Wallace Family Christmas Photos 2015

This time of year is so busy, isn’t it?! I was out of town, had a couple of friends stay with me, the kids had their last week of school, Crew’s birthday is next week and I’m incredibly behind with my gift shopping! But…the Christmas pics are now here and I even finished addressing the Christmas cards today too! I’m fiiiiinally moving in the right direction! 🙂

I’ve posted a TON of pics this time! Sometimes I think it’s fun to not just see 3-4, but an entire session, so here you go!!! I hope you enjoy these as much as we do!

Wallace Family Photos 2015

The prep time for this photo shoot was literally planned in less than a day’s time. Our sweet friend/photographer offered to squeeze our family in when she had a last minute cancelation. Matt already had plans in the morning which meant I was rushing about like a crazy person trying to get everything in order. I would NOT recommend taking photos that last minute! 🙂

Christmas Family Photos 2015

We were running late and got stuck in a ridiculous amount of traffic on the way which meant that we only had about 20 minutes of sunlight left. UGH! But, my friend still nailed it anyway!!!!

Christmas Family Photos 2015

My sweet princess being her normal goofball self! 🙂 She could be in her pajamas and still look adorable!!!wallace (69 of 86)

This lil one has a special place in my heart. He was having a hard time participating, which is fairly common with him and photo shoots. He doesn’t care for them much at all. We finally got some smiles out of him, but if you keep scrolling down you’ll see that it wasn’t ALL quite this cute! 🙂
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This kiddo…he’s almost always smiling. No really, like always smiling!!! He is such a joy. He’s really close to losing both of his two front teeth. We were hoping they’d come out before Christmas so he could sing the song, but so far they are just really wiggly and not coming out! 🙂 But, even with loose teeth his smile is one the most precious ever. wallace (57 of 86)

My handsome Crew. He loves to giggle and laugh and play. He doesn’t care if there is a camera or not! He just wants to be tickled and wrestle! And he loves his daddy holding him!wallace (48 of 86)

The Kai man. I confess, I totally ran out of time and didn’t fix his hair…but he still looks amazing…and so grown up here. 🙁 Sometimes life can get so hectic and it’s pictures like this that make me pause and remind me to slow back down…especially this time of year. I don’t want to miss the little moments.wallace (50 of 86)

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This is what family photo shoots look like at times. This is sometimes the reality behind the beautiful photos. There is almost always one that does not want to have fun.

canon mad

That mad face. I still think he’s cute.

canon and dad

But, there is always one that needs a little bit of extra love.There is always one that feels hardened, or left out, or in need of some extra attention.

Canon mad

I am often no different than my kids. There are plenty of moments I make life about me and what I want and I turn my heart, just like he is turning his back, on those who love me the most. In those moments as a mother I can either get mad and demand he obey, or I can choose to pursue him just as Jesus pursues me, in kindness and love.

canon and mom

Here I am sharing with him the need to love others more than he loves himself. I am sharing with him that I need not only his face to smile but his heart too, because his heart matters far more to me than his face.  And I am reminding him over and over and over and again how loved he is and how I value him more than these pictures being perfect. And suddenly there is a crack in the ice…

canon1 I love how my friend/photographer just kept taking pics even through the rough spots. She knows me well in that it is those moments I want to capture even more than the staged ones. Those type of moments not only make a photo shoot like this more “real” but it’s also these moments that sum up the majority of my life as a mom.

canon smiling

If Christmas pictures are meant to capture our family at this season of our lives, in this year of 2015, then it is photos like this that better display what life actually looks like day in and day out. I don’t want to look the other direction, or push those aside and forget they ever happened. I want to embrace this as reality, move toward one another, and grow together.

 

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My sweet Kate has this awful habit of tucking her hair behind her ears!!! Which I am normally fine with…except for photos!!! So here she is teasing me and making sure I see her trying to tuck her hair again! Silly girl. I love her.wallace (43 of 86)

Oh how I love him and his never ending joy!!!wallace (34 of 86)
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I remember when there was just the two of us. It was a long time ago, but I remember! We used to take walks and play frisbee in the park together. We would travel and eat dinner whenever we wanted. Our house was cleaner and the noise level much lower….but oh how we wouldn’t trade it for even a second!

Christmas Photos 2015

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Merry Christmas from the Wallace Family! I hope you all have a fabulous week next week with family, friends and loved ones!!!

