Like Mother, Like Son

I was going back through some of our pictures from Greece yesterday, and I saw something I hadn’t noticed before.  There was a picture of me and a picture of Jude that looked strikingly similar.  What do you think?



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Our Fall Harvest

My goodness… I’ve been lazy on the blog front lately.  On a positive note, however, I have been a lot more industrious on the home front lately, and isn’t that more important anyway?


Helping Daddy pick cherries in the yard.


We have had quite a harvest around the yard this fall.  The house where we are living does not have a big yard, but, in true Moldovan style, the perimeter of the small back yard is completely lined with fruit and nut trees.  We have 3 cherry trees, 5 plum trees (1 with round yellow plums and 4 with the oblong purple ones), 5 apple trees, an apricot tree, a peach tree, a walnut tree, and one little tree that I can’t remember what fruit it bore.  In the front of the house, we have another apple tree (this one was really our big apple producer- it had so many huge green apples), 3 walnut trees, and a couple of grape vines.  The grapes are pretty much wild, they just grow all up the side of the carport and into the trees and we really didn’t know how much they would produce, but we got quite a harvest of tart green grapes!  We also planted 6 tomato plants in a little patch of dirt beside the house.


Josh hoeing our tiny tomato garden.


We were traveling when most of the plums and the apricots were ripe, so we missed out on those, but there is one little plum tree hidden underneath the walnut tree that wound up with a huge late crop of delicious sweet plums.

Knowing that we couldn’t use all of the plums and walnuts, I kept a few for us, and then a group of students from the school came and picked the rest of the plums and walnuts to take back for them to enjoy.

So what else did we do with such a bountiful harvest?  Not as much as I’d hoped, but given how busy our summer was—2 weeks of family visiting, 2 weeks of staying at the northern camp, and 2.5 weeks of vacation—I’m fairly happy with how domestically productive we were able to be.

We made:

  • 3 jars of delicious apple butter
  • An amazing gluten and dairy-free plum cake
  • A cherry pie (Which actually didn’t taste that great because the cherries were really bitter.  I later realized that I’d picked the cherries way too soon… but it still counts!)
  • Several jars of applesauce
  • And 2 jars of white grape jelly


Cutting apples for apple butter.


In addition to the things from our yard, I also bought apricots, strawberries, and tomatoes (not at the same time) from the market and made apricot compote (a popular fruit drink in Moldova) and Stephanie taught me how to can strawberry jam and salsa.   Stephanie, her daughter Angela, and I made 6 quarts of salsa together, which we halved between them and me.  Then a couple of weeks later, Josh and I decided that we wanted more and made a whole ‘nother batch of salsa by ourselves!


My first-ever batch of homemade strawberry jam.


And I have to brag on my husband for a bit too, because not only was the grape jelly completely his baby (all I did was sanitize the jars for him), but in the last month or so, he has started craving his mom’s homemade sourdough bread.  With me being gluten-free, he knew he couldn’t ask me to make it for him, so he made his own starter and has been making delicious sourdough bread (I’ve cheated and tasted a piece or two).


Josh showing off his homemade sourdough bread.


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That Freckle

See that spot on Jude’s bottom lip?  (Nevermind the confused expression.)  No, it’s not a piece of food, though that’s an honest mistake.  It’s actually a mistake I made for a while too.  It gradually started showing up when he was around 15 months or so (I’m not totally sure, that’s just my best guess from going through old pictures), but I, thinking it was a piece of food or dirt or something, edited it out of pictures for a few months until one day it hit me that he always seemed to have a piece of food in the same place, even when the rest of his face was clean.  Then, of course, I looked at his face and saw a freckle!

I just have to tell you that I love this freckle.  It is so quirky and so him… I can’t imagine him without it.  I told Josh the other day that if we ever have professional pictures made of him, I’ll have to tell the photographer about that freckle or else they might edit it out just like I used to.

That’s all.

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we picture {this} – laughter

We picture {this} is a blog that I stumbled upon somehow a while back (no doubt surfing around for more photography websites to obsess over) and has been in my google reader for a while.  Every month, they have a photo contest centered around a particular theme.  September’s theme is laughter, and they were right… it was so hard to narrow my favorites down to just two pictures!  I finally decided on two very recent ones that I just love:

I love the tagline at we picture {this} :: a mamarazzi photoblog, because I am a TOTAL mamarazzi!  I encourage any of my momtographer friends, no matter your kind of camera or level of know-how, to head over to we picture {this} and check it out.

we picture {this}

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Jude on the Beach- A Collage

We spent a portion of our vacation in Greece at a place on the beach in the northern part of the country.  It was beautiful- the water was clear and calm most days, and from the beach we could look north and see Mt. Olympus.

