To you.

For all the dinners not eaten until they were cold,

For all the meals you shared all of your bites, 

For all the bathroom visits spent with tiny hands clawing their way under the door,

For all those consecutive sleepless nights spent praying they would sleep before they turned 18,

For all the tears and screams heard over sandwiches cut the wrong direction,

For all the times you knowingly left the house with dried vomit and food on your clothes,

For every day that your "taking care of kids" shift ended only for the "clean up and night waking" shift to start,

For every time you actually got through to, and understood, your "Threenager,"

For every sweet "I love you mom" you heard, even if it was an attempt to postpone bedtime,

For all of the goldfish and raisins you ate off off the floor in place of breakfast,

For the many hours you labored to bring a child from his first home into yours,

For every sacred nighttime nursing spent praying over your newborn baby,

For all the days and nights spent crying over the ache to hold a child in your arms,

For the many hours sat through in fear that you won't know how to raise them right, 

And for the fear you aren't living up to this daunting task of nurturing, teaching, and loving a child,

For all the quiet moments of meditation you asked to know what it really, really, means to be a mother,

For all the tears of gratitude you couldn't stop because you finally got it,

Here's to you, moms. This title of Mother we hold started far before the birth of a child, and it stands long after this life. Embrace it no matter what stage of life you are in, because it's yours. I see you, and I am so grateful to stand side by side with so many of you powerful women. This life of mine is so blessed and so rich. 

A time and a season

"To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under Heaven" source

Time feels like it is literally flying past me. The days are short, the months are short, the years are short - it's all short. I look back at this blog over the last while and I'm sad how much has gone undocumented. So much of Carsen's first year of life has gone unwritten, besides hundreds of notes tucked away in corners of my phone. Writing and sharing here has felt so overwhelming and so I put it out of my mind.  "a time and a season" though, I guess. And this time and season has been filled with self discovery and healing for me. There's been a lot of that going on, and it was so very needed. I'm almost in awe at the changes that have slowly made their way into my life and morphed into wonderful new habits. I can finally sit and think about the different facets of my life and feel pleased with each one. I can see clearly the growth I want as well, but I feel like I can continually move forward to that while still being confident and proud of who I already am. 

Slowly but surely, I'm getting ready for a little more. I've got my fingers crossed that the rest of this year is filled with a little less being overwhelmed, and a little more writing and documenting this life that I get to be a part of. 
There is something I find so remarkable about these mundane, everyday lives we share with those we love. The predictable little moments that are so much a part of our day that they are almost always overlooked.

My bedtime view of Jakes work clothes hanging in the hallway ready for the next morning,
The crunch of Carsen's leftover snacks strewn all across the kitchen floor,
Yet another unexciting dinner cooked (complained over) and eaten together,
Sitting exasperated wanting Hadley to put something - anything - on so that we can leave for preschool,
Our dresser that is never not covered in things that don't belong there,
The tv sound that never works because Carsen won't stop pushing the buttons,
Groggy early morning meditations,
Saying "bye!" And "have a good day" each morning before Jake leaves to work,
Hadley's bedtime routine of 2 bedtime stories - a super hero vitamin and an animal vitamin - scripture scouts - lay down for 1 minute - goodnight kiss and "leave the door open a little bit,"
Saying goodnight and falling asleep always facing in opposite directions.

Looking at the whole puzzle, you never notice the insignificant little piece splattered with dull colors and seemingly identical to the one next to it. The big and flashy ones ones like "anniversaries" and "learning to read's" and "he walked for the first time!'s" are what always draw your attention. Yet if that piece were to go missing, the puzzle could never be whole. My life is made to be beautiful because of those small insignificant pieces. To carry someone's heart around with you through such every day habits is an honor that I have overlooked. I'm starting to think those small pieces matter much more than I ever bothered to care.

4.5 "Birthday" Interview

6 months late isn't that bad is it? I'm well aware that I never posted any of Hadley's birthday pictures, or anything for Carsen's birthday, but, you know, we are getting there. And while we wait for me to get caught up with life, here's Hadley - in all her 4 1/2 year old glory.


We're six years into this marriage gig and I feel like I'm only starting to scratch the surface of understanding it all. What it means to give yourself fully to someone and share your entire life,  while creating new life, with them - the power that comes from standing in that relationship with that person. There are few things I can think of more sacred than that. There is nothing in life I have found that is more exciting, challenging, funny, emotional, desirable, character building and worth it like marriage. I'm so grateful for the life we have built and for everything that sits ahead of us. I can't think of anything I want more than a lifetime of takeout and Netflix next to Jake.

I love that kid - a whole lot. Here's to six more!

How to play outside

A few weeks ago at preschool, during recess, a boy walked over to us and said "I'm done playing outside, I want to go in." My mom and I were surprised since we had only been out maybe five minutes. After distracting him with a different activity, my mom remarked how kids today don't know how to play outside. But how would they with everything to entertain them inside?

Growing up in North Carolina, my sisters and I were outside everyday. At least, that is how I remember it. Riding bikes in our cul-de-sac, examining the bugs around the yard, climbing trees, living our world of make-believe in the woods behind our house, catching fireflies at night, and every other activity we could find around our neighborhood. That was my life, and I feel happy every time I think of my childhood. I hate knowing that Hadley and Carsen won't have the same opportunities because I can't just let them explore on their own without worrying for their safety. But so help me, I will teach them how to play outside if it is the last thing I do.

This year, that is my focus (among everything else going on in my life). Throughout this year I want to move away from the toys we have inside, and expand their imaginations for what they can find outside. My fondest memories are of playing with what we found rather than what we brought outside with us. I hope when my children are grown they are able to say the same thing.

Let me show you December

December was so great. It made me so anxious for next year when Carsen can enjoy it that much more. That tiny newborn baby stage is so great, but there is also something magical about your kids being old enough to enjoy things around them. 

This year Hadi was a little stressed that since we don't have a chimney, Santa would not be able to find a way into our house. And since Jake and I are pretty awesome, we made one. Also we had no room for a tree, so we made a felt tree. Basically we had a super "we are poor and white trash" christmas, but to Hadley we are now the coolest parents. Well, we were the coolest parents. Her opinion of us has definitely shifted now that we are more than a month out. You win some, you lose some.