the things i'm noticing about you.

florence ruth,

life has been happening so fast that i've hardly had time to notice it all. i have been trying to take little snippets of time lately to work on that. to work on noticing more. noticing all the little things that i just adore about you, your sweet self, and your stinking-hilarious personality.

you are almost ten months but you still cry every time you hear sudden laughter. which makes everyone laugh. which makes you cry more. you giggle so hard your eyes water sometimes. but if anyone else laughs, you get so upset. we aren’t laughing at you girl. we just think you are the cutest thing. (because you are the cutest thing).

you smile so big every single time you sneeze. there's not a feeling in the world you love more than a good sneeze. except for getting your diaper changed. you let us know just how much you love this by fussing 75% of the time we change you. and then there is the 25% of the time when you smile and giggle during the process. which encourages us to forge on with diaper changes. i think they are worth it honey.

you love to dance and bounce your booty to any brightly colored plastic musical toy that you can get your hands on. talk about something that makes me smile. my little white girl shaking her thang. it’s a beautiful sight.

whenever you are around older babies you watch. you love to watch, observe, and then jump in. cautious but courageous, you are. you will climb the stairs just because your best friend lily did. or crawl around after your cousin eden. you are not about to miss out on the fun. but you like to stop and smell the roses too. you move fast, but the smallest thing will stop you in your tracks and draw you in. gah, i love it.

you like to point at things. and wave at things. and poke and pick at things. your little pointer finger gets a lot of work on an average day. and when you aren't point, pick, or poking you are chewing...on everything!

you have two little teeth in the bottom of your smile...and yes you may have anything you want.

oh my gracious and have i mentioned yet that you recently learned to kiss? you like to kiss with your whole mouth. some might call it eating your mamma’s face off. but i call it a smoochy. and i couldn’t get enough smoochies in a day if i tried.

and PRAISE the good LORD, but i think my little girl has finally full-heartedly inherited her mamma’s snuggle-gene. around nine months you caught on to the fact that snuggling all cozy-like in your mamma’s arms is indeed the best feeling in the world. and you do it before every nap, before every bedtime, and sometimes just because (what??!!). i am high right now just thinking about it. if it were possible to have anything be better than your smoochies, it would be your snuggles.

your hair is long enough for pigtails now, but i can't bring myself to do it because i'm legitimately afraid that i might explode. but it's happening soon, just so you know.

baby girl, i could never put you on paper.
i could never write you in a letter, even though i try.
you are just too much.
my heart literally grows every day.


(smoochies and snuggles)


the many faces of provision.

provision is a tricky concept for me. because when i think of the word it's hard to avoid thinking "getting what i need, when i need it, as i see fit." which is silly, but i'm guessing i'm not the only one. i know someone whose internet bill was mysteriously paid for them for four years and they never did figure out who was paying it or why. i mean, that's the kind of provision i'm talking about, right? fall from the sky, "poof" in your lap provision. thanks God!

in reality, provision often takes shapes and forms that i don't expect or anticipate. and comes at times that i don't expect. and it usually teaches me something.

like that time when we had a surprise baby and we weren't sure how we were going to pay for childcare and hospital bills and [insert everything else]... and we were sweating it big time and had no clue how we were going to make the ends meet. and then a couple months later i got a check in the mail that completely covered childcare for that month. yeah, that happened too.

it happened last month when i got my paycheck from my arbonne business in the mail. i double took. and i definitely shed some tears. and i thought,

"man, if you were to have told me four months ago when i started this business that it would become this kind of provision for us, i'd have laughed my face off at you," 

but there i was, smacked in the face with it. and so thankful. it was exactly (almost to the dollar) what childcare cost us. and it couldn't have been more timely because,

this month, i found myself in an unexpected gap between jobs, duke paycheck gone, and again that check appeared in the mail.

when i started my business i was hoping for a few extra bucks a month, but it has quickly turned into a life-changer for us. and not only that, but it's been a joy. i get to teach people how to make healthy choices. i get to teach people about their bodies and what it means to take care of them. i get to use pure, safe, and beneficial products in my home and on my family. and i get to teach others how to do the same.

