and then we hit the dog days

And it's August 18. That's smack-dab in the middle of dog days, and I'm a little bewildered. Our August has flown by so fast, I almost don't believe the calendar. Everything has been moving at light speed, and now that I have a chance to slow down and breathe, I feel some melancholy.

My sister Sarah came to visit the first week in August, and we packed our days with Powell's, Mario Kart, outlet shopping, and the coast. Then we turned right around and flew to Denver for a week. We know how I feel about my people, and this trip was no exception. I did so much that I wanted to do, and saw so many people that I wanted to see. Think late-night movies, early birthday cake, fabric shopping, leisurely reading, communal cooking, and easy laughter.

Certainly a part of me was ready to return to our norm after two weeks of vacation mode, though I still woke up this morning with a twinge of loneliness resting in my stomach. I don't think it will ever be easy for me to live so far away from my most-loved people.

Asher, unsurprisingly, reveled in all of the attention. Every night before bed, he'd go through all the family to make sure that they would still be there when he woke up in the morning, and he pretty much had everyone at his beck and call the whole trip. I love seeing my son loved and adored by those whom I love and adore--it feeds my soul.

Now that we've hit the summer dog days, let's keep it that way for a while--at least, if you're like me and don't have any first days of school to contend with. I'm going to live out the month with some more pool days, a couple of birthdays, and late-night TV watching. Cheers.


all the days

I've been racking my mind for what to write about here, and the truth of it is that all of our days this summer have been more or less the same. Or if they've deviated from our summer normal, it hasn't been anything super bloggable. Sure we had some family visit, which I talked about briefly in my Fourth of July post, and then Josh went out of town for work. But like I was going to announce to the internet that my husband was out of town for a week. (Note to any internet killers, my husband is home and will destroy you upon unauthorized entry.) Then we were all sick for a week, and I didn't think you'd want me to regale you with tales of our stomach bug.

So here we are, almost through with July and not much to blog about. Because, you know, all the days are more or less the same. The summer has gone quickly, and our days have developed this slow, easy-going pace. A few times a week you'll find us at some community water feature. Sometimes we'll hit up the splash pad in town, and other afternoons we keep it close to home at the pool in our condo complex. Today I went with a friend to check out this free, foot-deep community pool a few towns away. Asher's been loving the water. It's his favorite. And when we come home from our watery excursions, he takes the best naps.

Asher had his first Otter Pop the other day and was delighted with his resulting blue tongue. I've been making these banana-peanut-butter-chocolate frozen treats and occasionally treat myself to half-off Sonic shakes after 8:00 p.m. I've been wearing my summer skirts and dresses like it's the only thing I have to wear, and the result is that I like to think that I've developed this feminine summer glam that comes with minimal effort on my part.

August will likely fly by just as quickly as July did. My youngest sister is coming for a visit next week, and then she's flying back to Denver with Asher and me for a stint with my people. Then when we get back it's birthday days and then it's September. So. I'll live up these easy days as much as I can and promise to blog when I have something worthwhile to blog about. I've been keeping up with my sewing and document my projects on my sewing blog. At least I've been sewing when I can muster the energy to sew in my summer oven of a sewing room.

What have you been up to this summer? Have your days found an easy rhythm?


a rainy respite

This week Oregon had some blissfully cool days. I know I complain about the heat often, but wouldn't you if your bedroom were 90 degrees at night? Right. And I know that the weather is such a boring thing to talk about, but during the summer I really care about the forecast. Like, a lot. So this week of clouds and breezes and even some rain have been heaven-sent for this complainer.

{Just a lovely cheesy picture from the three-minute photo shoot I did of Asher and his shark backpack yesterday}

Wednesday it was pretty rainy all day, and I did all sorts of lovely domestic things. I altered a sewing pattern, baked bread, and even dozed on the couch. That last one may not fall under the "domestic" category, but it's still pretty great. I kept the windows open all day and reveled in the cool breezes.

I know that Oregon as a state may disavow me for saying this, but so be it: I need some rainy summer days. Just a couple. Not even a ton. Just a couple. So thanks for this break in the 90-degree days. My whole soul is grateful.

PS On The Creative Domestic I have details about Asher's shark backpack and a giveaway going on for one of my favorite sewing books, just in case you're interested!


a Saturday list

Guys! I can hardly believe it's been over a week since I posted last. I certainly didn't intend to go silent for so long. Let's blame summer germs, yeah? Last Saturday, Asher and I both got a stomach bug that left us feeling gross and fatigued well into Tuesday. And just as the two of us were recovered, Josh caught it. So we've just been all kinds of sick around here.

