26 April, 2013


Sensory tubs are a new thing in our house. They're perfect fun while dinner's being made or laundry's being folded. Simply load a tub with dried beans, peas, barley, lentils, etc. Toss in a couple spoons and cups and let imaginations fly. And be thankful for your vacuum cleaner.


Katharina got new summer clothes in the mail yesterday. She loves to dance and twirl and pose for photos. In new clothes? A little girl's dream. She's a ballerina in the making.

point your toe. . .
. . .perfect.

22 April, 2013


Amber beads are one of our favourite things ever. I like to think because my children have consistently worn their amber teething beads from infancy onward, teething has been nearly a breeze. I have several other natural remedies for teething pain that I will share later, all of which have also been helpful to us in the sad process. But I do believe these beads are our favourite. 

More than teething and drooling relief, the beads have healing and calming properties that have been known to help boost immunity, and relieve dry skin and eczema.

Contrary to popular belief, babies do not chew on the beads. Amber is a resin, not a stone, and these necklaces work by warming against the skin and releasing small amounts of natural oils which are absorbed into the bloodstream. 

They must be kept under t-shirts or socks (if you choose the anklet type) to be effective. We chose necklaces, as the beads are more effective when worn closer to the pain source. Makes enough sense.

As with all things, be wary of imitation products. Fake amber is fake amber and has no health benefits. We purchase from Amber Pumpkin, since we saw positive results quickly with the first necklaces we bought. Plus, their customer service rocks.

The UK recently recalled infant teething beads as a choking hazard precaution, however, all three of my children have started wearing their necklaces from infancy and don't particularly notice when they are on. The beads can now be found listed as "children's health necklaces" within the UK.

Amber teething beads can be found in a variety of colours-- none of which have a different effect than the other. The colour is all personal, and they're all beautiful.

17 April, 2013


Here's a catch-up on all of us, since I haven't done so in a while:

Sebastian and Katharina are flourishing. They love to be given tasks around the house ("put these clothes in your drawer", "bring me your boots", "take this to Papa", etc.), follow directions well, and are always on the lookout for a new hideout (see photo). They are excited to learn and are both currently fascinated with trucks, tractors and puppies. They're developing distinct personalities and are entering the parrot phase of toddlerhood. Sebastian's newest: gosh. We snuffed that one out quickly.

Sebastian looks at books and talks to Katharina while rubbing Philippa's hair, and watches baby Einstein while holding her hands. If she's awake, he's by her side. He asks to hold her and volunteers kisses and head rubs. Yesterday he suggested to Katharina that they clip every bow we own into her hair. That was a new look.

His love language is touch, touch, touch, with a minor in time. He's a details kind of guy, that notices if I switch the blankets in his bed or if I've set out a new vase of flowers (currently, fla-wees). He believes that kisses take the pain away, and that rocks. You can believe it, because he toddles over to me with his little finger stretched out every time it gets pinched. This morning I got to kiss him all over his face and head because Katharina took the liberty of disciplining his hair with the wooden spoon.

Katharina keeps us on our toes and then some. She climbs up the toy shelf beneath their bedroom windows to watch cars drive by the house. She would explore outside all day long and skip meals if we'd let her. Every morning she brings us a bow for her hair and must be wearing shoes at all times, thank you very much. 

She will sit alone and look at book after book after book, and bless us by sleeping 7pm-10am. Her love-languages are clearly quality time and praise. The girl can sing and dance like no toddler I've known; her voice actually stuns us. 

She's a great helper in the kitchen and fully comprehends and quickly completes tasks, with spunk and energy of course. She does silly things just to make us laugh and when she's burned off a bit of energy, she gives the best snuggles.

Philippa Byrde is mostly sugar and a bit of spice. She's a happy and content baby, and doesn't require much attention at all. But of course she gets plenty. All day long she's adored by her big brother and sister, then her Papa comes home at night and he can't seem to put her down. She sits up and rolls over and chews whatever she can get to her mouth. We've taught her to "kiss", and "Mama" is a work in progress. Her love languages are quality time, touch, words of affirmation and breastfeeding.

Peter is a courageous guy, let me tell you. This week he's wrapped up two classes and has taken on a market research position from home (or, his other home, the library). He's eager to begin and end revision period so we can embark on whatever new adventures this summer holds (hopefully entailing some rest). 

We love to put the babies to bed and have a fire in our back garden with a few pints or mixed drinks in tow. Now that the weather has calmed a bit, we are looking forward to doing this more than a couple times a month.

I am thankful to have developed a fantastic group of friends here, largely mothers with a lot in common. My interest in Young Living has exploded and with that, my own personal business is blossoming, without much intention at all. 

We all still eat gluten-free and primarily vegetarian (except when Peter and I long for a good taste of bangers and mash [recipe to follow]). We've begun the gruelling hunt for next year's housing, which tends to be a game in St Andrews (Hunger Games comes to mind, but maybe a bit less dramatic). We all hope to visit the States for a period this summer, but won't know what those months will hold until after the first week in May. 

While both Peter and I sometimes feel swallowed in life's demands, and struggle not to despair with so much uncertainty and difficulty, we feel especially blessed to find so much joy in one another, and are delighted daily by our sweet family and faithful friends. God is good, life is especially sweet.

Now I'm off to rewash a load I left on the clothesline through last night's rainstorm. 

12 April, 2013


1. another gorgeous day in St Andrews.  2. focused.  3. taking a break.  4. the north sea.  5.  our street.  6. headed home for lunch.


It's been a struggle choosing a taste of my favourite photos from this trip. But here are some shots from our final leg of the journey:

a second peek at Eilean Donan.

we found this little guy in the middle of the road. I asked if we could put him in the back of the van. My husband said no.
beware of one-handed drivers on narrow, winding roads.

entering Glencoe.

a few of his favourite things.
in a hotel, morning no. 4. 
to Hogwarts via the Glenfinnan Viaduct. Seeing this was worth every hill we hiked.
in the homestretch. final nap.

Loch Lomond, also far bigger than I expected.
"pose for the American traveller."

04 April, 2013


Sometimes my little ones stand against a wall and ask to have their pictures taken. I'm thankful that though they close doors on and intentionally exasperate each other, there are more moments like this than toy-stealing ones. I will treasure these forever. Enjoy!


She has wrinkles and dimples in all the right places and her skin is rosy, white and clear. Sebastian and Katharina's adoration for her is totally mutual and kisses are voluntary from everyone. She's a tummy sleeper that wakes on her back every morning.

She's exceptionally snuggly and still loves to be cradled and swaddled. This past month she learned to sit up on her own. For five months straight, hands down, her favourite person is her papa. (And I don't blame her).

Also, we still can't stop kissing her.

02 April, 2013


all dolled up for Easter.

handsome lad.

there's no time for posing when you're twirling in a big dress.
out to breakfast.  
waiting for breakfast.
I hear a lot, "they are quite alike, yes?"
no Easter is complete without an egg hunt. Thankful to our adopted grandparents here for pulling one off for our littles.
happy Easter from all of us! 

Easter here was wonderful in so many ways and I am overwhelmed with blessings. Sweet friends, delicious food, gifts, family time, and a sacrifice which none of us will ever be able to repay. We have been ransomed. We are so thankful our Lord has risen!