yesterday morning i sat out on my screen porch while florence napped and worked on my business and i thought to myself "who gets to do this?" who gets to have a business they can work from home and still contribute to their family? who can work where and when they want? i know women in arbonne who were working multiple jobs and have replaced their income and get to spend time with their kids now. i know women in arbonne who have replaced their income at six-figure jobs because they realized they wanted more choices and more balance.

and then, there is me. a mother who would love to spend more time with her daughter. who would love to work fewer hours outside the home. who would love to visit her family on the west coast more. who would love to give more generously and pour out more on others. and you know, arbonne is doing that for me. and i have big goals and my sights set high. in fact, this month, i am working hard toward my second of four promotional levels in arbonne. and it's exciting and nerve-wrecking and humbling all at once. and it feels vulnerable to share all this. but vulnerability is a goal of mine lately.

so that's the surprising face of God's provision for me lately. if you are interested in hearing more i would love to tell you. i am kind of in love with this company. and for your viewing pleasure, here is a short video that shows the heart behind what it is we do and why.

ok, love you all! thanks for reading and caring and being so wonderful!




that time florence turned six months and then I didn’t blog again for a month…

and then she was seven months.
and that’s basically the end of that story.

between my job at duke, my arbonne business, my seven month old (see above) and the 100 other things that are constantly in orbit around my tired head, i rarely have time to post on this abandoned space of mine anymore. i would apologize and say i’ll try harder, but to be honest i am not sure that i can. but ok, i'll try harder. i think.

but today i have a second. so today, i write!

i could write about florence turning seven months. i mean, literally i could write every day about how she’s changed since the day before. no two days are the same when you are growing at ten times the speed of light. one thing of note, she is finally starting to fill out and officially has TWO legs rolls now, albeit small ones. but to be honest, y’all probably just want to see pictures more than read a bunch of mushy gushy mamma love. and that’s all i have to offer on the topic of florence right now so….

what i will write about is this: during the past 5 months i have been working two jobs and trying desperately to spend as much time as that allows with my baby girl. and one crazy and unideal thing about the world of grant funded research is that grants run out. and research teams have to find new grants or new jobs. soooo fun right? well our grant is ending and so starting tomorrow i will be unemployed by duke and home with my baby until God (hopefully asap) opens up the next door for me. it’s scary because, well, bills. (and mortgage and groceries and…you know, the basic things that kind of require income). but i am trying hard to not allow the fear of finances take away from this unexpected extra time with my SWEETHEART, which ideally i could afford to have a lot more of. J so if you were wondering what’s going on with us over here, there you have it! unemployment! arbonne! and a 10 day dose of the west coast starting thursday evening! 

anyways, one way that God has provided for us in the most unexpectedly beautiful way in this season-of-surprise-child (and therefore surprise expenses behind every door) is through arbonne. that’s right i said arbonne again. but seriously, one of these days i am going to share just what it’s done for us and how pretty amazingly-crazy-awesome it’s been. but not today because it is deserving of it’s own post, for sure. but hopefully it will happen before florence is eight months. which will basically be tomorrow.

 love you all!!!


six months.

beautiful baby girl,

you have survived half of a year. and the crazy thing is that somehow, so have i. this time last year i was fourteen weeks pregnant with you and still getting over the shock. this time this year, i can't remember not knowing you. you are such a little joy. and such a little girl now. your papa and i love to make you laugh, to watch you sleep, to take you to all of our favorites places, and to see all of our favorite people. you are so small, yet you feel like our best friend. we could stare and stare at you all day because you have a different precious expression each second. it's amazing how much you say with just your face. it's amazing how much you say with your sweet little voice too. we have NO idea what you are saying to us, but we love it when you do. keep it coming girl!

in these six months you've learned how to do all of those things you are "supposed" to learn. you are making your way in this world just fine little gal. you are tall and thin and no matter how hard i try to beef you up you just keep getting taller and skinnier. you have exactly one roll. i love that roll. sometimes i call it your sushi roll, which makes no sense, but i love sushi and i love your one little cute little chubby roll. it's on your right leg. it gives me hope that someday you'll get some chunk on your skinny self.

