Thursday, April 28, 2016

crying over blueberry bagels.

I cried over my blueberry bagel and iced coffee a few mornings ago. My breakfast had nothing to do with why I was crying. It was a perfectly delicious toasted bagel smothered in whipped cream cheese. But life is starting to feel a bit overwhelming lately, and pregnancy hormones or not, I needed a good sob into my bagel. 

We have almost one week until Chris hands in his thesis. (insert celebration emoji here!) Two weeks until we head up to Ottawa to search for our next home. Almost a month until he graduates MIT. Six short weeks until we hand the keys to our home over to our new renters and head to Canada for two years. Six weeks until everything changes, and we start over in a new country, a new city, in a new home, with new friends and a new church. Actually, saying I'm feeling overwhelmed is an understatement. 

The day we moved into our home. So much has changed since then! 

Moving is daunting. Not to mention doing it while pregnant, to a foreign country, with two kids whose lives are about to uprooted and there's no good way to prepare them. Oy. 

But even deeper than the logistics to be worked out, I think my main discomfort in all this is that -- I'm comfortable right now! We've had almost three years in this house. A house we prayed for, and the Lord provided. A house that feels like OURS, like it was built for us. We've had almost three years in this city- one that we've loved exploring, discovering and becoming a part of. Chris' schedule while in school has been a fairly easy one, at least in comparison to his days on a ship in Hawaii-- he makes his own hours, and works from home most of the time. 

And soon, all of that will change. We're about to get uncomfortable again. It makes me think of the months right before I gave birth to Silas. I was enjoying pregnancy, as much as one can with a big 'ol belly and swollen feet. I was getting pretty used to those things actually. And then, out of nowhere, it hit me. I had to get this baby OUT. Like, there was no turning back from here- he was coming out one way or another. Yikes. 

So, the labor is starting over here. Moving labor... sorry, this is a weird metaphor, but maybe you get what I mean. It's gonna get uncomfortable around here. There are so many unknowns about the whole thing that I'm going a little crazy. 

I guess most blog posts have a point to them these days. A "sponsored by" at the end, or an affiliate link or two. A helpful tip or a list you can pin to Pinterest. I got nothing for you in that regards. Just rambling, which I haven't done in a long time in a Blogger window, and it feels good. 

But you know, in the same way that God worked in all the details of Silas' birth, and brought us through the other side with a healthy little almost-10 pound chunker- I'm expectant that He'll do the same for this move. He's a God of the details, and He's a personal God who loves me, and loves Chris, and loves our kids. He's steadfast and unchanging when there is nothing unchanging in this world. We're not guaranteed that life will be simple, that it will be comfortable or smooth. 

So, for the next six weeks, you'll find me cleaning out one junk drawer at a time, making one insurance phone call at time, praying through the stress, and leaning on the One who doesn't change. 

Friday, April 8, 2016

our first week of pre-schooling at home.

A few weeks ago, after several frustrating days of trying to get Si to entertain himself, and meltdowns from all three of us, I decided to make some changes in our days. We needed more structure and a little intention in our days. 

Since we are moving at the beginning of June, we are waiting to make any decisions about a pre-school for Silas until we get settled in Canada. My hope is that we'll find a great school for him to attend a few days a week, but that's still a few months away. I knew he needed a little more stimulation, a little bit more one-on-one time, and I needed to get intentional about the structure of our days as a whole. 

I started researching preschool learning resources, created a board on Pinterest, asked for ideas on Instagram, and Googled my heart out. We started last week and not to get dramatic, but it's been life-changing. Both of the kids love it, I can see a definite change in Silas' attitude through the day, and I don't get to the end of the day thinking, "What the heck did we do all day?".

circle time

We've been doing circle time each morning. We pray (little kids' prayers are my FAVORITE), do a weather chart, calendar, a song (usually Rise and Shine- Delia gets super pumped about that one) and a short Bible memory verse with Silas. This is the first time we've ever done memory verses with him, and I don't know why, but I'm amazed that he actually memorizes them. Last week, we did Colossians 3:20, and this week was Genesis 1:1. We also read from their Jesus Storybook Bible (my favorite kids' Bible ever ever ever). Since we did a gardening theme this week, we read about how God created the earth, and the first garden ever. 

