We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers. - I Thessalonians 1:2

Lilypie Kids Birthday tickers

Lilypie Second Birthday tickers

Monday, August 30, 2010

Saturday Look(ed) Good to Me

In case you were wondering, the title of this post is a reference to a band I've come to like over the last couple of years-- except they're called "Saturday Looks Good to Me." Anyway...

This Saturday was a pretty good one. After a full week of school, I was W.I.P.E.D. out. Whoever decided to start school with students on a Monday (as opposed to having the teacher workday on Monday or Tuesday and then having the students start on Tuesday or Wednesday), was clearly not a teacher. Thankfully, I seem to have some really good kids (which will make the next 15 weeks easier) and a hardworking student-teacher (which will make life until October 15th easier). We went to the football game for the district where I work on Friday night and met up with a woman I used to teach with and her husband. Cate was all over the place, so I don't have any pictures from the game. She had fun though and we all slept well Friday night.

Fully recharged from a good night's sleep, Cate and I decided to head to our main library downtown. Eric had to staff a workout for Team in Training. Let's just say that our little branch library that we walk to often could fit inside just the children's department at the main library. Cate was in heaven-- she loves kid-sized furniture and this place was full of it. The children's librarian helped her get started at a computer and Cate was mesmerized by the eBook programs.
We left with a stack of books for Cate...
...a few to feed Mommy's interests...
...and a couple for Mommy to use when doing book-talks with her students this week (book-talk=read an interesting portion to get kids to go check it out or order it from the book order for you non-teaching readers).
Since we were already downtown, we made the quick drive to Friendship Park (next to Sawyer Point and the Boathouse for you locals), where a set of hidden steps leads down to a great little view of the Ohio River.
Cate and I sat for about 20 minutes and talked and watched the boats.
Needless to say, she was exhausted and crawled right into bed for a nap. Notice the "ookie" (pacifier)? Those went bye-bye Saturday night. More about that later.
I was pretty tired after our morning adventure too. So after dinner, Eric took Cate and Zoey, our dog, to another local park (French Park), with a long, hilly, hiking trail. All three walked about a mile and a half.
Later that night, Cate left all of her "ookies" out for the ookie fairy. This fairy turns your old "ookies" into a toy or two and brings new ones for your baby brother.
Cate was excited about the prospect of getting some new toys (and some ookies that she could give to Brennan), but there was one flaw in our plan: Without her ookies, Cate didn't know how to put herself to sleep. Well, she did know how because she does it every day when she naps, but night-time was a whole other beast. It was almost 11:30 pm by the time she fell asleep, ookie-less. Two hours after she went to bed. She didn't cry or fuss. She just didn't know what to do with herself. Considering that she woke up at her normal time, it's no wonder she did this on our walk Sunday afternoon:
And then did this when we brought her inside:
Yes, that's the kitchen floor. Yes, we are mean parents and made her wake up after our 20 minutes stroll since it was later in the afternoon and we wanted her to be tired so she'd go to bed that night...on time. She eventually woke up and went right back to playing with what the ookie fairy left her-- a Matchbox car size Sally and Doc (from the movie Cars-- she's a little obsessed with the movie right now and only had a Lightning McQueen before).
We also installed a fridge lock/latch thing this weekend. Cate has been getting into the fridge both when she's hungry and bored and then brings them to us wherever we happen to be. The door didn't always get closed tightly afterwards and sometimes she left things out and forgot to put them back-- Mommy and Daddy would later discover them. So this was a proactive move on our part before things got out of hand and we ended up with say, broken eggs or a gallon of milk, all over the floor.

In all, it was a pretty good weekend. Saturday night was rough, but everything else seemed like a wonderful way to spend time together after a full week of work.

~Melody :-)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

A Diaper Debate

When Cate was around 4 months old or so, Eric and I did a trial run with cloth diapers but ended up re-selling them (yes, there is definitely a market for gently used cloth diapers, especially when you're re-selling some of the most expensive ones out there). We concluded that with both of us working it was too much to ask a sitter to do. And since we were using such expensive diapers it wasn't worth it to pay so much to have a full supply for the summers when I was home. I think I was also just overwhelmed by the whole idea. Disposables were just easier. And at the end of the day...a disposable goes in a landfill or you use extra energy and water to wash cloth diapers...neither is ideal for the environment (sidenote: if you're going for eco-friendly, g-Diapers are the way to go according to the research I did).

