“Just wait” they said.

I remember reading this article a few years ago talking about all the things that people had told this mom-to-be . I’ve never forgotten that article (I don’t remember who wrote it) but for a few months I have written my own version in my head. Collecting precious moments since I laid eyes on my daughter and trying to stamp it all into my brain so I never forget a single moment. Today, at brunch with my friend Taryn who is almost 37 weeks pregnant we talked about some of the things people have said to us during our pregnancies…


“Just wait” they said- “You’ll never sleep again. SLEEP NOW.”

they said. but what they didn’t tell me was how in the early morning hours of the night it would be just me and my sweet tiny newborn. They didn’t tell me that I would hold her tiny body against mine and that I would be in complete awe that I could nourish her and that I would learn exactly how to comfort her. They didn’t tell me that even though I might be tired that I would cherish those moments because even if it was sometimes exhausting that soon they would be gone. That each night time feeding meant that I would get to spend quiet time with God and thank the heavens above for my tiny little miracle. That getting up in the middle of the night meant that she was growing and thriving.

“Live your life now” they said- “Go TRAVEL while you can!”

I can’t tell you how many times I heard this before my girl was born. I also can’t tell you how untrue this is. How my world truly felt like it came alive once she was here. That we have traveled around the world and back, but NOTHING not a single thing we had seen or done in our travels compared to the day our baby was born. The life it breathed into us. The love she brought. It was like this tiny piece sent straight from heaven. It was like I could finally catch a glimpse of His unconditional love. That love unending. Traveling with a baby can take some planning and some effort- but kids don’t need to stop you! Traveling with tori is a riot and a blast. As she has begun interacting with the world around her the JOY in her face is exciting. Next month she will visit her 4th country at nine months old. It is possible! It might look different or travel might be a bit slower now but there is such beauty in that.

“Kiss your old life and old friendships goodbye.” 

YES, people actually said this to me. What does this even mean? I have become CLOSER with some of my friends since becoming a mom. Even my friend who doesn’t have her own kids  became such an encouragement to me. What they didn’t tell me was how quickly you realize who matters and what doesn’t anymore. You realize how much you need support and encouragement and what they didn’t say was how thankful you will become for those who pour into you as a new mama. Those who check in with you. Those who let you vent or ask questions in the middle of the night. Those who say “you are doing a GREAT job” because having a baby doesn’t mean you kiss old friendships goodbye. It means you hold tight and cherish the ones you have.

“Your marriage will never be the same.”

It’s a life adjustment for sure. My marriage isn’t the same. I wouldn’t want it to be. But what they didn’t say or describe is how your heart explodes out of your chest watching your spouse care for and love this new tiny being like never before. How you stay awake when you should be sleeping because watching your newborn with your spouse sleeping together- forever changes you. How your heart will burst at the sight of the tender care and love for the snack bringer and water filler upper during those cluster feeds at the beginning. Of course my marriage won’t be the same. It takes time to adjust to adding a human to your family…but what they didn’t tell you is that even though things might look different for awhile you’ll see your spouse in a completely new light. One of strength, one of resilience, and oh my goodness the freaking LOVE.

So, yes, you just wait. Just wait for the love like you’ve never experienced. Just wait to watch your baby discover the world. Wait until you hold your newborn for the first time. Just wait for that first smile. That first belly laugh. Just wait until your baby reaches out for you. Wait for the middle of the night feeds where you know exactly how to comfort that human. Just wait for it. There is absolutely nothing like it.

It takes a village.

We’ve all heard the phrase “it takes a village” when it comes to raising babies. It doesn’t take long to open and scroll on Instagram or Facebook to see pictures of a group of girls & their babes laughing and loving life together. I always envisioned having a life group where our house had an open door policy, food was always on the grill, and kids were running in our yard. I envisioned  catching up and laughing with new friends. I always envisioned watching other kiddos so that their parents could have a date night and vice versa. I envisioned our husbands going to play basketball together and us chasing the littles around the gym. I pictured later teaching them to play ball themselves. I envisioned hang outs, play dates, mommy groups, coffee dates, and praying together. You get the picture. I envisioned truly doing life with those around me. How often though, is what we envision, really our truth? How often do we kick and scream in the discomfort only to later see that God really did have his hand in it all along?

Our life has never been what I thought it would be. We have been blessed to explore more than 30 countries in this beautiful world. I have walked and slept among the hill tribe Hmong people in the most gorgeous Vietnam countryside, I have visited Sumatran Indonesia where even though struck by a devastating Tsunami years ago were just some of the most kind and genuinely happy people in the world. I have sat just below wild orangutang’s in the Malaysian Borneo rainforest. I have swam among Whale sharks in the Philippines, danced in a Fijian village, skied the Swiss Alps, camped under the Saharan stars, lived (survived) in Africa, toured Europe, and the list goes on and on and on. How on earth could I feel down about not having a “village” like Instagram shows me I NEED??? Why can’t I simply appreciate all we’ve been given and all we have experienced?

What if my “village” is our friends here in Mexico (hayyy Taylor and Jessie!)  who don’t yet have kids of their own or aren’t married yet that offer to watch Tori so Tom and I can have a date night once a month? What if my “village” is sweet little old Lupita who bagged and carried my groceries out to my car expecting nothing when I was trying to tame the fussy baby in my arms? What if my “village” is my friend Beka who continually voice texts me encouraging me to fix my eyes on Him? What if my “village” is the Californian woman and her too sweet college son who saw I was traveling alone with my eight week old to Mexico and carried my bags across the airport to my gate in Dallas for me? What if my “village” is my husband- who works outside the home so I don’t have to miss a single moment with my sweet daughter who is growing before my eyes.

