Christmas Eve

Today is Christmas Eve. We have been at the Cahill's log cabin rental house that overlooks dale hallow lake in Byrdstown, TN since Saturday afternoon. The trees are bare so from the top of the hill we can see through the forrest to the glimmering water below. Unfortunately, most of the family has spent their time holed up in their own room with the nastiest fastest spreading stomach bug I've ever seen. Luckily Felix and I got it out of our system before coming here for christmas (one night of puking - saddest thing ever - one day of diarrhea and no eating, then one day of snuggling and recovery )so Rebecca and I spent the day away from the house with the dual hope of finishing up our Holiday shopping and avoiding catching the bug. 

Cookeville is the closest town to their house and it's an hour drive without holiday traffic. I kept hoping Felix would nap on the way into town, but instead he fell asleep 5 minutes from our destination. So Becca stayed in the car with him while I picked up stocking stuffers and few last minute gifts. We grabbed chick-fil-a for lunch and then headed back to the house after one final stop for Rebecca to get a gift for Teddy. 

The evening was low key. Cynthia whipped up a delicious beef stew and biscuits while we played with the children and read books in the living room. Most everyone went to bed early and we woke this morning to Emily and Gabriel's arrival and a big pan of bacon and eggs, bottomless pots of coffee and the sound of tromping kiddo feet in footie pajamas.

The house finally feels festive, fun and full of life. The only missing puzzle piece is my love. Josh, who is sick, had to go back to Franklin for a few days of work and some rest and healing from his bug.

I've been so excited about Felix's first christmas. I really had to restrain myself from buying too many unnecessary presents. I ended up buying a set of cars you can pull back and they move forward, a set of big lego blocks, a few wiffle balls (easy for his little fingers to grab), a hammer bench, and a book. Plus a few shirts and christmas PJs for his growing body. 

We let him open the hammer bench before we left for Byrdstown and it was so much fun to watch him learn how to tear the paper and then discover a new present. He turned the bench over and over and picked at the sticker on the side. Then I showed him how to use the hammer and he caught on so quickly - I was bursting with pride. He really is smart as a whip, a quick learner, and very coordinated. I know he will do great things far above what I could even imagine for him.

He has been LOVING spending time with family here at the cabin. He explores the house finding new things to pick up and discover and begs for food from anyone snacking on chex mix. He constantly brings books to Nana for page turning practice and just laughs and laughs at the dogs wrestling together. He has particularly grown in the area of other people holding him. He used to cry anytime Uncle John Paul would look at him and now he loves to lay in his lap and inspect new people's face. Some will even get the coveted head-hug of affection from him and it's completely heart melting.

Next year when Felix will be almost two I want to start a few family traditions that we continue to do every holiday season. A christmas advent activity calendar that includes reading the story of the incarnation in the gospel of Luke, watching white christmas, Elf, and Miracle on 34th street, setting out milk and cookies for santa on Christmas eve, caroling, fudge making, driving around to look at christmas lights, making hot cocoa, taking winter walks and on and on.

So for now, I'm going to snuggle up next to the fire and enjoy time with my extended family. Merry Christmas and warm wishes to you and yours this holiday season and many blessing in the new year!


A Typical Day

I can't believe how much Felix is growing. He is 11 months old now and just as cute as can be. Honestly, I'm convinced he gets cuter every day and this mommy thing is like a good wine or cheese - time makes it even better. A typical day looks like this...

Most days Felix wakes up happy as a clam. Chatting up a storm, pinching my nose, rolling around in bed between Josh and I, grabbing willow and laughing when she licks his face. About 10 minutes of pretending I'm still asleep, Josh either wakes up with Felix (Since I'm still up with him a couple times at night this is Josh's present to me) OR I will give Felix my phone to play some peekaboo barn in bed while I slowly wake to the day ahead of me. I love this morning time as a family all snuggled in bed together. It's one of my favorite times of day.
Felix at the grocery and felix eating lunch.
After we wake up, Josh will change Felix's diaper while I put myself together a little bit to get the day going. We all eat eggs & toast and Felix drinks water from a sippy cup while the adults suck down the coffee. Monday, Wednesday, Friday Felix and I go to the Chiropractor for regular adjustments. Felix used to HATE being adjusted, but now he does amazingly. He plays all around the office while I do my warm up exercises and jabbers up a storm. I'm pretty sure all the other patients get a kick out of him.

After that we either head out for errands or head to the gym. Another place where Felix is thriving. He used to be so sad at the YMCA childcare and I would stress the entire time during my 30 mins on the elliptical, but now he loves it and nearly every time the workers say what a cutie pie he is so I feel like I can spend a bit more time working out.

After our morning outing we head home for a 1-2 hour nap. I will get some work done around the house or on the computer and Josh often comes home for lunch during this time. When Felix wakes, he gets lunch and then we play around the house. I like to mix up rooms to keep things spicy, but often times we are in the living room. I'll sit on the floor while Felix brings me books and then plops down in my lap. Or I will pull out the guitar and we will sing and dance for a bit. Sometimes he takes every toy out of his chest and we look at it and then we clean it all up and start all over again.
Felix reading and felix playing.

Around 3:30 or 4 if I haven't already run to the grocery for dinner items Felix and I will pop over to Publix. No matter where we go, Felix makes friends. He flirts with all the ladies and smiles big grins at anyone who makes eye contact with him. After the grocery, we head home and I'll distract felix with snacks or  if he is tired I will wear him in the Ergo on my back and he will take a 15-20 min snooze while I start dinner.

