two things.

one.

i mentioned that i won a handwriting contest for andrew belle. with an entry that i did not create for the contest, but that i had already created – from a place inside me that, for some reason, needed this thing to exist. this will never not be jaw-dropping to me. because i made a (seemingly) nothing thing that turned out to be something, and because andrew belle is the person who made it something.

what i mean is, my handwriting is now being printed on a t-shirt. that you can purchase and wear and gift to other people.

it's worth mentioning that it's part of a new album release project and when you get the shirt, you also get access to exclusive content, in addition to the new album. (!!) as if i wouldn't be talking about this new album enough already, the ability to pair it with a lyric tee handwritten by yours truly means i will never stop talking about it.

two.

in january, i mentioned branden harvey's weekly 'goodnewsletter' (my favorite weekly email) without even realizing he had more up his sleeve with the goodnewspaper.

a physical newspaper, y'all. in 2017.

sometime during or after the election, i heard someone say that we've been oversaturated by politics. i think that's a perfect word to describe it, and would also say it applies to the news, in general, and the overwhelming brokenness that exists in the world. or, at least, i find myself bouncing between two states: over-consuming or deleting all my social media apps in an attempt to distance myself from it all.

branden's goal is to stand in the midst of the dark and depressing and find the light, and give it a platform. to find a balance between seeing the broken and the hope. not in the form of cute animal videos that provide a temporary distraction, but in the "real, messy, dirty hope" that exists among the rubble.

the platform, in this case, is a physical newspaper you can hold in your hands and pass along to friends or strangers. you can subscribe here.

on being one, and twenty seven.

"it happened as casually as i thought it would. a friend texted me about a facebook post she saw about a nanny job. i reached out to the mom, met her and her husband and their sweet baby, and was offered the job five days later. the only difference is, i pictured this all happening about eight months earlier."

i wrote this on the day i started my new job as a nanny. after months of editing my profile on care.com, of meeting new moms and moms who were about to have their second or fourth baby, of trying to figure out what i was looking for or if i was even looking in the right place.

there was one job, in particular, that seemed perfect. it marked off all the items i have on my "ideal" checklist. i didn't get the job, but i wasn't disappointed – only confused and curious. by then, i had learned that god knows better. but, better than this? this job was my list and then some, and isn't that what he's supposed to give me? beyond what i could even ask for or imagine?

when i got the job i have, i wondered why this one was the right one when it didn't mark off all the items on my list. god knows better, i know. but what is it about this one that makes it the one i actually need, and not the one i think i need? what makes this more, when it feels like less?

i sort of forgot about it after a while, though. in the routine of having a job and not having to think about how i would pay my bills every month, i stopped wondering why this job because i had a job. (isn't that the way it always goes?)

on saturday, this boy i've been spending all my days with turned one year old and it sort of caught me off guard to realize – as i made a list of all the things he knows, at one, that i have watched or encouraged him to learn – just how many of the same things i was (re)learning too. how many things we learn once, and then over and over again.

how to sleep through the night.
how to soothe yourself.
how to let yourself rest, even in the middle of the fun (or crazy).
how to feed yourself.
how to find balance.
how to get back up again after you fall.
how to not throw a tantrum when something happens that you don't like.

it has been such a joy, and so much fun, to spend each day with him. to grow with him, to learn with him. to look back, now, and see how we got here, to one, together.

the thing is, it couldn't have happened eight months sooner. for a lot of reasons, i know – but mainly, because he hadn't been born yet.

and i don't know about the other lives i would have lived, taking care of babies who had been born sooner. i can't tell you why those other families wouldn't have been the right fit, or what it is about this baby that makes him the one that fits best.

i just know, when he reaches for me and snuggles his face into my neck, i'm glad it's him.

i almost forgot about february.

in january, i kept thinking a few weeks ahead. to march. like i forgot the whole month that fits in between. like i forgot february existed.

i keep thinking to the months ahead. there are things i know will happen in 2017 that i don't know the specific details about, or the timing of. so i keep looking ahead. to march. to june. to august. i keep daydreaming about what those months will look like, though i know it'll be beyond anything i can think of or imagine.

maybe i knew february was too soon for anything to start moving. that it would be another quiet month. i skipped right over it in my head. i'm too excited about 2017 to sit still.

