Sunday, December 11, 2011

It's beginning to lool a lot like Christmas

Confession: Christmas is one of my least favorite holidays. There it is I said it. Don't get me wrong I love christmas, the real christmas, the bible story and the symbolism of it, but the commercial, craziness of turning a holiday into "get me this, I want that" turns my stomach.

I do believe in balance and that things can be calm and enjoyable and I strive for that at our home so hey who knows maybe I'll grow to say Christmas is my favorite holiday.

We spent the weekend decorating the house. The tree is up, the lights hung, and there is an assortment of holiday themed knickknacks around my house all of which I promise were purchased by my mother or grandmother!


Addiston's has an assortment of favorite ornaments. Topping off the list is a talking nativity that my mom bought her last year.


A close second are all of the bulb ornaments she just walks up to the trees several times a day and points to each and every one and says "ball ball" and Finally our first ornament fatality of the season, a ballerina of mine. I'm not sure how it happened but she no longer has hands!


My favorite thing was a when I was putting out the nativity my grandmother made me and telling Addiston the Christmas story as I got out each piece, she looked at me and looked to the nativity scene and looked at me and pointed to one of the camles and said "dog, woof woof"


Tuesday, November 29, 2011


ok real quick, Addy's first art project from mom's group last week,


On our drive home Jared casually made the assumption that our whole week was booked...wasn't it? I retaliated that we had Saturday morning free but that I wanted to put up christmas decorations. He smiled. When somebody asks me how we're doing I instinctively reply, "good but busy." Busy is how I always respond, and it's become second nature to have it ready to fire off in response to any question. And Busy becomes this black hole that mysteriously abducts us away from the humble land of availability. I've lately been reminded though that everyone's busy. I think we often make the mistake of assuming that our worth somehow corresponds with how busy we are. We find ourselves bragging about how many responsibilities we have how at the end of the day we're so fried we can't do anything, but then there's the flip side, We've all done it, faked being busy to get off the phone, or out of a lunch date we fear may be awkward.

If companies struggle all year to break even and Black Friday finally flips the switch to gaining profit, then perhaps I should do likewise and focus on the rest of the year as pure gain. I'm going to enjoy it, to embrace the busy as my life and not something keeping me from my life. After all I did sign up for this!

So I'm going to let my girl help me with my "busy" like doing laundry, because let's face it her little face lights up when that machine dings after you push start!


And I'll let her help with the grocery shopping.


And I'll stop what I'm doing and play "help" (where she pretends she's trapped behind the baby gate.)


I'll read her a few extra books in the afternoon extending storytime by at least one more giggle and a hug, we'll have more dance parties. I'll teach her a new word or a good place to tickle her daddy. We'll bake more scones, and have adventures, we'll try and forget that time we were forced to pause and try and be in the moment. Giving thanks for every moment. For now Jared's dad is in town and we are torn between cheering for our two favorite teams: OSU and Duke. Addiston had no problem choosing a side.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Jared's home

It's 1 am and despite my best efforts sleep eludes me. It's our last night at Jared's Parents' house and my mind is racing of all the things coming up tomorrow, this week, next weekend; the reminder that our holiday will be officially coming to an end and normal life will commence soon. Life without card games till midnight were players names are sung in tones of grandeur as if knights being announced at court. Days void of no house cleaning or laundry catching-up, but of mario, car talk, and shopping. There is always coffee here. Seriously. Always. Everyone is always sipping a steamy cup of jo regardless of the time, and apparently my chai tea had some caffeine in it so who knows what time my body will give in.

I'm working up the gumption to bid farewell to Coffee. Our relationship goes way back, and we've certainly had our starry-eyed moments, he slayed me with his foamy cap, his rich and creamy sips, his double shot of caffeine. Oh, he's slick, that coffee. But his caffeinated dark side's been messing with my body, and I wanted to explore other options, date other drinks. So I'm in the early stages of a relationship with this roobious tea. With a little german rock sugar, he has nice swirling capabilities, so we'll see how it goes I'll keep my options open though and keep flirting with the chai.