However, with an extended maternity leave looming just around the corner, I decided to arm myself with a lot more information about cloth diapering. I messaged a friend from high school who has done it with both of her kids, read blogs, posted things on mommy message board threads, etc. I really, really, really did my homework this time. And while those expensive ones we tried with Cate are great, there are others made by the same company that are cheaper (they take maybe an extra 30 seconds or so to put on a baby when diapering...or so I've been told). Eric and I went back through some records and calculated some costs and realized that even if we only cloth diaper Brennan for the 8 months that I'm home with him...we'll still SAVE $250 on diapers by using the cloth. At that time, we may take that $250 and turn it into some more of the really nice all-in-one cloth diapers (bumGenius to be exact) so that we can continue to cloth diaper our little guy until he's potty trained (which will still save us money even though the bumGenius diapers are pricey). Most childcare providers and daycare centers are cool with the bumGenius diapers b/c they work essentially like a regular diaper...you just don't throw them away, you throw them in a wetbag to send home with the kiddo. But since the bumGenius diapers themselves are so expensive, we're only buying a few to use at church or when we're out. The rest of the time we'll be using Econobum and Flip diapers (made by the same company that makes bumGenius). I'm sure I might get a little overwhelmed at first, but Eric is in total support of cloth diapering and is willing to do whatever it takes to save a little bit of money. Once I get into a routine with the diapers, I'm sure it will get easier and be like second nature. And if we quit at the end of 8 months, we at least stand a chance to make some of our money back re-selling the ones that are still in good shape. I don't have an opinion either way on what kind of diapering is best. I know there are moms out there that are critical of those who don't cloth diaper and I know there are moms out there who are critical of those who do cloth diaper. We're really just doing it to save money. My mom cloth diapered me...and my brother...and I think maybe my sister too...and this was when you still had to use pins (no pins required for our cloth diapers). If she can do it to save money (although she also did it because disposables were really poorly made then), then so can I. I feel like cloth diapering can easily become one of those topics that tear moms apart (like how long to breastfeed-- I say sometime is better than no time; making your own baby food-- great if you can do it but dang those jars are convenient; and whether or not to go natural in childbirth-- my pain tolerance level is LOW so I like being able to say yes to the epidural). I don't want to lose any of my mommy friends over a decision to cloth diaper or any other decision when it comes to baby-rearing. I could care less what covers your child's bottom...as long as it's covered when I hold him, particularly if he's eaten recently.

And since I'm sharing some things that arrived in the mail lately and talking about saving money I guess I'll also share a small splurge that arrived this week.
It's a cute matching mommy-son PJ set for the hospital (picture from Old Navy's website). I absolutely love it! My PJ's are nursing friendly and Brennan will look so cute in the little hat and gown.

~Melody :-)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Happy Birthday

Today is my mom's birthday!
So we'd like to send some birthday wishes to mom, or Nanny as Cate calls her, from Cincinnati to Hudson.
We wish we could be there to celebrate. Next year you'll have Brennan to join in the fun too!
~Melody:-) (and Eric and Cate, who send their love too...and Brennan, who kicked as I typed this)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Less than $30

That's the combined total my mom and I spent last weekend at a consignment shop in Hudson. It was $27 and some change if you want to be a little more exact. I love a good sale and gently used clothes don't weird me out-- especially when the consignment shops are picky, as this one is. I have to visit each time we're visiting my parents. This weekend we made our money go far and got:

3 jumpers and 2 shirts to wear under them for Cate:
A cute sweater and a fleece half-zip for Cate:
A preppy little outfit for Brennan (with tags still on the Carter's button up shirt) and a baseball hooded sweater that I am absolutely in love with:
And...two summer outfits for Brennan (the one on the left included sandals and had never been worn):
Considering how fast kids outgrow their clothes, I love a good bargain. Hand-me-downs are the best since they're free...but consignment and resale is a close second. Consignment and resale shops that are picky allow me to be picky and still find clothes for my kids by brands that I like (Gymboree, Osh Kosh, Carter's, etc.).