I love starting out our mornings this way-- it creates a purposeful and cheerful start to the day, and sets the mood for the morning. I'm trying to keep it simple and not to get too bogged down in the details-- like whether they're sitting and listening. But yesterday morning, after two weeks of circle time where I thought he wasn't listening at all, Si said all of the days of the week in order. So there's that!

alphabet garden printable from mrs. jones' creation station.
weekly activities

There are so many great resources out there, that it doesn't take too much work to plan a full week for us. One of my favorite sites to peruse and glean ideas from is Simply Learning (her site is down right now, but I'll update this when it's back up). She chooses a theme for each week, which I think we'll continue to follow, because she also makes a lesson plan and Pinterest board with tons of ideas pertaining to the theme, even tv shows-- making it all very simple to create our own week's worth of lessons and activities.

I created my own lesson plan template sheet in an attempt to stay somewhat organized. ( You can find plenty of templates on Pinterest, or create your own in PicMonkey!) This past week, we did a gardening/springtime theme. Our activities spanned from growing a bean seed in a ziploc bag (that's been so fun for Si and Delia to check on each morning... or every 15 minutes), an "alphabet garden" letter search, working on coloring inside the lines with these Garden of Eden printables, and build-a-bug out of construction paper shapes, and a parts of the flower craft. I hit up the dollar spot at Target and found some bug capsules (the kind that grow into sponges after sitting in warm water), and other little things. 

We also took a trip to the library to check out spring themed books, and watched some spring themed episodes of certain shows (Curious George, Zou on Hulu, and Wild Kratts). A trip to a botanical garden would have been appropriate and was a glimmer in my eye, but yeah, that didn't happen. 


We are being super flexible about this whole thing. Some days this week were chock full of "school stuff", as Silas says. Some days had one or two designated lessons, and the rest of the day, we played as normal. We'll learn as we go, and change things up as we find what works for us or doesn't. The main thing for me is that our days are more intentional, and instead of leaving Si to make up his own activities to entertain himself, we're working together to help him have fun and learn something along the way.

One thing I learned this past week was that I need about twice the activities that I had originally planned. Most of the things we did only occupied about 10 minutes of our time. I'm not sure if that's because Silas hasn't done much school work type stuff, and his attention span will increase as we progress, or it may also be that he was just bored by some things. I did figure out that he really has no interest in coloring, but loves working on tracing and writing letters.

A few people have asked what we do with Delia for our lessons. Most of the time, she joins us, and does her own version (colors her own worksheet, sorts counting bears, etc.). If it's too messy or advanced for her, I'll sit Silas at the dining room table (instead of our school table from IKEA), or we'll do that project while she's napping.

Next week, we'll be joining Simply Learning on their "All About Me" theme. We'll be working on his writing his name in different medium, talking about our family, talk about our identity in Christ, and other stuff I will probably figure out on Sunday night. Since her site is down, here is her Pinterest board with suggested activities for that theme.

Other favorite resources:

This comment thread on one of my recent IG posts is golden.

Busy Toddler IG account

The Measured Mom (book lists for preschoolers and other great resources)

The Measured Mom free printables 

Cutting Tiny Bites (book lists, theme ideas, lots of activities)

My preschool learning Pinterest board if you want to follow along as I fill it up

I hope this post was helpful. I don't know what direction the Lord will take us in regards to homeschooling, but I'm so thankful for the vast array of FREE resources available to us with just a little bit of internet searching. Happier, busier kids during the day make for a happier mama, and we'll take that!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

my low-maintenance skincare routine.

Just two months ago, I learned how to fill in my eyebrows, and my world has been changed ever since. Let that serve as just one clue that this post is not coming from a beauty expert of any kind. BUT that being said, I personally enjoy reading beauty and skincare posts from "real" people like me, women who are bent on time, coming up on 30 (next week--eek!), looking for easy and effective ways to look pulled together and feel great.

So, here's my skincare routine. It's not perfect, it's not written in stone, and I'm sure it will change in the months to come, especially as the weather changes. But for now, this is the way I'm taking care of my skin.

For reference, I have normal skin, with no real acne problems, thankfully. I'm generally happy with my skin's appearance, and have a pretty low maintenance skin care routine. As I've grown older, I've noticed some fine lines and spots start to appear, and I'd say taking care of those (as well as keeping my face clean, fresh and moisturized) is probably my greatest goal for skincare.


In the morning,  after splashing some water on my face, I grab my OSEA Sea Vitamin Boost and spritz my face one or twice before I make my way downstairs to start breakfast. It's a quick way to wake me up, and help me feel a little bit "glowy", even if I never have a chance to put make up on that day. 

At night, I use Burt's Bees face wipes to clean any dirt, grime, and makeup off my face. I like the white tea scent, and love the fresh, clean way my face feels at the end of the day. I can't go to bed with makeup on-- can.not. It just feels nasty to me, so this product has been a must for me for several years now. It's a big plus that it's easy to snag a few packs at Target, so I never need to be without. 

