Tonight I laid you down to sleep like so many nights before;

But it felt a little different…because tomorrow you’ll be 4.


The days are long, just they said, but the years leave me wanting more;

Every day you’re changing, and it rocks me to my core.


You love to dance you love to read and you’re always up to explore;

Your smile, your laugh, your spirit – are just a few things I adore.


I’ll blink my eyes and your bags will be packed sitting by the door;

I know I’ll stand in disbelief thinking, wasn’t she just 4?


I don’t know what lies ahead for you or what God has in store;

But whatever it is, I’ll be right here like all the years before.


So rest your head and close your eyes and let those big dreams soar;

This year will be so magical – baby girl, you’re turning 4!

Love you to pieces.

To my strong-willed daughter…

Tonight, we had a tough night. Like, a mama locked herself in the bedroom for a grown-up timeout kind of tough. Tonight, you broke me. But after I got you to bed and began to pick-up the scattered pieces of our house and my heart left in the aftermath, I saw this paper you had brought home from school…

Immediately, it brought me back to you. And in that moment, I desperately wanted you to know…I see you. Yes, baby girl…you. I see you, and I love you to pieces.

Through the stomping and the screaming, I see you. I see that you don’t like what I’ve done or said or asked of you, and you’re making your opinion known. I see that you clearly know what you want, and in your own way, you’re standing up for it. I see that you are willing to fight for yourself, no matter the consequence. And deep down, I know this is a trait that will serve you well someday. Today is just not that day. But I see you baby girl…and I love you to pieces.

Through the tantrums and tears, I see you. I see you dealing with great big emotions that are difficult to process and impossible to contain. I see that you are feeling overwhelmed, unheard and misunderstood. I see that you’re seeking not only attention, but affirmation. Affirmation of who you are and what you are feeling. Yes, I see you baby girl…and I love you to pieces.

Through your stubborn head and sensitive heart, I see you. I see that while your brain tells you to never back down, your heart tells you the consequences will hurt. I see that those parts of you are in constant conflict. I know that you equally dislike letting me win and letting me down. And sometimes, the biggest battle you fight is with yourself. Please know I see you baby girl, and I love you to pieces.

I see that through your veil of defiance, you desperately want my approval. You push me away, but never let me get out of reach.

I know that you’re pushing your boundaries. Testing my limits. Seeing if I will follow through. And even when it’s hard baby, I promise you I will…even when giving in would be easier.

Because you are worth the hard. You are worth the fight. You. Are. Worth. It.

I know that these pieces of you that are so incredibly difficult right now, if channeled correctly, will be unbelievably beautiful as you learn how to use them for good.

I know that being your mother will. not. be. easy. But it will be the most incredible, rewarding, worthy thing I’ve ever been called to do. And even when you think I don’t see you…that I don’t understand who you are…I promise you baby girl, I do. I see you, because when I look at you…I see so much of me. So even when it breaks me, I will love you to pieces.

Love you most,

Your Mama

Dear Lexi Rae…

Oh, sweet girl. There is so much I want to say to you…

I’m not quite sure where the last 39 weeks have gone. It’s hard to believe that in the next week(ish) we will be bringing home your baby sister. Although she is already a part of our family, her physical presence will bring a whole new meaning to our lives.

When we found out right before Christmas that we’d be adding to our family, I thought we had all the time in the world…for just…everything. I should have known better.

Photo by the incredibly talented Autumn Shoemaker of we chase the light.

Time has a way of doing that – slipping right through our hands. I can honestly say, of all the emotions I WAS prepared for this pregnancy, the way I’m feeling about the impending changes to my relationship with you have totally caught me off guard. In so many ways, I’m just not ready.

A few weeks ago, I posted this:

Honestly, I have continued to fight these feelings of anxiety, guilt and fear with each passing day.  One night this week, it completely overwhelmed me. I laid on the couch, absolutely exhausted, needing just a few minutes to myself. But as I listened to you and your daddy playing outside, my heart was breaking – torn between my physical and mental need for a break and my primal desire to not waste one second of time with you.

These emotions are uncharted territory for your mama’s heart. I have trudged slowly but steadily through the grief of seeing you separated from Emmy, and somewhat learned how to handle those complex feelings. But this – I am still learning. So as we move into this new space as a family, I want you to know a few things…

I want you to know that I love you. Like, to the depths of my soul and deepest corners of my heart kind of love. It’s a love you will not understand until you become a mother. And then, it will suddenly all make sense.

I want you to know that things are going to change. A lot. And parts of that change will be so, so hard – for both of us. But it will also be beautiful and exciting, and while we will remember parts of our lives before this baby, we will never want to go back.

