the MacBryde girls.

When your best friend is a photographer you might get some decent shots of your kids but you might have to wait, like, forever to see them! HA!

My friend Angie brought her girls and her niece by back in June? July? I honestly can’t remember but I DO know they’ve been sitting in my computer untouched forever! And so because this is an INSANE week for Ang I thought I’d show her a few to keep her spirits up!

Her niece, Becca.

Her daughter Lauren…

Her daughter Kate…

Her baby girl Kelsey…

All the girls!

Good luck this week Ang! Love you!

30 minutes of my afternoon.

Gray has had diarrhea all day and his bottom is a hot mess. Red, itchy and raw. Open sores. SO all day I’ve been doing kitchen sink baths and letting him soak in baking soda+water. Then I would let him run around naked for as long as I could to dry it out. And it is working slowly but surely!

So this afternoon he had just gotten out of the sink and was in a towel watching Little League on ESPN when I got a call from a client. I went in my office and 5 minutes later he comes walking in with poop dripping down his legs. Naked. Of course I get off the phone FAST and find drops and puddles of liquid poo from the family room to my office.

I get him cleaned up, the house cleaned up and while he watched me he peed.

SO I clean THAT up and put him on the potty where he poops in the potty! (Hear in my voice that this was the highlight of my 30 minutes!)

Then I find some big boy underwear someone passed down to us and think WHY THE HELL NOT just start potty training right now? I’m two accidents in, I might as well!

I ask him if he wants to sit on the potty again and he RUNS in front of me to the upstairs potty and before I can get there he’s holding up a dripping tennis ball and is saying “ball in potty!” with a HUGE smile.

And as I am washing his hands (and my hands for the one millionth time) at the sink from the toilet ball he pees. Seriously. How could I make this up?

————————— On a less disgusting note ————————-

I SUCK at dinner. Like SUCK. Tonight we had rice a roni, frozen broccoli, apple slices and chicken strips and they all thought it was a gourmet meal! HA! At least I have efficiently lowered my family’s dinner expectations!

Anyway, when I came across THIS site I about died! They plan your meals AND give you a shopping list AND it’s endorsed by Dave Ramsey? Where can I sign?

So I did. I signed up for 3 months for all of $15 and I hope it will be my cure for last minute crap dinners and too much fast food when I don’t want to cook!

SAVE TIME AND MONEY WITH E-MEALZ MEAL PLANS

this is my 1,204th post.

I got an email this morning from Stephanie who asked a question I get asked a lot. She asked me how I can be so candid and truthful on my blog. And although I will respond to her personally I thought that since I do answer it so often I should answer it here as well.

First, I am an all or nothing kind of person. I’m candid on my blog because I’m the same here as I am in real life. You either love me or hate me. And I am ALWAYS starting conversations with family, friends or near strangers with “this may be TMI but…” HA!

Second, although I’ve had doubts at times, I am ok with ME being my brand. At the end of the day you need to love my work but you also need to love me, since it’s ME that your hiring. That’s why Kim and I have been trying to blog more personal things over on Fresh Art so that our clients can really get to know US before hiring us. Will it turn some away because we’re a tad unprofessional? Sure! But it’s ok b/c little about us is truly professional! You’ll meet our kids at some point probably or at least hear about them, you’ll be in my home if you come to the studio which means you might see clean laundry on my couch like Gena did yesterday at her newborn session!

And third, this is just who I am! I am secure in my relationships and my life I guess. Have I always been so open? Probably. Has being personal on my blog(s) ever pushed away family or friends? I don’t think so! I hear a lot that moms or family are the ones people worry about offending the most and I’m lucky that I’m great friends with both my mom and my mother-in-law. They KNOW me, the good the bad and the very very ugly with or without my blog! And anything I’d write here I’d tell them in person.

I think at the end of the day we’re not perfect people. We can’t sit behind a screen and attempt to be someone we’re not, more perfect than we are. And frankly, people that only write about the good and the pretty and the perfect turn me off b/c I KNOW they’re hiding the truth. We all have bad days and yell at our kids and cuss and fight with our husbands and hate our jobs. Do we have to put it ALL out there? Nope. I chose to keep most of my marriage private out of respect for my husband. As the kids get older I won’t blog about their private issues or struggles. But am I honest about who I am? About ME?

Damn straight I am! HA!

So Stephanie, if cussing on your blog a little or writing the truth about your life or your feelings or your joys or your fears turns your family away I think you’ve got bigger issues… like why their love is so conditional! And you know what? I bet they’ll all surprise you! Because they’re not perfect either! And maybe it would start some conversations where you ALL can get real with each other! And in my experience, the more we know about each other the deeper the love and greater the appreciation we have for one another.

The Kindy update and OH YEAH I do have other kids!

