Friday, May 30, 2014

times have changed

When I started writing in a blog I was young, had all the time in the world, and enjoyed talking about the mundane and trivial things involved with being a teenager, then college student, then a graduate.

I picked back up with writing pretty intensely when I landed my first teaching job and I had stories coming out my ears about the hilarious things my students said to me and my encounters being the big adult in a classroom full of little elementary aged kids, when, honestly, I barely felt like an adult at all.

Then I wrote about things related to young marriage, and the process of buying and building our first little (and current) townhome. And then about bringing home the puppy who I didn't realize till years later would be such a stinkin' handful and more work than our two kids combined on some days.

We got pregnant and then I wrote about our devastating miscarriage, even though it felt wrong and too open and honest to share on the internet. It brought many people into my life I had never expected it would, and opened up the hearts of other hurting momma's who just felt understood by hearing my crazy intense thoughts vomited on the pages of this blog in the midst of our grief.

Then I had my beautiful Emeline and got to take the year off of teaching. I began to find this deep need to document and capture every bit of her life through my writing and photos, to be forever preserved in 'blog world'. I had time, so much time to write and process, and learn the ins and outs of motherhood, and share my fails and my victories right here. In fact, there is no baby book--her baby book was right here. Every new milestone documented, a month never went by without an update.

I shared about the journey of losing a whole lot of baby weight plus much more, and started to feel what it was like to be comfortable in my own skin. It was encouraging and motivating to write about it here, get some cheers and inspiration, and to keep going on days it didn't feel worth it. I lost 50 some pounds and at the time, I felt great.

I wrote about not being ready for a 2nd baby, and then shortly after, I wrote about being pregnant with a 2nd baby. Don't worry, I got on board, apparently. Because Lucy was as planned as planned can be. But my pregnancy was sorely documented (except for on instagram), because I came to find out that life with a wild toddler and a super sick pregnancy didn't lend itself to as much leisurely writing.

Lucy came and I'm so grateful to have documented when my two sweet girls met. It was truly a high-High in my life that I'll never, ever forget. A few posts about how a new little lady in town stole my heart here and there, and about how she never, ever slept, and oh I'm so tired.

I popped in once in a while to talk about my journey back to running and losing the baby weight again. I was torn in so many directions with my kids, my job, my husband, exercising, church duties, etc, that I could feel myself pulling away from documenting as much.

I started leaving my camera at home more and more so I could be in the present, without a hunk of camera in my face. I felt myself leaving the memories to be in little instagram snapshots from my phone with a few little lines of texts instead of long, drawn out blog posts. My brain felt blank any time I wanted to write, which felt like a huge oxymoron, because, if I want to write, I should have something to say.

I began focusing even more on my health. Upped it to the next level, began spending more time at the gym and getting over a lot of my fears. We cleaned up our eating in such a way that my body began to change and I was finally seeing what I was capable of. I have a good level of energy now for my girl's, for my family, and I feel strong. I felt like it was too boring to talk anymore about this stuff because, in a way, I've arrived, in the sense that I didn't feel like I had much more progress pics to show--to keep up with all that. I just was living it out now.

My priorities of writing and documenting fell to the wayside. I didn't have the time (because I didn't make it) to sit and just write about things in any cohesive manner every day, or even a few times a week anymore. My children keep me busier than I ever knew, and I'm in life deep with them. Sometimes too deep to pull myself out and then write about it.

I'm alright with that, I think. Because times have changed.

Monday, May 19, 2014

So much good packed in one little weekend.

So. Kind of big news---my sister, Susan had her baby.

There is no doubt, none at all, that a baby being born is just pure magic. I can feel my rough edges toward baby #3 softening as we speak, and I don't like that. BUT GUYS. BABIESSSSSS.

Why do they suck you in like that? seriously.

