A letter to myself on the first day of summer

Photo by Aleksandr Eremin on Unsplash

Dear Joanna,

Summer is here! You finally finished the most insane school year you never thought your children or yourself would or could experience. Your kids are home, they are healthy, they are safe. The start to this season feels like the biggest sigh of relief and rush of fresh air.

You have a whole host of plans and dreams for the months ahead.

Lazy days, busy days.

Pool days, beach days.

Camps, crafts, connection.

Any and all of it, you are planned and ready to have FUN. You are ready to enjoy your kids and make some memories. You are ready to move on from the shock of last summer.

And yet, there are some creeping feelings of anxiety. Remembering those days last summer and how suffocating it could feel being at home…all the time…with everyone…with no options…no place to go. The burn out, the guilt, the mental exhaustion. It’s still a part of you. Those were really hard days and they have left a mark.

Take time.

Recognize those feelings. 

Acknowledge them. 

See your past self.

But don’t live in those feelings because that was the reality of last summer. Don’t let your anxiety color days that have yet to happen. This summer will be different. It is ok to hold onto hope because you have been able to experience that this spring.

So, have FUN this summer. Enjoy life and recognize the goodness that you weren’t able to see last summer. Schedule little things just for you, find pockets of the day just for you, that is ok and the pandemic has shown you that you NEED those moments not that they are a treat. Your kids are so excited and the days ahead are going to be full and fun and good. There will also be long, boring, and hard days but that is ok. Recognizing the balance is healthy and you need to make time to do that.

I hope this summer is good for you. I hope it’s healing. I really hope that you find some of yourself again in the days ahead. I hope you get some time to think and dream and wonder. 

Girl, you’ve got this. 



Faith | 2021

I think it is pretty perfect that my annual word of the year post is being shared in March rather than January. With 2020 being…what it was and now 2021 trending in a similar fashion (I personally have gotten my fill of historical and record breaking events for one lifetime) I am giving myself all the time and grace possible as we start this new year.

I know I am not alone in loving the start to a fresh new year. I love the planners, the goal setting, the intentions and words. I love the sense of newness and a page being turned. A fresh start for everyone and a taste of redemption on the horizon. This year though I had the hardest time sitting down and hashing out my goals. In the past I have always had them ready to go on Jan. 1. Each goal written down and plotted out among my PowerSheets planner knowing that whatever the world would bring, I would at least have a positive mindset to start the year off right.

Then 2020 came and wrecked me. It wrecked all of us. None of us truly could have known what was to come. The absolute terror that filled the world as a new and strange disease took over our communities. None of us knew what to do. How could we best protect our families? How could we best protect ourselves? How do we still live life while also protecting others? How can a person simply open up their goal planning pages and think about the year ahead when the previous year was just so… unraveling?

If there is anything good that came out of 2020 it was the need to slow down and so I applied that to my goal setting and word picking this year. I really relished in the Christmas season, thoroughly enjoyed our holiday trip down to New Orleans and came back from that break really feeling like I closed out the year well – instead of coming back and feeling rushed to accomplish every little thing immediately.

There is something to be said for having goals ready to go on the first day of a new year but there is also something to be said for letting the new year begin on it’s own and seeing what those first few days hold. The rhythm and flow that develop among the first moments.

Well I did just that, I took my time setting my goals this year and by mid January I was all sorted out. I actually made it one of my goals in January to goal set – which was a nice and slow way to start the year. As I was working through my reflective work – seeing all that I was actually able to accomplish last year and what I had to let go I was able to see just how rocked I was by the lack of expectation, lack of routine, lack of schedule. Not knowing what I could expect in the next several months let alone the next week really shook me to my core and made future planning hard. But what made it even harder was how eye opening it was to my obvious lack of faith through such a hard year and just how settled I have become in my need for expectation and routine.

It wasn’t just my faith as in my religious experiences but also faith in people. So many awful things came to light in the past year that made me lose faith in my fellow human. I just have had such a hard time seeing the light in it all.

Which obviously leads me to my word this year: Faith.

Faith: 1) complete trust or confidence in someone or something. 2) strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.

