Sweet Autumn, I’ve Missed You

I loved living overseas.
I love living in Charleston, SC.
I loved meeting the people I met.
I loved learning new languages.
I loved soaking up the sun in both places, but oh how I missed these colors.

The Ginkgo tree across the street is boasting a golden hue in high definition, and it’s been so welcoming to me in the mornings.
The Red Leaf Maple in our yard is straight up on fire, and it sparks so much excitement in me to create, run, laugh, and breathe deeply. It makes me feel like a child (I can only imagine how Walt feels when he sees it).
The Bald Cypresses, and all of their orange warmth. They sweep me up every time I walk past them. They always seem as if they are asking for a hug, and I would gladly give them one if they would.
Last, but not least….the Birch. I feel still when I see them. I feel silent. I feel calm. I feel peaceful. They amaze me with their contrasting gold melting over white bark.
All of these and the other autumn faces I have passed, set the world on fire. They keep the cooling earth warm, if only for a short time. Autumn’s colors are a force to be reckoned with. I love her.

I have missed autumn, and all if her splendor. I have missed my friend. Thanks for waiting for me here, Autumn.

❤ TZ


My Face

I feel blessed to be able to write two days in a row.
Thank God for days where Walt naps well.

I wanted to talk about my no makeup journey for a bit. My skin hasn’t been blemish free since I was 10. That means for more than half of my life I have looked in the mirror and seen at least one pimple on my skin. Now, at 28 I am also confronting fine lines, sun spots, and scarring from past acne breakouts. Most of the skin issues I have could have been prevented by applying more sunscreen when I was younger, but as someone who played hard, was active in sports, and just loved being outside, it was hard to remember to do it sometimes. This is not going to be a sunscreen lecture. I just wanted to say that my skin is not perfect, and that I have gotten to where I am today with “flawed” skin.
Last week I looked in the mirror for the first time and didn’t think critically of my skin. I brushed my teeth, splashed cold water on face, dabbed on some vitamin C lotion, and walked out of the bathroom. Only to realize an hour later that I had given zero thought about the smiles lines, the dark circles, the scars, and blotchy complexion that used to plague my mornings, and most of my days. I feel free. I feel lighter. I feel pretty.

Most importantly, I feel all of these things without the crutch of makeup. I’m sure I will still have days that I want to run for the hills of concealer, or grab the mascara lifeline, but for a week now I have seen great improvements on how I see myself. The real, unmasked, ME.

“So God created them in His own image, in the image of God He created them…”
Genesis 1:27

I am the image of the invisible, and I am starting to cherish myself for who I was created to be. ❤ I pray that if you have ever struggled with your appearance, that God would work in your heart to help you see His beauty and majesty that is longing to shine through. You are royalty. YOU are beautiful.

❤ TZ

When Life Gives You Spaghetti

A lesson learned from my 7.5 month old….

Sometimes you enjoy life a little more when you embrace the mess, rather than constantly trying to control it or tidy it up. Daniel and I used to have a tidy house all the time. I mean occasionally we would be guilty of jumping ship on a pile of laundry and indulging in a Harry Potter movie. We know we aren’t perfect, but we find comfort in a clean house. We enjoy going to bed with a tidy living room downstairs, an empty kitchen sink, and a floor free of dog hair. That is, until Walt came along. I still clean. We aren’t opening our doors to parades of ants or sweeping Sage’s hair under carpets or anything. But, for the past couple of weeks I’ve walked up our creaky stairs only to look out on a small ocean of teething rings, wood blocks, puzzles, and other colorful nonsensical items. It innately drives me crazy. It makes me want to stay up for an extra hour (or three), so I can “feel better”.
All of this comes from a place of desiring control. HA! Like I have ever had control before. It’s a sobering lesson; learning you have very little control over anything other than yourself and your emotions. I don’t get to have a clean house 24/7 if I also want to enjoy my time with my son. I don’t get to clean every dish as it’s used anymore if I also don’t want to hear a screaming, teething, infant. I don’t get to have stainless baby clothes, spotless table cloths, or sauceless dogs if I want to enjoy watching my son enjoy spaghetti and meatballs for the first time. He grabs a messy pile of meatballs and noodles, and embraces the entirety of it. He smears the mess all over himself scoop after scoop after scoop. Plus, he does it with a smile.
Be still my heart, and realize that sometimes there is joy in the mess.

