new york | pictures & words

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This past weekend, Caleb and I took our last vacation/long weekend of the summer. We visited the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island, ate a sicilian pizza at L&B Spumoni Gardens, and were able to spend time with my Aunt Cindy and four younger cousins (Emily, Luke, Aaron, and Baby Joy). 

I learned four very important things on this trip: 

1. Be nice to everyone – especially the man in charge of the entrance to the Statue of Liberty.

I left my photo ID at my grandparents’ apartment, but he still let me go up to the crown after seeing my ticket, and my Facebook profile page. Thanks again, Ryan the ticket man. You’re awesome.

2. Children will always have more energy than you.

I work 32 hours a week with young children, and let me tell you… just because a child is your cousin, is cute, and is well behaved, does not mean they won’t wear you the heck out. They will most likely also eat more pizza than you.

I came back tired, but very happy.  

3. The Lego store is a let down. But building with legos is SO much fun.

4. Making sauce with my Papa is something I wish I had done more when I was younger.

For me, this was probably the highlight of our time in the city. Papa is one of a kind, and anyone who meets him is impacted in some way. He is encouraging, supportive, giving, and makes the best sauce and meatballs. I woke up early on Saturday morning and followed him around the kitchen, watching him measure throw in handfuls of oregano in the pot, and even helped to make the meatballs. I hope that I’ll be able to recreate it on my own…but I can’t make any promises.

This time with my grandfather was so precious, and helped me remember why I love him so much. He claimed he doesn’t have patience, but he was a pretty great teacher this past weekend. : )

Hope your summer is ending well! 



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lovely things: weekend edition

This weekend we stayed home.

After a summer of going, going, going…it was nice to relax at home without weddings and long car rides.

Here are a few things that I found lovely:

(most links and pictures found on tumblr)

1. I woke up this morning & was so thankful for our apartment.

We live close to school / both of our jobs, and I always feel safe in our apartment complex.

I love that even though we’re renting, and planning on leaving Phoenixville in the near future, we have still made it a home.

A beautiful, cozy, love-filled home.


APARTMENT2*Please note the water stain from falling asleep with wet shower hair*



2. Milo.

He gives me so much joy, and I like to talk to him over breakfast. He really is the sweetest.

Milo not only likes to eat Life cereal, but also enjoys:

– sweet tea

– ice cream

– crunchy leaves


He fell asleep with his little paw on my foot.

milo sleeping

3. I’ve been working out at the YMCA pretty regularly, and needed new music to keep me motivated. Every song on this playlist is gold.

4. Pomplamoose.


5. Flowers.

I wish my flowers had really bloomed, but there’s always next summer.


6. Riptide // Vance Joy

7. Caleb and I “babysit” for a single dad that has a 17 year old son. We basically hang out with the kid, and watch the game show network; it’s a really sweet deal. Last night we made dinner, watched t.v., and had ice cream.

I’m thankful for random babysitting jobs, and seemingly spontaneous provision.

God definitely always knows what we need, even before we do.

ice cream

8. This dog. It almost makes me want to buy a puppy.

9. Finally, babies.

I go through moments when I don’t ever want children (mostly because I’m scared, and the thought of motherhood gives me anxiety), and moments when my baby fever is at an all time high.

This weekend I really just wanted to hold a baby.

I wanted to smell that clean baby smell, and wrap a little bean in a soft Ikea blanket.

Am I super weird for wanting that?

Because I am not pregnant (and will hopefully stay that way), I settled for adorable pictures of babies on tumblr. Here are two of my favorites:

baby baby 2

Photo Credit: Love & Squalor

Basically everything Lindsey Ocker does is beautiful.

I really am a sucker for good photography (if I could choose any other profession besides teaching, it would most likely be photography).

baby babyPhoto Credit: (

Katie Purnell is wonderful as well.

What are some things that made your weekend lovely?

update ! update !


