Saturday, October 30, 2010


walking by woods.
when mr.a and i were first married, we lived near these woods. sometimes he would go off for hours; walking, exploring, just enjoying the silence. he needed that time. but i remember occasionally, as an insecure young bride, taking it personally that he would need this time away from me.
now i understand that he needed that time to breathe deeply, to be silent, and to return home refreshed.
today i walked just inside the edge of the woods.
the air was clear and cool. the woods were quiet.

after a long week meeting the demands of two little girls, i needed that moment alone. a moment to take a deep breath and be completely silent.
it would probably take a week in those woods for me to return home completely refreshed; but that brief walk was enough for today.

leather jacket: jones new york, $90 ('08)
scarf: urban outfitters, $15
3/4 tee: j.crew, $15
cargos: sanctuary, $55
shoes: toms, $40

Friday, October 29, 2010


shades of gray.

 we're in a gray area. limbo.
some days i just want all of this to be over.
i wish that we could just fast-forward through this year.
and then i feel guilty for even thinking that.
i am healthy. my girls are healthy. my husband is healthy.
we are happy and strong and free and blessed.

it seems wrong to wish for more than what we've been given each day.
i feel guilty for considering it a challenge to get out of bed each morning when i have a body that is capable and a life that is beautiful.

but still...

i just want my husband home.
i want my girls to have their daddy. i want to live a "normal" life.
i don't want to be pityed or admired, because i'm neither pitiful or admirable.
just normal in an abnormal life.

a life in limbo. 

button-down: banana republic, $22
t-shirt: j.crew, $9
belt: j.crew, borrowed from sis
shoes: tory burch via ebay, $55
floral bangle: forever 21, $6
beaded bangle: j.crew, $8


reader request, vol. 2
some of you were curious about mr.a & i. how we met, when we got married, our wedding rings, et cetera. i actually wrote the beginning of our story here.
(you may want to read that first...)

mr.a and i had been dating for about a year & a half. though we were young (i was 19 and he was 20), we knew we wanted to get married. we had talked about rings and i'd even sketched a design of what type of ring i would like (simple, but unique). mr.a had asked for my dad's blessing to marry me and after patiently waiting six months, was finally given said blessing...but that's another story!

on christmas eve, our families had planned to have dinner together. we had all been close friends for a long time, so this wasn't unusual to spend a holiday together. everyone sat around talking after dinner until someone mentioned we should go look at christmas lights. everyone seemed to think this was a great way to spend christmas eve. i mentioned that we should go to this neighborhood that always has a theme and every house really goes all out. we jumped in two cars and headed that direction. at some point, our cars got separated (which, little did i know was all part of a big scheme). my brother-in-law suggested we pull into this parking lot to call our parents who were in the other car. there was a big building in front of us and we could see a some people standing out in front. mr.a said we should run over and ask if they'd seen our parents pull in there. that didn't make much sense to me, but everyone else seemed to think it was a good idea. so mr.a and i got out of the car and that's when he said, "i told you we were going to look at lights, but i didn't tell you were going to look at them from a helicopter! merry christmas, babe!" i was so excited! i laughed and gave him a big hug. because he had said, "merry christmas" i assumed this was my christmas present and still didn't think that there may have been more going on.

we got into the helicopter and it was so exciting! this was before we had a digital camera, so sadly i don't have pictures of our trip, but the pilot worked for a local news channel, so he recorded our whole flight. anyway, it was so cool to see all the neigborhoods lit up from the sky. after a while, we flew over an area that was totally dark and there weren't any christmas lights to see. i thought that was kind of strange, but figured he may have just been heading back to the airport or something. then mr.a said, "look out my window! there are some lights over here." i leaned over, and saw a dark field lit up with christmas lights that spelled, MARRY ME
when i looked back at mr.a he was holding the exact ring that i had drawn on a scrap of paper months before. he'd had it made by 2AU, a local jewelry boutique. i can't even remember exactly what he said, but i know i burst out laughing and said yes!
this picture is from when i was pregnant with quinn and was too swollen to wear my rings.