❤ TZ

Miles and Muscles

Postpartum working out has been challenging for so many reasons:
*Diastasis Recti
*Weak pelvic floor muscles
*Sore hips
*Managing breastfeeding and working out (in the beginning)
*Limited time
*Limited options for child care (when Daniel is at work)

And so on…

Working out has been one of the main things to get me through the postpartum season.
*I am back to my pre-pregnancy weight (have been for 2 months now)
*My hormones are leveling out
*I feel energized after working out (even if I got very little sleep)
*It has helped me meet people
*It gives me something to look forward to

I love lacing up the Brooks, throwing on a hat and taking to the pavement or trail. Recently I have also been loving getting after it in the weight room. I know that a post-pregnancy body is nothing to be ashamed of, but the me I want to be proud of is the me that pushes herself and eats well. I can’t wait to get back to a place where I am confident in my strength and endurance, and I know that working hard is all a part of that journey.

Fitness Goals:
*Run a 5k with Walt in the jogging stroller
*1/2 marathon by November
*Marathon in January
*Bench my body weight again
*Get my mile back under seven minutes
*100 pushups and 10 pull ups consecutively by December

So over the next couple of months it’s all about building.

No Makeup, No Problem.

The other day I was standing in line at Weis waiting to purchase my groceries. An older woman was oohing and awing at Walt, and making friendly conversation with me. As the line moved forward she began to talk to me more. At one point I mentioned how I had a pimple that was really sore, and stated that I couldn’t wait until my adult acne was finally gone. She then proceeded to say “aw honey, you can cover it up with some makeup and no one will even notice”.
These are just a small fraction of the things people say to justify putting makeup on. Some women actually love their makeup. They spend lots of money on it. They watch videos to perfect it. Some go for the “natural” look. Some go for shock and aw. Some just use a little. Others will utilize the layering technique. Regardless of how much makeup they use or the way they use it, most women wear some kind of makeup.
I would like to say that the woman in line did not upset or anger me, but she did make me think about why I (and others) wear makeup. Why do I care if someone sees my pimple? Why do I care if my eyes “pop”? Most importantly why do I buy makeup when there are other things I could put that money towards? Not to mention the time I waste applying the makeup. On average, women in the U.S. spend about $43 per shopping trip, or $15,000 on beauty products in her lifetime (https://people.com/style/how-much-does-a-woman-spend-on-makeup/). Now, I am not a financial or investment advisor, but my husband is pretty educated in this area and would back me up on what I am about to suggest. Say we took $5000 of that $15,000 and put it into an account where on average the annual compounding interest rate is 8%, and we continued to put $200 into the account annually for the next 50 years. We could end up with over $350,000 at the end of those 50 years. This is obviously theoretical, but not too far off from what that money could be.
Another huge aspect of applying makeup is time. I complain about not having enough time to do things now that I have a baby, but a survey in 2014 found that 78% of women (in the survey) spent, on average 335 hours a year on apply makeup (https://www.womenshealthmag.com/beauty/a19954807/womens-beauty-routine/). That’s 14 days spent on makeup. That’s almost 3 weeks of vacation (not including weekends). I HAVE time, but I use some of it to put makeup on, so that I will feel better about myself. But why?

So…I realized that I want to get to a place where I feel inherently good about myself. I want to feel beautiful spiritually and mentally before I even consider my physical appearance. God made me beautiful. He made YOU beautiful. What I want to do is meditate on what God sees when He looks at me, and start to tell myself the things that He would say about me.
Some of the things the Bible says about “beauty”
“…The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)
“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” (1 Peter 3:3-4)
“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” (Proverbs 31:30)

I believe that my face was made fearfully and wonderfully (as the rest of me was), and I plan to try and see it that way when I look in the mirror. I think that starts with looking at it more in its natural state. So, moving forward from today, I plan to do my best to start each day by NOT applying makeup, and instead asking God to help me see myself the way He sees me.

