around our clocks: 11am

Most weekdays find us busy with lessons at 11am. Maybe some lunch prep but this past Friday, I decided to clean out the fridge by eating leftovers so no prep needed. Yipee! You'll notice he's not always thrilled with the idea of lessons (I actually think the reason this time was that he was bored with this math lesson):

But that's okay, he wasn't the only one that was bored. Yep, teaching isn't always thrilling:

And while I was inspiring great thinking, the littles were "playing" in the basement which basically means they were making huge messes (it was raining this day so no outside time):

At least someone was enjoying their reading (and yes, he has jeans without holes but why wear those?):

I found Abigail quietly playing in her room since her lessons were already finished:

This is part seven of a group project called Around Our Clocks. Each month, a group of fellow documentary photographers share what one specific hour looks like in our lives. Be sure to visit Stephanie Bryan, Lifestyle Photographer in Raleigh, NC next (if you follow the circle completely, you'll end back here)! If you would like to see all of my images from this series, click the projects button at the top of the screen.

one second project: april

I missed more days than I care to remember but the theme for April was to keep going with projects even though they were less than perfect. I shot an extra second on several days.

I'm truly sorry you have to hear us sing at the end! Now you'll know why none of us are in choir. Here's a few seconds of our month of April:

12 months of portraits: april

Anyone notice how I missed March? Ahem. I'm gonna keep going. It can be hard to keep with a year-long project but one of the biggest keys to success is to keep going, even when (and especially because) you "fail." I started learning freelensing this month and I guess that's another tip keeping up with a project: mix it up & learn something new!

And here's the grid of them all:

around our clocks: 9am

We drove 16.5 hours last Friday on our way home from Michigan so Saturday morning found us moving very slowly- only one child awoke before 9. Eric ran to the store to get the essentials for breakfast. That doesn't usually include donuts but you'll see he wasn't the only one who ate them. (The children can't eat them so I'll let you deduce who else "helped" him.)

This is the 6th installment of a group project called Around Our Clock. Each month, a group of fellow documentary photographers share what one specific hour looks like in our lives. Be sure to visit Christina from petrasiliephotos, family & lifestyle photographer next (if you follow the circle completely, you'll end back here)! If you would like to see all of my images from this series, click the projects button at the top of the screen.

mobile day in the life: march 29, 2017

Yesterday, I shared a mobile day in the life on Instagram. (You knew you could find me there, right?) I limited myself to posting only one picture per hour. DITL are such a rewarding experience... and a lot of work! I highly recommend you trying one! Anyone with a phone can do this. Be sure to let me know so I can follow along!  Here's what yesterday looked like:

6:51am I still do not want to be up so I'm only turning on the bare necessity of lights.

7:32am I forgot to fill out independent sheets (the children's educational assignments) last night so instead of reading I'll be doing this.

8:10am I forgot the stupid eggs yesterday. WHO forgets eggs when it's THE thing you eat for breakfast?!?!

8:44am At least I came home to older ones actually doing their lessons (Pinocchio in the corner; piano in front). Plus, they're in pretty light so it's already a better morning!

9:56am Eating again. Remember they ate breakfast late.

10:28am He says he loves Homer & Virgil. Thank you, Mrs. B!

11:45am That's POLLEN covering my porch (&every other surface outside)! Living in the South isn't always glorious.

12:54pm Sneaking before we pray.

1:12pm I stuffed my face while prepping lunch so that I could read aloud while they ate.

2:24pm Remember that pollen? It affects him the most.

3:13pm Nap time for her & me. Pregnancy is tiring!

4:50pm EHAP (everything has a pace) while I have coffee with my man, who is now working from home. I have a love/hate relationship with his dedication.

5:28pm Look who just learned how to turn off & on the lights! He moved the chair to reach it!!!

6:32pm Insert noise when you view this. Lots & lots of loud noise.

7:02pm This & then baths. Must not grow tired yet. (And just in case our day has looked too angelic & because I will always be real, know this is our first family worship all week. NOthing I'm proud of but reality.)

8:21pm Readling aloud "The Railway Children" before bed. (Out of camera view: crazy 3-year old creating messes.)

9:02pm Anyone else obsessed with this show? I mostly watch it to hear them say "oregano."

10:05pm In true pregnancy form, I can't get enough of Bubbie's pickles! At least they're good for me. I'm saying goodnight- thanks for joining me today!

around our clocks: 5pm

The Star Wars obsession has begun to affect more than just the boys. I find that kind of surprising because the girls have never seen it but I guess they do see their brothers playing with various toys & Legos. 5pm this month found Emily practicing her light saber skills (or "white saver" as she calls it).

