Wednesday, November 26, 2014

happy, happy thanksgiving tomorrow!!

[photos by the talented lady, ms. montgomery lee!]

thanksgiving has always been one of my very favorite holidays! probably mostly because my mom is an absolutely phenomenal cook [and my grandmother back in the day], and for years she has done the most incredible superwoman spread of thanksgiving delight! and oh, those smells that start in the kitchen and make their way into the rest of the house, lingering all day long just bring back the very best memories for me. and the parade!! that parade on tv, it makes me so happy. i love it all. i love putting on my thanksgiving clothes, laughing with my siblings, and helping my mom in the kitchen. i love sitting around the table with my whole family. and okay, so thanksgiving also means my birthday is near, and of course, i don't hate that. ;) 

as i've gotten older, too, having a heart of gratitude is something that has become more and more important to me, and it's something that i really want to instill in maddalena. she has such a natural zest for life, and i am always praying that she never ever loses that! but i also believe that having a thankful heart is simply a choice to be made. there will always be the option to see the glass half empty or half full. there will always be things that don't go our way. there will always be compromises, disappointments,  and frustrations... but there will also always be fresh air and golden sunsets, the kindness of friends and strangers, warm hugs to savor, and laughs to be shared. and i'm not at all perfect at it... heck, life is just hard sometimes! but i'm a happy girl, truly, because i love what i've got, and i'd really hate to waste time taking it all for granted.

each night now, when we say bedtime prayers with maddalena, it is the sweetest thing on earth to hear her learning how to give thanks at such a precious, young age. she'll come up with things on her own and say something that's usually, "thank you for fophie," and "thank you for minnie," or a few nights ago it was, "thank you for lucy, I LOVE LUCY AND MAGGIE!" haha! and i have to think that it must make God smile extra big to hear babies saying thank you for their blessings. it sure makes me happy!

so, happy thanksgiving week to everyone!! may your hearts and plates and bellies be extra, extra full!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

28 for 28 on the 28th

[photo on film from 2012 taken & developed by my lovely sister, christina!]

so! so so so. this week we have thanksgiving on its way... and what thanksgiving usually brings for me, also, iiiis a birthday! and so, in the spirit of golden birthdays [i'm turning 28 on the 28th!], i've gone and made a little list of 28 random things pertaining to... moi. so prepare thyself for a whirlwind of fascination! or... not. unless maybe you're a psychologist. haha. :)

1. i dream of making it back to italy one day! i dream of a whole lot of things.

2. i often have to backspace after using way too many exclamation points. [!!!] especially in emails. i have really worked on my period to exclamation point ratio, so as not to seem like a loony lady. i tend to go way overboard on the ;) and :) these days, too.

3. roses are my fav. [particularly the soft pink variety!]

4. i have this memory of being maybe 8 or 9, laying on my bed just crying and crying because i wanted a horse so badly. it was the one and only thing i dreamed of in life, and every time the boy next door got a new pony my heart was shattered. i would stare out the window while the people on the farm behind us [before it became our farm!] rode their horses, just longing for them to invite me to join. and i mean, my poor parents!! but, well, we ended up with casey when i was 10 [followed by doc, red, dusty, comet, and captain!] and i am endlessly grateful. to this day, my casey completes me!

[my mom sent me these recently! apology letter to my mom for being mean over not having a horse for pony club // an obviously older and happier little brittany's drawing of a ride on casey, ha!]

5. i took the myers-briggs personality test in high school and then took one again recently. ENFP then, ENFP now!

6. i am a synesthete... meaning i see letters and numbers and many whole words in specific colors. i didn't realize it was unusual at all until the topic arose around my family's dining room table one evening several years ago. then, at one point i learned that it's called synesthesia! for me, it means that A is red, september is grayish-white, 6 is purple, and so on, and the colors never change. so, it also effects how i feel about certain words or numbers! i hated our home phone number when we first moved into our house because it had 7s and 5s together in it, which was just way too much orange and yellow for me. i was so used to the number we had growing up with lots of purple 6s! crazy, iiiiii know.

7. pink, it's my fav-o-rite color!

8. also, i love neutrals. black! ivory! ahhhhh. my wardrobe has become more and more just neutral colors with splashes of pink, and i'm not complaining one single bit.

9. least fav color: umm, bright green, i think? or, maybe i just don't do well with citrus colors on anything other than fruit. i'm not huge on the bright colors for the sake of my retinas/sanity.

10. in high school, whenever i was having a hard time, i'd have my mommy fix me tuna salad with a glass of apple juice and i'd watch when harry met sally. it's my favorite, favorite comfort movie. my inner sally albright still comforts me on the daily. as does my mommy. :)

11. i've come to think that perhaps messy hair is my outer balance against my inner obsessive compulsiveness.

