Tuesday, May 22, 2012

What's in a name?

Let's talk about names for a second. Do you know how hard it is to name a kid?! Do you know you'll have moments of doubt even after all I's are dotted and T's crossed on the birth certificate?! This has happened with all of my kids. I mean, I love their names- obviously, otherwise we wouldn't have even considered them, much less chosen them. But I also get this feeling that God cares about our names, so it's suddenly a much bigger deal. In the Bible a person's name says something about that individual or his family.  It gives a piece of the person's story before they even tell it. 

Eve, the first woman in all of creation, was named "to give life," as she would be the mother of all people.  A while later, Sarah (pushing 100 years old) was told by God that she was going to have a baby in her old age.  She laughed, then 9 months later named her baby Isaac, which means "laughter."  Naomi, a widow who lost her 2 sons told people not to call her Naomi ("pleasant"), but to call her Mara, which means "bitter."  There are so many more examples in the Old Testament, mainly.  Then there's Jesus, the pinnacle of a meaningful name.  In Matthew  1 an angel tells Joseph, "you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins."  Jesus means "the LORD saves."

Does this increase your stress levels when thinking of the perfect title for your child's life?  Our kids' names aren't going to alter the course of their lives, but I did make sure they didn't mean anything stupid before we sealed the deal. 

Oliver Isaac: literally "olive tree" and, as I said, "laughter."  In the Bible olive trees represent an abundant life.  The first verse Oliver memorized was Psalm 52:8-- I am like an olive tree thriving in the house of God.  Dude's middle name is for my brother Isaac who was here from Turkey when Ollie was born.

Georgianna Lynn: George "farmer," Anna "gracious," and Lynn "pretty" (though the meaning is just a bonus for this middle name, because she was actually named after both of her grandmas- Bonnie Lynn and Carol Lynn).  She says her name 'Gigi' which is pretty stinkin' cute, so it stuck.  I heard the name first on Pride and Prejudice, but I've always loved the name George, and my bff (sister) is Anna.  Farmers are awesome, too.  Gracious farmers are even better.  A verse that I like for little Gigi is Proverbs 31:17-- She is energetic and strong, a hard worker.  So far we've got the energetic part...

Margot (silet 't') Meg: both "pearl."  Isn't that funny?  She's a pearl pearl.  Here's what's really funny: Margot wasn't even on our [extensive] list that I've been carrying around since long before Oliver was born.  We came to it just days before she was born (though we didn't know if we were having a boy or a girl).  Two of my absolute best friends are Megan and Meghan.  Well, I couldn't single one out, could I?  I had a hard time convincing Andrew on this middle name, though, since he had a childhood dog named Meg.  Reall?  Woof. 

What does your name mean?  What do you wish it meant?:)

Monday, May 21, 2012

"hey there, birthday girl!...

"...walkin' down the street so fancy-free!"

So Georgi Girl turned 2 on Friday!  Oh my, this quirky little character has brought so much pizazz to our family in the form of laughter, tears, and anything in between.  She's a sweet little firecracker, which is just the greatest juxtaposition.  Here is how Georgi Porgie spent the first day of her third year:

Good morning George, how are you?

Opening gifts in her bedroom before a birthday breakfast of Marshmallow Mateys.

A flashback from my childhood- my brother Isaac used to pull my sister and me (not at the same time, of course), around in this very Little Tykes wagon.  There are also pictures of my best feline, Ernie all dressed up like a human baby, willingly following me up and down the driveway in the little red wagon.  What a dutiful old cat...and toy! 

Gigi modeled as she unwrapped a hat and jacket from Grandma Kasper, who G calls Bobby.

Mommy helping blow out the 2 candles.  It was a loosely ballerina-themed party, so I wore my tightest top-knot and chopped a chain of dancing paper dolls.

Question: do you have big bashes for toddlers' birthdays?  Or do you keep it simple while they're small?  A conundrum I encounter every year...what to do?  I'm so last-minute that it's usually best to keep it in the family- at least they're expecting something to happen around Jan. 31st, May 18th and now Oct. 22nd.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Just wanted to share the fun things we gave our mothers for their day.

