To be quite honest, holidays just don't hold any sparkle for me anymore. I can never seem to get in the festive mood. I prefer to will them away, wishing for the quiet months full of pleasant routine. Don't get me wrong, I love indulging in all of the themed decor and fun activities, and creating traditions is near and dear to my heart! I just don't *feel* it anymore, and more often than not, would prefer a time of year without any expectations on my day. But when it comes to building a magical childhood, I'm all in. I will deck the freaking halls if it means making some magical memories for my boy and any future littles.
So on December 2nd, Aidric was in our room, watching his nightly before-bed show. I entered the room with a trick up my sleeve.
"Aidric! Do you hear that?! What was that!"
Eyes wide, he got up, approaching me. "Yeah!" He smiled.
"I think it's coming from your room!"
He was running now. Bells jingled. "What is that?!"
Daddy hangs his head over the railing. "Aidric! What's that sound?!"
Aidric climbed the stairs to his room, wide-eyed, head swinging side to side. He started creeping around his room, trying to identify what was different. He looked up. "HUH! What that?!" He points to a shelf above his bed. There, perched ever so coyly, is a little elf, all dressed in red. With a devilish grin, he leaped onto his bed, attempting to snatch the elf from his hiding place. We swooped him away, trying to divert his attention to the letter found hanging around the elf's neck. He fights to break free, giggling, determined to touch this strange new friend until he hears the word 'present' as I read the elf's note aloud. He swings around, runs to his closet, and tears the door open. A box lid and tissue paper go flying. "Woooow!"
We read his elf book, change into his new Christmas pj's, and tried to get him to try his hot cocoa. Two mouthfuls on the ground later, aaaand we gave that one up. I guess the crazy kid doesn't like chocolate, just like his crazy mother. We snuggled up on the couch and turned on the classic claymation Christmas movies. All courtesy of his little elf, of course.
Briefly, as I sat watching my little boy lick chocolate off his fingers cozy under a red blanket, eyes glued to a fuzzy little reindeer on tv--I felt it: A glimmer of Christmas spirit.
I open my eyes as noise fills my ears. I become aware that I am now alone in bed, that the sunshine streaming through the window has warmed. It must be hours later from when I last woke; exhausted after a busy night, sleep traded to comfort a little boy whimpering in the darkness. I lay still, listening to the joyous sounds tumbling in through the cracked door. Rambunctious laughter, heavy footsteps, and thunderous 'rawr's from my little one. I catch glimpses of movement through the doorway. Around and around, my boys chase each other around the kitchen island, throwing toys at each other and laughing each time they make contact.
It is Sunday. We have nowhere to be, no agenda yet for the day except football at three at grandma's. I pull myself from my warm bed, begin to get ready for the day. There's a craft fair at Union Station, our backyard. We also know there's enormous Christmas trees heavy with shining balls and a Christmas train that a certain little boy would enjoy. We dress and bundle ourselves against the biting wind, walking across the bridge to the warmth of the great hall. We wind our way through the decorations and all the craft booths, making our first stop for our ritualistic Sunday coffee and muffins. Aidric picks out a chocolate cookie with m&ms the size of his face and a juice box. We shrug; it's Sunday. He grins at us with chocolate oozing between his teeth.
It's time for the train, and we find out it costs $5. Quickly, we run across to the opposite end of the building to the ATM, hurrying to secure our boy a spot on that ride. We hurry back, and he hands a crumbled bill into the lady's hand with a wide smile. He chooses daddy to help him in to the train, deliberating over the perfect spot. He chooses one, and sits backwards from everyone else. He wiggles in his seat, claps his hands, stomps his feet. I've never seen his smile brighter. We laugh watching him, laughter from the sheer joy of getting to witness our son have so much joy. Around and around he goes, waving to us each time he passed as we stand recording him with our phones like the doofy parents we are.
