Finding Light in the Darkness 

This afternoon I’m feeling angry. Angry at our government, angry at ignorant people, and angry at the situation we all find ourselves in today. I know there are some things I can do, but for the most part nearly everything is out of my control. 

I don’t want to make light of the situation and what is happening in the world and in our country, because honestly I feel that there is a lot of evil and deception that is going on and a lot of people either are oblivious to it or are turning a blind eye toward it, but I have had to stop myself from going down these rabbit trails. I find that I get so caught up in everything thats circulating and my mind starts swimming in a sea of anger and despair. And that’s right where Satan wants me, but it’s absolutely not where God wants me to dwell. 

In the late afternoons when I usually get some time to myself, the gears in my mind start to turn and I have to be careful what I choose to focus my attention on. I can either reach for my phone and be brainwashed and consumed by what I read on social media (whichever side its coming from), or I can pick up my Bible or a mind nourishing book and spend my time there. I don’t always succeed in choosing the latter, but when I do I find that my evenings are filled with more hope and peace. 

The afternoons that I have chosen to nourish my mind and soul rather than give in to letting my mind and spirits decay, I have walked out of my room feeling like there is some hope left in this world and that I have a lot of fight left in me. It’s easy to let other people fill me with doubt and fear, but I find that it really helps me to choose getting to know what God has to say about life and the world and understanding what He wants me to do during this confusing time. 

All of that to say, I’ve always been the type of person to believe that we can look into a horrible situation, find the good in it, and extract something positive. I’ll admit I’ve let myself sit in the anger, the fear, and the complaining for too long. But I’ve been trying to mindfully think about all of the good that I see playing out in my life that may not have happened if it weren’t for this pandemic.

So here are some things I’ve observed in my life and the world around me that are positives during all of this chaos. God is teaching me a lot!

  • Due to schools being shut down and continuing classes online, my sister moved out of her dorm and came to live with us for the rest of the semester. 
  • Since all of this “lockdown” stuff started happening right as we were moving into our new house, it’s given me the time to get settled into our new home and get to know this house. 
  • I used to go out most afternoons, either to aimlessly shop around and kill time or go on a drive while Ellis napped, but since we moved I’ve been staying home more often and getting into a comfortable rhythm with Ellis. And we’ve finally established a pretty good (flexible) nap time routine.
  • I have been trying my best to be less wasteful and use what food we have and eat all of our leftovers to save money and trips to the grocery store (it’s a madhouse out there!).
  • I’m finally getting the opportunity to plant my very own garden. This mess we’re living in has really pushed and motivated me to start wanting to be more self sustainable.
  • I truly feel that God is giving us this opportunity to pause, rest, think about what is important, and determine whether or not we are on His side. 
  • I haven’t been able to see my grandma in over a month, but I’ve had some great conversations over the phone with her that have really been special to me. 
  • I’ve also had some great talks with my dad about life, politics, gardening, end times, the Bible,  and house projects. Those kind of talks don’t happen very often, but I’m so grateful that these topics have surfaced for discussion. 

And here are a few things that I think are positives amidst all of this chaos (not everyone will agree). 

  • People are staying in and treating more minor illnesses at home rather than running to the doctor for every little sniffle. I hope that this time at home gives parents more time to research and practice more natural forms of medicine when pharmaceuticals are not needed.
  • Families are receiving a very rare opportunity to reconnect and spend time together. Not out running errands, taking children to museums, birthday parties or fields trips, but nestling in T O G E T H E R at home. 
  • A lot of people are getting the chance to slow down and think about what’s really important in life. 
  • Children are spending more time playing outside in the fresh air in the sunshine!
  • More women are realizing that home birth is a viable option (when woman are not considered high-risk) when it comes to birth. A hospital is not the safest place to give birth, especially during a pandemic. 

I really do hope that people are using this time of uncertainty as an opportunity to reconnect with their family and loved ones, ask the hard questions about life and this situation we find ourselves in, research and learn to think for themselves when it comes to important issues, and become more self-sustainable. 

What are some of the positives that you have found during this lockdown? 

March — A Journal Entry

March feels like it’s lasted longer than 31 days this year. 

The year 2020 started out beautifully — full of life, hope, and change. January was, for me, a month of blooming. I attended a birth as a doula, went on a 21 day social media fast, and put an offer on my dream house with my husband. Everything seemed to be falling into place and we were brimming with excitement. 

February was kind of a drab month. Nothing was wrong per-say, I just felt like my routines and good habits started to unwind and fall out of place. I stopped doing yoga regularly, we all caught a cold (rare around here), and we were holding our breath during the house buying process and counting down the days until closing. 

