When You Need Spring

Loveys, I have this life cycle I'm constantly living through.

Bangs and no bangs.

It's actually much trickier than you might think. This means that many months out of every year, I go through 'growing out my bangs.' This is a tragedy. Then I get bangs again (yay!) then I inevitably need a break from them. I'm in the 'growing them out' stage of life right now. Sad. I tell the Jeffster that my bangs are giving me a true, literal headache, and he never understands.

I wonder why I ever get them.

I wonder why I ever grow them out.

It's tough.

You know what else is tough? Springtime snow and sniffles and sore throats. Which is what's happening at my house right now. We woke up to a little unexpected snow this morning. And all my kids woke up feeling not great. Lily's feeling the worst. She sneezed on me all night. And she's gone through almost a whole roll of toilet paper (please, Jeff, bring home tissues) because she constantly tells me she needs a clean tissue for her tiny nose. Her nose hurts and her throat hurts and she's miserable and it makes me so sad when my kids are sick. So I'm thinking we'll be homebound for the rest of the week and hope she feels better.

I need springtime for real.

I need green grass and warm days and flowers and strawberry salsa (sorry, the Food Network is on in the background). This pale body of mine needs Vitamin D.

And on these days, when I'm worn out because we didn't get much sleep, I'm worried about the kids, I have zero energy to pick up one thing--on these days, I start longing for what's not here yet, but it's coming. Do you ever feel that? It's around the corner and it'll get here eventually, but today there's still snow. This can be so many things, guys. Longing for your relationship to get to a better place. Longing for what used to be or what needs to be. Longing for change or something new. Longing for stillness and personal time (what's that you say? Is personal time an actual thing?). Longing for adventure. Longing for quiet. Longing for healing. Longing for vacation for heaven's sake!

I think this comes for me at the end of every winter. I've lived in Colorado for 14 years. We've had snow at least once in May every year. And by that point, I'm so desperate for summer that I growl when  it's cold. We're transitioning to spring over here. A few buds. A tiny bit of green grass under the snow. It's beautiful in our mountain town, because in the distance, you can see snow-capped peaks everywhere, but down in the foothills everything's coming back to life. We went to church Sunday all dressed up for Easter and the kids woke up to baskets and chocolate. Spring is here (despite the wind chill) and I need it in so many ways. Rebirth. Rejuvenation.

Have you ever seen the movie The Passion? I confess I was only able to sit through it once and won't ever again because that's hard to see--but there was this one part that has stuck with me forever. When Jesus is broken and battered, and still says to Mary (who's feeling all these heart-aching things I can't even fathom), "See, Mother, I make all things new."

I literally sobbed through that whole movie, but that part, that's what my small, sometimes wavering faith clings to always.

He makes all things new. Maybe not all at once. But it's coming.

I think our souls need to be made new sometimes. I think we need spring after winter. Hope amid fear. And for me, I think there are times I need to clean closets and air out the house and put tulips in a vase. And maybe go out for grapefruit cocktails and appetizers with friends. (Sadly, none of those things will be happening this week for me.)

Week before last was spring break for the kids, so our family took a quick trip to South Dakota to see Mount Rushmore. We got there and it was snowing like crazy and I was going crazy while trying to find all the winter jackets and gloves and hats in the mess and chaos that comes with road trips and families. And then, when I finally got everyone bundled to go see Mount Rushmore in a snowstorm (and yes, there were moments of me saying to Jeff, What are we DOING here?), the sun came through and drove away all the clouds and it was gorgeous (still cold but gorgeous). The snow was gone in an instant (kind of like how it is in Colorado). And we had a great time and made memories and experienced something new. We took the trip because we so needed to just get out of town and have a little adventure. Do you ever feel that way? We stopped in little mountain towns like the one below (Deadwood, Jeff insisted), spent the night in a hotel (which thrills the kids beyond measure), and saw new things.

We made it through spring break and Good Friday and then Easter and those were all good things. Now this week, my kids are down for the count and I can see more sleepless nights in our future. It reminds me that I'm weak sometimes. I get tired. Jeff gets tired. You know those days.

And sometimes we're facing more than a seasonal sickness that wipes us out for a few days, sometimes it's bigger and scarier. Or it's depression or anxiety and we can't pull ourselves out of it no matter how hard we try. Or we're lonely and need people to reach out to us. Maybe we need to feel like we're loved and seen. Maybe we need change. Maybe we just really need a date night.

Loveys, sometimes winter feels long. But spring is coming and He makes all things new. Good news on both accounts.

I can hardly believe it's already April, but that means we've got only two more months till school's out and summer's here. Two more months until Ash is finished with fourth grade and Linc is finished with first. Good grief! How did I get here?

It's one of those weeks at my house, loveys. Ice cream for sore throats and medicine for runny noses and exhausted moms and dads. Most likely there will be doctor visits. For sure there will be pajamas and ordering pizza at some point and more cartoons than I can count.

And in it all, we're lucky to have each other. I can see outside that the snow from this morning has melted. It's time to get the kids from school and feed everyone and prepare for a long night with Miss Lily.

Like my mother used to do for me and my sisters.

It seems to me, especially in the seasons of longing for something or hoping for something, that we need each other so much.

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?