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I’ve been reading this blog called Young House Love for a couple of years now. I can’t remember which friend introduced me, though, because it seemed like half of the female population at work read it.

YHL is like The Godfather of DIY blogs. They chronicle their journey of renovating their home (they’re now in their second) and doing just about all of it on their own and on a budget. It is so inspiring, which could get me into trouble because I do not have an ounce of handy in my body and have to remind myself often.

And that is why we bought a move in ready home. For everyone’s safety and sanity.

But the blog isn’t just on home projects. There is also plenty about their pooch and their adorable little girl, too, as well as some creative project ideas. Seriously, they’re handy and creative.

One of the projects I’ve loved since the first time I saw it was their weekly photo project of their little girl. I knew this was one thing I wanted to do someday. And someday has arrived! We’re a bit (ok it could be mostly me) obsessed with taking photos of our little man, so I’ll use any excuse to take even more.

But honestly, I am so glad we are doing it because he changes so much some weeks! I look forward to our date each Wednesday, to see what kind of faces we’ll capture that week and then to see how the final photo turns out in the end. Like YHL did at their daughter’s first birthday, I also look forward to Aiden’s first birthday and all 52 photos being on display and showing off his growth and adorable personality… and to doing it for each birthday after. Just kidding. Kind of. Maybe. I might have a problem. My brother commented on Week 13 on facebook “I just feel sorry for Aiden when the little circle starts saying ‘1,345 Weeks'” to which I replied, “Uncle Ahron, don’t be silly… we switch to months after he’s a year old.” Another great idea from YHL.

Anyway, back to the project. It seems like YHL is great about thoroughly thinking things through before tackling something, so I appreciate how they put that thought process into words on their blog. It’s great for people like me, who are not great at thinking things through, so we can avoid making a mistake or so we don’t catch ourselves halfway through saying “gosh, why didn’t I think of that before!”

With this photo project, they had holidays and life events in mind when planning out each week’s shoot.  The holidays are pretty easy to spot in their photos (I love how they changed the circle when appropriate, too, which is why I did a star for The Fourth and hope to do a pumpkin for Halloween), but what I love is Week 30. What a way to remember a significant moment in their life! And it was because of this photo that I even thought to do Aiden’s Week 10 the way I did. And so far it’s my favorite. It’s not my favorite specifically of Aiden, but it’s my favorite week because it was such a big week for us. And the look on Jeff’s face when he saw the setup was priceless, too.

So thanks to YHL for all their inspiration and for giving me a gift. I doubt I would have thought to even chronicle Aiden’s growth, much less in such a fun and creative way, if they kept all their good ideas to themselves. I am confident these 52 photos will be among my most prized possessions.

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Well we are at three and a half months. We have surpassed the 100 day mark. Each day Aiden smiles more and more. And each day brings more anticipation for what new thing he will do next.

Sunday is the most interested he has ever been in touching and feeling a toy. And yesterday he grunted at the kitty hanging from his play mat for minutes on end in what, I assume, was an attempt to make it play music. I’m going to have to break the kid’s heart by telling him that no, he does not have The Force, and that he is actually going to have to reach up there and spin the ball in the kitty’s paws in order for the music to play. Bless his little heart.

But it is so neat to see him starting to associate things and put them together. It seems he’s also starting to realize that he has things (his arms and hands) that can bring things (our hands and fingers) to his mouth so he can chew. At this point it is all random, but it is exciting to watch him discover and to see things starting to click for him.

I love that what can be the simplest things to us bring him such happiness, like seeing “the baby” in the mirror. Sometimes “the mommy” is in the mirror, too. If I had to pick one favorite activity to do with him these days, it would be lying with him on the floor looking in the mirror. He definitely smiles the most during this type of play, and his joy is so contagious. And while I know it will be a long time before he puts it together that the baby in the mirror is actually him, I swear he is on to the mommy in the mirror. There are times when he grins and grins at the mommy and then he looks at me and back at the mirror as if to say “How are you lying beside me and up there in that mirror?”

And do you know what makes a mommy smile? Any of these adorable moments caught on camera, both still and video. I took Aiden’s three-month photos just a couple of days after he turned three months, but I’ve been sitting on them because we sent several to the grandparents for Grandparents’ Day. Now that they’ve all received their gifts, it’s no longer a surprise, and so I am excited to let these out! I can not believe how much he has grown already, and the three-month picture of him in the basket compared to his newborn picture really shows it off. Also, there are many more three-month photos (of course) over at Portray Photo if you just can’t get enough of this cutey! It’s worth the trek over alone just for the extra Mickey photos…

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVdUxF-gwmA&feature=youtu.be]

Newborn

Three Months

Last week we finally saw Jeff’s book on a bookshelf. Almost one month to the date from when it released. Having been in the music business for five years, I thought I knew a thing or two about street dates. But let me tell you… the book industry is almost nothing like the music industry. It is so hard to sit and wait and wait… and wait and wait to hear numbers. It could be sixty days before we get an idea of how well the book has done. That just seems plain crazy to me.

