Saturday, June 30, 2012


I came across this quote on Today's Letters, and it's just so good:

"Introverts, in contrast, may have strong social skills and enjoy parties and business meetings, but after a while wish they were home in their pajamas. They prefer to devote their social energies to close friends, colleagues, and family. They listen more than they talk, think before they speak, and often feel as if they express themselves better in writing than in conversation.  They tend to dislike conflict.  Many have a horror of small talk, but enjoy deep discussions." 
- Susan Cain, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

I think people who don't know me well might think of me as an extrovert... but as Nathan can attest, whereas he gains energy from being around others, I need my alone time (or our "just us" family time) to recharge.  I read this quote and really resonated with it -- "after a while [they] wish they were home in their pajamas."

So true.

Some of my favorite parts of every day?

My nightly shower.

and --

Climbing into bed.

{Which I am doing right now.}


the blog post that made me tear up

My sister Emily sent me a link to this blog post: Dear Moms With Little Babies.

And it is so worth reading... if you are a mom of a little baby, and maybe even if you aren't.

I had been wondering why I wake up with a to-do list every morning, and by evening it's longer than it was, not shorter.

Why needing to get out of the house and run two errands seems akin to climbing Mount Everest, and gets postponed day after day.

Why finding a clean outfit that fits me each morning seems impossible.

Why one task or project (planting a garden, finishing Nell's curtains, weeding the yard, finishing and hanging the coat racks I've been making, returning a single item to Babies R Us, organizing Nell's clothes by size, getting a clothes hanging rod installed in her closet, etc...) seems to take an entire week (or, let's be honest, never get done) when it should take an hour or a day.

Just because Nell needs to be bathed each morning, needs to be fed every two hours and changed every three, just because there are diapers needing to be washed every third day and other baby laundry needing to be done just as often, just because while handy, a baby bjorn or ergo baby doesn't make doing chores as easy as they'd be without twelve pounds of cuteness tied in front of you, just because I sometimes need to sleep for two hours with my baby each afternoon...

...oh.  That's why.  That's why I'm making so little progress on the ever-growing to-do list.

But you know what?  I get to spend almost every moment of my days with Nell.

And I wouldn't want it any other way.

After all, the laundry and the dishes don't smile and coo at me.

Friday, June 29, 2012

hangin' with dad

a little montage of recent pics of my two favorite people.

{Please forgive the messy bedroom in the background.  That husband thinks drawers are to be left open and used as shelves!}

(I may sometimes do the same thing, but hey, it's not my dresser you can see in the pic, so I can at least pretend to be guiltless in this regard.}

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


I got to thinking recently that I want to make sure we have photos not only of Nell, but of her with me and with her dad.  It's easy for me to want to avoid the camera, but pregnancy pounds be damned, I want Nell to know her mom had fun spending time with her.

So on Sunday, before we even got out of bed, I snapped a couple of pics of the two of us being snuggly while Nell was still dozing.  What a cutie.

After church, the two of us headed off for a friend's baby shower, and Nathan snapped a couple of pictures in the front yard before we left.  We were fortunate to receive a bunch of very cute girls clothes from a friend, and here Nell is wearing one of her 'new-to-us' dresses.

And when we got home, I figured we'd end the day's photo festivities with some photobooth fun.

the dress edition:

and the pajama edition!

I sure have fun spending my days with this sweet girl.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

iPhone {mis}adventures

Life's been a bit different for the past week.  Last Sunday night, Nathan inadvertently laundered my iPhone. 

It was on the bed, and when he washed the sheets, he just pulled them off the bed and scooped up my phone in the pile.

I noticed its absence before too long, and soon enough we realized what must have happened, so we rescued it before it had gone through the whole cycle, at least, and as it dries out, some of its functionality is returning.  

I can still take pictures!  And send texts!

I just can't make calls.  Oh well.

{That's only the primary purpose of a phone, after all.}

I'm looking on the bright side: I have a husband who does laundry!

Don't be too jealous.

Friday, June 22, 2012

the father's day gift

For Nathan's first father's day... something for our living room mantel:

Of course, Nathan immediately pointed out to me that these initials, as well as so charmingly symbolizing our little family, also stand for Nintendo Entertainment System.

