Monday, April 24, 2017

Easter. (2017)


  Ten years ago, I would have guaranteed you that I would be living in another state (likely along the coast) or another country altogether by 2017. Oh how my ten-year-ago self would be surprised by my life now. Though I do still really have dreams of moving closer to the water one day! Instead, I'm still here in my home state and really only 45 minutes from my hometown. Even more, I'm only a little over a mile from one of my sisters and just across town for the other. Not at all what I would have predicted, but a really sweet surprise in life.




  Living close to my family has its perks and it seems as if those are only highlighted now that we all have kids of our own (six, going on seven, cousins!). Those cousins love love love each other and it is fun to see them developing little friendships and memories. We try to spend lots of time together in normal life, but holidays are always an extra fun excuse to get together. Easter was no exception this year! (We missed my oldest sister and her kiddos, but we were able to see her for lunch this week so Caleb was excited to have her all to himself!!)





  Highlights from Easter this year (so I can add to the boys' Project Life books!): Tyler being old enough to join the egg hunt, Caleb's solid love for his Uncle Adam, my mom's yummy spread, Caleb's new microphone, continuing the 'cousins on the couch' photo, every kid playing with the big cat toy instead of the bagillion toys in the playroom, Leo's sweet attachment to the first thing he found in his Easter basket, Mia's domination of the egg hunt, and just seeing everyone together 😊


hashtag REAL LIFE


Friday, April 21, 2017

Friday. (a weekly round-up)

We are the classiest family in our neighborhood, hands down. 
  Hey hey, Friday! This week seems to have flown by. We've basically been living outside since the rain has held off all week and I'll be a bit sad when we have to head back in the next few days to avoid the cold/wet weather. But I have big plans to clean out my van because it is SO SO DIRTY INSIDE. That statement deserved all caps because I really can't convey how awful the situation is in any other way. Perhaps I'll take it to one of those full-service places that detail cars? It seems like it could be necessary. How did I get on the topic of my gross van situation? The weekend. I don't know what you're up to, but I hope it involves fun and rest and some people you love lots! Here are some of my favorites from around the internets this week:

// Love this independent story about Noonday's very first artisans.

// My kids are really obsessed with these hip hop toddler songs after my sister showed them to us.

// Made one of my all time favorite (and least sophisticated) desserts a few weeks ago and am wracking my brain for an excuse to have it again soon.

// This is just really, really hilarious.

// I stumbled on this blog a few weeks ago while working on content for my part-time job. The cute couple behind it have created the most lovely home! I want to pin everything because her style is exactly what I have in my head for our house.

// Mother's Day is only three weeks away! Here are some of my favorite gift ideas this year.

Happy weekending!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Joy.

(sign from Target)

  Four years ago, I was still reeling from our miscarriage and coming up on a year of trying to conceive again. It was a weird time- I felt a bit aimless in lots of ways (at work, building our family, finding community around us, etc). I stumbled on this quote by Henri Nouwen: 

"Still, nothing happens automatically in the spiritual life. Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day. It is a choice based on the knowledge that we belong to God and have found in God our refuge and our safety and that nothing, not even death, can take God away from us."

  And for four years, this quote and the idea that joy is a choice has stuck with me. I'm prone to clinging to quotes or ideas or simply things that encourage when I find myself in harder seasons, but forgetting them later. That hasn't been the case with this. It is safe to say that choosing joy has become a habit for me. 

  And I really do mean a habit. Joy does not come easily (Nouwen acknowledges that!), but after time it is easy to see how essential it is to having a sweet life and relationship with Jesus. Also being ok with the tension of choosing joy and being sad. Choosing joy and being confused. Choosing joy and being angry. Some days it feels more natural than others- the sun is literally shining, my kids are being sweet, and I'm confident in all of my relationships. Either way, I've learned that joy is, in fact, a choice. Maybe even a spiritual discipline? I'm not theologian, but I would argue it is. 

