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I wanted a boy

When you first find out that you are pregnant, everyone wants to know what gender you would prefer. First and foremost, we want healthy.   I didn't really have a preference...  but, a little bit I wanted another boy.  For me, it was pragmatic.  I have all boy things - 3 years worth of clothes and toys.  3 years worth of experience raising a little boy.  I really didn't know how to have a girl.  My Mom thought that was the most ridiculous thing she has ever heard.  I have 3 sisters... and to point out the obvious, I am a girl. So, she was a bit confused.  She would always say,

"a mom needs a little girl of her own."

I had names picked out for both the girls and boys.  My girl names where far from girly - I wanted something that sounded tough and confident, or could be shortened into a 'boy-ish' name.  Montgomery was my first choice, and I would call her Monty...  needless to say, there was a lot of turned-up noses.  I really had no reason to feel that way except it was just the world I was use to.  The day came and we found out that we were having a girl, and I was excited.  I stuck with my gender neutral names.  I started buying clothes and picking out bedding.  I even picked out less girl-y bed clothes, and let John make the final pick - he selected bright and pink, and I was fine with that too. 

Finally, my due date arrived - it felt like I was pregnant for a lifetime.  I wanted to be induced, just as I was with Brayden.  I get huge, and I wanted nothing more then to be done being pregnant.   It went very smooth, with the exception of some issues with my epidural not working during all of the contraction, but when it came time to push, it was smooth sailing.   And then, at 4:34 pm, she entered the world - all 7 pounds 6 ounces of her - of pure perfection.


I instantly cried.  I i knew that she was my perfect angel - my precious little girl.  And, in that second I knew she didn't need to be toughened by some strong gender neutral name - Miranda Ann, soft and perfect.  Our  little girl.  And from that moment, I was transformed.  It amazing how we can meet the needs of total opposite human beings, Brayden the 4 year old boy of dinosaur land and Miranda the pretty in pink baby girl.  I bought lace leggings, and ruffled butt everything, hair bows and barrettes.

 The biggest change, was the shift in my concern for Brayden.  I was mildly horrified about what this new baby would do to him.  How would he respond to sharing his mom?  How would he handle her crying?  How would he learn to be patient with his needs?  How would he learn about having to lower his voice during nap time?  I focused so much I what he would be loosing, I really passed up the experiences from my own life - the additional love, joy, and comfort from having siblings.  And Brayden, he is the best big brother - ever.  Seriously.  

 And as Miranda has grown, they have become the centers of each other.  The joy in their eyes when they are together, brings me so much happiness.   The bond is indescribable, it can't be measured, only felt.  

What I didn't anticipate was the pain of separation, how they would adjust to not being together.  Brayden leaves every other weekend, and goes on extended trips with his Dad.  I know it is hard on both of them, and it hurts me to see them miss each other so much.  We make due with Facetime :)

My experience from Miranda was a lot different from Brayden as newborns - Brayden was really needy, and really fussy...  colic?  I didn't know.  Miranda, she was an angel.  She had some bouts of colic, but it was timed, so we were prepared, and we worked in shifts.   Miranda is sweet and observant and just really really happy.  As she is rounded the ripe age of 1, her frustrations to communicate and determination to have what she wants is really starting to shine through.  And, although there are days when it is frustrating, I actually  enjoy seeing her stubborn side - she wants what she wants, and that may be the one trait that she gets from her mom ;)  The most interesting difference that I see between her and Bradyen, is that Brayden loves all things 'boy' and Miranda loves everything girly.  She loves her baby dolls.  No. I mean really loves them - she holds them and kisses them...  and wants them near all the time.  She loves her play purse, we have a morning routine where she plays in my make-up while I get ready.  She wears my necklaces - for hours.  She gets mad if you try to take them off.  She is girl through and through, and I love every second.


And here we are, nearly a year later and she has outgrown many rounds of clothes.  She will be walking any day.  She loves all of her family and she has filled our home with a different type of air - full of giggles and pretty things.   When I rock her, I can hard believe how much she has grown.  And, how I never knew how much I needed this little girl.





The other side of the lens (year II)

Well, this year marked the second year of our family pictures and we added another little smiling face. It went a little better then last year, I didn't get mud on my pants but I did have to edit out my spanx from my creeping dress :) Brayden was his typical 4 year old self - cooperative and sweet, until he decided not to be.  Then, it was utter refusal.  Miranda did really well - she is on a good streak - lets hope she will be so use to having her picture taken that she will just beam any time I ask! 

We were waiting for John to arrive after work, so I got a lot of pictures of me and the kids - something that rarely happens.  I wanted to be back to my pre-pregnancy weight before I had these done, but, like I encourage others to do, these kids will only be this small for a very short time - and, they love me regardless of the extra weight I have to loose.  

Here's our little family:



Thanks again Chris Bland with B-Land Design Photography, you are pretty fantastic! ;) 



extra space in my heart

My little pumpkin head is already 3 months, not sure when that happened...  but, every day, I am struck with wonder.  I never knew I could love another human being as much as I loved Brayden.  I was always told by Moms of multiples that is was possible, but I didn't believe it.  It didn't seem possible to have enough space in your heart.

Now I know, it's true.

Here she is, already 3 months - and she is pure perfection, especially those thighs!! 




I started today different

For the past few months, and for many in the foreseeable future - I don't get to sleep.  In my current pregnant state, I am big.  My hips hurt, my shoulder hurts - and I am constantly being kicked or punched in one or multiple organs.  I have to get up to pee at least twice in the middle of the night, and I have to rotate sleeping sides to avoid complete loss of circulation - all of which takes every muscle in my body to roll myself over.  Some nights are easier to sleep through, most are not.  Brayden is now 4, and still sleeps in my bed.  I often wish he would give his big boy bed a chance, without the tears and the fears - but, that doesn't seem to be in the cards anytime soon.   

This morning came early.  I squinted to see the clock, half blind due to poor vision, the other because it was so dark out.  I wanted to know if I had to roll myself out of bed and into the shower.  I patted around in the dark for my glasses - It was early, only 5:00 am.  I let out a sigh.  Too early to get up, but not really long enough to try to put myself back to sleep.  I closed my eyes and just wished for it not to be morning yet.  At the same moment, another thought collided into the other - It interrupted my negative focus, "Be thankful for this morning."  Still with my eyes closed, I exhaled and had a surge of gratitude come through.  I thanked God for another day on this earth.  For another day to be Brayden's mom.  For another morning I get to wake up to his feet in my back and the silent hum of his breathing next to me.  I am so thankful I have this little guy that finds comfort sleeping next to his Mama - one day to soon, he will want nothing to do with snuggle time, so instead I rolled my big belly over and cuddled him, just being thankful for the moment.  At the same time I am kicked by another set of feet, ones I have not yet seen - but are growing daily.  I am thankful for the ability to have this little girl - a blessing that is too often taken for granted. 

