Tuesday, October 6th, 2015
Round 3 of TheVillage253 dinners is in the books. This was our largest event yet, and once again I went home humbled and blessed by the wonderful local mamas who attended. The last two dinners sold out within minutes so I knew I wanted to open it up to as many women as possible this time around. My sweet friend Tiffany was able to organize logistics at a new hot spot in town, The Table. Once again the event sold out, and 60 women, mostly strangers, gathered together united by motherhood.
In just 5 short months @TheVillage253 instagram account has grown to over 700+ women. Sometimes being the first to admit, “I’m lonely,” and “I need help with this motherhood thing,” is all that’s needed before other women come out of the darkness of isolation and say, “You, too? I’m not the only one?”
For some it’s not that dramatic, but for me it was. I hungered for deep, intimate friendship–the kind of friendship I’d experienced in my 20’s while single. Deep friendship isn’t reserved for the young and childless…it’s out there for all of us, but we have to be proactive about it. I prayed for almost 5 years for this kind of friendship, and from my personal loneliness TheVillage253 was born. The Lord answered my prayer in a bigger and better way than I could have ever imagined.
At the dinner I shared with the group that developing friendship is exactly like dating. Chemistry and frequency of dates is vital for relationships to grow. We’re not going to have chemistry with everyone, but the more we put ourselves out there, the likelier we’ll meet people we do connect with. But we have to make the effort to see that person we have chemistry with in order for that relationship to grow…which means inviting that mama over to your messy house for coffee or a playdate…or trading babysitting with a neighbor so you can chat over cocktails child free. Just do it. Friendship feeds our souls. We need friends to rejoice in our triumphs and lean on in our trials. And more than ever, we need our children to see us engaged in community; they need to see healthy relationships modeled.
If you have your tribe, I’m thrilled for you…expand it. If you’re still seeking your tribe, attend as many gatherings as possible and consider them all group dates to see who you have chemistry with; but beyond that, be brave and invite another mama in…be brave and be vulnerable. Let’s be a village to each other ladies. Let’s take that step and move beyond liking a picture on instagram, and liking someone in real life.
Tuesday, September 8th, 2015
Dear Parker Penny,
You’ve waited so patiently for your birthday to arrive. You had to survive mommy’s birthday in June, Pippa’s birthday in July, and Daddy’s birthday in August, and you didn’t whine, or bemoan the fact that you had to wait until September before the Happy Birthday song was sung to you. You woke up September 4th with such an excited and sweet way about you it was hard not to give you the world. You would’ve been content with your pancakes with sprinkles on top. You opened a few presents from Nana and Poppa in the morning and you reacted with such delight and gratitude saying, “Oh my gosh, for meeeeeee?”
You couldn’t wait to see a few of your friends at the playground later in the afternoon. You were so thrilled that your friends got to eat cupcakes with you; when each one arrived you lead them to the table of chocolate cupcakes with sprinkles on top to see what they would all get the chance to partake in.
You are the perfect mix of kind, curious, clumsy, sweet, sass, smart, energy, and love.
Some things I don’t want to ever forget about you at this age:
Parker Penny you are my sunshine.
Monday, August 24th, 2015
In Korean tradition, the first birthday is quite the celebration. I’m definitely not crazy about huge birthday parties (especially for babies) but honoring my heritage is important. I still have my dress (hanbok) from my first birthday, and both my girls will have theirs. Originally I was planning an Island themed pool party, but the weather forecast predicted clouds and rain on Pippa’s big day, so we nixed the pool and I frantically called my friends to bring anything that would entertain kids in the backyard (as we were expecting about 40 kids).
I borrowed streamers that my friend Melisa had made, and my friend Angie did an amazing job making cupcakes with the island theme. I kept things pretty simple with hot dogs and juice boxes for the kiddos and called it a day. (I am so not the pinterest queen).
Doljanchi is the tradition of blessing on the first birthday where the child is dressed in traditional Korean wear and is placed on a mat in front of items representing their future. There are a variety of items you can pick from such as a paint brush (represents an artist), a pencil (represents a scholar or writer), ball (represents an athlete), etc. On Parker’s first birthday, she choose the ball, so I couldn’t wait to see what Pippa reached for. It was the pencil…so we’ve got a future scholar and athlete in the Taylor household!
The poor girl didn’t touch her cupcake because I lit a candle and Pippa decided to touch it and started screaming. But besides that it was a pretty wonderful day full of joy and lots and lots of kiddos.
(A big thank you to Bret Schnorenberg for snapping most of these pics!)
Saturday, August 15th, 2015
Thank you to Socialstars and Minute Maid for sponsoring this post.
