Friday, December 18, 2015

little things.






 + cardboard boxes that make excellent boats. 


+ the twinkle of Christmas lights first thing in the morning when it's still dark outside. 

+ the way Silas hugs his sister. 

+ how Delia points to a headband on her rack, and knows exactly which one she wants to wear that day. 

+ being able to fill the grocery store conveyor belt with fresh food for my family

+ crawling into a bed of freshly washed sheets

+ the smell of fresh bread baking in the oven

+ the sound of a package hitting our front porch

+ the way Chris flirts with me when we're washing dishes

+ Delia's dance moves when she hears music start to play

+being able to pull up Scripture on my phone whenever I want, without fear of persecution or ridicule.


Thursday, December 17, 2015

our boston winter 'bucket list'

As we gear up for our last winter in Boston, I'm starting to get a teensy bit panicky. There's so much to do, and so little time, as they say. We'll be heading up to Canada at the start of summer, and I don't want to spend this entire winter cooped up, pining for summer. So here's a list, just like our summer bucket list. This list will be considerably shorter than our summer one, but Boston still has so much to offer when it's cold. We've crossed a few of these items off our list already, but I'll include them anyway, in case you want to add them to your own Boston list!




Take in all the Christmas lights and decorations throughout the city- Thanks to this gloriously warm weather, we've gone into the city a few times during this Christmas season. Silas and Delia have both been in awe of the colorful lights in the Boston Common, the giant Christmas tree by Fanueil Hall, and all the festive decorations on the home and storefronts in Beacon Hill.

Go on an ice-skating date with Silas at the Frog Pond- I think this is the year he's finally ready to get out on the ice. He's exclaimed to me a few times, "I *might* fall, but I'll be okay!" 

Head up to New Hampshire to see the magical ice castles- I've been wanting to do this for a few years, and since it's less than three hours away from us, we'll probably make a whole day out of it. 

Hit up an improv show at ImprovAsylum - We now have a really awesome babysitter, so we'll be going out on the town as much possible. We'll probably grab something spicy and warm to eat on Hanover Street (the Italian district) before heading over for a show. 

Visit the Institute of Contemporary Art- I've been wanting to visit a few museums, but have been saving our visits for winter days. I'm not a huge museum girl, but Boston has so many to offer, it feels like a waste to not visit any while we live here.

Grab lunch at Boston Public Market- We love this brand new year-round indoor farmer's market, and I think we'll be heading here a lot over the winter for fresh produce, and local eats. Union Square Donuts and Bon Me are two of my favorite restaurants in Boston, and they also have booths here, so I might just camp out for the winter. 

Try out the Blue Hills ski area- It's been years since I've skied, so this terrifies me a bit. But Chris has wanted to do this each winter, and we don't live far from this ski area, so we might have to try it out this year!

Grab a cup of hot cocoa (mint nutella? ginger infused? white chocolate chai?) at one of these spots- I found this list of bakeries and coffee shops offering tasty variations on hot chocolate, and I'm ready to go do a whole tour right now. Yum. 

See the Nutcracker Ballet with Chris- We did this a few weeks ago, and I think it's a must for anyone around Christmas-time. Such a fun excuse to get dolled up, and it's almost worth it just to see the beauty of the Boston Opera House itself. 

Go to a BlueMan Group show- We just can't leave Boston without seeing a BlueMan group show. 

Bake through our Flour cookbook-- Flour Bakery is one of our favorite places to stop for breakfast before church in Cambridge. We bought the Flour cookbook recently, and are pretty excited to try our hand at making our favorite sticky buns, donuts, and pastries right here in our kitchen. I'm afraid to even glance at a scale this winter. 

That's the extent of my list so far, though I'm sure more activities will crop up that beg to be added. What would you add in that I forgot?











Tuesday, December 15, 2015

minted giveaway!





My computer is full of pictures of my kiddos. Chubby cheeks, tiny toes, first little gummy smiles, messy watermelon faces. iPhone snaps, "big camera" pics, and photos taken by some incredibly talented professional friends. But they just sit there. And I forget about them, and they fill up my storage space, and collect digital dust. If digital photos took up physical space, you might call me a hoarder. Over the past few months, I've made it a point to get more pictures printed out and on our walls or into our hands. I've made a few photo books, organized my photos a little bit better, and stuck a few of my favorite Instagram snaps on our fridge.

Enter Minted. You might know Minted from their gorgeous art marketplace (where I'm honored to have one of my art prints available!), their beautiful wedding invitations, or even their stunning and unique pillow designs (I'll take one of each). They also have a great collection of customizable photo art!

When Minted contacted me and offered to send me some photo art, I jumped at the chance to hang some of our photos from our family session with my friend Ruth last September. Delia was itty-bitty, and they are some of my favorite photos we have of our family.

