Luke is TWO | Birthday party fun, family & 2-year photos

Lucas Brent how are you TWO today?!

We celebrated his birthday last weekend with family and close neighborhood friends, and because it was so much fun to Luke, it was a BLAST for mommy and daddy! My parents came into town, and Jordans siblings and parents were here, so it made for Luke feeling so loved and excited.

He surprised us and LOVED having a room full of people looking at him while singing Happy Birthday.

He had a BALL opening presents (and playing with them afterward).

He is caught several different times (on camera—just see) digging into either brownie or his football cake—which he was so proud of!

And the balloons were probably the biggest hit of ALL. :)

He totally filled the role of a 2-year old during his 1-hour long photo session and gave us all his joy and smiles in the first 10-15 minutes—typical! So you’ll see some cute candid photos of him expressing how he really feels about pictures below—haha! Popo (his lovey), paci, and a snack may be present in some photos—minus some shoes at the end! But I mean—he’s two! ;-)

I’m in love with what we captured of his personality—he’s silly, so loving, joyful, adventurous, serious at times, goofy, into football, in love with all his grandparents and totally 2.

One of the most fun things right now is hearing just in the past week how is talking is progressing—he went from saying “i-keem” (ice cream) to “mommy, I want ice keem”—like OKAY, BUDDY! Let’s reward that! :) And he gets excited trying to copy what mommy and daddy say, and it always sounds SO CUTE. He currently calls himself “Newt” for “Luke”, and it’s the cutest thing I could ever imagine for him misarticulating his name :):):)

Luke, you could never understand right now how much joy you give your mommy and daddy—the Lord has most definitely blessed us with your spirit!

Thanks for already sharing your time with your baby SISTER Lukey! We announced the gender during his birthday party, and it was such a sweet, fun time for us! I can’t wait for Luke to be a big brother to a little sister.

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And this kid loves his SWEETS. Just like his Grandpa Donald :)

How to do San Diego in 2 Days

OKAY. I’m walking out of this FUN whirlwind of a work-trip turn vacation-trip, and I’m honestly so giddy about So-Cal/San Diego that I HAVE to share it with you.

We: explored So-Cal wine country, saw La Jolla, Mission Beach, Sunset Cliffs, USS Midway Museum, Downtown, Little Italy, Coronado Island, Oldtown and Pacific Beach.

Jordan and I photographed a wedding in Temecula, CA on Monday. We arrived Sunday, stayed at the resort Sunday, Monday night and hit the 1-hour-ish trek back to San Diego on Tuesday after we slept in and explored the winery shops. We entered San Diego around 2:00 Tuesday and departed Thursday about the same time, and it’s HARD to believe we covered all the ground we did in just 48 hours—AND feel rested.

So I’m going to do my best to share all the places we hit so WHEN you go to San Diego (or So-Cal), you can have as much fun as we surprisingly did! And I say surprisingly, because San Diego wasn’t necessarily at the top of my list to explore, but we did, because we were here.

So-Cal Wine Country

First, we learned that there’s ALSO a southern “wine country”, aside from the well-known Napa Valley wine country. Temecula houses a beautiful wine country just about an hour north of San Diego, and let me tell you, the rolling hills, wineries and weather were IDEAL. Highs of 70s with lows in the 50s (in October), and it was nothing short of marvelous. We learned that this can be a more affordable option for groups of people traveling, because there are more large air bnbs than in Napa. And guys, Napa may be “better”, but this spot was BEAUTIFUL, and with San Diego/the beach just an hour away, it makes it even more versatile!

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Okay to secondly, San Diego! We had tons of good recommendations of places to go and see while here, thanks to you ALL! So I’m going to share them with you AND the ones we did.

Like I said, we arrived to San Diego around 2:00 in the afternoon Tuesday and chose to go to La Jolla first. Partially because SO many people recommended it, I’ve heard tons about it AND it was on our way into SD from Temecula.

La Jolla

And La Jolla was everything we expected—gorgeous. Let me start off by saying that the weather in San Diego is hard to top. The entire two days here, it was highs of 70 with lows in the 50s. The breeze was brisk, and in the evenings, we needed sweatshirts, which I LOVED. I’m all about that life--especially coming from a hot fall in Dallas. From what it sounds like, this is pretty typical all year round, though if you drive just miles inland, it becomes much warmer.

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Ride Bird We immediately parked in free parking a ways from the beach and hopped on our first Bird ride—our first of literally 12 rides for a total of about 169 minutes and 14.7 miles. Baha Jordan and I literally just high-fived when we added all of this up. Seriously, such a GOOD way to see San Diego and cover the ground we did. We literally couldn’t have fit as much in or done it if it wasn’t for scootering all over this beautiful city!

First, we scootered up and down the coast of La Jolla, saw sea lions, a wedding that was happening on the beach, cute shops and rode through the swankiest beach neighborhood that had so much character. That’s always a favorite or ours when we travel—we like exploring the neighborhoods to get a feel for something different.

Although we didn’t eat in La Jolla, we got SO many recommendations that I wish we could’ve tried! One thing to note, Jordan and I have always been this way: we tend to sleep in on vacations, eat a hearty brunch (we love brunch), explore the day, maybe snack if we feel like it and eat a hearty dinner. That way we eat usually 2 meals a day, because it simply just works best for us that way—and is a little cheaper.

La Jolla recommendations for food: George’s (overlooking the beach), The Taco Stand, Puesto (filet mignon tacos)

Totally Recommended Air BNB

After about a couple hours, we headed to check in at our Air BNB, which we would highly recommend—if you haven’t used an Air BNB and want $40 off your first trip, use this link here. It wasn’t the “nicest” in the sense of being pampered, but we did that the first half of our trip. This was meant to be central, safe and inexpensive. We loved our hosts and would absolutely go back again. It was located on Burgener, which is super central for everything we did. We stayed 2 nights in a master suite with a lock on our door for $187 total, taxes, fees and cleaning included. THIS and the Bird were two positives to the quick trip.

Sunset Cliffs MUST-SEE

After checking in and getting settled, we headed out to Cannonball, a sushi restaurant, on Mission beach for dinner.  But Jordan missed the turn and we accidentally started heading to Sunset Cliffs which was a GOOD mistake. It was on our list of “to-sees”, but we hadn’t planned when to go. THANKFULLY, we made our way RIGHT at sunset, which is a literally MUST SEE! We Birded down from where we parked along the Oceanside until we got to the cliffs, and WOW. GO.

Cannonball YUM

After that, we Birded back and arrived at Cannoball, which was a hoppin’ place (expect a wait), but it’s got gorgeous views right alongside Mission Beach, and we had the best waiter Matt, while we sat at the bar. The sushi was amazing, and afterward, you guessed it, we Birded miles alongside Mission Beach at night, which was SO MUCH FUN. The breeze was almost cold, the condos along the beach were neat, and the beach obviously sounded amazing. If you go earlier, there’s a fun shopping area you can hit up before dinner, but we missed these!

Downtown, USS Midway Museum, Little Italy

The next day, our first full day in San Diego, we started with Brunch around 10:30 at Breakfast Republic, a recommendation from Matt. IT WAS WORTH IT. We chose the location that was downtown, accidentally, which ended up being perfect AGAIN. I ordered Chilaquiles, and Jordan had crabcake & crawfish benedict—both delish, but the atmosphere was legit. Again, we had a wait at 10:30 on a Wednesday morning. We parked in free parking prior brunch, Birded there, then Birded to the USS Midway Museum afterward—a quick 10 minute Bird ride.

Jordan was in heaven, and it was honestly pretty fascinating.

From there, we Birded to Little Italy, which was FUN! Birding through it was easy to get the feel for it and realize that we wish we’d planned a meal there, but it was midday for us, so we weren’t hungry. We stopped at a local shop and tried Cannoli and gelato, which was yummy and satisfying!

But seriously, there were TOO many restaurants that had cute outside covered patios where people were eating the most delicious-looking pastas, so I wish we could’ve planned this stop for dinner!

After Little Italy, we Birded back to our car where we parked that morning prior brunch and were pretty exhausted after 5 hours out and about. We headed back to our Air BNB to recharge and plan our evening.

Coronado Island

For that evening, we headed to Coronado Island where we parked and actually WALKED—Birds weren’t allowed on the island. We explored Hotel del Coronado and the beach it led to which were both pretty fascinating and beautiful. The beach here was pristine—very impressive. We caught this at sunset too which was so incredible—God totally is seriously unbelievable with his creations.

We walked back to a delicious restaurant recommended to us called Village Pizza. It totally hit the spot!

BUT if you go here, you should look into “Tour de Coronado”. People paid $30 to for a ticket to have access to several different eateries along the island. They could walk by, grab food from whoever was participating and keep walking. Village Pizza participated in this, so we kept seeing people stop by for a slice of pizza, and we were so confused. This would have been a fun option! We were also told that Miguel’s had delicious Mexican food.

That night we drove back to Mission Beach and Birded for about 20 more minutes up and down the coast along the shops after dark. You know, because we loved it. :)

Old Town

On Thursday, our last day, our flight took off at 4:25, so we had a pretty good chunk of the day to still explore. We went to Libre Lucha for “brunch”, because we were told by my mom that the burritos were killer. And she was RIGHT—whatever show they were on on the Food Network was right. We had the California Alambre burritos, and the homemade chips and various salsas were the BOMB. Highly recommend! Just know that it definitely feels like a hole in the wall restaurant in an interesting part of town. ;-)

We Birded from breakfast to Old Town which was about a 10 minute ride, and we walked around this area. It was good enough for us to stroll through for an hour or so and head back. I could definitely see where it would have had some DELISH Mexican food restaurants though! We would’ve enjoyed that!

Pacific Beach

After Old Town we headed to Pacific Beach, which was another area we’d been recommended. Not surprisingly, we Birded from a Better Buzz, a coffee shop we later came back to and were recommended. We headed toward the ocean and stopped to relax for a little—and watch a literal lifeguard rescue, which was pretty exciting—everyone fine.

It was definitely a pretty yet popular beach scene—probably similar to Mission Beach during the daytime with lots of shops and eateries around. Coronado beach seemed the most relaxed, pretty and nice.

After the beach, we Birded back up to the coffee shop which was what coffee shop dreams are made of. I finally got to try an Acai bowl (didn’t disappoint just wasn’t v hungry) and tried the Best Drink Ever—iced. It was tooootally bomb. We relaxed there until we needed to head to the airport and talked about how much we packed in—even some accidentally.

