Sunday, August 30, 2015

ready freddy

{found via pinterest}

every once in a while when we're getting ready to go somewhere i'll ask keane, "ready freddy?" he then gives me a strange look that reads "who are you talking to??"

this morning i woke up thinking "ready freddy." i'm ready for summer to officially be over. i know it's not exactly, and won't be completely gone for a few more weeks, but now that adele's birthday is over i'm ready for some pumpkin spice lattes.

add those to some cooler temperatures and i'm good to go.
give me jeans and boots and sweaters any day of the week.

it's not just about the wardrobe though. fall and summer have a similar quality at the start of them. they both feel like a breath of much-needed fresh air to my lungs. summer is a welcome break with less structure and more sunshine. but by the end of august it starts to feel a bit stale and worn out. fall feels like i can breathe again. quite literally.

the cooler temperatures are starting to work their way into the mornings and the evenings. they're hanging on for longer and allowing me to fly on my runs. earlier this week i stepped outside to run 7 miles and ended up going a little farther at a faster pace than anticipated because it was just so nice. yesterday i even ran a little farther than my prescribed 14 miles.

adele turned one on wednesday. 
that's the other reason i'm ready to say goodbye to summer. adele is one. let's end the summer there. let's spend every waking moment outside without melting into the ground or getting eaten alive by mosquitoes. 

let's build our fire-pit and roast some marshmallows for s'mores.
keane has asked for marshmallows the last three trips we've taken to the grocery store. i have to keep telling him that it's still too hot outside for roasting marshmallows. i wish it wasn't, but it is.

i'm just ready for a bit of a shift. for a bit of a change. we're rolling out a new budget in our house. keane is starting preschool. adele turned one. peter is into the heart of soccer season. i'm just ready for a slightly new chapter. 

and that means fall, but it doesn't just mean fall. it's kind of like new year's day right now. school is starting, the weather is changing. there is a subtle but clear shift. it's time to make some changes.

it's never easy to change, but i find it easier when there's an actual shift happening somewhere that is outside of our control. or having something specific and prescribed. for instance: it's a lot easier for me to train for a marathon when i consult my calendar and see how many miles i'm supposed to run than if i had to plan it out myself on the fly.

that doesn't mean that i don't edit and adjust if i need to, but it definitely helps if i have days i don't really feel like doing a set number of miles.

too often i don't make it past the initial stages when i'm trying to shift to something completely new because the transition is often the hardest part. we are creatures of habit. forming new habits are incredibly difficult - especially if you have to stop doing an old habit to accomplish the new one.

anyway...all that to say that i'm ready for fall. i don't want to wish away this last week and a half before keane starts preschool, but i'm also itching for it to start. it's one of the great paradoxes of life. we're stuck in the middle of the now and the not yet.
c'est la vie.

soon i'll start wearing boots even if i could wear sandals. then i'll start wearing button-downs with the sleeves rolled up instead of short sleeves.
i've never been all that great at waiting.

i'm getting ever-so-slightly better on that front. having kids and a torn up kitchen will do that to you.

we finally got the drywall completely up yesterday. and the popcorn ceiling is about ⅓ of the way scraped off now. {talk about a shoulder workout...} anyway, the important thing is that we're making progress. at this point i'm really just hoping it's all done before keane's birthday two months from now.

one day my kitchen will function normally. and not be hideously ugly.
see? patience. delayed gratification.
these are necessary evils that aren't really evil, but just terribly difficult.
terribly terribly difficult.

happy sunday morning to you!


Monday, August 24, 2015

my baby girl

{found via pinterest from kristine's kitchen}

adele turns one this week. as in two days from now.

i'm almost done weaning her, and it's the oddest feeling. because the likelihood of us having another biological child is slim to none. we've always said 3, and adopt the third. always. ever since we were engaged. which means that while we're not done having kids, i probably won't be pregnant or nursing a baby again.

in some ways i feel like i'm not quite ready to give it up. it has been both easier and harder to nurse adele. i'm ready to be done in many ways, but at the same time i don't want to admit that she's actually turning one. isn't the second one supposed to go slower than the first since you've now realized that it's not terribly important for them to do everything quickly?

