Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Mid-week Likes & Links

I might be staying alive via this these days.  

I know so much worry surrounds the next month and election results.  Before then, maybe you should listen to this.

A friend told me about these party favors, and they did not disappoint.

I've wanted to get these for the girls forever, and I finally caved.  They're the cutest!

I finally worked out, thanks to this.

Are these not the cutest things?  My aunt is making a version of them!

I'm currently deciding between these shoes and these for my last two weddings to photograph this year as I carry a few (read a lot) of extra pounds.  I know, I know --- so cute, hehe.  Maybe my legs won't look like tree trunks by the end of the night.  They probably still will.

Need a miracle?  Let's start this novena today.  

Monday, October 17, 2016

Peter - The New Five-Year-Old

A few weeks ago, when I asked Peter what he wanted for his birthday dinner, he quickly replied, "A Thanksgiving feast!"  Just to make sure I was understanding him (and kind of hoping I wasn't), I asked exactly what that meant.  "Well, you have beautiful plates, and candles, and then turkey, and ham, and 'smashed potatoes' and...oh, a blue cake."  He knew exactly what it meant and exactly what he wanted.  The blue cake was an addition.

So, luckily my mother-in-law was getting rid of her grandmother's china.  And, Mom let me have some of her grandmother's.  Done.
I thought this would be a fun blue cake...
And, we couldn't find a turkey, but Mom made a chicken, and we also had ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, a relish plate, and croissants.

Did I mention pickles?
Peter was SO excited about his "beautiful meal."

Come to find out, what he really wanted to do was eat a turkey (in this case chicken) leg.  I think it was the entire reason he asked for a Thanksgiving feast.

Then we quickly had cake and moved on to better things...


It was the sweetest thing this year...he just kept repeating, "Thank you to everyone for my beautiful birthday!!"
And, this little guy never even asked for his own present (which is a far cry from his reaction to Carter's birthday this summer, ha)!

He went to bed last night saying he couldn't wait to have a Thanksgiving birthday next year, and every year after that!  

We saved one last present for his actual birthday this morning - a retractable fishing pole and tackle box!

Fishermen are tough.

And, we went to Gracie's for a smoothie and breakfast!  

Who knows what the rest of the day holds...most of the kiddos have colds.  But, we're so thankful for this little 5-year-old.  


loves to fish, 
prefers to wear only polo shirts and jeans, 
is so very kind (even though he does his fair share of teasing and fighting, he always is willing to give in, even letting his brothers open his birthday presents), 
loves to be outside, 
enjoys riding his horse,
is a huge fan of Allsups' burritos (me too), 
wants to do everything on his own (including no help when hurting), 
prefers not to be cuddled much, 
loves to draw and write, 
is a bit quieter than the rest,
and is one tough little guy.

We are so very blessed to have had another wonderful year with our sweet Peter!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Confessions: Fear of Missing Out

Oh life, sometimes it is funny.

I've been up late nights editing photos, and in those hours of complete quiet and stillness, my mind just gets away from me.  And, with it goes my heart at times.

I feel like I sometimes hold too fast to the what ifs (both past and future).

When I was a senior in high school, I was accepted into every school I applied for, and I took an offer from Harvard.  I spent my senior year asking what would happen if I didn't get in, and then I spent the following year (that I had taken off to serve as a state FFA officer) asking what if I couldn't handle it. So...I reapplied to Texas A&M and spent the majority of my college years there.  It was where I needed to be, for so many reasons, but why do I still wonder what if?

After college I went to work at the White House for the Bush Administration.  I stayed less than a year.  My grandfather became ill, and I was worried about what might happen to him or what might happen to my career mentality if I stayed in the District too long.  I was also not quite sure I was good enough for the job.  Now I sometimes wish I would have given it more time.

I went to grad school.  I really just wanted to be married and have a family, but it wasn't in the cards at the time.  Midway through that first semester my grandfather did pass away.  And I feel like I coasted through the next year and a half, using grad school as a place holder for my time until I found what I really wanted  I look back and wonder why I didn't put more effort into it and what that said about me as a student.

After that, I started a job with a child abuse response agency.  Instead of looking at it with the eyes of helping these precious children whose innocence was taken way too early, I became burdened by the knowledge of the sickness of those who abused them, and I turned inward, losing a lot of faith and trust in people.  I only remained there a year before my heart simply couldn't handle it anymore. Again, I look back and wish I would have tried a bit harder.

Honestly there are days when I want to call my old bosses and professors up and apologize.  While they may never know that I had more to give, I do, and there are days it plagues me that I wasn't at my best.  Why?  I have no idea.  Maybe the late mights.  Maybe the need to just admit it to move on. Maybe because I don't want to do that again.

I don't want to become so immersed in this photography and social media world with blogging that I am not giving my very best to those whose lives I really need to be making a difference in.

I finally have my husband and my children...what I've always wanted...and I don't want to throw that away.

I don't want to look back on these years with them at home and feel like I do about my first few jobs and grad school.  I don't want to think that I missed the mark with them as well.

So, as I'm editing and questioning every aspect of this silly little business (my ability, the time, the opportunity cost) and my presence on social media (am I narcissistic, shouldn't I just let it all go, etc), I feel it comes down to this...the fear of missing out.  Am I missing out on parts of motherhood that I should be more attuned to?  Or, if I give these things up, will I be missing out on using my voice for something else God has planned?

I truly don't know.  It all boils down to trust...that if I'm praying to do the right thing and asking for His guidance, I'll be where I need to be even if at times it doesn't quite feel like it.  I'm the person who would always prefer it all in writing, and while I know that will never happen, it doesn't helping in my questioning.

So to the fear of missing out...well, we'll always be missing out on something, but then finding beauty in where we are and not always wondering about the results of a decision made in the opposite direction...maybe that's what we can hope for.  Or, what I can hope for.

Because, while I wish I could go back and rewrite a few things, or in reality, just add a bit more effort and a little less worry to situations, I can't.  And, right now, I love where I am so much.  I just don't want these late nights of thinking to get my mind going so fast that I make these times become what those moments in my past are now.

Maybe I just need a good nap, ha!