the breaking of the french press.

my french press broke on monday morning. i had put the water on to boil and began washing it, along with my mug from the day before, just like i do every day. (because i am too lazy to wash it right after i finish using it. whatever.) and it just so happened, on this particular monday, it slipped out of my hand and cracked against another glass dish in the sink.

i stared at it for a second before realizing it meant i couldn't make my own coffee that morning. i'd have to move faster, leave a few minutes earlier, and stop to get some. (because, obviously.) there was no real panic or disruption to my morning. in fact, i managed to make a coffee stop and also arrive at work a full fifteen minutes early. but i picked up my phone to text my sister, who i'd already been texting with that morning, and another friend who would understand my struggle. i needed a minute, and some sympathy.

it crossed my mind to add a comment about mondays, because that's a thing. isn't it? everyone loves to hate mondays for the way they're always the day saying, "okay okay, let's focus and get back to work and why don't you spill coffee on yourself while you're at it." except my version of getting back to work involves spending my days playing with a smiley seven-month-old, who happens to be in a phase where he likes to be in my arms and snuggled up to me at all times, and i'm not mad about it. so no, i will not give monday-the-un-fun-day any credit, or acknowledgement.

instead, i thought about the first cup of coffee i made in that french press, just over a year ago. because i am sentimental like that. (not really. but i did write about it.) i bought that french press because i had quit my job, and that first cup was significant only because it was the first one i'd made after having unlimited access to a keurig and free k-cups every day. looking back, i see now how that cup marked the beginning of the craziest, most adventurous, challenging, and bittersweet season i've experienced so far in my life.

the breaking of the french press felt less like an unfortunate start to the week, and more like the mark of the end of a season in which i was the thing that was broken. maybe it's a stretch, but it felt like a reminder that good things, the things that seem like gold, are not the only things you have to let go of. sometimes it's the broken bits, the cracked french press, that need to be left behind.

maybe i needed that trip to target for a shiny new french press to remind me that i am not broken. i am new and whole and ready to be filled up. with more love, more grace, more courage, and also more caffeine.


september, in photos.

birthday parties with taco trucks and sparklers, where i am only invited as tab's +1. i'll take it.

labor day pool party, with pizza rolls. (shout out to anyone who has a pool that is not a community pool. let's be friends.)

this is how i spend my days.

more shauna niequist (cold tangerines) because this part is so accurate, like how does she even know my life.

matt wertz + aaron krause.

when your friend's car breaks down after church, you get thai food and eat it in the parking lot while you wait for the tow truck.

mid-morning walks, because fresh air is important when someone (him) won't stop crying and someone else (me) needs to keep her sanity.

and, obviously, the most important part about september has already been covered.

meeting jack christopher.

oh my goodness. there are so many things.

i guess i'll start at the beginning.



but i never did get to share this photo i took of myself and this little jellybean when i found out he existed, back when i was SURE he was a girl. part of me feels bad about that, and then the other part of me is like, well luca was sure he was a girl too, so.

it is worth mentioning, though, that amidst the excitement about his existence, there was also an underlying feeling of is that going to work, exactly? and it's a question that could only be answered once he arrived.

i've said it before, that meeting luca blew my heart wide open. and in some ways, it feels like he taught me what it means to really love another person with your whole self. he changed and rearranged my understanding of the concept. to be quite honest, i often wondered not only what it would be like when he had a sibling, but when i had my own kids. i know somehow it all works out, and a mom love is different than an aunt love, but it shocked me, with luca, to learn how big love could be. and while an even bigger and broader kind of love was something i believed existed, i just couldn't wrap my mind around the reality of it exiting in me.

but if meeting luca was learning what love is, then meeting jack was learning how love can expand, how there's room for more, how it goes deeper and wider than i ever knew i was capable of.

it happened the instant i saw him, and it is so real it feels obvious.

of course. of course it's you. of course i love you. of course my heart is big enough.

last tuesday, after i got home from work, is when i got the text. THE text. which is not the text you think it is. it did not say "i'm in labor." or "you should probably come now." it was actually more along the lines of "i'm having the same kind of contractions i've been having for a few days." followed by "it could be something. he may not come for another week, i don't know." and then "definitely don't leave." but also "i want you to be here but i can't tell you what to do."

it wasn't the words she said or the progression of her contractions (both were uncertain), it was the tone of the conversation and the way she had, in that moment, decided to tell me about "nothing." it felt exactly like last time.

i hopped in the car, without being totally sure how the next five days would play out, but five days were all i had. and then i saw a rainbow, and i still didn't know whether jack would come quickly or stay put for another week, but i was suddenly sure.

whatever happened, it was going to be good.

we spent wednesday walking around target and home goods (both of us + luca in the cart) and pacing the kitchen and doing squats in the living room (her). she asked me if i felt nervous that i'd come and she wasn't in (active) labor yet while she laid on the couch with her feet up, only to have her contractions slow and stop once she did.

i'll probably write more about this later, because i can't help myself, but i was never worried about the timing with jack like i was with luca. i went to bed that night thinking about a post i'd read recently about how waiting for active labor is like watching for the water to boil––staring at it doesn't make it happen faster––and how true that is. i fell asleep quickly.

maybe we just needed to stop looking, because three hours later, we were up again.

it was all very exciting, getting up at 1:30 in the morning to then sit in the living room while timing contractions. without any frame of reference, having not been there for this part last time, it felt like time was passing very slowly, in increments of 6 or 7 minutes.