I often focus on the things that need to be done - and I get agitated when I am off schedule.  I am task driven, always.   Brayden was gone for 2 weeks over Thanksgiving.  I hate it when he is gone.   This is his first week back.  I tried to spend more patient, unscheduled time for us - even through the busy week.  It was wonderful, and I get to look forward to a nice relaxing weekend together.  We get to put up the tree and do some more decorating, but besides that - no other tasks to cross off my list.  We are just going to enjoy the time.   Christmas this year feels much like being a kid.  I actually like the Christmas songs I hear on the radio and in the stores.  Last year was much different, Brayden was going to be in Virginia, so I dreaded this Holiday - I actually wanted to sleep right through it.  So, I decided this year will be celebrated differently - It will have a different focus - it wont be about the task of getting things done and the hustle and bustle of the day, it will be about celebration and gratitude - which is the real purpose.  I just needed a little perspective.  Perspective that came to me in a morning daze, in the hum of a snoring 4 year old, and the kick of a baby.  I started today different, but I really hope I can make it the norm.

"gratitude turns what we have into enough"





Raising a Husband

I know what this sounds like - and No, this is not about John.  That isn't to say that he and I don't feel like we are raising each other somedays, because I know we defiantly do.   This is about the almost 4 year old little man that I hope will develop into a kind and loving person and will someday, be a wonderful partner. 

Photo Credit: Chris Bland

I say often that I really don't want Brayden to grow up.  I say it so much, that he mocks me with my own statements.  He shows me his big muscles, and he laughs as he rises to his tip-toes saying "watch how big I will grow".   As much as I want him to stay little - I love the developing person he is becoming.  I am coming to believe this is one of the great gifts of parenting.  Every day is filled with pride - pride in the little person growing and learning.  And pride in our own learning and growing -  on the difficult days when we give ourselves a much deserved pat on the back for handling an in-store tantrum or refusal to eat dinner.  We deserve the self recognition for making it through.   I was visibly not happy the other day - clearly frustrated.  Brayden came over to me and started rubbing my arm and consoling with kind words.  I instantly knew that my petty frustration was nothing.  I was moved into a space of pure joy - and I thought, probably out loud, Brayden, you are going to make a wonderful husband someday.  

I spent one of my many sleepless night thinking about all of his wonderful child qualities that I adore - And I really hope he can keep them through the harshness that the world often engages us in.  I hope he can hold fast to his qualities and brilliantly overcome the challenges he may come to face. 

Photo Credit: Joanne Thyne

Laugh.  Life is only as serious as you make it.  Laugh often and life will be lighter.  Brayden's laugh has changed.  It's different then a few weeks ago - He has more belly into it and he does it more now - he is learning his sense of humor, and others too.  Laughter is so important - and this is coming from a pretty serious Mom - We laugh, but I need to interject that same principal into other aspects of my life too.  I am taking lessons from him, everyday. 

Love. Love. Love.  This kid, he loves his Mom.  I am sure all kids do.  He sometimes has a hard time reaching others because he finds comfort in the closeness of me - I of course love that.  But, I want him to not have anxiety about being away from my reach - I know in time he will, to quick I assume.  I know someday he will have that some protective comfort when he finds a partner worth sharing it with.  Until then, I will be happy to carry that role. 

Flowers.  Always bring flowers.  I did not teach Brayden this, I wish I could take the credit.  This sweet boy gives me the same artificial, potted flowers EVERY DAY.  No joke.  He brings them if I am sad, tired, happy - he looks for a reason.  He always starts out with the same exclamation, "Mommy, close your eyes.  I have a surprise for you!"  As much as girls say, don't buy flowers - they are a waste of money...  we lie.  Get 'em from a ditch or for $3.99 at the grocery store - We will LOVE them :)

Never loose that glow - the way your eyes light up every morning (ok, most mornings) ready and eager to take on the day - just wanting to know what adventures await for the day ahead.  I believe it is one of the most contagious things about Brayden (it could be all children I suppose, but I am biased).  People have been drawn to him - comments from strangers since he was just a baby - adoring onlookers of the miracle that he is - I believe it is that sparkle in his eye that invites people to want to know him.  Hold onto that, and keep close to your heart - know the world and the people in it are good.  

Children - We come from a large, large family.  Regardless if you have your own or not - be involved in the lives of children, they keep you young - they keep you laughing - they remind you of the traits that adults tend to loose - love them because they need it.  Love them because you need it too.   

Photo Credit: Joanne Thyne Stay stubborn.  That same determination you use today when you are relentless about NOT  putting your pants on by yourself - or when you just cross your arms and out right refuse to listen because you don't want to do what I have asked - keep that.  However, learn when it is appropriate.  There are times when sticking with your convictions is all you can do - you take a stand and don't budge.  But, it is also important to learn to pick your battles in life.  Compromise, when used appropriately, is very powerful - sometimes hard at first, but you catch on.  You are inherently stubborn and a little controlling - that's ok, you  have good intentions, you come by it naturally (and so do I).   Just remember that delivery is key - you can hold your own and be respectful in the same moment.  I heard once that one of the most important journeys we take is when we meet someone half way.  

Love your Super Heros.  Right now, as you round 4 years of age - You love Super Heros - who can blame you, they are pretty awesome.  You love when they defeat the bad guys (a role that is often filled by Mom).  You love that they are big and strong - and look forward to one day being just that, big and strong.  You love your dinosaurs still - this phase has been going on for several years, and for me, it never gets old.  You love to read and to learn.  Keep your curiosity - and keep loving the little things.

Photo Credit: Chris Bland

Last, but certainly not least, always lean on your Mom.  I don't mind, really :) 




3 become 4.... it's a....

I haven't blogged much in the past 4 months.  Many, many reasons for the lack of time...  trying to sell our house, both of us working a lot, planning a wedding... etc.  All matters that consumed my time,  and my mind.  I wanted to blog, but choosing between sleep and typing, sleep won.  Looking back, I probably really needed the release of thought.  

To add to the excitement, we found out we were pregnant.  We were both ecstatic.  Well, at least for a few weeks, until the excitement gave way to spending mornings, and some evenings with my head in the toilet.  Constant nausea, constant exhaustion.  This little being absorbed every once of energy - energy that I didn't even know I had to give.  Brayden, working, running a business, planning a wedding took nearly everything I had - God managed to squeeze another little blessing in.  That's what motherhood shows us - you give and give - somehow, somewhere you muster up the strength, happily.  

We made it through telling Brayden, I was nervous about how he would feel about sharing me.  But, he handled it beautifully, like a big brother.  He's gonna be great. 

