Another phone photo update.
Last night I was told by a sweet friend that lives far far away, across an ocean and 3 hours in the future (that’s how I like to imagine time zones), that updates without words or explanations or big life events are needed. “Just pictures will do. Even if they’re straight from your phone.” So I am going to start doing that, because I love her and when someone I care about asks to see pictures of our life I provide.
To my Uruguay family.
287 | 365
An oldie but a goodie.
The girls were pretending to go to the doctor and have a baby. Elanor had a stuffed animal up her dress and then she would push the animal out and Sarah would announce “You had a baby”. They did this back and forth for a while. They even laid that towel down for a “bed”.
I have no idea where they get this stuff…surely not from seeing and hearing about birth semi-constantly with my work and work talk. I’m just glad they were fairly accurate, aside from announcing the babies came from their belly buttons ;D
I can’t believe it’s been 3 years since the day Elanor was first placed in my arms. Oh how the time has flown. There were days that flew, and some that felt like an eternity. I think that sums up part of parenthood, in a way. It flies, even though some days/weeks or months feel like they will never end. Three entire years though? This truly has flown by.
Elanor was such an easy baby. Her labor and birth were peaceful. She nursed like a champ and did so until the day she decided to quit at 15 months. She still loves to cuddle and does the sweetest thing where she tucks her arms in underneath herself and against our chest, which is when we know she’s there to stay for a while.
Physical touch is probably her biggest love language. Lately she has been asking me to lay with her when she falls asleep for her nap and at the occasional bedtime. When she sneaks in our room at night, maybe once a week, she cuddles up next to me and pulls my arm out to lay her head on it, she calls it her mommy-pillow.
She is fierce, strong, tough, hard headed, independent while also tender, soft spoken, shy and gentle.
When I wear dangle earrings she always notices and she loves to slowly take them out of my ears and then put them back in. I don’t fear it a bit because she is so focused and soft with her movements.
She went through a stint between about 18 months and 2 1/2 where she didn’t take a nap during the day. Something amazing happened and she is back to taking a nap in the early afternoon. She gets up around 6:30 and is usually ready to nap around 11. Sarah stopped napping around the same time, but never started back like Ella has. I think she needs that extra sleep to keep up with her sister.
She loves peanut butter sandwiches, pancakes, bananas (and pretty much all fruit), yogurt, smoothies, hotdogs, food off of our plates even if it’s the same thing that is on her plate, grilled cheese, any cheese (sliced or shredded), bacon, eggs, rotisserie chicken, and dipping everything in ketchup.
And cereal. Lots of cereal.
She loves to play princesses with Sarah. She also enjoys pretending to be a cat or frog, or being a baby while Sarah is a mommy. Pretty much any game if it’s with Sarah.
She is a firecracker while simultaneously a quiet independent child. She is such a beautiful girl and we could not be more grateful for her and the joy she brings to our family and one day to the expanses that Christ gives her.
Happy 3rd Birthday, Elanor S0-Silly Ringl. We love you more than we can explain or comprehend.
It simultaneously blows my mind while also making total sense that Stephen and I have 3 and 4 year old daughters.
It feels like a flash but is also hard to remember a time when they weren’t in our lives. I’m so excited to celebrate Christmas and the surrounding seasons with these two smart, beautiful, goofy little jokesters.
I am a huge fan of crafts. Simple craft to be exact. Simple and as close to free as possible. I also want to teach the girls about using available resources. One such resource that I have been using and showing them since becoming a mom is nature. We have a giant sycamore tree in our backyard and have been taking advantage of it’s leaf bounty this fall.
Sarah loves painting, and watercolors do really cool things on leaves and bark. We now have them displayed in different spots around the house and I’m hoping to make a leaf garland banner to hang for November and until Thanksgiving arrives.
The girls faces light up when they see their art and crafts displayed around the house, and I love the warmth it brings into our home :)
Oh kind productivity, I’ve missed you.
My wonderful friend Sara pointed something out a few posts back that I forgot to share. I’m sure you’ve noticed that I’ve been getting a bit lax about that lately. Going from having the summer off to capturing births again has got my website updates a bit more spaced.
You know we have been a one-car family for most our marriage. Up until Stephen got a work vehicle when he worked with Bayer, we were riding in the same vehicle pretty much everywhere we went. It was a huge and lovely change having a 2nd vehicle, especially a truck we didn’t have to pay for.
So we went from 1 paid off car, to having a paid off car and company vehicle. Not having car payments was one of the reasons I was able to stay home when we had children. The small things really add up each month.
