Category Archives: Kiddos

Priceless

Earlier this year I got to see For King and Country perform live. I love, love, love them (and can give you a list of favorite songs if you like their sound)! They performed a new song at that concert that I hadn’t heard before and I immediately fell in love with it and came home and started playing it on repeat. Since then I’ve heard this song on the radio quite a bit so I’m sure many of you have heard it. But I want to talk about why I love it so much. It’s called Priceless.

This whole song is about how priceless you are. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve cried (or at least teared up) listening to this song. I think of so many ladies I know and love who don’t see their worth. Of the teenagers I’ve mentored over the past 11 years. And I especially think of my nieces who are coming so close to their preteen years when I know they will be hit with an onslaught of being told by the world that they aren’t enough. I remember those years so vividly. Feeling like I wasn’t pretty enough or funny enough or skinny enough or smart enough or athletic enough. Just mediocre at best. No one special. I battled those feelings through my teen years and really even into college. Today I am confident in who I am and when I look in the mirror I see someone I can be proud of smiling back at me. But I hate that my nieces are at an age where they will soon be walking right into those years.

rae and kenz.jpg{taken earlier this year in May}

My niece, Makenzie, and I have belted out the lyrics to this song together so many times. And I pray, oh I pray, it is sinking deep into her heart. That she never questions just how priceless she is. I don’t see my other nieces as frequently, but I pray that they, too, know how priceless they are.

mal2{taken in a sunflower field yesterday – you can see more of these shots here 🙂 }

And my Mallory. So young and sure of herself. Confident that everyone she meets thinks that she is the most special girl there ever was. Precious innocence. I pray that she remembers these feelings of being loved so deeply when the world throws lies at her later in life.

Mirror mirror, mirror on the wall
Tellin’ those lies, pointing out your flaws
That isn’t who you are
That isn’t who you are

It might be hard to hear, but let me tell you dear
If you could see what I can see, I know you would believe
That isn’t who you are
There’s more to who you are

So when it’s late, you’re wide awake
Too much to take
Don’t you dare forget that in the pain
You can be brave, hear me say:

I see you dressed in white
Every wrong made right
I see a rose in bloom
At the sight of you (oh so priceless)
Irreplaceable, unmistakable, incomparable
Darling, it’s beautiful
I see it all in you (oh so priceless)

Precious truth. Love this song!

Who do you think of when you hear a song like this?

Do you relate to the struggle I went through of not feeling good enough? Are you still there? Take the lyrics of this song to heart. You are priceless, my friend.

Love Rach

When People Ask Us About Kids

us laughing

We’ve been married seven and a half years. And in those years we have been asked often about kids. I know this bothers some people, but we tend to assume that people are well intentioned and just genuinely interested in our lives when they ask so it doesn’t bother either of us. However, just because it doesn’t bother us doesn’t mean that we’re going to share personal things with every person who asks.

I actually learned this in our second year of marriage. An acquaintance walked up to me and asked if I was pregnant. I stammered a response, “Um… no… why? Do I look pregnant? Did someone say I was?” Later that day I reflected back on the moment and realized what a weird situation it was. What if I had been pregnant, but not ready to tell people? That would put me in a situation where I would either have to lie to the person asking or be honest and tell this person before I even told my own family and friends. I’m not comfortable lying so I came up with a vague, non committal comment that I could make every time someone asks me about kids. I always say, “Oh, you never know…” in a sing-song voice. Because truly, unless we fill you in, you don’t know. 😉 Plus it sends the message of “this is kind of a personal question that I’m not going to answer” without having to say that outright.

My husband, while typically a very honest sort of person, has no problem making up random answers in response to questions about future kids. His responses are all over the place and tend to be pretty hilarious so I enjoy hearing what he comes up with each time someone new asks. Here are a couple of my favorites:

Christopher’s responses to the question “Are you guys going to have kids?”

“Definitely. At least six. All boys.”

“No way. Have you met our spoiled dog? Clearly we aren’t good parents.”

“Only if we can have twins. Can you request that? Is that a thing?”

“Sure! I’m hoping for an even dozen.”

“Oh man, I don’t know… we practice all the time, though…”

“Whenever we figure out how. Do you know how it works? Can you explain it to me?”

Oh that husband of mine, he makes me laugh.

