Half Written and Never Posted: Spring 2013

Dear Everly,

There will come a day when you will think I am far too old to be able to relate to you and the experiences of your youth. Sometimes I wish there was a way to dump all of the knowledge and experiences I’ve learned over the years into your head so you can just bypass all the tears, disappointments and heartbreak that come with growing up. I wish you could just already know that it’s better to have one good friend that you can always count on and will never let you down than ten friends who judge you and throw fuel on your insecurities. I wish you could know that’s it better to spend your high school years having fun with your friends and exploring the possibilities of your youth without getting bogged down in a serious relationship with a boy you will most likely outgrow before you even graduate. I hope that we can teach you to follow the call of your spirit and that it leads you to see the world, to take on experiences that challenge you beyond the limits of comfort, but most of all, my greatest wish is that you strive not to be the prettiest or most popular girl in school - but the coolest.

Cool girls explore their creative interests. They revel in their individualism when everyone else is desperate to be just the same as all the rest. Cool girls are respected because they respect others. Cool girls never make themselves look good by talking bad about others. Cool girls start clubs. They take on leadership roles. They motivate their peers. Cool girls take hard classes. They travel abroad. Cool girls make the most of constructive criticism. Cool girls know that material things don’t make people, character and actions make people. Cool girls are not defined by anyone else’s definition of cool. They respect themselves.

/halfwrittenposts 

A week of abandoned, half-written blog posts

I have dozens (hundreds?) of half written blogs posts and photos I never posted that sit in the draft folder on my blog. Some I never finished because I ran out of time, or the relevancy passed or I just struggled to find the words and the focus to finish it. 

They sit, abandoned, unlikely to ever be published or read by any eyes but mine. I’ve been quiet here for two weeks and so I decided to change the story for all of those forgotten posts.

This week I’ll be digging through my drafts and publishing posts and photos from blog posts half written, incomplete and out of context. I want to purge a bit and also remind myself that not everything comes wrapped with a tidy bow. 

My life is beautiful and cluttered, much like all the words inside me. They spill out of me and onto the page so effortlessly sometimes, and then again, I’ll find myself stuck, mucking through the mess, trying to make sense of my heart and the story.

In this case, incomplete will just have to be enough. 

Love,

M

Last Sunday, Mother’s day, we all woke up in bad moods.

Had it been an average Sunday, I would have written off our rotten attitudes as “Oh well, let’s all go to bed early tonight and try again tomorrow.” But for some reason, I decided I was going to set some unreasonable expectations around the day. Social media didn’t help my mindset. Across my dashboard were photos of moms getting pedicures and eating waffles off fine china with blueberries handpicked off the bushes in their backyard and served by children wearing flower crowns.

Brent was volunteering to play music at the senior center near our home on Mother’s day, so I spent my morning wrangling two kids into church clothes and out the door. Everly cried and went through 3 different outfit changes. Arlo spilled his cereal all over the floor and kept taking his clothes off. I was hot and sweaty and doling out my frustration on both of them.  In my head, I wanted to spend the morning sipping coffee and eating breakfast as a family, instead I scarfed down a muffin on my way into the nursery to care for the babies in our church during the 11am service. 

After church, we ate lunch outside at The Saucer- the place where I first laid eyes on my husband. Where I met my best friends. It’s basically a beer bar with a killer sandwich menu, but to us, it’s special. Even so, our funk persisted. The kids grew antsy and crawled under the table. Everly kept insisting she wanted to take off her shoes. 

We left and I asked Brent if we could take some photos. Something to commemorate Mother’s Day. 

 Just one photo, guys, how about it? 

I hoped for a decent shot of me and the kids together. A little bright spot in my day - they did indulge my wish for a few minutes. 

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This last shot is my favorite… little smiles after a morning of all of us feeling raw. Even after we got home, I couldn’t shake the weird funk that had settled on me. I couldn’t get in touch with my mom most of the day when all I wanted was to hear her voice. The kids were really sensitive and cried over the silliest things. Brent did his best to tiptoe around the three of us. 

I had woken up that morning with so many expectations around how I thought my day was going to go, and instead I let little disappoints snowball all the way to bed time.  

I took a deep breath before bed on Sunday night and reminded myself: I am a mother every day and my family makes me feel celebrated often. I don’t need a special day on the calendar in order to justify that. 

I have reread this post so many times that I wonder if it is even worth posting. Who would even want to read about me having a bad Mother’s Day? Sometimes I worry that sharing anything on my blog that comes off as complaining or disappointed makes me sound privileged or unappreciative when it is really obvious I have so much to be thankful for. But we all have bad days and I think there is value in talking about it. 

You win some days and you lose some days.

That’s the truth of motherhood and of life.