Enter March! March 3rd was closing day for us and also the day Ellis turned 18 months-old. During that week I was feeling full of gratitude for the closing process going so smoothly and the fact that I was on the mend from illness and my body was feeling lighter, stronger, and healthier. 

Then everything kind of started to shift, and sway, and close in around me. 

Out of nowhere (or so it felt), I started seeing people talking about the corona virus on social media. Yes, I had heard about it here and there when it was just in China, but since I don’t regularly consume what the news outlets have to say it wasn’t something I was dwelling on. 

Next thing I know, people are talking about there being a shortage of toilet paper because everybody is stocking up on it, friends are saying go get groceries and stock up on everything you need now before the weekend because things are about to get crazy, and there was talk of being quarantined at home while this virus continued to spread. 

Almost overnight, I felt that there was a change in everyone’s mood and I was seeing a lot of panic, fear, and uncertainty. 

I myself didn’t know what to think at first. I sent Brendan to the store one evening after scrambling to make a quick grocery list of a few items I thought we would need (one of them being toilet paper because we were literally down to two rolls). I remember talking to different family members about everything I had heard and we were all trying to make sense of what could potentially be happening in the following weeks. 

This was around March 12th. It was finally starting to feel a bit like spring and my main focus was on getting our belongings packed so that we could move our family into our new house. That’s all I wanted to do. I didn’t feel like going out and fighting people to get toilet paper or worry about stocking up on all of the essential foods we would need because of potential shortages and weeks of quarantine. I just wanted to be excited about starting this new chapter of our lives. 

Things rarely go as planned in life, and that’s just something we all have to learn at some point or other. I’m very grateful that our moving day went smoothly, despite it being a long day for everyone. My family came to help and it was chaotic and fun and exciting. For that day, it was nice not to dwell on what was going on in the world, and to just focus on family and new beginnings. 

Even though I feel I have handled everything that’s going on pretty well and have remained upbeat and positive for the most part, I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t concerned. I’m not afraid of the virus itself or of coming in contact with other people that have it (which is a miracle considering I’m a pretty extreme germaphobe), I’m afraid of what our country is going to look like in the weeks and years to come. 

I try not to let my mind wander down too many rabbit holes, but its easy to do when seeing all that is being spread around on social media. It’s hard to know what to believe and who to trust. But I know one thing is for sure, I can trust God in times like this and cling to His promises. 

The other day as Ellis was napping, my mind started slipping and wandering down the path of worry. Worrying about what the future is going to look like, feeling concerned for other people and choices they are making, etc. And then it hit me that I didn’t need to dwell on these things and stress myself out. That would only lead to fear, and it’s fear of things that I have no control over. It was in that moment that I felt God telling me to place all my worries into His hands, trust Him, do my part (whatever that may look like) stay informed, and then let it go. 

To be honest, things haven’t changed that much for me. If anything, I’ve finally gotten into a little rhythm with Ellis around the house. The only difference in our day-to-day that I’ve noticed is that I’m not randomly going shopping at stores like Target several times a week.

I consider myself an introvert for the most part, but I do miss gathering with others and having that human interaction and connection that I think we all crave, no matter how introverted we may be. I miss going to the mother’s circle I’ve been attending for the past year, I miss coffee dates with doula friends, and occasionally going out to the movie theater with my husband for a date night. 

In a way though, I feel like I’ve been preparing for this time of so-called “quarantine” my whole life. Growing up I was homeschooled and my family lived in a farmhouse in a small town that is kind of in the middle of nowhere. We usually went out to “town”, as we called it, once a week (if that) to get groceries. So for the most part, it was just my mom, my siblings and me hanging out at home doing some school work, entertaining ourselves by playing outside, playing board games and video games together, watching movies, reading, talking, scrapbooking, cooking, you name it. 

Over the past few weeks I’ve been thinking a lot about the way my parents raised my siblings and me and my heart is overflowing with gratitude towards them. This whole situation and my outlook on things could look a lot different if it wasn’t for the knowledge and values my parents instilled in me. We were not only educated at home from textbooks, we were taught life skills and lessons that I see coming into play now and seem more important than ever. 

Growing up, my siblings and I learned how to garden and grow our own food, my dad taught us how to safely and properly handle a gun, we learned how to chop and gather fire wood, my dad taught us how to hunt and fish, and my brothers even learned how to process and freeze their own deer meat. Of course I learned even more rudimentary skills such as cooking/baking and how to clean and take care of a household. 

