Anna's First Day of School - 2015

I finally took some "back-to-school" photos for my sweet miss Anna. It was just in our front yard and it was five days late, but hey, better late than never, right? 

When I look at these photos I'm reminded of how fleeting these days are. It's her last year of preschool. One short year from now, she will be leaving me ALL day, EVERY day for kindergarten. Where did the time go? I think my favorite part of the photos is seeing Anna's joy and confidence in herself. She's not wondering if her hair is in place or if her stomach is poking out or if a body part looks "fat". I'm thrilled to say that I'm not sure if Anna knows what the word "fat" even means. It's just not a part of her vocabulary. Anna isn't worried about the brand name of her shirt or if she has shoes just like Suzie. Although she does have VERY distinct opinions about color choices...she is a designer-in-training, after all...

One of my favorite things to ask Anna is "How did you get so beautiful?" And she answers back, "God made me this way!" She thinks it's funny and wonders why I always ask her the same question. I just love that she doesn't answer with a physical attribute; instead, she answers with an intrinsic God-given value. I pray that as she gets older and she is faced with mixed messages from our culture about body image that she will continue to see her own beauty. I pray that she will understand with a greater depth that her worth comes from her identity in Christ. 

Here's a little tip for all you mamas who want those amazing back-to-school, Halloween, birthday and Christmas photos: don't take the photos on the ACTUAL day. I know, I know, in this instagram-crazed, share-right-now, has-to-be-100%-authentic world we live in, it may seem like a big no-no. But I'm here to tell you that you will end up with BETTER photos and have the ability to actually experience all those moments with your loved ones instead of having a camera stuck in front of your face. Your kids will also be more relaxed and be more photogenic when you aren't acting like their next meal depends on the quality of the smile they deliver. 

So my favorite Halloween photos of my kids? Yup, taken a week before Halloween last year. Favorite Christmas photos? Taken in early December after we had decorated the Christmas tree. Do I still take my camera out on Christmas morning? Of course. But I don't feel the pressure of nailing the perfect shot when I know I have already documented the kids in the weeks prior, leading up to the actual holiday. 

Same goes for the first day of school. It was a crazy morning. And if I'm being honest, a tad stressful. I'm so glad I didn't attempt a full blown photo shoot that morning. The pictures would not have turned out well and it would have put unnecessary pressure on Anna. So we did it five days later. And no one is the wiser for it, well of course my sweet blog readers : )