Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
1 Corinthians 3:17

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Ten on Ten :: October 2017

I can hardly believe it's October, but now we're into the second full week! 
How is time marching forward so, so quickly?!

Here is a little glimpse into our everyday beauty - 10 pictures on the tenth of the month.
I don't think there's an active link anymore, but I still like to document these days.


 We started our day early, but Levi was acting happy and I got to make our favorite pancakes- I added mini chocolate chips and everyone gobbled them up. (you can find my recipe listed under "breakfast and brunch")

Ethan drove everyone to high school and Isabelle hung out with Levi and me before we sent her off to fifth grade.
Someone's happy mood deteriorated quickly...no picture of saying goodbye to sister. 

Poor baby. :(
We were snuggling and admiring the view since we moved out the brown leather sofa to make room for the new one getting delivered later on.

Feeling better for a few minutes...

...and then crashing on the floor.
We don't normally hang out much in here, but we have been recently and I LOVE it.

Lots of tears and coughs, so I canceled our play date at the park and headed out for a nice long walk instead.
Now here's a little story for you: halfway to the trail I realized that I hadn't even grabbed the dog's leash in my frenzied state as we left the house. I was annoyed by this, but we let Ryder free on most trails so I didn't think it would be too big a problem.
Well I was WRONG.
Thirty seconds in, a lady was whipping out her phone and I just had an odd sense that it had something to do with me. Suddenly she was telling me that she was calling campus security if I didn't leave and go home immediately, or that she was going to call the police and have me arrested.
Umm, lady, you don't get out much, do you?
Seriously?!
She went on and on about leash laws, at one point lifted her shirt- to my horror!- to reveal a spot she said was caused by a dog attack though I didn't see anything. Clearly, she was traumatized by that incident, and she was right- we DO have a leash law, and I SHOULD be abiding by it. I'd like to add here that I take that seriously, but I do let our dog go free on trails, as most other people do as well.
There, with that said, I had had enough so I looked her straight in the eye and kind of let her have it.

For one thing, I am not twelve so you don't need to speak to me like you would a child. Nor do you need to threaten me or tell me what to do. I'll spare you the official transcript, but I can only think of two incidents where I spoke back (and up for myself) like that to strangers in my whole life. I am a firm believer in the idea that there is a right and a wrong way to approach anybody, and there really was no need for all the drama.

For a few seconds, I was close to tears, mainly because I was so frustrated, and I was imagining going back home, literally minutes after arriving, and the thought of putting Levi right back in the car seat only to be met with screams and fury put me on the verge of my own little meltdown. But I regrouped, put Ryder in the van, rolled the windows down, and Levi and I set off for a lovely walk. I am SO glad I had the sense to salvage our walk. Do you ever do that? Something gets you so upset or catches you so off guard that you can't think straight and end up really missing out?

We also had lots of fun playing in the sunshine and having a little pumpkin bum photo shoot.
Because why not? ha ha ha 
And I'm counting these as one because they're all related and too cute not to share!


 This is the one I posted on instagram. Gah, those tippy toes slay me!!!

Levi had a great nap, so I worked on Wendy Darling orders while he slept.
I am incredibly thankful for their popularity this year, however, I don't think I want to look at blue flannel for a loooong time after they're all done. :)






 Late lunch for this fella

 Then it was time to pick up Isabelle from school and go to piano lessons. I love her dress, so we took pictures under the pretty tree. (I think it was under $10 from Old Navy)

No pictures of the grocery store or food in the cart, but that's where I went after dropping off Isabelle. Bill headed into town to pick her up and then get Caleb from school, and this guy went along for the ride. He's become obsessed with drawers this week! Yesterday I emptied these out and put in things that he's allowed to play with, so of course he didn't have as much interest in them then. Figures!  Sneak peek of our new couch, too!

We planned on selling the leather couch, but since we already own it, I wanted to try to use it somewhere. Best decision ever! I can't even tell you how happy this unexpected change of events has made me! It feels so nice to have a soft spot to land on out there! Caleb has claimed this as his homework spot for the time being. :)
 I'm creating Levi's costume from a few different patterns put together. Wish me luck!
And I spy more blue flannel over there. Drowning in blue flannel until I finish these orders....

The leaves are beginning to turn and it's so beautiful. I sewed for a while after getting Levi to sleep, and then Isabelle and I snuggled for a little while in her bed talking girl talk. :)


 Hope you're having a nice week!

I'm on instagram
@bethanylivs_life if you want to say hello!

https://www.instagram.com/bethanylivs_life/?hl=en

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

My Scary Morning in the ER with Levi

I'm very thankful for lots of orders to work on, but between that, taking care of a big family, and just life in general, I'm having a hard time keeping up with blogging. And I don't want to give it up because it's such a great way to document all the happenings in our life, but still. It's tough.