  Here are some of the ways I literally practice the discipline of choosing joy:

thankful journal// hands down, this is the most effective way that I cultivate joy. Taking time every day to write down 3 things I am thankful for is a game changer. And in all honesty, I lost my prayer journal a few months ago and haven't replaced it yet. So before falling asleep every night, I simply take mental note of my thankfuls and give God thanks instead! Try this for one month straight and you'll be amazed how your heart/attitude/outlook changes. 

creating an intentional home// Obviously we're all aware of the minimalist trend and the gagillion options for cute prints/signs to hang around your home. I'm a fan! Clutter is clutter. I purposefully have some plants around my house- they make me smile and truly make me happy to water, prune, and watch grow. I also hang our favorite photos (weddings, family vacations, snuggly newborns, dating days, etc) and words that remind me where my hope lies. What makes you smile or reminds you that joy is a choice? Put more of those things around your home! Tape reminders on your bathroom mirror or next to where you do dishes- whatever works.

using words// A couple years ago I saw a group of older ladies encouraging each other well. They had been friends for decades and each took time to affirm one another. They stopped what they were doing (whatever it was) and just said true things they noticed or appreciated about the other. How life giving! After that, I've worked to make sending notes of encouragement/thankfulness in the mail, texts, or engaging in conversations with friends/family a habit. Instead of just thinking to myself "So-and-so is great at such-and-such" or "Gosh, I'm glad so-and-so is one of my closest friends", I've started to actually tell them. For instance, my friend Kate has a knack for listening really well and making you feel heard and loved so I try to tell her how much I value that. My mom is forever doing really thoughtful things for myself and my kiddos (like watching our boys for a week while we went on a trip!) and I try to tell her that I really, truly appreciate it. My friend Meg has this great way of working Christ into all of our conversations in the sweetest ways, so I try to let her know how important that is to me. 

physical touch// Hugs are my favorite and they make hard things slightly less hard/isolating/heavy and great things even better/more fun. 

giving gifts// Paying for the person behind me at Starbucks (someone did this for me yesterday!), making cookies and leaving them in a friend's mailbox, or just buying something at Target because it reminded me of someone and gifting it to them- really simple things that probably bless another person, but also bring me joy and point me back to Jesus.

  All that to say, I'm still working on this. I want to be 80 and still choosing joy. I also want to teach my kids about it- how it doesn't come easily but is so worth working on. Joy is one of God's sweetest, most generous gifts to us! How do you do it? What are some practical ways you work this out?

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Mother's Day ideas.


  Have any idea what you're gifting the moms in your life this Mother's Day? It's such a fun chance to bless any mom you know. Your mom, a mom friend, your sister who is a mom, or just a woman in your life who has loved you well. I put together some fun Noonday Collection bundles at a discount for everyone who wants to gift accessories this Mother's Day, but also wanted to round up some of my other favorite gifts to give! Scroll to the bottom of the post to see the Noonday deals 😊



Noonday Collection// Want to gift a curated set of accessories that have been handmade by and support other mother's around the globe at the very same time? I'm offering lots of fun ones at a discount! You can find them all at the bottom of this post- be sure to shoot me an email (katie DOT n DOT rush@gmail.com) to get your order in before the May 1st shipping cut off.

prayer journal// I tell everyone about these pretty and functional journals. An amazing gift for any mom or girlfriend in your life

jones market print// On a budget? These little prints are adorable! Just pop on in a simple frame, pair with some yummy chocolates, and you have the sweetest gift for sisters, moms, friends, etc. 

flowers// I'm a sucker for fresh blooms. Potted plants, bud vases, or even delivered bouquets just make everyone smile! I especially love to use Bouqs when I'm sending flowers- they're affordable but also just really, really pretty flowers. 

write a note// I've literally never heard of someone disliking a handwritten note. Write a sweet note to the moms in your life this year! 

photo book// I've started a little tradition of gifting Justin an accordion mini every Father's day and I love that they are compact and uniform. They don't take up much space and they are great to collect over the years. Photo printing sites have a gagillion options these days for compiling photos into big, small, hard or soft cover, predesigned or even custom books. They are also pretty inexpensive! Photo books are an especially great idea for grandparents!

handmade art// Just about every mom/grandma loves handmade art from their kiddos and a simple google search will give you lots of ideas!

custom art// This is one of my favorites on the list! How cute is that heart photo collage? Bonus: it's really well done. Minted.com (and others sites, I'm sure!) have a ton of ideas for creating professional quality gifts with a personal touch. They'll even mat/frame it for you!

pampering/girls dinner// Head to the spa, a movie, or just a fun local Mother's Day brunch. Most cities put on special events just for this occasion and they are (in my experience!) always worth the price to be served and pampered and celebrate!

cooking class// We booked a cooking class for my mom's 60th birthday this past December and it was so much fun. As in, I can't stop talking about it. If you're in the Indy area, I love this place. Most major cities have similar options and they are hands down one of the most fun things I've ever done with my mom and sisters! Not into cooking? You could try a Board & Brush class!