Eric and I aren't above shopping at reputable adult consignment stores ourselves. We have a great chain in Cincinnati that is extremely picky about what they take. Just a couple of weeks ago Eric got 3 pairs of dress pants that were in perfect condition for $9 a pair. Pants by brands like Dockers that normally cost 4 or 5 times that much at the department store. Our dollars go further when we stretch them this way and our wardrobes then have some variety.

~Melody :-)

Sunday, August 22, 2010


The title of this post pretty much sums up how I think Eric, Cate, and I are all feeling. We spent 8 of the last 30 hours in the car (4 hours each way) so that Eric and I could attend my 10 year high school reunion. It was fun catching up those who attended. The turnout wasn't great-- but with it being the time of year when school usually starts (or has started), plus with so many still in med school, vet school, law school, etc., I wasn't all that surprised that not all 363 of us were there. Not to mention that many of my classmates just started jobs after finishing graduate degrees or getting promoted or something, so vacation time and the money to get home were both in short supply. I'm sure we'll have way more people at our 20 year.

Still...the time seemed to fly by and I really enjoyed myself more than I thought I would. None of my "close" high school friends attended. I knew this going in and it made me a little nervous that conversation might lag or that Eric and I would find ourselves in a corner talking only to one another. Neither of those things happened. I think Facebook and blogging are partly responsible since just about everyone in our class is on Facebook and quite a few keep blogs. It made it easy to jump right into conversations with people about recent career changes, or home purchases, marriages, or children.

Sidenote: Cate had a blast playing in the rain with my friend's daughter G (we met up at a local park that really hasn't changed too much since we played there). It was interesting to watch Cate interact with a child younger than her since in our circle of friends in Cincinnati, Cate's pretty much the youngest. When G got upset about something, Cate wasn't sure how to react. Thankfully, she didn't react aggressively as I feared she would since she went through an aggressive pushing stage last winter.

Alas, school starts tomorrow for me. My clothes are laid out (we're encouraged to wear jeans and spirit wear so that all students can find teachers easily). My lunch is packed (yay for homemade chicken salad, Trader Joe's yogurt, an apple fresh from a local farm, and chocolate chip cookies which my husband and daughter are making as I type). My agenda is already written in room 220 on the whiteboard. I'm sure a restless sleep awaits as is usual for the night before school starts. Unless I luck out and this pregnancy puts me into a nice, deep slumber...which is how Cate spent her afternoon after our whirlwind trip.

We got out of the car around 1:30 this afternoon and she went straight to her room, took off her shoes, and climbed into bed. She's been in her big girl bed for over a month and transitioned so smoothly. She loves it. Pass no judgment on the pacifiers though. She only uses them at home when she's sleeping. We're going to have her leave them out one night soon for the "pacifier fairy" who will turn them into a small reward for her and new pacifiers for Brennan. Okay, time for my pacifier now-- some hot sleepy-time tea.

~Melody :-)

P.S. The start of school also means less blogging for me. Don't give up on me though. I promise to post at least once a week.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

10 Years

My 10 year high school reunion is tonight. I'm excited to see and talk to some of my classmates that I literally haven't seen or spoken to since graduating in June of 2000. My graduating class of 363 wasn't too clique-y. For the most part, we all got along regardless of social standing. I wasn't popular in high school, but I wasn't unpopular either. I had a wonderful group of friends and we stuck together-- most of us connected by shared interests in band, choir and theater. Facebook and blogging have allowed a lot of us to reconnect and to get glimpses into one another's lives. But Facebook and blogs are obviously poor substitutes for face-to-face conversation.

