I let things in my life fall by the wayside. I allowed sadness and frustration and anger to settle in. I failed my family in little ways. I gave up control, and I’m taking it back. Right now.

This past year has been so horribly hard, things I don’t want to share openly at this time. But it’s also been full of new joys and so much love, and great success and rewards. But it’s been an effort, every.single.day. I try to keep myself in a positive head space, making the most of each day and taking things as they come, and almost always carefully navigating the high road. That isn’t always easy ya know. Believe me, I have felt the overwhelming temptation to stoop to the lower than low road, but for the sake of my family and ultimately for myself, I just didn’t. But I wanted to! Remember the old cartoons where there was a little angel on one shoulder and a little devil on the other? That was me. Only my head was twisting back and forth and around and around trying to make decisions. Ultimately, procrastination won! Even thought  that wasn’t one of the choices, it became the unspoken third choice that seemed to win more often than not.

My house is messy. Cluttered. Dirty. Overwhelming for sure. It’s a direct reflection of my brain. My daily/weekly/monthly/yearly to-do list has only grown, minimal scratching off has occurred. Parenting, real parenting, has taken a back burner. Meals have been fast and easy and repetitive. (read: not so healthy) Life has just piled up on top of me, on top of us, and it’s time to reclaim it.

The time is now. Right now. Today!

I’ve been trying to meal plan since the new year and haven’t gotten very far. Yesterday, I got somewhere! I’m not done with the month but hope to be by today. I’m getting the basics going so I can develop a good system moving forward. SEVEN people live in this house and we all can do our share to take care of this house. I’m tired of dealing out chores as they arise. We need to get back into a good system of keeping ahead of the mess and everyone being responsible. I have a good implementing plan, and even though I don’t want to be procrastinating, there just aren’t enough hours in the day. So in the next few days, I hope to have that ready to go – fast and efficient and fair. James and I need to sit and make a BIG to-do list for our projects. We’re starting some, not finishing, and have daydreamed about plenty of others. Oh daydreaming….

I have to stay on task, otherwise the daydreaming will take over. Oh, wait, the daydreaming always takes over!

I was just daydreaming of a cleaner house, a more simplified life, and no more laundry to have to do. Ever.

I feel a big PURGE coming on. I have missed “spring cleaning” the past three years due to a pregnancy, a crazy toddler and lack of desire, and then a preemie newborn. Actually, this past spring, we did just toss a bunch of more obvious things, so that is something I guess. But by this spring, I hope to have it D-O-N-E, DONE! Simplifying is going to take over and life is going to be happier, right? It needs to be. We have too much stuff. Just STUFF. Have you seen my magazine hoarding stash? You don’t really want to, or maybe you do. Maybe I’ll share it sometime. I can say that I have not read even 1/16th of them. I had good intentions but who has the time? Most are photography magazines, full of amazing photos and colors and beauty. They’d make for some great crafts. I better hit up Pinterest before I recycle them.

I’m so ADD, seriously. Purging = Pinterest project. oh my.

But really, I have for a long time noticed that when life is crazy, the house is crazy, my head is crazy. And when my head is crazy, so is life, so is the house. They all relate. I’m not a perfectionist and I do not plan to live in a spotless museum. Our home is a lived in home. But seriously, something has to be done around here. Who’s hiring me a maid? Oh yeah, that’s me, I’m the maid. Crap.

So yes, I’m taking my life back. I’m diving in and I will be awesome. I cannot let the fear or the stress or the excuses sink me anymore. My family needs me. They depend on me. They are my whole entire life and I cannot let them down. I cannot let myself down. I need to get this life together and make it extra awesome. I need to be what my kids need me to be, and then some. I need to take better care of myself, too. I will not be what this year has handed me. I’m going to put it all behind me and take a deep breath, and start fresh.

If I wore boots, I’d be picking myself up by their straps right now. Ready, set, GO!

