Sunday, April 20, 2014

happy easter!

Amidst the spring dresses, peanut butter eggs, honey roasted ham and pastel dyed eggs, may you find time today to reflect on the life of Jesus Christ, and most importantly his resurrection, which gives each of us a reason to celebrate.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

priorities and other thoughts I scribbled on my church bulletin

I tried spelling bulletin four times before getting it right. phew.

Sometimes I really do listen during church, for reals.  But sometimes it is the one time during the week that I can really and truly quiet myself before God and listen (PTL for the church nursery! sometimes david and I joke around that we are going to drop her off in the nursery and skip town for the morning, because, free childcare and yolo! but I digress...). yes, so sitting in church, I started having all of these thoughts about priorities and all the things in my life I have said "yes" to and figuring out balance and etc.  I had been feeling a bit overwhelmed by the amount of things going on in my life.  Even if it was little things, it felt like a lot of little things all piled up.  Does that make sense?  Anyways, I grabbed the only paper I had on me, the church bulletin, and frantically started writing down my thoughts.  I smiled to myself as I realized all the people around me probably thought I was really getting a lot out of the sermon...mwahaha.

 I decided to pick my top three priorities in life right now: (1) my own health, (2) my family's health, and (3) my friends' health.  Many things fall under each of those nights, girls nights, trips to visit loved ones, prayer, time with God, time for creativity, etc etc etc.  Most of the things I say "yes" to should fall into these categories.  Of course, it is okay to take on other things, but I must always feel confident putting those things on hold for the sake of those top three areas.  I cannot feel guilt for that.  I would much rather do a few things really well than do a lot of things halfheartedly.  I also want to set that example for others, especially mckenzie, as she gets older.  I want to know what is most important in my life and pursue those things.

I also created a separate list of areas of my life that should be the first to be sacrificed.  Things like laundry, cleaning, my part time jobs, blogging, and internet...areas that I include in my life on a regular basis, but I need to make sure are the first to go if ever my top three priorities are suffering.

It was a good exercise for me.  To really list out all the ways I am stretched and pulled in my life, and pick which ones are most important to me; and which ones I could let go of.  It's something I will always need to circle back to and check myself in, but this is a starting place and I'm glad I have even made it here.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

a visit from grandma

David's mom has been in town for the last week or so, and it has been a treat to spend such a long time with her.  She and McKenzie bonded quite quickly and enjoyed lots of time playing together.  She also has the gift of causing babies to melt and fall asleep in her arms, so she held mckenzie for several of her naps throughout the week.  Such a spoiled little baby.  It was also nice for me to have someone else around during the days who is capable of grown-up conversation; mckenzie just hasn't quite been cutting it in that area.  I've said this many times before, but we just love when family comes to visit us in Pennsylvania.  It means so much to us and somehow, even after they leave, makes this place feel more like home.  Now if only we could convince everyone to move out to the east coast... ;)

On an unrelated note, there has been a bit of radio silence here on the blog.  It feel weird to apologize, because the whole point of this space is to give me a place to record our life through photos and words, not to reach an audience (whatever the size may be).  Life has certainly been moving forward, yet I haven't needed this space quite as much as I have before.  My creative outlets have been taking different forms as of late, and I have enjoyed a bit of a break from screens altogether.  Sometimes life is better lived offline, and that has been true for me over the past few weeks. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

tips for traveling with a baby

I feel like there are a million of these posts floating around the internet, claiming that if you follow these simple steps then traveling with your baby will be a breeze.  But the truth is, traveling with a baby can be stressful, exhausting, and traumatic for all people involved.  Or, it can be the easiest thing you have ever done.  That's the thing about babies...they keep you on your toes and you never quite know how things will go.

McKenzie logged six flights in the month of March, so we did learn a thing or two about traveling with a six month old.  Kenz is generally a super easygoing baby, so maybe our perspective on this is skewed a tad, but I thought I would pass along a few things we picked up along the way...

+if possible, book flights when your baby would normally be sleeping.  We sort of did this on accident, because flights early in the morning or late at night were the cheapest, but it worked out well because mckenzie ended up sleeping for most of the flights.

+bring some sort of carrier.  We used our bjorn and had mckenzie in it while we walked around the airports with all of our bags.  It was super helpful to be able to transport kenz hands free, and it also provided a cozy way for her to sleep on the planes.

+have a plan for if/when your baby has a breakdown. Thankfully, mckenzie did pretty well throughout all of our travels.  She did start to get fussy on one flight, so I walked up and down the aisle with her to calm her down.  I always find it helpful to have a game plan for if she starts to cry, that way I don't have a moment of panic when it happens.  David and I also have a little motto: if all else fails, throw her on the boob. works like a charm.

