dirty hands, full hearts.

That’s how things are over here. All the time. It doesn’t matter how many times we wipe and wash Max’s hands, there is always, without fail, going to be dirt under his fingernails. I have kind of learned to accept it as the normal thing. If nothing else, it just shows how much fun he is having on any given day.

A few days ago, Nick needed to change the oil in his truck, so we all went along to his uncle’s shop, and Max wanted to help. I’m just so glad that I brought my camera along, because the photos that resulted from that simple little outing are ones that I will cherish forever.

Dirt on their hands. Dirt on the floor. Dirt on their clothes. Smiles on their faces. Full hearts.








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Today, Thursday. Slow morning before husband left for work. Sweet potato chili, guitar lessons with my sisters. Playing and napping for the babes. Puppy snuggles. Normal.

But I love finding lovely things in the every day, and I love that my camera helps me do that sometimes. It helps me see every moment differently.

I love these moments. The small things my boys do that make my heart so happy.

Drew…when he wants some alone time he sneaks off to a closet in their room and plays quietly. I found him in there today with the door shut, happy as can be and loving having a little alone time.

Max…he has started asking for naps when he gets sleepy. He wants me to make him a little nest on the couch, he snuggles into it, and off to sleepy town he goes. For a sweet boy who has never been the best sleeper, it’s kind of glorious.

I just really love being their momma.



You know those days that you just don’t want to end? The ones that are just so close to perfect that you wouldn’t change a thing? Sunday was like that for me. Nick had the day off, and we spent the day in the best of ways.

Mom and Daddy.
Burritos and quesildillas.
New shorts for husband.
Car naps.
Fishing poles.

Sunday is always one of my favorites.


the parcel exchange

I am part of this fantastic thing called The Parcel Exchange. Twelve girls, all over the country, sending and receiving one package at the beginning of each month. Praying for each other, lifting each other up with encouragement in handwritten notes and gifts- handmade, vintage, or just plain wonderful- each month. I can’t even begin to tell you how blessed I am by the community of women this group has created, even though I have met very few of them face to face.

I love making things for these ladies, packing up gifts, and hoping it will bring some happy to their day when they receive it!

Today, my March parcel came in the mail from Kidder, and it was perfect. Our theme this month was “vintage,” and she included so many neat things. My favorites? A vintage compass box, and a banner made from the pages of Beverly Cleary’s “Socks.” It was all so beautifully packaged that I couldn’t help but take way too many photos!

Thank you so much, Kidder! It all really made my day!

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If you are on Instagram, go check out the hashtag #theparcelexchange for more photos from all of us!

PS…You can go read Chelsea’s blog about The Parcel Exchange too! And if you want to start your own parcel exchange let us know! We’d love to hear about it, or help you get started!


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“A portrait of my children. Once a week. Every week. In 2014”

Drew: turned one this week, and is suddenly a different child. Climbing on and into everything, figuring out all sorts of things that he couldn’t do a week ago! Keeping this momma on her toes!

Max: has been loving that his brother has been into everything and thinks it’s quite hilarious. He has also been getting so dirty every day that we have had to change his bath schedule from every other day to every day, no matter what. He leaves me wondering “how?” most days!

cupcakes and candles

We had a tiny little party for our Drew Bear this weekend. The boys are having a bigger, joint cookout birthday party later this month, including more people and food, but we opted to keep it super simple for Drew’s first birthday. We didn’t want to wait a whole month for his cake smash! I made tasty cupcakes with homemade vanilla buttercream frosting and topped one with the same “1” candle that we used for Max’s first birthday (I’m all about traditions and the sentimental stuff over here). His grandparents and some of his aunts joined us, and we all sang “Happy Birthday” to him for the first time. Nick and I blew out the candle, and I fought back tears as he smashed up his first ever cupcake and loved it.

He smelled like sugar for the rest of the day, and I cried when I put that little “1” candle back in the kitchen drawer.

>>>sorry in advance for the excess of photos…I tried to weed some out, but it was hard! He only hast his first birthday once!


