Seashells by the seashore

A friend of mine recently reached out and suggested we should do a little family photoshoot in a spot she had been imagining. Meggan Harrison is a local photographer and has helped me on many projects and captured some seriously special motherhood moments for me. I trusted her and knew she would take beautiful photos but I had never been to where we were going and didn’t imagine it would be as special as it turned out to be.

Literally like 2 minutes away from our home is the tiniest little beach covered in wildlife. A running stream with a little waterfall even and I had no idea! We saw so many variations of grasses and flowers and animals and SEASHELLS! The seashells really stole the show! It was such a special time. It was absolute magic for the girls as they collected shells and threw rocks into the pond, attempting to skip them but we definitely need more practice.

This spot back memories of living in Maine and just felt like such a gift. It was so peaceful and honestly just being in this place healing. I look at these photos and can hear the sounds, smell the smells, and instantly feel what I felt this evening.

Thank you Meggan for such a special evening, for giving us a new favorite spot to make memories, for the treasures that these photos are, and for teaching us that we can hike in clogs!

Thank you so much to Meggan Harrison Photography for capturing some special photos!

Dresses gifted from NothingFitsBut- Kiko Dress Floral Gauze and The Hana Dress for the girls

Momma’s Clogs- Sandgrens– Use the code amandapahls for 15% off.

Red Clogs- Gifted from Lotta From Stockholm

Other shoes girls are wearing gifted from Arvarcas

Hat is happily thrifted

It’s raining linen

As the weather warms up and seasons change, I always feel this urge to change our home up. Spring makes me want to open up all the windows, bask in that warm sunshine, and add lighter and brighter pieces to our home. We have had thunderstorms all week which is my most favorite weather! It has us all wanting to cuddle in bed a little extra, cozy up, and read our favorite stories to the sound of the rain! We have the honor of working with one of our most favorite companies, our friends Garnet Hill to showcase some gorgeous new pieces from their Linen Shop and share some of the changes we have made to our home for Spring! We shared a few months ago about the magic of layering, which you can read here, but I want to also tell you about the magic of linen!

When it comes to decorating, I like to keep things fairly simple. I have learned to really love a pop of linen here and a pop of linen there to cozy up our home! Most of our decor is thrifted, but there’s just something so nice about adding good quality linens to a room! I did the math, and our kitchen is the only room currently without a little Garnet Hill😀 I like to joke around a lot about my love of pillows and blankets, and also maybe chairs and wardrobes, and then also baskets:D But you also need to know about my deep love of linen.

Featuring some of our favorite pieces from the Linen Shop

Garnet Hill celebrates pure linen styles made from sustainable French flax. They have linens in a beautiful range of colors, fun seasonal prints, and with unique details. Their linen bedding is seriously some of the very best! Dudes! Linen has this super soft, buttery, breathable texture, and the best thing is linen bedding is naturally temperature regulating so it’s wicked comfortable any time of year. No getting too hot. No getting too cold! We have slowly worked to replace all of the sheets in our home with quality linen because its just that good! Also, Garnet Hill linens have proven to be easy to clean. And I am saying that as a mother to 4 children under age 8 in the muddiest Spring I can remember…and with NO working washing machine:D That’s another story for another day, but we are currently without a dishwasher, washing machine, and about to undergo some serious house projects! Somehow all of this has had me leaning into trying to cozy things up even more so. The storms have also meant 4 little girls running into our bed every evening, and that has me more grateful for a cozy bedding than ever!

Featuring the perfect Spring Quilt, the Relaxed Linen Quilt

There is a reality that we can be super influenced by our external environments. I have learned that I very much so am. As a home educator, our home is where we spend most of our time. It’s so important for me to feel cozy, simply to function best. My favorite way to decorate is really just to switch out linens throughout our home. Decorating your home should be personal. You should have fun styling your home and creating an environment that makes YOU feel HOME! And linens make me feel right at home:D

When the weather starts to warm up, I like to add brighter whites to each room. I like to layer bright whites with creamier whites to create a fresh, soft look. The longer I write this, the more I realize, my decorating is legit just trading different shades of whites for each season. Maybe a little chair here and another stool there, for sure a crock bowl here and a crock bowl there… But other than that, changing around our linens is the decorating for me:D

I also tend to add more colors during the Spring and Summer months. I change out the girls’ Oatmeal Bedding for Bengal Blue and put away their creamy knits and put out more colorful quilts. I also like to pair thrifted vintage floral pieces with our Garnet Hill linen. A little mix of old and new feels so good to me!

I also want to take a moment to share some of our favorite Garnet Hill picks for the bathroom this Spring. Garnet Hill has a gorgeous Bathroom Collection. We added their Chunky Weave Waffle Shower Curtain to our bathroom last year and have been loving it! They now have her in a Soft Birch color as well that I am hopeful to hang in the bathroom when Fall and Winter come back around. There it is again. The ol’ switch out shades of cream to decorate! It’s the little changes that feel so good, ya know?!

Garnet Hill also just introduced this beautiful soap and brush set that has our whole bathroom smelling like beautiful Marsielle soap. Pretty and practical is my favorite combination! I think this smell will now always remind me of that Spring where Mom laundered the clothing in the tub, where all the dishes were washed by hand, where little mud handprints and footprints were the art covering the house, and where the sound of little girls laughing was the soundtrack always playing in the background. Amanda-your friend who cries while writing blogs a lot these days.

A scene I never want to forget. I’ve always laundered the girls’ tights by hand and hung them to dry. However, this Spring, our 8 year old has officially outgrown every pair. Her 3 year old sister now fits into pairs that were just hers. Something about this Spring has had me more emotional and nostalgic than any I can remember. Holding onto scenes like this one so tightly.

If you know me, you know my love of pillows is the real deal. These Solid Relaxed Ivory Pillow Covers are gorgeous! We have them in Ivory on our bed and in White on our Master Bed, and they make both beds feel so very cozy! And sometimes when I am feeling really wild, I’ll change things up and put the White ones on our bed and the Ivory on the guest bed. I’m a wild girl I tell ya!:D Linens man, they’re just really so nice. Linens make for beautiful gifts, are a simple way to cozy your home, and are truly practical items that make it easier to justify why you need just one more chair and basket to display them and store them in:D

However you like to decorate your home, we hope you’re having a beautiful Spring! I hope you’re dancing in the rain, splashing in puddles, and that all of your major appliances are working 😀 A huge thank you to our pals Garnet Hill for helping us truly make this house feel more and more like our home and for making the art of decorating our home so fun for me!

Disclaimer: This post was made possible by Garnet Hill but all opinions expressed are our own. The links included in this piece are not affiliate links.

Not just a word anymore

Miscarriage. Almost 2 months ago, that was just a word to me. Miscarriage. I mean, I know several friends and family members who have had them, but I legit had no idea what all they entailed or what a miscarriage really was. I guess I just never gave it much thought or maybe it was that I had never heard anyone talk about their experience. I knew they were sad… But I had no idea the real depths of sadness this word carried with it until the moment we delivered our son at 11 weeks.

I have wanted to share our experience in writing, but every time I’ve sat down to write, I simply can’t. But tonight I laid down, and I was ready. November 11, 2020, Norah (our oldest, our 8 year old) came and laid with me in bed and told me she had the most incredible dream. She said that it was so real. She told me that in the dream Chris and I told her and her sisters we were pregnant. She went on and on about how real the dream felt. I kissed her forehead and told her that her dream sounded magical and I was so happy she had such a beautiful dream.

I wanted so badly for her dream to be true. While we weren’t actively trying to get pregnant, I have had such a strong desire for another child. Some days it felt so strong that it felt like someone was actually missing. We would be doing a craft or eating a meal and I would look around and just know someone was missing. The girls had been begging and praying and talking about a baby any chance they got. They wrote Santa and asked for a baby and told him even if it meant they didn’t get any other presents, they wanted me to be pregnant. 🥰

Two days later, it was Friday November 13th. I didn’t have any pregnancy symptoms yet, but a few other events had taken place that made me feel like there was more to Norah’s dream. I took a pregnancy test and those two pink lines showed up right away!!! So I took another☺️ Same thing! I was pregnant! Ahhhh!!! I honestly kind of freaked out and started shaking and was just so excited but also just like whaaaaa?! I texted two of my closest friends, and they both had the same reaction. “AMANDA!” I was so excited/nervous/excited! We were pregnant!!!