There are days when bedtime can’t come soon enough. The exhaustion from the day has met its end, the fussing and busy are just too much. I cannot wait for all heads to hit pillows and the house to be silent. SILENT. It’s probably the only time when I really relax, that is if my eyes don’t slam shut faster than I blink.

And most mornings I wake up to someone in the shower, the dogs woofing, a cat pawing at the door, or most often, a baby waking next to me. Sometimes, I LOVE that. Levi can wake up so happy and giggling and even when it feels just too early to be alive, he reminds me that morning is a great time. Other times, it’s a screamer or a crier and the air outside the heavy blankets is so stifling and opening my eyes is the last thing I want to do.

And then there are days like today, when I woke up to total darkness, a silent house, and didn’t feel like a zombie. No thanks to my bladder, but still. It’s so nice to just lay in bed, staying warm, hearing babies breathe, and enjoying the quiet before getting on with the busy. It gives me quiet time to reflect and be thankful, to smile and love all my babies that much more.

Never does a day go by that I’m not so very thankful to be a stay at home (yeah right, mamataxi!) mom. In our big family, we all make sacrifices, but James makes the biggest one of all. He leaves every week to be gone for 3.5 days, to support our whole family. Not too shabby considering most work at least 5 days a week, but at least they are home some every day. He gets up super crazy early, stays up way too late, gets only a few hours of sleep here and there, all so he can be home as much as possible. I try not to complain when the days are long and hard and exhausting, I know it could be so different. This is the life we have chosen, to benefit us all the most. And how awesome are cell phones these days? Gosh, it would all be so different without daily pictures and texts and phone calls and OMG Facetime! Lucas is still a bit weirded out by Facetime – how did dad get in that phone?! – but soon he will love it and I know that it makes the days go a little faster for James.

He is an excellent provider. I am a sucky housekeeper. But I am an awesome mom. I have my moments, I’m not perfect, it’s a learning process for everyone even when you’re doing it for the 5th time. We try to improve every day. There is always a better way, a smarter way, but sometimes we take the easy way which isn’t always that great. I love being a mom. When I was 20 years old and pregnant for the first time, I knew that I would love being a mom. But I had no idea that I would love it this much. Who knew that I’d be so fortunate to do it 5 times over and dedicate my whole day to doing what I love. Seriously though, sometimes I’m lazy. I’m not all hands on and crafty (only in my head, I am) and entertaining. Sometimes I just let my kids, wait for it, play on their own! It’s important. But no matter what, I’m right here, trying not to hover (because that is easy), to learn from them as much as they learn from me.

At the end of the day, when I’m waiting for all heads to hit the pillows, I just want them to know that more than anything, they are loved so completely. That I love being their mom and look forward to watching them grow. And I thank James often for being who he is and allowing me to be who I am. He really is super awesome.

Sometimes, I love the dark quiet mornings when I can just lay in bed, count my blessings, and start my day off loving my family so completely. My heart is full. So full.

We know this. It’s not a secret. One day you’re anxiously awaiting their arrival from the womb and then you blink and then they’re adults – or almost. Almost. How is it that just yesterday I was sending my first-born off to kindergarten, with her brand new glasses and her bangs pulled back off her chubby little face, a backpack as big as she was strung across her back, and a smile that went on for days? There was no fear, no tears. Just a lot of excitement. Last week, I sent that baby of mine off to her senior year of high school, glasses replaced with contacts, bangs dangling and covering her eyes which light up her much more matured face, a messenger bag over her shoulder, and a smile that went on for days. Ok, so some things don’t change that much, they just get bigger. But how can it be that she’s just 2.5 short months from being 18? An adult. *gasp* I always seem to think that I have this under control, I am always internally emotional but can sometimes hold the external together. I take each day in stride. I’m always so proud of my babies and welcome their wing spreading with open arms. But suddenly, almost instantaneously, it hits like a ton of bricks. My baby is almost an adult. Fortunately, I have 4 more babies to raise to adult so I’m still a bit of a ways away from having a full-out heart attack over here. The palpitations are building though.