(Interested in a Mother's Day bundle? Email me to snag one today!)





Monday, April 17, 2017

On giving up Instagram.

  I thought I'd give a little recap of how lent went- you may remember that I stepped away from Instagram and attempted to spend more time in intentional prayer. Or you may not, because I'm sure you aren't keeping tabs on my life 😂 Either way, here's how it went and where I'll go from here (now that Lent is over)! And just for fun, at the end you'll find our 1 Second Everyday video from the days I went social media free!

  So technically, I didn't give up Instagram for Lent. I should start off with that. I'm actually on IG every single day for my part time job, but I'm on my clients' accounts working on growth. I wish I could have deleted the app from my phone and simply put my phone down more. Even still, it was wonderful to not know/care what 300 other people were up to. I spent a lot more time picking up my prayer journal, talking to my kids, reading real books, or getting things done in my real life than living virtually. It was great! I noticed immediately how much less mental clutter I had rolling around in my head.

  This Lent season was also just a long one personally. I've mentioned it half a dozen times, but we were all just constantly sick this winter. With minor things like sinus infections or influenza, but it sort of left us drained. We capped it off with a short hospital stay for Tyler (weird bacterial infection in his glute muscle). We walked into Good Friday and Easter weekend feeling as if the fog of winter was finally lifting! So while I did lean more into prayer this season, it wasn't as structured and routine as I had hoped. That bugged me and left me feeling guilty most weeks, but in retrospect I see that it doesn't matter so much. Drawing near to God is drawing near to God, however it looks!

  So, what happens now? I don't hate social media. In fact, I firmly believe it can be used for so much good! But stepping back for a couple of months did leave me feeling as if something needed to change. I don't plan on quitting Instagram for good. Honestly, I am intentional about who I follow on social media and try to fill up my feed with only things that encourage and inspire me. It turns out though, that you can have too much of a good thing. My biggest takeaway is that IG can be source of mental clutter for me. Does that even make sense?

  I had too much inspiration and encouragement in my feed. So many healthy things I wanted to try or incorporate. So many great tips and ideas for decorating my home. Endless encouragement for my relationship with Jesus. And, of course, a hundred life updates from people I haven't seen in years/may never see again. Nothing inherently negative, but when I logged in yesterday for the first real time in months, I was overwhelmed. (and there are ads now? And you can post multiple image?) It instantly felt like too much. Too much to catch up on. Too much to sort through. Too much in all the ways.

  So this morning, I unfollowed about 200 accounts. Its amazing! I don't have 30 instastories waiting for me when I log in (I hate the impending red circles making me feel like I have to zoom through them just to make them go away!!). And if I log in only a couple times each day, I can easily scroll through for 5ish minutes and feel like I'm caught up on the important things I want to see. I kept a good mix of design inspiration, friends and family, faith inspiration, and shops I love. But the bare minimum! I'm sure it'll get away from me and I'll pare down again. That's ok! It's stuff like this that I think is important to always be reevaluating- what do you need more of in your life? Less of? There are seasons for different things, and Lent taught me that I can focus so much more on Jesus when I have less clutter and am always thinking of ways make room for Him.

And now- what we've really been up to for the past few weeks! Spoiler: I spent lots of time with my kids😂

March/April 1SE from katie rush on Vimeo.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Favorite podcasts.


  Do you listen to podcasts? If not, I get it. They may seem odd or nerdy or just that they take up lots of time. I was skeptical about them at first, too.

  Sometime in the Fall of 2014, I found myself hanging out with my new-ish baby (instead of working full-time) and spending more time out and about in the car. More specifically, I remember taking a trip to my parents house on a weekday- I think to work on a project with my mom. I was sick of the radio so I googled one of my favorite writers to see if she had any good clips I could listen to on my drive. I stumbled one a random podcast and listened to about half of it before switching to The Happy Hour- which is now my weekly podcast go-to!

