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Happy Birthday Abby!!

That title is a little misleading, considering Abby's 4th birthday was actually at the beginning of May (on Mother's Day!). DOH! Once wedding season hits I get swamped with editing, but I still wanted to get something up here for her because I loved the process of putting together Lucas's b-day post back in February. Better late than never, right? ;)

Abby is passionate, funny, and smart. She loves all things pink and sparkly, but doesn't shy away from playing in the mud (she actually prefers to play outside barefoot, even in the cold, which is a constant battle with mom and dad, haha.). Her love languages are physical touch, words of affirmation, and Cheetos. She's always had a good grasp on language and constantly shortens words creatively. For instance, when she was two, she had two pink blankets that she adored. They started out as her "pink blankets", then became her "blanks", "pinks", and "pinkeries" interchangeably. She was the first to start calling me "mom" instead of "mommy", not because she knew she could call me mom, but because she was shortening mommy. She cracks me up all the time with her creativity and silliness! Happy (late) Birthday, Girly Girl!!

Happy Birthday Lucas!!!

I can't believe it, but my little guy is SIX YEARS OLD. What in the actual what? It's hard to believe that I've been a mom for six years! Seth and I have now reached the point in our marriage where we've had kids for longer than we haven't. It's a strange thing that has me feeling all kinds of old, but also so, SO thankful. Lucas is one of the sweetest, most kind-hearted kids I've ever known and it's such a privilege to be his momma!

Coincidentally, I just got caught up on editing the last two years worth of personal pictures. It's never happened that I've been current with my own family pictures, so I'm pretty excited about this (and maybe I want to brag a bit!)!  I thought it would be fun to post my favorite pictures of Lucas since his birth. Another special thing is that Lucas was born in February of 2010, and I shot my first wedding in June 2010, so I feel like this is not only Lucas' life journey in pictures, but the journey of my photography. Now let me warn you, it's a LOT of pictures. But ya'll can handle it, right?!?! :D

2016

While most people out there have already gotten started on accomplishing their goals for 2016, I'm over here just sitting down to figure out my own.  If I can be completely honest with ya'll, I really hate making goals. I'm realizing more and more how much I struggle with perfectionism, and in most cases, it keeps me from doing anything unless I know from the start I can succeed at it. I like the idea of goals, and I have a long list of things I'd love to do someday (perfectly, of course), but when it comes down to it, I'd rather just do something I can already do. Something that I naturally excel at. Like watch TV or take a bath. 

I know this is a fault, and I want to change. When I look at my 5-year-old and see him struggling with the same perfectionistic tendencies, I know I need to change. I need to show him that it's okay to fail, learn, and try again (and in most cases, to fail again). I want him to know how sweet it is to start something and let it grow and evolve into something that wouldn't have otherwise happened without those failures. And if the failure is absolute, I want him to feel satisfied knowing that he tried his hardest and gave it everything he had and that he isn't a failure because of it. I'm gonna just repeat those last few sentences to myself for a second. Okay. Ready. Here I go. 

2016 Goals:

1. Write more. As this is my first non-business post on my blog in, ummm, YEARS, I think we can consider this to be a good start! But blogging is really a small part of this goal. I've been feeling for years now that I need to be journaling consistently but I keep putting it off for various reasons. Some of the reasons are valid (like having 3 young kids and being too tired to even shower, let alone write), but most of them are a result of my wanting things to perfect right off the bat (Like, what kind of journal should I keep? Should I have different journals for studying the Bible and my own thoughts? How should I format it? What if I start one way and want to change it? Blah, blah, on and on.). I recently read The War of Art by Steven Pressfield which has been eye-opening for me in this realm. Time to push through the resistance!

2. Read more. This is more of a need than a goal. I love reading and feel so much better when I'm reading a good book. I want to make it more of a priority in 2016. (I'm taking suggestions, so hit me up with your current faves!)

3. Learn how to paint. This is totally out of left field for me because I'm horrible when it comes to drawing or anything related to it. But I love sunsets, and I love silhouetted trees in front of sunsets, and I want to learn to paint them, dang it! Right now I'm trying out watercolors and Youtube tutorials and I'm really enjoying the process! (That's code for I really really suck, by the way. I'm moving past perfectionism, people!!) 

