Wednesday, October 24, 2018

.anna turns seven.

Today my baby is seven. She has waited for this day with such anticipation. Always trying to catch up with her sisters, and never quite able to close the gap. I love her so much. We have seen such huge growth this past year in Anna...she made such a giant leap from little girl to big girl. She can read anything now, and I often find her bible open on her bed. She has lost much of her clinginess, and flies out the door to school and social events without much of a backward glance. 

Her biggest struggle and her biggest gift (how it usually goes for most of us) is her feelings. This girl FEELS her feelings...everything is magnified. Her excitement is contagious and loud. Her sense of disappointment is devastating and loud. Her anger is explosive and loud. Her love is overflowing and....loud. She does things big and I trust and pray that she will use this gift one day like her Dad - that she will lead and make a difference.

And that one day is coming fast...too fast for this mom. While I absolutely LOVE the stage we're in now; when I let myself rewind 7 years ago to this moment, holding my fresh, perfect heart hurts. We have this sweet video from when Anna was probably 2 months old, and I am singing to her, and she is just staring up at me with a full body smile. She still gets that exact same expression at bedtime sometimes, when I tuck her in.  I am still able to set her world right with a song, a snuggle and a prayer. And I know that won't last forever either. 

This whole "being a mom" thing really does wreck you in the best way, and I am so incredibly grateful that I get to be wrecked by bonus baby...I had no plans for her of my own, but so, so glad that God took matters into His own hands.

And in closing - a promise Anna made to me yesterday: 
Anna: "Mom, cats kiss so gross. With their tongues!!!!!!! I am never, ever going to 'cat kiss' anyone. Especially a boy." 
Me: "Do you promise, Anna?"
Anna: "I promise."
Me: "mmmmhmmmm"

Happy Birthday baby girl. I love you so very much.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

.steve + meg go to italy.

As many of you know, earlier this month, Steve and I had the incredible opportunity to travel to Italy. This post is already photo heavy, so I don't want to add TOO many words, but I think a few are necessary. And let's be honest, with the state of this momma's brains (or lack thereof) these days, it will help me to remember too! Here we go!
Our first, very brief stop, was a layover in Frankfurt. Neither of us have ever been to Europe, so we really wanted to jump on every opportunity to explore. This 6 hour layover was the first.
I grew up to the sounds of my grandparents speaking Plautdietsch, a low german dialect, so it was really neat to hear some familiar words and see a small bit of that influence.


And where to begin with Bella Roma! The seeds of this trip were planted by my precious friend Larissa (pictured below). Larissa is Italian and grew up in this incredible city. Her parents are missionaries in the city and have been for the last 38 years. Steve was invited by Larissa's parents to come speak at their church, and I of course was eager to see this beautiful part of the world that gave my friend her flair for fashion, food, and high quality cappuccinos. We prepared with lists, travel books, multi-course meals and basic Italian lessons: "due cappuccini per favore!" She neglected to tell us that if we wanted to cross the street, we simply needed to step into raging traffic and act like we weren't scared to die. I could say much about what we saw and did, but I will let the pictures speak. I will say that we are so grateful that we got to see this city through the eyes of a local, and her qualified husband (who has a PhD in history!!!) Many thanks also to Larissa's kind and hospitable parents who hosted us for the week, giving up their own bed and I don't know how many containers of the most delectable yogurt I have ever eaten!


At the high recommendation of Larissa's hubby, Steve (yes, another Steve), we decided to spend one of our days in Venice. I'm so glad we listened to him. We got up at an insane hour to catch our 5am train, but it was well worth it for 9 hours in this magical place. I actually think one day was just the right amount of time. It really did feel a movie set. It was crowded and maze-like, and absolutely picturesque. See if you can find the picture of me "tickling" the gondolier!


APPIAN WAY (built in 312 BC...just google it)


Following our time in Rome, Steve and I planned to end our trip with a few days in southern Italy, along the Amalfi Coast. We took a train from Rome to Naples, and then arrived in Positano after the most stunning ferry ride on the Mediterranean. I had seen photos of Positano on Instagram, and it truly did not disappoint. The opposite - it completely exceed expectations. Set on the side of a mountain the city was built up. It has one road for vehicles, and thousands of stairs and pathways.  I found a crazy deal, and we stayed at the most incredible boutique B+ B, La Casa di Peppe. We dined on pizza made in front of our eyes, local wine, the occasional dish of pasta, and an afternoon serving of gelato...all washed down with several cappuccinos per day. We walked tens of thousands of steps each day, swam in the sea, shopped in the shops and took a pile of photos.


I really do hope to return to this beautiful country one day. And even if I am not with them, I hope my girls can drink it all in for themselves one day too! Ciao ciao!

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