Monday, February 11, 2013

Eulogy for my Grandmama

A week and a half ago now, my dad's mom passed away. We've been close to her our whole lives, and I am hard-pressed to recall childhood memories in which she did not play a significant role. Normally I hate and am terrified of public speaking, but I so passionately wanted to say something in Grandmama's honor that I wasn't even scared a bit. A couple of my family members have asked for a copy, so I figured I'd post it here on this much-neglected blog. 

Just a little bit more. That was billionaire John D. Rockefeller's reply when someone asked him how much money would be enough. When Grandmama finished her time here on earth last week, my mind went to Rockefeller's words. Just a little bit more. Isn't that what we always want?

I have two kids, a two year old son named Brody and a 3 month old baby girl named Lila. For the first year of his life, Brody got to have lots of visits with his great grandmama. He's a little rascal and doesn't want to slow down or sit still for anyone. But he loved to sit with his Grandmama and hold her hand, and he called her "Grandmama" just like I did. I'm so thankful to have seen my son captivated by his great grandma just as I was. But I wanted just a little bit more. I wanted Brody to be old enough to carry memories of her into his adulthood. I especially wanted to introduce Lila to Grandmama. That would be enough, I think. But then after that I know I'd want just a little bit more. I'd want to see Lila and her cousin Pippa sitting down to one of Grandmama's famous tea parties just like I did as a little girl, or maybe sitting in bed listening to her read Horton Hears a Who. 

Everyone who knows Grandmama Margaret knows what a cook she was. Growing up, we enjoyed many a Sunday dinner over at Grandmama and Papa's house. Green beans, macaroni pie, potato rolls (I always had 4 or so), and of course roast beef were always on the menu. We ate well at Grandmama's house. With every season, there were new foods to look forward to: ham biscuits, fried chicken, roast turkey and brown rice, and our favorite savory cheese cookies. Maybe it was just because she made it, but somehow everything Grandmama cooked was better. Her spaghetti was better, her roast potatoes were better, her green beans were better, her scrambled eggs were better. I even remember as a little kid wondering how Grandmama could spread butter on bread better than anyone else. When I did it, the bread would rip but when Grandmama did it, it spread right on like silk. If only I could have just a little bit more.

Grandmama spent many days of my childhood in the kitchen with me, letting me help her beat egg whites to make meringue cookies, or stir icing on the stove to the perfect consistency. But somehow after all those times, I STILL can't make things quite like her. Anyone who knew Grandmama knows it's really hard to help her do anything--she just cheerfully does it herself, no matter how much you offer. I realized that after all those years of letting me "help," really, I was just licking the spoon. If I could have just a little more time, I would MAKE her let me do it. I would pay attention to every detail so that my children could taste Grandmama's greatest hits.

So while the time with her is gone for now, I'm grateful that God will give us not just a little bit more time together, but eternity. Plenty of time for cooking and baking. Plenty of time for tea parties and stories not just with her great-grandchildren, but with THEIR great-grandchildren too! Thanks be to God not only for giving life, but for giving it abundantly. For giving us gifts we can't get enough of, so that we always want just a little bit more. And then for giving us the promise of eternity and fellowship forevermore.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Since we are about to move....

....I thought I would finally get around to putting up a few pics of our place for the friends that have asked me. It was like 8 or 9 months ago when people were asking, so you/they probably do not even care any more, but here we go. :) And then in a month or so, I'll do it all over again. 

First off, here is the dining room.

The chairs are a work in progress, obviously. We am actually sanding them and painting them a light seaglass blue/green this week (much lighter than the color on those two chairs). We'll see how they turn out--one of my third trimester goals is to finish all my unfinished projects that have been sitting around for the past YEAR.
You can't tell, but the table is also a WIP. Right now it is dark gray, but hopefully in the next couple weeks it will be white.

My sis-in-law observed about the map my worst fear about it--she was like, "your dining room looks like a homeschool schoolroom!!" Thanks, Rachel!! haha! I wondered if it might look that way! We really liked the idea of having a map with pins showing where we've been individually and together, and I got this one for free at the Hope Center. But it is a bit too laminated and colorful and classroom like, so I just gave it to an actual schoolteacher friend today. Hopefully it will enjoy its new home.

