Friday, August 30, 2013

7 Quick Takes

Well folks, it's that day of the week and although I told myself there was no need to post today and I should probably take a little break....little man is sleeping and this seems more appealing than the dishes.  And so I'm jumping back on that Friday bandwagon with Jen and friends...

1. Oh my goodness, it is hot.  This is what our thermometer is reading:

No lies, that is hot. and you see that arrow next to the "F" for Fahrenheit? That means it's increasing! Thanks to this handy-dandy tool, Silas and I will be enjoying our day indoors today.

2. Which is A-ok because he has been a happy camper lately and has discovered the mystery and magic of this thing called a mirror.

Yesterday we looked at ourselves for a good 15 minutes before he decided it was probably time to eat instead of chat with himself.  The funniest part was that whenever I would talk to him, he'd look at me in the mirror and then turn around and look at me behind him. and then repeat this about 4x. It's like he just couldn't understand how there were two of me.

3. Hoorah for a 3 day weekend!  I love that we're not traveling to stay overnight anywhere this weekend and that Saturday and Sunday will just be low-key days. Silas and I both decided today that we really like weekends because when Dad's home, everything just seems 100x easier.

4. It's been really on my mind lately if I need to give up facebook. Or maybe just give it up on my phone. Or maybe just tally how many times per day I use it and limit it to like..3. because is there a need to check it 30 times a day? um, no. The answering from all of the experts is a resounding "No!" and I'm not really sure how I got into this habit. I call it a habit because I click on that little app on my phone without even thinking. And what is there to see? Usually, nothing (sorry friends.) I mean, I sure do enjoy seeing pictures and hearing via 150ish characters what's happening in my friends lives, but do I need to chain myself to it so that I practically see every status update...again. NO.  Actually, upon second thought I know where this habit came from--something mindless to do while nursing small child. I think the Lord would rather have me doing something mindFUL during this time (and yes, sometimes I do consider what He would have me doing if He was in the same room with me...which I guess He actually always is...) Ok, so I've reached no solution but at least have it written down that it's an issue.

5. Did you know that weedeater's are like $150+? Ya, me neither. because Brandon has been saying that ours won't start anymore so I said, "Just go buy one then." and he got all excited.  And then he asked if I knew how much they were.  The answer is nope. I was thinking like $50? But at least our yard won't look like it has sideburns anymore.

6. It's still really hot.

7. Tuesday is our anniversary and upon Brandon's suggestion we're taking a hot air balloon ride! I'm so stinking excited!!

Okay, little man has awoken and is complaining to be removed from his swing.  Happy long weekend!!


Thursday, August 29, 2013

Five Favorites (vol. 5)

Linking up with the fabulous Hallie for five favs.

This here blog has been a little bit lacking with picture updates of the small child in my life.  So here are my favorite photos and happenings of Mr. Silas as-of-late.


A little less than two weeks ago we celebrated Brandon's birthday on the very same day as a surprise birthday party for my grandma.  Don't worry, the birthday boy woke up to freshly baked rhubarb pie, had an ice cream cake later, and his very own party hat to wear all day (all thanks to my wonderful mom!) In his words, the best birthday gift he had was sharing the day with his son.  (awww!)


Silas is always sweet, but aren't babies just the sweetest when they're sleeping? Whenever he wakes up he has a great big smile for his momma--pretty much a day-maker. 


He's getting to be quite the handful at a whopping 17.8 lbs!  He likes to grab onto our arms and neck and face whenever possible and has a mighty strong grip! Paired with those fingernails which seem to grow faster than dandelions, I have quite a few places where he's left a mark. Battle scars... Also, his hair is falling out a little bit and is seemingly being replaced with very light-colored hair. Hence appearing as though he has a mohawk in the above photo.


