Monday, February 29, 2016

climbing stone mountain {a film!}

after approximately zero exercise for the last...ever since wilder was born? so...almost three years? j and i decided to climb a mountain. with our two toddlers. at first i thought this was a super good idea (sarcastically, obviously) and envisioned my babies falling off the mountain and tried to talk j out of it. he had never been, so he didn't know how horribly steep it got at the top. (it doesn't. but in my memory it became this sheer rock face that no one would survive.) but he didn't believe me and suddenly, a windy, chilly saturday morning seemed like the perfect time to attempt such an outing. we packed a picnic, bundled everyone up and put on our best hiking faces. i have to say i am quite proud of j for being the first up and getting us all out the door in record time! thanks j!

when we got to the mountain, everything was basically perfect. we couldn't have asked for better weather. the climb was really beautiful. evie stayed happy in a carrier on j's back the entire time (literally not a peep!)! wilder climbed almost the entire thing by himself! and we crossed something off our list of "things j hasn't done in atlanta"! it was definitely a thing to document. good thing we made a little film! it's a little long, but basically we look at these as family home movies that we will love watching later on, so we edited a lot, but just couldn't cut some parts out. hope you enjoy it:)

Friday, February 26, 2016

my second baby


this is my girl, evienne (this is not her birth announcement;). she is really wonderful. i think i may be trying to make up for the fact that i took far far fewer photos of her first year of life than i did of wilder's, by taking a bajillion photos of her now. but i keep thinking about how short this baby stage is. i've been thinking it the entire time she's been alive. with wilder, it felt in the beginning like he'd be a baby forever. i had almost zero experience with children before him. i nanny-ed briefly for a few months in my mid-twenties, and i babysat a few times for my niece and nephew when i was sixteen, but that basically was my extent of experience with children. growing up, i really had zero interest in kids. even my (younger!) brother held more babies than i did. and we had a lot of younger cousins growing up, so it's not like there was a short supply around us. i just never really paid attention to them. my mom even said that i ignored my brother for the first two years of his life! good thing you don't have to hand in a resume to have a baby! (which is weird right? maybe you should...)

but anyways, all during wilder's first year (or two) of life, everything was so big and mysterious to me. j had changed more diapers than i had! i had no idea about things like that some babies have to be trained to nap — they won't just fall asleep on their own, anywhere, whenever they are tired. or how to feed him. oh gosh, feeding wilder solids was just about the most stressful thing ever. i just couldn't comprehend which foods were liable to make him choke and which were okay, so i probably overdid it on the purees. i was so busy (and exhausted) with trying to get him to sleep and eat well, that i didn't realize how quickly he was growing. and believe me, i took photos of him every single day.

i didn't even really know the difference between a baby and a toddler. like, how much their little personalities develop and grow. or how much more you will worry about them when they are mobile and can get into anything. or the stress of suddenly realizing i should be teaching him to talk (i shouldn't have stressed. he talked early just fine.). and then the stress of realizing that he was not going to be as content with just rolling around in a blanket on the floor, haha! every new hurdle felt like it came moments after the last, so that there never seemed to be a chance for me to catch my breath. and in between all that, he grew up into a walking, talking, negotiating toddler!

i'm not saying i missed it. i was there for it. i documented him obsessively. i was one hundred percent savoring it (most of the time;). but still, i didn't realize how fast that baby stage would go. when evie came along, i constantly felt my attention divided between my two babies, unlike the first time when i could just dote on wilder all day long. that was hard. but, the anxiety i had with wilder was less, and i have also been more aware of just how short the baby stage is. and how precious. it might sound horrible to say but once you have a toddler, you realize how much easier babies actually are. once they are not your first baby;). maybe evie is actually the easiest baby i will ever have!

this is also going to sound insane but i've been doing this thing where i pretend that i have three kids, but maybe for the day or whatever, i only have to deal with two of them (i guess the other is in school?). basically i psyche myself out so that suddenly two seems really easy! a breeze! take two kids to the mall across town? sure! take two kids to Costco? anytime! take two kids to the park even though it's kinda cold and maybe a little muddy out? no problem! two kids? i can do this! (side note: don't try this at home until you've made it past the first year, or for at least the first three months. until then, two kids is not less than three, it's TWO. and it's just plain hard.) okay, yeah, that does sound a little insane, but anyways, it works! try it! because i don't know if i will have more kids, but if i do, i know i will look back on this time and be like it was so much easier! i should have done...when i only had two! i remember when my cousin had her second baby and i had just had wilder and she told me "go shopping and do fun things now while you only have one." i didn't take her advice because one felt really monumental to me, but now i totally get what she was saying. and i'm sure now that she has three, she'd tell me the same thing again. ;)

anyways, back to my point.

my point is, i'm soaking up these baby stages. and i want to take as many pictures as i can before she starts walking all the time or talking. we are so close to those stages, i can tell. but not yet. not yet.


