Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Bending It (Sort Of Like Beckham)

Ok, we call it soccer (not football).
And we play it in the park. With a gazillion other kids from our neighborhood. And everyone comes out and tons of kids play and you see your friends from school and lots of moms and dads and you play at the playground and have a snack after (fruit) and if the sun is shining (when it's not pouring rain for a week) and you're running and laughing and having a good time it doesn't even matter that you barely know what you're doing!
You just think this is a pretty great way to spend an evening.

And Another First Tooth

Different boy. Same tooth. If that makes any sense. And the weird thing is, IT WASN'T EVEN LOOSE.
Apparently The Bug was just playing around with a piece of string (from his pants, because ya know, he's a boy) and he yanked his tooth right out. Not a wiggle.
And yes, there was some bleeding. The kind that mixes a little bit of fear and pain with pride and a feeling of accomplishment.
And then he had to consult his anatomy book just to confirm that he had in fact lost a tooth. He likes to have the facts. My wee scientist.

And then on to the tooth fairy.
Who did such a great job with the first first tooth.
The Bug wrote out a note to the tooth fairy asking her to leave his fine specimen for further analysis and left him $10. Which would be plenty, by most standards. You just never know what that fairy has in her little fairy purse.
But honestly he was just happy to have his tooth and any kind of monetary gain was just icing on his tiny little tooth!

Update: his new tooth is already growing in, so it must have been ready to fall out. How will the others come out?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

For Kimmy

When I saw a photo of Kim's dress at Christmas I knew it was going to be stunning. The yellow is such a gorgeous color and suits her perfectly. My first impression was very 'Gone with the Wind'. But then it hit me. Perfectly Belle!
More of these on the way, as well as a certain 4 yr olds birthday. ;)

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Motherhood Series - Mother's Day 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

I hate to call this a wrap-up or a finale. I don't really think it's finished. I'm not exactly sure how it will continue, maybe next year? A monthly feature?
And again, please don't be offended if I didn't invite you directly to participate. I know there are still many, hard-working magnificent mothers out there! Actually I'm making a list in my head already...

I know there's a lot to read in this series. It's feast or famine over here!
Personally I tend flit around when I read blogs, not being able to stay in one place too long (did I just see a tutorial for making kids toys out of dryer lint?!!).
I invite you to return to these pages whenever you have the time. I've actually labeled them so you can find them again!

I want to give my heartfelt thanks to all of you who participated! You are brave and sincere and inspiring! It has been a joy to me to read your thoughts and learn from you, every one. It has been a joy to have you in my own thoughts and in my head this week. The time I spent thinking about you has been uplifting. I feel connected to you.

I know we may differ in our religious beliefs, but I wanted to include these final words. They are powerful. Fitting.

May I say to mothers collectively, in the name of the Lord, you are magnificent. You are doing terrifically well. The very fact that you have been given such a responsibility is everlasting evidence of the trust your Father in Heaven has in you. He is blessing you and He will bless you, even—no, especially—when your days and your nights may be the most challenging. Rely on Him. Rely on Him heavily. Rely on Him forever. And “press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope.”

Jeffrey R. Holland

Motherhood Series - Jayci

Jayci is my youngest sister (Auntie Shi Shi). And my best friend and biggest support. She is the closest family, physically and emotionally to me and my kids. We adore her.
Jayci and I have long wished that we'd have kids at the same time so that we all could enjoy these experiences together. And she has been here with us, helping and playing and caring and loving since the first day my twins were born.
My biggest wish for her is that she gets all the desires of her heart, and that I can be there to help and play and care for and love her all along the way. Whatever the future holds.

And she has dibs on one of the twins to look after her when she gets old!

Love you sister!

1. Tell us about yourself!

I am a single, childless almost 33 year old. It's tough to admit that sometimes so I mostly try not to think about what I can't change and look forward to when I will be a mom. In the mean time I am a proud aunt to 3 nephews and 1 very energetic niece.

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'm still in the "wonder if it will ever happen" phase of life. I definitely want to have children.

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

I have always wanted to have a big family. For some reason I like the idea of having five kids, though I may never make it to that many. I've always been really good with babies and little kids and I feel that my life experiences so far would be useful in helping me to relate to my own teenagers.

I can definitely say that the biggest surprise for me relating to motherhood is that I'm not already a mom. I had expected to be almost done having kids by the time I hit this age. Had I known I may have done some things differently.

4. Biggest joy?

Falling back to my "favourite aunt" status I am so lucky to be a part of my niece and nephews' lives and to watch them grow up. My favourite thing is watching them discover things for the first time and learn new things. The biggest joy is when they are excited to see me and want to sit with me over anyone else. They make me feel so loved and I am completely smitten by them.

5. Best wish for your children?

To love and be loved and to know that no matter what life throws at them they will get through it. To know their own worth. To find what they are passionate about and go after it. Finally, I wish for them to have parents that they can always turn to and to whom they want to remain close.

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

I barely have time for myself now and I anticipate this will be an even bigger problem when I have kids. I try to learn from the examples of all the wonderful moms that I know and am mentally making plans for how I will find time to do things that will heal my spirit. I am learning now what those things are.

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

More: self-confidence, nerve, dinners made by someone else, dresses that actually go to my knees, hugs, time to work on film school, laughter

Less: meetings, babysitting adults, making all of the decisions myself, worrying about everything

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

I hope my kids learn to be kind to others because people are more important than things. I hope they are creative, love to read, and appreciate simplicity in life as well as healthy living.

