Sunday, September 22, 2013

A Very Hungry Caterpillar - Will's First Birthday

I have been wanting to write a post on Will's birthday party for a while now. It was such an amazing day. I cannot believe my little man is already one!


I didn't use a tutorial for the lantern caterpillar, just worked from a picture. I was so happy with how it turned out, and Will REALLY loved it. He kept staring and pointing at it as he ate. 


Our centerpiece, of course. you can buy it here!


The Cake



I wanted to make a healthy birthday cake, because we took our time introducing foods and he had never had sugar yet. I used this carrot cake cupcake recipe. I was nervous about using food coloring, so I got these dyes called chocolate craft at Whole Foods that are plant based (the red is made from beets)! They smelled a little funky when I was making them, but once they were mixed, no one could taste the difference. 


The beautiful setting =)


We planned our menu based around what the caterpillar eats in the book. For the green leaf, we made a salad. I made food labels with images from the book using these.


Party Favors!


The Birthday Boy!



My mom made his adorable bib!


"Hey I like this sugar stuff!"

Meme had to change him out of his cute outfit because he was covered in cake.


Happy Birthday sweet little man!

xoxo Mommy

Friday, October 12, 2012

Falling for Fall

Our summer was amazingly long this year. It feels like today was the first day of fall. As much as I loved soaking up the sun this summer, I got a little bored with my summer ensembles. One can only rotate tank-tops, shorts, and dresses so many times before things start to get repetitive. I found myself longing for the crisper weather of fall, where I can layer and make outfits more unique. 

It is finally here; we had our first gloomy day, today! Here are some pretty fall pics to inspire your cold weather wardrobe:


Source: Banana Republic

Source; Mario Testino for Vogue

Source: Brown Button

Source: Cabbages and Roses Fall 2010
Xoxo E

Monday, August 27, 2012

Reality Check

The baby is quietly sleeping the last leg of his 2 hour nap. I'm puttering around the kitchen making dinner wearing a cute apron. My hair and makeup are done. The house is spotless. When Will wakes up he will be smiling up at me from the crib excited to hang out a little bit before he goes down for bed early. 

That is how I fantasized about motherhood when I was still preggo. 



Cut to reality. My son is screaming. Delilah, our cat, joins in howling. I start sobbing in unison. Our house is a sty. I'm covered in spit up and baby poop (sexy). I'm lucky if I can get my kid to sleep for longer than 45 minutes. Sleeping through the night is just a dream.

Needless to say, this has been a rough season. Nevertheless, I feel like God has been revealing some things in the midst of the chaos (other than the fact that I was delusional about what it was to be a parent). 

1. I had a wrong view of dependence. My baby is what you can call a "needy baby." He is pretty fussy and would rather be held 24/7 than sit in his own seat and play with his toys. I found myself getting frustrated with him and bitter that he wasn't more independent. Then I realized that my relationship to William is a shadow of God's relationship with me. I'm supposed to be needy before God, and he meets my needs. I am dependent on him and he is dependable. 

"Did not I weep for him whose day was hard?
    Was not my soul grieved for the needy?" (Job 30:25)

William is supposed to need me. But unlike God, I'm not dependable. My response to Will's neediness, isn't supposed to be a okay I got this, you're going to be fine. I'm incapable of it. Nor should my response to him be to break down and give up. I'm supposed to cry out to God with my own neediness. As he responds to me with his grace, I'm then able to pour out love and patience to my son. I can't do it without the lord. 

2. I'm reading this book called "When People are Big and God is Small." In chapter 9, the author challenges the view that we need to receive love. He instead argues that we were made to love others and to glorify God in everything we do. It struck me that some of the most significant ways that I can glorify God, are also the ways that I most easily slip into self glorification and pride. This last week I've been constantly checking my heart as I cook, as I sing my son to sleep, etc. Am I making this awesome dinner so Jason will say I have mad chef skills, or because I want to serve my husband and love him? Am I daydreaming about performing in front of a smitten audience when I sing Will to sleep or thinking about the lyrics and what they mean? 

It is pretty revolutionary when you think about it. If I were to always be in the right heart mode about this, I could change thankless diaper after thankless diaper and be completely happy to do it. Obviously, I'm not always in the right heart mode, but slowly but surely I'm growing...

3. Lastly, I'm realizing that the little things I sow now that seem pointless when Will is so oblivious to them, will eventually produce a harvest (I hope). For example, every night, before we put him to sleep, either Jason or I read him a little bit from the Jesus Storybook Bible. Then we recite Psalm 23 (The lord is my shepherd). then we sing him some worship songs as we rock him to sleep. He has no idea what it means now, but some day, because we repeated the gospel to him, we are praying that it will sink in. That he will know who God is because of all the songs and stories. 