Anyway, all that aside, it is encouraging to hear how more and more people are finding it on bookshelves and that some stores are carrying more than what they initially did. And we also know that the second printing has been done and orders are coming out of that. So there is still lots to be encouraged about! Plus, there are the tons and tons of encouraging words from so many people!

So I think we’ll do it again. And by we I mean Jeff. And by think I mean will. The second week Jeff’s book was out, he signed a contract for his second book! So look out world, he ain’t going away! I am so proud. Jeff has always been a writer. And he was already a published author, but now that there is a second book on the way, he’s like an author ya’ll! And that also means I will get another photo published – that’s what happens when you’re married to a photographer (insert mischievous grin here). But that’s not what it’s about… he’s writing a second book!

There’s been a lot of dreaming going on in just these almost six years in Nashville. And even before that, too. I dreamed about working in the Christian music business, so I packed up and moved here, very naively I found out, after I got my job. I had no idea how competitive the job market was or that there were sooo many colleges just in the area, not to mention across the country, that had entire schools dedicated specifically to music business! And yet here came little ol’ me with her general business administration degree and no music industry experience, and by the divine planning of God and His ordering of my steps, six months after I moved to Nashville I sat down at a desk in the very company I had walked into over a year before while praying they’d just look at my resume (that’s not how it works, by the way).

And while that chapter of my life is now closed and, in the moment, it was hard to do what felt like walking away from a dream… I am now living a dream we had always talked about as if it were a “when” instead of an “if,” even though most times I wondered to myself if we could ever really pull it off. And even when I had the highest of hopes, I never thought the when would be as soon as our first was born. And so I don’t look at this summer as giving up on a dream, but jumping from one to the next. And I am so thankful my feet never had to touch the ground. I do not know why I am counted worthy.

And then of course we can go back to this book business. I always knew Jeff dreamed of writing a book, so I was surprised a couple of years ago when he said he didn’t know what his dream was. I told him I knew what it was – to write a book. Sometimes we get so busy or we can get so discouraged that we can lose sight of our dream. Or sometimes they change, and there is nothing wrong with that. I don’t know what it was for Jeff, but he jumped right back in and, not even a year later, he had his first book deal. And it is one heck of a good book too!

I am so glad that Aiden will grow up in a home where his parents can say that they had a dream come true. Dreams don’t have to be career oriented – they can be about anything. These were just the recent ones to us that stick out in our minds the most. And I want to make sure they are celebrated so we never forget and so that we can always remember the Lord’s faithfulness and goodness. An Ebenezer if you will. I am so thankful that Aiden will have a father that he will see daily live and work for his dreams so that Aiden will be encouraged to dream and to imagine. The kid will have no shortage of imagination if he takes after the Goins men, and he will also see no shortage of dreaming if he just looks to his daddy.

I think it so cool that Aiden was here to see Jeff’s dream realized. He was here when the book released, and he was here to celebrate with us and all of our friends. And he was here when we finally saw it on the shelf. At weeks old he was in the midst of seeing dreams, big life-long dreams, reazlied and hard work paying off. I hope his whole life we can encourage and cheer him on to do the same. Yes, I want him to have some sense of realistic expections and to know things are not simply handed to you. I know not every dream comes true. After all, I never became a backup dancer for *NSYNC. But I do not want him to be afraid to dream and to reach for the stars. I do not want him to underestimate himself, and I hope that we, as his parents, with the help of a whole lot of prayer and discernment, can help keep him grounded while still being his biggest fans.

Aiden turned 10 weeks the same day the book released. We got creative with his weekly photo to help remember the week.

Outtake from the 10-Week shoot.

Surprise “Wrecked” launch party Wednesday night.

Complete with “Wrecked” cupcakes.

When you have a 10-week old, it’s not always easy to get out. So you make things.

Surprise!

Just a handful of our great friends.

We have the best friends!

The man of the hour.

August 1st, 2012

Spotted August 30th, 2012!!

Barnes & Noble!!

Daddy and Aiden

The first of many family photos in a bookstore.