what i’ve learned after a decade of loving him.

Where my heart resides-2

Brett and I have officially been together for ten years.

!!!

To write about this decade seems trite, because I know I cannot do justice with words what my heart would say about all the things I’ve learned, all the mistakes I’ve made, all the ways I continue to be surprised by Brett and the fact that he wakes up every morning and chooses to love me before pouring a bowl of cereal and turning on ESPN.

It’s amazing, really, to love and be loved by someone for ten whole years. 

I’ve witnessed our love grow from infatuation to the kind of love where you see someone for who they really are—faults and all—and still love them in spite of those flaws. I can remember a time where I thought Brett had no faults at all, and he probably thought the same of me (maybe not, mine are more obvious). It was short-lived of course, in those few months and maybe even years leading up to our wedding where we basically thought the other person was perfect in every way and aren’t we so lucky to have found each other?

I think we had been married for exactly two weeks when I realized just how imperfect Brett was. He probably started noticing my faults on day two of marriage because let’s be honest: I was real selfish back then.

Our first year of marriage was hard. We argued a lot, bickered a lot, gave each other the silent treatment a lot. I slammed a few doors and cried somewhat regularly. I’m sure some people would say that maybe we weren’t ready to get married at the ripe ages of 21 and 25 but to them I say, who is ever really ready to get married? What human is ever truly prepared to dive headfirst into selflessness and sacrifice?

We survived the first year. The second year was better. We adjusted to living together and created a routine that mostly revolved around frozen yogurt and reality TV shows and conversations about expectations. I learned to give him space when he came home from work and he learned to listen without giving advice. He accepted the fact that I never replace the toilet paper roll and I got used to the way he always gets water in the toothpaste cap. I vacuumed, he took out the trash, we each folded our own laundry. He helped me make this blog. I baked him chocolate chip cookies.

The hard thing about getting married young is that you’re not only promising to love someone for the rest of your life; you’re promising to love the person they will become for the rest of your life. 

I’m sure this goes without saying, but my 18 year-old self and my 28 year-old self are quite, quite different. Brett’s 22 year-old self and 32 year-old self might as well be completely different people. Together we have morphed into new, grownup versions of ourselves: chasing dreams, succeeding and failing, experiencing identity crises every other year. We’ve lived out our entire twenties together, and how strange and wonderful it has been to do that as a team.

Together we have bought and sold a house, made two babies, and set up life insurance like a couple of responsible adults. We’ve traveled to Greece and New York and Las Vegas and Hawaii and learned how to share space in the same suitcase. We’ve experienced life and death and everything in between and learned how to love each other through the peaks of our greatest moments and through the trenches of devastating grief. Our marriage has survived every arrow thrown between us, thanks to God’s grace and living room therapy (and real therapy once or twice).

We’ve witnessed miracles together, watched two pink lines appear on two pregnancy tests together, and cried together as our first son entered the world. We’ve watched each other become parents—an experience that at times, feels otherworldly.

We’ve seen our brightest mountains and darkest valleys in this decade, but when I think of the past ten years as a whole, I see mostly love and hard work. Because despite what you see outside this house, behind closed doors it is hard work to love someone every single day for ten years. It is hard work to put on a smile and ignore that crusty plate over there and apologize and forgive and stay up until 2am talking about your relationship when your relationship needs to be talked about. It is hard work to offer grace again and again, and again, and then again.

We are learning as we go, and it’s safe to say that over the course of a decade, we’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned that sometimes you need to go to bed angry, despite what everyone told me before I got married. I call BS on that advice and offer the following instead: sometimes you need eight hours of sleep and the perspective of a pink sunrise in the morning to realize just how ridiculous that fight was. I’ve learned that our fights are rarely ever, ever about the dishes, they are always about Something Bigger than dishes. I’ve learned that appreciation—verbal and otherwise—go a long, long way in marriage. You cannot say “thank you” enough. You cannot say “I love you” enough. You cannot show your partner how grateful you are for their existence, their help, their support, their unconditional love, enough. The act of expressing appreciation is limitless, and yet there is always a shortage.

I’ve learned that marriage exposes you, brings sin to the surface, and forces you to confront all the things about yourself you’d rather keep locked away in a sock drawer for all of eternity. I never realized how hard I was to love until I married someone who loved all the rotten, selfish, stubborn parts of me.

I can think of a lot of things I’ve done right in this marriage, but I can think of more things that I’ve done wrong. Maybe Brett can say the same (you’ll have to ask him).

But despite those wrongdoings and mistakes, despite the arguments and slammed doors, despite the harsh words we have said in times of anger and desperation, at the very core of our relationship, there is still love. There is friendship. There is hope and affection and honesty. I hate to oversimplify it, but sometimes simple is best.

