Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Baby

I got to photograph the most beautiful baby boy last week. There's nothing like a Christmas baby!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Sunday Snaps: Twas the Night Before Christmas

Christmas Eve was pretty exhausting for me because I had so much to do. I spent the morning cleaning like a madwoman because I wanted things tidy for Christmas, and in the afternoon I had some things I had to do. I was pretty bummed that I'd procrastinated so much and absolutely had to run errands on Christmas Eve. All of these things were making me feel a little homesick for my mom's Christmas Eve magic. Back home songs fill the air as everyone practices for the evening's celebration where we each share a Christmas piece--a poem, a story, a musical number. The food is amazing. Everyone's dressed up. There's excitement in the air, and a very special spirit.

My kids were certainly excited, but I didn't feel the magic until Magnet got home from work and I got the kids all dressed up to go to his family's wonderful Christmas Eve party. While we waited until it was time to leave, I stood back and took 5 million pictures of them playing in front of the Christmas tree. That's when my Christmas Eve magic arrived, and that's why we were late to the party. They looked so beautiful against the backdrop of my snowflake Christmas tree and handmade stockings.

The party was nearly perfect. It's only flaw was that Grandma Rise and Grandpa Billy had to stay home because they were sick. But what I loved about the party was that Baby Magnolia lounged in Great Grandma's lap for what seemed like forever...even with me sitting right next to them. Usually she has to be sitting with me if she can even smell me. (Mama's girl, that one.) And so while Great Grandma held her, I got to enjoy a peaceful dinner. I also loved Uncle Roger's hilarious stories. He told us about how a few weeks ago he got into a little tiff with some lady at a car wash and sprayed her with water. The lady ran around in circles and then called the cops. You had to be there, but stories like that made the evening hilarious. I mean, seriously, who does that?

We came home, got Santa's goodies all situated, and tucked the kids in at 10:30pm. That's when the wrapping began. Who knows what time I got to bed. And then, of course, I couldn't sleep because I was so excited for my kids to open their presents in the morning. Gotta love me some Christmas Eve magic.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Hoping everyone has a happy Christmas! Our family photo this year is again courtesy of my friend Jill Holyoak. I think she did such a fabulous job!

And you should know, I don't like yellow. Why I made our Christmas card this color, I have no idea. It's totally not my color, but it's good to spice things up, right?

Oh yeah. I know why I did yellow--because it looks good with black and white (I think). And cute little Magnolia has a yellow hat on, and yellow is totally the fall color of Germany, where I took the photo of the three kids. That's why.

Here's another fun one of my kids in Deutschland:

Wow, my card is really yellow.

And here's our Christmas card letter:
(Most of you already know all this stuff, but for family history's sake, here it is.)

Merry Christmas!

We’ve grown in number since last December. Juliette Claire was born on March 29th and has easily been one of the happiest and most welcome changes to our year. She has a dainty and soft-natured personality, and she is a delight to be around. We love her silky baby skin, bright eyes, plump fingers, round belly (outtie!), and her tiny mouth. She’s quite irresistible.

In a singsong voice, Isabella would describe Juliette as “the cutest piece of pixie dust in the whoooole world,” all the while helping her baby sister flap her arms. Juliette lights up, kicks her legs and nods her head excitedly in response. It is the cutest thing to watch.

Isabella has been in a ballet/tap class this year. Her leaps and twirls around the house are a welcome sight. I always hoped she would love to dance. And to Will’s delight, she loves soccer, too. Will and I were so impressed with how well she did during her little soccer season this year. She definitely knew how to play with the best of them and even scored and defended some goals. We were proud of our girly girl.

Isabella also loves to play with Liam, and Liam is usually happy to go along with anything...within reason.

“Liam, you’re the prince and I’m the princess,” she’ll tell him.

“I not a prince, I a big boy!”

“And you’re the prince.”

“I a BIG BOY!”

And that goes back and forth for a bit until Isabella gives in.

“Mom, you need to tell Liam what a prince is.”

Liam’s dimpled grin and expressive eyes keep us entertained every day. One of my favorite things is when at the dinner table he lifts his eyebrows up and down and says, “Mmmmm, nummy, Mommy!” He says it really loud and several times in a row. Did I mention that he likes to eat?

He’s also taken off with speaking in the last few months. It’s bittersweet for me to watch him figure out the correct way of saying things. Luckily, he still says, “I wanna hold you” when he wants me to pick him up, which is often. Between his sweet words and dark eyes, I usually can’t resist mustering up some mommy muscles for our big brown boy.

There isn’t anything too new with Will and me. We’re just doing our best to keep everything in balance and enjoy our little ones. We love you all and miss those of you far away—too far away. And we love this time of year when the world celebrates the birth of our Savior.

Wishing you the happiest of Christmases!

Will and Marie
Isabella, Liam and Juliette

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Airplane Boy

Ever since we made our October trips to California and then to Germany back-to-back, Magson has had a thing for airplanes. He liked them before, but now he's obsessed. So, while we were at the library last Friday, I checked out three random airplane books for him. I've gladly read them over and over to him because I think his little obsession is completely adorable, and because as long as we're on the topic of airplanes, we can have this conversation:

Me: "Have you been in a big airplane way up in the sky?"

Him: "Yep!"

Me: "Where did you go?"

"Emma-mee!" (Germany.)

"Who did you see in Germany?"

"Ummm... Ummm... Ummm... Grandma! Lisa! Grandpa! Tracy!"

