Quick note: Today’s our anniversary! 🙂 I’m thankful for how God has worked so much in both of us and in our marriage in the last year. More probably coming later as we are actually able to really do something for it this year!

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One of our Advent activities. My post-Advent thoughts: these 25 things helped S a lot with having things to do and counting down, and the community service-type ones were actually rather challenging for me, but made me realize how easy it is to carry around a grocery bag to put trash in when we see it, and how little I talk to people I see on the street, in the store, etc. – but how simple and rewarding it is to do so.

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Recording for 25 Days of Christmas. This was the first time I had really tried to do a multitrack. I had kind of done one before, on Audacity, but that wasn’t working this time, so I learned how to use the recorder we bought a few years ago and never used to its full capacity. I got not only better sound quality but was able to really get it all together. It was fairly simple and SO MUCH FUN. I miss playing in ensembles so playing with tracks of myself playing gave some of the fullness of sound even though it wasn’t quite as nice.

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Ezra was away for a few days, but we stayed busy painting, walking, Christmas music dance parties, playing, and as a special treat we went out for lunch.
His time away was productive on his end and encouraging for me – a year ago, 4 days alone with the girls was unthinkable, yet here we were having fun and doing more than just surviving.

7 December 2

8 December Kombucha explosion
We had a kombucha explosion…

10 December 1
Christmas is my excuse to actually bake and eat “real” desserts. 😉 I’ve noticed that sugar really does affect me and I feel much better when I avoid it but we couldn’t resist the challenge of this pavlova – and it wasn’t really that challenging, which was a pleasant surprise!

4 December bread and figurine 1
I made my baguettes too long.

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The rest of our Christmas baking. Gingerbread is my favorite!

15 December 1
A fuzzy shot of someone’s light display.

24 December Christmas Eve 3
Came out of the morning Christmas Eve service to find this! The evening candlelight service was cancelled because of ice.

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Christmas morning kisses and pancakes.

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Stuffing her face with peanuts and oranges. I love how much they love being given “all you can eat” food. 😉

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Wearing her playsilk and using her new crayons.

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Traditional Christmas lunch at Ezra’s family’s house.

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Boxing Day beauty!

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… and ugly sweater cookie decorating.
We stopped in with my extended family on the way home, and got to see my sister’s family again too!

29 December 7
And then we had our own family Christmas a few days later.

31 December New Years Eve 1
I was reading World Magazine’s News of the Year issue and feeling overwhelmed by how much tragedy there was, then looked up and saw this hanging on the tree.
The weary world rejoices.
Because weary I certainly am of this dark and fallen world… But rejoicing that One came who brings life and light and healing. (Ornament by @heart2artcrafts)

For New Years’ Eve we hosted a somewhat impromptu game night with most of our church and actually did stay up until midnight for the first time since before S was born (the girls went to bed at their usual time and had no idea of the festivities going on since we put white noise on for them!).

Hymns of the month// Joy to the World // reviewing all the old ones

favorite recipes// sourdough baguettes // cranberry pomegranate pavlova (minus the mascarpone)// pumpkin custard (AKA how we used up 6 yolks, though I used milk and sweetened it with banana to make it lighter) // chicken & gnocchi soup // flourless chocolate cake // gingerbread dutch baby // butter chicken //

best of online//  updated our Advent post // Lutheran Mass for Christmas Morning // recording a multitrack on Zoom H4N // BB Warfield, Imitating the Incarnation // Coventry Carol again // a new podcast I love // Fantasia Chromatica // Victory over ISIS – Now What? // the problem with holly jolly Christmas songs // 12 Days of Writing // 110 Tolkien Drawings // Spurgeon’s 15 Tips for a Deep and Effective Prayer life // best science images of 2017 // 9 Things about Christmas Traditions // 5 Misconceptions about the Christmas STory // A Case for Marrying Later // 5 Lessons Learned from Counseling Anxiety // 9 Questions to Ask Yourself for 2018 //

reading of late// Teaching from Rest // Between the Woods & the Water // Parenting // God’s Prayer Book // When Postpartum packs a punch // 3 Years in Afghanistan // Spiritual Depression // The Secret Garden // MacDonald’s Christmas Stories // Skimmed Educating the Whole-Hearted Child

Some quotes:
“I never lost my body. It just went through something incredible and changed, and I’m not going to punish it for that via workouts or words.” from Whole Food Diary.