Great-gramps has been in the hospital since last week after quadruple bypass heart surgery.  We sure have been thinking about and praying for him a lot!  We did a little photo shoot of Si-guy with this sign so that gramps could have a photo of him in the room.  It took a lot of effort to keep Silas from eating the sign (as evidenced by the crinkles in it), because obviously paper is the new milk.  We had him propped up in the corner of this chair, but he pulled himself forward and held himself up with that front hand--sitting on his own for the first time.  
Another first is that later this same day he laughed more than a chuckle for the first time when Aunt Allison was holding him.  Melted my heart into a puddle of love.  I sat there reveling at all that cuteness!


Actually everything is the new milk because we can officially say that little man is teething.  After helping dad win this card game by about a bajillion, Silas grabbed the box of cards and chomped on that a little bit. We're experiencing lottsss of drool, like enough to raise the Mississippi, and a runny nose and him trying to use momma's finger as a teething ring.  Poor guy. I'm pretty sure this is just the beginning of a very long road of teething. But I suppose we want the boy to have teeth.

Well that's all for now, hope you enjoyed catching up with the cutest member of our household.


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

"Hi there": The Story of How We Met

In less than a week I've been married to my handsome husband for two wonderful years.  Every story has a beginning and I'd like to share ours here.

Whenever we're together and get to tell this story, I've found it's told with almost the exact same words and inflections, taking turns with who gets to tell which part. Each time makes me a little bit giddy, looking over at my cute hubs as he begins the tale with a mixture of excitement and nostalgia in his eyes.

Our tale begins with an unlikely meeting. We both really shouldn't have been at the FOCUS National Conference in Orlando, Florida. It was mostly only known about among college students who studied on a campus that also had FOCUS missionaries. North Central, where I was a senior at the time, wasn't one of them. Brandon had attended Loras, a FOCUS campus, but had graduated two years earlier.  But Divine intervention is real and the Holy Spirit was all about making sure we worked out.  I was invited by my dear friend Sara, who was going with her undergrad and already knew that after graduation she was called to be a missionary.  Brandon's sister Justine attended Loras at the time and was looking forward to heading to the conference and suggested that Brandon come too.

So there we were, 2 of 6,000 people who made it to the FOCUS Conference 2010.  We both traveled via coach bus, about a 20 hour trip. We've both said that we don't really want to do that again. ever.
Excited to finally be in Orlando after a long bus ride and repping NCC!
The fated first meeting, though, how did that shake out? Well, there was a Cupid involved. During the conference there was exactly one event which had an open-bar and this event was invite only. It was titled, "So you want to be a Missionary?" and gave those currently discerning a chance to learn more about what it looked like from Curtis Martin himself (founder and CEO of FOCUS) as well as chat with current missionaries and other interested peoples. We both happened to receive an invite to this event from the same person: dear Jennie Witt. She was at Loras while Brandon was a student there, and was currently serving as Sara's Discipler, which is how I met her.

I accepted her invitation because I was genuinely interested in thinking about what life would be like as a missionary and if I was called to this ministry post-college.  Brandon accepted her invitation because of the presence of (free) alcohol.

So I attended this event on January 1st, 2010 alone, not knowing another single soul who would be in that room.  I remember being proud of myself for being willing to attend despite the intimidation factor I was feeling.  Upon entering I stood around for awhile before making my way towards the bar, because at least holding a glass of red wine made me look like I was doing something.  On my way back to where I was hanging around before, Brandon walked right up to me and said, "Hi there. Where are you from?"

Now, if he was telling this part of the story, you'd hear that he was holding a whiskey sour.  And that he had already asked a friend, Emilio, to be his "wing man." And that he looked across the room and saw that I was alone and beautiful and he was proud of himself for having the confidence to walk right up and talk to me. (again, this is what he would tell you...)

"Naperville" was my response and Brandon adds 5 octaves to my voice when it's his version.

