Fresh Starts

We all love to start fresh doing something right? Whether it’s a New Year, a new month, the kickoff to a new school year or baseball’s opening day, the idea of a fresh start gives us hope and the opportunity to strive for greatness, or at least buy a new outfit. There is joy in the smell of a fresh baby right out of the bath, and a fresh bouquet in the house reawakens the home in an instant. 

But thankfully, those external triggers are not necessarily a requirement to start new. Every day that we wake up, every hour, every new breath in is a brand spanking new opportunity for a clean slate.

Mother’s don’t have the ability to quit. We can’t just throw our hands up in the air when we are frustrated or impatient and say, “Welp, I’m done being a Mom now.” But what we can do is give ourselves fresh starts- multiple times an hour if needed. We can take a walk around the block, grab a hot (I’ll even take lukewarm) cup of coffee, put on a face mask- accept God’s grace, put whatever craziness happened in the past and move forward with a fresh viewpoint. 

Our happiness is really dependent on our outlook and expectations that we head into our day with, too. If we go into any given situation with a positive and confident frame of mind, with a willingness to laugh, have fun and enjoy the moment no matter what gets thrown at — or on us, we are more likely to have a better day.

Back in December, the boys and I flew to Ohio to visit my family for the holidays. Let me repeat that, the boys (ages 3 and 18 months) and myself (alone) took two, four hour long direct flights, to get to Ohio and back. 

Of course I prepared. I had the iPads, I had the headphones, I had the toys, I had the blankets, pacifiers, sippy cups and bottles and of course ALL. THE. SNACKS. But it was still awfully challenging. Not because my boys were being completely crazy- they were mostly well behaved and quiet. But the flights we took were late night and early morning– when the majority of people were sleeping AND the plane didn’t offer inflight entertainment. So ANY noise the boys made seemed ear-splitting to me, as I stood ready to defend my crew against any eye rolling or annoyed glares. 

The way I got through those flights without losing my marbles completely was to literally give myself a fresh start every 30 seconds. That’s all I could do. Whatever happened, happened, and I had to put it in the past and move forward with a positive outlook. 3 yr old needs to go to the bathroom while baby is asleep in my arms? Check, we got this. And once it was done, I put it behind me and prepared myself for the next mission at hand. 

Deep breaths, staying present and giving myself and my babies plenty of grace is what got us through. And we did it, and it could have been much, much, much much worse.

I share that small story to help inspire anyone who is waiting for the “right moment” to start something new. I’m trying my best to not sound like an annoying self help book but you never have to be stuck- things can change for the better at any moment. The “perfect time” is never going to happen- something is always going to come up. But dreams can come true, and you can live a life by design as I believe we are striving for everyday. 

We don’t have to wait for an external trigger to give ourselves the opportunity to let go of the past, whether that past is 30 seconds ago or 10 years ago. There is nothing holding us back from releasing ourselves from what happened or even who we used to be, except ourselves. We do not have to be the same person we were 5 minutes ago, 5 days ago, 5 years ago. 

It’s ok if people don’t recognize us, if they notice that we have changed, if it confuses them or even disappoints them. 

Because in reality, they are just confused & disappointed because we no longer fit into the little box they have designated for us, and now they have to do the frustrating work of relabeling.

You have every opportunity and the complete power right now, to start fresh and move forward in whatever direction you want your path to go. Maybe you want to start living more mindfully and be completely present. Maybe you struggle with having a patient spirit with your kids, and you want to adjust your responses. Maybe you want to quit your job and move across the country (been there!). Or maybe you just want to diligently try to not let things go bad in the refrigerator– for real this time. 

I’m starting fresh too. I originally had big plans for this blog and wanted to post regularly, But then of course there’s this thing called life and more important things got in the way, as they do. Kingston fractured his tibia at a trampoline park and has been in a cast for the past three very cold and rainy weeks (which means we can’t really even leave the house). And on top of that we are doing multiple exciting yet all consuming projects at home in preparation to refinance next month. 

