So as you can already tell, I'm a terribly inconsistent blogger.
This has been bothering me lately, and I've had to work through those feelings in my head, and now through my words.
The blogging world is full of beautiful things. Beautiful stories, beautiful lives, beautiful rooms, and freaking awesome photos. I love all of that! It's inspiring and pretty and reminds me to look for the art in the every day.
The blogging world is full of unspoken rules, expectations, and assumptions. It is full of followers, comments, and shout outs. It is full of Mama Mondays, Fashion posts, and ridiculously cute weekend recaps. It's almost like the blogging world has a formula that you have to follow if you want to be a real blogger...at least that's what I think sometimes. I know it's not necessarily true, not for the type of blogging I want to do, but it's hard not to think so.
It is so easy for me to compare myself to others, to fall into the trap of thinking my life isn't as good as what other lives appear to be. And I want to fight those thoughts. I feel like sometimes I try to write posts more for others instead of myself, and I want to get away from that.
So, I have come up with some descriptions and allowances for my blog to help remind me why I blog and to give myself permission to not be like any other blog out there.
*I like writing, though I'm not very polished at it. Blogging is a way to write out my thoughts, feelings, and dig through situations that happen in my life. It's ok to not write like a pro.
*I have a son, a husband, and a real life, so blogging every day is just not going to happen. I am freeing myself from that expectation.
*I don't write specifically for followers or to gain followers. I mostly write for myself, for my family, and just to write in general. This blog is more of a rough record of what's going on in the Rife house, and not too much more.
*Comments and followers are awesome, but they do not define my blog. I pick and choose carefully which blogs I follow and comment on since I don't have a lot of time during the day. I won't be offended or saddened if I have a small amount of comments or followers.
*Daily life is beautiful, and I don't have to make up things to write about. I am freeing myself from the constant need to come up with content for the next post. It would be fun to have regular themed posts, but that may not happen right now.
*Being genuine is one of the qualities I admire most in others, so I want to reflect that in my blog. I don't have to hide moments of frustration or weakness, and sharing that on my blog may encourage someone else. Many blogs can make life look deceptively perfect, and that's not the way I want my blog to be. I am so thankful to have found some awesome, real-life blogs I follow. They are so encouraging!
*More than anything, I want my blog to encourage and inspire others, to reflect my life, my family, and my passions, and to share beautiful moments captured by photo. This is what this blog means to me.
Over the weekend, Landon and I were able to have some good hang out time with friends of ours. What else would we do with a kid-less evening with friends but play Settlers?? It was a great time. My strategy didn't work out this time around, but it was fun to watch everyone interact and play a good game. If you've never played Settlers, you're missing out. Big. Time.
I read a quote today from the Simple Marriage blog:
"Life is so much better when shared with others. Especially struggles."
We have found this to be very true, and we are learning to love the close fellowship we have with our small group, with my sister and her husband, and with our other close friends.
These are the relationships that cause us to grow.
And I am so very thankful for them.
Well, I'm 27 now. I'm excited!! It feels weird, but I told a friend, I'm embracing it. My birthday was yesterday, and Landon and I are drawing out Valentine's/Birthday all weekend together. Finn got to go to my parents' house for the weekend for a "Grammie and Gramps Camp." It's a fun weekend where he spends time with them and does fun activities...also allowing Landon and I to have some alone time.
Here are some highlights from the weekend so far:
*Got to eat BBQ brisket for dinner last night. Get that in my belly.
*Went to a comedy improv show of Cinderella downtown. I about wet myself we were laughing so hard.
*Opened the coolest handmade card Landon gave me. He knows me well.
*Went to Crate & Barrel and purchased a new dinnerware set with all of our credit card extra reward points. We have been saving them up for a few years, and finally found something we wanted/needed. Our wedding dinnerware has sadly cracked, chipped, and we've lost of few pieces to dropping or baby throwing and busting. :)
*Played with all the tissue paper from aforementioned dinnerware set.
