Behind the Camera and Dreaming

Let's Go to MMO | Ezra Oliver

My itty bitty chunky monkey squiggly baby is making his first little step out into the world for the first time. As you all know, I don't stay home with my kids, but I don't send them to daycare either. I have been so lucky to have my mother care for my kids over the past 3.5 years. It has been a huge blessing for all of us, especially the babies. I always feel better about being away when I actually think about the love and care they are getting at NaNa's house. Not that babies aren't getting love and care at daycare too, because I know they are, I just love that since I can't be there someone I love can be.

So, for Ezra, he has been with me or my mom for most of his life. He's had little trips to MeMe's and short stays in nursery at church on occasion but this is different. This is a situation where a stranger gets to know and love my baby independently from me. It is such a wonderful blessing though. I wrote in Jonah's first day of Preschool post about his teachers and how they have shown him so much love and my prayer is the same for Ezra. I pray that he gets to be spoiled with love from ladies that put their hearts into their jobs.

The fun things about Ezra is, though, that these ladies found out about Ezra just shortly after Jonah found out. Except for summer break they were there watching and waiting as we did for a new little brother to come along. They waited and wondered with expectation when baby brother would arrive. Then, they got to see him as an itty bitty new baby when I picked up Jonah from MMO a few times while on maternity leave. Then, they got to see him with NaNa two days a week since he was her constant companion after I went back to work.  I can't wait to see how this little stinker steals their hearts or gives them heart attacks - if it's anything like here with me.

As a side note they already did a handprint craft the first day (over achievers. lol) and his little hand was so smeared, but it's so perfect because that's so him. I have hardly even dreamed of getting him to be still to do anything. He's a busy bee this one. Never a dull moment.

So, here's to a great year of learning and growing! Here's to hoping he never has a clean handprint and always colors outside the lines!

First Day of Preschool | Jonah Wilder

I decided to split the boys up and give them their own posts for back-to-school. Jonah started real Preschool at the same place he went to Mother's Morning Out for the past two years and I love his teacher, his itty bitty classroom and that he's in the same class again with all his little buddies from MMO. I wonder if they will be real friends, go on to public school together, play sports, and go to church with each other? That would be really cool. I met some of my lifelong friends when I was just a little kiddo in church. Maybe not as young as Jonah, but still really early.

The night we went to meet the teachers, his teacher gave us a get to know you form to fill out and gave us some info about her in return - do preschool teachers typically do this? I don't know. This is my first go-round. After reading through though and trying to answer the questions about Jonah, I had to answer How she (his teacher) could pray for him. I thought, wow, what a question. How can she pray for him? Of course, I pray for him, over him, beside him, for him, about him every day, but a stranger wants to pray specifically for my little boy? What a blessing.

I asked her to pray for his timidness. For him to be bold, interact, make friends, and make himself known. It wasn't those exact words, but you get the gist and I hope she did too. Sweet Jonah can sing at the top of his lungs, dance in his underwear, and jump from the kitchen table at home, but out there in the big world, he's a little shy. He shies away from saying hello to others, he won't be the first kid to speak up if he knows the answer or if he doesn't and has a question. He will talk all day about his friends, but I never see him speak a word to them in person.

Lord I pray this school year that Jonah finds his voice and show others what he shows us! He is so kind, smart, creative, caring, loving, and funny. He knows so much for his short little 3 years and I could not be more proud of who he is becoming. Lord, Thank you for this gift of motherhood and for the boy who made me mom. 

Letting Others Love Our Babies | Back to School

I came across the post below in my time hop from last year, as you can imagine as Jonah starts preschool and Ezra's first birthday approaches, a mama might get a little emotional. So, here we'll start a little back to school series over the next week or so. Most of this you can file under the personal journal portion of this blog.

Last year we started Mother's Morning again after having a summer of instability. My grandfather passed away and our NaNa's time was needed elsewhere many days. We had MeMe and MaeMae there to step in and that was great. Then there was the actual dealing with his death, the processing of it all, and then there was a baby due just right around the corner, which meant a very pregnant mama.

I have to say though, our experience last year with Mother's Morning Out was a great one. I didn't get to take or pick up Jonah much, but I did get to hear about his friends, his teachers, and even his teachers from his first year there. I never really thought about how much these ladies would invest in our child they only saw two days a week, but they have. At the end of the year, I found myself writing thank you notes to them saying Thank You for loving him so well. I even shed a few tears thinking about him moving on and not having them to love on him anymore. Without a blink, they added to the support system of our family as we welcomed a new member. They were excited about Ezra's birth WITH Jonah. They couldn't wait to see pictures and meet him. They excitedly greeted Jonah after hearing the news of his birth. And Jonah. He loves those ladies. These special friends have paved the way for him to fall in love with school, learning and bonding with friends.

Yesterday, after we took him to meet his new teacher, who he has been asking about for weeks, we stopped by his room from last year and there his cute teachers stood at the door waving at Jonah together with huge smiles on their faces. They were meeting the new babies that they will love on this year, but I know mine will not be forgotten. He shies away when we see them at church or in the hallway, but clings to them when mama's not there and that's okay. They loved him SO well last year and I am so thankful. I love that we have a place that feels like home, that's founded on a love for God, and that I feel confident and even happy about leaving little brother too. I know they will love him well just as they did Jonah.

As I have written before I always have a hard time leaving them, even just to go to work. I have been blessed with in home daycare and am so thankful to add to our village this year with PreK-3 and Jonah's new teacher in our corner!

For all the teachers out there that take our kids in a love them Thank You. Thank You. Thank You.