9. What are some of the best things you learned from your own mother?

I've learned that you make time for things that are important to you. Also, that there are very few legitimate reasons to yell at your children. Family is important and you can enjoy spending time with them.

My mom once told me, "Just because you are in a bad mood, does not give you the right to make others feel like crap." That has stuck with me for years and I try to live by that.

Love you Mom!

Motherhood Series - Jocelyn

Ok, this is my mom. Cool heh?
To be honest, this past year has been incredibly difficult and mostly miserable for my mom. She spent almost the ENTIRE YEAR in the hospital with largely undiagnosed health issues while she suffered with a critical illness. Today she is home with my Dad (who had his own cancer crisis), and recovery her health slowly but surely.
It has been a long painful year for my whole family and a big reason why I haven't been here much. I may go into a bit more detail at a later date, if for no other reason than to sort it all out for myself. My mom and I have always been close and it has been heartbreaking to see her suffer.

And so it is with much gratitude and prayer and hope and finally relief that she is here today. It is a joy-full Mother's Day!

Mom I love you! I am thankful for the woman you are and the mother you have always been.

MUCH LOVE from all of us!

1. Tell us about yourself!

I had my children fairly young - age 20 when the first was born and 28 when the last was born. When my children were small I was a stay at home mom and for most of the time they were growing up. At age 60 I am now a grandmother, and my husband and I are "empty nesters". This doesn't change the fact that I am still a mother and that relationship will always be there.

2. What were your expectations of motherhood before you had kids?

I always wanted kids and looked forward to the time I would have them. I thought having kids and trying to raise them well was the most important thing I could do in my life. I wanted 6 kids and my husband wanted 2, so we compromised and had 4 - 1 boy and 3 girls.

3. What has been(was) your biggest surprise about Motherhood?

I think the thing that surprised me the most was how different each of my children are and how early those differences showed up. That made it a challenge to treat them all as individuals and allow and encourage those differences.

4. Biggest joy?

Watching my kids learn new things and seeing their excitement when they achieved something that was important to them.

5. Best wish for your children?
To be happy! I know that sounds simple and maybe a little trite, but ultimately that is what I want - in whatever situation they are in and whatever period their lives are going through now. They may not be exactly where they would like to be right now, but I want them to be happy where they are at.

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

I was fortunate to have a husband who was a great babysitter, so I was able to have some time to do my own thing, and of course when the kids were all in school there was more time for me. I like to be creative and do things with my hands, and one way I found time to do this was to have my children do it with me. That way I was sometimes able to persue my interests and spend time with my children too.

7. What do you wish you had more of?

While I tried to spend time with each of my children individually, I don't think there was ever as much time for that as I would have liked. I feel the same about spending time with my grandchildren.

Less of?

The everyday have-tos that took time away from them.

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

This is an interesting question when your children are all adults. I can see things in each of them that I wish they hadn't learned from me. Some things I hope they have learned from me are that family is the most important thing; you can do anything you want if you're willing to work at it - never stop learning; books are our friends; and do what you know is right.

9. What are some of the best things you learned from your own mother?

Some things I learned from my mother are to value family, those present and our ancestors; be dependable - if you say you'll do something then do it, and do it the best you can; and to sew and be creative.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Motherhood Series - Alisha

Alisha is a dynamic, funny, big-hearted woman. A lot of energy in a small package :) When I first knew her, she used to change her hair color every other week. And she totally made it work!
I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to photograph Alisha and Dave's engagement photos, as well as their wedding, and last fall their family with their tiny baby son. They are a great team. They laugh a lot, which is contagious!
Alisha has the heart to want to change the world and the determination and compassion to make it happen. She's not afraid to do the difficult things. She's also hilarious and girlfriend rocks a hair-do!

1. Tell us about yourself!

I am 32 years old. I am a social worker by trade and somewhat in my daily life. I hate seeing injustices done to the 'little' people. I am very passionate about helping people. I work for Child Welfare. Despite what people may think or been through, we jut don't take children away because we can. :) I love my job. I would love to adopt and or be a foster parent... the world needs good homes for children. I got married by 27 and in some circles that may be considered 'old'. I am glad I waited... not that I had much of a choice there. I was able to travel to different parts of the world (England, Australia, Spain). My husband and I both enjoy doing service - we have gone to Nicaragua to help communities there. We absolutely LOVED it. My dream is to work in Africa... we'll see.
I have one 7 month old boy who is now the centre of my actions. I can no longer do anything without thinking of him. It's great!

2. What were your expectations of motherhood before you had kids?
When I go into anything I try to limit my expectations because I do not want to be disappointed. Like marriage, for example. I didn't go into it thinking it would always be wonderful. I went into it thinking at one point one of us or both us may want to leave. :) I went in thinking we would fight/argue but we'd resolve it. With motherhood, I went into it thinking, if I can get through labor I can probably handle anything else. :) Dave and I want to have 4 but my 1st pregnancy was not pleasant so I will try a 2nd one and if it's just as bad or worse, we will adopt after. I had someone say to me once that they never thought I'd be a parent... I wasn't sure how to take it. Being pregnant is super surreal and I was truly hoping I would have a great pregnancy but after 9 months of throwing up I settled with a great baby who sleeps 12 hrs a night. yep, 12 hrs. I don't even have to drug him! My biggest fear was not being able to have any children. I have been blessed with one so far. :)

3. What has been(was) your biggest surprise about Motherhood?

Because I am such a 'young' mom my experience is limited. My son is 7 .5 months old... my biggest surprises are yet to come.

