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My Norma Jean

“Look, mommy! Look! Look at my dress!”

My first thought is, How absolutely adorable! I must take a picture! My second thought?  Please, God, don’t let her turn out like Marilyn Monroe! I often think about them all grown up.  Who will they become?  What am I doing now that will make them who they will become?  And while the look of Baby Love standing in front of a vent with her chubby little legs posed perfectly in high heels and her dress flying up is the sight of innocence and life and all things wonderful, I worry where that innocence will go…and when.  And I pray.  I pray a lot.  And for a lot of things.  But I probably pray the most for my girls…especially now.

I used to think being a part of the beautiful people would make my life so much better.  There would be so much less that I’d have to worry about.  As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that the beautiful people weren’t all that beautiful anyway and they had the same struggles and problems that I did.  In many ways they had even more.  I hope that my girls will be blessed by their beauty and that their “beautiful people” will be on the inside.  Surely, no other beauty really matters.




I Know A Girl (or Two)

I know a girl.  She puts the color inside of my world.

But she’s just like a maze, where all of the walls all continually change.

And I’ve done all I can to stand on the steps with my heart in my hand.

Now I”m starting to see, maybe it’s got nothin’ to do with me.

– John Mayer, “Daughters”


It’s no secret that I absolutely 100% adore my girls.  I am head-over-heels in love with them both.  They make me a better person, a better woman, a better mother.  They hold so much wisdom, intuition, and strength in their sweet little hearts that it brings tears to my eyes.  They’ve endured a lot…both of them.  They may not have had to deal with illness or starvation or homelessness, but they were each born more mature than their years.  Their perception of their lives is almost frightening.  I am so blessed.  I am so fortunate that they were given to me.  Each of them have provided nurturing in my times of need, wisdom in my times of distress, joy in my times of sadness.  It is hard to believe that creatures so small, so  young and inexperienced can give so much more to me than I give to them…without ever knowing it.

They are amazing.  They are beautiful.  They are life.





“I’m sorry to say
so but, sadly it’s true
that bang-ups and hang-ups
can happen to you.”

Dr. Seuss

We had such a great time hangin’ out with our community yesterday at our local festival!  Neither Big Love nor Baby Love had a nap.  They were dirty, grubby, sticky little creatures after running amok, playing in the dirt, riding rides, and eating snow cones.  Both of them remained happy, however, until Baby Love lost her snow cone ice.  The snow cone maker had actually just made them a snowball.  Finally, Big Love’s snowball melted until she could no longer hold it.  She said, “Oh noooo!”  Looked at it a few seconds, and then went over to the curb and did this, where I happily took her picture and tried not to fall over laughing.

I have to admit though, I actually stomp my feet when I’m disappointed….well, only sometimes. 😉

Adventures In Potty Training

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“A child can go only so far in life without potty training. It is not mere coincidence that six of the last seven presidents were potty trained, not to mention nearly half of the nation’s state legislators.”

-Dave Barry

My girl is using the potty!!!  It’s fantastic!  I don’t have to tell her or remind her or prod her.  I just have to take her diaper off and let her run around au natural, and she’s good to go…both ways (pun intended).  It’s looking like our diaper-free days are fast approaching, at least for a while, and  I am SO SO excited about this! It actually took us a year and a half to potty train Big Sister Avery.  We still have issues with it.  She never used the potty without prodding, reminding, or rewards.  She’s stubborn like that…you know, like her father 😉  My sweet little Baby Bel is doing it all on her own.  And I’ve decided I will let her progress (or not) without pressure and without the need to push.  I have come to the conclusion that, at some point, they both will be fully potty trained for good and forever….well, at least for about 60 years.  Yes, people, it took me 5 years to come to that conclusion.  I’m a put-a-round-peg-in-a-square-hole kind of person.

Without further ado…

Yeah, what’s potty time without a little lip gloss?  A girl’s gotta look good in every situation!  I mean what if there was a photographer around taking pictures of little girls on potties and this one didn’t have any lip gloss on?!  Atrocious 😉

Every little inch of her sweet little body is just delicious!

And since I know you were so thrilled by those pictures of my daughter sitting on a potty, I will add that I finally put a photograph that I took up on our wall yesterday!  The only one in our house that was taken by me!  It and a few others are below 🙂

Sneak Peek {Mother and Girls}: Styers Family

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When Maria emailed me the other day asking if there was time enough to do a Father’s Day session, I panicked a little. It doesn’t give me much time to edit and get the pictures together for her to order. But when I saw them, my heart was at peace! These pictures were almost perfect just the way they were! And when the kind gentleman who let us use his farm told me I could come back whenever I wanted, I decided against asking him if that meant I could live there 🙂 This place really is a little bit of heaven! Rolling hills, hay bales, ponds, tall grasses, cows, barns, old tractors….it’s absolutely breathtaking!  This family are members of our church and their love for each other, for other people, and for God is evident. I had so much fun photographing them! Their love and personalities really shone through!  Once again, though, if you know this family, shhhh, don’t tell dad!  It’s a surprise!


