#Liz Journals the Bible

I have been wanting to write a blog post about my Bible journaling for a while. There is, of course, a hesitancy since it is sharing parts of my personal journey with God and it gives opportunity for others to interpret my motivations, but ultimately I believe it’s worth it. I would like to share a little background, how/where/why I started, and I’ll share a few pictures throughout.
(I say “a few”, but I’ve been journaling since March and when I took these pictures a few ago I had 57 or so. This might have to end up being a series. hah)

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What is Bible journaling?
Obviously the concept of writing notes or even drawing pictures in a Bible is not new. People have been doing for years and years, I’m sure. Shanna Noel started a movement a little while ago (a few years I think) called Illustrated Faith which has been spreading like wildfire. Her philosophy is that if even just one person is impacted by her sharing her faith in the margins of her Bible, then it is worth it (even if that one person is herself). I love this philosophy. I first heard of Bible journaling through Valerie Wiener’s blog and I was so inspired by her art and her story of God’s work in her life. Before I started journaling in March, I was fairly consistent in my reading of the Bible each day, but it never seemed to impact  much of my day or my life. I was doing my Bible readings on my computer which made it much easier to skim and not really dig into the text at all. I have always been a very hands-on learner and so it didn’t really make sense for me to expect to be able to interact with the text in this way.

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Once I started reading with an actual Bible in my hands and gave myself permission to underline and highlight and write notes and illustrate what I was learning, I started learning so much more every time I opened my Bible and it stuck with me through the day. This process of Bible journaling has transformed my Bible reading. I still try to read daily, but don’t journal every day, I just try to be open to what God is teaching me through His Word and I create in the spaces in my Bible when I am inspired to do so. I definitely see it as a form of worship and it also enable me to use my creative gifts which helps to “fill” me each day.

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What is my motivation?
I have already touched on this a little, but I thought I should clearly state what my motivation is for sharing, especially on social media. I have posted a few pictures of my Bible before on my Instagram with the hashtag #lizjournalsthebible. I never want it to seem like I am sharing these pages to show off or to get likes, in fact, I have had to check my motivations for that and that’s probably why I haven’t shared more before. Those who know me well can probably attest to the fact that I can be fairly affirmation-needy which is something I have worked on all my life and will probably always need to work on. When I draw/journal/create in my Bible it is for the benefit of me, and ultimately for God. However, thinking about how much seeing the faith and Bible pages of others impacted me and helped renew my hunger for God’s Word inspires me to share my scribbles and my personal journey. Because if by sharing I can inspire just one person to read their Bible and interact with it and grow closer to God, than by all means it is so worth it!

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Where did I start?
I have been using the SheReadsTruth studies for over a year now and I continue to find them so helpful to have a pre-organized study that is so centralized on the Bible and yet also includes encouraging and challenging thoughts from Christian women that God is using to impact so many. I should add that one of the reasons I was previously reading the Bible on my computer was because that is where I read from each day’s study on SRT and they conveniently have a link to each Bible passage on their site. This was extremely helpful especially back in the days of having a newborn Benji and I could MUCH more easily read a Bible reading on my phone/computer while nursing him as opposed to having to try to balance my Bible and take care of him. There are certainly different stages in our lives that work well with different things (and people’s personalities that work with different things—there are many people that would never dream of painting in their Bible, and that’s okay; I do try to keep all of the Biblical text visible when I am working in my Bible, but some people don’t and that’s okay too! It’s not about a right way or a wrong way to interact with the Bible as long as we are worshipping God and respecting Him and His Word). We are all on a personal journey with God and He meets us where we are and extends grace to each individual person. I never would have had time to do a lot of Bible journaling a year ago with a newborn and a toddler. It is still a challenge to find the time  sometimes, but I am grateful whenever I do get the chance. It can be a hard balance between making time to read God’s Word AND take the time to write out thoughts or pictures based on what I’ve learned AND try to balance family time, quality time with Mike, maintaining our household, etc. I try to remind myself that this is a stage and a season (which everybody says is short..lol) and that a lot of my worship and teaching from God comes in the form of daily being changed to be more like Jesus as I go through life.

