on growing girls

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 last weekend the girls and i headed out on our own for a little photo shoot inspired by the clothing my little jules sent us – no boys allowed!

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 we have a nearby park that has a great big playground and a huge grassy field, but the best part is along the (now dry) creek, with the trail ways and bridges.

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 the best part about this photo shoot was that the girls planned out all the shots themselves.  i just let them play and pose.  it was really fun for me to not only see their personalities come through the pictures, but to also be surprised by them.  just when i think i know them best, they surprise me with serious expressions or grown-up poses.

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 without telling them to smile or not, they kept doing these sweet gentle looks, small smiles and serious eyes.

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 this girl has been my hardest child to figure out yet.  just a year ago we used to battle daily.  our personalities are just so similar and that unfortunately pushed us apart rather than bound us together.

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 but this last year has been full of maturity, i think for the both of us!  i used to think that as a parent i would have to stick to my guns and stay consistent.  in ways, thats true, but i’ve learned that i also need to be willing to change and adjust and maybe not be so hard- headed about not so important issues.

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now i get more snuggles and affection from lily than any of the other kids!  she seems to be more connected with me than ever and honestly, i just can’t get enough of it.  just a year ago i thought that we’d never have the bond i longed for.  i love how motherhood can surprise me!

lily has a heart of service for our family, whether its cooking for us all, packing lunches for school, or helping her brother pick out his clothes.  she gets joy out of helping others.

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 and these 2 together?  they are hot or cold.  why are siblings like this?!  thankfully, this day was filled with sugary sweetness between the 2 of them.

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 so.  i have an 11-year old now.  ohmygoshhowdidthathappen?  and i am so blessed because she is wonderful.  like really truly wonderful.  she has a heart for others and creativity that doesn’t quit.  you can hear her belly laugh from far away and it is absolutely contagious!

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 but 11 is coming with its challenges.  not that we’re being challenged, but the decisions are challenging.  and the changes are challenging.

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 some of these challenges were apparent to me while i was choosing an outfit  from my little jules for gracie.  in every way, i want her to still be a little girl.  i want her to stay young to keep her from the harder things growing up brings.  i want her to stay tiny and have friendships that don’t hurt.

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so what does this have to do with ordering clothes?  i wanted to get all the cute ruffly skirts and tops with layers and bows.  all the things that make her look like a little girl.

but we recently had a talk about her not being a little girl anymore.  actually, she had to inform me of that change.  because honestly, i couldn’t see it.  i could only see her as a little girl who was trying to be bigger than i was ready for her to be.  but really, she already is a bigger girl.  a young lady.  a young lady that i was holding back from the stage God has designed for her to be in.  to explore independence a bit more and to gently test boundaries a bit more to see where she fits now.

mothering is hard, but i’m seeing now that growing up can be, too.  and i don’t want it to be hard, i want it to be wonderful.

gracie’s outfit represents that change to me.  its not a little girl outfit.  she looks older in it, but not like a teenager.  the butterfly sleeves have a sweet young look, but the skirt looks like a big girl skirt.

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 i want these 2 very different personalities to be each others’ favorites.  i want their love for each other to be stronger than any other friendship they have.

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 i want their differences to draw them together, to teach them to rely on each other.

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  as one moves into a new stage and leaves the other behind, i don’t want the connection to be lost, but strengthened.

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 i have been saying lately how fun it is to have big kids!  emily just wrote a beautiful, encouraging post about this.

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 going on outings is so much more fun, so much less stress.  we can go to the park and i can sit and watch them, rather than hover by their side.  we can go to the beach and i can enjoy them playing in the water rather than panic about their getting swept up by a wave.  now when that happens i get to watch them tumble, pop up, and laugh at themselves!

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 a great part of having a sister just 2 1/2 years apart form you?  sharing clothes!  gracie borrowed lily’s ruffly lace shorts and lily changed to a new outfit.

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 somehow we managed to get the playground to ourselves!

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 if this top were bigger, i’d borrow it from lily!  she should share, right?  after all, i loaned her my necklace, so its only fair ;)

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 because taking pictures is hard work, the girls were rewarded in ice cream.  because thats how i pay for things.  in ice cream.

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 those blue eyes just don’t quit!

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 i mean, really.

