fresh ink and a new flight


Maybe I’m having a bit of a Jo March moment this morning.

Blogging has been on my back burner for awhile, and clicking this blank page open feels both therapeutic and daunting. For once, I am the only one awake in the house, mentally percolating. It’s too early for coffee (5:30am), and my eyes are barely open, but I must write to process. Why not share it with you, too? So good morning, and I hope by the time you read this I’ve awoken enough to edit it into making sense, and we’ve both had our coffee. :)

Over the last three years, there have been distinct moments of placing that final period in one chapter in my life, and writing a crisp new chapter number on the next page the next morning. This is one of those mornings. The story continues, but it has a different look, a different feel, a new setting, an unknown element about it that makes me both hopeful and uncomfortable. But like all first sentences, this new morning sets the tone for this next chapter, and I’m happy this one begins with me back in my element, here, writing, with you.

I met Jona in August of 2012 on a plane to Portland, Oregon. It was my 30th birthday gift from my husband, a quick weekend getaway–our first in forever, leaving both of our baby girls with the grandparents for the first time. I remember spotting the band Everclear in the airport before boarding–hello, 1998–and whispering to R about it, but being too chicken to say anything as I passed them walking down the aisle. I wished I had been wearing big black boots and had an old suitcase–but you know. You can’t prepare for these things.

Raul and I found our seats, one row apart. I was on the aisle, next to a woman about my age with a young daughter and small baby boy. I smiled because my baby girl, Natalie, was around the same age. Instinctually I said, “Please let me know if you need anything, any help with your little guy…” Once a mother, always a mother, right? I’m pretty sure I motioned to Raul to look at how cute this little baby was, too.

I cracked open my book, eager to finish it, and settled into the flight. I read and sipped my tomato juice until the woman asked if I could keep an eye on her daughter while she went to change her baby. The girl, about 7 or 8, began talking to me instantly, showing me pictures of her baby brother on her phone, telling me about all the cute things he did. I watched a few shaky videos she had taken of him and wondered what my girls would be like at this age.

Looking back, even these moments felt familiar, despite being complete strangers. The woman returned, and we exchanged niceties and relatable mommy stories. Out of the blue, she mentioned she was a part of a Bible study. I will always be thankful for this quick, but so pertinent, statement. The floodgates opened then, and as soon as I said, “me too!” our non-stop flight was more like non-stop talking. I asked her if she was connected to any mom groups, and invited her to MOPS. She wrote down her contact info, which I still have tacked to my bulletin board. “From the plane” is jotted beneath her name and number.

When I left a message for her the next week, I had no idea what would blossom from a simple invitation.

So often, you put yourself out there, and nothing comes of it. And I’m finally digesting that that’s okay. Your authenticity will draw the right person, or people, to you, and if and when something flourishes, it’s gold, Jerry. The last three years have been precious to me for many reasons, but today, I thank God for my friend, and the gift of a sweet friendship that is lifelong.

Jona from the plane boards another plane today, to live in a new city, across the ocean, far away from here. My youngest daughter said to me yesterday, “She’s family, mommy, it’s okay. We’ll see her again.” Lordwilling and you bet, baby girl. Beth Moore has said that saying goodbye is a necessary life skill, and I freely admit that my version is more like a puddle than any sort of skill at all, but it is what it is. I’m kind of okay with being messy in this way though because when you miss your people, you just do, and tears are part of that.

Seasons change….settings change…but the hope the Lord scatters in our lives in so many ways, doesn’t, and never will. Today as I watch the sun rise up through the trees, I’m reminded of his goodness and that He is purposeful and generous, and all I can say is thank you, thank you, thank you. I don’t deserve it, but I fully accept it with a grateful heart and open hands. God speed and love you, friend!



eli: one month


Hi there. Since my last post, I now have two little cardigans and a little bowtie of a boy, all scrunchy and new and sweet. He mostly just sleeps right now, which either makes things easy (ah, only two other kiddos to chase), or hard (him deciding he needs to eat right NOW, just as I was heading out the door). He is a very mellow baby.  I’ve only heard him downright wail twice thus far: once in the car when we drove around looking at leaves (potentially the altitude difference?), and the one time we’ve tried to give him a bottle. No thanks, no sir, nice try.

I both love and am hesitant about new experiences because you just never know how you’re going to feel about things, and when. Having a third child was something that tried to sink in over 9 months, but didn’t fully begin to hit me until I was in labor, and my feelings surprised me. Sure, I had been a pretty steady mix of Anxious and Excited, but I didn’t expect the Calm.  Doing all of it again–timing contractions and feeling the depth of the pain and then finally cuddling that teeny, warm little body–brought out the peace of familiarity in me. I’ve been here before, I know these ropes. 




