Friday, November 20, 2015

Hawaii Snapshots

Going to Kauai with my family was the most amazing thing. There were plenty of extra arms to wrangle babies and jump in the waves with them. There were extra eyes and shifts taken for nights out. Sunscreen, shampoo, and diapers were shared. It was a communal effort that made for a blissful trip.

I have a tendency to set my expectations too high, so I decided before we left that I couldn't complain. I thought to myself, "You are going to be in Hawaii with your whole family, even if the sky pours down rain the entire time, just be grateful." Singing this song helped a great deal, especially when my younger siblings had a harder time when things did not turn out perfectly. My main goal for this trip was to visit the beach as much as possible. I did away with my tendency towards lists of places to visit and things to do. It was bliss and it restored me.

I was reminded that this is exactly how I should be living my daily life. Focusing on time with my family and soaking them in.

One day in Hawaii, I spent one-on-one time with Max sitting next to him as he played in the sand while Kyle was at the condo watching Daniel while he slept. I sat there as my child played, no phone (too sandy), no camera (too sandy), no book (too sandy) and felt so connected as I sifted through the sand myself. There was time and space to think, to assess, to step back and gain perspective and what I saw was someone who is constantly waiting for the next thing; for student loans to be gone, for the weekend to show up, for Kyle to get home from work. In that moment, it became very clear to me that I cannot live this life waiting and if I do, I will miss out on what is happening right before my very eyes. I will miss all the mischievous moments, the tender brotherly moments, the bursting with joy moments.

So I made a pact with myself to work harder at bringing that Hawaii mentality to life here in Washington. If you find me walking around in my swimming suit...don't be too surprised!

Hawaii Snapshots (a lot of baby bum shots!):


Friday, November 13, 2015



vacation+computer troubles+sickness+netflix binging+lethargy=no recent blog posts

It made me sad too.

So this week I pulled myself up by the bootstraps. I returned to the things that help me get through the day. We started a daily service activity for the month and it has been such a positive thing for Max and myself. We got outside as a family and I brought my camera and exercised my creative muscles a little bit and I feel so much better overall. Those small simple things always add up and make such a big difference in my life.

So grateful for the beautiful outdoors. So grateful for time to spend with my family.


Max is learning how to make friends and it is so hard not to try to force him to be nice (like that is even possible) and not tease/annoy everyone. Everyday he tells me all about his escapades as school and I have to cringe a little bit, because I so badly just want him to be that sweet and gentle mannered child but that is just not Max. He is strong and loud and funny and a little resistant towards the necessity of kindness. He demands it for himself of course, but anything goes for everyone else in his mind. So we are learning, slowly. But I know that it will stick at some point. I will not give up.

Daniel is also learning kindness in the form of being gentle. He is obsessed with feeding himself yogurt and is walking, going on for about a month now (made the decision that walking>crawling in Hawaii).  He is still smiley and cheesy and squishy and just tries to learn from Max but stay out of the path of his fury. This has made him both tough and sensitive in the process. It is hard to know whether or not to step back or swoop in. Depends on the day and the level of hurt mostly.

Grateful for these days with little ones, as hard as they are. So I am trying to get as much snuggles and coloring and dancing with them and their lack of inhibition in as much as possible. Grateful to be able to.

Friday, October 9, 2015


It has been a wonderful week. Earlier in the week I went on my first hike sans Kyle and it went really well. It was super sporadic but I was so glad we did it. I love getting outside and the weather is so beautiful right now it is hard to not want to get out and enjoy it.

Max had school pictures this week and refused to let me trim his hair. Also, when I picked him up, I asked him to show me his smile. Man I cannot wait for the hard copy to show up! It is going to be awesome.

Daniel has finished cutting some new teeth (including a pair of molars) and his spirits are on the rise. He keeps adding new tricks like sticking out his tongue and dancing which brightens my day every single time he shows them off.
Snapshots from this week.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

My Choice

Motherhood is not as seamlessly easy as I thought it would be.

This was a surprise. I have worked at summer camps and in daycare and as a nanny, all very mother-oriented positions, or so I thought.

As I approached my final year of college, and I was trying to figure out what I was supposed to do with this one "wild and precious life" (Thanks Mary Oliver!) like most of my other classmates. I had spent four years discovering that I LOVED literature. I loved exploring themes and ideas and dissecting characters and plots. I loved the analysis and the discussions in class. This led me toward pursuing a masters in teaching and as I was preparing for that next step, it suddenly seemed completely wrong.

Suddenly I very much wanted to be a mother, more specifically a stay-at-home mother. I could imagine it vividly and it seemed like there were signs all over signaling a switch in my course. Becoming a mother felt undeniably right. It was seated deep within my heart and this desire to raise up children swelled within me. I was so excited.

A few years and a couple of children later, I often find myself struggling under the immense implications of choosing to be a stay-at-home mother. When I made the choice, I was so sure, so confident. I knew that many would not understand. I knew that many would see this as a step back for feminism. I knew that many would think it wasn't my choice and that I was throwing away years of education.

What I did not get was how thankless this job is, how much guilt and shame is associated with it, how looked down upon one can feel as a stay-at-home mother.

I surprised me how hard it was, how exhausting, how soul-stretching. 

I have doubted my initial choice many times.

Each time I doubt my initial choice, I go back to my love of analysis and discussion. I talk to my husband, to family, to friends. I study books and blogs and scripture. I pray and write and think. Every single time the answer has come back that I need to continue being a stay-at-home mother and each time I understand that choice a little better.

This last time there was more to the reaffirmation of my choice. As I was pondering, a thought came to me as clear as day, Just because a choice is right, does not mean it will be easy.

