Sunday, June 11


     This Week: It feels like it's been a while since I've done one of these, so thank you for sharing in this special occasion with me:) This week was mostly filled with lots of work, with deadlines making me anxious while the piles of laundry got higher and higher. The kind of work week where my laptop was always close at hand and would be tucked under my arm when I went from room to room and outside and back in, following the kids around. It's been interesting having them all home from school and thinking of all the ways to keep them entertained and occupied and learning and not fighting.haha I really feeling like this is the first Summer that we're going to be able to go places and do things together, where they're old enough to actually hold onto some of the memories. I'm trying not to put pressure on us as a family by making big goal lists, so we're not planning specifics but definitely hoping for lots of hikes, road trips, swimming, camping, pizza, star-gazing, and sleeping in our hammocks. Richard hung a couple of them up in the shade trees in the yard and the kids were in heaven. They occupied themselves with them for hours, and it was so fun to look out the kitchen window and see Ellie and John swinging in one, and Sophie laying between Lydia and Evie in the other, and to hear their giggles through the open window. 

     There was real heat this week, and then a couple days that got wet and chilly, enough to make me light a fire and pass around some hot chocolate. I've had Ellie reading to the kids here and there to help her practice and to give me some calm so I can do some yoga. I've been doing it for 15 years or so, but I've never set goals for flexibility or kept any sort of schedule or consistency. I decided to try adding that to my daily routine to aid in meditation and to help calm my anxiety, and I've been blown away at how much it does for me mentally, I'm addicted now. I want to write a post specifically talking about this, so I'll stop here with the yoga talk:) Lets see what else,... 

- We bought a 'big boy bed' for John and now it's just sitting there in pieces and I have to put it together, but he's really excited and has been asking every day since it came when we can set it up. 
- Richard and I moved the picnic table onto the back porch, and we've been eating lots of meals out there. I also collected all my painting supplies and am ready to move my easel onto the porch as well. I painted out there a lot last Fall and it was so serene and peaceful.   
- We're making final plans to go on our big Summer road trip here shortly. We're not too sure of the itinerary (as I said to relieve pressure on ourselves, and also because we just love spontaneity), but we're going all the way across the states to visit Richard's family and to see lots of sites along the way. I've gone on many a road trip with these kids and growing up in a big family that was always on the road seemingly, I've picked up a lot of tricks and things that I'm excited about incorporating. Richard has taken on all the hard planning and logistics, and I'm just thinking about things like how I can make pizza over a campfire in the woods.haha
- Working on the gallery wall still. Thank you for all the helpful tips on Instagram!
- Digging through so many of my recipes books and wanting to cook all of the things, it's a problem. But I've been thinking about making some sort of goal in the future sometimes about cooking something new each week and then sharing it here with a little review for you guys on the recipe and the book. What do you think? 

To-dos and goals for the week:
- finish collecting all the camping gear
- buy the kids some water shoes
- keep juicing every day
- finish mending my shirts
- make a fruit smoothie out of that old tropical fruit blend in the freezer
- sort another box or two in the garage
- bag up the kids winter coats and store them in the basement
- go to the gym more
- find some proper hiking boots
- do more for other people
- have a couple naps
- clarify the clothes system better for Lydia
- try those foam curlers with all the girls sometimes
- catch up with some old friends
- take more family video
- sing out loud more
- take the load in the truck to D.I. 
- lots of deep breaths, always deep breaths

A few facts:
  • I heard somewhere that 'silence is golden, unless you're a mom, then silence is a very very bad sign'. That's become very true in our house this week. We can't believe sometimes what we find out has been going on behind our backs.haha
  • I've actually been hearing from a lot of you young girls out there who are struggling with feeling like you're good enough for those around you, that bullies pick you apart, and leave you feeling like no matter how hard you try they're never satisfied. I have a lot to say about that and I love writing one on one with you guys, but in general, I want to say that the people who are the most difficult to please are always the people least worth pleasing. They're also the people that will never be happy no matter what you do, so forget them:)
  • A sweet mother of two girls and a great friend just had her first little boy and is letting me shoot some pictures of him tomorrow, and I can't wait! It's been ages since I've held a newborn and they just have such a magic about them. Maybe I'll have to share one if she's okay with it:)

Something to take away:
(thank you for those that kindly brought my attention to the situation behind the original quote.)
You are allowed to be both a masterpiece and a work in progress, simultaneously.
- Sophia Bush

What is something you enjoyed last week, or something you're looking forward to next week? 
See you later friends!