 We made it through the wedding.  I started to feel better about 2 weeks before the big day.  I was able to enjoy it without the aching feeling of throwing-up.   I was able to squeeze into my not very forgiving wedding dress.  Our day was beautiful - Our day was perfect.  

The following Wednesday, my belly bump poked through, and has been growing steadily since then.  I have retired any prepregnancy pants - and most shirts.  I find comfort in elastic, granny panties, and a full coverage bra.

We had the coveted 20 week ultrasound yesterday.  It's amazing to see that little being swimming and kicking around in there - to feel, and watch the kick on the screen is amazing.  To watch the yawn and the roll over from the tiniest little person, not even weighing in at a pound.  I cried.  John watch in awe, laughing nervously in disbelief.  Then, the baby was in just the right position to get a look a the goods...  Would it be a girl or a boy? Then we saw it.  Brayden would be a big brother to an aodrable little....  


Let the shopping begin! 



I'm ALIVE!! First post in over 2 months!


I have not blogged in over 2 months!  Lots and LOTS of changes have happened in this VERY short time frame.  Not all will be revealed today - they will make for some very fun posts.  One fun change,  I did get married, and I assume that will turn into multiple posts - the frustrating and the beautiful.  

Today I just wanted to put up a few pictures of my big guy.  We had a little get away over Labor Day weekend and it is just what we needed.  The wedding and everything else going on has made life crazy - so, we took one day to do nothing except enjoy. 

Every year my family goes to Michigan, to Wako Beach.  It is one of the few vacations we took as a family of 8 - but, we went every year just in time to pick peaches and blueberries.  Now, the annual vacation has gotten much larger, now that we are a family of 22, and growing...  However this year, I had my wedding on the weekend we would have gone.  So, a few of us decided to pick up and go spend the day - it wasn't much, but it was perfect.   I cherish that time with Brayden.  The everyday hustle and bustle is so busy.  I am conscious daily about how quickly the time flees - which keeps me loving every  minute I am with him - and it makes me very sad when I am not  (with the exception of the no nap days - those are brutal)

Here is B and My younger sister's family on our mini 1 day vaca!:

all tuckered out - they were all asleep before we even left the parking lot! 

and on the way home...  we got to drive through this: 

I hope to post again soon! I have months of awesome client pictures that I am behind - and the next two months are super busy, but I hope I can keep up better now.  Enjoy your weekend!



new smiles

In Brayden's 3 1/2 years of life - He has had more dental work done then many adults. 

At 5 months, he got his first 2 teeth.  But, when they came in, they had a greyness to them.  Over the next several months, they chipped away - eventually exposing his nerve.  So, at 13 months old, he had to have a double root canal. 

6 months later, the veneer cover popped off.  The entire cap needed to be replaced.  We had to do the entire thing all over again.  After it was all said and done, Brayen loved his new 'toothers'.  He loved telling people about his 'new teeth'. 

Then, just a few weeks ago I noticed a lump on his gum.  Come to find out, it was an abscess - he had an infection in the roots of both teeth.  The dentist told us he would need to have them pulled.  

This is really small potatoes to many things in life - I thank God daily for my healthy, stubborn, lovable little man.   But, at the same time I am vain enough to admit I love Brayden's toothy little grin.  He looks just like his Mom :)  I was worried about how he would look - and now with the wedding coming up, he will be toothless for all of our pictures.  More then all of those things, he would have to experience something scary - scary for him, and for his parents.  Watching him being taken away by strangers and worrying about him being scared is a terrible feeling.  

I took some pictures of him at T-Ball this week, I wanted to capture his last days of this smile.  

Yesterday, I saw the dentist round the corner.  He said Brayden did great.  He gave us the 'to-do's' and 'do-nots' to care for his gap, where his precious little fake teeth use to be.  As he was explaining, I saw my little man round the corner - 4 stickers on his shirt,  a little prize in each hand, and a bloody gauze between is lips.  I removed the gauze and looked...  it was scary at first, but he was still that adorable little man - he just looked older.  And he added a cute little whistle to his words when he speaks.  

Throughout the day yesterday, We made our rounds to show off his new look.  Every time I looked at him, I smiled ear to ear, "I love your new smile, Brayden - you look so cute!"  I truly do.  I realized I had the same feeling when they were going to cap his first teeth - sad and scared about the process and what he would look like.  But, he is always my adorable little man.  One day, his big boy teeth will decide to come in.  I have no doubt I will love that awkward little smile just as much as I have loved the different versions it has already gone through.  He is more then his teeth - He is Brayden, my beautiful little boy.  

 I do love that adorable little toothless smile ; )



the beauty I stumble on

I fell short on completing my "blog everyday in May" challenge.  The summer starts to pick up a lot for my little photography shop - Busy most weekends, be it taking pictures or editing them.  So, my intention started out very gung-hoe, but it was hard to keep up.  There are still a few of her topics that I plan on blogging about...  I just need to wait until I get caught up.  The blogging is fun, it has turned into my hobby and therapy and the photography is a business - so, the clients come first.  Well, truth be told, they are second...  this little guy comes first:

It makes me a little sad to say out loud, but Brayden and I had 5 days in row together.  No work.  No Photography.  I think the last time we had that many days in a row together without much interruption was last summer for vacation.  I didn't realize how much I miss that time with him - this week back to work was brutal - all 3 days of it.  And, Brayden is with his Dad this weekend - and, I really miss him.  That time together spoils us both - it is really hard to get back to that routine, that 7:30-5:30 daily grind.  He is growing up so fast - I feel like time is slipping away.  He is going to turn into a teenager in the blink of an eye - I pray, daily, that he will still love me like he does now.  I pray, daily, that he is gentler on me then I was to my parents.  I pray we respect each other, like we do now - but with greater appreciation for where time has taken us.  

During our break - the 3 of us went to the zoo - they have a dinosaur exhibit.  And, if there is anything Brayden loves as much as his Mom - it would be his dinosaurs.  He has loved them for forever it feels like.  He is inherently all boy.

 I use to worry about Brayden missing the everyday male role model, that I would be confusing his 'maleness' - If there is even such a thing - but, I know now that even though he still likes to put on my jewelry and play with my make-up from time to time, he is all boy.  He loves sticks, and worms, and monster trucks, and dinosaurs, and being outside and 'rough houseing'.  I apparently us that term now much like my mom use too.  It probably sounds something like 'if you boys are going to rough house, go down stairs' - because Brayden now uses that phrase, "John and I are going to rough house - I will be the rough house.  Downstairs, right Mom?"

I wish I had a video to capture every silly phrase, every hug, every kiss, every 'so much" response to my "I love you".   He will never be like this again.  I find myself being happy and sad, excited and terrified all at the same time.  