I’ve now been typing this post for 5 days – seriously. I get THAT distracted by babies and things and OMG the internets. Let me try again while Lucas is distracted by Mickey Mouse and Levi naps, knock on all things that are wood, while I have 2 free hands to type effectively.

My big boys, they have grown like weeds in the past year. I cannot tell you how many pairs of jeans we have gone through and shoes. Shoes now get stinky before they get worn out. yikes! And this summer, the grocery bill, it seriously doubled. And they aren’t even to the stomach-is-a-bottomless-pit stage yet. It’s a good thing there is an 8 year gap between Dillan and Lucas, so we can rebuild the teenager grocery fund again! The physical things are easy to see, but through the summer, I saw a lot of growth in my boys as brothers and friends. They were given some more freedom, allowed to go to the park with friends without mom. It’s only 2 blocks away, but as a trying not to be a helicopter mom, this was a big deal. I send an extra cell phone with them, yep, they also have to be responsible, and they keep me posted about what they’re doing and who they’re with. They were allowed to bike to friends’ houses, too. And while this was hard on mama, it was so good. They argued and fought less, they played together and as a group of friends much more. And by summer’s end, when the soccer teams came out and a mistake was made and they had both been put on the same time, they BOTH asked to be kept on the same team. Yes, my jaw had to be scooped from the floor! This is big. A very BIG step in their brotherly development. The past couple of years surely have had some rough patches. To say that I’m a pleased mama is so underwhelming. I’m elated! But, they should not grow so much. So fast.

7 days – seriously, this blog post is taking far too long to complete. Despite the amount of time I can sit in the computer chair in a day, the typing just doesn’t get done. I need to be more skilled at one handed typing and allowing thoughts to flow while doing a multitude of other things – like nursing a baby, bouncing a baby, cleaning up baby urp from down my back and in my lap, while fetching a toddler off a desk or rescuing him from an annoyed cat or four, and trying to keep enough food and water in myself to sustain me for at least one more day. I will finish this now.

Only after I post some pictures. Because, as per my usual, I paraded them outside to the deck stairs, just like I do every first day of school, so I could take their pictures and “awwwww” and swoon over my precious, once were very tiny, babies. I don’t get teary, not on the outside anyway. I love that they can get out into the big world and spread their wings and discover more about themselves every day. I love that I can get a bit of a mom breather and enjoy a little bit of time each day to be just me, not me the mom, though those days are still so numbered with two little pipsqueeks still at home. I love my babies. So much. My heart is full.

And now, my kids have been back to school for 14 days and I have been trying to write this for 10 days! (enter failing blogger grumbles here). Life is busy, it’s crazy, sometimes overwhelming and frustrating but hey, I love it!)

So, here are the pictures of my kiddos on the first day of school – I adore them all so much!

Hannah – 12th, Connor – 5th, Dillan – 4th.

senior t-shirts are cool

Instagram is serious awesome. Here are a few more of those from the past week.
All my boys before school.

It’s Homecoming Week. Two days ago was “Neon Day” where she wore neon so much cuter than we ever did in the 80’s! Yesterday was “Character Day.” Hannah couldn’t be anything other than adorable Pikachu! Today is “School Spirit Day” and they aren’t allowed to wear their cheer uniforms to school (I know, right?! ridiculousness) so she rocked the tutu again with her cheer jersey. (I’m not too sure about those tights or boots though.)

Have a wonderful year my little, precious, tiny, babies-will-always-be-to-me, children! I love you more than words and pictures can ever express. You all are by far the best things I have ever done in my life and I couldn’t be more proud to be your mama! Now, do your homework without me having to ask eleventytwenty times. 🙂

And for mama, let this be a lesson that blog posts should not take 10 days, with or without pictures.