Anyway. I hung around the for a good long time during her labor on Friday and took snippets of the day on video. After he was born I hodge-podged it all together and now they have a special little keepsake of the day sweet Deacon Jeffrey entered the world. Also. He was huge. Like, 10lbs 9oz, 23.5" huge. Yes. huge. My sister was serious when she said he felt heavy. HE WAS. She's amazing.

So, watch this--because who doesn't like to watch the story of a baby's birthday? One day I'm hoping my sister will blog again and tell all the nitty gritty details of that long day. Until then...

It's just pure joy for me to see my sister be a momma. Pure, utter joy.


My babies are obsessed with babies by the way.

Ok, fine, we all are. (I'm cracking, people. Make it stop.)

God, they are so cute. All of them.


My little (big) lady and I attended a birthday party on Saturday for her friend Finley. After barely getting any sleep, I pulled myself together and even took some photos for them. Her party was just TOO CUTE not to document. I mean...come on, a Rainbow Dress party? Each girl got sent a paint swatch and assigned a color (not mandatory, just for fun) to wear. Hellooooo--that's adorable.

The best part is the idea all stemmed back from when Finley's mom, Lauren threw a LBD (little black dress) party this past winter. Finley insisted she wanted a "little rainbow dress" party. So a little rainbow dress party she got :)

And that was just a taste. It was way fun and she let 4 year old girls PAINT in the living room of her brand new house. Like, FULL BLOWN MESSY PAINT. She is a cooler mom than I ever will be.


To top off our weekend we had a babysitter (!!!!) and then attended Declan's brother's 30th birthday party. He had an awesome Roaring 20's, Speakeasy-style party---totally catered, everyone dressed up, alcohol-a-flowin', people smoking cigars, card table/games/whatever they're called going was fun! We are used to getting date nights here and there, but it was definitely a different, kind of fun way to spend time out.

And my husband can totally rock that time period.


Between the babies, the birthdays, the beer, oh my---this weekend was amazing.

how was yours?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Why instagram made me feel like I was doing it all wrong.

My first Mother's Day I couldn't imagine not being with 'my people'. I just wanted to hug my girl a million times, with my husband by my side, do sweet things like go to the lake, have a picnic, maybe get a sweet card and flowers as an added bonus.

The last two? I realized that I actually wanted alone time--time to be spoiled, by myself, the chance to sleep in, to go shopping alone, and basically, to be blunt, I wanted the day off.

I realize this might have to do with the fact that Emeline's birthday is always the weekend of Mother's Day. I slave away on birthday stuff for her, throw her a party, make the whole day about her as it should--so by the next morning, I'm completely and totally spent. Not to mention, minor detail, I have two children now. Both of whom are getting older and are actually more needy, and more exhausting to be around than when they were babies if I'm being honest. Oh, and--one other important fact....I'm home with them all day, every day.

I actually didn't think anything was wrong with my Mom's Day Off theory, and my husband is a strict enforcer of this, too. He seriously doesn't think I should lift a finger-and well, who can complain about that? It's just, I felt like, hey--it's Mother's Day. We all get to do (if we can/have the means/have a spouse around/family who can help, etc) what we want/choose to do with it, essentially. I just subscribe to the theory that I don't want it to be like every other day--make me feel a little special--alone time is nice to rejuvenate my soul--and, oh, added bonus, I love fresh flowers.

I go to sleep Saturday night knowing I don't have a monitor by my head and can sleep in till my little heart desires. I dream about sleeping in till 9am. In reality, I end up waking up at 6:18am. I lay and flop around a bit and try to enjoy the fact that I don't have to move from my bed for as long as I want. I roll my eyes because I am such a mom, waking up this early out of habit. It doesn't work. My stomach starts to growl. I realize I'm starving. I send a text downstairs to Declan to let him know I'm coming down soon because, I need food and coffee.

I come down to a table filled with cards and the most beautiful bouquet of flowers I've ever received. Emeline picked me out the most amazing Walmart heart ring you've ever laid your eyes on. I've worn it on my right middle finger ever since, and I won't even think about taking it off until it turns my finger green (which has already begun, ha) It's fun when they start picking out gifts for you, right?--Kinda just adds that extra sweetness factor to the whole day.