Small-talk ensued and honestly I talked a lot with Emilio because we found out how small of a world it is--he had dated a girl whom I was good friends with who was currently dating a guy I had dated for a short time in college. Did you follow that? But I did find out that they were from Iowa and that Brandon was an engineer and had grown up on a farm. The conversation was cut short when Curtis Martin got our attention so that he could talk about being a missionary. Oh right, that's why we're here.

After the "speech" was over, everyone was to head to the main stage for another speaker followed by adoration. So Brandon, Emilio, and I said our pleasantries and wished one another well. And Emilio walked away but Brandon didn't. Instead, he asked if I wanted to walk there with him. (always a gentleman) So we walked and talked and were about a half hour early to the speaker and so we talked some more. I remember finding out about his farm cats (why were we talking about farm cats?) and that one was named "Linkermo" because they couldn't decide whether to name the poor thing "Link" or "Mo." And then Sara called to tell me where they were sitting (because you can't just find someone in a room of 6,000 people) and I asked if he wanted to sit with us. of course he did.

So we listen to the speaker, whom sometimes we're able to recall, but currently it's escaping me, and then adoration begins. Adoration = a time of silent, reflective prayer in the presence of our Lord and how beautiful is it that the very first time we hung out adoration was included?

Brandon leans over during this time of silence and whispers, "Are you going to the swing dance tomorrow?"
"Want to meet up?"
"Sure." *smiling huge on the inside while perhaps not playing it as cool as I think on the outside*
Brandon grabs his conference booklet and scribbles his number on a corner, tears it off and gives it to me.
"See you tomorrow."

Well, that was unexpected. After he's clearly out of sight I take out my phone, enter the digits, and throw the sliver of paper into my purse.

About an hour later, on the way back to my hotel room, I text him so that he has my number, nice meeting you, etc. I check my phone about every 5 minutes until I go to sleep. No response. I wake up the next morning to no response. Around noon and still nothing, so I text again, inquiring about when/where he'd like to meet for swing dancing. And then it's six-freaking-o'clock and I'm like "what a jerk-face" and I'm looking for something in my purse when I come across the little sliver of paper with numbers quickly scribbled across it and think to make sure I entered his number correctly.


So I text the correct number about a half hour before the dance is set to begin and get a response within 3 minutes. When Brandon's telling the story he's really generous about this part and doesn't make me feel as dumb as I did on that day. But he does reveal that he was feeling a little letdown when he hadn't heard from me.

So we meet at the doors and I still remember that I was wearing a cream skirt and a blue shirt. He told me I looked "very nice." His sister was watching and remembers we matched--he was wearing a similarly colored blue shirt.

He had never swing danced before and that's what my friends and I did on many Sunday evenings in high school, so I balanced teaching him while still allowing him to lead. Oh, the foreshadowing.

And then at 11 o'clock he had to run off like Cinderella because his bus was leaving early and driving through the night instead of staying through the end of the conference. On the way out he asked if he could call me and I said that I'd like that but explained that I was kinda, sorta dating someone at the moment. (gasp! I know, right?) When Brandon tells this part he's sure to mention that we hadn't been dating long (only about 2 weeks) and that he was a jerk anyway.

So short story long, he texts me his whole way home and then calls me on the following Wednesday and we chat for an hour, during which he asks if he could see me the following Sunday! I reminded him that we lived 3 hours away from one another, but he didn't seem to mind. So we planned on going to Mass and out to lunch. I promptly hung up the phone and called my mom and squealed a little bit. And then I called the guy I was dating and told him that I thought we were going in different directions (I sure was!) and he told me to have a nice life...Well, I sure am--thank you!

That "first date" was low-key and wonderful and we went to mass and to lunch and walked on the Riverwalk (where I would later say "yes") and played cards for hours. We've always used the day we met, January 1st, as our anniversary date and you could say that the rest is history! How grateful I am for the invitation to that invite-only event.

Our very first picture together, taken the following Sunday, when Brandon came to see me again :)

Stay tuned for a few reminiscent wedding pics! ;)


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

When others succeed--or how to live vicariously through them.

