Saturday, January 28, 2012

some doggie love

Tonight I watched the movie Marley and Me. I've already seen it, and I still cried like 4 separate times. Just such a sweet story of life and family and a crazy dog. It reminded me again why we got our dogs in the first place... because we love them. because we want them. because they were the first kiddos in our family --- the first of my babies that I learned how to sacrifice for and love and take care of. 

Sometimes it's hard to see past the daily taking the dogs out and cleaning up their poop and random barking outbursts that wake up sleeping children (read Everett). Somewhere in the daily grind of life as a working mom last year, I lost some joy in my doggies. They weren't doing anything different, just wanting attention from someone who didn't have any to give. Being a stay at home mom has been really good for Marley and Kai too. They're a little less crazy, and a lot less attention deprived. Interestingly enough, Kai has become even more attached to his mama just like Everett. 

It's strange how it can take a movie to have you reflect on what you've got and what you're sometimes taking for granted... like the fact that our son is madly in love with our doggies. So much so that he insists on saying goodnight and I love you to both dogs, every night. So much so that he insists on sleeping with two stuffed dogs that are no doubt replicas of his favorite playmates. So much so that each morning he yells "doggies!" doggies" while still in bed. So much so that he wants share his food with them all day long. So much so that he doesn't mind being run over, bumped into, knocked over, or licked to death.

Here's to you Kai baby. Thai! Thai! to Everett. My sweet one. My "I'm going wherever you go" dog. My playful puppy.Everett's favorite. I love your soft fur and sweet kisses.

And here's to you my Marley dog. Mar-nee to Everett. My smart one. My "I'll do anything for a treat" dog. My crotchety old man dog. I love your head tilts and the way you curl up under my feet in bed and that occasionally for a treat you let Everett take a "ride."

Two big dogs in a townhouse can make life a little harder, a little more complicated. But, having dogs, our dogs, certainly makes life sweeter.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

the best of decisions

Marry the right person. 
This one decision will determine 90% of your happiness or misery.

I saw this on pinterest the other day and it just reminded me so much of my relationship with Aaron. It's been something that I've been reflecting on and thanking God for a lot this past year. Neither of us will ever claim to have the perfect marriage, but I think we both agree that it's pretty great. There is an incredible friendship that others see and have asked us about. Really, if I could only have one friend ever, it'd be Aaron. We even started out our relationship as friends, both floundering college freshman trying to sort out who we were. I think that base, that friendship, has just continued to grow and became such an incredible foundation for our marriage. 

And so, that's what I'm thinking about and thanking God for today. For my sacrificing husband, who does the dishes at 6:30am before he leaves for work because he knows how much I hate them. For my kind husband, who only laughs and then kisses me when I'm still wearing the clothes I woke up in. For my sweet husband, who gets up with Everett on weekends so that I can sleep a little longer, even though I get to sleep in all week. For my hardworking husband, who puts in an insane amount of hours and still comes home and chases Everett around the house, gives him a bath, and reads stories with him. For my loving husband, who affirms his love for me in words and actions.

He makes me laugh always, sacrifices for me daily, and loves me even at my worst. 
Aaron- you're the best decision I've ever made. 
I just love you and want you to know that today.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Toms: start something that matters- giveaway (over)

I love Toms. My gray shoes are probably my most comfortable pair of shoes and my favorite. I plan outfits around those shoes and have been coveting a pair of tiny toms for Everett.  I also love knowing that when I buy a pair of shoes from their company, that a child in need will get a pair of shoes too.

So, a few months ago I saw a post from Toms about a book written by the founder Blake Mycoskie. He was asking bloggers to submit an entry for their Books for Bloggers program. Basically, he'd send 2 of his books "Start something that matters" with one for me to read and one for me to giveaway.

I was super excited when a few weeks later my inbox showed an email from Toms letting me know I'd been chosen to be a part of their Books for Bloggers program. Soon after I got a sweet little package in the mail and started reading the book. The holidays quickly ensued and my book reading got put on the backburner. So, finally, two months later I was able to finish the book. Something that they asked me to do was give honest feedback of the book. So, here goes:

'Start something that Matters' is not really a novel, but it did have the feel of a story. The book was written in a way that was easy to read, even though parts of it were focusing more on building a business.

'Start something' gave the background and the details of the start of the Toms company. I loved that first chapter where I got to learn about the roots of the Toms company. I kind of felt like I was on the inside and knew all the intimate details of the start of Toms. It's a really cool story that begins with barefoot kids in Argentina and ends with a shoe company that gives away a pair of shoes to needy children when a pair of their shoes are purchased.

