A Day With Jameson, At home, Life with Jameson

Jameson is almost one!

Our baby boy’s first birthday is fast approaching (next Monday, how?!) and we wanted to do something special as a family to celebrate his first year of life and all the wonderful ways he makes our lives better. So yesterday we had a photographer friend (Marissa Adams, of Lux & Arrow Photography) come to our home to capture some of the everyday moments that are so special to us. We are THRILLED with the results and I wanted to share some of my favorites from the session here today! What a blessing these photos will be for us to show Jameson later on.

We love you, sweet baby Squish!!! You’ve made this year the best of our lives. We’re so thankful that God placed you in our love and care!




At home, DIY

DIY // Front door makeover

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Yay!!! I finally finished my first home improvement project for our new house and I’m so excited about how it turned out! Ever since I can remember it’s been a dream of mine to live in a house with a red front door. And even though our new house has almost everything on my dream home wish list, the front door was definitely in need of a face lift.


Sad. It just looked so sad. First of all, it was painted this weird creamish color (terribly done, by the way, streaks just everywhere) which faded it completely into the side of the house. No character or charm to report there. And second of all, the previous home owners had a large dog who apparently liked to scratch at their front door and lay right up against it, so it had taken quite a beating (not to mention it was filthy and it smelled like dog, ew). I couldn’t just leave it like that.

So, I did a some quick Pinterest research, looked at a few front door painting tutorials and thought to myself, I can fix that. (“Holes” quote, anyone? Anyone?) And so I did! And you can too if your front door is as desperate for some personality as ours was.

I’m putting together my own DIY tutorial now to add what I’ve learned to the mix. There are some things that worked great for me and some things I wish I had known beforehand, both of which I’ll share with you today. But first, here are the supplies you’ll need:

  1. 120 grit sandpaper
  2. Painter’s tape
  3. High density foam rollers (at least two) – make sure they’re relatively small so you have more precision with where you get the paint
  4. Small foam paint brushes (at least two)
  5. Primer (we got about one quart)
  6. The red paint! (about one quart)
  7. **Optional:ย spray paint for the hardware

We went to Home Depot for everything. I picked up some sample paint chips a few weeks prior, went back and forth a zillion times on which color I liked best, and finally settled on a gorgeous shade called Red Delicious (by Glidden). Make sure you ask for the exterior version of whatever paint you choose, as your door will be exposed to the elements.


Your first step will be to remove all the hardware and tape up the holes from the inside so that no dust/dirt can get in your house. Then, if you’d like, remove your entire door and place it somewhere you won’t mind dripping paint on (I laid out a few garbage bags on our back patio and put the door on top). I’ve read that you can do this entire project with your door still in its frame, but we chose to take it out completely because #1, it’s summer in Arizona and we couldn’t have our door just hanging open while the paint dried all day… #2, I didn’t want to spend all day trying to keep Jameson away from it… and #3, I didn’t want to take any chances with paint dripping and ruining the project. But it’s entirely up to you! If you’re using the foam rollers you probably won’t have issues with dripping anyway.

Door removed and ready for sanding
Our ghetto solution to no front door

Once your door is ready, you can start to sand it down. I guess sanding isn’t necessary for everyone, but for us it was. I wanted to get off that top layer of ugly cream paint (plus nasty dirt and grime) and give my new primer and paint a clean surface to grab onto. No need to break your back over it, though! A light overall sanding (with special focus on any rough parts or imperfections) will do the trick. When you’re done, wipe the door down with a damp cloth to get rid of the dust.

Next, prime your door using a foam roller. I used this deep gray primer that was recommended to me by the nice men at Home Depot. (The can says “white” but it was actually the gray version.)


Our door only needed one coat of primer but the original paint was pretty light to begin with and, again, I was using a deep gray shade of primer. You may need a second coat if you’re painting over a dark color door, or if you’re using a white primer. The guys at Home Depot told me that red is tricky in general to get thick and even coverage with so it’s better to be liberal with your priming than to get stuck doing like six coats of red later on.

Give your primer an hour or two to dry and then break out the red! There is a particular order you need to follow when painting a six panel door to get that smooth finish. There are a couple of slight variations, but I found a general example online to follow and I love how my door turned out. Here are the steps (shown as I painted on the primer, which isn’t necessary but I did it to give myself practice before starting on the red):

  1. Paint the insert parts using a paintbrush or a small foam brush. (I used a paintbrush but in hindsight I wish I had used a foam brush because the regular paintbrush leaves brush strokes. Not absolutely crazy about that, but oh well!)
  2. Paint the raised panels using a foam roller.
  3. Paint vertically between each set of panels, stopping when you reach the end of a set.
  4. Paint horizontally between each set of panels, stopping when you reach the end of a set.
  5. Paint vertically along the two edges of the door.

Give your door a good 3-4 hours to dry really well before you start on the second coat of red (advice given to me once again by my friends at the Home Depot). I only needed to do two coats of red total and I still had a little bit of red paint leftover from the quart I bought (I actually ended up using some of that to touch up around the peephole). After you’re done with the second coat give the door a few more hours to dry again before you reattach it to the frame and close it. Otherwise it will stick to the weather stripping and mess up your beautiful work!

