Wednesday, December 17, 2014

a smorgasbord of photos lately

It has again come time for me to empty out my phone and memory card of all those pictures that are clearly worth sharing with the world...the gems like the photo above ^^ ("please. no. more. black. beans.") and if that didn't get you excited for this post...let's get scrolling!

Our beautiful new family member for a few weeks.  She is by far the easiest of the family members to take care of, especially since she is (lord forgive me) fake.  Everyone that comes into our home gets to hear me justify why we went fake this year because I am very embarrassed about it, but she is a lovely fake tree, for all that is worth.

^^Kenz has done surprisingly well with the tree.  She gets very excited to watch us turn on the lights every morning, and she loves to try and hang ornaments when we help her.  But only once has she pulled the entire tree down, and I caught it before it fell on top of her!  So, you know, super mom and stuff!

^^This photo looks a bit more child-neglectant than it actually was...but kenz was insistent on playing outside and I kept saying, "but it is really cold out there!" and she just wouldn't believe me.  So.  You live and you learn, kid, is what I say.

^^Kenzie is on a new adventure every time I turn around, exploring and crawling and climbing...she has been so slow in hitting baby milestones that sometimes I forget that one day she is going to walk!  And soon!  She has been walking along furniture and along the walls and is constantly pushing her baby doll stroller around the apartment...gosh, I don't know if I am ready.

^^A few fun activities I've been doing with the girls lately.  I am constantly on the lookout for new activities we can do together and I love seeing them discover new things.  That last one was a MESS with all capital letters, but it was super fun.

 ^^Oh yeah, one time David and I went to the movies for the first time in, like, seven years or something and got popcorn and felt wild and free.  So, selfie, obviously.

^^Wearing my glasses.  I think this was when I tried to get a Christmas card picture of her that turned pathetic really really quick.  But wouldn't she look cute in glasses?

^^I recently discovered what a great place the library is for a child!  Do people know about this?  Endless children's books, but more importantly, endless isles to crawl up and down!  Related, the world isles is really annoying, isn't it?  come on now, English language.

^^And finally, THIS.  She's got sass, and it scares me to death to think about the teenage years (especially if she takes after me, which I am fervently praying against), but for now, a sassy one year old is all things entertaining.

Monday, December 15, 2014


Guys! First of all, I feel the need to mention that this post is not that a thing still? are people doing that?  anyways, nope, just something I am really excited about and wanted to share.  I take a ton of pictures (shocked and surprised, I know) but most of them remain in the deep dark depths of my computer, and I live in a sort of constant fear of a computer crash.  But the idea of printing them all and making photo albums makes me want to break out in hives.  You too?! Fist bumps all around.
I'd heard of Chatbooks before but didn't really look into it because I'm a super cheap person and figured I couldn't possibly catch up on all my past photos so why start now?  But guys.  Chatbooks is where it is at.  Here is the rundown:
Automatic photobooks, which means you subscribe your instagram account and every time you hit 60 new photos Chatbooks automatically sends you a new book in the mail.  Or you can order books on your own time. 60 pages for $6.  Free shipping.  You can choose to include dates and captions if you want, or leave them out. 
The books are adorable and it felt like Christmas morning when they arrived.

Anyways, thought I would share.  If you are interested in trying it out you can use my code E3TMP42J for a free book! But be careful, its addicting!

Friday, December 12, 2014

lessons I've learned in 2014

2014 was a wild year.  There are so many good things to reflect on, and I will do that fully.  But it was also a really weird and difficult year, and I need to deal with that, too.  Frankly, this past year has been pretty shitty for our families. Loads of hard stuff to wade through. Emotional, relational, financial...I think we've been tested in every area a little bit.  But I've learned some invaluable lessons about life and about myself. And I'm glad for that, really.  The terrible irony of walking through difficult experiences is that you learn stuff you wouldn't have without those difficult times.
The blessings always outweigh the crap.
Always. I can never lose sight of that. Someone will always have it worse, and I don't say that to make myself feel better, but to get myself to stop focusing on ME and instead start being concerned about others.  Earlier this year I read a quote: "The things you take for granted someone else is praying for."  Try to swallow that pill.  So seriously, suck it up, count your blessings (health! babies! family! etc!), and be grateful for this crazy wonderful life.  The other amazing thing I have learned is how often blessings come from difficulties.  Not just, "well this sucks, but at at least there's that." But in a way that is like, "this does suck, but there is blessing inside of this, as well."  Does that make sense?  It really is true, that God brings about good from difficult things.  Like, really really good, life-giving things that you couldn't imagine your life without, all from difficulties.