I want you to know that I will mess up. In so many ways as a mama, I will fall short – for both you and your sister. I will give in when I shouldn’t because it’s easier than the alternative. I will lose my temper with you because the exhaustion will have ahold of my brain. And I will fail to show up in ways I know I should because at times, there will just not be enough of me to go around. But I promise you this, sweet girl – I will do my very best. Every day I will wake up and love you and your sisters and your daddy with everything I have. Just know that some days, it might feel like it wasn’t enough.

Finally, I want you to know that your sisters will be among your greatest blessings. I am deeply sorry you have to navigate your life without Emmy by your side – that your heart will forever know the ache of that missing piece. But just because she is not here physically does not mean she is not with you – now and always. As for the baby sister you’re about to meet, you can bet she will drive you absolutely crazy. She will take your toys and someday your clothes and on many days your sanity. But, when it really counts – in life’s best and worst moments – the two of you all three of you will have each other. 

I am so proud and grateful and humbled that God chose me to be you mama. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would have the three most incredible daughters. But HIS plans for me were are so much better than my own.

Love you most sweet girl,

Your Mama


Today was one of those days. A hashtag worthy day. Truly, it will go down in my mommy memory bank as one of the #bestdaysever.

My heart felt light (albeit slightly sad, in a very resonant way), our family felt in sync, and we stepped away from all of the life junk to celebrate our beautiful little girl’s 3rd year on earth. And when I say beautiful, I don’t speak of her physical attributes (although according to statistics…she won the genetic lottery). What I mean is her bold spirit, her courageous heart and her kind soul. She is truly a beautiful little human. And today, my heart almost couldn’t handle the fact that God made me her mama.

We don’t really “spoil” on birthdays, holidays or special occasions. We lean more toward practical gifts than extravagant ones, and appreciate that a bag of suckers will get our girl just as excited as an expensive toy. But today…on her last birthday as the only child under our roof…we made it all about her.

We hit the mall to look at the fountains and ride the carousel.

Right now it’s the closest thing she has to a horse, so she’ll take it!

Yes, she tried to jump in. Yes, her daddy stopped her.

We stopped at our favorite donut shop in the world (sorry, Chicago) where we sang, colored and let her play the piano.

This is a major life decision when you’re three…

When she woke up this morning, she asked where her cake was. When she figured out we were going out for donuts instead, this is the grin we got.

Dominating her Blueberry Opal!

We let her pick out another tree for Emmy’s Place because she declared this spring that she wanted her sister to have a tree that bloomed purple (we will plant it tomorrow).

She picked the Oklahoma Redbud. Can’t wait to see it bloom next spring!!

All three of my girls. One in heaven, one in my arms and one on the way!

She got to eat all she wanted at the Pizza Hut buffet for lunch.

You would think we hadn’t had donuts just an hour before…

And then devoured all of the watermelon she could handle on the back porch after nap (if you know her Uncle Dale at all, you know this particular trait proves that she’s a Hummel).

We’re still working on our snack manners…like, we don’t put our fork on our feet.

Her Uncle Dale would be so proud.

And we ended the day with one of our very favorite things…a walk on the dirt road. And I don’t mean a 5 minute summer stroll. When we go out on the dirt road…we mean it. I don’t know the distance we go, but we are usually out close to an hour. Wondering, picking flowers, playing in the dirt and watching the dogs swim in the pond.

Her daddy said, “I hope she walks the dirt road like this her whole life.” All the feels.

“I’m digging up rocks. Aunt Susie taught me to do this.”

Hitching a ride. Didn’t last long.

I did not want this day to end. Honestly, I don’t want this season to end. But I know it will, and I know I will love the next season just as much and for just as many reasons. But right now, tonight…I want to freeze these moments and live in them just a little bit longer.

Love you most, Lexi Rae. Happy 3rd birthday!




Dear Lexi Rae…

I’m not sure how this is possible, but today you turned two. T-W-O. I need a minute to just let that number just settle into my heart.

We celebrated you so. hard. Weekend highlights included…

Having a bacon, fruit and cupcake brunch…

Eating more cupcakes…

Watching you play in your new kitchen…

Spending time with sissy…

Helping daddy load pigs (in your sparkly birthday skirt and boots, duh)…

Swinging at Papa’s cabin…

Giving mama LOTS of kisses. Because TWO…

Hanging with your besties…

And Nana and Papa. Enough said…

I could say any number of cliché things here about how you are growing up too quickly and I just wish time would slow down. But honestly, I am so enamored by the tiny human you are becoming that I’m not sure I truly believe any of those things.

All I honestly want to do is live these moments with you knowing I will never get them back.

You. Are. Two.

Let’s rock this next year, baby girl!!


Your Mama