4. Simplify. This was actually our family word for 2015, but we're carrying it over into 2016. From our schedule, to our businesses (my husband and I are both small business owners), to our home, I think this might be an endless goal for us. Seth and I just read through The Magic Art of Tidying Up and it's been a huge game-changer here in the Deming home. (I'm obsessed with new ways to simplify and I know I'm not the only one, so if you have any life-changing recommendations let me know!!)

 

I'm feeling good about this. I'm sure I could come up with some more specific goals, but I'm proud of myself for just getting these up here in the first place. Since this post feels a bit naked without a photo, here's a shot of my littlest at the beach during our November family vacay to Florida! 

P.S. I literally held off on publishing this post for a week and a half so I could think about it and process what I'd written. I think I've got a long way to go on this journey to break free of perfectionism. I'm celebrating the small victory of actually publishing it, though. ;) Thanks for reading!

My Video!!!

It's been about a year in the making (actually, a little longer) thanks to busy schedules and a pregnancy, but I'm proud to finally debut my first promo video!!  I'm so excited about this; I feel so professional!!

Thank you so much to my AMAZING (and extremely attractive) husband,

Seth

, who put the video together for me. :)

Also, in case you missed it a couple of months ago, here's a blooper reel from shooting the interview portion of the video, which for obvious reasons, ended up getting cut entirely.  Public speaking never was my strong point. :)

 

Lucas Weekly : Week 53 - Birthday Week + Birthday Party!! {2/20/12-2/24/12}

Well, another crazy photo project has come to an end!!!  Even though this past year wasn't as intense as taking a picture a day like his first year of life, Lucas Weekly seemed to be much more difficult to keep up with!  I'm not sure if it's because I didn't have the daily routine of taking a picture, the fact that my business took off, or getting pregnant halfway through the year, but it seemed like more of a challenge to remember.  Seth saved my butt so many times, especially at the beginning of my pregnancy!!

My plan for when after the baby comes is to do a 365 project like I did with Lucas.  If things end up getting crazy, I may end up doing only one picture a week, but hopefully I'll be able to keep up!!  I more than likely won't be posting many 365 pictures here just because it's too much work for me right now to edit and get pictures ready for a blog, and I obviously had a hard enough time keeping up with posting weekly pictures in a timely fashion! :) I'll be posting the pictures over on my

Facebook Page

, so if you haven't liked it yet and want to keep up with the pictures, head on over there!!

And now, onto the LAST week of pictures from Lucas Weekly!!  The official picture was from a few days before his Birthday.  I love what a ham he's become!!!

Taken 2/20/12

50mm f/1.6 1/100 sec ISO 250

You'll notice a couple of things from these next pictures from his Birthday on February 24th: 1. He got a big boy Birthday haircut!!  and 2. He has a nice bruise above his mouth.  He fell off of a bench onto our tile floor just TWO DAYS before his Birthday and cut the inside of his mouth. :(  If I've learned anything from being a photographer, it's that kids always get visibly injured either right before a Birthday, or right before a photo session.  Lucas is no exception!

That night, opening his gifts from mom and dad!

We bought him a little baby doll to help explain that we're going to have a new little baby in the house.  He was excited for about 5 minutes, before he threw the doll on the ground. ;)

We had his party the Saturday after his Birthday.  It's always such a blessing to have our friends and family over!  There was much merriment, and much food! :)

These

breakfast mufffins

that I found on Pinterest were a HUGE hit!!

Muffins!

Nutella crescent rolls!!  YUM!!!!!!!

He wasn't quite sure how to handle everyone singing to him. 

Thanks SO MUCH to everyone who has followed along this year!!!  I truly appreciate all of the encouragement and support!!!!  

Click here

to see all of the Lucas Weekly pictures!!

Now it's time to enjoy these next few weeks off before our life changes once again. :) 

Lucas Weekly : Week 48 {1/16/12-1/22/12}

Back in January we watched cute little Gracie for a friend for about a week.  It was interesting seeing Lucas interact with her since he doesn't spend a whole lot of time around dogs.  They were both very cautious of each other for a few days, but eventually they warmed up to one another.  One morning, we found Lucas reading Goodnight Moon to Gracie while she just sat there and listened.  It was so sweet!!

