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10.06.2018

OUR 6th ANNIVERSARY + FAMILY PHOTOS



Chuck and I are not good at anniversaries. Granted, we've been pregnant or encumbered with small children for the majority of them, but yeah, we're pretty pathetic. We don't do gifts, cards only happen if we remember a week in advance, and whatever date night we happen to go on is generally planned at the eleventh hour.

However, we have one tradition that we've kept every single year- our anniversary pictures. I'm a documenter by nature (shocking, I know), so pictures are kind of one of my love languages. Chuck was apathetic at first, but now I think he's really grown to appreciate them over time as he watches our family change before our eyes.

This year, when Tina Ruble Photography announced her September mini-session, it seemed too perfect to pass up. Tina also did Charlie's "newborn" photos (he was a month old by that point) and the boys' Easter photos last year. I've recommended her to sooo many of my friends because she truly has a gift. Our boys were especially uncooperative and grumpy this time around, and somehow our pictures still turned out amazing.

Before I do my little reveal, I thought it would be fun to travel back in time and look at our old anniversary pictures throughout the years:

ONE

I love that I thought to start this little tradition our first newlywed year. These pictures are especially meaningful because they capture our first married year together- child-free and livin' on love in the big city of Pittsburgh. We were broke and worked our butts off, but we built a really solid foundation by only having each other to rely on. | P/C: Amy Dugan Photography

TWO

These are probably my least favorite photos because I was 5 months pregnant with Charlie and just look chubby, but not quite pregnant yet. This was the year we moved back to Chuck's hometown in Ohio. | P/C Byrd Photography

THREE

This was another really special year. We got to take our 3rd anniversary pictures just a few days after we closed on our very first home together. We had our friend Dani take all of our photos in and around our first house before we moved in and they're so stinkin' special to us now. | P/C Byrd Photography

FOUR

My sweet friend Rachel agreed to take our anniversary/newborn photos just two weeks after Crosby joined our family. I was postpartum and sleep-deprived, and it shows, but these photos are so dear to me because you can visually see my body evolving as I brought my babies into the world. | P/C Rachel King

FIVE
Year Five: The year I was finally done having babies! My sister-in-love got herself a camera and started experimenting with photography. She graciously took the time to not only take our pictures, but also do my hair and makeup. I couldn't believe how good the photos turned out for an amateur photographer. She has such a natural talent.

Which brings us to year six...

SIX

Honestly, these are probably my favorite photos to-date. Not just from a quality standpoint, but also because I feel like we've really settled into ourselves and into our marriage- and it shows! The past year was no joke. Adjusting to being a family of four, as well as being a one-income family definitely took a toll on our relationship at times. But, as the stormy times often do, they led us to a really good place.

In year six, we are more committed to each other and working as a team than ever. This was the year where I really learned how to shift my thinking from "me" to "we" and start thinking of our future in terms of "us" rather than my own selfish interests. We still have some hurdles to overcome, but we feel confident in the fact that we have each other's backs forever and always, no matter what life throws at us.

And with my corny ode over, here's the rest of my ornery, adorable family:







9.20.2018

Life Lately v7

Guys, it has been a minute.

When last I updated on life lately, I had just started at my new job, I had just enrolled Charlie in preschool, and I was training nonstop for my first half marathon. Well, let me tell you- a lot has happened and a lot has changed since that post three months ago. So, how about I catch you all up to speed?



NEW JOB
I love, love, love it! I can't believe it's taken me approximately the last decade (AKA all of my adult life) to figure out that I wanted to work in finance. Because I freaking love it. I have the perfect balance of autonomy in establishing my to-do list and day-to-day activities while still feeling completely supported by my awesome team whenever I have questions. The office dynamic was pretty different than anything I've experienced before for a number of reasons, but it's grown on me and I'm picturing myself in this world for a long time to come.

WORKING MOTHERHOOD
I'm definitely happy to be working again. It was the right time for me to leave the stay-at-home Mom life behind, but working motherhood obviously has its own set of challenges. I just don't have enough hours in the day, plain and simple. It also doesn't help that when I accepted my new position, I stayed on in my part-time role because I was the only person who could do it. So I've been working a full-time job, a part-time job, studying for a licensing exam, and trying to raise babies in between. I'm incredibly happy during this season, but I'm also constantly overwhelmed because I feel like I'm always behind on something.

