Dear Milo,

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I am SO glad I waited to write your birthday letter until today. You turned five a couple weeks ago, but last night you impressed me and I just have to document it. 

You are really into ninjas lately. Not only are you always up for a good wrestle, but you love to jump around the house showing off your ninja skills. Last night, we went as a whole family to take you to your first karate class. I could tell you were a little bit nervous because your head was down, and you whispered your name ever so softly to the guy at the front desk when he asked. But then you put on your white uniform, and stepped onto the mat to join the class. You were the only new kid in the class,  but once you were out there, you started beaming with joy. You noticed how all the other kids shouted, "YES Ma'am!" to the teacher when she called on them to do something, and the first time she called your name, right away you shouted, "Yes Ma'am!" That is the moment where my eyes started welling up with tears. You started out a little nervous, but you put on your brave face and really went for it! I watched you work so hard to follow along, and I've never seen cuter karate moves in my entire life! Your dad and I could not stop smiling and giggling while watching you in that class. It made me so happy to see you happy, and to watch you doing something that you truly loved. It was such a simple thing, but it has filled up my mama heart and I never want to forget it.

You truly are a brave little boy, who's growing into a not-so-little boy. As I said last year, you are energetic and fun, but also extremely loving and sweet. You still never miss an opportunity to hug me and express love for me. When I need to leave you at home with your dad, you kiss me good bye several times, and then follow me out the door to help "push" my car out of the driveway. Whenever your dad leaves for work, you love to run down the hall to jump into his arms before he goes. 

Even though you are five now, and growing like a weed, and not the youngest in the family, I think I will always think of you as my "baby." But as much as I want to keep you little forever, I also love watching you grow into the amazing boy that you are. As much as I tear up thinking about you starting Kindergarten this fall, I know that you will flourish there. 

We had so much fun celebrating your special day, full of dinosaurs, legos, and transformers. I love you so much Mi-guy, Happy Birthday!



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Having Happy || A Blog Update

Do you ever have certain ideas or "themes" pop up in your life over and over again?

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I experience a bit of depression and some anxiety both during and after pregnancies. And so, given the fact that I've spent the past, almost 9 years, doing a lot of baby growing and raising, I've also felt a lot of ups and downs emotionally. From an outside perspective, my life seemed to be everything I wanted it to be. Everyday tasks were exhausting and I felt a little numb to all the life happening around me. I wasn't always sad, but I also wasn't always happy.

A couple years ago though, I had this moment where I realized that I was kind of sitting around waiting for happiness to "happen to me." Yes, post-partum depression is real and something you can't necessarily control, but I've found that when I choose joy, I'm more likely to have joy.

I wrote about that first realization here, and how all that came to be while struggling to get pregnant with our fourth. And then, almost a year later, I was asked to give a church lesson on comparison and social media. As I prepared for that, I felt guided towards researching happiness. So once again, this idea of making joy instead of waiting for it just showed up on my radar. And since that time, I've thought about it every day. Every day the words "having happy" have been cycling through my mind. And every day I think about what it means to be happy, how can I have true happiness, and how can I share that with my family, friends, and everyone?

Repeating those words to myself has helped remind me to choose happiness every day, but I've also made changes in the way I pursue creativity, acknowledge gratitude, and give to others. I'm definitely still a huge, giant work in progress, but the seeds have been planted. I still don't like doing some of the mundane tasks that come with being a grown up, like dishes or lalundry, but those are some of the simple things that used to feel so overwhelming to me. Because I've chosen to "have happy," even when things don't go my way, or I feel frustrated, I still feel a sense of peace knowing that I can be mad or sad for a little bit, but ultimately still be a happy person.

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I feel like I could go on and on about this topic, mainly because I've been thinking about it and reading about it, etc, for so long now. And this is what prompted the change in my blog. "Love City" is no more and I feel a little bit sad about that, but ultimately I'm excited for some new direction. There has been such a shift in my mindset the past couple years, and because this blog is such a part of me, it inevitably needed to change as well. I don't know how much will actually change as far as the blog content goes, but I feel so good knowing there is a real purpose and direction set in place. I plan to continue sharing the things that make me happy, the things that make me feel full, and I'm hoping to make this more of a community where you can come to feel joy and full of creativity as well. 

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Anyway, all that to say, I'm glad you're here. I hope you'll come back and interact, and let's see where this thing goes!

If you haven't already, you can subscribe to my blog by either clicking the little heart under my picture (to follow via Bloglovin), or add your email to the subscribe box on the sidebar. That way you'll be notified of new posts! You can also find me on all the social platforms under Lindsay Haynie, so make sure to follow me and leave a comment with your favorite way to have happy!

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Outfit details for my neutral, everyday winter look: