christmas 2017 {a video}

A merry little Christmas, indeed.


holidays with hutch

He came quickly.
He brought peace.
His every move is admired by the three of us.
During the most wonderful time of the year, he brings even more wonder.

His baby blue eyes focusing on the lights...
His soft, tiny hands grasping the blankets and sweaters...
Little breaths against my skin...
Sweet, sleepy faces in the light of the fireplace...
Awe and wonder as sister laughs and sings...
Oblivious and unaware of his first Christmas.

But, oh, how aware I am that he came for me.
To slow down.
To cherish.
To be thankful.
To be in love.

His smiles,
his hands,
his noises,
are all I need this Christmas.


welcome, hutch steven {a video}

Hutch Steven Crews
October 19, 2017
7lbs 14oz
20in long

Almost a month has passed and I'm still unable to put Hutch's birth story into words. 
I remember the same thing happening with Emmerson (post here),
and it wasn't until a year later that I could fully express the emotions of her birth (posts here & here.)

This pregnancy was so, so difficult on me physically and mentally.
This labor and delivery was the hardest, most painful experience of my life.
I knew though, in the middle of all my pain, this sweet boy would bring a peaceful season of "pause."
And he most certainly has.

Hutch is the sweetest, most content little gentleman baby.
Every day he captures my weary heart with his strawberry blonde hair, blue eyes, and baby tiger noises.

Welcome to our world, Baby Hutch.
You are so loved.


dear emmerson,

Dear Emmerson,
You are days (minutes? hours?) away from becoming a big sister.
This will be a crazy transition for all of us, but for some reason, I think you'll excel quicker than your Mama.

As an older sister to a younger brother, I know the opportunity you'll have to teach him everything you know.
I pray you show him the importance of ending the day snuggling on the couch.
That you enjoy showing him (and sharing!) all your favorite toys and movies.
I hope he gets your humor (that you obviously got from me...okay, okay...your Daddy.)
And I can't wait to listen to the two of you giggling together.
I know you'll fight and bicker, but I pray at the end of the day you realize what a blessing you've been given in him.
I hope you show him how you find the joy in the little things.
Like suckers, planes, and bridges.
I know you will teach him things that probably aren't true, just remember...he will one day probably be bigger than you and remember those times. (From one big sister to another.)

From experience, I know that you'll learn just as much from him as well. (It may take a few years, but you'll get it.)
I pray you look up to him, despite him being younger than you.
I know you will confide in each other on a level different than you will with us, your mom and dad, and I pray God uses those bonds you'll grow.
I hope he teaches you the tough lessons (like when you're dating a loser and you won't hear it from anyone else.)
He's not always the "annoying little brother," listen to him.
Because of who his Daddy is, I know he'll protect you, pick on you, aggravate, and love you so,so well.
I pray you see the perfect example of the man of God you deserve through their lives.

Hutch Steven will be the perfect addition to our little family.
I hope you always know our love won't be taken away from you to give to him.
(You've always had the biggest heart, something tells me it'll expand just as our's will.)

Emmerson Marie, I love you.
I love your brain and your thoughts.
I love your voice and your words.
I love your laugh and cries.
I love your straight brown hair all the way down to your sparkly-blue painted toes.
Thank you for making me a Mama and Hutch a brother.
We are blessed by your small and mighty presence.



my summer with emmerson {a video}

Knowing this was the last summer with Emmerson before baby boy arrives, 
I wanted to be intentional with how we spent our days.
I made all of kinds of plans and activities, getting us out of the house at least once a day...

Did they all happen?
(We can thank baby boy for that!)

But, we still found the "happy" in those normal days at home.
(Plus, she DID fly to Costa Rica and Florida, so it wasn't a total waste of summer!)

What a sweet, sweet last summer with our family of three.


words for after-baby lauren...

Love yourself.
Right now.

Your body has changed tremendously.
Give yourself grace.
You are the exact mama Hutch needs.
Your love for Emmerson has not faded.
She knows you love her still.

Love yourself.
Right now.

Husband loves you so much.
You're beautiful to him, right now.
Your physical appearance can change, when you're ready.
Don't push it.
You are worth more than what you see in the mirror and hear in your mind.

Love yourself.
Right now.

Take your time.
Hutch is new to this world, Mama.
Give him grace, too.
Embrace the mess and see the joy.
Thank God, even when you don't want to.

Love yourself.
Right now.

Who you are is more than the fog you're in.

Love yourself.
Right now.


when facebook steals your joy

Joy has been my desire for years.
I yearn for true joy.
I search for true joy.

I receive it...
then it's stolen.

By the Facebook post that makes me jealous...
By the words of someone else that cut me deep...
By my only-human husband...
By my innocent toddler...
By the mirror...

Where is my joy being stored that it's so easily stolen?

Why do I keep putting it back into the hands of the one that has no regard for it?

This week in particular has been hard.
I broke down talking to Husband.
I broke down talking to my Mama.
I broke down talking to my sister.

