December 17, 2014

lately: little moments

So many little things I never want to forget. Those little moments that seem like nothing but make up their childhood. I guess that is one reason I blog...

I don't want to forget  our Sunday afternoon family park trips. Pushing Elle on the swing, chasing James around on his bike, watching them show off their climbing and jumping skills for Lane...

I don't want to forget the way Eleanor stands up in her chair at the table, turns around to where I am in the kitchen, and declares "I yove you mommy!"...

I don't want to forget the middle of the night snuggles with Judah, or the afternoon couch (or bed) snuggles in which I am balancing Elle and Judah on my lap while trying to keep two binks in two little mouths and attempting to keep James entertained  all at the same time...

Or nights like last night, when we finally got our little night owl baby to sleep at eleven thirty, and Lane remarked that he hoped no one else would be in our bed that night. It was maybe three minutes later that Elle started crying for me. To exhausted to rock her back to sleep, I swooped her out of her crib and put her in bed between us. About two minutes later we heard James shuffling down the hall. Lane lifted up the covers on his side to let him in. So there we were: James, then Lane, then Elle, then me, all snuggled up in our queen size bed. At this moment Lane exclaimed "Well, I may as well get up and go to work." And I started giggling. Like, uncontrollable giggling. In a bed where there was hardly any room to breathe.

Those moments when you either laugh or cry. I try to always pick laughter.

Thanks for reading and allowing me to share these moments with you,

December 12, 2014

lately: Christmas for the win

Last week was a little rough.

It started with a short (praise the Lord) flu bug for James and ended in a nasty case of mastitis for me. In between there was lots to do and lots of busyness, lots of messes piled on messes, exhaustion, and some frustration.

Nothing horrible. Just a little rough.

It is all a sacrifice, which we moms know, of course. The sacrifice of our bodies with so many little people constantly needing it- needing to be fed, to be held, to be carried, to be cared for. The sacrifice of our time, when there seems so much to do, but no time to get anything done. The sacrifice of our home being clean and orderly and beautifully decorated.

You more experienced mother's don't have to tell me. I know: it is a season, it will be gone in the blink of an eye, I will look back on these days and miss them...

And so I sit down in the middle of the mess to play dolls, or build Legos, or read one more story. I ignore the dishes, the laundry, the clutter to have a wild dance party. I give another hug, have another snuggle at five'o'clock with no dinner in the oven and two children laying on me. I wake up to the cries of three littles wanting to get into bed with me, or eat, or go potty, or needing a drink of water, or their sheets and jammies changed due to an accident.

I throw open the Christmas decor boxes and let the kids go to town, resulting in a very busy mantel, lights everywhere, and a tree that was clearly decorated by people well under five feet tall. (I told a friend recently: "It looks as though our house got in a fight with Christmas, and Christmas won.")

I know that there is no better use of my body, my time, and my house. The Lord gave these things to me to give to my family. And despite the lack of sleep, the frustrations that may come, and the disorderly state of the house, my family is the greatest earthly blessing and joy I could ever have.

Happy second-to-last-weekend-before-Christmas!

Some posts from a year ago:
our Advent activity calendar
wonders of His love
and (what a nerd) trying to decide what to wear for date night

December 06, 2014

the thankful garland: a kid craft

During Thanksgiving time for the past two years I have made a thankful tree with James.  This year it was so fun to have Eleanor participate also...

They painted brown paper bags with fall colors to make the "leaves".

While they were painting, I left the room to change Judah. When I came back out to the table, they both proudly held up their arms, covered to the elbows in orange, purple, red, and brown paint. So, that was the end of the painting (and the beginning of bath time), but there was enough paper painted to cut out the leaves.

I never got around to writing what we were thankful for at home, so we wrote on the back of the leaves once we got to Grandma and Grandpa's house in Corvallis.

We sat around the fire eating popcorn and drinking apple cider and talking about what we are thankful for. As a result, many of the items written on the back of the leaves are things like "popcorn" and "fire in the fireplace".

Then Grandma Shirley strung a twine across the fireplace and we clothes-pinned them up. I think it turned out pretty cute.

November 26, 2014

lately: thanksgiving eve + just a tad christmas

It has been another fun, busy week hanging out with this peanut butter and jelly face girl and these sweet, smiley boys:

Since it is Thanksgiving Eve, I decided I should capture my fall mantel before it is not seen again for twelve months:

The vase at the far left in the photo above was made by Lane's brother, Ross, and is filled with sticks from my favorite tree in our yard- an aspen right off our back deck.
We always have family photos up, of course, and I added an extra one of the newest member of our family! The small stack of books (C.S. Lewis and Thoreau) and the old camera are mantel staples as well.
The adorable turkey candle holder was just given to me by Lane's mom. My favorite part are the dangling turkey legs- so awesome.

Behind everything is one of those cinnamon-scented stick brooms from Trader Joe's. It smells amazing. I also decorated with pumpkins and some wheat- how harvesty.


