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doug & allison's homecoming!

ok, where do i even begin?! other than the tears streaming down my cheeks (super embarrassing at 10:30 in the morning in a coffee shop) -- even though this homecoming was in december, looking at these photos takes me back to exactly what that day was like. i'll do my best to put it into words, but really these images tell the whole story.

if you've been reading t&f for a while, you likely recognize these dear friends -- ryan, e & i are charter members of doug & allison fan club -- here are their engagement photos, rehearsal dinner, amazing townhouse and some photos i took of them just before this deployment.

and so, that all brings us to one brisk december virginia day when i was the luckiest girl in the world and got to photograph their homecoming. thinking back on it, it's unclear to me if i was asked or forced my way into an invite, but details, details :), bottom line was i found myself driving to the airport ALREADY CRYING just thinking about what it was going to be like to see these two reunited (i decided that was totally ridiculous, i couldn't already be crying, so i turned on some rap music and told myself to get it together!).

what i love about these images is they show how intentional, how beautiful this homecoming was --- i think so often military homecomings are dramatic, on bases -- fly-ins, ships pulling into port, large groups of service members coming home at once. but in today's military that's not always the case. this was just doug, flying into a domestic airport, to many passing by, they had no idea this was a service member, who had spent much of his first year of his marriage half way around the world, about ready to see his wife. allison, who is beautiful inside and out, surprised him by wearing her rehearsal dinner dress (how awesome is that?!) and i love how she brought a flag.

those first few images capture that final waiting -- which is so, so hard to describe what it feels like. i kept teasing her she had no idea i was going to race her to hug doug first (i couldn't even bring ellie who loves uncle doug so much, she definitely would have thrown some elbows to get the first hug!) and we ate pretzels to pass the time. that text saying he had landed. standing on our tip toes to see if he was coming. those first embraces. allison looking like miss america as she greets the other members of doug's command who came out to welcome him home. and then those first interactions that show how quickly this couple fell back into their groove -- allison examining the new luggage he bought; doug belting out some christmas carols as we walked out into the virginia december day (he'd spent the past few months in the middle east -- it was cold!); and then taking a few more photographs of them in a little wooded are we found at the airport. their joy just bounces off these images -- it was so incredible to witness.

i've said so many times how unexpected it is for me to be living this military life -- i still find myself looking around going "how did i get here?!!" but on days like this december one, it is nothing but a privilege, one i wouldn't trade for anything. i feel so blessed to get to see some of the incredible families who serve -- how they dig deep to make the sacrifices asked of them, how their love endures, how much it all means to each of us. doug & allison -- we love doing life with y'all.

p.s. you can see our family's deployment homecomings here & here!


pregnancy lifesavers.

so, 21 weeks into this 40(+) week nonstop adventure called pregnancy, i thought i might share some of the things that have helped me survive. much like with ellie (though this one has been better!), my body doesn't handle pregnancy very well, and especially the first half is ROUGH. while this one was easier on my body, having ellie underfoot was TOTALLY a game changer. i'm not a doctor or nurse or any sort of expert, this is just what has worked for me through these two pregnancies. also, if you haven't been pregnant yet, please don't let this post scare you! the overwhelming majority of women are NEVER this sick -- i'm one of the extreme cases. 

my "morning sickness" (also known as 24 hour sickness around our house) begins about week 7 and this time went strong and steady through week 17 (I'm still throwing up, just not every day, and I have times of the day where I feel a little bit normal! hooray!). having been through childbirth once, it actually helped me understand the nausea was really coming in waves, much like contractions -- sometimes slow and steady, and other times, right on top of each other (usually in the evening). i'm pretty sure part of the reason i actually threw up less times this go around was i learned how to "ride" those waves -- and i was super stubborn. i know what a downward spiral of dehydration getting sick can lead me down and refused to go down without a fight. i also learned the things that would help me get through a wave or provide fast comfort after i was sick.

