All the Good Things

Loveys, there's a new member of my family. My baby sister had her very own baby. Virginia Rose Falwell is not even two weeks old and she's already so adored by her whole family. My three little kiddos have a new cousin who we've been waiting anxiously for. I spent last week in Virginia, hopping between my parents' house and my sister and brother-in-law's home. That week was filled with moments I'll hold in my heart forever. There's nothing quite like those quiet, middle-of-the-night snuggles with a brand-new baby. It's been three years since I had those with Miss Lily, and I will absolutely treasure those moments I got to have with my niece Virginia. She's so precious and she's so lucky to have truly wonderful parents. Laura and Wes have been amazing from the start. I'm proud of both of them.

I arrived back in Denver at three a.m. to my own bleary-eyed babies and the Jeffster, with flowers and kisses. I missed my people and it's always good to be home. Goodbyes are always more sad than hellos, but life tends to be filled with both of them. And life is a gift. My parents dropped me off at the airport in Lynchburg (then I called them and asked them to come back with Chick-fil-A. #momanddadlife ). And I came home with a heart full of new memories.

I'm home now to writing projects and freelance edits and a messy house and lots to do. The Jeffster juggled everything for a week without me and did such a fantastic job--MANY thanks also to my wonderful friends June and Danielle for helping too. Love you both.

Miss Lily's third birthday is right around the corner and I can't believe it. She crawled in bed next to me sometime in the middle of the night, and this morning, she wanted one arm around me and one around Jeff and she said she loves her family. (Yes, my heart melts!) Time seems to be flying. Then there are all these moments--like rocking a baby in the middle of the night or getting some important news or snuggling with your three-year-old after having been away--where time seems to stand still. You hold on to how you feel and try to commit it to memory. Then time moves on and pulls you with it.

I remember the day Laura was born, the experience of that day has stuck with me all these years. It felt a bit surreal to walk into the hospital room just about nine hours after baby Virginia was born, and see Laura there as a new mother (looking gorgeous by the way. Unfair).

Time moving on, and time standing still, loveys.

I'm so thankful and I love my family so much.

We're ready for spring and summer over here. Warm weather (hopefully), spring break, birthday cake--all those good things. Speaking of good things, I have some fun book news coming soon via my newsletter later this month. If you haven't signed up for that, plug your email into the newsletter sign-up on the sidebar to the right.

What about you, loveys? Ready for spring? Chocolate eggs and pastel dresses and flip-flops? Spring feels like hope to me. And hope is very welcome at my house.

Come on in.

Almost the End of an Era

Loveys, we're more than halfway through February. Can you believe it? I'm snug indoors with Lily right now, it's warmed up from -3 this morning to a balmy 4 degrees now. I can just tell you I don't like it when it's this cold outside. We've had a super mild winter in Colorado so I can't complain too much. But bundling kids and sending them to school when it's below zero never makes me happy. Maybe it's the Texan in me. We'd pull out heavy coats when it was forty-nine degrees. Negative three feels unnatural to me.

February has felt like such a packed month and there's more to come. We've had valentines and birthday parties. Jeff and I celebrated our 15-year wedding anniversary. (That feels like a long time, but this November actually marks twenty years we've been together. That's definitely a long time.) My mother's birthday came and went. My sister's due date came and went yesterday. Lots going on for my family.

One of my best girlfriends and I went out for drinks and dinner the other night, the night before she started her new job, and we both were talking about the fact that it feels like we're almost at the end of an era. We've been friends for more than a decade now, and those years have been filled with life changes, namely in the way of us having babies and growing our families. The baby years are something special. I had tea and cake recently with another girlfriend, who again, I've been friends with for a decade, and we were saying the same things. We've just about finished potty-training Lily over here, and that feels like the end of a chapter in itself. All my kids potty-trained? No more diapers? What in the world! We're just about there and it's bittersweet of course. Ashtyn turns ten later this year. It's been ten years since I saw that first flutter of a heartbeat on the sonogram machine. Ten years since I became a mother. The best ten years of my life, hands down.

I mentioned that Jeff and I just celebrated our 15-year anniversary. Getting married, living life together, having kids--it goes fast, doesn't it? Who knew when we met so long ago in Texas that we'd end up in Colorado, going on 14 years now? Good days, hard days, days that change you forever. Days you want to forget, but more that you want to remember. Life is a gift, loveys. In June, my parents will celebrate their 40th anniversary. Forty years together. That's a very long time.

