The “V” Family

Like I explained in Jessica’s Motherhood Monday intro, we have husband best friends. Sam and Edgar were roommates for three years in college and have been best friends since then. They live in Nashville doing work with the Nashville Navigators, and we’re living in Atlanta. This means we don’t get to see them much, but when we do, its such a sweet time of hanging out and more recently, playing with babies! We also always get a game of Settlers of Catan in when we can. I loved doing this session for this sweet family! I especially love the shot of Nathan’s little baby grin. So cute!

Voltz family wm 4

The “V” Family — Nashville, TN — Spring 2017

Voltz family wm 8

The “V” Family — Nashville, TN — Spring 2017

Voltz family wm 12

The “V” Family — Nashville, TN — Spring 2017

Voltz family wm 5

The “V” Family — Nashville, TN — Spring 2017

Voltz family wm 1

The “V” Family — Nashville, TN — Spring 2017

Voltz family wm 13

The “V” Family — Nashville, TN — Spring 2017

Voltz family wm 7

The “V” Family — Nashville, TN — Spring 2017

Voltz family wm 2

The “V” Family — Nashville, TN — Spring 2017

Voltz family wm 9

The “V” Family — Nashville, TN — Spring 2017

Voltz family wm 6

The “V” Family — Nashville, TN — Spring 2017

Voltz family wm 3

The “V” Family — Nashville, TN — Spring 2017

Voltz family wm 11

The “V” Family — Nashville, TN — Spring 2017

Voltz family wm 10

The “V” Family — Nashville, TN — Spring 2017

Advertisements

Motherhood Monday – Special Edition

Part of our family story is that Sam and I were “long-distance married” for the first 9 months of our marriage and the first 5 months of my pregnancy with Henry. One of my sweet friends from college is going through a similar season of life, and she asked me to answer some questions for her blog!

Here’s a sneak peek of the post:

How did you deal with the stress of being pregnant while Sam was gone? 

When we found out I was pregnant with Henry, we had already been living long-distance for about 4 months. This did not make it any easier though. Sam took the majority of the stress on his back. He served me well by traveling back and forth from Atlanta to Tuscaloosa almost every single weekend. Since I was still in school, it was hard for me to get over to him and get back at reasonable times. Looking back, I did not appreciate all that he did for me and Henry during that time. When he was there, he put cold washcloths on my neck when I would get sick. He would buy me Coke icees or whatever I was craving that day. He would get to Tuscaloosa really late at night Thursday or Friday nights after fighting the traffic, and he would leave really early in the morning on Mondays to make it back in time for work. He sacrificed a lot, so I could finish school well, and that is something that I will always be grateful for. Being long distance also allowed us to be more appreciative and thankful for the time that we had together. I would get so excited about the weekend, not only because it was the weekend but because I knew that Sam would home with me

 I think there were several ways that I dealt with the stress. One of them was just being in an active relationship with Jesus. He frees us, and He loves us. He wants the best for us, and spending time with Him was and still is the best stress reliever. One of them was being in/leading a small group of girls. This created a consistent time to be surrounded by other believers and talk about Jesus. It was a sweet time of rest that I truly came to love and appreciate so much more than I ever had, even though I had been in these small groups before. Another thing that saved my sanity during this time was my friend that I carpooled with to the school we were both interning at. It took about 30 minutes to get to our school, so we spent a lot of time in the car processing, talking about what the Lord was teaching us, and being each other’s sounding board for all of life’s craziness. I am so thankful for the way Rachel loved me in that season. I cannot stress enough the importance of community in all seasons of life.

Click here to read the rest of the post and my answers to all of Hailey’s questions! 




Motherhood Monday – Andrea N.

Monday is here, and I’m welcoming Andrea to the blog for Motherhood Monday!

