Friday, April 23, 2010

uncle kevin!

my brother kevin has moved to bellingham! he’s been here for a few weeks now, and already it’s hard to imagine life without him.  
he lives half a block away from us and eats dinner with us every night.  he works with aaron at seaview, he does yard work in our yard, he makes fancy pizza, he watches war movies with aaron, he is teaching me about texting and facebook, he plays with the kids, he does dishes...  what more can i say?  it’s awesome.
and now my kids say, “word.”

Monday, April 19, 2010

babies movie

watch this amazing trailer!  i am really excited to see this movie.  it is so interesting to see how different these babies’ environments are, and yet they all seem so similar.  i think that isla might do really well in namibia.  she loves getting dirty, she loves being barefoot, she loves banging rocks and she loves animals.  noah, on the other hand... not so much!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

one more

i just remembered this book--another wordless children’s book, not a graphic novel, but similar idea.  it is a really beautiful story of giving and of saying goodbye.

Monday, April 12, 2010

graphic novels

i stayed up late last night reading this book.  it was a really powerful story of one family’s experience of the dust bowl.  mostly, it was about an eleven-year-old boy dealing with fear, rejection and purposelessness.  it’s a little bit scary (though i did let noah flip through it) but the resolution is really wonderful.
i love graphic novels.  particularly at this stage in my life, where i don’t get a lot of time to read and don’t have a ton of focus when i do, graphic novels are a perfect middle ground.  often they are a way to learn a lot about something, quite vividly, in a short time.  here are some of my other favorites.
aaron and i both love this one by craig thompson.  it’s sort of a coming of age story of a boy growing up in a conservative christian home.  it’s really honest and beautiful.
i also love this one by raymond briggs about his parents.  it’s a fairly straightforward story about their lives together, and how much the world changes as they age.
i suppose this is a children’s book more than a graphic novel, but it’s also a really great story of friendship.  the author also has a longer graphic novel that is about loss--very sad!  but also really lovely.
this guy has written a few graphic novels about his international travel experiences, but this is the most interesting.  i learned a lot about burma, but i also really enjoyed this guy’s daily struggles being the caretaker for his little son while his wife works for doctors without borders.
does anyone out there have recommendations of other great graphic novels?

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

our church

on sunday a photographer from the bellingham herald was taking pictures during the easter service at our church.  it’s neat to see the service from this perspective.  above is our dear friend bonnie, lighting the candles on the altar.
you can see more pictures here if you’re interested.

Sunday, April 04, 2010


today we rejoice in new life!
last night, our little godson julian was baptized. he bears the name of st. julian, patron saint of hospitality, whose name graces the community into which he was born.  even though we couldn’t be present for his baptism, we will, with god’s help, “by our prayers and witness, help this child to grow into the full stature of christ.”
also last night, our dear friends the wassells were received into the catholic church.  what another big celebration!  if we had been able to be present there, when the congregation was asked, “will you who witness these vows do all in your power to support these persons in their life in christ?” we would have said, with gusto, “we will!” 
easter is a mystery.  how exactly we can help others grow in christ is also sometimes a mystery, and a big responsibility.  but i think i know a few small ways i can do this, and i will.  with god’s help.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

why i love bellingham

bellingham is one of many, many cities applying to get google to test their ultra-high speed broadband network here.  the community is overwhelmingly in support of this effort; check out this blog to see some of the creative attempts folks have come up with in the effort to woo google.
my very favorite is the above video.  the little girl is the daughter of a local musician, and they live in our neighborhood.  it’s neat because i recognize almost all the landscapes in the video, and i actually really believe the cheesy message is true.  i love this town!
(while i’m sure having google’s super fast service would be useful to many of bellingham’s industries, my experience of this video and the whole campaign is more basic.  it’s just really cool to see everyone come together to tell the world why we all love this town!)
also, for those of you who really are interested in a little video peek into some of the places we visit regularly, check out this episode of inside bellingham to see our new and improved franklin park and our new whatcom museum!