Please be praying for our family as we raise our little guy, that we would be patient with him and turn to Jesus. 



Xoxo E




Thursday, August 16, 2012

Sing a Happy Little Working Song



When I was a little kid, my nanny called me "the mess maker." I was like a little tornado that went through the house and left a disaster in my wake. Then at the end of the night when it was time to clean up my messes, I'd look around and get overwhelmed by the enormity of all the Barbies that needed to be put away. I still get overwhelmed by my own messes. I wish I lived in a Disney movie where little critters were at my beck and call to help with chores. Alas, in reality, cats make messes, they don't clean them.

In college, I was forced to be tidy and organized by the cramped quarters of my sorority. If I didn't put things away, we wouldn't be able to find the door. Through the years, I've developed, slowly and necessarily, into a more organized person.

Pinterest has several cleaning schedules floating around, so I thought I would share the one I developed recently (I used some from Real Simple as inspiration, but changed them to suit my own habits and needs). Now I don't have to tackle a sink-full of dishes or do gobs of laundry in one sitting, because nothing piles up. By nothing I mean, occasionally things pile up, but much less often than they used to! I just bust out my gear and turn up the tunes when Will goes down for his naps and try to get as much done as I can. Anyway, if you are like me and get stressed out by housework, I hope this helps you =) 

I've broken things down into daily, weekly, monthly, and seasonal tasks and certain tasks are devoted to certain days. I love this because checklists are kind of a weird obsession for me!


Weekly Cleaning Checklist



Monday
~ Daily Cleaning
~ De-crumb Toaster
~ Scrub stove top inserts
~ Sweep/Mop
~ Wipe Down  Appliances
~ Clean Out Fridge
~ Menu Plan




Tuesday
~ Daily Cleaning
~ Grocery Store
~ Comet Kitchen Sink
~ Change Linens
~Spot Clean Walls



Wednesday
~ Daily Cleaning
~ Clean Bathroom
~ Monthly Cleaning
~ Dust





Thursday
~ Daily Cleaning
~ Windex
~ Vacuum



Friday
~ Daily Cleaning
~ Mint Entries
~ Crafts/Projects



Saturday
~ Daily Cleaning
~ Sabbath



Sunday
~ Daily Cleaning
~ Seasonal Cleaning

Daily Cleaning Checklist

Kitchen
  • Clear out the sink of dishes
  •  Wipe down counter and stove
  • Wipe any spills on the floor
  • Fold and hang dish towels

 Bathroom
  • Wipe out the sink
  • Clean splatters of the mirrors
  • Wipe the toilet seat and rim
  • Scrub the bowl
  • Spray the shower and curtain liner with a shower mist

Other
  • Scoop the catbox/ take out full trashes
  • File any paperwork lying out
  • Clear a clutter spot
  • Do a load of laundry
  
Monthly Cleaning Checklist

First Week of Month
  • Dust Ceiling cobwebs
  • Clean Light Fixtures
  • Dust Air Vents
Second Week of Month
  • Wash Car
  • Wash Drapes
  • Dust Intensively
  • Clean Outside of Windows
Third Week of Month
  • Vacuum Inside Furniture
  • Spot Treat Carpet and Upholstery
Fourth Week of Month
  • Deep Clean Oven and Fridge

Seasonal Cleaning Checklist

First Month (Jan, Apr, Jul, Oct)
  • Flip the Mattress
  • Sort through Closets – Organize, Toss, Donate
Second Month (Feb, May, Aug, Nov)
  •  Sort through Pantry staples (toss expired items and add low items to shopping list)
Third Month (Mar, Jun, Sep, Dec)
  •  Polish Pans 
  • Clean outside Windows


Xoxo E

Monday, August 13, 2012

Story Time

Jason and I don't have a T.V. We had one when we first got married, and it just sat there taking up space in our apartment. When we wanted to watch moves, our laptops always had a clearer picture, and most shows are available via the internet now, so we got rid of our hunk of junk set. Now that I'm breastfeeding Will, I have a LOT of time on my hands. Since we don't have T.V, I've been churning through some books that have been on the back burner. Here are a couple brief reviews. 


The Count of Monte Cristo 
This was the book club book from January, and I never got around to finishing it. I'm so glad I finally did. It was excellent. The narrative reminded me of a sitcom, jumping from story line to story line, leaving you hanging at the best part. Jason and I started watching the show "Revenge" on Hulu recently and it's actually based on this book. Check it out here!

