Big Change for the Blog!

Hi friends!

So, I sat down (a week late!) to write a 10 Month Time Capsule for our sweet little Hudson and found out to my dismay that I had RUN OUT OF ROOM for more photos.  LOL!!!!  So, I could have changed plans to include more storage, but after some thought I decided that it was a sign from the universe that I should do something that I have been thinking about doing for some time…which is to house my professional photography blog and my personal blogs together on my business website.  For sanity sake and also for technical reasons, I prefer the platform that I use with my business website and decided to take the leap to solely write there from here on out.  I imported this entire blog (Our Sunshine Angel) and put a link to it in the footer of my photography website.  I need to do a little work to make it more navigable and do some re-linking, but I’m happy to have my blogs all under one roof.

One thing I struggled with though is what to do with this website that has been the home to my most personal struggles and triumphs over the last six years.  After some thought, I decided to leave it here for now (the url will change slightly in May to and that I will try to remember to come over here to link things from time to time since so many of my friends and family have signed up for email updates from this page.  I also want it to be here for anyone who is currently struggling with a diagnosis of neonatal Marfan syndrome or the loss of a child.  Every year, without fail, I receive several heartbreaking emails from around the world from someone who has found themselves in a similar circumstance and it truly helps to know that you are not alone.  If you are here for this reason and are seeing this post, please do not hesitate to reach out!  I consider it the greatest honor and a gift from Callie to be able to be there for you if you need someone to listen.  I have “met” some great friends, fellow moms, pastors, and even a children’s book author through this blog and I cannot even think of closing down this site for this reason.

One day (not that far away!), I will have to closely go through all of these posts and think very hard about whether to leave them open to public view.  It is a very different world than the one I grew up in and I know that our kids will one day take to a keyboard and Google their own names…or maybe a friend will…and I have to decide what kinds of things they will be mature enough to read about themselves and my viewpoint as a mother.  I’ll have to cross that bridge sometime, but thankfully, today is not that day.

So without further ado, please hop on over to The Glorious Ordinary Journal to read Hudson’s 10 Month Time Capsule and sign up for emails updates directly to your inbox HERE or add it to your blog reader (RSS link:





A Note from the Trenches

Not long ago at Barre class, someone I was meeting for the first time asked how old my kids were and when I answered that they were 4, 2, and (at the time) 8 months she said,

“Oh girl, you are in the trenches right now.”

I laughed because it was a comically accurate description of how I feel right now.

2017.  What a year.

On paper, it sounds like the most joyous year yet.  We welcomed our sweet baby boy, Hudson, our last baby, into the world. We also bought a new home to accommodate our growing family.  It’s in the best neighborhood with the most FUN neighbors with a flat yard and a room for each of our babies.

And it WAS joyous!

But it was also HARD AS HELL.

It was sometime in December after a rough morning of yelling at the kids and anger that I broke.

Like, legit broke.

I cried the whole way to preschool drop-off.  I sheepishly brought Charlotte in and tried to avoid everyone’s eyes so no one could see that I’d been bawling just moments before.  I sobbed the whole way back home.  I couldn’t stop the tears from coming pretty much all morning.

It was then, looking red-eyed in the mirror, that I realized that I was looking the reflection of someone I didn’t recognize anymore.  I hadn’t showered in a few days.  My clothes (ok, pajamas) were stained and I didn’t have make-up on.  The extra baby weight from Hudson was just hanging out, not going anywhere (because let’s be honest, I wasn’t doing ANYTHING about it).  And most alarming, the mom that I was that morning (the same one I had been for months) was not the mom I had been before and not the one I aspired to be.

I had lost myself.

Where had I gone?

Back when I wrote this post in the summer, I chalked it all up to the craziness that comes with three little ones, a move, and a tiny apartment.  I kept saying that things would be better once we got into the house.

But that wasn’t exactly the case.  Life didn’t slow down.  In fact, it sped up.  I had a great fall photography season with lots of amazing clients, but I really struggled to keep up with everything and still try to be a great mom to a fussy baby, a mischievous two year old, and a strong-willed four year old.  I lost sleep, I didn’t shower, I didn’t exercise, I ate like crap, I yelled.

I broke.

There were many times that I felt a lot of guilt thinking that I had forgotten EVERY SINGLE THING that Callie’s death had taught me because I wasn’t enjoying motherhood the way that I ‘should’ be.  But that quickly passed because, although I had definitely not done the best job of viewing 2017’s gifts as blessings instead of challenges, I know that I hadn’t forgotten those lessons.

