truly loved.

I cherish these moments because I can just feel the love.  My grandparents, Grammy and Papa love spending time with the Dhara girl.  They recently came back from a 2.5 month trip to India, and they’ve been dying to see her.  They love talking to her, laughing with her, and hearing everything the little munchie has to say.  What is it about grandkids and great grandkids that’s so special?

grammy giving dhara kisses

papa and dhara having a quiet moment together

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.

thank you.

Before Dhara was born, I picked out the birth announcement I wanted to use.  I knew I wanted to take photos of her in the hospital, and use one of those photos for the announcement.  Fast forward to the day of her birth, [by the way, I’ve procrastinated long enough, my belated birth story is still a work in progress, but is soon to be posted], — I was in labor for 24+ hours, had a third degree tear, and my baby was under light therapy for a few days for high levels of jaundice.

Being that I was hardly in any shape to do much photo-taking, I didn’t get to do my pretty little birth announcement.  So instead, I made personalized photo thank you cards for everyone who prepared Greg and I to be parents with everything we needed to take care of a baby and more!

I ended up using moo for the thank you cards because it was the most cost effective solution for 60 cards.  In addition to the thank you cards, I made some ministry/prayer cards with our family photo, contact info and blog on it.

Speaking of thank you’s, I got a great package in the mail today.  Well actually it was a package for Dhara.  A dear family friend of Greg’s, Jane, mailed Dhara a gift wrapped in brown paper.  If the gift is wrapped in brown paper, it’s gotta be good, right?!!  Upon opening it, I uncovered a very thoughtfully wonderful gift.  In it were 3 of the simplest toddler-sized salwars [ethnic Indian wear] made of fine cotton in crisp white, cream, and grey — they brought to mind the simple elegance of the young Indira Gandhi.  There was also a sweet bohemian Mexican dress, 2 folk cd’s for children, a stuffed animal, and an embroidered heart satchel.  I love gifts like this — ethnic, beautiful, and personal.

Jane, thank you for the lovely brown paper gift!  We loved it, even my mom, who oohhed and awwed over it! : )

I’ll leave you all with some folk songs off one of the albums that Jane got for Dhara.  The album is called “You are My Little Bird” by Elizabeth Mitchell, and I absolutely love all the songs on it!

short stories of a busy week.

A Pastoral Visit, by Susie Mey

There is surely something special about people who invest their lives into the lives of others in a very real way.  My husband and I were not only trained under Pastor Dale in international campus ministry, we were also mentored by him when it came to things like disagreements in our marriage, our personal relationship with Jesus, and the sinful state of our hearts.  To have someone who lives to see you and others walk into the life God destined for you is amazing.  Greg and I feel incredibly blessed to have him as a part of our lives.  God used him (among others) to bring about the supernatural thing we call our marriage.  He married us in a lovely ceremony 2.5 years ago.

So, it was a pleasure when he and his family paid us a visit this past week, and what a needed visit it was.  I felt really dry in the faith department.  The kinda faith that “moves mountains”.  He spoke a message, which I know was directly from the heart of God, that spoke faith into everyone that heard it.  It made me realize that simple faith in Christ, and relying on His grace, is needed everyday, every hour.  Without it, we can’t live an overcoming life.  We also invited him to speak to our students (of the Friday Night Bible Study) at the University of Maryland Baltimore County.  Thirty students attended the meeting.  Many rededicated their lives to Jesus, and many stuck around late for Q+A.  It was an awesome, awesome time.

Before God called Pastor Dale into full-time ministry, he wanted to be a veterinarian.  So on Monday we went to the National Aquarium in Baltimore — Dhara’s first time!  Bless her heart, and her curiosity!

An Aunt is a Lovely Thing, by Susie Mey

Once upon a time, there lived an Aunt Beth.  Aunt Beth had a niece named Dhara.  One week, Aunt Beth decided to visit her niece for a few days.  They played and played and played.  Dhara loved her Aunt Beth dearly and greatly missed her when she left for her home at the beach.  Dhara had a blast playing with her aunt and gallivanting around town together.

As a birthday gift, Dhara took her Aunt Beth to downtown Baltimore to a snazzy bead shop called Beadazzled so that her Aunt Beth could design herself a necklace from the many beautiful beads found there.  They also went to a local farm and saw sheep, goats, cows, piglets, chicks, and 2 huge bunnies.  Dhara’s mom was in the mood for some of Twins Polish Boleslawiec Pottery, so they all headed to Aunt Beth’s old stomping grounds of Bowie to the Shops at Fabian House and some other antique shops.  Dhara’s mom also often frequented those shops when she lived in Bowie too.  Dhara’s mom picked up a Polish plate to add to her beloved collection, while Aunt Beth got an antique Maryland license plate to add to her own collection.  And lastly, Dhara got to introduce Aunt Beth to her 3 little woodland cousinlies in New Jersey.  Aunt Beth is super great with little ones, so the 3 woodland cousinlies loved her too.  They all played and had chocolate cake together.  The End.

