June 28, 2012

.Virginia is for lovers.

We are on our way to my best friend's wedding weekend!

I haven't seen my college girls since Tiffany's Seattle wedding last February, and I am so excited that they finally get to meet Dylan!

Can't wait to start celebrating; congrats Lauren and Aaron!

June 27, 2012

.Laughs and Squeals.

This weekend, my dad and his family came for a visit.  I spent most of it cuddled with the newest and sweetest member of the family, Caleb, while Kate played the role of coolest aunt ever to Dylan.  They played so well together, with Kathryn 'reading' and talking to her, always so patient and kind.  

These two little girls sure do have my heart, and we all spent the time the family was here completely content in playing with the kiddos, and letting them have some child's time rummaging and whispering in the teepee alone.  After all, those laughs and squeals could be heard from the next room and all it took was a quick peek when they were a bit too quiet to know that they were just busy, well, being little kids.

June 23, 2012

.This is important.

And every day, the world will drag you by the hand, yelling "This is important! And this is important! And this is important! You need to worry about this! And this! And this!"

And each day, it's up to you, to yank your hand back, put it on your heart and say "No. This is what's important."

June 22, 2012

.Eternal Summer.

There shall be eternal summer in the grateful heart.

.Celia Thaxter.

Sometimes all it takes is a few hours in the sun, on an old family blanket, to convince you that this summer is shaping up quite nicely.  

June 20, 2012

.Dylan's Carnival.

Dylan's birthday was a blast!  

On Sunday, we had our own little carnival at home full of finger painting, a photo booth, sun tea, chalk coloring, ice-cream, bubbles, and our version of a baby water park.  And sure when the time came, I forgot a ton of stuff we had planned (this bunting that I made and didn't even remember to use was a bit painful) , and not everything worked out perfect, and things moved way too fast, but I think Dylan and the kids enjoyed the warm afternoon and that's what mattered to me.  This was a celebration not only for Dylan, but also for some of the people (big and small) who have had an impact on her first year.

At the end of the day, I cut a small piece of the kiddos' artwork as a keepsake to frame and add to Dylan's growing homemade gallery.  I want her to look back one day and see that it was always important for us to try to be in the moment and just have fun together.  Even if it makes a little bit of a mess, because when is life ever really neat?

I am full of thanks for everyone's help to make my Dylan's day so great, especially to our families.  She is one lucky little girl.

- Invitations by Dodeline Design.
- Cakes by my dear friend Mary Myrick.
- Teepee made by Lolli's Loveables.
- Baby-safe finger paints made by a mixture of water, flour, and food coloring as seen here.
- Party hat idea from here.
- Vintage linens graciously provided by G's family.
- Some of these photos kindly provided by my mom.

June 17, 2012


Today might be the most special day of the year to me.  Today, I get to honor the two most important people in my life; my husband and my child.  

Happy first birthday my sweet, hilarious, curious, loving little girl.  You've given me a greater sense of strength and unconditional love like I've never known.  

Happy father's day G.  This time last year I relied on you like never before.  In the scariest moment of my life, you were who I looked to for comfort, some sense of normalcy in the chaos.  

You guys make this tough life worth living.  

I love you both always.

P.S. A little film to commemorate.

June 15, 2012

.In Between the Mayhem.

We're celebrating Dylan's birthday this weekend!  The family is making their way into town, the last minute prep is underway, and I feel surprisingly at ease about the whole thing.  

To get into the celebratory frame of mind, I documented our first year as a little family.  It's unbelievable how you forget how many sweet little moments there are in between the mayhem.

Let the festivities begin!  
Have a great weekend.


Here Comes the Sun: The Beatles
Don't Panic: Coldplay
Cosmic Love: Florence + the machine

June 12, 2012

.Romance After Baby.

G and I have been married for almost 4 years, together for over 8.  We spent 4 of those years (while in college) long distance.  Sometimes it feels like we've been together forever, and sometimes I'll look at him and think, "there's still so much to learn about you." 