I’m giving myself the grace though to start again, and this time I have a few new tools to help me try to reach my goals. During my late night attempts at “me time” I created a few planning worksheets that help me collect all my random thoughts and ideas into one place. 

 

When I chart my course and set time aside to plan things out, I do get more things done (not everything usually, but at least more), but more importantly I also have a clear mind and the ability to focus on other things. 

Writing my thoughts down allows my brain to breathe a little bit. I have so much running through my mind, when I put it down onto paper it is sort of a release. Then I can actually become aware of the present moment and focus on way more important things like my family– instead of mentally running through my to-do list a million times. 

Just don’t grip onto your plans too tight. Because no matter how many to-do lists and plans we make—-life happens, and things change. And you might need another fresh start. 

Besides, we aren’t in charge of it all anyways:

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Favorite Things: Entertainment Edition

If only we were all so easily entertained by an apple slice and fork! Or more likely, his wild momma who was rocking out to the Space Jam soundtrack- trying to stay positive while watching this dang cute boy throw rice all over the floor. Haha, we all need a little oomph here and there throughout the day to help breakup the monotony sometimes, especially during this rainy season (does anyone find themselves getting stuck in a day-long cycle of mealtime/cleanup, mealtime/cleanup, mealtime/cleanup??? or is it just me…). 

I’ve rounded up a comprehensive list of my current favs of podcasts, shows, books, apps and Insta accounts that may give you something new to look forward to when the kids are tucked into bed (or while you are having “me-time” with a chocolate bar in the pantry):

Podcasts

a. Oprah’s Supersoul Conversations

You guys, I can’t even explain to you how obsessed with this podcast I am. Truly, I believe that just by listening to it, you will become a better, fuller, more enriched person, and start to live a more purposeful life. 

I didn’t really ever watch Oprah’s talk show growing up, so you could say I am a new fan of Oprah- but she completely won me over with these amazing, thought provoking and enlightened conversations. 

Each episode Oprah speaks to various renowned thought leaders who explore their spiritual beliefs that span across the board from mystics to Baptist ministers. Each conversation has opened a new facet of self-understanding for me, and has truly helped me understand why I am the way I am, and in turn how to awaken my best self. 

 

I’m a true believer of the idea that “you are what you consume”- whether that is the food you eat, the products you buy, or the music, movies and media that is constantly streamed into our senses. It is up to us to choose to fill ourselves with only the best- and I am telling you this is the best podcast I have ever come across. 

b. Unruffled by Janet Lansbury

This podcast has become a parenting life-saver for me and I am so grateful to have found it while the boys are still really young. Janet focuses on respectful parenting, affirming emotions and practical advice. She addresses very specific situations (for example, the best way to deal with intense tantrums), and provides examples of exactly what to do and say that will most of the time return a positive or productive result. 

Most of the podcasts are pretty short- around 20 minutes, and they all provide insight into what is psychologically and developmentally going on in your child at different stages that affect they way they are able to behave. For me, being reminded that children are simply not capable of certain things because their brain is still forming, is so important to modifying my expectations of them and then in turn my reactions. 

APPS

a. EWG’s Healthy Living App

So this app was recommended to me a few years back and is something I still use regularly. EWG aka the Environmental Working Group is a non-profit org that does research and advocates healthier lives via consumer education. Their app helps you check the safety and ingredients of your cosmetics, sunscreens, household cleaners, or food. You can either search for the item in the app or you can scan the barcode with your phone’s camera. 

Ideally this is used best when shopping for products, but when I first downloaded the app, I scanned all of my baby food & baby care items in my house and ended up throwing a lot of it away once I realized how incredibly toxic it all was. It has been a great resource to help me make smart choices. They say once you know better– do better, and this app helps you easily become educated in what you are consuming as a family so that you can do better moving forward.