I thought that reaching this 10 years post-high school mark would make me feel old. But it really doesn't. Instead, it makes me reflect on how many things change in just a decade. When I started college, I didn't have a cell phone. Now they're everywhere and I'd say about 80% of my 8th grade students have them. My roommate and I had a TV/VCR combo our freshmen and sophomore years-- DVDs were only watched on our computers. I did know I wanted to teach English, so that didn't change. I thought I'd want to teach high school (and somewhere down the road, I will make the jump to teach the upper grades), but ended up loving teaching middle school and am happy there for now. At one point in college I was convinced I was going to marry a guy I was dating. Nope. Met Eric, fell in love, and married him instead. When we first got married, I wasn't sure I wanted kids. Then I didn't want kids until we turned 30. Then I didn't want kids until we'd been married at least five years. But Cate was born about 3.5 years into our marriage, I'm pregnant with Brennan, and I won't be 30 until April of 2012. Who knew I'd actually go on to get a Master's degree so soon after graduating college...it wasn't part of the plan, but it worked out and I did it. I swore I'd never own a minivan and I do. We said this house was a "five year house," but we're still here and will be for at least a couple more. And we have no intentions of moving out to the burbs-- for now (but clearly, things can change as this post shows). I hated running but have managed to somehow complete one full marathon, two half marathons, and several 10K and 5K races since leaving high school. My faith has grown stronger, my taste in clothes is still pretty classic, and I still know every word to our high school alma mater (mostly because I had to sing it before every home football game-- yes, our marching band sung the alma mater).

No, instead I think 10 years makes me excited. I'm excited to see where my classmates have been in the last 10 years and to talk about where we hope to be 10 years from now. It makes me excited to see what the next decade holds.
Me, with my dad, before senior prom-- the sunburn is from playing cricket in one of my classes the day before
Me, 10 years later
So for those of you in my graduating class reading this and attending tonight-- it will be great to see you. And for those who couldn't make it home or had another conflict-- you'll be missed, and I can't believe it might be another decade before we see you again.

~Melody :-)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Other Side of the Carter's Store

Ever since September of 2007, when I found out Cate was going to be a girl, my world has been consumed with dresses, ruffles, pink, purple, hairbows, tights, and mary-janes. And Cate's not even what you'd consider "a girly-girl"-- she just wears whatever I put her in. Last week, after learning B was going to be a Brennan (and not a Brooklyn, in case you were wondering what our girl name was), I've ventured to the other part of the kids' clothing section.
Little man clothes are adorable! For now I've only bought him some "play clothes" (not that he'll be playing a lot) as opposed to some nicer church clothes. And I bought him a couple of sleepers-- Cate picked out the monkey one.
At Target, I couldn't resist this adorable knit hat and booties set.
Our awesome neighbor (yeah, the same awesome that organized our block party), randomly brought over a Rubbermaid tub full of 0-3 month clothes for us (her son is in elementary school, but she still had this bin of baby clothes). It was so fun to go through the bin and have so many more cute things to add to Brennan's wardrobe. A couple of co-workers have also been very generous with their hand-me-downs, which are all in great shape! I have to admit though, it's fun to go shopping again as opposed to going to down to the basement to get clothes out of Cate's tubs of baby clothing-- even if it does cost us a little more money. In fact, I spent part of last Friday going through all of those tubs of Cate's clothing. I kept about a dozen outfits, onesies, and pajamas in each size range just in case we decide we want a third kiddo (a big just in case, just in case you were wondering). The rest (and there was still a ton because Cate was one spoiled girl) is all going to a friend who is expecting a girl and to a woman I met through church who is taking some to Africa on a missions trip. We were fortunate to not only have a lot of people buy Cate a lot of clothes, but we also had some great friends who gave us a lot of hand me downs. They're still in such great shape that we're happy to pass them on.

Speaking of Cate, we've been practicing how to hold and care for a baby using her baby doll-- baby Abby (named after Abby Cadabby on Sesame Street). This makes me think she'll enjoy the Bitty Baby she's getting for her birthday even more.
The hospital where I'll be delivering offers a big siblings class. You're supposed to be 3 to take it, but I'm hoping that if we do it at the beginning of December (when Cate will be just 8 weeks shy of her 3rd birthday) that they'll make an exception.

I know it still seems early to be shopping for Brennan and getting things in order-- but with Cate, our church and small group involvement, and work, I know that time will go by quickly. Afterall, my teacher workday is tomorrow! Yikes.