After the ride it is time for a nap, but I had spied some precious toys I knew needed to be under the tree this year. We walk back home, lay Aidric in our bed where he immediately falls back to sleep without a fuss, and I hurry back across the bridge once more to snatch up a perfect wooden bow and arrow and a tyrannosaurus rex. At home I wrap them in brown paper, displaying them under the tree as proudly as an official Red Ryder BB gun.
The little one stirs; it is time to begin again. To grandma's we go.
As it's probably known if you follow me on any social media platform: I have raging baby fever! But then, I've had it since I was a tiny girl playing with dolls and pretending to hold them in my tummy. It's only been growing since the moment I met my firstborn. Times, sure, where I thought to myself I was mad to ever want to do it again, but daydreaming and pinning away all things newborn regardless (ps here's my newborn pinterest board if you're as crazed as I am right now and like to stare at cute babies to placate yourself).
Oh wait, are you just here for my pre-baby list? Awk... If you want to skip the journal entry, scroll down to find my pre baby #2 list!
But oh, my has it reached new heights since meeting Dan. I've been pestering him to his wit's end about family planning since we were dating, poor guy! It was a topic I had to learn to keep to myself and reel in my daydreaming, getting-ahead-of-myself tendencies if I didn't want to spike his anxiety. He always assured me yes, he wanted babies with me, too, but not right now so hush.
Until one night in June. Aidric was fast asleep in bed. Dan and I were snuggling, in peaceful quiet. Friends was probably on in the background. My head laid on his chest, he said, "Hey." Nudging me up with his shoulder, he was pausing for my attention. I turned my face up to him, and he said, "As soon as we move, I'm ready to stop birth control." My heart stopped--then swelled.
I made that man immediately regret his words as I didn't stop kissing his face or talking about a little baby Williams for the rest of the night. I believe I immediately announced it on Twitter, then made a new private board on Pinterest for all my planning. What he failed to realize in that moment, was that he had just told my brain and my heart it was go-time for baby! I've been planning and dreaming with a fervor ever since.
Now we're in to September, our November move on the horizon. The way my brain works, knowing my cycle begins near the end of the month, I am already prepping for a December conception. Ha! That being said, I'm feeling how close our lives are to changing drastically between a cross-country move and growing our family, so my planning brain has sprung into overdrive.
I know that now that we're just a few months out from beginning to try, it was time to start a prenatal vitamin. I brought this up to D, but he wasn't so sure. It brought on his anxiety to realize we were getting so close. You can imagine how excited I was when he recently ok'd it, and you can bet I went to Target the very next morning to pick up a bottle. The next morning, I filmed a little intro to what I want to be a video journal of our journey to our next baby. I'm nothing if not sentimental. I had such a rough (to say the least) experience with my pregnancy and first year of Aidric's life. I want everything to be perfect and soak up every moment this go-around. And so, a list was born.
my pre baby Number 2 list
*A couple of disclaimers: I know this is ambitious and idealistic. That's ok! I'm not being rigid with this, rather it's just a bunch of goals which will improve our lives as we work towards them, and make us more ready to add another babe. Secondly, while some of these will take some time to complete including stretching into my next pregnancy, this is not an exhaustive list. Once we're pregnant, I'll be making a 'pregnancy to-do' list. These are simply things I'd like to sort out as much as possible before we're pregnant.
> Complete living will (designate caregivers)
> Organize office + shop operations
> Support our family working from home
> Establish regular exercise routine + clean up diet
> Completely potty train Aidric (bedtime + errands)
> Complete A’s baby book + keepsake boxes
> Sort through photos + home videos to purge/print/archive
> Make special memories with A
> Take family photos
> Write down family traditions
> Keep youtube video journals
> Journal + blog regularly
> Establish personal + family routines
> Take our big honeymoon
> Start saving for baby
> Set up aidric’s savings account
> Change name
> D adopt aidric
> Get family on cohesive insurance
If you have a list with anything different, I'd love to hear what you have on yours in the comments!
this year has been the longest spring season that i can remember. we've had endless rain with flash floods galore, and the kind of mild temperature days that make my heart sing have stretched on for weeks. if i could make this season stretch on forever and replace the scorching days of summer ahead, i would. but alas, i cannot, so instead i am doing my best to get out and soak it up in some little way each day.
