A baby, a bulletproof vest and a long blog hiatus

Friends! Good morning! I feel like finding some kind of GIF that says "I'm BAAAAAAACK" but to be honest, I have NO idea where/how people find GIFs (what does GIF even stand for!?) so pretend there's one here:

For a long time (like, several years) I've been going back and forth on blogging. When I had my photography business, I struggled with whether or not I should have a business blog for all my photo stuff, and a personal blog for everything else I wanted to post. In high school and college, I loved keeping a personal blog for more personal, long form writing - almost an online journal. Then it seemed like overnight, there was an explosion of professional blogs and sponsored posts and blogging for money. I decided that I wanted to go that route, so suddenly it felt like my blog couldn't be a space for personal rambling - it needed to be and look legit. Long story short, there's been a lot of pressure as to how this space should look. All self-imposed, of course. And it lead me to wanting to quit altogether. But I've realized over the last several months that a) I really miss blogging and b) I'm done with the pressure. So, I'm back! And I'm really excited about it.

The last few months have been FULL. Crazy, hard, amazing, so sweet. Matt is a full-blown police officer now! I mean, he's still in training until November, but he gets dressed in his very official uniform and goes to work in his very official police car so it feels very official to me :) I was SO hoping that I'd be able to attend Matt's graduation from the law enforcement academy and the stars aligned to make my dream come true...Zelie, Xavier and I were able to go (thanks to my mom, Matt's parents and our friend Christine who were also all there to help, as I was just 10 days postpartum!) and it was so incredible to watch Matt walk across that stage and graduate after 15 long weeks. The police academy was so challenging for our whole family, but also a season that bore so much fruit for me individually and also for our marriage. I'm grateful :)

So now we live in the world of bulletproof vests, Matt having to sit facing the door every time we go out to eat, missing him while he works nights and trying to get out of the house with the kids while he sleeps during the day. It has been a truly hard transition to be honest, but we are figuring it out more each day with LOTS of help from our village and LOTS of conversations about what is and isn't working.

And...we had a baby! Of course she's been introduced on instagram and I hope to have her birth story up here soon. Sweet Zelie James is an absolute dream and we are smitten. Xavier loves to say "hi" to her in the mornings, put toys on her while she's sleeping aaaaaand rip her pacifier out of her mouth as soon as she falls asleep. Life with two under two is crazytown, as expected, but also incredibly more fun than I could have ever imagined. Don't get me wrong...there are a LOT of tears on all parts (especially mine) and a lot of me just stopping amidst the crazy to yell "WHAT IS EVEN HAPPENING RIGHT NOW" (yep, true story) and a lotttttttttt of prayers of "Jesus...I can't. Please help!" And of course, He always does.

All in all, I am so grateful for this season and all the lessons and gifts it's brought and continues to bring. I wouldn't trade this wild life with my three sweet humans for the entire world. Hoping you're all having the loveliest summer and so excited to be hanging out with you again, here. xo!