Friday, March 26, 2010

we've moved!

check over here.

happy spring, everyone!


spring fever is hitting hard around here. new computer, new blog, new garden beds, new organizational methodologies... new perspective!

i am really trying to abide by the william morris quote above. i have been ruthlessly parting with things that i find neither useful nor beautiful. i am selectively adding things that are one or the other of the above. (or both!) i feel like i’m on the way to feeling at home in our home, which has been a long time coming. and oddly, doesn’t involve normal amenities like window trim or kitchen drawers!

what i am most excited about is my lovely new craft space. after many frustrations at having to hunt around for craft supplies, set everything up, and then have no energy left to actually create anything before it was necessary to put it all away again.... we have come up with a new semi-permanent crafting corner for me (and a little bit for the kids too) in our home.

(i would complain to aaron, “but you have a whole shop in the back. i don’t have any space!” and he would reply, “you can build a shop in the front yard...” sure.)

so we came to a compromise that involved some found cabinets and doors, a new laminate countertop, some old bookshelves and lots of paint. now i just have to figure out how to organize things the best way!

(aaron teases me that he’s going to call it my mini-storage, given its current state of disarray.)

i’ll post more pictures as things get organized around here.

and good luck to you all with your spring cleaning too!

Thursday, February 25, 2010


it's been a while since my last post. here are some things that are happening around here:

  • spring is here! forsythia and cherry trees are in full bloom. daffodils, tulips and crocuses are beginning to unfurl. the smell of compost is in the air. people are walking around in tshirts, students are playing football in the streets. i had a sunburn the other day!
  • isla is no longer a baby. i just realized this. she repeats nearly everything i say. she has very strong ideas about what she does and doesn't want. she LOVES babies (real and not). she has temper tantrums. she climbs up everything. she is very particular about her clothing. she can walk for blocks and blocks. she can eat and eat and eat. she rarely drinks mama's milk. (so sad!)
  • lent has arrived. we have been talking about how to use this time to learn how to love one another better. noah is going to work on not yelling at people. (he has become very bossy lately.) i am trying to work on spending more time with aaron, particularly waking up early to have coffee with him before he leaves for work. we are all thinking about sacrifice. (thanks to christina for spurring some really meaningful thought and discussion around here!)
  • the seasonal table is now an official table, and has a beautifully simple lenten garden. christina also made some easter animals for us (who will appear later), and sort of tried to show me how to needle felt. i made a circle.
  • aaron's been working on the doors of the shop. they're going to be cool: double-long sliders. and he just had his final inspection with the city, and passed! so it should be smooth sailing from here on out.
  • noah has a new big-boy bunk bed. he is still very excited about puzzles, mazes, writing letters and drawing trucks. he can pretty much ride his big boy bike. he digs and hoes a lot in the dirt under the holly tree. he narrates the funniest stories involving trains and trucks while he's playing by himself. all his vehicles have names and personalities, and at times have been know to need snacks. he aspires to be a bandstra mover.
  • christina came to visit!! it was way too brief but very good for my soul. her visit was aaron's gift to me for christmas. such a great idea! and christina was so brave to leave all five of her boys behind and venture so far from new england. it was so much fun.
  • and lastly, we got a new computer! it is SO SO much faster and cooler and overall better than our nearly six-year old clunky ibook. we got it the day before christina came, so she was here to show me how to do all the secret awesome mac tricks. i feel like a whole new world has opened up to me now...
  • which leads to my last point, which is that i'm in the process of making a new blog/website for our family. iweb is SO SO much easier to use than blogspot! and we can have a few pages in addition to the main page, so i'm planning to make a portfolio page for aaron too. stay tuned for the great unveiling!
happy spring to you all! (or mid-winter, if you live in a normal part of the country.)

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

rumble rumble (a movie)

overheard: a funny conversation between noah and kate. (thanks to irene for the movie!)


today is candlemas, the last day of the season of epiphany, and the day we remember the presentation of jesus at the temple forty days after his birth. here he meets simeon, whose beautiful song we repeat in compline. simeon prophesies that jesus will be "a light to enlighten the nations," so on this night it is custom to celebrate light.

some friends came over tonight and we made simple candles together. we added bits of leftover candles to the mix of new wax, including the stubs from our advent wreath. we experimented with drops of essential oils: orange and lemon in some, and lavender in others.

