Shi // Birth

On a joyful day in November, my warrior of a friend left me the best kind of voicemail. She was heading to the hospital to get ready to welcome her third boy.

She and I have been almost hilariously staggering our pregnancies for the past four years, seemingly getting pregnant pretty soon after the other gives birth which has created the most spectacular exchange of sleep deprived text message exchanges and pajama hangs with feeding babies, cleaning up boogers and changing diapers. Nothing like having someone in the trenches with you.

During my first labor she became in an incredible source of text encouragement which took our budding acquaintanceship and was the beginning of what blossomed into a full blow sisterfriendship. I adore this woman and it was a complete honor to photograph the joyous day of welcoming Shiloh to the world.

This was her second vbac and I hope the photos communicate what a calm, zen labor it was until it was time. She labored fiercely and calmly, and then suddenly took a knee, water broke and baby boy was born quickly! The midwife rushed in, had just enough time to lay some blankets on the floor and catch him. It was amazing. I screamed with joy. This girl is strong, fierce, talented, creative, loving and an incredible mom and friend. I adore her.

Welcome to the world, baby Shi. We are so glad you are here!


atopic dermatitis, dupixent, eczema

Dupixent on the Tenth Day

Actual text from me to my dermatologist nurse friend regarding the two Dupixent doses I injected into my own belly on Valentine’s Day: These are tiny syringes of Jesus miracles!

I almost took a few self portraits that day to document how bad it was, but after I took one I decided that I’d rather actually not remember that day in detail, thankyouverymuch. I woke up in what I am tempted to call excruciating pain in my right arm, which was swollen all the way down to my fingertips and it was stiff and hard to move. I whimpered my way into the shower to try what I call a hard reset on my skin. Warm water, pat dry, then hardcore layers of Aquaphor, Cerave and Eucerin creams within 5 minutes of exiting the shower. Hard to do with one arm. Thanks to my shipping notification I knew that meds were en route so mentally I was just trying to hang on until whenever they would arrive.

I had a hard time getting the baby out of her crib and diaper changed and basically didn’t make the toddler do anything he didn’t want to do so I could just sit on the couch and wait. We had been trying to wean at that point but due to pain and immobility in my right arm, making bottles were not a possibility so I just sat and fed the baby on demand most of the day. I texted a few people to see if they could come by and help me with the kids but no one that I texted was available, and I was feeling very vulnerable and guarded and didn’t really want to reach out to anyone that didn’t know the situation already. I just didn’t feel like explaining the complexities of my genetic defect and the incredible way the immune system creates antibodies while breastfeeding–– and the incredibly WRONG way my body interprets those signals. Hubs came home at lunch and changed an impeccably timed poopy diaper, fixed everybody lunch and got the toddler down for a nap in the most productive lunch hour I’ve ever seen. He snapped right out of work mode into super dad/husband mode and it was incredible to watch.

It was a rock bottom day for sure, but deep in my soul I was searching frantically for the familiar feeling of anxiety reeling out of control but it wasn’t there. I was strangely at peace and matter of fact about the situation. Maybe it was knowing that I couldn’t just skirt my responsibilities for the day– I had to feed kids and keep them safe. Maybe it was knowing that help was ON THE WAY. Maybe it was supernatural peace straight from God. Maybe it was a combo of all three. But that rock bottom day could not have been more different from my rock bottom days of my first flare in 2015. Same disease, new me. Behold, he is doing a new thing! In everything.

UPS dropped off my cooler box around 1pm and I set the syringes out immediately and once they were room temperature I cleaned my belly with a baby wipe (note to self: get rubbing alcohol) read, re-read, and re-read the directions again, stress ate the remaining seven gluten free Joe Joes and injected them into the loose skin of my belly that grew two humans in the past four years. Such a weird visual.

