Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Weekend

Things that I will remember about Easter weekend, 2013: beautiful weather, exploring the beach, missing our families, a beautiful Easter service at church with baptisms and beautiful music that made me weep (to the embarrassment of my family I'm sure,) and also being really jealous of Olive while we watched her eat part of her chocolate bunny. (It's been well over 40 days of being off all sugar for me and I still miss chocolate!) Also memorable: realizing how blessed and rich I am in the little family God has given me. I love these guys so, so much.

Here are a bunch more photos from our warm afternoon at the beach. It was heavenly.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Clock Shop

There's a tiny shop downtown that has stolen Olive's heart. We call it the "clock shop." All they sell are authentic, German cuckoo clocks.

A couple of weeks ago we took her inside to see them up close. The noise level was ridiculous in there. Hundreds of clocks ticking together, some occasionally chirping, "cuckoo-ing" and singing.

"It must sound so quiet when you leave the shop," I told the owner.

"Oh, I never notice anymore," he laughed. "I'm used to it."

I don't know if I could ever get used to that, I had a headache brewing after just 5 minutes, but kudos to him!

The clocks are beautiful, darling and charming (and extremely expensive) and we think it's cute that Olive is so in love with them. We have to stop and look at them through the window on all of our downtown jaunts.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Such A Nice Day

It was nice enough for a bike ride in town tonight! Such happiness!!

Is that Robert Frost poem stuck in your head? Yeah, mine too.

Holland's famous and overly hyped tulips have ARRIVED!

Silas is bummed he can't ride a bike yet. :(

Swoon-worthy dream houses right there, yo. 
Some other note worthy things...

Homeschooling (whether or not to do it, and if I do, HOW to approach it, etc. etc...) has been weighing on my mind a lot. It might have something to do with Olive turning 4 next week. I've been interested in the Charlotte Mason philosophy on home education, so I ordered this book. It's been enjoyable, encouraging and inspiring so far (though admittedly, written in a very out of date, prudish style.) There are definitely nuggets in there that I'd like to take into my own, individual approach to home schooling.
If anyone out there has some great books to recommend for someone just starting out with homeschooling, please share the love. I'm looking for all the inspiration and encouragement I can find!

We've been experimenting with some loose leaf teas in our french press lately, so far just fruit/herbal blends. The Seasoned Home is a cute kitchen boutique downtown (it's like a mash-up between Anthropologie and Williams & Sonoma.) They have a huge loose leaf tea selection. Their almond tea smells and tastes just like vanilla/cinnamon granola. It's the best.

Finally - yours truly, grinning dopily over her first maxi skirt. I finally got one, and I lurrrve it. It's going to be a summer staple for sure.

Some More Link-Love:

Dry Shampoo Do's and Don'ts. I've been experimenting with dry shampoo lately, so this was interesting to me.

Prettiest Michigan necklace! Would you wear your state? These are the daintiest state necklaces I've seen yet. (She also does alphabet letters!)

Thought provoking article on making sure we prioritize the right message when teaching our children about sexual purity.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


Matt's been working on a 2,000 piece puzzle. It's huge.

Silas has been sick this week. He's a good sport, though. <3

Can you believe the sun doesn't fully set here until after 8PM? And it's only March!

This is a vintage monstrosity that I found at Goodwill. I'm going to make it a-w-e-s-o-m-e...
We had sunshine today! And 45F weather. Which felt like a freakin' heat wave. I sat outside in bare feet and no coat for a solid 30 minutes watching Olive ride her bike. Spring, I hope you're planning to stay this time!

Here are some things I've been loving lately:

This nail color is good. A real mood lifter!

This blog project is extremely sweet and inspiring. 

This series is really well done. (My brother is in Poland this week, so I've found it especially interesting!) You can watch on Netflix!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Lets Talk About Girlfriends

Me and my best girlfriends - my sisters.

Since moving to Michigan, one of my biggest struggles has been loneliness. I miss my family and I miss my husband's family. I miss my sisters, horribly. I also miss those few, precious-as-rubies girlfriends God gave me in WV. Gosh, do I miss my girlfriends

For some reason, we women are weird about girlfriend relationships, aren't we? It is really hard for us to make friends! Yet, we really need friendships with other women - as integrally as we need the love and support of our husbands. Don't get me wrong, Matt is my best friend on earth and I wouldn't have it any other way. But Matt will never be able to really empathize with what I go through during pregnancy and mothering our children, he'll never be interested in having long, deep talks about dealing with the kinds of insecurities and trials only women have to deal with, (and he'll sure as hell NEVER enjoy browsing Anthropologie with me!)

So we're surrounded by women on a daily basis, at school, at playgroups, at church, and at work who are going through the same crap all of us women go through, who wish they had a girlfriend handy to talk it all out with and who are lonely for that awesome, inspiring, fulfilling Anne Shirley/Diana Barry type of bosom frienship - yet for some reason it is still SO hard for women to make friends with other women! And it drives me crazy.

I have a couple of theories about why this is.