I KNOW this blog has become all BAILEY THIS and BAILEY THAT but DUDE! Kindergarten isĀ  a big deal. It just is. And Parker starting preschool on her own for the first time? Big deal too but doesn’t happen until after Labor Day. Dumb preschool and not starting when other schools start! And Gray? Bat. Ball. That about sums him up! HA!

SO anyway.

I have to tell you about today after school. Because it will go down in history as hysterical to me. And melt my heart happy too.

I’m standing on the playground waiting for Bails to come walking cautiously out of school, spot me, tell her teacher and then come charging full speed towards me… the best part of my day hands down… and today she comes walking out HOLDING HANDS with another little girl. I walk over to them b/c HER NEW FRIEND hadn’t spotted her mom yet and Bailey wasn’t letting go of her hand so they were just standing by their teacher. I ask NEW FRIEND her name and before I can tell her I’m Bailey’s Mommy she says, “Can Bailey go to the football game with us?”

?

Not sure what to say when luckily she spots her mom and runs over separating from Bailey. So I grab Bails hand and walk over to the other mom and am about to introduce myself when out of nowhere C comes and grabs Bails up spinning her around! He surprised both of us by being there! Love that man. So we get distracted by Daddy but I am NOT about to let NEW FRIEND leave without me talking to her mom! So I walk back over and start chatting.

Which is really hard for me b/c although I act all out going when I’m working I am actually painfully shy sometimes!

Long story short, Chris ends up knowing MY NEW FRIEND’s older daughters from soccer camps this summer and BOOM! Instant connection! We all stood around chatting and in the midst of it Bailey and her NEW FRIEND were off playing until she comes over and asks me for a pen.

She takes it and proceeds to write our entire phone number on the back of NEW FRIEND’s work so NEW FRIEND can call her! HA! I wrote it again so her mom could decipher it but really it was damn good I thought! Totally cracked me up that they exchanged numbers!

But the BEST part? At 7pm Bailey gets her first phone call from a school friend! Bailey is holding the phone and listening but suddenly cuts her off and goes, “NEW FRIEND, I have NO idea what you’re saying to me!” HA! I about died! So she hands me the phone and I talk to her mom to figure out what’s going on…. are you ready?

BAILEY HAS HER FIRST PLAYDATE! This Friday she’ll go home to NEW FRIEND’s house to play for a few hours!!! OMG I almost cried I was so excited! And I swear Bailey will be talking NON-STOP about this until then!

Sweet Parker says to me as Bailey is jumping up and down… “Mommy, can I have a friend?”

O.M.G.

My heart fell back into my stomach and I will now be worrying about her until school starts for her in a couple weeks. Girl needs a friend! And now she has to watch Bailey being SO excited! Parker’s best friend is Bailey. She’s never had a friend her own age. And I guess I’ve never really realized that until today. So September will be operation: Get Parker a Friend Month! Anyone out there with a 3 year old girl who’s also friendless? Playdate anyone?

And in other news, Gray did his first big art project today at GoGo’s and it is the cutest thing you’ve ever seen! Him and Parker each made a turtle using a rock, googly eyes and large popcicle sticks! So awesome! They are proudly on display in our living room.

Gray is also talking up a storm and we are officially taking the paci away this weekend. I think. It’ll be a rough few nights and I need C’s help so the weekend it is. Why hadn’t I thought of this a month ago when I had Chris home all the time? UGH!

That’s it for tonight!

shooting my kids the non-lethal way.

Did you guys see THIS post over at Fresh Art? If not go check it out b/c it might mean yet another change for my little ole blog! AND it might mean Jasmine Star actually commented on our blog today! (NO we weren’t crazy excited about that at ALL! HA!) Kim and I are taking giant steps to make Fresh Art personal again which means a few times a week I’ll be blogging personal stuff over there instead of here. Which means now I have to decide if I’m going to dump this blog all together or not. It’s only a blog but it feels like a big decision!

So in the car on the way home today Bailey told me she wanted to buy her lunch tomorrow instead of having me make it for her. When I asked her why she said because she’d never done it and wanted to try it out. Then a few minutes later she said, “Mommy? You wanna know the REAL reason I want to buy lunch tomorrow? It’s pizza day!” A girl after my own heart! HA!

She also asked if she could get a soda on the way home because “it’s been a LONG day Mommy!” HA! I guess I should stop using that as my excuse to get a soda!

She ALSO came home and immediately wrote the entire alphabet on a post-it note. Something she’s always been able to do but 1. not without me saying the alphabet out loud, she’s never done both if you know what I mean? Thought it AND written it and 2. in lowercase letters! Did she really learn every letter by heart in lowercase in 4 days at Kindergarten? Sheesh! and 3. on a post-it note! She’s always written fairly large so this was a huge accomplishment in my book!

Parker had a really bad asthma attach last night, the first time I’ve been nervous in a long time. She also has a cold or something so I know what triggered it. Hoping tonight is uneventful.