4. Biggest joy?
I'd say that the biggest joy was when he was born but that's kind of selfish because the joy was related to me not throwing up anymore...
Honestly though, the first time my son laughed... it still is a joy. I love the simplicity.

5. Best wish for your children?
Health. As long as they have a healthy body and mind then anything else is possible.

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

My husband is a great help. He gets up in the morning with him most days which allows me a little more sleep. I think God knows I do not function on little sleep which is why my son sleeps so well. When I do have time I LOVE baths and reading and working out.

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

Less stress. I don't wish for more time because it would probably cause more stress. I do wish for more patience.... in every aspect of life. I really don't want my son seeing my road rage. :)

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

I hope they learn that they can do anything they set their heart on. I hope they love helping people and that there is a world outside of theirs.

9. What are some of the best things you learned from your own mother?

A love for learning, reading and genealogy. I was adopted and when my mom found out that her and my dad would be getting a baby she prayed the baby would be a girl and if it was a girl she prayed for twins. She got what she prayed for. Twin girls. I learned that I may not always like my family but it was where I was meant to be.

Motherhood Series - Mardi

Mardi (the oldest of my two younger sisters) lives across the country so we don't see each other nearly enough.
Mardi has a compelling fearlessness to do whatever she sets her mind to. She'll just jump in and tackle the challenge.
If she's never done it before, no problem! Sew a wedding dress? She can do that. Help run a driving school? She can do that. Get married and instantly become a parent to two kids? She takes care of it (them). Home school those kids for a couple of years. She can do that too! Renovate and decorate a 100 year old stone house? No problem.
It's inspiring to to see that kind of attitude. And imagine what we could accomplish if we just did it! (I've always been the type to timidly stick my toe in and see if I'm gonna like it first. Heaven forbid I try something I'm not good at. Before I even try it!)
Mardi works hard to take care of her family, and plays hard to pursue her passions and enjoy her life. She's determined and talented and wonderfully driven! She's open and full of enthusiasm.
Love you!

1. Tell us about yourself!
(ie. if you'd like to include age or whether you were a younger mom, or waited a while, how many kids do you have, stay at home or work...etc)
I am 33years old. I love to create and work with my hands. I am not generally afraid to try something, which has lead me beyond sewing, to making jewelry and even a pair of shoes. I was a very young mom. I married at 21 and instantly was a step-mom to a 7 year old girl and an 8 year old boy. Both Zac and Kierstan were living with us full time before our first anniversary. Was I ready, not even close. We all had a lot of learning and growing to do. A little more than two years after we were married we were fortunate enough to adopt Parker. Now that the older two are on their own, and I just have my 10 year old boy, I still feel like I have a lot to learn. I am fortunate enough to be able to stay at home, but I am always busy. I help hubby run his driving school, but I also sew for a number of people lately.

2. What were your expectations of motherhood before you had kids?

I always said I wanted eight kids. That was never a question. A part of me was sad when I realized I was not going to get that, but I now know the Lord knew I would be overwhelmed by that many children.

3. What has been(was) your biggest surprise about Motherhood?

My biggest surprise was how hard it was to let go. Every time the kids would go to their Mom's house, as the older two grew and left home, as Parker started school. Hubby always calls me a mother hen, because I just want to keep my chicks close, and protect them.

4. Biggest joy?

My biggest joy is determined by the moment. I love the milestones of my kids. Zac graduating basic training in the Air Force, Kierstan Finishing High School and going on to learn to be a baker, Parker getting Baptized. Those are the most recent joys for each of them.

5. Best wish for your children?

I wish they find happiness, and find their place in the world.

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

Now that Parker is in school, I have most of my days to myself. When hubby leaves to do driving lessons, my days are my own. I set aside a day for me, so I can work on what I want. It is those days that I get to try new things. I love to sew, make jewelry and the newest project is to play shoemaker.

7. What do you wish you had more of? Less of?
I wish I had more patience with my kids, but more so that we had more memory building moments. I wish we had less worries of the things of the world.

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

I hope that my kids learn from me, that there is more than one way to do things. Just because others say it should be done a certain way, does not mean it is the only way. Persistence will usually get us where we want to be.

9. What are some of the best things you learned from your own mother?

Firstly, that which I hope my kids learn from me. I also learned the importance of family. We are never alone when we have family. Together we are strong. I learned that I get to choose the kind of woman I want to be. I am the only one who gets to decide how I react to anything in my life.

Motherhood Series - Margo

Margo and I met at work when we were both young and relatively new to the city. We've had a ton of fun together! You know, back in the day. Actually we still have a great time together. She makes me laugh.
Margo is a sensitive soul with a gift for telling wonderful stories about the people in her life. She remembers little things, and sees things, and makes you feel important. She has also grown into a fierce, brave mother. She fights for her kids. For what they need. For things most of us take for granted. She's an advocate and a teacher and a truly beautiful woman.
And sometimes I call her Margaret ;)

1. Tell us about yourself!

(My given name is Margaret Lucy...and only a few sweet people call me Margaret, the rest call me Margo. I am a SAHM of two boys. Warner is 5 and Rhett is 3. These boys have individual needs above and beyond the regular stuff as one lives with ADHD and the other with TSC, Tuberous Sclerosis Complex.My husband says it's no wonder our kids have health challenges as our combined age at birth was mid-late 70's!:) A late blooming mom in that I was 33 or 34 (I forget and am too tired too figure it out) when my first son was born. Choosing to be a SAHM was a given for me and my husband and I wouldn't have it any other way even though it is one of the hardest things I have ever undertaken...and mainly hard due to my own expectations...I think...and the busy-ness of raising boys, my boys anyway.

