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imkristen_ imkristen_

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i ' m k r i s t e n ⚓️  ▸ photographer ▸ author ▸ wife to cal ▸ mama to roo and summer ▸ 28 ▸ tampa, fl ▸ our family blog! ↴


Being a child during Christmas was quite magical. Being in love with my future husband during Christmas... phew! No words. Being "with child" during Christmas was as impacting as I thought it would be, and even more enchanting. But *having kids* through this season? These babies and how they see the world, especially at Christmas, is so beautiful. He's given me the thrill of my childhood all over again, plus the thrill of his own. Five Christmases with my first born son and the season has never been better ❤️ #rowdyneil #christmas #letthembelittle #amorrischristmas #thehappynow #thelittlethings

"I want to overhear [and let's be honest: participate in] passionate arguments about what we are and what we are doing and what we ought to do. I want to feel that art is an utterance made in good faith by one human being to another. I want to believe there are geniuses scheming to astonish the rest of us, just for the pleasure of it." (Marilynne Robinson) • The word "embodied" is my puzzle right now. I'm getting the corners in place. And I have much to say. Not yet though... I need less to say better. Which usually means letting the pot of soup keep simmering letting excess water steam out, allowing the final meal to have full flavor in every bite. #iphone7 #embodiment #thehappynow #thesepicturesarepoems #lifegivingsquares #amorrischristmas #makeportraits #vsco #flashesofdelight #calledtobecreative

"These wonderful things are the things we remember all through our lives!" • My mom started a tradition, oh, probably eight or nine years ago now? of "a gingerbread house competition." I think she realized life was better if we all had our OWN house, where each vision could unfold with no compromising and arguing. Plus, we all love to make anything competitive 🙈 Last night the Snyders who are in Florida came over for the big night. Turned into one of my favorite evenings ever... just wish mom and a few siblings had been buzzing around with us. Thank you to everyone who voted on my story... I'm tallying up points now! It's neck and neck! We're on pins and needles 😜 #amorrischristmas #christmas #gingerbreadhouse #gingerbreadhousecontest #winterwonderland

"You say grace before meals. All right. But say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before opening a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before dipping the pen in the ink." G. K. Chesterton) • Starting the week off with these words. Self: say grace about that big, warm bed you got to enjoy... and that will be there waiting for you. Say grace for the other people who went through the trouble of decorating their homes and lawns; what joy it brings my children every night. Say grace for the texture of velvet. For freshly clipped nails. For nights with people who love you – really love you. For wreaths, trimmings, and "garland to grace your head." (Proverbs 1:9). #amorrischristmas #christmasdecor #thehappynow #acolorstory #holidaylife

The perfect first-snow, anticipating-Christmas, return-to-from-far-off, stories-to-tell home. 🌲❄️ #throwback #sodomino #winterwonderland #thehappynow #acolorstory #childhoodhome #snow #winter #christmasdecor

Went back and forth between two captions. Decided to go with both. "When it's drizzly and grey for a few hours in Florida. #quick! #wearthejackets! #festiveness!" and "Is anyone else as goose-bump-y and inspired by all that is 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' (including but not limited to the clothes and style) as we are? A friend mentioned the show a couple days ago and we're halfway through it 🙈."

I get to host Christmas this year (aaaaaa-yeeee-eeeeee...!!! 🙈🤗😋) and other than picturing "the scene" of my whole family in our home, happy, with colored paper all over the floor... what I can't stop thinking of is all the Christmas food. Chili bar for Christmas Eve. Egg bake, cinnamon rolls, and orange slices with coconut for Christmas breakfast. Charcuterie for lunch/snack. And prime rib, twice baked potatoes, spinach salad, yeast rolls, green beans, and sparkling drinks for The Feast of Christmas. These flavors, smells, and textures are as much Christmas to me as the tree and gifts. Every year. Over and over. It's so special 😭 Do you have an holiday food traditions?? (I took this picture of @madewithlove_byhosie's gingerbread men last year. I'm slowly working up the courage to actually try to bake some myself... they're just too festive!)

