some easter, and some others

 Went to a wedding, got dressed up. Ken picked a bow tie to match my cardi. Did you know that Ken has quite the collection of bow ties? So much so that he can coordinate with my wardrobe. Also, lots of flannels and westerns. A wide range of style, that guy. 

 Avery was invited to a tea party, she was really excited. 

 Our church had a crawfish boil and Ivy was loving being outside. 

 Morning teeth brushing session. 

 Ivy's face explains it all. She loves her Avery. 

 I probably have 1,000 pictures of me smiling with Ivy in my arms because she makes me so happy. 
And she's getting so big, 5 months last Saturday. Starting to look so much like her sisters. 

 While dad worked outside, these two were so content following him around digging and moving dirt from bucket to bucket. 

Eliza so fresh and clean. 

I made Ivy's dress for Easter from a 5T dress that Avery wasn't going to wear that was handed down to us. She looks like a doll. 

 On most Saturday nights I tell Ken that I want a picture in the morning, to prepare him because Sunday mornings are always hectic. They don't need to be, church doesn't start till 9:30 but for some reason, one of the girls wakes up out of sorts, breakfast wasn't satisfying, or something. So if I tell Ken the night before, it's very determined to get a picture before we head to church. I will hold these pictures in a special place forever. Surely do love these ladies of mine. 

Love my people! And our little house, and our neighbor who was walking her dog and the perfect time to get this for us. 

Easter was so great this year. I was so excited to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus this year, more than any other year that I have known Him. It really was a deep feeling of gratitude that God sent His son for us, to take victory over our failures, to take our punishment on the cross. I have believed this for years, since I was a kid, but this year it moved me unlike it has ever before. With that, I got really annoyed with "Easter" like bunnies and baskets and egg hunts. I have nothing against those things, I just feel that celebrating Christ on this day is all we should do. Which then makes me think, I should celebrate Christ's resurrection every day because it's our story, and it's true everyday, not just on Easter. But celebrating on Easter looks different for everyone, and if celebrating Jesus is part of that celebration of eggs hunt and things, then that's great. 

Our day involved lots of family and friends and feasting. Our neighbors had a party in our backyard to end the night, with a bounce house so while the big kids bounced and bounced with kids MUCH bigger than them, I held the little tiny, and that same wonderful neighbor snapped this. I hope Ivy sees this one day when she's older and knows how much I loved her from the very beginning. This little snuggle butt gives me love that I'm addicted to. 

Weekends have been so enjoyable lately. Ken works long hours during the week providing for us, and he's so intentional during the weekends to spend time with his girls. He does something special with each of them, whether laying on the floor with Ivy reading a book to her, or putting puzzles together with Avery, or tickling Eliza on our bed, he makes the most of his time. Looking at Ivy the other day, and her sweet squishy baby phase, it's hard to not think how soon it will be over because we see the other two running around us as toddlers. Weekends have been so great to savour this season, and breathe it in because it's so special. 


on being proud

I think about moments that my mom has been proud of us. Getting into college, learning to ride a bike, hitting our first homeruns, getting the lead in the school play, finally learning our times tables, getting married, having babies, etc. As I was "cleaning" the other day, I stumbled upon my baby book and found this picture.

First of all, my mom is a fox. Second of all, this is ME NOW. Holding her third baby, which is myself, while the other two are near. She's having to tell Steve (my Eliza) to be gentle with the baby, and she's probably asking Jack (my Avery) to get mom a burp cloth please! This is my mom doing what I do every day. You think of your mom a certain way. I don't think of her as having babies, like this picture shows, I think of her as the full of life dynamic teacher and doting grandma that she is today. Of course I know that she was in this stage before, the stage of babies, but I know her differently. 

So, being proud. I'm a very proud mom. I walk about town with my girls proudly. I push them in the double wide, and wear the baby on my chest with pride. I gladly accept compliments on how cute they are, and I smile when people say I have my hands full. I feel so unimportant when I'm walking without them, not that people need to feel important when they go walking or shopping, but when I have them with me, I walk a little taller. 

