30 September 2010


6 weeks old in her silly hat that I loved so much.
Her leg warmers are too loose and she has cute angry feet.
Num num num.

That's all. Just remembering. :)

27 September 2010

Comments closed. See winner below!

"Where does Hazel get all those doggone cute headbands?"
So, let's just be honest. Hazel wears really cute headbands.

All the time.

1. she's not got a lot of hair (no shame Sweetie, it'll come!)
2. her mama found the cutest headband shop on Etsy and has developed a slight addiction to dolling up her little gal at every opportunity.

So, where do we find all these adorable little numbers? So glad you asked! (and asked, and asked and asked...)

You may remember me featuring Little Town Boutique in my series of Favourite Etsy Shoppes. Well they really are still my favorite! But in case you haven't had the chance to try them for yourselves yet, this could be your golden opportunity!

Giveaway: Up for grabs is a $15 shop credit to Little Town Boutique.

What you have to do: Leave a comment - any comment (preferably, you know, about how adorable my children are, how Little Town Boutique rocks your socks off, or how you wish I'd post more photos of The Scout or perhaps fewer photos altogether!) and you'll be entered to win a $15 store credit to Little Town Boutique.

And can I just say, I wore the grey-on-grey version of this one to church last Sunday and rocked it! (you know, if I do say so myself...) One huge perk of having a daughter, I'm learning, is getting to raid her stash of adorable head gear. (and we're not talking orthodontics!)

Comments close Thursday. One comment per person, please!

(you can also find the link to their shop on my sidebar - see it there? I like to be helpful like that.)


And the winner of the Little Town Boutique shop credit is...

Congrats! Please e-mail me to claim your prize!


Last week I tweeted that I was making Coq Au Vin and Scalloped Potatoes with fennel and smoked gruyere for twenty people. But what I didn't mention was that the meal was not to be served at my table.

In fact, after preparing that meal all afternoon, I carefully packed eight pyrex dishes into our family van (keeping a serving of each at home for my own family, of course) and hit the road, delivering meals to the families of four of my closest friends.

I have done this every Tuesday for the past four weeks.

So, why go through all this trouble? And why on earth am I so pumped about it? It's not because I'm some kind of saint. Certainly I'm getting something in return, right?

RIGHT!!! :)

Tuesdays are my days to cook, yes. But on Monday, Danielle brings Beef Stroganoff, and Wednesday Rebecca makes a killer Stromboli, Thursday, Christy brings Harvest Pork Chops and Friday Christi delivers to my door a delicious bowl of Texas Caviar. Right at 5:00, hot and ready to eat.

And so goes our little supper swap.

We keep track of what each of us will be bringing every week in a shared Google Doc, even leaving a column for feedback and a star rating system.

Our vision is to bless one another by cooking for one another.

We all have families with 2-5 kids, so we've agreed to always serve each family enough to feed four adults. (This leaves enough leftovers for our family to cover lunches during the week too!)

Every weekend I only have to buy groceries for one big meal, which saves money because buying more of the same ingredients is much cheaper than buying lots of different ingredients.

We have also eliminated dining out from our weeknights almost entirely since there's never a 5 o'clock "what's for dinner" conversation. HUGE budget savings there.

We're eating healthy, well-rounded meals. We're greeting each other every night with news about our families and questions about each other's. (Or finding our meals in coolers on the front porch if we're not planning to be home at 5.) On occasion we're sitting down to our meals together. (Since the food is prepared, why not enjoy it together?) And best of all?

We're living in community.

We're finding joy in delighting each other with good food. We're spending more evenings each week on the floor with our children instead of in the kitchen feeling harried. We're learning each other's likes and dislikes - sparing mushrooms where they need to be spared and adding chicken where it's been enjoyed and requested.

And so this season of life goes. With small children at home and homes in ridiculously close proximity, this new system works swimmingly for us. We eagerly check the menu for the week and look forward to all the things our friends have in store for us.