adele isn't walking yet. she's cruising, but not walking, and i'm much more okay with that than i was with the fact that keane wasn't walking yet on his first birthday. because with the first one you want them to go go go. with the second i'm like, "she'll walk when she's ready." i'm just not worried about it. this unworried attitude is not true of everything with the second child, but that stuff definitely feels less crucial this time. she'll do it when she's ready. just like keane did.

in many ways it'll be so much easier when my kids are a little older. many days now are just hard. someone always needs to eat or sleep, and those things are really just starting to get to the point where both kids eat or sleep at the same time. i'm both thankful for, and exhausted by this time. i know it will get better and worse.

a few months ago i was talking to a mom at church who has a grown son and a daughter in college. and she gave me some good advice that - wasn't really advice, but it was - sort of advice - follow that?

anyway, she said with her kids she tried to just enjoy the stage they were in, and not wish for a different one. each stage has its own benefits and drawbacks and dwelling too much on any one makes you miss some of the others. and it's so true.

there are really great things and really hard things about having two young kids. and i'm trying to be mindful about it. i'm trying to be in it where i am because that's where i am.

whether i enjoy it or suffer through it i'm not going to get it back again.

my baby girl turns one in two short days. two days. i still haven't fully wrapped my mind around that. she's a pretty fantastic little human. she's so curious, and for the most part a very happy kid. except when her brother is tackling her, that is. of course it makes her tough, and she loves keane no less because of it.

she's a major daddy's girl which is one of the sweetest things to watch. her face lights up as soon as she sees peter. even from a distance. she waves her arms and kicks her legs and makes excited noises until he's holding her. as soon as she's close enough to him she reaches - sometimes full-on dives - into his arms. it feels kind of like a game of hide & seek, "ready or not daddy, here i come!"

she's usually shy at first, just like keane, and she still hates when mama and dada leave; though i'm told she settles down quickly.

i was afraid to have a daughter. after having a boy, and growing up with a brother and no sisters i was much more comfortable having a boy. i know she's only one, and my fears still creep up now and again, but i have such a great girl. i know that my fears will ping-pong around and will continue throughout her life. but isn't that the definition of being a parent? "exhausted, scared to death, unqualified, and exhilarated. always. simultaneously."

even on the hard days, i am so very thankful for my kids.
happy almost birthday, adele!
i love you to pieces.


Sunday, August 23, 2015


{found via pinterest from heartcraftedco}

i know i will fail miserably in my life. i have already. i will again. and there are many questions i have about living rightly. i don't think the answers are as easy, or cut and dry as some make them out to be. some issues are pretty black and white, yes. but the edges are usually tinged with grey. i know i will err miserably when it comes to these things.

i want to err on the side of love. to err on the side of grace.

Jesus called us to love our neighbor. and he gave us quite the illustration about what that means in "the good samaritan". he tells us to love our enemies. he doesn't really leave much grey area when it comes to what we're called to do. but there is a lot of grey about how to truly love people. 

i think sometimes "love" is thrown out there as a free pass to do whatever you want. but that's not really love. nor is it love to simply "speak the truth" without any love to be found in it. people are broken. i know that because i've come across some of the best people, and they're still broken.

people are broken, and need love and grace. period. people need to be loved exactly where they are. they need continuous love even when they mess up. but what does it mean to love people where they are - even if they don't want to change?

it's one thing to love people who are on the road to what you believe, it's another thing entirely to love people who oppose you, don't apologize for it, and aren't about to change as far as we can tell.

love isn't a free pass to do whatever you want. there are a lot of things done in the name of love that are not truly love. love wants what is best for the other person. it is patient and kind. it does not envy or boast. it is not proud or rude. 

i could keep going, but the point is that happiness does not equal love. there are plenty of things that we think will make us happy that we chase after. and not only do they not make us particularly happy - happiness isn't the goal.

chasing after happiness usually leads to disappointment. happiness is a by-product, not an end-goal.

i remember hearing an illustration about a baby who had a major problem that required painful treatment, or he would die. and so, of course the parents opted for the treatments even though they were painful. they wanted what was best for their child because they loved him that much. even though it was awful and incredibly painful. they loved him enough to suffer through the treatment with him.

as a parent i hate the idea of that. i hate the idea of needing to watch one of my babies in that much pain, but if that's what one of my kids needed to survive, i would do it.

