December 7, 2015

We had some family pictures done this fall.  I should clarify, not full family photos, but mostly of the kids.  A certain member of our family who hates pictures, ahem Chad, showed up in his work suit (though an always prepared wife brought him clothes!) and didn’t want to be in any pictures!  Regardless, the pictures of the kids turned out beautifully!

Take a look…

And just to keep it real,

This is really what taking family pictures is like.  Am I right, Moms?  Sweaty, frazzled, singing, clapping hands, making bribes…NOT the angelic images that appear.  **And no, I did not drop Cal here, we were trying to get a good picture of me with both kids and he laid down to get away from me so I threw up my hands in surrender, all the while holding our 30lb Elena.  Ha!

Speaking of perfect images, Christmas can be a difficult time of comparison, portrayals of beautiful Christmas trees, children in matching pjs, and perfect togetherness.  I try very hard not to portray our life any different than what it truly is.  We are not perfect parents.  We don’t have perfect kids.  Our house is often in shambles.  I am often

in shambles.  Our life is far from perfect.  
On Sunday, our minister was giving a sermon on this very fact.  Something he said really stuck with me, that we often compare our private life with others’ public lives.  I mean how true is this??!  Beneath the images of our perfectly posed kids, our lives really look like the photo above.  But we think we are alone because we only see the outer shiny images of those around us.  I have my own rule when I become tempted to compare my life to that of someone’s I see on social media:  those who portray their lives to be the MOST perfect and happy, are the ones I pray for the most.  Because I sense that just beyond that ideal photo, is a hurt/insecurity that they feel the need to cover.  

So, in an effort not to fool any of you….I can’t even tell you how exhausted I was after all the effort it took to get even just a few shots of smiles.  (Our photographer, Annie, FOR SURE thinks we are nuts!)  This holiday season, instead of wishing my house was beautifully decorated for Christmas or that my life was somehow more perfect, I think I’ll be happy being a sweaty, frazzled, on-the-verge of losing my mind, kind of Mom.  And you all can laugh when you receive our “Hinton Family Bliss” Christmas card! 🙂

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This is Elena. Our Light. You can see all the goodness and joy that shines from those deep blue eyes. She loves sneezes, yawns, industrial toilet flushes, automatic paper towel dispensers and The Star Spangled Banner. Music is her everything, specifically Moana, Frozen (really all Disney), Queen & Taylor Swift. Nothing makes her squeal quite like swimming, fast boat rides and her two brothers in trouble. In addition to her megawatt smile, Elena reminds us to cherish the smallest of victories, to live in the present, and to daily dwell in a posture of gratitude for every breath and every blessing.  

More About Our Story

I’m Emmalee, an ordinary gal born and raised in the Heartland. Wife to Chad, and Mom to Elena, Calvin & Turner, I spend most my days ridin’ dirty (literally so much trash) in my minivan carting kids to and fro. When I’m not being a Momager, I excel at self-care, cooking gourmet meals my kids won’t eat and deep-diving all the feelings. Most days, my attitude is gratitude, just taking life one step at a time.

Emmalee & Elena

Meet The Gals