in bloom

One of my favorite things about living in this home, has been seeing what shows its pretty, little face this spring. We have planted many things: flowers, fruits, and vegetables, but seeing what was already here break the surface has been exciting. We're slowly chipping away at the kitchen. Most of the dishes and such are now in the painted cabinets (upper are painted, lower are only primed), and it's nice to not have to take a trip down the hall to get a plate. I noticed recently that I hardly ever take pictures of myself and put them on the blog, and I know the reason why. Mostly, it's because I'm trying to lose weight, and I'm not really happy with my body right now. I've been going to Planet Fitness 4/5 times a week and running (elliptical) 3/4 miles (as many as 6 once) each time. It's helping some, but it also makes me want to eat cookies. It's a real life struggle. :) Anyways, that's what I look like today. Twice, in fact, because I couldn't decide which, if either, was a better picture. Happy Spring, y'all! Get outside today and enjoy the sunshine!


game night

I met my husband when we were just little kids, playing soccer on the same team, both crushing on someone else. Ten years later, I was invited by my brother to a game night at the Nowak's house, and I wasn't interested, but felt compelled to show up. Then, I made an awkward situation worse by accidentally showing up an hour early. I sat in their living room for the bare minimum that I thought wasn't rude and then I booked it out before game night actually started.

That didn't stop me from coming the next time though. You see my plan was to go to game night so I could tell my parents I had (without lying) and then leave early and go somewhere else (probably with a boy). I may have done that a couple times, I honestly don't remember, but slowly I started staying for the whole game night. The ultimate frisbee was fun, and I got cast in a home movie. You know, the normal things that draw a couple together.

Matthew and I fell in love at game night. And I love love. It's been five years since then, and last night we had a game night. The green shed hasn't changed much, evolving only in the clutter on the walls, but we are not the same. I am different.

Yesterday we had a blast playing a new game, reenacting famous photos. How'd we do?


life these days

In case you were wondering how our home is looking these days, I took some pictures. I figured I'd show you now, so when I show you the afters you can actually be impressed. Everything that isn't finished is just in progress and kinda icky, but in a totally livable, no-big-deal sorta way. We're almost finished re-drywalling in the kitchen, and I've reupholstered some of our dining chairs, so those things are good. Our wittle tomato seeds are getting so cute and big. I'm kinda in love with them and hope they live. We're painting our kitchen cabinets, but we have to finish drywalling before we can bring them in. You get it, right? Every project has ten sibling projects that have to be completed first. It's all getting close.

p.s. That mirror in the bathroom is not the one I bought for that spot. We're waiting to finish sanding and painting the bathroom before we put in the light and mirror.


a mother

Everyday I could write a post called "babies" and fill it with the emotional nonsense that makes me so aware I'm a woman. Every month, for 15 years now, I haven't been pregnant. There's a tug in my stomach that makes my heart hurt, and I review in my mind a list of faithless "what if?"s. This post is merely to fill the void of space with the words that overflow my heart. My entire life I have wanted nothing but the joy of raising babies. If you had asked 16 year old Amanda what she wanted to "be" or "do" it was always the same.

"I just want to be a mother."

Later, I added wife too, because, of course, that's what I had meant all along. I only want to fill my days kissing toes and cleaning messes. Now I'm married and in "that stage". It used to be that when I carried a baby through a grocery store, people assumed I was watching it. For years then, people started asking, "Is she yours?", but now when I tote around a little one people tell me to "treasure the moments" and "she won't be little like that for long". I don't have a baby, and it makes my core ache.

The Bible says in Proverbs 30 that there are three things that are never satisfied, and it lists me there. The barren womb.

And who knows? Maybe next month I'll be pregnant. :) Maybe we'll adopt.

But, before any of that happens, I've had to come to the realization that I can't put this first. Do you know what the first commandment is? I was talking to the kids we drive to church on Wednesday about the commandments, and they were guessing that "Thou shalt not kill" was first. Good guess, sure. But, no. The first commandment is that we should have no gods before God. Easy enough, right? I never worship any other gods. I only worship God the Father. BUT do you know what the second commandment is? It's that we shouldn't make any graven image. Any statue. Any fake god to worship. So, the second commandment is really that we should worship any other gods, and if that is true then what is the first commandment?

The first commandment is that God has to come first.