Day one: No makeup, no problem

❤ TZ

Finding an Old Mix CD

I was going through a box that contained some of my stuff from high school, and boy oh boy, did I find some treasures. Aside from my letter from sports, photos taken with a disposable camera, prom tickets, concert tickets, SAT scores, tourney medals, and my mom’s watch, I also found a CD full of music I had forgotten all about.

Tanya’s Mix CD from 2007:
1. Angels and Airwaves “The Adventure”
2. Taking Back Sunday “Makedamnsure”
3. The Starting Line “Best of Me”
4. Paramore “Riot”
5. Something Corporate “Konstantine”
6. Mewithoutyou “Torches (Live from Warped Tour)”
7. Underoath “Reinventing Your Exit” (this was my favorite song to warm up to for soccer games!
8. Flyleaf “All Around Me”
9. My Chemical Romance “The Black Parade”
10. Five Iron Frenzy “On Distant Shores” (LOVE THIS ONE!!!!!!!!!!!)
11. Yellowcard “Only One”
12. Angels and Airwaves “Secret Crowds”

There are more songs on the CD, but it’s pretty scratched and won’t play the last five songs, which is kind of a bummer, but it was pretty weird listening to these again. I’m glad I was reminded of Angels and Airwaves, Five Iron Frenzy, and Mewithoutyou. Looks like I’ll have a new/old CD to listen to in the car now =)




Visiting With A Friend

Over the weekend I was able to visit with my best friend, Jenn, and her two sons, Lincoln and Connor. Recently Jenn’s husband, Sean, was deployed, so I wanted to go to her and help take her mind off of it.
I just want to say that I admire Jenn and Sean. Their love for one another is strong. It’s fun. It’s inspiring. I have loved watching them grow together, having babies together, and come out of challenges stronger together.
We ended up spending a large portion of our time in Target, because women be shoppin, and we saw a great friend from high school. Nick Macdonald was one of our best friends, and even though years and distance make it harder to be as close, it was remarkably easy talking to him and laugh about nonsense.


We also went to Olive Garden, watched the Greatest Showman, played with the kiddos, and went out for breakfast the next morning. The weekend went by fast, but it was nice to spend time with her and the kiddos, and I look forward to doing it more.


Sean, you are missed so much already. Thank you for your service, and for being an amazing husband to the best person I know.




First Summer As Parents

A few things have happened in the past couple of weeks that just excite me to my core. A few weeks back Daniel, Walt and I got to go to Cape May, NJ to visit with his parents, siblings, and our niece/nephew. It was joyful chaos if there ever was such a thing. Walt got to touch the ocean for the first time which, as a past lifeguard/skim boarder/swimmer/avid boogie boarder, truly reminded me how much I love it. He was full of wonder and terror, and I like to think that is how we should feel when interacting with God. Not fearful, but aware of his majesty. After Cape May we ventured to Emmaus, PA to attend a family reunion for Daniel’s mom’s side of the family. It was amazing to see so many little ones who have arrived since the last reunion, and be in the presence of their great grandparents, Nancy & Donald Mills. Walt did really well despite it being super hot and muggy.

When we got back Andrea came to visit for an evening. We went to our friends, Lindsey and Jordan’s farm. There was trampoline jumping, quad riding, kitten petting, food eating, and memory making that night. Thanks Lindsey and Jordan for helping us adjust to life in central PA.

Walt cut his first two teeth at 5 months!!!! He is getting so big at a whopping 22lbs. He also started rolling over like a maniac, so we had to stop swaddling him. He LOVES sleeping on his stomach, and it seems to have fixed some of his sleeping issues! Praise Jesus.

