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Ruby’s Story

Miss Ruby Lynn,

You are the sweetest baby and after only 5 days your family is already head-over-heels in love with you. Before too many more days go by and the vividness of your birth is fogged up by sleepless nights I want to share with you just how special your story really is.

Your story didn’t start 9 months ago, at least not really. We had been waiting for you to join our family for much longer than that, three years to be exact. Mommy and Daddy knew we wanted a sibling for your brother but after four of our babies had to go meet Jesus we just weren’t sure how that was going to happen. The only thing we were confident of was that God had a plan for our family and it was going to be even better than we could imagine. So here we were…waiting…

It was the beginning of December and we were starting to wonder whether God wanted us to start thinking about a different way for our family to grow. Maybe one that didn’t involved a baby in Mommy’s tummy. I decided (silly of me to think I could make this decision) that we would start looking at adoption in January because I was tired of waiting. Again, God decided that we really didn’t know best because guess what? You were already growing in my tummy. When Mommy found out I just went to Daddy and cried and cried. Why the tears? I was scared and confused and hopeful and thankful, lots of different emotions! We held our breaths for those first twelve weeks as we watched you grow on the ultrasound machine…your little heart flickering so strongly on the screen. I held my breath a lot longer than that but God was teaching me something through this as well…to trust in him because he knew what he was doing. 

After those first twelve weeks we became more confident that you would keep growing in Mommy’s tummy so we started seeing our wonderful midwife, Kate. She knew just how special you were because she had helped us when some of our other babies had to go to heaven and she rejoiced with us that you were so healthy and strong! I was so excited for every visit with Kate because it meant that I could hear your heart beating in my tummy and talk about all the ways that we were going to get our lives ready for your arrival. I could also share with Kate things I was nervous about because, well, I really really wanted to meet you and I sometimes couldn’t believe that I was actually going to!

We were getting nearer and nearer to your birthday and Mommy was starting to get a little impatient and uncomfortable. Your brother and I did our best to stay busy during the summer months but I was certain that your due date couldn’t come fast enough. We went to parks, played with friends, had special outings. all in hopes that my mind would stay off your impending arrival and some sort of patience would wash over me. You can ask your Daddy and big brother some day…I wasn’t very fun to be around those last couple weeks!

Well of course the day of your arrival did eventually come. And of course it was the day that I least expected because that is how life works. There had been a few nights during the week where I thought for sure you were trying to break free by punching your way out (at least that’s what it felt like!). But every morning I would wake up and you had calmed down, content to stay in my tummy for another day. And so I would find ways to keep myself busy for yet another day. Then Saturday came. I told Daddy that we simply had to go do something because I was going crazy so we decided to go the the farmer’s market to do some shopping and spend the morning together as a family. It was the perfect morning, we bought lots of yummy fruits and vegetables and then spent lunchtime at a park so your brother and Daddy could run around and play. I spent most of my time sitting on a bench and watching.

After our busy morning we were all ready for a nap so that’s exactly what we did. I woke up feeling refreshed but also really uncomfortable, you were so low in my tummy! I got to work making supper and we invited Nana to eat with us because Papa was at a dinner meeting. After enjoying some yummy stew for supper I started feeling a contraction every once in awhile. I would have to stop for a minute and breathe through them but then I could go back to cleaning up the kitchen and tidying up a bit. We said good-bye to Nana and your Daddy and brother went downstairs to watch the Vikings game. 

Around 7:30 I started wondering if maybe you were going to be joining our family sometime soon because contractions were happening even quicker. I had Daddy start timing them and they were about ten minutes apart…probably a good time to call midwife Kate to let her know what was happening. I called Kate, Nana, and our friend Jenny because she was going to help Mommy and Daddy out while you were being born. It was probably 8:30 by the time I let everyone know what was happening and even though my tummy was getting nice and tight with each contraction I still managed help get your brother ready for bed. We were in the middle of reading a book (Berenstain Bears, I think) and all of a sudden I knew everyone needed to come to our house soon! I was planning on calling everyone around 9:30 to let them know how I was doing but at 8:45 I knew they needed to start arriving sooner than that. 


Daddy was already busy getting the birth tub ready when Nana arrived to help out with your big brother. This way Mommy could concentrate on helping you arrive into the world…something that was going to happen really soon! Midwife Kate, her assistant Kelly, and Jenny all came to our house within the next hour. They were so wonderful because they all came in knowing exactly what they needed to do so that Daddy could just concentrate on helping Mommy stay relaxed and calm with each contraction. 