2. What were your expectations of motherhood before you had kids?

Openly, throughout my early life I always vocalized that I did NOT want children as they are so precious and I didn't want to break them! I was the favorite auntie, the treasured babysitter and that was perfect for me as I lived my single and dating life. But then I met my husband and I knew children were a deal breaker as he has always known that he wants two kids. So, I wrapped my mind around becoming a mom and it was an easy decision. Very easy. I knew we would have two kids and close together because as a child I really disliked being so much younger than my siblings and wanted my children to be close and friends. Therefore the decision was to have them close in age...20 months apart. That was a crazy idea!
Growing up in a large, very blended family....7 kids with a huge age span and three different sets of parents and a couple of secret babies in there....did not give me the desire for a large family. Too much noise! Too dramatic!

3. What has been(was) your biggest surprise about Motherhood?

For me, the biggest surprise of motherhood is that I never feel like I'm getting it right, never feel good enough as a mother and always feel like there is more that I could be doing for my boys. The fierceness in which I love my children and protect them is an area that does NOT surprise me. That wasn't part of the question was it?!

4. Biggest joy?
Watching my children learn and succeed, seeing the look of absolute joy on their little faces when I pick them up from school/babysitter, etc and feeling a little hand stroke my face...petting me like a favored pet....are some of the moments that bring complete joy to my heart...an everlasting feeling that I can tap into.

5. Best wish for your children?

Where does one start?
World peace!;) Self esteem and good health.

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

Recently time for myself has been to attend funerals and visit sick relatives. I'm not kidding! How sad is that? But seriously, I took a night away to attend a funeral out of town and took the long road home and it was wonderful. Two weeks later I found myself racing to the west coast to sit at an ill aunt's bedside...with my sister who has 4 kids and is a role model in the mother dpt....and it was so great to be on my own! Funerals and sickness, that's when I find "me time"!
With great difficulty! I stay up too late....utilize lovely teen neices who need pocket money & love my boys...and sometimes I even take the boys to "Playcare" or an indoor play area where I can then sit with a book or journal or something.
Since my husband now works away for 3 weeks at a time, personal time is precious, far and few between.

7. What do you wish you had more of? Less of?
More patience and less frustration.

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

This is such a really difficult question for me because as I write these answers, thoughts, I am not the mom I want to be...planned to be...hoped to be. Maybe next year, I'll have an answer.

9. What are some of the best things you learned from your own mother?

My mother taught me to put her husband and children before herself. She taught me to appreciate the little things....baking, knitting, sewing, quilting, all foods made from scratch. She also taught me to try anything at any age and stage in life. The joy of riding on a swing as an adult. Laughing until your eyes tear and you can't catch your breath during a crazy game of spoons is a good thing. To love your mother and care for her until the end....even if that love is a difficult love.

Motherhood Series - Alyson

I've known Alyson since way back in the day when we were both single. Although I stayed that way for considerably longer than she did!
However we were both pregnant with our 3rd child at the same time and they are only a few weeks apart.
Alyson is honest and warm and has a wicked sense of humor! She is civic minded and intelligent and wants the world (school, community, neighborhood, government) to be a better, more responsible, positive place for her kids.

1. Tell us about yourself!

I am a 37 year old mother of 3 challenging yet beautiful boys. They are, as of right now 11, 9, and 3. I have summer babies so very soon they will be 12, 10, and 4. It seems I am only fertile between september and december. Maybe that was too much information. Oh well.

I have been married to my supportive Husband for 13 years. I am a "stay at home mum" who does some property managing on the side. It doesn't bring a whole lot in but its something, which is better than nothing.

I want to have my own business but I haven't quite found out what I like doing. I am practically interested in everything and find that the joy of doing something is taken away when I get paid for it, then it becomes a job. This really makes it hard to have your own business that you can make money at.

My husband and I decided to try to have kids almost 3 months after we got married. I wanted 4. I also secretly wanted an army of girls to dress up. I grew up in a house of 5 girls and that was all I knew. So glad Heavenly Father knew what I could handle. I got some really good boys and am content with my 3. They say that 3 is the new 10, so I guess Jen made it. Besides with inflation it costs about the same.

2. What were your expectations of motherhood before you had kids?

Its strange how we are so ready to give up our lives for these little ones and yet it isn't. My ideas of what motherhood would be like were only partially shrouded in romantic mist. I new I wanted to play at the park and hug them and tickle, but the real stuff day to day, I never dreamed about. I was confident in my ability to do those things as I was the oldest in the family and baby-sat a lot. But its different when its all on you. Baby sitting is only for a few hours in a week. I was surprised at the stamina it required.

I remember with my first I was so afraid that something bad would happen and I would be a bad mom. It got to the point that I didn't take a shower until my husband got home (for the first 5 months) What if I didn't hear him crying?

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

My biggest surprise... hmmm, how tired I was. Maybe that wasn't the biggest, but it was a huge factor. I was also surprised at how much I could function on so little sleep.

I also thought in order to be a good mother I had to do it on my own. My husband could help because he was the dad, but others no way. I thought that leaving my son with somebody would be an imposition and people would hate me if I bothered them. I still get that way even with play dates and I don't know where that comes from because its completely ridiculous. It wasn't until this past spring break that I realized my kids don't want to "hang out" with me all the time. So I'm trying to make plans for the summer, but that requires money ugh.
4. Biggest joy?

