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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Goodbye November, Hello December.

GUYS. Tomorrow is December! The most magical month of them all. Our tree is up, the Christmas music is playing non-stop, and I've got the most delicious Christmas candles burning. I am ready to welcome December with open arms!

Goodbye, November.

Goodbye to fall.  Ah, the only bad thing about December coming is the end of fall. Goodbye to my first fall with Jack, getting to take him trick-or-treating and to pumpkin patches. 

Goodbye to Thanksgiving. Thanks for teaching me you can be different from tradition and still be wonderful. And also that Jack really really likes turkey. 

Goodbye to Election year. Good. freaking. riddance. 

Goodbye to the worst month of residency yet. I know we will meet again, but I will not miss you one single bit. 

Goodbye to a wonderful month of pumpkin spice lattes and perfectly chilly weather. A month that stretched and exhausted me but a month that filled me to the brim with thankfulness.

Hello, December. 

Hello to my favorite, most magical month of the whole year.

HELLO CHRISTMAS.  Christmas decorations, Christmas music, Christmas movies. 

Hello to Jack's first Christmas. Pure magic. Hello to my first time getting to experience the most wonderful time of the year through the eyes of a child and also having someone to blame my Christmas craziness on. It's for the baby!

Hello to getting to spend my favorite month with my favorite baby and my favorite guy. A month full of tradition and presents and cheer. The best month of them all. 

What are you saying hello and goodbye to this month?

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Monday, November 28, 2016

What a Year.

Time-hop is absolutely slaying me on a daily basis lately. 

A year ago, we were flying all over the country for interviews. We had zero idea about where we would end up. I was so pregnant. 

I remember being in Michigan for an interview, drinking hot chocolate and walking around shops, and this one shop was playing "There's No Place Like Home for The Holidays" and it made me cry  because I didn't know where home would be next year. 

When we got home, we decorated our tiny apartment for Christmas, talking about how next year, we'd have a baby with us and we'd be in a new home in a new city. We watched a Christmas movie and I threw up at least four times (Pregnancy did not agree with me, y'all). I remember going to sleep so happy that it was Christmas, but also very anxious because interviews were coming to an end and Jack's due date was coming up and I had never been so clueless as to what life was about to look like, and I hated that. I was worried we wouldn't have a home we loved as much as I loved our little apartment in the sky. I was worried we wouldn't have any friends. I was worried about what life would look like with a baby. I was worried I'd hate our new city. 

Saturday night we went to watch a football game on a big screen outside. It was cold enough to need blankets and there were Christmas decorations and it was so much fun. We were there with the friends we've made here, good friends. Friends who I can hand my baby to and not worry about it. It was a simple and laid back and casual way to spend a Saturday night. But this morning, it's making me cry. 

Because a year ago, I was so worried I'd never have a night like that. 

If you're going through a hard time or an unsure time, it's so important to stop and remember it won't last forever. And if you're at a place in life where things are working out and you're happy, it's so important to remember that you probably recently went through one of those times where you were sure nothing was going to work out. It's important to stop and breath and smile and be thankful and just let yourself feel happy. 

Life is not steady. It ebbs and flows and tosses you down and shoots you back up again. No one is on the up and up all the time, but no one stays down forever, either. 

Every day for the past few weeks I look at TimeHop and see where we were and remember the little adventures we had, just the two of us. Yes, I remember being an absolute ball of anxiety, but now those days are just sweet memories. 

If you're having one of those days or months or years where everything is just so hard and you don't know how things are going to work out and it's hard for you to trust that the best is yet to is, my friend. On the other side of an incredibly difficult and completely uncertain year, everything has worked out exactly as it was supposed to. 

Tonight, we're going to decorate for Christmas. We're going to pull out the tree and the lights and play the music and soak in every single second of our first Christmas with Jack, our first Christmas in our new house. 

I'm going to watch a Christmas movie and enjoy not being sick. I'm going to snuggle my baby and acknowledge that he was worth every single sick day. And I'm going to listen to "There's No Place Like Home for The Holidays" and be so, so thankful for the past year that brought me to this home, this season, this family. 

