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outdoor dining.

A very happy happy birthday to my little sister, Becky, also known on this blog as Zuma or Zumie.  My sister is a special girl through and through. She’s thoughtful, sensitive, and always thinks about the well being of others.  She’s got a servant’s heart times 10.  Even if she doesn’t want to do something, there’s something wired in her blood that lays her will down for the sake of the other person — sadly not something I can say I fully have, but her example to me has really shown me how it’s supposed to be done.

She’s also grown into such a classy lady.  There was a day when she would run to my closet for an outfit, but now I go to hers!  It’s neat to see how our tastes are alot more in line as we get older — I’d like to take some credit for rubbing off on her in someway or another over the years.  : )

Her dedication and devotion to Jesus this past year has also grown in such a beautiful way.  It’s a wonderful thing to see someone actually lean on Jesus.  Not just in words, but also in action and deed.

In honor of her birthday this year, I rummaged through the home goods section of my belongings in my parent’s basement (yes, I put up signs in my parent’s basement) and chose some special linens and an array of vintage dishes for a quaint backyard dinner surrounded by 8 of her closest girlfriends.  With the help of a couple friends, I cooked up a meal of spinach strawberry salad, stuffed mushrooms, bread, grilled chicken tandoori tacos, spring vegetables, a vegan dessert mousse, banana dream cake (and it was a dream!), and lastly a Whole Foods strawberry shortcake (thanks Gifty!).  Supper was scheduled to be served after sunset.  After the sun set, the outdoor lights were turned on, the candelabra lit, I donned my apron, and the table set for a cozy dinner surrounded by the cool night air.

There is surely something romantic and cozy about outdoor dining.  It’s something Greg and I hope to do lots of when we move to our own place.  I’d love a backyard patio adorned with twinkly lights, hanging vines, wildflowers, and an outdoor farmhouse table always set for a meal to share.  I love bringing out the good dishes when I plan a meal.  Sure there are tons to wash afterwards, but it makes dinner all the more special.  The way I see it, planning a meal takes thoughtfulness and creativity — the whole process of bringing people together around a table to break bread is special and totally worth all the effort and time put into it.

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mama day 2012.

[…I’m a week late in posting this — unfortunately my blog time has been cut in half!  But I’m hoping to update it at least once a week from here on out.]

You won’t usually see me in photos — let’s just say I’d prefer to stay behind the camera.  However, after Dhara was born, I started thinking that for posterity’s sake, I needed to be purposeful in being in the occasional family photo, like here and here.  Even though I dislike being in photos, I think it’s important that my children have photos of us together.  I want them to have photos of a young mama with her young kiddos.  There’s something beautiful about seeing a picture of your parents when they were young parents.  I want to make sure that in all the hustle and bustle of this life, my kids have a few pictures of me to look back on — even if it means only once or twice a year like Mother’s Day and Christmas.

Mother’s Day this year was pretty swell.  It started off on Saturday with Greg’s parents coming into town and cooking us an amazing meal of grilled barbeque and teriaki chicken, grilled steak, grilled pork tenderloin, beans, quinoa, cornbread, lemon meringue pie, cherry pie and a large bowl of delicious fruit.  What a blessing that was!  Thank you Dad and Mom, it meant so much to us!

On Sunday (Mother’s Day), we ended up staying home from church because the boys have been really fussy due to gas.  Greg let me get a few hours of rest while he watched the boys — a real treat since sleep is so hard to come by these days!  I was also given the gift of an awesome, awesome retro pistachio colored Kitchen Aid Artisan stand mixer.  And lastly, my darling husband and daughter got the garden ready for this year’s small crop — there was no way I could do it with the twins this year.

love how my little busy bee, dhara, is perched on the edge of the garden bed

[If we’re friends on Facebook, you may have noticed my love for Instagram.  Been using it everyday since I got the app a couple weeks ago — it’s such a great way to capture life everyday, because for the most part I don’t have a camera handy, but I do have a cell phone!  Love it!]

Mother’s Day got me thinking…  In the 4 years we’ve been married, we’ve been blessed with three children.  I always wanted kids, a large family even.  However I must say that child rearing is hard — the hardest thing I’ve ever done — and my kids are young, all two and under!  The challenges only get bigger from here on out.  Motherhood means laying my life down for them on a daily basis — not an easy task!  It takes discipline and selflessness.  And yet, there’s a joy that comes when I look at my children, even though I know life isn’t easy.  There’s a love that grows for them every single day.

I feel so blessed to be called a mother, and be given such a cool and out-of-this-world-rewarding job to care for these little treasures. [2011, 2010].