29 February 2012

IN, NC, FL, SC, NC, IN..

a picture tour of our east coast travels last month.. i didn't take nearly as many pictures as i wish i had, so not everyone we spent time with is pictured. BUT we saw them all, and it was glorious.

am i the only one who thinks they look alike here? didn't think so.

 she did a lot of this. i don't want to add up the number of hours we were in the car all together during our time away from home because i'm quite sure my head would spin when i pushed the = button on my calculator (yes, i'd need a calculator to do simple addition). rubygirl amazed me with her in-car skill set though.. she was a trooper and fun travel partner all rolled into one. shout out to my mama for being at the top of the list of the world's best travel buddies - hollla!

 "mom, this is the florida sign." (wait, didn't you know toddlers know everything? welp, newsflash, they most certainly do).

 aren't random and willing photographers the best? i love this much of the sidewalk in all my pictures.

like mama, like daughter. who doesn't love free, fresh-squeezed deliciousness in a paper cup?
welcome to the sunshine state!

 made it to poppop and gigi's house. round one of more-than-i-can-count in the little pool. also, remind me to have a house one day with a partially screened-in ceiling.. it's glorious, inside/outside-ness at its finest.

 i'll spare you all of the pictures i took of the safari ride during our (completely awesome and unexpected) half day at the animal kingdom - thank you, linda! but here's one of two sweet faces reflected in the mirror across from me.. i didn't sit close to ruby on the ride, but i could hear her cute voice shouting "it's so beautiful!", and the like, whenever she'd see an animal. if that's not what disney's all about, i'm not sure what is.

 priss pot.

 little mickey's.

 she was over the moon about cinderella's castle.. where, apparently, all of the princesses live. and a little cameo appearance by sweet marilyn, who we owe our day at disney to- thank you, marilyn!

 waiting for "it's a small world" with gigi and mimi.

 they were pointing right at me, and you can't convince me otherwise.

spotting snow white and "doopey".

 don't worry, it'll be framed.

 too pooped to princess.

 now you know where i get my pretty from.

 the sweetest of icings on the sweetest of cakes, ruby meeting the princesses. i was too busy holding back tears and eavesdropping on her conversations with them to get any pictures of it happening, but mimi has a camera full.

 rubes caught on to the local flavor real quick. when in rome.

 lunch date with gigi and some ladies from her neighborhood.

 a stop in charleston at a little hole in the wall with tasty fried shrimp.

 we saw a fun friend and stopped for a photo op with a gigantic horse before finishing our trek.

 some girl time with juicy, coco, and ashey.

annual valentine's steak and fondue dinner at the strubles'. this is ellie's bliss face.

home is where the heart is, but there are bits of mine spread far and wide.

28 February 2012

ten things..

the other day, i was watching "up all night" (come on, who doesn't love some will arnett?) on hulu, and saw a really neat levi's commercial highlighting a real life, blogging wife and mama. i went right over to her blog afterward, and to be honest, never finished the show because i kept reading. mandy is fun, funny, and good at putting it all out there - which, of course you know, i am a huge fan of. anywho, she put a little "ten random things" challenge out there this morning, so i'm jumping right on that bandwagon. so, the plan is, you're gonna get a picture, ten random things about me, and then an answer to the ten questions mandy wrote. anddd, go.

me and my free grapefruit juice at a welcome center in florida on the trip down to see my grandparents with mom and ruby last month. [that was a long sentence] it. was. so. good.

my ten..

ten. if you know me well, you know that anything really bumpy or holey grosses me out. i.e. a honeycomb, the back of a fern leaf. i can't even explain why this is, but i get a queasy feeling whenever i see something like that. don't judge.

nine. as of right now, if i could have any career, i'd love to be an interpreter for the deaf. i've always been enthralled with sign language and wish i were fluent in it.

eight. my guiltiest television pleasure is "chelsea lately". 

seven. i love thrift store and yard sale shopping, but i get overridden with anxiety almost every time i go. it stems from wanting to find great things, and also trying to mentally picture where i would put said finds in our small and nearly full apartment. i also have a non-clutter-loving husband, and i never want to overwhelm him with it all once i walk in the door. 

six. sometimes i talk out loud like i have my own cooking show when i'm in the kitchen. i think it's funny and keeps things lively in there, and it always helps me realize how HARD that would be to do for real.

five. as much as i love the blogosphere, i often find it strange how much i "know" about people who i've never actually met. it challenges me to get to know the people around me better and to be as open with them as i can often be here.

four. i love coffee, but i hate the jitters. i'm sure people probably often think i'm missing the point when i order a decaf coffee, but i truly just love the taste.

three. i make a really odd, slightly crazed looking smiley face while watching something on tv that i think is sweet or funny. daniel will often call me out on it and laugh, but as hard as i might try, there's no stopping it.

two. i read my blog posts over several times before, and sometimes after, publishing them. you wouldn't know it from all of my lower case letters, centered alignment, and made up words, but i'm a spelling and grammar lover at heart, and i always want to get my points across as correctly as possible. ocd much?

one. i feel like i am in a constant battle against dust and dirty bathrooms in our house. i always think about conceding, but i shall prevail! :)

her ten..