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 and for a little fun, here are my favorite outtakes!  they crack me up!

outfit details:

outfit #1 on lily: soft lace ruffly skirt – my little jules \\ denim top – target \\  necklace – borrowed from me \\  head wrap – my little jules

outfit #1 on grace: top – my little jules \\  skirt – my little jules \\  necklace – my little jules

outfit #2 on lily: top – my little jules \\  necklace – borrowed from me \\  shorts – target \\  head wrap – my little jules

outfit #2 on grace: top – my little jules \\  necklace – my little jules \\  shorts – my little jules

a note on the clothes:  each item i received from my little jules was extremely high, boutique quality!  when we’re not receiving hand-me-downs, i tend to shop lower end for my kids.  but these clothes have a quality you can feel in the fabric and the stitching that you just don;t get with cheaper clothes.  these are going to last and hold up well!  also, gracie’s clothes were all size 10 and lily’s were size 8.  sizing can be tricky for my girls, but these sizes were perfect!  also, the selection is huge!  when you check them out, be sure to also take a look at their sale section – the prices there are amazing!

my little jules has a $5 fist customer discount (with code Welcome) and free shipping on $79+ anywhere in the US and Canada!  also, they have offered one of you a $100 gift card!  see raffle copter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Comments

  1. 1

    This is so sweet. I ADORE those pictures. Your girls will love those as they grow. Thank you for being honest, too, because this parenting thing is so awesome when our kids are wearing what we want them to wear and doing what we want them to do and saying what we want them to say – but I don’t think that’s really what I want my kids to be like. I want them to be THEMSELVES and that will mean I sometimes have to change my parenting to fit.

    I was just talking to a good friend about how my mothering has surprised me at times. Like I didn’t expect myself to be so comfortable talking about puberty with my boys, or relaxed about our routine, or how much I enjoy the kids at this age too (I thought I was only a toddler/preschool age girl) – but the more I get in to this and the older they get, some of those things just don’t matter as much as I originally thought.

    This is a novel. Sorry. One more thought.

    I think we are both in the ‘sweet spot’ of kids with their ages. Out of the constantly demanding baby/toddler stage, before the challenging teen years. Makes me all the more thankful and wanting to just enjoy where we are! It’s fun and hard, this mothering. Grateful to have friends near and far to go through it with together :)

  2. 3

    Cute photos!

    Liz @ http://www.shoppingmycloset.com

  3. 4
    Yasmin Bennett says:

    Thank you for posting this! I have been struggling with this with my 11 year old. She doesn’t want to dress like a little girl, but I’m not ready to let her dress like a teenager either. It’s nice to see that I’m not the only one dealing with this change and it’s also reassuring to see that you didn’t give in 100%, you found a nice, happy middle ground. Thank you Lindsey!

  4. 5

    Beautiful girls linds!

  5. 6

    You girls are so beautiful!! Little models in the making! lol! I love the expressions on their faces in these pictures. The outfits are adorable too!

    My little one is only 15months old… I’m definitely not looking forward to the little girl into a lady talks. haha!!

    http://www.artworkbyjm.com/

  6. 7

    Great pictures of your precious girls…their personalities shine through. You’ve inspired me to take more family pictures!

  7. 8

    Such sweet pictures of your girls!

    This was such an encouragement to me as well…..my little girl is 5 1/2 going on 25 and we are very much alike as well…..maybe there is light at the end of this!!! ;)

  8. 9

    Where is that park in slo? It looks so awesome!

  9. 10

    what a beautiful post…. both your girls look so much like you!!!

  10. 11

    okay, wait.
    WHO TOLD THEM TO GROW UP?
    Not okay.

    However, STUNNING.

    Also, I cannot tell you how happy it makes me to hear how your relationship with L has changed. I struggle to connect with my own Lu (mostly because we are exactly the same), but it’s getting better as she’s getting older. Glad there’s more room!

  11. 12
    Lee Ann says:

    What gorgeous photos! Your oldest looks just like you, and the younger one resembles your husband. I know how you feel about your girls growing up way too fast; I have 2 daughters who are now 21 and 16. I just don’t know when and how that happened! They are totally opposite in every way-personalities, looks, styles. They can be the best of friends or complete enemies. But they will be there for each other no matter what.

  12. 13

    Your little girls are absolutely adorable! Not to mention those clothes! I remember having the same “I’m a big girl and can’t wear ruffles anymore” conversation with my mom years ago. I can’t wait to watch my own little girl grow up right before my eyes!

  13. 14

    Your girls are beautiful. Raising girls is hard. I have a fourteen year old girl and a ten year old boy. Enjoy these sweet years! Your girls will treasure these pictures. They should recreate them when the first one of them gets married!

    Jenni

  14. 15

    ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS!

  15. 16

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  16. 17

    Oh my – this one made me tear up! They cannot grow up – My kids have already and I cherish all my nieces and nephews in their little kid form!!! Love these two to pieces!! They truly are amazing :) Love, Aunt Pretty

  17. 18

    I absolutely loved this blog post! Your girls are gorgeous, natural beauties who seem to be perfectly at home in front of the camera! The clothes are soooo cute – I love all of these outfits! I especially loved reading about your perspective on how they’re growing and changing. Such a lovely post :)

  18. 19

    This design iis steller! You obviously know how to keep a reader entertained.
    Between ypur wwit and your videos, I waas almost moved to start my oown blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Excellent job.

    I really loved what you had to say, and mre than that, how you ppresented it.
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