Love,

M

Last week I was driving on this little stretch of road when a white truck in the other lane stopped and flashed his lights at me. The speed limit was 25 mph and I assumed he was alerting me to a cop who liked to sit on the other side of the bend. I slowed down to below the speed limit just to be safe when I noticed a tiny turtle in my lane.
I stopped and debated what to do. I looked in my rear view mirror to see that the truck was still parked in the other lane and I realized he had been warning me to watch out for the turtle. I threw my car in park, put on my flashers then jumped out and picked up the little turtle. His shell was no bigger than the palm of my hand. I quickly placed him down in the grass a few feet off of the side of the road where he was headed. I looked back at the truck to see a man’s arm extend from the window and he gave me a thumbs up before driving off.
I couldn’t stop smiling as I climbed back into my car. I never even saw his face, but that man was a beautiful reminder that the goodness of humanity is all around us. He could have traveled past that little creature trying to make it across the road without a second thought. It wasn’t in his lane, after all. But instead he took a moment to call my attention to it. He gave me the chance to do a small gesture of kindness for one of God’s creatures and the reward has been mine ever since.
May we never be so set on our own journey, that we fail to notice the opportunity to make a difference in the paths of those around us.
Love,
M

Last week I was driving on this little stretch of road when a white truck in the other lane stopped and flashed his lights at me. The speed limit was 25 mph and I assumed he was alerting me to a cop who liked to sit on the other side of the bend. I slowed down to below the speed limit just to be safe when I noticed a tiny turtle in my lane.

I stopped and debated what to do. I looked in my rear view mirror to see that the truck was still parked in the other lane and I realized he had been warning me to watch out for the turtle. I threw my car in park, put on my flashers then jumped out and picked up the little turtle. His shell was no bigger than the palm of my hand. I quickly placed him down in the grass a few feet off of the side of the road where he was headed. I looked back at the truck to see a man’s arm extend from the window and he gave me a thumbs up before driving off.

I couldn’t stop smiling as I climbed back into my car. I never even saw his face, but that man was a beautiful reminder that the goodness of humanity is all around us. He could have traveled past that little creature trying to make it across the road without a second thought. It wasn’t in his lane, after all. But instead he took a moment to call my attention to it. He gave me the chance to do a small gesture of kindness for one of God’s creatures and the reward has been mine ever since.

May we never be so set on our own journey, that we fail to notice the opportunity to make a difference in the paths of those around us.

Love,

M

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Mother’s Day 2010

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Mother’s Day, 2011

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Mother’s Day, 2012

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Mother’s Day 2013

Five years ago tomorrow I sat down on my bed and wrote my first blog post on Dear Baby. 

It was May 10, 2009 - Mother’s Day. 

That same morning, I learned I was pregnant and while I needed to hold the news close to my heart for a while longer, part of me still needed a way to wrangle the swimming words in my head into a some semblance of order. Since the day I got my first diary in the third grade, writing has always been my way of making sense of things.

But this blog has become the most precious of all my ramblings. More so than the scraggly journal entries written by an insecure sixth grader, or a heartsick college freshman, or even a wild twenty something falling in love with the man she would one day marry. 

Dear Baby chronicles the journey that changed me most. 

It is on this blog, in that first post, that I entered into the world of perpetual vulnerability.  Here, where I have experienced more insecurity and heartsickness and wild love than I had ever known in my entire life.

Five years later, and I’m still reeling from the effects.

It has taken me this long to accept that I will never recover. 

The vulnerability of motherhood is what ails me. It is what drives my anxiety and the swallowing down of my worst fears. It is what finds me, begging God above to make me capable of protecting my children and raising them with love and goodness inside. It is a lesson every day in humility, in letting go, in digging in. I will never get used to it. 

But it is the love of motherhood that cures me. It forces me to do more good than I was ever capable of doing on my own. To be stronger than I want to be. To live outside my own narrow point of view. To speak up despite my weakness. Everything… better, more deeply, passionately.. for them.  

It is all written down here.  All the times I’ve been lost. And all the ways my children found me.

Dear Baby, My sweet Everly.

Dear Baby, My little Arlo.

You are no longer babies, but what a joy it has been to capture a small piece of your journey, of my education, of our story here. 

Happy anniversary little blog. 

(And Happy Mother’s Day to all of you)

Love,

Work Clothes/Play Clothes

Here are some things I wore to work and to play.

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Work Clothes

I love this outfit and especially these shoes. I got them off Zulily last summer for dirt cheap. I think they were around $22 and it never fails that someone will stop to compliment them. The red toe is super bold but so much fun and they are actually pretty comfortable. 

