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.


Monday, August 8, 2016

the kind of monday that makes people hate mondays.

{found via pinterest. by camilo matiz, miami art basel} 

today has been more than a little rough. i've yelled at the kids. i've struggled to keep much of anything together. i've been a bad mom. and lately - if i'm being honest - i've felt like a bad mom a lot. 

i've also felt like i'm nothing but a mom. i don't have time for much else except cleaning up a gazillion messes a day, and trying to prevent our house from completely falling apart.

there are so many things that i want to do, but i rarely have time for most of them.

the thing is -- i love our kids so much. i love my husband, and i'm not upset about being a stay-at-home-mom. some days are better than others, but there are not many - or possibly any - jobs that would take me away from this gig right here.

that doesn't mean i enjoy every moment of it though. today is one of those days where the frustrating, maddening, tear-inducing, whiny moments have overwhelmed the good ones.

at one point i lay down on the floor because i was just so tired of the fighting, and cleaning up the same messes five times in a row. 

they had been at each other's throats all day, along with throwing things, dumping out food, and disobeying about 75% of what i asked them to do. not to mention the time i needed to spend spraying the ants getting in through the back door, and trying to prevent the two of them from killing each other while i cleaned the bathrooms, and folded laundry {which i got to do multiple times thanks to my little helpers deciding that helpfulness was not in the cards today.}

but when i defeatedly lay down on the floor they both came and snuggled with me to make me feel better. and we just stayed there for a few minutes. all together. content.

i know they aren't trying to make me crazy. they're young. they're learning, and growing, and we all have our days. God knows we've all had a rough one today. 

i'm sick of not being honest about how things are sometimes. because some days are like today. some days my behavior is ugly. too often i let my agenda get in the way of spending time with my kids. i yell too much. and i don't give them enough space to just be kids.

some days i self-medicate with sitcoms, chocolate, and coffee during naptime. i know that this too shall pass. i know it will. it always does. but some of these moments are just so long. 

days like this make me question everything because they're just hard. some days it's hard to remember that your blessings are blessings when they're spitting carrots in your face. 

i know i need to do better. i need to make changes. this is certainly not all about our kids making me crazy sometimes because me going crazy isn't on them. it's on me.

we always tell keane that it's okay to be upset, but he's still responsible for how he acts. 
and then i lose my temper.

not exactly the best example.

some days i know exactly how he feels when he just wants to scream and throw things. but that doesn't actually help the situation. just like my yelling tends to make things worse.

i've wanted to cry a lot today. because that's how some days are. today i haven't just felt like i'm failing {as i do many days}, but i have failed my kids. the only things i can do is tell them i'm sorry, ask their forgiveness, and pray that God would give me the strength and ability to do better this afternoon. and to do better tomorrow.

today is not one of those days that will show up in a photo album. i haven't instagrammed any of the many time-outs, or the food all over the floor. i haven't taken any selfies of my yelling. 

today is part of the grind. and if i'm being really honest, it has ground me. 

so i am trying to remember to be grateful for all of the blessings that i have, because there are many. there are many.

and even in the midst of the hard days, i cannot forget that. 


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

gratitude. take #4.

 this whole gratitude thing will probably become an ongoing post series, simply because i need the reminder all the time.

i started this post yesterday, but it didn't sound much like gratitude when i read through it, so i scrapped it and now start over.

complaining is easy. yet the easiest thing to do is not often the right thing to do, and is even more rarely the best thing to do.

yes, sometimes we need to call a spade a spade. but other times it's a matter of shifting perspectives.

for instance -  i am not always grateful to be a stay-at-home-mom. to be completely honest, i usually feel like i'm a pretty bad one, but i am grateful for the time i get to spend with my kids in these early years.

i am not always grateful when peter's work takes him away for a few nights. but i am grateful for his job, and the way he provides for us.

i am not always grateful in the moment. i am not usually grateful when things are hard. but growth hurts, and i am thankful for growth.

i am thankful for the time and space to be able to write. even when i have writer's block, and i don't even know what to say, or how to say it. {and even when no one reads it.}

i am thankful for the ebbs and flows of life. i am grateful for this time. right now.

i am grateful for days when i can relax for a bit. when i don't have anything all that pressing to worry about. there are plenty of things i could do. there are some things i probably should do. but today i can take a moment and breathe. and sometimes, that alone is enough to carry gratefulness through an entire day.

because how often does that actually happen? that is one advantage to summer. when it's not crazy, it's pretty calm. of course it's 1000* outside, but we're focusing on being grateful right now, so we'll leave that alone for now.

i'm grateful for the people in my life - for my people. loyal people aren't always the easiest to find, especially since i'm not the easiest person to like or to love. i'm grateful for those who have stuck it out with me.

i give thanks for the coffee in my cup.
for the children who demand breakfast.
for the husband grinding out the work.
for the food on our table.
for the roof over our heads.

for the idyllic moments interspersed with all the crazy ones.

i am grateful.


