their wedding + my advice


Page 1 Can I please bombard you with pictures?

I've poured over hundreds of photos all week as I've edited them.  And I'd rather just share these family moments from last weekend through my photos rather than text.  It is a bitter sweet experience being your brother's wedding photographer.  It is sweet to be alongside him and his bride for all of the emotions of their big day and witnessing so much love.

And it's bitter knowing that they are now hundreds of miles away in Mississippi.  That for one day I beheld something divine and another, they are far away from me.

But oh, what an amazing start to a new life together, just the two of them...




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To you, Travis and Meghan,

Marriage is absolutely divine.  It will make you more loving, kind, gentle, and lovable.  It can be one of the greatest sources of your happiness in this life.  Take care of each other.  Raise children together.  Treasure all of the moments you will experience together.

And most of all, trust in each other with all your heart.


(P.S. I can't wait to see how beautiful your children will be! ;))


the sleepy time gal












meghan + travis






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Witnessing and photographing the last of my siblings to get married this weekend was amazing.

I don't even know where to begin...

The rainy weather created much anxiety for me and the bride and groom leading up to the wedding day and precise moment of the wedding.  And, what do you know, my prayers were answered in that there were pockets of overcast skies that allowed us to shoot without the rain.  The mist made for a dreamy day of photography, exactly what my little brother would have wanted to create an old-fashioned appeal to the day's photography.


So many little miracles and so much love and sacrifice put into the beautiful day by many people.  I absolutely loved being a part of it.  I loved capturing--through my camera--the incredible wedding cake my sister-in-law made.  The linen napkins my sister sewed.  The food and details that Meghan's family put hours into making.  And the extended family and friends that came from out-of-state to support and witness this grand moment.


I'm excited to share more special moments of the day tomorrow...


the sleepy time gal



a family day


IMG_3730 Thank you for all the well wishes for our special weekend of Johanna's baptism.  It was a wonderful, beautiful baptism.  I sure love that girl, her quiet nature and inquisitive mind.


{Helping Johanna fill out her awesome Baptism Day Memory Book that her Grandma gave her.}


{Glad my mom got a few photos of our family--sun in our eyes + a lion for a son, so it seems!}

Today I'm enjoying our "family omelettes" after working out, cleaning the basement (I have help today!), and looking forward to a church Labor Day picnic.  It's going to be a nice day.

Hope you have a wonderful day today!

the sleepy time gal

right now...





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Right now we're...


  • enjoying giving extra attention to our Johanna with her special day around the corner
  • making new job charts for the girls to maintain the dishwasher + help regularly in the kitchen
  • remembering to use the slow cooker at least once a week--sometimes using it for a hot breakfast
  • baking the awesome ultimate keto buns weekly (the whole household loves these slathered in butter or with burgers or grilled chicken dinner sandwiches) and [amazon_link id="0984755195" target="_blank" ]Primal Cravings Cookbook[/amazon_link] Chocolate Coconut Scout Cookies--but sweetened with stevia + blackstrap molasses--yum!
  • slowly carving a new routine to our "homeschooling" day, like the official reinstitution of "reading time" on the couch in the afternoon--some sit as close as they can to me to see pictures, others make dolls on the floor and just listen
  • patiently waiting for inspiration for Plan B of potty training a boy (those darn pull-ups + underwear are so hard for him to pull down when he needs to!)
  • reading [amazon_link id="0399535667" target="_blank" ]The Gift of Dyslexia[/amazon_link], learning more about the "gift" and understanding so much about why my sweet girl has always creatively done everything different--in coping and understanding her world--from her sisters

Have a wonderful day, friends, and weekend.  I'm looking forward to a simple and special baptism weekend with family + friends.  And I'm hoping for a date night out before the shift in focus towards a family wedding.

Go out + live boldly!

the sleepy time gal

strengthen your home



 When it comes to developing character strength, inner security and unique personal and interpersonal talents and skills in a child, no institution can or ever will compare with, or effectively substitute for, the home's potential for positive influence.

Stephen Covey

I hope you were inspired by yesterday's post of 5 Ways to Inspire the Love of Learning in your children.   Our state of our homes are so important for us and our families.  No matter the chaos, insecurities, and vulnerability of being out in the world from day to day, the home is, and will always be, our haven and safety.

When your child returns from school, a trip, or any other time away, their very own home should be the place they can let down their guard and be their true selves.  They should feel loved and not judged--secure in who they are.

So here are a few personal questions about your HOME:

  1. What is one word you would use to describe your home/home life right now?
  2. What are two things that are working well in your home right now (i.e. order, kindness to each other, family dinnertime, etc.)?
  3. What are two things not working in your home right now (i.e. contention among siblings, rushing, no family time together during the day, etc.)?


Take a few minutes and jot down some ideas of how you can focus one week on improving those weaknesses.  Bring up the two weaknesses at breakfast/dinner when the family is together.  Ask for suggestions.  Involve the family.  Include every member of the family in resolving the concern with real ACTION.  Soon, little by little, day by day, you will see progress as everyone consciously works toward a goal together.  And those particular weaknesses can eventually become strengths.  There is such a powerful force among families that when members work together great things can take place.


