31 August 2015

the faces behind what we wear: their stories matter

I've been working with the Noonday Collection for over a year now. If you don't know much (or anything) about the company that started just five years ago, I really believe they are changing the way we connect globally right in our living rooms. Simply put, it's fair trade jewelry and accessories. But it's so much more.

It's real faces, real stories, real connection with women and men and families in places like Ethiopia and India and Afghanistan. It's communities in Uganda and Rwanda and Vietnam and Ecuador and Guatemala who have seen transformation happen because people are sharing their stories and their work. It's knowing that not only is every piece that Noonday offers beautiful, but each is made with love and bringing sustainable, lasting change in the lives of each amazing person who makes them.

Noonday isn't the only group trying to create a lasting change in our world. I have fallen in love with the heart behind the Root Collective, who provide (gorgeous) handmade shoes from Guatemala. My friend, Amber, started a boutique called Beautiful and Beloved, working with women who have come out of sex trafficking and are making the loveliest of clothes and jewelry.

We live in a time of fast fashion - where it is so easy to get really cute clothes on the cheap. Trends turn over almost immediately, and we need the next thing at affordable prices. But who is making those things that we can't wait to get our hands on? There is a really eye opening documentary that came out this year called The True Cost. It's uplifting and hopeful and worth watching, and it's streaming right now on Netflix. I am so encouraged when people offer real options if we want to start making a difference, no matter how small it may seem. We can know the faces and the stories behind the things that we wear, whether we shop small and handmade, or we choose to shop fair trade, or we just start considering what that means and how it can work in our own lives. We can all start somewhere.

21 August 2015

someone is always touching me

It usually starts around 6:48 when the first kid wanders into our room, eyes groggy, pulling themselves up onto our bed and pulling a pillow up under their head, and scooting their little body as close to me as humanly possible. Followed within moments by another set of feet padding across the hardwoods into our room, and then another. Until we're five in the bed with quiet giggles and "do you want to know my dream?" and "what time did you go to bed last night, mom?" 

If I get up particularly early, I might try to sneak myself onto the couch with high aspirations of my kids playing quietly nearby and letting my body naturally come to grips with being awake. But inevitably one or two kids pile on top of me and "just want to snuggle". 

The day goes on with sticky fingers pulling at me to get my attention, two year old arms pushing me in stern protest against whatever suggestion I've made, requests to sit on my lap during a meal, hair brushing, bottom wiping, book reading, clothes changing, play wrestling, injury kissing and bandaid application, face pinching (thank you one year old curiosity), raspberry blowing on my cheek, lots of kisses, requests to be held at inopportune times (usually while preparing a meal), TV watching snuggle sessions and inevitably some middle of the night comforting. 

My day is inundated with touch. Until the last moments of wakefulness with requests for back scratching and writing letters on their backs and sitting by their beds until they doze off. When the sun starts to set and five little people are quietly snoozing on their pillows, I am ready to shut the door and soak in the solitude and sorry, husband, I'll talk to you in an hour or two. 

The other day I sat down on my cozy couch for a minute, watching my kids play legos and read books and dance around the living room all at once, and within 15 seconds one little body saw the opportunity and launched himself onto the couch, right on top of me. Not near me or at the other end of the couch, but making sure his entire body was somehow connected to my body and I silently groaned on the inside, thinking, PLEASE JUST GIVE ME ONE MINUTE. I'm RIGHT here, watching you, talking to you, do we have to be touching? And in that moment, I looked into his little eyes and another thought occurred to me. This is almost over. Before I even know what is happening they will all be grown up, they won't want to snuggle or blow raspberries or sit next to me on the couch. No one will be crawling into my bed in the morning and telling me what they dreamt about. They won't need back scratches before they fall asleep. I will long for their hugs and someone needing me during dinner prep. It will all be so quiet.

I know this seems a long way off, but I am also quickly learning that time is so fleeting. These days go so quickly, and I want to store up as many of these moments in my heart as I can before they're gone. Taking it for granted is inevitable, but I pray that the little glimpses of what's to come and go will keep me grounded in remembering to fill up their little tanks while they still want me to. The days are long but the years are short. So while I'll continue to look forward to my quiet time at the end of a long day, I'll also keep a grateful heart for all the love they are so willing to pour out on me in the meantime. I really couldn't be luckier with this house so filled with so many little people who have so much to give.

31 July 2015

backyard adventures and necessary naps

We've hit the halfway mark on our summer vacation, and it has been fun and full of activities. Swim lessons, VBS, a trip to the beach. There have been endless rounds of kickball and baseball, and secret spy missions. But there's also been lots of fights and messes and driving me crazy, because we're all about balance. These past few weeks have been super hot (by NW standards) and sometimes the only respite is some downtime in the basement to cool off and get out of the heat. That means a little extra time playing Mario Bros or watching a movie. 

The latest love of my boys' lives is a new series streaming on Netflix called Dragons: Race to the Edge. They all loved the How to Train Your Dragon movies, and this is the next installment. I may have let them binge watch three episodes in a row while their sister took their naps and I dozed on the couch in the cool basement. I'm pregnant, it's allowed.

They had fun reenacting what they watched afterward with their own tattered map, and swords in hand. They've been into a game they made up recently called "guard the kingdom from the dragons", so when I told them about this show, they were pretty excited.

Here's to the last month of summer vacation, lots of backyard adventures, and lots of little naps. 

11 July 2015

and speaking of weddings...

We celebrated our tenth anniversary just a few months ago. TEN YEARS. A decade. I mean, that's not bad. Whenever I go to a wedding, like I did last weekend, I always reminisce about our own wedding day and all the things that have happened since. I can honestly say that a decade later, I value Nick more than I did that day. The depth of love that I feel is way more than I'd imagined in all my giddiness before walking down the aisle that April morning so many years ago. We've been stretched and learned and been drawn closer together, and I am so grateful for this man.

Going to weddings also gets me to thinking about the way our wedding played out, the details in the programs and decorations and food. In some ways I am glad I didn't get married in the era of Pinterest - it would not have been good for my indecisive ways. But on the other hand, it would've been fun to get a little more creative and let our personalities shine through a bit more. One of those ways was with our invitations. We got a great deal from a family friend, which was a blessing, but I'd definitely say it didn't reflect our style too much. White card stock, green lettering. The end.

But now there are so many amazing choices! I could spend hours looking at stationery (am I a nerd?)... the fonts! the foil! the florals! One of my favorite spots for fun cards to mark special occasions is definitely Minted - they have endless choices, and choices within choices - different color schemes and silhouettes for each card.

find here
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Now I can live out all my invitation dreams with pretty cards for things like babies. We've had a few in the last ten years.

What did you love about your wedding? Is there anything you'd change?