So on this Saturday, Asher and I are back to normal, while Josh is still on the fringes of recovery. To catch you up, here is a list of mostly non-consequential things.

:: The week before last Josh went on his first-ever business trip. Asher and I took almost a staycation of sorts. I didn't make a single official dinner, and we watched more TV than is usual. Though if I had known that we would soon be couch-ridden with a stomach bug, I might have been more conservative in our media consumption.

:: While Josh was out of town I painted our master bedroom. Because we've all been sick, it's not quite put back together yet. But when it is I'll definitely show you pictures.

:: Two of my Facebook friends tagged me in a post featuring this video:

It's hilarious and wonderful. And it made me especially embarrassed to realize late yesterday afternoon that on my sewing blog I used where instead of wear. I was appalled at my lapse in proofreading, though I guess that goes to show that writing blog posts at midnight has its grammatical hazards.

:: I've been loving my summer reading. I've read six books since June and have listened to three more. Reading is just all sorts of delightful, isn't it? My favorite summer read so far is The Time in Between, followed closely by Attachments. Remember at the end of that summer I'll be posting another Twitterature update for all my summer reads. What have you been reading this summer?

Now I think I'll head back downstairs to finish up an episode of Curious George with my boys, which brings me back to the nagging question, What does The Man in the Yellow Hat DO??  I swear that question will bug me until the end of time.


vulnerable love

My heart has been vulnerable lately. I've been focusing more on being a mother who listens, a mother who plays, a mother who puts down the smart phone. Asher is in such a marvelous stage of toddlerhood. He's talking and learning and playing and imagining, and I get to be there to see it all first-hand. And being that witness is significant. Being this witness to his childhood is a responsibility--such a meaningful responsibility.

{Credit for this beautiful photos to Kate West}

Not only am I witness of this life, I am a shaper of this life. More than anyone in his life right now, I create the opportunities for his learning, growing, and becoming. And what a serious role that is, what a sacred one. I--along with Josh--am the teacher, the playmate, the listener, the disciplinarian, the comforter. I can't even find the words to tell you how full my love is for my son--how all-consuming, how raw, how terrifying in its magnitude. I love him so much that I have to entrust that intimacy to my Savior to safeguard.

Loving as a parent is scary sometimes. You love so much you don't understand how it's even possible to love so deeply. Your love puts you in this place of ultimate vulnerability, a place where your heart isn't yours anymore. The fear of failure is so real when you love so fiercely. I pray so earnestly to do right by my son, to do right by God. Sometimes I want to freeze these moments of toddlerhood because these days are beautiful in their simplicity.

All too soon, this toddler of mine will be a kid, will be a teenager, will be a man. And my time as a hands-on, person-molding mother is only a sliver. So I have to make my sliver of time count. I need to use this time to focus on the essentials: Asher is a son of God; Jesus Christ atoned for his life; through our Savior's grace, Asher can change and be made whole. Everything I do as a parent has to find root in these truths. I have made promises to God and to my family to live in faith and obedience. Some days I feel that weight so intensely, a weight that's also accompanied by a surge of raw love that I can feel only because my Savior enlarges my soul to feel it.

More than anything my motherhood proves to me that God is real. Something so grand and lasting could come only from the Divine. Even in those mundane moments of sweeping crushed crackers and teaching basic manners, my Savior is there, reminding me that what I do matters. What I do matters because my son matters, because my family matters. My family matters to God, because families are divinely destined to last the eternity. Those days when my heart feels vulnerable for all the love and responsibility that fills it are the days when I understand my life with the most clarity. The Savior is love, and I feel closest to Him when that love fills my soul.


independence coasting

We spent the Fourth of July at the coast.

This was Asher's first coast trip since entering toddlerhood, and he took it all in perfect stride.

Think sand. Lot and lots of sand.

And kites. Let's not forget how much my Wilson boys love their kites.

We had lunch up at the beach house, and while someone (I'll let you guess which one) needed a little rest, the others headed back down to the beach.

This little guy caught up with everyone in due time.


The grown-ups played games in the sand, and I stole away for a solitary walk in the shallow waves.

I always feel this pull to take as many pictures as I can of the coast, even though they may all look the same.

This place completely overwhelms me sometimes. The Oregon coast is so wild and grand and breathtaking. Every photo captures wonder for me.

I can't get enough of these two. They shine.

My heart is so full watching my two boys. The love I hold for each of them is sublime.

Asher could have spent all day on the beach.

We stayed as long as we possibly could. This boy was in heaven here.

