Category Archives: Birthday

Happy birthday, my love!

Today my precious husband turns 31 and we plan to celebrate all day long! I’ll probably be sharing on Instagram throughout the day, but first I want to share something that I’ve been thinking about this week.

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A few weeks ago someone asked Christopher and me what the most challenging year of our marriage had been. Christopher responded, “This will sound crazy, but marriage hasn’t been challenging for us. Maybe it’s just our personalities or that we are so easily compatible, but marriage has honestly been easy for us. In fact, marriage has made dealing with the challenging things in life easier. It gives you a person to face the hard things with. Someone who loves you, supports you, and gets what you are going through because they are going through it with you.”

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And he’s really right. I know that the things that come with marriage (living together, making decisions together, sharing finances, etc) aren’t always easy for everyone so I try not to take that part for granted. But what he said about how life is hard, but marriage makes it better is my favorite part. You guys, we have walked through fire over the past few years with the things life has thrown at us. And yet, having each other to lean on for support has been such an awesome blessing.

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I am so grateful that I get to live life with this man. Happy 31st birthday, my love.

Love Rach

Chocolate Eclair Squares (and a video with bloopers)

Today I want to share with you guys the delicious dessert that Christopher made for my birthday. If I remember correctly this recipe originally came from my mom. It’s one that we’ve been making in my family since we found out about my heart condition (see here for more info on my heart and why I limit sugar in my diet) so I can’t remember exactly where we first found this recipe. But it’s delicious!

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Chocolate Eclair Squares {no sugar added}

Ingredients:

24 chocolate graham crackers (we buy the ones with the lowest sugar and then shake off the excess sugar crystals before using them)
2 (3.4 oz) boxes of sugar free white chocolate instant pudding (also delicious with vanilla flavor)
3 cups unsweetened almond milk (or preferred milk)
1 (12 oz) container of sugar free Cool Whip
1 (3.4 oz) box of sugar free chocolate instant pudding
1 1/2 cups almond milk (or preferred milk)

Directions:

1. Place 8 crackers in the bottom of a 13 x 9″ pan.

2. Mix white chocolate pudding and 3 cups almond milk and let set for 2 minutes. Gently fold in Cool Whip. Pour 1/2 on graham crackers then top with another layer of crackers. Pour remaining pudding over crackers. Top with last 8 crackers.

3. Mix the chocolate pudding with 1 1/2 cups almond milk and let set for 2 minutes. Spread over top layer of crackers.

4. Chill 6 hours. We usually just make it the night before.

Chocolate Eclair Squares {No Sugar Added}  (2)
Chocolate Eclair Squares {No Sugar Added}  (3)

Why yes, yes I do eat it straight out of the pan sometimes. No shame in my game. 😉

It has been awhile since I made a chatting-with-the-camera video for the blog so on Sunday I decided it was high time. In this video I briefly confess how many pieces of this chocolate eclair dessert I ate on my birthday and then I go on to show how out of practice I am at making videos. 😉 Enjoy watching me be terrible on camera, haha!

As bad as that freeze frame is, you should see the other two options Youtube gave me. 😉

Are you good at sitting down and talking to a camera on the fly? Obviously I am way out of practice, ha!

Do you have a favorite birthday dessert?

Love Rach

Birthday Recap!

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My birthday week kicked off on the Sunday before my Saturday birthday with a celebration with my parents, grandparents, and one of my sisters. My younger sister lives in Nashville which happens to boast a Maggiano’s which I LOVE. Being the wonderful sister she is, she brought me TWO spaghetti meals to-go from Maggiano’s when she came to visit! I ate spaghetti all week long during my birthday week. It was delightful!

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Friday night (my birthday night eve) Christopher and I made homemade pizza like we always do, but we took time to take a few photos (something we’re always saying we should do, but never remember to). It’s such a small thing, but I love this Friday night tradition so I’m so glad we took the time to take a few photos of us making pizza. 🙂

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Saturday morning aka BIRTHDAY DAY began with a trip to Panera for a blueberry bagel! My fav! Christopher gave me a sweet, handmade card and then surprised me with tickets to Pentatonix! I should also mention, Christopher made me the most delicious dessert and I absolutely ate five servings of it all throughout the day. More on that later this week when I share the recipe. 😉

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From breakfast we headed out to Shelby Farms (a huge urban park in Memphis with lots of trails and lakes and such). We attempted to take a family photo, but Oreo was so distracted by every little thing that all the photos are hilariously terrible. So instead Christopher snapped this one of Oreo and I walking together. 🙂 From there we spent the day browsing through a few stores. We found dried figs at HomeGoods and bought them because we both wanted to try them. Then naturally we made all of our friends try them too, ha! They are a bit of a weird texture and look super ugly, but actually taste like fig newtons. So random, but actually pretty good.

