Archive | January, 2015

How Long Were You Engaged? (+ Some Wedding Photos!)

Five years ago today we froze our toes off for that picture! Happy five year anniversary to us. :)

It was such a whirlwind day, snowflakes and all, the culmination of years of dreaming but only three quick months of planning. In retrospect (and in the moment), I am so glad we had a short engagement. It forced us to make our decisions quickly and decisively, throwing dreams and instincts and friends and budget all into one pot, mixing it up, and coming out with a very collaborative wedding where everyone ate, danced, was merry… and stayed mostly warm!

It was a rather formal wedding — more formal than we usually are — and it wasn’t the outdoor, rustic affair I could have spent ages fussing over. But it did have a lot of cozy elements to it, like the bluegrass band that called the steps to the dances, and the photographer who had been a family friend for years, and the pies instead of cake, and the flowers arranged by friends with a burgeoning floral business, and the 50 bottles of wine you could choose from instead of a formal bar, and the fact that we were all shocked by the snow but were muddling through together anyway, with fur boots on under my wedding dress and unforgettable snowflake-filled memories being made.

How long were you engaged? Do you wish it was longer or shorter? What would you change about your wedding if you could?

And now a few photos! More here if you care to see. :)

Portraits_02 Getting_Ready_34 Getting_Ready_16 Getting_Ready_20 Getting_Ready_38 Getting_Ready_40 becca-garber-wedding-photos-1.jpg Ceremony_25 Ceremony_47 Portraits_20 becca-garber-wedding-photos-2   Reception_31

15 :: in wedding

Gil turns two!

becca-garber-gil-turns-two-6 I’ve been trying really hard (a relative term around here) for a really long time (also relative) to write a post about how Elliott and I met and fell in love, seeing as how our fifth anniversary is Friday (yay!) and I thought that would be fun to share with you all. But I discovered that such posts require much digging through the archives of Facebook for All the Cute Pictures and I am running out of time until Friday and since I want it to be a fabulous post that you will enjoy and that I will treasure forever (because that’s how it goes), I am going to take my time with it and instead bring you…

… Gil turns two!

Which happened this past weekend, so it should probably come first anyway.

Before we get any farther, I want to share two Facts of Life that I learned this last weekend with all of you who might not yet have experienced the joy of a little son turning two. I suppose I should not have been surprised about these…

Fact of Life #1 for Your Son: Your older sibling will open all your presents for you.

becca-garber-gil-turns-two-4 becca-garber-gil-turns-two-1.jpg becca-garber-gil-turns-two-5 Your older sibling will also, sadly, blow out all your candles for you. Or, as the case may be, blow out your matchstick. (If your mama forgets to buy candles — even two measly little candles — you’ll be stuck with matches.) And you won’t even get to blow those out. I’m so sorry.

Fact of Life #2 for Your Son: You will get only trains, planes, and automobiles for your birthday. Not a stitch of clothing. Not a single education toy. Nary even a book! But cars and trucks and tractors and choo-choos you shall have aplenty.

I know, I know! You’re so disappointed.

becca-garber-gil-turns-two-7 becca-garber-gil-turns-two-3 becca-garber-gil-turns-two-17 becca-garber-gil-turns-two-12 Or not!

Since we rarely get to go to the zoo as a family, we decided to go to the zoo as a family. Parking is tricky on weekends, but we ended up with a prime spot parked right in front of THIS:

becca-garber-gil-turns-two-8 Apparently it is only open on Sundays, so we all bought tickets and piled aboard, and I have to say honestly that it might be the best carousel I’ve ever been on. The animals were incredible — dragons and giraffes and lions and tigers and bears, oh my! — and the whole carousel went very, very fast. Like I am talking a lot of centrifugal force. All to the tune of the Darth Vader theme from Star Wars which is not, shall we say, traditional calliope-y carousel music, but it earned it more props for coolness.

becca-garber-gil-turns-two-9 Nothing is in focus but the maniacal zebra, but they all look so happy!

Afterwards we went into the zoo and Gil said grunted that he would like to see the gorillas, which makes sense because this is still his favorite book of all time.

