Zone Defense

We had one of those times in church yesterday that in the moment is not funny AT ALL, but then afterwards when it's well behind you (and I'm not sure it's well enough behind me yet) all you can do is laugh because you survived and everyone is fine,
and sometimes that's just good enough.

And gosh, if you can't laugh about it then what can we do?

We were that family yesterday.  The one that you keep in the back of your head after you've managed your own brood for the hour-long service with a few hairy moments and think, "well, at least we had it more together than they did." 
And admit, you've totally done this because I have,
and well, maybe that's called karma because we were that family yesterday.

The one that was late (of course), and got ushered to the only open spot in the FRONT, right next to the CENTER aisle.  We had pouting and flailing and small princess figurines meant to quietly entertain WHACKING against the wooden pews.  We had kids clambering onto kneeling rails and jumping, we had kids that wanted up then down then up then down then up then down then up.  Kids were definitely not using whispering voices, and someone was crying because his paper got crumpled up, and kids were laughing, and Andrew and I were not.  

Afterwards, the families behind us and in front of us complimented us on our zone defense, which was totally a nicety, because it was pretty touch and go the entire time.  Like I told Andrew afterwards, we need to start going to church on Saturday night so that when we're done it's appropriate to go home and have a well-deserved glass of wine instead of feeling like it's probably not okay to go have a drink at noon
like I wanted to yesterday.

Okay, it's starting to get a little funny.

--

Last week when I was dropping the big kids off at school, the preschool director and I were chatting in the hall about Nelle and her potty accidents she's been having all of a sudden the past couple of weeks.  Last Wednesday she had not one, but two potty accidents.  Her clothes she wore to school were wet, and then so were her backup set so they told her she could wear one of the backup pairs of pants from school and she got upset and cried and told them she wasn't going to because they were ugly.  

Now that made me laugh right away because she's right.
They were really really ugly pants.

Here's to a week of working on our zone defense
and finding the humor in the chaos that is our life right now.  

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angel wings and halo dress up set | tulle skirt (similar) | peter pan collar shirt

A Gut-Check and Unrelated Pictures of my Ragamuffin Kids

You know when you're going, going, going, and then all of a sudden you have this epiphany moment (or week in my case), where you're like, "this is all so, so good, but it's not all so so good FOR ME."? 

I had one of those moments.  Or a few really.

I alluded to the fact that I was changing things up for myself professionally on Insta last week, and it all really boils down to I need to work less.  I'm in this amazing spot with my work so it's difficult to explain or maybe understand.  You want to work less when you're in demand??

My clients are THE best.  I'm so incredibly fortunate to work with fantastic families who value and appreciate me as a photographer and friend.  And my calendar is full pretty much year round, and usually I start my busy season around September, but this year it feels like I've been in busy season since the middle of July and that's with turning away potentially really great clients because I've realized my limits and I'm above that threshold.  And then some.

I missed June last week.  I miss reading her books, and singing her a lullaby and putting her to bed.  I miss family dinner even if it's normally only 20 minutes long, and the kids are wild and don't always eat well...I miss that time where some days it's all we get together.  I miss time to just be.  I miss time to sit and talk with Andrew instead of just sitting beside him only halfway present while we watch TV and I check and answer work emails.  My kids miss the consistency of our daily routine, and they miss ME.

Last night I got home from a really wonderful shoot, and Henry was waiting in his room for me to come tuck him into bed.  I decided to lie down with him for a bit because it's been too long since I did that, and he's been more than a handful lately (read - lack of consistency is a nightmare with him at this stage), and I just felt like we both needed to reconnect in a positive way instead of butting heads like it has been too much over the past few weeks.  He was enamored.  Giggled and got so snuggly, and said after I had been with him for maybe a mere minute and a half, "I love when you spend time with me, Mommy."
My heart sank.  I get a lump in my throat just thinking about it again.
That gut-check is also incredibly reassuring that by limiting the amount of work I take on next year (and putting 100% of work me into those to make them STELLAR and intimate and personal and unique with lots of attention to detail and customer service), will let me be.

Be with my family more, be present, and just be.
I want more space to breathe energy and creativity
into my personal and professional life.  

And just breathe.  

Changes are scary, but this is where my heart is.
Andrew is 100% supportive, and it feels right.

This is going to be amazing for me, my fam, AND my amazing clients. 

Deep breaths, deep breaths. 
It's all going to be just fine.

Rest, Rest, Rest - Rest is Best

Please join me in letting out a big 'ol collective sigh for a good 30 seconds. 
Maybe more. 
Because this week has been a doozie.

The highlight is I got strep throat and was pretty miserable from Monday afternoon through Thursday morning.  Like crazy sore throat, chills, aches, headaches and fever.  The doctor prescribed me a z-pack and gave me other tips to relieve my symptoms like Ibprofen for my throat, a liquid Tylenol great for relieving throat pain as well, and rest.  

REST!!! 

