Friday, December 27, 2013

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

It's a...


Even though Brian and Levi claimed to "know" it was a girl all along, personally, I needed an ultrasound to confirm. :) We are all ecstatic and can't wait for "baby sister" to join us. Of course the day after we found out, I made her a bonnet among a few other cute little girly things...just because I could. It's going to be a fun few months of preparing for our already very loved little gal. 

(bonnet pattern HERE)

Sunday, December 15, 2013

O come to us, abide with us

O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin, and enter in, be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel!

Thankful, for

- an abiding God
- the world in white
- nightly elfing dates with my love; working on handmades for those we love
- an atomic date with my boy and a surprise hang out with Kristin
- the first Christmas cards in the mail
- an encouraging dr. appointment, no signs of my bad antibodies are getting to the baby
- a family Christmas party; a warm car massage chair scored at the yankee swap
- Brian feeling the baby for the first time
- the first real snow, especially Levi's excitement; "we have to make a snow dad and a snow mom and a snow Levi and a snow car!"
- nutella hot chocolate
- a good and long skype to Fiji
- boxes of hand-me-downs from cousin Thomas
- a hilarious pinterest craft fail with Jen 
- a gig for Brian that turned into a fancy date, as well; a many coursed meal, local food, good company, carols around the fire while snow fell
- Levi's focused drumming during Sunday worship

Sunday, December 8, 2013

strength and consolation

Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s Strength and Consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear Desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.

Thankful this week, for ....

- Christ, my Strength and Consolation, the Joy of my longing heart
- A Sound of Music LIVE viewing party with the family, complete with Apple Studel
- "Mama? I'm growing bigger and bigger and bigger! I'll be bigger than Daddy! And then I'll change YOUR diaper!"
- my occasional all-by-myself Christmas shopping trips, with a salted caramel mocha latte 
- Afternoon napping finally turned into afternoon nesting
- a surprise date in Gloucester
- pizza and grocery shopping family dates
- the Kettle decorated for Christmas; many quiet nights of knitting, Christmas music and twinkle lights.
- last minute playdates with friends
- finding a bin of much needed hand-me-downs for Levi that I forgot about
- my husband napping on my lap
- a beyond relaxing massage; a thoughtful friend
- our neighborhood group Christmas party; good laughs, a fun yankee swap and especially Eva's amazing snickerdoodles.
- a visit from Lili
- our cute little baby Christmas tree

Sunday, December 1, 2013


Thankful, for...

- a full, restful and thankful Thanksgiving and Kimmie here!
- my Dad's focus and intensity about the family Christmas picture
- a visit with the Drosts, especially Levi and Caroline playing music together
- Levi and daddy games; wrestling matches, band practice and horsey rides
- hands busy with needles and yarn
- date with my sisters in the city; window shopping, laughter and lattes.
- texts from a fellow despiser of the cold, and realizing we made the same dinner
- Robittusin, vicks and humidifiers...and a kind (yet tired) husband.
- Levi; his imagination and humor, sweet and friendly disposition, and when he falls asleep on me
- a guest preacher and a meaningful start to advent
- cuddle time with my boys
- Levi reading with his great Grandpa
- pasta dinner from Jean Louis' Homemade Pasta Shop
- Christmas music and my elfing well underway
- "Mama, you're awesome!" - Levi, first thing in the morning
- a visit to Brian's school, fun traditions and Levi having a blast playing with his Dad's students
- surprise gift certificates
- kind emails from blog readers, just checking in :)
- feeling our inside baby kick and stretch all day long; a healthy pregnancy so far and almost half way there!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

give me a calm and thankful heart...

(wishing you all a Thanksgiving full of joy, peace and gratitude)
Father whate'er of earthly bliss
Thy sovereign will denies
Accepted at Thy throne of grace
Let this petition rise

Let the sweet hope that thou art mine
My life and death attend
Thy presence through my journey shine
And crown my journey’s end

Give me a calm, a thankful heart
From every murmur free
The blessings of Thy grace impart
And make me live to Thee

You raise your hand to still the storms
That rage inside my head
Revive my heart with gratitude
Love quell my doubt and dread

Give me a sure and rested soul
From every fear relief
The spirit’s power and presence mine
To ever comfort me

Give me a sure, a restful heart
From every fear relief
Thy spirit’s power and presence mine
To ever comfort me.

Give me a calm, a thankful heart
From every murmur free
The blessings of thy grace impart
And make me live to thee.

-Anne Steele

(a beautiful rendition sung HERE)

Friday, November 22, 2013

grocery shopping with a two year old

..or at least this is how it is with MY two year old. 
You probably have a perfectly behaved one that just sits happily in the cart. :)

so cheeky. :)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

this and that

A little bit of this and a little bit of that...

