you are a brilliant letter knower

I’ve photographed this family a number of times now, this time being the second at their home.  The weather was gloomy and cold, our Indian summer ending a week before our scheduled date.  And while a little golden light and warmer temps would have been nice, there were still plenty of little things from our time together that melted my heart.

Like carved pumpkins that were obviously done by the kids (which I love).  Hand painted rocks and artwork and bird houses.  Reading Dr. Seuss and roller blading and football playing and swing swinging.  Hockey on their knees on the carpet.  A quilt made out of old race shirts.  A little slip of paper with a race time.  And a little piece of paper with encouragement….”you are a brilliant letter knower”-heart melted.  All of these little reasons are why I love photographing families in their homes.

Here’s the slideshow from our time together.  Music by Ben Rector.

 

a little bit of dabbing and a lot of marshmallows

 

Last week I was able to once again photograph this amazing family, although you may notice another addition since the last time.  Another child soon to be adopted from foster care to add to the five other kids previously adopted.  I met them in their backyard and I captured the story of one fall evening together.  A walk to the park. Laughs and goofiness and lots of jumping and dabbing.  Big hugs and sweet kisses.  A bonfire and marshmallow messiness and leaf throwing.   A little bit of chaos but a lot of joy.

I’ve been sitting here trying to think of the words to say about this family, but I really am speechless.  I think it just comes down to this: when I look at them I see Jesus. And that’s a beautiful story to tell.

Press the play button below to see the slideshow from our time together and turn your sound on, music by Colbie Caillat.

 

this is why we run

 

On Sunday Darin and I, along with our dear friends Gina and Steve, ran the Twin Cities 10 mile.  It was the third year in a row for Gina and I, and the second year for the guys.  We run the race and then take the kids out for brunch together.  You could say it’s become some what of a tradition.  I’m not sure how we made running 10 miles a “fun” tradition, but I guess we have.

This is not something that’s easy.  I am not an athlete.  I do not have a runner’s body.  I run slow.  Running anything close to a 10 minute mile is a success.  We don’t go out there to get a personal record, we just go out there to finish.  The goal is to just run the whole thing and not stop to walk if possible.  And try to have a little bit of fun while we are at it.  It’s a hilly, tough course.  And it rained the first 3 miles.  And it was hard.

But you know what?  We did it.  We finished.  We don’t run with aspirations to run a marathon next or to get a faster time. We run to say we finished.

We run to prove to ourselves that we can do hard things.

We run to see a goal accomplished.

We run to stay healthy.  To force ourselves to get our there and exercise.  To get our butts off the couch.

We run because it’s quality time with our partner and our friends when it seems like most of our quality time goes to our kids.

We run for our marriage.

We run for our friendship.

We run to encourage each other.

We run because it’s important to do something that’s just for us.

We run because we want to be strong women and raise strong women.

We run because we want to be strong men and raise strong men.

We run because we know our little women and men are watching us.

We run because we want to fight fear and anxiety.

We run because our bodies can do more than what we think they can.

We run to build our mental strength, because we’ve learned that running is really 90% mental.

We run so we can get nervous together, laugh together, cry together.

We run because God has blessed us and we are grateful and with Him on our side we will not fail.

We run so we can eat more chocolate and drink more mimosas.

We run because we are slightly over 40 or very close to 40 and dang it, it feels good to say we can run 10 miles.

We run because it’s really not about the running.  It doesn’t have to be running, and it very well may turn into another hard thing for me at some point, but I’ve learned that challenging myself with something that seems a bit crazy is good for my heart and soul.  I promise you that committing to a hard thing will change you, too.

Thank you to these people in the photos below for doing hard things with me.  xo

 

gina - Thank you for inspiring ME to do hard things. So happy we did it! Love this post and you.

their first days of fourth and seventh grade

 

Today they were excited and ready to start another year.  They easily got up, got ready, got off to the bus.  Darin stayed home from work and we prayed before they left.  They each gave me big hugs as we said goodbye.  And while I felt my eyes tear up a little, I was just happy that they were happy.  It’s hard sending my hearts off to school each year, but it was a good morning.

Darin and I had breakfast after we got Eli off, a tradition we’ve now had since he went to first grade.  It takes my mind off the end of summer, being alone in the house, them getting older, them getting more independent, them getting a little less attached.  I know this is how it goes.  I know it’s how it’s supposed to happen.  I’m grateful for a good morning.  But I’m also grateful for my tears because they remind me of my intense love for them.

Here we go again…

 

the night before fourth and seventh grade

 

The time has come for summer to end and school to start.  We had a wonderful summer.  We love summer.  I love having these kids home with me.  Our lazy summer days filled with swimming and lake time and friends and family make my heart so happy.  I wish it didn’t have to end.

But off they go to fourth and seventh grade.  And they are ready.  No tears this year from Evie, as she confidently strolled into her open house and got her locker on first try and hardly wanted to walk around to see where her classes were.  She has grown so much the past year, not only physically but in every other way.  It shows and it helps my mama heart so much sending her off tomorrow with little anxiety and much more excitement.  Eli has the same teacher as last year and is ready to see his friends and start his fall sports.  They really are awesome kids and I am incredibly blessed.

I almost thought my “night before” photos were going to be rained out today.  It’s been a wet and cold Labor Day.  But there was a small break in the clouds and the sun even peaked out so I drug the kids into our backyard even though it was cool and damp.  I grabbed a few blankets to wrap them in and quick snapped them in our usual spot.  I few minutes later the rain returned so I felt like God smiled on me and my yearly tradition, as much as the kids dislike it.  I did get a few good smiles, tho.  :)

I’m sure there will be a few tears tomorrow as I send them off.  But this year they will likely just be from me.  Because sending them off each September is never easy on this mom.  I just love them too much.