Friday, February 24, 2017

Thankfulness & Contentment

Blowing the dust off this ol' blog today.
 
While I truly wish I could say that I am writing here today with the intention of returning to blogging. That is just not the case. Today I honestly feel like I have too much on my mind for it to be squeezed into a Facebook or Instagram post. Also because I feel like I am going to need to revisit this here and there as a reminder.
 
I am by no means a writer, I tend to just use this space to blurt out my thoughts when I can't stand them bouncing around in my head anymore. That is exactly what this post is going to be.
 
Contentment is something I have always struggled with. As much as I like to say I don't, I fall prey to comparison far too often. For as long as I can remember this has been an issue for me. When I was younger I wanted to have the nice house and Abercrombie clothes that the other kids at school had. With teenage years came the purses, the makeup and the cars. Everyone else seemed to have the top of the line while I usually had the bargain stuff. As an engaged 20 year old, it became the Pinterest perfect wedding. When I endeavored into photography I constantly compared my talent, my equipment, my opportunities to other peoples that I was seeing. As a newlywed, I wanted a perfect starter home and a perfect clean white blog to talk about my new perfect house and perfect marriage. 
 
Then came motherhood and Lord have mercy did that open up a whole new can of worms. The nursery, the gear, the clothes, the bows, the pictures, the post pregnancy body, the activities, the preschools, the birthday parties, the food, the milestones. Am I spending enough time with her, should I quit my job? It felt like all of a sudden every single thing came with a yard stick attached and I seemed to always be falling short.
 
 I was breaking my back (and my budget) to try and have all of these "perfect" things. Unfortunately/fortunately my issue tends to fall on the materialistic side of the spectrum. I say it like that because it is a blessing and a curse. My downfall is not psychological, in fact I am pretty dang confident in my ability to be a decent parent, a wife, a friend, etc. But when it comes to materialistic things I far too often fall into the trap. I truly don't think like I am a shallow person I just tend to mix up the "wants" and the "needs". Does my daughter "need" a $50 twirl dress or a $300 birthday party. Absolutely not. Do I "need" 5 pairs of $25 "buttery soft" leggings or a $200 camera bag. Negative. Does our family need a $200,000 dream house or a $50,000 car. Nope. *Disclaimer: I am not knocking anyone who is able to live that lifestyle whatsoever. It is just simply not something that is within our means*
 
All my daughter wants is to play outside, to color, to carry around her baby doll and to snuggle between me and her Daddy every evening to watch a movie. When I look past all of the "things" all I want is a happy marriage, a happy baby, a strong relationship with God and a roof over our head. I need to grasp the reality that it may be a little longer than I had "planned" before we can actually buy the cute little home I envision for our family. And it may not have natural light, white walls, shiplap and a beautiful pastel playroom but that is OKAY. I have a beautiful, healthy family, we have clothes on our back, a car to drive, a roof over our head and jobs to sustain us. That is so much to be thankful for.
 
Speaking of shiplap, the whole reason I became filled with so much conviction (and resolve) today was because I was reading listening to The Magnolia Story at work (shout out to Audible for getting me through my workdays). I (like everyone else in the world) fell in love with Chip & Joanna Gaines through watching Fixer Upper, my love for them continued to grow as I witnessed their immense faith in God, their love for each other and their beautiful relationship with their children. Granted, I know all we see is what is on TV but I feel very confidently (especially after reading this book) that what you see is what you get with those two. I would be lying if I said Joanna Gaines wasn't one of the people I have been comparing myself too. Although I know how ridiculous this sounds, I always thought she had it all together, perfect house, perfect marriage, perfect kids. Everything she touches turns to perfection. This book truly made me open my eyes and think hard about my actions, intentional & unintentional. This is the part that truly spoke to me.

 
 
So I am adopting a new mission in my life, to be thankful & content with the path that God leads us on. To be intentional with my time and my actions. To stop the comparisons and be grateful for what we have not what I think we "want".
 
Heck, I may even take it step farther and adopt the Gaines way of living by getting rid of the TVs. What do you think about that Husband? Haha

 
 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Mom

There are days that I see you so clearly I swear I could reach out and touch you. Your thin black hair tucked behind your ears, your beautiful dark brown eyes, unlined with beautiful black lashes that never even needed mascara. The faint sunspots on your porcelain skin and the way you touched your tongue to your teeth when you smiled, self conscious of your barely there gap. I can smell your lab coat with a hint of perfume, I can hear your laugh and wrap myself in your hug. And then there are days where I beg my subconscious to give me one little thing so that I feel that you aren't a figment of a past lifetime. Although it is another lifetime, it truly feels that I have lived two lives, one with you and one ever since you've been gone. How is that possible? How is that fair? You are my mother, I am a part of you and you took a gaping part of me when you left. I think days like the latter mentioned are my body's way of surviving. It is a physical, consuming pain that hits so hard it takes my breath away. I have no doubt whatsoever that if my body let me feel this every day it would take over my life and that can't happen.
 