Meet Andrea

Andrea has quickly become one of my closest friends in Atlanta. We do a “family” dinner with her family (+ Allison‘s family + one other family, whose mom is my next guest!) every other Tuesday. It has been so much fun to see our kids play and our relationships grow since we started getting together. Andrea is wise and so loving to her three girls. Her youngest and Henry are less than two months apart too! We are so thankful for their family for inviting us in and being intentional with us.

The Interview

1. Explain your “motherhood journey.” Including your kid(s) and their age(s)

I was never one of those girls who dreamed of becoming a mom. I always knew in the back of my mind that I wanted to have a family one day, but it wasn’t something I thought about all the time. My husband, Jeremy, and I were married for six years before we had our first child, Analeigh. I use to tell people if she came out as a teenager I would be happy. Why, you may ask, because my husband and I were in youth ministry and I felt like I understood teenagers way better than babies! I remember holding Analeigh for the first time and being over joyed and terrified at the same time! As she grew, I learned so much about unconditional love and how much the Lord loves us. And, man, did I need that reminder! That little girl stole my heart and I have been thankful ever since that she made me a mommy! We liked the first kid so much we decided to have another one! Eva was born and we felt like our family was complete. However, God had other plans and decided to give us a little surprise six months ago and Hadley joined our family. For those of you keeping track, that’s three girls! Analeigh is five, Eva is two, and like I mentioned Hadley is six months. Life is busy and sometimes a little chaotic, but also filled with so much joy!

IMG_7204

A family of five! Picture provided by Andrea

2. What is the biggest lesson (or 2 or 3) that you’ve learned from being a mom?

The biggest lesson I have learned is that things are not perfect. No matter how much planning, Pinterest searching, or ideas in your head things and life are not perfect! I do not have a perfectly clean house (ask Erin!), I don’t have perfectly behaving kids, and I’m not perfectly organized. And that is perfectly okay (pun intended)! Childhood is about allowing your children to explore, grow, and fail. That’s what will eventually make them great adults. Do I get upset sometimes about things not being “perfect”….sometimes I do. But I try to remind myself to find joy in the everyday and enjoy my children where they are at. The only thing perfect in this life is God’s love and that is what I want my girls to learn more than anything else!

IMG_7754

Sweet Analeigh and Eva. Picture provided by Andrea

3. Share one (or 2 or 3) funny or sweet stories that make it all worth it.

This stage I’m in right now is becoming my favorite! Analeigh and Eva love each other and love to play with each other. They make up stories with their babies, they play family, and they dance and sing together. It’s been so fun watching them become friends! My prayer is that their bond and friendship continues through out the rest of their lives.

My husband and I always talk about how Eva has been hit in the head so much in her short life. A few weeks ago, Analeigh and Eva were playing and Analeigh slammed Eva into the corner of the wall (by accident). She had a huge bump on her forehead! Thankfully, she was okay. The next day, we were outside playing in the yard. I was throwing the wiffle ball to Analeigh and she hit it right into Eva’s forehead! The poor girl! Sometimes it’s so hard not to laugh!

IMG_7805

Best sister friends! Picture provided by Andrea

4. What do you think the biggest challenge of being a mom is?

I think the biggest challenge of being a mom is not losing who you are. Before I had kids I got my master’s and worked. After Analeigh was born, I just couldn’t leave her. So I became a stay at home mom and I knew it was the right decision. However, I struggled with feeling like all I did was “be a mom”. I had to get vulnerable with Jeremy and tell him that even though I loved being with my girl everyday, I felt lonely and like my purpose was gone. Obviously, I had some things to work out with God about my feelings and emotions. I had to figure out what things I needed to do outside of the house that brought me life. I had to ask for help so that I could do those things that brought me life. And I had to learn that “mom” was a part of who I was and not the only thing that I was. The Lord was sweet and brought me a great group of other stay at home moms that I was able to speak openly with who totally understood where I was at. We started a monthly play group with our kids and I got involved in a bible study filled with other moms. I learned that the Lord didn’t want me to stop being me, but learn how to balance my different roles. It can still be challenging, especially with more children, but it is worth fighting for!

