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i've been thinking about friendship a lot recently, perhaps because these past few months have been a time that would have been especially unbearable without it. there are lots of stories i could tell, some more poetic than the one i'm about to, but i just keep coming back to this simple moment:

i once called my oldest, dearest friend to share some news, the kind of news that was unexpected and complicated and signaled, in many ways, a sea change in life. this friend is thoughtful and contemplative and calm; so normally when i'm telling her something, she listens really well, waits until i'm done and then says something profound, kind and measured. i was only a few sentences in and i heard her say, in a louder voice than she almost ever uses, "oh come on!!!!" i realize it's just three words, and really just an exclamation of emotion, but it made me feel so loved, so understood, so instantly like she was in my corner, that i found myself smiling on the other end. and somehow my load was lightened, it all seemed more bearable now that she knew. 

sometimes we need someone to tell us we are strong, we can handle it, to give us some tough love and a pat on the back, but in my experience, more often we need someone who will sit with us in it, not knowing when or how or if it will get better. who asks questions so they might find even a smidgen more space to be empathetic. who doesn't try to fix or compare or belittle, but genuinely acknowledge that what we're experiencing is real and worth paying attention to. that we can become hardened as we hear another sad story or hardship or pain someone is experiencing, they can pile on one another until we are so calloused that we don't weep with each other, we don't allow our heart to ache, that we try to compare one circumstance to another, as if there's any good in finding the most miserable. or we can recognize that part of life is about hands held, walking through things together, no matter what may lay ahead. that we can sit in more than one trench at a time.

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comfort in a good book.

hiiii! so, maybe you're like me and one of the constants in life has been the comfort a really good book can bring. one of the funny things about having kids is it makes you think about your own childhood A LOT -- and it's so fascinating to me what stands out the most. i have so many memories of going to the library, finding a new spot to read in our house, feeling myself grow with the stories i read.

into adulthood, much the same was true. i can tell you exactly where i was when i read most of my favorite books -- i think some books just come in your life right when you need them, whether you could have anticipated that or not. i'm not sure if it's been the long winter, or adjusting to two little girls underfoot, but i've been craving good books to get lost in and a few have really done just that. in two of these, the writing literally took my breath away, and in the other one i found a new way of thinking about something that was incredibly helpful to me.

redeployment -- this was my christmas present to ryan, and one night when he was flying, i picked it up just to read a few pages -- well, i literally couldn't put it down. i've spent a lot of time thinking about the wars in iraq and afghanistan, and especially the men and women who have been willing to serve there, and this book was so raw, so incredibly written, so painfully honest, it left me speechless. it is incredibly intense (as it should be) and the writing is simply stunning. the last two pages left me in tears and spellbound all at once.

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around here.


life with two kids.




so, it's really important you know i didn't leave any words out of the title of this post -- i'm simply here to report on life with two kids, i have no tips, nothing figured out, it's unlikely i'll breech anything profound, but i promise to tell the truth, so if you're interested in that, keep on, keeping on.

to show my credentials for how little i have figured out, it's safe to say it takes me ages to simply get out the door with these two little girls -- the best part? i can't even tell you what's so hard about it. we will finally get in the car, and i'll think the same two things at once: what on earth was i just doing for 20 minutes? and did i really leave my water bottle on the kitchen counter AGAIN?! i dream, regularly, about when it's warm enough that the routine will be simplified. i won't have to get us all bundled up -- two jackets, three hats, a blanket. i won't have to tell ellie for the nine gazillionth time that yes, she must wear pants with her dress -- i'm hoping that will shave a few minutes off the routine, right?! don't tell me if it won't, i have sound of music-esque dreams about spring -- i'm going to be frolicking in the streets, frolicking!

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the beginning of traditions.


gift guide for the guys.

so, i missed getting this done before christmas, but figuring out what to get ryan has been one of the steepest learning curves for me -- i hope he would say i'm getting a bit better each year! in case you're in the same place, here are some things i looked at for ryan -- many of which wound up under our tree! (this is especially geared to military guys ;)


flash boys -- we love michael lewis & this looked especially compelling!

redeployment -- being heralded as the best book by this generation of veterans.


the perfect coozie

this awesome speaker

what guy doesn't want a bean bag chair?! (and i wouldn't even mind having this one in my house!)


i love he loves to wear my college's gear!

everlane has the best basics!


the coolest soap i've ever seen (thank you fort lance for introducing us to it!)

this dopp kit for the next time we get to getaway the two of us!