~Melody :-)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


This is not a post about Homer Simpson. Or about doing stupid things and then saying "doh." Though this pregnancy has brought about a whole new level of forgetfulness. Rather, this is a post about Cate's discovery of Play-Doh. She's played with it at various times in the last year or so, but we didn't have much of it around our house. There were so many hot days this summer, that eventually Cate did get sick of swimming in her pool or the community pool. I had to come up with an indoor (read: in the air conditioning) activity. Play-Doh was on sale at Target a couple of weeks ago, so I picked some up. You know, the set with all the tools and cutters and stuff.
Cate got busy right away making some Play-Doh creations.
Her favorite cutter is the penguin-shaped cutter (go figure). Here she is holding up her penguin.
And here's her penguin (she insisted I photograph it by itself). I have no clue what the green object is).
Play-Doh continues to be a part of our weekly play routine. It will also be a perfect after-school activity for Mommy and Cate once school starts again soon. I think we'll both look forward to that. It will also be a good quiet activity once Brennan arrives.

~Melody :-)

Monday, August 16, 2010


It's been a while since I've posted anything, so I figured it was time I chimed in. As I'm sure many of you have seen, we are having a little boy in December, and I am really excited. I of course would have had no problems being in a house full of beautiful women (I've never been the kind of guy that needs sports, action movies and other macho things to get by). But it is great thinking about having a little guy around the house. I'll be able to play Lego's with him (my guilty pleasure when it comes to "kids" toys), play video games with him, play catch, and one day far down the road, share a good beer and a cigar with him. Now, admittedly, I can do all of these things with Cate too (the first three, I have already done with Cate), but it does put a different spin on things with a little Brennan. Especially since I get to model for him how to treat women, how to be respectful, and hopefully lead him to be a great man of God.

This brings us into a new dynamic in our family life. I know that all of you with more than one kid out there are probably thinking to yourselves, get ready for your world to be rocked. And I know, it is going to be a wild ride, but I am definitely excited. Having Cate was even a bit of a game-changer, but it's been a great 2 and 1/2 years and I'm pumped for what lies ahead. And it makes our BBC (our minivan or the "Big Blue Compromise" as Mel likes to call it) that much nicer.

Here's a parting shot of some time with Cate. It has been fun to see her character develop and already see some musical talent emerge from her tiny voice, and little fingers. Who knows what instruments, shows or recitals lay ahead. Till Next Time...

- Papa E

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Block Party

This August marks 5 years since we moved into our house. And last weekend, for the first time, our street had a block party. It's hard being a non-cud-de-sac street, but we made it work. Our awesome neighbor two doors down got the ball rolling and did a lot of the organizing. Eric and I had quite an adventure with her and her children trying to find the place to pick up the police barricades to close our street (her GPS told her to stop in the middle of I-75). But in the end, several neighbors showed up, cooked out, played cornhole, and had a great time.
(I love how pretty much everyone in this picture is under the food tent)
We recently inherited a larger kiddie pool from a friend and coworker of mine (this was my lament a few weeks ago-- our kiddie pool was tiny). Cate loves it. We put it out front for the block party so that other kids could jump in. It turns out, the dogs on our street were all about cooling off in the pool.
Our fun neighbor, Abby, hung out with Cate by the pool for awhile since it was mostly her adorable dog, Brumby, that kept jumping in with Cate.
It was great to finally meet some of our neighbors that we've only seen in passing these last five years. I think in our culture today, we really don't get to know our neighbors. We keep to ourselves and prefer sitting in the privacy of the back deck than the people-watching of the front porch. We move into our houses thinking we already have friends and that we'll just invite them over to socialize with instead of walking across the street to talk to a neighbor. A sense of community was definitely sparked by the block party and our neighbors are already talking about organizing some Halloween fun and perhaps a winter progressive dinner. We love where we live, but now we have reason to love it even more!