And so was I. Thank you America for this beautiful land, for the continuous waves, for this wonderful, wonder-filled day. This one ranks up with my favorites. Life is just so grand.


beating the PNW heat

Well, it's officially July, and today the forecast is in the high-90s. So. Not my favorite of all the weather options, but at least we have things like kiddie pools, regular pools, and splash pads. Don't forget the window A/C unit that cools our first floor. Go up the stairs, though, and you'll feel at least a 10-degree increase in temperature. And if you're crazy enough to spend time in the sewing/computer room (as I apparently am right now), you'll soon start feeling sweat crawl into your neck and down your shirt.

I have a few tactics for dealing with the heat.

:: First, Bachelorette. Ridiculous, dramatic, and wildly unrealistic, plopping down with that show in front of the A/C is not a bad way to spend naptime.

:: Second, skirts. And dresses. Breezy, flowy, and often like pajamas. Yesterday on The Creative Domestic I posted a seven-day vacation wardrobe full of knit dresses and skirts for another sewing contest. It's a knitcation! And a blessedly cooler one when your legs aren't trapped in skinny jeans.

:: Third, chocolate. Hashtag obviously. Yesterday I had to grab a couple of things at Target (which, you know, seems to happen all the time), and an end-cap full of mini Reese's cups caught my eye and my stomach. And well, they were gone by breakfast. (Or you know, for breakfast.)

:: Lastly, the bun, my favorite of all the summer 'dos. On days like today when even turning on the blow-dryer in the morning is too much to bear, a bun is the ticket. Wear it high, wear it low, tie a ribbon in it, the possibilities are many, and the result is a neck free from pesky, sweaty hair. (I guess you could also just chop your hair off altogether, and believe it or not, Josh would love if I got a pixie cut. But for now, I'll stick with the bun.)

:: A postscript option--the coast. The whole Wilson crew is coming into town this week, and we have plans to spend our Fourth at the coast. And the coast is solidly a 10 to 15 degrees cooler than Portland. Plus, it has crepes. So. Obviously.


a good, old-fashioned list

:: First off, thank you for the encouraging and enthusiastic response to The Creative Domestic. Really, it means the world to me. I've posted a few times already and am so excited to see where this blog goes.

:: Secondly, thank you again for the wonderful response to my post about the current events being publicized about my church. If you ever have any questions about the issue, I'd love to answer them for you. I just love knowing that I can write about things close to my heart and have those thoughts received so well on this space. Thanks for helping me make this space one of safety.

{Josh told me to take a picture of Asher's hair on this particular Sunday, because its styling was the ideal. I live with some pretty cool dudes.}

:: On Monday I got to spend some time with Katelyn, one of my all-time favorites. I think it's a heaven-sent blessing that I happen to live in her motherland, because she comes up to visit Oregon at least once a year. Every minute I spend with her is lovely. We walked up and down Alberta Street in Portland, where we browsed patterns and fabric in Bolt and found the most adorable toy store. And we found the most delicious pain au chocolat you'll ever eat outside of France itself. We were caught in a torrential downpour near the end that left me drenched and Asher bewildered.

{We have a couple of public splash parks around here, and Asher spent a solid 20 minutes sticking his face in this water spout.}

:: I've been feeling some serious motivation for home improvement projects. And by "home improvement" I mean finally painting that accent wall in the dining area and sprucing up that big frame on my mantle. I can credit this motivation surge to this book.

:: That spring cold is finally on its way out of here. And it is not welcome to return.

{The "helmie" with "cahrs."}

:: We bought Asher a helmet for when we ride our bikes with the bike trailer. And it's pretty much all he can talk about. His "helmie" has "cahrs" on it. I'm not usually into character paraphernalia, but I just couldn't resist buying him a helmet with Lightning McQueen on it. I mean, come on. I have a soul.

:: I scored some cute finds at Goodwill today. Whenever I mention to anyone in the Portland area the specific town in which I live, I get, "Oo, they have the best Goodwill!" I'm keeping my eyes out for a cute area rug to go under the dining room table.

{Asher and our friend Ben at the zoo a couple of weeks ago, laughing at the hippos. We had to fight with a million and one elementary school kids for this primo viewing spot, since apparently we decided to go on The Day of All the Field Trips.}

:: Pretty much none of these photos have anything to do with anything I'm listing, with the exception of the Lightning McQueen helmet. But I just had to post them, because this boy is my favorite.


