First Year in Review {Ouch}

Though my heart knows It’s All Gonna Fold and that’s okay, still it’s tough to see the first year of our little one’s life come and go. Though today he’s really only a day older than yesterday, and only two days past the day before, still this counting we like to do gives opportunity for reflection — and the reminder that it does indeed fly by, our time, and we best take heed, number our days, and have the time of our life.

For the sake of the grandparents and relatives far and wide and across the pond, and for the interest of you other dear friends whom I cherish who might take an interest, here’s the year in review, through those precious monthly photos I’m now ever-so glad we took the time to take. And I might throw in a few extras because, well just because.

As many of you know, it started right here with the 90 minutes (or less) labour, and the nine minute delivery of the nine pound boy.


Those precious first meetings and first moments…oh my heart.



{This is the picture that almost wasn’t.}

DSC_3321 copy

We began the monthly tradition with a simple blue pillow as a frame of reference for size…


{Photographing a One Month Old…}


He captured our hearts so quickly.


And isn’t being a brother just so special?


{Two months Old!}

Another month went by…so many changes, so fast!

We captured a picture that captured my heart…

Two Boys

Or two…

How you doing?

And suddenly…


{Three Months Old!}

Our days in Gordon’s Bay began to fold up like a blanket,

Learning to Fly

but our boys kept our spirits flying high.


And month four was the last one on that lovely couch we bought at an auction, in that lovely home we miss dearly.


{Four Months Happy!}


Then it was tears and packing, boxes and goodbyes, filling up Mr. Potato Head to the brim, for one more long trip from Gordon’s Bay to Bloemfontein.

We celebrated month five in Bloem. Tiger Tank happy as ever.


{Five Months, Sugar Sweet!}

We relished moments that would become precious memories.



And we made that magical trip to the Kruger National Park…


And there’s just too much to tell about that…


A birthday boy!



And before we knew it, five was six! Half a year, come and gone!


{Six Months, on the Hubs’ Birthday!}

This baby seemed to find it all hilarious.


After a beautiful trip to Knysna, it was time to head to the airport, and on to the UK.

He rather fancied London, we think.


But Scotland even more so…


And then it was North Carolina. And some introductions.



And, Big Brother started preschool.


But since North Carolina takes us halfway through Tiger Tank’s Inaugural year, and this little post has gotten rather long, we’ll pick up where we left off tomorrow! My heart, wandering down this memory lane — it needs a break!

More to come–


Grace-Laced Elevensies

Gosh, is it just me or does it seem like the Tank was only eight months last week? And do you remember when he looked so tiny snuggled inside this pillow he’s now towering over?

It’s hard to believe eleven months have swooped by, but I suppose it’s kind of been a busy year.


And ya know, there’s a funny thing the Hubs and I have found ourselves saying over and over again about this little boy of ours.


We talk about how being in the middle of a transcontinental move, a job change, and a heap of other transitions doesn’t seem like the right ‘timing‘ for having another child.


You’d think the stress of a new addition to the family would just make all the other changes and challenges too much.


But we’ve consistently found that this little one {and his older brother} have been incredible sources of joy, peace, and even sanity in the midst of what sometimes felt like scary hard craziness.


At times when we were close to pulling our hair out, a giggle, a new trick, even a tear or two, could bring us down to earth again — filling our hearts to the brim with the reminder to savor the moment, even when the moment has ‘hard’ written all over it.


It reminds me of those wise and confounding words in 1 Corinthians 1 — that God has made foolish the wisdom of this world. And though we might decide in our own wisdom that this is or is not the right timing for a child, a change, a choice of any kind, truthfully the foolishness of God is wiser than any wisdom we can muster. The weakness of God is stronger than our greatest strength.


And so fearlessly welcoming children into the world is something I understand now less as a matter of wisdom and more as a matter of trust. Not knowing what tomorrow will bring, I trust God for this day’s bread. The bread that fills our tummies, and the bread of wisdom I need, for knowing how to parent. The bread of grace I need, for knowing how to extend myself in love. The bread of faith I need, for trusting again for tomorrow, and the day after that.


How and why He chooses to give as He does — these grace-filled gifts of parenthood, life as I know it, daily bread, I receive with trembling hands — it is a mystery I imagine we’ll only know on the other side. I want these gifts for everyone — but I can only trust in Him when I don’t understand why it isn’t so.


I can say with certainty that trusting His perfect timing has taught me confounding wisdom. And as it is written, if I glory in this, it is glory in the Lord. What confounding wisdom… demonstrated through the gift of a child.

{And doesn’t it all come back to the gift of a child?}


Eleven precious, months laced right round with grace — I might’ve planned this all differently, so I’m thankful I’m not making many plans.


P.S. Care to comment? Do you struggle with a balance between your own methods of family planning and trusting God’s timing? How do you {or how do you plan to} reconcile the two?

Eight Months (Past Eleven)

We noticed a mishap of gargantuan proportions recently. The reason for radio silence around here is, primarily because we are working on launching a local photography business — more on that later — and secondarily (do I ever make sense?) because we had to get a new Mac, since a laptop that can only edit eight photos an hour does not make photography a possibility for one Hero Hubs.

Said Hero Hubs moved all my stuff over to the new computer as well — it has a big screen and is nice to work on, but between #1 and #2 we’ve been working hard ’round these parts.

Now as I was saying in the midst of these movements, we discovered among our photo collections a serious mishap, which was that I never posted the absolutely schmadorable Eight Months photos we took of the Tank. Knowing we’re rounding the corner on a year and I can create a nice big post full of links so that you can review the year at your leisure (or else I’ll compile them all because who can be bothered to click so many links) it felt wrong not to have these photos somewhere around here, so that they too can join the lineup when we look back — and how has all this time passed anyway?

