Tag Archives: birthday

dear cruz,

16 Nov

You are three. And I can’t even hardly believe it. It’s going so fast.

Part of me is grateful that you are three. Even in the past couple days, you have gotten SO fun. Even the sentences you’ve been putting together seem more adult. And it’s really amazingly fun to watch you grow and do new things.

But then I could bawl almost instantly at the thought of you growing up. Because I swear, you JUST looked like this:

But now you are three. And heaven forbid I blink again. Because if I do, you’ll be moving out, getting married and starting your own family. So for now, I am learning to embrace every little thing and every little day. I’m learning to celebrate every day. Not JUST your birthdays. I’m learning that work is important, but that it will always be there. And while I am so passionate about being a photographer, there is nothing I am more passionate about than being a good mamma to you and to Rider. Although I lose my way sometimes, I think. But you remind me every day that these days are not promised. And that these days will quickly pass us by.

And that they already have.

I’d give anything to go back and snuggle you in your rocking chair one more time. And I’m sure that I will feel that way, every single birthday you have.

You are an amazing kiddo. With talents already that far surpass anything that your daddy and I have in our bloodstream. You love the drums. We are working on getting you a drum set, but we have to find the right one. Because you will know the difference. And you already know how to play it. And it blows us away, all the time.

You are learning to share. And not doing THAT well with it, I’ll be honest. HA. But you are learning. And I pray every single day that you will grow to have a very generous, giving heart. Because you DO have a very compassionate spirit.

You are one of the best things that has ever happened to us.

Your third birthday was SUCH a fun day. At lunch time you even said, “Today’s a fun day mamma! I love you!”. And it was totally unprompted and melted my heart. We had blueberry ‘cupcakes’ for breakfast, which were actually muffins and that you DIDN’t eat. But you had fun blowing out the candle. You got a new car- the Cozy Coupe! And I actually used to play with a version of this car when I was a kid. You love it SO much and haven’t stopped playing with it since. We went to the train park and had more cupcakes with friends. But you only licked the frosting. And we went to Chickfila for lunch because it’s your favorite and you ask for it every day. Even though we don’t eat it every day. You didn’t really nap. And then we went to the church to watch Daddy play guitar for the high school group. We came home and I let you stay up late to watch Cars 2. It was a simple day, full of celebrating and lots of love. And you were so happy.

I am so blessed by you Cruz. Daddy and I wish you the best 3rd year of life here with us. And we pray every day that God will guide us to take better care of you this year than we did the last. And that He will continue to teach us about you so we can cherish you as He does. And so that you can grow up to become the man He’s created you to be.

But until then, please don’t hurry up to be anything other than three. Because this mamma’s heart can’t handle watching you grow up too quickly. Because once you do, you will leave us as you should. But I’m not ready to even think about that. Please slow down the growing up. And enjoy your red and yellow car for as long as you want.

I love you forever,



14 Jul

It’s kind of hard to believe that today I am twenty-nine. I’ve officially begun the last year of my twenties. Weird, right? Next year I’ll be THRITY!!


Actually, I am thrilled to be twenty-nine. No, honestly. I am! I think being in your twenties is such a mix of amazement, growth, fun, and horrible learning experiences that you could not PAY ME to go through again. Am I right?? When I think back to when I was twenty-one, or twenty-seven even, I am a COMPLETELY different person than I am today. It’s kind of crazy to think about all the growth that happens in your twenties.

But don’t get me wrong! There’s so many amazing things that happen besides learning hard lessons while you’re in your twenties. I got married, I had two of my children, I started a career that I’m wildly passionate about. All of those things have contributed greatly to the growth of my twenties, but they have been amazing things! Each challenging at times, but fun, exciting, and life changing. I wouldn’t change anything about my twenties. Not one. single. thing.

Would I do it all over again? NOT IN A MILLION YEARS.