The Night Circus
I had been hearing wonderful things about this book and was so excited to finally read it. I actually listened to it on tape. Maybe, because I listened to it instead of reading it, I found it very tedious. The writing is flowery and beautiful, but the plot is so weird. Two magicians in a contest, but they don't even want to fight with each other, because they are in love. Gag me! It was trite and boring.


Chronicles of Narnia 
 I read the chronicles when I was a little kiddo, but have been wanting to reread them from an adult perspective. They were even better than I remembered. I love children's literature. These were the perfect read, too because they give a clear picture of who God is and how he loves, without being too heavy. I haven't been able to finish When People are Big and God is Small, yet, because with William and the move and the craziness of life, I can't focus on anything too deep. 

I love tattoos, but I've never been able to think of anything that I'd want to have permanently inked on my body that isn't super common, but is still meaningful. I realized reading this book, I'd get a lion, if I ever got a tattoo, which I probably never will, but it's nice to know what it would be of if I did. =)

Moloka'i
This was our book club book for July. It was such a phenomenal story! The plot is fantastic and the characters are beautifully drawn. It takes place in Hawaii in the late 18 and early 19 hundreds. The protagonist is a sassy young girl, named Rachel, who gets leprosy and is sent to a leper colony on Moloka'i. She hates being taken away from her family and home, but when she arrives, she finds a new family in the cooky and loveable residents of the colony. This is one of those books that makes you laugh and cry. Even though it's a fiction book, Rachel's story could easily be true of any young woman at the colony, and that made it more poignant. I also appreciated how well researched the novel was. The author was really passionate about the story and weaved history and fiction beautifully. 

Happy reading!

Xoxo E

Monday, July 23, 2012

William's Homebirth Story

William Christopher Murray
"Protector" and "Little Christ"
 Thursday 3 May 2012
3:26pm
7 pounds, 19 inches

Birth Team: Jen Bolter (Midwife), Amanda Deardorf (Midwife's Assistant), Adele Connally (my dear friend and our Doula), and Jason Murray (my awesome husband and Birth Coach)

Though my mom claims that moving the the Pacific Northwest made me into a hippie, I shower on a pretty regular basis and would never consider myself "granola" by any means. I had a lot of reservations about having a home birth, but after a ton of research, prayer, and counsel, I found myself on Thursday May 3rd laboring in the torn up bathroom of our apartment (more on that later). 

Labor began on Wednesday evening. I'm not sure when the contractions started exactly, but after a trip to Costco for dinner with some friends, I realized on the drive home that my Braxton Hicks contractions were a rhythmic 5 minutes apart lasting 20 seconds. "Jason, I think I might be going into labor," I told my husband. He said he doubted it. When we got home, I started prepping some of the birth supplies, just in case. I fervently prayed that this was not labor. We had been having a mold problem in our bathroom and I had been pestering our apartment manager to have it cleaned up before Will's arrival, but they kept giving us the run around. Finally, a repair man came and tore it up on Wednesday, only to nonchalantly say, "can't finish up until Monday" after he was done.

Unfortunately, this was the real deal; Will wanted to come out in time to party for cinco de mayo. At 9pm I lost my mucus plug. "Jason, I really think this is labor." He told me to go to sleep, but I was so excited, I could barely sit still. I texted my doula and told her what was going on. She urged me to drink a glass of wine and go to bed. Thank heavens for that advice. I slept through the night and the next morning, my contractions were still a steady 5 minutes apart lasting 20 seconds.  Jason was not convinced it  was time yet and was ready to head off to work, but I called the midwife, who confirmed that I was indeed in labor. Jason was in a daze as he made me carbo load on toast and eggs before my marathon. Though his intentions were good, my contractions started getting much stronger, so I had a hard time eating, and shortly thereafter got super sick and the big breakfast went down the drain, literally. 

I started crawling around the apartment on hands and knees trying to keep William from being sunny side up (it kind of worked, we still had back labor, though). While I did that, Jason was a champ. He frantically ran around and cleaned the house, set up the birth space, timed my contractions, and rubbed my back when a contraction hit.

The contractions started to get really REALLY painful at 11:30 am. I felt like a boxer was punching me in the back from the inside out. We had tried several labor positions in our Bradley birth classes, but I found that the only one I could deal with was sitting backwards on the toilet clinging to the towel rack for dear life while the huz rubbed my lower back and encouraged me to relax.