What I had forgotten was myself.

In that broken moment, I realized that the cure was not a more perfect schedule, or a better organizational system, or a more effective discipline strategy.  The ‘cure’ was to find ME again.

In the craziness of each day, I did absolutely NOTHING and I mean NOTHING for myself besides the basics of brushing my teeth and getting my contacts in my eyes.  Every action, even the ones I thought I was doing for me (like reading parenting books), were really for my family in some sort of way.  Like one of my new neighbors says, “You can’t drink from an empty well.” so I put feelings of guilt and selfishness away and resolved to take care of ME first so that I could do a better job of taking care of everyone else.  Soon after that day, I joined a local yoga/barre studio and started going regularly.  I can’t even put into words how good this has been for me.  I also try to do small things like light a candle while I take a shower, listen to good music when my mood starts to go south, and get out of the house whenever possible.

I’d love to say that now everything is different and “YAY! Look at me!  I’ve got it all figured out!” but that’s definitely NOT true.  I’m still working on it every day and there are still lots of moments of frustration and tears.  I mean, let’s be real.  I have three kids that are really young and that shit is just hard.  But I do feel like I can breathe again a little bit and, although I wouldn’t say things are easy, I do think they are getting easier.  At the very least, I am a little more conscious now of my own needs and how important they are.  I was incredibly blind to this until recently.

This post has been sitting in my draft folder for over a month now.  I hesitated to post it because I felt like it might be perceived as whiny or ungrateful, but today I felt like sharing because, who knows?  Maybe someone else feels the same way and it’s helpful to know that someone else is struggling too and that it’s ok.

It’s all ok.




Hudson Thomas: 8 & 9 Month Time Capsules

Hey little man!  Once again, a little late on updating!  But if you are ever wondering why that is, I will point the finger right back at you buddy!  Because you have been a real handful lately!  I say that with lots of love- and thank goodness you are so darn cute.

Let’s catch up on what you’ve been up to!

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-You officially turned 8 months old on Christmas day!  We didn’t get an “official” photo that day, but we have lots and lots of great Christmas photos of you having a great 1st Christmas and many happy memories!  I took the photos above very close to your 8-month mark so let’s let those count 😉

-I believe I also forgot to share your baptism photos here!  You were such a good boy and we had such a nice time celebrating you!

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-Just after you turned 7 months, you celebrated your first Thanksgiving with these two turkeys:


-As I mentioned before, you turned 8 months on Christmas Day!  Look at all the fun you had!santa pics-7santa pics-6santa pics-9santa pics-2

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-You love to play, especially with your sisters (even if they make you play dress-up!).  Lila loves playing with you too, but she doesn’t often let Mommy take her photo so you have LOTS of pics with Charlotte instead.


-Let’s talk about the swing, shall we?  Oh little boy, how you loved this swing!  You loved it so much that you broke TWO of them from using them so much.  This is a photo of you taking a nap in a broken, NON-MOVING swing.  After a few weeks of that, it was time to part ways with the swing, but you did not like that one bit, little man.  In fact, you spent most of December and January protesting it VERY LOUDLY in your crib, refusing to nap.  We took lots of car rides to get you to sleep at least just a little bit and, therefore, your mommy now knows all of the backroads in our beautiful part of Loudoun County.  Thanks for that.  You’re still not sure about the crib (at least you will sleep there at night- PRAISE THE LORD!) but as of the past few days, you’ve made great progress towards napping in your own bed!


-Here you are, looking like an adorable lumberjack.  Just because.  Your smile and fluffy hair melt my heart SO MUCH and I love that you and I have such a special bond.IMG_4762

-Just a day or two before you turned 9 months old, you decided that you would finally like to have some purees.  Pears (and only pears) got you started and only when Mommy left the room.  Now you have progressed to fruit blends, but you really, really hate vegetables and the bottle.  Are you going to be a picky eater?

January 02, 2018-3

-You enjoy grabbing the puffs off of your tray with a pincher grasp, but are not quite sure what to do with them yet.  That’s ok.  Daisy does 😉January 10, 2018-You love playing in water and splash your hands and feet excitedly!  We can’t wait for your swimming lessons to start this month 🙂January 08, 2018

-You are doted on by everyone and everywhere we go, people stop me to comment on your smile and overall cuteness!January 03, 2018January 03, 2018-4

-Your official nine month photos, below.  I just love watching you do this sideways thing with your tongue after your teeth popped up on the bottom!