My first inclination was to add this piece to our gallery wall in the living room, but when it arrived, I realized it was almost a gallery on its very own. I was also super impressed with the sturdy frame, ready-to-hang-hardware, and of course, the bright and clear print quality. So, up it went in the dining room. Delia loves pointing to Daddy and Mommy and Silas in the pictures, and is a bit confused as to who that little baby is.

Minted is giving you a chance to get some of your own pictures out of computer storage and on to your walls! One winner will receive their choice of a 5x7 photo art print! We'll make it simple-- visit minted.com's photo art section (link here!), and comment below with the design you might choose for your own walls!

Giveaway will be open until Friday, December 18th, one winner will be chosen. Please make sure your email address is either in your comment or available through your Blogger account.


Friday, December 11, 2015

little things.

Silas has been praying out loud with us a lot more often lately, and after we hold hands around the dinner table, he squeezes his green eyes tight, and lists the things he's most thankful for, " Thank you God for my pillow, for our warm house when there is lightning outside, for my baby, for our family...". Hearing him list all the small things he's thankful for is such a sweet reminder to me that God loves hearing about even the tiniest parts of my day. And there's nothing too small to be thankful for.

Years ago, back when we lived in Hawaii, when I blogged regularly, and Chris was gone on deployments or other short trips fairly often, I hosted a Friday link-up I called "The Little Things Link-up".  I wrote about the things that got me through a bad day, that made me smile, that I might have taken for granted on a different day. Those were some of my favorite posts to write-- reminding me to keep a grateful heart, even for the things that seemed silly or unimportant. I think I'd like to resurrect that practice. Even if it doesn't always make it to the blog, I'm going to be chasing after a more grateful heart this winter season.







+ Amazon Prime. What a luxury to order something (anything!) that you need or want and have it show up at your order two days later (or even later that day!) 

+ Freshly brewed coffee with just the right amount of toffee almond creamer.

 + The sweet babbling songs that Delia sings to me upon request. 

+ Neighbors that work from home and are able to rescue us when we're locked out of the house in the middle of the day. 

+ The recommendation of an excellent babysitter, and the prospect of regular dates this winter. 

+ The low rumble of hot air running through our vents, warming up our home. 

+ Silas' giggles when he's really exhausted. They're hilarious, and a tell-tale sign of a tired boy. 

+ Quiet evenings with Chris after the kids have gone to bed. Spending time watching mindless tv, praying together, or scarfing down ice cream after a particularly tiring day. I'm thankful to have him as my partner in crime. 

+ Silly selfies with my kids in the reflection of shiny ornaments

+ Battery-powered candles on a timer that come on just as the sun disappears, and make our home feel a little bit cozier. 


happy weekend, friends! 


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

everlane mini is here!

In case you can't tell, this boy has a personality bigger than any room he walks into.  And with his Daddy's green eyes, unruly blonde hair, and stubborn spirit (ok, maybe he gets a tiny of that from me...), he's kind of irresistible. I feel like the luckiest mama to have a mini-Chris running around, though when I hear the mischief that Chris got into when he was younger, I fear for the next few years just a bit.

Since I can't match Si with his bright green eyes, or blonde locks, I've figured out another way. If you have ever heard of Everlane, you know them for their high-quality basics, transparent pricing, and responsible manufacturing practices.  They just released their limited edition #EverlaneMini collection, and it's every bit as quality as the Everlane originals.

What I love about this collection is that even though some of the pieces are a bit pricier than you might find in your average big box store, they are built to last through several rounds of hand-me-downs, and many of the pieces work perfectly for little brothers or sisters alike. I can't wait to see Delia in this sweater in a few years, with some patterned leggings and boots!  If you're looking to create a wardrobe for your littles that is ethically made, designed to be passed on, and loved for a long time-- Everlane Mini is the perfect place to start.




This post was created in collaboration with Everlane. Silas and I were gifted the sweaters in exchange for sharing about their new collection. All opinions are my own, of course. 


Monday, December 7, 2015

seven of my favorite books to read to kids.

To me, there's nothing better in the middle of a hectic day, than when one of my kiddos comes to me with a book in hand, clambers up into my lap, and sinks in. Having their warm little cheeks close for kissing, and their undivided (usually quiet) attention is the best. 

Even better at bedtime when I know I get to tuck them in, and go downstairs for a cold beer and my favorite tv show. 

Anywaaay... today's topic is books. Kids' books. 
  
Photo by Justine Johnson Photography




I thought I'd share a few of our current favorite kids' books today. We have piles and piles of books in our house, but there are only a select few that I really love reading over and over. I just put a giant stack of books into a cardboard box, and it's destined for Goodwill. There are just some books that you can only read so many times before you want to chuck it across the room. 

