Saturday, October 27, 2012

Gettin' Spooky

I probably don't have to tell you how much fun I have with Halloween photos (cause it's painfully obvious!). But it really is so much fun! It's like Tim Burton just bores into my skull and won't get out :) Happy Spooky Halloween to you!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Cat Girl

My kids drive me crazy sometimes. It's true. But I also think they are the most beautiful people in the world. And when I take their photographs it's like I can hold on to those moments of beauty right in my hand. And when all the quarreling and whining and the mess fades away I still have all these glorious pieces of beauty. Crazy teeth and shaggy haired and dirty faces and all.
Maybe I have a magic camera because if I take your picture, I think you're beautiful too!

The Twins

These two. They don't look much alike and they certainly have different personalities but they are still the best of pals. They are constantly wrestling, riding bikes, being loud, bugging their sister, creating, making each other laugh, getting into stuff, having adventures and looking for food. So different and having so much fun together. I hope that never changes! Love these hooligans.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

The Babe 5

The 'official' 5 year photos! It's getting more difficult to get my kids to cooperate at times when I really want to take their pictures. It's trickier to get a natural face. The cupcake was excellent incentive in this case!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Fun With Instagram

I LOVE taking photos and using my phone is so liberating! Quick and easy and then Instagram lets you add a filter and viola! Fancy pantsy photos!
I also love my big camera, but I don't love the time it takes to download and edit and process everything. And just try stuffing that thing in your pocket! That's why I don't post more photos. Which is probably good. How many gratuitous photos do you need to see, right??

Unless you DO want to see more, more, MORE photos you can find follow me on Instagram...9stars.
We can follow each other. It'll be fun!

*Instagram is a free iphone app. Find it at itunes.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Baby Girl is 5

I guess she is officially not a baby at all anymore. 5 is definitely a big girl. And while she challenges me in ways I never imagined, I also adore her in ways I always imagined! Love you Babe!

Here is her 5yr interview:

Favorite color: Pink
Favorite number: 5
Favorite food: avacado on toast
Favorite toy: new dollhouse
Favorite thing to do: birthday parties!
What do you want to be when you grow up? A fairy so I can fly in the sky

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Shaliece - Motherhood Series 2012

Shaliece is a wonderful balance of talent, hard work and lots of fun! I have had the pleasure of sharing a class of 6yr olds in Primary and putting on a Christmas party with Shaliece. She is great with people. She puts great effort into everything she does. Her pinterest projects actually look like the pictures (something that rarely happens with my efforts)! And she invited me to my very first XBox Dance party. It was AWESOME! And so is Shaliece!
Her family moves quite often for her husband's work and she has a way of not only fitting in, but welcoming and forming great bonds of friendship.

Shaliece, I'm so glad I've had the chance to get to know you!

1. Tell us about yourself!
 I've been married 8.5 years now and consider myself greatly blessed with an amazing husband and two great children. I love reading, gardening, the outdoors, camping, spending time with family and friends and of course traveling!

2. What were your expectations of motherhood before you had kids? (ie. Did you think you'd have a whole houseful of kids? Did you see yourself as a mother at all? Did you wonder if it would ever happen?
I always imagined myself as a young mother with about 4 kids. Though I have found myself having only two children and at an older age than expected due to choices in my past. 

3. What has been(was) your biggest surprise about Motherhood? (different than you expected? or wish someone had told you?)
I've been a nanny several times in the past so some of the surprises were already gone. Though it is completely different being a mom to my own children. The biggest surprise was the deep love I felt for my daughter Riley (now 7.5 yrs old), the first time I held her. I grew to love all the children I cared for in the past, but with my own children it is unreal how there is an instant deep unwavering love between mother and child! 
4. Biggest joy?
My biggest joy in life right now is my family! We are not perfect and there are bumps along our path, but the joy they bring me far surpasses any bumps and bruises along the way. I love seeing my children play together and the vast amount of love they show towards one another! (for the most part) ;)
5. Best wish for your children?
My wish for my children covers a wide array of options. ie, I want them to grow up with a strong testimony in the Gospel, knowing their Savior and Heavenly Father. I want them to learn from my mistakes so as not to make them. I want them to get a full education, as that is something I still need to accomplish myself. I want their happiness in every way possible!!   
6. How do you find time for yourself/what do you do?
I wish I had more time for myself as I feel that is the one thing lacking. I feel that my time is completely wrapped up around my family and though I love it, it is exhausting at times. I would love to have more time with my girlfriends to renew my sense of self.
7. What do you wish you had more of? Less of?
I mentioned already what I wish I had more of and that is time with friends! I can't imagine having less of anything at this point in my life.
8. What do you hope your kids learn from you?
I hope that my kids can learn how to put family first as they are always there with you no matter what. I hope that they enjoy and not take for granted all that may come their way! Also, I hope that they can take from me a love for the Gospel!
9. What are some of the best things you learned from your own mother?
My mom and I weren't super close growing up. I believe we are very similar and that we butt heads quite often. Though as I have grown up and now had my own children, I can more deeply appreciate all that she went through with me and the selfless love that she has shown me over the years. I have also learned how to be a better mother, how to listen to my children, and spend time with them because of her.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day 2012

One of my favorite things about doing this series is that it gives me a chance to ponder and reflect. Kind of like a meditation. Less dirty dishes and more feeling the love!
Which is why I have so much appreciation for all of you. Thank you for all your thoughts and shared wisdom and willingness to be open.
If any of you would still like to send in your 'stories' PLEASE DO! I say, let's keep them comin'!