our families were waiting for us at the ankeny airport (which is tiny, that's why i didn't realize where we were when we first arrived) and we took some pictures. the pilot was going in to the news station that night and said he would try to post a picture of us on the 10 o'clock newscast. we all went home to celebrate and watch the news. not only did he post a picture, they showed a video clip of mr.a proposing and congratulated us on the news! (obviously there wasn't much "news" on christmas eve.) it was such an amazing night.
i was 19 when we got engaged and 20 when we got married six months later. that seems so young now, but i was confident in my decision and our wedding day was the happiest day of my life. i'd say we were pretty mature for 20 & 21, but looking back, we've done a lot of growing up in the past 5 years. fortunately, we've grown up together.

today we are literally worlds apart,
but we're closer than ever before.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


the faux-hawk era.

circa 2005.

one time mr.a went snow-boarding for the weekend and came home to a wife with a faux-hawk. i had always wanted to chop off my hair but had never been brave enough. after we got married, i felt so... loved. and safe. i knew i was with someone who really loved me.
not my face or my body or my hair. but me. the inner me. my heart and my mind and my soul. cutting my hair was an outward expression of how i felt on the inside; brave and strong and beautiful. it was liberating.

this is one of the only pictures i still have from that time.
my hair has grown. it has been a variety of colors and styles since the faux-hawk; but the effect it had on me has never changed.

p.s. this is a real polaroid. not an app.
p.p.s i wish i still had that coat!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


i mentioned in my last post that i needed a little boost in the what-to-blog-about department. sometimes i don't know if you guys care to hear about what kind of music i like or what facewash i use. i know i love when bloggers do those "what's in my pantry/purse/ipod" posts. you? sometimes i still don't consider myself a Blogger. yes. Blogger with a capital B.

i love blogging and i love that a handful of people actually read my blog, but that insecure 7th grader inside me is like, "well, like, ummm, make sure you don't like, take it too seriously in case like, one day everyone decides you suck and no one wants to sit with you at lunch and cassie tells everyone that you copied her hair."

you know, just in case.

personally, one of the reasons i love reading blogs is because it's kind of like watching reality tv but without all the smut and f-bombs. (unless you read mfamb. bwahaha!) blogs bring out the inner voyeur in all of us. it's fun to peek into people's homes and lives and closets! right? so, with that, i introduce to you reader requests! i'll try to do at least one reader request post a week (as long as you keep sending in the requests!) you can leave a request/question in a comment or e-mail me at

to start off this series* i thought i'd tell you about my tattoo. some of you noticed it for the first time in this post and requested a better view of it.
this is the huguenot cross. it was the symbol used by the huguenots (who were french protestants, persecuted for their faith) to identify people and places where they would be safe. the cross was shown as a symbol of the bearer's faith.
i will admit: though i knew i specifically wanted the huguenot cross, i wish i would have spent more time researching artists in our area. i wish it was a bit more delicate. however, i'm really glad i got it--the symbolism and meaning is a constant reminder to me of the faith that i have and the grace that God gives me every day. maybe one day i will get it tweaked to bring it closer to my original vision, but most days i think it's just right.

*i feel silly even saying the word i'm taking myself too seriously.
but, can we all agree that this is a series within d.t.w.s.l.d? let me know.


i feel short on words lately. you know how they say women need to say like, 7,000 words every day and men only need to say 700? (or something like that...) well, i hung out with girlfriends today, so i used about twice the normal allotment. so i apologize for not having much left for you!
how about some questions! what would you guys like to know? what do you want me to talk about? anything you wonder about me? or mr.a? or how i manage to not hide in my closet everyday with a bottle of cabernet? (i only do that twice a week...) fire away! i have a few requests i need to respond to and i'll try to do that this week! (tattoo, charm necklace, hairstyling, i have a list somewhere...) let's call this reader request week. (by the way, reader request weeks always start on wednesday. trust me.) 
you ask, i'll tell. you know i love a good excuse to get tmi on your a**.

