throwback thursday







in honor of #throwbackthursday (or #tbt), i thought it would be fun to pair a few recent snaps with some links to posts from around this time, in years past. oldies but goodies. i started blogging here in late 2011 so there is nothing to be found from april of that year but we can start strong in 2012 right around the time we announced that we were expecting our little peanut!

it is pretty fun to walk down memory lane. reminiscing and being reminded of all that God has done in just the past five years. some of this seems like yesterday. some of it seems so close and familiar and fresh and still relevant. and some of it seems like a lifetime ago. some of it seems exactly the same. and some of it looks like different people entirely. time is funny like that.

this quick exercise of traveling back through the blog was such a meaningful activity for me. sometimes, the simplest of things can mean the most.

this humble blog has become such an important part of our life. it isn’t just about sharing stories or hosting giveaways (although, those are a blast and stay tuned for another one soon, wink wink) or having a creative outlet. it is a chronicle of our life. the messy and lovely. the ups and downs. the tough stuff and fun stuff. those magical mundane moments. the milestones. this is my digital record of our date nights, our precious moments, our epiphanies, our challenges, our ends and our beginnings. and yes, our outfits and meals too.

i think it is such a good practice to write things down, type things out, snap a picture, capture moments and emotions and thoughts and feelings. journal. jot. something that can jog your memory and connect the dots of life. it is so easy to forget from where you have come – what has happened – the ways in which God has worked. i never want to forget His goodness or overlook the ways that He has guided and shaped my life.

psalm 103:1-5 / bless the LORD, o my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

so, here are a few blasts from the past. feel free to click around a bit and look for any gems you might have missed. ahem, ben’s macarons and my random theological musings. but mostly, i hope that going back in time in our life encourages you to do the same for yourself. look back through albums. read your prayer journals. scroll deep into your facebook or instagram feed. laugh at yourself. marvel at the growth and changes. be inspired to revisit neglected positive habits. set goals. try something new. focus on the shifts and pivot points and seemingly insignificant details that served a greater purpose. and be grateful for what you had and what you have.

planting seeds with elinor at this time last year (2015)

a saturday sante from 2014

a family outing for hotdogs and vinyl (2013)

the first dear peanut letter (2012)


elinor’s birthday bash


the birthday mademoiselle. looking far too grown up. making me feel all the feelings. we had such a delightful day with her. and i think she enjoyed her special day immensely. she ate her favorite foods. she opened SO MANY gifts. she played with papa all the live-long-day. and then, the pièce de résistance: a full-blown bash with our family.

elinor asked to wear “mama’s fancy dress” for her celebration and i was pleased as punch. it’s an ensemble that my dad brought home from a european business trip when i was about elinor’s age and i have been waiting and waiting for her to be able to wear it. and the day finally arrived. a vintage french frock for her birthday fête. c’est si bon, non?

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the morning started with breakfast scones and then moved to presents. we had a few items to give elinor, just us. new clothes and shoes and a pretty book of illustrated nursery rhymes. it was a joy to watch her open presents. such unadulterated surprise and delight and gratitude. she modeled her clothes and gave the biggest hugs and then, we enjoyed some reading time together while ben got down to birthday business in the kitchen. elinor requested cookies. and papa obliged.

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the menu for her fête was all about french fabulousness: croissants + palmiers + cheese and crackers + decaf french roast + macarons + “farkling” water, as elinor calls sparkling water. we added in an assortment of nuts and other snackage, for good measure.

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with the family gathered, we nibbled and noshed and sipped while the little ones played together. elinor blew out the candles after we sang. (i asked E if she wanted to eat the cookies first or open gifts THEN come back for cookies and she very wisely chose the latter. smart cookie.) and then, present time. we have such generous and thoughtful family members. everyone selected perfect presents for elinor. there were themes and experiences to share and even lessons to accompany most of the items.


she received a doctor kit and handmade doctor coat from neena + a golf set PLUS lessons from booboo + a date to see charlie brown from neena and booboo + a cinderella DVD and play household cleaning set from aunt bree, uncle paul, and baby sawyer + art supplies and a portfolio PLUS art lessons from mommom + old school silver dollars from poppop + fabulous crayon pencils from aunt katie + dot art paint and a fresh coloring book from aunt rachel + a lego duplo set from uncle nathan + a handmade baby doll and accessories from nonnie adele + more clothes from mama because, a little lady can’t have too many outfits + her very own, 1/32 sized violin from papa…and yes, with lessons to accompany it. seriously, it made my heart swell seeing her open all these sweet treasures. she is so loved and blessed. and each gift had so much kindness and heart behind it.