by 4am, i had gotten ready, put makeup on my face, drank two cups of coffee, and eaten breakfast. lee teased me about eating oatmeal at 2:30am, but guess who wasn't starving at the hospital before jack was even born? ME.

we got to the hospital around 5:30, and for a minute it felt like a small eternity of more waiting. when they're checking you in, you can only have one person with you, so my mom and i waited in the waiting room, trying to lounge on tiny couches and over multiple chairs. this seems wildly dramatic when you consider that we were the only two out of anyone who got any sleep that night. my defense to you is this: just because i got three hours of sleep that night doesn't make three hours enough.

she got a room pretty quickly, bumping the girl in front of her because that girl wasn't as far along as T was. this type of thing is what made spending all that time waiting at home seem worth it.

then, she got the epidural (during which my mom and i had to wait outside, loitering in the hallway) and then some oxygen and then, shortly after, a baby.

my heart.

i got to cut the cord. my hand was shaking and my eyes were blurry with tears and i laughed at myself. like the love was exploding out of me. of course, of course, of course.

i still get weepy when i think about it. (with the added weepiness that comes with living so far away.)

these parents, y'all. he doesn't even know how lucky he is.

also, T is eating because (1) the kitchen was closing for an hour so it was either now or never (or, in an hour) and (2) she did not have the option to eat oatmeal at 2:30am.

that photo cracks me up, but that is what real life (and love) looks like.

pre and post bath.

luca meeting jack was pretty casual. he does things at his own pace, so there wasn't anything particularly noteworthy about them meeting, it's more about them being.

for example, he was very excited to see T and lee, and he knew that because pops was there when he woke up that it meant he'd be meeting the baby too. (T and lee did a great job preparing him in general, but also for this process.) he came in the room quite excited, got one look at jack, and then remembered he had a donut waiting for him. but later, he would ask T what she was holding, and then answer his own question.

he was interested when he was, and not interested when he wasn't.

i don't remember if him holding jack was his idea or someone else's, but once he was on board, he reached out his arms and very impatiently told my mom "over here! excuse me, over here!" (he said this again when he asked to hold him at home a few days later too.) and while his face isn't showing his cheesiest smile here, he is wearing his lowkey excited face. the one where, i think, he must be thinking i'm trying to play it cool but OH MY GOSH THIS IS SO EXCITING. i love it, and i recognize it easily, also because my dad has this same face.

a baby is not a very exciting thing to a three year old, but you can tell the love is there. he sings to him, he says "it's oh-tay" when jack cries, and every once in a while, when he hears jack make a noise, he'll look over and check out the situation. otherwise, he eats his donut and plays with his toys and watches his tv show.

then, finally (FINALLY) after T and lee and mom and dad and luca, i got to hold him. and i couldn't stop staring at him.

eventually, we all headed home. luca needed lunch and a nap and i couldn't stop thinking about how there are two of them. that this split is a forever thing now. do i go back to the hospital with jack, or stay home with luca?

this one felt like a no-brainer. my whole morning was jack, so it only made sense that my whole evening would be luca, and i am so, so thankful for it.

we took that first selfie because i happened to think of it just as he asked for my phone to take photos. i'll let you take pictures if you take one with me firstand also i need a kiss. and also i could eat him up, with how cute and sweet and lovey he is.

this is the thing. he has learned how to take pictures and it's probably his top favorite activity, or maybe it's near the top, just falling short of smacking balloons (from his birthday, and also the "big brother" balloon he got in the hospital). and, in pure auntie style, i cannot delete a single one, though they are all of his toys and the floor and his finger covering the lens. i taught him how to say "photographer" and of course he doesn't say it correctly, which only makes the whole thing better.

we played legos and ate dinner and facetimed with my siblings and took videos of us talking and laughing and i gave him chocolate and let him stay up past his bedtime.

it was the best way to end one of my very favorite days.

the rest of my visit looked like this.

until next time.

august, in photos.

hello from the other side. of my room. where my desk is. because i have a desk now. like a real writer or something like that, i don't know. but here i sit.

sorry i am not posting any photos of it, but my room is tragically messy because it's very small and there is no real room for a desk in here but i fit one in anyway. for the sake of feeling like a legitimate person by having somewhere to write other than, you know, my bed. which is where i also sleep and watch tv and eat dinner sometimes and i just wanted another place to sit that wasn't my bed.

(have i mentioned i'm watching netflix again? madam secretary is what did it for me.) (and also being employed.)

okay, but for a post dedicated to photos, i sure have a lot of words and a total of ...four photos to share.


because many of the photos i take are of this sweet boy i spend my days with. he has squishy cheeks, chunky thighs, and the most infectious laugh that seems less intentional and more like it just bursts out of him.

(and, you know, i don't post those here. or anywhere.)


because solo coffee shop hangs are a thing i miss about being unemployed.


because, have you read any of shauna niequist's books? i'm new. and obsessed. (and starting from the very beginning, yes i've seen all the instagram posts about present over perfect.)


because i found this mug today and it could not be more perfect. (so yes, i went ahead and bought it for myself.)


because this month was full with things that warrant their own space on the blog. like H's visit to nashville. like J and abby's wedding. like that other semi-spontaneous trip i took to charlotte last week that i will be posting about tomorrow.

for someone who is newly employed, i worked ...not a lot of days this month. oh well.