Today, this has mainly been my view — the back of a very quickly moving Aveline. It’s been a “part of” kind of day.
Part of the laundry folded.
Part of Aveline’s birthday crown made.
Part of the bathroom cleaned.
But that’s ok. It’s been a day full of life, full of laughter, full of joy, full of peace.
I wouldn’t trade my position now with any one.
I love being a mama. I couldn’t think of a better gift in the world than my little, hilarious, laughing miracle.
We spent Saturday at the beach, and yes, I went a little picture crazy. But do you blame me? I mean, we’re talking about a day at the beach. Delicious picnic food, sunshine, Hannah — who is suspiciously absent from these photos, although she is the camera-girl behind the pictures of Josiah and I together — deliciously salty air, the water’s steady rhythm, and Aveline’s first time splashing in the waves.
Baby’s inaugural trip to the ocean was this spring, but as she wasn’t even three months old yet, she mostly slept. So, last Saturday was her first time really experiencing it. How great is it that Auntie Lauren was there this spring, and Auntie Hannah was here for this moment? Hannah even captured video of the moment Aveline walked into the water. I just wish you could have heard Aveline’s tiny giggles when the water touched her feet!
I was really surprised that she didn’t eat handfuls of sand. I mean, she’s the girl who puts everything in her mouth, so I just fully expected her to try to chow down on sand. (I’m so glad she didn’t.)
We walked alongside her, and let her crawl along in the wet sand next to the water’s edge. She was delighted, and kept making happy little sounds.
Our own little beach baby, our own darling girl. It’s such an unspeakable and overwhelming feeling to share these joyful moments with her. Thank you, Lord!
[Note: For those of you who've asked, Aveline is wearing a Raw Amber Teething Necklace c/o Hip Green Baby. It is designed especially for babies; the plastic clasp is designed to break, and there is a knot between each bead to keep them secured.]
P.S. Yes, yes, Josiah is getting a haircut this weekend. You can stop tsk tsk-ing now. ;-)
See this? It’s my seester(in-law). As you can tell from this picture (taken in San Diego last year at cousin Julie’s wedding), we’re always perfectly behaved, and of course, we never goof around.
Especially in public.
She’s coming tomorrow, all the way from California. I. CAN. NOT. WAIT. I mean, a year ago, she and I lived just a mile apart in the same pretty little California town. Today, she lives in my old house (what?!) and I’m 3,000 miles away. And last time she saw Aveline? The wee miss looked like this.
So yeah. I’ve missed her. This week is going to be all kinds of wonderful!
My wee girl is growing up! I can’t believe Aveline’s just days away from turning 8 months old. Sitting on our laps, to her, means standing up on the couch next to us. She crawls like the wind, cruises along furniture, never stops climbing whatever she can get her little toes to cling to, and has even stood up on her own a handful of times (albeit for a fleeting moment).
She know’s we’re her mama and papa, and while she’s a constant chatterbox, she doesn’t usually address us by name unless she’s in dire need of something. Then she yells out “MA MA MA MA! PA PA!” while crawling toward us at breakneck spread.
I sure love you, wee miss!
Three years ago today, I walked down a grassy aisle in Grandma C’s backyard to Norah Jones’ Come Away with Me.
I want to walk with you
On a cloudy day
In fields where the yellow grass grows knee-high
So won’t you try to come
Come away with me and we’ll kiss
On a mountaintop
Come away with me
And I’ll never stop loving you
And I want to wake up with the rain
Falling on a tin roof
While I’m safe there in your arms
So all I ask is for you
To come away with me
And so we were married in the mountains of NorCal, with the grass beneath our feet, the towering California trees overhead, and our family and friends all around us.
We had these verses from Isaiah 41 read during the ceremony. Non-traditional, yes, but oh, so beautiful.
I the Lord will answer them;
I the God of Israel will not forsake them.
I will open rivers on the bare heights,
and fountains in the midst of the valleys.
I will make the wilderness a pool of water,
and the dry land springs of water.
I will put in the wilderness the cedar,
the acacia, the myrtle, and the olive.
I will set in the desert the cypress,
the plane and the pine together,
that they may see and know,
may consider and understand together,
that the hand of the LORD has done this,
the Holy One of Israel has created it.
A dear family friend and missionary to Japan officiated the ceremony.