We made a pit stop at the orangutans first, where this sweet and shaggy lady sat right by the glass and made eyes at the birthday boy for approximately 15 minutes:

becca-garber-gil-turns-two-10 Gil offered her some of his goldfish “‘nack”:

becca-garber-gil-turns-two-2 And then we went on to visit the gorilla family, who had just welcomed a very, very tiny little baby into their midst one month before. We tried and tried to get a picture, and I will share them with you because I am so generous and I know you want to attempt to make out that little fuzzy blob attached to his mother’s chest:


becca-garber-gil-turns-two-13 Much, much cuter in person, let me assure you. Almost as cute as this little gorilla two years ago.

becca-garber-gil-turns-two-14 Home for the most Gil-friendly dinner I could imagine: Argentine flank steak, baked potatoes, green beans, and French bread….

becca-garber-gil-turns-two-15 … and then this cake for dessert, which is my new favorite thing to make because it is SO EASY but tastes very expensive, rich, and wonderful. You’re welcome!

becca-garber-gil-turns-two-16 And so, all in all, I think he had a good day and almost every dream a two-year-old boy can dream really did come true.

Happy birthday, sweet Gil! We fall more in love with you every day, and we are so so so glad you’re here.



6 :: in family, Gil

New Year // New Look!


On a hike with my family in Buellton, CA, on our friends’ ranch this past weekend. It was so beautiful!

I kept talking about giving this ol’ blog a facelift, and then finally last night it actually happened! I’ve been working on this site redesign since… June? That’s when I first found that purple flower image for the header. A lot of other things, though, came together yesterday (like the profile picture to your left which was snapped outside on Elliott’s lunch break, so maybe a better one will come along in… a couple years?!).

And now here it is. The new and improved Making Room blog! What do you think?

There’s more big news today: I wrote a guest post for one of my favorite blogs, Modern Mrs. Darcy. My post is called “How reading is saving this mom’s life (or at least her sanity).” So if you’ve ever wondered how or why I read so much, look no further! The answers are all here today, from my introverted need for quiet to my craving for a sense of accomplishment as a young mother. Can you relate to this?

One last thing: do you have a favorite planner? Like a day planner, or a notebook calendar, or a personal organizer, or whatever you call it? I heard a talk at MOPS the other day about “organizing you” and decided it’s finally time to invest in a planner I can take everywhere with me: one location for all my notes, lists, goals, appointments, and even meal plans. I’ve had my eye on this one (so classic!) and this one (with rave reviews). Any suggestions for me?

32 :: in guest post

All I Didn’t Do in 2014 {aka My Goals in Review}


I’ve been procrastinating about this post because it’s going to be depressing! I set some lofty goals and did not achieve very many. Here’s how it all panned out:

Goal 1: Love Elliott, Lena, and Gil.

Elliott: Encourage him to write. He’s writing a book and wants to have it completely finished by the time we leave Sicily in July 2014.

We did this! I invested in his writing and progress by checking in with him, helping him carve out blocks of time, and motivating him to get started. He gets the real glory, though: he finished his book before we left Sicily! He’s waiting to hear back from editors now.

Lena: Establish a morning “school” period with Lena for 1 hour at least 2xs/wk when at home.

I worked on this goal sporadically at best until about June/July, when we moved from Sicily to the States. I haven’t come back to it, unfortunately. I did manage to write a blog post about 37 Ways to Stay Sane at Home with Your Preschooler, though. I thought Lena might be reading by the end of 2014, but her skill level (ie. she knows her letter sounds and might be able to figure out “cat” and “Bob,” etc.) has not changed all year.

Gil: Read one book with Gil every day.

We did this! Gil loves books now, and we really enjoy reading to him. He is a very interactive reader and loves to comment on everything on every page…

Goal 2: Read, Read, Read

This I did achieve, at the detriment of other writing goals, unfortunately. (See below.) I read 72 books in 2014, and you can see the full list here.

Part 1: Read five classics.

I read five: The Pilgrim’s Progress, Never Let Me Go, Parnassus on Wheels, The Screwtape Letters, and The Giver. Not quite the classics I was aiming for. But I did manage a few “modern” classics-slash-books I have been meaning to read forever, like Unbroken, The History of Love, and The Book Thief.

Part 2: Finish War and Peace!

NOPE. I think I read about five pages? Out of 1300? So yeah…

Part 3: Read five parenting books.

I read six: Mommy, Teach Me!, Honey for a Child’s Heart, The Whole-Brained Child, Grace-Based Parenting, Steady Days, and Playful Learning.

Part 4: Read 3 books about Italy.

I read three: A House in Sicily, Mattanza, and La Bella Figura.

Goal 3: Make contact with my siblings (Eric and Emily) once per week via email, phone call, letter, package, or a visit.

I didn’t do this. I started off strong, but by March or so, I wasn’t making regular contact anymore. I’m sorry, Eric and Emily. :(

Thankfully we were together this summer for awhile, and we have been in a lot more contact since I moved back to the States. I feel closer to them than I did in Sicily. I still need to work on this goal, though!

Goal 4: Write daily in my One Line a Day Journal.