~Melody :-)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Random Beach Pictures

I thought I'd post a few random pictures that didn't really fit into any other vacation posts-- especially since this time next week I'll be sitting in a back-to-school teacher work day meeting. Our students come on Monday, the 23rd. Eeek! Don't get me wrong, this summer has recharged me and I'm excited for the new school year to begin. I'm teaching some new material and am looking forward to it. But...all of the traveling we did has left me wishing for just one more week at home.

Our last full day in Hilton Head, we splurged and rented an umbrella and chairs at the Sea Pines Beach Club. We didn't have to haul anything in a wagon this way.
It was heavenly to have a shady place to read while watching the ocean waves roll in. The heat was almost intolerable, but the comfy chair and the big umbrella (along with some cold ice water and a sno-cone from the bar) made it bearable. The sand was hot on our feet, so Cate found a different way to get around.
On a different day, earlier in the week, Cate supervised her Daddy and Aunt Catherine as they built her a sandcastle.
And since the wind always seemed to pick up at night, Eric bought a cheap kite at Walgreen's to fly on the beach. We had fun goofing off with it (and trying to keep it under control).
Daddy made an attempt to show Cate how to fly it as well.
All good things must come to an end, I know. But I just keep telling myself that once school starts, I'll have 17 weeks of lesson plans, grading, and supervising a student teacher to keep me busy until Brennan's arrival. Then it'll be a busy, challenging, but no doubt, fun 8 months at home with both of my kiddos. And yes, I will be back at this beginning-of-the-school-year stuff around this same time in 2011. While Eric's salary covers our bills, my salary allows us to do all the "fun stuff" like vacations, new clothes, dinners out, weekend trips, zoo passes, museum passes, etc. Well, okay, it also pays the babysitter, but that's just a small part, fortunately. And when it comes down to it, you just can't beat that teacher's schedule. We work our tails off for 185 days a year in and out of the classroom (and yes, we do have things we have to do over the summer...but I don't count that), then we get playtime the rest of the time.

~Melody :-)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Our Son

This pregnancy has been very similar to my pregnancy with Cate. I was a little more nauseous and began to show a little faster, but otherwise, I'm craving the same things, feel just as tired at times, and generally just feel the same. So I guess it would stand to reason that I was pretty sure we were in for another girl.

However, when we got in for our ultrasound today, the tech asked if we wanted to know the gender. I waited for her to say something, but I already knew. That anatomy was quite visible. So I'd like to introduce to you our son, Brennan Michael (nope, still don't know how to use that scanner on our printer so it's a picture of a picture). He was a wiggly, but well behaved little guy while the ultrasound tech kept jostling him with the wand to get him to move. He kept opening and closing his mouth, which was just adorable. His measurements coincide perfectly with my due date and he weighs about 11 ounces. This ultrasound differed greatly from Cate's 20 week appointment. If you remember, I was severely dehydrated and had to have a high resolution ultrasound to make sure everything was okay.

So how does our sweet girl feel about having a brother (especially since she kept saying it was going to be a sister)? She loves the idea. She kept looking at the screen saying "that's my little brother." She's excited to share her train table, books, and blocks with him when he's older (good thing we have so many gender-neutral toys). Here's big sis in action, playing cornhole at Findley Market last weekend: Daddy is excited to have a little wingman to play Legos with (even though Cate already does), take to the comic book store (with Cate too), and teach how to pee standing up. Mommy's excited to go shopping for some cute, blue baby boy clothes. Seriously... from 0-6 months we have 4 outfits that were Cate's that Brennan can wear.

It's exciting and still sinking in that in just 19 more weeks we'll have a son.

~Melody :-)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

BookSneeze Review-- Searching for God Knows What

I review for BookSneeze
I finally got around to reading my second BookSneeze book. If you didn't read my other review (or my husband's), you can find them all here. We love BookSneeze because it lets us pick the books we want to review, take as much or as little time as we want with them, say what we want about them, and then repeat the process as often as we like. And we get to keep the books.

For this review, I read Donald Miller's Searching for God Knows What. I read another one of his books, Blue Like Jazz, a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it. I figured I'd want to take my time with this one, so I waited until school was out to read it.