It has occurred to me that as we are all connected through our current experiences we are also connected to all those brave women and mothers who came before us. Their experiences are also in us. Their talent and determination and faith.
And I am thankful for their courage and patience, kindness and strong hearts, book reading and writing, and strong bodies, and stubbornness, gardening and dancing, humor, singing, birthing, gentle loving care, poetry, education, fierceness, hope, and everything else that has carried me to this point. And continues to carry me.

I have so much appreciation for all the women in my life. You continually inspire me!

Happy Mother's Day Grandma, and Linda and Bonnie and Mardi and Cheryl! We love you.

Happy Mother's Day to my Mom with so much love. You are my constant example of unconditional love!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Jennifer - Motherhood Series 2012

Jenn and I have become friends through our children. Our first graders specifically. They have become fast friends and very important to each other. Kids have a way of bringing parents together on the playground or recitals and such, but that doesn't always mean you want to be best pals.
In our case I think it has worked fantastically. It has been more like finding a long lost friend!

There's not much I can say about Jenn that she doesn't say much better herself, other than she is truly a beautiful person in every aspect.

Thank you Jenn, for sharing so much light and love!

1. Tell us about yourself!
I am 37…or 38 (I have seriously done the calculation six different times and I still can’t be certain…) but more stunning than THAT is the fact that it only consciously occurred to me in this very moment that my age starts with a “3”!!??  How does that happen to someone?

In (what feels like) another lifetime - I was a teacher. I taught in the gifted and talented (GATE) program and then at the Center for Gifted at the university for many years.
It feels strange to say that in the past tense, I suppose because teaching was never simply a neat and tidy professional role that I stepped in and out of, but rather, an all-encompassing state of being.
I always found teaching and learning to be inextricably woven, so I was far more comfortable seeing myself as a giant learner. Especially in light of the gifted children I taught. I began my very first teaching moment with the deep, haunting, exhilarating realization that my students already knew far more than I EVER would. This orientation, while daunting at first, freed me to be present and glittery and whimsical and soak up everything these kids knew but no one had bothered to listen to (because they were too young to possibly know it.)
I don’t know if I ever did a great job “covering curriculum” (ironically, in my graduate work, I went on to specialize in curriculum development for gifted learners.)
But, I fought linearity and predetermined “course content” to the end and grounded my practice deeply in sparkly, creative ways of knowing and being.
And love.
I loved the kids I taught as if they were my own.
I sort of thought they WERE my own.
Hundreds of children, all somehow woven into my heart.
I am now a mom of four children, ages 7, 5, 2 and 6 months. After each babe was over a year, I returned to the bigger world to teach a course or two or do some curriculum consulting, but I often felt like that tipped the precarious and delicate balance of our family.
I am now firmly and intentionally anchored in the home (the kitchen, to be exact) and I still find myself surrounded by beings that already know more than I do.
I used to think being in a classroom was the hardest, most consuming, exhausting, enlivening experience one could have – but when held up to the daily intensities of parenting, those teaching days feel like an all-inclusive vacation.
So, a teacher and a mom…what else?
I love metaphor and myth and swirly water-colored images
I love warm air and the gentle clinking of crystal wind chimes.
I love fireflies and pink-sherbet sunsets and the moon.
I really, REALLY love the moon.
I am often lost (or perhaps found) in my imaginative reveries and my inner world is more real than my outer.
Whether by accident or on purpose, I have stumbled upon my passion and purpose - the sacredness of pregnancy and birth, being with children consciously and creatively, and cultivating a home where we all love one another without strings.

2. What were your expectations of motherhood before you had kids? (ie. Did you think you'd have a whole houseful of kids? Did you see yourself as a mother at all? Did you wonder if it would ever happen?

I always knew I wanted children of my own (although I may have gotten a bit sidetracked when I threw myself into teaching and academia in my 20’s and thought the hundred kids I taught somehow belonged to me!) I always strongly felt (and longed for) four children…I had to work harder to get some here than others…and I still feel a few more to come.
My expectations have often gotten me into trouble. I spent WAY too much time reading Sweet Valley High novels at WAY too young an age, so my psyche was indelibly imprinted with a sort of heart-swelling anticipation that at ANY MOMENT my life was going to become an American prom, or at the very least, a summertime, sunset beach party.
I entered into motherhood with the same sweet valley hopes and dreams. I was competent, educated, well-informed, and completely in control. I had a closet full of super cute clothes (for me and for baby!) and a circle full of super-pretty-ab-fab-best-mommy-friends with super cute babies of their own…all content to coo and goo in plaid bucket car seats through mommy lunches and mommy dinners and mommy pedicures.
That was TOTALLY what I ordered!!! 
I picked a sweetly scalloped white painted crib; I ironed receiving blankets, painted poetry on the nursery wall; I hung glittering fairy wings in my daughter-to-be’s closet
It was going to be PERFECT (did I mention that I LOOOOOOVE when things are PERFECT???)
And then came baby…and thus marked the end of sweet valley.
(Really, at some earlier point in my life, I should have re-rooted my life in an alternative literary genre…my first warning sign that Sweet Valley High was a bit of a reach came when I discovered that we don’t even HAVE proms in Canada !!)

