Tag Archives: Love

Big Sister Love


Having siblings is definitely a gift.  There is nothing quite like having another human in the world that comes from who and where you do.  No one in the world could possibly understand things in quite the same way or share your world view the way a sibling does. For me, I won the sibling lotto with my BigSister, Anita. She is ten years older than me which made for a unique bond for us, one that became stronger as time passed and our age difference became less significant.  I was only 8 years old when she moved out of our family home and started college. I remember sitting in her room the day after she moved out and crying, my mom came in and she was teary eyed too.  I just knew that I would miss her, I could not have possibly understood the emotions my mom was feeling at the time, but I knew that something was now missing and it was sad.

As the years passed my BigSister continued to be awesome in every way. Always making  a point to celebrate me in any and every way that she could. A ten year age difference meant that she was older and wiser and crossed every bridge before I even knew they existed. What a challenge for her to witness someone she loved so much making so many of the same mistakes that she might have made and/or making all new ones that she could most certainly have helped me avoid. She definitely shared her wisdom with me, but she did so knowing our shared inherent stubbornness would mean I would be choosing to disregard good solid advice in order to learn my lessons my own way aka THE HARD WAY! She accepted this dynamic with grace and just chose to make sure I knew that she was always available for listening and love no matter how things unfolded. Having unconditional love in ones life from even just one person is the ultimate gift and I most certainly have it with my sister.

This past year my life unraveled in a multitude of ways and in times like that, your support system becomes your lifeline and your gratitude for your tribe starts to become the most important driving emotion.  It’s reassuring to know that you must have done some things right thus far if you can have everything fall apart and still know that you are loved and taken care of by those that you were blessed to be blood related too and also those that you have chosen to keep in your life. I am so fortunate to not only have all the incredible aspects of sisterhood in Anita, but also the gift of friendship.

Mothering a toddler is hard work, mothering a toddler whilst 9 months pregnant is VERY hard work, mothering a newborn whilst recovering from a c-section and mothering a toddler is INSANELY hard work…. Thanks to my sister, I only had to tackle two of those three on my own.

Some times the greatest gifts in life aren’t things that can be wrapped up and tied with a bow, they look more like, love, loyalty and TIME. My sister, without me asking or expressing need decided that I needed her and she was right. She set her life aside, her job, her husband, her home and her holiday season to be there for me for the birth of Holden and for the first month of his life.  A month that included the birth of my second son, the 2nd birthday of my first son and all things Christmas! This month would have been crazy intense even without the birth of Holden but it whizzed by with so much more ease than would have ever been possible without her help!


Help doesn’t really even begin to cover it, but here are just some of the things that she handled for me while she was here, many of which had nothing to do with just helping with the babies but also helping me to get my life and home together!


Helped to organize years worth of baby clothes, installed a hanging rack, helped me get ready for my hospital stay, was there for the birth of Holden, stayed with me for the entirety of my hospital stay helping me with pain management, diapering and feedings, installed car seats, drove me home from the hospital, chauffeured me to all of mine and the babies appointments for the month and anywhere else I needed or wanted to go, grocery shopped, cleaned house, cooked, did laundry, stayed up and helped with 16 hours of consecutive hourly feedings which helped us keep Holden from being admitted to the hospital for jaundice, woke up with Harvey in the mornings and gave him his morning bottle and fed him breakfast while I either slept or nursed Holden, middle of the night/morning diaper changes and baby delivery for nursing sessions, cooked every meal, retrieved polar pops and any other cravings I might have had (Christmas Tree Cakes, Starbucks, Publix coffee cake etc…), helped me give Holden his first bath, helped me purge excess stuff around the house, organized my pantry for me as well as my linen closet and kitchen cabinets (no small feat!), wrapped ALL of my Christmas presents for me, helped me give Harvey a happy birthday and Christmas, changed out batteries and repeatedly repaired broken toddler toys, gave Harvey his baths and got him up from and down into his crib and in and out of his car seat every day since I wasn’t allowed to even pick him up, made me freezer meals before she left so that I wouldn’t starve, she got me a new grill and had Chris assemble it for me and an outdoor storage chest for Harvey’s toys so that I can spend more time outside with Harvey and Holden while getting dinners made, helped me figure out how to get my double stroller up and moving, made sure I was hydrated and fed which I certainly wouldn’t have been able to keep up with on my own, updated friends and family when I was too tired to get to it myself, helped me get two boys through the Santa line, found a staple at the mall for a last minute repair of Harvey’s birthday crown, helped me to get a live Christmas tree into the house and decorated, took out the trash and recycling, helped me shoot a newborn photo session of Holden, listened with an open heart and mind to all of my feelings as they came up (of which there were many!), wiped my tears when they came and gave me pep talks at every turn.


This barely scratches the surface but you can get the idea. She served as my partner in every way and helped me enjoy and cherish one of the most special times in my life. Without her there it would have been easy to slip into a sad and lonely place and instead I was lifted up and supported and allowed to enjoy every moment.

Watching my sons get to bond with and fall in love with my sister was such a sweet experience and I know that this time spent together has created a magical connection between us all. These boys are so lucky to be so loved by such an incredible Aunt.  She champions them and loves them with an intensity that rivals mine and that my friends is what its all about.


There will never be enough words to truly express my intense gratitude for this sweet gift. I am eternally grateful and know that while I will try I will never truly be able to repay her for such an incredible offering but, in the end, thats the best part. No repayment is needed and I know that. This was a selfless act done solely out of unconditional love for her sister. My heart is full and I am as lucky as anyone can be to have someone as wonderful as Anita as my BigSister.

Here’s a quick recap of our CRAZY but INCREDIBLE December together!