- It was a quite a week. A very dear friend had an emergency c-section, after doctors had trouble finding the baby's heartbeat during an OB appointment. During the surgery and as her baby was being delivered, her daughter's heart stopped beating for a full 15 minutes. 15 minutes.  Baby Tessa was eventually revived, but had to be transferred to Children's Hospital in Boston and was hooked up to every machine imaginable for a few days. For a while it was very unclear as to what sort of brain/organ damage she may have undergone during that long length of time that her heart wasn't beating. After the prayers of many, Tessa had a miraculous MRI that showed almost no brain damage. She has been doing so well, eating and slowly being weaned off of tubes and medications.  She is due to go home tomorrow which seemed unimaginable early last week. Needless to say, there is a lot of praising God going on around here.  

-We had Tessa's 18 month old brother staying at our place for almost a week while his parents were in Boston with the baby.  It was quite an adventure having two toddlers romping around the kettle, but he is a super laid back little guy and Levi loved having a "brother" for a while. 

- Levi is currently obsessed with drumming, drums, and being a drummer.  He is actually kind of good at it, for a two year old. He practices constantly and uses two of my knitting needles as drum sticks. He brings them with him everywhere.  Last week after church he sat next to the stage and just stared longingly at the drum set for at least a half hour.  He often sighs heavily and says "Mama, I just want to be a drummer."  

- "Morning" sickness (yeah, right) has lasted a lot longer during this pregnancy than it did with Levi. I'm almost 17 weeks and still needing to take Zofran on a daily basis...hopefully it will subside sooner rather than later. 

- A couple weeks ago we were able to celebrate our friend's 30th birthday with some of our old friends. Since the birthday boy currently lives in Fiji, our only option was to party in cyberspace. Amazingly enough, we were able to coordinate a big google hangout with 13 (more if you count the unborn!) people living in Massachusetts, Maryland, North Caroline and Fiji. It was so fun to see everyone; technology is just so cool sometimes. 

- the other night (around 2am) Levi was up crying with a fever and bad cold so Brian was tending to him, meanwhile he comes back to our bedroom to me throwing up on the floor, as soon as I finish and we clean up, we hear the cat throwing up in the other room. It was awful and hilarious. Poor Brian.

- it's getting so cold and wintery. (pouty face)

- Some cute Levi things: he calls a sneeze a "God bless you". For example, "Mama, I "God Bless You"ed!"; he can tell a dobro from a banjo when listening to bluegrass music (truly his father's son); he insists on praying for every meal himself and he always has a long list of adorable thanks, on his own he often prays for "our baby" that he/she would be strong and healthy; he continues to be super outgoing and affectionate and often exclaims "I'm so glad to see you!", "I love you!" and "I missed you!".

- our arts ministry at church is already planning for ArtSpeak 2014. Brian just wrote a great article for CIVA (Christians in the Visual Arts). Check it out HERE.

- I have about 40 1st quarter art evaluations due on Friday morning. And I'm totally procrastinating by writing this blog post. :)

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween 2013: Curious George and the Man (and Woman!) with the Yellow Hats

Hope you all had a fun Halloween! Not unlike the last two years, we had a pretty low-key night. We got dressed up and stopped at my sister's house and then at both sets of Grandparents' houses to show off our costumes and indulge in a couple pieces of candy. Levi was definitely more into the festivities than he has ever been, which was fun. We still haven't done any real trick or treating as of yet, but he was more than happy to see some of his favorite people, act like a monkey, yell "trick or treat!" and ingest more sugar than he ever has in his life. As I write, it's 2 hours past his bedtime and he's still in his crib talking the ears off of his stuffed animals. ;)

This year, I thought I'd dress him up as one of his favorite storybook characters, Curious George. We love reading those books together and Levi often reminds me of a curious little monkey. Brian's costume was easy to decide on, of course he would be the Man with the Yellow Hat.  There aren't any main female characters in the books, so I settled on being The Man with the Yellow Hat's long lost love, The Woman with the Yellow Hat. Totally made up, but kind of cute and fun. 



-The recipe for the George hat is THIS earflap hat pattern + the ears from THIS pattern.

-For George's tail, I chained 10 and double crocheted around until it was the length I wanted (about a foot?) then decreased and closed it off. I just safety pinned it to the back of his pants. 

-Brown clothes, we already owned. 

"The Man with the Yellow Hat"

-I cut out a simple tie with yellow felt and glued on some polka dots with black felt.

