In Review

2018 in 36 photos // A Year of Change

… And exhale.

We made it through 2018.

There were times it felt like we’d never get through the year.

My pregnancy felt long.

The move felt, at times, impossible.

We started in Hawaii and spent a couple months in Arizona before finally landing back home in Minnesota.

I think we’ll talk about 2018 a lot as the years go by and it’s hard to believe it’s already a memory. I know for sure 2019 will be a bit more low key and I welcome that.

You know I’ll be here, documenting along the way.

Here’s a photo recap of 2018, choosing only three photos from each month. I completed my first 365 project and I couldn’t be more grateful for the year I chose to do so. I can’t wait to hold that book in my hands.

Many blessings my friends,

Elyse’

JANUARY

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FEBRUARY

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MARCH

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APRIL

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MAY

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JUNE

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JULY

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AUGUST

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SEPTEMBER

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OCTOBER

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NOVEMBER

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DECEMBER

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December in Review | Exhale

… And exhale.

We made it through 2018.

There were times it felt like we’d never get through the year.

My pregnancy felt long.

The move felt, at times, impossible.

We started in Hawaii and spent months in Arizona before finally landing in Minnesota.

But we did it. We made it and now here I sit from our beautiful home with my two boys settling into life. It feels good.

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Our little Mikko Jam turned one month old. He’s just the best baby there ever was. It’s hard to believe he’s already here let alone a month old but I guess that’s just what babies do… grow so very fast.

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Our first Christmas in our home was pretty low key, exactly how we wanted it! I can only imagine Christmas getting more and more fun over the years as TG was just starting to get into it. Tom and I decided being the parent is the best. Looking forward to making our own family traditions over the years.

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I had the opportunity for some creative play this month, too, and I never say no to that. Photographer Jessica Holleque came over to my house to photograph my children and I for her Mothers and Makers project. Talking with her about art, family, life and motherhood was just the best. TG had a great time turning the kitchen floor into an art studio. Please check out her instagram to see her work!

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We spent the very end of the month surrounded with family and it provides the perfect reminder as to why we moved back in the first place. That’s what it’s all about and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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2018 — a wild year. I just placed the last photo in my 365 book and I just can’t wait to send it to print. This project has meant so much to me… documenting the days. The years do go so fast.

Thank you for following along on the journey.

Wishing you all nothing but a New Year full of blessings, health and happiness.

Elyse’

September in Review | Let the Settling Begin!

Sweet September.

Warm days, cool days and the wind down of summer.

It was the first full month in our new house and as you can tell by the tardiness of my post, it was a busy one. (Will I ever not say that?)

We took the time to really settle into this place and dang that felt good. It was the first time we’ve had a chance to do so since we were in Hawaii at the beginning of the year!

All of our boxes are unpacked and I actually organized my kitchen! There are still so many projects to do, I’ll putz forever, but as of now, it feels like home.

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One of the things that made September was going to the Renaissance Festival with my aunt. It has been so long since I’ve had a chance to go and it’s so fun to get lost in the magic. My all time favorite festival for sure!

My hubby picked up a work car which has made life so much easier already! With my appointments increasing to weekly, this felt so necessary!

The start to our 5 weekend of visitors began this month and it was everything I hoped it would be. I love being close to our family!

32 weeks pregnant!

32 weeks pregnant!

Soaking up every minute before the summer fades to fall.

We’re here, in Minnesota. Settling in a house. Preparing for baby and just taking a big exhale.

I almost feel ready to start reflecting on the year, what a year it’s been, but we still have a little living to do. Hope you are all enjoying the small moments and taking time to exhale in your own way.

Thanks so much for reading,

Elyse’

August in Review | Home Sweet Home

Sweet, sweet August in Minnesota. I don't know if there's anything better!

Crisp morning air and sun filled days... I've loved every minute of it and so has George!

It was a busy month, I'm sure each and every one of us could say that!

Walks to the park, a trip up north and spending time with family. We did the State Fair and a birthday party at the Mall of America. We celebrated our 3 year wedding anniversary and my 31st birthday. We had baby appointments and pediatric appointments and sure enjoyed the downtime in between.

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The most exciting part of August though, was purchasing our first ever HOME.
We did it! We found one and they accepted our offer!

We got our keys at the very end of the month and it's been an incredible whirlwind of days since.

You guys, it feels like we've waited so very long for this moment and it's here. I cried twice on moving day. My greatest dream is to create place for my children to grow and flourish.. a place they can always come back to.. a safe, warm home with good food and so much love.

