taking stock | september’s end

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|making| funny squishy faces at elinor.
|cooking| less these days thanks to ben’s desire to create delish dishes on the regular. loving the chance to sit back and relax while becoming inspired anew and welcoming a new season of meals.
|drinking| a perfect cup of locally roasted, deep and dark french roast…outside because il set parfait.
|reading| bonhoeffer + the cuckoo’s calling + le petit prince + madeline + the gruffalo + and, olivia
|wanting| to wear all the ankle boots and loafers.
|looking| for my keys.
|playing| the piano with the little miss.
|wasting| paper towels.
|sewing| in the new year. it is happening. promise.
|wishing| that i could quiet my mind for a bit. such a difficult thing for me.
|enjoying| time with friends and more outdoor activities.
|waiting| for my warby parker home try-ons to arrive.
|liking| the charming, old world chiming of the clock on the wall.
|wondering| what fabric to select for our antique chairs and settee.
|loving| my little family.
|hoping| for an extra chilly and extra long winter.
|marveling| at elinor’s development.
|needing| to stop. and pray.
|smelling| sandalwood and myrrh.
|wearing| four day hair + specs + a red lip.
|noticing| the charlie photobomb in the pic above.
|knowing| that time flies.
|thinking| about this weekend.
|feeling| grateful.
|bookmarking| gosh, what am i not bookmarking?
|opening| the windows. and birthday packages for elinor.
|giggling| at my hubby and his flirty silly ways.

past post here.  and feel free to join in and take stock.

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you

Be-Yourself-Everyone-Else-Is-Already-Taken

you are you, that is truer than true.

there is no one alive who is youer than you.

dr. suess does it again. such existential gems in his books. reading this book to elinor the other day got me thinking about being a you in this world. being yourself. and being more than okay with that. reveling in it, even. embracing the quirks and preferences and qualities that make you, you.

you don’t have to be prideful or obnoxious to be you. existing with the unflattering attitude that says, “this is me, world! take it or leave it. in your face!” and it surely doesn’t make sense to be stubborn or stuck in your you-ness. “this is me and i am awesome just how i am…and i’m not changing for no one. no way, no how. never ever.” we adapt as we go. we learn and grow. we are molded and shaped by the nouns in our life. our experiences help to mature us. we deepen. we soften and harden as necessary. but there is an art to just being who we are and going for it along the way. being a lifelong learner who walks in wisdom but who is also living life boldly. there is such beauty in people who are just doing their thing, comfortable in their skin. secure. confident of their place in this wild world. there is truly an art to being you, and being you well.

you know those super talented artists who copy the greats? their work is exquisite. no one doubts the ability. but the nuance and genius isn’t there. everything that makes the original, original isn’t present on that canvas. it may be good. it may even sell for a pretty penny. and the untrained eye may not be able to discern the copy from the original. but those paintings are mediocre. they are copies. they aren’t quite “it”. and who wants to be that? wouldn’t you rather be the one and only you than a not-quite version of somebody else? even the greatest forger is still a forger. why settle? each of us has something remarkable to bring to those around us. our personalities and eccentricities make us who we are. we are created in the image of a creative God who has unique plans for each and every one of us. we just have to know how to use what He has given us to make a masterpiece. something that only we can do. that’s the art of it. learning how to take what we’ve got and make our way through this world in a way that is big and bright and you. of course, there are times when we need to borrow a brush or some extra paint. we might need to take a class or so to refine our technique. we may even model the brushstrokes of another. but the beauty of the masterpiece is found when the signature elements of the artist shine through. that’s the wow factor. and that is what should be celebrated.

this whole you thing is tricky sometimes. after all, there is nothing new under the sun. everything is a copy of something else, it seems. but our job is to grab the palette and brushes that God has given us and just have at it, making something cool on this canvas. we only get one. and i want to make it creative and let the you shine through so that my Creator looks at the canvas and says, “that’s a rachel, right there. look at how she is using what i gave her to make something lovely for Me”. i want Him to be honored and i want this life’s onlookers to find enjoyment as well. and ultimately, for my work of art to point to the ultimate Creative, the God of the universe.

and while i want my acquaintances and friends and family (my daughter, especially) to see me grow and change and improve and always striving for increased knowledge and wisdom, i also want it to be clear that i am me. and that i am content with how God made me. this pretty little mess that i am. the control freak and perfectionist. the learner. the striver. the starter but not always finisher. the hopeful dreamer. the critic. the cheeky chick. the quiet and contemplative spirit. the bossypants. the extrovert. the drama queen. the thinker. the overthinker. the planner. the nerd. the lover of pretty things. the designer. the curator. the collector. the earthy crunchy granola. the gourmand. the literal and figurative hat wearer. the conservative. the independent. the leader. the follower of Christ.

here’s to being a youer you.

the almost eight year old

so miss elinor is turning two in a little over a month. the whole thing makes me feel numb. our little peanut is not at all a baby anymore. and i can’t believe that she has been here for two years. it is cliche but it seems like she has been here all along…and yet, it doesn’t seem possible that it has been that long. it is enough to make the mind swirl and swirl.

