it matters--what do on a rainy day in Cincinnati

We've spent more time exploring locally around our home than any other Summer we've live here before. Maybe we've been emboldened by our capabilities while away on our intense month long trip out West. Maybe it's that our babies are at the perfect traveling age. Whatever it is, we've absolutely loved getting further acquainted with all the treasures near our home in the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area. 

One such discovery were the A. J. Rahn Greenhouses

Imagine if the Bennet family from Pride & Prejudice converted their home to an extensive plant nursery and opened it to the public. That's what this place felt like: a haven of quiet, country elegance just out side the hum and bustle of Cincinnati. 

We arrived on an overcast day while rain drizzled in a fine mist from the overcast sky. But that didn't hinder us one bit  because almost all of the greenhouses are completely covered with lots of space for running about. It's a perfect place to come and wander on a day when the weather might have otherwise kept you indoors. 

I will unashamedly say that this place was a dream for photographers. Every corner was stuffed with old world charm, lovely growing things and cream-soft light. Jonathan captured the best shots of us just being ourselves, together.

(my favorite)

If you find yourself here, keep an eye out for the spotted cat and the canary named Ronan. The sweet, helpful staff will most likely introduce them to you if you don't happen to find them on your own. I loved just walking around here and getting to admire all the growing things. Such a quiet, healing sort of place. 

I often ponder on our children's first memories. What will they be? Will they remember in color or emotion? Will their hearts remember the strong arms of their father or scent of my skin as I wore them close? Will they recall how  we tried new foods and ventured into unknown places; doing it all together  because we hoped to gift them the spirit of adaptability? I hope so. 

I hope they know how much I believe all of it---everything we did with them--mattered more than they could possibly know. 


I didn't get to see the ginkgo trees this year. 

Every Fall, I keep a watchful eye out for my favorite fan-leafed trees to don their gold coats. There's a particularly glorious row of ginkgos--at our Wal-mart no less--that gets set ablaze in every shade of yellow during Autumn.  I look forward to seeing it unfold every late October. 

It was the middle of November before I realized, "Wait. We haven't drove by to see them!" My sentimental heart twinged a little with disappointment. Well, it's too late now.  

Life hasn't been easy lately. I wouldn't call it particularly hard (just like, everyday life sort of hard). I'm a bit...weary. I simply feel as though I've been so deep in the trenches of nursing every two hours and potty training and coaxing to sleep and cutting grapes in half and tending to diaper rash and three year old emotions and hormonal adjustments and the time change that I'm missing the flashes of joy God has lovingly placed in this intense season. 

This past Tuesday, we made the worthwhile drive to Newport for some Carabello Coffee; our favorite little corner coffee shop just across the river from Cincinnati. We stepped from the van onto the cold sidewalk and soon found ourselves shuffling through a confetti  explosion of gold completely covering the street. 

Ginkgo leaves. 

A mosaic of Jesus' loving placed details spread thick right there at our feet. 

He made sure I got to see them after all

Inside Carabello, we sat at a square table with the bright afternoon sun leaking light through the windowpanes. Scout wobbled on Jonathan's lap while Behr played a game on a phone so we could sip our coffee in peace. I exhaled a little. The view from where I sat: our little family, the ones I get to love the most. All of us will never be this young together again. What a beautiful thing to partake in. 

She's got cheeks as round and fluffy-soft as cumulus clouds. We can't help but leave ten kisses on each one every hour. His inquisitive, connective spirit has rocketed in intensity since he turned three. I'm simultaneously playing an exhausting game of catch up and and in awe of the person he's becoming. 

Then Jonathan and I, we're tired. So tired. Have you ever tried to keep two beautifully needy humans alive, clean, fed and happy while also working demanding jobs while also trying to make sure your marriage doesn't shrivel up from neglect? It's hard, you guys. But I can't think of more worthwhile work. 

After a hot maple spice latte for me , an iced mocha for Jonathan, and a tiny cup of  "coffee" (almond milk) for Behr we walked back out into the crisp air. 

Behr threw a small tantrum when we took the phone away but quickly recovered when he got to hold Jonathan's hand to cross the street instead of being carried. We stopped where the ginkgo leaves had fallen for a few pictures. I knelt down to Behr's level to find him holding a single leaf in his ever growing but still baby-dimpled hands. "Is that for me, buddy? Oh, this is my favorite!" He nodded, a bit bashful that I was making such a fuss. 

I've got news for him: I'll always make a fuss over Jesus using other's to shout His love right when we need it most.

Ok, so maybe life currently isn't what I thought it would be. Maybe we're still figuring it all out as we go (I have a growing, relieving sort of suspicion that we're all still figuring out as we go).

Maybe I'm learning to stop holding onto my expectations and instead live expectant for whatever goodness God chooses to bring our way. 

days of now - family time in Newport, KY

These are our days. 

The days when our babies are young and we are too. The days when they tuck in the nest of our arms and perch on our hips because they can't fly on their own just yet. One day, Lord willing, they'll be grown and we'll be gray(er) with eyes that ripple with the current of the memories the days we're living now. We'll remember these days when everything we did took three times as long. When we had to make sure the baby slept and the toddler had a full belly. 

This week we spent a day in Newport, KY. I know these pictures make it look like we just drove around eating popsicles and ice cream but that's only because it's pretty much exactly what we did. 

Once they're grown, we won't spend the amount of concentrated time together like we do now. Each day is another log entry into a book that will soon be shelved; perhaps opened and fondly poured over in memory, but never lived again. And, more and more I keep thinking of a time that's fast approaching when they'll have problems that can't be solved with simple things like naps, orange popsicles and comfort from mom and dad. Needless to say, I'm leaning hard into the uncomplicated-ness of their little (but so important!) lives. 

Who can know, except Jesus, what our future will hold? But for now, the God who wrote--and is writing!--the grand sweeping histories of all the world decided this: that our individual narratives would meld and mingle in such a way that you can't read one without the other.

Whatever our story becomes or wherever it take us, I'll always be thankful for this part. The chapters when they were small and we were tired and all of us couldn't remember being happier.