Cousinlies, by Susie Mey

As a young child, I always cherished the days spent with my older cousins.  I remember my Ohio cousins driving to Maryland every year in their wagon bearing gifts of coloring books, stories, good laughs and secret cash — my aunt would secretly pull me aside before she left, take my hand, and fill it with a folded up $20 dollar bill — how surreptitiously exciting for a small child like me!

So you can probably see why I was excited to take Dhara to meet more of her little cousins for the first time and begin the tradition of summers together, slumber parties near a cozy fireplace, lemonade stands and their dear Betty Aunty reading them books like Anne of Green Gables.  It was the sweetest thing to see these four lasses together.  Also had the tastiest venison burger ever for dinner.  I wish I had one right now.  More photos here.

Red Mango, by Susie Mey

It’s the season we’re in.  A season of babies.  We went to Long Island, New York for my cousin’s baby shower.  The highlight of this trip was seeing Dhara as the most pleasant, smiley baby ever.  I just love this little girl to pieces.  She didn’t mind at all being passed around and around and around.  She gave great big smiles to everyone, and wasn’t the least bit homesick.  Maybe it’s that Karingatal blood in her — really gregarious people, my maternal side is.

My cousin told me about a yogurt place in Manhattan called Red Mango.  I am such a sucker for trying new yogurts or really great frozen yogurt places, which, by the way, are popping up all over the place.  (And I don’t mean TCBY).  We wanted to go to Red Mango, but for the sake of saving time (to get back home at a decent hour) we passed the savory offer.  But wouldn’t you know…  Our GPS, funny systems these things are, took us right through Manhattan and right passed Red Mango, which, by the way, we didn’t stop at because we were so caught up in all the hubwub of Manhattan traffic and stylish folks streaming out of every direction, that we missed it in the blink of an eye.  Just like that.  Boo.

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.

just beachy. [plus, a give-away!].

Before I go any further with this post, please tune in tomorrow for my first ever give-away contest!!!  [Can’t…contain…excitement…]  : )

So this past weekend we drove off to the beach to visit Dhara’s Grandpa + Grandma Smith and her Aunt Beth.  We ate at the lovely Georgia House for lunch for the second time.  I think I love that place.  The food is just so simple + so yummy, nothing fancy.  I got a club sandwich on wheatberry bread with sweet potato french fries.  Soooo good.  I just might have to convince the husband to stop there every time we go to the beach.  Another place I wouldn’t mind stopping at next time is the local antique store Greg’s mom took us to.

I’ve been to many an antique store and I’ve only been to a few that actually have things I like, and this is one of them.  [The other 2 are in Dayton, Ohio and Carbondale, Illinois].  I picked up some goods for a summer garden party I’m planning for Dhara’s half birthday.  Something sweet, pretty and girly.  [Once I found out Dhara’s due date was around Christmas time, I knew we had to do a half birthday for the poor gal.  To have your birthday during the Christmas season is just not fair!]  So come June, we’ll be throwing her a fun little summer party in the woods with her little girl friends and little girl cousins.

Back to our weekend — I picked up some large, old, blue and green glass mason canning jars to serve as lanterns for candles, and as vases for wildflowers.  These are the old school kind with zinc lids.  I also picked up a linen, embroidered napkin, and a beautiful vintage girl’s dress made of the most thin, airy, wispy, yet crisp kind of cotton.  My most favorite kind — I wish they sold this kind by the yard — I would probably purchase the whole bolt and then some.  : )

It was also important to Greg that we got Dhara’s toes in the sand and ocean for the first time!  She’s definitely going to be a little water baby like her daddy.  Growing up, Greg spent his summers at the beach and in the water, and so we’re pretty sure that Dhara will look forward to her beach summers.


The photos above of Chris and Dhara were taken by Josh using the Canon AE-1 35mm.  The field of depth and color in these shots makes these awesome, awesome shots.  Such richness, as Greg would say.  Really makes me want to go back to using film.  Maybe I should.

stop motion.

stop-motion (also known as stop-action or frame-by-frame) is an animation technique to make a physically manipulated object appear to move on its own.  The object is moved in small increments between individually photographed frames, creating the illusion of movement when the series of frames is played as a continuous sequence.”  (wikied)

My brother, Josh, showed me this music video by Oren Lavie, called “Her Morning Elegance.”  It’s done in stop motion format — very cool idea.  Josh is a film major and also doing a project in stop motion.  To do his project, he borrowed a camera bag full of camera goodies I got off of ebay for $90.  The bag has an old Canon AE-1 35mm camera, a telephoto lens, filters, and other neat pieces of equipment for old school camera fun.  He dropped off two rolls of film today to get developed.  It’s so weird that I developed film at one point in my life — and lots of it!

first beach.

Thanks to Greg’s mom who got these neato “30 plates” with Greg’s baby picture on them for his surprise party.  She always comes up with such great ideas!

[photo plates, from]