My daughters have truly been sisters this week. They have fought, argued, hit, pulled, tugged, screamed, thrown tantrums. They have sulked, whined, begged, disobeyed, and generally driven me nuts. I haven’t even really wanted to be around them. I’ve had to keep them separated on more than several occasions.

These kinds of weeks really wear me down as a mother. I wonder if I’m cut out to be a mom or to ever have anymore children. I question what I allow or don’t allow when I discipline and when I don’t. I wonder if I’m completely ruining them or if I’m doing anything right at all. Somehow, though, I came across this song. I’m not sure how since I don’t listen to the singer’s music, but the lyrics make me long for my daughters no matter how horrible they’ve been. They make me stop being angry and start just appreciating each of my precious children even in the midst of their bad (or at the very least questionable) behavior. I’m so passionate about those girls, I don’t guess I could ever feel so strongly about anything or anyone else ever. They touch my heart in ways no man or woman could. They are my daughters. And it doesn’t matter how horrible a week I have had, they love me unconditionally and my love for them grows each day.

In My Daughter’s Eyes

In my daughter’s eyes I am a hero
I am strong and wise and I know no fear
But the truth is plain to see
She was sent to rescue me
I see who I wanna be
In my daughter’s eyes

In my daughter’s eyes everyone is equal
Darkness turns to light and the
world is at peace
This miracle God gave to me gives me
strength when I am weak
I find reason to believe
In my daughter’s eyes

And when she wraps her hand
around my finger
Oh it puts a smile in my heart
Everything becomes a little clearer
I realize what life is all about

It’s hangin’ on when your heart
has had enough
It’s giving more when you feel like giving up
I’ve seen the light
It’s in my daughter’s eyes

In my daughter’s eyes I can see the future
A reflection of who I am and what will be
Though she’ll grow and someday leave
Maybe raise a family
When I’m gone I hope you see how happy
she made me
For I’ll be there
In my daughter’s eyes

Lyrics by James Slater

Happy Birthday Baby Bean!!

Making the decision to have a child is momentous.  It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.  ~Elizabeth Stone

My dear sweet Anabel,

When you were born, you caused us so much grief that I thought I could never feel about you the way I do today. You are the epitome of life. Your eyes shine with mischief and love. You are a serving, love-giving, vocal, sweet, smart, precious girl, and I feel my heart swell at the thought of you. Your sweet voice echoes with joy through our home morning, noon, and night.  You are so smart!  You know your colors, body parts (even elbow and eyebrow) and can count to 10.  You can even recognize some of your numbers and letters!  You love books, are inquisitive, and ever so mischievous. You are my baby. You will be my baby until I have another baby, and even then you will always hold a special place in my heart. You and your sister each hold your own special and unique place there. You are my only second sunshine!  There is only one you and that makes you very very special!

Today, you turn 2. I’m overjoyed daily that you were born and that you wake up every morning, that you are safe and sound in your crib. So many parents do not get that luxury. I am so blessed by your life, I cannot tell you. It is so cliche to say that you will never know the love I hold for you in my heart, but it is so true. You won’t.  My heart wells with love of great proportion every day for you.  Between you and your sister, I often feel overwhelmed by the love I have for you both!  Often, though, I am simply overwhelmed by my love for you.

Your mommy is still just as selfish as she was last year on your birthday. I still don’t want you to grow up. One day you won’t be 2 but 20. You will know the dangers, the good, and the evil of the world. You will learn that monsters are real and that catastrophes do happen. You will learn that in this world, innocence does not last forever. And honestly, I don’t want you to learn those things. I think I’d be perfectly happy if you remained 2 forever. I really don’t mind the dirty diapers or sippy cups. I don’t mind cleaning your sweet, chubby little hands and face after each and every meal. Each night when I rock you and sing your favorite songs, I wonder how much babyness you lost that day. I won’t know right away, but I will see it slowly but surely slip away.

I love you my darling sweet baby girl. My hope for you is that if you must grow up, that you remain sweet, kind, and serving of others, that your eyes always twinkle with mischief, that you never lose your special spunk, your love of shoes and necklaces, or the unique spirit that makes you my Anabel Rose. I hope that if you must suffer, that you will know that you can share the burden with me and that if you must see the monsters that you won’t know them personally.  I hope that you will find comfort from God and know His love, grace, and forgiveness.  I hope that if you must, at some point, lose your precious innocence, that you will not lose your zest for life and that there will always be a part of you somewhere in there that was my sweet innocent baby.

Happy Birthday Anabel!

Love always,


The pictures above by Angey Price Photography.