Friday, July 15, 2016

dear joanna,

{via pinterest from southern living}

this seems like a really silly note to write. so silly in fact that it has tumbled around in my head for about a month, and i don't really even want to write it, but it's nagging me and won't leave me alone. so, here it is.

i am not writing it because i think i have anything helpful to tell you. i don't think there's much wisdom that i can provide for you that you haven't heard before.

i am not writing to tell you that i love fixer upper, or you and chip together, or that i love your style, and think we could actually be friends in real life. all of those things are true, but i'm not writing this because of any of those reasons.

i am writing this because i want to tell you that i pray for you regularly.
that probably sounds a little strange.
let me explain.

you guys are a great couple as far as i can tell. you are a godly example of what it means to live in the spotlight, but in a way that is not specifically and obviously ministry. you are in the spotlight though, and that means you have a target on your back.

i don't know what it's like to be in your position, and i won't pretend i do. but i'm guessing that the spotlight can blind at times. if it hasn't yet, it may tomorrow.
and that is why i pray for you.

i pray that you and chip will continue to have a strong marriage. that you will have strong accountability. i pray for your family. i pray that you will continue to be yourselves, and not feel like you constantly need to be your personas. i pray that you will get regular time away with your husband, and with your family.

you guys seem like you strike a really good balance. i pray that is not a façade, but continues to be true as your endeavors continue.

i pray that you will be as wise as serpents, and as innocent as doves.

God bless you both.
may you be able to find time to rest in him.
may he continue to use you for his good.


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

heavy hearted

we've traveled through a few different states over the course of the past week. we had a great time visiting with both my extended family, and peter's extended family. we knew it'd be tiring with a lot of driving, but it was good for the soul to see so many people we love in the span of a week.

for all of those people, for that time, i am grateful.

but as i see and hear about all of the horrible deaths in this country it makes my heart really heavy. hearing about the shootings, and the unrest took me back to an adoption conference i went to last spring. i went to a session that was essentially a first-person account of what it was like for the speaker to be a different race than her adoptive parents.

it was eye-opening in many ways. but at one point i found myself crying, and the tears wouldn't stop.

you see, the spring of last year is when ferguson, mo was in the news every day because of the demonstrations there after the shooting of michael brown.

and given that the session we were in centered on race, our speaker thought it fitting to spend some time talking about race relations in this country. she shared with us a story from a conference she had recently been to when she had started the same discussion. she shared about how the people of color {as she put it} were the ones who were speaking up, and she asked why.
one white woman paused as she spoke, but said "i don't feel like i have permission to talk about race."
and a black woman stood up, and told her, "i give you permission."

that tore me up for a few different reasons, but mostly because i recognized how ignorant i am. it's not that i don't think racism exists in this country. i'm not that naive. i know it's there, but i don't notice it because it's not aimed at me. but i also don't know how to talk about it.

everything has become so p.c.

i don't know if i'm allowed to ask questions to try to understand. i certainly don't feel like i can ask real, honest questions because being real and honest is generally not p.c.

but we need that space. we need space to have real, honest discourse. not debate. not argument. but real honest q&a discourse to understand what our brothers & sisters are going through.

we are all created in God's image.
all created in God's image.
regardless of race.

but that's not all that's packed up in these super-charged events.

because every one of us is also broken. none of us are perfect. and that brokenness plays out in various ways.

{via pinterest}

on top of seeing and knowing that there is definitely major racism and there are major racial divides in this country the police are at the center of this issue right now. i know there are many problems that need to be fixed. there are a lot of prejudices that only seem to go skin deep.

and yet i know the police cannot be lumped into a group and stereotyped any more than any other group.

my dad is a retired police officer. and i have so much respect for those civil servants who risk their lives to protect others day in and day out.

that's not to say that there aren't dirty cops out there, or that there's nowhere in the country where race plays a large part in how the police conduct their business. saying that would be the equivalent naïveté of saying racism doesn't exist.

we have to stop thinking about this as an all or nothing. saying there are dirty cops out there doesn't mean that a ton of police officers out there aren't risking their lives for the good of those they are protecting. it doesn't mean that most cops aren't selfless in their work, and worthy of our thanks and admiration.

but there is still a problem.

i also sit here as a parent of two kids. i sit here as a parent wanting to adopt another child. and we have always said that we are completely open to adopting a child of a different race, culture, ethnicity, etc.

and i think - if we end up having a black son one day will i need to advise him to behave differently than my white son in the same situation?

i think - do we have enough education about the stereotypes of what it's like to grow up black in america to raise a black child?

these are the things on my mind and on my heart as of late. we need space to talk openly and candidly about what we don't know and don't understand, and in that same space to try to understand. to keep asking questions until we understand as best we can.

we all have different perspectives. but we need to stop pretending that we're not ignorant of other perspectives. we need to try to understand each other by having open and candid conversations. none of us will do this perfectly, but that's not an excuse not to try.

do you know of spaces and places out there where this type of conversation happens? i'd love to hear about them.


p.s. i haven't listened to this yet, but it's on my list for the day. it is a discussion about race and the church put together by north point in atlanta. it was recommended by a friend of mine, and i hope that it is as enlightening for me as it was for her. from what i've heard it gets at some of the things that i've been wondering about here.
have a listen if you'd like.