Simplifying

“It is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength.”

New Year’s 2016 my only goal was to simplify my life. I had found myself with a lot of anxiety and constantly stressed. I was learning to juggle life as a first time mom, running a photography business, keeping up with our home, trying to fulfill my responsibilities at church (teaching early morning seminary, for those of you that are lds), and searching for time to be a good wife. I was so overwhelmed and worn out that my sweet husband too often was left with my cranky attitude lashing out at him over nothing.

I have never been one that could handle a lot on her plate very well. Maybe some people think I have it all together, but, surprise! I don’t (or maybe it’s not a surprise, lol). As a photographer, I was very active on social media. My feeds were full of other photographers, female business owners & “mompreneurs”. They were inspiring and supporting one another in the spirit of community over competition – which the world totally needs more women empowering each other instead of cutting each other down. BUT. I constantly saw the word “hustle”. Good things come to those who hustle. She has that girl boss hustle. Last name hustle. First name always. Every day I’m hustlin’. Hustle. Hustle. Hustle!

Ok. I get it. You absolutely have to work hard to make your dreams come true. No doubt that is truth and a positive message to get across. Always striving for your best or better is a good thing.

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Though suddenly I hated the hustle. I was tired of being tired. I hated the pressure and mentality to do and be everything and be awesome at it all (as a mom and female in general). That if we are going 50 mph all the time with little sleep and functioning off of caffeine – that is a successful woman who gets a lot accomplished! A lot of women feel that and strive for it. And I’m not saying it doesn’t feel great to get 20 things done in one day – But I wanted some calm in my life. I was tired of getting caught up in comparison of others’ seemlingly “well-rounded” lives. Having my own photography business was always my dream, but then I had a baby and the hustle to stay on top of everything and keep clients happy and pampered and still be a present mom and wife on top of many other things was so overwhelming. I felt like I was half-assing so much in life. “The hustle” left me exhausted and cranky and was it worth it? Does life have to be so fast paced all of the time? I guess if you want it to be, sure.

My mom’s favorite quote is “less is more” and suddenly that rang so true to me. I wanted less. I wanted to simplify my life. I wanted to be present for my son and not be trying to work while he’s tugging at me for my attention. I wanted to have quality time with my husband and not be so busy and tired that he got my cranky leftovers. I wanted to not constantly have a looming cloud in my head of all the things I was behind on. And I wanted to slow down and take time for my well-being and for the well-being of my marriage, family, and home life – both physically and spiritually. 

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I took my 2016 goal to simplify seriously. After recognizing what mattered most to me, I shelved my photography business and quit booking. The extra income, though nice, was no longer a factor that mattered. We made things work and today I am home with my two babies having just them and this home life to worry about. I use the word “just” lightly there – Life is still hectic sometimes, that is expected – but I feel like I have more room to breathe. I can focus on my children. I can be present. Our marriage has grown SO much from time better spent together. And maybe it’s lame to some people, but I was actually able to have an amazingly successful vegetable garden last summer because there was time for it. We even still have homemade spaghetti sauce in our freezer because of the crazy amount of tomatoes we grew! (go back and see my garden post HERE)

You know, I don’t want this coming across as “you should quit your job to be happy”.  That is just one step I took since I was drowning in the hustle of my every day life. It was not healthy. A huge part of my seeking simplicity wasn’t just cutting out my business, but finally learning to say “no” – to others and myself. I don’t need a Pinterest perfect life. I don’t need (or want) something scheduled on my calendar every weekend. I didn’t have to say “yes” to everything. There were so many details of things that I stressed about being close to perfect that really didn’t matter at all! And other things like getting rid of Facebook (over a year strong!) and decluttering the house – like getting rid of SO MUCH STUFF! – actually really did a lot to help me. I even got rid of Instagram for a few months to really be able to focus and enjoy life without being so plugged in to what everyone else was up to. Less is more, folks. It really is.