 

b. Le Tote

Le Tote was invaluable to me when I was a working mom and also pregnant with both boys. Similar to Stitch Fix, Le Tote is a monthly clothing subscription service that ships you a box of clothes each month to try. If you end up really loving an item, you can just keep it, purchased at a discounted rate, and send the rest of the items back. Then, when Le Tote receives your returns, they send you a brand new box of items. Le Tote styles each box for you, but you have the opportunity to switch out items, which is what I ended up doing 95% of the time. 

Although I love to shop, right now I have zero time to shop for clothes, let alone on a monthly basis, so Le Tote helps keep my wardrobe fresh and also helps me find items I would normally not select for myself but end up loving. 

I really loved the maternity option too when I was pregnant. I hated buying maternity clothes, knowing I would only wear them for several months- and also I constantly needed new sizes for my growing belly. It only made financial sense to use this service instead of constantly shopping for new clothes.  

insta favs

a. Jasmine Rae 

Ok, so let’s talk about hair. Y’all, I HATE washing/drying/styling my hair. You can find me in a pony or top-knot 95% of the time, because I have always felt it is completely necessary to wash, dry, curl ect. every time I want to wear my hair down and that whole process just takes WAY. TOO. MUCH. TIME. to do everyday. But this lady @jasmineraehairco is here to change the game. She is a professional hairstylist who knows her shizz and just went 30 days without washing or curling her hair and on day 30 it still looked CLEAN & GORGEOUS. She has tips on how to “train your hair” in her story bubbles on her page and I am eating them up right now. So if you want amazingly healthy, beautiful hair without spending any time on it- follow this chica. She’s hilarious too!

 

 

.b. At Home With Natalie

She has a lot of kids (5!). She knows the struggle. She keeps it real. But she also is a mom-blogger and party-thrower extraordinare. Sooo many cute but doable ideas for throwing sweet but simple parties at home. Nothing too fancy or over the top. Check her out at @athomewithnatalie!

c. Clean Mama

I started following @cleanmama a few years back when I realized I needed to get a schedule down for keeping up with the house. I couldn’t handle doing it ALL on the weekend anymore- I wanted to use the weekend for fun and relaxation time, not scrubbing the house from top to bottom. 

Clean Mama provides a simple weekly schedule to maintain the cleanliness of your house and also always gives little pointers and tricks on how to clean specific or hard to reach items. She also has a whole library of printable tools you can use to do monthly deep cleans or when you need to purge your house. Her daily reminders on my feed keep my on my toes and I have definitely noticed a positive impact on how I keep up with the house. 

Books

a. Eckhart Tolle A New Earth

To sum up what Eckhart says in the first chapter- you are either ready to read this book and apply it to your life, or you are not. If you are not ready, it’s not that you aren’t smart enough or worthy enough, its just that you may just need to face some more struggles in your life or do some soul searching to prepare yourself for this book. 

If you consider yourself someone who feels strongly about spirituality, or are just interested in different spiritual ideaologies, this book will hold a special place in your heart. The impact of Eckhart’s explanation of the ego has truly reshaped the way I think about myself and how I interact with the world around me. I eventually would like to do a longer blog post dedicated to this book, but to keep it short for now, I wanted to share some of my favorite quotes that really resonated with me and I had a hard time narrowing these down!

 

b. C.S. Lewis Divorce The Great Divorce

I am trying to get through all of Lewis’s books, and this one was a short and easy read but nonetheless impactful and thought provoking. Lewis provides a possible depiction of the afterlife through a fictional story that begins in hell and ends in heaven. It draws parallels to Dante’s Inferno but through lighter and simpler tones. 

The major takeaway for me was the idea that we choose which arena we want to go to, we are not damned there by anyone else besides ourselves. And God gives us ample opportunity to make the right decision, even in the afterlife, according to this presentation. There are several examples of why people would ever choose to go to hell, and the one that resonated with me the most was the mother who loved her son SO, SO over the top much that she had actually created an idol out of him. Overall, this is a quick read that will leave a lasting impression on your thoughts of the afterlife. 

shows

a. Planet Earth II, Blue Planet II & Frozen Planet

Ok you caught me, so I don’t watch a lot of adult TV, and should definitely not be the one offering any sort of advice on what cool new show you should watch. I’m up to date on Game of Thrones, but I’m pretty sure that the finale of series 7 (in 2017!) was the last full episode of adult television I’ve watched since Kristian was born. 

