Monday, November 7, 2016

suck up

Oh November, you've been such a suck up this year! What with your beautiful weather and your colorful trees and your sunshiny blue skies. I officially declare you to be my new favorite month forever and always...or at least until you start bringing frigid temperatures and snow right off the bat. Then we'll have to talk. But for now, you're golden. Keep bringing me reason to light the fire place early in the morning and then walk around in my t-shirt in the early afternoon and yes, we will be friends forever and ever and ever.

I love November. November makes me want to read all the books. It makes me want to sit on the couch in my pajamas under a big squishy blanket. It makes me want to bake something with cinnamon and nutmeg. It makes me want to knit oversized sweaters and warm wool hats. It makes me want to drink tea and watch Christmas movies.

But even with all of those inside things to look forward to, I'm also enjoying the view out my window and trying to get out into the brisk morning air as often as possible. Thanks to my lovely and run-happy neighbors, I'm getting out at least three mornings a week for a (longer and longer) run. Last week we headed to our local state park for a chilly run through the sun-soaked trees which was just the thing to kick off a busy Thursday.

Suck. Up.

I can't get enough of that view! Having beautiful scenery and good conversation definitely makes distance running much more tolerable...and dare I say...maybe even...enjoyable?!(Gasp!)

At any rate, I am loving the contrast between mornings in the sun and crisp air and evenings with a blanket, a cup of tea, and either Anne of Green Gables (yes, I went straight to the library and checked it out last week) or a movie and something to knit. I really do love November. Hope you're enjoying it, too.

Wishing you a lovely week!

P.s. Halloween!

P.p.s. I realize that some of you may be feeling less than excited about November because of a certain big decision day that happens to be coming up tomorrow. Let me assure you that I will NEVER post about which candidate I plan to choose tomorrow or ever here on the blog, but I do want to say this: please, please, please remember that no matter who you choose or which side you agree with, we are all human beings who screw up and make mistakes and make poor choices and ALL OF US are deserving of grace. Your neighbor/friend/sibling/parent/pastor/teacher/etc. who is voting a different way than you tomorrow deserves grace. Your neighbor/friend/sibling/parent/pastor/teacher/etc. who is posting ridiculous amounts of political opinions on Facebook deserves grace. Your neighbor/friend/sibling/parent/pastor/teacher/etc. who brings up politics during every single conversation and tries to persuade you to their side deserves grace. And yes, even the presidential candidates themselves deserve grace. After all, in the end, we're all the same. Let's all try to spread love and decency and togetherness in the face of a clear separation in this country. It starts with us, not them. Be kind. Hold your tongue. Love each other. And vote.

Monday, October 31, 2016

farewell October

I'm ashamed to admit to you that I've never actually read Anne of Green Gables. (I know!) I've been seeing that quote above posted all over Instagram with photos of beautiful October days and nights and have found myself agreeing and enjoying every single one.  What a different world it would be if there were no Octobers. Our next trip to the library will definitely include a search for and check out of Anne of Green Gables so that I can finally read the context in which she said those lovely and very true words.

Over the past few weeks I've been watching the trees, waiting to see the pop of color in my favorite ones that I watch every year. I don't know about you, but it seems to me that it's happened a little slower this year. My favorite tree that I pass on the way to town hasn't completely turned yet and our woods don't seem to have as much color as they have in years past. But no matter, there are still plenty of beautiful trees to be found if you just open your eyes and look up. (Actually, in general, I find that it is pretty much always a good idea to open your eyes and look up though it's especially gratifying in October.)

See all that mess over there? Soon we'll have a screened porch!

My hydrangeas are still pretty in October.
 Indeed, how fortunate we are to live in a world with Octobers! Hope you can get outside and soak up this last day of such a beautiful month.

Wishing you a great start to your week! 

P.s. Happy Halloween! And Happy Birthday Uncle Ralph! Hopefully we'll get some costume photos up tomorrow.

Friday, October 28, 2016

it's almost November

So, somehow I almost made it through October without acknowledging this as one of my favorite months.  The days and weeks and months seem to be speeding by me so quickly these days.  Yesterday I realized that November 1st is LESS THAN A WEEK AWAY and did I really let October pass by with only a trip to get pumpkins?

Honestly though, it hasn't exactly felt like October until the last few days.  We spent a glorious week at the beach earlier this month where the kids got soaked by the waves and the sun shined down on us.  And just last week it was about 80 degrees here in Pennsylvania.  But now, it's finally starting to feel like my beloved October and I'm going to intentionally soak up these last few days of the month. 

