Those vacation photos (part 2).

Yes, it’s been a while since I’ve dropped in here. And yes, part 1 should come first. The problem with vacations is that you take so many photos (and generate so much laundry) that you don’t do anything at all for a while after you get back. We had the added bonus of two pretty sick kids, so the Gibbses laid low for a while after returning to Florida. But we’re starting to perk up and get back in the groove, so here are the pics from the second half of our trip home. (Alas, my memory card filled up and the first half photos are on a cd that just arrived in the mail.)

So, the second part of our trip was spent at my great-grandfather’s house in Port Orchard, WA. We managed to squeeze in our family, my parents, my aunt & uncle and four kids, and day visits from my sister’s family. Big house or no, that’s a lot of people so we were happy to luck out with the weather. It could not have been nicer — I swear that Washington was trying to woo me back. I can even hear it whispering to me now.

Paula….Paula……..I have mountains, forests, wool sweaters, good bookstores, and delicious coffee. You know you want to come back to me. Humidity does not and never will agree with you.

No! I must stop listening.

Where was I? Ah yes, talking about the delights of Port Orchard. We even coaxed Josh’s parents to come to the house one day so you’ll see them in these photos too. It was so great. Too bad that the plane trips were no fun at all and we’ll need a year to forget about it before we can try again.


Here we are in the living room, following a longstanding grandpa’s house tradition: listening to my uncle compose away on one of the grand pianos. It’s been a couple of years since I’ve seen him or heard him play, so that was special.


Bea thought so too.


She greatly appreciated all the space to walk around in and the chance to fall down Stairs of Doom. Perhaps one-story Florida apartments are not so bad after all.


Here’s another grandpa’s house tradition:  spending time on the swings.


(And falling down the hill.)


Later in the week the two swings on the left were replaced with baby versions. We have hit the critical mass of grandchildren to make that worthwhile!


It was, of course, entirely fabulous to see my darling little mum again.




Camilla recently graduated to the Big Kid Swing.


Remember these photos from when Camilla was a baby? And these from two years ago?




That’s my mom, Camilla’s cousin ransom, and my cousin Ruth. And Toby, the much-beloved son of The Beans.


I hadn’t seen my sister for two full years, so that was one of the things I looked forward to the most. She’d never met Beatrice and I had never seen her son Jude. We snuck in a walk one morning to look for the earliest blackberries.


Ah, dogs galore.


And flowers.





I cleverly forgot that the blackberries ripen much later in WA than FL. But the kids were content with a few blackcaps instead.










We also found a few very sour red huckleberries. Marian reminded me that my grandmother Camilla would make them into a tiny pie for us when we were kids.




My dad took a crazy early morning flight, a bus, and a ferry to join us.


He had never met Beatrice before either.


With views like this, how could we not want to spend our time outdoors?






I am reminded of this pic from two years ago…


Here we are starting the hike down to the beach. Not shown: the part where Camilla became irrationally afraid of the crabs we would find at the seashore and I had to carry her. Both ways. Burned a lot of calories that day.





Grandma and Ransom were brave enough to venture to the end of the pier.



Daddy and Beatrice preferred solid ground.



Eventually my aunt did find some very very tiny crabs and Camilla beefed up her courage and took a look.




Maybe next year, Bea.



Toddlers + water + infinite supply of small rocks = fun times.






But eventually we had to go.



My arms gave out when we got to the apple orchard so Camilla and I stopped for a rest.





My brother Tim and his family couldn’t be there, but we talked often on the phone because Hilary found out that she is pregnant with TWINS!


Just imagine all the cousins there will be next summer…


Now for the family photos. I am not very good at picking my favorites, so there are lots. Here we are with Josh’s fam. Also? It is impossible to get both of my children to smile at once. Or sometimes even just one of them.



Camilla evidently found this whole family photo thing to be very suspicious.



But she perked up in the end.


Since we were blessed to have both grandmas there, why not some of those?


It’s nice to be able to make people you love this happy.




Here we are all together.


And here’s my saintly Aunt Lauri with her two beautiful girls. Seeing them was also a highlight of the trip.


One last cup of coffee at the kitchen table, and then we had to go.


We miss you, family.


52 Weeks of Beatus, complete.

I did it!

52 week montage

I was a few days late a couple of times, but I got all 52 photos on different pieces of fabric. For something so minor in the grander scheme of things, I feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment.

