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Friday, July 21, 2017

tea with bea

A blog post I had written over three years ago popped up on my Facebook last week. I clicked on it and was taken back in time to my small kitchen in our first NYC apartment.

Since reading that post I've been thinking about the past few years and all the changes that have happened in my life. So many changes. Our family has grown by two kiddos, we've moved four times in five years, and I still have yet to find a great can opener (seriously you have a can opener you recommend?! I've done a ton of research and still can't find one I love!).

I have a 92 year-old friend and I love hearing stories about his life. There's something about looking back. Reflecting and remembering.

To be honest though I thought I'd have more figured out by now. It's not that I think I'm old. I don't. I actually think I'm still pretty young. I guess I just thought I'd understand myself more.

I feel like I'm still getting to know myself, what I like, and how I operate. Big things like who I am as a parent and what my job and career look like. But also small things like my writing style. For example, sometimes I really like to write in all lower-case letters. I know and understand this is not correct, but I like to do it. Other times, like right now I feel like doing it correctly. Periods, commas, and upper-case letters. I feel like I should just pick one and stick with it and be consistent...but I'm still figuring it (me) out. Sometimes when I'm writing I feel more serious, sometimes more silly and I pick one and stick with it? Or is it okay that I'm kind of all over the place? I feel like some would say pick one and stick with it...but what if I'm both?

The more I look back the more I realize how much I don't have figured out, but I'm way more okay with that now than I would've been three years ago (or even three months ago). I'm learning to live day by day and to give myself lots of grace; to not sweat the small stuff and to be thankful.

As I learn to not sweat the small stuff, I'm learning to prioritize the big stuff as well. It honestly feels like a shifting is happening in my heart.

In just over a week we'll head back home to NYC (I CANNOT wait!). We'll go back to our apartment in Harlem. Technically we've lived there for three months, but in reality we've only spent two weeks living there (because of all our summer travel). My heart kind of feels like that right now. Technically I've known myself for forever (well as long as I've been alive), but in reality I feel like I'm just now getting to know myself. It's weird. Just like going home is going to be a little weird for us. We're excited and love our new place, but it'll take some getting used to. It doesn't quite feel like home just yet, but I know it will.

Lord-willing I'll be like my 92 year-old friend one day. Looking back on my life and all the many ways God's hand was over it and in it making me the woman I am and will be one day.

Happy Friday, friends! I hope you have some time to look back and reflect this weekend!

(p.s. the picture above is our new street!)

(p.p.s. if you're wondering what Tea with Bea is click here and wonder no more)

Friday, July 14, 2017

tea with bea

happy friday!

today is a busy day of getting everything packed up (again...ha) and ready for flying out to Colorado tomorrow. every other year we have a staff conference out there. last time we went Hazel was just a few weeks old! now she's two and we have baby Eleanor who just turned seven months!

since we've been traveling around so much i'm realizing how much i love simplicity. i love finding joy in simple things.

things like tea, gluten & dairy free treats, running, coffee with a friend, blowing bubbles, and staring into space as i lounge on the couch after the girls are in bed.

one of my favorite authors, Emily Freeman, wrote a book called Simply Tuesday. i actually had the opportunity to be on her launch team and i loved everything about it. i highly recommend her book. also check out her blog. she has a way of making me be able to take a deep breath, and focus my eyes on Jesus in the midst of my crazy life.

along with finding joy in the simple things, i also love simple products. i thought i'd share some with ya in case you're wanting some more simple in your life too.

1. chatbooks. have you ever heard of them? you can turn your pictures into cute, little square books. i've used them quite a few times and they're SO easy! you can pull your pictures from instagram, facebook, or just your phone. i use the hashtags #misshazellouise & #misseleanorfay for my girls when i post things and then with chatbooks i can search the hashtag and they'll find all those pictures. so easy, so simple. hazel and i like to sit and look through them together. it's so great having printed pictures especially when most things are all digital now! (i like to use their app instead of their website--i find it to be easier, but i use their website too!)

