12.26.2011

Advent

And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger."
Luke 2: 10-12


Christmas
 
 (ˈkrɪsməs)

— n
1.a. the annual commemoration by Christians of the birth ofJesus 
Christ on Dec 25
b. Also called: Christmas Day  Dec 25, observed as a day of 
secular celebrations when gifts and greetings are exchanged
c. ( as modifier ): Christmas celebrations



This Christmas reminded me of how blessed I am.

Our Christmas season was filled with family and friends and joy and laughter and peace.

My sister Vanessa and brother in law Lucas travelled from Texas to visit the week before Christmas. Oliver was thrilled to finally meet them, and we had such a wonderful time visiting with them. They arrived in California on a Thursday and headed up to South Lake Tahoe with my parents and little brother. I was able to take Saturday off from work and Nicholas & I drove up with Oliver and Auntie Toya. We spent Saturday and Sunday enjoying the beautiful scenery and catching up with my sister. We enjoyed an early Christmas dinner with Vanessa & Lucas before they left.

I had to work Christmas Eve, but I got home in time to go to my parent's home to open gifts with my sister Toya, and enjoy delicious tamales. Nick's parents and sister Vicki also were able to join us. 

Nicholas & I spent Christmas morning with Oliver, trying to persuade him to unwrap his gifts. He pulled toys and books from his stocking but was less interested in unwrapping gifts. Instead, he entertained himself with the empty boxes. We also read the Christmas Story to him out of Luke chapter 2. He felt like he should talk too while I read so he helped out in his own baby language. 

We also spent time with both our families and Oliver played with his cousins from out of town. 

We received many beautiful gifts but even more special was the time we were able to spend with our loved ones. I was overwhelmed by all the gifts and love that our families showered on us and on Oliver. We felt incredibly blessed and thankful that we were able to spend such an important day with people who mean so much to us. 

Christmas reminds me of the wonderful gift that Christ gave to us: His birth as a human child, so that he could live and die for us as our Savior and in doing so, give us the greatest gift of all, eternal life with him.

I was reminded of the amazing love us Christ throughout this holiday season. 
Knowing this amazing story and knowing that Christ lives in my heart and is with me always gives me such joy and Christmas is such a beautiful day to share that story with our son and our family. 

I pray that you would feel this joy, and share it with those around you, too. 


Merry Christmas. Feliz Navidad. Buon Natale.




P. S. here are a few photos from our Christmas Season....






12.15.2011

style-spiration

today I discovered Polyvore.... so while Oliver napped, I summed up my winter style inspiration through pictures.
L-O-V-E



12.08.2011

seven months later..

Look who turned 7 months old, today:


Oliver Aiden.

Each new day, Oliver grows a little more
and learns something new.
He learned to crawl this past month.
Almost immediately after that, he figured out how to stand up 
by holding on to stationary objects 
such as the couch, mommy or daddy's legs, chairs, tables, etc. 

Look out, world, little elf is on the move.

"Please be content with crawling for a little longer, " 
I silently beg my rapidly growing baby.
The muscles in my arms have strengthened from carrying him.
Even so, I still need a rest from time to time,
reminding me that the infant we brought home seven months ago
is fast approaching toddlerhood. 
I love every minute I spend watching this amazing little miracle of human life.

We play games now, 
Oliver & I.
As he sits in his highchair watching me wash the dishes or cook dinner.
He stares at me until I notice him and smile.
Instantly a huge smiles spreads across his face
and he gives me one of his fantastic baby laughs.
I dance for him, he giggles and waves his arms.
I try to feed him applesauce on a spoon.
Sometimes he loves it, 
more times he dramatically makes gagging sounds 
and spits it out. 
He shakes his head back and forth 
and repeats baby sounds over and over again.
I say them back to him and he laughs gleefully. 

And he drives me absolutely insane.
This is a thing he L-O-V-E, loves to do.
He crawls to the brick fireplace and stands against it, 
wobbling dangerously on his little toes.
I rush over and pull him away, bribing him with toys, books,
blocking his way with pillows.
Oliver scales the pillows and is back at the fireplace the minute I turn my back, 
all the while smiling his sweet little prankster smile.

And all the emotions Oliver brings me are insignificant compared to this 
overwhelming love that I feel for him, 
my baby boy.

I pray that God gives you many more days and months and years of life,
so I can watch you grow and learn and become who God created you to be.


For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O Lord, from my youth.
Psalm 71:5 ESV

12.04.2011

pondering.

"Life 
doesn't have
 to be 
P E R F E C T 
to be 
wonderful."

-Annette Funicello


11.26.2011

Saturday Somethings.

This week, I took advantage of my brother Reuben being out of school.

Reuben is a senior in high school, and has been dragging his feet about things like applying for colleges and taking senior pictures. 

So I decided to help.

We loaded up a few props, my nikon, & Oliver into the car and headed out to "The Ranch" (the Sellai Vineyards) for a senior photo shoot. 