Now, Ivy. Sweet Ivy Marie. She really gets this proud mom thing in me going. She works so hard to do things that I know are difficult for her. She smiles the whole time while she wears her eye patch. She's trying to move her neck more and is relatively compliant with her therapy. Avery and Eliza met millstones with ease, and typical timeliness. Ivy has to work harder to meet those, but darn that kid, she does. She's 5 months old and has already taught me to work harder in things that are challenging in my life. This picture I took of her the other day and there are so many details to it that amaze me, and without boring details about her "conditions" this is a milestone in itself. And in Ivy fashion, a grin that could solve world peace. 

I felt so deeply proud of her in this moment. And truth be told, I'm writing this with tears streaming down my face, and one might think, "She's sitting in a bumbo? This is tear worthy?" Yes, it is. 

To my point, which there is one, my mom had proud moments like this with us. Little moments that in the perspective of our lives now seem like nothing, but I know my mom holds them near to her heart. As I will always hold this picture in a special place; my proud mom folder of my heart. The pride is not in myself, because it surpasses my understanding and ability what happens daily in my house with my girls; what they do, how they grow and develop. It comes down to this, I'm proud that I get to watch them and that I know them. That I'm fortunate enough to guide them on their journey, side by side (by side, by side...) And sweet Ivy's journey is just beginning and she is a fun and tender ride. 

And soon, these three little girls will be hitting all the proud mom moments like riding bikes, getting into college, and having babies of their own. Let's hope I'm not still blogging about it, because that would just be weird. 



ten on ten // april

 grab a bagel on our way to school

 can't change a diaper without an audience

 Avery singing to Ivy, "let it go"

 summer shoes

 water table season
and Eliza's face

 my little boo snack 

 "hey peanut, keep the water in the table."

 tilling his fields

 Ivy's blues, not to be confused with Blue Ivy
(which has NO connection to naming her Ivy)

auntie snuggles in the sun

ten on ten button


frozen, you guys

I grew up watching Disney movies, especially Beauty and the Beast. I think I turned out pretty good, the whole princess needs a man thing didn't really affect me, even though Ken is quite charming like a prince. Derp derp. But Ken was reading The Little Mermaid to the girls the other night, and you know when you're reading a book to your kids and you "accidentally" skip pages and only read about 5 words on a page that has like a hundred? I was feeding Ivy and I heard Ken start to do this, "and then he was on the beach, and then she was there and then it's over." Ha! That night Ken told me he's not down with all this princess stuff, to which I responded, "Babe, Belle like loves books and wasn't really a princess but a compassionate, sacrificial woman who really loved her dad, sooooo, does that count?" Ken replied that it's okay. And then I go, "BUT YOU HAVEN'T SEEN FROZEN YET!!!"

And that's when I just went on and on about a movie that has just the best story of true love: sister love. We all know that I'm an observer of sister love day in and day out. When Avery's school had a movie night, they showed Frozen and it was the first time I had seen it. We were outside all sitting on blankets, and all these sweet little kids were singing along. Really, when Let It Go started all you heard were the sweetest sounds of soft songbirds, and then after it was over they went back to running a muck, but during that song, I teared up, and I'm fairly certain others moms did too.

We then had to get it, so we have it on our iTunes and when the girls get to watch TV, or "a show" we  watch Frozen in parts. I have a video of Avery singing Let It Go that I'm sure will be viewed years from now and I won't know what to do with myself.

I love that this movie tells of story of true love through sacrifice. That's our love story with Jesus, that he gave his life for us, sacrificed everything so that we could live. In this, Elsa separates herself from her sister Anna because of fear of hurting her, which was out of love, and then at the end, Anna's curse, or whatever, was broken when she stepped in front of Elsa when Hans was trying to strike her (Elsa) with a dagger. The movie ends with everything resolving not because a prince kissed the helpless girl, but because of the bond of sisterhood. Throw in the fact that Let It Go is sung by Adelle Dazeem Idina Menzel, my all time favorite (RENT, Wicked??!!), this movie is quickly becoming my favorite.

