We got news yesterday that Ben did not get the job in California.  All signs had pointed towards him getting it - every interview so encouraging, we were almost sure he had it and had let ourselves get a little dreamy in our plans. Ben has been working so incredibly hard for the last eight years and it would have just been so amazing to get this, to be near his family and all the friends we have there [Ben had even dreamed a few times of taking Vera surfing].  I really wanted it for him. I wanted it for all of us of course.

When he got his first interview, I really just prayed that he would be encouraged by it. There are so few jobs out there with so many applicants - I knew a job was a long shot, and so I prayed for a good interview, for him to come away feeling positive and encouraged.  And he did!!  Like a hundred fold.  I was so thankful.  Then I was so thankful and proud when his final interview came and went - they really thought highly of him and his work - it was really an answer to prayer.

As it seemed more of a possibility, I actually became a little more pessimistic.  I felt like God wasn't going to give us the easy route, that growth in faith doesn't happen that way.  That's what I felt, but obviously not what I wanted.  It's such a struggle, a hard thing to pray for peace and trust in God's plan, knowing there is also an outcome that you want.  All my devotions around this time have been words of trust in adversity or in disappointment, how God works in us most when we have to rely on Him.  I'm telling you I did not want to have to be in that situation.  I confess my lack of faith and my selfishness.

Even the night before he got the answer, I came across this excerpt in the biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer that I am reading, and had a feeling it was for us too:  
Bonhoeffer was an eternal optimist because he believed what God said through the scriptures.  He knew that whatever befell him or the faithful brethren would open new opportunities in which God would operate, in which his provision would become clear.
This was said by the man who was later executed for his role in Hitler's assassination attempt!  So really, I need to 'buck up.' I know that God is using this to teach us to trust in Him for the future.  I am thankful for this opportunity to see how He provides. I just need a little time too - to come to grips with that :(

I will say that I am just incredibly, over-the-top proud of Ben.  You have no idea how hard he has worked over these years and how hard he worked to put everything together for the interviews.  It sounds like what happened is the committee and dept. chair really liked Ben and possibly preferred him, but there was another candidate who has his Phd and law degree in hand and had been teaching already at the University for a number of years.  Ben is actually dealing with this better than I am - he said a week or two ago that if he didn't end up getting it, he would know it was God's plan, that there is actually comfort in the mystery of not knowing "why" - we can't know why, but we can know there is a why.

Anyway, thanks for all your thoughts and prayers and encouragement, everyone!


*la pared y los platos

Well now I'm a little embarrassed because my little wall is not that impressive! But they are up and it makes me happy. You might notice the grouping is a little high - like I said I have mostly used nails that were there when me moved in :)


*blue plates : green wall

Whether or not we are moving anywhere for a job this Fall, I have been overcome with this need to simplify things in our home, to do some things I've always wanted to but just didn't have the energy or whatever.  No excuses. One excuse has been "well we will be moving eventually" - so literally I have not even put any new nails in the walls but used what was there before. Partly because I'm intimidated by crumbly lath and plaster, but really???  Anyway so I finally realized something that I've always wanted to do.   

Eight long years ago, on my European *tour* with my sister Liz before I got married, I saw and remembered this wall of blue plates on a green wall at a lovely little hostel in Alicante, Spain.  The whole hostel was so artistic, so wonderful.  I took this picture below, telling myself I would do this wall in my home someday -- only took me just short of eight years!  I scanned the photo below [isn't it hard to believe that just a short time ago we weren't using digital cameras??  Pretty crazy.], but then got a little nostalgic and scanned a few more.  So I will share these with you now and at some point this week share the picture of the plates I .:finally:. hung on our green wall - only been in this house for 6 years!

anyway::.. the original photo of the inspirational green wall:

Ben and I were getting married in just about a month's time.  I was sure something was going to happen and I was going to die and never see him again.  Here is one of my nightly calls home.  International calls are so disappointing - always that delay.  Maybe now you can just call on your cell phone? I have no idea.

