Ten Months! :: Rowan Grows

NOLA :: Sprague Adventures



We've had all sorts of excitement over the past three months. We had the opportunity to visit New Orleans back in late Feb/Early March, We came home to pack up and moved to a new place and We just began gardening! While there will be more on the move and garden later, I wanted to take some time to post a few of my favorite pictures from our trip to NOLA. If you follow me on Instagram, you've  seen a few taken with my phone. Here are a few treasures I captured with my camera.

Ben had a work trip in NOLA for two days,  and since we are 6 hours away, he asked if he could bring us along and extend the trip a bit. We're so glad he brought us! It was a wonderful time. We asked just about everyone what they recommended and received great tips. Donuts, Beignets, Po-Boys, Jambalaya, we ate our way through this city.

While Ben's company put us right on Canal Street, if you're planning a trip I'd recommend going a bit farther away from the French Quarter. It gets noisy. We stayed at the SpringHill Suites, and deeply enjoyed it. The rooms were large enough for all five of us. Obviously they were more affordable than staying on the strip, and we were still within walking distance all while it being much quieter. We brought our stroller, which is always a question I have when going to a new city. It was a very easy to navigate place. While we didn't go down Bourbon street, so I suppose I can't attest to that, the rest of the french quarter was fine to navigate along.

Food we'd Recommend:
Sucréamazing Macaroons, and other deserts. We maybe went here multiple times.
District Donuts :We had to take a bus to get there, but the public transit is pretty great there. Amazing breakfast donuts and sandwiches. Top notch Chai as well.
New Orleans Hamburger and Seafood Co.: We grabbed lunch here while walking around the French Quarter and it was quick, and wonderful. Had some Jambalaya that was delicious.
Parkway Bakery & Tavern:  Where we were introduced to the Po'Boy. and I tried Alligator for the first time! It was a laid back place that was very fun.
Midway Pizza: Fantastic Pizza. and the kids can color on the table.

Cafe du Monde was an obvious place to visit. We showed up by 8 and the line to sit down was already too long for us, so we went ahead and went to the grab and go line. To be honest, I'm glad we did. We went over to Jackson Square and ate on the bench, which gave our kids freedom to run a bit of that powdered sugar off.

The Saint Louis Cathedral is one of the oldest cathedrals in the U.S. Built in the 1700's it was beautiful to visit. We then caught a street performer on our way out that was fantastic. Magician on a Motorcycle was his street act. It was kid-friendly and Eowyn got to be in the show.

We bought some art from the square and we went to the Aquarium, while we're big into aquariums, perhaps because we had recently gone to the Aquarium in Atlanta, but it was a bit underwhelming for the cost. We enjoyed walking along the river afterward and it was a nice place to hide away from the heat (AND a gal was proposed to by her boyfriend in the underwater tunnel with the help of a scuba diver. So that was fun.)

We took a 30 minute horse carriage ride with the kids. I think Eowyn's favorite part was actually feeding and petting the horse, but it was a nice way to get an idea of any cute places we wouldn't normally think of visiting. We found a family friendly one (some tours are more tailored for adult audiences.)


We really loved this city. We went in with expectations of having to potentially shelter our little ones, perhaps because we were back inside by 6-7 every night, but we found the whole city bright.

Thanks NOLA, we really love you.

9 Months :: Rowan Grows

Eight Months :: Rowan Grows

Three Foot Point of View

2.14.2018

My middle boy has been wildly fascinated with anything I find myself doing. Since we cook quite often, we've recently stumbled on a pretty decent helper in Eli. Lately, because of a month long photo project I've been doing with, He's been asking to take photos. I recently dug out my old coolpix camera (a cute 10 year old point and shoot) and let him carry it about his days. He's had it for a week, so I thought it would be fun to upload it and see what we have.



He's something.

Excited to see if his love for photography will grow. at the very least, it gives me a glimpse into his point of view.


Creativity Centered vs. Centrifuged :: Some thoughts on where we're going.

2.10.2018



When this blog was first formed, it was made out of boredom and hype. A lot of people were creating blogs and it was the currency of the time. We wrote our thoughts and then added pictures (or horrible pixelated graphics) to commemorate the season. I'm not sure if longevity was the goal, or not, but it was the birth of the social media realm for me.

