Wednesday, April 9, 2014

hope spoken

this is a super long post, i'm sorry in advance.  i'm recapping every little bit [no joke] of a recent trip in one place - i don't really expect anyone to read all of these words, but i want to have this all tucked away to look back on.  oh and i didn't proofread this. yikes.
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it finally happened, after more than a year of hoping-wishing-waiting, hope spoken finally has come and gone.  when my bestie, cory asked me and rach if we would be interested in a girl's trip across the country i had a 3 month old. a weekend of girl time, truth, rest & fun sounded ah-maz-ing, even if it was 15 months away.  without knowing anything about any of the speakers, what was planned or how we'd get there, i bought my ticket - well, i asked for it as a birthday present really.  i trust my friends' taste in adventures and they were a little more 'in the know' than me.
in between buying the ticket and arriving at the conference i did a tiny bit of research on a few of the ladies that were involved and also found out that some of my favorite bloggers / IGers would either be in attendance and/or leading small groups, etc.  i got even more excited [if that's possible] about being there.  if my friend's who i look up to are about it, and these women that i don't know [ha!] but look up to are about it, then it's gotta be great, right?
we planned our trip to get in thursday morning, a day before the conference so that we could really get the fullness of our 'adult spring break' and not feel too rushed.  we had from about 10:15a thursday until 4 p on friday to do as we pleased, see dallas, just visit, etc. i really loved this part of our trip.  if i were to do it again, i would not skimp on this!  since we were splitting our hotel room 4 ways, one extra night wasn't so much more and it was really worth it for the extra time.  although, our 6am flight out of louisville was a wee bit rough!

they may have gotten up at 4a to shower and get ready.  i may have rolled out of bed and brushed my teeth.  don't judge.  we only got about 2 hrs of sleep that night.  i'm a lover of sleep.  like i said, rough.
we were super psyched to hear that our sweet friend libby wanted to be a part of this conference too and immediately made our plans to all stay together.  lib lives in virginia (we're in ky) so we get to visit way less often then we'd like.  all of these ladies are such an encouragement to me - the way that they love the Lord, and people - especially their families and the people they minister to - spurs me on in a way that i can't fully communicate.  and the way each of these friendships have been created and cultivated is nothing less than ordained. God has really woven our stories together in such an intricate and beautiful way.  i'm one really blessed lady.
when we arrived we got our rental car, got some authentic tex mex and went shopping at an outdoor mall.  funny enough we only went into a loft and gap in two hours. the gap?  honestly? hahah when the clearance rack is an extra 40% off i guess there's nothing left to do.  the poor boy working in the dressing room as we tried on all matching outfits for 60 minutes.
lib's flight was delayed, which was no surprise because that sadly happens to her kind of often, so while we were waiting for her we checked into our hotel and went to the pool.  YES THE POOL!  i was in a bathing suit while it was 34 degrees at home.  it was so nice just to feel the sun.  i need freckles and vitamin d already!  when libby got in we visited, got cleaned up and hit the town.  ironically, the locals working at the hotel sent us to this terrible restaurant downtown but at least it got us in the vicinity of good things.  we ate a delicious meal outside catching up talking about life and motherhood and ministry and being a wife and what's hard and what's good and what we're looking forward to and what we dread.  we talked about what we wanted out of the weekend and so much more.  i've become more 'introverted' in my old age but i still really crave people time, just in smaller groups.  i love to hear about other peoples' hearts and lives. i love laughing til it hurts. after thursday i already considered the weekend a success and the conference hadn't even started yet. 
we slept in friday morning, oh glory!  it was so nice.  after a starbucks run, a long walk and lunch at 'the porch' [must try!] and it was time to check in.  #itshappening
the place was absolutely gorgeous.  basically i will steal all of these ideas for future baby birthday parties.  so many special handmade pieces that made it all so sweet and made all the ladies feel like they were entering into a weekend that was crafted thoughtfully just for us.  so many super talented and generous people were involved in making the weekend such a raving success. 
i've never been to a women's conference before but for me the vibe was very cool.  all the women, even if you were just with people in the elevator, would be friendly and introduce themselves.  it didn't feel cliquey or fake, just seemed real and lovely.
when we first came into dinner we sat right behind some girls who actually are involved in young life [a ministry that all of us girls are/were involved in] and know a ton of the same people of us.  out of 250 people, it just seemed kind of amazing that we'd be there together and then sit right behind each other.  one of the girls i had actually met once before and the other is going to be on assignment with libby this summer - what are the chances?  then as our table filled with really sweet women, two of the ladies were two that i've read their blogs for quite some time - Emily from jones design co. & Jami at from the nato's.  i silent screamed and tried not to be too awkward - i know they're normal people.  but they're normal people who have amazing stories and are mommas of bunches of babies - these are the people that i didn't know but that i look up to!  they're at my dinner table!  we actually ate all of our meals together.  i can't believe i didn't ask them to take a picture with me like a crazed fan but i had to draw a line somewhere of being a complete creeper.
the worship was amazing!  tim halperin, jordan & lauren & jenny simmons did a phenomenal job!  not that i didn't think worshipping the Lord in song would not be great no matter what but they found some seriously talented people to lead us in that.  since i had no expectations, i was completely blown away.  ps // tim said that he's playing at several young life camps this summer friends!  your students are going to l-o-v-e him and he did an excellent job of speaking about Jesus in a way that i think will completely resonate with teens.  i wish he'd be at camp with us - jelly!