If you're anything like me, you love a good story and this book is full of them. One of the major focuses is finding your own story. Finding something to be passionate and fully pursuing it. He gives different stories throughout the book of businesses that you know and how they found their own passion and their own story --- Method, Chipotle, and Southwest to name a few.

The book is inspirational, interesting, and a good read even if you aren't starting a business anytime soon. When it comes right down to it, it's evident that Mycoskie wants to change the world of business for the better. It was clear after reading the book that he really believes, gives you ideas, and is pretty convincing on how you really can:


So, here's the cool part. I read the book. And now, I've got a book to giveaway to you! There are only a few requirements:

1- You have to follow my blog (if you don't already, join me!)
2- You have to live in the continental US
3- You have to leave me a comment letting me know you want in on the giveaway. 

So, that's it. Now go, start something that matters.
Giveaway ends Wednesday, January 18 at 11:59 pm (est). Winner will be chosen via

*** WINNER IS SUSAN WITMER @ the life of susan
Congrats Sue!

Friday, January 6, 2012

be present?

Have you ever tried that? Really, truly tried to be present for just one day- all day long? It's hard. Really hard. There's so much to distract: iphone, instagram, facebook, pinterest, blogs, espn, netflix, words with friends, computer, email, and the list goes on. I'm not the only one, right? I'm sure you've been on both sides of it--- somewhere with someone and they're on their phone half the time instead of talking with you? Or, you've been somewhere and you find yourself on your phone messing around and before you realize it it's been 30 minutes.

One of the focuses during advent was to be present in the season - to give your presence. And through this season, I've been convicted. I've been convicted that I do a pretty terrible job of that. I've found that my mind doesn't feel busy unless I'm talking with someone, checking facebook on my phone, and checking my email. Sometimes it's just easier to let my brain operate on auto pilot, but it's not better. It's not fuller.

So, I'm not one for resolutions, but I am one for making changes in life. Changes that stick. Changes that make me a better wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend. So, that's my goal this year--- to put down my phone and pick up a conversation with my husband. To put down the phone and pick up a toy. To put down the phone and spend some real quality time with people that I love. To show them that they're important to me by the time that I devote to spending with them. It's hard to be plugged in all the time, but I'm positive that it's worth it.

To remind myself, I put this on my phone:


And now, when I pick up my phone, I'm reminded. Be present. Choose people. Choose relationships. Make the choice to plug into life and people instead of an app on my iphone. Join me?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


as in months. 669 days. It seems old when I say it, but I feel like it went so fast. You are growing like a weed. Learning, remembering, talking, growling, dancing, clapping, and laughing.

Everett you are so full of joy. You are wild. You are perfect.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

in rearview mirrors

Last year at this time, there was a lot of uncertainty in our family. I was really wanting to be at home with Everett and that just wasn't a possibility for us. Aaron was unsure of what the year would bring with his job. Everett still had a heart problem. At the start of 2011, we didn't really know what to expect. We didn't know what God's plan was for us, but this year he showed us that He is real and that he sees us and cares for us and loves us abundantly.

It's been a year that I can look back and see the way God's plan has unfolded. Some things have been really, really hard this year. I had to watch my best friend deal with the death of her little boy. Out of Luke's passing though has also brought an abundance of faith and life with the birth of his little brother Benjamin just last week. This year I also lost my Grandma. She was the last of my living grandparents and a women that I dearly loved. And so, sometimes it's hard to see God's plan and sovereignty when it's so different from what we think it should be, when you see death and divorce and disease permeate people that you love. In all of it though, God has been faithful.

This year has also brought so much joy. It has brought healing in Everett's heart and a career change for me. I quit my teaching job the middle of June and started my favorite job ever as Everett's full time mom. 2011 also brought us into another family, our small group. People that we love and share life with. People that continue to help us learn and grow and live out our faith. Aaron and I celebrated 5 years of life together and I couldn't be more thankful for him. We celebrated 1 happy, crazy, joy filled year of Everett. I was baptized in front of my family and friends. Everett took his first steps

Ann Voskamp stated it so simply when she said:

And looking back on this year? I can see him. I can see the way he was with us in the heartaches and sorrow of this year. I can see the way he was so responsible for the joys. And so, I am thankful. I'm thankful that this year I can look back and see God's plan intertwined with mine and the recognition that His plan is so much better than mine. I'm thankful for all the answered prayer. I'm thankful for 2011 and another year with people I love.

Happy New Year all!