I remember walking downstairs and saying to Chris, “Hey, can I talk to you upstairs for a bit?” I knew he knew.🥰Chris’ reaction was different then any reaction her had ever had before. He took a deep breath and said, “Whoa, I feel weird.” He explained that he had never hoped for a son before but he really hoped, and almost just knew this was a boy. Then he explained that he had this really weird feeling that he didn’t want to tell me. That this would be different. That he didn’t want to scare me but he felt really weird. I kind of shook that off and we both decided to move on from that feeling and choose excitement. 

First bump pic I took of baby #5☺️

We told a few other family members in the following days but wanted to keep it a secret, especially from any of our friends from church or friends with children our girls’ ages, because we didn’t want it to accidentally get back to them and ruin the surprise we had planned. We decided telling the girls on Christmas and using their reaction to tell our friends and family would make for the most magical Christmas surprise ! Waiting to tell people was so hard for me because we’ve always gone public with our pregnancies the moment we find out, and I love telling my friends everything as soon as possible, but we so badly wanted to surprise the girls on Christmas! It was so worth the wait!!! I love pregnancy! And labor and breastfeeding and just all of it. The calling our midwife, the sorting through baby clothes, the dreaming of who that baby would be, the rearranging of car seats and bedrooms, and growing into new clothing, and just all of it! I was so excited to tell everyone!!!! 

We did the Sneak Peak blood test and on December 22 we found out our baby was in fact a BOY!!!! As in not a girl, but a boy😳 There was still part of me that was certain it would be another girl, and was so shocked to find out he was a HE. A few days earlier I had heard the name Shepherd and whispered it to Chris, just in case. With all of the girls we only ever had one name we agreed on and that was their name. We hadn’t been able to agree on a girls name at all this time around. I whispered, “What about Shepherd?” Chris looked at me with these wide eyes and was like, “Yasss! That’s so rad. I really like that.” I kind of felt like in that moment, as weird as it kind of felt, that we were pregnant with a boy and his name was Shepherd. We were right☺️

Christmas morning finally arrived. I have never been more excited for anything in my life!! Like I could hardly sleep thinking about the moment we finally got to tell the girls we were pregnant!!! They had been asking, well begging and praying and wishing and talking about their desire for another baby daily for months and months. We planned how we would tell them and it was pure magic! We saved this special present for last. We pretended like all the gift s had been opened and then Chris said, “Oh wait! Wasn’t there one more gift upstairs?!” I brought down a HUGE box that I had filled with special baby blankets, some baby clothing, and the ultrasound photo of our little man. The girls began to open it, thinking the blankets were for them and their babies. Then Norah opened the box with the ultrasound photo. She looked and me and gasped and brought her hands over her mouth. There were tears instantly. She said, “You’re pregnant?! You’re pregnant?! Are you?!” I began sobbing and telling her YES!!… That we were pregnant… And with a little brother!!! We held one another and we all just cried and hugged and laughed pretty much the rest of the day!

The surprise was met with the most beautiful excitement and was just one of the most incredible days of my life! I will never forget how magical that morning was!!! We recorded their reaction and shared that as our very special announcement! Our secret was out! We were going to welcome our first son July 2021!! 

The next few days felt like the most magical days of our whole lives! We told the girls we liked the name Shepherd, like right away and they all agreed they loved it and that it felt like them name of their baby brother!! I mean Ada might have suggested the name Bucket and Frankie the name Cimmanim, but Shepherd had the best ring to it ☺️ The girls were constantly rubbing my belly and saying, “Hello little brother” “Hello little Shepherd” “I’m your sister and, “I love you so much!” The next few days were full of excitement and celebration and also thrifting for baby things☺️ It was all just so amazing! Such a beautiful surprise and just such a special gift!!! 

December 27. We went to church and I was so happy everyone knew our fun secret! It was lots of hugs and congratulations and I just felt so happy!! We spent the day with friends and sanding down his crib! It was a free marketplace find I had found a few years back and gifted to a friend. We joked and I told her I would be asking to borrow it back if we ever had another baby. It was one of the first things I asked her once she knew☺️ I sanded and sanded, imagining what he would look like. I planned for him to have a special little nook in our room and maybe he would eventually sleep in his crib. We co-slept with our girls until… like now 😂 but I still wanted him to have a little crib and a special spot of his own.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CJbvXKagdR5/?igshid=5qiaaxinqd3i

Monday came around and felt this huge urge to pick out his middle name… Nothing felt like it fit. I started thinking of my favorite authors and books and then it hit me!!! LITTLE WOMEN! That’s our story! The girls share the same age gaps as the little March women from the story and it’s just so special to us. Their best friend in the book is the neighbor boy they all love so much. Theodore or Teddy or Laurie they call him. Theodore Laurence. Mr. Laurence’s grandson. Laurence. Shepherd Laurence. It just felt so right! Such a fancy little dude name🥰 The little man whom the 4 little women would love so very much! The girls loved it and Chris didn’t hate it which meant it was a go☺️👍 

That evening I began sharing his name with a dear friend who is also pregnant. They were picking out names for their baby as well. This part is always so magical to me! I love knowing our babies gender and naming them as soon as possible.🥰 It just makes me feel so connected and I just love it! She agreed Shepherd Laurence was just perfect!! I was laying down because I was feeling weird.  A few days before this, I had some spotting, but it was considered totally normal and any worry I had about it was covered in prayer and the worry was totally gone. It was just after dinner and I was having some strange cramping. I actually skipped eating because I felt so weird. But I didn’t think much of it. I was so close to our second trimester and just feeling weird and when you feel weird you should rest. So I was resting…

All of a sudden I felt a sensation I knew well. Something that I shouldn’t be feeling. I thought, there’s no way this is what I’m feeling! There’s no way that’s happening! Why would I be having this feeling?! My cervix was dilating. My labors are a bit bizarre in that I fully dilate to a 10 before I ever feel my contractions I know this very specific feeling and I know it to be the beginning of labor. I jumped up and ran to the bathroom. (Before you read any further, I want to disclose that I talk about our miscarriage in detail and it might be difficult for some to read, so please read with caution.) 

I looked down. Blood?! So much blood. This isn’t good! This isn’t spotting! This is different. This is bad. This is so, SO bad. This is that thing! This is that thing that can’t be happening!!! How can this be happening?!!! Blood. Not flowing, but gushing. I ran up the stairs and yelled for Chris. He joined me in our upstairs bathroom and neither of us had any idea what the next few hours would entail. 

I sat on the toilet and I went into labor. Real labor. Painful labor. Contractions, fluids, surges, and more blood than either of us has ever seen. I remember sobbing and screaming “NO!” Just over and over, “Nooooo, no, no, no NO!!!!” WHY?! Why was this happening?! I had never once feared losing our babies in pregnancy. Miscarriage was never even a thought in any of our pregnancies. I never struggled with fear or anxiety about anything being wrong with the girls while pregnant with them. I was always just excited and ready to get huge with all of them. This was the first pregnancy where I had spotted or even had a thought like something could be wrong. And now something was so, so wrong!!!

What was happening?!  Why was this happening?! Chris asked what he could do. I told him to go make sure the girls were ok and settled and protected from what was happening upstairs and then to just to sit with me. Contraction after contraction, I realized I was going to give birth. I won’t ever forget the sounds of blood gushing from me. I remember Chris listening, sitting right by me, and asking in the saddest voice if that sound was blood. With each contraction making that awful sound, I watched him just sigh. His head hanging down, not knowing what to do… We were both feeling something so new and so painful and what do you even do watching someone you love so much hurt in such a way.

