Tuesday, January 27, 2015

4/52


mckenzie rose // a true daddy's girl at heart, but even more than that, a daddy that absolutely loves his little girl

Monday, January 26, 2015

outside, right now.


Today feels heavy like a Monday, amiright?  This weekend was a good one, which just makes today feel more monday-ish.  I think I am coming down with a case of the winter blues.  I love winter and I love staying cozy indoors, but I am starting to get a bit stir crazy.  And I can see the pool from our study window as I type this and gosh what I would give to be laying in the sun right now. 

Kenzie has been in sort of a funk over the past few days and has been on a nursing strike.  It is so unlike her as she has always been President of the I Heart Boobies Club and it has totally thrown me for a loop.  Is this the end?  I really really really hope not.  But all of a sudden it was, "kenz would you like some milk?" and she thought about it for a second and then adamantly shook her head no.  And her answer hasn't changed in two days.  And the thing is, she has been fine.  She has moved on to the activities of her day as if nothing has happened.  While I on the other hand, I am a weepy mess.  Last night she went to bed without nursing.  I sat on the couch and, while pumping, cried like a stupid baby because what about needing me?  and cuddling with me all throughout the day?  and this thing I can do to sustain you and nurture you?  And David held me and  told me all the things I needed to hear: "this is probably just a phase, she still needs you in other ways, you have sacrificed so much for her already, think of the freedom that will come if/when she is finished..."
 I know its unusual for babies to quit cold turkey and I know this probably is just a short phase...teething or something (isn't it always).  But its just emotional and honestly this whole thing is probably colliding with some hard PMS and, well,  you know how it is.

But today is a new day and it is snowing outside and it is just beautiful.  And gosh darn it if I don't count up my blessings and breath some fresh air and work my way through a batch of brownie batter.  Things are looking better already.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

3/52


mckenzie // cautious yet curious about this snow business

Thursday, January 15, 2015

a word on marriage

 this photo is from the day we moved into our first apartment.  Look at those babies.  And I really wish you could look at that apartment, too.  $275 a month, so use your imagination.  But this really doesn't have anything to do with this post, so let's move on.

Part of me feels silly writing this post, because Lord knows there are enough articles and books and blogs out there about marriage! and how to make it work! and so on and so on.  And honestly, David and I both think that marriage is too highly valued in the Christian community.  No, not the success of marriage or having a Godly marriage.  Please don't get me wrong.  But that getting married is this necessary or best decision a person could make.  We can get sort of fired up about that, but I am getting off track so I digress.  But this topic of marriage has been weighing heavily on my mind lately and I thought I would get a few things down on this blog.

So.  Marriage.

David and I have been married for five and a half years, so not exactly veterans by any means, but long enough to be doing something right, I suppose?  I mean, here we are, married and stuff, so surely I have something to offer?  I thought I would share a few of the most important lessons we have learned since being married.  The game-changers.  Those things we need. 

I guess at this point I will regress to bullet point form because apparently I don't know how to write any other way.  College degree right here!

+ Live your marriage in community.
This is #1 in our books.  Have friends  together.  Do things with those friends together.  Talk to others about your marriage.  Talk to others about your finances, your conflicts, your sex life (gasp!), your hopes and dreams.  A few years back we did this really insane thing in one of our small groups.  We all shared our finances.  And not just the general stuff, but specifics.  How much do we make?  How much do we give? How much debt do we owe?  It was humbling, but one of the best experiences because with that sharing comes accountability.  And accountability is everything.  Of course, my husband provides great accountability in my life, but that can't be it.  I need accountability from other people, david needs accountability from other people, and our marriage needs accountability from other people.  You get the point.  Marriage isn't meant to be lived between two people alone.

+Find ways to serve together.
Very early on david and I discovered that we connect with God in different ways.  It was challenging, because we thought we were suppose to wake up each morning and read the bible together snuggling on the couch.  I'm kidding, but we did have a hard time figuring out how to connect with each other spiritually.  We sort of had our own things going and that was working for us, but how do we also combine those things?  Anyways, serving has been huge for us.  We both feel a deep conviction and compassion for the poor in our community, and so right now we have been helping lead an organization at our church that provides shelter/food/transportation for homeless in our area.  But even beyond the connection serving provides spiritually, it gets you to think beyond yourselves.  Beyond your problems and your drama...it forces you to live in a much bigger world with much bigger problems that maybe you can take part in solving. 