So tell me, do you get asked this question? If so, what is your normal response?
Love Rach

 

My weekend according to my phone…

I was scrolling through pics on my phone today to decide what to blog about so I finally just decided to share some of my favorite snapshots from the weekend. 🙂

babysitting

You guys know that I’m a nanny for two kiddos. But that’s only part time. The rest of my “8-5” time is filled with whatever I want to fill it with. So that’s usually volunteer work, my photography business, house stuff, the gym, blogging, etc. This past Friday that free time included taking care of two sweet little boys who belong to some of our best friends. We had a great day together. 🙂 I mean, just look at that adorable face!

rach and duchess copy

Friday night we went over to Stephen & Julia’s house (some of our friends here in Memphis) and their sweet dog, Duchess, decided I was the weak link when it came to who would give her table scraps. She was right too. 😉 {for the record, I only gave her table food after her owners said it was okay}. She ended up in my lap more than once. Oreo was not pleased when I came home smelling like another dog, ha!

night stand collage

We spent Saturday doing house projects and maintenance. I did a lot of touch up painting around the house while Christopher cleaned out the garage. And I finally got around to painting our new night stand. This is the one we found for $2.19 at a thrift store! It had been spray painted silver previously, but it was streaky and didn’t go with our colors. So I sanded it and then painted it “dove white” and it is perfect in our bedroom! I loooove it!

mac and cheese

Saturday night we went to Mac’s Burgers with Brodie and Lyndal. Since we travel so much in the summer and Lyndal is a youth minister who is crazy busy in the summer, we haven’t been able to hang out with them as much as normal. So it was great to be able to reconnect for an evening. 🙂 Mac’s has burgers and salads and all kinds of tasty looking food, but I was crazy excited about the idea of their macaroni bar. I got the “mac trio” so I could pick three different types. I got the loaded mac (my fav!), the Memphis mac (bbq), and cheese steak mac (philly cheese steak toppings). They were all tasty. Not the best macaroni and cheese I’ve had, but I understand why it has to be pretty basic since it has to go well with so many different toppings. It’s definitely a fun spot for something a little different.

Click to add a blog post for Mac's Burgers on Zomato

If you went to a mac & cheese bar, what toppings would you choose?

What did you do this weekend?

Love Rach

Valentine’s Weekend Recap

We had such a productive weekend! I know that doesn’t sound like the most romantic thing to say about Valentine’s weekend, but it’s true! And there was still plenty of romance! 🙂 Lots happened this weekend so here are the main overview points that I want to remember:

1. Since we went out for a romantic meal to celebrate our engagement anniversary last weekend we decided to offer to babysit for our neighbors so they could go out on Valentine’s day. They have four kiddos and have never actually been out together just the two of them for Valentine’s. They asked if we could baby sit on Friday instead of Saturday and of course we were happy to do that for them!

babysitting3Reading bedtime stories to the three older kiddos (the baby had already been put down).

babysitting2Each kiddo got to pick a book for us to read so Christopher and I switched back and forth with reading. I can’t tell you how much it warms my heart when I see Christopher with kiddos. Kids adore him and he is just so sweet with them. 🙂

babysittingAfter the kiddos went to bed we snuggled with their puppy, Hidalgo. He’s a german shepherd, husky mix and absolutely precious! 🙂 We were happy to be able to babysit for our neighbors!

2. Saturday was project day!

home depotSaturday morning began with a trip to Starbucks and then the Home Depot! We actually ended up at Home Depot three separate times on Saturday, haha!

projects2We painted, we hung things, we installed a safe, and even replaced toilet seats. We were go-go-go all day! And it felt amazing! We love house projects and everything went so smoothly all day long (usually we run into at least a couple of snags that take more time than we expected).

3. Saturday night (Valentine’s) we decided to avoid the crowds and get Chinese take out and plan out a couple of our trips for this year!

dinnerEvery time we watch Gilmore Girls and Big Bang Theory (which is a lot lately), we find ourselves craving carry out Chinese food. But we rarely get it because it’s just so much cheaper to make it at home. But every now and then we splurge and get it anyway. Saturday was one of these nights. So we cuddled up on the couch with our carry out Chinese food aaaaaand…….. TRAVEL BOOKS!

trip planningThese are a few of the trips we’re hoping to make this year! 😀 We love to travel and spending the evening planning trips for the year was just absolute fun! Definitely our kind of romance!