2. kiinde twist breastfeeding gift set. guys! i WISH i had known about this sooner. this is such a game changer for me. i just found out about this about a month ago, and man this is so simple and easy. if you're in the market for anything baby-feeding related i highly recommend this. it's everything in ONE! their product description says, "pump, store, organize, warm, and feed using the same pouch!" you can just pump breastmilk right into these pouches, and then pop them into a mess, no pouring milk into a storage bag, no clean up. or if you're not breastfeeding you can just put the formula in here and also just pop it into a bottle.

THEN these pouches transition into solid-food pouches. i love how you can just keep using them! plus it's on sale right now at babies r us! i found two gift cards when we were moving a few months ago (yay for putting them in a "safe spot" and then forgetting about them!) so the gift cards covered this for me. so awesome. :)

3. simple modern water bottle. our boss gave us these at the end of the school year. i love it. it really does keep your drink cold for 24 hours or hot for 8 hours! it is heavy though, but other than that it's really great!

i hope you find joy in the simple moments this weekend. :)

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Eleanor Fay :: 7 month update

ellie fay,

you're trying to "help me type" right now. meaning you're crawling over and banging your hands on the keyboard over and over. it's super helpful ;)

it's amazing to me how much you've developed this past month! i wouldn't be surprised if you were fully crawling by next're SO close! you're getting around great by army crawling, and you're quickly learning how to keep your legs bent and underneath you. Hazel likes to help you out by "teaching" you how to crawl. seeing you girls together is so fun.

i'm having a blast with you in this stage. you're smiling 95% of the time which makes life so sweet. you've been so great with all the traveling we've been doing (i'm incredibly grateful). we leave for Colorado in two days--we'll be there for 2ish weeks and then we'll be HOME! i can't wait!

you are loving food. LOVING food. it's kinda crazy. hazel wasn't really interested in solid food until around 9 months, but you kiddo! you're like give me all the food, mom! meal time is a little crazy these days, but i'm loving it (most of the time!). you're still nursing, but you've dropped a few feedings--you're nursing about every 5-6 hours now.

you're still sleeping through the night!! yayyy! you're taking a great morning nap these days anywhere from 1-2.5 hours. the afternoon naps are always a little rough for you...but you go down eventually. i'm grateful you're a great night time sleeper though :) you're sleeping from 6pm-7am typically. it's been hard with traveling, but we try really hard to keep y'alls bed time consistent.

SO, so sweet. you're so chill...i hope it continues :)

-blue eyes! i thought they'd change to brown, but it looks like the blue is sticking around!
-you're getting some thicker hair on the back of your head (ha!), but still nothing up'll come ;)
-3-6 month clothes, 6 month pj's
-size 2 diapers
-so much drooling
-since we're traveling you'll have your 6 month check up in 2ish weeks! we'll know your weight + height then
-you're army crawling ALL over the place and getting into everything, girlfriend! i can't imagine what it's going to be like when you're fully crawling... !
-you're starting to pull yourself up on things and stand on your knees, but you're also trying to stand on your've had one pretty good fall before i could catch you. you're keeping me on my toes for sure!

-we had a Lenior-Rhyne Cru reunion last weekend and you got to meet lots of mama's and daddy's friends and all their kiddos! you had fun being held and watching all the kids
-all the people you've met recently! its been a LOT of people!

this month i've been reflecting a lot about who i am (i hear this is normal for my age, and where i'm at in life with two little kiddos) and i want you to know i'm so, so grateful for you. i really do love being your mama. it's overwhelming and exhausting most of the time, but it's also so much fun and my heart often feels like it could explode because of all the love that's in it. you're an incredible little person, eleanor fay and i'm so grateful i get to be your mama.

love you always,


Friday, July 7, 2017

tea with bea

happy friday!

