doubly exciting news!!!

Well folks, it was a super emotional, thrilling and happy day today when Greg, myself and the Dhara-girl found out we are having not one, but TWO babies next spring!  More to come after we get over the first day of excitement!  Eeee!!!

the martin family.

Meet the Martin’s.  Lina and I actually went to high school together.  We lost contact after graduation — that is until the Facebook generation and blogging came around.  It was so neat to reconnect and find out we both were married, her with a son, and me with a little one on the way.

Lina, a super crunchy hip mama, is an inspiration and testimony to God’s goodness. She recently had a home birth — a total inspiration!  I need pointers lady!  Brian and Lina have two beautiful boys, Johnny, and most recently, Joseph!  They really are the cutest little people.  Lina, thanks for allowing me to photograph your sweet little family and Baby Joseph’s baptism.

high school twin.

Yesterday I visited a longtime friend, Diana.  I’ve known her since high school, so that would make us friends for about 13 years and counting.  I remember the first time I met her.  I guess you could compare her to the energetic Ellie, from the Pixar movie, “Up”.  I, on the other hand, was more timid and composed.  So the story goes a little like this:  Diana walks up to me the first week of school, as I’m putting my books in my locker, and she says to me, “So you’re the one that everyone is mistaking for me!”

Yep.  And we’ve been friends ever since.  : )

Diana had a baby girl back in April, and so with my small family in tow, we went to visit Diana’s little baby, Shreya.  It was so weird sitting next to my friend as we both held a baby in our lap.  And not just any baby, but our own babies.  In honor of little Baby Shreya, I sewed her a Black Apple cloth doll.  [I was actually working on the same styled doll for Dhara’s half-birthday present, when I thought I would also whip one up for pretty little Shreya.]

My doll is somewhat different than the typical Black Apple doll because she has a simple cloth face with no features.  For her dress, I used a block printed fabric I picked up in India last year at my favorite fabric store in Madras.  The shop is located in an outdoor market bustling with business everywhere you look.  I could literally spend an entire day at that fabric store looking at all the beautiful cottons and ethnic prints.  I also love the little lace collar I added to the neckline.  So sweet and feminine.  I think I’d like to call her Amelie.

I think Baby Shreya is enjoying her Amelie Doll, don’t you think?

Mama’s doll.

Diana and I had a great time watching our babies and marveling at how life has changed so much since these little ones arrived.  In the last 13 years, Diana completed med school while I went into the world of information technology, and then onto campus ministry.  We’ve both had our ups and downs, but eventually got married to great guys, settled down and are both in a good place now — mommyhood.  So looking forward to what God has in store for us in the years to come.

Susan and Diana. 1999.


Oh boy, her naps are getting shorter these day.  It’s more about her laying on her back, holding her toes and swinging them back and forth as she babbles her baby talk.  While this is cuteness personified, I do love the time I get when she’s napping.  It’s my time to get my quiet time done, cross things off my to-do list, brainstorm projects, actually do these projects, talk to people on the phone, clean, grab a bite to eat, and read all my favorite blogs.

Guess it’s time to learn to do these things whilst she’s awake.

A pretty little moses basket, from Hoohobbers.  A gift from my sister.

children + toys, part II.

Before the birth of my baby, I thought and wrote a little about the world of children + their toys.  But now that I have a 5.5 month old, I am thinking about this topic more and more often.  I think about it whenever I hand her a toy to play or chew on.  I think about it whenever she receives a gift from someone — I debate in my mind whether to keep the gift or not.

I’m currently reading a book called, The Creative Family by Amanda Blake Soule.  I can’t help but love what she says in an interview I posted in a previous update: “I think my one piece of advice for that would be to choose carefully the toys you bring into your home.  For lots of reasons, ‘less’ is more.  It’s better for children’s imaginations, better for creating a peaceful family environment, and it’s much easier on the space in a house.  I also think ‘beauty’ is an important factor to consider when bringing a toy into your home.  Shouldn’t children’s toys and surroundings be beautiful, too?  I think so.”

I just love this idea of a peaceful and beautiful, yet real and comfortable home — one that fosters an appreciation for beauty in a completely natural way.  I truly feel that the run-of-the-mill plastic attention grabber toys, plethora of stuffed animals, beanie babies and barbies, television, and video games take beauty away from the home and what it symbolizes.  It also takes away the beauty of being a simple, curious kid.

One of my favorite things to do on weekdays is take my daughter outside to our garden and let her touch each plant as I go on to tell her the name of each one, “dill…cilantro…rosemary…squash…cucumbers…lettuce…broccoli.”  We usually walk back in the house with the smell of dill or rosemary on our fingertips.  I also let her feel the fabric I’m using during a sewing project, and explain to her what mama is going to make this time.  I can’t wait until I can teach her the sweet simple things in life.  (Like baking cupcakes.)

As for toys, I hope to weed out the consumer bad and keep the good — educational, natural fibers, simple.  (Like our neighbors who gave her a cloth toy veterinarian’s medical bag filled with cloth medical equipment.  Love it!)  Below are some of the toys my baby plays with these days.  She loves to chew on her cloth animals and doll.  I actually purchased these cloth toys five years ago when I was in college.  I guess you could call me a “think for the future kinda gal” — purchasing cloth toys, a small library of children’s books and simple cotton clothing for my future kids.  I wasn’t even married at the time.  ; )

The following are a couple wooden rattles I picked up a couple months ago from a darling Etsy shop located in Columbus, Ohio, called, Little Alouette.  Love these, and so does my baby girl.  Maybe she’ll love them so much that they’ll inspire her to be a woodworker when she grows up.  : )

As a parent or a lover of children’s goods (like I was), what are some toys/books/goods you recommend?

lil + elle.

