Day 4 & 5

When we got up the next day, we truly felt refreshed! At this point we still have decent coffee beans (Counter Culture from the coffee shop in Charlotte the day before, although they were roasted over a month ago…ahem, people! Fresh beans. Please.), we haven’t had any major malfunctions in almost 12 hours, and we still have reception! Things are looking up.

On this day, we drove from North Carolina up to a campground about 30 minutes south of Washington, DC. We talked earlier in the month about taking the kids to DC and decided it was a great idea, that they would love it.

We didn’t get into the campground until around 3pm. This was a super caszzzhh campground that you didn’t need to really register or check into until you were leaving and ready to pay. Honestly, I never saw a soul who worked there so it is one of those places where you could just stay and say you didn’t…if you’re those type of people. Which, pfft, we aren’t. Anyways, upon arriving and after getting ourselves hooked up to the water and electric and dumping our tanks (grey and black tanks! Promise, I’ll get to what these are), we decided exploring was a must if our children were to live to see tomorrow. And Washington DC. It’d be a shame to come all this way and miss it because we threw them out on account of THEY WERE DRIVING US NUTS.

Processed with VSCO with e1 preset

Processed with VSCO with e1 preset


We walked down the road, up the road, around a bend and across the street to the park attached to the campground. We hiked, took pictures of beautiful flowers, we saw a groundhog (which, I should add, Darby and I PRAYED that we’d see wildlife…we LOVE animals and heck we were in a forest where they roam a-plenty so darn it, we wanted to see something. We ended up seeing an ADORABLE groundhog and supremely adorable baby deer), and we walked through more forest and fields to the most rad skate park I’ve ever seen. Also, there was a playground….I’ll try to keep this G-rated and say I hate playgrounds…there, I was nice. We stayed for 25 minutes of torture and watching and parenting OTHER PEOPLE’S children before we couldn’t stand it anymore and walked back.

Processed with VSCO with e1 preset

Processed with VSCO with e1 preset

Processed with VSCO with kk2 preset

Processed with VSCO with kk2 preset

Processed with VSCO with 6 preset

Processed with VSCO with 6 preset

Processed with VSCO with e1 preset

Processed with VSCO with e1 preset


I forget what we had for dinner, but I believe we slept decently this night with AC on. Glorious AC.

The next morning the kids were up at the crack of dawn, naturally, and out the door meeting the neighbors..naturally..and becoming BFF immediately, also very naturally. (I’m the worst person ever but I don’t really do neighbors.) Come to find out they were from Australia and were traveling the U.S. for 6 months in a 5th wheel and homeschooling their 8 year old. Pretty cool! Still not cool enough for me to exit the RV and introduce myself. Again, worst person ever.


Once Ben and I readied ourselves, we left for the train station so we could metro into DC. The kids have never been on the metro. It was super cool watching them love it!

PS. The metro and the train stations in D.C. aren’t scary and creepy and decrepit and crumbling apart all around you like those in NYC. They’re amazing and you actually feel safe….It’s awesome.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

First stop in DC was beer and chips. Next up, National Gallery of Art. If I’m being honest, I thought this would be the most boring part of our day. I am an “artist” and a “creative” but most of the time I don’t feel like that is me, at all. I don’t get inspired by everything ever and am kind of a grouch. I truly thought I’d be like, meh…cool. Art. Let’s go. But, this was my favorite part of our time in DC. The kids were fascinated by all the same things I was which was pretty rad. Plus, you’re required to keep your voice down in places like this. Quiet on this trip has been a non-existent far off dreamed idea, so the quiet and stillness and massiveness of the gallery truly wowed me.

Processed with VSCO with e1 preset

Processed with VSCO with e1 preset

Processed with VSCO with c8 preset

Processed with VSCO with c8 preset

Remember how I said we thought it was such a good idea to bring the kids to DC? That they’d love it?

Sure we walked about 8 miles that day. Sure, it was record highs in DC for that time of year. But this is what we determined: as long as we kept food or drink in mouth and hand, we could survive this day. We heard enough “I’m hungry” and “I’m thirsty” and “I’m tired” and “I have to go the bathroom” and “how much farther are we walking” and “my legs aren’t made to walk this many steps” to last us about 67 lifetimes.


Processed with VSCO with k3 preset

Processed with VSCO with k3 preset

Processed with VSCO with e1 preset

Processed with VSCO with e1 preset

The day was great all in all, and we ended up at Founding Farmer’s for dinner (super yum) before catching the metro back to our town and arriving at the campground well after bedtime. During dinner though, I found out our Montauk nanny had cancelled on us and that truly started the downhill spiral of disappointment and frustration that was to be our next 24-48 hours. I should have known, haha.


Day 4 and 5 down…Day 6 is a doozy. Stay tuned.


Day 3

Day 3 is honestly a God given gift in the midst of chaos and calamity.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Processed with VSCO with 1 preset

Processed with VSCO with 1 preset

We got up and had breakfast, and got on the road to Charlotte, NC, where we were to meet and hang out with Brian Schindler for the first time. We’ve been following Brian on social media for a while now and when he found out we would be traveling up north he asked if we’d come to Charlotte and obviously, we were stoked to and just honored to spend time with him.

We met him in a Walmart parking lot just outside downtown, because that’s where you can park a 34 foot long RV. Let me repeat….a guy we’ve never met in person, who will be photographing our family (a true professional with a thriving business and legit clients)…agreed to meet us and our 34 foot RV with mini van strapped to the back…in a Walmart parking lot…and then let us ride in his nice car into Downtown. I kept thinking before we got there…this poor guy. Welcome to the zoo.

We pulled up, and he pulled up…and he came INSIDE the RV to meet us all. We hugged and exchanged hellos, and then he went to his car because he brought US gifts. US! Gifts?? Who is this guy??