And the biggest help is coincidentally, what made me, you. Being a mother is beyond everything I ever expected, she filled a place in me that I never thought could be filled again. Without you here it will never be the same but I swear you shine through so fiercely in her! I'm pretty sure that's what you had been doing up there this whole time, preparing her to be the absolute supernova that she is.  I also feel you shining through me more and more each day. I was always scared that without you I wouldn't know how to do this. We never talked about it, you never gave me sage advice that I could quote. Instead you showed me, you engrained it into me and I honestly feel like that's the only reason I've kept it together (for the most part). Even though I can't call you it's like I already know what you would have said, I am so grateful for that.
 
Becoming a mother has made me appreciate you so much and I would give anything to go back and show you that better than I did. I think about all the days you came home exhausted and I wish more than anything I would have taken over for you, cleaned up, cooked supper, anything to just let you rest. Instead I was a selfish teenager who for the most part thought only about myself and you did everything without one single complaint. I know we did more than most to help especially when you got sick but you should never had to have ask or listen to back talk or do something yourself because it didn't get done when we were told. I appreciate every single sacrifice you ever made, I feel so unworthy of such an incredible mother but I know now you were preparing me to be without you. And once again, I am thankful. If I can be a mere fraction of the woman & mother you were, I will be beyond happy..

~with all my hearts, forever 

Wow. I know this is random and full of errors. I had no idea I was going to write this, after a rough evening I opened my notes and this all flooded out. This isn't a searching for sympathy post (not that anyone is here anymore haha) I just wanted it off my chest and, for whatever reason, archived! 
 



Thursday, December 17, 2015

Fall Family Pictures by Valerie Shelton Photography

 
So we had our family pictures taken a little over a month ago by my friend Valerie Shelton, and they are AMAZING! I have a thing about getting professional pictures taken, we have a ton but these are by far my favorite EVER! So prepare for picture overload!
 
 




 

 
 
 


 Trying to escape during wardrobe changes!
 

 
"mad" face, happy face, silly face 
 
this girl loves her Daddy, especially giving "donks" 


"That's a wrap, I'm outta here!"

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Come On Baby Harper!

I know there is hardly anyone left that reads this blog but seeing as how Lauren and I started the blogging journey together (kudos to her for still going strong) it seemed only fitting to write this here.
 
If you would've told me that the couple who showed up at my house for a birthday party three years ago would end up being the very best friends we have ever  had, I would not have believed you but that's exactly what happened. From the very first night, we hit it off like we had known each other for years and since then Lauren & Cody have become more than just friends, they are our family. In this short time I have got to watch Lauren go from fiancĂ© to wife and now mother. The tears are welling up in my eyes because I know in a few short hours as soon Cody and Lauren lay eyes on that beautiful baby girl they will  know what true unconditional love is.

  Over the past year and a half, watching Lala & Coco (as Nora calls them) with my daughter I have gotten a glimpse of the amazing parents they are destined to be. Lauren loves so unconditionally and always thinks of others before herself. She has made me feel like we were family since the day I met her. She will be the most amazing mother. And Cody is one of the most passionate people I have ever met. He just thinks Nora has him wrapped around her finger, he has no idea what is coming! I can not wait to watch them go through the amazing journey of parenthood! 

     Little Miss Harper, we are absolutely ecstatic to meet you! You have a whole army of people so ready to love you, us included! We will always be here for you no matter what and we already love you so so much! Your fiery little bestie Nora is so excited about her "Harpie" she will probably be a little rough at first and maybe even jealous. But I have a feeling she will be very protective of you and teach you all kinds of fun things! Come on sweet girl, we are ready for you! 

Whoever is reading this, join me in saying a prayer for a safe delivery and a healthy momma & baby!! Congratulations Collins family, today your family grows by two feet and your hearts by a million! 
 
 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Oh Hi, Whats Up?

I am not sure if anyone is left to read this but if for some reason you decided to click over here today, Hi! I know I have said this in every one of my sporadic posts but I REALLY do miss blogging. Aside from that fact that I have no time, we also don't have WiFi at home so the only time I have a chance to blog is if I have a break at work. Anyway, I saw this link up on Miranda's page and thought it would be a fun catch-up post since I have a few minutes today!
 
Linking up for What's Up Wednesday
 
 
Eating.. I have actually cooked this week, shocker! Monday night I made one of my favorite recipes One Pan Balsamic Chicken & Veggies. Paul was working late plus he doesn't really care for this (veggies are not his jam) but he was working late so I made it for me and Nora then saved the rest for my lunches this week. Last night Paul had nachos, Nora had a quesadilla and I tried this Spaghetti Squash Burrito Bowl recipe, it was DELICIOUS. I have never tried the whole spaghetti squash thing but after this I am all for it! The picture isn't so pretty but I promise it was delicious and super filling (I only ate half the squash and put the rest up for tonights supper). Also Quakers, Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal is dabomb.com!