What a difference a year makes, yeah? 
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Friday, November 25, 2016

May Your Day be Merry & Bright & Full of Gilmores (Giveaway)

I hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful and spent surrounded by people you love (I know ours was!) Today may be full of Thanksgiving leftovers, but it's time to move on and celebrate two very special things: Christmas & Gilmore Girls. 

To celebrate those four magical new episodes after all these years of missing the Gilmores, I've joined in with the ladies from Simply Love,  Fawn + Linen, Primarily Inspired, Hill CollectionLittle Blue Sailboat, and A Short Blonde to bring you the cutest little giveaway. 

So curl up with your leftovers (And coffee, duh), your best blanket, and binge-watch away. And while you're at it, enter to win all these sweet little treats that any honorary Gilmore is sure to love. 

Giveaway winner will win: 
+ Twine and Cotton Market 'Stars Hollow' Candle 
+ Snowman and Star Ornament
+ $20 Shop Credit to LulaRoe | Janelle Monaco 
+ Rose Gold Clutch
+ Mini Brush Trees
+ Milkglass Coffee Creamer + Sugar Set 
+ Coffee Mug
+ 2 Art Prints (this one and this one)
+ Darling Magazine 
+ Rose Gold Necklace 
+ Darling Nightingale Knitted Donut 
+ Poptarts (in the true spirit of Gilmore Girls)
+ Journal 

Merry Christmas, beautiful friends! It's officially the most wonderful time of the year. xo

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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Our Thanksgiving: Just Us (Plus One)

Every year, the day before Thanksgiving, Chris and I take the night to have our own little celebration. It's one of my very favorite traditions (I've written about it here and here). We always go to Whole Foods (which, if you've never been to Whole Foods the night before's about as crazy as you'd imagine it to be), pretend we're rich, and buy the fanciest dinner. Appetizers, dessert, the works. Then we go home and cook, laugh, and just have the best time ever. 

Thanksgiving is a holiday that centers a lot around family and friends, and I love that so much. But we also love having our own little Thanksgiving, just the two of us. 

That is, until this year. 

This year, we live in Gainesville, where there is sadly not a Whole Foods yet. Fresh Market it was! And, due to residency, we celebrated on a different night than usual. 

Oh, and it wasn't just the two of us this year. 

And it was absolutely perfect. 

Every year I've spent with Chris, I'm so thankful on Thanksgiving. But this year, there just aren't words to say how thankful I am for this life we've built together. 

I'd venture to say that this has been the hardest year of my life so far. I've been stretched and pushed and honestly, run over with a proverbial mac truck on quite a few occasions. Isn't it strange how a year can simultaneously be the best and the hardest? But this is the most thankful thanksgiving I have ever, ever had. 

Happy Thanksgiving, you beautiful people. If you have a significant other in your life, try to take a minute to remind them just how thankful you are for them.

And if you're wondering just how to do that...might I suggest a trip to Whole Foods tonight?
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Monday, November 21, 2016

10 Things People Told Me About Having A Baby That Were Lies.

When you're having a baby, you get a lot of advice. You also get told a lot of "facts" about life once your baby gets here. Some things you just smile and hope beyond hope that whatever someone told you isn't actually true, and some things you cling to like the actual truth itself. 

Obviously, things are different for everyone, but here are ten "facts" people told me about having a baby that were just complete lies for me. 

They start sleeping much better at six-weeks-old. 
See also: Eight-weeks-old, twelve-weeks-old, etc. See also: They sleep better once they can have rice cereal, they sleep better once they start eating solids, etc. ALL. LIES. 

If you breastfeed, all the weight you gained during pregnancy will just fall off.
The magic weight-loss breastfeeding fairy did not visit me. But do you know who did? Her evil step-sister, the weight-gaining fairy witch. 

Cocoa butter prevents stretch marks.
I was so sick throughout my whole entire pregnancy and just the smell of most things made me puke. But still, I loyally slathered myself up with cocoa butter every. single. night. Still got stretch marks. Still can't smell cocoa butter without feeling nauseous. 

Bonus: Something else no one told me: My stretch marks didn't show up until after I had the baby. The more weight I lost, the more marks showed up. Super fun.