For my mom:

For Bonnie:
It's just me modeling the SWEETEST silverware pendant necklace crafted by my super talented neighbor, Katie. 
Bonnie had given me her mother-in-law's set of silver for Christmas a few years ago when we did a 'thrifting gifting' theme.  I use the regular pieces- knives,forks, spoons- but the goofy little knives and spoons just sit in the drawer.  So I got this idea to have some jewelry made.  I ended up getting 3 pendants - one for Bonnie, Heather, and Andrew's aunt Linda (whose mother was the original owner of the set).  I highly recommend Katie to anyone sitting on heirloom silverware. 
My sweet husband and kids brought me to a local country greenhouse and got me some flowers.  I love those dear hearts more than words can say (my family...though I love the flowers, too:)).


Some of the most beautiful people in my life are moms. Inside and out, these women radiate the beauty of Christ's love and creation.
Taken during our Mother's Day brunch festivities.  Capturing this was a riot, as you might imagine.  I'd like to draw special attention to my lovely sister-in-law, Heather, holding sweet SariAnn; my incredible mother-in-law, Bonnie; Bonnie's mom, Betty.  [is it sad that Margs was napping during the photo??]

Behold, Carol Kasper.  She is as gracious and gorgeous as she looks.  And there's my sister-in-law (married to my bro, Isaac), Jessica- WHO'S HAVING A BABY!  I said I would post about Isaac and Jessica and their move to MN from DC...and I still will.  I just couldn't hold in the excitement of their Bun any longer!

This photo was taken right after Marg was born.  Also brand new: my little niece, Zarriah (pronounced Zaar-E-uh).  That beauty holding her?  My baby sister, Sally- Z's mum.  My precious sister Anna celebrated her second Mother's Day this year as mom to her studly little Theo.

Grandma Eleanore Kasper, my dad's mama, gave birth to and raised SIXTEEN CHILDREN!  She's an example of strength and survival to me. :) 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A long time comin'

Another long situation for the Toftnesses.  After looking at the pictures of Oliver from the Healthtex installment, I felt bad that I've told him no to cutting his hair for so looooong. Poor little dude...he was starting to look like he had an animal roosting on his melon. It was cute for a while...but that was a while ago. Oops. This is especially unacceptable because I'm a cosmetologist- all the gear I need to chop suey is right here, I don't even have to take him to the nearest Cuttin' Corral.  Maybe I was taking our current study of 1 Peter (in Bible Study Fellowship) a little too literally: "Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes.  Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight"  1 Peter 3:3-4.  But as we learned at study, this is referring to what we put the emphasis on.  "People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart"  1 Samuel 16:7.  Hopefully my heart doesn't look like a bad hair day to God.
And here is the Olive now, handsome as heck.

I don't know why I would trouble you with a 'before,' but...

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


News from Margot's 6 month checkup: she's healthy and sweet and smart and...she's smaller than Midge (Georgi) was at her age.  That's remarkable.  Miss Myrtle (she looks like a little peeked-nosed turtle when she smiles big-- Myrtle the Turtle, she's often and affectionately called), is in the first percentile for weight and the fourteenth for height.  C'mon, girl. 
When Georgi dropped below the chart around 7 months, our doctor was concerned.  We even brought the mini me down to Children's hospital for some blood work when she was 9 months old.  We also had a gal from the school district come out to see if G needed any special learning assistance.  She checked out fine in both departments (thank you, Jesus), and now that we have another smidgeon of a babe, Dr. Maucieri has concluded, "You just make [and feed your babies] skim milk."  It doesn't make sense...can't Marg have some of this spare tire hanging over my jeans? 
Alas I will have to be more consistent and persistent with the cereal ordeal.  That's what it is- an ordeal.  Mixing the formula to mix with the cereal to mix with Margot's hair and blanket and Bumbo.  Lucky for her, she's cute.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Healthtex: Vintage

Vintage-clad Gigi and Olives having rhubarb cake on the deck.  Oliver seems to be loving it.