The big kids went back to school this morning (more on that later) which means that summer has officially ended for us. I am so sad to see it end, I love summer so much – the hot sun, the long days, time with the kids, food on the grill, laughter all day long, baseball games, pool time, walks and trips to the park, hanging out with friends and family, neighborhood kids everywhere, no schedule, little routine, and a lot of R&R. So much kept us busy this summer, mostly Lucas and Levi, but busy enough that I found no time to write it all out or share the pictures. And to be honest, most of the pictures are still on the camera. A LOT of pictures! Nearly every day I formulated a post in my head or found the time to jot a few notes, but I never found or took the time to get it here, which makes me sad, but nothing can replace just spending the time with the family. And we’re growing a big family here!

I can’t wait to find the time to get these hundreds of images off my camera to share them. So much of our lives are documented on Instagram but nothing quite compares to a full size image. One of these days I’ll make the time.

I’ve been thinking for awhile and need to say it out loud so I can once again give it the good college try – I want to write more!! I gave myself the summer to just enjoy it and not feel tied to any additional responsibilities. But as my children grow so very quickly and we are so fortunate to be able to do all the things that we do, I want to have a beautiful photo and written record for them. I need to force myself to take the time, because it’s good for me too, it is my creative outlet. And in the past months with 2 babies and busy big kids, there isn’t much “ME” time to be had. My business is on hold, my responsibilities are mostly contained within the home, and I just need to do something for me. I look forward to doing that and sharing our lives. Ok, said out loud – now must follow through!

Time to push that camera card into the computer and start the days long process of sorting, editing, uploading, and posting images. Probably one big picture post. But after I share the first day of school pictures! I cannot believe how fast my children grow. I am one proud mom for sure!

 

It doesn’t get much better than this – reflecting on the day with my babytoddler nestled in closely behind me and my tiny baby curled in closely and nursing. I am sandwiched between some seriously adorable boys! And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I love the family bed. It used to be the most adored place by everyone. The big kids, they got so big, so fast. I know they would still snuggle in if I’d let them! The dogs and the cats – they used to be allowed, too, but I’ve not been a fan of all the shedding for some time now. I sleep much better with my wee ones snuggled closely. It is as it should be.

Today was a good day. I have no complaints. I have nothing big to share. It was just good. And happy. And just the right amount of busy and lazy. Some lounging and shopping and visiting with my mama. And while The Littles tucked in earlier than expected, I’m still mostly wide awake right now. I adore watching them sleep and hearing them breathe so smoothly. I love days spent with my kids. Days where there is no whining or Screaming and just filled with giggles and silence and love.

Snuggling close means I should put the portable geekery away and return to the snuggling and close my eyes as well. Soon, these babyangels will be awake again.  They will have forgotten the snuggling and have moved on to crazy boy behaviors that they do so well.

Goodnight happy life!

This is one of those days that I look forward to all year long! I love that my kids enjoy school, and they thrive and they learn, and they have great fun with good friends. But I don’t love schedules and homework and papers and folders and planners and, and, and. The last day of school ends all of that! We can stay up later, sleep in longer (well, the kids can, I seem to wake up early no matter what), have big breakfasts, lounge in jammies all day, get out and enjoy SUMMER, enjoy the chaos that is neighborhood kids ringing the doorbell and jumping on the trampoline and water balloons and skate park and fun! Mostly, it’s time that I REALLY get to spend with my big kids. So much of my day/week/month is consumed by the littlest people in our family because everyone else just isn’t here. I love when we can really settle in and be a family without being pulled 50 different directions. I enjoy (in a weird and crazy kind of way) dirty, smelly kids – they’ve been playing and having fun! When the boys can manage to get along for long periods of time, there is laughter and creativity and imagination. There is a brotherhood – lately it is hard to find – but it is there. I can’t wait to see it more!