Babies don't really need any stuff. 
To be fair, this advice mostly came from my minimalist friends or much older women. Your baby just needs a few outfits, some diapers, and you! Lies. Lies lies lies. Sure, your baby doesn't need a hundred toys. But some things are called "must-haves" because they are exactly that. I can only think of one thing we received at our baby shower that we never used. And we ended up buying many more things once Jack was born. Bottom line: Your baby is gonna need some stuff. 

Parenting comes naturally.
It feels natural now. It did not feel natural at first. So I don't think it just comes naturally, I think you figure out what you have to do and over time, that starts to feel natural. The first time I took Jack somewhere by myself, I felt clumsy and awkward undoing the stroller, packing his diaper bag, making sure he was okay. Now, I can balance a stroller and a bag and a baby and all his stuff and my stuff and whatever it is we're going out for like it's nothing. 

You can sleep when the baby sleeps. 
Unless you are able to fall asleep at any given moment and then wake yourself up 8 minutes later when the baby has decided he actually didn't want to nap, this doesn't work. And even if you're one of those who can, well, most of the time you're going to have to do other things during those eight-minute stretches. Like eat, or shower.

Your instincts are always right.
My "instincts" told me to not give Jack any formula and that if I just kept trying to breastfeed, eventually he would start getting enough nutrition (false). And do you know how many times my "instincts" have told me that I needed to bust into his room during naptime because I needed to check if he was breathing? Too many. Maybe my instincts just sucked at first, or maybe we sometimes get new-mom-instincts confused with new-mom-anxiety. 

Nothing changes. Your life is still your life, you just added a baby to it. 
Ha. Ha ha. HA HA HA. 

Of course, this is still my life and I am still me, but literally everything changes. In the very best way. 

Your baby needs a strict schedule.
We took Jack all over the place when he was just weeks old. He went shopping, out to eat, to the park, on walks..never on a schedule. I totally credit this for the reason why he's so chill now and can nap anywhere, no matter where we take him. 

I'm almost afraid to type this here, because I know it's a bit controversial, but Jack doesn't have a bedtime. I wait until he's rubbing his eyes and fussing, or falling asleep crawling around (adorable), and then I put him down. He didn't start sleeping through the night until I started doing this. It actually makes sense to me..if you were hanging out at 7:30 and were made to go to bed immediately, could you instantly fall asleep? Probably not. (Even if you were slathered in lavender and all the lights were dimmed and I had been talking to you in soothing tones). 

Parenthood isn't really rewarding and fun until your baby is two or three.
Guys. Jack is ten months old, and this has been the most rewarding and most fun ten months of my entire life. I can only imagine how much more fun it gets as he begins to be able to talk, but man is life good right now. 

Do any of these sound familiar to you?

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Friday, November 18, 2016

Forty-Four Weeks with Jack: All of the Pictures.

Week Forty-One:

we went to visit the park in my hometown for the first time // we got you some shoes so you could use your little zebra outside // it's been chilly enough to wear your fuzzy pajamas out and about // we dressed you up like a pumpkin // and of course, took you the the pumpkin patch.

Week Forty-Two:

your first time flying! four flights in 24 hours, you are a champ // you didn't know the airport wasn't your own personal playground // you've nailed the "no pictures, please" look. 

I'm loving our cool morning walks // your first time trick-or-treating! // Chris and Gatsby are your best friends...wherever they are, that's where you want to be // holding your bottle with your hands is overrated.

Week Forty-Three: 

We took you tailgating with your little stuffed gator // doing our civic duty and voting! // you recognize yourself in the mirror now and it's adorable. // your fancy church outfit on the day you went to the nursery for the first time! 

the morning after the election...I was so tired, you were not // I will never get tired of all these sweet smiles. 

Week Forty-Four:

just two buds, trying to figure out how to escape to the backyard // your hair is getting so long and crazy and I love it so much // you're so happy after a nap // sometimes you just bounce yourself right to sleep

The nights where you still fall asleep on me are my favorite // so cute in your big guy pjs // just reading some Aesop's fables // you love love love to be outside. 

Who knew forty-four weeks could feel so long and so short?

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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

What November Has Taught Me.

I usually post these at the end of the month, but I think we can all agree that this has already been an incredibly full and eventful month. It's already taught me quite a few things, like. . .