4. Aaaand to cap off an amazing weekend… we heard from a very dear friend of ours, Ian Voigts, (the same graphic designer who made my header up there as well as my photography logos!) that he had made a Learn to Love teeshirt. You guys, it is SO cool! If you want one of your very own you can order it here. And use code: JZWDAUDW for a 10% discount!

learn to love teeshirt

So yes, it was an amazing weekend. 😀

Do you like working on house projects?

Do TV shows you watch influence what you want to eat?

Any advice on Las Vegas, San Francisco, or NYC for must see/do/eat places? 

Love Rach

DaiYan came to visit!

Remember last year when one of my best friends from China came to visit me?! Well, this year another girl from that friend group came to visit! 🙂 This was us a little over 10 years ago when I was still living in Wuhan:

rach and daiyan collageYuuuup, that’s 16-year-old Rach. DingJing (who you got to meet last year via this blog) is in several of these pictures too because we were in the same friend group. 🙂

daiyan and rachAnd here we are 10 years later!

daiyan with will and malDaiYan also got to meet the kiddos I nanny! I’ve taught Will a little bit of Chinese so she was super impressed by his language skills. She taught him a few simple characters and some new words. She told me that he’s a genius with language. 😉

will mal hadleyHadley came over for a little bit yesterday morning, too, so DaiYan really got a taste for what my days look like. Yeah, I literally play with kids all day. It’s a good life. 🙂  She had fun playing hide-and-seek with them all throughout our house and building with legos (don’t worry, the little girls were supervised with those tiny lego pieces!).

dad will malOh, and my parents came too. They are the ones taking DaiYan around on the grand tour of the US of A. This was the first time the kiddos I nanny got to meet my parents and after Dad showed pictures of bugs on his laptop and Mom doled out treats, the kids decided they could stay. 😉

daiyan and rachWe spent the late afternoon and evening out in the country. Of all the places DaiYan has been so far in the US, this was her favorite. She is used to the hustle and bustle of big cities, but never something as serene as the country. I told her she needed to visit where Christopher grew up in Illinois, ha!

daiyan and rach collage10 years later… 🙂

It was so good to see her again after all these years. One of these days I’m going to make it back to Wuhan and see everyone that I miss! And eat all the delicious food that I miss! And hear that Wuhanhua (dialect) that I miss! And just in general, be in the place that will always hold a piece of my heart. 🙂

Have you had any friends come visit recently?

Does hanging out with kids all day sound like fun or super stressful to you? (as mentioned in my video on Monday, there was a time that I never could’ve fathomed doing what I do now so I totally understand!)
Love Rach

 

Jax

To end off a week of blogging about the weekend I thought I’d share some sweet shots I got of my newest nephew, Jax. 🙂

jax grumpy faceLove that grumpy little face

jax Aww, now he’s happier

jaxBig baby yawn! {ps. my brother and his wife are HUGE Dallas Cowboy’s fans}

jaxSpeaking of my brother… these were his shoes when he was a baby! How sweet is that?!

kaitlyn Aaand since I’m sharing photos of my brother’s newest son, I thought I’d share one of his other two kids as well. 😉 This is Katilyn his daughter.

austin And this Matt’s older son, Austin. He is the spitting image of my brother at this age. Pretty much pure adorable.

So there ya go! My brother’s three kiddos. They are precious and I love ’em! Glad I got to see them this past weekend. 🙂 Happy Friday, friends (especially if you aren’t going back to work until Tuesday)! 🙂

Love Rach

Adorable kiddos and graduating seniors

Last night we went to a preschool program for a bunch of our friends’ kids. They were absolutely precious.

preschool programCheck out those adorable littles! It was an absolutely precious program. Love all those kiddos! {these photos taken from Whitney & Cari Beth’s Facebook accounts}

And the night before that we went to a high school graduation where some of Christopher’s boys graduated!

christopher paytonChristopher and his mentee for this past year, Payton. While he has only “officially” been Payton’s mentor for the past year, they’ve known each other and had a close relationship for several years. I know Christopher was proud to see him walk across the stage!

payton grad 2014Payton’s class ring and hat!

rach kelsiAnd then me with Payton’s sister (and one of my girls!), Kelsi! I can’t believe that a year from now she will be walking across that stage! I’ve been her small group leader since she was in 7th grade. My my how the time flies!

I am thankful for the role we get to play in the lives of our friends’ kids and also in the lives of the teens we mentor. We love our city and we love the people in our city and we love showing love in our city. 🙂 It’s a good life here in Memphis!

Love Rach