the electronic baby book

I do not want to take attention away from what is happening in India right now. It is hugely meaningful and we all need to jump on the bandwagon and sponsor a child.

But since this blog is in essence a type of electronic baby book,  I do feel compelled to record the fact that my baby girl loves strained peas.

Ginny just turned 8 months old yesterday and I will be posting photos of her soon, but I just had to make sure I record, for posterity, that one small fact.

She took both rice and oatmeal cereals well.  She was okay with carrots. She put up with sweet potatoes.


She LOVES pureed green peas.

She also knows the difference between American soccer and European soccer.  Or at least, she knows which one she likes best.

How do I know this?  Well Martin is a soccer fiend and has recently rediscovered a passion for the English football club called Arsenal. (I personally am into Manchester United, but so is everybody else, so that’s nothing special)  Martin has been a fan of Arsenal since he was a little boy living in England.

Arsenal is an okay club, but rooting for them over the years was sort of like being a Cubs fan for a while there……..until this year when all of a sudden they are in the semi finals of the UEFA Champions cup.

So anyway, we’ve been watching a lot of soccer.  And Ginny likes it.  She will sit up in Martin’s arms and watch intently for at least half the game, then snuggle down and go to sleep to the dull roar of an Arsenal match.

Well Americans do play soccer too.  And about a week ago Martin wanted to watch an american soccer match just to see if it was any fun to watch.  It wasn’t impressive.  I mean it wasn’t bad or anything.  But it just wasn’t the same. Kinda boring.  Even Ginny was fussy while we watched about half a game.

Eventually I called out from the kitchen, “can we please switch over to my Manchester United game ?  I mean I don’t know why, but I just can’t get into this”

The answer came back “yeh, okay.  This really isn’t doing anything for me either”

Martin picked up the remote, with Ginny held in his arms she was facing away from the TV.  He changed the program.  Now I’ve got my Man-U game on…..and Ginny’s head swiveled round and she bounced in Martins arms and gurgled.

She knew instantly that “her” type of soccer was on.  The crowd noise is vastly different and makes more of an impact on the enthusiasm of viewers than you might think.

So here’s to cheering sections every where: you ARE making a difference.  Whether you know it or not.

And here’s to the little one-person cheering section that is a Compassion child sponsor – YOU make a huge a difference in the life of your sposored child.  You could be the first person who consistently tells them that they are loved and that they can do something with their lives.

And that can make all the difference.


i am not worthy

not long ago I was at a concert and raised my hand

“yes, I will sponsor a compassion child

I clutched the packet with a child’s photograph in it and briefly regretted that I was letting God pick the child for me instead of searching the Compassion website and picking one for myself.  But I reminded myself that this randomness was a way to keep ME out of the decision and let God direct which child I get to connect with.

So I wrote my bank info in the appropriate places, turned in the form.  Shook (shaked?) hands with Shaun Groves and thanked him for the opportunity.  Then I went to go get in line to meet Travis Cottrell.

I didn’t forget “my child” I knew his name was Esteban.

I got on-line the next day and looked for more info on him and in a short time I wrote him a letter via email.  I was content to let it stop there for now.

Then a short while ago the news started flying around in blog-land about the Compassion Trip to India.  and a couple of my favorite people (Angie and Melissa) were going to be on the trip.  I’ve always loved India.  Not the place (since I’ve never been) but the idea of India.  The culture, the food, the clothes.  India is just way more appealing to me than the home country of my little Esteban.  I had thoughts of adding another Compassion child to my refrigerator.

then I thought, No.  Don’t do that to Esteban.

Sure it would be cool to participate more closely with Melissa and Angie and Shaun, but I would be short changing Esteban.  and I haven’t even really managed to feel connected to him yet.

then the letter arrived.

From Esteban.

in his own handwriting.

somehow I hadn’t quite expected that.

The drawing, the typed translation by some random adult, those I was prepared for…….but then I turned the page over and saw, in pencil, with eraser marks…..

Esteban’s own handwriting.

And for some insane reason I feel as if it was a letter from Christ himself. (Matthew 25:40)

please sponsor a child through compassion or some other agency if you wish.  but please do it.  and if I haven’t managed to convince you, go read melissa’s post about the subject of God’s mandate to us to give to the poor and needy.

morning funnies

My brother doesn’t do mornings.

Frankly neither do I.  Or at least I wouldn’t if I didn’t have to in order to make a living in the real world. *sigh*  Most mornings I would love to have a cup of tea delivered to me, wrap up in a blanket, sit on the porch, read a book (do my devotions?) and then go back to bed for another few hours.

I like sunrise.  I just want more sleep in my life AFTER I watch the sunrise.

Unfortunately work doesn’t leave time for such luxuries.

And I think I’m rubbing off on Ginny.  This morning, my normally sunshine-y, happy, thrilled-to-see-you baby girl  who normally greets me with laughter and smiles just rolled over and tried to hide.  She desperately wanted to go back to sleep.  I had to work at it to wake her up for a diaper change and the ride to Grammy’s house.  When I sang our morning song (This is the day that the Lord has made) to her she looked at me with a slightly offended expression and snuggled her head into my shoulder.  Poor kid.  I know exactly how she feels.