Being hateful isn't pretty, no matter what you're standing up for. Right now, there are a lot of hateful words and actions being flung around. Some people doing this are actually standing up for really great things. Some are standing up for things that I don't agree with, but that they passionately believe. But it doesn't matter what they're standing up for, because all anyone can see is the ugly, distracting hatred. And hate doesn't ever make a good difference. It just doesn't. 

If a presidential election is good for one thing, it's the memes. The Biden & Obama friendship memes are the best thing on the internet right now. 

Life gets hard. Sometimes you need to put on some rap music and handle it, sometimes you need to put on Netflix and take a break. I think a big part of being an adult is learning to tell the difference. Sometimes, like when you're sick or haven't slept, it's just not healthy to push yourself to get in a killer workout and stay up all night getting stuff done. But sometimes, when you're just in a bad mood, it's not healthy to sit on the couch for three days watching TV and convincing yourself you need a break. Sigh.'s hard. 

Think before you speak. 

Or tweet, or post. I have this rule of thumb that I try to think about when saying things that may be controversial or saying things when I'm angry: Does this need to be said? Does this need to be said by me? Does this need to be said by me right now? Now...when it comes to things that I shouldn't have said, 90% of the time I just didn't get past the first question without answering myself, Nope and I don't care because I'm saying it anyway. BUT, that other 10% has probably saved me from a lot of embarrassment. 

What has November taught you so far?
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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Coffee Dates & Haircuts.

Let's have coffee. Because I'm really excited to show you my new hair cut. I finally got the chop and I have zero regrets. In fact, I think it was just what I needed. Pros: Takes ten seconds to get ready, and also Jack cannot rip my hair out by the handful anymore. Win-win. See ya, three day old top knot. 

If we were having coffee, I'd ask you if you're already celebrating Christmas. I don't like to celebrate Christmas before Thanksgiving (because hello, Thanksgiving is wonderful), but it would appear that the rest of the world has decided Thanksgiving doesn't matter this year. I went to Target on Halloween and it was fall-fall-fall. I went to Target on November 1st and Santa had arrived. Hmmmm. 

If we were having coffee, I'd ask what your favorite part of Thanksgiving is. Or if you're dreading Thanksgiving. I know cooking and making family plans can stress a lot of people out. I hope you're not dreading it this year. I love Thanksgiving. The food, the parade, the traditional feel of it all. Thanksgiving is different this year because of our crazy schedule, but I still love it. It's the last big hurrah of fall, and it's my favorite. 

If we were having coffee, I'd ask about your favorite graphic tee shops. I want to give Chris some ideas for Christmas. I pretty much own all of Target's already. Etsy is overflowing with them, of course, but I want some recommendations. 

If we were having coffee, I'd ask you what you've been reading. I'm in a giant reading rut. I just finished a mystery that I stuck out until the end only to hate it. Last month I read The Woman in Cabin 10 and loved it, and everything since then has been a flop. Send some good ones my way! 

So tell me! About Christmas, about Thanksgiving, about books. And if you've been wondering if you should cut your hair, the answer is yes. Just do it. xo

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Monday, November 14, 2016

Letters to Jack: 10 Months.


I have a very strict rule about not celebrating Christmas before Thanksgiving, but I walked into Target with you last week and pushing you past all the decorations and trees made me emotional. I joked that it was because you've made me weak (you have, you totally have), but it's really this: You make every single day better. The thought of us spending my favorite month celebrating my favorite season with just seems as close to heaven as we're ever gonna get while we're down here. 

In less than two weeks we'll be celebrating your first Thanksgiving, and you're the perfect age for that because you're eating more and more food. You're going to be thrilled with a holiday that is made up of meals. 

This month (your first presidential election!) has made me think a lot about all the important things I want to teach you. Honestly, I'm glad you're young enough that you don't understand what people are saying yet because there's a heck a lot of hate being thrown around lately. It just reminds me of how important it is to instill love and kindness into you. I hope you feel so surrounded by those things as you grow up.

In a month where a lot of things have gone wrong, you have been the brightest spot. In a month where there has been a ton of negativity in the world, you have been the happiest ray of sunshine. I think every single month will just be made up of me being surprised by you, being surprised by how much more I love you, and thinking about how lucky I've been to get to spend that month with you.