I just cried and said it won’t stop😭 I knew I was going to deliver our son and there was nothing I could do to stop it. That one of these contractions was going to end with me delivering our son. I knew as soon as the contraction started it was it. I reached my hands underneath me, pushed as I contracted, and there he was. This tiny little motionless baby, our son. Our 11 week old son, Shepherd. Shaking and sobbing, I laid him on our counter. I said, “There he is. There’s our baby. That’s our son.” 

I think this is where I went into actual shock. I started uncontrollably shaking, and felt like I was freezing. The blood continued…The contractions continued. Oh right, I still have to deliver my placenta. I know this part too. A few more contractions and I delivered our placenta. I caught it as well. We rinsed everything off to get a better look and make sure Shepherd and our placenta were both accounted for. We were in shock but somehow also functioning. Up until this point, I was just focused on that moment. But I remember starting to think, “Oh God!!! We have to walk downstairs and tell the girls their brother is dead!” How do we tell our daughters that I just delivered their baby brother upstairs and they’re never going to meet him?! 😭 How?! How can this be possible?! We just picked out his middle name hours ago?! How is this happening?!

Chris helped me clean up. There was a lot to clean and I didn’t want the girls to have to see any of it. I put on a pad and a nightgown and proceeded to walk down the stairs feeling the most heavy feeling I still don’t have words for. We asked the girls to gather around. Their eyes were all so big. Norah started crying right away. They knew something was wrong. I put my hand on Norah’s leg. I told them that sometimes sad things happen and we don’t know why. That everyone dies at different ages and we don’t always know why. And that sometimes babies die in their mother’s tummies before it’s time for them to be born…. And that I was so, so sorry but I just delivered Shepherd, as he had died in my tummy. The way the girls looked at me… Those looks I don’t think I will ever forget😭 The way they all collapsed exclaiming no and asking why. It will haunt me forever. Their hearts were so broken. My heart was so broken. 

Just then, blood poured from me, covering my nightgown and our chair. I sobbed and apologized and ran upstairs needing to change fast. I wanted to hide my physical pain and what was happening from the girls but there was really no way to hide it.
I went and laid in my bed while Chris comforted and consoled the girls. I didn’t even remember this part until my mother asked Frankie a few days later what she got for Christmas. She said, “Some paint! And a puzzle! And a baby brother!… But then he died and mom got blood all over the chair… but Dad cleaned it up.” 😭  I hate that these are memories our girls have. That our 3 year old remembered this. This is just one of the many weird parts we have to learn to process to such an experience.

Watching them grieve has been one of the most difficult parts in all of this. They were so happy! They had such dreams too. Watching them experience grief and loss for the first time has been tremendous. I hate that they hurt so much😭 We are doing our best to help them and teach them and guide them, but watching them hurt is terribly painful. I feel so convicted to suffer well. To model for them how they can grieve and choose to react to the unexpected difficulties of life. I pray that in my choosing joy even when it’s hard, it greatly impacts the way they experience future hardships.

After the girls went to bed the night we lost Shepherd, I didn’t know what else to do except get on Instagram and start sharing. I was in shock. Legit shock. What are you supposed to do after you give birth to your dead son in your bathroom?😭 No one had ever told me that when you miscarry you actually go into labor or the trauma of holding your dead child in your hands. So many people asked what we did with his body and we don’t remember. I remember wrapping him up in toilet paper and perhaps we set him on the trash we were gathering all of the other birth matter in, or perhaps we set him back in the toilet with the rest of our after birth. We don’t know. We were in shock. And that is ok. We were never meant to experience such a thing. 

I learned after sharing our story that so many women are traumatized by this part of miscarriage. What do we do with our babies bodies? Friends shared that they also don’t remember or that they panicked and flushed their babies or that they put them in the freezer and have left them there not knowing what to do. Some friends buried their babies bodies or wrapped them up and burned them. What to do with your dead baby isn’t something any of us have probably researched…until after the fact. One of my friends talked about this with me and worded it exactly how I was feeling. There are two big losses to reconcile with at this point. We are grieving our child and all that goes with that and then the shame and pain that comes with feeling like how we reacted or responded was wrong. That in our shock and trauma, we didn’t give our babies what we wished we would have 😭 We wish we would have given them a better goodbye, a more proper burial. It’s all so traumatic and devastating. But we did our best. 

In the middle of our delivery, I called my sister in law who’s an ultrasound tech who deals with miscarriage a lot. I told her I thought we were losing him when it first began. She told me to prepare ourselves for a lot of blood loss. I also called our beloved midwife and she told us to prepare for a difficult postpartum. I don’t think anyone telling us this could have prepared us for the reality of blood loss we witnessed or the painful post partum experience awaiting us. It was nothing anyone had ever told me they had experienced before. How had I known so many people who had gone through this but not known how terrifying and traumatizing and incredibly messy and painful it all is.

More on how I’m physically healing- https://www.instagram.com/p/CLZU94PgVF1/?igshid=g8ep3rhz9cdp

I don’t think I had ever heard a single detail about miscarriage outside of, “we had a miscarriage”. I decided we have to talk about this. As women, sisters, friends, mothers, daughters. We have to talk about this and help one another! I felt this weird feeling and still do. Like how in 2020, can we be this unprepared, uneducated, and unequipped to experience such a thing… As a mother to 4 daughters, I pray they never experience this, but hope if they do, they will have me right there helping them through every moment. I hope everything I am doing with them now better prepares them for all the difficult things they may experience in life😭

Norah came and climbed into bed with me. I wept and wept and held her, wiping her tears. I felt such a deep guilt like I had just introduced them to some kind of pain I should have protected them from. So many new emotions and feelings to process. What she told me kind of shocked me. Norah told me she knew this was going to happen and she didn’t know how to tell me. She said as soon as I told her we were having a brother on Christmas morning, she felt really weird and knew we wouldn’t actually meet him. She told me several times after we shared our pregnancy with them that she was so scared this was going to be like Little House on the Prairie. In the show they finally welcome a little boy and he dies. I assured her several times that this wasn’t going to be like that. I promised her Shepherd was ok. I am still apologizing for making that promise. Norah said in her dreams she had been having, we never actually met the baby, except in one where we had a girl.
We talked about what a gift she has but how it must have been very scary and painful to feel the things she was feeling and feel alone in them. We have been reminding her that she doesn’t have to keep these feelings to herself ever, even if they’re weird or painful. We’re all learning to process so much.

I made the decision at that moment to share it all. The physical trauma. The emotional devastation. The ways we can maybe even prepare for miscarriage. There are so many layers of things we were grieving and are grieving and are going to grieve and I’ve never really heard them discussed past a surface level. I knew that whatever I was experiencing, I simply couldn’t be alone in it. I couldn’t be the only person to feel these things. And also I just couldn’t feel alone in it.  And I didn’t want anyone else I knew to go through this feeling alone. We weren’t meant to do any of this alone.

The next morning I woke up. I had that, “Maybe it was all a dream, hope-filled feeling”, which went away real fast with intense body cramps and more contractions. By the time I woke up, many of our friends had already gathered downstairs. All day Monday, friends were in and out of our home. With treats and gifts for Chris and I and the girls. With hand written letters for us and the girls. With meals and and prayers and healing oils and thoughtful treasures. Before lunch, we had no more room on our table for any more gifts. But they kept coming.😭And they never stopped. It’s been almost 2 months… and they haven’t stopped😭 

Our local community has wrapped us up and refused to allow us to feel alone. Friends I have never met in person from Instagram have sent teas and books and journals and homemade stuffed animals and quilts and crafts and homemade goodness and jewelry and self care products for all of us. People have shared poems and art and songs and personal stories, messages of such love and hope. And they still haven’t stopped😭  We haven’t felt alone and that has been one of the greatest treasures of my life. Something that I get to always have and has forever changed our hearts and the way we will respond to and love others. 