And THAT is why on earth I'm making Coq Au Vin for twenty people! :)

(And if I may add - since this co-op has begun, I have been surprised to find that I've lost 3 pounds! Turn out eating in vs. eating out has more than just financial benefits!)

So, the question is now - have any of y'all done this before? I recently noticed that this month's Real Simple magazine actually has an article in it about supper swaps. I know it's not a new idea, but I wondered if it was newly becoming a thing again. I'd love to hear from you! Have you done it? What has worked well or worked poorly? I'll try to answer any questions in the comments section by commenting back if you feel like discussing.

In the meantime, I'm already setting my table for the Potato Soup and salad that's scheduled to arrive in just a few hours...

26 September 2010

I promise that soon


I'll have something very clever or witty or inspirational to say.


But until then,


yet another post with a lot of photos of the little ones I adore.


Come back tomorrow for a giveaway!
Happy Sunday!

(also, this is my current favorite shirt of Hazel's. I made it for her one morning while Oliver was at preschool. It's already snug on her, so I needed Ryan to capture it before it gets too small. Thanks for being a great on-the-spot photog, honey!)

25 September 2010

Tonight we were invited to an old school movie party.
We watched "The Gazebo" reel-to-reel style. So fun!

While we were there, this girl raised the bar yet again.


She climbed a step up and out of the sunken living room because she was dying to see what was up in the kitchen.

You know, because just simply crawling is so 5-months-old.

22 September 2010


Don't blink, Mama.


Don't blink.

21 September 2010


Sweet Hazel, you never cease to blow our minds. Just walking into a room and seeing you there, recognizing us and smiling that big grin of yours makes us feel the need to pinch ourselves several times a day.

Speaking of pinching ourselves, is it possible that I'm currently writing your 6-month milestones post?? Are you already a HALF A YEAR old?! I'd tell you to slow down, baby girl, but you've made it clear to us that that is not an option!

In the past month you have shown us what a driven little girl you are. In four week's time you've mastered sitting up, eating solids (you're loving bananas, rice cakes, avocados, brown rice and the occasional garbanzo bean), crawling from room to room, and, as of this evening, you've upped the ante yet again: you're cruising!


I'm pretty sure we'll be reporting to your pediatrician at your 9-month well-check that you're riding two-wheeler.

As for height and weight stats, you've settled right into the 50th percentile at just under 16 pounds and 25.5" tall.

You're beginning to babble a little bit, mostly with the "bababa" sound. You are a raspberry-blowing machine and seem to think it's funny to "pppthbt" right as you have a big mouthful of yogurt or crackers in your mouth. Cracks Oliver up every time.

While you're doing fabulously with your gross motor skills and eating, and are right on track verbally and with fine motor skills, girl, we're fixing to call in a specialist when it comes to sleep! While you only nurse once a night, usually at 4am, you give your Daddy fits between midnight and 4, getting stuck standing up in your crib or needing your pacifier replaced every 45 minutes or so.

Speaking of bedtime, you are officially sharing a room with your big brother and it's gone very smoothly for daytime naps and nighttime.

Hazel Wren, you are a great joy to your family and to all of those that love you. We are blown away by what you can do, but more, we are blown away that you are here and you're ours! We humbly thank the Lord for entrusting you to us for as long as he will. And we continue to pray for wisdom and grace as we care for you and strive to point you to Christ.


Happy six months!

18 September 2010

In the backyard playing with sticks,


defending his princess, shouting and running.


On a blanket in the grass.


playing with toys, pulling up grass, crawling away and turning 6 months old.

This was the most important thing I could have done with my Friday afternoon.
I'm so glad I did!

12 September 2010


"I love you to the moon and back."
-Sam McBratney

11 September 2010

It's not her best work because she was really due for her morning nap and her loose-fitting (albeit adorable!) outfit was interfering a bit. But, here's what our 5-month-old has been working on for the past few weeks. (the pulling up to stand is new in the last 5 days.)

(also, a look at the new floors in the kids' room.
planning to post about those soon!)

08 September 2010


Today is Oliver's first day of preschool.

Oh my.