*Went rock climbing this morning, and did yoga in our living room.
*Speaking of yoga, Landon got me a new mat as my bday gift. My hands and feet get really sweaty when I'm practicing, and this new mat supposedly will help with not slipping as much.
*Ate brunch at a sweet diner in Broad Ripple called Good Morning Mama's. DEE-LISH.
*Talked to Finn on the phone, and saw some pictures of the craft he did! He's so cute!
I am so blessed to have such sweet time with Landon for a few days alone. We feel so young and college-ish when Finn isn't around. But I miss him tons and can't wait to go get him tomorrow. :)
Here's to a fabulous 27th year!
Finn was being so sweet with his dad yesterday, I had to snap a photo. Thankful for these two people in my life. I love them dearly.
Happy Valentine's Day! We are celebrating all weekend since my birthday is tomorrow and Finn is going to be at his grammie and gramps' house from tomorrow until Sunday. I did get Landon a little something for today though...some moustache wax! I can't wait for him to open his gift!
Kiss the one you love today.
Over the past few years, it's become clear to Landon and I that we have a passion for simplicity in our lives and home. It has been so fun to discover this and to explore our growing desire for less stuff...materialistic, physical, and emotional stuff. This whole idea of simplicity is a process, and an ongoing one at that. But as I look back on our married life, I can see so many positive changes we've made, and how those reflect on our life today.
Here are some practical ways we are simplifying right now.
*We only have one car. When our first car we affectionately referred to as The Green Beast left our happy little home, we delayed buying another car. It just wasn't necessary at that time, and we sort of...never bought another. Right now, in our current location and time in our lives, it's easy to only have one car. We love it because it saves us money, and forces us to take better care of the one car we do have. In the future, we may decide to buy a second vehicle, but that time is not right now.
*We don't have cable. We just don't want it. Ever. It would suck away the precious time we have, and we just can't have that. Our time is better spent not in front of the t.v. We watch movies or a few shows here and there, but we are working at eliminating a lot of those.
*We are trying to eat a slow-carb diet. Back in January, we took up a challenge to try something new for 29 days. Our challenge was a slow-carb diet meaning no sugar, carbs, minimal dairy, and lots of veggies, beans, and protein. This diet has helped our grocery bill quite a bit. We've passed our 29 day mark, and we are keeping on with the diet. I've lost a few pounds, sugar doesn't seem as delicious anymore, and we've eaten so many more veggies than we used to. Every weekend we take an off day and permit ourselves to eat whatever we want though, which keeps me sane.
*We are minimizing Facebook. Landon ditched his Facebook account long ago, and I have just recently unsubscribed from all but a few close friends and family. This keeps my time on Facebook way down from what it used to be since I no longer have a huge newsfeed. I have more time each day, and I am no longer tempted to compare myself to others. If I want to see what someone's up to, I can just click on their page and get updated....like it used to be in the good old days of college-only Facebook. :)
*We use flip phones. We will probably not buy smart phones for a very long time if we can help it. The way the plans are going, it may be harder than we think, but we have even talked about getting prepaid cell phones. Right now, it's not worth it to us to pay a large monthly smart phone plan, and we don't want to have the interwebs or tons of apps with us 24/7.
*We are purposely living in a small house. We like the small space, it's easy to maintain, and we don't have a mortgage right now. We will revisit the idea of buying a home in the future, but if we do, we will purposely look for something way smaller than the traditional single-family homes of today. Did you know that the average size of a single-family home in 1950 was 983 square feet?
Here's a good article on the topic.