This is my vintage radio from my friend Lish--I'd loved it in her house for years, and am very excited that it is mine now!!

To show some flow, here is the entry into the kitchen from the dining room.

There are a lot of pics of the bedroom, because it has a lot of my favorite little spots. 

I have a problem with cheap antique chairs--this one was 5 bucks and the old curtain panel and picnic basket on it make it one of my favorite spots.

If only I had straightened the comforter and bedskirt. oh, well. :) We used a Target giftcard from one of Brody's baby showers to get the duvet set (don't tell him! :) ). It was so nice to update our old comforter--which I still love, and is in our guest room, but was just always too small for a queen bed.

We snagged the bedside table from my sister's Goodwill pile last year, and it is in the queue for the whitewashing in the next couple weeks too. 

I know there have been a million pics of the bedroom, BUT I just love the bird on the wall, so I had to get a pic of that! 

End of the hall. Might be my absolute fav spot in the house.

Living room.


Succulent and fake plant--the only kinds of plants I'm having any luck with so far.

Guest room. After living with our TV in the middle of the living room for 3 years in VA Beach, we were sick of staring at it. So we put it on a rolling cart, and at least now it's not in the thick of things. I'd really love to get a cute media cabinet or something to hide it one of these days. We're definitely keeping our eyes peeled!

Brody's room--this room might need the most work of ANY. The rug is Brody's first decorating pick, which he fell in love with at Costco, and I thought it would be great for helping him play independently in his room. Like when I wanted him to play on it, I would roll it out, and then put it away at the end. As it turns out, 1) I never put it away, and 2) he's really good about playing independently anyway. We can give the rug credit, but I suspect I might be able to pick something more boring to a little kid and he would still like his toys. :)

Love the map from the National Gallery of Scotland's bookstore. Another thing on the to-do list is Ellis building a frame for it. Also painting the dresser. 

The most challenging thing on our sanding/painting list is Brody's crib. He still doesn't climb out of it, so we haven't tried moving him to a twin bed yet. We'll probably get around to it sometime between when we move at the end of August and when the baby comes the end of October. We'll see--one of these days! I started a gallery wall over Brody's bed one day, but never finished it. Couldn't decide what to put in the frames. Indecision is the worst!!

Anyway, so there's a little peek of what things look like, and what we love and what we're wanting to do! 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Ellis roasting coffee

Ellis has gotten into roasting his own coffee lately. It's great--it's cheap--like $6 a pound and YUMMY. 

He orders it from a company called Sweet Maria's

starts out super light or "green"

after being roasted

Thursday, June 14, 2012

2 years old

Cannot believe this is happening, but Brody turned TWO on Monday!! This birthday is so much different than his first birthday--last year on June 9, 10, and 11 I felt acutely tuned in to what we were doing "a year ago today." It was almost like the whole thing was in slow-mo.

But THIS year felt like a regular birthday. Like when Emily turned 13 in April, I didn't think about the day my mom had her, about the fact that Julie and I were sleeping over at a sweet old lady's  house 13 years before, or getting to spend the night at the hospital with Mom after she had Emily. Likewise, this year for Brody's 2nd birthday, it didn't register to me to commemorate what the actual labor and birth day had been like.

When we celebrate someone's birthday, we generally think about THEM and not their parents. Last year, I remember thinking a lot about Ellis and me and how the year before had been for US. It was a lot about our memories. THIS year felt like a normal brithday--like it was about Brody. It was less reflective and commemorative, and more about a fun day for Brody. Isn't it funny how birthdays evolve?

It's funny--I kind of missed how fresh everything was in my mind last year (but yet, once I think about it, the details are are still there and still magical). BUT it was so fun this year to see Brody actually enjoy elements of his birthday--like BALLOONS (or "byews" as he calls them) and cupcakes and gifts!

