Thursday, October 29, 2009

Dear God,

Dear God,

I marvel at your creation.

 Your masterpieces are amazing.

 But I must say, that after close inspection of these three wonders,

....I'm unable to find where it is that you signed your work.

Here's to finding God in tiny little friendships.

Monday, October 26, 2009


My little Sweet Potato is a lot of things: adorable, smart, sneaky, precocious, sweet, loving, verbal, funny, adorable, curious, strong-willed, loud, busy, did I mention adorable? She's all those things and much more. But one word that I would not typically use to characterize her is cuddly. She's always been way too busy and nosy to have time to be cuddly.
There were several times I got a little concerned about it. Was I bonding well enough with her? Does she love me? Am I doing something wrong? Will there be a wedge between us when she gets older? Geez, the ways we torture ourselves.
Anyway, I did what any good neurotic mother would do --- I googled it. Apparently, a "not-so affectionate 15 month old" isn't so unusual - especially with baby girls. Don't get me wrong - she'll kiss the stuffing out of you and she's very loving and even affectionate - just not cuddly. That is until this week.
What a delight (and surprise) to have her run to me throughout the day for hugs and cuddles and kisses and head on my shoulders and burying her head in my chest. When I'm standing in the kitchen, she'll wrap her little arms around one of my legs and sway back and forth and pat me. For someone who refused to say Momma for so long, and held out on all the squishy demonstrative behavior, she sure has turned a corner. And I'm savoring every minute of it.
I will say that in the months of wondering and longing and missing - I had a strong sense that God was whispering to me, "Unconditional love, Maria, do you know what that means?" Convicted, once again. If she never ever returned my love and affection, I am still called to love her with everything in my heart, not wishing she would be different - but loving her right where she is. I was reminded just how much I was like Gianna in my own relationship with God - and how much He just keeps loving me, constantly and faithfully and completely. I finally embraced that precious truth and the floodgates seemed to open. Another lesson in God's fidelity and graciousness. My heart is full. My lesson is learned. Now, to remember it every day - every hug - every cuddle.....even when I'm busy. Thank you, Lord, for my sweet Cuddle-Bear.
And speaking of bears,
This precious bear was given to me by my friend, Michelle, who also gave me that awesome dollhouse. How sweet is the antique dress and shoes?
And she also gave us this fantastic doll bed - again: hand-made by her mother.
Hand-painted, too!
And yes, a hand-made and hand-painted wooden doll with a hand-made dress. I mean, really, could she be any more creative?

How lucky for us that we get to play with all these wonderful toys - made with such love! Thank you Michelle, Jessie & Ms. JoAnn.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Doggon' it. Iain was working late (again!) and I had spent another long day alone with the energizer bunny who seems to be missing her "off" switch. After changing her diaper I opted for not putting another one on since we were on our way for her bath. Her little naked self toddled behind me down the hall and I began to draw her bath. Well, I suppose I should have replaced her diaper, because she peed on the wood floor and then slipped and fell, smashing her little mouth on the floor. I felt terrible. Blood, screaming - horrible! I didn't even want to look inside her mouth - not that she would let me. After a good solid sixty seconds of drama....she was done. I was a mess - but she was fine....just a swolen little lip.With her chubby little face - it was actually pretty hard to notice.
(Oh - and the bite over her eye gave us a little scare earlier in the week. We didn't really know what it was. It swole so badly that her little eye was beginning to shut. Thank heavens her Uncle Robert is a pediatrician and could tell us what to do over the phone.)
The next morning she woke up as good as new.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Lewis Land is ONE!

A year ago today, I began blogging. I had already been pretty diligent about uploading pictures to Fotki and Shutterfly even before Gianna was born, but I liked the idea of documenting this special time in our lives with photos and journaling.

All of my husband's family (and some of mine) lives far away and I figured this would be a great way to update them on our growing little family. And even for local friends and family, I thought it was a good way to let people know what was happening without having to stuff everyone's inbox with unsolicited photos and stories of our child.

What I didn't expect was that family and friends were always asking me, "So, what's Gianna doing now? We want to see pictures and videos."

"Umm.....have you checked the blog lately?" would be my reply.

"Oh, I don't have time for all that." or "No, I keep forgetting." or "Can't you just email them to me or put them on a disc?"

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Well, once my frustration turned into irritation - I had to make a conscious decision to 1) get over myself, 2) let it go, and 3) change my expectations of blogging.

I realized that I am blogging for myself. Pure and simple. I would do it if no one else read it. I like writing and I like taking pictures and I'm pretty fond of my little girl. I am the storyteller of the family. I know how busy life gets and I know that we don't always remember the things we want to matter how hard we try. I worked as a director for an Alzheimer Unit in an Assisted Living Facility for a year before we got married. Sometimes remembering is not in our control. If I ever can't recount the stories of our little family - I still want them to be told.

Blogging has caused me to slow down a little and look at life more intently. It has caused me to see the extraordinary in the midst of the seemingly ordinary. My baby dumping out all my buttons and laughing hysterically is small, but I don't want to forget it. I don't want to forget the sound of her belly laugh while throwing buttons everywhere. The small moments are as priceless and important as the grand ones.