I now know that I know not. I cannot expect much of anything from the coming months because ultimately I have to keep reminding myself I am not in control of the bigger picture here. I am in control of very little in life and reminding myself of that helps me to know how much beauty there is to be seen in the chaos. I want to seek out the good in the world this year – both big and little moments and truly see and better myself for the good of others. I want to regain faith in people. I want to regain faith in a spiritual sense. I want to take the lessons of slowing down and pausing that I have learned this past year and apply them going forward. Walking with faith and hope towards a future I might not know but will be beautiful anyway.

Previous words of the year:
Confidence | 2020
Try | 2019
Peace & Joy | 2018
Releasing | 2017
Creating | 2016
Simply | 2015
Trusting | 2014

The Pause

Tonight a mother laid out her child’s first day of school outfit. The clothes that have been hanging in a closet patiently waiting to adorn an excited little body. Ready for the new and unexpected energy a fresh school year brings. That mom is packing a lunch, writing a note, saying a prayer that her child has a beautiful first day and that the after school crash isn’t too dramatic. She’s lining up backpacks and turning out the lights. Pausing for a moment before heading to bed and thinking about how different tomorrow will feel. The energy of the house slows down in preparation for the chaos and spilled cheerios the morning will surely bring.

This Pause holds so much more than a few hours of sleep and dreams of new friends and fresh school supplies. A seven month long Pause that contained more life lessons than could be taught in a school year. It’s been a Pause to help each other and learn. 

Slowly and hesitantly we peek from behind the Pause. How do we even do this anymore? How does this world work now? Nobody truly knows. Best and honest efforts are all that can be offered after such a Pause. Nostalgia starts to creep in even before the morning dawns, there was comfort and safety in that Pause. Morning walks and snack time, lazy days and self reflection. A time that cannot be replicated and a time that will be talked about for years to come. 

Tomorrow an alarm clock will sound before the sun, a mother will wake up and shuffle to the kitchen. She will barely have time to pour her coffee before a tiny body enters the kitchen, undoubtedly knocking over a bowl of cheerios and offering a sweet smile in remorse. She doesn’t even need her coffee anymore because the room is filled with the energy that can only be found on the first day of school. But deep inside she wonders, is it really all going to be ok?

Dinosaur clad mask covering a nervous smile and a lunch box filled with more love than they’ll ever know cautiously and excitedly climbing up unfamiliar steps. Who knows what these days will look like, we are all learning together from, for, and with each other.  With that perspective in mind, it’s possible that we really are going to be ok.



Today is the last day in April. 

A month where we have gotten to enjoy the mild Texas spring weather as a family. I have had the surprising pleasure of another adult around the house during the day. I’ve been able to witness a new and different relationship develop between the sisters of the house. We’ve celebrated a six year old birthday and Easter. We have done some major home projects to our front yard and backyard. We have gone on almost daily walks. 

What a month. 

It sounds like it’s been time well spent but it’s also been time spent wondering, waiting, praying, crying, worrying, talking, figuring out the world. 

I never thought I would be living through a pandemic. (I don’t think any of us really thought that.)

This is the stuff of historical fiction – the books I eat up because they are filled with realities that I could never fathom happening again in my lifetime. Pages of the past, the past we’ve learned from and grown from but only because we have revisited the tragedies of our ancestors in an effort to move forward. 

What would a historical fiction book like about this time? The Coronavirus Pandemic of 2020? 

“These were the days spent inside with family. Yearning for the normal we once knew. The simple act of giving a hug to a friend, having grandparents over for dinner without worry, going to the grocery store without having a panic attack or wearing a mask. All of those feelings were ripped away in fear within a matter of days only to return at a later date none of us knew.”

These are strange times.
Times that will take a lot to process.

I’ve been writing a lot in my personal journal because these are days  I don’t want to forget, and I live in the hope that someday I’ll have a grandchild who might need to interview me for a school project. Asking me the question, “What exactly was it like to live through a pandemic?”

Right now my answer would be – It was like home. I got to know our house inside and out in ways I never imagined. I became a domestic engineer in every sense of the word. Learning how to use our resources within these four walls to the absolute fullest for our days. We had picnics in the front yard and in the living room. We moved around furniture to best fit our needs. We went for miles upon miles of walks – Madeline on her bike, Genevieve on her scooter, and Anthony in the stroller. A little caravan of legs and wheels always stopping and starting on our journey around the neighborhood. I was fortunate enough to stay home and not have to work in a traditional sense. But that wasn’t without its own stresses. Three little kids during a pandemic is no small feat, at the time I didn’t let myself feel as I should but now I see that during times of panic and tragedy and emergency that taking gentle care of yourself is quite possibly the most important thing of all. 