We love not having that debt, especially me and my don’t-owe-people-money brain. Having student loans is another toughie for me. I think we are still paying for my 1 semester at FSU, and that’s after 8 years of payments. Eesh. So not having car payments with 2 vehicles was not only awesome, but a necessity for us.
We talked off and on about getting a van for a few years. Stephen knew I wanted one one day, so we started saving. I know he loooooves it when I monitor every single teeny tiny purchase from our account. It’s one of those things he has learned to accept about me, or at least I think so. That’s why love is a choice folks, you choose to love everything about your mate – everything, and my Mr. is super kind to me and my money micro-managing self.
We saved for a while and would occasionally check online to see if there were any great deals out there. It surprised me how hard it was to find minivans, at all, and at a great price was even rarer. Apparently people don’t let go of them very easily. Which makes sense to me now. People keep them til they fall apart, kind of like the matrix we sold, only it didn’t fall apart as much as have a fun visit to the shop ending with a years worth of car payments as the bill. I’m putting it all out there for you guys. After all, that was part of our decision process.
After lots of searching, making lists of dealers and individual sales to check out, we visited a few places and got ourselves a new vehicle! Well, not new-new, but new to us. The best kind in my opinion ;)
Somehow it’s already been two months, because it was back in August we made the jump and got a mini-van. We sold my car, which I’ve had for over 8 years, and made the beautiful leap to a roomy mom-mobile. You guys – all the room. The spacious spaciousness is so amazing. When we go places we can now fit my sister, my niece Addison (in a spare carseat we keep in the back row), my mom AND still have 1 spare seat, 2 really if you count the one in the middle that the girls use as a stepping stool.
It took a bit of getting used too, and I still don’t know the buttons, but we are really enjoying the new Ringl-mobile. I even got a sticker for my back window this week. It’s similar to our old one in that if you understand what the sticker means then kudos, you are an awesome person. If you don’t get it… well, then you will just stare at it confused and think we are weird, which is also true. Embracing your inner weirdness is a beautiful part of life. Especially when you do it boldly and without regret ;)
Funny enough, the car search story doesn’t end there.
The week after we got the van Stephen got a job offer.
His job with Bayer was great and he was doing really well. I’m talking “win a free all-paid vacation to a private island” well. He was in the top 10 of the company. Not 10%, but top 10 people! I don’t unbiased’ly brag on my husband much on here, so you’ll have to just bear with me during this part of the story.
Stephen was doing awesome in the company, our insurance was wonderful (which is unheard of these days), he had a free company vehicle, he and his boss got along amazingly, and there were several end of year bonuses to look forward too. When he first got the job offer I didn’t think much of it. The Bayer job in itself was unexpected and an answer to some heavy prayers. Stephen needed change at that time for a few heavy reasons and the Lord provided. So this job offer really caught us off guard. It was actually from the company he used to work with, and while we loved him being nearby at a local job, there really wasn’t any topping the current job and incentives he was in line for.
Then stuff got weird. Like, Jesus is pointing things out in a way you can’t ignore, weird. Stephens schedule was somehow getting busier, which I didn’t know was possible. I never really talked about his job much except with close-close friends and family, but his hours and the traveling was HARD. His trips up north for training weren’t too bad because we knew what to expect, but the frequent overnight trips, or being gone until we were all in bed, that part was hard to get used to. I think it took me 7-8 months to adjust. Thankfully I’m a pretty laid back person. I don’t run on schedules, so that made it easier for my personality type. Of course, that’s not including the girls adjustment period. The weekends were often “office work” days, which were nice because he got paid, but not nice in that he was working during the weekends. He was doing what was required of the job – hence the wonderful incentives and bonuses; Bayer knows it’s a time consuming job so they compensate you the best ways they can.
However, you can’t buy weekends, you can’t pay for missed family gatherings and date nights. There is no getting over being exhausted and missing worship, discipleship and church opportunities. Really, just time in general. You can’t rewind, and if you know me I’m not one that cares much about monetary things in this world. Getting new stuff is nice, sure, this job is what made us able to save and buy the mini-van I was just raving about, but when it comes to the short time we have in this world, that van doesn’t mean a thing to us. We would rather drive my old hatchback together, shuffling and car pooling, than miss out on the life the Lord has given us.
I guess after all of that it shouldn’t be a super huge surprise when I share that we prayed about that unexpected job offer. We prayed, we made pro-con lists, we talked and then we prayed some more. And despite everything we thought and expected, Stephen accepted the offer and is now working in the IT world again. The job came with a few adjusting changes for us, but in the 6 weeks he has been back it’s been amazing. I can see a huge difference in the girls and their bonding with him. We’ve gone on a few dates, which has been awesome. Most have been date nights in, but a date night is a date night folks, and this wife was missing them.
