Monday, April 30, 2012

{ what i wore : to our wedding!! }


this link up party comes at a very opportune time
our 3rd anniversary is coming up on wednesday
(so please excuse me as a gush all week)

today's link up is about what i wore.
favorite subject ever.


as i looked for a wedding dress i wanted something p l a i n 
when i tried dresses on, i kept asking if i could take off the shiny stuff.
they always said no.
but then i saw IT hanging there.
the least shiny dress of all.
with a set horizontal pleads every 7 inches or so.
it was mine. 

my friend is a talented seamstress / do-it-all
so i commissioned her to make me a bolero of some sort.
i did not want to wear a strapless dress. 
so she made the top of my dress and hand-sewed me into it the day of my wedding
(and then undid the stitches at the end of the night)

isn't she talented? it totally makes the dress. 
i was in love with it. still am actually.


my friend also made my jewelry
simple ivory colored hanging pearl beads
and one tiny pearl on my neck.


my something blue was a simple silver chain with a charm 
that my friend brought me from the shrine of our lady of lourdes.
i bought my shoes at DSW for ( w a i t  f o r  i t....)
$16
talk about a sale.
i walked to the counter thinking they were $60 and the additional discount came off.
jackpot!!
my talented friend, again, made the oversized roses 
from material that she hemmed from the bottom of my dress.

and then i changed into my trusted rainbow sandals
(tip to future brides- break in those beautiful shoes before you have to wear them)
(another tip- bring dancing shoes!)
  

okay and this is about me... but our ( enormous ) wedding party was also quite spiffy that day


the girls wore blush pink lace dresses
the boys wore gray suits with pink ties

hubs wore the same suit with a gray tie

oh and the kids. they were gorgeous too. 
six nieces & nephews 
two cousins

my mom made all of the little girls' dresses  
and the boys wore suits, ties, vests, etc. that their parents 
so amazingly found in our color scheme 


recently someone asked if we thought we were the royal couple with all those kids in our wedding
no. we just think they're too darn cute not to involve them.

oh man. looking back i wish i could relive that day over and over again.
it could not have been more beautiful to me. 
it was perfect. perfect for us.

head on over to absolute mommy to see what every one else wore to their wedding.

photography by joshua j. wood 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

{ sleep }


{ source }

I've been blessed with a child who values sleeps as much as I do.
He goes to bed at 8:30 and wakes 12 hours later.
He naps for about an hour or two every afternoon.

He's always been a great sleeper
and I thank God for that every day
but even more now 
because I am drrrrrrained on a regular basis.

I'm not trying to brag about his sleeping habits
I've always said that I think eventually I'll have one of those
sleep-all-day-awake-all-night / cry-all-the-time babies.
I'm okay with that
God will give me the grace to deal with that when the time comes.

These days I wake up at around 8am feeling lousy.
Feeling nauseated, feeling tired.
My back aches. 
I want to cry at the thought of leaving my bed comforter behind. 
I know that it is likely that I have a rough day ahead of me.

Yet when I look at the video monitor to find a peacefully sleeping child
I am so grateful that I have a few more minutes 
to say my prayers and muster the courage
to begin the day.

I'm grateful that he wakes up happy and he's always happy to walk in his room.
His groggy smile makes the nausea and backache disappear
if even for a brief moment.

This is a blessing for certain.
It may be temporary, maybe not, but I'll take it either way.

linking up with call me blessed

Friday, April 20, 2012

{ thankful thursday : a heartbeat }



i had my 12 week appointment today.
i had no real reason to worry 
but i was mentally preparing myself to not hear a heartbeat
in hindsight, i realize i need to reel in my thoughts 
and stop my brain from going crazy.

i laid on the weirdly tall doctor office bed and pulled my shirt up 
much to jacob's delight since he saw it as a cue to announce that there is a baby in there.

the midwife put that little doppler on my belly 
and it did its job...
it found a loudly beating heart!

i'm not one of those women who tears up at the sound of the baby's heart
and today wasn't any different.

still... i couldn't help but lay there and find myself in pure awe
that a little person (a person!) is in there.
measuring merely two inches 
but with a tiny tiny tiny beating heart 
and that amazes me.

simultaneously seeing my baby out here in the world 
running around and getting into trouble
and hearing a heartbeat coming from my insides
makes it all so real.
soon the tiny baby with a beating heart inside of me will be out here too.







ps: i know the print i posted doesn't really make sense
but i love the quote and i found it appropriate.

linking up here and here







a punk, a pumpkin and a peanut

Thursday, April 19, 2012

{ book review : the book of jonas }


It's another BlogHer Book Club book. I've seriously never read so much so often. 
I think I need to start pacing myself because I am a very slow reader.

