What John does

31 January 2019

We celebrated our fourteenth dativersary this week. Can you believe it? Three more years, and we’ll have spent as much time together in this life as we have apart. We are the luckiest.

For all that has been written about the “emotional labor” and disproportionate household tasks that fall on women, I have been feeling super grateful lately for the little things John does to keep our household (and lives!) running smoothly. These aren’t tasks that would make their way onto a chore chart – though he does plenty of those, too – and they can so easily be taken for granted. I don’t want to do that, so I’m celebrating a few of them here. My sweet husband…

…refills our humidifiers
…washes and sanitizes bottles and pump parts every night
…packs our leftovers into John and Emily lunch-size portions after dinner
…stops our mail before every trip
…empties our robot vacuum after each tour of duty
…replaces my toothbrush head however often you’re supposed to do that
…finds and plugs my phone in to charge every night
…serves as my personal alarm clock every morning
…adjusts the thermostat to our preferred temperature upon waking and retiring
…makes June’s breakfast and fills her water bottle before school
…remembers to put our bath mat in the wash every so often
…keeps the nails of four members of our household trimmed (not including me, for the record)
…and replaces all the toilet paper, everywhere, always.

Notice a small thing today, friends, and thank someone for it :)

P.S. Our love story and five intentions.

A picture from our first summer together, above :)

Those Winter Sundays

28 January 2019

I was clearing out a few notebooks from college this weekend and found this poem I had copied out. It reminds me of my Dad, how he’d be up before the rest of us to add logs to our wood stove day after day, all winter. I thought you might like it, too.

Those Winter Sundays

Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.

I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he’d call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,

Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love’s austere and lonely offices?

— Robert Hayden

Many years ago I used to share poems quite often (the last one in 2011). There are some breathtaking gems in those archives, if you’re looking for something beautiful today.

Photo by Whitney Neal via Southern Weddings

Three-year-old favorites

18 January 2019

We officially have a three-year-old! June’s party was on Saturday, and though I hope she looks back on it fondly… it was a bit of a disaster from my perspective. Not for any logistical reasons (everything went smoothly!), but because the birthday girl herself was battling a cold and spent most of the party overwhelmed, clinging to me instead of playing with her friends (and we only invited five!).

I know this is not unusual — as my father-in-law said, probably 80% of three-year-olds are overwhelmed at their birthday parties — but it’s safe to say I don’t think we’ll be throwing a party next year. Maybe we’re an every-other-year-party kind of family :)

The details did turn out pretty cute, though! I particularly loved the individual trays for cupcake decorating. Here’s a peek:

Pro tip: the pink tablecloth was inexpensive from Amazon, so not precious, and so easy to throw in the wash versus toss like we would a paper or plastic one. I know we’ll use it for many occasions to come!

Okay — on to the things June is loving these days!

— This bead set has been a favorite many months running! (June is actually wearing one of her creations in the photo above!) She has strung and re-strung those beads a zillion times. This is one of my go-to birthday party gifts, too.
— The bee backpack is currently being used as a dance bag, but she loves packing her activities in it for car trips, too! And now that she is into playing school, it gets toted around our house most evenings, as well.
— Since Shep has taken up residence in the pack and play, June’s on-the-go bed is this inflatable mattress. We use these foam bumpers in her big girl bed at home.
— June is v. v. into matching games right now, and is WAY better than almost anyone who challenges her. The illustrations on this set and this set are both beautiful!
— If you’ve seen this cleaning set over and over again, there’s a reason — I’ve never met a kiddo who wasn’t drawn to it! I love that June can ACTUALLY help clean with it, and she loves to do so.
— We don’t have this exact play kitchen (ours was a hand-me-down from a neighbor), but it probably gets the most mileage of all of our toys, and I think it will for years to come! We have it in the kitchen so we can cook alongside each other :)
— All unicorns all the time: these unicorn sheets on her bed and this purple pony tucked under her arm (Mama love that she ticks all the little girl boxes but is not hideous!).
— Two books we’re loving right now: this sweet ballet story (I love the illustrations!) and this cool spotting book.
— This petite tea set was a Christmas gift, and along with this treat set, has provided many afternoons of entertainment already.
— We got a pink tulle dress from Old Navy as part of June’s Halloween costume, and it has been in heavy rotation ever since. It doesn’t look like it’s still available, but this one is almost identical (though admittedly more expensive!).
— June’s show of choice these days: The Star on Netflix. It has made her a very big fan of Mary.
— To end on a practical note: this little potty seat makes things much more comfortable for a small person!

Stay tuned – I have a post in the pipeline sharing Shep’s favorites from the first six months! We used and loved many of the same things as we did with June, but found a few new gems this time around :)

P.S. If you’re looking for most of my past kiddo picks in one easy place, I’ve organized them more neatly here!

Past family favorites:
The first six weeks
Five months
Eight months
One year
Fifteen months
Twenty one months
Two-and-a-half years

Affiliate links are used in this post!

June takes ballet

8 January 2019

Our sweet girl turned three yesterday.

She is the dearest, most precious girl to us — cheerful, funny, surprising in her observations, the best big sister, imaginative, independent, and a gleeful enjoyer of life :) We feel incredibly lucky that we were chosen to be her parents, and try to simply enjoy her each and every day, per the immortal advice of my grandmother. (She makes it easy!)

We celebrated her birthday on Sunday with her requests: blueberry muffins and fruit for breakfast, spaghetti and meatballs for dinner, and church, presents, and a first try at her balance bike in between. Her legs are still a bit short for it, but by the time spring and summer roll around, I know she’ll be zipping around our neighborhood like a pro!

Aside from the bike, her presents included a leotard, tights, ballet slippers, and tap shoes because… she’s starting her first ballet class today!! She already has dance class every other week at her preschool, and she LOVES it (in fact, when we did her birthday interview and asked her what she’s “really good at,” her answer was “dance class!”). I hope she enjoys this deeper dive, but if not, it’s just 45 minutes for eight weeks through Parks & Rec.

While it should come as no surprise I’m thrilled she loves to dance, and think my heart might grow a few sizes when I watch from the sidelines later today, I’m not sure anything can make me happier than our daily pre-bath dance parties — the ones where she says, “dance with me, Mama!” and squeals like I hung the moon when I oblige.

The only thing that makes the heart squeeze of her being a year older a little easier?

Knowing there will be more of those moments :)