jump for boy

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michael and i are so excited to share that we are expecting a little boy! he will be the third grandchild (and grandson) for michael’s parents and the first grandbaby for my parents. we weren’t “hoping” for a boy or a girl; we feel very blessed about this journey of becoming a mom and dad. but i must say i am not looking forward to the day he brings lizards into the house to scare me!

dear baby, you already have a menagerie of toys along with a real, live pug. we can’t wait to see you in your wellies one day helping us in the yard or playing in puddles. we promise to kiss you and tickle you and make you laugh as much as possible. love, M+D


lovely tuesday: 21 weeks

oh, oh, ow! just like the doctor ordered, i began to feel the baby over past several days. i ate an ice cream sandwich last night (okay, maybe two ice cream sandwiches) and felt four little jabs of delight from my friend. the baby’s movements occur at random intervals but it’s reassuring for me as a first time mom especially when others may feel their children sooner. one of the most important lessons i’ve learned is that every woman and every pregnancy is different!

many friends told me i’m in the “easy” stage right now and i fully agree. the roller coaster of energy is over and i feel good enough to exercise again. i do prenatal barre at home with suzanne bowen; i like the workout because you can pick the exercises you need like lower body, upper body, or cardio. there’s a woman in the video in her third trimester and she looks amazing i.e. it’s okay to secretly give her the stink eye.

on saturday i went thrifting and picked up an armful of adorable things. i like the old-fashioned sort of clothes kids wore in the 80’s (similar to prince george’s navy jumper or peter pan collar dresses). i scored cute striped bloomers and embroidered overalls from janie and jack for a few dollars each. now you can give me an evil look. :o)


lovely tuesday: week 20

today we found out the gender of our little one! we’ve been making phone calls to family and everyone is very, very excited. i had a dream last night that i was washing clothes and it turned out to be the “right” kind of clothes— isn’t that funny? now i can call the little one by name especially when i lie awake at night. let me sleep! i’ll share the gender with y’all soon (after i go on my first baby thrifting trip).

the sonogram this afternoon was kind of nerve racking. the technician spent so much time looking, measuring, and labeling and i didn’t know whether to smile or hold my breath. michael was calm and joked, “i can’t tell what anything is!” he made me laugh.

supposedly the baby can hear voices so i expect it to learn the days of the week, months of the year, and all the letter sounds by birth because we sing those songs at school everyday. that’s not too much to ask for, right? okay— i’ll settle for some gurgles and grins.


lovely tuesday: 19 weeks

wow! it doesn’t seem like i’m almost halfway through my pregnancy. time has flown by since a simple positive test in december. next week we find out if our little one is a boy or girl!

i’ve learned that my energy goes up and down day by day or week by week. some nights i’m content sitting in bed with the kindle and other nights i’m working on school stuff or slowly finishing blog posts. my belly seems to be twice as big as it looked last tuesday!

sometimes i feel homesick and miss our family back east. i feel like we’re going through a big journey and sadly our parents won’t witness very much until our child arrives. but i am thankful for my coworkers (most of them are moms) and all of you in the bloggy blog world. everything i needed to know about a modesty washcloth i learned from indi adams!

i haven’t felt the baby “move-move”— i think he or she has gently poked me a few times. my best friend said she didn’t feel her son until almost 21 weeks so i’m not too worried yet.

should we do something fun for the gender reveal? it will be a long distance reveal for our family. share your ideas in the comments.


lovely tuesday: 18 weeks

hello blog friends! today is the last day of my 18th week. it’s funny because the last time i journaled about my pregnancy, i felt less tired. this time i feel tired again, especially in the afternoons after work. i’m guilty of taking a catnap as soon as sophie is walked and fed.

i’m starting to develop a noticeable bump. my maternity pixie pants fit better and i don’t have to hike them up as much during the day. i can still wear all of my dresses but some of my skirts are too small. coincidentally i bought a new skirt from madewell and my stomach popped out the day after it arrived. boo! but i’ll save it for later.

michael’s mom sent us a bunch of his old school pictures and his baby scrapbook. he was a small baby— five pounds and some change! i was a small baby, too. now i want to make a nice book when the baby is born. good thing i started journaling. :o)

p.s. congratulations to indiana who gave birth to a baby girl yesterday. sending much, much love to your family!