But first, they have to get through today – the day where teacher enlist the class to clean and tidy the room so it’s fresh and ready for next year, to have sack lunches, to clean out lockers, to say goodbye to friends for the summer. Hannah finds this harder every year. She watches the seniors graduate and go off to college. She’s always been sensitive about missing teachers and friends, but since starting high school, it’s different. She’s such a sweet and sensitive girl. Connor and Dillan just can’t wait. They’re excited to be done with school and in August, they won’t be excited to start again. We will absorb as much of this summer freedom as we can!

There are no big plans, no exciting vacations – not this year, we need to grow the babies some more – and no boundaries. Hannah will be quite adventurous and visit Spain in just a few weeks. We look forward to a visit from my dad next week. There is baseball every week. But all the other days will be full of play and play dates, local events, swim time, friends, picnics, playgrounds, biking, walking, the zoo, the library, sandboxes, bubbles, and sidewalk chalk. We’ll do it all! And I hope to photograph most of it!

Today, my 3rd grader becomes a 4th grader…

My 4th grader becomes a 5th grader – it will be his last year in elementary school. [please pass the Kleenex!!]…

And my first baby, my only daughter, she finishes her junior year. Next year she will be a senior, and then graduate, and then leave me forever and ever. [please pass the Kleenex factory!]

I love you so much my big kids, I’m so proud of you!

Before school this morning, I handed them each a sheet of paper. Yes, their last bit of WORK to do before summer. I was met with grumbles but I know that someday, they will like it. I only wished I had started it years ago. I gave them an “exit interview” to gather some information about their school year. Also, it samples their handwriting at the time. I can’t wait to see what changes over the years. None of their answers surprise me, I feel pretty connected with my kids. But it really tickles me that Connor’s response to “what you learned” was “too much.” Oh that kiddo! Hannah and Connor both listed art as their favorite subject and Dillan chose gym.  History, music, and math were the least favorites. And I love so much that they all chose to put their last name on their paper also. Like I wouldn’t know who they are!  Good times kiddos, thanks for the giggles!

I keep having this discussion with people close to me and realize that we all feel the same way to some extent. We are all so consumed by the constant influx of information into our lives – Facebook, email, Twitter, blogs, Pinterest, forums, message boards, messengers, games, TV, newspaper, magazine – and I have all of those things available at my computer and on my phone. So not only does it suck me in at home, it sucks me in everywhere I go. It’s become an addiction, a nonstop urge to feel “in the know” with everything. It’s no wonder that so many of the people on my friends list on Facebook have trouble sleeping, they have the same addiction! We just can’t shut it off. We turn off computers and stare at our phones. We leave our phones on all night – checking them if we happen to be awake – nearly blinding ourselves in the darkness. I don’t know why we feel like we need to know the play by play of everyone’s lives, some people that we really don’t know all that well. And why do we feel the need to SHARE so much of our lives with everyone in so many outlets? It’s really overwhelming at times. I really do enjoy keeping up with friends and being up to date on some things and learning from others. But it does come at an expense. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to take it all in. And I can’t speak for everyone else, but it does effect all aspects of my life and I feel pretty unhealthy about it.

In the past few years of having my photography business, I have learned that social media and online resources were instrumental in getting business going and keeping it going – especially because it’s so inexpensive. I have met so many amazing people in the photography business, some in person and some just online. So many have played a big role in some part of my business, even if them just sharing their work was inspiring to me. But I feel that inspiration has gone the wrong way. I have so many images in my face at any time of day that I started to lose track of what I liked about my own photography. I started comparing my photography too much. I have been frustrated and a perfectionist about the images I take and that I share with others. Forgetting that sometimes I just need to capture the moment, not worry about light or editing or how others might view my image. It just needs to be taken. And despite all of that, I have taken THOUSANDS of images that sit in folders in my computer, not edited, printed, not shared, just sitting. What good was that?! I got too wrapped up in so many other things that the pictures became less important. But they should be most important, they are my kids and my life and all of our memories. I need to backtrack a whole lot and add in a lot of pictures, and then I need to get some photo albums printed.