I love this next photo taken with my Holga.  Doesn't it look like those buildings don't fit in the same picture??  It was in Granada, right by the shop where I bought the two plates which are now on our wall.  It was so fortuitous - the owner was about to leave for holiday, but hesitated and let Liz and I in. I wish I could have known what a gem that place was - filled with all shapes and sizes of these beautiful pieces.  They seemed mass-produced at the moment, but separated later from the group I saw how beautiful they really were.   Wish I could go back and buy a box full.

...Might as well share other highlights.  El Alhambra in Granada.  One of the most beautiful and fascinating places I have ever been.

This was at the beginning of the trip in Paris. I wish I could know Paris better, felt I just got a taste.  One of my favorite memories was having a simple picnic with Liz on this little river island.  A decent [not great - the great one we had on the train from Pau to Barcelona] baguettte, some cheese and red wine.  I love to see this little spot - or one like it - on movies. Have you seen Midnight in Paris? I LOVED IT.

This one is labeled in the album as the "big night." I think we saved up and decided that would be the big dinner where we spent some money.  It was tucked away in a plaza strewn with twinkly lights and about five outdoor cafes.  We had goat cheese papilotte with leeks, a salad, prosciutto, melon, creme brulee and of course, un noisette.  I loved these glasses you saw everywhere in France - loved them.  I tried to register for similar ones at Williams Sonoma - no luck :) 

look at this real film!  take that, instagram!


meanwhile, my handsome husband-to-be was hiking Mt. Whitney:

I did survive my European tour, married him and now we find ourselves in Utah - almost done with school, enjoying life with two of the most precious little girls I could ever imagine. Pretty amazing.  Praise God!



Vera came out the other night in this fancy getup. She even added the belt and made a belt buckle out of the tag from her sweater. You could tell she was proud :)

Ben: Wow, who are you? Are you a movie star?
Vera: Yes I'm French. I go to Chinese too!

I like this pose:

Here's one of those examples of simple toys. I bought a cute toy grocery cart last summer[thankfully garage sale], but they both still prefer the utensil basket if they go shopping. 

Notice she went to add another necklace after each photo.  Sometimes I feel we encourage this vanity a little too much.  Not sure if I've shared this quote from a month or so ago:

Me:  Is it more important to be pretty or to be kind?"
Vera:  kind.   .... and pretty.

sigh. I do appreciate her attention to detail, her creativity and her playfulness :)


I love muffins!! I have fond memories of my mom making bran muffins and if there were leftovers I would have one sandwiched with butter in my lunchbox... I can literally see where I was sitting in the lunchroom one such time.

I always make either my modified rendition of Barefoot Contessa's or a bran recipe from one of Julie's cookbooks in college, but I was looking for something new.  I love chowhound.com when you're looking for the "best" recipe or method of doing something - I feel I can trust their foodie tastes :)  Anyway so this week I made the blueberry oat recipe from this thread and plan to try as many from that and other threads I found.  It'll be a fun experiment.  These blueberry ones weren't as healthy as I'd like, but definitely delicious!


*Edie lately

a little over 16 months old...

I got this little video below of Edie the other day saying a few words and showing her odd hit/hug behavior. I was going to edit it out, but that wouldn't be the whole truth :)  Why?? I didn't provoke anything - it's so funny. Does anyone know the psychology of this? At least she doesn't bite anymore. Anyway, I love her little words. Most used is "bapoo" which means diaper, paper, marker, crayon and poopoo. I love how and when she says wow.  I just handed her a button and she said it :) I also love how she says AH-OH! all the time. She calls herself Deedie in pictures and in the mirror now and loves to look at all the family pictures on the fridge, pointing everyone out.