Photo Credit: April Ward Photography
Dress: Morning Lavender
Decorations: made by me 🙂

8 Tips for Improving Your Mental Strength

Applique is a fully responsive Fashion blog theme that designed with style publishers in mind! We keep things simple and elegant to make sure any fashion blogger—even those without IT background, can use it. We believe that a blog theme, should feel fluid, light, and intuitive. That’s what we are aiming to make with applique, using clean code and detailed designs in each our custom features maintaining balance between design and technology. We present to you Applique our most elegant theme yet. 5 Ways Applique will help you grow your fashion blog:

1. Add beauty right off the bat

Add beauty right off the bat! Applique is easy to install and customize. Yup, you will just need 5 minutes for the installation and Applique’s customization via WordPress Live Customizer. By using WordPress Customizer manage all aspects of your site using a live previewer, so you can see exactly how that logo, font, or layout will look before you publish. Customization made easy! Applique giving you the power to customize your blog with various elements option to create in an effortlessly timeless style, and unlimited color options. Besides, you will get exactly the same Applique’s demo content.

2. Improve your blog performance

Improve your blog speed performance and Google rank. To get these performances, first Applique is compatible with SEO (Search Engine Optimization). SEO will help your own blog increase your search engine visibility, drive more traffic to your blog and generate more leads and sales for your business (if you’d like to leverage your blog to grow your business). Blog is only getting better because it puts a focus on content. Although, SEO is only a part of blog, it offers great information and advice. Now, content is so crucial for blogging and SEO will be one not to miss.

Second, ensuring your site is Mobile-Friendly! Because Google began rolling out its “mobile-friendly” update, which makes mobile-friendliness a stronger ranking factor for mobile searches. Applique is designed to be mobile-friendly for your blog to get easy affected by Google’s mobile friendly. These days includes Mobile, it’s not an option. Today should be Mobile Friendly, of course, it has to!

Third, Applique is created not only with clean code, but also without bloated plugins/features. It will make a good performance for your blog site.

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Applique is also has the Multiple Advertising Space, place in header, footer, and sidebar. Most Bloggers and you can also set aside a portion of their page for marketers to buy as party of a paid advertising campaign.

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Connect with your readers! Keep your reader engaged in your blog. Applique is integrated with social media share buttons to keep you easy to use, just simply copy & paste your account social URL. It will appear at your post, easy connects to your reader, if they want to share your post to their social media with one click. Beside, you can use WordPress or Disqus Comment system to communicate with them. Aim to make commenting easier and more interactive. Also Applique has full-width Instagram Feed places at the bottom of your blog (footer area). You can sort Instagram photo by ‘Newest to oldest’ or ‘Random’, it’s depend on what you want. Also you can set your number of photos and number of columns that will appear. It’s easy customizing! Another feature is Sticky Navigation, it will make your blog quicker to navigate. Of course, keeping readers able to find what they’re looking for quicker when they didn’t have to scroll back to top of the page. It can have a big impact on readers. The last is Sidebar & Social Media, it provides easy access to any section of the blog. It will make easier for reader to get specific information what they want to read.

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Perceived Perfection

The reality behind what would appear to be "picture perfect," our perceptions of others greatly impacts our perception of ourselves...Meg Wallace|One Glass Slipper

Someone recently told my sister-in-law, after solely viewing the home page of my blog, that she would never read my blog because my “photos were too good and too perfect.” She went on to say that she refused to put herself up under that kind of condemnation every day because she only has one child and most days cannot get out of her pajamas and “that blogger has five children and seems to have it all together.”

The reality behind what would appear to be "picture perfect" Meg Wallace|One Glass Slipper

On one hand, I have to commend her. She was decisive enough to immediately know her limits in what she thought she could handle. I can applaud her for being bold enough to say no to what she thought would only add to her stress and distress to her life as a mother.

On the other hand, I grieve the fact that she completely missed the message I desire to convey as a writer through this blog, as a wife to my husband, as a mother to my children, as a follower of Jesus, and as a woman.

When the plan to begin this blog first came together, a friend of a friend who is a wedding photographer offered to take our family photos as a gift. I knew one of the major themes throughout the entirety of my writings would be the idea of “perceived perfection.”

The reality behind what would appear to be "picture perfect" Meg Wallace|One Glass Slipper

The goal for my family Cinderella photo shoot was to create something that looked like a mystical fairytale-like dream. Something as close to the most recent Disney Cinderella film as possible.