you are so distracted by everything and you never stop moving. it's fun, exhausting, and so much fun. i can't even imagine what you'll be like once you start crawling. i'll turn my head and you'll be halfway to florence in ten seconds flat. that's ok, i'll follow you there. we can have some gelato together on the steps of ponte vecchio. i love to dream with you girl. dream of our future relationship. dream of our mother-daughter bond. dream of the adventures we'll go on together. dream of days at the beach and evenings in forts reading books.

you look more and more like your papa all the time and everyone likes to tell me that. of course, it's one of my favorite things about you. i mean, have you seen your papa? he's a good one to take after. i think you have a little bit of me in there somewhere. i mean, you do have my tongue. it's long and pointy and you stick it out ALL the time. yeah, it's adorable.

i could keep gushing but i'm sure i've thoroughly embarrassed you by now. get used to that BABE. i've got all those crazy mamma tendencies already when it comes to you.

i love you more than all the love. tvb.




one way in which having a baby has apparently helped me grow up.

so this is another post that's been rolling around in my head--while nursing, hauling the bambina around on my hip, playing with her on her spit up coated play mat--that's when so many of my blog thoughts come to me. and then they get lost somewhere between bath time, bedtime, and washing dirty diapers. so here's one that's been rolling around...forgive its rather unpolished state. my whole life is rather unpolished lately, soooo here we go:

before i got pregnant, grew a baby, birthed a baby, and have continued to grow that baby with my body alone--i had just has much concern about my body image as the next girl. i'd like to think i was a little less worried about it than some, and maybe i was. but i had my fair share of moments in which comparison knocked me down and out. and my fair share of moments when i was sure i'd be happier if...if...if...

but you know what i realized? i think i have a new appreciation for my body's purpose and my body's value since having a baby. i used to feel like my body's value was mostly found in how it looked. (funny, it's as if there's a billion dollar industry teaching me that or something?) if it looked good, it was fulfilling its purpose. if it looked just, eh, it wasn't quite as valuable. and i had some times when i felt "dang lookin' good" and many more times where i felt very "eh."

this morning i was looking in the mirror and i thought, "dang you grew a baby with that body. and you've been keeping her alive with that body. and you've done it with less sleep than you've ever not-slept. and every day somehow that body stretches to new limits to take care of and provide for other human beings. dang that's one crazy rad body." and for maybe the very first time ever, i looked in the mirror and i wasn't looking at what my body looked like, but i was genuinely looking at it and admiring what it was capable of. and i felt amazing and proud and grateful to be created in the image of God. and to be created woman. (no offense guys).

one of the most influential and encouraging people in my life surrounding florence's birth was my birth instructor, and she sent me a postcard with this quote--which is still on my fridge and probably will be forever:

"remember this, for it is as true as true gets: your body is not a lemon. you are not a machine. the Creator is not a careless mechanic. human female bodies have the same potential to give birth well as aardvarks, lions, rhinoceri, elephants, moose, and water buffalo. even if it has not been your habit throughout your life so far, i recommend that you learn to think positively about your body."
-ina may gaskin

i'm a health nut, yes. i one-hundred-and-twenty percent believe in taking care of my body. but i think i may be past that ever-lovin' phase where i care so stinking much about how it looks and constantly comparing and all that (let's be real--middle school) bologna. thanks florence for helping mamma grow up a bit. i'll help you too, when it's your turn.


girls rule, and they also drool.

i must confess. i thought we were having a boy. i pictured having a boy. i pictured having several boys actually. and when we found out florence was a girl it took me a solid week to wrap my mind around it. but to be honest, i cannot imagine what it would be like to have a little boy now. little girls are so much fun. especially this one.

i still totally want a son or two some day, but florence has been the absolute best start to motherhood i could have asked for. i love dressing her up. i love her little giggles. i love that i've already started teaching her about cooking. about skincare (she is a baby arbonne user). about running and exercise. about the sunshine. about how to make papa smile. about how to make papa say yes to just about anything. about how to snuggle real tight. about how to make friends. i don't know how much she's absorbed, but i'm sure teaching.

she discovers herself more each day. she has recently discovered her feet. she grabs them all the time. and her clothes. she is always pulling up her shirt or skirt, a habit we'll try to fix later because right now, it's one of her adorables and she can do it all she wants. she is discovering me too. she touches my face and pulls my hair and puts her hand in my mouth (typically while it's wet with drool from her mouth). sometimes she just rests her head on my shoulder and wraps her arm around mine while i momentarily die.