Anyways, today is day ten and I feel amazing! I saw literal overnight improvement in my fingertips on day 2. They were plump  feeling and in general my skin was extremely, abnormally soft. I started flaking and peeling like a madwoman. Over the weekend I had a widespread flare on my arms and face, but it resolved quickly and just left some peeling. On Tuesday (day 6) I had another widespread flare, but after putting on some lotion and taking some ibuprofen it was manageable and the redness went down. Overall, I just feel very very very very dry.

The strangest thing about these flares is the immense pain that comes with it. It feels like  I am sunburned and wet and any stretching or moving hurts way worse than anything I’ve ever experienced. I think my nerves are doing weird things. Today, on day ten, my pain has decreased significantly. I need to moisturize like whoa but I haven’t made time for it today but in general, I am feeling great. It’s still there, still visible but the redness is significantly less and it’s actually disappeared from my arms some. Both of my tattoos were covered eleven days ago and now only half of one is. Truly incredible.

I always make the “joke” (quotations around joke because my husband has recently brought it to my attention that my jokes may not be as funny as I think they are…) that I don’t want people to offer any solutions or products for my eczema unless they are selling a brand new immune system. Y’all, this really is a new immune systems! The injections target the pathways that contain the erroneous response to allergens and FIXES IT. Incredible. Bionic immune system. Also, this drug is priced at $37,000 for a year of treatment, I believe, and my insurance was going to charge me $200. And then I got a co-pay discount card which made it $0. For free. $37k treatment for free. What is life. Here’s Day Ten photos– you can see a few days before I started here.

Focus is all wonky because self timer and really I cannot believe that I am posting photos of myself in my sports bra on the interwebs, but ta da! Feeling so good guys. It’s still there but mobility has returned in my arms and hands and I’ve washed, dried, folded and put away laundry, washed bottles as soon as I needed to and taken pictures and adjusted my settings and none of my finger or knuckle skin cracked in half. Praise God. I am certain that setbacks are ahead, but praising seriously, hugely, and incredibly big for the gift of this small step in healing. Today is a great day. I’ve never loved washing dishes or putting laundry away more. It’s funny what things I used to take for granted.





parenthood, pregnancy

Forty One and Two


It was forty one weeks and two days ago that I was forty one weeks and two days pregnant with the sweetest, spunkiest, loudest little red headed girl that I’ve always known. Lately I like to watch her play with her brother, and I just imagine me as a little girl, a teenager, a college girl, a newlywed… I’d daydream and imagine what my life would be like, and what my kids would be like. I look at Lincoln and Emmeline and just imagine God smiling at those thoughts of the Younger Mes, knowing that they would be the most fun, perfect for me and adorable in every possible way. It was always them. It was especially always Emmeline. She has been tucked in my heart for as long as I can remember. Every roll, every reddish hair and eyelash and invisible eyebrow. She is the the red cherry on top.

At nine months old she is fearless and demanding. She loves to make us smile and acts just so goofy at times. She dances, loves music and truly embodies her middle name, Joy. Just making eye contact with her across the room is enough to make her whole body wiggle, a chuckle erupt and her little nose scrunch. She tries to walk and doesn’t seem to remember that she can’t, even after falling face first on the hard floor several times a day. She will yell and swat at Lincoln if he takes her toy or gets in the way, and if he stays too close for too long she’ll pull up on him to standing. This is especially entertaining because he knows that if he moves she will fall and then cry and he doesn’t want to get in trouble for making her cry, so he just stands there and yells for help…

I am in a place where I know, like I know, I am slacking in some areas. Some important, some not-so, but I am not slacking in the loving my babies department. I am snuggling, hugging, singing, dancing, walking, playing trucks, tickling, kissing 110%. Like, I am all in. I was made for this. I’m exhausted out of my mind and pushed to new physical, mental and emotional limits on the regular, but man. This is the good stuff.

Before I had kids, I think I thought the biggest trial of new motherhood was losing the baby weight. Like, really. I think I thought you were pregnant, had the baby, life was normal (just with a baby now) and you worked as hard as you could to lose the baby weight as fast as possible. I heard someone say that it was important to give yourself grace because it took nine (10. It took TEN) months to grow that baby, so it may take nine (DIEZ) months to go back to your pre-baby size.

