prom 2016…

I know. its august, a whole new school year started today!! Mikayla’s senior year!!

this however is her junior year prom. April 2, 2016.

I have been going back to these photos every few weeks trying to get them all edited just the way I want them. but you know what. these aren’t award winning photos(ha) these are photos of our girls’ junior prom with all of her best friends & her boyfriend. I finally realized that I would rather get these memories recorded in this space then just let them sit in files on my computer waiting to be edited.

love these photos, love this group of kids & love this girl…

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junior prom. 2016.



you at five…

how do I even begin?

you are sunshine. spunk. wonder. amazement. innocence. growth. inquisitive. hysterical. sincere. sweet. loving. thoughtful.

you are one of a kind little girl.

you love your family, to pieces. you listen to every word, all of it, I watch you take it all in & you remember EVERYTHING. you will tell me a story about something that happened last year. it blows my mind.

you love to play card games. old maid. animal rummy. crazy 8’s. memory, which you always win. go-fish. you love them all & I am loving this stage with you so much baby girl.

you think about things I never imagine you will think of… last week you were crying because you don’t want to have to shave your legs when you get older.

you were crying because you don’t want to have to drive when you get older. you were crying because you don’t ever want to have live anywhere else but with mommy & daddy, you say that is weird that people don’t always live with their parents. you were crying because you don’t want to grow up & be at work all day & not be home to play with me during the day.

seriously Sophia, the things you think about blow my mind……………………………

well, it is now august 10th. your birthday was May 10th. so yah, I’m a little behind on my updating this space. you are now 5 years & 3 months.

your birthday weekend was awesome Sophia. we love you so much…

obviously your favorite part was THE CAR!! & of course spending time with all of your family.


it is august. you are five & that means that by certain standards you were supposed to start kindergarten this year. but, nope. I just couldn’t wrap my head around sending you to school from 8a.m. to 3:45 p.m. every day.

so, we decided to spend this year home-schooling. last night, the night that all of the other kids were getting ready for their first day, I was never happier that I had made the decision to keep you home. the thought of other people spending more time with you at this young age than I do, or your dad does, made me so sad to think of it! you getting home from school at 4 or 4:15. having to play a bit, make dinner, do homework (yes they give homework in kindergarten now) take a shower & then off to bed. no. I just don’t believe that that was the best thing for you this year.

I am so so so so so so nervous about screwing this up. I have no idea how to teach someone to read or write or add or subtract but you know what, we will figure it out.

I am terrified but I am also so very excited. to spend this time with you. to be able to watch you & help you learn these important things in life. to be the one to introduce these concepts to you & to watch that sparkle in your eye as you “get it”. yep, I am so excited.

I promise, I will give it my best Sophia.

happy 5th. birthday sweet girl. here is to a great year of learning & laughter & growing…



It has been way too long!! I guess we’ve been busy living life & I haven’t found the time to write it all down in awhile. I have prom & birthdays & photo sessions. Big stories & little stories to tell. But for now, I will share a few memories just sitting in my  phone… Summer. 

Lots & lots of swimming. 

Alex graduated high school

Mom, Alex, Sophia & I took an awesome trip that took us all over. I haven’t laughed so much in a long time!!!!

And of course just fun, awesome summer shenanigans…


I started my one second a day video when I got a NEW PHONE in mid May!! Here is May & June 2016…


Mikayla & I had decided a few weeks before her birthday that we weren’t going to have a party. we figured, she is turning 17, that might be too old to have a big slumber party with your friends. a few days later I realized how sad I was about that. it would be the first year that we didn’t have a big celebration with her friends for her birthday.

and then I thought, why??? why is she too old to get together with her friends, outside of school & just be crazy & laugh & have fun. why is 17 too old? but really, why is 40 too old???? I want to have my closest friends over next year & eat cake & laugh & dance & have a slumber party!!!!

so, we decided to have some friends over for a cook out.

then it evolved. into something amazing!!!

it turned into her closest friends, coming over to eat & laugh & then get all dressed up in their prom dresses & go around town & dance & let loose & just laugh & be ridiculous & then come home, have a fire out back, do smore’s, set up the big tent that we borrowed from the neighbors & stay up all night laughing, telling stories, dancing, just being girls.

over & over this night as we were going from place to place the only thing I could think was, wow.

it was amazing to see these girls that I love just be silly & fun & themselves. they are surrounded by pressure at this age. from parents, teachers, school, friends, boys, coaches, band directors, college choices, life plans…. etc…. etc……

so to just take this time to be themselves. be young. be care free. be silly.

this meant the world to me…

these girls are amazing. each & every one of them…

I can not remember the last time I laughed so hard or felt so young!!!!!




a gift…


a daughter is a gift.

I have been editing pics from Mikayla’s 2016 prom & I cant help but feel, nostalgic. lucky. proud. pretty much, all the feels.