It has been one month already since we were married. So today, we reflect on the specialness of our day. Our incredible friend Benton became ordained and flew out for the weekend just to marry us. He truly gifted us the most beautiful ceremony, I will cherish and be thankful for that always. Following are our vows we wrote to each other, separately and in secret. I began writing vows to Dan long before we became engaged, in a little note on my phone. In our ceremony, Dan said his vows first, and as soon as he began, I started giggling as I choked up, realizing we had chosen the same things to shape our vows around. We really are two souls cut from the same cloth.
(Benton literally brought a thermos of hot water and mugs to serve us tea in our ceremony, as the chill winds whipped around us. We then got to laugh, as he realized he forgot the tea itself. It was such a thoughtful, beautiful sentiment, making our ceremony so uniquely us, something I value highly. Clutching that warm mug in my frozen hands as I received the vows of my love was bliss.)
It feels like just yesterday I was sitting in the parking lot of Thou Mayest waiting nervously to go inside and thinking, "What the hell am I doing?" And although it feels like yesterday, I feel that I've loved you for a lifetime already--and I cannot wait to love you for the rest of my life and beyond. Since that first night/morning I left your apartment, I knew I wanted to marry you. You were instantly my best friend and I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with you. I had never met someone who I just clicked with like I did with you.
You've helped me see a whole new side of life. You bring a breath of fresh air to my life every single day. The amount of love, joy, and life that you and Aidric bring into my life is incomprehensible. I'm beyond thankful for you and Aidric -- and I cannot wait to build the life of our dreams together.
I promise to love you through all the highs and all the lows.
I vow that I will work everyday to earn your love.
I vow to always listen and hear your needs.
I vow to be the best husband, father, and person I possibly can.
I vow to work on and improve our love for the rest of our lives.
I vow to love you until the end of time.
I am so grateful to be marrying you, my best friend. Our first night spent together, sitting inches apart, both too shy to touch, we talked and told stories into the wee hours of the night. For every shared view and experience we realized we had, I thought to myself, "This is my best friend. I will love him. This is it." My life began that night.
You showed me what love is. You gave me experiences I've never had, the kind of love I didn't know truly existed outside of my wildest dreams. You came in when everyone else had left. You loved me, when I believed I was no longer worthy of love. You accepted and welcomed my one year old son into your life, and love him as your own. You took my heart as it had grown cold and hard, and breathed life back in to it with a vengeance. You are my once in a lifetime love.
I vow to be your home, your place of comfort and calmness.
I vow to encourage and believe in you, especially when you don't believe in yourself.
I vow to choose you every single day--even when it's hard, because we can do hard things.
I vow to love you at your worst, and in those moments, to remind you of who you are at your best.
I vow to commit to growing with you, to build our dreams into realities, together.
I vow to never lose sight of how rare, special, and true this love is.
I vow to never take your love and your goodness for granted.
I take you as my husband, without fear or uncertainity that this is the greatest decision of my life.
Written for my Daniel on our final plane ride home through the night sky, on the fourth day of our marriage
I have hopes for our marriage; for our beautiful life together as it blends into one.
I hope for slow mornings and long kisses. For years that make us feel younger as we watch our children grow older. I hope to always be the first one you run to with a heavy heart; the only hand you reach for when you need steadying. I hope our dreams stay big, our love bigger; always bigger.
I see the many more cups of coffee, shared over laughter, then silence, as we work for our dreams in unison—the reminder of our biggest dream already come true sat encircling our left fourth fingers.
