24 June 2016

my most heartfelt advice on parenting

Recently, I was talking to someone who is about to have her third baby.
"You have six kids," she said, "what's your best advice for someone that's about to add another baby to their family?" 

Because most days are filled with craziness, and because when she asked, I was surrounded by all six kids, and because it's summer and my kids eat constantly, and they were all asking for food at that exact moment, I was a little frazzled.

In the midst of our conversation, I gave her some thoughts on laundry. Obviously very practical, and truthfully, I could talk about laundry at length. I know, you guys, I am very exciting. But I walked away from our conversation wishing I could've shared what I would have, had I taken two seconds to think it through. So, I circled back with her and told her this:

Give yourself abundant grace. Ten percent of parenting is knowing what you're doing, and ninety percent is winging it. Nobody has it all figured out, we just try our best to do the right thing and raise these little people into adults who love God and love others well. It's hard and messy and you will spend too much time second guessing yourself. Have fun, give yourself a lot of grace and understanding - the same you'd extend to your dearest friend - and remember, God loves those babies even more than you do. He can carry and sustain you when you need it most. All that, and lots of coffee.

I kind of laugh whenever we go in for a baby check up and our pediatrician asks me if I have any questions. Not that I have it all figured out, but babies are pretty manageable to me. I do have a million questions about fourth graders, though. Navigating through eye rolling and hurt feelings on the playground and not getting picked to pitch in a little league game. I have questions about first grade boys, too, even though this is my second and third time around. Like, why do they think that poop is so hilarious? How can I protect their hearts while also letting them experience real life a little? How can I explain to them why some kids aren't that nice or don't get why our family looks a little different? Is there a cure for the drama that is being three years old? How have my kids so acutely developed the ability to filter out my voice but can hear snacks being consumed two rooms away? Kids are a mystery to me.

I admit wholeheartedly that most of the time I feel like I don't know what I am doing. I don't feel like I am getting the things done that need to be done. I don't have any secret formulas for getting certain results because all of my kids are so vastly different from one another. You think we'd see some kind of pattern with six of them, but that hasn't happened yet.

But here's what I know: we really are trying our best. We fail a lot, no doubt about it. I pray that I can somehow be a reflection of His love in their lives, that in all the craziness and messiness and imperfection, they see Him. And that they know we love them.

You'll never have it all figured out. There won't be a moment that clicks and you think, "NOW I get it!" (And if there is, surely you will realize five minutes later that you actually do not.) Just do your best, give yourself lots of grace, know that He's got your back, try to have some fun along the way, and surround yourself with people (or even just one person) who get it. I am so grateful for the friends in my life who are walking through these things with me, who struggle and wrestle with the desire to love their kids well. A little community of support as you live this role as a parent is invaluable.

Parenthood changes you and challenges you, and stretches your heart to love beyond capacity.

It's awesome.

10 May 2016

let's change the world together

pictured: modern leather tote   velocity necklace   rarity cuff   bazaar bangles
Two years ago I started my journey as a Noonday ambassador. It was a way for my heart to connect with the world in ways that it wasn't able to before. A way to stand with arms linked with women and families from Uganda and Ethiopia and India and Vietnam, sharing their stories. Women who need access to medicine and health care, the means to send their kids to school, to work in a safe, dignified environment. By doing my small part in sharing their stories and creating a marketplace for their beautiful handiwork in my own community, I can make an impact in their communities. And in turn, it's given me purpose and a worldwide sisterhood that I'd never even dreamed of.

I'm turning 38 next month and I have decided to set a pretty big goal - one that I can't accomplish without you! I want our impact to grow so that more women and men and children can have sustainable jobs, receive fair wages, and create change in their communities. Here's my hope: I'd love to get 38 orders by my 38th birthday. Every single purchase broadens our reach and impacts a community. Will you be a part of it?

Teachers gifts, birthday presents, a treat for yourself? Something beautiful that changes the world? It doesn't get much better. Those Sharma earrings in the picture above just went on sale and are made of gorgeous gold and fuchsia leather! They're some of my favorites.

And to make things even more fun: Every order made before June 7 will be eligible for a gift from me as a way of saying thank you for making such a big difference. I will randomly select one person to choose between the following (how will you decide?!):

kathmandu bag
very versatile bracelet
Will you be a part of the story? Help me celebrate two years with Noonday and my upcoming birthday by changing the world with your purchase! And while you're there, click on the impact tab and read the stories of the amazing people who make every single piece. You'll leave encouraged and hopeful, and ready to make a difference.

shop through the noonday tab on my sidebar or click here.

Thank you!

