Six Years

Happy Anniversary, Love.


Greg reminded me of this song today.  It's called "Mended" by Watermark.  I couldn't find it on youtube, or I would've posted the link.  It's beautiful.  The lyrics are awesome, so here they are.

Mended by Watermark

You repair all that we have torn apart and
You unveil a new beginning in our hearts and
We stand grateful for all that has been left behind and
All that goes before us

You've got all things suspended
All things connected
Nothing was forgotten
'Cause your love is perfect
You are our healer
And you know what's broken
And we're not a mystery to you

We will dance 'cause you restore the wasted years and
You will sing over all our coming fears and
We'll stand grateful for all that has been left behind and all that goes before us

You've got all things suspended
All things connected
Nothing was forgotten
'Cause your love is perfect
You are our healer
And you know what's broken
And we're not a mystery to you

Lord, you mend the breech
And you break every fetter
You give us your best, but what we thought was better
And you are to be praised
You are to be praised
You are to be praised
You are to be praised...


15 months

I would feel remiss to not post something today.  It is Nathanael's 15 month birthday, and though I didn't take his measurements or set up a photo shoot with Mr. Bear, I have definitely taken time today to think on how God has changed my life in the past 15 months.  I feel a combination of humbled by my selfishness and gratitude to God for how He has grown me in selflessness.  I admire my husband even more than before as I watch him love and serve and teach our son, while also sacrificially loving and serving me.

And let's not forget the star of the day.  What an incredible change a few months or even weeks bring!  He is our little law enforcer, quickly pointing out and grunting at things that are out of place (in his opinion).  He is our little imitator, trying to swat at flies or make the same sounds as us.  He is our little learner, pointing and taking in everything we teach him and working hard to understand and perform well.  He is our little talker, filling the home with lots of words beginning with b (bed, bath, bear, book, ball), many animal and motor sounds, and a cute little British sounding "oh".  He is our loving son, generously tackling us with his big hugs and slobbery kisses, and resting his head on our shoulders before bed.  He is our toothless eater, somehow still managing to gum food like cucumbers and corn on the cob.  He is our little spoon holder, expertly scooping his cheerios and milk from a bowl.  He is our little boy, filled with wonder when it comes to anything with wheels or motors, anything that makes a lot of noise, and anything outside, the dirtier the better.  No one could have accurately prepared me for how grown up this little boy would seem by fifteen months!

I love being Nathanael's mother.  He is truly a gift from God.  Oh that I would bring God glory in the way I mother him...


Boulder with Aubs

At the end of our week in Colorado, we stopped in Boulder to visit our dear friend Aubrea.

She was an instant friend since she handed Nathanael some rocks!
 I love these pictures with Nathanael and Dad looking so alike.


Family Time in Colorado - Outdoor Adventures

In addition to hours and hours watching Nathanael play in the park, we enjoyed walking along the river,
hiking,fishing and taking to the trails on ATVs (the guys),and downhill mountain biking.  (This is Gregory and me if you can't tell.)


Family Time in Colorado - Indoor Day

We had our fair share of time in the condo since it was rainy/snowy and cold at the beginning of our trip.  I think you can tell how we entertained ourselves from these pictures. :)  It's crazy how having a kid along changes a family vacation!

Auntie Carrie was feeding Nathanael Cheerios, and he just leaned back on the couch and relaxed.
Nathanael spent a lot of time reading with Mr. Bear and his favorite people.


Family Time in Colorado - Hideaway Park

Some of my favorite pictures of Nathanael from our family's time together in Colorado were in Hideaway Park, a stone's throw from our ski condo in Winter Park.

Grandma and Nathanael "riding" the double motorcycle

My little rock climber

I discovered I'm too long for little kid slides, but this little guy still loved going down with me.


Fort Invasion

Other than bumping his head a few times every day, Nathanael enjoys sitting in his fort and dragging toys in and out of the space.  (Of course, in this picture his face only communicates how tired he was.)

We're still working on a strategy for fort defenses.  The invading cat looks to be in charge to me.


Family Biking

We are soooo excited about this!

Coming from a city which highly values biking (Boston) and moving to one which values it even more (Vienna), we are thrilled to be able to create family memories on our bikes!  Yea for child bike seats!