But that’s alright, that’s ok, because trust me I am fully locked and loaded when it comes to opinions on children’s television and movies. We don’t have the TV on all day here, but one show in the morning and a few movies a week before bed definitely add up and force us to keep the entertainment fresh or else we might go bananas. And its hard to find stuff that both the boys and I will like- besides Space Jam obviously. 

The whole BBC conucopia of natural history film has kept us all super happy though with their outstanding film technology, interesting animal and nature facts, and their ability to capture two animals in the octogon way better than UFC ever will. And I really do think it has been educational especially for Kingston, who now fully knows and understands the cycle of water. 

I hope everyone is surviving the last week or two of rain & snow (depending on where you are reading from), and I hope you have found ways to entertain yourself and your families! What are you guys into right now that I need to know about??? Leave below in the comments! xoxo

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5 ways to spread love for valentine’s day

When each holiday rolls around, I always pull out our children’s books devoted to that holiday theme a few weeks early. We try to keep the holiday literature separate and hidden from our regular pile, so it’s a treat to see them again every year and it definitely adds to the excitement of the season. The boys are both fighting colds, and on top of that Kristian is teething something mighty, so instead of heading outside today we stayed in and I broke out our Valentine’s Day themed books. We adore Ziggy Marley’s I Love You Too, and God Gave Us Love by Lisa T. Bergren. Both are more focused on the theme of love- which is what I tend to gravitate towards more around Valentine’s Day instead of the cards, chocolate and roses. Valentine’s Day for me has always been more of an opportunity to spread love to those that surround and support me, which is something we should be doing every day- no holiday needed, but the Valentine’s theme definitely gives that extra incentive with all the cute craft and decor supplies! This year I am including the boys on that mission of spreading love. Here are 5 ways we decided to spread love this year:

1. Make homemade Valentines to mail to family and friends. 

We all have family and friends near & far, and the far ones deserve some love too! Here are a few super cute Valentine’s crafts that can be sent via snail mail: 

a. Mail A Hug

b. Emoji Valentine

c. Blowing Kisses Valentine

d. Wax Resist Valentine Cards

2.       Random acts of kindness!

I am all about that Do Nice-Be Kind- Spread Happy life, and Valentine’s Day is no exception! Here’s some random acts of kindness that can be done with kiddos:

a. Write “You are loved!” in the sand, snow, with chalk, on your car, on a sign for your window (or all of the above!)– somewhere public where lots of people will see your words and feel loved.

b. Donate old toys to the hospital or local women’s shelter.

c. Offer to take someone’s picture.

d. Pay for another person’s Starbucks order.

 

3.    Visit Mommy and/or Daddy’s place of work and bring candy and kind sticky notes.

When I was a working mom, I loved getting to meet the children of my colleagues- I mean we talked about our kids all the time at work (I felt like I knew their life stories!) and many of us rushed out often to take care of our children’s needs. Having these babies and children that we heard so much about come visit office every once in a while was always such a blessing. Besides, everyone can use a pick me up at work sometimes. Getting some candy and a motivational message from a cute kiddo can definitely spark that needed push to the end of the day! 

Spruce up some sticky notes with glitter, construction paper and stickers, and add a motivational message! These are Valentines that can double as useful desk decor and won’t be tossed in the trash!

4. Volunteer at an animal shelter. 

Don’t forget about the animals when spreading the love, especially the ones alone in an animal shelter. You may need to do some research on the shelters in your area before heading out, since some shelters require that volunteers be a certain age. If you find a shelter that will let you volunteer with your kids, you can walk dogs, clean up after the animals, refill water bowls, and give out toys and treats. Even just being there to pet cats and scratch dogs behind the ears will help them feel loved.