holy moly, i haven't even written about my notes yet or anything i learned.  what a mess.  i should have done two parts.  hmmmm.  i'll hit some highlights from each of the women i heard speak and then hopefully be back to really share some deeper things that the Lord has been pressing on my heart.
it was really obvious that danielle, casey and emily, the dreamers and hostesses of the event, really care for women and wanted to be such a blessing and encouragement to all the women attending.  they weren't just trying to get something done or gain recognition for themselves - it was so obvious that they just want to glorify the Lord and point ladies to live full lives dependent on Christ.

many of the women spoke out of place of their testimony.  they spoke about their personal lives and how they know God.  i'm not going to retell their testimonies but they are totally worthy of hearing.  you should seriously read about these women and what the Lord has so faithfully done in and through them.  some of these women were keynote speakers, so everyone heard from them, and then the others were breakout sessions so different people heard different women.  here were some of my take aways.  some of this they may have actually said and some may have been just things they made me think about. [i don't want to not credit them and then i don't want to credit them for something they wouldn't have wanted to say - haha].  bolded things that really hit me hard.

shauna niequist:
-living a life of love: 1 Corinthians 13
-lay down the hustle and rebuild your life on purpose
-your choices can draw you toward or away from the person you want to be & the life you want to have.
-saying "no" to some things opens you up to say "yes" to the most important things
-what is important to you vs. what is important to the world?
-exodus 16:  you can't handle the workload alone, you will wear yourself out
-acknowledge that God can use other people too
-give up the need to be known for something other than Jesus, it doesn't matter what someone else can do.
-luke 10: mary and Martha, we want Jesus to say "you're so capable, i'm so impressed by you" but he says "you're missing it!  it's me!"

lauren chandler: she actually did an amazing job that was really more of a sermon format, and it was great.  my notes on this are terrible but she broke psalm 107 showing how God works in and through so many different hard things we go through, whether that's circumstantial or self-inflicted.
-psalm 107
-God often draws people into the desert before he does something different, a time of preparation, sacred time.  you need me, not the promised land

casey weigand:
this was kind of a q & a format and i didn't jot notes really - whoops!  but she did share about her life, the awesome parts and the hardships.  it reminded me that we don't always know what God is up to but we do always know that He is for us and for our good.

hannah singer: was so incredibly proud of her speaking in front of this group of women.  it takes so much guts to share your story in a place like that and she was such a rock-star.  as a girl who utterly hates public speaking i felt so blessed to see a woman who maybe doesn't love standing at a podium do it for the cause to pointing people toward the Lord - super encouraged.
-psalm 107:14-15
-Isaiah 43:18
-grace will show you that you are unworthy without making you feel unloved
-romans 8:31
-the devil doesn't want you to share your story, he wants remind you of your shame.
-galatians 5
-2 Corinthians 12:9
-joy and grief can co-exist
-jeremiah 33:3: "Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’"
-"when i look at my scars they always remind me of what God has done and i remember that Jesus has scars too."

