Archive of ‘Life’ category

Willkommen Zoe!

By Natalie

Zoe’s here! Thanks to everyone who has reached out in the past week to ask how things are going with our new exchange student. Our little family was so excited to finally welcome Zoe to the US.

We had a couple of days to get Zoe settled, registered for school and get her school supplies before school started.

Zoe brought us the sweetest gifts, German candy and chocolate, German children’s books for Felicity and the most beautiful German cookbook. We sat down to look through the cookbook together and decided that Zoe would help make a recipe out of it once a week since she enjoys cooking and baking. On labor day she made us Frikadellen served with mashed potatoes and peas and carrots. Zoe was so excited to share a childhood favorite meal of hers. The meal was so good I told her I was going to have to step up my cooking game! That evening was dreary and rainy. I slid the window open to enjoy the crisp rainy air while we ate our hearty meal together under the soft light in our dining room. Our cookbook will hold so many special memories like that one and I will cherish it forever ♥

I love foreign language and learning about different cultures. Brandon and I have already been fascinated by the similarities and differences between our cultures. When we signed Zoe up for classes at her high school we were able to meet the English as a second language teacher who spoke German and the German teacher! They both spoke to her in her native tongue so fluently. I could have sat back and listened all day. It was in that moment that I realized the connection I had felt in Puerto Rico when I was immersed in the Spanish language spanned across languages. It wasn’t simply Spanish that did something for my soul, but foreign languages in general. It brings this intense feeling of home for me. Even though they were speaking German, watching them communicate made me so happy! Her German teacher thanked us for hosting Zoe this year. She said that she loved having exchange students in her class because it gets the students more excited to learn.

Zoe has been teaching us a little German as well. We say Gute Nacht to eachother at night. Sometimes I say Buenos Noches. Danke for thank you and Bitte for your welcome and please, Gesundheit always when we sneeze. Felicity has mastered that one. Zoe asked if we had a saying that we say before a meal like Bon appetite and I shared that I wanted to start saying Buen Provecho before meals ever since I heard my cousin say it in Puerto Rico. So.. we have quite the mix of languages in our home right now and I love it!

“I like your morning playlist.” Zoe said this past week. Her backpack was resting on her lap. La Vie En Rose played softly in the car. I smiled.

Brandon and I love creating comfort. A surprising amount of times we’ve had friends nearly fall asleep in our home because they say it feels so cozy. I wrote about hospitality some time ago. I believe hospitality is more about an attitude and creation of comfort in every space that you welcome people into, not just in your home. So in the mornings when I come downstairs to find a groggy teenager sitting on the bench by the window I greet her with a soft Good Morning. I turn on the wax melt plug in under the stove hood. Warm light and cinnamon scent wafts through the kitchen. I make coffee and try not to talk her ear off.
I grab my keys, we hop in the car and I play my easy listening morning playlist. A little Louis Armstrong, a little Miles Davis, a little Otis Redding.

I drop her off at school before the sun is quite up. Wish her a good day and head home, savoring my hot cup of coffee alone in the car. When I get home I hear the pitter patter of little feet running towards me. “Mama!” Felicity yells and hugs my leg. My husband is on the couch, the man that I love more everyday. The man who cares for me so well and cares for these 2 little women in our home. I’m grateful for the sweet little life we’re creating and truly living.

From the time that we chose Zoe to be our student we felt this overwhelming feeling that it was the right decision. She couldn’t fit in with us more, it’s almost quite eerie that there was this girl half a world away who seemed so similar to us. She’s a reader like me. Like minded in personality to Brandon. She can puzzle with us, do yoga with Lici, adores our pets. She’s one of the quickest learners I’ve ever seen and don’t tell Brandon that I told you but she has totally been crushing him in a video game he showed her.

I’m loving getting to see our world through Zoe’s eyes. Her excitement over the cereal aisle in Target, letting her try her first milkshake and her first street tacos. We’ve taken Zoe to some of our favorite spots around Charlotte and we can’t wait for all of the fun things we have planned for her this year. She’s a beautiful addition to our family.

Summer Break with Intention

By Natalie

We have 14 weeks in our summer. Just 14 weeks of impromptu water gun fights with the neighbor kids, splash pads, juicy watermelon and play dates. That’s about a hundred summer break days and I’m packing in as much as I can! We only have one summer with Felicity at this age and I want to make sure that we had an absolute blast each year! Friends have been asking what we plan to do all summer. The truth is that I probably have way too much planned! I’ve shared some of the big things but here’s a list of everything in between to give you some inspo! A life well lived is a life with intention♥ That’s our family motto. (more…)


By Natalie

Walking into the airport after 9 beautiful days in Puerto Rico was nothing short of heartbreaking. This was so much more than a vacation, it was a homecoming.

