We spent an evening last weekend running around by the water and exploring together. I met Monica of Monica Mae Photography a few months back as we talked over coffee sharing our life stories with each other. She instantly became a friend and a talent that I will always recommend. (And my girls quickly fell in love with her too!)
It dawned on me the other day that these are the first family photos we've taken together since our youngest, Sage, was born. This year might be the one that has gone by the fastest. It still feels like Sage was born yesterday (heck it feels like Raleigh was born yesterday) and every time I look at her she's another month older! Our house is crazier, and messier, and louder, and "girlier" than ever before, but looking back on it I know I wouldn't want it any other way. There are days that I feel so defeated and frustrated and like I'm never catching up. There are days that I want to live all over again because of how fun being a mom that day really was. I think what I've learned the most, and am still maturing in, is how to give myself grace be ok with exactly where I'm at. I know there will always be more work to do, more dishes to clean, more laundry to fold--there will always be something. I'm reminding myself that the childhood my girls are living is the one that is happening right now.
Going to take family pictures together helped things slow down a bit. We were present with each other, playing and laughing and discovering things together. Nothing else needed to be done except be with us. I've stared and looked at these photos over and over again feeling so full of thankfulness for the beauty that Monica captured in each moment. Moments that would normally be forgotten, like holding Raleigh's hand so she wouldn't fall or buttoning up Jaelynn's sweater because she felt cold or feeling Joci's head nuzzle onto my cheek or hanging onto that moment of laughing with Sage as she gave me a huge smile. These moments, these precious fleeting moments, give me more joy than I can muster up words for. These moments are what matter most and I'm learning trust that the things that need to get done will get done. These moments are the ones that are shaping their childhood and giving them something to hold onto and look back on as they're growing up. I love this time of year for the gift of being able to slow down and be intentional and present with the people in our lives that matter most. I'm hoping and praying for the new year to become more of these moments... more intentionality, more discovery with our little family, more grace, and more trust.