charlotte | father's day weekend.

these guys.

these guys.

on thursday, i received a text from T letting me know she told luca i'd be there to wake him up on saturday morning and his response was, "yay! because she's my best girl in the whole world!"

he has now referred to me as "my favorite her" and "my best girl" and, oh my heart. obviously, i am honored to hold these titles, even for a moment. (because, let's be honest, there are other moments when he finds it offensive if i so much as glance in his direction.) being an auntie has been my favorite role to date, and one i try my best at. at almost four years in, seeing my nephews every four to six weeks has become a non-negotiable. i say "become," because it hasn't always been. there has been a lot of trying and practicing, and i don't talk much about the sacrifice it takes because i don't think it's worth mentioning (as i would, and do, make the trips anyway), but make no mistake, it's no small thing. hearing these comments from luca feel less like a badge of honor and more like a nod in my direction. i see you.

this is charlotte, june 2017.

luca is three years; jack is nine months

on saturday morning, T texted that luca was awake and as i walked down the hallway toward his bedroom, i could hear him whisper-yelling from inside, "auntie!"

when i opened the door, i was greeted with a goofy, excited smile and a tight squeeze.

that would've been enough. if i drove seven hours for only that moment, it would've been worth it. especially because there have been many times when i've gotten luca out of bed the morning after i arrive, only to be greeted by him asking "where's daddy?"

real life with toddlers, y'all.

we spent saturday morning at the pool, where luca swam with only one floatie (as opposed to his preferred double floatie situation) in the deep end and jack slept in the stroller and peed out of him swim diaper. because, apparently, they aren't supposed to catch pee? (ew.)

on the way there, i realized T was piled with stuff while pushing the stroller. she's a mom. she packs all the things and walks to the pool with her two kids by herself on the average day, and having me there didn't change her routine. as i followed behind, carrying only my phone, i laughed and asked if i could carry something.

"you can carry me!" luca said, at the same time T said no.

at one point while swimming in the deep end, luca kept trying to get out to get his diving rockets. i kept telling him he couldn't use those in the deep end and he kept telling me i could dive for them. "you can take off your sunglasses!" he said.

i did carry him on the way to the pool, but i didn't take my sunglasses off or dive for the rockets.

(these last couple photos of jack remind me of this one i took of luca.)

the rest of our day (and the trip, in general) was spent casually, just the way we like it. my parents came over. we played with the boys. we ate. we took photos.

luca is almost four. in fact, the next time i see him in person, he will be four. it's always been crazy to think about, when you put a number to it. but i can get on board with it because almost-four means he's conversational and funny. he has good ideas and is incredibly thoughtful. he is intentional about his words and his actions, but you don't have to wonder what he's thinking. he'll tell you, and it'll surprise you. he always thinking and remembering and making connections.

he and my parents and i were all sitting on the couch and laughing about how we all fit when my mom pointed out how cold i must be. "look, the hairs on auntie sarah's arms are sticking straight up." she said it, probably, because it looked funny. but luca hopped down off the couch and crossed the room saying, "i'll turn the fan off for you!"

when jack is upset, luca tries to distract him or make him laugh. he's aware of what jack can't do or have (like climb the stairs or play with small toys), and steps in when he notices. he has his moments, of course. sharing is hard, at almost-four.

jack, at nine months, still loves luca, but he's also really into his dad. when he notices lee walk in the room, forget whatever else was going on; lee is who he wants. lee, or any object that isn't actually a toy. kitchen items, water bottles, luca's empty apple sauce pouches. if he's sitting in his stroller or high chair, these are the things that will keep him entertained, but sitting still is not what he'd prefer. he wants to crawl and explore and pull himself up and practice walking by holding your hands.

unlike luca at nine months, you really need to keep an eye on jack and follow him around at all times. however, exactly like luca (at nine months and almost-four), jack also isn't really interested in solid food.

connecticut | for leah's wedding.

i remember the night leah and i were catching up over the phone when she told me about this guy she met. maybe it was the story of how they met, or the details she gave, or the way her voice sounded as she talked about him, but something about it made me think, well that's it.

it's funny how you can be going along, living your life, and then you meet a guy at a coffee shop one night and the whole rest of your life is changed.

i met him a few weeks later when i flew to california to visit leah for the first time after she moved. i had booked my flights months before they met, not knowing that when i finally got to hug my friend again, i'd also get to shake hands with her future husband. when i met him, it had only been about a month into their relationship, but i kept forgetting that. they just seemed to fit so well already.

these are the things i keep thinking about. we used to sit in starbucks together, when we both still lived in connecticut, and talk about the future. where we'd live, what marriage might look like for us (and who our husbands might be), how excited we were to find out. and now, on this weekend of her wedding, i kept thinking about how we had no idea. our college-aged selves, who regularly closed down our local starbucks with all our daydreaming, could never have imagined how incredible life would turn out to be.