+Establish a date night.
This was something we started right away after hearing some advice from an older couple.  Wednesday nights are our nights.  We always reserve Wednesday nights for us.  We rotate who is in charge of planning date night (I hate planning, ohh the pressure).  Now that we have a kid, it has changed how date night looks a bit, but we still keep Wednesday nights free as our time.  We do lots of simple fun things together: cook dinner, bake cookies, watch a movie (we watch lots of movies), go on a walk...occasionally we will do more elaborate things, but really, date night is established to make sure we are really connecting at least that one time during the week.  Most of it is just being together, but we try to touch base on where we are at spiritually, emotionally, etc. as well. 

+Play together.
Another thing david and I quickly discovered after getting married was that we like to spend our down time differently.  Wait what? David doesn't like to pull out the acrylic paints and spend two hours painting flowers?  Or spend three hours working on a 1,000 piece puzzle? (I'm fun, guys, I promise)  Or thrifting?  No he does not.  He likes to run (I KNOW.  I still don't get it), and play basketball and tennis, and research music on itunes...and you get the idea.  We are different human beings.  And that is really really good and the last thing a marriage should do is force each person to abandon the things they liked to do before for the sake of "togetherness" or something.  BUT.  Find a few things you do like to do together and make sure to do them.  For us, we have discovered our common love for hiking and being outdoors.  We love nothing more than a trip to Shenandoah National Park to hike our little hearts out and breath all that fresh air.  We also love seeing movies, and eating out (duh), and playing with our dog, and making babies (just kidding, but we did do a fine job on that one kid of ours)...again, you get the idea.  Do stuff together that is just fun.

+Play separately.
I sort of already went into this in that last one, but it is super important to promote alone time for each other.  David needs dude time and I really need girl time.  We both get together with friends separately, and yes, nowadays that means I need to stay home with Kenz for an evening while he hangs out with friends, but it is really important and really worth it, because he comes home a better father and husband, and he has more energy for those roles.  And vise versa.  Almost every weekend I slip out to a thrift store because that is one of those ways I still feel like me, and not just a mom and not just a wife...you know?  Keep doing those things you love to do even though the other person doesn't get it. 

So, phew, five things we have learned.  We talk about those five things up there a lot.  We talk about how they are going, where we can grow, who we can glean marital wisdom from...marriage takes work, and conversations, and forgiveness, and humility.  But marriage is a choice, and I really and truly believe that anyone can make the choices needed to have a great marriage.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

2/52


mckenzie // has been teething HARD lately, which means sleepless nights and needy days...but also means more snuggles and kisses and nursing, and call me crazy, but I have a feeling I might just miss those 2am moments some day.

Friday, January 9, 2015

mckenzie rose at fifteen months and two weeks


After kenzie turned one I swore I would stop counting her age by months because those people drive me crazy.  "How old is your child?" "seventy-two months today!" Just no, crazy parentals.  No one cares that much.
But here is kenz, at fifteen months and two weeks.  Closer to one and a half than to one.  And guys.  This stage is so. much. fun.  I just needed to jot down exactly what is going on with kenz these days before days turn into weeks turn into months and we have an entirely different child on our hands.

+She is TALKING.  well, saying and signing words.  but she is understanding and communicating and it is one of the craziest things to watch a tiny human learn a language.  She says....hi, bye bye, mama, dada, emy (she hears claire call me "emy" so she has picked up on that.  first name basis, nbd), wawa (water), apple, amber, ball, uh oh, baby, nana (banana, but also her grandma's name.  confusing, but we are hopeful she will have it sorted out someday or else things will be awkward), please, and all done. 

