olive june: 2019

july intentions

"do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do." -oprah

a birthday reflection

a june evening: i went to bed as my birthday began to my husband rubbing my back and the warm sound of summer rain pitter-pattering a soft birthday song outside our bedroom; one year older, one year more grateful. and awoke to: "happy birthday, mommy!" and a beautifully curated rattan breakfast tray (with my favorite clay mug and cloth napkin and a homemade trolls card with purple crayon scribbles) ... i spent some time stretching and then pondering, dreaming, reflecting on this past year. it was a hard one. really hard at times... two young boys- a toddler and a baby. yet, it was one of my very favorites... if not, my favorite of all. thanks to so many things; things i am forever grateful for. 

first birthday celebration | a garden picnic for nash {part two}

yesterday i shared some scenes from the garden picnic birthday party we threw for nash last saturday, june 15 near uptown charlotte. 

'i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere 
i go, you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true) 
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here if the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud, of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

-ee cummings

first birthday celebration | a garden picnic for nash {part one}

a year ago today was nash's due date... and now we are reminiscing about all of the joy and wonders and beauty he has brought us. i thought i was as connected as i could be one year ago...  however, it turns out there's always room for growth and connection. our healthy, happy little boy makes us smile so much our cheeks hurt. he's a heartbreaker with his tooth gap and tiny, soft curls. he is a daily reminder to celebrate the simple moments and to take every day slowly. 

nash loves sitting on a quilt and playing at the park; eating fruit, listening to music and throwing balls. when we visited my friend's urban garden at the end of april, he intently watched the chickens cluck and peck all afternoon. it was then that i knew a garden picnic party- next to the chickens- was just what we should do to celebrate our nash charlie turning one. so this past saturday morning, we gathered with a couple of close friends and my husband's family and we had an intimate picnic in the garden. i kept looking around: taking in the perfect weather, the way the shade trees swayed above, the rooster protecting his coop, and jovial kids running about and playing together.  

it was endearing. 
and was full of so much love for our son.

his birthday gathering was everything i had dreamt of for him
and more.

simply loving

"and the beautiful thing about 
God is this: even though we
cannot fully comprehend His 
love, His love fully comprehends." 
-morgan harper nichols

june intentions

your soul knows what moves it most; what makes it flow and thrive and just be

what are things you have done for yours lately? 
setting intentions for each month this year has allowed me to set goals and to become more of the individual God has created me to be. there is no doubt that this season of life is hard but i am trying my best to not only manage it all - but to enjoy it all at the same time.

nash charles is one!

The Messenger

My work is loving the world. 
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird- equal seekers of sweetness. Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep i the speckled sand.
Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? 
Let me keep my mind on what matters, which is my work, 
which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished. 
The phoebe, the delphinium. The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture. Which is mostly rejoicing, since all the ingredients are here, 
which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-cloths, a mouth which to give shouts of joy to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam, telling them all, 
over and over, how is it that we live forever."
- Mary Oliver

my sweet nash
my love for you is forever 

may you always love the world with simple and sincere gratitude
with intentions 
with roots
with kindness

a letter for nash on the eve of your first birthday

it's the eleventh of june and tomorrow our sweet nash charles (or 'nash charlie' or 'charlie boy' as i often call him) will turn one. 

still my baby, always and forever. 

yet, i am having a hard time with this milestone. he's been such a dream baby and i have tried to take in every moment, every stage with him. the simple moments together; heartfelt embraces, his contagious giggle, the smell of his soft skin. 
and it's all gone by more quickly than any other year of my life. 

oh my, has this week been hard. 
and at the same time- it's been so incredibly magical. 

a grateful heart

"may you approach 
this season with
gratitude and a 
deeply rooted hope
that every day will
teach you something
that is an integral
part of your growth"
- morgan harper nichols

favorite shoes for summer

this past monday was the unofficial start to summer and with temps in the high 90's in charlotte lately, i thought i would share some shoes for summer that i am loving... 

a weekend by the sea

You are the moon, 
dear love, 
and I the sea.
The tide of hope swells
hight within my breast,
and hides the rough
dark rocks of life's unrest
when your fond eyes
smile near in perigee.
But when that loving face
is turned from me,
low falls the tide,
and the grim rocks appear,
and earth's dim coast-line
seems a thing to fear.
"You are the moon, 
dear love, 
and I the sea.

// ella wheeler wilcox

a grateful heart

why i wake early

hello, sun in my face
hello, you who make the morning
and spread it over the fields
and into the faces of the tulips
and the nodding morning glories, 
and into the windows of, even, the
miserable and crotchety-

best preacher that ever was-
dear star, that just happens
to be where you are in the universe
to keep us from ever-darkness,
to ease us with warm touching,
to hold us in the great hands of light-
good morning, good morning, good morning.