These are books that my kids love, and that I enjoy reading to them. Maybe you want to add them to your Christmas shopping list, (I've included Amazon links for you!), or put them on your 'find at the library' list! 





(Clock-wise, from top)

1) The One Year Devotions for Preschoolers-- This sweet book has a little devotion for each day of the year, but we usually just pick and choose a page to read at random. It's a simple way to start conversations with Silas about the way we treat others, or the character of God. Each devotional also has a Bible verse reference and prayer prompt. 

2). Owl Moon-- I love the soothing tone of this book. It's perfect for right before bedtime.

3). Little Blue Truck-- A favorite since Silas was tiny, this is our second copy, since our first one was so well-loved. There are sequels, but the original is the best, in my opinion. 

4). Who Will Tuck Me In Tonight?-- I love the catchy rhythm and sweet illustrations in this book. Plus, I'm pretty awesome at doing the voices of the different animal characters. 

5). I Love You Through and Through-- Another favorite since Silas' baby days. It's falling apart, and I read it to Delia probably five times a day now. She's learned several body parts (nose, toes, hair, ears) from me reading it to her, and it's just so sweet. Put this one on your baby shower gift lists-- it's one that we really treasure. 

6). Maps-- We bought this one at Anthropologie last year (but it's actually cheaper on Amazon!). Silas loves looking through it on his own, or having us sit with him as we go through it together. The illustrations are really fun, and I've found myself flipping through the pages on my own. A great one to have on your shelf!

7). Bear Snores On-- This is my absolute favorite right now. The rhythm of this book is so fun. We've borrowed a few "Bear" books from the library and I've loved them all. 


What are the books in your house that are ragged from turning the pages thousands of times?

Photo by Justine Johnson Photography

Thursday, December 3, 2015

stepping out.

I'm gonna try this new thing.

It's called blogging.

Ha.

More times than I can count lately, I open up my Instagram account and I find myself tapping away for 15 minutes, writing a lengthy caption that should really be a blog post. So, you might find my words here more often. I'm going to try to keep it casual, and quick, because that's what I love most about Instagram.



Advent season began this past weekend, and along with it, the usual inundation of holiday sales, gift guides, perfect holiday outfit ideas, and red cups, is flying in my face. Each year, I find myself getting caught up in it all, shopping until the last minute, swallowed up by the merriment and traditions, but forgetting to slow down and take time for meditation on the real reason we are celebrating. I can feel it this year-- I'm getting distracted by the tracking numbers on my packages arriving soon, and spending far too much time contemplating the various ways my Christmas decor can be more Instagrammable (let's pretend that's a word).

So this year, I'm taking time to inhale deeply, diffuse a little bit of Frankincense (I'm turning into a crazy essential oil lady now-- more about that later.), and focus on the reason we celebrate in the first place. I'm going through the online Advent devotional by She Reads Truth, and oh man, it's so, so good. 

Yesterday was day four of the plan, and we were in Genesis and Galatians, reading about Abraham and how he left his home of 70 years to follow God and venture into the unknown. God had great promises waiting for him, and all he had to do was obey. We read about how Jesus is the better Abraham, how he left his true home (heaven) for a foreign one (our world), and because of his obedience, God's promises for  all of mankind were fulfilled.

 This short sentence from Debbie Eaton (one of the She Reads Truth writers), stuck out to me. 

What I've learned over the years is that God rarely calls us to comfort and convenience but instead to a life of faith and trust.

As we are gearing up for a move up to Canada this summer, I find myself fearing the unknown--nervous about making new friends, finding a good church, yearning to stay in our beloved home, where things are familiar and comfortable. Moving is messy, and stressful and hard. Starting all over again makes me feel vulnerable, uncertain, and anxious. But yesterday's devotional was such a good reminder that God does great and powerful things when we step outside of what's comfortable and known. Another line from yesterday's devotional (you really should go read it for yourself-- you find it for free here!) that caught me in the gut is this: 

"Like Abraham, we are invited to have faith not only in what we cannot see, but also in what has already been secured for us by our good and sovereign Father."
In this strange military world of moving every few years, uprooting our families and traveling to new and often strangely unfamiliar places, I'm so thankful for a God who is steadfast in his faithfulness and provision for us. I'm thankful that I can rest in the fact that He will do good things in me and through me and for me, no matter where I am, and I'm thankful that I have countless examples in the Bible of people who moved their families to strange lands in obedience, only to see more clearly how God cares for them and provides for them.


Friday, November 6, 2015

four reasons to shop the Hello Hue pop-up shop before it closes today!

I realized that I dropped the ball on blogging about my pop-up shop happening this week. I've been depending on Instagram to spread the word, but there's a very real chance that if you don't follow along over there, you haven't heard!