I love, Love, LOVE!!! when people tell me my kids are great boys. I also love it when they learn something new and accomplish something that they worked so hard on, but my best joy is when they make life decisions all on their own and learn truths all on their own. I'm sorry I cannot be more specific than that. Its not mine to share.
5. Best wish for your children?

I want what any mother wants, I want them to have a well adjusted life with nothing wrong ever happening, but I know that is unrealistic and silly.

I often think of that scene in Finding Nemo, where Dory is talking to Marlin and she says something like, if you wish for nothing to happen to them nothing will.

We don't learn when everything is hunky dory (there she is again) we learn when things don't go our way.

So I guess what I wish for them is Happiness. I want love to find them and for them to have children of their own and be the most excellent parents possible, but sometimes that isn't possible. What you can really control is if you are happy. Its a choice so I hope they choose to be happy.

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

This is often my hardest thing to do. Balance is so hard to find especially when your husband is a Bishop as well as the bread winner. School, house, shopping, holidays all fall on me and it can be so time consuming that I find myself coping with a chocolate bar (or two) and a fizzy caffeinated beverage. I hate that I do that. I am trying to cut back on the treats to 2 days a week and then one. I am trying to find time for myself. I took up running, on saturdays, but lately life has been encroaching on that time too. I guess I need to just get up earlier.

I also have to remind myself that there is a Time and a Season for everything. I have a little one at home. I should focus on what I need to do now and can put some of those AWSOME and personally consuming projects till he is in school. I need to teach these guys how to be humans and good ones at that so sharing responsibilities is my next plan. We'll see how that goes. No one likes change except the one implementing it.

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

That's easy. I wish I had more time so that they could get all thing things done like home work and practicing and then have time for fun. My eldest has shown an interest in sports.
My middle child is somewhat of the dramatic and I would like to put him in something that would foster his powers for good.My third, is good at everything and very energetic. I want to find out just how awesome he can be, but evenings are already full. FULL I TELL YOU!

But really that is a moot point as they all require funds and a second vehicle. So I guess I want more time, money and a car.

What I want less of? That's easy too. I want Less stuff. The clutter can be so mentally stifling. I want a space for everything and everything in its space. I want the WORLD to know that making things that breakdown after a week might be "good for the economy" but it is debilitating when one is trying to get organized and is saving money to purchase a home of their own. The constant accumulation of stuff is ridiculous. The crazy thing is we don't really have that much.
8. What do you hope your kids learn from you?

Hmmm...I can tell you what I hope they don't learn. I guess I hope they learn not to be selfish. I hope they learn to be kind and helpful. I hope I can teach them to be self sufficient and reliable. I also want them to like themselves.

9. What are some of the best things you learned from your own mother?

I learned how to pray. I also learned how to serve other people. I learned how to cook and a learned how to sew and do laundry. I also learned that sometimes we do things we don't want to because its good for us and those we love.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Motherhood Series - Kerry

Kerry and I are also cousins, on my Dad's side. We grew up in the same small town, minutes away from each other and my grandparents. So we spent a lot of time together as kids.

After we all grew up and went in different directions we didn't see each other as often. But now that we're grown and both have kids we've found that we have some similar interests again. And our girls get along like long lost pals!

It always breaks my heart a little when I think of my aunt who passed away at such a young age. It's such a terrible loss.

Kerry's girls are bright and lively and completely individual. Kerry is compassionate, tender-hearted, and a fun and creative (and brave) mom!

1.Tell us about yourself!

I am a stay at home mom of two little girls 5 and 3. And will soon be embarking on a crazy but thrilling adventure of homeschooling .(That in itself is a story of its own)

2. What were your expectations of motherhood before you had kids?

For me I always knew I wanted to have two kids. Three was an awkward number because one always got left out and four was just way too many for my liking.

But to be hones, even though I wanted them, I was terrified to have them. I was afraid of the power I would have over them. In my family there were lots of “anger issues” and I was afraid that I would not be able to control my temper or my words.

Another expectation that I still have difficulties coming to terms with is I expected that my mom would be always be around to talk to, to get support from, and have her there just do general “grandma-y” things. I was in no way prepared for her loss when she died of Cancer. When we buried her 3 weeks before the arrival of my second child I was not sure how I would cope with out her. It gets easier but I still miss her terribly.

3.What has been(was) your biggest surprise about Motherhood?

One thing I always said to myself was that I was not going to have any expectations of who my children would be. I would not put pressure on them to be someone they were not. It wasn't long after my second daughter was born that I discovered I really did have expectations. I wanted them to be like me. I wanted them to like what I liked. I have quite often had to take a step back and fight the urge to be disappointed and just be grateful for the little people they are.

4.Biggest joy?

I don't think I could limit my “ biggest” joy to just one thing. Its a million tiny things. Like the first time they recognize you,the first time they smile,the first time they say “momma”.Its when they learn something new and they have that sparkle in there eyes because they truly get it. Its when they curl up in your lap when you read them a story book for the 100th time or when they fall asleep in you arms. Its when they put their arms around your neck and squeeze so tight while they whisper “I love you” in your ear or put their tiny hand in yours. These are the moments that make it truly worth it.

5.Best wish for your children?

My greatest wish for my girls is that they will know JOY in their lives. Not a life devoid of hardships, but one in which they know they are truly love and they are worth it. I wish for them to be able to stand strong and have courage when the trials come, yet be humble enough to be thankful for all they have been given.

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

Time for myself is a bit of a luxury due to the nature of my husband's job. But when I do get a chance, more often than not you will find me playing with my pictures/camera, reading blogs or curled up in a chair with a good home decorating magazine.

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

More patience and less of a perfectionist attitude!