Here are a few of my favorite shots...









~ * ~

In other news, my friend Melina from Only a Flight Away gave me this:


The Liebster Blog award may be given to bloggers with fewer than 200 followers.
Liebster is a German word translated as sweet, kind, dear, good, nice, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, endearing, etc. 

When given this award, a blogger is supposed to pass it on to a few favorite bloggers. 

I am passing it on to a few blogs that inspire me:



Check them out :)

& have enjoy the rest of your weekend!

<3 Cheers.





11.08.2011

What's in a name?

I chose to name my son Oliver because I loved the name.

I also chose it because the bump told me that the meaning of Oliver is "elf army." 

Nicholas was thrilled when I told him this because he plays World of Warcraft, a computer game that features many mythical creatures including elves. 

I feel that the name perfectly fits. Besides the fact that my child just looks like he should be name Oliver, he alone could be an elf army. He has the appetite of an elf army. It sometimes seems like he is all over the place at once. He is a mischievous little boy. He looks like a miniature little man. I guess that would be more of a dwarf but in the story of the shoemaker and the elves, those elves were tiny. The words "dwarf" and "elf" are used interchangeably in some version of that story, though.

Oliver is a baby elf, plain and simple. 

Except...

..upon doing further research I learned that the Latin meaning is actually "Olive Tree." 
hmm. 
The Olive tree, specifically an olive tree branch, is a symbol of peace. 
Again, hmm. 

Not very descriptive of my child. 

Oliver is also the name of one of Charlemagne's knights in the 11th century poem "Chanson de Roland." I guess this could help my case a little, although I doubt Charlemagne's Knight was an elf.

However, further research found that Oliver very well could be a form of the old German name "Alfihar" which is defined as "host of elves."
Yes! 

I am going with "elf army" as the definition of Oliver. 
A bonus is that my great grandfather sailed to Ellis Island from Germany. 

It's fate.

And on that note, today is Oliver-Alfihar-Elf Army's half birthday. 
This crazy little elf is almost crawling and I'm equal parts terrified & thrilled. 
But ready-or-not, my baby elf is growing fast and I'm am excited to someday teach him about his amazing & historic name.










Happy Half Birthday, Oliver Aiden!
You are very L O V E D.

11.06.2011

Wild Thing

The night [Oliver] wore his wolf suit, & made mischief of one kind and another...
His mother called him, "Wild thing!" And [Oliver] said, "I'll eat you up!" 
-Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak


For Halloween, I decided to get creative and make Oliver's costume.

As a child, one of my favorite books was Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. It's adorable and the pictures are priceless. (A movie was made recently but it doesn't hold a candle to the book, in my opinion)

So I dressed Oliver as Max.

"...& made him king of all wild things."




We enjoyed handing out candy and spending time with our family that night. 
Nicholas & my brother Reuben caused quite a "wild rumpus" scaring little candy seeking children, and some not-so-little candy seekers too. :) Altogether it was a memorable night for Oliver's very first Halloween. 

10.27.2011

Sidewalk Stories

Sometimes the simplest things make the best memories. 

Sidewalk chalk & a little imagination turned an empty driveway into a playground. My five-year-old niece gets bored easily, but I managed to capture her attention with our colorful simple artwork as we enjoyed what may be one of the last warm weekends this year.

A house is just a house unless you know it's story...


"Our House" 
(told by Hailey & embellished a little by me)

This is our home. I am the mom and Nicholas is the dad. Hailey is the big sister & Oliver is our baby. Kelli (Hailey's year-old sister) is the bigger baby and grandpa is big brother. Grammie is our housekeeper. Our home has pink roof shingles because the girls got to choose and we love pink. Big brother (grandpa) lives in the attic bedroom. He sneaks out sometimes, which explains the really tall pink ladder. Oliver lives in the room with the crooked orange window and the flower box. The room with the french doors has a balcony (you might not have noticed). This is the mom & dad's room. Hailey and Kelli live downstairs. We have a tree with a tire swing that is also pink, and an enormous flower growing in our yard (that we drew first before we decided to draw a house). And we are one big happy chalk house family :)


This is how we spent our Saturday afternoon:
In the sunshine enjoying each other's company. 
And Oliver joined us outside for a bit, too.

10.18.2011

Grammie-Day


Last year on Nicholas's mother's birthday, we surprised her with the exciting news that we were expecting a little one. One year later, Oliver celebrated with his Grammie on her birthday.

We shared dinner, conversation & laughter, a game of marbles, and yummy cake.

Happy Birthday Grammie-MOM-Diana Sellai :)




& in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years. 
-Abraham Lincoln

10.16.2011

another chapter..

When I was 4 years old, my family moved to the Central San Joaquin Valley from Gilroy, California. 

It was a big move. We had no family or friends here. 
But we began attending a little church shortly after our move and Toya & I immediately became friends with a crazy little girl named Larissa. She was fun and silly and she loved to play dress up just like my sisters & me. 