                                      

 
Reminiscing.. about how BEAUTIFUL my little sisters wedding was a couple of weekends ago! I realize my last post I was just announcing her engagement and now she is an old married woman! The wedding was so beautiful and intimate and after two weekends or torrential rain we were blessed with the most beautiful Fall day! I bawled like a little baby as she came down the aisle, I practically raised my sister and seeing her being all grown, marrying the man of her dreams was overwhelmingly exciting!

 
 
Loving.. this stage in Nora's life! 16 months has been SO much fun, she has the best personality. She is talking so much, mocking everything we do/say, dancing, running around and just being really awesome! I love watching her learn new things, her slobbery kisses and "wuh you"(love you) are the BEST ever!


We've been up to.. well since my last post we moved! We are now back in my hometown and it is just as incredible as I thought it would be. It is amazing being so close to my family, reconnecting with old friends and living the small town life! I do miss being so close to Lauren, Cody and Target but we still get to see our besties quite a bit and my bank account thanks me for the few & far between Target trips!
 I have known these girls most of my life!
  
and now our babies get to grow up together!
 
Dreading.. the leaves falling! The mountains are SO beautiful at home right now, I just wish they looked like that all year round!

                              

 
Working on.. wedding pictures from the wedding Lauren & I photographed last month! It was such a beautiful wedding and Lauren was SUCH a trooper running around with me being all adorably pregnant! We took over 3000 pictures so the editing process is taking quite a while!
 
Excited about.. speaking of Lauren! I am BEYOND excited about that beautiful baby girl she is growing in that tummy! Having my own daughter makes me 520% more excited that her & Cody get to experience all of this! They are going to be the best parents and Lauren is seriously the most STUNNING pregnant woman I have ever seen. She literally glows! I love that little family so much and cannot wait to meet sweet Harper or "Harpie" as Nora calls her! P.S. they will be the cutest baby besties ever!

 
 
Watching/reading.. we don't have a TV service yet either at the new house so we have been watching The OC on dvd. It is overly dramatic, addicting and I love it. Reading pretty much consists of Brown Bear, Brown Bear and Nora's favorite farm animal pop up book. I love how much she loves to read. She will lay down on the floor with a book and "read" all by herself. It is adorable!
                                          
Listening to.. my music is always a completely random mix but a reoccurring favorite the past few months has been a local guy that I know very well. He is a friend of my sister's and ever since she showed me a video of him singing in highschool I have been a fan. Well he finally put out an album (a for real album) this summer and it is phenomenal. Seriously you should check it out!
 
Wearing.. Per usual I don't have any Pinterest worthy outfit pics but I am loving cardigans and blanket scarves.On the other hand, if you ever see my kid she is dressed too cute for words! Let me just tell you baby sized scarves and cowboy boots are pretty much the cutest things you will ever see!
 

 
This weekend.. Trick or Treating of course! Or whatever the 16 month old version of that is.. Nora loves people so we should be able to convince her to walk up to at least one door but I don't see it lasting too long. She is dressing up as Boo from Monsters Inc. I had every intention of going all out and making the little purple monster costume but with all the wedding craziness and life craziness she will most likely end up in a pink shirt, purple leggings and pigtails. Don't judge, I promise she could care less.
 
Throwback to my itty bitty last Halloween!
 
Next month.. Thanksgiving. Because food, duh. Thanksgiving is my all time favorite holiday, the food, family time, weather, food, it is all amazing!
 
What else is new.. hmm.. I have developed a new love for yoga! When we moved  back I started working out with one of my friends who is a personal trainer and also teaches power yoga. I have been going to classes for the last few months and I love it so much, such a great workout and you get to lay out on your mat for 2 minutes at the end of class with a cool lavender towel at the end, its the best part.
 

 
Well that turned out a lot longer than I expected! If you are still reading, bless you! Hopefully I can get back to blogging every now and then!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Late Night Confessions...

 Hey y'all! I decided to knock the cobwebs off the ol blog for an edition of late night confessions! I've never really done one of these but since I can never seem to focus my attention on one thing for a post I figured I would just throw it all together in one. So if there is anyone left to read this (Hi!), here we go..
 
I confess.. 
 
I miss blogging terribly. I never wanted to let this little space go but it just sorta happened. Since I work full time I spend every spare second with my sweet girl and when she is sleeping it is time for chores and hubby time. So at least my time is well spent!
 