This time I'm reviewing The Book of Jonas by Stephen Dau.

Dau tells the story of Jonas, a young Muslim who loses his entire family when he is 15. Jonas is sent to America and assimilates well to a host family and later college and a first love. He meets with a court-mandated therapist, Paul, whom he eventually tells about a soldier he met after a raid destroys his village, Christopher. Paul puts him in contact with a woman, Rose, who turns out to be Christopher's mother. 
After being told her son was lost without any more details, Rose searches for an answer 
and Jonas may just have some of them. When Jonas and Rose meet, the story truly unravels.

The Book of Jonas is about the victims of war that are not necessarily considered "casualties." 

This book is Dau's first novel but you would have no idea. His writing style is so well developed. 
Deep and engaging. I was amazed by his ability to tell a story like that of Jonas in such an intricate and detailed manner. You can really appreciate the craftsmanship of his writing in every page.

The chapters are all very short, a few pages at most. They change back and forth from telling brief stories of Jonas in his home country, Jonas in America, diary entries by Christopher, news articles, stories of Rose. 
I think this helps the reader to better understand just how deeply interlocked the victims of war are.

I found myself looking forward to Christopher's diary entries. 
They shed light on what goes through the mind of a solder... or what one would expect a soldier to think.

I felt that The Book of Jonas provided me with a brief glimpse 
at the perspective of those closely affected by war.

What I am very curious about is the research process that Mr. Dau went through to write this book. 
He writes so well from so many perspectives that he must have 
interviewed, traveled, and observed so much in order to make it happen. 

Perhaps some of these questions will be answered at the Blog Her Book Club discussion page. 
I'll be watching for sure.
  




Disclosure: This is a paid review from the BlogHer Publishing Network,
however all the opinions I share are my own.



Tuesday, April 17, 2012

{ my only child }


i forgot about the 12 week appointment i had scheduled with my midwife this morning.
you know... the one that every parent looks forward to. 
the first time they hear their child's heartbeat. 
talk about mom guilt.

i haven't been dwelling on it too much, though, 
because when i got the annoyed phone call from the receptionist saying 
"hi esther, you had an appointment today" 
i was sitting outside watching my boy crack up while turning lawn furniture upside down. 

to tell you the truth, while i am thoroughly enjoying being pregnant 
and looking forward to having a new baby in the fall, 
i've been spending most of my time concerned with my jake.

when i found out we were expecting, i was overjoyed.
but soon after, every time i looked at jacob, 
the realization that he wont be an only child any longer sunk in.
i felt a pit in my stomach every time i thought about it.

so i decided that i needed to make a serious effort to enjoy the months before the new baby
before the "just jake" era comes to an end.
it's a time that i will never get back.
that makes me sad and excited at the same time.



adding a baby to this family only feels right.
this baby is already wanted and loved more than it knows.


i know that jacob will l o v e having a sibling. 
they'll grow up together, get into trouble together, play together.
i'm so looking forward to watching all of it. 

but i just can't help but want to soak in every single moment that i have alone with jacob.
when i say s o a k it in... i can't even express the extent to which i mean that. 


i hold him so tight and too long when he gives me hugs. 
i kiss him too often. 
it's as if i'm trying to get it all in before he starts getting embarrassed of mom's  displays of affection.


sometimes i find myself staring at him. 
my mind speedily rewinds through the last 19 months of his life 
and i can't believe the amazing human being that he has already become.

we play cars. i build the car tracks several times a day.
we sit and play with chalk.
i let him dump all the crayons even if he colors for 2 seconds.


i used to turn on a tv show so i could get "me time" 
now cuddle up next to him. listen to his laughs and sounds he thinks are words.