The reality behind the "picture perfect" photos|Meg Wallace|One Glass Slipper

I wanted the images, as best as I was able, to be as perfect as I could get them. I wanted to have my entire family clean, happily smiling, put together, fresh, and fixed. And all of this was for a purpose…

The reality behind the "picture perfect" photos|Meg Wallace|One Glass Slipper

I thought my photographer did an amazing job! He picked a great location, creatively used smoke bombs and lights, and brought lots of friends to help out with managing our kids! Yet the images, no matter how perfect they turned out, do not capture the reality of my life…which is the entire point.

Now, truth be told, although I think my boys looked like a million bucks that day, the reality is I didn’t spend much money on their clothes at all. Matt and I visited about a dozen Goodwill stores in the greater parts of Orange County to piece together all of our boys’ suits and we spent less than $100 on everything.

The reality behind the "picture perfect" photos|Meg Wallace|One Glass Slipper

I wore a lovely blue dress that I think looked amazing, yet the reality is my beautifully flowing, incredibly large, sparkling Cinderella gown is actually my slightly altered 14 year old wedding dress that was literally spray painted with Lowe’s Rustoleum Blue Paint (thank you Coral Rae for doing such an amazing job) with added sparkle-glitter-spray from Michaels…and I’m so NOT joking…

The reality behind the "picture perfect" photos|Meg Wallace|One Glass Slipper

I intentionally asked my photographer to continue photographing during all of the down time of our session, specifically the imperfect parts; stopping to check my phone, to deal with a child who decided to throw a fit, the crying, the lack of immediate obedience, the attempts to get the kids situated and standing perfectly only to have it all fail from one child not wishing to participate.

I wanted to intentionally document the imperfection amidst the perfection.

The reality behind the "picture perfect" photos|Meg Wallace|One Glass Slipper

The following series of pics is exactly that…watch how long it took to get ONE good photo…

The reality behind the "picture perfect" photos|Meg Wallace|One Glass Slipper

The goal was to get us all individually standing on a wooden post by ourselves in a specific order.
The reality behind the "picture perfect" photos|Meg Wallace|One Glass Slipper

Everyone was trying to help get the kids to stay on their post.The reality behind the "picture perfect" photos|Meg Wallace|One Glass Slipper

Instead, there were lots and lots of tears.The reality behind the "picture perfect" photos|Meg Wallace|One Glass Slipper

Total melt downs and loads of crying…and this was the very first spot we went to for the shoot! We were not off to a good start.
The reality behind the "picture perfect" photos|Meg Wallace|One Glass Slipper Nothing was working. The two little ones were so scared to stand on the posts and there was NO convincing them that the photo would take less than 10 seconds! It was just not going to happen.The reality behind the "picture perfect" photos|Meg Wallace|One Glass Slipper

We tried everything!!! I was getting frustrated, the kids were crying, Matt was ready to call the whole thing off! They were NOT having it!

And finally, finally, finally, we just gave up, changed the plan and daddy held the two that wouldn’t stand by themselves.

The reality behind the "picture perfect" photos|Meg Wallace|One Glass Slipper

Ahhhhhhhh….and here is our “perfect” photo! ta da!!!

It’s far enough away that you cannot see the red puffy eyes from the two youngest. But still close enough that you can see the attitude in Kai, who is on the far right. My perfect family.  🙂

We see images of lovely things constantly. We see it on every social media account, billboard and magazine. From homes, to hair, to bodies, to decor, to gardens, to table settings, to Christmas trees, to clothing, to children…beautiful images are everywhere.

And the resources available to be able to access those images abound even more. There is no avoiding it. And even if you find the courage to cancel your social media accounts or avoid certain blogs, it doesn’t stop the constant bombarding of images we perceive as perfect.

The reality behind the "picture perfect" photos|Meg Wallace|One Glass Slipper

The smoke bombs were making me cough and choke and my eyes were watering like crazy! That was the end of my carefully applied eye makeup!

Lovely things, lovely people, and lovely images are not the problem. I am no different than the girl who didn’t want to see my blog in that I often think the problem is “out there”.

Yet the reality is that the problem is my own heart when I allow myself to compare what I know is imperfect about me to what I perceive is perfect in someone else.  I then allow that perception to move me toward unhealthy despair or overwhelmed with desire…or both.

Perceived perfection often produces covetousness.

How often do I fail to remember that the images I see are often not reality for others either? The dissatisfaction that is born from a wrong perception of perfection in others moves me to wanting what I do not have. I then become angry that I do not have what I want and I fight in order to obtain it.