Once the door was done and lookin’ real purty, I knew I couldn’t just leave the hardware all brassy and outdated. But I also didn’t want to buy all new stuff either because $$$. So I did a little more Pinterest research and found a great alternative… spray paint! Seriously, so cheap (I think the can was like $7) and so easy too (I just sprayed the hardware, let it dry, and screwed it back in). And the results look awesome and super professional! I used an oil-rubbed bronze shade and it’s exactly what I was hoping for.




I left a little gold on the deadbolt because I was afraid of tampering with the lock’s functioning, but I may go back and touch it up carefully. And when we repaint the outside of the house (hopefully this winter), we’re planning to fix up the door casing as well. For now, though, the front door makeover is complete! What do you think??

DSC_8566I’m absolutely loving it. Makes my heart so happy! I also added a couple of pretty plants to make the patio more welcoming, and eventually I’d like to replace that light with something to match my newly bronzed hardware (because right now it is yeesh). But that’s for a later time! For now, I live in a house with a red front door and I am happy. ๐Ÿ™‚


Jameson Monthly, Life with Jameson

11 Months of Jameson

Things are getting interesting around here. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Now that Jameson is walking like a pro (well, like a drunken sailor. But still much better than he was last month), he’s getting a lot more independent and a lot more outspoken about what he wants to do. Part of this is not so fun (e.g., he tries to leap out of my arms so he can walk to something he wants) but most of it is so awesome to see. I love his determination and I love how he doesn’t give up on his goals (although I could do without his try-to-eat-Charlie’s-food-every-few-hours goal). I can feel us transitioning into toddlerhood and I hate it and love it at the same time. Being a parent is confusing in many different ways.

I can’t believe that next month it’ll be a whole year since we met our boy! But let’s not think about that just yet, please. I’m not ready. For now, here’s where we stand at eleven months old…

Raise your hand if you’re 11 months old!

Weight & Length: We won’t know any officials until his one year appointment next month, but I weighed him this week and he’s around 21.4 lbs, which is 0.4 pounds more than last month (but obviously still pretty much the same. Thank goodness, he’s a chunk to carry around all day hahah).

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Clothing: Mostly 12-18 month stuff for the clothes and size 4 in diapers still. Pretty much the same as last month!


Hair & Eyes: I kiss his little blondish/reddish/brownish curls all the time. They are just so cute! His eyes are are still that dark green color. Sometimes I think they look just like Alex’s, sometimes I think they look just like mine. Maybe they’ll always be a combination.

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Sleep:ย About the same as last month! He’s up for the day around 7 or 7:30, takes an hour and a half morning nap, an hour and a half afternoon nap, and then he’s down for the night around 8pm. He still wakes up around 5am every morning, though…sometimes he goes back to sleep on his own, sometimes Alex brings him into our bed and he’ll go back to sleep then. I keep saying we should try to break that habit, but it really doesn’t bother me too much and I know he’ll grow out of it eventually. So for now I’m just enjoying our morning snuggles in the big bed.ย  ๐Ÿ™‚


Eating: I’d say his nursing/eating regular food is about fifty-fifty at this point (actually sometimes more in favor of nursing). He eats three meals a day, but he still nurses in between those meals (usually right before a nap or before bed). It is slooooow goings in the regular food department. Jameson is super skeptical of everything, takes forever to warm up to a new food (besides snack foods or desserts), and fights meals almost every time. I can’t tell if it’s because he’s just not liking what I give him, if he’d rather nurse, or if he just doesn’t like sitting still to eat (this boy is go, go, go). Maybe a combination. Either way, I’ve been trying to make meals interesting and offer him lots of different choices to see what he likes. But I’m not going to force it on him. I’m fine if we keep nursing for awhile if that’s what he needs. I won’t stop nursing until I’m confident that he’s getting enough nutrition and calories from regular food anyway. And right now, he definitely isn’t. If you have any tips or meal ideas for little ones, please send them my way!

“Oooh that’s some good milk.”
Ice cream is always a win.
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Donuts are always a win, too.
Food everywhere but in his mouth.

Milestones: He got his fifth tooth this month (next to his right top tooth) but no sign of the matching one for the left side yet haha. He’s gotten so much better at walking since last month and actually never even crawls anymore at all, unless he’s already playing on the floor. He doesn’t mind falling over either…he just pops right back up! He’s also getting more courageous with climbing things (scares the crap out of me all the time) and likes to test the limits to see how fast he can walk/run.

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Little climbing monkey.

IMG_0517Communication: He’s been super into copying sounds and even words (not very well haha) these days. I think he’s really close to his first word, if he hasn’t said it already (hard to tell). Almost every day I think I hear him say “all done” (“ah duh”) but I don’t know if it’s just coincidence or not. He has definitely signed it, though, so I guess that’s technically his first word either way! He also copies me when I say “uh oh” (“UH!”) and babbles almost nonstop during the day. He understands a lot of the words I use every day (Daddy, Charlie, ball, water, no, hi, etc.) and will look for whatever it is I’m talking about until he finds it (e.g., “Where’s Daddy?” and he’ll look around the room until he finds Alex). He loves interacting with games and songs (especially doing the “tip me over” part of “I’m a Little Teapot”) and loves clapping for things to show you he likes something or to get me to say “yay!” He sometimes even asks for the name of things in his own way (will reach is arm toward an object and say, “eh?” and then I’ll give him the name of it). It is so much fun!