Watch, not, how i start the day
in happiness, in kindness.

-mary oliver

nash charles . month eleven | things i always want to remember

"gather courage like-
-jak major

mother's day moments

redefining motherhood

it is the look in my mother's eyes,
every time we say goodbye.
it is the pregnant girl on the bus, 
softly singing lullabies to her unborn child. 
it is the woman staring at the negative pregnancy test, 
longing, hurting, grieving.
it is the elderly lady standing in line at the supermarket,
her hand on her son's shoulder, guiding him through life.
it is the barely visible smile of the woman passing by on the street, 
a sign of recognition, a safe haven.
it is the woman hiding her tears, enduring the pain, 
not wanting to worry her children. 
it is the raw power of my body that keeps on going.
it is the task of safeguarding with every fiber of your being.
it is the protective instinctive behavior, the tightening of my muscles, 
the adrenaline rushing through my veins. 

it is the new version of me. 
the softer, stronger, tougher version of me. 

may intentions

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"for the rest of this year,
stay strong.
Let no one and nothing
make you feel like
you are not good enough
or that you do not belong.
It does not matter
how good they are
at what they do, 
your story is being woven
intricately and uniquely
by the Ono who created you."
-morgan harper nichols

thrift store tips

-a home scene-

a grateful heart

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sharing a snack with his dad under the trees 

tiny bluebird + a spring playlist


easter memories

i am currently listening to tift merritt radio with an afternoon coffee while the boys nap. and i can't help but reminisce about yesterday and how much this day, this easter sunday, meant to me. our first easter as a family of four was so deeply sweet. parks woke up a bit later than normal; snoozing next to his dad while nash and i took in the morning downstairs. nash was the first one to discover that the easter bunny had arrived. parks' reaction to his basket was everything. he was so tender yet so ecstatic over every single treat. we shared homemade muffins while billie holiday played. 

at our church service, we received a beautiful message on Christ that moved the contents of my insides all around simply because he lived and still lives - and that our church community is everything i ever could have dreamt of for inspirational spirituality in our lives- and so much more. it's magical. 

then we went to a nearby park and took in some moments together before heading to my husband's parents' house for a fun-filled day with family. a cheeseboard, an egg hunt, cocktails, facetime with my parents, and dinner together on a gorgeous spring day  - celebrating Jesus and his unconditional love for us. 

my heart was so full at the end of the day.

nash charles . month ten | things i always want to remember

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on april 12, nash charles (my 'charlie boy') turned ten months old. we spent the day traveling up to the philadelphia area to visit my husband's family. what was supposed to be about ten hours took 12.5 hours due to traffic and accidents. however, the boys were awesome! (not sure how we got so lucky with these tiny travelers!) but we are both so very thankful. my husband and i talked and listened to enneagram podcasts and i read the book, educated (highly recommend). although it was a long trip, time with family is always worth it... 

i shared some highlights on instagram, but we all enjoyed exploring the kennett square, pa area. both of my boys are growing by the hour and it was special to see them interact and play with their cousins. 

spring break fun | altitude trampoline park

this post was sponsored by altitude trampoline park . thank you so much for supporting this blog
a few weeks ago, our family spent a sunday afternoon at the new altitude trampoline park in gastonia, north carolina.  and we truly had the best time! altitude was founded in 2012 and is the fastest growing trampoline park company in the world; offering fun for people of all ages. this location is altitude's most adventure packed park to-date- it's fresh/new and is the perfect place to spend spring break if you are staying around charlotte for a 'staycation.' looking ahead at summer, this would also be a wonderful spot to escape the summer heat and keep your children active during their time out of school. from attractions such as trampoline basketball, dodge ball, a ninja course, warped wall, a foam pit, gymnastic tumble tracks, wipeout, a kids court, stunt bags, a ropes course- and so much more- i am not sure who had more fun... parks or us. jumping around the park wasn't just an absolute blast, but it is also a low-cost way to be active. after 30 minutes of jumping, you can burn over 100 calories- so great! most of all, i felt like we all couldn't help but smile watching parks have the time of his life + we both felt like kids again. i am so glad we discovered this place - none of us were ready to leave...

creating soul spaces

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"dismiss whatever insults your soul." - walt whitman 

an easter basket for parks + nash

this way you
so gently, yet confidently 
ask me to grow,
you are flowers and fire
so softly, yet knowingly
awakening me
to all the things
i want to become.

