Archive of ‘Ramblings’ category

One Thing at a Time

By Natalie

We adopted a cat a couple of months ago. We named her Zelda because she’s a total princess. We’ve always longed for more pets. The question was never if it was always when and which one. On our search this summer we endured a peculiar trip to the pound, shut in a room with a couple of different cats that just didn’t feel right for our family. We also met a sweet high energy dog who probably would have liked Bingley until he tired out. We weren’t sure if she’d be helpful to entertain Bingley or if she’d just add more chaos than we needed. Ultimately we couldn’t get a good read on how she felt about Felicity. Then we met Zelda at an adoption event. Her foster mom said that she was the snuggliest of all her cats. She was exactly what we were looking for. She’s purring and curled up on my lap this very moment. (more…)

I Survived Jury Duty

By Natalie

My time at the courthouse was particularly uneventful. It felt mostly like being on a very long train ride. I was first summoned to appear in January. I’d asked to be deferred or excused stating that I was a stay at home mom with a baby who was still nursing. They said they offered day care and provided a lactation room. We could have my service deferred if needed. (more…)

Where You Were Born

By Natalie

Dearest Felicity,

Today we had to say goodbye. We visited the place where you were born and had to walk away just the same. It didn’t make too much of a difference to you but it was bittersweet for me. My heart holds on to things, unable to let them go. Today I’m grieving the loss of this birth center. Walking into the farewell party felt warm, felt like home, surrounded by dozens of women who shared in the same care that I did. Dozens of babies your age and younger crawled and played across the floor. (more…)

An Open Letter to Baby & Co.

By Natalie

Dear Baby and Co,
I’m devastated by the news of your closing.
On July 3, 2018 I labored at home for nine hours, then walked through the doors of the Charlotte center, my belly swollen and round. Women I came to know over the past several months greeted me excitedly. I didn’t think I could do it. In that moment I thought laboring in a birth center was certainly my worst idea yet. (more…)

Today I Bought a Lotion

By Natalie

To you it’s just a lotion but to me it’s so much more. I’m finding that happiness in parenthood can come from indulging in the simplest pleasures. No we’re not taking any big trips in the near future but that doesn’t mean we can’t buy a whole pack of Biscoff cookies for our morning coffee. It makes me feel like we’re adventuring. Like we’re on a plane and the stewardess has just asked me if I’d like a pillow. Biscotti works too. We’ve been crazy about coffee lately. And anything that goes with coffee. You know, like coffee and coffee and pour me another cup of coffee already please. Our espresso machine is on the fritz. We’re dabbling with the idea of investing in a heavy duty one. One that can handle these first few years of our parenthood.

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Just Your Average Bibliophile

By Natalie

IMG_0532As a child my mom would offer to pay me a dollar for finishing one of my many American girl books. I’d skim through them but remained completely uninterested. I had yet to read a book that sparked my imagination. Somewhere along the way that spark eventually caught fire to something deep inside me. I finished a book I was forced to read for school finally feeling that sense of accomplishment that couples with reading a book cover to cover. After that I was hooked.

There’s a series of books and events that I believe have lead me to become the reader I am today. This is that story. (more…)

The Nip in the Air

By Natalie

I walked into the Harris Teeter this morning to grab a bag of tortilla chips which I forgot on my original grocery shop yesterday. I’ve planned to make a dairy free Mexican layer dip this week, which I have been oddly craving for quite some time, and finally decided that the only way I’d be able to have it dairy free would be if I made it myself. This layer dip has been on my mind for so long, and I remembered every ingredient for it, except for the tortilla chips! Can you believe that?

I grabbed a couple bushels of firewood on my way out since the chilly air has finally made its way here. And we’ll hopefully be enjoying a fire this very night.

imageWe’re obsessed with our fireplace around here, didn’t you know? And when I say we I mean Brandon is obsessed with creating them, I am mesmerized, and cling to the warmth of them, and Bingley will plop very nearly too close the second those flames pop up. I think he will be devastated if our next place doesn’t have a fire. To be honest it’s another thing to set at the top of our priority list! Which is really the beauty of renting, because we have lived in such different spaces we’ve learned what functions well, and what to avoid.

Speaking of… Chilly weather.. Chilly weather, and three boys is possibly the most stressful mix ever. Did you know? Now that the weather has gotten cold enough for the necessity of coats, shoes, and hats there has been quite the wrangling going on at the Coggins back door. I’m pretty sad to say goodbye to barefoot, and swim shorts. image

I’ve got two socks, and one shoe on Ryder. One sock on Caleb that isn’t fit quite right, and I’m battling with him to put a coat on. Grant is totally aware now of the fact that putting shoes on means we’re going out, so he reaches for the doorknob like a trapped prisoner.

