Sunday, April 22, 2018

april {so far}

You may have noticed my tendency to "Binge Blog."  Life gets crazy, the blog goes untouched for weeks, and then I hurry to fill in the blanks before I forget everything that's happened :)

So.  Before life gets crazy and the blog goes untouched for weeks {and it probably will}, here is what we've been up to so far this month:

The weather has been INSANE.  I've been washing shorts and sweatpants in the same load.

I'll be honest, the snow has actually been quite beautiful.  But I think I'm only saying that because it's gone by lunch time.



 We celebrated Easter and the kids wore their bunny ears around the house for weeks.

Even this little one.  A seven-year-old sister may or may not have been involved.

Jackson weaned himself from his giant matchbox car collection and now prefers to play with just his Disney Cars.  He calls them his "name cars" because every car has a name: Doc Hudson, Lightning McQueen, Chick Hicks, etc.  He likes to play with them on the front porch because then he can bury his cars in the mulch and reenact the Thunder Hollow scene from Cars 3 {it's a demolition derby}.  His bath water is often sprinkled with mulch because he insists on ALL TWENTY-ONE cars going into the bath with him.  Boys are so interesting.

Josh and I both had family in town for London's sealing and blessing.  We felt so privileged to have them here with us for such a special occasion.

Kylie is using an app on her iPad to learn Chinese.  She's quite good!

Summer has been begging to have a color streak in her hair so we checked that off the list during Spring Break.  We did a tiny streak of purple.

We finished off our Spring Break staycation by visiting the Cake Bake Shop.  It's the loveliest little dessert place in Broad Ripple.  The girls were in heaven!

The kids continue to dote on their baby sister.  Summer is usually the first one to volunteer to help, but Jackson is quick to jump in and take over.  Whether it's feeding her a bottle or just keeping her company, that is his job.

I finally got around to clearing the clutter off my desk...

...just in time to clear the entire room and sell the desk.  Goodbye office, hello studio.

Aside from being a wife, mom, and homemaker, I'm also in the thick of building a photography business.  I've got big dreams, and even a few years ago I would have been too afraid to dream them.  But I'm soooo excited about the future and I feel like this is what I should be pursuing right now.

Two things cross my mind often.

#1: my yearly word.  TIME.  I've never really been a "working mom" before.  So I'm learning to juggle my various roles as well as my time.  It's tricky because I feel like I need to put my heart and soul into my photography, but certainly not at the expense of my family.  I'm realizing that the word "sacrifice" could also be my word for the year!

#2: the scene from Sister Act II where Whoopi Goldberg says to her student Lauryn Hill, "If you wake up in the morning and you can't think of anything but singing, then you should be a singer, girl."  I feel this way about photography.  I may not have a lot to show for it yet, but I'm passionate about it and I believe in my potential.  I'm working hard to brush up on my photography skills while also learning the business side of things.  It's terrifying and exciting all at the same time.

In other news, I got my hair did to celebrate the sunny weather!  I'm afraid to say it out loud but {I think} Spring is here for real.  Hooray!

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Josh's family visits

Josh is the 2nd oldest of 6 kids.  His family is spread out all across the country, and one sibling even lives on another continent.  So when anyone in his family comes to visit, it's a pretty big deal!

Josh's dad took a 4.5 hour flight from Washington on his 65th birthday to visit us.  And that was after working 3rd shift.  He got maaaajor brownie points for that.  And his favorite kinds of pie.

Josh's sister Bethany and her cute little girl traveled from Houston.  We hadn't seen them in years so we were thrilled to see them as well!  


I wish I had more pictures to document all of the stuff we did while we had family in town, but I chose to sit back and enjoy it instead.  We ate at restaurants, went on walks, played at the park, went to the temple {see previous post} and hosted an open house to celebrate, cooked and baked yummy food, read books, had tickle fights, snuggled the baby, watched movies, went to church... and more.

New rule: family pictures are not to be taken within an hour of bedtime.

But it really didn't matter what we did.  What mattered was that we were together.

ours *forever*

April 14, 2018 is a day that will always hold a special place in my heart.  It is the day that London became sealed to our family forever.  {<< This is such a great explanation of the temple sealing}.

London was placed with our family on December 25, 2017.  She instantly felt like our daughter.  We were thrilled when she legally became a member of our family in February.   