I cant help but think that yes, a daughter is a gift. but, a daughter that comes to you through family. a daughter that becomes your daughter through marriage. a daughter you never knew you had until one day she is 5 & she is here.

that is a gift.

the ultimate gift to be given. the chance to raise a beautiful, sweet, scared little girl into a beautiful, sweet, confident, smart, brave woman.

that is a gift.

now, this beautiful girl is close to being 17. I cant help but feel so lucky that we were brought together. my girl. we have been thru so much together.

life. all of it.

what would life have been like without her?  I cant imagine it.

I look back & I see, she taught me so much about love & giving & selflessness & laughter & tears.

this girl, she is a gift.

now I see how truly blessed I am that I can look at her & I can look at shane & say “we raised this beautiful girl”

what a gift to be given.

happy almost 17 sweet girl. you are amazing.

ok. just had to get that down. back to editing prom pics…

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sick days…

the first week of april. I had just come out of the fog from getting my tooth pulled & complications from that. I hadn’t left the house in a week, except to go to the dentist, literally. I knew I was feeling better because this day we got outside, just in our yard, I know, but that was a step in the right direction in me feeling better. and this little girl, in this sunlight, with this smile of hers. this made my day. of course, her cat whiskers, brave wig & prom dress are pretty much perfect to her personality too.

love you my little brave girl…


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Friday April 15th. she was so tired when we got home from school, which is so unlike her. so reading & playing card games in bed was perfection. just so happens that at about midnight she woke me up, so very sick. poor baby girl. she was sick all weekend…


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I picked up old maid & crazy 8’s card games at the store this day. she LOVES them. I remember loving to play these exact card games with my mom when I was little. love how hard she laughs if I pick the old maid card out of her hand… hysterical. I couldn’t have gotten these on a better weekend, being stuck in the house, her sick all weekend, this was the perfect way to spend our time…

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her in this light…

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Saturday afternoon. she was still so sick. it was torture, her friend was playing outside, it was so nice out & all she wanted to do was go play. I took her outside to get some fresh air, we were outside about five minutes & all she wanted to do was come back inside & lay down. that is a sure way to know that this little girl really does not feel good. she napped. she couldn’t eat. she could only sip her water or it would also come back up. little girl. so happy that today, Monday, you seemed to be feeling better & more like yourself again.

that first night, when she woke me up at midnight, she came into my room & said “something is wrong, something is happening, my tummy doesn’t feel right” oh sweet girl.

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conversations with my girl.

at the park…

her: do you like being a mommy?

me: I love being a mommy Sophia. I love it.

her: quiet. quiet. quiet…. but, do you like being my mommy?

me: tears. quiet…. oh my word Sophia, I love being your mommy. I know that you were brought to me for a reason. I was supposed to be your mommy. we were supposed to be together little girl.

her: oh, ok… quiet… I don’t want to be a mommy.

me: astonishment. quiet… well that is ok Sophia, not every girl has to be a mommy.

her: I don’t want to be a mommy because I just want to be your daughter.

me: ugly crying… I love you so much sweet girl.

her: I wove you too mommy.

this day you asked if you could be a cat. so I LIGHTLY drew whiskers on to your cheeks & you crawled around the house, meowing & slurping up your water from a bowl on the floor. I started working on the computer, noticed it had been quiet for a few too many minutes & went looking for you. this is what I found. you, with some pretty amazing whiskers & a black cat nose. love you so much little girl…

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one day you decided you wanted to be a super hero. you haven’t taken off your “super hero outfit” since. my little super girl…

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at the grocery store…

there were junior high kids at Hy-Vee by themselves.

her: where is their mommy?

me: well, they are older, they probably just walked here after school by themselves to get a snack.

her: quiet… they should be with their mommy. I will always be with my mommy. & why don’t you go shopping with your mommy?

me: half laughing… well I do still go shopping with my mommy sometimes.

her: oh. ok. why don’t you still live with your mommy?

me: I wish I did Sophia, I wish I could. ha.

her: I am ALWAYS going to live with my mommy!!

me: under my breathe… can I get that in writing.

you on a day where I let you dress yourself for school & didn’t interfere. I think you did pretty awesome…

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there are so many more conversations baby girl. every day. I love seeing your personality come thru. love seeing your spirit shine baby girl.

you are now completely infatuated with your friend Lexi, our neighbor. it is funny because you look up to her & stare out your window, waiting for her to come home, the same way that Lexi used to do with Mikayla. now you are the younger little girl just wanting to play with the older, fun friend. I love how sweet Lexi is with you Sophia. sometimes a trip to the park can be just a trip to the park but sometimes, if I challenge myself to dig deeper, the things I see are priceless. love these moments with you baby girl. love savoring your dress blowing in the wind. you, figuring out how to get your own swing going. sliding down that bumpy slide 100 times & it looks like it hurts your little bottom but you don’t care. hugging your friend that you love so much. your hair blowing in the wind. on & on & on. all of it.

