Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Digging Deeper

Jon and I waited five years to start a family.  Even then we knew there were no guarantees.  So when we saw the double lines on our store-bought pregnancy test, we knew we were blessed.  When Silas was on the way we made the decision for me to stay home and raise our kids.  Not every mom who wants to can do that; I knew we were privileged.

But there are days like today.  Days that life seems more on pause than privileged.  Days where it takes such work to go to the store, to keep up on all the little messes throughout the house, to get the laundry folded and put away, to make dinner.

Days like this, I believe it's best to curl your hair and throw on something pretty.

To pack up kiddos and go to the store anyway. 

When you are just so ready to put your feet up and soothe your heavy mind...but baby boys fight nap time like ninja warriors, it's best to pick them up, kiss delicious skin and play.

And to make something special about dinner, no matter how simple the meal itself is.

I think at the end of the day, you'll be glad you dove, dug deeper, pushed harder, went further than the way you felt.  And when littles are tucked into beds and you have some moments to clean and sort your home and mind, you'll realize that though very little got crossed off your project list, you did the things that really mattered.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


We grew up doing birthdays on an intimate scale as a family.  Dinner, gifts, cake and a movie - just us, just our immediate family.  Tradition carried on this weekend as we celebrated my sister, Kendra.  We pulled out a few subtle-but-extra-special-touches: handkerchiefs and candlesticks of my late grandma's, fresh cut lavender, straws and water with lemon slices. 

It strikes me that often we wait for the end of a person's life to offer up public praise.  I'm not sure why this is so.  And, at the risk of thoroughly embarrassing her, I tell you my sister is lovely, with peace and wisdom about her.  She is a faithful and loyal friend.  A trusted confident.  But don't be fooled, girlfriend can crack a joke.

I love celebrating Kenna.  She celebrates friends and family and co-workers all throughout the year - baby and bridal showers, birthday trinkets, just-because-packages in the mail, and so-and-so-just-had-to-have-this purchases.  And I love that there is a day set aside for the tables to shift and for the spotlight to turn on her.

But of all the things I love about my sister, of all the things she has taught me over the years, what I treasure most is her ability to see the beautiful in everyone and to encourage that beauty to blossom. 

Everyone is beautiful.  And everyone needs someone to see potential and hope in them.  Kenna, thank you for teaching and sharpening me.  And happy birthday weekend.  Love you so.

To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons
and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure
the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others;
to give of one's self; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child,
a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed
with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed
easier because you have lived - this is to have succeeded.

Ralph Waldo Emerson


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Snatching Up Summertime

I've been inspired:

Source:  Love Lisa and her stuff!

Found on; originally from

Jon and I aren't great planners. We like spontaneity. But there is something to be said for putting pen to paper and setting goals.  With only 7 more days in June, a summer-to-do-list ensures we soak up all the muggy-fireflies-nights can offer. An intentional effort to not look back, wishing.

We are working on our own list. Pretty sure it won't be on a giant chalkboard - though it's cute. Not sure what all will be on it, but I do know there will be kite flying. And a drive-in movie. Making this doormat, for sure:

Found on; doormat from Martha Stewart.

Maybe even taking a mini-cation, just the four of us, celebrating all that we have been as a foursome...before we become five. A fierce five, to be sure, but a forever shift for our family none the less.

And whatever else is on the list, a whole lot more of this:

Cheers to longer days and driving back roads, windows down. Cheers to ice cream and fireflies. Cheers to evening swims and lighted tennis courts. Cheers to summer. Drink deep.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Father's Day

Long before I saw the proof, I knew Jon would be a good dad. 

He enjoys our kids.  He loves to cuddle and wrestle and observe all the new things they do.  And as much as I tease him about my poor planning in marrying a man that loves babies so much, I'm sincerely grateful that he does. 

Edie and I made crepes and cinnamon mocha for Jon for breakfast.  I say "we"...reality was that Eden washed the berries and then left to go play with her dad.  And I love that.

We went to my parents' place for lunch and celebrated my dad.  I made gumbo...and then burned the rice.  How does someone burn rice you ask?  Secrets I cannot share.  But my dad was my dad, patient for the next batch of rice to be made.

Extra hungry bellies make anything taste good.  We washed gumbo down with rhubarb and strawberry pies.  They were divine...and it wasn't because we were hungry.

Strawberries picked earlier in the week debuted on Fathers' Day. Recipe: my Aunt Julie; master chef: Kenna.

The day was full, but good.  And I'm blessed by the men in my life who are truly great fathers: Dad, Jon, Marc.  I am a witness.  Love you all.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Creating Monuments

over·come \ˌō-vər-ˈkəm\
transitive verb: to get the better of : surmount
Antonyms: lose (to)
Some memories happen, the earth and the heavens align and we find ourselves in the middle of a moment to cherish forever.  Rainbows and choirs singing.  Cleaning a toilet may not be where your mind naturally goes at this point, but there I was, cleaning one and realizing, I made it.  Ten and a half weeks later, I'm standing on my own two feet again, no crutch/boot chaperon required.  My floors are clean.  My gait is slow but steady.  I'm balancing a baby on my hip while making dinner.  It is so good to be back.

