Free Session For Moms

There are so many beautifully written pieces out there about the joys and blessedness of being a mother.  There are also many hilarious satirical pieces written about the struggles and exhaustion of being a mother.  Its been called the toughest job in the world.  Its also been called the most rewarding job in the world.  Regardless of how you describe motherhood, there is undoubtedly one word that can describe it best: Love.

We love our babies more than life itself.  We would die for our children.  We will fight to the ends of the earth for them.  We will go without and put our children before ourselves and be happy to do so.

Today, your children will shower you with gifts and love.  Handmade cards and giant bear hugs.  Tiny handprints on paper and sloppy wet kisses.  And you will love an cherish every minute of it.

I too want to give you a gift.  But really, its more of a gift I want to give to your children; the people who gave you the name, Mom.  I want to gift to them the memory of you in a photograph with them from when they were little.  Whether they are 18 or 8, one day they are going to look back on that photo and think about how young you both were, but the important thing is – you were BOTH in the picture.  You give so much of yourself to your children everyday, be sure to give them this memory too, because it will become one of the things they cherish the most.

I am currently having a giveaway on my Facebook page; giving away a Mommy & Me Mini Session.  Visit my page and follow this link to enter!  Happy Mother’s Day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ready To Make Her Mark On The World

When the third child is born, the third child within a four year time frame, you sometimes look forward to fast forwarding through all of the baby phases and milestones because you’ve “been there, done that” and know that some of those phases are ones you really wish you could just wish away.  But there are also the times when your nine month old falls asleep in your arms and you look down at that sweet chubby face and realize that it wont be much longer that you get to hold your baby as she sleeps.  And you get teary eyed.  But it quickly passes because the two year old just got out of bed and is crying because something somewhere within a five mile radius of your house made a noise.  Sigh.  So you lay the baby down and let her sleep in her own space and tend to the two year old and you don’t go back to pick up the baby because you don’t want to dare wake her.  Then its tomorrow and you just try to get through the day, hopefully without tears.  Your tears – the kids are guaranteed to cry at some point.  You rush the four year old to pre-school, you try to potty train the two year old who is just not having it and you, for the ONE MILLIONTH time that hour, try to prevent the baby from climbing the stairs of doom.  You’re tired, exhausted, you have foggy mom brain and you have to set a timer on your phone to remind you to go pick up the four year old from pre-school.  Each day goes like this.  Each day is long and you’re exhausted.  And the year passes.  And another.  And your babies grow.  They start elementary school and before you know it, your last child, your baby is in Pre-K. 

Towards the end of the school year your child in Pre-K will bring home a school photo of her in a Pre-K Graduation cap & gown.  Is Pre-K Graduation even a real thing?  And you have a wave of anxiousness come over you that your baby is going to start kindergarten soon.  Is that anxiousness joy, as in, you will have all three kids in school all at the same time and you will have a few hours a day for yourself to get things done, like scrub the baseboards; or is it anxiousness that your baby will now be a “big kid” riding the bus to school and you will no longer have your little sidekick to sit and eat lunch with everyday?  You smile at the picture and put it in a frame and your day continues.  The week passes.  Then another.  Before you know it you are being assaulted by the overwhelming amount of papers your children are bringing home.  They need $20 for this activity and you have to send in popcicles for that activity and you need to send in money to the room mom for the teacher gift and volunteer at Field Day and every bit of your time and money is being pulled at in every which way.  As your flipping through all these papers and trying to keep track of who needs to be where on what day with what amount of money, snack or t-shirt, there is that one “official” looking form that stops you in your tracks.  Its the form notifying you of when Kindergarten enrollment is.  You just sit and stare at it for a minute.  You read the dates, you read the details as to what forms you will need to enroll your child and then you realize that the anxiousness you felt was not joy.  Not at all.  In that moment you realize just how much you are going to miss having that little person by your side all day long.   And you quickly forget all the bad days, the days where you just couldn’t stand to be around them even for just one more second.  You can only recall the good days.  The days filled with lots of laughs and giggles.  The days just the two of you went to the park to play.  The days where you went shopping together and realized your five year old is a little fashionista and wants every dress in the store.  The days when you went to Chick-Fil-A for lunch and shared an ice cream together.  Even the boring days where you just stayed home to clean the house, but there she was at your side asking how she could help; as a result I have a lot of streaky windows in my house. 