This spring Ryan and I spent several weeks discussing our goals for our son for schooling, our practical abilities and resources, our schedules and ideals. We sought council from people we respect and admire. We prayed for the Lord to lead us. And we examined our budget, looking for a way to make room for a tuition payment.

All of these things and more have led us to the decision to enroll Oliver in a remarkable preschool program this school year. We are so thrilled!

As I'm sure many of you can imagine (and relate!), I was a bit of a pacing wreck last night. I'm not sure how many times I brought Oliver's lunch box to Ryan, asking him to look over it's contents and critique my offerings.

I've never packed a lunch box before and I wanted it to be just right. What if I pack too much? Or worse, too little! What if he can't open his string cheese on his own? What if he needs help with his juice box? Will he eat his dessert first or will he know to wait until after he finishes with his sandwich, fruits and veggies?

Suddenly there were so many things to teach him in so little time! I've had him every day for the past (nearly) four years, and we've never talked about how to eat lunch with friends without Mommy around.

What if he forgets to close the door when he needs to go to the bathroom!?

What if he takes his sandwich all apart or does that silly-yet-only-endearing-to-the-one-who-bore-him thing where he eats his bread from the center, out?

I'm not ready for this!!!!!

Nonetheless, Ryan and I woke him up in his bed this morning with a smile and excitement in our voices. We got him dressed, fed him breakfast, and I ran him through a very quick tutorial on how to eat lunch at school. (yes, I really was that worried.)

We took a few photos on the front porch, loaded up in the van and headed out.


I snapped a few photos in the car just in case. And then a few for good measure as we approached the building.


Once we got into the school, Oliver was a champ. He wasn't nervous at all. But (and I thank him for this), he wasn't overly eager for us to leave either.

We walked him into his classroom, he found his name and put his backpack and lunch box where it belonged. He clipped his name tag on his shirt and sat down next to his friend Joseph to color a worksheet before devotions.


Somewhere in between the backpack and the worksheet he just completely forgot we were still there.

As it should be, I know. :)

We snapped a few photos of him in his classroom, followed his class down to El Pueblo for devotions, snapped a few more photos, and watched him adoringly as he learned the sign language for his catechism songs and how to "give me five".


Snapped just a few more photos and then left for Starbucks for our own boo-hoo-brew, as we like to call it.


Of course, as we drove away, I remembered out loud, "I forgot to remind him to close the door when he uses the bathroom!!" Ryan assured me that if he didn't, then someone else would probably close it for him. Oh Oliver, please remember to pull your pants back up before you come out!!

The truth is, as sentimental as we are about sending our firstborn out of the nest for the first time, we are also so tremendously grateful that he gets to do this. As we watched him this morning with his new classmates and listened to his teachers speaking God's word to him, we had no doubt that this was the right place for him this year.

And as we watched how naturally he transitioned from home to school, we had no doubt that this was the right timing for him as well. (God is good to give us peace like that, isn't He?)

At his preschool, the first thing they do every morning is gather all the classes in El Pueblo for devotions. They are gracious to let the eager, camera-toting Mamas stand in the back to watch and worship along with them. This morning the school sang "This is the Day that the Lord Has Made" and I was reassured that today is, indeed, from the Lord.

We have been loving our son and praying for him for the past four years. We have taught him to walk, talk, eat and even use the bathroom. We have taught him to love others and to obey God. We have helped him hide God's word in his heart.

We have asked God for wisdom in training him up in "wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man" and by His good grace, Oliver is the young man he is today. Still flawed, yes. (aren't we all?) But well adjusted, and ready for what lies ahead for him this year in preschool.

We are so grateful. So blessed. And, so eager to go pick him up and bring him home!!!

"This is the day the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.

O LORD, save us; O LORD, grant us success.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD.

From the house of the LORD we bless you.
The LORD is God, and he has made his light shine upon us.

With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession
up to the horns of the altar.
You are my God, and I will give you thanks;
you are my God, and I will exalt you.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever."
Psalm 118:24-29

(Also, because y'all like to know, his sword shirt is from b. children's wear and his red monkey backpack is from Pottery Barn Kids.)