I love when we get to come up here. It's a far treck from our little country music town (8 hours roughly) but it's peaceful here. The view in every direction is open, still. A car or buggy passes the house maybe once an hour and at night is is dark, no city light pollution, no convenient store generator buzzing, you can see stars and the glow of the moon on the corn. Faith runs deep here, it's not an action it's a way of life, a mindset. Dave and Amanda (Jared's parents) are calm, laid back, and so giving of themselves, no matter who you are you will be offered food, a conversation and most likely coffee. Addiston never hesitates going to them, as if she knows they are safe because they are so calm and we are calm around them. It's so sweet to watch her interact with her grandparents that unfortunately don't live just down the hill as both of Jared's grandparents still do.


Oh and she has mastered the word "dog" and loves the family dog Lacey.


I know I sound all; life is magical, and perfectly fun but traveling with kids is hard. We all sleep in one room which in our case means in one full size bed since Addiston thinks that if she can see us she gets to sleep with us. So we've all gotten very little, we've all been a little grumpy and zoned out, I'm pretty sure we've all gained a few pounds. She is missing one pacifier, Jared did indeed only have one pair of pants for the whole trip and I am short a pair of socks.

We are blessed to have such an amazing family, who loves us no matter what and always offer coffee!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Gobble, Gobble

Well I'm not going to lie, the last two days We spent trapped in our car the majority of the day and it is something that I dread. We try to time our trips when Addiston is sleeping and we take turns driving. Jared says I have road rage, I say most people are just idiots! When we are in confined spaces for too long things can get ugly. I get impatient and chatty, Jared (my patient introvert husband) attempts to appease my chattiness but really I know he wants to ring my neck and duck tape my mouth. It may have taken us 5 hours to make a 3 1/2 hour trip but we made and still said I love you when we went to bed so it all worked itself out!

I am methodical in how I get ready for trips, planning out coordinating outfits for our little family, packing separate bags for their designated houses, making sure we have an extra set of clothes each and double checking for each essential item. But lately my mind has been scattered, I have been planning ahead and getting lost in my head. So maybe we will only match one day this time and maybe Jared only has one pair of pants for our 5 day trip, maybe not. I'm not sayin'

We like to spend Thanksgiving at my in-laws. Nothing against my family but lets face it, Amish country=better food!

A couple of weeks ago when we were headed home I remember talking to Jared about feeling un-thankful. I know I am so blessed and that I have a beautiful healthy immediate family and an amazingly supportive extended family but for some reason I was in a little funk and felt a little guilty about it. But the last few Sunday's our pastor has spoken about some really powerful stuff that has stirred up a renewed spirit in me and I have been overwhelmed with gratitude and thankfulness this past week. I'm so thankful for my husband who is patient with me and prays with me, but mostly I'm thankful for my Lord and that as 1 Thessalonians says, I can give thanks in all things, not necessarily for all things, but regardless of my circumstances I will thank the Lord for my life, my family, and His grace, in all things.

Check us out: Last year and this year.
She's growing like crazy!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Now and then

The other day I took pictures of Addiston playing in the leaves. ok really Jared spent two hours blowing all the leaves into one are then raking them into a perfect pile so I could get a cute picture! Isn't he great! She was apprehensive at first but once the daddy showed her that they dance when you throw them she loved it.


I love fall! The colors, the smells, the traditions, I got married in the fall, I get to see my family more in the fall, and my girl likes the fall. I think we'll make leaf playing pictures a tradition. I guess without knowing it I already started it and almost 12 months to the day I took this picture...

can you believe how much she's changed?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Farm

Last weekend we ventured about two hours outside out little city to make some memories. Our girl is an adventurer and we've gotta keep that up. My aunt and uncle have an old farm house on the other side of the city and friday after Jared got off work we packed up the car and headed out to spend some time with our family that is down here in the South.

Turns out our girl likes dear, the deader the better, that way they hold still for her to pet and hug them!

The house is old and creeks but has character and my aunt is a shop-a-holic so she has found some great stuff to accentuate it's style. I haven't been out to the farm since I was a Junior in High School and we oldest sister and I came down for spring break. It's changed a lot over the last few years and was such a great relaxing staycation. My cousin and his kids were there and his youngest is only four months older than Addiston and the two played together the whole time.

There were campfires accompanied by roasted marshmallow's, hot dogs and conversation that trailed into the morning hours.

Antique toys were found in the loft of the barn which I'm pretty sure we all need a tetanus shot for looking at!

We hiked to a "waterfall" and on the way back my girl insisted on walking in that dried creekbed coated with crunchy fall leaves.

