[my life, my blessings, my journey]


{Random #1} The new Athleta catalog came in the mail yesterday. It's taunting me. Really. All the cute yoga tanks and running clothes, not to mention the great swim suits. I want to barf. Believe me, I know I need to get back into a regular routine of exercise of some kind but I'm just not feelin' it. Haven't been feelin' it for at least a year. A friend of mine mentioned a girls' running club. Sounds intriguing and motivating. Maybe some serious accountability is what I need.

{Random #2} C-bear has another wiggly tooth. Wiggly teeth kind of freak me out. They make my skin crawl. I wish she would just pull it out already. I would pull it for her if she would let me within a mile of it.

{Random #3} In the Midwest we talk about the weather all the time. We are obsessed. And I'm starting to get really ticked. It's cold and rainy again today and it's April 28. Seriously?! Could we please just see the sunshine for a bit? Is a little warmth too much to ask? Apparently so. Word on the street is that it's going to be 70 and sunny tomorrow. We'll see, Weather Boy. Izzie and I did pedi's this morning just in case we can bust out the flip flops and jellies tomorrow. A girl can dream.

{Random #4} I'm not sure I should be admitting this publicly but, while watching Modern Family with my hubs last night, I realized why we love that show so much. It's hilarious. And Matt = Phil Dunphee. Matt laughs hysterically at almost everything Phil says. Hmmm...wonder why. Probably because he does the same "gun show" joke all the time. Their sense of humor is way too similar...it's scary. I heart Phil.

{Random #5} We will most certainly be watching the Royal Wedding tomorrow. I'm totally wrapped up in the hype. The kids and I will be having tea and scones for breakfast while we watch beautiful Kate become a princess. I may whip out my British accent. Okay, I will for sure be serving breakfast with a British accent. For once it will be totally appropriate.

{Random #6} We began cutting out naps for Iz last week (my choice, not hers, though I am seriously questioning my decision on a daily basis from about 4 to 6 p.m.). Isaboo has fallen asleep on me 2 afternoons this week, as soon as I'm not watching her like a hawk. I know Girlfriend needs her sleep but so do I!! Going to bed at 10pm when you are 4 years old is just not an option in this house. Period. So she's sneaking naps now. Yes, I feel terrible. But then I laugh and grab my camera. When I'm all done snapping away, I wake the sleeping bear....and watch out!! No photos of that experience because it is a bit frightening until she calms down. Ha!

On Tuesday I found her hiding in her closet, fast asleep in her laundry basket. Today she fell asleep in the chair watching Olivia. And yes, even at 4, she still sucks her thumb. Don't judge. I'm not up for the battle of the century just yet.


rite of passage

Being a mother means many, many rites of passage along the way. There's the first time your newborn son pees on the nursery wall while you are changing his diaper and trying to figure out how to contain the fire hose. There's the first big fall off the two-wheeler bike and the scabbed knees that come along with it. And, of course, there's the first day of preschool and kindergarten that make your heart swell and break simultaneously. Of course these are rites of passage for our kids but they are also moments frozen in time for us as mothers, don't you think? They are days and moments and events that we will never forget.

For several weeks Caroline has been talking about an art project they were working on at school. Since she's in kindergarten and only goes to school in the afternoons, they don't have art class on a regular basis yet. So art class is a BIG deal for our girl. Can you guess what they were working on? Pottery. I remember trying to make my mom and dad a coffee mug in first grade or so. It probably wasn't really functional but I remember the looks on their faces when I brought it home - they were so proud of me and acted like that mug was the holy grail. No joke. And the mug that my brother made for my dad sat on his dresser for years. I'm not sure what he put in there (spare change, maybe?) but the fact that it sat on the dresser in a place of honor meant so much.

So when Caroline unwrapped her vase this last week, I think I had tears in my eyes. I'm such a sap, I know. But I couldn't help it. She was so proud of herself and explained how she molded the shape and pinched softly here and there, creating her masterpiece. It was her pottery but it was a rite of passage for this mama. I didn't have to pretend that I loved it or that it was amazing....it is.



We had a lovely Easter weekend. Family, food and lots and lots of Easter eggs and candy. I have plenty of photos from the weekend filled with color...maybe for another post. Tonight I write with a grateful heart. For His love and His sacrifice. Happy Easter!




finding my rest

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." ~Matthew 11:28-30

Often I am a go-and-do-and-see kinda girl. I love taking my littles all sorts of places and I love to watch them enjoying themselves. We enjoy picnics at the park, bike rides, the zoo, playdates, the beach. But truly, I am a jammies-at-home kinda girl. When life gets a little nuts, I find myself craving my cocoon. My yoga pants, my kids in their jammies til noon (or sometimes all day)and the quiet routine of home. It's where I feel most like myself and where I find my rest. I find myself seeking and listening for the whispers of my God. And His answer is always the same when I am feeling a little anxious, overburdened or run down - come to me and find your rest.





Our girl Isabel turned four today. At exactly 5:52pm she came barreling into our lives and hasn't slowed down since. My labor and delivery with her lasted exactly 39 minutes. Yep, that's right...39 minutes. Crazy, huh? I'll spare you the deets (you're welcome) but let's just say it was fast and furious. Matt barely made it there in time. Heck, my doctor barely made it there in time. But, that's Iz for you. She does things in her own way and in her own time.