I love right now how she loves to have a visitor over and when they come in, quickly tries to show them as many things as she can. "mama! baby! puppy!" My parents were just here for a few days and it was fun to see her bond with them - she was especially drawn to my dad. He is always popular with dogs and little ones :)

I should note that she still doesn't sleep consistently through the night. It's such a different experience than with Vera who slept all the way through at 6+ mos and didn't look back [until about 2 years old]. I admit I would be like umm your 1 year old isn't sleeping all night yet??? Let me give you some tips. So horrible - it makes you realize you should never ever be quick to judge! Anyway, we got in a cycle where on trips and when we have visitors she doesn't sleep well and so I will nurse her as many times as it takes - which carries over to normal life. In retrospect I wish I would have tried other soothing methods - I guess in the middle of the night when you're trying to not wake the rest of the house, it's hard to know what to do. So anyway, hopefully she'll start sleeping more consistently once I wean her completely.

We also love how she likes to *burrow*.. like if you lie down on the floor she'll scoot up next to you and burrow in. Or if you're on the bed, she'll burrow under the covers next to you.  Pretty cute.

ANYway, here's the video:


*breastfeeding basics

I have been wanting to share some of the tips we give pregnant/newly breastfeeding moms. Basically we call a month before, a week after and 4-6 weeks after with specific things to share at that point.  I started this post last week and it was turning into a LONG post, so I just deleted it and thought I'd write some of the most helpful tips.  These are things that really seem to help a new mom - things that we might not have thought of.  I love when I'm talking to a mom and a piece of advice 'clicks' and you can see that it will help her situation.  I wish I had someone call me every couple weeks to share some advice!

So here you go...
Before the birth: 

*Let your doctor/midwife know that you want to breastfeed your baby, that way they can support you and will [hopefully] not do things to interfere with that.  The biggest thing here is that your baby doesn't get a bottle in the hospital. There are many other ways to make sure the baby gets anything extra they may medically need!  NO BOTTLES.  I can't tell you how many moms don't breastfeed because baby got bottles in the hospital [though it doesn't have to be the end - get help from an LC]

*Colostrum is the first milk you make and it is a super baby food!  It only comes in tiny amounts, but is just perfect, absolutely perfect for your baby.  Your mature milk won't come in if you are not nursing your baby!  I've talked to moms who give bottles while they wait for their milk to come in. ?!!

*Along the same lines, nurse the baby as soon as you can. Ideally they should put the baby on your chest skin-to-skin. I always thought this was for "bonding purposes" - but really it is the perfect time to start breastfeeding [obviously sometimes medical needs arise and you can't do this right away] - the baby is usually quiet and alert and just ready to nurse. [[edit: I went to a perinatal conference a month or so ago and learned all about skin to skin contact and how amazing it is in so many ways. won't get into it here, but if you read this - do skin to skin with your baby as soon as possible after birth and even into the first few weeks. it literally is wiring their sweet little brain :)]]

Just after the birth:
*It's normal for it to hurt a little bit right when baby latches on. If it hurts the whole feeding or your nipples are shaped funny afterward or you are starting to crack - get help!  It might be an easy fix.  For soreness, put a little breast milk on your nipples and let it air dry - so helpful.

*Around 2 weeks babies will go through a growth spurt. It will seem like they want to eat really often - like every 1/2 to 1 hour. If you go ahead and put them to the breast again, your body gets the message to make milk. If you think "I'm not making enough milk" and give a bottle - your body will get the message it doesn't need to make any extra to keep up with babies growth!  For most women, the more you nurse the more you will make

*You can know you are making enough milk if your baby has 6-8 wet diapers and 3-4 dirty diapers and is gaining weight.  Babies cry - it doesn't necessarily mean you are not feeding them enough!

4-6 weeks after birth:
*You might not have that heavy, full, leaky feeling anymore. so many moms [myself included] think this means they have less milk, or that it is drying up. It just means that your body has adjusted to what you baby eats. The milk is still there, it still flows whether you feel it or not.  [One time I felt like there was nothing there, but knew Edie was eating at home so I pumped. I got 4 oz out of the side that felt empty!]