lately, jake has picked up an affinity for books and wants me to read them all the time.
at night, he asks me to read the same three books over and over and over. 
phil says jake is taking advantage of me.
what i haven't told him is that i don't care.
yes- i'm exhausted. i want to lounge on the couch. i want to go to bed.
i want child free time more than anything.
but seeing the wonder in my son's eyes as i turn the pages
makes those extra 10 minutes worth it. 


the laundry goes undone, unfolded. dishes pile. dust collects. 
it drives me bonkers. and sometimes i do sit jake in front of the tv 
so i can surf the web or at least sweep the floor. 

but for the most part i'm just enjoying my only child. 
my first born.
the light of my world.

Monday, April 16, 2012

{ product review : petiteBox }


a few weeks ago i was contacted by petiteBox
they asked if they could send me one of their baby product boxes 
before agreeing i did some research 
mostly to see if it was for real before giving a stranger my home address. 
i'm very weary of this kind of thing. 

well. it was for real. and ends up they've been doing this whole box thing for a while. 
they started in europe with Glossy Box, a beauty box brand which is also launching in the US soon.
now they're in the us with petiteBox, a high-end mom and baby e-commerce subscription service.
to say the least, they have some experience curating product boxes.

basically, every month, petiteBox sends subscribing moms 
a box of 4-7 products that they highly recommend for mothers and babies.
the products change each month.

after finding all of this out, i said to myself, why not?



when i received the -very pretty- box in the mail i found several great products inside. 
some of which i would recommend to my friends.

1. two MAM pacifiers 
all of my friends know im a big supporter of introducing pacifiers and bottles to babies, 
even if they are going to be exclusively breastfed. 
moms and their boobs need breaks.

2. an angel dear monkey blankie
they also know that i love that my kid has a blankie 
that provides comfort when he sleeps, wakes, plays, etc. 

3.hpa lansinoh oil
lansinoh oil was my best friend during week 3 of jake's life, 
when nursing him was like being whipped for the duration of the feeding session. 

4. basq calm resilient body oil

5. basq stretch mark butter
stretch marks are evil. 

6. lotus wei infinite love mist

7. earth friendly hypoallergenic shampoo/bodywash
jake has the most sensitive skin so hypoallergenic body products are all that exist in our home. 

i liked the mix of products... some for mom and some for baby.
as an expectant mother i was definitely happy to see something in there for me 
so i quickly jumped on starting to use the body oil
the pacifiers and blankie made me so excited for a new baby
and with jake's super duper sensitive skin i was happy to have some soap i can use for him.

definitely something in there for everyone.

i think the "target audience" for petiteBox is first time moms 
who are looking for new, up-and-coming, perhaps even trendy brands.
the first time around it's hard to find the things that work for you and your baby 
especially if you don't have a support system around you to make suggestions
or if you find that your support system is recommending the most outdated of things
i think petiteBox will find its place among women that can relate to that. 

visit their site to find out more about them including how it works.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

{ thankful thursday : weird friends }


{ via }


I’m 24-years-old. I’ve been married for almost three years. 
I have an 18-month-old. I’m pregnant with my second.

We believe in God. 
We go to church every Sunday, sometimes more often. 
We (try to) take prayer time during the day. 
We pray before every meal and before bed.
We pray before meals at restaurants. (gasp!)

Around here, these things and more make us a little bit  a lotta bit different than people in our area.

I know we’re unusual. I know our lifestyle of choice is perceived as antiquated.
The fact that we willingly choose to live this way is just weird.

Yet earlier this week I realized how “not-weird” 
I feel because there are tons of "weird" lovely people around us.

On Tuesday morning I found myself in a room with six other women.
Our children, a combined sum of 15 all under the age of seven,
played outside while two of the older kids kept an eye on them.

I hadn’t seen the group since our baby #2 announcement so
they asked about how I’m feeling and how Phil & Jake are doing.
What our plans are for when the baby comes…

I talked and they listened. Because they know what it’s like.
They know what it’s like to be young and married and pregnant
and get funny looks wherever you go, even from family.

I know they know what it’s like to feel “different.”

As I was talking to them my mind wandered into thoughts
of how lucky we are to have people around us
who support and share our lifestyle.