Poor Jonah was feeling lousy for several days a couple weeks ago, and after he began vomiting and ran a fever, I brought him in to the doctors. Diagnosis: pneumonia. Poor guy. He has been my sidekick for the past two weeks, which has been kind of nice (minus the not feeling well part). Of course I thought back to when Ethan and Isabelle both had pneumonia last summer, and then little two month old Levi got really sick, and that phone call from the doctor a couple of hours after his appointment saying that we needed to get Levi to the hospital right away. As in, don't even finish dinner, just get to the hospital. Thankfully he responded to antibiotics and recovered fairly quickly, but he had such a rough start between his stomach issues and then the pneumonia. (The stomach problems persisted for several months, but seemed to go away on their own as he grew older.)

This past Thursday morning started like any other. My husband left for work around 4:15 and then I waited to hear Levi, who usually gets up to nurse and go back to sleep any time between 4 and 5:30. That's quite a gap, yes, but it works for us. And I'll take that over Ethan, who used to get up for the day at 4:30, but of course just be miserable, because really, who wants to be up at 4:30? I heard Levi call out, but it sounded strange. It wasn't a cry, more like a moan, or even a quieted shriek or gasp. I flew into his room because something just felt off when I heard it, and was surprised to hear his crib rails rattling about. For a split second, I thought he was being silly and shaking them, or rolling around and playing, making them rattle. But then my heart crashed to the floor. He was making a troubling sounding clicking noise, as if he were choking, and I bent down to scoop him up, but he would not stay in my arms. He had no control of his body and flopped back down onto the mattress. Normally, when he knows I'm there to get him, he sits up for me to reach under his arms and pick him up. The second time I tried to retrieve him, I felt him shaking all over. And then I felt his skin. I was horrified. He was burning up, hotter than I have ever felt a person's skin in my life. I kept telling myself to stay calm, stay calm, but my thoughts were already racing and my heart was pounding in my chest.

I rushed into my bedroom with him and turned on a light. I had to fight back the urge to panic as I watched him convulse and could not get him to open his eyes and notice me. I wondered if I should call 911, but because he was obviously breathing, I called my husband and told him that something was wrong so he had to come back home. It must have been around this time that his little body stopped shaking, but I could not get him to wake up. That's what I remember thinking, you need to wake up, wake up! He opened his eyes once or twice, but they rolled back in his head and his body was limp. He was still breathing, but I was terrified he might stop. He hates having his diaper changed in the early morning so I thought that might wake him up. It didn't. He fussed a little, at first, then went limp again. My heart was in my throat by now.

I called my parents and my Dad told me he'd come down and we would drive him to the ER together. So I grabbed whatever outfit I'd left draped over the edge of my chair from the day before, threw it on, and ran downstairs with Levi. I woke the boys up and told them they were in charge because we needed to get Levi to the doctor. I knew my Mom was coming down in a bit to help Isabelle also.

I did not put Levi in his car seat to get him to the hospital. It's a ten minute drive, maybe less, and I was afraid if he stopped breathing I wouldn't know it, so I kept him in cradled in my arms. He didn't move the entire drive there. That broke my heart, knowing that he would normally be climbing up me to get a better look at what was going on, curious about everything. But he was completely still.

I could tell that his fever had come down a bit, and then suddenly I was walking him inside the ER. It was barely six and empty as far as I could tell. They got us into a room quickly, attached an oxygen monitor and took his temperature again. 103.8, or maybe .6 - it was high, but I knew it had been higher at home. We gave him Tylenol to keep his fever under control and to avoid another seizure, and then it was lots of waiting and trying to keep Levi comfortable. He wasn't interested in eating or really drinking much, but he did want to nurse, so we settled into the hospital bed and he even drifted off to sleep a few times. At one point my hip was absolutely throbbing because of the way I was positioned, but he was sleeping soundly and I didn't want to move a muscle- literally- to risk waking him. The things we Mamas do for love, ha ha. :)

My husband arrived sometime during our wait, and after a while, Levi even felt well enough to play peek-a-boo with me with the big privacy curtain and then spin around on the doctor's stool for a bit. What a relief! We were given the green light to go home shortly afterward, and the fact that his well check had been scheduled for that very afternoon was perfect. Throughout the rest of the day, we just played, tried to keep him happy and keep any high fever at bay.