HALF MARATHON TRAINING
I'm really upset that this is one of those things that I just couldn't keep up during this busy time. I was seriously doing so well with my training running a few times per week and getting 8-10 mile runs in on the weekends. I signed up for my first half marathon in July and was so excited to finally cross it off my list. Then something outside of my control happened and I was no longer able run it. Fortunately, I didn't lose my deposit (thank goodness because those races are not cheap!), and I was able to just defer it until next year. But yeah, running has not been happening and I've got an extra few pounds around my middle to show for it.

On the plus side, my new office building has a Crunch fitness in it so I signed up for a membership two weeks ago. After my initial training session, I've only made it in once to exercise in that time, but I'm hopefully that I can get into some kind of morning exercise regimen, even if it's just 30 minutes a day.



HOME
Last month, my Mom had the boys spend a few days up at her house in Upstate New York. She is such a fun Grandma and jam-packed sooo many fun activities into just two days. The boys had a blast and although Chuck and I both had to work, I managed to paint our bedroom while they were away. I can never paint unless the boys are gone, so I was happy to finally get another room in our house checked off my list. I need to get some hardware and a few picture frames, but then the room is done and I can't wait to show it off here!

WEDDING ANNIVERSARY
Our 6th wedding anniversary came and went on September 2 with nary a love letter on this blog to show for it. So unlike me. We made a super quick trip down to Louisville over Labor Day weekend. I got a good price on a hotel through work, so it was a bit of a spur of the moment thing. We didn't have much time to do the touristy things, so we plan to return in the future. But we had a night of good food, good laughs, and of course, lots of good bourbon.



THE END OF AN ERA
*TMI Alert: I recently made the decision to make the switch to a more effective and reliable form of birth control. We're not remotely in a place where we'd want to have a third child, and we're comfortable with the idea of remaining a two-child family. I've been feeling a particular kind of grief and finality as some of my close friends have babies of their own. I didn't even enjoy pregnancy, but I feel a little melancholy that I'll never experience the excitement of a new baby again, or those precious newborn snuggles. If I'm being honest, I'm also a little sad that I'll never get to experience having a daughter.

PRESCHOOL
Charlie started preschool this month! He goes for two hours, two days per week. Since they land smack dab in the middle of the work day, we're fortunate that Chuck's Dad drops him off and picks him up for us. (Otherwise, I have no idea how we would do it. How DO other working families do preschool?!) He's never able to give me much detail about what he does during the day and can't seem to remember any of the names of his friends, but he loves going and has a blast, so I think we're doing alright.



FAMILY PICTURES
I look forward to family pictures more than is probably acceptable. Perhaps it's because I'm destined to a life of always being behind the camera, so I treasure nice pictures that actually have me in them. I also just love holidays and milestones. Chuck and I are terrible about making anniversary plans and getting each other gifts. So the fact that we've taken anniversary pictures every year feels like a pretty solid achievement. We've gone to Tina Ruble Photography a few times now for her mini sessions and every single year, she blows me away. The boys were pretty much on their worst behavior and she still managed to deliver the most beautiful images. I can't wait to show off the pictures from our session!



FALL
I know I'm not exactly in the minority here, but gah- is it fall yet?! I already dug out my Halloween decor last weekend and we're those neighbors on our block. I'm also really looking forward to a slowdown in the Farmers' Market. (Have I mentioned that yet?) I want hay rides, and cool weather, and all the boots, leggings and scarves!!

VACATION
And speaking of things I'm looking forward to...our vacation in Cape May is just two months away and I can't. stinkin'. wait. My Mom, sister and my family are all renting a house together as a "Pre-Thanksgiving" celebration in our favorite place in the world. This vacation is soooo needed.

I think that about covers it! So thankful to finally get caught up. I hate that I haven't had the time to keep this little blog updated.

So tell me, what's new with you?!

9.16.2018

CROSBY's 2nd BIRTHDAY PARTY!!

This post brought to you by Goldfish Swim School.

We've been taking swimming lessons at Goldfish Swim School-Dayton for about a year now, so when it came time to start planning Crosby's second birthday party, it honestly wasn't even a question. Chuck has a big family and our house just isn't big enough to give all the cousins enough room to run around and play. Last year, we were able to host his party at the local park, but with how rainy this summer has been, I really didn't want to take the chance. I'm glad I didn't because it rained all day long on the day of the party!