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We love you so much Hudson Thomas!!



6 Years

MVIMG_20180127_105255.jpg1:55 PM.

Six years ago.

It seems like a lifetime, but also like just a moment has passed.

Six years since Callie left us, one January afternoon.  The doctor looked at us and told us you were gone.

How did that happen?  One second you were there in our arms and the next, your spirit was gone but your body remained.  I will never forget you lying there on the bed, swaddled in a blanket as I was wheeled away.  Alone.  It is not something I can unsee.


I dreamed the other night that I was walking on a beach.  Someone was holding my hand.  I could feel the sensation in my dream even though I could not see who it was or even see my hand being held.  It was just like I was there, feeling that hand, walking and watching the waves and the sunset.  Was that you, Callie?

And then there was the other night, on my way home from yoga.  I was driving home and as I pulled up the dark road near our house, a little baby deer popped into view.  I smiled because this was the third time I’d seen this little fawn in the dark and she looked back at me and then turned and started trotting away in front of my car so that I was moving at a snail’s pace behind her.  It was really cute and kind of funny so I started to laugh and said aloud, “Ok, little one…where in the world is your momma?” and as the last word left my lips, I was struck, absolutely struck, with a feeling beyond description.  I froze and started to cry as the little deer looked back at me and then darted off into the field out of sight.

Was that you saying hi Callie?  Were you with your momma after all?  I remember you visiting us like this in the garden once before.  Was that you again?

I desperately wish I could know what you would have looked like as a six year old.  Oh, how I wish I could know what you will look like when I get to heaven.  Will you still be a baby?  Will you grow alongside of me and be an adult? What if I go to heaven as a granny and you are still a baby?  I don’t know.  I wish I did.  These are the things I wonder about.

I’m so glad you are in my life sweet girl, even if it is from heaven and it hurts so much.  I have needed you lately to remind me of how sweet life is and how trivial my worries are.  I feel such guilt over taking so many things for granted and forgetting so many of the lessons you taught me.  Looking back over the past year, I can see how blessed we have been and how much I have not appreciated those blessings as I should have.

I’m so grateful that I can start each day fresh and choose to see, to really see.  Choose to love and to laugh.  To take a deep breath.  To take care of me so that there is more to give.  To let go of my failures and not beat myself up over them.

You are my inspiration and my strength.

I’m so proud to be your mom and your Daddy and I miss you so much.



Hudson Thomas: 7 Month Time Capsule

November 27, 2017

You turn 8 Months in two days, so I’m just squeaking this one in by the deadline!!

Hudson’s Seven Month Time Capsule:

-This month, your favorite thing to eat…is your TOES!!  You love to put your little piggies in your mouth.

-We tried giving you some baby food for the first time this month, but you weren’t really a fan.  You also really, really, REALLY don’t want to take a bottle anymore!

-During the last month, you got your first two little teeth and you love to stick your tongue out so you can feel them.  Our favorite face you make is when you stick your tongue completely sideways!  So adorable!

-When you are happy or excited, you love to wave at us and kick your feet!

-You officially started sitting up this month and you love to play with toys while sitting up like a big boy.  🙂

-Still in a swing for naps, but you are sleeping in the crib at night!!  Yay!!  and you love to be worn in a carrier.

-We love your sweet noises and your adorable giggle.  Your smile is heartmelting!

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Hudson Thomas: Five & Six Month Time Capsules (oops!)

October 09, 2017-4

Well, here we are buddy.  I promised I wouldn’t do any more combo posts, but I hope you’ll forgive me for just one more.  These past two months were a doozie!!


Hudson’s Five Month Time Capsule:

-Your fifth month was spent anxiously waiting for our new home to be finished.  That apartment was TIGHT QUARTERS.  I didn’t take many photos in there because it was dark and small, but I’ll always remember the girls trying to make you laugh and smile whenever they could!

August 28, 2017

-You went to your very first Virginia Tech Football game with some of Mommy’s best college friends and their families.  It was SO fun!September 09, 2017-5September 09, 2017IMG_4024 2IMG_4076

-This month your laugh and smile was a much needed distraction from the craziness of our move (and your sisters’ fighting!!)IMG_4108

-A few days after you turned five months, we closed on our house!!  It was such a special day!