This is number fivein a group project called Around Our Clock. Each month, a group of fellow documentary photographers share what one specific hour looks like in our lives. Be sure to visit Nicole Sanchez Northern Virginia Family Photographer next (if you follow the circle completely, you'll end back here)! If you would like to see all of my images from this series, click the projects button at the top of the screen.

a week of mama

Last week, Heather Robinson invited her alumni students to join her in taking one self-portrait each day for a week. As she put it, "Once a day for an entire week, I will write myself into the story. These self-portraits will serve as the landmarks that will one day guide my children back home if ever they should feel lost in the wide, wide world." I thought it was beautiful, so I joined her! Here, my children is a compass- a small compass but still, something that there for you... and me.

today begins "a week of mama" images- one image of me each day for a week. because I'm apart of my children's story too but far to often I forget to document it.

this image marks week 15, day 2 of your pregnancy. still waiting anxiously to feel you move- come on already! mama's not good at the waiting game. 9 months feel like FOREVER!

day two of "a week of mama:" 3 more of you got sick last night. sigh. it's not at all what I had planned for this week but I guess it isn't fun for you all either.

we did enjoy finishing another chapter of "Peter Pan." you are both shocked at Tinker Bell's naughtiness! I love showing you life lessons in this way- you catch it without a lecture from me & I do believe it sticks better!

day three of "a week of mama:" today was not one of my finest. I was impatient & grumpy, especially with the big kids. I could make up a lot of excuses but that's all they would be: excuses. tonight, like every day, I cling to my Savior & am grateful that my children are so quick to forgive!

your bedtime ritual: music, a bit of snuggles and me always saying as I lay you down, "I love today, forever & always." even when I'm grumpy. 

day four of "a week of mama:" after being sick for two days, I thought I'd finally be up & about today but instead I was to weak. it stinks! I'm often so tired at the end of the day after caring for all of you but that kind of tiredness comes with a full heart... a tired body & sometimes an emotional mess but a grateful heart that God has blessed me to be your mama. a glass of wine & some dark chocolate help a bit too.

day five of "a week of mama:" any mama knows you can't do this mothering thing alone. I'm blessed to have my Savior & God, your daddy, family & friends. tonight, a dear friend brought a meal, homemade cards from her girls, flowers & paper bowls. (I personally found the paper bowls BRILLIANT- no clean up!) I'm so glad for these gals that I can call on to pray, lean on for help & laugh like crazy during our girl night out. a community of women- it's beautiful thing!

day six of "a week of mama:" I completely forgot about taking a picture today. that's life when you're a mama- you often become completely absorbed in caring for your family! thankfully, I remember just before I packed up my knitting so I could go to bed. Emily, this blanket is for you- a second one because your baby blanket has been loved to shreds. the colors make me shudder (I'm a neutral kind of girl) but I'm using up scraps so I do not have to buy any more yarn. that's another part of mothering too I guess- trying to stretch money & resources. it works pretty well except for the food, which depletes faster than I can blink. there's never leftover scraps of that!

day seven of "a week of mama:" this educating thing, it fills up most of my day. it's one of the biggest sacrifices your daddy & I decided to give each of you. I love it but sometimes it's overwhelming, exhausting & frustrating. thankfully, good things are never easy & God is faithful to carry us when we are weak! on a side note, I'm not sure how much longer this pregno body can take sitting in these tiny chairs. we'll be moving to couch school soon!

one second project: february

I actually missed one day so two of the clips are from one day. Enjoy! If you have a current project going (film or stills), be sure to share in the comments- I'd love to see!

If you would like to see January's film, click the project button up on top of the page & go to the "one second a day" page.

12 months of portraits: february

Another month & I did it!!! I should call this series "portraits against the yellow wall" because I took them all in the same spot, which is a bit boring. But I had fun with Abigail & Katherine's images- I wanted to highlight Abigail's freckles on her cheek & Katherine's happened because the girl could not stand still for two seconds put together. Josiah's portrait is actually a bit blurry but such is life with this boy these days. You'll see what happens when I do not offer food. Oh, and I got in front of the frame too!

The entire crew:

dot to dot collective: february

I recently finished up Heather Robinson's Family Historian class. Hands down, it's one of the top 5 classes I've ever taken- I'd probably rank it one of the top 2! She taught us how to tie narratives to our images so that we might better preserve our family legacy.

After finishing the class, she invites her alumni it join in a collective project where each person shares an image from their lives with a narrative to help connect the dots in revealing "the big picture." I was humbled to join in for the month of February:

“illuminated perspective”

no matter how much I pick up after bedtime, there's always something I miss. sometimes the constant mess is overwhelming but I know one day I will miss these crazy, full, messy days. I try to remember that & soak it in. the light always helps give me a fresh perspective!

(You can view the entire collective here. Don't miss it.... oh, and have a tissue or two ready!)

one second project: january

In an effort to continue to refine my skills with film, I'm taking on a new film project this year. Each day, I will film one second. In reality, I shoot more but I'll compile one second per day & share monthly films. At the end of the year, I'll share all 12 months in one film. I first heard of this idea from Francesca Russell- I loved watching her films each month last year. She's got mad skill (both with film & documentary work)!

