Little Fingers of Life

Waiting in the midst of the unknown

We always seem to be waiting for something. Waiting for an upcoming trip, waiting for wpid-20150409_180309.jpgthe kids to take a nap, waiting for a baby to be born, waiting for food to cook, just endlessly waiting and wondering. With that waiting often comes anxiety.

For many of us at the seminary this spring is a very suspenseful waiting time. We await vicarage placement or call night. Waiting to find out where our husbands will be serving in the future, what state we’ll be moving to. Wondering if he’ll serve in a team ministry in a large city or a dual-parish in a tiny town. How far will we be from family? Not even knowing when we’ll be moving or if we’ll need to find housing before we can start. So many unknowns and waiting and anxiety.

It’s so easy to wonder about these things and forget that there’s already a plan laid out before us. That our needs and complaints are known and heard and ultimately already taken care of. All our anxiety is wrapped up in Christ’s arms and He assures us we belong to Him.

The other evening after dinner during our devotions we were singing the hymn I Know That My Redeemer Lives and the 4th stanza really stood out to me as a wonderful comfort in this time of waiting.

“He lives to grant me rich supply;
He lives to guide me with His eye;
He lives to comfort me when faint;
He lives to hear my soul’s complaint.”

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Maxi Skirt Tutorial

Maxi skirts are comfy,flattering on most body types, and flexible enough to accommodate a “flexible” belly. I fell in love with Maxi skirts after my 2nd baby was born and nothing fit anymore. My maternity clothes were to big and my pre-pregnancy clothes continue to sit in a box neglected and lonely. I’ve slowly made my way down a couple sizes since my child was born, but still not able to squeeze into those pre-pregnancy jeans. And yet my trusty maxi skirts have lasted this full year post-baby and still fit as comfortable and flattering as ever. Now how my baby boy is already a year old and trying to stand on his own is beyond me. Surely he was just born a month ago, right? I digress.

Knit, knit, and more knit. Ok, so knit is just a comfortable, stretchable, breathable, wonderful fabric to wear, now I want to make them all the time!

What you’ll need:
Tape Measure
Scissors or Rotary Cutter
Pen and Paper
Knit Fabric- Approx 2 yards, depending on measurements
Cutting Matt- Optional but well worth it.

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Start by measuring your waist where you want the skirt to sit. My waist is currently 42 inches. Divide this by 2. That left me with 21*.

Then, determine how long you want your skirt. Measure from your waist to this point. This is how long you’ll want the skirt. I went with 34inches and it worked out nicely on me. If you plan to hem add about 1/2in for Misc. April 2015 1043

To leave plenty of room for freedom of movement I added 10 inches onto the waist measurement for the bottom. I think this is essential with children. You can do a little less or a little more. 10 was great for me.

To make the sides even I folded in half, divided width measurements by 2 again, and cut at an angle for the length, as shown above Cut 2.

Then cutMisc. April 2015 1044 your waistband. Determine how tall you want the waistband and double it, I started with 6 inches, leaving enough for a 3in waistband. The width will be the same as the waist measurements, so 21 for me. Cut 2 of these as well.
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Pin your skirt pieces, right sides together, and sew up the sides. Repeat with the waistband. Don’t catch the very edge of the fabric, your machine will eat it. I like to use a 3/8in seam allowance.

Fold the waistband in half, wrong sides together, pin the waistband piece, folded in half, to the skirt piece RIGHT sides together, matching up seams, all the way along the waist. Then sew together, I recommend a stretch stitch, I used my zig zag stich. This helps maintain the stretch in the waist while holding securely.

Or pin it the wrong way and have to seam rip or cut it all out, I opted for cutting after attempting to seam rip unsuccessfully and just ended up with a shorter waistband.

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Don’t do this!

You can hem if you want, but since it’s knit it won’t fray so I skipped the hemming step, mostly because I’m to lazy time efficient to do extra unnecessary work.

*If you’re fabric is super stretchy and thin you’ll want to reduce the width of the skirt by about an inch. Mostly I recommend using a higher quality knit though.

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Completed maxi skirt

What’s your favorite style skirt?

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Motherhood is hard

A popular meme lately has the quote “you’re making it very hard for me to be the mom I always thought I would be”.

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Before having children it’s easy to have all these ideas about how children should behave, how parents should react to situations, and even imagine how wonderful of parents we’ll be, because of course, we’ll never make “those mistakes” or be “that mom”.

Suddenly, along comes children, regardless of if you have 1 or 8 of them running around, raising children is hard!