Grayson is really starting to get “paci teeth”… you know… like you can tell he’s been sucking on a paci non-stop for two years! I need to take him to the dentist and start saving up for braces now I guess. And I also need to take away the paci. But DUDE! How else do you get all three kids to be quiet at the same time without a little assistance?

We’ve been hanging out at my mom’s all week spending time with Sam and Avery, my nieces, while my sis+bro-in-law are on a yacht in the British Islands or something. Anyway, seeing Parker around 2 two year old toddlers and a 7 month old baby reiterated the fact I knew was coming. She’s growing up. She’s been the biggest help and the absolute best listener. It’s like she knew that because Bailey is in school now she had to step up her game and take on the big sister role! And she’s doing so incredibly well! So well it makes me kind of miss my crazy Parker from a year or so ago!

Today, in the intense HEAT, my mom and I packed up the 4 kids (minus Bails!) and drove into the city for some photos. Working on Christmas already actually! But ok so picture this… a super hot day, an abandoned building, a mini-van full of kids, a homeless camp, a shot list, a sweating momtog and did I mention the 4 kids under 4 part? It was a bit intense and I shot INCREDIBLY fast since we were not in the best area and it was just two ladies and a bunch of kids but I am SO happy with the images I got for my project and also just the basic shots for us! Here is a sample b/c I’m going to post more tomorrow over at Fresh Art. You know. To make that blog a bit more personal!

What are your thoughts about keeping your brand all about YOU and not trying to fit into the “box” sotospeak? Would it be neat to see Fresh Art be a mix of work+Kim+Jodie? We’re moving forward no matter what because WE believe in putting ourselves into our brand but then WHAT IN THE WORLD DO I DO WITH THIS BLOG? I pay for it so letting it sit seems like such a waste of money! Thoughts?

soccer.

I swear this isn’t becoming the BAILEY blog but now that exciting things are happening at the Allen household and I’m on a blogging streak I don’t want to stop! It just happens that most of what’s happening has to do with Bails!

And today was yet ANOTHER first!

Her first soccer practice! She’s playing Kindergarten soccer with her BFF Kate which makes me happy b/c they go to different schools now so it’s great for them to see each other during the week… and chatting with MY BFF on the sidelines isn’t too bad either! Especially since now that she’s a grade school veteran (her oldest is in 2nd grade) she can walk me through all these trials!

Here is Bailey and Kate..

Is there anything cuter than pink+black Adidas cleats and XS shin guards? I think not!

Love the girls in their soccer back packs! They are SO cool with dads that coach!

The other bonus is getting to see my buddy Kelsey!

Who is willing to share her snack with me! This kid is my fave!

And Lauren, the eldest of our gang of six kids got the group of siblings playing in the dirt during practice! Thanks Lauren! :)

I will quickly get over wanting my kids to be clean all the time! HA!

Bailey had a blast although was EXHAUSTED getting home at 5:30pm for the day! Quick dinner, bath and she was sound asleep by 7:15pm!

And today she had a great day again at school! She WON hot potato which she was super excited about but said she didn’t play with anyone. Moms… when do you worry about your kid making new friends? Does it work itself out in Kindergarten or do you need to start arranging playdates? I’m not good at playdates so that kind of freaks me out (I just have NO time usually). She said the friend she made yesterday played with different kids so she played by herself. Do I ask the teacher? Am I worrying too much? Not that I care if she’s popular or anything but I’d like her to have friends and enjoy school! Thoughts? Advice?

THANKS!

we ALL survived today.

Did I cry on and off all day today? Why yes I did. But I survived and now am excited, TRULY excited, to see where this year takes us! I’ve been up since 4:30am and am beat. So instead of rambling on about how proud I am of Bailey on her first day here are the ONLY snap shots I was able to grab!

When we first got to her classroom she was excited to sit and “work” but as the minutes ticked down she got more and more nervous.

When the bell rang letting the parents know it was time to go and let school start she got teary. Wiping her eyes furiously. Staying so brave. So as I melted down inside I hugged her tight and said goodbye. Then I popped on my sunglasses and cried all the way home.

And it took me a few hours until I could even say the words “she started crying” without tears flooding my eyes. But tonight I feel good and tired and happy that the first thing she said to me as she came running outside was “Mommy! I made a friend today!” I prayed ALL day that God would protect her and hold her and give her strength and help her make friends. Tonight I just keep praising God that He is good and Bailey’s day was incredible!

These are the only ones I got as she came out of school b/c I was so excited to see her I forgot I had my camera! The settings were set from shooting inside earlier in the day so ignore the BAD photography!

Chris had his first day of school today too so he couldn’t take Bails to school this morning… but he left early to make sure he was there when she walked outside! It couldn’t have made either Bailey or I more happy to have him there!

