My 365. Or 377. Or 542.

Last December I decided to tackle a 365 project as my new year’s resolution. My goal was one photo per day taken and posted to Instagram. To make it a little more interesting, or perhaps to set myself up for failure, I also stipulated a color/black and white alternating rotation.

I told no one of my resolution. This way when I quit in February, I wouldn’t have to justify my reasons or excuses.

But then I didn’t quit in February. Or March. Or April. Or when the tiny one didn’t sleep through the night for six months straight. Or when it got crazy hot. Or when the big kid went back to school. Or when we decided to pull her and begin home schooling. Or when any of the insane life stuff happened. Or when boring daily life happened.

I didn’t quit.

This is the first year long project I can remember finishing. I credit the not telling anyone and the fact that I actually began a few weeks prior to January 1st. So from December 17, 2012 until today, December 28, 2013, I’ve followed through. 542 photos posted over 377 days to be exact.

And while these little snippets of 2013 won’t mean much to anyone else, they mean so very much to me. This was my life. I found beauty worth documenting in every single day.

Honestly, I have no plans to stop taking photos. But I am taking this moment to claim the resolution a success and to extend a little grace to myself if I miss a day from here on out.

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When she wakes…

Emma sleeps

… she will be one.

A whole new number.

A whole year of months behind us.

I’ve thought time and time again about writing down her birth story but something always stops me. Emma herself, usually.

The thing is, all of the contractions and hours and nurses and shift changes aren’t what come to mind when I remember meeting Emma. It is the mostly silent drive to the hospital with Matt. Putting our hands on my stomach to feel her solid kicks one last time. It is checking in at the front desk and asking if anyone has ever just said, “No thanks, I’ve changed my mind” and left, because that was exactly what I wanted to do in that moment. It is sitting in the dark of the night with Matt and answering the nurses time and time again with a yes, yes, my husband really is always this calm. It is the minute between each push when my doctor and I laughed and joked at how much simpler this was than it had been with Abby. It is the weight of her on my chest. It is the way she looked straight into my eyes and all I could think was, oh, so this is how you love more than one. It is Matt gently kissing the tiniest nose I have ever seen. It is hearing Abby quietly singing Oh Holy Night over her baby sister. It is the four of us together.

We have so much to be thankful for. It has been a beautiful year.

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Breaking the Silence. Kind of.

Emma will be one so very soon.

My blog has sat silent for over two years now. There was simply a day when it seemed like enough had been said. That I’d said enough. Then that day turned into a month. And then there was a pregnancy to survive and a baby to meet and a whole year worth of standing as still as possible so as to not hurry the time away. I held my breath and dove deep and prayed for the mundane to become more. Prayed that the memories would cling to me like sand at the beach.

So there is no baby book. No written log of milestones. But there is this- the fact that I can say, without a doubt, that I have been present this year. I have lived every second of its sleep-deprived glory and for that I am beyond thankful.

And there is also this, a ton of snapshots of the beautiful ordinary that is life with Emma.


Summer Recap

I thought the grandparents might appreciate this one.

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I woke Abby up this morning with the whispered words, “It’s raining, baby.”

Without opening her eyes, she replied, “Well, let’s go dance in it!”

I fall short so often on this parenting thing, but I’m going to take this as proof I’m doing something right.

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Life Happenings

According to my grandmother, I’ve been a slacker when it comes to blogging. She’s right. The summer has flown by and I’ve spent as little time on the computer as possible. But to appease the lady who holds all the knowledge I want on gardening, baking, and homemade pickles, here is my offering of household news:

1. Abby is reading. I don’t mean sounding out things like cat and hat, I mean reading, reading. For the most part, this is a wonderful thing. What Matt and I didn’t think through was that apparently a large amount of our parenting relied on her illiteracy. Case in point:

Me: “Oh, no, nope, we can’t go in there. That store is closed right now. Oh well, maybe next time.”

Abby: “O-P-E-N. It says it’s open. The other sign says, Tuesday 10-8 and our clock says it’s 10 and I know it’s Tuesday, so it is open. And that door right there says E-N-T-E-R, that means we can go in there. Oh, and look! S-A-L-E! There’s a sale! We can buy lots of stuff! Lets go. Good thing you have me with you, right Mom? Or you wouldn’t have known it was open!”

2. On Monday I am expected to walk my child into a building where I don’t know anyone and my kid doesn’t know anyone and I am supposed to then leave my kid there with the strangers and go about my day as if nothing is wrong. As if that is not crazy enough, I’ve been told I then need to repeat that procedure every day for the next 13 years.

3. I’ve already been invited to join some of these strangers for a gathering that is – no joke – called the “Boo-hoo breakfast” where apparently we all sit together, cry over pastries and bond through heartache while our children are a few doors down having the time of their lives.

4. I have the best friend a girl can have. She has reminded me that nothing good can come from blubbering amongst strangers – especially as a first impression!- so I will be skipping the formal cry-fest and instead bawling my eyes out over baked goods in the privacy of her home. The fact that she has two adorable children that I can cling to is an added bonus.

5. Abby is trying to sell her artwork. I thought it was a one-day phase, but I was wrong. She’s given this more thought than I imagined as this morning she informed me of her business plan: “Kids will like these pictures but not all kids have money. Parents have money. So I’m going to show kids the pictures but I’m going to sell them to the parents.” Every picture she colors, draws, or paints now has an arbitrary number written on it that she declares is the price. One day I’ll look back on the mementos I’ve kept from her childhood and have a huge gap from this summer as she refuses to let me keep anything without first paying for it.

