Monday, September 21, 2015


when keane gets excited and really enjoyed something - a game, a movie, a show, being thrown in the air - he will say "again!" as soon as the activity stops. he usually laughs as he says it too because he's so excited about the prospect of actually doing it again.

i have similar sentiment about fall. i just have to wait a little while longer for "again" to roll around. but looking at the forecast for the next week and a half it seems as though fall is upon us. {hopefully it's here to stay.}

fall makes me want to cook comfort food, and bake. this summer we used our grill more than ever in part because our kitchen is still "broken" as keane says, and it was easier to just make dinner outside as much as possible. but now. now i want to make salted caramel sauce to go with our apple cider, and our apples. and pears. and a whole bunch of desserts that i want to make now that pumpkins and apples and pears are in season.

{via pinterest from sallys baking addiction}

i'm dying to make some buffalo chicken dip for football games. just dying to. it's one of the best things ever, and i couldn't eat any last year because i was nursing, and adele didn't do well when i had anything spicy. besides - she wasn't sleeping through the night for a good long while, so i was too exhausted to make anything more than i had to make for sustenance.

{via pinterest from all recipes}

but this year... this year i don't just want to finish the kitchen project we started back in july. i also want to spend ample time in my kitchen serving up deliciousness.

fall also makes me more than a little nostalgic. it makes me pine for home. it makes me miss soccer season, and huge bonfires. it makes me miss the nip in the air that starts a little earlier up there. it makes me miss the piles of leaves we used to rake in the front yard of our house, and jumping off of the front porch into them. {don't worry, it was only one step higher than the ground}

{via pinterest from aesthetically pleasing}

there was something magical about watching the world change and just enjoying it. something wonderful about just simply enjoying the wonder of each new season.

i want to make sure my kids get that. i want them to be grateful for the changing seasons. i want them to enjoy the different parts each season brings. granted we don't really get true winter down here, but i want them to learn how to ski, and get to go sledding nonetheless.

i hope that they will truly look to each coming season with anticipation. i hope they will learn to appreciate all of the blessings of the different seasons. and i hope they won't forget to get outside and play whether it's raining or snowing or sunny & bright. i hope they love getting outside.

{via pinterest from flickr}

peter and i went to REI on saturday, and i found a pair of trail running shoes. i wasn't really looking for them, but they were on clearance, and they were the brand that i've wanted to try for a while so we went ahead and got them. and now i really want to use them.

just going in there {and spending the whole day prior at the whitewater center} made me want to get outside so much more. it's tough to do some of that with young kids, but still. i want to take them camping. i want them to learn to kayak. i'd love to do more rock climbing - both climbing walls, and actual rock. even if my kids don't absolutely love being in nature, i want them to make an informed decision about what they like and don't like.

i want them to ride their bikes and go for runs, and just sit outside. and be outside.

i'm so thankful for fall. i'm thankful that fall has come around again. i'm thankful for the cooler weather, and all that comes with it. i'm thankful for the comfort food, and the slippers, and the blankets. i'm thankful that i can drink hot drinks all day long. especially ones with pumpkin spice or caramel in them.

{via pinterest from querido refugio}

but mostly i'm just thankful for a change. i'm thankful for the gift of another day on this earth. another day to spend with my kids. another year to add to my life.

oh, and sidenote: if you've never made salted caramel sauce, you should. just sayin' - it's freakin' amazing. by the end of winter you'll be like the old lady from the frank's red hot commercial "i put that **** on everything." no, really. do it.

happy fall to you!


Thursday, September 17, 2015


{found via pinterest from instagram}

my kids are still napping. they have been for a while, and i don't want to wake them up. clearly they need to sleep, but if i'm honest about it, i enjoy the quiet. letting them sleep is as much for me as it is for them.

especially today when my phone decided that an update was no fun, and it wanted to freak out instead. but that's a different discussion altogether.

some days are really great days, but some days are really hard. we have lots of great days, but on far too many days i feel like what i'm doing doesn't matter. i know it does, but it doesn't feel like it does. i cherish the sweet moments i have with my kids, but there are also times when they're screaming, not sharing, poking each other in the face, and stealing toys from one another. and those moments are completely and utterly exhausting.