Our living room is almost finished being painted. The previous owners had painted it gold with a metallic sponge paint finish. =|  Now it is almost grey, and we bought shiplap to affix to the wall that is currently adorned with bamboo wallpaper. It already looks WAY better just getting rid of the gold.
Aunt Debbie and Uncle Bill came to visit Sunday night. We went to Funk’s for dinner and walked to Rita’s afterwards which is always great.
Probably the most exciting thing that has happened is that I recently started coaching cross country at the Palmyra High School. The kids are amazing, the rest of the coaching staff is super knowledgeable and fun, and the course is legit. It’s tucked back into the woods, has challenging inclines, and only a small amount of tree roots to trip over. I look forward to digging deeper into the program, and getting back into the running saddle.

It’s been a great couple of months. Therapy is also going well, and I’m starting to feel like myself again. I hope all of you are having a great summer and are making precious memories. ❤

Walt loves America, and has laser vision…for proof of both, see below.



Something New

2018 has brought a slew of changes in Daniel and I’s life. Walt joined us. We moved to Hershey, PA. Daniel works for a chocolate company. We sold/bought a house. I have weird pockets of chubbiness in places I never have before.
And after all of these changes. All of this new…stuff. I decided I wanted to do something I had always wanted to do.

Chopping it off has proved to be empowering. It has cut back on the amount of loose hairs I have to remove from my son’s fingers and toes. It’s cooler than the stifling long hair during this heat wave. I spend less time drying, straightening, styling, pulling back, and washing my hair. It’s fun. It’s new. I LOVE IT.

❤ TZ

26 Years of Being a Big Sister

It was my brother’s birthday recently, and I wanted to write this post on that day, but Walt kind of dictates when I can write. He is napping, so I am attempting to write now.

Throughout the years my brother and I have gone from fighting constantly, being really close, to barely speaking, and now we are thriving. It takes work. It takes vulnerability. It takes desire to be close again.
I wanted to share some memories of my brother that I cherish.


When we were young my brother and I tied a bike up in the tree in our front yard and we would swing on it. I think we may have gotten the idea from the flying bicycle in the movie E.T.

There was a girl who sat in front of me on the bus when we went to Newark Charter School, and she wasn’t the most pleasant person. One day I stuck a lollipop in her hair. I know, what a jerk. Her mom had to cut it out of her hair and my brother and I were called into the principal’s office. I lied and said it was my brother (right in front of him), and he went along with it! He took the bullet for me, and got a demerit. He was classy and I was a snake.

I have a ton of memories of him and I riding out dirtbikes and quads in the woods behind our neighborhood, so I’ll just group them all into one. We got muddy. We got stuck sometimes. We went fast. We got chased by the cops once. We were free.

We once went to the drive thru at McDonalds and my brother messed up his order, so instead of just correcting himself he drove around the building and started over.

After wrestling practice he used to put me in weird holds that would usually cause me to fart. Like I said…he’s classy.

At my senior prom, we danced to “I Swear” by All-4-One, because my date was prom king and had to dance with someone else. My brother didn’t want me to be by myself, so he took my hand and danced with me.  Classy!

Fishing with him at the quarry.

Going to Killens Pond.

Swimming in our pool when we were kids.

Cross country practice

Prank phone calls late at night on the farm.

Helping him when he had horrible poison ivy, poor guy.

Walking in on him trying to cut weight for wrestling. Let me paint the picture. A complete sweatsuit, covered with trash bags, all worn in a steamy bathroom by a boy spitting into a plastic bottle. Classy lol.

Spending the night in each other’s rooms on Christmas eve.

I would, and could go on, but I fear the waking of the baby is approaching.

I love you Eddie. I am proud to be your sister. You have made 26 years of my life full of rich memories. Some good. Some bad. All of which make our relationship unique and precious. You are smart, hilarious, and unbelievably compassionate towards others. I look forward to the years to come, and becoming closer in adulthood. You are the best younger brother a person could ever hope for.