I am grateful to be at the end of this chapter in my life and entering the last year of this decade. I finally feel like I know myself. I finally feel like I know what I want out of life, friends, family, and my future. I have the best friends I am ever going to have and I’m clinging tight to them. Not that there’s not room for new friends. But now there’s only room for GOOD friends. People that I can invest back into and who I truly know have my back when things suck. I have several of these in my life and I’m not letting go. But you go through funny stuff with your friendships during your twenties too. And I think part of it is due to insecurities and not really, truly knowing and understanding what you need and want from them. And most importantly, what you can give back. I feel like when you’re in your twenties you’re sort of searching for this identity. You’re trying to find your place in this world and hoping (fingers crossed tight!) that people LIKE YOU BACK. I can honestly remember the moment about six months ago when I realized that I truly don’t care if people don’t like me back.

I mean, you always want people to like who you are. DUH.

But I seriously don’t worry about it anymore. Some people like me. Some people don’t. Whatev. I’ve got the people close to me who count. People who’ve NEVER walked away when stuff got hard for us. People who I know love me. So I’m good.

What I’m trying to say is, I finally feel like I know who I am. I feel a new level of confidence that I’ve discovered within the past six months and it seriously doesn’t scare me to turn thirty next year. I feel excited about the future and ready to move on from the chapter that is my twenties. I’ve learned some great things. Experienced some awesome stuff. Had some heartache. But I’ve had a lot of fun too. I’m exhilarated to see what my thirties holds. I hear that each new decade only gets better.

Gosh I sure hope that’s true.

So here’s to living the last year of my twenties well! And to experiencing life with a new found confidence, zeal and love for life like I’ve never known before.

And yep. Here come the baby pictures. I’m not ashamed.

dear cruz,

30 Nov

You turned 2 this month. Two years old. TWO. I just know I am going to blink and you’ll be turning 14 soon.

And I am so not ready for that.

It’s been a crazy season, ever since we brought brother home. That first week home with the two of you was probably one of the hardest weeks of my entire life. I thought for sure that you were wondering if things were ever going to be the same again. I wondered if you were confused. I wondered if you were mad at me. And that thought almost killed me. But over the past almost 12 weeks, daddy and I have watched you adapt and grow to really love your little brother. And nothing warms my heart more than when you lean in to give him kisses. Or when you still like to help me burp him. Or how you ask to go see him every morning if he’s not awake when you get up. It’s a special thing, to watch two brother’s relationship and friendship begin to develop. I pray for it to grow every single day. And I can’t wait for the day when you two will be running around wreaking havoc and getting into all sorts of mischief.

But then I can wait. Not just because of all the mischief that’s headed my way. But because I am all too familiar with how horribly fast this life goes. And I don’t want to miss it.

You are such a special kid. You are talking more and more these days- sometimes in complete sentences! You repeat EVERYTHING we say. Everything. It has us laughing all day long. You started sleeping in a big boy bed last week. And while I have an entire post on that coming, I’m happy to report that you have completely blown us away with how easy that transition was!

Can potty training be that easy please?

Your daddy and I often look at each other after you’ve said or done something and we say out loud how truly awesome you are. It’s true. You are seriously one awesome little dude. We have been so blessed by your life and you bring SO much to our lives. When I was a kid and imagined what my future children would be like, I had no idea that God was going to bless me with two of the most amazingly cool little boys ever. You are one special boy Cruz.

You bless my life so much, everyday.

So here’s to another year together little guy. I’m the luckiest girl to be your mamma.

I love you forever!


happy birthday cruz

16 Nov

Two years ago today, I was doing this:

And this:

Happy Birthday to one of the loves of my life, Cruz Elton Williams. You have brought more joy and excitement to our lives than you could ever imagine! I can’t even believe that two whole years have gone by since you were born. Although sometimes days as a mamma are hard, I can not even imagine the day when I send you off to kindergarten, high school, prom, college, your wedding. It’s already going too fast. You are such a special boy and one the absolute coolest kids that there is. And our love runs so deep for you, deeper than you will ever know or understand. It’s been such a fun day with you today because I think it’s the first time you sort of understand that today is a special day for you! We’ve done some fun things and I can’t wait to post the pictures of the time we’ve spent together today.