At the end of a why-the-hell-did-nobody-tell-me-about-this-kind-of-pain labor, I was greeted by an utterly precious, dark eyed little girl…
…who never stopped staring at me (sort of like I was stupider than her…which I was, but I hadn’t yet realized that.)
I often held her up to the sun with the hopes that she would close her eyes for a minute.
In all my commiserating with newly found, like-minded mommy friends (just as cute, but minus the lunches, dinners and pedicures), no one has ever confessed to housing an infant that was literally AWAKE for 15 hours at a time. All the nursing, shushing, swaying, and white-noised-swaddling-in-darkened-rooms could not convince this child go to sleep. It was UNREAL. I think I cried for a year. And my closet of cute clothes remained a shrine – the only thing I had going for me in the world of fashion was the occasional on-line ordering of a new baby carrier.

But, somewhere in that haze of sleepless days and sleepless nights and crying and not-a-moment-to-breathe-or-shower-or-put-on-mascara (pointless, remember…I was mostly crying), something totally strange happened.
Something in me fell apart and opened up all at once.
Beyond all my hurts and aspirations and failures and accomplishments and all I thought I knew or cared about…I fell deeply in love with someone.
Not sweet valley high love…not even the profound love I had felt for my husband from the first moment I saw him.
But the kind of love that altered me at the very core of who I was.
The kind of love that healed and transformed me.
The kind of love that made me want to stick around and love myself.
I always think about Joseph Campbell’s words about the birth of the child meaning the death of the mother. This sounds morbid to the literalist. But to someone who is more at home in hermeneutical interpretations, THIS became my PERFECT.
On the day my first child was born, something old died off, and something phoenix-like and fierce took flight.
Sophy continues to be at the leading edge of our family – in the most difficult ways. Even once she slept and even once she could sit in the car seat without foaming at the mouth, and even once she sat in a stroller (oh wait, she NEVER DID THAT!!!!), she continues to challenge me and call me into deeper ways of being. She has taught me everything I know about parenting with compassion and faith and did I mention a kind of patience that still takes every ounce of energy I have. Had she been easier, I may not have discovered that I feel REALLY STRONGLY about certain ways of being with babies and children. I may have been sitting in a restaurant somewhere at 8:00 at night with perfectly painted toenails and with my newborn in a jean skirt in a bucket car seat.
I may have forgotten that children have a bigger consciousness and a bigger calling than we assume when we look at their little bodies.
I may not have learned that there are ways to work with and heal complexities and patterns of tension in children
And mostly, I may not have discovered that I have it within myself to parent these kinds of kids in this kind of way.
What a shame that would have been.
So thanks, Sophy, for all of your difficult wisdom and wise difficultness.
You have been my biggest teacher – and you led the way for the babies that came after.

3. What has been(was) your biggest surprise about Motherhood? (different than you expected? or wish someone had told you?)
The whole thing has felt like one relentlessly giant learning curve. I think my biggest challenge lies in not projecting my own hurts or joys or ways of dealing with things onto my children as they move through and along their intricate paths. I have a tendency towards a paradoxical sort of egocentric empathy, where I feel what they are feeling – but through my own lenses. So, I have be extremely conscious and care-filled not to get pulled into my own anxieties when I feel their anxiousness – or my own hurts when they are hurt – or my own failures, triumphs, wounds, hopes and ways of seeing. I am stunned by the ways their struggles impact me and call me to see and heal my own material (like it or not.) 
I am also stunned by their resilience and the ways in which they pick themselves up and dust themselves off and move forward with courage and grace, when I am still huddled in a ball somewhere.
I try hard, so very hard, to respect their individual journeys with every shred of conviction I have.
To see them each as whole against a vast sky.
To not give in to the compulsion to save them from themselves, but instead to allow them, one precious step at a time, begin to save themselves.

4. Biggest joy?

I find birth joyful. Which sounds strange to many. I had my three most recent babies at home in the bath tub, and I don’t even have the words for the joy of those experiences.
They were timeless, enchanted, open, expansive moments of bringing someone from another realm into the physical world – and then seeing them just stare up at you with this profound sense of recognition.
I think birth IS my definition of joy.
I feel so fortunate and blessed that I was able to do it this way. My body makes me so mad sometimes – and I feel, at times, like it fails me. But it rocks in birthing, and I am so grateful for that.
I also found it stunning, joyful, humbling and holy that I was able to connect in (tangible and intangible and vastly different) ways with each of my babies before they came.
I don’t know what else to say about that.
Like birth, it sort of leaves me speechless.
Definitely, conception and birth have been my most poignantly spiritual, centered, divine, inspired, joyful experiences.
I never would have imagined that.