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How did I start?
After looking at professional-grade hand lettering and beautiful pictures painted in Bibles, I was at a bit of a loss of where to start when I received my journaling Bible (ordered it only for a little over $20). I didn’t want to “mess it up”, but I also wanted it to be a reflection of my personal journey with God expressed creatively. I definitely made some “mistakes” and made some pages that aren’t really my favorite, but since it’s about the process and not really about the end result it’s not something I’ve worried about too much. The SRT study when I first started journaling was in Lamentations and these were  my first ever journaled pages.

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Just like my faith with God is a journey, this illustrating of my faith had been a journey. As I tried different things with different pages, I have discovered that I usually prefer to have colorful journaling with different fonts and lettering as opposed to a drawing only one picture or verse. There are many exceptions to this as I give myself creative freedom, but it has helped to figure out how I am best able to meditate on what I am reading.

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Well, since I don’t think I’m going to include 50 more pictures, we’ll call that Part 1. I would LOVE to share more about any of the pages or my personal relationship with Jesus if you’re interested. Comment or send me an email. I would also love to answer any questions anyone might have. In part 2 maybe I’ll talk about some of the tools and methods I use. If you have been considering getting a journaling Bible or even using a notebook to creatively express what God is teaching you, don’t wait any longer! God wants to know and be known. He wants an interactive, intimate relationship with YOU and this might be one way you can deepen (or start!) that relationship.

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Thanks for reading.
<3 Liz

A Miscellany of Projects

I think I’ve mentioned that while I have not been the most faithful at blogging, I have done an okay job at taking pictures of various projects that I have worked on. However, as I was going through pictures, none of them seemed to quite merit their own blog post. Which brings us to our title: a miscellany of projects. It’s a real word, look it up. (I did..) I almost went with a GOULASH of projects, but I reeeally don’t like goulash, so here we are.

First, let’s take a journey to my pinterest-worthy craft room.

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Not what you were expecting? I take what I can get.
Someday that will all be livable space with real floors and walls and ceiling. Someday.

Do you spy the color wheel?

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I got my inspiration AND the free cut file/pattern from here. Hers is super cute (and taken in much better lighting).

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I made it on a piece of foam board and used fabric, paper, buttons, and stickers. I really liked the Picasso quote and so I stamped that out too. It was a fun little project to do to add some color to my “space” and it was very simple and non-time-consuming. (I told you..not enough to stand on it’s own as a blog post.)

Next, I have a wreath I made for Spring.

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I made the felt flowers, the nest if from Hobby Lobby, and the eggs are from an antique shop in Kalona, IA.

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A little more subdued than my usual choice of colors, but it worked really well for Spring.

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I painted our side tables. Our coffee table and two side tables were a GREAT DEAL from a friend’s garage sale soon after we were married. We slapped some black spray paint on them, but they were really starting to show some wear and tear.

table before (1)

So, as I was in the very early stages of labor with Benji, I painted (while taking precautions and staying in a very well ventilated area: aka the outdoors).

table after (2)

We used a grayish beige sort of color (greige, if you will) that we had lying around. Before the hubs and I had our kiddos we used to, you know, just go to stores together. We didn’t even have to bring along a snack or push two carts. Anywho, when we would go to a hardware store together I found it difficult, nay impossible, to pass by the “oops paint” without perusing the colors and probably buying a can or two. Present day me would give past me a slightly judgmental look. This was one of many colors that I probably had no real need to ever get and have consequently used, but only because it was there and I’m sure I gave some sort of promise about how I would definitely use the paint for all sorts of projects. hah.

If you follow me on instagram, you may have spotted my giant chalkboard where I was doing verses of the week and REALLY need to get back into the habit of doing again.

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So much about that picture has changed (mainly no more book shelves in our living room) that it makes me want to give a “house tour” and take pictures of every room. But then I think about how I would need to clean them all…

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Maybe I’ve done less chalkboard verses since I’ve been doing a lot more Bible journaling. I think I am going to take an entire post to share about that, but I’ll just share one page.

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I also painted our side entrance leading down to the basement. This was before.

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It was a dingy white that had yellow sealant sprayed on it (THAT’S a long story) from when we first moved in and just needed some TLC badly.