jami nato:
-romans 11:32
-don't look at the 'heroes of faith' in the bible and imitate their life, look at them and say "who is their God?"
-if i'm not the hero who am i?  i'm the adulterer.
-we're just arrows pointing people to jesus, like john the Baptist in the desert.
-the only way that ______ will change is that God will change your heart, work a miracle
-know that you are loved, precious & chosen
-moses knew God intimately but he did not get to see the promised land.  the promised land is not the reward, knowing God is the reward.
-you don't need to fear the trials that God will allow to lead you closer to Him.  HE IS SO GOOD.

danielle burkleo
-your story matters, even if isn't "dramatic" it is the most incredible story of love and grace, it's worth sharing
-step out in faith, say yes when God prompts you
-don't miss the moments you're in
-God is a God of redemption
-Isaiah 26:3:  "you will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you."

leslie padgett:
psalm 119:11
hebrews 12:2, 11:1
-faith that remains unchallenged usually remains unchanged
-faith is often challenged by pain
-you don't always have to avoid or mask pain, you can participate, seek God, praise God, glorify him.
-Isaiah 43:19
-1 Kings 18
-Zeph 3:17
-God told her who she was before He told her what to do
-Isaiah 61:1, 54:5
-God is enough, He is trustworthy and good.
-God withheld the only thing she thought she needed and replaced it with what she truly needed --> God himself
-We are wired for surrender:  we know when we've carried too much & not given our burden to God when our sin creeps up as anger, impatience, worry, etc.
so that's that.  i can't possibly type anything else.  except, check out that guy behind cory.  i had a wonderful time and felt so blessed to be on this weekend.  thank you for all the hard work so many people put into those few precious hours.
oh and i met maybe my all-time favorite blogger, ashley campbell in real life.  nbd.  i was really awkward and she was really sweet.  and very small.  so nice to have met you if you ever click your way here and then read for three hours to the end of this post ashley!
emmie was really glad to have me home.  ha!
until next year ladies! wink wink!

Monday, March 3, 2014

surviving winter

twice in one week, i'm on a roll!  ow ow!

today was snow day number 12 for good ol' Lexington and school has already been cancelled for tomorrow.  my teacher of a husband will be going to school til july.   it was wonderful to have my sweet hubs home for the day but my little monster was actually, kind of a monster.  it was one of those days where lack of napping led to one baby meltdown after another.  bedtime couldn't come soon enough - for either of us.

but even on the hard days, i have it pretty good.  here's a few from the last week trying to survive winter.

emmie just started letting me leave bows in her hair!  you have no idea what a huge development this is for us!  i have been collecting hairbows for 19 months in anticipation of this!  and now that her bangs are constantly in her eyes it's more of a necessity than just an accessory.  i wanted to send ben a pic of em in a bow and this is the face she made when i said 'smile!'
one great way to make it through eternal frozen nightmare is with an adorable scarf.  this little stinker helped me enter and win a giveaway from my bestie, cory!  what are the chances!?  i always threaten her to pick me & she never does, now my luck is turning around!  i submitted this pic of em in her eclectic joy  baby scarf, how could it not be lucky? cory's clearing out all her fall/winter scarves to make room for spring.  grab them while you can!
over the weekend we got to celebrate our sweet friend, lu's birthday, a little earlier than her actual birthday.  thai food for everyone.  i wanted a sweet family shot.  hey, we tried.
i always bite emmie's cheeks, like play bite not for real, and i guess she's catching on.  sadly for her, my cheeks are a little less adorable to nibble.
which brings us to today.  today, like i said, was one of those days.  i know i have it super easy, our life is crazy blessed but today i felt like i cleaned up the same pile of toys 10 times, emptied to sink full of dishes to turn around and it be filled to the brim again, and was a tad low on patience. [by tad i mean a lot low].  but those aren't the things you want to remember in your family blog / journal.  you want to look back on flowers and puppy dog tails but sometimes that ain't true so lets call it how it is.

