free flow.

>> 7.31.2012

I got a massage and a facial today.

It was a redeemed groupon that I'd bought a million years ago (it seemed like), and I finally got everything together so that Hubs could stay with Jameson and I could go off and pretend that I was a woman of means and I didn't have to count every single penny I spent that day.

And it was the strangest thing (since I've never had a massage before, and have literally dreamed of getting one for as long as I can remember), but as I was laying there I just kept having this thought of, "How on earth can you think you deserve this? This is so indulgent. You should not have bought this--this money would have been better spent elsewhere." I was fighting to make my brain and my body relax so that I could just enjoy this time, this hour of silence and quiet and indulgence. And it was hard.

And I still can't figure out why.

--linking up with just write.


what our weekend looked like.

>> 7.30.2012

Riding miniature trains (real steam-powered engines that ran on coal!), 
watching the ducks, 
and being a family.

Not bad, England. Not bad.

part of the track.
Hubs and Jameson, taking a spin on their own private train.

Only 30p each!


Riding with Ah-ma and Yeh-Yeh

Oh, hey England. Nice to know you actually do have a blue sky.



saving my life.

>> 7.27.2012


the sun has been my salvation and brought deep happiness and satisfaction to my life for the last three days. finally.

my other son is always an essential part of saving my life and keeping me buckled to reality. he is my sunshine, my joy, my wonder and there are many times that I think I would have stopped living if he wasn't here.

the promise of our first family-of-three vacation that is going to be happening in two months is saving my life. planning out the sights we're going to see and the hotels we're going to stay at and the food we're going to be eating--right now, Germany and Austria are keeping me going.

as always, my husband is ever saving my life. he makes me laugh, and roll my eyes, and smile. he is my constant companion, my best friend, and my soulmate.

"be still and know that I am God." [psalm 46:10]
these words are the lifeline right now.
-the only promise that I am able to cling to as the storms weather on.
-the only action I am able to take as the beating continues.
-the only thing I am able to meditate on as the doubt creeps in.

still. know. God.

-linking up with Sarah Bessey


swirling around.

>> 7.26.2012

South bank, London.
Nov. 2010.
I've got a lot of things just spinning around in my brain today.

I wanted to have the rest of the posts for this week planned out and scheduled, and yet here I sit at 9:45 pm on Thursday night trying to spit something out so that I can keep the traffic up.

Blogging as a business is kind of a weird betrayal for me. I kind of feel like I'm selling out, but even that's not really accurate, since I'd have to be making money for this to even be "selling".
That's not to say that's not the goal, but for now it's simply a "hobby" that I'm cramming in to the free time that I don't have in order to maybe get a promise that is being loftily held above my head.

Sometimes it all just feels like a lot of work for little return, and I wonder if it's a worthy pursuit of my time.
But I like it, and sometimes I feel like I'm good at it, even if I'm still finding my voice and trying to make it a priority. (You don't want to know what doesn't get done in order to make sure that something shows up in this space. But it's usually a clean bathroom. Or clean clothes. Or a clean me.)

I guess I just have to remember that I'm only human at the end of the day.
That, and the Perfect Christian Wife image that's imprinted on to my brain is not actually an accurate picture, but rather an impossible one.
Things are going to slip, and that's just how it's going to be.

People are messy, myself included.
We don't come in pretty packages, complete with designer house and optimal wardrobe.
Even though admitting that is less-than-ideal, it's the truth.

And that's what I want more than anything.
The truth.

Talk to me about your life. Your mess. Your truth.


mom-wear-wednesday [2]

>> 7.25.2012

We're back.
Two weeks in a row. I'm kind of amazed at myself, but hey, at least I'm being consistent somewhere in my life.

Dress: H&M

So, let's not talk about the fact that I don't have a full-length mirror anywhere in my apartment and I have to take two pictures of myself and put them on top of each other so you can kind of get the effect.
Also, let's ignore the wrinkles in the dress (to be fair, Hubs offered to iron it, but I told him that this was about real-life, not being pretentious. Haha.) and that I have no make-up on. 

Let's do talk about how I am dressed with my hair mostly blow-dried (except the ends. I don't have time for that--it's roots and fringe, if we're lucky) by 9:30 in the morning. The only reason this happened is because I dragged my butt out of bed to the gym at 7 a.m. and made sure I got a shower before Hubs left for work.

Also, please note the sleeping baby in the background once again. That's how you know this is legitimate mom-wear: I have to take the pictures and write the posts during his nap time. I am Awesome.

And if I were even cooler, and if this were a real fashion post, not just me taking pictures of myself, I would be wearing this belt from Forever 21 and these shoes from Blowfish. But I'm not, and this isn't, so it's just me in a dress. Cool.

And there you have it. 

p.s. The "much-anticipated" hair-donut-bun is coming soon. Give me a few days to get some baby puke, ground food, and milk in there and it'll be dirty enough for me to show you. Aren't you so excited?


summer days

>> 7.24.2012

It's almost the end of July and "summer" has just barely arrived.
The weather people are saying that it will last for this whole week, but I always take English weather with a grain of salt.
So, for now, we are spending as much time outdoors and in the sun as we can, since I know that fall/winter/eternal rain will be on us sooner than we know it.
I think I should have been born in California, because ever since I moved to England, I've discovered that I need sunshine like I need water. It just changes everything.