5. Best wish for your children?
I had this vivid, lucid dream not too long ago, that I was walking through this enchanted forest, filled with tiny pine saplings…they looked like black cut outs against a moonlit sky. The king and the queen of the forest told me I could choose a glowing orb that hung from the tiny branches – one for each of my children – the gift that would be their life.
I started to panic…how could I be trusted to choose, while asleep and dreaming, JUST the right gift.
I walked tentatively towards the closest tree, holding Sophy in my heart and mind, and there an orb, hung like a Christmas ball, began to glow. I lifted it carefully off the tender branch – it was blown glass, purples and blue, and it read “Wisdom.”
I suddenly knew I could do this.
With more confidence, I walked further into the forest, thinking of Noah. Another orb, deeper in the darkness, began to glow. I reached for it. It was crystal clear, with a photo of him digging in the sand on the inside. Etched in the clear glass was the word “PEACE.”
I journeyed deeper still.
Now completely dark all around me, and just when I started to feel lost, a little ball began to bubble with oranges and yellows – it read “JOY’ and I plucked it from the tiny branch for tiny Holly.
And finally, I travelled right to the center of the forest. There, hanging from the strongest branch of the tiniest, centermost tree, hung a rosy pink strained glass heart, engraved the word “LOVE”. It was for our newest, baby Eden .
I gingerly and carefully placed the four glass orbs into the basket I suddenly found myself carrying, and began to make my way out of the dark and deep forest. The pulsing light of the fragile orbs lit my way, and they clinked together like a tea set. I would glance down each time I hit uneven ground or took an abrupt twist in the dark path to see if they had shattered with all their clinking – but they were strong and bright and the beat together like little hearts.
I remember feeling so proud and relieved – like my work as a mom, in the vastest sense of the word, was somehow done. I had chosen the gift that would mark each of their lifetimes – and I was SO happy with my choices. With the glowing, other-worldly wishes I had brought back with me to make their time on earth meaningful and right.
When I woke up, I began to write:  
Once upon a time there lived a family.
The Dad’s name was Strength.
He was tall, like an oak tree,
and his heart was big enough
and wide enough
for everyone to fit inside.
When anyone felt sad or small,
they climbed up his sturdy branches and into his heart.
There they stayed and rested,
until they could once again face the world.
The Mom was named Light.
She shone through the oak tree’s branches.
She bathed her children in moonlight
and dressed them in rainbows.
She painted dazzling stars on their soft cheeks
and wove wildflowers into their hair.
Violets watercolor floral giclee fine art print

When they forgot their beauty
- or the beauty of the world
she spun strands of sunlit spider web around their tiny torsos
and give birth to butterflies.
Papillon original watercolor flower painting 4x6 inches
Their first child was named Wisdom.
She burst through the frozen earth,
a brave and solitary crocus,
beckoned by the first light of spring.
She was dark-eyed and careful.
She carried her treasures close to her heart.
She was sometimes afraid,
but mostly, she was the bold leader of the children.
The next child came close behind.
He came quick as a trick, on a day meant for mischief.
He was named Peace
(although sometimes he forgot that was his name.)
He was as sweet as candy.
His eyes burst with flames
and his heart was so open,
he could hear whispers from other worlds.
Next, came a precious girl named Joy.
She was hand-plucked
from the heart of the silver winter moon
and drifted to the blanketed earth
as a gentle snowflake.
She was sparkly and bright
and bubbled with gratitude.
She traced tiny circles in the earth
with her fingertips,
and spoke the secret words of the fairies.
And then came the littlest one, warm and pink,
named Love.
She fell across the bright blue sky
like a gold-tinged autumn leaf,
carrying with her guides and galaxies.
When Love was born,
worlds upon worlds opened up.
And, when Love opened her gentle eyes
and gazed upon the family,
Strength deepened;
Light expanded;
Wisdom forgot her fear;
Peace remembered his name;
and Joy danced and danced and danced
in the yellow sunshine.
Spring Sunshine yellow floral watercolor giclee fine art print
The circle of heaven and earth pulsed between them
There is more to the story…maybe next mother’s day?
But for now, these are my wishes for my children who are already here – I wish them the wisdom, peace, joy and love that is their birthright and their life gift.

6. How do you find time for yourself/what do you do?
I have the best, most supportive, most equal husband in the world.
All I really need from a day is a walk and a prayer. Then I am ready for things to unfold as they may.

7. What do you wish you had more of? Less of?
I wish I had more strength. I wish I could run alongside my kids while they biked (or bike along with them!) or give them awesome under ducks or lift them anywhere they ever wanted to go.
I wish I had more time to paint, more time to write, more time to read.
I wish I had more patience.
I wish I could make my day one giant prayer. To live from morning until night with one big outpouring of gratitude and other-worldly guidance and presence…
I wish I could see things as perpetually perfect and right, especially when they are most difficult and dark and complex.
I wish I had less pain.
I wish I had less mess to clean up.
Or maybe I just wish I didn’t flap my arms and walk in circles and waste time picking up messes that weren’t even messes
I wish I had more time to be fully and spellbindingly present with each of my kids, one at a time, in every moment of every day.
That sort of holy presence where you just soak in everything and miss nothing.