love isn't always what we make it out to be. but i'd rather err on the side of love, and the side of grace. it's really easy to err on the other side. it's human nature that we have to fight against. if it came naturally i don't think Jesus would have spent so much time telling us to do it.

sometimes it feels like we've gotten so busy, and so caught up in pointing fingers at the other side that we've forgotten that we're supposed to love people. regardless of what they think, what they believe, or how they act. 

there is a popular saying "love the sinner, hate the sin." one time i was talking with our pastor, and he said he tries to think "love the sinner, hate your own sin." because we all have planks in our own eye. and we're all stumbling around trying to pick out the specks of dust in the eyes of others. every single one of us.

i've struggled with this concept a lot lately. there are many ways and places where love has been touted, and many arguments have ensued over them. the issues may seem very clear-cut to proponents of both sides, but people on all sides are people, and i'm called to love them, and show them grace. even when i disagree with them.

and that is really really hard.


Friday, August 21, 2015

two yellow leaves

a couple days ago i walked outside into the backyard, and two bright yellow leaves stared up at me from their newly fallen position. i almost took a step back in surprise.

fall never comes in august around here.

when i was a kid growing up in pittsburgh fall seemed to work its way into the leaves by the end of august without fail. it would be a week or two before school was scheduled to start, and the leaves on the giant tree at the end of our driveway would always have a tinge of yellow. it seemed like that happened to tell us to prepare ourselves. fall was almost upon us. school was coming. we couldn't escape from it for much longer.

back then i didn't appreciate fall quite as much. summer meant a break from school, and fall meant that break was over. but once i got to college i realized how much i loved fall. and that love has not dissipated in the last ten years.

once i got to college i realized just how much i loved the cool crispness of the season. i loved playing soccer and going back to school. at that time i felt more at home and in my element at school than i did at home anyway.

besides, in the fall the world held promise. we were starting over. we had a clean slate.
a new soccer season, a new semester.

this year is different than the last ten years. this year my baby boy is starting preschool. which means for the first time since college the school year matters a lot more. granted it's only a couple of days a week, but it's still crazy to me that he's old enough and big enough for preschool.

i'm excited for fall. i always am. i love cooler weather {especially when i'm training for something}. i love watching soccer games and steeler games. i love bonfires and s'mores. i love layers and boots. i love pumpkin flavored food. i love how the beauty of the leaves and the world ablaze with color can make you stop in your tracks.

i also love walking outside and not immediately sweating. it seems like summertime here actually drives us inside instead of out. we wait until the cool times of the day to head out into the world, and subsequently get covered in mosquito bites.

i think i expect more from fall than it can actually deliver though. every day is not beautiful and magical. and i'd like to do more to enjoy the season than i actually get to do. that said, i'd still take a whole lot more fall than i tend to get most years. pittsburgh spoiled me that way. maybe i'm just rewriting history, but more often than not fall actually arrived by the end of september, and had switched to winter mode by the time christmas rolled around. it felt like that was the way it was supposed to be - where there's at least a chance it'll actually snow on christmas.

don't get me wrong, there are great things about living in charlotte. sometimes i just miss home. sometimes i miss the leaves changing in august. sometimes i miss my family being close enough to see them more than a handful of times a year. sometimes i miss what still seems normal to me.

every year i wait with bated breath for fall to finally roll around. and every year i get disappointed because i didn't do all of the autumnal things i wanted to do before the holiday season is upon us. everything usually feels rushed and like far too much - like i'm trying to fit two seasons into one somehow. i probably am.

this year i'm determined to slow down a bit in the midst of the chaos and try to actually enjoy the season and not just pin lots of fall-inspired things on pinterest. but i have to make a point to do that. i have to decide that is a priority and actually make it a priority. that's where things tend to fall apart. the actually making it a priority thing. it's especially tough when there are things like an unfinished kitchen in our world right now.

i digress. i think that maybe a fall bucket list is in order. i can cheat on some of them and put things on there that i know we'll do because they're already planned. things like taking keane to a farm and {i think} picking out pumpkins. the preschool takes a trip to the farm every year, so i might as well check that one off now.

and things like spending a weekend in the mountains. peter's team has a game in asheville on a friday in october, and since his sister lives fairly close to there now we can pretty much put that one in the "done" category too.

i'd also love to go apple picking and do a corn maze. i know i'll spend a decent amount of time outside with marathon training, family walks, and time at the playground. i'd also really like to get a fire pit going in our backyard here like we had at our old house. and frankly, just sit outside with my coffee and enjoy the weather - once the weather is actually enjoyable when you're not sitting directly next to a pool, that is.

anyway, i think this is a good start:

{found via pinterest from the pinning mama}

happy friday!