“Why do we have to wear coats?” Caleb says.

“Because it’s cold outside, and I want you to be warm.”

“Why is it cold?”

“Because it’s winter now.”

“Why is it winter?”

“Because the season changed.” (Mind you, I’m holding this conversation yelling over Bailey’s whining, and shrill barks. You might ask, “Why don’t you just let Bailey out while you get them ready Natalie?” To which I’d answer, “Because God forbid I did, then Grant would crumple to the floor in anger that I didn’t let him out barefoot, and coatless too.” It’s really a matter of preference.)

Caleb continues, while I pull a hoodie over a frustrated Ryder. He gets a particular sort of upset when you put a hoodie on him instead of a coat. Like you’ve just betrayed him by dressing him in something he cannot take off. But that is in fact why we put it on him, because otherwise he’d be frolicking in the nip shirtless!

“Why did the seasons change Matalie?”

“Alright Caleb, that’s enough questions, put this on.” I hand him a jacket, and help him with the zipper.

By this point Ryder is ready, Grant’s got shoes on, Caleb has a coat on, but insisted on changing his shoes. Pullover, pullover, where is Grant’s pullover? I grab it off the couch, and slide it over his head to which he always giggles, and that helps relieve the commotion a bit.

Somehow I’m always the last to put my shoes on, but I’m not silly enough to wear anything that takes more than a slip onto my feet when I’m with them. So I’m ready quickly, and open the door. The boys, and Bailey all trample past one another, spilling outside like a waterfall.

Of course, on a good day, I get each of them ready individually, in secret, before Bailey even hears anyone utter the words Outside.

 

 

On Befriending My Curls

By Natalie

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After spending a muggy day outside this past summer my hair was more than what I would describe as poofy. Despite the frizz I decided to run to Michael’s to stock up on the supplies I was out of, and browse through the new fall decor. While I was browsing I came across this older woman who was dressed in her finest, looking like she had just come from her weekly salon appointment to have her hair done up. I motioned to squeeze past her as I thought she would most certainly judge my young manner of dressing in workout shorts, and a tie-dye tshirt. Hair gone awry, and flip flops flapping against my heels.

But she slowed her cart as we passed one another, made eye contact with me and said, “Your hair is very pretty.” with the sweetest old lady smile you’ve ever seen. Shocked, I blushingly smiled, and thanked her. I went home and looked at myself in the mirror and thought, “You know I wouldn’t be me without these curls.” Brandon is a huge fan of my curly head, most especially when they’re at their softest poofiest state. Even just today a woman passed me in the grocery store and complemented my curls. So why do I have the hardest time accepting them?

imageMaybe it’s because I’ve spent countless hours in front of the mirror trying my hardest to love them. Being tired of the fact that I can’t wake up, brush my hair and walk out the door. Maybe because I’ve endured several steam burns to the head while straightening the unruliness. Then curling iron curling them for a softer more acceptable look. Maybe because I’ve sat through the stinky, burning chemical relaxers in hopes of relaxing those defiant curls, only to later find out that now my roots were curly, and then ends lay limply straight against my shoulders. Not to mention all the hair loss. Maybe even because deep down I hate meeting someone for the first time with my natural curly head, only to later come across them with straight hair that gets complimented. That is the worst. It makes me feel like my curls are messy, and undesirable. Leaving me feeling uncomfortable in my natural head of hair.image

But this woman in Michaels, and the lady at the grocery store. They got me thinking.. I have a number of reasons to appreciate my locks.  A couple kind strangers, a handful of old coworkers who’d made it a point to compliment my uniqueness, one loving husband, a single Dove curly hair commercial, and alot of acceptance later I’ve decided to befriend my curls. That’s right! I said BEFRIEND them. From the cowlicks above my ears, to the roaring 20s wave on the left side of my temple, to the tight spirals that sit at the back of my cheekbones. I’ve come to terms with them. Most especially I’ve come to terms with the fact that no matter how hard I try to tame them, every single curl on my head has an intention of its own. After years and years of battling them, I confess to you I’m worn out. And you know what’s hilarious? The less product I put in them, the more beautifully they spring. It took me years to find that out! The more I’ve learned how to treat them the more they’ve been compromising with me. The irony is ridiculous.

