Archive for the ‘inspiration’ tag
Welcome to January! I am wildly partial to January above all other months, even though it is kind of the month equivalent to a Monday. In full disclosure this month is the anniversary of my birth as well as the anniversary of my becoming a mother, so I really am biased.
This is the month that feels like my own bed at the end of a really fabulous trip; there is a peace to getting back to the mundane and routine. December is all about being the sensory overload month. It is full of loads of glorious food and festive music. Our surroundings are adorned with effulgent lights. Everything is ridiculously extraordinary. Then January ushers in a stark crisp silence that feels positively serene.
It is also the month that allows for renewal. I love that sense of positive personal ambition that most people have with their New Years Resolutions all fresh in their minds. Even if it doesn’t end up coming to fruition, I love seeing people progress and implement positive changes in their lives. No other month provides an opportunity to welcome the mentality of “I can and will do it better” into our consciousness. After a month of overindulgences full of glorious, gluttonous excess it feels good to practice restraint and take inventory of our basic needs, wants and desires for our lives.
To me January is a sigh and a pause. It is a time to sidle into the starting block and begin the race again, no sprinting, just a sweet jog toward where we want to be. Happy January, readers. I wish you a wonderful start towards your new year.
Today has totally gotten away from me, hence the extremely late post. So, I’m going to make this personal and tell you quickly about our little family mini-vacation to the snow this past weekend. We’ve been in need of some time away as a family. You know, when you eliminate distractions, you change the scenery, and in return you are intriniscally reminded of all the fun reasons you love being a family. It was one of those. It also contained a huge list of firsts for Lyla – her first snowman (albeit micro-sized, because we didn’t have gloves and it was really cold), her first elk sighting, and her first ever Christmas light parade (which she talked incessantly about the rest of the weekend).
All in all, it was pretty much perfection. Mike and I laughed at Lyla’s infectious excitement, we huddled in front of the iPad at night to watch a movie while Lyla slept nearby (ah, the hotel life), and we spent time talking about where we are in life and how the future is currently unknown to us.
I am resting in the peace that this weekend brought to me. I am reminded that these are the some of things I want to marinate with during the holiday season. I am thankful for God’s hand in my life, providing me with unexpected blessings… like a weekend with the ones I love.
Keep in mind, some of these pictures I actually took, not my photographer husband. Can I get some props for that?
When it comes to gift giving season, my favorite thing is the stockings. I don’t know what it is but they have always been the activity that I look most forward to. Here’s a sweet little something I’d love to find in my stocking this year- Hand In Hand Soap. What cute packaging hiding a handmade orange blossom bar! The cool thing is that for every bar purchased they donate one to a child in need. Learn more here. Also (get ready because this is a long list of really good things), their soap is fair trade, cruelty free, natural, organic, gluten free, vegan, biodegradable, eco friendly packaged, shipped with carbon offsets, and each bar saves 50 sq feet of rainforest. Phew! I never thought I could love one bar of soap so much.
Welcome to our weekly feature “Know Your Birdies” where every Friday a question is posed and you get to know us through our answers. This week we’ve asked… and answered: What was your favorite childhood toy?
My most overwhelming memory of playing alongside my sister when I was a kid in the 80′s was building our own versions of Barbie dream houses. We would take an ordinary coffee table and construct a two-story loft filled with our own make-shift furniture and decor. We were deliberate and detailed and… once we were done designing, we were ready to move on to something else. Needless to say, Barbie didn’t actually do much play-living in our dream houses; she just got to sleep in the washcloth-made-into-a-bed (for reals) and had to wait until we were ready to dream up another architectural creation. Sorry Barbie.
If you are a child of the eighties, my answer will likely not surprise you. My favorite childhood toy was my Cabbage Patch Doll, Christi Fame. She had short blonde loopy yarn hair, and a face that was so hard she could double as a weapon. I loved that doll so much, we had countless tea parties, adventures and an occasional show down (she really could be used as a weapon.) I think my mom still has her in storage somewhere, I think I need to track her down.
My childhood world revolved around Barbie. I had a duffel bag full of various Barbies and their outfits, the pink convertible, her horse, the dream house, the life size Makeover Barbie head. I loved Barbie and her friends. And my little brother loved to torture them. He would pop their heads off and throw them in the trash. One day, my mom found me playing house with one Barbie in a dress and another Barbie to whom I had chopped off her hair and dressed her in Ken’s clothes. She was a bit confused and asked me what was going on. No need to worry, little Nicky was not exploring the world of adult lifestyles. I simply converted my unfavorite Barbie into a man since my lovely brother had killed Ken. Thankfully, we went out and got a new Ken replacement instead. Such was life in Barbie-land. (Side note- Did you have a favorite Barbie? Mine was Peaches ‘n Cream.)
Now, come on, get all nostalgic with us and tell us what your favorite childhood toy was!
Yesterday, my photographer husband had a photoshoot. As it gets closer to Christmas, the barrage of family photo sessions are finally promising to slow down. Christmas cards need to be ordered soon, people. But because over the past few days it feels better when we are all three in the same place, Lyla and I headed across town with him. The plan was that we would run to the craft store while he took said pictures for an old friend from high school.
On our way, we were trekking down a familiar highway. A highway Lyla and I often take to get to friends’ houses for play dates and relaxing fun. On this stretch, there is a tunnel that spans all of about 50 feet. Lyla, in her innate attention to detail (which is finally something she gets from me), started to cry. Here is the conversation that followed between Lyla and her dad:
Mike (Dad): Lyla, what’s wrong?
