Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Birthday Blessing

This past weekend, we not only celebrated Thanksgiving, but we also took some time with our family to celebrate Noah's birthday a week early. It was a little different than your normal birthday party; it was birthday blessing. Rather than Noah opening a number of gifts, we asked that everyone bring a special poem, prayer, story, song, memory, or blessing to share with Noah on this special day. We felt that these gifts were more meaningful, as they were all from the heart and Noah can read them at any point in his life. Jen and I also played a rather interesting rendition of Hey Jude for Noah on the keyboard and African drum. There was some laughter and a few (happy) tears, but everyone had a great time visiting while Noah crawled from person to person and lap to lap taking in all the blessings and loving thoughts coming his way.

Thank you to everyone who was able to attend and share their blessings with Noah. For those of you who were not able to attend, we wish you could have joined us. Also, if you would like to share your blessing with Noah for his birthday, please feel free to send us an email or leave a comment. We will then print it off and include it with the others. Below, you'll find some pictures taken on this special day along with some of the traditions we're hoping to carry forward to future birthdays.


One of the traditions it that of the birthday crown. Noah's birthday crown was handmade by Jen out of wool felt, and embroidered with his initial. It's a little something for Noah to wear on each of his birthdays so that he knows that it's his special day. On the table, we also shared a picture of when we first met Noah almost a year ago--in the tub, with him screaming at the top of his newborn lungs.

Jen and her mom made two versions of carrot cake for everyone to enjoy after the blessings were shared. The cakes were extremely tasty, and Noah was able to eat his very first birthday cake! One of the blessings shared was from Sydnie; she made a homemade card wishing Noah a happy 1st birthday.


The Birthday Ring is a German birthday tradition. It is a symbolic way to celebrate the anniversary of a child's birth and show reverence for each year of their life thus far. A Birthday Ring consists of a wooden circle with holes representing each year of life.

Traditionally, on your child's first birthday, you place one candle on the ring and fill the rest of the holes with figures. On each consecutive birthday, you replace one figure with a candle. The unused figures will then be placed in the center of the ring to signify the child's previous years. Finally, on the twelfth year, the ring will be fully illuminated. For Noah's Birthday Ring, Jen brought out her creative side once again and actually made each of the 11 figures shown below. Each was cut out using a scrollsaw and then individually shaped, sanded and painted. She chose a woodland theme, and the figures, going clockwise from the candle, are as follows: rabbit, brown bear, spruce tree, gray squirrel, owl, mallard duck, green frog, fawn, oak tree, robin, and a red fox.
It was quite the special day. Hopefully, it was a day that everyone was able to take something away from. Days like that really make you feel thankful for what you have.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
-Curtis

Monday, November 24, 2008

Winter Wonderland

We woke up to a winter wonderland this morning! Curtis was less pleased about the snow than Noah and I, as he was the one to get up and shovel. After a hot breakfast, Noah and I went for a walk to enjoy the quiet, still, snow-covered world before it melted away.

When we got back from our walk, I took Noah for his first sled ride around the yard. Of course, with the first snow drift I hit the sled tipped over and Noah did a perfect faceplant in the snow. I waited for the stunned cry, but amazingly it did not come. He just sat there calmly as I pulled him up and attempted to wipe the snow from his face and head. Sorry, no pictures of that...

-Jen

P.S. to Santa: Jen needs new snowboots and wool long underwear.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Happy Birthday Times Three!

Today is the birthday of three very special children, whom I will always think of as babies.
Happy 5th Birthday A, E, and G! Thank you for allowing me to be but a small part of your lives and teaching me so much in our year together. I hope you are all big, and happy, and healthy!

Love Always,
Your Jen

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Corners of Our Home

There is a group of photos on Flickr called Corners of my Home that is a "place to share the favorite little spots in your home - the spots that make you truly feel something - joy, peace, whatever it may be. It doesn't need to be a literal corner - perhaps just a nook or cranny or object." The purpose of this group is that we often don't think to take photos of the spaces that we know so intimately, and years from now we may find it difficult to remember our favorite spaces and how we lived in them. I thought it might be nice to start a set of photos dedicated to photos of corners in Our Quiet Place.

