Meet Baye!

April 18, 2017


Images by Olivia Suriano with Nancy Ray Photography

As you might already know, 6 weeks ago we added another four legged little love to our family! It has been so much fun to have another personality in our family, as she is quite the opposite of Bokeh. She loves to snuggle, Bokeh like her own space. She is fearless and really sassy, while Bokeh is very timid and submissive. It’s funny when I hear myself talking about the two of them because it almost sounds as if I’m talking about own children. Bokeh has the typical first born qualities, while Baye is definitely a rebellious second born, but we love them both so much!

People have been asking us tons of questions since we got her and I wanted to answer them for you here also!

Where did her name come from?
No joke, Jamie and I were trying to come up with names that started with B and Jamie said “What about Bae?” I laughed and said absolutely not, but then the more I thought about it, the more I liked it. We agreed that we couldn’t spell it “Bae” so we decided on “Bay” and then last minute decided to add an “e” on the end to make it more feminine!

Where did you get her?
We got her in Columbia, SC! Fun story, her brother belongs to one of our best friends Kit and Mary Courtney Southwick. Months ago, we both talked about adding another dog to our family, so we began looking for litters where we could both get a pup! Jamie and I had found a litter and reserved a pup to pick up in May, but when Kit and Mary Courtney found this litter due to pick up in February, we realized this was a much better time for us to train and bond with a puppy, as we had minimal plans in the month of March and my wedding season hadn’t started yet!

What does Bokeh think of her?
Bokeh loves her! They are best buddies, but there are times when Baye is climbing all over her and biting her body when Bokeh just looks at me and I imagine her saying “But Mom, this is so annoying.” They play constantly – wrestle, chase each other around and play tug a war but they also snuggle together on the same bed and it melts our heart.

How has puppy life been?
Puppy life is hard. However, I will hopefully never have another puppy without having a grown dog. In ways it’s been a lot easier than when Bokeh was a puppy. They constabtly entertain each other, so we’re not down on the floor playing with her as much. They’re always side by side so we also don’t have to keep our eyes on her as much. Jamie has been doing a great job training Baye and it’s been a lot easier because she just watches Bokeh and does what she does. I can tell that Baye looks up to her a lot which is really sweet!

Nights have definitely been hard. Jamie and I try to alternate who gets up with her, but most of the time I get up with her in the middle of the night and Jamie wakes up with her around 5:30am. We’ve definitely been more tired than usual but that’s part of it, and we’re hoping that we’re getting closer and closer to her sleeping through the night. She’s had some stomach issues which has also been different than our experience with Bokeh. I won’t go too much into the nasty details, but let’s just say we’ve got up lots of time and there’s been a big enough of an accident that we need to bathe her and spray off the whole crate in the middle of the night…

Does she get along with the chickens?
Surprisingly, yes! The first couple of days that we had them all out in the backyard together she didn’t really notice them. After a couple of days together, she started following them around and trying to sniff them. We would find her somewhat stalking them like a little lion and attempting to pounce on them. They would then get spooked and flap away, but she hasn’t caught one or tried chasing after them. Just like with Bokeh, we held one up to her face so she could sniff it and see what it was. We’ve already trained her not to go inside the coop and she’s very obedient. I think it was much easier training her as a puppy to coexist with the chickens than it was with Bokeh. We’re hopeful that they’re all going to be best buddies!







April 2017 Goals

April 5, 2017


Is it crazy to say that Spring feels almost more like a fresh start than the beginning of the year? As I sit outside and watch the foliage begin to bloom, our seedlings sprout up through the soil and the sun become warmer, it reminds me that new opportunities to begin again are right in front of me. Regardless what I have or haven’t gotten done in the past months, I can begin again. And so can you!

I struggle in finding my identity in my to-do list and I find myself evaluating my day based on what I got done and what I didn’t. Today I’m choosing to put my hope in the will of God, not in what I accomplish or get done. Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” (James 4: 13-15)

Read The Career of Evil (on my Kindle Paperwhite!)
Photograph 4 lovely weddings
Help Jamie mulch our backyard
Plant our veggie and cut flower gardens
Workout 2x a week (this has become a struggle)
One TV free week (when Jamie and I are together)

One Week of No TV

March 22, 2017


Confession: I’m addicted to TV.

At the end of 2016, Jamie and I admitted to each other that we watch too much TV. It was hard to say out loud because we like TV and we know that after admitting something out loud comes hard work and accountability. “I don’t want to give this up” was my first thought, and boy did that prove to me that something needed to change.