So, I don’t know about all that baby weight nonsense because once these jokers were out, the LAST thing on my mind has been what size pants I wear. Partially because I only wear leggings now, but also because there are SO many other things that I need to spend time and energy on. Like these kids want to eat… always. Laundry is spilling out from all the corners of my home. I also like, work and stuff. Both times I’ve also dealt with some pretty intense health stuff myself, so how much I weigh? Do not care. Do not know. Do not want to know. Also, if a health professional asks me how much I weigh, I will tell them how much I weighed when I started college.

Real life, though. Nothing is the same after having a baby. After Lincoln I remember being so upset with Marshall for just going back to work like it was no big deal. For me I felt like NOTHING was the same. My body, my skin, my brain, my days, my nights, my time– what I could eat, drink, etc. Literally this child had changed every single thing about my life in one foul swoop. BAM. Life completely altered.

And then, a few months passed and then a few more months passed and then  suddenly I looked up and realized that we had done it. We had made it through, and while nothing was the same as before, it was the same as the day before and the pattern continued until it felt normal. It happened around this time. Lincoln was around eight or nine months old and I just remember feeling a little less insane and less like being in survival mode all the time. It did not occur to me then that it had taken almost the same amount of time of gestation for me to get used to him on the outside, but it totally was around the forty week mark.

The number forty is used somewhat frequently in scripture so I did a little digging just to see what the deal was with God and that number. He’s all about some numerical significance. Forty symbolizes a period of testing or trial. And if the forty weeks of pregnancy and the forty weeks that follow does not fit that perfectly, I do not know what does. Tests and trials ABOUNDING. The thing that is cool about the forty thing, is usually after the period of time of the trial, something really cool happens after. Noah in the Ark forty days and nights– and bam! Waters recede and there’s a fresh start to humanity. And also rainbows. Moses hung out on Mount Sinai for forty days and nights and received laws from God– a pretty big deal to Judaism and subsequently, Christianity. Jesus fasted for forty days in the wilderness and by the end of it, foreshadowed his ultimate victory over Satan by resisting him completely when he was really hungry during that time.

I don’t  know. I’m all  about the numerical significance, too. Just doesn’t seem like a coincidence to me that human gestation is forty weeks. That is a time of trials and tests for sure, and what follow is truly incredible.

Speaking of numerical significance,  this is probably my most favorite thing. So I was overdue with Emmeline. 10 days. I was due April 30 and she came May 9th and that last  stretch was a crazy emotional roller coaster. So a few weeks after she was born I was driving around and noticed the oil change sticker on the inside of my car had 5/9/17 on it and I was super confused as to why we got an oil change on Emmeline’s birth day (It is also worth noting that it is not very often that I am the one to take a car in for an oil change, because I don’t know what the dates on the stickers mean). In my sleep deprived newborn stupor, I called Marshall and he explained it to me and I laughed OUT LOUD because for weeks “When is the baby coming?!” was basically the only thing we ate, slept or breathed. We obsessed over every contraction, every potential sign of labor, everything. Literally in my car, in my eyeline that I saw every single day was her birthday. It was right under my nose the whole time. So hilarious. Nothing’s a coincidence! We are handpicked. Oil change stickers and all.


A Social Media Elimination Diet


About 10 days left of my social media break and I am loving it. Loving it, I say!

I didn’t realize how noisy it was in my head until it was quiet. And I like the quiet.

If you’re just tuning in– I just decided to quit social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) cold turkey for the month of February for a myriad of reasons that I have not fully shared. Ultimately: best thing I’ve done in a while. 