whew. that’s a lot of new things. she has so many incredible toys to play with and so many incredible experiences to look forward to. this is going to be a busy season of fun and learning for her. i can’t wait…

happy birthday, peanut. we love you to the moon and back.

xo, all of us


elinor at 30 months

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a few snaps of miss elinor during a raging teething fest last week. she went down for her afternoon nap our regular little peanut and woke up all kinds of miserable. feverish. quiet. sensitive. and NO APPETITE! we just knew something was up…

there were a few days of lots of snuggling and extra sleep. eating cold, soothing foods – when she would eat anything at all. and all-around-pathetic times. but, she has two molars to show for it! and she is super proud of her “big girl teef”. she powered-though that brief yet miserable period of time like a champ. and i am beyond grateful that she teethes quickly and intensely. she gets down to business and it is rough for a couple of days and then, voila, teeth. and it may sound cruel, but this mama really soaked up those extra quiet, slow days and all the snuggles…

and in other elinor news…here are a few of her recent favorite phases and antics. she is picking things up so fast. our adorable and sassy little sponge. what a cool age. and what an entertaining age. you never know what she will create in that mind of hers and it is the best.

* and hey, do you see that “30 month” thing up there in the title? boy, did that freak me out big time when i was doing the math. two-and-a-half. six months until we have a THREE YEAR OLD. seriously, time. you are kind of a jerk sometimes.

she likes to use the lint roller all over herself because she wants to “keen off the coco” (a.k.a. clean off the dog hairs)

every time we go upstairs, she wants to take me into baby brudder’s room so that she can show me where he will stay. she then hops into the rocker and lets me know that she is going to “rock in the chair, mama. for just two minutes.” (p.s. everything is “just two minutes”)

“that’s icky. i throw it away.” (trash, paper, pretty much anything)

“almost” (when i ask her if she needs to potty or be changed or leave or go night-night)

me: “elinor, mama will do that for you but you need to wait and be patient.” elinor waits a minute and replies: “oooookay, you ready now?”

“mama…you finished?” (usually when i am wrapping up a discipline/chat session)

“i sit next to you? yeah?” (our little snugglebug)

“mama. i go to sleep. i rest and be quiet. i not cry.” (the bedtime rundown)

“please help me. help me do dis.”

“i need it.” (ahem, she “needs” everything. we are working on need vs. want right now…)

“oh, is it cute?” (and yes, everything is cute in elinorland)

“oh. my. josh.” (said slowly and dramatically…her take on oh my gosh)

“go to the store and buy treats for mama?” (ben took her out to the store a few weeks back and decided to buy a fun treat to bring home to me. now, she asks to do this every night. and i don’t mind one bit.)

“i brave.”

“hey! is that a man?” (she is learning man and woman and children instead of calling everyone a baby)

“it is tasty, mama. mmmm…really good.” (spoken after eating and it warms my heart, big time)

“you stay here, mama. i go with papa.”

what’s your name? “i babe.” are you sure your name isn’t elinor? “no, not ellllineeeer…i’m the babe.” (ben calls her babe sometimes and much to our surprise, when someone asked her name the other day, she confidently responded that her name is babe. too funny. especially since she knows her full name and likes to remind us that is is “ellllineeeer gace why-house”)

“oh! is that church? they going to church? i want to go to church.” (she loves her church. and any time she sees a cross or a fancy building or a bible or people dressed up, she assumes it is church related)

me: “elinor, why do we obey?” elinor: “because it peases God and peases mama and papa.” (amen)

“dirty heart, mama. i need Jesus to keen it up! pease help me, Jesus.” (and amen, again)

dear peanut | elinor at 19 months

to the nines

in honor of elinor’s 19th month, i put together a little something to show how she has grown since she was just an itty bitty peanut in mama’s belly. click here to check it out.

oh miss elinor, what a bundle of hilarity and amazing , you are. i wish i could bottle you up and remember you exactly as you are. the faces, the sass, the sweetness, the concern, the wit, the empathy. you burst with each and every one in various combinations, each and every day. some moments are a charming concoction of kindness and wit.  and other moments, you are just a ball of silliness and sass. and just when we start to worry that you are a bit too judgmental, you do something so dear and darling and sweet. you furrow your brow and delicately pet coco when she is acting wild. you try to rock a baby or feed a baby. you give sweet and slobbery kisses when i stub my toe. you hug a child who seems upset. you delight us and challenge us and entertain and amaze.

here are just a few things that you are up to lately:

you like to twirl and dance and dramatically squat and pop up with a cheerful, “woah!”