You are two. Two years old. I can’t even believe it. And I’m so excited for all the many more birthdays we get to spend together.

Mommy and Daddy love you. And Rider too!

28 years

14 Jul

28 years ago, I looked like this:

Now you don’t have to wonder where Cruz got his blonde hair from. HA!

It’s pretty crazy that another year has gone by. I was thinking tonight about how much our lives have changed since my last birthday post, and it’s actually pretty crazy the things that have happened in our life. I never thought we’d be here. I never thought that what should have been one of the hardest years of my life has actually been one of the best years of my life. When I wrote last years birthday post, life was going ok. I was happy to be beginning my career successfully as a photographer and able to stay home with Cruz. I was happy and trusting that God was being so faithful in our lives and trying to lean on Him while being a stay at home mamma. We were living paycheck to paycheck, Jay was working odd jobs to make ends meet, and we had a little boy who we loved more than I ever thought possible. I was also not happy with a few other aspects of our lives, frustrated with certain things, people, places and trying to rely on God regarding those things. I was praying for the answers as to when we’d be able to move on. But relatively loving life and still trying to adjust to being a new mom.

This was all before we lost our job, had a miscarriage, got pregnant again (with Rider), had to decide if we were going to accept a job in Scottsdale or Seattle, accepting the job in Scottsdale, moving to Scottsdale and now settling into what is now our normal lives.

It’s been a crazy ride. And as hard as it’s been (or could have been even), it has been one of the best years of my life. Things aren’t perfect. They won’t ever be perfect, let’s not be naive here. But God has just delivered us, protected us and provided for us in more ways that I ever could have imagined. On this day last year, I had no idea how much my world was going to be rocked in a couple short months. I had no idea how my life would be so different. And I had no idea how grateful I’d be. I feel so blessed to be where we are.

Last year, Cruz was the only child I had. This year, we are going to have another little boy that will bring even more light and laughter into our lives (if that’s even possible!) and a brother for Cruz. I’m actually at a church that I deeply love. A place where I’m excited to be and to serve. A place that values us and that shows us they value us. Our business is going so well, I still have to pinch myself because I feel like I’m dreaming most of the time with it. Being a photographer has allowed me to stay home with my kids, do something I love and be my own person- and not just a mom. It’s been the greatest blessing of my life. I can’t imagine why I waited so long to do it. We’ve moved communities and while I’m sad that we’re farther away from some friends, the community of friends we are building down here is quite amazing too. We are living in a comfortable apartment that we are actually very happy in. It’s such a comfy place- I don’t even really miss my Gilbert house much anymore! We are truly so blessed, even though getting to this place within the last year has taken a lot of trusting God, prayer and leaning on one another. There’s been a lot of times of uncertainty, tears, frustration, anger. But also of happiness, laughter and lots and lots of relief in many ways. God has been so good to us. Even in the moments that I wasn’t sure where our next paycheck was going to come from, He proved to be faithful to us.

Why do I ever doubt?

It’s amazing the difference a year can make. And the difference that this year has made has meant the world to me. There’s been so many changes for us and so much transition. Not to mention the changes that are still on their way (Rider!). And I’m grateful for every single one.

So today I’m not sad about getting another year older. If every year could be like the last one I had, even in it’s hard moments, then I hope I can get older for many, many more years. What an amazing and great year. And even if 28 isn’t as great of a year, I have learned that trusting God is the best way. That He will always be faithful, even in moments when you aren’t sure if you’ll be able to pay the bills. And that He gives me blessings everyday in my fabulous family. And as hard as being a mom is at times, every day I get to take care of this little guy and his brother that is on the way. And there is nothing greater than being able to walk into his room to see him fast asleep, comfortable, secure, and knowing that he is more loved than any other little kid out there.

