Words by S #2

“(about lightening) “Where’s the flashlight in the sky, Papa?”

“Bug!” “That’s an ant,” “Aunt Susannah!”

“I love you, Papa!” “I love you, S!” “Just kidding!”

“Do you want peanut butter?” “Just butter.”

“Be still my soul, the Lord is on thy face.”

“What’s that come from, Mommy?” <- favorite question.

“last night” = the past
“on Sunday” = the future

“Mommy, my name is S and I have a question for you.”

“Where’s my daddy?”
“Some kids call their papas daddy, you call him papa.”
“Can I call him Ezra?”
“Only if you get lost.”
“Can I get lost?”

“long my heart has panted… like a dog wants water.”

“Did you hurt your leg?” “I hurt my jeans.”

“cashew doll” = kokeshi doll

“I’m feeding my baby. I don’t have milk, just cuddles.”
“We’re going away from the darking bog.”
“Where’s the darking gob?”
“He’s back a few blocks.”
“He’s with the blocks.”

“O precious little baby, yet to be born.” (Blessings upon you, my baby unborn)

“precious little papa, do you have an idea?”

“Can I pet Ellie?”

“No mommy have fun with papa.” (almost every time I put her to bed…)


Ice Cream Showdown

22 June ice cream showdown 1
{all mixed up}
After reading this post on making ice cream without an ice cream maker, we wanted to try making ice cream with both the blender method and the ice cream maker at the same time to see what the difference was and if we should hang onto our ice cream maker or if it was something that was silly to have with a Blendtec around. We tested a few months ago but felt that it wasn’t a fair test due to some tweaking that was needed and it not being a “proper” ice cream recipe.
So we used that as an excuse to make ice cream again, this time plain vanilla with a recipe we had used before.

22 June ice cream showdown 2
{ready to freeze or chill}

A run-down of the method: Mix the ingredients for ice cream together, leaving out 1/2 of the cream. Pour the mixture into ice cube trays, freeze, then blend with the remaining cream and freeze again.

When we had tested before, we felt that there needed to be less liquid kept out, so we ended up with three batches of ice cream:
A: ice cream maker (lowest end Cuisinart)
B: blender, keeping out 1/2 of the cream
C: blender, keeping out 1/3 of the cream

Here’s what we found (photos are of the ice cream straight out of the maker/blender):
24 June ice cream showdown Ezra birthday 4
A. Ice cream maker
This was the smoothest ice cream, and the only one that was remotely ready to eat right after churning (but still very soft soft serve).
However, we have found it to be very finicky, and even if we follow the instructions to the letter we’ve had it not work and end up with slush.

Total time: 12 hours to freeze the bowl, 5 minutes to mix ingredients, 2 hours to cool ingredients, 20 minutes to churn, 2 hours to solidify.

24 June ice cream showdown Ezra birthday 2
B. Blendtec – Kept out 1/2 of cream (1/3 c)
This had the most ice crystals in it. It was still ice cream and very tasty and much less work than other ice-cream-maker-less recipes, but it was the least smooth.

24 June ice cream showdown Ezra birthday 3
C. Blendtec – Kept out 1/3 of cream (1/4 c)
Still not as creamy as the ice cream maker, but better than B. Once they had both been sitting out for a few minutes, there was little difference between A and C.
We haven’t made it this way as often, but it seems more foolproof than the ice cream maker. Other perks of the blender method are being able to make more at a time, since you have to refreeze the ice cream maker bowl after every batch.

Total time for blender method: 5 minutes to mix ingredients, 12 hours to freeze cubes, 1 minute (or less) to blend, 2 hours to solidify.

24 June ice cream showdown Ezra birthday 5
{after 2 hours in the freezer, ABC from L-R}

25 June ice cream showdown 1
{after 24 hours in the freezer, again ABC. Note the air pockets and crystals in B}

Our conclusion: the blender method is good, but we are still keeping our ice cream maker since we have space for it! If we didn’t already have one, though, we probably wouldn’t get one since we have a high powered blender that can do the blender method.

A friend has since told me about adding xanthan gum to ice cream to make it creamier so we’re just going to have to do this again!

PS: we are currently on vacation and this may be the last scheduled post I have done before we leave so there may be a short blogging break!

Book Review: Holy Labor

Last summer I wrote a lot about HypnoBirthing and other birth methods and books (you can read that here, here, and here), and while in the end there were useful things gleaned from all the books I’ve read on birth, overall I was left with a sense of having to piece together my own “method” to practice and prepare for a natural, God-centered birth.