12. i'm really curious. curious like a cat! actually, i'm pretty sure that cats are my spirit animal. they're nocturnal... they hate for anyone to try and control them... they're pretty independent, but actually, they're a lot more emotionally vulnerable than they let on... they want to venture out and explore, but always want to come back home at the end of the day... sooo, meow! guess i'm a cat.

13. i love listening to jazz when it's cold out. i love driving at night with the jazz station playing. it reminds me of being with my grandparents in lexington, and i miss that so much!

14. cookies aaaare my weakness. i could probably be on any crazy restrictive diet for my whole life as loooong as chocolate chip cookies were allowed.

15. my first car was a white chevy blazer... given to me on my 16th birthday... which was on thanksgiving! believe it or not, i asked specifically for a blazer. it was my dream first car! i like to keep my goals nicely attainable. and anyway, i've always been an SUV girl.

16. if i try to wear red lipstick, i just look like i'm tooootally joking.

17. when i was 14, i think, i participated in a pageant with my best friend and little sister. it was our one and only pageant experience, to be sure! fortunately, the talent portion was not required. but i made top 10! hey! ;)

18. i get lonely extremely easily. i always have! thankfully being a mom to my dream girl helps with that a lot. i was never meant to have too much alone time.

19. in college, i grew 3/4 of an inch, taking me from regular 5'6 to 5'6 and 3/4. now i have to awkwardly just round up to 5'7, which still just feels strange to me! [and as previously discussed, 5s and 7s just bring too much yellow and orange to the table!]

20. my musical taste easily ranges from teenager to great-grand-brittany. one direction? sure! dean martin? eeeven better. glenn miller orchestra? lay it on me. with everything from harry connick to t-swift to gershwin tunes to pink floyd to counting crows in between. 

21. if i am ever in a bathroom with the toilet paper hung upside down, i will always, aaalways flip it over the right way. with the paper coming over the top of the roll! soooo, you're welcome.

22. as hard as i try, i will never be a great morning person. i like slow, cozy wakeups over coffee... and when brain power is required, well, my best stuff comes late at night. although, with babies it's just like... give me sleep, whenever!

23. i cried when i turned 18 because i never wanted to grow up. now, hey, here i am turning 28, haha! i'm doing okay with it, i think. maybe. ;)

24. i don't really eat berries. except i do love the wild blackberries that we pick each year. and what's a grape? grapes are good!

25. our local petco hosts animal adoption days every saturday with all these sweet fluffies looking for good homes, and i mean, i can't even drive by without ending up in tears over all of the baby fluffs that need humans to love. i wish i could take them all in! especially around the holidays. gosh, it just breaks my heart to pieces! but if you're in the nashville area and want to adopt... proverbs 12:10 :)

26. one time, in my early teens, i saw a comet or meteorite or something briefly flying over the sunsetty horizon with a huge, glowing, colorful trail behind it. i mean, it was so crazy looking that i couldn't believe my eyes! and of course, the friend who was with me didn't see it, so, i felt like i was totally imagining things. but, it was real!! and okay, so, the craziest thing is that i've never really mentioned that blazing comet thing really, not in the last 10 years at least... and then one night last week, i was out in the dark putting a blanket on casey with my mom, and she saw a blazing comet in nearly the exact same spot as the one i once saw! she just stood there and couldn't believe her eyes, totally thinking i wouldn't believe her when she told me, but !!!!!!! i knew it was real!

27. steven picked out my engagement ring on his own, knowing that i loved the three stone style, and to this day it makes me so so happy to look down and see the sparkles. i rarely ever take it off, even though i probably should. and our wedding day photos, too, gosh! nothing like a good fairy tale princess day.

28. we have always felt like our little housey here is just so much more complete with the christmas tree up. and so! yay! and fa-la-la... the season is here! i loooove it!

Monday, November 24, 2014

"tree's lookin' good!"

there is something about christmas tree day in our house every year that i just reeeally love! we put on our holiday tunes, stay in our cozies, and pull our slew of things out of the attic. we've had the same mr. fakey tree since we got married [so much easier since we tend to go out of town at the end of the holidays, but one day when our kids will savor the memories, we definitely want to go real tree a few times. although, we go between that and the next one being an even more convenient pre-lit, ha!], but he's really hung in there, and i think we're kind of attached to him at this point!

madd has been SUPER excited for christmas, too, lately, which takes all of life up like 10 notches, at least! and though maddalena did not. approve. of the time we took to get the lights on the tree, we  finally made it through to the decorations and she was juuust thrilled... christmas catch phrases alternating between, "christmas is coming!!" and "tree's lookin' good!!" she marveled at all of the ornaments as she hung her share, and then totally fell in love with the whole mistletoe notion. ;) [a tiny romantic already, that girl! heaven help us in the high school years... i remember all too well what that was like!] anyway, we even added some pretty lights to maddalena's room this year, which is just so magical. next up, we're on a mission to find a tiny tree for her little dollhouse!

stevey and maddo also gave me my fiiiiiiirst official birthday present! a set of those classic santa mugs that i've been majorly eyeing in the pottery barn catalog!! and then we concluded the night with a viewing of elf, of course, realizing that we've been watching that movie together this time of year for ten whole years now, and how does that happen? that's time flying, right there. sooooo, yaaaaay! the christmas spirit is HERE and i love it!