This was one of the scariest moments/days of my whole life, one I hope to never ever repeat. My heart goes out to you Moms and Dads who are living with sick children. Truly. I will be praying for you! This was just one day, and yes, I haven't slept great since because I'm constantly worried, but this isn't an ongoing issue for us and I know that isn't the case for everyone. My heart just aches for families whose lives revolve around sick kids. I admit I have begun to worry about things like this, and sometimes it seems overwhelming and consuming, and it cripples me. I have a story to share, later, and I know it plays into this fear. But fear is not from God. I'll share soon....hope you have a great day!

His little body was so, so tired

 I look haggardly in this photo- I'd just taken a shower and desperately needed sleep. BUT Levi was smiling and it was the best thing in the world!

Looking a bit nervous at the doctor's office that afternoon
our big boy is long and lean...just like his Mama used to be, ha ha ha


Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10

Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.
John 14:27

I'm hoping to get my Ten on Ten post done tomorrow, and I've got quite the story to tell. It may have involved a crazy lady threatening to call the police on me... I couldn't even make this stuff up! :)

Monday, September 25, 2017

These Happy Little Days

Now don't get me wrong. It's not all roses. Of course it isn't, we're human and nothing is perfect. In fact, there have been some extremely painful and just plain hard things to handle as a parent lately, and nothing brings you to your knees quite like those moments. But there has been a shift in my thinking, a new wave of gratitude you might say, which has allowed me to clearly see the blessings of the everyday. And I find myself thinking, a lot!, how much I adore this life of mine, of ours, and how I want to make the most out of every single day.

Of course, there's a kid coughing and sniffling on the couch in the other room, and another little one whining at my feet as I type. You know, life. And I'm going to treasure it all.

And I'm going to pray more. I'm not kidding! I need guidance and wisdom on the daily and I know Who is able to give it, only lots of times I don't seek after Him. I want that to change because the result is much more peace in doing what I can do, and leaving the rest to God.

Well anyhoo. Sometimes I find Levi and I matching, and I think it's just the sweetest thing. So of course it must be documented.


Even on mornings that aren't so smooth, there is always something sweet. Lately Levi is obsessed with carrying around his lovey, and he's been practicing taking more and more steps. It's just the two of us each morning now, and it's a sweet time.

He cracks me up. Here he is doing his baby yoga. I was doing dishes and just turned around to check on him (because it was quiet), and I see this. The other pose he often does is downward dog. :)


I'm just throwing this one in because I can't resist that tush.

Our Saturday mornings have been filled with Isabelle's field hockey games. This is all new to us, and it's been fun!


She's the one with the ball. And the guards on the outside of her socks. Yup.

It's fun bringing Ryder out with us, most of the time anyway.

Such a fun little evening!


I'm going to have write a post on just our trips to the library so I can have them all in one place. For starters, it's completely adorable! Secondly, I can't get enough of watching him toddle around and explore there.

We had a few minutes to kill on this day, so we stopped by the park on the way home. I was texting my husband something and when he answers, my phone quacks, and Levi heard it and knew it was Daddy, so he started smiling and waving. So funny. Also, I'm SO curious to see what his hair does in the coming months. It goes from golden blonde to dark blonde to strawberry blonde. And it has lots of wave and little curls coming in the back!


Looking back, I guess there were some rough patches when Levi would not go down for a nap. This happened at least three or four times in one week, but even still, I decided to sit in peace with my chai latte for a little me time. There was sewing I needed to do, housework and other things, but after regrouping and reflecting, I was ready for whatever came next. And thankfully, it was all sweetness from there on out. For a few days anyway, haha.

I made a deal with myself that I couldn't start decorating for fall until I'd caught up on orders and got certain areas of our home organized (all my stuff, ugh, so I couldn't even blame it on anyone else). So I got to work and then added some fall touches. I'm also channeling my inner minimalist these days, and I'm simply not interested in going overboard with decorations. 

Somehow fall and summer got mixed up because the past two days were hotter than any day in July or August. Go figure. This guy enjoyed his first smoothie in a glass, with help obviously, and we just enjoyed a mellow family weekend. The night before we'd visited with Bill's parents and extended family up from Pennsylvania, so that was really nice as well.

These two. All the heart eyes.

We ended the weekend just goofing around out back. Probably sounds totally lame, but it was honestly the most fun I've had playing with my kids in a long time. Everyone just sort of let down their guards and just enjoyed being in the moment, and it was so refreshing to my soul. I will remember that evening for a long, long time. We ended the night with take-out for dinner- hooray!!!-  and the first of what I hope are many Family Meetings. We read some scripture together, very low key, and then I wrote down everyone's activities, which I mostly know anyway, but it was super helpful to review them, and in front of everyone too, and then I prayed for us and for the week ahead. It was so simple and relatively small, but this has been a burden to me for some time, and I'm finding that a whole lot of smalls add up to something really meaningful.