We knew that she was ours.  But we wanted to make her ours forever.

When Josh and I got married, we were sealed as husband and wife in the Detroit Temple.  All future children would automatically become ours for eternity.

Biological children, that is.

In order for London to truly become a part of our family -- forever -- we needed to visit the temple and have her sealed to us by the proper priesthood authority.

There are "mental pictures" that I took that day that I will cherish for the rest of my life:

The kids all dressed in white, symbolizing purity.

The tears rolling down our friends' cheeks as they felt the powerful spirit in that room.

The smile on London's face when her little hand was placed on ours.

I'm so touched by the amazing friends and family who have supported us -- and continue to support us -- along this journey.  We feel honored to have them in our lives.


My parents, as well as Josh's dad and sister were able to attend the sealing with us.  That's another mental image I'll never forget.

We talked about going to the temple for months and the kids could hardly contain their excitement when the big day finally arrived.

Yep, it's a day that we'll all remember for a long time.

The next day at church London received a name {for church records} and a special blessing.  Josh blessed her that she would always know how much she is loved, that her Heavenly Father has a special plan for her, and that her faith will strengthen those around her.



This year has already been a special one, but there are more exciting things to come.  In August, Summer will turn 8, at which time she will be baptized.  It didn't really hit me until I saw both girls together in white.  

I feel so blessed to be a part of this amazing family and to know that we are together.  Forever.

march wrap up

As I started compiling the pictures for this post, it occurred to me why I don't update very often.

I get interrupted all. the. time.  Which is fine -- and completely expected -- but it's just a testament to how my time is spent in this season of life.

Anyway, March happened.  Ha!  I'm sure that there were tons of things that happened that I've already forgotten, but here is what I documented:

To celebrate Dr. Seuss's birthday, a group of first graders from Summer's school visited a local nursing home to read Dr. Seuss books to the residents.  Summer was really excited about the whole deal and she had a wonderful time.

She decided to read "Green Eggs and Ham", which she practiced religiously. There was one woman who adored Summer, and in typical Summer fashion she adored the lady right back.  She has such a gift of being able to connect with both the old and the young.  I love it.

Both Kylie and Summer lost teeth last month.  Unfortunately, the tooth fairy forgot to visit Kylie {first time that's happened!} but she knew exactly who to approach for cash.... {Mom}.

I tried Monat for the first time and instantly fell in love.  Sadly, my skin didn't react well to the change in hair care products.  Two doctor's visits, 21 pills, and a topical cream later the rash/hives finally went away.  Apparently my skin has gotten very sensitive in my old age!  Speaking of old age, I also got contacts for the first time.  I have a super low prescription so I only wear them 2-3 days a week, but they're a nice convenience to have.

Since London has been doing so well at night, we set up the crib and moved her into Jackson's room.  I always worry about how the kids will respond to having a "roommate" but they have done really well.  In fact, Jackson has said many times that he likes having "sleepovers" with London.

London continues to charm people wherever she goes.  I visited Summer's classroom to read to the kids and we were instantly surrounded.

The cold weather was really throwing us for a loop, leaving us to hunt for any sunny spots we could find...

We had a lovely time visiting our family in Michigan.  While we were there my mom surprised the kids with these darling little St. Patrick's Day treats.  I'm pretty sure Jackson ate everybody's Skittles.

We also got to celebrate Josh's birthday.  This is the second year in a row that we've spent his birthday in Michigan with my family.  I'll have to do something really special next year for his 40th!

Whenever I do the grocery shopping, I plan a menu for 2 weeks at a time.  I have never been more grateful for Meijer curbside service.  I do all of the hard stuff at home -- the inventory, meal planning, coupon clipping, and grocery list writing -- then sit in my van while my order gets loaded in the back.  I don't have to hunt through aisles looking for stuff.  I don't have to take my 2 littles out of their carseats.  It's worth every penny of that $6.99 curbside fee.

As I got ready to pick up the girls from the bus stop one day, our garage door wouldn't open.  I noticed that some bolts had popped off the door hinges, which I thought might be the problem.  It wasn't until I looked up that I noticed the spring was in half.  Thankfully it was repaired quickly and it didn't cost as much as I thought it would.  Hooray for online coupons :)


We all continue to snuggle this little peanut every chance we get, even before school.  Life can be crazy but it sure is sweet.