Top: H&M

Skirt: Down East Basics

Shoes: Anne Michelle

Everly wears:

Top: Target

Pants: Carters 

Shoes: JC Penney 

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Play Clothes

Headed out for a family dinner in this shot. The slouchy, printed pants craze is one I fully support. It’s like wearing fancy pajama pants in public. These shoes were another cheap Zulily find - If you feel like you can’t ever find anything good on Zulily, follow my Pinterest board. I try to go in a couple times a week and pin anything I find on the site that is a great deal or really cool. 

Sweater: Kensie

Pants: Marshall’s

Shoes: Mark and Maddox

Everly Wears:

Dress: Zulily

Tights: Target

Shoes: Anna

Arlo Wears:

Hat: Kangol

Shirt: Zulily

Blazer: Zulily

Pants: Target

Shoes: Converse

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Play Clothes & Work Clothes

I wore this outfit to church one Sunday and loved it so much that I wore it work the next day. Both the top and bottom are super, super soft cotton and it felt so flowly and light. Every fall and spring I buy a pair of black and a pair of neutral shoes to be my go-to dress up shoe for the season. These shoes are my new neutral shoes for spring/summer 2014 and I’ve already worn them a ton. You can’t tell in this photo, but they have a chunky heel which makes them really comfortable!

Shirt: Kensie (from a Stitch Fix last year)

Skirt: Sugar Magnolia

Shoes: Charles David 

Everly Wears: 

Top: Baby Lulu (Like many of her tops, this used to be a dress when she was smaller)

Pants: Target

Shoes: Zulily

Arlo Wears: 

Vest: It came as part of his suit from his halloween costume

Shirt: Hand me down

Pants: Ruum Kids. (Ruum has some great sales on a regular basis. I bought these in several colors when they were on super sale for $6 each last month. I think the girl’s jeans fit my skinny boy great and have the elastic tabs at the waist to adjust to fit.)

Shoes: Converse with added shwings

Hat: We picked it up in the Zutano store on our trip to Vermont last year because it matches Brent’s favorite hat. 

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Work Clothes

This is one of my favorite vintage dresses but I don’t wear it often because I find white to be a challenging color to wear. Brent bought it for me for my birthday five years ago. 

Dress: Vintage

Belt: Vintage

Shoes: Jeffrey Campbell

Everly Wears:

Dress: c/o Tea Collection

Shoes: Target

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Play Clothes

Perhaps my favorite outfit of the bunch. I felt so good in this look. We had double date plans with some friends of ours last Friday night in our neighborhood. We had planned to ride our bikes, but a quick thunderstorm just before we were set to leave convinced us to drive instead. This drapey, jersey dress is a closet staple because it is so comfortable and the cut makes it really interesting. I like to belt it because it’s a little big in the waist. 

Vegan leather jacket: Kut from the Kloth (from Stitch Fix this past winter)

Dress: Vivienne Tam

Shoes: Mark and Maddox

Clutch: Gift from my dad

(Note: Zulily links are affiliate)

Love,

M

Everly Says…

Everly (in a dreamy voice): Mommy, did daddy get down on his knees and one knee was up and one knee was down and then he kissed your hand and said, “will you marry me?”

Me: Yep

Everly (completely disgusted): That is so creepy!

I think I laughed for a solid minute. 

(and also, the real way Brent proposed was not quite so story book but I can’t tell her the truth until she is an adult) 

Tags: everly says

Point of View

I gave the kids my little Olympus pen camera the other week and let them take some pictures around the house with one instruction: Take photos of things you think are interesting.  

There were a lot of photos that were so blurry that you couldn’t tell what they were taking a photo of, but there were also some gems among the shots. I’ve studied these photos for a few days and have really enjoyed seeing the world from my children’s point of view. When I pick up the camera, I am always looking for things I find visually appealing and tend to skip over those spaces and things that I find disheveled or ordinary. 

I really love how these photos capture the real space of our home: A banged up floor board, the “time-out” chair outside our bathroom with a pile of crumbs that need to be swept. A pile of laundry and mismatched socks waiting to be put away.

But they also captured some images that could be deemed traditionally appealing: A sunspot among the shadows on the wall of the hallway, a moment of cuddling on the couch, and our dog, Bailey, sitting like a statue on a weathered chair. 

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I plan to do this more often and hope to build an album of photos from their point of view. I think it will be interesting to see how their photo composition and subjects will change as they grow. It is a great reminder that perspective is relative - where I might skip over, they may stop to marvel. 

Even the ordinary is beautiful to someone. 

Love,

M

P.S.  My comments are back up and working! Woo hoo. Special thanks to Bobbi at Ready to Blog to get them back up and running. With her help, I’m looking forward to launching a new blog design soon too!

Arlo Says..

(While pointing at a bee in the yard) “Look at those honey bugs!”

Can we all start calling them honey bugs from now on?

Tags: Arlo Says

Everly Says…

Me: That’s preposterous!

Everly: “That’s pasta sauce!”

Tags: Everly Says

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