Thursday, October 20, 2016

going home

a few mondays ago i packed up the car and the kids and drove home. through the mountains, through fog and rain. through small towns, curving highways, and the beginnings of fall.

i still say that - drove home. after a decade in a place you'd think it would be home, but i don't think it will ever change. pittsburgh is home. and that week felt like home.

we visited with lots of family. i took my kids to a couple places i went to as a child. we explored outside in gorgeous fall weather.

the a/c was off, the windows were open, and the sky was close to the ground.

we went back for our college homecoming. we saw people we miss and talk to regularly, and people we had forgotten.

we saw old coaches, and old friends. everyone seemed exactly the same, just older. at one point the kids weren't with me and i got asked if i was a student. i'm not going to lie - that one felt good.

going home is always strange. sometimes things are exactly how i remember them, and nostalgia sinks in, and my rose-colored glasses rarely leave my face {except when my daughter won't sleep}. other times the differences are stark, and it feels like my home got lost inside this other place that only sort of resembles the place i once knew.

this time i drove past new stoplights. we visited a playground i loved that had been torn down, but rebuilt in the best way.

my kids climbed on grandpa's fire trucks.
another morning we went to an orchard i hadn't been to in years, and picked out small pumpkins and apple cider to bring back with us.

we watched my college team play a game. the kiddos spent the entire time running back and forth at the bottom of the bleachers chasing each other and squealing with glee.

the kids read books with grandpa and watched old vhs tapes that were quite literally watched to death by the end of the week.

i went for a run through the hills and the rain.

we watched the start of the homecoming parade, and the kids collected enough candy to last them through halloween. by the time we left for lunch we had a backpack chock full of candy - so much so that we had a hard time reaching the necessary diapers inside.

the weather was my kind of perfect. it was a mix of sunny some days and cloudy and grey others. the kind of clouds that wrap you up and promise that rain is coming, but you don't have to bear the rain quite yet.

it made me miss those days. college days were always full of promise. of not knowing what would happen later in life, but still being excited about the prospects.

there tends to be an air of optimism on college campuses - a world-conquering attitude that makes students think anything is possible.

it's intoxicating.

real life can smack you around a bit.
sometimes it takes going home to know that there are still endless possibilities out in the world.


Friday, September 9, 2016

preschool. take 2

our little monkey started his second year of preschool on tuesday. this year he decided not to pose for pictures. as in: adamantly refused to pose for pictures. i stole a couple while he was getting ready to go, and he got rather upset.

he seemed a little more nervous than last year, but we dropped him off without a hitch, and i managed to not cry until shavasana at the end of my yoga class. only a few tears escaped because - as i told peter - i knew he'd be fine, but i wanted it to go well. it's always hard to let go a little more, but it's the goal. the goal is to one day let him go completely. and i know that if i made a big deal of dropping him off at preschool, it would be for me, not for him. wanting what's best for him demands that i give him the best transition possible. even when it's harder for me. and that is hard in and of itself.

when i picked him up in the afternoon and his teacher said he had a great day i realized just how long i had been holding my breath.

i know that sometimes my want for it to go well will end up disappointed, but i'm glad today was not one of those days.

i know he'll love school again. i know his nerves were just a matter of walking into something new and not knowing what to expect. in my head i know all of those things, but it's always hard to watch him {or her} struggle with something, even if he has to struggle through it to learn and grow and move past it.

i am really not looking forward to a year from now when i need to drop both of them off. i'll probably just sit outside and cry for a while. let's not think about that's just crazy how literal the "letting go" is.

lately i've tried really hard to just enjoy where we are. i've tried really hard not to wish to go back, or propel forward. i've tried to enjoy the age and stage we're in right now. some days that works better than others.

but when i sit in these quiet mornings, i am so thankful. i am thankful for life, and for breath. i am thankful for the two sleepyheads in their beds. i am thankful for a roof over our heads, and clothes on our backs. i am thankful that i have two kids to slowly let go. i pray for the third - whomever he or she may be - as we slowly start the process of adoption.

life is not always easy. but it is good.


