Naming Amelie

Warning: this post is a meandering, frightening look into how my mind works…or doesn’t work.

A long (long) time ago, I promised a post about how we came to name our little girl, Amelie Dawn. Even though I had my…reservations, I have to say the name suits her, we all love it. So how did we get here?

In the past, I’ve mentioned my weird rule for naming our children. Add to that my obsession love for French culture and film. Plus my fascination of “different” or original names. And the fact that both Shane and I like our children’s names to have a special meaning. You get Amelie Dawn.

I first heard the name Amelie – pronounced Ah-Mel-Lee (the Ah makes the same sound as the a in father) – when I watched the quirky and much loved French film of the same name. That was about a decade ago. I fell in love with the name and tucked it away in my heart for many years.

Fast forward to 2012, I was pregnant during a very difficult year for our family. Among other things, around mid-pregnancy, both my grandmother (Lee) and and my husband’s grandmother (Dawn) were diagnosed with terminal cancer and given a very short time to live. Our hearts leaned toward naming our little girl after her grandmothers. Amelie being a nod to my Grandma Lee, and Dawn for Shane’s grandma.

But as the months wore on, I fell out of love with the name I had held close to my heart for so long. And I agonized (AGONIZED) over names. It was ridiculous. I began to hold tight to the name Greta Lynn. But couldn’t seem to settle on just one name…there are so many great names out there! At around 8 months pregnant, I made a list of my favorite names, tucked it away in the hospital bag and refused to look at it again until the baby was born.

I also created a survey to post when I went into labor so Somewhat Crunchy readers could vote on a name. What were the choices…there were 14! Amelie, Greta, Camile, Elise, Scarlett, Hazel, Nora, Amelia, Violet, Cora, Ruby, Ina, Phoebe and Audrey. (Violet won the survey)

When Amelie was born, Shane and I called her by every name on the list, trying each one out in turn. However, seeing that she was born with strawberry blonde hair we quickly threw out all the “color” names – Violet, Ruby, Scarlett, Hazel and Cora (because Cora reminds me of the color coral). I also nixed Camile because all I could hear in my head was “c’mere Camile” and I didn’t like the sound of that. Shane then vetoed Phoebe, Nora and Ina.

That left us with Amelie, Greta, Elise, Audrey and Amelia.

We went back and forth for TWO DAYS, eventually whittling the list down to our two originals – Amelie Dawn and Greta Lynn. In the end we went with Amelie because, before she was born, we had discussed how (to us) Amelie sounded like a baby with fair features and Greta sounded darker. Amelie is very fair with pink-pale skin, blue eyes and red hair.

And of course, we love the significance of naming her after her great-grandmothers.

Updates, Projects and Reviews

I was going to begin yet another post with “sorry it’s been a month since my last post, I’ve been busy”.  But I figure, why bother?  You guys know and love me.  You know I’m busy, you are too.  This blog is my heart, not my business – so why should I apologize for that?  I know your sun doesn’t rise and set on my posts.  I know you understand why I’d much rather be enjoying this…

because, chances are you’re enjoying the same thing in your home.  And rightly so!  I am enjoying the three teens as well, but they’re not as keen on having their picture taken.

In the coming weeks I have some reviews of products you don’t want to miss.  Truly, I have fallen in love with Economics for Everybody and Mimic Creme Healthy Top.  And I’m very excited to share with you about a great, family friendly, historical, dramatic-series from Colony Bay!

I’ve decided to do my best to start a new posting series.  A while ago I read The Little Stuff I Leave Undone at Raising Arrows.  This post really resonated with me.  You see, we’ve lived in this new-to-us home for about one and a half years already.  And in all that time I haven’t painted one room or hung one photo.  This is our home, but it doesn’t feel homey.

I leave so many things undone, waiting until I can do it all.  Why hang the picture if I haven’t painted the wall, why paint the wall if haven’t sanded that spot, why sand that spot when we might put up new drywall…and on and on.  This has left us with stark walls and uninviting rooms.

We’ve been blessed with a large home, I say that in profound thankfulness-not in pride.  It’s a big old brick monstrosity of which the original section was built in the late 1700s or early 1800s (I need to research).  A large addition was added in the mid 1800s and a tiny addition in the 1990s.  It was divided into multiple apartments, we’ve taken over all but one of them.  Many of the rooms are large and we call them hoity-toity names like the “den, study and library”.