Happy ten months my tiny love. I love you to the moon and back, you little munchkin. 

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Thursday, November 10, 2016

Let's Force Some Thankfulness.

November usually feels like such a thankful month. We just had a month full of fall goodness, Thanksgiving is this month, and Christmastime is looming so close. But the last ten days haven't really felt full of gratefulness, probably because of the election. Election years seem to bring out the worst in everyone. Twitter and facebook are just plain mean lately, even though it's a month that's usually so full of family pictures and dinner parties and thankful hashtags. 

Sometimes (like the holidays, for me) thankfulness comes easily. You don't even have to think about it. And sometimes, you have to dig in and force your perspective to change. The more you focus on the good in your life, the happier you will be. Plain and simple. So let's get down to it. 

I'm thankful for Jack. I know, I know, so obvious. But just thinking about how thankful I am for him makes me realize how good life is. I wrote yesterday about all the things this election has reminded me I need to teach him, and it really just reminds me how much of a privilege it is to get to shape another human's life. 

I'm thankful for the things that are in my control. I may not have control over when I get to see my husband (#residency), or how much sleep I get at night (#jack), but I do have control over things like how I spend my days, how good I feel (love you, yoga), and what's for dinner. Tacos for dinner three nights in a row? Heck yes I can. 

I'm legitimately thankful for Instagram. Social media gets a bad rep with bloggers sometimes, because looking at other people's pictures can make you feel less-than, or like you're not doing enough or aren't successful enough. This is especially true with mamas. And sure, I sometimes feel that way. Like, I was feeling pretty good about myself for getting my kid dressed and fed and eating breakfast myself, until I saw that you somehow had time to get you and your babe dressed in magazine worthy clothes, contour your face, take your baby to a quaint little cafe for breakfast, and get the perfect Instagram picture, all before 9:00AM. 

But it can also be encouraging and motivating and helpful. Sometimes I'll be at a loss for what foods to feed Jack, and then I'll see someone recommend mixing two things together. Hey, maybe Jack will eat that. I'll see someone having a picnic in their backyard and letting their baby just crawl around in the sunshine. I could totally do that. It would be so easy and so fun. I'll see the blogger who works full time but still manages to come home, chug some coffee, and pound out some posts after work. Ah, yes. It's so important to chase my dreams. 

I could go on and on about this. The mom who's up in the middle of the night letting her toddler eat chicken nuggets and watch Netflix because he just won't sleep. Solidarity. I am not alone in this. I'm not a bad mom. The fellow resident's wife who hasn't worn makeup or cooked dinner or done dishes all week, because it's just really freaking hard to be in charge of everything. Solidarity. I am not alone in this. I'm not a wuss for thinking this is hard. 

And on, and on, and on. Cheers to the people with the perfectly curated feeds, you inspire me. Cheers to the people with well thought out, funny feeds, you make me laugh. Cheers to the people with messy, real life feeds. You make me happy. 

I'm thankful for the time change. What?! It's true. I usually HATE the time change. And, okay, I still hate the fact that it gets dark at what feels like 2:45. But I wake up so early now, and it's nice to see the sun instead of hours of darkness. It's harder to be productive when it looks like the middle of the night outside, you know? 

Please oh please tell me something you're thankful for. Let's all force a little thankfulness today.

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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

I Will Teach You.

Well, my's over. November 8th has come and gone and (even though it took approximately 87,413 years), election season is over. We have elected a new president. While I'm sure the majority of us are glad that it's finally over and we can now go back to (hopefully) all being friends, we all feel different ways about the outcome. Some of us are happy, some are terrified. Some are confused, 

This year, my vote meant so much to me. I spent a lot of time looking up everything on the ballot. Because, even though it feels like we spend >1% of time talking about this, there are a lot of other things to vote on than just the President. 

So I researched everything. The Amendments that were up for vote, the people running for Sheriff, the county questions on taxes. It was so important to me to clearly understand who and what I was voting for, and the reason was simple: Because it matters to me what kind of world my son grows up in. He may not get a vote yet, but I did, and I wanted to cast my vote the best I could for him. 