“Worry and fear say that the world is threatening and that you are alone. But when the kingdom of heaven pierces the earth, God is establishing his control in a new way. Now that the King has come, you will never be alone.”
— Ed Welch, Running Scared

“It is here at the first Christmas that the most profound and unfathomable depths of the Christian revelation lie. In the manger, we find not only the Savior of the world, but also the Creator of the universe, God with us— Immanuel. The One who put the stars in the sky lay beneath them in the form of a helpless baby, entering time and space not to let us know He exists, but to draw near to us and invite us into His everlasting kingdom.” Alastair Begg, Christmas Letter

“You possess everything when you have Christ.
In your weakness you have his strength. In the midst of fear, you have the confidence of his unchanging character. In the unknowns you have the God of all wisdom who lights your path. In your exhaustion you have the faithful One who will cause you to mount on wings as an eagle. In your desperation you have the Living Water who quenches your thirst and satisfies your longings. In your grief you have the One who was acquainted with grief and stricken with sorrow.” from here

what brings joy// friends on our journey // peppermint whoopie pies // hearing everyone’s breathing falling asleep // waking up all together // rocking chairs // Csehy benediction at Christmas // lovely gifts: Bread Book, warm gloves, Prone to Wander book, Before You Now CD, chocolates, Benediction Gracelaced cards, Ellie’s pillow, play silks.



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The girls and I were outside raking leaves and we found a rose on another rose bush!

The two big November things were potty training and a trip to my grandparents’ for Thanksgiving.
We were not expecting to be potty training but she told us she wanted to wear underwear so we jumped at the chance since she has been so resistant previously.

Lessons learned:
– less messy but more exhausting than expected
– don’t give her a warning that it’s almost time… She will take that as a hint to pee now in her panties.
– she needs a lot of non-potty time attention
– teething baby sister also needs more attention
– papa is a miracle worker

This podcast and this blog post (not the series; we didn’t use this method) were so helpful in preparing me for it!

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Horrible photo, but I finally made the one recipe in Jerusalem we had skipped due to not being able to find turnips and beets out of season in Japan. My childhood favorite, pink pickled turnips!

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SNOW. Twice. In the first week of November. Ugh.

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Bubble wrap occupied her very well on our walk!

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Making almond roca for some early Christmas presents.
It took longer to cook than the recipe said, but was so easy and turned out beautifully!

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We still have some warmer, clear blue skies, but mostly grey days now.

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Thanksgiving preparations at my grandparents’. We had a restful almost-week down with my family and extended family.

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Enjoying the last of the crunchy leaves.

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It does occupy her well!

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Turkey bullion! I make stock and then boil it down and freeze it in cubes.

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Got the wassail ready to simmer and we hopped in the car to go pick a tree! I had never gone to a tree farm for a tree so we wanted to do that this year… and because the forecast is now rain forever, we decided not to wait for good weather.
This year for wassail I just dumped in some cider we had in the freezer, frozen cranberries, an orange, and some whole cloves and cinnamon sticks, and we simmered it during nap time.
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They didn’t have any u-cut ones that were small enough for our budget and home, but we found a beautiful, feathery one that was the perfect size and price. The branches are so soft, but that also means that they aren’t as sturdy so the heavier ornaments were a bit difficult to put up. And we didn’t want to buy more ornaments so the back is basically empty, but you don’t see it unless you’re in the back yard.
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This silver aspen leaf was a birthday gift I picked out last time we were in the Rockies (thank you, Mommy!), which was also the last time I saw my great Uncle and my cousin Kristen, both of whom passed away last year, so it’s become not only my prettiest ornament but also the most special. This year I thought of Kristen often as it’s my first Thanksgiving in the US where it has been really Fall in a long time, and the last few Fall-weather USA Thanksgivings were with Kristen. It made me sad, but also made me really long for seeing her again in Heaven where she will have a new body that will be able to partake in the Marriage Supper of the Lamb without pain.

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And this is our Japan ornament!

Hymns of the month// still reviewing Children of the Heavenly Father // Sleepy Eyes (a favorite lullaby)

favorite recipes// our favorite Paleo chocolate cake // cultured dairy (though the creme fraiche didn’t really work) // sourdough pie crust // sourdough pumpkin pancakes // braised French onion chicken // pasties // chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream (used 1 c cream and 2 c milk instead of coconut milk) // chocolate sourdough cake (my favorite chocolate cake!) // no-knead sourdough bread // salsa verde // plantain gingerbread (left out any sweetener other than the plantains and molasses) // pork roast // combined this and this for a delicious Thai yellow curry soup! // almond roca //

