Sometimes mom lets you stay up late on a school night, for the sake of photography and good lighting. 🙂
Today was little miss’ first day back to school (and not a moment too soon for her or me). She turns 5 tomorrow, but she seems so much older to me. She’s one parts 2nd child, one parts fearless & determined which add up to 5 going on 12. She’s got very specific tastes in music, movies, toys and clothes (don’t get me started on the amount of time it takes us to agree on an outfit in the morning). She pushes us all to the point of madness and exhaustion then just when you think you are going to scream, she says something so hilarious that you can’t help but laugh and scoop her up in a bear hug.
When she was in my stomach she NEVER stopped moving, I mean ever. I would cry to Nick how she was punching and kicking at the same time, because I could feel it in 4 places at once. At one of her sonograms I had a technician tell me she’d never seen a baby move so much and that I was in trouble. To say this is still true today would be an understatement. She doesn’t walk, she runs. EVERYWHERE. And she’s actually quite fast.
She’s an amazing sister. She’ll play whatever Caden wants to, she stands up for him no matter what (even yelling at Nick or I when he’s getting in trouble to go easy on him), and saves a bite of every treat for him (even when he’s already had one of his own). She’s the one who will push the limits when he’s too scared too (like hiding behind the couch with packs of fruit snacks). Don’t get me wrong, she’s still a sister, and annoys him plenty. But at the end of the day, she’s someone you want in your corner.
She’s as girlie as it gets; loves painting her nails, changing dresses 3x a day and putting on make up. But will also dig in the dirt, play any sport you want and play light sabers while wearing her fairy wings. I made her middle name “Grace” because she is truly a testament of God’s grace on me and it just happens to be a daily lesson for ME in giving her the grace that she needs.
Hopefully in the next couple of weeks I’ll find time to do her annual birthday pictures and post some from her birthday party along with it. In the mean time, here’s her 2nd, 3rd and 4th pictures to make you smile.
I feel like our summer just started and here we are already in the 2nd week of July. My oldest actually goes back to school in exactly one month! The past couple of months I’ve had the fortune of traveling to two gorgeous places, Watercolor, Florida (a piece of heaven on earth) and Savannah, Georgia. I didn’t snap nearly as much as I had fully intended, but I was still able to get enough goodies to add about 30 pieces to the Etsy shop. All of these pieces are available now in the Etsy shop, and as always, I’m available for in home style sessions as well as virtual sessions to find the perfect print for your space.
I also offer custom artwork services. If you don’t see exactly what you want, have a vision you need brought to life, or just need help starting over contact me for custom collaborations.
And it’s always helpful to see some of these images visualized in a space, so when you scroll to the bottom of the post I have a small gallery of examples of how you could incorporate them into your home.
Savannah, Georgia Additions:
Love one of these prints, but don’t know how or what it would look like hung? Here are some examples to get your creative juices flowing. If you have an empty spot on the wall, snap a shot of it with your phone and send it to me. I will mock any of these up and show you what they look like on YOUR wall.
As a mom and wife, I know that those two jobs always come first. Life speeds by, commitments increase, and I find less and less time to devote to my photography. It’s gotten to the point where I thought to myself “Why am I even still doing this? I love it, but does anyone else? Is any of this even good?” When I get a free moment here and there (in between loads of laundry and driving my kids around town) I get an idea or a vision of something I want to photograph. Then as quickly as it came into my mind, a dog barks or a child asks for a snack and the thought leaves and is gone and forgotten.
Every so often I’ll get a little nudge to pick back up, or I’ll read something inspiration that reignites the flame enough to make me take action. I started a bible study a few weeks ago that has been slowly giving me that poke. I’m a firm believer that God is always talking to us, we just need to clear out the noise and listen. The problem is our inner voice has a good way of shutting those conversations down and making us feel like they are insignificant or all in our minds. I’ve had a song on repeat these days called “Inner Demons” and I love it so much. One of the greatest lines from it is, “Inner demons don’t play well with angels.” How true is that? How many times have you been fired up about something only to have your brain tell you it’s ridiculous. I’ve made the decision to quiet that noise (or crank up the music and drown it all out). I’m going to pick back up with my art, and make a real effort to find the time for it. Who knows what ideas will pop into my head, or if they will be worthy of a blog post (they are all debatable, LOL). But the point is I’m going to TRY. So hopefully you’ll see more posts from me in the upcoming months.