After I began sharing that we lost Shepherd, messages started coming in by the thousands. Messages from Poland, Brazil, Iraq, London, Saudi Arabia, England, New Zealand, Wales, Mexico, Australia, France, Chile, the Netherlands, Russia, Canada, India, Belgium, Scotland, Ireland, Argentina, all over the US… Thise we’re just a few that signed their messages with “Love from….” I would take hours at a time to read and reply, just to see that it had barely made a dent in my inbox. Women from all over the world sharing with me their losses. Some saying they had never told anyone or shared details with me they hadn’t shared before😭 I knew I was supposed to keep sharing.

We went to Colorado to be with family and heal and I basically laid on a couch and read and answered messages for 4 days. My family knew I needed it. It was like therapy for me. To tell my story. To be heard. To hear other stories. To let people know they’re not alone. The girls played and played with their cousins, we ate delicious food, my mother loved on the girls and I was given the time and the space and the gift to process really heavy stuff in the way I felt I needed to process. And I will never stop feeling grateful for that. We celebrated Charlie turning 7 and there was that beautiful celebration and grief dancing together again.

In this time, I began having nightmares. I could hardly sleep. I would cry out and toss and turn and I’ve never struggled with nightmares like this. I understand how trauma works. My training as a therapist taught me all about it. But knowing something and knowing something  can often be quite different. I am still having vivid nightmares and difficulty sleeping, but am simply allowing my body to feel the things and heal and do what it needs to do. The physical pain I experienced afterwards was so intense and I am so grateful this part has healed. I wasn’t expecting to be in so much pain. I made the decision to wait a few weeks before I took anything for the pain. I didn’t want to numb what I was feeling or experiencing. Which sounds weird. But it’s what I needed. 

4 weeks after delivering Shepherd, I still had positive pregnancy tests. I just kept taking them. I didn’t want to see that line turn from 2 to 1. I never saw a negative test. I finally just stopped taking them. My body cramped and cramped and ached all over. It was the most painful post partum I have experienced yet. I never heard anyone talk about their bodies after miscarriage. How heavy but also how empty it would feel. How our bodies still think we’re pregnant. That my boobs and belly would continue growing and I would keep gaining weight. I didn’t know how weird it would all be. To have this little baby bump and no baby. To watch that bump that I was so excited to watch grow, get bigger and then to have to watch it fade away. It’s just such a weird pain. 

December 28, 2020 changed our lives forever. It has hurt in all the ways. Physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. It hurts. This was not the labor we had dreamed of. It was nothing we could have imagined. I love writing about our birth stories. But this one has not been anything like I imagined. I have grown to believe that the word miscarriage is terribly misleading.  It doesn’t seem strong enough a word to describe what actually happens. What is taken away from you. What you have to endure. What is out of your control.  What you have to grieve. We had to give birth to our dead son and then experience all the painful parts of post partum without that baby we so longed for.  Instead of holding our beautiful baby, we are left with intense loss and grief and are often met with this overwhelming sense of ‘get over it and move on it’s actually really common’. It just doesn’t feel right or ok in any way. The word miscarriage just feels like it misses it all. 

https://www.instagram.com/reel/CK3xKgNAhDv/?igshid=66ch2t9nfanu

Here’s the thing for me though. Even in this pain, even in our unexpected suffering, I have made the decision to choose joy. I have refused to allow bitterness or resent to creep into my heart. Several of my dear friends are pregnant, and I made the decision to refuse to let this loss rob me of the joy of celebrating my friends, their babies, and their joys. I have said no to comparison. I have said no to jealousy.  I have said no to self pity. I have said no to fear. I have seen what these things can do to people and I have already experienced such a devastating loss that I am not allowing these things to take even more away from me.

I am sad. I am so, so sad. And that is ok. Grief is normal and brings with it all kinds of stuff to work through. It triggers old trauma, creates new trauma, and those things aren’t really avoidable. I am sad. I am grieving many things. And I am allowing myself to feel and process all of it. I am learning new ways to heal. But I am not ok with things that create no good fruit robbing me of more than grief already is. This might not be the case for everyone, but I have chosen joy and even in this pain, I feel loved and peace and comfort. 

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I am experiencing many new emotions, but I get to choose how I will react to them. We have 4 incredible daughters. Like, they’re just the coolest really. We can grieve and still experience all the goodness that is in front of us. They’re learning so much from us and I want them them to learn things that will help them in so many ways. We cry a lot. We visit and we pray and we bathe and we cuddle and we play and we read and we learn and we bake and we jump and we sing and we dance and we cry. We laugh and we grieve and it’s all intertwined. It’s not a this or that thing for us but more like a lot of this and a lot of that.  

I remember the morning after losing Shepherd well. Norah lost a tooth. There was so much joy intertwined with such sadness. She was so happy! The girls were all so proud! She had lost her 9th tooth they kept exclaiming and telling everyone who came over! There was such an excitement even amongst such tragedy and I realized that was such a beautiful picture of life. Sorrow and joy and devastation and excitement, all happening at the same time… and all experiences to be shared with one another.

This was the first little onesie I thrifted for our little dude. So teeny and so sweet!

The 28th of February will mark 2 months since losing Shepherd. Every day there are painful and devastating reminders that I am no longer carrying our son. The girls longed for a sibling so much. To see their excitement about their little brother move from pure joy to their first intense loss, has been terribly painful. So many of the things we are experiencing have been  so unexpected and hurt in a way I haven’t experienced before. Chris is hurting in so many new ways and he will share his perspective on all of this soon.

Through all of this, the girls have been incredible. Home education has blessed us in so many ways, but it has allowed us to grieve in such a special way. To slow down and be fully present with one another. To make comforting meals, and spend hours on the trampoline, or hours snuggled up reading and playing card games. To talk about grief and loss and our dear Shepherd. We have been able to retreat and heal in a way that has been such a gift.  

I hate that they have had to learn about grief and loss in this way. But I am so grateful that we can show them that it is ok to hurt and teach them healthy ways to process and heal. I am so grateful that they have experienced the love they have from our community. They have been loved so well and have been given such an incredible example of how they can serve and love others who are hurting. A treasure they can take with them for the rest of their lives. I sometimes can’t help but think of the people who will benefit from their love years down the road because of the ways they have experienced love first hand. I say the word treasure a lot. But this really is. 

Soon after we lost Shepherd, a friend reached out to me and asked if I would want to document this experience. I didn’t even think twice about it. I needed to. I wanted to have photos of his space I was creating for him. His crib and his blankets and the special things I had purchased for him. I wanted pictures of the space where I delivered him. That space won’t feel the same again. Isn’t it wild how experiences can transform a space so much…

I wanted photos of me in the dress Norah picked out before she knew I was pregnant but suggested I size up, just incase I were to grow. ❤️ I got the dress knowing I was pregnant and was so excited to tell her! On Christmas morning when I asked if we could take a family photo, Norah squealed, “Ooooh! Go put on your fancy new dress!” And I was so excited to!! These are not the images I imagined taking in this dress. But I am glad I have a space to share my heart and what we are experiencing.

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I wanted to give people visuals to relate to. Those moments that get tucked away and many are left experiencing alone. The weird things we think and feel and don’t know how to communicate them. The moments we will always remember but don’t know to share with people. An empty crib… The precious baby things you have to put away. The place I giggle with and wash our daughter’s hair is also the place I stood and watched the blood from the loss of my son leave me. The place where my husband and I brush our teeth and pinch each other’s butts and flirt with one another, is also the place we sat and felt parts of ourselves forever leave us. I didn’t want to to forget these things. Right afterwards, I remember crying and thinking, I guess if it had to happen, I am happy it happened at home and with Chris and that friends were at our home within minutes😭 I didn’t have to be alone, and we were able to have our 4th home birth. I got to deliver our son at home and with my husband, and part of me felt so grateful. And then I felt so weird for feeling that way because we delivered our dead son and man…even thinking and saying those words is hard, ya know.