Thursday, February 25, 2016

weekly portraits


this week has been a little slower than usual due to sickness. when monday morning starts with a puking toddler at 4:30am, followed by more puking in the car (puked on carseats should just be chucked right away, right?! that should be a law or something) on the way to the doctor's office, everything starts to feel a little off. i've felt all week like i'm running behind (definitely not caught up on chores or laundry). but what's strange is how content i've felt to just be home this week. maybe because toddlers aren't bouncing off the walls driving you crazy when they're sick. ;) poor little guy. wilder is probably the best sick baby, ever. he really is so good when he's sick. evie, on the other hand, is a little more dramatic, haha, but that's okay, it's part of her charm. ;)

i've spent all week in my pajamas and haven't really accomplished all that much, but it was so nice to have an excuse to slow down and hold my babies. even though i'm a stay at home mom, i can forget to just get on the floor to play or sit and hold them for longer than two minutes. the never-ending to-do list of chores and things around the house is constantly calling my name, and sometimes, it's far easier to get to all those things on the list than to sit and read books or build forts. but this week, we did a lot of more sitting and snuggling, and it was good.

i did also take a few random shots of my babes with all the nice overcast light we're having.

runs around pretending to "fight" all day because we let him watch kung fu panda (he didn't like it) and toy story 2 (not this either). i am not thrilled. is this just something all boys do?
loves pretending that lars and his teddy (and the rest of the family) are star wars characters. and this morning he said he wants to go buy "a finn" (action figure). so yeah.
has also been saying "let's go somewhere" all day. i guess he's tired of being cooped up too?
does not understand the question "why" yet. thank goodness. ;)

makes the funniest faces, with no idea she's doing it. like even funnier than her brother was(!).
is BB8 according to wilder (he has only ever seen the characters, but clearly he's already obsessed).
has been on my hip all day, all week long. which i love but which makes getting anything done hard.
says "papa" whenever i ask her to say "mama." ha!
is simultaneously more independent and more of a cuddler than her brother.
has decided to like fruit. sometimes.


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

a kitchen perspective


so much of life is perspective.

i sometimes hate this kitchen. actually, a lot of times i hate this kitchen. it's funny how you can start to love sad, ugly things though. like this kitchen. i really, really don't like the fake wood laminate countertops and back splash (who does?!). or the really bad caulk job on the sink. or the peeling paint. or all the nooks and crannies that just never seem to get clean.

so much of my life seems to take place in the kitchen these days. it amazes me sometimes how many meals there are in a day (and snacks! sometimes snacks are like another meal altogether!). how so many people with multiple kids get around to baking or home-made yogurt is beyond me. i am truly maxed out in the kitchen, right now.

also, i feel like this season of illnesses has been exponentially longer than any i've ever experienced. i'm sure it has to do with adding another kid to the mix and having little friends who are school-age, too, but we sure have been through the ringer. (will it ever end?!) and so it seems like every sunday i am cooking up a big batch of chicken rice soup and then putting a pot of bone broth on the stove, too.

sometimes i wish i had more time to feel relaxed and happy in the kitchen instead of my usual, frantic chaos, just trying to get food on the table before someone falls off a piece of furniture, gets smothered by their older sibling, starts to meltdown and/or demands to be held. right now the kitchen feels like my angry place, haha.

and, yet.

this kitchen takes care of this little family of mine.
because of this kitchen, i can stay home with my babies.
because of this kitchen, i am able to feed and nourish the little (and big) bodies in this house.
and because of this kitchen, i feel the satisfaction of hard work.

when i'm washing the dishes and wiping down all the surfaces every night after a long day, i feel a little joy in it. it is a place of work, yes. but it is also a place of satisfaction. i think that's the dividends from hard work for the ones we love.