As a personal sidenote, I have to admit I was slightly nervous riding yesterday, a little over two weeks from my big mountain biking fall in Winter Park, Colorado.  Let's just suffice it to say that I probably won't be doing much downhill mountain biking again in my life.  I still have some tender bruises reminding me of that fun event. To be fair though, I mostly enjoyed the experience up until I fell. And two years ago when we did the same thing, I had a blast! (Of course, two years ago, my friend Aubs was the unlucky one who fell and ended up breaking a bone! Ugh!)

Here are Gregory and me on our way up the mountain the last time; I'm thankful for this goofy helmet which really protected my chin and face!


Creating Blog Books

With a quick Google search, I ran into some helpful blog posts about printing blogs and making books out of blogs.  This one was the first one I found, and it was quite helpful.  The comments were as informative as the actual post.  From that article, I looked into a few options:  Blurb (too complex and time consuming for what I wanted), BookFabrik (easy and looked great but didn't keep my text and pictures ordered properly), Blogbooker, and Blog2Print.  The latter two have my recommendation, and I am actually using both:


This is a free, simple pdf.  You simply export your blog (they tell you how), put in your blog link, and they create a pdf to download.  (TIP: Once the page says it's completed, scroll down to see the link that enables you to download the pdf.  It will not automatically download.)

I actually did this once and realized that some of my pictures weren't showing up.  I checked my blog and discovered some of my html coding was off, so an hour later, all the images were fixed, and I created another pdf within a few minutes.

  • Quick and easy
  • Free, so you can update it at any time, no cost
  • Great LINKED table of contents
  • You may choose to include comments and footnoted links.
  • This is a good option for having a back-up electronic copy of your blog that is viewable and user-friendly.
  • The format of the posts is not pretty.  It's not really something I would want to print.  Margins and images and text are all over the place.  Image sizes vary throughout, depending on the type of image and coding used.
  • You cannot choose dates or posts to exclude.  You get the entire blog.

This service was definitely the highest recommended among fellow bloggers, and it quickly became obvious to me why.  Last night, I discovered it, created a book (still in process) to cover blog posts from pregnancy to Nathanael's first birthday, and created another book (just ordered) of my letters to Nathanael during his first year.  This is really a great, quick service.  After having a few issues, I ran into this tutorial which I wish I had read first as it would have saved me some time.  I'll address those shortly, but first the pros and cons.

  • It's not difficult to use, especially compared to a program like Blurb.  Of course, Blurb gives you a ton more options, but Blog2Print is better for the blogger who doesn't want to spend months (or even hours!) creating a book.
  • Options!!!
    • Choose dates, posts, comments, additional pictures, additional pages...
      • You can even choose posts by labels which was a wonderful feature for me in making a book from my "Dear Nathanael" letter posts! 
  • You can share your books through email or html code.  Ideally I would include the book here, but the coding wasn't seamless, so maybe this "pro" isn't as great as it sounds...
  • It's easy to get caught up into customizing a book, spend time choosing posts, comments, etc, and then you realize you didn't include something you wanted.  You have to start all over from the beginning if you didn't initially include a post or comment.
  • It's not free.  The pdf cost is reasonable (around $8) for the quality of product.  The actual books seem a little expensive to me, but I'm not sure they're more expensive than having it printed at your local copy store.  Color prints often run around 50 cents per page at those stores, and that can add up with a couple hundred pages plus binding!
  • No reordering of pages that I could discover.  I would've liked to have added a page at the beginning instead of at the end (still easy to do if I choose to print from the pdf).  And I would've liked to have reordered some of my posts (which I could do in blogger if I wanted, but I'm lazy).
Now for a few tips:
  1. I found this random blogpost from someone after I made the same mistake, so I suggest you follow her suggestions as well.  ESPECIALLY THE PART ABOUT KEEPING YOUR FORMATTING, even though it will add more pages.  This was important for me since I often just post a few pictures with descriptive text above and wanted them to be in the correct order.
  2. If you're picky, expect it to take a few tries to get it how you want it.  Save any text you write (such as the dedication) in another program so that you don't have to come up with it again.  Make a test book first so that you can see all the program options.  The books are easy to delete from your account, no charge.
  3. Before creating your book, make sure all your images are appearing correctly on your blog.  For some reason, some of the image coding on a few month's worth of my pictures was messed up slightly, and I had to go back and fix those.  I should have checked that before getting into this process.
Once I receive my small book, I'll post a picture.  I still haven't decided what to do about the entire blog.  I'll probably end up buying the $8 pdf and find some cheaper way to print it and bind it on my own.  I like the idea of a three-ring binder so that I can cheaply add additional years' posts in the future...