                                        - butterflies rising

april intentions

i took a small break from this space last month to do some spring cleaning and organizing... between march 1-22, i took over every space in our home: every drawer, closet, corner of our home- and i purged, re-arranged, thoroughly cleaned- made our nest new again. there were endless trips to donation centers and some very, very long days (doing this with two kids adds a whole new dimension!) - but i also feel like it was so worth it. 

and although i am happy with the end result, i have a yearning to become even more minimal and reduce the amount of things in our home... however, i also want to enjoy springtime with my family + i want to shift my mindset to something new; something that's more important in my heart. i have found that i can get wrapped up in the process and personally, it's not something i want to look back on in life and feel like i was constantly doing. i want to take in the simple moments, laugh with my kids, spend time alone with my husband, explore our city- i want to 'be.' i know i will be doing slight purges daily, but i am hoping to shift my mindset to other things this month...

an email time capsule for kids

a few years ago, i shared this kids memory journal idea that i heard from a mom of grown kids; something to keep next to your bed for simple, daily stories, tidbits, etc.. it's easy and personable and something to have to reminisce- to share laughter and to cry with down the road...

 this past november, i went to birmingham, alabama to visit my cousin for the weekend. (here are some of the travel highlights- it was such a wonderful trip! + i love my cousin and her husband and baby girl, hollis, so dearly) while i was there, my cousin shared an idea with me ... and i wanted to share with you all in case you would also like to do this for your children. when her baby was born last august, she created an email for her ... a place for people to send photos, achievements, memories... and then on her 18th birthday, she plans to give her the password. i adored this idea so much and decided to start one for parks and nash - small notes of love. i love to send a photo with a poem or a song or something they did that day that was touching.

 i hope they both appreciate reading messages from their loved ones, especially at a time in life that can often be difficult to maneuver through...

isn't this the cutest idea?
so thankful my cousin shared this with me + hope you are inspired as well! 

simply loving

this is my favorite home in uptown charlotte
and my mom's as well
a classic victorian with a large front porch and charming trees
 i see it every time i go to the post office 
-a small joy-
 i thought of her this morning
listening to a willie nelson song 
and dazing off 
and dreaming
for a bit.

motherhood | stories lately

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reading picture books (and movie nights) have helped us get through the winter days and nights- especially the drearier ones. these moments remain one of our most treasured times of the day as a family. looking back- praying before every meal, riding my bike to the library almost daily, sharing a room with my sister, and my mom or dad reading books to us before bed are some of my favorite parts about my childhood. lately we've been reading lots of simple, quiet books (besides #5 on my list today- that is a fun one!) 

just by chance, a lot of these titles follow kids on walks around the world, pointing out everyday magic, or making it themselves. several of these books focus on the comfort of routine and the joy of discovery. i wanted to share with you ... in case you want to read with your family. 

nash charles . month nine | things i always want to remember

time is passing through me like a rushing river. it was just a few hours ago we were having a dance party in our loft with a positive pregnancy test. it was just a couple minutes ago we broke down when we heard that hammering heartbeat. 

and then saw his face; crying for the first time and so beautiful.
-nine months ago today-

in case we've never met

this post was inspired by morgan harper nichols

neutral sweaters

the boys and i spend a lot of time thrifting . and honestly, they are both a dream when we shop together- they seem to love it as much as i do. parks is at the cutest age (i am LOVING three so far) and nash is chill - so chill (just like my husband.) this morning, we spent about three hours searching for treasures and found a lot of great finds for well under forty dollars (it was half off day at the local thrift stores/the last wednesday of the month- so the lines were really, really long but the prices were unbelievable). the elderly men and women (i also really love older people) adore the kids and parks has so much of me in him - that he just really seems to enjoy the experience as well. some of my favorite things to hunt for: homemade afghans, vintage kids clothes, books, homewares, art, wood toys, records, and neutral sweaters. neutral sweaters and mom jeans / madewell jeans and a pair of sneakers have become my go-to outfit as a sahm. today i am sharing some non-thrifted sweaters that i am currently loving...



a grateful heart

a grateful heart //

a nephew to love | julius imoh

9:20 am

the crisp chillness in the air
 takes my breath away
as i step out of the car in oakley
a milky latte 
the wind is blowing

in route to the hospital
gender still unknown
a niece or a nephew
to watch grow

naked winter trees 
brushing loudly
there is more to you today than yesterday

but when i look back 
on this day
i will always remember 
the serenity 
the stillness of the hallways 
and the way my sister softly nods
as i whisper,
'is it a boy?'