These feelings surfaced up this week being back at work...  and then this morning I read this article that was shared on FB - To Parents of Small Children - Go read it.   You will laugh and cry - because we all feel it.  Because parenting is hard.  Because parenting has all of those emotions that you just don't get until you have children to raise...  to witness and participate all at the same time.  Both Parent and child learning as we go.  Parenting is frustrating and exhausting and down right scary sometimes.  But, it is the best thing I have ever done, ever.  And, I imagine it will always be #1 on my list of accomplishments. I love when I stumble on beauty - the article reminded me of the zoo pictures that I hadn't looked at yet - and then, as I opened the folder, I stumbled on the most beautiful faces, Brayden and John, my family.   

In the Life, Love & Lemons front, I updated the Home page with a few of my fav photos.  I have the most beautiful families.  I also added a new proofing and purchasing site.  AND, I bought a new camera!!  John asked if I was excited as I examined the new Nikon...  my response, "No.  I am scared sh!t!#ss".  I needed to upgrade, but it is hard to bite the bullet and spend the money.  But, now that I have it I am so fascinated by the upgraded / updated technology.  I will put it to practice this weekend shooting some of my vintage rentals for my website. 

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! :)  Thanks for stopping by!



Day 9: A moment in your day

Day 9, Thursday: A moment in your day (this can be just a photo or both a photo and words)

a gift from my Mom - does she know me or what! 

Most of days look the same....  The mornings are usually crazy.  Hit snooze one too many times, shower, make breakfast for B, get dressed, maybe make-up, maybe blow dry, get B dressed, grab the remaining bits of breakfast for him to eat in the car or at Mrs. A's house.  His daycare is literally 2 blocks from the house.  I have wonderful intentions of walking there now that it is nice out...  I will also have to get up earlier.  Either way, I always run 'late' too work.  I just say my hours are from 7:45 to 5:15... instead of 7:30-5:00 like they are supposed to be :) 

A few of my favorite parts of my morning, is my coffee - not only is it a necessity, but John makes it for me and delivers it to whatever room I happen to be frantically getting ready in.  From there it is a hurried kiss good-bye.  I love that part of our morning.  It isn't much, but it is the little things that make it special.  My other favorite is Brayden...  Even on the frustrating days when he begs for just a few more minutes to finish his cartoon (which is typically why I run late) or when he gives me his sad face because he just wants us 'to stay together'.  And yes, even though I hear it multiple times a week, it always breaks my heart.  This week, he is in VA.  So, I have actually been to work on time....  which is fun to watch people do a double take when I walk in the door BEFORE 7:30.  But, I miss my little buddy.  I miss his questions.  I miss his smile.  I miss his pucker when we kiss good-bye, and kiss hello.  I am ready for him to be home.  I miss the chaos.  I wouldn't trade it for anything.  



story of my life with, story of my life

A young lady I have been following posted a challenge to her fellow bloggers - Blog everyday in May.  This is a challenge - but, she gave us the topics to write about every day.  So, in addition to my photo blogs, I will be trying to type about her topics as well.  Sometimes with writing it is organizing a relateable topic into one, not to long, post, that is often the challenge.  It is very helpful that she provided the cues to push us to write about.  So, go check out Story of My Life with Jenni - she also has amazing photography as well.  

so, here we go with, the story of my life (in 250 words, approximately)

Proud conservative, Catholic, farmers daughter - I am the third of six.  Growing up on a farm - with a stay at home mom and a third generation farming family is something that isn't heard of often anymore.  I love that my story is very different - it involves working as kids walking beans, doing chores, and being active in 4-H.  I couldn't have written a better life for myself - I hope someday to provide that same kind of pride to my kids in some way.  

 My family is my roots, and I am the sibling with wings, very diferent from my grounded siblings.  We all share very similar characteristic (our spouses, significant others say that common thread is stubbornness).  I seek out adventure, always thinking of my next new and exciting step, often before I have followed through with the stride I am in.  My family is always good to be the realism - even though I usually do what I want anyway - they are always there.

 I am the proudest Mommy of the most adorable 3 year old on the planet.  He brings out the light in my heart and I ask everyday to keep him little so we can keep our lovable little life just as it is.  But, I know he will grow.  With his height, and with my age - my pride will grow too.  I know he will accomplish great things in his life.  He is my everything.  I finally found the love of my life, who was right around the corner, literally, all my life.  We just needed the right moments to align for us to meet.  We are planning a wedding in August, but more importantly, plan for a life together for the next 60+ years - with babies and a home.  And God willing, lots of traveling in the service of others, someday.  

 The center of my soul consists of family entangled with my little passions that are always growing with antiques or old stuff, ( that I am sure someday my family will turn me in for hoarding), painting furniture, photography, and dreaming of my next big move....  and of course, great country music...  

Pretty sure that was more than 250 words ....  :) oh well - I was never much for following rules anyway.



on the other side of the lens

This weekend was our Mommy & Me Mini's.  I have so many adorable pictures to share!  I can't wait to get them all edited! Thank you to all the patient Moms, Grandmas, Great-Grandmas, kiddos, and Dad's that participated!  

Also, this weekend I did an engagement session - wedding is in June and I am pumped about it!  Can not wait!  Fun bride and groom - and adorable.  Don't take my word for it, their engagement session will speak for themselves...  coming soon! 

This weekend I also thought it would be a good opportunity to get some of our family pictures done. I am lucky to have my brother-in-law (Chris Bland) who is a photographer so we use each other when we need our family pictures done.  Well.  It has been a while since I have been on the other side of the lens, having our pictures formally taken by someone else.  This experience was ...  less than fun.  And, I get it - getting your pictures taken is not fun, most of the time.  I kinda forget the emotions that parents go through when worrying about what to wear, selecting the optimal time to schedule the appointment based on the happiest hour of the day, spill proofing outfits, begging, bribing, and praying for just one good picture.  With clients, I am patient with their children and I understand what kids need to get those good pictures.  They don't want to sit and pose, most of them any way.  And, you say "smile" and they will do anything but!  I am able to laugh through the sessions, because I am a mom... and because, they aren't my kids! So, I ooze patience :) 

However, put me in the other side of the lens, the one not doing the button pushing, posing, calming, clapping, snapping, making funny noises and faces - my patience is gone.  I had forgotten how stressful it is to have the worry of trying to get the perfect picture. My frustration grew with each completely imperfect pose was shot...    Here are some examples of not our best moments:


 ...  But, Chris got some really great shots....  I will post those soon.  It is proof that through the chaos, there is beauty...  which actually translates into real life quite nicely :) 



the sun will rise

I had a blog started before some of the events that have taken place this week.  I will post it next week, after some settling.