IMG_7907

Becoming a mom with Analeigh. Picture provided by Andrea

5. If you could write a “job description” of being a mom, what would it say?

To be able to handle ALL.THE.THINGS. while being sleep deprived, functioning on less brain cells, and never sitting down.

IMG_7338

These girls really love each other. Picture provided by Andrea

6. What’s something from your family growing up that you think affects your parenting or the way you raise your child(ren)?

My parents always made sure our childhood was filled with memories. They instilled great family values in my sister and I. I want that for my girls, to value family and understand how important that is. At the same time, I want them to know that family is more than just blood and that we invest our time in others who are important to us. I also knew growing up that I could always talk to my mom about anything and I did. Well, except for middle school, my mom would tell you! I want my girls to know they can always talk to me about anything, without judgement or criticism. I want them to feel comfortable and know that they can trust me.

IMG_7679

Eva loves being a big sister. Picture provided by Andrea

7. If you knew someone who just found out they were going to be a mom, what would be your two pieces of advice for them? A practical tip and a piece of wisdom.

First, there will be many people that will give you advice. As a first time mom, I’m sure you will listen to all of it and be overwhelmed. Take it all in then do what you feel is best for you, your baby, and your family. You will know your baby better than anyone and it will happen quickly! Don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself and what you feel is best for you and your baby! Second, a practical tip, invest in a good video monitor! It will save your life!

IMG_6996

And Hadley makes three! Picture provided by Andrea

8. Anything else you want to include?

Motherhood is a journey and it is always evolving. There is always a “terrible” thing about every age, but there is also always something magnificent. Try to enjoy each season because it really does go by so fast! I use to hate when people would tell me that when I was a new mom, but recently I am seeing how true that statement is! I have learned so much about grace and why God has given it to us as a free gift. There is no way that I can go through each day without the grace of God and without extending that same grace to my girls. And, as my sister always told me, crying is free therapy!

IMG_7906

One of Eva’s first days at home. Picture provided by Andrea

Wrap-Up

Andrea’s words of wisdom about still being herself after becoming a mom really hit home for me. I love how she says, “I learned that the Lord didn’t want me to stop being me, but learn how to balance my different roles.” It can be so hard when you feel like you’ve list yourself when you gain a new role, like wife or mom, but the Lord is teaching and refining us to look more and more like Christ. I believe He does this by adapting and adding things to our lives to shape who we become.

Thank you so much, Andrea!! I look up to the mom that you are to your girls, and I am beyond thankful for the way you and Jeremy have welcomed us in.

What was your favorite thing that Andrea said? Do you have a question you want the Motherhood Monday moms to answer? Comment on this post or e-mail me at openhandsopenhome@gmail.com. Know a mom that needs some encouragement or that would like the Motherhood Monday posts? Send them a link to this post! The goal of these posts is to reach out, encourage, and empathize with moms all around.

The “ZZzzz” Family

I have known this sweet family for years. Sam, their younger son, was in my mom’s class a few years ago, and we have known them ever since. Erika was featured on Motherhood Monday, and I truly think she is supermom. Their entire family is sweet and loving. They give back to their community, and they love those around them. It was so much fun taking their pictures, talking movies with Noah, and chatting about school with Addie Rose and Sam. They even got to hang out with Henry for a few minutes at the end of their session. It was a great time!