I didn’t realize how second nature and mindless the scroll and read had become until I didn’t have anywhere to scroll and read. My first instinct was to replace it with something else, and I did for a while. Websites, articles and a dumb game on my phone while I fed the baby or killed time and then I started testing out this thing called nothing. I’d sit in silence and just think. Or pray. Or just take it all in. The sights, sounds and feels of the moment. I realized that by taking photos constantly, uploading them and sharing them, I was desperately trying to save them for later. I was procrastinating on the moment. What if I just used both my eyes, both my thumbs by my side and just see the moment and live it fully? Isn’t that kind of the same as keeping it? There have been a few sweet brother sister embraces, funny things seen out and about, and pretty meals that have remained undocumented and I guess I’ll be okay.

So, the verdict is, that much like gluten, dairy and refined sugar, I can tolerate Facebook, Instagram and Etcetera in extreme moderation. They are otherwise extremely harmful to my heart, soul and mind flora. I have no idea how I am going to go about reintroducing these things back into my life, but I will, I’m sure. Probably fail miserably like The Whole 24 of 2012 (day 25 held a dessert buffet) but I am definitely learning a ton. Also, I’ve done some fun things in addition to keeping my family somewhat alive and well during a few weeks of back to back sickness.

  • Started listening to audio books (completed two!)
  • rekindled the love of some music — The Temper Trap, older Elevation Worship, Veggie Tales…to name a few.
  • learned how to play a few chords and songs on the Ukulele
  • Had some serious fun with my kids, including an all day pajama party that took a midday field trip to Whole Foods (during which Lincoln peed his pants, but YOLO)
  • watched almost all of Parks and Recreation and developed a weird love obsession for Amy Poehler (just finished her audio book “Yes Please” today, actually…) and learned way too much about her life.
  • completed almost all of the prep work for my Powersheets (Haven’t you heard?! March 1st is the new September 1st (new January 1st)).
  • blogged…. a lot.

All in all– do it. A social media break. You will not regret it!


blogs & brands, Uncategorized

Two Years with Lularoe Tracy Vazquez

You guys! It’s been almost two years exactly that I’ve been making magic with my girl Tracy. Two years ago we were both Spanish teachers at the same school and now she is full time Lularoe/Styling and I am full time teachering at home and momming and shooting. SO MUCH LIFE on those two years, and can’t imagine not shooting with her all the time! Fast five, coming at ya!

ONE: I do love Lularoe leggings and I cannot lie. I wore my black ones up until my precious baby was born at 41 weeks and 2 days and they were comfy as heck!

TWO: Tracy is the real deal. She is gorgeous, so fun to photograph and always up for an adventure. We will stand outside and take photos in 20º weather and laugh our butts off.

THREE: Tracy could get dressed in the dark and come out looking way cuter than I do most days getting dressed when the sun is way way up. Her ability to style and visualize clothes with each other and accessories is incredible. A true spiritual gift.

FOUR: She encourages me to GET AFTER IT. She gives me the best pep talks and her encouraging words hang with me and give me fuel to GO GO GO when everything points to stopping.

FIVE: We are different in a lot of ways but our creativity is on the same wavelength and I LOVE working with her and creating fun, colorful and exciting images for her business. Check her out at and her amazing styling magic! Her mission is ON POINT. She truly does inspire me to be who God made ME to be: Kellie.

Here’s some favorites from our work together for the past two years. We are JUST getting started! SO many fun things coming this year for us. INSERT BEYONCÉ HAIR FLIP GIF HERE. 

PS: I always love to collaborate with bloggers to get y’all  high quality photographs to support your high quality content. Check out my “blogs & brands” page and let’s get together! Seriously I have one million ideas. Let’s do it. Something fun.


atopic dermatitis, dupixent, eczema, Uncategorized

My Best Yes: Dupixent

With a blog it’s tempting to wait until any difficulties have passed to write about them. It’s nice to wrap the past troubles up in a blog post and tie a bow on top while proclaiming “this is what happened and here’s what I learned!”. After stumbling upon Helen’s very honest and vulnerable blog about her journey with mamahood and eczema, I felt compelled to share my own. Finding her “me too” was like finding GOLD. It was healing balm to my soul to find at least one other heart on this planet that shared the same struggles and fears as me. I often feel very alone in my Eczema Mama journey. It’s so unique, so severe and so lonely at times. I figured it was time for me to share while I’m in the middle, because I know FOR SURE there is another mama out there like me. I hope you find this, girl.