While there are days I find myself wishing we could go back to how things were before this pandemic chaos, I’ve really been humbled by the way God has been using this time to bring some of the desires of my heart to fruition. I’ve learned a lot recently and I want to share some of what God has been teaching me, but that will have to wait for another post. 

I know this post was a long one, so if you made it to the end know that I appreciate you taking the time to read some of my thoughts during this confusing time. If there’s anything you’ve learned over the past month that you’d like to share let me know in the comments! 

House Tour

It’s been a little over a week now since we moved into our cozy new house. It’s hard for me to put into words how happy my heart is, even with all of the chaos and uncertainty going on in the world right now. This house has been everything I dreamed it would be and more. 

I know that there are a lot of mixed emotions swirling around due to the pandemic that the world is experiencing and it can feel strange to see content online that is meant to be light hearted and happy. I thought about waiting to share a look at our house for a later time when things aren’t so hectic. But then I thought that maybe somebody out there might care and would like a little piece of normalcy to cling to. Also, who doesn’t like looking at pretty old houses? 

I want to write an entire post on our house hunting journey and how we came across this house. But until then, I’ll just say that this house came to us at the exact moment we needed it. God answered my prayers and gave us our dream house, and I am feeling so blessed that I get to live here and make this house a home with my boys. 

Okay, so here’s a room-by-room look at our 1930s house. Most of these photos were taken before we closed and got the keys, so not much has been cleaned and all of the rooms are empty.

Front door
Front/side porch
Front door leading into entryway/mudroom
Mudroom
Mudroom
Staircase leading to second floor
In the living room looking towards the entryway
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Living room
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Living room looking into dining room
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Dining room
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Dining room. This china cabinet was already here when we bought the house. I don’t like it, so if anyone is interested in it let me know!
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Dining room.
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Sunroom looking into the dining room
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Sunroom. This room was not originally part of the house. The brick was the exterior of the house and I love that it was preserved like this.
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Sunroom
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Sunroom
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Kitchen
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Kitchen.
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Door to first floor half bath and pantry cabinets
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First floor half bath. This room needs a lot of help.
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Office room off of the kitchen
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Beautiful built-in shelves in the office room
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Second floor main bathroom
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Second floor main bathroom
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Second floor main bathroom
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Second floor main bathroom
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hall area looking into two of the upstairs bedrooms
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Ellis’ bedroom
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Brendan and my bedroom. I somehow didn’t get any photos of our bedroom when it was empty, so this is a little sneak peak of what the house looks like now.
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Brendan and my bedroom. I somehow didn’t get any photos of our bedroom when it was empty, so this is a little sneak peak of what the house looks like now.
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A smaller spare bedroom on the second floor, that I also failed to get pictures of when it was empty
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A smaller spare bedroom on the second floor, that I also failed to get pictures of when it was empty
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A smaller spare bedroom on the second floor, that I also failed to get pictures of when it was empty
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Stairs in the spare bedroom leading cup to the bonus room in the attic
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Beautiful bonus room in the attic 
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Bonus room stairs leading down to the bedroom
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Jumping back downstairs now. These are the stairs leading to the basement. Cheetah actually loves the basement and hangs out down there all the time
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Basement (aka the man cave) 
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Basement. The door leads to the garage
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The laundry room
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Full basement bathroom 
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Basement bedroom
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Storage room that leads outside into the back yard
Home sweet home

So there you have it! I love that this house is full of character and has so many fun details. It definitely seemed big at first compared to the apartments we have lived in, but I love knowing that we have plenty of space to grow our family here.

Once we get things in place and set up like we want I might do a more in-depth look into each room. More to come on that later this spring! Let me know what you think.

 

J a n u a r y 2 0 2 0

Wow, what a month!

I stepped into 2020 with the intention of leaving a lot of baggage behind and inviting newness into my life.

As I sat meditating on what the past year had taught me and what I wanted to see come to fruition in this new sparkling decade, three words kept coming to mind: Abundance, Brave, and Change

Once these words came to me, I sat and thought about what each one meant and how they could weave their way into my story this year.

I believed that I would see a lot of change in 2020, I felt that I would need to be brave and find courage to adapt to this newness, and as a result of trusting and believing things to work out for my good I believed that I would witness abundance of all kinds flowing freely into my life.

So, with this in mind I decided to place all of my hopes and dreams into God’s hands and asked that He would use me this year in ways He hadn’t before.

And just like that, on January 1st, 2020, an abundance of life, love, and happiness washed over me. It was then that I knew that this year was/is going to be a turning point in my life.

