4.18.2014

friday foto: five years later.

You and I are more than you and I because it's we. e.e. cummings
Five years later, this photo captures the very best moment of my life.

It is the photo I wake up to and the memory I day dream about. Rooted right here on the steps of our church and the porch of our faith, this picture very literally symbolizes the happy and hopeful foundation from which we stepped in union, into the great, big world, for the very first time. 

Happy anniversary, Eddie. I love you.

Photo by the amazing duo of Amy + Stuart. More of our wedding here.

4.04.2014

friday foto: easter egg repeat.

This isn't really a new photo, but it's about that time of year, isn't it?

I have to admit that I feel so accomplished just remembering to dig up last year's post on our little all-natural easter egg dying experiment so that I can attempt it again in a couple of weeks. It's making me feel a little ahead of the game in a week that was both challenging and rewarding and definitely fried my brain.*
I think this year, I'm going to stick with cabbage (turquoise), orange peels (buttery yellow), grape juice (lavender) and will try beets (light pink) again. More hints, tips and links from last year's project here.

Happy first April weekend. I just love this month!

*Thank you for your kind and caring notes of encouragement this week. Every word has meant so much. I'm happy to say that my first week back to work was pretty a-okay, but I'm sure glad it's coming to a close. It feels really good to remember how good Friday feels.

For more Friday Fotos, start here.

3.26.2014

back to reality.

I had big plans to share some photos and details on Mari and Jenna's bedroom this week, but I'm saving it for next. The reality of my maternity leave coming to a close has thrown me a curve ball, so I'm going to try to hit and run with it.
It's so hard moving from one phase to another, isn't it? Just when the going gets so good with your baby - they're smiling, responding, talking, loving and sleeping (better!) - you have to move on without them. And for most working moms, that means putting your child in the care of someone else so you can return to the office.

It's a very personal experience and is so different for everyone. While I've gone through it once and this time, will be going back to working from home, it's still difficult. It's a topic that has been heavy on my heart with so many friends in this same season of life, and now it's my turn to try to take comfort in my own words.

I don't believe that it ever gets easy to leave your child. But I do believe that we get used to it. And we make it work.

For me, I am grateful to return to a good job that has made it possible to drift off into baby fantasyland for a few months, while I re-train myself on sleeping much less and giving so much more. It's a humbling thing that is so very raw and beautiful. Some only experience this newborn carefree(ish) life once. Some, more than once. And others, never.

Two years ago, I returned to work after Mari was born. Then, I returned to an actual office. This time, I'm reclaiming my home office space in our bedroom that is just steps away from Jenna's crib. I know that should make the separation anxiety easier, but the same old friends - guilt and doubt - are back, staring me down.

Even though I know that she will handle it better than I, the questions still bubble to the surface; What will Jenna think when she's not getting fed by me every three hours? Will she wonder where I've gone? Will she feel alone?

When I was preparing for the transition from mom to working mom with Mari, I started counting the lasts; the last time I spent the day in pajamas with my baby; the last time she fell asleep in my arms on a Wednesday; the last time I loved, played, cried and slept like it was my only job in the world. It made my heart hurt.

But, the truth is, while it was painful, counting those lasts registered, and it made me so thankful for each one of them - even a midnight wake-up call. And now, as I get ready to make this transition again, I know it's just the beginning of our real life, with four, and a new routine that is so good for all of us.

For the first time in almost four months (plus 10, let's count that pregnancy, shall we?), I get to put on jeans. Jeans that fit. That don't have an elastic waist band. I get to button up a shirt (well, nearly). And I get to challenge a side of my brain that's been dark. I get to bust a move and get back to doing something that I love that has just been on pause for a while.

And, even with that ache in my heart and a lump in my throat, I will hit the play button on Monday morning. And put one flip flop in front of the other. And for every second of every day, love, play, cry and sleep as Mari and Jenna's mom because it's the one job that never transitions.

And for that, I am blessed.

3.21.2014

friday foto: framed.

Getting artwork framed is so satisfying, isn't it? I have had these cheap and chic generic Aaron Bros. Euro clip frames sitting in a closet for months - since the holidays, in fact - and am finally ready to get them hung up on the walls this weekend.
I'm most excited about getting the birth announcements framed - that is something that I've wanted to do for Mari since, oh, 2011. It took two years and another kid to muster the motivation.