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^he figured out how to climb onto that stool all on his own! Trouble? Oh yes!^



^Max loved having our families there^

^Toby Ann showing off her birthday drawing!^

^Drew adores his Pop (my Daddy)^DSC_0151-2

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^Nick and his dad, or “Pawpaw”^DSC_0176 DSC_0179

^Sweet Daisy^DSC_0189 DSC_0198-2

^Our moms were such a big help, as always!^DSC_0199

^Max and Pawpaw were probably chatting it up about bulldozers^DSC_0202 DSC_0203 DSC_0204-2

^The cupcakes were a hit!^


Thank you so much, everyone, for making our little bear’s birthday so special! We missed you Tucker, Chelsea and Gretta!

dear drew {one year}


Dear Drew,

I just put you down to sleep for the last time before you are officially a one year old. But I am seriously considering just snuggling you all night and soaking the moments before tomorrow as much as possible. I know everyone always says it, but it’s so true…this year has absolutely flown by. I don’t know if I am ready for you to be one, but all at the same time, I love seeing you grow and learn.  I honestly thought it would be easier with the second child…the first birthday…but it is so much harder.  I think because I know first hand exactly how fast the time will go and that before we know it you will be running all over, talking up a storm, and not needing us quite as much.

You are learning something new every day! Some days it’s a new word or sound, and others it’s a skill. Today? You learned to climb into the little chair in our living room, and then proceeded to stand up on it…my little daredevil. We all know you are sweet as can be, but you are also quite the wild man!

Drew Bear, Pudge, Bruiser, Bubba, Love Bug, Bubs, Smoochie, or just simply, Brother. We have so many names for you. And it just goes to show how loved you are by so many people.  You have grabbed the hearts of everyone you’ve met this first year! Max prefers to call you Drew Bear, and we hear him saying it all the day long.

You are his buddy. His best friend. He knocks you down several times a day, and sometimes he makes you cry, but most of the time he is trying his best to play with you, persuading you to be where he is with toys and cookies if he has to.  The cool part is that you love him back, with or without the toys and cookies. Most of the time, you’d choose to be with Max over just about anybody else. He’s YOUR best friend too. And that? It makes my momma heart so happy. I love to hear you guys talking to each other. We went on a drive across town a few days ago, and when I turned the music down, I could hear you babbling, and Max saying, “yeah, Drew! I know! We are going to see Daddy! Are you happy, brother?” I know you two will have your moments of fussing and arguing, and I’m sure even a fist fight (or ten…or twenty), but I know that you will always be buds. I can’t wait to see how you boys will grow up together, (but let’s not do it too fast, okay?)

Pudge boy, you are always making us laugh, keeping a smile on our faces. You bounce, kick your feet, and grin when you get excited about something. It is the best thing. You also seem to have a sense of humor already. You constantly put things in your mouth that are funny there, like Mr. Potato Head’s eyes or mustache, then you come show us and giggle. And let’s not forget the dancing. Music is one of your favorite things, almost any kind, and you can’t stop dancing when a song is on that you like.  You have also started to imitate us, but especially Daddy.  He makes a weird sound or face, and you do it right back to him, and then you usually have a good laugh about it.

Your next favorite person besides your big brother is probably Daddy. You guys are buddies. I have never seen you more excited than you are every day when Daddy comes home from work. You love vanilla wafers, fruit, and pretty much anything that Mommy eats. I don’t think you have any plans of being done nursing yet, and I am completely okay with that. I love having quiet minutes with you while you nurse throughout the day. Lately, it seems like you really love to play ball, and when we throw a ball and catch it you will giggle and giggle!  You also love your stuffed animals and anything that belongs to Max. We have spent quite a bit of time snuggled up together in the sling lately and you love it so much.  I ask you if you want “ups” (our code for getting into the sling) and you will grin and nod or lay your head shyly over on my shoulder. When you aren’t in the sling you are walking around everywhere exploring and getting into everything.  I kind of love that about the age you are at…you love to snuggle up with us, but you have also found this sense of adventure that I hope we can never tame.

This year was hard in a lot of ways for our family. We moved to our home town just a few days after you were born, but Daddy’s job was still in our old town, so he wasn’t home much until he got a new job. It made me so sad, and it was really hard on all of us to be apart so much. But, see, you brought so much happiness to us- to Daddy, Max and I- that it made everything seem pretty good. You have been so sweet and happy all the time, giving me joy when I was otherwise having to fight for it. You, my love bug, have been an answer to an infinite number of prayers, and you can’t even drink out of a straw yet. Funny how God works that way. There is no doubt in my mind that you and the timing of our move and every little detail of it was part of God’s plan. He gave you to us as a light in a bit of a dark time, I’m sure of it, and I’m so thankful for that.

As your Aunt Chelsea said, we didn’t know what to expect with you. You are so perfect, Bubs. God made you just the way you are supposed to be, and that is a glorious thing. Don’t ever forget that, buddy. The little person you are now is pretty incredible, and the big person you will grow to be is going to do some amazing things, too, I know it.

I’m excited to see where this next year takes us, sweet boy. But let’s just take it slow and enjoy every little minute, okay? Don’t grow up too too fast.

I love you to the moon and back!



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