How incredible is it to watch someone succeed? Especially after they have given it their all and gone through many challenges before enjoying the sweet taste of success. Completing a degree, running a marathon, landing that job...there's a joy that comes with meeting a goal after enduring the challenges that popped up on the way.

Take my dear friend Andrea and her dad Lucky, for example.  Now, I've been honored to call Andrea one of my closest friends since meeting her in fall of 2006.  She, Margaret, and I are what you may deem "inseparable" in college.  The three of us were kinda an unlikely trio, as we're all pretty different personality-wise, but our common bond of loving life and laughing allowed us to be three peas-in-a-pod. I am certain that college would not have been as much fun, and I may not have done as well, if it wasn't for their presence in my life.

Andrea (known as "Louie") and her dad were recently chosen for Bear Grylls "Get Out Alive" television show, touted as the ultimate survival test.  Over 8 episodes, the contestants went through a series of extremely intense challenges in the wilderness of New Zealand to see if they had what it takes to survive in an emergency situation.  Like, seriously outrageous stuff.  Climbing mountains, traversing glaciers, eating maggots, drinking your own urine kind of intense. 

You now understand how different Andrea and I really are. She's tough in the classiest way possible.  I sat on the couch biting my nails and cowering, my stomach twisting in knots as I watched her overcome her fears and literally conquer mountains with a smile on her face. Because she's definitely afraid of heights and still managed to scale a mountain, jump out of a helicopter, cross a crevice on a single rope. I'm wondering how difficult that must have been for her, how demanding of a situation she found herself staring into, and the mental courage it must have taken to overcome these challenges. As Bear said over and over--"The wild is revealing"--and what was revealed of this team was dynamic and incredible and found the good in the worst of times.

And what else is incredible is how simply watching these contestants go through struggles, through genuine hardship in an effort to, in this case, stay alive, can be refreshingly inspiring for those who watch it.  We as viewers put ourselves in their shoes. We imagine what it must have been like to be there alongside them and attempt to survive--and then we realize we cannot imagine going through what they did. We as viewers watched 8 episodes detailing the mental and physical challenges they faced over roughly a months time, we rooted for their success, for them to come out as the team who ultimately survives. My news feed blew up yesterday as fellow Cardinals rejoiced with Lucky and Louie, celebrating their amazing success because, spoiler alert: They came out on top, as the winners of the entire season.  Those of us who know this team were screaming and crying and high-fiving and rejoicing from our couches all around the US.

Not only is this absolutely incredible for this well-deserving team; it also has the capacity to give us hope. We need to allow ourselves to use other's success as inspiration. We can live vicariously through this amazing display of heart, apply their immeasurable courage to our own intense hardship and the fears we currently face in our lives. Maybe it's the fear of public speaking or apologizing to someone you know you've hurt.  Maybe it's the fear that you'll fall flat on your face as you attempt to juggle the demands of life. You're battling a decision that needs to be made and are unsure how you can mentally deal with it's ramifications. You're afraid of what could happen or what might be said if you follow your passion, because it's super illogical and counter-intuitive and not many people choose that path. But not many people decide to go through the most grueling and demanding challenges a whole world away and be taped to be aired on national television either. 

Be assured that even if you're not in the wilderness, everyone deals with situations where they're not sure if they'll get out alive.  And just like we feel a sense of accomplishment and pride when the team we're rooting for is victorious after clearly seeing their struggles, we need to be able to recognize our own challenges in life and rejoice in overcoming them.

Life is not always pretty, and sometimes I look around and it seems like no one else is struggling. Success is easy to point out in other's lives, isn't it? Recognizing the strife it took to get to that place is not. Only by overcoming difficulties, though, can success possibly be so glorious. Lucky and Louie, their ability to stand up to the extremely difficult tasks and smile through them, or at least after them, made success so worth it. So why are we so quick to hide our own challenges in life? Pride, perhaps.  I've been contemplating this since reading Anne's post over at Modern Mrs. Darcy.  She so eloquently points out, "There’s no shame in the struggle: the struggle is what makes it great. The struggle is what makes it glorious."  