Now for some pics:

Here he is holding Tigger, the Eiferts' brand new kitty! He loves dogs, but kittens are even better, cause they can't knock him over!

I saw this idea on Pinterest to fill a kid's room with balloons so they wake up in a sea of balloons. His room is pretty big, so I thought even all 45 balloons I had would look pretty wimpy in his whole room, so we just dumped them all in his crib when he woke up! He went to town and is still scattering "Happy Birthday" balloons around the house 3 days later!

Finally, here he is blowing out the candle on the cake Aunt Emily made for him! We're excited to have a pool party for him in the next couple weeks! Growing up, I always wished I was born in the summer so I could have my friends for pool parties, so I'm so glad Brody will get that! 

Monday, May 28, 2012

beyond small talk

Recently, I got to see one of my really good friends whom I hadn't seen in a while. We sat down to talk at a coffee shop in Tacoma, and she asked me, "What has God been teaching you lately?" That is the most refreshing question EVER to me. Nothing kills a phone conversation with a friend faster than "What have you been doing lately?" or "So what's new?"

I hate it when conversations start like that, because first of all, I usually have no idea what I've been DOING--I almost always have to stop and think for 30 seconds to think of what we did the past weekend! Also, a lot of times, what I've been DOING is not that interesting--nor does it necessarily help the other person RELATE to me. Honestly, an answer to a question like that would go like, "well, the weather's started getting nicer, so Brody and I have been going to the park a lot lately." Or even, to get INTERESTING, "Ellis and I just bought a canoe." I'm very thankful for our canoe, and I know that friends love to hear about that stuff, but sometimes it's hard for the conversation to GO from there, cause there's nothing to say "ME TOO" about. I totally recognize that there is a place for those sorts of conversations, and not every discussion has to be at the level of "what's God been teaching you lately?" I'm just saying that I think a lot us would have a lot more significant and challenging relationships if we asked each other these sorts of questions more often. 

I love C.S. Lewis' description of the birth of his lifelong friendship with Arthur Greaves. I don't remember if this was in the Four Loves, or in some of his letters, but the gist is he walked into Arthur's house and saw a collection of Norse mythology, and he said they made eye contact, and it was like, "What? You too? I thought I was the only one!" One of the girls in my Bible study recently made the observation that in addition to being connected by shared interests, when we share our struggles, temptations, challenges, goals, and triumphs with each other can create that same sort of reaction.

It's scary to share the temptations that we deal with, because honestly, sometimes I'm scared that I am the only one that ever has the temptations I have, and that if I mention it, people will KNOW I am the worst sinner out there! I'll think, "I'm sure no one else struggles with jealousy over such a petty thing, and then if they know, they'll know my weakness and judge me." But often when we make ourselves vulnerable and out of humility are willing to share things to help others, we discover others that relate to the very things we thought no one else dealt with. And suddenly, there are others to help and share what helped them. 

I mean, I know ultimately the answer to what to do with sin boils down to "Confess and repent." But SOMETIMES that is easier said than done, or we confess with our minds, but it takes a LONG TIME to internalize something in our hearts. Sometimes we just need to hear something in a different way than we've thought of it, or hear an example in a different context, like when the Prophet Nathan confronted David about Bathsheba. Often hearing someone else share a Bible verse, or a quote, or a story can be what we need to just change our perspective a tiny bit and make something STICK. Also, it's incredible how often if you say something to someone, they'll have been thinking about the SAME THING and you both can add to each other's thoughts! God gave us one another to bear each other's burdens, and so a lot of times, when we do the scary thing and let someone see that we're not perfect (or ADMIT it, cause they prolly already know!), we can receive the nourishment that we don't even know how badly we need. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

what we look like now

Man oh man! Looking over my pitiful number of photos from the last month, I'm realizing one of the biggest benefits of actually blogging is that it keeps me snapping pics! It's kinda like with Facebook statuses. During the times in my life where I've actually put up FB statuses, it makes me keenly aware in my everyday life of what would be a good status. "Ooh I gotta go post on
Facebook that I just saw 2 squirrels collide!" Definitely kinda retarded, BUT the cool thing is that it keeps me NOTICING!!!