God our Father,
Source of all light,
today you revealed to Simeon
Your light of revelation to the nations.
Bless + these candles and make them holy.
May we who use them to praise your glory
walk in the path of goodness
and come to the light that shines forever
Grant this through Christ our Lord.

biking boy (a movie)

in which noah rides a big boy bike!!! (for a very short time.)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

christmas favorites

before we get too far into the new year, i want to share a few things that really helped make our advent and christmas special this year.

i made this bulletin board (just by covering some foam board with pretty white paper) and used it to display favorite christmas cards and images from years past. thanks to all of you for sharing your lovely images with us!

it was nice to have a special spot just for christmas pictures, in addition to hanging cards from a string across the living room. in fact, it was too hard to take this down after epiphany, so it's still up!

this was our advent calendar this year, which is a six-sided tissue-paper-lined light-filled scene. it begins on the first sunday of advent and continues through to epiphany. the pictures are gorgeous block-print style images of saints, martyrs, the holy family, etc. each window has a prayer and a meditation (in an accompanying book) for that day, activity ideas for special days like st. nicholas day, and sundays have an extra "feast day" window too.

there is so much great about this calendar: the aesthetics, the theology (focused on justice and honoring those who worked for justice), the longevity of the cycle (that it goes all the way through the twelve days of christmas) and the fun of opening all the windows and peeking at the secrets inside. we used an electric candle in the middle to light it, but a real candle would work as well. both noah and i really enjoyed this daily practice, and he really payed attention during the prayers and meditations.

this calendar was a gift from grandma. you can check it out here (though i think the version we had might not be available anymore). we will definitely be looking for this same type again next year!

and lastly, i love this nativity icon. i want to slowly build up our icon collection, trying to have one at least for each season. this is my favorite for christmastide.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

twelfth night and epiphany

we had a festive twelfth night celebration last tuesday with some friends. i made felt crowns for all the kids. not very ornate, but they worked just fine. i found the pattern in this book.

our friend josh led the kids (carrying kings and gifts) in a procession over to the creche in their house, as we all sang "we three kings." then he lit the frankincense, which was a very exciting event. here are jessa, noah and rosa checking out the scene.

i made an apple spice cake for the event, in which i was supposed to hide a bean. traditionally, whomever finds the bean in their piece is the king (or queen) for the evening. i thought it might be a little hard for three year olds to feel okay about only one person being crowned, so in my cake noah and i hid lots and lots of almonds (which i thought might taste better than a bean). everyone got one, and everyone was a king. how very inclusive, eh?

the next night was epiphany. i told the epiphany godly play story at church (to grown-ups), which was a nice experience. telling these stories has been such a great way for me to focus on entering into the mystery of christmas myself. it really works!

i rushed home after church and got the house ready for aaron and the kids. they arrived to a cozy scene: candles, christmas music, cake, tea, the full nativity set, and presents under the tree. it was a calm, happy night, and a really lovely way to say goodbye to the mystery of christmas.

here's noah in his crown with one of his epiphany gifts: tales of trotter street by shirley hughes. if i haven't already mentioned it, we LOVE this author!

Friday, January 08, 2010

planes (a movie)

in which isla demonstrates her love of airplanes and enthusiam for reading books.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

blessed epiphany

god of epiphanies,
we give you thanks for jesus,
who reveals your glory.
open our eyes to the surprises
that are your gifts to us each day.
in jesus' name we pray. amen.

Monday, January 04, 2010

new year, new special things

waldorf dolls made by grandma, one for each grandchild. isla's is on the left, and noah's is next to her. names are still being debated. aren't they so cute?

new doll gets ready for a ride in the new stroller. isla loves this little thing!

new handmade reversible jumper from sister-in-law jessica. apparently aaron has a hard time navigating the complexities of dressing little girls.

new painting to christen aaron's shop. i found the quote (from john calvin) and commissioned my friend christina to paint it. she did such a lovely job.

new teapot, new teacup (from irene) and new dining room table (for my birthday, from aaron). somehow having a round table makes such a difference! we all love sitting here for crafting, reading, eating, drinking tea, writing christmas cards...

new t-shirts from eugene and bellingham craft fairs.

new tiny tin of teabags (in not-new teacup from the wassells).

new custom-made puzzle from uncle colin and aunt nicole (with a picture of noah and aaron driving the excavator in the backyard). very cool!