- With the rest of the black felt, I cut a band to put around a yellow fabric hat that I found at "Party City".  

- He wore a yellow shirt, khaki pants and his black rubber boots. 

"The Woman with the Yellow Hat"

- I wore clothes I already owned; black skirt and boots, yellow shirt and yellow sunhat. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

these days

these days, I'm... 

- watching a baby bump grow, thankful for the second trimester
- going on oodles of playdates with my very extroverted toddler
- knitting cuddle sacks like a madwoman, welcoming new babies
- taking video of my husband trying to rake leaves, while Levi runs through and ruins all of his piles
- writing 1st quarter art evaluations
- planning Christmas projects
- noticing Levi's love and gift for music and rhythm; listening to him drum -
- supporting my husband during a season of an overload of work and responsibility
- feeling less nauseous
- playing lots of "I Spy"
- packing for an all church retreat
- reading through Galatians and The Jesus Storybook Bible
- studying prayer with the girls
- watching beautiful art being made
- constructing forts and running in hay mazes
- trying to stay warm; layering more clothes and blankets
- looking forward to visiting the grandparents and aunts/uncles on Thursday in our Halloween finest
- enjoying the last days of one of my very favorite months of the year

Monday, October 28, 2013

Monday thanks

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    his love endures forever...

When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord;
he brought me into a spacious place.  
The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.
Psalm 118:1,5
Thankful, for..

-a good God, spacious places
- for lots of excitement and well-wishes for baby #2
- a fun fundraiser and masquerade ball with church; especially Levi ripping it up on the dance floor.
- football Sunday at the Antonells; not so much the football, but the company :)
- new library books
- a proper date, dinner and ice cream
- Brian and Levi in costume, getting their picture taken by many strangers throughout the streets of Salem
- autumn collages galore by my youngest students 
- early morning devotions with Levi; his love for his Bible and his prayers for his friends and family
- warm blankets
- a crochet student
- a skype date to Fiji, on the calendar
- costume days at school
my beloved's hands to hold
- leaves everywhere, glorious colors
- every day, feeling a little better

Sunday, October 20, 2013


So, I guess it's time to level with you. :) If you hadn't guessed based on my spotty blogging for the past couple of months, we're expected our 2nd child in late April/early May. And yes, I'm officially adding two weeks to my due date, just to keep my sanity after Levi's late arrival! We are so very excited and extra thankful after a very hard 1st trimester.  I was (and kind of still am) ever so much sicker than I was with Levi. Every symptom I knew you could have and then some. It's definitely a crazy mixture of emotions when you're so happy, so sick, so tired and so anxious all at the same time and for so long.
Some of you may remember that I lost 2 babies before Levi late in the first trimester due to a hyperactive thyroid. All of my pregnancies are considered "high risk", so it's always a challenge not to worry. This time I had quite a scare around 10 weeks when I went in to my endocrinologist and she informed me that my levels were dangerously high and warned me that I may lose the baby. Many prayers were said and medication was increased and I seem to be stable again. We're praising God that the baby was able to survive however long it was that my levels were so high. 
All of this to say, it's been a long and joyful few months and I'm happy to report that I'm starting to get back some energy and feeling hopeful about this little baby staying alive and being healthy. Brian and Levi are very excited, of course. And both of them are convinced it's a girl. :) So there you have it. Hopefully I'll be blogging more often in the coming weeks! (cause man, it's hard to blog when you're just sick and tired and keeping a secret!)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Operation Autumn List: A Day on the Kancamangus

On Monday we spent the day up in New Hampshire, in hopes of catching some peak season beauty in the White Mountains.  We began with lunch and a craft fair in Lincoln and then we took our sweet time driving along the Kancamangus Highway, a beautiful road that cuts across the pristine White Mountain National Forest. Throughout the afternoon we stopped at many gorgeous overlooks, played on the shores of the rocky Saco river and took a short forest hike to a waterfall. It was definitely one of those days that felt longer than it was (in a good way!) and one you just want to bottle up and remember forever. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Operation Autumn List: A Day at the Topsfield Fair

Yesterday we spent the afternoon at the Topsfield Fair; it's the oldest fair in the country and one of my very favorite fall activities. Brian is never terribly excited about going, but every year I drag him and every year he ends up wondering what on earth he was thinking (ok, maybe that's going too far, but he always enjoys it!) Now that we have a curious and excitable toddler in tow, it's even more fun.  Levi was beyond excited and couldn't stop asking questions and making amazed faces at all of the animals, gigantic pumpkins, carnival rides and games, and of course the crazy people lighting themselves on fire and diving into a 10 foot pool from 30 feet (!!). Oh yes, it happened. We also indulged in our fair share of fair food- a turkey dinner, a loaded baked potato and my personal favorite, maple cotton candy. We met up with some church friends and even ran into my parents, helping out with the Gideon's booth. Levi spent some time handing out pocket Bibles with his Grampy and "helping" Grammy with the coffee. 

