my kids.

The night of Bailey’s Kindergarten Musical and Parker’s Grandpa Night at preschool they all looked so cute I did something I rarely do, make them stand together and let me take a photo of them looking nice! Which cracks me up because there is a blog I read and I swear she just takes photos of her daughters to show off the new monogrammed or smocked outfit she bought that week and I CRINGE (but keep reading so go figure!). But well, when most of the pics I have of my kids involves food on their faces or paint in their hands I had to snap these that night!

This one cracks me up! Parker was so tired before the evening even started she was dazed, Bailey was NERVOUS about her program and Gray was just being a total stinker but making me laugh!

You know how sometimes you wish your kids would just disappear to give you a moment of PEACE? And then other times you love them so much you want to pull them all into your bed and cuddle them forever? Yeah, I love being a mom.

losing my treat.

The other night I had two people I’ve known my entire life, both men, casually mention my bad habits.

1. Drinking soda all day and 2. staying up too late at night – not getting enough sleep.

They brought them up in the context of me not being able to lose weight. Had I been talking to them about needing/wanting to lose weight? No. Did it come up randomly and take me by surprise? Uh, yes. Did it hurt a bit? Yes. But I know it was said out of love and luckily I can look at it from that perspective. They care for me and want to see me healthier.

So I am in the middle of day two without one sip of soda.

And doing pretty well.

I’m drinking lots of water and iced tea (plain, no sugar added) and getting by ok so far. Excedrin and Advil are helping too. And prayer for a good attitude in the midst of my cravings and strength to keep with it.

But talking to my mom yesterday she helped me hit the nail on the head about WHY I drink soda. Because it’s not all about the caffeine.

It’s my treat. And my treat has become a huge part of my routine each day.

Get up, get the kids dressed, make breakfast, pack lunches, do the school run and REWARD I get a soda. Get through the day, work, be mom, do chores, whatever, pick up Bailey at 3pm and REWARD I get a soda. Make dinner, do baths, read books, clean up, laundry, tuck kids in (all by myself each night since October since C coaches) and REWARD I usually get one last soda.

It was my perk. The thing I used to get through the tough parts of my day. The treat I could look forward to in the midst of the hard or stressful or mundane.

I don’t drink alcohol ever. And I know a lot of people that look forward to that glass of wine at the end of a long day. Or we have friends that are super social and they can get through the week knowing they have fun plans on Friday night. Or people that can get though a few hard weeks because they get to get away for the weekend at the end of the month. EVERYONE has to have something to look forward to I would imagine.

And the one thing I always look forward to is stopping at my favorite gas station to get my soda.

But to have so many people point out the obvious to me was alarming. And then, Bailey came home the other day with a little book she wrote called “My Mommy.” And that was the straw that broke the camels back.

My Mommy has curly hair. My Mommy is nice.

(notice that she colors herself with two different colored eyes. That is the coolest thing in the entire world.)

My Mommy takes walks with me. My Mommy has black hair. (when she read this to me she paused, looked at me and said, “I guess it’s more brown than black but I wanted to use the pen.” HA!)

And then here is the kicker…

My Mommy loves me. My Mommy says maybe because I want a soda.

Ok.

Do you see the picture on the left? That’s Chris and I holding our fountain sodas and there’s Imo’s pizza on the table. On the right it’s another Imo’s pizza and she’s asking for soda b/c sometimes on our movie nights we’ll let the kids drink root beer.

The fact that my sodas are such a huge part of my life that she drew one in my hand made me really sad. Kids don’t do as we say not as I do. They listen to what we say and watch very closely to see what we do. I don’t let the kids drink much juice anymore, I took away all the junk from the pantry, they aren’t allowed much candy, etc. And then what do I DO? Drink crap all day long. So of course they SEE me doing this and it effects them.

It just happened that this was the night those two men lectured me about my health. Double whammy.

So, once again, I’m quitting. But this time feels different. This time I WANT to do this for myself. I want to see if I actually feel better off soda. I’m not off caffeine b/c of the tea but I am off all that sugar and calories. And junk.

It just sucks that I haven’t figured out another treat for myself yet!

my sister. the writer.

I think a lot of women have trouble answering the question, “what do you do?” or “do you work?” because YES WE WORK.

We change diapers and cook meals and budget and pay bills and clean the house and play with our kids and teach our kids and clean the house and scrub toilets and do the laundry and listen to whining and cuddle and pray and run carpool and sing and laugh and read. WE ARE MOTHERS. Hell yes we work. But what if that’s ALL we do? And not a dime comes in to our house because of something we do? In that case, I feel like it’s hard to say anything other than, “um, no, I don’t work, I’m just a mom.”