5. Gifts for child care angels.

No matter if you are a stay-at-home or working parent, you more than likely have people who help you take care of your kids- whether that is a nanny, babysitter, daycare or preschool teacher, or family member. It always takes a village and it is so important to let our village know how much they are valued and loved. Here are several adorably sweet printables you can print out and attach to a small gift of choice for the angels in your life. 

 

I think when I started celebrating Valentine’s Day as a way to show love to others, instead of holding on to expectations to be showered with gifts or attention myself- I really began to enjoy the holiday. If you look at as an opportunity to do that- then it doesn’t matter the history or origin of Valentine’s Day either- who cares if it was made up by a card company! There can never be too much love or thoughtfulness in this world, amirite?

How are you planning on spending Valentine’s Day this year? Let me know if you have any other ideas on how to spread the love!

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The Power of Silence

Startled awake by the cry of one child, and then the other, I tore off my covers and blindly fumbled my way to their room. One was wet, the other irritated by this abrupt and noisy awakening. Empathizing with the irritation, I grumpily rubbed my eyes open, briskly changed a diaper and scooped them both up, carrying one in each arm down the steps to start our morning with an episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, a critical cup of coffee and waffles.

Loud, rushed and negatively charged: aka a typical morning in our house for sure, yet way less hectic than it used to be when I would then have to rush out the door to nanny drop off before commuting 45 mins to work. But even though the pace of my life had somewhat slowed down since quitting my job to become a stay at home mom, something was still missing.

Being home with the kids all day meant I was seldom alone, and even less was there ever an opportunity for silence or meditation. 

To the uninitiated, being home with two babies generally means a constant stream of crying, questions, requests, music, and stories, and it only ends at bedtime in this house because my 3 year old doesn’t nap anymore. 

So I needed silence: somehow I knew I craved it. And ultimately I found that when I was finally able to carve out time for silence in my life, it improved just about everything.

I began using the power of silence in small ways. 

I turned off the music that typically got me through cooking meals. I went to bed and read a book instead of watching TV at night. I held my babies and rocked them to sleep without checking my phone. I focused on the inhale and exhale of my breath and how my chest rose and fell. I slowed down my daily activities of folding laundry and doing dishes. Sometimes I was even able to wake up early and have a cup of coffee alone. 

And then slowly, important things started to happen.

 

1. Mindfulness

When I quieted my external world, I began to notice how out of sorts my internal stream of thoughts was. I took note of how insanely scatterbrained I am. And I also realized that I zone out a lot, like it’s actually ridiculous. Pre-programmed activities like chores, taking a shower, even driving, quickly lead me to zone out and think about to-do lists, plans and daydreams. It’s like my body was going through the motions, but my mind was not involved in the activity: I had completed these tasks so many times before that I no longer felt like I needed to fully engage. But even moments where I should be absorbed, like playing a game, reading, or even talking to the boys were difficult for me to get through without spacing out frequently. Moments of clarity were few and far, far between. 

It’s like my mind was (and still is) continuously able to distract me by telling me: “You have more important & interesting things to think about.”  But in reality, nothing is more important and interesting than being alive, present, and with my family. 

Mindfulness is a constant pursuit. The mind is continuously tested, so I am slowly, ever so slowly, training myself to try to stay more present. It is so hard, but yet so simple. And extremely worth the work. I want to be a witness to my children’s lives.  But how can I do that, if I am too busy, unfocused, scatterbrained and barely even there mentally? 

2. gratitude

At my core I am a list maker. A planner. I live and die by my calendar. Literally, if I don’t have my calendar I don’t even know what I should be doing; I feel so lost. 

Mom tells me that when I was a kid, I would make my Christmas list the day after my birthday in July! I guess planning has always given me a sense of control and hope. But it also strips away the ability to feel contentment. If I am constantly planning something new, I can never focus on and be thankful for what I already have.