The gifts were:


Local Honey

Local Peanut Butter Granola

Super yummy and filling Beef Jerky trail mix


This was real life! He brought us gifts. Like (and yea I’m saying like, here.), he is kindest person ever.

We spent the next two hours in a coffee shop he frequents, and shooting around Charlotte. He took INCREDIBLE photos of our family. We haven’t had pictures taken in about 3 years I think? Super unacceptable for photographers, I know…we’ve just been so busy.

Processed with VSCO with e1 preset

Processed with VSCO with e1 preset

Processed with VSCO with c3 preset

Processed with VSCO with c3 preset

Processed with VSCO with c6 preset

Processed with VSCO with c6 preset

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Our time with Brian was super rad, and after we left him it was late so dinner was at a cracker barrel a bit up the road.


Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Processed with VSCO with k3 preset

Processed with VSCO with k3 preset

Just incase you were wondering, eating healthy or relatively healthful AT ALL does not apply when you’re at a cracker barrel. Just an FYI. If you’re wondering what I ate, wonder no more. Same meal, hundreds of time over this lifetime:

Mamas Pancake Breakfast which consists of 3 pancakes with maple syrup, scrambled eggs, sausage patties, with a side order of hash brown casserole. It doesn’t include the hash brown casserole but HOW DOES ONE SAY NO to that cheesy goodness??

All the calories, and all the fat..and no guilt because Cracker Barrel is an American staple for families and an essential while traveling and they have RV parking and I will never feel bad about my meals there. The End.

Our plan was to drive to Aberdeen to a campsite for the night, but there was tons of construction and Ben was getting nervous and it was dark. We needed to get gas, we were low and the generator wouldn’t run so we drove an hour and a half or so with no AC while the kids slept in their beds. We found a Costco gas spot, maneuvered into the lane to fill up only to find they had just closed. Back into the RV, and to a truck stop to finally get gas…the generator turned on and we went a few miles up the road when we saw a rest area. At that point we were exhausted and the construction was stressful, so we pulled into the rest area and slept peacefully that night with the generator and AC on.

Processed with VSCO with lv03 preset

Processed with VSCO with lv03 preset

This day was from THE LORD and a great respite after the first two days of travel and challenges.

Day 4 & 5 are next and are pretty tame. Stay tuned!



Day 2

Day 2.

I feel like I should start by saying how grateful and thankful we are to be on this trip. The opportunity to pick up and go whenever we feel the need to get away and adventure with the kids, isn’t something we take lightly. Just yesterday Ben was on the phone with a client, and he mentioned that we’d been in business for almost 10 years. I thought about what he said and literally became empty of thought and feeling for a moment, and the Lord filled me up with this huge wow sensation..right down to my toes. (coulda been the IPA I was drinking but I am leaning towards the Lord.) I cannot believe we get to live the life we do. We are undeserving and so thankful.

We woke up on day two, in a rest area in Port St. Lucie. We had a few new tires, but knew absolutely beyond a shadow of a doubt that we needed to replace every tire on Loretta. We just knew that it wasn’t safe to go much further on these tires. So, we prayed that God would protect the tires for a few hours, provide for us, and we headed north.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Processed with VSCO with 3 preset

Processed with VSCO with 3 preset

Processed with VSCO with kk2 preset

Processed with VSCO with kk2 preset

It was Sunday. I must have looked up twenty tire shops and they are all, you guessed it, closed on Sundays. We had to stop for gas, so we found a pretty large gas station and had to park across the street to have Ben walk over and check out to see if he could get into the parking lot before we actually attempted it. (remember, you cant back up with the trailer and the van on the back. Also, yes this is a regular occurrence in an RV: parking on the side of the road and walking to check things out before actually driving haha.) Ben came running back after a few minutes and said, “Babe, there’s a tire shop right over here. They’re open.”

Lord, what? In the 7,476 tire shops I called and googled, this one hadn’t come up. But here it is, and it was as appealing as a giant flashing HOT DONUTS sign.

Processed with VSCO with 6 preset

Processed with VSCO with 6 preset

Processed with VSCO with k3 preset

Processed with VSCO with k3 preset

We drove a few hundred feet and pulled into an open tire shop where two super nice and sufficiently dirty and greasy older gentlemen spent the next two hours replacing our last two tires, and rotating most of them so that we were safe and good to go. At the end of this hot and tiresome few hours, Ben asked them if they drank whiskey. You see, during this few hours there was much talk of when their next drink would be..how hot it was..their favorite watering hole..where they like to hang out and get a beer, etc.

Anyways, who turns down free whiskey? These men were smart. Ben ran into Loretta and got our Four Roses Single Barrel Whiskey out of the fridge. In lieu of rocks glasses, they emptied out their Gatorade and Dr. Pepper fountain drink cups from the days work and Ben served them some nice cold whiskey. To celebrate a job well done. At 4:25pm, just shy of appropriate whiskey drinking time.

Processed with VSCO with e1 preset

Processed with VSCO with e1 preset

It was a celebration that we didn’t partake in, seeing as we could now drive and drive north is what we needed to do. I could have had a glass, now that I think about it. Oh well. (there would be plenty of whiskey drinking in the coming days, if I only knew…)

I remember taking a picture of the sunset in North Florida around 7:40p, and a selfie of me looking haggard as hell around 7:50p so I could send it to my sister Sarah and say hi! See! This is me haggard! This is me over it already! Don’t you wish you were me and on this trip! Jokes! I wanna punch someone and go home!

Processed with VSCO with k3 preset

Processed with VSCO with k3 preset


I made Jos’ bed up so we could recline and watch the fading sunlight and just breathe for a bit while Ben drove, and we made our way to Brunswick, GA…where we had originally planned to stop the night before. We arrived an entire day (plus 5-6 hours) late, but we arrived alive. And with all tires still attached to Loretta.

