puddle jumping

On a rainy day last week my sister and I took the three middle kids, excluding Bailey and Avery, for a rain walk.

Rainy days are my favorite. Sometimes I literally yearn for them. To curl up with a good book, a lamp on and some candles lit. Or to take a good nap. And although none of that happens now that I have kids, I still love rainy days because it means we get to play in the rain!

Nearly every single rainy day that I’m not working and the weather is warm enough we go out and do something. I want my kids to not be afraid they’ll melt you know? HA! Truly, the playgrounds are always empty those days, the trails deserted, the sounds muted. I love it. And my kids do too. They aren’t afraid of getting muddy or wet or dirty and neither am I!

For the possible photogs out there that might be stopping by this little blog I will tell you that these were ALL shot at ISO 1600 or above. A few times I think I was at 3200 actually. And since it really wasn’t actually raining anymore at this point I wasn’t afraid to bring out the big camera instead of just my iPhone or point and shoot! Anyway, I just embraced the grain and love the result!

My sister wanted me to capture some of the natural parts of our day for her BLOG and I love this shot of Parker’s hands… I love all shots of my kids little hands!

If you’ve never taken your kids on a rain walk try it before summer completely disappears! You’ll love it!

big country kate.

I don’t know how the nickname started, but I think my husband started it, and now we either call her “Kate MacBryde” or “Big Country”. Never just Kate like a normal kid! Because she’s not just a normal kid. She’s extra tall and super funny with a big big heart and the personality to match.

This summer we got to steal Kate away a few times and I really feel like I’ve gotten to know her better. As a person and not just a kid or my best friend’s daughter or my daughter’s best friend. But even as well as I thought I knew her, or as well as anyone thought they knew her, she’s surprised us all this fall.

Because you see Kate is the leader and if you’d asked me who would have trouble starting Kindergarten I would have told you Bailey and that Kate would be fine. And although Bailey had a few tough days the transition has been hardest on sweet Kate. Which just breaks my heart b/c it made me realize that maybe I really don’t know her as well as I thought I did. It also makes me want to hug her and her momma who has to watch her little girl struggle.

Now things are smoothing out and she’s loving school so I’m really just talking about the first couple of weeks. No big deal in the grand scheme of things. The big deal is really just my perception of her… which has changed.  She’s five. And not as tough as I thought she was. Which truly makes me love her even more than before!


I caught this image of Kate this past Saturday at the girl’s first soccer game and although I have lots of photos of the game to share, this one caught me by surprise. She looks so nervous and vulnerable. So five years old. So NOT Big Country Kate.

I love this kid. And I feel so blessed to be able to be here as she grows up.

wishing for a rainy day.

SO last night kind of sucked ass. Which I’ve decided is the most disgusting phrase ever but well, I might have actually rather SUCKED SOMEONE’S ASS than been up all night with a sick kid. Which I was. Up all night I mean. So today I am a walking zombie and all I can think about is HOW IN THE HELL did I do this for so many years in a row? I swear there were like 3+ years in there that I didn’t sleep more than 3-4 hours a night (I think I have blog posts to prove it!) and HOLY HELL I’m not sure how I functioned. Because today I’m just dead weight.

Around 3am I prayed to God to bring a cool+rainy day so that I could convince myself it would be ok to nap while the kids nap but alas, it’s sunny and warm so while the kids sleep I will work. And curse the person that gave our family this virus. And pray that I don’t get it b/c OH MY GOSH I can not deal with being sick right now.

Because have you heard we’re moving? And did you know that I’m trying my best to work at two jobs? Even though I kind of suck ass at that too right now? And all I crave is to have a normal schedule where I work at KCCI 9am-3pm five days a week, spend some time with the kids after school, fix a healthy+good dinner, get the kids in bed and work on Fresh Art until bedtime. But what’s happening is my babysitting falls through (not their fault, just life) and I’m stuck trying to work two jobs between the hours of 8pm and midnight. After an entire day of kids+packing+cleaning+organizing+errands…

I need a vacation.

