15
15

I get paid to take wedding photos. The wedding day is where it’s at. Your dress, the cake, flowers, flowers everywhere. All of it points to that day. And I get it. Weddings are important. Your wedding day is a big deal. But can I be honest for a minute? My favorite weddings, my favorite couples, are the ones that understand that the wedding day is the beginning of the journey, not the destination.

Today my Bride and I have been married 15 years. We knew we didn’t have a fat clue what marriage was about when we got married, but man, looking back on it now. We really did NOT have a fat clue was marriage is about. :) For us, so much of staying married has been about navigating the changing seasons of life. So take a little trip with me if you will… and let’s see what the past 15 years has thrown at us. (To all you newlyweds out there, this could be you by the year 2032.)

2002: Finally. After 4 years of begging and trickery and shenanigans, I tricked Danielle in to marrying me.


2003: This moment perfectly captures what this year was about.
So many things:
1. We have a kid. (What up, Joseph?)
2. That is our $10 dollar Christmas tree that he pulled down on himself. (We could not afford the $25 one. We still own that tree.)
3. VCR!!

2004: This is when we officially became a family.  When we were photographed on a beach in khakis and white.

2005: Another kid. True story.  I was FURIOUS that Sara would not look at the camera.  I ended up photoshopping her face to make the picture good.  Ever since then, this has been our favorite photo from that day.

2006: Snake Attack Day.  We bonded as a family and it was the beginning of so many inside jokes that continue to this day.

2007: Well it’s been 2 years, so here comes another baby. (Hi, Luke.)

2008: This is when the things started to get easier for us. (How could more kids make life easier?)  Well it started with Danielle and I both learning to trust each other more and lean into each other’s strengths.  Little by little, we had been figuring out how to parent and be married and run a business.  These are the days of costumes and laughter and kids putting their shoes on the wrong feet.

2009: Introducing Eli (Left) Like clockwork. (Hello, vasectomy.)

2010: We finally started to travel a bit and see the states.  Our trip out to Atlanta was one of our favorite vacations ever.  Little by little we were building a family history and it was pretty great.

2011: When you have a house full of humans, life is not always tidy and full of vacations.  Sometimes it’s just day after day after day of endless people, talking and needing and crying and watching tv, while the couch cushions come off. With changes of clothes on the floor, and promotional wedding products leaning against the wall. (You really should go check out Angela & Spencer’s wedding.)

2012: 10 years. (Just getting started.)

2013: Our favorite thing about having a pile of kids is they have friends and that leads to more kids.  Having 10-13 kids over on any given day is not uncommon, and those days fill our hearts.  They are exhausting and draining. But even now as some of those kids are driving and working and “growing up”, we already miss the lightsaber battles and nerf gun fights, the water balloon contests, and messy games that we’ve had over the years.


2014: Enough is enough. Our house was a great starter house, but we needed more space. (1,500 sq ft. fills up fast.) Time to pack up and move. So we did. We packed it all up and put our house on the market and started looking. We found all kinds of houses. Big houses with pools. Bigger houses with creeks. Medium houses with upstairs and downstairs. Houses with a bedroom for each kid. The possibilities were endless. And through it all we learned something. We didn’t need a bigger house. We liked only having 10 years left on our note. We moved back into our house and have never looked back. (Best decision we have ever made, and I’ll gladly talk your ear off about it if you are interested.)

2015: We were chosen as Family of the Day at the Magic Kingdom.  Mickey asked up to help him open the park. (I may hold this day in higher regard than our wedding day.)

2016: My favorite part of our kids is watching them grow up.  Seeing their personalities evolve and their opinions form.  We have loved getting to show them how beautiful and sad and messy and hopeful the world is at times.  Trips to the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, stories of refugees on YouTube, art galleries in Washington D.C.  Stretching their little minds has been the best part of parenting.