So here’s to the end of April.
A month that brought new normals and a sense of home that we all needed to discover.

And here’s to May, I have no expectations.

Confidence | 2020

Happy New Year! Part of me thinks I should rebrand my blog and write once a year in January to share my word of the year since that seems to be the pattern I have been able to maintain over the past several years. I love this space and I always dream of doing so much more but somehow I consistently talk myself out of taking time to devote to sitting down and writing. There’s the laundry, a project to finish, something much more important or worthy of my attention than this space that bears my name. Why is that?

Maybe it’s not all of the distractions keeping me away.
Maybe it’s the lack of confidence I have had in myself and my capabilities.
Maybe it’s the negative self talk telling me that I have nothing to offer, no talents, and that rejection will be the only outcome if I try to do much more. 

Confidence is my word of the year for 2020. This fresh decade, this new year. So many possibilities and opportunities just waiting to be seen if only I open my eyes and my heart to them. If only I get past my fears and insecurities, my tendency toward self comparison and see just how much I can grow.

: a feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities.

I have set my goals and intentions for the coming year using my beloved Powersheets and one of my favorite practices from that workbook is to go back through the prep work and circle the word that has repeatedly come through your writing. Confidence/confident was by far the most prevalent word in my prep work this year. Desires of finding confidence in myself, my writing, my body, my motherhood. I want to do big things, I want to be the best version of myself for my family, I want to take part in new opportunities but it’s hard to even see what opportunities are out there if I lack confidence in myself and my capabilities. 

2019 was a year that I am still processing in so many ways. It was a year that brought the joy of new life and growth but also intense sadness and frustration. It was the year that truly challenged my faith more than I knew it needed or could be challenged. It was a year that took so much from me and out of me and one that I feel like I am still recovering from. Last year my word was Try and I did try a lot of new things but I also felt that the year was very trying to say the least. 

So onto 2020 with CONFIDENCE! I have a lot to offer to the world I just need to remind myself of this and build my confidence to truly believe it. 

Do you pick a word of the year? If you do I would love to know what your word is this year! Wishing you and yours a very happy and peaceful New Year and new decade! 

Photo by Kate Love Photography

Try | 2019

img_105Photo by: Kate Love Photography

We are well on our way into 2019 (definitely typed 2018 in the title of this post – still in that transitional phase of writing a nine instead of an eight!) and I have set my annual goals (on my third year with PowerSheets and still absolutely love them), filled out my calendar for the month, and have given some time and thought to my word of the year. This will be my 6th year to adopt a word of the year and I love the focus it gives to my goal setting and perspective on a fresh calendar year.

I shared last week about my forgotten words from 2018 – I’m hoping to have the mentality shaped from those words stick with me through this year and I’m looking forward to how they help form my perspective on this new word. Typically as I am filling out my goals for the next year I take the time to pray and search for a word in my writing that keeps repeating itself. I figure if it’s a word that keeps popping up in my subconscious enough to make it’s way into my written words then it must be worth focusing on! This year I couldn’t really find any particular word pop up in my writing and reflections so I decided to go for Jennifer Fulwiler’s word of the year generator and while I was at it, her saint of the year generator too! I happened to love both the word and the saint that were given to me so I’m going with it.

Word of the year: Try

Sweet, simple, to the point. I immediately connected with this word when it appeared on the screen. As we embark on 2019 we have a lot of change coming to our family. A new baby due in February and our oldest starting kindergarten in the fall among other changes and challenges to come our way that we don’t even know of yet!

So often I talk myself out of doing things and trying new things. Putting myself out there. Just because I’m afraid to try for fear of what people will think or say about me. While it’s never easy to step outside of my comfort zone I’m hoping the peace and joy cultivated over 2018 will help me to see new opportunities with a fresh perspective – realizing it is all going to be ok. I will regret what I don’t do, but will I ever regret what I do? I don’t think so.

I also think that any time there is a new baby in the family just trying to get out the door, trying to maintain some semblance of sanity, trying to create balance is all it really takes. Trying, one day at a time.

Saint of the year: St. Andre Bessette

I actually didn’t know of this saint when his name appeared on my screen but in my reading about him I feel like he is going to be a good patron to lean on this year. St. Andre was a simple man, raised in a working class family, who struggled with his health throughout his life.