in all the frustrations that come, there are those sweet, totally worth it moments too.  we spent the morning at home because the roads were pretty bad.  i made breakfast for us which was yummy if i do say so myself.  we pretended we were at josie's with the brehms & junkers with chef jen jen. 

later on we ventured out.  cabin fever is setting in thick around these parts.  i cannot wait to feel the warm sun [will that ever happen!?] and take em outside to run around daily.  oh man, she can't wait either.

we ate linner as a family in an almost empty restaurant, which was good because ems was a hellion.
and then to burn some energy we took em to the book store to run some laps.  she found a $25 little stuffed bunny [what?!] that we had to pry from her tiny grasp upon our exit.  my favorite part besides watching em with the train table and trying to climb into the fountain was this scene...
playing dollhouse with poppa & tiny kitty cat dolls.  real men sit in tiny chairs and play with their babies.  ugh, my heart.

soaking up these little moments with my favorite people.  hope you're surviving the snow with your favorites too!
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i have friends who are working on fun business ventures doing things that they love.  life is short, why not do things you enjoy?!  i am so proud of each of them for putting themselves out there.  i love these girls and i must say, my friends are so talented.  check these ladies out and support them, they're the best!
eclectic joy: handmade, beautiful infinity scarves for ladies and babies
thirsty heart designs:  digital and physical prints to make your home happy & inspired
two belles & a bride:  two precious girls with a passion for people and a love for the wedding industry have started a blog to be an encouragement toward the Lord and eye-candy of all things pretty.
emndesigns1: brand new instagram vendor with digital prints for purchase coming soon.  she is so super creative and i abuse her talents often! 
stella bella boutique:  hopefully returning to the scene in the very near future my dear friend rachel makes unique & thoughtful handmade jewelry.  maybe shoot her a message and tell her to give the world her jewels stat!?

Saturday, March 1, 2014

winter 2013::2014 with emmie bean

originally written at the end of january i'm pretty sure.  kept hoping to add to it but obviously failed, so i'm gonna go ahead and hit the 'publish' button. without further adieu...

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per usual, i have one billion things i need to post.  a thousand things i want to remember about this time in our lives.  i've come to the realization that my hold up is pictures.  i don't have all my images in one place, some on my phone, some on ben's, some on my camera and none on my computer.  it always seems like such a bear to upload from 3 different devices just to post & no post is complete without pictures.  true?

so anyway, these next few posts will be of seasons past, out of order, and half-remembered but it's better than nothing.

memories to remember:

we were out to an informal family dinner, just the three of us, like 70% of our nights...bad momma.  when we went into the restaurant it was just cold as heck & dusk but when we came out it was a full blown blizzard in the dark.  i hope to always remember how precious little em was when she watched the snow come down for the first time with her little furry hood on.  it was sticking to her bangs and her little eyes were fixed with wonder toward the sky.  the parking lot lights lit up those perfect, fat, fluffy snowflakes (i'm convinced they're the best kind), she was in heaven.  i could have watched her smile at the sky all night, if i wasn't freezing my buns off.  it was a really precious few moments.

since then we've had relatively no snow in lexington.  all surrounding areas get pummeled, and we get a rain shower or something equally lame.  since that first snow i've had one other opportunity to take sweet mem's out into flurries.  the wind was kickin' something fierce & she could barely stay standing against it in her 'christmas-story-esque' outfit.  i snapped a few shots and let her stick her mitten hands in snow before i dragged my screaming [freezing] baby inside.  she's obsessed.  i have a wilderness babe that is for sure.  i like to be outside and all, but mostly in a laying on a beach towel sense, so i'm not sure where she gets it.
in other news, i try and stay on top of rotating emmie's clothes in and out for sizing, as she grows out of one size and then into another.  we've been super blessed with adorable hand-me-downs, or future outfits that couldn't be passed up by a certain nana.  if i slack, she might even miss wearing them all together since she grows so quickly.  all that to say, in rotating into a new size i found these awesome faux-cowgirl boots.  i had been waiting for her little feet to grow into them and now that it was fall, the stars were aligning and it was time to squeeze those little chunky toes in there.  much to our surprise they had their own squeaker in the shoe and seriously, watching emmie stomp all over the house, stores, restaurants with these boots brought me at least a years' worth of laughter.
other little emmie-isms that currently kill us:
she now puts her hand up to her face to giggle.  she still belly laughs the most at her poppa.

