Friday, April 22, 2011


last summer, before mr.a left, we spent a lot of time just having fun; being silly and carefree. i guess we knew there would be plenty of hard days ahead; so it was like we were building this foundation of happy memories to balance out potential pity or resentment, future sadness and loneliness. as much as we just wanted to enjoy every moment together and ignore the mountain ahead of us, inevitably there were times we had to talk about It.

i'll never forget one of those conversations when he said,
we're not all coming back.
it shocked me that he would even say that. i guess subconsciously i thought, if you didn't think about it (and certainly didn't speak of it), it wouldn't happen. that somehow our ignorance would control our fate and it would always be "someone else."

last week, it was someone else. twice.
someone's son. someone's brother. someone's uncle. someone's husband. someone's daddy.
spc. don nichols and sgt. brent maher, both serving in the iowa national guard,
lost their lives in two separate ied attacks.

when it's not your someone you vacillate between grief and relief.
you cry for them and pray for their families. you send your condolences and donate money. you want to honor them and remember their sacrifice.
but at some point you have to stop. 

that may sound sterile, but fear is debilitating. and when your soldier is still fighting, you can't live each day thinking, that could've been us. there is a delicate balance between honoring the soldiers and protecting your sanity. some days i'm a little too close to the grief, others i'm admittedly too close to relief.

this isn't my most-eloquent moment, but it's taken me a week just to get to this point. i couldn't bring myself to blog about anything else until i got some of these thoughts out. i know there is more i could say. or probably less. my thoughts and emotions are really jumbled and, honestly, i just need to end this post.

my heart is very heavy.  

Thursday, April 14, 2011


last night i got to meet one of my personal heroes.
ann lamott has written several non-fiction books on life and faith that have challenged and encouraged me over the years. she has also written some novels that i have really enjoyed and an instructional book on writing that i was assigned to read for a playwriting class in college.
anyway, when i heard she was coming to speak in des moines with the AViD series (for free, no less), i was really excited. my dad and i went together and we got there early enough to sit in the front row! and she signed one of my books!
hearing her speak was just like reading her books. she is frank and honest and so funny! it was inspiring and gave me a lot to think about.

like, where to hang my poster-size print of this picture...
have you ever met one of your heroes?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


lately it has felt so summery here! i have to keep reminding myself that it's only april! today i even got my first (and hopefully last) sunburn of the season.
officially adding sunscreen to my daily routine. i know, i know. it should be part of my routine year-round...
also adding: new warm-weather hairstyles. like this one, that i tried to copy from
this cute little girl. (no really. she's a girl. she's like, 10 years younger than me. and for some reason i think i can pull off the same hairstyle.) anyway... i need some practice, but it was nice having it up & out of the way on this hot, windy day. 

my best friend gave me this shirt-dress for my birthday.
she just...knows. she knows what i like. (or what i will like even if i don't like it yet!) she knows what looks good on me.
she even knew my i've-gained-ten-pounds size!

now that's a good friend.
dress: anthropologie, birthday gift!
belt: banana republic, thrift
earrings: banana republic
flip-flops: j.crew

Monday, April 11, 2011


today even my mom called me out on my lack of blogging. and she's aware of almost everything that happens in my whole life!!! so here's a little run-down massive photo-dump of what we've been doing the past few weeks...

for my birthday, my super-awesome, so-thoughtful sister planned a little jaunt up to the twin cities for my two favorite things: shopping and eating.  i didn't do too much shopping, but the eating was phenomenal. the meal below is definitely in my top five best. meals. ever.
after dinner we went to this super-hip, yet old-school cocktail bar.  
they make everything per order completely from scratch.
the bar was tucked in this gorgeous boutique hotel. every wall, every space was textural and beautiful and interesting. i thought it might be boring if i took pictures of every wall, floor and ceiling in the place....but now i'm wishing i had!
our church has its annual easter egg hunt coming up, so last weekend a group of us passed out flyers in local neighborhoods. it was a warm day, but we had fun and the kids were troopers!

piper's sweet dress was a gift from my best friend (and her godmother)...  
the other night, quinn sauntered into the room and i couldn't stop laughing long enough to take a decent picture!
please note the skinny legs and diaper down to her knees. 
the girls have a new lease on life now that they can play outside... 

and here's a few weeks worth of iphone photos...

the girls had their monthly bath.
(that's not an exaggeration.) 
they've been rewarded with ice cream for tolerating the jogging stroller on long saturday runs.... 

new lighting in the kitchen!
(the one thing i bought on our shopping/eating trip!)
a nice afternoon with the in-laws... 
the blooms in front of our house make me verrrry happy... 

and lastly, a friday night living-room camp-out... 

hopefully that gives you a better idea of what's been keeping me away from the blogosphere the past few weeks. it's been sooo nice to spend time outside without cursing the bitter cold and dreary skies. plus, i love being able to send the girls outside to play while i fix dinner or... just for no reason at all. i hope spring is making its way to you!
and if it hasn't, i promise it'll be worth the wait!

