Side Note: Can I still call it a  "weekly" letter if it has turned into more of a "once-every-few-months"
Either way, here we go..

Dear NYC,

You were great. We loved visiting Aunt Jessica! Sam loved seeing all of the people, strolling around through a snow storm and getting lots of "ooos" and  "ahhs" from strangers. Hard to believe that I once thought I'd live amongst your concrete jungle. Clearly, the "smaller" town life has rubbed off on me. Far to many people, far to few trees and one to many somewhat sketchy man who liked to follow too closely. However, your food- delicious.

(I didn't bring my camera since this was my first time packing for a baby...and well, enough said. At least we were able to get a few photos. Sadly, I didn't take a picture of our very intense games of scrabble during the snow storm. I am still standing my ground that "ow" is not a word, I don't care what "words with friends" says.)

Dear American Airlines,

You, not so great. I'll be on the phone with you later collecting my many reimbursements from your cancelled flights, reroutes and landing us in a city in which we didn't even depart from. That will be an additional $20 in parking fees, thank you. Can I tack on extra for making us do this with 5 month old baby?!! We spent almost as much time in the airports than we did in the city. So much for a 1.5 hour, nonstop flight.

Other than that, Sam enjoyed his first time on a plane! He only stayed awake for one leg of it.

Dear deserted blog,

As with any other time that I go a while without writing on your pages, I miss you. Now that I'm beginning to get my head above water and feel somewhat "normal" after transitioning jobs and becoming a mother, I'll visit you more often. Pinky swear.

Dear Spring,


Dear Winter,

I may have been raised in Michigan, but these arctic temperatures are not for me. -24 degrees, really?! That's just mean. Go away. You aren't welcome here anymore.

Dear Nestle,

Thanks for making delicious hot chocolate that helps comfort us on the days that we are stuck inside.

Dear Amazon Prime,

I'm so embarrassed I haven't used you sooner. I like you, a lot.

Dear Running Shoes,

I'm putting you on again as often as possible. I've missed you so. We have a few races coming up this Spring, and we have lots of training to do before then. I already told Winter to kick the bucket, so here's to hoping that you and the running stroller will also get some work in once we are above 0 degrees.

Dear Bahamas,

I'm coming for you.  Last time we visited you, Sam was in my belly! Now, little man and myself are fully packed and ready for SUNSHINE. Sam isn't going to know what to do with the weather you will give us. I can't wait to get his little feet in the sand and ocean. I hope he doesn't cry when we have to go home...well, let's be honest, I hope I don't cry.

Dear Denver,

You're next!

I couldn't think of another title for this post, as "a new life" sounds quite dramatic and probably a bit more extreme than necessary. However, a lot has changed over the past five months. (Note that I just changed three to five...this post has been lingering for err...two months.)

Samuel will be five months old next week (it's heartbreaking to think that time has gone by that quickly, by the way!). A lot has changed for me personally and professionally during that short period of time.

Here is some backstory on how this all came about and where I am now. But first, I must say that over the past year I've learned a few things that brought me to this point:

1) Nothing worth having comes easy
2) (Although it may sound corny...) You can do anything you want. There isn't a straight, one-path way to a destination. (But that is what college seems to teach you)
3) Sometimes you just need to dive in and learn to swim. You can't always be prepared. (Much to my dismay ;)
4) We never have to go through challenges, changes and journeys alone. Never.

So, here I sit at my laptop mid-afternoon. Sam is taking his afternoon snooze, the washing machine and pandora serving as my background noise, I have my hair pulled in a ponytail, complete with a  headband, a workout sweatshirt on and jeans (yes, jeans. Not yoga at least.) I'm not in my old office, because this is my new office.

That is both scary and relieving at the same time. Exciting and nerve-racking.

You see, I didn't know what I wanted to do after Sam arrived. I have never been one of those woman who just knew that they wanted to stay at home 100% of the time and raise their children. If that was you, I'm jealous of you- because you knew! In the back of my mind, I always thought I would transition my photography business to full-time once we had children, but when we found out we were expecting, I wasn't ready to make that decision or commitment. I knew flexibility was going to be imperative for us, but fear of failure kept me questioning.
Thankfully, my other work was gracious and let me have time to decide. I left my office one week before having Samuel, thinking that I would be back in some capacity.

Since Kyle has such long work hours, carrying two careers kept me happily busy. For the past two years, on top of photography, I also loved my other job.  As in loved. I learned new things everyday, my coworkers were incredible, I was challenged, pushed and encouraged. I was able to take one new, fun projects and make something out of nothing. All of which created an environment where I thrived. It was a huge blessing to me in multiple ways. (and I'm not just saying that because some of my old coworkers may be reading this ;)
I really did love my job.

Then Samuel arrived. And life changed. Drastically.

A colleague of mine had told me prior to Sam being born (two weeks before, to be exact), that when you first hold your child, it's one of the only times in life that all of your priorities perfectly align. Suddenly, you realize what is important and what isn't. He said he often thinks about when his girls were born, and how email or phone calls just didn't matter anymore. They carried no weight compared to that of your child. It's not that those things were not important, but they took a backseat.

He was right.

Then days became weeks and I stressed about this looming decision before me. It's an extremely personal decision and, truthfully, I felt pulled in all directions. I prayed about what to do. I spoke with other women who have been in similar situations. I talked to my husband, friends and family and had deep, honest conversations about my fears, potential regrets, but also my excitement.

It all became clear.

I spoke to my boss, who wished me nothing but the best as I told him I would be taking my photography business full-time so that I could have a flexible schedule in my career to care for our family. As the words came out of my mouth, I choked up. Maybe it was still the pregnancy hormones, but leaving a career for a new one and saying the words out loud made it very real. Very exciting and very scary. I would be lying if I told you that I have never questioned the decision since. I do. Often, actually. There always seems to be a little voice that encourages me to doubt rather than rejoice.

But God has been faithful in continually reminding me that this decision was and is the best for me and our family.

Now,  I change diapers and go to photo shoots in the same afternoon. I edit sessions while Sam naps. I blog in the evenings once little one has gone to sleep. When grandma comes to visit, I work on growing my business.

I thought that a balance would come right away. But, like most things in the past few months, everything is a process. It's going to take time to get an ebb and flow down and understand how to find balance in this transition. Of course, the type-A part of me wants it all to just fall into perfect place and be what in my head I imagined it would be. 5 months in...I'm only seeing glimpses of that.

Being able to spend time with my son is irreplaceable. Coming to a place professionally where I am now able to pursue what I once saw as a far away goal, is ridiculously exciting (and scary, of course!).

It's a honor and gift to be able to do both. In the days that seem long and frustrating, when I am only checking off a few things from my mile-long list, it's difficult to not look at this face and know I am right where I am suppose to be.

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