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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

a spring wish list

We had snow earlier today. In fact, they were predicting a blizzard and I was hoping for a snow day less than 24 hours ago, but it didn't happen.

I'm not sure whether to believe the forecast for this weekend. Rainy and 50? I'll take it! Until it actually warms up and really feels like spring, I'll be dreaming of a few spring-inspired accessories and staples.

1- silicone watch // 2- nude flats // 3- utility jacket // 4- sunglasses // 5- striped dress // 6- satchel // 7- infinity scarf

Lately, my favorites seem to be neutrals, stripes or something colorful. What do you have your eye on this spring?

Monday, March 24, 2014

the loneliness of motherhood

For months I blamed our crazy work schedules or chocked it up to being a new mom, but I'm starting to think the feeling of loneliness is just part of learning to be a mom. I'm not saying I am alone in my new role, but I find myself feeling alone in ways I never have before and the funny thing is that I'm rarely ever alone. My little girl is often by my side.

My alone time is at an all-time low, which is a bit of a struggle as an introvert. I talk nearly the whole time I'm with my eight month old, yet I don't feel heard (and that will probably change as she grows up). At work, I'm with people all day, but don't feel understood (few of them are mothers). My closest friends are not mothers or don't live nearby so we rarely talk or get time together.

The reality is that at least half my evenings are spent alone because my baby is asleep and my husband is either at work or in class, so I do spend some time by myself. The extent of my weekly interaction with other moms usually comes in quick conversations with the few colleagues who have children and brief chats with moms in the church nursery or fellowship hall.

About once a month, I see my neighbor whose daughter is four months older than mine. We have totally different friend groups, but I relish the chance to talk about our growing daughters and the crazy journey of motherhood. She's expressed to me the challenge of loneliness as a stay-at-home mom. It seems that moms who are with their kid(s) all day find themselves feeling lonely just as moms who are away from their kid(s) can.

I don't share any of this as a complaint, nor am I fishing for sympathy. Before I was a mom, I did not remember consider how I might feel alone in the journey and I'm content to think it's one of life's surprises.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

shop my closet (an Instagram sale)

Last week I talked about my love for clothes which I don't often talk about around here. For years I've enjoyed buying gently used clothing and accessories. I frequent consignment shops and love the "thrill of the hunt" as I look for a certain item. I scored a great pair of riding boots a few years ago.

I've been contemplating a shop my closet sale for several months and I finally decided to go for it. For the past several months, I've been purging clothes and accessories from my closet. I gave some to friends and others were donated to a thrift store. This time around, I thought I'd try something different.

I've created a separate Instagram account where I will be posting the items for sale. Most will be women's clothing in gently used condition. There will also be a few lady's accessories and some baby girl clothes included.

I will begin posting the items at 10pm EST on Friday, March 28. Each item will be listed with its price and shipping cost. Buyers must leave their PayPal email address to claim the item and invoices will be sent. Buyers will have 48 hours to pay. I hope you'll stop by!

If you have a question, feel free to leave a comment below or email me (

I'm linking up with Molly for Funday Monday!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

anticipating spring with my girl

How is it already March 20th? Today was the first day of Spring and thankfully it was warm enough to go outside to take a few quick photos with my girl.

I have a love/hate relationship with blogging about what I wear. In the past three years of blogging, it's one of the hardest things for me to blog about. I struggle with not wanting clothing to be the focus of my posts, even though clothes are probably too important to me. I love feeling confident and often the clothes I wear help me feel that way, but posting photos of what I wear just feels superficial. I don't wear designer labels and as much as I love finding a bargain on what I wear, I have no aspirations of becoming a fashion blogger.

If you've been around here for a while, you may have noticed such posts have become fewer and farther between. Before I was pregnant, I dabbled with outfit photos and then while I was pregnant, it seemed more "natural" to take a weekly photo to document the growing baby bump. But since she's been born, I don't want to take a photo without my girl.

Somehow when I'm holding Maggie it seems different. I feel like the focus is on her and taking a few photos isn't about the clothes I'm wearing anymore.

me: sweater: Aeropostale // Maggie: top: carter's // leggings: Jumping Beans

She's at the stage where she's aware of the camera and even seems to enjoy it at times. Maggie is quick to smile. She loves the fresh air and literally laughs at the wind. Is that normal?

Even though it looks like it's still fall in our backyard with all the dead leaves, I am so looking forward to spring and excited to spend more time outside as it gets warmer. We went for a nice walk last Saturday and Maggie just loved it.

I realized earlier today spring is the last of the seasons that's new to Maggie and so I've been thinking of the things we can do as the weather gets nicer. We'll go to the park and put her in a swing for the first time. I am hopeful the stroller will get lots of use and she can learn to play in the backyard. Maybe we can even go on our first family picnic.

