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30th birthday.

so ... today is my birthday ... & I'm 30! a few of you who know me in real life are laughing right now, because you know i love my birthday a tad too much. for some reason turning 30, rather than making me more mature about this, has intensified it a bit (allison & ryan, sorry i've been bugging you guys for MONTHS with countdowns). i love to take a little step back & look around at this moment and so when i ran across this post, i thought it might be a good way to do just that. you can see my past birthday posts from my 27th (things I love); 28th (things I'm grateful for) & 29th (things I've learned) -- thirty, here we go!

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hi there!


homecoming day.


give: ellie's something to wish for.

i'm excited to continue this little series on how we're thinking about christmas giving. for something to wish for, i try to think of a toy i think ellie would really enjoy, that would encourage her imagination & get a lot of use in our house for many years to come (& well made enough to handle that kind of wear & tear!). here are some of my favorites:

this wooden tea set is just so great -- it can be used for imaginative play, fine motor skills & has both things i most often look for in a toy -- it's simple & well made. 

we spend A LOT of time outdoors, all three of us thrive there. ellie absolutely loves helping us & i'm thinking this wheelbarrow would be a total game changer for us. i can only imagine what she'll come up with for all the ways we can use it! (i've also been looking at this red one -- does anyone own either of these & have a recommendation?)

in the well made and a gazillion uses camp, these wooden blocks are beautiful. we might be crazy, but ryan is thinking about making some & i'd paint them with a bunch of different craft paint colors (count on us being up all night on christmas eve...)!

these animal magnets crack me up. ellie LOVES animals, i think these might be a hit!

our attic is almost finished (my oh my was that a project!) -- it's already a space that we just thrive in as a family & i want to continue to create opportunities for it to be a retreat -- to read a book, or paint or make a fort. i'm really excited to get some sort of teepee for that space one day!

ellie is really starting to love puzzles and saying her abc's (which goes something like "hmm C!!!!! hmm hm G!!!! llmmnn P!!!!! hm S!!!! uuu V!!!!! xxxx Z!!!!! hmmmmmmmm ME!!!!" it's hilarious, i'll try to catch it on video) -- all to say, this might be just the right puzzle for her!

you can see this year's post on books & my list right here. next up: something to wear for ellie! also, some of you have asked if we do stockings on top of these four gifts -- i absolutely love stockings, so we absolutely do, but we keep those simple too!


christmas cards (!!!!).


four years of marriage.


ryan & i have been married for four years today! it's funny because we chose our wedding date based on two things -- wanting a relatively short engagement and the navy, so while we were happy to get married in early november, we knew it wasn't the most popular wedding month and didn't expect to share our anniversary with lots of friends. well, it turns out that three of our closest married friends all got married within 7 days of us (different years, thank goodness!) the beginning of november has turned into a time to really think about marriage -- ours and the people who we love doing life with. i was talking to my sweet friend who celebrated her second anniversary a few days ago & she quipped "yep, headed into the toddler years of our marriage!" the concept had never occurred to me but seemed remarkably accurate!! which means ryan & i are headed into pre-k and i couldn't be more excited about it!! i don't know about you, but i LOVE four year olds. it's such an incredible age -- they're old enough to really express their thoughts, ideas, to really understand a lot about life, but there's still this innocence, a lack of pretense or inhibition that makes them so genuine, so full of life, so comfortable in their own skin. i was talking to a friend, who has also been married four years, about this idea, and he said that it seemed right to him too -- that he and his wife knew how to talk to each other, how to explain themselves, form sentences that worked -- much like four year olds. we talked about how we fight more fairly -- we know where to give a bit, how to handle the other person's vulnerabilities better, where we need to grow.

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