The entire set is here on flickr, but I’m going to pull out a few of my favorites because, to be honest, not every photo turned out that well. The biggest problems were (a) the lighting (it was just not bright enough some mornings and you can’t take a great photo with bad light) and (b) the children (if they didn’t want to play or kept rolling over, it was also hard to take a good pic). But I did the best I could. I think I might take monthly photos this next year because I just love putting them up together on the wall for the girls’ birthdays. I’m going to change the set on our wall to the one of both girls for Milla’s birthday next Wednesday. I’m so glad I included her in this as well.

My faves:

week 1


week 2


week 5


week 7


week 11


week 13


week 17


week 18


week 19


week 20


week 22


week 24


week 30


week 31


week 32


week 35


week 36


week 37


week 38


week 39


week 40


week 43


week 44


week 46


week 47


week 49


week 51


It’s been a fun year, wouldn’t you say?

Happy birthday, dear Beatrice.

My darling girl,

You are such a delightful baby.

I am so happy that you are one now because I feel like you really want to be. You have a big toothy smile, you’re trying out new words, you take shaky steps, and you just can’t wait to do everything that your big sister can.

I still don’t know how this dark-haired, brown-eyed mama produced a blonde, but I love patting your fuzzy yellow head and looking into your big blue eyes. I’m admittedly biased, but I think that you are just plain gorgeous. You live up to your name by making things more beautiful wherever you go.

You’ve had a pretty good first year. It’s been (ahem) a loud one, seeing as you never appreciated the pacifier that I kept trying to shove in your mouth. My goodness, girl, have you got a set of pipes, and you like to use ’em. Happy? Loud. Sad? Loud. Quiet? Better go see what you got into.

You’re a smart girl who’s figured out how get into all sorts of cupboards and drawers, but here are only a few times of day when you like to toodle around by yourself — you much prefer playing with people. Clapping, waving, and the mouth bibbles seem to be pretty fun. And then there’s peekaboo, your all-time favorite game. I know that things are bad when a round of peekaboo won’t cheer you up. You’re not a huge fan of toys except when sister has them. Then, of course, they are to die for. It is rather unfortunate that you settled on Lucia, Camilla’s favorite doll, as your favorite as well. She’s been pretty good about sharing, but we are hoping that Gloria, your new (and very similar) baby will help you to avoid confrontation in the future.

Your birthday was Friday, but seeing as we’ve had a very busy weekend (and that you can’t read), I’m hoping that you’ll forgive me for being late with this post. Daddy’s birthday was yesterday and we’ve been very busy trying to make sure he had a special day too. I love your daddy so much, and the fact that we made you together only makes me appreciate him more.

You are my Sweet Bea and you always will be.



Now, for family who like to look at this sort of thing, here are some photos from June 15. We had a delightful day with a very few presents (it works so much better that way) and a yummy dinner with her godmama. I think it is safe to say that Beatrice enjoyed her birthday very much.

Bea's birthday decor.

Camilla and I decorated together the day before.


I finished my photo project and printed them out! More to come about that.


We made cupcakes together on Friday morning.

All ready to bake cupcakes.

Camilla is a very good cooking helper.


Dumping and stirring are her favorites.

Two candles.

A “1” for Bea and a “3” for Camilla. (If was smarter, I would have saved the one afterward to make “31” for Josh.)

Walking with her stroller.

Here comes the birthday girl…


Birthday girl!


Now for the presents.


Gloria, her new doll.



Two girls, two dollies.

The sisters and their (almost) matching dolls.

Skyping with grandma.

Thank you, grandma!


Now for the other fun present: tissue paper.





Tissue paper is fun.


It gets her every time.



Oh wait, there’s something else in the gift bag.


What can it be?

Another present.


Hooray! My very own bonker!

The bonker.





What baby wouldn’t want to hit things with a little wooden mallet?


Now for the birthday dinner.

Birthday dinner.

Bea’s godmother Laura came to eat with us and practice her baby-feeding skills.




Yummy ciambotta.

Beatrice is ONE!

Beatrice is one!

Now for the birthday cupcake.

Birthday cupcake.





Mama helps blow the candle out.

Mommy helped blow it out.

But you get to eat it all by yourself.




Hey, this is good stuff. You’ve been holding out on me, fellows.





For some reason, Bea’s teeth have decided to arrive in a charmingly lopsided manner.

Snaggletooth'd smile.