Of course I come by it naturally.  My mom doesn’t get up well either.  She requires at least an hour of sitting up in bed and drinking multiple cups of coffee before she is even remotely coherent.  When I was in grade school my dad used to deliver her coffee and my hot chocolate to our bedsides every morning.

Yes.  I know I was spoiled by that.  When I finally lived alone I had to learn how to get up and make tea in the morning for myself and it was rough let me tell you.


My brother never got coffee, tea or hot chocolate delivered to his bedroom, but still, he doesnt’ wake up well either.

So I was quite a bit surprised to find him wandering down the stairs this morning (6:45 a.m.) when I arrived at my mom’s house to drop off Ginny.  Of course he immediately informed me that he wasn’t REALLY up early…he was up LATE.

Ah that explains it.  mystery solved.

Then he hung around the kitchen chatting with us while we rushed around trying to get everything done in record time.  Nothing wrong with that. I  like my brother.  He is funny.

But he is also big and tall.  And he moves slowly in the morning.  Whether he was up early or late or whatever.  and every where I tried to be – coffee pot, fridge, silverware drawer, microwave – Stephen was always in my way.

I kept having to ask him to move and eventually I just said “Stephen you have a gift of always being where I need to be!”

His response?  “oh please don’t tell me that!  That means I’m just like Daddy.  You know I call him Visa.”

…….quizzical look from me……….

“He’s everywhere you want to be”

I nearly dropped my coffee cup I laughed so hard.

seven months and using a cup

Ginny is seven months old now.

She sits up on her own for long periods of time.  She plays on her own very well. Humming and talking to herself and her toys.  She loves giving smiles to everyone and is laughing and verbalizing a lot.  Raspberries and buzzing sounds, along with our favorite hhhmmmmmmmmm  are the “words”-of-the-week.

The big news this week is that she used a cup on her own.

Yes, you read that right.

a real cup.

no sippy cup lid.

no handles.

a. real. cup.

what? don’t believe me?

okay.  here.


She reaches for the cup with both hands, we give it to her, expecting to have to guide it to her mouth and she takes it and just puts it right to her lips and drinks.  Then she lowers it halfway, grins at daddy and bring it to her mouth again!!!!  The first time she did it I didn’t get the camera.  I just sat there.  Stunned.  then I did what any normal mom would do….I called my mother and bragged on my baby. *grin*

I’ll admit, she didn’t know how to put it down without tipping the cup over.  And she does get a fair amount down her shirt in the process.  I think she is going to have to start taking her meals in just a diaper.  but still!  a Cup ya’ll!  I’m so proud I could just bust.

She is a little delayed on the whole eating thing because of her RSV.  The pediatrician said to hold off on the whole new world of solid foods till after that trauma was done.  so we didn’t even start solids till two or three weeks ago.  She has gone through rice cereal and oatmeal and is starting on vegetables this week.  We went with carrots first and she is okay with them.  Not thrilled, but okay.

So that’s the Ginny update for now.  And here are some photos of Ginny with her bear, MAK.  We take these every month to show how much she has grown.  Normally I place her on her back on the floor and put MAK next to her so you can get a good comparison.  But this month she just would not cooperate.  I got the photos, but she wasn’t thrilled about being on her back and she kept blinking.  so then I let her sit up and just play with MAK and the shoot went much better.  Mommy is learning.


wouldn’t you just do anything in the world for that sweet face?

ginny’s first easter

Ginny’s first Easter.  It was pretty calm as major family holidays go.

She is too young to understand any of it.  But the grown ups in her life had fun pretending it was special to her.  Really it was just special to us that she is in our lives now.

Thank you Mel & Steve and thank you Lord Jesus for this incredible gift. And for the even more awe inspiring gift of your Son’s sacrifice.  As this tiny girl becomes more precious to me every day I grow in awe of the pain of that sacrifice even more.

Here are some photos of Ginny and us from Easter.

ginny & daddy

ginny & daddy

ginny & mommy

ginny & mommy

eating while my dress dries.....

eating while my dress dries.....

you see Grammy gave Ginny a new item for Easter.  A sippy cup.  This is something that Ginny had never played with before.  So naturally she instantly upended it all over herself.  Off came the dress. Toss it in the dryer. While mommy and baby sit down for a quick breakfast.  then back into the dress and off to church.



one of the iconic photographs from our wedding was taken at this same spot, so we wanted a shot of us with Ginny.  But she just would NOT look at the camera.  oh well.  maybe next week.

After church we drove an hour south of town to a friends house for a tea party.  She had an egg hunt, a gorgeous English tea and an on-the-spot-Easter-Bonnet-making contest.  She supplied hats, glue gun and all the trimmings.  Some very…interesting hats ensued.  Here are a few.


our splendid hosts

our splendid hosts

and...the winner is!

and...the winner is!

grammy was with us to help wrangle Ginny

grammy was with us to help wrangle Ginny

she wanted this hat

she wanted this hat

and got her wish!

and got her wish!

Hope you had a glorious Easter surrounded by family and friends and the love of our Savior

bragging on Ginny

alright.  I am going to brag on my child.