Who knows why these cherries popped into my mind but they just did. I was just driving down the road and a picture of bright red cherries in a simple glass bowl shot across my mind. So off to the store I went. True to inner voice fashion, I couldn’t decide if it was a light or dark feeling, I bounced back and forth between black and white backgrounds (even though the vision I had was white). So I tried both and just kept snapping away until I felt satisfied. I honestly think my favorite was the jar knocked over with all the cherries spilled out. It happened on accident (or did it) as I was trying to arrange the stems just right. I loved the way it looked and felt like it was so symbolic of life. Just when you think your life is the perfect bowl of cherries they spill and somehow you’ve created a mess that’s just as beautiful.
It happens to us moms every year, around this time. It sneaks up on us and consumes us as if we didn’t know it was going to happen. School starts back up, we get back into the grind, then before we know it, it’s already October. We find ourselves already bogged down by homework assignments, volunteer roles, commitments, fall festivals, Halloween costumes, sports, extra curricular activities, family obligations, the list goes on and on. For someone like me, who forgets all too often that the word “no” exists, it’s right about now that my head feels like it’s going to spin right off. This past week I was nearing that breaking point and then decided I needed to squeeze in a “really quick trip” to the pumpkin patch. I realized this was the last week to go, looked at my calendar and saw a sea of obligations and concluded this was the only day and time we could work it in. My husband asked me if I was crazy (and I have to admit my reasons for taking the kids were purely selfish). I looked at him and said, I fully understand how tired and busy I am, but I fear if I don’t go, if I don’t take our annual pumpkin patch picture, I’ll look back and regret it. I’ll feel like a horrible mother for skipping a year.” In the reasonable, logical part of my brain I knew the world would not stop spinning, my kids probably wouldn’t have even noticed (until mid November at least). But in the back of my mom guilt filled mind I constantly think “you never know if there will even be a next year (thank you, Facebook for showing me so many scary articles and videos that I live in a constant state of panic that something will happen to one of us).” He looked at me like I was nuts, but also understood when dealing with a fragile October mom about to snap, you don’t poke the beast.
I worked out a plan with the two kids in the car on the way, if they just let me take their picture the minute we got there, they could be in charge the rest of the visit. They obliged. They sat on a hay stack, I took my pictures, and then they were free.
My son had been waiting patiently all month to tackle the corn maze. This was the first year I told him he was fully in charge, and Alivia and I would follow him blindly, only offering help if he asked for it. And then it happened. My a-ha moment. As I watched my sweet little 6 year old twist and turn down each row, it hit me like a wave. He was so calm, so happy. He went in circles, he hit dead ends, he back tracked only to take the same path more than one time. The more lost he became, it never changed his mood, or his attitude. He simply said, “whoops that didn’t work,” and tried again. Since we got there later in the day, the sun was setting and around some turns it was darker then when we started. Again, he didn’t care, he didn’t waiver, he just giggled and fearlessly said “let’s try this way!” Always with a smile, always ever so excited. I know to him it was just a fun corn maze, but to me, it was God’s way of reminding me to find the JOY in these moments. My “mom life” is daunting at times, but we aren’t alone! Everyone is stuck in a maze of their own, filled with wrong turns, dead ends, confusing circles and unmarked paths just trying to navigate their way through it.
It’s so easy to get lost in the shuffle and see these moments as stressors, as I’m sure many of your friends do too! It hit me like a ton of bricks how I had been making these moments about me, and my to-do list, my busy schedule. When I saw how good I felt just sitting back and focusing on his joy in this moment, it was an amazing reminder that God asks us to live this way each day. Live for others, pray for others, make a choice to do something good for someone ELSE. Fill your days with compassion and love for others just as He would do. Knowing that this season is crazy for everyone, have you reached out to any of your friends to offer your support? Not via social media, true communication among friends. Support can look like anything. It’s a high five, a hug, an offer to pick up their kid from school, a prayer, a meal, a hug or a shoulder to lean on.