best of online// smartphone dystopia // why church shootings don’t intimidate the church // why we can rejoice that marriage will end // momma, Jesus invites you to come and rest // tea blending // a mother’s microbial gift (did you know mom’s body tailors milk based on the bacteria in a nursing baby’s mouth?!?) // how does your body know you’re full? // James White’s Keys to Effective Debating // can my son be friends with white people? // look up: trading introspection for awe // love the life you never wanted // 14 Secrets of US Postal Service Carriers // Lessons Learned on Sexual Abuse (Newheiser) // my biggest mistake as a mother // WWJD about transgender? // miserable millenials (video) // aborted baby parts in vaccines // learning the lost language of lament (part 3. All of this series is good!) // this has some good tips on sourdough bread (video)

reading of late// The Lifegiving Table (Clarkson) // Gilead // Sanctification (Powlison) // a few short stories from a P.G. Wodehouse Anthology // The God I Love (Joni) // Different (Clarkson) //

thinking about// a gem from Sanctification: “God is light so bright that no man can dwell in His presence. God is love so tender that He makes His dwelling place with man.” // the pride and guilt that minimalism can take on: “We know that we don’t deserve more than another person, but we also know that we have more than another person. And so in an attempt to deal with this guilt, we can pursue a form of asceticism, all the while keeping ourselves at the center of the conversation… we miss the fact that even the ability to embrace a minimalist lifestyle is based in abundance.” (from Humble Roots) // rest isn’t the same as an empty schedule, but is relinquishing control and letting Him be God // loving my children > being on time // Christmas lights are wonderful no matter what, but when you’re so far North that it’s dark when you wake up and dark long before dinner time, there’s a whole new wonder and worth to them //

what brings joy// dough // the girls making each other laugh // Ezra’s long weekends


6 October Vollkornbrot 1
I tried to make vollkornbrot… but while the inside was right the crust was about a 1/2″ thick brick.

2 October Hebrew hard cider lattes 2
At home date night with homemade pumpkin spice chai lattes and leftover pie.

12 October 4
I am really not a fan of weather cooler than 70 so I am trying to find things to be thankful for and enjoy even when the forecast is not above 60. Like Fall colors, and the diversity of leaves, and more tea, and hot water washing dishes and sinking into bed in cotton flannel.
And yes, I had help filling the centerpiece. 😉

13 October leaf crafts and S oboe practice 3
Ellie is allowed to play with the pots and pans so sometimes I find odd items in the cupboard.

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“practicing oboe”

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I have daydreamed about this day since we found out Ellie was a girl. They frequently walk around holding hands now.

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Some crafts with leaves we pick up on our walks.

16 October corn maze and pumpkin patch 3
S navigating the corn maze for us. We tried to keep a fragile balance of creating some tension by giving her a goal of “get back to the car!” without scaring her that we were lost.
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16 October corn maze and pumpkin patch 16
I love the variety in pumpkins and squash!

17 October Girls in leaves 8
Cousin J sent her boxes of clothes and S is in love with this pink coat.

17 October 2
A friend at church loaned me four cookbooks and we have been enjoying lots of yummy bread and other new recipes.

17 October 3
S was setting the table and dropped two of our rice bowls from Japan. We were both sad, her especially, since now there is no pink bowl.

19 October Apple testing
We did a taste test on 8 kinds of apples… and ended up deciding our favorites were pretty standard – Ezra’s is gala, mine is Fuji.

20 October 3
Got this basket for basically free at a rummage sale and it’s been holding the coffee table books more prettily and more out of the way from the littlest hands.

24 October girls sharing room 2
The girls are now sharing a room! It happened much more smoothly than anticipated, although Ellie still tries to cause trouble sometimes. She will try to play with S, and S will just lie there trying to sleep.

I don’t really talk about how we do baby sleep because I think that after safety is considered it’s between Ezra and I and not everyone where our kids sleep, when they sleep through the night, etc. I am happy to talk privately about what we do and why, just send me a message – the short, public answer is gentle and late sleep coaching.
But I write about the room move, as it’s a big day because it’s the first time in 3 years we have not had a crib in our room (it was empty for a while in Japan though).

26 October
Little shoes waiting outside to not track pine needles into the house.

27 October clamming 8
inspired by last weeks’ thousand readings of One Morning in Maine, we went clamming for the first time!

28 October clam chowder 2

28 October clam chowder 3
Steaming. There were little tiny crabs in almost all the clams, which led to some temporary freaking out until Ezra did some research.

