New Mercies

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DISCLAIMER: Before I go any further, I should probably warn you: I am so sleep deprived right now that it’s not even funny. Except… it is funny, because now I’m at the slap-happy stage (this comes immediately after the hysterical crying stage and is shortly followed by a state of semi-animated sleep-walking. I have this whole thing down to a science, guys). You have been warned. Continue at your own risk. END DISCLAIMER.

After two nights of waking every hour and a few days of near-constant crying (from the baby, haha… although, to be honest, there was definitely some crying on my end too), I decided to cut dairy from my diet this month, to see if it makes this poor little guy feel any better. Crushingly, this means no heavy cream in my coffee. Coffee without cream is pointless and gross, but I need coffee to avoid system failure, so… how will I survive?!?

Sleep deprivation without caffeine makes me very over-dramatic.

However, on my way home from picking up peaches at Whole Foods (annual one-day sale!), I decided that I was determined to find a coffee shop with a drive-thru that could make a creamy, highly-caffeinated latte without milk or soy (the other thing Charlie’s pediatrician told me to avoid), come hell or high water!

I pictured this as a sort of quest that might take some time and heroic determination, but apparently Starbucks makes coconut milk lattes, and so the quest ended happily almost as soon as it began. Incidentally, I think I like Starbucks’ coconut latte even more than their regular sort, and Charlie likes hanging out on the porch while big sister naps… so here we sit, listening to the cicadas and sweating gently in the TN heat. :)

So grateful for this chance to take a breath and redirect my thoughts to hope, beauty, and thankfulness in the midst of this crazy week.

His mercies are new every morning. :)

Bring on the Wednesday

I woke up to a beautiful Wednesday. Cool morning light filtering gently into the room, the fan whirring peacefully, birds singing outside – perfection. :)

When I walked into the kitchen I discovered that last night I had carefully put the leftovers away into containers, stacked them neatly on the counter, washed the dishes, and then… apparently forgotten to place said leftovers in the fridge.

When I’m pregnant I really do feel like I only have half a brain most of the time. Thankfully I had packed Will’s portion and actually remembered to put his lunch bag in the fridge (it’s a miracle!), but I had to say a sad goodbye to a beautiful stack of bbq pork nachos I had planned to devour today. For a split second I wondered whether they really had to be thrown out after 10 hours on the counter… but when I searched my feelings I knew it to be true. ;)

A minor setback, but ah well, continuing on with my day.

NOPE. :)

I went into Beatrice’s room and immediately discovered that her diaper had been no match for her impressive level of hydration during the night. Much to her delight, she got a morning bath, while the pajamas and bedding involved took a direct route to the washing machine and did not pass go.

This short spiral of minor chaos was pretty inconsequential in the grand scheme of things, but when experienced in a pre-caffeinated state before 7:30am, it felt a lot more dire. Of course, consequentially, I also felt a lot more impressive about throwing out food and doing laundry than I probably should have, haha.

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Yeah take that, Wednesday.

Actually, it’s shaping up to be a pretty great day. I’m thankful that I remembered to pack Will’s lunch and refrigerate it, and that there is plenty of other food in the fridge. I’m thankful for a sweet, cheerful little girl who was thrilled to get a bath first thing in the morning and is always a joy to hang out with. I’m thankful for a warm, sunny, beautiful new day filled with surprises. Life is good. :)

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As an aside, I thought I was a morning person, but this little lady goes from fast asleep to laughing and chattering in 60 seconds flat… it’s truly astounding. And she doesn’t even drink coffee! She is the cheeriest cheerio I know, and I am so thankful for her sunny disposition. :)

What’s up in your world? :)

Weekend Snippets + Goals for the Week

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A few Sundays ago I picked up the little community newspaper that gets delivered here once a week and asked Will if we could try to do the crossword puzzle together. Although each of us alone can only complete about half a crossword, with our combined knowledge we actually managed to finish one without help last night. We felt like we had conquered the world, despite the fact that it apparently took 52 years of experience between us to have the ability to finish a single crossword puzzle. :)

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Despite our ineptitude, it’s turning into a fun tradition that we really enjoy.