6. Matt is taking the table business to the next level soon. We’ve registered for a business name and as soon as I’m escorted/forced out of the elementary next week, I’ll be working on a simple website.

7. Matt had Abby help him plane boards last week. Abby told him since she’s helping build the tables, she should get half the money. He just stared at her. She looked at me and said, “I think it’s a deal.” She then started trying to negotiate the selling price of the tables with him. So I guess it’s a family business now.

8. Abby really wanted us to name the business “Erica’s Beautiful Tables”. We don’t know anyone named Erica. She doesn’t know anyone named Erica. She still insists it’s a great name.

9. We have not named the business “Erica’s Beautiful Tables.”

10. As of this month, Matt and I have been married for 9 years. I realize it isn’t a terribly long time, but something about the fact that I am 30 and my husband knew me when I was 19 makes me feel old.

11. In those 9 years, we have eaten breakfast together at home on a weekday morning maybe 5 times. Seriously. One of us has always had to leave for work considerably earlier than the other. Starting Monday, I have to get Abby to school about the same time Matt has to leave for work. He is deliriously excited about “family breakfasts”. He says we’ve had 9 years of marriage not seeing each other in the morning and won’t this be great? I say we’ve had 9 years of marriage precisely BECAUSE we haven’t seen each other in the mornings. He is a morning person. I am not. He is picturing Leave It To Beaver cheer and discussions. I am picturing my face falling into a bowl of cereal as I nod off mid-sentence.

12. I can’t think of better blog material than Abby in school so this site should be hopping along again soon.


Abby aka Sally

After buying some drinks at the store today, Abby looked at me and with all seriousness asked, “Is this the lemonade without hairs in it?”

{I’m sure everyone else assumes their drinks come without hair, but my kid takes after me in the hating of drinks with pulp in them and since “pulp” isn’t in every two year old’s vocabulary, she’s been referring to it as “hairs” for the last three years. And we understand her, so why bother correcting it, right?}

I had no issue with the question (it happens every time we buy Orange Juice too) until I had a random flash of life imitating art and pictured my child growing into Meg Ryan’s character from When Harry Met Sally and a conversation in the future going like this:

“I’d like a lemonade please. But only if it doesn’t have hairs in it. If you don’t have lemonade without hairs, I’ll take a Dr. Pepper but only if it’s a real Dr. Pepper, not if it’s a Mr. Pibb. If you only have Mr. Pibb then I’ll take a Cherry Coke. I’d like two cherries in it with the stems attached. If you don’t have cherries, then just scratch the order and bring me a water with lemon. I obviously need the lemons on the side though so the water doesn’t end up having hairs in it. Thank you.”


Bacon & Unicorns

In case there were rumors floating around that we have educational or enlightened conversations around our dinner table, I offer you two snapshots of tonight’s discussion.

Abby: Bacon is healthy for you.

Me: Not really.

Abby: It is if it isn’t dipped in syrup.

Me: Did you just dip your bacon in syrup?

Abby: Yes.

Me: So it isn’t healthy?

Abby: Only the bite that had the syrup on it isn’t healthy. The rest is good for me.


Abby {after opening a fortune cookie}: What does this paper say?

Me: “Your deepest dream will come true.”

Abby: That’s a lie. You know why?

Me: Why?

Abby: Because my deepest dream is to have a unicorn pet. But unicorns don’t exist so it can’t come true.


Here We Go

About thirty minutes ago I registered my baby for kindergarten.

Who knew the full gauntlet of emotions could happen in half an hour?

That being said, here are my immediate thoughts and prayers:

1. I’m praying for Abby’s teacher. Not only because my kid is my kid and there’s a good chance she’ll talk too much, but because I desperately want school to be something Abby enjoys and the teacher has a big hand in making that happen. I’m praying for a teacher with patience, creativity, humor, gentleness and a love for the Lord. I’m praying Abby gets to spend the next year with an adult who nurtures instead of hinders, who inspires instead of stifles and who guides instead of forces.

2. I’m praying for Abby’s spirit. Right now my daughter thinks nothing of telling the grocery store cashier that God is in charge of everything. She has no problem praying for a meal while the waitress stands by her side. She doesn’t hesitate to sing praise songs at the top of her lungs while friends and teachers and neighbors listen. I’m praying witnessing remains easy. That she never fears proclaiming God’s love because she never stops.

3. I’m praying for my attitude. It’s so easy to joke about not wanting my baby to grow up but the truth is, I can’t wait for it to happen. Not so she’ll leave me, but because I’m excited about seeing the girl and the woman she becomes. I can’t wait for her to make her own friends and discover her own passions. For as much as I loved those baby and toddler days, I’m looking forward to these next ten years even more. And I don’t ever want her to feel like I love her more now than I will then. So I’m praying that the tears shed over the first day of school will be minimal and I’ll be swept up in the excitement with her and leave the reminiscing for another time.


It’s the little things

Today my sweet girl was reading a book in the backseat while I drove around town.

Without help from me, she read:

“I will help, Father. Sally wants to help but she is a baby.”

And then something happened.

She guffawed (seriously) and declared in utter frustration, “This is crazy! No, she isn’t! Sally is NOT a baby. Come on!”

Not only did my girl read today, but she questioned dialogue. She found fault with plot. She verbally admonished the characters and the author. Dick and Jane did not put one over on her.

I couldn’t be prouder.

Do other moms write stuff like this in the memory books?


It’s just me?


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