He makes me a super breakfast--omelette, bacon, fruit and coffee. Then he tells me that the plan is that I'm off for the day. That he booked me a massage at 11am, but other than that I'm free as a bird, and oh, by the way, don't worry about money either. We agreed that we'd meet back up for church that evening, because I did want to be there all together, but other than that, he's got everything else under control.

So I eat. I snuggle my kids a little. I pack a bag. I head to the gym because that's how I like to start my day if I can. I sweat and burn calories. I get ready there. I head to my massage. I enjoy it tremendously. Declan texts me a cute pic of the girls outside playing, checking in to make sure I'm enjoying myself. I am. I head off to shop for some summer dresses at a few stores. I find some things--not much. But I enjoy strolling the aisles quietly. I get a little hungry so I decide that chipotle sounds delightful. As I finally stop enough to pull out my phone, I scroll instagram as I eat the best salad loaded with All The Good Things, in silence. It is glorious.

Then I start to see all the instagrams of the momma's with their kids. With captions like, All I want is them by my side today. After all, they're the reason I'm momma, anyway. Hugging my kids all day. Spending the day with the ones who made me Mom. The list goes on.

...and immediately I felt like something was wrong with me.

When I was finished I texted my husband and let him know I'd be joining them for the rest of the afternoon. He was confused, Why? No-Stay out. You deserve time alone. We're having a great day, I got this.

I still made my way home.

We spent the afternoon together, visiting his mom and seeing his family. Going to church. Then I got to go out with my siblings and my momma to celebrate her while Declan put the kids to bed.

The next day, at my work meeting, we were all talking about our Mother's Day and I mentioned getting alone time and getting a massage, and basically taking some time off from normal mom stuff. When I was met with a sarcastic "well aren't you Mother of the Year" from a male co-worker.

So clearly I must be missing something. We see it as a day to rejuvenate the mom. To take the day off and to relax a little. While other's want to soak up their babies even more and squish them all day, and not leave their side.

What I'm realizing is we're all in different phases. My mom doesn't have her babies home with her anymore--so she wants to be with us. Some of the momma's may work during the week, and spending a full day with their kid's by their side is a luxury. Some may stay home and still want to spend the whole day on mother's day doing the mom-thing. While others, (coughMe) are knee deep in mom stuff all week and thrive off a little alone time and pampering. There is nothing wrong with any of's like telling someone they celebrate Christmas the wrong way just because it's different from you, right?

and you know what? It's OK. I will continue to celebrate Mother's Day in the way that feeds my soul. I just learned my lesson this year... I'll leave my phone at home.


How do you 'do' Mother's day? I'm curious to see what school of thought you all subscribe to.  Let's chat.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Emeline's Birthday Party-Firehouse Style.

This year, Emeline asked for a birthday party at the firehouse. She visits there with her Pop Pop (my dad) a lot, and she knows they throw a good party.  I was all for it, cuz honestly, it's kind of easy. Entertainment is already provided. You basically bring the decorations and the food, and that's it. I was looking for short and simple this year, as I really kind of dread party planning as it is. This ended up being pretty perfect and every kid had an amazing time.

So here are some of the details in photos--and at the end, a short little video of the day that really just shows what a blast it was!

First, the invitation. I made it in picmonkey, for free--and printed on my printer for her preschool friends. I was even super lazy and emailed them to family members and other friends because I just didn't feel like getting envelopes and going the whole nine yards. Lame, I know-but it worked.

Second, I kept decor simple, yet fun. Bright colors--lots of yellow, red, turquoise, pink--you name it. I wanted there to bright, vibrant colors that appealed to everyone. Also, balloons were a simple way to add to it and make it more birthday'ey. Yes, that's a word.

the firehouse provides the fire hats & gift bags!

We served pizza, chips, veggies & fruit---simple, simple.