Click to read more ...


link love.

i mentioned in this post how much blogs have been an encouragement to me during these months of morning sickness -- i thought i'd share some of my favorite recent links in case you're looking for some inspiration:

this great post triggered my most intense pregnancy craving to date -- and since then, i've had an uncountable number of these sandwiches (i can't even imagine when my own tomatoes are finally ready!) the other thing i can't get enough of? plums -- which are unbelievable and in season right now!

cup of jo comes through for me again -- awesome ideas for nurturing strong relationships among siblings! also dates with your child -- YES!

such a neat summer craft: cardboard dream catchers.

loved this post about motherhood and the white flag (wonderful babysitters are the way i'm hoping to find more time to write).

need a fourth of july t-shirt?

piece on marriage that rightfully has been getting a lot of attention.

will be making these soon, they're perfect for a summer gathering!

happy fourth of july! xo


life right now.



so, i miss this space — and i’m a big believer that our lives are a reflection of our priorities — and that fundamentally we all get 24 hours and lots of choices about how we spend that time. i’m also totally over being “so busy” or worshiping it or stressing about it or talking about it — i’ve found it’s not a fun way to be yourself or fun to be around. i also feel like with little ones, that’s not what i want them to be taking away about the pace of our family’s life (ellie’s favorite time increment to use with me is “one second!” “one second mommy!” — they can give you such a gut check on how you talk about your own life!). so, this post is going to be a meandering look at where i am in life and how i’m trying to get to a place where i have more space for the people and things that matter the most to me — writing here being among them.

i feel like i keep coming back to the quote “it’s ok to be happy with a calm life.” i read that quote and i immediately want to give it a double high five, an emphatic yes, a strong head nod — and then i pause for a moment and think — “how on earth do you get there and stay there for any length of time?!!!” sure, there are moments when i’m reading with ellie in her teepee and am totally at peace, present in the moment, temporarily not thinking about dinner or laundry or emails or bills or where we need to be next. there are moments when ryan and i are sitting on the porch, lost in conversation, and i’m not, in the back of my mind thinking about how we need to do the dishes, or put away the laundry or get to bed because that little one is going to be up and at ‘em SO soon! there are days when i’m better about giving myself permission to take a nap and more grace that even if it doesn’t feel like my body is doing anything — it’s growing a little one and that act is often unseen, very hard work. there are times when i’m more present with my friends — not multitasking while we’re on the phone or delaying writing an email i know i need to send or putting off coffee because i “don’t have time."

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strawberry picking - as a family!


exciting news for our little family! pancakes?!

sweet readers (anyone who is still out there! hi mom & dad!) -- thank you so much for your patience and understanding over the past few months. i have missed this space & am so grateful to finally be posting! our family has some really exciting news -- we're expecting a baby this november!!!! (or, if you're ellie, possibly just pancakes).

like my pregnancy with ellie, this one has been really hard. it has also been really different, because we have ellie around -- which is both the greatest blessing because she is a hourly reminder of why this is all more than worth it; but also needs a lot of energy -- and so whatever i've had to give, which most days hasn't been much, has gone to her. i'm 17 weeks and turning a corner -- it's hard to put into words how grateful i am to be having better days -- with more to give to ryan, and ellie and well, to life.

i have some posts i'm eager to write -- on the early weeks of this pregnancy (including some funny ellie girl stories), some new thoughts on surviving morning sickness for any of you who might be sick as dogs like me, strawberry picking and an ellie update (somehow she is almost two and a half!). i began this blog right after ryan & i were married (now almost 5 years ago!) and so many of you have literally watched our family grow. thank you for your love, encouragement -- and for showing up, here, time and time again.

as i told my sweet friend allison, when i was realizing i was getting closer to some better days & the chance to write here again: "it'd probably be a good idea to keep expectations low, as in, i'm still puking, setting off my own house alarm (while ellie is in time out) and going through the starbucks drive thru braless -- so, i'm going to write, i'm just not sure how often ... and about what!"

i will show up and do what i've always tried to do: tell good stories. if parenting has taught me anything, it's that babies bring lots of good stories.

welcome to our family little one, we can't wait to meet you!

p.s. a little explanation of the video above: every other time i've asked e what's in my belly, she's said "baby!!" but, of course, the one time i video tape it, she decides it's pancakes. ryan & i loved the unscripted response too much to post anything else for this announcement!