When he was born, the nurses and staff left us for an hour for skin-to-skin time, and the magic of a newborn filled that room to the brim. It’s something that soaks into your bones, and I love talking with other moms because all of those little details you shouldn’t be able to remember are as crisp and tactile as they ever were. If that’s not magic, I don’t know what is. So to feel that again, for this final time, gave me a calm and a reminder that I knew what I was doing–or that I could at least muster up enough confidence to assure myself that I would learn what I didn’t yet know.


Being in the hospital for a couple of days doting on baby with your adorably exhausted husband (glasses, no contacts, cowlicked hair, soft t-shirts and hoodies) is also magical. Reality is waiting at the door, but for the meantime, you’re in sweet seclusion, adjusting to Baby while the world rolls on.

I knew once we stepped foot in our house, I’d be juggling right away. Juggling emotions, juggling three kids now, juggling priorities. The girls have been great–no jealous streaks (yet), but lots and lots of “help.” Well, help AND “help.” I spent the first week keeping Natalie at bay because she was completely in love at first sight, and would be by Eli’s side (i.e. on his face) constantly if I didn’t gently distract her away. Sometimes her feelings would get hurt, which was really sad, but she’s doing much better now (she checks in every 10 minutes now instead of every 2). But this takes energy! I was quickly worn out by that while being thankful she was so excited about it all. Emotionally, I was holding up, but knew a breakdown was on its way at some point, as it always is with hormones and childbearing and changes in general.



My first tears came our first night home, which is also typical–that time in sweet seclusion is vastly different than being in your own home without reinforcements (helpful nurses!). He peed through all of the outifts that fit him; he peeds on himself. He peed on his blankets. I was wrapping him in 6-month sized clothes and crying because I felt like I had let him down by running out of newborn sizes. (Isn’t this funny in retrospect? So not funny at the time!) Nursing also hurt like no other at this point, as did the contractions that happen that first week. It sounds bad–and was hard–but I wouldn’t call it a breakdown.

The third week, I came down with mastitis. Pain, flu-like symptoms, and R going back to work were a trifecta for an explosion. I knew it was coming, but I didn’t expect it to come along with so many other issues! I cried off and on for a couple of days about alllll sorts of random things, and then cried again when I realized how hard it is for me to ask others for help and to let them in when I’m having a hard time.  Change and hard times reveal so much, don’t they? And hormones magnify it all like crazy.

Whew. Four weeks came, the infection cleared, and as soon as I began to feel more like myself, the calm began to come back. I’m still having what I would call shaky days, or sensitive days, but over it all I am beyond happy Eli is here and I can touch my toes again and go upstairs without getting winded. Right now, I’m  having the most trouble getting anywhere on time with three, and sleep is still a major issue we’re accepting, but we’re wondering what life was like without Eli, and we can’t remember.  Natalie is smitten, and so am I.


Dissonance is what I feel often times, but not negatively per se–I tend to want to carry on as it was before, but it never will be the same, and that’s a good thing.  I never dreamed I’d be a mommy to three cute little crazies, but here I am, and I’m learning all about motherhood, womanhood, and sisterhood as I go. I couldn’t do this without other kind, funny, generous women in my life. So thank you, you. I’m sure other people feel this way, but I always so dearly want things to be as they were, and as I get older, I’m learning to let that mindset go and enjoy the moment, and hope for what’s to come. But it’s incredible how deeply ingrained this desire is in me.

Good things are in store for us when we’re able to accept change and grow in it, see the joy in it. I’ve been thinking a lot about how we are not consumed–God’s mercies are new every morning, and great is His faithfulness (Lam. 3:23). I look forward to sunlight in the bedroom every morning, even through bleary eyes. Especially through bleary eyes! That phrase has stayed with me: I am not consumed. I can handle this today! Or I can at least cry while I’m handling it, right?


At one month (~5 weeks), Eli is:

– Sleeping, sleeping, and sleeping.

– Pooping, pooping, pooping some more, and peeing (but not on us anymore, we’re wise now!)

– Smiling! This boy smiles a lot, and I don’t think it’s due to gas (said every mom ever).

– Still scrunching his legs up when you change him, or put him on your shoulder. Love.

– Eating every two hours, round the clock. I feel like he has a wonky schedule due to our activities (preschool, MOPS, etc), so I’m slowly figuring out naps and such, but food is consistent. Especially after that mastitis nightmare, ugh.