ZZzzz family wm 5

“ZZzzz” Family — Birmingham, AL — Spring 2017

ZZzzz family wm 8

“ZZzzz” Family — Birmingham, AL — Spring 2017

ZZzzz family wm 10

“ZZzzz” Family — Birmingham, AL — Spring 2017

ZZzzz family wm 3

“ZZzzz” Family — Birmingham, AL — Spring 2017

ZZzzz family wm 11

“ZZzzz” Family — Birmingham, AL — Spring 2017

ZZzzz family wm 6

“ZZzzz” Family — Birmingham, AL — Spring 2017

ZZzzz family wm 2

“ZZzzz” Family — Birmingham, AL — Spring 2017

ZZzzz family wm 9

“ZZzzz” Family — Birmingham, AL — Spring 2017

ZZzzz family wm 1

“ZZzzz” Family — Birmingham, AL — Spring 2017

ZZzzz family wm 4

“ZZzzz” Family — Birmingham, AL — Spring 2017

ZZzzz family wm 7

“ZZzzz” Family — Birmingham, AL — Spring 2017

Taylor + Michael Engagement

Taylor and I worked so hard to schedule their shoot around rain that was coming in, and when we pulled up, it was pouring… Needless to say, we rescheduled and had beautiful weather the second time around. These two have so much fun together. A lot of the time we were together, we talked about the most random things and laughed. You can just tell how much Taylor and Michael love each other. They are getting married this fall, and I’m so excited for them!

Taylor + Michael Engagement WM 1

Taylor + Michael Engagement — Birmingham, AL — Spring 2017

Taylor + Michael Engagement WM 2

Taylor + Michael Engagement — Birmingham, AL — Spring 2017

Taylor + Michael Engagement WM 3

Taylor + Michael Engagement — Birmingham, AL — Spring 2017

Taylor + Michael Engagement WM 9

Taylor + Michael Engagement — Birmingham, AL — Spring 2017

Taylor + Michael Engagement WM 5

Taylor + Michael Engagement — Birmingham, AL — Spring 2017

Taylor + Michael Engagement WM 6

Taylor + Michael Engagement — Birmingham, AL — Spring 2017

Taylor + Michael Engagement WM 7

Taylor + Michael Engagement — Birmingham, AL — Spring 2017

Taylor + Michael Engagement WM 10

Taylor + Michael Engagement — Birmingham, AL — Spring 2017

Taylor + Michael Engagement WM 4

Taylor + Michael Engagement — Birmingham, AL — Spring 2017

Taylor + Michael Engagement WM 8

Taylor + Michael Engagement — Birmingham, AL — Spring 2017

Taylor + Michael Engagement WM 13

Taylor + Michael Engagement — Birmingham, AL — Spring 2017

Taylor + Michael Engagement WM 11

Taylor + Michael Engagement — Birmingham, AL — Spring 2017

Taylor + Michael Engagement WM 12

Taylor + Michael Engagement — Birmingham, AL — Spring 2017

Motherhood Monday – Leigh H.

Monday has rolled around again, and it’s time for my favorite post of the week, Motherhood Monday! This week, Leigh H. is in the hot seat to answer all my questions about motherhood.

Meet Leigh

Leigh is someone I’ve met since we moved to Georgia. She is in the MOPS (Moms of Pre-Schoolers) group that I am part of, and she and her husband are part of the young marrieds group that Sam and I are part of as well. She is one of the sweetest, most intentional people that I’ve met. She always asks questions and shows that she is genuinely interested in getting to know you. When I first joined MOPS, I was so glad that she was there because she really made me feel welcome as soon as I joined! I can’t wait for y’all to read Leigh’s answers.

The Interview

1. Explain your “motherhood journey.” Include your child(ren) and their age(s)

I would describe my motherhood journey as a blessed surprise and a demonstration of God’s ability to do immeasurably more! For the first two years of my marriage, my ability to have children did not look promising. However, God healed me. After that my husband and I spent several years just enjoying life as a family of two, and then just as we were toying with the idea of having a baby, we found out we were expecting! My daughter Olivia is now 3.

2. What is the biggest lesson (or 2 or 3) that you’ve learned from being a mom?

Being a mom has taught me how to be flexible, and it’s reminded me how little I can control in life. Neither of these lessons were “fun” for me to learn, but gaining this knowledge has served me well in other areas of my life. God was gracious and kind to use a sweet little girl as His teaching method! Lastly, I’ve learned how little some things matter that seemed very important in my mind before I became a mom.

