Maya Laurent Photography
simple is beautiful
March Reading Lately

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1. Allegiant: The final book of the Divergent series wasn’t my favorite. Some of the concepts in the third book had me re-reading a section just to make sure I didn’t miss something key to the storyline. Without ruining the ending for those who haven’t read it, I’ll just say I was not at all happy how it ended! However, after finishing the book I listened to an interview with the author and agreed with her justification on how she ended the book.

2. Raising Happiness: I realize you can only read so many parenting books before you feel overwhelmed and totally confused. I take it all in and usually can find some good little nuggets out of parenting books, realizing taking every word into implementation is not my goal. This was a good parenting book to understand some ways we can raise “happy” children. I grabbed some useful advice and immediately implemented one nugget in how we end our days now with each of us saying three things we’re thankful at bedtime before prayers. It’s been fun to add into our routine and to take a step back and be happy for the things of the day.

3. Songs without Words: I struggled through this book a bit. The character development didn’t pull me in and when dealing with the issue of suicide, I felt a disconnect of how it was handled. The emotions could have been communicated in a different way and I might have enjoyed it more or at least drawn into the characters.

4. Once was Lost: This is a good read for high school girls, especially those who struggle with accepting some of their faith. The main character is a pastor’s daughter and goes up against her beliefs as a girl is kidnapped from her small town. I wanted a little more “meat” to the writing but overall it was a good read.

5. Your Girl: Raising a Godly Daughter in an UnGodly World: Since we’re about to have a girl enter our family I thought I’d start reading up on some raising girls material. This book was passed onto me by a mom of a college girl who said she resourced it a lot as she grew up. I have to say, it was a wonderful read in which I took a ton of notes. It not only will help as we raise our daughter, but I think it will come into play as I mentor and interact with high school girls too.

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I have to admit I somehow completely didn’t get a photo of Zane on week 14. Oops!

Week 14: Jude helping me clean at home. He is our little helper and I love how he wants to serve others…even if it’s not always so helpful right now.

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My smiley faced boy playing in our room.

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Jude has been passing out all over the place as he attempts to give up nap time. I was extremely jealous of him sleeping on our comfy bed!

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Magic

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And if you were to ask me
After all that we’ve been through
Still believe in magic
Oh yes I do
Oh yes I do
Yes I do
Oh yes I do
Of course I do 

-ColdPlay

I sat in our bedroom, reading in my chair as Pat fell asleep. I was reading a book with a romance intertwined within the action of the story. As I read about the first kiss, the intensity, sincerity and passion (and it wasn’t even that detailed!), I felt myself craving that first kiss again. Not the first kiss I ever had, I mean the first kiss with the man I married. At the time of the first kiss I had a pretty good sense I really liked this guy as I’d never liked anyone before…meaning I was falling quickly in love.

You remember certain moments of your life “like they were yesterday” and other memories fade and you can’t recall all of the details. But when it comes to my first kiss with Pat, I can remember everything from the song playing in the background to the Pacers game that was on the TV. I can picture it all and recall my exact emotions. Years go by, kids enter your lives and suddenly that feeling starts to feel a bit further away. Almost twelve years of marriage, and four years of dating before, puts a lot of space between the excitement of the first kiss and current reality. Our current situation involves taking a moment to kiss with a child pulling at one of us or asking for a kiss too.

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When you first start dating and in the first year of marriage, it all can seem like magic. Each kiss, each embrace, each hand held. How do we maintain the magic when the stresses of adulthood jumps in at each moment and the kids are screaming from the other room that they need help in the bathroom? Nothing kills a small moment with your husband like a child yelling, “Come see my poop!”

I can say my love for my husband has grown more passionately and deeply than I could ever imagine. Yes, it sounds so cliche, but as I have seen him struggle, deal with our kids and watch his love pour out to others, I have fallen more in love with him.