03 May 2016

road trip adventures

A few weeks ago we packed up our van, loaded up our six kids, and headed to the beach. We'd been planning it for months, to go back to the Oregon coast, to stay at the house we'd stayed at the year before, with its perfect view, and its short little walk to the beach. The kids had been looking forward to it for weeks, and we'd all been giddy to get there and get settled and start our adventure.

Except that I thought we were checking in on Sunday, and we were actually checking in on Monday, and I only just realized it as we were driving to the gas station to fill up for our four-plus hour trek to the sea. Whoops. My husband, being the amazing, light hearted man that he is, said we should just make an adventure of it and so we did. We decided to surprise the kids with a night in a hotel close to the Tillamook Cheese Factory, our ice cream destination, and let them splash around in the hotel pool and order room service (grilled cheese from the diner) and extend our vacation an extra day. It ended up being perfect.

We spent the next four days exploring candy shops, eating salt water taffy, walking along the beach, playing card games, cozying up during the rainstorms, sampling salmon jerky, and soaking up lots of family time. The weather was sunny two of the days, and rainy the other two. There is something so magical and cozy and wonderful about being at the beach during a storm. Just like last year, we made a little treat buffet of caramel apples and candy and kettle corn and had a movie night with the boys. We scrolled through Netflix and came upon the Prince of Egypt, which I remember loving and then quickly realized it was way too intense for our kindergartners (again, whoops). So we switched to Robin Hood, which Nick had just read through with them, and we laughed and snacked and they were over the moon over a special late night with mom and dad. Nick and I also had our own movie night as we watched Chef (so good!) and drooled over the food and dreamt of having a family food truck.

It was the perfect little vacation - no huge agenda, just our family spending time together, mesmerized by the Pacific, eating plenty of sugar, drinking cappuccinos (grown ups only because my kids need caffeine, like, never) and feeling grateful for all the good things we've been given in each other. We'll miss you, Oregon Coast, and can't wait for our next adventure!

31 March 2016

cherry custard crumble pie (and a new netflix obsession)

What is better than a fun show to binge on? Binging while you eat an amazing piece of pie.
That's my theory anyway.
My friends and I often text each other,"Ok, what do I watch next?" We share our latest favorites, debate over what is actually watchable, and dish on how we feel about characters that have stolen our hearts. One show that we've all fallen for is the Great British Baking Show, which has one season available on Netflix right now. It seems kind of ridiculous to love a reality show about baking, but it really is pretty charming. 
The only trouble is the intense desire it gives you to bake up something sweet, and this pie will do the trick.


The recipe starts with these cherries - they are my favorite for everything from baking to cocktail making. But frozen cherries also work beautifully for this recipe.

The custard is almost cheesecake like, and so delish. Between the custard and the crumble and the sort of sour cherries, your taste buds are going to dance (as my 6 year old likes to say) - and the best part? It all comes together quick and easy, which is always my favorite.

Cherry Custard Crumble Pie
one prepared pie crust (I like Trader Joe's because it's just like homemade with no additives)
2 cups jarred or frozen cherries, drained
1 cup sour cream
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour 
1/2 cup almond meal
1/4 cup butter, melted
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 375.
Mix together sour cream, sugar, egg, flour, vanilla and salt until smooth. Gently mix in cherries and pour into unbaked pie crust.
Bake for 25 minutes.
In another bowl, mix together remaining ingredients until crumbly. Sprinkle on top of the pie and bake for another 10-15 minutes, until golden brown. Remove pie from the oven and allow to cool. After trying it both room temperature and chilled, we loved the chilled version best. But sometimes it's hard to wait, so warm is okay, too!


29 February 2016

a post that's not really about politics

Here is the truth: I really do care about what happens in presidential elections and who the next leader of our country will be. I am not very excited about any of the potential candidates in the race, but I am pretty staunchly against a couple of them. I would be lying if I didn't say that I was downright nervous about what was going to happen this fall. But I'm not here to talk about that. Let's talk about fictional presidents instead, mkay? Because I think we will all still like each other afterward.

I am obsessed with Madam Secretary. Soon after I binge watched some hgtv and a British baking competition show, I put it to facebook and twitter: "I just added Sherlock and Madam Secretary to my queue - what should I choose first?" It was a resounding SHERLOCK. You people are passionate about Benedict Cumberbatch (I mean, I can see why). But I like to go against the grain a little and I jumped on board with Tea Leoni. And I loved every minute of the first season, which is on Netflix

Not only is it good political drama, but her relationship with her husband is so refreshing. I want to be them, minus the weekly endangerment of their lives. Plus, she's just kind of a badass, determined to change the world. Can you admire a fictional political leader? Because I so do. With my current real life options, I think I'll stick with Elizabeth McCord.