I make a point to not watch the news, or read the paper.  It mortifies me beyond words for the world I am raising my child in.  It scares me to bring any more into this world were there is evil, hate, and uncertainty.  This has been a hard week for so many.  And no matter the denial I am in, there is so many  images and updates, there is no escaping it.  From Boston to Texas to right here at home with the flooding.  I have been fortunate to have had very little of that impact me directly - but my worrisome heart and mind can find no resolve.  All I have is questions.  All I can say is "why?" It is so far beyond my own comprehension why people make the choices that they do.  It is so far from my mind the hate that is spewed out onto people who are good.  We as a human race are not perfect - we were created that way.  But, we were created with the ability to make choices, and like the majority of the world, we make mistakes but we still do a lot of good.  We are surrounded by the good everyday, which makes the atrocities of this weeks events so hard to digest. 

On top of the events from around our country - and I know the many more around the world that don't make it to our TV screens - I have my own turmoil.  It has been yet another difficult week of co-parenting, as most weeks are.  Then today at 9am eastern time, I sold my home in Virginia.  In part, I see it as the final connection to Virginia and all of what and where my life changed.  In so many ways, it was wonderful and beautiful - and then, there are just as many that are painful and sad.  In that home I planned a future with the little bump in my belly.  I dreamed of how our lives would unfold and the memories that would be made in the walls of that home, in that back yard, and on the beach of the lake.  The lake was the deciding point - it was countless sand castles to be built and splashing in the water with the little wobbly baby legs.  It was those visions that made that house my final choice - it was the visions of a home and a life - a future very different from the one I had been living, it was the start of my family.  In that house, it held the room that was once painted light green.  It held the perfectly organized clothes and baby items as I prepared for the dreams of the future and what represented the happiest shift of the rest of my life.  Brayden never saw that little green room, it was painted over.  I cried then, and still now. The house is gone and along with it all of those dreams that never became more that just a vision.  I thought I would feel lighter when it was gone.  But, today I am weighed down by all of the anger and the would-have-been's.  Tomorrow I am sure will be better, but today I allow myself to morn the loss of that life.  I believe it would not be nearly as difficult had the co-parenting relationship that I participate in were healthy, for Brayden and for us.    Some days are just hard, when I feel like they shouldn't be.  It seems that when people work for a common goal, it shouldn't be difficult.  I guess the same could be said co-habitating on the same planet, and co-parenting.  Love and happiness shouldn't be so difficult. 

Amidst the sullen of this week, we know the sun will  rise again tomorrow and I, we, us - will be given the opportunity to make choices, the good ones, that will keep us working towards the common goal of love and happiness so our kids can live beyond the worry and live in the light of the sun. 

I pray God will help to lift us through these difficult times, for me - we - us, parents and humanity. 



beyond contentment

I reference Mark and Angel often on here.  I find their writing and insight thought provoking and attitude altering.  Today's post is 6 Reasons Someone Wishes They Were You.  Go read it (after this one of course). 

Before I blog, I often mull a topic over for a few days.  I get the premise of what I want it to say and I visually type it out in my mind.  I have been thinking for a few days about my own happiness and my own contentment in the day to day.  It is interesting to me that a year ago, my life was in a completely different place.  It was without John and the comforts of his companionship, but I was happy and content with where my life was.  I was evolving into a person that was learning the comforts of my own skin.  I didn't have everything that I wanted, but I absolutely had everything I needed - our basic needs were met: work, apartment, food, entertainment, photography...  Most importantly, I had Brayden and our health.  Now, in this short time, our lives have had a major shift - and it hasn't always been easy - but we are so happy.  

We are planning this wedding - oh my, what an exciting, frustrating, time consuming, costly, momentous event this is.  I love it and curse it all in the same breathe.  A friend said to me the other day that I will miss the planning...  I told her she was nuts.  But, I assume she is right.  She has been there before - maybe there will be some parts of me that will miss the excitement and the nerves of planning for the event that puts us on the course of 'for the rest of our lives.'  John and I explore buying a home where we will start our family, and we dream about that growing family - picking names for both boys and girls, and how their name and their being will carry on parts of our history.  In the today, I could easily say we are content with our lives, but it is much more than that.  I feel we are far beyond contentment.  We are so blessed with our everyday life.  Sure, more money and a bigger house would be fantastic.  But, we are comfortable - we both work really hard to provide for our everyday and we save for what we want for the future.  We dream.  We dream near and distant futures.  I dream big, John dreams realistically.  I know exactly what I want to be doing by the time I am 55.  There are many, many things that need to happen in these 25 years but I believe no matter what course we take we will end up at one single all-encompassing destination, happiness.  

Speaking of happiness, look at the source of mine.  

This happiness, it reaches far beyond the depths of my soul.  I now know that I always dreamed of this little man - even in my younger days when I said I didn't even want kids.  I think I always knew that I did.  I think I always knew that someday, God would give me Brayden.  In Brayden, I found the true meaning of love and happiness, in responsibility and work.  I learned how to live life because I had to live it for him, with him.  I got to spend one of these recent few sunny beautiful days with him.  We planted flowers, played in the yard, hung a bird feeder, and practiced being ninjas and superheros.  I laugh at the conversations I have with this little man.  He loved planting flowers.  Without prompting, he knew exactly what these plants needed.  He said to me (as we were getting ready to transfer them from one container to the next) "these flowers will be so happy in their new home.  Now all they need is love....  and water."  I stand smiling, nearly crying.  Where?... How?... When did he become so smart, and grown up?  His intelligence far exceeds his age.  He is right.  It is what we all need.  A place to feel at home and a little love...  and water too :)  

In this life we lead, be more than content.  Thrive.  Live on the thrill of the little feet we chase and the noses and bottoms we wipe.  Breath in the air, rainy or sunny - they each have their own distinct beauty.  Learn from the past. dream for the future. live for today - beyond the contentment.  Live and love with excitement, like a 3 year old :)




Extraordinary Everyday Life

Extraordinary Everyday Life.  

That is my 'subheading' for my website.  This whole photography thing happened in like 1 day, literally.  I mulled it over for years - but, one day I just did it.  I bought the name, bought the website and started putting it together.  

Title: Life, Love & Lemons.  

Subheading: ... subheading?  like a slogan?  motto?  Heck, I don't know!   I thought for a minute what I wanted to capture through my photography - for the lives of those I am photographing - and, what I wanted 'represented' in my blog.  That phrase came poring through - I typed it out - without revision.  It's perfect.  It really encompasses my today and the trajectory of what I want life to feel like, forever -  in my personal life and through my photographs.  I want them to feel the emotion.  Feel the moment.  Feel the extraordinary.

Everyone has an extraordinary life.  We all do, in our own right.  We choose how to live it.  How to run it.  How to own it.  How to make it ours.  We create a life on what we dream and what we believe.  We also know that life doesn't always take the same route we dreamed it would.  But it is ours.  