This blog was the first place I began to grow more vulnerable. Embracing the large screen as a friend,  when the positive feedback rolled in (oh the glory of having a small group of real friends to read your blog.) it in many ways emboldened me to live out my life with the same honest vulnerability I typed out on a keyboard.

This blog was the first place I wrote about our marriage, our children, our miscarriages, our travels. Desperation and hope are held within these online posts. Culture shock and being a misfit, thinking I'm much more informed than I am, and being humbled at the realities I'm presented. Found. Here.

So in a lot of ways, a lack of posting feels similar to the way I feel when I haven't called the friend whom has been on my mind. That lingering anxiousness. The need to say something, but the deep desire for it to be meaningful.

I think I had a large amount of creative juices that needed somewhere to go, some 9 years ago when this blog was birthed. It comforts me that those creative juices are still on this side of the screen somewhere.  No longer in a centrifuge, they're centralizing in the four walls of my home. Getting spent on fort building and tender word choice to explain sin in a way that speaks truth and yet leaves my kids free from fear.

I think those creative juices are now being poured into the unique styles of teaching my children the ways they most need. In being critical thinkers on if a curriculum is suiting our family; In forcing my heart into a place of grace and hope and finding creative ways to let go of silly things that need not define me.

Yes, it is weaving its way into complicated conversations with my husband, dancing in the tenderness of dreams and aches and evaluation. Time and again we circle. Is this what we're wanting? Is this life we're creating what we're feeling called to? How do we hope this will look in a year, five?

I'm comforted that the cleverness (because goodness, did I think I was clever when we started this all!) isn't all gone-although for a while I wasn't sure. No, it has just had a chance to simmer- an aromatic presence in my home. Now my kids can laugh at my lame jokes. A kind audience, once again.

If you're wondering if I actually think I'm clever, the answer is a resounding YES. But fear not, I have an acute social-anxiety to go with it so I ask my husband regularly "you think I'm funny, RIGHT?!"

Side tangent. In the little prince movie on amazon, there's a scene where a man has a top hat and is on his own world. Top-hat man announces he's the 'most clever and most handsome on the planet,' to which little prince replies something along the lines of "but you're the only one on the planet" and then top-hat-man responds "well, do me this kindness, admire me just the same."

I quote that to Ben on a weekly basis. I am top-hat man when it comes to cleverness in my house.

end tangent.

...that creativity has moved into the hours when my daughter feels compelled to rush to the table to journal out some image she has in her mind. Into the seconds my kids join me to 'help' at dinner.

I hear it in my terrible aussie accent, while we're studying kangaroos and in the perpetual attempts of intentionality on walks. (goodness, being "ON"  for small people is an incredible challenge for me, and yet one of the best I've challenged myself with.)

This desire to create content, a life of beauty, for many years was confined to this blog.

But now?

It's leaked into the crevices of what matter most. Spent up on the small souls I am undeservingly privileged to serve.

I've been processing the purpose of this space for a few months now. I haven't arrived yet. Attention is the new currency, I'm reading. I've plenty of presence online through Instagram and otherwise so I'm trying to decide just how much this space deserves your and my attention.

The question begs to be answered.

So, how is this blog useful in the realm of allll the other social media?

I think I'm in a place again of needing to flush things out. To visually see sentences of concepts we've been processing. Perhaps they may prove useful to you as well.

So, to set some expectations, You'll see a lot more journalesque type posts. Sorting through this season, working out how we're going about our living. The ethos of what we're aiming for.

You'll be seeing it in the form of Life Lately, as before because my love for photography is never ending, but a bit more heavy on the external influences (what we are reading, adventures that are shaping us, plans etc.) Essentially, my hope is to make this space less and less about just baby faces (goodness me, do I love baby spaces) and more about working through how a human lives in this tension of being intentional in her home, in her community, and in her unique design.