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So I just continued the yellow from the kitchen.

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We also added the baskets on the wall (from Walmart) and the hooks for the cleaning supplies. Not super glamorous, but the organization makes a huge difference.

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And our pots and pans on our spraypainted pegboard also help with organization. We have a fairly small kitchen with not a lot of cabinets or counter space, so we have tried to be as creative as possible with where and how to store things.

Sooo….there you have it. What may have been my most random blog post ever. If you made it to the end, then I truly believe you are a dear, dear friend. I still have more to share (Bible journaling, a furniture redo, two room redos) but those should be enough to stand on their own. Thanks for sticking with me. Hopefully you learned a little more about me or felt a little inspired to go do one of those less-than-glamorous, but satisfying-to-finally-accomplish projects.

Stitching the States Custom U.S. Map

Remember at the beginning of the year when it was January and there was fresh snow on the ground and it was the start of a brand new year full of possibility? Remember how I said I was going to try to blog weekly?

**crickets chirp**

*hangs head in shame*

About that… I’m really going to try to blog more. I really am. The good news is that I usually still take pictures when I am working on projects in the hope that “someday I’ll blog about this” so I have a few things I can share right away.

I’ve discovered recently that one of my absolute favorite things in the world is custom making things for people. I really enjoy creating things for myself and our family, but when I know that I am making something specifically for someone else there is an added element of specialness.

One such project that I did recently was creating a custom U.S. embroidery hoop map art for a sweet friend. My first real embroidery project was creating this map for myself and after I was finished, I wanted to do it again! (You can call me crazy, go ahead.) I used this pattern from the Raising Up Rubies etsy shop. If you don’t follow Jamie’s blog, stop whatever you’re doing right now and go visit. And then after you’re done there you can peruse her shop for even more of an adorableness overload. Seriously, I don’t think I’ve ever read a blog post or looked at a picture of something Jamie has created without being inspired. (And hey, we’re both from NY so maybe we’re secretly destined to be friends!) She has such talent, but also is such a sweet soul—you can just feel her kind spirit through all of the words she writes. You can make your own U.S. map by buying her pattern here. Oh, and if you have any desire to be inspired all.the.time. do yourself a favor and follower her on Instagram too. Just saying.

Anyway, I really enjoyed making the map a second time, fixed a few mistakes I made the first time, and got to try out a whole different approach of filling in the states with color.

Picture overload, anyone?

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The top one is the first map I made (and kept!) and the bottom one is the custom map.

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Custom map by itself.

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A little closer.

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There were two special hearts that I added. One where my friend was born.

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And one where her hubby was born too.

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My U.S. geography has improved IMMENSELY since completing these two maps.

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You can see my (imperfect) stitching on the back, but I also added a fun finishing touch with some state fabric that I have.
I thought it tied in well.  :)

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The two maps side by side again. Rainbow color and “random” color.

Believe it or not, I have already started on a third map for another custom order. I love this form of crafting since it takes a minimal amount of focus and is therapeutic for me with its repetition. All that to say, I like making things and I really like making things for other people to enjoy.

**I’m somewhat open to the possibility of making more of these. Shoot me an email if you think you’re interested. And remember, you can always get the pattern and make it yourself!**

Thanks for stopping by!

<3 Liz

Benjamin David 12 Months Old

First things first, I changed some things around this here blog, like it?

Second things second, our tiny little peanut is now a one year old little boy and I am bursting with love, pride, and sentiment.

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Benji 12 months old

12 month Collage

I managed to squeeze him in the basket one last time.
The bottom right is a little blurry, but I love that I captured his little crinkle-nose face.
Also, could he look any more like his daddy??

I don’t even know how to summarize the past month, this kid just seems to grow by leaps and bounds every day. He has such a fun and mischievous personality. This kid. Let’s just use getting into the dog food as an example. This is not a new issue for us, we’ve been training him that the dog’s food and water dishes are off limits since he started crawling. Now he’s gotten to the point that he KNOWS it’s naughty and so he sneaks over there and grabs the dog food/splashes in the water. When he hears some one coming he bolts away as quickly as possible so that maybe he won’t get caught and will get to keep the dog food that he still has stashed away in his little death grip. Sometimes he listens when we tell him to come here away from it and sometimes he laughs at us and runs over to it. He can be redirected time and time again or carried to the other end of the house, but the kid is determined to get into trouble. I feel like this won’t be the last that we see of his strong will.