One corner that we enjoy is currently featured as the header of this blog because this is where we spend most of our days. This is where we sing, read, play piano, build forts out of couch cushions, play hide-and-seek, and just hang out. I also love how you can see our backyard and swing through the window, another space where we spend much of our time.

Another corner I love is our dresser, which is filled with things that remind me of our family and wedding. If you view it on Flickr, you can scroll over the photos to see my notes on this picture.
I also love this view of it, in a picture taken by Curtis when Noah was about 5 weeks old. This was our view for most of those first 5 weeks and beyond. I think I memorized most of the blessings written on our wedding photo from having read and re-read them while nursing Noah. Note the piles of burp cloths, cloth diapers, and blankets on the dresser.


So, from time to time, I will add photos of special corners of our home. Until then, maybe you could take a few moments to notice and perhaps photograph some special corners of your own home?

-Jen

Monday, November 17, 2008

First Snow

We had our first snow of the season today. It was just a dusting, but enough to get outside and enjoy. This was Noah's first time playing with snow...though he couldn't do much in his puffy snowsuit! I did offer him a little taste, but I don't think he was that impressed. Soon we will be making snow angels, building snowmen and trying out his new red sled! This will be quite a bit different from how he spent time outside last winter; snuggled up in his wrap under my coat.
-Jen

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Jabbertalker

Noah seems to be talking up a storm these days. However, we don't quite know who or what he's talking to. You would think that after 15-30min of non-stop babbling he would be rather tired. I don't know how he does it, but he keeps going. It's rather cute at first. Then your mind attempts to analyze the conversation that he's making. He's so deliberate in what he says and how he says it, that you feel as though you should be able to understand him. Obviously, Jen and I aren't fluent yet in jabber-babble. Something tells me that this won't be the only time in Noah's life where I won't understand him. Knowing this makes me happy that he's still only 11 months old. As a reminder for those of you out there, Mr. Noah will turn the big '1' on December 5th. How exciting! Of course, we'll keep you posted on his amazing adventures right here.
-Curtis

video

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Baby Beluga

One of Noah's favorite books is Baby Beluga, a lovely illustrated book of the lyrics to the children's song made popular by Raffi. It's always the first book he reaches for. As Jen and I read it, we try our best to sing the hit song. If you need a reminder of how it goes, click here. Then watch Noah's rendition below.

video

Friday, November 14, 2008

You Are So Beautiful...

We have all been feeling a bit under the weather here this past week. Noah has been fussy and whiny (prompting many complaintive phone calls from me to my Mom), and now that I am sick too, I can understand why. It is miserable.

Our one entertainment for the week? This lovely, large, harvest bouquet. How, you may ask, can a bouquet bring entertainment? At the dinner table, when Curtis says, "You look really beautiful tonight." And I respond, "Thanks, your hair and right ear look particularly nice today, too."

Ha, ha, ha!
-Jen

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Look Ma, No Hands!

About a week ago, Noah did something pretty amazing. Check it out in the video below:

video

Swimming

Because Noah loves the water so much, I thought it would be a fun cold weather activity to do the Parent/Tot swim class at the local pool. This morning was the first class, and Noah was the youngest little swimmer. We practiced kicking, back-floating, swimming after toys, and did the Hokey Pokey.




Now that I have seen these pictures, I am regretting just rolling out of bed, not combing my hair and allowing myself to be photographed. Perhaps Curtis will get in the pool next week!
-Jen

Monday, November 3, 2008

Catching Rainbows

Last week, as I was trying to take pictures of Noah's new hat, Curtis started waving the playsilks, resulting in this unexpected but very beautiful sequence of pictures.

Sis and Aunt Trisha, upon seeing these pictures, wrote an equally beautiful response that I wanted to share (I added a couple lines to the poem):

Very Cool and Captivating! One of my favorite meditation readings is about a family sharing some of their favorite childhood memories. One child reminisced on how cool it was when their Mom hung out the sheets on the clothesline so the kids could run through them and play hide-n-seek! This so reminds me of creating moments that are more special then we know! Perhaps Noah will have his own story to tell some day:

My Daddy is the Greatest,
As you can clearly see

One day he caught a rainbow,
And he gave it to me

As I played amongst the colors
I squealed out with glee

I could almost taste it
It was as beautiful as can be!
-Jen