Spontaneity is Key

We loved the location of our Air BNB, because everything was within 15 minutes, with the exception of Coronado Island being closer to 30. This wasn’t as much of the “splurge” part of our trip, so we were totally happy with our investment—plus we were rarely there.

And we loved the work-time turned fun-time together. I honestly had lower expectations for the trip, simply because I San Diego wasn’t high on my list, and Jordan and I simply weren’t in the most comfortable place when we left for the trip.

But every time we leave our everyday routine, force time together and dive deeper into the heart of….us, it’s fruitful. While connection at home felt distant, we had hard but good conversations, thanks to The Brave Marriage podcast and simply knowing how to communicate well from past counseling, and the remainder of our trip was literal laughs, light-heartedness and so many fun new things experienced.

I’ve always felt like experiencing new things together is a sweet way to grow together and connect, and this trip was so that for us.

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I’m Actually A Worrier

I honestly don’t believe Jordan and I would travel as much as we do if it were for my job. 1) Jordan isn’t a travel-initiator and 2) I’m a worrier by nature. As I reflect on this, I realize more and more of God’s good plan—specifically for me to have a job that oftentimes requires travel.  It’s a blessing but at times a curse (if you’re afraid of flying). Those of you who know me, know that I lean on the side of worrying. I always have and will always have to remind myself of God’s sovereignty and goodness.

And if it weren’t for booking weddings outside the state (and country) and my love for traveling, I can completely say it’d be hard for me to leave Luke. Without this needing to be said, I LOVE traveling with Luke and letting him experience new things—almost nothing more fun for us! But every time the two of us leave, I’m reminded of how fruitful it is to leave the everyday behind, take a deep breath and try something new.

When Jordan and I left for the trip, connection wasn’t our high point. We felt jumbled into the everyday shuffle of busy life and struggled to really get to where we needed relationally and emotionally. And while escaping isn’t the answer, it helped us get to a more clear space for us to have heart-to-hearts, connect and then laugh our freaking heads off the remainder of the time.

We are so grateful for grandparents who eagerly love Luke and are loved by him so that we have opportunities like this and opportunities for him to grow in relationships with them.

So guys, I’m a fan. I know it’s hard, but it’s so fruitful to leave—whether it’s a date night, stay-cation in your city or a few nights away.  I will always support time like this! We cannot WAIT to get our hands on our sweet Bubba!!

And maybe someday you can enjoy San Diego like we did!

Why Simplified? Because It's Changed My Life, No Really!

Today, August 1st, has oddly similar feelings to Christmas for me. 

Maybe it's because all the fall candles are coming out, so it's gearing me up for another season, or maaaaaybe it's because The Simplified Planner that I've been prepping for 2 months now STARTS TODAY!! 

Bah! And all the Type-A's screamed HOORAY! 

My Favorites:

A Simplified Life

Grace, Not Perfection

The Simplified Planner

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See, my love affair with all products from Emily Ley goes back to this past Christmas when I asked for her book, A Simplified Life. Obviously, it was around the New Year, and I was in a season of truly desiring more simplicity and organization but unable to pave that road for myself. 

I began reading A Simplified Life, fell in love with Emily's simple (ironic?) writing style and beautifully designed book, and soaked up everything she had to say. I literally either bought or suggested the book for several people I know, hoping it was as beneficial for them, as it was for me. 

Because to me, it honestly wasn't just about simplifying, organizing and setting routines for your home. It was about getting my life back. And it was one of the big things that helped with that.

Whoa. That's a big statement right there. 

But really, it's just how I felt! Emily talked about how "simplifying" was different from "minimalism", in that she's not telling you to get rid of everything but to determine the need and purpose for the stuff you have. If it does, then find a place for it--not several. For example, all the medicine goes in one cabinet; all the cleaning supplies in another--everything should be able to be found easily and simply. 

Slowly but surely (actually, it was super fast), I began to transform our home, and I began to feel weight lifted off of me, less stress and more life. It was shocking to me how the routines and organized spaces left me feeling like I had more room for what mattered: it literally affected my spiritual life. I began to simplify all compartments of my life and find more time and space for what mattered most. 

So after I devoured A Simplified Life and everything she was about, I quickly became a fan girl. I promptly purchased her August-December 2018 planner, and it STARTS TODAY!!! EEEP!!! 

Like I knew she would, she helped me organize and plan my days for the months to come. In the prep days (what I've been doing the past 2 months), there's room for your routines, morning and night. She guides you through this and other meaningful ways to set yourself up for success. The kind of success that only a super talented type-A woman or a woman with years of wisdom can--I have to imagine she's both ;-) 

So here I am, launching with probably many of you, as we get to begin implementing our new planners!  

I've already been practicing my morning and evening routines, and as simple as it sounds, it has been SO life-giving, so productive and so freeing. 

I'll share some of my routines for you to show you just how simple they are yet fitting for ME. I tried to think about what I wanted to get done, what I needed to get done and what caused me stress in my life if I didn't do it. It simply has been so refreshing. But it's important to note (and this is a reminder to myself) that this is not some legalistic, check-list to mark. It's more of a heart-pumper for me. I hated how it was instinct for me to roll over in bed and immediately jump on the Insta scroll. What's worse is then I would not be disciplined in spending my time doing more meaningful things afterward and my day would feel BLAH. 

Like I had no control. But this structure from my planner was just what I needed at just the right time in my life, and it's been so fruitful. I do have control: it's completely my choice. And yours. 

So my encouragement to you is: come up with a similar list that's fitting for YOU. What are your pain points? What are productive, necessary things you need to do? Things that you wished you were more disciplined with? What can you realistically do everyday (with added grace with the baby wakes up earlier than you expected or #lifehappens). Make your routine, and like Emily suggests, put it next to your bed as a visual reminder. 

It's been sweet for me, and I totally have control to add/tweak my routine as life changes and goes on!

My morning routine: 

1. Wake up to my alarm (not always Luke) & drink a glass of water then stretch. 

2. Hygiene: brush teeth, wash face, get dressed (because when you work from home, this can happen much later in the day)

3. Make coffee and read from my bible--specifically truth, not from a podcast, Insta post, blog--not that these are bad at all, but I felt convicted about the way I was seeking truth; journal my prayers & text any friends who come to mind

4. Insert Luke: feed him, read with him, and let the playing & day begin!

My evening routine: 

1. Feed Luke, brush Luke's teeth, bathe him, read to him, say prayers & put him to bed 

2. Hygiene: shower, brush teeth & all the things

3. Go through and answer unread texts from the day (this used to weigh SO heavily on me but now there's a time)

4. I write down my top 3 work/life priorities for the next day that I can realistically get done

5. Update our family Instagram account (@thedavenportsdoadventure) so it updates our future Chatbooks then I put my phone up for the night (I had gotten months behind until I implemented this, and now it's EASY)

6. Read 15 minutes for enjoyment (currently reading Girl Wash Your Face...& 8340 other books) 

7. Visit with Jordan about the day & then watch TV with him & pray

You know when you find a particular food or restaurant you're obsessed with? Or workout that you believe it so much? You just want to shout it to the world to convince them how it's making your life better, and that's my feelings about all things simplified. 

If you feel half the way I have the past 7 months, then I am happy for you friend! Don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions about the books or planner! Or hey, don't hesitate to reach out and tell me what products YOU love best! I just ordered my Home Base Binder and CAN'T WAIT for this! 

Happy planning friends!

5 Years of Marriage and the 5 Things that Helped the Most

It's funny how differently 5 years can look--June 1, 2013 Jordan and I were celebrating our nuptials in the barn on my family's farm, and 5 years later, Jordan was taking care of Luke and I when we were basically bed-ridden for days with a terrible stomach virus. Too many more details could be added that we'd all laugh about, but I'll save you those! Basically, he's the best nurse ever and sure took care of us! ;-) Eh, but I'd say we celebrated 5 years pretty hard when we made our trip to Canada last month!

Anyway, I've been dragging my feel posting this, you guys. CLEARLY, I've been dragging them for over a month now (our anny was June 1). I kept wanting to either 1) feel like Jordan and I were in this perfect place in our marriage to be able to share (lies, lies) or 2) be so careful with my words to make it sound like we weren't perfect (the irony??).

So, I think we all know that nobody's marriage is perfect, even if social media can give it the looks of that at times. Understood? Nod your heads: yes, Masta. Ain't nobody perfect 'round here. But, like us, I'm sure there are plenty of people who have hit some hard bumps and can offer some advice. 

Hi, [insert Jordan and Lindsay]

Proceeding...

Honestly, I was really excited about our 5 year anniversary. That's a solid number. It feels good. And I think it feels good to feel in a good place. You know what I mean? And I say that, because our marriage, or connectedness, just took a pretty good hit when we moved to Dallas, started new jobs, bought a fixer upper, got pregnant, etc. etc. We clearly couldn't handle all of the transition and tried so many things to figure out how to find our "groove" back. 

Again with 5 years of marriage in the books, we've been married long enough to ride out the honeymoon phase and feel some pretty hard knocks like every marriage is going to feel. Yes, some are bumpier than others, but we're all going to come upon these. We're all human which makes us susceptible to falling short...often

Everyone. Yes, you. 

Which brings me to these 5 things that Jordan and I both agreed, looking back, helped us. They really blessed us, made us stronger and helped us feel the most connected and loved. I don't even want to call them pieces of advice, because I know there's still so much to learn, but guys, we are tangoing quite well with all of these in this season, and I'd love nothing more than for other marriages to feel the positivity and benefits from them, as well. 

--or honestly, I'd love nothing more for couples to pour into their marriages and tend to them. And to know it's not silly. Even when things are feeling smooth. 

But first, I've got to say that I am super crazy proud of and grateful for my man. He somehow gets cuter and wiser as the years go by, and I get to benefit from both of those! But truly, God knew what he was doing by giving me Jordan's calm, collected and reasonable personality. I need the way he weighs out situations with me, helps guide me and calls me out. I need the way he makes the hard things lighthearted and the good things even better. I need the way he is simply just Jordan. 

I'm so grateful for these nuggets below, because we ain't stoppin' here y'all! I know that a strong marriage is worth fighting for, because it's the foundation and environment we're creating for the littles that will be carrying on our legacy of love and loving others. This is what fuels the fire in much of what I do in my business and own home. So with that, I hope to let you know that all of the below are, like, way cool. 

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5 Things that Helped the Most 

1. Counseling

I honestly can't scream this to the mountains enough, and I hope to share more posts on it in the future to debunk it's taboo.  From the time we went through premarital counseling, Jordan and I both agreed that we'd never turn down counseling if the other (or someone else) felt it helpful. So when we both agreed that we just couldn't quite get ahold of everything we were juggling in life, lacked connectedness because of it and new that marriage hadn't always felt this way, we agreed that professional guidance would help. 