As I've written about before, autumn has historically been a time of significant change for us.  Year after year we have moved in the fall and so every year as the leaves start to change, I start to feel a little restless.  This year was no different.  But instead of giving in to those feelings, we started settling in.  We found our way back to Friday night as homemade pizza night.  Our morning routines and bedtime rituals have started to fall back into place.  We light candles and play music and dance our little hearts out when the days start to feel long.  As the weather turns colder and the days get shorter, I'm hoping to settle in even more. 
I've been reading the book "How to Celebrate Everything" by Jenny Rosenstrach (also the author of "Dinner, A Love Story") and it is inspiring me.  It's all about traditions and rituals and how important they are in our lives.  Even the small ones, like Friday night pizza.  I'm determined to create traditions for my kids now that bring them back home when they are grown. 

Go buy this book & also her other ones.  You will not be disappointed!!

And with that, let's go celebrate the end of October - will you join me in finding something to celebrate this weekend? 

Monday, October 24, 2016

long time no see (write?)


It's been awhile, huh? But I'd like to try and bring the blog back a little if we can. Life has been busy lately - we hit the ground running at the beginning of the school year and haven't slowed down since. I've been finding myself feeling a little off-kilter lately, not able to find my center and seemingly heading in five different directions all at once on any given day. In order to figure some of that out, I sat down on Friday, with paper and pencil in hand (I don't do well with keeping track of things with technology) and wrote out a list of all of my commitments. Guess how many there are?


And that doesn't even count my automatic top two of God and Family. And I didn't add the blog to it because I wasn't sure where we stood on it, though truth be told, I miss it a little bit and am going to try and write at least once a week. So really there are nineteen which works out well with my aversion to even numbers. Nineteen things that I want to give my time and energy to on a weekly or monthly basis. Most of them are work and church and school related, and as I looked over my list, the only thing on it that I wanted to give up was grocery shopping. Maybe this one doesn't seem like a "commitment" but since I have to drive 30 minutes to a decent grocery store and then spend anywhere from an hour to two hours shopping there and at a couple other stores, and then driving 30 minutes back home, it ends up being a big chunk of my time every week. So you know what I did? Yesterday I placed my first "ClickList" order through Kroger and tomorrow, between 10 and 11am, I will drive by the store in between my morning workout with my favorite boot camp girls and a lunch date with one of my favorite people, and I will NOT GET OUT OF MY CAR. They will bring the groceries to my car, put them in, charge my credit card only for the groceries (no charge for the shopping and delivery to the car!) and then I will drive away. It will probably take less than 10 minutes which will end up saving me at least a couple hours, but maybe more since I sometimes drive to several different stores to pick things up. WIN! This will give me more time in the day to work on both of my businesses (yes, I picked up another which I'm hoping I can tell you about sometime in the near future) and work on a couple certifications that I'm adding to the personal training (Youth Fitness and Group Training - I'm so excited!).

So hopefully I am on my way to figuring out how to consolidate my time away from home so that I can work a few more hours each day. Wish me luck!

Since it's been quite awhile since we've posted, I thought I'd just share a bunch of recent photos to catch us all up on what's been going on. Here they are, if you'd like to see...

Above, you will find pictures of the sweetest little baby boy, a weekend in Charlottesville, a weekend at the beach, a 40th birthday celebration at Camden Yards, the best grandparents on duty for a long weekend, brothers and sisters, girl cousins, boy cousins, a vacation in Charleston, and a family photo at a superhero birthday party. As you can see, our lives are full. Full of craziness and stress and decisions and new beginnings and running around like a chicken with our heads cut off. But they are also full of beautiful and amazing and lovely and hilarious and happy. I hope your days are full of the same, because as I've been reminded lately, if we didn't have the challenges, we wouldn't notice the joy.

Yesterday afternoon, while the boys were doing a booth sale for cub scouts and Annabel was drawing some pictures, and I was sitting next to her working on my ClickList order with a million other things running through my head, I made a decision. I closed the computer, picked up my sweet girl and carried her out to the trampoline where we spent an hour jumping and laying down looking up at the leaves and doing cartwheels and throwing all the acorns out so we didn't step on them. We laughed and talked and enjoyed the beautiful afternoon. And not once did I think of the studying I could have been doing or the house that needed to be cleaned or the overflowing recycle bins that needed to be loaded in the car or the emails I needed to send out. It was just what we both needed at the end of one busy week and the beginning of another. I hope that you can carve out an hour today for "trampoline time" with your family or maybe just by yourself. Don't miss these beautiful October days and nights with the fiery leaves and bright stars.

