Category Archives: family

Are these yours?!

I saw this comment on facebook today by a comedian and had to share. My friend (& blogger) Brandy who has 9 boys shared the remark… Yes 9 boys :)

Comedian Jim Gaffigan has 5 children; here’s how he answers the “Why so many?!” question:

“Well, why not? I guess the reasons against having more children always seem uninspiring and superficial. What exactly am I missing out on? Money? A few more hours of sleep? A more peaceful meal? More hair? These are nothing compared to what I get from these five monsters who rule my life. I believe each of my five children has made me a better man. So I figure I only need another thirty-four kids to be a pretty decent guy.”

If you haven’t watched Jim’s comedy acts on Netflix you should. Im not really into comedians but his acts are funny :) – fairly family friendly… but some of them can have a word or two. Just as a warning for small listening ears.

Big Families RockThe other day I went on a walk with my boys. Travis was at work and Reed was protesting his nap. Probably had something to do with the fact he slept in til 10am… but non the less we went on a walk in the 72F beautiful Georgia weather… As I walked down our neighborhood roads… and my older 3 boys zipped pass me on their bikes. A man in his car stopped by me as he drove passed my boys cautiously (thank you btw for the drives who do slow down)… and he said “FOUR?!” I smile as I pushed my 2 year old in the jogger… “Yup… 4 boys.” He then asked “Are these yours!?” – as if I was their nanny? yes… all four are mine. He then said “Are you done yet?” in a joking tone but none the less it is a bit offensive time after time. I don’t know this man personally and he very well could be a fan of large families and meant nothing by his remarks… his thoughts on our amount of children though reflect something I see often….

Why is it that our society looks at larger families with eyes of misunderstanding and doubt. They wonder if its worth it. If we made a mistake. Why anyone in their right mind would have more than the perfect number of 2… and how anyone could possibly want to chase children all day.

In these moments I laugh it off and try to stay as kind as I can… but there are moments when this happens that I want to be honest with the individual and share with them my real thoughts on large families.

Like Jim Gaffigan mentioned in his remark.

We may not get as much sleep.

We may not have as much money.

It may not be the most peaceful meal some evenings.

… and yes you may find less hair or more grays on your head…

but wow… look at the blessing surrounding you!!

There is not a day that passes where I regret having four children… and honestly the older I get the more I wouldn’t mind a few more.

Life can be hard in the midst of babies and toddlers… the poo accidents and the meltdowns… during weeks where sickness plagues not one but all four of your children… and in the moments when you want just a moment of peace and no responsibility… No mother of many will ever say it was easy… but we proudly admit they blessed beyond words.

So cheers to large families… Next time you see a mom with many little ones. Congratulate her on her beautiful family and tell her she is blessed.

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Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.
Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!

– Psalm 127:3-5

Snow Days

Snow Days

Snow days in the south are so different than snow days in the north.

After two years in Northern Ohio. I learned the difference pretty quick :)

I did learn to drive in it better….

… and after a few years in Atlanta, I realized when it snows, its all good and fine, as long as you aren’t on the road. Snow + Atlanta traffic = nightmare.

Thankful that this year Travis was at home. He had a gun class of some sort for work the day it started to snow. Because the gun course was outdoors, they canceled due to weather. So Travis got not only wednesday off, but thursday and tomorrow!

Here are some memories from our time :)

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Our neighbors yard has a nice hill. We used theirs as well since our hill got over used haha…

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Reed missed the “snow man” building process…” however, I brought him out for a quick photo. Jammies and all :)

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and of course after any time playing in the snow, you must warm up with hot chocolate.

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I also decided to ask my neighbor to model for me when the snow really came down thick. It was a lot of fun. I’ve wanted to photograph a “teenager” in falling snow for quiet some time. It was a quick shoot but I got some fun shots for her. You can view the entire blog post with those images OVER HERE on my photo blog. Below are just a few.

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Social Media Heaviness

Social Media HeavinessDo you ever have those days when you read something else, yet again that just makes you a bit heavy?

From a news article.

To a blog post.

To a persons post on instagram or facebook.

Something else that is laid in front of your face to read, that does nothing but cause worry, anxiety and at times anger. It seems like more and more each time I log onto social media I am confronted with crap. With depravity and news articles about our freedoms being taken away… (Although we need to stay informed about those terrorizing our country and targeting those who follow Christ. That is something we should not refrain from knowing…. and if anything learn to be vocal and proclaim your faith, despite fear!) Our minds are flooded with comment after comment of hate from complete strangers *ever scroll through a photo of one of the Duggar girls… the comments would make you sick – yet why am I reading them!?*, people mouthing off things they’d never say to a persons face. As I sit there and judge them for their bickering and hatred, I cant help but see this in myself… quick to comment, quick to leave feed back. Yet knowing deep down I probably would never even utter a word to the person face to face. Nor would they.