and it's also, my little kitchen. it's not much. it's really poorly made. none of the cabinets are flush. the drawers are too narrow for utensil organizers. it's kind of ugly. and dirty. but it's ours. and it reminds me of the blessings we have. the blessing of being home in these precious years.

i think part of the joy is in taking care of it, even when it's not much. even when it seems that all my efforts of cleaning don't pay off all that much (and have to be repeated every.single.night). there is joy in the simple, hard things that are ours. that are imperfect, flawed. sometimes, ridiculously flawed. and yet, they are ours.

i really am talking about my kitchen, but i believe this applies to so many other things in life. lately i've been thinking about how happiness is a choice. how so much of what we love is a choice.

sometimes, it's hard to see. this kitchen might be (and yes, often has been) a depressing space for me. the overhead fluorescent lights are exposed. the fridge is too small, too beige. everything is a sickly shade of orangey-yellow (you should have seen it with wallpaper!). there's not enough counter-space and i'd love a full-size oven. but it has also been so full of things that transform it into something to cherish, to love. it's a space i work hard in and work hard to take care of, to keep clean, to make comfortable and useful. it's a space to make pancakes with my firstborn. it's a space to watch my littles help me unload the dishwasher. it's a space for collecting the art work wilder has made us. it's a space for our family to-do list. it's a space for holding my grandmother's fine china. those things make it beautiful.

so many things in life are hard, are ugly, are sad, are hopeless-seeming. but also, so much of what i've thought was hard, ugly, sad, hopeless, depends entirely upon my perspective. and my choice. on my willingness to see past the defects, the imperfections, the flaws. to believe in what is good about it. to let it overwhelm my feelings, instead of trusting what i feel.

the more i look for the good, the more i believe in the good, the more i find it. it's everywhere! of course, truly, sometimes it's easier to find and sometimes it's harder. sometimes it's impossible. but we often have a choice of what we will allow ourselves to be open to. what we allow to overcome ourselves, even. our expectations, our desires, our limited sight, our hopes, our feelings.

obviously, i'm not talking about the really, really hard things in life. there is hard. and then there is tragedy and trauma and heartbreak. and those can't just be made beautiful and good by looking for it.  i would never tell someone in grief that they should look at things differently. or that they even have the choice. none of us knows what anyone else's choices really are.

but for me, i'm starting to realize that with many things in my life, i have a choice.

and even though this kitchen is ugly, i choose to see the good in it.

i would still love granite countertops and a fireplace and etc. but i'm thankful for the opportunity to love the ugly things, too. the things that are my blessings, though i don't always recognize them.

i've bathed my beautiful baby girl in this kitchen sink (it's also the sink that caught all wilder's throw up yesterday!;).

and how could i ever hate a kitchen that contained all this beauty and love and joy?


i adore adore adore her.

i love you, you old, ugly kitchen!

Monday, February 22, 2016

date night at the high museum {a film!}

on friday night, j and i got a babysitter and went on a date to the high museum. it had been awhile and we were out of practice, so we...missed our exit, sat in traffic, took a wrong turn, circled a few parking garages (j), got super car sick (me)...basically it was like a normal day with us! ;) but we did make it to the museum! it was definitely worth all the crazy and hopefully we'll do it again sometime. especially since that was j's first time to the high, and we barely scratched the surface of what there is to see. the high is amazing! you should go! also, tickets are half-price on the third friday of every month and it stays open late, so there's your next date night planned! boom.

we also made a little video of our date, if you want to see it. with some extra cool shots of our bedroom/bathroom/closet which will probably make you feel really good about yours, as those are the last areas of our house to remain untouched. you're welcome. ;)

thanks for the date, j! always a pleasure looking at art with you!