He has definitely gotten to the point where he walks more than he crawls now. In fact, I get a little surprised when I see him crawling since his go-to is now walking or RUNNING. He is such a physical little man and he is getting fast on those little feet and chubby legs. He is also a climber, so he really has started to keep me on his toes. I have found him on top of tables and chairs and beds and he is just so proud of himself when he figures out how to get on top of new things. He loves to throw himself around on the couch, but of course he also tries to throw himself OFF of the couch sometimes too. I am trying to figure out the balance between letting him explore/learn lessons the hard way/get some bumps and bruises and keeping him from getting hurt. He is just such a wild man.

He is a sweetie though, too. He loves to laugh and make us laugh—especially Ellery. They are still interacting fairly well together, even with Ben’s increased ability to reach all the things and follow after her and knock over everything. He still has a little separation anxiety when I put him in the nursery, but most of the time he is a HUGE fan of people. Seriously, you give him an audience and he will ham it up.

He has six teeth now that the four on top have officially come in. He still loves to put things in his mouth and likes to bite things (like my knees..even though he knows that’s naughty too), but I am VERY thankful that he’s never tried to bite while nursing. Speaking of nursing, WE MADE IT TO A YEAR! There were times I didn’t know if we would, but I am so thankful that we did. Considering I was never really able to nurse Ellery, this feels like a miracle. Once he started consistently sleeping all the way through the night (around 11 months) he was still nursing around 5 or 6 times a day. Now we are down to 3 or 4 times a day. He seems to be less and less interested (probably because he is still eating everything all of the time) and I don’t know how much longer we will last. Although, I kind of feel like it is best case scenario if he decides to be done on his own.

He FINALLY said “mama”, but he is very selective of when he actually uses it. Usually it’s when he’s really sad and a little “mama” whimper will sneak out. I love it though. He seems to be babbling a lot, but most of what comes out of his mouth is “daddad dada da ddadadad”.

We had a fun birthday party for him last weekend with some friend and family. It was a little chilly that day, but I  think everyone still had a good time. That kid LOVED his cake and loved that we thought it was a good idea to give him an entire cake. He smashed it. I think he would have enjoyed it more if he wasn’t cold and he didn’t keep shoving green frosting up his nose. We had a nice, fun day at home on his actual birthday with birthday pancakes and balloons and presents.

The night before his birthday, (aka the early morning hours of his birthday) he had a really rough night of sleeping. I’m not sure if he was so excited for the big day or if he was having flash backs of where he was a year ago (hah!), but I heard little cries quite a bit. Every time I checked him he was still lying down and it appeared as if he was sleeping, but he just seemed to be struggling to settle. So after a while I went down and just rocked him for a while so he could settle in asleep on my chest. He hasn’t slept on me for months and months (he hardly holds still long enough for a cuddle) and I got to hold him as he changed from a baby to a toddler. That was the sweetest gift he could have given me.

first year Collage

(I will update his stats after we have his one year check-up next week.)

Benjamin 11 Months

Benji Doodle aka Doodles

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11 months old
Notice how it’s pretty much just his torso that fits in the basket now?

11 month Collage

This kid. If you haven’t met him, let me just tell you that he’s hilarious and a delight. He has his share of off moments/days, but most of the time he is just so much fun to be around. There is so much personality packed into this little peanut. He loves to have fun and make other people laugh. He is developing his own little laugh that is a chuckle with lots of space in between each little noise.

He is definitely developing his own opinions and preferences and he works hard at letting you know them. He always active and squirmy, but especially whenever someone is trying to put clothes on him so I’m pretty sure he would just prefer to be naked all the time. Once he starts working towards a milestone, he does not stop practicing until he’s quickly mastered it and then he moves on to the next. He started taking steps last month and now he is walking so much! He can almost stand up by himself without pulling up on anything and he chooses to walk quite often, even without a destination in sight. He can walk long distances ESPECIALLY if his sister is in his line of sight. Ellery will call out to him to come here and he will happily toddle over to her, and then he grabs her and they both fall to the floor giggling. He certainly seems like he will be running before we know it.

