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!



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: https://www.instagram.com/therareandthebeautiful/


October Gizzoals

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You know how they say September 1st is the new January 1st? Well October 1st (okay, 2nd) is the new September 1st (new January 1st) for working moms of two small kids named Kellie.


So here’s my goals for the month:

  • Whole 30. I am obnoxiously posting this on the internet for accountability. Normally I’m pretty private about stuff like this, but I’ve been halfheartedly trying to eat totally paleo for the past five months but kept falling face first into gluten free bagels with grassfed butter. So here we are. Follow me at @kellieblogs for the full scoop, meal and snack posts overload. Doing this for several reasons, but really I don’t need to justify to anyone why it’s a good idea to eat less (no) white crack sugar and more vegetables. But I’ll blog about it later this month.
  • Say no to some things, no matter how fun they look.
  • Establish some work rhythms. I’m still living day-to-day and really need to get some solid rhythms going and schedule out some batch task days.
  • walk two days a week outside in the fall air
  • work out at least once (yep, at least once in the whole month)
So here’s if I had a magic wand what I’d do this month:
  • make my eczema go away
  • make Emmeline sleep through the night and nap during the day
  • schedule all my announcements for the rest of the semester
  • make all my students and parents join my Remind group and message me only there so I only have to check one thing
  • tolerate dairy (namely in the form of cheesecake)
  • fold all my clothes
  • put all my clothes away
  • wish for more wishes, etc.
Y’all I freaking love October. Let’s do this! My last month of my 20s! Hooray!

It’s In Your Hands, Black Lives Matter, and Comfort in The Church


I typically avoid politics and related discussion, mostly because I big fat don’t care and I have no apologies for that. Relationships with people are more important to me than being right about something. I do not enjoy a spirited debate, in Facebook or real life. I research around election time, make my decisions, cast my vote (love rocking that 19th amendment, baby!) and I live my life the way I believe things should be lived. Voting is important, but the older I get the more I really believe the way that we live our lives daily is way more important than how we vote, where we identify politically or what we post to Facebook. Shocker, right? The way we speak to people, the way we treat strangers we meet at the grocery store, and the things we say in our heads about people when we see them are way more important. Those things start the shift. Simple words and thoughts are what start the movement.

So, me and diversity, in short(ish):

I grew up in Durham, I went to preschool through my senior year of high school with people that looked different from me and I never noticed. It was normal. It was so normal that it was a non-issue for me. Whenever people talked about racism I was sincerely puzzled, thinking it was a thing of the 1950s segregated days that we grew up learning about each February. I always had friends that were not white. It was not until I started college at a private women’s school in Raleigh that I noticed the absence of women of color. It was weird. I remember my freshman year finally making friends with a black girl and thinking how strange it was that I actually had to look for a friend that was different than me. Over time though, I became closer friends with the girls that lived near me or that were in classes with me and maintaining a racially diverse friend group became less of a priority. Before I knew it, I was graduated and working at a high school in rural North Carolina that literally had one black staff member that was not part of the custodial staff, and she was a teacher’s assistant. It was beyond bizarre to me. My second job literally had ZERO staff members at my campus that were not white until halfway through my second year. It was like living in a parallel universe. Both public schools, one in the country, one in the city, in 2010 and beyond– nearly completely white.

Once I started working at home and was knee deep in diapers, I really didn’t have any friends that weren’t middle class white moms. In June of 2015 when the shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston happened, my world was rocked. It was so sad. It was so hard to believe that now, so far removed from the civil rights movement, that crap like that was still happening. Kind of the same way that it’s hard  for me to believe that people still smoke (helloooo didn’t you see that video in middle school health class that talked through the hole in her throat?) it’s hard for me to really believe that people truly think that they are superior to others just because their skin is white. It blows my mind that that kind of ignorance still exists and that it is a motivator for violence for people. Insane. It’s even more insane to me that a lot of these people associate themselves with my same Jesus. Completely insane.

As a middle class white lady teetering on the edge of my twenties, I don’t know what it’s like to be black. I don’t know what it’s like to be hispanic. I don’t know what it’s like to be anything than a white woman. I’ve had a few “out of my comfort zone” trips where I was a student in foreign country, but both times I was able to easily blend in with my European features (it wasn’t until I started speaking Spanish that people would get annoyed with my American-ness) but other than some sexist comments here or there, or people assuming that I’m racist because I’m white in various work or school situations I’ve not dealt with systematic discrimination or racism in my day to day life. I can really, truly only imagine what that is like. I can’t apologize for being white, much in the same way I can’t apologize for being American or a woman, or a Scorpio– it was one hundred percent out of my control. It just happened.