It was late when we got there but we didn’t dare stop for dinner (it was as if we were just knew that stopping meant something else would go wrong today), and you can’t cook while you drive…so we set up “camp” and got to cooking. Setting up involved rolling out the awnings, hooking up the water and if you’re super lucky…the cable/electricity and gas (you find out seeing “full hookups” on signs is what you look for and CRAVE…full hookups! Woo hoo!)

Ben emptied our grey and black tanks and then filled us back up with water (oooohhh this is so fun. And super glamorous. I cant wait to tell you about these fun tanks later.)

We had our first true meal in Loretta which was of course, burgers and dogs.

The hot water heater wasn’t working and every time ben lit it he’d lose all arm hairs and I was sure we were all going up in flames. (seemed appropriate right? Going up in flames? Down in flames? Song reference here? At this point I wanted to set Loretta on fire as it was so I didn’t get to upset about the issue. BURN BABY BURN.)

So as it stood, hot showers were out. Josiah refused vehemently but Darby and I HAD to shower. I stood in cold water, and froze my buns off, and Darby endured just as badly but finally..we were clean. As clean as RV water hooked up to your old RV in an old RV park in Brunswick Georgia can get you.

With full bellies and whiskey poured, we put the kids to bed and Ben and I collapsed into the sheets wondering what calamity the next day would bring.

End day 2



Moments before I sat down to write this, I went into our “bathroom” to use the facilities, and the water pump made a long/ loud/ unexplainable noise that it isn’t supposed to.


You could ask why, but eh, who really knows? We sure don’t.


Moments before THAT, I swatted a flying bug straight out of the air and directly onto a bedslashtableslashschooldeskslashkitchencounterarea that houses a sleeping Darby and had to find it and squish it with my own fingers before it crawled across my sweet sleeping babe’s face.


Also, I’ll only be writing this until my battery dies on my Macbook…because we are in an RV park where you cannot run your generator after 9pm. Which means my outlets don’t work….


It also means no AC, so I’m pretty thankful its 68 degrees and windy in Montauk right now.


This is the story of our trip in our very first RV. The one we bought the month before we took it on a 3,000 mile journey from Florida to Maine. The RV we lovingly named Loretta. One, because that’s the name of the previous owner. Two, because Loretta sounds like a really old lady’s name and our RV is a 1992 Fleetwood Bounder. She is old. And as we have come to find out, sometimes….older is a pain in the tail.


And this is the story of how we took Loretta to places she never wanted to go or see, and how somehow…we ended up surviving. So far, at least. We are in fact, only 10 days into our 30 day trip.


So since we are talking about days, lets start with day number 1. Buckle up boy scouts, you aren’t ready for this.


We left at 7:30am. I’d say with high hopes, but that would only be true for one of us. Ben had been preparing me for a solid 3 weeks by saying things like, “Stuff is going to break Bek”, “Things will definitely go wrong babe, just be prepared ok?”. He wanted to prep me for the worst, all the while he had no worries really and thought honestly, that nothing would go wrong. He was so hopeful, God love his heart. I on the other hand, was just waiting for the ish to start hitting the fan. I knew in my heart everything would go wrong and expected it all to start going downhill quick like.


When the first tire blew at 8:40am, one hour and 10 minutes into our trek and exactly 40 miles from our front door…the hopeful one freaked and the pessimist just sat back and tried to keep their{HER} mouth shut. Mind you, we have a 34 foot class A RV, and we are towing our Honda Odyssey minivan on a car tow dolly behind us. All in all we are the length of a huge semi and at least half the weight. When you blow a tire on an RV that is towing another vehicle, it feels a lot like being rocket launched into space. It scared us to death.


But no worries you guys, chill. Calm down. We had a spare tire. Because we prepared dangit! No $400 tire was going to hold us down. Ben spent an hour at a truck weighing station fixing us right up, and we were back on the road quicker than you can say I told you so.


We decided to stop and just have all the tires re-checked. So, again, about an hour from my front door, we are back on the road and getting off an exit on our way to a tire shop that will service RV’s, and we get into the parking lot and the generator dies. We need gas. Cool, its just a million degrees and now we have no AC..so we are sweating to death…and then, something awful happens. Honestly, at this point I thought, “Our trip is over. We are going home. Except, I don’t know how we are going to even get there.”


Ben gets into the shopping center lot and it’s a huge area but not, huge…enough. He tries to turn us around to get into the tire place parking lot, and cant, so…naturally, he backs up and tries to do a 3 point turn sort of thing…


If you know anything more than we do (or, rather, DID…we know much more now!) about car tow dolly’s, this one in particular, then you know what happened next and you’re sitting there cringing.


You cannot reverse with one of these. It doesn’t move that way and it will, as it did, in fact…crush your car. We are not coming home at the end of the month with the same Honda Odyssey as when we left, ya’ll. This super cool NEW Honda Odyssey is one with two rather large indentions by the front tire wheel wells and doors…from where the trailer smashed into them and almost burst both tires off. Somehow, Ben got the van off the tow dolly, the tires didn’t bust off and blow me away…the dented doors opened, and we decided I’d drive the van for a bit until we got the tires figured out on the RV.


Ben goes into tire place…they can’t help us there. The tire we need to replace our spare, is at another location about 20 minutes away. Sweet, guys! That’s totally cool! Ben tells me to go ahead, so Darby and I get into the van and Ben and Josiah will follow momentarily (RV’s are slow you guys) and we’ll meet them there.


About 15 minutes later I get a call from Ben.


“I’m on such and such road. Two more tires blew. The Rv won’t start. The generator wont start. Come to us.”


This was around 11am. We were less than 4 hours into our trip and seemingly, it has ended.