I set up a little craft table for the kids. I printed out some firehouse themed coloring sheets and got some easy foam-sticker art stuff. In between playing on the trucks like crazy, the kids would get their craft-on and had something to take home.

The cake was made by The Kake Lady-- a local friend who rocks my face off every time with her amazing creations.

It was PERFECT. I told her I didn't want firetrucks on it--and somehow needed blue incorporated. She did so great. People raved about it's looks and also it's taste. So good.

The little presentation that the fire department puts on for the kids is really fun. It's also pretty short, but it's totally humorous and the kids go wild for the Sparky dog and Freddie the Firetruck. It teaches them a little fire safety, but mostly it's just all fun and games and singing to the birthday girl.

We ended with some more birthday singing--and took all the presents home to have her open once she calmed down a tad from the sugar rush.

(ha. yea right. that didn't ever happen.)

Overall, it went just right. Just the right amount of time. Just the right amount of decorations. Just the right amount of people. On her exact birthday. It was everything she wanted and so I'd call the 4th birthday a complete and total success.


Video: (don't worry, it's short :) )

Friday, May 9, 2014

// f o u r //

There is a very special, little girl in my life--um, the one who made me mom, and, well--SHE'S TURNING FOUR TOMORROW. Yes. Caps are necessary.

boom. right there. that moment your ENTIRE LIFE CHANGES instantly. it's a crazy, beautiful thing.

Four is a massive being. At age 3, there's still some chub on their legs--I mean, a little bit in that upper thigh region. Not much, but it's there. But then as they inch closer to 4--it's all boney, lanky, KID legs. Straight up dirty, bruised, band-aided, knobby-knee'd KID LEGS. Living in my house. She is so not a baby anymore

She told me the other day that when she turns 4, she will not cuddle me anymore. Nope. She told me that she will be an adult and then she can make all the rules. I posted about it on social media, and then I cried.

She has wonderful qualities, though.

She can be a leader. That's what you're supposed to say when they're bossy. 

She thinks a rainy day is the most beautiful of all. She really wants to just use her umbrella.

She wants her hair in an Elsa braid every day. She really wants to drive her mother crazy.

She's absolutely obsessed with riding her bike. She asks me at 6am if she can go outside. no.

She can write her name on her own. E m e l i N e. It makes me cry a little. 

She'll do play doh for hours. She mixes all the colors immediately. She likes to make me cringe. 

She's such an amazing encourager. She knows how to lift my heart when it's been 4 days since my last shower.

She is really into testing her boundaries. Some days I want to poke my eyeballs out.

She notices every detail. Every one. She sometimes scares me. 

She has an insanely good memory. Did I mention that it scares me?

She has such full-of-life eyes.

She knows when someone needs a little extra love.

She knows when she's done wrong & she wants to fix it.

She engages new people, asks them their name, and begins friendships immediately.

She really does have a good, good heart.

oh, she's silly. So silly.


I can remember thinking that there was no way this baby girl could ever do anything wrong. She was a doll, an absolute angel baby (and toddler). And oh, how I laugh at myself two years later--with the trying and tough things we deal with as she gets bigger. I know it's only a glimpse into the future and I pray, I really do pray for wisdom and grace in how to handle her, how to handle this age and the ages to come.

Nobody ever said this parenting thing was easy. But there is nothing---nothing that can replace the way her face lights up when she sees me every morning. The way she wraps her little body around mine and gives me morning hugs and the way she tells me about her crazy dreams from that night. The way she strokes my hair out of my face. The way she sits on my bathroom counter as I'm getting ready and puts on blush and 'lipstick'. The way she looks at me, like she's a girlfriend of mine or something, when Lucy does something silly or cute, and we both just get it. The times she asks for me to just hold her, to rub her arm, to 'talk about our day', and to 'sing me one last song'.


Four years of doing life with you in it, Emeline Kay. And I could not imagine it any other way.

Happy Birthday, love. We celebrate you this weekend.