I see it here, I see it all here! 

My beautiful niece on a trip up north -- she's just the coolest little girl!

My beautiful niece on a trip up north -- she's just the coolest little girl!

28 weeks ~ in the third trimester!

28 weeks ~ in the third trimester!

Self portrait on my 31st birthday.

Self portrait on my 31st birthday.

I've been dabbling in my dreams a bit and we've been almost too busy to fully grasp what it is I am doing here but I know there is magic to be made ahead.
Women. Photography. Art. Light. Words.
I have faith it will all come together at the perfect time!

243/365 August 31st -- the first day in our new home!

243/365 August 31st -- the first day in our new home!

I appreciate all the shared enthusiasm this month - family and friends, near and far, personal and social - you're all the best! Thanks for following as I document the biggest life transitions for my family. What a trip.

There are a few of us still going strong for our 365 Project Blog Circle. I'm so grateful for these talented women who keep me motivated to shoot every day. If you click through to Alyssa Kellert's post, you'll see a beautiful new website with a summer recap. These are the Days

Onward to September!

 

H O M E | July in Review

Goodbye, Arizona!

After being in the desert for three months, we packed up and hit the road. Homeward bound!

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It took us four days to get from AZ to MN.

Traveling at 22 weeks pregnant with a 1.5 year old that doesn't like his carseat and a small chihuahua that shakes and whimpers when he gets nervous... I really wouldn't recommend it to anyone! Those four days tested every ounce of our patience... but can you imagine the relief we shared as we drove across the Minnesota state line??

Excitement, relief and a huge exhale.

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After arriving in the twin cities we moved into a temporary townhouse. Did I mention we had a huge change of plans at the start of the month?  My hubby had a job opportunity that he just couldn't pass up and it landed us in the suburbs of Minneapolis/St. Paul.

So now we're here, half unpacked and we're house hunting in a crazy way. I think we've seen close to 10 homes so far! The market in this area (I guess all over!) is just bonkers. We're close to finding "the one" though and I hope to have a super positive update next month!

Between the madness we've spent a lot of time with our family that lives here, it's truly been the biggest blessing. Oh, and the park. Clockin' hours in at the park!

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My last bump picture of the month catches me at 24 weeks pregnant. Unreal how fast this pregnancy has gone... but I guess I'm not too surprised! We're all set up at the birth center in Woodbury for our first appointment and excited to be working with a midwife again!

We got the gender in an envelope this month and within a couple days opened it. I can't WAIT to share... we just have one more set of grandparents to tell first so definitely next month!

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Thank you guys for reading. These photos are a part of a 365 project I'm participating in and we're already past day 200! What a year... so many celebrations and challenges, for all of us! The July round up is Kris and I. I love her perspective -- you can check it out HERE.

I feel a shift coming, yet again when it comes to this online space... but I'm not sure what it is quite yet. I think when things slow down enough, it will all fall into place. Photo journal, motherhood... excited to get writing again.

Wishing you all many blessings, always,

Elyse'

 

June in Review | Al... most... there!

I thought maybe I'd be starting this month's review with news of a home purchase or a move to Minnesota, but we're just not quite there yet. I am certain though, that July will be our month to shake things up. This could truly be the calm before the most hardcore storm yet!

Things in Arizona have been hot but good. We've truly adjusted to the mainland well and I'm so grateful for that... that doesn't mean we haven't been antsy. I know I am going to look back at this time and wish maybe I would have just relaxed and enjoyed our down time a bit more. We're just so incredibly ready to unpack our boxes in a house and start getting settled. So ready. Patience, Elyse'.

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My last bump photo of the month was at 18 weeks. I've reached the point in my pregnancy where although my bump is growing rapidly I feel pretty normal. I have energy again and that has been the best gift. Almost halfway to baby! Gender appointment is coming up... the question is, do we wait or find out!

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Our little George has been keeping us on our toes this month. Besides being incredibly curious and absolutely adorable.. his temper is emerging and do I dare say a glimpse of the terrible twos? Melt downs for no reason, hollering at the top of his lungs when he wants something that just isn't possible.. stuff like that. My patience is being tested in so many ways this month! Add pregnancy hormones and I'm telling you, I have moments that I am just getting by!

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We've never been closer to being home... or having a home. I know that the next life stage is right around the corner. We're opening and closing chapters (MN, AZ, HI, family growth etc.), exploring all opportunities (job changes, location changes etc.) and having some tough conversations along the way (maybe when things didn't play out as we first expected).
It's not always easy but it's growth and no matter what I know we'll make it through.

