mama + papa + two littles = 4

Monday, November 23, 2015

I practically burst into tears upon seeing these photos. Just look at how big my babies are!! With thoughts of gratitude and nostalgia on my mind these days I feel so incredibly lucky that these three people are mine. 
On days when nothing goes right and just breathing in and out seems difficult these three precious souls are what keeps me grounded, keeps me going and reminds me that no matter what I am so very rich. Rich in love. Rich in hugs and slobbery kisses. Rich in the warmth of three bodies surrounding me in bed on chilly mornings. Rich in giggles and laughter. My hands and heart are so very full. 
Thank you so much to our wonderful friend Morgan for capturing these moments!! 

writer's block

Thursday, November 19, 2015

I told my husband the other day that I've had the worst case of writer's block this week. Every day I open this blank page and stare at the blinking cursor and nothing comes out and I close my laptop. As the week worn on I figured out why...
All I've been talking about with friends and family, reading and thinking about has been the news. Paris. Syria. Turkey. I'm trying to understand, to inform myself. To see how I can help, if at all. And honestly, I can't think about much else. At the same time I am afraid to talk about here because 1) it's considered passé for bloggers to talk about politics 2) I fear becoming entangled in an endless mess of political correctness. And yet...
And yet I want to say first and foremost that my heart goes out to the people of Paris and the horrors that they witnessed this past Friday. I want to say that my heart has been aching for the people of Syria and the ongoing crisis there and I continue to research the best way that our family can make ourselves useful there. I also want to say that I understand the bewilderment of some over the coverage of the Parisian attacks versus the daily horror that has been penetrating the lives of people in Syrian and other war-torn countries for decades. To admit that there is a double standard is not taking any side, it is simply stating a known fact. However, this should never be discussed in a way that takes away from the pain that so many families in Paris are feeling and will continue to feel for the rest of their lives.
I couldn't help but engage on Friday. It hit me hard. It's a city I hold near and dear. I walked those streets with my husband. I enjoyed the graciousness and kindness of the Parisians. It was unforgettable. The city is unforgettable. When I first heard the news I could picture it. This is simply human nature - the closer to our hearts the more it hurts, the more "real" it is. And trust me, as I felt all of this I was also bathed in guilt. Guilt for the fact that we are not equally affected by non-Western tragedy. That it's different. Perhaps we as humans will continue to evolve and our capacity for empathy will change and grow. But right now it is undeniable that the western world was visibly more shaken by what happened in Paris.
I had to make sense of these warring feelings for myself; and the way I was able to make peace with it was by reminding myself that whether Syrian or French everyone is a human. And there is no such thing as "too much love" or "too much empathy." And more than anything our capacity for empathy starts at home and I have the blessing and the massive responsibility of raising two people to care for others deeply. And perhaps I can raise them to be better than myself. Perhaps I can raise them in a way that ensures that their heart breaks equally for any person, in any country, suffering from any type of injustice. That's all I cling onto during times like this - that we can do better, be better.
Perhaps I'm completely off base here. I definitely do not pretend to know what I'm talking about, I am certainly no expert in this field. This is just me, a person, sharing with other people what has been on my mind because silence feels inadequate at a time like this.

a handmade holiday

Monday, November 16, 2015

This past year I've discovered so many wonderful little independently owned shops. The items I have purchased from these shops go beyond being delightful and well made. There is just something really nice about knowing who is making the item and in some cases that person becoming your friend! I've had wonderful experiences with all of the shop owners that I share here. Even when something didn't go right they were always gracious and generous. I also think any of these items would make the perfect gift for something special in your life! 

In case you want to peruse any of the shops directly here are their links:

wisdom from the classics: little house on the prairie

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

I read all of the little house books voraciously long before we moved to America and in my mind when landed in JFK that snowy December I fully expected to find myself in some log home in the middle of the prairie, lol. Though we didn't live in a log home on the prairie we got pretty close by spending the first three years of our life here in a tiny little town called Hayward, WI. There were plenty of log homes around and we did in fact catch our dinner sometimes from the myriad of lakes that are clustered around northern Wisconsin. I'll always treasure the memories of our life there... it was such a gentle way to ease ourselves into life in the States.

Looking through the books now it's unbelievable how many gems were stored inside these pages:

“This earthly life is a battle,' said Ma. 'If it isn't one thing to contend with, it's another. It always has been so, and it always will be. The sooner you make up your mind to that, the better off you are, and more thankful for your pleasures.”

“There's no great loss without some small gain.”

“Our inability to see things that are right before our eyes, until they are pointed out to us, would be amusing if it were not at times so serious. We are coming, I think, to depend too much on being told and shown and taught, instead of using our own eyes and brains and inventive faculties, which are likely to be just as good as any other person's.”

“Laura felt a warmth inside her. It was very small, but it was strong. It was steady, like a tiny light in the dark, and it burned very low but no winds could make it flicker because it would not give up.”

“Home is the nicest word there is.”

When I was researching the books and the author for this post I came across some wonderful quotes from a collection of letters that Laura wrote and I just had to share them here too! Hope you enjoy!!

“The real things haven't changed. It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures; and have courage when things go wrong.”

“Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.”

“I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all.”

“As the years pass, I am coming more and more to understand that it is the common, everyday blessings of our common everyday lives for which we should be particularly grateful. They are the things that fill our lives with comfort and our hearts with gladness -- just the pure air to breathe and the strength to breath it; just warmth and shelter and home folks; just plain food that gives us strength; the bright sunshine on a cold day; and a cool breeze when the day is warm.”

“As you read my stories of long ago I hope you will remember that things truly worthwhile and that will give you happiness are the same now as they were then. It is not the things you have that make you happy. It is love and kindness and helping each other and just plain being good. ”

Laura Ingalls Wilder

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