What prompted me to write this was this morning was special. Avery quietly tippy toed from her room around 7 to find me on the couch with Ivy, trying to find a few more minutes of sleep, and Avery whispered in her ear, "I love you Ivy," and kissed her on the cheek. Then, when the baby found some rest, Eliza woke up and when I went to get her she said, "Where Ya Ya?" (Meaning where's Avery) and I picked her up and she squirmed out of my arms and ran to Avery, giving her a bear hug. Then when Avery went to school, Eliza walked to the door and said, "Bye Ya ya, I laaa you!" This does not happen often, but today it did. And today I was so thankful to have my daughters so close in age, and more specifically, to have them in THIS stage now.

And a little added bonus. Ken was looking through our big box of pictures last night, and we found these little diddys. Our friends were over and they thought some were our kids, but really, just us as babies.

That's a baby Ken right there, looking JUST like Ivy. 

 That's a baby Melanie looking a lot like Eliza. 
Eliza also looks a lot like Ken's sister Julie's baby pictures. 

But the winner goes to toddler Melanie looking IDENTICAL to Avery. I mean, crazy!

Moral of the story: watch Frozen and make babies to look like you. 


DIY: coconut oil face creme

I have been loving coconut oil these days. Buy me a ticket for the bandwagon because this stuff is great. I bought this big thing of it from Costco and I have used it for cooking, in my coffee, as diaper cream for Ivy, as cream for Ivy's cradle cap, and on my face at night. I love the way my skin feels in the morning, but it was a little, well, as you would expect, oily. So I made my own little creme to make it more like lotion and less like oil. I googled a few different things and came up with this concoction. It took 10 minutes to make, while the kids were finishing their breakfast. 

I decided to use just what I had on hand. Coconut oil (1 cup), aloe vera and vitamin E (10 capsules) and peppermint essential oil (a few drops). I got the aloe vera capsules at the grocery store and I would use one of my face at night. You can use any essential oil you have, but I had peppermint when a friend gave it to me to help with my migraines.

The consistency of this stuff is odd, so I mixed it in my kitchen aid mixer for about 10 minutes to whip it, whip it good.

If you've ever eaten dinner at our house, you'll most likely drink out of a mason jar, or another reused jar because that's just what we do. I started getting this great sauce and I love the jar, so I cleaned out one of them, for this creme. Note: clean that jar A LOT. The top of this jar still has the remnant of curry chicken. Oh well… 

I added the other two things and whipped it more until it looked like frosting. 

See how nice that looks? I read that if you keep it in temperature cooler than 75 degrees, it will stay creamy like this. 

I was carrying my large coconut oil jar around from kitchen to bathroom to Ivy's changing table and it doesn't really fit anywhere, so now it fits right next to my face soap. It's the little things. 

The use your super cool label maker and you have yourself face creme forever! My favorite is the peppermint smell, it's refreshing. The combination of coconut and peppermint is delicious too. If I didn't have serious bags under my eyes due to newborn sleep patterns, I'd show you a picture of my face, but, you know, just take my word for it. This stuff is great. I was spending about $40 of face lotion about twice a year, and this is way more than I'll use probably in a whole year. And it saves me a trip to the mall. And is was pretty much free because I had everything. WIN, WIN, WIN!

So what cooking products are you putting on your face? Have you been using coconut oil?
Has is changed your life?