All of a sudden there’s this actual human being within your care, yes, YOUR care… Holy crap. That alone is a pretty steep change and thought. Then there’s all these decisions to make. Epidural or med-free birth? Breastfeeding or formula? Cloth or disposable diapers? When do you start solids? But they have guidelines for those things right? Doesn’t the APA just hand out a manual to new parents to answer all their questions? Oh, not quite, oops.

So what makes this parenting thing so hard? People have been doing it forever, right? Shouldn’t we have all the kinks worked out by now? Oh, that’s right, every child is different. Just like us “grown-ups” they have different needs and wants. Most especially it’s that even that little baby is still a sinful human being. Hello selfishness. During those first few weeks (or even last couple months of pregnancy) it sure would be nice to get a few hours of consistent sleep. Then that cycle might just repeat itself when the toddler is teething. Molars suck!

And sometimes it’d be nice to just wash the dishes or cook dinner without the toddler screaming at your leg. Or maybe the worst of all, getting those dirty looks from the other customers at the grocery store when your child is acting up and you won’t give in just to quiet them down. You’re constantly trying to keep your child alive, fed, entertained, and well behaved. On top of it all, we’re commanded to “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6.

Wow, that seems like a heavy task to top it all off, not that the other tasks are easy to begin with. Some days these tasks are easier then others, but no day is easy. Suddenly you’re no longer the mother you always imaged you would be, you make “those mistakes” and become “that mom” or have “that child”. Mother’s are expected to do so much and it’s just not possible to do it all alone. If you’re like me, there are plenty of days where you know you can’t handle anymore alone. Thankfully, we’re not alone. Some of us have spouses to help raise our children, which is a huge blessing. Some have friends nearby to help out, others don’t. Some mothers are single, have husbands who travel all the time for work, etc.

But even so none of us are alone. All of us have the help we need, the only help that matters. Regardless of our struggles for the day, our weaknesses and failures, we’re not alone. Christ is there to guide us along and comfort us. He picks up those loose ends and bears our failures upon Himself. Our weaknesses are made perfect in Him. When we need a little extra encouragement we need only to turn to Him in prayer or by reading His word. But even when we fail to do so, when we forgot or feel like we don’t have time, He’s there. He promises to never leave us or forsake us. So when you’re having that especially bad day and you know you just can’t “do it all” anymore, know you don’t have to. Christ has already done it all for us on the Cross and He overcame death for US! So remember that you’re not alone.

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Apple Recipes

“Anyone can count the seeds in an apple, but only God can count the number of apples in a seed.” — Robert H. Schuller

Gluten Free Impossibly Easy French Apple Pie

Gluten Free Impossibly Easy French Apple Pie

Last month we had the opportunity to pick a couple boxes full of apples from a church members apple tree. Apparently they are Iowa State apples. Yummy!

So what does one do with so many apples? Make apple cake, apple pie, apple butter, and applesauce. We also have some apples peeled, cored, and sliced ready to go in our freezer to make more later. Those apples disappeared fast.

Today I wanted to share my roundup of apple recipes. All gluten free to top it off.

Gluten Free Nubby Apple Cake

This cake was devoured before I could get a picture.

Gluten Free Impossibly Easy French Apple Pie

Apple pie served with mint chip ice cream

Apple pie served with mint chip ice cream

Slow Cooker Apple Butter with Honey

Apple Butter and Applesauce in jars

Apple Butter and Applesauce

The Applesauce recipe I created myself, it is also my sons new favorite snack (and breakfast, and any other time we might let him eat it). Due to the popularity of the applesauce one batch made it in the freezer and another batch disappeared within a couple days.

4lbs apples
1/2 cup of honey
1 1/2 cups of water
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice

Mix it all together and cook over medium heat for 25mins. Pour in blender and purée for a few seconds. Walla, toddler friendly applesauce that the whole family enjoys!

We stored the apple butter and applesauce in pint size jars in the freezer, the applesauce disappears so fast when we pull a jar out I think I’ll choose a bigger container next time. Otherwise they work out great and it comes out of the freezer tasting as delicious as when we put it in.

What are your favorite apple recipes?

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Favorite Baby Items

Oh, how a little one can completely flip over someone’s world. An alarm clock is replaced by a hungry child, a floor disappears behind the seemingly endless, and well used, baby items. Burp rags are found strewn throughout the house for easy reach at a moments notice. Meal times revolve around when baby sleeps. Happiness is found so quickly and easily in those amazing baby giggles and little baby smiles, and amazement is never ceasing when watching the little one, especially when they’re sleeping.