Taken 1/20/12

50mm f/2.0 1/90 sec ISO 320

Arizona Vacation + Lucas Weekly : Week 46 {1/2/12-1/8/12}

When I look back at all of the pictures from our vacation, I can't believe we almost didn't take Lucas with us.  The original plan was for Seth and I to take a week-long road trip to Arizona to plan out 2012 for my business.  We thought it'd be easier without Luc, but as the time drew closer, we were both starting to feel more and more anxious about leaving him for so long.  Three days before we left, Seth and I had dinner with a couple who have been mentors to us for quite awhile, and they shared their thoughts on us leaving Luc for a whole week.  It confirmed our deepest feelings, and we decided then and there to take him with us.  Every single day of the vacation, we said about a million times "I can't BELIEVE we almost didn't bring him!!"  He was SO much fun, and even though I'm home with him every day, I feel like I got to know him even more.  And in light of the new baby arriving in about a month, I'm so thankful we were able to take a vacation with just the three of us before things change.  It was a very special time that I'll cherish forever. :)

Day 1

One of our biggest worries about taking him on a road trip was that Lucas did NOT do well in the car.  Just driving  2 1/2 hours out to my sis-in-law's in Iowa was torture for all of us, so I had no idea how he'd do for days of driving.  He was still rear-facing in his car seat, so my friend suggested turning him to face forward, that maybe he was getting carsick.  It was like night and day!!!  I couldn't believe it!!!

Our first night! (Springfield, MO)

Day 2 

Still happy!!

We stopped at a park in Tulsa, OK to stretch our legs.

Seth took and edited this picture.  Love it!!

Rest stop somewhere just over the Texan border.  

The moon was very popular during our trip! :)

"MOOOOOOON!!!"

Oh yes, the moon is STILL there!

It was about 10pm when we got to Lubbock, TX and Lucas had been sleeping in the car.  When we got to our room, he was so very slap-happy, and thought the bed was the coolest thing since sliced bread.

Day 3 

The bed was still pretty exciting the next day. :)

Seth took these pictures of Lucas in the park while I shot

this session of my friend Lydia and her daughter. 

A little stop in Ruidosa, NM!!  Such a beautiful town up in the mountains!

His first pine cone!

I love driving into the sunset!

We stopped that night in Deming, NM.  It was fun when they saw our last name on our debit card when we paid for the hotel!  I think we should have gotten something for free, but whatev's. ;)

Day 4 

Seth and I drove through Deming back in 2008 on a trip to AZ and I took this picture of him:

So we made a special trip to the Deming Motel before we headed out. :)

Our GPS took us off the beaten path onto a very secluded road in the middle of nowhere, so we stopped to explore a bit on the side of the road.  It was SO peaceful, and the weather was AMAZING!!

We had a Groupon for Hotel La More in Bisbee, AZ, so we stayed there for a night and checked the town out.  

US!

Day 5

Tombstone!!

Our destination was Tucson, AZ, which is one of our favorite places.  We hiked around the some of same areas of Saguaro National Park we visited years ago, this time with our little Luc and baby on board. :)

Probably my favorite picture from the whole trip!!  Also the

Lucas Weekly

picture of the week!! :)

I love that all three of us are in this picture in some way!

A very nice stranger took this picture for us. 

The hotel had a heated pool, and Lucas LOVES the water.  He was just beside himself!!

Day 6

More hiking at Saguaro National Park!  Lucas learned the word "cactus." :)

Those little guys mean business!!

I can't believe I thought I was huge back then.  You guys should see me now!!

Well, wouldn't you know, there's that moon again!!

Another favorite. :)

Day 7

We didn't take many pictures on the way home, but this is one of my favorites.  A snow storm was rolling into Ruidosa, New Mexico behind us, and it was so beautiful!  Seth actually took this picture (I don't like getting out of the car on busy highways, he's much braver than I am!!), I edited it.  :)

PHEW!!!  If you made it to the end, thank you!!!  This was by far the best trip we've ever taken!  