8. What do you hope your kids learn from you?

I still see myself so much as a bumbling, stumbling learner when I am with my kids.
I guess my deepest hope is that they learn to read the world symbolically…
That they come to know the meaning of the moon in all her golden phases…
That they believe in the fairy is curled up into a blue bell, even though they can’t see her…
That they always say “YES” to walking a million miles to see a rainbow…
That they remember the truth of who they are…
And that they know with unequivocal certainty that they are never, ever, ever alone…
I am still learning all of this myself, so maybe we can teach each other?
9. What are some of the best things you learned from your own mother?
My mom is a fierce protector.
She is faithful and strong and incredibly stubborn.
She has devoted her entire life to her children, and now her grandchildren.
She taught me that if you are crying REALLY hard, you should try and take a breath, because it is virtually impossible to cry and breathe deeply at the same time (she is totally right.)
She taught me that love overcomes all suffering (again, totally right.)
She tried to teach me to slow down, but mostly this lesson irritated me, so I keep going my own speed.
(She used to tuck notes into my high school text books and lunches, saying “SLOW DOWN”, “THINK BEFORE YOU ACT”, and “TAKE IT NICE AND EASY.” Every once and awhile, one of these old and faded notes falls out of an old book or appears magically in the strangest of places…just when I actually do need to slow down. Plus, she was still making my lunches when I was in high school, so who can argue with that?)

When I was in elementary school, I was always doing these weird self-directed-studies and once a month, I was allowed to present my personal research project to the rest of the school in some sort of assembly (really??) and my mom ALWAYS ran around town to find me the perfect kimono or spent hours cooking up fried rice, enough to feed the whole school.
In high school, my friends all loved going on funny adventures with my mom. One night, when all my girlfriends were sleeping over and we were hanging out in our pajamas, my mom came into my room and ordered us all to hop in the car with her. We all piled into our cutlass cruiser station wagon (Pachelbel’s canon had been stuck in the tape deck for three years on high volume) and my mom proceeded to drive us to Bonavista Mac’s, where ALL OUR FRIENDS were hanging out and smoking. She slammed the car into park smack in the middle of the parking lot. She remained nonchalant when all our friends began to climb on the car and pound on the windows. She even rolled down the window to say hello to a few that she knew, pachelbel’s music filling the parking lot like a church.
She then turned to us, our heads all tucked between our legs in utter mortification, and said calmly, “I don’t ever want to see any of you hanging around here.”
We each had to solemnly promise before she agreed to roll up the window, wave good bye and put the car back into drive.
When I was just a few months away from my 21st birthday, I was in a wretched, near-fatal car accident. Can you imagine, as a mother, driving upon an accident scene of a heart-sinkingly familiar car (already engulfed in flames) and your child, lying lifeless and bloodied on the road. Now as mom myself, I can hardly fathom. And then, to be able to leave that child months later, with a shaven head, wheelchair-bound, on the other side of the country (because I insist there is nothing more important in the world to me than finishing my degree and graduating with my friends) and somehow mirroring back to that broken child that the world is safe and she can do it, even though I very much doubted both of those things and mostly felt broken and tired.
I think my time here on earth would have felt far more wobbly had I not had my mom, who gave me deep roots and prevented me from floating away at every turn.
still, she says goodbye to me and (most of the time) allows me to find my way, no matter how many potential disasters I skirt.
I sometimes felt misunderstood as a child. And like I was “too much.”
But mostly, I felt protected and strong inside, even when things crumbled around us.
My mom advocated for me with a terrifying and primal ferociousness.
She drove me and my friend anywhere we ever wanted to go (and many places we didn’t.)
She made enough hot dogs in our new-fangled 1970’s microwave when I brought my entire grade one class home for lunch day after day.
And, she let me wear bridesmaid’s dresses (and on warm days, lacey SLIPS) to school until I was in grade six.
I am not sure if this was good or bad, but it definitely honored who I was.

Roxanna - Motherhood Series 2012

Roxanna has a beautiful family and a large extended family. Her house is often 'abuzz' with friends/family. Yet Roxanna herself has a spirit of calm and steadiness (I think she might laugh at this, but she gives off that energy). She is fierce... and calm, if that makes any sense!
She is very tuned into her kids and works hard to make sure they have what they need.
Roxana is also tuned in to the mind/body/spirit connection and is always reading and researching.
I love talking with her.

Roxanna you are insightful and thoughtful and lots of fun!

1. Tell us about yourself!
I am a daughter to wonderful parents, an older sister to 3 sisters and 1 brother, a mother to a 7 yr old, 5 yr old and 1 yr old, a friend and a wife.  I am a farm girl, turned city slicker, turned country girl (in that I live outside of city limits!).  I am an insufferable procrastinator, a giver of unsolicited advice and a fiercely loyal friend.  I love to cook and bake, often experimentally, but I loathe cleaning the kitchen...AGAIN!  If I could be outside all day, I would.