With this job change came a huge contender on the pro/con list of ours – no more company vehicle. We just spent our car-fund on a van, and now we need a vehicle for Stephen too. Being a 1-car family wouldn’t work for us anymore. Not with me doing birth photography and the weird schedule that involves. We had 3 weeks to search and find something before the new job started. We wanted to pay cash, no loans involved or car payments.
While things didn’t go exactly like I budgeted and hoped we did find Stephen a car. We went in with a number and left spending exactly that, not a penny more. Of course it took about 45 minutes of back and forth with the dealer, but that was more than worth it.
So we went from a 1-car family, to 1 car and 1 company vehicle, to then a van and company truck and ending up with 1 Honda van and 1 Honda accord. From zero hondas to two. I can already see the kids learning to drive in them, mostly because that’s how long we’re going to have them ;)
New job, new cars; I think we are filled up and don’t plan on any new changes soon.
Do you have a day of the week that stresses you out more than most? It can fluctuate, since most of our schedules do that these days. For a while now that has been Sundays for me. Stephen leaves before the girls and I, and for a huge chunk of our lives we only had 1 car, so me getting there was always changing and adding car-time. That lead to less getting-ready time and with 2 toddlers and a closet that morphs my clothes to fit weird only on Sunday mornings, it was far from my ideal start to a day. Thankfully I’ve found the 2 pair of pants that consistently semi-fit and just slowly swap out shirts. Can’t help but be thankful for a church full of people that enjoy wearing jeans as much as I do ;)
Moving closer to the church last Spring definitely helped with saving us time, as well as getting a 2nd vehicle back when Stephen worked with Bayer. He used to be the associate pastor and youth leader, then that changed and Stephen became the worship leader. He leads us in praise on some Wednesdays, and then both services on Sunday.
He has been asking me to help with music on Sunday evenings for a few months. Months upon months, really. The girls usually go to bed at 7pm, so going to the 6pm service seemed like far more work than my brain could handle, especially since Sunday mornings are a bit nutty around our house. Well, I finally caved and started helping him a few months ago, and, surprisingly, I really like it. It isn’t consistent, but it’s been a really special time to me. Getting to practice and worship our Savior together, it’s such an amazing and new way to love our God together. And thankfully, after a few trials, we have figured out a little bit of a groove.
I love singing with Stephen. For the past 8 or 9 years it’s always been behind closed doors, in a vehicle, or me harmonizing softly while he plays a guitar. Into a microphone was 100% away from my comfort zone. I decided I’d try it out one Sunday evening (most because attendance is much lower) and quickly discovered that worshiping with him in front of our church family, a lot of very dear friends and fellow believers, wasn’t as uncomfortable as I thought it’d be. Still not my scene, per say, but it’s worth the mild discomfort if it means getting to praise the Lord along side him.
The girls had to adjust also. Sarah sits or stands in the pew pretty easy, either with a friend or by herself. Elanor took a few weeks to get used to it. The first 2 times she came on the stage and sat in my lap, which I loved. It probably didn’t help that she took a 5:30pm nap just before church, and woke up in a pew instead of her car seat where she fell asleep. Now she sits with Sarah and waits for me to join them after we’re done. It’s usually just a 4 song set, so it doesn’t take long.
I have a few photos that sweet friends from church snapped and sent to me. I’m so thankful for our church family. The Lord knew over 5 years ago that I would sit on a stage and sing with my husband with our little girl in my lap, and I couldn’t imagine a better life.
Psalm 147 -
Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.
The Lord builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the outcasts of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names.
Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.
The Lord lifts up the humble; he casts the wicked to the ground.
Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; make melody to our God on the lyre!
He covers the heavens with clouds; he prepares rain for the earth; he makes grass grow on the hills.
He gives to the beasts their food, and to the young ravens that cry.
His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the legs of a man,
but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love.
Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem! Praise your God, O Zion!
We went to a little park near the house and the girls had a blast.
Why play on the slides and equipment when you can climb the trees around the park?! Haha
The girls played for probably 2-3 hours without any complaints. That’s the magic of park’ing with snacks, and also meeting another little girl that they got along with.
After running a couple errands we got home just in time to beat the rain. Having a garage is a great change these past few months. No more unloading kids and groceries while getting drenched.
On this particukar afternoon we stayed outside to watch the storm and then the girls had a blast singing, running and dancing in the rain.