The dreams and evolution of my own life has shifted more times then I can hardly remember - and, it's only been 30 years.  I can't even imagine where I will be in the next 30, but I am ready.  I am excited.  I am comfortable.  I know that some of it I will create.  I will work hard on developing, cultivating, nurturing the life I want for myself and my family.  I am also comfortable knowing that my dreams are broad enough that they can shift with life because life requires flexibility.  I am comfortable with knowing that my dreams may change with the obstacles that are pressed upon us.  Changes aren't always easy.  Sometimes that learning and shifting and changing produces a curve.  These learning curves vary in height, width, and dimension.  Some are long and slow and others, they resemble more of an acute triangle then ever a bell curve.  But that is life.  What we do with it is what makes each of us unique.

A decade ago I was different.  A decade ago I was lost.  Ambitions to take on anything - but I had no direction.  So, I went in many different directions.  I love the quote, "not all who wonder are lost."  However, I was, admittedly, lost.  I don't regret those days.  All life experiences give the opportunity to keep trudging down a path that we know will show great rewards.  We know because we can feel it.  Then there are paths we start down, and realize, it isn't for us.  It isn't the succession to failure - it is recognition of what we don't want.  I have had lots of opportunities of recognition :)  They make me smile, now.  They have shaped me.  They have changed me, for the better. 

A glimpse into my life doesn't look like much.  But, simple loving nights make it extraordinary, to me.  Last night, I wasn't feeling well.  John left his night class to come home and take care of Brayden.  We all laid in bed.  John tired from a long day.  We just sat.  Messy house.  Nothing packed or prepared for tomorrow.  Dishes not done - and something from the freezer for dinner.   Laundry piling.  We sat exhausted - but not defeated - the opposite really.  We relished in the simple.  Cartoons on the TV.  An online final for John (I help because I miss being in school).  Some where, some how, Brayden found lotion and decided he needed to lather up after his bath.  Then I persuaded him to put lotion on my legs and feet (what a good husband he will be some day).  That lead me to a story of my Grandpa Knute.  John and Brayden never had the privilege to know him - but, he was a great man.  An Extraordinary Man.  I told Brayden that I use to put lotion on my Grandpa's feet and color his toe nails with crayons...  And even do his hair.  I can still picture it.  I can still feel the happiness from those memories.  This lead into a discussion about where my Grandpa was and Brayden wanted to know how he could talk to him.  So, I explained the best I could.  "Grandpa Knute is with God.  We can't see him or hear him but he is always around and we can talk to him whenever we want.  Just like God."  Surprisingly, and not typical, Brayden didn't ask any more questions after that.  I usually hear "why?" at least fifteen times when I am explaining something.  I am happy that he was content with my answer.  Then, we went and got crayons and markers so he could color my toenails...  that lead to coloring my feet too.  All while we laid in bed.  I couldn't have planned a more perfect night.

While creating and living this life, people don't always get me.  Some people don't really know me - some think they do and some could give a hoot.  Very few really know me.  John does.  Brayden does.  There are a few others that get me and accept me - and there are a few who don't get me, but love me anyway.  And really, that is all I need.  I have comfort and contentment in my own life, in my own skin.  The decade ago Megan cared what people 'thought' of me.  The older Megan chooses to live life more consciously and purposefully. I am driven, ambitious, and loving - but perfectly imperfect and flawed in all the ways that make me, Me.   I am who I am.  Take me or leave me, I live this life for me.  For Brayden.  For John.  It isn't perfect, but it is ours.  We live our everyday life, extraordinarily.  

You should too :) Own it.  Live it.  Love it.  Extraordinarily.  



refuse to sink

Today is met with so many emotions.  

I cried on my way to work today.  But, they were happy tears.  It felt so good to have a shift of emotions.  I have been waiting for weeks for this shift to come.  I knew it would.  It always does.  Sometimes the wait is longer then others.  

Today, we slept in.  I am blessed by a great employer.  I have a flexible schedule and he is very understanding of this kinda crazy life I lead.  

We got our break from the bitter cold today.  Today is sunshine and birds singing - and with the glistening of the snow really creates this amazing beauty that warms my heart - and for a few days of the winter season, I am thankful for the climate that I live in.  

On the drive in, Brayden was full of questions.  And these questions, like most, make me smile in amazement of what he is learning.  He asks so many questions.  But, not just "Why?"  Today, out of the blue he stated "Lighting hurts people and things,"  I said, "Yes it can, but it is just part of nature."  You can anticipate what the next questions was....  "What's nature?"  So, I think for a minute....  "It is the sky, clouds, sun, rain, ground, trees, wind, air..."  I pause, waiting for the next question.  "What does the rain do?"  "Rain is very important.  It feeds the ground and everything that grows: trees, corn, beans, grass, flowers..."  I pause again, I know there is another question coming.  "What's the sun do?"  I smile, loving the sequence of his questions - because they all impact one another.  "The sun and rain work together.  The sun helps everything grow too.  All of the plants and animals need the sun and rain."  And then, brilliant little Brayden says, "Us too!"  "Yup, that's right!  Us too!! The sun and rain are very important"  I reply.  Then, the topper, "cars are important too!"  

I love that kid. 

I realized a few days ago on my way back to the studio, after multiple nights of being there, after many weekends spent planning, organizing, painting, designing, preparing, list making.  I was talking to God and to myself trying to find the calm among the chaos.  I told myself, I just need to get through the next month.  I just need to make it through this and then it will calm down.  Then, it hit me, I always say that.  I pray for the strength to make it from one moment to the next.  Pray to just let me survive this phase.  And then, I believe it was God responding, Why do you do that?  I always tell myself, I just need to make it through this.  Get through this moment and then I can enjoy the next.  Why can't I enjoy the moment I am in?  I need to enjoy the process.  I often look back at the roads I have traveled.  While traveling them, they felt rough.  Somedays were hard to put one foot in front of the other, but I did it.  I look back and I am proud of my travels.  I am proud of my lessons.  I have learned.  I have grown.  I have experienced life.  And, I have some good memories from the traveling.  

I forget that during my current travels.  I focus on the "what if's".  I obsess about just surviving instead of thriving.  There are days that feel like I am drowning in everything that needs to be done.  My mom calls them 'self inflicted' tasks.  And she is right - I know only one speed and that is being busy.  I work best under pressure - I just don't always seem to enjoy the pressure.  At some point, there comes a moment of clarity.  Something, or somebody, that exposes the many, many blessings in my life.  It is all I need to just stop for a minute.  I smile and give gratitude to the amazing life I lead.   And then I tell myself:

Just keep swimming

Enjoy the journey

Refuse to sink  




the good worries are still heavy

I have found it difficult to blog lately.  When really, I know it is what I need most.  It makes me feel better.  I am having a hard time celebrating life.  To be honest, I am struggling with making it much further than my bed.  I go to work, I do the errands, laundry, etc - but, my bed is my favorite place.  I am tired.  I feel like I am drowning in tasks.  And yet, even if 'free time' presents itself - I find something else that needs  to be done - or I go straight to bed.  I blame my exhaustion on the weather - I am ready for spring.