And let me just say that after the first session, Jordan looked at me and said, "I can understand now how anybody could benefit from counseling". And every time we left counseling, we left feeling hopeful, having more guidance, clarity and understanding of each other. We seriously learned so much, and it was exactly what we needed in that season. We literally communicate differently and better now and took away huge gains. Will we ever go back? Absolutely.

 So guys, anybody can go. The house doesn't always have to be burning down. Go

Where do you stand? Are you open to counseling? Cringe because you have a stigma behind it? Have benefitted from it?

2. Prioritizing self-care/individual time

One thing we actually took away from counseling was the importance of "self care". This is a tricky thing to master when you're 1) used to being busy or 2) parents. Our counselor really educated us on the importance of doing this, helped us figure out what we both individually needed (Jordan's time is different than mine, because he's an introvert, and I'm an extrovert). She helped us figure out how to communicate our needs before communication breakdowns occurred or...ish hit the fan, rather. 

This helped the way we parented, saw our time with one another and were simply just intentional with our time. 

What does "self care" look like to you? 

3. Traveling

Yes, lawd YES. When we first got married, traveling looked like driving 1.5 hours to my aunt and uncle's cabin in Ruidoso (simple, free, close). There's something to be said about making intentional (sometimes financially creative) time to getting away and trying something new together. There's a sweet intimacy and adventure linked to it that makes it precious. 

I'm all about traveling, and some of our best memories together have been doing just this. Ironically enough, it has also served as one of our sources of frustration in marriage: deciding upon timing, finances, expectations, etc. Funny (not funny) how that happens, right?

What kind of travels could you both enjoy together?

4. Praying for your loved one

While I wish I could say that I was more consistent about doing this, Jordan and I both agree that in the times we have been intentional about praying for one another and WITH one another, our marriage has felt stronger. I recently started a prayer journal specifically for Jordan, and it's shifted my mindset in the sweetest of ways--alleviating frustrations, bringing me peace and releasing the control from my hands.

Where is your prayer life, for and with your loved one?

5. Dating your loved one

I'm such a big advocate for dating. I, like, WISH somebody had been blunt before Jordan and I got married and told us to "set weekly date nights". JUST DO IT. Can I be that person for you? 

Unfortunately, we weren't intentional about doing this earlier in our marriage, dating every so often (which worked at the time), that when Luke was born, we were all sorts of jumbled around [insert counseling around this time haha]. Since then, I've heard people say to guard your weekly date, be intentional about planning it at the beginning of the week and look forward to it. Need help organizing and coming up with date ideas? Lemme help: 19 dates HERE!).

I even had someone suggest that when they first started weekly dates several years into their marriage, it felt awkward. She went on to say that they stayed persistent keeping them on their schedule until it became something that they both looked forward to and guarded each week. Oh, I just LOVED this wisdom and vulnerability from them. I hope we can all get there too. 

Things to thing about:

1. Define your goal for dating. What's the purpose? Connectedness? Growth? Fun?

2. Define what a "date" is for you. Is it only outside of your house or does Netflix at home (without your phone) count, as well? Does it count if it's with another couple?

3. Dating will look vary in different seasons. What you're able to do before kids will look differently than with kids, will look differently than with 2-3 kids in multiple sports. 

4. Determine your ideal for babysitting? Do you want to swap dates with another family? Pay for a sitter? Ask grammy and grandpa?

5. Determine if there topics you DO or DON'T want to come up when on dates. NOT going to talk about work? DO want to talk about what's on your heart?

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So while it may be difficult for you to see how passionate I am about thriving love stories [insert sarcasm], I hope that something in this has inspired you, equips you or moves you to share with somebody you love.

Jordan and I are not perfect, and that equips us to share our take-aways with you, hoping that you too can put the nitty, gritty, adventure-seeking, romantic, silly, thrilling time in to your love story. 

Vancouver & Victoria, BC Canada

This might seem like somewhat a memoir to read, so scroll if you like and use the text as reference! I want this to be able to remember a pretty special 5th year anniversary trip for us! We celebrated Jordan's 28th birthday while there and honestly just had a blast. I think it kind of took us coming home, watching the drone footage we got and pictures we took to realize just how special it was. We're beyond grateful to the people who made this possible (Mimi, Papa, Aunties and uncle who watched Luke!)!! 

To begin, here's a little footage of our trip to Vancouver and Victoria, BC! We stayed at the Fairmont in Vancouver, rented a car to drive to Whistler, shopped, biked Stanley Park explored the Market and adventured as much of the Glass City as we could! This is where a lot of the beautiful footage comes from but definitely not all! The last 3 days of our trip we took a seaplane to Victoria and stayed at the Westin Bear Mountain Resort where we hiked, fished, explored downtown and the Parliament building and took a ferry ride. [more details of our travels below!]

Jordan and I had too much fun putting this video together, and the song is one we listened to in the car with the windows down while we had ocean scenic views to our left and mountainous views to our right. When we listened to the lyrics, we both agreed it had to be the soundtrack to a potential video recap. 

Our first day in Vancouver  

We flew into Vancouver from Seattle and were quite exhausted. The adrenaline was so high that it really didn't put a damper on our travels though! We made it to Vancouver around noontime and met one of the kindest people on the plan who offered to drive us into downtown where we were staying at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. Seriously, I think I should have gotten this man's autograph, because after hearing how many houses he has around the world, he seems to have done pretty well for himself! 

So we started off rather adventurous by accepting his offer and tour into our hotel. As soon as we were there, Jordan napped and I got a massage at the spa (HEYO). We had plans for High Tea at  PM which we had heard was a MUST DO at our hotel (from a lot of people). This is kind of a funny story...many of you may think we're crazy. BUT I had gotten the vibe that "high tea" was this casual thing that hotels offered...like put tea and cupcakes out for you to sample or something. So I thought that's what we were doing! We arrived at 3 PM, were asked what kind of tea we wanted and then shortly after, we were brought several different sandwiches, scones and little desserts. Seemed pretty fancy, pretty neat. In our minds, we're like...this is complimentary of the hotel, yeah? Welllll.... go ahead and shake your heads at us (lololol). $150 later....... 

OOPS. Shows what we know...that was an expensive surprise to begin our "nice anniversary dinner night". We walked around downtown after that, shopped, and attempted to walk off our deliciously expensive High Tea (which...was worth it, btw!) and then had our anny dinner at the hotel that night. 

Our second day was probably MY FAVORITE (and Jordan's too) of the trip. We rented a car for the day and drove to Whistler. Ah. AMAZE. Can't say enough good things! And we were SO lucky, because it was a sunny day--clear skies so we could enjoy the ocean views on the left and mountainous view on the right. The drive from Vancouver to Whistler is about 1.5 hours, and we stopped at SO MANY parks, lakes, overlooks, etc. on the way there AND back, that who knows how long it actually took us!? We took the Sea to Sky Highway and 1) stopped a a mystery lake 2) Shannon Falls (waterfall), 3) Alice Lake 4) town of Squamish 5) Whistler Village 6) went down the Olympic turn off and saw two BEARS!!! 7) Brandywine Falls (waterfall) where we met a couple who told us to go back 10 miles to see the train wreck 8) saw the historic train wreck (took a suspension bridge to it) 8) stopped at Brittania Beach (my most favorite drone footage with sea crashing into mountains/highway). I might have missed some of our stops, but these were all so amazing! We spent the whole day enjoying all the views with our camera and drone out. Whistler was BEAUTIFUL, but the gondola was closed for us to take, as well as most of the summer activities.

Our third day there, we had breakfast at our hotel (these were alll amaaaaaaaaaazing; such a treat) and met up with our tour we'd booked on Viator.com. Hey, tourists--that's us! We toured downtown Vancouver, Stanley Park (amaazing wooded park right next to downtown), went to an actually pretty intense (scary) suspension bridge called Capilano Suspension Bridge, went to the market and Gastown. That night, we rented bikes and biked (halfway) around Stanley Park (which is always my favorite way to tour a new city). We ended the night by finding an Italian restaurant to split a pasta dish in a fun area near downtown called Gastown. 

Our fourth day there was the day we TOOK A SEAPLANE from Vancouver to Victoria. It was Jordan's birthday, and I honestly never got anxious! Ask me how...I do NOT KNOW. I think I saw it as a tour over Canada, because it was BEAUTIFUL. Like, the Lord and his creation is just awe-inspiring. Seeing the mix of ocean and mountains with boats and such a different culture than what I'm used to was just so neat for me. Meanwhile, Jordan is geeking out at being so close to the pilot in the 12-passenger seaplane that he can see the altitude and speed of the plane. Guys, like, the copilot seat literally had a PASSENGER sitting in it who got directions from the pilot on what not to touch and do while in flight. SO SAFE! Bahaha. But really, this was definitely highlight. 

See Vancouver pics...Victoria recap and pictures at the bottom!! 

Victoria, BC

We stayed at the Westin Bear Mountain Inn and Resort the last 3 days of our trip, and we absolutely loved it. However, I didn't quite realize that it was a good 30 minute drive from downtown to the resort, and I didn't quite realize that we wouldn't be in the relax-y resort-y feel. Guys, we were like GO, GO, GO/what can we see?! 

With that being said, we SHOULD HAVE rented a car the time we landed from the sea plane, because it would've saved us expensive taxi and shuttle rides. And honestly, this was the one downer of our trip (and it wasn't huge), BUT we discovered that the main car rentals in Victoria won't rent a car to you if you don't have a credit card (which we don't). In the US, a debit/credit card will work, but not in Victoria! It TOTALLY worked for us when we rented a car in Vancouver, so this was a slap in the face! 

We argued a second. Jordan was calm, figured everything out. Meanwhile, I cried, maybe pouted, as we waited for the bus to take us up the mountain to the resort. Looking back, it's really kind of funny. And we probably saw the prettiest pink crepe myrtles (is that what they are) while we were waiting at one of the bus stops--I calmed down myself and realized it's all about your perspective. Something beautiful came out of something I felt so upset about. 

And then we made it back home and had a better game plan for the next day--a little more planning involved, but it worked, and we made it to our fishing trip and up the mountain to another waterfall location we heard about! 

Aside from this drama, Victoria was BEAUTIFUL! 

We'd say that it felt like it had a slower pace compared to Vancouver, which was a fun difference to feel. You can't find an unfriendly person around, and all the flowers everywhere are really incredible.

