Thursday, February 13, 2014

Serenity is 18 months old!

That went by fast! I can't believe our little girl is 1 1/2. She is SOOO funny. She constantly keeps us laughing. Her big. She is stubborn and determined and doesn't respond well to the word "no." But she is also full of love and hugs and kisses. So here is a little list of what she is like at 18 months old
* Strong willed
* LOVES to be held (kind of clingy)
* Loves to play with Eli
* Will sit on the potty for a second- but really has no interest in using it (although she's used it 3 times before)
* Daddy's girl. All the way. Asks for him every minute or so.
* Says lots and lots of words, small sentences
* Reads. She loves books. Her favorites are with babies and Dora. So I found a Dora baby book. WIN.
* Enjoys the slide
* So loving, always giving hugs and kisses
* HILARIOUS - seriously, this girl just keeps us laughing and laughing

We are so blessed

She is so beautiful inside and out.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

"I will miss you mommy."

I have a very distinct memory from when I was 3. My mom had put me in my bed, kissed me goodnight, and left the room. I remember how I missed her as she left. I just wanted to be with her. So I got out of bed and told her my head hurt just so I could give her a hug. I remember doing this a few times actually. She made such an impact on me that I missed her before she ever even left a room. 

I put Eli down for a nap a little bit ago, I heard him get up and knock on his own door. I went to check on him and he said very quietly and sincerely, "I missed you mommy." Immediately the memories of missing my own mother at that age came back to me. So I tucked him in again, gave him a kiss and said that I would still be here when he woke up. "Sleep good Eli." "But I'll still miss you mommy." My heart turned into mush. 

I will be very honest and say this age can be trying, tiring, and make me second guess my parenting style at times. He's becoming independent, having his own ideas about how things should go and sometimes I wonder if I'm doing it right. Some nights I thank God for bedtimes and I am thankful for mornings to try again. Some nights I feel pretty awesome and I'm so thankful for the over abundant amounts of Grace and love from God that I am able to pour that over into my children. 

I'm sure my mom made mistakes. I'm sure she had nights of being thankful for bedtimes. I'm sure she asked God to guide her with parenting. I'm sure she wondered if she was doing things right. I don't remember any of that. I remember her love and comfort. She was so mothering. She was everything I needed her to be. I was 3. And I wanted my mommy. There was no yelling of, "get back to bed!" There was always room for one more hug and one more kiss. I am so thankful for that. Because I remember that feeling so well, I can fully understand Eli missing me. And there is always room for one more hug and one more kiss. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Comparison is the thief of joy

"Comparison is the thief of joy." - Theodore Roosevelt

This is somewhat of a spinoff to my blog on being content. Whether you want to admit it or not, you've done it, I've done it, and we all have been guilty of it at one point of our lives. You can compare anything: Your job, your weight, your financial status, your marriage, your children, your house, and the list goes on. Often times when I find myself comparing it is so subtle and quiet and whispers in my ear that something in my life isn't measuring up the way it should. And it can steal your joy right out from under you if you are not careful or aware.

What does comparing do to us? Well, Its letting us know we are failing in some aspect of our lives, when in reality, we are not. Comparison will drag you down and leave you in the dirt. The ONLY person you should be comparing yourself to- is you.

Where do I see comparison happen the most? It is HUGE in the photography community- and I mean HUGE, and also weight. Yes, that weight we put on but somehow just doesnt fall off for all of us when that baby takes their first breath. For some women it does: enter comparison

When I first started photography, my very first shoot was a maternity session, I had no idea of depth or white balance or posing. Do I compare myself to other photographers? Not anymore. It steals the joy I get from being behind a camera, and also tells me i'm not good enough. But when I compare my first session to my most recent, I am OVERJOYED! Why? Because i've grown and i'm achieving something I set out to do.

If I posted a picture next to Jessica Alba you would probably cry for me. I would probably cry for me. But if I posted a picture of my body next to someone who gave birth yesterday, I would feel smokin'. Comparison of my body to another will never get me where I need to go. BUT when I compare myself to the me I was 4 months ago: THAT is realistic and THAT shows progress.

Perhaps you aren't a photographer and maybe you are completely satisfied with your body, maybe you  struggle in another area? Maybe you aren't struggling at all. So why compare you to yourself? That is the only realistic way we can see if we are growing and moving forward. Naturally, someone is always ahead of you and always behind. So its not fair to compare to anyone but yourself. If you look at who you were a year ago, you will most likely find some area in your life that you have grown in.