For me, silence coupled with mindfulness really gifted me the ability to feel a deep sense of gratitude and contentment. With a new sense of clarity I was able to look around and truly see the plethora of blessings I have right in front of my eyes. Take a simple apple and the steps it took from tree to mouth, the hot & clean shower water, and the Amazon box delivered to my door. All of the sudden I envisioned a hive of workers, infrastructure and natural phenomena encircling me, serving me, allowing me to live my comfortable life. 

Then there was nature. Stepping outdoors while fully present is a mind-blowing experience. Gratitude overwhelmed my senses as I took in each leaf, tree, flower and bird call. So delicate yet glorious, here for a moment then gone in an instant. 

And then there is the sweet boys I have running under my feet. Yes, we have hard moments. A lot of them, every single day. But in the same breath, they are also the best gift I have ever been given, and I can never even come close to explaining how thankful I am for their sing-songy voices, soft skin, sweet and joyful temperaments and how they manage to make me belly laugh hourly.  

Little by little, I realized that almost everything I have ever wanted- I have. God has answered an incredible amount of prayers in my life, big and small. I certainly didn’t receive everything at the exact time of my request, but they came… in their own time. 

I eventually created a super simple gratitude journal to help me refocus in the morning and at night. It helps me start and end my day with a grateful heart, and even helps me realize I can be grateful for my challenges too. I have it here if you want to take a look and download a copy for yourself.

 

3. hearing the voice of god

Ok, so I know this one sounds a little bit grand. But this was by far the most important aspect of the power of silence for me. 

Since quitting my job in February of 2017, I had been doing some soul searching and trying to decide where I want my career path to go when the boys eventually enter school and I re-enter the workforce. Essentially, I wanted a career that I felt was important enough for me to leave the boys. I wanted to impact the world in a positive way, using some skills I had already developed in my career, but also giving me the opportunity to learn something new. Yet I felt lost. I didn’t know what direction to head in. A psych degree in one hand and 7 years of experience at a real estate startup in the other, I had no clue where to turn.

Growing up, I never found my niche. Friends around me became experts in their own activities like sports, music or in a field of study, But I enjoyed dabbling in everything. So when I asked myself what I wanted to be when I grew up, I still, at the age of 32 did not have the answer. 

Just like my chores, I had gone through the motions many times in life. I went to college because that’s what everyone else successful seemed to be doing. I found jobs after college that always seemed interesting and fun, but not exactly what I felt called to do for the rest of my life. I needed a paycheck to survive, so that was my primary focus. I knew it was important to “do what you love”, but it didn’t seem like I had the time or resources to do that- I needed money, now. 

But now that I was a stay at home mom and had a bit more freedom, I wanted to do the work to figure out my calling. I attended several women’s conferences, and at one I was able to participate in workshop called “Finding Me.” Um, perfect. The speaker was a Christian life coach who urged us to listen for God’s voice, because he will tell us who we are. 

I asked her directly, “But how do we know the difference between God’s voice, and our own?” Her reply: “Practice silence. To tune into God’s voice, we must tune out this world’s noise.”

So instead of utilizing prayer as a form of release, I began to sit in silence with God and wait for his voice. I felt a strong urge to participate in my local church, that I would find an answer there. So I did, and I met new friends. 

Then one day, one of these new church friends told me flat out, “Hey, you know, there’s a job at the hospital I work at, that I think you would really like.” Ding, ding, ding, ding! And it fit. In fact, the career she informed me of is something I had never even heard of before, but one that I have already been building my resume for, for years, without even knowing it. 

So now, I sit preparing to begin a career that fits what I had been searching for in my heart for a very, very long time. I truly feel that I found this path because of the choice to listen, to be open to new possibilities, and because I had silenced the constant chatter- I was finally able to hear God’s calling. 