Thank you guys for reading. I'm so grateful for the gift of photography and this 365 group that I'm a part. It forces me to pause along the way during a whirlwind of a time.
As you know, I'm part of a blog series of talented photographers all over the US -- please click through to see their work and what they've been up to this summer. Up next is KRIS!

Today I Turn 30

Today I turn 30 years old.

It's wild, really.

What a decade.
A wonderful, challenging and adventurous decade.

If I had to describe the past 10 years of my life with one word it would be discovery.

I've changed and evolved so much as a person. Grown, I suppose.

Not to get all groovy right away but when you think about it, honestly, getting older is such a gift. As I reach this significant age I don't feel worried or sad, regretful or upset. I actually feel quite the opposite. I'm excited -- ready -- it feels so fresh to me! Kind of like getting to start a new.

A brand new chapter.

As I think about the last 10 years, all the big stuff comes to mind. The highlights.

- The first thing, for sure, always -- the people. So many amazing people have shaped these years and honestly made them worth living. Strangers that have become family. My nut farm and friends, co-workers and acquaintances -- all of these relationships that have come to be with a little twist of fate. I appreciate and love them all more than anything else.
The 8 different cities across 5 states (Minnesota, Nevada, Arizona, Texas and Hawaii) -- I've moved 14 times and we're making that 15th move in 2 days!
- An engagement and and a marriage. Something I never thought I'd do. (Love you more than anything, Tom!)
- I grew and birthed the cutest darn human alive, Thomas George. He's everything.
- When it comes to my job, I've lived many different lives. I've stood at the desk of Four Seasons, in the OR during surgery and behind the bar serving drinks. I've provided massage, cut hair and answered phones. Big companies like Zappos and Stryker to small offices and Yoga studios. I've been a cashier at Whole Foods and have spent so much time at the front desk I could do it with my eyes closed.
The hardest, most fulfilling position I've ever had though, is my current gig: full time MOM.
- I've traveled. My heart just wells up writing this because I love it so much. From New York to Colorado, Japan to Italy and a lot of places in between. I really really hope this is just the beginning!
- I quit smoking! (Honestly, I'm so proud of this).. and come to think of it, I stopped drinking too and that's been good for me right now.
- I had a pretty intense bucket list and for a big chunk of my early twenties I chipped away at it. Things like sky diving, surfing and learning how to wakeskate. I checked off some must see concerts like Jack Johnson, Jason Mraz, Bob Dylan, Tori Amos, Rebelution and the one and only Stevie Nicks. I ran a half-marathon, did a Ragnar Relay and lived in a yurt. I've taken a million and one classes on a million and one subjects and don't plan on stopping that anytime soon!

I'm sort of done with having a bucket list BUT I'll definitely stay curious and continue to try new things.

It's so fun to reflect on the highlights but they aren't all that made my 20s. 

As think about it, some tough stuff comes to mind too. Would these be considered the lowlights?

All those moves and changes were exciting, but not always easy! Moving can suckNo other way to put it.
- In the past decade I've been broke, I've been lonely and I've been homesick. (Seriously)
- At one point, during my mid-twenties, I had stage three adrenal fatigue. Once I found out what was going on it took me well over a year to fully recover. That was by far the most challenging thing I've ever been through.
- When you change jobs like some people change their underwear you can feel a little bit like a failure. I felt it, I felt it a lot and often pondered what on earth I was doing with my life. (Still do wonder, just minus the failure part.)
- Speaking of failure... I failed. A lot. I had many ventures and ideas that just never saw fruition. I spent a lot of time and I spent a lot of money that ultimately felt wasted. (If you learn something, nothing is wasted, btw.)
- Lastly, I swear to you, I was my own worst critic. During my early 20s, I never felt smart enough or pretty enough or flexible enough or rich enough blah blah blah etc. etc. --  Oh my goodness, that is, by far, the greatest part of heading into my 30s. I feel so confident, or maybe it's that I just don't care what people think as much -- either way, it's freeing.

I hope in 10 years when I'm 40, I'm still blogging and taking pictures -- documenting life as a mom and wife, creative and traveler. 

It's an empty slate and I don't need a wild life to fill it.
Just family, friends and an awareness of the beauty in every small moment.

