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If you could believe me that the photo above came straight out of my camera without edits, you should. Because it's true. As I have been archiving away day in and day out, I have been slowly sifting through our summer vacation photos. And this is pretty much how the sunset looked every single night in Mexico.

I just completed archiving all our photos, videos have been taking a lot longer. The gems I have come across, I am seriously holding myself back from flooding the blog with old photos and video clips. But I will refrain since I think you're less interested than me and my mom in the kids' old baby photos. Looking back on footage has been more emotional for us than we expected. 

Recently there has been so much sickness and death all around our family and within our family. I feel strange not sharing a bit of it here. It's been a heavy week, no, more like a heavy month. It feels like we are constantly reminding each other that this is all temporary. Although that is true, we still grieve and mourn and wish for better days right now. The mundane things that are so routine include a dark cloud with them at the moment. But sunshine will come. Isn't that the saying, 'there's always sunshine after a storm'? Yes, that must be it. 

Hoping you all have a good weekend. I know today is only Thursday, but I think we all need to start the weekend a little early, mentally if by nothing else. 

{12}

I think you've been ready for twelve for awhile now. Bring it on 12. There's nothing we can't handle. You finished your first year of middle school and had the most joyful and wonderful time that I pinch myself to make sure it's reality. You have made friends so beautifully, and carefully chosen just the right group that makes you comfortable and excited all at the same time. I could not be more proud with how sixth grade went for you, and we all are looking forward to another school year. 

You've always loved school, never complain about going. But you also love summertime. You love life. We love the love you have for all things in life. You talk a mile a minute trying to get out all the thoughts floating around in your head. And you've learned the best way to get us to pay attention to your stories is to wait until you have our FULL attention, eye contact and no distractions around us. 

You love to experience new things, new adventures. There's a zest for life in you that I wish I had just a small portion of! You still love to collect things and carefully have them displayed in your room. 

One of the things I need to hold on to at your age is the way you say goodnight to me and daddy. There is never a night that you hold back a hug, a kiss, an "I love you" and a hold of the hand. I hope that never changes. You are so generous with your affection. 

Recently I've been loading old photos and video onto our computer and we have gotten the biggest laughs out of watching you, especially as a toddler. Yes, I love all of my children, but yes I will admit that there was no cuter toddler to ever exist. You take the cake. 

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

Exhibit C

Case Closed. Cutest toddler in all the land that ever lived. 

We are so excited to see you grow and mature and we get glimpses of who you are becoming each and every day. You are thoughtful and meditative. Sawyer, you are a joy to have as a son and we cannot imagine our family without you sandwiched between your brother and sister. You definitely are the cream in our Oreo cookie, even if your food allergies prevent you from eating an Oreo. 

Welcome to 12 baby!

Tackling Digital Organization with HP & HSN

This post is sponsored by HP. 

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that this summer I have undertaken a HUGE organizational goal for our family. One that I know will be worth it after the many hours of hard work involved. Many readers have asked that I share the process with them, along with any tips and tricks I have for this mammoth task. 

First things first: the GOAL

  • I desperately would like all of our photos and videos (vacation, births, childhood, school performances, all of them!) easily accessible in one location. Yes, I of course will have an external hard drive backup, but I don't want to have to lug it out every time I want to scroll through photos of 2007 or watch videos of our kids' first time at the zoo. 

That's a lot of footage...

Next: the ESSENTIALS

  • Space! This goal requires a lot of space. My 2016 video goal of a monthly family video has proven to be a huge space hog, and we are only half way through 2016. And if you haven't noticed I take a lot of photos. I've definitely slowed down as the kids have gotten older, but I still take more than the average amount of photos. 2 terabytes of storage is a requirement. 
  • Color. Design. Let's be honest here, I work much better when I'm excited about something. Vacuuming those floors is a whole lot more enjoyable when my vacuum is cute and easy to maneuver. Same goes for tech work in my book. If I'm working on a computer that makes me excited and dare I say will even color coordinate with me, win win. No longer is it necessary for laptops to be boring. Why shouldn't your laptop be fun and exciting? And stylish?!
  • Size. Through the years we have experimented with many different sized desktops and laptops. I've learned that my ideal laptop size for the work that I do and need to continue to do is 15 inches. 

Enter: the SOLUTION

  • When HSN reached out to tell me about a brand new launch with HP that checks off all of my essentials, I was all ears! Oh, and it comes in blue? Where do I sign? HSN is featuring as their Today's Special on July 24th the HP Notebook laptop that is helping me complete my mammoth digital goal, and dare I say it's super stylish. Archiving all of our digital media from the last 16 years (ok maybe 10 years because pre-2006 we didn't have a DSLR camera) has actually been enjoyable. The good news is you don't have to actually wait until Sunday, July 24th to purchase the laptop, they are offering pre-sales for them right now. 

A bonus to tuning in and watching the live launch on Sunday is that Brooke White and Summer Bellessa of the Girls with Glasses are hosting the show. I have admired these lifestyle bloggers for years and can't wait to see their styling tips and how they feature these new thin Notebooks. 

I will be sure to check in here with all of you on how I am progressing with this very ambitious goal. Good news, I am already done archiving 2011 through 2016. It is possible friends!