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speaking your child’s language

We just returned from a weekend away at our favorite beach house on Whidbey Island. I’ve written about this magical place several times before, and posted a million IG photos (#theboathouse). Our good friends are gracious hosts and their hospitality provides the most cherished and memorable adventures for our kids. It is for sure their most favorite place to be.

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I love the boat house for many reasons, but lingering at the top is watching the boys be boys. They have complete freedom. They can roam the endless beach collecting shells and digging for sea creatures. They cut down branches and make paths through the woods and whittle sticks with their pocket knives. They shoot bb guns and practice with their bows & arrows. They kayak or paddle boat and swim in the freezing cold water.  They build forts and bon fires and swing on a hammock. Continue Reading →

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june insta wrap-up

The best thing about instagram is the way it helps me document our every days. Outings, around our house, pretty things that catch my eye, moments I want to remember. I love documenting for me, but I also find sharing and interacting to be so enjoyable. It is fun to see how other ladies live, their surroundings and what they find inspiring (here are a handful of my favorite IG feeds) and perhaps my photos are fun for you to see a bit more behind the scenes of our life.

Here’s what happened in June …

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girls weekend at the beach / teaching my baby the art of baking / mixing patterns

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dress rehearsal for baby ballerinas / summer house tour / going away invitations for my bestie’s family

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color + stripes in Audrey’s closet / graphic design class open / favorite summer salad

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hair cut day (not in love with the results) / napkin doodling / cotton candy + mariners baseball

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teacher thank you gifts / pretty cupcakes / beautiful hike with the kids

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moving in our friends / truth for the day / puppies are cute

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swim lessons / I want this house / watercoloring a new print for our Rwanda trip

It was a bittersweet month … the end of a great school year, best friend moving away, new friends moving in, start of summertime fun. This season of life is full and fun and we are excited for what’s to come this summer.

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It gets easier

There’s a super cute mom at preschool pickup who reminds me so much of me just a few years ago. She has an almost four-year old who holds her almost two-year old’s hand to cross the parking lot, while she awkwardly carries her newborn in a cumbersome baby carseat carrier to pick up her just turned five year old from pre-k. She is happy and generally put-together and sweet to her girls. Motherhood looks good on her.

While in line for lunch at our kids’ mothers day tea, we started chatting – about how many children we have and how far apart they are … you know, the things moms naturally talk about while standing in line with strangers – and discovered our families are very similar in age spread. Since I’m a few years ahead in the mothering-four-close-together-children-thing, she asked a question that I haven’t stopped thinking about:

At what point does it get easier?

It was so cute the way she asked it because it wasn’t at all in a complain-y voice like when with they stop needing me every second of the day? or even said out of desperation like when am I going to be able to breath again?! but really just a question of stages, a curiosity of what’s coming next. I loved it.

Mostly, I loved answering.

It gets easier. Soon, it will be so much easier.

They will be able to get dressed on their own and buckle their seatbelt. They can play quietly for longer periods of time and you won’t have to dread the silence (because we all know that a silent two year old is an up-to-no-good two year old). You can sit at the park and watch them climb without having to stand at their sides ready to catch them when they fall. You can even sleep in on saturday mornings and vaguely hear them pour themselves a bowl of cereal and not feel like you better hop out of bed and get them breakfast because they are now capable of doing this on their own.

That’s the stage we’re at with our kids. We’re at the point when it is easier. And it feels amazing.

It’s harder, too, don’t get me wrong, but in very different ways. You become less concerned with things like drawing on walls and fingers in electrical sockets and pay more attention to issues like character and relationships and tone of voice (ahem). It’s a whole new stage of parenting we’re entering with a 10, 8, 6, and 4 year old.  Less physically demanding and more in our minds and hearts. We’ve made it successfully past the precious but constant newborn stage, the darling but mischievous toddler era and now we’re guiding these little people to become kind and generous, responsible, enjoyable, gracious bigger people. What a beautiful, tiring, challenging, joy-filled, selfishness-exposing honor it is to raise kids.

There are times to come when I will look back on those early, early days and think that was easy. And I’ll probably look back on right now and find it difficult. I’m only 10 years in and surely there are the highest of highs and the lowest of lows to come. I still have so much to learn. But as my husband likes to say, perspective is everything.

Be encouraged, weary mom with nursing babe in one arm and pant-less toddler running wild. And keep on going, mama who hasn’t slept in three years and can’t remember the last time you washed your hair.

It gets easier.

You’re doing a great job.

. . . . . . . . .

Just for fun, here are a few oldie photos of life when my babies were babies:

emily and two little

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boys at wedding

emily and no3

mom's wedding

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walking into school

It was tiring back then, but so, so sweet.

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tiny dancer photoshoot with my baby girl

When Paige was here this past fall, we set out one very chilly morning for a girly photoshoot at this gorgeously dilapidated old farmhouse nearby.

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Paige styled the whole thing – choosing our outfits and bossing us around with how to do our hair (kidding. She’s not bossy. But she did have a vision and I was just along for the ride). Being in front of the camera is not totally comfortable for me, but if I’ve learned anything about having your picture taken is that the more awkward you feel, the more awkward the photos turn out so you might as well just relax and smile and try to look cute so you’ll like the end product.

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And, my goodness, I just adore the end product. Paige is such a talented photographer – knowing how to find the right light and make the experience fun and comfortable.

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in-chair

She perfectly captured our girly ballerina side, a tiny dancer photoshoot as Paige called it (she was headed to the elton john concert when she returned to atlanta so that probably has something to do with the cute name. PS. I love that song).

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Outfit change!

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 I wore this dress for my little sister’s wedding when I was six months pregnant with No. 2. It was all pinned up around the back to keep it from falling off, but I just love the juxtaposition of the crumbling down house and unkempt grass with the fancy black dress.

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Promptly after the photoshoot, we put on our warm coats and went to starbucks for an extra-hot latte. We were freezing!  What’s so great about these photos is that you would never guess that we were shivering. Paige did the most amazing job.

For christmas, I gave Audrey a little book with all of my favorite photos from our morning at the dilapidated farm house.

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It’s only a few inches wide and such a sweet memory for her to look through.

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 What a beautiful gift Paige gave the two of us to have this mommy-daughter moment documented for always. I sure love my little Audrey-girl and feel so grateful for a tiny dancer in my life.

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dear february

Dear February,

I wonder if you ever get tired of being called ‘the month of love’. Do you kinda want to be known for more than just chalky conversation hearts and a little man-baby called cupid? I mean, look at you. You’re the shortest month, but full of all kinds of goodness like superbowl sunday and half of our family’s birthdays and a gloriously long presidents day weekend. You produce crazy weather – obnoxious amounts of snow mixed in with beautifully clear and sunny days, which make our skiing adventures extra special.

You have your downsides, no doubt. You’re still winter and by now we’re all pretty ready for that to be over. Colds and flu bugs seem to hang around you and make their way into our homes.  The whole valentine’s day rose prices are a little out of control.

But still, you are good. Fun. Busy.

And we love you.

Until next year …

xo,

emily

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our february in instagram snapshots.

Notable moments: seahawks superbowl win, No.1′s 10th birthday, Ryan’s birthday, sledding & skiing, our 15 year anniversary, Audrey’s birthday and lots of creating.

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