No matter where you are at in your life, or what you are struggling with today, I truly believe that the practice of silence can have a positive impact on your daily life. If you want to give it a try, you don’t have to quit your job to find the freedom, or even join a local yoga class. Just find some time in your day to sit quietly, without looking at a screen. If you need movement, try a simple task such as washing your hands. But when you complete the task, watch your mind. Focus on the water, how it sounds, how it feels running over your hands. Think of nothing except of what you are currently doing. Be aware of your thoughts and watch where your mind takes you. Nothing is going to magically happen right away, but over time if you give it some patience and consistency, you will notice a change in your thinking. 

I would love to hear from you— how has silence (or lack thereof) impacted your life? Do you intentionally and regularly practice mindfulness, and in what way?

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Family Photos at Ponto Beach!

The Nance family photos were long overdue this year, as we haven’t done any since the arrival of Kristian last July. But honestly there’s nothing I love more than beautiful pictures of my babies. We are still fairly new to the area but ended up finding the amazing local photographer Jesslan Lee through a mutual friend, and she suggested the total gem South Ponto Beach in Carlsbad. As soon as we parked, we all fell in love with the vibe and immediately made mental notes to return. This beach reminds me of the rustic feel of Laguna, with all of the trees, tall grass, succulents, rocks, and rough scrub. So incredibly gorgeous.

What I loved most about South Ponto was not just the raw beauty, but the ease and accessibility. They have free parking in the sand along the coast highway, as well as a large paved paid lot which has not only clean bathrooms but a super short walk from your car to the water. Things like that make it so easy for this momma when I want to hit the beach with two boys plus toys, snacks, and pretty much the rest of our entire house and home…I mean I should just start bringing roller suitcases. 

Ok, so when I get family pictures back it always makes me think of the last time we did them, and how much everyone has grown and changed. I mean it is completely obvious with the babes, because their physical bodies have changed so quickly, not to mention their intellectual growth. But also when I look at David and myself, how much we have changed and grown: as parents, in our relationship, in our careers, and I think for me especially, the acceptance that my life is no longer about me anymore. Looking back just to two years ago (Kingston was 1), I still hadn’t fully grasped that yet. I had to mourn the death of my ego, but now I embrace the sacrifice. I laid down my once self-centered life to focus pretty much solely on the needs of my babies. And I don’t want to make that sound like a complaint, because it isn’t at all. I am happy to put the focus on somebody else besides me and am trying to soak in every minute that I can with these sweet sweet groms. It might not be forever like this. But in this moment, it feels completely right.

I adore these two pictures of the boys- Kingston is becoming such a sweet and caring big brother and I couldn’t be prouder of them both. The other day Kristian was investigating a crack in the wall and Kingston spots him from across the room, runs over- takes a peek himself and then grabs Kristian’s hand saying, “come on bro-bro, I don’t know what’s in there” leading him away. He definitely has that big-brother protection instinct about him already. 

Kristian right now is in this phase where he acts and feels like a real life teddy bear. He is starting to put on a little more chunk and that paired with the sweaters and coats required for the season just make him crazy squeezable. You know, the kind where you hug so hard you get instantly afraid his eyes are gonna pop out of his head or something lol. He will lay his head down on my chest or shoulder and pucker his lips out when he wants a kiss. He is totally my silent assassin though- his pacifier keeps him quiet but then I’ll turn around to look for him and he has climbed on top of the dining room table, holding whatever dangerous item he could manage to find on the floor. That’s just how he rolls. 

How cute is this one of the eldest and youngest lovin on eachother. Every time I see Tayler now I have to do a double take because my mind just can’t wrap around the fact that she is almost 20 years old. When David and I met, she was only in 5th grade. That seems like both a lifetime ago and like it was just last week, both in the same breath. 

It always feels like so much work preparing for pictures, and literally a cardio WORK OUT to get a good shot, but I am always thrilled with the results and glad we put in the effort to get them done. Especially this year with the boys being so young, sweet and adorable, Thanks again to Jesslan for putting in the time and grind, and also for introducing me to South Ponto Beach!

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