she is a total mess too--that's not just a boy thing. she poops, pees, barfs, and drools on every cute little girlie outfit i put her in. but when she looks at me with that drooly smile, fist covered in slobber half in her mouth, i honestly think "how could you have been anything else?"

girls totally rule. it's true. i am sure boys rule in their own right too. i love me a cutie pootie little chunk in some overalls and a ball cap. but for now i am pretty smitten with everything heavenly about little girls.


my vulnerable post.

i have been thinking a lot lately about my own personal growth. becoming both a wife and a mother within two years time will do that to you. not to mention starting a business. and it's a hard topic to write about because most of my thoughts on the topic end up confused and fuzzy in my head. to me, personal growth is just another term for sanctification. to me, the idea of personal growth is intrinsically linked to the process of continually growing more similar to Christ. and man did He have a lot of characteristics that i could use a little more of my life. but of all of them, my search for "personal growth," has landed on one that i think might just be key, at least for me.

yep, that's it.
vulnerability people.
speaking of, i'm feeling a bit vulnerable as i write this...

so, it makes me feel vulnerable to call my sister up and tell her this, that, or the other about how i need help knowing what to do with florence. it feels vulnerable to invite people into my home that never feels as clean as our pre-bambina days and hope they feel comfortable. it feels vulnerable to turn down opportunities with people because we can't afford them right now. it feels vulnerable to apply for new jobs and wonder how many will choose someone else. it feels vulnerable to invite college students into my home and try to lead them spiritually because i know that they are going to see all the many ways i fall short, all the time. it feels vulnerable to share my love of Christ with other people who think it's ridiculous. it feels vulnerable to start a new business because i realize that i want to work fewer hours outside of the home away from florence and hope that it works, and that people are supportive of it. it feels vulnerable to reach out to people i don't know very well just because i feel the nudge to encourage them. it feels vulnerable to try something and have no idea whether it will work or not or whether people will like it. it feels vulnerable to let people get to know me while wondering if they'll like me.

are you getting the picture?

it feels vulnerable to have a masters degree...and to have dreams that are different from it.  
it feels vulnerable to raise a human when you are so far from the human you want to be.
it feels vulnerable to fail at something you expected to succeed at and get back up and try that very same thing again. or maybe ten more times even.
it feels vulnerable to admit that i am the one who needs to change. 
it feels vulnerable to admit that, "i don't know" or worse, "i'm wrong."

but the reason this idea has been spinning around and around in my head is because i finally realized that when i'm vulnerable, i grow. it's like what the sun does for my tomato plants. it's imperative. when i'm timid and driven by fear, i'm stagnant. when i'm vulnerable and honest, i grow. it's so simple. 

i've found that vulnerability just oozes with authenticity.
and that's important to me.

i'm still working all of this out in my head. like it said, it's fuzzy in there these days. but this is as much of it as i could de-tangle and throw onto this little blog of mine today. so there you have it. is anyone with me on this? i'd sure love to hear. love you all!

ps, it's nice to be back. :)


it's madness! and i'm giving stuff away!

i love the month of march. and this march i've gotten to see my sister, my niece, my best friends, and a lot of great college basketball. plus both of my alma maters are seeded high in the tourny and playing their first round games in raleigh. so...i'm in a pretty good mood about it all. and as a result i've decided to do my first ever giveaway.

i have so many favorite products that i was really struggling deciding what to give away. so i picked out several and y'all can decide which one you would go for:

1. for the person like me who is sick of this cold winter dragging on and wants something luxurious to distract you: our seasource detox spa sea salt scrub. just stay in that warm shower with this stuff and forget that it's snowing for the 1000th time this winter outside.

2. for the person who just needs something practical with a splash of luxury: one of our best selling cosmetics--the makeup primer. it's a staple. it creates an even canvas for your makeup, allows you to use way less foundation for full coverage, and happens to feel like velvet on your skin.

3. for the person who is already dreaming about the beach. or is just sick of their winter white skin: our made in the shade self tanner. botanically based, like everything, and way safer than UVs.