Twitterature: pre-summer reading

I have a summer reading list about 30 books long, so we'll see how far I actually make it this year. I'm pretty optimistic given that I'm one book away from meeting my annual goal(!). I've been reading some great books lately. Somehow when I read one good book it propels me into reading another and another until I'm finished with my challenge only six months into the year. And now I present Twitterature: the pre-summer reading edition.
Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing: A Modern Guide to Couture-Style Sewing Using Basic Vintage Techniques, by Gretchen Hirsch
4 stars, A great sewing reference, especially for vintage and tailored sewing. I'm eager to try out new techniques and vintage-inspired patterns. I especially love how Gertie embraces femininity. #sewingreading #femininityforever
5 stars, A wonderful reference to sewing with knits. I feel more confident in sewing with different fabrics and excited to explore the knit side of sewing--I may have converted to knits as a favorite medium! #sewingreading #knitnerd

4 stars, An enjoyable collection of memoir-esque essays about food and hospitality. I especially enjoyed her spiritual insights about food and why we gather. Her seeming constant calendar of dinner parties did leave this introvert feeling a bit exhausted, however #introvertlife #foodiememoir #iwantcakenow

5 stars, Must-read nonfiction. Louis's story is unbelievable and emotional and inspiring. This book is everything nonfiction should be: engaging, thought-provoking, detailed, inspiring. #lifechanger #WWIIbuff

All Clear, by Connie Willis
3 stars, An audio read, this book may be best listened to when you have a long stretch of time to listen. The conclusion to the book Blackout, we finally learn what happens to our favorite time-traveling historians. Once I got into the groove, I really enjoyed how everything resolved. #audiobooksforthewin #historicalscifi

Someday, Someday, Maybe, by Lauren Graham
4 stars, A surprisingly enjoyable read by my favorite Gilmore Girls star. Follows the life of a wannabe actress as she struggles to find herself in the acting industry in NYC. Maybe cliche, but unexpectedly endearing #beachread #chicklit

Claire of the Sea Light, by Edwidge Danticat
2 stars, A recommendation from a podcast, I was let down by this book. I didn't connect with the characters and was not-at-all invested in the story. A big letdown. #subpar #idontrecommendit

The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green
4.5 stars, A long overdue read, I finally succumbed to the hype. Not usually a fan of cancer books, I found myself engaged and involved the story. A story not about cancer but about two kids who happen to have cancer. Well worth your time. #tearjerker #YAlit #livesuptothehype

What have you been reading lately? Anything worth adding to my summer reading list? I'll be posting another Twitterature update at the end of the summer with reviews for all of my summer books!

I'm linking up to Modern Mrs. Darcy's monthly Twitterature post. If you haven't already, check out her blog. It's on my must-read-everyday list.


on knowing and not knowing

As a Mormon, I've witnessed plenty of publicized drama surrounding my church during the past several months. I have my own opinions about the movements and the activism that I'll sum up quickly: I don't agree with the activism, though I do wholeheartedly agree that it's okay to have questions and doubts. However--the ways in which we ask are just as important as the questions themselves. And that's probably where I part most from these more public seekers.

News about church disciplinary actions have been making their swift way through my social media feeds, and I have many feelings about it all. Mostly, I'm sad. I'm sad when one's seeking leads them down a hard road, when the men and women who surround them abandon them and draw lines in the sand. I'm sad when one's seeking leads others away from a gospel whose message is Come and join with us. I'm sad when the fallibility of members is confused with the doctrine of Christ. I'm sad when I see such division in a faith that has the potential to enjoy so much unity.

I don't have all the answers. I don't know all the details behind the scenes of these individuals' actions and choices. I don't know the full picture. And I don't need to. I know that we are fallen creatures, that none of us is perfect, and optimistically, that most of us are really trying our best.

So I try my best. I move forward with what I know--that Jesus Christ is our Savior, literally risen from the dead to redeem us; that God's prophet will never lead me away from God; that I can receive answers to my questions if I honestly and humbly seek; that I can feel peace in my heart even when I don't have all the answers.

I won't gossip about these news stories. I won't pass judgment, because that's not my job. I'll pray--for myself, for my family, and for those in the midst of spiritual struggle and turmoil. I'll teach my family how to receive their own witnesses and how to nurture their own testimonies. I'll seek my own personal witness of this beautiful truth and trust that "what [I] know will always be more than what [I] don't know."

Let's stop making this about them and us and focus on Jesus Christ, through whom everything will someday be made right. Let's address our own individual shortcomings before we assume the responsibility to pass judgment on another. Let's be faithful together, even amid our differences--let's find unity in our Savior. That's what this whole life is about.
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