*We are getting rid of unused items. It is a continual process for us to evaluate what really belongs in our home. We have taken monthly trips to the Goodwill donation center for awhile, and it feels so good every time. We have more space, less stuff to clean and maintain, and more room to breathe. One time, a random lady even took a bunch of stuff out of Landon's hands as he was walking it into the donation center...helping us help you, girlfriend. :)
Like I said, this is a constant process, and we are always revisiting these ideas to see if they fit in with our current living situation and time in our lives. If we have multiple children, we'll probably need another car. If we feel like eating junky food for a week to take a break, we just might do that. If we need to purchase something for our home, we'll be thoughtful about it and buy it if we have the money. If we feel the need to up our time on Facebook...no, no that won't be happening. :)
Landon and I had a really wonderful time in Louisville this past weekend. After dropping Finn off at my aunt and uncle's house, we checked into our beautiful hotel, then grabbed a cab and headed out for dinner.
My uncle recommended a place called Garage Bar on Market street. He said it was a foodie type place with a young chef and fabulous food. Think hipster pizza, servers wearing street clothes, lots of exposed wood, craft beer, and Matt and Kim playing in the background. We loved it. For an appetizer, we got boiled peanuts...a new experience for us. They were really good and salty. I had a Canadian beer, and Landon had a Gimlet, and we each tried one of the wood-baked pizzas.
Afterwards, we walked the streets back to our hotel and ordered a dessert of derby pie with a berry compote. It topped the evening off perfectly.
The next day we slept in, I repeat, slept in. We tried to go out for a brunch, but ended up in Bardstown road area for lunch at Tom + Chee which was the best thing ever. They had basically any combination of grilled cheese you could ever think of, along with delicious soups. I had a roast beef and cheddar sandwich with creamy tomato basil soup. Perfect for the chilly day.
We ended our food tour of Louisville at the Java Brewing Company for hot drinks and a nutella crepe.
Needless to say, we are back to our slow-carb diet this week (after eating monkey bread last night.) We had the best time exploring the restaurants of Louisville and spending some quality time with each other. We actually sat down and talked about serious things, dreams for the future, and plans for the upcoming year. We treasure these times away from Finn as we know our marriage benefits from these intentional times together. While it's not often we can make the time (or money) to get away for a weekend like this, it's so good when we do.
In case you were wondering if Finn had any fun without us, here's a little peek:
Well Friday is here and I'm excited! We've had a pretty good week around here, and there are a lot of fun things to look forward to in the next couple of days.
We are headed down to Louisville today and dropping Finn off with my Aunt and Uncle, then staying at a hotel downtown that Landon scored a stellar price on using Priceline. We'll go out for dinner at a local eatery, then SLEEP IN on Saturday! This mama's excited. Then, we get to spend the morning together before spending time with my Aunt, Uncle, and cousins for the rest of the weekend.
A few favs from this week:
*Favorite quote I read: "The people God uses don't have to know a lot of things, or have a lot of things - they just have to need him a lot." - From Finn's Jesus Storybook Bible
*Favorite pin I found: Home T-shirt
*Favorite song for the weekend: Tongue-Tied
*Favorite meal of the week: Jalapeno cheddar burgers Landon made last night. Ah, my belly is still happy.
*Favorite moment with Finn: When I picked him up from his class at bible study and he said mama and smiled really big.
*Favorite moment with friends: Having dinner with an awesome couple on Monday night who shared openly with us and encouraged Landon and I in our marriage.
*Favorite current design project: An adoption t-shirt I am working on for some friends of my sister. I just sent it to the printer today and I am so excited to see the results!
*Favorite yoga pose from class: Warrior 3 pose
*Favorite realization: I am blessed by all the friends and family in my life...so, so very blessed.
One of the things I love most about Finn is the joy he brings to our lives. He is a smiling, happy, crazy, bundle of laughter most of the time. Always ready with a smile for even people he doesn't know. I learn so much from him every day. I hope that I can practice the kind of joy he has no matter what my circumstance.
Have you ever met someone who is so laid back and peaceful, and they rarely seemed fazed by difficult situations? I know a handful of these types, and it is so refreshing to be around them. Someday, after many more years of maturation, I'm sure, I want to be like that. I want my life to be one of laughter and love, and to throw out fear and anxiety, which don't really have a good impact on anyone's life.