Everybody handles stress loads differently. Some may even thrive in the frantic chaos. But today, although my to-do list is still long and aspirations many – and we have two kiddos instead of one – I am grateful for the room I have given myself over the last year to breathe. To be present with my babes and wonderful husband. And to live life more simply than I used to.

A constant reminder to myself: Who said you have to do it all? There is a time and season for everything.

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^^nothing like my sweet babes to make me happy^^

xoxo

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Happy 2016

So this is the New Year. 2016.

I successfully drank more soda in 2015 than in any other given year of my life. That is noteworthy for sure. I directly blame early morning seminary and my need to not be a total zombie and perhaps pretend to have a desire to keep up with photo editing and our laundry.

Jokes aside, 2015 was a good year. It was busy. Ups and downs were inevitable, but we grew and learned. We laughed and played. We stressed. We got overwhelmed. We traveled. We ate. We enjoyed. We worked. Overall – I believe we became better people from 2015. I am speaking for myself, but I think James would agree that he is right there with me.

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I think what makes 2015 so special to me is because it was our first full calendar year as parents. There is nothing more fulfilling and tiring than being a mom. And I love it. This past year I have definitely learned more patience (though I am still imperfect at this) and more selflessness (also, still needing a lot of work in this area) – – As a mom (and wife), life cannot be all about me. I often found myself very frustrated with everything I had on my plate: responsibilities, endless to-do’s, and worldy pressures to live up to. Looking back at the year, parenthood [and doing it well!] has me aiming for one main goal in 2016. Simplify.

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Nothing means more to me than my husband and this little dude. Teaching early morning seminary has me reflecting over and over again on God’s plan for us. It is all about family. We are here to learn and grow and one day make it back to our Heavenly Father. Family is central to that plan. Not only are we all part of God’s family, but if anything is going to teach me to be more Christlike and become more of the person God wants me to be…it’s being a wife and mother. Nothing is more trying and more rewarding – or more shaping.

So for my 2016 resolutions, I am only going to resolve to do one thing. Simplify. My mother’s coined phrase growing up was “less is more”. And when it comes to what I would like in my life right now, that hits the nail on the head. I will learn to say “no” more often so that I can be less stressed. I want to be the less cranky wife my husband deserves and the more present mother my kid needs. I want to focus more on what matters most.

I think if we all take a moment to filter through our life, we can sieve out a lot of unnecessary things that, in the end, will not be as important as we are making them out to be. Where is our time really going?

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To wrap up my New Year post, this verse has hit home to me as a perfect focus for my start on simplifying,

“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9

xoxo

 

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Fall 2015 | Pumpkin Patch

Now that we have a little person in the family, things like visiting the pumpkin patch are more fun! Jude enjoyed wandering around in the dirt, through fields of zinnias, and eating homemade strawberry ice cream from Washington Farms in Bogart, GA.

Here’s to fall!

pumpkin patch

 

pumpkin patch

pumpkin patch

pumpkin patch

pumpkin patch

pumpkin patch

pumpkin patch

pumpkin patch

Jude decided it was a good idea to put a handful of potting soil into his mouth. That kid…

pumpkin patch

pumpkin patch

pumpkin patch

pumpkin patch

pumpkin patch

pumpkin patch

pumpkin patch

pumpkin patch

pumpkin patch

pumpkin patch

pumpkin patch

xoxo

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Jude – First Birthday

Yep! Jude is about to be 15 months old – and I am finally deciding to post some pictures from his first birthday. I guess that just shows that motherhood + life keeps me busy, right?

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whitney gossling

His birthday was kept simple. He turned ONE, so he isn’t exactly going to care if he gets a big party with lots of presents or not. We got him a big gourmet cupcake and invited the grandparents over to watch him eat it with us. Is that a crazy celebration or what?

whitney gossling

whitney gossling

whitney gossling

He wasn’t a fan of his cute birthday hat at first, but I finally got a couple pictures with him wearing it. Thank you, Dainty Couture!

