for moms who are more.


monday: hood life, welcome back.

i hear that mase song, welcome back, playing in my head today.

welcome back to what?

home. o joyous home life. the familiar aroma of your own house. time to decorate for christmas and get our family ready for this holiday season. welcome back to familiarity and the daily grind.

home. an incredibly dirty house that needs a days worth of cleaning. a work to do list that is 10 miles long. 2 parties to plan. 2 weddings to plan for. a trip to tallahassee to plan for this weekend. budgeting to do. bills to pay. and christmas shopping to do.

to say i came home incredibly stressed out is an understatement. today, im clinging to this verse for DEAR STINKING LIFE.

Matthew 6:30
“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.  – THE MESSAGE

Life is much simpler in Tennessee, that is for sure. Mostly because my work isnt there. Regardless, this picture ben took yesterday before we left the volunteer state is one i’m using to keep me focused today on what is REALLY important.




thursday: LLP’s, holidays.

ahhhhhh this is truly my favorite time of the year.

my two favorite holidays…thanksgiving, and christmas.

for thanksgiving every year, ben and I take the roadtrip up to Jasper, TN (right outside of Chattanooga) and visit all of bens family. the time is pretty much consumed by hikes, bonfires, lots of cooking, lots of cutting down trees, tractor rides, 4 wheeler adventures, caves and bluehole trips, more cooking, tons of eating and eating some more, maybe a shopping trip, sleeping in, card games, and manheim steamroller gets busted out for early christmas listening.

christmas is spent with my family in deland. truly my favorite memories in life are christmas with my family. 6 siblings, now spouses and grandkids running around everywhere, and my parents holding down the fort…its the best time. The Carpenters, Bing Crosby, The Chipmunks and The Beach Boys all serenade us with christmas tunes, we make bon bons and spend a day putting together a christmas eve buffet, the younger ones open a present on xmas eve, we stuff stockings and make killer apple cider, read the christmas story in the bible on christmas morning, eat apple and rasberry turnovers with orange juice, open presents, then spend the rest of the day going thru lots of stocking candy, putting things together, listening to music, taking naps, and cooking christmas dinner. My dad usually writes us all a special letter that makes us cry, and its truly a day that I look forward to every year. Things have changed since we’ve become older, and all of us brothers and sisters arent all together on the big day anymore but we atleast get to see eachother and enjoy one another.

As i’m a parent now, youd think I have all this together, right? all the traditions I want josiah and darby to have…the moments I want to create and spend with my honey, but every year I struggle and I feel I fall so short of truly making these holidays memorable for my little family.

Plus, somehow every christmas, we tend to be going through some insane financial crisis…figures:)

So this year i’m really really trying to make it count. I busted out the bins today and plan to start decorating the house. Pandora christmas station and the Christmas Music station on the TV have been playing all day. I’ve already bought lots of cans of pumpkin and some gingerbread mixes, and am putting together an adult christmas party. I feel good about all of this, but also a little sad…dont you wish that you could just let your parents do Christmas for you for the rest of your life? But we grow up. We become adults and have our own families. I’m so thankful for the traditions and memories I have from growing up…so thankful for mom and dad instilling in me the importance of family time around the holidays…I have great examples set before me to make the holidays with my OWN family something super special.

What are some of your christmas traditions? comment…i love hearing what other families do for such a special time of the year.

wednesday: pic of the week, united front.


whatever the adventure brings us, whatever happens, whatever good or bad comes to be, we’re together.

As we shot a wedding together in Islamorada last Friday, we stopped and snapped this shot of both of us in our comfy Toms. Jeans and Toms, cameras and sand, wind and sunshine…it was a beautiful wedding and we did it together.

Ben was fired on Monday from his tutoring job. Its quite a long drawn out story that really began quite a long time ago, but the details dont matter. He was basically fired for acting in integrity, looking out for his student, and doing the right thing.

Its been such a crazy few years for ben and I. Moves, Babies, job changes, illness and near death experiences, foreclosures, college and career plans…

And ofcourse, nothing ever goes as we plan it. And we for sure did not plan for ben’s income to be cut out of our budget at a time when we need it most, and when we had just decided to go through Dave Ramsey and get out of debt.

