Posted by: Elizabeth | August 20, 2012

1 Through 7

1 Month Old

2 Months

3 Months

4 Months (with a friend)

5 Months (so much for the sticker)

6 Months

7 Months

Seven months of our most precious boy.  And many more to come!


Posted by: Elizabeth | August 19, 2012


We did this for the first time tonight:

Two monkeys in the tub

I can’t believe how big they both are.  Or how much they love each other!  I couldn’t get Carter to look at the camera because he’s so enamored with his sister.  They adore one another.  I couldn’t have asked for a better big sister for my little guy, or for a little one who so adores his big sister.

And whaddaya know, doing bathtime/bedtime together is pretty quick and easy!

Things have been a bit nutty these last few months, if you can’t tell from the lack of posting.  But here’s a little catch-up from the most recent adventures:

Beating the August heat in our back yard

Tiny Guy looking way too big

Steven’s law firm picnic was at a local farm with an attached amusement park last weekend.  Caroline not only braved her (considerable) fears to ride some tiny rides, but she also got to sit in the front seat of a real (non-running) school bus, which might have been a dream come true.

Driving the School Bus

Driving the Cool Bus

The carousel swings

Pumpkin buckets with Dad

We’ve also been trying a new system with Caroline in which she can earn stickers on a chart for good behavior (putting her toys and clothes away, eating her dinner (trying everything on her plate), and not whining too much):

Good behavior

She gets to earn lots of prizes for her sticker chart, but when she completes a whole chart, she gets a special reward.  This was the first one:

Hard work pays off

Mid-cupcake (or shall I say, mid-icing…)

This cupcake was part of a Sunday afternoon outing that involved driving to Tacoma, parking in the Tacoma Dome parking garage, and taking the “train” (the Link lightrail) to the cupcake store, then walking over the Chihuly Bridge and taking a quick trip through the State History Museum.  It was a fun outing!  Here’s Caroline with some Chihuly art:

Amazing glass

Okay, maybe there’ll be more cute pictures soon.  We shall see!

Posted by: Elizabeth | August 13, 2012

Bagging tips

Dear Whole Foods Bagger,

Perhaps you were not given adequate training when you started your job. Totally not your fault. It probably has something to do with the economy. But there are a few things you should know:

1. If someone shows up in your grocery line, having brought bags from home like a good earth-saver, and one of those bags is actually an insulated cooler bag, you can go ahead and assume that she would like the items that need to stay cool in that insulated bag. For example, if she has purchased any meat or dairy items, those would be good to put in the insulated bag. I realize it may not be the biggest of the from-home bags, but your job, in this case, is not to try to get everything in one gargantuan too-heavy-to-carry sack, it’s to help your customer get home with her food. And there’s a chance that the customer lives about an hour away and would like her cold items to still be cold when she goes to put them in the refrigerator later on. If she has to stand out in the heat to re-bag everything when she gets to her car, you have probably missed an opportunity to show how necessary you are to the company.

2. Are you familiar with the term “heirloom tomatoes?” I’m not sure why they call them that, either, but the name should give you a little hint that these should be treated gently. Like your grandma. Or a perfect flower. Or at least like a carton of eggs. That means not putting them on the bottom of the aforementioned gargantuan sack.

So glad we had this talk.


Posted by: Elizabeth | June 11, 2012

Race Cars

pizza delivery car

Race car

Every time Caroline sees a pizza delivery car with the light-up sign on the roof, she points excitedly and says, “Look, Mommy: a race car!”  It just so happens that there’s a pizza place that shares a parking lot with her preschool, so on any given day, there are as many as three “race cars” in the school parking lot at one time.  It’s VERY exciting for my little girl.

Her excitement is so darned cute, I don’t have the heart to tell her those aren’t race cars – and frankly I have no idea if she even knows what a race car is, so perhaps it’s not really worth the explanation.  Plus, I find it so funny every time she says it, especially because the majority of “race cars” that we see are actually older-model family sedans.  One, in particular, is a Buick that has to have at least 150K miles on it.

Now that I think of it, I wonder if those old beat-up (stinky pizza-smelling) cars feel a little better when they see my girl coming, knowing somebody thinks they’re impressive…  Everyone should have at least one fan, after all.

Posted by: Elizabeth | May 31, 2012


Going to Starbucks almost every morning is not exactly a habit that I’m super-proud of.  I know that the money I spend there could be spent to do a thousand things more worthy than an espresso beverage, but I also know that this little stop makes my mornings infinitely more pleasant, which helps me be prepared to be in ministry the rest of the day.

And, I see people.