After I clean my face in the evening, I use a roller ball mixture of frankincense, tea tree, and lavender essential oil on my cheeks and nose. These oils are known for their support of the skin, and how they help keep skin feeling smooth. 

A small glob of OSEA Advanced Protection Cream is enough for my whole face and neck, and I've seen a noticeable difference since I started wearing this to bed each night over three months ago. One of the biggest selling points is that it doesn't leave my face feeling greasy in the morning. My skin feels plumper and smoother, and I've even noticed that some of my fine lines around my mouth have evened out. In the past, I would have dry patches on my chin or sides of my faces during the winter. But this winter, those dry patches have been non-existent. It is definitely a splurge product, but this stuff is absolutely the rockstar of my skincare routine this winter.


About once or twice a week, I carve out a little bit of time to do a sea salt exfoliating scrub on my face. I like this one from Anthropologie (that I got as a gift for Christmas), but you could make your own too! After reading about the negative impact of micro-beads on the environment, I stopped using my exfoliating face wash, and opted for this more earth-friendly choice. I'll often use a bit of this scrub on my lips if they are feeling dry, flaky or chapped, and I notice a difference right away.


I don't have a lot of time to spend on face masks and whatnot, but every once in awhile, I'll sneak up to our third floor bathroom and etch out a little 'spa' time. That's when I like to use the OSEA white algae face mask. It doesn't dry my skin out like other face masks I've used, and my skin feels much more luminous and bright after one use.

I was gifted OSEA products several months ago, but I'm so glad I've had the opportunity to add them to my routine. On days when it's more likely for me to have peanut butter smeared across my cheek, it's nice to have a little bit of luxury in the form of self-care waiting for me in my bathroom cabinet.

Especially since the skin benefits of peanut butter glop have yet to be studied.

Friday, February 19, 2016

number three

The beginning of September will bring a new babe into the Wilkins' household! I'm nearing the end of the first trimester, and thankful that the queasiness and utter exhaustion seem to have taken a backseat. I'll be the first to admit that the surprise of that positive pregnancy test sent me into a state of shock for a week or two. Heck, I'm still trying to wrap my head around the fact that I'll be a mom to THREE next fall. Isn't that something that's reserved for grown-ups?! And then I remember I'm turning 30 in a month. Crazy-town.

My 11-week belly has decided to masquerade as a 20 week belly for the time being. It's comical at times, but makes me realize I missed that belly more than I had thought. Also, maternity clothes are my best buds. 

We told Silas just a few days after we found out ourselves. We just couldn't keep it in. And oh boy, I wish we had recorded his reaction. It made me weep. Chris asked him if he liked being a big brother to Delia, and he responded, "Oh, I do!" And then we told him that he'd have another baby to be a big brother to in a few months. He started squealing in delight, clapping his hands, while grinning a smile bigger than his face even allowed. He's continued to be so excited-- asking to look at the pregnancy app on my phone to see how big the baby is growing, and he's positive that he's getting another sister. Delia is oblivious, but is obsessed with babies lately, so I think she'll approve of the new changes coming. 

The keyword for this first trimester has been grace. Grace, grace, grace. Grace to allow myself a few days to cry and mourn "my plans" while learning to accept new and beautiful ones that God has for us. Grace to take naps when I need them, and not worry that a little screen time is going to hurt the kids while I rest. Grace to let a cluttered house stay cluttered because I'm just too dang tired to do one more thing at the end of the day. Grace to feel that fear of something going wrong, but choosing to soak in the comfort and reassurance of God's perfect plan no matter what happens. 

So here we go. Third time around. I don't know whether to laugh or cry, so most days, I just do both. Often at the same time. 

Friday, December 18, 2015

little things.

 + cardboard boxes that make excellent boats. 

+ the twinkle of Christmas lights first thing in the morning when it's still dark outside. 

+ the way Silas hugs his sister. 

+ how Delia points to a headband on her rack, and knows exactly which one she wants to wear that day. 

+ being able to fill the grocery store conveyor belt with fresh food for my family

+ crawling into a bed of freshly washed sheets

+ the smell of fresh bread baking in the oven

+ the sound of a package hitting our front porch

+ the way Chris flirts with me when we're washing dishes

+ Delia's dance moves when she hears music start to play

+being able to pull up Scripture on my phone whenever I want, without fear of persecution or ridicule.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

our boston winter 'bucket list'

As we gear up for our last winter in Boston, I'm starting to get a teensy bit panicky. There's so much to do, and so little time, as they say. We'll be heading up to Canada at the start of summer, and I don't want to spend this entire winter cooped up, pining for summer. So here's a list, just like our summer bucket list. This list will be considerably shorter than our summer one, but Boston still has so much to offer when it's cold. We've crossed a few of these items off our list already, but I'll include them anyway, in case you want to add them to your own Boston list!