We jumped into the birthday celebrations a bit early. Isabel has been begging to have her ears pierced for at least a year. So, that's what we did on Thursday and she didn't even blink. She picked out a couple of new pairs of earrings to wear after her six weeks are up - and yes, she's counting the days until she can sport her new gummi bear and cupcake earrings. On Friday she had a few friends here at the house for "pin the tail on the bunny", musical chairs and cupcakes - I went old school and I'm so happy I did. We spent the rest of the weekend celebrating with family, riding every ride at Nickolodeon Universe and capped off the weekend with bike rides and Tangled.

Thank goodness the weekend is over. I can take a deep breathe. She is exhausting. I say this tonight in a good and thankful way, not in a I'm-going-to-pull-my-hair-out kind of way. When it comes to Isabel, you are guaranteed two things: 1). you will be mentally and physically drained after spending the day with her, and 2). you will laugh til your stomach hurts, shake your head and wonder where she came up with that one-liner and thank God for her precious soul. Every. Single. Day.

Happy, Happy Birthday to my precious girl.






this & that

I have a little bit of this and a little bit of that to share today. Been taking lots and lots o' photos lately...really proud of my effort! Haha!

My goal is 30 photos - 3 times per week. Just to practice, to play and to really take in what's around me. I find that when I'm taking photos I really pay attention to the details. When I'm snapping photos of my kids, I notice how long and beautiful their eyelashes are. I notice how dark their hair has gotten and I know that soon it will be streaked with sun-kissed blonde. I really focus on the dimples in between Jack's knuckles and the way Caroline runs her tongue along her top gum, checking for the millionth time to see if her other front tooth has finally decided to join its partner. These are things that I see everyday but from behind my lens I really focus on them and, I think, become even more appreciative and aware of how blessed I truly am. Bonus.

When I'm searching for something or have an idea in my head of what I want to shoot, it rarely happens. It seems that something else unexpected always turns up and almost always makes for a more interesting photo or subject. I suppose there is a lot to be said for this - for the organic nature of photography. I like that, in the words of Pinkalicious, "You get what you get and you don't get upset." Because, in the case of my photos, what I end up getting is almost always better than what I would have set up or sought out myself. Love, love, love this. Take the first two photos for example. After I dropped Izzie off at dance, I quickly ran to a little park nearby. Everything was grey, cold, flat. Nothing colorful or interesting. A bit depressing, in fact. So I hop back in my car and head back to the studio. I drove past our little small town greenhouse and found flats and flats of pansies lined up along the windows outside. Cue screeching brakes and a quick leftie into the parking lot. Left to my own devices that day, I found ugly, grey, uninteresting. But...open my eyes and be led and look what I found.




Since the weather turned this week, we have been spending lots of time outdoors. John Boy loves the backyard, loves the pink Little Tykes car and puts EVERYTHING in his mouth. Sometimes funny, sometimes really, really gross. I won't go into details but you can just imagine, can't you?














Enjoy your weekend, friends.

hulee hoop

Caroline's favorite birthday present was an $8 Cosmic Hula Hoop from my brother. According to Isabel, it's actually called a hulee hoop...just go with it, ok? Sometimes it's just easier and it's always funnier her way. Promise.

Turns out, Caroline is the only member of our immediate family who can successfully hulee for more than 2.4 seconds. I can't even remember being able to do it as a kid and Matt definitely can't do it...have you seen him dance? Scary. Scary. Scary. Maybe it's like rolling your tongue - either you can or can't do it and that's just the way it is.

Oddly enough, my brother can hulee too - but I think his record last night was about 21 seconds. Caroline's current record is 127 seconds. That's more than two minutes! I know, I'm a math whiz, right?! I can't stop laughing. Her hulee "technique" is evolving and hilarious. Her arms, her hips, her little tushie...it's all hysterical. After about 12 seconds, we all just burst out laughing and watch her go. And don't even get me started on my parents' hulee hoopin' skills...whoa. My side still aches from all the laughter in their living room last night.

The girls couldn't wait to hulee this morning after breakfast. My girls are not always in pajamas with crazy bed-head. Really. I know it may seem that way from the photos on this blog, but we do get dressed, brush the fur from our teeth and tame our manes on a daily basis. But not before we hulee. Rock on, birthday girl.





*Update: While waiting for the bus, she made it 187 seconds. New record. Just so ya know.



Love this photo of Isabel. And the infamous "bear bear" lovey makes her first appearance here on the blog. She (bear bear) really isn't as grody as she looks here. She has Oreo cookie crumbs on her sweet little face. Isabel may or may not have eaten Oreos after breakfast and then given bear some big time love. I may or may not have eaten Oreos after breakfast too. I did not, however, join in on the bear bear lovin'. Gross. Have you seen that thing?!

And check out little man. I forgot to change my ISO settings so this photo is super grainy but I still love it. Today I'm all about accepting what is good - his expression, his smile and the fun we were having with the hulee. I'm not about beating myself up over the grainy photos of my little love. So there.


Happy Monday!


Our sweet Caroline is six today. I am, once again, flooded with memories from that foggy, wet day in Pennsylvania. It was just the two of us, soon to be three. Everyone we dearly loved was thousands of miles away. Waiting.

We had no idea how much our lives would change, how full our hearts would be or how beautiful and special this sweet baby would be. In the moment of her birth, I fully understood how much my parents love me. That when they said they would go to the ends of the earth for me, they meant it with every ounce of their being. From the moment she slipped into my world, I was changed. Changed forever. I became a mother.

There are so very many things I could say about our girl, our first-born, but nothing, nothing, would be sufficient. I sit here trying to find the right words, the best words, but nothing comes. So I will say this ~ she is amazing and we are so, so blessed by her soft, gentle spirit, her sense of humor and her million dollar smile.