I wanted photos of the first things I thrifted for him, the things I that reminded me of how I imagined him. As the world moved on and time passed, I wanted to remember all of it and have a way for others to help remember and process and heal as well. I had imagined his little arm rolls and slobbery giggle and how smitten the girls would be with him. I would hold his blankets and just cry feeling so happy we were going to have another baby. A son. Can I tell you something? One night right after finding our he was a boy, I couldn’t sleep. I was so afraid. I felt all these new fears I hadn’t felt with the girls like, what if he liked Eminem😂😭 We had to introduce him to the best music just to try our best. 😭 I can laugh but that was like a legit thing I lost sleep over. I’m still losing sleep, but it’s so real different now😭

I want these images to be a way to connect us all and help us remember that it’s ok to grieve. That it’s ok to feel weird things and to not be ok sometimes. I want to play a role in taking away the shame and stigmas that surround miscarriage and so many forms of loss.

I want these images to serve as a reminder for so much. I want them to serve as a reminder that we have a son. His name is Shepherd and he is with Jesus. And I believe one day I will hold him. I will see him and his sisters playing and laughing and I will get to see his smile and hear his voice and know the color of his hair. And I truly hope that in our sharing this part of our story, others find peace and support and healing. My prayer is that no woman would have to feel alone in such loss. That women who have held onto negative things that are hurting them will be able to let them go and heal.

I am no stranger to grief. I know it well, but the unexpected loss of our son has felt so different than any other loss I have felt. There are about 74826229 things I am leaving out. So much more I want to say. I could write a book. Maybe I will. But I want this to end with asking you to love those around you. To share your stories. To know that you are not alone and that you and your experiences truly matter. If you are hurting I want you to be empowered to pursue healing. If you see people hurting, I pray you feel equipped to love them. I pray that this makes someone feel less alone and more seen. I pray that Shepherd’s beautiful little life gets to impact so many people in positive ways. I want to remind you that there are still cozy beds to be made and rainbows to be seen and so much goodness to be experienced.

I don’t know why it’s so difficult to stop writing. It feels like another end. Another end of something I just wasn’t ready to be over. We truly thank you friends for taking the time to read this. For giving us this space to process and seek healing. For taking the time to pray for us, to think of us, to sit with us, to talk with us, to message us, to reach out and love us extra these last 2 months. We have truly felt so supported and loved and are just so very thankful for all of it. 

I don’t really know how to end such a post. Maybe I should say something inspirational? That feels right. If you are hurting, please allow yourself to feel and to grieve, to process and to heal.. But I ask that in your grief, you don’t lose sight of all of the goodness around you. Honor those who have gone too soon by loving others better and pursuing justice harder and maybe being more present and working on changing the things you want to change and maybe learning that thing you’ve been wanting to learn. We’re still here which feels like we have stuff to do. Let’s do the stuff friends, even when it hurts and it’s hard…. and let’s not do it alone. 🤎

Thank you Meggan for taking these photos and giving us such a gift. These have allowed me to share my heart in so many ways.

Thank you to everyone person who has come along side us in all of this. For any and every part you played in helping us heal and feel less alone, thank you!😭🤎

Momma made stockings!!!!

Ok, so I kept seeing the most beautiful handmade stockings made with antique cutter quilts this year, and I decided I needed to make some myself. I’ve actually wanted to make custom stockings for a few years, but just hadn’t set my mind to what I wanted.

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I was very inspired by my friend Tami from @farmdownthelane. The way that she repurposes old quilts and gives new life to the treasures she makes is just so cool to me. After seeing her share several gorgeous stockings she was making, I decided it was time! I was ready to make some!

Photo from FarmDownTheLane

So, my hunt for the perfect cutter quilt to make our stockings with began! Welp, I looked and I looked and I looked… and I simply could not find one in good enough condition that would yield enough fabric to make 6 stockings and that wasn’t going to cost what our mortgage does 😂👍

Then I remembered that our friends, Garnet Hill, sell some gorgeous quilts! We have their Agnes quilt in grey and yellow and I practically squealed when I got on their site and saw they had released A RED version!

I did a little research on the average size of stockings and decided the Garnet Hill Standard Agnes Shams would be perfect to make our stockings with! I reached out with this idea and they were super supportive, encouraging, and generous, and just yes! We really enjoy working with Garnet Hill so much! We are always so pleased with the quality of everything we have ever received from them! I think it’s safe to say we officially have some Garnet Hill in every room in our house☺️

Amateur tip: Use a large bowl to collect your scraps as you go to make for much less mess and sweeping ☺️

I decided to order 4 shams. Each sham would make two stockings and I decided it would be best to have an extra just in case I messed up… OR our family of 6 grows and we need more stockings😉☺️

I couldn’t find a tutorial for exactly what I was doing, so I kind of just winged it and tried to record what I did to help anyone who might want to make some themselves ☺️ I would consider myself a mediocre seamstress. I’m not great, but I can get stuff done👍 I like to wing things, I don’t plan much, and am not a perfectionist by any means. Mostly just real regular and a bit flighty ☺️

I printed off a couple templates but decided to make my own pattern, mixing a few together to get the exact shape and size I was imagining ☺️ Dudes! I was SO nervous to start cutting😂 I had the shams laid out on our table for days, pep talking myself like, “I can do this! I can do this!” Finally I decided I was ready!

I began with cutting the shape of the stocking pattern out of the fabric. Because these were shams that had a quilted front and cotton back, I simply cut out the whole thing.

Then I pinned the front and back together, facing in on themselves and was ready to start sewing. Always remind yourself you’re not sewing the top! I reminded myself this go around and didn’t have any issues, but I’ve forgotten this part on many sewing projects 😂

After I sewed her real good, it was time for the moment of truth! How was it going to look when I flipped it inside out?! Real fast, I should let you know I am very easily excited! It’s the little things in life that make me get crazy stoked, and this was one of those simple but magical moments for me! I flipped her inside out…. AND SHE WAS PERFECT! The shape was just what I had imagined, it was just the right size, and I was just smitten!

I made a little hem on the back and front to give the tops a clean finish and moved onto the next stocking until I made all 8.

The last step was to add on little loops to hang them. I used the sham trims that I had removed when I cut out my stockings for this little piece. I sewed those cuties on and our stocking were finished!

With each stocking, I learned something new and my sewing got cleaner. Each one is a little different with its own little quirks. By the last stocking, I had a little list of things I would have done slightly different if I were to ever make stockings again, BUT! I decided that these, the very first stockings that I got to make for my family and made with so much love, were absolutely perfectly imperfect!!

Our daughters and husband agreed and shared how much they like them and thanked me for making them! I am hopeful these will be treasured for many, many years to come! I know they’re just stockings, but a friend of mine gave me some beautiful perspective this year, and to anyone who has ever handmade something with love, we know there is no just about it.

Make little ornaments with your scraps! We’re going to make some Christmas trees and mittens as well! I’ve also saved more scraps for future projects! ☺️👍
You can use embroidery floss and let your littles do a little pillow stitch along the edges for some extra special touches! ☺️

Thank you so much for your inspiration and encouragement, Tami, and thank you so much to Garnet Hill for making these special treasures possible!

Just the motivation I needed to finish sewing. Our oldest wrote me a little note and it was the sweetest little gift!

(Disclaimer: This post was made possible thanks to Garnet Hill who kindly gifted us the Agnes Shams, but all opinions expressed are entirely my own.)

Traditions for the Win!

Tradition is such a special thing. I don’t think I understood the  importance of creating and celebrating positive traditions until we started having children ourselves. I remember being pregnant with our first daughter and dreaming about the holidays and imagining what we traditions we might create for our growing family! 

As our family grew, we decided to mesh some of our beloved childhood traditions with new ones we wanted for our girls. Special traditions truly have a way of comforting us and give us a sense of belonging. I’ve read a lot about the importance of creating and celebrating traditions and, along with creating special positive memories, they help create healthy family connections, provide security, and give children a stronger sense of belonging. 

We all crave comfort and warmth and celebrating positive traditions has a way of creating both. Along with that comfort and warmth, traditions can make life-long and generational impacts. As a mother, I want to create life long impacts where the smell of maple syrup reminds our children of our homemade pancakes we ate together gathered around our table, and where the smell of a beeswax candles reminds them of when we would dip our own. I want the feeling of slipping into cozy slippers to remind them of the fun slippers they were gifted every year as children.