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

“Do as I say not as I do.” LOL! What I mean is that I hope they can learn from my mistakes.

9.What are some of the best things you learned from your own mother?

My mom was a kind and generous woman who was slow to anger and never said an unkind word about anyone. She was always there when someone needed help and she was content just to step back and let others shine. She was selfless and giving and more often than not she went with out so her children could have.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Motherhood Series - Ila

I think Ila may be the most glamorous mom I know. She's stylish. She wears high heels and lipstick almost every day - although not usually at the playground ;)
She is a career woman. She has run marathons. She loves to bake, and entertain and throw parties. She has her entire family over for Thanksgiving. She's a hugger. She's a ton of fun and has a wonderfully generous heart.
And if you're ever invited to her son's birthday party (or any other party she's hosting), go I tell ya! You'll make new friends and the food will be amaaazing...it will be a blast.
And it has worked out fantastically well that our sons are the same age!

1. Tell us about yourself!
I really still think of myself as 30-something, but in fact, I’m 43. Most days, I don’t feel 43…. and some days I feel much older. I’ve been with Rory for 21 years and we just celebrated our 16 year wedding anniversary. We have one son, Rohan who will be six soon. I’m a recruitment consultant and have been in this industry for a long time. It’s time for me to have some new adventures and I think this is the year…

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?)

Experiences in my early 20’s affected me; so I built a story for myself that I didn’t deserve to be a mom and for much of my adult life, that was the deal. I wasn’t having children; I didn’t deserve to be a mom because I had given up that right. This all came to a head for me and in our marriage. We had to work thru this. Rory thought I had been joking when all along, I was serious as hell. We worked thru it together and I realized that this story I had created for myself, didn’t have to be my story. I had to stop punishing myself and let go. I think the story was also a bit of self protection, in that I never ever wanted to go thru that kind of heartache again. This story protected me from that. By then I was in my late 30’s and getting pregnant wasn’t so easy. We tried for two years and every month, my excitement would build, only to see the negative response on the stupid pee stick. Almost two years later, almost to the point of resignation, we conceived our little munchkin.

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

My sisters started their families when they were both 18, so I had been around their kids my entire life. What I didn’t realize was that moms are never really “off duty.” This is a 24/7/365 gig that is physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. My highs are high and my lows are low. I had no idea that this one little person could affect my life so extremely. I have feelings and emotions that come out of nowhere …. the pride I feel when someone compliments Rohan’s manners and the shame I feel when I’ve yelled at him unnecessarily.

4. Biggest joy?
In the wee hours just this morning, he crawled into bed with us. His skin soft and warm. His little legs tangle with mine, his arm reaches across my neck in a snuggle and he says “I love you Mommy.”

5. Best wish for your children?
To love, care and respect others and for himself. To have a life of adventure, to have the courage to try and to be ok with what doesn’t turn out as he expected. And maybe when we’re old and grey, that he’ll still call once in a while J

6. How do you find time for yourself/what do you do?
My secret wish is to have a few days all to myself, with nothing but time to do what I want to do….and probably by the end of the first day, I wouldn’t know what to do with myself and I’d miss my boys desperately. For the time being, hot yoga is my thing. I sneak away in the morning and enjoy the intense heat and sweat, challenging my body and best of all, the stillness I sometimes achieve in my mind. Someday I’ll run distance again, maybe even with Rohan at my side.

7. What do you wish you had more of? Less of?
More of? A little more time to be silly and do the fun things we used to do when I wasn’t working full time. Less of? Laundry. For sure. Gosh, does it never end??? I’d also like less of the stress that I put on myself, trying to be the “perfect mom, wife, sister, daughter, friend.” The pressure is sometimes so extreme and I know that I put it all on myself; this isn’t an expectation of anyone, it’s all what I put on myself.

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

Love of family and friends, to celebrate and have parties just because it’s fun, to be spontaneous and silly, really, just to live life ~ and enjoy the adventure and to leave this earth in better shape than they found it.

9. What are some of the best things you learned from your own mother?
I learned to feed the masses; to give and give because there is abundance and God will always take care of us.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Motherhood Series - Carla

Carla and I have been friends since High School. Which is like a million years ago now ;) Our lives have changed so much since we've known each other. I think it's kind of special to know someone who has that unique perspective and visa versa.
Carla is infinitely creative and surprising and talented and loyal. I'm so glad she's my friend!

1. Tell us about yourself!

My name is Carla, I stay at home with three girls ages 2, 5 and 7. I had my first baby at 35 which missed my deadline of 30 by a few years.

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

Trying to balance the conflicting demands; which I knew about from being a nanny but not like this. It's when I'm in the kitchen trying to get supper or clean up from supper and each one wants something different and they want it right now and it just keeps going and going.

3. Biggest joy?

Reading to my kids and laughing with them.

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

Getting a babysitter one night a week on a regular basis has enabled me to volunteer at the library which solidified for me what I want to work at when the kids get older. It seems like so much money and there are still times I feel reluctant about it but it works.

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

I wish I could take Heidi with me to volunteer at the school. I wish I could be in the classroom more and know more about what is happening there. I could live with less drama...will I miss the screaming, the running around half naked, the stares of the many others waiting in line at the passport office? No no I won't. I'm looking forward to the day when I look back at these times with fondness.

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


7. What are some of the best things you learned from your own mother?

Love of gardening and nature; love of sewing and knitting; love of God and the community that can be found in a church.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Motherhood Series - Brooke

Brooke is beautiful and talented and my cousin. She has a wonderful gift in being able to talk to/befriend everyone. Even though I try not to make quick(surface) judgements about people, I know I do sometimes. She won't judge you, or think you have nothing in common. I really admire that about her.
And her son is totally adorable!

