What a difference a year can make!

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Same spot, same time last year. I am so glad that this year I am holding my sweet Roycie Girl in my arms! (And I remember looking at this picture of me 8 months pregnant last year and thinking my stomach didn’t look as big in the picture as it did in real life…ah!!)

Fall Family Photos 2013




Something I love about my little family is our traditions. I try very hard to carve out time (and money) to make some special traditions happen. It fills my heart with such joy to watch my kids get excited about different traditions we have. They are just getting to the age where they can remember to last year/time we did something and get ready for it coming again. I love that. I want to create memories for them-in the big moments and the inane moments. I want my kids to have heart memories etched into their being of who I was and the home we created for them. So we try to give to them in the excitement of family days and in the inane day to day.




They may not remember each time I made them dinner or each time we cuddled for a story or took a walk to gather “treasures”, but I hope that the sum total of all these experiences is etched into who they are.  I hope they remember what it feels like to cuddle close to me or to listen to the inflection of my voice as I read a beloved story. Those are things I remember from my childhood. Sometimes I even go back to that place in my mind as a source of truth and comfort.




I hope our traditions, big and small, mold them into people who treasure family, live an others-centered life,  aren’t afraid to be who God made them to be, and take time to thank God for his blessings. I want my kids to be grounded in memories-from the inane moments and also from the exciting outings and traditions we plan for them.



Although it didn’t quite happen last year, professional family photos are something I want to make happen every Fall. It is a tradition that I love for many reasons. Traditions in themselves cause me to reflect on years past. When I look back I can see God’s faithfulness. I can remember what was going on at that time-the things that we were celebrating, the things we were struggling with. I remember the things that we concerned ourselves with. I can see God’s faithful hand providing for us, directing us, admonishing us and sometimes carrying us. And also, in the case with our young family, I can literally see God growing our family in numbers.



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I love to look at a picture and see us captured just being us- just being the way God made us.




I know years from now I will look back through tear filled eyes and remember us as we were then.






Their little faces can transport me back to a moment or time in our life.

The time she danced and twirled through life without fears or self-doubt:





The time where he had two speeds: sleeping and running:




Or when he would stick in his hands in his pockets when he thought he was really cool (and also when a photographer told him too…)




The time when she used to make that silly face all.the.time. as if she knew something we didn’t:



There are feelings in those times. The feelings flood back as I look at photos. And no matter what the feelings were surrounding that time then, whenever I look back at old photos, I am always left with the lingering feelings of joy and gratitude.






Traditions are a helpful way for a busy, distracted, all too often pessimistic person like me to be mindful of the sovereignty of God, to be thankful, to be hopeful.



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Family photos are an especially wonderful way for me to do this because they are so visual. I joke and say that by getting professional pictures I am giving myself a gift because these quality photos mean so much to me. And in a way I am giving myself more of a gift than just the photos. I am forcing myself to stop and look at what God has done for me. As the moments of life are paused still in front of me I cannot help but rejoice at what God has given me. I know that no matter what changes from year to year, tradition to tradition, God does not change. God promises never fail and He is faithful and true. I am so glad God gave us memories and rhythms in life to point us back to Him. What a beautiful gift! As we enter a season filled with lots of traditions I am praising God for the opportunity to see Him in everything and remember what He has done for me and my sweet little family. 





Photos credit Rachel Ann Photography

Royce 9 and 10 months

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My sweet baby is becoming less and less of a little baby! It has been two months since the last time I posted a Royce update and in that same amount of time she will be one year old! Whaaat?!


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She has grown so much in the past two months, not so much in size (although she has done that too!), but in development! (See below for photo evidence.)


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(9 months-not reading)

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(10 months-reading )

At 9 months and one week old she started crawling. (Yay/boooo). I took a picture of her starting to pull herself up on our coffee table with my phone and posted it to facebook saying “she is doing this but not crawling yet” and then literally 5 seconds later she let herself down and crawled over to me!  Cheers erupted from the stands! Braxton and Hayleigh were shrieking and cheering (and jumping on top of her) with joy and excitement. I love how proud of her they are. They genuinely love her and are still so excited she is here! The excitement occasionally dissipates now that she is mobile and getting into their stuff. But they have learned to trade toys with her and do it with a very happy vigor. Royce is not always as happy to have that nice mouth sized puzzle piece or Barbie shoe snatched from her hands and replaced with a baby rattle or plush book that presents no chocking hazard what-so-ever. In that case she usually abandons the toys and finds a nice shoe to chew on.


She can climb up one or two steps. I can’t keep her from them any longer. She did it for the first time at my parent’s house last week from their family room den into the kitchen and then proceeded to crawl back down the step and face plant. Ooops. She will high five and has developed this silly scrunchy nosed smile/snort. It isn’t too lady like but neither is pooping your pants so I figure we have some time for both of those habits to work themselves out. For now the scrunchy snort smile is pretty trademark-cute.





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She says a few words: “uh-oh”, “hi” –although never on demand, “more” , “num-num” (yum) and a few times I insist she said “mama” directed at me. Peter will testify. Mostly she just yells “yayayaya” and chews on her fingers, which is also pretty adorable. You can’t get away with drooling on people and still be called cute for long. Milk that stage girly. 




On the topic of teeth, she has 6 now. For a while she just had 3-two on the bottom and one off to the side on the top. We called it her “315” tooth (which will only make sense to people from the Rochester, NY area).  She looked a little hillbilly-ish, so we are happy that three other teeth decided to come in up top and even things out…kinda.




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She continues to be such a bright spot in my days. Her sweet face cannot help but bring a smile to mine. She breaks through even my worst moods or my most distracted hazes.




I love seeing her develop. Even though a lot of it is the '”same” as her older siblings, it is all fresh and new each time. I still laugh out loud watching her dance to music. Sometimes I turn on music for Hayleigh and Braxton to dance or so they can put on a show for me. She sits on the floor and subtly dances right along as the craziness goes on around her. She sings along to music in the car and speaking of the car, there are not many sweeter moments than the rides to and from pre-school. I was worried the time spent in the van would be drudgery, but it is just so sweet watching her and Braxton interact as he works so hard to keep her awake until we get home for nap time. And Royce gets excited every time Hayleigh is back in the backseat to talk to. The giggles are just what my heart needs. Watching her play peek-a-boo and laugh hysterically at the antics of her siblings makes my Mommy heart almost burst. Watching her try to open mouth kiss our dog Paisley at every opporitunity does not. That actually churns my stomach. The girl just loves to kiss. Can’t fault her for that.



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(Have I ever mentioned my obsession with my kids’ lips. It is real and it is deep.)

I was looking back to last year when she was still on the inside and I was feeling pretty uncomfortable. I knew it would all be worth it, and it has been from the beginning, but to look at how quickly this year has gone and how different our lives are with Roycie here, is just so special. She has just wiggled her way into our hearts and captured each one of us. I love that silly little lady! I can’t believe I am planning a birthday party for her already! Ahh!! Slow down baby girl!



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(9 months)


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(10 months)

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