Interactions being made so flippantly just because.

Its something to do.

Something in front of us.

… and becoming more and more the norm.

Its okay to do right? why not. No harm.

We’re staying connected with our loved ones.

Its a good thing?…

Yet when was the last time you logged on just to see how big baby Ben is getting or how Uncle Joes family vacation was.

The more and more each day passes, the more and more harm I find from it.

Why can we not live in the now.

Live today, with those we love. Without a screen or a status. Constant pulling of our attention.

Another “Hang on a sec buddy….” As you read one more meaningless article or watch yet another viral video.

I want more.

I love interacting with new people. Meeting so many awesome people through my blog *and even instagram* (yes Ive met people off both and its so cool!). I love Sharing my world. My kids. Pouring out things I have learned and hopefully helping someone in return. Bringing in income for my family. (Yes I make money with my blog. Last month I made around $400, month before that over $1,000.) No reason to hide that… I’m not ashamed by the income I work hard to bring in. My husband often tells me I am fulfilling the Proverbs 31 verse each time I find a way to be resourceful in order to help my family, yet again. Even if its only $10.00 here, or $50.00 there. My ability to use things at my fingertips to help my family has been invaluable and so helpful. Our family depends on that income. So a huge huge HUGE hug and thank you to all of those who read our blog.

Know that you reading it is a blessing not only to me but to four little boys and a hard working man paroling the streets with a bullet proof vest. Who despite risking his life makes less hourly than I do as a photographer. He shoots a gun. I shoot a camera. Yet he gets so undervalued it makes me want to march right up to whoever decides their pay and show them some mommy/wife wrath. That in and of itself is a can of worm I will not open. Maybe one day but not today.

footprintsWe have much and plenty and for that I am thankful.

… but the heaviness I feel lately cannot be hidden or escaped some times.

I’m exhausted at the thought of all the pinterest praise post.

Showing perfection.

Houses with everything set right and kids dressed cute. *Does my kid even have underwear on right now??*

Mothers calling other moms heartless idiots, weak or selfish for being unable to nurse, birth a baby without pain meds or choosing not or to give their kid a shot. Its a competition, right? One moms choice means shes right and the other utterly foolish and wrong. Many make it seem so… and moms read comment after comment, filling their hearts with hate from total strangers, daily. How is this good for anyone?

Flawless meals with all real ingredients and post after post of boxed food sharing every single thing wrong that is in it.

You know, I can read… I realize processed foods contain crap, we all do. Even those who consume it daily know this. The difference is some care, some don’t. I for one am the type that does care... but I refuse to live in a bondage to it. I refuse to put my family in debt because I cant imagine eating something that contains a hormone or a gmo. I find peace in knowing I’m trying and doing the best with what I have and I believe God blesses those who do so. We cannot live in ignorance or turn away from truth but we can learn to trust the Father and know He is good. If our bank cant afford everything organic, He knows that! He knows the hairs on my head, the stars in the sky, you better believe he knows the desires in my heart and the amount in my bank. I believe in eating healthy, real food and making sure my kids know the benefits of this and importance… but you better believe ill be a good steward and be reasonable.

I don’t need food babe telling me my kids cereal is going to kill them with some sort of preservative that is linked to cancer.

The constant worry that floods us mothers…

Our minds.

Our hearts.

Its exhausting!!

I’m putting a stop to this today! For me.

For my children. For my home.

I love my blog and will continue to blog, because, I love yall :) – really. I do! Email me, it makes my day. I love being able to share my heart…
… and I will continue to do so.

One thing that I have learned over the years, is being silent. Not genuine. Not expressing struggle. Is to live in a box. I want nothing more than to be real with those around me… with other women (esp mothers)… and break the mold of traditional expectations. I was a Pastors wife and may very well be one again… but that doesn’t mean we have to pretend perfection. No one should have to.

now….

Lets learn to cut the screen off.

Put the PHONE DOWN (turn it off – really! preaching to myself here).

and be here. Now.

With those who love you.

See you.

living in the now, a post about being a mom and putting the phone down

Boy Room Redo

This weekend we decided to finally put forth a little effort in re-doing the boys bedrooms a bit.