We are gonna make it through this. You know how I know? I did it once already. This is how the story ends: WE WIN. 

I found Helen’s blog by searching “Dupixent success stories”. My amazing dermatological team has been recommending this new drug to me and after this big flare that has lasted several weeks now, I’ve finally ordered it. It is basically the opposite of everything that got me through last time. Last time I stopped breastfeeding, went strict Autoimmune Paleo, and within a month I was almost completely clear. And it was fine! (PS: to see how Dupixent works click here… it’s cool)

The problem I’m running into this time is that eating for eczema is the ultimate metaphor for a works based religion: you have no idea how much you have to do before it works and you’ve achieved salvation. It takes time, and I don’t have time. This is NOW. This is my kids’ childhood and while I’m taking lots of pictures, singing songs and snuggling I am missing quite a bit. I wake up most mornings these days unable to extend and bend my arms without intense pain. I can’t get my hands wet, so I can’t give the kids a bath. I would basically saw my arms off for a chance to sit in a hot shower and cry out all the regular frustrations of new motherhood, but a hot shower is basically a guarantee that I’ll be miserable and immobile for the next three days. And speaking of crying, I basically have the ultimate Raccoon eye mask of eczema around my eyes, and salt water tears? Literal salt in the wound. Crying makes it worse, so crying I do not. I just want a good cry.

So, after some gentle coaxing and absolutely no pressure from my dermatologist friends and husband (they know me so well– the slightest bit of you should do this will make me NOT do it immediately) I have reached my pain threshold and decided to give Dupixent a yes. My Best Yes.  As Lysa taught me, a yes is always a no to something else. So, the big No is breastfeeding. Which, first time mom me was relieved to say goodbye to. I stopped breastfeeding Lincoln when he was around 8 months old and it was hands down the best choice for our family at the time, but second time mom me is having a harder time with closing this chapter. Emmeline is our last biological baby (we’ve always talked about fostering or adopting, but that is just a twinkle in our eye..) and I am struggling with closing the chapter on the babymaking days and all the wonder and magic and dreaminess of it all. These are the days I dreamed about, you know? So much of her story has been so redemptive to me. My pregnancy, birth and even breastfeeding went so much smoother and was just so joy-filled, that I just really don’t ever want it to end. Alas, reality has reared it’s ugly, red, itchy face and I must return from my visit to the stars. It’s taken a few weeks, quite a bit of bartering with God, waiting-and-seeing, crying and bottle and paci hunting, but the time has come. My healing will be arriving on Wednesday on a Refrigerated White Horse requiring a signature and my big, sad No will lead way to a bunch of Yeses that I haven’t said in years. I’ll be saying yes to some of these things without fear for my skin to retaliate. Cannot wait. Also, I have not even considered that this treatment will not work for me so, please pray with me that it will.

short sleeves, bathing my kids, a long hot shower, wearing mascara, wearing my wedding rings, swimming in the summer, sweating, exercising, hairspray for my crazy baby hairs, pimento cheese, pet my dogs, wash dishes, hold hands with people at church, paint my nails, try new foods, wear my hair down, use regular soap in public bathrooms, bend and extend my arms fully, scratch without fear, get a pedicure, get a massage, get a haircut, get ice cream?!, eat at the State Fair, wear sunscreen, snuggle sweaty sleeping babies, clean the bathroom, holding my camera with whole fingers without cracks, epsom salt baths to relax (not out of necessity), sleeping all night, UV rays from the sun, walks outside, crying while watching a movie 

Last week I set up some self portraits of me and my sweet girl in our special place. As deep as the pain goes, the joy goes just as high– and that chair has been the place for it all. Snuggled her brother in that chair when she was barely a blueberry in my belly. He told me she was a “sister” weeks before we really knew. Those early baby piranha nursing days. Cluster feeds from 6-10pm for what seemed like months. The time she pooped on the wall. Rocking a stuffy baby to sleep, and many sleepy snuggles to come (she just doesn’t know it yet). That chair is holy ground.

