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a photo journal – easter at the campground

growing up with weekends at a campgound wasn’t always fun…summer heat, more than enough bugs, and the lack of your friends being there to hang out with. honestly, growing up i didn’t like that my parents had a seasonal site at a local campground and we spent nearly every. single. weekend there for a majority of my life.

that was until i moved out and had kids of my own. now i enjoy the same campground i grew up at. it’s peaceful; it’s quiet, and my girls get to run around and burn off their never-ending energy.

my parent’s still have a seasonal site at that exact same campground. i love that they still do and i can bring my girls there to do some of the traditions that i always did. like easter, for one.

the past few years, if and when it’s nice out we go there for easter and enjoy a cookout and my girls get to enjoy an easter egg hunt. this year was no different.

us girls were in charge of bringing dessert this year, so we chose to bring our favorite funfetti cupcakes which meant for a morning of baking. and with two girls, LOTS of pink frosting.

it was one of the first nicer days of the year so we were all really excited to get there and enjoy the weather. dad had the grill going, mom was in the camper frying up some potatoes, and the girls were eager to hurry up and eat so they could get on with their easter egg hunt.

after being very spoiled by the easter bunny, the girls and i enjoyed some time at the park before heading home.

children only have one childhood. make it memorable and fill with traditions.

a photo journal – missouri

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this blog post is way overdue, and i mean 6 months overdue…oops. i was going back and forth debating to share it, but it’s memories and something i’ll enjoy looking back at later.

back in september we celebrated my grandma’s 75th birthday by throwing her a party. we have a very LARGE family, and we were so thankful that a lot of the family and her friends were able to come.

because it was just going to be a weekend trip, i rode down to missouri with just my parents and sister.  it was nice to have that time with them since i hadn’t taken a family vacation with just them since i became a mother over 10 years ago.

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my dad is a go-getter in the morning, so were up and at ’em at 5 in the morning and ready for our 8 hour trek.

as a family we’ve drove to missouri MANY times growing up. a large part of our family is from there, so we spent lots of time there. and as many times as we’ve passed through st. louis and commented that we should go up in the arch, we never did. we made the same comments this time, except this time dad convinced us to actually go and made a u-turn.

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anyone that knows me knows that i HATE heights and small spaces; so i was freaking out a bit. the four of us had to squeeze into this tight car that traveled up the arch, where it would eventually let us get out of at the top and look out the tiny windows over the city of st. louis.

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after two quick glances out the windows and a few quick photos, my trembling knees were ready to head back down. i enjoyed the experience, glad i did it, but i have zero intention of doing it again.

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back on the road, and a long nap later we were about there. i was so ready to get out and see grandma.

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grandma was waiting for us inside the hotel and her smile says it all.

we spent our first night there just visiting with family and setting up for the party the following day. i love that we can go months, and even years, without some of us seeing each other and just pick up right where we left off. i love my big, crazy family.

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saturday morning we woke up, got ready, and finished up all last minute preparations for the party. everything turned out so well and grandma especially loved that we decorated in her favorite color.

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a big part of my responsibility for the party was creating a book for grandma, filled with notes from everyone that i collected over the previous few months. some people wrote sweet “i love you’s” and others shared some of their favorite memories with her. giving grandma her gift and seeing her face light up when i told her what it was, was well worth all the work put into creating it.

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before everyone left, we got a few photos of grandma with all her grandchildren and great-grandchildren that were able to make it. that lady is loved by so many!

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if we were having coffee. round 3.

long time no talk! i feel like i haven’t posted in forever, but it really hasn’t been that long. two months, maybe.

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but let’s face it, life got on top of me. the beginning of the year has been chaotic with life changes, and even though its been quite the ride, they’re what was needed.

“making a big life change is pretty scary. but you know what is even scarier? regret.”

 

but hey! i’m back! i have things to say. posts to post.

so let’s get to what this post is about…pull up a chair and grab whatever you’re drinking; i’ve got some more to share with you.

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if we were having coffee, i’d tell you all about how my youngest just turned 7, and i still can’t believe it. there are days where she’s more sour than sweet, but i wouldn’t change a thing.  she’s becoming into her own personality a lot lately and i’m really love her free spirit.  she’s got such a good heart,  is creative, and makes me laugh till i cry often. it’s hard for me to accept that my baby girl isn’t really my baby anymore, but i can’t wait to watch her grow up and become the best version of herself.

if we were having coffee, i’d want to tell you about something that i did that i’ve always been hesitant to, but just took the leap. and i can’t say this  enough…i’m so glad that i did. i booked myself a boudoir photo shoot with Leigh Photography (Rockford, IL).

i’ve had so many people express their opinions about my choice to do so; some were extremely supportive, and some…not so much.  but, if other people’s opinions affected half of the things i chose to do, i would have missed out on so many amazing opportunities and adventures.

Alyssa, owner and photographer of Leigh Photography, said it best…

“Life is short, do the photo shoot. If I had one piece of advice to my potential Boudoir babes, that would be it! I don’t care what age, size, color, height, bra size, or nationality you are. Boudoir is for everyone. Everyone deserves a little ‘feel good’ action! Do the photo shoot!”

if we were having coffee, i’d share with you all about my recent visit to the Wndr Museum in Chicago.  never heard of the wndr museum and curious what it is? it’s the newest experiental museum in the city; a place where art meets science. for all social media users, it’s full of perfect photo ops, including 19 art installations.

my friend and i took the train in and met our friend from wisconsin at the train station.  we made a night out of it by grabbing dinner at one of chicago’s staples, lou malnatis pizzeria, had a few drinks, and then ventured to the museum. if you haven’t checked it out already, i’d highly recommend taking a trip to wndr.

if we were having coffee, i’d rave all about how my girl’s rocked their basketball season this year. and honestly, i’m sad that it’s over. both of my girls played this year, and i LOVED being their biggest fan on the sidelines cheering them on every saturday morning. they both said they’re playing again next year, but until then, i’ll be their cheerleader through soccer season.

if we were having coffee, i’d chat all about how lucky i feel to have the support system that i do. days have certainly been wild lately, and some have been extremely hard. but i truly believe that those who really matter, have been there for me through it all and helped kept my head above water. i’d much rather be with them through any storm, then warm and safe all alone. only surround yourself with people who lift you higher.

a photo journal – 2018, looking back gratefully

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“without rain, there are no flowers”.