St. Andre had a strong devotion to Saint Joseph – my kind of man. In college I started to develop a devotion to Saint Joseph and have always found comfort in his care of my prayers. St. Andre built a chapel in devotion to St. Joseph that was met with its fair share of pushback from his superiors. He was a quiet man with a strong will and devoted heart – I feel like this saint paired with my word of the year are a great match. A man who tried with all his heart to live the best life he could live in honor of Saint Joseph for the love of God and His people – that’s got New Year’s inspiration written all over it!

I hope all of you have had a great start to your new year! Are you a goal setter? Do you choose a word of the year? If you are or you aren’t I would love to hear from you in the comments!  

Past word of the year posts:


Peace & Joy | 2018


Photo by: Kate Love Photography

As I began typing my word of the year post for 2019 I realized I never actually blogged about my word(s) from 2018. This is a practice that I have been doing for several years now so I wanted give them a post of their own since they ended up teaching me quite a bit over the past twelve months. (I plan to share my 2019 word of the year (and saint of the year!) later this week.)

The words: peace & joy.

I mentioned in my 2018 inventory post that the year started off a little rocky with the loss of a close relative. While it was a chance to bring extended family together it was still an absolutely heartbreaking experience. My uncle was young, active, and a vibrant personality lost too soon from my humble and human perspective. December 2017 and January 2018 were dark months, spent wrestling with God and my ongoing questioning of why do we have to lose the ones we love? My spirit had not felt that sort of conflicted energy for quite some time and as I sat down last year to pray and think about my word of the year the words peace and joy kept popping up in my writing and in my mind. At the time I laughed at the thought of those words becoming my mission through the year because I was in such a state of mourning mixed with frustration and a good bit of anger.

Peace and joy were what my heart longed for but could not yet be fathomed by my brain. As the year progressed I actually forgot about those words, I wasn’t really focusing on them regularly and didn’t hear them too often in my prayers and thoughts. But as I reflected this past December on 2018 I realized, peace and joy were completely evident over the year that was 2018. I looked over this past year and saw the growth found throughout the touchstones of my life – my girls who seem to be getting bigger by the minute, my marriage that continues to grow and change and deepen, my family, my friends, our community – I found so much comfort in my surroundings and the ones that I love and through that peace and joy were cultivated more than I ever realized. I ended the year feeling at home: at home in my place in life and where I need to be to serve the ones around me right now, at home in my church and the ministries we continue to serve, at home in opportunities that have given me time and space to create, write, and share, and at home physically with the (somewhat unexpected) purchase of a new house that fits our family culture so well and we hope to spend many, many years in.

Peace and joy are possible. I hope to carry these words that have deeply rooted themselves into my soul over the next year as it is one that will surely carry with it change and new challenges. I am so thankful that God knew me better than myself, while I may have laughed at him at the start of the year – He knew, He is capable of turning our greatest sorrows and our shattered hearts into something new. If only we let Him.

Previous word of the year posts:


2018 inventory

I believe the last time I wrote a yearly inventory post it was 2015, which boggles my mind a little but life has been happening! Especially this past year, 2018 has not only flown by (doesn’t every year?) but has been filled with so much LIVING. Looking back through my photos of the year was a good reminder of just how much we were able to pack into the last 12 months. This past year was a bit of a blur but going back and seeing all that we did reminded me that even though this year had it’s low moments, there were far more high points.



We started the year on a somber note. My uncle passed away shortly after Christmas and his funeral was the first week of January. Funerals are an interesting mix of sad, frustrating, and heartbreaking, but also an opportunity to see family and friends once again that may not live near by. His funeral was a beautiful celebration of a life well lived and I was privileged to sing at his funeral mass. The next couple of weeks were spent recovering from holiday travel and getting back to our routines. I went to the bachelorette party of an old high school friend and towards the end of the month we got to celebrate her wedding!



In February I checked a big accomplishment off of my annual goals and ran in my first race! I had been participating in a run training program with my bootcamp since December and as some one who always self proclaimed that I was never going to like running ever…I actually enjoyed the process of training for the race and there is nothing like the high you get post finishing! I personally dedicated my run to my uncle who was an avid runner and set a wonderful example of physical fitness. I also took a cooking class with my mom this month! It was a belated Christmas gift and such a fun experience together. We learned how to make kolaches and had some much needed mother-daughter time. Eric and I were able to sneak out for a fancy Valentine’s date to the opera thanks to the generosity of friends passing along their tickets. I also took my first SoulCycle class and was reminded how important it is to switch things up in my fitness routine from time to time. Last but not least, I submitted my first blog post with Dallas Moms Blog! Being a part of their contributor team has reinvigorated my passion for writing and sharing – not to mention the other women involved who are so fun to be around!