Hopefully this will serve more as a resource and less of a monthly newsletter. I know you have plenty of resources out there (pinterest, etc) but I'm starting to begin to chase after my individual friends and ask them what THEY'RE reading. Not the big names, but the quiet humans that are living their days.

hope some of you quiet humans hang around, so I can hear you. I want to know what you're doing and reading and finding useful for your lives. hopefully we can carve something out of this.

If you've made it all the way to this end, Is there anything you love reading? I almost never answer these questions. But if we were in real life and we were going to talk about something. What would it be?

I'm eager to know.

Cheers and as always, Thanks for reading.


THREE! :: Elias Grows

1.29.2018


Our first born son is now THREE! Ben had to work on his birthday in the morning, so as soon as he got home we drove out to the science museum up in Birmingham. It was an absolute blast. We were deeply impressed. Elias is such an easy to please little man, it made celebrating him all the more joyful.

So grateful you're ours, Eli.


7 Months :: Rowan Grows

Highlight Reel :: 2017

1.01.2018

While I often joke to Ben that Instagram ate my blog, I still feel a bit tender towards this space. While it's been quiet these days (pretty sure this is most quiet year we've had in some time!) I'm still quite grateful this exists. Thanks for following along through these years!

We've started this new year with influenza, so we're feeling a bit ragged. What a gift to scroll through old photos and remember all the wonderful things that have happened in the past 365 days. This year was mostly about keeping our head above water. We joked that we just had to get to christmas and things would begin to feel easy. Perhaps thats why we're sick! we let our guards down! ha. Well, we're grateful to have arrived in this place, with a soon-to-be healthy brood of kids, a warm place to lay our head and a community we are treasuring.

AND dear friends, here it is. My favorite post of the year!

If you want to see previous years, click here 
\\January// 
You came in a blur and ended just as swiftly. We celebrated our sons second year of life while growing his brother. We savored every second we could with our dear Helsinki friends and purged and packed our minutes away. 

\\February//
You were all hustle as well. Trying to carve out time to rest in the midst of packing and gearing up to move overseas. You were a blur. We were exhausted by the end of this month.

\\March//
Right when we were sure rest would never come, you showed up and allowed us to catch our breath (and get a little wet.) We moved into our new place and hibernated a bit as we set up shop back in the states. 

\\April//
You brought family to visit and sweet reminders of why we chose to come back to the states. Right at a pretty tender time of needing to be reminded.

\\May//
You blessed us with seriously fun warm weather and an anticipation for our baby coming.


\\June//
You rattled us a bit by having Rowan come a month early! Praise God for family who drove all day and all night to watch the kids while we lived at the NICU for a week.

\\July//
You were kind to us. Family visiting, being surrounded by friends. Being a family of five felt pretty great this month.

\\August//
We started homeschooling this month. I'm so glad we decided to take the plunge.

\\September//
You brought a lot of feels. The church we had found closed its doors, so we sorted through the emotions of that process. We persued adventure in the gap and continued finding our groove. Life began to feel a wee-bit-normal and we started to branch out from our little montgomery home.

\\October//
You were fantastic. We began attending a new church we now love, went trick-or-treating, celebrated our favorite man and went on lots of mini adventures.

\\November//
Eowyn began dance classes after finishing up a semester in homeschool co-op and  we as a family ended the month basking in the joy of being with Ben's side of the family for the first thanksgiving in several years!

\\December//
We ended this year with all our favorite things. Family, visiting new places and SNOW. What a wonderful way to close out 2017.

This year has been an absolute whirlwind. While we worked hard at being intentional and tender and attentive, goodness this year left us tired. We feel a bit weary. Culture shock, sorting out next steps, new dreams, new family dynamics, new friends....our introverted + planner hearts learned a thing or two about trusting an all-knowing God when it felt like most of the year was a free-fall.

Perhaps because we couldn't really anticipate what was coming, we just lived with eyes-wide open? I feel like this was such a tender year because of it. 
(but now our eyes are burning a bit and we're ready for a nap. :P)


2018, we're not really ready for you...but you're here! So we'll do how we do and enjoy you!

This is celebrating daily after all. ;)

Cheers to a new year, and all the joy and hope and opportunities for God to show his goodness.
We've been deeply blessed by his goodness through you all.

Thank you for making 2017 something so beautiful.