Also, check out those beautiful birthday flowers! Will snagged 4 packets of flower food when he picked these beauties and it’s kept the roses going strong for over a week now. He has beauty AND brains, I tell you.

Not much else to report this weekend. We went for walks around the neighborhood to soak up the beautiful blue skies and sunshine, and we curled up on the couch in the evenings to listen to all the frogs sing in the creek behind our apartment. I made pulled pork and coleslaw and buttermilk biscuits (because I was too lazy to make hamburger buns), Will kept me up-to-date on politics, and Beatrice kept us busy and laughing. We all took naps.

Oh, and Daylight Savings Time. Actually it didn’t really hit me until today, but it hit with a vengeance.

If I were allowed to drink a pot of coffee right now, I would. Baby H., on the other hand, appears to be practicing his/her flying ninja kicks at present, so he/she probably doesn’t need the jolt.

Anyway, before I stop rambling, I thought I’d share three goals I’m planning to work on this week.

  1. Write birthday thank you notes. And mail them. That’s an important detail.
  2. Balance checkbook. I got a bit behind after the move and need to catch up a few weeks so I can return to balancing it every Monday again.
  3. Hang up all our clothes in the bedroom closet. Almost all of our boxes are unpacked, but I still have a box of clothes I need to hang up, and a suitcase I need to empty and put away so I’m not living out of it like a gypsy in my own closet.

BONUS ROUND: Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day! Wear green, bake soda bread, wear out my Celtic Pandora stations, the whole nine yards. This is just for fun, but I thought I’d start myself off easy this week. ;)

What about you all – any weekend highlights or goals for the week?

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Beatrice has a lot on her agenda this week too (she just discovered the joy of scribbling with a pencil today), so I’d better go see what she’s planning to do with all those Mad Gab cards she’s trying to make Origami out of currently… TTFN. :)

A New Beginning… Take II

Surprise! How has everyone been for the past six months? :)

I never quite know how to break long, awkward blogging silences. Once I neglect to write for more than a month, it feels awkward to sit down and write something. Do I try to catch up? Do I continue like nothing happened? Do I make an over-dramatic gif? (Yes).

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Of course the longer I procrastinate, the stranger it becomes, until finally I’m trapped into writing one of these pointless posts to spring onto my unsuspecting readership who forgot they were still subscribed. Surprise! :)

AGH!!! I know, terrifying.

But what prompted my disappearance? And why have I returned?

The short explanation for my six-month blogging hiatus is that (coincidentally, just like the time I pulled this stunt on my previous blog) I’ve also been pregnant for most of the last 6 months. :) Something about the combination of morning sickness and computer screens just really does not go well together in my world.

Thankfully, I’m beginning to feel much better with only the odd day of morning sickness here and there, and I thought I might try to tackle a cautious return. With Beatrice growing more into a little girl every time I blink, and another dear little one due to arrive this summer, and the everyday moments of sharing life with my best friend and true love and our little, growing family, I’d like to have a spot to share some snapshots of this sweet and crazy life again, so here’s to (another) fresh start. :)

For now, I think I’ll leave this post at that. The silence has been broken. The deed is done.

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See you soon. :)

What We Did This Summer.

June was probably the most social month of my entire life to date. I’m a bit reclusive by nature, and at first the prospect of visiting with people nearly every day for an entire month struck terror into my shriveled hermit heart. I didn’t even know I was capable of spending so much time with people.

Alone Time

Happily (and contrary to my own personal expectations), I did not implode or shrivel up and die, and I even managed to enjoy myself! I really did have the most lovely visitors, so it was a very pleasant and easy way to be dragged out of my seclusion. :)

(Still, just to be on the safe side, I plan to be a hermit all autumn. If you enjoy quiet afternoons and rainy days and reading and falling leaves and peaceful thoughts and pumpkin spice, feel free to bring your knitting needles and a book, and we can be hermits together. I’ll provide the coffee).

Awesome hermit

At the end of May, my husband’s parents and his seven youngest siblings came to visit for Memorial Weekend. They stayed in a lovely farmhouse at Historic Leiper’s Fork, which we enjoyed exploring with them.

