This is the continuation of Part 1 of this gorgeous and colorful shoot. In this blog, you'll see the groom's charming style, and some gorgeous details! I mean, don't you want to dive right into that cake?! I loved being able to bring this photo shoot even more to life with such fun florals and a vibrant color palette that I normally do not get to work with.
Brian and I were married eight years before we had kids. During those years I would go through Ina Garten’s cookbooks, page by page, and cook a new recipe each night for dinner. I love to cook. There is something about taking ingredients and making them into a delicious meal that just makes me happy. Brian and I always ate our dinner at the table together. This is where we would really talk about our day or dream about our next vacation.
Fast forward to today and life's a little more full! Driving three kids around to school, dance class, swim lessons, and running my own business while trying to make time for my husband and friends, let’s just say I haven’t cracked open one of Ina’s cookbooks in a few years!
I don’t believe in beating myself up about not being able to cook gourmet dinners every night, that just isn’t realistic! However, there was one thing Brian and I were not willing to give up once we had kids and we genuinely believe it is the most important thing we do for our kids every day.
We eat dinner around the table as a family every day. It’s part of our family routine. I believe it’s important to end the day with one another. It isn’t about what we are eating (keep reading to see how I meal prep - it’s so easy!), I believe the real power of the dinner table is the opportunity it provides for conversation.
When I was growing up (and let me just say, I had a wonderful childhood and amazing parents), my mom was so excited to see me when she would pick me up from school. She would immediately ask me all kinds of questions, “How was school? Did you have fun? What did you learn?, etc.”
I remember one time when I was in fourth grade, my mom went through her list of questions and being the sassy girl I was, I responded with a very disrespectful, “Gosh mom, are you writing a book or something?”
I had just been at school for seven hours. I was tired. My brain had been working all day. I needed a break. After I had Stella, a very dear friend once said to me, “Just remember to treat her like a human being, not a child. Ask yourself how you would feel in her situation.”
That was some of the best parenting advice I’ve ever received and I refer to it almost daily! As an adult, when I work seven hours straight, the last thing I want to do when I get home with my family is talk about it and I especially don’t want to feel quizzed about it. I’m sure my kids feel the same way. When I pick them up from school, I greet them with a huge smile, excited to see them, I crank up the music and we enjoy the ride home. When we get home, I let them chill and relax a bit, finding comfort in being back home, back to their safe place. I let them watch a tv show and then play in the backyard while I prep dinner. Then, we all sit around the table together. We pray. We eat. During this time is when we begin to ask the questions. We start by going around the table and asking, “What was your favorite part of the day?” Everyone answers. Then we ask, “What was your least favorite part of the day?” They don’t really understand this question yet (Stella usually just says another fun thing she did), but Brian and I answer it honestly. One day, they’ll catch on and I believe it will open up important dialogue. I also find because everyone has had a mental break between school (or work) and dinner, everyone is now ready to share. We also ask the kids (by the way, Perry and Zeke can barely talk, but we still give them a turn. They mumble something we don’t understand but we always acknowledge it and keep the circle moving) “Was there anything that happened today that made you sad? That made you mad? That scared you?” Again, just opens up an opportunity for dialogue. We’re just laying the groundwork now so later when they need to share something with us, we’ve created a space that makes them feel comfortable to do so.
While eating dinner together as a family gives us a chance as parents to teach our kids how to express how they feel verbally, it also gives us the opportunity to teach them the other side of communicating, listening. There are no distractions during our time around the table, no phones, televisions, computers, etc. This is a time for everyone to share and to have an active voice within our family while also teaching them how to listen well.
Click the button below to claim your download to see how I meal prep for my family of five and how I’ve taught my kids I’m not a short order cook. Momma makes one meal and we all eat the same thing!
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below! How do you make uninterrupted time for your family? How do you create conversation with your loved ones?
This past weekend, we went bowling with some friends. One of them said to me, “you know my daughter’s four and we only have 14 summers left with her and it really hit me the other day that we need to make time to create some memories. We need to plan a little vacation. I mean, 14, that’s not many.”
I couldn’t agree more! Brian says out loud almost every week “the days are long, but the years are short” mainly to remind us that even though we are exhausted and ready to put the kids to bed and get a few minutes to ourselves, that one day, sooner that we want, they will not want us to push them on the swings and they will not need us to open their popsicles.
As a floral designer and someone who makes a living designing and producing weddings, the summer is a busy time. Yes my kids are in preschool year round, but in just one short year from now, Stella won’t be. She will be in kindergarten and then home with me during the summer. I knew I wouldn’t want to miss that special time with her and I won't want to miss summer with my boys in just a couple of years, so (as a natural born planner does) I began to look ahead. I thought to myself, “I have to figure this out BEFORE they are home all summer long. I have to figure out how I can be home with them too." So here’s what I did…
I’m an entrepreneur. I’m my own boss. I can make the rules. I want to take the summers off, BUT WAIT, that’s a busy time of year for me and a profitable time of year. I decided I would work hard, continue to grow my business each year, but each year, I would cut back working in the summer more and more until I had the entire summer free.
2015 - I worked all weekends in June, took off July completely, worked two weekends in August
2016 - I worked three weekends in June, took off July completely, worked one weekend in August
2017 - I am working one weekend in June, taking off July completely, working zero weekends in August
I know because I take off this time, I have to make up for it during other parts of the year, so it forces me to get creative and figure out how to make money during my “off season”.
The beauty is, for any entrepreneur, you get to set your own schedule. When we get to hustling hard and making our dreams come true, we sometimes forget that. We think taking a little time off will hurt our business. Guess what? It won’t. It might even make it better. Guess what else? When you’re lying in the hospital bed (I’m not sure how you’ll leave this world, but let’s just go with this scenario) taking your last few breaths, you probably won’t be thinking about all the hours you worked to grow your business. You’ll be thinking about the time you spent with your loved ones and the memories you made with them.
So great! I’ve figured out how to have some actual time with my kids in the summer. Now, what are we going to do? How are we going to make those oh-so-important memories? Hear me say I am not one that feels the need to plan every second of our lives and jam pack our schedule. I believe in long summer days, living them simple and slow. I believe in letting my kids be bored and figuring out how to entertain themselves. After all, I think that’s when they begin to hear their inner voice and that’s when they learn to be creative. However, there are a few things I would like my kids to take with them in their memory bank. Those things, I need to plan or they will pass us by and we will end up not doing them at all. (You can read a little more how I use my planner HERE).
So last week, I created a worksheet (KEEP READING TO CLAIM YOUR FREE DOWNLOAD!) and I asked myself this question, “How do I want this summer to feel?”
My answer: nostalgic. I want simple (aka not expensive), fun things to do with the kids, the tried and true things that I enjoyed as a kid, heck, that my parents enjoyed as a kid. I chose eight things:
Catching fireflies in mason jars
Sparklers on the fourth of July
Make homemade lemonade with the kids
Eat popsicles on the back porch
Run through a sprinkler
Go on a bike ride
AND… go to the pool at least once a week! (because that’s my VERY favorite thing to do in the summer, always has been!)
Then I took those eight very simple things, I put them in my planner. I gave them specific dates on the calendar. This way, I’m not wishing and hoping we do these things, we will do them! Our summer memories will be made. I’ll remember and hopefully as the kids grow and we continue to do these things, they will remember them too.
Take a look below at how I thoughtfully planned this summer for our family and be sure to claim your FREE download so you can do the same!
Enjoy a few of my personal images of our family enjoying last summer...