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our (growing) family.

in a few weeks, ryan and i will celebrate five years of marriage & sometime around then, we'll welcome another little girl into our family.

i'm a planner, i love a good to do list, game plan, road map for what's ahead. but, when my sweet friend mallory sent me these photographs she took, i was reminded that no plan i could ever make, or hope for or try to will into existence could ever have made something i love as much as the three (!!) i get to do life with. every major detail in these photographs, funny enough, is actually outside of what i had planned or imagined. i've written about how unexpected ryan was in terms of what i'd pictured in a husband -- not to mention becoming a military spouse and the wild, beautiful adventure these years with him have been. for some reason, i had always pictured having sons -- so not just one, but two, brave & kind girls to raise is a fact i'm still wrapping my mind around. i would have never guessed we would have lived for four years in the same military town, building a community, putting down roots, bringing our daughters to a home that is foundational to our family.

what i'm about to write isn't original or profound, my guess is most of you reading can find threads of it in your own life, but looking at these photographs certainly has made me pause and realize that my twenties were a lot about me learning to let go and hold on, all at once. for me this is a matter of faith, of letting go of so much of that control i crave. that sense that i can make things or fix things or check that box or complete that task; all while learning to cling to what is given to me. to hold these people dear, to show up in the season of life i'm given, to wake each morning trying to be both a bit braver & kinder. these photographs have been hard forged -- they've required a tremendous amount of worthy work -- our covenant of marriage; pregnancies that have pushed me to the limit of what i feel capable of; the humbling, daily practice of motherhood. i fail all the time. i fall short over and over again. but when i look at these images, i see abundant provision, and my heart is so, so full.

p.s. photos from during my pregnancy with ellie are right here!

mal, thank you so much for taking time out of your busy, full life to capture our family at this moment -- we will cherish these photographs & your tremendous patience with us that afternoon ;)


second baby wish list.


as we prepare for another little girl to join our family in november, i'm struck by how much simpler it is this time around. in truth, there's nothing we need before her arrival. there are a few things that will be nice to have, but if she came tomorrow, i know intimately how simple her needs will be for a long time ahead. i so appreciate the calmness with that (i know i'll still have those bizarre moments of intense nesting/crazy projects -- hold onto your hat!), but i'm taking rest in this season.

if you've followed my journey over the past year, you know that what i've actually done to prepare for this baby is simplifed our space and belongings, not added to it. we have three very small closests, and now four family members, there were no empty shelves or cabinets awaiting her. looking around there was much we hadn't used or didn't need, and so slowly, methodically, i've found other homes for those things. like most first time parents, we thought we needed way more than we actually did with ellie, so we've even cleaned out a lot of our "baby items" down to the ones we really used.

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christmas cards & baby announcements, oh my!




if you've been reading t&f for a while, you've no doubt heard me profess my love for minted. i've come to appreciate, especially when ordering something online, excellent quality that is consistent; great customer service; and a simple process.

recently, i've had so much fun wandering their site, picking some of my favorite birth announcement and christmas card designs. the really unbelievable thing is that both will include a baby girl i haven't met yet (!); so as i'm trying to imagine the photograph we'll use for each, it's exciting to think about this little one who will join our family in november.

we seem to always have a reason that we can't choose a photograph for our christmas card until the very last minute -- our very first christmas card was a wedding photograph (and we got married in november...); the past two years have included a deployment homecoming in november and now we'll be waiting til that month for our new addition. it does build the suspense!

so, in the meantime, i mark designs i love and get excited for the day i'll be able to see them with a photograph of our TWO little girls!

you can see the round up of our family's minted cards here: our 200920102011 & 2012, 2013 cards!; plus ellie's birth announcement!


just to be in the same room with them.

i have often joked that in retirement, ryan & i are going to have a bizarre hobby: we're going to crash rehearsal dinners. let me explain: i love weddings, but even more than weddings, i love rehearsal dinners. i love them because of the toasts that can be given on an evening like that. usually it is the wedding party, so the chosen family of the bride and groom, and close family members; an intimate gathering of all the people who best know them. so, if there are some good storytellers among those gathered, it can be an incredible evening of getting to know the ins and outs of the bride and groom (with some good roasts along the way); and more of their story as a couple. i can pretty much recite some of my favorite rehearsal dinner toasts -- childhood anecdotes, pieces of advice, moments of reflection that made a permanent impression upon me. they wove their way into my heart and became stories i love to retell. i love how rehearsal dinners can so clearly say to those two, on the eve of making that covenant: we're with you. we love you. we cherish you & the bond you have.

a few weeks ago, we went to san francisco for the wedding of some dear friends. the groom was our best man, peter, and his family introduced ryan & I to each other. the rehearsal dinner toasts were among the best i've ever heard -- spanning the spectrum from so funny they could have sent me into labor, and then like an unexpected freight train, they would end with something so profoundly moving and loving that i'd dissolve into tears. (in general, me at a wedding, especially pregnant, is a hot emotional mess).

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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.

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