Wednesday, April 06, 2011


after yesterday's hermitage, we were out & about all day today.
it was one of those days that was just good for the soul.
.perfect weather.
.a great workout.
.first flowers bloomed of the year.
.an afternoon sans kids.
.being able to shower & get ready in peace. (see above.)
.rolled-down windows.
.browsing at some of my favorite stores.*
.cheap surprises for the girls that they loved.
 (elmo figurine for q, stickers for p.)
.family dinner.  
.lots of smiles and laughs.
it was a great leave-home day.

perfectionists beware:
i have an aversion to folding my jeans symmetrically.

cardigan: forever 21
t-shirt: j.crew
tank: gap (outlet)
jeans: target
pink bracelet: j.crew
silver: maybe f21?
keds: gap

*i realized this week that, out of the entire set of drinking glasses that mr.a & i bought when we were first married, we have three left. three. three! we have several wine & beer glasses, but it seems a little odd to offer guests water in a glass that says sam adams.
so today i was on a mission to replace our drinking glasses. i went to pier 1, tj maxx, tuesday morning, marshall's and world market and didn't find anything i really loved. after having the same glasses for six years, i'm ready to find something different and, realizing they'll be around for a while, i really want to make sure i like them a lot. i made the mistake of looking online and of course i found several that i love (these, these, these, and these) but i think i should probably spend less. so tomorrow i'm going to check a few other places. i may need to just settle on something and give up on my dream glasses.
ok, i know i sound like a freak. whatever. when your husband's deployed you're allowed to be preoccupied by completely meaningless things like new drinking glasses and finding easter shoes for your kids. it helps the time pass.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011


stay-home day.
lately piper gets really excited when we have a "stay-home day."
in the morning, she'll ask if it's a preschool day or a sunday school day or a friends day. if the answer is none of the above, she is thrilled.
homegirl is a homebody.
it's hard to get out of pj's on stay-home days. but today we had some company coming later on, so i compromised with this outfit.

it's actually kind of pajamas in disguise.
legging/pants (peggings?), a comfy cardigan and cozy scarf.
50% outfit, 50% p'jams.

excuse my blurry lens. the littlest arganbright loves to sneak my camera away and play with the little doors on the lens.

cardigan: j.crew
tee: j.crew
peggings: forever 21
scarf: old navy

Friday, April 01, 2011


this post was going to be called m.i.a... but when your husband is in a war and you haven't blogged in a week, it's probably not the best choice of words.

i took an unplanned break from blogging this week.
here are my excuses...

1. i've been cheating on my blog with my dorkbox. i've been dorking out, playing scrabble non-stop. i'm addicted. i told mr.a i might have to delete the app from my phone. you know you're lonely when you start to daydream about your anonymous scrabble oponent. (not weird daydreams, you sicko! just nice ones where they compliment me on my 51-point word and we commiserate over having all vowels.)
2. we are really blessed to have a free membership to the YMCA because of mr.a's deployment. but part of the agreement is that you have to use your membership at least 8 times a month. no big deal, right? welllll....i didn't go a single time while mr.a was home, so we had a lot of catching up to do in the last week of march. it's hard wrangling two kids to the gym. especially when there are limited hours that they provide childcare. but we did it!
3. i mentioned before that i'm training for my first race. let me preface by saying i've never, ever been a runner. i enjoy working out, but had no desire to run. embarassingly, when i first started training, i probably couldn't run a single mile without walking some of it.
and, silly me, i decided that my first ever race would be... a 20k. yipes!

so this week was my first real week of following a training schedule. up until this point i'd just been trying to squeeze in 2 or 3 runs a week. but, if i'm going to do this (and i am going to do this), i can't just wing it. i really have to stick with my schedule and put the time in. i'm pretty nervous about it, but i know i'll feel incredible when i finish. (btw: i'm a notorious quitter. so it's a big deal for me, personally, to do this.) anyway, all that time spent running has to come from somewhere, and unfortunately it has edged its way into my blogging time.
4. so....i have these two kids. and sometimes i'm selfish and i just want to do stuff that i want to do (ie: blog) so i'm like, "hey kids, you like tv, right?" but that's not really the kind of mom i want to be. (at least not all the time.) and lately piper's temperament has really changed which makes it so much more fun to be her mom. frankly, it's about damn time. (haha, just kidding. but seriously. the terrible two's lasted waaaay too long for my sanity.) she's become so much more obedient, responsive, and sweet. and i'm so thankful for it. so the three of us have been having a lot of fun without much electronic intervention. except...scrabble.
anyway, i've missed blogging, but it was good for me to have a little time-out.
i've realized i need to be more organized (not my strong suit) if i'm going to keep all these balls in the air.*

*is that even a saying? isn't there something about juggling stuff? or wheels spinning? or is it plates that spin? i don't know. i'm picturing a performer at the zoo riding a unicycle and spinning plates and throwing puppies or... something.**
**this is what happens to my brain when i don't write for a week. but hey! i now know almost every legitimate two-letter word in scrabble!