What are three things you're joyful about? Today, mine are: the sun shining outside, the hug and kiss Finn gave me earlier, and the healthy winter my family has been fortunate to enjoy so far.
"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter."
- E.E. Cummings
So I have been practicing yoga regularly for the last month, and I am loving the effect it's having on my life. One of my New Year's aspirations was to practice it regularly, and I am happy to be somewhat consistent so far. Working out has always been a love/hate relationship for me. In college, I struggled with self-image (as I'm sure a lot of girls do) and working out and watching my food intake became an obsession with the wrong motivation. After getting married, my perspective began changing for the positive. Being pregnant was a huge change as well. I knew that after giving birth, my body would be slightly different than before.
Now, more and more, I am learning to accept my body for what it is...flaws included, and embracing who I am. Yoga has been a huge help to me. It's the one workout where I feel like I can fully commit and dive in totally. The best part is that it's a mental and emotional workout along with the physical. I think any workout can be that way, but the calmness and rhythm of yoga speak especially well to my mental well-being. Learning to breathe properly has helped tremendously, and ironically, it's the same type of breathing I learned to use while in labor. It's meant to relax, remove stress, and calm the body.
Tonight at class, which I have been attending once a week, our instructor asked us to think of a goal we have in our lives right now and focus on that during practice. I love how anyone can use yoga as they need it, and it can affect their lives right where they are at. I feel like I am on a slow path to a better body, life, and mind. My perspective is changing, and I welcome that so much. Personally, I am aiming to use yoga as a spiritual means in my life. My goal is to become closer to God, and the quiet moments of practice help clear my mind of busy life stuff, and help me focus on Him. It's a way of meditating on the ways I see Him working in my life, and a quiet way to speak to Him after a long day.
I hope that I am able to continue practicing and learning, and becoming fit too. I hope that I can use what I learn in yoga and apply it to my every day situations where I'm faced with stress and conflict.
A peek at my new dark hair, and my sweet friend.
Yesterday I had the treat of spending the day with one of my besties. She is full of life and laughter all the time, and she brings so much joy into my life. (When she, my sister, and I are all together, it's crazy!)
We splurged on cupcakes and an amazing flour-less cake she made, and watched Downton Abbey while chatting and pinning. A serious girls' day, to be sure. :)
It is so important to me to have a few good friends in my life...friends that are honest, genuine, and not afraid to speak their hearts. I am so thankful to have people exactly like this. What are we without people around us to challenge and encourage us? I am all the better for it!
Good morning, friends. Happy Monday and happy February!
We had a whirlwind weekend, and week too. We found out we are able to stay in our condo and we are signing another lease soon! That made life a lot easier around here...no packing! We dearly love our little home, and I am excited to stay one more year.
On Friday, some high school girls from our old church back home came to stay with us for a girls' weekend. We did facials, nails, watched some movies, shopped, had coffee, and ate some treats. I think they had a good time, and I loved having some girls around for a bit. We are already making plans for a summer trip to lounge by our pool and take bike rides on the Monon. Ah, to be young again. :)
Today, I get to see one of my best friends for the day. She is truly inspiring to me and is always encouraging. We will get our traditional Flying Cupcakes...3 years running! And I believe we will be watching Downton Abbey episodes.
I also got my hair colored for the first time in 3 1/2 years. I went dark again like I used to in the old days, and I love it! Landon loves it too and I think it brought him back to those olden days as well. It's a perfect color for these winter days.
On to another good week, I think. We have fellowship with good friends two evenings, I have yoga on Wednesday which has been so good, and on Friday we are heading to Louisville to see my Aunt and Uncle and cousins.
I am trying to focus on quiet moments this week. Life seems to get so crazy for us, and it takes a conscious effort to slow down. But it's so worth it when I do!