hoodie: heritage, $18
scoop-neck tee: j.crew, $15
striped tank: j.crew, $15
gray cargos: heritage, $28
flats: tory burch via ebay, $55
dog-tag: mr.a's
charm necklace: miscellaneous


falling in.
today was fully fall.
cold. windy. gray. the only color around was in the gorgeous leaves that were blowing everywhere. it was a beautiful day.
i actually intended to spend the day in a cozy sweatshirt and baggy jeans, but once i started getting dressed, this outfit just sort of... came together.
but, it was so blustery, the only place we went was the grocery store.
the rest of the day was spent snuggling and giggling, watching movies and dancing.
it was a beautiful day inside and outside.

jacket: gap
scarf: anthropologie
shirt: forever 21
jeans: old navy
flats: dsw

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


when my sister and i were little, we'd sing: "M-I-crooked letter, crooked letter, I, crooked letter, crooked letter, I, hump-back, hump-back, I." isn't that weird? did anyone else sing that little song? mississippi has the funnest spelling of all the states so i guess it deserves its own weird little spelling song.

a couple months ago, we found out mr.a would have four days of leave in mississippi. it worked out perfectly for us because his aunt & uncle happen to live near jackson, just a couple hours north of the base (camp shelby). the family owns a large acreage outside of jackson with a beautiful home and pool and a cabin back in the woods! we stayed in the cabin.  it. was. perfect. we had 650 acres of beautiful fields, ponds, forests, and wildlife all to ourselves! absolute solitude.

the property is called port amsterdam because it backs up to the big black river and people used to bring their cotton to the port and send it down the big black which ultimately connects to the mississippi river.

we had a 4-wheeler to ride around on & explore the land.
besides the gorgeous home on the main part of the property, there is a garden with rose bushes, grape vines, and fig trees among other things. the rosemary bushes smelled so delicious!

have you ever seen a real loofah? did you know there was such thing as a real loofah? they grow like gourds on a vine and when they dry out they're perfect for exfoliating! cool, huh?

 on our first full day at port amsterdam, we slept in, ate breakfast on the front porch, and uncle dave came to give us a tour of the property. after he left, we hit up the pool--in our skivvies! like i said, there was no one around and i had forgotten to pack our bathing suits. so...why not?! it was a gorgeous day. warm but not too hot. not humid. the view was gorgeous. and it was quiet. so quiet!

each day we slept in and took our time eating breakfast in the warm sun on the deck and sloooowly got ready. most moms out there know what a joy it is to take your time in the shower, out your makeup on with care, and actually blow-dry your hair! totally underrated.

on tuesday we walked around highland village--a really neat shopping area with great boutiques and restaurants. that night we went to see the social network with our cousin cody & his sweet (and prego!) wife, rachel. (by the way: i wouldn't spend the money to see it in the theater, definitely a renter. unless you're a big JT fan. can't complain about seein' that mug on the big screen!) wednesday we had a really slow morning and hung around our little cabin in the woods. finally we headed out for the day, but got lost & ended up spending a lot of time in the car. we still had a great time and just enjoyed being together.

that night we went to walker's drive-in. it's known as one of the best restaurants in jackson and it certainly lived up to its reputation. but we certainly paid the price. eek. possibly our #1 most-expensive meal ever. but it was divine. delicious. and our last date for a loooong time. so it was worth every penny.

thursday was our last day together. we stuck with our schedule of sleeping in and taking it slow. once we had gathered up our things, we met cindy and took a trip to mustard seed. mustard seed is a ministry for adults with developmental disabilities. our cousin, logan, spends her days there and is getting ready to move into their girls dorm. one of the main things they do at mustard seed is paint (and sell) ceramics. it was so fun to see logan in her element, laughing and joking around with all her friends.
after that, we hit the highway and headed south. we picked up two of our buddies, had dinner and drinks (more drinks than dinner...) and got the boys to the base just in time. they changed into their "pt's" (physical training uniforms) and got into formation.

i honestly didn't feel overwhelmingly sad. i don't know why... maybe because this time i was leaving him, rather than him leaving me? not sure. there are plenty of days ahead to be overwhelmingly sad, but, luckily our last few moments together were just...good.
happy, loving, and good.