But I knew this book, “Holy Labor,” by Aubry G. Smith, was coming out and was so sad it wouldn’t be out until after Ellie was born. My parents gave it to me this year for Mothers’ Day and I devoured it pretty quickly and wanted to review it on my blog because of the way I ended my posts on HypnoBirthing so dissatisfied with birth books.

Holy Labor is a theology of childbirth: what scripture says about it (is there really a curse on women? Does Genesis 3 mean labor has to be painful?), how we should approach it because of who God is, and how it changes who we are.
She talks about relaxation in labor and some about the fear/pain connection.
Each chapter ends with spiritual disciplines and exercises to help apply what was talked about and prepare for labor and facilitate further, deeper worship of God, in and out of childbirth.
There is a lot of focus on natural childbirth, but I felt that she handled it well so that someone who didn’t have or didn’t want a natural birth wouldn’t feel judged (but I don’t have that experience so may not be the best person to speak on that).

While not designed to be a week-by-week labor preparation guide, I do plan on using it in the first part of the third trimester if we have another baby.

What I didn’t like
I didn’t fully agree with all her theology, but overall there wasn’t anything major I disagreed with, only the way she phrased some things or a rare paragraph. The biggest place this was an issue was in her chapter on justice and birth, but in reading the exercises part after the chapter I think it was more of an issue of wording than actual theology.

I wish it had included thoughts on more of pregnancy (morning sickness, for example) and postpartum (PPD), but it is about LABOR. I also wish it had been more, shorter chapters to make it easier to use across a trimester of pregnancy.
Those are the only ways I felt it was lacking anything talked about in Redeeming Childbirth (further comparison in the next section), along with that I really liked the emphasis in Redeeming Childbirth about building a God-centered birth culture and mentoring others in that (implied in Holy Labor, but not explicitly discussed).

What I liked
I feel like overall it contained a lot of the same thoughts as Redeeming Childbirth but in a way that was more concise and theologically grounded, drawing from scripture more than personal experience and encouraging further study and worship, again, from scripture more than personal experience.
Holy Labor grew my understanding of both the physical and spiritual side of childbirth, and I know that if I were pregnant the exercises would have been so helpful to me in dealing with fears, body image, changing seasons, etc. by bringing me to God in prayer and worship, meeting those struggles with His character.

Highly, highly recommended!

Resources for PPD

I’ve put a number of links to articles, podcasts, websites, and blogs, and mentioned some books in my PPD posts, but I wanted to put them all together in one post, too. These are all things that have helped me with PPD, but again, they may or may not be helpful to others! Also, while online resources are useful, they are no substitute for your midwife/doctor, husband, and church (or the physical helps like clean eating, sleep, supplements, and exercise).

If you need immediate help and are having thoughts of harm to yourself or your baby, stop reading and call the suicide prevention hotline NOW. 1-800-273-8255.

Postpartum Progress (this website, postpartum progress, is probably the most helpful diagnostic website I have found. I don’t agree with all their “answers” but diagnostically it’s amazing)
Symptom List for PPD (not exhaustive but the most exhaustive one I’ve found)
The difference between PPD & new mom stress
Risk factors: 1 & 2.
6 Stages of PPD (this is so helpful to me a few months out when it feels like PPD is gone but I’m still not healed yet. The “PTSD” stage is not something I would necessarily call PTSD yet that seems like the best label for it)
The Tunnel of Depression (Jasmine Holmes – the most scripturally grounded “what it feels like”)
Anxiety: My Thorn in the Flesh (a good summary of the practical helps you can take, as well as some righting of myths about anxiety that could also be applied to depression)
How to Fight for Faith in the Dark (Desiring God)
Sleep, Motherhood, & PPD (includes symptom list + some tips and ideas)
Some Thoughts on PPD (my post)
Renewing your mind in the midst of PPD (my post)
To Moms of One or Two Children (I don’t love this title, but I go back to this post again and again. Just solid, down to earth advice about life with kids, that I have always found especially encouraging with PPD)
No or Not Yet (for when God doesn’t answer your prayers the way you want Him to)
Dealing with guilt in PPD: My post & What is Well Placed Shame (Desiring God)
Why I’m not Anxious about PPD (written before Ellie’s birth… I am not yet back to this place after Ellie’s birth)
What I want my Daughters to Know about PPD (my post)
When the Bough Breaks (documentary, also available on Netflix. Watch with caution if you have PPD. I think this is mostly helpful for people who have no clue how serious PPD can be).

for support teams
How to Love a Depressed Wife (Desiring God)
How to Help Someone with PPD (my post)
9 Ideas to Support Someone with PPD

Spiritual Depression (Jonah & Elijah)
A Curse for Us: the Death of Christ (thoughts on being separated from God)
The Curse on Women (MacArthur – the realities of life as a childbearing woman in a fallen world!)
Podcast: Gospel hope for PPD