We didn’t have much money to invest… but I knew I needed to do something.

I very much disliked their bedrooms the way we had them. I don’t have recent photos of how Taite’s room eventually became… but at one point he had his bed on the floor. Just a mattress… no frame, nothing… and it just looked terrible. The dressers we had were overly big… old. Had a lot of flaws and needed a lot of TLC… while they would have made great re-purposed pieces, I knew I didn’t have time for that. So I listed those to sell on facebook and sold both… along with the boys cheaper particle board desk.

We then decided to move Caleb into Taite/Owens old room… and to move Taite/Owen into Calebs old room.

So a task :) but one that I think went very well.

So here are some photos to show what was done :)

I will show before photos below as well. So to compare.

Caleb’s old room prior to the re-do

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After the re-do – Now Taite & Owens Room

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The dressers we got at IKEA. Lightweight and solid pine. Great price too.

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Taite & Owens room before the re-do

– Their room was SO messy – always. The closets. The dresser. Always a mess. Because the drawers on their dresser were so heavy (since the dressers were old)… they had a terrible habit of leaving them open. This room also is very narrow… so it made putting two beds side by side impossible. A bunk works too and we have had bunks in this room before… Even when we had a bunk in the room, it just never looked the best. With the room re-do we are establishing much stricter chore rules… and these dudes are going to chip in their piece to keep their rooms nice and well taken care of. I am partly to blame for not enforcing this more. I think a huge part of my lack in motivation in this area, was the fact their rooms were always so “bleh” to me… I didn’t much care what they looked like because they functioned so poorly.


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After the re-do – Now Calebs room

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You can’t see inside the closets in either room… but we completely gutted them. Took everything out… organized their clothes on hangers… and took out ALL the toys. In Owen and Taites room we do have a small book shelf with a few toy buckets and things they enjoy. Besides that, there are no toys in their room. I did find them some cute lamps at Target. For $12.99. The lamp has two charging outlets on the base, which we love! It makes it so much easier for them to plug up their kindles and charge them.

Here is a close up:

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So, that is it! I haven’t tackled Reeds room yet… but his room was never really an issue. Although his is kind of plain, it was never overly trashed. :)

The only thing we purchased for the room make over were the two dressers in the younger boys room… the lamps and thats it! My mom and dad brought the cute SOLID wood desk for Taites room this weekend. So that desk replaced the cheaper one we had. It has lots of great storage too.

We got rid of TWO TRASH BAGS FULL of boy clothes. We had so many boy clothing shoved into their drawers… it was a bit ridiculous how many clothes they had to choose room. Children do not need that much! Esp. children home schooled haha… I mean the pressure of “certain clothing items” is not heavy on my kids… and so having drawers full of so much really was causing more trouble. Making it hard for them to see what they had… and hard for them to put clothes away.

The boys so far have done a great job keeping up their rooms. We are really pushing them to put their clothes away as soon as they take them off… to get better about putting their clothes in the hamper… and hanging things up right away. We even got Taite a little stool (it use to be in our kitchen). This way he can hang up clothes easier in the closet. That stool btw comes from IKEA. Its solid pine and only cost $15! We ended up buying an additional one to replace the one in the kitchen. Great function-able stool…. that last. (the blue one is 5 years old)

While these rooms may seem simple :) – Im proud of them… and thankful for the means to make them a little bit better…

Marriage is so much more than “surviving”  it

Marriage is so much more than “surviving” it

IMG_Family_Portrait_Atlanta_GA-1787Yesterday Travis and I celebrated our 12 year Anniversary. Although today is “technically” it :)

We don’t ever really do much for our anniversary… having kids right off the bat and moving so often, has made our ability to travel or do “really big” things a bit hard. In fact with our 10 year anniversary I had hopes of traveling some place but Reed was a newborn and he was freshly out of the Police Academy, so that just did not happen. It is what it is and either way, I am thankful for each year. Each one brings its joys and challenges but each one brings us closer.

Travis surprised me this year by taking off yesterday. I had no idea. He was suppose to be at work. I got up kind of early yesterday. Took a shower… got dressed… had some quiet time… then when I went downstairs Taite wanted help on the computer starting a game… so I sat down with him in the school room to do this. While I was in there helping him I heard dishes being put away… but I didn’t think much of it. I figured Caleb was being extra sweet and decided to start on chores early.

Well, after I got Taite’s game going, I went into the kitchen only to see Travis in there with Caleb :) and a stack of gifts and big vase of roses. He got me :) – which for him is hard to do haha.