2. What were your expectations of motherhood before you had kids? (ie. Did you think you'd have a whole houseful of kids? Did you see yourself as a mother at all? Did you wonder if it would ever happen?
I fully expected to be married by 20 and to have 4 kids, any older than that and it would be too late!  I missed that deadline by nearly a decade and it turns out it wasn't too late!  I am a mother to 3 girls, something I totally expected.  I never saw myself as a mother of boys for some reason.  That is why I know to not keep trying for that elusive won't happen, I wouldn't know what to do!

3. What has been(was) your biggest surprise about Motherhood? (different than you expected? or wish someone had told you?)
I thought motherhood would be a whole lot simpler.  I thought I would be the one doing all the teaching around here, but what I have discovered is that we, as parents, are really the student.  I am discovering that those things that drive us the most crazy about or children, their little quirks and habits that make us pull our hair out, are the things that we need to most work on ourselves.  The saying that we "teach by example" has never been more true than within the scope of parenthood.  

4. Biggest joy?

I love going to get the baby up from her bed and to see her nearly jumping out of her body with excitement to see me.  Babies know how to show pure emotion and I could eat it up.  I love watching them make right choices and know it and be proud of it.  To see that maybe, just maybe, they are listening and watching.  I love the absolute forgiveness a child has.  Heaven knows we need it once in a while when those " bad mom" days happen and your child still wants to hold your hand and love you.  We need to remember that always, when our children have " bad kid" days, to still want to hold their hand and love them anyway.

5. Best wish for your children?
To have a firmly rooted STRONG sense of self worth.  To have the confidence to make and stick with good choices even when it feels the world is going the opposite way.  To do what they love and to find the happiness and satisfaction that comes with knowing who you are.  To never doubt the love of a family.

6. How do you find time for yourself/what do you do?
I stay up WAY too late most nights either working on something I want to do, reading or just enjoying the selfishness of having the couch and remote all to myself.  If I can get away, I mostly try to spend time with my friends.  Maintaining friendships is vital and I treasure the times I can beg away and enjoy a few moments laughing with a good friend.  Sometimes I just go grocery take what you can get!

7. What do you wish you had more of? Less of?
More money, more time, more energy.  Less dishes, less laundry, less stuff.

8. What do you hope your kids learn from you?
I hope they learn that the learning never ends, that you spend a lifetime trying to grow and develop and to foster those interests into passions.  I hope they learn to question everything, to make informed decisions and to not become the status quo, no matter how easy that may seem.

9. What are some of the best things you learned from your own mother?  
   I learned how to be a mother from my mother.  She taught me that mothers of daughters have a responsibility to raise good mothers.  What a heavy job!   But when you look at it from that perspective, it becomes all the more important to try everything you can to become the person you hope your daughters will one day become.  I also learned that it is a work in progress and equally important, is that your daughters know that you don't one day wake up and become the perfect mother.  You make mistakes, you learn from those mistakes, you look to one another for support and advice and you dig deep for that faith that will pull you through.   

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Michelle - Motherhood Series 2012

Michelle is my dear cousin. And while I am the oldest cousin on that side of our family (that used to seem a lot cooler) Michelle was the first to have a family and become a mom. So she has been a great example. She is being very modest about her own accomplishments and her children who are extremely talented and lovely people.

Michelle I admire how you have supported and loved your kids and your whole family. You really operate as a family unit, encouraging each other and putting in the time and effort to live your dreams.
I'm so proud to be related to you ;)

1. Tell us about yourself!
I am a mother, a wife, a daughter, an aunt, a friend, a chef , a taxi cab, a gymnastics teacher and I wear a few other hats. All of these titles come with a huge amount of responsibility of which I am glad to wear on my sleeve. I love that I am able to love, serve and grow with special people every day.

2. What were your expectations of motherhood before you had kids? (ie. Did you think you'd have a whole houseful of kids? Did you see yourself as a mother at all? Did you wonder if it would ever happen?
I always wanted to be a mother, although I never really considered how difficult it would be. Or how much you would worry, fret , feel joy, sadness, happiness ,frustration and every other emotion one person could feel.

3. What has been(was) your biggest surprise about Motherhood? (different than you expected? or wish someone had told you?)
Ok so the biggest surprise about motherhood, I would have to say is "time". No one told me how much time would be spent perfecting my skills. Which by the way are not even perfected yet. Time is something so intricate. Time is all about perspective, we often wonder where does the time go? Have I spent it wisely? Did I use it to teach my children everything they need to know? Did I take time to look after my self? So I thought I had control of time, my life had been going according to the plan... marriage, kids- 2 of them 2.5 year apart, a great job I loved, a great husband and then time seemed to get away. I had come to the conclusion that life would be a happy family of 4. Surprise, I guess I had was getting to much "me" time because we were blessed with a sweet little spirit to once again guide through this life. I often have pondered if maybe I wasn't getting right with the first 2 so I am getting a second chance to redeem myself. But I have wonderful, thoughtful children that teach me so much.

*just to be clear, Michelle has two teenagers (daughter and son) and a sweet one year old boy!