But oddly enough, Ben is at peace about being fired. He knows he did the right thing, and we’ve known for a while that he wanted to move into other areas: back into student ministry, more into kallima photography, something where he could continue to be home with the kiddos a lot. I need the help, and he needs the family time.

Also odd, I’m not freaking out. Yes, it throws a severe monkey wrench into our plans, and Ben is now having to look for work immediately instead of us taking the time to really plan out the future.

Yep, we’d appreciate your prayers. Not just for a job so we can pay the bills:), but for God’s plan to really be evident as its unfolding, and that we’d be privy to what He’s doing in our lives in the in between.

United front. I’m with you babe, and I’m so proud of you.

monday: hood life, before you know it.

I hear that phrase so much as a mom, do you?

“before you know it, she’ll be coming home with boys and wanting to go on dates.”

“before you know it, he wont need your hugs anymore, just your car keys”

“before you know it, they’ll be getting married and having their OWN kids”

When I was younger, teenager and early twenties, I would hear that phrase and just respond with rolled eyes and slight annoyance. “yea yea yea, I know..before I know it this time in my life will be over…”

Now when I hear that phrase, I get the “chillbumps” and my stomach gets a bit knotty.

Today I awoke to the realization that I only had to get up once with Darby in the middle of the night..somewhere around 4:45am. I thought, awesome, I’m going to get so much done today with all that incredible SLEEP I got. I should have asked God for the time instead of thinking I’d automatically get it.

So far today, this is all I’ve accomplished:

had my coffee and oatmeal….at 12 noon.

fed darby about 6 times.

had to put jos in the chair in the corner 4 times.

read a little kiddo bible book with jos for about…5 mins.

set up the pack n play in the corner for time outs.

straightened the kitchen and messed it up again.

fed jos lunch.

put on veggie tales and set jos up in a comfy chair with pillows, a blanky, and some honey nut cheerios.

I know that list looked long but basically all its made up of is taking care of children. Not very glamorous, but it is what it is.

Though I’ve not done any work today or been able to take care of myself at all, i’ve also come to realizations:

before i know it, josiah WILL be too old to sit in my lap and let me read to him…even if he only stays still for 5 mins. that’s 5 minutes that i’ll NEVER get back!

before I know it, darby will look completely different and she’ll lose all those amazing and astounding baby mannerisms..and I’ll be begging Jesus to get them back.

before I know it, believe it or not, i’ll miss the sound of a babies cry or jos’ whining…because my house will one day be quiet and lonely with no kiddos around.

These days I’m really trying to cherish these times, and cherish the very MOMENT that I come to these realizations. Because they are transient…they come and go. I forget to cherish, then I remember…then I forget. It’s so hard to keep the “take it as a blessing” mindset all day, but I really do try and will continue to.

Last realization of my day so far: my elbows and knees are ashy, my feet are rough and scaly, my legs are unshaven, and I STILL have only my left pinky finger painted. If anyone at any time, any husband or relative or bff, is wanting to ever bless me in any way, honestly, pool together and buy me a spa day. I’ve never had one, ever, and this momma NEEDS it. Badly. Ok hinting time is over. And Darby is awake and crying again.

Snap back to reality!

Stay tuned for design Tuesday…the before and after pics of some home organization will be posted, along with some excellent tips from an excellent organizer, Mrs Caroline Parker!

monday: hood life, no life.

you read right.

Newborns = no life. And they mean major frustration when they are completely opposite from your FIRST newborn. Completely opposite as in way more drama.

Oh Darby. Honey. Give yo mamma a break. Take it down a notch. Be kind to your momma. Drama free in the W-P-B. DO NOT save the drama fo yo mama.

This is what goes through my mind every evening…somewhere around 8pm, and up until midnight..or 1am…the time of night every single night that Darby decides to be uber fussy, uber hungry, but refuse to eat, fight me to burp, squirm and fart and arch her whole body and yell and scream and still be uber hungry and refuse to eat…

Ever fed a baby while prepping to do a pushup? I have. Add that to list of things going on my “mom of the decade” award.

Saturday night I literally tried to eat something for 4 hours…tried to paint my toenails for 2, and attempted to finally get some polish on my nails…and this is how far I got.

*photo credit to my wonderful intern, emy.

