The hard is what makes it great

Didn’t Tom Hanks say this in A League of Their Own? I should know, I only watched that movie about 1,276 times growing up. I have never once done something easy and reflected later that it was great. The “great” moments in my life have all been hard-won (or lost) attempts to do something I was never confident I could do.hard is what makes it great pic

Like that time I was a crazy college student studying in Africa and we decided to climb Mt. Kenya during our fall break. Ill prepared, with little cold weather gear I shivered the sub-freezing night before our summit in a hut at something like 14,000 feet. Then got up at 2am to trek miles and miles up snowy, rocky cliffs to watch the sunrise. I’m surprised I didn’t fall off the edge to my death.

Y’all. There is something so incredibly wonderful about attempting something hard. It draws me in. Beckons me to try. For if I fail, I will know just how hard I can really push myself.

But when it comes to adding another baby, another life to our family, failure is not an option. I can fail at all kinds of small things. Forget to change a dirty diaper in time. Leave home without a change of clothes. You know. But  in the grand scheme of things, I have to love this little bundle (and the older two bundles) above all else. Hold them close when they’re being awful. I will my patience to grow more every day because lawdy I need oodles of it.DSC_0618

So this is my motto in these early baby days with Larkin. This kid had so many days of non-stop crying in her first six weeks I thought I would go insane. Pippa was the same way, but she was my first (and hey, she turned out ok right? Only a little crazy…). I could just deal with it. Now I have to lay this baby down to deal with the older two fighting, make 12 meals a day (no joke, my kids eat a LOT), do laundry. Anyone else have a colicky baby that was not their first? Now she is 13 weeks and our fussy days are fewer… but out of the blue we’ll have one. And it stinks.

Yet I know that this crying will come to an end and that the older kiddos will stop fighting. Deep down I know that when I look back on these days, I wouldn’t wish away the hard times. Because the hard is what makes it great.

photo signature green bee


Maternity + Baby: Noelle

I may have been so obsessed with my new camera and lens over the last few months that I begged asked a few friends if they would let me take some maternity and newborn photos. Lucky for me I have some awesome (and super trusting??) friends who willingly agreed. And oh boy did I have a fun time with Noelle and baby Declan (and big brother Atlee, who was a bit camera shy).

The “newborn” shots of Declan were actually more like 1 month photos. I so wish we had been able to get a few more with him sleeping and in some different poses, but between us we have three older toddlers and that was quite a handful to wrangle between snapping some pics.

Y’all… thanks for letting me test out my new gear on your precious family!


noelle 2 BWNoelle 3noelle 12Noelle 13 BWNoelle 15Declan 1Declan 3declan 5 BWdeclan 6declan 7declan 9delcan 8


Bored Over Busy: our unplugged days of summer

Have you seen this article? It’s been circulating in my Facebook feed although it was written a few years back. And it’s awesome.

“The Disease of Being Busy.”

It makes me feel fortunate to have made friends and have close neighbors that share a common mindset when it comes to parenting:

We don’t over schedule.

We agree that kids need time to play and be supervised from afar (we all have kids under age 6). No helicopter parenting here.

We agree that we need to be outside getting messy as often as possible.

We agree that while school and sports and music lessons have their role in helping our kids become well rounded people, they should take a backseat in these early years.DSC_0642 copy.jpg

Professor Safi, not only do you teach right down the street from me at Duke University (how ironic is that?), but you challenge an important stigma of which I often feel like I’m catapulting right toward the middle: the blackhole of elementary aged kids who are over scheduled, over-parented, and not allowed to just play.bored over busy

DSC_0625 copyIt terrifies me because it’s everything I’ve worked hard not to do with my youngsters, yet I feel the pull of society calling me to enroll my oldest (4.5 years) in summer camp. Or preschool. Or a sport. She’s just 4.5!” says my inner voice. Let her be a child! She will have 13 years to be in school more hours than she plays, to be inside more than she is outside, and to endure waaaaaay more academic pressure than children should. Yet I still feel the lure of a society that values busy-ness and find myself wondering if I’m making the right choices.

Does anyone else feel societal pressure to conform to what the masses are doing? I fight it constantly and question if I’m doing what’s right for my family and my kids, and in the end my heart knows best.

DSC_0656 copyYou ask how is my heart? Right now it is often exhausted from being in full-time parent mode. But on this sunny morning it is joyous, because my colicky newborn is actually sleeping and my older kiddos are outside inventing games in mud puddles and picking blueberries. And that is exactly where they should be.

photo signature green bee

A surfboard for Larkin

I finally got started on this girl’s surfboard. She will someday share a room with Pippa, so I wanted to coordinate the salmon pinks that are in Pippa’s surfboard and curtains. Of course now Pippa wants an update (aka more flowers) to her surfboard and Sawyer wants a surfboard too. Good thing this mama is ready to get back to artwork!

Here’s a sneak peek of her Boho chic board:


photo signature green bee

Life with Two vs Three

I wondered quite a bit how my life would be different once number three arrived. After all, I thought the transition from one kid to two was super easy, and actually easier than just having one! I’d read about three. Three = the most stressful number of kids (with four being the easiest… umm… no thanks). Three = you’re outnumbered. Three = what were you thinking?

Three = Larkin Mathilda, born on her due date (April 6th). 7lbs 13oz.