she tries to fake snore like i do when i 'fake' sleep but really she just opens her mouth, breathes really loud and keeps her eyes open.

she squints her eyes when she smiles at me sometimes, intentionally.  i think she's mimicking me but what's funny is that it's just the way i normally smile at her.  i'm not making my eyes squinter than normal, that's just my face.
when she runs or walks really fast she breathes, huh huh huh, really short little breaths because that's what i do when i fake run holding her.  it's awesome.

she shrugs her shoulders and put her arms out to say "i dunno." without words.

she's starting to sing and dance more.  she loves music.  anytime she hears any kind of tune her ears immediately perk up and she starts to wiggle and/or hum.
she uses her chin as an extra pair of hands or a pocket. i've never actually seen anyone else do this so i guess she's just resourceful.  she wants to be hands-free to grab one more leaf or carry a few more plastic pieces of food, insert object under chin, keep walking like normal.  she's makes the best concentration face when she does this & also creates a classic ecb double chin.
she's known how to hug and kiss for a couple months, and let me tell you, it doesn't get old, but now when she hugs it's real hard when you mean it.  sometimes she wraps her arms around me and pats my back.  i may have created the most overly affectionate baby in the whole world.  she seriously would give hugs 85% of the day if i didn't distract her with necessities like food, tea parties & mickey mouse club house.  and sometimes even that results in hugs.  she's really into giving hugs between bites, to both parents at one time.  i found scrambled egg in my hair the other day.  anytime she sees ben and i hugging, she almost whines and then runs as fast as she can to squeeze in the middle.
em knows most of her body parts, her favorite far and away is her belly button which she will whip out on command, in public.
she loves to sit in her toy corner or go shut the door in her room to read by herself.  she pulls out all of her books, surrounds herself and then gets to work flipping diligently through all of the pages.

everyday is an adventure with this little miss.  being together is far and away one of my greatest joys and undeserved blessings.

hopefully we'll be back again...someday.  she's already grown so much since this!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

thanksgiving [yes, thanksgiving]

why not post thanksgiving happenings the week of Christmas?  i love the reminder to give thanks, it can also be pretty convicting when you realize you've spent eleven months being a little less than grateful for all the amazing gifts we've been blessed with [not just material, but relational, family, opportunities, provision, the promises of God, etc.].  i pray that God grows our little family to live in gratitude over the next year [and always]. when next november rolls around i hope i don't get broadsided with the same heart issue.  i pray that Jesus would be our everything. that we'd believe and live like HE IS ENOUGH. because he is.


the weekend before thanksgiving benny played in the first annual turkey bowl football game!  it was awesome; such a great turnout, guys and girls ready to rumble and then share a meal together. the only downer was that it was twenty-something degrees and windy. ouch...feel the burn. i'm not much of an athlete [surprise!] and i may actually be anti-competitive so emmie and i opted to be cheerleaders. i lost my voice so we were the silent type of cheerleaders. 

look at all those people!!! mainly Young Life leaders and friends of those folks. 
emmers did really well for how cold it was. I stuck her in this snowsuit for the first time that i originally thought was WAY TOO BIG for her.  go figure, i could barely zip it up, but it did do its job once we got it on!  we snuggled in puffy blankets until she was too restless and then we headed out to thaw & nap.
i think if it had been warmer emmie would have tried to run onto the field and play with her poppa. maybe they'll have a spring game so we can see?  i think she'd love that.
on thanksgiving day we got to go to my cousin's for 'supper'. this was the first thanksgiving since my sweet grandma passed away and we always had thanksgiving at her house in the past. maggie was an amazingly gracious host but it was a little sad to not be at Grandma's with her ridiculously infectious laugh in the place we're accustomed to. still a wonderful day with family and after about 5 minutes emmie was comfortable enough to start raiding drawers and screaming wildly. i'd say it was a success. :)

we hopped from one fam to the next and headed up to northern ky to see benny's crew. since he had a few days off school we wanted make the most of it and some extended family was in town so it was double great. i took almost no pictures [fail!] but i did get these gems!!
ecb in nonna's heels