lovely tuesday: 17 weeks

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after my initial appointment in january, the doctor’s office gave me a slew of magazines and books, and most of them recommended keeping some type of baby journal. i thought, baby journal?! i have enough trouble updating the blog on a daily basis. but i tried. for a few days i wrote or drew in a hardcover journal. then i forgot for a week and felt guilty about the empty pages.

i decided to journal via the blog, and today i’ll share the first official entry. y’all will keep me accountable, right?

this morning i had another check-up and listened to the baby’s heartbeat again. some moms say it sounds like a galloping horse; it’s a whoosh-whoosh kind of noise. i secretly think it sounds like sophie’s low bark when she wants something but we won’t give it to her.

i wear paige maternity jeans and tee shirts a lot. the weather has been unseasonably chilly and wet, but with the time change, i’m looking forward to afternoon outfit photos! my bump is small; i get a lot of “you’re pregnant? really?” comments.

we haven’t bought anything for the baby besides a little pair of velcro cowboy boots (perfect for a boy or girl). i made a wish list with basics like a portable crib, swaddle blankets, and changing table. when we find out the gender, i plan on thrifting tons of clothes!

so that’s about it. maybe michael will take me out for a cheeseburger this weekend…


lovely tuesday: baby love

stop the press: i’m gonna be a mama! before christmas, we found out that we were expecting a little one, and we felt excited and terrified all at once. our lives will never be the same. there will be more love, more messes, more giggles, and more adventure, and we can’t wait.

tomorrow i’ll enter my second trimester (14 weeks); so far, so good. i haven’t had morning sickness but i’ve been eating a lot more than usual. i felt super duper tired in january (hence my sporadic blogging). my energy is finally starting to come back and i’m cooking dinner, staying up past 8:30, and doodling again.

the little one is due in august, and we’re grateful for the well-wishes and prayers from our family and friends. i can’t lie: i’m personally thankful that i still fit into my madewell dresses. fingers crossed these a-lines will continue to agree with me. and i am totally going to thrift the best stuff for the baby, just you wait.

p.s. an extra special thanks and hugs to kelsey and eric (of words of williams) who sent the smallest and cutest moccasin boots ever.


new year’s realizations

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on my computer i keep blog files neatly organized in folders, labeled by month and year. this morning i created a new folder for january 2014 and realized it was folder #49, the beginning of year five. five years! in some circles i’m a blog veteran. in other circles i’m relatively young (grechen and jennine have been blogging longer than anyone else i know). in big circles i’m a triangle (little tin who?) and that’s alright with me.

i don’t always make new year’s resolutions because i usually choose the exact same ones: eating better, exercising once or twice a week, buying with purpose, relaxing, or vacuuming pug hair. they are bits of my daily conscience and sometimes one yells louder than the other. our house is mostly (loosely) tidy and our health is good. my closet is getting full again— i have a specific number of hangers to limit the amount of clothes— but it’s full of things i wear more than once.

so at the end of every dozen months, i arrive at realizations instead of resolutions. they’re neighboring cities: one of them is modern, always changing, and the other is classic and still like a whispered truth. for realizations i speak of the latter.

as i grow older i realize more and more that i don’t want to be an it girl. when i was twenty-two, yes, that’s who i wanted to be. when i was twenty-six, yes. even when i was thirty, yes. but i feel like it weighs you down. as much as i want the cutest new shoes or the brightest new lipstick or the quirkiest new print, it’s too much. and then after you get all those amazing things, they’re not cool anymore, and you start over. again and again.

i want to be a plucky, creative woman: plucky meaning brave and full of heart, and creative meaning never forgetting the beat of my own drum. i will wear clothes from last season and the past seasons before that last season. i will not squeeze myself into unflattering pants. i will write about experiences that changed my day or my life. i will refine my artwork. i will get rid of shoes that make me smile and say through gritted teeth, oh these don’t hurt at all! i will ignore any “things you should blog about to get more traffic” articles. i will make a wooden dollhouse. i will analyze fashion on hit 1980’s television shows (i already have some drawings of vanessa huxtable). i will wear clothes; clothes will not wear me.

besides, plucky is perfectly fun to say. if i can’t start 2014 with a good word, then i can’t start anything.