We are still in Port St. Lucie…45 minutes from our home. We are stranded on the side of the road by a Cemex plant with food rotting in a fridge, a broken RV and generator that wont turn on, and 2 more blown tires.

Processed with VSCO with e1 preset

Processed with VSCO with e1 preset


What happens next, the insane things that happen next…kept coming on so fast that its honestly hard to remember everything. I’ll just list them here….


Oh and ps everything I’m about to say below cost me a million dollars. Not really, but…….almost.

Not only are two tires blown, but we realized why nothing else worked: when they blew, they took out some major wiring underneath the RV.

We call a tow truck. He cant come tow us because they wont tow if the back tires are blown.

Since we cant be towed, we have to call a roadside tire repair truck to come TO us, which is what costs a million dollars. Literally, I hope you never need these guys but if you do you can then text me or email me and say hey! You were super duper right Mrs Hood, they stole all my money! Same, same.


Side-note: The ladies and gents who work for these roadside tire repair companies…God bless them. I mean it took all my dollars but they deserve every freaking penny. This guy worked tirelessly for four and a half hours in puddles up to his shins and 98 degree heat.


Ok so you read right, 4.5 hours. Finally, tires are repaired. $1200 later. So, now we can get towed right? To the nearest FJ or Pilot parking lot, where Ben can work on the RV and figure out how to fix it…right?

Tow truck guy comes. Hooks us up. Finds out something is wrong with our parking break. He cant tow us. He DRAGS US across the road to a dirt and gravel lot because, 3 different police officers informed us we couldn’t stay where we were at.

So now, our tires are fixed. But our RV isn’t running. Our parking break is jammed so we cannot get towed. We are in a gravel lot on the outskirts of a neighborhood which, we cannot stay in…you cant just park an RV anywhere and expect people to be ok with it. Its almost dark, and…

Cue the downpour of rain.

Ben takes the van and goes to Auto-Zone. Comes back with what he thinks will fix it. It’s the wrong thing. He goes back a second time. I’m terrified while he’s gone so I put a movie on for the kids. It’s pouring, its pitch black out now, I’m in an empty lot alone in an RV that doesn’t drive and my protector is gone.

He comes back and tries to fix things again. Works on it for hours. Cant get it working. At this point, we are simply at a loss. I mean, its not even end of day 1 and we’ve been through it ALL. We pile into our bed in the back room and just rest and watch the movie aimlessly for a minute. Always praying, thinking. Ok Lord, what is this? What the hell is going on? How do we fix this and get out of here?

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset


What else can go wrong, right??

Then, we feel as though a literal giant starting pushing and pulling on the RV from all sides.

We all freak and scream…Ben has no idea what’s happening. Then it hits him, and we realize…its wet and muddy outside. Our jacks underneath the RV are sinking into the ground.

Oh, also Darby has diarrhea from the Burger King we were forced to eat earlier because we couldn’t open our fridge (couldn’t let any of the cold out while we had no power or everything would spoil), and we couldn’t cook on our stove. She’s also quite conveniently, running a fever. Also our water pump wouldn’t work because the RV wont turn on. Diarrhea, no real way to flush a toilet. Are you guys entertained yet?

Ben sits down at the table and sighs a huge sigh. He starts researching on his phone again, and a few minutes later he jumps up from the table and goes to the drivers seat. He lifts the entire dash up to discover an entire other area of fuses that he didn’t know existed in Loretta.

Therein, lies the fuse we needed replaced.

It was a FUSE.

He changes it. Its fixed. RV starts right up. He yelps and celebrates.

We drive to the nearest rest stop and crash for the night with the generator on, in air conditioning (thank the Lord), in a parking lot…after seriously, the worst day.

End, day 1.

Processed with VSCO with kk2 preset

Processed with VSCO with kk2 preset



photo by Bradford Martens

I started studying the Bible with two of my best gals.

Once a week, no agenda but to read a chapter and dissect. Go where it leads. Allow tangents to happen and opinions to get voiced. At the end we talk about prayer, and the kinds of things we need prayer for that week.

In church on Sundays, we’ve been talking about a lot of different things but they all start and end with one thing…Prayer. Prayer shouldn’t be hard for me, (how could it be hard for someone who literally talks out loud to herself all the time with a whole host of other people around, like thats normal?)… (oh and p.p.s., I also talk aloud when i’m texting..literally, saying the things i’m texting out loud, AS I TEXT THEM…theres a special place for me in a looney bin somewhere)…but sometimes it is. Sometimes prayer is hard. And not because I don’t have anything I feel as though needs to be prayed about, and not because I think it doesn’t work; its pretty much because I’m lazy and forgetful.

One time I had Darby and Josiah in the car with me and I was going from my house off Forest Hill, to Publix on Southern. For those of you who don’t live here in paradise with us, thats literally 2.1 miles away. One turn. I can’t explain exactly what happened, but I took 3 wrong roads that I was sure would be a shortcut and get me there faster, dozens of wrong turns because I assumed my sense of direction was on point, and for the life of me couldn’t get to that Publix…it probably took us 20 minutes to go 6 minutes of distance. The kids were dazed and confused, I was just as perplexed and when Darby asked me why we weren’t there yet, I simply told her “Well, mommy is smart I promise but sometimes I’m very forgetful.”

Now, whenever I forget something, Darby is always quick to remind me that I’m a smart mommy but a forgetful one. (thanks Darbs)

I am learning this about prayer; there are no shortcuts. You’ve got to just do it.

Also, I waste a lot of time. When I’m sitting in physical therapy, when I’m loading clothing into the dryer, when I’m pouring boiling water onto my freshly ground coffee in my chemex, I’m usually thinking about something super important like the sweat-proof outfit I need to find and wear to that dance party this weekend or why everyone is so up in arms about Taylor Swift and Apple and what happened there..must research..pull up People.com…

So. Much. Wasted. Time.