Most of my worries are good worries to have - they are the best kind, really.  And, I know that.  But, it is still weight.  It is still something to carry - we all have something, or many somethings.    

I am planning this wedding.  And by I, that is what it is.   John just wants what I want, he just wants me to be happy - and sometimes, I just want him to tell me what I want, so I don't have to decide.   We are just over 5 months to the wedding and we don't have a venue.  It has been narrowed down, but, they aren't what I want.  It's not what I see in my mind.  The wedding planning is becoming consuming - and, it isn't how I wanted it to be.  I wanted simple - that doesn't necessarily translate to easy, but I have a vision of what I want it to look like and feel like.  It is hard to choose a place that will never be what I actually wanted.  I am refusing to choose a photographer.  I keep thinking someone will magically appear that I can trust and have confidence in taking the pictures I know I would take.  I want the real emotions.  I want the 'feelings' felt through the pictures - not just pretty poses.  I have pushed it off so far that I may in fact reach difficulty finding a good photographer, that is still within my budget.  Budget - is such a daunting word.  I am plagued with visions of dollar signs.  Everything is so damn expensive.    When it's all said and done, I know it will come together, and I know we will love it.  Not because of the venue, the food, the table settings, decorations, or music but because it is about Me, John and Brayden.  I have to find that as my center again, like how I started out.  

I got bad news on Sunday.  This is one of the worries that isn't good.  My Grandma has been sick.  She had surgery.  We all thought the surgery would create time.  Well, more tests and doctor visits, and we still are in the same place - worrying about what time will be available for her, and for us.  I want her here for August.  You see, the wedding date is August 10th.  It isn't just any date.  It is the Anniversary of Knute and Florence Gudmunson, back many years ago.  It also became the anniversary of John and Margo Gudmunson, my dad and mom - and Marcy and Alan Kinney, my sister and brother-in-law.  Grandma needs to be there - she is the tethering of the many branches that makes us family.  

Brayden, my sweet and sassy little guy, drives me crazy!  I have so much Mommy guilt, like most of us struggle with I am sure.  I am always wondering if I am doing everything I can, and doing it right.  He has a lot of schedule changes between our work schedules and the every other weekend shifts and daycares that prove to be disappointing and frustrating.  I worry about Brayden.  He has bad days....  he has bad weeks.  All I think is I am screwing him up.  I need to remember that he is entitled to a bad day.  He is entitled to try to push his limits because, he is 3 and he is learning what those limits are.  And, it is my job as a parent to let him know there are boundaries.  I get the saying now, "this hurts me more than it hurts you".  It is hard to be the boundary setter, but it is a parental requirement. I know he is happy.  I know it.  I just have to smile and laugh through the not so happy, sassy, snotty nose, "I don't want to share", "I don't want to eat my peas I just want a cookie" days.  They are going to happen, inevitably - and it isn't because I am doing it wrong - it is because Brayden is being a 3 year old.  Even though he has the ability to frustrate me beyond belief, I love him more than measure and he is the happiest part of my life. 

(here is a snippet of our weekend, it was a really great weekend.  We needed it because it was a really hard week):

with his cousins: picture by Aunt KimAren't they cute?! photo by Aunt Kim

The Store and Studio:  It is exciting - but a TON of work.  There are so many small details that need to come together to make it complete.  We are almost there....  This weekend will be like a marathon to wrap it all up.  These were taken when it was kinda put together, before it got torn apart last weekend.  I still don't know what it will look like when I am done! 




little wins, one day at a time

January was a big month for us.  They are little milestones, with big meaning. 

In October and November (and December) I was really struggling with Brayden.  He is a fantastic little man - and most often, the light of my life.  But, there are days when I ask myself how I will make it through the end of the day without committing myself to an institution.  Understandably, Brayden experienced lots of changes in a very short time frame.  He moved into a new home.  He started a new daycare.  His Dad moved into a new home.  He spent long periods of time in Virginia.  We tried potty training - my goal was to have it done by the time he turned 3.  That is hard.  That is a trying time - for the toddler and his parents.  Also during that time, I was really busy with my 9-5 job, and super super busy with photography.  I was one fuse shy of blowing up.   That is also during the time when I wrote, "they come and they go".  I reread that yesterday, and I smiled knowing that those days have passed, for now :) 

During the counseling with my Mom, I cried.  I told her I was struggling with Brayden.  Age 3 is so much harder then the so called "terrible two's".  Two was a cake walk.  Three is tantrums and talking back and refusing to eat, sleep, and poop (literally).  I wanted 3 things from Brayden this year - in all of 2013. If we can over come these, I will be a content parent: 1. Poop on the potty 2. Eat (try) the food that is put in front of him 3. Sleep in his bed.  To date, he is doing exceptionally well with two of them.  I can happily say, we broke him of the phobia of pooping on the potty.  It took a little nudity, tough love, and some bribery but we made it through.  He still gets nervous about it but he hasn't had an accident in two weeks.  To me, that is success! He is also eating the dinner we eat.  Brayden has been a picky eater - and I, a tired single mom, gave into him.  I created the little picky monster - and, it has been hard breaking through the 2 years of me giving in.  But, we are doing it.  Together, at the kitchen table we all sit and eat the same meal.  It doesn't sound like a big deal - but, it is.  I wish it were a little quieter, with a little less protesting and less demands from me.  But, we are doing it.  It isn't perfect and we still have lots of room for improvement but, I will take the little wins, one day at a time. 

Can you guess the battle I have not yet conquered?

(don't you just love his shirt?!?!)

Yes, he is still sleeping in my bed.  It hasn't always been this way.  There was a time when he slept in his crib - through the night, happily.  But, he developed allergies, and sleeping through the night was rare.  Sleep deprivation is horrible.  All Moms know.  He would wake up every other hour.  Back then I didn't know why.  After a year of investigating and constantly going to the doctor, we finally figured it out.  He was never healthy.  The poor kid felt miserable.   I don't blame him for wanting the comforts of his Mom.  And, I don't blame me either.  I was tired.  Even with him in my bed, I never slept through the night, because he never did.  But, it was easier to fall back asleep - for both of us.  So, I will give it some more time to bask in the glories of our little wins.  I will continue one day at a time to build on the achievements he is making.   Hopefully, by summer, I can write that we have successfully over come the 'in mommy's bed sleep-overs'.  Until then, I will keep snuggling the little guy - who is growing bigger every day.  Because, I really don't mind all that much.  I know there will come a time and he will be in his bed.  Until then, I am ok sharing.

