Grief, you suck, but you won't consume me + images of my kids.

Yesterday started out like any other Sunday. But half way through church I was sobbing in the seventh row. Something triggered within me and I was so upset we had to walk out. I wanted nothing more than to hop in the car and head to Oakmead Drive where my mom would be smiling in the door way, spatula in hand making us breakfast. We would sit out back on the swing and watch the kids play. That's what I needed and what I wanted, but none of it was possible any longer. Some days I feel like I've got this grief thing under control. Others I wonder to myself "has it really hit me she's died?" as crazy as that may sound.

What I realized yesterday is the back and forth, the up and down of grief is a very, real, thing. It's painful and unexpected. It physically hurts in ways I never imagined.

So we did the next best thing, loaded up the kids and drove to my inlaws. It was cozy and familiar, and I needed to be anywhere but home. There I painted and I read, and I asked the kids if I could photograph them. They obliged, as if knowing it's what my cracked heart needed that day.

And it helped. And from it came a series of images I can't wait to see in print.

Grief, you suck, but you won't consume me.


If you give a boy a camera.

Today Danny grabbed my camera, "can I shoot mom?" I nodded and explained to him what back button focus is. He shrugged and said "oh, okay!" and was off. I'd long since forgotten he did this until I brought the images into Lightroom tonight. When the photos popped up on the screen I couldn't believe my eyes. Most were in focus, some weren't. He only shot about 20, but it was the way he shot them. His perspective. His eye. The way he sees his brother playing. It moved me. Tremendously.

And I had, had, had, to share.

Bippity, Boppity, Boo - Quinny Pie Turned Two.

Our sweet girl turned two a few weeks ago. Impossible to comprehend that my last baby is now truly a toddler. The two years she's been apart of our lives have both flown by and drug slowly on, it's amazing how you can feel both. Last year's party was a lot of fun (and a lot of work!) and I vowed that this year to tone it down. Which I... maybe possibly did. Probably not. Oh well. Parties are my thing. She had a great time, it's always so funny to see how they handle attention at this age. We had to urge her to finish opening her gifts. It was a great day - full of Princess Punch, pink popcorn, magic wand pretzels and sweets galore. Lots of little prince and princess friends came and helped to decorate Quinn's new castle!

Here's a glimpse into her Princess Party.

An enchanted moss covered Q - a DIY.

Yesterday, the first day of 2014, I resolved to ring it in by doing something I most enjoy and rarely make time for anymore: craft something.

My Quinn turns two this weekend and we're throwing her an enchanted princess party (insert squeal). I saw an idea I liked online but there wasn't a DIY attached so I headed to Hobby Lobby to attempt it on my own and much to my delight it was easy and not an all day project, either. So I snapped a few photos with my phone along the way.

Here's what you'll need:

  • large wooden letter (or number), this can be done with the big cardboard standouts too, I think. Here is the Q I bought, looks like it's actually cheaper to buy online!
  • hot glue gun + glue (a lot)
  • moss mat - i needed about a package and a half for my letter Q. Here is the exact kind I got. (This moss is super soft!)
  • scissors

I began by cutting the moss into strips and wrapping enough around so that it covered the sides with about an inch left on the back. Lots of hot glue so the moss wouldn't lift anywhere.

I was worried that it would show the strips, but this moss mat is VERY forgiving. I didn't even have to ruffle the moss a whole lot, just glued the pieces tightly close together and it looked great. The curves were tricky, but again, because the moss mat IS so forgiving I was able to hot glue around the edges and press it together on the back, almost like a pleat, but not.

Once I was nearing the end I found a few strange corner spaces. Here's what I did.

Just cut a rectangle, glued it right there in that corner and finished rounding the edges.

And because you should see the entire thing, here's a glimpse of the back.

The final outcome is so much cuter than I envisioned, can't wait to display it at her party, and then in the end, move it up to her room. Because every little princess deserves an enchanted-forest letter Q, don't you think?

happy birthday, mama.

Some glad morning when this life is o'er,I'll fly away; To a home on God's celestial shore, I'll fly away.

I'll fly away, fly away, Oh Glory I'll fly away; When I die, Hallelujah, by and by, I'll fly away.

December 13 she would have been fifty. Oh my was she ever anxious about this big day, turning the big five-o. I remember many times we talked about how scary it was to hit that big number, and now as we hit it, without her, I can't help but feel so incredibly sad she didn't get to celebrate it here on earth.

The kids asked if we could write her notes and send them to heaven, so that's what we did. Teal balloons would travel from us to her, and I'm so grateful that we were able to make this happen for them, for her.

My amazingly talented friend Brooke came out and photographed the 'party' for us, what a treasure these are. Words can't express how thankful we are that she documented this for us.

Happy birthday, mama. Love you more.

Images by Brooke Beasley Photography.