So, here ya go.. Today is the last day of my pop-up shop! I still have a handful of bright and colorful paintings available.This will be the last chance to purchase anything from HelloHue Studio before the holidays, and I expect my next pop-up won't be until January or February. I put together a little no-brainer list of reasons to purchase a painting today. Just in case you need a little extra nudge. 



1). Mark one gift off your list way ahead of schedule. 

I'm a horrible procrastinator, and the thought of chipping away at my Christmas shopping list early is pretty enticing. Imagine all the time you'll have for peppermint mochas later! 

2). Add the finishing touch to your long-neglected gallery wall. 

I've got a few blank spaces on our walls myself, so no judging here. But there are several different sizes still in the shop, so I bet you could find something to fill that hole. 

3). Support an independent artist. 

After closing up my Etsy shop last February, I thought I was done painting for good. And that made me feel a bit lost. But I'm so grateful for this chance to open up every now and then to share my artwork with you. This pop-up style allows me to spend more time with my kids, but still experience the joy of creating and sharing my artwork. So thank you for supporting me in that. I completely understand that you can go to Target for pretty wall art, but the fact that so many of you choose MY art makes me feel humbled and honored. 

4). Surprise a friend. 

Gifts at Christmas are so fun to receive, but you know what's even better-- a just-thinking-of-you gift. Does a friend need a little extra encouragement this month?


Alright, I'm off to enjoy this 70 DEGREE day (in NOVEMBER, YES, I'M SHOUTING!) with the kiddos. Hope you have some fun plans for the weekend! 


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

three reasons I love my C-sections.




Both of my kids are C-section babies. They came into the world after long labors, and my first peek at them was as they were held up, screaming, over a thin curtain at my chest. My first time ever in an operating room was after 30 hours of labor with Silas. I rock an awesome scar that reminds me of their arrivals each time I get dressed. While each of my C-sections had a fair amount of uncertainty, fear, and physical discomfort and pain, there was also sweet relief that the labor part of it all was over, and pure joy it was time to meet my precious babes.

I think C-sections get a pretty horrible rap in the birthing world. In every birthing book or article I read, there are only a few paragraphs dedicated to C-sections, and they're usually pretty damning and guilt-inducing. Even after discovering that my body literally cannot birth my babies naturally, I have to confess that I harbor a twinge of guilt and remorse that I can't birth a baby quite the way I'm "supposed" to. Silly, but true.

But oh gosh, you guys, I'm so thankful for C-sections. I don't care what the heck those birthing books say. As I was lying in bed the other night, my mind wandered to the days Silas and Delia arrived, and I began to think again about how our next baby will be a scheduled C-section. I felt a bit of sadness creep in, until I began to think of the reasons that I really love my C-sections. This post may be more for me than for you-- a reminder that even with all of the scary, all of the painful, and all of the unpleasantries of C-sections, there's still some goodness and sweetness in there. Crazy, I know, but let me just share with you.

[one] They saved my life... and my babies'. 

This is absolutely the #1 reason I love my C-sections. Both of my labors were long and saw very little progress. I had a 30 hour labor with Silas and barely got to 5 cm, only to go backwards. With Delia, I labored for 16 hours, and I'm not sure I even made it to four centimeters. After Delia's C-section, the surgeon told me that I have something called a prominent sacrum, where my bone structure will not allow me progress in labor and to give birth naturally. I almost sighed with relief after hearing that-- something tangible that allowed me to see that I wasn't a failure after all. There's nothing I could have done differently, my body was just made differently. 

Each time I think about my kids'  births, I get choked up at how thankful I am that we have this gift of modern medicine, and the doctors were able to deliver my babies for me. Because without C-sections, my babies and I would have died. I think of the days long ago, when this was a very real reality, and women died in childbirth with no other options available to them. And I think of the countries this very day who lose women because of this reason, and I can't help but feel a deep and profound thankfulness for this life. 

[two] More hospital time. 

After a C-section, most hospitals require you to stay 3 or so days to recover. The days and nights in the hospital after my C-sections hold some of my dearest memories of my newborns. Some people escape to home as soon as they possibly can, but I'll take all the quiet moments discovering each other, sweet time watching Chris love on our babies, and delivered meals that I can. Especially now that we have more than one kid, that quiet time in the hospital proves all the more special-- a little pocket of peace and healing before heading home to a wild and crazy house.

[three] Learning to take it slow and accept help. 

