Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Family Photos

We finally got around to updating our family photos {our last ones were taken when Violet was just a wee two-week-old babe} and they are so amazing! Can I just say that I am so glad photography has evolved out of the Olin Mills studio??? Come on, you know what I'm talking about! The super posed and artificially happy family photos that our parents have still hanging on their forgotten walls. Or those weird floating heads that make you wonder what they ever found cute about their son's head floating on either side of his body. They are so super creepy! Anyway, we are so beyond blessed to have met our favorite photographer {and now sweet friend} Ken Bruggeman when we were just beginning our family. To have these treasures of the moments and people most dear to me are just so amazing. And I love his perspective because there are no creepy floating heads, and nothing is ever really posed. He simply gives us a little direction and shoots life as it happens. And it is precious!

Even when the kids don't cooperate, Ken somehow manages to capture the sweetest pictures of my gang. Trust me, there was no shortage of bribes including gum, animal cookies, mints, etc., but that's real life. And those are the moments I want to remember! 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Violet's 1st Birthday Party

For the past year, we've been trying to decide on the best way to celebrate our baby girl. Having burst into our lives on Christmas Eve, Violet gave us quite a challenge. We always want to be intentional about celebrating her and not letting her blur into the chaos of Christmas celebrations, for now, my hubby and I decided that we would celebrate Violet by hosting a Christmas Eve brunch party. We decided to have it at our house, so we set it up more like an open house in order to accommodate a bunch of people {because our house is reeeeeeally tiny!!}. I didn't really have a theme in mind, but stuck with a few concepts instead. White. Gold. Feathers. Our house is hit or miss on lighting so my photos aren't amazing, but here are some photos of our celebration. 

Her yarn tutu kept shedding so I'll have to figured out a way to stop that. It was also a bit full and heavy {although still pretty!} so I'm thinking a lot less yarn/less full next time. I like the concept but need to tweak it to make it perfect.

I made this dream catcher to go with our party but also to decorate the teepee we made the kids for Christmas.

I am so thankful for friends and family who stopped by to help us celebrate the little girl who stole our hearts one year ago. She is a light and a joy. Happy and content. Her smile lights up a room and her eyes twinkle so brilliantly. Happy birthday, Violet Laine! 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

My Baby's Turning One

photo credit//Ken Bruggeman
In one week my baby will be ONE. One. Year. Old. Can you imagine?? Where has this year gone?? I'm sort of in denial and also excited about her celebration. It's the strangest thing how it feels like it sneaked up on me as I was planning it the entire time. But it's here. It's inevitable. And I couldn't be more in love with my sweet baby girl.

photo credit//Ken Bruggeman
I'm finally getting around to making a book of the beautiful images we have from Violet's birth. At the suggestion of a photog friend, I'm using Blurb to make a hardbound book for us. But I'm also planning on making a paperback book using Artifact Uprising to give to the wonderful nurses at the hospital and also to my midwife. Artifact Uprising has a sweet {and free} mobile app that allows you to make amazing books from your phone. I really can't wait to try it out. I thought it would be nice to let my nurses and midwife see the images that were taken that day and also to see the beautiful little one-year-old girl that Violet has become. My doctors' walls are plastered with images of infants, but rarely do you see the older kids they become. So ever since I first looked at the images from Violet's birth, I knew this was what I wanted to do.

It has been so emotional and wonderful reminiscing on the magical day that Violet was born. I loved re-reading her birth story and remembering our day through the beautiful images Ken was able to capture for us. I'm so grateful to have them. And most of all, I'm so grateful to have her. She's the perfect addition to our family and we can't imagine life without her.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


This past Sunday, we picked out and chopped down our Christmas tree. Burke is now at an age where these adventures are exciting and he looks forward to these special moments with gusto. I loved being together as a family and watching him drink in the whole experience. He's at a very special age where events start becoming memories and he cracks me up every time he starts a sentence with "Mama, you remember…?" So many of the conversations between my hubby and me center around the traditions we want to start with our family. We talk about the traditions that were important to us over the years and talk about how we want to incorporate or change or make new ones with our kids. Traditions are important for so many reasons. They build relationship within our family. They foster identity and purpose and they give us reason to celebrate. And perhaps the most special part of traditions is that they give us cause to remember. As Burke was helping Ben string the lights on our tree last night, I overheard the sweetest thing. Ben was telling Burke about his grandparents whom Burke never had the opportunity to meet. And he was fondly recalling traditions and relationships and memories that he held close to his heart. And as he "helped" string the lights, Burke listened and absorbed and created a memory that will become a tradition.

What are some of the traditions your family shares?

Monday, October 28, 2013

Homemade Elderberry Syrup

Fall brings a lot of wonderful things, but it also brings on cold season. Last night was a reminder for us, as my husband and I took turns rocking our coughing little boy. Nothing breaks my heart more than his sweet little face twisted in discomfort and sorrow. So, today, I made elderberry syrup. It's been on my to-do list for a while now, and thankfully, I had just purchased some elderberries at Kramer's Spice Market at Central Market.