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30 October walking to library
Participating in fit2B’s walk thankful November… this was in the warming up days and I was thinking about the things I was thankful for while we walked to the library – for living in a small enough town that we can walk to the library (all the way across town but only a 45 minute walk!), and that Ezra’s schedule is flexible enough that we can remain a one-car family, podcasts to listen to, strength to walk hills, libraries full of books and wonder for the girls…

Hymns of the month// Children of the Heavenly Father // reviewing When He Cometh

favorite recipes// parsley pesto (I only like parsley in tabbouleh, but this is still yummy and SO much cheaper than basil pesto!) // sourdough crackers // 8 overnight oats recipes // yummy lentil salad // making apple cider vinegar // cookie dough overnight oats // mediterranean chicken pizza // chicken curry casserole // chorizo sweet potato skillet // Sunday beef stew // injera (Ethiopian flat bread) // soy-free soy sauce (actually works!) // peanut coconut chicken (yummy, NOT one pan… breading makes a ton of dishes if you don’t want to use a bag once) // no bake healthy fudge // long-ferment sourdough biscuits (a cross between a biscuit and croissant) // grain-free chocolate cookies // Lebanese stuffed butternut squash // pumpkin spice caramel smoothies – used milk + 2 Tbsp cocoa instead of coffee and threw in 2 dates // chocolate & nut butter fudge (there was almond butter in the bargain bin) //

+ a variety of recipes from Cultures for Health’s sourdough eBook, Jane Brody’s Good Food Gourmet, and The Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book. I was somewhat participating in Unprocessed October and One Pot October.

best of online// thoughts on attitude of Mom in potty training // God is with you in your panic attack // Victoria’s Library // 17 Crafts to make with leaves // leaf crowns // Lecrae, White Evangelicalism, and Hope // age of accountability // Communion Table & Eating Disorders // how to support a friend through miscarriage // cleaning a boar bristle brush // at least as dangerous as porn // A Deeper Healing (Joni Eareckson Tada) // destroying your home with hardness of heart // Fantasy World Builder // 5 Parenting Myths // Every Good Mother Dies // Bach & Luther: Theology in Music // You can loosen your grip on the future // trade self-worth for awe //

reading of late// partway through The Lifegiving Table // The Hawk & The Dove // Humble Roots // finished (but not processed) 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You // Preemptive Love // The Cup & The Glory (harris) // finished The Hidden Smile of God (Piper) with Ezra // started Neptune’s Inferno with Ezra

Kids’ books we enjoyed//  a lot by Robert McCloskey and Patricia Polacco

what brings joy// finishing S’s quiet book // warmer days // golden light // 2 long dates in one week // PPD puzzle pieces clicking


Somehow some of my photos from August got left on my phone, so here are a few from August first:
From my birthday celebrations –
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(That’s pull apart baklava bread!)

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Some down time on the waterfront on Sunday morning.

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We turned a cuff-link we found in some of Ezra’s grandfather’s things into a necklace.

2 September music festival 1
I love it when books have activities with them!

I’m not sharing the photo because it has other people in it, but we had one of our favorite things here so far happen this month – a quiet afternoon picking blackberries with friends. A number of things had popped up on Ezra’s “weekend” between shifts which has led to us having a lot to do, and picking berries and restful conversation with these friends was just what we needed.
Another favorite memory from the summer, that I have no photo of except what’s in my mind: S running barefoot on trails and through tall, dry grass (that perfectly matched her hair) above the ocean.

6 September 1
kombucha with blackberries we picked and cucumber and mint from our garden

6 September 2
learning to can!

7 September 6
I love recreating foods we had in Japan (or anywhere!).

8 September school 3
when your not-quite-three-year-old tells you she wants to go to school… It just means more structured reading time and strewing some art!
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10 September 1
We also got a lot of plums when we picked blackberries. A plum tart was one of the things I made… but we had to salvage it when my springform pan malfunctioned.

13 September 3
Most of the time our kombucha is fine without being burped, but then there are times it explodes.

14 September 8

15 September 18
We’ve started keeping the bathroom door fully closed because otherwise Ellie gets into it (something S never did!), but that led to needing to mark the bathroom for guests. So I handlettered this and then Ezra did the woodburning and staining.

17 September 3
Some of Ellie’s birthday presents – new favorites for me!

17 September 4
if you want some beautiful art check out @heart2artcrafts!
My cousin made this for Ellie’s birthday – so perfect when PPD made the mama bear love slow to come, and when I daily have to choose to love them more than me, and in that pray that in my falling short they will feast and be satisfied on the fullness of His love.
And all the love we were shown by so many in the last year, from Japan to Puget Sound and friends and family all over, culminating in aunts, grandma, and cousins coming to celebrate Ellie with us!

