Monday, November 18, 2013

Fall in Boston (Family Photos 2013)

If you know me at all then you probably know that I am obsessed with photos. I think it is such a simple way to document your life. I am also 100% addicted to lifestyle family photography. After the first time we got our engagement photos back and saw how our pictures told such a beautiful story of our love for each other, Sears and Picture People lost my business forever. There is just something so special about the candid, intimate moments a lifestyle photographer can capture.

We try to get professional photos taken once a year, mainly for Christmas cards. This year was especially important to me because of where we live. We love that we get to live in Boston. I always want to remember how breathtaking this city is and how happy we are living here. One day these moments will pass and I am sure we will live somewhere else, but now we will never ever forget. {And a huge thank you to Nicole Baas Photography for giving us our favorite photos yet!}

Friday, November 8, 2013

National Adoption Month

November is National Adoption Month! I wanted to take an opportunity to tell you my very own adoption story and why I think adoption in the United States is so important. Let's take a trip down memory lane for some not so great childhood memories pre-adoption:

My brothers and I were born into a very unstable home. My mother was a whore and my father was a drug dealer. We would go days without food because my mother was MIA and my father was constantly strung out on the couch. My older brother did his best to care for us, but you can only do so much with an empty refrigerator. On the days my parents were around, my father would beat our mom and send her to her room. He would make my brothers and I watch pornography on the couch together and try to touch us inappropriately during. We were abused physically, sexually and mentally but that was all we ever knew. Our view of what "love" was had been severely distorted. 

One day a big white van pulled up to our house. These people got out and tried to pull us away from our parents. I remember there was a lot of shouting and kicking- we were doing our hardest to get out of their grip. These people kept saying things to us like "We're taking you to a better home. You're safe now" but how did we know the difference? No matter how many horrible things our parents had done to us, they were all we had ever known and our world was crumbling as they dragged us out of our home. 

We spent years in the foster care system. Some houses were good, most houses were not so good. Older brothers of the foster home we were in touched me inappropriately and told me if I told anyone they would hurt me or my brothers. Other families told us we couldn't eat dinner with them because we weren't apart of the family. We had to wait until they were finished and then we could come eat the leftovers from the 'real family dinner'. Nobody wanted to keep us so we got used to keeping our suitcases packed and moving from house to  house. The only good thing was that they kept my two brothers and I together, which was rare. We were a team and as long as I had them, I felt like I could make it to the next doorstep we were dropped off to.

One day we arrived at a very different home. There was a mom, dad and even an older girl. They were nice. They included us in family dinners, bought us new clothes and even said words like "love" a lot! I did not know what the word love meant, but it felt nice when they said it. We waited for the day we would be moved out, but it never happened. The nice man and woman told us we could call them Mom and Dad if we wanted and that they were going to keep us forever if that sounded okay to us. We felt like this was a dream! Someone finally wanted us, all of us!

We had a lot of baggage to work through, but for the first time ever, somebody was helping us carry the load. We went through years of counselling to work through the memories that haunted our little minds. My new mom made me stand in the mirror and tell myself I was pretty. It took a long long time before I believed it. No little girl should ever have to go through the sick, self esteem ruining things I had to face. But thank God some nice family from a small town in Indiana took an interest in us. We worked through our issues together and I learned what a 'family' really was.

Please don't feel sorry for me. That's not what this is about. I was dealt a rough hand in the beginning of my life, but it has shaped me into the woman I am today and I am stronger because of those battles. I am sharing this story to talk about how grateful I am that we were able to have a second chance. My parents could have chosen to adopt from Africa or China, but they chose us. Three abused kids from a tiny town in Ohio. I don't even like thinking about what life would have been for us if they wouldn't have found us. Maybe we would have lived our entire life in the foster care system. Maybe we would have ended up just like our biological parents. 

I just wonder why we feel such a need to go elsewhere for adoption. I am not saying it's wrong to adopt a child from another country. I welcome the idea and am so happy for those lucky kids. But did you know that over 500,000 kids need homes right here in America? I was once apart of that number, but thank God my parents chose us. My heart will always be here, in the United States foster system, and I hope you would consider it too if you are thinking of adopting.

Happy National Adoption Month! Thanks to adoption I was able to have the kind of childhood every kid deserves, just a little later in the game. 


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

10 Things I Love About You

My Sweetest Justin,

Has it been two years of marriage already? Where does time run away to? When I was little I wanted the years to fly by so fast. I wanted to be a grown up, married to my very own prince charming, maybe have a couple of kids and then I wanted the clock to stop. Growing old was my biggest fear, until I met you. I don't need to freeze time, anymore. Being married to you presents a new adventure every day and instead of fearing what the future looks like, I welcome it because I get to go through it with you. There are days I want to karate chop you in the shins, but for the most part I feel overwhelmed by the amount of love my heart carries for you.