I don't know much about the recovery after a natural birth. All I know are C-section recoveries, and I'll just lay it right out-- C-section recoveries are a bitch. Sometimes I feel like a newborn myself, barely able to walk, or even roll out of bed some days. The searing pain of my incision, the inability to lift Silas, bend down to tie a shoe, or even wear Delia in a wrap. But that's the beauty of it-- I can't do anything on my own. We have been superbly and overwhelmingly blessed to have my mom come to stay with us for the ten days following Si and Delia's births. I wish I could send a clone of my mom to each of my friends after they have babies. She's an angel-- making nutritious and filling meals for us, bringing me water while I'm nursing, doing laundry, dishes and diaper changes that I wasn't even aware needed to be done. We've also been really fortunate to have friends bring us meals and come over to entertain Silas after Delia was born.

I imagine this next part pertains to anyone in the first days of their kiddo's life. The month or so after my kids' are born is one of the sweetest illustrations of God's grace in my life. I have nothing to bring to the table. I'm disheveled, weary, and practically helpless. But heaps of goodness overwhelm me. Meals, gifts for Silas, dishes washed. Babies held, clothes folded, being sent off to take a nap. Learning to just say "thank you" and accept the much needed help is a beautiful practice when most of the time, I try to reciprocate as much as I can. Resting in His grace, and soaking in the ways He loves us through our friends and family when we're a wreck is a really beautiful picture to me of the way Christ loves us, even at our worst.

The next Wilkins baby is Lord willing, not coming for a long time yet. But when he or she does arrive, it will be by scheduled C-section. Remind me to come read this post over again. I'm sure I'll need a refresher.

And if you're interested-- this post is where I share some of my favorite tips for C-section recovery, and here's Delia's birth story, and Silas' birth story.



Friday, October 2, 2015

life lately.





Life has been busy lately. The summer went by in a hot blur, filled with splash park outings, road trips big and small, and lots of playing in the kiddie pool in our back yard. And now, somehow it's October?! This is the first week that has really felt like fall, and I have mixed feelings about it. I've joked with a few friends in person that I think I may have PTSD from last winter (remember the 10 foot tall snow piles?!). So, this is the first fall season where I've really felt more dread at the coming cold than joy at enjoying the crisp air and changing leaves. Working on getting my head on straight, but last winter may have ruined me for life. 

I owe you a big blog post about our trip to Canada a few weeks ago, but let's be real-- probably not gonna happen. Long story short, we ended up falling in love with Ottawa while we were there. A complete surprise and blessing. Still a little bit apprehensive about the move up there, but feeling more peace about it after we spent a few days wandering the city, exploring parks and coffee shops and the riverside views. 

Last week, we celebrated Delia's first birthday. We went on a family hike in the woods, ate cake, and spent the whole day just hanging out enjoying our sweet kids and feeling so thankful that God chose us to raise them. Last Saturday, we had friends over for a little celebration, and feasted on curried chicken cider soup, warm beer bread and apple crisp. She took her first steps that day, but has been hesitant to really pursue that mode of transportation, and prefers crawling at lightning speed around the house. 

Chris has been brewing a lot lately. He made two wines earlier in the spring-- a delicious off-dry (I have no idea what that means, but it's slightly sweet and floraly) white wine, and an amazing red wine, that I could drink all day (which is saying a lot, because I'm normally a white wine girl). He also made a coconut stout beer last month, using real coconut that he chopped up and roasted. And then yesterday, he started a batch of hard cider using apple cider from a local farm.  It's been such a fun hobby for him for the past few years, and hopefully we'll be able to continue with that in Canada. 

We just rejoined the Y for the fall/winter, and I'm about to go meet a friend for a Zumba class. I kind of have a feeling I'm going to pull a muscle or something, since my exercise this summer has consisted of hauling around kiddos, lifting beers to my lips, or wading in the bay. Let's hope no one is Periscoping the class (that would be like a felony, right?!). 












Tuesday, September 1, 2015

moving on up.



When we left Hawaii in 2012, we had dreams of getting back there someday, hopefully sooner than later. We had fallen in love with the warm breezes, daily rainbows, awesome surf, and we found friends there that quickly became our family. Hawaii had become home for us, and it was hard to leave. But Boston would be a fun place to live for a few years while the Navy sent Chris to grad school. And then maybe we could get back to island life, or at least someplace similar, like San Diego.

But it will be at least few more years before we can get back there. Because next summer, we are most likely moving to... 
 
Canada. 

...
...
...

Yeah, not exactly Hawaii, and not even a place that most people know is an option for Navy folk like us. When Chris came to me with the possibility over a year ago, I felt like my head was going to fall off. What?! Canada? And not even on the ocean? How can they do that to us? And then we experienced this past winter in Boston, with record blasting snow falls, 10 foot high snow piles, barely able to get out of our driveway, and below freezing temps, I just about collapsed into a useless heap when I thought about moving even further north. 

(Just about? More like definitely collapsed into a whining pile of jelly.)