And that little conversation right there makes my heart soar. We don't see them nearly enough, and so we talk about them, and Skype with them, and take a zillion pictures when we're together. And I love how months pass without them seeing their grandparents that live across the big ocean, but they're everywhere in this house. They're talked about every morning when we open our advent calendars that Grandma gave them. They're often there at bedtime when I read them their books, many of which have been given to them by my parents. I always read the inscriptions my mom writes on the front pages. And then she signs off with:

"We love you, Grandma Lisa and Grandpa Tracy."

They're there in our prayers. They're everywhere because we miss them so much and think they should move to Washington. (Port Orchard, that is.)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Seven Months

My baby girl is growing up so fast! Here are a few pictures I took of her in Germany--sick of Germany pics yet? I hope not because there are still more coming! Hopefully this week I can get to a post with snapshots so you can get a peek into what everyday life was like for us on our visit. :) And there will be more photos of the kids...promise.

Magnolia was seven months old in these pictures and now she's already eight months, nearly nine months old. Why does watching her grow have to be so bittersweet? She's about ready to crawl, loves to eat table foods, and is just a complete bright spot in my life. I love her!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Sweet Sixteen

It's my sister Elisabeth's (Lissie's) sixteenth birthday today! I feel like she's an Elisabeth in these pictures...Princess Elisabeth, Queen Elisabeth, Beautiful Elisabeth. In these photos, she's wearing a dress (not the dress) my mom wore on her wedding day. Wish I had a picture of that!

I took these photos at a palace about 15 minutes away from my parent's house on one of the first days we were in Germany. It was easily my favorite photo location from our trip, and I kept going back to take more pictures, but the leaves were never quite as beautiful as they were on this day.

Happy sixteenth birthday, Elisabeth! I love you, and I love you!!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Mini Shoot in the Freezing, Shivering Cold

This year was the third year I've been lucky enough to take this fam's Christmas card photo. In fact, Jill was the second person to ask me if I'd like to practice on her family when I got my first DSLR. I was so excited and nervous and flattered, and I remember just about every detail about that session. Anyway, I'm really thankful for all the friends who've encouraged me and believed in me on this little photography journey I've set out on in the last few years. It's made all the difference to me and I hope to pay it forward as I continue on.

On a different note, have I mentioned that I hate winter? I really can get ba-humbug about it, but I will admit that our first snow of the year was awfully pretty and magical. But pretty and magical doesn't always mean convenient. Jill and I were back and forth constantly about when to do their session. The weather has been crazy, and the forecast pretty unreliable in my opinion. I was so glad we got it done last week, though, because this week has proven to be even more freezing. Anyway, these peeps are pretty darn gorgeous and photogenic, don't ya think?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Here is a taste of my gratitude list (in no particular order) this year:

*Beautiful families such as the one below who choose me to take their pictures. (For those of you who know Amy Neal, this is her cousin!)

*My friends for their goodness and support.

*My husband for continuing to be the best thing that ever happened to me.

*My kids for reminding me every day of what's most important.

*My mom for always being so willing to help me, most recently with sewing Magnolia's stocking.

*My dad for giving the best hugs.

*My siblings for being the best aunties and uncles.

*Flowers to Go for providing for our family.

*My church for ever so many blessings.

*My neighborhood full of friends and wonderful people.

*Electricity! We had a crazy power outage earlier this week that really made me grateful for the simple things in life.

*My writing group for keeping me going. :)

*Second chances and tomorrows.

*My inlaws for treating me like gold.

*My life.

*And most of all, God, for His perfect love.

Happy Thanksgiving! And to the cute, cute family above. Thanks for a wonderful afternoon! I loved your handsome little one and truly enjoyed getting to know you!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Then and Now

I'm sorry to admit that I wasn't a very attentive sibling to the three babies of our family when I was in high school and living in the house pictured above. I don't remember much of them, and they don't remember much of me. But when I went off to college, I'd come home and soak these three up. They were still the babies, although at one point we made a conscious effort to clump them as "the little kids" since as five, six and seven-year-olds, we couldn't really get away with that anymore.

Anyway, I thought I'd share a favorite memory of them from my home-from-college days and a favorite memory from our recent trip home:

Back then, I remember snuggling up with Lissie in her bed and listening to her tell me about every single person in her class. We'd pretend to have a sleepover and then after she'd fall asleep (or at least fake it, anyway), I'd tip toe out of her room. I thought she was the most perfect baby sister. So beautiful with a pinch of sass.

Now, I still think she is the most perfect baby sister. It's really not fair that so much beauty and character could be bottled up in one person. She sings, plays the guitar and piano; she's a ballroom dancer and ballerina, and she's a genuinely nice girl. My favorite moment with her on this last trip was when she came up with a melody for some song lyrics I started writing about my kids. Got me all teary. Now I just need to finish writing them, so that she can finish putting such a sweet tune to it.

Back then, my favorite thing about Christian was the way he adored my dad. He'd come home from church and hang his little suit jacket on the chair right next to his. And I remember one time watching Christian walk to the nearby German school he attended and how he kept turning around and waving to my dad in the window.

Now, he still adores my dad. While we were in Germany, I often caught the two of them sitting together--Christian asking my dad question after question about history and the economy, and my dad giving the most thorough and heartfelt answers. So sweet, the bond they share.

Back then, Bryant was the most playful and fun-loving little boy you could ever meet. He'd run to me when I'd come home from college (the sister he hardly knew) and wrap me in a tight hug. His excitement at seeing me always touched me.

Now, he doesn't do the run and hug me thing so much when I come home, but boy does he know how to play with my kids! He's a terrific Uncle B.

And here's my sweet parents. They deserve a post full of wonderful memories entirely their own, but for now, a favorite thing I'd like to tell you about them, is that I've never met a couple more in love. That was then and it's most definitely now.

Yeah, I'm a huge fan.



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