Tonight at bedtime, Jeff told me that Ashtyn asked him what his dream for his life was. (She asks him a question about his life/childhood every single night at bedtime.) So I asked him what he told her. He said that his kids were his dream, becoming a dad was his dream.

Obviously that makes me want to just cry. Even now.

Becoming a mom has been the best dream of my life. 

Family. Love. Grace. These things matter the most to me.

We're 15 years into this marriage. Ten years into this thing called parenting. And I'm so thankful. The dedication above is what I wrote in my book The Last Summer. I didn't tell Jeff during the whole process of the book being published. Not until I received the first proof copy did I show him. That's a moment I want to remember.

It's cold here tonight. And mild winter or not, I feel so ready for spring and summer and warmth. My new niece will be arriving any day now. A new, tiny member to our family. So exciting! We're on baby countdown over here. I can remember those last few nights, waiting on my own babies to be born. It's such a surreal experience.

Yes, February has been packed and it's not over yet. Then March comes and our little Miss Lily turns three on St. Patrick's Day. (She asks me every day when is it her birthday.)

Winter will end and spring will come and we hold tight to the people we love. How's the year going for you so far, loveys?

Going Out and Staying In

Last night was our neighborhood girls' night out (heck yes!) and as I was leaving the restaurant, I was thinking about how there's something about twinkle lights that makes everything better. Our little Colorado town has lots of twinkle lights, so there must be a woman somewhere in charge who understands these things.

Those lights make what could be ordinary suddenly magical, romantic, and exciting. We need that extra help to make things special sometimes.

This past week was a doozy. Appointments every day, and concern over kids and everything else, and not enough sleep by a long shot. Are you guys afraid of the flu!? I don't want to take my kids anywhere! We all got the flu shot. But I know my little Lily's immunity can't be great living off Vienna sausages and mac-n-cheese (no judgment please! It's a miracle to find things this two year old will consent to eat.) I just want to stay inside until peak flu season is over.

So it's been a draining week, emotionally and physically, and here we are at the weekend and I've got a project to work on. But FIRST I must spend a large part of my life creating new passwords for everything from Spotify to Goodreads to Wordpress and beyond. And I know all the passwords are the same ones because I'm not that creative. If I am, I'll never ever remember it. So here I am, feeling accomplished because I've changed a million passwords today. Excellent. Maybe I can listen to a song on Spotify before dark.

The very frustrating thing is that this accomplished feeling will probably come again, next week, when I have to change them again. This happens when you keep erasing your web history because you're afraid of weird, fake Amazon pop-ups, telling you you've won things, and you know they're lying because you never win anything.


Here we are. Despite the absolutely crazy week, I also had book club and girls' night out, and there was no way I was missing them because being around friends and drinking cocktails helps on weeks like this one. You know what else helps? Twinkle lights.

We're in a tricky phase with Lily. The kind we're still in with Linc. Where they NEVER sleep. Lily was wide away last night at 10:30. Maybe fifteen minutes ago she used to go to bed at 7:30 like clockwork. Now we're in a new world. Zombie children or not, I'm just going to keep praying they don't get the flu because I love them to the point of obsession. I can't help it. They're everything. I suppose I'll sleep one day.

Last night was the first time in a long while that I've gone out to dinner with girlfriends. I need more of that in my life, I'm sure. I don't mind being home though. I love being home. I love Netflix marathons with Jeff more than anything. He brings me Cadbury eggs and I love him. But sometimes, when the phase of life you're in becomes all-consuming (for example, when you're potty-training your two-year-old--almost three!), escape is important for sanity. So I'm going to have to pencil in more of those kinds of moments. I'm going to have to seek out twinkle lights. And friends, come to think of it.

January is almost over and I think I'm okay with that. It was a tough one. I'm ready to move on. What's next? Heart boxes and chocolate and February, and the arrival of my new little niece! Exciting times, for sure.

How's it going for you, loveys? Is this year running you ragged so far, like mine is? Or are you keeping up with the pace and holding your own? When things get rough, I recommend finding a little mountain town that strings up pretty white lights to make things special. A grapefruit cocktail doesn't hurt either. Or maybe you need a night in with your favorite movie and a cup of tea. (I need that like every 24 hours.)

Find a little peace and respite wherever you can because we need it.