19 September

22 September 2

I mentioned this book, The Journey, by Francesca Sanna, in our books post. This is one page from it.
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26 September 7
We found a birds’ nest on our walk!

28 September 4

30 September 1
Making cider in the blender is a process, but it works!

Hymns of the month// My Song is Love Unknown // reviewing Abide With Me
favorite recipes// turmeric yogurt roast chicken // paleo chocolate cake (people who had no clue it was paleo commented on how good it was! Ezra was less convinced) // maple pumpkin baked oatmeal // cold-brew jamaica // zucchini tuna cakes // steamed buns (need double the filling!) // cashew carrot pasta sauce // miso breakfast oatmeal // soaked granola (I cut back the sweetener by 1/3 and it was still plenty sweet) // soaking & roasting nuts // gingerbread apple pancakes // overnight French bread // apple & caramelized onion pizzas // sourdough pizza crust // bean chilaquiles // molasses breakfast cookies // savory French toast // katsudon (YUM YUM YUM)
And this is what we used to make a sourdough starter!

did not work so well: sourdough cinnamon rolls (mostly the glaze flopped) // paleo brownies (I remember loving these the first time I made them, so I don’t know what happened!

best of online// Seed of War // mombods & the gospel // grasping for control // love to eat, hate to eat (Elyse Fitzpatrick) // 10 Things to Know Before Adopting Transracially // Is Life Harder than You Expected? // when marriage is filled with worse, poorer, and sickness // when you can’t protect your children // losing sleep, finding grace // setting the tone in your home // Charlotte Mason for real moms // Quick Facts about Secular Science // Rich Westerners // What’s the Purpose of Children? // 10 Essential Gospel Truths // the duty of moderation // how to photograph life //

reading of late// The Winters’ Tale (Shakespeare) // Surprised by Joy (Lewis) // Lit! (Reinke)

thinking about// “when my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul.” Psalm 94:19 // lots of other tidbits from the Psalms, like Psalm 73:22-24 //

what brings joy// blackberry picking with friends // having guests over // one-on-one time with the girls


Started August in NYC… doing not-so-crowded things since I didn’t have much interest in Times Square and wanted to avoid crowds with the girls. My first time in NYC was 14 years ago and it was awful… So I’m thankful for the chance to make happy NYC memories (traffic and parking ticket aside), but even more it was great to watch the girls have so much happy cousin time and get to celebrate Cait’s birthday WITH her for the first time in a long time.
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Carnegie Hall

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We spent a while watching the fountain at the Lincoln Center and being overwhelmed and excited by how much talent walks through that place!

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Then it was to MI for my friend Hannah’s wedding. I did not take many photos since I was trying to enjoy every moment.
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Except here. I pulled my phone out to take a photo of one of the most moving parts of the day.
From Instagram:
She’s been with me for Celtic festivals, road trips (& my first car accident), desert camping, serving in childcare and leading small groups, Irish & country dancing, music and sewing, exploring Israel, visited us in San Diego and Japan (and was the most wonderful doula ever for Ellie’s birth)… she’s shot me in the eye in a nerf war and been asked if she’s my sister more times than my sisters and I have been put together (and we’ve accidentally twinned so many times)… I kept thinking of Revelation 19 yesterday, watching Hannah clothe herself in fine clothes, but knowing her radiance is so much more than her physical beauty, lying in her character & the way she follows Christ. I’ve never seen her as happy as she was yesterday.
I don’t think I have ever “meant” the benediction as much as I did while singing it last night, after watching her exchange vows & embark on marriage, thinking of the joys, sorrows, and struggles Ezra & I have experienced and that she now gets to taste of as well, but also having so deeply worshiped our Savior in the ceremony, knowing He is able to bless & keep them & give them peace.

And my involvement with the wedding would not have been possible without Ezra tirelessly caring for the girls for large parts of 3 days!

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Since I lived in MI for a while as a kid, I still have friends there, like Anna! We enjoyed shawarma in a cheesebread, some playground time for the girls, and then joined my family for church.

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And since Hannah went to Csehy, it was also a great time with lots of Csehy friends who were in town for the wedding.

But we also spent some time doing things in Michigan we had loved doing when we were growing up (like eating lots of Lebanese food!) – the biggest thing there was going to Greenfield Village.
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Ezra coming out of Robert Frost’s house. We had a sleeping toddler in the stroller so were taking turns going in and out of houses or pushing the stroller.

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Trying on hats in the millinery was always one of our favorite things, as was the carousel – it was the first time either of our girls had been on one, and they both enjoyed it (even though S was sad to not get the frog).

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On our way home… Ellie’s favorite book fell apart.