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To my fellow curly heads,

Instead of shedding tears as I know you have while wishing desperately you were born with straight hair, start loving on those locks.

What I use to care for my curls
I’ve also used

I have tried the no shampoo method, replacing it with baking soda. I’ve also tried drying my hair with a cotton tee, instead of a terrycloth towel. Neither seemed to make much difference, and I really couldn’t handle the mess, and lack of scent with baking soda.

No curlyhead is the same. I must express my frustration with the fact that just because something works for me doesn’t even necessarily mean it’ll work for my sisters! I cannot necessarily walk up to another curly head, ask her how she nourishes her hair, and expect the same result. That fact can be frustrating, but really, it’s fantastic. Not one person has each individual curl that I do, where I do. We can totally be compared to snowflakes. Different, and beautiful, in our own unruly way.

Go on little snowflakes, be proud of that gorgeous head of hair!

Life Lately…

By Natalie

2015 is rolling right along, and so much has grabbed my attention, that I thought I’d give you a quick recap of Life Lately. Hang with me, we’re goin fast!

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My beautiful sister Nadir gave birth to her first born last month! I’m amazed by my sister’s strength, and overwhlemed with the beauty of a woman’s ability to go through pregnancy, and childbirth! It’s alot of work to bring life into the world! I was so excited to visit just a couple days later to share in their blessing.

imageNorah did not dissappoint. She’s pretty stinking adorable, and she’s leaving the whole family smitten with love for her. Passing down my crown of being the youngest isn’t half bad.

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School is almost out! Which means I get to see more of this cool kid ↓↓

Bring on the summertime fun!

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If you follow me on Instagram you know I found the best Farmer’s Market ever!  On Saturday I excused  myself past people to grab a giant 34 cent carrot.. Have I grown up, or have I grown up?

My first visit I stood over baskets of strawberries with giddiness in my eyes, because those strawberries were tantalizingly bright red, and gorgeous. After the man who proudly grew them noticed I was interested he said, “Go ahead and try them there strawberries.” Tickled by his accent, and guiltlessly wanting a taste I picked up a little red guy and bit just below the green. And it.. was.. the best dang strawberry I’ve ever tasted.

The next week when I asked B to tag along he insited we grab a cantaloupe. But once we got to the pile we stared at the cantaloupe, and then at eachother. How do you pick a good cantaloupe? There’s so many rules to ripeness.. how will I possibly remember them all? This one’s too green.. this one’s too hard.. this one doesn’t smell strong enough.

“I think you smell the butt.” I said to B.

To which he replied. “But they all smell so good.”

“Whenna you gonna cut it?” An older man asked, noticing we were in need of assistance.

“Umm probably today.” I said. Then he proceeded to grab at the cantaloupe, and handed us a good one, and moved on. And it was a GOOD one.

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Cherries just like the ones we’d pick off of the tree when I was little. How could I pass that up?

When I was 2 or 3 I’d galavant through the backyard with cherries in hand, and when my mom asked me what they were I’d say “Gwapes” and she’d say “They’re Cherries!”

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Plants!!! call me crazy, but I had no idea there’d be more than produce, and fresh flowers at the farmer’s market. I stared at an oversized pot full of Elephant Ears as tall as I am, for 10 minutes. Deliberating… Because, I really, really, wanted those guys in my home. But, I settled for a hanging pot of succulents to accompany the bedroom window. And really, can you go wrong with succulents?

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Speaking of plants…

I found this precious nursery not too far from where I work. imageI wasn’t expecting too much, but once I walked in I followed the sign for houseplants, and I stepped into this beautiful haven. Mhmm I’ll take one of each pretty please.


During a casual Wednesday morning trip to Jo-Ann’s with little Grant I spotted this fabric, and could not get over how it had our entire living room color scheme. After getting a couple feet cut for a bunting I grabbed some matching bias tape, and whipped out my coupons. Because Jo-Ann’s ALWAYS has coupons. Total for this DIY was five dollars! [And lots of leftover scrap fabric for other projects.]image

When I got home I popped in an old musical, and got to tracing, cutting, and sewing.

Since we’re living in a rental I’ve been using as many Command hooks as possible to avoid holes in the wall, and it hasn’t been too big a deal aside from the fact that I miss our curtains. But this bunting has been a stunning alternative!

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In case you wondered..

Bingley wanted to say hello.

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Oh! And I thought you’d like this pretty decent little drawing we spotted on our table at Mama’s Coffeehouse. image

Life’s been pretty sweet huh?

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