Hello, friends … I realize it has been quite awhile since we’ve been together, and I really am sorry to have left you with such a down and out post.  I wasn’t foreseeing stepping away from blogging for such a stretch of time but my mind and heart were so wrapped around life that I couldn’t quite bring myself to put my fingers to the keyboard.  I also couldn’t bring myself to take any photos either, which poses an issue for a blog so centered on photographs!  But with many of you sweet readers reaching out to me, sending prayers and asking how I am (and my husband asking me daily when I’d be updating the blog!) I knew I had to get my act together and just write.

        So, here is some exciting news that has pretty much rocked our world: we’re 15 weeks pregnant.  I have so much more to tell you about this pregnancy from the unexpected surprise, to the medical challenges, to the pregnancy-after-miscarriage aspect … and all of that is what led me to just kind of go quiet.  For now I just want to say ‘hi’, tell you I’m still here and to update you a little on what else has been going on around here since … oh … Thanksgiving??

        • We traveled up to Seattle to visit my family twice over the holidays and I took no photos during either trip and the visits may have been even sweeter because of it.
        • Cooper and Gage have found a new love for yo-yoing. An intense love.
        • I will really miss college football when it finishes up today!
        • The boys performed 3 times over the holidays with their Joyful Noise Children’s choir for church, including caroling at 3 retirement homes in our town.

        • We’ve had several bouts of snow and really, really freezing weather in our area which coincided well with my desire to go absolutely no-where over the past 2 months.  I will never be one to say I love this type of weather, but I will always be the first to say how beautiful it can be!

        • This littlest guy turned 7 on Christmas Eve.  We treated the majority of the day as his day rather than as Christmas Eve so we did what he’s always wanted to do, and went out to Red Robin for lunch and his free birthday sundae.  😉  Even though he’s now 7, he still lets me kiss his cheeks whenever I want, he still climbs into my lap several times a day for snuggles, and told me I can still call him my baby.  This helps me accept that he’s now seven.  I may accept it, but I sure can’t believe it.

        • While I’ve seemed to have lost interest in everything else, I’ve become even more obsessed with everything about food.  Ironic, since eating food has been somewhat of a nightmare for the past 8 weeks.  But watching Food Network, pinning yummy recipes, trying out my Instant Pot, baking too many different Christmas treats, and cooking new dinners every night so our fridge is constantly full of left-overs.  The act of eating, though, is only now beginning to work again.
        • Christmas filled what room was available in my mind since back before Thanksgiving.  We began watching Hallmark movies all the way back before Thanksgiving, with the first one coincidentally being a woman surprising her husband and family with the news that she was unexpectedly pregnant.  That was a few days before we found out, but the boys saw how sick the lady in the movie was, and compared that to how I had been feeling and told me that I must be pregnant.  Little did I know.   Movies, plus baking, plus a fun advent calendar, plus online shopping, plus decorating and listening constantly to Christmas music, wrapping gifts daily, and made for a full Christmas season.

        • Matt and I got to spend a few days away in Sisters after Christmas and it was like walking right into our own Hallmark movie;  the quaint, adorable town, visitors walking around bundled up, time spent in the local coffee shop, the lights lining every shop along the main street, and HUGE piles of snow mounded along the roads and sidewalks made for just a perfect backdrop for our time together.  Thinking back on this trip during times of anxiety and stress (and I’ve been having a lot of those lately) is definitely my happy place.
        • I don’t have a lot of ‘extras’ in my life, outside of being a mom and a wife, but even still, I don’t know where I stand with the few that I do.   It seems logical to say that pregnancy is just changing things, but I wonder if these changes (aversions, mostly) are permanent or just for now.  Time will tell, I suppose.  Dipping my toes into things that I did regularly before-pregnancy has been helpful at bringing back the feeling of ‘normal’, such as starting a prenatal workout and listening to a few podcasts but for the most part we’re looking at the bare-minimum, doing the best I can with the best I have, and that’s about it.

        So, our life has been shaken up a bit and we’re looking toward a lot of newness in this new year of 2017.  If you’re still around, thank you for visiting with me again.  And thank you for understanding if I spill out every story, emotion and thought I have about this pregnancy over the next however-long.   Doing that may be just what I need to get myself moving forward.

        ♥  Have a wonderful Monday, friends!