We just got back from picking our little guy up from school.

We arrived a little early with eager plans to take him out for ice cream and hear all about what a fantastic day he had.

When we got to his classroom, I peeked in the window imagining what his teacher would have to report about our smart, funny, obedient and friendly wonder of a son. I searched over the group of kids seated on the floor for a little boy in a green sword shirt, but there was none to be found.

And then I saw him. And my stomach sank.

He was in his "fresh change of clothes".

I turned to Ryan who was standing among the other eager parents with my face pale and my eyes big and mouthed to him, "He's in his back-up clothes!" I was imagining all the horrible things that could have happened.

The worst-case scenario, I thought, would be that he waited too long to ask to use the restroom. How could this be though? He doesn't have accidents!

The best case scenario I could conjure in my racing mind was that maybe he forgot and accidentally squeezed his juice box too hard, thus soaking his clothes.

And then the door opened. And Oliver walked out, handsome and happy to see us saying, "I had a hiccup in my lunch."

Oh no. He threw up. On the first day of school.

He's the "throw-up kid".

I don't know if he's EVER thrown up before but maybe once or twice. (probably why the only word he could think to use was "hiccup")

Turns out, he and one other child just spontaneously "lost it" in the middle of lunch time. No real explanation. It wasn't even one of them reacting to the other. It just happened all at once.

I was initially a good combination of horrified and hugely sympathetic to my little guy who had been sick on his first day of school without his Mommy nearby to comfort him.

Now that we're home (and the shock has had some time to wear off) Oliver has been able to share all the fun things he got to do at school and we're all feeling much better.

This is the day the Lord has made, indeed! Surprise "hiccups" and all, He was the only one who saw it coming! Let us rejoice and be glad in it!! :)

Do y'all have any funny "First Day of School" stories? Do tell!!

07 September 2010

06 September 2010

This is Caleb and Rebecca.

My brother-in-law and my sister.


We really like them.

These are their kids.


You've heard a lot from me about them.

We love them too!


Here's what you don't know about them.


This sweet family of five


will soon become a family


of SIX!!!

What a lovely (and HUGE!) surprise to learn that another Faires baby was on it's way only two days after they returned from Ethiopia! We're looking forward to meeting yet ANOTHER little Faires arrow in late March!

Please feel free to leave your congratulations and encouragement here for them!

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
who fills his quiver with them!
Psalm 127:3-5

05 September 2010

"For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved."
Romans 8:22-24

Today, Moses and Augustine were baptized!


We have prayed for them even before they were born. We have watched them grow, learn to sit up and learn to walk all through photographs sent from their orphanages.


But even before that, before the beginning of time, God planned for these two boys who were born in small villages in Ethiopia so far away from here, to belong to the Faires family. They've always been ours.


"When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, 'Brothers, what shall we do?'

Peter replied, 'Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.'"

Acts 2:37-39

Thanks be to God for His good grace in our lives!

02 September 2010


And, some outtakes that I quite like:



You're welcome :)

p.s. (since you asked...)
Hazel's "Be Kind to Others" print is from this adorable shop.

Dear Hazel & Oliver,

Do you know how blessed you are to have the Granddad & Groovy that you do?(Heck, any Grandma that prefers to go by "Groovy" is already starting out pretty cool, right?!)

Do you know how adored you are?


Adored enough for your Grandparents to invite you to stay at their house with them for a week. To take you golfing and to the zoo and to every park in a 15 mile radius, while filling every spare minute with swimming, snacks and games. (Talk about a let down when you come home, eh??) ;)

Adored enough to drive 9 hours to see you, then do everything they can for you for three days straight, taking hundreds of photos of you and gushing about how impressive each of you are in your own fabulous and unique ways.

Ah yes, doting grandparents.

Boy do they love you.

Boy, will you love them.

Thank you, Lord, for giving these children Grandparents that love them and, most importantly, that love You. We do not take this for granted!