And then he said, "I guess we need to have another kid!"

Thursday, June 21, 2012

a little party

On Sunday, Nathan put on a little belated birthday party for me.

Nathan cleaned the house, invited the guests, did the grocery shopping, and grilled food for everyone.

And I made a cake.  Maybe it's weird to make yourself a cake, but I liked having an excuse to make a cake.  After all, I can't very well make an entire cake for just the two of us, can I?  So I needed the excuse of lots of guests to eat it with me.

{Chocolate cake with raspberry filling and chocolate ganache}

We had a great time seeing our friends, some of whom hadn't met Nell yet!

And Nell got to show off one of her cute dresses:

So all in all, a good party, I think.

And as an added bonus, that night Nell slept for seven hours straight.

I think the girl likes parties!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

one month

Last Friday, Nell turned one month old.

Where has the time gone?  Where is that tiny, blinking, curled up newborn we brought home from the hospital?  Where is our newly swaddled "burrito baby" who could almost always be calmed with a tightly wrapped blanket around her little body?

If I'm honest, a part of me misses that newborn from a month ago.

But mostly I'm loving watching this baby grow and change.

Dear Ellen,

I love you so much.

I love the way you wave your head back and forth, opening and closing your mouth rapidly like a goldfish, when you are interrupted from eating and you want to get back to that very serious business.

I love the way you kick your little legs wildly, as if riding an invisible bicycle, when you're nursing enthusiastically.

I love the way those legs are getting stronger all the time, and you can "stand" for ten to fifteen seconds as long as we hold onto you to help you balance.

I love your squeaky hiccups -- even when you get them in church and they reverberate through the building during a quiet prayer.

I love the way you often observe the world around you with your tiny mouth in a perfect little "o" shape.

I love your little sighs and your sleepy smiles, and I especially love your awake smiles when you are at your most interactive.

I love all the little sounds you make now -- coos and sighs, dolphin-like sounds, and sometimes a little cross between a squeak and a shout that sounds like a small dog barking.

I love the way you want to be with me all the time.  The feeling is mutual, little one.

I love the way you'll sometimes let me put you down in your swing now, but you follow me around the kitchen with your eyes.

I know you can't move your arms and hands intentionally yet, but when you inadvertently fling your arm up over my shoulder, or drape your hands across my neck, it completely melts my heart.


Friday, June 15, 2012

thoughts on having an infant

On Sunday, on my way in to church, a young woman I know saw me in the parking lot and asked how life was going with a new baby.

I replied, "Oh, it's so great!"

Jo smiled and seemed a bit surprised: "It's so good to hear you say that.  Usually people just say they're exhausted by it all."

I've been thinking about that some since Sunday.

Yes, I am tired.  Usually Nell wakes up every two to three hours in the night and needs to be fed and/or changed.  Since I'm the milk maid around here, Nathan sleeps while I get up with our daughter.  And I'll admit that sometimes I feel like I'm being pulled from my sleep with reluctance when I hear her cries.  There's a moment when I'm thinking, Nooooo... I don't want to wake up again.  

But as soon as I'm awake, I look down at her sweet little face, and suddenly I don't mind it so much.

And that's when I whisper to my girl, every single night, "How did I get so lucky?"

And I really do mean it.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

four weeks

Tuesday marked four weeks of Nell!

On Saturday, we used a livingsocial deal I had purchased to have some family pictures taken.

We loved our photographer, Esther!

We'll have to wait a a couple of weeks to see all the photos, but she's already posted two of the pictures from the shoot:

I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of the shots she got!

At four weeks old, Nell's accomplishments now include:
{shamelessly taking a page from Ahn's book here}

~ mastery of long division, and memorization of Pi to 50 digits ~

~ has completed her application to Harvard Law School ~

~ latest novel will be appearing on New York Times bestseller list ~

Just kidding.  What she has actually accomplished is so much better:

~ legs are so strong she can "stand" on my lap for several seconds at a time ~

~ sleeps with arms thrown up above her head now, instead of curled up ~

~ smiles are more and more interactive ~

~ possesses an expanding repertoire of sounds other than crying ~

~ loves to look at lights and out windows ~

~ is the noisiest sleeper imaginable: snorts, grunts, wheezes, squeaks, sighs, hiccups, her 'dolphin laugh,' and a myriad of other strange sounds ~

And possibly her greatest accomplishment of the week?