Hind’s Feet on High Places (Hannah Hurnard)
Spurgeon’s Sorrows (Eswine)
A Sacred Sorrow (Card)
When Darkness Will Not Lift (Piper)
The Cup & the Glory (Harris; I have not read this but it’s been highly recommended to me)
Dealing with Depression (Collins)

Job – letting it happen because He knows we will come out stronger
Job 38:17 – I have not seen the deep darkness, even in PPD, but GOD HAS
Psalms generally – in everything David suffered, God was always faithful in the end.
Psalm 13, 31 – times of waiting before He answers our cry = normal
Psalm 27 – the prayer for help, and an answer, and then WAIT.
Ps 56:8
Ps 139:11-12
Is 50:10
Ezekiel 2:9-3:3
Jeremiah 20:7-18
Lamentations 3
Ecclesiastes – everything beautiful in its time… not my time, His.
Micah 7:8-9
Matt 5:4
Lazarus (Jesus waiting to come)
Jesus calming the storm – He was sleeping.
Christ choosing to go forward from Gethsemene to feel the darkness of His hidden face and worse, His wrath.
1 Corinthians 2:9
2 Tim 1:7
Hebrews 12
1 John 3:8

God will lift up your head – Gerhart
I have a Shelter in the Storm (Sovereign Grace)
Valley Song (Jars of Clay)
Psalm 23 songs
Though He Slay Me (Shane & Shane)
Satisfied in You (Sing Team)
In Emmanuel’s Land
Newton, “I asked the Lord that I might grow”
Be Still My Soul
It is Well With my Soul
Day by Day
Jesus of the Scars
Before the Throne
In Christ Alone

Some things to remember:

“God careth for you with such special care that he has even numbered the very hairs on your head and put your tears in His bottle. You may therefore rest assured that even those experiences which are causing you so much sorrow are all in accordance with His eternal counsel and decree.”

From Spurgeon’s Sorrows:
“Grief is depression in proportion to circumstance; depression is grief out of proportion to circumstance.”
“Depression can so vandalize our joy and sense of God that no promise of His can comfort us in the moment, no matter how true or kindly spoken.”
“The sun may not rise for a few hours yet. But here amid the waiting hours, the sorrowing have a savior.”
“No matter how far you fall in your depression, the everlasting arms shall be lower than you are.”
“Hope demolished can become hope rebuilt, if it is realistic and rooted, not just in the cross and empty tomb but also in the garden and the sweat-like blood.”
“I am certain that I have seen more in the dark than ever I saw in the light, – more stars, most certainly, – more things in heaven if fewer things on earth.”

The valley of the shadow of death is not our final destination – Michael Jinkins

Backyard: late June

6 June 2
The fuschias are dying but the butterflies and hummingbirds still love them.

12 June backyard 1
sweet peas

12 June backyard 2
vegetable garden! We’ve harvested some greens to put in salads.

12 June backyard 3

12 June backyard 5
planting sunflower starts. If we plant directly in the soil the squirrels dig up the seeds.

12 June backyard 7
No idea if the squirrels are going to let us have any of these to eat but I sure hope they do!

12 June backyard 9
peonies grow well here! We have enjoyed cutting them for ourselves and others and haven’t felt bad about that because of how big and heavy they get.

12 June backyard 11
my favorite flowers are asymmetrical ones like columbine and fuschia, but peonies are beautiful too.

12 June backyard 12
Ezra fixed the bird house.

12 June backyard 15
jars to protect plants and help them stay warm

21 June

26 June Simon the Baby bunny
The sunflower-eating culprit.


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.

2017 Second Quarter: What We Read


Give them Grace Elyse Fitzpatrick
I just skimmed this one because there are SO many parenting books and I had heard so much about this one from people that both like and don’t like it so I wanted to get a feel for it myself before deciding if I wanted to read it more or not. There were some very helpful parts, but there is a fair amount of ambiguity where you can read in certain things depending on where you are coming from that could lead to permissiveness. Overall, though, I would say that their main message isn’t giving them grace as in letting off the hook or not giving law, but grace as in offering them gospel when they fail to obey.
We haven’t finished it yet, but I would recommend Paul Tripp’s “Parenting” book over Give them Grace since I feel like it says a lot of the same things but more succinctly and without the ambiguity.

Give Your Child the World
This isn’t really one to sit down and read fully, but I did get some good ideas. I wrote down a fair number of books from the book lists to check out of the library, but I was expecting less book list and more practical on ideas for helping your kids have a global perspective. That may just be because most of the practical things she mentioned are common sense to me from the way we were raised. Not one I think I would own, but I would get it from the library in the future to get more ideas.