I see and hear of comparison all around me, I know its something everyone goes through (even me) from time to time. I see lots of it go on in social media. So if comparison is something you are in the habit of doing, I encourage you to turn off whatever encourages that joy stealer. Whether that be facebook, magazines, or darn you pinterest. And look only at yourself, and who GOD DESIGNED you to be. If he wanted you to be someone else, he would have done that, but nope, he made you, YOU. Created to fulfill a purpose for him, and no one can do it quite like you. Continue to reach for your goals and set that bar within reach, and don't forget to only look back once in awhile to see how far you have come. Keep your joy safe and sound out of comparisons dirty fingers :)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Fall Family Pics

Huge thanks to my mama for taking these

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

I'm obviously not content with being content

Something I have been working on lately is being content. Let me start from the beginning - it's kind of like if you give a mouse a cookie.

Ryan and I first got married 7 years ago and lived in a tiny apartment in Grand Rapids, we thought about buying but we knew adventure was screaming our name. So we moved to Hawaii. I pretty much cried the whole first year we lived there. I missed my family and the dream of owning a home was pretty much crushed. I had to get used to ants all over everything and a scorpion that lived in our toilet. There were no fall leaves in the fall and there was no snow on Christmas morning. It didn't feel like home. However, we knew we didn't want kids at that time in our life and we knew weren't missing out on anything in Michigan by giving Hawaii a shot for another year. And Hawaii was kind to me. And like i've heard it said, it would find its way and settle into my heart. And a year turned into two and two turned into 5. And it became home. Sitting on the beach listening to kids laughing in the water, watching the sun go down, and feeling the warmth all around everyday, not from the sun, but from the people. And about as soon as I declared it home, a feeling of discontent came over me all over again. I wanted MORE. A child. Yes! It was time for us to take that next step. Who knew that could change everything? And that they cried so much.

Behold a child named Eli. He was perfect, except for the non stop crying. It wasn't too long after Eli was born that the terrible feeling of discontent took over again. What more could you want? A good marriage, A healthy child, LIVING IN HAWAII! Ya know, Its tough being a first time mom, it's even harder when you have no one around to support, encourage you or throw all of their crappy unwanted advice- i mean 'wisdom' at you. But I couldn't shake the feeling: Who will he call Grandpa if he doesn't know one? What about cousins? There are no cousins here for him. So my life WASNT perfect so I wasn't content so of course you need a change. Right? Moving back to Michigan seemed like the best thing to do. So we did. And the leaves were crappy that fall and it didn't snow on Christmas morning and my family had their "own lives". (Although we did hang out from time to time) Well crap. This wasn't at all what I imagined. I mean, I didn't think we would stand around the Christmas tree singing Kumbaya, but still. Behold that very familiar feeling. Not content. Well, NOW what am I supposed to do? I need another change. Hawaii. Oh sweet Hawaii you were so good to me once and you wont let me down again. Oh, hey, i'm pregnant. Surprise! And the baby is due when we plan on moving. Wow, so I have to stay somewhere I don't want to be while being fat and pregnant with a child I did not plan. Great. Can I just say how perfect Gods timing was with Serenity? PERFECT! *I should note, there is a difference in being unhappy and discontent. I felt very happy, but I could not *settle*

Knowing we would be staying awhile we decided to become home owners (just like i always dreamed) and I cannot shake the feeling of Hawaii out of my heart. But I really like owning a home. I want to build up North. But I want a shack by the beach. I want them to know family. But the lifestyle in Hawaii is much better for them. I want them to experience snow on Christmas, but yet the beach every day. Wow. Discontent. I was starting to feel ashamed of feeling maybe ungreatful for all these blessings that came my way. So many people are still waiting for the man of their dreams. Some people beg God to give them children. Some could care less where they live, but that they are living at all. I could not humble myself for the life of me, until a lightbulb clicked, and the bible sitting on the counter was pretty much screaming OPEN ME!!!

And so I did. I sat. And prayed. And I asked questions. And I was silent, and then a peace had come over me. And this is what came to me: There is no house or no ocean that will make you feel as fulfilled as I will. Wow. A God moment. How I longed for it and needed and I drank it up and it FILLED me. Content.

So I want to encourage you my friends:
It doesn't matter where you live, or what you have, or what you drive, whether you have family next door or an ocean apart. Nothing will ever satisfy you the way our Heavenly Father can. You can try all you want, but everything has a season and those "things" and feelings will fade. But God is so faithful and his love never changes. If you are feeling discontent with your life I encourage you to hand it fully over to the one who knows what is laid out before you. Your life is meant to be well lived. And who better to direct the uncertain paths of our lives? Enjoy today!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Serenity's first birthday party

I forgot to post this. Whoops!

Saturday, August 10, 2013