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We met up with friends for dinner and it was such fun! Normally I have a terrible time picking and choosing who to celebrate with because we run in so many different circles of friends and I hate the idea of anyone feeling left out. Hence why last year for my birthday we ended up having nearly 50 people at our house. It was a lot of fun, but a bit chaotic. And since our dog sitter is out of town (she normally keeps Oreo busy in an upstairs room while the party happens so he isn’t underfoot), we decided to go small for my birthday this year and then host a big party in the fall with all our friends.

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So picking and choosing was definitely difficult for me, but I decided on the people who we have found ourselves confiding in the most over the past year. The friends who have prayed for us and loved on us and encouraged us. Plus this particular group I chose to celebrate with… none of them knew each other. 😉 So it was fun introducing our best friends to each other and watching them all get along so well! 🙂

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After dinner we went bowling and had a BLAST! I started out with TWO strikes in a row (that has literally never happened to me before) and then several spares. I’m pretty sure that was birthday luck. 😉 But then my early luck faded and I managed a few gutter balls here and there later in the evening. 😉 We had a blast and I’m so thankful that we had these friends to celebrate my birthday with AND to live life with. I went to bed (late) that night feeling wrapped up in love and blessings. 🙂

Twenty Nine, I’m excited to see what you bring me! 🙂

Love Rach

Birthday Week!

It’s my birthday week! This Saturday, on July 30th, I’ll be 29-years-old. Twenty nine, you guys. Closing in on thirty. And yet I find that I don’t mind aging. I love the confidence, growth, and wisdom that has come with each year. I love looking back on life and seeing how far I’ve come in so many different ways. Life has had it’s hard moments for sure, but all in all, it has been very sweet to me. It helps that I have the best guy ever to live life with (it’s my birthday week so all of you other happily married ladies can’t argue with me just this once, haha)!

Disclaimer: the photo you are about to view below is kind of risque. Okay, not really. But for us it is. Especially to share on the internet. But we took it last week and I love the sweetness of it so I’m sharing it here today. 🙂

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I was 17 when we started dating. How is it that I blinked and suddenly I’m 29. I’m afraid I’ll blink again and be 60 with a lap full of grandchildren. What an amazing life this is with this precious man. It’s true what they say: time flies when you’re having fun. 🙂

Love Rach

Four precious, wonderful years

Yesterday my little Mallory turned 4.

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How is she so big already?! I’m pretty sure it was just yesterday that she was this size:

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And then I blinked and four years flew by.

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Oh Mallory, you sweet, hilarious little girl. May your life always be filled with so much love and laughter.

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May you keep your sense of humor and pair it with kindness and humility. May your tender heart be protected from the cruelty of the world as long as possible and when the day comes that life hurts – may you remember that you are always surrounded by people who love you. And sweet Mallory, as you grow up, may you always seek after the heart of Jesus. This is my constant prayer for you and your brother.

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Four years ago when we met our financial goals and I left my desk job to be a nanny I had no idea what was in store. I knew I would love what I was doing, but I had no idea just how much. I had no idea how precious this family would become to me. And how these children would be like my own family. Watching both of them grow and change has been such a delight over the years. I do get a little weepy seeing them growing up on me, but I love the awesome little people they are becoming.

rach and the kiddos4.jpg{please ignore my wet hair. I wasn’t originally planning on being in pictures yesterday when I threw my hair up in a bun after a shower and walked out the door, ha!}

I also had no clue that taking a nanny position would give me the freedom to pursue things I am passionate about. Like my photography. Will and Mallory were some of my first subjects that I photographed regularly. And nap time gave me plenty of time to learn the book side of photography as well as to edit photos. Their mom was one of the first to  brag on my photography on social media and make me feel like I might be able to make my hobby into something bigger. And then when the photography business picked up and I found myself needing to make a decision between the two – my nanny hours changed from 6:30am-3:30pm to 11:45am-4pm (about a year and a half ago). This has given me the opportunity to still see the kids during the week (especially in the summer when Will is out of school) while still pursing my photography business full time. I love that instead of having to make a choice between two things I love doing, I got to choose both. Blessing upon blessing. 🙂

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Happy fourth birthday, Mallory! Four years ago, I had no idea how much you and your family would bless me. I love you for always.

Love Rach

Cruuuuuisin’!

