March 31, 2015

God Gave You Wrinkles + A Free Printable

Do you ever feel like it's impossible to be as old as you really are?

I'm shocked sometimes to realize that I'm not just playing house. That they've allowed me to have a husband and children and a mortgage, even though surely I'm not old or mature enough to do any of those things.

Except that I totally am. I'm in my thirties, y'all. I've been out of school for nearly eleven years. I'm not young anymore, and that's weird to think about but it's really okay.

I'm rather in favor of growing old--especially since the alternative is dying young and I have no intention of doing that--and I'm trying to age gracefully. But sometimes I look in the mirror and feel a little disappointed. I see the beginnings of sun spots on my cheekbones. Lots of lines around my eyes.Wonky wiry white hairs that stick straight out of my bangs.

I can see the appeal of botox and chemical peels and frequent salon visits and all those cosmetic things we do to cover up and maybe even reverse some of those less desirable signs of aging. (Which, if I'm honest, is all of them. Our society doesn't care much for old.)

And yet. I look at all the fine lines around my mouth and wonder how many times I must have laughed in the last thirty-some years to leave such a strong impression. The pouches under my eyes speak of sleepless nights with babies, and of the genes passed to me by my great-grandmother, who had a chiming clock and cookies ready for each grandkid. I see freckles and spots as evidence of long days playing at the beach with cousins and working at the pool as a lifeguard. My hands now look the way I remember my mother's hands did when I was a child. The more people I love and worry about, the more grey hairs I have. True story.

I may not always be happy with the lumps and wrinkles and scars and changes my body is going through as I get older, but I'm happy with the story they tell. I'm living a good life. Not always an easy one (stretch marks from crazy growth spurts and growing a ten pound baby are good reminders of how painful things can be sometimes) but a good one.

And why would I want to erase the evidence of a life well lived?

My friend Chrissy is a photographer, and--as I'm sure many photographers do--she sometimes has to deal with clients who are less than happy with the way she edits photos. They want to look perfect. But in real life, they don't. Who does?  They want her to smooth away the wrinkles and delete stray hairs. She refuses. Because she believes as I do: that life is beautiful in its messiness and people are beautiful in their imperfections.

Chrissy shared her Photoshop philosophy on Facebook a while back and I loved it. A couple days and a few dozen doodles later, I sent her this.
free printable: click to download and print

I want you to have it too. You can click here to download and print a copy for yourself. I hope it helps you remember that you have earned every one of those wrinkles. Remember that the perfection you see in the media isn't real and that you are beautiful just the way you are. Remember that you are loved, not in spite of your perceived physical flaws but because of them.

God gave you wrinkles. Leave them there. 

March 30, 2015

Mila Monday

Amelia: 200 weeks + Margot: 102 weeks

I took these pictures last week and never posted them. Because: life. We've been busy living it. Mostly the weather has been perfect and we were soaking it in before it gets too hot. So these are a week old but the numbers above are accurate as of today. I think.

I always feel a little guilty when I go on an unannounced blog hiatus, however brief or unintended. But with no real obligation to write, other than the ones I place on myself, why shouldn't I take a break when I need to?

We have some fun stuff coming up soon and I'm excited to get back to posting more regularly. Margot's birthday is just around the corner, we have tickets to a few events around town next month, and I think I've finally settled on a paint color for the master bedroom. House posts, food posts, all the posts. Should be good times if I can ever get my typing fingers in gear. Stay tuned!

March 17, 2015

I Quit Sugar: Week 3

Well I ate a cookie. And a milkshake. And some chocolate cake.

Once you give in, it's a sweet slippery slope, y'all.
Okay, not quite a month. But to be honest, two and a half weeks without added sugar was really hard for me. David was munching on Oreos and the girls were snacking on granola bars and all I wanted to do was bake some brownies but I worried that the temptation of licking the bowl clean would be more than I could handle.

So I'm back off the wagon. Bring on the treats.

In moderation, of course.

I'm still trying to limit my desserts to a few times a week instead of every night. I'll continue to pay closer attention to labels and will probably keep making most condiments and dressings from scratch. I'm drinking water with lemon instead of juice or limeade with my dinner. My sweet tooth is easily satisfied with smaller amounts of sugar.  I have no intention of going back to a daily breakfast of cereal.

In fact, breakfast will undoubtedly be the biggest long-term change for me. I now have eggs almost every morning--always with some cheese and usually with some veggies thrown in--and I feel SO MUCH BETTER because of it. I'm not ravenous and hunting for last night's leftovers by 9:30 AM. I have more energy throughout the day. I've always known breakfast was important, and I very rarely skip it, but making it a filling, protein-rich, veggie-laden meal has made all the difference.

But I baked a chocolate bundt cake with chocolate chips, chocolate ganache, and peanut butter cream cheese frosting for dessert last night and it was heavenly. The baking process and the end result. I hadn't realized how much I missed baking for people.

So if anyone needs some yummy treats in the next little while, just let me know. I'm itching to mix up some goodies but my desire to eat them all has waned. A little.

Let's not get too crazy.

March 16, 2015

Mila Monday: Evening Edition

Amelia: 198 weeks + Margot: 100 weeks

Guys. These two. They kill me.

Mila picked both of their outfits, Margot has been dragging that stick horse around all day, and this pose was totally spontaneous on their part. And those faces? I die.

I am so happy to have reached a point where they are friends. They are sweet to each other (most of the time) and play happily together (most of the time) and are fiercely protective of one another (always). Hooray for sisters.

March 10, 2015

I Quit Sugar: Week 2

Let's talk about last week, which was full of ups and downs. Try not to be too excited about it.

FAIL: I had lemonade from two different restaurants. There was definitely sugar in both.
SUCCESS: I only had a couple sips each time. It was just too sweet, and one tasted really fake. I was happy to know I wasn't missing out on much.
CONCLUSION: My plan to give up fountain drinks entirely--forever--shouldn't be too hard since fountain drinks are kind of gross anyway.

FAIL: I gained two pounds.
SUCCESS: I have more energy and haven't had any headaches.
CONCLUSION: There are too many other factors involved for me to expect quitting sugar to help me lose weight. Since I changed medications in November, for example, I've been gaining pretty steadily. I don't love it, but it is what it is. Besides, wanting to play with my kids AND actually having the energy to do it? No complaints here.

FAIL: I ate syrup on a German pancake yesterday.
SUCCESS: It was the tiniest drizzle and it was totally sufficient.
CONCLUSION: I don't need nearly as much sweet in my life as I once did. A little bit goes a long way.

FAIL: All I want to do is bake and eat cookies all day, every day. My cravings have not subsided in the slightest.
SUCCESS: I haven't given in. I stare down the chocolate chips every time I open the freezer, and not once have I heeded their siren call. What's more, I figured out a way to adapt my favorite muffin recipe so that it has no added sugar and tastes really good.
CONCLUSION: Experimenting with recipes is fun and cookies are not a necessity.

...Oh who am I kidding. Cookies are totally necessary. I will be making some in two weeks and they're gonna be awesome.
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