For all the preparation I did on relaxing through pain, and verses I had memorized to help me cling to the Lord in the trial of birth, I felt completely at the mercy of my body and couldn't remember a single thing. The only thing I could think of was taking one wave at a time. Thankfully, my husband was there encouraging me, praying over me, and taking care of the details like making me eat and drink between contractions. No IV drip for me, thanks. We stocked up on honey sticks, go gurt, and oranges. Also, Big 5 has this awesome squirty water bottle with a straw that was a god send in labor.

I started to feel really frightened that things were progressing so rapidly and my birth team and birth tub weren't even at the house yet! At 12:45 my doula, Adele showed up and helped with pain management. She had Jason rub cold Coke cans up my back (best idea ever) and took care of the details of arranging the tub when they arrived to set it up. 

At 1:30 I started feeling the urge to push and felt terrified. Our midwife was still on her way! In our birth class we learned that this meant we were getting close to the end. This was the most painful part of the labor, wanting to push, but not being able to.The only way I can describe it is explosive, like dynamite was going off inside of me.

Jen finally got to the house, and when she checked me I was all the way dilated and ready to push the baby out. I labored on the bed for a little bit since the tub still wasn't full, but eventually decided to just get in the tub the way it was because I was miserable.

I didn't plan on having a water birth. A friend of mine wanted to labor in the tub, but when she got in she hated it. I wasn't sure how I would feel, so I ordered the tub and figured I'd play it by ear. Once I got in, I was not getting out. It was amazing how immediate the relief was. I only wish it had been set up sooner.

 It took 2 hours once I started pushing. I was surprised at how long pushing took, because in all the birth videos I watched, the babies popped right out! Pushing was the best part of the labor because I finally got to do something! 



One of my biggest fears about doing the home birth was that the cord would be wrapped around Will's neck and he would suffocate. He did end up having the cord around his neck, but Jen handled it very calmly and just slipped it over his head. Finally, after one push, he slid out and we got to meet the precious little man. He was kind of blue from the cord situation, so we gave him oxygen while we snuggled. 


It was amazing holding him. The whole time I was in labor, I kept thinking, "I can't believe this is happening, it feels so unreal!" Even now, it's sometimes hard to believe that we have a baby. Before we had William, even though we were a family, it didn't feel like one. Now it feels like a real family. 




For those of you who haven't had babies yet, here are a couple things I learned:

1. Recovery after labor can take a while. I thought I would be up and about in a couple of days, but it really took 2 weeks before I could get out and about, and even then it was short trips. I was actually sitting on a doughnut for a while! Even two months later I'm still not fully healed.


2. I must live under a rock, because I didn't know this until we took a birth class. Once labor is over, you're not done. Oh no friends, you still have to push your placenta out. Someone told me it was easy, and maybe it was for her, but it took me a while and was pretty painful. 

3. Babies are life changing. Some of the changes are awesome, like the snuggling, the smiles, and the warm fuzzy feeling I get when Will looks for me when I leave his line of sight. Some are not so awesome and harder than I ever could have imagined, like the rush of terror and adrenaline I feel when Will cries and I can't figure out how to soothe him and the exhaustion from lack of sleep. 


 '
Despite the difficulties, we cherish him, knowing that he is a gift from God. Psalm 127 says that "children are a heritage from the lord, the fruit of the womb a reward." Jason and I have been learning that the reward comes not just in Will's smiles and coos, but in the way he is shaping us. He is growing us in patience and love. We learn Gods heart for his children is gracious as we parent William and seek his good. We are so glad to have this opportunity to parent, to build a Murray legacy, a heritage!

Dedicating Will on Mother's Day



XOXO E


PS The bathroom repair man came back earlier than anticipated, thank God. It was the best shower ever!



Friday, April 27, 2012

Nesting

Nesting is a strange thing. Even though I have been absolutely exhausted from pregnancy, during the past 3 months, I have also been frantic trying to get EVERY LITTLE DETAIL for birth, postpartum, and nursery decor/supplies nailed down. Some of the preparation I did was necessary, like organizing Will's clothes and washing them. However, some of the preparation was bizarre - like urge I had to compile all his cards and make a little book for him, prepping 8 crock pot dinners in one day, or the panic that set in at the thought of not having an outline of to do's for Jason during each stage of labor. Last weekend I started sobbing because we needed a changing table and hadn't found one. Can you say hormones?

Today marks the final day for nesting. The last thing on my baby prepping to-do list was to get storage bins and a rocking chair from Ikea. Done and done. Little William, feel free to come any time. 

Tableau on Will's changing table

 xoxo E