2 Corinthians 10:5 //  We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ…

Obedience in Prayer means living a life of prayer. For me, it means to take captive my thoughts so that I do not become forgetful. Praying as opposed to concerning myself with TSwift. (I love her for sure. Maybe I should just pray for her instead..) There is so much I do throughout my day that is mindless, where, if I can stay focused I can remember to pray.

For my friend who’s dealing with a divorce.

For this person and that person, who just need a friend in their life.

For that sweet girl, who’s staring the sting of the death of a loved one right in the face.

For that dear girl whom I love so much, who needs Jesus so badly it makes my heart physically hurt.

And prayer as intercession, yes…but prayer as THANKS. As straight up gratitude. My salvation? NO BIG DEAL….for the fact that I was once DEAD in my transgressions and sins…The Life Application Bible Commentary on Ephesians says we weren’t “dying, not sick, not having an off day….dead. What can dead people do to help themselves? Not much. In fact…absolutely nothing. ”

So I’m taking my time sorting laundry and turning it into praise. I’m intentionally trying to not be forgetful, what a mouthful and headful, and using my time cleaning the bathroom or driving in the car or brushing my teeth as opportunities to ask God for help for this or that, praying for this person and that situation.

I was texting with my friend and blogger Jess Connolly the other day and it came to me…praying makes it impossible to be complacent, doesn’t it?


Gap Kids

my gap kids.

They’ve been wearing Gap Kids since birth, literally, when a kind woman who went to church with us (who worked for Gap corporate) would continually buy them a new wardrobe every few months. I was honestly hooked from the get go, with the quality of the clothing and the affordability.

With how quickly they grow, I wanted to be sure to document here their amazing personalities and how their Gap Kids wardrobe really brings it out. I love that they love fashion already, and I’m super thankful they aren’t camera shy:)










Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset












Name Your Fears

Processed with VSCOcam with c8 presetFear has a stronghold on my life.

It always has, and I believe this is somewhat true for everyone..even if some are better at hiding it or conquering it quicker than others.

Thats fine, I can sit here all day and admit that fear controls my every day. But real talk, I’m so tired of this.

Last year I prayed for a few million things, but my two big words were Discipline and Organization.

Lets recap how that worked out: We added associate photographers, decided to start homeschooling, and spent more time at the gym trying to step up our Crossfit game. I learned a LOT of discpline. Then, we moved from a 2500 sq ft house into a 980 sq ft house. I got rid of about half of my belongings, listed half my furniture on Craigslist, and welcomed into my life the World’s Smallest Kitchen as well as a shared bedroom for my kids. I became much more organized.

I got what I prayed for…but I had a problem with it STILL…(I know, when will I ever be content). I took issue with the fact that my desire for those two things only happened in my life because of necessity…survival. I became more disciplined because I had to, and more organized by force rather than choice.

Let me reiterate, fear has a stronghold on my life. 

I’ve made a decision this year that I don’t just want to arrive at these landmark locations in my life and journey by chance or need. I want to land right where I am supposed to by choosing and doing. You see, choice is making all the difference for me this year.

And I’m so afraid to choose.

I used to rag on this guy I knew and his relationships, telling him he couldn’t commit to an ice cream flavor. Meanwhile, I can’t commit to choosing to make a choice. I mean, pot calling kettle. Bek, hi…pot. calling. kettle.

I am naming my fears today. Working on writing a lot out. We’ve already had an all day 2015 planning meeting in a creative space with our associates…time where we reflected, dreamed, discussed, planned, were quiet, wrote, sat in silence and thought…it was truly the best day ever. Tomorrow, I’m writing a scary email. I am choosing to make a choice to do, and not let fear tell me how to live.

I have more words for this year..different words.

Hustle – this is multi-faceted for me. I don’t mean I want to work like a dog. I mean I want to work smart, and hard, while I am working. It means I want to try new things and scary things without fear holding me back. It means I’m not going to be afraid to fail. I’m going to choose and do.

Direction – there’s a lot that we want to do this year, and we are going to need major guidance. I’m praying for lots of wisdom and clear direction when we need to make decisions.

Rich Relationships – this is always a tough one. Sometimes with how much we travel and with homeschooling and being gone weekends, its hard to maintain rich and healthy and thriving relationships with the ones we love…I mean, we literally have opposite schedules than most of them. This year intentionality is the name of the game. I want real ladies in my life, real time with them, and lots more of it.

Health – with Josiah really struggling with some food allergies (dairy, but we are feeling like its more) and Ben having Crohn’s Disease (he maintains pretty good health, but its really hard on him sometimes), this is a big one for us this year. We already pay very close attention to diet and sugar intake, eat a lot paleo and are mostly dairy free. But I just added Young Living Essential Oils into our daily mix, and I’m very prayerful and super excited to see how it affects our quality of life.

Financial Peace – so self explanatory. Jesus, take the wheel.

I have this free download from Lara Casey on my computer as my desktop. Thank goodness its not all up to me. Thank goodness for God’s hand in our lives. Thank goodness whether or not I succeed isn’t just in my hands. I will do my part, and let Him do His.





To be married.

The hardest and the most fulfilling thing you can do, would you agree wives?

I hope to write a lot here on this subject. It is in fact, something that is part of my life every day. It is something I work at every day, live as a part of every day, fail at every day, celebrate every day, and it’s certainly something that humbles me every day. I should for sure write more about things that are humbling and true, even if I tremble as I type.

Marriage is something that I will work at until I am no longer on this earth. My thoughts on it and observations within it are not finite truth or fail safe’s and my opinions certainly shouldn’t determine how you should view your marriage. I learn little things along the way. I fall flat on my face so much, that it forces me to find out how to stay on my feet next time.