2017: Through all that chaos and life that you’ve just seen, think about this… Danielle has been homeschooling our kids.  Year after year after year after year after year after year with NO END IN SIGHT.  Seriously.  She’s got another TEN years to go before she is finished.  (And that’s assuming the 2009 procedure worked.)  Just like I’ve loved seeing my kids grow and stretch, my most favorite thing of all has been seeing my Bride grow and stretch over the years.

Weight, that sounds bad. Oh no… I mean… Anyway, you get the idea.

There is no way in the world back in 2002 I could have known who she was going to be today.

She gives when I think there is nothing in her left to give.
She teaches in a way that makes them curious to learn more.
She dreams big and pulls us all along for the ride.
She loves with a full heart that knows no limits.

I’m honored that she calls me her’s.
I’m amazed that she still chooses me.
I can’t imagine a better partner for this journey of marriage that we are on together.

Till death do us part.

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11 years of Snake Attack
11 years of Snake Attack

Snake Attack Day is upon us once more. It’s the time of year when we pull our loved ones in and hug them even tighter and remember just how precious life is. How danger lurks round every corner.

11 years ago while sitting at my desk working I heard Danielle let out a blood curdling scream.  Being someone who likes to document events I grabbed my camera and headed her way.  The following video is the result.

So now each year we celebrate our victory over the slithery beast.  We partake in gummy worms and crushed oreos to remind us of how close we came to defeat.  We tell tells of battles won against the serpents of yesteryear.  We share theses stories to remind the young that one day their time will come.  They will have a family and house of their own to defend.  And just when all hope seams lost they will think back on April 5,  2006 and remember how their father conquered the carnivorous reptile and protected his legacy and linage.

Happy Snake Attack Day everyone.

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Charity Water | Mini Sessions
Charity Water | Mini Sessions

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The past 5 years our family has gone on mission/humanitarian trips overseas. The thing with going to these places is that you always go intending to help someone and the reality is that you come back changed. Little by little, year by year, OUR hearts have changed. They have grown more and more open towards others and specifically towards those less fortunate.

One of the things we decided to do this year was not spend money heading “over there” but instead look for ways to help right from where we are. We’ve found ways to serve, give, and grow our hearts without having to take a plane ride. One of the ways we are doing that this year is by partnering with Charity Water.

Charity Water is an AMAZING organization that just celebrated 10 years. Every single dollar you give goes towards clean water. Not one penny goes towards payroll, paying rent, maintaining a website, or donuts for their break room.

To understand just how important water is watch either of these videos.

If you have 2 minutes, watch this one.

If you have 20 minutes and a box of kleenex watch this one.

So today is my birthday and I am turning 39. And here is what I’m asking you to do:

I’m asking you to give.

It’s that simple. I’m asking you to give a one time donation of 39 bucks. (That’s like buying two Blu-rays.)

39 bucks gives someone clean drinking water for 1 year.

39 bucks give a woman her dignity back.

39 bucks gives a young boy a chance to go to school.

39 bucks gives a young girl her future.

All of these things and so much more happen when people have access to clean water.

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It literally takes less than a minute to go online and give.

I’m convinced every single person reading this has 39 bucks they can spare.

Maybe you wait another month on that grill you’ve been eyeing.

Maybe you don’t buy those “essential” oils.

Maybe you don’t go out to eat this week.

Maybe you dip into that wedding account.
(Trust me, you can’t buy anything wedding related for 39 bucks, you ain’t gonna miss it.)

Maybe you are a college kid and your parents gave you a credit card.
Use that bad boy without even asking!!!! (I’m looking at you Beckie.)

I’m daring you to give.

I’m daring you to change a life.

I’m daring you to do the one thing this week you can look back on and be absolutely sure it was the best thing you could have done with 39 bucks.

Go give. I dare you. https://donate.charitywater.org/alexm/best-birthday-ever

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Oh yeah… about those mini sessions…

Anyone who donates $150 bucks or more gets a mini session. You can’t beat that.
(Once you donate, send me a copy of your receipt and you’ll be signed up.)
Donate here: https://donate.charitywater.org/alexm/best-birthday-ever

You get amazing photos of you and your people…

5 people get clean water because you decided to get your picture taken.