The two on her right appeared first, but the two on the left have poked through and are racing to catch up. Perhaps they have been responsible for some recent fussiness?


Fussy? Me? I am always sunshine itself.


Especially when I am in possession of contraband.


Nothing makes me happier than playing with something small and forbidden.


Except maybe trying to figure out how to open sister’s books.


Why would I bother with baby books when there are so many fun paper ones sitting around?


Lest I get behind again, here is week 48.

Week 48.


I realized that, while I have thoroughly exhausted my fabric supply, I somehow forgot about my tablecloth stash. I just don’t know where my brain is these days.

If you see it, please tell it to come home.

47 down, 5 more to go.

It’s been a while since I uploaded my photo project pics. Want to see some super cute girls?

(Week 42)

Week 42.


(Week 43)

Week 43.


(Week 44)

Week 44.


At this point, big sister decided that she wanted her own photo. And since big sister’s cooperation is essential and not always cheerfully offered, I was happy to oblige.



(Week 45)

Week 45.



(Week 46)




(Week 47)

Week 47.



The biggest challenge right now is getting Beatrice to lie on her back long enough to get a decent, non-wailing shot (see week 46). N.B., this would definitely work better as a two-adult project. That girl is a champion crawler and is into everything these days. Apparently, my sleep-deprived mama brain failed to accurately record the crawling baby’s desire to explore. And, in a two-bedroom apartment, all of the legitimate exploration options have been quickly exhausted. Eating small objects off the rug has been (mostly) replaced by seeking out and pulling dangling cords, opening every swinging door, and of course whipping open the toilet seat whenever someone leaves the bathroom door ajar. She’s not walking yet but is very agile at moving along a couch, chair, or wall and will occasionally let go for a few seconds. I had been thinking that I wanted to forestall walking as long as possible, but now I’ve decided I’m up for the challenge because it might keep her away from the walls and their many temptations and because Camilla loves to be outside where Bea can’t join her. So, if it happens soon, I guess that’s okay. Because, you know, I have such a say in this matter.


This girl is really looking forward to spending more time with her daddy in a few weeks, especially since he has promised to begin what we’re calling Summer School. Finally, the teacher gets to spend more time teaching his own kid! A backpack, lined paper, and freshly sharpened No. 2 pencils await.

We are so ready for summer to begin.


Can you believe that she’s going to turn one in just five weeks?

I turned 32 yesterday.

It was awesome.

On Saturday, husband secretly arranged babysitters for the kids and then surprised me with a shopping trip to the outlet mall. Then we went to our favorite (albeit not particularly child-friendly) sandwich place for lunch, to the mall for a bit more shopping, and then Barnes & Noble where we actually got to flip through whole books and magazines and sit next to something other than the train set. If you are a parent with small children, you will appreciate this.


Bea and me.


Yesterday we dressed up and went to church in the morning and tried to take a mama-and-the-wiggly-babies photo afterward.





In the afternoon we watched a silly movie, played with kiddos, and ate delicious hamburgers hangubers.

Our hangubers.

The adult version included bacon, jalapeno cheese, avocado, sauteed onions, and a special sauce that I’m going to give the recipe for below because it is so good on everything: sandwiches, chips, salads, you name it. I think it will be our Official Summer Sauce this year.

I am 32!

Milla’s hanguber had mostly mustard, but that is evidently how she likes it. Bea got avocado and beef and declared them both to be delectable.


It was about as perfect a weekend as I can remember. Many thanks to all the people who made it possible.


Chili Sour Cream Sauce
(taken from here)

1 cup sour cream
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
2 teaspoons chili-garlic sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Whisk and enjoy!

We return.

The latter half of Lent, it seems, is not the time for blogging. Nor is Holy Week. But we had our great and glorious Paschal celebration (and the joy continues!) and life is finally slowing down a bit.


Except for Beatrice, that is. She’s getting faster. She only did the belly scoot for about a week and then decided it was small potatoes ’cause real women get up on all fours. And then she figured out the whole I-can-pull-myself-to-standing-almost-anywhere thing, so basically the entire apartment is her highway. And oh, the happiness that has resulted from this discovery. She went through a little stage where she wanted to be held all the time, but now that there is so much to do on the floor she’s a lot happier about being set down. Regular installments of mama are still needed, but there’s more playing by herself now. And that’s fine by me. Although I have already noticed that long silences are suspicious and ought to be investigated immediately. Currently, her forbidden favorite destinations are Camilla’s potty seat, the big toilet, and the kitchen pantry (mostly for intriguing underside of the ironing board).




