Summer Garden Update.

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We did this thing.

And we might have gone a little crazy.

We had to remove a few trees in our yard. We had a birch tree dying in our front yard, and some red tips rotting behind our mailbox. So when we had the arborist out and got a quote to remove them, we started doing this terrible thing where we dreamed about what would look reeeeeeeally good in place of those trees. Which led to dreaming about what shrubs should go around the new trees and which mulch would look best and perhaps adding a few stones here and there to pull everything together... and somehow we had concocted a full front and back yard landscape plan. All from sitting on our front porch and drinking beer and getting mosquito bites.

Stevie and I are extremely different. We plan differently, we execute our days differently, and we often have these ridiculous arguments over whose way is "more right". But this thing about landscape and outdoor beauty, for some reason, combines our forces in a really agreeable way.

So we just pulled the trigger and went for it.

I often hear people talk about how they fixed up their house before they moved, and by the time they finished the projects, they had fixed up their home so well that they didn't want to move anymore. We don't really want to move anytime soon, but we both really love grass and trees and flowers (and birds and bird feeders and bird watching...), so we decided to invest in some long-term perennials this summer that we can enjoy for many years to come. I can't say that we will live here forever (I truly don't know what the future will bring), but I am loving our outdoor space more and more with each season, and I feel really excited about spending this summer outdoors. Now that I'm not knocked up and trying to avoid potentially zika-infested mosquitos :)

What we did:
We added a pink dogwood tree, a white dogwood tree, a Japanese maple tree and a smattering of blueberry bushes and encore azaleas and knockout roses. We threw in some hydrangeas for good measure and camelias because why not and lorapetalum because we NEEDED them and some geraniums because yeah. Stevie rebuilt part of our fence that was falling over and added a stone walkway because he's my hero. We topped everything off with dark mulch and lined the entire yard with flagstones and oh yeah, we threw in a couple of pallets of pansies because he just had to have them. And like I said, it was so much fun agreeing that I couldn't say no to such things.

So here we are. Spending our mornings drinking coffee in our rockers on the front porch, gazing out on our grassy knoll and our evenings grilling burgers on the back porch, gazing at the wonder of our little Eden and it makes me happier than last year's squirrel-infested tomato garden ever could (they ate ALL my tomatoes, those little rascals). We are enjoying the updates of our home without an impending move ahead of us. And we are well on our way to creating my dreamy English cottage garden (which is the master plan). Little by little, it's happening :)

What are some of your favorite perennials? I know it's not very millennial of me to share about landscape-such things here, because it seems like most people my age aren't into landscape, but I just looooove it. If you're a crazy plant lady, tell me what you're dreaming of planting in your yard!

That Momiform.

This is the day that the lady at Sams Club didn't take my picture for the membership card. She was all, "You don't look like you're ready to have your picture taken, you can get it taken next time." Oops. Little did she know, 60 seconds before I walked in the door, we took these photos for the blog. I wanted to talk momiforms with you guys - you know, the real clothes us real mamas wear when we're momming. I thought walking into a big box store makeup free and double-timing the stroller and buggy depicted mom reality well...? Don't worry, we didn't switch our membership from the reigning king, Costco. Long live Costco, you guys. It doesn't discriminate against my scruffy vibe :)

While I value and appreciate the art of delicious fabric and custom tailoring, the truth is that I barely ever wear those cute clothes that hang in my closet. Most of the time, I am a bit unwashed and throwing on the cleanest clothes on the top of my stack of laundry. Lately, this consists of these nursing tanks, these oversized tees and these loose-fitting chino shorts (currently 25% off!) Sandals or sneakers, depending on the need for the day. I have a super big baby, so I like to wear sneakers to keep myself supported for the long haul of the day :)

Below are a few links that are perfect for everyday wear that give me an alternative to the other mom uniform I'm often sporting - yoga pants and a tank top. Thank God athleisure is a thing, can I get an amen?

Have any favorite basics that you are constantly rotating through in your closet? I would love to know if you have any comfy ideas I should be adding to my routine!

My 3 Wavy-Hair-Don't-Care Products.