Rope Swing 2They even discovered a rope swing just a little down the road from the house. Can it get more perfectly summery than that?

Ropeswing

Beatrice was doted on by her loving aunts and uncle, even though she was a bit of a bear and refused to nap or go to sleep for almost the entire weekend until my amazing, gracious, and loving in-laws somehow rocked Beatrice to sleep with their grandparent magic while I cried outside. Ah, the humbling moments of vacation. That’s life though, and we still managed to have a wonderful time visiting and getting lots of hugs in, in spite of the Energizer Baby who can cry for three hours straight without falling asleep.

Memorial Day Visit

We were sad to say goodbye, but the next weekend we were off to Arkansas to visit Will’s Nana and Grandad.

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It was wonderful to see Will’s grandparents again, and it was a very relaxing weekend.

Nana & Grandad

They have one of the most beautiful, interesting homes I’ve had the pleasure of visiting. Also, it was so quiet and peaceful. I took some amazing naps.

Nana & Grandad's House

When we got back from Arkansas, we had some surprise car repairs and celebrated National Donut Day.

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And of course, Beatrice managed to look cute, so there’s a photo of that too.

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The weekend following our trip to Arkansas, my Mom flew in for a visit. :)

Mom & B

We explored the shops in downtown Franklin, and of course visited the Frothy Monkey… multiple times. Mmm, coffee.

Frothy Monkey

Another highlight of the visit was eating dinner at The Pharmacy in Nashville. I love burgers and fries, and we got to eat outside on this gorgeous patio.

The Pharmacy

When we weren’t trying as much local food as possible, we also managed to get lots of quality relaxing and chatting in (and more iced coffee at the Frothy Monkey). Here Beatrice is sleeping through a passing fire engine while we enjoy our refreshing beverages. The sleep habits of babies are truly mind-boggling.

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Eventually it was time for us to head to the airport and say goodbye to Mom…

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…and hello to Laura and Anne!

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Beatrice is only a few months older than Anne, and they are obviously bosom buddies, as I have mentioned before. It was so fun to see them playing together (or… near one another). Anne is such a jolly baby and we loved hearing her little squeaky laughs!

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We spent a Saturday exploring the Farmer’s Market and The Factory again.

Farmer's Market

We also sewed things and took photos. The usual. ;)

Laura's Visit

We somehow forgot to take a moms-and-daughters photo of the four of us, but we did get this photo, which is pretty swoon-worthy. ;)

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It was so fun to have Laura visit, and to be able to chat while we fed the babies, or worked quietly during their naps, or tried to get them to sleep. Sometimes it’s just nice to have another mom to commiserate with. :) And did I mention that she and Anne are completely gorgeous and photogenic (see below)?

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After Laura and Anne flew home, Will and I discovered this lovely park.

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And I took more photos of Beatrice.

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Because… well… it’s hard not to.

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June 21st was Father’s Day. Beatrice is so blessed to have such a loving, thoughtful, protective, hilarious, kind, caring father, and she absolutely ADORES him. Every evening when he gets home from work, Will scoops B up to talk to her and read books and shower her with kisses. Her first laugh was for her Daddy, and they share the same mischievous twinkle in their eyes (and impossibly long eyelashes!). I am so completely smitten with these two, and so thankful for them both.

Will and Beatrice

Will has been such a loving, caring, incredible father from the moment he knew our little one was on the way. His strength and encouragement and love and joy carried us through pregnancy, and labor, and newborn-induced sleep deprivation, and with good humor and a servant’s heart he has shown Beatrice and I what it means to be loved by our Heavenly Father each and every day. He is amazing, and I don’t know how to say thank you enough.