So don't be so quick to wish away struggle, live knowing that struggle itself is the stepping stone to success. "The wild is revealing." The hard, the frustrating, the disappointing, the fear inducing, the everyday grime of revealing.  Embrace the struggle, push yourself to grow from it--because you're worth it.  And because accomplishment feels pretty incredible when you turn around and see the mountain you've climbed to get there.


Friday, August 23, 2013

What's for Dinner?

7 Quickity-Quick Takes on this last weekday for 2 whole days.

My grandpa is in the ICU currently recovering from quadruple bypass open heart surgery on Tuesday. Things are going a little bit rough right now.  I feel as though I've been in a constant state of prayer for a few days.  Would you join me in lifting up the most delightful, friendly, wonderful man you'll ever meet?  My family greatly appreciates it :)

Your house always gets a nice little once-over when you're having guests, doesn't it?  We love having people over, mostly for the interesting conversations and hilarious stories...but tidying up pre-guests doesn't hurt either.

Does anyone else ever always make a meal for the first time when they're having guests? It's a pretty risky endeavor, as whatever recipe I follow could end up being the worst ever and I could potentially poison everyone, or at least gag them over an awful meal.  But google hasn't led my astray thus far so I guess I'll continue to play "Recipe Roulette" until I can tell everyone is lying through their teeth and actually hate whatever is put in front of them.

Tonight's dinner is simmering delightfully in the crock pot, emitting smells of wonderfulness.  I followed this recipe entitled "To Die for Crock Pot Roast."  Now that I think about it, I shouldn't have made something with death in the title for the first time to feed to people I have yet to meet...

I also made Raspberry Pretzel Jello for dessert.  Natasha's blog post sure made it look easy and delicious. The making part was true, I'm hoping the eating part is as well.

I am uber impressed with food bloggers ability to take so many pictures as they are cooking/baking food. And each step looks more beautiful than the last! What I want to know is their process of taking pictures and posting them...I need someone awesome to have a similar step-by-step post that reveals the process of what device they use to capture said photos, how they set up the lighting, do they send the photos to themselves or use a cord to grab the photos, is there a host site involved....Because my process of posting photos to this blog is 32 steps too long and there's got to be another way! oh, the drama.

"It's what's for dinner."
"...and dessert..."

You see, I'll do the whole picture thing, it just adds 10 minutes to my life.

Now you know what we're eating tonight.  Which I believe means I can link up to lil ol' Clan Donaldson (even though it was theme Thursday.  Friday's the new Thursday though, right?)

Check out more quick 7's over at Conversion Diary!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Conversation Killers

Conversations are important in getting to know people, and us humans are a species who need frequent interaction with one another.  But sometimes you're in a conversation with a lovely somebody and suddenly you're stumped. You furrow your brow and purse your lips and try to figure out what you could possibly say next.  The nice conversation you were having has come to a startling halt.  What the heck happened?

I've been thinking lately that there are a few things you can say in a conversation that will absolutely kill it. Only a professional small-talker can really come back gracefully when one of these convo crimes have been committed:

1. One-upping. You're at lunch with a friend, and upon asking how work is going, she shares with you the troubles she's been having lately with her boss.  But let's be real--none of it sounds as bad as that one time when...
It is so easy to fall into the trap of wanting to share your worst of the worst, isn't it? Especially when the conversation has already derailed into the complain train?  But most often when a friend is complaining, she really just wants to get it off of her chest and be heard.  By sharing "that one time when" you  might come off as trying to one-up her situation, making her feel like she shouldn't really be having trouble at all, because you've had it way worse.  Before sharing, consider if the story you tell will be helpful and if it will aim to problem-solve.  If not, you may want to keep it to yourself for now and instead ask her a question or two, aiming towards positive solutions.

