January as it happens

1. Ellie sees a glimpse of her first snow flurries.  As much as I love California- and being a Californian- I am somehow totally content that Eliana is a Chicago baby.  It just seems so appropriate since this is where T & I met, fell in love, & have lived all of our married lives.  I'm so happy she'll have Chicago rooted deep down in her heart always.  

With that being said.
I hate the snow.
And I think she does too.  ;)

2. Ellie's toys & books are multiplying by the day it seems.  Which is such a joyful sight for this mommy!  I LOVE when she gets new stuff- it feels like Christmas day when I show her something new & I can't wait to see how she's going to respond to it.  Most of the time I'm more excited about her toys than she is- but whatever.  I've been working & spending Christmas money on a sweet little spot for all her toys.  It's in the front of the house, in the same room as T's office. 

A date!  How nice this was.  Taylor's brother was staying with us for a bit before Moody started classes again & we were able to leave Ellie with him & sneak out for a coffee/tea date at our favorite coffee shop.

You guys.  We're doing this cah-razy diet thing.  My mom, husband & I.  No sugar, no gluten, no preservatives, no dairy.  Paleo on steroids.  Whole30.  So we eat meat, veggies, tons of eggs, fruit & some nuts & olives.  That is about it, folks.  Everything from scratch.  Everything good for you.  My cravings for a diet coke, and T's for a cheeseburger are strong.  But we're on day 11 & have not cheated once!  I think I am starting to feel more clear headed & bright eyed than I have in a long time.  I'm curious to see how much money it will end up being in the end (we're buying the cleanest meat & eggs possible- & the fruit & veggies are not all organic, but are all from Whole Foods).  We haven't eaten out at all though this month because it'd be way too hard with the restrictions- so that part of our budget added to our grocery budget might help.  My poor budgeting hubby.  ;)  At first I truly hated it & wanted to hurt the people that invented it- but now I'm thinking- it's not that bad!  It's a lot of friggin work, and that may be my biggest complaint.  I spend a lot of time at that stove there.  

1. It's freezing here & I cannot drink enough tea.  Also.  My mom made this incredibly beautiful gray shawl & it goes everywhere with me.  She's so handy at crocheting & over Christmas taught me some stitches.  I'm excited to work on a scarf & try my hand at it!

2. My little girl in her leg warmers.  She is just a couple weeks away from being 6 months old & I am dying over how fun she is!  She truly is sunshine to my heart every single day.  My pregnancies knocked me out guys.  Spiritually, emotionally, & for sure physically.  I feel like I'm finally starting to lift my head out of the fog for the first time in a year & a half- but even in those foggy, confusing & dark days- Ellie could always get a smile out of me.  She is just the cheeriest little one I've ever met.  So thankful she's ours.

 1. I'm learning so much about staying at home with Ellie.  I think some people will always have the perception that stay-at-home moms sit around all day- and that's fine.  But it's just so not true.  I'm not going to debate that it's harder or easier than a working mom's life- because I just have no idea.  But it's a reality that staying at home 24/7 with your baby is hard work.  It's hard, and it's rewarding, and it's beautiful, & it's hard again.  And I'm learning that taking a quick break is absolutely necessary!  T is back in school part time, and working full time so we're trying to juggle raising E without family here...which is so hard...but with the two of us I can at least get a break every couple days even if it's just to run to the grocery store without Ellie.  So helpful.

2. This one breaks my heart.  Our friends Dave & Sarah are moving to Taiwan at the end of this month.  Over the years we've gotten to know them through church & outside of church- and we just love them. Sarah is one of those girls in Chicago that I feel really comfortable around. I feel like she gets me.  And she's so joyful.  Her & her husband are absolutely so precious to us- as is their sweet baby girl growing inside of Sarah.  Their daughter has some possible health issues that are truly very scary- so if you ever think about them- pray.  Pray on behalf of their sweet girl.  And you can keep up with their story here.

1. I hate the winter.  That's all I have to say. 

2. I feel a photography bug.  It's been a long time since I've felt like getting my DSLR out & playing on photoshop.  A long time.  And it feels really, really good to want to play with it again.  Really good. 

I feel like I talked way too much just now.
How are you?
How's your January going so far?

Christkindlmarket 2012

As we were walking through the cold air yesterday to Christkindlmarket we were wondering how many years we've been going.  7 it turns out!  Possibly 6 because we just can't remember if we didn't go one year- but let's say 7 for good measure.  Whatever.

It's so fun doing things that we used to do just the two of us, now with the three of us.  It's always a surreal moment for both of us- one where we kinda look at each other for an extra few seconds & say with our eyes, "Can you believe she's here?!"

It's her first Christmas & we are so, so, so, so excited.  She's at such a sweet little age- really interacting with you, laughing & giggling so much, & just a little ball of energy.


We brought E along with us to Barnes & Noble the other day.  The Barnes & Noble where T told me he had a crush on me for the first time.  It was a cold night in January of 2006 & I can still remember how happy it made me to hear that.

We brought her to the little cafe there, and told her that our love story had it's baby steps there- right over there- at that very table! And that for that the next 6 years as our love continued to grow, we'd share coffees there & look at books there.  And now here she was!  Two plus one equals three.  Our little family.  Still at that tiny Barnes & Noble over on Rush St. next to our favorite Chipotle.

Walking there we passed by our very first apartment & it brought back a hundred memories.  If you count up 1,2,3,4- there it is.  Our little first home in the big city.  We lived there for 2 years.  2 years with the tiniest kitchen you ever did see.  Of hearing the LaSalle bus day & night.  Of meeting at Whispers for coffee.  2 years of no air conditioning & running down to the laundry room vending machines to grab a coke for long nights of Friends marathons. I could go on.  It was such a special two years.  And I get teary thinking about how much fun we had & how young we were.  21 & 22.  Just babies.

But it was hard too.  We fought a lot in that first apartment.  Mostly because we were broke as jokes & I wasn't used to being poor.  I had an extremely hard time understanding why my husband would want to use a thing like a budget. Just didn't fit my vocab.  Funny thing is though- when we passed by it- those moments that I remembered feeling so heavy- seemed light.  And I looked back on them with thankfulness.  And I could look at my husband now of 5+ years & see why God had us go through the trials we went through then.

It's always easier to appreciate the trials on the other side, isn't it?

We're in a new apartment, in a totally different part of the city, but we're still building special moments & living through hard moments too.  If I have learned anything over the years it's that you can't look back wishing for it to return, and you can't look forward wishing for it to arrive.  You have to just be where you're at.  Not wishing any of it away.  If you do- you miss it.  You miss what God has for you right in that moment.