She has a bellybutton now!

Yep.  She lost her cord stump last Wednesday night.  We are saving it while we decide which museum is most worthy of receiving it as a donation.

likes: being held, eating, sleeping, baths, hanging out in the Moby wrap, going for walks, listening to music, having her feet held together or squeezed.

{four of her favorite things combined: being held by Mom, in the Moby wrap, on a walk, while sleeping.}

dislikes: being set down, having her diaper changed, getting dressed and undressed.

In other news: gone are the days when she would sleep for five or six hours in a stretch at night.  Now I'm usually up with her every three hours.

That's okay.  We still love her.

The many faces of Nell:

{she loves her soft duck blanket from Brooke!}

Aww.  Look at that face.  Is it any wonder we can't stop exclaiming about how cute she is?

About a dozen times a day, Nathan and I say to one another, "Oh, look at her!  Just look at her!"

And sometimes, as he gazes at her, Nathan says tenderly, "She's so lovely."

{But I bet he'll deny it if you ask him.}

Monday, June 11, 2012

the 29th birthday

June 10th was my 29th birthday.

In the morning, I walked out into the kitchen to find this on the counter:

An assortment of goodies from Trader Joe's, from the bro-in-law Andrew!

After church, Nathan, Andrew, Nell and I strolled around the mall for a bit.  This provided Nathan with a last minute shopping opportunity, which apparently he needed.  We came home with fancy soap from Williams-Sonoma:

And chocolate!

And later on, we went out to dinner, where I had a delicious kale salad.  Nell provided excellent company beside me in her carseat:

{sound asleep}

Wow, next year I'll be thirty.

And have a one-year-old daughter!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

choir dinner

The choir director at our church has a tradition each spring: every year choir members with 80% and above attendance are "honored guests" at a gourmet five-course dinner.

The kitchen staff?

Those with lower than 80% attendance!

This year's dinner was this past Thursday.  Nathan was an honored guest, and I was a kitchen worker.
{I had missed choir quite a bit in the fall thanks to my lengthy bout of severe morning sickness.}

This year's menu looked like this:

Butternut Squash Bisque with Blue Cheese & Pecans
Olive Oil, Butter

Chick Pea Risotto with Bacon, Almonds, Cilantro
Château La Moutète 2011 – Côtes de Provence, France

Steak Diane with Brandy Sauce & Chives
Le Pas de la Beaume 2009, Camille Cayran – Côtes du Rhône, France

Brillat-Savarin, soft, cow cheese – Normandy, France
Ossau Iraty, sheep cheese – Pyrenees, France
Piave Vecchio, hard, cow cheese – Veneto, Italy

Raspberry Crisp, Vanilla Ice Cream, Dark Chocolate Crisps
Presidential Tawny Port – Oporto, Portugal
Coffee, Tea

{Impressive, right?  Who knew an organist & choirmaster would possess such culinary skill?}

Fortunately for those of us working kitchen duty, we all got to enjoy the food -- ours was just on paper plates, and eaten hastily while also working on preparing the next course.

I'm sure the "honored guests" had a good time, but I for one am tempted to make sure I always keep my attendance below 80%, because I had such a good time hanging out in the kitchen.

I had Nell with me all evening, in the Moby wrap, so I'm not sure how much help I actually was in all the food preparations, but I certainly enjoyed myself. 

Sarah and Katherine garnishing the butternut squash soup:

Wine! And I'm allowed to drink a bit now that Nell is on the outside!

Gregg stirring the risotto:

The finished product:

The raspberry crisp was one of the best desserts I've ever eaten.

Mmm.  Just looking at that picture is making me want to eat some again.

Like maybe a whole pan of it.

Friday, June 8, 2012

like a weed, as they say

At birth, she was 8 lbs even.

At her doctor's appointment at 8 days old, she was 8 lbs, 11.5 oz.

{many babies aren't even back up to their birth weight yet, much less gaining so much}

On Thursday, at just over 3 weeks old, she was 10 lbs, 2 oz.

This girl is growing fast!

Thursday, June 7, 2012


happy girl

grumpy girl

{that's the face we get right before she starts crying}