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whitney gossling

whitney gossling

whitney gossling

whitney gossling

It took a while to get much of a reaction from Jude. He just ate it – calm and collected. Eventually we did get some smiles and jibberish.

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whitney gossling

whitney gossling

Dainty Couture makes the most adorable personalized birthday hats!

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whitney gossling

whitney gossling

whitney gossling

At age one – Jude is very much like his daddy. He loves cars and outside! He understands what shoes mean and eagerly sits in my lap to get them on and then goes straight for the four wheeler or our horse. He cries when I bring him in from outside. He has no fear of animals, which can be good and bad. He makes car noises with his mouth while playing with his hotwheels. He is at the stage of getting into everything – pulling everything out of drawers and cupboards and putting it back in (in the wrong places of course!). Bathtime is always his favorite – or he has been known to walk into our showers and join us. He hates if I do not pay full attention to him if I am on my phone or ipad planning seminary lessons. I have to be PLAYING with him on the floor. He loves his blocks, books, and sitting in laps. The funny thing is – he turns around way ahead of time and backs into laps. Very cute! He is a sweetie – loves people and giving kisses. Every trip to the store, he makes friends because he has to smile and wave at literally everybody. He definitely has a funny personality and we adore everything about our little Judester.

xoxo

That Girl Whit | Whitney Gossling

 

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Growing Up

Whitney Gossling

 

My little baby is not so much of a baby anymore. He turned one at the beginning of this month. I can hardly believe it. He’s so grown! He walks. He jabbers all day. He plays & giggles. He pitches fits. He mimics us. And he has quite the little personality! I need to post pictures from his 1st birthday “celebration” – but for now, here is one from this morning.

I love him so.

 

xoxo

 

 

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Temple Square

James and I had the opportunity of visiting Utah this Spring – as in a few months ago now – and I’m finally taking the time to post some pictures from our trip. I’m so on-the-ball!

It worked out great that James had a business conference to attend in Salt Lake City (Domopalooza) and little Jude and I were able to tag along.

Jude did great in our flights. The flight attendants LOVED him! Who wouldn’t? : ) We stayed the first part of our trip in The Grand America which was super fancy & a fun experience. After the conference was over, we headed down to Provo and stayed there a couple nights to be closer to friends. Seeing some of our favorite faces and catching up was well overdue and much needed.

Temple Square

One afternoon, we made it to Temple Square in Salt Lake. Utah in spring is GORGEOUS, and Temple Square in the spring definitely tops the charts. I was obsessing over all of the tulips and mass amounts of flowers EVERYWHERE. It’s amazing really.

Temple Square

Temple Square

The hanging flower boxes along the walls were my favorite part. With bright happy poppies coming out the top!

Temple Square

Temple Square

Seeing as it was Jude’s first time to Utah and Temple Square, I had to document it well for him. It’s such a special place to us. Sure, he won’t remember it…but that’s what pictures are for!

Temple Sqaure

Temple Square

Temple Square

Temple Square

^ This photo is one of my favorites. ^

Temple Square

We made it into the old Tabernacle where we found a sister missionary who served in our ward in Georgia a few months prior! She is from the Philippines and was headed home the very next week. Such a sweet little coincidence to run into her there. She and her companion did the sound presentation in the Tabernacle so we could hear the pin drop. Incredible acoustics!

Temple Square

Temple Square

Temple Square

Even though it was spring, the wind and weather were still bitter cold. We had to stay bundled.

Temple Square

Temple Square

Temple Square

Seriously though…look at how many flowers!

Temple Square

Temple Square

Temple Square

When we were done being “tourists”, we stopped and ate at The Lion House for brunch. Warm homemade goodness!