Our first day in Victoria  

We flew in by sea plane (HBD Jordan!), took a taxi to the resort, ate lunch and set forth on a hike that was right next to our resort--SO BEAUTIFUL. It was just the right amount of burn and cardio to the summit with an amazing overlook of the mountains, city and sea. We got some amazing drone footage here! 

Our second day there, we shuttled into town and explored all day. We toured the Parliament building--WHICH IS GORGEOUS, and got Starbucks (someone in the airport told me a Breve vanilla chai was amazing & it WAS) while we strolled around, figuring out what to do next. We saw cute little taxi boats that were taking people places, so we bought a ticket to tour the habor and take us to Fisherman's Warf where we at at food boats (like food trucks but BOATS), looked at boats and just relaxed. We taxi-ed back to the main harbor, strolled some shops and wrapped up our stay downtown by enjoying a nice happy hour overlooking the sea and boats riiiiiight before we went back to the car rental place to find out we actually couldn't rent the car we had reserved. HA! 

Our last day there, we went fishing and came home with a nice-sized 20" ish salmon! I tried my hardest not to throw up so that Jordan could catch at least one fish, and Jordan tried his hardest to catch at least one fish before I threw up. Hehe. We succeeded! I sat still with my eyes closed for a good 3-4 hours and Jordan carried on conversation with our guide (womp womp). There would be more pictures from the boat if it hadn't been so unfortunate for me! But it was totally worth it--again, HBD Jordan! We ended our fishing day by exploring Goldstream Provential Park near our resort that had a really beautiful waterfall that you had to get to by walking under a highway--little sketch but SO WORTH IT. Again, some awesome drone footage!

An Answered Prayer | Happy Graduation Rhonda!

Warning: this is going to get sappy quick. :) Last fall, I was running in a million different directions. I was trying so hard to be intentional as a new mom, soaking up all the sweet baby everything, running a thriving business during its busy season, launching a new online course and trying to juggle all the duties as a "stay at home mom".  I felt a pull between loving my role as a mom yet loving my role as a photographer and didn’t quite know how to admit it or do it.  I would love my 1-on-1 time with Luke and then feel guilty when I'd be upset with him for not napping unexpectedly.  I had my own convictions as to what I wanted for him and what I wanted for my business as far as intentionality and interaction goes--everyone does; we're all just moms who love our babies and feel all the feels that come with it. I thought I could so call "balance" everything and get my editing done when he napped or slept, but I was really just kidding myself and cheating him of the interaction I thought he deserved.

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It wasn’t until I hit rock bottom in October that I knew something had to change. My mother-in-law was taking me to the airport so that I could fly home for a couple days during the middle of the week to see my parents. I had weddings on the weekends, so this was my restful time at home that I was looking forward to. I was wearing Luke in my Ergo, carrying a diaper bag, backpack and rolling bag when I got to the counter and they asked for my license.

Choice word”.

I knew at that moment I had no idea where it was. Flustered, I looked, and couldn’t find it. I tried to tell myself to say calm so that I could focus, but I pulled it together and just accepted that there was no way I could make the flight back home. I had no idea where my wallet was. Opportunity passed. But it gets worse. I held in my tears until I made it home, plopped my backpack on the countertop and my stomach sank as I looked at the front compartment of it.

I had a feeling. I opened it, and you guessed it...there was my wallet. I had my license THE ENTIRE FREAKING TIME. “I am a CRAZY PERSON!”. Jordan was working that day, but I called him WEEPING alligator tears like he'd never seen or heard before. It was in that moment, it was clear to us that something had to change.

I told Jordan "I just wish there was like a UTD speech grad student down (I used to be an SLP) the street who'd be able to watch him for a few hours or something while I edited?!" I knew in my heart I wanted to feel like I could be mommy 100% yet still love on my sweet couples 100%. This is where I get emotional. And this is where I had to make a heart check: what is it that I feel is my purpose right now? Guys, this answer is different for EVERYONE. And that was hard for me to swallow, if I'm being honest. 

A short while later, cue Rhonda. She DMs me on instagram asking a simple question about The Capture Course. I (creepily) saw where her bio said she was a UTD SLP grad student, so I immediately asked, "do you babysit?!". Prayer literally answered. YES! And she and her roommate Elizabeth happen to be the sweetest things on earth (and friends with a past bride of mine Vivian who is ALSO the sweetest thing!). She (and Rhonda) started helping me here and there and come springtime, Rhonda ended up helping me with a set 8-10 hours a week.

Prior this, I was basically coo-coo crazy. I struggled real badly figuring how out to take on the role of a "working mom" yet a "stay at home mom", because that's what it felt like. Confusion, guilt, exhaustion, you name it. I felt it.

Hiring Rhonda to love on my baby instead of worrying if he's going to nap or not and instead of spending double the time getting work done because I was halfway working/halfway playing--was the best thing I could have done for my baby, for my sanity, for my business and for my marriage. This is where the tears come as I think back to where I was last fall and where I feel like I am now.  Excuse the cliche, but I feel like I've "found myself". Well, am continuing to.. ;-) I heard someone the other day say that the 20s are like puberty for adults. I had to laugh, because a lot of days, I'm like--YES!!

But for, now I'm able to look ahead at my calendar and know when my editing gets done during the week, so that I can be 100% mommy and 100% working on those set times. Being 100% PRESENT is what I value. Busy and multitasking can stay at bay. I know when I get to work out, have "me" time and most important and funly (made up that word), I know when I get to play wholeheartedly with Luke and without any weight of wondering when I'm going to get X, Y, Z done.

 A groove, I guess you could say.

So if you're a babysitter, nanny, Sunday school/MDO teacher, grandmother, mother-in-law or something of the like, YOU are SO valuable, helpful, loved and needed. You can make families thrive, marriages grow and babies happy. I don't think you're told this enough. And incase you never realized, then here you go! 

And to all the mamas who understand the same complex I named above, it’s worth it to ask for help or figure out how to find what works for YOU (even if it's a couple hours a week) by visiting with your hubby, your family or even your friends who may swap watching kiddos with you. You’ll know when you’ve found it, and I really hope that you do. 

Emily Ley says this in her book Grace, Not Perfection:

"Pursuing your passions, serving others, doing a job you love, earning an income for your family, taking time away from your children to volunteer or learn or teach or, heck, get your hair done--these are all good things. When you contribute and let good things flow into your well, you're not taking away from your kids. In fact, you're filling up with that good, sweet water so you can pour into them later. " 

Amen. 

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We said “good-bye” to Rhonda this week, and when the tears flooded over my eyes, I realized just how grateful I was for her and for the season I’m in now. I don’t know if I understood it fully until that moment that I told her "bye", but I wanted her and all the helpers out there to know it: we love you! You move mountains for us when we know our littles are entertained and happy! 

Rhonda, you’re a rockstar, and you’re going to be the sweetest Speech Language Pathologist out there! Happy graduation day, my dear!

And to all the mamas out there, Happy Mother's Day! May you feel so, so loved, rested and all the sweetest cuddles. I am 100% maximizing my "present" time with my boy. 

PS: Let it be known that my mother-in-law who lives near us is BEYOND helpful! She usually watches Luke for all of my weddings or sessions if Jordan is working! BUT that's already a LOT, so Mary is a true rockstar, as well! And Luke ADORES her! I love that they have this sweet time together!

Our Lucas Brent Turns 15 Months

Our Lucas Brent turned 15 months this week, and with all of this beautiful warm, sunshine-y weather lately, I put my camera in the stroller before we headed to the park! 

I loved capturing what our mornings oftentimes look like these days so that I can remember this fun, adventurous personality of his! BOY, is he FUN! He goes hard. Falls hard. Laughs hard. 

It makes it hard for this mama to let him keep growing up....but it just keeps getting better!

When I look back and remember Luke at 15 months I want to remember:

-How sweet of a spirit he has. He hugs everyone, and it makes me melt.

-How curious of a spirit he has. He is always watching what we're doing and wanting to help or copy. It seems as though he likes to figure out and see how things work (NO idea who he got that from...?! ;-) #davenportmen)

-How adventurous of a spirit he has. He's all in 100%, blowin' and a'goin'. I always hear comments about how sturdy and agile he is for his age, and I'm like...yep, oh, we movin'... ;-)

-How SILLY of a spirit he has. Oh boy--we crack up on the daily and never know what's coming next!

-How energetic of a spirit he has. pretty sure he has much of his mama in him--but I can hang, boy!  oh, I can hang! for now at least! 

-How social of a spirit he has. When he walks into a room or is around new people, I've noticed that the first 5-10 minutes, he's reserved and shy--checking out the situation. After that point, he's confident and on-the-go! Where's the party mom!? 

-How loving of a spirit he has. He's basically obsessed with babies and almost can't contain his excitement when he sees one. Like babies, he'll often come up to us and just stroke our faces or hug us so sweetly. I melt. Into a big puddle. (Though, in his energetic moods, we can get some excited-slapping. It's a thing. And we're thankful that at the moment he listens when we teach him "no" and to say "sorry" but patting afterword. I hope it lasts/sticks!)

-And lastly, how handsome he is. I know every mom says that about their babe, but I just think he's so dang CUTE!

Luke, we love you Bubba! Your daddy and I literally tell each other this everyday. We're so thankful the Lord entrusted us with you! It's a literal GIFT!!! 

If you want to be confident capturing candids of the moments you don't want to miss, you need to join many others in my spring photo challenge--because let's be real--WE'RE ALL OUTSIDE AND LOVING IT RIGHT NOW! Wishing you the the best and hoping you capture it all!!

How To Take Your Favorite Valentines' Picture

When you have heart eyes like the background of your son's Valentines' picture...

 His expressions make me melt. 

His expressions make me melt. 

A couple weeks ago we hosted our 2017 couples in our home, and I handmade this heart decoration. I honestly loved the pop of color it added to our house, and so of course, thought, "Luke would be so cute in front of it!"

If I had planned more extensively, I might have coordinated an outfit that doesn't have a dirty diaper in it, BUT....I just love it. We're so casual, and this is my babe at home most of the time anyway! 

I'm going to walk you through:

1) how I made the heart decoration

2) how I chose this spot and 

3) my camera settings in manual 

Step 1

So first things first, purchase red napkins (or pink if you want!), chicken wire  and nail pieces of wood together to make the frame--or have your husband do so! I requested my hubby to make a 2 foot x 2 foot frame, and I wouldn't have minded it being half a foot bigger. My hubby is quite the handyman, so he probably spent more time on the frame and stain than I asked, but I'm so pleased! Always ;-) 

Anyway, you'll nail the frame together, staple the chicken wire to the back, and then begin pulling your napkins through. I started with the middle/top of the heart and worked to try to make it as symmetrical as I could. Now, this is the timely part of the craft, so don't be in a rush! :-) You'll love the finished product! Leave it up in your home and then snap some pictures of your loved ones! 