This week, I enroll my five year old, my Pre-K graduate, my little sidekick, my BABY in Kindergarten.  I am not ready to let go yet. As much as I will come to learn to enjoy the time and the silence that I have not had for the last nine years, I am just not ready.  Not yet.  This is my baby girl.  My little sidekick, my best friend. How do I let go so easily?     She, however, is so ready to take on Kindergarten by storm.  I have no doubt at all that she will get to Kindergarten and be like, “Let’s get this party started”!  I will pray for her teacher. 

She is ready to go out into this world and make her mark.  She is fearless.  She is determined in all things she does.  She is a good friend with a kind heart.  She is wicked smart and incredibly athletic.  She is a leader.  And she has the sweetest smile you have ever seen.  She is my baby. 

“Though she be but little, she is fierce!” ~ William Shakespeare

 

 

 

In that moment, I was not OK

I started out the new year all gung-ho about writing a blog.  I really didn’t know what it would be about; would I  focus on a certain topic like parenting, photography, crafting or just things that I wanted to talk about?  I didn’t and I still don’t have a specialty topic, I kind of just took the plunge and in I dove.   I didn’t do too badly to start.  I had two blog entries and had positive feedback. And  I thought, “I’ve got this.  This is easy”.  And then, ya know, life happened.

If you’re a parent then you know that there is never a dull moment.  Not at home, not when you’re out running errands, not when you are on vacation; never one single solitary dull moment.  No matter how underwhelming and insignificant that moment may be, there is always something that requires your immediate attention.  A clogged toilet.  Grape jelly that dried to the floor because the dog didn’t do his job properly of cleaning it up.  A doll who magically and mysteriously fell down the HVAC floor register and needs rescuing. The microscopic spider in the corner of your child’s room that they swear is a black widow and its come to eat them alive.  A school project that your kid has known about for two weeks now, but its due tomorrow.  Seriously, never a dull moment.

So far my new year has been full of pretty inconsequential moments and here I am feeling pretty confident about finally getting to work on some of my goals and my business.  I started a blog, my photography business is doing well, my sewing business is continuing to do well and I’ve made a solid plan to set and focus on some new goals.  I’m totally rocking 2016.

And then February happened.  My kids were home from school for Winter Break.  Why exactly we need a winter break after we just had two weeks off at Christmas is beyond me.  And what exactly is there to do on Winter Break anyway?  It’s winter.  Winter is cold and we live in the south so there certainly isn’t any snow to play in.  WHY on earth do we have a WINTER BREAK?  Anyway, I digress… we actually happened to have beautiful weather during break.  It was sunny and warm and the kids were outside playing with their friends while I watched them through my office windows.  They had every possible toy from the garage scattered all over the front lawn and driveway.  They rode their bikes, scooted on scooters, chased after each other, drew with sidewalk chalk and pretty much were having fun being kids.  It was just another ordinary insignificant day.