2. Comparing to your personal situation.  You're at a wedding and someone you went to school with is chatting about a big vacation they just got back from. Psh. He's always going on some elaborate outing or buying some new expensive piece of technology.  And he probably doesn't even realize how lucky he is, because you sure can't afford all of that and it would be impossible to do now that you have kids.  So you should remind him that this fabulous life he's living is really a gift and you surely could never have anything like it, right?
Probably not.  When good things happen to other people, it's not an invitation to compare it to your experience and wallow in your own unfulfilled desires.  You can think it, but saying aloud, "I wish I had the time/money/a husband who/a dog that..." really doesn't engage the person you're talking to at all. How is someone supposed to respond to that? The only way to move forward following any form of  "I wish" is by apologizing for the blessings of his life or changing the conversation altogether. Awkward.

3. Assuming you know exactly what they're about to say. It's really easy to get into the habit of anticipating what will be said next, but conversations shouldn't resemble chess games. Assuming can be a conversation killer because it has the potential to stifle the direction it could've gone wouldn't want to talk yourself out of a seriously interesting discussion! Be in the moment and give yourself time to think after a question has been'll probably do a better job of answering it.  Be willing to ask for clarification about a response they gave you...assuming what they meant by a statement can also end badly.

4. Answering with simply "yes" or "no" even if it was only a yes or no question.  An awkward pause ensues until the question-asker responds with a follow-up: "Why?"  Save them the trouble and keep the convo trucking along. Unless, of course it was an awkward question you'd like to avoid talking about and you'd prefer the conversation end right

5. "You didn't know that?!" I am so guilty of this, and I'd like to believe that I say it out of passion for whatever it is being talked about.  Brandon has gently brought to my attention that this is pretty rude, as what could your convo compadre say except for "no..." and then they feel a little bit silly/stupid/like they've been living under a rock because they do not, in fact, know whatever it is I'm talking about.  An explanation/description said with gusto adequately conveys that same passion without being condescending.

Hopefully avoiding these conversation killers will help you get more out of the discussions you have and lead to better relationships!

Are there other conversation killers that should be added to the list?  

Saturday, August 17, 2013

7 Quick Takes and a Very Special Birthday!

1.  It's Friday! Why does last Sunday feel like at least a whole decade ago? We did have a lot happening during the evenings this week, and I have been looking forward to this weekend for a few particular reasons, one being that its Brandon's birthday :)

2. I seriously love birthdays. This has a lot to do with the fact that my mom also loves birthdays and we are real good at celebrating them. They are such a fantastic excuse to really honor a person and remind them how much they are loved, having one day of the year especially celebrating their life! Cake is always a must and ice cream doesn't hurt either...and presents are something we still do in my family, no matter how old you are!

3. Last night we went out to dinner--just the hubs and I--to celebrate. It was nice to have a full conversation while holding hands and eating delicious burgers. We love our wiggle-worm baby, but taking an hour to just enjoy one another's company was wonderfully refreshing.

4. Thanks to Michelle and Matt for watching Silas. It's so nice having friends like you! :) They have a little cutie of their own, just 1 week older than Silas. And although we were friends before, the 4 of us definitely bonded over being preggo at the same time and carpooled to Bradley classes together. I am truly grateful for them.

5. My hair is falling out in clumps. The shower wall looks like a piece of modern art by the time I'm finished. Don't worry, I don't make Brandon deal with it. He already finds strands of my hair woven in shirts that have come out of the dryer and between his toes and things. It would just be cruel to leave a gift of hair in the shower for him. What I'm wondering is whether this is just a normal post-baby thing to be happening...

6. In less disturbing but still baby related news, little man has officially begun to giggle. It is not often and its timing is completely unpredictable but really even just one time makes my whole day.

