a week of mama #3

I was thrilled to join Heather Robinson & several of her alumni in another “A Week of Mama” photography project. This was my third time shooting this project & I do believe it will never get old! One week shooting an image a day with me in the frame with whatever camera I’ve got. This project wasn’t perfect- it stretched beyond a week for me to finish. But what IS perfect is capturing my story in the midst of our family’s. Sweet mama, can I encourage you to do the same?

Here's my February/March "a week of mama" :

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day 1: Bedtime stories have been told, pjs (mostly) have been put on… all that is left is brushing teeth & prayers. So we crowd into the bathroom together, you all talking more than you’re brushing. I love watching the dynamics of all of you together… but I also love saying goodnight to a day well spent. I’m definitely more ready for bedtime than you are. Our day has been ful to the brim- kinda like how we fill up the tiny bathroom- so goodnight, my loves! Hopefully (but not likely), I won’t see your sweet faces till morning!

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day 2: It’s no surprise to anyone around here that Circle Time is my favorite part of our educational day. (It’s also no surprise that I have several favorite parts. What can I say?) This daily time together, all of us learning together, has helped to lay down what I hope is a family culture. But here’s the thing: I don’t do it just for each of you or even for all of you together. That’s some of my reasoning but I also do it for ME. During this hour, I get to learn alongside you. I get to feast on riches that feed my soul just as much as I hope it feeds yours. I get to practice patience & repentance because we each know how messy this time can be. Learning, feasting, practicing... I think those are pretty good things for a mama to do. And I’m thrilled I get to do it alongside us together!

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day 3: Daddy & I I try really hard to find time with each of you big kids. It’s not always easy to find that time- often it’s squeezed into spare moments or late evenings. (Somehow, the late evenings are easier on you than us.) While we don’t always find time for long chats every day, I do try to at least check in with every child each day. But I love these moments when I get to listen to you do the talking, whether that be about life, current happenings in the world or a book discussion. And I’m not going to lie... I also love that you know how to make me a drink.

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day 4: You are the sixth child I’ve taught to read with four more to go. Wrapped in my arms, it is good for me to slow down & take you in for just a few moments. I encourage you to keep going. One day soon, the words will flow easily and then, oh the places you’ll behold & the ideas you’ll ponder!

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day 5: (iPhone pic) Happy 13th birthday, Jonathan! I love you!

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day 6: I love the early morning hour when the light turns from blue to yellow. I love the stillness of a day ready to burst forth. I love the quiet. Only a few big kids are {suppose to be} awake, working diligently before littles arise & break the calm. I do not love the laundry, especially on Monday mornings when the piles overflow all over the kitchen. (How does one day of rest lead to this much laundry?!?) But I’m trying to learn to love it. And maybe that counts for something? Because just like you, I’m learning to be embrace tasks that never end.

day 7: (iPhone pics!) Mother goose rhymes while we waited for the IP to finish dinner. Also, the life of siblings. (See the last photo- be sure to click through all three.) These two, & especially this little gal, take every bit of my energy all day long. I can’t even imagine how boring life would be without them together!

a week of mama #2

Once again, Heather Robinson encouraged her alumni students to get in front of the camera for another "week of mama" project. (We did this back in March & I shared it here too. Just click the tag at the end of this post.) Capturing me in our family story is important because I was there too.... but so often forget to document that. Heather's class, Family Historian, helped me to link my photography with writing. It's helped me share my heart with my children and provide a way to leave a legacy for future generations.

Here's November's "a week of mama:"

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day 1: I'm fiercely protective of guarding your childhood, of giving you time to be a kid, be outside, time to enter the world of imagination, to build relationships with your siblings & time to create. it's not easy- it seems like so much presses in & grabs for our time, especially as you grow older. many of those things are good but so is this. so I pray for wisdom & reevaluate, making room in our busy schedule for childhood. so while your brothers were being their crazy, loud selves, I made sure you had time today to feed your soul & create. 

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day 2: my, you're good for my soul! people often comment how much you're like me & while that may be true, I think you've got a lot your Daddy in you. you both share a love for sci-fi & fantasy. (can you see me crinkling my face into icky shapes as I write that?) you both love discussing politics& cultural happenings. but your quirky personality is all you're own. wherever it came from, I'm grateful because I needed a laugh today. and we both needed the coffee after I was gone for majority of the day with appointments while you held down the fort at home with the littles. the wisdom & kindness you possess at such a young age... well, I hope it can be said that I'm like you!

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day 3: today was hard. I was far from being the mama I wanted to be, no where close to being the one you needed. you were not innocent but it doesn't matter... in fact, because of that, my love should have poured out all the more. and that's why it shook me to the core when I didn't show you kindness & patience. I had to flee to this spot- the only place I could find in a busy house where I could be alone to cry & pray. I needed to pour out my heart to my Savior before I could pour it out to you. because no matter what, I will always come to you & be honest about my own faults. I will always ask for forgiveness before expecting you to do the same. we can cling to Christ together! because that's the mama I want to be & exactly the one you need.

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day 4: almost two hours past dinner time, your daddy & I finally snuck out for a date. I always try to actually do my hair because he likes it when I wear it down. we both look forward to our weekly date! it's rarely fancy but this mama's heart needs this time just with him. making our relationship a priority isn't always easy & there's seasons when it's near impossible to have time for just the two of us. that's okay- it's the reality of living a full life with all of you. but focusing on just us helps us focus on all of you. you all don't quite understand that yet- you wonder why we're leaving you behind & sometimes you older ones buck at having to care for the littles. but I promise I still love all of you... I just don't have to be with you 24/7 to show it. 

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day 5: I love how the holidays get me in the kitchen more with all of you! these days, I've become more if a ringleader where household chores are concerned, including some of the cooking. it feels like a circus with all the hustle & bustle of running this house so I'm grateful for moments like this to slow down & gather all you littles to bake with me.  truth be told, I didn't always love cooking with lots of littles- it had to grow on me through the years. I had to learn to smile at the mess & craziness. knowing all the workload no longer falls solely on my shoulders helps. so, thanks!

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day 6: oh, I love smooching your face! it hasn't always been easy for me to slow down & savor what's in front of me. I think for a long time, I thought in order to do that, I first needed everything in order & checked off. I thought quiet equaled peace. but here's the thing, life keeps going & a mama's job is never accomplished- the next thing is always waiting. it's a blessing to have all those things to do even though there tension from a fallen world. all these tasks are the fruit of a full life lived with all of you & I've learned peace is a matter of my heart, not the volume level in this house. but it's also a blessing to let it all go & just be. with you... and usually several other children running around being loud, which was the reality outside this photo. that's okay- I'll just breath you in for a bit longer.

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day 7: teaching each of you to read is one of the highlights of my life. each of you have learned at various speeds & ages. one of you truly struggled & took years to learn- we both shed a lot of tears along the way. I still get choked up when I hear you reading aloud & I expect I'll still do that when I'm old & gray. I often tell you all that I want to be the grandmother who comes over with a bag stuffed to brim to read aloud to my grandchildren. what fun that will be! maybe I can take some pictures too. and I definitely hope I'm still getting in front of the frame with you all!

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!