I got a surge of gratefulness for the fact that 
I don’t have to feel so peculiar when I’m with them. 
I’m happy to feel normal. Regular. Average.

I think it would be so difficult to live the way we choose to live if we had to do it alone. 
That’s why I’m glad we don’t have to.




a punk, a pumpkin and a peanut

linking up with a punk a pumpkin and a peanut



Tuesday, April 10, 2012

{ easter 2012 }

wahoo it's the easter season!
by far my favorite moment of easter mass is once again singing alleluia.
i miss it during lent.

we spent our easter at my in law's with many lovely people, cousins, and food.
i was so glad that my own family was invited and joined us for dinner and dessert.

nothing better for a little boy than to see ALL of his aunts and uncles in one place.
nothing better for a little boy's parents than to not have to split time during a holiday.

of course this mama did not remember to get easter outfit pictures OR a family easter picture.
the memories are in our brain as phil says.

but i did get a few shots of the kids being funny and cute 
and having tons of fun with each other.
so ill just share those instead.





Sunday, April 8, 2012

{ happy easter! }


i just couldn't help it.

 | H A P P Y  E A S T E R ! |

ps: found the image via pinterest but the source link was broken so i have no idea where it came from.
if you made it, email me so i can give you credit! 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

{ ceaseless hope of Easter }


holy week and easter always have bittersweet meaning to me. 
a few years back, on holy thursday, 
i found myself in a church full of people
and, because i was going through a very difficult time, 
i praying for some good news to arrive on good friday and 
hanging on to every word of that evening's mass.

i was inhaling every sentence. 
wishing, hoping, praying for a sign from my God that i needn't worry. 
that everything would be ok.

we stood for the gospel. and i listened.
surely the Lord would grant me some peace for my heart.

that's when the priest read from the Gospel of John
and God incredibly clearly spoke to me
to this day i am in disbelief at how clearly I can hear His voice when I listen.

“What I do you do not realize now, 
but you will understand hereafter.” 
John 13:7

in that moment, i was silently devastated. tears flooded my eyes.
i knew for certain that the outcome I was hoping for would not come to be. 

and like Jesus, i knew i would have to accept God's will.
with hope and certainty that His plan is perfect beyond my understanding.

i would look forward to Easter Sunday for hope 
that there is a reason for my pain and suffering
that something good would come from it

i have to admit that sometimes 
i still don't feel like the Easter after this personal "event" has come to pass
it certainly didn't come on the third day.
i wonder if i've missed it altogether.
but I pray that i haven't. 
then God gives me peace in knowing that He's not done with this yet. 
(have patience, He reminds me)
God's timing is not my timing.

when you go through something so abruptly life changing, 
i think it's hard to see the good that comes from it.

i feel as though i'm still living my holy saturday.
what has come to pass has passed
but will be is yet to be.

the one thing i know for sure is that it will be.

i apologize for being so vague. 
the details of this time in my life are extremely personal
and continue to be a wound in my heart
i doubt that i will ever be able to share the entire story with the world
but please trust me that my hardship was raw and real by any measure.

i share this with you not to create an aura of mystery around me
i share it in hopes of giving someone hope in time of adversity

there is a light. there is hope. 
even if we don't understand why things are the way they are
there is Someone who understands and who has a perfect plan.
our prayers should perhaps be, not to understand, 
but to blindly trust that His plan is perfect. 

Friday, April 6, 2012

{ lovely things } week of 4/2


i'm sure i've mentioned it before but i'll tell you again just in case
i am a freelance writer. i cover stories for two towns in south jersey.
the two publications print on monthly basis so, 
in addition to always working from home on my own schedule, 
i also only have to meet one deadline. 
it's a good gig for a stay-at-home mom and allows from supplemental income that can't hurt.

it gets a tad difficult with an 18-month-old with never-ending energy 
so i find myself working at night a lot. and lately i don't even have energy for that.
and with my lack of energy comes writer's block. 
serious cases of it.
so it takes for e ver to get my work done.
i just wanna sleep... is that so wrong?