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The girls charmed a pilot flying standby while we were waiting for our second flight and he gave S wings – not cheap plastic ones but a real pin. Made my day!

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update on the beeswrap: we love it! I just did some maintenance on them as they had lots of cracks, but it only took a few minutes of ironing between parchment paper and they’re as good as new. They are great for traveling with and eliminated the need for plastic sandwich bags on our trip. We mostly use them for sandwiches and baked goods, but have occasionally used them for veggies or other snacks.

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Paid way too much for strawberries at the Farmers’ Market (but they were local and organic!) – and topped them with some cream.
It is overwhelming to go to the Farmer’s Market and see all the local, organic food we could be buying and then feel guilty we don’t. So instead of trying to do it all we decided to focus on ONE thing for now and make that happen as much as possible, and that’s these pastured eggs from down the road from church… That somehow are cheaper than the organic grocery store eggs.

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Free, organic blackberries. YUM.

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We’d been reading Blueberries for Sal so S had to have her little tin pail… thankfully I had one. And she did a better job than Sal picking and not eating them all!

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One of the most unique trees I have ever seen. Pinecones, swoops like a cedar, but prickly like a cactus.

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Hiking for my birthday!
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A really beautiful trail, and also the longest we’ve done with kids – 3.5 miles.
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“playing” hiking in our backyard.

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birthday flowers from Ezra – along with serrated knives that work for lefties and some handlettering he did.

favorite recipes// banana tahini popsicles // sweet potato lentil soup // turkey apple sausage patties // blackberry ricotta pizza with basil (needs some lemon zest! More blackberry recipes coming later) // 30 minute posole // chicken salad // healthier cake // loosely followed this recipe for carrot cake ice cream – just added the syrup part to our usual vanilla, and blended it // baklava pull apart bread (halved the sweetener!) // cookie dough hummus (would add more oats and cashews) // whole wheat muffins (left out the honey) // crockpot refried beans //

and lest you think every recipe works, here are some that weren’t as great as expected: indian bread with zucchini (not bad, but just a basic flat bread with zucchini in it) // oatmeal cookie ice cream sandwiches (fantastic idea, but the cookies didn’t work for me!) // chocolate chip cookies (these were like cake) // 2 ingredient chocolate frosting (even very cold this was like pudding)

best of online//  Yazidi women freed from ISIS // 6 ways to raise a sex addict // biblical womanhood doesn’t begin and end in Proverbs 31 // reflections on the 50th anniversary of Joni’s diving accident (and more from Joni) // breathtaking arrangement of Fairest Lord Jesus // the need for rural ministry // missionary mommy wars // why “did you have fun?” is the wrong question // spectacular clouds // you don’t have to love your postpartum body // 5 Strategies for a Christ-Centered Home // ultimate guide to homeschooling styles // stuck in the middle of unresolved suffering: part 1 & part 2 // how to love your friends of color well // 11 Beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses you should know about // witnessing Yemen’s desperate suffering // Trio Mediaeval – the Little Child // How to Care for Parents of Prodigals // photography posing tips // the perfect body size // I updated this resource page // narratio // global buckets – a neat way of growing things and a neat mission! // how to use your whisk the right way // giving up the confederacy
reading of late// skimmed Charlotte Mason’s Home Education // Pursuit of God (Tozer) // Roaring Lambs (Briner) // Pride & Prejudice (Austen)

thinking about// in my recent reading of the psalms I have been struck again and again with the theme of publicly praising God for what He has done. So here’s for today, a day started with exhaustion and too much to do, and I knew I was going to bite off everyone’s head unless something changed. It was a constant all-day running to Him and teetering on the edge… But even with Ezra working evenings we made it with His protection. Not perfectly but without snapping. God is good!
Psalm 71:3, Be to me a rock of habitation to which I may continually come.

The Munchkins// how are they growing so fast? Ellie is standing and saying a few words; S is starting to play pretend and invite us along.


Writing this post made me realize how full June was! It was mostly full of just living, though, and was very enjoyable, the calm before all our summer travels!

2 June curry and garden salad 1
not being on 21DSD meant so much yummy food.

3 June curry pan 3
set aside some curry for curry pan.

3 June curry pan 5
someone at a garage sale was desperately trying to get rid of all this stoneware and gave it to us free. Ezra felt bad telling them we didn’t need it all so we have since given some of it away.

6 June picnic 3
she found my Tintin books and will read them for hours.

7 June prep for Penni s class
a highlight of the month was playing oboe for a friend’s music appreciation class and accompanying her on piano for a Vivaldi Cello sonata. It wasn’t really a performance but I haven’t done anything performance-like since last April so it was a lot of fun and I enjoyed the mental challenge of performing again, and had fun trying to think of how to make oboe interesting to middle schoolers.