Friday, February 19, 2016

weekly portraits



likes me to chase and tickle him.
calls hummus "thomas."
always asks me to sing "the trash can song". there is no melody and no formal wording. if he asks you to sing it, you should make up your own tune and sing about putting him in the trash can and giving him all the food he likes to eat (fruit, yogurt, sweets, crackers). i always like to throw in things like spaghetti, hamburgers, pad thai and sweet potatoes, too. subliminal messaging, you know.
says "come here, evie" in the cutest, sweetest little voice ever.
likes to take "airplane" rides on my legs.
used to like to share my lipstick and chapstick, but no longer. hence the chapped lips.
just discovered that my eyebrows have hair on them. then leaned in to hug me. it felt a little consolatory. haha!


is still finding these kazoo lips from her birthday all over the house and putting them in her mouth. then i always take a picture, because it's the cutest thing i've ever seen.
is starting to cry at every meal if i don't give her her own utensil to play with.
tries to put on wilder's hats, which is also the cutest thing i've ever seen.
likes to shake her head really fast (but it looks like slow motion because she's one) when she's in her high chair. a propos of nothing. it's hilarious.
has only recently been introduced to the park (while awake) and gets very solemn whenever i put her down.
has a shy side.
starts scrambling and breathing so hard it sounds like a wheeze whenever she sees an open gate. ha!
hates to have her hands held.


Thursday, February 18, 2016

in real life


it's funny (or possibly not at all funny) how sometimes it feels like i'm living two lives — a virtual life, where i am looking at/pondering things from other people's lives that i see online, and my real life, that has zero to do with any of those things on line. it's funny and sad actually, because it's much too easy to try to have this online life and to get caught up in it, when it's not real at all. which is a weird thing to say on a blog. i don't mind if you want to stop reading now and go back to your real life. i don't mind talking to myself here. ;)

in my virtual life, lately, i've been lusting after other people's instagram feeds. more specifically, i've been lusting after their marble countertops and beautiful kitchen fireplaces. and then that sort of trails over into my real life with me starting to think, where's MY marble countertop and beautiful fireplace??

but in real life, that's not what's happening at all. in real life, i'm thinking about delaying pre-school, instead of sending them in the fall, which is what i was originally thinking. is that bad? talk me out of it. i don't know what i'm doing here.

in real life, i'm trying to make date night happen. it's been waaaay too long (or it feels like it anyways) since we had a date night, and we are sorely in need of some child-free time.

in real life, i'm thinking about dinner (always and never in equal measure;). i hate making dinner, by the way. did you know? i told j this morning that i would try to make dinner tonight. but i basically always make dinner, so that was really b-speak for "or maybe i won't." ha! so far, i have a kale salad that i made yesterday (sooo good! totally worth the hassle!) and defrosting chicken thighs. who knows what will become of them.

in real life, we have probably gone far too many days in our pajamas.

in real life, i'm thinking about throwing out most of the toys, because basically a few boxes are all kids need to be happy (and maybe something to climb on) and because i'm really done with picking them all up at the end of every night. i know i need to train them to help, but we're spread thin on the battlefront right now.

in real life, i'm hoping all our travel plans for this year pan out, because we traveled basically zero last year, and it was necessary, but i so have the wanderlust.

in real life, wilder has been coming to sleep on the couch with me in the middle of the night for the past week and a half (j is quarantined in our room with the flu), and it was really dreamy the first night. after that, i've gotten really mad in the middle of the night every night, and i feel really bad when other people talk about how they always let their kids sleep with them, and i worry that i'm a terrible mother. but also, i need some sleep.

in real life, we have walked a giant circle around our house, me carrying evie on my back, wilder holding my hand and yelling at lars to "come on!" and "be careful lars! don't fall down there!" (talking about the drainage ditch on the side of our house), while we search for rocks for his rock collection and play red light/green light, a million times.

in real life, we found a dandelion in the yard and blew (spit) on it and also went to the park twice, so that means spring is here, right?

in real life, i'm wondering what you do to boost an immune system? is there a doctor that specializes in that? maybe i need to crowd-source this topic. which might be hard if i'm talking to myself. hmmm. anybody?

these photos of my darlings from around here lately are totally worth your virtual (and real) time:

evie has yet to meet a box or a basket that did not demand she dump out its contents and climb inside it. it's practically compulsive. like a cat.

my handsome boy


teething i think?


little friends.

everything in the mouth. wilder is now refusing to let evie taste his toys.

that kale salad i was telling you about

scream crying at me to pick her up


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

a january list.