The cousins celebrated two birthdays last month.  Littles, Lilia + Elisabet, turned over another chapter of their lives as they respectively turned 3 and 1 years old.  A group of us headed to New Jersey for a fun weekend.  Some photos to highlight the weekend.

4 months old.

The little girlie babe is 4 months old.  Oh, the things I love…love…love about her…  She gives me open-mouth slobbery kisses on my cheeks all the time.  She loves it when I kiss her everywhere…the look of enjoyment on her face is priceless.  She squeals at the top of her lungs when she’s happy and content.  She giggles more often now too.  I love to take naps with her.  Though, it’s harder to put her to sleep because she wants to be awake.  She can’t sleep until she holds onto the collar of my shirt or puts her little hand on my face — I know it’s because she wants to make sure I stay put while she sleeps.  She likes to sleep nose to nose.

Mornings with Dhara are delightful because she’s so alive and ready to live a new day.  I love to hold both her arms around my neck and pretend that she’s hugging me — she loves it too.  It’s so amazing how much this little one has touched my heart.  I can’t even begin to explain it.  God did such a good thing.  Oh, and she rolled over for the first time this past week!  From her stomach to her back.  She doesn’t even realize she’s doing it. : ) 

a slice of organic life [not alice waters].

For the past couple weeks I’ve been egg hunting.  And I don’t mean Easter egg hunting.  I’ve been looking for a local farm that sells fresh eggs (and raw milk!).  It’s simply amazing what having a baby can do to you, because you tend to only want the most natural foods, clothes, skincare and toys for your little person.  So I started calling local farms in my county.  The only farm I didn’t call was the one in our neck of the woods.  We actually live in their woods and on their land.  So I called them up today and found out they don’t sell fresh eggs or raw milk.  But, they have an employee that sells fresh eggs.  So I called Silka — is her name, and will be meeting her at the farm down the street to pick up 2 dozen fresh eggs every couple weeks.

For raw milk, it just so happens that raw milk is illegal in my state.  You have to be on the “in” with a local dairy farmer for raw milk.  I’m certainly not in any “in” group, so the nearby South Mountain Creamery (a milk delivery service!) is my next best bet.  They sell the closest (grass fed, hormone free, unhomogenized) to raw milk that you can get.  They also sell local honey, fresh butter, granola, fresh yogurt, cheeses, and pasture raised beef, pork, and lamb.  And the best part is they deliver for a really small fee of $3.75 for any sized order.  They deliver your standing order on a weekly, biweekly, or once a month basis — whichever you prefer.  I just placed an order for fresh milk, butter, and whole grain bread.  Can you tell how excited I am right now? : )

In Real Food for Mother and Baby, the author emphasizes the need for real milk (and real eggs):

  • Real milk is from grass-fed cows
  • Real milk comes from cows that are not treated with hormones
  • Real milk is raw
  • Real milk is not homogenized
  • Real milk is whole milk

indian baby massage.

One of my most treasured times of the day is sunset.  The sun setting is my cue to gather my tired baby for her bedtime routine — a massage and bath.  My bedtime routine for her goes as such,

  • feed her so she has a full and happy belly,
  • lay out a blanket on the ground,
  • choose a natural oil [I use apricot oil, jojoba oil, or olive oil],
  • put on a little soft folk music like Allison Krauss, Brandi Carlile or Sara Groves,
  • dim the lights, or use candle light — which is my preference,
  • choose a lovely cotton nightgown for afterwards to have good dreams in,
  • and lastly, massage and bathe away…

This really sets the atmosphere and gives baby a time to relax from her hard taxing day of being out and about and learning a ton of new and exciting things.  I love massage and bathtime because I know that she loves it.  It’s comforting and relaxing for her.  It makes her feel loved and cherished.  Sometimes life does get in the way of this special time, and we have to give her a quickie massage and bath without the elaborate massage, but I do hope to make this a loving routine for however many children God gives us.

A dear friend, Lakshmi, came over a week ago to give Dhara an Indian massage and bath.  Dhara absolutely loved the massage.  The Indian styled bath, much different than her tub bath, we have to work on. : )  In India, people use warm sesame oil to massage babies.  Sesame oil has therapeutic and ayurvedic properties that really relax babies and promote well being.  It easily penetrates the skin, has a cooling effect on the body, and is rich in vitamin E.

I kid you not, the photo above shows how she slept after Lakshmi’s massage and bath!  Sweet dreams little one.

give-away! kimono top in 70’s wallpaper print.

Anyone is welcome to enter!  To win this baby kimono top in a whimsy 70’s wallpaper print [handmade by me], here’s how you can enter:

Leave a comment on my blog stating your favorite springtime activity.

Those overseas are also welcome to join!  The contest ends this Friday, April 16th (midnight) and I’ll announce the winner, chosen through a random generator, the following day!

Note: This kimono top is gender neutral, so whether you have a baby boy or girl, it will be a sweet little addition to their wardrobe.  Don’t have a little one?  This would also make a darling gift!

Sewn with attention to detail, kimono tops are made with 100% clean cotton.  Ties on outside and inside.  Tops come in sizes 0-3 months, 3-6 months, and 6-12 months.  Please let me know your size preference when you leave your comment.  Thanks!