As puzzled as I've been with friends and family who haven't kept up with my blog, I have been as equally as amazed by the acquaintances and strangers who have. I've had people come up to me and introduce themselves to me - telling me how they know our story and love our pictures and blog. That just blows me away. And last week, I was blog-hopping and peeking into a blog of someone in the Northwest and almost fell out of my chair when I saw my own blog in their blogroll. A perfect stranger. (A teeny-tiny bit on the creepy side - but overall, pretty amazing.)

And yes, I've struggled with balance and blogging. You may remember this little cartoon I posted quite a while ago. Every now and then I have to keep myself in check and remind myself that blogging is here to serve me -- I am not here to serve IT.

I know many things I post will be of no interest to anyone else. I know that I take WAY more pictures than necessary. I know that every now and then I lose my focus and purpose in blogging. I know that occasionally I try a little too hard to word things in such a way as to not step on anyone else's toes. But, I have to keep reminding myself that this is for me and my little family of three. I have to remind myself that looking at other people's blog is not the whole of their reality just as it isn't the whole of mine. I have to remind myself that if I compare my blogs to others' or worse, myself to others - I am completely cheating myself. It's easy to be overwhelmed by what other's are doing and accomplishing and creating. It's awesome to inspired --- just not fall into the lure of envy. I have to be the woman, the wife and the mother that God is calling ME to be....not the one that is portrayed in someone else's blog.

Once again, I've climbed up on a soap box. Didn't quite plan that one.....but hey, it's my blog, right? :)I'd like to wish Lewis Land, the Blog, a very happy first birthday. :)

In honor of my blogaversary, I thought I'd include a few little t-shirt ideas I happened across.

I'm so tempted to make this next one for Gianna.

For all those people - friends and strangers - who stop by occasionally - thank you. For those people who take time to comment on posts or jot me an email - I truly appreciate that. Some days/weeks I feel like I'm the only one who reads my blog (which is totally okay) - and then a sweet little comment appears that gives me the little boost I need to keep it up. Much obliged!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

This Old House

My good friend Michelle just moved from her house and upon cleaning out her attic, found several childhood treasures from her daughter's youth that she's loaning to Gianna. Most of the things were made by Michelle's mother - by hand.
This dollhouse is a fantastic creation. Everything is hand made - even the furniture. Amazing.
A little someone stood in awe at first sight of this borrowed treasure.And there are even a little family of plastic people that fit just perfectly.
I believe there are many hours of pretend play that lie ahead of us.
We are so very grateful for This Old House.

For other treasures from these dear friends, CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Well, it seems our baby girl has been on more dates in fifteen months than I've had in my entire life. For some reason - our lives have been generously seasoned by multitudes of precious little boys....which if fine by us.

First there was 9 month old Benjamin. He and his mom, Sarah came to play. Like Gianna, Benjamin loves balls - so I pulled out the trusty ol' ball pit.

Can you just suck the pudding out of those cheeks?

I think Benjamin was so excited/overwhelmed by all the balls - that he went into hoarding mode. It was so cute.

Benjamin, Sarah & Gianna
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
And then there was John Paul. John Paul is six weeks younger than Gianna and came over today with his mom, Kate. It seems as though these two munchkins are cut from the same cloth. Maybe it's the age.

It seems the ball pit has the power to unite little ones. They didn't stay in too long since we quickly became aware of their plot to empty the pen two balls at a time. (They're both really good pitchers.)

After lunch, the two watched a little video. Is that the cutest thing? Check out the sweet little hand-holding.

We're so glad John Paul feels comfortable with us.

I have to say that it has been pure joy re-connecting with my sweet friends that I came to know during my youth ministry days. (Yes, I was the youth minister. They were the youth. Feel free to do the math.)

As a "late-bloomer" in the marriage and baby world, I often would lament the fact that most of my friends that I grew up with were chapters ahead of me, married for years and parenting school-age and teenage children.
God has been so gracious in surrounding me with so many precious young moms alongside whom I have the privelege of raising my own family with. Watching them become women, wives and moms and friends has been such blessing to me. Sharing their journeys as a companion -- pure gift.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

State Park - Part III

After visiting the deer, and feeding the ducks, we walked back over the bridge....

...peered over to see what we could see,
and then we got a great idea.....
We would just walk a little ways farther,
and visit the playground just alongside the river. What a great way to squeeze out the last bit of energy before the day's end. Great idea, in theory. (Aren't they all?)

Yeah, well, guess who was no more interested in the playground equipment than the man in the moon? The big draw, instead, was............ WET SAND. Any guesses why she's wearing that smirk as her Daddy's brushing her off?

Apparently, she was planning her next dive. Monkey.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Backyard Blessing

A couple of days ago I posted about the beautiful deer we spotted at the State Park right up the road from us. We are so blessed to have such a unique place of beauty right in our "backyard." I'm hoping this beautiful weather will have us taking advantage of this gem of a park a bit more often.

These cypress trees below are actually standing in water - but occasionally the water is covered in a mossy-type growth. It's pretty amazing.

I think Spanish moss was a wonderful creation. Way to go, God.

There are several families of ducks we usually meet. This was the only one we saw that night. Don't they have a turkey look about them?
And here is the very excited feeder of the ducks. They were happy for the bread. I'm not sure what they thought of their meal when they discovered it was double fiber wheat bread.
There are beautiful white egrets all over this area.
I love to see them in flight.
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