Brandon and I had hoped this trip would happen at least 5 years ago, but for one reason and then another it never worked out. As I approached 30 I recognized that something in me longed to connect more with my heritage. I wanted to see where my family and ancestors were from, to experience Puerto Rico for myself. (more…)

Life Lately

By Natalie

Felicity started preschool three mornings a week. She’s eager to learn and we can tell that time away from us is so essential for her growth. When her preschool was looking for extra teachers I decided to apply. I thought that keeping busy while she was away would be a good thing. But after a few days I wasn’t completely at peace with it. When I talked to a friend about it I realized that I was in a sense of denial over the fact that my little girl didn’t need me those mornings and I thought that I’d be cradling another little baby by the time she went to preschool. I needed to feel needed. For the past 7 years there have been kiddos in my care that needed me. My friend encouraged me to be still and find where God was leading me during this time before I forced myself into something that I wasn’t prepared for. (more…)

Falling In Love with Time

By Natalie

Brandon and I drove down the streets of NoDa, pulling in to Benny’s pizza. We ordered one giant slice of pepperoni pizza for each of us on a disproportionately small paper plate. Pam and Nate walked in behind us. We greeted, we laughed, we sat and ate together during a summer that feels like it was a lifetime ago. When we finished our pizzas Brandon and Nate drove over to Abari to play arcade games. Pam and I went back to their place in first ward to knit together and watch a show we’d binge every Wednesday night. For about a solid year we’d do this same routine, every Wednesday night. After landing in Charlotte 2 years prior we’d finally found our community and had made solid friends that we were doing life with. Our time together was golden and it felt like it’d last forever. In the midst of weekly routines like this one you never think about when it’s going to end, until one day it inevitably does and you long for it in a grievous way that you long for times that you know you can never get back. (more…)

Life Lately

By Natalie

Brandon and I can officially say we’ve been married for a decade on Saturday! We grew up together, built a life, went through some hard stuff, good stuff, grew a family and we continue to grow together and be blessed by our marriage daily. We celebrated a month early and went to Mt. Jackson VA for a cozy cabin retreat. For the first time ever we both separated from our dear girl for 3 restful nights! She had a blast with her Nana and Grandpa. We’re so grateful that we had this opportunity to sneak away and give the Poes some quality Felicity time. Her cousins came over after her nap each day to play. I know that she cherished that time together because the next couple weeks after we got home, when I lay her down for her nap she’d say, “Aunt Ashley, Mason and Everett coming?” (more…)

Picture Books to Add to Your Bookshelf

By Natalie

I love when friends ask what Lici’s favorite books are. I’ve grown fond of dozens of books over the years, so today I’m sharing a list I’ve broken up into four different categories! Favorite picture books of all time. These are our constants. The books that Lici often picks up and memorizes. Books that teach lessons. I’m not only hoping to raise a reader by surrounding Lici with books. I’m also hoping to teach her about the world and teach her how to be kind, share, be courageous, be a good friend, to be conscious of caring for our earth and dozens of other lessons that can be learned through reading. Books to sing to your child. Perfect for those soothing nighttime lullabies. Books to diversify your bookshelf. My all time favorite genre of fiction is Asian literature. I find it so captivating and find alot of cultural similarities to my own Hispanic culture. I want Lici to read books about children in different cultures, partly to instill a love for travel in her and partly for her to see that we’re all the same inside though we may look different or eat different. I’ve learned a few things myself through searching for more diverse books and we both find it so exciting to read about and try new things that maybe someone in our story does.


Open for Business!

By Natalie


I’m giddy to share this exciting news! Many of you dear readers already know about this new venture. On February 28th I opened an Etsy shop! It’s been a dream of mine for years! I have so many hobbies and such a love for multiple crafts, that I was never quite able to hone in on one. Last year when I was discussing this dream with Brandon he said, “Why don’t you put together sensory bins?” The only trouble I had with his question was, why didn’t I think of it first!? As you may have seen here, and here, I love putting sensory bins together for Felicity. Once during a playdate, a friend’s kiddo asked, “Where is that box with all of the Easter eggs and stuff?” I was surprised that he remembered Felicity’s Easter sensory bin. It was mid summer and I had since put it away. (more…)

2020: A Debrief

By Natalie

Is it too late to share a Christmas photo? We’ve had a slow start to our new year which has been a lovely way to start fresh. Last year we experienced our own set of hardship and grief for experiences lost. But by this point we’ve created a new normal, incorporating some new routines that have helped keep us going. This post I suppose is somewhat of a debrief. (more…)

1 2 3 5