1. We're Insecure

I can say from experience, that I have often felt that anxiety driven insecurity of I'm not cool enough to be her friend, or she wouldn't like me when meeting other women. We all deal with insecurities and I know that they are very difficult, complicated things to work through, but I've come to realize it is cruelly unfair to make these kinds of assumptions about people you don't really know. Lets give our fellow women the benefit of the doubt before writing them off as not-befriend-able.

2. We Compare

Why would we feel insecure about being cool enough to be so-and-so's friend? I've learned (from personal experience, mind you, I do these same stupid things,) that the basis for these judgements are usually pretty darn shallow. I'd say the big 3 are beauty, status and confidence.
We see someone who we deem to be prettier than us, and we immediately feel inferior. 
We see someone who appears to be materialistically wealthier than we are and we feel shabby. 
We see someone who exudes confidence in their walk and smile and we feel defensive. 
We then let these insecurities keep us from what could be awesome, meaningful friendships!
It's like the backwards reflection of snobbiness. 
Basically, we can be really big jerks, us women.
I for one would like to stop my brain from bullying myself, and retrain it to love what God made me, so I can shed these darned insecurities and open myself up to love and be loved by other women. 
We really, really need each other, girls!

3. We Make Our Kids Our Whole Lives

This one's going to come off as sounding weird and controversial, but it honestly aggravates me when I try to get to know another girl and all she can talk and think about are her kids. Yes, our kids are extremely precious and important, and as mothers we devote the majority of our lives to unselfishly pouring time, love and effort into them. But I do not want to be one of those moms who lose themselves completely in their role as "mom." I have other names that are just as important to me. I love my kids and my role as "mom" AND I still have other interests, passions and dreams outside my home. 
Bonding over the trials and triumphs of motherhood is a great thing to do in a friendship, but it's ok to bond over other things too. You're not a bad mom if you get excited talking about books, movies, fashion, art, music, etc. You're not even a bad mom if you make a girlfriend "date" to go out to a movie, or out shopping or out for a pottery class, without the little ones!

I think we, as mothers, sometimes even discount our very real need to have deep, meaningful friendships with other women because we have this little guilt complex that we carry in our back pocket that constantly whispers to us "but you're not doing a good enough job at the mothering thing." 

Let's ditch that annoying guilt once and for all, and tell it to never come back! Because just like we'll never be the best mothers we can be if we neglect to take care of ourselves, we're never going to be able to be a good girlfriend if we walk around believing we have nothing to offer.

We all have something to offer in a friendship. We all have lives and stories that need to be shared. And right now, there's another woman out there who desperately needs YOU to be her girlfriend, and chances are good that you really need her too.

Thinking about these things the last month or two, I've realized I've been wasting my time being frustrated with the women around me who I have assumed had no interest in being my friend. Even if they really, truly didn't want to be my friend, that doesn't mean there's something wrong with me. I'm trying to shift my focus from inward to outward, and by that I mean I desperately want to stop worrying about what other people think of me and to start worrying about people. 

Someone who loves other women, and who loves and appreciates the bonding struggles and miracles that only women experience, and who can see the women who are silently crying out for a best girlfriend to share life's ups and downs with because her eyes aren't pointed backwards, towards herself - that's the kind of woman I am aiming to grow up to be.

End rant.

(PS: And make sure you let the girlfriends you have in your life already know how precious they are to you! Great girlfriends are a gift from God!) 

Monday, March 25, 2013

I Lost My SD Card

Possibly one of my sweet children lost my SD card, but it wouldn't really be fair of me to blame my irresponsibility on them, would it? *grumble-grumble.*

To anyone out there who checks here frequently for new content (anyone? *Crickets chirping...* Mom???) I'm sorry for falling off the map. Besides not being able to use my camera, it is still snowy and wintery here and I just don't have it in me anymore to force my kids to be my models just for the sake of loading new content on my blog. 

I spent a good chunk of time today searching for inspiration in the blogosphere. And I actually found some, but not in the usual places I look to for seeds of creativity. Today what really inspired me are women who use their blogs to write honestly, candidly and respectfully about issues, thoughts and ideas that are really meaningful to them. I love to write, but have never used my blog as a platform to speak my mind, mostly because I always assume no one cares what I have to say, haha. 

But lately, I've had several things heavy on my mind, and they are things that I think a lot of women think about, so I might be sharing some of that later on this week.

Until then, let's hope Silas didn't eat my SD card so I can get back to over sharing my cute kids with the internet reeeeal soon. :)


Saturday, March 23, 2013

iPhone Dump [Numero Dos]

this garland really cheered up our house. 
meanwhile, this has been our weather in holland. all. month. long. 
black coffee is growing on me. i feel so hardcore. 
i love to play this super loud on the piano while my kids are screaming. 
trying to read a magazine in the bathtub is harder than it looks.

selfies aren't as cool when the mirror is filthy. #fail!

my sanctuary.

matt and i had our first date in over 3 months at a cool waterfront restaurant.
lake mac is still frozen.
don't worry, it was a fake candle.
on our date we picked out loose tea downtown. so, so, so yummy.
i rather liked this outfit. 
our toy stores in downtown holland are way too cool! 
i'll take an apple juice and fattie baby to go please!
we've been doing a lot of skyping with grandparents. it's been good.