Category Archives: in the home

in the home

fall 2017 wellness contract

August 4, 2017

Wellness Contract

With the new school year right around the corner, it’s time for me to take a beat and start thinking more intentionally about my self care. Two years ago, I shared with you my first wellness contract, one that I developed right before starting my first year of teaching. With my third year about to begin, an intern (student teacher) on board, and a seven month old growing like the weeds, it’s time for a wellness refresh!

My previous wellness contract was very specific, with several specifics within several categories. This time around, I really need simplicity, so I’m keeping it to just one mantra for each area of my life.


Personal: Act the Way I Want to Feel–a reminder from Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project that my attitude has a huge influence on my feelings about myself and the outcome of my day.

Professional: Don’t Let the Perfect be the Enemy of the Good–a reminder that most of the time, the things I do in my classroom or make for my classroom are good enough, even if they’re not perfectly organized or perfectly developed. (Another gem from Gretchen.)

Family: The Days are Long But the Years are Short–a reminder that our life is lived in the day-to-day tasks we often find mundane, but that when my family is grown, I’ll look back on this time longingly. (Yep, from The Happiness Project again. Literally my favorite book).

Creative: One Idea in Action is Worth a Hundred on Deck–a reminder from Elise Blaha Cripe to focus one idea, goal, or project at a time.

Fitness: Any Movement is Better than None–a reminder that swimming with Sonja at her swimming lessons, dancing with her before dinner, or taking her on a nightly walk are totally legit forms of exercise.

Friends: Friends Don’t Care…–a reminder that friends don’t care if your house is clean, if your hair is done, or if your baby is still in their pajamas. Just call them…they’ll still hang out with you.

I’m posting this on my bulletin board at work, and on my fridge at home.

What would be on your Wellness Contract for fall?


photo from Death to the Stock Photo

in the home

wedding bells

July 29, 2017

It’s been nearly two months since Aaron and I said our “I do’s”, tucked away behind a yellow Victorian house on a rainy day in Arkansas. I was a bundle of nerves the night before, going to bed later than intended, and waking earlier than I wanted. The ceremony wouldn’t begin until four but our venue couldn’t be set up until the morning of so by 10AM we were all gathered to begin the tedious task of setting up chairs, folding napkins, and hanging decorations. I tried my best not to run into my groom but we ended up crossing paths and at that point I couldn’t resist sneaking a hug from him. I was so happy!

Getting ready felt like such a blur of activity that writing about it now is nearly impossible. I don’t remember much of the activities that happened or what was said, but rather what I felt as every hour passed. Having my sister, niece, and best friend with me that day was just how I’ve imagined my wedding day to be like. We hugged, we laughed, I cried…
By 3:45, an epic rain storm had rolled into town, causing us to postpone the ceremony until nearly five. I had been experiencing the tiny little stresses that happen at every wedding, but the deluge that was happening at that moment definitely topped everything. Everyone sprang into action and manged to invert all of our arrangements underneath the tent that we had the forethought to rent and in an instant (it felt like an age had passed, but I think my notion of time was skewed that day) we were ready to go!

I walked down with my brother to a little song called Valley of the Shadow, an instrumental piece that comes from my all-time favorite movie Little Women, and nearly lost it when I reached the end and finally looked at Aaron. I think he was about to lose it as well, but you’ll never get him to tell you that. The two of us had decided early on that instead of a modern ceremony, we wanted to do a traditional hand-fasting. My sister was the one to bind our hands together with the five cords I had made as our officiant recited our vows and about ten minutes later we were pronounced husband and wife. Tears were flowing freely by then!

The reception was great fun due to the live band we got to play for us. A folksy-blues band straight from our very own Springfield, MO was our cup of tea that night, and certainly everyone else, judging by how many people actually got up and boogied! At the end of it, even the rain couldn’t put a damper on things. I don’t think anything went according to plan that day, and looking back on it, I’m okay with that. Reflecting on our weekend makes me smile. There was so much love and support for us from both sides of the aisle and consider myself to be very fortunate for the family I’ve had since birth and the one I married into. My husband is the best man, one who is supportive, goofy, too smart for his own good, and above all, kind. That night we danced the night away, ate delicious cake, and caught fireflies with my little nieces. It doesn’t get any better than that.