Wishing you a great week, my friends!

Friday, September 23, 2016

life with 2 littles & an update

We have been loving these last 2 months with Asher.  He is the sweetest little guy and recently started smiling which is such a treat.  His eyes are so bright and they just light up when he starts to smile.  It's the sweetest.  

There has certainly been a time of adjustment as we all get used to having a baby around but in between the tough times there are beautiful moments that make me the happiest mama.  I love how Sommer loves her brother and am so thankful that they have each other.  Just the other day I over heard her telling Asher that he is her best bud forever. (heart melting) <3  She also loves having a real live patient to work on instead of her baby dolls. ;o)


In my last post - way back in July, I shared that we had been told that Asher would have clubfoot at our 20 week ultrasound.  Then, when he was born the nurses and doctors at the hospital were a little hesitant to call it clubfoot.  We followed through with our orthopedic appointment in Philadelphia and were told that he had clubfoot and he was casted for 12 days.  I think that's where I left off...

After those 12 days in casts, we returned to our ortho. and had the casts removed.  His feet looked so great and were so flexible that our doctor gave Asher 2 weeks out of the casts before he would be seen again.  When we went back 2 weeks later, we were told that he does not have clubfoot!  We were really surprised, happy, unsure...his feet were and continue to be a little turned in and somewhat unique.   We decided to get a second opinion and after waiting almost a month, got in with Shriners.  Our doctor at Shriners was in agreement that Asher doesn't have clubfoot but did feel that because his foot turns in and bends at his arch, he should be treated.  Our little guy was fitted for boots that he will wear for a couple months to see if they help to straighten and flatten out his little feet.  

It is so hard for me to put these on him.

Our Sommer girl is off to preschool again this year and loves every minute of it!  She is so sweet and smart and reminds me often that next year she is going to Kindergarten and desperately wants to ride the bus like Annabel.  She's taking tumble dance at the Y and is just generally such a big girl.  It's amazing how big she seems to me since Asher was born. 

I just love these two so much and am so thankful to have 2 happy and healthy littles!

Monday, September 12, 2016

the end of an era

Hello! WeThree hope you'll forgive us for the complete radio silence here over the last couple of weeks. Between work, a new baby, and a new school year, we've sort of been up to our eyeballs in life :) Posting may be a little spotty here for a bit but be sure to follow us on Facebook for updates.

As I said, the new school year has begun, and this past Tuesday I sent my baby girl off to Kindergarten. I was nervous about how the morning would go. Both of my children had a very tough time going to preschool - when I dropped them off they would cry and the teachers would have to peel them off of me and I would have to run down the hallway away from them while they yelled, "Mama! Don't leave me!"


Traumatizing not only for them, but also for me.

Thankfully, Tommy didn't have any trouble going to Kindergarten. He headed off to class with not even so much as a backward glance, and although I did cry a little bit as I pushed one-year-old Annabel home from school in her stroller that first morning after dropping Tommy off, I soon buried those feelings underneath a pile of dishes and laundry and diapers as I continued to care for my young daughter. I didn't see it as an end because I still had work to do with number two.

And then I blinked, and it was her turn to go off to Kindergarten.

I worried about Annabel more than I did about Tommy. He was more independent at home, playing by himself more often than not. Annabel, on the other hand, is basically attached to me anytime we're together. She hates for me to even leave the house without her. (And maybe you remember this post that documented just how attached we really are.) So naturally, I worried. Would she be scared or nervous? Would she refuse to get on the bus? Would she cry and cling to me and not want to let go? I laid in bed the night before she went off to school and prayed hard that the next morning would go smoothly.

Amazingly, and oh so thankfully, my sweet girl woke up all smiles on Tuesday, jumped out of bed and said, "THIS IS THE BEST DAY EVER!" And I practically melted with relief. When the bus pulled up in front of our house, she gave me a huge hug, kissed me on the cheek and ran off to join her friends. It was exactly what I needed her to do and I'm so thankful that she is loving every minute of school so far.

As the bus pulled away with both of my children on it for the very first time, I stood there in the driveway.....alone.

I had already planned to run or walk every morning right after they got on the bus so I popped in my headphones, turned the music up and started running. And as I ran, I found myself reflecting.......

For seven of the last nine years, I have been at home full-time with my babies. Being a stay-at-home mom was the only job I ever truly wanted, and I am so incredibly thankful to my hard-working husband that I was able to be home with them when they were little. That said, staying home with kids can sometimes be difficult. There were many days where I felt lonely, overwhelmed, unprepared, bored, fed-up, and exhausted. There were days when I wished I could leave and go to work. There were days when I put them both down for a nap and sat on my bed and cried.

