by Suzanne on September 20, 2015

in heart

I’m not ready.

I graduated from college, got married, had kids. And turned 40 last week. Those things make me a bona fide grown-up, right?


The universe isn’t really listening. Laughing is more like it.

Everyone from my husband to a well-meaning aunt tells me that age is just a number and you can’t do anything about it so just keep putting one foot in front of the other and move on. Easier said than done. I don’t know what it is about this new decade. I just don’t feel old enough in my head to be FORTY.

I mean, I vividly remember how the first day of school felt. The thrill of holding my first Cabbage Patch Kid. The rush of driving a car for the first time. The anticipation of my prom date coming to pick me up. More than that, I remember my mom’s 40th birthday. Dad threw her a surprise party, and it was awesome. Surely that was just yesterday, right?

Aren’t I just playing grown-up? There’s no way I’m not qualified to be 40. Doesn’t everyone know I have no idea what I’m doing? Am I really the mother of a second-grader? Was that a gray hair in my eyebrow?

These are the thoughts swirling around in my head. Because apparently I don’t deal well with the passage of time.

Time changed the moment I gave birth to Lily. My life propelled from a meandering stroll to a full-on sprint. The days pass entirely too quickly. Lily is going to be EIGHT this year. And don’t even get me started on Sophie, a walking, talking little force of nature.

As agonizing as those baby days were, I long for them in a way that makes my chest hurt.

I packed up baby clothes last month, sobbing in a heap on my bedroom floor. The woman at the donation center had to pry the gigantic plastic tub from my hands. Children are a constant reminder of how cruel time can be.

So many days and hours and minutes are flying by.

Another decade.

I know I’ll get used to it.

I’m so deeply grateful for my life that fretting over a number seems so silly. I’m blessed beyond measure and trying to be aware every single day of how wonderful life really is. Little moments and big ones. The good stuff abounds.

And I can only imagine (and hope for) how much more of that good stuff lies ahead.

Okay, 40. You give me no choice.

Let’s do this.


Because I want to write

by Suzanne on September 2, 2015

in just because

Hello little blog. I’m back. I missed you. I missed writing.

So it’s time to dust you off and put more permendous stuff out into the universe. Like this picture of Sophie expertly applying her own sunscreen at the beach this summer:


SO MUCH has happened since November. But I’m not going to try to recap. I’m just going to pick up with right here, right now.

This feels good, typing in the “add new post” screen. I think clicking “publish” will give me a head rush.


Who knows what or when I’ll write next. That’s the fun thing.

See you again soon.



Thanksgiving turkeys

I’m sitting on the couch watching my girls watch the SpongeBob Christmas special. Sophie is wearing a blue princess dress over her clothes, and Lily is sprawled in “her” chair (the big brown La-Z-Boy that migrated downstairs from the nursery and that I still can’t bear to part with because there are so many memories wrapped up in it). Her black eye — from a head-on collision at recess this week — is starting to turn green. She’s forgotten it’s there. Thank goodness.

Marc sits beside me, exhausted from more wrestling with insulation and plastic sheeting and pipes under the house. We’ve just finished a dinner of Thanksgiving leftovers, and bedtime is fast approaching (praise be).

In one word, I’m content.

I’ve grown to appreciate this happy weariness of parenthood. The completion of a fun, action-packed day. The delicious anticipation of those glorious post-bedtime hours when I get a break from the nonstop tending to my girls’ needs.

My reserves fill up, and I begin to miss them as I head up to bed. By the morning, I’m rested (mostly) and overjoyed (truly) to see them again. Especially when they sleep past seven.

We’ve had a wonderful little holiday. Thanksgiving Day with Nonna, Papa, Aunt Laura and her brood; a movie date with sweet Olive; Christmas decorating; and lots (LOTS) of jammie time. I hope your holiday has been just as chaotic and relaxing and love-filled.

Every year as we turn the corner toward Christmas, I get extra nostalgic and emotional. It’s an interesting phenomenon that’s been growing stronger since Lily’s first Christmas six years ago. I take stock and reflect and think ahead to a new, fresh year. And I can’t listen to a Bing Crosby song without tearing up a little bit.

Can you tell where this is headed?

Here I am again, wanting to stop blogging. There are lots of reasons, but the biggest are those two in the photo up there (and their dad). I hardly publish any more, but this site still weighs on me. I neglect it. Then I feel guilty and throw myself in and spend way too much time nurturing it. My compulsion to document takes all sorts of forms (journals for both girls, notes on my phone, copious photo-taking, etc.) and publishing these intimacies online is becoming increasingly uncomfortable for me. An invasion of privacy that I’m enabling. It’s weird.

Plus, my real job is busy and incredibly fulfilling. I’ve also started freelance writing. And I want to dedicate most of my online energy to Posy and Ann Tyer Photography and Postpartum Education and Support.

So I’m going to step away for a little while. Or a long one. I just don’t know. I’m not going to shutter this site in a big hurry, like with pretty*swell, when I lost a bunch of photos and words and my heart is still broken over it. Silly impulsive me.