Step 2 

First thing is first, you have to know from where your light source is coming. In my case, you can see which side of Luke's face is brighter, meaning the window from our dining room was on that side, illuminating his face. If he walked much further away or turned his back to the window, his face would be AWAY from the light source and thus, darker. When we're inside, we want our subjects facing the light source or at a 90-degree angle, like Luke is, if the light isn't too harsh. I'm going to explain an editing tip in my editing software below to further discuss this! 

Secondly, like I had mentioned more in depth in this blog post here, the distance between your background and the subject matters. It's what adds depth to the photo (as well as your aperture!). So I knew that I wanted to pull Luke forward, away from my desired heart backdrop. I knew that it would draw attention to him with the pop of red and heart bokeh in the background. 

Step 3 

Okay, so what's "bokeh", you ask!? Ah, I'm glad you did! Bokeh is the blurred background that's achieved when you shoot with a wide, or low aperture. So go ahead, put your camera in manual mode and check to see how low the lens will allow your aperture to go. If you have the kit lens that came with your camera, your aperture is probably limited to a 3.5 f/stop (aperture), which means you'll get some bokeh but not as pronounced as with an aperture of say, 1.8, 2.0, 2.2 or 2.5. Basically, the lower your aperture, the more room there is for error, BUT the more creamier the background with bokeh! 

So to give you an example: I was using my 50 mm 1.4 lens. (Side note: if you only have a kit lens, I HIGHLY recommend buying the nifty fifty--50 mm 1.8 FIRST) 

My settings with this lens were set to an ISO of 1250, aperture 2.0 and shutter speed 1/200. If you've heard me before, you know I personally don't love to go below a shutter speed of 1/160, especially with littles in the frame. My ISO was set as high as 1250, because it was later in the afternoon, and we were inside, which means...less light than outside! (keep in mind that depending on your camera, the ISO qualities range--1250 may cause some camera to look grainy; mine can handle!) My aperture was set to 2.0 so that more light could come in (wider hole) AND my background would be more blurred--more bokeh with the heart background! 

 Look! Even looks TOES are out of focus! Talk about amazing depth of field--that's ALL to the low aperture of 2.0!! In contrast, if my aperture was set to something high, like 4.5, 5.0, etc., then the heart would be more in focus, as well as his toes. Make sense?

Look! Even looks TOES are out of focus! Talk about amazing depth of field--that's ALL to the low aperture of 2.0!! In contrast, if my aperture was set to something high, like 4.5, 5.0, etc., then the heart would be more in focus, as well as his toes. Make sense?

You can tell in the image above, that I scooted Luke backward toward the heart. In the images above, he was pulled forward a few more feet AND our dining room table was partially blocking the light from the window. When I scooted him backward, closer to the heart but probably 5-6 feet in distance, the light was free to hit his face a little harsher--see his left cheek/the right of the picture. Because it slightly bothered me that one side was brighter than the other, I adjusted it in Lightroom, my editing software. I'm going to show you exactly how I edited these images in a video I recorded below! 

 See! Here's a before and after! You easily tell from which side the light source was coming! 

See! Here's a before and after! You easily tell from which side the light source was coming! 

Psssst. The Lightroom video will be available through the end of February 2018...so snatch it fast! 

Can't wait to see what you create, friend! Share your success and creativity when you capture it! I'd love to do a happy dance with you. 

Valentines Brunch | 2017 LDP Couples

And thank GOODNESS we meet again! 

It took some brunch and berry champagne to make it happen..at all once! Winning!

I started a fun thing last year when I hosted our 2016 couples for a fall-themed "We Love You A Brunch", so this year, since we had weddings go all the way up until December 30th of 2017, we had to hold off on our celebrations until February when my calendar slowed. So naturally, the theme fell on Valentines, which I honestly had a lot more fun with that than I imagined! I think this DIY heart decor piece that I made is here to STAY. I'm in love. 

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But anyway, Kate from The Everyday Hostess, whipped up some super cute ideas and organized and styled the party leading up to. And she's so good at what she does! I loved the details she had in mind, and I had so much fun creating, hunting and gathering. As always. Creating, whether it be photography or styling details or parties, is such an enjoyment to me. So many ways to use and do it, and a fun way that I've learned lately is using creativity to serve others. 

I've always loved hosting.

Thinking back to my college years, I would always call up my high school friends at the beginning of winter and summer break for a get-together at the farm. It's so fun. Hosting in our home that we've put love into. It's fun. Seeing faces that I love and who I watched love each other is fun. Having so many special people under one roof, our roof, with my cooking (kind off--this year Costco helped!)--heart warming

And honestly, I have the sweetest couples, because none of them complained about half the food being hard, cold, warm, or late! Tee hee! MY lack of organization was tested this year, but I also had a babe juggling in the mix, so thankfully, I extended myself some grace too. Which, now would be the part that I insert "this is why I didn't take as many pictures--I was running late!"

But then I realized.

After the fact, I think I realized and was reminded about the purpose of the party anyway: to invite couples together and serve, thank and love on them. Plus, strategically SEE them again, of course ;-)

So if I had gotten consumed with the details, taking pictures and missed the big picture, that would've been too bad, right? ;-) Little heart check there. My husband planted the seed the night before and as the day got away from me Saturday, and I was left to be present (and pouring drinks), I felt like it was kind of confirmed. Serving them regardless of the documentation is better--it's a heart thing.

So. With that being said, I love every one of these couples. I've prayed over their marriages, as well as the ones who couldn't make it, and am on their team. I'm so grateful they were able to come together and meet, recognize and visit with one another. 2017 took us to some fun, amazing and new places. I was in AND photographed one of my bestie's weddings, flew to Mexico for a wedding and photographed so many precious, beautiful and fun celebrations in between. 

2017 was good to us. 28 weddings and every memory savored.

Cheers to supa sweet berry champagne! ;-)

Luke's 1 Year Pictures... at 13 months :)

Heart melted. In a puddle. 

It turns out Luke's birthday falls during a busy time of year (not news to anyone but me!), so somehow I managed to let his 1-year pictures slip away. I wanted to spend some special time with him to capture his fun personality in a cute outfit, his overalls to fit his birthday party theme (Polar Express) and to follow the tradition that Jordan's mom started for his siblings: they all had their picture taken at 1 year old in a sailor outfit before they had their hair cut. (I'm so sad/ready to get his hair cut now...!!!)!!! Seeing the comparisons of Jordan's 1 year sailor pictures and Luke's just MAKE ME MELT.

So all of this dang cold Texas weather (I really have enjoyed it) just prohibited that from happening this past month! Luke's actual birthday is 12-14-16, which is a busy time of year for work for me AND right before Christmas. Next year, I'll know to start a little sooner! ;-) 

Because of the weather, I decided to book The Lumen Room, which was such a good decision on my part! It was fabulous, bright and white--just like I hoped. Plus, it wasn't freezing ;-) 

And it was so special, because Luke's daddy joined us, and I literally couldn't have done it without him! Luke laughed at him, cheesed for him, and his extra hands were so necessary!! Luke has surpassed walking all the way to running now, so every time Jordan would put him down, I'd snap pictures for a couple seconds before he ran off completely. Talk about strategic and a WORKOUT. 

Anyway, I LOVE that I got some photos of him with the big 1 balloon, with the CHOO CHOO behind him in his conductor's (birthday) outfit AND the traditional sailor outfit that many of the Davenport cousins have been a part of. I cannot wait to get these on our WALLS.

We just adore this baby boy. I truly just pray that I can remember these moment. I try so hard! 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY LUKE! | First Birthday Party Pictures

No. 

How?

I just don't get it.

Happy first birthday Luke!!! 

Our Lucas Brent is somehow 1 year old. He's no longer a baby. But yes, he is. Okay, I know there are all you moms out there who are getting this right now, and if you're not, you will someday!  

One second I'm crying and sad and the next I'm giddy and excited. What is it about this first birthday?!

Because Luke's birthday is so close to Christmas, we chose to celebrate it the weekend prior his actual birthday, so you can say we've had a good, long celebration of him this week. His actual birthday is today, December 14th (12-14-16, to be exact!). We had friends and family over for his Polar Express-themed party, and when it was a blast. Everything about it. 

His party started out as a train-themed party until 1) I realized our house would have Christmas decor and 2) I realized how cute the movie Polar Express is. How perfect to merge trains + Christmas?! I thought so! I even got away with buying Christmas decor for the party that's STAYING! Woo hoo! Win win :) 

And just like everything in life (and our fixer upper), Jordan and I had fun tackling together. What that looks like (I tend to wish we're like Chip & Jo) is I come up with the ideas (usually from Pinterest or Jo), and then Jordan executes. I've learned that this really is us. And it started before we got married, only to unfold beautifully in our home as we've renovated it. 

And this past weekend, we did just that: I described a box train that I wanted Jordan to build (original idea from Pinterest), and....he did it! We have THE Polar Express train in our front yard, you guys! And it was a hit! But wait it gets better: I made tickets for the train with little bells on them for the kids, and one boy ran outside yelling, "I have a ticket to the train!!" It made me so happy :) If they weren't old enough to understand that concept, they loved playing with the bells on the train and going in and out! So fun! If only it wasn't one of the more colder Saturdays we've had. 

But it still gets better: not only were Jordan and my fingerprints all over the party, but my parents flew in to help shop, plan and set up, my in-laws brought food, sought out the perfect overalls for his conductor outfit (everyone else in PJs, of course!) and helped tremendously with setup, and our good friends Meg and Sam helped, as well. And what I personally love SO much about this is that the same fingerprints that helped make Luke's first birthday so sweet and special are the SAME fingerprints that helped make our own WEDDING day so special. Both events were very much so DIY, and I personally am just feeling all the sweet and sappy feels over this as I realize it! Taking a second to soak in these blessings. 

SO while we had our DIY train, admission tickets and Christmas decor, we also had pretzel stop lights, wheels and cheese, a toss the coal game, a train of pictures from each month of his first year and a few other fun details. Guys, I just had fun. Fun, fun, fun. 

And so did he. It was fun for me to see him exploring the train, enjoying the little buddies who came and pulling tissue paper out of gifts. It's honestly such a gift to me to see Luke having fun trying or seeing new things. Such a gift. 

So this week has just been overwhelmingly beautiful. 

God really blessed us when He trusted us with this cute, curious, cuddly baby boy. I can't wait to watch his personality continue to unfold! 