My hair is one of my favorite things about myself. As I am in a season of unearthing what's going on in my heart, I'm trying my best to be intentional about meditating on things I like about myself. When it comes to this postpartum body of mine, I can easily get distracted by focusing on the things that aren't what they used to be, but I don't want to focus my energy on being negative towards myself. My hair is one of my favorite things about my body because I feel like it fully represents me - kind of crazy/relaxed/free/unique. What do you like about yourself, friends? If you're finding it hard to pick something out, I encourage you to spend a little time today finding something you really appreciate about yourself. It's a reeeeeal good exercise. Like giving you a good hug.

I would hug you right now if I could.

So, as for this mane - I love this time of year when the weather warms up because I don't have to blow-dry my sometimes-mangy gigantic hair. I have really thick long hair, so when it's cold outside, it's necessary to blow dry it or else I walk around with a sopping head for 3/4 of the day and it makes me super cold. But when the weather warms up, I like to forgo all that time (blow drying takes forever!), and just let my hair air dry with the help of a few products that keep it tamed down AKA beaten into submission. For those of you who like to give your hair a break from heat styling (and save time!), I thought I would share a few products that have consistently worked for me over the past few years.

I don't like using a ton of products. Like everything else in my life, I have very little time to spend on fussing with my hair/makeup/clothes, so I try to keep things around that perform excellently and do the work for me.

1. Honest Company Detangling Conditioner
This stuff works like a charm and, actually, Everett and I share this product equally. I use it right after I get out of the shower, and he uses it after his nightly bath. I never really imagined I would share hair products WITH MY SON, but it works so well for both of us and smells really good without having that annoying, fragrance-y scent like so many beauty products. I've raved about my love for Honest before, but this is one of those products that just works, so I keep working it. I spritz it on my towel-dried hair after I shower and it does a great job closing the cuticle and giving my hair a little extra moisture.

2. Biolage Whipped Volume Mousse
This is the first mousse I've even used that doesn't harden the hair in an annoying way. I like my hair to still feel like hair, and this one does a great job of taming it and capturing the waves in the nicest kind of way, without actually hardening them into a sculpture. You know what I mean? I put a ping-pong ball sized dollop in my palm, flip my head over and distribute this throughout mid-shaft to the ends of my hair, avoiding the roots entirely.

3. 12 Benefits Healthy Hair Treatment
This spray gives my locks a little bit of texture and helps separate my waves so they remain touchable. You know how some texturizing sprays can be sticky/tacky/waxy feeling? This one doesn't do any of that - it feels like you've been on the beach for the first hour of the day and your hair is just getting some good breezy salt mixed all around. It's just really, really nice. I keep this one in my Amazon shopping cart and re-order it periodically. I spritz this on when my hair is still wet, and once I do, I'm done!

And there you have it! I use these in the order listed on the days that I wash my hair, then let it air-dry. If I want a little extra oomph or I don't want to give it the time to air-dry, sometimes (only sometimes) I will use my hair dryer with the diffuser attachment and blow dry it on medium heat. This zaps some of that extra moisture and works if I have to be somewhere looking "put together" soon. But most of the time I just have to be at my son's play table, making play dough or dolling out the pb+j or something of that kind. I try to let my hair go for a few days like this before washing it again - by days 2,3 and 4 I am usually braiding it or throwing it up in a top knot. And here is a really fun post from my friend Lauren on how to work that dirty hair for all it's worth.

Happy warm weather hair to you, friends! Now tell me - what attribute do you really really like about yourself. I want to hear! I really do.

P.S. - Wearing this tank, which is my favorite new thing. How often can I wear it without it being too often?

Lessons from My Mother.

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My mom taught me most things by simply doing them herself.

For instance, my mom didn't tell me to exercise because it was good for me. But she took me along with her while she did it. I remember many evenings of watching the sun go down while we ran the stairs at the high school football stadium during my sister's cheer practices, or how she was adamant about going for a brisk walk after dinner, or how she always invited me to join her for her morning 6am swim she did 3 seasons a year.. She showed me that good health was important, that it was worth her time and energy and focus. Yes - she was truly that disciplined. Still is, actually. I chalk it up to her catholic school girl roots.