And this guy...oh, this guy melts my heart every. single. day.

How have you celebrated summer so far? Got any tips to make me feel better about the awful (except for this week) British weather?


being a wife.

>> 7.23.2012

I don't even know when we took this. I just found it.
Note how I am sporting the "mom-wear" sweatshirt. I told you it was my fave.

For as much as I talk about being a mom and my son, there is a whole other facet of my life that is just as, if not more important (and a whole other man, too).

Hubs and I have been married for over four years now and I still feel like I'm at the very beginning of this "figuring out how to be a wife" thing. Even though so many things have changed since we first got married, there are still so many things I need to change before I even scratch the surface of the "wife" I want to be.

We are such complex creatures, humans, and when you throw two of us together, interesting things happen. Babies are born. Memories are made. Tears are cried, laughter abounds, and eventually you are either closer to one being, or ready to part ways.

Thankfully, Hubs and I are the former (although there have been times I've thought the latter. I'll admit it. Marriage is hard).

Mostly I am just so thankful that I have been given someone that tolerates me in all of my sinful imperfection, and challenges me to change. Someone that enjoys living the same life I do, that shares the same passions and desires I do, and is just as childish as I am.

And even though there have been challenges that I am not sure we will ever overcome, we do.
We're still here.
And I love that.


if you really knew me...

>> 7.20.2012

One of the first times I made him laugh.

You'd know that  I could eat an entire box of strawberries in one sitting. And probably go back for more.

You would also know that I care about people, sometimes a little too much. It's a blessing and a curse.

You'd know that I'd rather be truthful about where I'm at and have you think less of me, than put on a song-and-dance to impress you. And I hope you would know that all I want is for the world to be a little more real.

You would know that I think motherhood is the best, hardest, most wonderful, and most difficult thing I've ever done. And that I am faking my way through it 99% of the time.

You would know that I have a serious passion for young marriages and helping them succeed...I would love to start a ministry for young married couples one day. There is so much confusion and passion and emotion in the early stages, and I wish I'd had somewhere to go to ask for help (and to be reassured that everything we were dealing with was, in fact, normal).

You would know that often I feel stuck somewhere in between a little girl and an old woman--and that it's been this way for a long time.

You would know that I need sunshine to survive like I need air to breathe. But you would also know just how much stronger I've become by moving to a place that doesn't have any.

You would know that I love candles that smell delicious, and if my house doesn't smell good, I automatically equate it with being dirty.

You would also know that I am so organized on the inside, but sometimes I just don't have enough time or energy to translate that into my house--and it drives me absolutely bananas.

You would know that "depression" is still a sneaky resident in my brain, but I win the battle against him on most days. Most days.

You would know that in and underneath and through it all, I just want to be a woman after God's own heart. Someone He is proud of. Someone that you'll look at and know that she is in love with her Lord. And you'd also know that I feel like I fail at that most of the time.

--linking up with The Wiegand's



>> 7.19.2012

As I was laying in bed, nursing Jameson to sleep tonight I had this brief revelation stop and settle in on my shoulders:

Life is so much heavier than it used to be.

I think it has to do with being a parent: all of a sudden the choices I make seriously affect another person's life in a total and complete manner. 

It's different than having a spouse, who is also a fully-grown adult, and is capable of making their own minor decisions and also has an opinion on major decisions. With a child, I have to do what is best for them--I have to think for them. And when you really stop and think about it, that's a terrifying prospect.

If he grows up with certain character flaws or ends up in therapy later on in life, chances are that it will have something to do with my decisions for him. Wow.

To be honest, it's no wonder that I've spent the last twelve months drowning in a sea of anxiety and despair. The weight of this responsibility is enough to bear, without all of the opinions and commentary that everyone else likes to heap on top (whether it's well-intentioned or not). 
To be brutally honest, I feel like it's only now that I'm starting to climb out of this fog and step into this place of freedom with my parenting choices--to be secure in them, and to not care what anyone else thinks. It's like a weird form of self-esteem, and I've had to stop being validated by other people and do what is best for my son. Mine. Not anyone else's.

Even though I thought about all of these things before I got pregnant, and before Jameson was born, there is just something so solid about it all now that he's here and starting to exercise his independent will. It's got a whole new real-ness about it now that I am just discovering and figuring out how to handle.

I hope we don't screw him up too much. Just kidding. Sort of.



>> 7.18.2012

Oh yeah, I'm doing it.
And none of this fashionista stuff either--this is the down and dirty "What Moms Actually Wear" post.
Because I know you all are just dying to know what I look like sitting behind this computer, right?
(Plus my fashion sense is questionable since I had a child. He took that part of my brain while he was inhabiting my body.)

Depending on the time of day that these pictures are taken, the outfit could vary a bit.
For example, I am currently dressed the way I am since it's 10:15 in the morning and I haven't had very much human contact today (other than with my one-year old).