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        • Mom - I’m so happy you’re “back.” Some days I’d log onto your blog several times to see if you’d posted. Unlike Matt, I didn’t want to ask if you were ever going to blog again….and share your wonderful news. I love you, sweetpea, and I look forward to again viewing your beautiful photos and reading your oh-so-truthful thoughts.
          XOXOXO to GCK from GrammieReplyCancel

          • Lacey - Thank you. <3 I'm not sure when more photos will come because I just can't bring myself to use my camera, so I may just be writing for now. :)ReplyCancel

        • Tara - So glad to hear from you Lacey! I have been praying for you and watching your blog regularly. I’m glad you’re back! Thank you for sharing your news. I became pregnant unexpectedly as well, and the verse the Lord gave to me was Psalm 116:7 “Be at rest once more, oh my soul, for the Lord has been good to you”. We see things as good or bad or blessings or challenges, but God’s goodness is in all things for us. I’ll be praying for you as you continue to process this upheaval.ReplyCancel

          • Lacey - Thank you so much for this, Tara … I appreciate you sharing your verse and for your prayers as well. I think this will be the next verse I Bible journal, along with your reminder. <3ReplyCancel

        • Auntie Dianne - So happy to have you back and so happy you shared your amazing news…That means you just have that many more people praying for you and this little one!ReplyCancel

        • Renae - Congratulations Lacey! So happy for you and your family!ReplyCancel

        • Alice C. - Sooo happy for you, Lacey! Excited to follow along here <3ReplyCancel

        • Carol - Congratulations! Another little somebody to love! Hope you are feeling better soon and that all those boys are treating you special! So glad to have you writing again to us. I’m hoping your break from photography is only temporary!! We SO look forward to seeing your photos!ReplyCancel

          • Lacey - Thank you, Carol! I’m sure hoping it is temporary, too and I hope that when I come back to it it will be with a new appreciation for the craft. 🙂 And yes, I am feeling much better physically and the boys are being incredibly understanding and helpful. 🙂ReplyCancel

        • Kasey White - Congratulations!!! I’ve missed your photos, but I’m so glad to see this update and good news! Praise God for a baby!!! Even if your posts don’t include photos, I hope you will continue to update on your family and your pregnancy. Praying for a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby!ReplyCancel

        • Merissa - Congratulations Lacey, so happy for you! A true blessing. Your words are as inspiring as your beautiful photos – we are all so lucky that you share. Wishing you a happy and healthy pregnancy. <3ReplyCancel

        • Cheryl - Oh, congratulations! I’ve been wondering about you… Remember, children are ALWAYS a blessing from God!ReplyCancel

        • Megan - Congratulations!! It’s great to hear your exciting (and unexpected) news! Taking time to process and rest and not over do things is perfectly understandable. While I’m sure we’re all glad to see you back, know that we do understand the break as well. Time with your family is the most important thing!ReplyCancel

          • Lacey - Thank you, Megan. That is really sweet to hear and thank you for still being here to visit at my blog! <3ReplyCancel

        • Sheri - What exciting news Lacey! So happy for you and your family. I have 4 kids myself and the 4th one totally caught us by surprise. Of course, can’t imagine life without that young lady now. She will turn 31 next week and she is pregnant with her 2nd. Any baby born into love is so blessed. Your baby is a blessed baby:)ReplyCancel

        • Amanda - Congratulations! I’m so glad to see you “back.” I’ve been hoping all was well with you after your last post. Your blog is always so encouraging to me as a mom, homeschooler, and photographer. Hugs & prayers from Kentucky!ReplyCancel

        • Sarah - Lacey, I’ve been thinking about you and have been eager for a new blog post…but I didn’t expect such exciting news–congratulations!! May God keep you and your little one safe and healthy during the pregnancy. Although your ‘normal’ will undoubtedly change with a new baby in the family, you can rest assured that God’s timing is perfect!ReplyCancel

        • Erica - Lacey! I’m so glad to see you writing again. I’ve been checking in here and there in hopes of a new post. We think of you and your sweet family often. 15weeks!?!! Wow, time flies when you’re the auntie ;). xoxo, EricaReplyCancel

        Sometimes, when my emotions run deep and take over and a smile is as hard to lift as a stack of bricks … when the normallest of activities become hard and the joyfullest of activities taste stale … and when I fight to just not care about a hard reality that may lie ahead, the best I can do is to go into auto-pilot.  To go through the motions, one foot in front of the other, doing what our life of routine calls for.  School, meals, Christmas movies, church activities, the advent countdown, time with friends and family.  We have to be determined to push forward for our children so that their joy still holds all the wonderfully sweet flavor that it rightly should.  Even when we are stifling down more emotions than we know what to do with.

        I have to go through the motions on their time… during the time I spend with my boys… even when everything in me wants to do absolutely nothing at all.  That means playing the Wii or a game of Rummikub if they ask, reading the next chapter of our book, or going for a walk to see a new place they’ve found to adventure ….