1545876_841446877128_1691232134795066768_n

Sweet Olivia! Picture provided by Leigh

3. Share one (or 2 or 3) funny or sweet stories that make it all worth it.

Olivia had a bit of a speech delay when she was a toddler. It is so precious to me to have long conversations with her now and hear her chatter all day long. I also adore seeing her excitement over the little things – a new cup, getting to do something by herself for the first time, going out to dinner. She teaches me a lot about being grateful and recognizing all of the “little” blessings that come each day.

IMG_0667

Love this precious family picture! Picture provided by Leigh

4. What do you think the biggest challenge of being a mom is?

The biggest challenge of being a mom is the lack of control we have (do you see a theme here?!). I want to jump in and “fix” everything, help her figure things out, make sure everyone is kind to her and force her to obey. Guess what? I can’t do any of that. My job is to guide her, pray and then trust that God can use whatever transpires for his glory. My job is simply obedience; He’s the one in charge of outcomes.

10462770_938521124558_6498156904829292203_n

Those curls! Picture provided by Leigh

5. If you could write a “job description” of being a mom, what would it say?

A mom is a nurturer, cook, maid, driver, social coordinator, advocate, detective and mentor.

16602604_10100133440401738_1509810944379745812_n

Big smiles! Picture provided by Leigh

6. What’s something from your family growing up that you think affects our parenting or the way you raise your child(ren)?

My parents love to celebrate, and they celebrate big. Holidays, birthdays and accomplishments came with cheers, decorations, gifts, parties and who knows what else! They also made traditions a significant part of each holiday. I plan to do the same as Olivia grows, because each of these things made life really fun and gave me things to look forward to each year.

IMG_6352

Playground time is the best time! Picture provided by Leigh

7. If you knew someone who just found out they were going to be a mom, what would be your two pieces of advice for them? A practical tip and a piece of wisdom.

My practical tip would be that she should reading about the different feeding schedules and routines out there. I think a lot of moms focus their preparation on the delivery and forget that it’s a very, very small part of parenthood. Before a mom-to-be is sleep deprived, she should research and pray about the approaches and routines that would best fit her family’s lifestyle. As far as wisdom, I would want to tell her that God will equip her with everything she needs to be a great mom. She can be at peace knowing that His supply is endless.

16708494_10100135043718678_8274044468067932763_n

Look at that sweet face! Picture provided by Leigh

Wrap-Up

I resonate with Leigh’s answer about not being able to control or “fix” everything. I thought her words about just obeying what we feel the Lord is asking of us and letting Him take care of our children. I read a blog post about our children coming third, and it reminds me of that. When we live our lives with God first, our spouse second, and our children third, it takes so much pressure off of us to have everything perfect for them or being able to control everything. I know that the Lord loves Henry and my future kiddos so much more than I ever could, so I know that He will work everything out for them more perfectly than I could ever imagine.

Leigh, thank you for your thoughtful answers to my questions and your intentionality with people around you. I loved reading your words of wisdom.

What was your favorite thing that Leigh said? Do you have a question you want the Motherhood Monday moms to answer? Comment on this post or e-mail me at openhandsopenhome@gmail.com. Know a mom that needs some encouragement or that would like the Motherhood Monday posts? Send them a link to this post! The goal of these posts is to reach out, encourage, and empathize with moms all around.

 

Randi – Senior Pictures

Randi is graduating high school this year, and she’s so excited about the next season of her life. Our families have known each other for years, and it is honestly crazy that she is graduating. Her brother and my brother are the same age, so now the younger-younger siblings are graduating??? I met up with her and her mom, and we spend the morning taking pictures. She is so sweet, and she is going to the University of Alabama for college. Roll tide, Randi!! I’m looking forward to taking some pictures of her in her cap and gown when she gets them. Be on the lookout for those pictures on the blog as well.