My parents, C’s mom, my nieces and of course Gray and Parker were supposed to be there to pick her up as well but in their hurry to get there my dad got pulled over! HA! So we met up with our friends the MacBrydes and ALL of us had snocones to celebrate the first day of school!

And now, I’m going to go pass out so I can do it all again tomorrow! Minus the tears!

oh my bails.

Tomorrow is Kindergarten day. A day I’m crazy excited for and intensely dreading.

I can’t wait to see how she grows and changes this year. What she learns. What makes her excited and the friends she’ll make.

I’m dreading how this will change our family. The dynamic. Our kids are together most of the time and now she’ll be gone all week. Parker will miss her the most. This year will change Parker a lot too.

Bailey is SO excited. We have her backpack packed. Her first day outfit bought and clean. Her lunch is packed and in the fridge. She already has a crush on her cute+young teacher.

Today she told me she was excited but a little nervous. It came out of nowhere b/c up until today she hasn’t mentioned being nervous at all yet. When I asked her what she was nervous about she said she had no friends in her class. Which is true. This will be the first time she doesn’t know anyone. And it broke my heart to see her looking at me with those gorgeous eyes admitting what her heart was worrying about.

It also made me glad she still opens up to me about her deepest darkest five year old fears b/c one day she might not share so willingly.

Bailey was my first. And here she is with another big first of her own tomorrow. A big first for me too.

I’m excited for her. For where this means our family is heading… into a world of big kids and no babies.

I’m sad for me a little too though. The last five years with three kids at home most of the time has been a luxury. One I’m sad to see leave. And well, it’s Bailey. My sensitive one. The one who will have her heart broken a million times. The one I want to protect. My helper and partner in crime. I’m just really going to miss her.

Dear Bailey,

In the morning you’re going to be hopping around with excitement! You’re going to put on your new outfit and ask me to do a pony tail in your hair. Then you’ll pick out your favorite headband, open your purse and put on all your silly bands. You’ll brush your teeth and laugh at the vibrations tickling your mouth. You’ll have cereal and toast and fruit. You’ll ask for more fruit. And will remind me to get your lunch out of the fridge. Because you never forget anything! What you won’t know yet is that tonight I tucked a little note in there for you to find tomorrow. We’ll make sure your backpack is packed with Teds tucked safe inside for you to look at if you get nervous or scared. You’ll be running around with all the excited energy and PJ and Gray will be trucking right behind. Parker might be extra quiet because she’s sad you’re going to school without her… please make sure to give her an extra big hug. Gray will only care about “batball” but inside he’ll miss you too! Daddy will be leaving for his first day and before he leaves he’ll give you a huge hug and tell you how proud he is of you. He won’t admit it but I bet he’s a little sad you’re growing up so fast too. When everyone’s ready we’ll get in the car and take Parker and Grayson to GoGo’s house. We’ll drop them off and I bet GoGo will be crying before we pull out of the driveway. If we have time we’ll stop at Grandma’s so she can see you off too. Your grandparents are so proud of you Bailey! Then it will be just you and me driving to school. We’ll sing Taylor Swift at the top of our lungs and giggle all the way there. When we get there we’ll park around the corner so I can walk you to your classroom. The school will feel so big compared to your small hand holding mine. You’ll hold extra tight like you did on “meet the teacher” day because it’s a little bit scary. I’ll walk you into your classroom where you’ll see your sweet teacher happily greeting all your new friends. We’ll hang your backpack up and give her your lunch+morning snack.

Then I’ll say goodbye.

And we’ll hug and wave and I hope you don’t cry. I don’t think you will because you never did at preschool but I know you’re nervous this year.

I’ll walk away and try to hold back my tears until I get to the car. Not because I’m sad for your new journey but because I’m sad this chapter in my own life is closing. I’ve loved it so much.

I hope you have an amazing day. A true adventure. And I hope you enjoy every second of it.

It’s been the most amazing journey the last five years and I am so blessed to have you as my daughter.

Good luck sweetie!

love Mommy

the pool.

This morning we hit the pool with Grandma, PawPaw and my nieces, Sam and Avery. My sister and her husband are sailing around the Virgin Islands right now while their girls enjoy some time in St. Louis.

An entire week on a yacht with no children? Nope. I swear I’m not jealous. Or bitter. At. All.

SO. While I enjoy my time NOT being jealous or bitter we decided to take the five children ages five and under to the Kirkwood pool this morning! And we really did have a great time! It’s no yacht trip around the Caribbean but, well, no. It was not a yacht trip around the Caribbean! HA! It was a HOT day at a crowded pool with five children five and under. But DAMNIT we made the most of it!

It really was a great day and now that Kim and I are FINALLY past the craziness that was our July I’m going to have more time to post family photos! Kind of excited to post old stuff and keep up with new stuff as it comes!

Hope you all had a great Saturday also!