they love each other
photo booth pics with this my ducks

last but not least, we got to celebrate our precious little babe silas' birthday!  i cannot believe he's four.  i can't communicate how shocked i am that he is that old.  i checked his birthday invite at least a dozen times to check his age.  time has just gone by so fast.  he is such a sweet-hearted little guy and is growing into a wonderful little boy.  unbelievable.    i love that he takes time to look after emmie.  he's really sweet to her and him with his little sister - i melt.  your momma and daddy are doing such a great job loving and investing in you buddy.  we're so blessed to watch you grow!  happy birthday sweet boy.
si had a great lil party complete with cupcakes, cousins and scooters. em even crashed a 'little picnic in a tent' situation that was taking place.  she didn't ask permission, just made herself at home.  hilarious.  we'll work on manners / social ques someday soon.

so thankful for all the precious time with family and friends this season.  i pray that we live in thanksgiving, now and forever more.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

...there is freedom

i meant to post this ooooh over a month ago but this is my life...

my dear friend cassie had a series rockin' through november up until last week all about freedom.  she felt like the Lord was pushing her to put this good news out into the universe and to use the good ol' blog world to do it.  she is such a faithful young woman & i'm incredibly blessed to know her.  seriously, one of the most genuine, kind people i know.  beautiful inside & out.
cassie wrote, along with some of our friends, all about what God has been teaching them when it comes to living out the freedom we've been given in Christ.  i even had the honor of contributing a lil something myself about freedom & joy.  you can find the beginning of the series here!  i hope you'll be blessed by their words!

i'll be back someday soon...maybe.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

pumpkin patchin' with our pumpkin

i missed halloween but we're squeaking in this post before thanksgiving. ay ay ay, i'm patting myself on the back.  we found ourselves on our first annual pumpkin patch trip as a family of 3.  i think we will find a 'new' patch next fall but this was just fine for the day with a 1 year old - officially, sweet memories made.
her favorite part was probably this.  wandering through the pre-picked pumpkin field as soon as you enter the farm.  she went around and touched each one and then tried to steal some mums.
it was a gorgeous day, but a surprisingly, blazing hot day.  i was wearing a sweater and jeans and immediately wished i was in shorts and a tank as soon as we exited the car.  that made me a little 'eh' ... oh and i forgot to wear deodorant.  so it was an 'eh' and a 'ew' moment for me [and maybe for others too ... yikes].  although, it was worth enduring to see our little babe on a 'fall farm' for a day.
my little doll baby ran her little heart out.  we didn't pay to do any of the extra things - she wouldn't really appreciate it and was just as content running in fields and touching grass, so that's what we did.
we had quality family time for a bit.  i think in an effort to wrangle this wild one we gave her the best seat in the house...right on poppa's shoulders and then we wheeled her around  in a pumpkin wagon, which she thoroughly enjoyed.  she wanted back in as soon as we got her out.  i bought what i thought was an 'emmie sized' pumpkin and at check out she found an even ittier one for so tiny.  i loved that, it fit in her tiny hands perfectly.
it was a sweet day and i think little ems had a good time.  i look forward to many years of patchin' in our future, hopefully we'll be more appropriately dressed, ahem, prepared & at a farm that is a little less 'commercialized'.  hay rides should be free!  i'm just saying.

we hope you're enjoying what's left of fall in your neck of the woods, i know in ky i'm clinging to what's left of the colorful leaves, days in the 50's & well, the month of november.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