My girl ate dinner in my Great-grandmothers red chair. She's the 5th generation to adorn it's firery leather and she didn't mind sitting in a big girl chair and being able to eat off the tabel. This beloved piece of furniture has been fought over countless times by the last four generations and my grandmother would love it!

Unlike her cousin Addiston didn't sleep like a rock all night then take a 3 hour nap the next afternoon, instead she stayed up till nearly 11, napped for half an hour and luckily was mesmerized enough by the fire to keep her barely manageable. Luckily I don't take pictures of the meltdowns and I try to remind myself that at that one meal she only at three pieces of cheese. I like to look on the brighter side and wait a day or two to do laundry so the smokey campfire smell stays around a little longer.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


So in our house Sunday's are leftover night. I cook most every night of the week and on Sunday afternoon's we do a pot luck with our sunday school class. It's my day of rest from the kitchen and usually it ends up becoming a crazy combination of dinners consisting of stale chips and salsa two bites of broccoli chicken casserole and sugar cookies. Jared is easy going and if he doesn't spot anything he likes opts for a bowl of cheerios. Well much like sundays in relation to cooking, I've taken a break from blogging over the past week. I've been spending time with my girl and investing in some friends. So here are the leftovers of our lives from the past week or so.

Sister patrols shoes at all times. She is the Keeper of the Flats. The Protector of the Flip Flops. The Shoe closet
Manager. Protecting the innocent shoes of's her job.

She got to wear her chaps, my friend Cassidy picked these out for her at a consignment sale and I love them! She's Euro-chic.

Addiston accidently gave herself a tattoo with an ink pen she stole out of my purse. An inner thigh ichthus fish.

My favorite things of the week:
-My dear friend Jillian got engaged and I got to have her over for dinner to get all the dirty details!
-my husband who barely touched vegetables when we got married told me that summer squash tart is one of his favorite meals!
-I got half a mom-date with my friend Amber-we must complete that!
-We got to go see Wicked with some of our college friends.
-Addiston has taken a two hour nap everyday this week!
-I got to spend an hour as I do every week chatting over lunch with my friend Deirdre.
-We got to see Jared's dad Dave twice!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Rainy Day

Thursday was a rainy day.

The symphony of fall breezes and steady rain drops lulled us sleep in a little later than usual. The grey sky was welcomed after a week of business and errands, of meetings and appointments. We were groggy and lazy and there was nothing particularly important to be done so we sported sweats all day.

The little one enjoyed playing with mommy's jewelry,


and reading lots and lots of books,


and discovering herself inside my phone.


The daddy came home to a house littered with mismatched toddler shoes and animal crackers. Books were strewn all over the floor and sippy cups were stuck under couches. But because he is the perfect yin to my yang he smiled, kissed me hello and we ignored the tornado that had gone through our living room and enjoyed some pasta and creamed spinach.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Stream of consciousness

Sorry for the hiatus in posting as usual life has been busy.

Wednesday night our church held its annual candy parade and this year we let Addiston get dressed up and we took her. It was so sweet to see her interact with all of the other children and if I say so she was the cutest one there!

I let her sift through her bucket of candy and Intended on letting her pick out just one piece to eat. My kid is awesome and picked the Apple instead of candy!

Last Thursday Jared and I celebrated our four year wedding anniversary. My dad came into town because we were supposed to leave for the weekend but as life goes plans were changed and we stayed in town, we had a nice visit with my Dad and didn't have to worry about finding a babysitter at all this weekend. Thursday night we went out with my dad and some friends to our favorite restaurant café Bosna. We figured that we didn't get married in private so why should we celebrate in private? We are so blessed to have such great friends and family that we wanted to share this with them.

Friday Jared worked a half day, Addy and I wave goodbye to the daddy every morning. She sits in his lap while he situates his work stuff and his coffee, turns on the car and then a little longer while he just laughs at her amazement at the blinker and the horn, the windshield wipers and the gear shift.
I got a new cell phone friday afternoon which was long overdue. I was still rockin' the old-school flip phone! That night I put on my dress like I do every year but we were running late and we didn't get a picture, but it still a glove. Jared and I went out to a very nice restaurant and went and saw the movie Ides of March. It was set in Cincinnati which made me so happy but I was confused we walked out of the theater and realize that we still live in Nashville.

