raising girls and nobody’s perfect

i had intended on saving the pictures from my favorite day at the beach much much earlier. like maybe during the more appropriate season of summertime versus while we’re all decking the halls. however i was ordering our christmas card & realized i never did.


now that i know how to batch edit a large group of images to prep them for wordpress i am clearly abusing that privilege and posting a ridiculous amount of them.


but here’s the scoop. i want to be honest. and i know you all know this however i think sometimes it gets forgotten. no one has a perfect family in real life. while all the images that are going to start rolling in on christmas cards will make it appear that way, no one family is happy and loving and charming all the time.

please don’t hear me saying that i assume ya’ll think my family is perfect but i want to use this post as an example of reality.

if you’ve known me for any amount of time, you’ll know that our week at the beach is practically a holy week for me. i am in absolute heaven. i love the beach. i love the area in which we vacation and i love having time with my favorite people there. i seldom am without my camera. there’s something in me that wants to document the smiles and the laughs and the days by the shore and all my girls sunkissed & dressed up. i take thousands of pictures and yet i’m still in the moment. through the year i will look at these images over and over again. as your own images are to you, they’re priceless to me.

this past vacation we had much more rain than we’ve ever had. we spent more time in the house we rented than usual. therefore, i took a fraction of the pictures i normally take. a fraction.  the forecast for our last day was 100% chance of rain which meant the next to the last night was going to be it for family photos. my precious friend kim and her beautiful family was there and we had scheduled that i would photograph her gorgeous family. i texted her & asked if she’d mind if i cancelled. usually we have about seven evenings of images, but this was going to be it.

we’re all smiling in these images & truly having a blast. but truth be told before we left there were multiple snippy comments flying around regarding who had borrowed who’s jewelry. who had borrowed who’s shoes. and etc. by the time we were finished one of the girls was in tears because i had taken much more images of one her sisters than of her. i had been frustrated and irritable because of the weather.i’m raising teenagers. they are all completely different from each other. our evenings aren’t spent sitting by the fire discussing literature. however this past thanksgiving week i saw and listened to them as they shopped together, talked about their friendships and decisions they’ve made, boyfriends, sorority life, making choices for colleges…and of course, fought over who had taken who’s jewelry and leggings ….

the funny thing, i came home from our vacation and after a few weeks i had forgotten about the rain and the grumbling. while i didn’t have the gazillion images i usually had, i love the ones i do. i remembered the beach and the time with my favorite people. not perfect. none of it, but beautiful and blessed nonetheless. i had walked around that week and realized i had expectations. expectations that were unrealistic. our children are affected by our moods and expectations even if they’re unspoken. i’m hoping i can get this parenting thing down. before i send them all off to college preferably!


{ all images taken in Rosemary Beach}

one more thing as i’ve had a few emails this morning….most all of the girl’s jewelry can be found at Carol & Company

November 27, 2012 - 8:34 am

Lori H - Gorgeous photos! Love the one with their dad best.

November 27, 2012 - 8:39 am

Amy Avery - Oh Paige! I so needed to hear this this morning as my two little bits went wailing off to school with their daddy because one didn’t have the “right” coat and the other wanted me to take her to Krispy Kreme for a doughnut (as if!). As I closed two car doors on two little tearful girls and a less than amused husband, I felt like a failure and it was only 7:00am! What is so awesome about you and the words that you share with such amazing sincerity is that through your sharing you encourage. I am ready to begin the day over with a fresh attitude! Thanks for the words and the sharing. The photos are so beautiful of your lovely girls, you, Dan and Trevor. Have an awesome day,friend!

November 27, 2012 - 10:22 am

jen@thecottagenest - Gorgeous pictures Paige! They make me want to start looking for a rental there! We never go to the beach but you always make it look so dreamy.

November 27, 2012 - 10:34 am

Tracey - I can say that raising boys isn’t much different 🙂 Swap out baseball gloves for shoes, and video games for jewelry.
I posted something very similar last year after realizing that my expectations for vacation were unrealistic.
Time away is precious, can be very expensive and involves a lot of planning etc so it’s hard not to put these grandiose visions of everyone smiling, happy, gorgeous weather and just general perfection in our heads.
I’d like to say I learned my lesson, but this past summer after driving 11 hrs to vacation with family at the beach (my husband’s and mine favorite pre-kids) we were trapped indoors for much of it because of rain… good times. 🙂

November 27, 2012 - 10:40 am

Diane - Love this Paige, it is perfect! So true and that is life. There isn’t a perfect family anywhere, but there are a lot of perfect moments, memories, photos to remind us we are what we are and that is good enough. It isn’t easy being a parent, as a matter of fact, it is the hardest job out there in my view. There isn’t a manual or education to help us do our job, we figure it out on our own and do the best we can. Sometimes we fail, but the sun comes up the next day and we give it another try. Just keep doing what you are doing my sweet friend.
Have a great day!
Love you much.

November 27, 2012 - 11:00 am

Jennifer - Super blessed woman with arguements and all!

November 27, 2012 - 3:15 pm

tara - Lydia was sitting with me as I read your post, and she wanted to know all the girls’ names! She remembered you and SMK from when she picked up the sign, but she HAD to know who Madison, Emily and Caroline were. She couldn’t believe that all those girls belonged to you….I think she thinks you’re very lucky!!

beautiful shots, friend. thanks for the true words about reality.

November 27, 2012 - 9:17 pm

Lemonade Makin' Mama - Gah… I’m so tired of kids fighting. So it doesn’t ever end huh? Is that what you’re tellin me? Bummer.

I’m far from perfect as a mama… and gosh I’m trying to enjoy it all but we are in a nasty patch right now… wish you’d had at least ONE boy. LOL

November 28, 2012 - 12:27 am

tb - You are so talented Paige! You have inspired me to get out my own camera (cheapy) and take the best photos I can of my little family. 🙂 We made it to Seaside this summer in August.. ate at Bud and Alley’s and walked around – it too poured rain and we parked outside sundog books for what seemed like forever until we decided to brave the rain and enjoy it for all we could (we stayed in Destin a week and drove over). Your photos are beautiful… please tell me what Savannah is wearing? I *really* need that flowy dress! All of you look adorable but I LOVE that dress! ps I’m a size 7:) xo, a big fan, Teresa

November 28, 2012 - 3:34 pm

Ibukun - These pictures are beautiful, Paige! You have the most beautiful daughters. Love the jewelry

November 28, 2012 - 10:04 pm

Tammie - Paige, Be a mother is not always an easy job but it is the best job in the world! What beautiful photos, never too many. I love you posts, it makes me realize I am not alone.

November 30, 2012 - 2:32 pm

Kim from 3 peanuts - I love them all…but he one that made me chuckle the most is the one of Trevor holding the shoes. LOVE that! I loved meeting your family and maybe you can take our photos next time;)

I also LOVE the truth you speak here. We are having some mighty tough times in our house too and while I don’t want to post about it all (for privacy)…I never want to give the impression that our life is perfect.

love you all.