Of course, to an 18 month-old, none of this compared to the fun of running in the opposite direction of the water, across the street, and into the restaurant to try to climb into a chair and onto the table.  (Have I mentioned that we’ve entered a climbing phase?  His new nickname is Evil Knievel.)  But we were able to distract him with the sand and surf occasionally, and I even managed to get a few decent pictures to prove it.  Below are some of my favorites:

pictures of my toddler on the beach combined into a collage

I’ve recently discovered how to put my pictures into collages in photoshop and am really enjoying playing with it (in between pulling my son down from the kitchen table, the stairs, his little desk, the window sills, and anywhere else he can find to climb).  In my last post of beach pictures, I used some free templates I found online, but for this one I wanted to make my own.  It was so easy!  I thought about posting the .psd file for others to download… I might do it if anybody comments and says they would use it.

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Beach Photography in Greece

We just returned from an amazing vacation in Greece!  About half of the trip was spent with another missionary couple that we work with, one of their four daughters, and her boyfriend.  I knew that I couldn’t pass up the chance to get some photography practice in while I had such great looking models in such a picturesque location, so on our last day at the beach, we all got cleaned up and had a little photo shoot.

First, some of my favorites of Rachel and Mike:

Mike and Rachel

I got some great ones of Eric and Stephanie, too.  You can really tell that they are still so in love after many years of marriage, kids, and ministry:

Eric and Stephanie

And lastly, I had to include some outtakes from the afternoon.  They were all so much fun and so patient with me as I’m learning how to take better pictures:

funny outtakes

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It Will Change Your Life

the boy who made me a motherThe boy who made me a mother.  I love him so much that my heart hurts.

Josh is taking an online Family Ministry class this fall, and one of the books he is reading for it is Pastoral Leadership for Manhood and Womanhood, edited by Wayne Grudem and Dennis Rainey.  This morning, he had me read a section out of it that stopped me in my tracks; it is possibly the most beautiful description of motherhood that I have ever read:

Time is running out for my friend.  While we are sitting at lunch, she casually mentions that she and her husband are thinking of “starting a family.”  What she means is that her biological clock has begun its countdown, and she is being forced to consider the prospect of motherhood.

“We’re taking a survey,” she says half joking.  “Do you think I should have a baby?”

“It will change your life,” I say carefully, keeping my tone neutral.

“I know,” she says.  “No more spontaneous vacations…”

But that is not what I mean at all, and I try to decide what to tell her.  I want her to know what she will never learn in childbirth classes: that the physical wounds of childbearing heal, but that becoming a mother will leave an emotional wound so raw that she will be forever vulnerable.  I consider warning her that she will never read a newspaper again without asking “What if that had been my child?”  That every plane crash, every fire will haunt her.  That when she sees pictures of starving children, she will wonder if anything could be worse than watching your child die.

I look at her manicured nails and stylish suit and think that no matter how sophisticated she is, becoming a mother will reduce her to the primitive level of bear protecting her cub.  That an urgent call of “MOM!” will cause her to drop her best crystal without a moment’s hesitation.

I feel I should warn her that no matter how many years she has invested in her career, she will be professionally derailed by motherhood.  Oh, she might arrange for childcare, but one day she will be going into an important business meeting, and she will think about her baby’s sweet smell.  She will have to use every ounce of discipline to keep from running home, just to make sure her child is all right.  I want my friend to know that everyday decisions will no longer be routine.  That a 5-year-old boy’s desire to go to the men’s restroom rather than the women’s at a restaurant will become a major dilemma.  That issues of independence and gender identity will be weighed against the prospect that a child molester may be lurking in that men’s restroom.  However decisive she may be at the office, she will second-guess herself constantly as a mother.

Looking at my attractive friend, I want to assure her that eventually she will shed the pounds of pregnancy, but she will never feel the same about herself.  That her life now, so important, will be of less value to her once she has a child.  That she would give it up in a moment to save her offspring, but will also hope for more years—not to accomplish her own dreams, but to watch her child accomplish his.

My friend’s relationship with her husband will change, but not in the ways she thinks.  I wish she could understand how much more you can love a man who is always careful to powder the baby or who never hesitates to play with his son or daughter.  I think she should know that she will fall in love with her husband all over again, but for reasons she would now find very unromantic.  I want to describe to my fiend the exhilaration of seeing your child learn to hit a baseball.  I want to capture for her the belly laugh of a baby who is touching the soft fur of a dog for the first time.  I want her to taste the joy that is so real it hurts.

My friend’s quizzical look makes me realize that tears have formed in my eyes.  “You’ll never regret it,” I finally say.  Then squeezing my friend’s hand, I offer a prayer for her and me and all the mere mortal women who stumble their way into this holiest of callings.

The above quote was written by Dale Hanson Bourke (a woman!), and originally published in her book, Everyday Miracles.  I have typed out the section in its entirety here because I was unable to find it anywhere online.  I hope that’s okay, since I am giving full credit to the author.

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