I was born and raised in Iowa.
Right outside of Des Moines. The first half of my childhood was spent in Windsor Heights and the second half in Urbandale. I loved each home equally, but for different reasons. My parents and brother still reside in the metro, and I can count on a bout of homesickness at least once or twice a year despite the fact that I’ve been gone since 2003. Goodbyes still lead to tears. Try as I might, I’ve never quite figured out how to hide that heart on my sleeve. I’m cautiously optimistic that this will become a non-issue once I hit my 80’s. Maybe.
I’m more comfortable on a horse than a bike.
It’s true. I grew up riding and showing American Saddlebreds. They’re gorgeous creatures. The commitment taught me a huge amount of responsibility and hard work from a young age. I’m still in contact with my trainers and love to visit the stable when I’m in town. My very first horse was named Dutch, and he was an absolute sweetheart (except for the occasions when I forgot his apples or carrots).
My background is in psychology, human relations, and project management.
As the daughter of two psychologists, I decided to carry on the tradition once I went to college. My favorite course was Child Psychopathology on Thursday nights. Not only was the content fascinating, my professor was a rockstar. I also worked as a research assistant, studying and microcoding newlywed couples. I decided to pick up a camera after having kids and realizing that my magic wand didn’t have the ability to freeze time.
Family is EVERYTHING to me.
I live in the Chicago suburb of Buffalo Grove with my husband of 15 years, Matthew. We’ve been blessed with two children, Ashlyn and Caelan, who are constant reminders that each day we’re given is a gift (and that it’s all going way too fast). Most of the time I feel like I’m playing house with my best friend, and often wonder when I’ll turn into an actual grown up. We laugh A LOT, have dance parties in our kitchen (or any place where room allows), play overly complicated board games that I can’t follow, give countless hugs and kisses, and try not to take ourselves very seriously.
I survived hyperemesis. Twice.
The rare disease that most people don’t know about. I didn’t either until I was diagnosed the first time. Months of agony, multiple hospitalizations and IVs, a freakishly scary ambulance ride with Cael, and a total of 50 pounds lost. Throw on top some cardiac and circulation issues (because why not), and it’s pretty clear that my body was not built for pregnancy. Despite all this, our babies came into the world perfectly healthy and thriving. You’d be surprised how strong you are when you have be. Oh, and by the way… the kiddos owe me. BIG TIME.
I’ve sustained some weird injuries as an adult.
Including (but not limited to): breaking my right foot in 7 different places at the same time (seems like that deserves some type of prize), tearing a pectoral muscle, tearing my meniscus, being electrocuted at the gas pump (not my fault), and having our incredibly sweet and harmless lab accidentally crash into me at full speed while trying to retrieve a ball (which resulted in a broken leg for yours truly). Pass the bubble wrap, please.
Minimalism is fabulous.
A few years ago I started down the path of becoming a minimalist. It was a bit of a rocky beginning, given that I’m an extremely sentimental person. I certainly don’t take it to the extreme as some do, but quality of life and appreciation for what we have has significantly increased. Plus, the house is a lot easier to clean. What first started out as a bit overwhelming has now become liberating and empowering. If you’re open to the lifestyle, I highly recommend it. As Matt once wrote on a moving box, “Why do we have so many vases? This ain’t 1-800-FLOWERS.” Touché, my dear.
It is a privilege and an honor to document your normal.
I say (or type) this with all sincerity. Of course the milestones are important, but what matters the most is your family’s day-to-day. The expected. The typical. The whatever you want to call it. It’s beautiful because it’s 100% indisputably you. Those are the stories of life that fall at the top of the priority list. They are the core of who you and your family are. Trust me when I say that all of you are leaving a legacy (you may just not know it, yet).