[and, oh, i just love looking through our christmas tree trimmings past!]

Thursday, November 20, 2014

two brittanys, a panda, and a bunny!

okay, so i really had no idea when i started a silly little blog as a newlywed, just how many special, sweet people would enter my life just because once upon a late night whim, i decided to indulge myself! haha! but, what a great connection to the world the internet really is. and i am so thankful, because i officially can no longer count on one hand how many real life friends i now have that are only in my life because of blogging. isn't. that. crazy!!

aaand so it was, that last weekend i was fortunate enough to spend my lunching hour on a little meetup date with my long time blog friend, the beautiful mama, brittany, of brittany louise and southern mama + child! and OH, she and her precious little bunny rabbit, scarlett, are just as lovely and delightful as i'd imagined!! really and truly. and really. and truly. i adore them both so much.

anyway, so, as easy as conversations over lunch aren't with toddlers, haha, naturally, maddalena and i, asked them to come with us over to the farm and give casey some treats and meet my parents. and they did, because they are just the sweetest!

[ahem, a few shots by photographer maddalena up there, of course! and then she was in no mood to pose, herself. a missy no-nap is what she was that afternoon, but she still had fun!]

now, usually my blog friendships just continue to come back to, "waaaa, why don't we live closer! i want to have lunch dates and baby dates and shopping dates!" but this time i am legit crossing my fingers for the real possibility that these ladies [and their man counterpart, who i did not get to meet!] might just end up in nashville!!

anyway, thank you so much for spending time with us, beauties!! we can't wait to see you again!

and check out britt's bloggies, of course, because she is a genuine delight and a really sweet mama!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

the adventures of princess rosey

at some point in these recent months, one of my bedtime rituals with little miss maddalena has become the telling of the tales of one little princess named princess rosey. named for maddalena's middle name, rose, of course, i have considered princess rosey to be somewhat of a fun little alter-ego type character for maddalena! she's often taking picnics in a sparkly forest clearing with curious george, barbie, and ken, among every type of animal that i can possibly think of [usually in hopes that my listing of animals with lull her off to sleepy town, haha!]. and naturally, her standard princess dress is the one maddalena picked and wore for halloween. anyway, maddalena requests her "pincess wosey" stories every night now, and especially likes "the one wis the deer." ;)

now, maddalena [not unlike her mother], takes her fiction extremely seriously. i mean, the line between fiction and non is quite the blurry one. totally appropriate for the age of two! but also something i've never quiiiite grown out of, myself. but hey, i chalk it up to a healthy imagination on both accounts! keeps us young, keeps us young.

aaand so, anyway! one day last week, she decided to dress in a "pincess dess" of her choosing, put on her finest jewels, requested help with her pink bow, and announced, "i'm pincess wosey!!" and as she continued on as princess rosey for the day, i just could not help but adore eeevery little drop of it. this age, i tell you! this coming-into-her-own thing. it's just so so good! oh, do i love that baby pincess of mine.

so, that afternoon, after flawless rendition of let it go #247, princess rosey and i headed farmward for a spell, to check on casey and help with the horses as they were getting their feetsies taken care of. the princess marched her way through the grass with her cheddar bunnies, picking those fluffy dandelions, and enjoying the fresh air. then, as we put casey back out in his field, hooves freshly trimmed and fancy, he stomped all around on them, ticked off that the two smallest of his field members were still in the barn... subsequently vocalizing his control issues much too near the princess, who startled and went all a-scrambling! and the princess mommy had a good laugh, because it was so silly. then she had several bonus laughs as she looked at the conveniently captured photos.

...and they lived happily ever after! theeee end.

Monday, November 17, 2014

obsessed! cozy tiiiime...

well!! tis the season, friends. the season to be cozy. and indoors! oh myyy. while i love that taking care of my horse forces me out into the fresh air, really my instinct around now is to hunker down inside with a mug of something hot hot hot! i just want to be cozy and cuddled, and honestly, as the weather has cooled, it's taken me about .5 seconds to end up with a serious comfy, cold weather uniform. and it goes a little somethin' like this...

1. piko top - oookay, i seriously don't know how i didn't discover these tops until this year, but i have four of them now, and they're maaaaybe the only top i will ever need to live in again for the rest of my life. i love that the arms are fitted but the middle is flowy! they're plenty long enough, soo nice, and they're made from bamboo and super soft. they also come in several styles and lengths. so far, for cooler weather, the 3/4 length sleeve is my fav.

