hello you. hello unique.

hello monday By June 20, 2016 No Comments

BE YOU.

My sister has this amazing wall collage in her home. It’s eye catching and artful. The sign BE YOU stands out and screams encouragement–you are you and you are amazing.  Each of us wants to be loved, just as we are–don’t you think? In our humanity we are so similar. We feel the same emotions. We love our children passionately. Our hearts break over the same things. We breathe the same air and use the same kinds of food to nourish our bodies.

And yet each of us is unique. In all our similarities, each of us is still an individual creation. Our similarities unite us, our uniqueness is what makes life fascinating. We are connected by our commonalities. We learn from our differences.

Hello to you. Beautiful you. No one else is quite like you. You make the world more interesting and more beautiful. You don’t have to be like her or like him. Just be you.

How about some hellos for a brand new week?

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Hello adventures. We’ve planned some fun adventures for the boys this summer. We love to try new things as a family–well I should say Steve and I like to try new things. The boys are sometimes resistant to new things. But we try to encourage them to be flexible–try new foods, go new places. We want to expand their worlds.

Hello espresso. I’ve never been an espresso fan but lately I’ve been enjoying it. I still have to add cream–I can’t drink it black.

Hello silliness. David had a cold last week but he’s back to his silly self. I love the spring in his step and the smile on his face.

Hello sparkling water. I’m trying to cut back on soda so I’ve replaced it with sparkling water. Yum.

Hello napping. I’m not a big napper but a short nap in the middle of the day is a glorious thing. Sometimes it’s hard to get up though–my body wants to sleep all night. Do you nap?

Hello summer schedule. Which basically means no schedule–although I still have things to do. Where do the days go? We can hardly get out of the house before noon!

Hello Pokeman. Matthias is super into it and has begun creating/drawing his own characters. It’s such an interesting world and oh my goodness there are so many characters. How can one keep them straight?

Hello Indian food. I’m craving some curry.

Hello to you! Beautiful, unique you. What are you saying hello to this week? Leave some hellos in the comments.

 

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being a dad

family, father's day By June 16, 2016 18 Comments

When Steve and I fell in love and got married {back when we had it all figured out} we knew we wanted to be parents–but we had no idea what parenting involved. We also had no idea our first son would be born with a disability. Life is crazy and parenting is hard. Really hard. I’m thankful I married a man who is an excellent father.

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He takes time to listen to our boys.

He respects their individuality.

He holds them and kisses them. I love that he is so affectionate.

He pushes them to try new things, explore and grow.

He gives good advice.

He shows them what it looks like to work hard.

He tucks them in each night and prays for them.

He lets them be imperfect.

He admits when he’s wrong.

He believes in them.

He loves them just as they are.

It’s beautiful to watch. We are so imperfect. We have our ups and downs, our normal and our crazy.

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This pic above was just normal moment–ordering sushi and the boys melting into their dad. I’m so glad I caught it with my iPhone.

Father’s Day is just a few days away. We’ll be celebrating with a few small gifts and a special meal. Steve, you are an amazing father. We love you!

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thrifting and furry footprints

jewelry, Louis and Beasley, what I'm wearing By June 14, 2016 1 Comment

Steve and I were in New York for meetings a couple weeks ago. We were walking through a charming neighborhood and we stumbled on St. Luke’s thrift store–which to me is like the happiest thing ever. They had some great things–lots of collectibles and some good clothing. It was a curated store–so a bit more expensive but a lot less hunting through junk. I found this vintage kimono and the leather bag.

We are introducing the adorable furry footprint tag and necklace today. Check it out!

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Louis and Beasley love their new tags! Oh these pups are such heart melters. I can’t believe how much joy they add to our family. We are so grateful.

Outfit details: Vintage kimono, leather bag, Thrifted. Skinny jeans, Target {similar here}. Cream camisole, Amazon. Sandals, Miz Mooz. Dog tag/Necklace, My Shop.

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hello summer! {yay!}

hello monday By June 13, 2016 2 Comments

Hello Summer! I don’t know when Summer officially begins, but school got out on Thursday last week and that’s official enough for us! Hooray!

It’s a brand new week. How about some hellos?

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Hello sleeping in.

Hello watching Dan TDM on youtube. Do your kids watch him? Matthias is a fan.

Hello walking the dogs. We have a Costco right down the street—sometimes we walk the pups to Costco and get a hot dog while we’re there. Yum.

Hello Zootopia. It just came out on Blue Ray and we’ve watched it twice.

Hello David taking my hand and showing me what he wants. Usually it’s to cuddle or to eat, but lately he’s been wanting to walk outside. I love it!

