This December my sister, Alicia, and her family came to visit us for a WEEK! It was the best!!! There is nothing like having family in town, especially for the holidays. We had fun cooking some amazing food (horseradish crusted prime rib, anyone?), watching our growing boys, and just being together. This was the first taste of a vacation that we’ve felt in over two years. If you are new to the blog, you can find out why here.

My sister is my best friend, and we are both amazed/thrilled and so grateful for how well our husbands get along. I mean, these two are always joking around. We laughed and definitely cried some ugly tears throughout the week as well. I am thankful for family that is willing to come lift our spirits, love on us, and quite practically, wash our dishes. ;) It hasn’t always been easy to bridge the gap of living across the country with one sister struggling with normal parenting woes and a high stress career while the other sister is facing the the unimaginable with a baby on hospice. We’ve worked really diligently to stay on the same page and face the heart wrenching parts together. I am increasingly glad for every tough conversation, every tear shed, and our commitment to our friendship and sisterhood. This week wouldn’t have been possible without it. Alicia, Alfred, and Cy, we love you three so much! THANK YOU for visiting and making us smile! Come back soon!!! xoxo

Oh, and we snuck in a family session while they were here! It felt so good to pick up my camera again!

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This post is so near and dear to our hearts. You see, Jesse and Rachel are two of our very best friends. We met just a couple of years ago, and our hearts connected right away. We both wanted to start families, and things just weren’t quite as easy as we imagined they would be. I had just gone through a miscarriage, and Jesse and Rachel were in the middle of a long and difficult adoption journey. Over the days and weeks we cried together, we prayed for each other, and our friendship deepened with every meal we shared. We had empathy for each other, and we laughed together – a lot!

Over the past two years Jesse and Rachel have been there for us every step of the way… when we found out we were pregnant for Beckham, when we learned about his heart defect, the day he was born, and every day since then. I cannot even count the number of days they spent with us at the hospital. They brought meals, ran errands, cried and hoped with us. They lifted our spirits. We couldn’t be more grateful for the love they poured out on us.

I remember sitting in Beckham’s hospital room last spring, Rachel and I crying yet again. The truth is that we both wanted the same thing. Rachel and I both wanted to bring our boys home. I wanted Beckham to come home from the hospital, and she wanted her son to come home from Africa. It is a horrible and wonderful way to bond… both begging God to bring the other’s son home.

The beautiful thing is… they are home!! Beckham came home in June, and Jesse and Rachel made the trip to Uganda later that month. The excitement we felt for them was indescribable. On August 17 (my 30th birthday) the Leos family stepped off of that airplane and into our lives as a beautiful family of THREE!! The airport was filled with excitement and anticipation. I will never forget this day!

We love you Jesse, Rachel, and Ollie!!!

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Beto and I met Katie a little over a year ago, and she has become one of my very best friends. You see, Katie is one of the brilliant nurses in the cardiac ICU at Children’s. She joined Beckham’s care team when he was just days old, and we quickly became friends. We realized that we have friends in common, love the same music, and frequent the same great restaurants. Beyond that, Katie has the biggest heart. She has shown us more grace, kindness, and love than I could ever repay. I never planned, nor would I have imagined, to make friends in the ICU, but I couldn’t be more grateful. I tell Katie over and over that I just do not know how I could have made it through this year without her friendship.

Katie found out she was pregnant around the time of Beckham’s second hospital stay this spring, and when she asked me to document her family this winter I could not resist. Beto and I are still on a leave of absense (visit Beats for Beckham to find out why), but when is spending time with friends ever work? Plus, now that we have experienced the beauty that is parenthood, we truly believe those first days and weeks of bonding and loving on a little one are like nothing else on earth. They should be cherished, captured, and always remembered.

Chris and Katie, you are wonderful parents. You’ve got this! It may be the most exhausting time of your life, but it is filled with the best kind of love. It is written all over your faces, your proud words, and the way you hold sweet Oliver. He is your world. He should be. Never, ever lose sight of the beauty in the mundane. These moments will make up your life… and I promise it will be a good one. Cheers to parenthood my friends!

Everyone, meet Oliver!!

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Baby Coco

This has seriously been the summer of babies, and we love it! Not only are they so cuddly and perfect, but this means there will be loads of friends for our little lovey to play with! Michael & Courtney are some of our newest friends, and we fell for them right away. I mean, what’s not to love? They are so much fun, wear their hearts on their sleve, and brighten every room they walk in. Little Coco is already doing just the same! Just look at that face!!! Being invited into their home to spend a day with them was icing on the cake. We count it a huge honor to witness and document the joy, pride, and love overflowing from this new family. Our hearts are bursting!

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Baby Knox

Oh how we love this sweet family of four! Brooke, Tanner, and Lily welcomed Baby Knox into their family last month. The first few days and weeks with a new baby are so intimate and precious. We were beyond glad to spend a day with them to experience the changes and overwhelming joy of a growing family. Brooke has such a big heart, and I loved seeing it explode with love for her family. Meet the Hockensmiths!

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