Nope. I think I recorded about 20 days the whole year.

Goal 5: Learn more about and practice the manual settings on my camera.

Nope. Still no clue and so I’m still shooting on my DSLR camera with just the automatic settings. Sigh.

Goal 6: Publish a piece of writing (fiction or non-fiction) in a non-blog setting.

I did get a piece published in a small magazine that you’ve all never heard of called Among Worlds, so that was cool!

Goal 7: Write 12 guest posts for other blogs (average of one per month).

Unfortunately I only did five guest posts, but each one of them was a great privilege, and I have more lined up for 2015! Here are the guest posts I wrote in 2014:

Thank you for featuring my writing, Marilyn, Alica, Gabrielle, and Courtney!

Goal 8: Study Italian: finish Italian Made Simple before we leave Italy in July 2014.

Noooooope. Did a couple pages, and then sold the book when we moved. I will probably never speak fluent Italian, and I can blame myself for that. Whomp whomp.


So there it is… my half-achieved goals of 2014. Clearly I like to read novels but not camera manuals or Italian primers, and I like to dream big but have trouble making the nitty gritty happen!

Should I try this again in 2015? Still deciding… I might take a different approach this year.

What about you? Did you accomplish any or all of the goals you set for yourself in 2014? Inspire us!

16 :: in goals

The Prayer I Pray for My Children Every Day


When Elliott and I were newlyweds, we attended an Anglican church in Washington, D.C. Many of the traditions of that church were a mystery to me, and they still are. (I can tell you about my church roots some other time.)

But during that year and a half, I came to deeply appreciate the Anglican church liturgy.

At first it seemed funny to repeat the same prayers every week – the same one for confession, the same one for communion, the same creed sandwiched between the two – but eventually I came to savor those prayers. It’s hard to describe, but I felt like my soul sank into them. Like into a soft bed or a couch.

During most of the service, my brain was humming: lifting up and soaring during the hymns and songs, focusing and thinking during the sermon, flitting from people watching to worship to people watching and back again.

But during the liturgical repetitions — during those prayers — my mouth and my heart and my brain all connected as I said those same familiar words again, forming them like pearls in my mouth, pondering and polishing them like rosary beads. Each week every word made more sense, and then became more precious, and then became the song of my heart. By comparison, I’ve felt this way about some popular songs that I’ve heard over and over on the radio until they worked their way into my brain and became my song and defined a certain period of my life. You know what I mean?

Anyway, back to the prayer I pray for my children, not the liturgy in general. Here is the prayer we learned in that church:

Almighty God, heavenly Father,
you have blessed our congregation with the joy and care of children.
Give us courage, patience, and wisdom
as we bring them up in the faith
that they might never know a day apart from you,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

I love those words:

  • Blessed our congregation – Raising these children is corporate work, ie. it takes a village to raise a child
  • The joy and care of children – A blessing and a responsibility
  • Courage, patience, and wisdom – What a powerful trifecta. How many thousands of times a day do I need courage, or find myself horribly lacking in patience, or grapple for wisdom?
  • As we bring them up in the faith – This hearkens back to a commitment that began with the congregation’s and parents’ pledge to the children at their baptism, that they would teach them about their faith and how it applies to their life and work.
  • That they might never know a day apart from you – The cry of my heart! Elliott and I were both born into homes where Jesus was loved and followed by “clay-footed” but faithful parents. Over the years we came to make that faith our own, and we are grateful that God has held us in his hand throughout our journeys. I hope and pray that our children have this same testimony.
  • Through Jesus Christ our Lord — all things are possible through him!

I remember the first Sunday after we found out we were pregnant with Lena. I was so lonely and sad, because Elliott had just deployed for a year and Lena was totally unexpected and I was overwhelmed and so discouraged. And there I was, standing alone in church, our first child being knit together inside me, praying aloud with the congregation this beautiful, rich, deep, true prayer, and I was praying it for our own child, and I just cried and cried. There was such longing in those tears for so many things.

After repeating it a hundred times over a hundred Sundays, I memorized this prayer. I began to pray it at home whenever I prayed for our children. In Italy, with our old church far away, we prayed. And now we pray in California, years after we began, longing together for courage and patience and wisdom to bring our children up in the faith, longing that they might never know a day apart from Jesus.


There are so many ways to pray for those we love. I remember my mom said she prayed for me and my future husband every day of my life. Well, I’ve already failed at that for my own kids… but I guess doing starts with trying! (And I can imagine it feels more relevant as they get older.)

Do you have any prayers that you particularly love and repeat often, whether about children or not?

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19 :: in motherhood, thoughts

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