I see the house and the babes, the garden and the chickens in the yard, the birthdays and the anniversaries, the career achievements and the big vacations. But what I see in between those moments is what excites me most of all. The continuation of the life we already share. The friendship and the passion, the tenderness and the understanding, the stupid jokes and the teasing that always end in shoving and hugging, laughter splitting our sides.
May our shared moments continue to collect in the stacks of our minds, the lightness of their memory overshadowing any darkness that threatens to creep in. If only we could remember every moment, perfectly preserve every precious minute shared. Heaven knows there could never be enough with you.
I long for mornings we awake warm in our bed, a chill in the air nipping at our noses as we curl our toes into the sheets and press our bodies together for just one more minute. I long for days spent creating and sharing for ourselves, for our family. I long for nights spent around the table, gathered around good food shared among family and good friends.
Most of all, I hope we never grow weary or complacent in our love. Just as I vowed that day, I promise to never take for granted the love we’ve found, or the goodness of the man I married.
I hope for our marriage to be our highest priority and biggest adventure, always.
I hope for you to feel my love warming you, always.
With all my love,
Your wife, always.
In the midst of circumstance that has sucked the life from me, left me feeling powerless with a lackluster spirit, a great storm came to wash away the dust of daily life. It hunted us down, finding Daniel and I enjoying our breakfast and discussing work for the day. It warned us, at first throwing only a few sprinkles of water around us, alerting us to the seriousness of its threat. We welcomed it at first, hurrying home across the city streets; then challenged it, dodging its kisses from the cover of alcoves. We teased it to the point of madness, breaking into a sprint as it roared and rumbled the ground beneath us, lighting our path before us. Safely reaching the car we were cornered, the life blood of earth pouring around us. We laughed. We laughed away our worries, only aware of the palpable awe of this immense sky, and the mystical earth that it nourishes.
A chill across my neck as my hair dries. Espresso brushing my lips. Notes from a piano and muffled cheerful chatter beyond. Breathing in earth's fresh scent. Glowing orbs casting blurred golden light across the wet pavement outside. I find myself wondering, how often do we simply sit and observe our senses? Life itself is art. It carries on noiselessly, not calling for attention, but ready to selflessly share its beauty anytime we're ready to look. So much of the time we live our lives in our heads, missing out on the peace and beauty that is always available to us thru our senses.
Today I am aware. Aware, and so thankful. Grateful that life carries on, reliably spinning and nourishing, existing beyond our minds and the complicated lives we carve out for ourselves. Welcoming us into its peace and unyielding beauty. Providing us an eternal safe space to return to, to escape the din of our own minds.
I'm reminded that all my worries are temporary. Life is so much bigger than the box we try to put it in. Much more beautiful and simple, too. Today, I am basking in those truths.
weekends with these two is about as dreamy as it can get. the wake up calls from a tiny human making like a banshee; the giggles and rough-housing within the coziness of the covers; the late breakfasts and all day treats while exploring our beautiful city. together is our favorite place to be.
we started our Saturday the way we always do: a morning walk to the streetcar for a ride to the market, where we pick up fresh fruits and veggies for the week for mere pennies. this week we detoured first to the train station behind our home to pick up coffee. we walked thru the huge halls, reading up on its history and admiring the old photographs, allowing ourselves to be transported back 100 years. when we made it to the great hall, we found a gathering around a grand piano, where a violinist and vocalist stood also, together performing a collection of Bach. it was pure magic as we paused to listen as the sweet sound filled and reverberated around the room. it was decided we would stay for breakfast to listen. we devoured everything to a mound of crumbs before heading to the river market. we browsed the many goods and fresh flowers and looked on as Aidric chased the birds through the park. with the falling leaves, warm hues, and brisk temperatures, it was impossible to tell spring from autumn. we weren't ready for the fun to end, so we stopped for lunch and to explore several other shops in our neighborhood before landing at home.
now as my sweet boy naps soundly and the fur babies snore on the couch with me, i can't help but feel so grateful i get to share and create a life this good with my most favorite humans. always a lesson in gratitude with these two.