My skills are not mad... at least not in the good sense... yet. But they'll get there. I hope I'm always growing & learning! In the process, I get to document our family in a new way, which the children & grandparents alike enjoy watching.

around our clocks: 12pm

12pm this past Friday found a fairly quiet house. We had started our first day of winter break & most of the children were scattered enjoying free time. I still plan to continue a few lessons since I've had a lot of sick days due to pregnancy. Reading with Abigail is one of those so while we did her phonics lesson, an older sibling made lunch.

Abigail told me she wanted curly hair like Elizabeth so she went off & found the one roller we own- a doll accessory! In her mind, it made perfect sense.

This is the 4th post in a group project called Around Our Clock. Each month, a group of fellow documentary photographers share what one specific hour looks like in our lives. Be sure to visit Sincerus Photography next (if you follow the circle completely, you'll end back here)! If you would like to see all of my images from this series, click the projects button at the top of the screen.

12 months of portraits: january

I'm gonna attempt another project this year. my track record for projects is just so-so but that's okay. sometimes it takes a bit of trial & error to find something that sticks. While I might prefer documentary work, I think portraits have a place & can be stunning. (Don't expect stunning here though.) I'm looking forward to seeing the children grow as I seek to capture one portrait per child each month, along with one self portrait of me. We'll see how many times Eric lets me get him behind the camera! 

So, here's january portraits:

And because it's fun to see them all together:

lessons I'm learning

We're excited to share the news that we're expecting! There's a lot of assumptions people make when you have a large family. "Pregnancy must be easy for you" and "You must be the most patient mother ever" are ones I often hear. Um, no. I'm thrilled to be expecting but it doesn't mean it's easy. And my children could all to easily share ways that this mama needs to grow in patience. I know ultimately that God is in control and He loves us but I still have my moments of doubt, wondering HOW in the world we are going to keep going. I do not not have all the answers; He does. I am often tired & weak; He is strong & patient.

I'm finishing up a class by Heather Robinson (it's called the Family Historian) where I'm learning to weave writing with my images so that I can better share our family history. (I have LOVED this class!) This is the narrative I wrote this week & I want to share it here because being authentic is important to me. And I often find encouragement when others let their guard down. Maybe you'll do the same.

already, you are smitten with this little baby which is no surprise because you’ve been smitten with each sibling that has come before you. it brings me such joy that each of you children are thrilled to have another baby on the way! 
you come over first thing in the morning wanting to know how the baby is, wanting to touch my belly & talking to him or her. you’re already building a relationship together and that makes me smile.

but sometimes… well, sometimes I want to pull away. I’m starting this pregnancy heavier than I’ve been. I’m so tired already- I’m sure my hematologist will tell me next week that I’m already anemic. these last few pregnancies have been hard and the unknown of what lays ahead weighs on me. I’m a planner & I while God has taught me much to loosen up, I still wonder how I’ll manage with 10 little ones. I’m so thankful to be blessed by another baby- excited to see who you will be & what you will become, little one. but I’m also uncertain too. and that’s a new feeling for me- a first ever with you, dear baby #10. it’s a feeling I do not want to admit but honesty is very important to me. 

I do not pull away because I want you, my precious girl, see how beautiful pregnancy & motherhood is, even when it means your mama isn’t the size she would prefer to be. I don’t pull away because I want you to build that relationship with your sibling. I don’t pull away because you don’t see my insecurities & your joy is contagious! I don’t pull away because I need to be reminded of these lessons to.

dwelling on Truth. I seek it first from God. I run to Jesus when I am weak (which means I run to Him every day!) He is good to also send you, dear daughter to me. you show me much!

around our clocks: 10am

This weekend, we got snow in Atlanta. It wasn't much and as soon as the sun rounded the tops of the trees, it melted but my little girls were happy to see the white stuff on the ground. I was happy to see shadows!

This series of Around Our Clock post is a group project with several other documentary photographers. Each of share what our lives look like at various hours. Be sure to visit Stephanie Bryan next (if you follow the circle completely, you'll end back here)! If you would like to see all of my images from this series, click the projects button at the top of the screen.

And this is kinda cheating but here is a picture I took earlier in the morning. Katherine was so excited to look & see if we got any snow!

around our clocks: 3pm

On a good day, you'll find 3pm pretty quiet around here. We stop lessons at three. Maybe a few will finish up music later, we're always reading & Patricia often meets with Eric after dinner to do math. But the norm during the week day is for everyone to find something to do quietly for an hour ALONE- read, art/craft, quietly play an instrument (far away from mama), sleep. The key is to get out of each other's face and have a break. I usually work in the kitchen & laundry a bit, read and/or catch up on paperwork. Sometimes I work on my photography, do a deep cleaning project or run an errand alone. Often I listen to podcasts.

I say "on a good day" or "norm" because often 3pm looks entirely different! As the children get older, everything is far from normal. But this past Friday found a very quiet house, for which we were all grateful for.

This post is another installment of a yearly project with several other documentary photographers where we will share what our lives look like at various hours. Be sure to visit Meghan Nesom Photography next (if you follow the circle completely, you'll end back here)! If you're interested in seeing my other posts from Around Our Clocks, click the tag at the end of this post.