2. gilligan & o'malley cotton with lace bikini - for a few years now [years!], i have been on a mad hunt in my under-world. i have not really been satisfied with my under-findings until these babes. [okay, i like hanky pankies, but i feel like they need such delicate laundry care!] now, i will say, i have had some very comfy unds in my drawer that are made of materials that i just don't quite approve of for health reasons. but these! these are mostly cotton, just 7% spandex, and i feel pretty decently good about that. i mean, of course, organic cotton everything would be ideal in life, but i have to not feel guilty just throwing everyone's underthings in the laundry and washing. like. crazy. so anyway, these are the total favs for me! comfy and cute and i need to buy more immediately! 

3. zella live-in leggings - they sure named these suckers appropriately, that is for sure! every day i ask myself, do i want to wear something other than my zella leggings? do i... have... to wear something other than my zella leggings?? and sometimes the answer is something else, but i mostly have to talk myself into not wearing these every day. now, i can't speak in comparison to the comfort of any $100 leggings out there, i really can't, because although i love my snazzy things, i'm a practical girl! and i just find that to be an outrageous price for leggings, no matter how delightful they feel on the bod. or maybe i have no idea what i'm talking about, but these are thick, decently tushy-supporting, not overtly work-outy looking, amazingly comfortable and affordable and that is a winning combination in my book! oh, and i like the waistband! comes up high enough, not too skinny, doesn't cut in. yay. love songs.

4. three bird lane lace-trimmed leg warmers/boot toppers - the little lace trim on these makes me soooo happy! i love wearing them with flats, and then when i need to head outside, i flip them so that the lace is on top and put on my boots! such a crush on these things. such a crush.

5. frye carson ballet flats - these are honestly the best flats i have ever had! i've had them, i think, for about two years now, and as soon as i put them on my feet for the first time, they felt like they were already broken in! and at this point they are still just as fabulous and comfy. frye products are just so well made, and i really, really appreciate that.

oh, and additional shout out to the chunky scarf that i had on my christmas list last year! pretty much wearing that one on the weekly, too..., top it off with tea... and a blankey! and stay niiice and warm!! and now after all this cozin' it's going to be super hard for me to get up and head out to the grocery store. i mean, we woke up to snow flurries this morning! i can't even believe it!

[also, photos taken by my sis, christina, on one of many snuggly days recently. i love being snuggly with her.]

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

fall on the farm with friends!

friendships can be funny, you know? i feel like i've tested out every kind in the book at this point. i've had friends that are nice to your face, but you kiiinda wonder what they'd say behind your back. i've had friends that you never quite figure out how to read, that seem to never quite figure out how to read you. i've had friends that are straight up crazy, but you think you're supposed to support them, anyway. i've had friends that come and go when it's convenient for them, eventually fizzling out for good. and then! sometimes it takes a while... but eventually you realize that you can't actually call these situations friendships, at all! but they're valuable learning experiences that teach us how to really see and love and appreciate our truest of friends... the friends that you know and trust, because they know you, and somehow, despite that, they still love you [?!]. and you love them! and even on your worst day, you can send them ridiculous email diaries about nothing that's even at all important in the big picture, and they're totally okay with that and send you one right back. and even better, when your head is all foggy, they still see the real you and speak the words that you had no idea you needed to hear, and you only hope you can semi-return the favor one day. that is a friendship, right there! i love friendship!

even so, i feel like it's often difficult for couples to find other couple friends where the girl likes the girl as much as the guy likes the guy, and all that... so, steven and i really do not take for granted the fact that we actually have a bunch of really wonderful couple friends. but with our kuypers it gets eeeven better, because not only do i love maggie as much as steven loves matt, but maddalena is just crazy about their little girl, lucy. they are true friends that God placed in our lives when we were just newlyweds, and now they are like family to us.

so, so, sooo, anyway... when maggie's sweet friend of some years, the lovely and talented lindsay, asked if maggie and i, with our little ladies, would join in on one of her photo projects, i was so excited to get to have one of our most beloved friendships captured! and in my very favorite place, no less. [the farm, duh.] :) so, thank you again, dearest lindsay! we love these special photos with our precious girls [and casey!!] so very much!

[photos by lindsay farrer. ps. i tried to narrow down to favorites, i did, i tried!]

also! lindsay has her own line of beautiful, handmade jewelry called simon and ruby that is really fabulous! we got to wear several of her beautiful items to play in  that afternoon, and when the time came to part ways, i was prettttyyyyy hesitant to part with the lovely jewels i'd been donning. ;) some of my favs are totally the gypsy in gold and pepper in ivory and the griffin in ivory!