Together is my favorite place to be

IMG_1259Now that my kids are school aged, every May I get so excited about summer. I told my friends this year, “Our lives won’t feel so fragmented now! My kids are home and we get to do life as a family unit again. Even things like grocery shopping or making cookies are more fun when we do them as a family.” And I truly do soak in every mundane, glorious minute of summer with them.

But its now nearing the end of August. School starts this week for my oldest two. And you know what? It is time for them to GO. The bickering, the boredom, the insane activities they come up with to terrorize the house and their pregnant sleepy mother. Be gone children! The other day, I took only two of the kids grocery shopping and I was living my best life. I am only half serious, of course, and the other half of me will still shed a tear or twenty when they go off to kindergarten and second grade on Wednesday because it all goes by so quickly.

I’ve been thinking about summer and how sweet it is to regroup together and find a slower rhythm, and then how great it is to launch our kiddos back into the world each Fall to become more of who they are made to be as individuals. Our summer family time is like a respite from the chaos of the crazy, hard, messy world. We spend time laughing and dancing and resting. We go on family walks most night with popsicles and talk about the silly parts of our day and the serious things like building our character.

Earlier this month, my best friend, Stephanie Ferris (of the amazing, Ferris Wheel Photography) did a lifestyle shoot for us. We didn’t even talk about it before hand but I was hoping that she would capture the essence of our summer. And she did just that!  Summer to me is family time. I was hoping for pictures that etched into memories the substance of our family of 6 (with sweet Abigail still growing in me) living out our normal routine that just happen to include tons of time soaking each other in.

Before I share any pictures, I need to give some disclaimers: 1. I cleaned my house for 3 hours before the shoot. In all fairness, I don’t mind not looking back in ten years at the dust bunnies around the floorboards. 2. Even though she totally caught pictures of us living our normal lives, I am usually wearing Josh’s boxer briefs while these things are taking place. The kids think I am nuts, but they are the only thing that is comfortable around my big baby belly,  but they didn’t seem entirely appropriate for a photo shoot. 3. If you wonder where I got any of our furnishings or decorations, you can assume garage sales, thrift stores, or hand me downs. I really love turning other people’s trash into treasures.

Ok, I’m glad I got those things off my chest! Now, here are some of my favorite pictures from the shoot:IMG_1217IMG_1211IMG_1253IMG_1255IMG_1275IMG_1207IMG_1204IMG_1243IMG_1250IMG_1284IMG_1286IMG_1291IMG_1296IMG_1300IMG_1315IMG_1303IMG_1078IMG_1144IMG_1105IMG_1119IMG_1121IMG_1137IMG_1102IMG_1035IMG_1041IMG_1046IMG_0981IMG_0992IMG_0995IMG_1006IMG_1011IMG_1016IMG_1020IMG_1030IMG_1022IMG_0912IMG_0918IMG_0924IMG_0941IMG_1075IMG_0975IMG_0976

Thanks for taking time to look through our pictures! If you are interested in booking Steph for a shoot, you can find her here. When I asked her about what she loves about lifestyle shoots, she said,

” I love this type of photography the most because I feel like I am capturing the small moments. They don’t feel special at the time but they are the memories that we want in the future. I always want to remember how my daughter’s legs were so pudgy before she started to walk, how my son looked so peaceful when he was reading or even what my husband and I looked like snuggled up on the couch together while all craziness broke lose around us in the form of toys and legos and children running around. Those are the  moments I love to photograph. Real life moments. The moments my heart will ache for decades down the road. There is a time and place for cute matching outfits for family portraits but I will always treasure the fun pictures of day to day life of my kids wearing super hero capes and masks jumping off furniture.”

I couldn’t love Ste’s photography style more!!! I just know that I will look back on these pictures longingly in September, ok maybe not until October, and remember the sweet family time we get during the summer.

For this afternoon, I am thinking of all the Momma’s and Daddy’s sending their babes off to school with mixed feelings! Half of us wanting to kick them in the rear on the way out the door for all the days they refused to sleep in or all the times they ate chocolate everywhere but the kitchen tables, and the other half wanting to lock them in the house forever and soak up their sweetness!



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