On a beach.

With an amazing page turning book.

And a tall glass of ice tea.

But instead I have two jobs that I’m failing at, kids that don’t feel good, a house in total disarray, my in-laws house I’m trying to get ready for us to move into, two houses to clean, debt to tackle  and a level of exhaustion I don’t think I’ve felt since I had three kids under the age of three.

Part of our DAVE RAMSEY deal (I have to write his name in caps because he’s changing our life so he’s THAT important you know?) was to stop all eating out except my daily soda run for $0.72 at Hucks. But last night at 8pm when I was falling asleep at the computer and C wasn’t home yet and I had hours of work to do I called Imo’s to bring me a Dew. And just now they arrived yet again to get me through nap time when all I really want to do is give in to my heavy eyelids. So DAVE RAMSEY give me a few days to catch back up dude ok? I just needed a Dew. Or ten.

I will stop procrastinating the editing that awaits me and get moving. Those newborns don’t edit themselves!

Maybe tomorrow will be rainy?

OH and we are in need of BOXES… any ideas where we can snag some for free?

fly on the wall

Don’t you ever wish you could be a fly on the wall at school with your kids? To see how they interact with their friends, how well they listen to their teacher, etc? Because that’s the hardest thing for me about sending the girls to school each day! I hate not knowing what’s REALLY happening during their day and having to take what a 5 and 3 year old will tell me about all those hours away from me. I know they’re good listeners, at least I think they are,  and really it’s the social stuff that has me still worrying just a bit.

Last night Bailey told Chris that one of her friends always tells her “whatever” when Bailey suggests they do something different. When C asked her what she does she said she just does what they want to do b/c she says that to her. It broke my heart a little.

I had a friend growing up that would ALWAYS say to me, “let’s not and say we did” when I suggested an activity. So what did I do? What she wanted to do. Every single time. I swear I spent hours trying to just come up with something she’d WANT do do so I wouldn’t have to hear that phrase again!

It took me until college and even after that to really find my voice. To become a leader in life. Each year I get more sure of myself and am less and less afraid to just be who I am. Which is great and it’s one of the biggest reasons I share so much on my blogs… b/c ultimately you get me and I don’t hide behind anything anymore. You get what you get and it’s all I got! HA!

But I don’t wish that for my kiddos. I want them to be more self assured than I was. To be tougher and stronger and sure of themselves. But I’m afraid I’m so concerned about them being “good girls” all the time I’m teaching them to not stand up for themselves.

Anyway, the point of this post was to actually tell you how lucky I am because this year I have a fly on the wall in Parker’s class! My best friend Angie is the new director at our preschool and is in and out of her classroom all day. So all of a sudden I have someone I can ask how she’s REALLY doing. Does she play with other kids, talk up in class, ask questions, etc. It’s so so awesome and such a blessing in my life!

Truly, it’s way better than if I were there myself b/c if I was there Parker wouldn’t be acting normal. I love that she can really peek in and SEE her as she is at school. Of course now I wish even more I had that with Bailey too or for all the kids forever! HA!

And is it bad that I want to pull the hair of the kid that told Bailey, “WHATEVER” yesterday? HA!

PJ’s first day of school

Parker (Jane is her middle name which is why we call her PJ) had a big day today! And it was big for more reasons than just the normal start of school.

Her and Bailey are best friends. They really are. They get along, rarely (if ever) argue and love playing together. They hug at night and are excited to see each other to talk about their days now that Bailey is gone at school all day. It’s a dream come true because I prayed really hard, for years, that my girls would get along and not fight like my sister and I did as little girls. Anyway, since her and Bails are so close they’ve always done everything together.

