i don’t have a picture of that

Admittedly, I take a ton of pictures. There’s an abundance of photos from day one, of both children. I don’t think my photo taking obsession really began until I had children and I become this weird photo-crazed person. I sort of self-evaluated my photo taking obsession and eventually deemed it was probably because of this whole fleeting time concept. Maybe if I have photos every day I can somehow capture this time. Sadly, it just doesn’t work that way. I’m left with a full hard drive, a full phone, and a million photo albums that sit in the closet.

Lately, I’ve come to a scary conclusion, one that I have a hard time typing on this blog because it means I’m giving it some acknowledgement. I need to put my camera down and be present more.

The truth is, I don’t need to lug that camera around everywhere I go. I don’t have to have my iPhone in my hand ready for the perfect photo op at all times.

I don’t want to be so fixated on the picture of the moment that I miss the actual moment.

Let me tell you a little story that helped me arrive at this conclusion. Last weekend, my grandmother told us the vegetables in the garden were close to being ready. Immediately, I thought of the fun I had when I was little and helped out with the garden. And of course, I thought of Braylen and how she’s just the right age to really understand what we’re doing and have a little fun with the process.

All of those are completely sane thoughts. Here’s the kicker, I thought about how I might photograph this moment. Would the sun be behind her as she was picking the perfect pea, would she cooperate while I took some photos of her bending down and picking some squash.

No. The answer is no. Of course she isn’t going to pose for a photo while she’s playing in the dirt and picking vegetables in the garden. It’s not a photo shoot, I’m not a professional photographer, and who really cares?

I don’t think I have a single picture in my grandparents garden picking vegetables. I can’t count the number of times I helped out when I was growing up. I have some funny stories. I have some excellent memories. But, I’ve never seen a photo, and I don’t need one. I remember what it smelled like, I remember how hot it was, I remember how much fun I had playing in the buckets of shelled peas and kicking dirt between the rows of corn.

Just like I’ll look back on these days and remember them fondly. I’ll remember what it felt like to rock a sleeping baby, I’ll remember Braylen in dress up clothes and nightly performance in the living room, I’ll remember these days because they’re important and they’re real and they’re ours. I won’t need a photo. Sure, the photos will be fun to look at, but when the house is quiet it’ll be the memories that I’ll cherish most.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that I won’t take hundreds of photos over the next year. I’ll capture milestone moments and small moments, I’ll capture sweet sleeping baby moments, I’ll capture first days of school and sweet smiling faces.

I just don’t want to be so caught up in the photo that I miss the moment. I’m not willing to sacrifice the perfect moment to capture the perfect photo.

If that’s the case, I don’t need to have a picture of that.


dear braylen, believe in fairy tales

Dear sweet daughter of mine,

I hear a good bit of chatter about prince charming and how we should shield little girls like you from this very notion. Sweet girl, don’t get me wrong, I’ve never been a rebel. I prefer to follow the rules. I think when someone says something, you should listen. But, I’m here to tell you this is the case in which you should make an exception.

There’s a big misconception when it comes to this whole prince charming issue. You see, he isn’t prince charming for all of the things he possesses. The castle, a white horse, those are simply things. And when you read this, I hope I’ve taught you well enough that you’ll understand that things aren’t what make a person. Instead, it’s how he’ll make you feel.

I’m afraid that if we throw out the notion of this whole fairy tale idea, we’ll be teaching you to settle.

Let me be the first to say, don’t settle for anything less than your prince charming. 

The one who will work hard in your marriage. He’ll give it his all alongside you. Sure, you’ll have bumps in the road. You might complain when the trash begins to overflow, he might complain when you blow the budget on a pair of shoes.

The one who will navigate the hardest times with you, the one who will celebrate the sweetest times with you. He’ll let you cry when you’re frustrated, he’ll be your sounding board when you have to make tough decisions, he’ll be the one holding your hand when I’m not there to hold your hand anymore.

The one who will tell you how beautiful you are while your pacing the floor with a newborn baby, with spit up in your hair and dark circles under your eyes. He’ll tell you that dinner is perfect, even when he knows it came from a box. He’ll thank you for dinner, even when you’ve picked up take out. And you’ll believe him. You’ll believe he thinks you’re the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen, you’ll believe he’s sincere in his gratitude, you’ll believe he thinks you’re simply amazing. Because you’ll see it in his eyes and you’ll know it’s true.

The one who makes you feel like the most important person in the world. He’ll make you laugh harder than anyone ever has, fight harder than you ever imagined you could, and love deeper than you ever knew possible.

The one who always helps you. He’ll see the exhaustion in your eyes and take over. He’ll work with you to figure things out when you’ve over committed. He’ll be your fixer, even when you don’t know how to fix things. You won’t have to ask him, he’ll give you one look and know when you need help.

Sure, things will be messy sometimes. You’ll have problems that seem overwhelming and difficult. But, you’ll get through them together.

Rest assured, my princess, white horses are overrated and hard to keep clean and castles are far too big to ever feel like home. But, love? Well, true love is enough to make you believe in fairy tales. It’s enough to make you feel like the most beautiful princess. You’ll make a home together, and it’ll be better than any castle you ever imagined. It will be your modern day fairy tale.

I don’t know these things to be true because I read them somewhere or watched them on television. I know because I’m married to my very own prince charming, your daddy.

Don’t you dare settle, my love.


newborn thoughts, it’s different now

I’m writing this post with a sleeping baby in my lap. I know I should probably put him down, but his hand is sweetly touching the side of my arm and when I start to lay him down his grip tightens just a bit. I know he won’t wake up, he’s a great sleeper. He’s content and laid back and everything I hoped my newborn would be.