We've been doing our best to make the most of these beautiful October days and this weekend we're checking tons of things off of our Autumn List. Today we'll spend the day up north enjoying the foliage on the beautiful Kancamangus Highway. Oh, delicious autumn!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

buddy reunion

These boys have been buddies since Levi was just a few weeks old. They hung out together a couple days a week for 2 years while their mamas took turns teaching classes. This year, Evan is in pre-school, so they don't get to hang out nearly as often. A couple times last week, Levi looked longingly out the window and said "Wheeeeere's my Evan?". So, Evan's mom and I decided to make things right and get together for a nice long playdate at a fancy new playground. They were so excited to see each other and followed each other around happily all morning. Buddies are the best.     

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

schooner sail

My birthday present from my sister Katie was tickets for a schooner sail for us and our men. On Saturday morning we boarded the Thomas E. Lannon out of Gloucester and went out for a relaxing sail around the harbor. It was beautifully foggy, calm and temperate, a perfect day to be out on the water. It's not every day we get to sail OR all hang out without a little boy (us) or a puppy (them), so it was a real treat all around! 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Art Room Diaries: first projects

I finally had time to post my students first projects on our online art gallery (yes, I'm afraid that blog has been just as neglected as this one!). We're off to a great start; illuminated manuscripts, Miro action figures, pointillist paintings, identity boxes and bas-reliefs inspired by Donatello. Now we're on a roll- so much more to come!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

of late

Beginning of the school year craziness is calming and I think we're all getting into a nice rhythm. I had a doozy of a cold for over a week, but I'm slowly mending. I'm enjoying the the wonderful things about having a two year old (talking! jokes! energy! playdates! imagination! affection!) and learning day by day how to be patient and give grace to that same rambunctious toddler who is just learning how to cope with his little world (its utter joys and its perceived travesties! Toddlers are a little bit bi-polar!). 
It's October, a busy month in our dear Salem-town and many locals hem and haw at all the tourists and the Halloween madness.  The Jameses, however, choose to embrace the season and milk it for all it's worth. I mean, this month we'll have at least 2 fried dough stands within walking distance! How could you complain about THAT? And the city just turns into a constant carnival with all sorts of seasonal fun. In what other city is it totally normal to walk around in costume? Now, if I could just learn how to dodge those zombies and people with fake knifes sticking out of their heads....gross. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Salem Abstracted #2

I'm very happy to report that the commission that I've been working on for many months is finished and nestled (or hung, I guess) safely in it's owners home. The idea behind it was similar to my first abstracted Salem painting (seen here) - a fragmented, cubist portrayal of our city, showing the old and new, the layers and clusters of homes and buildings that fill our neighborhoods. 

My first piece was titled "In Salem as it is in Heaven" and I'd like to think that this work also has the feeling of light breaking through darkness. I had a blast working on this but I'm relieved to have finally finished. Now to start on a couple late wedding gift paintings!


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Ferrying to the Fishies

This trip has been a while in the making.  Taking the Salem Ferry to Boston has been on my summer list at least 2 years in a row, but for some reason we just never made it.  This month, the ferry was discounted for residents AND because of some awesome grant, Salem residents are also able to go to the Boston Aquarium for free for the month of September! How could we pass that up? Along with some friends from church, we decided to make a day of it; walking to the ferry, boating up to Boston (which stops right next to our destination, no less) and enjoying the newly renovated aquarium. A perfect way to spend a warm and beautiful New England day!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

still here :)

Still around, just crazy busy. Hoping to get back into the blogging groove this week! For now, I leave your with a recent family portrait... 

Thursday, September 12, 2013


According to my husband, it's the season we're in. Almost fall or "fallmost". The school year has begun, some leaves are even changing color, but I also sweated through my art classes this morning, some summer flowers are still in bloom and the AC units are running around the clock in my house. The seasons are definitely in flux. 
Despite the recent September heat wave, I've started writing my "Autumn List", the knitting needles are back out in earnest, scarves and vests have been dug out of the back of the closet and I'm dreaming about apple crisp and drinking pumpkin spiced anythings.
The last couple of weeks have been a doozy, mostly just beginning of the school year stuff, but I'm looking forward to things dying down a bit in the coming weeks and getting back into a rhythm of sorts. For now, I'm trying to enjoy and savor the wonderful season of fallmost with my favorites.