Randi Senior WM 1

Randi Senior Pictures — Montevallo, AL — Spring 2017

Randi Senior WM 2

Randi Senior Pictures — Montevallo, AL — Spring 2017

Randi Senior WM 3

Randi Senior Pictures — Montevallo, AL — Spring 2017

Randi Senior WM 5

Randi Senior Pictures — Montevallo, AL — Spring 2017

Randi Senior WM 6

Randi Senior Pictures — Montevallo, AL — Spring 2017

Randi Senior WM 4

Randi Senior Pictures — Montevallo, AL — Spring 2017

Randi Senior WM 7

Randi Senior Pictures — Montevallo, AL — Spring 2017

Abby + Tyler

Abby is a photographer too (you can check out some of her work here), so I was so flattered when she asked me to take some pictures of her and her boyfriend, Tyler. She knew exactly where she wanted to take them and showed me around one of her favorite spots to shoot. Don’t you love when people value community over competition?? Abby and I used  to ride the same bus, so it was fun to catch up and chat about life too. She and Tyler are so sweet to each other, and it shows in their photos. Just look how cute they are!!

Abby + Tyler Couple WM 1

Abby + Tyler — Alabaster, AL — Spring 2017

Abby + Tyler Couple WM 4

Abby + Tyler — Alabaster, AL — Spring 2017

Abby + Tyler Couple WM 6

Abby + Tyler — Alabaster, AL — Spring 2017

Abby + Tyler Couple WM 8

Abby + Tyler — Alabaster, AL — Spring 2017

Abby + Tyler Couple WM 10

Abby + Tyler — Alabaster, AL — Spring 2017

Abby + Tyler Couple WM 5

Abby + Tyler — Alabaster, AL — Spring 2017

Abby + Tyler Couple WM 2

Abby + Tyler — Alabaster, AL — Spring 2017

Abby + Tyler Couple WM 7

Abby + Tyler — Alabaster, AL — Spring 2017

Abby + Tyler Couple WM 9

Abby + Tyler — Alabaster, AL — Spring 2017

Abby + Tyler Couple WM 3

Abby + Tyler — Alabaster, AL — Spring 2017

Turner Turns One // “T” Family Pictures

I loved meeting up with the “T” family to take some family pictures, as well as some pictures of Turner for his first birthday. Ashleigh, Turner’s mom, and I have known each other since 5th grade. We were in the same class. Since then we have stayed friends and recently really got to be able to start hanging out again. Turner is such a joy. He is laid-back and sweet. He did such a great job with smiling and showing his little personality in the pictures. The ones with his tongue out may be my favorites. We even got to do a smash cake, provided by Ashleigh’s sister-in-law. Turner wasn’t really a big fan of getting messy though… Overall, we had a great time, and we got some good shots to show for it!

thomas preview wm 1

Turner First Birthday Pictures — Helena, AL — Spring 2017

thomas preview wm 2

“T” Family Pictures — Helena, AL — Spring 2017

thomas preview wm 3

Turner First Birthday Pictures — Helena, AL — Spring 2017

thomas preview wm 5

Turner First Birthday Pictures — Helena, AL — Spring 2017

thomas fam preview 10

“T” Family Pictures — Helena, AL — Spring 2017

thomas fam preview wm 6

Turner First Birthday Pictures — Helena, AL — Spring 2017

thomas preview wm 4

Turner First Birthday Pictures — Helena, AL — Spring 2017

thomas fam preview 12

“T” Family Pictures — Helena, AL — Spring 2017

thomas preview wm 6

Turner First Birthday Pictures — Helena, AL — Spring 2017

thomas fam preview wm 13

Turner First Birthday Pictures — Helena, AL — Spring 2017

thomas preview wm 9

“T” Family Pictures — Helena, AL — Spring 2017

thomas fam preview wm 11

Turner First Birthday Pictures — Helena, AL — Spring 2017

thomas fam preview wm 7

“T” Family Pictures — Helena, AL — Spring 2017

What I’m Into (March 2017)

Disclosure: The links below are affiliate links unless otherwise stated, meaning if you purchase something from my link I will make a small percentage in commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting Open Hands, Open Home!