lovely tuesday: the capturing of joy

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we got married in october, and the day flew by like a whirling dervish of nerves, excitement, and affection. there are many things i remember: how i planned to paint my fingernails and completely forgot, how my best friend and brother-in-law climbed tables to help hang garlands, how my parents walked two blocks with me to the church, and more.

when we received our wedding photos from nathan russell and his wife amy, we were given a second chance to relive that beautiful day. michael and i poured over the photos like two young children going to the movies for the very first time. we wanted to sit down with candy and popcorn and watch the picture show again and again.

today i share some of our favorite snapshots. there is a dress hanging serenely in a hallway, a bouquet waiting to be held, and an unimpressed pug longing for a snack. there are our musicians: my brother who played guitar as i walked down the aisle, and our friends’ beautiful daughters who performed at the church. there is the clutch of a mother’s hand and a small wedding party, sitting on steps as onlookers wave and cheer. and there is a husband and wife.

a good photographer can capture a smile, a kiss, and a couple. but it takes a great photographer to capture joy. thank you nathan and amy for capturing all of our joy— you are great.

collage by me. photos by nathan and amy russell.


lovely tuesday: the most important words

the wedding book (i.e. a small journal) will always hold our wedding vows. we worked with our friend (an ordained minister) on other aspects of our ceremony, but we wanted our vows to be our own.

if you search wedding vows or wedding ceremony you’ll find thousands of little snippets and thousands of full samples. if you’re not picky, you can copy and paste a wedding ceremony in less than two minutes. we used a traditional outline (processional, prayer, music, vows, and exchange of rings, recessional) but personalized it with the addition of a buddhist wedding prayer and a song performed by our close friends’ children.

weeks before the wedding, we began to piece together our vows to each other. i remember michael asked, “what are the guidelines?” we decided on “not too long”, “not too silly”, and “nothing embarrassing.” mainly we agreed on “the most important words”— kind and loving words to share about each other in the presence of the dearest people in our lives. on the morning of the wedding, michael copied his vow on the first few pages in the book, and then i skipped a couple and wrote mine.

at the church, michael spoke first, and then i did. though smiling, we fought back tears. our ceremony and the echo of the words sit unmoving in my memory. i am not sure if i will ever digest the beauty; it feels like time stood still.

if you’re thinking about writing your own wedding vows, i encourage you to simply try. find a quiet place on a weekend afternoon and jot or type what you feel in your heart. the words may not be perfect the first time (or fifth time) but the words you want will show themselves eventually. good luck! if all else fails, google.


2013. well-served. 
today we thank the brave men and women who have served our country. i explained to my students that a service person is someone who protects and helps our fellow americans. we also shared photographs of their family members who were (or are) part of the military.on a related note, today is my brother’s birthday. happy birthday, S! for the past few years, he and his friends with november birthdays host a party back in virginia in partnership with toys for tots. instead of receiving gifts for themselves, they ask guests to bring children’s toys for the marines. their event grows bigger and bigger each november.i share this story as a small reminder that we can serve in a small way even if we are not part of the military. help your friends, church, or community and we can make our neighborhoods and cities a better place. happy veteran’s day!

2013. well-served.

today we thank the brave men and women who have served our country. i explained to my students that a service person is someone who protects and helps our fellow americans. we also shared photographs of their family members who were (or are) part of the military.

on a related note, today is my brother’s birthday. happy birthday, S! for the past few years, he and his friends with november birthdays host a party back in virginia in partnership with toys for tots. instead of receiving gifts for themselves, they ask guests to bring children’s toys for the marines. their event grows bigger and bigger each november.

i share this story as a small reminder that we can serve in a small way even if we are not part of the military. help your friends, church, or community and we can make our neighborhoods and cities a better place. happy veteran’s day!


lovely tuesday: in the paper

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when i told michael i planned to design our wedding invitations, he said, “of course you are. we wouldn’t have it any other way.” i didn’t have any previous experience making stationery, but as you know, i love to draw, and that seemed like a good enough reason.

magazines, planners, experts, and oprah will tell you that an invitation sets the tone for your wedding. metallics and scripts work well for black tie and rustic touches are perfect for outdoor parties. michael and i wanted something personal, pretty, and down-to-earth, so i settled on an illustrated, handmade combination.