ELLLLOOOOOOHH-ELLLL-OHHHHH-ELLLLLLLLLLLL

My sweet cherub children have had some good moments this week, but to be completely honest, when I'm not on my a-game, they totally know it and some people like to test how much they can get away with.  Not naming any names, but it's the same child that happens to test everything I say or do from sun up to sun down because that is what this certain child finds fun...strong-willed to the extreme.

I had such good intentions for this week!  I took all three to the store on Monday afternoon so we could get groceries for the week and make soup that night after a dreary rainy morning.  One of my fave soups, except apparently no one else in my family likes it.  Like at all.  We told the kids they didn't have to eat it after they tried three bites.  And Nelle gagged on each spoonful.  Literallyyyyy was trying not to vomit as she painfully ate three bites.  The nerve!  And she didn't finish the rest, imagine that.

I know you're dying for the recipe now, but unfortunately(?) for you the link I had saved to my Pinterest isn't working anymore.

I had to reschedule a shoot I was sooo looking forward to, and instead of getting caught up on work this week I'm pretty much where I started on Monday.

And Nelle has screamed as much as she has breathed today.
Whoa.

BUT.

I am feeling better.

And at some point, the laundry will get finished and put away, and my house won't be filthy forever (or will it....), and everyone's shoots will get edited.

Happy Friday all!  Here's to health and finding time this weekend to enjoy and rest.

And hoping no one else in my family gets strep.  But if someone were to, my money is on Ham since he asked to have one of my pieces of toast this morning after he polished off his own breakfast and asked for more food (current theme for every meal/snack lately), and I said yes, but only the one that I haven't taken any bites out of yet, and wouldn't you know he did the exact opposite.

2016 Season Opener

Last Friday I kept the kids up past naptime until Andrew could make it home a bit early so we could drive to Manhattan and stroll through Purple Power Play, stay the night with my parents, and then head to the Bill on Saturday morning for the annual family reunion...with 50,000 of our kin.  Ha.

But seriously, we look forward to football season so much every year, and try to include our kids whenever we can.  Or feel up to it.  Or Andrew agrees to it.  Sometimes it's the first scenario, many times it's the second or third.  Because having a baby strapped to you with your four-year-old lying on you while the middle naps away on your husband under the blazing hot late summer sun is exactly how football was meant to be watched!  Go Cats!   

So maybe June won't make it to another game this year.  
But we can say we took all three to at least one this season and lived to tell the tale.

June did her best to spend the least amount of time with us as possible as she thought everyone else's tailgates looked better than ours.  Rude.  Nelle tried her hardest to keep baby sis in line, but soon got distracted by wide-stance leg dancing with a bit of parking lot twirling, except for when she and Henry tried to play catch with a mini football and caught it approximately two times between the two of them out of 100 throws.

I just cannot for the life of me figure out why I was utterly exhausted at halftime.

I love that this crew is growing up with these traditions and it just makes me so happy when they see the stadium and their eyes light up.
Worth it, worth it.  Exhausting, but worth it.

Looking forward to another season, more tailgates, and time with this crew of Wildcats.

ps, for fun - 2015 season opener (OMGeeeee! Teeny tiny newborn June!), 2014 season opener (baaaby Nelle and chubby toddler Ham, 2013 season here and here (preggo with Nelle) , 2012 season (Ham's first game!)

Eight Years In

On Tuesday Andrew and I celebrated our eighth anniversary!  And celebrated is used loosely here because I'm not sure how else to write about it.  We actually went out on Friday night last week to officially celebrate it, so on Tuesday we acknowledged it??  

Andrew worked, and we made dinner at home like most/all Tuesdays, but then after we all went for a little drive so I could location scout for a couple of upcoming shoots.  

June's teething in a major way right now (that happens when you only have two teeth through the first 13 months of your life...eventually they do all have to come in, and the time is nowwww), so she and Andrew ended up staying in the car, and the bigs and I high-stepped it through some pretty tall grass into a field of wild sunflowers.  

We stayed for maybe only 10 minutes after getting in some test shots, while Henry and Nelle twirled, picked flowers, and flew like airplanes through the open field.

I love this time of year because the sunflowers always remind me of the time of our wedding.  The wild ones pop up a week or two before and linger for about the same amount of time after, just like they did the year we were married.

We let the bigs stay up past bedtime to have s'mores with us in the backyard by the fire pit, listened to Pat Green, and it wasn't lost on me that this typical, normal Tuesday night in September although ordinary was also extraordinary in many ways too.

Life could not be more different for us compared to when a 22 and 23-year-old got married and decided to make a life together.  And I love that we choose to show up every day to keep making it better and better.  We do the day-to-day, the routines, the mundane, and then somewhere along the way, we realize the every day is the good stuff.  I mean, I love a good date night, but give me Tuesday night over and over again.  Hand-holding in the car, country music around a fire, tucking babies into beds, talking about our days, and falling asleep by the one I said I do to eight years ago.

Because if this is what eight years in looks like, I can't wait to see what's yet to be.

The best is yet to be.