        My emotions are begging for the next day and the day after that and a month down the road so I can see what is coming.  I know I’m being vague but that’s part of trying to keep things as normal as possible.  Going through the motions is part of that, too.  Even when there is nothing propelling those motions other than the desire to do right by the kids I have.  So I’ll keep plugging in the Christmas lights, going on walks, reading history and science lessons, mustering up a giggle for the funny thing they said, and watching them flip water bottles to their hearts’ content.  With the added hope that one of these activities, or the sum of them all, will pop this bubble of anxiety I’m in, over what is to come.  Because of course I’d so much rather be filled with the bliss of what already is than filled with the anticipated sorrow of what may be.  At this moment, I can’t shake it, but I know … this too shall pass because eventually the future will be the present and these unknowns that are weighing on my heart and mind will be known.  ♥

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        Volunteering with our boys is quickly growing to be something I seriously enjoy.  I love watching them joyfully serve because there is no question that so much  of childhood is centered around them.  Naturally, that grows a selfish nature and who in their right mind wants to raise selfish kiddos?  I don’t think any one tries to do this, but it is a little hard to avoid these days.    I’m starting to see opportunities now, to involve the boys in serving at our church and our flexibility with our school/life schedule gives us no excuse not to.  They’ve been greeters for a few years so we’re going beyond that a little.  At this young, tender age, we won’t force them into any bit of service.  This has to be seen as a joyful opportunity to them or their view of volunteer work could quickly become tainted, if not ruined.

        Serving at the Molalla River Trail Race that our church organizes was a perfect opportunity.  Over 400 runners came to race along the Hardy Creek Trails, which is an area right by where we play at the River.   The boys loved every rainy, muddy, busy, tiring moment of volunteering at this event and are already asking about next year.  Well, 2 of them are looking forward to serving at it … one is hoping to run in it!  We were all there to help; Matt was the ‘sweeper’ for the second half of the race (meaning he followed after the 1/2 marathoners to sweep the trail and make sure there were no injuries), I was one of the photographers and the boys were ready and up for anything. 

        molallatrailrace-214molallatrailrace-280

        Matt … waiting for the first sweeper to pass by so he could start off on his leg.

        And, off he went.

        There was a bit of down time between runners, so photographing mushrooms and signs of being in the beautiful foothills of Oregon it is….

        molallatrailrace-456

        Toward the end, Gage took over the job of handing out the medals and water to the finishers.  🙂  He was determined to wait at the finish line to see his dad bike across the line.

        It was worth the wait.  😀

        I took over 500 photos and processed about 185 (in only two days thanks to Lightroom!), so rest assured that I did not fail miserably as one of the event photographers by only taking photos of my crew.  😉  I was so nervous about this job since it has been a long time since I’ve photographed for someone else, with their expectations riding on me.  Plus, as I shared on Friday, photography and I are cooling it a bit.  But I had to go outside my comfort zone and just have fun with it.  And I did, rain and all.

        Though I really did want to serve, I knew had to also set the example for our boys that we serve where there is a need, especially when it is something God has given us a gift for.  And in return, He will help.  My nerves faded away as I started to capture the behind the scenes, the volunteers, the preparations, the runners, their joy and even some of their pain.   Serving the Lord takes on many forms, even working at a Trail Race, but it is always good.  And it is especially good when you do so along side your little ones because it’s a seed we need to plant now.  And a passion we get to watch grow!

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        • Bart - This is so great Lacey. I’m glad I saw this post. 🙂ReplyCancel

        • Carol - What a wonderful seed to plant! So encouraging to see that there are parents out there who are setting a great example and children who are following it! God bless you and your family!ReplyCancel

        • Megan - I love this! We try to serve in different areas as we are able. It’s hard to find things that I can being my crew of four (ages 5-10) to help at though. But we are always on the lookout!ReplyCancel

        I was washing the morning’s dishes and the light caught my eye.   The light that comes through the trees just beyond the kitchen window has changed so much over the past few years as two rounds of logging have shallowed the depth of this forest, dramatically increasing the amount of light and changing the dynamic just the same.  It still catches my eye, though, rising through the trees casting huge, long strips of shadow and highlight side by side.  I commented on how gorgeous the light was, took it in with my eyes and lingered at the sink.  Then walked away to change out of my pajamas.  Then came back to the window again to see if the light was still great.  It was.

        I felt the pull to go outside to photograph it, but so much in me said you’ve done it before.  That’s what my mind is telling me about a lot of the photos I’m taking now; been there, shot that.  Already captured, just enjoy it and move on.

        But then the boys saw me looking at the light, at the woods, and they said, “Let’s go out, Mom!  Get your camera!”

        That’s hard to resist. 

        There was a good chunk of time early in my photography journey that I didn’t like this light; harsh and strong, making a ‘proper’ exposure impossible.  I’m just not one for drama or the unexpected.  However, I’m learning that there is even beauty in that and thus, I love this light. 

        This is what he was looking up the hill at; brothers, racing again and again.