Eleven months photographs have also been taken, since that milestone just passed. But the Eight Month ones are appearing first, because they’re so dang late.

Moving along, eight months was a rather good time for the Blakester.


His first two teeth were emerging, and he was excited about eating meat. Like any good South African baby boy.


But, it’s really difficult to get this kid to smile for the camera. As you can see.


He’s like a stone wall, really.


A sad amount of cheer in his disposition.


At eight months, the crawl was developing nicely.


Swiftly followed by extra helpings of mischief.


And ridiculously adorable sneezes.


It’s just too bad we couldn’t get him to smile for you this time.


There’s always next month.

{Which is actually eleven months since we’re a bit out of order. Anywho.}


Ready for the mischievous “I’m ready for Baby Gap” big finish?



Thanks for bringing us heaps of joy, wee boy!


Elevensies are on the way!

End note: if the Tank looks Ginger in these photos, I think it’s just the coloring. He doesn’t seem nearly so red-headed in real life these days. His brother’s the one born in Scotland, anyway.


Here’s to Saving the Best for the Last of the Third to Last

The Hubs checked out the ten months post last night and pointed out that I’d forgotten his favorite photo. Which was also my favorite.

And it turns out I sure did.

Because it was in the drop box and I forgot to download it.

Because I was distracted by Speedy Gon-crawl-les racing out of the room to find some mischief.

Or maybe it was his brother’s fault.

But here’s to saving the best for the last of the last. Even though this is the third to last opportunity to take these monthlies before he’s one!

Oh no!

So here it is, belatedly.

Be still my heart.


No Thomas the Tank Engines were harmed in the taking of this photo.

Though one may have been drooled on.

More than a little.


Ten Months, And Leave the Lid Down

So. Today is officially the eleven month birthday. And I’m posting the ten months photos. Meaning we are a little behind. Though perhaps a big behind at the same time. Well, better late than never I always say.

You say that a lot too?

What a coincidence.

It sure feels like it was ten weeks — not ten months ago — when we made that infamous ride to glory, and Mr. Potato Head surpassed 100 mph, heading to a hospital in Somerset West.

But here he is, practically growing a mustache and sending applications in to work at Starbucks.

And wasn’t this last week?


But this might be my favourite month of photos. Ever.


Turns out the Tank has an aptitude for fishing.


His crawling skills went from mediocre to warp speed in about ten minutes.


Which means I “have my hands full” when trying to clean or cook or get stuff done


because this sweet little darling doesn’t like being still.


Funny expression, that, having your hands full.


I now know exactly how far away from the potty I have to sit the Tank


{whom we also refer to as “the Tiger” because of his tenacious attitude toward doing something he wants to do}


{[after being told no repeatedly]}


{[(he may or may not take after his Mama)]}


{[({I’ll let you decide})]}


…I have to make sure he’s far enough away from the potty that I can get my trousers down and get from standing to sitting before he gets there.


And heaven forbid I should be in the middle of shaping a loaf of bread or have my hands deep in a mess.


Because if I should happen to lose sight of this Tank the Tiger who can also be called Tenacious B,


I most certainly know right where to go looking for him.

If anyone has forgotten to put the lid down,


He’s likely to be found splashing in the loo.



So if you drop by the Collie house any time soon,


please put down the lid.

Ten wonderful months! Isn’t the Lord good to us?


Nine Months (On the Outside)

This darlingpreciousangelpumpkin of ours has been on the outside for over nine months now. And I love the thought that that now means he’s been on the outside longer than he was on the inside. Seems like some kind of special milestone.


And in these nine months, he’s taught us a thing or two that I wouldn’t expect to learn from someone who hasn’t even spent more time on the outside than he has on the inside.


The wisdom of the world might tell you that when you’re about to make a big old move — like a transcontinental one that will involve staying in lots of different places, including living out of suitcases in two places for a couple of months each — that’s not the time to be bringing a baby into the big old mess.


Like Jesus’ arrival when Mary was away from her people, travelling with Joseph in Bethlehem for the census — it might not seem like the best opportunity to bring a new life into the midst of everything.

Mildly inconvenient.


But just as the word says Jesus came at the right time — when the days were completed and Mary was supposed to deliver,


God has shown us that hand of His on this life He’s given — it has been marked from the beginning by His Perfect Timing.


For us that perfect timing has shown its face in a baby that arrived nine minutes after we arrived at the hospital, in a smile or a giggle or a sweet baby sigh, showing up in the middle of a heartache or a frustration or a challenging season that is marked by trying to figure out getting our family of four and maybe some stuff from Point A to Point B with those points being some 8,000 miles apart.


Those giggles, those grins, those eyes that flash and sparkle have spoken to that place in our hearts that needs reminding: all we ever really ought to be is thankful.


And oh this gifted life we’re living. And Oh, the Great Giver.


How the simple joys of two little boys have marked for us the path — they line it with sweet-smelling flowers, they grace it with breathtaking views.  

And what would’ve seemed foolishness if we’d planned it on a calendar, marked it out on a life map, seems wisdom indeed.


With open hands we hold the gifts that remind us just how good the Giver is.


These nine months, this new life – the ups and downs – thankful. It’s all by grace.


P.S. Stick around, or drop back by! The next Whole Foods Holiday post is coming up this afternoon, and there will be a linky, so if you have a Whole Foods (or healthy recipe) post already up on the net somewhere else you can link to it right here!