Aurora Mae Turns 4


Oh, Aurora Mae.  How have four years already passed?  It seems like yesterday I was anxiously awaiting your arrival, 11 days past your due date.  You were comfortable living inside of me and not much has changed since then.  You love your momma.  You love your daddy and your sisters.  You have a lot of love in that little heart.  And the truth is, I miss you.

Ever since your newest little sister Emma Jane was born, I haven’t had a lot of time to spend with just me and you.  You attend preschool three mornings a week and when you are home I often rely on you to play with your two-year-old sister, Harper.

So on your fourth birthday I am going to make a commitment to find time for us.  You are a sensitive little beauty and I know how much that time would mean to you (and me!).  Until then, let me tell you about YOU at 4 years old:

You are musical.  You are always singing, dancing and playing an instrument, even if what you are playing (a pot, wand, etc.) was not designed as such.10437689_10101956604016739_7247679805613518393_n.jpgYou have the most infectious laugh- it spreads like joy through every strand of hair and the tips of your toes and you can’t stop yourself once you get started.

10500582_10102023275980589_4563938026487025617_n.jpgYou love to read and you love to imagine.  I am anxious to watch you continue to enjoy these two things in the coming years.  It is so fun to watch you with your sister Harper.

1904049_10101891634067039_9099278506527943078_n.jpgYou are friendly.  Although shy at first, you are the type of child that can get along with just about anyone.

10404210_10102026435473939_2351992343051335752_n.jpgYou are artistic.  You love to draw, paint, and create.

IMG_8428.jpgYou love princesses (how could you not, you are named after Sleeping Beauty!) and think yourself one.

IMG_9462.jpgYou are particular about your clothes but you are happy wearing the same outfit for days on end until it mysteriously vanishes into the laundry pile. . .


You are timid when it comes to trying new things, especially physical things involving movement.

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You. Are. Beautiful.  Inside and out.  You are a beauty to behold and I cannot believe your daddy and I created you.

IMG_8042.jpgAurora, I am so lucky to be your mother.  Every night, after nursing Emma, I sneak into your room and take a moment to watch you sleep, in awe of your innocence, your purity.  I get teary-eyed and smile.

I love you sweet baby girl and am soaking up every minute with you.

Happy Birthday.


Special thanks to Dee Akright and Camille Vaughan Photography 




 “I’m at my breaking point.”

These are the 5 words that got my husband’s attention today.   I’ve gone 12 weeks without a single hour away from all three of my children, not including the rare solo grocery trip.  I’m working my in-home party business part-time while working full-time as the mother of 3 young children and wife to a husband who had a mid-life crisis a few weeks after the birth of our third child.

Everyone repeatedly asked me how I was feeling after Emma’s birth but how could I tell them it wasn’t me who was having a hard time; it was my husband.  “Is there such a thing as father post-partum depression?” I asked.  I researched it and found very little but it was the reality in our house.

My husband and I started dating when he was 34 years old and although life moved quickly afterwards, he had more years than most to live an independent life.  In some ways, this was beneficial.  He was able to explore a variety of National Parks, fish more days than he worked, play gigs with his band and linger on the beach for hours without a care in the world.  It was easy to get used to this lifestyle; however, this all abruptly changed once we had 3 children in a four-year time span.  Gone are the long hours on the water or beach, gone are the gigs and hiking trips; in its place are diaper changes, piggy back rides, kisses on boo-boos and stories before bedtime.  And truly, he loves his time with his girls.  He is not a mediocre father.  Just like fishing and volleyball, he is all-in.  But that comes at a price.

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Emmett had just started to feel like he could genuinely connect and play with our two-year-old, Harper, and here we were starting all over again with a newborn.  It was more than he could wrap his brain around and he broke.  His body hurt from head-to-toe and it wasn’t from a sports injury.  One day I found him completely immobilized, lain across our bed.  He couldn’t see a way out and didn’t know how to help himself.  He had actively chosen this life and yet he felt like he was drowning.

Here I was with a two and three year-old begging for my attention as they felt replaced by the newborn, and now my husband needed me more than ever.  So I was strong.  I wordlessly woke up every night to nurse the baby, I called my mom over and hired a mother’s helper to support me during the day, and I reached out to Emmett’s friends to touch base with him.  I encouraged Emmett to talk about it, to identify that which was bothering him for I knew there was no way to move forward without putting a finger on the source.  Little by little he improved.  He took runs, he played basketball, he got out of the house to play volleyball or visit a friend and he talked about it.

All the while, I felt it my duty to remain the sturdy backbone.  He needed me, they all did. I reached out to my support group: my friends, my family and my therapist!  And it worked, for the most part.  I knew Emmett had nothing left to give, so on days I felt ignored or under-appreciated, I called upon a friend to encourage me; to remind me that this was just one of the many phases in our life together and that this too shall pass.  I constantly counted my blessings.  I focused on the miracle that was our three healthy children and the incredibly supportive friends and family we both have.

But here I am.  It is Week 12 and I have yet to really do much for myself.  So when I spoke those 5 words, Emmett said, “Babe, I got this.  You go take time.  I’m strong now.”  I thought, “What do I even want to do for myself, by myself?”  The answer is, I want to write.  I want to write new music on my piano.  I want to record our memories by finishing last year’s family photo album and starting this year’s.  And I want to write about this.  To remember what it was like in these early years so that twenty years from now, when one of us is at our breaking point, we can look back and say, “We survived that and we can make it through this.” And we will.  When one is weak, the other will be strong and together, we will not only survive this, we will thrive as a result of it.

Dee Akright Photography




I Choose You

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The dishes are still on the table, the laundry is folded but still on the couch.  I’ve had dry cereal in my bowl for 1 hour, anxiously awaiting its milk but I choose you, Emma Jane.  You are already 11 weeks and amidst the chaos that is our daily life, I still want time to slow down.  You cry, I pick you up and rest my cheek upon yours.  You settle, and I absorb the warmth between us.  An osmosis of love.  An exchange of energy and understanding.

You are our third and, likely, our last child so I cherish these teeny, tiny moments between us.  My lips upon your forehead as I inhale your sweet newborn scent.  I feel as if I am floating, this simply is too good to be true.

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In ten years, the dishes will still be on the table, the laundry on the couch, and the cereal still awaiting its milk in the bowl.  But you will be too big to fit inside the cradle of my arm.  So I hold on a little longer than necessary, long after you have fallen asleep.  I close my eyes and take quiet, deep breaths and in that moment, all time stand still.  It is just you and me, Emma Jane, and that is all we need.

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Photos by Danielle Ice Photography and Camille Vaughan Photography