4. for the person who needs a kick in the butt of energy these days: energy fizz sticks. or as my friend brett refers to them "arbonne crack." yes i keep a stash in my desk drawer at work. yes, they really do work miracles. i'm a little addicted.

to enter the giveaway, visit, take a look, and leave a comment below telling me which of these products (or any others!) you'd most like to try. one winner will be randomly selected at the end of the week!

but, just because i love you all so much, i am offering 20% off all products all week. like i said, madness. :) just email me at to place your order. :)

and while you are at it, fill out those brackets!!!!


that time we almost moved to wilmington.

so here is a crazy story,

two weeks ago we were almost going to move to wilmington. but as it turns out, and much to our surprise, we are not.

need some explanation?

adam and i have had this sense for awhile that God may have a plan to uproot us at some point. we aren't sure why or when, but we are pretty confident it will happen. for whatever reason when our church announced that they are planting a church in wilmington we both had the thought "huh, this could be it." so out of obedience we started going to interest meetings, getting to know (and LOVE!) the team, and praying hard core about the decision. of course, all we wanted was a clear answer. and of course, we weren't getting one. for a couple months.

two weekends ago we went on a retreat to wilmington with the team. we worshiped together, served together, and started to solidify some friendships we were getting excited about. it was an amazing weekend and we felt the clarity coming just around the corner. we drove through some neighborhoods and looked at houses. we picked one out that we had big plans to "fix up." it was all but written in stone.

we got home and started thinking about whether we could sell our place, how we would approach the job searches in wilmington, etc. we were right there.

and then monday came.

i woke up and was praying, and for the first time (maybe in my life) i got a resounding answer. and it wasn't a "yes" to my surprise. it was a great big "no." i didn't tell adam at that point. i wanted to see if by some miracle God would give him the same clarity. later that day i was nursing on the couch and i heard adam from the kitchen say "sweetheart. i don't think we are going."

so there it was. this answer we'd prayed and prayed and prayed for. and it was the exact opposite of what we thought we'd hear. we were willing to uproot our life. move with our new baby. start over with friendships. and really? you're telling us no??

it was confusing and relieving all at the same time. it was the first time we'd gone through a really big decision process together. and we learned several things:

what it means to have open hands.
what it means to be patient.
what it means to trust the Holy Spirit.
what it means to be willing to move somewhere else to live a totally missional life.
what it means to stay where you are, in a city you already have a huge heart for, and be missionaries here.

maybe that's why we went through this.
maybe that's one (of many) things that God taught us.
so yeah, we almost moved to wilmingtong
but we didn't.

hey durham. what's up.


the truth about becoming three.

i have been wanting to write this post for awhile but haven't quite had the words or the time. but here i am, hands on keys, making myself write. herewego...

let's go back to that first week in december when we suddenly had our sweet baby in the house. as much as i loved the idea of our new family of three, i was subconsciously avoiding it entirely. i remember panicking that if we couldn't get her down, we'd never have time "us two." i would get anxious as it got dark thinking, "but this is adam and me time." i wanted "family time" to end and our old life to resume each evening. i remember the day that God convicted me of this. convicted me of being selfish and holding on to something good and refusing His something better. i remember Him saying to me, "elise, it's not just you and adam now. now you are becoming three. embrace this and you will find joy." it was so obvious. but so hard. "becoming one" when we got married was easy peasy compared to this.

that night there was a duke game and we were all cuddled up on the couch watching it on my computer. florence was still at that (brief) stage where all she wanted to do was snuggle all the time. and i had her in my arms, adam next to me, and duke playing basketball. i thought, "oooooh, yeah, of course! we are three now. and here we are watching duke as a family of three." and you know what, i was overflowing in that moment. looking from her to adam to jabari parker was so much better than before. and i was so glad it wasn't just adam and me watching that game. we were indoctrinating the littlest nelson. and i was embracing it fully. so was she.

so fast forward 3 months: three nights ago we officially dropped florence's "dream feed." this was when we'd go get her around 10:30 pm and give her a bottle in her sleep to kind of fill-er-up, if you will, so she'd sleep the rest of the night. adam always fed her while i sat next to him, kissing her sleeping face over and over. but she was hardly eating anything at it anymore, so we dropped it.