But it looks like we have no choice, and Chris is the only guy in the US to fill this one position in Ottawa, so up to Canada we go. Most likely. We don't have our orders yet, but let's just say we are already researching snow boots that will keep our toes from falling off, so we're pretty well sure that's the verdict. 

Here's the thing though. For as much as Canadian winters terrify me, and I never in my life expected to live in Canada, we have only heard wonderful, lovely, encouraging things about both the job Chris will be filling, and the area where we'll be living. So, this summer, I decided to put on my big girl panties (as they say) and quit whining (mostly). If God has us destined for Canada, then he must have some great things in store for us up there. So here we are now, doing our best to embrace the inevitable, trust God, and make the best of it. 

When we found out that Ottawa hosts a hot air balloon festival each September, we decided to make a trip out of it and head up there to check things out. We'll be driving up this weekend, and I'm praying that God will start to grow an excitement in our hearts. I'm praying that He will prepare a church family for us, and friends that become family, and also that maybe they'll experience the most mild winters they've ever had during the two years we'll live there. 

Also, I might sneak in a prayer that I can eat all the poutine I want without gaining a pound. 

Kidding. 

Kind of. 


Monday, August 31, 2015

currently.



It's been awhile since I've written a blog post just to write. I know that in a few years ago, I'm going to click back and miss the gap where I didn't write. I know this because I look back on blog posts from 2010 or 2013 and I love reading the thoughts that were in my head at the time. It'd be nice to say that I resolve to start blogging more frequently, but let's just take it one post at time, because all I can commit to these days is keeping my kids alive, and maybe getting some food on the table at the end of the day. Any deep or witty thoughts are all buried somewhere in my subconscious, I think. Or buried under a pile of toys.

For now, let's start small. Today, a list.

Currently...

reading: "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" by Marie Kondo (we're determined to purge and simplify before our next move in June!)

watching: Heroes on Netflix

anticipating: flying to the Influence Conference in two weeks! (four full nights of sleep!!)

celebrating: Delia slept through the night for the first time in MONTHS on Friday night (and then slept horribly last night, but ya know, I'll take what I can get)

eating: tons of peaches from our visit to Ward's Berry Farm on Friday and dreaming about the peach and raspberry jam smoothie we got while we were there.

loving: this tank maxi from Brass Clothing which rocks my world and makes me feel pulled together and slammin' in about 2.5 seconds

feeling: thankful for all the time off that Chris has had this summer, and a bit anxious about his return to school in a few weeks

wearing:: dress:: brass clothing // gold leather cuff:: nickel and suede // bag:: vintage from an Etsy shop that no longer exists


Friday, August 28, 2015

standing for life (let's break the silence and jump in.)



As a little girl, I spent countless hours inside the walls of my local crisis pregnancy clinic. Not the most conventional place for a kid to hang out, but my mom was the director of one (now three!) in Maryland, and I loved spending time there. I spent my sick days on the couches where women were counseled and prayed for on other days of the week, I played with the tiny plastic models that showed how a fetus grows-- even the tiny 13 week model which fit perfectly inside my little palm had itty-bitty baby features. I stole candy from the receptionist's desk and flipped through magazines in the waiting room. But more than all that, I grew up hearing of the tough decisions that so many women have to make when they are faced with an unexpected pregnancy, and listening to the joy in my mom's voice when some un-named client decided to choose life for her unborn baby. At a young age, I knew the horrors of abortion, and the developmental milestones for babies in the womb. Deep in my heart, a fierce love for the unborn imbedded itself. 

So, as each new video has appeared on my screen this summer, detailing another horrific aspect of Planned Parenthood's deception of women and profiting from selling baby parts, I've felt more and more helpless and horrified. I've been surprised at the silence around this issue on my Instagram and Twitter feed, and felt scared into silence myself. I realize that not everyone who follows or reads along with me shares my beliefs and I guess I was worried about offending or saying the wrong thing. 

I think it's easy to say that if you haven't been in xyz situation, than you don't have a right to speak to it. Truth be told, I haven't had an unplanned pregnancy or faced raising a child in a single parent home. But why should this keep me from raising my voice, speaking out against the murder of innocent lives, and advocating for better resources for pregnant women in need? Women deserve to have better resources than abortion. Unborn children deserve better than to have their lives ripped away from them and their body parts sold for profit. And so, I decided to break the silence on my own Instagram feed, and use the most powerful weapon I know to use. 

Each day this week, I've been praying for a different aspect of this abortion and life issue. I've been posting prompts over on my Instagram feed, inviting others to join with me in prayer for men and women hurting from abortion, for abortion workers, for our government officials. I've lost several hundred followers, but mainly, I've been greeted with a hunger from the women in my Instagram community who are ready to pray, to speak out, to do something about the atrocities that are occurring in our nation. Maybe you are one of those men or women who are ready to get involved. 