7. My youngest sister moved into college today and I am one proud older sister. I can remember so clearly my own move in day and the crazy number of conflict ring emotions that went with it. I'm told that she got everything settled and then said, "Oh ya, I have to sleep here tonight!" What a strange feeling it is to have the place you lay your head at night a different one than you've always called home!!

Okay, I should call it a night since its already technically morning.

Check out more quick-takers over at Jen's. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Saying "Yes"

I often think too much and have mini revelations along the way. Then I share these revelations with someone, usually Brandon or my mom, and it dawns on me how terribly obvious they are.  God speaks to us in simple ways, no?

So what's the latest simple thought?  The intensity of one little "yes." (or, in my case, "of course!")--that we had no idea what the future would hold when we decided to get married. (duh, right?)

Over the weekend I was looking at some of our engagement photos.  The guestbook at our wedding included photos from our engagement session, and this book sits on a table in our living room so it is easy to glance through them every now and then.  Although they were taken only 3 years ago, it is so amazing to me how much has changed since then.  It's incredible how much our love has grown (and even multiplied with Silas' introduction to our little family!), how many laughs and jokes have come about, how many experiences we've gone through together. day in and day out.

Brandon proposed on our one year anniversary of knowing one another.  Although I wasn't expecting it, per se, I sure was hoping!  He took me to my favorite bridge (doesn't everyone have a favorite?) on a very cold frigid January 1st.  I am someone who is always cold.  The air conditioner can be set at 73, and I will be cold.  So as you can imagine, I wasn't all that thrilled to be taking a walk on the Riverwalk on January 1st, and Brandon was hearing about it.  I couldn't feel my feet or my cheeks and I thought we had gone far enough to commemorate our first date, which took place on this very Riverwalk.  Brandon didn't think so and insisted we just go to the bridge and back.  I complained, but we carried on, mitten-in-glove.  When we got to this favorite bridge of mine, Brandon made some small talk and then hugged me tightly.  Next he commented on how pretty the river looked, making me turn away from him.  When I turned back around he was on one knee and I really have no idea what all he said, but I know it was lovely and ended with "Will you marry me?"  I exclaimed "Of course!" with tears in my eyes.  We joke that we're not sure if it was because of how cold I was or how excited I was, because I do not cry often.

It's incredible how in that moment, then and there, I committed my life to him, to our life together. Now obviously sometimes engagements are broken off and saying "yes" to a proposal doesn't hold a flame to speaking your wedding vows, which promise your life "in good times and bad" to your spouse.  When Brandon proposed, though, then and there on the spot I was willing to say yes to all of our tomorrows.

As I look at our engagement pictures, I had this funny revelation that I said yes despite being blind to the future.  On that day, I could have never dreamed up our first-born, Silas, and yet here he is--an integral part of our lives for the rest of our lives.  Even right now I can't dream of what our family might look like in 10 years, what other little souls will be so much the focus of our lives.  On January 1st, 2011, when he pulled out that gorgeous ring, I said yes to really rough days, and hurt feelings, disappointments and disagreements, living far from family, and dealing with the many, many other things that will happen to us.  I also said yes to my vocation, to more joy than I could ever imagine, to many giggle fits and deep late-night conversations. Because that yes meant I would go through sickness and health with him.  It's incredible how risky this sounds, when you think about it logically.  But what I also said "yes" to was how I knew I felt about him.  I knew, right then and there, that I would be able to navigate life's rocky waters a little more gracefully if Brandon was co-captain of the boat.

So today, as it becomes a sliver clearer how much I really committed to in saying "of course," I am grateful that he is the man who got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife, even if it is obvious how very little we know about what the future holds for us.


Friday, August 9, 2013

Five Favorites (vol. 4)

Lately I've been trying to appreciate the little things in life that bring me joy.  Here are five of these favorite little things.

1. Having my toes painted.  Last Friday before the wedding the bride and her bridesmaids went to get manis/pedis. I really love both the process of having them painted (aka: a pedicure) as well as just looking down when I put on my shoes or cross my legs, and seeing my little piggies all cute and painted.  Although there is hardly ever a time when they're not done, it reminds me of summer.  Even if every other part of me is a mess, at least my toes are good to go.