Friday, June 9



- wearing - 

     Happy Thursday friends! Originally I started this post typing about things you could do to help with Summer stresses, but then I couldn't stop thinking about how fast time is going lately, and how I'm trying to not worry about my kids growing up, especially little Evie. In keeping with that theme, I want to share another discount code with you guys from my friends at Daniel Wellington. I've exclusively used and loved DW watches for over 4 years now, and every time I talk about them many of you share your love for them as well, so I couldn't wait to show you guys the newly released petite style! I'm wearing the Classic Petite Bondi 32mm with the white leather strap, and it comes in rose gold and silver, but the rose gold is my favorite:) Anyways use the code: FRECKLEDFOX15 for 15% off on their website, and then come back and tell me what you got:)

     So as I delve a bit more into what time with my children has come to mean, I want to talk mainly about the hardest thing that I struggle with as a mother (and I'm sure the same goes for many of you), and that's the fear of lasts. I get asked all of the time lately how it feels having five babies in a row year after year and then suddenly stopping, and if it's sad or a relief to have those tiny baby years behind me. While there are obviously both fun and hard things about having my youngest getting so big (she turns 2 this month!), I have been working hard at letting her grow up without fear of missing out on those last moments with her.

     This is all my opinion and I am generalizing a lot, but in general I feel like there is so much pressure on us as mothers (thanks, Pinterest) to have the perfect themed birthday parties and dessert spreads, to check everything off the season bucket list, and to make sure that we capture it all on video... or did it even happen? haha. I feel as a lifestyle/mommy-blogger too that we're often held to a higher standard of fitting in and setting an example that everything should/can be perfect and flawless in motherhood- which it can't, by the way.haha. I feel like in the beginning as a new mother I was so stressed about holiday checklists and having everything just right with the nursery decor, etc, and I would get so stressed out sometimes about little things that would go wrong or moments that I would miss out on, outfits that they'd never get to wear, and all of the precious moments that I wouldn't get on camera. 
     It's taken an extremely life-changing experience (losing my first husband to cancer, if you're new) and missing out on much of my kids lives the last couple of years since he was diagnosed to force me to stop caring so much about what moments I might be missing, and really be present in the moments I had. It took being away from my children for a month and having empty arms on Mother's Day two years ago to realize how much I really didn't care about neutral birthday decor and having it all figured out. It took many holiday schedules and daily routines being decided for me for a long time due to our family's struggle, to really help me to treasure the simple and calm days all the more. I just wanted to simply be present with them and to hold them and (excuse my french) to hell with everything else. 

     I don't mean to say that if you manage to have it all together that it means you're missing out, I'm just trying to express for the Emily of a few years ago that just being all there for those moments is enough. That worrying so much about missing the milestones and the 'lasts' can greatly get in the way of actually living them and enjoying them. That the days will run together and the late nights and feedings will seem to go on forever, and that after about the 10,000th diaper you'll feel like life will go on forever in a never-ending cycle of burping, crying, changing, and dirty laundry. But, don't forget that one day you'll put down the burp cloth and never pick it up again. That one day you'll nurse your sweet baby to sleep and the next day you won't anymore. 
    There will come a time when you'll hold your little one on your hip and then put them down, and never carry them that way again. One day you'll wash your little girl's hair in the bath and the next day she'll want to shower on her own. They will hold your hand to cross the road and then suddenly never reach for it again. One day you'll read your last bedtime story, you'll wipe your last dirty face, you'll braid your last braid, and there will come a day that they run towards you with outstretched arms for the very last time. 

     So again, just speaking to my younger self, stop worrying so much missing out on the last moments and simply live in them, because when they're gone they're gone, and the matching details won't matter, but the love will last. 


Thursday, June 1


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       To my little man,
You are five years old!! You've already had such a deep and full life in your five short years, and because of how different your little journey has been from the start, your life is jam-packed with so much extra potential. You are blessed with such a tender and kind heart, and I feel so much pride when I look at you and think of all the hard and frustrating (for both of us) times spent trying to teach you and help you understand right from wrong, and think of how they continue to pay off day after day.

    You really are one of a kind. You are so full of joy, and although people will try to stand in your way and pull you back throughout your life, I know you have the strength and determination and confidence to stand firm in your beliefs and values and to never forget your worth.

    John, I hope that you always keep in mind that you're an example to those around you, that someone is always watching and learning from you, and that you have the power to influence the world for good with your actions, your words, and your love and treatment of others.
     I hope that you continue to exude happiness to those around you,
     I hope that you always keep your spirit of exploring and adventure, and experience the world and this life to the fullest.
     I hope that you always keep your strong sense of caution when it comes to protecting yourself and others from harm, and that your bold and confident side will always be used in defense of what you know is right. To really make a difference in someone's life you don't have to be rich or powerful or brilliant or beautiful, you simply have to truly care about them, and you care so much sweet boy:)
     I hope that you're never afraid to pursue your passions because of what others might say or think.
     I hope you remember that bullies are not just for the school playground and that no matter their age, people who project hate onto others are always struggling with inner battles of their own. Never forget that when someone judges you, it isn't actually about you at all, it's about them and their own insecurities, limitations, and needs.
     I hope you never lose your desire to be helpful and to serve others. Charity requires such selflessness, and that is such a rare trait in the world you're growing up in.
     Never forget that you owe yourself the love that you so freely give to others as well.
     I love your love of reading and learning and your constant questions to understand the world around you. Never lose that.

