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planning e's party.

so, you want to hear a funny story about how i invited 60 people to my two year old's birthday party?! as background, we are still figuring out how to do december in our little family -- ellie and i both have birthdays, there's everything that comes with christmas, and the past two years, ryan is recently home from deployment. at the same time, we try to really slow down, soak up the season for what it is meant to be.

well, what that meant was right before we left for new york for christmas, i sent out a paperless post for ellie's second birthday party. i took the list from my 30th party, added ellie's school friends and some military families who just moved here and quickly sent it out. i didn't even think about doing math -- there were about 20 people at my 30th (i didn't add in that most of those people had multiple kids) or count how many people the additional families would bring.

so, a few nights before the party, i got a reminder from paperless post asking me if i'd like to remind people to RSVP. i thought, "well, i don't know, i don't even know who has RSVP'd!" that's when i logged in and saw that 58 people had rsvp'd yes (!!!!) i was mostly so embarrassed that it looked like i thought we needed 60 people to celebrate ellie turning 2 (we had 120 at our wedding, that was half the size!!) as usual, ryan reassured me -- reminding me the reason we wanted all these families to come was so that we could really thank them, not just for loving ellie so well, but for coming along side us during deployment to really care for her. that we also wanted everyone who was coming to be there -- we couldn't imagine it without them. and that, we believe deeply that the more, the merrier.

and so, i ran to target, and we made it happen!

as i was going through the photos, the ones of all the toddlers made my heart want to burst. seeing these kids who are growing up together -- knowing them and seeing all they bring to this world, well, it's incredible. we had our camera on sports mode, so literally you can flip through them and see their facial expressions, singing (elizabeth was our ring leader during twinkle twinkle little star!) and their interactions. these truly are the days -- and i'm so grateful for them.

happy birthday, ellie, you are so very loved!


ellie's second birthday party!


second year of motherhood - practical.

after sharing some thoughts on my second year of motherhood, i wanted to share some of the practical things that have really worked for us. finding something that makes our day smoother, our family healthier or where we see ellie gain that next step of confidence, independence, or responsibility is so huge.  

the first one above, was getting ellie her own hooks. we don't have a coat closet or rack, so this entry way is where we need to keep our things -- i'm a big believer in everything having a place and keeping things simple. ellie was so excited when we put this up! she always knows where her coats & backpacks are (and can reach them "all by myself" as we hear so often!). you can find hooks like this anywhere, but i found ours in the anthro sale section!

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second year of motherhood - thoughts.

i've been reflecting on my second year of motherhood & what i've learned about ellie, and myself, along the way. i wrote about motherhood & work after her first birthday, you can read the full post here -- re-reading it, i still feel so much of what i wrote there. ellie's second birthday sort of snuck up on me -- i actually found myself a lot more emotional about this birthday than when she turned one. there's no denying that what happens in the first year of life is simply incredible -- these babies go from itsy bitsy ones that sleep all the time, to little people who move around, talk, know familiar faces -- but i have been even more awe struck by the second year of life -- i feel like i have learned so much about ellie, who she is becoming, what she thinks, and likes, and feels.

in one really significant way, my second year of motherhood looked a lot like my first -- over half of it was spent with ryan deployed. in thinking about that and knowing that's not a very "normal" way to spend your first two years of motherhood, i remembered a conversation i had with a mom of triplets -- i was telling her how amazed i was by her; she said, humbly and genuinely, "this is all i know -- this is how i became a mom." i think that's such an important truth for all of us -- whatever circumstances surrounded your entry to motherhood, those are yours -- and just like everything in life, we have a choice in how we respond to them. let me be clear -- what i'm about to write did not come easily, it was hard fought for, forged by really digging in and included plenty of days where i was frustrated, discouraged, completely worn down. i wrote a lot about this last deployment -- for me, deployment + motherhood are intrinsically connected right now.

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link love.

in all the hustle & bustle of this week, i wanted to share some things i've been loving:

so, i could spend from now til christmas making these santa videos -- they're incredible for kids & HILARIOUS for adults.

this is a beautiful, beautiful piece on a first year of marriage.

love this simple, creative act of motherhood & homemaking with a toddler.

oh pimento cheese, i heart you!

so, this nursery is amazing.

i cannot put this book down!

this two minute video on empathy is so, so good.

this is one of the most beautiful, heartfelt things i've ever seen.

and my oh my this little girl above who is about to be two (?!?!) she is at such an incredible age. her new favorite word is "maybe" but she has no idea what rules govern its use so she just uses it a lot; she also is very excited about christmas -- what she has clung to the most is that jesus was born (every time she sees our nativity she shouts "born! born!") -- and her favorite songs: little drummer boy (rumpumpum) and jingle bells! wishing you all the joys of this season from our little family! xo