 I have always dreamed of an all white bed. I have NO clue how you ladies do it, I gave it a shot when we first got married but no matter how clean everyone in the bed is that junk still doesn't stay pretty white!
Dreamy 
 
Since I have been MIA in blogland my little sister got ENGAGED!! She ended a 5 year relationship not long ago (which I was very thankful for, great guy just not the one for her) and much to all of our (including her) surprise discovered the love of her life was someone who has been a dear friend her whole life! Anyone who knows me personally or has been around here for any length of time knows that my sister is practically my child. Since our Mom passed, in so many ways, I embraced her role in my sisters life. Not ever trying to take her place but always looking out for her and trying to instill in her everything that our Mom had instilled in me. Every milestone in her life has felt monumental to me and this was no exception. Even though I have trouble letting her be a grown up at times, I am so truly proud of the woman she has grown into just in the past 6 months. I am so happy for her and Dwayne and I can't wait to see what God has in store for their journey!
 
This kind of goes without saying but I am totally and completely obsessed with the most perfect little girl! Motherhood is a whole new kind of love!
 

I always heard you will love your husband more once you see him as a father. Truer words have never been spoken. Paul amazes me every day, seeing him with her fills my heart so much it could bust. The love I have for those two is the  can't-eat, can't-sleep, reach-for-the-stars, over- the-fence, World Series kind of stuff!! (movie reference anyone?)
 

This one is kind of big. A big change may be coming for our little family! As of now we are looking for a place in my hometown! Where I am from is a small town in the North GA Mountains which is only about an hour away from where we live now. I have always envisioned raising my family there, there is such a sense of community and security, I just feel complete being there. The main reason we haven't made the move sooner was the distance from our jobs. But after lots of prayer and discussion we have decided to look for a place to rent, give it a shot and see how it works out! I am very much a planner when it comes to these types of things but I am trying my very best to put it in Gods hands and let His will be done!

My 8 month old is still sleeping in her pack & play in our room. I never intended on her being there past 6 weeks but her room is upstairs and I just can't bring myself to put a whole floor between us. Sorry not sorry. #thatmom 

I tried on my bikini from last summer. Yikes. I've lost all my baby weight but I still need to lose the ten I gained pre pregnancy. My problem is I am not one of you super women whose body bounced back to its 17 year old self right after having a baby. No, I have this odd shaped, weird squishy belly and stretch marks from mid belly to mid thigh (you're welcome for the visual). So getting in a bathing suit is going to be hard for me this go round but it's happening because after a year without it mama needs the sun!
 
I got sucked in to the dang Bachelor
Again.. Totally team Becca, Whitney is obnoxious ..

I am freakishly excited for Easter and family coordinated outfits! Nora already has two Easter dress contenders lol

Well I had better wrap this ramble session up! If anyone reads this nonsense, I love ya!
 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Five On Friday!


Happy Friday folks! It looks like these are the only posts in ever going to get around to doing. So here is a quick catch up version of Five On Friday! Make sure to link up with Darci, April, Christina and Natasha to share what's on your mind today! 




1: I had every intention of doing a Halloween post but like everything else to do with blogging lately, I haven't had time. Nora was a "poodle skirt girl" (idk what else to call it). My mom ALWAYS handmade our costumes and it's something I hope to do with our kids. So I went with something easy the first year until I figure out my sewing machine, daddy even helped with the cutting! She had a "N" that I was supposed to sew on to her sweater but I lost it. Oh well!



2: more picture overload.. I got our sneak peek back from our fall session last night! Remember last year when we did the "our little pumpkin" announcement well one year later here is us and our "little pumpkin"! And yes her shirt even says little pumpkin!

3: teething.. Nora has had 4 little teeth buds for a couple weeks now. Well during her Santa session I noticed she was abnormally fussy and even more drooly than usual. So later I felt her gums and sure enough one of her teeth broke through. I can't even explain why this made me sad but it did. Time is just flying! So any teething advice is welcome! We have Sophie, freezer teethers and baby orajel which are all working pretty good for now. Any truth to the amber teething necklaces?

Rocking this whole teething thing with a big smile and a little drool!


4: It's no secret that I love food. I will try just about anything once and I love getting creative with cooking. My husband however is 4 years old when it comes to food. He likes meat, cheese and potatoes. Nothing green, nothing fancy, just keep it simple. So I am running out of things to cook and it's driving me crazy. A girl can only eat the same thing so many times! So any picky man/kid approved recipes are welcome and very much needed! 

5:Tuesday nora had pictures taken with Santa! I know it's early but the photographer that did her newborn pictures offers beautiful Santa/Christmas minis every year so I chose to do those rather than just going to see a mall Santa. I am so glad we did because look at these! So in love! 
No worries I'm not ready to jump fully on the Christmas train just yet but these were just too delicious not to share! 

Have a great weekend friends!!