Before 8am {Amy}

“Life is an adventure, and there is no script. I see something in ordinary moments. I believe that perfection comes not when you are dressed perfectly and wearing lipstick – but in little moments and interactions that make up our days and build and sustain our relationships. Let me show you the beauty in your unscripted moments…”  – Karen Jacot Photography

On a normal weekday morning, we are out the door by 6:15am {and my husband by 4:30am}, so I doubted that would really work for Karen. Plus, I feel like we are always in a crazy rush in the morning, and I hardly wanted a pictorial of the three-headed monster that is me getting us out the door. Just being real. Instead, I asked Karen to come on a weekend to capture the moments that I absolutely look forward to — quality time with my sweet girl.


The night before Karen came, I called an audible, and decided that I wasn’t about to sacrifice a day of beautiful weather to wrangle my less than agreeable toddler at her ‘Mommy & Me’ gymnastics class  — after all, beautiful weather in Houston is not a common occurrence, and I was pretty sure the zoo was calling our name. So, when Tate left around 6am to prep for his staff meeting, I figured I’d get a leg up on laundry and whatnot to get us out the door at a reasonable time.


My morning beauty routine {Can I even call it that? Probably not.} is pretty much low-maintenance. A good teeth brushing, a little bit of bronzer, mascara, and lipgloss does the trick. And if I’m lucky, I straighten my hair a bit. Note to self :: find more time to make yourself look presentable on a regular basis. {And yes, there are stripes EVERYWHERE in my house. Not sure how that happened.}


Time to pick out an outfit for my bug. I generally try to dress her in layers — and in comfortable and fun versions of adult-style clothing. No offense, but crazy embellishments and screen printing of phrases like “Mommy’s Little Star” are so not my forte. Now a star tunic and Minnetonkas? I’ll take it! I would L.O.V.E. to design my own line of kids’ clothing one day {one can dream, right?}.


Cooking is not exactly my idea of a “fun” activity on a Saturday morning {dirty dishes kind of give me anxiety}, but something that my husband and I both feel strongly about is making sure that our daughter is fed nutritious and balanced meals, alas, the cooking must commence. Caroline is pretty content with scrambled eggs and berries, so that is what you’ll find on today’s menu — and fortunately for me, this meal requires very few culinary skills, and the clean-up is minimal.


Now THIS, this, is one of my favorite parts of the day. On this particular morning, Caroline was so groggy. And she was a little unsure of Karen taking pictures of her as soon as she woke up. Usually, as soon as I walk in her room she hits the ground running — “Time to get up, Mommy.” But today, she was quite comfy and happy to be snuggled in her bed.


I don’t think I could love her any more than I already do. Parenting Caroline — especially at this age — has been such a test…but a test I’d gladly take 1000x over in order to be her mom. She really is the best.


We are in the throes of potty-training at the moment…always fun. Fortunately, she’s pretty well got the hang of it at this point. Oh, and God forbid she goes to the bathroom without at least one stuffed animal.


…and there ya go, pit stop to pick up yet another friend on our way downstairs. Not sure how she stands all those animals in her bed, but she does. And she’ll let you know if any of them are missing. Ay yi yi.


As soon as we get downstairs, Caroline decides that it is potty-time once again…mostly because she wants to play in the sink. Typical.


Messy hair, don’t care.


I’ve never encountered a toddler more concerned with NOT getting dirty. I realize that this is definitely a blessing, but we have also endured epic meltdowns as a result of her dropping food on her clothes. This morning, she didn’t want her sleeves to get eggs on them. Whatever you say, dear.


Sometimes I feel like such a “yes-man”, but as a working mom, I feel like all too often I can also be a bit of a Debbie Downer and am always having to say “no”…so while it’s completely unnecessary {she was literally bathed 5 minutes before she went to sleep} and probably going to set our schedule back a few minutes, I can hardly say no to Caroline wanting a bath. Plus, it’s way easier to brush her teeth when she’s confined to the tub.


There’s something about this picture that I love. It’s just so peaceful.


This girl loves to be tickled. Seriously. All. day. long. And I totally don’t mind because her laugh is perfect — and hilarious.


No doubt, relaying a bit of really important information to me. Or just being silly.


…and we’re almost ready to go!


Being a “little Mommy”, while I get the rest of our stuff together for the day. Aside from showing Karen her baby, I’m pretty sure she also displayed her trampoline skills, and mauled her giant stuffed teddy. Kids are so funny. Always showing off all of their “stuff”.


Wagon’s loaded up, and we are off on our adventure for the day.

Our house isn’t perfectly appointed with high priced furnishings, most of our walls are pretty bare, and I’m definitely not making any fashion statements, but we love…and we love well. This is our life, this is our before 8am.

For more pictures and a peek into Karen’s perspective of the shoot, be sure to check out her blog post. And don’t forget to check out the rest of the posts within this amazing series as well!

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Amy S
Amy was born and raised in Northern California before moving to the Houston area in 2003. Amy has a degree in Corporate and Organizational Communication from the University of Houston - where she met her husband Tate, a former football player for the Cougars and current CrossFit gym owner. Amy and Tate enjoyed their first year of marriage as Inner-Loopers before moving out to the suburbs to start a family. Caroline joined their family in September 2012, and life has never been the same since! Aside from her job as mom, Amy works full-time as an English teacher at the junior high level. She loves fresh air, online shopping, baking, and finding new things to do in and around Houston. Amy writes at New Mom Problems where she chronicles her life as a California girl living in Texas, motherhood, being a wife, and teaching middle school.


  1. I love everything about your morning and your words. And then you did that thing that some of us do and we probably didn’t need to because all the reader saw in the photos was love. In your last paragraph, you mentioned the things you don’t have. I didn’t even notice those things because your morning and your sweet girl had me so intrigued and I kept thinking isn’t she adorable. Thanks for sharing your morning with us. Hugs from Conroe, TX


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