Temple Square

Temple Square

^Fancy little way to keep things watered ^

Summer is now here – clearly, It’s the end of July – and we’ve been staying super busy. James just finished his summer term of school and finals this week. He’ll start up with an even heavier load in a week or so for Fall. Ugh! I’m just as ready for him to be done as he is. Still over a year to go though. Jude is walking and all over the place. His personality cracks us up & he continues to be a sweet and personable little guy. We enjoyed having my family in town this month as well – my mom, two sisters, and their kids all stayed at our house for about a week. Summer is winding down quickly – we have two more Gossling babies joining the family any day now (June and Shellie are very much about to pop!) and Jude is about to be ONE! Where has the year gone? August 6th.

xoxo

Whitney Gossling | That Girl Whit

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My Little Garden

This is the first spring that James and I have successfully planted a garden. In the past, we were in the middle of moves or I was pregnant. My potted tomatoes and peppers became neglected and sadly, there were little to no fruits of our “labors”. A lot of work has gone into creating plantable beds in our yard – a big thanks to my mom and dad who helped a ton when they came out last summer for Jude’s birth and blessing. It made this this year much less of a pain. Many hours have also been put in by James who leveled and built a 10×10 ft raised bed for our veggies this year. We’re starting small and hoping to expand in coming years.

I wanted to post some pictures so that I can bask in the satisfaction of seeing how things grow and change over time. Gardening really is very fulfilling. Each little plant has become almost like a child to me now.haha! I know what they are and I weed them and water them. Sounds dweeby – but true!

So, this is what the back of our house looked like back in the day before we ever moved in. The place was for sure a “fixer upper”. Of course, there was a lot of cosmetic things done to improve it before we moved in as well…but I post it because I like to see how far it’s all come.

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A snapshot from this last Memorial Day weekend…

 

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coralbells

The coral bells from my mother’s yard when she lived here in Georgia are doing way better this year than last. I also feel like the start of her hibiscus grows a foot a week. Also better than last year because it was confined to a pot.

house before

^ The only “before” shot I can find of the front/kind of the front of the house. ^

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I planted gladiolus bulbs and they have all come up. Three already bloomed and each in a different color. The deep purple is back by the kitchen window. They make me so happy!

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gladiolus

gladiolus

Some of my favorite little personalities of the yard…

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succulent pot

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Our veggies are doing well. I have some phone shots from while James was building…

raised bed

We literally filled it with the piles of manure/straw/sawdust from behind the stables. Perfect compost!

raised bed

garden veg

Everything has been sprouting up really well. We already have some bell peppers and yellow crook neck squash that will be ready for picking soon! I also have eight tomato plants, cucumbers, jalapeños, chives, onions, garlic, and some pumpkin plants that came out of nowhere (from the compost). Our spinach and cilantro pretty much already bit the dust. Live and learn.

peppers

James planted seven blueberry bushes and two raspberry vines behind the house. They are doing surprisingly well and going to give fruit this year. I have already picked a few juicy ripe raspberries and they are delicious.

blueberries

raspberries

I have my fresh herbs growing here and there. My favorite is my herb tower that James helped me put together with some rebar and pots. He also built the bed that it’s sitting in.

Phone shot when he was building it (and also some pics in this post) …

building bed

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Then our hydrangea there in the center got a disease and shriveled up! So sad. I planted some flowering vines and other herbs in its place and hope they fill in through he summer.

side bed

herbs

Love my herb tower! Basil. Parsley. Italian Oregano. Stevia. Dill. Lemon Thyme.

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We’ve got some random pumpkins sprouting again – and I decided to just leave them there. And more oregano, mojito mint, and chocolate mint in the bed. I doubled up on basil & thyme and have a large rosemary bush growing on the other side of the yard as well because those are my favies that I use most (and the basil in the tower is not doing so well).

A little throwback to when I was planting and Jude was in a sailor suit (James did not approve)…

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Those are all that I have on my computer right now. I’ll take more once the rainy and stormy days pass. Here’s to my little garden!

xoxo

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Winter Storm 2015

Whitney GosslingWhitney gossling

Whitney Gossling

Whitney Gossling

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Whitney Gossling

Whitney Gossling

It can’t be a winter in Georgia without some freezing rain. Our power was going in and out all night, and we woke up to heavy trees loaded with popsicled-pineneedles. The quiet of the morning was frequently interrupted by the crackle and thud of branches snapping under the weight.