but that was february. sitting still. feeling better. establishing a morning routine. loving my people. re-learning that you can lesson as the boy i nanny is figuring out how to walk, and find balance in his steps.

other february things.

i chopped my hair. it's also darker. and it's funny to notice how girls will notice the shorter length, and guys will notice the darker color.

tbcø turned THREE. and we celebrated by having church at the mother church (the ryman).

i started reading chasing slow. by erin loechner. her story telling and truth telling is my favorite, and what i needed in my february.

the one where mom and i have a day.

i don't know why i felt the need to title this like it's an episode of friends. but my weekends in charlotte, outside of birthdays and holidays, all kind of blur together, so it feels appropriate. this is the weekend my mom texted and asked if i'd come early so we could have a day, just the two of us.

the thing is, i go to charlotte once a month to see my nephews. so i can watch them grow, so they can see my face without a screen. so i can know who they are, and they can know who i am.

it's a bonus that my parents live about three minutes down the road, because that means i get to see them once a month too. the trick is, though, to not let all of our time together be shared time. because if luca's asking me to chase him, the answer is yes. if he roars in my direction, i'm roaring back. and if jack wants to tell me something in his sweet baby babble voice, i'm listening. we all feel this way, like those boys are the trump card.

and so, sometimes it's good to have time in charlotte, without them. it's good to have uninterrupted conversation, while sitting in chairs (as opposed to the floor, with legos and rescue bots lined up at our feet). it's good to have them to come home to at the end of the day.

our day together was largely based around this idea of taking me to an art gallery. because i love art galleries! she knows this about me. what my dad knows about me, on the other hand, is that i could do without all of his side-eyeing at the art. so while he was invited to join us, he chose to sit this one out.

on the way home, my mom commented that she thought he would've had fun with us. and i laughed, because i could hear his voice in my head from a conversation we'd had a while back.

me: remember that time we went to an art gallery for my 18th birthday?
him: did you enjoy that? i thought it was hideously boring.

it still makes me laugh out loud to think about. at 18, i had no idea! i dragged my whole family to this museum. i wore a tiara. i had so much fun with it that i didn't think (or maybe didn't care) to notice if anyone else having having as much fun as i was. but years later, the truth comes out. and you know what? looking at art does not have to be a thing my dad and i do together. and that's okay.

my mom, though, was up for the adventure.

it turns out, the art gallery was located on a street with lots of artsy things, including the green. which is, as described by google, a "petite park" with a literary theme.

it was art and words, and not what we originally came for. but we both agreed it was the best part of our day.

we had lunch at a restaurant next door, visited another museum, and then headed back.

on saturday, i spent the morning at another park. a playground park. (the weather in the south during "winter," y'all.)

this is charlotte, in february.

luca is three (and a half) years, jack is five months.

holding hands and taking car selfies. two of my favorite things, although the car selfie struggle is real these days.

taking photos at the park when the sun is in your eyes and you just need a nap is also a struggle.

luca and i played tag, made a new (4-year-old) friend named kinley, went down the slide (him), and went on the swings (him pushing me).

things i learned about luca while playing at the park: he is kind and sweet and patient and friendly. he would stop and wait if another kid was trying to come down the stairs as he was trying to go up. he would randomly stop and say hello to other kids (girls, mainly) and say "i'm just saying hi" when they looked at him in confusion.

and when i said i couldn't climb on the playground with him (because i'm a grown up and don't need to be taking up all the space), he told me, "you can! be strong." and then, "remember, jesus is always with you." i love that this is his response to fear – for when he feels afraid, and what he shares with others when he thinks they feel afraid.

on the way back (or on the way to church, i can't remember) is when i took all these closeup photos of jack's face. because i am obsessed with it, and that scrunchy nose and that open-mouth grin. and those eyes! they are blue, with some green? hazel? brown? it depends on the light? whatever it is, it's my new favorite color.

THIS is why i sleep at T's house. so these faces are the first ones i see when i wake up. for the morning snuggles and book reading that lead to games of hide and seek and pillow fights.

later, my parents stopped by. i said goodbye to them, got in some play time and snuggles with my nephews, and drove back to nashville.

PS. luca, on the left, at 5 months and 5 days. jack, on the right, at 5 months and 4 days.