Live. Love. Photograph.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Why I still sleep with my (almost) 6 year old

"Mommy, will you hold me?"

I hear this simple little question every single night as I squeeze into my little spot on our king size bed next to him. You would think a kind size bed would allow for more room but the bigger our sweet little guy gets the less room I have come 8 pm each night. I know what he needs; he needs to feel the weight of my arm draped over him, just as he used to need to smell my scent, or clutch my finger, as I bent over the crib railing and waited, waited, waited for his heavy eyes to flutter closed.

Most importantly he needs ME. And for that reason I squeeze in my little familiar spot, snuggle up next to him and drape my arm across his little body until he has drifted into dreamland.

Sure I'm criticized by many. Friends. Family. Probably even you right now, are saying how absurd it is to have an (almost) 6 year old still falling asleep in Mom and Dad's bed each night. I hear it all.

"How long are you going to let him sleep in there?"
"Don't you think it's time he learns to fall asleep on his own?"
"Is it even healthy to still have him doing this?"

I read all the books. I went through countless articles and blogs while I was pregnant. He actually was an excellent sleeper in his own room when he was younger. But it's the falling asleep that was never easy for him. Even as a baby in his bassinet beside our bed I use to turn over and lean my arm over into his bassinet and rest my hand on his chest, and off to sleep he went. As he got older I stood beside his crib each and every night with one arm draped over the side rubbing his back or with my hand resting on his chest. Watching it rise and fall. Watching his little blue eyes get heavier and heavier.

I am glad that I don't listen to what others say. I am glad that I haven't missed out on these amazing moments each night, just him and I. These moments rank up there with some of the most special and close to my heart. The only time of day he isn't running around, being loud, or being so independent. He lets me hold him and stare at all his beautiful little freckles up close. Watch his little eyelashes flutter. It's really as good as it gets :)

I would hate to know I missed these moments. Missed all the crazy questions that come spilling out in that weird space between being awake and being asleep. So many nights Andy and I have shared some great laughs listening to these little questions and outbursts. Things like, "Why do cows lay purple eggs?"  or "Hey! Stop stealing my macaroni!" You know what's going on in mind in that in between stage but it's pretty hilarious to watch him, eyes closed, so still, just randomly shouting out crazy things.

There is also so much that comes out before his little eyes close. He finally is relaxed and calm and ready to tell me who he sat with at lunch or what he learned in music class that day. All the stuff he just isn't in the mood to talk about right after school each day, the small moments from his day, as he settles into the stillness and attempts to avoid sleeping. That time of night — that brief transition from awake to asleep — is when the good stuff spills out. That’s when I learn about his friends, his feelings, his fears.I would hate it if I missed all that :)

If he was in his room all along falling asleep who would whisper in his ears "I love you" once more before he fully alseep. Who would make him feel safe enough to drift off and have sweet dreams. That's why I'm here. That's my job. These days may seem long but looking back the years so short and before long he will not be walking into our room each night at bed time. He will not want to snuggle or have my arms wrapped around him. He will want his privacy. He will no longer need me for that part of his day. I won't hear about his day in that relaxed dreamy way anymore. I won't get to soak in every little feature of his face while watching his long eye lashes flutter. And that day will be here a lot sooner then I'll be ready for. So until then, I'm taking it all in.

As long as he'll have me I'll be there. I’ll stroke his hair, feeling his steady breaths in and out and in and out. I’ll feel that same calmness that I felt when his tiny head settled on my shoulder, breathing deeply into my skin. Tonight I’ll be needed in the most basic of ways, and I’ll show up.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Hello November :)

The time changed which always throws us off balance and puts a damper on our outdoor playtime in the afternoons. Its completely dark by 5 pm now and that stinks!!! Plus it's cold!!!! Windy and freezing and dark aren't a good combo!! The evenings of playing outside with neighborhood friends til 7 pm each night and letting loose each afternoon after school has been put on hold til spring! BUMMER! I love this time of year for sure because it's time for the holidays and lots of fun adventures but the lack of sunshine and warmth really make it tough. Afternoons have been spent inside playing video games and watching Christmas movies. Andy's working out of town Monday through Friday more now and the afternoons are quiet around here. I miss the windows open and the laughter coming from the trampoline full of boys. I miss watching Hensley ride his bike and playing football with friends. BUT, as always with the bad comes the good!! We have time for Christmas crafts and lots of cuddles on the couch.

Hensley is super excited for the holidays and time off of school. Andy will have lots of time off with us too which is always a good thing!! Despite the cold and darkness we have  managed to still have lots of fun the past few weeks and I wanted to share it all :) :)

I had a little bit of a make over this month. I had grown my hair out for so long I was ready for a change.
I mean seriously, look at that before picture!! UGH!! I love my new short hair and I think it's something I'll keep for a long time to come. 

Sometimes a relaxing Sunday dinner and beautiful ride home is such a blessing and just what we needed!!

My mom had a procedure this month to have her port removed FINALLY!! She is done with her chemo treatments and no longer needs it! AMEN!! We will find out soon if she is officially in remission.

Hensley came home from school one day with a little ice pack and a big black eye! He and a friend ran into each other while running around the play ground that day. 

My parents are setting off on their own adventure this month, that will probably last until next year sometime. My dad got a job in Texas and it's suppose to last a year. They bought an RV and are heading out the day after Thanksgiving to experience Bay City, Texas. I am going to miss them a lot even though my mom will be flying back home once a month. I know they will have a great time and they are at a point in their lives where they are able to go. Hensley is in love with the "house on wheels" as he calls it.