13 June Disc Golf Date Night 1
testing out Dave’s Killer Bagels (stick with the bread), and happiness that my small cast iron skillet is the perfect size for eggs in bagels.

13 June Disc Golf Date Night 2
date night success! The weather held and we got to play 9 holes of disc golf (Ezra beat me by a lot) and have a picnic.

13 June sunset 2
sunsets here are so colorful.

18 June Kenneally Graduation 1
we’d had a whirlwind trip down to Ezra’s family’s the week before, but the girls and I made the trip down to celebrate my cousins’ graduation on Father’s Day (the morning after Ezra & S went to a daddy daughter dance. She still talks about it!). They did so well in the car!

18 June Kenneally Graduation 2
So proud of her!

20 June 2
She hates the wind, and chooses the back of the stroller to avoid it (and to avoid being buckled).

21 June summer 1
we had corn on the cob and made cornhusk dolls.

21 June summer 2
our overgrown peony plants needed trimming.

22 June summer 1
Ezra found some early blackberries on his way back from work

22 June summer 2
let my bread rise in the sun!

22 June summer 5
summer in a crust

24 June Ezra birthday 6
we celebrated Ezra’s birthday

24 June Ezra birthday 7
He asked for shwarma and falafel

25 June 1
At Bible study we were talking about which way the TP should go… and one woman said “it goes UNDER because then your five year old won’t spin it out!” Well… our 9 month old pulls it I guess (and bites it).

26 June Simon the Baby bunny
Our “pet,” Simon the Baby Bunny. He has been eating our sunflowers.

26 June 1
She adores our field guide and we are always looking things up or she will look through it and ask what things are.

29 June haircut and paletas 8
we decided it was time to cut her hair… with the weather warming up it was getting so tangled and matted. This is the before!

29 June haircut and paletas 15
Showing off her paleta – we’ve been reading about them in a book and she is obsessed.

30 June hair cut 3
I said I wouldn’t get emotional but that was a lie.

30 June pizza date night 5
in-house date afternoon: a late lunch of pizza, since the first time we’d used our pizza stones I had really struggled with the process so we did it together to perfect our technique.

Hymns of the month// brushing up on A Mighty Fortress, and learning The Love of God.

favorite recipes// Moroccan chicken with preserved lemons (I had some preserved lemons left from a Jerusalem recipe and this turned up for using them up!) // Japanese curry bread (the ultimate comfort food) // stuffed zucchini – kousa mahshi // mezze cake – a fun idea, though we prefer it all separate // frozen whipped jello (a favorite warm weather treat) // vegetarian shepherd’s pie // flourless chocolate protein waffles // cheesy garlic spaghetti squash with herbs // flourless chocolate mug cake // lasagna stuffed burritos (a fun novelty for once, though we said we’d prefer one or the other) // cheese fondue (added more garlic) // this dried out quickly but was otherwise a tasty plantain chocolate cake. This one was moister but otherwise not great so I may try to combine the two // sweet potato cakes // batbout – stovetop pita bread // German onion pie (YUM) // fragrant roasted zucchini // summer vegetable chili // pumpkin cake with butterscotch chips (made for Ezra’s birthday) // learned how to make hollandaise sauce // yummy cream cheese frosting (naturally sweetened. I added a couple tablespoons of milk) // biscuit tricks // Indian omelet // bacon lime sweet potato salad // carrot & date muffins (date-sweetened) // not great as cake but delicious as banana muffins (not enough “crumb” to smash) // pizza sauce //

best of online//  Righteous anger: Egypt’s Christians respond to ISIS // free date night ideas – some really cheesy, others that have made it on our list! // zero-waste produce storage (inspiring) // Caesar, Uncle Sam, and Servants of God // the week my tears ran out //homemade paint // tragedy and injustice and Philando Castille // recalibrating – I love her blog and her first podcast episode & this post really resonated with me and where I’m at right now and why I blog // Matisyahu – One Day // all children are different – focus on the heart // Cling to Christ (looking at Jacob wrestling with God) // Myth of Maternal Bliss // Beginner’s Guide to Night Sky Photography // 40 must-see photos from the past // 40 maps that help explain the Middle East // 15 Things I want to tell my third culture kids // gorgeous photos //

thinking about// industrious vs life-giving home // expecting kids to sin and need to be parented // laughing at the future comes via a CHOICE of choosing to look at God and not the waves of what is/has been/could be //

what brings joy//
The Munchkins// Ellie is cruising, clapping, and dancing. S talks more and more “properly” every day and people are her caffeine.