I know I'm not alone in this, and I know these feelings aren't limited to stay-at-home moms. Working moms feel all of these same things. We are not separated by our choices, and I am sick to death of all the comparisons that women make these days. It doesn't matter if you breast feed or bottle feed, crib sleep or co-sleep, sling carry or not, work full-time, part-time or stay home. If your child is fed, mostly clean (cause really, when are they ever completely clean?!), and LOVED, then we are WINNING at being moms. End of story. (And end of rant...and to use a popular phrase that I am decidedly not fond of but that actually works quite well in this instance: #sorrynotsorry. Look, I even did a hashtag!)

But for every hard day, there was a great day. For every frustrating day, there was a proud day. For every exhausting day, there was an energizing day. I loved it and I made sure to pay attention because everyone (EVERYONE) told me that it would go by so fast. Although I believed them, I didn't really think too much about it because I was busy and tired and drowning in laundry and toys and diapers and dishes all. day. long.

Then, just like that, nine years passed by in the blink of an eye and I was standing (running) on the other side of my tenure as a stay-at-home mom. And all these questions started floating through my mind...

Did I do enough?
Did I play enough?
Did I read enough?
Was I kind enough?
Did I teach them enough?
Did I prepare them enough?
Did I care enough?
Did I pray enough?
Did I laugh enough?
Did I discipline enough?
Did I love them enough?

Maybe those questions sound crazy knowing that I still have several more years before they leave the house, but while they were home with me, it was my job to lay the foundation that they would take out into the world. And those were the questions that passed through my mind as I watched the bus carry my babies off to school. Did I do enough to prepare them?

In all honesty, I don't really know what "enough" means for any of those questions, but I do know that I did my best. And that's really all I could do. That's all any of us can do. But there's something I want to tell you if you have little kids, whether you stay at home full-time or work part-time or if you go to work every single day. I want to tell you to ENJOY it. Enjoy all of it. The hugs, the tantrums, the kisses, the crying, the " I love you's," the "I'm not ever taking a nap again's," the play time, the food throwing, the food eating, the laughing, the fighting, the smiles, the crankiness, the sweetness, the book throwing, the book reading, the screaming, the singing, the craziness and the amazingness. In the ever-so-wise words of Darius Rucker, "It won't be like this for long."

He's totally right, as is every single person that ever told me that "it goes by so fast." I know you're probably sick of hearing that but let me just tell you one more time: IT GOES BY SO FAST! Every difficult phase your child goes through will be over before you know it and a new one will take it's place. Be thankful for every single day that you have with them and love them to the best of your ability. Teach them to be kind and open and honest. Teach them to pray hard and love well. And whatever you do, don't blink, because it'll be over before you know it.

Before I end this crazy long post (making up for the last two weeks all at once?!), let me assure you (and when I say "you," I mean my grandmother, mother and aunts :) ) that I am fine. Every end in life presents a perfect opportunity for reflection and that's what I've been doing. I'm looking forward to pouring more time and energy into making my business more of a full-time job, continuing to volunteer at our church, and running (jogging?) a few days a week with a couple new friends in our neighborhood. But I couldn't pass up the opportunity to share these thoughts with all the mamas out there in hopes that maybe it will help someone pause, take a deep breath, and continue on calmly, appreciating whatever age/stage/phase their child(ren) happen to be in at the moment. Enjoy it. It won't be like this for long.

Monday, August 22, 2016

this girl

Since our birthdays are exactly one month apart, Annabel and I decided to start a new tradition this summer that we've named, "Birthday Girls Day Out." For our first celebration we decided on cupcakes from Pearl's and then a pedicure. We had such a great time together but my favorite part of the afternoon came on the way home. We got in the car after eating giant cupcakes and getting polka dots and sparkles (I just got plain red but Annabel was much more adventurous) and started heading toward home when she suddenly said,"Mama, I am going to steal the ball from those footballers. Girls can play any sport they want and I am gonna play football. Do you like my polka dots?"

Oh this girl. She's the perfect mix of girlie and tomboy. I love how she refuses to wear anything besides a skirt or a dress and then wants to ride her two-wheeler as fast as she can down the street. I love that she wants to twirl around in a tutu and then play cars and legos with her brother. I love that she wants her nails painted with sparkles and polka dots and then declares that she's going to play football. How fortunate I am to get to watch her grow into the amazing person she's becoming.

We had so much fun on our first annual Birthday Girls Day Out and I'm already looking forward to next year. Happy five to my beautiful girl!