We’ve become accustomed to a lifestyle that involves eating all of our meals in front of the TV, keeping the TV on at all times (I am also addicted to background noise), and staying up too late watching “just one more episode.” I get way too personally invested in TV shows, to the point where I believe that I’m apart of the family or group of people. Crazy, I know.

Over the past 6 months, I’ve been reading The Celebration of Discipline with a sweet friend and last month I read this paragraph below, and it stopped me in my tracks.

“Reject anything that is producing an addition in you. Learn to distinguish between a real psychological need, like cheerful surroundings, and an addition. If you have become addicted to television, by all means sell your set or give it away. Simplicity is freedom, not slavery. Refuse to be a slave to anything but God.”


I want to create a foundation for our family that is full of eye contact, trying new things and laughing together, instead of watching the next best TV show like a zombie. I want our future children to understand the importance of being together, not just watching TV at night because it’s easy, but truly being together as a family. I want to cultivate a foundation of intentionality, not laziness or conforming to the ways of the world.

If I’m honest, our addiction to TV is hindering our marriage. It’s hindering us from being intentional with one another, giving our full attention and asking meaningful questions. It’s hindering us from being intimate with one another. I refuse to be a slave to anything that is going to put a block in our marriage, so we decided right then and there that there needed to be a change. We wouldn’t go crazy and “sell our set or give it away” but instead we would choose little by little progress. We committed to one week each month with NO tv.

Here’s what we learned from our first week of no TV:
– We got in bed earlier and spent time reading before going to sleep
– We were more willing and excited to spend time with people that we love
– We had way more fun together (dance parties, card games, bed jumping and evening walks)
– We ate dinner at our dining room table with no distractions

I don’t ever want to stop growing. I want to create moments of growth in us as individuals and opportunities to stretch our marriage to do things that are hard and don’t feel normal to the world. We’re currently in our March week of no tv and it has been wonderful. Tonight we’re planning to go to our local nursery to pick out some plants for our backyard!

Married Mountain Weekend 2017

March 6, 2017


This was our third annual married mountain weekend (see the first one here), something that we made a tradition our first year of marriage. In the beginning it was just three couples and Bokeh. We had all been married that year and were looking for community, a place to openly talk about what was hard, was was joyful and what it looked like to serve our spouse and honor The Lord in our marriage. As the years went on, we continued to add couples that had got married. Last year we added Blair and Quinn, and this year we added Rachael and Brentice. What a blessing this weekend has been for our marriage. Our lives continue to change – we’ve now added babies and more fur babies to our families, but this weekend has stayed the same.

The only way that it has stayed this way over time is because we have fought hard for it. We don’t all live in the same cities or states even, so seeing each other is a fight. A fight against other plans and excuses. A fight of distance and time and vulnerability, but it’s so worth it. To have these married friends who fight to know and love us deeply has been one of the greatest gifts of our marriage.

P.S. I just love these real images. Pajamas, bed head, no makeup and glasses. It doesn’t get much better than that!

Film Processing: Indie Film Lab











March 2017 Goals

March 3, 2017


I have come to love our backyard chickens more than I had ever expected. We’ve now had our ladies for 6 months and they have become a part of our family. They have little differentiating personalities, come when I call them and have been loyal in producing the most beautiful and delicious eggs for us! It has brought Jamie and I more joy than we ever expected to be able to share these eggs with people that we love – our family, neighbors and co-workers. Having backyard chickens when you live in a big city has become quite the conversation with people, and it’s been fun to share the joy with them! If you’re in Raleigh, let me know! I would love to share some with you!

Sadly, we lost one of our first chickens, Henreitta about a month ago. We are still calling it a medical mystery, but we think she attacked by some type of large bird. Call me crazy, but I was devastated and when I called Jamie to tell him I had found her dead body in the backyard, he thought that something terrible that happened to me or a family member. (Maybe I was a little bit too dramatic…) A couple weeks later, we decided to get two more chickens (Peep and Sunny) to replace her and little by little the two clans have been getting to know each other and are learning to live together nicely.

I’m looking forward to this month, as Jamie and I have kept our plans to a minimum. I’m excited for weekends at home, daylight savings and spending more time in our backyard as we work to make some big changes in our landscaping!

Finish reading The Zookeeper’s Wife
Read the book of James once a day
Photograph Summit’s Women’s Conference (March 11th)
Help Jamie mulch our backyard
Add another animal to our family
Workout 2x a week
One TV free week (when Jamie and I are together)
Design 2017 quarter 1 Family Yearbook