*If you give a baby a bottle after a breastfeeding session, the baby will probably drink it!  Babies like to suck.  If you are worried about your supply, it is better to feed a little more often to increase your production.  I always share this fantastic article about low milk supply/increasing supply.



 We had a lot of fun with Vera's valentines this year.  I found this idea maybe last year or even two and it's been sitting on my desktop waiting.  I made a grid on some white paper and then we filled in the squares with different shades of pink - mixing our own from red, white and a little yellow paint.  It was a fun little project for the two of us after Edie went to bed one night - I think I will frame the original for her.  She kept commenting, "well pretend that someone, well an artist, says they like your side better, and well they like art and they like yours, well that would make you happy!" I think she was saying that she liked my side better and that I should be flattered :)

We took it to kinkos and had several copies made [don't you love to see designs repeated??] and then she cut that into hearts and added glitter glue too.  I love to see her go through the process of making things like this, seeing the finished product all lined up, choosing which one to give who.

little helper 
[who can climb onto the chair by herself now!]

and last year:



It's hard to resist taking a picture of your sleeping child!
So peaceful and sweet and lovely. 

She told me this morning that Becca [Edie's rejected lovey] had a sleepover with Bunny.  Also the Baby doll has been sleeping with Vera lately too - mostly so that Edie can't get her hands on her in the morning :)



I went to the fabric store last week to get ideas for Easter dresses for the girls.  For some reason I was drawn to this teal fabric with little orange stars.  My mom made matching dresses for Liz and I with a teal-ish flowery fabric many years ago - maybe that's why I liked it.  Anyway, I went back to today and bought some.  It's not super Eastery, but I think it will be sweet. I don't have a pattern yet - looking for something easy and simple and that will be a cute summer dress too.

I also bought some more of this adorable fabric.  I used it last Fall to make one of these stash baskets from the Purl Bee for baby Jubilee. I don't know what I'll use it for, but I just think it's so cute.  I'm sure I'm not the only one who buys fabric when they have plenty at home, don't have a project in mind for it or really the extra $ .... : )

I've made several of these for gifts - I remember I took a picture of each but can't find them. They're a great way to use all the cute prints out there.



I'm just loving watching Edie busy playing lately. She always has some plan in her little head and works away at it busily.  Here she was off somewhere with her little basket.   I bought this for her for Christmas and love when she uses it - usually of course she prefers a paper bag or the ugly yellow bucket :)  Also I loved seeing her in this little dress. I bought it at Oneity [such an amazing long-gone store :( ] with Jenny when we were pregnant with our first babies.  I remember it said 2T and I was like, I'm going to have to wait for-ever to see the baby in this!!  And here I have my second little one in it... sigh.

I let her play outside by herself today [I ate my lunch by the door watching her] and she was so busy and focused in the sandbox moving dirt around and then into this watering can.  I am so thankful for this mild winter!! 


*4 and a HALF

I forgot that last year I regretted telling Vera that she was officially three and a half.  She is now 4 1/2 and it's practically all she talks about.  I'm as old as Sam and Mimi now!  I'm older than Robbie.  Cheri is older than me, when I am 5 maybe I can tell her I have a loose tooth... I am going to be 5!!  Is Stella as old as me?

Though she does seem like such a big kid now, I do love that there is still a lot of sweet child-like things about her.  She still says breakfix, birtday, b'squetti (of course), aminal (sometimes) and still thinks it's soo funny to hide and have us pretend we don't know where she is.  Her play is super-imaginitive and creative and she thankfully doesn't complain of being bored.  When do kids learn that?  One of her imaginary games is "bug and bee."  I have never talked about them here because I guess I just keep hoping they will fade away :/  Ben holds up his pointer fingers and they talk to Vera as Bug and Bee.  She seriously talks to them like they are real and is always calling them over to talk/play with her.  ayyyy I know I should get over it, it's just a little too weird for me.