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We were able to celebrate the day with Will’s three eldest sisters, who stopped over to visit us on their way to VA. :)

Beatrice & Aunts

Beatrice enjoyed every moment with her aunts, and hammed it up even more than usual. ;)

Beatrice and the Aunts

After church we walked around downtown Franklin and enjoyed frozen yogurt and coffee. We even finally visited Landmark Booksellers, which resides in a very lovely historic house and was all we had anticipated. :)

Father's Day 2

We were sad to see Beck and Grace go, but we got to keep Emma with us all week, and Beck and Grace returned the following weekend to pick up Emma and all head home. During Emma’s stay, we even got to spend some time with our first cousin once removed, Hans Royal. Isn’t he the cutest?

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When Independence Day came along, Will, Beatrice, and I strolled around downtown for Franklin on the Fourth, and just made it back to the car before rain started pouring down. The fireworks were cancelled, but we spent a cozy evening indoors watching a movie and eating a gigantic bag of kettle corn we had purchased downtown.

Fourth of July

In mid-July we drove to the NC mountains, where we met up with my parents and rode up to MA together for my brother’s wedding!

Mountains

The ride was long, but Beatrice was amazing. Here she is enjoying her first taste of sweet dark cherries somewhere in NY, and generally looking adorable.

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The day before the wedding, we got to meet Aubry’s family at a fun, casual coffee-shop breakfast with these two lovebirds… :)

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…we explored Shelburne Falls…

Shelburne Falls

… and attended the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. The dinner was delicious and it was a beautiful evening. I loved watching Sean & Aubry dance together.

Rehearsal

The next day the weather was delightful, the wedding was beautiful, and the festivities were so much fun. It was one of the sweetest, most joyful, and celebratory weddings I’ve ever been to (and not just because I love the people we were celebrating). :) Aubry was a gorgeous bride, and doesn’t she have the best smile? :) It was a delight and an honor to be her bridesmaid.

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The reception was held outside and a delicious breakfast was served, with pies for dessert and plenty of dancing. It was so perfect for a summer wedding, and fit Sean and Aubry so well. :) I didn’t get any photos of the ceremony or reception, but here are a few from Aubry’s amazing wedding photographers (Katie Slater Photography):

Sean & Aubry Wedding 2

I am so overjoyed and delighted to see Sean so happy, and to have gained such a kind, lovely, amazing sister-in-love as Aubry! When I was growing up I often wished I had a sister, but in the past three years God has blessed me with NINE sisters far more sweet and loving and talented and wonderful than I ever could have imagined, and I am so thankful for all of them. :)

Other events of the summer have included…

Blueberry picking. Beatrice picked an assortment of leaves but no actual blueberries (though I did feed her quite a large number of them).

Blueberries

Beatrice learned how to wave. She waves at Will when he leaves for work, and when she goes to bed. She also waves at the bean plant outside. (?)

We attended our first Nashville Sounds baseball game, and Beatrice’s first baseball game ever. :)

Baseball

Lots of trips to the library. Sometimes Beatrice and I go together in the morning between her naps, and sometimes we all go as a family after dinner (one of our new favorite dates). :) I even stumbled upon the last day of the library’s summer book sale last month (quite by accident, I promise) and they were selling books for $5 a bag so… I might need another bookshelf.

I’ve been trying a lot of new recipes. I think I was in a bit of a rut, making the same meals over and over, so I’ve actually been attempting all those Pinterest recipes I’ve pinned.

Summer Food

Will joined a company volleyball team which met once a week for most of the summer – they just played their last game a few weeks ago. He usually played after Beatrice’s bedtime so it wasn’t practical for us to come along, but we came to cheer for him during his first and last games.

Will and I had a date night in East Nashville (courtesy of Will’s kind cousins) at Rudie’s Seafood and Sausage. This jambalaya was amazing, and if you ever go there, don’t even look at the rest of the menu. Order the jambalaya. Do it!

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And of course… Beatrice has been cute. ;)

Beatrice Collage

So there you have it – some snapshots of our summer and a few of the things we’ve been up to. If you made it to the end of this ridiculously long and rambling entry, your perseverance is astounding. I hope I never fall behind on blogging this much again because I really don’t think I could make it through waiting for so many photos to upload ever again. :)

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Did you all have a good summer? What were the highlights for you? Are you excited about fall? Now that I have this summer wrap-up post out of the way I can start talking about all things autumnal. :D Brace yourselves.