I want our daughters to see snow and remember the hours we spent together crafting and decorating our home with our own special snowflakes each winter. It’s in these simple traditions, that our shaping our children and the traditions they will carry on for their families.

So with that being said, we are so grateful to have teamed up with our friends Garnet Hill to continue a few special traditions in our family. 

When my husband was a boy, their mother would make them a new pair of pajamas and they would get to open them on Christmas Eve. While I do love to sew, I decided it would be best to gift our girls already made pajamas☺️☺️ 

This will be our 3rd year we have gifted our daughters “matchy matchy” pajamas from Garnet Hill and we’re so impressed with how these have held up. They’re made of Organic Green Cotton and always have prints I know our daughters will love! This year we went with the Holiday Fair Isle and I know the girls are going to enjoy them so much! 

We will gather around the tree on Christmas Eve and they will squeal and jump around with excitement as they get to open their new jammies and be ready to cuddle up and celebrate the next day! 

One of our favorite traditions  is that everyone gets whatever they want for Christmas breakfast☺️ We plan in advance to make sure we have everything we need on hand and we go all out! My husband makes my breakfast, I make his, and we spend time in the kitchen making the girls’ very special meal! If they want cookies, cupcakes, Nutella crepes covered in berries…. they get it! We spend the morning serving one another and enjoying our special  meals together, in our jammies of course, and then it’s on to the presents ☺️

Another thing we have enjoyed gifting the girls each year is slippers! Fun and cozy slippers! In my opinion, Garnet Hill has the most fun slippers I’ve found! They’re boiled wool, made by hand, and the colors and designs are so fun! Last year the girls got little raccoons, sharks, unicorns, and ponies!

This year we’re doing little moose, dragons, mice, and reindeer ! Another little element of fun is putting little snacks and treasures into their slippers for them to find! I think this year, we will fill them with love notes and special chocolates and place them by their beds for them to discover in the morning! We might also do a big Christmas Eve family sleepover and, in that case, we’ll put them under the tree, unwrapped, for them to discover first thing! 

This year we have wanted to gift the girls some fun things they’ve been asking for, but also some practical pieces! The girls crawl into our bed every morning and have been telling us how much they love our Garnet Hill Cotton and Silk blanket. It’s SO warm and cozy, and our old home gets extra chilly in the evenings. 

They always reach for this blanket in our bed, so we got each of the girls their very own Ivory and White Cotton and Silk blankets to enjoy! Maybe this will mean we will get to sleep in longer☺️ These will pair beautifully with their pretty Agnes quilts, striped linen duvet covers, linen sheets, and antique quilts!

We hope you guys have a lovely holiday season and enjoy all of the special traditions that make this time of year special! A big thanks to Garnet Hill for cozying up our home and helping us create and celebrate special traditions!!

Disclaimer: This post was made possible by Garnet Hill but all opinions expressed are my own. 

Some bells and whistles courtesy of the Samsung Family Hub

I’ll be honest with you guys… I’m not usually a bells and whistles type of gal. But when we were reached out to about trying the new Family Hub Refrigerator from Home Depot, the bells and whistles sounded real nice:D

We spend so much time as a family in our kitchen. We are having fun learning how to use the features of our Family Hub and are creating fun memories in the process.

We love dance parties! Like a lot, a lot! So when I saw that the Family Hub had our favorite music apps and a high quality speaker on the front of the door, I knew the girls would be so excited about it!

The girls are quick to turn on our favorite Spotify stations as we begin making our breakfasts each morning and it’s been really enjoyable.

Another favorite feature is the Doodle and Post It note apps. The girls will doodle drawings and create little love notes while we prepare our meals and cook. I truly love seeing their new creations and little love notes when I go to open the fridge.

Also, you know how I know I’ve reached like extra mom status? I got excited about being able to remotely add my calendar, reminders, and grocery shopping lists to our Family Hub. I can also upload pictures and videos and do all of this from my phone.

Remember the days when refrigerators were just boxes that kept our food cold:D But seriously, this thing has legit AI technology and can help me with meal planning, recipe searches, and can even help me do both based on ingredients we already have in our Family Hub. This is the closest to the Jetsons I’ve ever felt☺️

The girls don’t get overly excited about too many of my partnerships, but I’m warning you, the first thing they will ask you if you come over right now, is if you want to see their new fridge😀 They are super impressed with it and now think their Mom’s job is really cool:D

We got the 26.5 cu. ft.Family Hub 3 French Door Standard Depth in Fingerprint Resistant Stainless Steel. Chris loves the modern look and I love not wiping it down every day:D And dudes! There is so much space inside! The extra room is lovely, but the technology to help our foods last even longer is wild! I genuinely had no idea Humidity Controlled Drawers designed to help keep fruit and veggies stay fresh longer was even a thing before this fridge, and I‘m totally here for it.

Oh! And one more thing, and possibly my favorite feature of our Family Hub! If the doors get left open, she sings a little song to let us know! With 4 little ladies who frequently visit the snack drawer, leaving the fridge open is almost a game around here:D It’s so nice being able to make sure the doors get closed.

There are so many neat features I am excited to use on our Samsung Family Hub! If you’re currently on the hunt, I am happy to answer any questions you might have about our Family Hub.

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored and made possible by HomeDepot and Samsung but all opinions expressed are our own.

And a huge thank you to Meggan Harrison Photography for taking these photos for us.

Layers are the secret!!

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Hi friends!! I get asked all the time, what we do to get our beds looking so fluffy and cozy?! So, I want to tell you a little trick I’ve learned in my years as a homemaker. There are lots of different secrets and tips to make you home look the way you want, but I am going to tell you my all-time favorite recipe for COZY!!

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Above: Oatmeal Stripe Relaxed Linen Bedding

When the weather cools down, I dream of a big warm bed and extra cuddles, warm coffee, and even more cuddles! I like to add darker creamy colors and thicker pieces to create more warmth. Whatever the season is, I will try and show you how you can cozy up your spaces with the simplicity of layering your favorite bedding. 

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Ok, so here is my simple recipe for cozy, cozy bed!

STEP 1. Mattress Topper! We have the Garnet Hill Organic Mattress Pad and are really enjoying it! It’s an easy way to add some extra comfort and protect your mattress. And let’s me real… a lot of stuff just gets peed on these days:)  Honestly, I wish we would have invested in a topper the moment any of us got a new mattress.. Still…better late than never:D

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STEP 2. LINEN SHEETS!!! Guys, I need you to understand that Linen is a game changer! I get asked all the time if we really like them, and linen is like this magic material that just keeps getting softer and softer and softer. I never feel too hot in linen bedding and always feel warm enough. Magic!

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STEP 3. Down Comforter. Theres something magical about a good down comforter to me! They just add so much coziness to a bed and bedroom. Their fluffiness makes me want to jump right in! I also love that they can be all-weather blankets. When I’m cold they keep me warm and when it’s hot, I don’t feel bothered by them. For the lighter months, I prefer lighter quilts. The Agnes Quilt and Relaxed Quilted Quilt are my favorites! I also like to keep one of these at the end of my bed so in cooler weather I can pull them up and add more weight and warmth!

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Step 4.Linen Duvet Cover and Pillow Covers– Before we talk duvets, let’s warm up by talking about Linen again! Garnet Hill carries some of my most favorite linens! I feel like that was the mental stretch I needed before talking about changing a duvet cover😂 I love that linen bedding only seems to get cozier and cozier with each wash! Linen covers protect our comforters and are easier to wash than essentially a giant sack of feathers, making the challenge of putting a that sassy duvet cover on totally worth it!

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I like to add vintage pillowcases to our bed and Garnet Hill currently has some that I plan on adding to our room soon! This is a fun way to change up the bedding for the seasons or if you just want a simple refresh. Simple changes can make a huge difference!