The other fun stuff you see is just some simple play with typography and some favorite quotes, dressed up with some standard mats from Aaron Bros. I'll share more details next week when I post about Mari and Jenna's bedroom that has been updated for my two sweet girls. Still, my favorite space in the house.

Happy Spring weekend, all!

For more Friday Fotos, start here.

3.18.2014

jenna's birth announcements.

You'd think I hand-dipped these babies in white chocolate for the amount of time they took, but like most personal projects, these sat on our kitchen table for more time than I'd like to admit. But they sure came out sweet, didn't they?
The palette started and was sealed with Paper Source's new coral (love!), plus a DIY liner project, with pre-cut liners (note: order online only) in blush, nestled into my favorite paper bag envelopes.

Other favorites you see here: vintage seed packet postage stamps, Novecento Sans Ultra LightLeague Thin ScriptBebas Neue and the cutest hart icon you ever could steal (thanks for the inspiration, Melanie and Alma, as always!).

And the real, real, real favorites: those two cute girls. As a side note, these photos were snapped with my iPhone, and while I was going to use some professional photos taken on Jenna's second day in the hospital, they just weren't doing it for me. So, this project sat and sat and sat.

And sat some more (at least they were nestled in that cute Container Store box that looked pretty as it sat).

Fast forward two months to a random weekday morning (thanks, maternity leave) and Jenna and Mari were dressed - Jenna in Mari's hand-me-down Kickee Pants, a favorite around here - hair was brushed (sort of) and the light coming in from the windows was beautiful. So, with my iPhone, we had an impromptu photo shoot on Mari's big girl bed (details coming next week!) that screamed birth announcements.

When everyone knows how to smile and the camera catches it - which does happen when you least plan for it - it's just magic. And it's meant to be.

I'm so glad to have these to hold onto forever. And I'm so glad they are done!

3.07.2014

friday foto: tool box.

We are zooming over here, cramming in lots of good things before maternity leave is over. I'm also trying desperately to get some big projects done, like baby books and photo books and most immediately, Jenna's birth announcements.
I thought I'd share with you one of my favorite tools when it comes to mass mailings and creative projects - the shoe box. If you're like me, you don't have many in the house. Enter this cute turquoise-and-gray polka dot box from The Container Store. It's so worth it - and - it makes every project prettier, in my opinion.

The small box comes in a set of two, which is all you will ever really need. The box you see above is holding nearly 120 lined envelopes. It's also great for DVD storage. I got a set of disc sleeves, transferred all of our discs out of the bulky, plastic cases and filled a small polka dot box, with lots of room to spare.

And, one more organizational thought: I do have the larger box, which I use to store all of my blank envelopes and stationery in our supply closet, which is so helpful because in my life, things go unused if I can't see them. And getting all that paper organized into one, easy-to-see space got me to streamline and simplify and really only keep around what I love.

So much potential for these little power-packed boxes!

I did all this nesting before Jenna was born, as many expecting mothers tend to do, but even now, with my mind in so many different places and most of our supply closet in shambles, these little boxes have kept a few shelves organized, and that makes me really happy.

How can polka dots not make you happy, right?

By the way, if you make your way into a Container Store, you'll find these boxes hiding amongst the closet and drawer organizers. 

For more Friday Fotos, see last week's post.

2.28.2014

friday foto: eyelashes.

They are my kryptonite. Impossible to resist. I have way too many photos of them not to share.
Lately, we're hanging around a bunch with our treetop friends, and when I remind myself to get out the camera, I notice that I take so many of the same photos that I did with Mari. Which is really fun, and I can really see the difference between the two girls.

Our sweet Jenna is edging towards three months (next week!), and I'm finally getting around to important business, like her birth announcements. I will share more when they are all signed, sealed and delivered, but I'm sure I'll post an Instagram or two along the way.

In other really, really exciting news, it's been an amazing week. We have another beautiful niece in the family and I'm reminded all over again at the miracle of newborns, the strength of mothers, the gentle grace of fathers and the wisdom of toddlers. And, that it indeed takes a village.

Life is so good!

For more Friday Fotos, see last week's post