1. Tell us about yourself!

I am a fairly young mom. I had my son when I was 25 but we had also tried for a few years to get him here, so I felt like I was getting “old” (more so in comparison to my friends who already had 2 kids by then). I wanted to be a young mom because I wanted my kids to have young, fun grandparents that could do a lot with them. I knew I would need the breaks!

My son is 2 years old and I work 3 days a week. I find it a good balance between spending time with him and getting some “me time” where I feel like I actually use my brain a bit.

2. What were your expectations of motherhood before you had kids?

I definitely saw myself as a mother, but I always knew that I would enjoy working. I figured that staying home with kids would just be fun and I could go take them to all the fun activities I always heard my friends doing when I was working.

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

The biggest shock was just how hard it is to get time for yourself. It is so overwhelming just to leave the house some days. When I am home the last thing I want to do is take care of my house. Sometimes I feel like I have to CHOOSE between being a good mom and taking care of myself personally.

4. Biggest joy?
Seeing your child do something or say something for the first time. It always shocks me a little.

5. Best wish for your children?

To be kind and contributing members of society. Get a good job and have fun with your family and friends.

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

My husband and I will switch off one night a week, so we each get a night away without having to hassle with finding a babysitter. I also make time for myself a priority. I have the luxury right now with only 1 that I can let him play with his trains while I sew on the other side of the room. Or he eats in his high chair while I read my book. I just MAKE it happen.

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

As all mothers, I wish I had more time. More time at work, more time at home. Less dirty diapers? I always want someone to tell me how to schedule my day. I want to me more “in the moment” with my son and have more interactive play time with him but I don’t even know how to start.

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

I wish my kid(s) would learn to enjoy being themselves, work hard, play hard, and just do the best they can. Learning that from me? We will have to see.

9. What are some of the best things you learned from your own mother?

To relax. While pregnant and with a newborn around people were always giving out advice. I would see some moms with signs to not ring the door bell. My mom always told me to let them make lots of noise so your babies will sleep through it. Don’t exclude yourself and lock yourself in the house just because you have a kid. You can cart them everywhere.

My mom was also a saving grace because I had post partum depression. Some days the thought of even leaving the house was so overwhelming that I would freak out and just watch TV because it was all I could handle. She always sensed these moments and would come pick us up and take us out. Even if it was just running to Wal-Mart or running errands it always made me feel like I could do it. For some reason, it’s loading up the car that does it for me. Once I am in, we are good to go, but getting there requires mental prep. To this day I call her when I need a mental cheer leader.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Motherhood Series - Jen

Jen had her twin boys 1yr before I had mine. She was like my personal guardian angel, generous and kind and inspiring. I don't know how she found the time with such a busy life of her own, but I will always be grateful. And my intention has always been to pay it forward.
Jen is a truly beautiful woman, inside and out!

Here are her thoughts.

1. Tell us about yourself!

I am currently 38, have three beautiful boys, oldest 12, youngest 7 (twins). I am taking a year off work to pursue some personal interests, take better care of my children and put my home in order. These pursuits are more difficult than I had planned as other life circumstances seem endlessly in the way.

2. What were your expectations of motherhood before you had kids?
My husband and I planned to have 10 children. We had marital struggles that made me want to wait to have children so our first wasn't born until we had been married about 5 years. Marital problems worsened with first child, as is normal (but I didn't know it at the time), so wasn't sure I wanted to have more children. Struggled to get pregnant about 3 years later and planned to adopt, then came my twins.
I don't think I thought about being a mother in great detail, except for having children around me and feeling joy. I realize now that I felt an unspoken expectation from family, church and society to have children, but had unresolved issues about motherhood that I have struggled with since becoming a mother. I love my children dearly, please don't misunderstand. What I struggle with are issues from my own childhood that impact greatly on how well I mother my boys now.

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

I remember the first days in the hospital and how terrified I was about taking my child home, not knowing how to care for him, especially when I felt so ill. I remember days, months, years of feeling like I had died, my life was over, consumed in darkness because I was so afraid of being a mother and being alone with my child, worried that I wasn't caring for him properly, and depressed over my loss of independence and freedom. I then had guilt piled on top of it because I knew my child was beautiful and a glorious gift in my life and yet I was feeling so low. It took me years to finally get help for post-partum depression.
I now know that women are NEVER meant to bear children alone. We are meant to live in communities, close to eachother, to help eachother, not secluded in our own homes, struggling away in silence, trying to maintain the facade that we know what we are doing and are fine, when we are not. Women are so compassionate, soft and strong and we need eachother, especially when we become mothers.

4. Biggest joy?

Living life with my boys when I have taken away the guilt of being imperfect. Just watching them and listening to their amazing ideas, laughing with them when they find something funny, enjoying their views and thoughts, holding them when they cry, snuggling with them at night, trying new things with them, watching their angelic faces when they sleep, holding their soft warm hands and feeling their love.

5. Best wish for your children?

That they will learn to love themselves and love others.