I’m linking up with Leigh Kramer to talk about what I’m into from this past month.

March always seems to fly by. I remember in high school there were all kinds of things going on that made it go by so quickly like tennis matches, baseball games, spring break, etc. Then in college, it was always when the weather got consistently warm enough to hang out on the quad or find somewhere to hang up some Eno hammocks with friends. Also, my mom, dad, and brother all have birthdays in March. Needless to say, we’ve been running a million miles an hour it seems like, but more on that farther down in this post.

Reading-Related

I read some really great books this month, and I learned about the magic of the library holds system. I put a few books off my TBR on there, and wow, I got way more than I thought I would right away. I am slowly making my way through them!

Another reading-related thing that I have found and love is Books By The Pound. It is a bookstore near where we live, and you pay for your (used) books based on how much they weigh. I got The Chronicles of Narnia collection and four other books for $19. You can’t beat that. I will be going there again (hopefully Sam will let me) to get more books from my TBR list.

“For as long as she could remember, she had thought that autumn air went well with books, that the two both somehow belonged with blankets, comfortable armchairs, and big cups of coffee or tea.” // The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald has been on my TBR list since I began keeping up with it. This book was so charming! The small-town setting gave me a nostalgic sense while reading it. It is also packed with lovable characters and a bookstore, which makes for a perfect book to snuggle up on the couch with. I couldn’t put this book down once I started it, and it was a great, light read that had a happy ending!

“Our limitation is God’s opportunity. When you get all the way to the end of your rope and there ain’t nothin’ you can do, that’s when God takes over.” // Same Kind of Different As Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore was one of those books that I knew about for a long time but had never read. It is the story of two unlikely friends and the woman that brings them together. It far-exceeded any expectations that I had built up in my head. It was such a heart-wrenchingly beautiful story. It was fast-paced but not a page-turner with short chapters and alternating perspectives. I think this is the book that I have cried the most in ever. This is a book that I would recommend to anyone!

 “Strange, how such a small realization can affect everyone’s life forever. In movies there is always a carefully staged moment – a big crescendo of music, close-ups of the actors’ faces, the camera slowly pulling away to let all this sink in for the viewer…but, in real life, most all of the extraordinary things happen with no more loudness than a whisper.” // Eli the Good by Silas House was a great, YA read. I don’t really know how to explain the book, except that it made me feel good. Eli is the most precious character that you end up really loving. I loved his observations about his family and everyday life. This was a good, quick read!

“Life changes you, even if you don’t realize it while it’s happening, and it turns out you can’t take back the years that have passed by.” // The Sweetness of Forgetting by Kristin Harmel has a lot of the elements that I love in a book! The family secret, the lovable characters, and the pretty much happy ending made this one that I will always remember. World War II was woven into this story in a beautifully tragic way, and it showed the reality of how war tears people apart. It also illuminates that people, no matter how difficult, will come together to help in times of great difficulty.

I also did a reading recap of the first ten books I read this year in a post here.

Watching-Related

This Is Us is just incredible television. I know that’s not really news to anyone, but wow. The finale was a bit disappointing I will say just because I thought we were going to find out what happened to Jack. I’m okay with prolonging it though, I guess. The redeemable part of that episode was Randal telling Beth that he wants to adopt. TEARS

I’m still watching Grey’s Anatomy, but mostly because I just have to finish it. I have to stick it out. It could be redeemed if they brought back another original cast member maybe, but we’ll see how it goes…

Yes, I am one of those people that watched The Bachelor, and yes, I was one of the people that picked Vanessa as my favorite. I was really sad for Raven just because she is so sweet, and I am more than a little bit annoyed about the way that they announced Rachel as the bachelorette before she was even off the show. I’m glad Nick’s season is over. I never really liked him…

Survivor is back, and it is crazy, as always. If you watch it, you know what I’m about to say, THAT TRIBAL COUNCIL was ridiculous, and the fact that Malcolm is the one they voted out makes me so mad. Get rid of Sandra, people!