There's so much to look forward to with the start of this new season!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

meeting some greats

Last week, we had the opportunity to take a quick road trip south and spend some time in Northern Virginia with my mom's family. Maggie got to meet her great grandparents and great aunts and uncles for the first time.

Sadly, we didn't get photos with everyone but I'm thankful for time with extended family that included good conversation and a break from the cold weather. It almost felt like spring while we were there.

Maggie was a great little road tripper. Previously, we'd only traveled about two hours from home, so the eight hour car ride was something new for all three of us. She didn't sleep the whole time, but I was glad to catch her sleeping sweetly with her head propped on the ride home!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Top o the morning to ya!

Just popping in for a quick minute to say Happy Saint Patrick's Day! I've always loved this holiday even though I'm barely Irish. Thankfully, my husband is Irish, so I plan to full embrace it with Maggie (and any siblings she may have someday).

We started by dressing her in the sweetest little outfit (and only holiday related clothing I've purchased for her to date). I love the little glitter shamrock on her top and kelly green pants! I also made sure to pack some green (an avocado) in her lunch. Yes, I know she won't remember any of this, but I'm trying to start a family tradition ;-)

One of my March goals was to start a family tradition for St. Patrick's Day and I spent some time reading about Patrick, for who the holiday is named. Fun fact: St. Patrick wasn't actually Irish, but English born (if you know much about how the Irish view the English this will be a surprise and it had me giggling to myself). Anyway, if you don't know much about Patrick, I encourage you to read a bit about this inspiring man who is credited with spreading Christianity to Ireland.

So what will our Irish family tradition be? We will read the story of St. Patrick and talk about how the shamrock represents the Holy Trinity. I also think we'll be sure to serve green with dinner (and maybe even the whole meal will be green)!

Do you have any family traditions for St. Patrick's Day?

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Maggie: 8 months

This has been such a fun stage (with the exception of teething of course). Maggie isn't mobile yet, but loves to sit up on her own and play with toys. Her favorite toys are ones that have textures and make noise. She still loves the crinkle sound and things that play music.

About two weeks ago, she started clapping and it's about the cutest thing she's done to date. Maggie holds her right hand in front of her and waves her left hand to meet it. She almost always smiles and sometimes giggles as she does it.

Something you may not be able to tell from the photos, is that Maggie likes to study people and things. She isn't quick to smile at a stranger or someone she doesn't recognize. I used to call it staring, but most people comment on how intense her look is and it really comes across as her studying and observing her surroundings, including the people in her presence.

She also loves to feed herself and her ability to feed herself has improved greatly in the past few weeks. Maggie started feeding herself puffs and has added blueberries and scrambled eggs to the list of things she can pick up and put in her mouth.

This past month she rolled over for the first time. Maggie rolled from tummy to back several times and a few week or so later rolled from back to tummy to back. It doesn't seem like she enjoys being on her belly, which is the ways it's always been with her.

Maggie's likes:
  • still loves to be sang to and claps when she hears any music
  • sitting up on her own and playing with a few toys
  • watching Milton and reaching to pet him
  • sitting in her high chair in the kitchen and feeding herself 
  • rolling onto her belly (finally!)

Maggie's dislikes:
  • wearing socks
  • Milton's licks (she doesn't cry or anything, but makes a face and who can blame her)
  • being tired
  • being strapped into her car seat (lots of back arching)
She's still the happiest baby we've ever known!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

saying yes when I used to say no

Lately, I feel like I'm living from one day to the next. There is so much happening, I can only think about the next 24 hours ahead of me.

Maybe it has something to do with being a new(ish) mom? I'm doing my best to not play the busy car because I know everyone is busy. That doesn't change the fact that our life is full and I'm learning to make adjustments for all that means in this current season.

One change comes in the way of learning to say yes when friends offer to help. Before Maggie was born I was the stubborn "I'll do it myself" kind of woman. Even a few months ago, I declined help carrying a bunch of bags to my car from a colleague (and I still feel guilty about it because it was really silly).

Asking friends to watch my daughter can be such a struggle, but several friends voiced their interest in wanting to watch our baby even before she was born. I hate to impose, yet the reality is they want to help and enjoy their time with Maggie. Perhaps, I'm the selfish one who doesn't want to give up a moment with her?

Last week, two friends were eager to help and I gladly accepted. One friend let us borrow her pack and play to save me an extra 40 minutes of driving on a snowy afternoon to pick ours up. And another friend watched my girl on Saturday while I went to a work conference and Brandon was in class. It may seem like slow progress, but I feel like I'm making strides to accept friends' help.

What areas are you striving to make changes in your life?