IMG_9980Loves: A lot of the same stuff as last month… Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and anything Mickey-related (included the real mouse himself in Disneyland), the ocean, listening to Alex play guitar, being in the Ergobaby carrier, playing with the coasters in the living room, attempting to grab/chew/mess with any wire he can find, playing fetch with Charlie, trying to grab Charlie’s tail, sneaking snacks from Charlie’s food bowl (I pull him away from there at least 8 times a day. It’s his biggest temptation right now.), playing with balls and blocks, walking around the house, figuring out how things work, playing peek-a-boo or hide-and-go-seek with me, READING (loves loves looooves), watching me vacuum and steam the floors and trying to catch the machines haha, playing in the open fridge, playing in the dishwasher (also an area of dislike because he’s not allowed to do this), dancing to music, and just about anything having to do with being outside.


Hates: Not getting his way. Not being allowed outside. When I close the dishwasher before he can get there (even if he just hears me close it from another room, he will start bawling his eyes out. I usually have to save doing the dishes for during his naps because of this haha). And probably the biggest one…he hates sitting still. If he’s awake, we wants to move. Which is part of the reason why I think he hates meal time so much…he just doesn’t have the patience for sitting down and doesn’t care about food enough to make it worthwhile. (He also hated when Charlie tried to share his car seat hahahah)

IMG_0715Things I want to remember: Our high-pitched screaming contests, your open mouth kisses which you give out sometimes when I (or Daddy or Aunt Chuck) ask for them, the way you run/stumble the last few steps to me and fall into my arms with the biggest smile, the way you take my hand and lead me around the house, that face you make when you don’t want anymore of something (nose all scrunchy, lips puckered), the way you play with washcloths in the bathtub (placing them just so in the corner, admiring your work, and then picking them back up again and starting over), how you started trying to balance things this month (carefully setting an item on top of something else and slooooowly lifting your chubby little hands off of it to make sure it stays put), the way you crawl or walk away as fast as you can after baths so you don’t have to get dressed, how you gently lay your head on my shoulder and smile shyly at people who come up to talk to you, how you absentmindedly play with my fingers or ring while I’m holding you, the way you veeerrryyy carefully duck your head and crawl nice and slow under the kitchen chairs, the way you used to speed crawl around with your head down and a look of determination on your face, how Charlie and I literally run down the hall when we hear you wake up from your naps every day, and how adorable you look when you squat down with that big old diaper booty to play with a toy on the floor. You are just so so cute, Jameson.

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I have a picture just like this one with my dad. ๐Ÿ™‚


Coldstone run in pjs.

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Snacking on bubbles.
“Help. She never stops hugging me.”

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My baby โค
Uncle Colby!

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“Helping” with the laundry. Aka taking all the wet clothes out of the dryer.


Got this giant ball, guys. No big deal.


Silly boy ๐Ÿ™‚


Fell asleep eating breakfast this morning hahah.
“Catch me!”
Screaming competition.
That squat I love so much.


Happy eleven months, my very best Squish. โค Next month will be a whole year spent with you…the best, most fulfilling, most wonderful wonderful wonderful year of my life. I don’t have the words to tell you how much I’ve loved these eleven perfect months with you. I love you forever and ever and ever baby boy.




Abroad, Life with Jameson

CA 2016 // Laguna, Disneyland, + California Adventure

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We just got back from our five day stay in California and I couldn’t wait to write up a summary of our vacation! Partly because I don’t want to forget anything, and partly because I just have a deep love for these pictures and wanted to share them as soon as possible.

I took Jameson by myself to Georgia a few months ago to meet some relatives on my dad’s side, but this trip to California was our first official vacation as a whole family. And it was amazing. Seriously, it went so smoothly and Jameson was a perfect angel the entire time. In fact, he got compliments from strangers for being such a well-behaved and happy baby everywhere we went. He made friends everywhere and we had an absolute blast! I don’t even know what my favorite part was.

The whole trip was arranged by Alex’s company as a fun getaway for many of the employees…but we really had the freedom to plan whatever we wanted to do in the time we were there. We actually went a few days early with Alex’s parents (his mom also works for the company) just to give us time to do everything we wanted, and it was perfect.


We left on a Wednesday and took a short flight to California (Jameson slept the entire time, bless his angel baby heart) and spent the afternoon settling into our room at The Ritz-Carlton in Laguna, which was absolutely goooorgeous. The ocean was literally just a short walk down a path from the hotel…you could see it and hear it and smell it and feel the breeze through open windows all over the resort. So lovely.


It was a long day of traveling.


That first evening at sunset, Alex and I took Jameson down to see the ocean for the first time. I was so excited and ridiculously giddy. The ocean is my favorite place in the world to be and I hadn’t been able to see it for several years (Arizona is not really the best place to visit the beach, ya know?). We half-skipped, half-stumbled down the steep path and finally made it to the sand. I scooped Jameson up and together we hurried to the water’s edge. He was absolutely mesmerized. I was too. Something about the ocean makes you feel infinitely small but also infinitely loved by the One who created it. It is the most wonderful feeling. We played in the waves until the sun was almost all the way down and then went back up to our room to get a good night’s sleep before our big Disney adventure the next day.