i drew the artwork, placed the type, and printed the cards on eames canvas paper before carefully cutting them with an x-acto knife. i mounted the invitation on a kraft card and wrapped the entire set with baker’s twine, a paper shape (all the shapes were different; they ranged from vintage keys to little messages to birds), and a metal initial of the guest’s last name.

after we sealed the envelopes, i hand-lettered everyone’s mailing addresses. all i can say about that step is: ooowwwww my hand and thank goodness i bought a lot of white pens.

looking back, i probably should have worked with an online printer like vistaprint or a local copy shop. the process seems effortless in a photograph. there were many times i felt annoyed and overwhelmed with the computer, our printer, the paper, the dimensions, the decorating, etc. doing-it-yourself isn’t always easy, but the experience is worthwhile. i had a pep in my step as i carried them in a bushel basket to the post office!

we absolutely adored the final invitation and so did our family and friends. today i share our invitation with you as a small glimpse of our wedding day and my stubborn, creative brain.

this post is my first wedding reflection. stay tuned for a few more.


2013. it’s about weddin’ time.
oh my goodness. the day is almost here. i’m taking a little break from the blog to spend time with family, friends, and most importantly, my soon-to-be husband.
i will share a few snippets from our big day on instagram (@lindadearie); i can’t promise a ton of photos. the best advice we’ve received is enjoy, enjoy, enjoy, and that sounds good to me.
to our guests, thank you for traveling across the country or just across town. to our family, thank you for shaping us into the people we are today.

2013. it’s about weddin’ time.

oh my goodness. the day is almost here. i’m taking a little break from the blog to spend time with family, friends, and most importantly, my soon-to-be husband.

i will share a few snippets from our big day on instagram (@lindadearie); i can’t promise a ton of photos. the best advice we’ve received is enjoy, enjoy, enjoy, and that sounds good to me.

to our guests, thank you for traveling across the country or just across town. to our family, thank you for shaping us into the people we are today.


2013. weekend life: bridal shower edition. remember my weekend life posts? i haven’t written one in a loooong time, but with school in full swing and our wedding in october, a little collage is perfect. the end of last week flew by— i got a haircut on wednesday, had a catering meeting on thursday, and attended a bridal shower (thrown by my school) on friday. i felt thankful for lighter hair, a super event coordinator, and awesome coworkers!at the party, michael’s mom gave us riedel wine glasses. michael always jokes that we use “only the best” glasses for our boxed wine. ha! on saturday, i lettered our place cards for the reception and stamped a pug on them. the stamp is from rubber hedgehog stamps.we spent most of the rainy weekend indoors. our gallery wall in the living room nears completion. i hung up two more maps, two personal pieces, and two feather prints. i’ll share the finished wall soon.i hope you had a good weekend, too. stay tuned for a recipe!

2013. weekend life: bridal shower edition.

remember my weekend life posts? i haven’t written one in a loooong time, but with school in full swing and our wedding in october, a little collage is perfect. the end of last week flew by— i got a haircut on wednesday, had a catering meeting on thursday, and attended a bridal shower (thrown by my school) on friday. i felt thankful for lighter hair, a super event coordinator, and awesome coworkers!

at the party, michael’s mom gave us riedel wine glasses. michael always jokes that we use “only the best” glasses for our boxed wine. ha! on saturday, i lettered our place cards for the reception and stamped a pug on them. the stamp is from rubber hedgehog stamps.

we spent most of the rainy weekend indoors. our gallery wall in the living room nears completion. i hung up two more maps, two personal pieces, and two feather prints. i’ll share the finished wall soon.

i hope you had a good weekend, too. stay tuned for a recipe!


lovely tuesday: you are loved

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next month, michael and i will get married! i’m so excited about seeing our family and friends; many of them will travel across the country for the special occasion. we’ve got the major cities covered: los angeles, chicago, atlanta, philadelphia, and washington, d.c.

when we first met, we didn’t plan on falling in love, and we certainly didn’t plan on moving to big bad texas, far away from the states where we grew up. i mailed our invitations over the summer, feeling apprehensive about how many cards we would actually get back.

but they arrived in the mail, slowly but surely. there’s that old saying of your presence is a present. as cliché as it sounds, it’s true. as we approach our wedding day, we feel blessed and excited that the very most important people in the whole world will be there with us.

today i am reminded that being loved is enough. to our guests, you are loved, too.

photograph by me. printed flag by natural life.