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A wet, rainy hike we took while my dad was visiting.
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It is really nice to have so much hiking close enough for day trips and even some morning or evening hikes.
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We also saw an otter!
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breakfast & a great read. Ellie and I have been getting up before S lately and I love having a few minutes to exercise, read, or make breakfast before it gets too crazy.

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We all loved having my brother here for a few days. S loved that he could help her climb higher than mommy can. 😉 After he left, Ezra’s mom and one of his sisters came up for a few days. The timing of all the visits was perfect, especially as Ellie had been having a lot of bad nights so that meant I didn’t have to be exhausted AND chasing the girls all day because they were having so much fun playing with Uncle Nate, Grandma, and Aunt Susannah.

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“Handel and his mommy,” by S.

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reintroducing food after the 21 Day Sugar Detox has been a rollercoaster because we never pinpointed what was giving me trouble, but I have really enjoyed not feeling limited and making some of the recipes I saved during the detox or have had saved for a while.

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I love the fallen petals, especially when it seems like it’s snowing.

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While I was on the 21DSD, Ezra and S made cookies to take to neighbors that just moved in. He felt bad if I made them since I couldn’t eat them… But then he grabbed the masa instead of the white flour we keep for crafts, which led to some frustration but they still turned out! And surprisingly, I had no cookie cravings, though I was tempted to freeze some dough to bake later.
Then we delivered them just as a thunderstorm was starting, and afterwards hung out in our garage watching the rain and lightening. S asked, “where’s the flashlight in the sky, papa?”

We also went camping, but I put those photos in another post.
And I took no photos, but made soap this month for the first time!

And we went OUT for a date for the first time since Christmas… only to prove that we totally fail at out of the house date night. Our last 3:
– before Ellie was born Hannah stayed with a sleeping S and we went out… But the only place still open in walking distance was McDonald’s because we had forgotten that we were going to go out that night and S had gotten to bed late.
– at Christmas we went into town and wandered around then got soup and a milkshake we were only half interested in.
– this time, we were going to go to a ballroom dance class, but arrived to find out it was cancelled so we drove around town but everything non food was closed because it’ s such a small town so we came home and watched a movie before picking up the girls, and were going to have kale chips but I burned them.

Hymns of the month// neither are really hymns, but we were working on the Getty’s “A Mother’s Prayer,” and then I wanted to learn “Goodnight, my Angel,” so we did those this month.

favorite recipes// Thai red curry paste (no more paying $3 for 4 Tbsp…) // beef enchilada bake – I used chicken; it needs about twice the amount of sauce though // banana ice cream // AIP pizza – though I didn’t like it as pizza, but as tortillas // slow roasted pork shoulder // paleo spaghetti and meatballs – no almond flour and one less egg for 2/3 recipe of the meatballs // cheese enchiladas // my sister-in-law and mother-in-law came to visit and Susannah is on a keto diet so I made these and they turned out pretty well! // pumpkin plantain pancakes // Thai sweet potato curry // French Toast Mug // raw buckwheat porridge – this was really good but not that easily digested // savory spinach muffins //

best of online//  hair detangler so I can stop threatening to cut S’s // I am not really a fan of the chatty-style in podcasts, but I really do like Risen Motherhood. This one on getting in the Word as a mom of littles and this one on finding your mama tribe were really encouraging // how to raise an alien child // myths about making soap and the “recipe” I used // Show me my cross // No or Not Yet (this is so encouraging to me after PPD, both the comments on Jesus in the Garden and when God says “no” to our prayers) //

It’s already partway through Ramadan, but to join in praying here’s one prayer guide.

reading of late// Genius of Ancient Man // Messy Grace (Kaltenbach) // Better Late than Early // Holy Labor // None Like Him (Jen Wilkin)

Kids’ books we enjoyed//  lots of Ezra Jack Keats this month!

thinking about// Ellie’s separation anxiety and how my relationship with God should be that way // feeling behind or like there’s not enough time – but there’s enough time ot do His will/what He has for me/what He wants me to do

what brings joy// waking up slowly in a tent in the forest // dairy // having family in our home // surprise day of peace and quiet // S & Ellie shrieking and playing together

The Munchkins// I love seeing how similar they are and how different their personalities are turning out to be. Both girls are so social and high-energy, but Ellie is more nervous around strangers than S was. She’s also more snuggly and more stubborn.

writing// I finally finished my poem. It’s over on apricotpie.