What happened next is one of those moments that is forever engrained into my brain.  Its one of those moments that plays over in my head when I lay down to sleep at night.  It makes me cringe when it sneaks up into my thoughts when I’m not forcing it to go away.  It was the sound of my daughter screaming.  If you’re a parent you become an expert at deciphering your kids cries, whines and yes, the I’m hurt scream without even seeing them.  You know before ever seeing them or the injury that they’ve probably scraped their toe on the cement, gotten a splinter, or fallen off of the monkey bars.  And while each and every time your child gets hurt it can be unnerving, but you remain calm and take care of them and know that they will be OK.  This time was different for me.  It was a scream I’d never heard before.  It was the kind of scream that makes you jump up out of your seat in a panic and run for the door knowing that in fact, your child is NOT OK.  My child was NOT OK.  I was NOT OK.  This was something I couldn’t fix and in that moment I became useless.  My child was seriously hurt and I couldn’t help her.  I was so struck with such panic and fear that I couldn’t think straight and the only thing I could think to do was to yell at the other kids to go get help. THIS moment is a moment in my life that will stay with me always engrained in my memory. This certainly was far from a dull moment.

While my daughter is not completely out of the woods yet, I do know that she will be OK.  She’s having her second surgery soon and it will be some time before we know what lies ahead for her, but in this moment we know she will be OK.

I know that as a parent there are going to be several more moments in life like this.  The moments that stop your world from turning.  The moments that make your heart stop beating.  The moments that make your brain quit processing.  There is no way to know what kinds of moments they will be, or when they will happen.  I don’t know if these kinds of moments get any easier; I can’t imagine  they do, but I think trying to brace our bodies and minds for the emotional trauma is really all we can do.  And the best that you can ask for is strength and courage to get through these moments in one piece.

 

LEARNING TO RIDE A BIKE

Do you remember learning how to ride a bike?  I do.  I wasn’t very good at it.  I fell off a lot, got hurt a lot, got frustrated a lot.  I even called my grandparents, whom had gifted me the bicycle, and I told them I didn’t want it anymore.   There were too many moving parts to be aware of and have to be in control over at the same time.  Move the pedals with your feet, balance and don’t fall over, steering, breaking … and this was all done in the day and age before bike helmets and protective gear.  One thing is for sure, I certainly wasn’t born with a single shred of natural physical talent for riding a bike.  However, I still remember the day that I finally rode my bike for the first time on my own.  My mother had brought my brother and I and a friend to a park not far from where we lived in Brooklyn.  We all had our bikes and my brother and my friend were riding their bikes as if it were as easy as walking.  Watching my friend ride her bike without training wheels, and also having fun while doing it, was what I think gave me the motivation I needed to forget my fears and the thoughts of “I can’t do it” that were holding me back.  I found my courage through watching her succeed.  And on that day I also learned that, even though I may not have learned very easily how to ride a bike, even though I wanted to quit more than I wanted to try, I succeed because I believed I could.

This is kind of how I feel about learning to blog.  I’m not a very technical person, but I’m also not too bad at teaching myself how to do things.  And even though the host site for this blog is not too difficult to figure out it’s kind of like learning how to ride a bike all over again.  There are so many different parts that you have to learn how to use to make it all work.  To make it flow smoothly without falling over and crashing.  Adding pictures, adding hyper links, choosing the theme and the appearance, and the many other little icons I see off to the left and right of my screen that I don’t have any idea what they are or what they do.  I chose a plain white format for now because I didn’t want to choose something above my skill level and then have the page look all wonky and not know how to fix it.  I made this mistake recently with my website.  I tried to update it and well, things did not go well.  I haven’t returned since.  I think and I hope I left it as it once was, but I’m too frustrated right now to deal with it.  Someone go have a peak for me.  http://southernyankeephoto.wix.com/southernyankeephoto