I'm fiercely loyal to this family of mine. 
Haters gunna hate and all that.  Tswift knew what she was talking about.  Some people just aren't going to understand the decisions you make and you don't owe everyone an explanation.  You learn to swallow your pride and accept the fact that people will judge and make assumptions.  Come to think of it, I can struggle with judging and making assumptions, so also try not to think less of people who don't have the exact right picture of you.
And my family:
My husband is such an excellent support to me.  Somehow he just knows what I need...and he knows how to gently encourage me to get to where I need to be.  Gosh, if anything, this year has shown me what an amazing life-mate (I hate that term. gross.) I have in him.  He is such a constant source of wisdom and steadfastness.  He is just so dang sensible, you want to hate him for it, but also, you need it so desperately.
And my parents...those two are rockstars.  Their marriage is constantly a testimony to me of two people who choose love and commitment and loyalty.  I have never doubted their love for all five of their children, but this year has proved that even further than ever before.
And my sisters...they are my best friends.  As the four of us have grown up and started to make real-life adult decisions, those girls are the ones whom I trust and love.  We have all made stupid mistakes and rash decisions, but the four of us are turning into this incredible little square of support and wisdom.  And they are all so beautiful and hilarious, so that helps, too ;)

Self care is really important. To function as a human being in this world you've got to learn how to deal with your emotions, because they will come. Sometimes that means brownie batter. Sometimes that means crying hard and saying bad words into your pillow. Sometimes (very rarely, but sometimes) that means hitting the gym and running your heart out to the tune of pitbull radio on pandora.  Sometimes that means writing things down in a way where you pray no one ever reads it, but it needed to be written.  Whatever it is, you've got to figure out a way to rise above and deal. 

Faith is really important.  My faith has change a lot over the years as I've grown up and decided for my own self what spirituality means.  But one thing I have landed firmly on is this:  Hope doesn't exist apart from God.  Really, I've tried to find it in other places but it just has to come back to a Creator and a Lover who has my life in His hands.  And that is such a comfort to me.  I may not understand some of the stuff that happens in this world but I have to believe that the best is yet to come.  And that the amazing things I do experience now are just small tiny glimpses of a future full of hope and reconciliation and redemption.

Oh, there is much more I've learned.  I've learned that a twelve hour road trip with a one year old (spoiler!) isn't fun! I've learned that calling maintenance to unclog your toilet is a humbling experience! I've learned that not all plates are microwavable!  I've learned that your dog will probably destroy anything valuable you bring into the home!  But those are the biggies, up there.  And I'm grateful for another year of life.  And really, it was also a good year, too.  I'll be sure to celebrate that around here as well :)

Thursday, December 11, 2014

sh-sh-sh-shake it off

couldn't resist ;)


and just for fun...

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

philly with the fambam

Have you ever seen a family more ready for a photo?  The answer is obviously no.  

I am really hoping no one asks me the best place to go in Philly, because really, all I can tell you is how to eat your way through Reading Terminal Market.  But we are really good at that.

my bearded man.  It's just that I love his beard almost as much as I love him.

I know. That cookie is changing your life.

these two.  goodness gracious.

bebes on the go.

Kenzie really really liked her aunt maggie.  We pretended all weekend that she loved everyone the same...but there was just something extra special about that aunt maggie.  No one knows why ;)

climbing all the stairs.  Sure makes you slow down and forget about getting anywhere on time.  Teaching us patience each and every day :)

anyways, it was a great day exploring Philly and eating our weight in good food.  Love how close we live to all of these fun places. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

thanksgiving with the fambam

A few photos from a walk with my family...

A few of my family members made the trek from Chicago to spend Thanksgiving with us.  We have done that drive many-a-time and so it means so much to us when family is willing to do it just to see us.  Because it is longgg and the food selection along the way is devastatingly terrible.  We mostly hung around our place eating and catching up and playing with our babies.  We spent all day Friday in Philadelphia because why not is why!  My sister got a hold of my camera and went a bit crazy that day, so those are all for another post.  Maggie says you are welcome!

Anyways, just here to say, I like my family and I like pennsylvania with a fresh coat of snow.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The first snow

I am terribly behind on this whole documentation-of-life business, but the good news is I am keeping up with actually living life and quite enjoying myself, thanks. 

So let's see, it snowed for the first time this year right before thanksgiving and I always feel like all is right in the world and I could accomplish just about anything when it snows. A good snowfall seems to freeze all the silly things I worry and fret over, and I just spend time thinking about how lucky I am to be in this world and how beautiful this place is where we live.  I don't know, is that enough of a dramatically spiritual commentary on weather for you?

I balanced all of that deep pondering and analytical thinking with some shameless selfies in the snow, so don't you worry.  

Kenzie wasn't 100% about the snow situation until I showed her how to eat the snow (being careful to avoid the yellow parts)  and now she seems to be really interested in the whole thing. Which is really important to me, like its up there with cutting down real Christmas trees and waiting until the day after thanksgiving to listen to Christmas music and stuff. 

Also, I would like to discuss the amount of layers my child is wearing. It's really cute and all, but it takes a good three hours (give or take) to get our butts layered and out the door. Half our day is spent layering and unlayering and frankly, I'm already over it! But besides that minor complaint, winter forever and ever and so on.