His cake smash was so precious! I wasn't going to be surprised if he didn't like being sung to, but he was fine with it! He even tolerated the cake afterward! ;-) He was slow-reacting at first. It was almost like he was waiting for us to say, "noooooo...". BUT we didn't! So once he felt us out, he was all about it, and actually went in face first! "No hands Ma!"

He definitely had a blue nostril the rest of the day until we could have a thorough cleaning! :) 

Here are some memories that I'm so glad I have photographed (and now blogged!). 

Don't forget that in honor of Luke's birthday week, The Capture Course is 25% off, using code "BIRTHDAYBOY"! Yay! 

Davenport Updates | One Year Family Photos with our Lucas Brent

WELL.

It sure has been a while since the blog has seen anything personal other than weddings and engagements! Which have, by the way, been absolutely amazing. And by amazing, I mean, I have left each and every one of them with my cup feeling full. Even if it started out close to empty, I left feeling so rejuvenated and feeling blessed to have met, spent time with and photographed the people who were in front of my camera. The fall season is always our busiest time of year (or close runner up to summers), and it proved to be just that. 

While I really don't pride myself in answering, "good, but busy!" when people ask how I've been, I also know that I was wired to go, go, go and do, do, do. Though, I am still trying to figure out what my own personal convictions are when it comes to self care, serving/working and spending time with my family. Anybody else who has walked through this season of being entrepreneurial mommy is welcome to shed their wisdom and light! ;-) But for now, I'm learning as the seasons change and truly trying to savor the moments and pick the lessons out when I can. 

Sometimes, I do just stop and hope I'm feeling all the feelings when Luke is doing something new or making me so happy that I cry. And it happens a LOT. We say all too much how blessed we are to have Luke and what a sweet boy he is. If I'm not careful, I can almost lie to people and say that he slept through the night from day 1, because that's what life has felt like, looking back on it. BUT. It is a lie! That obviousy didn't happen, and there were many tiring nights. It's just crazy how we don't remember the difficult times, because the sweetest, by far, trumps it. I don't want to forget this season! 

So while our schedules struggle to have any true rhythm with Jordan being a nurse and me a photographer, our little family is trying to figure it out! And while this past season showed us some of the sweetest highs and some sorry lows, we know that with more intentionality mixed with grace, we can continue figure that out for us! 

We know that attempted weekly date nights is sweet for us. We know that addressing conflict is always better than not. We know that family walks can't not result in sweetness. We know that this baby boy brings the most indescribable joy to our lives than we've ever earthly experienced. And we know that regardless of what other truths there are, we are blessed. 

So while mommy, wife, photographer and The Capture Course have taken first seat, my blogging has unfortunately taken the back burner! I most definitely have not forgotten about my Marriage Mondays series, but to honest, I felt convicted that I was spending so much time organizing the marriage posts for my own blog when I was too busy for my own. SO. Yes, I do still have ideas and blogs, but when they'll start up again? I'm being more prayerful! To be announced later! ;-) 

As far as catching up with the blog, I have SO many LOVELY sessions that I cannot WAIT to share with you all soon! We're trying out a new schedule with childcare for Luke after the New Year to establish a little more rhythm and help with my work, so I can try to be 100% mommy in the moment and 100% working; we'll see how helpful that is! 

But what I have been doing these past few months is being mommy to Luke: watching him learn how to walk, imitating new words, being SO silly; Jordan and I have had fun organizing, decluttering and decorating our home more with Christmas lights, another guest room and little odds and ends; I've tried to savor spending sweet time with family, doing some traveling, hosting showers and photographing for friends who have just had babies or are expecting; and I've had to be extra creative with sacrificing sleep and other things so that I can keep up with all of the editing this fall has demanded of me so that couples can have their photos as quickly as I like to edit! Oh, what a season! But I am so thankful for it! 

But you guys, how in the world is our baby boy ONE year old on Thursday?! (12-14-16)

In honor of his birthday week, enjoy 25% OFF The Capture Course through Sunday! 

We celebrated him this past weekend with his Polar Express birthday party, and I'll share more from that later in the week, because it MADE MY HEART SO HAPPY! Seeing him having fun, having so many loved ones coming together and just enjoying the planning and creating process in general. After my parents leave tomorrow, I'm back to work and have two BEAUTIFUL weddings to blog for you all! 

Wishing you all such a merry, bright and warm time with the ones you love right now! 

Below are some precious, precious pictures I'll never forget--our family the week before Luke turned 1 year old. He may have only wanted to be down and walking, but we managed to tickle and cuddle that wiggle worm! I'll remember that Jordan and I had a date night afterward to the Shane & Shane + Phil Wickham concert at DBU, and it was PERFECT. I'll remember that, at the moment, we felt like we had somewhat of a grasp on our fast (don't want to say "busy"), full of adventure life. We laughed that we only had time for Taco Cabana before the concert, ate in the car....but enjoyed us some delicious donuts at a new bakery after! 

Thank you Chandler Grace for these!! 

I Want A Camera, but Which One Should I Buy?!

If I had a penny for every time someone asked, texted or emailed me: "what kind of camera should I start out with?"

So this can be a difficult question to answer, but depending on which category you fall into, that will help guide my reasoning. I'm going to narrow you into these 3 categories below. 

Just starting out

No real budget yet amateur goals

I know how to use a camera and plan to go pro

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Two types of cameras

In short, there are two main types of cameras--crop sensors and full frame cameras.

A crop sensor actually does what it sounds: it crops your images. So when you're looking through your viewfinder, it's actually cropping what you thinking you're looking at. This isn't necessary a bad thing (my first camera was a crop sensor), BUT you have to be aware of this and possibly take a step or two back so that you can compensate for the cropping

There are 3 big differences between crop sensor and full frame:

1) price: crop sensors are much more affordable, because they’re marketed to amateurs

2) image quality and ISO capabilities: full frames allow you to photograph in lower light without compromising the image quality

3) the crop factor: crop sensor cameras actually crop your image slightly from what you see when you look through your viewfinder, whereas full frames do not.

These factors in crop sensor cameras are not things to worry about when you're initially starting out; I used a crop sensor camera the first year I was starting out with photography while I figured out how to shoot in manual and really know how to use my camera--specifically a Nikon D3100. After that, I purchased a Nikon D610 (first full frame!) and was amazed at the difference, but I have to believe that's because I first learned how to shoot in manual, compose my clients and use light on my crop sensor first! So do not fear if you fit into the first category of "just starting out". I don't think it ever hurts to learn your trade on something affordable, resell (or save as your back up) and buy a full frame whenever you've saved and have proved you are serious about it.

We currently use the D810 and really don’t see any need to upgrade in the near future, because quality and megapixels are better and bigger than a wedding photographer would need.

Which Buyer Are You?

Just starting out: 

For many of you who are about to purchase our first camera, For Nikon, you can start out super simply with the basic model which is comparable to what I started out with, the Nikon D3400

Or the Canon Rebel T5 for your most basic of photography needs. These cameras have the lowest quality of ISO capabilities, but this shouldn't scare you. It just means you need to be aware of this in locations with sparse light. ISO can make much more sense to you as explained in more depth in The Capture Course

Personal side note: if you buy either of these cameras that come with the 18-55 kit lens, consider purchasing the nifty fifty along with it. The 50 1.8 is by FAR the best bang for your buck as far as versatility and price goes in lenses. As soon as you watch the course, you'll be aching for a lens that has an aperture lower than 3.5 (which the 18-55 kit lens along with the 70-300 lens limits you to). Initially, it's fine, but once you desire to use your lens in lower light and capture images with a beautiful depth of field (as seen below), then consider than nifty fifty! I personally never used the 18-55 or 70-300 after I purchased lenses with lower apertures. OOPS. Wish someone had told me!

For Nikon, it's as cheap as slightly under $200 and Canon slightly over $100. Links below.

Nikon 50 1.8

Canon 50 1.8

No real budget yet amateur: 

This is for the hobbyist or person who is just starting out but isn't needing to pinch pennies. The best bang for your buck for Nikon would be the crop sensor D7500. It's quality exceeds most budget priced DSLRs (see above). For Canon, you might consider the Canon 80D for the same reason. However, if you have the extra few hundred dollars, then highly consider your basic full frame as you'll read below. 

I plan to go pro: 

If you know how to use a camera and do not already have a full frame camera, then I highly suggest diving into your first full frame. Oh, it's so fun! 

For Nikon users, the D610 camera body is excellent bang for your buck when making the leap to the full frame. It's what we purchased, and it was excellent. Looking for more? The D750 is smaller in size, better focusing in low light and a newer, more expensive model than the 610. We currently use the D810, but unless you're diving into wedding photography for the long haul, it's more overkill than what you may need. 

For Canon users, the best bang for your buck when making the leap to the full frame would be the Canon 6D. Looking for more? The 5D Mark III is designed for advanced photographers and has a wide array of professional features without being overkill. 

Now what if you could capture what counted the day you opened your new gift!? I teach an online course geared toward those who have always wanted to learn how to use the camera sitting on their shelf or in their cart online!

Do you learn better in person?! Then come join me in Richardson, TX! We have a few seats left for our in-home workshops for photography and editing!

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How One of My Biggest Regrets Turned Into One of My Biggest Blessings

When I was in graduate school, I started this accidental photography business. It was one of the busiest times in my life, and a time I look back on with so many regrets.

Graduation day for me was so bittersweet. Bittersweet because as excited as I was to graduate and dive more into photography, I felt the weight of everything I missed out on those two years of my masters.

Missed moments. Missed intentionality. Missed opportunities and relationships.

While I was saying “yes” to a lot of things, I was saying “no” to many others. And it all hit me at gradation. I promised myself I’d simply never feel this way again. It was my “rock bottom” in a way, and I'm grateful for it so early in my business—before I started a family. God was so merciful to take me down this road during two years of graduate school versus the first two years of Luke's life. And while I rock my baby to sleep tonight, because he's sick, I realize all of this. It took over two years for me to figure out that the most sour feeling at graduation was the biggest blessing in disguise. 

Setting your own hours and being your own boss is the best and hardest thing. Sometimes I say “no” to a client, so I can say “yes” to be a friend; and vice versa; sometimes I say “no” to a friend, so I can say “yes” to my family; and vice versa. Knowing when your yeses and nos are right is hard. It’s still hard.

Sometimes I still don’t say “no” to the right things, but having that remembrance of graduation day has been such game changer and blessing for the way I see my business personally. 