My happy little Beatrice.

Along with new types of locomotion, she’s also making lots of new noises. Da-da-da, buh-buh-buh, phttthhhh, but no ma-ma. Hrumph. The nursery worker at church coaxed her into saying Jesus twice on Holy Friday (pious child!), but she won’t repeat it for me. Camilla is very interested in her role as teacher, so she’s been trying to get Bea to say all sort of other things without much luck. It’s so sweet to hear her try, though.



That lovely little lip.

Since we’re on the subject of Beatrice, I should also mention that she has two favorite foods at the moment. They are (1) kleenex and (2) anything on the carpet that can be quickly stuffed into your mouth. I don’t think she is ever happier than when she has the opportunity to shred a kleenex into little pieces. I’d let her do it more often, but those little pieces inevitable go in her mouth and she puts up the most ungrateful ruckus when I try to fish them out. Same with leaves, bits of thread, dirt, etc. If I ever suspect that she might be chewing on something, she is. Must remember to vacuum more often.



Camilla’s up to all sorts of stuff these days and is growing increasingly eloquent. She can give a very passable explanation of what we celebrated at Pascha, Good Friday, and Lazarus Saturday (with some minor confusion as to why exactly Lazarus was in the tomb) and stayed up for the entire Saturday night set of services (something like 11 pm – 2:30 am, with a meal afterward). That, combined with about two hours of jumping on a bouncy castle at the picnic the next afternoon, has jump-started the afternoon nap again. Praise God. I seem to spend the entire time cooking, but cooking by myself seems like such a luxury these days (especially festal cooking!).




I feel as though I should have lots of new news to report, but really our life has taken place at church so much recently that we haven’t done a lot at home. Husband somehow keeps finding little bits of time to write interesting things — I especially liked this post.



I’m turning 32 in a little over a week (yikes!) and, in the unlikely event that this suddenly adds a few more hours to my day, I have put together a reading wish list. I want to start with Catching Fire and Mockingjay (I managed to stop for a while after The Hunger Games), and then move on to Nourishing Traditions, An Everlasting Meal, and Babushka’s Beauty Secrets (hey! I am over 30). I do not — ahem — own the last three and they are not available in our library, so if anyone is looking to send me a birthday present, well, there ya go.

I’ll try to be back again soon.

Weeks 33 – 41.

It seems that I got a little, ahem, behind on the week photos. But they all exist, and here they are. Beatrice is such an expert roller now that I get maybe 2 or 3 shots of her on her back before she flips over, and that’s if I’m quick. Note to others who try the same project: this would work far better with two people so one can distract the baby while the other does the camera stuff. But Wednesday is our day and we do the best we can.

(Week 33 — crummy lighting that day, bleh)

Week 33.

(Week 34)

Week 34.

(Week 35)

Week 35.

(Week 36)

Week 36.

(Week 37)

(Week 38)

Week 38.

(Week 39)

Week 39.

(Week 40)

Week 40.

(Week 41)

Week 41.

I’ve lucked out today and Milla is taking a nap. (She woke up at 5 am, so I was really hoping that would happen!) Afternoon silence is a rare and much-appreciated commodity in these parts. I probably ought to be cleaning the bathroom, but when she does sleep I am so afraid of waking her that I don’t do anything that makes noise. Since almost everything related to the household is a little bit noisy, that means I have to relax on the couch for a few minutes. Ah, so sad. I also get to contemplate the paint samples I have taped up in hopes of settling on a color for an accent wall in the living room. We just signed another year’s lease on the ol’ homestead and I find that nothing motivates me to spruce things up like knowing that I’m going to see them for another year. So far I have gone through all the bins in the laundry room and bedrooms, investigated all the boxes under our bed, scoured the kitchen counters, re-arranged the patio furniture, and worked on our container garden. I still need to shuffle around the contents of some closets, especially now that baby things are being put away rather than taken out, and do some more cleaning.

Speaking of babies: I almost forgot to mention that Bea is a crawler now! It’s a slow and slightly painful-looking crawl, but it works. She can scoot much faster with a funny little maneuver that uses just her toes and elbows. She is currently reveling in her newfound mobility and pulling herself up on everything she can. The world is her oyster, it seems.