It’s been a while…

On Wednesday, Caleb and I drove three hours to Mt. Union, PA to go camping with my parents at Creation Festival. As soon as we arrived at our camp site, it downpoured, despite the claims made by Josh the volunteer that we had an hour to set up our tents before the rain started. Agape Farm became one big muddy field filled with miserable campers, and after two days of muddy roads, extreme heat, overused porta potties, annoying neighbors with guitars, countless packages of hot dogs, and a bag of melted marshmallows, Caleb and I decided to leave early.

As we made the trek back to our air conditioned apartment, complete with running water and one very lonely cat, I didn’t regret our decision to go to Creation Festival, but was, and still am, extremely grateful for the time we were able to spend with my family.

Creation Fest + Sparklers: 




Caleb says that when I’m around my family I suddenly have a glow about me; I’m happy, I’m content, and he’s right.

I feel safe, and complete.

No matter how terrible and muddy camping was, my dad always said something hilarious to lighten the mood, and even ate the chili I made, despite the obvious chunks of onion. My mom was willing to braid my hair, and gave me the hugs that were the most needed. Sophie rolled her eyes, but will always be the only teenager that I can stand, and will forever make me wish that I was back at home for a spontaneous sleepover, where we stay up later than necessary due to strange and creepy noises outside my bedroom window.

I’ve come to realize that a lot of things are like camping.

Change is like camping.

Growing up is like camping.

Bed and breakfasts are like camping.

 You think it’s going to be fun and exciting, and granted, most of the time it is, but at the same time, it can be muddy and wet, and you find yourself stuck with annoying neighbors and a lot of melted ice.

This summer has been so busy, and I’ve tried many times throughout the past two months to sit down and put into words what has been happening in our lives, but I haven’t been able to express (or even understand) how I have felt about this summer thus far.

After the past two days, I know exactly how I feel: The past two months have been one big camping trip.

I finished another year at Valley Forge Christian College, which was exciting, but I put in a lot of work, time, and printer money on papers, projects, and lesson plans. In May, I watched my Super Friend, Meredith, graduate from college, and last weekend, I was in her beautiful wedding. May was also the month of my beautiful best friend Katie’s wedding, along with my 23rd birthday. I started working full time again at the YMCA, and accepted the role of lead teacher in one of the younger toddler rooms, which was a decision I very quickly regretted.

This was the mud and the heat of it all.

Another set of friends moved on and out of my bubble at VFCC, and I was once again reminded that we’re staying here for another year or so. My birthday came, but I had to work, waited for a tow truck, and watched a sad documentary about the whales at Sea World (I was unaware that it was sad). I took a job that I thought I could handle, but began to hate going to work, and eventually had to admit that I simply couldn’t do it anymore. I was relieved when I was moved to a new room, but felt a little embarrassed that I couldn’t handle more responsibility and change.

At the same time, Caleb and I have been able to visit New York City, Washington D.C., and next weekend we are having a belated one year anniversary celebration in Montreal. After Montreal, we are headed back to Upstate New York so that I can celebrate with my beautiful friend Elizabeth as she says “I Do.” Our garden has also flourished, and today we harvested our very first cherry tomato.

This is the part of camping that I love; swimming in a muddy creek, sitting around a camp fire, and eating a hotdog at midnight, after stating that you were full from the 10 other hotdogs that were consumed earlier that night.

These trips have let us escape from our routine of: wake up, go to work, come home, make dinner, put on sweat pants, watch Netflix, go to bed, repeat. I honestly love this routine, but it’s nice to mix it up once in a while.

The greatest part is that I have been able to experience it all with my most favorite man.

The Tomato: 

  Katie’s Wedding: 


    Meredith’s Wedding: 



    New York City: 


(This sandwich cost $18. Not worth it.)



Washington D.C.: 







  And so, the summer goes on.

The miserable moments become stories that will be told for years to come, and VSCOcam helps to capture the perfect moments that you want to share on a blog that only your family reads.

Happy camping, everyone. And don’t forget to wear sunscreen.