For me one of the most challenging parts of motherhood to articulate is the in-love-ness. I can't *believe* that I have been given the chance to live *this* in love with so many people... three whole "I'm COMPLETELY IN LOVE WITH YOU. I KNOW YOU INSIDE AND OUT AND I LOVE YOU. I see what's rotten about you and I just love you. And even more, I see what's special about you and I'm the one who gets to be enchanted by it. Who gets to enjoy fully *you*... and *you*... AND *you*!" Our bodies and minutes of the day and memories and the way "we" smell as a family and how you like your quesadilla cooked and how you end up in a tight little ball of a person by morning but he ends up opened like a star in the swirling sheets and the way you look literally at any moment of the day during any mood life can present you... I KNOW it. I know that look, that posture, that noise. And I know when a "thing" happens for the first time. "I've never seen him make that face!" "She's really never been happier than this!" I'm in love three times over and it's so far beyond the golden words I try to use to tell about it. "I love them *so* much." #thehappynow #mynameismama #bringingbackthevillage #letthembelittle #thesepicturesarepoems #lifegivingsquares #inlove #mamabear

"Let is not grow weary of doing good..." • If life is the tree, then the ornaments are the little moments of good. The more you enjoy the process of hanging them, the more you include and share others in your delight, the more meaningful the baubles become, the more beautiful the whole. Not "more more more!" and not "Pffft, it doesn't matter. This is commercialized stupidity." Intentional acts of small simple love. Acts that are lovely in the day but dazzle next to lights at night. Do not grow weary, even if you're placing that ornament way in the back that no one sees. Goodness, over and over, matters. "You are Good, and all that You do is good." (Psalm 119:68) Remembering these truths is always a comfort to my heart and a motivation to my days. And, of course, I would be missing out on quite a lot if I never stepped back to admire the tree, to let it send a shimmy of happiness down my spine when I see it in the window, if I never stopped to say "How beautiful!" "How abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you!" #christmas #good #thehappynow #amorrischristmas

We all can't help but talk about, every time we're together, how much time has passed since "the early dating days" for Dan and Erin. Re-hash funny memories. How "we all knew they were made for each other." How much we prayed for Dan's "someone," how much others were praying for Erin's "someone." And now you just can't think of one without the other. Weston, too. They're a family. They belong right there, together. To walk the sunset beach calms and to brave the storms, even when the boat splinters in the sea. Journeying through life tucked in the folds of each other's arms, linked by hand and soul. It never gets "old" or less meaningful to watch love multiply and pass through time. (More pictures of their shoot during their visit only stories!) 🌊 #thesepicturesarepoems #lifegivingsquares #thehappynow #family #acolorstory #loveis #florida #goldenhour #makeportraits

Is there ANYTHING more you could *possibly* want in a lifetime than to be looked at like that? I am besotted. #summerjolee #fatherdaughter #thehappynow #letthembelittle #mygirl #disneyworld

A few more thoughts after yesterday's post. I guess what I realized is: if this season is a burdened, limited, "not like you hoped for" time... you aren't missing out on Christmas, Christmas is precisely *for* you. The lit lights you see hung in blackness, whether you put them there or not, are for you. "The people who walk in darkness will see a great light." (Isaiah 9:2) The gifts bought, made, wrapped, and handed off whether for you or your family or for other's children and families, are *for you.* "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights..." (James 1:17) Every carol ("a song of joy") is *for you.* “You have been my help so I will sing for joy.” (Psalm 63:7). All those glass ornaments that break so easily reminding us of the fragility of the human heart, resonating with our own shattered ones. Anything passed from one generation to another – "When I was a kid" type Christmas traditions and memories – connecting us to all who have gone before and all who will go ahead... and how small-yet-big that can make us feel in the grand scheme. "It's going to be okay." The food of Christmas. The colors of Christmas. The Salvation Army bell outside the grocery store... during Christmas. The bows – "Tie these words to your hands and heart." The way wax melts under fire, running down the candlestick like a tear down a cheek. "Jesus wept." "Oh come oh come Emmanuel." "Come with tidings of comfort and joy." Buckle dirty white Easter shoes for little girls, and lick the heads of little boys, and rush out the door, and get there late, park in the grass, duck your head when you enter the sanctuary, and hear the room filled with voices, see the lights dimmed, and those dancing candles on Christmas Eve. "He comes to make His blessing flow!" And these little holiday blessings have indeed flowed down to us, finding us right where we're hiding and worn down. Propped on metal door hangers, plugged in to inflatable animals, set on the head of a fat old man who keeps his beard year round *just for this,* in rows at the Dollar Store where you get something to put in their stockings, wrapped around the tree, and waiting in the garage.

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