droplets of water softly kissed the windshield, a smattering of gleaming jewels glittering against the pale grey sky. i slumped in my seat, head lazily thrown back, arm slung over daniel’s as he navigated the grey streets. my stare lingered on him, then rolled over our surroundings. an overwhelming contentment settled in my chest, then bloomed outwards, traveling through my veins in all directions to fill me to brimming with life’s blood: raw emotion. i pictured again the future home we had just added to with our words, now painting in the addition of a greenhouse in my mind. right next to the chicken coop, it was lit up with twinkling lights, inviting--no, drawing--me in. alluring me with the smell of life, i let the imaginary sweet tang of earth and greens tickle my nose. i walked through flitting butterfly wings to find the center, holding a wide farm table set for company. beautiful linens, heavy pottery, and fresh cut flowers littered its surface. i withdrew from the scene and back into reality suddenly, again turning to look at the face of my lover. a gentle smile caressed my lips. the heaviness of utter contentment weighed on my chest, like a weighted blanket easing my anxieties. life with him would be so beautiful. it was already so beautiful. i knew we would build everything i’d ever wanted someday; as i grasped his hand in mine, rolling my thumb over the strength and gentleness that lived in those fingers, i knew i held already everything i had ever dreamed of and more. i let the daydreams flutter away, now fully present and more awake for our ride towards an afternoon for just the two of us. i carefully bookmarked and tucked the moment into my memory, stashing it with the ones to come back to when we are older and greyer rocking on our porch, observing the chickens roaming our yard, and smile over a life well lived.
after nearly two months, i've worked up the courage to share our trip to los angeles, calfornia. we left for california the day before daniel's birthday, his birthday wish. we flew in to LAX, and headed straight to our airbnb in venice. we were only a block or so from the infamous venice sign, and the gorgeous boardwalk. it was my favorite corner of LA we visited. every day dan would ask me what i wanted to do, and i always asked if we could head back to venice. it easily won a spot in my heart among my favorite cities. it's a beautiful, romantic destination. the atmosphere is relaxing, the beauty too good to be true. as we wandered the boardwalk, i kept exclaiming how cliche-ly californian it all was, straight from every film you've ever seen. i loved it.
check back soon for posts of each additional day
when we first arrived, we headed straight to the beach after dropping our bags and grabbed a bite along the boardwalk, at figtrees. our view was of rollerbladers and the waves. palm trees shaded our meal. the weather was blissful. the food was to die for. i thought i was in heaven.
after this, we headed for venice's namesake, the canals. we wandered them extensively, falling in love with every million dollar home along the way. if you're in venice, the canals are a can't miss stop.
anytime i get behind the camera, dan becomes my favorite subject, but you can clearly see how he feels about that.
after wandering for hours, and being up since 0330 that morning for our early flight, we headed back to catch up on a handmaid's tale and fell into a blissful nap while we waited to meet up with dan's friend for dinner plans. once we woke, the sun was setting, and i begged to go back to the beach to photograph it in the sunset's light.
for dinner, we headed to c&o trattoria, and it. was. the. best. we sat on the enclosed, open-air patio, decorated festively to transport you straight to italy. the twinkle lights above dazzled, the servers led us in a group italian sing-a-long, and it was delicious. oh, and they served us endless garlic rolls that ruined our appetites. i daydream about this place often.
after dinner we had plans to stop for doughnuts, but unanimously decided we were too stuffed. dan and i asked to be dropped off at the santa monica pier. again, i was shocked by just how perfectly it mimiced everything i've ever seen on tv. we headed straight to the ferris wheel. the view was incredible, as the lights and voices of the fair sung below us on one side, and the waves crashed on the other. our first day was a dream, and by far my favorite.
to see more of our travels, subscribe to my youtube channel! pin any of these graphics and photos to save for future reference, and check back soon to see the recap of our following days and all our recommendations! xx