I don't know where this started, but G and I do "relationship check-ins" often; what we're happy with, what we feel needs more work, our latest appreciations and annoyances... it's just been a good way for us to always make sure we're on the same page.  When it came time to decide to start trying, we talked extensively about how a baby would change our relationship.  Change isn't always bad, but it felt good to try to prepare and make the decision with realistic expectations.  Some of these conversations were full of fear and tears, because of course we've heard the horror stories (I wrote about some of my fears here). 

"Babies ruin everything." 
"It's not the same after a baby." 
"The romance is gone."
"The fun is done."

We were adamant that we had not worked this hard on our relationship, for this long, to risk anything.  So as Dylan's first birthday is quickly approaching, how have we fared?  Better and stronger than ever.  I love him more.  And not just in the, "oh, he's my child's father" type of way.  In the, "I chose right, I knew it" kind of way.  Not to say that we didn't have a few lapses... a few hiccups along the way. 

Towards the end of my pregnancy, I started to get a little crazy; full of emotions and panic and hormones and G did everything and nothing wrong all at the same time.  The first six weeks after Dylan was born was just survival mode.  After that though, we got into a routine and everything was fine.  'Fine' was okay with us for awhile, but about six months into being parents, G sat down with a relationship check-in and told me that he wanted... that he needed... more.  We had gotten into this routine of being great partners in tackling the demands of being new parents, that we had left our romantic relationship on the back burner.  We were the best of friends at that point, we were comrades who appreciated and had great fun with one another, but that wasn't going to be enough.  It was a good wake-up call that just because you're not at each others' throats, just because there isn't conflict, doesn't mean that things are great.  The opposite of love is not hate; it's indifference.

We have always strived for great.  Great is the stuff that takes us into our eighties still crazy about each other, you know?  So since that talk, we've worked harder to be what we need for each other.  We shoveled around responsibilities, duties, schedules... we compromised and the biggest thing is we communicate.  We talk to each other all the time.  About everything.  We laugh and tease and share and remind each other what we were like before we became working adults and parents and we try to bring those people out more often too.  We're better people for this.  We've always been on the same team, but it's good after a long day to actually look at each other for more than a minute and really see with your eyes all the things you originally fell in love with.  We have deep discussions about our beliefs and our spirituality.  We touch and flirt, and not just on date night (all though date nights are more than priceless).  We flirt during the work day and while doing housework.

So yes, our relationship changed after having a baby.  Yes, it is still alot of work.  And yes, we still have our arguments and sometimes just for old-times sake, I'll still be crazy.  But we'd better get used to it because life is going to throw alot more our way in the next 60 years and we'll have to learn how to adapt and remold our relationship time and time again. 

But as far as I'm concerned, the fun is far from being done...

June 7, 2012

.(Attempting) Balance.

Through reading others' experiences, I was able to see that there are many successful and functioning ways working mamas keep life together after baby.  Joanna had a great series of how mothers find a balance (a few I found especially interesting are here and here!) and I found comfort in these stories; inspiration and motivation.  I get many questions of how exactly I fit all my roles in, so I thought it might be helpful to share my attempt to balance motherhood, marriage, and career... 

To give the context, I work 32 hours a week as a therapist in an outpatient day treatment center, 8 hours a week at the attached outpatient clinic, I have an assistantship as a research assistant, and I am at the end of my doctoral studies, which I am also pursuing full-time.  "Normal" days can look very different from semester to semester, but currently this is generally what my days look like:

7- 830 am: G has already left for work by now, so this time is for Dylan and I to get our day started, coffee, play, The Today Show, getting presentable, and packing our gear needed throughout the day.

9 am- 5 pm: Dylan has been dropped off at her grandparents' and I'm (hopefully) walking into my office. My work day consists of individual, crisis, and group therapy sessions, consultations with treatment team staff for client treatment planning, staffing meetings, and general program maintenance.  I work through lunch, and am always talking to someone in some fashion nonstop.