you guys, we all struggle. parent or not, we struggle. everyone is fighting a battle. i feel pressure to pretend i don't struggle, but i do. i feel pressure that every moment should be instagrammable or pinterest-worthy.
they're not.

sure, we have plenty of great moments. and i don't discount those in the least. but it's not every day, every moment, all the time.

i hung out with a friend a few weeks ago whose oldest just turned two. and while we were hanging out her oldest went back and forth on the same thing about three times in the space of 90 seconds. and she looked at me and said "i'm about to lose my ****"

and we've all been there. every single one of us. in fact i've said that exact phrase to myself about 100 times since then.

kids are beautiful, fantastic little miracles. they're also human. and that means they're flawed.

of course grown-ups are flawed too. and sometimes it's easier to look past the kids' flaws because they aren't necessarily old enough to know better yet.

i'm jumping a bit here, but stay with me -
i recently heard a quote in passing that essentially said: we in the church have to leave space for people to be human.

just think about that for a second. Jesus epitomized grace. but too often we give ourselves a nosebleed just so we have an excuse to look down our nose at someone else.

i'm critical because i'm part of it. i'm indicting myself just as much as anyone else. you know that saying "people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones"? we should all live in glass houses. aren't you sick of throwing stones?

i am. sure sometimes it's easier than doing what we're called to do. it's easier to pick up a stone and just heave it and pretend that the person on the receiving end isn't a person. a person who has value and worth because God created everyone. and moreover he created each of us in His image.

my kids are tiny little image-bearers of the God of the universe. i am an image-bearer of the God of the universe. so are you. but we are all still flawed. we are still human. and i have to find a way - we have to find a way - to love flawed, imperfect image-bearers. we have to find a way to meet people where they are, and love them as they are whether they change or not.

Jesus didn't put any caveats on "love your neighbor as yourself."

brutal, right? just brutal.

it's pretty easy to recognize these things. it's the doing them that is so difficult. they're so simple, and so very difficult all at the same time.

in my head i constantly come back to - there but for the grace of God, go i. it's really easy for us to say this in a haughty voice. to say it while once again looking down our nose. but try saying it in a humble one.
try it and think about the words and what they actually mean.

there is nothing proud about grace.
because it's grace.
the very definition means it's nothing that you or i did.
nothing at all.

let me repeat that because i need to remember it. it's nothing i did. nothing i did. nothing.
nothing. nothing. nothing.
we try to take credit for far too much of the good, and lay blame for far too much of the bad.

so as you walk around and deal with the people that are rude, and arrogant; the people that act like complete imbeciles; the people who have absolutely no regard for anyone but me, me, me - remember that we are those people from time to time. and the only reason we are not, when we are not, is because of the grace of God.

there but for the grace of God, go i.
there but for the grace of God, go i.

there but for the grace of God,
go i.

may we walk in His grace extending it as we go.


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

a perfect kind of weekend

{found via pinterest from instagram}

this past weekend has me so excited for what's to come. this weekend i drank my coffee with pumpkin spice syrup. i wore jeans outside for the entirety of our niece's birthday party without melting into a puddle. i went for a long 17 mile run, and it stayed in the 70s the whole time. this weekend i watched football, and made soup for dinner. in short, this weekend started to feel like fall.

waking up this morning i discovered that the temperature outside was in the mid-40s. it somehow makes it feel cozier inside since there's a bit of a chill in the air outside.

granted, it's still charlotte, so the forecast for this week still includes highs in the mid and upper 80s from thursday to monday. but still. right now i don't care. right now i'll take the highs that are pushing 80 and i'll thoroughly enjoy them.

this weekend also afforded me the opportunity to finally finish scraping the popcorn finish off of our kitchen ceiling. sounds like a blast, right?

i started {this part of our kitchen project} almost 3 weeks ago, but it makes such a huge mess i didn't have an opportunity to finish the second half of it until sunday.

some days it still makes me sigh to think about how long this kitchen project has taken, and will still take to accomplish everything we want to do. but then i give myself a good shake and remind myself: we are making progress. it's not an easy thing to remember when we haven't had upper cabinets in place in our kitchen for almost two months, but it's true nonetheless.