The tub was filled and ready so Kate asked if I would like to get in. I was so uncomfortable at this point and I gladly said yes. The water felt wonderful and I was getting nice back massages from Jenny and hugs from Daddy with every contraction. Your Daddy was so helpful, giving me lots of encouragement. I sure needed it because this was a lot of work! All of a sudden I knew I needed to push because you were coming! Pop!, my water broke and guess what? Six minutes later you were born! Whoa, talk about a fast entrance into the world. The umbilical cord was wrapped around your neck and your leg so once Kate got you all untangled I pulled you up and held you close. And then I cried and cried (or maybe sobbed and sobbed). You were here! After three long years I was holding my dear, sweet Ruby Lynn. stephanie2

Just a little side note though. I didn’t actually know you were Ruby Lynn quite yet. We had promised your big brother that he could see if you were going to be a boy our a girl so I waited to see if he wanted to let us know. He was sitting in his room with Nana because Mommy had been making such loud noises and he didn’t want to be anywhere near that. Once you were born she carried him out but he was still too unsure of everything so he went back into his room.



That’s when I decided I would take a peek and was so thrilled to see that you were a girl. I couldn’t believe it. Our family had a little girl! God knew exactly what he was doing when he put you in Mommy’s tummy. We felt his grace pour over us that night, it was an overwhelming feeling. You are our precious gem, Miss Ruby, and we thank God every day that you are with us.    scale   

My Little Superhero

I was already excited for Christmas but finishing one of Dieter’s gifts brought my excitement to a whole new level. I don’t think I need to talk about the need for every three-year-old to have a superhero cape. It’s part of their wiring to want to save the world, fight the bad guys and save their mommy. My little guy will be well-equipped to carry out all his superhero duties.



Here are the links to the patterns for everything:
mask, and the template

Chilly Mornings

Usually breakfasts are fairly boring and monotonous at our house. Today I switched it up a bit.

Nearly every morning I have a blender breakfast. Smoothies are Jeremiah and my weekday breakfasts because I can make them the night before and they are a great way to start the day out with a good dose of fruits and vegetables. But there are so many things you can use a blender for so I went through the cookbook that came with my blender and picked a couple things out for breakfast this morning (that wasn’t a smoothie). I made some juice by blending two parts grapes to one part strawberries. I also made a five-grain hot cereal and cooked some of that this morning. So good and just what we needed on a chilly morning.

5-Grain Cereal
-1 cup oat groats
-1/2 cup millet
-1/2 cup whole flaxseed
-1/2 cup brown rice
-1/2 cup cornmeal

Add ingredients in order listed and blend for 10-12 seconds on speed 4 (if you have a Blendtec).

To prepare add one cup water for every 1/3 cup serving. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a summer until the cereal is thickened. Sweeten with honey and add milk if you want.

I like that this cereal is more nutrient rich than plain old oatmeal and it’s gluten-free!


Heart Patches

Because sometimes you just need to spruce up your pants with some hearts. And also to cover the holes in your favorite jeans that were caused by too much crawling on the ground with your three-year-old.



What I used:
Steam-a-Seam to attach patch to pants
Red denim
Embroidery thread

Why I know I’m a mom…

1. I’m no longer grossed out by the food scraps at the bottom of the sink.

2. I can eat a snack I don’t want to share better than a CIA agent keeping a secret.

3. After touching poop, pee, puke and other nasties I do actually believe what my mom always said: “hands are washable.”

4. Multi-tasking has become a necessary art form. Just try and ask your husband to change a diaper while on the phone or keep a toddler entertained while making dinner (without turning on the TV).

5. Thomas is blue and so is Gordon. Percy and Henry are green. James is red…

6. Dressing up means wearing a white shirt.

7. Going to the bathroom with the door closed is a special treat.

8. I put my hands in my coat and find: a paci, a red, hot wheels car, a pair of mittens and a fruit strip wrapper.

9. My rear view mirror is often angled towards the car seat, not the rear window. I know this would irritate many a drivers ed teacher.

10. My kisses now have healing powers.

11. I actually listen to the song lyrics on the radio and have become overprotective when it comes to what my child hears.

12. I’ve researched every sleep training method…at three in the morning.

13. I would consider planning a vacation to Disney World before I’d consider planning one to Paris (albeit a bit begrudgingly).