J a n u a r y  B r e a k d o w n

I started this dazzling new decade by attending a beautiful home birth as a doula. I will never forget the love, power, and raw strength I witnessed in that room as new life made its way into the world. I was reminded that day that I am, without a doubt, on the right path. My fire and passion for birth was reignited in that birth room.

That birth paved the way for what the rest of my January would look like. Just like in birth, I found myself doing a lot of surrendering, praying, and stepping out of the way to let things unfold as they were meant to.

O p p o r t u n i t i e s

There have been so many moments when I have felt like my head was reeling and I was spiraling out of control this past month.

On January 10th, during a beautiful full moon, a possible job opportunity was placed before me and left me in deep thought and contemplation for the next couple weeks.

This opportunity hadn’t been on my radar, yet I couldn’t help but feel a strong pull towards it. It would be a huge shift for me and my family, and I was afraid of it.

But I kept feeling like this was something that was bigger than me and that God really wanted me to place this opportunity in His hands and surrender it.

(I might share more about this some other time.)

2 1  D a y  F a s t

Right around the same time our church started a 21 day fast. I decided that I would give up social media (Facebook and Instagram) for the fast.

I know that I spend too many hours mindlessly scrolling through social media every day. It’s a waste of precious time really. I knew that this was just what I needed, but I was not thrilled about it.

After a few days of the fast, I started realizing that I didn’t miss social media that much. And it became painfully obvious that every time there was the slightest lull in my day, I would reach for my phone. Not a good sign.

I started reaching for my phone and opening up the Bible app to read — instead of mindlessly scrolling social media, I was mindfully reading God’s word. I also started reaching for a book or my journal in the evenings rather than just vegging out on the couch staring at a screen.

And most importantly, I started spending more uninterrupted time with my husband and my son. And that was so good for us!

B e a u t i f u l  B e g i n n i n g s 

January was an amazing month and the most beautiful start to the year! I have more I want to share that happened towards the end of the month, but that will have to wait for another blog post.

So I want to know, what are some of your goals and intentions for the year 2020? Did anything exciting happen to you in January? Let me know in the comments.

 

Breastfeeding Journey

I have been breastfeeding Ellis for 14 months now. Its been a beautiful journey! We still enjoy snuggling up together to breastfeed morning, afternoon, and night. And honestly, I don’t see us slowing down anytime soon.

From the very beginning of my pregnancy I knew that I wanted to breastfeed my baby. My mom had breastfed me and my four siblings and other women in my immediate family had done the same. It was familiar to me and I knew I had a good support team of other mamas surrounding me.

Liquid Gold — The First Drops of Colostrum 

I started producing colostrum the day before I entered my third trimester. It took me by surprise! But I was so grateful that my body had already started producing food for my son.

I wondered if I would have a good milk supply since I started producing colostrum so early, but I tried not to place any expectations on myself and my body. I had started reading The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding per my midwife’s suggestion, so I felt like I knew a decent amount about breastfeeding. Still, I don’t think a book fully prepared me for just what to expect.

The First Latch 

I gave birth in the comfort of my own bedroom and was blessed to have skin-to-skin for the first few hours with Ellis before his newborn exam.

Sadly, I don’t clearly remember the first time Ellis latched on. I know it was within the first couple of hours after he was born, but that’s about all I can recollect. Both my midwife and doula helped me with getting Ellis to latch and showing me which positions I could try for nursing.

The next day when my midwife came back to do our 24 hour check, she asked how many times Ellis had eaten the day before. I don’t remember the number of times he fed, but I remember my midwife encouraging me to try and get him to eat more often. I felt so guilty when I heard her say that — I was worried that I was failing my baby and not feeding him enough.

The Early Weeks 

Right from the start, Ellis was a cluster feeder and loved to be held. And I chose to feed him on demand — no measuring or fretting about the time on the clock. When he was hungry, I nursed him. When he needed to be consoled, I nursed him. When he just wanted to be held close, I nursed him.

This worked really well for us and I enjoyed it.  The thought of measuring and feeding on a scheduled time stressed me out. It was much more convenient for me to just nurse him whenever he wanted and not worry about pumping or feeding him at a specific time.

That’s not to say that breastfeeding was a breeze.

The first few weeks were actually pretty uncomfortable and painful for me. My nipples were so raw and sore that it hurt when Ellis latched on. And since he was feeding so often, I felt like I never got a break to let my nipples heal. Both my midwife and my mom tried to help me work on getting Ellis to latch properly, but it just took us awhile to find our rhythm.