Thursday, August 13, 2015


today is a new day. it's bursting with new-ness. with soon-to-be-interrupted quiet and solitude. it unfurls hope with the quiet rays of the sun. i don't know what today holds exactly. i know that things haven't gone exactly how i've wanted them to go lately.

i know i've had moments full of grace and laughter, but also those of shame and loneliness and tears. i know that sometimes life climbs, and sometimes it dips and dives. and lately i'm trying to keep some pieces going, while i attempt to make other things right.

life isn't a photograph. we flip through a thousand moments before we get to one we want to share with the world. a photograph is a story unto itself, but it is not the whole story. it is just a piece. a slice.

my favorite time of year is just around the corner; lurking so close i can almost taste it in the early mornings, and the evenings that find their way to bearable even before the sun goes down.

on that note i've been looking at beautiful moments this morning, and appreciating all of the wonderful things this world has to offer. it's not always beautiful and wonderful, but that doesn't mean that it's not beautiful and wonderful.

{found via pinterest from lalasparkles}

{found via pinterest from disorganized}

{found via pinterest from prettystuff tumblr}

{found via pinterest from my domaine}

{found via pinterest from litobitofexquisite}

{found via pinterest from her paperweight}

{found via pinterest (referring link not found)}

{found via pinterest from britta nickel}
{found via pinterest from blinksburg_dam}

happy thursday, friends!


Friday, August 7, 2015

just start

{found via pinterest}

i've been sitting here for a few minutes trying to decide what to write about. because i'm in the mood to write, but not about anything in particular. i wanted a title - a jumping off point. i needed to start somewhere. so i decided to just begin, and see where i end up.

i'm becoming a fan of the early mornings. the getting out of bed part still sucks. this morning i even crawled back into bed for a minute because it beckoned me with its comfort and clean sheets. but then i remembered wednesday morning, and i forced myself out.

wednesday i crawled back in for "a minute" and woke up after 35 of those minutes, though i swear i only blinked.

thankfully i planned to run later than i had been, otherwise peter would not have been happy with me.

i'm a few weeks into my marathon training now. my 11 miler felt long this week until i paused and realized how short of a distance it actually is compared with the marathon itself. baby steps. i haven't done that kind of distance much at all since my last marathon go-round.

i digress. as much as i used to hate mornings - and in some ways i'd still much rather utilize my night owl tendencies - i do appreciate checking off some boxes before the sun is up and the day really begins. it makes it seem like i'm starting farther ahead. it gives me time that is actually quiet and {mostly} uninterrupted. and even if i get caught up in something adele still cries for me to come get her at roughly the same time every morning.

but this way i finally get to enjoy our office space. the office is one of my favorite spaces in our house, but with two young kids i rarely get to enjoy it during the bulk of my day. this morning time allows me to enjoy some peace and quiet and reflection in my favorite space. alongside a cup of coffee, some good tunes, and one of my favorite candles.

it's a good way to start the day.

most of the time i actually look forward to it, which i can't really say about most mornings i've experienced.

too often in my life i try to sit back and have everything planned out. and planning is important much of the time. but sometimes you just have to go. just start. just bite the bullet. that's what these mornings have made me do.

i don't have time to plan and plan and plan. the night before i set the coffee to brew at 5:27, and i wake up, pour my coffee, and get started. i don't have time to wait before i jump in. it's not going to be perfect, because things rarely are.

and that's one thing {among many} that kids have taught me. life will not be perfect. it wasn't before either, but somehow i expected it to be much closer to perfect then. much more often now i recognize that i am not in control of a whole lot. before i could trick myself into thinking i had some semblance of control because i didn't have two tiny humans with me all day every day reminding me that i'm not.

i can guide them and schedule them to the hilt, and some days, it just doesn't matter.

for instance - yesterday keane decided not to take a nap. he was pretty tired, but he just didn't take one. it doesn't matter that it was actually a little bit later than normal, and he had gotten far too little sleep the night before. nope. he lay in his bed for close to two hours without falling asleep.