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Exactly one year ago, after waiting on hold with the doctors office awaiting test results, we found out I was pregnant. A slightly late birthday present for daddy, and slightly early Father’s Day gift. The joy, excitement, and surprise were certainly bountiful. After about a week of telling family and close friends we made the official Facebook announcement. We knew we were in for a change but we still didn’t quite know what to expect.

Naturally all the excitement meant looking at all the fun new baby stuff. As a growing family we’re completely surrounded by the abundance of items available for a baby, how is one to even know where to begin? The stores gave us this incredibly long list of must haves and we wondered how in the world we’d ever be able to afford it all, and do we really need THAT?

So I’ve put together a list of my 10 favorite baby items. Not everything is necessary, but I’ve found them to be incredibly helpful in our new adventure.

In no particular order:

Swaddle
Cloth Diapers
Rock and Play Sleeper
Carrier(s)
Baby swing
iPhone
Nursing Cover
Monitor
Daddy
Large Water Bottle

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Easter

Alleluia, Christ is risen!

What a joyous and glorious time of year. The daffodils are blanketing our yards, the lilies are gracing churches and homes with their presence and many other flowers are peaking out to see the world. Let’s not forget the wind telling it’s stories and the warm and cold temperatures at war, battling for their place in our days. The gorgeous colors are springing from the trees and the sun’s bright face is staring down at us in wonder and confusion, even as more teardrops fall from the sky. All puzzling over the crazy doings of us humans as we finally make our way out of our winter prisons to welcome these new found beauty’s to the world. They also bring with them a reminder of the new life and hope we have in Christ.

And during all of that this little guy brings about an ever constant reminder of the wonderful miracles we are given daily.

Here’s our little guy on Easter Day (I didn’t have any lilies to include in the photos, I’m sure he’ll be quite thankful for that in a few years, and I bet his daddy already is thankful.)

And then there are those silly old parents-

 


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Gabriel Lukas

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2 Months ago Gabriel Lukas was born on Feb. 1st and baptized on Feb. 26th, entering the Kingdom of God. At 7lbs 9ozs he was born very healthy and has continued to thrive. Our life has certainly been filled with love, happiness, change, sleeplessness, worry, doubts, joy, crying fits, grumpiness, sleep, and so much more. With the little guy now squirming around and keeping us plenty busy I’m still trying to adjust to a new schedule and find out what works. Naturally his schedule is in a constant state of flux making the adjustment all the more challenging, and all the more worth it. He’s growing way to quickly and putting on plenty of weight. It’s always nice to know that he’s healthy and getting plenty to eat. At 2 months old I’m already wondering just how quickly he’s going to grow out of his 3-6 month clothes as some of the onesies are looking a bit short in the body, he might be a tall one!

Are you ready? Feel free to sit back and watch him grow before your eyes.

Gabriel Newborn

It's a boy!

At the hospital

Newborn Photos. A special thanks to Kimberlea L Photography for taking such great newborn photos.

Baptism!

The Godfathers!

Well, maybe tummy time isn’t so bad.

And now I’m 2 months old today.



Yup, I have attidude.

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Overwhelmed

WOW! Time has flown by since finding out I was pregnant about 7 months ago. Now baby is due in just over 4 weeks. Naturally this time brings with it lots of emotions including excitement, worry, happiness, and anxiousness.

Puppy Picture

In some ways I am ready for baby to be here. I am looking forward to meeting my son or daughter face to face, being able to give one name to this life that has been growing in side of me for so long, to hold him or her in my arms and against my chest, to be able to kiss their little forehead, cheeks, and fingers, and let me not forget about eliminating some of the heartburn and backache. Oh the many joys I have to look forward to, I can not even name them all. Even the joy and anticipation is overwhelming sometimes.

On the flip side there is the worry, the fear, the stress, the unknown. This, in my pregnant, super hormonal mindset, is definitely a strong competitor to the joy.

“How will I do it all? Am I fit to take care of a baby? I can’t even seem to keep up with stuff now, how will I once I have a baby relying on me for all of their needs?”

Picture of a stuffed animal puppy

Those are just a few of the many questions that seem to go through my head on a daily basis. I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that any of you with children have probably had many of these same questions at some point. It is so easy to feel inadequate, unprepared, and completely undeserving of such a wonderful gift.