What if the lord is using this time to refine, to strengthen, to rely, to trust, to persevere, to see the beauty in the small, to reveal? What if I stopped scrolling and instead listened? What if instead of being restless I was just…still?

Sometimes our “village” looks different. Sometimes our life is nothing like what we imagined and what if instead of waiting and hoping for what we thought our village might be we realized that we’ve got everything we need. just right where we are. <3

Puzzle pieces.

Homes. It’s always around the holiday’s that I start thinking more about this home thing. Where we are from and what we grew up with makes us part of who we are. We try to decorate our homes with things we love that make us feel a belonging. A space to call our own that we can let our hair down and just simply “be.”

Now, that we have an almost five month old -traditions and the thought of a home have become even more important to me. I want my baby to have grand memories and memories that she can pass on to her own children someday. As Thanksgiving and Christmas approach I can’t help but think of where we are going and where we came from. I come from my grandma’s Christmas cookies and cutting down our own Christmas trees in the snow. I come from sledding, and gingerbread making, snow forts, snowball fights, and stockings on Christmas morning.

Wisconsin. marriage.Korea. Morocco.baby tori. Mexico. When I sit down and think about it…it feels like we’ve been around the world and BACK. & whew! It’s been such an incredible 6 ish years or so. but mama needs a break. I needed some roots. At least for a bit.

When we were thinking about where we wanted the next “home” to be Mexico was appealing. After we left Wisconsin for a new adventure in Korea I realized how important it is that you love where you live. It plays such a huge role into my daily happiness level and how we spend our time. Korea had the most gorgeous hiking, camping, mountains, and we lived on the ocean. It had seasons, but much less harsh than those brutal midwest winters. BUT it was so so far from family. Our jobs were extremely laid back, but didn’t challenge us professionally. & after two years it was time to go.

Morocco, was SO INTENSE. After Korea, I craved a place that would just feel. We were seeking passion. Morocco, provided incredible scenery, incredible growth, and a whole heck of a lot of trusting God cause oh, my goodness we walked through that desert. We lived on the ocean and had a gorgeous apartment that proved to be just the oasis we needed. We eventually found an amazing community of other families and other Christians trying to navigate a Muslim world. We belonged. Our friends became family so fast. & we needed it. but we felt so far away. Our jobs weren’t sustainable. We had insanely horrible internet (which sounds silly but it was our connection to our family and friends back in the states) and it was flipping hard. Like so hard. Every single thing was a struggle. With a baby coming we knew that our time in Morocco was finished. I’ll never forget the stunning Sahara sand, the most amazing stars in the desert, our community, the traditional Moroccan music. The spices. The markets. The colors. The passion.

and that brings us to our newest home here in Mexico. Where I sit in our adorable casita in the cutest neighborhood. With the kindest locals. Mexico. Much closer to our families. A lot more like the states. We can DRIVE to Texas. The weather is glorious. Tom is happy in his job (SUCH A BLESSING) and the most incredible gift of it all: I am able to stay home with our precious baby. I get to be a stay at home mom. Which is what I’ve always dreamed of. It’s always taken us just over a year after moving to feel at home in a place. to really find our stride. Find our people. and now I have lots of time to think about this little thing called home and how our piece fits into the puzzle of life here.

What do we want? What’s important to us? Where will be next? What traditions will we create for our daughter?

We have a crazy love for the mountains. We do love the seasons but perhaps just not the long dark winters that last for six months of the year. I would love to be a weekend car trip away from family. I would love to eventually speak the language where I live 😉 We both want our daughter exposed to different cultures and hopefully to be bilingual. We want travel to always be apart of our lives. Right now, Mexico provided a lot that we couldn’t get in the states as far as finances go. I don’t have to stress about working and can focus solely on Tori which is a huge blessing. We are living off one teacher’s salary here in Mexico which is probably nearly impossible without me working in some capacity in the states. We are sooooo much closer to family. It’s a 2 hour flight to Dallas and a 2 hour flight from Dallas to Minnesota. We live 15 minutes from the airport here. We can come back to Wisconsin and Minnesota to be with family for Christmas and also eight weeks in the summer.

So for now, I have a lot of thoughts that sit with me. I always think of our life here on earth as pieces of a puzzle. He has them all in the box & then slowly we put them together. Each experience, decision, or life change adds another piece to the puzzle. Will Mexico be home for more than another year or two? Will we move back to the states or do we want to stay abroad? It’s been five years since we’ve even lived there. Our lives look so different than most that I know. As my friend Diana once said… I so often feel like a “fish out of water.” I am American but I don’t live in America. I am a mama, but I don’t speak the language here. I am a teacher. but I am not teaching right now. I have a home, but we don’t own it.

I don’t have the answers and right now I’m okay that we really simply just do not know. It sure is often on my mind. I am thankful for the life we have lived and are living abroad because man have I learned so much more than if I had never left. I’ve been challenged, I’ve been humbled, we’ve explored. we’ve learned. and my oh my goodness how we’ve grown. but there’s something to be said about coming…home. & right now home is right here. in this sunny corner of the world in Mexico.