I have so much to be grateful for this birthday. And I wouldn’t change a single thing about this life I’m living. Happy Birthday to me! My life is one that is so blessed.

happy 30th birthday!

4 Nov

30th Birthday

Today was Jason’s 30th birthday!! Even though Jason isn’t sure how he feels about it, and even though I’ve made him feel like an old man these past few days, 30 is not old! It’s the new 20 and I’m pretty convinced that Jay is going to look as young as he does for a long, long time. He’ll just be that lucky.

I wanted to plan something special for him, but we don’t have a whole lot of extra cash these days. We have some really amazing friends who all helped me throw Jason a surprise party on Tuesday evening, the night before. He had absolutely NO IDEA and just thought we were going to our regular Bible study that we have each week. Our great friends Katelyn and Casey hosted and Katelyn helped me to get everything set up before we got there (thank you Katelyn!!). It was so great to hang with friends and about 25-30 people came, which was absolutely perfect.

I do have to say that Jason’s cake did look like it was on fire with the amount of candles we put on it! I wanted to make sure he blew out 30 candles and no less! So we all ate cake and relaxed for a little bit and Jason was totally surprised!

It's on fire! Ha!Birthday Boy

Today, Wednesday the 4th we spent time together as a family! We’ve had a lot of those days lately but this day was extra fun! We didn’t have too much planned, but we did manage to make our way into the Apple store. Jay decided that it was time to exchange the phone that he’s had for our ENTIRE MARRIAGE for a brand new iPhone!! I’m not kidding- that phone that he had was seriously one that Zach Morris from Saved By The Bell probably used during his time at Bayside. He’s had it forever! So it was completely time for him to upgrade to the new millenium and join the rest of us with an iPhone. Ha! I’m glad he did!

Jay trading in his old phone

Our little man crashed from ‘partying’ to hard with mom and dad. We hadn’t even left the Apple store yet and he was already zonked out!

So sleepy

We ate lunch at Liberty Market after our time at the mall. When it’s your birthday, they give you a meal up to $10 for free!! So Jay got an amazing pizza made by none other than Andrew Sterbenz and we visited with Andrea Alley while we were there too!

Our evening was pretty simple- we had a family dinner at Olive Garden (one of Jay’s favorites!) and then headed home. After we put Cruz to bed, we sat on the couch with baseball on TV and worked. Yes, we had to work on his birthday. We don’t have the luxury right now of having a day off- THAT’s how busy we are! But we are super grateful to have each other and to be able to celebrate another birthday together! Birthdays are super special to me- life is too short and you never know how many birthday’s you’ll have together. Gotta make ’em count for sure.

Happy 30th Birthday to the love of my life, Jason! I love you and I can’t wait till we turn 60 together! I love you!

birth day

16 Sep

This was one of the greatest things I have ever watched someone else experience. I had the absolute honor of being asked to photograph the birth of Chris and Fallon Lile’s newest addition to their family. What a true privilege. I got the phone call from Chris at about midnight of September 9th. They were already at the hospital, Fallon was already admitted and things were progressing wonderfully. I was on standby until about 3:00 am and then I headed down to the hospital- not knowing exactly when this little joy would actually arrive. That’s the tricky thing about photographing births- it’s very unpredictable and can move very quickly or very, very slowly. It’s so hard to know!

Fortunately, I made it to the hospital just in time! I was there for no more than 5 minutes when the doctor announced that it was time to start pushing. And what a moment!! Fallon and Chris did not know if they were having a boy or girl, so when the doctor announced “It’s a boy!” it was such a great surprise for them!

I am truly amazed that these two would ask me to be apart of something so special, so important, so huge in their lives. I can only hope that I captured the amount of love and joy that was in the room that night.

Chris & Fallon- thank you so much for allowing me to be apart of this moment that you will remember for the rest of your lives. Ashur is beautiful. Your family is beautiful.

* These pictures are currently not on our Session Nine Photography site, but will be shortly!

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