+she isn't walking yet, but crawling and cruising around like a wild woman.  I know I will love when she finally walks, but honestly, it has been so nice to have such a delay.  It feels like the final step in turning from a baby to a toddler, and I just haven't been ready for that yet.  I think she is getting close...she loves pushing her baby stroller around the apartment, holding our hands while she walks, and taking one step to get from daddy to mama. 

+she is obsessed with apples and babies, separately.  Any child remotely her age or younger is "BABY!" and she loves to kiss and rock her baby doll.  She most definitely doesn't think she herself is a baby, and finds it hilarious when I call her my baby and rock her back and forth.  Also, apples.  But any round editable item is an apple.  Pomegranate? apple.  orange? apple.  Again, we are holding out hope this all gets sorted out before first grade.

+She loves to be chased, and a lot of things will trigger her to crawl away from us at lighting speeds, but nothing quite as much as, "What is in your mouth?" 

+She is weirdly organized, which is certainly not a trait that came from me.  She likes to take things apart and then put them back together and will get frustrated if she can't figure it out.  Last night she was trying to put a sock into her plastic wipes case and the sock kept getting stuck so it wouldn't snap shut.  She sat there for a good ten minutes trying to get the thing shut, and finally started whining and signing "please" for help.  Firstborns, man.

+She gives kisses, but usually begrudgingly.  When we ask for a kiss she usually shakes her head "no", puts her hands up in front of her mouth, whines a little, and then finally gives a quick open-mouthed kiss.  We pray every day that this is how she behaves when boys try to kiss her.  Minus the open-mouthed part.

+The girl loves music.  She loves to turn up the volume on our music player and bounce up and down on her knees to the beat.  She looks all around to see who else is being taken over by the rhythm, and pretty quickly all three of us our bouncing up and down and all over the living room to the music.


 Having a fifteen month and two week child is a lot of things: exhausting, hilarious, rewarding, emotional, endearing...but every night when I finally crawl into bed, even if I am spent and in need of a break, I always look forward to waking up the next day to her little smiling face and can't wait to see what adventures we will have together.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

christmas in chicago


We spent Christmas and New Years in Chicago with our families.  I hardly took any pictures, which actually felt really nice for once.  The cousins had matching Christmas pajamas, so of course that was way over-documented...but the rest of our time was better spent just being present rather than trying to capture the moment in a photo.  My sister sent me a few photos she had snapped so I thought I would share a few here.


It may just be my imagination, but these two are starting to look more and more like one another.  Also, this was the first time in months that kenz let me put a headband in her hair.  I am aware it is sort of sitting right on top of her head, but I didn't dare touch it and ruin the moment.


wrapping paper is way more fun than presents.


My sister, David's brother, and their delicious offspring of a son.


Papa is such a good buddy.


Playing piano at Grandma's house...something that was taken quite seriously.  Tears were shed when it was time to be done.


 Spending some time on the lap of their 96 year old great-grandma.  This was a highlight of our trip...I hope they treasure this photo as much as I do someday.

Anyways, it was a relaxing time with our families and so wonderful to catch up in person...something that is sadly a rarity for us.  Why, oh why, aren't Illinois and Pennsylvania just a little bit closer?  It is good to be home in PA and settling into a new year, but we do miss those families of ours. 

Alright! 2014: declared DONE.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

01/52

mckenzie // insisted on wearing this hat all afternoon and thought it was the funniest thing ever. (it was).

I've seen others do this weekly series of a photo of their child(ren) and thought I would give it a go.  Call me ambitious.  (But seriously, we will see if I can keep up.)  I love the idea of taking all 52 photos at the end of the year and printing them in a little book.  

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

2014 in review


At the end of every year I like to go back through all my photos and spend time reflecting on everything that happened.  I take a lot of photos, and one of my favorite things about that is it reminds me of those small and seemingly insignificant moments that I don't want to forget.  We had a lot of adventures as a family and it was such a fun year watching kenzie grow month by month.  Here are a few of my favorites...


2014 was a lot of things, but underneath it all it was good.  So much to be grateful for, and as we enter a new year I can't help but count up our blessings and be thankful for this family of mine.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas!


May your holidays be filled with family, reflection, and anticipation of the hope that is to come!  
See you in the New Year!