If it happens to be a night we are eating out we skip the whole grocery trip and I'll fill some of our afternoon time with a park, library, mall, or target trip. We like to get out of the house, if you hadn't noticed.

Then when josh gets home around 6, we eat dinner, have family play time, Felix takes a bath and then heads to bed at 7:30/8. He has been sleeping decently and most nights I get 4-6 hours before his first waking. I should be heading to bed around 9:30, but honestly I'm a night owl and can't bring myself to do it! Even though I know how tired I will be the next day, I spend the evenings getting things done on my laptop (which is HARD to do during the day with sticky fingers constantly trying to grab the keys or pull on the screen - am I right fellow mamas?), hanging out with josh, watching a few shows, or reading. Midnight is my normal bedtime with a Felix waking at 2:30 and 5:30 (when I pull him into bed with me).

p.s. I realize all these photos are of Felix, but most of my day is spent starring at that beautiful child, I can't help but over share photos of him. He is beautiful, amazing, smart, fun, and so so sweet. Therefore, pictures...



Like most people I love the holiday season. Parties, presents, twinkly lights, the incarnation of God and in the middle of it all I get to celebrate my birthday. Being at the end of the calendar year my birthday is a wonderful time for me to reflect, celebrate and set goals for the coming year. This year was the big two-nine. My last year before exiting my 20s and becoming an official 30 something.

Josh made my day extremely special. A hair cut and color the Friday before, breakfast out, a day spa treatment, lunch at Chick-Fil-A and a fancy dinner downtown Nashville at Sambuca followed by Jeni's ice cream. I was incredibly indulgent and reveled in being spoiled on my one big day of the year.

On the drive to and from dinner Josh and I talked about what a big year 28 was and what I hoped for in the 365 days to come. It was a bit of a hard question to answer, honestly. I felt a bit like I needed to have the perfect answer and like my thoughts needed to be sorted out more clearly. It took some time to form a response to the question of "What do I want in the coming year?" "How do I want to grow?" "What do I want to do?" "What direction am I headed as a person?"

Here is where I landed. I want to go deeper.

I want to know what it looks like to have deep unbreakable relationships. With Josh and Felix - being in tune with their needs and desires. Creating a home and safe space for their passions and personality to thrive. Genuinely listening and encouraging them to fully become who the Lord created them to be. And I want to go deeper with the community around me. Intentionally reaching out to those I care about. Praying for them. Listening to them. Having laugh-till-your-sides-hurt lunches and late night conversations over an open bottle of Pino Noir.

I want to go deeper in my understanding of myself. I want to know my triggers. know my weaknesses and strengths. Know my passions and direction. Know the calling that is placed over me and move deeper into that calling.

I want to go deeper in my walk with Jesus, too. I want to search out the hidden things of God and find them and I want the Lord to reveal new things to me and teach me how to feel his saturating presence in my life day in and day out. Making dinner. Doing laundry. Changing diapers. Photographing friends. Shopping at the grocery. Sleeping and waking. Feeling the the Holy Spirit's pleasure and closeness in every aspect of my life creating deep roots of faith and trust.

So that's it. No more shallow spread thin plans and ambiguously moving forward in life. I'm hoping for big things as I open myself up to allowing some roots to take place in the coming year. After all, this tree is going to grow pretty big over the next decade and the roots need to go pretty deep to keep things growing in the right direction.

Because if you can't post a selfie on your blog on your birthday...when can you?
(My last shallow act ever...? Nah...)


Tuesday Mornings

It's been a long morning already. Felix woke at 5:00 am and wouldn't go back to sleep so by the time 9:30 rolls around I'm groggy, I have a headache and my stomach is already ready to eat it's second meal. But lucky for me, Tuesday mornings have also become one of my favorite parts of every week. At 9:30(ish) a group of women from my church get together for shared breakfast, laughter, prayer, and reflection on a book we are reading together.

Childcare is provided and I'm able to eat some delicious - often times very healthy -  breakfast with both hands! (A small miracle for women with young children.) A lot of times we spend the first hour or so sipping tea and catching up on the past week. Laughing about something our kids did, sharing a recipe or talking about our upcoming plans. Then the last 1-2 hours we discuss all that the Lord is showing us and how He is moving in our lives. Places where he is pressing us outside our comfort zone or an area where we are finding breakthrough. A lot of times relating it back to the book, but sometimes just needing to have a space to process where people will listen and pray and encourage our souls.

It is deeply soothing to me to be around these women. Even when Felix won't stay with the sitter and I have to chase him around the room, there is no awkwardness. No judgement. No heavy sighs of having to listen to him babble on top of prayer time. I feel so comfortable and welcomed by these women. Each and every one of them unique and beautiful. SO beautiful sometimes I just listen in awe of each person. How strong they are and how God speaks to them in unique and wonderful ways. How vulnerable we allow ourselves to be with one another. How we can laugh to tears and then in the next breath unveil deep and weighty revelations.

I'm so thankful for this group of women. I look up to them. I care for each and every one of them. I love them all and I know the steadfast weekly and daily encouragement and prayer I receive from these ladies is smoothing out more in my life than I even realize. We have only been meeting for 4 months, but already I can feel the roots of community and friendship going deep.