We were able to attend the beautiful wedding of our friend and drummer from our church band, went to a super fun easter egg hunt playdate with friends, and we found our dream home by way of a friend’s recommendation. It was a whirlwind of a month filled with surprises and abundant prayers as we happened upon the home we hope to spend a very, very long time in. The rest of the month was filled with (unexpected) house buying things – meeting the sellers, inspections and all that jazz! The process getting into this home was so obviously guided by God – from our friend sending us the listing to meeting the sellers who were an absolute dream to work with – I can only give credit to Him for providing us with such an incredible place to live and painless experience getting here.



Over the past couple of years a group of friends from high school and I have made it a point to get together once a month. Those girls nights have quickly become some of my favorite nights of the month and remind me how fortunate I am to have had such  long lasting friendships. My baby turned FOUR this month. It has been such a magical age to experience. She has really come into her own and while she challenges us daily – she is such a sweet, smart, interesting, and inquisitive soul that I am so lucky I get to parent. I was also able to witness one of my very best friends give it her all and try out for Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders! I am surrounded by inspiring people and she is a person who consistently puts herself out there to try new things and take new adventures.



This month was filled with Zoo trips, a super fun cinco de mayo celebration at church, and watching Madeline become the sweetest little bumble bee and perform in her first dance recital. I significantly chopped my hair in anticipation for another hot Texas summer and we celebrated Mother’s day with chips, queso, and mambo taxis. Genevieve turned TWO and we had a joint birthday party for the girls at the Perot museum. We ended the month by saying goodbye to some very wonderful friends and our band directors at church as they ventured off to the Philipines. This family has been in my life for 10+ years now. They have seen me go from high school teen, to college young adult, to a married woman with kids of my own. They have helped me through heart break and challenged my confidence in my singing talents and have always made me feel like a part of their family. To say they are missed is a vast understatement!



Well this month was exceptionally special because on June 2nd we found out we were PREGNANT! I knew something was up when I started freaking out about a messed up ice cream recipe and then cried at a Maroon 5 music video. Two pregnancy tests later, and it was confirmed I was not crazy – just super hormonal. The rest of the month was spent telling close family and friends about this new pregnancy. We then took a vacation and  traveled to the beach with family and enjoyed the Texas coast and sweet sunshine. We rounded out the month with a hefty case of all day morning sickness/nausea and the girls and I participating in our first VBS at church!



Moving month! It was pretty crazy to be first trimester pregnant and moving in one of the hottest months of the year… but we did it! And most definitely not alone – we had a lot of family and friends help us out to make that move successful. We also dove headfirst into swim lessons and announced our pregnancy to the world. We took many a summer camp at home adventure and kept up with our monthly supper club dinners with friends.



We celebrated 6 years of marriage and I was finally feeling well enough to stomach a delicious dinner out. We continued on with our summer camp at home adventures and unpacked boxes upon boxes. Later in the month we found out we would be having a BOY come February and I think we are all still in a little shock about that. The rest of the month we swam, splashed, and lived for Grammie days (or at least I did). We also went to the new Crayola experience and had a BLAST!



The first weekend in September we went to Great Wolf Lodge, just our little family, as a fun send off to summer and we ALL had a blast. School started this month, Madeline began taking gymnastics, and my appetite for a greater range of food returned! At the end of the month we experienced our first real moment of homeownership in our new house when the air conditioner went out. We also snuck in a quick weekend away to Ft. Worth to see Ben Folds perform with the Ft. Worth symphony – something that has been on our bucket list as a couple since college! The month was rounded out with trips to the zoo and Perot museum, going to my first Dallas Moms Blog event as a contributor – a happy hour at Savor Gastropub at Klyde Warren Park, and a fun family day trip to the Heard Museum to see the dinosaur exhibit.