Summer Photography | Gray Mornings Photography Jackson, MS

It's always fun to shoot  my niece, Emma, and now that she's kind of into it and wants to have her picture taken..for about half an hour anyway, we take full advantage when we can! She really is a nature lover, so these suit her well. I was a little teary-eyed this week when she started Kindergarten but she's a smart cookie and thrives in school. I hope that never changes!

She is truly the little girl who can wear the pretty dress and hunt for worms all at the same time. 

For the complete session check out the Gray Mornings Photography gallery.

Just a typical evening at our home... #boymom

If you have ever wondered exactly what an evening a play looks like at our house now that there are two crazy boys, here it is. At any moment you could be tackled, kicked in the mouth, covered in pillows, tickled, rolled on, snuggled gently, or loved on really forcefully. It's wild y'all, but I just wanted to share. It doesn't look like it but we do actually supervise them very closely and it's likely no one was seriously hurt during this particular nest making, pillow fighting round of wrestle mania. 

Remind me of this post when people start declining invitations to our home. . .


This one is not easy to photograph. I mean his busyness is just off the charts. Especially when you take him outside! It rained the day he turned 10 months - the grass was wet, so we decided to get a few shots under the patio. 

Here are a few updates on our baby Ezra! He makes our family so fun... and tired ;) 


Anything he can get into his mouth! He's has begun to love eating! He now "asks" for real food over a bottle. He can suck a squeeze pack right down, so now I'm looking at the reusable ones - so I can make him some more food for them! He loves to self feed but is SUCH a mess. He twists and turns and tries to feed the dog and gives me several heart attacks a day. 


I am actually praying for improvement in this area. I think he's going through a little bit of an attachment phase/change and wakes up just wanting us several times a night. It's exhausting, but it won't last forever. He's easy to put to sleep but just doesn't sleep long stretches at a time usually. He gets SO mad when you don't come right away to get him too. This boy... has a scream. Oh that scream. 

Learning & Doing

Walking, walking, walking. He is determined at this point and is off! He's decided that walking is his preferred form of transportation, except he may still prefer me carrying him so he can get into stuff up high. He is making many more sounds and babbling. We've got some DaDa's, MaMa's, Ba Ba's, and we swear sometimes he says Jonah and Emma (according to Emma - his cousin). He points, waves a little, stands on his head, climbs, and has learned how to flip though a board book pretty well.  


He's a big boy! I'd say he's probably 22lbs. He's still wearing 9 month clothing, 6-12 month, and some 12 month. I think he's moving from a size 2 shoe to size 3 but doesn't wear shoes that often. He will have to wear something though to Mother's Morning Out, so we are going for Moccasins for now. 


Life in general. He's happy when he's happy and lets you know when  he's not. He clearly tells you when something is not right. He loves mommy to hold and carry him, Daddy to "get" him, and wrestling with brother. He thinks it's awesome to walk but hates to fall. He loves his teddy bear and likes to snuggle and rock when he's tired or over stimulated. He loves to talk and yell. He loves toys. . . especially the ones that his brother and cousins are playing with. He loves his paci - which is great because he puts everything in his mouth. EVERYTHING. 

He also loves getting his way. He has surprised us with some early temper tantrum type behavior. It's just little spurts, but he will scream like he's hurt when you take something from him, take him away from a task he's enjoying (playing in the dog's water bowl for example), or not pick him up when he's clearly asking you to.  I am afraid he's going to be the kid that bites in preschool - it's a good thing he doesn't have any teeth yet. I know that this determination will serve him well in the future but taming it now is going to be an adventure. It's so funny to see him act like that though because he's SO happy and playful most of the time! I just love his little fiery spirit! Maybe he gets it from me. 

Today. Lately.

So, I haven't blogged in a week! For no particular reason other than I have just been up to other things. Then, today feels like I should write something but I don't know what. Ezra turned ten months old yesterday and there is a post coming on that - I attempted some photos of him last night. Let me just say. . . mobile Ezra is not easy to photograph in a planned kind of way. He's quick, that little booger, and he loves to be outside where I hardly let him just down on the ground. There's so much to write about him, but this is not the post. Today I just want to make mention that it has been one year since the passing of my Papa Joe. My sister wrote a post on her blog where she has been documenting their travels and move into their RV.

Last year, after he died I wrote this post to try and formulate my feelings and thoughts and roll them all into one. So, I'd love if you'd read it again or for the first time in his memory. We still talk about him as if he was here yesterday and I am still taken aback a little when I consciously think about him not being here. Mostly when I visit his house and see my grandma. He was such a constant in my life.

Jonah still asks about him. Seeing him and visiting heaven. It's so hard to explain death and heaven. Death is bad when you are worried about them getting hurt (or hurting someone else) but it's good when heaven is involved as a good and wonderful place where there are people that we love. It's hard to explain. Recently, Jonah asked me so randomly as we were driving in the car if maybe sometime we could see Papa Joe in heaven and because these types of questions have been fairly frequent over the past year I simply said "one day, when our time here on earth is done" but you know three year olds...sometimes that let it end there and sometimes you have to explain that that will be a long long time from now and it's just hard to explain. I want to talk about him and remember him, but for Jonah his death has been a lesson in dying and heaven. We don't actually spend that much time talking about Papa Joe himself, but we will. We will tell Ezra all about him and I will tell Jonah all the stories he was not old enough to remember.

This past Sunday I went out to my grandparent's home to take senior portraits for my cousin's daughter, Kelsey. We spent time outside in all the places that hold all those memories I talked about in that post last year and we visited with my grandmother, who is a rock by the way. Kelsey, was gifted Papa Joe's snake skin boots and she wore them for photos and it was pretty awesome. Just like her. You can see some previews I posted for her on my Gray Mornings Photography Facebook Page.