DSC_0431 copy

  • I don’t feel suddenly outnumbered… because I’ve been out numbered for 2.5 years. When you’re home with them all day, you were outnumbered at #2.
  • NOISE. In addition to the sibling squabbles and never-ending talking, three adds crying to the mix.
  • There is a new reason to test the boundaries and call attention to oneself. Hence the four year old who insists on tattooing her face at quiet time (Check it out on Instagram @wildsunshineamanda).
  • It’s 3-o’clock somewhere, right? I am no longer ashamed to have a glass of wine at 3pm.
  • The days of sitting comfortably on the couch to nurse the baby are over. I am constantly nursing this child while walking around, cooking dinner, wiping bottoms, etc.


What didn’t change?

  • The “I need my poopy bottom wiped” request as soon as I sit down to nurse the baby.DSC_0385 copy Yeah, not much changed in that department.
  • Transit time to leave the house. Yup, you read that right. I remember vividly when #2 arrived, getting out of the house (and really into the car) took infinitely longer. While I maintain hope that child #1 and perhaps child #2 can get themselves into their own carseats with minor distraction, there are still old snacks to eat, books to discover, and seatbelts to play with as I try my hand at wrangling them. Conclusion: it takes the same amount of time it used to. I aim to pull out of the driveway within 45 minutes of heading to the car.


The HARDEST thing? With a 2.5 and 4.5 year old who have become obsessed with the pool on these humid 90 degree days, it breaks my heart to have to say no. We can’t always go to the pool or be there all day because the little one can’t get in and it’s just too dang hot. What’s a mama to do? We take advantage of cooler mornings and late afternoons and they’re still getting plenty of practice being little fish.

DSC_0344 for pinterest

photo signature green bee


PHOTOS: Sunshine and Daffodils

One year ago I took photos of the kids running around the yard with handfuls of daffodils. The pics were a bit blurry since my camera was on it’s last life, but I loved the idea and so they hung above our kitchen table for most of the year. One a gorgeous weekend in March when it hit 70 degrees by 10am and we were running all over the yard (well, the kids were running and I was walking fast trying not to sweat to death in my 36 week pregnant and huge body), I wanted a re-do. Boy am I glad I did!

And that field of yellow flowers? It really is an invasive species growing along our neighbor’s creek. They open during the day and close up at night. Invasive or not, they are beautiful and I wish they’d grow along our oh so attractive drainage ditch in the front yard! I feel the same way about dandelions. Love ’em!

I’ve been getting in a good bit of practice photographing in full sun. I do my best to get a shade source over my portrait subjects, and in several of these my hubby willingly stood arching his hands over them to shade their faces so I could grab those catchlights in their eyes without too many funky sunspots.

And PS: I realize you’re reading this a month later, gotta plan for post-baby y’all!

dafodils 6 watermarkdaffodils 4 watermarkdaffodils 3 watemrarkdaffodils 2 watermarkdaffodil 1 watermarkphoto signature green bee

PHOTOS: Winter Beach days

How lucky we are that my parents live at the beach! Before they retired to the coast of NC, I had never been to the beach in the winter. It’s quiet. Peaceful. We have almost the whole beach to ourselves on some days minus a few dog walkers.

In late February we had days in the low 50s and windy, but that didn’t stop the kiddos from running barefoot until their feet froze or they fell over exhausted. Can’t wait to visit again with three littles in tow!

And did I mention I am loving my new iMac? It also helps that I finally upgraded my version of photoshop from the one I had been using… 13 years old might be some sort of record, lol.

#wildsunshine #childhoodunplugged #sunsetbeachnc

beach 1skybeach 2beach 3beach 4beach 5beach 6

photo signature green bee

PHOTOS: November Fields

I’m a big planner. And when we found out we were expecting baby #3, I knew I wanted to wait and announce it on our Christmas cards. So on Sawyer’s 2nd birthday– the only somewhat nice weekend day we’d had in a month — I dragged the family to a little known spot near the Eno River with a massive meadow to take family photos. Armed with a tripod and lots of warm clothes, we managed 45 minutes of pics before Sawyer lost it and my hubby asked for the thousandth time how many photos I needed.

Then I spent a week in photo nerd heaven editing these pics from my new camera and a borrowed lens.

photo signature green bee

84 weeks pregnant.

Welllllllllll maybe only 39, but who’s counting? Somewhere around 37 weeks I get really tired of being pregnant. I’ve lost all ability to be productive. I can’t sleep. I feel huge ALL the time. Even my maternity clothes stop fitting and I have to do laundry every 2 days. Oy! At least I forget all about these things in a few months and remember the good parts.

39 weeks

And the heat! In NC, March has been a heatwave. I mean days in the low 80s… which to me feels like 140 degrees.  I’m burning up. Good thing I’ve never had to endure a summer baby, I don’t think I’d survive.

How am I feeling these days? Let’s see, everything hurts as it stretches and gets ready for delivery (which is actually pretty amazing). There are approximately 1,000 things I want to be doing outside but cannot because they involve heavy lifting, shoveling, etc. I have two kids who have been sharing a room for 1.5 months and have yet to stop talking to one another before 9pm, so both are constantly sleep deprived and cranky. This mama is losing patience!

Yet through it all I’m trying hard to be aware that these are the last days to freely play outside, climb trees, and go hiking without the extra time to bundle a baby/change a diaper. At least for a little while 🙂 So I’m enjoying this time with my two littles as much as possible.

And we did manage to finally install our kitchen backsplash (more on that in a future post), so I can’t say I’ve been totally unproductive.

Gender: my guess is still a girl. Weight: 40lbs gained (5 lbs less than the other two at this point). Cravings: Salad and citrus. Can’t wait for: running again!


photo signature green bee