This bright little bouquet made me smile. It's probably the last bunch I'll get, but they have grown so beautifully this year. I don't know how to harvest seed from them but I'm going to look it up and try- if you have any tips for me, please let me know!

Okay, I've just made some hot chai for sick Jonah and now Levi and I are heading to the grocery store. Hope you have a great day!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Levi Lately

This boy. He has stolen my heart in every way imaginable. I find myself lamenting often, "aw, last year at this time, he was such a little baby, and now he's such a big boy." I don't know why, but summer didn't have that affect on me the way fall is now. Last fall he was just five and six months old, a terrible (TERRIBLE!) sleeper/napper, but so sweet and wonderful. And this fall he just seems so big. Well he is big, on his way to a year and a half old. #holdme

But time doesn't stop, or even slow down. What a privilege for me to experience all these firsts again, and try to savor it all. I realized I hadn't been taking pictures with a "real" camera- phones are just so convenient!- so I'm sharing some of these taken with my Nikon. That will help limit the number of photos, too. I probably take thousands each month. And I don't regret it, either!

Levi now stands for long periods of time but still has not settled into walking. He much prefers to walk holding onto our fingers or simply scoot everywhere with his funny little foot/knee crawl. However, he mastered the steps out back a little bit ago, only he is obsessed with sitting on a step and bending down at the waist until his face is nearly level with the tread. He knows it scares me, so maybe that's what's so thrilling to him? Who knows. But he is quite the climber these days and I'm having a terrible time teaching him to only climb the bottom few stairs inside the house. Wooden stairs. Yikes. I haven't found a gate that works well and I have multiple heart attacks everyday.

I think he thinks that's funny, haha.



Rock obsessed



Evidence of a stair mishap right here. It was out front on granite steps. Yikes.

Levi is a pretty great eater, most of the time anyway. I've learned that he doesn't care much for lunch, which works out well because his nap is transitioning somewhat from early morning to midday. So around 1 or 1:30, we have a light "lunch." This day was a yummy grilled cheese sandwich, but normally it's something smaller.

He's going through a phase where he loathes sticky or crumbly things on his palms. Sometimes there's a bit of drama. :)

Levi is developing his silly side. He knows he's being clever and cute, and it's so fun to see him make connections with how his actions are making the people around him laugh. Here we are just playing around, probably before nap time. He grabs his lovey when he's getting tired. One of the best things I ever made right there, I should use this picture in the listing in my shop- look at the love on his sweet face for his little lovely!

Becoming quite transfixed with all things buttons and snaps. I adore his curiousness. And those tummy rolls. I'm dying.

Time for some games. How big is Levi?




And the itsy bitsy spider, his all time favorite.

What would you call his hair color? Sometimes it's quite blonde, other times it looks more strawberry blonde or even ginger. It's really filling in now with some wave and quite a few little curls on the ends. I can't wait to see what it becomes!

That face tells me play time is over, time for sleepies.

I'm going to have to do a post on just him sleeping because it makes me smile more than just about anything in the world. The way he pushes his little face up into the pillows and contorts that little body gets me every time. And this bottom's up pose is quite new. I'm so smitten. :)

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Easy Apple Crumble Pie Recipe





Nothing says Welcome Fall quite like homemade apple pie.
Unlike yesterday and today, we had been having perfect crisp, (light) sweater-weather days, so we celebrated by making the first apple pie of the season. Something I'm more than happy to do since I no longer loathe, or am terrified by, making my own pie crust. ;)

This time around, the hubs asked for a crumb topping. I was going to make more of a crisp topping, with oats, but then thought I'd try a more shortbread kind of crumble. Well let me tell you, it ended up being nearly impossible to resist sneaking bites
throughout the day. Starting maybe at breakfast. But what responsible adult would do that, so never mind. Nothing to report here.


I think this pie is also referred to as a Dutch pie, though I had no intention of adding raisins. Is that what makes it Dutch? No idea. But no matter what you call it, it's just plain yummy. The crumble topping is light but rich all at the same time.

Here's What You Need
6-8 medium to large sized apples (I used a combination of Mack & Granny Smith)
1 tsp Allspice
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup granulated sugar

Crumb Topping
1 cup flour (I use unbleached)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup loosely packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened

Here's What You Do
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

Prepare pie crust - I use Ina Garten's and love it

While the dough is chilling, peel and slice your apples; add them to a large bowl. Add spices and sugar to apples, stirring lightly to coat. 

Once you've lined the pie plate with the crust, flute under the edges. Add the apples.

Using the same bowl, lightly blend together the flour and sugars; add butter and pinch together with you fingers. Don't over do it. Spread the topping mixture evenly over the apple slices. Bake for about 50 minutes. Serve warm with ice cream or cool with whipped cream. So, so good.


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