Category Archives: family

Faint

Just a couple scriptures that have spoken to me lately. Thought Id share with those who don’t have instagram :)


A great piece of #truth to #reminder when you're in a hard place. #scripture

I saw this today on my bible app via @annettetate - funny how we met. It was years ago on the coast of NE NC. She had three boys and we had three boys. Almost identical in age. We struck off a convo and kept in touch. Her last name is my son Taites first

Those btw were made with the new IMAGE option in the Bible App.
Its fun to create and free!

& to end, a few grams from our weekend….

Anyone else doing laundry today? :) I realized after taking this it was a bit unfair Owen was vegging while taite did all the folding. He's five now. Time to work dude ;) #teachthemtoserve #boymom

Blessed to have such an awesome father to my boys and husband. While it may annoy me he leaves clothes beside the hamper or continues to store left overs he never intends to eat. I know I'm blessed to have him ????#marriage #12years #blessed

What keeps Reed busy during our history lesson. #jellytoast his favorite. The iPad and Netflix too help #boymom #homeschooling

Our cat lives on the wild side. Always on the ledge….

My #kitchenwindowview ????our cat Toby scared me. The drop would be around 25 or more feet. He loves sitting on the ledge of this deck and tries to catch bumblebees. #blackandwhitecats

He also seems to enjoy taking up space in our school room. Such a social cat. We love him.

Not only do I have a two year old constantly interrupting our #homeschooling - Toby who I mentioned is not your typical cat decides sitting on our books and reading chair is appropriate. ???? #blackandwhitecatofinstagram

Sometimes I totally pretend he's still a baby. #theygrowsofast #mamasboy #boymom

Taite (8) teaching Owen (5) how to put away silver ware. We make our boys empty the dish washer daily if not twice a day. They work together and it's done in less than 5 minutes. Owen hasn't been allowed to really help yet because he breaks to many glasse

The above image of Taite and Owen putting away dishes is really sweet for me to see. I spoke about this briefly on instagram… about how we are training our boys to teach their younger brothers. Obviously in every day things… “don’t hit…” “don’t spit” – you know basic 101 brother stuff haha… things they shouldn’t do but do have to learn. Beyond that though teaching our boys to serve is high up on our list. We think its super important. Now that Owen is 5 he will be assigned some chores. He is still young and his motorskills are still developing… I wont expect him to clean toilets just yet… or fold a perfect towel or shirt… but he can do little things.

So in that particular photo Taite who is 8, was teaching Owen who is 5 how to put away dishes.

We make the boys unload the dish washer at least once or twice a day. As a team it can be done in 5 minutes or less.

I also as you can see from above make them fold clothes. I wash, they fold. The only time I fold clothes is when I feel like it. That usually involves towels and my clothes/Travis’ clothes. To me, if the boys dirty 2 baskets a week of clothes, they can help out and fold majority of it. It if anything will teach them not to dirty so much, because it would only mean more for them to fold. :)

I have lots of areas I need to work on in parenting these dudes… but so far I am so thankful for 4 boys who despite some fight on occasion, seem willing to learn… and grow. It without a doubt takes lots of work... That work is worth it though… So to the Mamas who may be struggling and feeling as if they can’t get it all done. Know that 1. You can’t :) – so don’t stress out and quit worrying about perfection… but 2. Teach those children to serve to love on you and Christ…. I try really hard to explain how Mommy can’t do it all… and that even if they didn’t “dirty that dish” or “drop that toy” – by them helping me, they are blessing me. That Jesus tells us to serve and love others… to be giving and to be peace makers. Its something we all need reminding of daily. :) Even me.

America seems to have handicapped our children… by making them seem incapable of doing… and only being served… far from it. We don’t give our kids enough credit for what they are capable of. They can and should be a great help.


My dude looked nice this Sunday in his #thriftedblazer

Sunday I wore my clip in extensions. So fun to play with. I def do not wear them daily though.

#decaf junkies

Decaf coffee is a treat we allow the boys on Sundays. They think its “so cool.” :)

Reed adores the trolly! @fbcwoodstock  - any time we pass church he talks about it. Makes me wanna have a friend professionally photograph our family on one for memory sake.

and of course, the trolley ride is always a hit with Reed.

One more for Nana @dulceknits

I hope everyone else had a great Weekend.

Encouraging the Moms

scan0002-5(1)A few days ago I posted the images to the right on my instagram. It is an image of myself as a newborn in the hospital, shortly after my mom had me back in 1983. That is me in the first container crib. :)

When I look at this image the first thing that comes to mind is the fact that not only am I placed on my tummy… but the baby behind me… In fact I am pretty confident every baby in that nursery was on their tummy.