The image of a professional outside the home came to me. I imagined this person who chose a job they loved and worked hard at, but they struggled with it at times too. The job was not easy, and at times they doubted if their work was what they should really be doing, but ultimately they loved it and pursued onward, even when it was hard.

I don't know why this was so eye-opening to me, because frankly it seems obvious. Of course the right choice for you isn't always easy! The debate between staying at home as a mother and working is long and exhaustive and the correct choice will be different for everyone, but what is amazing is that we have the choice and we get to choose for ourselves.

We have the ability to figure out what feels right and best for us. Sometimes what is right and best for us won't always make us feel good because doing hard work is always soul-stretching, but we must have confidence in our ability to choose.

We may have to make the same choice over and over, or somewhere down the line it might feel right to change, to take a step in another direction. Whatever the path may be, we have the ability to know for ourselves and to know that truth with peace and confidence.

Even when you are sleep-deprived, emotionally spent, frustrated, and haven't showered in 3 days.

Friday, September 25, 2015


I wish I could have complete control over the choices of my children sometimes. Sometimes the effort to get them to make good choices and have them completely resist everything you are trying to ingrain into their little minds is humorous.

Most of the time it is exhausting and frustrating.

Have you ever seen a harried mother in a grocery store? I am sure you have. I am often that mother and I can tell you that it is as embarrassing and shameful as it looks. There is such an immense pressure to get your children to behave and be polite and courteous and a majority of the time your efforts are there and they just don't measure up.

I try to extend as much grace and mercy as possible to those around me that often I forget to extend it towards myself. Of course I want to raise children who are kind and good and polite, but it is a process and there will be trying moments where you will be completely humbled by your children. When your baby is climbing out of the cart because the seat buckle is always broken (ALWAYS!) and your preschooler is running in circles knocking candy bars off the rack and you haven't had a decent nights sleep in a year and you are just trying to get out of the store quickly because your preschooler also notified you that he has to pee and it is much easier to accomplish that at home than to maneuver yourself back through the aisles to the bathroom. I calmly try to keep the baby seated and calmly try to urge the energetic child to slow down and listen to my hiss to stop.

I feel insane. Once I manage to get us all back into the car safely after treading through the parking lot with a baby on one hip and the child by my side and bags on my arms, I take a breath. I breath to calm my heart and mind. To try to discern where I went wrong. What could I have done more to not be THAT mom, the one everyone side eyes with pity or contempt and sometimes even facebook posts.

I could have prepared better yes. I could have paid more attention the carts and given my toddler clearer instructions on behavior ahead of time. Given him some sort of choice to help him feel like he had control over his own will. There is a lot I could have done and that I will probably do in the future, but most of all at the end of the day, I rely on mercy.

I am one person, one imperfect person who is TRYING. Trying to raise good and kind children in a world with a lot of competing values of judgement and selfishness and contempt. Where I fall short, He steps in. There will always be things that are overlooked and mistakes made, but if I am trying with a sincere desire to do right, I KNOW He will fill in those gaps and shortcomings. I know because I have seen Him do it before in my life.

 I hope that when you see that mother in the grocery store that you will extend grace. That you do it through kind words (I once had another mother look at me and say, "You are doing great." My eyes swelled with tears from that earthly angel. Some days are HARD). You can do it by offering assistance. If you have no children and grab a cart, look at the buckles! Are there two straps? Are the buckles intact? Give it to the next mom who walks in heading towards the carts with a baby or toddler. If you don't know what else to do, smile and buy her a candy bar (trust me she WILL eat it!).


Max's laughter lights up the world.

Daniel waiting for someone to open the door.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

A Saturday Outing

We all feel asleep during Daniel's nap on Saturday and when I woke up I was charged! I shot up out of bed and all the busyness and disconnectedness of the week, all my frustrations trying to get Max to listen and Daniel to sleep piled up and I marched into the living room.

"Get up!" I declared to Kyle. "We are going outside! We are getting out of this house and doing SOMETHING!"

We had spent the day doing chores, mowing the lawn, vacuuming, laundry, catching up on overlooked areas of the week. It was necessary but frustrating. 

It is easy to get trapped in your own surroundings; to become so content with the daily to do list that you never explore or connect with anything beyond the four walls of your home. It is extra work but getting outside for me ALWAYS pays off. It restores and brings a peace that is so deeply healing.

So out we went!

I don't want to waste this life constantly worried with those to do lists. They are necessary and important but there is wiggle room. Wrinkled clothes, dirty dishes in the sink, a floor needing to be swept; these are far less important than rocks to be skipped, water-skimmers to be caught, and memories to be made and cherished doing it together. I want my ordinary days to be filled with these moments.

Grateful for the escape of the outdoors and the perspective it provides.

Friday, September 18, 2015


Ever since I was little I cannot remember taking my time reading a book. I was always swept into stories and excitedly tore through the pages, grasping for the finish. I am still obsessed with that transportation and the way it makes me see the world with fresh eyes.

It however does not go well with my current lifestyle. 

As a child and teenager I could easily read all day without interruption and fairly late into the night with little consequence. During the summer I turned into a nocturnal creature appreciative of the quiet and coolness that came with the night. I loved most assigned reading throughout high school and college (there are always exceptions of course) and even while a nanny in Seattle I immersed myself during nap times and happily finished once I got home. 

But now, my binge reading does not work very well. To carve out time I ignore and distract and hide away trying to eek out another chapter. The house gets messier and everyone is crabbier. 

Except for me of course. I am contentedly reading away; lost in another world for a few moments before I am inevitably forced to snap back to reality. 

A reality that I LOVE. 

It's funny, because as much as I love diving into the fairy tales and epic sagas, I like the story I am writing with my life best.

Now if I can just figure out how to read like a normal person....any tips on how to read without ignoring the world?

Snapshots from this week:


 Baby blues.