I was recently listening to an online google chat class on intimacy. The speaker is a godly woman whom I greatly respect, even while only knowing her via social media. There were many things I jotted down while listening to her wisdom, but one thing really stuck with me. It’s something I already know. Isn’t that the funniest thing about lightbulbs that go off in our heads? Often times it’s an aha moment about something that we already know. We’ve probably written it down before.

“My husband should not have anything to do with my identity.”

Now, before some of you start throwing tomatoes at me…read that again. Stew on that for a minute.

Before you were married, who were you? What were you made of? What were all the passions and intricacies and idiosyncrasies that formed in you over the years and made you the person you were? Where did you find your identity then?

I am positive I know you all have answers to this. And I am equally as sure that as you have navigated through your marriage, you’ve lost some of yourself. We all have.

I am encouraged as I type this. Because at any point in your identity loss, you and I have the option and the inner strength to decide that we won’t find our identity in anyone else anymore. I know for me, being a Christian, I HAVE to find my identity in God. If I listen to what anyone else says I should be, what others say I should do, what the world tells me I should be identified by, even what my girlfriends think I should be…then I am screwed. I’ll never measure up to what others expect of me, and that is perfectly alright by me. I have learned something about identity in my almost 10 years of marriage, and that is this: there are ways in which I desire for Ben to see me. There are things about me that I want him to notice and there are attributes of my personality, that identify me, that I want for him to love and accept and desire. But if he doesn’t, I am still enough. This is not me speaking ill of Ben. There are parts of our souls that are still untouched by the other. Even after 12 years of being together, there are tender and life-giving areas of my heart that he still may not “get” yet. He may not fully appreciate them yet. He may see them but not recognize their importance yet.

And yet, I am still enough.

What does God say about me? He says that I am lovely. That I was made perfect, fearfully and wonderfully made at that. That if I surround myself with His presence and guard my heart and my life with His truth, that I will live abundantly. That my heart can overflow with peace about my identity and my body image and my insecurities if I live a life of prayer and release all my burdens to Him (because He has already bore those burdens, He has told us He has conquered those fears, and for us to doubt this is lunacy. That is truth)

I hope this encouraged some of you today, and I’m excited to write more and marriage in the coming weeks. I find that if I plan my blogs, that I lose passion about what I previously decided to write about. I have to write what is in my now. What is my today. What I’m living with at the moment. And in this season, my marriage is of the utmost importance. 10 years of marriage comes up in like 2 weeks, it’s truly humbling to think about. I am so thankful for these last ten years and so hopeful for the ones to come.


Processed with VSCOcam with k2 preset

So we have a bi-polar tree in our backyard.

I wish I could do a year long time-lapse of this crazy tree. It goes through all of these stages, all in the wrong order and wrong season, completely backwards. This tree struggles with ridiculous identity issues.

Every year in the spring, late spring even…it sheds all it’s leaves. The last 2 years we’ve left for a weekend or a wedding, and we’ve come home to a bare tree. All of the leaves turn brown and red and yellow and they fall and my green grass is covered in the colors of fall. This morning I noticed it happening and I’m wondering if by this time next week, all of the lovely shade in my backyard will perish.

Happy 1st day of May. This month for me is like anxiety city. My normal worry-ridden personality is just dying to take over any calm thoughts I may have about keeping it all together the next 30 days. I am trying so very hard not to freak.

I’m traveling alone to Washington, DC for 3 days this weekend.

Next week my brother visits for 2 days before leaving to spend a summer interning in Vermont.

My other brother comes next week to live with us for the summer. (SO excited about this.)

Then there’s Mother’s Day.

The next weekend I shoot a two day wedding celebration out of town.

The Thursday after that I leave for the Bahamas for 5 days for another wedding and time spent with Ben for our upcoming 10 Year wedding anniversary.

The next weekend after that I’m gone to Central Florida for 3 days shooting another wedding.

The weekend after that I have a huge event planned, that I have a million things to do for.

There’s Josiah’s last day of school, playdates, about 8 wedding deadlines to tackle, a few engagement shoots to shoot, lots of training to do for a CrossFit competition next month, and somehow some way time in all of this for standing every day things like shuttling Josiah back and forth to school and going to the gym and going to counseling and having time for friends and date nights and and and and…


Jesus Calling, today.

“You are on the path of My choosing. There is no randomness about your life. Here and Now comprise the coordinates of your daily life. Most people let their moments slip through their fingers, half-lived. They avoid the present by worrying about the future or longing for a better time and place. They forget that they are creatures who are subject to the limitations of time and space. They forget their Creator, who walks with them only in the present.

Every moment is alive with My glorious Presence, to those whose hearts are intimately connected with Mine. As you give yourself more and more to a life of constant communication with Me, you will find that you simply have no time for worry. Thus, you are freed to let My Spirit direct your steps, enabling you to walk along the path of peace.”

“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” Luke 12:25

Some days I feel like this tree in my back yard. Going through seasons late or early or just at the wrong time altogether. Waiting too long to shed it all and give it to God so I can start growing again. Today I am praying for me, and for you, that the start of another month is something we’re all incredibly thankful for….for it means we get the opportunity to truly be present in life’s short sweet moments. Happy May 1st!

Processed with VSCOcam with k3 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with x1 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with b1 preset


I went to a baby shower on Sunday, and ran into a lovely girl I haven’t seen or spoken to in ages. Since we’d talked, she had gotten married and now had an 11 month old. As she was showing me pictures on her iPhone, my little ones both ran up to me simultaneously and starting talking a million miles a second…at the same time. (yea, my kiddos were at this shower at the beginning and the end..Ben was shooting it and I was a guest, and my friends husband took all the kiddos to the park for most of our time there. I’ll talk a little bit more about why I love this and why its been important to our parenting a little bit later in this post.)