This is called covetousness.

I take things that are good and turn them into things that are evil. Choosing to view or not view those “perfect” images doesn’t change my root problem.

The problem is a root of coveting in my heart.

The reality behind the "picture perfect" photos|Meg Wallace|One Glass Slipper

How often do we see an image on social media and then attempt to adjust our lives to strive toward that image as a #goal or #lifegoal or #dream that we now have for ourselves? How often do we see a snap shot of someone else’s life and then wish we had theirs instead of ours? How often do we find ourselves wanting the things we see others have?

When we choose to measure ourselves by an arbitrary bar or some standard that we feel we need to attain to, it will always bring about one of two responses in our souls: pride (for the days when we feel we get it right) or despair (for the days when we feel like we’ve failed). And both are major pitfalls that take the focus off of the only One who IS perfect and puts the focus on ourselves who are the imperfect.

Perfect pictures do not equate to a perfect life. No matter how we dress it, fix it, paint it, or make it up. We are broken people, with broken stories, who have broken and imperfect lives.

Yet here’s the good new.  There is One who IS perfect and His name is Jesus. He humbled himself, becoming broken on our behalf that we might be healed from our brokenness and given His perfection.

He alone deserves the glory.

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Christmas Lights, Chinese Checkers & Crazy Kids

Often times, especially around this time of year, I get an idea in my head to create a meaningful moment or an amazing memory with my kids. When I get those ideas, the “dreamer” in me pictures only the perfection of it all. I always imagine the best case scenario, the ideal, the photo inspired moments, the ones people tweet and Facebook about.

On one particular day not too long ago I thought that building a fort in the living room and playing games together as a family would be an afternoon of pure bliss.

In my mind it plays out something like this….perfect tent from pinterest

I happily announce to the loving, delightful children my fantastic plan of play and they respond with joy and excitement and an eagerness to get started. The happy kids help me as we all float effortlessly around the living room working seamlessly together to build a beautiful Pinterist-inspired-teepee-fort-masterpiece, with glowing Christmas lights, lovely snacks and delicious drinks inside. My daughter and I are dressed like pretend princesses and the boys like young gentlemen as we settle in for hours of laughter and glorious play.

Uh…No….(que record screech…)

Would you like to know how this really played out???

Before I could even get out the introductory sentence, “Hey, kids, let’s all make a fort together!” I heard screams of delight coming out of a couple of kids mouths and instant whining, demands and unloving commands from others.

Some were thrilled and began making plans of how to execute their vision, and others were already mad about who they thought would get which blanket, which spot they would get to sit in once it was finished, and who would be the one picking the snacks.

As my children began to bicker and argue about the where and the how, I watched in horror as my entire living room become nothing short of a construction zone. Blankets and pillows were thrown about as they began to move couches, ottomans, tables, and lamps.

Before I knew it, every single piece of large fabric we owned was being taken out of every single storage space we have as the deconstruction of not only our living room, but much of the rest of our home, commenced. My chest began to tighten as I envisioned how many loads of laundry and how many hours it would take to clean up.

After the “fort” was finished it looked more like a homeless campground from a third world country than it did anything I’ve seen those “other moms” post about on their Facebook pages. Pictures of ours were certainly NOT going on Pinterest…in fact, I didn’t even think I wanted a photo at all!!! (Yet, here it is because I KNOW you’re dying to see it!)

tent making

I took a deep breath and we (4 in unmatched shorts and t-shirts and my daughter in her swimsuit) crawled inside anyway, trying to make the most with our thrown together snacks, collapsing fort, and saggy Christmas lights. I grabbed the game Chinese Checkers (did you ever play this game when you were little?) and ran through the brief overview, assuming it would be easy enough for them to learn as we went.

The following is my side of the dialog…

Okay its your turn, Corban

No, Corban, you can’t just take your piece and put it anywhere

Corban, you can’t move other’s pieces either

Okay, Corban, put your piece back where you had it

Corban, where’d your piece go?

Ok now, Corban, you can move here, here or here

Alright, so that’s good

Kai, its your turn

Corban, please stop kicking the board with your feet

Yes, Kate, you can have a snack

Okay, Kai, it’s your…

Yes, you may have more apple juice

No, Kai, you can’t move your piece there

You can move it here, here, or here…

Okay, Corban, you don’t want to play anymore?

Yes, Kate, it’ll be your turn in a sec

No, Kai, you can’t move your piece there

Kate, stop touching

Kai, stop yelling

What?! Corban?! You’re finished playing???