hence, i accomplished approximately nothing yesterday afternoon. i was too busy running up and down the stairs trying everything i could think of to help him fall asleep.

i remember being pregnant with keane and thinking about all of the things i would never do as a parent. there are still a few that we have actually never done. but i'm not sure if that is simply because we still have young kids and haven't made it to the rest of those "i will never"s.

everyone is an expert when they don't have to do something every day.

much of life is hard. at the end of the day what we need for a good life - those things are very simple. but we make it very complicated.

at the end of the day we can all drill down to what's really important, and "having stuff" doesn't usually make the cut. but far too often i get wrapped up in what i have and what i don't have. i get caught up in my first world problems, and somehow think the world owes me more than i've got.

it doesn't. nor does God.

and the older i get - yes, my 31 years make me simply ancient - the more i recognize that life really is very simple. the older i get the more i think i'd be okay with living in a tiny house one day, and enjoying the simple things. because most of the time i think we all kind of want to get back to the simple things. we want beautiful, lovely, simple things, but simple nonetheless.

don't overcomplicate it. just start.
and have a simply lovely day.


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

right about now

{found via pinterest. from the bees on flickr}

right about now i'm pausing to sip my coffee while praying that my poor coughing baby stays asleep. right now i'm enjoying the soft glow from the candles and the lamps that illumine my quiet morning {save for the intermittent coughing down the hall}. right now i'm reminding myself to breathe deeply. i'm trying not to get caught up in the rapidly approaching day, but instead to focus on the time i have now.

right about now i'm trying to stave off the thoughts and excitement over what comes next. right now is fantastic in many ways, but i'm also excited for what comes next.

we've tipped into august which means we're on our way to the fall. we're on our way to having a finished kitchen. we're on our way to having a fully potty-trained preschooler. we're on our way to having a one-year old and no longer nursing.

august is one of the hardest months for me to sit back and enjoy. peter's team gets into full swing, and our schedule changes. but it's still really hot, and i don't want to do much outside during the day. the days are obviously shorter than they were at the beginning of the summer, but the sun still burns high and long. despite the back-to-school gear in all the stores, it's nowhere close to fall outside.

in past years i've done my best to pass through august quickly. last year was no exception since i was in my final month of pregnancy. but now that adele's birthday is in august i want to do better than to simply wish it away.

but i still yearn for fall, and all of the wonderful things that come with it.

august will pass quickly. we have many visitors coming through, and very few days to just laze about since our kitchen project - and a few other projects after it - will take a while to complete.

i can hardly believe that keane will officially be a preschooler in just over a month. i can hardly believe i will be done nursing adele in a few short weeks. i will miss it every once in a while, but right now i'm ready to have a bit more freedom of schedule.

i'm trying to stay where i am. i'm trying to not get ahead of myself. i'm trying to enjoy this day, this moment, this time, without wishing it away. but it's not always easy.

it's not easy when everything around me pushes me forward faster than i want to go.

i'm still trying to strike a good balance. i feel like i'm constantly in flux. some days i'm just frustrated with anything and everything. other days i enjoy life, but i'm also wishing i had more time for other pursuits. it's a rare day that i just sit back and fully enjoy. a rare day when i don't worry about which boxes aren't getting checked and just do what i can and enjoy it.

so right about now i'm trying to think through what comes next, but then concentrate on now instead of getting caught up in the not yet.

i wonder about many things. i wonder if i'm making the right decisions about life - things like staying at home with my kids. most days i know that it's the right decision. but i have days when i wonder. i have days when i wonder when it will be the right time to get a job again, and if it's now. i don't want to get caught up in a stage that i'm not in. i don't want to think nostalgically about the past or the future. because no time is perfect. and thinking that everything was all better, or will be all better, are both just ways to distract from now. both are ways to waste life away. and i don't want to do that. even if right now is hard.

so right about now i'm going to warm up my coffee. i'm going to breathe deeply. i'm going to go get my little nugget out of her crib, and start my day earlier than i was hoping.

because that's the reality of my right now. and i spent years of my life hoping and praying i would one day be awakened by the cries of a baby. so i'm going to try to enjoy it. even if getting her up early is a bit of an inconvenience.

i hope no matter where you are, you can enjoy the right now.