They hadn’t seen me in a few hours and oddly enough, they do miss me when I’m not around. (glory be!) They had lots to tell me and a few little presents they’d received to show off to me, and as they both chatted away I tried to quiet one and listen to the other…pay close attention to Darby then give Josiah the opportunity to talk, then back and forth again and again. They both asked me for cupcakes and sugar and I quietly and calmly explained why we were not eating cupcakes and sugar. Then back to talking incessantly at the same time…this went on for a few minutes.

The lovely girl I had been talking to watched me and at the end of the exchange said to me, “Wow. I love the way you parent.” I thought…me? this? what?

Ya’ll. Parenting is hard.

There is no other way to say it, it’s just hard.

First off, this little 3 foot tall person talks back at you. Gives you lip. Attitude. And your first reaction is, what the wha? Hey little mini human I am MUCH taller than you…who the heck do you think you are. Try that again. TRY IT. One more time. Watch what happens. I dare you.

Tell me this is not your reaction when your kid acts up and I’ll send you chocolates via snail mail. You deserve medals of gold and honor. And all the chocolates.

I have a few ideas about why people tell me my kids are good. About why my babysitters keep coming back and really truly love being with my kids. About why our kids can come with us wherever we go and be well-behaved  for the most part. About why they can accompany us to “adult” places and “adult” activities and still have a good time hanging with all the ‘dults as Josiah calls them.

And hey parents. We all mess up. I mess up parenting every day. I raise my voice with my kids. I get exasperated with my kids. I get so frustrated with my kids that I lock myself in my bedroom, hello. We all mess this up. All I want to do today is talk about parenting and my heart. It weighs heavy on me a lot, seeing kids treated badly and parents looking the other way when misbehavior happens instead of  forming who their kids turn out to be. So I’m sharing my heart here, and sharing what works for us and some of the smartest things we did as parents (largely because some other older wiser parents clued us in. so thanks older wiser’s out there.)


When we get attitude, disobedience, name-calling, disrespect

-We give immediate disciplinary face-time; Conversation about what just happened and why we will not tolerate it. We are also really big on eye contact. If we’re talking to them, they need to be looking into our eyes. Honestly, they hear and absorb what we’re saying so much better if they’re looking into our eyes. (that and I’m convinced my ‘do that again and you’re a dead mini-human’ look is pretty spot on. practice makes perfect). Guys, children have short term memory. The reason addressing the misbehavior or what have you IMMEDIATELY is because if you wait and try to punish them later, chances are they’ve forgotten their little episode and it honestly confuses them. Why am I being disciplined? What is this punishment for? The other reason immediate discipline is key is because I want the the next time they misbehave to be an “oh crap” moment for them…and this has happened…they’ll do something they shouldn’t, and immediately have a guilty look on their face and will come out with an “I’m sorry” before I have time to address is. I want them to know from the get go that that, was not ok and will not be tolerated.

-Ya know those keep calm posters you see everywhere? Totally agree, they’re annoying. Experiment though. Speak calmly to your kids…voice under control. Then raise your voice and act erratic. Watch what happens…its kind of amazing. When we’re loud we aren’t exhibiting control. Our kids do not respond to this. They stop listening…because they cannot take you seriously when you act like a crazy person. (do you take some seriously when they’re acting like a crazy person?) Sit down. Take their hands. Make eye contact. Speak calmly. Their entire demeanor will change and they’ll hear what your saying. Also, when I speak calmly to them, they react in a soft calm voice to me. Our children are looking to us to show them how to act. They’ll mimic what you do. (its awesome and also terrifying, this truth.)

-Speaking of speech, a big thing we required from the beginning is that they respond to us and all other adults with yes ma’am and no ma’am, yes sir and no sir. We make sure they say Thank you when its needed. Its especially important to us that they respond this way in the disciplinary moments. “Yea” or “ok fine”, or even just “ok” are not acceptable answers in our house.

-Quality time plays a huge roll in our parenting. We both work from home, so we’re able to give this in large amounts. I know so many of you work full time, your spouse works full time, you’re single moms or dads, you’ve got school and sports and activities and church, the list goes on. I truly feel that if you’re wanting some behaviors to change in your house, you cut some things out and replace those things with one on one time with your kids. They feel important and heard, and you can spend that time instilling good behaviors in them.

-The last thing I will say here, is that consistency works for us. Its incredibly easy to disregard and turn a blind eye to bad behavior when you’re at Publix or Target or out to dinner or at your friends house. Leave me alone kid, I’m trying to do this..i’m trying to relax..I’m trying to hang out..I’m trying to have a conversation here, duh…No. I have to stop what I’m doing every time and address the issue, right then and there wherever we are. I’ve taken my kids clear out of restaurants and down the street, in the middle of a meal, if we need to talk and correct an attitude. We’ve left grocery carts full and gone to the bathroom if a spanking was in order. We’ve left friends houses if attitudes were poor and the kids needed to go straight home and to bed. Stay at it, stay consistent. It works for us.


Two other areas I want to talk about are media and bed time. (#realtalk, #sorrybutidontholdback)

MEDIA – guys and gals. What they see on TV and in Movies directly affects their behavior. We are pretty strict on what they watch and how much time they spend watching a day. No Spongebob. (he shows SUCH DISRESPECT for authority) No Scooby Doo. (ghosts and scary monsters equal bad dreams and my kids believing in things that are not real) I find that PBS kids is probably the safest channel on television, so if we’re on TV thats what they are allowed to see. If we’re tuned to movies, we stick to disney classics, selected pixar, and veggie tales. If I hear them say a word or a phrase that I’ve never heard them say before, I can make an estimated guess that they heard it on TV or a movie, and I can re-evaluate what they’ve watched recently and eliminate. I realize its near impossible to find something that doesn’t say butt, or shut-up, or stupid. My kids hear those things, and knowing they’re not ok will say “Hey we’re not allowed to say that are we?” They know, and they remember what they hear, so we are pretty careful in this area.