Thank you for reading. Especially those of you who’ve been with us since the beginning, August 2009.

I’ll still be hanging out on Instagram, so pop by there for little updates if you’d like.

Happy holidays, friends. Wishing you love and happiness and lots of bacon-wrapped goodies.



from my camera roll: Sunday by the lake

by Suzanne on November 12, 2014

in heart


So many little snapshots of our life hang out in my phone … and then get dumped onto the computer never to be heard from again. I share my favorites on Instagram, but there are always a bunch left on the cutting room floor that I love.

Since I have this little corner of the internet all to myself, I figure why not share here? A bajillion more photos of my kids! You’re in, right?

This batch was taken on a walk by our neighborhood lake last Sunday, where Sophie spent a lot of time finding beauty in the weeds and Lily sky-gazed while Bella frolicked and marked her “territory” every ten feet. It was the first time in a long while that I’d been outside just to be outside, and it was pretty wonderful.









a lesson in gratitude

by Suzanne on November 6, 2014

in heart

We got the news on Halloween day, in the midst of costumes and Elsa braids and where’s my treat bucket.

Our furnace is unsafe, the technician said, and we really shouldn’t use it anymore. It is 21 years old, after all. We’ve been heating and cooling the house on borrowed time for the last few years, so we knew this news was coming. It was just a matter of when.

So that must be why it didn’t occur to me at that very moment that forecasters had called for a freezing cold weekend and we needed to figure out how to stay warm. That and the fact that trick-or-treating was starting and the girls had already bolted out the door before my brain could register much of anything.

Late that night, as Marc and I decamped to the family room couch after wrestling two sugar-laden little girls to bed, it hit me: we need heat. We had one space-heater, but I worried that it wouldn’t be enough to keep all of us warm through the night.

My first thought: neighbors.

I didn’t want to disturb them with late-night texts, so I put out a call for space heaters in our Facebook group. Within minutes of that post going live, our next-door neighbor was at the door with a space heater.

And then the flood began. Texts, calls and offers of help and heaters rolled in over the next hour and clear through the weekend.

Nearly a week later, I’m still overwhelmed with gratitude. We are blessed with the best neighbors on the planet. Our own little cul-de-sac village, plus a dear friend down the street who seems to have a sixth sense when people are in need.

And don’t even get me started on my husband. He sprang into action the very next day, ripping out duct work and clearing our crawl space of decades’ worth of accumulated junk. He hauled away metal and insulation and the very furnace itself, clearing the way for today’s installation (hallelujah) and saving us a few thousand dollars. There were moments this week, like when we were kneeling together to measure the space to be cut for a new vent and I saw his sweat dripping onto the sub-floor, that I realized how much I love this man and how very much he cares for his family.

My dad also came to the rescue, helping Marc over several days to do the heavy lifting and hauling and driving all over town to dump everything in the right places. Mom cooked us hot soup on one of the coldest nights and insisted that we sleep over. I feel so blessed not only to have my parents nearby, but for all the ways they love and support us.

We survived this week by the grace of people who care for us.

How lucky we are! And warm. So very warm.

elsa and elsa


“our” North Carolina State Fair

by Suzanne on November 3, 2014

in heart


As I held the little plastic bag to Lily’s mouth while her breakfast came up on the parking lot shuttle bus (I caught it all! Mom win!) I thought for sure we’d be turning right back around to go home.

I was wrong.

My six-year-old daughter, infused with the Spirit of the State Fair, rallied, and we had a wonderful Sunday morning filled with everything we love (EXCEPT rides, of course).

Ann came along to document our fun, and I’m so grateful for that. She captured “our” fair so beautifully. You’d never even know how the day began …


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ten years

October 23, 2014

Ten years ago today. You and me and hopes and dreams and hearts brimming with love. Little did I know as I walked toward you on my father’s arm — blinking back tears and grinning like a fool — how amazing our life would be. I treasure every bit of it, even the valleys, because […]

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educating the next deep-fried generation

October 20, 2014

Once upon a time, FIVE years ago, I was crowned Deep-Fried Ambassador of the North Carolina State Fair. Deputy Deep-Fried (also known as Alisa) and I set out for quite the air-brushed, meat-on-a-stick adventure. I took my job very seriously. And I still kind of haven’t let go (at all, really). I just love the […]

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not bad for day one

October 17, 2014

Here she is. My North Carolina State Fair food bucket list. Because it’s important to keep track of these things. Oh State Fair, how I love thee … biscuit from the Apex Lion’s Club mini donuts deep-fried bananas foster Twinx (Twinkie stuffed with a Twix bar, wrapped in bacon and deep-fried. Challenge accepted.) Al’s fries McBride’s […]

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summer rewind: the beach

October 14, 2014

Dear Summer, It’s time to say goodbye. I know I should be thinking about Halloween costumes and jack-o-lantern carving and all things pumpkin spice, but I still can’t shake my longing for you. It doesn’t help that you just won’t quit giving us 80-degree days. Every time I step out of the house in boots […]

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