Another little win, I celebrated with John as he watched me do my daily count of viewers to my website, I had a record breaking month in January.   I made a goal to break 600 - and by January 31st, I had 765!!  Some bloggers/ photographers can get that in a day - and some, in an hour.  But, for this small town farm girl, I will take that little win.  One day at a time, I will reach new people and hopefully I can snag them to keep coming back - and maybe give me the opportunity to photograph a few of their little wins.  

Thank you for all of those who read.  You are more than a number.  You keep me passionate.  You keep me inspired. 

Happy Friday and have a wonderful weekend!  I am gone next week for a training course for my 9-5'er.  If I get a chance I will try to post some of my secret happenings from this weekend! 



stay together

Mornings are crazy busy.  Anyone with kids, no matter what the age, or if you work or stay at home, can testify that trying to get everyone out the door usually feels like a cluster of chaos.  

This morning I arrived at work at 7:39.  9 minutes late.  And for me, that is doing pretty darn good.  I told my self, if I had just not hit that snooze button I would have made it here on time.  Who created the 'snooze' button?  Worst idea EVER.  Anyway.  The morning unfolded as it always does.  An interrupted shower by a little guy that wants to spend extra time with his mom.  So, he gets in with me.  I really love my nice quiet hot showers, on the rare occasions that I get to experience them, but I love the interrupted ones too. After the shower,  Brayden sits naked (he loves being naked) watching cartoons just long enough for me to get dressed.  Then he gets shuffled downstairs for breakfast.  Today was apples and m&m pancakes (warmed-up) from Monday when they were made fresh - but, he doesn't mind, it's m&m's for breakfast.  I hurry to finish up.  Partially blow dry my hair, throw on some make-up and then it's his turn for clothes.  We wipe off the syrup stickiness, I feed him bites in between clothing items.  He gets his daily meds and a 2 minute warning for the cartoons.  I run bags and coffee out to the car, start it up and turn the heat on high.  I run back in and do a double check for anything I am forgetting.  We grab coats and we are out the door.   I get maybe 30 seconds (2 minutes if I am lucky) of regular music, mommy music, before Brayden makes the request to hear his music.  I swore my kids would NEVER listen to those goofy kid songs...  but, he loves them.  And, he looks adorable singing along.  So, I ask, " Which one?  Rum Sum Sum?  Monster? Honk Honk?"  Today was the Monster song, so we start to sing.  

Then, right in the middle of the song, Brayden breaks my heart.  He has been saying this phrase daily, for weeks now and every time he asks, my heart hurts.  I struggle with how to respond (seriously, I am open to suggestions on how to answer this question).  Brayden says,

"I want us to stay together."  

My usual response is, "We will all be together when I pick you up after work.  Then we will go home and see Jojo (I through Jojo the cat into anything and he is usually happy).  However, today he asked "Why can't we stay together?"  I said, "Mommy has to work.  I have to make money."  Then he asks, "What's money?"  I try a diversion of pointing out anything in the scenery - but, it didn't work.  "What's money?", he asks again.   "It's how we pay bills and buy groceries," I say.  "What's bills?" he asks.  Ugh. "Ummm, it is electricity and it's mommy's car...."  "What's electricity?"  oh my.  this is never going to end.   I am having flash backs from our trip home last night explaining fog.  I used words like precipitation and condensation - which is good, but I am not the best at explaining what those are....   Can I go home yet?  It isn't even 7:30 and my brain is fried.  At this point I turned up the 'clean-up' song and he was happy with that.  

"I want us to stay together" is a phrase that haunts me every morning.  I know that as soon has he wakes up this comment is going to come out of his mouth.  And, he gives me those sad brown eyes and it hurts, every day.  

Appropriately enough, I saw an article shared this morning about "What Not to Say to a Working Mom".  I laughed - but, it hurt too.  All of it being honestly true.  I work because I have too.  But, I also work because I like too.  I wish it meant that every minute we are together it is pure bliss, but it isn't.  There is a lot of yelling, sadly.  He is 3.  And I am tired.  But seriously, we are so happy.  Even with the chaos and negotiating bites of peas, we are happy.  Everyone has a different way of running their homes.  I believe it is hard to organize and balance everything that life throws our way but, we all do it.  Day in and day out - there may be the occasional yelling and tears but there is lots of laughter.  Lots of kissing and hugging.  And lots of "I love yous." At the end of the day, we are together - and that's what matters. 




my son-shine

Yesterday, Brayden and I (and of course Jojo) were getting ready to snuggle for a late afternoon nap.  He was winding down, not ready to close his eyes, and not realizing what I already knew, he was was ready for a nap.  He was in good spirits - and he probably could have gone without the nap, but I feared the monster that would appear in the early evening if he didn't get some rest.  So, we took our time snuggling and gigging.  

Brayden tells me at the most random moments, "I like you, Mommy!"  And, I am always a little taken back... "like?"  What's with that? Have I been demoted?"  Now I am use to it.   I just say "I like you too," or "well,... I LOVE you!"  Yesterday, after I replied with the "I love you" he said, "why?"  Again, taken back... and not knowing just what to say, or how to explain it, I fumbled and jumbled my words and came up with, "You are my son. You are my little boy.  You are my sunshine. I just do; that's why."  So, after we goofed for a little bit longer until he decided to finally close his eyes and his cute litle almost-a-snore crept in.  I laid there in the silence with my little boy wrapped in my arms and thought about it. I looked at him, still trying to answer the question that he has long forgotten he even asked. 



It isn't something I contemplate very often.  How do I explain love?   Especially to a 3 year old.  The love for him, or for John, or for our families.     I thought of all of the different adjectives that could be used to explain love.  Someday, this question will come up again, and I would like to be able to give an educated, sincere, thoughtful response.  

I laid there in silence, just watching him breathe.  I looked at his hands.  Those big hands.  They have been big since the day he was born - but, they are changing.  When they are chunky babies, they don't even appear to have knuckles - just dimples.  He still has those, but less apparent from when he was a baby.  He use to snuggle me and fit right into the crook of my arm.  Not anymore.  I use to tend to every whimper - Now, I wait until it sounds serious before I go running to check on him. He is growing.  Parenthood, love, gives us this incredible amount of satisfaction, yet longing to cling to moments that just wont stay just as they are.  Love pushes us, excitedly, to look forward to the someday, but at the very same time ache to hold the moment we are in.

 I decided:

1.  Love is a feeling.  Webster and Wikipedia can try to explain it all they want.  They could use all of the words in their dictionary and it wouldn't do it justice.  Love is felt.  Love is shown through commitment, honesty, dedication, respect, and sacrifice. 

2.  Brayden already knows.  That's why he tells me "Mommy, I like you" or "I just love you so much." 

We just feel it.  He to me, and me to him, and us to the world.  Love is felt.