+ask for help. Generally, people are super helpful and willing to give you hand since you have a baby with you.  On one flight when I was alone I had the lady across the aisle from me hold mckenzie while I used the bathroom.  She loved it.  And my bladder was thankful.  Several people were willing to help me with my bags.  And I always got to board the plane first (even before first class, suckers!) because I required "extra assistance."  Baller.

+if you are traveling with another person, book the window and the aisle seat.  Babies under two years old fly for free as long as you hold them in your lap.  If you book the window and aisle seat, another person is less inclined to book the middle seat, so you might end up with three seats anyways.  If not, that person would probably be willing to switch so your family can sit together.

+give yourself extra time.  This may be a given, but it is already stressful trying to make a flight when you are running late, and you don't want to add a baby to that chaos.  We always made sure to leave extra time for diaper changes, blowouts, breakdowns, or anything else that might come up.  Check your layover times, too, and make sure there is enough time to get to your next flight.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

a few more from florida

...such a good time with our families and our babies.  until next time...

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

some photos from our time in florida

So, florida.  We go with my family almost every spring, which is the best time to escape the long winters of the north and catch some much needed warmth and sun.  Well, JOKES ON US THIS YEAR.  Literally every single day was rainy, chilly or cloudy.  We would look at the forecast and if their was even a 50% chance of rain, we started getting really excited.  That's how terrible it was.  The sun peaked out a few times throughout the week, once even long enough to jump in the pool for a few minutes, but otherwise it was a lot of card games, movies, sweatshirts and reading indoors.  Oh well, you win some and you lose some.  And our family was together, after all, is what I kept telling myself.  So here are a few of my favorite photos from the week on the beach...a few more coming in another post.

^^helping daddy with the umbrella. also, I swear she has clothes on...^^

^^we spent a morning at the aquarium in Tampa and loved it!^^

^^face-planted in the sand, and it didn't even phase her^^

^^my nephew is such a ham.  it was so fun getting to know him a bit better^^

^^kenz loved the water!  I am hoping we have a little swimmer on our hands...^^

Monday, March 31, 2014

6 months

Kenzie turned six months old a few days ago...half a year!  How did this happen?!  This past half of a year has been such a dream for our family.  We have finally settled into this new normal as a family of three, and we are loving each new stage mckenzie enters.  She has certainly turned our lives upside down, and all for the better.  Here are a few new things about our little lady...

+She is starting to sleep on her side.  We finally stopped swaddling her a couple of weeks ago (she was DONE, and made that very clear, thank you very much) and she loves the freedom to wiggle around in her crib. 

+She still doesn't roll over much, but seems to have found quite a bit of determination as of late.  Every time she is on the floor she immediately swings to the side and grunts and whines as she tries to get onto her belly. 

+She is also loving to practice sitting up.  She needs a lot of help and has bonked her head once or twice (bad mom points), but she will get there.

+I can always get her laughing when I rub my nose on her belly right between her ribs.  Big fat belly laughs.

+She seems to be a bit shy around new people.  She doesn't usually cry or cling to us yet, but she is a bit more reserved than when the three of us are home alone.

+She has learned how to pucker her lips into a kissy face, and it must feel great because she is doing it all the time.  We like to pretend she is sending us kisses.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

back to life

We are home from a week spent in florida with my family, which capped off a month of tons of travel for our family of three.  We love traveling, vacationing, and seeing new parts of the world, so this was a good month.  We are feeling full to the brim with thankfulness for the opportunities we have had to see friends, family, and new places.  And we are also really glad to be home again.  It feels sort of satisfying to tuck the suitcases away for a bit and put our clothes back in the closets, get back into a routine of sorts, and settle into our life here.  More photos from florida to come (obviously, what do you think this is), but for now, we are napping and unpacking and grocery shopping and all the things you do when you know you are going to stick around for a while.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

sayonara, cold weather!

We are headed to florida for the week with no plans but to soak in some rays, dig our toes in the sand, and dress our baby in a bikini, because it cannot be helped!  Kenz and I are meeting david at the airport when he flies in from northern ireland and catching the next flight south...see ya later!
ps. past years in florida...2010, 2011, 2012

Friday, March 21, 2014

northern ireland

David has been in northern ireland since last Friday and will be coming back on Sunday.  We have been able to talk pretty much every day, and it has been so fun to hear about the things he is doing and what he is seeing while he is there.  I have never been to northern ireland, but this is david's second trip, and the sites are absolutely breathtaking.  He spent st. patricks day exploring giants causeway, and took some amazing photos with his iphone.  Here are a few shots...

So breathtaking!  David has traveled to some pretty incredible places in the world, but he says this spot in northern ireland is the most beautiful place he has seen.  You can see photos and read about his experience last year HERE.  I can't wait to see him in a few days! (mainly because I miss him, but he also mentioned he has some irish chocolate for