I was a little discouraged at first because the books I had read about breastfeeding basically said that if it hurt you were doing it wrong or baby wasn’t latching properly. But honestly, I just think my body needed time to get used to this new uncharted territory. I was hopeful after talking to my mom about it and seeing a few posts on social media where other mamas said to just give it a few months.

For me quitting wasn’t an option. Yes it was a bit painful those first few weeks, but I knew that there was a light at the end of that tunnel. And sure enough, around the 3 month mark breastfeeding became a lot easier and more enjoyable for the both of us. And at that point I was so grateful that I had pushed through and stuck with it.

Long Days and Late Nights

I think the hardest part of breastfeeding for me has been being needed so much. For the first couple months, I felt like I lived on the couch in the living room nursing Ellis and holding him while he napped. I watched so much Netflix that I became sick of looking at the TV.

The late night feedings were especially lonely for me. Even with Brendan asleep in bed right beside me, there was nothing to keep me company besides silly puzzle games on my phone and the low hum of the radio in the background. I would try telling myself that I would miss these moments with my baby once he was grown, but that brought me little to no comfort. All I wanted was somebody there with me, somebody to talk to.

Those lonely nights broke me. I would hold Ellis close and sob from shear exhaustion. There were times when I really thought I couldn’t carry on feeling the way I did (this was because of postpartum depression and anxiety, not just breastfeeding. But that’s a story for another time). But in those weary times, God was there with me and I grew closer to Him than I had in years.

While those nights were extremely difficult for me physically and emotionally, we eventually found our rhythm. And then I learned to nurse Ellis while lying down (game changer) and we all got a little bit more sleep at night. Those first few months were challenging, but we made it and I absolutely love breastfeeding now.

Breastfeeding Today

Breastfeeding for us has changed quite a bit over the past several months. What started out as being a time to cuddle close and nourish Ellis with my milk, has turned into times of playful giggles and acrobatics while he nurses. Even though Ellis still nurses throughout the day and nurses to fall asleep just about every night, its nice to have shorter feedings and longer stretches of time between feedings.

Now that I have been nursing Ellis for 14 months, I can say that all of the time, effort, and tears have been a million times worth it. I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything and I am so grateful that I have been able to nourish my baby this way.

However, I understand that breastfeeding is difficult for many women. Mamas, I want you to know that no matter what your journey looks like, you are not alone and you are no less of a mother for feeding your baby differently than I have done with my baby.

Support is one of the most helpful things we can give breastfeeding mamas! So if you have friends, family, or know of new mamas in your community that are starting out on their breastfeeding journey, reach out to them and offer them your love, support, and encouragement.

I will touch on breastfeeding tips, advice, and resources in another post soon. But for now I’ll leave you with a few of my favorite breastfeeding photos from the past year!

Autumn in New York City — The Upper West Side

This past Monday Brendan and I took the train from Wilmington, Delaware into New York City for a day trip. We try to visit NYC every year and we usually end up going in May to celebrate our anniversary. I was excited that we got to visit my favorite city in October this year. It’s always been a dream of mine to visit the city in Autumn and I was not disappointed by the golden foliage and festive decorations we found.

I have so many photos from our trip that I want to share. But for this post I want to focus on the photos I took on the Upper West Side. We wanted to visit different locations this trip and I had read that the Upper West Side knows how to do Halloween. So we wandered the streets and admired the creepy crawly festive houses all decked out for All Hallows’ Eve.

What’s your favorite time of year to visit NYC?

My Cozy Autumn Home

October is undoubtedly one of my very favorite months of the year. It’s when autumn really nestles in and the wind begins to whisper that it’s time to slow down and turn inward.

Something I love to do when autumn arrives is decorate my home to reflect the changing season. This year, I started to unpack my autumn and Halloween decorations at the start of September. I felt like the season passed me by last year, so I wanted to take the time to savor it this year.

Nothing warms my heart quite like plugging in my cozy lights in the evening, lighting a couple of candles, seeing velvet pumpkins lying around, as I curl up on the couch with a good book.

So here’s a look at some of the festive decor I’ve gathered over the years. I adore my little home and my family that I share it with.