"I love lamp"

As I implied the other day, I am a garage sale/flee market/thrift store junkie. [Admitting you have a problem is the first step, right?] I get giddy when I see a 'sale' sign.  It could just as well say 'adventure'. My cousin Megan and I are like Holms and Wattson or Indiana Jones and Crocodile Dundee (hey, they'd work great together if given the cance!), seeking treasure, mystery, and justice. I've found that wearing a hat aids in the feeling of intrigue and importance. My mother-in-law (who is quite an expert in the 'junking' field, herself), and I went to a Lutheran Church rummage sale last weekend, where we filled the back of her Subaru in short order. I got a floor lamp that isn't kidding (this baby's large and in charge). I didn't need another lamp...I actually need fewer than I have already. I think the obsession with lamps comes from the warmth and variety they add to a room- especially the vintage ones. *Don't worry, I've rewired the most dangerous specimens.  I've dabbled in ceiling fixtures and constructed a pendant in the summer kitchen, where I also have spare lamps chillin'. Quoting (not recommending), Anchor Man-- I LOVE LAMP. Anyway, here is a taste of my collection:
My long-lost-friend.  Andrew and I bought this lamp at a garage sale the summer after we were married, then I traded it to my sister Anna for a table and after eight years of being here and there, it's back in my living room.

From L to R: lamp and shade found seperately at a huge indoor 'event' a few weeks ago in Megan's town of Bemidji, MN; you may recognize that shade from the wrangling I did in Pierz last week, I just popped in on a shadeless lamp I've had in the closet for years (was a rusted brass that I spray painted gray); my squatty little pineapple lamp from a church sale last summer- I spray painted it white and capped it with a burlap shade from Tarjay.

Okay, so I guess both these pieces were bought new, but they were on super sale!  The shade is from Anthropologie.  The lamp is actually from the garage sale of a gal who owns a little boutique.

Lamp- old, from the same place as the gray one earlier.  Shade- new, I recovered it with sheer rosettes and a lot of hot glue.

Lamp- birthday gift from my brother, Isaac and sister-in-law, Jess (from Target, I think).  The shade is from this big creepy store in Dayton, OH called Mendlsons.  It's like a warehouse of old or rejected shelving and clothes and kitchen gadgets and underwear.

Church garage sale last summer.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The loooonggg day

It's actually been a long season.  Not spring (though that's been pretty long and lovely, as well!), but the season our family just came out of- a single engine season.

About a month ago, Andrew's faithful old truck conked out on us.  *sniffle*  Since then we've been looking and test-driving and rationalizing and praying for wisdom.  While waiting for the right vehicle, Andrew needed something hefty for cabinet delivery/tool hauling, so he would borrow his dad's truck or work van.  Other times, when he just had to commute to and from the shop, he rode his good ol' Cannondale road bike or I dropped him off at work or the kids and I were left at home with no wheels.  Well, not NO wheels, there was the wheel barrow, the two lawn mowers, or the fifteen bikes...:)  Needless to say, it's been a humbling experience relying on each other or others for transportation.

But yesterday-- Margs and I went with Anj to the cities to test-drive some cargo vans- yay.  On the way down Andrew got a Charleston Chew and a can of Arizona Tea (two of the longest treats he could find at the gas station), so we started joking about how he was just readying himself for the long van he was going to buy.  After checking out a couple big fat vans north of the cities, but not really feelin' it, we headed south to Savage.  And there she was at MartysAutoMart: an EXTENDED cargo van.  The long day just got longer.  *enter Hallelujah chorus*

Sure, it's the world's biggest block of white on four wheels.  Sure, it's got as many miles as the 626 (together they've banked up a half a million!).  Sure, only 2 of the 4 doors unlock from the outside (Andrew has to crawl in the passenger door or back door if it's locked.  Hehe.)  But it sure was cheap and we sure are grateful to God for ending our lengthy search with such a huge answer to prayer.  Huge.:)

Unrelated to this post, here are a few pictures from last fall to satisfy your photo hunger.  My happy honey with the pumpkins shortly before Margsy was born, and me with the pumpkins on Halloween, 9 days after she was born.