happy birthday to me…

Another birthday is here! Another year has passed. Which means another year under my belt. Another year to savor in my twenties. Another year closer to thirty. Another year to prepare myself for this looming thirty! But 27 is my lucky number, so I’m pretty certain this will be a special, special year in more than one way (yes, that was TWO specials!). d bday portraitbirthday coffeeThis 27th birthday I’m….

Waking to the smells and sounds of Sean making me coffee….
Grateful to be celebrating WITH Sean, instead of away, like the last two years….
Wanting to remember all of the little things that make us “us”…
Wondering what Sean’s “big surprise” is!!?
Listening to little voices singing me Happy Birthday….
Laughing when they, not me, blow out my birthday cupcake candle.
Appreciating red flowers from a great friend…
Loving all of the special texts and calls and mid-day messages.
Calling my twin for the littlest reasons, over and over again…
Wishing she and I were together, not apart….
Feeling very connected to her despite the distance.
Willing the sunshine out and the raindrops away.
Hearing the potty timer every 15 minutes…
Singing the potty song every 45 minutes.
Anticipating this evening and enjoying the moments until then.
Loving my life…
Every little, last bit of it…
Right down to the
Little toes,
Little tantrums,
Little laughs,
little secrets,
and little moments
that make it truly
original
and
perfect,
and absolutely
and only
mine.

Oh happy day.

Two Weeks Until Race Day

This 10k means more to me than distance.

When I got my informational flier in the mail, I inadvertantly started doodling all over it. By the time I walked away from it, this realization kept replaying over and over in my head: this 10k means more to me than distance, this 10k means more to me than distance.

run photo 1

I already know I can run the distance I signed up for, which is beyond amazing! When I signed up, I doubted I could even get close to four miles, let alone six. But the more you run, the more you practice, the more you get outside and off the couch, then the more you realize: running isn’t so much physical, but more mental.

Enter my personal battle and challenge. I have a tendency for doubting myself and my stamina. I always think, nah, that 10k is something that someone else would do, not you. But I’ve recently realized all the negative self-talk doesn’t have a place in me anymore. And so, as I have been training to run, I have also been training myself to rethink. In return, I have become a happier, fuller, more responsive individual. run photo 2

I cannot only RUN this 10k, but in fact, I HAVE RUN a 10k, and I will do it again.

Because I am strong.

I am determined.

And, race or no race, I am enough for me. And accepting that truth is the challenge all along.

It’s Okay to….

It’s okay to wear the same jeans two days in a row.

It’s okay to stay out later than usual on a weeknight. (Especially if your good friend has reason to celebrate.)

It’s okay to leave the dirty dishes for tomorrow.

It’s okay to call it a movie morning after a long prior day.

It’s okay to rearrange your bedroom at eight o’clock on a Tuesday.

It’s okay to donate the shirt you really love, but never wore. 

It’s okay to  to be the only adult playing at the playground.

It’s okay tolet someone else cook dinner for a change.

It’s okay to sneak secret glances at your man in a crowd of people.

It’s okay to break the rules and draw smiley faces on the bottom of your little ones’ big toe.

What conventional rules are you breaking today? Happy Thursday, Friends. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday, at last. Phew!

We don’t typically celebrate the end of the week like we are this week. But boy oh boy, are we ever thankful this Saturday! It has been a trying and tiring week and we are beyond happy to see our sacrifices and hard work come to a successful outcome!

One new car.

Two days of sunshine.

Three nights of grapefruit vodka tonics.

Four days of a TOUGH commute!

Five days of wondering.

Six ingredients in a new recipe

Seven mornings of hazelnut coffee and vanilla creamer.

cookbooks

new shoeshomebrewedgrowing plantWe’re off for a quick baby-fix up north for the weekend! Nothing will calm me like holding my nieces and nephew! May you be celebrating wherever you are, too!

Thank Goodness it’s Saturday

Weeks like this are a gift. Sean and I were so fortunate to have one of my oldest friends and her little one visiting with us for a few days. We haven’t seen one another in much too long. It was wonderful to catch up, and also to realize that some friendships are so natural not even time can tarnish their bond. Silly me, I didn’t even pick up my camera once to record our moments together. But good for me, too, for living in the moment and soaking in a dose of true friendship.

Other than our visitors, it’s been comparatively quiet around the apartment. We’ve been avoiding life, if you must know, because a lack of sunshine in over a week makes it impossible to do anything but snuggle on the couch and watch movies.

Smiling
to myself as Sean chats very seriously with a toddler.
Searching for and test-driving new cars.
Staying up past my bedtime to sneak in one more conversation.
Welcoming my fourth and final springtime birdy to the nest!
Showing off our favorite pizza and brewery in town.
Eating an extra dessert after my first two helpings.
Reminiscing about him and her and all the times we had.
Hiding inside to escape the falling rain.
Watching the magic of strangers bonding.
Feeling like myself and very, very happy, too.Coastersrain on porchBecause with all of this rain, you have to have a good beer to keep the sanity.

hello april

April! You are here! My, how this year is scooting right along. But not without notice and appreciation. And now, April. April, April, April. top of flowerNot much on the docket this month, which is wonderful. It’s calming when you look at your calendar and see every weekend blank! This phenomenon hasn’t happened all year and I am grateful for the chance to slow down.  flower bottom

So, the line up for this month: We are waiting for my twin sister’s baby to come out STILL! And there will be the Tigers to watch! And miles to run. And believing that I can run even on days I don’t want to. And many attempts to finish reading A Prayer for Owen Meany. And  sneaking outside on evenings for walks with Sean. This is what April will bring. And hopefully, it brings May flowers, too. A girl can only hope!