Anything we put before God in importance becomes a god to us. Babies have become my god. They consume my energy and thoughts. They're what we talk about at home. Some people think I haven't gotten pregnant because I'm "stressed" about getting pregnant, but I'm so completely not stressed. I wonder though, if I haven't gotten pregnant because I haven't let God be first. I don't want my babies to have a mother who doesn't let God have His place.

A good friend of mine reminded me of this recently. Someone who I can be honest with and tell all the icky ins and outs of my thoughts, listened to me, but then reminded me that God needs to be first. It's what I needed. Maybe your god isn't babies. Maybe there's something else that you let be more important to you than God. Maybe you needed this reminder just like I did.

Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.

What's "it"? For me it's babies. I don't know what it is for you. 



I've been hanging out with this baby girl, who my cat is not in love with. He's all like, "Why is this thing that makes noises allowed on my bed?" But, he needs to learn to chill around babies (like stay in the same room as), since hopefully soon there will be one who gets to permanently hang out with me. It was Max (our dog) who I was most worried about, but he's been all normal and, "What baby? I didn't notice."

A couple years ago I did that charcoal self-portrait and I'm pretty proud of it. For the most part, it looks like a version of me. But that darn painting. I'm no where near finished with it, but it doesn't look like me yet. That painting, like much of our house, is in that in-between stage, where people look at it and say, "Yes, I can tell it's a girl." or "Yes, I can see the direction your heading in this kitchen." When really, it just looks like a mess and I want to shout, "THIS IS NOT WHAT IT WILL LOOK LIKE IN THE END! It's ok to say it's at an awkward stage." Eventually things will come together, but, let's be honest, the unfinished stage can be a refreshing reminder that we have to work to get to the end goal.


bathroom inspiration



These are two of the bathroom pictures I've pinned. What do they have in common? Black and white tile, no under sink storage, mostly white, and a mirror that's rounded on top but flat on the bottom. Most of that is attainable (or impractical), but man that mirror was tricky. I looked online and found ones that I felt meh about. Yeah, they were kinda what I was looking for, but not the right finish and way expensive. I figured I'd keep looking at thrift stores and hopefully stumble on the perfect one.

Thrift stores amaze me. If you go often enough (to a variety of stores) you can always find what you want eventually. So, for a couple months I've been on the lookout. Honestly, I haven't been incredibly proactive about it. I've just been looking whenever I made it to a thrift store (which is less than once a week these days)(used to be every day in Knoxville). Happily, today as I was running errands for the day job, a store I was supposed to pick something up from wasn't open for twenty more minutes. I ran into the CHKD in the same parking lot and was looking through the books when one of the workers wheeled out a newly-priced tub of art and mirrors. Yep, there it was.

We had looked into getting a mirror custom cut, but that was gonna run us over $70. So, we waited. This mirror? $15 + 25% off. Yippee. It's one of those things where I ran toward it and then had this weird heart attack that someone else was going to rip it from my hands before I made it to the car. Dramatic, I'm aware. So, a little more sanding of the walls in there, and a couple coats of paints and then at least the mirror that gets to live there forever will be in place. Color me excited.



In case you're wondering if I know I am spoiled, I do. In case you don't know I am spoiled, I'll explain. Thursday was my 24th birthday. I got to sleep in, woke up to a pile of presents from my husband, and then rearranged furniture, played with our furry friends, and worked on a book I've been writing until Matt got off work and picked me up. We went to get doughnuts from a local bakery, a cup of fresh fruit juice, and a half dozen blueberry doughnuts (which we saved for breakfast the next day), before walking on the beach for awhile. After that we met up with my family for lunch/dinner, before heading home for a movie on the couch. The next morning, Matt woke me up with breakfast in bed and then we hit the road for the nearest IKEA, where Matt gave me all of his tip money (a couple hundred) that he had saved for me to spend. He's the best. After IKEA we wandered through the mall and found a Lego store where he let me "build" three girl legos (we only had 2 girls and that's not a fair guy:girl ratio). Sunday Matt's family threw me a birthday party with a cake from scratch and a table full of presents. Monday my family had a birthday dinner for me that involved flowers and a ticket to a broadway production. Plus there have been cards and presents from friends and out of town family. I'm aware that I am blessed.


Guess what's special about 24? Nothing, but everything. So far it's been the perfect year.