I stumbled upon a few eczema hashtags on Instagram recently and wanted to contribute. Most of the images were expressionless faces, and I thought I’d mix it up a bit with a smile. This disease is the absolute pits. A slow torture and an unpredictable thief. But here’s the thing, it’s not anything we did or that we didn’t do. It just is what it is, and it’s up to us to choose joy. We just gotta. I hadn’t really realized how bad it had gotten because my brain just stopped feeling it. All my fingers were cracked, open wounds around and I legit didn’t feel them. I’d avoided mirrors for a few days and not really made eye contact with myself. When I looked at these photos on the back of my camera I remember hearing a sob and realizing it was my own. It was like looking at someone else’s diseased body.

I’ve never been particularly attached my appearance. I’ve always been one to choose comfort over style, sleep over a shower, money in my pocket over a haircut or makeup… so while I would definitely prefer to not wake up disfigured or oozing some mornings, I’ve adjusted to the no-make-up and one hair wash a week lifestyle just fine. Now that I’m a girl mama, I’ve been kind of worried about how I’ll teach her to do her hair (I need to take a class, for real) or make up or dress or other girly things, but I hope she looks at these pictures in her teens, twenties or even when she’s thirty like me and see that beauty is so much more than skin deep. Yes, daughter, we should shower. But also, your face isn’t everything. Your soul matters, your heart matters and also, being funny matters (please be funny, my little girl!). 

These are some of my favorite pictures of she and I to date. Strangely enough, I’m at a loss for words to describe why. Behold, he is doing a new thing. Same disease on me, but a new thing in me, for sure.



Audio Books, The Pukes and A Paci


Day seven of my social media fast thing and it’s been SO INTERESTING. I haven’t spent a moment of my adult life without social media, period. Nearly every place I have been since graduating college had a high speed connection and my thumbs took advantage. This includes a 12 hour bus ride in Peru and rest stops in Costa Rica.

So, now I have all these thoughts and nowhere to put them and it’s possible that my husband and three year old are tired of hearing me talk. Although Lincoln’s “wow! That’s so cool, mommy!” sounds really convincing so that makes me feel better since like 90% of the time I say that to him I am not listening and/or have no idea what he’s talking about. But maybe he really thinks I think he’s cool! Hashtag: three. Hashtag: my finger pockets are so big mommy! Hashtag: wow that’s so cool, buddy! Hashtag: but really, wut?

I figured since I have all these extra fringe minutes, I could do some things I’ve wanted to do but haven’t made time for in the past. Not big things, but little ones. Like listening to books that I will most likely never ever make time to read (if I am laying or sitting down and not working, I am not reading, I am ASLEEP). I’ve been trying to get on the audiobook wagon for a while, but am totally suspicious of those services that charge you every month. I thought about trying Audible for free, but I always forget to cancel things before they charge me or whatever and I just end up feeling like a sucker.

Enter: THE PUBLIC LIBRARY. They have audio books! And not just cassette tapes hanging up in zip loc baggies like they did in 1991– they have them ONLINE. And you can listen to them. For. Free.

I just finished listening to Jen Hatmaker’s “For The Love”. It’s been on my “to read” list for like a year. And I read it. Well, I “read” it. And it was so good it had me Amening and sending up praise hands while I drove, cooked dinner and folded laundry. It was so good, I might listen again. Jen reads it so it’s basically an 8 hour long episode of her podcast which I also love.