So, let's begin.

Utah Utes sweater/sweatpants: Victoria's Secret
//Nailpolish: Maybelline 40-second dry in "Turquoise Lagoon"
//Glasses: 8-year old prescription made by "seventeen". I think.

A close-up of the sleeping baby in the background. Haha.

Ah yes. The matching sweatpants/shirt outfit. Every mom's favorite and mine in particular. When I first moved to England, I was so homesick and sad all the time (and pregnant), so I bought these Utah Utes sweatpants to represent. Then when I was home over Christmas, I got the matching sweatshirt to go on top. Plus they were both on sale, and I am a sucker for VS sale items.

This nailpolish is actually my new obsession. In all seriousness, I am in love with the color and it really does dry in, like, a minute. Which is great since I usually have to pick up a child/wipe up food/do any other menial task about five minutes after I've put it on.

I've had no reason to put my contacts in yet today, so you get to see my wonky and extremely old "sexy librarian" glasses. They're so old that the prescription is probably off, but there are more pressing matters in my life at the moment.

At least I did my hair--all praise the hair donut. It makes me look semi-put together without having to do anything other than roll it up and pin it down. Holla.

And there you have it. The first, iPhone edition of mom-wear-wednesday. Come back next week and see what goodies I've got in store for you!


sweat = love.

>> 7.17.2012

Yes, you read that right.

I love sweat.
Well, actually, maybe that should be I love to sweat.

You see, two years ago when I embarked on my fitness revolution, I had to take all of the mind games out of exercise and just start off really simply without over-thinking it all. I had to quit the "You must push yourself to the breaking point!" thoughts and just start moving my body for extended periods of time. Once I got that bit down, I found myself gradually rewiring my thinking and wanting to see what my body was capable. There was a subtle shift from exercise being a punishment for eating too much/being lazy/just feeling bad about myself to exercise becoming about rewarding my body for being awesome.

I ran my first 5k, then I ran another one, and then another one a year later and it was amazing. I discovered this new love for pushing myself mentally and physically and discovering what I was capable of. Then I gave birth au natural and took myself to whole new heights...

The point being, I've come to a place on my fitness/exercise/self-image journey where I've realized that sweating is a good thing--if I'm not sweating, I'm not working hard enough. And I don't mean that in a failure sort of way, I mean it in a "I know my limits and I am pushing them back" sort of way.

So talk to me here: where are you at with exercise and living a healthy lifestyle? Do you find it hard to even get started? Or have you come to a place where it's something you genuinely enjoy (in a strange, stress-relieving sort of way)?


Dear Jameson [first birthday edition]

>> 7.16.2012

June 30, 2011.

July 1, 2012.

Dear Jameson,
I'm nearly two weeks late with this. Per usual. See there's this thing about your mother--she tries really, really hard to be organized and she absolutely HATES being late, but she usually is anyway. Deadlines are just not kind to her. But back to you...

I cannot believe an entire year has gone by since I spent that night in the hospital, squeezing your dad's hand and yelling through my contractions, just trying to concentrate on the fact that you were finally going to be in my arms in a few short hours. I remember the moment after I gave birth to you, seeing you lying there on the hospital bed and thinking, "That's him. That's my baby." You were so beautiful, and so foreign--I couldn't wait to get to know you and find out everything about you.

Oh, my son. You have turned my world absolutely upside down in the best way possible.

There are so many things I am afraid of forgetting about this first year, even though I know that there is no way for me to hold on to all of the little details. But there are a few things that I hope I remember...

--I hope I remember just how happy you are. You enjoy life so much, and it is so evident to everyone that watches you. You wake up in the morning with a big grin on your face that gets even bigger when you look over to find your dad and I just lying there, watching you. When you get excited, it radiates throughout your whole entire body--literally to the tips of your toes (which you point and stand on, while you clap and scream). If I could capture just a fraction of your joy, I would be one of the happiest people I know.

--I hope I remember how independent and adventurous you are (and I hope you stay that way forever). Some would call it "strong-willed", others would call it rebellion, but I know that you are simply determined to do things your own way and I am okay with that. You are soaking up the world around you, and I can just see you learning and figuring out new things and it makes me so proud of you. You love new experiences and new people, and I am just in awe of how smart you are already.

--I hope I remember that I did the best I could with what I had. Sometimes I am harder on myself than I should be, but then I have to sit back and remember that I love you with everything in me (and even more, I think) and that is what matters. I hope you know how much I love you, and even though I know you won't understand it until you hold a child of your own in your arms, maybe you'll be able to tell through my broken words and actions.

There are a million other things I could write about, like the way you dance when you hear latin music, or the way you giggle at your Papa every morning, and the way you press your whole body in to mine--like you just want us to be one person again for awhile.

Jameson, you are my sunshine. I know I can be impatient with you, and I am sorry for the times I've failed you already--even Mommas are broken, imperfect people. You are the bright part of all of my dark days, and you keep me going even when I don't think I can anymore. You are growing up right before my very eyes and I am the most blessed woman in the world to be your mother.

I love you, bubba. Happy birthday.

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