At first I thought I was going to be disappointed. The book started out kind of slow with Miller explaining that "religion" can become a form of idolatry. Fed up with the rules of religion, Miller told God that he (Miller) didn't think that He (God) existed at the age of 18. However, Miller then began his own search because telling God that He didn't exist made him uncomfortable.

The rest of the book picked up from there as Miller explained that belief in God should be about a relationship with him-- not a set of rules. Morals are great, Miller won't argue that. However, he does point out that in our fallen, materialistic world, we are driven to competitiveness. It's about who can one-up who. Christians secure in their relationships with God are less likely to play the comparison game...sometimes. There is a trap in Christians trying to one-up each other with who is the more moral person. And that is a dangerous trap to be in as it turns others off to Christianity entirely. In fact, one of my favorite quotes is: "I...plead with evangelicals to return to the sort of call Christ has given us, to obey Him and experience intimacy with Him through sharing our faith, loving our enemies, and serving and feeding the poor and hungry directly, and to stop showing off about how moral we are and how that makes us better than other people," (Miller 194).

I love Miller's call to action. To simply live the life God intended us to live in relation with Him and with others. No, we shouldn't throw morals out the window. Miller is quick to point out that there are rules outlined for Christians in the Bible and that we should be obedient to God. But...we as Christians should be careful not to cast stones at others. When Christians focus more on how they are "good" and others who don't know Christ are not, they aren't winning people to Christ.

It's what I love about our church too. Our church is very much about meeting people where they are...whatever their thoughts on God, faith, Christianity, etc. Then, hopefully and prayerfully, those people fall into a love relationship with God too.

In the end, it's well-worth the read. Miller has some interesting theories about human behavior-- Christians and non-Christians alike. He is a fabulous story-teller, with anecdotes for every point he makes. While he started his search not really knowing what he was going after-- in the end it led him to God and to a true, pure, loving relationship with his Heavenly Father.


~Melody :-)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Second Sunday

On the second Sunday of every month, Main Street in downtown (specifically in the Over-the-Rhine section) shuts down for a sort of street festival. There's food, fresh-squeezed lemonade, music, and lots of vendors. My friend, Emily, who runs Stop Traffick Fashion, has started setting up a tent to sell the awesome products she has made by survivors of human trafficking. Today after church and a quick lunch out, we went down to see Emily. She took this adorable picture of Cate in a doorway on her iPhone. I love it! Cate just naturally posed this way, taking it all in.
For those of you not familiar with the Over-the-Rhine area of downtown, it used to be the place you didn't want to be. The place where you rolled up your car windows, locked the doors, and didn't make eye contact with anyone on the street. Over the past few years though, it has started to make a comeback. Cute little galleries and boutiques are moving in and events like Second Sundays are helping to revive the neighborhood. Architects and contractors are slowly renovating buildings and gradually, more people are coming. Incidentally, Findley Market (which we frequent on Saturday mornings in the summers), is also in Over-the-Rhine. We still get looks from some of our friends and coworkers when we talk about going voluntarily to this part of downtown without "packin' heat" or pepper spray or something, but we love it. I love the revival taking place down there and I feel safe there (disclaimer: during the day...I still want to walk down there as a woman alone at night). I think there are more "dangerous" areas of our city than Over-the-Rhine-- areas that are mentioned more frequently on the news. So if you're in our area, don't be afraid of this cool, little, gem of a neighborhood in our city that's quietly but quickly making a comeback.

~Melody :-)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Family Photo Shoot on the Beach

We couldn't let a trip to Hilton Head pass without a family photo shoot on the beach. I'm sure the professionals we saw each night at the beach could do a better job than I did with my tripod, camera, and self-timer. However, rather than spend hundreds of dollars on a professional photographer (don't get me wrong, there is a time and a place for those professional photo shoots-- this just wasn't one of them), we decided to D-I-Y it. Here are a few of my favorites now that I've finally had time to go through them and do a little bit of editing (still just with iPhoto-- I am very slowly learning Photoshop Elements).
My brother is the only one missing from our pictures. He couldn't get off work to come on vacation with us. Bummer. And if you want to see how much difference a year makes, here is last year's family photo:
~Melody :-)