Today, I'm inviting you to pray with me about how you might jump in. God might be calling you to open your home to foster or adoption, or He may want you to start small and set aside a monthly donation to your local pregnancy clinic. I've listed some links below to help kickstart some ideas for you. Get creative, do some research, and find out where God is calling you. 

Donate to your local pregnancy clinic.  Just a little over $1 can help provide free prenatal vitamins for a woman who has chosen life, and $300 can provide a life-altering ultrasound to a woman feeling pressure to abort. 

Volunteer at a crisis pregnancy clinic.   Take a free training class to become a counselor, or if you're a nurse, you can donate your time to provide free STD testing, pregnancy tests and sonograms to abortion-minded women. Or even do something as simple as spending some time in the office helping fold brochures and praying over the work that is being done there. 

Donate to And Then There Were None, a ministry that provides counseling and resources to abortion workers wishing to leave the industry and heal. 

Love on and support young pregnant mamas through a ministry like Embrace Grace.

Pray and fast with 40 Days for Life or join a vigil this fall. 


"He has told you, O man, what is good: And what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" Micah 6:8












Wednesday, August 19, 2015

{his and hers} jord wood watch review








Chris and I had the opportunity to work with Jord Wood Watches on a review of their gorgeous wooden timepieces recently.

When we went to choose our watches, we loved that there were so many options to fit each of our styles. Chris immediately zeroed in on the Dover Series' Koa wood options. This gorgeous and strong wood comes from acacia trees, and the word "koa" also means " warrior" in Hawaiian. When we lived in Hawaii, his ship squadron's nickname was "Koa Kai"- the warriors of the ocean. So, it was pretty much a no-brainer for him to choose the Koa and Black Dover Series watch. Chris isn't much of a jewelry guy, but the beautiful wood grain, exposed gears, and reminder of our time in Hawaii means that it rarely leaves his wrist these days.

My own choice, the Cora series Lavender and Maple watch, was a pretty simple one to make. I love the colorful face, and casual elegance of the maple wood. It pairs seamlessly with shorts and tee, or perfectly with a date night outfit.

Both of our watches are incredibly lightweight, so even with all that comes with a day with the kids-- fixing breakfast, changing diapers, playing trucks, giving hugs, wiping tears, kitchen dance parties-- we barely notice our watches on our wrists-- until it's almost naptime, of course. Then we may be checking our watches a little more frequently. ;)

Take 10% off your own Jord Wood Watch purchase with the code HELLOHUE10 at checkout- good until September 2!



Wooden Watches by JORD

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

albion fit review and giveaway!




As summer approached this year, I began to worry about my beach bod. Or lack thereof, rather. After two pregnancies, two C-sections, diastis recti wrecking my core, and a very long winter indoors, I was not feeling beach ready in the slightest, except for the fact that I knew I was ready to get sandy with my kiddos and drink margaritas in plastic cups. Definitely ready for that.

When it came time to finally find a swimsuit for this season, I made a decision to embrace this bod. This one, right here. All the stretchmarks, wrinkles, freckles, and saggy skin that have come from carrying two sweet babes, nursing them for their first year, and living life for almost thirty years. No more beating myself up over a body that has worked so hard and given me so much. I've worn a bikini to the beach a few times, and loved the way it helped me to accept my mama bod a little more.

But um, let's be (even more) honest here. Sometimes it's just really nice to wear something that totally flatters, supports, and makes you feel a tiny bit sexy, even when wrangling littles at the beach. Even though it felt liberating to don my high-waisted bikini, and I was (and still am) determined to love this body I've got, there were more than a few pictures snapped by Chris that I deleted as soon as I saw them. I needed something with a little more support, and yeah, maybe a little more coverage. Here's where this gorgeous swimsuit enters the story.

Peplum. Floral. Stripes, High-waisted. Underwire support. Sweetheart neckline. Criss-cross back. They've thought of everything in the Antigua Cobalt Peplum suit . It's a tankini like you've never seen  (or worn!) before. "They" being Albion Fit, a swimwear and fitness clothing company with beautiful, high-quality pieces that you will go ga-ga over. They've got a swimsuit silhouette for everyone, in the most lovely prints and vivid colors.

So, here's to embracing what your mama gave you, and what your babies gave you, and what life has given you, and wearing a suit that enhances, tucks, supports and flatters all of those things. I'm excited to be partnering with AlbionFit to give away two $50 gift cards this week. Hop over to my Instagram to enter to win!



Monday, August 3, 2015

watermelon.







 I couldn't resist snapping some shots of their drippy, sticky, happy (and still a bit sleepy) faces as they gobbled up almost the whole bowl after nap time a few weeks ago. I took almost the same exact pictures of a much tinier Silas two years ago and posted them in this post here.