So here’s the deal with the audio book thing. You download the app, Libby, find your library and put your library card info in and start checking out audio books. They only have a few copies of each and there can be quite a waitlist (I’m number 1,237 for a Brené Brown book currently) which I don’t fully understand for audio books, but once it’s your turn it downloads it to your app and sends you an email and lets you know it’s on your shelf. BAM

After hanging out with Jen for 8 hours in the past few days I figured I’d check out her website and blog and home girl only blogged two times in the past year. Sure, she’s been writing books, touring and raising five kids or whatever but that was like a huge confidence boost for me. If Jen Hatmaker, a professional writer person doesn’t blog regularly… then I am totally off the hook*. G’Bye. Also, she writes like I think with lots of dramatic punctuation and capital letters. WHENEVER SHE FEELS LIKE IT. I dig it.

*as in, a totally self imposed, nonexistent hook that I really don’t care about or take too seriously.

So, I kind of miss social media but mostly I miss seeing pictures and videos of my friends’ kids. Which is a good excuse to text them and say hi. I also miss sharing pictures of my cute kids, so if you get a random text with pictures of my kids in it and no explanation— it’s just I CAN’T EVEN.

So what’s new here? Not much really, except we survived and conquered a throw up stomach bug (y’all know I’m telling you throw up so you didn’t think we all just had the runs… ) from Sunday morning to Tuesday night like a family of bosses. Probably one of my new core memories of motherhood is nursing the baby in her room trying not to touch her in clothes that I’m fairly certain have her brother’s puke on them after trying to teach him how to puke in a trash can every twenty minutes all night long. Four for four, the bug got us. And I got a fresh batch of positivity and despite the sights and sounds, I enjoyed the family time and breaking some rules like watching movies for like 24 hours straight and unlimited applesauce pouches. Basically I was able to parent like I always want to, but don’t. TV all day and no food preparation. It was a dream. Minus the puking and staying up all night of course. Unrelated: we probably won’t be having anyone over until we rebuild our house after it burns to the ground because germs. Also, Tuesday I finally got my monthly package in the mail from Young Living with my Thieves oil in it. You know, the one that kills germs and keeps you from getting sick? Too little, too late YL. Too late. 

Maybe it’s the audio books, the fact I’m not feeling sick anymore or that I found a paci that Emmeline will take, but WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE. Keep on, friends. Keep on!


Every Minute


February 1st, welcome welcome! January was my self-proclaimed Sabbath Month and I completely let go of all self-imposed expectations to do anything above the bare minimum. The bare minimum was basically keep family alive, feed them and clothe them and whatnot. All were fed and clothed, although the degrees of healthiness and cleanliness varied. It was truly wonderful, though. A great break from everything and a good time for me to really listen to my inside dialogue and get down to the nitty gritty of what I want the rest of my year to look like and what God is teaching me. I’m powering through the Powersheets still and have quite a bit left to do before I actually set my goals for the month, but God has given be a great bit of clarity about what really matters and for me, in this season it is NOT deadlines. Especially arbitrary ones like “firsts” or “lasts”.

As I’ve posted on Facebook and Instagram (I deleted Twitter several months ago) I’m taking the whole month of February off from those accounts for so many reasons. Mostly, I’m not really an “in moderation” kind of person. I’m what Gretchen Rubin refers to as an “Abstainer” so if I need to cut back on something I just cut it out and that’s easier for me. This year my word is discipline and I’d like to work on being disciplined in that way– being able to eat some dairy, some sugar, spend some time on social media, but staying present and aware of what my mind and body are doing, ya know? It’s easy for me to just operate on muscle memory and suddenly find my phone in my hand with my thumb hovering over where Instagram used to be. Ya feel me? I kind of hate buzz words, but I really do want to be intentional about the way I am spending my time– just in the way we budget by giving Every Dollar (heyo, Dave Ramsey fans) a job, I want to do the same with my minutes and hours, days and weeks. A time for everything and everything in time. Nothing wasted, not sitting looking at my huge kids wondering where the time went and having to rely on social media to show me what I missed while I was trying to document it! Crazy right? So, starting with all or nothing before I reset with boundaries.