So before I share the recipe, I want to share the healing properties of each ingredient in this amazing syrup:
~ Elderberries are often used for their wonderful antioxidant properties that help boost the immune system in order to fight coughs, the flu as well as bacterial and viral infections.
~ The healing properties of raw honey are too numerous to list. Simply put, honey is considered a cure-all remedy for nearly everything. From burns to bones to immune systems, it works magic all around. For this recipe, however, raw honey boosts the antioxidant properties of the syrup and it helps stimulate the immune system to fight infections such as colds and other bacterial or viral infections.{NOTE: local raw honey is the best and can be found at your local farmers' market or health food store. If you cannot get local raw honey, make sure you purchase raw honey, as the integrity of the product has not been refined, removing all of the good healing properties.}
~ Cinnamon contains antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties which help aid digestion as well as help raise the body temperature which combats breathing problems. As a result, it is an excellent addition to this syrup, as it helps fight coughs and colds.
~ Cloves contain both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory healing properties {among many others} that aid the effectiveness of this syrup.

Homemade Elderberry Syrup
~ 2 oz. dried elderberries {or 4 oz. fresh}
~ 4 cups water
~ 3/4 cup raw honey
~ 1 cinnamon stick
~ 1/2 Tbsp. ground cloves

Combine water and elderberries in a saucepan and bring to a boil {uncovered}. Reduce heat and simmer about 30 minutes. Add cinnamon stick and cloves and stir to combine. Continue simmering, uncovered, for an additional 30 minutes, or until reduced by about a third to half. Remove from heat and strain liquid into a bowl {I used cheesecloth}. Allow liquid to cool to about room temperature. Add honey and whisk to combine. Pour syrup into an airtight glass container and store in the fridge. It will keep for a few months in the refridgerator. Recommended dosage: 1/2-1 tsp every 2-3 hours for small children/toddlers at the onset of illness, continuing only for a few days {not more than 5}. For bigger children and adults, increase the dosage to 1/2-1 TBSP every 2-3 hours.

** Never give to infants under 1 year since it contains raw honey. And, as with anything, I encourage you to do your own research! This is an excellent source on the topic.

Friday, October 11, 2013


We all look forward to someday. It's natural and probably inevitable.  
Someday I'll be... 
Someday I'll have... 
Someday, when we have...then we'll... 
If I just had...then I could... Someday...
And looking forward to someday can be good. Really good. But not if it's limiting your today.

This is a lesson that has really penetrated my heart lately. Ben and I both realized that we were putting so much expectation in this someday that we weren't really living fully in the present. And the worst part is that we know what we were created to do and yet we were saving it for this someday event, as if we couldn't somehow begin right now. But the conviction to live fully present right now has spurred change. A change in our hearts and a change in our perspective and a change in our actions. And change is good. Really good.
For the past year-and-a-half or so, we've been saying that when we get our farm, then we'll have plenty of room to entertain. To have an open door. To do...and... We've always looked at our house with limitations. It's small. It's really small. And it has gotten smaller and smaller as our family has grown. But then it hit us hard. If we don't start now--if we don't steward well what we have right now--then we'll never do it when we have more. Think about it. How many times have you heard, "when I get a treadmill, then I'll finally lose weight" or "when I get my raise, then we'll be able to start saving money" and the list goes on and on. And when that someday comes, our sights are set elsewhere and following through doesn't always stick. We're always looking at some future event as solving all of the problems that currently face us rather than looking at the problems with a different perspective.
So we have decided that no matter what--no matter how small, how cluttered, how lived in our house may be--we are opening our doors now. It's an open invitation to anyone and everyone. If you are hungry, come and eat. If you are thirsty, come and drink. If you are tired, come and relax {as much as you can with two crazy kids wanting to play with you}. If you are lonely, come and find friendship. If you want a place for your kids to play, bring them over. If you just want to be nosey, you are welcome too! And if you want to buy our house, then you are definitely welcome!! We have been so blessed these past few weeks by the people who have come into our home to break bread with us. It is our pleasure, our desire and our destiny. And it feels so good to let the expectations of someday fade in importance and trade it for a richer today.
You can find us at 322 W Newton Ave., York, PA 17401. {But please, if you stop by between 12-3, don't use that lovely door knocker! Let's savor the sweet silence of sleeping babes!!!}

photo credits: Ken Bruggeman

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

We've Got You Covered

I'm over on the new Central PA Kids blog today talking about Perrydell Farm, one of our favorite stomping grounds. 

So what's the Central PA Kids blog all about? It is your new resource to family fun throughout the region. My friend Lauren over at A Lovely Lark {everything she creates really is lovely, you should really check her out!!} wanted to give parents {and grandparents, aunts, uncles...} a fresh resource for family fun in our area.  She has invited me to be one of the contributors along with some other fabulous ladies. You can check out Meg's humorous (mis)adventures over at Oh, Bother! Blog and Emily's lovely life at Blueberry's Blog

Hop on over to read all about our trip to Perrydell Farm and make sure to like Central PA Kids on Facebook to stay up to date on all of the happenings around town. {You can check out the calendar here.} xoxo, Tabitha