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At the beginning of the month he was working on getting his 2nd tooth (both on the bottom) and once that popped through we discovered that he had also cut a tooth on the top (one of his canines). Currently I’m pretty sure that he is working on cutting THREE teeth on top—his two front teeth and the other canine. I can’t imagine that it feels very nice, and he has been a little more clingy/needy/whiny at times, but who can blame him? Even when he doesn’t feel 100%, he still loves to play and have a good time.

He is still eating like a teenage boy (aka so much and all of the time). He nurses 4 or 5 times a day still and eats anything and everything we give him. Mike thinks he is just in a perpetual state of growing. He got back into the habit of waking at night to eat (AGAIN!), but I think we mostly broke the habit now (AGAIN!!) and he seems to just be waking once around 3 a.m., needing some reassurance that we are still there, and then he goes right back down. (With the exception of last night where he was up screaming at us for an hour, but whatevs. Maybe it was teeth. I think it was stubbornness. hah)

Ben is becoming quite the daddy’s boy as he gets SO excited when Mike gets home and definitely seems to prefer him at times. He still loves his mama, I have no doubt of that, but he has a special admiration for his daddy. Which brings me such joy. He has started to have some separation anxiety, especially at the church nursery, but we are working through it. It breaks my heart to see him so sad when I leave him, but I know that he calms down very quickly. Other than that, he is a big fan of people and would let a stranger pick him up. He still won’t SAY ‘mama’, but has started to repeat the few words he does have on command. He will say ‘dada,’ ‘baba,’ ‘ah ah’ (like a monkey), and ‘eeeee’ (which is either his word for Ellery and “whee” on the swing). He is still very expressive vocally.

He loves music and as soon as a song with a beat comes on he starts dancing. He bounces whether he’s standing or sitting in a seat or whatever. Soon after he started taking steps, he also started being able to climb stairs and he mastered that very quickly. Thankfully we don’t have any stairs that he can get to with a gate in front of one set and a door in front of the other, but he is getting scary good at climbing. He climbs stairs outside and he climbs up our step stool and he climbs anything he can. I foresee this boy giving his mama some anxiety and probably getting his fair share of bumps and bruises. He is definitely very boyish in that way.

His favorite thing right now seems to be crawling into laundry baskets. He walks over or pulls himself up to one, throws his body in head first, and tumbles inside. He enjoys sitting in them for quite some time and is even fairly successful at getting himself out.

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I cannot believe that our sweet baby is almost one and that I have to start thinking about a birthday party. We are looking forward to a fun summer with these two.  

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Benjamin 10 Months

Man, this month flew by, I can’t believe it’s (past) time for another update already.

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Benji 10 months old

10 month Collage

Little buddy was in a smiley mood for this month’s photo shoot which was extra delightful. He is sporting 12 month clothes these days, some of which are still a little big on him. He is still a peanut, but he is barely fitting into this basket anymore as evidenced by his legs sticking out the end and his little toes curled over the side.

A little after Ben turned 9 months his sleep did start improving (yay!) and now he (usually) only nurses once during the night. That is a huge improvement for us! Coincidentally, at the same time we were finally able to take away his third, early evening nap. Although once that happened then he stopped taking his morning nap, so he went from three naps a day to one.

He is still eating like a mini teenager/bottomless pit. He nurses several times a day, eats three meals a day, and snacks all the time. We think he is on a perpetual growth spurt. He has tried lots of different foods and seems to favor breakfast food pretty strongly. He is a little scavenger finding bits of food whenever possible and will get upset if you try to eat any food in front of him. He has done very well with a sippy cup, especially when he is given the same kind as what big sister uses. He gets very proud of himself when he is able to hold it and drink out of it.