We walked back down the aisle to Coldplay’s Yellow.
Look at the stars,
Look how they shine for you,
And everything you do,
Yeah they were all yellow,
I came along
I wrote a song for you
And all the things you do
And it was called yellow
So then I took my turn
Oh all the things I’ve done …
D’you know you know I love you so
You know I love you so.
It was all kinds of perfect.
All images courtesy of B. Sarah Klein, who, along with her sister, is preparing to launch A Sea Apart: Two Sisters, Two Countries, Two Photos a Day.
My days are filled with coffee and sleepiness — with morning light, evening light, and the shadows in between. The baby is alternately hyper and tired, filling moments with giggling as well as sobbing. Her breath rises and falls, always a steady rythmn, always a constant hymn humming a reminder of the life which God has given.
These are captured moments, frozen still in time by the click of shutter. This is every day, painted in soft hues. I see these moments now like suspended drops of dew, reflecting what the sun has to say by casting diamond shadows on the ground.
She’s enraptured by everything, reaching out her tiny hand to take in the newness of every experience.
I hold her close, breathing in her perfect essence. She fits so perfectly in my arms. I love these moments more than I can tell you.
And yet, these are days of solitude. Josiah leaves each morning, working hard for us. Aveline plays with her basket of treasures while I make breakfast and start the day’s chores.
This is a different life than I’ve ever had before. Not just because this sweet little being has come to be a part of us, but because we have followed the Pillar of Fire to the edge of the continent, here to Florida, the opposite coast of the place we called home. And “the God who has been my shepherd all my life [is my shepherd] to this day.” (Genesis 48:15)
The One who was, and is, and is to come.
She is a happy little thing, so peaceful, so content. She looks to us for everything she needs. It does not even occur to her to become anxious or stressed that we will not care for her tomorrow or the next day.
She just looks to us, in this moment, and trusts.
I want to look to God this same way. Oh Lord, “guarda mi alma…porque en Ti me refugio.” (Psalm 25:20)
When I put out the call for your favorite summer photos, fellow Floridian Drea of Ohdeardrea sent me these absolutely gorgeous shots. (They were actually taken in winter, but shhhh…don’t tell. It’ll be our secret.)
And finally, my coffee-drinking pal Dina sent me this shot of her fiancé, saying, “My sweet man can sleep anywhere, as well as multitask; slumber whilst petting the pooch.” She doesn’t have a blog, but she is planning a wedding and curating her (stunning!) wedding inspiration over on Pinterest.
This was one of the most beautiful moments of my recent trip back home — Aveline, completely unprompted, leaning forward to gently kiss her great-great grandma on the cheek. I can’t believe I was holding my camera when this happened!
More than a decade ago, during an extended-family vacation to Florida, we stopped at an orange grove on the way to the ocean. Rather than gathering around an orange tree for a photo opp like my Michigan Grandma wanted, we cousins were running every which way. In an effort to round us up, she kept repeating, “Pick an orange, children! Pick an orange!” It was chaotic at the time, and honestly not very funny at all. But once parts of the family had moved to places like California and Florida, where orange groves aren’t exactly exotic, the “Pick an orange” situation grew comical and became a family joke.
So, here’s Uncle Chet in Grandma’s yard in Michigan, saying, “Pick an apple, Aveline! Pick an apple! No oranges here. Just apples.” I was laughing so hard.
Here’s to carrying on legendary family jokes to the next generation.
It’s summer. I can smell it in the fresh air blowing in through the open French doors as I sit drinking my coffee out of a cobalt mug. I can see it in the wind that blows through Sierra’s long silky fur, and I can taste it in the tender lettuce greens heaped high on my plate.
We’re on a mini-vacation, Aveline and I. We’ve survived the “flying with an infant” thing (second time in Aveline’s short five months!) and now we’re
resting getting spoiled at my parents’ home.
Josiah is at home, working hard. I miss him. I wish he were here with us, to experience the cool temperatures and the incredible peace that is everywhere in this restful place. Aveline will tell him all about it, I am sure, in her delicate voice and unmistakably Italian hand gestures.
We took a little stroll around the yard the other day, soaking in the quietness and the trees.
[Click photo to view a larger version.]
You’re quite a character. You’ve discovered grunting, and while it may not be very ladylike, it makes me laugh. You look so seriously at your toys, swat your little hands at them, and grunt as if to warn them that they’re about to be devoured by your nomming little mouth.