the thing that gets me is knowing that in another five years, i'll look back and think the same thing about these days: i had no idea good it would get.

i didn't take many photos, and even forgot to take one of me and the bride herself (why am i the worst). in fact, that adorable photo at the top is one of the three i snapped. i got lucky. i wanted to enjoy the day, to soak it all in, to watch my friend walk down the aisle through my own watery eyes instead of through a screen.

as guests, though, J and abs, her brother matt, and i found ourselves with some extra time on our hands.

later, we hung out with H and her bf and ate randy's wooster street pizza, because i specifically requested it. when in connecticut!

on sunday, we started the day together again, eating waffles with strawberries and chocolate chips. and decided to spend our few remaining hours on a hike.

oh may.

may felt full, like making progress but in a direction i'm still just guessing about.

i spent so many of my waking hours nannying, babysitting, and helping with kids at church, marveling at the way i somehow wake up every day with fresh excitement about hanging out with toddlers. i went to the park and read. i checked out three (always three) books from the library, even though a stack of books "to read" sits on my desk at home. i adventured in chattanooga. i visited my family in charlotte. i hosted my parents in nashville. i spent time painting, with acrylic paints on mixed media paper. i started writing, really writing, a book.

i made the most of my time in may. it wasn't accidental, but it wasn't intentional. (is this what it means to be a grown up?) (because, i did all these things in addition to cleaning and grocery shopping and meal prepping and waking up extra early to have me-time in the morning.)

"rescue bots," by luca michael goodin, age 3.

"rescue bots," by luca michael goodin, age 3.

other may things.

THE ENNEAGRAM. in caps because, well, if you know it then you know why. (if you don't know it, i'd recommend reading the road back to you, which i recently read.) if you know it, then you're probably nodding along as i say i'm a nine. so, so much a nine. if this post about learning who i am and this post about not watching tv doesn't give it away, i don't know what does.

(related: sleeping at last is writing songs for the enneagram. so far, he's released intelligence, and is also working on a song for each number. you can get early access to these by subscribing here.)

the BOOK. more caps because it's my book. and i just wanted to say, to document here, that may is the month when i stopped writing things that could or could not possibly be potential material for a book and started writing for the purpose of publishing those words in a book.

so far, it's been like 10% writing things i didn't know were inside me, 90% staring at my computer wondering if it's too late to find another calling, and 100% asking myself "who even cares about this?" but also, knowing the words are flowing through me and not from me takes the pressure off. i am writing it, but it's not really mine.

this mostly feels insignificant, because i could've been serious about writing a book this whole time and you never would've known. but i wasn't.

the "that sounds fun" podcast, hosted by annie f downs. i have recently discovered that i hate driving a little bit less when i am listening to podcasts, so i've been trying out a bunch and this one is like, how have i not been listening to it already? annie is a writer who is a seven on the enneagram (i love sevens). i don't know that i need to say any more for you to understand why this podcast sounds fun to me. (see what i did there?)

the "there is a cloud" series from elevation church. hello, who is even surprised by this one. but! i couldn't leave it out, especially after week two, "barriers to blessings," after which i called up T to discuss.

the history of love, by nicole krauss. do you know it? honestly, i think i first heard of this book from tumblr, with the line, "once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl, and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering." and it's just that i needed to read more from the person who put the words together to form that sentence, and i finally got around to it. it reminds me a lot of extremely loud and incredibly close (the book, not the movie).


so far this year

january | february | march | april

the nashville way.

each time my parents come, it seems like they have a specific objective in mind. the first time they came, it was my first time too and it was a trip to explore the place i kept claiming i would someday move to. we did that by looking at apartments i could potentially live in and then doing ALL the touristy things, like a bus tour and visiting places t-swift once mentioned in an article i'd read. it was all so exciting that i never even blogged about it. (??)

the second time, my parents were supposed to be visiting and i was supposed to be staying. except i changed my mind a few weeks before we left (we still made the trip for a wedding), so instead of getting me settled, we mostly hung out eating biscuits at loveless and walking to lower broadway from our hotel.

the third time, i actually (finally) lived here and it was just my mom and she stayed for a whole week because she could. she hung out with my roommates when i was working and we went on little adventures when i wasn't.

the fourth time, both my parents came and it was the first time that the three of us were in nashville since i moved here, so that trip was a mixture of things that were old favorites (loveless cafe) and new favorites (edley's bbq) and me being a tour guide of sorts: these are the people i live with! this is where i work! this is the interstate on which i drive every day!

this time, my mom kept saying she just wanted to know my places. she wanted to know the way around nashville as i know it. my dad, on the other hand, was still interested in going to lower broadway to eat at margritaville and shop for cowboy boots. as you can maybe tell, i had my work cut out for me: a fine split between doing regular nashville things and the touristy nashville things, all while my day-to-day life largely includes neither of these things.