Ten years later, in its simplest form: we still love each other. We’re still standing in the kitchen with our hands intertwined, our toddler in the high chair and another baby kicking in my belly. We’re still laughing at each other and laughing at ourselves and dreaming big dreams for this family of ours.

And as I look around the room before he leaves for work, with crumbs littered on the floor and a stack of unopened mail sitting on the counter and all of the exhausting adultness of our lives so very prevalent, I cannot help but smile and be grateful for all it.

Here’s to another ten years, Brett. Thank you for choosing to love me every day. Thank you for leaving me the last of the milk, for putting gas in my car every Tuesday morning, for fixing my blog every time it needs to be fixed, for picking up Chipotle when I cannot fathom cooking, and for the million other tiny things you do for me. I love you today, tomorrow, forever.

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my five favorite podcasts.

favorite podcasts.jpg

2014: the year of the podcast, am I right? I love podcasts because they are conducive to multi-tasking—cleaning the house, driving a long distance, cooking dinner, waddling on the treadmill, etc. I can listen while doing stuff, which makes it easy to justify the amount of time Stitcher Radio is playing on my phone.

Here are five of my current favorites…..

1. Elise gets crafty – Elise talks about everything related to small businesses and creativity, and I always leave her podcasts feeling inspired to get up and do something great. She’s interviewed a collection of impressive guests, and I have walked away from every episode with some kind of creative takeaway. If you’re a small business owner, a freelancer, a blogger, or just anyone who enjoys learning more about creative processes, you will love this one.

2. Joy the Baker – Oh, Joy and Tracy. Where do I even begin? This was the first podcast I fell in love with. I started listening to these two right after Everett was born, and worked my way through all of their archived episodes on daily walks around my neighborhood. There was something fun and refreshing about listening to two girls casually chit-chat about life—especially during a time where I was spending a lot of time at home with a newborn.

3. The Art of Simple – I love love love this podcast. Tsh interviews all kinds of interesting people about topics mostly related to living a simple life. Her guests are fascinating, and I love the way the conversations are candid, yet somewhat structured around a central theme. She talks a lot about minimalism, work/life balance, travel, parenting, and a plethora of other relatable topics.

4. The Sarah Bagley Podcast – As someone who had a lot of perfectionist tendencies prior to becoming a mother, I cannot get enough of Sarah’s podcast. Every episode addresses the idea of living a B+ life and the art of not being a perfectionist. The best way I can describe this podcast is that it’s a breath of fresh air. If you have a long road trip ahead of you, go ahead and binge listen to all her episodes.

5. After the Jump – I recently started listening to Grace’s podcast from Kyla’s recommendation, and I’m currently working my way through all of the archived episodes. Grace interviews independent artists, designers, store owners,  and up-and-coming members of the creative community, and the conversations are always incredibly inspirational. If you work in any kind of creative field, this is a good one to subscribe to.

What podcasts are you listening to these days?

p.s. It’s my goal to turn Coffee + Crumbs into a podcast in 2015, wouldn’t that be fun?

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the truth.

to be sad for what isn't  Coffee + Crumbs.jpg

But when we opened that envelope last month and I read “it’s a boy!” on the ultrasound picture, there was no stopping the flood of tears that followed. There was no 24 hour wait period. There was just me, crying, in the middle of the restaurant, while I waited for my French toast with strawberries to arrive.

I was hung up on a single thought: what if I never have a daughter? Ever?!

***

Sometimes writing on the internet is scary. Today is one of those days. Read the rest over at Coffee + Crumbs. Thank you for letting me be human, and for letting me share my human-ness with you.

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home.

House tour | where my heart resides-1 House tour | where my heart resides-4 House tour | where my heart resides-5 House tour | where my heart resides-7 House tour | where my heart resides-8 House tour | where my heart resides-10 House tour | where my heart resides-12 House tour | where my heart resides-20House tour | where my heart resides-14 House tour | where my heart resides-15 House tour | where my heart resides-16 House tour | where my heart resides-17 House tour | where my heart resides-19 I never got around to posting a full photo tour of the house we just moved out of, but I wanted to share a few pictures of the place we’ve called home for the past year. This is where Everett took his first steps, said his first words, and morphed from baby to toddler before our very eyes.

I thought it would be different to rent a house (after previously owning one for seven years), and I assumed I wouldn’t get very attached to the walls around us. After all, it wasn’t our house. But I’m realizing that no matter where we live—short term or long term or renting or owning—every place that we call home will play a part in our story. And in this phase of life, the one with first steps and first words and positive pregnancy tests and all the normal nights of eating ice cream on the couch in between, I will continue to love and appreciate and care for every space we call home, whether it’s ours or not.

Here’s to new beginnings, purging everything but the kitchen sink, a whole new house to decorate from scratch (my favorite!), and the next chapter of our story.

***

an ode to our first little house
my new favorite decorating book
my favorite decluttering book

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second trimester faves.