next we get to sand and finish painting, and then we'll be able to put up the upper cabinets that are actually going back up. and then vent the microwave outside, put that back up, figure out the counters for sure {since we nixed our original plan}, and then possibly demo the old ones, and stain and put in the new ones - along with the sink, stencil the wall, build the shelves, paint the shelves, and hang the shelves. oh, and put up the moulding. and then, you know, reorganize much of the kitchen.

so, there's still a lot to do. we have a lot going on this time of year too. but, we're making progress. we're moving in the right direction.

and i know that a few months from now when everything is done and in place it won't seem like much of a sacrifice at all to have spent a few months with our kitchen a little bit all over the place.

i had that exact thought at about 2:15 AM sunday night when adele woke up with a poopy diaper, and i was upstairs rocking her back to sleep. she rarely wakes up in the middle of the night anymore. we are extremely thankful for this since it took her considerably longer than keane to start consistently sleeping through the night. i don't miss waking up in the middle of the night every night. but i tried to enjoy the snuggles and soak up every second of that time. and i was reminded of how inconsequential those months of missed sleep seem now that we're past them.

i'm not always good at that. i'm often not good at finding the good, and enjoying the good in the midst of a tough situation.

i know that one day my kids won't be small enough to fit in my lap anymore. one day they will not need me to snuggle with them to feel better.

and i go back and forth all the time. some days i remember that i will miss this time when they're small. other days i want it to hurry the heck up.

one of the things peter and i have talked about a lot is not wanting to feel rushed. it's easy to get so crazy busy in our culture. it's subtly encouraged. but we don't want that to be our reality.

this is not to say we do this perfectly, or even well much of the time. there is a difference though. there is a difference between having margin, and having none. there is a difference in my spirit on the days when we get all ready to go somewhere, and then i realize we have a few minutes before we need to leave. there is a difference in my soul on the days when we have time to walk to church versus the days when we're rushing out the door because we really should've already left 5 minutes ago.

i want to enjoy my kids growing up too. i want to enjoy the blessings of each stage without wanting to hurry hurry hurry to the next one. granted i *want* to do this more when they're being sweet, and less when they're poking each other in the face, and throwing temper tantrums.

in these senses i try to recognize and reflect in writing what i want to be true in life. many days i'm really terrible at living where i am, and not trying to hurry toward something else. many days i think i should be working outside of "just being a mom" partially because i want validation beyond that of my kids. it's an ugly truth, but it's still true.

so today i'm choosing to be thankful. i'm thankful for the wonderful, beautiful weather we've had these last couple of days. i'm thankful for my healthy, growing little miracles. i'm thankful for a husband who works his tail off so that i have the option of staying home with our kids. i'm thankful for this time of year that we're in right now. i'm thankful for the seasons - for the glory of fall, and the magic of winter.

i am thankful for the grace upon grace upon grace i've been given. and i'm thankful that His mercies are new every morning.

i hope you had a perfect kind of weekend too.


Tuesday, September 8, 2015


my baby boy starts preschool today. i feel like i could leave this post at that, and most people would understand what i'm trying to say.

i'm so excited for him in so many ways. i know he has great teachers. i know he's at a great school. i know he'll enjoy himself and absolutely love school once he experiences it a few times.

but it means i have to start letting go {even more}. this whole process of parenting is really just "letting go a little more every day." and it's hard.

it's hard. living in the tension all the time. i don't want my kids to hurt, or struggle because i hate seeing them in pain. but i also know that without experiencing struggles and frustrations they will not learn to overcome struggles and frustrations, and that wouldn't set them up very well for this thing we call life.

i know that preschool will be tough for him for the first few days. i know he won't want me to leave today. i know my heart will hurt because i'll want to make it better, but i'll also walk away because i know it's what's best for him in the long run.
EDIT: he didn't actually care that i left - he was already completely engrossed in playing. it made it a lot easier for me not to cry {ahem... until i got to the car}.

he's ready for preschool. he loves going to the playhouse at the Y. he loves going to his classroom at church on sundays. he'll love school too. it's just a matter of him figuring that out.

hopefully today will be an overall positive experience. after the ease of leaving this morning i think it will be.

hopefully i won't cry getting back in the car every day either... i guess time will tell. *wink*

i'm realizing how much i need to take advantage of this time with adele too. i had so much one on one time with keane when he was her age because he is the oldest. i want to utilize this time i have with her, and really enjoy spending some special time with my girl.

