I'm back from a trip to Normandy and I have to tell you it was honestly the best trip I've ever taken. Life-changing really. Now to figure out how to even begin to organize my thoughts so that I can tell you all about it!
A place where I love to look at all of my pretty scrap supplies, but rarely use them.
A place where I got rid of about 3/4 of my supplies so I don't feel so overwhelmed, where I move paper around but never glue anything.
Layouts don't feel like "me" anymore, but I'm not really interested in Project Life.
I love using my supplies for gift wrapping, though.
I've come to the realization that for now, I enjoy little notebooks, journals and minis.
A place to gather snippets and thoughts, but much less traditional than what I used to make.
And it's really weird to be honest. I don't know exactly what happened. I just quit making stuff and then I waited longer and longer and then I just stopped. Completely.
And I really miss it but I don't know if it will ever be the same way that it used to be.
And you know what? That's okay. I'm still meeting my creative needs, even though it's lunchbox notes and not layouts.
I have a ridiculous amount of 12x12 albums that are stuffed to the gills. And they are HEAVY. And I have to move them all over this world. And I'm kind of tired of that. But the other day I walked into my craft room (soon to be baby room) and Harper was curled into an armchair flipping through my albums and the joy on her face was affirmation.
I'm so glad that I have all of those pages.
And I don't want to never make one again. I truly don't!
But now I have my blog. And Instagram. And Artifact Uprising books. And journals. And a million photos. And minis. There isn't guilt, y'all.
But there is a longing. My heart misses it. And I think that means that I will make pages again soon. I don't think I will ever make big 12x12 pages with one photo again, though. It's just too much.
I got too caught up in the stuff and the expectations. Too caught up in what everyone else was doing and saying and selling and making. I lost the joy.
So that's where I am. In limbo. Wanting to make, but not sure how or what. Slowly finding my way back. Piece by piece, photo by photo.
+ Look at these four. When did they get so big? I love this photo (from yesterday before church) for so many reasons. The dresses, the shoes and tights, Lucy's crown...I just love having girls.
+ Good news. I've officially come out of the first trimester fog. At almost 15 weeks I now have a desire to blog again but to be honest I don't know what to blog about. Again. Yep. Back in that stupid funk. Oh well- I'm just excited I want to blog!
+ We are heading to Normandy soon for a week. We are staying in Rouen, Honfleur, Bayeux, Mont St. Michel, and a couple of other places. We are doing a one day Normandy tour and I'm already teary-eyed just thinking about it. I just looked up the weather and it's rainy almost the entire time, though. BOO. Guess that's France in the spring, yes?
+ Finished Orphan Train and I LOVED it, but it broke my heart.
+ The ONLY things I want to eat are Japanese, Thai, and Chinese foods. Seriously. Italian food still grosses me out. Sigh. I need this to end. Luckily I found a great restaurant and had an amazing plate of Pad Thai and I could have cried it was so good. Why is pregnancy so weird?
+ Any book recommendations? I'm stuck. What's the best book you've read lately?
Happy Monday y'all. I'd love to hear what you are up to in the comments, I've missed you guys!
I made this collage five years ago and found it here on my blog for our seventh anniversary.
There have been many more photos since then but these remain some of my most treasured and special moments so I thought I'd use it again.
Bottom row, middle : The minute he walked in the door after missing Sadie's birth. I tear up every single time I look at it.
Third row, all the way to the right: When we were in college and so completely in love we couldn't keep our hands off of each other. When I look at that photo, I feel that infatuation all over again.
Seventh row, all the way to the right: When he walked in the room after a deployment I wasn't sure he'd make it home from.
If I had snapshots of the last five years (I don't have many of these on film) here's what I'd see.
+ My face when we found out I was pregnant with number five. Shock and a little bit of fear, and Jimmy standing in the corner of the restroom with the biggest smile I've ever seen.
+ Us seeing two heartbeats on an ultrasound in Fort Benning, Georigia five years ago.
+ Celebrating our eleventh anniversary in Paris. Having hard conversations but coming home closer than we've ever been.
+ Deployments, training, and constantly being apart. But the reunions, oh the reunions. The sweetest thing in the world. Nothing compares and it truly makes all the aparts worth it.
+ Learning to navigate life in a foreign country together.
+ Having an entire year TOGETHER while he was in Rhode Island for school. Having almost every single breakfast and dinner together for 365 days and driving each other a little bit nuts but mainly just loving it.
+ Lots of everyday stuff. Raising four little people. Disagreements, hard decisions, laughing until we cry. Vacations, texts, being apart a lot, being together some. Frustrations, pure happiness, life.
This life together has taken us so many places (literally and emotionally) that I never could have begun to imagine. The past 12 years have held the most intense fear and the most overwhelming joy that I have ever known. Sometimes in the same exact moment.
There is nowhwere I'd rather be than by his side. Whether it's on the couch holding hands and watching a scary movie...or in a room surrounded by other people.
Two days ago I watch her step on stage and audition for Aladdin.
I sat in the chair and just looked at her. Really looked. And my eyes filled with tears.
She's nearly nine. NINE. How is it possible? I feel like it was just yesterday that I met her for the very first time. She was sunny-side up and took her sweet, indecisive time coming into this world. Out, then in. Out, then in. Much like the sweet, indecisive girl she is now.