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STEP 5. Pillows– Maybe pillows should have been step 1. I really like pillows, guys! Like, a lot A LOT! Pillows might be my love language 😀 They’re a simple way to add depth, create those layers, and they can easily be changed out and moved around all over the home to create change throughout the seasons. Shopping from my own home by rearranging items we already own is one of my favorite ways to decorate, and pillows are just perfect for this! Don’t be afraid to mix and match textures! In fact, you should do this! Layering different textures and colors doesn’t have to be anything crazy. I like bright whites mixed with warm creams and deeper beiges. When it comes to textures, the more the better for me:D I enjoy layering cottons and silks, linens,  quilts,  waffles and different ribs and knits together,  and feel like mixing all of these beautiful textiles together makes for such an inviting space!

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STEP 6. The power of the throw blanket! It’s something so simple, but such an easy way to add warmth and layers all over your home! You can simply add a throw to the end of a bed for that lived-in cozy feel! Or easily stuff your messes in baskets and then cover that mess with a beautiful knit throw 🙂Even throw one over a chair or chairs to create cozy little nooks around the house.

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Layering doesn’t just have to be for the beds though! We store throw blankets in baskets and crocks and on the chairs and couches and try to create an environment that’s, not only pretty, but invites us to rest. It’s so nice to be able to have blankets close by to snuggle up in as we read our favorite books and watch our favorite movies together.

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Garnet Hill has such a lovely collection of linens, quilts, florals, waffle knits and we truly enjoy adding their cozy touches to our home!

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See?! layers and textures and patterns together can look SO pretty when it comes to bedding!

 

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A mix of layered make wardrobes look like this!

 

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And linen closets look like this!

 

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Another example of how we have paired a Garnet Hill down comforter and Striped duvet cover with vintage and handmade pieces.


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I think that even messy beds and laundry look pretty with the right textures and layers!

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Disclaimer: This post was made possible by Garnet Hill but all opinions expressed are our own. Thank you Garnet Hill for helping us cozy up our home by gifting us some of our most favorite pieces!

Celebrating Mother’s Day at Home: A few ways to make it magical for Mom!

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This Mother’s Day, many of us mother’s share something extra in common. Many of us will be celebrating at home with our families and with no plans to go anywhere else. I’ll be honest with you, I miss my friends and thrifting and coffee shop dates and game nights, but there is also no other place I would like to be than at home and with our family. Being a mother is the most incredible thing I have ever known! But it doesn’t come without lots of sacrifice and exhaustion. I am hopeful this will inspire you to cozy up and celebrate that special mom you are home with a little extra this year! 

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I don’t believe all mothers are built alike, so I want to also to emphasize that when you plan to celebrate that special mom, be sure to celebrate her in the ways that SHE wants to be celebrated. If she doesn’t like wine and sushi, don’t get her wine and sushi. If she hates waking up early, don’t surprise her with an early breakfast in bed. If she’s asked you to stop spending money, don’t buy her expensive jewelry. There have been times where a friend’s husband will share with me the surprise or gift he is getting for his lady and I’m like, “NOOOOOO! She will not like that!” On any occasion where you’re celebrating someone else, try your very best to make the gifts or surprises about THEM and something THEY will like!  Just because you saw a commercial or have heard it’s a tradition, doesn’t mean it will celebrate that mom the way she wants to be celebrated.  So, here are some ideas that will hopefully spark some ideas and some simple and special ways to celebrate the special Mother’s in your lives at home this year. 

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Breakfast in Bed: When I think cozy, I think of warm linen bedding, cozy slippers, my soft robe, warm coffee, and all of the snuggles I can get! I am already dreaming of waking up to my favorite record on, the sounds of the coffee grinder, the giggles and pitter patter of little feet, the sounds of dishes clinking and clanking as our daughters and my husband work on preparing a special “surprise” breakfast in bed for me☺️  

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I can smell my favorite smell of fresh coffee brewing! I can imagine the pretty little flowers and weeds from the yard that the girls gathered and put in old thrifted cups that they surprise me with so often!

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Some of the most precious memories I hold are the unexpected breakfasts I have been served in bed. While I’ve learned to look forward to this on special occasions, it still never get old!  It doesn’t matter what the food is… It is the incredible intention, excitement, and love the girls pour into all of it all that makes it so special!

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Maybe breakfast in bed is too early for some families.  You can always give mom the gift of sleeping in and a surprise her with a picnic in the living room or yard. Maybe a little brunch or evening charcuterie shared on a quilt in the living room is more her style❤️

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Homemade Gifts: I don’t think there is a ‘one size fits all’ gift for mom. We’re all different and all feel loved in different ways. But homemade cards and sweet little homemade gifts from our daughters are my absolute favorite!!!  There’s something so simple about a folded piece of paper filled with words that I taught our girls to spell. Letters and colors that I first showed them and taught them how to make pictures and words with. Pure magic, I tell ya!

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The best thing about homemade gifts, is you don’t need to go anywhere for supplies!  All you need is paper and writing utensils. A coloring sheet or maybe some scrap paper. Even craft paper left over from holiday wrapping works! Our oldest has started finding old pictures of me and my husband and glueing them to the insides of homemade cards and it’s the coolest thing to me! If you have an old frame lying around, frame their work so mom can keep it on her bedside table or display it somewhere special:D

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If your littles are too young to create cards themselves, trace their hands or give them some finger paints to smear on paper. My husband still has the piece of paper covered in a six month old’s first scribbles framed from his first Father’s Day! Google, ‘homemade Mother’s Day crafts’ and have your mind blown! There are so many awesome ideas out there!

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Movies at Home: One of the most special things my husband has done for me, was rent my favorite movie and surprise me with some of my favorite snacks and beverages. He didn’t tell me until the end of the day, right as we were getting the girls ready for bed. He was so exited and I was so excited that he had done this for me. Again, it was something so simple, but so sweet and fun. If you have a projector and a sheet, maybe you can set up a mini theatre in your living room or yard to make it a little extra or consider drinking a little extra coffee and stay up late binging her favorite show together!

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The gift of time and relaxation: What a beautiful, beautiful thing! Take the kids to collect flowers and play outside while mom takes a cozy and silent bath inside! You can maybe even make her a simple salt bath with epsom salt & her favorite essential oil. Lay out her favorite book, have a candle lit, maybe some music playing… make it an extra special bath for her!

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A fun scavenger hunt: Our daughters love scavenger hunts! You can get creative with you children and make a  sweet scavenger hunt for mom, leading her to a cup of fresh coffee or the homemade gifts or breakfast you’ve prepared for her!

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Leave notes throughout the home: A simple love note or love notes left in different places around the house sharing your favorite things about your wife or mother is another fun way to show mom you see her! Maybe a ‘Thanks for cleaning me so much’ note left on the toilet. Get funny and be comical if that’s your guy’s love language! Humor is special to me, so finding funny notes with sweet intentions in unexpected places for me is gold! Write special messages on mirrors or chalkboards in your home!

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Help: Maybe that special mom in your life has a project she’s been so hopeful to finish!  A bathroom that needs finished painting, maybe a drawer she’s wanted fixed. Maybe she has a cast iron sink sitting sitting on her dining room floor that she’s really excited to use!:D Surprise her with finishing, or helping her finish a project or make her a special note assuring her you guys will finish that special project when you can frequent hardware stores again.

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Serve her favorite food: Being that we can’t dine in anywhere, maybe consider having her favorite meal from her favorite restaurant delivered!

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Music: Sometimes showing love is as simple as playing her favorite music throughout the day. The girls will often go put one of my records on just to see my smile! Have her favorite music playing when she wakes up and add to the layers of special.

 

Whatever you do this Mother’s Day, do your best to let that special mom know that you love her! That you know this is a weird season and that you see how difficult it is sometimes. And to the mothers with essential jobs still working, THANK YOU! To the mothers who have been thrown into the world of home education, THANK YOU! To the mothers who find themselves a little more overwhelmed or maybe a little more grateful, THANK YOU! To all of the mothers, THANK YOU for your many sacrifices and for making us the Mother’s we get to be today! 

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Disclaimer: A special thanks to our friends at GarnetHill for helping make this post possible. While GarnetHill has gifted us pieces for this blog piece, all opinions expressed are our very own.