Saturday I coached upwards, in the morning and Jared worked on the hot tub a little bit. I love working with those girls, they are so sweet and fun and I only have one week left and I'm going to miss them so much. I told my dad he could pick out anything he wanted for dinner and I would make it. He picked out a new chicken recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks and we all ended up loving it.

Sunday we had church and we were so blessed that one of our friends spoke in our Sunday school class. It's strange that sometimes you don't know details about people in your lives and then when you hear them share their testimony you're blown away and love them even more! After church we met my aunt, uncle and grandpa for lunch and then did a little shopping! Sunday night was our churches annual fish fry and as always the food was delicious but because it was so cold we didn't stay and visit as long as we would have liked.

Monday morning my dad left and I was really bummed and so was Addiston she really liked having her papa here to entertain her!
Her with my dad's yellow cup-he will be buried with that cup!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Unextreme makeover: Playroom edition

If you give a mouse a cookie, he might ask for a glass of milk.

Likewise, If you give a girl a trip to Ikea and a paintbrush, she might redo her a room. Then she might be inspired. Like she might feel so fantastic with accomplishing something-with turning a space into something that breathes happiness-that she wants to keep going.

And with no further ado I give you the playroom
Jared's old bed w/ my old bedding
toy wall
did I mention the entire room is a chalkboard? thanks martha Stewart!

When I was young-like really young, can't-quite-master-the-shoe-laces-thing young I used to stay up way past my bedtime and watch a design show-"you're home" with my mom. It was way out of my repertoire of the brady bunch and disney channel flicks but I liked hanging out with my parents-still do! Anyway the host of this show waskitty bartholomew and she taught me how to decopaughe and Jared is amazed by it and well a decade or so later that late night design show gave my kids playroom a lil more pazaz.

and mom's craft room tucked inside a closet!

I like to mess up a room just to clean one. I rob Peter to pay Paul, dumping piles from Addy's room to the kitchen, from the kitchen to our room, from our room to the spare room, until the spare room serves as the audition tape for Hoarders. But what happens in the end is that I'm so excited about what I accomplished-about all the rooms that look new and refreshed, homey and inviting, that I'm inspired to clean that last room, those remaining piles. I love new projects.

When I was pregnant, I poured all of myself into the nursery. When it was finished, I'd spend my evenings sitting on a chair in her room taking it all in. Sometimes I'd cry because I couldn't believe it was real. The crib would hold a baby--my baby. There's something special about the space you create for your kids. This one was especially meaningful because now that I know her-what she likes, how she thinks, what turns the corners of her mouth into her sweet smile-it was so much fun to create ideas that would capture who she is.

So if you give a mouse a cookie, he might ask for a glass of milk. and if you give a girl a paint brush she may just not stop at the walls!

Monday, October 24, 2011


I have this dream in my mind of the perfect friend day.
They're all there, all the friends that mean the world to me. Especially the ones that don't know it.
And on this date, I get to spend an infinite amount of time with each and every one of them, not worrying about nap time ending, or babysitters needing to go home. At this friend gathering I have a hand-written, bulleted list of all the things each friend brings to my life, and I present it to them in an envelope which I've illustrated with funny comics of the two of us together and the funny memories we share. They'll laugh at first and then they'll read my list. They'll be amazed because all the things they've ever done for me? I remember it all. They'll walk away feeling special and inspired and they'll go home and tell their husbands, "She appreciates me. She even remembered that time I told her bra strap was showing and the other time I helped her carry all her stuff to her car. She made me feel so loved."

I wish this could happen. I really do. Because I do remember. And I always harbor a bit of you-could-do-better guilt for not living up to my expectations of loving and recognizing and honoring my friends like I really want to. There just isn't time.

I think in this consumeristic, demanding time of life when kids and family and paying bills are our obvious priorities, we constantly make efforts to trim off excess responsibilities. But we need balance. When we're busy and stressed, we lighten the load of our ship by jettisoning things that aren't necessary in our schedule: T.V., naps, bubble baths. I think sometimes though, in "Time Triage," we cast off necessary things, thinking the trade-off preserves more family time. Sadly, precious time with friends is one of these.

Sometimes, we will mess up. We'll be in another place in our head when we should be focused on a relationship, we'll flub up responses, reacting too harshly or not harsh enough. We'll yell when we should have hugged, lose our cool when we should have sighed and smiled, or retreat behind an imaginary wall we've build to keep others at bay.