Second trimester favorites | where my heart resides

1. Dry body brush – Have you guys heard of this? Full disclaimer: I came across the concept of dry body brushing while googling how to get rid of cellulite. In related news: the beauty blogs had me at “reduces the appearance of cellulite.” Apparently there are a lot of other benefits…..it increases circulation, encourages new cell growth, releases toxins, rejuvenates the nervous system, helps with muscle toning, etc. But really, if I’m being honest, I’m in it for the reduced cellulite. I use this brush every morning right before I get in the shower, and then lather myself with coconut oil when I get out. It’s only been a week since I’ve started dry brushing, but I’m really starting to love it being part of my routine. It’s super relaxing, feels good, and my skin has been noticeable softer. Will report back on the cellulite.

2. Dream lace boyshorts – Real talk! I need to tell you about The Underwear Crisis of 2014. It went something like this…..I found out I was pregnant and two days later, none of my underwear fit. No exaggeration. I am not sure what happened but somehow all of my underwear was suddenly, noticeably, much too small. Naturally, I started ordering underwear every other day on Amazon and picking up three pairs every time I went to to Target. I think I bought close to 28 pairs in two weeks, and I wish I was kidding, but I’m not. I mean, it’s underwear. The essential of all essentials. I wanted something that was a) soft/flattering around the hips, b) seamless, and c) could be worn with tight fitting clothes/maxi dresses without lines. And I am happy to report that 28 pairs of underwear later, I FOUND THE PERFECT ONES. If you’re pregnant (heck, even if you’re not pregnant), I cannot recommend these boyshorts enough. I also bought a few pairs of these and like them just as much. If you’re pregnant, order one size up. And while we’re on the subject of undergarments and TMI things, I also recently discovered maternity spanx and my life has been changed forever. This was my first time wearing spanx and really, I just want to buy five more because I love them so much. They are worth every penny and then some.

3. Wedge sandals – I love a good pair of wedges, and I love a good pair of sandals. These are the best of both worlds, and give me the perfect amount of height when I want to remain casual. They look great with dresses, shorts, maxi skirts, everything. Plus, they’re comfy. Win-win.

4. Burts Bees Momma Oil – After I lather up with coconut oil in the morning, I slather a thin layer of Cocoa Butter lotion + this all over my belly, hips, and chest. It sounds like a lot, but my skin soaks it up. Call it my stretch mark prevention plan.

5. Babylist – I don’t know what all the rules are about registering for a second baby, especially when the second baby is also the same gender as your first baby, but there are a few things on our wishlist so I figured I would make one just in case anyone asked for a gift idea. I used Babylist the first time around, and loved it, so obviously I’m using it again. I love that you can register for items from any store, it’s super easy to use, it’s pretty (!!), and they are in the process of adding completion discounts. If you want to see our little wishlist in progress, here it is. (Thanks for not judging the fact that I made one in the first place.)

6. Hair color conceal spray – Mmmmk. So, when I am not pregnant, my hair grows really fast. When I am pregnant, my hair grows abnormally fast. And when I say abnormally fast, I mean two weeks after I get my hair colored, my roots are showing. I bumped up my appointments to every six weeks while pregnant (normally I go between eight-ten), and no joke—by week three, my roots are straight up embarrassing. My natural hair color is an ashy brown, which tends to look gray-ish along the roots. NOT OKAY. After hunting around on Amazon, I came across this little gem, which basically sprays dry color directly onto your roots. AMAZING. You only have to use a little, it sprays on just like dry shampoo, and lasts until you wash your hair again. If you have quick hair outgrowth and color your hair, this stuff is the bomb.com. Also! When your hair falls out after you have a baby (it will!), this is great because it makes your hair look fuller along the part line.

7. Peony one-piece swimsuit - I ordered this bad boy for our upcoming trip to Puerto Vallarta after trying on approximately 47 bikinis at Target and having a (small) meltdown in the dressing room. Fingers crossed it fits!

8. Pregnancy pillow – My friend Christina ordered this and didn’t like it, but I think she’s crazy because it’s the best thing since sliced bread. Brett and I have a lot of inappropriate nicknames for this pillow, but the bottom line is: IT HELPS ME SLEEP BETTER. Also helping me sleep better? Unisom. Ask your doctor/midwife if you can take some if you have crazy pregnancy insomnia like I do (and by crazy, I mean I can be often be found on the couch at 3am eating cheerios and watching Bravo).

9. ASOS maternity striped dress – This dress is on sale for $23. You should definitely get one (order a size up, it’s short!). If I haven’t mentioned this before, ASOS is by far, my favorite place for maternity clothes. Other favorites: this dress, this dress, this dress, this top.

The end.

As usual, this post contains affiliate links, which means if you decide to make a purchase, I earn a few dollars. Thanks for supporting me and funding my coffee addiction.  
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