14. There is no longer such thing as an impromptu date night with the hubs, unless of course it’s a Red Box movie and ice cream.

15. My heart no longer resides in my body but rather belongs to the most amazing two-year-old boy.


How do you know that you’re a mom?

Basil Lemonade

In keeping with the theme of posting recipes that use ingredients out of my garden (the cilantro in that fruit salad was homegrown) I am making basil lemonade to help use up the large amount of basil that has sprung up.  I love that you can use basil in both sweet and savory ways.  I am also grilling some pizzas this afternoon that will have a handful of fresh basil on them.  Yummy!

Basil Lemonade

adapted from Giada’s Italian Lemonade


  • 2 cups lemon juice
  • 1 bunch basil leaves
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 cups water, divided
  • Ice

What you do:

Place basil leaves, sugar and 1 cup water in a saucepan over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.  Remove basil leaves.  In a pitcher combine simple syrup (the sugar water you just heated up), lemon juice, and 2 cups cold water.  Serve over ice.

Enjoy!  Preferably while sitting in your favorite lawn chair with a good book.


Organized Scarves…FINALLY!

Ugh, I am in such a rut.  I feel like February has sucked all the creativity and blog ideas out of me.  Hopefully March will be better.  Until then here’s an idea I had for all of my scarves (I loooove scarves).  Until this point they’ve just been hanging out in a basket with  the hats and mittens and it drove me crazy.  My mom used to work at a natural foods store and somehow got a hold of  two pretty cool boxes.  One of them displayed fruit strips.  She didn’t need them anymore so I snagged them and they hung out in the basement until I had this idea:

Do you see the border?  The previous owner of our house was OBSESSED with borders!

Mixed Results

Jeremiah’s birthday cake was really yummy.  It was also really ugly.

Ugly is right.

I got a little panicky as I tried taking it out of the bundt pan and it started crumbling.  I should have taken a picture of how I salvaged it but I forgot to amidst all the Christmas and birthday celebrating we were doing.  Before I brought it over to my grandparents house I cut the cake into slices and then right before serving drizzled the delicious frosting on top.  It was so yummy! And even though it was a really tedious cake I would definitely make it again for a special occasion.


Ahh Christmas.  I love everything about it and for some reason this year is starting out better than ever.  I think it’s because I’ve decided to keep it as simple as possible, starting with the decorations.  I didn’t buy any new decorations for this year and instead am using what I have and making some new things.  We also decided to go simple with gifts which takes so much of the stress and pressure off.  We’re making an effort to enjoy time together as a family and make the most with what we have.

Here is a recipe for some homemade salt-dough ornaments that are hanging on my tree courtesy of I’m Dreaming of a Green Christmas.

  • Combine 2 cups all-purpose flour and 1 cup sugar.
  • Add 1 cup water and mix until no traces of flour remain.
  • Knead well (8-10 minutes).
  • On a floured surface roll dough out to about a 1/4 inch thickness.
  • Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Use a toothpick to prick holes in the ornaments to thread with string or yarn after they are done baking.
  • Bake at 250 degrees for 2 hours.
  • Once the ornaments are completely cooled thread the yarn through and tie a knot.
  • I painted some of them with acrylic paints but you could leave them plain.


Laundry Detergent

I really had no interest in making my own laundry detergent but I just bought some new cloth diapers and didn’t realize until now that it really matters what you wash them with. Using the right type and amount of detergent with cloth diapers helps them stay absorbent and extends their life. I knew I could make a special detergent cheaper than buying it so I hopped online and started searching for the perfect recipe. Another blogger had done even more research than me and I decided to give her recipe a try. I just made the diaper detergent but bought the extra ingredients to use for our regular laundry so I’ll be making it very soon and hoping for great results. Until then, let’s hope that Dieter’s diapers come out fresh, clean, and hold back the Niagra Falls that seems to always want to escape his britches.

I found the borax at Target but they didn’t have it on the floor just in the stock room so hopefully it will be easy to find in the next few weeks when they start stocking it.  I bought the Arm & Hammer Washing Soda, Fels-Naptha Soap and Oxyclean at Walmart.  I actually bought the Walmart brand of Oxyclean.  They also have borax there too so you could really get all of the ingredients there I just prefer Target so much more that I started there.

The real question is…how the heck am I going to manage TWO kids in cloth diapers?