I don’t ever want to look back on Luke’s childhood like I️ did my grad school years and think, “why did I say ‘yes’ to so many things and miss out?” I can’t get those years back, but thankfully, I can be stronger with my “no”s during a season that’s more rich. The Lord has graciously been showing me over this past season--how important these boundaries are to me personally. Every mama, every entrepreneur, every person has their own boundaries for their own convictions, and this is one area I learned about particularly early in life. Do I feel like I've mastered it? Not by any means. But the idea of it? Yes, I'm very aware, and I'm so grateful for that.


So today and tonight, I'm saying “yes” all day go cuddling my sick babe, and melting a little inside when all he needs to feel better is his head on Mama’s shoulder. Saying “yes” right now is the easiest thing.

Am I alone or are there other entrepreneurs/moms out there who have walked similar paths? Don't be afraid to say "no" and set boundaries. Don't wait until you feel like I felt at graduation. You can take control, and do it now. 

Sending you all the power and grace,

Lindsay 

 Iphone photo that I just loooove! 

Iphone photo that I just loooove! 

When I Almost Put My Camera Down | Don't Let Fear or Perfection Hold You Back

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When I first started my photography business, it wasn’t a “business”. Heck, it wasn’t even a hobby.  At least—taking pictures of people wasn’t a hobby. To me, driving around in the country or taking pictures of new, pretty things was more my hobby. But ask me how to use my camera, and my stomach dropped.

I literally can remember my soon-to-be-father-in-law (at the time) asking me at a NMSU football game how to use his camera, and I felt like an imposter. I was so embarrassed that I literally had no idea how to use my camera, although, I brought it to football games and everywhere I went to photograph in...wait for it: auto.

Why Perfect?

Why did I feel like an imposter? Why did I feel like I had to be perfect? Was it because everyone knew me as the girl who loved photography? Because I had already set unreal expectations before myself and the unfulfilling, dark road of perfection? Clearly, I should’ve extended grace to myself in this moment, because 1) I was in school for something OTHER than photography 2) I wasn’t getting paid to do what I was doing 3) I just liked taking pictures without the pressure! Lindsay, give yourself a break, sister!

Pictures for Pleasure

But over time, I continued to take pictures without expectations, just pure enjoyment. I would drive around in the country at home or out toward the Organ Mountains in Las Cruces with my music blaring, windows down, until I found something that moved me. That might sound silly, but to me, seeing God’s creation on country drives and then translating them to digital images is one way that stirred my affections for the Lord. It was and still is a sweet gift He’s given me.

Yes, at the time, I was still shooting these in auto ;-) No shame. 

Pictures of People

It wasn’t until my roommate suggested I take our other roommates’ engagement pictures that I had people in front of my camera for an actual “session”. I did what every new photographer starting out would do, and I took their pictures one Sunday afternoon after church when the sun was blaring, and the shadows were at their harshest. I took Jess and Ryan’s engagement photos, and all I can remember from that session were: 1) how happy they were and 2) how much fun I had.

It wasn’t until I got home that I realized they actually didn’t look like the photos I was trying to mimic on Pinterest or how I thought I was framing them. 

I recently listened to a sermon by Matt Chandler where he preached about society telling us that we have to be perfect at everything we do without working toward it.

I Almost Gave Up, Because I Wasn't Perfect

When I heard this, it brought back memories of deep frustration almost to the point of setting my camera down the first few months of launching by photography business. I literally almost quit, because I feared I would fail. Because I wasn't "good" at it. It was hard. It wasn't as easy as I thought it was supposed to be.

While the feelings of excitement toward this side hustle were always present, feelings of insecurity and frustration bombarded in quickly:

  • when I realized how my photos compared to Pinterest.

  • when I couldn’t produce the images I had in my head, and I had no knowledge as to why.

  • when I realized how my photos compared to the other local photographer’s.

I’m not kidding when I say that I remember staying up for hours and hours watching photography videos before a wedding one night, because I wanted my bride and her family to be pleased. I feared that I was incapable or that my work wouldn’t mimic what my brain thought I could do. I was afraid of failing. 

But you know what?

I wasn't capable. I wasn't capable of the perfection I held in front of me. 

I couldn’t walk out of my college bedroom with my camera that I shot in auto and photograph my roommate’s engagement session and create images that would be published in The Knot Magazine.  Or re-pinned 1047 times on Pinterest. I just couldn’t. I couldn't photograph my third wedding like Katelyn James without putting in the time, experience and little failures leading up to it.

It Doesn’t Happen Overnight.

I hadn’t spent anytime learning, anytime growing or anytime failing and getting back up to get me to where I currently was. 

It takes experience. Time.

There is grace. 

Society tells us we have to be perfect without the effort, and not only that, but that we can do it FAST. And that’s exactly what it shows us. We oftentimes don’t see the struggle; we don’t see the imperfection; we don’t see the frustration and grit that makes the journey extra seasoned in the end. And what can be most encouraging is seeing exactly that.

So, from the girl who almost put down her camera for fear of failing, for fear of imperfection, for fear of not being able to attain the images she imagined in her head--

Don't Miss Out

  • Don’t miss out on your journey of imperfection. This is where the lessons, satisfaction and grit comes.

  • Don’t believe the lie that whatever you’re pursuing will be met with instant ease, success or gratification.

  • Don’t forget about the journey, and don’t buy into lie that this journey isn’t worth it.

  • Don't miss out on the grace there is to constantly extend yourself.

You didn’t learn to ride a bike overnight nor does a baby learn to walk overnight.

Anything Worth While Takes Time

Some dreams, some callings, some destinations take longer than we hope and feel is comfortable, but God is not powerless to grow you into what He’s called you to do or what He’s made you passionate about.

Do I feel like I’ve arrived? No, I realize my journey is never-ending. However, I can say that I see the difference from where I started and where I am now. And while I may not have this similar fear before a wedding day, I can still get nervous.

I'm On YOUR Team! 

And I want to share about these nerves and how I pep-talk myself before weddings in a second blog post to this 2-part series. I'm hoping to encourage you with the hobby that is too afraid of failing or you with story too similar to my own: set aside your fears, lean into the imperfection and grow. You've got this. I'm rooting for YOU!

So in the meantime, what are you fearful about pursuing? What are you passionate about enjoying? Write this down and allow yourself the grace and time to pursue it. Dive into it wholeheartedly and push perfection aside, because the journey is where the beauty and growth is. Don’t let society tell you it can happen over night.

Hola to 4 Years, Jordan | Our 4 Most Memorable Moments

We're saying HOLA to 4 years of marriage today! June 1, 2013--hard to forget it. Although, with our birthdays back-to-back, our first Mother's and Father's Day close together...I think we BOTH almost did this year! We're about partied out. I'm honestly not sure how 4 years have already gone by. It seems like we were just prepping the barn on my family's farm, making wooden mason jar chandeliers (the guys at least) and creating cotton boutonnieres (that was me--I'm obsessed with cotton). Our wedding was such a fun, intimate celebration with many friends and loved ones whose fingerprints were all over the details. We had so much help that it truly made our wedding day that much more memorable and special to us. Plus, we had many loved ones travel down from Dallas to celebrate in my hometown of Artesia, New Mexico!

A LOT has happened in those years (2 years of graduate school, a move to Dallas, TX, living with inlaws, getting jobs in Dallas, buying a fixer upper, renovating it, quitting SLP, going full-time with photography, etc., etc.,) , but a LOT has also happened just within our fourth year of marriage. I attempted to list 4 of the most memorable for you below, and I bet you'd never guess what the chart topper would be! ;-) 

I'll save the sappy for the bottom (if you make it there). 

1. The birth of our firstborn son Lucas Brent Davenport. I mean,  HELLO! :) We CANNOT believe he's 5 1/2 months now! Becoming parents is the biggest honor and joy we've both ever experienced. It's hard. It's fun. It's literally the best thing ever. 

2. Shooting a wedding in Mexico and counting it as an anniversary celebration. Because the timing worked out perfectly! 

3. We finished renovating our kitchen and master bathroom this year. Jordan is just remarkable. Seriously, you guys. 

4. We hosted our 2016 wedding couples at our house for a brunch, and it was one of the best feelings to have all of these couples who I've grown to love through their wedding experiences in the same place at once. I love these people!! 

It looks like you made it to the sappy part. 

4 years with Jordan have felt fast and slow at times, but you guys, I wouldn't want these 4 years to have been with anybody else. 

Jordan, you're the best daddy I could have ever dreamed my kids having, the silliest, most serious, kindest, most talented husband I could have ever daydreamed about marrying, and I love you more every year that goes by! You're the calm to my crazy and the logic to my feelings. You balance me better than anybody else ever could. You're my better half. Let's see what crazy adventures year 5 brings our way! :) 

So Much For Being Perfect

“Oh, no, I’m not perfect!”

I mean, I think most people these days could try to humbly tell you, “Oh no, I’m not perfect”, but do they really operate this way?

The "perfect" blogger in me is worried what people are going to think about this post, so if I'm being honest, I'm afraid to share it. But so much for being perfect. 

You may not consider yourself the perfect photographer, perfect mother, perfect artist, perfect friend, perfect football player or perfect blogger, but what if you unknowingly are striving to be?

Last fall, I had a dream that someone was sweetly telling me, “honey, you know you don’t have to be perfect.” To which I quickly responded, “Oh, yes I know! I am not perfect!” 

And because I’m not one to have dreams that mean much of anything, I was stumped on this one. I couldn’t shake it. Why the heck would I have such a weird dream, and why did it leave me with an unsettling feeling? There's gotta be more to this. 

At the time, I had been so busy with photography, being pregnant (that’s busy, right?) and helping with our house renovation (finally unpacking boxes from when we moved several months prior). Part of me was feeling guilty for the lack of intentional time I was actually putting into a class at church that I was taking, and I feared that I actually wouldn’t get much out of it because of my busyness. You know, typical Lindsay--busy

Side note, I'm so done with over-glorifying "busy", y'all. But that's another blog post for another day.

Well, not to be too creepy, but I knew this dream I had meant something more. I knew it was from the Lord. So I wrestled with it for the following couple days and was able to piece together what I feel like I was supposed to learn. 

I think my husband can tell you that I’m not much of a perfectionist. I’m more of a let’s-get-it-done-quickly-so-we-can-do-a-million-other-things kind of person. Get R done! So when I had this dream, my initial reaction in the dream was spot on: I know I’m not a perfectionist, so of course, I don’t struggle with trying to be perfect! Ha. Silly you. I’m so humble.

But then my eyes started to open to the smallest of things in my life that I actually, maybe do strive to be “perfect” in. Except for the adjective "perfect" was used to describe different things in my life. They were burdens only I had placed on myself with rules that only I formed over the years.