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Living room — Fabric pumpkin, ceramic pumpkin, Edgar Allan Poe painting, Wuthering Heights painting, “Never More” tomb stone, and cozy orange lights on top of my bookshelf.
Living room — My bookshelf.
Living Room — Glass pumpkin candy jar I thrifted in Charleston, SC 2 years ago w/ cozy lights inside.
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Entryway — Vintage jack-o-lantern my dad bought for me at an auction.
Entryway — Vintage ghost my dad got for me at an auction.
Living Room — Happy Halloween banner that I bought at Target for $0.10 a few years ago.
Living Room — Wooden “Happy Halloween” tomb stone, ceramic light up jack-o-lantern, and crow all from Target
Living room — This little shelf hangs above my yellow reading chair in the living room. The little planter pot is from Anthropologie and has dried magnolia leaves in it, the ceramic witch boots and pumpkins are from Target. And the letter board was a Christmas gift.
Living room — This adorable witch used to have lotion inside, I believe it’s from Avon. My Maw got it for me when I was little and I’ve had it ever since. It’s currently sitting on my bookshelf. Ellis loves to play with it. 
Living Room — Velvet pumpkins as a center piece on the coffee table.
Living room — I always have some sort of Cavallini poster in this frame on top of the entertainment set. I switched it from Dandelions to these mushrooms to go along with my autumn theme.
Living room — A beautiful Halloween card I received from a friend last year, ghost tea light holder from Walmart, and my thrifted pumpkin jar again on top of the entertainment set. 
Living room — My very favorite yellow velvet reading chair I thrifted in Charleston, SC for $12! This chair is here year-round, but I made it more festive by adding the orange velvet pillow from World Market and the pumpkin blanket I got from Target the other week.
Living Room — This is Ichabod! He’s one of the few Halloween items I bought last year.
Dining area — These signs hang above my coffee cart. I swapped one of my normal signs for the witch one which was gifted to me.
Dining area — I wanted to make my coffee cart more festive, so I found this little organizer in the dollar spot at Target. In it I have a Black Cat brew sign, a ceramic pumpkin, a couple of pumpkin candles, my coffee mugs for guests, and a cute jack-o-lantern figurine from Michale’s.
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Dining area — I have a few autumn mugs hanging on this wooden mug tree. I bought this adorable vintage inspired Halloween mug at World Market back on my birthday.
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Dining area — Vintage inspired trick-or-treating black cat figurine from Michale’s.
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Dining area — Pumpkin drinking glass and witch’s broom stir sticks that I keep on my coffee cart. Both are from Target.
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Dining area — Vintage trick-or-treaters candy jar that my parents bought at an auction and gave to me for my birthday last year. I plan to fill it up all the way with acorns that I gather on walks outside.
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Kitchen — Some of my cute Halloween plates, bowls, and mason jars.
Kitchen — Just a couple of the Halloween dish towels I own.
Kitchen — My mom cross-stitched this adorable little Halloween hanging for my dorm room back in 2012.
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Kitchen — This agent hangs on my fridge. My mom and I have matching ones haha.
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Kitchen — Center piece for the island. Ceramic pumpkins and lantern from Target.
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Kitchen — My mom crocheted this adorable little hanging for me a few years ago. I have it hanging on my fridge right now.
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Guest Bathroom — Had to add a little touch of autumn magic in each room.
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Ellis’ Bedroom — I bought this little ceramic jack-o-lantern for Ellis to keep in his room.
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Sunroom — Boo garland hanging in the sunroom. I’m pretty sure my mom got this for me to put in my dorm room years ago. I used to go all out and decorate my dorm room too!
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Sunroom — Cute little owl my mom gave me for my birthday.
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Sunroom — My dad got me a bunch of random Halloween knick-knacks a couple years ago from an auction. I have them placed here and there on my book shelves and I like the little touch of spook it gives.
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Sunroom — I also have a a few velvet pumpkins placed here and there on my bookshelf.
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Sunroom — Another random knick-knack on my book shelf.
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Sunroom — And of course, more ceramic pumpkins from Target. I buy some every year and can never seem to have enough. I have a problem.
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Sunroom — Vintage Halloween toy my dad bought at an auction. This lives in the sunroom for the most part, but Ellis like to play with it and move it around.
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Sunroom — Crow Halloween pillow my brother gave to me for my birthday a few years ago. My birthday is in September, and as you can tell my family likes to get me Halloween things as gifts. I love it!
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Sunroom — Another random knick-knack that sits on the window ledge in the sunroom.
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Entryway — I haven’t really finished this little space in the entryway, but for now I have the ghost and jack-o-lantern, a little wooden crow, and these vintage inspired wall hangings my dad bought for me last year.
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Bedroom — A have a couple of these velvet pumpkins in our bedroom. I put the darker ones with the glittery stems in the bedroom because they compliment the jewel tones in our room.
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Bedroom — Adorable handmade “Boo” garland that my mom made for my dorm room years ago. I have this hanging on my bookshelf in our bedroom.