2. Ice cream.  I can't think of a time where ice cream isn't a suitable treat.  I also can't think of a kind of ice cream I dislike, or even a variation. (Hello, gelato and fro-yo!)  Typically my pick is cookie dough, something with caramel in it, or vanilla with fruit on top.  But really, if you want to make my day, suggest that we go out for a scoop!

3. My husband's hand on the small of my back.  Ladies, you know what I'm talking about.  You're with a large group of people and that man you love walks up next to you and just places his hand on your back to let you know he's there.  Insta-butterflies in the stomach.

4. When someone you've been thinking about texts you. or calls or facebooks...I seriously love this "connection" and it brings a smile to my face when it's almost as though you were connected telepathically to that person.  I have quite a few friends who this has happened with.  My mom and I do it on a weekly basis.  We have literally called each other once at the same moment and we each got a busy signal!

5. Getting snail mail.  There really is something about a handwritten card with a stamp on it that comes in your mailbox...the one you actually have to walk outside to access.  I really love getting mail and often keep many of the cards I receive (and always try to return the favor and send out handwritten cards so that others get the rush of snail mail)

Check out Hallie's page for more five favorites.


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

One more hand.

Sometimes Mondays are hecka hard.  And sometimes they're really swell.  Yesterday I got dealt a swell one.  Silas took a cat nap in the morning and was very pleasant when he was awake, cooing and chuckling and un-clingy. The only time he cried is when I took a sip of water while nursing him and it went down the wrong pipe and I spit water all over him and myself.  He wasn't really a fan of being spit up on, but neither am I really...oh, how the tables were turned.

We went to two different stores where he just looked around like a little sweetheart, allowing me to walk the aisles of Target for far too long, looking at plenty of things I'm sure I'll need for something someday.  In the afternoon he slept for 3 hours, allowing me to take a little catnap and get some things done around the house.  I feel like there are a bajillion things that need to get done after not being home for 9 days and so it was really nice to do like three of them without also holding a baby.

Do you see the glee emanating from this happy baby? What a blessed mom I am.

You know what I've been wondering?  If human bodies evolve over time based on what we need, why don't women of childbearing age grow a third or fourth arm?  How have we not evolved into octopii? I'd even be alright with an extra hand, really. Quite the visual--an armless hand just sticking out from some new place on the body. I'm not sure where it could go--maybe somewhere near the hip area so that you could use that one hand to balance the babe on your hip while using the other two hands to deal with life.  There really could be some sort of talent show just to show off what you can do while holding a baby, with extra points if the child cannot hold up their own upper body yet.  We have all of these reality TV performance-type shows...I definitely think that loading the dishwasher or making a bed or putting on pants while holding a child who is maybe crying or perhaps just dropped their pacifier or spit up on your shoulder takes the cake as far as talent is concerned. Momma's Got Talent.  and the judges would have to be grandmothers because they've "been there, done that" probably with at least 3 children, which obviously makes them the rockstars who know better than anyone else which momma's are really good at it and which could use a little more practice.  Seriously, though, have you ever tried to put pants on while holding a baby?  That is something designed for two hands. You either decide not to wear pants or leave the button undone. And by not wearing pants I mean put on a skirt, not walk around pantsless.

As you can tell I've been doing a lot of baby-holding, especially last week.  Which is probably why yesterday felt so glorious.  The boy slept during the day and it wasn't on my lap! He slept soundly and peacefully and like a little angel for 3 whole hours in his swing. I got my old Silas baby back! Yes, I was just a little bit excited because by now you understand that I've been doing a whole lotta baby holding in the last week of my life. Don't get me wrong, it's not that I dislike it...I'm just not so interested in training to be an Olymplic gold-medalist in it quite yet.  Not until I grow that extra hand.

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