4. Biggest joy?
My family brings me my biggest joy. There are always hurdles to jumped and races to be ran but as I reflect on what really brings me joy, I can say that the little stresses go away and all that remains are the blessings I am privileged to receive.

5. Best wish for your children?
My best wish for my children is for them to follow their dreams. I hope that as a mother I instill in them a sense of confidence and character to press forward, find what makes them happy, share it with others and make more happiness in the world that surrounds them.I hope my kids learn to seek after happiness and not be selfish in the journey. I want them to understand that true happiness don't come from the pursuit of the world's riches, but comes from spending time with loved ones, working hard and facing each day as a new exciting challenge. Take time to enjoy the process of life, there is much good to be found.I hope that they realize after all the work is done, they will be blessed with all the riches they could imagine.

6. How do you find time for yourself/what do you do?
Finding time for myself can be difficult, I am not sure I have perfected that skill yet. In moments, I repeat "short moments", I get to my self I try and do the things that bring me a little piece of happiness. I enjoy scrapbooking, photography and all things creative. I enjoy dinners out and walks with friends. Lately as a "new mother" of a 12 month old, I often look for sleep. haha

7. What do you wish you had more of? Less of?
I think this is a trick question! This answer changes daily maybe even hourly depending on the situation. But on a serious level, I would have to say that as my kids get older I wish for nothing. I really have all I could ask for. If some one was to give me less laundry, housework, bills and deadlines, I might take them up on it.

8. What do you hope your kids learn from you?
I think the question should be what do I hope my children don't learn from me. I am pretty sure I have lots of bad habits that do not need to be passed on.
If I had only one thing I hope my children learn from me it is to hard work. All things that come to someone are because of hard work. Hard work can be applied to relationships, home, jobs and even fun. Work Hard,Play hard, Love hard.

9. What are some of the best things you learned from your own mother?
There is much to be said about the best things I learned from my mother. I am still learning from her. She is an amazing woman. She taught me to work hard. She taught me to persevere. She taught me that I do not have to follow the world to live in it. She taught me that I can do good. She taught me to be humble. She taught me to Love. She taught me to stand up for what I believe. She has molded me to become who I am today, for that I am forever grateful for her efforts as a mother. I hope that I am as amazing as her one day!

 * I just have to add my two cents here that Michelle really does have an amazing mom ;)

Jamie - Motherhood Series 2012

Shortly after I met Jamie she invited me to join her book club. Which I was very excited about and which says a lot about Jamie herself. She loves to read, of course, but she is also open and kind and likes to get involved and have fun. She has passion for the arts/music, family, work and her friends. And crafting! And really good chocolate!

Jamie your enthusiasm and your candid nature are inspiring.

1. Tell us about yourself!
Oh man, what do you want to know? I am almost 32 (my birthday is on Friday!). I have been married for 11 years this August - I married my high school sweetheart. I have 3 children - all boys - ages 8, 6 and 2 1/2. I went to university to get my Bachelor of Music degree in elementary education and you guessed it, I teach music. I have a couple of jobs that add up to a part time gig as a music teacher. My full time gig is QUEEN of the house - or what other people might call, MOTHER. I love music of most varieties, art, books of the good variety (yep, I'm a book snob), and trashy television. I am also a bit of a crafter, though not really that great at it - I'm not Martha Stewart! I like to blog because I used to want to be a writer, and because it's a good way to remember these days that seem to fly by so fast. Oh yah, and I have narcolepsy, which is mildly interesting I guess! :)

2. What were your expectations of motherhood before you had kids? (ie. Did you think you'd have a whole houseful of kids? Did you see yourself as a mother at all? Did you wonder if it would ever happen?
I always wanted to be a mother. Ever since I can remember. I've always loved kids and nannying, camp counseling were my summer jobs until I got a real, grown up job. You know, teaching kids. I thought that raising kids would be easy - especially as I watched everyone else's parenting mistakes. I wanted 4 kids - don't know why.

3. What has been(was) your biggest surprise about Motherhood? (different than you expected? or wish someone had told you?)

How hard it is. How much work it is. And I don't mean physical work - that part I think I was prepared for. I had no idea the emotional toll it would take and I expect that it will only get worse as they get older. I also thought that my innate sense of what to do would be enough. Turns out, parenting is a lot more complicated than that. 

4. Biggest joy?

This sort of answers the last question...I was not prepared for the amount of love I would feel for these little beings. No one can explain to you what it feels like to have a piece of your heart walking around in the world. It's a different kind of love than the love you feel for your parents, your siblings or your spouse. And it is priceless.

5. Best wish for your children?

I want them to be happy. Enough said?

6. How do you find time for yourself/what do you do?

I have been blessed with amazing children who sleep well at night. I also have an amazing mother who helps me watch my kids when I need help, which is pretty much every day. While I think it's really important to spend lots of time with your kids, I think it's equally as important to find time for yourself and have a life outside of being a mother. Balance is everything. But if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!

7. What do you wish you had more of? Less of?

I wish I had less laundry, less dishes and less cleaning to do. I wish I had more time - always more time.

8. What do you hope your kids learn from you?

I hope they learn SOMETHING, ANYTHING, from me. I hope they learn to always be kind, even when it's difficult. To work hard. To be respectful of all people, no matter what.

