Today I'm thankful for...

- My husband who would give me the world if he could
- 3 kids to love and cuddle everyday
- Family that has supported us through good and bad
- A job that allows me, for the most part,  to stay home with my kids. 
- A great Thanksgiving meal and day spent relaxing with some of my favorite people
- Having enough leftovers for one less grocery trip this week
- Taking the night off from editing so I can veg out and binge watch Netflix shows
- No school tomorrow, so we have nowhere to be and no need to wear real clothes

Happy Thanksgiving!

In Joy and Sorrow

I'm not exactly sure what the point of this post is going to be, but lately I've found myself reflecting on the past five years of my life and marriage and how many things have taken place and shaped who my family has become.

The last five years have been the happiest and most difficult years of my life. I married my husband, I had four beautiful children, I gained family and I gained friendship. I also experienced the loss of a child, the passing of many family members, the effects of divorce, and the struggle of balancing life and managing to stay mentally healthy.

I honestly don't know how I've come out on the other side of all of these things. Dealing with loss, wether it's the form of death or the loss of the life I've known, is very difficult for me to handle. I cry during movie previews, TV shows, commercials, I even cried on my way into volunteering for my daughters kindergarten classroom for the first time because I knew it was the first of many memories. Needless to say, I'm an emotional person. It's annoying, but it's also a little freeing too. It means I can communicate how I'm feeling, good or bad, and I don't have to hide it.

Dealing with the loss of a child is something you never fully recover from. Everyday I'm reminded of him, and every milestone one of my other children reaches is a reminder of what I won't be able to experience with Elijah. I only knew him for 37 weeks while I was pregnant and 12 hours after his birth, but I miss him. Since my youngest son Calvin was born, I've felt a connection that's hard to explain. I think that Calvin has a lot of physical and personality traits that would have resembled Elijah's. When I hold Calvin and watch his joy and excitement in the littlest things, I feel a connection, and I feel as if a part of him is still here with me. I find this very comforting. I know I will never be able to fill the void that was left after his death, but I can find new things to find joy in.

My husband is one of those things that brings me joy. He's the most frustrating man I know, but he's also the best man I know. He's patient, loving, and dedicated, and I don't always make things easy for him. But marriage isn't easy, and we've learned a lot throughout the last few years. Many couples don't survive the loss of a child, and it was a true struggle, but we've come out on the other side learning some very valuable lessons. I love how much he loves our children, and wants to play an active role in their lives. I never would have expected us to have four children in four years, but it has been the most wonderfully, terrifyingly, enjoyable experiences I will ever have.

Over the last five years, I've learned that things change, and that's ok. We have lost family members, we have lost marriages, but we've survived and we've found a new type of normal. We've welcomed new life into our family, and with new life comes new opportunities and new memories. I just can't help to wonder what the next five years will bring, it makes me nervous, but I'm excited to see where we will go from here.

A Few of My Favorite Things - Makeup Edition

In the last couple of years I've really become obsessed with makeup and other beauty products. I thought I would share some of my current favorites that are a staple of my makeup routine. 

Before I do any of my eye makeup I always use this as a primer, it prevents creasing and keeps my eyeshadow looking fresh. 

I have Urban Decay's Naked and Naked3 palettes and I can't tell you how much I love them. They are neutral enough to go with every outfit and come in a variety of different shades, and they last forever. I've had them for almost a year and use them practically on a daily basis and just have started to make a dent. So far I like Naked3 the best because I think it goes well with my skin tone, but I like my original naked palette when I'm going out or want a darker/bronzier look. I'm hoping to get Naked2 soon to add to my collection. 

My skin goes from dry and flakey to oily throughout the day. It's taken me a long time to find a foundation that helps with both and Tarte's Amazonian Clay is the closest I've come. I like that it doesn't feel super heavy either, nothing is worse than feeling caked in makeup. I apply it with a brush and top it with a high definition finishing powder. 

Another Benefit product I like is the high brow, I use it to highlight my brow arch and on the inner part of my eyelid.

Apparently I really like Benefit's products, because their mascara is also one of my favorites. This stuff stays stuck and really lengthens my lashes. It also doesn't make me look like I have tarantula legs for eyelashes which is always good. 

These are just a few of my favorites, someday I'll have to do a video or before/after. Doing my makeup is so relaxing and therapeutic, so I always look forward to an excuse to get all dolled up.

Dear Blog, I've Missed You

I have to be honest, I haven't made an effort here in a long time. Last time around I wrote several posts but never even published them. I don't know if life just got the best of me, or maybe blogging again brought up too many emotions since it is how I coped through Elijah's pregnancy. But I'm starting my New Year's resolution early this year. I really want to start documenting my kids and my life more. I spend most of the year taking photographs for families and sharing their stories, so I need to take the time to do that for my own! I also think it will help me get through some of the struggles I still face dealing with the loss of our baby, juggling staying home with the kids, going to school, and running my own business. I also just enjoy talking, and most of the talking I do involves convincing my children that they should wear pants and that 4am is not morning time, so this will be a good outlet for me. 

As you can see from my photo up top we are now a family of five! I'll give you a little update:

Dylan is five and has started Kindergarten. She has come out of her shell so much, and has made huge developmental improvements. She was speech delayed and did Speech therapy a couple times a week, but was just dismissed from the program this week! You would never be able to tell she had any setbacks, she's so smart, and such fun and loving girl. She's very social at school and has friends from several different grades, she's very good at making new friends and connecting with people. She loves to draw and write, and wants to be a nurse when she grows up.

Sullivan (Sully), is three and started his first year of preschool. He's absolutely crazy at home, but super shy and reserved when around new people. He's my wild child and is a mess 90% of the time, but he's also very sensitive and sweet. He has a difficult time communicating and it's a daily struggle, but we are working on that. He loves doing hands on activities, taking things apart, food, and just being a boy in general.

Calvin is 15 months old, and is just the sweetest little thing. He is always loving on someone and always has a smile on his face. Last month we had a scare when he caught a virus and was struggling to breathe, he ended up in the PICU for a couple nights and then pediatrics for another night. It was a really terrifying experience, especially since we had already lost one child, and I'm so thankful he's ok now. He still has some breathing issues and is on daily medication now. He's such a busy boy and always wants to do whatever his brother and sister are doing, but also takes the time to sit an cuddle which I love so much. He enjoys books, balls, and animals.