Hints on Child Training Turnbull
This is an often recommended book in Charlotte Mason books. There was a lot of helpful stuff in it, but I think you’d be better off reading “For the Children’s Sake” by Susan Schaeffer McCaulay since it has similar philosophy but doesn’t feel as Victorian/focused on outward behavior and politeness. I feel like that’s a weakness in the Charlotte Mason stuff in general – it talks so much about character but often feels moralistic.
Most helpful to me were reminders on whole person, individuality, not repressing polite questioning, and directing, not breaking, the will of the child, as well as teaching them self-denial and self control.

Rime of the Ancient Mariner (and a few others, Samuel Taylor Coleridge)
Hungry Planet

Always Ready (Bahnsen)
Not what I was expecting… I walked away being convinced that presuppositional apologetics is the way to go but not really knowing how to do it.

The Singer, The Song, and The Finale (Calvin Miller)
These are favorites of mine and I read them aloud to Ezra in the car.

Missional Motherhood (Furman)
I picked up some helpful tidbits from this book, but overall ended up skimming a fair bit. It would probably be more helpful to someone who hasn’t read and studied a lot about biblical womanhood.

Spurgeon’s Sorrows (Eswine)
Mentioned this book before, but I can’t recommend it enough to anyone in the midst of depression, counseling depression, supporting someone with depression, or just curious about it and wanting to know more.

The Land I Lost
Ezra remembered reading this as a kid and it was a nice break from heavier reading.


The Genius of Ancient Man

Messy Grace (Kaltenbach)
Another one that I highly recommend. Kaltenbach was raised by LGBT parents and has solid insights in how to show grace and love to the LGBT community without compromising conviction.

Better Late than Early
I ended up skimming most of this one. The first half is explaining why it’s better to start education later than earlier, including some facts like kids being far sighted until 7 or 8 and that making learning to read more difficult and even detrimental to eye health. The second half is some ideas of what to be doing until formal schooling. A lot of it was common sense and long winded.

Holy Labor (Aubri Smith)
A review of this is coming in a separate post!

None Like Him (Jen Wilkin)
SO convicting, one I will read again in the future! It made me realize how often I try to be God in how I act and live, how much I fail at trying to be God, and how great He is.

How to Read Literature Like a Professor
I was really disappointed by this book. The writing style was too casual (almost blog-style), a lot of the examples were PG-13+ and from literature I had never heard of, and it was SO repetitive.

Music Through the Eyes of Faith Harold Best
Really really good. Probably the first thing I’ve read that discusses truth and beauty and worship and what kinds of music are acceptable for the Christian in a way that goes beyond “we shouldn’t listen to rock because it has bad associations,” etc. Some of his comments were a little Spurgeon-esque in the sense of “I see how you got there, but I don’t really know if that’s what the text means, but I guess it could.” But it was never to a degree that I felt extrapolated too much from the text. Highly recommended!

A Time of Gifts
If a highschool dropout traveled the world today and wrote about it… it would be a far cry from this book, about Patrick Leigh Fermor’s travels (mostly on foot) from Holland to Constantinople. It made me feel SO uneducated – his writing is so rich with description (it had to be; he didn’t have a camera to remember things by!), full of phrases in many languages, literary references, historical knowledge and references… not as light of a read as I had been looking for, but I really enjoyed it and do plan on reading the second part sometime.

in the middle of Parenting (Tripp), The Hidden Smile of God (Piper), 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You (Reinke)

Children’s Books we enjoyed
Balloons Over Broadway about Tony Sarg and the story behind the Macy’s Day Parade!
One Day, One World
The Ology Machowski
Amelia Bedelia Goes Camping S loved this more than us. 😉
Swan a beautiful, poetic book about Anna Pavlova
Where Did My Clothes Come From? a bit above S’s level right now but she would look at it and on the page about rubber say “That’s my rain boots!”
How to make an Apple Pie and See the World
anything by Ezra Jack Keats (especially the Snowy Day and Clementina’s Cactus)
Compost Stew
My First Day
St Patrick (Tomie De Paola) – the best one we’ve found on St. Patrick’s day that our library has
In the Sea
(David Eliott, Holly Meade)
Curious George & the Alphabet
Children Just Like Me

National Geographic Children’s Atlas
Abuela (I am trying to learn some Spanish with the girls – this one had some Spanish phrases thrown in with mostly English)
The Night Gardener (Fan)
What Can You Do with a Paleta? (another bilingual one! Also “What Can you do with a Rebozo?”)
Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt (Messner)