Hello date night. Steve and I want to try someplace new.

Hello strawberries and sunscreen.

Hello swimming and BBQs.

Hello to YOU! It’s a brand new week. What are you saying hello to this week?

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these hands

finding love, jewelry By June 7, 2016 17 Comments

My hands are imperfect. Sometimes I’ve felt self-conscious of my hands. They have freckles from years of being outside. My nails are short and need new polish. My hands are nothing special, except my hands represent something very special.

These hands were made to hold you.

They wipe the tears.

And these are the hands folded in prayer next to yours, asking for safety and wisdom.

these hands always together ring lisa leonard2{customer photos above by Michelle Madigan Herman and Ashley Fink via Facebook}

They turn the pages of your favorite book.

And these are the hands that will turn the pages of that book as we read it over and over.

They tuck the blankets tight.

And these are the hands that softly rub your back night after night.

They pack your favorite lunches.

These are the hands that hold fast while we cross the street.

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They comb your hair.

These hands have folded your laundry and helped button your shirts.

They change countless diapers.

And when you have your own children, these hands will gladly change their diapers too.

these hands always together ring lisa leonard4{customer photo above by Chloe Vaquez-Wheeler via Facebook}

They clapped with joy when you took your first steps.

And these are the hands that will clap for joy with every accomplishment—no matter how big or small.

These hands are how I express my love for you.

These hands are an extension of my heart.

And this is the ring, that slips on the finger of my mama hand. This ring reminds me we are always together.

Together—whether physically or just in our hearts, is the best place to be.

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hello silliness

hello monday By June 6, 2016 3 Comments

Hello friends. We had a much needed mellow weekend at home with lots of cuddling, coffee, laziness, cleaning and running a few errands. Steve was away on a business trip, so we kept things very simple.

The three of us were trying to get a photo of us with the pups–all laying on the floor–but Louis and Beasley refused to cooperate. I guess they weren’t in the mood for a selfie. It was so funny we were all cracking up. This wasn’t the picture we intended to take but I love that we captured this silly moment.

It’s Monday, how about some hellos for a new week?

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Hello last week of school! We are ready for summer.

Hello teacher gifts. We have the most amazing teachers and aides this year. How can we possible express our gratitude? We’ll just have to do the best we can.

Hello planning our family gathering. Most of my siblings, their kiddos, the grandparents and some aunts and uncles are coming to our neck of the woods this summer. We’re planning meals and fun activities to make fun memories.

Hello sleepy. I’m not sure why but lately I feel like I’m lacking energy. I probably need to cut back on sugar and/or get more sleep.

Hello reading this new book. I love all things Austen.

Hello IEP for David. We are having a difficult time reaching a decision for David’s placement next year. I hope our meeting this week goes well. I’m sure all you special needs moms and dad can relate to how stressful this can be.

Hello sunshine, strawberries, late sunsets and sleeping in. We love summer. Bring it on!

Hello to you! It’s a brand new week with beauty to be found. What are you saying hello to this week?

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comparison vs. compassion

finding love By June 3, 2016 23 Comments

David received an award last night in front of his entire 8th grade class. While we waited in the audience for his name to be called, he wiggled and squirmed. He didn’t want to sit with me. Instead he kept trying to get up and walk away or drop to the ground. I could feel eyes on me but I tried to focus on David, his needs and helping him get ready for his moment.

To keep the ceremony from going long, the principal encouraged us to clap once, loudly and in unison, for each name called. So in recognition of each student the crowd gave a loud, singular CLAP that echoed through the auditorium. Then we listened as the student was praised for their achievement, citizenship or perfect attendance.

When David’s name was called we got up and walked toward the stage. The clapping didn’t stop at one clap, instead the applause kept going. My tiny David walked confidently on stage and stood next to his peers who were twice his size.

I could feel my heart beating in my chest.

Compared to his peers he is so small and has so many needs. He can’t speak with words. But, I reminded myself, David speaks volumes with his smile, his heart and his soul.

Compared to his peers he’s way behind. He’s still diapered and spoon fed. But every day David is learning new things things. He is growing and changing.

Compared to his peers he hasn’t accomplished much. But compared to what the doctors predicted at his birth he has moved mountains. He’s a miracle.

chloe and david{David and Chloe, his friend and 8th grade peer}

Comparison.
I do it all the time.
Am I thin enough?
Am I helping my boys reach their full potential?
Is my house clean enough?
Are the meals we eat healthy enough?
I am I generous enough?
Am I stylish enough?