She spends a lot of time making elaborate little outfits and contraptions and who-knows-what with these leather strings we have and ribbons and bags and necklaces.  She is almost always dressed up and loves to play in the small space behind the couch - sometimes it's a house, sometimes it's the sea [if she happens to be the little mermaid]. She's been playing with the baby doll a lot lately, dressing her up and taking her for walks around the house.

Her favorite books at the moment are the Knuffle Bunny books [a friend just told me there was a 3rd - I didn't know!  I had tears streaming down my face when I read it the first time :( ], One Morning in Maine, Fancy Nancy [again - we don't own it so, a couple times a year I take it from the library and it becomes a favorite again], the Value Tales [we got the whole collection from ebay last year - she loves Louis Pasteur and Will Rogers the best] and a big book of [non-disney!] Fairy Tales she got for Christmas..   

She can read 3 letter words now which is pretty exciting.  Our neighbor lent us a phonics set and we were doing it pretty consistently before the holidays.  She also likes to add small numbers with her fingers and also keeps expressing interest in learning more Spanish. I wish I were more consistent in teaching her!  She still loves art and mostly likes to make fancy letters and designs [no cute stick figure people lately :( ]  So crazy she will start kindergarten in the Fall.  Where will we be???

She is so different than me in many ways.  When her friends come over she is ecstatic - so excited and loud and happy.  She just loves them so much and loves to be a hostess, making sure they are happy and taken care of - bordering on controlling [trying to gently steer her away from being the bossy one!!].   In the last few weeks I've noticed a little change in the way she relates to her friends.  Before, it seemed she gravitated more towards her boy friends [specifically Jack and Sam] and they would play so well together.  Lately I am seeing her prefer more girl things to play [yes, she has been girly for a long time now, but that didn't enter into her play before!  Like the last couple times she's played with Jack, she holds onto his little sister's ballerina Barbie the entire time, trying to incorporate it into the superhero play.  Of course, she really does love them all so much still - maybe it's just a thing this month. 



I finally watched this documentary the other night that people were talking about 2 years ago. It was really sweet and fun to watch - really wished I had someone to comment on it with [ben of course working]. This opening scene was almost too cute to handle. The baby on the right totally reminded me of Edie - that's exactly how she would bite!


*de la camara

I keep having certain posts in mind to do, and then a week or two passes and the pictures pile up and I just don't get to it.  So here is some random photos that were on the camera this week:


Vera is really into her baby doll again.  I had put it in the downstairs closet in an attempt to simplify the toy situation here, but she asked for it the other day.  She has been nursing the baby a lot, because, "she missed her mommy and wants to nurse."


I wish I had the pictures from the house when we bought it - you wouldn't believe how spacious and stylish it was!  You probably know Ben is graduating in May and the hope is that he will have a job somewhere and we will be moving [sadly there is nothing open here in Utah or I would happily continue to grow our roots here!]. Anyway, so my point is, we are probably going to either put our house up for sale or rent.  We will have to have it 'staged' - you know, simplified, clean, spacious.  I would really really like to do that now.  So we can live in simplified bliss for a few months.  I've been trying to put away some of the toys, books, random bits but am looking forward to an afternoon in the future where I do a major major overhaul. It will feel so good!!


We are still loving the new Museum of Natural History.  It is seriously the most beautiful, interesting, enjoyable museum I've ever been to.  It's about a ten minute drive and so we can easily go for just an hour. This last Saturday we went with Jen and Graham and a couple other friends.  Vera and Graham had a lot of fun together as always.  Edie is really into Graham lately too and loves to point at his picture on the fridge and go to the window looking for "Daaa?"  [Jen I'm pretty sure he's who she's calling :) ]


Edie is in a big sorting stage.  The other day I emptied some dried beans into these pots to buy myself some time to get dinner going - she loved it of course!  This morning I caught her sorting all her toys into the dirty diaper pail.   She then proceeded to re-sort all the things I'd put away.  I put the blocks on the shelf, she moved them to the chair. I put the books in the box, she moved them back to the floor.


Baby super hero!