There’s a very quiet gentleman who comes in every day at about the same time I do (except on Sundays, when I’m a lot earlier) and orders drip coffee, then goes and sits in one of the big comfy chairs and plays on his iPad or reads a book on his kindle.  Until today, we’ve never said more than “Good morning” or “Have a great day” to each other.

This morning as I got out of my car, he was getting out of his car, too. He asked me how my baby was doing, and how old he is now.  I said the usual: “He’s great!  Thanks for asking!  Yep, he’s getting big…”  He said, “Oh, he’s big?”  Funny response, I thought.

Then he said, “I’ve got these diapers I was going to give you – my wife bought them for our dog, and I told her you can’t buy baby diapers for a dog because dogs have a tail, but she got them anyway, and of course they didn’t work, and I wondered if you could use them.  We only used one.”  Then he handed me an almost-full package of Pampers Sensitive Swaddlers in size 2 (the size Carter wears).

I admit the “buy baby diapers for a dog” thing is kinda funny, but I was also really touched that this guy, who doesn’t know my baby at all, and has never (until today) had an actual conversation with me, thought of me when he had diapers to give away.

Another barista told me the other day that he’s started going to church for the first time, and it’s made such a difference in his life.

Someone else talked to me about her boyfriend’s son, who’s 4 years old.

I thanked the gentleman this morning.  I’ll use those diapers.  And I’ll keep going to Starbucks and saying hello and chatting with the folks I see there.  Will they turn into church members?  Not likely.  Will they be my BFFs?  I doubt it.  But it feels good to make connections.

Posted by: Elizabeth | May 15, 2012

Melt My Heart

My almost-3-year-old can be a little, well, moody.  Cranky, even.  Surprised?

So, inspired by this YouTube video, I thought it might be helpful to start helping Caroline remember things that make her happy when she’s feeling crabby.  This afternoon she was whining in the car on the way home, complaining that when I bought her a special treat after school, I didn’t also buy her a chocolate milk to go with it (I know, I’m a such a mean mom).  So I suggested we think of things that make us happy.  Here’s how the conversation went:

Me: Sunny days make me happy.

C: Sunny days make me happy, too.  And my sunglasses.

Me: Oh, sunglasses- that’s a good one.  Caroline and Carter make me happy.

C: Me, too.  And Daddy.

Me: Yep, Daddy makes me happy, too.

C (thinking for a minute): Jesus makes me happy.

Me (tearing up a little): Jesus makes you happy?

C: Yes, and I make Jesus happy, too.

Me: That’s right, Sweetpea – you make Jesus happy, too.

C: We have special juice and special bread at our church, Mom.

Me: Yep.

C (on a roll, not waiting for me to participate in the conversation): And Jesus loves us.

Me: Yes, babe, Jesus loves us very much.  And we eat the special bread to remember that.

C (sighing contentedly): Yeah.


You never know what they are going to pick up, what they’re learning, observing, remembering.  But Caroline’s already picked up one of the most profound truths of her life, something that will color everything else for all her days: Jesus loves her, and she makes Jesus happy.

Posted by: Elizabeth | April 16, 2012

Taking Your Baby to Work

For the last four weeks, I’ve been working (supposedly) half-time, and taking Carter to work with me. I wasn’t sure how this would work – even if this would work – but can now say that it’s possible. It has not, however, been easy.

I know that it’s a gift to even be able to consider this arrangement – so many offices would not be conducive to having an infant around all day, and mine has been totally fine. I bought a little swing (on consignment) that sits by my desk, and having the little guy there has just worked into my regular routine. There are lots of advantages to doing it this way, the most obvious being more time with my tiny guy while he is tiny. Since Carter was born, the longest we’ve been apart is about 5 hours one Saturday when he hung out with my parents. I’m so grateful that I didn’t have to leave him in childcare when he was super-tiny, before he got some of his vaccinations, before he was strong enough to hold his head up, before we figured out some of his skin issues. It’s also super-easy to continue nursing him while he’s at the office with me: when he gets hungry, I just put a “do not disturb” sign on my door and feed him, simple as that. Delaying those dates with the pump has been a wonderful gift. Carter’s also a fantastic companion on pastoral care visits: he’s better than a therapy dog, grinning at folks who need a little joy in their lives, lighting up each room he enters. And of course, there are few things better for me in the middle of a tough day than turning around to see my sweet boy smiling at me, right there in person.

But it’s not terribly easy to have a baby at work, either. For one, I am never fully engaged in work and I’m never fully engaged in parenting, doing each with an eye toward the other. My attention is always split, which certainly means I’m not doing either job at top capacity. My work day is full of interruptions, too – sometimes from the tiny guy, and sometimes from folks poking their heads in the office to SEE the tiny guy (I can’t blame them – I think he’s pretty cute). Carter doesn’t necessarily know when I’m feeling really swamped and need to buckle down and get a lot done, and he might pick that day to be a bit on the fussy/needy side, which makes everything feel more challenging. Then there’s always the sheer stuff involved in working with baby: I regularly have to take two trips from car to office and back to get my work stuff, Carter’s diaper bag, and Carter into the office – or I schlep it all at the same time and end up with terribly sore shoulders and back.