Us mommas gotta stick together, and who DOESN’T love a little support from their friends? Are there any other stressed out October mama’s out there? If so, give yourself a big pat on the back, pour yourself a glass of wine (or vodka) and celebrate not being alone in this crazy ride of motherhood. You made it through October, just in time for November activities! Gobble gobble. 😉
As the homeowner of a fixer upper, you generally have lulls in between projects. Mostly where you need to replenish funds from your last project and in some cases build up the mental energy to tackle a new project. My sweet son’s room has been on the bottom of that list (for whatever reason for), well, basically since we moved in 4 years ago. I hadn’t done much in the way of decor and finishing touches since he was 2, and even then it mostly consisted of a mirror hung on the wall (that he couldn’t even reach to see). Every so often I threw an update in there with some bedding, a couple of nightstands and wall art above his headboard. But that’s about where it ended. He even has an unfinished ceiling fan project that is just a major eye sore, that I swear I’ll get around to at least once a week. So I finally said enough’s enough and promised to finish off his main gallery wall to get his room a little more “put together.” Up until now this has been about as good as it gets in there (pardon the low quality cell phone picture pulled from my archives).
He’s in such a sweet stage right now, where he’s forged his personal interests (and boy is he PASSIONATE about them). First and foremost, above anything is his love of football. Most importantly the Dallas Cowboys. If you ever ask him about them, or anything football for that matter, you better grab a cup of coffee and settle in, because brother will talk. your. ear. off. Every library trip yields another book about the history of the Cowboys or anything other football book they may have (I know way more than I ever thought I would about Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith). When he needs to unwind at the end of the day, he asks anyone in a 40 mile radius if they will play “tackle” or two hand touch. It usually ends in him trying to force his 4 year old sister to do it, to which she screams and it ends in tears after he’s come at her full force with his helmet on.
Point is, he loves football. So I knew I wanted to incorporate it into his gallery. Then I saw a pin on Pinterest (that she-devil temptress finally came through for me) for a 4 piece collage of his interests. It worked out perfectly for me, because he really does have 4 that sum him up quite well. First, duh, football. Second, legos, most importantly Star Wars legos (combining two passions in one). Third Xbox. Where he spends most of his earned Xbox time playing….. wait for it….. Madden (and Minecraft). Last, the other sport he plays himself, swimming. I couldn’t help myself this past summer after one of his swim meets snapping his inner Michael Phelps. It took me about 30 seconds, I asked him to look at me real quick, and he posed himself! Enter my favorite little collage of canvases I think I’ve ever done. It sums my sweet 6 year old up in one glance at his bedroom wall. And although I know it will change over the next year or two I have a little time capsule of what he was like in this moment.
I wish I had a picture of what this wall looked like before I stripped it down, or a better picture of it bare, but I had a million projects going on at once so this is as good as it gets. Before I took everything down it was a hodge podge of older decor ideas mixed with some place holders. I had to take everything down to clear my mind so I could start fresh with what I wanted. And honestly the only thing I knew to be true was, I wanted the 4 piece canvas collage and I wanted shelves. And that was it. I did a few mock ups on my computer for spacing and where I thought shelves would work, and then I just shopped around in stores and online for anything football related that wasn’t cheesy or over the top (there was a ton of the latter). Once I got the shelving up, and found the cute star and touchdown sign I could finally order the canvases. I got everything hung and used masking tape to tape off the remaining space to see how much room I had left and chose the sizes based on that!
Here it is bare (another bad cell phone picture). If you look closely you can see a bare ceiling fan light fixture…. that’s brass… and missing a cover. That is scheduled to be spray painted and add a drum shade. Look for that in summer of 2028.
And here it is after I hung the other pieces and measured the canvases using masking tape.
And here it is all finished:
The wall shelves were mostly because I can’t stand clutter. And I promise you, he always knew where his little trinkets were at all times so there was no shoving these things in a drawer. His two prize possessions are his little autograph from Dan Bailey and an autographed football from Dan Marino to daddy when he was Caden’s age! And if you look closely, those football commemorative coins were also from when daddy was little. Caden FREAKED out when Meema brought those to him and are also proudly displayed now.
One of these days I’ll get around to getting him a proper sized desk and corner chair, but I’ll take my victories where I can get them, and for now, it’s that glorious wall!
Touch down wall hooks from Pottery Barn Teen.
White shelving, Dallas Cowboys and NFL Helmet art from Target.
Dallas star from Hobby Lobby.
They were being too cute coloring in his room when I tried to take these pictures real quick. So enjoy the cuteness of my two peanuts while you are here.