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It was HOT at Disneyland. We got there in the morning on Thursday (me, Alex, Jameson, and my in-laws who were a huge help the entire vacation) and we could feel the heat already. It was crowded too, but we still got to do a lot of the things we wanted and we had a blast anyway. Some of my favorite moments were meeting Mickey Mouse in his house in Toon Town (Jameson was obsessed. He even kissed Mickey on the nose! And actually all of Toon Town was great…so many fun things there for little kids), going on a few rides with Jameson (his first ride ever was Small World with me and Alex, which he loved, but we also went on the Winnie the Pooh ride, Pirates of the Caribbean, and King Arthur’s Carousel and he loved those too), watching the Paint the Night Parade (sooo amazing! Definitely a must-see!), and playing in the Star Wars Exhibit (odd, but Jameson had so much fun toddling around and exploring all the Star Wars stuff haha).


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IMG_0460IMG_0461IMG_0465IMG_0467IMG_0472IMG_0473IMG_0497IMG_0474IMG_0477IMG_0484IMG_0491IMG_0494IMG_0507IMG_0510IMG_0512IMG_0515IMG_0517IMG_0519IMG_0525IMG_0530IMG_0531IMG_0533IMG_0538IMG_0542IMG_0543IMG_0547IMG_0546Day two (Friday) was spent at California Adventure, and I have to say that I think we had more fun there than at Disney. Not that Disney wasn’t great, it was just so crowded and hectic that we had to skip some things I was really hoping we could do (like the Dumbo ride, the Teacups, and The Matterhorn for me and Alex). California Adventure was much more slow paced and not nearly as jam-packed with people so we got to relax a little and do a lot more with Jameson. The best parts from the day were definitely exploring mah girl Belle’s Library, taking Jameson on a couple more rides (another carousal & Flik’s Flyers), going on Tower of Terror with Alex and his mom, and playing on Paradise Pier (which is where I shot one of my favorite pictures I’ve ever taken of Jameson and Alex). We also got to see a bunch of the little shows that come through California Adventure because there weren’t as many people to crowd the way (the Mickey & Friends show, the Toy Soldiers from Toy Story, the Dapper Dans, and all those other Dapper people I don’t know the names of haha).

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That evening as the sun was setting, we walked around Downtown Disney (which Alex says was one of his favorite parts). It was so much cooler without the sun beating down on us, there was live music, and we got plenty of shopping done. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I love all the shops in Downtown Disney (especially the big old World of Disney store and the Lego Store) and it all feels so magical even though you’re not actually in the parks anymore.

IMG_0625IMG_0621IMG_0624IMG_0627IMG_0630IMG_0631IMG_0632Saturday was kind of a chill day for the most part. We went to breakfast with Alex’s parents in the morning, Jameson took a good long nap when we got back to our room (we had to wake him up after the second hour!), and then we spent awhile on the beach. Jameson had the time of his life throwing sand around, walking all over and sticking his toes in the water, and splashing in the waves with me and Alex.


DSC_8288DSC_8292DSC_8294DSC_8299DSC_8301DSC_8305DSC_8307DSC_8315DSC_8329DSC_8330After we got all cleaned up, we headed to a cocktail party hosted by Alex’s company on a patio overlooking the sea (the only work event we had to attend). It was gorgeous and the food was delicious! Plus, Alex’s uncle Andy (along with his girlfriend, Nina) drove over two hours just to spend a little time with us and finally meet Jameson. It was so nice to see them and introduce them to our sweet boy.


After the cocktail party, we all (except Alex’s dad, who stayed behind to hang out with Andy) took a bus down to the docks where we boarded a boat that took us about 6 miles out into the ocean for a whale & dolphin watching tour. We got to see a giant pod of dolphins and one really cool humpback whale, but near the end of the tour poor Jameson got sea sick. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ He woke up from a nap about halfway through the boat ride and was acting kind of strange, but we thought maybe he was just sleepy still…it never even crossed my mind that he could be sea sick! He loves being tossed around and he loved all the rides at Disney, but I guess being on a boat is different. Plus he’d been snacking on random food with us all evening so maybe something just didn’t sit right. Either way, it was his first time ever throwing up for real and I felt absolutely horrible. We took him onto the steadiest part of the boat we could find and I just held him and sang quietly in his ear until we got back to the docks. Thankfully by the time we got on the bus to take us back to the hotel, he was back to his normal happy self. He even started greeting people in the lobby, waving and chatting and showing off his favorite shovel! What a ham.


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Sunday was really just a travel day. We enjoyed a quiet breakfast out on the hotel patio with the foggy ocean as our view and then packed everything up and headed to the airport. Jameson once again slept for the entire flight (seriously, this kid is a dream) and we made it home safe and sound!IMG_0674IMG_0676

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Last glimpse of the ocean before heading out.

I think what I loved the most about this trip was seeing the world through Jameson’s eyes. Being a parent gives you the chance to enjoy things you’ve done a thousand times before in completely new ways. It is such a gift! I think I actually spent most of the vacation just watching Jameson’s face to see how he’d react to everything around him. And with every bit of joy and wonder and excitement he felt…I felt it too.