Happy Friday and have a wonderful weekend!!!! :) :) :)

Lucas Weekly : Week 45 {12/26/11-1/1/12}

We always have people over on New Year's Eve since it's Seth's Birthday.  We don't get too crazy, but we definitely have a good time!!  Apparently all the excitement was too much for Luc to handle. :)

Taken 12/31/11

35mm f/2.0 1/100 sec ISO 400

Luc with his friends, Katie and Titus, chomping on some grapes.  

I'm getting close to the end!!  Officially, I finished taking pictures for

Lucas Weekly

on February 24th, so now it's just catch up time for editing and posting.  I'll be taking a break from any scheduled projects until the new baby comes, when I'm planning on starting a whole new 365 project!!!  We'll see if I can actually keep up this time with much busier business and personal schedules.  It may end up being a 365-ish project. ;)

Happy Monday, everyone!!! 

Lucas Weekly : Bonus! {Christmas 2011}

I know it sounds cliche, but having kids has profoundly changed our view of the holidays.  Before Lucas was born, we'd spend every Christmas away from home, which was great at the time because we were with family that we love dearly. But in the five years that we had been married, we'd never established our own family traditions.  After Lucas came around, we realized how important it was for us to start our own traditions.  Last year, we started a family breakfast before gifts on Christmas morning.  This year, we wanted to do a little bit more to include our faith, so we (well, I) baked a cake on Christmas Eve, and we sang Silent Night before blowing out the candles.  

Check out some of the highlights of our Christmas Eve and Christmas morning!!

Seth's parents and sister joined us for dinner on Christmas Eve and our Silent Night singing.

I think this was right after Lucas said "Cool!!!"  

Nana knows the way to a toddler boy's heart:  noisy trucks!!

Christmas breakfast!! Crumb cake and an egg casserole! Mmmmm...

Bring on the presents!!

While shopping for Lucas, Seth was complaining about how awesome toys are these days compared to the ones we had as kids.  He specifically pointed out this nerf gun and said how sweet it would have been to have something like that.  I knew at that moment that I had to get it for him!!  I love that I was able to capture his surprised look!!!

One of the selling points in the store for Seth was that it "even came with clips!!"  Lucas enjoyed helping Seth load it. :)

It was the perfect compliment to the blazer I bought him.  This is also the official bonus picture for the week. ;)

Taken 12/25/11

35mm f/2.2 1/100 sec ISO 800

Only a sweet baby could crack that tough exterior. 

I'm so excited to see what the coming years will bring us in the way of traditions as Lucas gets older and baby #2 is thrown in the mix!!  

Click here

to see a fun little video of Seth, Lucas, and the nerf gun in action. :)

Lucas Weekly : Week 40 {11/21/11-11/27/11}

Since Lucas and his cousin Linkan are only 3 months apart, Seth's sister and I thought it would be fun to have them dress up the same for Halloween this year.  Unfortunately, his cousin lives in Iowa and we weren't able to see him on Halloween, so when he and his sister came to visit for Thanksgiving, we got them all dressed up again so we could see them together as little turtles.  On the right is Ellie the fish.  :)

Taken 11/24/11

35mm f/2.0 1/50 sec ISO 1000

Luc's Nana made all three costumes!!!

Happy Friday!!!!  

Lucas Weekly : Week 39 {11/14/11-11/20/11}

Lately I've been thinking a lot about To Do lists.  I can't decided whether they're helpful to me, or harmful.  I feel like I have to have a To Do list if I'm going to remember to get anything done (HELLO, pregnancy brain!!), but then I feel like I become a slave to my list and beat myself up if I can't accomplish everything on it.  Not to mention that it becomes more of a To Do MOUNTAIN since I keep adding way more things to it than I can ever get done in a day, week, or month, even.

I love this Lucas Weekly picture because it reminds me of how simple life is for kids.  Luc must have spent 30 minutes just lining magnets up on the arm of the chair, then taking them off, and lining them back up again.  He doesn't care if there's a schedule to stick to, what's for dinner, or if he forgot to switch the laundry over to the dryer before bed.  He just lives right there, in the moment, enjoying whatever activity he's involved in at that time.  So simple.  I wish I could live like that.

Taken 11/16/11

35mm f/2.2 1/100 sec ISO 800

What do you guys think?  Is it possible to find the balance between keeping yourself on track with lists and not letting them control your life?