like i said, numbing.

plus, this year. wow, this year. is it just me or has it gone by at record speed? how are we on the cusp of october? good golly. don’t get me wrong, i am thrilled about it. this is the bestest season. but 2014 is pretty much 2015. and we have an almost two year old. what are we, adults or something?

well, thanks for indulging that mild freak-out of mine. back to the whole point of this post…elinor’s second birthday. i really haven’t been focusing on her birthday as much as i should. months and months ago, i tossed around the idea of doing another round of giveaways in honor of the anniversary of her birth. don’t get too excited. not sure i can swing it at this point because i have been a total slacker. i blame it on motherly denial. i am completely denying the fact that i have an almost two year old child. no way. not possible. she’s still an itty-bitty, right? brand spanking new.

and when about three days ago i suddenly realized how incredibly close the day is, i jumped on it. wish lists and party ideas and all that jazz. and of course, i started getting elinor all excited. first things, first…helping her understand how old she is. but every time i ask her, “elinor, how old are you (going to be)?”  she responds, “eight”. it is her favorite number and there is no changing her mind on the matter. at this point, it might be the only number that matters to her. quirky little thing. as you can imagine, it makes for some rather interesting counting practice. and it is pretty hilarious to hear our tiny lady (who i still view as eight months old) proclaim that she is turning eight. what am i going to do when she actually turns eight? yikes.

where was i? are you sick of reading my ramblings? probably.

so, elinor’s birthday. the fun thing about celebrating a two-year-old’s birthday is that they kind of get it. last year, it was more about the ceremony and photo-opp of it all. but this year, elinor understands that she is going to have her own little party with loved ones and that we are going to mark the occasion with decorations and food and presents. in fact, when i asked our soon-to-be-eight-year-old what she wants for her birthday, she immediately replied, “shoes”. good choice. see, she gets it.

and so, shoes are en route. these cuties, to be exact.

and seeing that french frou-frou is kind of our thing, those beauties on the left are perfection for our little mademoiselle. they are the newest release in the fall line from freshly picked and they are called, merci. well, merci, freshly picked! the ultimate fancy-schmancy birthday mocc. aaaaand, we got some stay golden suede ones too because i wanted some suede ones for fall and this new color is rich and dreamy. pumpkin spice, don’t ya know.

if someone stages a moccasin intervention for me, i wouldn’t blame you one bit. i have a major FP problem.

and while we are talking fashion, we also did some damage at crewcuts. you know, now that i have a two year old who is out of babywear and into children’s stuff. which i am thrilled about because i have been waiting a long time to buy some mini-me outfits from j.crew. eeeep! oh. my. cardigans. elinor is going to be all kinds of chic. here are a few of my favorite pieces from elinor’s birthday collection, as i will henceforth refer to it.

so, to balance out all this superficial stuff, we have ordered some new, beautiful, and more interactive books for elinor. tap the magic tree and lines that wiggle and mix it up! (the new one by herve tullet). and flora the flamingo got in on the party too because it is a must. i am so excited to get into these with E. such darling books for this stage of her life.

and to round it all out, a gourmet play kitchen.  i can’t decide if i want to put it in our kitchen so E can play along while we prepare dinner…high hopes that it would keep her from “helping” by taking mixing bowls out and dumping stuff in them…or if we should erect it elsewhere. decisions, decisions.

that should just about do it. she should be all set for her two-year-old-ness! i mean, she will still require some kitchen essentials like this and this and this and this and this and this and this and this of course, this. aaaaaand a girl needs to learn how to roll sushi and properly prepare a crêpe, right? oui oui. total musts. they may not be kitchen “essentials” for some but they are often prepared in our kitchen and enjoyed at our table and therefore, necessary playthings.

oh, and a girl’s gotta know how to use this too. yes indeed.

kid birthdays are way fun. i hope elinor enjoys it as much as her mama and papa…

and mum’s the word. we wouldn’t want to ruin the surprise for the little miss.

{saturdaysanté} week 38 | september 20

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saturdaysanté

you do realize we are less than 100 days from christmas, right? crazy town. and we are like less than two months from elinor’s 2nd birthday.

speaking of elinor…the little miss got to enjoy a sleepover at the grandparents’ house on friday night which meant dinner and a movie for the parents. wahoo for all! and then saturday, oh saturday. ben and i woke up on the perfect side of early and went for a slow and steady almost-five-miler together. we chatted a bit and enjoyed the just-about-cool-ish weather. it was so nice. and then, it was back to the house to get cleaned up and out the door for some brunch.

naturally, we went french. we grabbed a little table for two at crepe bar and ordered some crepes and coffee. we nibbled on the house granola while we waited and just people-watched and enjoyed each other’s company. and after the crepes were gone, we got a bottle of cold brew to-go and popped into the bakery next door for some croissants to take home and enjoy with our coffee. because, when in france…