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Goad Abode mornings (project)

In January, I was inspired by Elise's project to document her mornings and for the month of February I did just that via Instagram. I too love mornings and I loved how the habit of taking a photo at the start of the day showed me they're not all the same. Since we had Maggie, mornings seem to take a little different shape and start a bit earlier (ahem), but I still love them.

Last month, I posted one picture using #goadabodemornings to track them in IG. I loved thinking about how I could capture my morning with a single photo. Many of my mornings consisted of documenting coffee and/or breakfast, while others show a(other) snowy day or Maggie doing something adorable.

A lot of mornings can be routine. Maggie wakes anywhere between 5am and 6:30am. We don't always get her right away and thankfully she's been pretty content to squeal in her crib for a while and I usually doze for a bit.

Two or three weekdays she stays home with her dad and those are our "sleep in" mornings because I don't have to be out the door until 7:30am. On days I take her to childcare, we need to leave by 6:45am (those are the mornings I have my coffee in a tumbler while I drive).

I was surprised that I didn't often forget to take a photo. There were only two days I got to work and realized I hadn't taken a photo yet. Looking back, I appreciate seeing how often I got to drink my coffee from a real mug rather than a travel mug/tumbler. Since I've gone back to work, the three of us end up in the kitchen together for a bit and it's probably my favorite part of our day. Maggie is just so happy and talkative in the morning!

What's your favorite thing about your mornings?

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

March goals

Winter seems to be really dragging on this year. I've almost always been someone who loves to bundle up, wear scarves and boots, but this year I'm so over it and ready for spring. Maybe it has something to do with being tired of bundling up my baby each time we have to go somewhere (she does not like getting bundled)?!

This year, I'm making monthly goals. And with only two months in, I feel like it's been a bit harder than an planned. BUT I'm pressing on! I'm not gonna let the first two drab, cold and snow-filled months deter me from setting goals.

My February goals were:
  1. Plan our dinners for the week ahead each weekend. Yes, I did this one!
  2. Take a photo of Maggie in the snow.  Even though we had more snow, I was never able to get her dressed up and outside to capture a snowy background. It rained a few times on top of the snow, ruining it's prettiness and other times it was just too cold to be fussing with taking photos.
  3. Create (and order) a photo book of 2013 images. I don't think I even logged into the website I started the project on...seriously, I lacked motivation!
  4. I am going to keep reading. I've been working my way through Jesus Feminist and Bread and Wine. I might have read ONE chapter between both books in February. Yikes!

Realizing I don't have a very good track record this year, I'm considering the type of goals for the month ahead and how I can make them happen, so I don't feel defeated by unmet goals. 

My March goals are:
  1. Introduce Maggie to two of her great grandparents (and some other relatives). 
  2. Continue meal planning on a weekly basis. Knowing our dinner options has been a huge help to the rhythm of our weeks; I don't always assign meals to an evening ahead of time, but it's helpful to even know specific options.
  3. Start a St. Patrick's Day tradition (I've been looking forward to doing something fun for St Patty's Day once we have a child).
  4. Send a bag of clothes into ThredUp (they sell excellent condition name brand clothing). I signed up for an account in January, but have not filled my bag and returned it. 
Do you have any goals for the month ahead?

I'm linking up with Hayley.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

learning to mother without my mom

A few weeks ago, a colleague lamented about how he was dreading having dinner with his mother that evening. As I walked away from that conversation, I felt a range of emotions. I was initially jealous that he got to have dinner with his mom. Then my jealousy turned to anger. How could he be so ungrateful? Finally, my anger turned to fear. What if my daughter dreads having dinner with me when she's an adult?

Sometimes I catch myself wondering what it would be like to pickup the phone and call my mom to ask her advice about mothering. I probably wouldn't think twice about it. We'd discuss whatever I was concerned with and then it would turn to what my daughter's learning lately or a new recipe we liked.

At the same time, it's hard to imagine picking up the phone to talk to my mom. So much has changed in the twelve years she's been gone. I've lived more than one third of my life without her.

Is mothering more about instinct or nurture? Before my daughter was born, I tried to squelch my fears by telling myself I didn't have to worry about how I'd mother because I had a great teacher. I remember my mom as patient, gentle and giving. Now that I'm a mom, I see even more clearly how she gave of herself in ways I never recognized as a child or even a young adult.

I sometimes struggle but always manage to find my way and I'm in awe of mothers everywhere. Whether you're a mom who goes to an office or spends her days with her child, I know you're a working mom. I hope you have friends who encourage you in the journey.

I've found some aspects of motherhood to be lonely, but I am so grateful for lunches with co-workers who are mothers and the ease of texting a question to another mom. These relationships remind me I'm not really alone in the journey and it's normal to question yourself along the way; they encourage me when mothering feels tough.

What encourages and connects you to other moms?