Honestly, this vacation was so much more than I could have asked for. I loved getting to share it all with some of my favorite people and I loved spending so much time with my two boys. Showing Jameson the ocean and all the magic of Disneyland and watching his face light up over and over again was truly something I’ll cherish forever. I can’t wait to bring him back in a few years and see how excited he gets to experience it all again!

** One more thing I’ll mention… If you’re traveling to Disneyland with an infant, definitely check out the Baby Care Centers! They have one in Disneyland and one in California Adventure and you can find them easily on the Disneyland app. They’re quiet and air-conditioned and they have the cutest little old ladies there to help you out (at least they were there every time I went inside). There’s places to change your baby, high chairs for feeding your baby, small areas for your little one to crawl or walk around for a bit, and my favorite part was the rooms they have for nursing your baby (or for pumping). The room was darkened and secluded and was filled with these comfy wicker chairs for you to sit in. Perfect for if you need a break from all the hustle and bustle out in the park.


A Day With Jameson, Life with Jameson

A Day With Jameson – 7.19.16

A few years ago I came across a series of photos on Pinterest of a little boy named Grant. The series was called “Life with Grant” and the photos were simple, everyday moments captured beautifully by his mother. Completely natural and unposed. It stuck with me all these years, and today I want to share with you my own version of that series – “A Day With Jameson.” I’m hoping to make this into a somewhat regular series (maybe once every few months) because I think it will be fun to look back and see how our days together have changed. But, maybe more importantly, because I think it’s important to take notice of the pure and beautiful moments that happen on even the most mundane days. This project forced me to slow down and intentionally find beauty in a typical Tuesday at home – something I may have missed out on otherwise. I was reminded again that some of the sweetest moments I share with my son are the ones that happen every day. And maybe that’s part of what makes them so sweet.

Without further ado… A Day With Jameson.












Dinner prep.


Let’s play outside!




Outfit change.


Boycotting afternoon nap.



Late afternoon feat. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.


Daddy’s home!


Early evening hangs.





Baby jail while parents do yard work.


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Monsoon is brewing.





Just before bed.



Life with Jameson, Personal Writing

The call to motherhood

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In the Spring of 2014 I held my breath and opened an email from Arizona State University. This was it, everything I had been working towards since my freshman year of high school when I decided, quite definitively for a fourteen year old, to pursue a career in Speech Pathology. It all came down to this one email. Heart racing, hands shaking, my eyes skimmed quickly through the salutation and anchored breathlessly on one word: “Congratulations!” Air whooshed out of my lungs. I was in. I was accepted into the Masters Program at my alma mater, one of the best schools in the nation for Speech Pathology.

I’m a Type-A planner and at that point in my life, things were chugging very merrily along on my plan for, well, everything. I was graduating in several months, getting married to the love of my life several weeks later, spending the summer doing this and that while trying my hand at being a stay-at-home wifey, and then diving headfirst that Fall into a phenomenal graduate program in the field I loved. I felt sure of myself, of my path, of where I was heading. Grad school. Then my Clinical Fellowship year. Then I’d work full-time for two years and pay off some loans. Wouldn’t even think about kids until I was at least 27. Focus, focus.

Then a funny thing happened that summer. Without school or work to distract me, I slowed down for the first time in my life and really thought about what I wanted, about what I was feeling called to do for the Lord. And I was pretty sure it wasn’t Speech Pathology.

You see, I had bought into the tragic idea of our culture that parenthood (particularly stay-at-home motherhood) is not as honorable a profession as a high-income, prestigious career. And I’ll admit it, I wanted that prestige. Of course this is not to say that there aren’t honorable, God-glorifying professions apart from parenthood; I just mean that in my life, I wanted the honor and the glory for all the wrong reasons. I wanted it for myself.

I spent that summer in turmoil, desperate to cling to my educational and professional plans but painfully aware that my heart was (seemingly out of nowhere) longing for a ministry in motherhood. I flipped and flopped and wrestled with my pride. I was afraid; afraid of being seen as a “quitter,” afraid of throwing away everything I’d worked so hard for, afraid of making a colossal mistake. But then again, I was also afraid of sinking $50,000+ in loans for a degree I wouldn’t even want to use for many, many years to come (if ever).

I ended up going to grad school for one semester and it drained me in every sense of the word…emotionally, mentally, physically, even spiritually. I gave it my all that whole semester; just ask my husband – we barely saw each other during that time, the first months of our marriage that we’ll never get back. But no matter how hard I tried to love this so-called passion of mine, it all began to feel pointless to me (someone who, up until that point, had placedย almostย allย of my value in my educational and career goals). Such a drastic change could only be because God was changing my heart and softening me for something else.

By the end of the semester, I knew I couldn’t go back. I knew the desire of my heart was not Speech Pathology but to serve the Lord in motherhood, to care for the souls He might place in my protection and to do my best to faithfully raise them up in His name. It was a huge step of faith for me (and I didn’t handle it as gracefully as I wish I had), but Jesus was so gracious to me and so tender with my heart. The day before I would have had to go back to school I took a pregnancy test…and it was positive. I gave up my spot in the graduate program that afternoon and never looked back.