the reason for this long story i'm telling you is because i want to boast 
that i've finished my assignments for the month of april. i am thrilled. 
just two more edits to do and i will be able to bid them goodbye with a click of the word "send"

i also wanted to explain why i've been lacking in the posting department.
which i hope it's something that i've just accomplished. 

so, without further ado, i will share with you some memorable links from the week
(because when i was battling writers block i thought perusing the internet would help. it didn't.)

a. i'm a big fan of baby slings. i feel so primitive and efficient when i have a baby hanging on my side while i get dishes washed with two hands. i know people make slings all the time
 but i am so impressed with the sling julianna from the letter 4 literally put together in minutes. 
she makes it seem so easy. 

b.this sunflower cake is so darn cute and easy to make. 
gotta keep it in the mental files (read: pinterest) for future use! 

c.it's not too early to look for a new diaper bag (a real one, not like the large, pretty bag from anthropologie that i used as a diaper bag last time. this time a i need a real, carry-all-my-crap-while-looking-cute kinda diaper bag) so basically i'll take any one of them from this etsy shop.

d.ilene from much love illy reminded me of my love for regina spektor this week. so i was happy to see that a new cd is coming out in may. get ready, husband, 
this dj is going to hit the replay button over and over for a few months.

e.there are a total of 4 belly pictures of my pregnancy with jake. sad but true. 
so this time i'm committed to documenting the process. 
perhaps with something like a cute tshirt to grow into and a video
(i'm not above being a copy-cat, sisters)

f.we need this helping tower in our home but, 
due to phil's and my combined very limited carpentry skills and lack of focus, 
i think a stool will do.


Thursday, April 5, 2012

{ book review : born wicked }



I have to start with a confession: I totally judge a book by its cover. The prettier, the better.

So, a few weeks ago, when I opened a package from the BlogHer Book Club, 
I was thrilled to see one of the prettiest books I have ever seen. Born Wicked.

I know I’m supposed to review the actual book content but humor me for a minute.

The girl on the front had a bit of a “come hither” look but, if you look beyond that, you’ll see one of the most beautiful covers… ever. The photograph is flawless—the flowers in the girl’s hair, her hair color, the grass— and furthermore the graphic design is even better –the title’s font, and, 
my favorite, the contrasting combination of the dark green book jacket against the almost-fuchsia pink on the book flap.

The design work throughout the book is impeccable. Each chapter starts with a beautifully framed page and the font used for the page numbers is intricate and appealing.

It was a very pretty book to read.

Okay. I’m done. Let me tell you about the story itself.

Born Wicked is part of a book series and I’m certainly hoping to follow it.

The story tells of Cate, a young, reluctant witch in the 1800’s, who is left with the responsibility of looking after her two younger sisters’ safety when their mother dies.


Cate, Maura, and Tess, the sisters, are all witches during a dangerous time when they can be jailed, murdered, or enslaved should the Brotherhood, a religious group of men who run the New England town, find out about their powers.

Because of their fear of witches and feminine revolution they ensued years before, the Brotherhood is intent on diminishing anything feminine. They suspect all women in their community of being witches, preach about the evils of witchery, and encourage girls to remain quiet, submissive to their husbands, and uneducated.  They are forced to marry when they are 17 to someone of their choosing, face an arranged marriage with any man who might be a widower at the time, or elect to join the Sisterhood. 

I have to admit, reading a book about witches and magic wouldn’t have been my first choice regardless of how pretty the cover might be. 
Fantasy books are a total turn-off for this reader who prefers a more realistic novel.  

Yet Jessica Spotswood, the author, manages to write about magic without making it seem ludicrous. She weaves it into the story making it seem entirely ordinary that women were able to do magic in their time. Ordinary but secretive, of course.

Spotswood also sticks to the language, customs, and traditions of the time period incredibly well making almost effortless to relate to the story.

In the end, I was surprised to enjoy the book so much. Perhaps it was because of the romance, the suspense, or the surprises… or everything combined. What I think I realized in the end is that Born Wicked isn’t actually about magic, it’s about a girl trying to find herself and her place in the world while trapped in a place where she’s not allowed to have a place at all. 

You can read more about Born Wicked and join the discussion on the BlogHer Book Club page







Disclosure: This is a paid review from the BlogHer Publishing Network,
however all the opinions I share are my own.

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