        And then, he asked if I was done taking pictures of him and if he could go run, too.  😉

        This running stuff ended with a disagreement between the big two so they went inside, while the littlest stayed out for a bit longer to not make Charlie sad.

        I am glad the light beckoned on this morning and that we answered with a yes.  Actually, that the boys answered with a yes and encouraged me to come along and to bring my camera.  🙂

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        My get-up-and-go-drive to photograph our life has been waning.  Decreasing.  Struggling.  Maybe it is just a season, as I know I’ve talked of this fluctuation before.  It could be because it is winter {almost}.  Or because I’ve not been feeling well.  Or because its been 6 1/2 years and things change.

        I think it is that.  Things change.  They ebb and flow, but they also just change.  I know that I used to rely on photography to help me see the beauty around me and to freeze it forever so that I could someday show my boys this beauty I’ve seen.  In their childhood, their growth, in our family .

        But now, I just see it.  My eyes have been opened through photography and now I see it without my viewfinder.  And, now, the boys seem to see it on their own, too.

        And I suppose gradually I’ve felt like photography has become too much about the past and not enough about the present.  I capture images to preserve the past and in doing so, I keep myself from really being in the present.  Editing keeps me weeks behind life as my queqe is full, while the days are constantly moving forward.  I don’t want to forget the past, of course, but I’m needing to see the present as it is; as the beauty that it is on its own, not just as the potential for a photograph.  I want to capture images that show them their past, BUT my active presence in their day-to-day will shape their future far more than them being able to see photographs of what led them there to that future.

        I’m not quitting.  That would be crazy-talk.  But, I am being okay with not being as deeply devoted to being a photographer.  I’m more than okay with my identity in that dwindling a bit.  I’m okay with not posting on Facebook regularly, if ever again.  I’m not going to freak out about climbing my way out of this ‘rut’ and I’m okay with not calling it a ‘rut’ at all.  I think it is settling into life with photography in its proper place.

        But, in this new found place, I’m doing 2 things to simplify and maybe make the few photos I do take a bit more meaningful:

        1. Trying to edit just in Lightroom … I’m a creature of habit so this has not been an easy transition for me!
        2. Asking my boys, “What do you want me to photograph?”  … it feels pretty cool to be at the point that I can ask them that and know that I’ll get sincere answers.

        I asked Gage and he gave me a few ideas; climbing trees, building forts, throwing the football and hitting the ball with the bat.  And, him with the cats.  We all have a deep affection for them and loosing our little girl kitty late this summer was a good reminder to savor this time with them.

        While he savors his kitties, I’ll savor the times that I do feel the pull toward taking a photograph.  Savor, but not stress over those I’m capturing and those I’m not.

        Now… you know what always happens to me when I make statements like this?  The opposite happens.  I’ve been feeling this post building for a while now, so I’m sharing … but I will not be one bit surprised if just around the corner inspiration strikes and my camera stops collecting dust.  😉  If not though, I’m good with where I’m at.  And I’ll feel okay if the ebb is more than the flow.

        Thank you for reading … I appreciate the minutes you spend with me here more than you know.  Like I said, I’m not quitting … I’ll still be here.  Who knows what’s in store? 🙂

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        • Carol - Oh I hope you take breaks now and then but Please, Please don’t ever stop!!!!ReplyCancel

        • Megan - I absolutely understand this! I’ve felt like this before too!ReplyCancel

        • DJ - I just found your web site today while searching the internet, so haven’t yet seen enough to know you well. Take this for what it’s worth – photographING is only about the present, I think, not the past. It’s just in chronological order. For most of us, taking pictures is what we call photography. Obviously, you demonstrate a much more vast definition of the word, a true art.

          I spend much more time on the internet than I really want to, or should do, in order to find photographs usable for medical articles; and most of it, well let’s be honest, is pretty base and low-quality. Once in awhile, even if by accident, you see something uplifting and worthwhile. You don’t need to take my word for it, “Google” topics for yourself and compare honestly.

          I’m glad you put in the effort to do what you have done; and, I’ll repeat to you what was once said to me when I let someone know I wouldn’t be able to help with a diabetic camp for kids one year. “I just want you to know that I, for one, will miss you sorely. It will be as if there are no frogs in the swamp, no thimbleberries ripening on the mountainside or no stars laughing overhead at midnight.”

          With all its faults, the internet surely makes the world a smaller place.ReplyCancel

        • Alicia - Thank you for sharing this. I have been having a hard time editing and printing my photos because of the amount of time it takes me. So I decided to take the photo and hopefully in the new year I will be better at getting them into print, but if not I am okay with that….I am okay with photography looking different during different seasons for me. Right now it is my journal b/c I don’t get to do that much right now with two littles…I like that it can change and be flexible and not have to look the same in every season. I like that it opens us up to noticing things and fully engaging in life. 🙂ReplyCancel