again, i had this moment after that first night where i thought, "amazing! now we are off duty when we put her down at 7:30. we can go to bed as early as we want! we can have lots of mamma-papa time. like old times again!"

now fast forward again to last night when this convo happened:

a: "is her bottle ready?"
e: "but, we aren't giving her this feed, remember."
a: (looking sad) "oh...yeah."
e: "we can probably still just go hold her in her sleep. she's sooo cuddly when she's sleeping."
a: grins and nods.

so, we snuck right up stairs and just stared at our baby girl sleep when we could have been having that "just us" time that i so badly thought i wanted. while we were standing in her dark nursery we smiled at each other. and hugged each other. and exchanged "i love yous" with each other. and we kissed her cheeks. and we kissed each other. and we realized that being three was the very best thing we could be.

photos by the arrow house. more from this shoot.


florence is three months. it's true.

now wait a second, didn't i just write a two-month post? and here we are at three months!

no one was ever exaggerating when they told me that i would blink and she'd be grown! i wish that i could slow down this period when she is so little and new. i looked at her yesterday while i was nursing and she didn't fit comfortably on my lap anymore. now her legs are sprawled out everywhere. she is so long! and it's funny because i honestly don't know when that change happened. i just have to face the fact that her itty bitty newbornness is gone. but she's growing into the most adorable little baby and i'm loving this phase too. full of smiles and chit chat and personality. she recognizes people more now and loves her papa soooo much. she starts smiling when she hears him come in from work.

this month she's mastered sleeping all night. she's rolled over a few times, she's gone on her first road trip and she has several more coming up the next few weekends. she met her great grandmom and some cousins. she's watched some great duke games and watched her seahawks win the superbowl. she's made some baby friends and some big people friends. she's come to love the mom and two little kids who watch her while i work. they gave her a "fairy name", flora. she's started sucking on anything and everything that she can fit in her mouth. she's gaining independence and is able to play on her own a bit. she loves to dance too! 

oh the things i'm discovering about my little bambina. i get to know her more every day. and i'm totally obsessed with the process. spit up and poop included. (which are both getting bigger as she does.)

what was it like before we had her again? it's honestly hard to remember. and i don't really feel the need to try. one of my good friends told me after her son was born, that she wished she'd known him years ago. i feel the same now with florence. of all the months i've lived, i've only known her for three of them. it's just too bad.

we love you and we love you, sweet "flora". happy three months!


mamma and papa.


these two

each day begins a whole new fascination with each other.

a fascination with his whiskers,
hairy arms
goofy noises

and with her gummy smiles
spit ups

they snuggle in bed together each morning and get to know each other more and more.
to love each other more and more. without really knowing why.
and i get to watch it all happen.
and it totally melts me.

there is no one who he beams at like he beams at her.
there is no one who she smiles at like she smiles at him.

they are such a perfect picture of love to me.
they are such a perfect pair.
gosh, these two together.

something about a papa and his little girl.
a little girl and her papa.
it's so beautiful.

i knew i would explode seeing adam with her.
when we were still waiting for her, i imagined them together.
but by golly, if it's not a thousand times sweeter than i ever even imagined.

and aren't i the lucky one?
to be the third in this family.
these two are mine.
it's just too good.



happy day!

happy valentine's day to everyone. we are celebrating by having our second snow day in a row!! we sure hope everyone everywhere is safe and warm today. lots of love from the nelsons and happiest of weekends!


oh how good it feels.

so this arbonne thing has caught me quite by surprise. when i first began i knew i loved the products. i knew i admired the company's philosophy and commitment to being pure, safe, and beneficial. i knew i felt safe putting it on my skin, which is hard to say of most products these days. so i thought i knew a lot, but it turns out i knew very little.

since joining i've discovered that arbonne is a company made up of amazing teams of women who have servant hearts and great passion. they share the common belief that we should make healthy choices and take care of our bodies. that we shouldn't take the easy way out but. that our bodies are temples and that we should be careful about what we put in and on them. that it really does make a difference.

i didn't realize that arbonne would become more than a business to me. it's a network of other, rather incredible, like-minded women. i couldn't be more grateful to be a part of it. and to get to share it with other women too.