BEDTIME – Ahhh, bed time. I know people who’s children don’t really have one. I’ve met people who tell me their kids go to bed “whenever they decide they’re tired”. I’ve come across parents who put their kids to bed at 11pm.

I do not understand this. 

From the time my kids were 3-4 months old, they were on a schedule. And not because I’m a crazy person, but because I have a life. Yes, a life….I had one before kids and I continue to have one with them. (keep reading for more on my feelings about this). From early on until last year, bed time was 7pm. That required that I had dinner ready around 5:30p, and they were bathed by 6:30p. It made those hours during my day harried and stressful at times, but then 7pm came around and I knew I had my evening. My time. Our time. Date time. Work time. Free time. Conversation time. Clean time. Create time. Girl time. Read time. BE WITHOUT MY KIDS time.

When they got a bit older, I decided to be super lenient and make bedtime 30 minutes later. (what can I say I’m a drill sergeant). At 7:30p every night, (ya sometimes its 8p, but hey, life happens) its peace out kiddos I love you. Time for us.

When I hear the no bed time thing, I think…when in the world do you talk to your husband? When the heck do you do the laundry? Honestly, WHEN do you take care of yourself and your marriage?

When I hear the no bed time thing, its usually followed by something like “We havent been on a date in 5 months.” Or “I cant find the time to keep my house in order”. Or “shave? when would I have time to shave?”. Or “the last girls night I had was in college.”

Put your kids to bed. You are the parent. You rule their life. You make the rules. Your children do not control you. “I’m an ADULT” as Adam Samberg would say. (ok if you’re tired of reading this, watch this. Omgreatness. Hilariousness. Threw it on the Ground. You cant buy me, hot dog man.) Plus, your kids are tired. They’ve had a packed day. They need their sleep….they’re happier. You’re happier.


There are a few things Ben and I did from the beginning that we have stuck with that have truly helped us parent better and have made our kids pretty well rounded, even as toddlers.

When we were pregnant, we made a decision that we were not going to change how we lived to accommodate our children. We had lives we loved, things we loved to do…passions. Places we went on the regular, adult places. Travel schedules and a job that took us away a lot.

We decided that our children were going to conform to the life we already lived. Yes, things would change a bit…we would have to be more disciplined, and more open to trial and error experimentation and the possibility for an end result we didn’t love or expect. We had a baby to care for and with that come change and sacrifice. But we decided to take all of that responsibility and make it mesh with what we already did and how we already lived.

That meant from the time Josiah was 3 days old, he went everywhere with us. I had him at church when he was 5 days old and I was giving him away to everyone I knew. Yes, please hold him. Yes, take him so I can have a minute. I wanted him to get used to people, being around adults, and being able to be watched so that Ben and I could leave and there would be no separation anxiety.

From day 1, Josiah became acclimated to OUR life. We took the same approach with Darby. And even though I sometimes lost my mind taking a newborn and a 15 month old with me to Target, they learned that this is the life we live and we’re going to be a part of it just like Mommy and Daddy.

Touching on the adult thing for a moment, I am so glad we started out lugging them along with us wherever we went. My children are around adults so much, and have been from the beginning, that they can have legit conversations with them. They can behave and hold themselves together and entertain themselves while we’re at a baby shower with no other children. When we have friends with no kids over to eat or hang out, they’re normal and fun and do their own thing. They’re not hanging out at my heels, shying away from anyone that says hello, refusing to speak to anyone else and clutching my legs for dear life. They can hang. They can have a good time. This is what I always wanted and I’m so glad Ben and I stuck it out and made this a precedent from the beginning.

To end, lets get real about a topic I feel is a sensitive one for lots of mamas out there. We struggle with this. We want to be the only influence on our babies lives and we want to know everything they’re doing at all times and we want to make absolutely sure that they’re safe and sound at every second.


Leave your kids. Get away from your children. Leave them with babysitters. Take trips for days at a time. Leave them for a week. Take them to the grandparents. Go on weekly dates. Take girls nights on the regular.

I think a lot of times we blame our inability to leave our children on them. Oh, they’ll miss us too much or I don’t think its good for them for me to be away for a few days. In reality, its us that are scared to leave.

I know how hard it is. I have to leave my kids all the time, its my job. But leaving them is so good for me, and so good for them!

1) it gives them the opportunity to learn about someone else, to be corrected by someone who is not their parent, to build relationship with someone who they don’t have to live with every day, to do fun things unique to that nanny/babysitter (example: Chloe makes them breadsticks and marinara out of pita bread every time she is here. They look forward to it every time and Ben and I wont do it even when we’re asked, because its a special thing they get to do with Chloe. I LOVE stuff like this)

2) It gives you time to breathe deeply, without spending all of your breath on yes and no and uh-uh and don’t do that. It allows you to have uninterrupted intentional time with your spouse. It teaches you that you don’t have control of your life and that letting go and letting God is a REAL thing and a hard thing but a necessary thing.


I am so thankful for this medium. I am so thankful I can write. I am so thankful that you’re here to read it, and again want to stress that everything you read above is just what has worked for us in this insane parenting journey. I would love to hear your thoughts and things that have worked or not worked for you.

I read something in Jesus Calling today that encouraged me and that I will hold onto when I feel like I’m not cut out for this, like I’m not enough…like this parenting this is too hard and I want to quit.

“Awareness of your inadequacy is a rich blessing, training you to rely wholeheartedly on Me.”