Monday, May 19, 2014

Pretty Little Princess

Dearest Zoë,

On May 7th you turned 3 years old. My, how quickly you have grown!

I planned a fun Princess Tea Party for you and your friend Clara, only it turned out I wasn't able to be there to watch your eyes light up at the decorations and presents, or giggle with glee while dancing in your pretty dress, or pour your own cup of apple-kiwi-strawberry "tea." Your Daddy and I were in the hospital, tired and worn out but anxiously awaiting the arrival of your baby brother. The most difficult part of the entire day was knowing that I was missing out and couldn't be with you to celebrate. You know how much I love a good party! Thanks to Didi and Chrysia and Clara, you were still able to have a very special day.

I love you so much my heart could burst! You constantly amaze me, bring me so much joy and laughter. I find myself staring at you and your gorgeous eyes, perfect doll-like face and hair with such volume it makes mine envious. :) I adore your sweet tenderness and empathetic heart. Every day is full of drama and excitement - there is never a dull moment with you around.

You are in full princess phase right now, always wanting to be like Elsa or Cinderella or Rapunzel or Sophia, dressing up and dancing, singing and curtsying, wearing crowns and capes and necklaces. For three full years you have been our one and only - and you will always be our little princess.

But my prayer is that you will come to find that you are already a Princess of the King, in the Kingdom of the Most High. Your beauty does not come from fancy dresses or crowns, but radiates from a beautiful heart within and the unique beauty lovingly given to you by your Maker. May you come to act like a real Princess of God's Kingdom, who walks in humility, love, integrity, compassion and grace.

This will be the last post in this blog for you, dear one, for you are no longer our one and only. Now begins another adventure with little brother Isaiah in tow! You already love him very much and soon I know you will become best of friends!

love always,

(You can keep up with our adventure on our family blog at

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Birthday Bash: 1-2-3!

Our girl is turning 3 years-old this week! We had a simple but wonderful birthday party on May 3rd with family to celebrate the life of this sweet, precious child - complete with banana splits and ice cream cones, butterfly spritz cookies and all the butterfly decorations saved from last year. Perfect.

"What? Isn't this what the plates are for?"

I have been finding myself (especially with the fast approaching arrival of a new little one) watching her in awe, finding it difficult to believe how fast the time has gone and how much she has grown.

SOOO excited!

One year ago, we were concerned about a little 2 year-old who was behind in her speech, and now we have a very articulate child who doesn't. stop. talking. ever. Her creative play is enchanting and I love watching her as she plays doctor (using her hammer and wrench), fixes up everything around the house, cooks us meals and goes off to work saying "Bye, see you later!" then comes back and give us money or something she picked up at the store. I love watching her dance and sing "Let it goooooo!" with full gusto (and slightly better intonation than she used to).

I love watching her make friends and engage with other children. Zoë always wants to be where the people are. She loves being outside, climbing trees, riding her tricycle or scooter or bike, playing in the dirt.

I love watching her personality unfold. She has a strong, lively spirit and loves to direct and organize all activity around her. She's a fearless leader but also loves to imitate her heroines (namely, anything that reminds her of Elsa from Frozen, and almost any 8 to 10 year-old girl). Zoë has a beautiful, tender and caring heart. She is quick to check "Are you o.k.?" or give out hugs if someone is sad. "Don't be sad - I'm here. It's o.k." 

Serenading us with her new "guitar" (ukulele :)

There's never a dull moment, and we are so grateful to have Zoë in our lives. She is a beautiful gift from God and we look forward to another year of watching her grow and blossom even more. 

Happy Birthday, Zozo!

Adventures with Didi, Papa & Gruncle

While waiting to celebrate Daddy's graduation and finding ways to distract ourselves until baby brother's arrival, we had some fun together around Portland with Didi, Papa and Gruncle Herm.

Picnic at the park

She even got Didi in the sand :)

IPad fun with Papa

Coloring with Gruncle

It has been so great to have them here with us! Zoë was beyond herself excited when they arrived and is soaking up all the attention she can. :) We've loved watching her interact with each of them, coercing them to play with her, draw with her, dance with her -and enjoying being a "big girl"who doesn't need to be next to Mommy or Daddy. And that is just fine with us!