Blog - January list

i, like most of the rest of the world, do something at the beginning of every year. i make a list. a note to self. a journal entry. an essay. it's not exactly new year's resolutions...ok, yes, that basically is what it is. but i call it a january list.

what i love about this list at the beginning of every year is how it feels like a blank slate, like a possibility. like i haven't rewritten this exact list nearly every year since i realized college was over (which took a really long time, because i kept going back to school). the other thing i like is when i read back over this list, later in the year or years later, and realize how many of those things i actually did. i think it's a little because when you write it down, you make an intention for your year, and even if you don't refer back to the list or even think about it consciously at all, somewhere your subconscious has kept track of that intention. basically, more things get done if you put them into a list. which is what i'm always telling j. but ANYways. ;)

i realize it's february, so this is kind of not relevant (or is it!), but i've been thinking lately about the list i made in january. i also think a lot about an article like this article (not this exact article, but i can't find the exact article so this article has to do) that i read a year or so ago. it's about the theory that you only have 4 burners (the burners being your capacity/time you have to give to things), and that if you want to be "successful" you have to turn off or down one of your burners. you can't successfully do 4 things at one time, the theory goes. well, i don't really care all that much about the rules and theories of it, but i do think it's an interesting idea. and it kind of helps me put into perspective why dinnertime (or Lars) might be super neglected or why i'm not actually writing anything — because i have too many burners going. so, this idea is a hard one to combine with my january list because a january list has more than three things on it. at least mine does, because i get kind of excited (over-ambitious) about january lists so i tend to make them long.

after i make my list, i usually circle a few that are the most important. because obviously "eat more veggies" is just not on par with "write another novel." a lot of the things i write down are more like wishes or hopes. i don't intend to beat myself up about them, but if they could just sort of happen that would be great. (ha! wouldn't all of life?)

my big three (4? 5?) (wishes? hopes? goals?) for this year are:

1. read the Bible and the ministry am and pm.
(this is always at the top of my lists. it's also always the hardest one.)

2. write another novel

3. be present with my kids and
(4.) take weekly photos of them
(and (5.) blog said photos)
(yes, this list is getting really screwy. i'm starting to see why i maybe don't get more done.)

in-between the lines of these "resolutions" are a few things on my list which are also implied in the success of these, like "continue not watching tv (except downton abbey)." tv-watching and (let's be honest) book-reading are my number 1 and 2 enemies to the big three. mostly because it's hard to do them in moderation. like, i find it hard to go to bed when i'm in the middle of a good book. i blame that on my mother, who did, upon one occasion at least, stay up all night reading a book to us. i love that about her so much. may i be the same way, even if it interferes with my "list."

i'm not entirely sure if or when i'll get to number 2 (hopefully before nanowrimo is all i ask). that is currently making me a little crazy. in the past, the only way has been to get up at a horribly dark hour of morning (night in my opinion). and i'm gearing up for that, but it really takes some gearing up and some desperation. i am soooo not a morning person.

i'm also not being very consistent with number 1, so feel free to encourage me in that direction. ;)

basically what i'm saying to you is that it's been almost two months and all i've done with it is take some photos of my kids. and i don't even have a great dinner-making or dog-walking record for the past two months to blame! all i have is the excuses of sickness, restarting this blog, and the daily mundanity. somehow (i'm still trying to figure out how), those things take up way more time than i plan. obviously this is not a how-to article and clearly you will not be coming to me about how to be more productive with your life.

do you have a january list? or a big three? if so, i'd love to hear them!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

note to self: the truth about right now


right now is sucking a little bit, if you want the truth. from the flu that just keeps giving (apparently you can give yourself pink eye?!) to the been-inside-for-what-feels-like-years-now to the resentments congealing on top of every little tone, it's not been the most stellar of februaries (last year's was pretty terrible too now i think about it...winter is not our time of year...), and i'm sorry to say i've not been hitting it out of the park in the grace and forbearance department. often in these kinds of circumstances, i put my head down, grimace and bear it. i just try to get through it, and basically will the days away. i go through the motions of breakfast, lunch, dinner, bedtime, with some laundry-folding, fight-break-up-ing, book-reading, dish-washing in between. and it pretty much is awful, until a change of scene, a bit of sunshine, some friends, and some gratitude intervenes.

yesterday, it hit me: you need some gratitude.

then, a friend texted me. and i was miserable and complain-y. i may have cried a little into my daughter's bib. and then, i started to count my blessings, because i have so many, but they can be easy to lose sight of sometimes.

today,  i'm grateful for:

1. the chance to be home with my babies...even if i sometimes wish that would look a little bit more like this and a little bit less like this.