Music and Philosophy

We listen to a lot of music around here. I’m a big hummer; always there is a tune in my head I have to share or I’m singing in an opera voice to the kids. Thankfully I live with a like-minded partner. Sean is always playing some instrument or beating his fingers against his desk, the kitchen sink, his thigh, the dresser…. pretty much anything that can make a beat line. And so we go on through our days, not so silently.

Wednesday was perhaps the first day of spring-like weather here in Michigan and the opportunity to run in the sunshine nagged at me all day. I had to get out and go! So, I laced up my shoes, put some of Sean’s favorite music on my i-pod and hit the sidewalk. What I found on that run, alone with my music and the sun at my back, was a simple moment of peace. Passing by a local shop window, I glanced at a little girl’s dress and caught my reflection beaming back at me. Life is so good. There aren’t any clouds today. I have feet that can take me where I want to go. The water we drink is unquestionably clean. And in that moment it dawned on me: we can choose to awaken the gladness in ourselves, to become aware of our happiness when it’s happening and to reflect with joy on it, or we can let it pass unnoticed.blue skies and treesI’ll choose the first option, and I hope you do, too. Let’s take more time today to dwell on all the good than we do to complain about the bad. I dare you.

Carry on and sing your happy little song, too.

Library Cart

This is the cart, the library cart that I have been dreaming about. Library cart in sunlight

It came from a store, a store down the block, that sells the best stuff, including the cart, the library cart that I have been dreaming about.

Top shelf of Library Cart

When I saw the cart it made me gasp, after I went in the store just down the block, that sells the best stuff, including the cart, the library cart that I have been dreaming about.

I told the man to “load it up!” when I saw the cart that made me gasp, after I went in the store just down the block, that sells the best stuff, including the cart, the library cart that I have been dreaming about. Library cart angled

I brought it home and got to work! Cleaning and moving, purging and rearranging, making a home for the cart that the man loaded up, that made me gasp, after I went in the store just down the block, that sells the best stuff, including the cart, the library cart that I have been dreaming about!

PS: you should totally stop in to Hunt and Gatherer next time you’re in Grand Rapids… You won’t regret it!

TGIF// hatching and taking flight

Phew! What a great week! Seriously. Even though I have sub-zero energy levels and Mother Nature missed the memo on it being Spring, it has been one amazing week here in Michigan! Two (count ’em: ONE, TWO!) of my four spring babies arrived this week. That’s lots of baby snuggling time for this auntie! Aside from babies, what else has been happening this week?

Witnessing butterflies hatch, fly and explore their new world through the eyes of a toddler.
Trying to keep up with our dishes.
Attempting to start an end of the week tradition with my closest girlfriends.
Rejoicing at the knowledge that my family is growing and growing very quickly!
Celebrating the third birthday of my niece, Lucy & wishing she could stay this age forever.
Choosing to color outside the lines.
Dreaming of what could be hidden under all this snow.
Feeling very proud that I finished my first race.

blue butterflyCharlotte's Little FingersIrish Jig Tagone mason jar bluebday card2Hooray for a happy week and weekend to sit down and relax!

Our Love Story// Two Year Anniversary

I met Sean on a bus. Well, kind of.

In reality, I met Sean the first day of winter semester two years ago. Some months before that fateful day I had quite my job and life in Charlotte, NC and moved back to Grand Rapids, penniless, jobless and heartbroken. Thankfully my best friend, Crissy, took me into her home and suggested I go back to school to get my teaching certification. I agreed and off to Grand Valley State I went, again, two years after the first time I had graduated.

As I was sitting in class, feeling quite old and out of place, a guy walked in late. I turned around, annoyed. Who walks into class late on the first day? But when I saw him, tall, wide eyed and wearing a brown stocking cap, I literally had air sucked out of me. I’ve never been blown over by a person like that before. I had to meet him. The voice in my head whispered something to me and I knew this guy would be in my life. Unfortunately he didn’t take the empty seat next to me and I left class that day without talking to him.

To my surprise, I walked into another class three hours later and there he was again! I was so nervous I didn’t know what to do. So I sat in the back and looked at him. He was beyond cute.  We did a first day of class mixer and I stumbled over to him mumbling, “uh yah, we have another class together too.” To which Sean replied. “Huh, don’t remember you,” and I was crushed. How could he not remember me? Then I felt determined! I wasn’t about to be ignored by this guy. He may not have remembered me the first time, but now, I wasn’t going to let him forget me.

So, I followed him out of class that day and on to the bus. I know what you’re thinking: stalker. But sometimes a girl has to do what a girl has to do. Unfortunately he didn’t sit by me, either,  so instead of talking to him in person I spent the bus ride plotting ways to get to know him. When we got off at the same stop, I rushed home to Crissy’s house and told her I had met a guy in my literature and even though he didn’t want to talk to me, he would someday! She thought I had completely lost it, which I had, but for the first time in months, I was inspired to live again, to date again, to smile again. Life was getting better.

Eventually, Sean and I started talking in class. Mostly because I forced him too. And when I showed up at the bookstore to buy er, what did I come in here for? Oh yah, pencils, we really got to chatting. And finally after two months of strategically placing myself next to him on the bus, we got off at the same stop and he FINALLY asked for my number. I was through the roof! I raced home again, singing to Crissy that he was going to take me on a date.

And he did. One week later. We walked down and got a drink at a local brewery. Then we had dinner a few nights later. And we stayed up late writing term papers and reading and okay, kissing, too. And from then on whenever we got on the bus he was sure to sit by me. And the rest was history. Even though I knew early on that Sean was the guy for me, in the two years we have been together, he hasn’t stopped surprising me.On the Beach on Christmassean and d at bluffsTraverse City Picture

I couldn’t imagine my life with anyone else by my side. Thank you, Sean. I think I’ll keep you.

Our feet in the sand