Friday, December 20, 2019

Family Photos @ Home

I was desperate to get a family photoshoot in this holiday season. The fall and winter seemed to go by so quickly - I really hope Thanksgiving and Christmas aren't so close together next year! Sheesh. We had to reschedule this shoot several times. I even went through four different photographers trying to find a day and time that worked for our busy family - as well as a willing photographer! Ha.

We ended up doing this shoot very close to Christmas, we just couldn't squeeze it in! I usually have a big theme, idea or look in mind for our one big family photoshoot each year (it's hard convincing Tim and TJ to do more than that lol) but this year I was so behind. We had a rough year and the last four months or so of 2019 seemed to fly by so quickly. Anywho, I finally figured out a day and time that would work - it was a Sunday morning at 8:00am in our family room. Haha. I'll take it!

We did a quick shoot at home in front of our Christmas tree. I used to dream of having a giant flocked tree like this. No ornaments. Just simple and clean. I love, love this tree. So I was happy to get some family pictures taken with our giant tree I had dreamed of. And shooting inside during the winter is much easier on everyone (this is why I like to be very prepared and even get our family pictures done in the late summer or fall).

Huge thank you to Brittany for being so flexible with our crazy schedule! Brittany is the photographer who does the "milk and cookies" theme with kids. (See 2018 HERE + 2019 HERE.)

There are a lot of pictures in this post. My bad. lol Also, so happy Lincoln was able to be in our family pictures this year. He starts physical therapy in 2020 for his torn ACL... for real! Prayers we can avoid surgery for our furry little man.

Flocked Christmas Tree - with white lights
My dress // Blake dress // Blake faux fur vest
Ryder sweater // TJ sweater

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Milk + Cookies

We did this mini shoot last year with Brittany from Brooke Leigh Photography. This "milk and cookies" theme is so darling! It's a quick and easy shoot and the pics are soooo dang cute! The kids really do get milk and cookies, so they aren't complaining. Haha!

Last year I made one of these adorable photos into a puzzle and the kids loved it! So I made another puzzle this year with their picture from this shoot. The kids seriously love putting the puzzles together and it's been a fun family activity to do together. I cherish these holiday memories with my bitty babies. Who are growing up SO fast. (insert ugly cry)

Brittany recommends kids wearing Christmas pjs for the shoot - we wore Hanna Andersson pjs again! (See Milk + Cookies pictures from 2018 HERE) I hope Brittany does this same shoot again in 2020 - I'll do it every year with the kids for as long as they are willing!

Matching Pajamas from Hanna Andersson

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

What's Up?

It's been a minute since posting anything to my blog. It definitely took a backseat when I started school back in October and ya know what, I've missed it! I miss writing and having my little outlet and connecting with people. But I am SO excited to be working and doing what I love!

You may remember I went back to school last October to get my Esthetician and Lash Extension licenses. Now I am working in DTC as the lash specialist at a beautiful med spa and I love it! But I can't say it's been completely smooth. I have had a hard time leaving the kids. I thought I would eventually get used to it, and definitely thought I would feel better about leaving them once I was out of school and working. But, NOPE. Us mamas have it rough. SO tough to find a balance that works for us, our kids and our entire family dynamic. So I'm still figuring all of that out and trying to organize my schedule so I can be with the kids as much as possible.

On top of completing school, going through state boards and adjusting to my new job, we decided to finish the basement! It was a slightly spontaneous decision. We always knew we'd finish it eventually but decided to go for it! We use that space every single day and thought it would be fun to finish it and enjoy it.

July is always insanely busy for us but this July was just CRAZY insane. We went from celebrating the 4th of July to jumping on a plane with all three kids to IL for a family reunion on Tims side. Looots of driving and traveling! Then back home to celebrate Ryder's birthday. I always try to make their actual birthday special, so we decided to spend the day at Lava Island with some friends and go out for lunch together. I think he had a blast! Then Tim and I went BACK to IL for a family wedding. Then back home to continue with basement shenanigans and a big birthday party for the kids (we did a joint party for Ryder and Blakely) and then about a week later was Blakes actual birthday... PHEW. It was a lot, haha. Blake decided she wanted to go to the zoo to feed the giraffes on her birthday. So the night before her birthday I drove to the Springs with the kids and we had a little pizza party and sleepover at my dads house. The zoo was so much fun! Blakely was too scared to feed the giraffes haha but she did pet one! My big girl! :)

GAHH, I'm tired just from writing that all out. LOL So July was insane. And then if you follow me on Instagram you might have seen on my stories that I recently discovered I have IBS and so that has completely changed my life (hopefully for the better eventually because I can better take care of my body and not be in pain anymore, fingers crossed.) It's all been very overwhelming and I'm exhausted!

But we are so excited for the basement to be completed (this week!) and look forward to getting all the kids used to their new school schedules. That's another thing I have been struggling with. Ryder being at school all day is just such a huge change for us. I can't believe how hard it has been on me! I just miss him so, so much. And Blake starts Pre K next week and although I know she's ready for it and excited about it, I am so sad to send my bitty baby off to school. (Insert sobbing face.) My mama heart is strugglin, guys! LOL

Anyway, that's what we've been up to lately! We are trying to plan a couple trips with the kids (so strange to have to plan trips around specific school schedules now!) so Tim and I are really looking forward to some special time with the kids and traveling. I'm hoping the rest of 2019 is a tad slower and a little bit more of a chill experience. Ha. I feel like I've been running around like a chicken with its head cut off for months and months!! 2019 has been a full-blown whirlwind of emotions and new experiences. Just gotta keep on truckin'. And I truly thank God for all he has blessed our family with. So much to be thankful for.

Much love to you all. So glad to have you here! :)

Monday, July 1, 2019

Ryder Paul is SIX - Blakely Gray is FOUR

HOORAY!!! It's July which means lots of birthday celebrations for us! :)
July is always jam-packed for us with lots of cake! Haha.

I want to keep this kids birthday parties a bit simpler and smaller this year. I hope that day is nothing but FUN for the kids, so I decided to get some photos out of the way ahead of time so I don't feel the pressure the take the time away from family and friends who are here for their joint birthday party to make sure we get a great shot of the kids in their birthday getup!

I bought these balloon arches on Amazon and OMG, they're cute!!! The kids loved them and it was loads of fun setting these up! Jenna came over and we spent time setting up the balloons while having a pizza party for the kids. And then when we were set up, we'd break for pics. And then we'd set up the next balloon arch! Really fun and no pressure because we aren't on a time crunch before a big birthday party with cake, food, etc, etc.

Blakely's unicorn dress (which is seriously SO cute) is from Amazon and came with the headband. I was searching for something similar on Etsy and couldn't pull the trigger because of the prices. Yikes! So I thought I may as well look on Amazon and what do ya know?! Almost an identical dress for a fraction of the cost! She loves this thing. It might never come off. Ha!

Ryder's shark shirt is from Amazon as well. I let him see a few and this is the one he wanted for his birthday pics. :) His big shark stuffed animal is from Ikea. We have several stuffed animals from Ikea and I must say that they hold up well!
Ummm... ok. Why does she look 16?! (Ugly cry)
I got the kids special cookies from Eileens. If you haven't had Eileens cookies, you are truly missing out in life! These things are the best (and maybe worst) thing to happen to me. HAHA. So, so delish. Blake got little unicorn cookies and Ryder got shark cookies. They really are so dang cute.
These two love to laugh. And it warms my mama heart!!
Annnnd, they look like they're at Prom. lol
Photography by Jenna Sparks
(Thanks to Jenna for making these shoots so fun for me and the kids! We love you!)