Mini Session locations & dates:
Austin: October 8th
Dallas: October 15th
Tyler: October 16th

One more thing…
My beautiful bride has a birthday coming up 2 days from now. All of you people who are always telling me how amazing and how wonderful she is… this is your chance to let her know that… by donating 74 dollars.

Nothing would fill her heart more to see this campaign reach our goal of $5,000 bucks.

Give 39 bucks. Change a life. It’s that simple.

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Why did Sara shave her head?
Why did Sara shave her head?

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The story of Sara’s recent haircut actually starts back when she was 7. When I would take the boys outside for their haircuts, I would often ask Sara if she wanted me to buzz her’s as well. She never really went for it. (Surprise)

From time to time through the years, I would bring it up and ask her if she would shave her head for 100 bucks. Again, no. How about 500? Nope.

Fast forward to earlier this month, when it hit me. I knew what magic carrot I could dangle in front of her. Back in 2013, Sara saved up her money to go on a cruise and LOVED it. She’s been wanting to go back ever since. :)

“Sara, I’ll make you a deal: If you shave your head, I’ll take you on a cruise.”

Her eyes lit up. I had her.

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She spent the next few days thinking about it. Should she do it? Would she like it? Would she regret it? Would people think she was a boy? She made a list of pros and cons which included items like “faster showers”.

We also encouraged her to talk to other people and get their advice.

After doing all this, she was pretty set on moving forward. But still was not 100%.

The last time Danielle and I talked to her the conversation went something like this:

Danielle: So what are you thinking?
Sara: I really, really want to do it but every time I think about what other people will say, I get nervous.
Danielle: (Silence)
Sara: But that’s not really a good reason not to do something. Is it?

What Sara didn’t not know is that right then and there I would have taken her on that cruise.

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You see, the point was not for her to cut her hair. The point was for her to be willing to try something different. Something unconventional. Something that might make her feel left out. Think back to when you were in 11 years old. 5th grade. When all you wanted to do was NOT stand out. Danielle and I wanted to push her towards her strengths.

I know Sara is strong. I know she is fearless. I know she is a leader.

But I also know those muscles need to be stretched. They need to be worked.

I wanted her to learn at this younger age that she decides who she is. And start living it out now. It’s only hair. She is still herself.

She is not defined by a haircut.

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Sara will spend the next 10 years learning and discovering who she is, but that journey should be built on the foundation of confidence in herself and her identity.

The sooner she learns and grasps that, the better off she will be.

It’s a concept we all need to learn.

You are not defined by a haircut.
You are not defined by how pretty your wedding is.
You are not defined by a job.
You are not defined by how well your kids behave.
You are not defined by your GPA.
You are not defined by how many likes you get. (Follow me on Instagram here.)
You are not defined by how big your house is.
You are not defined by if your newborn sleeps through the night.
You are not defined by a ring.

You have value and worth regardless of what your circumstances or what others may say about you.

This idea is one that I need to be reminded of daily. And it’s a truth that Danielle and I want Sara to lock onto as early in life as possible. Even if that means I need to take her on a cruise.

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Snake Attack Day (10 Year Anniversary)
Snake Attack Day (10 Year Anniversary)

It’s that time of year again, as we flip the calendar and look towards April and all things spring, it’s the time of year when our little house celebrates one of our favorite holidays.  I’m talking of course about Snake Attack Day.

10 years ago while sitting at my desk working I heard Danielle let out a blood curdling scream.  Being someone who likes to document events I grabbed my camera and headed her way.  The following video is the result.

So now each year we celebrate our victory over the slithery beast.  We partake in gummy worms and crushed oreos to remind us of how close we came to defeat.  We tell tells of battles won against the serpents of yesteryear.  We share theses stories to remind the young that one day their time will come.  They will have a family and house of their own to defend.  And just when all hope seams lost they will think back on April 5,  2006 and remember how their father conquered the carnivorous reptile and protected his legacy and linage.

Happy Snake Attack Day everyone.

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