At Home with Kaley From Kansas

It occurred to me, as we are confined to our homes, that I never shared our home session with the very talented KaleyfromKansas. My favorite place to be is within these walls and with these people… I used to be a serious extrovert and, while my love for being around people and meeting new people has not changed, I love being home more than anywhere. Chris was home this past Holiday break and it was the most magical thing to me. The girls and I went about our homeschooling, Chris got to see what our days at home looked like, he helped me more with meals and laundry and dishes and all the things…We would all stay up late in the evenings, talking and playing games for hours. Chris and I began dating one another from home in the coolest ways! We slept in, made big breakfasts together, and the world slowed down for us so much. I remember thinking, this is all I want…I want a slow, simple life, surrounded by loved ones… And with many new emotions added to the mix, we have that again.

The Pahls Family

Such a simple moment, but something I will miss all too soon. Almost every time we go down the stairs, Frankie reaches for me to carry her down. When she first started talking and walking, she would lift her arms up and say, “can I hold you” or the sweetest little “weeach”. I think I’ll cry when the day comes that she no longer asks me to do this…

We have found ourselves in a really weird place. I remember when I was pregnant with our second daughter, Charlie. My best friend found out she was also pregnant. We were so excited and it was amazing and then a few days later…she miscarried and lost her baby. It changed my pregnancy with Charlie so much. I was so happy and grateful, but I also carried a heavy sadness, a deep grief, and honestly a tremendous amount of guilt. I hurt for my friend so much. Her suffering didn’t mean I wasn’t experiencing great joy, but it greatly altered the way I felt it or could express it. This is similar to what I am feeling now….

The Pahls Family

I am so grateful that we are home and well and have jobs that allow us to keep doing what we were doing from home. Chris is a college professor and while his days look different, he is still able to connect with his students and teach and grow, and learn along side them. I am so fortunate to bring home a little income through sharing our days and partnering with wonderful companies. I feel so weird in this. I look around and see so much chaos, but all I feel is peace. I find peace in knowing we are all experiencing this together, that we aren’t in control, that tomorrow is not promised.. and then I feel weird, and almost guilty, for feeling peace in these things. I feel what I felt with Charlie. I would look down and see my belly and feel her kick and my heart would swell… and then it would sink… I am so happy for what our family is getting to experience. The peace, the joy, the stillness…But then I look around and am met with mourning.. and I have to mourn with those who are mourning…I don’t know how not to. I am hurting so badly for our friends and family and all of those who are being affected negatively by this strange virus and this new normal. I don’t want people to be sick or full of fear.  I don’t want people to have to suffer. I am aware of my privilege more than I ever have been. I have gained many new perspectives that grieve my heart. But, even in the mourning, I can’t help but see so much hope. I see the rainbows painted on windows and bears on porches and I can’t help but feel so much hope.

The Pahls Family

I went to the grocery store and saw the empty shelves.  I went to the Post Office to find barricades made of boxes and plastic sheeting to separate customers from employees. I feel the weirdness. That, ‘is this really real life?!’ feeling… BUT, my friends and I are fasting and praying with one another and texting deep stuff along with the best memes of our lives.  I am feeling a deep love and appreciation for my friends in a whole new way; a deepening love for their spouses and children and my spouse and our children. Our family feels more glued together than it ever has been… What strange emotions to process…

The Pahls Family

I don’t know what the future holds. I don’t want to or need to know. For now, I am choosing to focus on right now. I am choosing gratefulness and joy and trying to be the peace amongst the chaos. I am enjoying every moment with Chris home and this stillness we get to have with the girls. Life seems to be on pause, or in slow motion at least… I know life is weird, friends… Like, this is real, real weird. Have I mentioned how weird this is… But for real, I hope you find yourself full of so much peace and hope right now. We are all in this together, friends!   With that being said, here are some moments that I am so grateful to have been captured. Thank you so much, Kaley! Little reminders of the beauty that lives in the simple moments at home, whether we’re quarantined or not.

The Pahls Family

Just as Ada grew out of the coloring on walls stage, Frankie joined in. I’ve painted our hallway 3 times since living here because of it. And I’m totally ok with it. In fact, we gave Frankie a yellow colored pencil to color away because I genuinely don’t want to forget these sweet creative installations that have filled our home through the years…

The Pahls Family

Kaley did such an incredible job capturing us in an organic way. She prompted us and I was happy to go with any of her creative idea because, if you’ve seen Kaley’s work, you know you can trust her to create magic!!

The Pahls Family

 

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The Pahls Family

I don’t ever want to forget the sound of their feet running up and down these stairs. The giggles as we chase on another or play hide and seek… Those sounds are so special to me!

The Pahls Family

The Pahls Family

We have a balcony off of our bedroom. The girls have always thought it was the coolest thing. Sometimes, the magic and glory seems to sometimes become less as we age.. But the girls have brought so much magic back into our lives! I never would have thought to do photos our here, but I am so glad Kaley did!

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The Pahls Family

I look at this photo and want to scream the word, REDEMPTION! There are so many parts of my past that I thought would define me and prevent me from having the dream of a loving husband or family or any of this… Man, grace and healing and forgiveness and redemption are words with so much meaning for me!

The Pahls Family

Dance parties are a huge deal in this family! We have them several times a week and we can get pretty into it. Kaley put on the new Aladdin soundtrack and we just did our thing. The sun shining on us, dancing in the breeze… It was magic!

The Pahls Family

The Pahls Family

Frankie and Ada loves pretending to be puppies. Recently I’ve joined their puppy crew. Frankie pulls on my belts and belt loops and says, “come here mommy puppy”. More magic.

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The Pahls Family

Did you guys know I was told I most likely wouldn’t be able to have children? I went through a season where I felt devastated at the thought of this. We have 4 incredible promises reminding me of God’s goodness and faithfulness.

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The Pahls Family

Chris’ sister made the girls the most incredible food for their kitchen play set. She is one of the best gift givers and most talented people I have ever known! She is such a blessing and blesses these little ladies with absolute treasures!

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The Pahls Family

When Norah and Charlie were younger, we had picnics and snacks out here several times a week. We actually locked ourselves out one day and I yelled at a neighbor, whom I had never met, and asked her to come walk into our home, make her way to our bedroom and let us in. She kindly did and I am grateful for a neighbor like her.

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The Pahls Family

Thumb wars are a new favorite game in this home!

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The Pahls Family

Find you a man who plays with your kids… Like builds blocks with them and reads books, and has dance parties, and jumps with them on the trampoline… Not because they feel obligated… but because they love their children and are happy to be with them in their element.

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The Pahls Family

This wardrobe is SO special! Like, the story of getting it literally changed my life and faith. I will share about it in detail later, but it is another reminder of God’s faithfulness in my life.

The Pahls Family

The day I weened Frankie I had to leave the house. Weening was so hard for me this last time emotionally. I didn’t want to but knew I needed to. Ada and I went to the thrift store and on our way out, after not finding anything, she said, “mom, can I please have that toy?” I looked over and saw this beautiful buggy that instantly reminded me of being her age living in Germany… and $3 later she was ours! It’s so special to us!

The Pahls Family

The Pahls Family

Oldest and youngest. The moment Norah and Charlie learned to read, they became better teacher than me I think.

The Pahls Family

The Pahls Family

I went through a stage where I thought bonnets were hideous. Man, I was SO, SO, SO, SO SO, SO, SO, SO, SO, SO wrong!!!!

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The Pahls Family

Be right back… this photo makes me need to go kiss this guy.

The Pahls Family

The Pahls Family

This is going to sound super dramatic but… I had been wanting photos done with Kaley for a long time.. but it just never felt right. I had a few larger collabs happen so we had a little extra monies and Chris asked what I wanted to do with it. We could use the money and celebrate, maybe buy something special, or even invest it…  I feel like like we did all of that. These photos were a bit of a celebration for me. I had just lost 60 lbs and for the first time in a long time I felt like myself. These photos feel like a major investment in something so very special. 

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The Pahls Family

The way Kaley captured small details of the girls and our home….. SO GOOD!!!

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The Pahls Family

baby thighs and tippy toes…