Photograph by  Jessica Holleque

Photograph by Jessica Holleque


20s vs. 30s -- Ten Things

1. Bedtime, anything past midnight >> 8:30... 9 if it's a wild night!

2. Grey hair! Dudes, I have grey hair. What is going on.

3. I seriously watch so much HGTV it's not even funny.

4. Bye thongs. Adios! Au revoir! Ciao!

5. My phone has morphed from party pictures to baby pictures. So. Many. Baby. Pictures.

6. Hair. Nails. Makeup. >> Mom pony. Little chapstick.

7. Anywhere but Minnesota, anywhere. >> Minnesota is, hands down, my favorite place to be!

8. Swimsuit - Itsy bitsy teenie weenie >> full coverage mom suit. I like it, that's the thing!

9. Self conscious >> Kinda just don't give a bleep

10. My parents don't get it >> My parents know everything

June in Review ~

- Went to the Big Island for the weekend
- Watched hubby complete Ironman 70.3 on Kona
- Visited Kevin & Kelly! <3
- Took Tom George's 5-month photos
- Amber necklace for teething Thomas
- Pool day with the baby!
- Celebrated Tom on Father's Day! Nico's for dinner!
- Chopped all my hair off
- Story time at Kaneohe Library
- Lunch with Gigi and Noe
- Thomas's 6-month wellness check & shots
- Tom's North Shore swim
- Tom George's first swim in the ocean!
- Nacho's at Uncle Bos, Haleiwa
- Completed 2 Skillshare classes
- Booked a photoshoot with Jessica Holleque in July
- Cactus date with husband (baby TG too!)
- Read the book White Hot Truth by Danielle LaPorte
- Gave myself a mani & pedi
- Left for Minnesota trip! HNL ---> MSP
- Caribou in MN!!

May in Review ~

- Celebrated Grandpa George's 80th birthday in Minnesota
- Flew back to Hawaii
- T. George had his 4-month wellness check
- Celebrated my first Mother's Day
- Brunch with family at Crepes No Ka Oi in Kailua
- Back to the Dermatologist
- Binged watched 3 seasons of Shameless (quit watching, couldn't take anymore and needed my life back!)
- Took 4 photography classes on Skillshare
- Purchased Michelle Gardella's Story Waters Lightroom presets
- Aloha BBQ in Honolulu for Tom's co-worker, James
- Mama baby day trip to Ala Moana Mall in Honolulu
- Lunch with Sage and Theo
- Auntie Katie visits
- North Shore Oahu family cruise
- Thomas started to crawl!
- Annual women's appointment with my midwife
- Made a Terrarium with Cami and Art Bridge at Anuenue in Kailua
- Solo coffee date at Chad Lous
- Started an online collection of my photographs {portfolio}
- Packed up my little dude for our next trip to the Big Island

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March In Review ~

March! Thing are finally starting to calm down. I'm feelin' like myself more and more each day. 
I have to tell you, those first two months were intense, hard... tiring, but I feel a shift... a welcomed shift and when my son smiles at me (which he is doing more and more) it's all worth it.

Doing this mom thing and also starting to do some work with Earthen Women. It's all slowly coming together and I've never felt more ready. March, in review!


- Brought Thomas to his two month appointment
- Attended the Mama & Me Hui at Castle - x2!
- Donated to the Hawaiian Island Humane Society
- Set up a family filing system (Virgo all day!)
- Went to Sage's house for baby/mama/friends time - x2!
- Got Thomas his passport photo
- Published first post in the Pregnancy Diary - Long Before Baby!
- Put in my two week notice with Stryker
- Met mama Liz and baby Ellie for acai bowls!
- Officially became a Stay At Home Mom!
Opened bank account for Earthen Women / Set up Square
- Pampered myself with an at home pedicure
- Beach day with my family! <3
- Brought Thomas to Pali Momi & Hawaiian Airlines to visit co-workers & daddy!
- Took Thomas to Mele Keiki -- music class! So much fun!
- Read Yoga Beyond Belief by Ganga White of White Lotus Foundation
- Taught Mama & Me Yoga at Liz's house to two Mama's! - x2!
- Ordered flyers for April's Vision Board Workshop!
- Signed up for a family pass at our local YMCA
- Brought Thomas to child watch @ the Y while mama took a Yoga class
- Coffee/Business date with Katie
- Went to the Eat Cake Gallery launch party at Red Pineapple

Things are really starting to pick up with Earthen Women -- setting up workshops and teaching a little Yoga. It's been amazing getting back into it, rolling with the opportunities that are being presented. TY, TY, TY!