So, is a blog a social media tool? Maybe. Probably. But whatever. This blog is one of those things that I’m always like “oh if I had more time I’d write like I used to” and I suspect that social media was taking up more time than I thought because its 12:06PM at the moment and today I have:

  • cleaned and vacuumed the playroom
  • used the potty twice
  • consumed one liter of water
  • made 2 dozen paleo pumpkin muffins with Lincoln while Emmeline napped
  • fed myself and both kids, 2 meals and a snack (actually make that like 4 snacks for Emmeline)
  • posted announcements for the day, graded all the student work and got all my work inboxes down to zero
  • written this post

I think I found all those minutes I was looking for.








Isabela | shop

Last month I had the pleasure of taking some photos for sweet Isabela — one of the bravest teenage girls I have ever met! She is heading off to Hillsong College in just a few weeks (that’s right, in Australia!) and has set up an online shop to sell a lot of her clothes to help her 1) downsize before moving down under and 2) have a little extra pocket money for the journey. Homegirl is incredible and has been busting it working three jobs since she graduated high school in June to raise all the money she needs for college and it was an honor to spend time with her and take photos too! She is truly incredible. Super gorgeous too, inside and out. I vividly remember being in that season of life, so much unknown and excitement (and for me, definitely some fear!). Incredible things are ahead for you, Bela girl! Check out her Instagram shop here:

birth, photography

Abram | birth

I could write volumes about this day and what it meant to me personally, but all that pales in comparison to the bigger story here– Abram was born!

I met Mary in September of 2015. The week after we started going to Elevation I joined an eGroup and Mary was there. She is one of the kindest people I’ve ever met, so genuine and has one of the most thoughtful and kind spirits. Against all odds and busy-ness of life and her move out of Raleigh, we have kept in touch and seen each other off and on at church things. I talked to her this summer, still flying high from my own birth at Baby & Company in Cary, and asked her if she would be interested in free birth photography. Anyone that does “birth work” can tell you– birth is on another level. Once you experience it, personally or even just being present, you can’t quit! It’s truly a spiritual experience. Ever since my own birth I started to feel a little flame ignite in my soul that maybe, just maybe, birth photography was something I wanted to do. You know, like as a job. Or at least a serious hobby.

Fast-forward to October 11, 2017 and I missed a phone call a 3am. I was asleep (rare, seeing as my own sweet baby does not actually always sleep at night…) and I heard CLEARLY as ever someone in my bedroom say: “Kellie.”

I opened my eyes, sat up and said “huh?!” and nobody replied. Marshall was asleep, as were the kids, and I looked at my phone to see what time it was and saw I had missed a call from Mary and had a text from her that she was at the birth center. Was it an angel  that said my name? I think so. (YES. YES IT WAS.) But at this point you probably already think I’m a weirdo from my aforementioned spiel about birth being an addictive spiritual experience (and some of you are still unsure about this whole birth photo thing in general…), so I’m going to hold off on the “do angels exist?” convo and keep going with the birth story.

Any who, it was at the birth center where I welcomed my own babe a few months earlier that I watched sweet Mary labor and bring her sweet (and big!) baby boy earth side. I had this moment when I refilled her husband’s water bottle and filled up the ice bucket in their room to make some cool rags for Mary during transition that it hit me. Birth stories are the ultimate love story. Have you seen a husband love and serve his wife during labor? A midwife speak love, truth and encouragement to a laboring mom? A mom relying fully on her breath to sustain her, the very breath God breathed into us at creation? The brilliant design of birth and the incredible, tangible atmosphere that follows? It’s all love. An amazing picture of our father’s love for us.

I shouted out loud with joy and surprise when at 7:42am Abraham “Abram” entered the world weighing 8 pounds 3 ounces and at 20 inches long– the son of two of the bravest, strongest people I’ve ever met. It was an honor to witness and be part of this baby’s birth day! Thank you barely covers it!