He started waving (with his whole arm) and now does it at appropriate times (and all times) and it is adorable. On Sunday when I picked him up from the nursery he saw me and broke into a huge smile and began waving vigorously. Sometimes he even makes a funny little face when he does it too. During the past few weeks he has started standing on his own—first without realizing it—and now he has been intentionally practicing and doing it for longer and longer. He has a lot of strength in his legs and controls his squatting from standing to sitting. I don’t want to say he will be walking soon, but I’m pretty sure it’s not that far down the road for us. Personally, I don’t think it changes that much right away anyway since he can already pull up on things and get into mischief easily. It might make things a little more interesting for Ellery since he will be able to follow her around a little more easily.

They are still enamored with each other, but Ellery is started to get to a stage of imaginative play where she likes things just the way she likes them. Of course, Benji just comes over and knocks everything down so we are starting to teach her how to achieve personal space when she wants it. One of his favorite things to do is knock down towers and he tries to do so as QUICKLY as he sees one constructed.

He has not added to his vocabulary of “da da” and “ba ba,” and still only one tooth, but I know those things will come in time. He is proving to be such a BOY and loves wrestling and moving all. the. time. If there is a pillow or blanket on the floor, he loves to crawl over to it, lay his head down, smile at you, and then pop right back up. Sometimes he does this over and over. It’s never that he’s tired, he just loves playing this game—I think he knows he looks cute. It is super hard to capture though, since he only lays down for about a second.

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More and more we are able to see his fun-loving, sweet, crazy personality shine through and we love it! He loves his family and loves people. And we love him.

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Benjamin 9 months

I have been calling Benji “almost 9 months” for the past few weeks, so would think that it would be less of a surprise for me when he actually became 9 months old. Nope. Still surprising.

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It just sounds too old.

9 month Collage

As you can probably tell, he did not sit still for very long and we had an interruption visitor that was a bit of a distraction.

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I am seriously considering giving Ben a new middle name because lately Benjamin Trouble seems more appropriate. This little guy is EVERYWHERE and he is into EVERYTHING. Especially the dog’s food and water dishes. We do our very best to keep little things off of the floor, but if there’s anything there, he will find it and put it in his mouth—paper, dog hair, stickers, dog food, leftover food, the dog, etc. He does a great job at crawling through and under things and we often find him in some little corner very proud of himself.

He has one tooth on the bottom and he is possibly working on more currently because he has been drooling all of the time. Since we started giving “baby led weaning” a try and letting him feed himself, he has gone from eating very little solids to eating anything you put in front of him ravenously three times a day! I think his favorite is mashed potatoes.

We are still working on words but we think we have heard a “dada” from him a time or two. He also says “baba” which we all know is the precursor to mama. Don’t let his lack of vocabulary fool you, he is very vocal. He loves to yell and growl and make all sorts of noises. UPDATE: A few days after I first wrote this, Ben has started saying Dada pretty much non-stop. He babbles it, he says it when he’s angry or trying to get our attention, etc. While I am still working on “mama” I think it is the most adorable thing to hear him jabbering on and I love that this gives us a clue into what his little voice will sounds like when he starts talking.

Benji continues to be more and more mobile. He is able to pull up on tables, couches, and chairs. He can navigate from one to another. He has even started holding on with only one hand or just resting on something with an elbow. He had a short time were he would be “stuck” holding on to something, but he quickly figured out how to bend down and sit and he has been practicing. Standing my himself seems to be not far off and we will see what happens after that. I’m not wishing for an early walker, but I’m not strongly against it either. He is already so independent and he gets so proud of himself whenever he develops a new skill.

He has still been having trouble sleeping. I won’t get into it much, but sometimes it feels like he’s a newborn again. And sometimes it’s not that bad. I try to remind myself (sometimes successfully, sometimes not) that this is just a season that will “pass” and someday he will stop waking at night and he will stop doing a thousand other baby things and maybe just maybe I will miss this, sleep deprivation and all. Maybe I’ll write more on that another time. For now I will enjoy my two sweet little loves that get big all too quickly and make life beautiful and hard and wonderful.

We had a good appointment with the Dr. for his well child appt. After the nurse took his measurements she checked where he was on the growth chart and declared, “Well, he’s tiny!” hah. He weighs 17.9 lbs (15th percentile) and is 27 inches long (5th percentile). We know he is a little peanut, but we know (and the dr. affirms) that he is growing and thriving. He is just such an active little man and still has so many delightful rolls, so we are very reassured that he is doing just fine.