Freedom is rushing back into my wings all at once.  Tuesday was my first drive in two and a half months.  The kids and I went for an overnight trip to the Homestead (a.k.a. my parents' place) for doctors' appointments the next day.  I ten-and-twoed the wheel, checked my mirrors didn't last long.  My hands slipped back to their usual 9-and-stereo-button or 7-and-dig-for-paci-in-the-backseat.  But ladies and gents, I'm on the road again.  

This milestone merited some created magic - the other kind in our treasure box of memories. The kind we don't wait to happen to us, but instead orchestrate the moments, stringing them up like twinkle lights in the photographs of our minds. I texted my fam. A few hours later, we were knee deep in strawberry fields (waist deep if you're Silas).

Photo by Kenna.

Photo by Kenna.

We were rushed, the farm was closing.  But, in magic's true form, time slowed down and we enjoyed. 

Photo by Kenna.

Photo by Kenna.

Photo by Kenna.

Photo by Kenna.

We extended the memory making to my favorite local cafe, where the lattes are scrumptious, the yellow curried chicken salad is divine, and the blue ring pops transform your sweet little girl into a blue lip/teeth/tongue zombie.

Hey!  It's Kenna!

Photo by Kenna.

Photo by Kenna.

Life ebbs and flows.  Not all memories are sprinkled with fairy dusted magic or sunsets in strawberry fields.  Some are dark and bitter.  But when the tide changes and your resolve strengthens, you grab your oar and refuse to go quietly into the night.  You hold onto hope and rise, slow and steady.  You surmount.  You overcome.  And when you do, you lay down monuments of memory to mark the places you've been. 

You remember the hard stuff, but you remember the magic most.

Photo by Kenna.

Praise the Lord; praise God our savior! For each day he carries us in his arms.
Psalm 68.19

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


The weekend was good. 

Family movie night on Friday with dinner on the couch (one of our kids' faves).  Lazy Saturday with my sis, Kenna, in town.  A visit to the pool followed by a night with Brandi (Carlile) & Ray.

Sunday night, Eden and I worked on a puzzle.  As we fit pieces together and hunted under the couch for missing ones, she looked at me, head tilted and eyes smiling, and said, "Mom?  Know what?  I'm goading up."  She's right.  She is growing up. 

Her imagination continues to come alive, her sentences grow more complex, and though she needs a little help moving a piece around, she sees where a puzzle piece should go.

She is stepping quite gracefully into her role as Big Sis, grabbing Si's cup when she gets her own; soothing him when he cries with,"What happened Si-guy?  You fall down?"

In less than a month, our Edie-Bird will be three.  And I'm planning her birthday party: Eden in Wonderland.  I don't have a whole lot of opportunity to do it these days, but I love planning parties - throwing arms around a person and celebrating the awesomeness of life.  Got the tiered plates, mason jars and glass votives to prove it.  I don't go elaborate or flashy...just tailored to the person with attention to little details.  (All time favorite parties: surprise birthday party for my sis, bridal shower brunch for my sis-in-law, adoption/baby shower for my friend, Bec.) 

For Eden, I've been inspired by this and this and this and this.  I'm a total nerd about it.  I list and sketch and plan with pen and paper.

I read a story when I was pregnant with Eden about a girl who'd been sweetly celebrated all her life - awaking each birthday to balloons tied to the posts of her bed.  And I love that.  Much as it breaks our parental hearts, our kids may hear a million messages over their lifetimes that they aren't enough in some way.  All the more reason to lavish love and douse delight on our littles at home. 

Still have a few logistics to work out.  Menu items to decide on.  Invites to mail (or phone calls to make - told you, I'm simple.)  Shopping and preparing.  But it's all so worth it, celebrating the life of a small person so dearly intertwined with my heart.

Photo by Kenna.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Steak Dinner

We've made a conscience effort to not waste food at our house. We do not stock pile items in our pantry and freezer for "just in case." There's a lot of truth to the mantra "waste not, want not." and as we recognize that many of our fellow human beings around the world are struggling to eat even one "meal" a day, we can't bear shoveling unused produce and left-overs we just didn't get to in the garbage.  (If you are interested in incorporating this same idea in your home, we've found that just about anything goes in a salad, frittata, quiche, or panini. Voila - delish leftovers.)

Yesterday was D-Day: Desperation Day.  Day we are scrounging to Tim Gunn it and "make it work." Our fridge collaborated with our pantry: organic peanut butter, yogurt, apples, and about a half cup of granola with raisins and dates.  Edie and Si gobbled it down like I'd served steak for "bites" discussions, no food chucked across the room.  Simply enjoyed.

Once again, as Jon and I intentionalize life-long vision we want for our kids - like being mindful of others and being filled with gratitude for the many ways we are blessed - they are teaching me.  Reminding me to devour the simple things.  And I love that.

To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird’s nest or a wildflower in spring—these are some of the rewards of the simple life.

John Burroughs

Hope you seek out the stars, wildflowers, bird's nests, apples with yogurt in your lives this weekend...and devour.