Milk + Cookies Party

Last weekend, we celebrated Lincoln turning two (well, almost). He'll turn two just a few days after his baby brother arrives so we thought it was quite fitting to party it up a little early. I mean, who wants to plan a toddler birthday party while adjusting to another little one in the house? Not me! We kept things simple with a milk and cookies party. What 2 year old doesn't love that? Or adult for that matter.

Milk + Cookies Party
Milk + Cookies Party
Milk + Cookies Party
Milk + Cookies Party
Milk + Cookies Party
Milk + Cookies Party
Milk + Cookies Party
Milk + Cookies Party
Milk + Cookies Party
Milk + Cookies Party
Milk + Cookies Party

And a lesson learned from this whole thing that I thought I would share...

Making things look super cute for an event/party for our child is often for ourselves. We want to impress our guests and post beautiful images (I'm guilty of this so many times). Is my kid going to remember the oreo "cake" I put together or the hours of baking homemade cookies or time put into the little details? Probably not but this thought hit me particularly hard after only one family ended up being able to make it (sickness claimed the others) and I started to feel sorry for myself. All this work and only one family was able to enjoy it? What a shame.

What a shame? What a shame that my heart is so prideful and that my identity as a mother is often wrapped up in something as silly as a milk and cookies party. It seems ridiculous looking back on it now but I can still remember that feeling of self-pity in that moment. I mentioned to my husband that afternoon that it was probably for my good that only a few of our guests were able to make it because it caused me to take a hard look at my broken, prideful heart and be reminded (once again) at what matters most. I'm thankful that Jesus knows me so very well. That he loves me so much that he diligently keeps my heart (and all it's problems) closely in check with his. I'm in need of that. Always. Even when I'm totally unaware, he knows.

And I love that he'll use a little milk and cookies party to get my attention.

i choose.

I Choose... :: A personal post about feeling defeated as an artist. Give up or rise up :: The Arrow House

Today's post starts a new journey for me. A journey to rediscover my love for photography, to slow down a bit and make time for more personal stuff.

Sometimes as an artist, you can feel lost. Overwhelmed in a sea of other creatives who are running about making their mark on the industry. It's easy to feel overlooked, inadequate and defeated. And in those moments of defeat, you have a choice. You can either give up or rise up.

I choose to rise up.

I choose to better myself. To learn, thrive, grow.

I choose to not compare myself. I have my own voice.

I choose to encourage other artists.

I choose to love what I do and to do it with excellence.

I choose. You choose.

We all have a choice. 

So, rise up, my fellow friend. Don't let defeat crush your spirit. Get out there and do what you love. You've got this.

our little explorer.

Our little explorer :: The Arrow House

As I type this, I'm sipping (more like gulping down) a large pumpkin iced coffee while simultaneously dealing with a cranky and slightly disobedient toddler who refuses to nap. It was a long night. Who am I kidding? It's been a long week. Lincoln is still recovering from croup and then I got hit with the plague. I guess it was only a matter of time. I only have the one kiddo so maybe it's a first time mom thing but this bout with croup has been crazy scary. There were a couple of nights I thought I might need to take Lincoln to the emergency room. Good thing I have a calm, sensible better half who intervened and did more than his fair share at trying to comfort our little guy. I married up, you guys.

Anyhow.

It's been a while since I did a personal post or even shared updated pictures of Lincoln. These were taken the day before we found out he had croup and it made me realize just how much I miss him. Yes, he's a busy one but I've missed his laugh and crazy personality. You know your kids don't feel well when they just aren't themselves. And it's so sad. Heartbreaking even.

Well, today I've seen a little more of his personality come back. A tad bit of his adventurous side. And I like it. It's a good reminder for me to love and appreciate all the little quirks my child has, no matter how crazy they may be.

Our little explorer :: The Arrow House
Our little explorer :: The Arrow House
Our little explorer :: The Arrow House

dreams vs. motherhood // the ongoing battle

Dream Vs. Motherhood. The Ongoing Battle. Can you do both?

Can I be truly honest and vulnerable with you, today, in this moment? I battle every day. I battle with my selfishness, guilt, how I spend my time, my focus and I battle with my desires and dreams. It's a struggle.

I have dreams, I do. And I have personal goals but I'm also a mother. Some days I feel like there's just no way I can have/do both. Trying to find the right balance between the two can be emotionally draining.

As a wedding photographer in a new area, it's tough. I want to put myself out there, get connected, grow in my craft and pursue my photography dreams. There's no doubt that's what I would love to happen. But then I take a step back. I think about my family. I start to feel overwhelmed and a little bit guilty at the prospect. With a husband who works full time, a busy toddler and another baby on the way, who can blame me? I mean, can I really juggle it all? Is this what's best for my children, marriage, life in general? Am I being selfish? So many questions, doubts, uncertainties.

But I read something the other day that a dear friend posted about raising children. And it hit me hard.

 

"With gravity, I understand the importance of my place in their lives and for what seems like an eternity, I have worked really hard to be the best mother I can be.
But over the passed few years I’ve noticed something.
I’ve noticed that I’ve slowly slipped from the joy of raising my children to the job of raising my children.
I have shifted my focus unintentionally from sharing my life with them to shuttling them around, getting things done, and checking their lives off of my lists made on their behalf.
And I’m grieved by that reality.
Maybe it’s because I’m a Type A person that covets a sense of achievement and want my kids to measure up to my need for perfection.

I am realizing that the most important thing that I can give my children is love.

Not the hard, cold, duty-driven kind of love but the kind that let’s them know unconditionally, without reservation, and without hesitation… I’m glad they are mine."  

- Chrystal Evans Hurst from I Take Joy

 

Wow. My weary heart needed to hear that. The most important thing I can give my children is love. Unconditional, unreserved love. I need to open up and share my life with them. I need to count it a joy to raise them (because it is) - I don't want to miss out on that.

So.

Do we need to feel guilty about pursuing our dreams as mothers? Not really. Our dreams may change over time, look a little different and might need to be put on hold for a season but we can still dream and go for it. It's just that when those dreams or goals cause us to start looking at our children as a chore or a bother, it's time to remind ourselves what's most important. We need to make the moments that we have with them count for something and give them the assurance that mommy loves them no matter what. That they are special and worth so much more than our dreams.

 

childhood wonder.

Childhood Wonder I The Arrow House

There's just something about the wonder of childhood. Seeing everyday things as new + exciting. This boy has taught me to take each day at a time, enjoying the little moments and learning to let go. It's hard to do that when I'm wrapped up in my world, wanting to control every part of my day. Having a clean house, a well behaved child, being the "perfect" wife + mommy and a million other things can weigh me down. I am so thankful that God is teaching me and molding me through my child, showing me the wonder + joy in life. Counting my blessings this morning.

Childhood Wonder I The Arrow House
Childhood Wonder I The Arrow House
Childhood Wonder I The Arrow House
Childhood Wonder I The Arrow House
Childhood Wonder I The Arrow House
Childhood Wonder I The Arrow House

Happy Wednesday!