Take the challenge and strengthen your home.  Make it a place where confidence, love, and goodness grow through constant effort.


the sleepy time gal

the bridal shower...


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{My Ole Miss little brother and his dear Meghan.}


 {My Granny's pound cake recipe that I turned gluten free.  Made 30 of these cute loaves for the party favors.}


 {Some southern family recipes graced the table: our Granny's cream cheese mints + chipped beef cheese ball that my sister made.  Aren't the mints beautiful?  They go fast when family is in town.}


{A flare of paper flowers.  I tried a few versions of these pom pom flowers.  I definitely prefer this tutorial because it makes fuller flowers.  Biggest complaint: the big flowers fall easily.}


 {Team work with the "matrimonial" game that my mother-in-law, the game queen, created.}

IMG_3314 {Flowers, flowers, and more flowers.  I used Meghan's wedding invitation for my direction in choosing colors for the flowers.} IMG_3287


{My twins picked wild flowers from the nearby meadow before the shower to go into little vases for tiny corners of the house and, yes, the bathroom.}


 {My older girls and their older cousins were invited to be a part of the special shower.  Their first shower!  They loved experiencing every part of it!}


{My baker sister-in-law's mini dessert cups.  I loved throwing this shower alongside my mother and sisters.}


 {And it wouldn't be a southern Dirle bridal shower (although held in the north) without the traditional bow bouquet hat-- made to be worn during the rehearsal dinner by the bride.  And Meghan learned right away that for every ribbon broken while opening gifts meant that many kids to grace their family. ;) ) 


I loved having aunts come up to join us for the day.  Sisters working hard in the kitchen to prepare special foods.  Seeing many handmade gifts opened by the couple from both sides of their families.  And having my home overflowing with many people that love Travis and Meghan.

Such a good day.  And the remnants of hanging flowers remain on my walls for a bit longer just to keep the magic in our home longer.


the sleepy time gal



IMG_3135 Tomorrow's the day.


Yes, I've thrown many a showers and gatherings in my home but tomorrow is different.  It's the last bridal shower for anyone on my side of the family.  The last sibling is to be married and these are special times.

Thus, the month-long house overhaul (which I am now so glad to have used tomorrow as a deadline).   Scuff marks and jelly stain no longer bring character to the walls of this house but crisp white paint.  And the unmentionable dinnertime stains all on the dining room carpet (who puts carpet in dining rooms??) has been very aggressively washed out.  The feelings that I never want us to eat in that room again will fade, I'm hoping. ;)


IMG_3141 Many things are in order for our new and improved "tidied house"--at least on this main level--that now only holds a 1/3 of the "stuff" it used to.  And many things are to be completed today and tomorrow.

Paintings to hang.

More paper flowers to make.

A special family recipe to make.

The art room.  Always the art room.

And on and on actually.  (This is always the scary/exciting part of celebration preparation: the ever encroaching deadline.)


With my carefully prepared to-do list for this Friday I have some exciting tasks for each of the girls so they can be involved in the preparations. (My two oldest will be at the shower which is pretty exciting for them!)

The girls get to help weed, clean off fingerprints from the front and back doors (truly something I never think to do!), help wrap our party favors, make a lime water ice ring, and get cobwebs.


These are fun times for sure.  Nothing is better than family and family celebrations are best!


Have an awesome weekend friends.

the sleepy time gal

summer books



 "Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.” 

Emilie Buchwald

When the heat and afternoon slows everyone down, we usually end up on the couch.  I want the break (from tidying/painting/etc.) and the kids all want a quiet time break from playing and creating.

Here are a few of our most recent book loves you've got to check out:

[amazon_image id="076365809X" link="true" target="_blank" size="medium" ]Twenty Big Trucks in the Middle of the Street[/amazon_image]

 One of the greatest truck books out there--and they have a large size boardbook version of it now.

[amazon_image id="0671667459" link="true" target="_blank" size="medium" ]Watch Out for the Chicken Feet in Your Soup[/amazon_image]

 We LOVE this author and this book in particular.  And you have to read the Grandma's lines with a thick Italian accent.

[amazon_image id="0694006513" link="true" target="_blank" size="medium" ]Jamberry[/amazon_image]

A summer favorite.  I donated the small board book version because it was well, too small.  And so we've been enjoying the nice size hardback version from the library.

[amazon_image id="0803734166" link="true" target="_blank" size="medium" ]Ladybug Girl at the Beach[/amazon_image]

[amazon_image id="B00E40Z6OW" link="true" target="_blank" size="medium" ]3-D Explorer Oceans A Journey From The Surface To The Seafloor (3D Explorer) 3-D Explorer Oceans[/amazon_image]

Reading these two ocean related books (both we own) reminds us of all the wonder--and fun--of the beach.  It's been particularly special to read these again and again this summer since we aren't making the trek to the Outer Banks this year.

The 3D Oceans book is one of the best book about oceans out there for children.  All of my children pour over this book and want me to read about every specific part of sea life within its pages over and over again.  It is very well made and stands up to lots of use.

 What books are leaving an imprint on this summer of yours?  Please share--I'd love your inspiration!

the sleepy time gal