Happy Monday, friends.


motherhood, and things

…so I'll be talking about being a mom, again. (cue close window.)
Avery snapped this little diddy of me yesterday, and I feel like it says a lot. A mom, in the same outfit she wore the day before, and probably the day prior. Sidenote: I see a lot of mom's on fancy blogs describing their mom style and I'm like, do you actually HAVE kids? Because if what I'm wearing can't be spit up on, peanut butter smeared on, or saturated with baby drool, then I'm not going to wear it. So basically, Target is my jam. Anyway, go ahead moms with style, this mom is just keeping it real, and comfortable. Back to this picture. My eyes are squinting for any cars in the distance as I attempt to cross the street with the three in tow. Ivy strapped to my chest, per her usual, with a binkie hanging from the strap of the ergo carrier, diaper bag (that i'm obsessed with) thrown over my shoulder, conserve kicks that are slip on, cause, you know. Toddler in hand, and the old one taking my picture? Well, she likes to do that. So she takes this picture, without me posing, in the moment. In a mom moment. And, while you might see just a picture, I see a portrait of just who I want to be: a shepherd. 

I was making dinner the other day, tacos, just the way my mom used to make, and pandora was playing, and of course the station was "broadway showstoppers" and sure enough, "don't rain on my parade" came on. I mean, you've heard this, yes? BARBARA!! I'm frying tortillas, (in coconut oil!!) folding them into taco shells, Ivy is sitting in her bouncer wearing her patch, and the bigs are analyzing the map on the wall. Sure, they're standing on their chairs which I don't prefer, but Avery was explaining to Eliza that Russia is trying to take Ukraine. 

It was all in all, a great start to the evening. It felt content to have everyone happy at the same time. 

And the smoke alarm goes off. 

And that's how I feel most of the time in this journey of finding myself as a mom. Everything will be great, kids are happy, naps are happening, toys and books are being shared, toddlers are using the potty, tears are far from their eyes, and then, out of no where, babies will wake up mad, toddlers will poop on the floor (and maybe walk in it, and then walk around the house), sisters will throw elbows, and once loved foods are suddenly akin to poison. So mom goes from happy to annoyed quite quickly. I can go from feeling like a queen, and then the smoke alarm goes off. 

I know that this is how it is for me. For some moms, it not might be so up and down, but for this household of estrogen, it's how it is. Ken deals with this all very well, but most of the day is me and them and I try my hardest to make my reign over this kingdom one that is happy to come home to, and one were the citizens are turning into caring people who love the Lord. 

We heard a talk once from a friend of our pastor's about parenting. He asked the crowd, if I asked your kids what's the most important thing to your mom, or dad, what would they say? After I had delivered my 38th "be quiet, your sister is sleeping" of the day, I was reminded of this talk. Avery would probably say, "My mom just wants us to be quiet." When my heart of hearts is that she would say, "My mom wants us to love Jesus, because he loves us." Like a ton of bricks that hit me, and I thought, is that the most important thing to ME right now? No, actually. It is that they are quiet because I would really like Ivy to sleep. These small tasks in my day become the most important thing to me, and I ignore, or over look the most important thing I'm doing here: shepherding the hearts of my sweet daughters, who the Lord GAVE to us, to raise them to KNOW HIM. Of course, obedience and respect is tied into that, so telling my girls to be quiet is not a bad thing, but it's can't be the ONLY thing. Oh me oh my. What a HUGE thing that we get to do, but it can be so hard sometimes. Survival becomes my mantra, where shepherding falls behind. 

So who knows where I'm going with this, but this week the smoke alarm went off too many times. I found myself overly grateful for a moment and then highly agitated the next. I wish that it weren't so, that grace would pour from my heart for my children, my sweet daughters. I am an open book, or blog rather. I like to share my heart, my trials and triumphs because I would hate for a mom to feel like she's the only one on a roller coaster. I'll end with this, a favorite quote of mine, by a favorite president (of course); Only if you have been in the deepest valley, can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain.- Richard Nixon (or as I like to call him, Tricky Dicky) 

So here's to the valley moments, so that we can enjoy the view from the mountain tops. 
And then there are pictures, of course. 
(I'm in a few more than usual, so, you're welcome.)
Never a solo tummy time for this little one. 
(Avery took this too, and well, I'm a mess of emotions about it.)

happy weekend friends! 
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