October kicked off with neighbor fun by going to our street’s National Night Out gathering. So many kiddos, games, and delicious food! Our school busted out their annual pumpkin patch which made school drop off feel extra festive. Madeline and I went to her first of many pre-kindergarten events to check out our local elementary school and it gave me all the feels. I cannot believe that she is going to be ready for kindergarten in less than a year, not entirely sure where my baby has gone. At the end of the month we went to our parish school’s trunk or treat, hosted a housewarming for our new home, and we were lucky enough to have our friend Father Michael come and bless our new space. We were also able to sneak out for a halloween party date night at my friend Beth’s house and we went to Huffines art festival and the Pacesetter Bazaar – two of my absolute favorite places to visit local artisans during the year. It wouldn’t be an October post without mentioning Halloween – the girls dressed up as Owlette, Catboy, and Eric won dad of the year by joining them as Gecko. This was the first year where BOTH girls really understood the glory that is Halloween candy and it was pretty fantastic to see them trick or treat together. We also upgraded to van life in anticipation of baby brother joining us in February.



The month began by hosting my first of I’m sure many showers in this house – a sweet little sip-and-see for my friend Sarah and her new baby. It was such a sweet morning filled with mimosas, brunch treats, and the best cake ever. The month continued on with birthday parties, baby showers, and playdates. October was such a rainy month so any time the sun was out – we were out with it! We went down to New Orleans for Thanksgiving this year and it was such a wonderful time filled with family and adventures. We went to the Aquarium, children’s museum, and Zoo lights. I think the drive down was one of our best drives yet with the girls, on the way back to Dallas we learned a valuable parenting lesson – always have plastic bags near carseats or the front seat just in case anyone gets car sick.



December was a WHIRLWIND! We decorated the house for Christmas (by we I mean Eric), put up the Christmas tree, and celebrated St. Nicholas Day with stockings and small gifts. We had playdates with friends and we surprised the girls with a fun family outing by going to see ICE! at the Gaylord. They loved the Rudolph theme and had a lot of fun right up until the end – when Genevieve decided the cold was NOT for her. I was able to sneak out for a brunch with some friends from my Core team member days – it was a lovely morning eating good food and talking with wonderful women. We went to Richardson’s Santa’s Village with our friends Juliet and Amelia and while it’s fun sharing a tradition that I grew up with – I’ll be honest in saying the lines are not my favorite thing. I delved into the Blessed is She Advent study journal for my own personal reflection this season and we had our annual supper club ornament exchange and decorated cookies with our kiddos. I celebrated my 30th birthday with one of my best friends, Eric went on his annual silent retreat, and I saw Phantom of the Opera courtesy of Dallas Summer Musicals and Dallas Moms Blog. We celebrated Christmas in Dallas this year. Christmas day was wonderful and the girls were surprisingly gracious and patient while opening presents. The week between Christmas and New Years was spent just relaxing at home as a family. I spent some time goal setting through my third set of PowerSheets and we closed out 2018 with our annual tradition of having a low key night at home – ringing in the new year eating appetizers, drinking champagne, and playing board games.

2018, you were filled to the absolute brim. I am looking forward to 2019 still being busy, but hopefully slower paced in many ways. This next year holds a lot of change and transition for our family but I know that we will be better for it in the long run. Here’s to a new year and all of the magical possibilities that it holds!

Summer Camp at Home Recap

Towards the end of the school year last year I was talking with various mom friends about summer plans. Trips to be taken, pools to be splashed in, and camps to attend. I quickly realized that I hadn’t even thought about summer camps for my kiddos. By the time I started looking, most of our local day camps were full or past the early registrant discounts. So I took a deep breath (realizing that a summer home with my kiddos full full FULL time wasn’t going to be all that bad) and rolled up my sleeves to create a plan to save my sanity and add some structured yet fun activities to our days. I wrote about our flexible curriculum outline over at Dallas Moms Blog and guess what? We had a fantastic summer.IMG_4273Now our summer wasn’t all pool trips and exotic vacation – we had some significant trips planned as well as plans to move into a new house! But I knew that between packing and shifting our normal routines – we needed some predictable fun in our days. As a former elementary (with a short stint in preschool as well!) teacher it was actually pretty fun to plan out all of the units and research activities and crafts to do. I felt like I was really getting to dive into the fun side of education that I hadn’t experienced in quite a while and it was fun to show my kids my teacher side.

Now that school has started again and I have had to reflect on our summer I wanted to share the top five lessons I learned during our Summer Camp at Home days over the past few months.