Trip to Multnomah Falls

Lunch by Horsetail Falls

Oh, Papa!

My free spirit child

Enjoying our last few days as a threesome
(But baby brother, you can come anytime. Seriously.)

Today we ventured to downtown Portland, enjoyed some Blue Star Donuts, church at First Presbyterian Church and lunch at Noodles & Co. Tomorrow, we'll enjoy one last day together before Papa and Gruncle have to head home. Thank you so much for being here! 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

ἀνάστασις (Resurrection)

Zoë Anastasia. Life & Resurrection. 
You will always be my Easter baby.

Your name is a constant reminder of the power and promise of the Risen Christ, and you, my dear, are a beautiful example of what it looks like to live an "abundant life." You experience everything with fullness - the most ecstatic joy, the most heart-wrenching sorrows, the sweetest tenderness and the fiercest of anger. Your cheerful laughter is contagious and your smile is radiant.

You love deeply and so enjoy being fully present with those you love (and greatly desire them to be fully present with all times.) You live life full speed ahead. You find pleasure in the simplest of things, but mostly find your joy not in what you are doing, but with whom.

"I have come that they may have life 
and have it abundantly." John 10:10

This Easter I find myself dwelling on the power of the resurrection that is here and now - the promise of "new life" and "life to its fullest" offered not just for a future time, but today. Christ is risen! We can live and walk in that power and promise today, because of the work of Christ on the cross and out of the tomb, and through the work of the Spirit comforting, strengthening and sanctifying.

We can choose to live by faith and not fear.
We can choose to walk with joy and sorrow hand in hand.
We can choose to see the beauty in the pain.
We can choose to give with open hearts and open hands.
We can choose to love unconditionally.

There is a choice - choosing between the old and the new, the way of death and the Way of Life. Die to the old, rise to new life, moment by moment, day by day. A little dying everyday transforms your life. 

2 Corinthians 5:17 doesn't tell us that you or I will be a new creation in Christ - it says you are a new creation. I am a new creation. The old life is gone, the new life is come! We are a new creation in Christ. Now. Today. That is our identity. Let us walk in it.

But even in the now, there is a not yet. The abundant life we can choose to walk in by the power of the Spirit is still but a glimmer of what is yet to come. Zac and I were reminded this past week of Grandpa Henry Poppen who passed away within an hour of Zoë's birth on May 7th, 2011. We will never forget that unsettling, painful yet beautiful moment of holding the grief over death side by side with the joy of  new life.

Lord Jesus, help us to walk in the power and promise of your resurrection today.
Help us to live out our identity as a new creation,
and find the abundant life here and now.
And when we still find ourselves surrounded by death and decay, 
help us, Lord, to hold onto hope - 
trusting in your ultimate victory over the grave 
and the promise of resurrection to come. 

"I am the resurrection and the life.
 Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live." 
John 11:25

And for you, Zoë - may you come to know more and more this Jesus of whom we speak and read and to whom we sing. May you find Him to be the true source of abundant life, and may you continue to live life to its fullest.

Amen. Let it be.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

To Grandmother's New House We Go!

Earlier this winter, my mom ("Lola") bought a house after years of living in a small one room apartment. We were so excited to go visit for the first time this weekend and stay with Lola and Uncle Judah in their lovely blue new home. Zoë had so much fun staying over night in her "own room" (a small storage room), helping out with dishes and cooking and playing with all sorts of fun things Lola and Judah had around the house.

Such a good helper :)

A little lovin' with her Lola!

Saturday morning National Geographic Cartoon.
From the 90's.
It was awesome.


She discovered them in her "room" 
and couldn't wait to play with them with Uncle Judah

Usually we stay with my grandparents when we visit The Dalles, but my mom is so happy to now have a place of her own and give them a little break from hosting. Now they get to come over and be guests!

"Tickling" Oma


We ended the fun weekend with a swim in a very steamy "therapy" pool at the gym. My little non-swimmer kept telling Lola - "No, I do it myself." Haha! She certainly has guts, and kept jumping off the steps into the deeper section on her own. I think we need to invest in a swimming class soon. :)

Thanks Lola and Judah for a great time! We love your new house! Just think, someday Zoë will be able to go to Lola's house for a sleepover all by herself. Crazy. :)