1. have you ever met someone famous?
famous to most, no, but famous to me, yes. i met bethany dillon once. she was so nice, and pretty, and she told me to call her beth. :)

2. what is your happiest childhood memory?
shew, that one's hard. one that stands out the most is one christmas when my mom and step-dad set up the swing set they were giving my sister and me as our present in our livingroom. i remember having to go down the slide to get from our bedroom door to the livingroom.. it was a tiny house. :)

3. favorite album of all time?
dern, hard one. i could listen to patty griffin all day any day, so i'll say that.

4. are you a salty or sweet lover?
i guess i'd say salty over sweet, but i love both in their own time.

5. what is your favorite guilty pleasure tv show or movie?
ha answered that above. chelsea lately. but i'm also a closet TMZ lover.. well, not so closeted anymore.

6. describe your favorite sandwich.
two slices of toasted, crusty sourdough, spicy mustard, a bit of mayo, spinach, low-salt deli turkey, pepper jack cheese, and a slice of ripe tomato. can you say specific?

7. what was your first pet?
that i can remember? my sister and i both had pet raccoons when we were little. they were sweet like little babies.

8. what is your biggest accomplishment thus far in life?
pushing a human out of my body. i still can't believe i carried ruby for almost a year inside of me, let alone got her out of there. it's like a dream when i think about it happening, and i have to convince myself when i see pictures that it's really me with that baby bump.

9. what is the first blog you started reading?
hmmm.. good question! i'm not totally sure, but i know i started while we lived out in california at the start of our marriage about four years ago. there's a good chance that my brother and sister-in-law's blog was one of the first, so we'll go with that one.

10. if you had to choose one dessert for the rest of your life, what would it be?
sweet sixteen white powdered doughnuts. but i hope that never happens.

your ten..

here are ten questions from me, to ju. put a link in the comment section if you join in so i can read your post!

uno. what's something that makes you anxious just thinking about it?
dos. what's something that makes you super happy just thinking about it?
tres. if you could stay in bed for a whole day, what would you want to do?
cuatro. where's a place you've visited that you would never want to go again?
cinco. what's your favorite facial feature.. on yourself, of course.
seis. would you ever adopt a chlid?
siete. if you could spend $2,412 at one store, which one would you choose? 
ocho. who's someone you know you can count on, and why?
nueve. what's the last book you read from cover to cover?
diez. if you could go to college again, or for the first time, what would you major in?

and thirty facts and questions later, we're done! methinks, that was fun.

happy tuesday, all. :)


26 February 2012

things i might forget..

lately, it's been hitting me just how quickly time is going by, and how many little, quirky things that ruby does and says that i might (read: definitely will) forget. i have a tERRible memory, and there's also so much of it that i'd challenge anyone to hang onto all of that cuteness in their memory bank. so, since this is the main place that i've chosen to document life and "put it all out there", here goes..

-- you love clothes. like an i-clean-up-clothes-more-than-toys kind of love. you call one piece of clothing a "clo". as in, "mom, can i try on just one more clo before bed?" makes sense to me. the dress-up box that auntie v and kyle gave you for christmas is your current favorite thing to play with, and there is no telling what sorts of amazingly eclectic (and always colorful) outfits i'll see from you throughout the day. you've had your fair share of wardrobe changes over time, so you're super good at getting any and all kinds of clothing on and off without my help. it's kind of nice to let you get ready for the day or for bed all on your own, but i still love dressing you when you'll let me.

-- you're convinced that carrots will make your hair grow (not sure who told you that ;)), so you're always excited to eat them and ask me if i can see it growing.. of course i can!

-- pushing has often been a challenge for you, but you have gotten so so so much better at being more kind and patient, even just recently, and i'm so thankful for that. i will say that getting pushed a time or two recently when we've been out and about has probably contributed to you realizing how bad it feels, and i'm okay with that. we talk a lot about how we should treat others, and it's been neat for me to see your little  mind and heart grasping what kindness and gentleness look like.

-- you have an amazing vocabulary, and stellar pronunciation in most areas, but you still call strawberries "traw-trawberries". i never correct you.

-- you can be very rough and tumble at times, but you are also insanely affectionate and compassionate. if ever i tell you that someone in our family or one of your friends is sick, you make this super sad face and tell me that we need to tell them, "i'll be ok". you're always giving kisses and you're very quick to tell me that you love me.

-- you're a great mix of friendly and cautious when it comes to strangers. you ask any and everyone that we see in our apartment building what their name is, and bring a smile to so many faces because of it, but you won't hug or even give a high five to just anyone. we try and instill in you that you have a choice about who touches you, and i'm thankful that, even at two and a half, your affection is intentional because it's something you choose to give.