Where's my joy?
While I'm throwing up almost daily...
Where's my joy?
When I'm spending more time lying down than playing with my daughter...
Where's my joy?
When I'm already battling the familiar feelings of post-pardum depression...while pregnant...

I've mistakenly placed my joy in the wrong hands.
I gave it to Husband to protect.
I gave it to my daughter guard.
I gave it to my business to provide.
I gave it to social media to determine.
I gave it to my friends to hold.

But I realized...
Placing my joy anywhere but in Christ's hands is giving it directly to the enemy.

Husband loves me most, but still disappoints.
Emmerson is a toddler.
My business will rise and fall.
Social media can be manipulated.
My friends can unknowingly hurt with their words.

I cannot gain my truths or find true joy in those hands.
His words have to become my truth.

"Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and joy are in his dwelling place."
1 Chronicles 16:27

If I want to dwell with Him, then I must dwell in strength and joy.
The best part is, I don't have to rely on myself for strength.
(I can't, I've tried.)

"...Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength."
Nehemiah 8:10

His joy is my strength.
He is everlasting joy, therefore, I have everlasting strength.
Only He can turn my sorrows into joy and my mourning into celebration. (Esther 9:22)
Not Husband.
Not family.
Not my career.
Not social media.
Not even well-meaning friends.

The problem is, I have to allow Him.
I have to give Him my burdens in exchange for His peace and His joy.
Husband can only take away so much of my hurt before it no longer helps.
The enemy loves to remind me of my failures and short-comings.
Leaving my joy in those hands is ridiculous.
Yet, I do it everyday.

I wake up and place my joy in my appearance
(which is ever-changing in pregnancy and does nothing but magnify the existing insecurities.)
When that doesn't work,  I place my joy in my family.
and so on...
and so on...
and so on...
and so by the end of the day I'm left weak and robbed of true joy.

I've not yet mastered this.
Not even close.
But my prayer is to become more aware of where I'm placing my joy.
A place where it cannot be stolen.


let's do lunch...and probably dessert

Most people like to go out for coffee with friends to catch up.
I, however, detest coffee and would much rather bond over some enchiladas and queso dip.

So let's pretend.

We just sat down, ordered our drinks, and before we take the first bite of chips and salsa, you ask me...

"So, how are you?"

I laugh.
Because the answer to that question is so not wrapped neatly with a bow.

"I'm a mess."

Followed by a sigh and slight smile.


On February 14, my life started to twirl around me in hurricane worthy speeds.
The night before, I launched my business.
The baby I had been carrying around for years...
The dream that I had worked tirelessly to bring into reality...
Was finally, finally live and launched to the world.

We had a wonderful, overwhelming outpour of support at my launch party.
Church family came to visit and Facebook Live allowed out of state family and friends to be a part of it as well.

So much awesome.
So much amazing.

But I was sick, sick, sick.
The week leading up to my launch, I swore I was dying (or pregnant...)

I actually took a pregnancy test a few days before my launch.
I just knew I was...
I had all the signs.
But it was negative, and as soon as I saw the results, the old familiar feelings of our previous infertility struggle resurfaced.
Sweet Husband was quick to combat those lies and spoke truth over me, as he so wonderfully does.

I chalked it up to stress leading up to my business launch and went about my day.

Day after the launch, I woke up feeling worse.
I figured a morning at the walk-in would be the most romantic Valentine's date ever, so we went.
When the doctor called me back and asked about my symptoms, something in me wanted to ask for a pregnancy test.
I don't know why, because I literally took one 2 days earlier and the results were negative.
Against my better judgment (knowing I was just asking for heartache) I told him I could be pregnant and would like to be tested.

Taking the test, I kept telling myself...
"You're not pregnant. Don't get your hopes up."
Waiting for the results, sitting in the chair, hitting myself on my leg...
"You're not pregnant. Don't get your hopes up."
I was pleading for God to take away the hopes that had built up in me.
Begging Him to soften the blow when the doctor came in with the negative news.

The words that followed the knock on the door still ring in my ears...

"Mrs. Crews, congratulations! You're pregnant!"

"Shut up."

I told this sweet, old man doctor to shut up.

I couldn't believe it.
I had him check again, and again.

My mind swirled.
Brandon was waiting in the car.
How do I tell him?
It's Valentine's Day!
I need help.

So I texted my sis-in-law, who immediately called me screaming, and we tried to come up with a plan.

Long story short, I couldn't wait much longer than the ride home to tell him the news.
On my phone, I keep a running list of shirt ideas for my business.
He'd seen this list before, so it wasn't out of the norm for me to ask him to look it over.

I watched as his lips read over each idea and landed on the last one.
His face seemed to have read "wait, what?" and he looked up at me with tears in his eyes.



It was the sweetest reaction, quickly followed by...
"But I thought you took one Saturday..."
"I did!"
"I know!" 

Needless to say, we were shocked.
Still am, quite honestly.

New business.
Baby in my belly.
And I was (am) still so very sick.

I have not been able to shake my sickness though, in fact it's getting worse.
(Morning sickness being the least of my worries.)