But don’t envy us.  The only reason we were able to afford this grand old home is because it’s falling down around our ears.  It needs a ton of work – I would estimate at least half a million to restore it to its former glory.  And surprise, I don’t have half a million laying around.

When it comes to doing projects, my mind tells me “why start what you can’t finish”??  But my heart tells me it’s time to make this place a home.  So, even though I can’t replace our drafty old windows, or rip out the plaster walls for drywall, or replace the lovely 90s style mauve and dark green carpets – I can still make this house feel like home.  Fox and Tony are 16 – I want them to have memories of a house that felt like home.  I want to create a home they’ll want to return to and visit often once they’re grown.

It’s up to me to do what I can to accomplish that goal.  And like most things it life, it’s not the big budget renovation that will make a difference, it’s the little things.

I can hang pictures, and stencil designs, I can decorate and paint.  We might not have the budget for a remodel, but I can bless my family with a comforting, inviting space that feels like home.

So here’s my plan:

  • I will do one project a month – something, anything – to make this house feel like home.
  • I am setting a budget of $50 per month
  • The first Monday of each month I’ll share my project with you.  What I did, how I did it, how much it cost and the effect it’s had on my family.

I don’t have a lot of time and it’s a small budget – so some months may just be about hanging pictures or planting flowers.  Others may be about purchasing supplies for a larger, upcoming project.  But this is what I’ve resolved to do.  I hope you’ll join me on this journey and hold me accountable.

I want my husband and kids to have a home, not a house.

So, They’ll Love Me When I’m 80 – Raising Teens

Mother’s day is this weekend, and you know I’ve been taking a hard look at my parenting lately.  Reevaluating.  Making Changes.  Fighting for the hearts of my children.

My grandmother passed in March.  My step-grandfather passed this week, his funeral was held yesterday.  I was immensely blessed to take home some parenting wisdom from their funerals.

My grandmother – her son (my uncle) shared the story of how when he was going through a challenging financial time, my grandmother gave him an encouraging card with money inside.  It was very helpful and touching, but at the bottom of the card Grandma wrote “I think a second job is in order”.

She loved him, supported him, but gave him the honesty and wake up call he needed.

My step-grandfather – at the funeral everyone who spoke shared stories in which Pop had helped, encouraged and supported but always with a dose of “shoot from the hip” honesty.  He didn’t sugarcoat issues.

Toward the end of the service, three of the granddaughters sang Daddy’s Hands and dedicated it to Pop’s six children.  If you haven’t heard the song, it’s a beautiful tribute to appreciating a father’s discipline.

Daddy’s hands were soft and kind when I was cryin´.
Daddy´s hands, were hard as steel when I´d done wrong.
Daddy´s hands, weren´t always gentle
But I´ve come to understand.
There was always love in Daddy´s hands.

It was a beautiful.  In the middle of the song I turned to my husband with tears streaming down my face and said “Well, they may not like us now but they’ll love us when we’re 80, and say nice things at our funerals.”  He smiled and hugged me a little closer.

He understood.

Raising teens isn’t easy.  There’s bound to be some tension.  Heidi St. John says we’re preparing arrows to launch out into the world.  And what do you do when you’re launching an arrow?  You pull that arrow closer to you – to your heart.  And what happens when you do this?  It creates tension on the line – a little tension is okay.

I haven’t ruined my teen, I’ve created too much tension by being overly critical in an effort to impart as much wisdom as I can before I launch him.  I’ve spent too much time lecturing and advising, not enough time listening and loving.  I need to go back to the 3:1 praise/correction ratio – I’ve gotten off course.

Praise God it’s not too late to correct that course.  And then, when I’m old, when my teen has raised children, he’ll understand and appreciate the love in my hands.

That my friends is God’s grace – He’s built His grace into our daily lives.

That’s my self-lecture and reflection for the day 🙂  Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a baby shower to attend – my baby shower.  It feels so surreal, to say goodbye-for-now to Pop yesterday then to celebrate new life today.

Grace my friends.  Redemption and grace.