day in the life

i started writing this a month or two ago so the info & some pics are a little dated but it still needs to be posted for this momma's fading memory.  i don't want to forget!  and since i'm not making a point to do them monthly [i'm hoping just to be consistent as life happens, so far...failing] i just need to fit them in when i can.  here's some of who little em is becoming...
em loves walks, like with her own two little feet, not strolling.  she started walking pretty well around 13 months, where she would take more than a few unassisted steps.  now at 14.5 months she is trying to run.  it is awesome.  she goes as fast as her little legs will carry her until she falls down or runs into something.  if we're inside she's doing laps around the house and if we're outside on the court [which is a very common occurrence] she doesn't run so much as stop every two feet to pick up leaves and rocks.  she is obsessed with leaves and rocks.
this is her around this time - 14.5 months
she is going to flip once all the trees around here lose their leaves.  i'm going to let her jump in leaf piles. -- it's now one month later...well, the leaves have fallen and oh man is she in love.  something that i find especially sweet is that she loves the ugly ones best.  there will be vibrant red or yellow leaves right in front of her in autumnal perfection and she'll specifically go after the ratty, broken brown ones.  ben says that she finds beauty in unexpected things.  i hope that it means that she'll love the unlovable someday.  either way, it's awesome.  i taught her how to stomp on crunchy leaf piles - it's a new favorite!  oh, and she found her shadow!!  on an especially clear day, she looked down and there it was.  i showed her how her shadow can wave and dance, so she giggled and chased it for a long bit.

em wore her little hunters this past week for the first time [a month ago].  she was so adorable but they are still a little too big for her and she's pretty unsteady in them.  i can't wait until they are in her normal shoe rotation. *** they officially are her go-to shoe.  when we're around the house, even in a diaper, she goes and gets her boots and wants to put them on so we can go play outside.  hint: if you want hundreds of strangers to comment on your babe's adorable feet you should invest in some baby hunters and just wait as the unsolicited raves come pouring in.  em's sweet aunts definitely nailed it!
more current 15.5 months
now that it's cooler we go on lots of target and mall runs.  it's a little dangerous for my wallet but worth it for you to get some exercise.  you've memorized where build a bear and the disney store are in the mall and they are the only stores you try and go in to.  sometimes you let me hold your hand when you walk, but only on your own terms.  you hate when i force it [for safety of course].
build a bear CEO
trying to convince me that a giant mickey mouse would look great in the living room.
she loves to run back to her room, even when the light is off [creepy] and sit down and turn the humidifier on.  hahaha when i go in and turn the light on she's just sitting there in the mist with a huge grin and giggles.
ems running like a maniac through a fabric store.  she LOVES to touch things
she plays little library and reads books, has tea parties and talks to all her 'babies'.  she has me make forts over her crib and then belly flops to the open side of her bed and just giggles and giggles.  she loves to put all over her bows in her hair at the same time.  love love loves to brush her teeth.  she can be focused on something for a pretty considerable amount of time now.  she can spend 20 minutes or so reading books or one of her favorite pastimes, moving her sharpie markers from one mason jar to another...a baby's work is never done.
em dances whenever she hears music and wants her poppa to play the guitar whenever it catches her eye.  she bobs her head in the backseat if a song comes on the radio that she likes.  makes me laugh every time.  she just recently started to try and sing herself, especially when i rock her to bed.  as i sing, she sings too.
em and si playing / screaming at 'family dinner'
she still doesn't say a lot of real words but she talks constantly and just this week started shouting "MAAAAAAM" whenever she can't see me or when she wants something. in a really loud voice.  when i tell her "shhh" she sticks her finger up her nose.  i don't know where she got that.
she eats everything, always.  like, really never refuses food.

she still takes two naps a day.  just when i thought she was becoming a one nap baby, nope.  still sticking with too.  most days its two 1.5 to 2 hour naps each and then bed for the nap from 7:30p to 7:30a.
something i'm obsessed with.  her facial expressions, namely, the brows.  she has these super expressive eyebrows.  when she's concentrating on something or thinks it's interesting she raises those little brows and her eyes get wide.  melt my heart.
she went on her first ride in a swing after a lunch date with our sweet friend bridget.  we'd tried the park a few times in the summer but with no trees covering, the black plastic seats we're basically a little inferno, ready to scorch.  fall is perhaps the best swing weather?  we shall see.
i can't believe how much she is growing up and changing.  this stage is so fun.  we laugh together pretty much all day long now - sometimes i think i need some adult conversation, a massage and lets be honest, a shower...but really i can't imagine being anywhere else, chasing this crazy little princess as she's becoming a little girl - for sure my favorite job.

and just for good measure...
an em in the wind
auntie liz airplaning em while momma takes a migraine break {THANKFUL}