last weekend my sister and i played with arbonne products together a lot...when we weren't playing with our babies. adam is enjoying using the men's line too. getting to share this stuff with my family and friends, and even strangers, is such a joy. i feel like it's a little gift every time i can help someone find something awesome to try that will make their skin more healthy and beautiful!

here are a few of my favorite fun facts about arbonne:

-in the EU there are thousands of banned ingredients for skincare products. this is because there are lots of things that should never touch our skin. in the US there are about ten. (gasp, i know). arbonne adheres to the strict EU standards and makes products that are pure, safe, and beneficial. also, they did this before it was cool to be "natural."

-arbonne formulates without mineral oil. mineral oil is basically just a nice sounding name for a by-product of gasoline production. yep, it's petroleum waste. and it's in nearly all skincare products in the US. we put gasoline on our skin? seriously? (can you say carcinogen?) and we are ok with that? it's also what we make baby oil with. eeew. not for florence, thank you very much.

-beacuase arbonne is botanically based, their skincare lines contain things like strawberries, mango, citrus, chickpeas, and even pumpkin. in fact, my mascara actually smells like roses. now that sounds like stuff i'd like to put on my skin...or in my tummy. which i guess is the point!

-their products work. my skin has never looked or felt better. ever ever. they outperform pretty much all competitors in independent studies. turns out if you put healthy things on your skin, it thanks you by looking awesome. go figure.

are you bored yet? i could go on...but maybe i won't. 
for now. :)
let me know if you'd like to give arbonne a try! i think you might just fall in love with it. 


how i am doing.

so i am officially in my third month of motherhood--the least glamorous and most amazing job in the world, i'm finding. my whole life has changed so ridiculously fast. sometimes i just have to look around me and laugh at the things that are normal now. until the other day when i was driving to work for the first time--entering into "adult world" again, i hadn't really stopped to ask, "elise, girl, how are you doing with all of this??" and sometimes, you just need to have that kind of heart-to-heart with yourself. am i right?

so here is the skinny: physically, i feel great. pregnancy was pretty easy on my body. florence's birth was fast and natural and allowed me to bounce back really quickly. since giving birth i suddenly have terrible b.o. for the first time in my life...only in my left pit. so that's a bit weird and unusual. but i am enjoying walking a lot and starting to get back into running some. my little rock star of a daughter is a pretty great sleeper too. so while i'm really tired, i know it could be a lot worse. wow, am i grateful for all of these things. (well, b.o. excluded).

emotionally, i'm doing pretty well too. i know that postpartum depression is a very real thing that affects a lot of women. i definitely had my fears while pregnant of what it might look like if i did experience it. i know breastfeeding is helping a lot. and the grace of God, basically. not to say there aren't days when i feel like i might break down if she refuses to sleep another nap. or days when i cry all the way to work after i leave her. but overall, i feel pretty stable.

so the area that continues to be really difficult in this whole new mother scenario? goodness, it's identity. i remember telling my mom around the 2 week mark that i felt like i had lost my identity and my autonomy. like elise didn't exist anymore. now i was just florence's caretaker/boob/diaper changer. i still have to pay attention to what i eat and drink because of her. i have to sleep in a bra?? and wear pads in them at all times for fear of milk puddles. my hair is dirty and never blow dried and usually sticky with spit up. i swear my eyes have wrinkles now. i love having her with me when i go do things, but sometimes i just want to be alone. or with friends and no babe. sometimes i just want to be a normal, feminine, hygienic, wine-drinking woman who can do her thang without worrying about how it will physically affect another human being. or at the very least, go more than a few hours of my life without having to either feed her or pump.

not to mention trying to be an attractive wife to my husband and focus on my marriage (more on that later)...

florence adds to who i am in a way that i love and adore. but i'm not kidding, it takes time to adjust to that new identity. it takes time to strip seriously thick layers of selfishness and independence off. it takes time to be ok sharing my husband and best friend with another little lady. it all just takes time. i love my daughter to the moon and back. i could literally live off of her sweet little baby smell. and her smile...gush. but i guess i'm still human with some major selfish tendencies.

so that's how i am doing. good talk elise.


florence, two months.