i think in life sometimes we think something has to be all one way, or all the other. much of life is bittersweet. it's usually not all one way, or all the other. there are pros and cons to most experiences we have. it's hard to live in the tension. it's hard to acknowledge the cons for what they are without dwelling on them.

i once heard a quote that said "happiness is the place between too little and too much." i think it's a finnish proverb. maybe. anyway, it's so true.
life is about striking a balance inside of that tension.

a lot of the time i feel like i'm just striking out, and not actually hitting that place of balance. but if yoga has taught me anything it's that balance can be incredibly hard to achieve, but when you find it - it's full of grace, and quite beautiful.

and if nothing else, i want to be full of grace.
even in the tension.


Monday, September 7, 2015

one year

i thought adele's birthday pictures were a good way to wrap up the summer. and since today is labor day it seems fitting to wrap it up and leave it here. 

as you know {if you've been reading for any length of time}, i adore fall. but i thought you'd appreciate this a little bit more than listening to my autumnal ramblings again. i mean, it is only labor day. you know you'll get more of those over the coming months!

anyway, for adele's birthday i decided to not only take our normal monthly photos, and cake photos, but to also borrow my mother-in-law's camera for a quick little post-soccer-game photo shoot. {yes, in our family it is highly likely you'll attend a soccer game on your birthday regardless of when said birthday falls during the course of the year.}

i have about a million and a half pictures of keane from when he was between 7 and 8 months old because i borrowed her camera for a week or two in that time, and took a ton of pictures. hence, i thought it less than fair, {but closer to fair} that i do a 1 year photo shoot with our little nugget.

without any further ado:

enjoy your labor day!


Thursday, September 3, 2015

september 2nd

yes, i know it's september 3rd. i know. but i couldn't let september 2nd go by without any comment whatsoever.

yesterday marked 9 years of marriage for peter and me. nine years is a considerable amount of time. and we've spent almost 13 years together. i know that is not long at all when you look at some of the incredible marriages around us. at the same time though i'm so thankful that we have a marriage that's still strong after 9 years.

{september 2, 2006}

i recently read mindy kaling's first book: is everyone hanging out without me? and in one of the essays she basically tells married people to step up because she wants to know it's possible to have a marriage like her parents. she wants to know it's possible for those of our generation to have a good marriage and a good family life. an actual good one, not just a mediocre one. not one that looks miserable from the outside.

and sure we have our points of contention, but nine years in i'm so very thankful for peter and for our relationship. it is work, but not in the "super difficult manual labor" sense of work. it's work in the sense of "having a job you really love, but even that isn't completely and totally perfect because nothing is" sense of work.

so mindy, yes, it is possible.

it is possible to have so much to talk about you forget to talk about half of it on any given day. it is possible to have shared goals and dreams that slowly turn into reality. it is possible to be headed in the same direction even if you have to course-correct a few times. it is possible.

it is possible to be nine years in and still dreaming of growing old together and being those 70 year olds living in a tiny house and traveling all over the world. it is possible to still know that happily ever after is not something you just see at the end of the wedding in a fairy tale, but something that can be achieved if you're both committed to it.

so i guess what i'm trying to say is: don't settle. don't expect perfection, but don't settle.

every once in a while it's a slog because life is hard, and making two people's lives come together as one shared life is hard sometimes. we shouldn't expect it to be easy and just happen automatically. the toilet seat fights will happen. the "would you please just close the shower curtain so it doesn't get mildew on it?" exclamations will happen. miscommunication and annoyances will happen because they will happen with anyone no matter how much you love them. and they still do happen because we are imperfect.

but you knew that already.

anyway, all that to say that i'm so very thankful that i get to wake up next to peter everyday. i'm thankful that it's hard for me to sleep if he's not there with me. i'm thankful that he tells me he loves me everyday. i'm thankful for the example he sets for our kids. i'm thankful that he busts his ..... ahem *butt* to provide for us. i'm thankful for the ways he challenges me {most of the time}. i'm thankful that he appreciates the ways that i challenge him {most of the time}. i'm thankful that i get to spend my life, and build my life with someone whom i love and respect so much.

cheers to the last 9 years!
and here's to the years and decades and scores to come!


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!