My life is much different today than I ever planned for it to be. But that’s just how God works (“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” Proverbs 16:9). Recently I started reading Family Driven Faith by Voddie Baucham Jr. (highly recommended!) and he so perfectly and eloquently described what has been on my heart since I first started feeling my priorities shift to motherhood two years ago…

“God has a purpose that is larger than you – God has a plan that includes you – God has a place that suits you … The point, of course, is that not every person is called to the same type or place of ministry … Each of [us] has a place of ministry that suits [us] to a T and finding that place should be the passionate pursuit of [our] lives.”

That passionate pursuit for me is, and always will be, my children and my role in God’s kingdom as their mother. It took a lot of frustrating confusion, a lot of fear, a lot of stripping away my pride. But God knew where I would fit perfectly for ministry and He made sure I dedicated my life to the right pursuit. It might not be as glamorous or prestigious as a high-income career… but the work I do matters because it matters to the Lord.






Jameson Monthly, Life with Jameson

Ten months of Jameson

Ten months is so much fun! I thought I would be more emotional as we get closer and closer to Jameson’s first birthday, but I’m honestly just loving every new stage. Each month is better than the last and I love seeing Jameson learn and experience new things. Alex says this is his favorite stage so far (this and the newborn stage) and I totally agree. There are so many wonderful things about life with Jameson at ten months!

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Weight & Length: No well visit until his 1 year appointment (crazy, I feel like we were just bringing our squirmy little two-day-old to his very first appointment) so I don’t know his percentile rankings or height, but I weighed him myself and he’s about 21 lbs, which is two more than he was last month!

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Clothing: Still in mostly the 12 month size, although some of his shorts and pants need to be bigger to fit those chunky thighs. Diapers are still size 4 and I’m guessing he’ll be in those for awhile.

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One of my favorites that he fits in right now, from his Aunt Catherine. ๐Ÿ™‚

Hair & Eyes: His hair is still a mix of colors and still adorably curly in the back. I can’t get enough of those curls! I especially love when he wakes up from a good nap and his curls are extra fuzzy and pointing every which way. So cute! His eyes are still that deep olive green and he’s got the best eyelashes ever.


Sleep: Scheduling has been one of the best decisions I’ve made for us. Jameson is doing so well with napping! He gets up around 6:30am, takes one morning nap and one afternoon nap (usually around the same time every day, unless he wakes up extra early or extra late), and then is ready for bed by 8pm. He’s still waking up at like 5 every morning (at which point Alex brings him into our bed) and I keep telling myself we’ll work on it…but I just love the cuddles every morning too much! I can’t do it yet haha. Maybe next month. But probably not. ๐Ÿ™‚



Eating: We’re still nursing pretty consistently but he eats big boy food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day. His favorites right now are Cheerios, yogurt, waffles, all kinds of bread, those fruit and veggie squeezies by Beechnut, Puffs, chicken nuggets, pretty much any fruit, pizza (yup), and…ice cream/cookies/anything dessert-related haha. We’ve only given him a few tastes of certain things, but homeboy already has a major sweet tooth. A boy after my own heart!

Holding hands and eating nuggets.
Murdered some blueberries.


Milestones: He’s got three teeth (two on the bottom, one on the top) with the other top tooth about to break through. We got him his first toothbrush and baby toothpaste (no fluoride so it’s safe to swallow) and we practice brushing every day. He learned how to drink from a straw this month, and he can stand alone for long periods of time now. He can even hold toys and play while standing without support! Plus he learned how to stand up straight from the floor (doesn’t need to hold onto anything to get up anymore). And the big one this month…he took his first steps!!! His first unassisted step was on June 22nd (my niece’s birthday), he took another one a few days later, and then on June 29th he took three steps in a row towards my best friend. ๐Ÿ™‚ Such a sweet moment! Ever since then he’s been taking one or two steps here and there and one night he walked five steps in a row, but mostly he still prefers the tried and true crawling. He’s fast and he knows it. ๐Ÿ˜‰


Looking like such a big boy in his first pair of sneakers!



Look closely for the teeth!

Communication: One of his favorite games these days is getting people to copy him! He’ll make a noise, wait to see if you’ll imitate him, and then keep going back and forth as long as you’ll play. His favorite noise to try and get you to copy is a fake cough hahah. Such a ham! He loves to babble all the time and tries to imitate patterns that I do (like “eh eh eh” after I say “yay yay yay,” or “ah ah” for “uh oh”). My favorite “word” he says usually happens when he’s playing by himself…he’ll just go, “DAT!” in a high squeaky voice (with an emphasis on the “t” sound) over and over again. So cute! He also got really good at clapping this month and uses that to show you he’s happy or to see if you’ll clap along with him.

The fake cough.

(Saying “ba ba ba”)

Loves: Reading, swimming, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and anything having to do with Mickey, opening and closing things (especially cabinets and doors), when I sing him songs (favorites are “A Bushel and a Peck,” “I’m a Little Teapot,” and “The Itsy Bitsy Spider”), playing with everything inside the kitchen cabinets (especially the strainers, mixing bowls, and pots/pans), sliding stuff along the floor, anything with wheels (like his new Hot Wheels car), destroying paper, chasing Charlie around, playing in his kiddie pool, hangin’ with cousin Madelyn and really his whole immediate family, girls with blonde hair (lol. don’t know why, but it’s almost always true.), my best friend Brittany, reading books (still especially “Llama Llama Red Pajama” but now also “A Kissing Hand for Chester Raccoon” and “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?”), having people over our house to play, piggyback rides, hide-and-go-seek (really just me hiding and calling his name and him coming to find me), and of course being around his mommy and daddy. ๐Ÿ™‚



Reading “Llama Llama Red Pajama” with his actual Llama



Photo by Denise Sotebeer


Hates: When I close the dishwasher before he can get there to touch all the dirty dishes, not being allowed to play in Charlie’s water bowl and splash it all over his face, having to come inside (or not being allowed outside), basically getting anything he wanted taken away from him, and when I walk out of a room without picking him up and bringing him with me (this is mostly cute, though).