Lyla: I’m sad.
Lyla: I want to go through the tunnel.
Mike: The tunnel? Really? That’s why you’re crying?
Lyla: (through sad eyes and a pouty face) Yeah..
Mike: Lyla, (long pause with exhaling sigh) I want your life.
(end of conversation)
So, maybe it’s true that I play up the tunnel every time we venture through it… with fully outstretched hands and boisterous cheering. I understand that in all actuality these tears could be all my doing.
And really there is no moral to this story. No wise lesson.
It just struck me on that day.
I mean sometimes as adults we make life more complex than it needs to be. And sometimes, life just is more complex. Sometimes it’s messy and painful and exhausting.
And sometimes we just get sad about missing the simple fun things that just make us smile on an ordinary day. Because really, those moments are nice, really nice.
A couple of months ago, I saw this video on Design Mom, and I spent the rest of the day grinning from ear to ear. Created by an Irish filmmaker who decided to ask 50 people on the street in Chicago – “What is your favorite memory of all time?”
I love the variety of answers from the simplistic of watching shooting stars with a sibling to the more traditionally eventful birth of a child. Whatever your answer is, I think it’s good to remember. And today, I feel overcome by the need to treasure the past while embracing my present and dreaming of my future.
So, please tell me… What is your favorite memory? Mine is vacationing with my Mom, Dad, sister, brother-in-law, and Mike… laughing, eating, playing games, sight-seeing, just enjoying being in one place all together, and cherishing the fleeting nature of that reality.
Welcome to our weekly feature “Know Your Birdies” where every Friday a question is posed and you get to know us through our answers. This week we’ve asked… and answered: What is one of your must read blogs?
I don’t know if I should admit this, but I have many daily-must-read blogs. I read Pop Candy on USA Today for all things indie pop culture related. I read Young House Love for DIY decorating inspiration. I read my husband’s photography blog, because he is the jelly to my peanut butter. Religiously, I read the Pleated Poppy on Wednesday’s for What I Wore Wednesday, and Melissa Loves on Tuesday’s for Cheap for Chic. But one I love and must devour each and every day is Ashley Ann’s Under the Sycamore. I am inspired by her craftiness. I enjoy her perspective on being a stay-at-home mom. I love her pictures of everything from her home to her sweet kids. And I totally share her passion to soon adopt a child. She’s relatable, approachable, and kind of seems like a lot of fun. (Gosh, I hope I didn’t just break the rules by mentioning 6 blogs! Oops.)
My favorite blog is local reporter Jaimee Rose’s blog. I have been a big fan of her’s since I was in college and she wrote for Y.E.S. I love her style, she seems to have the same “But does it come in black?” proclivity that I am afflicted with. The blog is always filled with lots of local love, from activities to venues to eateries, it is a fabulous resource for Phoenicians that are tired of Harkins and Chili’s on date nights. She also highlights books, fashion, shopping and travel. If you are looking for swoonworthy entertaining ideas, she is your girl. Her blog is the blog I save for last in my google reader (btw does that mean the same thing to anyone else?)
I am a total blog-aholic. I am constantly having to painfully edit down my Google Reader list because it is getting too large to manage. There are just that many amazing sites out there! With that being said, one of my most favorite blogs is Oh Happy Day! I’m sure you’ve seen me mention Jordan Ferney and her fantastic ideas a million times here. Her blog is brimming with entertaining inspiration, gorgeous photography and art, interior design, beautiful typography- you name it! And she is living abroad in Paris with her family for a year. Swoon. Her genius has encouraged me to try out so many DIY projects for parties and home decor, and she even helps lead me to new ideas on my own. Thank you, Jordan! And I second Katrina above- I love Jaimee Rose too!
What about you dear readers? Do you have any beloved blogs to share with us?
I don’t know what you think of me or my life, but if it involves anything that sporadically appears “put together”, I am about to shatter your perception.
Yesterday, we got some hard news. Not third world problems kind of hard, but not “I just got home from the store and forgot to buy toothpaste and I really need to brush my teeth” kind of hard either.
Maybe you remember that we are on this crazy journey of adoption, which was preceded by the equally chaotic trek through infertility. And while the certainty of the outcome in this jaunt is that someday we will hold a child that God has perfectly picked for our family, the days before that day can vary in intensity, emotion, and pain. Yesterday was one of the hard ones. The details are not too important, but know that a child we hoped would be ours turned out to be God’s pick for someone else instead.
With my Mike out of town, my wallowing surged, and I was overcome by the need for leftover Halloween candy, occasional bouts of crying (one time echoed by my almost 3 year old), and some online window shopping. I’m not necessarily proud of my sadness-induced-vices, but I also think God understands when I need to be sad.
If I give in to my emotion, let it wash over me, then I find I can come out on the other side cleaner. You know, like a pan of bacon grease that has to soak for a bit before you can get all the bacon bits scrubbed off of it. (There may or may not have been bacon involved yesterday afternoon as well.)
Today I have more perspective. Today I feel a bit more whole again. Today I feel a little bit cleaner. I’m not fixed. Neither is my situation. But today I feel strong enough to avoid the candy and bacon. Keep in mind it’s only 8:00am. I’m not making promises for later…