Evening classes for me can begin anywhere from 5- 545 (G picks Dylan up on those days) which last generally about 3-4 hours depending on the semester and professor.  After the commute, that gets me home after 9 (and sometimes 10!) where I will try to spend a bit of time with G and unwind/ clean/ do homework/ answer emails/ read before bed.  Bedtime usually doesn't happen before midnight, but sometimes I make myself lay down earlier to give my body and mind a break.  Those nights, I usually still read in bed at the very least :).  At the most, I've had classes 3 times a week, but this summer I'm taking my last class ever on Monday evenings.  It feels glorious to have the rest of the week to do everything else on my list!

On the days I don't have class, I pick up Dylan at 530 as I get off much earlier than G (such a hard worker!), and we'll usually hole ourselves up in her room and make a huge mess playing and reading.  Dylan goes to bed at 7, so depending on when Garrett gets home, we either play together as a family and catch up from the day, or put the baby to bed and start preparing dinner.  Many times we don't eat until 8 by the time we've figured out a meal plan and completed it (we're trying to get better at that!). 

9-11 pm: During this time I'm either doing schoolwork, research, brainstorming, or other obligation (i.e. boring, horrible chores), or on a good night I get to spend time on the deck with G talking and relaxing, we watch our favorite tv shows cuddled on the couch, or I catch up on my google reader and blogging.  If I do have to work during this time, even being in the same room with G is very important to me so we can still have some dialogue and proximity to each other.  The distractions may cause me to have a later night, but it's worth it to get to hear how G's day went and keep conversation.

11 pm- 12 am: G has a strict bedtime of 11, so when he goes off to bed I'll usually retire to our room as well, but spend that last hour to myself just reading, contemplating, catching up on personal stuff, doing my nails, watching tv... whatever I like! I generally get a full night's sleep (more later on our sleeping adventures with Dylan!).  If she does happen to wake, she usually goes right back to sleep, but there are nights that my sleep can be quite interrupted between her and our pups!  Luckily, I don't need much sleep to function which is good as G is very fond of his sleep routine :) 

Although chaotic, we've found a system that works for us where we all feel like we're getting what we need and want (for now).  You'll also see that because of this chaos, weekends are sacred to us.  It's our time to just be together, to not have strict schedules and obligations and commutes.  You've read the word "catch up" a few times, and yes, it always feels like I'm playing catch up.  I am never ahead.  Working to "have it all" (whatever that might look like for you) is a constant battle, but with support and determination it is possible.  Don't sell yourself short of your dreams.  My biggest challenge is remembering to take care of myself in the mix of everything, but there's always sacrifice with the important stuff. 

I hope this is helpful for anyone who feels stretched thin.  Decide what you want to do, and then just go do it!  The minor details always find a way of working themselves out somehow.  Don't get lost in the trees and forget to see the entire forest.  I might be stressed daily, but my life is also so full of fulfilling opportunities and when I want to complain, I have to sit back and think, "this is everything I've always wanted."  Now, I just have to keep doing the work to keep it.  Because it's worth it to me.

And the most beautiful thing is, I don't have to do it alone.

P.S. Thank you for all the thoughtful birthday wishes.  It was pretty special and I'm grateful for all who took the time to recognize it!

June 5, 2012


Today I'm 26.

And today, I'm grateful for a husband that will take me out for a birthday breakfast since I have a long, hard work day ahead of me (it was a full moon last night you guys; that is serious business in my field).  I'm grateful for a husband who is also thoughtful enough to have beautiful flowers delivered to my office during said hectic day.  And I'm grateful for a sweet daughter that is teaching me more and more to be carefree and in the moment. 

Because if you let it, life can really tear you down.
Thanks little family for always bringing me up.

P.S. 25 years old