I’ve read and looked at some inspiring photography over the past few months. Some of the most amazing photos come from creatives who simply captured the mundane, the everyday, of their lives. I don’t have it in me to take a photograph- a -day, at the moment; I do however have a goal of documenting as much of our weekend(s) as I can.

I’ve created this challenge for myself to help me become a better photographer and capture this fleeting time with little children who still think it’s cool to hang out with Matt and myself.

Here’s our weekend, in photographs. *And yes my son is always that sticky and dirty.

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ballet collage

This week marked Sunny’s ballet review. She’s been taking ballet for about 2 years, and every review I am more impressed with the effort these little ones put into their work.

IMG_3979To give you a frame of reference, here is a picture from Gracie’s review when she was two years old. (you can follow us on instagram @wherewilloughbyat)

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Yep, she’s growing up. If ever I was in denial- I can compare that photo to this one…


It’s a bit difficult to photograph one child when the other one is sitting on your lap, but I think you’ll get the general idea, of how perfect the practice of ballet is for my tiny dancer.

IMG_3994 IMG_4002 IMG_4003 IMG_4005 IMG_4006 IMG_4017 IMG_4019 IMG_4025 IMG_4041 IMG_4042 IMG_4044 IMG_4045 IMG_4046 IMG_4047 IMG_4052 IMG_4070 IMG_4075 IMG_4077 IMG_4079 IMG_4082 IMG_4085 IMG_4086 IMG_4092 IMG_4115 IMG_4117 IMG_4118 IMG_4120 IMG_4121 IMG_4122 IMG_4123If you look closely, you can spot Jude in the mirror. He is a fan of his sister- but every man has his limits.

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For her part my Sunshine girl is a beautiful little dancer. I’m happy that she has a practice that teaches her discipline and patience. It’s not easy to point those toes, and keep your spine straight, and listen to a class that uses foreign terms; but she’s doing it. She doesn’t yet see ballet as an expression of herself, but I think in time she will. I hope she keeps dancing long into adulthood. I hope she looks back at these photos and sees that she’s been a shining star her whole life.






Having Sunny as a child is not unlike having the Queen of England as your child…or so I would imagine. My daughter is all princess, all of the time. I’ve told you her take on most everything, “Mommy, that’s not for pretty.” As in “Would you like to play soccer this spring?” “Mommy, that’s not for pretty.”

So when it came time to celebrate her 5th birthday she choose, wait for it…a princess party. You may recall last years birthday was  a princess party as well, and this year was not much different. I suggest many other themes and activities but she looked at me blankly and reminded me that it was in fact her birthday. And so Aurora (Sleeping Beauty to you non – princess aware folks) came to our home and a party was had.

IMG_2267 IMG_2269 IMG_2286 IMG_2291Sunny’s still at an age where all of her friends are my friends kids. I think that’s very special, because I know in a years time this will change. New names will be tossed in with the old ones and I picture myself getting pretty lost in that shuffle. As much as I would like to be friends with every parent she makes friends with, the reality is that won’t happen. But I think we’ve given her a core group of young ladies who are well loved and well mannered. I’m very proud of each of these girls and consider them the ones whose weddings I will dance at someday, telling stories of I remember when you were born.

IMG_2298 IMG_2303A quick tip for those of you playing along at home, photography backgrounds can be made of almost anything. I love super thick wrapping papers and wall papers in lue of traditional backdrops. The next time you host a party, experiment with fun patterns and textures to create your own photo booth.

IMG_2309 IMG_2314 IMG_2321 IMG_2326 IMG_2330 IMG_2335 IMG_2347 IMG_2353 IMG_2372 IMG_2377 IMG_2388 IMG_2390This years activity was picture related. Each girl made their own picture frame and ornament. I printed out the photo booth photos and dropped them off at their homes once they had all dried.

IMG_2409 IMG_2417 IMG_2428 IMG_2431 IMG_2438 IMG_2448 IMG_2459 IMG_2477 IMG_2480 IMG_2490 IMG_2497 IMG_2505 IMG_2517 IMG_2521We added our outdoor lights to our dining room to give every picture a twinkle effect. It really worked out well- so well in fact that we kept the lights strung throughout the holidays.

IMG_2526 IMG_2533 IMG_2537 IMG_2542 IMG_2550 IMG_2559Jude wore a Browns Jersey and help a wand- that was his only contribution to the princess party.

IMG_2571 IMG_2589 IMG_2614 IMG_2634 IMG_2641 IMG_2644 IMG_2654 IMG_2665 IMG_2686 IMG_2690 IMG_2695 IMG_2700A very special thank you to Bella Parties for making my five year olds birthday so magical, again! I also want to thank all the Mama’s who made these beautiful girls. We’re very blessed to count you amoung our friends and spend time with your sweet girls.


2014 was one of the best years of my life. To be perfectly honest- every year we have good health and each other is perfect. I want to thank you readers for coming to this space and sharing this crazy ride with us. Your kindness and support means everything to me and my family. If you’ll keep meeting us here, we’ll keep sharing our lives with each of you. 2015 promises to be even crazier- so hold on and enjoy the ride.


My Gracen,


You are five years old. We have five years worth of memories together- and yes my life began only when I met you. I seem to have no memories ( none worth remembering) before your existence, and now that you’re here I have no memory that doesn’t include, or revolve around you. Now how’s that for love?