Yet 21 years after that image was taken and I became a mom, you would have been crucified by medical professionals as well as other moms, if you placed your baby on their tummy. I remember when I first became a mom back in 2004, I was greatly criticized. 4 months after I had Caleb we moved to Northern Ohio. Where my husband served as an Associate Pastor and Youth Pastor. I was 21, a new mom and really a fairly new wife. This was our first FULL time ministry position. We knew no one in the area… and everything we knew was now different. My mom was 12+ hours away in Charlotte, NC… and this whole journey through motherhood was something I was about to face head on with no shoulder to cry on.

It was HARD.

I remember ladies in the nursery rolling eyes… talking down about the way I chose to do things… cracking jokes… and making me feel about as small as it comes. I remember dreading going to church many sundays because of the fear of what would be said next to me in regards to how I chose to parent Caleb. Are they malicious and hateful? Probably not intentionally… but it was hurtful. This is in no way meant to talk bad about the church btw… this can happen anywhere…

To add to the pressures of motherhood came the pressure that I began to feel by other moms.

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My mom in 1982 with my big brother Kevin

Moms would throw things in other moms faces about their choices.

Underhandedly making remarks about what a mother should choose when it comes to child birth. How the epidural was for sissys and how dangerous it is for baby. I remember when I first got the epidural the judgement I felt from other moms made me feel less than. I remember feeling almost pressured into attempting a natural birth experience. With my 3rd born I finally made the decision to go through child birth without an epidural… and the first thing I yelled out after Owen entered the world was “NEXT TIME IM GETTING THE EPIDURAL!!!” haha. Yet with Reed I chose not to get it either. Not because I felt I had to prove something… but because I wanted to try a water birth experience…. We only live once after all :)

Breast feeding became an area of severe depression for me… baby after baby facing hurdles that seemed to never end. What was suppose to be so natural was so crushing for me. Moms staring me down as I filled a bottle of formula… and anonymous commentors on my blog would tell me how selfish I was for not nursing my children without even knowing why I couldn’t.

Even when I thought I was doing things right and babywore constantly, I still got stares… some maybe curious stares but often times not.

When I had my 2nd born Taite and decided to Cloth Diaper. You would not believe the remarks I got on that. I remember people thinking I was so strange… and I would often feel pressured to put my son in a disposable diaper just to avoid any looks.

When it came time for my oldest to enter school, that too even became an area of attack.

As if my choice to keep my son home to home school him was to hurt them. I remember hearing remarks from women who happened to be public school teachers, in around about ways would tell me how I was sheltering my child and he should be in public school. How my keeping him home was an insult to the hard work public school teachers put in. As if that was my intention, to insult….

scan0001-1When I turned my 1st born around in a car seat, you would have thought I stuck his head out of a car window. I cannot count the times I was rebuked for switching him early… and while I do believer it is safer to keep them rear facing until age 2 (IF YOU CAN), I do believe there is a better way to go about explaining this to a new mom… without sounding judgmental and harsh…

The photo to the right btw is myself in a carseat, not in the back seat but the front. I mean look at that thing! haha… you’d be burned at the stake today for that one. Yet it was what my parents knew then…

I often wonder if my mom back in the early 80’s got ridiculed by other moms like most of us do today.

I wonder how much less stressful motherhood was for her without social media… constant articles about what we need to do to be better moms. How we need to cook with these certain ingredients. How things should look in a mud room and how our nurseries should be pinterest perfected to make our homes complete. How our child may contract endovirus or whatever and they need x-amount of new shots in order to live… because chicken pox kills you apparently. Did our parents worry about such things? Did my mom feel pressured to get an epidural or not to? or to nurse vs. use a bottle? Did she feel less than if she didn’t have certain baby gear or feed us certain foods?

or could my parents just be… and enjoy us while in that season.

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Me just after delivery

I have been in this battle for a while now with social media… knowing the great good that can come from it yet seeing and experiencing the bad as well. It is truly a love hate relationship. I love keeping up with old friends and family… yet each and every time I log in, I leave stressed. defeated. small. lonely.

I know that for my business and my blog… staying on social media is sort of a must. Most of my clients I find via facebook… and a lot of my blog promoting happens not only through facebook but instagram and pinterest. To do my job and bring in income for my family (that in this season we need to pay our bills), I can’t abandon social media completely… even though a huge part of me wants to do so.

However.

One thing I have been trying hard to do is to cut the phone off.

Delete facebook.

To put the ipad down.

I feel a little bit like a broken record in this post… but I just cant stop thinking about it.

On a night where I feel a little weepy because of a situation I can’t yet really express fully… I can’t help but feel frustration over how we treat each other through social media... I just want to encourage all those reading to love other moms… to bite the tongue even if you feel the need to chime in (trust me, I have been there and done that…guilty…guilty…guilty…) Before you hit “enter”, remember that mom is doing her best… and loving those babies well… Sometimes keeping our thoughts to ourselves is best and wise.