Yep, one nail painted. You are seeing right. I got to church on Sunday and Burcin says to me, “um, that like, the new style?” (and im sure she was thinking, yea like you can pull THAT off…). Nope, not the new style. Not the latest and greatest in the world of fingernail painting…just how far Darby allowed me to get in my manicure before she demanded to be fed. Stat.

Its like clockwork around here. The moment I sit down to eat, work, edit, or in ANY way take care of myself….im stopped because a child needs me.

Not gonna lie…it is nice to be needed. Its appropriately overwhelming, in a positive way, to know that they couldnt survive without you. But sometimes the milk truck breaks down on the side of the road with a flat tire and needs some TLC of its own. Sometimes the short order cook burns her hand and needs someone ELSE to take care of her.

Hmmm. I guess until the kiddos are older, I’ll be all of the above and more…I’ll get the distinct honor of neglecting myself and my health and my hotness and my TLC…

And when I’m traveling the world and enjoying cruise after cruise and spa day after spa day..I’m sure I’ll miss sitting on the couch for 4 hours every evening attempting to feed my 4 week old. Right?

Right. 🙂


wednesday: pic of the week, separation anxiety.

I always thought you deal with separation anxiety outside of yourself…like, your children have separation anxiety when it comes to leaving YOU.

And though there have been a few times that Jos will get whiney when we leave him, today I realized that its ME that gets the anxiety.

The mom…his parent. I’m the one dealing with it.

I deal with it when I shoot a wedding; heck, when I am gone shooting a simple engagement shoot. When he is in God’s kids at church. When Ben takes him for a ride on the skateboard. When we go to the same place but ride in separate cars.

YES. You read right…We had to take two cars today because Ben had to leave where we were going and head straight to work afterward. And josiah’s car seat was already in Bens car, so he rode with Ben, and Darby rode with me.

I had my camera, like always…and I wasnt sure what todays pic of the week was going to be…and then I saw my little buddy staring at me through daddys window and waving at me…

It was hard to back out of the driveway let alone get this shot.

I wonder what kind of a wreck I’ll be when he starts going to school one day. Or when he leaves for college. Or finds comfort in a wife instead of his mommas arms. When he leaves for good…and then when I get to see him hold HIS little one, God willing, someday. How will I feel?

I’m sure I’ll be a lot more of a wreck then, though its hard to imagine just how tremendous a feeling can be when you’ve never felt it…because though I think that it hurts now, it will be all the more bittersweet, those days…where I will say goodbye to him over and over.

My dear sweet Josiah, I love you with all of my heart.


tuesday: design, an organized life.

FIRST THINGS FIRST! those of you who follow me on twitter @kallimap, add and now follow @imaradmom as well to get updates on all posts! DO IT!


For my entire 27 years I have never once been organized. Not once…my poor mother, she tried so hard.

For most of my life the excuse was my lack of discipline; now its lack of time and money…yes, money! it takes money to be organized.

Right now, I have outlined about $200 bucks worth of stuff from The Container Store and Target that will totally organize me in the areas where I need it. $200! Not cheap.

Below you will see a nice and totally dis-organized collage of bad pictures. Places in my home where I have this space that is not being used wisely…that is essentially wasted…places where bins and containers need to be put, filled with things that BELONG together. In one place. Not in forty different places.

Ive got shelving and clothing units and hall closets and laundry room shelves that hold junk. Things that dont go in that space…garbage sometimes. HELLO! I need a day to go through it all, put it together and into organizers, and then sit down with a glass of wine and congratulate myself on 27 years worth of work.

For now, these are a few items I purchased online from the container store today. Cant wait to put these little but ESSENTIAL things into my home and feel better about life.

Ironing Organizer



Maple Racks

As for the rest of the shelving, I’m going to be cleaning things out and getting rid of items that arent needing in that area. Bins will be used. I might even borrow a label maker from a friend….(ladies, anyone have a label maker you’d like to let me borrow to regain my sanity?)

Also, the orange and cream awesome shelving unit/cabinet you see in my ugly collage above is my newest project. I want to fill its shelves with items I discussed before in my “books and bookshelves” post, but I want all items to be second hand…all thrift. I’ll let you know what the final product looks like.

Any tips from any of you on home and storage organization?? Id love to hear. Tomorrow’s pic of the week will be hot…literally. It might be a later in the day post for time constraint reasons, so keep checking.