I look around me and compare myself to other moms, other women, other families. I compare my kids to your kids. I compare my house to your house. I compare my good deeds to your good deeds. Sometimes comparison makes me feel good, sometimes it makes me feel like a failure. Comparison comes so naturally it feels like a second skin. But what’s underneath?

Underneath is the nagging question–do I belong?
Am I lovable?
Am I enough?
I feel less than so I try to find a way to prove that I’m enough.
The sad part is, it never works. I’ll never win by comparing myself to others.
If I’m better than you, you lose.
If you’re better than me, I lose.
And all I really want is to connect with you.
All I want is to belong.

All you want is to belong.

What if instead of comparing I focused on compassion?
Compassion for myself. I’m doing the best I can. I am simply me, nothing more, nothing less. It’s enough–in fact, it’s beautiful.

Compassion for you. You are an amazing, unique person. You’re doing the best you can with yourself, your kids, your job. And you know what? You’re doing it wonderfully.

Each of us is remarkable and imperfect.
We are so different in our passions and style we can’t be compared.
We are so similar in our heart of hearts no comparison is necessary.
Comparison is the wall that separates us.

Compassion is the bond that brings us together.

Today when I catch myself comparing, I’ll replace those thoughts with compassion. I am enough and you are enough. Together we are stronger, we shine brighter and we love better.

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fun and easy jumpsuit

what I'm wearing By June 1, 2016 3 Comments

I ran into Old Navy last week to get some t-shirts for the boys {they are both out-firing everything right now!}. I think Old Navy has cute clothes but in general I find that it doesn’t fit me quite right–so I don’t usually shop for me. But as I passed through the women’s section to get to the boys section, I spotted this adorable jumpsuit. No way. I was sure it wouldn’t fit right but I decided to try it on and guess what? I loved it! The price was reasonable so I decided to give it a try. I wore it to work last week and got several compliments. As I walked down the sidewalk approaching our shop, a man in a truck drove by and yelled out, ‘You look great! And great dogs!’ I’m not even joking! I started cracking up.

So there you have it. A jumpsuit that demands attention. jumpsuit lisa leonard-01 jumpsuit lisa leonard-02 jumpsuit lisa leonard-03 jumpsuit lisa leonard-04 jumpsuit lisa leonard-05 jumpsuit lisa leonard-06

Outfit details: Surprisingly amazing jumpsuit, Old Navy. Some of my favorite sandals, Miz Moos. A denim jacket that gets better with time, Gap. Cross bar necklace with a stone set for each of my loves, My shop. Stacking rings with my boys names, My shop.

It’s June friends! Time to find the perfect jumpsuit and soak up some sunshine. Are you ready for summer?

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crochet and clogs

what I'm wearing By May 24, 2016 5 Comments

I found this crocheted cardigan at Anthropologie last year on sale. I haven’t worn it much–but it’s so pretty. It’s a statement piece. To keep it from being too sweet I paired it with casual jeans and slip on easy clogs.
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The swept away necklace is a simple piece but has impact. I have a stone set for each of my loves.
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These jeans are super comfortable. They have a high waist that I love.crochet and clogs-03

Did you know Stitch Fix is carrying shoes now? I love these clogs! The color is neutral and the heel isn’t too high. crochet and clogs2-01

I found this bag at a resale shop downtown. It’s pretty much perfect and it was a steal {my favorite!}
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Outfit details: Cardigan, Anthropologie, similar here. Jeans, Levis. Tank, Old Navy. Clogs, Stitch Fix. Bag, Local resale shop. Warm Embrace Necklace, My shop. Large gemstone cuff, My shop.

Off to meetings today and out on a date tonight. Yay!

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hello painted built in {hello monday!}

decorating, hello monday By May 23, 2016 9 Comments

We’ve been working on refreshing the family room–beginning with painting this built in shelving unit. It brightens the room and unifies the space. You can see before pics here {from three years ago}. Wow, looking at those pics, I can’t believe how much it’s changed. The before is cozy but the after feels fresh and open.

It’s Monday, how about some hellos?

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Hello lots of meetings this week. This week is basically devoted to meetings {with some relaxing and fun mixed in!}

Hello craving coffee. It’s nothing new but lately I just can’t get enough!

Hello feeling thankful for our amazing sitter who helps with the boys. She’s an angel!

Hello looking for a new Netflix series to watch, Any suggestions?

Hello planning summer dinners outside. I’m working on sprucing up our patio. Pics soon!

Hello getting all the ingredients for homemade chocolate chip cookies. Dangerous.

Hello fighting off sniffles–both of the boys have a cold. Bummer.

Hello to you! It’s a brand new week with beauty to waiting to be found. What are you saying hello to this week?

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