it all feels so right-
perhaps this is where 
the Light shines through


dating | your husband, your kids, yourself

when i was in college (at miami university in oxford, ohio), one of my professors gave the most memorable assignment my senior year- a date with yourself. he wanted us to spend a significant amount of time doing what we love most (alone) and then we were assigned to reflect and write about our experience. i still thank him inside for this enlightening example of how important it is to take the time to just Be and to show yourself that You deserve sacred time. for as i long i can remember, i have always had a need to re-charge after socializing and have always enjoyed time alone, but i was in the stage of my life where i believed that happiness had to be shared with other people. and although i love people, my 'extroverted introverted' tendencies tend to leave me yearning for time to unwind, cuddle up, and rest. the past decade taught me that spending time alone strengthens my sense of independence and confidence- and sparks creativity. alone time allows me to be more mindful of the present and to make more conscious choices. it's declaring to myself and to the world that taking care of myself and showing myself love are important. 

nash charles . month eight | things i always want to remember

keep looking 
where the Light
pours in.
- morgan harper nichols

simply loving

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basal coffee . charlotte, north carolina

winter season | home scenes + rhythms

(the floral bag is currently available in my thrift shop

hello, loves. lately, the smell of spring has been so lively here in charlotte. birds have been charming us with their chirps as the intensity of the sun has been piercing our faces. it's an unfamiliar feeling; something that felt so common just a few months ago. we have been running errands, attending play dates, organizing and re-arranging- making things fresh for cozy winter days + the horizon of blooms. and i am so tired. but making our home is one of the most joyful and creative gifts i can give myself. 

simply gather | a baby sprinkle

a few weeks ago, i drove from charlotte to cincinnati with parks + nash to surprise my sister with an intimate baby sprinkle. and we surprised her! i love a good surprise; i definitely get that from my mom and dad. but it was so wonderful and so special and i wanted to share the event with you all.

2019 | reading list + a winter playlist

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one of my 'becoming' intentions this year is to read more books; to become more of a bookworm again. i plan to bring a good read along in my bag for times when i am waiting- in the carpool at parks' school, in waiting rooms, on road trips, etc. i hope to read more informational, inspiring, parenting and more classics throughout twenty-nineteen. i love this 'classic book challange' so much. 

a snow day | time together in cincinnati

last weekend, the boys and i drove up to cincinnati to surprise my sister with a baby sprinkle. she is due february 21 with her second little baby (the gender is a surprise- which i love, love). quality time with loved ones is one of her favorite things so my mom, one of her dear friends and i planned an intimate brunch with a few close friends. i plan to share the details of the event with you all soon (it was wonderful). while visiting, we also enjoyed staying in a hotel (parks loved watching the cars and trucks go by from the large window in our room), time at the spa with my mom and sister / 21c museum hotel in downtown is incredible (possibly my best massage of all-time), we gathered for delicious ethnic takeout food, the boys and my niece played together for hours, and we had coffee chats. 

we woke up sunday morning to a winter wonderland; soft, fluffly, white snow. when nash woke up in the early morning hours to nurse, i opened the blinds and saw what i was hoping for- a new landscape; the heart of the season. i remember doing this as a little girl- hoping for no school (which took a lot). but i have lived in the carolinas for over eleven years ... so it took me a few moments to remember that the city would still be awake that day- that people would still be out and about. 

i spent the day savoring the gentleness 
as i felt my soul rest 
and whisper to breathe slowly 
and dream 
and be still. 

a gymboree birthday celebration

to celebrate parks' third birthday, we decided to invite some family friends, his cousins, and some school friends to a local gymboree to play, dance, and enjoy pizza + cake. just like christmas, this was the first time that he knew and understood that it was his birthday (and to put it simply- the boy loves to celebrate) so we decided to have it somewhere that he would really love. and he did even more than we expected. if you are local to charlotte, i can't recommend the gymboree in south charlotte enough- they were so wonderful / absolutely perfect for this age. he had the time of his life.

memories of turning three | a school bus birthday celebration

a home scene | 1.15.19

happy third birthday, parks james

i don't want to let you grow up 
but the older you get, the better i get to know you
and you are a pretty wonderful boy 
so i suppose i will let you just the same

nash charles . month seven | things i always want to remember

things i always want to remember //

my word of the year

here's to wishing and hoping that our annual bird families build nests all over the outside of our home
it's always such a gentle, springtime honor.

christmas | snapshots and reflections

{new bremen, ohio}

good afternoon and happy new year to you

i hope your holiday season was memorable and that your heart felt both peaceful and joyous.
it was one of my favorites to date. we spent a lot of time with my family in the midwest and are currently visiting my husband's brother and his family outside of philadelphia. 

it really is the season of renewal and hope and reflection. i am feeling so grateful, for so much and for everything. but i am especially grateful for the family that has been placed in my arms, and the chance to share the spirit of the season together. God really is so good, to all of us.