cow!!!

And from the pool this afternoon: "Susannah is getting baptized again!"

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Birthday, America!

Our town's July 4th parade is becoming an annual tradition for our family, and it's fun to look back at photos of years gone by and see how small the kids were. Look at these pics of Aaron and Jacob on their very first Fourth...

It's so unbelievable that Susannah is now this age, celebrating her first Fourth. Time is flying!!

This year we joined a few other families from our church and hiked to the parade route together. We found a great (shady!) spot, and the kiddos collected tons of candy. I'll probably post a few photos later on, but will share this one with you today:

Our weekend is full of cookouts and fireworks and celebrations with friends. Hope yours is, too. Happy Independence Day!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Summer's half over already???

Hello, July! The holiday weekend has always seemed like the unofficial half-way point of the summer, and I just can't believe it's here already. I kind of feel like our summer is just getting started! Every summer, I talk about making a list of things I want to do before the warm weather disappears, and a day at the beach is always near the top of that list. Whether it's the shore of Lake Michigan, the beach at Crystal Lake, or one of our long treks north to Cedar Campus, there's something about spending some time on the sand that makes it really feel like summer.

Here's a look at two of our beachy moments from the past:

Drift Away  by Graham Like The Cracker and By Becca
Gold Rimmed Alpha by Trixie Scraps

Drift Away by Graham Like The Cracker and By Becca
Stash Staples Solids paper pack 1 by Britt-ish Designs

And just so I stop talking about it and actually write it down somewhere, here's my summer activity wish-list:
  • a day trip to Lake Geneva (we found a really fantastic beach last year - can't wait to go back!)
  • a few trips to the zoo (must make good use of the membership we purchased)
  • a day on the Lake Michigan shore. We wanted to do this last summer and never got around to it, so it's a carryover from last year's wish-list.
  • a trip to Portage Park pool (Mike's old neighborhood pool)
  • a neighborhood fest or two, complete with ice-cream cones and pony rides.

What makes it feel like summer for your family? I'd love to hear about some of the fun things you have planned for the second half of the season.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Just a peek into our lives...

Two short videos that capture so well what's happening at our house right now. First, a moment from the dinner table:

This just makes me melt! Aaron is the best big brother I could have hoped for, and he has such a genuine love for his sister. I love that he's so excited by her success - and I'm praying that this kind of enthusiastic mutual  encouragement gets woven into the fabric of their friendship for a lifetime. (I also love that he wears a firefighter hat at the dinner table. What fun to be two!)

And here's a little clip I caught of Susannah's new mobility. Again, starring the red hat. :-)

Lookout world, she's on the move!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Goodnight, Sleep Tight

Getting up in the middle of the night is just a way of life these days. Whether it's for a midnight feeding or to soothe a toddler after a bad dream, someone is always waking me up. So it was a bit of a shock when I woke up yesterday morning and realized I hadn't heard from either child since bedtime the night before. Even more shocking was that it was 9am! (update: the shock continues... today's wake-up time was 10:15, when I went in to get both kids up. They would probably have kept right on sleeping without the mommy wake-up. CRAZY!!)

Ironically, I had just finished a scrapbook page about Susannah's sleep habits.

Ticket To Dreamland by Wyld Web Designs
template by Emily Powers

So maybe there's hope that I'll make inroads on my sleep deficit. Goodnight, all!

Friday, June 25, 2010

From the archives: Happy Birthday Emma!

Emma has always had a special place in my heart. Remember this blog post about her sixth birthday?

She and her family joined us this past weekend at Susannah's baptism, and it was fun to watch this little girl turn into a lady. Amidst all the business of the afternoon, I did get a few moments to chat with her, and it's clear that she's moving full speed ahead into a more grown up version of herself. It made me feel kind of old, to be honest! With images of baby Emma floating fuzzily through my head, I decided to reminisce a bit and dig up some old photos of her. Of course, then I had to make a scrapbook page!

All For One templates by Britt-ish Designs
Another Candle on the Cake by Graham Like The Cracker and Michelle Batton

It won't be long before my own little girl is smashing birthday cake in her face, which means that she'll turn into a big girl like Emma before I even know it. Thanks, Emma, for being a special girl, and for being a special part of our family. :-)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

From generation to generation...

June 18, Father's Day 1978 - My baptism day.

and June 20, Father's Day 2010 - Susannah's day to be marked with baptismal water.

What a special moment to see God's faithfulness from generation to generation. My mom, dad, and sister (who are pictured above circa 1978) plus many other family and friends sat in the front rows of our church, joining our covenant church family, and promising with Mike and I to raise Susannah in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. 

Taking our baptismal vows.

Aaron and Mike pour water into the baptismal font. This pitcher was a wedding gift to Mike and me.

Pastor Dave marks her with the water of our identity, 

and prays that God would use all things in her life to bring her to know and love him.

The choir sang a special hymn while Rose walked Susannah through the congregation. So many commented after the service about how well she handled all of this - not a single tear or whimper.

The Porter family.

And the Sharps.

Grandpa Lloyd looks happy, but not so sure about Susannah. It was way past nap time!

Then we headed home, praying the rain would hold off so we could enjoy lunch on our new deck.

Aaron and one of his best buddies, Jacob.

No party is complete without a cake from Costco. :-)

We made a lot of special keepsakes to remember the day. This photo has the words "We do, God helping us," which was our answer to the baptismal questions, around the border. As a way of affirming their promise to partner with us in raising Susannah, each person present at her baptism was encouraged to sign this photo. It's hanging in our dining room now, and is a wonderful reminder that we're not on this parenting journey alone.

There were so many special details that went into this event, and it all came together even better than I could have imagined. The banner that stood behind the baptismal font was a special project I created as a gift to the church, and I'm excited to see it again and again with each baby welcomed into our covenant family. It couldn't have come to life without the help of Rebecca (my sewing tech support) and LeAnn, who came to my rescue on Friday night when I needed help with the finishing details. And Susannah's dress was expertly crafted by "Oma" Ligtenberg - Rebecca's mom. Because they live in California, they weren't able to join us, but each time I received a compliment on that beautiful gown, I felt a little hug from them. And without a lot of help from my sister, mom and two nieces, who did everything from dusting and vacuuming the house to preparing sandwiches and assembling name tags, I could have never gotten it all done. I love that it was such a community event!

Finally, I wanted to share the video of Sunday's service. It runs about 10 minutes, and you may have to turn the volume up to hear everything that is said. But I know Susannah is loved by many, and lots of you don't live nearby. So consider this your front row seat. :-)