I’m JUST a mom.

I hear that a lot. I used to say that a lot. I still struggle to say I’m a photographer or designer even though I do contribute to our income in a pretty significant way now. I struggle because so many people say they are photographers and really aren’t. And that pisses me off. And then I feel like I need to say something like, “no really, I do pretty good work, here, look at this… is that good enough? Can I call myself a photographer and you’ll take me seriously?” So here I am, making decent money, and still struggle to be proud of how I fill my days.

But back when I was JUST A MOM I struggled more.

Even though MOTHERING is the HARDEST FREAKING JOB around. Period. I am THANKFUL when I get to sit down here in my parent’s basement and work. Or have a shoot to go on or a project/deadline/editing/whatever to do. Because it takes me away from my HARDER job of being MOMMY. The near-thankless job that never ends. The one I worry about and pray about and loose sleep over. But also the one that brings me immeasureable joy. Of course. Because of course, as the grass is ALWAYS greener, I find myself MISSING those days of JUST being Mommy. I miss the all-day jammie days and kitchen art projects and book reading and snack making that used to fill my days before I was working full-time. Oh that fucking greener grass. Sorry, sometimes I have to curse. This internal struggle is a blog post for another day.

Anyway.

The POINT is, my sister is a MOM. Sure, she works a couple of times a month teaching outdoor education (and is AWESOME at it) but she wouldn’t tell you that is her JOB. I’m sure she’d answer that she’s “just a mom”. A stay-at-home-mom. SAHM. Because she is. But then, 284 days ago she started a blog. To give her days structure. To give her days inspiration. To give her days purpose. To give her creativity an outlet that goes beyond the 2 year old appropriate kitchen table art project. And she’s ROCKING being a blogger. Rocking it.

And by rocking it she’s also taking social media by storm. Learning as she goes, asking questions when she’s confused and making it work for her in an awesome way. One day she will be teaching me so much as she is quickly passing me by in the online world!

But now, NOW, she’s a PAID writer. I love that. I love that for her. Because OFFICIALLY when someone asks what she does she can say she writes. She’s a WRITER. Paid. Will she get rich from this free-lance job? Nope. But will it take her to bigger places? I’d put my money on it. And she deserves every accolade and opportunity she receives b/c she’s working so hard on her blog. And the BEST part is that with her daily writing she’s able to fully involve her bigger job of being Mommy to her girls. Her writing directly reflects what she’s done with her girls that day and I love that. She can’t write if she sits on her butt all day and lets her kids watch tv. SO instead they go exploring and go on adventures and love life and have fun. And it is spelled out each day on her blog.

One day, when she finally writes her book, and she’s a super famous author, I’ll be able to say I knew her when!

So. To all five of you that still read this blog, go read her ARTICLE HERE and leave them a comment telling them how much you love their new free-lance writer!

Thanks.

swinging. with friends.

We are loving spending so much time with our new friends! Friday night both boys were gone so we decided to do dinner and pizza night with the kids at Adriane’s house. The kids were thrilled and we could sit long enough to get some good chatting in so all-in-all a total win! And fruit salad with frozen pizzas? Super simple!

Before dinner we played on their swings in the front yard and I dream of having a tree big enough for swings like these at our new (someday) house!

Just a few quick pics I wanted to post before bed!

My favorite! Oh my sweet Parker!

I had A take a photo of me and her two littlest girls because Maria (on my lap) and I have bonded recently and Annie is my favorite. Not that I can have a favorite kid. Because I can’t. But that kid cracks me up. AND this morning on the way to school she prayed for me. How awesome is that?

So good to have friends like this!

my little poser. OR. the funniest photos ever.

Parker LOVES to pose for photos. And if she’s in the right mood (which always happens at the most random times) she will ROCK out her inner Tyra Banks! The other day she wanted to paint while Gray napped and I had the idea to paint on wood so we asked PawPaw to help us find some in his shop.

After digging around we found a few pieces and I asked Parker if she would take one quick shot with PawPaw in the great garage light.

THIS is what happened.

I mean seriously. This kid CRACKS ME UP! And I love that my dad started imitating her!

Oh, and this is what we made with our wood…

(attempting to take more self-timer shots)

Love painting with my kids.

Love taking crazy awesome wedding-video-worthy photos of my kids.