Okay…well I can’t play if Corban doesn’t so let’s take mine and Corban’s pieces off the board

Yes, Kai, I like how you did that

Kai, you can’t take those pieces off, those are the ones you and Kate are playing with

Kai, put those back

Kate, hang on…it’ll be your turn in a sec

Corban, stop falling into the tent

Kai, where’d that piece go…in your underwear??? Why is it in your underwear???

Okay, seriously…put that back and stop taking the pieces off the board

Corban, you need to decide if you’re going to stay IN or OUT of the tent

Yes, Kai, I’ll get you some apple juice. Just hang on…

Kate, it’s your turn…no you can’t jump there…you can’t go there either

Corban, you’re going to hurt your arm, please stop falling into the tent

Kai, you’re gonna have to decide where you’re sitting because you’re going to bump the board and the pieces will go everywhere

Kate, its not your turn anymore

Kai, its your turn. Yes, you can move there…

Oh hi, Corban, can you stop slamming the door into Kai’s head?

Yes, Corban, I can hear you! That’s right buddy, you’re SOOOO sneaky!

Yes, Kate, you can have another snack

Yes, Kai, of course I do. I like how you did that

Corban, stop picking the pieces off of the board with your toes

Corban, stop putting the pieces in between your toes

Yes, Kate, you can have a snack

Yes, Corban, you can have a snack

Kai, you turning around like that is going to bump the board, can you sit still?

Kai, where are you going?

Kate, where are you going?

Corban, where are you going?

(long pause….)

Why am I in this tent by myself???

Afternoon of bliss, right? Who am I kidding?! Seriously. Can anyone else relate?

My plan, how I wanted it to go, how I envisioned it playing out was not at all how it turned out. Not. one. bit.

I sat alone for a few minutes in that ugly tent with crushed up goldfish, spilled apple juice and rolling marbles at my feet. I knew right then that I could choose to make this event about me.  I could easily allow myself to be bothered, sad, or angry that things didn’t go how I wanted. I could choose to treat my children with contempt and frustration because they didn’t perform how I desired them to. I could even use their lack of proper response to justify my own poor attitude as I sulk about how it should have gone. And I could have made the ultimate issue about how poorly they participated and about how inconvenient this all was for me. Yet, if there’s one thing I know about that response is that it never ever results in love and unity.

If I allow the pursuit of perfection to become paramount the result will always be pain.

I have to be honest, though, I may be using this example from awhile back, but situations like this happen all of the time. No, really, ALL of the time. In small ways and in big ways my expectations are not met.
I can dream of the big stuff like a gloriously wonderful event like Christmas day with a picture perfect family, twinkling lights, candles aglow, and food that is ready and hot at the exact same time. I imagine no drama, no bickering and everyone carrying on and helping out like a well oiled piece of machinery.

thanksgiving table setting
Or I can dream of even the littlest things like the kids actually putting their shoes away where they are supposed to, or not fighting over the same exact one tiny car when there are literally a dozen of the same ones laying around, or simply saying “yes, mom” instead of whining when the answer is a no.

When my expectations of a dream world are not met, so often I respond in a way that puts me at the center of the story. And it is then that I realize these situations reveal far more about my own heart and than it does my kids’ shortcomings.

decorating the christmas tree

Could it be that the frustration I feel to the chaos, the mess and the imperfection is really my own resistance to the work that needs to be done in my own heart? Could it be that in these imperfect moments the one who needs to learn to see things differently is actually me, not my children? What if learning peace, patience, forgiveness and joy is what mattered more than how my tent looked, how my food tasted, or how my photos turned out?

Laying down my expectations to instead love and serve those around me is to consider others as more important than myself, which is the heart of Jesus. Choosing joy, peace, patience and forgiveness even when my dreams do not come true, is the work of Jesus. To pursue others, including my children, in kindness even when they are undeserved or oblviious reminds me of how I have been pursued when I am undeserved and oblivious, which is the grace of Jesus.

merry christmas chair

Entering into the pace, the demands and the hopes of this holiday season the focus must be on Jesus who is the only perfect one. There is freedom to decorate! To plan! To shop! To craft! And to enjoy my children, my family, our friends and this season to the fullest! But…..Pursuing the mirage of perfection is never to be the aim, Jesus is. A soft heart that welcomes the work that needs to be done in me first when (not if) things do not go as planned will be the greatest priority of this season.

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