River: 4 years old

Our sweet River – he’s four.  I can’t believe it as I type it, but indeed it’s true – four years old.  This little boy is so full of sunshine and love… and personality. He says the BEST things all day long and we all laugh at him.  He’s so silly.  He loves hugs, his bunny bear (I hope he always does, haha), milk, all things sugar, zombies from Plants vs. Zombies, his big brother Finn (more than anything!), playing cars, running, jumping, being totally crazy, and singing the cutest made-up songs in the world!  He is the best companion and I feel so grateful to be able to share my days with him.  He lights up the room with his spirit, and he’s my best little friend.  He’s also stubborn and can get pretty mad, but switches right back to the cutest and happiest kid you’ve ever seen within minutes.  He’s so cute, it’s hard to get mad at him.  Those blonde curls and big blue eyes are hard to resist.

River, you light up the world with your beautiful personality and who you are. We love you more than any words could ever express. Thank you for being such a joy and making every day so much brighter.  You make our lives so rich and full.  We are so, so lucky.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY MY LOVE :)

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Finn // 8 years old

This morning as I was looking through books to find some for our school theme of “love” during February, I stumbled upon a book that immediately stopped me in my tracks.  “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” – a book that Finn would beg me to read him over and over… and over.  “This one, again?!” I’d always ask as he begged to read it again  I don’t remember how old he was – likely 4 or so.. Today,  I picked it up and re-read some of the pages and my heart just melted.  I don’t recall the last time we ever read it together, and I never realized it would be the last time he begged for it – but it’s definitely been quite a few years now.  I’m considering asking him if we can read it together tonight but am prepared to be met with “really, mom?” ;)  For some reason, 8 seems like a big deal.  It sounds SO much older than 7, but it’s really not!  I really just feel so wonderfully grateful to have shared 8 years with him.

Finn is smart – so smart.  He’s always asking questions and thinking about things much deeper than me – I constantly have to bring up Google to answer all of his questions.  He has a curiosity and zest for life, life goals to be a “You Tuber” and make a million dollars, enjoys Minecraft, being outside (with sledding and “mountain biking” on the top of his list), and anything science related (especially space).  He is shy with strangers but full of goofiness with friends and family – those who really know Finn are lucky, as he is careful who he opens up around.  He and River are the best of friends and spend their days laughing and goofing around with each other, and request to sleep right next to each other every. single. night.  Finn has a huge heart and loves very deeply.  He’s also stubborn like me!  He’s truly my best friend and fills my heart every day with so much joy.  He really has quite the hold on my heart :)

We love you so much Finn!  Happy EIGHT years!  You have brought so much meaning to our lives!!!  Here are a few photos from today in the cold snow – and then a few last September in the gorgeous goldenrod!!

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River: 3 years old

My sweet River – he is already THREE!  There’s really no other way to explain him except for pure JOY.  He has brought so much happiness into our lives, and he shines radiant beams from inside – you can just feel it pouring from him.  He is goofy, happy, fun, smart, adventurous, sweet, kind, cuddly and full of energy.  He keeps us on our toes and then he melts us in the same moment with his love.  He has formed a unique bond with his brother – something I never could have dreamed of.  They are best friends and spend almost every moment with each other.

I’m not quite ready to let go of calling him my baby (and who ever does, really – but luckily he still lets me).  He wants me to carry him everywhere, up the stairs, cuddle and fall asleep right next to him.  Yet he can keep right up with his big brother and will do anything we do.  He is the best companion and we feel so, so, so lucky to have him.  He’s captured our hearts.  We love you with everything we are, River!!!!

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grand haven // beach lifestyle session

When Carrie asked me if I would be interested in capturing their family photos in a documentary style on the beach – during their vacation with their good friends – I really didn’t even have to hesitate.  Vacation, beach, friends and a whole lot of SUN – yes, yes, yes!  I ventured out last week on a warm evening and got to hang out with both the Olsen’s and Coccia’s and immediately felt like part of the family.  My new best friend and tour guide, Bellamy, took my hand and immediately showed me all her favorite things – her dolls, her cottage room, her friends, the WATER, jumping rope and most importantly, where the fruit snacks were stored.  This is one vacation I was incredibly joyful to be a part of.

From the sun filled photos to the wonderful company, this evening was beautiful.  If you were to hang out with either of these families, you would also agree – big hearts, full of happiness and lots of fun.  I hope you enjoy a little peek into their gorgeous vacation!

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The beach was just across the street where the Olsen family and I headed down for some quick photos!BeachFamily-26 Blog1 BeachFamily-28 BeachFamily-29 BeachFamily-30 BeachFamily-33 BeachFamily-34 BeachFamily-35 BeachFamily-36 BeachFamily-37 BeachFamily-38 BeachFamily-39 BeachFamily-40 BeachFamily-41 BeachFamily-42 BeachFamily-43 BeachFamily-44

Carrie is so incredibly gorgeous.  This truly is a photo of a mother’s love right here – no mama is prettier than when they are hugging their babies.BeachFamily-45 Blog2 BeachFamily-47 BeachFamily-49 BeachFamily-50 BeachFamily-51 BeachFamily-52 BeachFamily-53 Time for some friends to join in for the party on the beach!BeachFamily-55 BeachFamily-56 BeachFamily-57 BeachFamily-58 Blog3 BeachFamily-60 BeachFamily-61 BeachFamily-62 BeachFamily-63 BeachFamily-64 BeachFamily-65 BeachFamily-66 BeachFamily-67 BeachFamily-68 BeachFamily-69 BeachFamily-70 BeachFamily-71 BeachFamily-72 BeachFamily-73 BeachFamily-74 BeachFamily-75 BeachFamily-76 BeachFamily-77 BeachFamily-78 BeachFamily-79 BeachFamily-80 BeachFamily-81 BeachFamily-82 BeachFamily-83 BeachFamily-84 BeachFamily-85 BeachFamily-86 BeachFamily-87If only I could share all of them – this has been much too long of a blog post, but what an incredible evening we had – and that sunset!!!!  xoxoxo

Finn // 7 years old

As I was putting Finn to bed the other night, I said “I can’t believe you will be SEVEN in a few days, Finn!  I just don’t think I can handle it!” and he said “Mom.  I will ALWAYS hug you!  Every day!  I will ALWAYS love you!  And I’m not going to change.  I mean, when I’m 7 tomorrow, I’ll be the same that I was at “six” today, mom.”  Good point.  I still can’t help but reminisce on his younger years and how fast they have gone.  I can’t begin to explain how thankful I am for Finn – and the joy we’ve had this past 7 years with him.

What has six brought us?  A LOT of questions about science, the earth, the world, God, life and everything in between.  It has brought us maturity, innocence, excitement, a few (or more) temper tantrums out of stubbornness, a level of independence that is both wonderful and scary all at once, lots of laughter, hugs & bedtime cuddles.  It’s the sweet spot we’re in – between the toddler years and the pre-teen years where I can see the man he will be but still get to enjoy the sweetness of his younger years.  He is the best big brother to River (they’ve grown such a bond that sometimes I just sit and watch them play with a smile on my face).  He’s my best little buddy and travel partner and makes my days brighter than they ever were before.

We did a small shoot this year because it was a bit cold outside and along with the sweetness of children comes the hard – we’ve been sick for the past three weeks and I think we’re still in the midst of it (please, Spring, come!) – but I also put together a little video that you’ll see at the end of this post!

Happy Birthday Finn!  You are the light of our lives and we love you so!

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His 7 year birthday video (which made me cry about 200 million thousand times, so I can’t even watch it anymore – but oh, the sweetness!):