Summers in the Pacific Northwest are pretty magical. The weather is so ideal you can’t help but be outdoors as much as possible to soak it all in. The smell of sunscreen, chlorine and BBQ trigger happy thoughts and bring me back to my youth. But what’s particularly fun is my husband, my two daughters and myself all have summer birthdays. Birthdays to me are synonymous with summer. In addition to our birthdays, summer is always chock full of other’s birthdays, graduations, baby showers, wedding showers and weddings. It seems like every weekend of summer gets booked before it even starts and laid back summers can all of a sudden become overwhelming trying to plan and attend events while working around young children’s schedules. For a scheduled, routine person like myself I’ve had to learn to let go. You can’t make every single event, and you can’t expect everyone to make your event. Just make the most of the events you do attend or host and then RELAX–it’s summer!I want my children to remember summers like I remember them…pure fun. No schedules, no homework, and little responsibility. I want them to remember bike rides, freeze tag, swimming all day, and playing at the park. I want them to feel celebrated and surrounded by the chaos of friends.
So summers around here mean backyard BBQ’s, staying up too late, eating cake, waffles for dinner, lots of ice cream and popsicles, parties, streamers, bare feet running through the backyard, pool baths, sticky fingers, sun kissed skin, celebrating, a little less sleep (for all of us), and a ton of beautiful memories.
What are some of your favorite childhood memories of summer? I bet at least a few of them have to do with a cool treat. Want an easy idea for these last few weeks of summer? Check out Hay Kayli’s video and share it with a friend who would enjoy doing this simple summer activity with their own kids and let them know they’re #doingood It’s that easy to encourage and inspire another parent this summer.
Tuesday, August 4th, 2015
The original doors on our home were pretty amazing. There are a total of 4 gigantic doors; the front door, back door and two others. They are HUGE and their midcentury design were always commented on. Originally we were going to replace the yellow inserts with white because that seemed to be the most economical option. However, the longer we lived with the doors, the more they annoyed us. Because they were so huge and old, we could barely open the front door. Any time someone would come to our door we had to yell at them to come use the carport entrance. So we decided to replace the front door with a normal sized door (because a large custom door was just astronomically expensive) and to replace the back door with a glass slider to create a bit of continuity with the floor to ceiling windows. I was a little nervous the slider would look weird being framed in since it wasn’t as tall as the windows, but it ended up looking great in my opinion. (Please ignore my crappy iphone pic, with the mess on the back deck…I was too lazy to pull out my big girl camera and clean).
The front door went through phases of transformation. Here is the original interior view of the door when we first purchased the home.
We updated it by painting the interior white and the exterior coral….you can see the process here.
When it came time to replace the door, after spending hours searching for a mid century front door, I came across the most affordable options from Home Depot. We still weren’t sure what color we wanted to go for so we ordered a primed door while we figured out what paint color to go for. We decided on green and I truly love how it turned out. And it’s so nice to actually be able to use our front door!
Monday, July 27th, 2015
My Dear Sweet Pippa Grace,
It’s been 365 days of joy and chaos and I wouldn’t have it any other way. You’re such a happy sweet thing (as long as you’re with me). You gave me a run for my money for a good 9 months with sleep, but these last few months you’ve been keen on sleeping through the night. It’s so fun watching you and your big sister interact. You LOVE your sissy. She makes you belly laugh and it’s one of my most favorite sounds. You’ve changed so much physically. You were born with black hair that is now almost blonde, your chubby rolls are leaning out, you’ve got 2 bottom teeth and your two top teeth just poked out this week, and fortunately your beautiful blue eyes are here to stay. People say you look just like me…which is strange because they also say you look just like your big sister (who looks just like daddy).
You crawl FAST. High Fives and clapping are your latest learned skills. You’re not too interested in walking yet which is fine by me. Eggs are your favorite food and you’re not a fan of vegetables. You like to pull hair; mine, your sister’s, and even your own.
You’ve taught me a lot about being a mother. You and your sister are so different. I’ve been so humbled and now realize that every piece of advice about motherhood should come with and asterisk because you have proven the fact that all children are different. What works for one child may not work for another. You are your own person that is for sure!
I love you too the moon and back my sweet girl!
Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015
In less than 3 months my quest for real, authentic friendship and desire to bring local mothers together on a consistent basis has beautifully and organically come together and @TheVillage253 is flourishing. Relationships take time to blossom, but just like dating, when there is chemistry, you can’t deny it! Real connection is happening between mama’s (and myself) and I’m really excited about the new friendships being formed. My husband said, “You just seem really happy lately.” And I totally am.
A lot of it is being able to put my time and energy into something new. But I also like knowing that if I choose, there will be a playdate or meetup for me to attend and I’ll have the chance to talk to another mama (who is also likely sleep deprived, knee deep in diapers or tantrums, and is over-caffeinated).