… and if anyone reading my blog has ever felt judged… or less than. I am sorry. Whenever I blog those are never my intentions.

I am in the thick of motherhood just like the rest of you :) – and my decision may work for me but it isn’t gospel.

Lets love those babies and each other today.

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I’m on my moms lap, brother to the left. Dad to the right.
Abuela (Grandmother) and center my Bisabuela (great grandmother)

Are these yours?!

I saw this comment on facebook today by a comedian and had to share. My friend (& blogger) Brandy who has 9 boys shared the remark… Yes 9 boys :)

Comedian Jim Gaffigan has 5 children; here’s how he answers the “Why so many?!” question:

“Well, why not? I guess the reasons against having more children always seem uninspiring and superficial. What exactly am I missing out on? Money? A few more hours of sleep? A more peaceful meal? More hair? These are nothing compared to what I get from these five monsters who rule my life. I believe each of my five children has made me a better man. So I figure I only need another thirty-four kids to be a pretty decent guy.”

If you haven’t watched Jim’s comedy acts on Netflix you should. Im not really into comedians but his acts are funny :) – fairly family friendly… but some of them can have a word or two. Just as a warning for small listening ears.

Big Families RockThe other day I went on a walk with my boys. Travis was at work and Reed was protesting his nap. Probably had something to do with the fact he slept in til 10am… but non the less we went on a walk in the 72F beautiful Georgia weather… As I walked down our neighborhood roads… and my older 3 boys zipped pass me on their bikes. A man in his car stopped by me as he drove passed my boys cautiously (thank you btw for the drives who do slow down)… and he said “FOUR?!” I smile as I pushed my 2 year old in the jogger… “Yup… 4 boys.” He then asked “Are these yours!?” – as if I was their nanny? yes… all four are mine. He then said “Are you done yet?” in a joking tone but none the less it is a bit offensive time after time. I don’t know this man personally and he very well could be a fan of large families and meant nothing by his remarks… his thoughts on our amount of children though reflect something I see often….

Why is it that our society looks at larger families with eyes of misunderstanding and doubt. They wonder if its worth it. If we made a mistake. Why anyone in their right mind would have more than the perfect number of 2… and how anyone could possibly want to chase children all day.

In these moments I laugh it off and try to stay as kind as I can… but there are moments when this happens that I want to be honest with the individual and share with them my real thoughts on large families.

Like Jim Gaffigan mentioned in his remark.

We may not get as much sleep.

We may not have as much money.

It may not be the most peaceful meal some evenings.

… and yes you may find less hair or more grays on your head…

but wow… look at the blessing surrounding you!!

There is not a day that passes where I regret having four children… and honestly the older I get the more I wouldn’t mind a few more.

Life can be hard in the midst of babies and toddlers… the poo accidents and the meltdowns… during weeks where sickness plagues not one but all four of your children… and in the moments when you want just a moment of peace and no responsibility… No mother of many will ever say it was easy… but we proudly admit they blessed beyond words.

So cheers to large families… Next time you see a mom with many little ones. Congratulate her on her beautiful family and tell her she is blessed.

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Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.
Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!

– Psalm 127:3-5

Snow Days

Snow Days

Snow days in the south are so different than snow days in the north.

After two years in Northern Ohio. I learned the difference pretty quick :)

I did learn to drive in it better….

… and after a few years in Atlanta, I realized when it snows, its all good and fine, as long as you aren’t on the road. Snow + Atlanta traffic = nightmare.

Thankful that this year Travis was at home. He had a gun class of some sort for work the day it started to snow. Because the gun course was outdoors, they canceled due to weather. So Travis got not only wednesday off, but thursday and tomorrow!

Here are some memories from our time :)

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Our neighbors yard has a nice hill. We used theirs as well since our hill got over used haha…

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Reed missed the “snow man” building process…” however, I brought him out for a quick photo. Jammies and all :)

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and of course after any time playing in the snow, you must warm up with hot chocolate.

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I also decided to ask my neighbor to model for me when the snow really came down thick. It was a lot of fun. I’ve wanted to photograph a “teenager” in falling snow for quiet some time. It was a quick shoot but I got some fun shots for her. You can view the entire blog post with those images OVER HERE on my photo blog. Below are just a few.

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Social Media Heaviness

Social Media HeavinessDo you ever have those days when you read something else, yet again that just makes you a bit heavy?

From a news article.

To a blog post.

To a persons post on instagram or facebook.