The little elephant is from Lane's trip to India when he participated in YWAM in college.
My favorite thing about our mantel is that my kids add things that they find very important and needing to be displayed. Case in point: the ceramic triangle that James painted and the random piece of wood with barnacles that he found at the beach. It makes me so happy that he sees our home decor as something to which he can contribute.

We did cheat, however, and started to decorate for Christmas just a tad in the basement. First, Elle's new doll house got some lights:

Then we built Zoo Lights out of Legos and train track. Unlike the Portland Zoo Lights, James decided ours needed a boat and a gas station.

Have a blessed and happy Thanksgiving!

PS: a Thanksgiving kid craft and, in case you don't get enough pumpkin tomorrow, pumpkin muffins and a pumpkin latte

November 15, 2014

lately: icey outside, cozy inside

Brotherly snuggles:

 I love how sweet James is with Judah. He is always wanting to hold him, giving him kisses, and talking to him in a funny baby voice. A bit different from the last time we brought a baby sibling home to him.


These two. They are always making forts or hiding in big piles of pillows and blankets they have collected from every room of the house. It is so fun to see them become buddies.

Construction James:

As we headed down to the basement the other morning, I told James he had to help pick up all the toys before we started playing. For some reason, he began meticulously organizing his work bench. It looked so nice and well organized that he didn't want anyone to play with it for the remainder of the day.

Story time:

James in long underwear. Eleanor picking her nose. But still so sweet. And might I add that this allowed me to get the dishes done before the kids were in bed. Miracles do happen.

Serving Tiggy:

Play food is one our rotational toys, so when I got it down the kids immediately set up a bakery/fruit stand/restaurant. Tiggy, Pooh, and Bear were just a few of the customers. Also, Elle served me coffee all day long.


We had a minor ice storm at the end of the week. James didn't go to his Thursday morning preschool and Lane worked from home Friday. It was so cold in the morning that I barely opened our back door just to snap this picture, then didn't venture out again until the "big kids" and I went for a walk in the afternoon. We slid all over the sidewalk and threw chunks of ice onto the street. We also visited the ducks who were sure we had brought them lunch. "No bread!" Elle hollered at them, "Jus' ice, duckies!"

I am so thankful for our warm cozy home on cold days. I am even more thankful for the people who live in this home.

November 10, 2014

a second year, a second go

One year ago today, Katie and I started this blog. 

We were not completely sure what we wanted it to be, but we were okay with that. We liked the idea of it evolving. But then, with my morning sickness and pregnancy exhaustion, combined with her becoming a doula and moving about thirty five times, posts became more and more sporadic.

During our blogging break (also known as "all of summer and part of the fall season"), I have thought a lot about what I want this blog to be. I have decided that I want it to be a family blog.

I am terrible about keeping up with baby books, or scrap booking, or anything like that, but I want my kids to be able to look back and make some sense of the three million digital pictures they have of their childhood. I want to remember vacations. I want to do posts about our home that they can look at and remember where they grew up. I want to honestly document the tough times, and the lessons that the Lord is teaching me through these three little munchkins.

Basically, I want it to be for them.

Katie will hopefully pop in every now and then. But mostly, if you decide to read this blog, you will get the boring details of my amazingly blessed life.

So, there you have it. From Cup to Cup, year two. Go.

October 16, 2014

three kids, week one

I realize that I am about one hundred and forty seven posts behind, but I really want to document life right now, even if it means typing one-handed in the middle of the night while I nurse the baby. Someday I will fill in the gaps... well, maybe... but here is now:

Holy smokes, I have three children.

Judah Red was born last Wednesday, October 8th. Judah means "praise to God" and Red is the name of my dear uncle who went to be with the Lord in 2010.

When I was expecting I had people telling me all sorts of things about number three (including many people who don't actually have three children, funny enough). Half the advice, if it can be called that, was explanations of how busy I would be, how number three "tips the scales" and how wild and crazy my life was about to get. The other half basically said "You've done it twice, what's one more?" And you know what?

They were all correct.

There are moments it seems overwhelming because everyone needs something at once, but overall it has been an easier transition than going from zero to one or even one to two. James and Eleanor have each other to play with while I nurse and care for Judah. Also, we have done the newborn stage before. We may not be experts, but we have an idea of what we are doing, and we certainly do not get as stressed or frantic about things like we did with the first two.

In addition, we have been blessed with a very chill baby. We have decided Judah is going to be our calm, easy-going baby and so far he has obliged.

Judah is a night owl, like most babies, and so we are blurry eyed and going through coffee at an alarming rate. But things are good. We have so much to be thankful for.

PS Behind the scenes on the photo shoot: I decided to snap a few photos when I realized that I had put them all in blue and white stripes. Eleanor had no pants and her shirt was actually covered in yogurt. Judah's onesie lasted an entire half hour before he peed on it during a diaper change. Ha. 

September 02, 2014

september meal plan

I have decided to break the silence with a really exciting post: what we are eating this month!!!