Take in all the Christmas lights and decorations throughout the city- Thanks to this gloriously warm weather, we've gone into the city a few times during this Christmas season. Silas and Delia have both been in awe of the colorful lights in the Boston Common, the giant Christmas tree by Fanueil Hall, and all the festive decorations on the home and storefronts in Beacon Hill.

Go on an ice-skating date with Silas at the Frog Pond- I think this is the year he's finally ready to get out on the ice. He's exclaimed to me a few times, "I *might* fall, but I'll be okay!" 

Head up to New Hampshire to see the magical ice castles- I've been wanting to do this for a few years, and since it's less than three hours away from us, we'll probably make a whole day out of it. 

Hit up an improv show at ImprovAsylum - We now have a really awesome babysitter, so we'll be going out on the town as much possible. We'll probably grab something spicy and warm to eat on Hanover Street (the Italian district) before heading over for a show. 

Visit the Institute of Contemporary Art- I've been wanting to visit a few museums, but have been saving our visits for winter days. I'm not a huge museum girl, but Boston has so many to offer, it feels like a waste to not visit any while we live here.

Grab lunch at Boston Public Market- We love this brand new year-round indoor farmer's market, and I think we'll be heading here a lot over the winter for fresh produce, and local eats. Union Square Donuts and Bon Me are two of my favorite restaurants in Boston, and they also have booths here, so I might just camp out for the winter. 

Try out the Blue Hills ski area- It's been years since I've skied, so this terrifies me a bit. But Chris has wanted to do this each winter, and we don't live far from this ski area, so we might have to try it out this year!

Grab a cup of hot cocoa (mint nutella? ginger infused? white chocolate chai?) at one of these spots- I found this list of bakeries and coffee shops offering tasty variations on hot chocolate, and I'm ready to go do a whole tour right now. Yum. 

See the Nutcracker Ballet with Chris- We did this a few weeks ago, and I think it's a must for anyone around Christmas-time. Such a fun excuse to get dolled up, and it's almost worth it just to see the beauty of the Boston Opera House itself. 

Go to a BlueMan Group show- We just can't leave Boston without seeing a BlueMan group show. 

Bake through our Flour cookbook-- Flour Bakery is one of our favorite places to stop for breakfast before church in Cambridge. We bought the Flour cookbook recently, and are pretty excited to try our hand at making our favorite sticky buns, donuts, and pastries right here in our kitchen. I'm afraid to even glance at a scale this winter. 

That's the extent of my list so far, though I'm sure more activities will crop up that beg to be added. What would you add in that I forgot?

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

minted giveaway!

My computer is full of pictures of my kiddos. Chubby cheeks, tiny toes, first little gummy smiles, messy watermelon faces. iPhone snaps, "big camera" pics, and photos taken by some incredibly talented professional friends. But they just sit there. And I forget about them, and they fill up my storage space, and collect digital dust. If digital photos took up physical space, you might call me a hoarder. Over the past few months, I've made it a point to get more pictures printed out and on our walls or into our hands. I've made a few photo books, organized my photos a little bit better, and stuck a few of my favorite Instagram snaps on our fridge.

Enter Minted. You might know Minted from their gorgeous art marketplace (where I'm honored to have one of my art prints available!), their beautiful wedding invitations, or even their stunning and unique pillow designs (I'll take one of each). They also have a great collection of customizable photo art!

When Minted contacted me and offered to send me some photo art, I jumped at the chance to hang some of our photos from our family session with my friend Ruth last September. Delia was itty-bitty, and they are some of my favorite photos we have of our family.

My first inclination was to add this piece to our gallery wall in the living room, but when it arrived, I realized it was almost a gallery on its very own. I was also super impressed with the sturdy frame, ready-to-hang-hardware, and of course, the bright and clear print quality. So, up it went in the dining room. Delia loves pointing to Daddy and Mommy and Silas in the pictures, and is a bit confused as to who that little baby is.

Minted is giving you a chance to get some of your own pictures out of computer storage and on to your walls! One winner will receive their choice of a 5x7 photo art print! We'll make it simple-- visit's photo art section (link here!), and comment below with the design you might choose for your own walls!

Giveaway will be open until Friday, December 18th, one winner will be chosen. Please make sure your email address is either in your comment or available through your Blogger account.