Motherhood has been such a strange mix of intense emotions lately-- one day I'm battling screaming children, swearing never to birth another child again, the next day (or more likely, the next moment) I'm smooching cheeks and thinking how I'd like about three or four more sets of chubby cheeks in this family. One moment, I'm feeling completely defeated, sitting on the floor of the hallway and trying my best not to scream obscenities in my almost three year old's direction, and the next, I'm watching my tiny girl crawling around for the first time, and Silas counting on his fingers, squealing in delight, and I think about how motherhood is the best thing that ever happened to me.

Nothing and no one has ever made me feel so absurdly crazy in my life. I think this is what they call "in the trenches", and I'm doing my very best to soak up the good moments and let the bad ones roll off my back. And praying for more sleep... lots more sleep.

Friday, July 24, 2015

our boston summer 'bucket' list!


This is our last summer in the Boston area, and we aim to squeeze it dry of every last drop of goodness. I made a Boston "bucket list" (Chris hates that term, because ' we're not dying!', so it's not really a "bucket list", but whatever) and we've been hitting most of the items on the list at a pretty good rate. I thought I'd share it here for those of you who might be visiting, or who just need a few fresh ideas for this weekend. 

The Greenway Carousel




Play on the Esplanade Playspace- We pass this playground on the Charles River every week on our way to church, and we finally got a chance to explore a few weeks ago. With a zipline, several climbing structures, a two story tube slide, and other fun unexpected playground features, it was just as much fun for us as it was for Silas (uh, maybe more so?) There are lots of other playgrounds and parks along the Esplanade that we plan on hitting later this summer. 

Watch a Shakespeare on the Common play- We did this a few years ago before we lived here, and it was so fun. Of course, that was pre-kids, and we haven't braved it with kids yet, but I think we're ready this summer. It just started up this week, so we may go this weekend! 

Watch a Free Friday Flicks kids movie at the Hatchshell- Haven't done this yet either. None of the movies really look interesting enough for us to keep the kids out hours past bedtime, so we'll see about this one. 

Splash in the Rose Kennedy Greenway splash parks- I think we've hit most of them this summer, and our favorite is Rings Fountain and North Canal. Silas jumps right in and I think it's his favorite part of the city. In fact, the whole Greenway is pretty amazing-- beautiful gardens, plenty of adirondack chairs to lounge in, food trucks galore, and even a handful of really gorgeous hammocks. 

Ride the Greenway Carousel- This carousel is like none I've ever seen. It's absolutely beautiful, featuring creatures native to Massachusetts, and plays really fun music. Silas' favorite animals to ride are the bunny rabbits and the blue whale. 

Take a ferry out to the Boston Harbor Islands- We've done this many times since we moved here two years ago. You can read more about our experiences in this post here. Definitely a great thing to do with kids. Our favorite island is George's Island, where there is an old Civil War era fort and lots of space to explore. There's also a decent restaurant and plenty of picnic tables for bringing your own lunch. 

Take a Boston Duck Tour (again)- We did this the first summer we lived here, and it was totally worth it. So much good info about Boston, and super fun (I was SURE it was gonna be majorly cheesy, but it wasn't at all.). We hope to do it again now that Silas is older and he gets excited every time he sees a Duck boat around town. 

Picnic at Copley Square Farmer's Market- We did this with some friends recently. There is a stand with awesome sandwiches (I got a prosciutto, mozzarella and pesto on ciabatta), and definitely snag a jar of the maple mint tea! 

Date night at Empire- Located in the Seaport District, this is one of our very favorite restaurants in Boston, and I crave it constantly. It's a hip spot with an aaaah-mazing menu. The Thai scallop soup is to DIE for, as is pretty much everything else they offer. 

Hike in the Blue Hills Reservation-- We hike here often and it's a great spot for easy, family-friendly hikes. Great views of the city and easy to get to from 93 South. 

Get lunch from Dino's in the North End-- Our friends recommended this little family-owned deli to us recently and we hit them up when my sister visited recently. Amazing sandwiches, fabulous pasta-- perfect for grabbing and sitting at the North Canal splash park while your littles play! 

Get breakfast from Bagelsaurus in Porter Square-- I've heard this place is amazing, but we haven't had a chance to eat there yet! I mean, they have a peanut butter and bacon sandwich, so yeah, I'm sold. 

So that's our "bucket" list, or summer list, or whatever you want to call it. I realized as I typed it up that we really don't have much left to check off. We still haven't made it to many museums, but I think we'll save those for cooler weather. 

Copley Square Farmer's Market

Exploring on George's Island





Cheesing on the Greenway Carousel
Hiking at the Blue Hills Reservation with Boston in the background