Oh, to be a baby who has just learned to crawl!


March snippets.

It’s been a while since I posted a general update. And now Bea is 9 months old. NINE. Her checkup was this morning, so I know that my math isn’t off.

I think of this as the “daddy look.” What do you mean, you don’t know who Dante is?

There hasn’t been much posting lately because I inadvertently kissed most of my free time away when we potty-trained the toddler. We did a three day, stay-home-and-do-nothing-but-race-to-the-toilet boot camp and she caught on really fast. Then she started showing up dry in the morning so we decided to quit diapers at night as well. So far, so good! It wasn’t particularly easy or fun, but she was so fast that I don’t think I can credit my mothering skills with the victory. Camilla is just a smart little kid. She also figured out around day 2 that more potty = more candy. We’ve let that one slide for now, but I think we’ll start weaning off the treats in another week or two. Hopefully I can wean myself off of the word “potty” as well. Dang, I hate that word. And I feel like I say it all. the. time.

Anyhow, here are some other snippets about the gang:

Camilla (2.75 yrs)

— She still dances all the time. We really need to get some new ballet scores, since our Nutcracker/Swan Lake Suite CD has lost it’s charm for everyone but Camilla.
— She still loves to draw and can produce a recognizable face with eyes, nose, a mouth, etc.  That started about two weeks ago and I still haven’t put up the photos. Argh.
— She often speaks in full sentences and will pick a favorite if you ask which color, flower, etc. she likes best.
— Some of her favorite books are Freight Train (I make lots of train noises), Harry the Dirty Dog, Dogger, The Selfish Giant, and The Nutcracker. I admit that I groan a bit when she asks for the last one because it has way too much text and I have to work to abbreviate it, but the illustrations are so lovely that it’s not the worst problem ever.

Beatrice (9 mo.)

— She weighs 19 lb 4 oz, which means that the chub has started to plateau. It’s not for lack of eating, so I think she’s just more active.
— She can finally scootch! She gets up on all fours quite nicely but just can’t work out the proper crawling motion. So then she flops on her belly and inches her way laboriously to that tasty-looking speck on the carpet. She sits pretty well if I put her there and can work her way sideways along the sofa. She’s been wanting to be held a lot, though, so there hasn’t been a whole lot of practice.
— She loooooves to eat. If she thinks that something is for her, all her limbs start flapping wildly and she shakes with excitement. Fruity baby foods go down well and I started her on finger foods since her pincer grasp is quite good. Vegetables, bread, cheerios, etc. are very fun and have been a life-saver in the car. An eating baby is a happy baby.
— She is a, um, voracious reader who really loves books. Gnawing on the spine and trying to turn the pages are the main attractions, but I notice her looking at the pictures too.
— She has two little razors teeth now and probably some more right under the surface.  There has been some sadness as a result.
— Either because of the teeth or because of the age, she wants mama a lot. I am so glad I invested in an Ergo. Don’t know what I would do without it.


— Mostly I am just mothering these days, and that’s okay. Laundry and meals always happen, and sometimes bread gets baked and the bathroom gets cleaned. When I draw, it’s usually with crayons. Every once on a while I take on an organizing project and I promised Camilla a homemade felt crown in lieu of the hideous hot pink number she wanted at the thrift store. I am also trying to finish our 2011 photo album, since I don’t think Camilla “remembers” last year as well as 2010 because she looks at our 2010 album all the time. The trick is to make up the album slowly and then sit on it till a good coupon code comes along (I usually use Snapfish). I’ve tried doing a rush job in the past and I always forget something.
— I’ve dropped my diet plans for now because I decided that I don’t want to think about my weight all the time. There are more important things in life than whether I lose 10 more pounds. Lenten fasting and dieting are too close for comfort, and I don’t want to mix the former with the latter.
— My heart is grieving for a family at Josh’s school who just lost their husband/father to a very aggressive brain tumor. I hadn’t seen him for a while, but in my memory he was a very kind man and the family has had so many difficult things happen in the last few years. We pray for them every day.

So, that’s where we are right now. The weather is lovely (March is probably Pensacola’s nicest month), I got my container garden going again, and we just finished three wonderful days with my brother and sister-in-law. Camilla happened to fall asleep (huzzah!) so I am getting a little rest on the sofa before I go finish our dinner prep. Got to have everything ready ready when Community returns tonight!

(All photos are by my awesome friend + photographer Marty Hadding.)