you copycat everything. you help us clean. you remind us to feed and water the dogs. you rearrange furniture. 

you are a curator and collector. you dig in cupboards and drawers and boxes to select your treasures and then you pile them into special elinor collections. sometimes, a spoon and block and rag and book. other times, a strainer and tiny bowl and box of raisins and a shoe. you have very particular and peculiar ideas of what should comprise each daily collection…and it is the funniest to watch your process and your exhilaration when you get it just right.

you talk. and talk and talk. you have stories to tell and do whatever is necessary to meet your internally established word quota. there are moments when you just list all the words you can think of. and other times, you sit thoughtfully and look into my eyes and just talk. pausing for my response and then carrying on. in those moments, i can only marvel and hold back the misty-eyed-ness as i realize what a big girl, little person you are. 

you are obsessed with ice. i mean, no one can blame you with all the triple-digit business. a few days ago, you ate ice for breakfast. you woke up and we nursed and then your eyes widened with sheer delight as you screamed, “iiiiiiice!  ice, ice!” i get some crushed ice and you played and sucked on it for a good two hours. you transfer it from cup to bowl and back again. you feed some to your furry buddies. you drop pieces everywhere leaving tiny toddler puddles. you spill melted water on my lap to help cool me off. you suck on the little pieces like they are pure gold. you are obsessed. and with those new molars that are still causing some mild annoyance for you, the ice really does the teething trick. meanwhile, my mind is stuck on ice ice baby, all the live-long day. thanks for that.

you love your weekend chill time with papa. you get to sit on the couch together reading a book or enjoying your special curious george time or listening to music…and you snack. usually raisins or some banana or dried mulberries or cashews. but every so often, you get to share some treat with papa. and to say that you are over the moon about it would be an understatement. and it is so darn cute to see you lounging on his lap or squished up next to him, just loving life. it is like you know that it is a treat. and you revel in it.

you love the water.

you have the a wilting judgmental eyes stare.

you love candles. you pick them up and scrunch up your nose and make the loudest sniffing sound. you move your face as close to the wax as possible and just breath it all in. again, your faces are killer. your candle face is pretty hilarious.

you are so cute, it hurts. and you work it.

you are beyond bright. you have flashes of just sheer genius. scary smart stuff. and your parents just shoot a glance at each another in disbelief and total uh-oh.

you make life busy and happy and fun. 

oh, oh, we love you so.

and while we’re at it, let’s jot down some of your words and phrases for the old memory book. here’s your current list and you are adding more every single day. obviously, you don’t enunciate and articulate perfectly on all of these and you like to give some of them your own pizzazz… but you know what you mean. and we know what you mean too, which is really fun.

mama, papa, doggie, birdie, coco, charlie, sadie, cat, sheep, cow, owl, fish, monkey, snuggles, hi, bye-bye, gapa, gama, water, milk, juice, raisins, night-night, up, seat, book, spoon, peas, eggs, cheese, sing, Jesus, uh-oh, down, up, diaper, icky, shoes, yes, no-no, all done, more, eyes, nose, cheeks, brows, hair, ears, teeth, mouth, belly, feet, goose, ball, twirl, hand, me, baby, food, eat, hey, hot, what is it, mine, what’s that, brush, shake, splash, kick, close, keys, please, woah, off, bowl, fan, hiya papa, yay, smell, sniff, ice, sunnies, hat, eat, clothes, stomp, dance, music .


elinor at 17 months

e and papa

i just noticed that our little peanut has somewhat commandeered the blog content this week.  i suppose that is fitting, she does that to most everything.

hey, let’s roll with it, shall we?  how about we talk {even more} about elinor?  rhetorical question.

seventeen months sure does look good on E.  she is coming into her own more and more.  shedding what’s left of her infant demeanor and revealing a little person.  and that little person has a big personality.  effervescent, witty, intelligent, curious, persnickety, imaginative and inventive, entertaining and funny.  oh, and so chatty!

she likes her own “seeeeaaaaat”.  her own space.  when she climbs up onto the couch or bench or chair, she owns it.  she spreads a blanket, arranges pillows, sorts her toys, and generally takes over.  she doesn’t want a dog there.  she is quite choosy about her stuffed animal companions.  and she really doesn’t like to chill there with mama.  but, papa?  he is welcome.  they have this unspoken seat club.