 There are so many things I love about you, but I decided to write a short list of some of my favorites:

1. The way I catch you staring at me and when I ask you what you are looking at you always say "I was just checking out how beautiful you are"

2. The way you make me laugh so hard, I have to catch my breath after.

3. How much you love God.

4. The flowers you always bring home. Seriously, I don't remember the last time I didn't have a fresh bouquet of flowers in the house. {I had to stop posting pictures on various social media sites because I didn't want people to get annoyed. :p} Such a sweet gesture and not one bouquet goes unappreciated.

5. You always take my side because I am never wrong even when I am probably wrong.

6. You are usually the one to say you are sorry first when we have an argument.

7. 92% of our date night activities include shopping, but you never complain.

8. How much you love our dog.

9. The way you tell me every detail about your day and are genuinely excited to hear about mine.

10. The way you love me so unconditionally even on the days I don't feel like I deserve it.

I love you so much, Justin. You are my Marshall Eriksen. The whipped cream and cinnamon to my hot cocoa. You're my rock. You are the guy that I have been dreaming about since I was little and I feel so lucky to have found you. I can't wait to see what the rest of our life together holds, but for now let's take it one day at a time. I don't want to blink and miss it all, because you know that's how life works. Happy second anniversary honey. I love you more than I could ever tell you, but I will never stop trying.

Cannot wait to celebrate with you tonight!

Your Girl

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Howl-O-Ween!

Happy Halloween friends! I love everything about this holiday. The crisp evening air, the cute kiddos running around in their costumes, the scary movie marathons on tv, the 75% off all candy the day after Halloween, I love it all. So although I don't have a child to deck out for the holiday, I do have a dog. And it's perfectly normal to dress him up, paint a pumpkin with his initial on it and hightail it to the park for a Halloween photo session, right? 

Whether it's normal or not, I got over caring what people thought about my obsession with that silly mutt a long time ago. So here are some really adorable photos of Hudson as Batdog. We hope you have a fun and safe Halloween! 

{A big thank you to my handsome assistant, Justin. You know capes don't majestically fly in the wind themselves right? And who else was going to carry that 20 pound pumpkin all the way back to the car? :p} 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Viva Las Vegas 2013

If you don't already know, I am that person that thinks birthdays are a big deal. Because they are. I mean ONE day out of the whole year is a day completely dedicated to you. On December 16th I think the world should stop and celebrate me. Because I am that kind of person. And if you don't write a Happy Birthday note to me on my Facebook page then you will be on my hit list. :p Well this obsession with  birthdays only grew after I met Justin because I loved putting things together for him. I just love this dude so much that any extra chance I have to show him is a total bonus.

 This year Justin turned the big 2-9, so ever since January rolled around I have been thinking about what to do for my almost old man husband's birthday. Since I already have his 30th n tiplanned (I told you, I'm a birthday person) I knew just what to do. This guy has been talking about going to Vegas ever since we've been married. He knew right where he wanted to stay and all the things he wanted to do. I wasn't as on board because I just didn't think it was that exciting. There's so many other cool places than Vegas, am I right?! But being the birthday planning queen that I am I knew this was a trip I had to plan just for Justin. So I kicked Justin off our bank account and told him not to get back on until after his birthday. I saved up all my nickels and pennies and booked our trip. I told Justin what dates to take off and just that I had a little birthday surprise for him. (I love how easy he is to surprise because he doesn't spoil things like I do.) Then when the time finally came after all those 6 months of planning, I packed our bags and drove us to the airport. I wish you could have seen his face when we got there. He was all "Ummm what are we doing here" and I was all "Oohhhh nothin'." Then I gave him a card that had the Las Vegas strip on the front of it, handed him our tickets and said "let's go!" I think he almost cried. It was the most adorable thing I have ever seen and at that moment, that was my favorite part of the whole trip.

Here are some of my favorite highlights from our trip.

P.s. We won 100 bucks so I guess you could say we hit it big in Vegas. ;P

Justin is the best person I know. He really is. If you don't know him, your life isn't complete. He is the most caring, giving, genuine guy around. He has more whit then I will ever see in a life time. Seriously I don't know where he gets it. I get so mad at him sometimes, but he has this magical sense of humor that just sucks the anger right outta me. It's actually annoying because I walk around sucking my cheeks in, trying really hard not to laugh because dang it, I want to be mad, but with Justin, it's just not possible. I wish I could explain to you just how great Justin is, but no matter how much I try to I will never do him justice. He really is the perfect husband and I am so lucky to have him. You know that cheesy quote "He makes me want to be a better person" well, that's Justin. He has given me more love than I know what to do with at times and we share such a beautiful life together. He is my best friend and I really don't know what I would do without him. I loved planning this trip for him because he deserved every bit of it.

{Happy 29th Birthday sweet boy, I love you more than life!!!!}