2018 was really, really tough for me…so many ups and downs, adventures and surprises, challenges, and successes.

but i’m taking this year as something that i will look back to, and be grateful for where it took me. and 2019, i’m ready to live.

as exhausting as this year was, there will be always be moments that i’ll be grateful for. i took a few minutes to look through my year in photographs, and wanted to share some of my favorites with you.

2018 began with my first trip on a plane and out of the country. i was given the opportunity to photograph a friend’s wedding in mexico, all while spoiling myself with some cocktails and much needed time on the beach.

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kaylei has really enjoyed playing basketball, and as 2018 rolled in, her second season came to an end. i enjoy watching her play so much, twice as much as she enjoys showing off her well-deserved medal.

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we took the girls on our first big family vacation. the beginning of the trip was spent in virginia beach, where they got to experience the ocean for the first time.

the second part of the trip, we drove out to washington, dc and did all the typical touristy things.

the girls began a new school year.  it’s crazy to believe that we already have a fifth and first grader!

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we enjoyed the summer with friends including our fair share of cubbies games, cookouts, and county fairs.

my grandma turned 75 in september and my mom, dad, sister, and i took a quick trip down to missouri to help throw her a birthday party. a bunch of our family came and i really enjoyed the mini vacation with my parents and sister.

one of my favorite memories from this year was the mother-daughter trip the girls and i took to the apple orchard this fall. so many laughs and pictures taken; these are moments that i’ll never forget.

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as always, halloween is one of the girl’s favorite holidays. 2018 was no different with our very own where’s waldo and bunny rabbit.

the first snowfall this winter and the girls had to use the opportunity to catch some snowflakes and play in the snow.

kaylei and mahkena had a quick visit with santa, and for the first time, mahkena wasn’t terrified of him.

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2018 basketball season began in december and this year, mahkena followed in her big sister’s foot steps and decided to play too.

christmas came and went by so fast, but not before lots of eating, gift-opening, and time with family.

2018, thank you for all the lessons. 2019, i am ready.

10 fun facts about me.

i’m stepping out of my comfort zone today. i wanted to do a fun, slightly more personal  post. this was actually a little bit harder to do than I thought it would be; who knew it would be difficult to list random things about yourself!  here’s what I came up with…

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i wanted to be an art teacher when i grew up. 

growing up, i had no idea what i wanted to do when i was older. and then i started high school and signed up for my first art class. i loved everything about it, so much, that i knew that i wanted to teach it when i grew up.

i write poetry.

only when i’m sad; it feels better to get the things i’m thinking of out on paper. and i never let anyone read it.

my middle name is JoNette, after my great-grandmother’s name Nettie Jo.

i love that my name means so much to our family. my great-grandma was an incredible woman.

i love skiing in the mountains with my dad. they’re some of my favorite memories growing up.

we started going together when i was in middle school when he’d always be the first to join me on our school trips. it’s one of my favorite things that he has taught me to do.

i’m allergic to orange juice.

it’s probably a good thing that i don’t like the taste, but i sure do miss having it in some of my cocktails.

i’m always cold. 

if i could always walk around with a heated blanket, i would.

i sleep walk. and sleep talk. all the time.

growing up, my mom had to put bells on the doors because i would always try to walk outside.

my biggest fears include fish and clowns.

both super creepy and i avoid getting near them at all costs.

i’m afraid of deep water that i cant see in because 1. fish and 2. when i was younger my swim teacher was missing one of her toes because she claimed an alligator ate it off  and swore and it would happen to me if i didn’t swim faster.

i legitimately despise that woman. and her missing toe.

i refuse to eat the last bite of any sandwich. weird? i know.

i think it has to do with my OCD, but i just cant bring myself to do it.

 

 

if we were having coffee. round 2.

another month and another coffee date. pull up a chair and grab whatever you’re drinking; i’ve got some more to share with you.

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if we were having coffee, i’d tell you all about how my daughter turned 10 this week and how i still can’t believe it.

a whole decade of her life has come and gone and it is so extremely terrifying. her child years are slowly fading and she will be soon venturing into her teen years…yikes!

if we were having coffee, i probably wouldn’t tell you, but i’d wish i could tell you all about the funk i’ve been in lately just to have someone there to listen.

despite my attempts at having a positive attitude, i’ve been in a terrible funk lately. i’ve had no motivation and zero energy. my mind as been clouded with negativity and i’ve been just trying to pull myself through.

if we were having coffee, i’d explain how excited i am that fall is coming.

there is no doubt that fall is my favorite season. summer is ending, but there are so many reasons to be excited that fall is coming: cooler weather, oversized sweaters, football, the apple orchard, and bonfires are just to name a few.

if we were having coffee, i’d share with you about how much i’m embarrassed of my garden this year.

there is certainly no lack of green in my garden this year, but it’s just due to all the weeds. don’t tell my grandpa; he would be so disappointed.