Lastly, I made a bracket this year, so we’ve been keeping up with March Madness. I only made a bracket because our group of friends made one and a date night is on the line. I think I did decently, and at the time of writing this, it’s between my husband and one of the other guys to see who wins. Go UNC (that’s who we need to win for us to win the date night :))!!

Baby-Related

The IKEA high chair is the way to go when it comes to high chairs people. It’s cheap, and it is easy to clean! You can’t beat a $25 high chair people, you just cant. We’ve also been using this zip-up picnic blanket that my mom let us borrow to hang out outside with Henry. He loves it, but now that he’s mobile, he doesn’t really stay on it very well… Anyway, we’ve been keeping that accessible since we’ve had all this beautiful weather lately.

My brother got Henry some sunglasses that look a lot like these. Henry likes to take them off, but they are so cute when he does leave them on for a bit.

Will also bought Henry this Carter’s Baby Boys Baseball Cap . It is so cute! Henry will actually leave it on for awhile too. My parents bought the outfit that go with the hat too. Henry has no shortage of clothes or accessories, mostly because of his grandparents.

henry hat sunglasses

Thanks, Mom, for this super cute picture of H!

Food/Drink-Related

While in Birmingham this past week, we visited Feast and Forest for breakfast with some friends. It has a really cool feel, a loft-type area, yummy food and coffee! It was a spot I’m sure we will visit again.

feast and forest

We also went to the new Pizitz Food Hall in Birmingham with the same friends. We had bowls from Ono Poke which were essentially all the things from a sushi roll in a bowl. SO. GOOD. There are all different kinds of food from all over the world there, so it is definitely a place we’ll have to go back to to try more things!

Listening-Related

This was an impulse buy for us. We knew that we liked the Ed Sheeran stuff we had heard on the radio, but we had never been big enough fans to buy his other songs. We impluse-bought the deluxe version of his new album at Target, and we have been listening to it non-stop! I think Sam says, “Oh, I like this one!” to every single song, except track one.

I’ve also been listening to some podcasts recently, which I’ve really enjoyed. My favorites right now are The Popcast, which is about pop culture and is so funny. I find myself laughing out loud and talking back to Knox and Jamie the whole time. I’m also loving What Should I Read Next? for all my reading needs. This is one of those shows that I’ve gone back and listened to old episodes while waiting for the new one each week. Lastly, Sorta Awesome is another great listen. It is about all things awesome. I’ve really enjoyed it!

Blog-Related

I took a little break from Motherhood Monday (unintentionally but life got crazy), but it is back now! Jessica V. is my latest mom with a sweet story and some great words of wisdom. I’ve also been more intentional about blogging my photo sessions. There are several sessions on the blog that I would love you to look back at!

Life-Related

Life has been crazy around here lately. Sam had ACL and meniscus surgery at the beginnig of March. That required me to drive him around pretty much all month.

We’re also facing a big transition for our family. We haven’t really announced what that transition will be yet but keep checking back to find out what that may be.

We got to spend a week traveling and seeing family and friends, and I’ve been trying to carry my camera around more to take pictures of everyday life. This was a good time to start this practice.

Lastly, Henry is crawling, clapping, waving, and squealing all the time. He is such a happy baby, and he loves people.

henry bath

Henry has always loved bath time, and now his favorite thing to do is splash!

march birthdays

We celebrated the March birthdays on my side of the family this month!

henry mamaw nana

Henry with both of his maternal great-grandmothers.

henry maci aaron

We can’t wait for Aunt Maci and Uncle Aaron to get married in June!!

henry rhyken

Henry got to meet and hang out with Rhyken, who is only 3 days younger than him.

henry maw

Henry with his Maw, Sam’s grandmother. She had a picture of Henry’s great great great grandfather, who was always named Henry!

That’s it for this month! Like I said, keep checking back to see what the big transition for our family is. We’re really excited about what’s to come!