Oh so sad because we came inside instead of playing in the 110 degree heat.

Things I want to remember:ย How cute you look when you stand with your little chubby legs kind of squatted, the scrunched up face you make when you’re all done eating and I’ve tried to give you another bite, how excited you get about new things and how you still do that thing where you start breathing really loud and fast with your mouth and eyes wide open, the way you eat your fruit and veggie squeezies like a big boy, the way you come a-runnin’ whenever you hear or see food being eaten, how you sit up on your knees and reach your arms up to tell me you want to be held, how you like to hide behind things and then poke your head out to surprise me, the way you try to get me to play and laugh with you (like tackling my back and then looking to see if I’m smiling), how quiet and thoughtful you get during our reading time, how you lay on your belly and peek under the couches/bed/dresser, all the funny places I’ve found you (under the bed, in the cabinets, behind the door, etc.), how curious you are to see how things work, and how much you love love love me and your daddy.


“Can I help you, Mommy?”
“MOM, I said I was all done eating!!!”




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Happy Father’s Day!
Photo by Denise Sotebeer
Photo by Denise Sotebeer





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Grabbed the cream cheese from the fridge.


Bonked his head on the way out from under the bed haha.


First thing he’s put in the toilet. Oye.

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Photo by Denise Sotebeer


“Sup ladies.”

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Ten months with you has been a dream, Squish. โค We love you so much, we pray for you daily, and we can’t wait to see everything you accomplish this next month!




Holidays & Special Events

Madelyn’s first birthday party


Happy first birthday to my tiny, perfect niece! I’m still in a little bit of denial that she’s already one. When you’re a kid, time feels like it draaags on for everything…you have to wait so long before you’re old enough to stay home alone, to get your license, to live in your own place. But then suddenly you’re an adult and time moves by faster and faster with every passing year. This past year completely zoomed by! It feels like I was just meeting Madelyn at the hospital yesterday, just getting to hold her little 5 pound self for the first time. But here we are, June 22nd and a whole year has gone by. She is even more beautiful and fun and wonderful than I ever could have imagined, but she’s my sister’s daughter so I guess that shouldn’t be a surprise.

This past weekend was Madelyn’s first birthday party. It was ducky-themed of course (some kids have a favorite stuffed animal or a blanket or a doll…Madelyn has her rubber duck haha) and it was held at my in-laws’ gorgeous house. The party itself was pretty small (mostly family) but it was packed with so much love and so much fun! I took most of the pictures to document the day (with some taken by Madelyn’s grandma Denise) and I wanted to share some of my favorites with you today. ๐Ÿ™‚


Photo by Denise Sotebeer
Photo by Denise Sotebeer
Photo by Denise Sotebeer
Photo by Denise Sotebeer
Photo by Denise Sotebeer
Photo by Denise Sotebeer
Photo by Denise Sotebeer


Photo by Denise Sotebeer
Photo by Denise Sotebeer
Photo by Denise Sotebeer


Happy first birthday, sweet Madelyn Grace! Thank you for all the joy and light you bring us. We love you!


Jameson Monthly, Life with Jameson

Nine months of Jameson

Jameson has officially been in the outside world for as long as he was inside my tummy. I can’t believe it! Only three more months and we’ll have to start counting our baby’s age in years. That’s so weird to me! I don’t like it. I don’t like it one bit. I’ll probably switch to less frequent updates at that point, maybe once everyย  3-6 months or so, and post about other things in between that (my tips & ideas, letters to Jameson, holiday recaps, and other random life happenings).

Aaaanyway. Here we go with month nine of the sweetest, most wonderful baby boy! โค


Weight & Length: At his 9 month well visit he weighed in at 19 lbs, 4 oz which is actually less than he was last month. That’s the first time in his entire life that that’s happened! It’s only by a few ounces, though, and the doctor wasn’t concerned at all. In fact she said that this typically happens when babies become more active, which Jameson certainly has. He’s about 28 inches tall now and in the 36th percentile for both height and weight. And, ironically, the 37th for head circumference. Overall, pretty well-proportioned. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Clothing: He’s in 12 month stuff for the most part, but the tricky part is finding shorts/pants that fit. His legs are so deliciously chubby that they need the 12 month size, but he isn’t super tall so his shorts are usually super long on him. But it’s okay, I’m sure he’ll grow into everything soon enough! We just switched to size 4 diapers which, again, was only because of his chunky legs. We have to pull them tight to fit around his waist but size 3 was just getting too snug around his thighs/buns.