oh my girl, how are you two months old already? look how big you've grown! you are so alert now. you smile at your papa and me all the time. and you chat like you've got a million things to say. you are sleeping like a champion too, which we just love you all the more for! how is it possible that i've known you such a short time? i can't imagine not having you.

you are kind of a mess kid. you spit up a lot, get the hiccups several times a day, and you make drool bubbles like a little fish. when you eat, you get milk all over your face and all over me. as soon as we change your diaper you thank us by pooping immediately in the clean one. which is super fun since every diaper you poop in is a diaper mamma gets to wash.

when you sleep, we are convinced that you are an angel. we sneak in and stare at you sleeping together. we both have to cover our mouths to keep from laughing and gushing over how sweet you are. your little hand twitches like you are signing "yes." or shaking your fist at us in your sleep ("don't you dare wake me up guys...or else"). and you snore a little too. oh my word, you angel.

goodness, you can fuss with the best of them too though. sometimes you'll be smiling one minute and wailing the next. sometimes our heads spin trying to figure out what life changing moment took place in that instant when you went from your highest high to your lowest low. sometimes we all call you "frenzy" because of moments like these. your pappa j especially loves this nickname--he asks "how is little frenzy doing today?" a lot. it makes me laugh. you are a little mystery.

you are 10.5 lbs now and 22.5 inches long. you have a big head too! making it really hard for mamma to put cute bows and headbands on your head without you fussing. you love your hats though, which works this time of year.

this morning when i woke you up and fed you, you smiled and smiled and i could have snuggled you in that moment forever. we love you so much, our bambina.

you've changed us in these two short months, you really have. xoxo.


so i did this crazy thing...


i had a baby.
i started back at work.
and then i decided to go ahead and start another business too.

then my pastor preached a sermon on busyness…huh. so please no one tell him.

but i want to tell you about an exciting new endeavor in my life! for a little while i have been considering joining the team at a company that i love and adore, called arbonne.

arbonne is a swiss company that makes the most stinking-awesome skincare, cosmetic, and nutrition products ever ever. i tend to believe that you shouldn’t put icky things on your body that you wouldn’t put in your body. and in arbonne, i found a fellow believer in that theory…well actually thousands of fellow believers! they make botanical based products that are completely free of harmful chemicals that most products here in the great u-s-of-a are chalked full of. but equally exciting, they make products that WORK. i sampled their products before i ever considered being part of their team and i was like “woahhh, what IS this stuff?” seriously, it made my skin glow. and it felt so good to put on. like kale but for my outsides! i was an arbonne believer and after awhile started thinking about joining the effort myself.

arbonne has everything from anti-aging skincare lines, shampoos, and spa products, to yummy protein shakes and detox cleanses. oh, and their makeup! this, coming from a girl who has never been a big wearer of cosmetic anything. it’s incredible folks. gosh it makes my skin look beautiful.

ok, so i’ll stop. but i just had to tell you the good news. i am sure i’ll be blogging more about our products here…maybe even giving away some stuff occasionally (could get crazy!). but seriously, if you want to hear more about any of it, or want to hear how you can get some sweet deals on products, feel free to let me know! i’d love to tell you lots lots more!

cheers for arbonne! and cheers for healthy skin. :)


the crummiest thing i've done so far.

today i am going back to work and saying see ya later to maternity leave, quite resistantly. it's been, well, the best. i am so grateful to have someone wonderful taking care of her, but at the end of the day it still feels like the crummiest thing i have ever had to do. until now, i haven't left this baby girl but once in the past eight weeks. not to mention the nine months before that...

but i couldn't have adored this sweet time with her more. i love that i'll always get to look back on it and remember her snuggly little new self and getting to spend all day playing and watching her discover the world. gosh, she is my favorite. 

mamma-daughter cuddles never get old. right florence?

i could play with this cutie all day, every day.

learning about the anthropologie sale room while shopping with mamma and gramma.

yay for play dates with friends too!!

it became a common theme that when i read to her...she falls asleep. someday you'll find books interesting girl! 

mmmm, my snuggly.

florence, i could definitely spend all day every day with you. you are just the coolest. thanks for making a mamma out of me. 

miss you heaps today.

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