I have some other random decorations here and there that I either didn’t post photos of or I haven’t put up yet. As you can tell, I love getting decorations as birthday gifts and displaying them all throughout our apartment. I like a mix of cozy autumn decor that is warm and rich in color, and spooky vintage Halloween this and that’s.

What’s your style of decorating for this season? Do you stick to the more traditional fall decor of pumpkins and candles? Do you like to go all out with scary ghosts and witches? Or a combination of the two?

Autumnal Beauty

Today was the first day of the season that truly felt like autumn. The sky was gray and overcast and there was a damp feeling in the air. One of the first things I do in the mornings is take Ellis to open up the sunroom. We say good morning to the plants that live in there and give our kitty Cheetah some pets. With the temperatures in the low 60s today, we decided to open up all of the windows to start the day with some fresh energy. I love to open the windows to let the stale air out, it always puts me in great spirits and gives me motivation for my day.

I hav been ready for autumn for quite a while now. I felt the shift in seasons tugging at me back at the end of August. Instead of fighting the change and holding onto summer like I have done in the past, I gladly surrendered and welcomed autumn.

This time of year has always been one of my very favorites. It’s a time for us to slow down and ready ourselves for the cold months ahead, to savor the rich colors of nature, and enjoy the bright sunny days and the crisp evenings. I feel elated at the thought of the cozy holiday season ahead and doing some real soul searching and thinking about how I want to spend my time during the last three months of 2019.

Last year I felt such a disconnect from myself, nature, and the seasons changing. Since I gave birth to Ellis at the beginning of September in 2018, summer seemed to come to a screeching halt. I felt that time was standing still within the four walls of my apartment. I nearly spent the first two weeks postpartum huddled up inside getting to know my little Sunshine Babe. And then by the time I stepped back out into the world, fully expecting to pick right back up where I left off, fall kind of slapped me in the face and left me feeling stunned and confused.

It’s hard to describe last autumn. I still have many fond memories from the last three months of 2018, but it was probably the hardest months of my life. Raising a newborn, feeling like a completely different person than the one I was before giving birth, and dealing with a lot of heavy emotional trauma just had me beaten down and feeling like I was gasping for air.

I was a little anxious about the emotions that might be stirred up during this time of year, but I think I am in a much better place now. Instead of the hurt and confusion I thought would resurface, I’ve felt immense healing, peace, and clarity.

How does the shift in seasons make you feel? Do you feel excited and hopeful for what’s to come? Or do you dread the colder, darker days of the autumn months?

One of my intentions for the last three months of 2019 is to be more involved and invested in writing in this little space of mine. I’ve missed blogging and sharing little bits and pieces of my thoughts and feelings, and I really want to ease back into it.

The Day Before I Met You

It’s almost been a year since I gave birth to my Sunshine Babe. It feels like it was just a few short weeks ago when I realized that I was going into labor with him. I’ve shared Ellis’ birth story on my blog, but I wanted to do something a little different and write about the day before I had him. It might not be something that everyone cares to read, but I felt it was special to reminisce and document.

Sunday September 2, 2018

Sunday morning was like any other day. We got up and got ready to go to church at 11 a.m. I wore my leopard print dress with the sash around the waist because it felt nice and silky and looked good on my curvy pregnant body. I curled my hair and was feeling pretty good about the day ahead.

One of the very last photos of Sunshine Babe in my belly.

The night before I had a very vivid dream about giving birth to my Sunshine Babe. I had dreamed of giving birth twice earlier on in my pregnancy, but the dreams were always a bit fuzzy and hard to remember. Both times I had dreamed of giving birth before, I dreamed that labor kind of started abruptly and went very fast. Some of my family members were usually there, but Brendan was never around. One time I dreamed I gave birth to a boy, the other time a girl. In both dreams the labor was fast and painless. It was as if the labor was a blur. And in both dreams I asked to see the baby afterwards, but the baby was no where to be found, just my family surrounding me.

But this dream was different. In this dream labor happened fast just like in the earlier dreams, but this time I got to see my baby. I remember somebody telling me to look over to the side, and as I did my gaze met my baby’s. He had big, dark eyes and was looking right at me, into my soul. I woke up feeling a little more calm and ready to meet my baby, whenever he would decide to come.

Up until this point, I had been feeling a little anxious and nervous about my baby coming. I wasn’t scared of giving birth, I actually felt very prepared for that. But I was so nervous to become a parent. I was mentally preparing myself to make it to 42 weeks, in fact I wanted my baby to come later. But I had this little flicker of a feeling that he was coming early.