she makes it known when she needs a fresh diaper.  either by guiding me to her room and opening the diaper drawer or by grabbing one from her bag and bringing it to me with her wipes.  okay, then.  perhaps potty training will be a breeze.  a mama can hope…

she is a sensitive soul.  she is aware and in tune with her surroundings and the needs and feelings of others.  she is watchful of my expressions and tone.  and she will respond with an extra measure of tenderness if she senses that something is wrong.  i really need to be mindful of this.  drama queen that i am.  i have caught myself in a disproportionate response to something and had to correct it so that elinor doesn’t think something is wrong.  if i squish my face or use a sad tone, she responds.  she shifts her tone.  she grabs my face and pats my cheek, giving me a sweet and reassuring head nod. woah.

she has forged the cutest relationship with her furry buddies.  she cares for them and genuinely likes them.  when we arrive home, the first thing she does once we hit the door is point to the “doggie room” for us to release them.  she guides us to the laundry room and informs us that the “daaah-gies” are in there and helps us let them loose.  she then squeals “cuh-co, cuh-co!” with such glee and escorts them to the backyard so they can roam and go potty.  and when their water bowl is empty, she picks it up and takes it to the fridge with an assertive “waaaah-waaaah” so we will fill it.  so watchful and caring. 

she twirls.  and twirls and twirls until she is dizzy and topples.  and then she giggles on the floor and gets up and at it again.

she is a goofball, so entertaining.  she babbles and tells us jokes.  we may not always understand them, but man.  the girl knows how to work a punchline.  and she loves trying out her comedic material at dinnertime.  our meals are always punctuated with her humorous tales and laughter.

she says papa and still refuses to say mama.  and she knows who i am.  she knows how to say it.  but, this is our little power struggle.  sheesh.

she loves the itsy-bitsy spider song.

she picks her nose to make us laugh.

she is learning to fold her hands in prayer and wait patiently before eating.

she is an intrepid explorer of the great outdoors and the great indoors.  she inspects the grand and insignificant.  she marvels at it all.

she sucks her thumb when she is sleepy.

she is a maven of physical comedy. dancing and flopping around and gesturing.  making ’em laugh a la donald o’connor. and she perfectly pairs each movement with a parker posey-esque “wooooaaaah”.  {a reference too obscure? waiting for guffman? teacher’s pet? anybody? bueller, bueller?  you get it, whitehouse fam. moving on.}

she likes to help with household tasks like taking out all the towels and bowls.  she methodically stacks and puts items in boxes and containers.  she has a plan in that little head of hers.  and once she has her collection just right, she proudly parades around the house with her handiwork.

she likes to count in a sing-song voice as she walks up the stairs.

she has moves.  a funny little squat-dance and the moonwalk {self-taught and so awesome} and this hopping-jumping-clapping thing that is bound to take the dancefloor by storm one day.

she loves and needs her sleep and solitary time.  a solid 12 + hours at night and two rest times during the day.  she loves her morning nap, a solid 2 hour sleepfest.  and in the afternoon, when she is done with me, she grabs her snuggles blanket and her books and heads to the stairs.  that’s my cue.  i escort her to her room and she gets into her bed for her quiet time.  she reads to herself, sometimes quietly and sometimes aloud.  and she might catnap for 30 minutes or so.  she is comfortable and confident in her own skin.  she has preferences and needs and knows how to communicate them.  she is so strong and transparent.  i hope she cultivates that.

she says uh-oh when something naughty happens or a mistake is made.

she applauds at the end of every song or whenever there is a dramatic pause of some sort.

she is the cutest darn mischief-maker you ever did meet.  she tests the limits.  she stares us down.  and before she engages in forbidden behavior she pauses and shoots us a sassy look before shaking her head “no”.  she knows.  she knows much too much.

she loves books.  especially olivia and peter rabbit.  oh, and tolkien.  seriously.  she plucks all the tolkien books from their spots on the bookshelves and brings them to us to read.  nerd.

she loves to draw and create and make a mess. 

and she also loves to clean up and organize and put away.

she is sugar and spice.  and we sure do like her a lot.


a nod to the nod

quite suddenly, our little peanut has become not-so-little.

somewhere in the last few months, she managed to hop-skip-jump right into toddlerhood.  like, a three year old.  preschool stuff, folks.

whhhhhaaaat. iiiiiis.  haaaaaapening.  question mark.

all of this “elinor is a little lady” has got me thinking about her big girl room.  because, you know…a project helps you cope with all those my-itty-bitty-baby-is-growing-up-much-too-fast-yikes feelings. 

in a couple clicks, i landed at the marvelous land of nod site.  and i am just itching to gobble up all this cuteness!  and because i am swooning, i wanted to gush on here and share some of my favorites with you.

okay elinor, if mama is allowed to redecorate, i suppose this toddler business is okay with me.

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