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Hair & Eyes: His hair is so darn cute these days, getting all curly in the back! I LOVE it. I keep waiting for the top to curl too, but then my mom told me that my hair was only curly in the back and around the edges when I was little…so if his hair is like mine he might just have the kind of curls I had. The color is still the same mix as it’s been for awhile (light brown, red, blonde, and gold in the light). His eyes are the same deep olive/hazel they’ve been as well.


Sleep: We’re finally on a bit of set schedule for sleep. I kind of just decided that enough was enough and gave it a try based on his natural sleeping habits, and he responded to it really well! He wakes up around 6:30am (at which point Alex hangs out with him while he’s getting ready for work), naps around 9:30/10 and then again at 2 or 3 depending on how long his first nap was, and then he goes to bed at 8. With just two solid naps during the day (rather than the random cat naps he was taking), he’s been getting much better sleep. His naps are usually an hour and a half long each, sometimes a little longer or shorter, and he wakes up in a great mood. I should’ve tried this scheduling thing sooner! The only problem right now is that he wakes up at 4:30 every morning pretty much like clockwork. Alex brings him into our bed at that time, I nurse him, and he snuggles with us for a couple of hours. In general it’s fine and I love having him in bed with us, but sometimes he has trouble falling back to sleep and then he’s just wide awake for the day at like 5am. Not my favorite haha.

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Eating: He nurses throughout the day, usually every 4 hours or so, and he’s been loving eating real food lately (as opposed to baby food purees, which I rarely give him anymore because he just hates them). His favorites are vanilla yogurt (he’s obsesssseddd), Cheerios (also insanely obsessed), Nutrigrain Soft Bars (apple flavored), strawberries & blueberries, pineapple, any type of bread (especially croissants), mac ‘n cheese, Puffs, mashed potatoes, grilled cheese, and pizza (like father like son). But honestly, he’ll try anything we give him and heย always wants to have what we have on our plates. He still prefers to nurse, though, and never eats a ton of regular food at one time.

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Loves frozen blueberries.


Milestones: He’s got his two bottom teeth now! Although one is more grown in than the other haha. I love when he randomly notices that he has them and he just starts running his tongue back and forth over them and looking all confused. Since he cut the second one he’s been in a much better mood, although he’s still gnawing at everything and his top gums are super swollen. I think more teeth will be popping through soon. He pulls himself up on everything (adorable until he’s in the bath and then it’s a circus act trying to keep him still to get clean) and he loves to cruise around the furniture (he’s getting really good). And just a couple of days ago he started really practicing standing on his own! He hoists himself up on something, lets go, and then kind of freezes like that for a few seconds. He still has to figure out the whole balance thing because he gets excited and then topples over (or I get excited and scare him haha) but he’s definitely got the strength to do it on his own. Ah, baby boy you don’t have to rush to grow up so fast! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Look closely and you’ll see his little tooth!
Big kid car seats!


Communication: He loves to wave, he’s starting to clap (although not really in response to anything in particular), and he understands quite a few words and phrases. He babbles all the time and is starting to mix different consonant-vowel combinations together (“ba ma da” rather than just “ba ba ba”). He says “na na” when he’s upset and wants me (especially to nurse) but I don’t think it’s linked to one specific thing yet, so I don’t count it as a true word. But he’s getting close!

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Babbling away with those gums ๐Ÿ™‚

Loves: Mom and Dad, chasing Charlie around the house, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, when the commercials come on Spotify while we’re listening to music (so random and strange but he gets so excited every time), guitars (he will claw his way to a guitar whenever he sees one, even at church), the pool and all things water-related including his new kiddie pool, wires (ugh), “Llama Llama Red Pajama” and really all baby books, playing with blocks and balls, his cousin Madelyn, feeding himself, exploring our new house and the backyard, playing in the fridge, laying on the floor while Alex waves a blanket over his face (lol his favorite game), and getting into anything he’s not supposed to get into.

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Reading some books ๐Ÿ™‚
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One of his favorite games.
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First time in the pool!


Hates: Whenever you take something away from him that he really wanted (example: wires, Charlie’s toys, pieces of carpet that he wanted to eat, etc.). He is very vocal about his anger in this area haha. Also hates when I leave the room or put him down when he was hoping to be held. And I hate teething. Just…the worst.

Sad because I didn’t get him from his nap in 0.2 seconds.
First impressions of the car seats…not great haha.

Things I want to remember: How you sometimes actually kiss me when I say “Can I have a kiss?”, how you hook your foot on my hip when I’m holding you and try to fling yourself sideways to let me know you want to nurse, how adorable you look when I call your name as you’re crawling away and you turn around to sit and face me instead, the fact that you actually cry whenever a book ends (so sweet), the way you just chuck your sippy cup over the edge of your high chair to let me know you’re done with it, how you’ve started sitting on your knees to play sometimes (such a big boy!), the way you like to grab and hang onto your chubby little foot while you’re nursing, how you “clap” (really just you banging your fists together once or twice), your kicky legs when you’re on my hip and you see something you really want, all the funny ways you wake me up in the mornings (e.g., smushing your face into mine, poking my eyelids, laughing/babbling loudly, flicking my bottom lip up and down, etc.), and how much you love just being with me and your daddy.

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Baby feet โค
Those cheeks.


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First sick trip to the doctors due to a fever. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ He still looks so happy!

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Not impressed.

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