This may have been interesting if all breakfasts didn't have to be made quickly, lunches were less kid-foodish, and dinners were not all super simple meals that can be made with all Costco purchases (I am so not into running around to a million different grocery stores these days), but these are all the things my meal plan this month needed to be. James starts preschool and awanas next week and I pretty much have to deep clean and organize the whole house before the baby comes while still soaking up quality time with my two current kiddos. Basically, I needed to have meals all decided for the month and I needed them to be easy. I figured I would post the plan in case anyone else is in the same boat.

So, here it is (albeit three days late)...

As you can see, I already have quite a few freezer meals planned to make ahead for baby time. Any suggestions for other meals that freeze well and can be thrown together quickly?

Thanks for reading and happy meal planning!

PS if you can't view the menu well and would like the Word doc sent to you, or have any questions about recipes, you can always write in the comments or email me at

July 30, 2014

29 weeks (but really 30)

I will be 31 weeks on Saturday, but haven't taken a picture since 29 weeks. So, I am actually even larger now than in this photo:

My OB informed me that number three will make you feel much larger than the first two, which made me feel better. Then she said I am measuring small, which made me feel worse. Nine and a half weeks seem long enough to me!

I am so tired lately (and we have been so busy, which I blame on summertime) that I haven't been blogging, which I'm sure you know if you follow us at all. The problem is, I put the kids to bed (around 9:30, which is when I am writing this post) and I have so much to do around the house that I feel guilty blogging when I could be folding laundry or doing dishes. I think I need to just get over that.

We leave tomorrow for a four day camping trip with some of my cousins and family friends. I am really excited about the hiking, boating, swimming, and watching the kids roll around in the dirt, but, it won't be a relaxing vacation by any stretch of the imagination. Perhaps one day I will post the photos....

Until then, happy summer!

July 07, 2014

put your phone on top of your fridge. a challenge. sort of.

Let me say right off the bat: don't worry- this is not a food challenge. My own lunch started out as spinach salad and digressed to the kid's leftover mac'n'cheese. (Side note: Costco now sells Annies. Something like twelve boxes for thirteen dollars. Don't walk, run.)

Anyway, I'll be up front: the challenge is to put your phone on top of your fridge and to not look at it during the day. Well, not very often.*

For some inexplicable reason, my phone has become a huge source of temptation for my children. They are constantly stealing it off the counter and running away with it. Which they are not allowed to do, making this act what we call "deliberate disobedience". Every once in a while I will be caught up doing dishes or some other task and I will wonder why they have been so quiet. The answer is almost always the same: they have "thieved" my phone and are trying to get it to do something fun.

James has learned which icons go into camera mode, and he is getting oddly good at the "selfie". (I shutter just putting that word in a blog post. No worries, you will never see a hashtag here.) I also have "kid mode", which I used to let him do while I put Eleanor down for a nap. Both he and Elle try to play games in the kid mode quite often if they get a hold of my phone.

The phone itself is not a big temptation for me. (In fact, people often get frustrated with me for not responding quick enough to messages- which I am totally guilty of.) I use it, of course, to make calls, send text messages, answer emails, and take the occasional picture. I like to think of it as nothing more than a tool. I take it with me to the park in case of emergency, but purposely wear a watch so that I won't have to look at my phone to check the time.

However, a strange thing has started to happen. I find myself leaving my phone on the kitchen counter, but checking it several times a day. I don't know what I am hoping to find- maybe a play date offer or an email explaining that I won a cruise sweepstakes that I never entered. The point is, that it is pointless. It's like a nervous habit. I don't carry my phone with me around the house, I don't look things up on it, I don't make lengthy calls, I just check it when I go into the kitchen. And, like all things with small children, I am sure this has not gone unnoticed by my kiddos. They see that I look at my phone, and so they decide there must be something on there worth looking at. Which is the funniest part because, of course, there isn't anything worth looking at.

So I have chosen to place it on top of the fridge, on the side it cannot be reached even if James climbs onto the counter (which I anticipate he will do). I keep it on silent anyway, so it won't make noises that will tempt me to go check it while I am in the middle of playing or art time or even a meal. Out of sight, out of mind, for both my children and myself.

Now, to get to the disclaimers. First off, I don't think cell phones or text messaging, or any of that is a bad thing. But, I don't want my kids to be attached to their phones one day (a long, long time from now when they have phones of their own), and I certainly don't want them to be attached to my phone now. *Second: duh, of course I will check it. Just not often. Every once in a while Lane messages to see how my day is going, or to ask me to bring something to him at work. Sometimes there is a last minute play date opportunity someone may call about or a vitally important email, like overdue library books. But, for the most part, if I check at morning, midday, and evening, that should be plenty.

Third, this is not supposed to be a guilt-inducing challenge. There are always exceptions. You know yourself and your kids. If this would benefit you and your family, then join in. If your phone is not a problem, great. If this post did help you realize that your phone is an issue, I would love to hear about how putting it up affects your family. For us, I just hope it leads to less time-outs.

...Which leads me to disclaimer number four: this is not a post about how naughty my children are. They really are a couple of wonderful kids, who just happen to be interested in Mom's phone.

I would love to hear responses in the comments below!