Every year our town sets up an ice skating rink and a sledding hill for the kids called Winterfest! We have been going the last few years and this year was no exception! We took our friends The Williams' along and had a super fun afternoon!!!

Here are a few little video clips I caught that day on my phone :)

had another really fun adventure this month with some other good friends of ours. It was super cold out so we decided to catch a movie and get some dinner. Big hero 6, dinner and ice cream were on the agenda and we had a blast! The movie was so good and super funny. It's for sure one that we will purchase to watch at home. Tonight was a night well spent. These friends of mine make me remember to not let others steal my joy. And to not waste one minute with those who don't lift you up.

 We had an spontaneous family date night this month. We got some dinner and while we were there we just sat and talked. We didn't rush to leave after we ate, we just took it slow and it was really nice :) We came home and all curled up in bed and watched a movie. I love this little family we have created. 

Andy was pretty happy about family date night :) 

We welcomed a new member to our MEMO (rhymes with Nemo). Hensley has wanted a fish for a long time and we finally gave in :) He is super cute :)

 One of my favorite pictures I took this month is this one. It was early morning and Hensley was trying to convince me to let him do something, which slips my mind now, but I'm sure it was something he knew he wasn't going to get to do. But he looks pretty darn cute :)

 And of course, we wrap up the month with Thanksgiving. We had it our home again this year as we have for a few years now. Everyone came over from both our families and we laughed and talked and ate a ton of food. It was also a little hard. It was our first holiday without my Grandma and we all missed her very much. I knew she was here with all of us and would be so happy to see all of us here together enjoying each other. I love that my uncle Johnny passes on a little more of his knowledge in the kitchen each year with me. He is an amazing cook and each year he helps me learn how to make to new dish or learn a new skill. It's a memory I look forward to each year and I am so thankful for his time and help. It was such a fun and busy day that I forgot to take any photos!!! Can you imagine???? After a little "friendsgiving" with the Williams' family and a short outing for some Black Friday shopping, I snapped this little photo of our family before bed. I am so thankful for all of my family and for the relationships we share. I am thankful for our pets and our friends and our cozy home. We have so much to be thankful for and with the holidays coming up we tend to get stressed and the things that we should be grateful for fall to the waist side. My goal this year during the holiday season is to keep my priorities in order and have fun. Not to worry and not to over plan but to sit back and enjoy the moments. 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Halloween 2014

Happy Hallowween!!!!! Hensley was super excited to trick or treat and dress up! He got to dress up at school BUT he couldn't be anything scary and he had to be a book character. So after searching high and low I found a MARIO BOOK!! He was very happy to be able to dress up as Mario for Halloween at school :)

They had a super fun Halloween party which unfortunately I couldn't take photos of because I was helping out and it was very crazy! The kids were all so excited and it was a lot to fit into an hour. But it was so fun!

Later that night it was off to see Granny and Pawpaw and dinner with friend before trick or treating. Hensley was a zombie this year and we had planned to have a face painter come and paint his face but he has never been a fan of that and decided against it. Our sweet friend Emily found some zombie face tattoos but he wasn't crazy about that either. Luckily I stumbled upon a mask that worked perfect. But, since we had all these awesome zombie face tattoos, Andy and I decided to have a little fun with them.

 My mom wanted to get Hensley something different for Halloween and he LOVED IT!!!!

Halloween was so fun. We grabbed some Chili's for dinner & headed out to our usual neighborhood to trick or treat!

Lots of our friends trick or treat in the same neighborhood so we got to see many of our friends which is always fun :)

Here is a little throwback to all of Hensley's previous Halloween costumes :)

Hensley's very first Halloween :) 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Go Hensley Go!!!!

This fall we took on a new adventure.....flag football. Totally unknown territory for us. I personally know nothing about football but Hensley has wanted to play for a while now and he finally hit the right age. We learned that a nearby town was having sign ups for flag football and off we went :) I was a little worried about it being two nights a week since Hensley was still getting adjusted to the kindergarten schedule, but we decided to give it a try.

The first few practices were very funny to watch. All the kids there were new and inexperienced in football so for a while it was just 10 kids going all over the field trying there best to grab a flag or a football :)

Hensley ended up on the Steelers team with Coach Adam and Coach Britt. There were several mom's on the team who were amazing from start to finish this season with keeping the kids in line, keeping up with who's turn it was to sit out, and generally make the overall experience more organized and fun. Each Tuesday and Thursday night for the first few weeks we headed out to Moricle Field in Gibsonville and practiced. They worked on throwing the ball, catching the ball, running laps, doing drills, and blocking.

After several weeks it was time for the games to begin. There were four teams total so each week we took turns rotating and playing each one.

Getting ready for the play


Hensley learned so much about football from his coaches and it was so fun to watch him :) I am SO excited to see him play again next fall. His football loving Daddy is really hoping he loves the sport as much as he does :)

Family Pictures 2014

We recently teamed up with our favorite photographer to take our annual family pictures and as usual she never disappoints. If you are ever in the North Carolina area contact Ashley Allen here at Two Clicks Away Photography, she is not only an amazing photographer but also an amazing person :) We adore her!

Enjoy :)

As you can see she is AHHHHmazing!!! They shoot every type of session including weddings, newborns, seniors and family sessions. They take such time to my vision and and are very patient. She has a way of making Hensley giggle and getting the truest genuine smiles from him. She and her husband work together countless hours to edit each photo to make it look more like a piece of art then just a photograph. Her images will hang on our walls for years to come and they are always something I look forward to sharing with others. Ashley is the sweetest woman and so talented. Go to her for all your photo needs ;) :)  

Thank you for the memories Ashley!