The Perfect Holiday Card

The Things We Do For the Perfect Family Photo

1. Coordinate the outfits

This seems like an easy task.  I mean how hard can it be to coordinate or match your own children?  But then you find the perfect shirts and pray they are in the right size.  If you have a newborn you are praying the baby doesn't spit up or poop all over their clothes.  Thank goodness my boys like wearing the same clothes.  Let's be honest, Micah is 19 months and he could care less what he is wearing.  Mark on the other hand is 5 1/2 (don't forget to say 5 and a half)

2. Make sure everyone is groomed properly

Usually by the time you get in the car someone is a hot mess.  So I bring a comb, a brush and duck tape to keep hair in place.  (okay, not duck tape...hair spray works)

3. Choose a theme

I love fancy pics, but this year I went casual and I love how the kids looked.  It was fun to put that tutu on Amelia, especially since she can't talk and doesn't have an opinion yet.

4. Beg, plead, and bring chocolate

Smile at the camera.  Put your arm around your sister.  Lower your chin.  Yeah, right!  You try taking pictures of 4 kids! 4 kids!  You get what you get and you don't get upset.  I looked at Erin, our family photographer who I highly recommend, (Erin Nicastro Photography) and I said, just take a bunch of pics, don't worry if they aren't smiling.  The fact is kids are cute.  And any pic where they are all in it is a good pic.  Even if they are crying they are cute...well, sometimes.


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Not At All

My Right Hand

I always wanted a daughter.  Mostly because I thought it would be fun to dress her, put bows in her hair, find ruffled socks, and take her shopping.  But being a mom is so much more than playing dress up.

And being a mom is so much harder than I thought it would be.  After all these little people watch everything you do, they copy you, they hardly ever say thank you, they take and take and take (because they need you!) and you can never have a bad moment or mess up or need their help.

Well, these last two years I have officially learned my lesson.  I'm sorry it took me so long, Lord.  I have learned that children are not toys or dress up dolls (although it is fun to match) they are little people we are to invest in.  And to do that we have to be ALL in.  That means not expecting thank-yous, not expecting them to be perfect, and that means not expecting yourself to be perfect.

Julia, my almost 7 year old, teaches me on a daily basis by her giving attitude and selflessness.  There was a reason God had me have her first.  She was an easy pregnancy, easy delivery, and a super easy baby.  I mean the kid never cried.  She always wanted to see what was going on around her, always exploring, and very very smart.

When we found out last May that we were having another girl, Julia and I were the most excited!  She wanted a sister so badly and after having two boys in the middle our whole family was anxious for pink toys and pink bows again.  But having babies back to back and moving this past year was really rough on me, physically and emotionally.  And Julia, my favorite older daughter (they are all my favorites) has helped me every step of the way.  

I literally don't have enough hands anymore, and Julia always is helping me with Amelia (3 months) and Micah (20 months).  She folds laundry, she picks up everyone's toys, she helps bring in packages from the house, she puts laundry away, she takes the boys outside to play, she holds Amelia so I can shower, she even pushes Mia's carriage while we food shop so I can push the cart.

This past Friday after food shopping I looked at her and said, "Julia thank you so much for helping me in the store, I couldn't have done it without you."  She looked me straight in the face and said, "Not at all mom." 

Not at all.

I don't know where she heard that phrase but it was enough to make me cry.

She is such a sweetheart.

And I love her to the moon and back.

I am thankful for you my Julia!

This Thanksgiving I am so thankful for so many things.  I am thankful for family and friends, our new beautiful home, God's constant provision, my church family, my amazing best friend and husband John, and my children.  My children are my treasures and even though life is crazy busy and stressful at times, I wouldn't trade it for the world.

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