Things like:

I carried so much weight over the amount of time I made to call my girlfriends and catch up;

I felt guilty if my times with the Lord weren’t meaningful;

I stressed if I didn’t answer all my emails, edit a wedding in the time I had planned or even post a blog I felt might repel readers (ahem). 

Looking back, I even felt guilty in college if I made a good grade on a test that I knew I didn’t study hard for.

I felt (and still feel) nervous to be in a group of new people, because I want them to “like” me.

I felt guilty when I missed study time with my speech pathology girlfriends in grad school, because I was editing, editing, editing.

Yet at the same time, I felt guilty studying, because I felt like I wasn’t giving my photography clients the service I wanted to.

I felt guilty for not printing, laminating and creating every piece of therapy material I used when I was a speech pathologist. 

I felt guilty for so many things that were never meant to leave such burdens on me. They were actually all quite blessings in my life. And still are. 

I had somehow over the course of several years created these self-made rules that were highly unattainable and actually none of them being from the Lord. I’d say there were good intentions behind some, which were meant to give me direction, but in short, they were holding me back from the freedom Christ wants us all to feel and know and share.

When I thought about it, there were actually many times a day that I struggled inwardly about what others would think about me, because X. Insert facial expression upon realizing what being a “people pleaser” is. I had been putting all this weight from seemingly “small” problems on my shoulders that it, in turn, just completely weighed me down. It made me anxious. It made me guilty and unhappy.

I mean, none of my friends were thinking, “Oh, that Lindsay, she hasn’t called to check on X, Y, Z”; and my girlfriends or brides weren’t keeping tabs on how present I was; and the Lord isn’t keeping track of the number of quiet times nor the quality of them.  I started realizing all of these things and understanding grace in a whole new way. The same grace that God extends to me daily when I sin against Him because I’m simply broken and a human—that’s the same grace I can extend myself. DAILY. In all the little things. I can extend it to others. And receive it from others. 

You guys, for some reason, this was just mind-blowing to me.

Grace. Heard it, accepted it, used it, but I hadn't fully known it until recently. 

When I was able to catch these insecure, rule-based thoughts on the daily (because y’all, they were so crazily frequent), I was able to just shoot them up to the Lord in the moment and ask for forgiveness and grace. It’s literally amazing how faithful and freeing this habit became. And, ironically, I’m not saying I’m “perfect” at always catching these moments in time (you see how easy it is to set these rules!?!?), but on days that I do, I experience more joy.

It’s freeing, you guys. It’s freeing to know it’s okay to have a muffin top hanging over my jeans these days. It’s freeing to know there’s grace when the day gets away from me, and I miss working out. It’s freeing to know the emails will be there tomorrow, but the opportunity to talk with Jordan may not be. It’s freeing to know the world will keep going on without keeping tabs on the things I’ve put so much pressure on myself to obtain or do.

So if you're a photographer who thinks you have to just book one more wedding, edit just a little faster or be like that other local photographer--extend yourself grace. 

If you're a mom who feels like you have to do it all, teach your child it all, fit all the molds or be like that other mom on Instagram--feel the grace. 

If you're in graduate school or starting a new job and this season of life has its grip on you--extend yourself grace. 

If you're hesitant to launch a new business idea because it's not "perfect", it never will be. Feel the grace and go for it. 

Whatever situation you're in and trying to fit the "perfect" mold, it's really not that great. 

Grace is so freeing.

This whole “grace” thing, y’all--it’s like there was a Divine Creator or something.  It’s like He knew what he was doing. And this whole “perfect” thing—well, I’m not working on it. :)
 

Happy 1 Month, Lucas Brent! | Month in Review

How has one month already passed? I've taken a picture here and there (ha!), but it honestly hasn't been the first thing I think of. I am just trying to be as organized and good about weekly pictures like my friend Lauren Guy Photography was with her little girl! But...I forgot week 1. Oops! So below you'll see his 1 day picture, 2, 3 and 4 week. :) I can hardly believe how much he grows each week!

This first month has been a sleepy one, but it honestly hasn't been as exhausting as we thought. We've had numerous friends come visit us, and two of our best friends who stayed a couple days and spoiled us rotten. We're still eating freezer meals they cooked for us and feeling so loved. I was telling Jordan recently how fun it's been having so many people come visit, catch up over the phone and just reconnect. My relational, extroverted self's cup is totally full. Thank you, thank you to those who have loved on us with meals, phone calls and visits!

I brought my camera to the hospital, and it got passed around as different people took pictures of us and our families. I honestly had no idea how precious these photos would be to me. Regardless of the bags and bags of fluid they pumped in me, I have to share, because it will always remind me of his birth story, which wasn't perfect, but I don't think any story is. It was perfectly imperfect, and I wouldn't have it any other way. 

Luke was born right before Christmas, so obviously we had some fun with him! 

Then I almost freaked out that I hadn't taken a little photo shoot of our family before Luke grew out of his sleepy newborn stage, so I talked Jordan into a simple photo shoot, and that's exactly what we did, and I LOVE the black and white simplicity of them below! I'll cherish these forever. 

At one month:

  • Lucas is starting to smile, but we don't know exactly what's triggering that joy just yet!

  • He weighs a little over 9 pounds and 3 ounces

  • He loves to eat

  • He is quite the little stretcher after naps

  • He's starting to become more cuddly

  • He's an expert thinker with his furrowed brow

  • He scoots on his tummy when you give him resistance to push off

  • He's growing out of his newborn clothes and fitting into 3 month

  • He's outgrown newborn diapers, as well. Stop, Luke, Stop! :)

He's a pretty loved little dude. 

Happy one month Luke. You've been quite an adventure so far!

17 Things We're Looking Forward to in 2017

Ahhh... a new year, a fresh start. I feel like I skipped over the New Year's Resolutions and temptations to diet and exercise after the holidays, because I mean.... I've gotta eat for my babe! :) If anything, I actually WANT to eat healthier and WANT to go walking and work out again, because 1) it's amazing what you'll do for your baby and 2) I seriously MISS working out and sweating. However, I'm not released yet, and I still am pretty ravenous while I'm feeding little man. So I'm gladly taking in the food around me and anxiously awaiting my workouts. For now, I will enjoy my brisk walks and the fruits and veggies I feel like add to the nutrition I'm giving him! :)

However, I think this start to the year is interesting and good for me in a neat way. In the past, I think I've ALWAYS said that I wanted to slow down. If you know me personally, you've probably heard my saga on wanting to be better about slowing down and resting more. Blah blah blah. Truth is, I was created to go. I'm still accepting this and not feeling guilty about it, but in reality, I was created to go.  However, I was created to go in moderation. Just like anything.

Basically, all of you think that life is crazy busy for us, because we have a newborn in the house. When really--life is so much slower. Preoccupied? Yes. But I love it. Before Luke, Jordan was working 3 days a week as a nurse and 4 days renovating our house. I kept busy with photography, meeting vendors, friends, a class at church and anything else I could fill my plate with. Go go go.

And now, I stay. I'm still. I'm more tired than usual, yes, but this life feels so simple. So slow. So meaningful. 

So interesting. 

I think it's funny how God knew just how to slow me down and help me put everything important into perspective. You know--that thing I've been wanting to do better each year. 

I almost didn't have to work on a New Year's Resolution at all, because mine happened so fluidly and naturally. If anything, I hope that I continue this slower pace of life after my maternity leave. Like I said, I was created to go and thrive on a form of busyness, but I hope that I'm able to prioritize and see life a bit more holistically. With that being said, I'm going to dive into the 17 things we're looking forward to in 2017.

Side note: I'm giggling at #2 on our 2016 list: adding a puppy! Try adding a baby instead! And no trips were actually made to Jump Street either....obviously! God knew better! ;-) 

17 in 17 

SO to start: 

1. I think we're both looking forward to hopefully adding a puppy to the family this year! 

2. I'm looking forward to reading more this year (because, you know, I hope to have a slower-pace which will allow for that). Catching my theme!? 

3. Jordan is looking forward to insulating the garage (aka workshop), adding outlets and making it his ultimate man cave. Actually, he's doing just this as I type! But hey, I figure that he's obviously proven how much use he'll get out of it and the benefits our home will! 

4. I'm looking forward to being a bridesmaid in 3 weddings this summer! I can't wait to travel to Michigan for one, Las Cruces for another and to see my brother in law say, "I do" to the sweetest and future newest Davenport!

5. Jordan is looking forward to a hog hunt. Hasn't been planned yet, but he loves watching them on YouTube!

6. We're both looking forward to traveling for some weddings this year! We are shooting our first wedding in Mexico this May, and we'll be traveling to Houston in October! 

7. I'm looking forward to cooking more and finding new recipes we love! 

8. We're both looking forward to watching our son Lucas hit milestones, because they seem so limitless with how young he is right now!

9. I'm looking forward to multiple trips back home to New Mexico to see family, take pictures and be in my dear friend's wedding! 

10. I'm looking forward to seeing Michigan while I'm in my sweet friend from grad school's special day!

11. I can't wait to hear Lucas laugh for the first time!

12. Maybe...a Jump Street trip this year instead of last?! 

13. I am so pumped to get to be such a sweet and special part of our LDP couples' wedding days! I look forward to shooting at new venues and meeting these new families!

14. Jordan is excited to use his new range-finder on the golf course this year! 

15. I look forward to finding new workout classes that I enjoy as much as the ones I did back in Las Cruces with my girls.

16. I'm excited to meet new friends, see new places in Dallas and grow the friendships I did indeed make in 2016. So many sweet, fun, talented and caring friends who have loved us so well lately!

17. And lastly, I look forward to traveling with our little man. This was one things I struggled with earlier in my pregnancy, because I thought having kids meant we couldn't adventure anymore. I go more into detail on that here!  But the sweet thing is: we can take him with us often, and it's GOOD for him. Long story short, I will never forget this moment: last year when I worked as an SLP at an elementary school, I was sitting in an ARD meeting, and the teacher was praising the mother for traveling so much with her son. She explained how his written vocabulary was so vast because of it. In that moment, I smiled and took that as encouragement. 

GO. Don't stop traveling, adventuring and doing. Obviously, this mama right here is talking her kid's ear off at only 3 weeks of age (can't help it as a a speech pathologist), but I just ate that story up. I needed that. How sweet. The more Lucas goes and sees, the more he'll experience, learn and attribute to his vocabulary and memories. 

So with that being said, 2017, I'm comin' for ya. At a slower pace, and I'm going to take it all in gladly. And like I learned last year, God really knows what we have to look forward to on our "list", but they're fun to make anyway, right?! ;-)