You have a beautiful voice. You love to talk, and daddy and I love to listen to you. You look at us, gently reach out your hands to touch our face, and speak delicate words in a language which only you understand. What will we hear, when we can finally understand you? What of the world around you will you reinterpret to us through your words? Will you tell us of the way the light dances across your quilt in the afternoon, leaving those diamonds of sunshine you’re always trying to pick up? What names will you give to your favorite stuffed toys?
You enjoy your mealtimes so very much. I tell you God gives food to the little birdies outside, and God paints the pretty colors onto all the flowers. I tell you God gives us the food we have, and we thank him for everything He’s given us. You kick your legs excitedly when I lift you into the highchair — unless you’re feeling impatient, in which case you stiffen your legs, arch your back and let out a squawk or two or ten. Avocado is your favorite, without a doubt. Yesterday you branched out and happily ate some sweet potato, but made horrible faces at the green beans. Today was a different story. Today, you launched an all-out war against the sweet potato. As if yelling and smacking your palms against the highchair tray wasn’t dramatic enough, you pursed your lips and sprayed me with sweet potato puree. I had to laugh. You looked so indignant.
You’re always moving, always reaching for something. You’ve just discovered you can lift yourself up on your hands and knees and rock. This doesn’t satisfy you for long; you want to go places. Usually you default to your favorite method of locomotion, continuous rolling. Nothing is safe from your curiosity, really. You can roll across the living room floor at an alarming rate. Much to daddy’s chagrin, you unplug the xbox controllers on what seems to be a daily basis. The curtains have all been shortened as you can’t resist the tempting, billowing fabric. Figuring out ways to pull your books off the lowest shelf seems to be a favorite.
Lately, you and I have been going to the pool in the afternoon. I stand in the water and hold you, and you grin from ear to ear and splash the water with your feet. Sometimes you stop, your feet still and your fingers gripping me. You peek out from under your lacey sunhat hesitantly, trying to understand what the other pool-goers are doing. If someone accidentally splashes you, you scrunch your face into a wrinkly grimace and hold on to me more tightly. Today, you fell asleep on my shoulder on the walk back to the house.
You’re a treasure, beautiful girl, a gift from God. Daddy and I love you so very much.
I missed yesterday’s photo (high angle shot). I lovingly blame a growth-spurting Aveline, who went on a sleep strike and ate hourly for fifteen hours. So you can imagine I’m quite glad to see tonight’s photo, a setting sun. It means bedtime is right around the corner. For how napless my bebe is, she lays her little head down obediently every single night and falls right asleep.
And every single night, I marvel at how incredibly blessed I am and how rich our life is. Like right now, for instance. Aveline is sitting on my lap, holding on to a wash cloth in one hand and beating on the desk with her other hand. She says, “Ahhh. Hahhh. Ahhh. Gahh. Eeeehaa.” while looking over at Josiah, who is sitting next to me clicking away at his computer. I think she’s singing along with Cary Brothers, who is softly crooning, “There is something about you baby so right / I wouldn’t be here without you baby tonight / If ever our love was concealed / No one can say that we didn’t feel a million things / And a perfect dream of life.”
Josiah gets up, walks into the kitchen and switches the light on. I hear the clink of dishes as he unloads the dishwasher. Aveline drops the washcloth to the floor and sticks her tiny foot up on the desk between my hands, still babbling away in her precious little voice.
“You’re the secret I keep, I just wanna be the one, I just wanna sing this song with you.”
[Click photo to view a larger version.]
the dishwasher surges and pauses, a mechanical ode to the ocean’s pulsing tide. my spoon scoops up the last bit of milk off the bottom of my cobalt cereal bowl. behind me, i hear josiah laugh and talk into the headset as the xbox goes beepbopboopbeep.
aveline is asleep. my eyes feel like sandpaper. her sleeping moments have been scarce, these last few days. i flip my just-washed hair back over my shoulder, and a few drops of water drip off onto the pink fabric of my pajama pants. i reach for my water glass and drink deeply. i sigh, satisfied.
my eyes can not stay open much longer. i hear the click of the tv behind my turning off, and hear josiah’s footsteps across the grey carpeted floor. i rub my eyes. sleep will come soon.
oh life, you are beautiful.