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so good.

hi!! so, i was just telling myself that there will be more time next week, when e is back in school, and surely life slows down a bit, and that then i'll write a post (right...) but then i thought about some of the things i've been reading recently and how GOOD they've been. how much they've filled up my cup (or how hard they've made me laugh). and how much i would want to know about them if i hadn't stumbled upon them yet. how many times i've thought about them since i read them. brought them up in conversation. read them aloud to ryan. and so i'm here to share a few with you in hopes they might be a balm to your soul.

our little update is that this summer has been so, so good. our first one together as a family since ellie was born, and we've soaked it up in simple ways. we've mostly been here -- at the park, in our backyard, gathering tomatoes, spending evenings with dear friends, heading to the ocean, painting with ellie, doing a bit of nesting for the new little one, simplifying our home a bit more, sharing meals together. somehow it's almost september, i'm 29 weeks along with this little one (!!), fall hit the skies of virginia incredibly early this week (70 degrees in august is just incredible) and i'm feeling really hopeful about this next season. ryan checks out of his sea tour squadron this week, ellie begins another year at her sweet school soon, and every day we get closer to meeting this sweet little girl. life is full.

fill up your mug with coffee and settle in:

her writing just gets me. every. time.

a beautiful, poignant letter to her pre-mom self. amen.

i don't need much encouragement to be convinced a 740 sq foot house would be oh SO good -- having watched her work and admired her so, so much, this interview with elle rowley completely inspired me.

this video. so, so powerful. two things: the likelihood of you crying is pretty high, and you should have your subtitles on.

ok, so i realize this is likely a small group of you, but for those of you somehow connected to military aviation, my guess is your house has no shortage of memorabilia (ha!) -- that said, this design company that does pretty incredible posters for individual squadrons. ryan worked with them to design something for his current squadron and what they created was something i was excited to hang in our house! (we chose the canvas which i love the look of!)

and if you need a really good laugh, this jim gaffigan bit on having four kids pretty much is a nightly viewing in our house.

have a great week! xo


taking care of myself.

so, as sporadic as my posting has been over the past year, there's a theme i keep coming back to when i sit down to write. it's something i think about a lot. something i talk through often with dear friends. something i find myself gravitating to as i'm reading books and blogs. this effort to be more intentional, to slow down, to take care of things -- that with the speed and pace of our lives, our culture, it takes a sustained effort to go against that tide when it makes you feel frantic or feels inauthentic to how you want to live your life.

for me, that's touched how i think about what we have in our house. the pace of ellie's day. the choices i make about how i spend my time. the food we eat & the way we welcome people into our house. and recently, how i take care of myself.

as i came out of the fog of morning sickness, i realized that getting ready in the morning and winding down at night had become a total task for me. this didn't begin with this pregnancy, it had slowly been creeping in and all of the sudden, i realized how little i was doing to take care of myself.

i could totally take the martyr line of being a mom with little ones -- that ellie was tugging on my leg and so of course i took three minutes to splash water on my face, maybe put on a bit of make up and pull on the yoga pants (again). that at night, i fell numb on the couch after putting ellie to bed, and by the time i dragged myself upstairs, the ritual of ending the day was brushing my teeth and crawling into bed. my skin was a total mess from the hormones and i felt hopeless in dealing with it. that getting dressed, in "real" clothes, had just fallen off my radar screen. this comes at a moment when i'm keenly aware how closely ellie is watching me. every morning when i get dressed she asks me "mommy, when i get bigger, can i wear that?! you save it for me?" she'll peak in as i'm putting on make-up and stand on her tip toes to see what i'm doing. one of the things about raising girls that worries me the most is how they'll come to see themselves, to understand what beautiful means, and to reconcile all of that in a healthy way that makes them feel a strong sense of self worth. even at two and a half, i know oh so well, she's watching -- and for now, she's mostly watching me.

then, as blogs can beautifully do, i realized i wasn't the only one. that other young moms were looking around and saying that this wasn't how they wanted to take care of themselves. that they wanted to find products that worked and were made from natural things. they wanted to get dressed for the day because of the difference it made in how they approached the day (posts i've loved here, here, here, here, here & here!). i read their posts and fell myself nodding along, making mental notes and slowly making small changes in my routine. in case any of you are looking to make small tweaks, here are some things that have worked for me:

i recently discovered lush and the first thing i ever bought there was the love lettuce face mask -- i've been using it about once a month (for several days in a row) for a year and it is by far the most effective reset button when my face is breaking out. it feels amazing and produces huge results. i love that it's cold, i love how it smells (which is saying something with my crazy pregnancy nose!) and love that i can count on it to make a difference. 

i also started using their grease lightning to address my break outs. the weird thing about my skin this pregnancy is it has been broken out and really dry. following sydney's advice, i gave pure coconut oil a try as my moisturizer. i use the grease lightening and coconut oil each morning and night and have seen my skin improve with each week.

my skin, in general, has been very dry and i absolutely love lush's dream cream -- for my growing belly especially. it sits on my nightstand as a reminder at the end of the day to slow down for a bit.