I have been the victim of Time Tirage in some friendships and I have to admit it hurts. It's like being dumped the night of the prom There are all the hopes and excitement, and then *wham* a budding friendship is smashed because; work demands time and our spouse and children demand our energy, we need to eat and sleep and bathing is a politically correct but no matter what the excuse it doesn't make the fact that you've been sloughed off any less painful.

I know I am not alone in this and I am not innocent. I have been the one to let friendships fade and for that I am truely remorseful. Let me tell you something. Friends. Should. Never. Be. Abandoned. If your ship needs to drop weight, throw the clothes overboard. Chuck your cell phone. Get rid of unnecessary coffee shop runs. But friends? They are the life raft on the ship. The one with the big yellow sticker that says "Do Not Tamper." And, God forbid, if your ship ever goes need them. Those pretty yellow life rafts that served as decoration, fun, company, well, when the ship is in jeopardy, guess what? They inflate, just like they promise. They hold you up and take you to dry land, and if you've ever experienced it, you know never ever to take a friend for granted again.

Easier said than done. There's always too much to do and not enough time to do it, and the reality of life with jobs and kids and families truly means time with friends is going to suffer. But I'm not letting it go down out without a fight. Nuh-uh. Sure, I envision Jared watching the babe while I'm cozied up in a swanky restaurant, hugged by friends on all sides and we are laughing and sipping and leaving with the promise to meet up; same time, same place, next week. This is a four-leaf clover discovery though, a lucky encounter cherished on rare occasions. (the last girls-night-outI had was 10 months ago)
and in new mom fashion I was running late and these are the only cruddy picture I have

I love to entertain friends, but I've built up in my mind that it has to be perfect--that I can't invite people to my home unless the floors are mopped and candles are flickering and the oven's about to ding in thirty seconds, perfectly timing hot coffee cake for arriving guests. If this was the case, I'd never see friends. I've learned good friendships come with vulnerability, and some of the most beautiful conversations can indeed happen while sitting on top of two-day old smashed cheerios. But we are together, watching Addiston try to cram a book in the dvd player and laughing. I am a believer in laughter! That there should be laughter and loosing track of time, never and I mean never crickets: awkward silence when you're sitting three feet away, you might as well be on opposites sides of the globe as opposed to opposite sides of the couch. If there's tension, squash it, be honest, move forward. A good friendship can pick up where it left off whether it's been two hours or two years.
Like with these girls, we've shut down our share of restaurants catching up but it's like we've never skipped a moment.

I can't tell you how many times we've excitedly planned a girls night, a trip to the local cafe, a grey's anatamy viewing party, etc. and never followed through. We'll talk on the phone and say things like "Girls night next week, right?" and we answer, "Absolutely, can't wait," but next week means nothing unless it has a date on it, a time stamp and a commitment. Unless it's been typed into a phone calendar with an alarm the day before and a back-up alarm the day of. Time with friends is worth the effort of purposely planning dates. Better yet, make a reoccurring plan and stick to it. Like on Wednesday's I have lunch with my friend Deirdre, she's the sweetest person I know, people think we're sisters which I love because she's way hotter than me and she loves my kid and it just makes me love her even more. If we can make time to show up for doctor appointments, hair cuts and gymboree class, surely we can pencil in a good renewing moment with friends.
If it's been a long time since I've contacted a friend or I feel like I haven't done a good job at showing interest in her life or asking how things are going, sometimes I feel guilty and deal with it by further avoidance. Being forthright and honest is always the best medicine. Sometimes, it feels good to pick up the phone and call. To leave an "I've been thinking about you" message on a Facebook wall. To text a funny picture to let them know they haven't been forgotten. Or sometimes a simple apology. "I've been busy, I'm sorry I haven't been there for you." Because finding time for friends means searching for any available pockets of time. And I guarantee you, that fireside chat last night was far more replenishing than the sleep I missed.

Can I get an "amen" for how good it feels to watch your friends love your babies? This kid is my heart and soul and when you love her, you consequently just found yourself a deeper place in my own heart. Likewise, to let my friends know I love them...sometimes loving their kids is the best place to start.
Someday, I will plan that perfect day. But for now, I will continue to make efforts and find ways to nurture my friendships because they are a valuable part of my life.