What I Learned in 2018 + Our Family Film, Elyse Rowland Photography of Kalamazoo, Michigan.

It’s hard to believe 2019 is almost here, you guys! I can’t even wrap my brain around that. The older I get, the quicker life flies by.

I was thinking back over the past year, about what the most valuable moments were — the things I’m so incredibly thankful we did.

One of those things was camping. The experience of being on our own time, letting the kids run wild, and making memories. It wasn’t always easy, because… kids… but it was worth it. I’m truly counting the days until our next trip & we plan to camp as often as possible in the coming year.

The other super important thing we did in 2018 was this right here…. this amazing piece of gold created for us by Audrey of Where the Heart is Family Films.

I’m sitting here trying to think of how to describe what this video means to me, and I really don’t think there are perfect words, so let me just tell you about the experience….

Audrey has such a calming presence. My boys loved her and wanted her to “watch this!” or “LOOK AT THIS!” (as they swung from the rope, walked a rolling log in the water, or showed her the rocky dam we created.) Somehow among the chaos, she captured these moments. And not just any moments — she documented the moments every mom begs their brain never to forget. Arms around necks, and sly smiles, and baby booty hanging out of their suspender pants, and my husband looking at me like I’m the only person in the world.

Even as a photographer who is always telling clients at the end of sessions “You have nothing to worry about - your kids did PERFECT and I got a TON of photos” (which is always true!), I still couldn’t fathom that she had much to work with by the end of our time together. In my mind, I could only recall a few things that might have turned out okay for her. But I knew 100% that I could trust her and wasn’t worried… it was more like I felt bad that my kids and dog were c-r-a-zzzzz-y. Ha!

And here we have it. When the gorgeous white box and beautifully packaged USB came in the mail with her thoughtful note, I cried the happiest tears. You GUYS. This is PURE GOLD. It’s months later, and I still cry alligator tears and laugh hysterically (simultaneously) every time I watch this.

I’ve realized now that my favorite things in 2018 were experiences and I’m centering my entire 2019 to-do list on living life with this sweet family of mine. Presence over presents. Collecting experiences instead of things.

So, if you’re still reading, grab your planner for 2019, contact Audrey, and schedule a film of your own. You won’t regret it.