But I also think that with anything new you do in life there is a learning curve.  None of us are born knowing how to do anything other than breathe.  Some things are certainly easier to learn, some require a wise and patient teacher, some we teach ourselves and some we learn just by living life.  But isn’t it more fun to continue to learn new things than to become complacent and stagnant in our lives?  We should all strive to learn something new every day – ok, maybe that is a stretch – but at least try to learn something new as often as possible.  I am always on facebook. Always.  And one day my husband asked me what could I possibly find so interesting that I spend so much time on facebook? Oh my gosh!  There is so much to read and learn and see and discuss with others.  Join some groups that share similar interests as yours and I promise you will never be bored.  I am a part of so many photography and sewing and design groups that I’m constantly engaged with new things.   And if I am not reading tutorials or asking questions about photography technique or sharing sewing tips with others in these groups then I’m probably on pinterest looking for more ideas and tips on certain projects!  I recently followed a series of posts from a facebook group in regards to how to handcraft a wooden photo pallet.  From following the techniques described by others, I was able to make my own wooden photo pallet, and I simply LOVE how it turned out.  The point is, there are so many unique and creative and brave and inspiring and courageous and talented people in this world.  If you give yourself the opportunity , you will be amazed at how much you can learn from them!  Here is my finished handcrafted wooden photo pallet.

Photo Pallet

In just one hour of sharing this on facebook I had nearly 400 likes and over 125 comments.  In just one hour!  I look forward to offering my photography clients their very own handcrafted wooded photo pallet soon!

Next on my list of “2016 Goals”:

2.  Seek out the knowledge and continue to learn about the things that make you happy and awaken your soul.

 

“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all”.  ~ Aristotle

 

 

 

 

Setting New Goals

You should start a blog.  I’ve heard this quite a bit from various people.  A blog…  But what would I blog about?  What makes anything I have to say so interesting that it needs to be blogged about?  To be honest, I feel like I’m about 10 years too late to the whole blogging thing.  So then, why am I writing a blog?

Well, I used to work in the corporate world as a Human Resources Director/Manager/Coordinator (depending on what organization I worked for and when) and one of the main objectives I needed to complete each year were my annual goals.  What did I aspire to do that year?  What kind of contributions could I make to my department?  How could I help my company grow?  And each year I would write out a detailed list of goals, how I planned to accomplish them and in what time frame.  I reviewed these goals with my boss,   made any necessary adjustments and come time for my annual review I was evaluated based off of those goals and accomplishments.  I rather enjoyed having goals to be measured against.  It was a way to keep myself challenged, motivated, and growing in my professional skills.

In February of 2008, I quit my professional career to become a Stay-At-Home-Mom (SAHM).  I had a 18 month old daughter and one on the way.  A couple years later, we had our 3rd daughter.  Life, to say the least, was hectic and crazy and loud and chaotic.  My house was never clean, the laundry was never done, and we bought memberships to warehouse clubs to buy diapers and wipes in bulk.

The thought of returning to my professional career was a fleeting one as the weekly cost of daycare for three children ages four and under would negate a paycheck.  Not to mention the fact that we tried daycare with our oldest daughter and the results of experience is what led me to becoming a SAHM in the first place.  At first, I stayed active amongst my HR peers; continuing to offer advice on certain employment issues, sharing documents I had written, and even offering my professional services with resume writing.  My available time to do such became less and less as the girls kept me quite busy and I became more and more a SAHM and less and less a HR professional.

My employers were now knee high little dictators.  My annual goals were pretty simple:

  1. Keep the tiny humans alive.
  2. Keep the tiny humans fed to eliminate any possible chance of earth shattering meltdowns.
  3. Try your best to stay sane.

I accomplished two out of my 3 goals.  My children are still alive and well fed.

Now that I feel like I have accomplished (most of) those major goals, and  my children are somewhat more self sufficient,  I’ve decided its time to set new goals for myself.  Something I have not done for a very very long time and I’ve felt quite lost and unsure of as to where I should start.  Is there a point to setting personal goals if there is not accountability?  I don’t know the answer to that yet, but I’m going to give it a try.

Late last year, I started on a new adventure, one that I’ve been working up towards for 20 years or so: Photography.  I began studying photography in High School, enjoyed being a casual hobbyist for many years, and then finally decided to go for it – to share my passion for photography with others.  So, as we head into the New Year of 2016, I will be, for the first time in a very long time, setting some goals for myself.  The first on my list:

  1. Stop holding yourself back.

Sometimes, you just simply have to believe you can, and go for it!