We recently had our second formal dinner (you can read about the first one here). There were 20 tickets available and they sold out in less than an hour. I was floored. And once again it confirmed how hungry women are for authentic community. It was an amazing evening, full of heart, laughs, tears and lingering conversation.There were fantastic raffle prizes donated by local merchants (listed below), and my favorite part was asking each attendee to nominate any local mama they knew who could use a little something special. We donated the remainder of the ticket sales ($50) and Refinery Style Bar donated a cut and style, and Moch of Jon + Moch Photography donated a mini photo session. I love that we could come together to bless a deserving mama just because!
Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who came out–we’re already planning the next one!
And a very special thank you to the people below who made it all happen!
Styled by: Melisa Bass @madebymelisa
Food: Roberta Locke
Made By Melisa @madebymelisa
Debbies Doodads @debbiesdoodads
Brianna Showalter @briannashowalter
Happy Fox Studio @happyfoxstudiojewelry
Thursday, July 16th, 2015
I’ve been meaning to write about all the house updates we’ve completed over the last few months months; we had so many projects going on at once it was hard to keep up. We rented out our home for the U.S. Open so all the half finished projects had to get done asap, which is why I did such a terrible job at documenting the process…we had a deadline to meet and we were in “go” mode. We had a HUGE checklist of items stuck to the refrigerator that taunted us every time we passed by. The big projects included landscaping our entire jungle of a yard, finishing our master bathroom, finishing the laundry room, replacing all the interior doors, replacing the front and back door, replacing 4 windows and replacing the pool fence. There were about 20 other small projects we wanted to have completed by the deadline. We got most of them done. My goal is to give you an update on each project (otherwise this post would be incredibly lengthy). Until then…here is a small preview of the chaos.
Wednesday, July 1st, 2015
Andy and I were lucky enough to rent our house out for the U.S. Open. Months and weeks leading up to the event we were frantically finishing up remodeling and landscape projects. Needless to say we needed a place to stay while Lexus employees took over our home. Because we put every last penny we made on the rental back into the house, we couldn’t vacation anywhere exotic; rather we opted to spend a few days with family friends out in Eastern Washington, and then headed to Portland where we house sat for Andy’s Uncle.
Lot’s of people asked, “How was your vacation?” All I can do is laugh. Traveling with a toddler and a baby is the exact opposite of a vacation. However, we did have as much fun as you could possibly have considering the circumstances. Our days consisted of ways to stay cool as the Pacific Northwest is having an unusually warm start to summer.
We started the trip out east in a small town called Cashmere. We have a lot of history there so it’s always fun to go back. I had no idea Lake Chelan was so close! I’m so glad we found out because we LOVED it out there. This was the first time I’ve traveled to Portland with kids. Fortunately, Portland isn’t short of kid friendly entertainment. We went from splash park to splash park, The Children’s Museum, Powell’s Books, The International Rose Test Garden, and just roamed the streets. We didn’t go to a single trendy restaurant (and I’m kinda sad about that), but we really did have a great time. We totally lucked out and timed our trip at the same time Andy’s Aunt and Uncle were traveling out of town, so we didn’t have to pay for a hotel!
8 days away from home/schedule/familiar things can be hard on kiddos (and parents), but we survived. Would we do it again? Probably.
Monday, June 29th, 2015
I’m officially in my “late 30’s” and it feels pretty amazing. It’s a little surreal…did I really graduate from high school close to 20 years ago? I remember when 40 seemed really old. But man, oh man am I glad I’m where I’m at. I’m finally at the stage in life where insecurities, body image issues, and fears don’t rule me. It’s a good place to be.
I foresee big things happening this year. I’m choosing to go back to work part time and I couldn’t be more excited. I’ll be getting licensed and joining my husband’s growing real estate team and at the same time re-learning how to talk with adults. When you spend the majority of your days with a two year old and a baby, your vocabulary and conversation skills become very limited. I’m not kidding; I’m excited to have adult conversations again that go beyond the scope of poop, potty training, and sleep training. I’m also excited to experience what it’s like to miss my kids. I think going back to work is going to make me a better mother.
I’ve also been busy with @TheVillage253. It has grown into a beautiful community of women and I’m really enjoy organizing events for local moms. I’m humbled and astounded at how organically and quickly it’s grown and how receptive moms are to it. It’s not just fulfilling the desires of my heart, it’s fulfilling the needs of the community and I’ve been blessed immensely by it. (You can read more about @TheVillage253 here).
I just have a feeling that this is going to be an amazing year. I’m excited to set some new goals and see where life takes me!
Photos: Moch Snyder