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Friday
May152015

the family baby shower

Almost a week ago, this past Saturday, Michael, my mother-in-law, my brother-in-law, and I drove to Atlanta for a baby shower that his family had planned for the twins. It was a celebration from the moment the front door was opened.

I haven't been to a baby shower since I was a kid tagging along with my mother and her friends, so I didn't know what to expect. This was entirely a family affair, boys included! (Well, okay, they got relegated to the kitchen dining table while all the girls got to catch up in the formal dining room, but they were definitely around for the game-playing and gift-opening and advice-giving.)

Everything, from the drinks to the menu to the addictive cookies that Michael's grandmother made, were true to theme and almost too pretty to eat. (I say almost because food--particularly those cookies--were wiped out fast.) We learned all about how much those tiny baby items really are with a clever "Price is Right" type of game and then oohed-and-aahed over the perfectly tiny and adorable baby presents. Michael's cousins, Rachel and Katie, made a "Mommy Survival Kit" which I was thrilled to bits about. (Note: When we got back home, I caught Michael sneaking candy out of my Kit. For Mommies only, I said!) The funniest segment of the party had to be when we were reading little advice cards stamped with blue baby feet. Turns out, Michael's younger cousins are excellent sources of information on how to take care of babies. 

It was never more clear to me than it was that wonderful weekend that when you marry someone, you're also marrying into a family. And I--and the boys--are so blessed with this one.

{all photos by Michael's wonderful cousin, Katie, whose Pinterest-savvy came in handy for the party}

 

 

Monday
May112015

the first mother's day

Yesterday was my very first Mother's Day. For the first time in a long while, I was actually looking forward to this holiday with optimism. I can't be alone in saying that this holiday is mostly bittersweet; surely others who have lost their mothers feel the same way. This year though, I wondered if my husband (lovingly thoughtful from day-to-day but perhaps not the most effusive when it comes to actual occasions) would remember that I kind-of-sort-of count as a mother this year.

I woke up early and was prepared to head downstairs to spend time with his family (this was also my "baby shower in Atlanta" weekend but that deserves a post of its own) when he sleepily asked me if I wanted to open my present. (As if he had to ask!) The fact that he remembered to write me an actual card was already special. Since I feel full of tummy these days and full of hormones--the caption alone was enough to make me sniffle--which turned into a full-on bawl when I read what he had to say. That woke him up in a hurry! The gifts were wonderful too; a candle from one of our favorite stores and a surprise from him and the boys (how could I not love these twins already?) that is taking place a few weeks from now.

The rest of the day was low-key, filled with conversation amidst beautiful hydrangeas and delicious food. It's another kind of gift to be a part of Michael's family, and I couldn't help but think about the years ahead--the twins interacting with this great jumble of cousins and aunts and uncles. So before I forget, before the sleep-deprived months, and since I fully expect this to be my most peaceful Mother's Day in a good long while... Thank you, Mama. You made my childhood a magical time, and somehow, you must still be pulling some strings up in heaven for me to have ended up here.

Monday
Apr202015

blessings

Last week, M and I took the plunge and announced via Facebook that we are expecting. This decision wasn't made lightly. As I've gotten older, my need to share on social media has conversely lessened. (This is actually something I've been thinking a lot about lately; those ruminations will have to be saved for a later post.) At the same time, with us living so far away from people we hold near and dear, it seemed like the best way to share the news. The well-wishes and, yes, the likes, felt wonderful, as did the amazement and many question marks after the word "twins."

Twins are the other reason we have been hesitant to make our announcement. With beautiful identical twin boys on the way, we are absolutely thrilled but, on the other end of the spectrum, continually worried. My two little buns are thriving so far, kicking constantly to express their love for Jeni's ice cream, Las Paletas, Oreos, and cherry soda (I know, I know, not the healthiest of lists), but the nature of my pregnancy is categorized at high-risk. While other moms can breathe a sigh of relief at certain milestones, I feel like all of our celebrations are also tempered with caution. Our doctors greet every light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel with a new concern to watch out for. I'm undecided on whether it is because of this or in spite of this that Michael and I have made a conscious effort to really enjoy every bit of this pregnancy, to celebrate this wondrous blessing. Two little ones! It has been much less of a challenge to turn away from the worries than I thought it would be, given my nature, but there is already so much joy and gratitude and love here. We wouldn't have it any other way.

Thursday
Mar262015

knock it off

After months of deliberation, we recently took the plunge and knocked out our first floor bedroom wall. We'd been using it as a dining room/office since we moved in and despite trepidation of how this would affect resale value, etc, we eventually decided that our home has to work for us, not for future buyers or for that hypothetical sale price. (It didn't hurt that I researched comps, and the two-bedrooms and three-bedrooms in our development sold for vitually the same price.) Determining exactly how to make that happen was another story, and then finding the right people to do it took some time, but et voila, it has been done.