Someday you will read this list (I hope you read them all) and I pray that you are as an adult- every bit of the woman you are as a child. If I had your spirit I would rule the world. If I had your courage, I would fight a dragon. If I had your confidence, I would marry a prince. If I had your hair, I would rock a flower crown. But I have none of those things, instead I have the pleasure of being your mother and knowing that I gave back to the universe someone better than myself.

So here you are a whole year wiser, older, greater than any of the years before. I loved you at four ( if possible) than I did at any year before it. You’re my appendage, my partner, my sounding board at times- and so who better to write a list of you, than me? (Well maybe you, but you’re four! )

IMG_5469 YOU ARE INTERESTING: I don’t think that anyone who knows you, thinks of you as a kid at all. You’re so interesting and worldly- for a kid that hasn’t studied abroad. You say “ta-ta” when you’re leaving your friends and I don’t know why you say it- you just do. You speak in a British accent whenever you have tea party ; you’re the Emily Post of 4 year olds.


YOU ARE SERIOUS: My child you are very serious.  You treat everything with the up most importance. Even the things that should be fun and silly, are serious to you.

YOU ARE GENUINE: You say what you mean, and mean what you say. You speak your truth and that will limit the amount of fake friends you have in this life.


YOU ARE INSIGHTFUL: You mostly use your powers for good- but you definitely can feel energy change and shift. You are a lighting rod of emotion. If anything is off with me     (most especially) your whole body and attitude will shift too.


YOU ARE INDEPENDENT: You are capable of anything and you rarely need help- but that’s not what makes you independent. It’s the fact that your thoughts are your own. You are not afraid to question anyone or any theory, and you love to spend time alone. This is one quality you have that I can honestly say I’ve never seen in another child before. You can, and will, play for hours alone in your room, and you prefer it that way. If we’re out with your friends ( no matter how much you love them) you will start to meltdown if you haven’t had enough alone time. I have watched you retreat from a house full of company, begging to be left alone. You will reemerge more centered and even. It’s been the hardest thing about you for me to accept, because I am more like your brother and crave constant togetherness. But I have to say knowing this about you has made me respect your process, and practice some of it myself.


YOU ARE MUSICAL: You love music; it moves you. This year you started voice lessons  and continued with ballet. I tear up every time I watch you dance or make up a song. You have a beat in your heart and a song in your spirit. It’s brilliant to watch you express yourself.


YOU ARE SMART: You blow me away with your brilliance. You can read small books now, and have been for about 6 months, but it’s not your ability to sound out new words that’s so impressive- it’s your ability to comprehend what your reading and the questions you’ll ask while reading to me.  You love math problems and can add and subtract double digits. You’re this tiny thinker- and I so admire your love for learning.

YOU ARE SASSY: I think these go hand in hand because you have to be smart to be sassy.


YOU ARE AN AMAZING BIG SISTER: I sometimes wonder if I would have been able to expand our family without you. Having you as my first child is the gift that keeps on giving. I tell friends all the time that I rely on you way more than I should. You could give any of our babysitters a run for their money. You are patient, because dealing with your little brother is a full time job. He hits, slaps, pulls, picks, and tackles you every second of every day and you don’t loose your cool. I do- all the time. But not you. You are steady and sweet.


YOU ARE A LEADER: You will often come up with a game to play with friends, and an idea to try with Daddy and I. You argue your point(s) and you are not easily intimidated. You speak with confidence, and you even know when to back down. This is the trick to womanhood- and you have it all figured out.


YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL: You are my favorite person to photograph and that will never change. You are lovely to look at my girl, but there is an honesty in your face that makes you magical. This year we spent a lot of time talking about the fact that you’re mixed, that your skin is brown, that your hair is curly, and how all of those elements make you special. It doesn’t matter how anyone in this whole world sees you, what matters is how you see you. I hope you know, that I believe you are the most beautiful person in this universe- but it’s a package deal.  Stupid people are ugly- no matter how beautiful they might appear to be. The same is true for arrogant people, mean people, and people with no sense of humor.


YOU ARE COOL: Listen, I don’t know what regular school is going to be like. I have visions of me beating up kids that hurt your feelings- and then I remember they’re just kids. You can hold your own. You are so cool. You love Princesses, but you can take or leave the Prince. You adore your friends, but you know your own limitations. So if next year comes and someone has something nasty to say try to remember that no one defines you- but you. And me…I define you daily.


YOU ARE BETTER AT EVERYTHING THAN YOU THINK YOU ARE:  You are a fantastic friend. You are a great little early reader. You are rocking your senior year of preschool. You are getting better at being considerate. You are awesome at this sister gig. You are killing the grandchild thing- seriously they think you’re amazing. You are a great kid.


Of all the things you are- YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE. The day you found me, you gave me purpose, but your purpose is so much bigger than me. Your purpose is written in the stars and the whole world is waiting to see what you add to it. Add color and life. Add patience and tolerance. Add beauty- the kind that comes from confidence and self- acceptance. Contribute something so much greater than yourself that when you look back at it you think- I must be made of unicorns and magic. That’s what I think. I think it everyday. I think it every. single. day. that I see you.

“Whatever our souls are made of, yours and mine are the same.”- Bronte

I adore you. You- who are bigger than the sun and more abundant than all the stars.

xoxo- Mommy