Friday, September 2, 2016

today. #10.

today was a great day. and i mean great. peter let me sleep in until almost 9:00. that in and of itself would've made today great. i don't remember the last time i got that much sleep all at one time. it was glorious.

this was a slow-motion sort of day. the kind of day that makes you want to squeeze out every last drop of goodness, and put every moment in that sweet place in your mind that bursts with joy when you leaf back through the pages.

it was also a fantastically rainy day. the high temperature was in the 70s, which is unheard of for labor day weekend around here. it started feeling a bit like fall. {such a tease, but i'll still take it.}

anyway, we spent a good chunk of the morning at the library with the kids. reading. exploring. shushing every 10 seconds. they loved it. they each picked out a few books. peter and i each picked out one. my choice was go set a watchman, which i've wanted to read ever since it was published, so i was pretty stoked. and as long as i don't spend too much time on this little update, i'll get to take some of it in before i go to bed tonight.

then we came home, grabbed lunch, and i sneaked off to the store while the rest of my family napped. i snagged a deliciously scented fall candle, and a brand new mug that happens to capture today perfectly. it's also a good reminder for the days when every moment does not belong in a photo album...

after the kiddos woke up they read and played with daddy while i started on some soft pretzel dough and then dinner. 

we followed up dinner with a walk expressly for puddle jumping, then built a fort in the playroom to read some books and have our snack before bed.

yes, today was a good day. my heart welled up more than a few times at the goodness in my life. i welled up in wonder at the many ways God has provided for me, and for my family.

because today was just a day, yes, but it also happened to be our tenth anniversary.

ten years ago, on another rainy day, we said our vows, and committed our lives to each other. and just like everyone else we've had our struggles and our tears. we've had our blow-up fights. we've had our rough days. but we've also had plenty of days like today. we've had the really really good ones. the knock it out-of-the-park, abby wambach's super clutch header against brazil, crazy-amazing days.

and on either side of the coin, i wouldn't want to do this life with anyone else.

from way back then, until right about now, i am so stinkin' thankful.

i am thankful for the abundance God has given us in this day. i am thankful for the abundance God has given us in this life.

i sincerely hope that your day was just as crazy-amazing as mine.
{if it wasn't, shake it off and remember that tomorrow is a new day,
and His mercies are new every morning.}


Wednesday, August 31, 2016

some people would rather die than think.

my father-in-law has a saying: "some people would rather die than think." lately i have realized how true this is, even of my own self.

it's so much easier to just accept what culture is telling us. to push back on it, and think through why you believe differently, and to actually live differently takes a lot of energy and work. why do we chase what we chase? why do we follow the prescription given to us?

all of these questions have been rolling around in my brain, but the things i've asked myself that it'd be so much easier not to ask? those are things particular to my life as a consumer.

there are things i believe to my very core. but if i really, truly believe them, they insist that i do things differently than i've done before. they insist things must change.

{image via pinterest from cotton bureau}

one such belief is that we are all - all - imago Dei. we are all created in the image of God. and if that's really what i believe then one of the implications of that is that i should not support companies who exploit their employees. i think of this specifically when it comes to clothes and shoes. sweatshops. should i really be excited about buying such cheap clothes if that means that my brothers and sisters on the other side of the world are working in terrible conditions for pennies? not to mention the resources needed to make so many clothes year in and year out in our world of throwaway fashion.

believe me, i have shopped this way for years. i enjoy shopping. i pay loose attention to what's going on in the fashion world, and i try to find an inexpensive way to replicate the parts i like.

my closet is jam-packed full of clothes even after doing a couple large clean-outs in the past year.

honestly, thinking through the potential implications of my choices have kind of made me want to ignore said implications, and pretend there aren't people on the other side of the world who work in such terrible conditions. i want to pretend that by paying $7 for a shirt that somehow still leaves space for the company to take a cut off of the top, and the person who made it to get paid fairly for their work.

there are things i'm willing to pay more for, but how much of the money i pay for them actually makes it back to the people making the clothes? how much of it makes it back to the people making the shoes? and how much do i need these things to begin with?

i've thought a lot lately about these things. i've thought a lot about how wasteful i am - how much i throw away, or don't use of what i already have. despite the fact that i know "more is better" and "more will make me happy" are not actually true statements, i don't live like i know they're false.

honestly, i don't even want to write this - i don't want to put it out there, because even though i know it's true, and has haunted me for a few months now; if i put it out there, there's no going back.

there are no more flippant shopping trips where i can just buy something for a couple bucks on a whim without knowing anything about the company that makes the clothes.

the implications of it go on and on... because even if the clothes were made ethically, were the fabrics sourced ethically? where did the materials come from? and it extends to other areas of life too. what about the food we eat? what about the amount of trash we generate?

across the board, how are we doing when it comes to our dominion over the earth? God gave us dominion over the earth so we could care for it, not exploit it.

i don't have all of this figured out, but i've been chewing on it for a while. a lot of us are ignorant. and frankly, it's easier to be ignorant with something like this. i'd argue that it's not better, but it is certainly easier. because really thinking about these things will probably require us to change.