however, right on par with my typical day-to-day, i don't have many photos to show for this visit. for some reason, unless there is a tiny baby or toddler around, i don't feel the need to pull out my camera as frequently.

i tried my best, and after writing it out, i think we hit some good spots in many areas of town. for anyone keeping track (me) or planning a visit, i highlighted the places we went.

i just want to be honest and say that i snapped this photo of the three of us because i saw the brick wall and thought it would make for a nice backdrop. which is such a lifestyle blogger/social media influencer thing to say (even though i am neither), but it's the only good photo i took of us so i can't even be sorry about it.

friday

franklin, tn. mom's pick. and also something i convince every visitor to do because i love franklin but sometimes need more than "just because" as a reason to make the trip. (it's like 30 minutes from my house, which has become, since moving to nashville, what i consider to be too far.)

we ate lunch at mccreary's pub before popping in and out of shops. philanthropy and imago dei are at the top of my list when on main street.

lower broadway. dad's pick. we also brought my friend tab along for the adventure that is downtown nashville, on a friday night of memorial day weekend, when eric church is playing at bridgestone arena (also where the preds play #smashville). this turned out to be a good idea because she knew where to park on this side of the bridge without paying a thousand dollars. also because she is awesome and fun.

we shopped for boots at boot barn, i think it was. we had the volcano nachoes at jimmy buffet's margaritaville. and then we went home.

saturday

12 south. my pick. because it is my favorite street in the whole city and if i could live anywhere in nashville, it would be somewhere within walking distance to 12 south.

also because five daughters bakery. my dad had already eaten his whole donut and mom and i had already cut into two others before i thought about snapping a photo. i had my mom hold this one up and requested she "look like she was taking a bite." and then she just actually took a real bite, because ain't nobody got time for that.

we walked around some and then grabbed sandwiches from sloco (you might remember me mentioning it because i'm obsessed).

centennial park. for musician's corner. also my pick, but for my mom who wanted my nashville things. although, in the interest of full disclosure, i will say i only venture out to the park on a saturday (ever) if i have a legitimate reason to, like if i know and love an artist who's playing. on this particular saturday, i didn't know who was playing, so it wasn't that upsetting when it started raining after twenty minutes and we left.

berry hill. my pick because, dinner at baja burrito. and to point and say "that coffee shop across the parking lot is the one tab used to work at."

home. we also stopped at target on the way, which is worth mentioning because it's important. do you know how frequently i go to target? (i'm just going to let you guess.) my mom did say she wanted to go to my places and if anywhere is "my place," it's target.

we watched hidden figures this night. i'll be honest and say i was familiar with the storyline because i watch the tv show timeless (which, side note, got cancelled and then un-cancelled and praise the lord for bringing what's dead back to life). both the movie and tv show are worth watching.

sunday

home. my mom made breakfast. that's what we stopped at target for. eggs and bacon. originally, she wanted to go out. to brunch. on a sunday. with literally every other person in the city of nashville. i can't even tell you where i'd go, if i were to go, to brunch on a sunday in nashville. (because i wouldn't.) but then she said she could just make something at home and that's when i started breathing again. also because there's nothing like having your mom make you breakfast, even at 27.

west nashville. my mom wanted to bring back shirts for my nephews, so i (of course) brought her to project 615 (where the photo at the top of this post was taken). in case you were wondering, i am so infrequently making it out to west nashville that i actually used my maps app for this one.

but! we saw this guy. (the mural, not the actual man.)

downtown. mom's pick. because crema! my dad had a migraine, so he hung back for this part. also, i'm not sure what she's doing with her mouth in that photo. frowning? but i had to include it because crema was the thing. when she told me she wanted to go to my places, my first thought was, "so you want to go to crema?"

we also went to my church, the belonging co.

brentwood. i don't know, does it count that we only stopped in to pick up zoe's kitchen on the way home? i'm just trying to give all the details, especially the food ones. zoe's kitchen isn't local, but i didn't want you thinking we skipped dinner. because we sure did not, and we didn't skip dessert either because have you had one of their cookies? they're like the size of your face and super deliciously half-baked.

we watched passengers this night. i basically talked my parents into it because i still cannot stop thinking about it. for the record, neither can my mom. my dad didn't say much except for calling chris pratt's character a "creep" multiple times.

monday

home. we stayed in again. not necessarily eating breakfast, but sipping our coffee and tea and chatting with my roommate and not making it out to the coffeeshop we planned to go to.

that photo is the worst (hence the b&w filter, a poor attempt to make it less terrible), but it makes me laugh out loud and so, so happy. my mom was sitting in a chair across the room and i made her come over and sit on the couch with my dad and i. i didn't tell them i was taking this photo. but this is us.

east nashville. my pick. for lunch, we went to the pharmacy, where we waited like an hour to be seated and almost another hour for our food (and then were discounted our (delicious) milkshakes for the wait time). but i got to show them where i work, because it's within walking distance.

after that, i dropped them off at the airport.