The most difficult part, though, is that I feel like I never get a break. When I was home with him full-time, if he was napping, I could nap or get some housework done or watch mindless television (or check in with the office, should I so choose). Or Carter would entertain himself for a few minutes in his floor gym or the bouncy chair and I could check email or make a grocery list. Similarly, when I am at work full-time sans child, I can run get a cup of coffee or take a walk or put my head down on the desk for a few minutes if I need a break. But when I’ve got the little guy 24/7 AND I’m working, every quiet moment from Carter must be capitalized on for work productivity. No errand is uncomplicated, no time is totally free.

This arrangement has been a great way to ease the transition from maternity leave to full-time work in many ways: emotionally, as a mom, it’s been ideal to have the tiny guy with me these last four weeks. But having been gone for 10 weeks on leave this winter, the more helpful thing for me as a pastor would have been to do the opposite: to send Carter to daycare before I officially went back to work, so I had some time to tend to all the things that piled up on my desk at work and at home before the daily grind began again. Oh, what I would do for a day without kids AND without the regular daily work obligations, or Sunday responsibilities looming…

All in all, I’m glad we did things this way. I’m thankful that Carter is a content little guy, in whose presence it’s possible to do a little work every day. I’m not looking forward to being gone from him all day, starting this week, and perhaps that will actually be more difficult since I’ve gotten so used to having him around. But I do long for a moment all to myself, when I might breathe deeply or take a walk. I’m looking forward to being able to work for longer stretches, getting things done as quickly as I can so I can get back to my sweet kids at the end of the day.

Posted by: Elizabeth | April 11, 2012

Dora the Explorer

I avoided Dora for as long as possible, because I thought she was possibly the most annoying children’s personality on television. (I later discovered that Thomas the Tank Engine is far worse…) But one day we were home sick, and Caroline and I had both had enough Sesame Street, so we gave Dora a try. Caroline has been obsessed ever since. We only watch it on Netflix streaming or cable on demand, so we’ve only seen older episodes; I understand Dora’s character has evolved into a more princess-like little girl more recently, and I’ll continue to try to avoid that one. Caroline is also obsessed with one particular episode, in which Dora and Boots rescue a baby crab caught in a net and help him get back to his mommy. We can both pretty much quote that entire episode from memory, and I often have to roll my eyes as I find myself singing the dumb little songs all through the day.

While I no longer want to poke my eyes out when Dora comes on, and would much rather watch Dora than Thomas or Blues Clues, I’m still pretty annoyed by her. Here are a few reasons why:

1. On the on demand shows, we have the advantage of no commercials for toys we don’t need but Caroline would be seduced by, but we are subjected, before each episode, to a whitening toothpaste commercial and a “music video” for Nickelodeon’s Fresh Beat Band’s song, “Party like a rock star,” neither of which have any relevance for my 2-year-old (or her mom, for that matter.) If I forget to fast-forward through these two things, Caroline inevitably nervously asks me, more than once, “Is Dora coming, Mom?”

2. Perhaps this is precisely why the tiny kids love it, but EVERY EPISODE IS THE SAME. Dora needs to get somewhere, she “doesn’t know how to get there,” she pulls out her trusty map, and lo and behold, she has to go through two other places to reach her desired destination. Then she needs some kind of tool, and she magically has it in her backpack. Boring.

3. Every character on Dora’s show YELLS every one of her/his lines. I do not understand this.

Of course, it could be worse. We could be listening to that Thomas the Tank Engine song over and over again…


Posted by: Elizabeth | March 5, 2012


This post was originally titled, “3 weeks,” because I started it when Carter was 3 weeks old.  That was 3.5 weeks ago.  And that is a good illustration of how things are going right now!  It’s tough to sit down at the computer to write a whole blog post – things are busy!  And time is flying by.  Man, is it FLYING.

Grumpy face

The little guy is doing great, though he is not so little.  After losing a pound in the week after birth (just like his sister), he started gaining weight like a champ.  At 5 weeks, he was just under 13 pounds, so he’s gaining a little more than 1/2 a pound a week.  His size small gDiapers are at the edge of their velcro, and the sleeves on his 3-month pajamas are starting to show some wrist.  I’m trying hard to put all of his 3-month clothes on him before they’re too small!  He’s also developing those fantastic baby fat folds, and his cheeks have not gotten any smaller (hooray!).  Most folks guess that he’s 4-5 months old, not only because he’s so big, but also because he’s super alert, always looking around (he has fantastic head control for a tiny guy) and looking straight at people as if he’s totally engaged in the conversation.

