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Getting these pictures up while I have a chance! Pictures from Christmas and the beginning of our winter together!




Memories in the Midst

What a whirlwind. Life has been picking me up in it’s current for weeks now and my feet have barely touched the ground. I would say for about 50% of the time we’ve been living in Ohio, I’ve been living out of a suitcase. (Either on trips or taking a full week to unpack so I just keep grabbing things from my bags.) We have bought a new house, new furniture, decorated for Thanksgiving and now Christmas, worked our way through unpacking boxes and getting our home the way we want it, started new jobs, Mila started a new school….and OH, we’re expecting a baby boy. Any other big-life-events to add to the list? We’re hitting most of them head on. I realized yesterday that we’ve not only lived in FOUR homes since she was born, but have celebrated the Holiday season in THREE different ones… and even THREE different cities. I am hoping to have many Christmas mornings in this house.

We drove up from South Carolina for the move, Mila and I took weekend trips to Rockford Michigan & back to South Carolina, and the 3 of us drove to Kansas and back for Thanksgiving. We spent a total of 30 hours in the car that week. (Way. too. much!!!!) I am very grateful I didn’t do that trip alone though, and we are extremely grateful to Mike’s parents for helping us break up the trip with their hotel points. It saved me, in more ways than one, for sure.

I have been thinking lately that I haven’t been documenting stories of our daily life with Mila. She is so full of life and our joke around here is that she needs to learn how to be more animated. (Right, mom?:)That is NOT one of her problems. Her expressiveness, in behavior and speech, makes life so much fun. She still has an amazing memory – especially for people – and will talk about friends in South Carolina, cousins in Kansas, other students at school and at church. She is making relationships here quickly, but hasn’t forgotten many we love so dearly. She has been asking to go to Nana and Pop Pop’s house and tickle them! Cracks me up every time.

She loves our big yard, and simultaneously, HATES to be bundled up. She’s the one kid at church that always seen running around barefoot and rarely gets out of her Sunday school classroom without tears because we have to put everything (including coat and hat!) back on. We love that we live close to the zoo and her favorite animal right now is the gorilla. She also loves the penguins, giraffes, and reindeer. We went to see the zoo lights this week and she was fascinated. We pushed her around for about an hour and half, all bundled up, and 3 blankets piled on her lap. She saw Santa for the first time and was incredibly eager to “go say hi.” When he reached for her to sit on his lap, she clung to me like gorilla glue and cried when they abruptly took our picture. He handed me a candy cane and I asked her if she was scared and she answered, “No! I didn’t want them to take my picture!!” Then, I dropped her candy cane and it shattered… giving us a very successful end to our first encounter at the “North Pole”. She has informed us, however, that she’d like Santa to bring her Mint M&M’s, cookies and puzzles. One day it won’t be that easy!

Mila loves her new room and is very excited for her new bed. We told her that we were passing her bed onto her baby brother and she is still adjusting to that idea, I think. She was sure the baby was a girl and she keeps asking for a sister. Not going to happen, sweetheart. Mila LOVES to be involved with life around the house. People often say, “Man, she’s busy!” but she’s also very curious and helpful. She helped me paint the chalkboard wall, she likes to help “cook” dinner (sitting on the counter & mixing or taste-testing!), she almost always puts things back where she gets them and, I think, genuinely likes to clean. She has been obsessed with sitting next to the bathroom sink and using a toothbrush to rinse and clean off her foam bath letters. Recently, she walked into the bathroom and said, “Oh, Mom! You’re out of toilet paper!” She went straight to the cabinet, found a new one, and took the old roll to the trash.

We love to go play at the play park at the mall near us, play on the slide at Chickfila (a little Southern comfort!), and mom and dad just helped us to signed Mila up for a 9 week toddler gymnastics class that starts in January. (Thanks for the idea!) I am excited:)I googled a video of a similar class and showed it to Mila to try to explain to her what we were going to do. She became overjoyed and said. “I do that!! I want to go run and jump and flip and play!!” I told her I would be taking her soon and she said. “Daddy too!!”. So, I guess daddy will be joining us… at least for the first class.:)

Mila is started to recognize letters and actually says “ABC’s!” anytime she sees words out in public. She loves our time reading together and has been taking the books and saying, “Ok, I read now!” There a few books she knows pretty close to memory and loves to “read them” to me. She loves animals. She loves PLAY DOH. She is so artistic and loves markers and stickers. She loves music and especially loves nursery rhymes. She always seems to have Baa Baa Black Sheep stuck in her head and she will BELT IT OUT in the middle of Target for everyone to hear. She sings You Are My Sunshine beautifully and I’ve been trying to catch it on video without her noticing. No luck yet, but I will get it. It is such a special memory to hear her voice and hear her sing at such a young age.

We are having a low-key Christmas this year, and I couldn’t be more excited for the reprieve. We have traveled for every.single.holiday since we got married (2009) except for one Thanksgiving. We will wake up in our new home on Christmas morning, continue our Christmas traditions and my whole family will be coming over to celebrate with us. I get to cook and host and have my home filled with our family. I couldn’t ask for a better gift this year.

Here are some pictures I’ve been taking on my phone over the last 6 weeks or so… wanted to post them here to remember these little memories floating in the middle of all the B-U-S-Y.


Jessica + Dewey | Sumter, South Carolina Wedding Photographer | O’Donnell House Wedding

Jessica & Dewey

Married: October 2014

Sumter, South Carolina

Shot with Jessica Hunt Photography. Check out her portraits from the day at her blog!

What a gorgeous southern wedding day!! I loved every minute of this wedding filled with royal blue, lace, monograms and pure joy! Every person involved was overflowing with excitement and it was so fun to watch and be a part of. Jessica poured her heart into the details of this day and IT SHOWED. Photographing weddings are such an honor and I was grateful to serve Jessica and Dewey on such a gorgeous, joyous occasion!

(Will post reception later this week… I wanted to get this up first! Happy Wednesday!)


Beginning of Ohio life

New house projects/moving in…

Exploring our backyard…

Cold day at the zoo! Got our membership:)

Playing at home…

A peak at Mila’s new room

Front porch:)

Finally making our announcement… Baby due 4/13!

Lynds Fruit Farm, Pataskala Ohio


Youngs Dairy Farm, Yellow Springs Ohio

Feeding the goats

Sitting on the wagon…

A few portraits of my girl. Enjoying the farm as a little piece of our “Southern home”. I know she had fun!


South Carolina Friends

I can’t write too much today or I’ll be a blubbering mess. Just wanted to make sure I posted these precious pictures of Mila with many of her friends that we’ve made here. She astounds me with her ability to truly remember people… know people… and even miss people at her young age. We pray together every night and I just say, “Dear Jesus, we pray for…” and she starts shouting out names of people she loves and is thinking about. Many times she’ll mention names of people we haven’t seen in a long time and then she’ll ask me “Mama, I see them?” Mila is definitely a feisty little girl, but she also has a very tender spirit. I love that about her. I love that she’s thrived here and has so many memories. I am planning to print these pictures (and more) and make a memory wall in her room. And you can bet we’ll be visiting…