I have all of these things I need to do and also a ton of stuff that I want to have done before baby arrives, yet so little time left. I have work obligations to complete in preparation of maternity leave. I have a few things that need to be arranged and purchased so baby’s needs are taken care of when we come home. I would love to have the nursery completely organized so I am not struggling to find and grab stuff when I’m tired and have a screaming baby waiting on me. I want to have some meals prepared in the freezer so neither myself or my husband are trying to cook every day with a newborn to take care of. At some point in the midst of all of this I also need to attend doctor appointments, which will now be shifting to weekly visits, relax, and sleep a little (yeah, sleep… that is a subject for another post.)

Yet here is the thing, I know these feelings of inadequacy, ill-preparedness, and being undeserving are completely true. Yup, I said it. I am not perfect. I do not have control of my life. I will never know enough, and I’ll continuously make mistakes. Ultimately, I will fail! I will fail to be a perfect mother. I will fail to keep a meticulously clean and organized house. I will fail to teach my child everything there is to know about life. I will fail at preparing the perfect healthy meals every day. I will fail at making the right decision every time. I will fail!

How is that for a depressing thought? However, I actually find this realization comforting. Why? Because I know this is bigger than me. This is so much bigger than my plans, my decisions, my housework, or my job. Ultimately, I am not the one in charge. I know that God has a much bigger plan. He’s the one who gave me this gift. He’s the one who gives me the strength, knowledge, and comfort needed. He has given His son, Jesus, to cover all of these failures of mine. It is the wonderful gift of life and salvation that He provided through His Son. Through all of my mistakes and failures I am forgiven. God blessed us with this child and I know He is in control and will provide. I am so glad this is bigger than me.

I am sure I will continue to feel overwhelmed by it all. I will still stress out and practically break down on my husbands shoulder almost every day about how I am not ready for this and I have to much to get done before baby comes. I am also sure that I will continue to receive his encouragement, support, and help through it all. How wonderfully blessed I am to have him. Now let me see how much of my needs and wants actually get accomplished in these next few weeks.

What do/did you find the most overwhelming about preparing for a baby?

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New Year New Goals

Ultrasound Picture

What better way to start a blog in the new year than to talk about goals? Yeah, it’s pretty cliche, but hey, with a little one due in about a month, I’ll take cliche at the moment.

1. Figure out a schedule with the new baby.

I know this will be complicated and baby will completely rule my schedule (let’s face it, baby already does) but it’s definitely one I will need to work out. It will be interesting learning to manage work, a bit of personal time, and keeping up with chores around the house all with a new baby to completely rule my life.

2. Make some time for myself.
I think this will be one of the most challenging in this upcoming year. Between finishing my Internship and school, adjusting to life with a newborn, and hopefully getting a call as a Deaconess there will be lots of changes and lots of demands on my time. However, I also know I need some quality me time. This is something I have not been good at taking the way it is. Hopefully I can find a way to at least make sure I get one full day off of work every week.

3. Make something once a month.
This will also be an ambitious goal for me and will tie in directly to my previous goal. This might include making a new gluten-free baked good (successfully,) woodworking, sewing, etc. I’m sure there will be plenty of things I can make and put to good use with a new baby around. I am also completely willing to wait a month or two to start this one with the baby’s arrival so close.

4. Learn a new skill.
I have been hoping to learn crocheting or knitting for a while now. I’ve tried to start a project a couple of times but, partly because I’m horrible about taking time for myself and partly because I’m just really impatient sometimes, I haven’t completed one. I ran into a problem with the last couple projects I started that I could not figure out, leading to the project sitting there uncompleted. Perhaps if I manage to learn WITH or FROM someone I’ll be a little more likely and motivated to complete a project.

5. Take more pictures.
Now this should be a simple one! I imagine if for some reason I’m not keeping up I’ll get plenty of pestering from family, especially since they are all far away. I’m also sure that I’ll find my little one so cute and adorable I will not be able to resist snapping some pictures on a regular basis. Since my iPhone is my camera and it is practically attached to me all the time I’ll always be ready to snap those photos. When it comes down to it I LOVE taking photos, all types of photos, I’m just horrible about actually taking them. This will give me a good reason to do so and enjoy a little hobby time in the midst of the chaos. Perhaps if I follow through with this one enough I can actually justify getting a nice good quality camera… oh how I have dreamed of one for years.

Although I have lots of things I would love to accomplish for the year, getting organized, saving money, exercising, etc. I think creating a limited amount of goals is much more realistic than actually trying to make all of my dreams a goal. I firmly believe in the idea of creating realistic and achievable goals. That being said I am also going to give myself some grace and flexibility with these goals. With the arrival of our baby and some adjustments that are bound to happen in life I may change, add, or modify these goals accordingly.
What are some of your goals for the year?

 

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