Wedding photography by Hannah Faith Photography

in the home

A Good Show

July 27, 2017

In an effort to get more done, I cancelled my Netflix subscription. But since I still have access until the next billing period, I’ve been perusing here and there. The new Netflix Original, Ozark, might make me re-up my subscription if I can’t binge it in time. Here’s to never getting the laundry done…

So here’s the gist: a money launderer (Jason Bateman) from Chicago gets in a little too deep and has to move his family to Missouri and find a way to launder 8 million dollars before the end of the summer. What’s got me fascinated is the setting–Lake Ozark in Osage Beach, Missouri. Literally my backyard, and our family’s annual summer destination. It’s weird to see a dramatic story like this unfold on top of a backdrop you’re so familiar with! This must be how New Yorkers feel when they watch every TV show known to man.

Even if you don’t live in flyover country, the interesting characters and twisty plot points will surely snag your viewership.

What’s your top show right now?

in the home

welcome sonja elizabeth

July 19, 2017

welcome baby girl!

Sonja, my lovely baby girl, has made me a momma for six (SIX!) months now. We’ve both grown and changed in so many ways, and we’re getting to the point where I just can’t hardly remember the day she was born. Sonja’s actual birth was very matter of fact, as I ended up having a planned C-section, but the days and weeks leading up to our day we’re quite suspenseful…

I decided very soon after finding out that I was pregnant that I wanted to try and have an unmedicated birth. Wes and I discussed, interviewed the two birth centers in town, and settled on a lovely midwife named Taylor. Our pre-natal care for the first several months was particularly uneventful, except for the time we thought we heard TWO heartbeats! This particular appointment was without Wes and on the same day as Back to School Night, so I actually ended up spilling the beans to several people, including some of my student’s parents (whom I had just met!) before making my way home to talk to Wes. I texted him before I left with the message “Go buy yourself some beer, and make sure you’re sitting down when I get home.” I thought I was going to burst through the door with the news, but telling my husband it might be twins was a million times harder than telling him I was pregnant to begin with!

Spoiler alert: There was only ever one bebe in there. And this was only the first instance in which I had to start letting go of all the little things I could not control.

Several weeks later, at our second ultrasound, we learned that baby was…large…and that perhaps our due date had been greatly misjudged. We scheduled a third ultrasound to monitor growth. At our third, we had our big scare–it appeared that the ventricles inside her brain were too large for her gestational age. Our physician assured us the discrepancies were mere millimeters, and that our real problem was that baby was breech as all get out.

The remainder of my third trimester was spent waffling between massive anxiety about her health and moments of pure hilarity as Wes and I tried every strategy for turning her–most of which involved me lying upside down on an ironing board propped up against the couch. My midwife determined that the bulge at the bottom of my uterus was still a butt, and not a head. She and I and discussed my health, the baby’s health, and the likelihood that baby would turn on her own with less and less room to wiggle. We decided to transfer my care to an OB/GYN and scheduled a version for December 14th. This was the first time we got to meet Dr. Bolger, the person that would actually deliver Sonja, and while pre-term delivery is a possibility with a version, we would not meet our baby that day. After fifteen minutes of attempting to turn the baby, I decided that Sonja knew best, and she remained Frank breech, with her butt aimed at my birth canal and her feet up by her head. Fifteen minutes doesn’t sound like much when you compare it to hours upon hours of labor, but it was an eternity when you have three grown women exerting force in several directions on your uterus while trying to turn a seven pound baby upside down. I had to rely on every single breathing and pain management technique I’d learned in our natural birthing class (Wes said he thought I was going to squeeze his hand off), and Dr. Bolger said she’d never seen someone handle the pain so well. I was proud of that, even as I relented and scheduled a C-section for December 28th.