The poor donkeys’ manes were icy and crispy this morning, but the goats were chowing down on fresh pine that had fallen in the night. Our horse spent the night in the stalls and was anxious to be let out.  Since we got her this last weekend, all she wants to do is eat grass. Her name is Bazinga, and we are smitten by her.

Whitney Gossling

She is older – about 20 years – and fully broken in and trained. We got her from a friend of a friend who needed a home that could help her gain weight. With all of the grass here, I don’t think it will be a problem. We like to take her on walks and she is so obedient. She really is the sweetest horse & is absolutely great with kids! I’m looking forward to riding her once the weather warms up.

Whitney Gossling

Luckily she gets along wonderfully with the other animals here as well.


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And in other news – this fat kid is six months old already! He is probably in my favorite stage yet. So happy. Sitting up. And just a sweetie all together. He’s so chill and pretty much only cries if he’s hungry or tired. We are blessed.

Whitney Gossling

Whitney Gossling

Whitney Gossling

 

xoxo

Whit

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James turns 25

I have not been a very good “journaler” (is that a word?) since a baby came into our life. Which, I will have a post coming soon dedicated specifically to our little dude. We love him so! Though sweet Jude is already 4months old. Time flies! And I have months of events to catch up on. I assume I will start with the most recent before it becomes old news.

This last Friday was my James’ birthday. He turned a quarter-of-a-century!

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I wanted to make it a special day for him because he has been super busy the last few months. He has made me one lucky and blessed wife being a husband as hard working as he is. …Going to school full time, working full time, and trying to start up a business on the side. Not to mention the time it takes being a parent now. Oh, and there are ALWAYS projects around here- with the animals, the land, or the house. He puts in many late hours on all of the above. How he functions on such little sleep blows my mind. Physically, I cannot do what he does. I would be a mess with his schedule – which is one reason I feel so lucky. James is amazing.

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I was sure to have some of James’ favorites to eat: filet mignon (any excuse to eat good – I’m all for!), shrimp cocktail, smoked gouda & brie with crackers (we are both obsessed with “cheese platters”) were some of the specialties I had. Usually James is easy and loves his favorite chocolate pudding pie for his birthday. This year, I decided to be fancy and make my first cake from scratch. I opted for a layered caramel cake. It started off great….but when it came to layering and frosting that bad boy… I am not shamed to admit that it may have been a bit of a disaster and took much longer than I thought. Regardless, it came out good. We just have a lot of cake leftover now because neither of us are big “cake” people. Turns out homemade caramel frosting is SUPPPERRR rich too.

Thankfully, our rad neighbors were up for coming over to help celebrate and eat cake! Having family next-door is a wonderful thing. The kids helped me “craft” some birthday decorations and cards earlier in the week as well. What a blessing that they have all been home together for the last couple weeks with a spunky little Grant & were able to come over. James and I also enjoyed getting to babysit them one night last week. Family time is so precious. June & Grant were back in the hospital the very next day – so it’s the little tender mercies of timing that are such blessings.

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I’ve already blabbed about him some, but I just feel so mushy gushy about James! He has been the sweetest husband to me – SO thoughtful and always full of surprises. Even though he may not think so, he is very patient with me because let’s be real – I can be a little cray-cray and emotional sometimes. But just SOMEtimes 😉

Now that I’ve seen James as a dad – It has been reconfirmed that he is the best thing that has ever happened to me (with a very close second being our sweet baby boy). My heart melts when I watch my two boys together. Of course, now some adorable pictures are to follow…

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….I have WAAAY too many daddy-son pictures. I’ll keep it at that for now. 🙂

And… just a throw back to the adorable boy I married…

 

 

Whitney + James Engagement from BP. Film & Photo on Vimeo.

Much love to my beloved husband and the happiest of birthdays!

xoxo

Whit

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