and change is hard. it's hard to live differently than everyone else around you. it's tough to push back against the broader culture. to think through the ramifications of our beliefs.

believe me, i don't have all of this anywhere close to figured out. one thing i have done is buy more secondhand since there are so many rarely or never worn castoffs out there, and thanks to the internet there are more ways than ever to find them. i haven't been buying much though, and i know i need to spend more time really thinking through the changes i need to make.

i read a couple books that have made me think through different aspects of the broader problem. one of them focused primarily on our health, and caring for the earth. the other focused on the effects our actions have against our fellow man, and how we care for the earth. both gave practical suggestions about how to institute changes.

here they are, in case you'd like to be challenged in a whole lot of ways:

{image via amazon}
{image via amazon}

and please, please, please reach out with any thoughts or suggestions you have. i'd love to hear what you think about these ideas. i'll let you know more about what i think and find as i continue trying to figure it out.

one thing i do know for sure - making small changes for the better is better than making no changes at all.


Friday, August 26, 2016

my baby girl

my baby is officially no longer a baby. she's two.

i remember posting about keane's second birthday when adele was just two months old, and i was baffled that he was turning two.

the last two years have been a whirlwind of our baby girl growing up and turning into a toddler with a mind of her own.

someone once described adele as a little ray of sunshine. she's full of sunshine and mischievousness. she's opinionated and full of her own ideas. and she does everything she can to keep up with her brother.

she's feisty, and stubborn.
she does what she wants to do - much to keane's dismay since he usually has specific ideas about how things should go.
she's a complete daddy's girl. i love the moments when she asks to stay with mommy instead of go with daddy because they are so few and far between.

my dear girl,

God has big plans for you. my prayer for you is that you trust in his plan and his purpose for your life. every night i pray that you would be a woman after his own heart. and i give him thanks for the girl he made you to be. i pray for wisdom as we raise you. wisdom to meet you exactly where you are and parent you how you need us to parent you.

i love that you love books and puzzles. i love that you love cars and minnie mouse and that you are already content to sit and color by yourself {we won't talk about your tendency to color on the walls and furniture right now...}.

i love that you want to be buzz lightyear for halloween. i love that your "papa shirt" is your absolute favorite. i love that you love to run, and go for walks, and go to the playground. i love that you want to do things yourself even if it's not exactly ideal sometimes. i love that you already steal mommy's jewelry and have very strong opinions about shoes. i love how tough you are already - that you're rough and tumble in a dress.

some days i have to remind myself that the vast majority of traits that drive me absolutely insane on a daily basis are things that will serve you really well as an adult if we can hone them properly.

you are a ball of energy and a ray of sunshine.
you are a lot like me, with your daddy's sense of humor.
you idolize your big brother, but you don't let him boss you around.

one of my favorite things in the world is when you ask keane to hold you, and he opens his arms to let you sit in his lap. inevitably it lasts for about a minute before he realizes he can't actually see around you or do anything with you sitting on him, but it's still my favorite.
i love that you ask.
i love that he says yes.

when you were born i wasn't sure i'd know what to do with a girl. i was so glad we found out we were having a girl because it gave me time to get used to the idea. you are teaching me so much.

now of course, i don't know what i would do without you.
my little miss independent.
my little nugget.
my beautiful girl.

i love you big. even bigger than i ever thought possible.
happy happy birthday little one.

your mama

Thursday, August 25, 2016

gratitude #5

the high line, manhattan

there is so much beauty in the world.

i know it's easy to get wrapped up in the fallen aspects of our world. they're in our faces all the time, and i'm not saying we should ignore them. it's just that too often i get completely stuck there. and i don't want to.

because there's beauty too. there is so much beauty in the world.

shinnecock bay, long island

peter and i took a trip to nyc this past weekend for an early 10th anniversary celebration. we trekked around parts of manhattan, and brooklyn, and drove around long island all day on saturday.

we always pack a lot into our trips, and this one was no different. but part of seeing such a huge city is seeing what's possible on the high end, and on the low end of life. we saw new skyscrapers being built right down the road from homeless people sleeping in the park.

the high line

we walked miles upon miles upon miles {37.27 miles for the three days we were there according to my fitbit readouts}.

prospect park, brooklyn

and while i may not be super well-rested at the end of it, i am incredibly grateful.
we came back to our fairly average house in the suburbs - which is effectively a palace compared to most new york apartments.
we came back to two very excited kids who had their own adventures at nana & papa's place while we were gone.
we came back with some fresh adventures under our belts.