The next two weeks were the longest, most uncomfortable days of my pregnancy. I was on one hand relieved that no matter what, I’d no longer be pregnant past 38 weeks, and on the other, desperate for labor to start even though it meant an emergency C-section.

On Wednesday, December 28th, Wes and I woke up very early and spent the morning trying to distract ourselves as much as possible. We were expected to be at the Labor and Delivery unit at 9:00, for an appointment at 10:00. I waddled around the house, wiping the counters that were already clean, sweeping the floor that had no dust, reorganizing things in the already organized nursery…the minutes ticked. By. SO. S-L-O-W-L-Y. I think I even cleaned out the fridge (again) to pass the time. Finally, my mom arrived and the three of us drove across the street to the hospital. Wes carried the duffel bag and my pumping bag, while I toted in the Jansport backpack I’d so carefully packed weeks before with baby’s stuff. It felt so strange to be walking into the hospital so calmly, knowing in a mere hour or two I’d be a mom. I remember thinking “Can anyone tell I’m about to have a baby? I WANT TO SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS!” (I’m certain it was obvious, as a super preggo lady and her husband toted in THREE BAGS OF STUFF).

I packed several magazines to read (Glamour, Real Simple, and Women’s Health), fully expecting to wait around for hours before my surgery, but the Labor and Delivery unit was rather on schedule, and I was prepped for surgery within an hour of arriving. Dr. Bolger paid me a visit to discuss the procedure which went something like this: “So basically you’ll just be totally naked with a bunch of people doing tons of different things, but don’t worry, they’re so focused on getting baby here they won’t even notice you’re in the nude.” Ha! It made me laugh. We had to wait a bit for the anesthesiologist to “finish his sandwich” and then before I knew it, Wes left to scrub in and I was wheeled into a surgical theater for my spinal. The anesthesiologist gave me a brief overview of what the procedure would “feel” like–most notably, some intense pressure as they pushed on my stomach to “pop’” the baby out. The procedure began, and my blood pressure dropped a few times but was quickly corrected. All I can remember is feeling super tense in my upper body, with my arms in a T shape, as I waited a mere fifteen minutes for Sonja to be delivered. I must have really been tensing up in my shoulders, which ached for days after sitting in that position and holding all the nervous energy in my body.

Wes sat by my head the whole time, and we didn’t really talk much. I just had to focus on breathing, because if I wasn’t, my nerves started to get the best of me. One thing that I’ll never forget is something a friend of mine, Amy, said to me after my surgery–how BRAVE it is to have major surgery like that and be completely awake! And she’s so right. I imagine it’s as scary as delivering vaginally.

Finally, I heard Dr. Bolger call my name and tell me Sonja was on her way out. Next thing I heard–”Oh! She’s pooping!” This is how I know she’s mine. 🙂

It felt like a long time before I heard her cry, but it was just enough time for me to ask Wes “Can you see her? Is she okay?” Hearing her cry for the first time is an experience that is indescribable. It made me cry instantly, the first of many tears that fall as the only means of escape for the oppressive happiness that takes over your whole being.

Stitching up all those belly layers took ages, and I just had to wait while Wes held her after they took all their baby measurements. My arms were just too shaky to hold her. Finally, she was tucked up under a blanket, right next to my boob, and that little mammal of mine snuggled in tight.

in the home

…a little announcement

October 15, 2016

If you’ve noticed a bit of radio silence around here, it probably has something to do with the fact that my life has been turned a little upside down after discovering we are expecting a baby in January 2017!


Thoughts have gone a little something like this…

6 weeks or so: “I can’t believe I’m pregnant!”
8 weeks: “I can’t believe I’m pregnant!”
10 weeks: “OMG I’M PREGNANT!”
16 weeks: “Wes, look, a baby bump!”
20 weeks: “Wait what…it might be twins? How will we pay for daycare? Braces? College?”
25 weeks: “How can my belly get any bigger?”

Pretty much from then on…”I STILL CAN’T BELIEVE I’M PREGNANT!”

I have 12 weeks to go. It still feels very surreal and I can’t even begin to imagine the way I will feel when baby is actually here. Nursery tour coming soon…