Monday, December 2, 2019


December is here. The mercat is filled with poinsettias, garlands and lights. Passeig de GrĂ cia is ablaze with decorations. And our own little tree is shining, hilariously filled with plastic army men this year. Thank you, Toy Story. 

We lit the first candle yesterday, and sang O Come, O Come Emmanuel at the top of our voices. 

I allowed Silas to light the candle. He asked me later if he could keep the burned out match so he’d always remember the first time he lit a fire.

I let him know he’d have to just remember it in his heart. 

Boys and fire.

We’re also starting a new tradition this year of singing a carol before dinner. I’m not sure how else to get some of those good words down their souls.

And after they were all tucked in bed, I sat down again and lit the candle myself. It is my personal Christmas tradition to sit alone in the quiet and read slowly through Voskamp’s The Greatest Gift every December. 

The advent is a marvel. I love taking a season to drink in the wonder of God becoming flesh.

Welcome, December. We’re glad you’re here. 

Friday, November 29, 2019

Thanksgiving 2019

To write that my heart is full, is an understatement. My gratitude list this year is miles long. And these people right here are at the top. 

Thanksgiving has become one of my absolutely favorite celebrations. 

We celebrated again this year with the same two families we’ve had turkey with since our very first year in Spain. The adults are far outnumbered and the kids have a blast. It’s tradition now. And while we always miss our own family so much at the holidays, it is such a kindness to have friends to around the table on the far side. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Friday, November 22, 2019

Sophia at 3 months

We call her a dream baby. She is cheerful  and smiley. She interacts with everyone, loves her brothers’ attention. On most nights, she goes to sleep promptly at 10pm, takes a snack at 3am and sleeps til 6 or 7. She wakes up cooing and smiling. 

At this point, unless my memory is serving me poorly, she is by far our easiest baby. 

It’s a real gift to these tired parents. 

She’s holding her head up well, smiling and making lots of sounds. She loves her baby jungle gym and just plays and plays in it. Until she’s done. Then she’s DONE. Because of the craziness of the past two weeks, she’s transitioned to taking a bottle a couple times a day to supplement. She’s handled it like a champ, is still nursing well and is even laid back enough to let the brothers feed her. 

She rolled over once. We think it was an accident. But we all cheered and marveled. She hasn’t made any attempt to repeat the experience! She has quite a voice. When she’s happy, she’s happy. But when the girl is mad, everyone in our entire building probably knows it!

Overall, she’s just a little dream and we all adore her! 

I’m not sure I’ve written this here yet. When David and I were making the decision about whether or not to try to have a fourth child, we prayed for several months over it. We felt tired, ready to move forward. Our life is busy and kids take a lot of work.  Our boys were all out of diapers, we were entering a new season of parenting. 

We felt content, and yet not. 

I could not shake the feeling that I would regret not having a fourth. That long years from now, I would look back and wish I’d given my body, energy and time for one more little life. That the sacrifice would be small compared to the privilege of giving life. 

It seemed like more of a conviction for both of us than a desire.

We marvel now that God was gracious enough to kindly and persistently lead us through that prayerful season. We could have missed this. We could have missed the blessing of a tiny baby in pink, who is daily bringing joy and laughter into our household. 

It is a lot of work. And it’s definitely different to be back in the baby season.  But she’s worth it. We are so glad she’s here. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Hugging the routine

I’ve had friends pop over into our house from time to time who observe my stringency in creating routine. Usually, they find this surprising. We live a pretty wild life, traveling often, engaging across cultural lines. I often find myself in situations that are anything but routine. 

But my love for the ordinary rhythms of life borders on an obsession. I have to fight against the kind of inflexibility that shuts people and opportunity out. But whenever it’s in my power, I dig deeply into routine. 

Getting back into the swing of life after a week away has been a process. I’m still slowly recovering. My average time to walk from the flat to the school is 2x my normal pace. Last night I had to take a break on every block. It took us almost an hour to get home. 

This week, we’ve been hugging routine pretty tightly. It’s just taking a little bit longer to make it where we need to be. 

We’re glad to be back in the saddle again though.

Sunday, November 17, 2019



It happens every time. 

I think I’ll just pop right back into my life after an illness or baby or surgery. And then reality sets in. Illnesses take their toll. 

I was released from the hospital yesterday afternoon. We dropped our stuff off at the house and headed out for some traditional paella. Sara left this morning so the hours of our together in Barcelona were slipping away.

The plan was lunch, shopping and churros. 

We made it through lunch. And then I needed to go home and rest.

Thankfully, the churro shop delivers to my door. And Sara is a really good sport!

This morning, I’m sitting on my couch in a fuzzy bathrobe singing to a wiggly baby in her bouncer. This week will probably be slower than I like. But I am so glad to be home!

Thank you for all the prayers!

Friday, November 15, 2019

So long

The doc was able to get all of the stone out. Whew! Hasta la vista, baby!

For now, I’m still pretty heavily intubated. Have I ever mentioned that IVs and catheters are the stuff of my nightmares?

But this is real life, not a dream. And I’m trying to be a big girl about the discomfort. It really helps that the end is in sight! I’m not very hopeful that he’ll release me today, but I am hopeful that I might get to sleep in my own bed by tomorrow. 

I’ll take it!

This little pic is from pre-surgery yesterday. Apparently, Sophia was a dream baby last night for our friend. The boys may not have given Sara a “dream” experience, but I am sure it was exciting. 

Hubs shuffled out the door at 6am this morning to go help get everyone out the door for school today. That guy is the best! Watching him serve us in this has just made me remember all over again why I love him so. Marriage is a gift, and I find myself pondering the covenant in seasons like this even more. 

“There is no more lovely, friendly and charming communion or company than a good marriage.” - Martin Luther

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The plan

We have surgery scheduled for tomorrow at 6:30pm! I could tell you a dozen stories from this week about abundant provision in situations where we felt utterly incapable of taking care of a need. The older doctor who “randomly” stepped in on this one is just another example. We are grateful.

They are keeping me in the hospital until then because I’m still at risk of infection from the blockage and they’re prepping me for surgery. I won’t deny that I shed a few tears last night. I’m homesick for my people. All my loud, hilarious, time-consuming little people. It’s good to realize that you really don’t want a big break from them. (Ok, maybe an hour for a cup of tea or a day out.) 

My favorite little visitor showed up this morning and because I haven’t had to take heavy pain killers in a while, I could nurse her!

I cried. Again. (Noticing an emotional pattern here?) 

She didn’t cry. 

She smiled and reminded me again what an indescribable joy motherhood is. The joy and heartache get so wrapped up together, don’t they?

The boys came to visit last night. They played on the hospital bed, tried to turn on the tv, picked thing up off the floor and put them close to their mouths. I freaked out about germs. Everything the touched seemed destined to give them the flu or some weird ailment.. It was a pretty normal interaction. I love those kids. 

David has his hands full. And he’s handling it like a champ. Keep him in your prayers though, this is a LOT for him to manage and still stay on top of work things that can’t be put aside. 

This “forced vacation” from the homefront has driven my heart into a deep awareness of my love for that guy and the family we have together. 

The little phrase I’ve been turning over in my head this week is to look with wonder at the provision rather than worrying over the lack. 

And what provision there is.