hudson yards, the high line

prospect park, brooklyn

we were both getting a little antsy - it had been a little while since we had really adventured anywhere.

i am grateful for the life that we have, even if i complain about it more often than i'd like to admit.
i am so very grateful for our kiddos. and right now i'm kind of baffled and beside myself because tomorrow our baby girl turns two.

she already says she's two if you ask her, but tomorrow is the day. two years have flown by, and yet it also seems like such a long time ago that we brought her home from the hospital. i'll have a lot more to say about that in the next few days, i'm sure. right now i'm still kind of in denial that she's really no longer a baby.

i am grateful for a gym membership with childcare workers that my kids love. it seems like such a small thing, but it keeps me sane.

i am grateful.

grand army plaza, brooklyn

i am grateful that peter only travels some for work. not every week. not all the time. just here and there. most of the time he's here experiencing the ins and outs of our days with me.

i am grateful for this time with my kids while they're small. while it's hands-on and hard. while they still want to cuddle after their naps. while they still take naps.

it's not always easy to be grateful. but when i take a step back i realize how much i have to give thanks for. it's easy to wish for a different time of life. sometimes we get nostalgic for times that are not right now because we remember things differently than they happened.

but i only have right now. i can't get back to yesterday, and i'm not guaranteed tomorrow.
so today, i'm choosing gratitude.

i'm choosing gratitude. i'm trying not to get wrapped up in what i don't have, and where i'm not, but instead give thanks for all that i have. even when i feel like i'm failing. because so much of life is about effort and attitude.

i'm giving thanks for grandparents coming to visit today. i'm giving thanks for my daughter's birthday - mind-blowing though it is. i'm giving thanks for new friendships and old. i'm giving thanks because my son is about to start another year of preschool in less than two weeks, which has him so excited. i am grateful for the life i've been given.

shinnecock bay, long island

what are you grateful for today?


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

oh, august

i'm not a big fan of august. despite the fact that quite a few people i love very much have birthdays in august it's still pretty meh. granted if i didn't have something to celebrate in august it'd be more like ugh, so i guess that's something.

to me august is the necessary slog of summer to get to the fresh air of september and october. i always forget that september here is like a slightly cooler oven, but it brings a lot of fall things with it even if i still sweat buckets from simply going outside.

without fail, i start longing for fall the second august hits. this year that nostalgia took up residence the last week in july, and has yet to leave. i don't think it'll go anywhere until november when i start thinking about christmas.

i've tried really hard to not simply look past august and plan for the gloriousness of fall. right now, i'm failing.

{found via pinterest from on sutton place}

i don't want to waste time i have with my kids. in some ways, i want august to go as slowly as possible, because my baby girl is almost two - and no longer a baby. i'm not such a big fan of that craziness.

i know that time will go quickly enough without urging it along. but i just keep thinking - fall is coming! fall is coming!

don't get me wrong, there are wonderful things about summer. it's just that God gave us seasons for a reason, and i'm ready for a new one. i'm also getting the urge to go shopping for new clothes, which seems to happen every fall because i always want more cozy sweaters and jeans. this year i've decided that i simply need to clean out my closet again so i can remember everything that i have in there, and remind myself how much i don't need to go shopping.


{found via pinterest from beneath my heart}

i've also decided that this year we're going to start making bucket lists for each season {or most}. keane is getting old enough to have some input in what he wants to do, and has already decided that he wants to go apple-picking for his birthday this year.

he's also asked for hot chocolate quite a few times recently, so i think he might be ready for a new season too.

but i've looked up a bunch of "fall bucket lists" on pinterest, and started asking myself: what is a reasonable number of things to put on said list?

{found via pinterest from simply kierste}

just like everyone else i'm ready for pumpkins and bonfires. sweaters and boots. wearing jeans without sweating through them. and ahem, not shaving my legs for a few days in a row.

i'm ready for pumpkin carving, taking deep breaths when i walk outside, running in the coolness of the morning {because there actually is a coolness of the morning}, and sitting on the porch with hot apple cider.

{found via pinterest from hello fashion}

i'm ready for coziness. snuggling under blankets. crisp apples that didn't have to travel 3,000 miles to get here. i'm ready for more farmer's market trips, and hiking as the leaves change around us.

and yes, i'm ready for pumpkin spice lattes, and all of the copycat recipes that come with them.

what's on your list for the fall? have you made one in the past?
despite our trip to the pool earlier today... i'm so ready for fall.