We quickly became best friends.

Our moms homeschooled us together, Larissa's mom taught us to sew, we had thousands of play dates, swim parties, even a super secret club. shhhhh :)

We experienced life together. 

Over the past 20 years, we've changed and grown and developed different interests, but we've managed to stay good friends.

& today, I will watch my dear friend marry her soulmate. 

Congratulations, Larissa.
May your life with Brandon be filled with joy, laughter & bliss...



and may the next years of our friendship be even better than the first 20. 

~Bethany

10.09.2011

life


one. two. three. four. five.

*

five photos.

five fingers brush his face as he sleeps.

five little toes on each foot.

5

Oliver is five months old now.

this month has been full of energy, baby babble & giggles..

lots of Oliver learning how to roll around and grab his toes.

each day he grows a little more.
each day he grasps something new.
little things that may seem simple, 
but i see him changing, growing, learning

& it is a beautiful thing...

watching Oliver's life.

10.04.2011

Gone Country


Oh my goodness, I can't believe the Keith Urban concert is tonight!

My husband gave me tickets as a gift for our first wedding anniversary on March 27. So I've been waiting a while for this. I expect nothing less than amazing from my all time favorite singer. Now if I could only find something to wear...


~Bethany

9.29.2011

Words.

I read chapter 40 of the book of Isaiah today.

I read it out loud as I was rocking Oliver to sleep for a nap.

The final verse of this chapter is very familiar to me, and probably familiar to most. It is a beautiful reminder of the source of strength, often quoted when someone needs to hear words of encouragement:

but they who wait for the L o r d shall renew their strength; 
they shall mount up with wings like eagles; 
they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40:31 ESV

I often forget about the rest of the chapter, though. Reading it today was like reading it for the first time. It was new and it seemed to be written specifically for me, for this day.

And I was reminded that God's word is alive and it will speak to anyone who is willing to listen.

Verse 8 says, "The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever."


He will tend his flock like a shepherd;
he will gather the lambs in his arms; 
he will carry them in his bosom,
and gently lead those that are with young.
Isaiah 40:11 ESV


~Bethany

9.17.2011

Fall Wardrobe Preview: The Fringe

My sister, Vanessa, recently brought fringe shirts to my attention. I instantly loved them and even created my own version out of one of Nick's old faded tee shirts. 

Vanessa never actually got around to buying or making a fringe shirt so I decided to create one for her. However, she is a tiny person and I worried that a fringe tee would look very bag-like on her small frame. Instead of a shirt, I decided to create a fringed vest for her. 

I cropped a black Mossimo tank top, cut fringe around the bottom, and attached some sky blue beads to a few random fringe pieces to give it a little dimension. The result was stylishly amazing and perfect for fall. To illustrate my vision for the vest, I assembled an outfit that encompasses my vision for fall fashion. Nick was nice enough to take a break from the Oklahoma/Florida State football game and snap a few pictures of me playing dress up. 

Gap shirt, 7 for all Mankind Skinny bootcut jeans, Re-purposed fringed vest, Cathy
Jean boots, Rose Gold Michael Kors watch, Piero Guidi cross body purse


This fringed awesomeness will soon be making its way across the country to Vanessa via the United States Postal Service. For everyone else, use this as inspiration to re-purpose your own fringed clothing and then email photos of your creations to me at mrsb.sellai@gmail.com. 


I am excited to see all of your amazing ideas!
This image is the essence of my fall style.


Stay crafty my friends...


~Bethany

9.09.2011

my growing boy

My precious little boy turned 4 months yesterday.

I say this every month, but it is always true. I can't believe how quickly he is growing and changing and becoming his own little person. He screams and wails and laughs and babbles to me, his toys, his daddy, anyone and anything that will listen to him. He has an obsession with ceiling fans and light fixtures. He is constantly distracted by them when I am trying to feed him. He sometimes drives me crazy when he cries for no real reason at all except that he wants my undivided attention, usually when I am trying to do housework. But when I stop what I am doing pull him into my arms, he rewards me with one of his radiant joyful smiles, one hand in his mouth and the other clutching tightly to my shirt or arm or hair. Oliver helps me remember that joy can be found in little things: rocking a sleeping baby in my arms; singing and dancing around the kitchen looking completely foolish just to hear Oliver's laughter; watching Oliver play with his cousins on the floor at Grammy's house. 

My heart swells with gratitude for this precious little boy I have been blessed with.

9.04.2011

welcome home, brother

This past week, my brother arrived safely home alive and well from South Korea. 
He had been stationed there for over a year and missed so many things while he was away. Holidays, birthdays, Oliver's birth...we felt a lonesome place in our hearts for each milestone that Bobby was unable to share with us.

 Tuesday we finally got our brother back from his soldier duties.

Nick captured a few photos of our joy...



So he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.
Luke 15:20 ESV