when i was so sensitive to smells during my first 20 weeks, i saw this bar of soap at whole foods and decided to give it a try -- well, i'm never going back. it's so simple and so great. i love using it with this cloth from target (make sure you get the one marked gentle).

one other really awful thing about my morning sickness is that brushing my teeth is one of the biggest triggers for my nausea (which is awesome when you're throwing up all the time). i was getting so frustrated and finally realized all the toothpastes i'd tried were mint, and decided to borrow ellie's strawberry toothpaste -- and it worked! hooray!!

i won't go into how i dyed my hair orange (twice) earlier this year and the ridiculous hair situation i created for myself as i tried to save money on highlights (it was a mess) -- the result was i did quite a number on my hair. the good news is it made me more aware that i was washing my hair way too often and how to condition it better. i grabbed this amika hair mask at one point and absolutely love it -- my hair is slowly, slowly getting stronger and this product has made the biggest difference.

clothes is something i still really need to tackle -- i've been totally inspired by this and definitely have just been shopping less. laundry is already out of control at our house, and soon we're going to add a baby (which especially as a newborn, produces an absurd amount!) -- so i'm thinking about how to have less, that's better made, that makes me feel ready for the day & beautiful. this blog has been totally inspiring me as of late on this front.

two disclaimers, this is not a sponsored post (the little blog that could over here folks!) and this also isn't meant to be a pregnancy post -- while i made these choices during this pregnancy, i'm not planning on stopping any of this when the baby comes. 

ok, now will you, share your favorites? your rituals? i can't wait to hear!


it's a ...


indiana summer.



it's somewhat of a tradition that in june, we head to indiana for some time with family & a bit of a respite. the past two summers, it's been just ellie & me, in the midst of a deployment -- weary, needing some home cooking and time with family.

this year, ryan was home & able to join us for the first few days. i expected this trip to be less emotional, but as life often does -- being there hit me in ways i didn't quite expect. first of all, simply see ryan & ellie, together, after longing for that two summers in a row was so moving. the first night, the three of us ended up at this park that was a saving grace for e & me during our deployment trips there. as i sat in the grass, under the shade of a big tree, eating chili cheese fries (thank goodness for unexpected food trucks!) - i found tears rolling down my cheeks as i watched ellie take ryan to all her favorite things. i just got to sit there, and watch them, feeling a little one kick in my belly and soaking up how far we had come in a year. sure, it could totally be pregnancy hormones, but to me, it was even more this profound reminder of the abundant grace that we made it through. we were there, hands held, hearts full, as a (growing) family.

the next few days were spent with my extended family at a lake where i grew up spending summer weekends. the photo of ryan & ellie on the pier is so incredible to me -- to get to share this place that's been so significant in my life, with those two, still sort of knocks me over. it's about a two hour drive from my parent's house, so when we arrived, ellie was eager to run (so was I!) -- she headed straight for the pier. as we walked out, she looked up at me and exclaimed, "i love this mommy! this is so fun! this is so fun!" to see the pure joy on her face at a place that makes me feel JUST like that, well, i just scooped her up in a big hug and told her i knew EXACTLY what she meant. the adult to toddler ratio that weekend was 8:1, which i've realized is pretty much perfect. ellie definitely has as much energy of the 8 of us combined, and could go from one place to the next, choosing to be with different people who love her so much. again, so often, i just got to be the observer, which felt like such a neat place to be -- to sit back and watch her loved well.

back in indianapolis, a place i haven't lived for any real stretch of time in over 12 years, we had this low key week doing some of my favorite things. it was the perfect time to go to the children's museum; help papa plant tomatoes; go visit my grandmothers, ellie's great grand mothers; get to have goat cheese for lunch with just my mom; go on a father/daughter date with my dad; flip through old photo albums; rest.


doug & allison's homecoming!


pregnancy lifesavers.

so, 21 weeks into this 40(+) week nonstop adventure called pregnancy, i thought i might share some of the things that have helped me survive. much like with ellie (though this one has been better!), my body doesn't handle pregnancy very well, and especially the first half is ROUGH. while this one was easier on my body, having ellie underfoot was TOTALLY a game changer. i'm not a doctor or nurse or any sort of expert, this is just what has worked for me through these two pregnancies. also, if you haven't been pregnant yet, please don't let this post scare you! the overwhelming majority of women are NEVER this sick -- i'm one of the extreme cases. 

my "morning sickness" (also known as 24 hour sickness around our house) begins about week 7 and this time went strong and steady through week 17 (I'm still throwing up, just not every day, and I have times of the day where I feel a little bit normal! hooray!). having been through childbirth once, it actually helped me understand the nausea was really coming in waves, much like contractions -- sometimes slow and steady, and other times, right on top of each other (usually in the evening). i'm pretty sure part of the reason i actually threw up less times this go around was i learned how to "ride" those waves -- and i was super stubborn. i know what a downward spiral of dehydration getting sick can lead me down and refused to go down without a fight. i also learned the things that would help me get through a wave or provide fast comfort after i was sick.

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