It is going to be sickeningly sweet and gushy.  If you don’t want to read it you don’t have to.  But I’m a mom and it is good for me to occasionaly wax eloquent about my darling child.  Ask Missy over at It’sAlmostNaptime.  This was her idea.  and I like it.

If you don’t already know, my adorable 7 month old girl, her name is Ginny.  Actually it’s Virginia Altie Aspen Gerard Russell.  Her name story is long and has a lot to do with our wanting to honor the wishes of her birth parents.

so here’s my Ginny

on a recent camping trip

on a recent camping trip

and my favorite photo of her so far in life

five months old

five months old

Yes, she is almost always that cheerful.  And just to add some perspective she was sick with RSV when we took that photo.

I have the worlds most cheerful baby.

When I wake her up in the morning she laughs at me.

When I sing to her she giggles and hums along (not on key of course, but she is only 7 months old after all).

She loves restaurants.  People watching is her second favorite skill, next to napping in public. The child has never once given us any trouble in a restaurant.

She pays attention in church.  okay, I know Ginny is not actually listening to the sermons, but she sits up, at full attention, and gazes at the pastor while he talks, and the choir when they sing.  Oh and she has already done all of Beth Moore’s Daniel Bible Study.  Okay, she attended, but never did any homework.

Ginny loves her daddy.  She goes to him with squeals of glee.  He is an incredibly entertaining person in his own right, but nothing he ever did before was so worth watching as the times he lavishes on Ginny. (I guess I’ve kinda wandered into “bragging on my hubby” here, but I’m sure Missy will forgive me)

She is friendly.  I can’t hand her off to just anyone to hold, but she bestows her biggest smiles on just about anyone who says “Hi!” to her.  This child is gifted in the hospitality department.  I mean, just look at this smile:

happy baby

happy baby

She thinks things through.  I can almost see her thinking sometimes.  Especially when confronted with something new.  She stops and examines things with a sober look on her little face that is absolutely endearing.

figuring out her play gym

figuring out her play gym

Before Ginny came to live with us seven months ago I was frankly worried about mommy-hood, but now that I know Ginny, I’m no longer worried. I’ve got the worlds easiest, most cheerful baby.

thank you Jesus and thank you Mel & Steve for this incredible gift.

if you could have one wish

If you could have one wish.  Just one.

What would it be?

none of this wishing for infinite wishes stuff either.  Just one wish.

that’s okay.  I’ll wait.  did you think of one?

What was it?  Now be honest.

World peace?

fabulous wealth?

Athletic, strong,  healthy body that would allow me to eat anything I wanted and never get fat or have any injuries? (That one was mine by the way.  Can you tell?)


cure all illness?

Well here is what the psalmist wished for – simply the opportunity to contemplate Jehovah.

Psalm 27:4-5 “One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek Him in His temple. For in the day of trouble He will keep me safe in His dwelling; He will hide me in the shelter of His tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.”

I want a super body and all the Psalmist wants is to gaze upon the beauty of God.

Can we say “attitude adjustment” boys and girls?  yup, I thought we could.

Is there someone in your life that you are content just to look at?  Most of you mature people probably haven’t felt like that since high school, but I still feel that way about a few people.  People whom I want to just gaze at.  If they talk to me I freeze.  Yes.  Even though I’m almost 40.  My goodness, If I ever met Beth Moore for instance I would probably just stand there and grin like a fool.  I very nearly did that when I met Travis Cottrell back in January.  And that was just in an autograph line.  So it’s not like I actually had to say anything witty or original.  Just be a human being.  but oh man did I nearly bust myself trying to think of something to say.

I feel the same way about Ginny sometimes.  It just makes me happy to look at her.  Especially when she does something new, or cute.  Like this

first bites of rice cereal. yummmm

first bites of rice cereal. yummmm

So anyway, my point here (I had a point?  yes.  I’m sure I did.  hang on and I’ll find it….somewhere) is that we all know the feeling of just wanting to bask in the presence of a beloved person.

even once we got out of high school and developed real relationships. *grin*

I enjoy just being in the same room with my husband.  Even if we don’t say a word.  Even if all we are doing is reading separate books, enjoying the scenery on a long road trip, or working on our computers, just being near him makes me happy.

Do I know what it is like to feel that way about God though?  I’m not sure.  I know I enjoy corperate worship experiences.  Especially through song.  But I don’t know that I can honestly say that I have ever felt like I was basking in the presence of God when I was alone with Him.

So how can I echo the Psalmist when I’m not even sure I know what it is he is aspiring to?

Of course the picture gets more complicated when you realize that, becasue of the Holy Spirit,  our current bodies ARE the temple of the LORD.

No I am NOT advocating navel contemplation.  Try to follow me here.

If I am going to “seek God in His Temple (my body)” then I need to take better care of the temple.  I need to see the beauty that HE created there and not let it deteriorate through sloth and gluttony.

There is also the interpretation which speaks to my heart of enjoying the God-created beauty all around me, especially in all the other temples (people) that are walking around this planet.  Each one is a beloved temple of Jehovah and deserves respectful, kindness from me.

Even those that seem to me to be unlovable.