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

I involve my children in caring for our home so I have more time to spend with them during daytime hours. In these times, I try to get them to help with necessary activities like cooking, cleaning, laundry etc. so we have more time to play together. But, in having them help me, we also find we enjoy our time working together as well. This happens well some days, and not so well on other days.
I quit my job so I have more time when they are at school to pursue some self-care time. I didn't find time for myself at all for the past 12 years....something I would do differently if I had it to do again.
In times when I am alone, I have started doing a lot of walking. Sometimes I walk in silence, listening to the wind and the ocean and the whisperings of inspiration that help guide me in my life. Sometimes I walk with pounding loud music that lets my thoughts drift away and I let the stresses of my life flow out through my feet.
I have also started taking up creative interests that I had put on the back burner for most of my married life. Again, if I could go back and do it again, I would NEVER have let these things go because they help me feel good inside and I am a much better mother because of them. Creative pursuits I mention include dancing, writing, painting, playing and learning music, singing etc.

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

I wish I had more love and patience for myself and my children.
I wish I had less baggage from my childhood and marriage that negatively affect how I feel about myself and therefore how I mother my children.

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

I hope they learn that no matter what challenges you face in your life, you can always change and choose how you want to live.

9. What are some of the best things you learned from your own mother?

I learned from my mother that small acts of love and kindness make a big difference to a tender heart. I also learned that relationships go up and down, and when they are down, we need to remember the up times and hang on, doing all we can, until the down times pass.

Anything you'd like to add?

I don't know if I am the only one....though I doubt it.....but I think that we, as women, as mothers, need to let go of society's and church's expectations of us and just LOVE OURSELVES. If we love ourselves, which includes letting go of all the guilt and all the comparison and all the negative thoughts about ourselves, then we will be so much happier and as a result, more effective and loving mothers.

Motherhood Series - Lara

And I guess it's only fair that I begin...

1. Tell us about yourself!
I am a stay at home mom to 3 kids. I have twin boys who are 6 now and a daughter who will be 4 in a few weeks. I have been married for 8 years and had my twins when I was 34. I think that makes me an 'older' mom ;)

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?)
When I was a kid I always thought that I'd have 3 kids. It just seemed like the perfect number. I'm the oldest of all the grand kids on both sides of my family and I always loved babies. As I grew up I was never consumed by thoughts of children. I just knew that I wanted a family. In a weird sort of way, I thought of it more as having these great people who would always be part of my life.

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

I have been around kids from an early age and spent a LOT of time babysitting so I didn't think I would be that surprised. I was wrong!

It has been really difficult in ways I didn't expect. Mentally and emotionally difficult. I didn't expect that having children would test every inch of my being. I didn't expect to find out that my sanity was such a fragile thread.

3 kids in just over 2 years almost killed me at times! I didn't expect it to be as hard as it has been. I think it sounds terrible to say, but I thought I would enjoy it more.
I think the almost total loss of freedom for the past few years has been the toughest part. There were just so many things I couldn't do with 2, or 3 of them. Or I couldn't do it without a huge amount of stress and often embarrassment (screaming kids, or running away tipping over a shopping cart while they're in it, or various other awesome events).

It's definitely getting easier as they get more independent. Those couple of years between when naps end and preschool begins were the toughest for me. No real down time.
I think I've just come to terms with the idea that I'll be a better mom to school age kids!

And I've said this before but it still stands. No matter how the day has gone, at night when they are asleep they are so beautiful you can hardly believe it you know you would do anything for them. Even clean puke out of an entire room and 52 loads of laundry.

4. Biggest joy?

My kids are healthy and bright and creative (sometimes too creative!).
We love having adventures together. We love going out somewhere new and exploring (usually outside, but exploring indoors more too, like the Tyrrell museum, etc). We love going on adventures together as a family and hope to do that more. I love seeing their curiosity and joy in learning new things. Or finding things they're good at.

5. Best wish for your children?

My husband and I often talk about helping our kids find their passions and pursuing them.
Basically I want them to feel they are loved and supported and capable of doing whatever makes them happy

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

I suspect this may be something we all have in common. It is elusive and ever-changing.
Sometimes I can sit here at the computer while the kids are playing in the other room. Blogging has been a way for me to feel connected. Photography is a joy for me, and I always feel lighter after visiting with my sister/girlfriends!
I'm struggling with this a bit at the moment, so I know I need to carve out some time even if it's not convenient. For my husband. HA.

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

More: cheap babysitters, fun/relaxing time with my hubby, adventures/vacations, motivation to work out, cute dresses, an extra hour to sleep in the morning, sunny days, salad rolls, family photos, individual time with my kids.
Less: housework, clutter, pee around/on the toilet (as opposed to IN)

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

I hope my kids love to be creative and love to read.
I hope they learn to be organized from their dad.

9. What are some of the best things you learned from your own mother?

To love to learn and to read. Always continue learning. You don't have to treat your kids all the same. They have different needs, wants, and challenges. Enjoy your kids. Get involved with their activities. Listen to them.
Make time to do the things you enjoy. It's important to pursue your creativity. You can't do it all and have a clean house all the time ;)
Love you Mom!

Motherhood Series - Introduction

I was thinking about Mother's Day and what a crazy 6 years it has been for me.
Then I started thinking about some of my friends who have kids and what a journey it had been for them as well. We all started out in one place and having kids has taken us all in so many directions, many we never imagined. And I thought about my own mother and her mother and how life was for them raising children.

So much diversity, yet so much in common. And I've become intensely curious to know about those journeys. Not to just compare notes, but to share insights and common challenges and inspire each other.
So I've invited some of my favorite mom's to share their thoughts here. I will post them in the coming days leading up to Mother's Day. It's going to be great!

If you're reading this and I haven't formally invited you to participate, and you would like to contribute, please do! Leave a message in the comments or send me a message (or leave a comment and I'll send you my email so I can dedicate a post to you!) Or leave a link to your own blog!