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Of mountains and curtains

Sometimes you have to live life on the edge. For some people, that means climbing a mountain, taking a spur of the moment trip, or putting their life savings into starting a business.

For me, it means buying white curtains. You read that right… this mama likes things to be beautiful, classy, and yet often practicality wins out in my purchase decisions. Even when I walk down the store aisles with a picture in my head of my preferred style (something I would love!), often as I look at price tags and consider years ahead of sticky little hands, spills, and inevitable accidents, I weaken and give in to durability over beauty, or I just can’t quell the struggle within and simply walk out with no purchase in hand. I’ll make that decision later, like in 20 years.

Becoming  a mom has taught me many things, but one thing especially; to live in the moment. The older I get, the less important those little details seem in the grand scheme of things, and instead I feel challenged to seize the moment for what it is, in it’s beauty, imperfection, messiness, and providence.


I have a sad tendency to get stuck in the past; to feel weighty guilt for mistakes I made, regret over opportunities lost. In the same way, my mommy brain likes to jump ahead to the future and freeze in terror long before the anticipated woes of teaching algebra, guiding emotional teens, and going shopping with a passel of active toddlers is even a reality. And yet, in the moment, in the present, is where my heart needs to reside; in thankfulness for the beauty God has given, not allowing my silly fears to distract from his perfect gifts.

God made us to be smart, to plan ahead, to be wise with our money and resources and time. But He also made us to be beautiful, and enjoy beauty. As my days get fuller, it’s become more important for me to learn to balance the practical housework with the refreshing creative time. As our family and boundary grows (oh yeah, we just bought a house!), it’s become interesting learning to find the line between durable and elegant in our purchases.

But this day, I found myself walking back and forth, fingering silky, course, thick and sheer fabric of curtains, observing the different colors, shades, designs (and looking at price tags, and looking again), feeling a nudge to go for my dream living room design… that all extravagant, bold, beautiful, clean, airy white. It was a bit of a tipping point for this frugal Scottish mama, who can sometimes feel the weight of the Proverbs 31 call to run a beautiful (preferably mostly clean!) home while being financially wise, and resourceful.

I know this side of heaven I can’t have it all (well, at least if I want my sanity too), but I can have white curtains, and there will be fingerprints, and I say bring it on.


Ethan Edward – 9 months

I missed getting this post up last month, and our little guy is ten months old now, but I’m going to post his 9 month photos to keep with tradition anyway.


At nine months, Ethan weighed 20.5 lbs! Such a big boy! His fine blond hair is getting so long and he is still as deliciously chubby as ever.


Ethan also experienced his first snow, first Thanksgiving, and first Christmas! So much excitement.


Around this age he also started getting upset if he was overly tired and overwhelmed by something (walking into a room full of people who surround him, being held by someone other than mommy in a loud crowd, seeing a man he’s unsure of). It’s not often that he really gets upset by others (our little extrovert!) but he is becoming more aware.


We celebrated baby’s first Christmas Eve/Day morning at home, and he opened up his first gift, which was a djembe from mommy and daddy. While he lit up and started hitting it after seeing it, he now prefers to eat it when we give it to him. We’ll get there…


At this point Ethan wasn’t officially crawling, but scooting on his tummy, which made the busy (and decorated) holidays easy on this momma, who now spends 99.9% of the time chasing after a mobile little explorer…


That dimple though…


At this point the little man was pulling himself up onto the couch, chairs, and his favorite- our laps. He was SO excited by this achievement! He also decided- as he was cutting three teeth- that the crib was the best teether around. Needless to say, a few chunks are missing and mommy hurried to make a DIY crib teething guard.


Unfortunately, this newfound ability to stand in the crib vastly outweighed the desire to sleep, and we had a few days where the little man was extremely wired, hyper and acting out. Thankfully, I think it was just a stage and part of all the changes he was going through, we all made it out alive, and he was our happy and (normally) agreeable baby again.



He also started making this cheesy grin where he squints his eyes and wrinkles up his nose, which I personally find quite adorable.


My squish.


We are so thankful for our blessing!

Our Christmas Letter – 2015

Greetings and Happy New Year!

We are excited by all the Lord has done in our lives this past year, and amazed at how quickly time can fly! This was a big year for our little family, as we welcomed our our firstborn son into the world. Ethan Edward decided to surprise us and arrived 8 days early, on Friday, March 27th, weighing 7lbs 12oz. Due to some complications, recovery for Jennifer was a little rocky, but our family and Church body were amazing in the weeks following as we adjusted to being a family of three (wait, we’re parents?!). We were and continue to be humbled by the blessing and responsibility of raising our son. The postpartum time was a difficult time of growth and stretching for us as a couple, but we praise God that He is in control, and that He is patient to teach his children.

Though Ashton and I had some growing pains initially, our little guy has been the sweetest and happiest little fellow. Ethan is 9 months old already, and continues to bless us with his laughs, toothy grins, jabbering and curiosity. He is our little extrovert, a great traveler, and charms everyone along the way with his generous smiles. He has yet to have a real “shy” moment with a stranger. (He also recently welcomed his first cousins into the world- both boys! Adventure is ahead!) He is crawling around, he absolutely loves reading books, and he is a great sleeper. He looks so much like his daddy, and loves to play with him too. We are so thankful for our little boy who lights up our days.

Our E is also learning to travel. We go to Omaha to visit my family every few months, and this year we also traveled to Florida before E was born, as well as to a bed and breakfast nearby for our babymoon. As a family we vacationed in Lake of the Ozarks with my family, and traveled to Idaho for a wedding.

Ashton and I continue to try to find our “niche” in central Illinois as we put down roots and desire to raise our family to be active in ministry and the community. Ashton is still on the board for our local Right to Life group, as well as a Legislative task force in Illinois, and we try to volunteer for pro-life efforts as we’re able. For fun, I taught ballet up until a few weeks before E was born (I looked bigger than I felt), we took the Bradley (natural birth) class together, and we became CPR certified. And, we enjoy opening up our home in hospitality as much as we can. Ashton still works at Samaritan Ministries, a 3 minute walk from our cozy apartment. We’re considering moving this year, so we’re soaking up the close proximity and lunches together in the meantime. Jennifer keeps busy reading to Ethan, taking care of our home and doing hospitality. Somehow, there’s never a dull moment!

We celebrated our second anniversary on September 21st this year. We are grateful for all the Lord has done in our lives these past two years; as a couple and now as a family. 

In Christ,

Ashton, Jennifer and Ethanunnamed-9