She was born with a head full of dark hair and her daddy's eyes. And my world was never ever the same again.
I watched that dark hair and those dark eyes as she confidently sang with a big smile on her face.
And it physically hurt my heart.
She is so beautiful. And so kind. And so infuriatingly picky. And so talented. And so utterly, completely HERSELF. All big teeth and long legs, constantly singing and fighting with Sadie. Sometimes in the same breath.
She is independent yet needs me so much. She doesn't want me dressing her (or even giving my opinion!) yet she still wants to hold my hand when she's scared. She has her first crush but she's too sweet and innocent to even look at him.
I see glimpses of preteen in her. An errant eye roll or sigh. And she feels so bad the MOMENT that those things happen she apologizes over and over and over - with a look of abject terror on her face. As if she can't even believe that she just did that!
She is over the moon excited about this baby. You should have seen her face when I told her I was pregnant. PURE, unadulterated, TRUE joy. Because that's her.
She is joy. And light. And love. And she is becoming a young lady and I couldn't be prouder.
Go get 'em Harper! You will rock that townsperson/ensemble role. I just know it! I am so proud of you.
1. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know it's the 16th. I'm just proud of myself for getting this post written at all!!!
2. Whenever a friend starts a new exercise or diet program (especially CrossFit and Whole30 for some reason) I find myself praying that they'll still retain the ability to talk about other things besides said program. I know, I know. Maybe it's selfish. But I hate it when the obsession is so complete that they can't talk about anything else!
3. I took the girls to see Cinderella last night. We loved it. Not only was it beautiful to look at (but why the Jose was her waist so small???) , I loved the Have Courage Be Kind piece. Sadie whispered "Mommy that's kind of what like you always tell us!"
4. I'm listening to The Girl on the Train on Audible (I just signed up and chose it as my free book - I was number 2938402384 at the library). I'm super engaged but it's just NOT FAST ENOUGH!! I need the real book in my hands so I can race ahead and read at the speed of light. Sigh.
5. I hate that I'm only blogging once a week, if I'm lucky. I just don't have the energy or desire to write more. But I'm not the same when I don't write here! I'm seeing the light at the end of the first trimester tunnel and I'm praying I'll be back to myself soon.
6. Speaking of the first trimester, I've been so....WEIRD. I told Jimmy that I'd turned into an introvert. That I didn't really like people and that all I wanted to do was sleep. And he said... "You're turning into ME!" Hahahaha! I'd like old Stephanie back stat. This doesn't suit me!
7. I'm in the midst of planning our Spring Break. I'm looking at Paris/Normandy, Krakow, and Prague. I know that I'll never again in my life have Spring Break options like this. So I want to take advantage. Especially while its just the six of us.
9. I just ordered my very first Kikki K Planner. The pink one was on sale so I scooped it up. I have a feeling I'm going to be obsessed. I haven't had a proper planner since my Filofax was stolen and my nerdy organizer heart is so excited.
10. I have been a disaster at math my entire life. Like really, truly, pathetically BAD. Y'all...Harper's third grade math homework is so damn hard. What in the world would I do without Google? I honestly don't even know what half of it means. Are all of you never going to come back now that I've admitted the depths on my Math issues???
11. Harper is auditioning for Aladdin tomorrow and I'm so nervous for her. It's so nerve wracking watching your child, your heart make themselves vulnerable. Don't you think so? I never get better at it.
12. I hate Italian food since I got pregnant. Despise. Pasta literally makes me retch. Pizza makes me gag. It's horrible! But I'm so grateful that there hasn't been morning sickness (I was SO sick with the other 3 pregnancies) that I'll take it.
13. I'm very homesick (America-sick?) lately. I love it here, but I miss the comforts of the USA a lot. I wish it wasn't so hard to get back home because I'd love a little visit right now. I need some Mexican food and a Target trip!
14. Whenever I tell people we aren't finding out the baby's gender they say WHY?? And I never know quite what to say. Ummm...because we want to be surprised? :)
15. I never know what to say for number 15. I feel like it needs to be interesting, and then I just get stuck. So I'll just say I'm done. Yes, I'm a cheater.
Watching // 30 Rock (Yes, I know - why in the WORLD did it take me so long? , The Theory of Everything (I think my eyes are still puffy) // Nashville (it's so soapy and i LOVE it.) // Whiplash - watch it. NOW.
Reading // Sobbed my way through Tell the Wolves I'm Home and trying out a few things since but I haven't been fully engaged yet.
Listening // Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift. Clearly I've turned into a 16 year old girl.
Making // Not much of anything, sadly. Making a baby I guess. HA!
TIRED. Exhausted. And I kind of hate everything I usually love. Reading, crafting, Italian food. Crazy right? My mom says that my babies steal my personality the first three months and that that's why my kids have such big personalities. I kind of love this thought and that's what I'm holding on to.
SCARED. I'm a lot older this pregnancy than I was for my others and that is scary to me. Trying to take care of myself (I hired a personal trainer the day I found out I was pregnant) and rest when I can.
Love you all. I miss sharing here. Hope I'll be "back" soon.