-- you're already so funny and witty, and often surprise me with jokes you make and things you realize will make people laugh. you and i belly laughed the other night because i was commenting on how messy your room was before bed, and right at that moment you threw a card that you had in your hand onto a pile of dress-up clothes and burst out laughing. somehow you knew that adding to the mess at just that moment was funny, and it had us both in stitches.

-- you make up silly songs all the time, and i always love listening to you when you don't know that i am while you sing about random things around you. i'm hoping that's leading into you being musical, because i would love that.

-- without any encouragement to do so, you love princesses and all things girly. you can spot a picture of snow white from a mile away, and you love hearing any princess story i can think of. you're really good at telling them yourself, and it's always hilarious to see how you intermix characters into stories that they don't belong in. it was so fun to take you to meet the princesses while we were in disney world, and i count it a blessing that we could go there.. i'm thankful it's something we'll be able to tell you about and show you pictures from when you're older. 

-- you love your daddy so much. we both get so excited and do silly dances whenever he calls to tell us he's on his way home, and you'll randomly say things like, "my daddy is so strong" and "aw, daddy is so sweet". it brings tears to my eyes when i hear him singing to you or reading you a book at night, and i'm still thankful for the ways that seeing him as your daddy, and you as his little girl, are redeeming things in me of what i think of as a father. 

-- you blow my mind with your knowledge of technology. you can unlock and navigate pretty much any kind of smart phone that someone might let you hold. so much so, that you think people you're talking to on my "dumb phone" should be able to see whatever you're talking to them about, so you hold the phone up to it and tell them to "look". you also think all screens are touch screens, and have gotten into trouble a time or two for trying to push "buttons" on our tv.

-- you love babies and could ooh and ahh over them for ages. you talk constantly about having a baby sister named olivia, and trust me, daddy and i are doing all we can to make you a big sister. i know you'll be such a great one.

-- you've recently been more willing to cuddle in bed with me after you first wake up and come into our room in the morning. you'll lie there for quite awhile with your forehead to mine, rubbing your hand on my arm or against my face. it's become one of my favorite parts of the day.

-- you really, really love reading books, and while daddy or i read to you before nap or bed is probably when you're the calmest and quietest all day. lately you like to "read" a book to us after we read it to you, and i'm always amazed at how much of it you can recall back to us.

-- you always want to help me cook and clean, and you're constantly helping me learn more patience as i slow down and let you do more things with me. they're sometimes hard lessons, but i'm so thankful for how much i learn from, and because of, you.

ruby girl, i know that you are by no means a perfect little girl. 
you need training and discipline much more often than i envisioned 
a child needing, but i am so thankful to be your mama. 
you light up a lot of lives, and God did something very kind 
when he gave you to me and your daddy.. 
and that's something i never want to forget. <3

18 February 2012

home to me..

life is resuming normalcy after our arrival back to the great state of indiana on thursday afternoon. i told d over dinner that night that the weirdest thing about being away from home for so long is that, once we're back, it feels like we never left. i'm so glad it feels like that. even though i almost constantly miss our friends and family who don't live here, it amazes me just how much my heart and home are in whatever little apartment in whatever little town i live in with daniel and ruby.. i'm so thankful for that, and was reminded of it so much over this time apart. 
i told daniel that my love for him was rekindled during the first part of our vacation; while he was able to be with me and ruby for a little time in NC. there was something so comforting about that long, through the night drive with he and rubes sleeping as i maneuvered through winding west virginia roads.. seeing him feel so at ease with my family, and knowing that i feel just the same with his.. knowing it was a priority for him to make a date night with me before he left to go back to indiana..  feeling connected by long talks about our hopes and questions about our next moves in life.. reminiscing, once we were apart again, about our dating days, and writing him a love note to remind him of the things i'm thankful for.
sometimes i linger more in the "hard truths" of what marriage looks like.. i never want to give the impression that being married or having kids in the fix all for life's worries or loneliness, or to ever make it easier than it already is for anyone who reads what i write here to play the comparison game. i don't want to paint some picture that isn't accurate or fool anyone into thinking we've got much, if anything, worth striving for. but sometimes i think i take away from His goodness and grace toward us when i don't give credit and shed light on the ways that i'm more than thankful for the husband i have and the life i'm blessed with. intermixed in that sharing will be mentions of the reality and realness that this cleaving together brings, but i hope that that shows all the more that the Lord should receive the glory for any good that comes from or to us. i am a broken, broken girl who's stepped into the role of wife and mama, and i rejoice in the moments when all that's swirling around us slows long enough for us to taste and see that He is good.. like sun rays splitting through a darkening sky.
that's what this trip felt like for me.. a time to revel in thankfulness for the people we love who are sprinkled near and far, but to fall back into the comfort of knowing that He's fit me with a good man and sweet little girl who are home to me.

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