– A “Babywise” baby. We used this method with the other two (eat, play, sleep to help with nighttime sleep), and I’m loosely doing this with Eli, which has helped me keep my sanity in beginning a schedule of sorts…

– Enjoying bathtime! The boy loves to get his hair washed.

And so far, being a mom of three kids means:

– Coffee. Less than normal due to feeding Eli, but it is still a morning staple and one I look forward to daily.

– Being way too tired for creative time (& blogging, sadly), but that doesn’t stop me from dreaming about being crafty. Nursing time usually = Pinterest. Yup, it’s still my favorite social media outlet.

– Constantly coming up with a strategy of how to get all of us out of the house to be wherever on time, praying it works and really trying not to worry if it doesn’t :)

– A leeettle more TV than normal for the older two, as well as having them play outside whenever they can. (Grateful for this beautiful fall weather!)

– Thanking, hugging, and thanking again friends and family who have brought food. THANK YOU. Truly a lifesaver.

– I need to improve my multitasking skills. Bigtime. Right now I’m totally in scatterbrain mode; waiting to upgrade to Awesome Mombot status. I am outnumbered, but hopefully not out-clevered (hi, new word).


Hmm. They kinda look like they’re plotting something here, don’t they?


Recently :: April

It’s not entirely fair to make this an April update, as it’s only the third… but it’s been a productive crafty afternoon, so here’s where we’ll start. (Today’s post is brought to you by two little girls who are actually having *quiet* time today, so I can focus on some creative endeavors… yay.)

Recently :: April

> I planted cool weather plants for the first time: radish, spinach, carrots, peas, and sweetpeas (flowers). I am happy to say the radishes are sprouting, as are a few spinach plants–I’ve never grown veggies this time of year, so I’m fairly fascinated that they are liking the cold temps. (I did grow carrots last year, but I’m sure I planted them at the wrong time…) I’m hoping most of these crops (“crops”? haha! We’ll see) are ready to gather by Mother’s Day/June time frame so I can add compost to the beds and plant warm weather plants… Tomatoes, and lots of squash/pumpkins. Can’t wait.

> A trip to Walmart this morning yielded some fun finds. A graph paper composition notebook for a gardening journal (inspired by this one), some inexpensive washi tape, and yarn (to finish the cardigan). I have been thinking about starting a gardening journal for awhile, then a friend mentioned it to me, and jump started my thoughts on the matter all over again… So I began one today:

PicMonkey Collage

The purple hydrangea paper is from my wedding invitations, which I still love. I’m not finished with the cover, and am keeping my eyes open for the perfect thing to add… I toyed with my chipboard letters and papers and nothing was feeling right, so I’ll wait. It’s probably in some magazine somewhere, or card someone has given me, or something completely random and wonderful like that, and I’ll know it when I see it.

I love the idea of chronicling the evolution of your yard and how you’ve made it your own… so I will probably start there, with some pictures and details, a la the inspiration journal (link above).  We’ve done quite a bit to this house, inside and out, over the last 6 years–little things that have made a big difference to us. It’ll be fun to look up pictures to print, and revisit that. You know I’m going to love taping seed packets and such in here… ahhh.  I wish I had started this in 2008!

> In the last month, R and I have had a few awesome dates–more than we’ve had in awhile. Simple in nature, and precious to me.  Sharing a fajita plate at Chili’s… or going for a walk.  Trying to understand each other amid hectic, stressful work situations, each trying to lead in different ways and the stresses/pressures that come with that, the needs of two little girls, and all the other craziness that life brings daily.

Some days are determined to be difficult, no matter what you do. Stress and exhaustion disconnect you so easily… anyone else going through this? (And all the young parents said “Ay”… :) I encourage you to fight for your family, not with them, as easy as that can be sometimes… we went through a rough patch, but the Lord has been good to take us through a restorative time recently.  I pray He leads you and your spouse toward each other too, and heals whatever is going on that’s difficult and painful. (The fajitas at Chili’s are really good, btw…)

> And soon to be recent: My 16-week checkup for baby. Happy 4 months in utereo, little one! I am over the worst of the morning sickness, and now am just feeling pudgy and tired; I’ll take these two of the three any day. I keep thinking I feel tiny flutters a time or two a day…

Strangely, I got a pretty good jolt the other day, while I was yawning–it totally interrupted my big, eye-closed yawn and I must’ve looked stunned when it happened, because R gave me a funny look and asked if I was okay. It took me a second to realize the baby must’ve kicked me, and I burst out laughing. Wasn’t expecting that at all! I must’ve been sitting just right because that definitely isn’t the norm yet…It seems way too early to feel something like that, but I guess it just comes with the territory of being the third time around…