I’ve talked to others who have been married for awhile and have sometimes heard the phrases “I just wish it could be like…” (fill in the blank here, whether it’s a movie or book romance). It makes me cringe inside because those aren’t true stories, they aren’t real life. Real life marriage is messy, sticky and hard freakin work. Throw kids into the mix and you’ve added a whole other level of decisions and things that can come between the two of you if you allow them to. I can see how in the midst of all this, some look to other romances and want that back. I think they really want that magic feeling back of the first kiss, the random flower gifts or the simple picnics. It’s all still possible…it just takes more work now. If I put myself in the right mindset, look at my husband with admiring eyes and see his true, caring character, I feel all those things again. You have to choose to wake up each morning and pursue a person…even if they are someone you see everyday.

After reading my book, I climbed into bed next to my sleeping husband and scooted in as close as I possibly could (it’s difficult to get too close while pregnant). I wrapped my arms around him and reminded myself that even if I’m not 18 anymore, kissing him for the first time with butterflies in my stomach, he is way more than that first kiss. There is magic still there between us and I will fight to keep it there in the midst of all the world throws at us.

*Photos by Carpenter Photography & Design

Baby Girl

Baby Girl,

Here we are 28 weeks into the pregnancy and it just hit me how you will be here so soon. So many things have been different with your pregnancy that the time has glided right on by and I haven’t kept track so well on what stage we are in the process. Someone asked me how many weeks I was the other day and I literally could not think of how many weeks we were at, so I had to look it up on an app on my phone. How bad is that? Let me be clear, that it’s not that I don’t care or lack excitement, it’s just we’ve had so much going on and I know I have to be patient to meet you, so this time around I’ve tried not to be focused on what week it is or how many days are left.

Finding out that you are a girl was a shock! I had the ultra sound tech review it several times to make sure because I’ve just always expected to have all boys. Both your grandmas were beyond thrilled hearing the news and your Daddy was already talking about how he has to give a toast at your wedding and oh my gosh, we have to pay for a wedding! You aren’t even here yet and Daddy is thinking that way! For me, it took me more time to let it sink in that I’m having a girl. Not because I wasn’t excited…more because I was expecting to be told it was a boy. I had to process what it felt like to know that you were a girl. To feel what I desired for you and wanted to be praying for you already. Not that it’s drastically different than your brothers but being a girl, growing into a woman, takes some different gumption and loveliness that is a bit different.

As Daddy freaks out about weddings, the price of prom dresses and boys already, I’m thinking about making sure we’re teaching you what it means to be a strong girl, with a positive attitude about herself. I’m worrying about how your look at yourself in the mirror and how the friendships you make, those you keep or those you don’t, will shape you. I’m praying for you to understand what it means to be beautiful to God and to view yourself with his loving eyes. I want you to look to Daddy and I and see how a loving relationship can look and strive to not settle because you feel you need a boy/man. I know we’re not perfect and I hope we teach you that above all. Because really, perfection is no fun!

I picture you with Daddy all snuggled up in his arms, because let me tell you something…this Daddy of yours will be such an amazing father to you and will love you beyond the moon. He already tells me you have him wrapped around your finger and have his heart. Be ready for an outpouring of love from a man who will teach you so much. I’m looking forward to those quiet moments in the beginning, sitting with you, feeding you, studying every detail of you. And as you grow, I want to make sure to pay close attention to all the details still, so I can encourage you and love on you just the way you need it at that time.

Your brothers will protect you so well and they love to talk to you already. You seem to love them too as when they are around making crazy noises, you start moving like crazy. Welcome to our family precious little girl. We are all thrilled to meet you.

Love,

Momma & Daddy

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Warm weather (or at least warmer weather) has arrived! It is so nice to have the boys outside, getting all muddy and exploring again. Fresh air does wonderful things for little boys, like helping them fall fast asleep!

Poor Jude has had a rough week. He’s fighting all authority and just melts when he can’t get his way. So what’s a mom to do? Grab the camera to capture it all which makes him really mad!

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I love that my parents have land the boys can run on and explore. My brothers and I used to find crawdads all the time in this creek and I am determined to find one with the boys. No luck yet (just a lot of the holes) but we’ll keep looking and getting muddy.

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