  I wouldn't say I'm necessarily into podcasts. There is only one I listen to regularly (it's become like a show I keep up with every week, but instead of sitting on the couch I listen to it while driving to the zoo or running errands or doing dishes). Besides that, there are a few others that I like to pop in and out of (Noonday's and this new-to me fascinating one!). Once in a while I'll binge listen to a couple- those are the stand alone series that are more like reading a book- you can't wait to get to the ending!

  All of this rambling to say, you should try a podcast! I even convinced Justin to try them and he was really into a couple of sports ones for a while. Truly, there is a podcast for everyone. And they just make your commute to work or drive to visit a friend or whatever a bit more fun! The radio is fine, but I like feeling like I'm learning/doing/laughing a bit more. Honestly, my one go-to has become just a favorite thing in general. It's encouraging, funny, challenging, and like sitting down with a friend for happy hour, like that name suggests! So if you have any sort of commute/spend time at all driving in your car or like to have something to listen to while you exercise or do stuff around the house (guys, that means I'm literally talking to everyone here)- podcasts are for you!

  And podcasts are easy! Every smartphone (that I know of?) already has a Podcast app built in. Simply click the icon and you can search for/download any podcast for free. Once you download it, its on your phone. Aka you don't have to stream or use data when you want to listen to it! Maybe that's common sense? But I was so excited about that when I first discovered them- it made them perfect for drives in the car since I don't have a big enough data package to stream.

  If you want a place to start, here are my top (and only?) 5 podcasts that I truly think anyone will like:

The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey/ Ok, if you're a guy this one probably isn't for you. But I love it! I listen every single week and it truly feels like you're siting down to a happy hour with a good friend. Jamie talks with a new women every week and (as her tagline says) they talk about the big things in life, the little things, and everything in between. SO GOOD AND YOU'LL THANK ME LATER!

Serial/ You've heard of this, even if you don't remember. The first season is FASCINATING and sort of like the documentary Making A Murdered, but not on TV. Actually, people say that show is a lot like Serial. So good! Great for binge listening to and you'll be so sad when it's over. Season 2 is good, too!

Missing Richard Simmons/ Just interesting. Everyone has heard of Richard Simmons (yes, the crazy exercise guy) and I don't know, it was fascinating to hear how he virtually disappeared one day 3 years ago and hasn't been seen since. Each episode is really short and there are only 6 episodes- so it's doable for anyone. I listened to this in a weekend while doing little things around the house!

S*Town/ Unless you live in a hole, you've heard about/seen this everywhere lately. And for good reason! I think it's being called the 'new Serial' because it is by the same creators and will have you hooked instantly. Even better, they released all the episodes at once so you don't have to wait for a new one each week. Really funny/fascinating and you'll be sad when its over! I usually listen to podcasts when driving around with the boys, but this one has quite a bit of profanity so I saved it for the gym or afternoons during nap time.

How I Built This/ These are short and fascinating interviews with different entrepreneurs. Each person gives their tips/advice for success at the end (really interesting!) and you'll just learn stuff you never knew about brands you've grown up with. My favorites are the Patagonia and Atari/Chuck E. Cheese episodes (did you know the same guy who created Atari also started Chuck E. Cheese's???).

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Life lately




  At 16 months and nearly 3, it seems like we're back in a sweet spot with the boys. I remember that as one of the things Justin was worried about before we had Tyler- throwing a kink in the routine/life we had down-pat with Caleb. Having the boys 18 months apart surely created a bit of chaos (don't all babies/kids?) and I had forgotten how babies change so much that just as soon as you have a routine, they're ready to switch it up. 

  But we're in a groove again and it's just plain fun. And winter is OVER (more on that later). This weekend we had gorgeous weather (no rain!) so I scooted to boys and dogs out the back door to get in a few hours (!!!) of playing and plain ole Vitamin D. SO GOOD FOR OUR SOULS. Or just mine? 

  Tyler ate lots of dirt, fell a dozen times, and discovered his new love for our dog poop scooper (awesome). Caleb is in this fun phase of big imagination, so he spent 3 hours pretending to be a boat captain, race car driver, and treasure hunter. We also had lunch outside and it was a ton of fun...until it wasn't. Notice Tyler's reaction to me not letting him steal Caleb's plate. Gah. Love these kids and these warm Spring days and just the sweet, sweet, grace of winter being over!