2. our new coffee maker, which i teased j for getting (i'm convinced he is incapable of being satisfied with any coffee for long), but now i take all my eye rolls back. all of them.

3. the coziest slippers j got me this past winter.

4. love day flowers and that giant box of chocolate-covered strawberries that i ate almost all by myself.

5. the sweetness of my baby boy napping. oh gosh his little face! i get so frustrated when he won't stay in his room at nap time, and then i practically melt all over his face when i go to wake him up.

6. the sweetest, cuddliest, huggable-est baby toddler girl who is still more baby than toddler. (let it always be so!)

7. the best of friends who are just a text away.

8. the best of friends who send you flowers overnight.

there! i mean, what was i even complaining about yesterday (and all weekend long;)??

i am really the luckiest.

and i'm ever so grateful.


Monday, February 15, 2016

weekly portraits (from last week)



likes to break apart sugar snap pea pods bit by bit to eat the peas inside.
doesn't like to wear socks.
has all the excuses in the world to keep from going to bed.
still calls a flamingo a "feengowo". please can that go on forever?
is almost ready for another botched haircut by yours truly.
will occasionally get into bed with me in the morning and actually go back to sleep, and it's just about the best thing ever.
is obsessed with this book "bon appetit" about a little boy named Bertie who gets lost in his hotel in Paris while finding food (pie, cheese, fruit, juice...basically wilder's entire food lexicon). meanwhile in real life (in actual real life), dinner is a battle every night.


likes to throw unwelcome food on the floor.
teething all the time.
still falls asleep like a champ, pretty much anywhere (bless her!).
is walking so well now, but hasn't completely figured out turning or stopping.
is looking good in all of her big brother's clothes.
is the cutest thing in pigtails, ever.
has a babble that sounds like "yummy yummy yummy" when i bring food out to the table at mealtimes.
stares up at her new ceiling stars in awe when i'm putting her down at night.

and now for some photos i took during one of the days last week when we were cooped up inside. i'm not sure when's the last time any of us saw any sunshine. well technically the sun was shining on saturday when i took them out to the park in 36 degree temperature, which i realize sounds so wimpy to all your northerners, but to us southerners with flu lurking in all the corners of our house, it seemed way too cold to be out. also, we don't have big winter coats.


Friday, February 12, 2016

love day muffins


this never ever happens, but somehow i was ahead of my game this week and actually did something to celebrate a holiday. my mother always said that mother's day and valentine's and all those other holidays were created by hallmark, so people would buy more cards. but i am totally a sucker for this kind of cheesy thing. so, when i popped to the store wednesday night for cold medicine, i decided to pick up some heavy whipping cream while i was at it, and then on thursday, what do you know, we were "baking a looooove cake!" (daniel tiger reference, if you didn't get that). many love cakes, to be precise. and actually they were zucchini chocolate chip muffins with a whipped cream icing, if you really want to know. heavy on the chocolate chips. i can't give it a five star review, because they were a little on the sweet and lumpy side for my taste, but that's probably all my fault since i fiddled with the recipe (doubled it, cut the sugar in half, subbed applesauce for the oil and heavy-handed the chocolate chip pour).

wilder and evienne (but mainly wilder) were my partners in crime. it was my first time with both littles in the kitchen and trust me, these photos do not do that madness justice. evienne ate some dog food (again!?), pulled all the plastic wear out of the drawer, dropped some glass jars and cried about it (nothing broke), and managed to climb up on a stool when i wasn't looking. i turned around and suddenly evienne was as tall as i was! i should probably be used to her sneakiness by now, but somehow i'm always surprised.

wilder, who always asks to help me out in the kitchen, was a wonderful sous-chef, like always. he helped me shake all the things. then he held my measuring cup sideways while i measured out the dry ingredients, helped me shred the zucchini, cracked some eggs, and put the muffin liners in the tin. his role really came into play during the taste-testing though.

suffice it to say that doing kitchen projects with the littles is tons of fun. also messy and exhausting. but you know, mostly fun. ;)

and now i should probably find someone to visit today, because we have waaaaay too many love muffins in this house!

oh well hello there evienne!