But as happens, they are growing up and Bailey started full-day kindergarten this year. Which left Parker, alone, at preschool for the first time. She’s never been at school without Bailey and this morning she was really nervous. I didn’t even realize it in the crazy that is our mornings until I was making breakfast and she came in the kitchen with her two sheep and her blankie and just leaned against me. My initial reaction was to tell her to move along b/c I was busy but it was like her nerves seeped into my leg and went straight to my heart. So instead of shooing her out of the room I knelt down and she climbed in my lap, where I held her for a solid five minutes trying desperately to put some strength back in her little soul. She perked up again when she got to get dressed in the outfit SHE picked out (from the 30% off rack at Target yesterday… thank you $1 shorts and $2.50 shirt!) and pack her backpack so that was good!

What I love most about her first day of school photos is that, in my opinion, it really shows her trepidation. In the midst of total get-out-the-door chaos I was able to capture just a few images that really caught HER in this moment of her little life.

After the typical first day of school photos I snapped this one of her walking to the car… notice her playing with the strap and the way she’s holding her little mouth…

When she got out of the car she asked me if she could take Sheep out of her backpack and I said it was ok. Then I caught this as she turned to make sure I was coming behind her…

And this is my absolute favorite… it truly tells the story of her first day in the Yellow Room (she was in the Red Room last year!) in just one image I think… with her backpack on but holding tight to her Sheep… LOVE this image and SO glad I caught it!

The thing is, she knows this school. It’s at our church. The director is my absolute best friend, Angie. This is the third year our family has gone here and her second year as a student. She knows all the teachers. She just misses having Bailey next door.

I think Bailey just gives her a boost of confidence. And this year will be SO good for her to learn that she has that confidence all on her own, she just needs to find it!

After I took these few depressing shots in the classroom I bent down and asked her if I could go. She still seemed so uncertain that we walked across the hall to give Ms. Angie a big hug to remind her that she’s there all day with her too. Then we went back in her classroom, I hugged her one more time and I left.

And you know what? She had a great day! Tonight at bedtime she hugged me and asked in my ear if tomorrow is a “yellow room day too?” And when I told her it was she BEAMED.

This is going to be such an incredible year for Parker! I can’t wait to see what a different kid will walk out of this school in May! I couldn’t be more proud of my little three year old!

today’s TO DO list.

1. Package print order and leave on porch for Alison

2. Deliver apples to teachers

3. Deliver prints to Webster for Daphney

4. Make Bails lunch

5. Run (using the C25K ap on my iPhone via Deb! Went last night for the first time and LOVED it! Like having a trainer running with you!)

6. Start yard sale pile on back porch

7. Blog for KCCI

8. Catch up on emails

9. Newborn photo shoot at the studio

10. Find someone to hire to do Fresh Art’s packaging?

11. Grocery shopping

12. Take Parker to first day of school

13. Gray to my mom’s

14. Bailey to Kindergarten

15. Email a thank you to Grandpa for the weekend

16. Clean bathroom

17. Pack Parker’s backpack with extra clothes

18. Laundry!

19. Buy toilet paper

20. BRUSH KID’S TEETH (if that doesn’t go on my list I can forget!)

21. Go to the post office (this is last b/c i HATE it the most!)

These are in no particular order but I woke up this morning to this list (I make them the night before) and feel a tad worried I won’t get half of it done!

this may or may not have just been ordered for my mom’s kitchen wall

the size?



Today: We have a newborn in the studio again which means I need to run around and make the house look like we don’t actually live here ALL THE TIME. I have one hour!

Tonight: Chris and I leave for the LAKE for two nights for our anniversary WITHOUT any of our children. And funny thing since Bails started school and I’ve been INSANE in the MEMBRANE busy I’m sad we’re leaving them. I thought I’d want to get away again SO badly since the only time we’ve been away was for one night in July but today I’m feeling sad and wanting them to come with us. Although when I get down there and can sit and read a book in a quiet space I know I’ll soak it up. Just feeling sad about being away from my kiddos so much lately. I got used to our family summer and with Parker starting school next week and our busy season ramping up… just glad we truly enjoyed our time together this summer! And SO thankful we did our summer scrapbook!

Happy weekend!