Last week, I finally got into my general physicians office and we starting running tests to see what's going on.
Today I did some blood work and hope to get those results quickly so we can start on the path to recovery.

The doctor has thrown some scary words out there...
preeclampsia, thyroid issues, anemia...
But I know everything will be okay.

My only prayer for this week is to be seen by my OB.
That my test results will put enough urgency in things so I can ultimately go in and see my baby bean.
I just know that will calm this Mama's heart.


I'm well aware that that lunch conversation would have taken awhile and we've probably moved on to dessert.

I hope I got a strawberry milkshake...


the elle crews story

 God is always teaching me lessons.
Most of which revolve around waiting.

"I want to not be teaching."
 "I want to work in design."
"I want a baby!"
"I want to be a stay-at-home Mama."
"Never mind, I don't want to be a stay-at-home Mama."
"I want to start my own business."


The time has (almost) come and I am so excited...
(and nervous and scared and thrilled and kind-of-want-to-pass-out.)


elle crews was born out of a desire to put something out into the world and a passion for art.

I loved teaching. 
I went to bed every night, dreaming of what else I could be doing.

A while back, Husband challenged me to write down my favorite things.
My passions, hobbies, talents, etc.
I did.
And then I stared at the paper.
"Okay, God. What can I do with this?"

Over the next few months, I caught glimpses of my "dream" business.
Through Husband's nudges and encouragement,
(and God's confirmation)
elle crews was born and my dream was becoming a reality.

elle crews is a print shop.
Using a combination of my handwriting and custom fonts, 
I will be creating shirts, blank-inside cards, and wall art.

I have spent hours finalizing my designs.
Gaining influence from my every day life.
Making sure it all looks just.right.
I can't wait to share with you guys.

My products are almost finished.
My website is ready to go live.
My dream is about to come true.

(Special shout-out to my girl, Sarah for creating my logos. For some reason I could do everything but write my name!)


birthday at the amazeum! {a video}

Down the road a bit is an awesome place called the Amazeum.
We had never been before, but heard raving reviews.
It's a museum full of hands-on science, art, and super-cool-awesome sections.

We had so much fun exploring with our girl for her birthday.

She loved the lights and peg wall.

She was terrified of the slide at first...then proceeded to do it 20x in a row.
(Once her Daddy showed her it wasn't scary.)

The log cabin and farm were right up her (and my) alley.

But I think she had the most fun in the mini Walmart.
(Bentonville, AR is where all the Walmart magic was born.)
It was the cutest thing to see her walk around and fill up her basket.
She carefully "scanned" each item and placed them on the conveyor belt like a pro!

(So we at least know she's got a future at grocery stores!)

It was a sweet, special afternoon, celebrating our little girl.


emmerson is two!

This girl.

My heart has never been more consumed by a little person.

She, as I've said a million times before, feels all her feelings so big.
She most definitely gets that from her Mama, (so, prayers for sweet Husband.)
She knows how to work a crowd.
She's most comfortable in small settings where all eyes are on her.
(That's from her Daddy.)

She wants you to smile and she'll fake laugh like nobody's business.
But I live for those genuine smiles and giggles.

If there's an animal or baby near her (real or fake) it's getting a hug.
She has so much love and nurturing in that little heart of hers.

She's known for her dance moves and obsessions with certain songs.

We didn't think she'd ever start talking!
She seemed just fine with her grunts and growls.
(Which she still does.)
But one day she decided she had something to say and it's been so fun to hear her little voice.
She loves to randomly point at objects and people, saying their names and looking to us to make sure she's right.
And she's pleased as punch when she gets it right.

She took note of how we called the dogs (patting our legs and saying "come here") and now she does the same to get us to follow her.
("Mere. Mere. Mama. Dada. Mere.")

She always has a bear or stuffed animal of some sort tucked under one arm.
And when she sees something she likes, she makes sure to turn her bear around so he can see it too.

She begs for things by repeating the same word over and over.
("Tookies? Tookies?)
Then gives the most hilarious "oh!" face and sound when you finally give in.
(Like it wasn't her idea to begin with..."Cookies?! Great idea, Mom!")

About a week ago, she decided she was ready to be potty trained!
(I, however, am not ready and have been dragging my feet a little.)

She's a girly girl that doesn't like to get dirty.
Slimy, messy foods are her worst nightmares.
And despite our best efforts, she's become a pretty picky eater.

She is so polite.
Almost everything handed to her is received with the sweetest "tank you!"

I've given her two small trims at home and she'd be wearing pig tails everyday for the rest of her life if I had any say in the matter.

She's content to play alone for a few minutes, but would much rather have someone right there with her.
(I only mind sometimes, like when I have to-do lists a mile long...but even then, not nearly as important!)

These are just a few "Emmerson-ism" that make me (and Husband) fall into puddles daily.
To say our lives changed two years ago would be an understatement. 
She challenges me daily.
She loves me unconditionally.
(Even when I know I don't deserve it.)

Sweet Emmerson Marie,
Happy Birthday, baby.