Something else that is laid in front of your face to read, that does nothing but cause worry, anxiety and at times anger. It seems like more and more each time I log onto social media I am confronted with crap. With depravity and news articles about our freedoms being taken away… (Although we need to stay informed about those terrorizing our country and targeting those who follow Christ. That is something we should not refrain from knowing…. and if anything learn to be vocal and proclaim your faith, despite fear!) Our minds are flooded with comment after comment of hate from complete strangers *ever scroll through a photo of one of the Duggar girls… the comments would make you sick – yet why am I reading them!?*, people mouthing off things they’d never say to a persons face. As I sit there and judge them for their bickering and hatred, I cant help but see this in myself… quick to comment, quick to leave feed back. Yet knowing deep down I probably would never even utter a word to the person face to face. Nor would they.

Interactions being made so flippantly just because.

Its something to do.

Something in front of us.

… and becoming more and more the norm.

Its okay to do right? why not. No harm.

We’re staying connected with our loved ones.

Its a good thing?…

Yet when was the last time you logged on just to see how big baby Ben is getting or how Uncle Joes family vacation was.

The more and more each day passes, the more and more harm I find from it.

Why can we not live in the now.

Live today, with those we love. Without a screen or a status. Constant pulling of our attention.

Another “Hang on a sec buddy….” As you read one more meaningless article or watch yet another viral video.

I want more.

I love interacting with new people. Meeting so many awesome people through my blog *and even instagram* (yes Ive met people off both and its so cool!). I love Sharing my world. My kids. Pouring out things I have learned and hopefully helping someone in return. Bringing in income for my family. (Yes I make money with my blog. Last month I made around $400, month before that over $1,000.) No reason to hide that… I’m not ashamed by the income I work hard to bring in. My husband often tells me I am fulfilling the Proverbs 31 verse each time I find a way to be resourceful in order to help my family, yet again. Even if its only $10.00 here, or $50.00 there. My ability to use things at my fingertips to help my family has been invaluable and so helpful. Our family depends on that income. So a huge huge HUGE hug and thank you to all of those who read our blog.

Know that you reading it is a blessing not only to me but to four little boys and a hard working man paroling the streets with a bullet proof vest. Who despite risking his life makes less hourly than I do as a photographer. He shoots a gun. I shoot a camera. Yet he gets so undervalued it makes me want to march right up to whoever decides their pay and show them some mommy/wife wrath. That in and of itself is a can of worm I will not open. Maybe one day but not today.

footprintsWe have much and plenty and for that I am thankful.

… but the heaviness I feel lately cannot be hidden or escaped some times.

I’m exhausted at the thought of all the pinterest praise post.

Showing perfection.

Houses with everything set right and kids dressed cute. *Does my kid even have underwear on right now??*

Mothers calling other moms heartless idiots, weak or selfish for being unable to nurse, birth a baby without pain meds or choosing not or to give their kid a shot. Its a competition, right? One moms choice means shes right and the other utterly foolish and wrong. Many make it seem so… and moms read comment after comment, filling their hearts with hate from total strangers, daily. How is this good for anyone?

Flawless meals with all real ingredients and post after post of boxed food sharing every single thing wrong that is in it.

You know, I can read… I realize processed foods contain crap, we all do. Even those who consume it daily know this. The difference is some care, some don’t. I for one am the type that does care... but I refuse to live in a bondage to it. I refuse to put my family in debt because I cant imagine eating something that contains a hormone or a gmo. I find peace in knowing I’m trying and doing the best with what I have and I believe God blesses those who do so. We cannot live in ignorance or turn away from truth but we can learn to trust the Father and know He is good. If our bank cant afford everything organic, He knows that! He knows the hairs on my head, the stars in the sky, you better believe he knows the desires in my heart and the amount in my bank. I believe in eating healthy, real food and making sure my kids know the benefits of this and importance… but you better believe ill be a good steward and be reasonable.

I don’t need food babe telling me my kids cereal is going to kill them with some sort of preservative that is linked to cancer.

The constant worry that floods us mothers…

Our minds.

Our hearts.

Its exhausting!!

I’m putting a stop to this today! For me.

For my children. For my home.

I love my blog and will continue to blog, because, I love yall :) – really. I do! Email me, it makes my day. I love being able to share my heart…
… and I will continue to do so.

One thing that I have learned over the years, is being silent. Not genuine. Not expressing struggle. Is to live in a box. I want nothing more than to be real with those around me… with other women (esp mothers)… and break the mold of traditional expectations. I was a Pastors wife and may very well be one again… but that doesn’t mean we have to pretend perfection. No one should have to.

now….

Lets learn to cut the screen off.

Put the PHONE DOWN (turn it off – really! preaching to myself here).

and be here. Now.

With those who love you.

See you.

living in the now, a post about being a mom and putting the phone down