It was a hard decision to make because here we were, tearing down a portion of a brand-new build (I think my husband found this particularly painful). For someone like me, who can hem and haw for over a year on a rug, who has no visualization skills whatsoever, it was nail-biting (if I were a nail biter). For days leading up to the demolition, I continually asked myself if this was the right thing to do, how would I feel if it wasn't, but then what would it be like if I chickened out and didn't go through with it... A person who leads with her gut, I most certainly am not. (My gut suffers from anxiety and probably needs a Xanax. And it hates all the pressure put on it to magically be right. It gave me its two-week notice when I was eleven.)

Now I'm thrilled with it. The amount of light in the house has increased significantly--and isn't there just something wonderful about an abundance of sunlight and hardwood floors? Everything feels airier and roomier, lighter. The room feels like it was meant to be this way from the very beginning. I love it.

In the three-day stretch of beautiful weather we've had in Nashville, I've been bit once more by the decorating bug. With the wall gone, it's become clear that some things have to move or be rid of entirely; I have so many ideas swirling around and whip out my tape measure constantly.

The beautiful thing is that, with each project I complete in the house, no matter how small or big, my confidence in making decisions and in my own style has boosted. Yes, I've made some mistakes, and there are things I know now that I wouldn't have done a year ago, but overall, this home ownership thing and the decorating that comes with it, has been a really positive learning experience. I still believe that a large part of "home" is that intangible thing shared with a partner that has nothing to do with a house, but that doesn't mean I derive any less joy from putting together the physical foundation that comforts, sustains, delights, and supports us. It's a wonderful feeling to have this trust in myself develop, to become increasingly less frazzled about committing to something, to knowing that I'm capable of making a space that is reflective of, and meant just for, my family.

{image via}

Monday
Mar232015

on the right foot

Sometimes, I get my weekend formula just right. I kicked off Saturday with a visit to Anthropologie to make sure I had a present for a friend's birthday brunch. How could anyone go wrong with Saturday morning in that store? Note to self: do this more often. And then the brunch was just lovely--and with all my favorites too, old-fashioned donuts and biscuits and gravy. The afternoon was spent reading and napping (I've been under the weather), and just when I thought too many hours were wasted, M made a delicious soup, extra impressive because there was no recipe involved, and we took a nice long walk together...and then I convinced him to wait in line with me at Jeni's and it kind of felt like a mini-date.

I always start my Sundays in the best way: going to Pure Barre with a friend and then whiling away the morning at Starbucks. I think it's a win-win: M gets his quiet time at home, lazing away on his PC, and I get girl time. By the time I arrive home, we're both energized and ready to tacke the day with whatever outings and chores we have planned. The cherry on top was a yummy dinner at Martin's BBQ (how Southern of us) with some good friends, early enouhg that we had time to unwind before heading to bed.

Not all weekends strike the right balance, but it is so nice when it happens because it is that much easier to roll out of bed on Monday with a smile on your face, ready to tacke the week. Good morning, everyone!

{image via}

Wednesday
Mar112015

springing forward

 

It's no coincidence that I've begun writing again just when the weather turned. The cold just got me down, just how down, I couldn't quite believe myself. I was a grump even on my way to the weekly friend dinners I enjoy so much. But this Sunday... This Sunday I was able to take a long walk around the neighborhood, something I haven't done since 2014! I enjoyed it so much that losing an hour didn't bother me; I was too busy basking in the sun.

Sunshine has been in hiding again, but I can't complain when it's in the 60s and the windows are open. I never minded gray and dreary days as long as I could feel a breeze. It feels fresh outside, damp, like flowers are meant to bloom and jaunts in the park are meant to be had. It feels like the promise of a great year.

I've been checking--and reacting to--the Weather app on my iPhone like it's the best telenovela ever. Hello, Spring.

{image via}

Sunday
Feb012015

short and sweet

Don't get me wrong, I loved January. How could I not? It was an adventure-filled, three-countries-visited-in-two-continents birthday month. I had wonderful birthday dinners celebrated in the company of great friends. Lots of highlights that month.

Yesterday, I found myself really looking forward to February. It's only twenty-eight days of cold (and, if the Nashville forecast is correct, some--thankfully--not so cold days), a perfect four weeks meant to be spent indoors. After all the shenanigans, I'm ready to spruce up the home base. We've been in this house for a year and a half now; it's time to put on the responsible homeowner hat.

I never got around to making New Year's resolutions and decided that I would take it month by month. February is going to be about regrouping, evaluating, and taking care of the relationships and possessions I am lucky enough to have. It won't be all fun and adventure but, I'm thinking, it might just be very satisfying.

{image via}