9. What are some of the best things you learned from your own mother?
To be honest and loyal. To give quietly. To love unconditionally. To love books and reading.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Tamara - Motherhood Series

Tamara is hands down one of the most amazingly organized and capable mothers I know. It's shocking really. She also has a clarity that seems rare these days.
She just gets stuff done. And it's possible she has the best balance of family and personal time of anyone I know. Her family is a huge priority to her, but she makes time to see friends and have her own fun too.  If you ever figure out how to bottle your super powers, I'd like a vat of it please!

Tamara you continue to inspire me as a mother and a friend!

1. Tell us about yourself!
I am a mom to 5 little ones, oldest being 9, and youngest 15 months.  I have 4 boys and a girl.  I am a wife to an amazing husband who is very supportive.  I am a daughter to an awesome mom.  And a older sister to a brother and sister.  I am an auntie and a great aunt.  I am a granddaughter, a niece and friend.  I am also a daughter of God.  I love to play and have fun.  I am a girl that loves diamonds, but not necessarily the jewels.  I love the baseball diamond.  I love playing the game and coaching.  I have been lucky to be able to coach since my oldest started playing.  I am a mom who likes to volunteer and know what is going on in my children's schools.  I am a co-chair for school council (at least for another few days:)  I have done this for the last 2 years and have loved it.  I love being with my family, going on hikes, camping, playing sports, or just watching a movie on the couch with popcorn!  I am a home body.  I prefer to stay home and hang with my little ones.  I don't like to shop.  I love being around people, but also need my alone time too.  I love to read almost anything.  I don't like to read directions, I prefer for someone just to show me how things work!  I love to take pictures of the things I see.   I love to write in my children's journals so they can know what they were like and who they were when they were little.  I am stubborn, but nobody knows that :)  I love to work out and learn new ways to make things more healthy for my family.  Saying that, I do love to make treats for my family too!
2. What were your expectations of motherhood before you had kids? (ie. Did you think you'd have a whole houseful of kids? Did you see yourself as a mother at all? Did you wonder if it would ever happen?
Before kids seems like a life time ago and I remember parts of it!  But love where I am now.  We were able to just think about having a baby and we would have one.  We are blessed that way.  I would NEVER have thought I would have a whole handful of children.  But am grateful for them.  Even on the tough days.  I had lot of people say after having my 2nd that I had the million dollar family.  Mom, Dad, Boy, Girl....I was done right....wrong.  I didn't feel done and now I have 3 more boys.  Talk about messing with the whole million dollar family uh.  I don't know if I ever really excepted anything.  I just knew I would know when it needed to happen again.  I don't expect much other than to be happy.  I have my moments like all mom's, but I try not to let the little things bother me.  Just be in the moment and know I am doing my best to raise these crazy children.
3. What has been(was) your biggest surprise about Motherhood? (different than you expected? or wish someone had told you?)  
I could do with out potty training, really not my favourite thing at all.  I don't like the dependancy of it, having to always be there to help, the accidents drive me crazy.  However after doing it 4 times now, I am way more relaxed and don't care and know it will happen.  Not often or ever do you meet a 10 year old still in a diaper or even a 5 year old for that matter:)
4. Biggest joy?
I love the hugs and kisses!  I am not a touchy/feel person with anyone really, but my children and hubby of course.  I love the smile in their eyes when they do something they love.  I love when they figure something new out and the excitement.  I love that they are all different.  Even though it's a challenge sometimes:)
5. Best wish for your children?
I want them to be happy.  I want them to know they are loved.  I want them to find the love that I have found with their dad.  I want them to follow their dreams, even if it is to be a singer or a politician (my daughter) or my boys who want to be pilots or professional baseball players. 

6. How do you find time for yourself/what do you do?
I love reading, I love working out, I love getting a massage or mani/pedi.  My girls nights are the most precious thing for me and I have some amazing ladies in my life that I have learned so much from.  I am grateful for them each day!
7. What do you wish you had more of? Less of?
I wish I had more time, to spend more with each child.  I wish we had more money to travel the world, but that 's what our imaginations are for right now!  Less many toys, I am looking forward to the day I can clear out the 'baby' stuff and even though I don't like buying more things, I am looking forward to not having to 'save' clothes for the next boy:)
8. What do you hope your kids learn from you?
I hope they learn to be giving of there time to others, be a volunteer.  To be kind to everyone even if you don't like someone.  To love to read and love being outdoors.  To follow their dreams
9. What are some of the best things you learned from your own mother?  
To be kind, and loving.  To get an education, and love what you do.   To be a part of your child's life in all ways.  I wasn't able to always have my mom their because she was a single parent after my dad passed away.  She always did her best.  With that I have decided to be there as much as I can for my children, because I do have a husband who supports me to be a volunteer and coach in their lives.  My Mom always gave us what we needed.  I am grateful for that.   I have had to work for the things I want.  Nothing has ever just been given to me....even though sometimes I wish someone would just hand it over, I have always had to work hard for everything I have.  And that is a blessing that I have learned from my mom.