Likewise, when I am blogging regularly(ish), thinking "oh, I could blog about this" makes me get out the camera, and stop to APPRECIATE what has been done around the house, or what our family's gotten the opportunity to do. It's so easy to get caught up in "cool, this is done, now what's next" and not stop to appreciate and rest in work or reflect on the blessings God
's brought. After God created the world, He stopped and took a Sabbath. So here's to real and metaphorical Sabbaths!

NOW, on to a bit of catch-up.

Here is Brody the Boy. It's so fun to see what a total BOY he is now. He burps and farts--and then LAUGHS at himself. We are 100% POSITIVE he does it on purpose sometimes!!! His idea of fun with toys is seeing how hard he can throw them--at the gym kidcare, I always know Brody's at the toy bucket when I see legos and MyLittlePonys flying through the air. He is completely OBSESSED with balls. They are his all-time favorite toy, and whenever we walk by anything that remotely looks like a ball, he starts yelling, "BALL! BALL! BALL!"

Interestingly, despite what the above photo seems to indicate, he is terrified of messes. Anytime he spills a couple drops of milk on the floor, he points to the puddle and makes distraught noises. Or if there is a wrinkle in a rug, he obsessively tries to fix it. He also loves to clean things up. I like this trait!!

Another fun thing is his (limited) repertoire of animal noises. Basically it seems to be domestic furry animal say "woofwoof!" and wild furry animals say "RAAAWR!" He's also working on "hooohooo" and "meow."

My friend Kathryn took some pics of us for Christmas cards (just ordered them last night!), so here are a couple updated family pics! I didn't put in the one we are using, so that way it can be a little bit of a surprise or something. :P

I was also going to include our wonderful Thanksgiving in Eugene, Oregon, but I think I will save that for another time--Ellis needs to take the computer to work!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Brody at 15 Months

When I was pregnant with Brody, I was (sort of) keeping a journal and thinking if he turned out to be a girl, he would read and reread my thoughts about him and treasure his baby journal, yada yada yada. Good thing God gave me a BOY who will NOT care, because I think a girl would be very disappointed in me. So hopefully by the time I have a girl, I will have upped my game.

In an attempt to work on it, here is a 15.5 month update on what is going on with the Bear, which is what he probably thinks his name is.

(the only recentish pic on the computer right now)

Biggest milestone recently: WALKING, woohoo! As seen in the previous post, Brody was inspired to work hard over Labor Day weekend, and now walks everywhere! He also loves to walk backward--and he totally thinks he's cool when he does it.

Also, he loves to feed himself, which means he NEVER re-wears the same outfits two days in a row anymore, or even PJs. And his favorite food just happens to be yogurt, so it's REALLY messy! This morning I gave him oatmeal, thinking it was a better choice since it was more substantial and wouldn't slide right off the spoon onto him. BUT he decided it was substantial enough to be a finger food. He also really cracked me up with his toast this morning: he broke it in pieces, sucked all the jam off, and then stacked his toast pieces in his empty oatmeal bowl and stuck the spoon straight up in it like a flag. That MUST be the Eifert in him cause there's no way a Littlejohn baby would clean up after himself!

He loves to read books and sing to himself--we love listening to him in his carseat! And I think the ball has now replaced the play piano as his favorite toy. He still loves music and especially rap though!

This is SUCH a fun stage, cause he is becoming an interactive little KID now. It's so fun to see him COMMUNICATE!!! Here are his words that I can think of:
Mama and Dada--do those even count? :)
Uh oh
Thank you
Up--his favorite!
All done
and then Light--it's not perfectly consistent, but it's a Littlejohn tradition, so it's exciting!

He's turning out to be super social--he LOVES going to the gym KidCare with me and playing with all the kids! And nothing beats Logos volleyball games, where he gets to bask in the attention of junior high girls!

Lastly, here is a breakdown of his top 3 favorite people at 15 months:
1) Aunt Emily--no contest
2) Dad
3) Mom

At least I'm in the top 3! :)
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