He woke up to eat around three-thirty this morning, and I caught up with the final outcome while he ate. As I put him back to bed and kissed him goodnight, I thought, You know, it's still my motivation. The votes have been counted and the decisions made, but I still very much care about the world he grows up in. 

And as I laid back in bed and scrolled through tweets and news stories and celebrations and devastation, I thought about where this leaves me as a mom. And the answer is very simple. It leaves me in a position to teach him a lot of things. 

I will teach him kindness. 

I will teach him love. 

I will teach him to respect women, and that no matter how many things in life tell him otherwise, they are his equal. 

I will teach him peace, for blessed are the peacemakers. 

I will teach him that we are all equal, no matter our race or religion or sexual orientation. 

I will teach him to stand up for others. 

I will teach him that it's important to stand up and fight for what he believes in, no matter if his voice falls in the majority or the minority. That his beliefs are worth fighting for. 

I will teach him, I will teach him, I will teach him. 

If you are a mama, I hope you spend some time today thinking about the kind of America you want you children to grow up in. Because no matter the president, your children will hear your voice the loudest. 

And if you're not a mom, I hope you still think about it. Because children are not the only people we have an obligation to teach with our words, our actions, our lives. We teach our friends. Our neighbors. Our coworkers. 

We have a new president. That's done. It's over. But today, we go right back to real life, with our kids and our friends and even strangers watching us. What will your life teach them? 

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Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Fall with my Little Munchkin. AKA, The Season Where my Heart Explodes Daily.

Fall has always been my favorite (okay, next to Christmas), and looking back, I have loved fall so much during each season of my life. When I lived at home, fall was always fun. I get my love of fall from my mom. She's the Martha Stewart Beyonce of seasonal decorating. We always had the best decorations and traditions. 

Fall in college was so much fun. Going shopping for boots and plaid scarves, drinking entirely too many pumpkin spice lattes with my roommates (PS, did you know my very best friend is a girl who I got randomly roomed with in college? Thanks, life). 

Early married life fall was so much fun. We started our own traditions, like fall dates and our own personal Thanksgiving. Chris may not share my over-the-top love of fall, but he loves me, so over-the-top fall celebrations it was. So I've loved my lifetime of falls so far. Every one has been so much fun. But this year...

This year I can hardly even think about fall so far without getting emotional. (I'm a wimp, okay? Motherhood has made me weak). Because this year has been beyond perfect. 

This year, we have a house and a backyard and a cute little firepit, perfect for cozying up next to with a pumpkin coffee. This year, we live in this wonderful little town where Halloween is more about pumpkin patches and festivals than about going out and getting free shots. 

This year, I have this overwhelming feeling that we all know, though not nearly well enough. The feeling of, "Yes, I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be." 

Logistically, this is not a perfect season. Chris is still in intern year and still works the most insane hours. In October, the month of all the fun Saturday events, he worked every single weekend. And I feel like the last two months have had their (un)fair share of sadness. But still, when I step back and look at this fall, it's absolutely perfect.

Because this year, we have Jack. 

Baby Jack, who is getting to experience fall for the first time. Jack, who loves pumpkins just as much as I do. Jack, who doesn't care that things aren't logically perfect. Jack, who's just the happiest little pumpkin there ever was. Who is an instant day-brightener and just full of love and curiousity. 

I am so, so tired. Yeah, I'm stressed out most days (working on it!) Sometimes I cry over nothing (again, weak). But at the end of the day, I am happy more than anything else. And I would call this little life of mine perfect. 

I've said it before and I'll probably say it a thousand more times: Not only is Jack everything I never knew I needed, he is everything I never knew I wanted. 

On Halloween night, Chris got off early enough to take Jack trick-or-treating. Our neighbor gave him a pack of M&M's, and he was so happy to just hold them and shake them. I thought about taking them away, but he was having the best time, and they were sealed, so what's the harm?

We got a few streets over and I turned the stroller around to take a picture of him...only to find him covered in blue. His face, his tongue, his hands, the top of his costume...all sticky and blue. This little sneak had chewed right through the package. 

I could have gotten irritated that he got his costume dirty blue before I could get a picture. I could have worried about how much sugar he might has ingested. But instead, I showed Chris, and we just laughed. 

Because this life is messy. But it is so, so good. 

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