So we went to church that day, and I honestly can’t tell you anything about the worship service or the sermon. I remember that my brother and his girlfriend were there and they sat behind me and my husband Brendan. I remember my brother picked a piece of trash out of my hair at one point during the service.

After church we all went over to my grandma’s house for one more lunch with her before Sunshine Babe arrived. My grandma, brother, my brother’s girlfriend, Mom, my sister, Brendan, and I all ate pizza together for lunch. I don’t really remember what we talked about at the table and I don’t remember what the weather was like. I know I changed into black drawstring shorts and a loose gray t-shirt with daisies in the shape of a heart on it that Mom had bought me from Goodwill back in 2015. I used to wear it when I worked at my school’s campus farm.

My brother kept saying that I was going to have the baby the next day because it was Labor Day. I told him I really didn’t think that was likely since I wasn’t feeling any signs of labor and it was already Sunday afternoon. Everyone laughed at the thought anyway. As we were about to leave, I hugged everyone and then I told my grandma and my sister to feel my belly because it might be the very last time that they were able to. I had no idea how foreshadowing all of this would be.

Brendan and I went out to run a few errands after lunch. We went to Target and Walmart. I just had this nagging feeling that I needed to buy a few more towels and a mirror to have to be prepared for the birth. I went to Target because my sister had found a really cool Harry Potter Hogwarts t-shirt on sale at Target for about $3 and I wanted to see if I could find one before they were gone. Target was busy and I was getting annoyed with all of the women pushing shopping carts and blocking the sale racks. Luckily I was able to find one shirt left that was a Small. So I snagged that and I also bought the cutest little pair of baby moccasins that I had been wanting to buy for Sunshine Babe, and I got the heck out of there.

Next up was Walmart. I despise going to Walmart, and it was really the last place I wanted to go. But I needed some contact solution and I wanted to pick up those cheap towels and a hand mirror for the birth, so we got what we needed and got out.

On the way back home I started feeling a bit emotional and overwhelmed and I had no idea why. I remember when Brendan and I were almost home the song “Control” by Tenth Avenue North came on the radio and I started to tear up. I think I knew that I needed to release the pregnancy, labor, birth, and planning over to God. That moment really stands out to me.

I really don’t remember what we did once we got home. I think we just kind of hung around. I know I kept thinking I needed to go get groceries so we had food to eat and that we would have the fridge somewhat stocked for whenever I did go into labor.

We ended up getting McDonalds and Taco Bell for dinner. Lovely, I know. When we got home we decided to watch the first half of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows while we ate our dinner on the couch. We had started watching the Harry Potter series back at the end of July in honor of Harry Potter’s birthday and we were still making our way through them. As I went to go bite into my crunch wrap supreme form Taco Bell I realized that they put meat in it even though I asked for beans instead. There was no picking it out or eating around it either. I was so annoyed and grumpy. Brendan asked me if I wanted to take it back, and I didn’t even want to fool with it.

So after we finished dinner and our movie, we decided that we would drive to Liberty University to walk around on campus. I was on instagram posting about my dream I had the night before for a long while, and Brendan was frustrated by that. But I just felt the need to get that post written. It was dark, and muggy outside while we walked. We ended up walking about 2 miles around campus. We even walked up all the stairs next to the Freedom Tower. I’m pretty sure we stopped to go to the bathrooms while we were there and I remember the curls in my hair had fallen flat from the humidity, and I was sweaty and felt fat and tired.

Since my dinner was a bust we were going to make it up by stopping by Wendy’s to get a $0.50 Frosty on the way home. Well, we went through the drive-thru at the Wendy’s nearest to us and they told us that they only had vanilla frosty’s and it would take about 30 minutes to make the chocolate ones. So we decided to drive to the next one, and to our dismay they said they were out. We made one more drive through to the one on nearest our place and they still didn’t have any. It was about 10pm at this point and I was so irritated and just wanted to go home and watch TV.

And this is where I pick up and start the birth story of my Sunshine Babe.

Looking back now, I see the subtle hints my body was sending to me to settle down, take it easy, and prepare to meet my baby. But I didn’t know because it was my first time and I had no idea what to expect really.

A Touch of Spring

Spring this year has been so refreshing and revitalizing for me. The flowers in bloom seem extra vibrant and lively, as if God knew I needed a bit more happiness after the emotionally hard winter.

I’ve enjoyed capturing little glimpses of the spring time beauty and wanted to share a few photos with you guys. I hope this season is treating you well.