I hope that you had a happy happy birthday sweet boy. It was wonderful to see your smile cemented on your face and to hear your laughter from across the room. Watching you close your eyes for a brief second and then blow out those candles with so much energy and excitement made my heart so happy. You deserve all the love and encouragement this world has to offer, and I hope you never forget how many are standing behind you and wanting you to succeed.
You're such a blessing John, and I hope that we always have the special bond that we share now.
You are so so love,

             Always, Mom


Saturday, May 20

a special evening + a little note to Richard


     Today isn't anything special, in fact, we seem to have a nasty cold and a flu bug going through the house and are feeling pretty crummy. There are patches of sunlight around me under this big tree by the pasture though, and I hear a chorus of happy squeals coming from the trampoline across the yard, so this feels like the perfect day to jump back on here and share some favorite photos from a little evening spent in the sunset. 

     We had the pleasure of meeting up with our photographer friend Roxana Baker and shooting some stock photos together of a couple beautiful gowns created by Natalie Wynn, and since our wedding was such a last-minute and quick event, it was the first time he and I were able to get dressed up and just talk and have fun and walk hand in hand. These photos are so precious to me, because we have faced such extremely hard times together already in such a short time, but we are closer than ever and striving to always put each other first, and I think you can see that on our faces:) I thought about writing some deep thoughts about the ups and downs of marriage, about all of the different wonderful things and really hard things that have come since we reconnected and were married, but I think along with these sappy photos, I'm going to just write a few sappy things that I love about Richard. 


          So darlin,
     Off the top of my head on this beautiful day: I love your selfless nature and am often surprised at the caring thoughts and ideas of service that pop into your head. I love that you've brought so much new music to the house and that we always have something to sing along with or dance to. I love that you play the guitar, and I love listening to you singing soft and low when you think I'm focused on my work. I love your grilled cheese sandwiches. I love watching you play and teach and interact so tenderly with the kids and seeing how much they love and trust you. I love seeing you pumping up Ellie's bike tires (over and over again), watching you help Sophie with her homework, teaching John to throw a football, tyeing Lydia's shoe-laces while answering her nonsense questions, and brushing Evelyn's crazy curls after her bath. 
     I love the way people are so drawn to you and your open personality. You have a rare talent of helping everyone feel happy and important, and you always have. I love that you're a writer, and the emotion and soul that you spell out on the paper or the screen. You've always painted pictures with your words that drew me to the beautiful things in life and helped clear the fog of troubles, thank you for that.
     I love the way you love me so unconditionally. That you accept all my broken pieces and all the struggles that I face daily whether they're mental, emotional, or spiritual. I love that you so appreciate and love Martin, and the life and love that we shared for so long. I so love hearing you talk gently and openly about his life and passing to the children, encouraging them to remember and express so much. These kiddos deserve nothing but love, they don't deserve to be fatherless, but having you fill the huge hole in their lives and their hearts with laughter and smiles has changed their futures for the better. I love that you've helped me be brave, and to run towards the roar of cruelty and maliciousness that works so hard to tear me down and tell me I'm not good enough. You have a way of making me feel beautiful at my lowest, you always warm me up when I'm cold (which is all the dang time.haha), and you hold me tightly when I need it the most.
    I love that you're a dreamer, a doer, a supporter, and an explorer. We have so much in common, and I get so excited thinking about all the adventures our little clan will have in the future. I really really love you on that cruiser *wink*, especially when you picked up those pink balloons for Lydia's birthday and they were blowing behind you in the wind.haha I love that the children are more observant now, that they care more for the people around them, that they're always looking to grow their talents and skills, and that they don't see anything standing in the way of their hopes. I love your close relationship with your family, that you've fit so well into mine, and that you are so respectful and close with Martin's family. 
     I love our movie wind-downs, midnight taco runs, family circles, doing the dishes together, the way you read books like I always have, the way you listen intently and offer advice and encouragement when I'm getting wound up over something, the way you tell stories with your whole body, your random sweet texts throughout the day, that you confide in me and appreciate my opinion, the way you're constantly thinking about how to care for and bond with each child individually, how hard you work, your loyalty to me, that you stand by my side no matter what, that we share so much, that we spend so much time together, that you're always willing to jump in the car and drive off on some unknown adventure as long as we're all together. I love that you're my best friend, and I love your faith.

     I could go on for a long long time, but I can't believe how much I wrote already when I was going to be fast.haha So I guess you know by now that I really like this guy, and I'm grateful every day that he came to our family when he did. We've been so blessed to see beauty in our lives again and to also have a clearer view of the hardest things we've gone through and how they've shaped each of us. 

Love you boo,