We'd had a stressful, hectic few weeks leading up to Crosby's birthday. Usually, I am the Mom who starts planning months in advance- I love birthdays and holidays. However, I simply didn't have the time to figure out all the small details to make his party special. Thankfully, Goldfish saved the day! Their dedicated party coordinator called me the week of his party and asked me about decor, flavors of cupcakes, etc. They coordinated everything!


I settled on a Moana theme (because obviously, we were at a pool, it seemed silly not to!), I cooked up a few little Moana-themed dishes for the adults- Te Fiti's Green Goddess Salad, Pineapple Skewers, and Maui's Hawaiian Meatballs. Then I picked up some balloons from Party City on our way there. And that was literally all I did.





When we got there, tables and chairs were all set up, cupcakes and juice boxes were laid out and Moana was playing on their TV in the waiting area. All of Crosby's friends and family members slowly trickled in and after a brief safety talk, we headed to the pool. We had the entire thing to ourselves and everyone had a blast!

I had multiple people tell me what a fun party it was and how cool it was that we got to rent out the entire pool just for our little group of loved ones.



We love Goldfish because it's teaching our kids life-saving, practical skills. But we also love it because it's just so much stinkin' fun and every single person that works there is amazing with our kiddos. I can't rave on them enough. If you have a fall/winter baby and are planning ahead to their birthday party this year Goldfish Swim School is such a good spot for an indoor party!

I'm so tickled we got to celebrate our dearheart with such a fun day. Happy 2nd birthday, sweet Crosby!

9.05.2018

CROSBY | 2 YEARS

Today is my dear, sweet Crosby's second birthday. Hitting birthday milestones with a second born is such a different experience than with a firstborn. With Charlie, each new milestone ushered in excitement and anticipation for all the new things I'd get to experience as a Mom of an older child. With Crosby, it feels more melancholy. These little baby stages just seem so much more fleeting, and as much as I look forward to discovering more and more about this little one, I'm not ready to say goodbye to him being my baby!



It is hard to begin to articulate my feelings about Crosby Loren. He is just perfection. Everyone who spends any length of time with him instantly falls in love. He is purity and goodness personified. Although a couple weeks ago, he decided to prematurely enter into his "terrible twos" and has gotten a little more combative with his older brother, he is still just such a sweetheart.

As a new Mom, it sounds cliche to say and I heard it so often before, but children really are their own little people. My boys are both absolutely precious, but they are so fundamentally different too. While Charlie is the stereotypical independent older sibling, Crosby fits the youngest profile to a "t." He has never been in a huge rush to grow up and will probably be content being the baby of the family forever. He is much more dependent and physically affectionate. He wants to be held 24/7, and every single time he wraps his little arms around me and rests his head on my shoulder, I melt inside. 



He is nearly a carbon copy of his Daddy- sweet, affectionate, and with a natural rhythm and ear for music. He is also a full-fledged Mama's boy. As he hits his second birthday, he is becoming more active- though not nearly as fast-paced and energetic his big brother! He could spent hours contentedly playing outside. He has a terrible fear of dogs, but adores kitties. 

He definitely has a stubborn streak. We find ourselves having to be intentional about disciplining both boys equally as we have a tendency to chalk up his naughtiness to his being a baby. Which, let's face it, will not be the case for much longer. He loves to cozy up on our laps at bedtime with his binky and read books (something his bookworm Mama adores, since bedtime with Charlie is rarely a calm ordeal!). He loves to dance, be tickled, and does his best to keep up when we engage in a good ol' family game of "chase." 



He rarely lets me capture his cuteness on camera, so my attempts at a two-year birthday photoshoot were not successful. Instead, Chuck and I managed to capture a few candid shots of some general silliness. We bought the boys each a Peanuts Halloween shirt when we stopped at Cracker Barrel for breakfast after our anniversary getaway in Louisville. Crosby wanted to wear all the shirts and we delighted in his big cheesy grin. I hope he's always this easy to entertain.

I adore watching him and Charlie grow closer. They are typical brothers and can drive me up a wall with their whining and teasing. But they also have the capacity to be so stinking tender with each other and it makes my Mama heart burst with pride.



I am just so utterly thankful for his presence in our family and cannot imagine our lives without his sweet, sunshiney disposition.

Crosby Loren, you are so adored and your Daddy and I will love you for the rest of our days. Happy 2nd Birthday, sweet boy!!

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