He’s a calm, content baby the majority of the time.  He rarely cries.  He does grunt and squeak a lot, but that’s pretty manageable.  And he is sleeping.  Not on a consistent schedule (which is actually a helpful exercise in flexibility for this schedule-oriented mom), but he sleeps better than we could have asked for or imagined at this point.  Since “sleeping through the night” is technically a 6-hour stretch, he’s done that 6 times now at 6 weeks old.  And last night he slept for 7 hours straight, from 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.  Perhaps he knows that his mom needs to do some worship planning pretty soon, because she’ll be back in the pulpit in less than 2 weeks!

Carter is eating like a champ, too, and every day I am astounded, amazed, incredibly grateful, and more than a little skeptical that I am actually producing all he needs to survive.  Feeding Caroline was not so simple, and it took a long time to figure out a routine that worked for both of us – a routine that was labor-intensive and not all that fun, but one that worked.  To be able to nurse Carter like I had always imagined doing is an incredible gift, even when it means no one else can do the 3:00 a.m. feedings.  [As a side note, I read on the internet that if you eat a high-protein snack during middle-of-the-night feedings, you will feel better in the morning.  And it works!  Also, the snack wakes me up enough to do a little reading instead of just checking facebook on my iPhone while he eats, and I am finding great joy in reading again after a long hiatus!  So if you happen to be awake for about an hour in the middle of the night, eat some protein and read a book you enjoy.]

One of my favorites

Caroline is a great big sister.  She introduces him to people as “My baby Carter.”  She continues to want to know where her brudder is and what he is doing all the time, and she is constantly kissing and hugging (smothering?) him.  She likes to ‘help’ change his diaper and pick out his clothes in the mornings, and she’s recently learned to put his pacifier back in his mouth when he drops it (without jabbing or choking him – it was a learning process).  She tells us what he wants/needs quite often, and is sometimes even accurate.  She makes sure he has a blanket on when he could possibly be cold, and tells me when she thinks it’s time for him to eat.  She loves to lie in his little floor gym next to him, and it feels like she is using all of her energy to wait for him to be big enough to play. Watching her dote on him makes the chaos of two kids quite a bit more manageable.

Also, they look SO much alike.  We apparently make only one model of baby, and this is it.  Thankfully, we think it’s pretty cute.  See for yourself:

Family portrait - 8 days old

Proud big sister

Scrumptious cheeks, deep in thought (or sleep)

Carter's take on tummy time (just resting)

"Move over, sister! This is my gym now!"

First bath - just lounging

Self-portrait post-bath. All clean!

Sleep study #2

One month old! And very tough.

Somebody else wanted to get in the one-month photos... Looks how BIG she is! (Ignore my needing-a-pedicure toes in the corner, please...)

SweetPea with one of the MANY gifts our fantastic community has brought her to celebrate her newfound sisterhood. She is definitely not suffering in this new arrangement!

All bundled up after a walk on a cold day!

Sleep study #3. Hat over the eyes, head fallen over, soundly sleeping. (Note for those concerned: he DOES have the muscle strength to put that head back if he wants to...)

Sleep study #4: that bouncy seat can really wear a boy out.

Posted by: Elizabeth | February 14, 2012

Happy Valentines Day

It might be a Hallmark-created, cheesy, commercial holiday, but I think a day devoted to celebrating love cannot be all bad.  I, for one, am celebrating an embarrassment of riches this year when it comes to love: an incredible husband (who also happens to be a fantastic friend and a rockstar dad), two cuddly kids, a beautiful and caring sister, great parents and parents-in-law, and the most generous sisters-in-law (and brothers-in-law and nieces and nephew) a girl could ask for.

It’s the first year that Caroline has really been able to participate in Valentines Day, and it has been fun telling her about it this week as we prepared Valentine cards for her class.  Basically we just told her, “It’s a day to celebrate all the love we have in our lives: our friends and our family!”  Her school calls it “Friendship Day.”  When I dropped her off this morning, I spotted MANY treats left by generous parents, as well as tons of cute kiddos dressed in red.  And as soon as we walked in the classroom, her best friend Trevor ran over and shouted, “Caroline!  I brought cookies for you today!”  She’s going to have a blast – I wish I could be a fly on the wall in her classroom today!

I did manage to snap a few photos of the kids this morning before Caroline was off to school (and a few of Carter in his heart-breaker t-shirt yesterday).  Hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Heart-breaker at 3.5 weeks old

Carter's modeling pose

"Seriously, Mom, enough with the pictures."


Sibling love

Our littlest Valentines

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