We got home from our cruise on Thursday night and hit the ground running on Friday. This past weekend was full of celebrating Christmas with both family and friends (as I’m sure many of you saw on Facebook) which was really wonderful to be surrounded with people who love us all weekend. It was a go-go-go kind of weekend which is now being followed by a go-go-go kind of week. I mean, it IS just a few days before Christmas and my to-do list seems to grow longer by the minute. I want to share all the things, but I think I am going to have to be responsible and just say that I will try to catch up on all the things after the busy-ness dies down a bit.

So yes, I will blog about Harry Potter World. I have WAY too much to say about it to try and cram it into one short recap post. So that will be coming later. But for today I want to share a few favorite shots from our cruise. 🙂

us in freeport

Our first stop was in Freeport, Bahamas. You can see seaweed in the water behind us. Most of this stretch of beach actually didn’t have seaweed, but we took the photo this direction because the rest of the beach was paaaacked with people. So the rest of the beach was even prettier than what you see in this shot. But it was nothing compared to the next day in Nassau…

us in nassau

Nassau was gorgeous. Just gorgeous. It felt so surreal to be there enjoying 85 degree weather in December! Christopher read about this stretch of beach close to the port called Junkanoo Beach and thanks to Trip Advisor he found a place on the beach called the Tiki Bikini Hut that had great reviews as far as a good place to get chairs & umbrellas. So we did. We arrived a little before 10:30am and we were the first ones on the beach. So they put our chairs IN the surf. You guys, it was glorious. The beach filled up as the day went on, but we had a perfect view.

us in front of our ship

The ports were great, but the cruise itself was marvelous too. I absolutely love cruising. I mean, all you can eat food is always a winner in my book. Plus sitting out on deck and watching the water and sky as you cruise by. Beautiful. Not to mention all the fun things to do on board. My normal favorites include: the marriage game, comedians, the gender showdown, towel folding class, and the hairy man competition. This cruise had all of these elements PLUS Christmas stuff! There was a Christmas show that had me all teary eyed when they sang Silent Night as the staff walked into the auditorium holding candles representing all the different countries that had come together on this cruise. And then best of all… Christmas caroling in the Atrium when it started to SNOW! Did you guys see this on Instagram already? It was my favorite moment of this cruise!

We had already sung a couple of Christmas carols and I was having the best time and then we started singing “Let it Snow” and it started SNOWING! I squealed like a 5 year old on Christmas morning. It was the best! 🙂 Oh, and did I mention that this happened on Christopher’s actual birthday?! I told him that I got him snow for his birthday. 😉

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We had such a wonderful time! It was the perfect way to celebrate Christopher’s 30th birthday! 🙂

Love Rach

It’s like every day is my birthday…

Thanks for all the birthday love  yesterday, friends! I had a great day! It started with an early morning breakfast date with my husband (biscuits smothered in gravy – oh so good!). And then I spent a couple of hours with the kids I nanny (a trip to the library and a lunch date with Christopher). Then some friends came over and made my hair all pretty and we chatted together. Then Christopher and I went out for delicious Italian food at Pete & Sam’s. We came home and opened presents and Christopher made a delicious dessert (without sugar!) for me. And over all it was just an excellent sort of day.

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One of the best things about the day was realizing halfway through the day that there wasn’t much about the day that was different than my every day life (other than the presents and my phone blowing up with “love you” and “happy birthday” messages). Christopher kept saying “do whatever you want. Enjoy the day!” And I realized that the things I enjoy doing most… are things I do every day. I have two jobs I absolutely love so going “to work” on my birthday is fun for me. Spending time with Christopher, our mutt, and people who love me are things I do every day. The only thing I love to do that we didn’t do was go to the beach. Because… well… it was midweek and our dog sitters are out of town, haha! But we’re headed to the beach again in just a couple of weeks so don’t feel sorry for me. 😉

with my love

Seriously though, it’s humbling to realize this. To realize that I get to spend most every day as if it were my birthday. Doing things I love. Yes, sometimes I photograph a session in 100 degree heat and feel like I’m melting, sometimes I clean up accidents during potty training, sometimes I have to clean toilets at our house, sometimes I get a stomach bug, sometimes we get bad news from the doctor, sometimes we hurt. But those things are so minuscule in the grand scheme. Day in and day out, life is so great. I know there will come a time when our little family looks different and I won’t be able to be so selfish with my days. And I know that it will be an awesome kind of different. But it will be different. So for now, I will enjoy my days where every day feels like my birthday. And I’m so grateful. 🙂

Love Rach