I just can’t lay him down. Not right now.

When Braylen was born everyone was adamant that I should soak up this time. Don’t get me wrong here, of course I did. Against the premise that I might spoil her, against the premise that I might get her off schedule. I held her tightly.

I remember smelling of her sweet hair and closing my eyes tightly, willing myself to remember everything about these moments. The tiny sounds, her tiny fingers, the sleepy smiles. I wanted it all to be engrained to my very core.

It’s funny how having another newborn brings back those things, he does things and I’m instantly taken back to four short years ago when his sister did similar things.

And that’s where it gets bittersweet.

It’s different this time, I don’t need someone to tell me that it’ll go fast. I already know. Each stage seems to come and go at a lightening speed and there’s nothing I can do about the rate at which time passes. It’s life.

What can I do?

I can live each and every moment fully as the stages come and go. From these sleepy newborn days, to the long sleepless nights. While some moments may be trying, they are also fleeting.

These newborn days serve as a good reminder to soak up the days with BK, too. She’s only a little over a year away from kindergarten, and yet she seems like she should still be crawling up into my lap at bedtime each night.

Truly, it’s different this time around. We’ll stay in our pajamas more and enjoy these days at home. We’ll try to follow a schedule, but never to the point where it consumes us. And 20 years from now, I’ll look back on these days with joy, because even though time passes too quickly, I’ll know I gave them my best.

And because I’m smitten with these two, here’s a few recent pictures.





a to-do list worth checking off

I’ve given myself quite the list of to-do’s prior to baby boy’s arrival. I spent part of Saturday and between church on Sunday tackling a few things on the list. In that time I managed to clean out and organize the kitchen cabinets, clean out the pantry and refrigerator, organize our master bedroom closet, and start packing a hospital bag.

It’s a perfect example of nesting at it’s finest. You know, no closet can be left unorganized, no drawer in disarray.

Clearly, my tiny newborn is going to be so concerned about the cereal boxes being out of place in the pantry, that it just has to be done. There is absolutely no logic to the madness, but it certainly won’t hurt to have a clean and organized house.

Allen has a list too, it mainly involves all things outside and all things basement and garage related. He’s knocking it out, and I wouldn’t trade lists with him if you paid me.

Which brings me to my point, I placed our lists on the refrigerator, so I’m sure to see them and be reminded of what I really need to be doing when I try to sneak a push-up instead of cleaning out a closet. Last night, before bed Allen needed to mark a few more things off his list, and as we were discussing the lists BK joined us, and ask for a list of her own. She made sure to say that she wanted just a few things on her list.

Smart girl.

And then she proceeded to name a few things while I wrote them on a piece of paper, in her own words:

  1. play
  2. help dad take some stuff to basement 
  3. help dad clean up garage
  4. go outside and play
  5. bake cookies 



And I thought, now there’s a to-do list worth checking off. Helping others, playing and baking. I could handle that. She was satisfied with that list and at the end she instructed me not to add anything else, not until we do all those things. 

In a life sometimes driven by a to-do list and responsibilities I don’t particularly like, I thought about how much better things would be if I added some things to my list because they were really worth doing. Sure, things like cleaning out closets and packing hospitals bags are important, but you know what else is important? Baking cookies with my almost 4-year-old and playing outside in this beautiful weather.

Though she’s small, it’s obvious she’s here to teach me a few things, too. I just need to take the time to listen.

Today, as I check things off my various to-do lists, I’ll keep her sweet little list in the forefront of my mind. There’s always a million things I could be doing, but I need to really stop and think about what I should be doing.

And I don’t think what I should be doing is on any list you’ll find in my planner.


on your birthday

Today, Allen turns 30 and I’ve thought of at least 30 ways to give him a big shout out on the blog. Instead, I think I’m going to tell you a story about another birthday of his that I’ll never forget.

It was on Allen’s birthday that he proposed to me. Right back in the same place we met. It was genius, really. I never for a moment thought he would be putting a ring on my finger, I thought it was just a great spot for a birthday picnic. I think back to the day, years ago and still remember it like it were yesterday. Actually, I probably remember it better than some things that happened yesterday. The details, the weather, the things he said, the crazy butterflies.

We were young, probably too young to be engaged, and definitely too young to care if anyone thought that we were.

Sometimes I wonder if he really knew what he was getting himself into when he asked me to marry him.

I laugh because we thought we had it all figured out and less than a year later, we were married and on our own. I burned my fair share of dinners and he undercooked food on the grill on a regular basis. I fussed about the trash being taken out way too often, as he rolled his eyes at the newest item I added to my closet.  I think back to those years fairly often, so young and so in love. The love part was enough, it has always been, it will always be. We were living in a space a third of the size of the house we live in now, but those were some of the best times.

And then I think, if he didn’t know what he was bargaining for on that chilly February day, I’m certain that God did and it fell right into his perfect plan.

Our engagement seemed to fly by, just like the years that we’ve acquired from that fateful February day to this February day.

Here’s to you, Allen, on your birthday.

Thank you for sharing your birthday with another special day in my life.

I am incredibly blessed to call you my husband, and I can’t wait to spend so many more birthdays with you. No matter how old you get or how many birthdays you have, the one when I got to say yes will always be my favorite.

I look forward to filling in the gap from the day to that present with great memories. This year is going to be life changing, as we welcome our son, and change our dynamic from a family of three to a family of four.

But, if the years have taught us anything, it’s only going to get better. Here’s to your thirties, may the years continue to bring us happiness and be filled with love.

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