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:"


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. 


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!


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.


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. 


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!


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.


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!

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!)

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!