& happy first tea with bea :)

 what are you up to this weekend? 

we're heading to asheboro, nc, this weekend to see matt's side of the family. we've been traveling since the middle of may so we're going on week seven of traveling and i'm really starting to miss a few things from home.

mostly my bed, comfy chair, and mugs. i also really miss the city and our friends there. we wont be back home until august so we still have a good bit of traveling left to do. although i'm missing home a great deal today, i'm also really grateful for our time down south. so many things have been life giving.

do you have a place you go where it feels like your shoulders drop a little and you can take a deep breath? maybe the beach or a cabin in the woods? or maybe something more simple like a room in your home?

i've always tried to create a space in my home (even if it's just a chair in a corner with a pretty rug under it and my favorite lamp next to it) that i can drop my shoulders a little and breathe. getting away and having space to think is important to me.

traveling has proved challenging to do just that so i've been getting creative. sitting in the front seat of our borrowed car has been one of my go-to places. we don't have a car in the city, and i forgot how peaceful it can be to drive by yourself!

along with creating small spaces for me to, "just be" i also find so much comfort in being in hickory, nc. i can't really explain why, but coming to hickory always feels like coming home.

hickory is where i went to college at Lenoir-Rhyne University. it is a small school, but i loved my experience there. i can remember the first time i came and visited LR and the town of hickory. i fell in love. when i would drive back to school after christmas break i would always take a deep breath and smile when i saw LR. something about this place brings such peace to my soul.

we've been in hickory for the past two weeks and while our schedule stays pretty busy it's always such a gift to be here. and i'm always sad to say goodbye.

so today i'm reflecting on the past two weeks and all that i'm grateful for. making grateful-lists has become a practice of mine over the past few years. sometimes my heart can get bogged down with all that needs to be done, or i start thinking, "if i just had .... then my life would be easier...", or i start comparing myself to others.

whenever those things start to creep in i realize i've lost sight of the good things i've been given. on a pretty regular basis i've started keeping journals of grateful-lists. i come up with 10 things i'm grateful for that day.

sometimes i give myself a timeline...a two week grateful-list, a one-month grateful-list, a five-day grateful-list. there's really no rhyme or reason. some things on my lists are more meaningful than others--but writing it down just helps me to see all the things i have to be thankful for.

so in the midst of missing home, traveling, and also saying goodbye i thought today would be a good day for a grateful-list.

1. summer rain.

2. conversations with long-time friends who understand me and my quirks.

3. twirling like a ballerina in the kitchen with my two year old.

4. having a front porch to sit on these past two weeks (something i often dream about when i'm back in the city!)

5. the audible app. i signed up for audible a few months ago, but matt and i have been listening to Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan and it has made our car-trips much more hilarious. Jim Gaffigan has five kiddos in a two-bedroom NYC apartment so we can relate to the parenting in NYC (even if you aren't a parent in NYC it's still a hilarious book). our girls have become much more accustom to the car/carseat (yay!!), but it's still pretty challenging whenever we have to drive more than 30 minutes so this book has helped us along the way :)

6. our friends that feel like family in hickory. i could say so much about our people here. they're just so wonderful.

7. lightning bugs. these little guys make summer nights even more beautiful!

8. a new sleep shirt. okay, this one seems silly BUT i've been sleeping in the same shirt for the past 10 years. yikes. obviously not every night, but it was my go-to sleep shirt. you know when you wear and wash a shirt over and over (and over and over..) and it becomes so, so soft. well that happened...i think it gets so soft because the fabric gets so thin? well about a month ago it got a teeny hole (the first hole in 10 years! what a shirt...ha!) and i thought, "well i just sleep in it..." but then that one hole turned into three, which turned into five..and so on.

so it's with sadness i say i threw out my beloved shirt and i bought this one (it was on sale in the store, but not online). it's kind of nice to sleep in a shirt without holes :)

9. eleanor is sleeping through the night! yay! sleep!

10. crunchy leaves. i've always loved to step on them and hear the crunch under my foot. it's pretty early on in the year to have so many crunchy leaves around, but i feel like i've found so many to step on recently. it's a small, but really sweet gift.

it's amazing when you start writing them down how easy it is to just keep writing them. i'll stop at ten, but i feel like i could just keep on going.

what would be on your grateful-list? i'd love to know!

i hope you have a great weekend, friends!