34 Years of James ~ Happy Birthday Love!!

If you didn’t already guess from the heading of this post – today is James’ 34th birthday!!! (I know, trust me… the man does not look 34. He gets carded more often than I do! Grrr…) Anyway – the point of this post is not to talk about who looks better for their age – the point of this post is to celebrate my truly amazing partner in life! 🙂


(Look – it’s adorable little kid James!)


Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about life with James. We’re over 7 months in to spending basically 24/7 together – with James in school full-time, and both of us running this business (if you thought it was my business – you were mistaken – James has his fingerprints all over Christy Tyler Photography – and none of this would be happening if it weren’t for him!) I know that early on in this transition I talked a lot about how difficult it was… adjusting to being together constantly, adjusting to the stress, and most of all – adjusting to life without a regular paycheck. But as things got better, and we hit our stride – I didn’t always talk much about the good things. I guess I felt like people would rather hear about the struggles than all the lovey-dovey mush… right?

BUT – today is different. Today is a day for lovey dovey mush!



I spent part of the day yesterday driving around trying to figure out what to get James for his birthday. Back in the days of full-time jobs and extra money in our savings accounts — I knew months in advance what I was getting James (and usually ended up giving it to him weeks before his actual birthday). You see, he had a tendency to go WAY overboard for presents – so it rubbed off on me and it seemed like holiday after holiday we were one-upping each other with even better gifts. But now that we’re both home, living off of less and pinching pennies … my mindset about gifts has changed. Of course I WANT to get him all the things I can think of in the world – but that just isn’t possible anymore. I felt really terrible about it for a while. I kept putting off shopping for him because I needed to make sure we had the money to get through this month first – and then I could focus on it if we had any extra to spare. James was aware of this – and when I asked him what he wanted he said over and over again that he wanted nothing for his birthday. That he already had everything. He reminded me that our real gifts to each other aren’t just given on holidays – they are given every day. They are the gifts of time, of moments… of a life lived together.

… The gift of waking up together (usually to no alarm)… Of casual breakfast in the kitchen and hot cups of coffee… Of working together day in and day out to build this business… Of taking afternoon breaks to play frisbee in the front yard with Chloe… Of the occasional midday trip to the gym together (because nobody is there then – and it’s amazing!)… Of working side by side to document other couple’s love stories – being reminded each time of the vows we made to each other.



And while we may not be able to spoil each other rotten with gifts and material things – I highly doubt when we come to the end of our life that we’ll think:
Man, if only I could have afforded to give James that iPhone for his 34th birthday.

No. I believe we’ll think:
I feel so blessed for all the moments, days, and years we got to spend working side by side with each other – chasing our dreams.



And so here we are on James’ birthday (which I’ve turned into a birthday week – partly to make up for my lack of a fabulously lavish present). I’m doing my best to spoil him rotten with home-cooked meals, even more quality time than normal, and delicious homemade margaritas. 😉

And while I may not have piles of gifts for him – I hope he knows how thankful I am that he is in my life, and how loved he is by all those who are lucky enough to call him their friend. He is the reason I appreciate each moment and each day. He is the one who taught me not to take my life for granted. He is the one that made me realize how truly blessed we are. Each and every day he makes me want to be the best version of myself I can be. He leads by example in all he does – and is the kind of person I hope some day that our children will take after. He loves fully and tells people what they mean to him regularly. Basically – he’s pretty much the best.

So James – today we toast to you (well, all week we toast to you! haha). Happy Birthday baby! Here’s to another amazing year in your life! I hope it is even better than the last! I love you more than you’ll ever know (even though I want to punch you sometimes)… xoxo 😉


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Christy & James are Chicago based but happily travel anywhere in the world that beautiful love stories take them!