  1. Planning out everything with the big picture in mind way KEY.
    I formulated a plan for 12 weeks over the summer, collected ideas, and made resource lists to be well prepared. I didn’t buy everything I needed or prep materials right away – that way if we missed a week (or three as it turned out – between our family vacation and house move!) I wouldn’t kick myself for buying supplies we didn’t end up using in the end. But having the master plan in mind gave me something to always fall back on.
  2. Finding age appropriate activities and crafts can be tough!
    Currently our girls are 4 and 2 and finding age appropriate activities that they could participate and engage actively in together was HARD. My 4 year old is very into science experiments and intricate art projects while my 2 year old was much more into hands-on activity games and process art. Thankfully we were usually able to find middle ground with most of our activities.  However, it was hard those first few weeks trying to figure out how to modify projects so that they both could enjoy at the same time.
  3. The library is a glorious place to be in the afternoon!
    I feel like I have been pretty much bound to a morning schedule the past 4 years or so. Both of our girls do much better on outings and activities in the morning but it was tough to find a time to go to the library during a weekday morning that wasn’t crowded with story time goers or didn’t conflict with something else on our calendar. One week I just decided to go on a Monday afternoon and that became our summer routine! Barely anyone was at the library during the hot afternoon hours and my girls enjoyed getting to browse through the books uninterrupted. I wasn’t panicked losing them in a sea of kids and I felt like the staff was also more relaxed by the time afternoon rolled around. I also felt like I could keep our visit shorter than a morning trip but still leave feeling fulfilled.
  1. Hats off to the homeschooling mamas.
    We have several friends and some family members who are pursuing homeschooling. I have a lot of thoughts and feelings on homeschooling but I’m not really sure how or when to share them (or if I want to post about them in this format). All of that to say – I really, really enjoyed our learning experiences and adventures at home AND I was also really, really, really tired. I’m not entirely sure that personality wise if homeschooling will be the route we go but I am seriously impressed with all the moms (and dads!) out there who pursue homeschooling for their families. It is a vocation in every sense of the word and you guys are rockstars.
  1. I would do it again.
    All in all – meltdowns, unpreparedness, activity mishaps, not to mention everything related to pregnancy, moving, and packing – I would still do it again and have already had thoughts about next summer. It was really fun and a special experience to dig in deep with my kids and it helped to have structure in our days. We were left with a lot of fun memories and crafts and my kids were ultimately happy which is what matters the most. One a side note: we decided to not sign up our kiddos for Religious Education at our church this year and I have already started working on some RE at home lesson plans that I am really excited about!IMG_4429If you missed my original post for Dallas Moms Blog be sure to check it out. Let me know if you joined in on the Summer Camp at Home fun – I would love to hear about your experiences! I know that at home art projects and activities is everyone’s parental cup of tea but I really encourage you to try and connect with your children somehow through learning – whether that be taking a class together, reading thematic books from the library, or tackling an art project. Learning adventures together are truly a bonding experience!


hello again.


Why hello there…I feel like I have done many a blog post like this before. The type of post where you go months and months (or maybe like a year, but who is counting) without writing and then… you suddenly have the creative urge to pursue your passions and do all the things again! Well here I am, doing one of these blog posts yet again.

Life has been busy. Full of excitement, babies, changes, transitions, but we are living it and loving it and we couldn’t ask for more. I could use all of our life happenings as an excuse for my lack of writing but really I think the root cause of my absence has to do with the evil temptation for self comparison. I love writing. I love sharing. I love creating. But who doesn’t love those things and honestly who ISN’T doing those things right now? More aptly – who isn’t doing those things BETTER than me? These are the thoughts that have been plaguing my mind over the past several months and keeping me from this space.

Well, then something happened. Back in February I applied to become a monthly contributor for our local city moms blog and lo and behold… they accepted my application. I did it on a whim not expecting to be accepted but to just try and put myself out there and see if this outlet of creativity is truly something I’m decent enough at that I should pursue. I have been loving my opportunities with this new venue and have adored getting back into the creative practice of writing and producing.

Along with this opportunity I have realized my desire to keep writing, keep sharing, and continue putting myself out there in this space. I hope you’ll join me. I can’t promise amazing consistency or daily posts. But I can promise that when I do post – my heart will be in it and not my tendency toward the negative and comparative. I’ve missed this space in my life and I’m so happy to be back.