Thank You Sister. I love you.


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“We love him”

I found myself choked up this morning whilst reading this blog post by Handsfreemama, shared on Facebook by Rebecca of the simple as that blog.  If you aren’t already you MUST follow both of these lovely ladies’ blogs if you are a parent, artsy, crafty, into photography (even if it’s just with your iphone!) or if you just like to be inspired by others.  These ladies continually do a great job at inspiring and motivating me.  I suggest every one at the very least read the blog post “Six Words You Should Say Today” which is the one I read this morning.

I now have a son, his name is Harvey (or “Don Harvey” depending on who you ask!) and he has shifted my world in an amazing way.  Not only mine but my entire family’s as well!  When I read this post I immediately started to think of him and of how I will interact with him with regards to his activities in the future. I don’t know what he will like to do, maybe it will be sports, or instruments, or chess or working on cars like his dad?  It really doesn’t matter though, I imagine I will think that whatever he is into is the coolest and, here come those magic words, I WILL “love to watch him ____________”. I can’t possibly imagine not saying it outloud, but I can also totally see how such a simplistic phrase might fall to the wayside in lieu of lengthier and thus seemingly more sincere commentary.  I hope that my eyes are now opened to the beauty of allowing ones self to keep it simple, to not drown ones thoughts and intentions with unnecessary words.

After my trip into the future with my own son, I then allowed myself to travel back in time to the hundreds of soccer games and practices that my own parents were a part of and tried to remember the types of conversations we use to have with regards to my playing.  I don’t remember the exact words, but I can say that my memory of their involvement relays to me that they did in fact LOVE to watch me play.  The rest is irrelevant and they got their point across regardless of how they might have phrased it because I have no doubt if I were to ask them now or if I had asked them then, they would happily admit to how much they loved to watch me play.

There is something seriously magical about making your own parents into grandparents.  It’s a gift that can’t be measured and one that my parents have embraced with arms open wider than I could have possibly imagined, it’s so wonderful to watch their eyes light up at the sparkle in 3 month old Harvey’s deep blue eyes.  I once again glimpse at the future and see all of us thinking to ourselves just how much we love to watch him play, sing, dance, cook, jump, explore and discover this amazing world we live in. Now I just hope that we will all remember to say it out loud.  I will feel quite accomplished if that practice becomes a part of my sweet boys life in such a way that he lives without hesitation in expressing his joy in witnessing the lives of those he loves.

I do know that I love watching those that I love falling in love with my boy, it makes my heart sing.  And whether my mom, Harvey’s grandma, knows that shes doing it or not, she sends me a text after every time she watches him that simply says “We love him”.  It makes my heart swell with pride and puts a smile on my face every time.

Make a point today to tell someone how you feel and keep it simple with those six little words, “I love to watch you ________”


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We made it through our first year!


Papered Heart Photography

One year.
12 months.
52 weeks.
365 days.
8,760 hours.
525,600 minutes.
31,536,000 seconds.

That is how long/how much you have been my husband. We are us. We have made it. I have made a promise to never underestimate how difficult this commitment we have made is. I have promised myself to each year, quantify in this way, just how long/how much you and I have been us, Mr. and Mrs. Ernst. Seeing the years, months, days, moments, seconds add up makes my heart swell with pride. I chose to allow your love to fill my life and my heart and whilst that makes me happy and content so much of the time, I knew going in to this that this was never going to be easy. Not by any fault of our own necessarily but because of the world, society, people that we will meet or have met that will influence us in one way or another, raw deals and lost dreams that we will have to let go of, money, air, wrenches and who knows what else… Easy or not, we are in this together, for better or worse, such easy words to say, so much more difficult to live them, I’m proud of us for doing so.


Papered Heart Photography

We are of a generation that is fickle, that runs away from the scary shit. I promised myself and you that I would not runaway from the scary shit in our marriage. That in and of itself IS SCARY! But, I meant it, I will mean it. I may write this “review” some years and mostly hate you! But, I will love you, I will forget and forgive, I will smile and laugh, I will let go and move on, I will go crazy and find sanity, I will want to quit and join the majority and I will overcome and subscribe, once again, to the minority. I am yours, you are mine. It will not be easy. It will down right suck at times. I knew that going in. I knew that when I sat in the corner eating two bites of a fish-filet pushing you away to no avail that I had completely jumped into the abyss that is us.

I am still falling and still smiling.

I will avoid painting walls with you ever again! But I will count on your sharp scissors to cut through me when I’m resisting and pushing the most. I will obsess and stress and reassess and come right back to… I love you. Even when I hate you. Mostly.

I will get jealous, I will worry, I will cry, we will experience loss in many ways, but we will see our way through it. I will grow old with you, which means that there is so much that will occur, that the seconds, minutes, days, weeks, months, years will just keep stacking up to remind me just how sure I was/am that this is love, this is us.

You have been “mine” for just shy of 3 years, our “Jump Day” is November 14th, 2010. But this year, this year has been one of a kind, there will only be one first year of marriage and I’m so happy that I got to experience mine with my bestfriend, the one that will give me shit when I deserve it and who will hold me tight when my world is shaken. The man that will give me a hug when I ask for one, even after I’ve torn him to shreds and my face is puffy and my eyes are filled with tears of worry and frustration.

Thank you for this truly magnificent first year. A year filled with ups and downs, with humility, bravery, blind trust and most importantly love.

Thank you for being my husband. Thank you for your love. I am still the most beautiful I have ever been inside and out through your eyes.

I won’t give up on us, I love you.

Happy anniversary My Husband, The Don.

Still Smiling. Still Falling.
Forever yours,
Your Wife,

Jen Ernst

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