Now that I'm getting older, I find myself in awe of my mother more and more. She lives with such intention and grace, in some ways I feel like I fall so short of the example she's set. But I guess that's why it's called a journey, right?

She's the mom that prayed for me every morning in the car ride on the way to school, the woman who invited strangers over for Thanksgiving dinner because "everyone needs to be loved during the holidays", the woman who folded six stacks of laundry before dawn and gave me and my sisters her hard-earned Christmas bonuses so we could shop for presents for our friends. She's bossy, she's opinionated, incredibly witty, and she says words like "sex" that always make me and my sisters giggle because it sounds like "sax" with her little Michigan accent. She's a magnet, my mother. Everyone is drawn to her light, even I am still stunned by her, after all these years of knowing her, flaws and all. She's not perfect, she doesn't pretend to be perfect, but we do sort of tease that she's like Mary Poppins, "practically perfect in every way."

I wish everyone felt this way about their mother. I know that's not the case. I don't mean to make her sound like a cartoon-y, idealist kind of woman, but ask anyone - she's the real deal. And also, I just really get a kick out of her. Because aside from all the wisdom she dispenses at a moment's notice, she also wears teenager-y rompers from Target and for mother's day this year she invited me to go get an organic spray on tan with her. I was like, "Wait, what? You do that??" She's ironic in the funniest, coolest kind of way.

She lost her own mother at age 19, and my mind is blown over how (seriously - howww?) she did adulthood without her mom guiding her. Because I would be lost - lost, you guys - without her.

And even though she's led mostly be example and less so by words, I wanted to share a few lessons I've learned from her little sayings throughout the years. In light of Mother's Day :)

  • Prayer is more powerful than you can imagine. Pray, pray and then pray some more. For anything and everything - pray.
  • Lipstick brightens your face, so if you're only going to wear one item of makeup, make it lipstick.
  • Always take a walk after dinner. It's the best thing for your digestion and metabolism.
  • Clean up after yourself before you leave a room. That way you won't have a trashed house at the end of the day.
  • Think before you speak.
  • Use borax when you do a laundry load of whites.
  • When people ask you for help, help them. Even when it's for help in Target and you don't work there but for some reason they think you do ;)
  • When you see an ambulance pass by with sirens, pray for life for that situation.
  • Just stop eating GMO food already.
  • While we're on the topic of GMO food, when you do find non-GMO popcorn, purchase a bulk order of it. (It's her favorite all-time snack).
  • When hosting a party, serve less appetizers than you think you need and more drinks than you think you need. And always, always have a catered Publix dessert on hand. People like petit fors.
  • The ocean can solve a myriad of problems tangled up in your head. When in doubt, drive to the beach and let it calm your mind.
  • Forgive everyone and don't hold grudges. Unforgiveness will damage your heart for the long run.
  • Vacuum underneath your baby's crib once they're asleep. It will help them learn to adapt to noise, and also, your floors could always use a good vacuum (her sentiments, perhaps not mine...)
  • Never mop before a party. People won't notice your floors. Mop immediately after the party so that your floors are cleaned up from all the people.
  • Read ingredient labels.
  • Deer don't eat geraniums. So plant lots and lots of geraniums.
  • Never stop doing your research.
  • Visit Michigan in the summer because there is nothing like a summertime bonfire along the Great Lakes.
  • Being married and having children is the hardest and best thing you will ever do.
  • Live close to where you and your husband work. Commuting sucks and ultimately it keeps you from having quality family time.
  • Don't forget this one - It's all about Jesus.

Happy Mothers Day to all of you amazing moms who lead largely by example and a little by words. I hope your day is sweet and I hope you are celebrated in the way that makes you feel like the most loved, appreciated, treasured women you are. :)

P.S. - My first mothers day and revelries of my mother.
P.P.S. - The top photo is an old one of my mom and Everett at Serenbe Farms from when he was just over a year old. I love their relationship, it makes my heart melt a little bit :)