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Sixth Month Time Capsule:

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-Your six month pictures were cute and also kind of sad with those big tears and bottom lip sticking out.  Kind of the story of your life right now though buddy!  Love you!

-On our first day in our new home, we brought you all inside and the girls ran around like crazy people and you just watched them from your car seat, taking it all in.  We slept on air mattresses (you in your swing of course!) and had pop tarts for breakfast!


-This month, your sisters still get the biggest smiles from you.IMG_4217IMG_4221IMG_4246

-Your newest trick is putting your toes right into your mouth as soon as they are free of your footie pj’s or socks.IMG_4286

-Oh hey, look!  Your very own room!!!  This month you started sleeping through the night in your crib.  Naps on the other hand…IMG_4287

-…are still in the swing.  You don’t like naps too much.  Why not???  What’s not to love?

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-Hudson is not quite sitting up yet.  Maybe next month will be the big month!!  He has to get some practice first…his favorite thing is to be held by mommy or in the carrier!IMG_4327

-You went on your first hayride to the pumpkin patch.IMG_4344

-Hudson got his first two teeth on the bottom this month and his hair is starting to come in a little more.IMG_4388

-Hudson really does love his exersaucer despite what this picture looks like 😉  He’s gotten so tall already that it’s time to move it up a level…in the matter of a week or two!!IMG_4405

The last two months have been crazy, but fun and we are so glad that you are in our lives little man.  Thanks for all the snuggles.  We are looking forward to (hopefully) things slowing down a little bit more and getting settled into our new place.

Love you sweet boy!

Hudson Thomas: Four Month Time Capsule

August 25, 2017-2Our little buddy is four months old and I think it is safe to say that I am pretty enamored with him!

Here’s what’s new (and not!) for Hudson this month:IMG_3989

  • Hudson weighed in at 13lb 11oz and was 25.75″ long at the doctor for his four month check up.  That put him between 10-25% for weight and 75% for height.  Long and lean!
  • IMG_3915This month was a little bit more of the same as the last….still rolling over, but now that he has that trick down pat, he doesn’t do it EVERY SINGLE TIME you lay him down like he used to!


  • H-man still has the sweetest smile (a little sideways smile with a dimple!) and an adorable laugh.
  • Our little Huddy Buddy started “talking” to us and is quite the gabber once he starts going.


  • Another new skill this month is that Hudson loves to reach out and grab objects.  He will hold on to toys and bring them to his mouth so he can slobber all over them. (He is quite the drooler!) He grasps our fingers and holds our hands so sweetly!
  • Hudson can’t quite decide whether or not he wants to suck his thumb.  He will sometimes suck his thumb with all of his fingers up in his face, but he doesn’t do it for very long.  I’ve been waiting to see if he would follow in Lila’s footsteps with this….Time will tell!

August 22, 2017

  • He started using the Bumbo seat this month and does really well sitting up in it!
  • We have noticed that Hudson really hates to miss out on all the action.  He doesn’t love the Ergo because he can’t see everyone and will crane his neck around trying to catch a glimpse of all he’s missing out on and fuss until I take him out.  We are borrowing the Ergo 360 from a friend to see if that helps a little.  Even if he is SUPER sleepy, he will fight a nap if there are a lot of people around.  He’ll seem happy as a clam, but his little eyes will be droopy and then when it’s too late, it’s WAY TOO LATE and he’s a hot overtired mess.


  • His sleep is alllll over the place.  Most nights, we still rely on the trusty swing to help Hudson fall asleep and we recently purchased the Merlin’s Magic Sleep Suit to help him STAY asleep throughout the night since he has a crazy big startle reflex still.  The suit has helped him sleep with fewer night wakings, so that’s great!  Now if only we could master daytime naps!!!  We will tackle that beast when we move to the new house.
    August 14, 2017
  • Speaking of the new house, we have entered the ‘finishing’ stages.  Drywall has been hung, trim has been put into place, and the cabinets are up!  We have our final walkthrough on 9/22 and are set to close on 9/28, just after Hudson turns 5 months old.  He is still sharing our bedroom so he will get to ‘graduate’ to his own room then!  (woohoooo!!!)  There are lots of little boys in the neighborhood for him (and the girls) to play with and we can’t wait to get settled in.

We love you to the moon and back Hudson Thomas!!