I want to remember it all…


after school…

one plays, one does homework. after school on a normal day…

shane & I call this “teenage angst & toddler angst”

it is real people!! ha. I don’t care how sweet & funny & smart & caring your teenage daughter is, there is angst involved. I think it is just a part of growing up & figuring out who we are. apparently, now we have a little toddler angst running around our house sometimes too. telling us we hurt her feelings when we wont let her try to fly or let her turn into a talking cat or eat 3 million cookies…



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I have a feeling that when I get older & when they get older these are the things we are going to treasure the most. the photos of some random Monday in February, 2016. these moments of our real life that happen every day that seem so mundane, why document? because this is real life. this is our life. together, as a family. we laugh about silly things, we disagree, sometimes as a parent it feels like pulling teeth to get it all done. then, I slow down & see clearly, this is the good stuff. this is what matters most…

me, practicing with video.

her, homework & texting.

our little flutterby, fluttering.

my daughters.

love them to the moon & back.

confessions of a co-sleeper…

confessions of a co-sleeper…


her first night before bed she was crying. she did not want me to leave her room. thru her tears she whispered “but, I will miss you” uhm. my heart melted & I almost scooped her up & brought her back to my bed but I stayed strong. I told her “Sophia, I have a secret for you & you can’t tell anyone, I am going to miss you too” & I meant it. in that moment I realized just how much it was THE BOTH of us holding on to her sleeping with us still. she whispered back  “i pwomise mommy, I wont tell anyone. I wove you”  then I rubbed her forehead, layed with her for a few minutes & walked to my room. she slept in that comfy new big girl bed of her very own all. night. long. like, until morning. she has slept in her bed every. single. night. since. that is almost 2 weeks!! she loves it. I love it.

she get’s up every night a couple times but now instead of laying down with her I just go in & tuck her in. tell her I love her & I will see her in the morning & sweet dreams. she says “ok mommy. sweet dweams to you too”

before her first night in her new big girl room we had a little dance party…

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her cute new room…

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after her first successful night sleeping in her own bed we both got in on the celebration…

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I wanted her room to be an official big girl room so out with the old book shelves & in with a brand new desk that I built myself. I’m pretty proud of that silly desk & she loooooves it…

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I love that we all love hanging out in here now. I think it helps her to feel more comfortable.

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probably my favorite part of her sleeping in her own bed, besides being able to sleep thru the night without getting kicked in the face, is that we read. every night before bed we read books, we laugh, she starts yawning, we tell stories. I love this time with her. I love to watch her become completely engrossed in the story & she asks questions & laughs & get’s sad for the characters & then so happy when everything is better in the story. love her love for this time.

yet another first for her & a last for me. last baby sleeping in my bed.


love you to the moon & back sweet girl…

digging deep…

do you ever get that feeling that you are in a rut?  like, day by day you are going thru the motions but never truly digging in to it.  anything.

life. hurt. laughter. memories. yourself. your love. your children. your passion. your dreams. your desires.

like life is there. it is waiting. it is staring you in the face & your not sure what you need to do to embrace it any more than you already have. like, you know there is something more, hiding, just beneath the surface & you know, that is where the good stuff is.

I’m not talking about perfection. like if we just keep digging we will get to that perfect gem underneath it all.

I mean, if we just keep digging, we will unearth the real, the sometimes ugly, the sometimes painful, the real life we were meant for. like, once we cut thru all the bull shit of how we portray ourselves to other people, we can get down to the true heart of it. what makes our spirit soar. what makes our heart pound. what makes us scared more than anything. what makes us. us.

in my mind I hear myself saying “dig deep” “dig deeper”

there is always something more to see. to do. to learn. to hear.

sometimes it is hard. sometimes it is just so comfortable sitting on the surface of things, why dig deeper?

because, that is where the good stuff is.

I know I am rambling but truly, I feel this pull inside of me to dig deeper into my life. my relationships. my dreams. & I don’t know where to begin so I thought maybe if I just wrote it out here, that would be my beginning.

I feel a pull to create these things I feel inside of me. I feel like my whole life I have told myself that I don’t know how. what a horrible thing to tell yourself. my inner dialogue has always been a little like that. like, yes, you go girl, you got this but wait, don’t put yourself out there too far, you could fail miserably & everyone will see you fail.

i guess you just get to the point where the failure doesn’t matter anymore. the trying is what matters.

i want to figure out how to capture emotion. true emotion. that is my pull. i feel like if i can capture truth with my camera, then i am digging deep enough to see the truth.

beyond that, i just want to know that every minute, i am watching. i am seeing it all unfold because once it is gone, it is gone & when i get to the end i just want to possibly know that i watched & i listened & i participated & i dug deep.