He then had me open a letter he wrote and I thought it be fun to post it here, so I can remember it and look back on it, if by some chance I lose the copy he gave me. Im typically not one to tear up easily over things like this but this one got me. He admits its a bit silly but it was still so so sweet.

He was hesitant for me to post this :) – but told me I could if I wanted… for my own memory sake.
He doesn’t claim to be a poet at all. To me while this may seem kinda simple… it means more than any gift ever could.

Twelve Wonderful Years

A farm boy sent to the big city whoever would have known,

That while there God would bring the woman

Who would be his very own.



She was a student while a youth intern I came to be

Thrown together by God’s perfect plan

But unbeknowst to us for at least 9 months plus 3



She really stood out, so different from all the rest,

Artsy and quiet, with her sweet sixteen smile

I never would have known, that for me, she would be God’s very best.



I left that summer really quite ignorant of this person I would grow to love

But in the months that followed,

I began to see more deeply this beautiful person sent from heaven above.



Through the use of computers, messaging, and email

and technology known only to the modern age

We talked and shared extensively, learning that on many things, we were on the same page.



A whole year went by before I would see her… and then

Coming in with the choir, so elegant and stunning,

I was blown away by her beauty when I saw her for the very first time… again



Now eighteen and finally legal (hahaha…), no more must I wait

To Charlotte once more I came

To ask this sweet young lady on our very first date.



It started in the mountains on a road trip for the whole day

Amidst the beauty of God’s wonderful creation

We talked and giggled like nervous school children until night had come our way.



I would drive to Charlotte, to Raleigh she would come

So many miles we would put on our cars

Our parents thought we were nuts, but we didn’t care, we were having fun.



Until the day came in the summer of 2002

When for certain I knew

she was the one I had hoped and prayed would someday say “I do.”



A more gorgeous bride there never has been than my beauty all dressed in white

I will never forget that special day

When I received God’s precious gift with oh so much great delight.

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Four boys, eight moves, and many chuches later how greatly blessed I am today

Twelve wonderful years and counting

To still be with my darling dear, forever and always to stay.


It hasn’t always been easy, quiet challenging for both of us at times

But blessed, changed, and more tightly bound are we

Christ making the sweetest lemonade from all our lemons and limes.


And so to close this little poem with one verse more I write

A pale comparison I know it is

To return to you, which I daily receive, oh so much love, joy, warmth, and delight!


For my devoted and loving wife on our 12th Anniversary

Travis

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Before I end this post… while ending it on his poem would be perfect I think… I just wanted to end with a few words of encouragement to couples out there who may be in the midst of struggle.

Travis and I have never done things perfectly.

We went into marriage honestly a bit blind. We were young and “obsessed” :) with each other… I think often with young love, you get caught up in it and don’t think to far. You just know how you feel “at that moment” and you believe with all your heart that you will break the mold. You will be that couple who never has real issues. That couple who has perfect kids who you vow to never “talk negatively about” to your friends haha… you vow all these things that you truly cannot understand or predict, until you live it.

Travis and I got little to know marriage counseling.
I was 19, he was 25. We loved each other and that is all that matter at the moment.

Marriage is God ordained and amazing… but it cannot be amazing if you do not communicate… and to often in our marriage we didn’t communicate… and we built up walls towards each other.

I look back on it and these walls were built without us even really knowing it… and just years of years of not knowing how to communicate “well” with each other, really hindered our marriage.

So to all the newlyweds out there… or the soon to be married couples… or maybe even the person reading this who may be married and has been married for years but feels as if their marriage is at the breaking point.

Know that marriage is worth fighting for… but it takes two. If you are having problems in your marriage, never feel ashamed to seek counseling. When Travis and I moved to Georgia we went through a year 1/2 of professional counseling. Not only as individuals but as a couple! It was awkward… and hard… I remember at times thinking it was so pointless and so stupid… but it wasn’t. The Lord was able to use our counselor to really teach us about each other in a way we hadn’t really seen… because we were to busy proving our own points or making our own assumptions.

If you want my honest opinion. Every couple should seek counseling around year 7 of marriage, regardless if they feel they need it or not HAHA… cause it really did make that huge of a difference for us.

Would we have survived without it… probably.

… but marriage is so much more than “surviving” it.

So to my amazing husband of 12 years. I love you. I know without a doubt, I am a blessed woman.
Many women would love to have a man as thoughtful and caring as you are to me.
Just know that and stay humble :) hehe

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