This sermon rocked me (Link: It’s In Your Hands, Pastor Steven Furtick at Elevation Church June 21, 2015). I was a new mama, working at home, holding my brand new baby imagining what it would be like if we were black in today’s society and it broke my heart. This message was before we were going to Elevation Church, we started going there about a month later, actually. After listening to it, creating opportunities for our son to meet, grow, learn and live with people different from us became a top priority. A lot of our neighbors were black and we didn’t know their names. Most of our church family/our entire small group at the the time was white, and that needed to change for us. I literally could not name a single black person that I had spoken to more than once since Lincoln had been born or whose name I knew (other than friends from school on social media). That was 100% not okay for me. And so, we began looking for a new church. Not that our old church was bad in any way, or racist in any way, in fact they were 100% committed to missions and were very active in the discussion on diversity in the church. But for us, it was time for more than a discussion– it was time for action. Our baby was growing up and would soon be watching us. It was time for a change. And as ridiculous as it sounds to say out loud, it was time to be friends with some black people.

This is just one area where we felt we needed to change. I’m not saying we’re awesome for doing it. I’m not saying you’re racist because you’re not doing it. But I think it’s worth examining your level of comfort in your current church situation. Are you choosing your level of comfort over the level of impact your family could have?  Examine your life as your kids would see it. What conclusions would they come to about black people by the way you live your life in front of them? Are they normal people just like you? Or are they just people you see and pass in the grocery store? Do they see and interact with kids that are different from them on a regular basis? Do you seek out parks to play in “white” neighborhoods? What stereotypes have you accepted as the norm from your parents or your spouse or your culture? QUESTION THEM. Where do these stereotypes come from? Hate? Misunderstanding? Do they come from God? Are they biblical?

What is an area you can change in? It’s in your hands. Racism can end with our generation, it’s just up to us. I think even sometimes we get so fixated on sending and missions we neglect the implications of the great commission here: go and make disciples doesn’t necessarily mean move to China and convert all the people. What if it could mean, meet people here, be in relationships with them, grow with them in the Lord. Do black people live in your neighborhood? Cool, meet them. If they don’t, maybe you need to try a little harder to diversify your circle. Ever drive out of your way to go to Target or Starbucks? Same concept. If it’s worth it to you, you’ll make it happen. You have to make it worth it.

So, hey, Christians: Look at your life. Before you post on Facebook about whatever whatever whatever political whatever, look at your life. Are you living out what you believe or what you say you believe? When you post on Instagram #blacklivesmatter, are you living that? Are you teaching your kids with your relationships and your friends and your interactions with strangers in front of them that black lives matter? How can you live your daily life, outside of your “statement” on social media, that black lives truly matter? Or are you just being trendy and hashtagging and reposting and living your comfortable white life? How can you demonstrate love for your brothers and sisters in a real way?

And hey, Christians: is America the source from which your freedom comes or is it Jesus? Was it founding fathers that died on the cross for you or was it Jesus? Yeah. We have freedoms here that we wouldn’t have in other places in the world, but what is more important? Your freedom to offend people with your speech or the freedom and grace given to you by Jesus that you should be extending to others? It’s okay, and GREAT to be thankful and appreciative that we have the freedom and rights that we do but under no circumstances does our freedom of speech become an excuse to intentionally offend, hurt, or belittle others. That is not the message of Jesus in any way shape or form.

And hey, Christians. People can be so involved on social media that they feel like calling out those that are “silent”. Maybe those people aren’t silent because they are complicit to the racism and atrocious acts happening. Maybe they are “silent” on social media because they aren’t on their phones or their computers living their lives. Maybe they are out living and loving.

The cure isn’t a hashtag, or another Facebook post “discussion” or a viral graphic or video to be liked and shared. The cure is living it. Examine your life, make a change, live it up. (And also, watch this sermon even if sermons aren’t your thing– it will challenge your perspective on many things).


everyday photos, personal, pregnancy

Strawberry Picking

Two weeks ago we met up with a few friends to go strawberry picking! In all honesty I was feeling super pregnant, super grumpy, super impatient and super thirsty and Lincoln was all of the toddler equivalents. I wanted to stay home but I’m so glad we went. We were driving each other bananas all morning, but this was a lovely thirty minute break from all the bananas driving. It was gorgeous weather!

Lincoln was bored with it at first and then realized that they were strawberries he could eat, and then he was ALL OVER THAT. He did really great and ate some whole ones (green leaves included) and then later found it was much better to just take one or two big juicy bites and then throw the rest of the berry somewhere. I didn’t realize it was pay by the bucket and didn’t fill all of ours up and by the time I paid it was too late and the toddler was too done. So, next time we know. Pile it up. All the strawberries. So fun to see these friends, and my dear friend Stephanie gave me some fresh eggs from a friend of hers and they were delicious. Great day. Great eating day.

Sidenote: My lil’ Nikon 28mm lens never disappoints. The color of these photos is incredible. Most of these are straight out of the camera, I had to tweak exposure on a few because the metering doesn’t line up 100% with the lens and my body, but I am just in awe. Yay eyeballs and cameras and weird lens configurations and adaptors.