So, I want to spend more time with my family. I want to get out more and do more things together. I want to be less stuck in a chair or on the couch, and I definitely want to lose the urge to ‘check my phone’ nonstop. I get on the kids about it, but I don’t get on myself about it.

Since Levi was born, I have spent considerably less time at the computer and on my phone – I just don’t have the free time or free hands. Though I still feel like I’m driven to spend more time than I really need to. I go back and forth with myself. It’s how I relax and it’s my hobby – I shouldn’t have to give it all up. And I won’t, but it’s become less of a  hobby and more of an addiction. Really. In our house we have 7 computers, 3 smart phones, 1 kindle, and 3 iPods. WOW!! Essentially, that’s for just 5 of us, since the little ones don’t use these things. Since not being able to just sit, I’ve felt more overwhelmed by how ‘behind’ I am when I have to scroll so far through Facebook and Pinterest and my blog reader has more than a handful of unread posts and my email is full of junk and more junk. I just need it to not be there, out of sight, out of mind.

Last year, I was overwhelmed with the amount of instant messaging I was doing. For awhile, I just shut it off so that I could take a break. And after a few weeks, I didn’t even miss it. I missed the conversations and daily talking to friends, but I realized that I didn’t NEED that frequent upkeep and I really didn’t miss doing it. More importantly, I didn’t have that guilt of feeling like I wasn’t keeping up, or that I was missing something going on in someone elses lives. I know that if there was something important to share from me or with me, it would get shared somewhere else. It’s now been more than a year since I even turned my instant messenger on.

I need to keep up with that kind of feeling. I tend to be a guilty feeling person, like I’m hurting others even though, chances are, they’ll never notice that I “unfriended” them. I know that in a few days time, I won’t feel that way. It’s just taking that step to actually do it in the first place.

So here is what I’m going to do – I’m deleting people from my Facebook – those that I skim over or don’t read or don’t really know – those that I once just followed because we had met in passing – those business pages and like pages that clutter up my feed so much. I know where to find them all if I need them. I am pretty sure that I would rarely, if ever, not need them. I am taking blogs out of my blog reader – most I just delete instead of read anyway. I am unsubscribing from so many junk email systems. I didn’t renew my memberships to forums. I can’t quit Pinterest, sorry. I have to have one true guilty pleasure, right?! I need to do all that I can to lessen the time I spend because there just isn’t much there, but I also just need to be more disciplined about not going there in the first place.

But even still, I feel such a strong desire to share my story and my images. I feel like I need to better my blog and do it in a way that is really ME. I want to focus on taking more images and letting them tell the stories, I owe that to my kids. I have this talent that just doesn’t get used for their benefit as much as I want it to. I will always be connected to the interwebs, there is no excusing that, but I need to change how I do it. I need to schedule time instead of steal time. I have said that plenty in the past couple of years, but I mean it this time. I just can’t come sit here because it’s a place to sit. I find it so hard to get up. I need to come up with a solid plan.

Yesterday, The Littles and I went to visit my friend Shannon and her adorable trio of boys for some far over due and much needed friend time. Shannon started out as a photography client way back when and is now one of my dearest friends. With both of our abundance of boys to tend to, we just don’t have the time get together as much as we’d like. We’re really great at talking about it, but not so great about following through. I really appreciate the times we hang out though. She’s extra good for getting me back to feeling a little more grounded and a little less crazy. But when we gather out bunches of boys together, it definitely feels a little bit crazy!

 

But I brought donuts, because who has time to eat breakfast when it already took 3 hours just to get everyone cleaned up and ready and out of the house even close to on time? And donuts are delicious. And sugary sweet. Lickably sweet.

And there was baby holding. Because Levi is irresistible. And there was photographing. Because Shannon gets the most beautiful window light and I love it. We could run our photography businesses out of her living room – if she didn’t live there.

And I was photographing her photographing her 2 oldest and my wee youngest. SURPRISE SHANNON!! (she might really kick me now)

And her wee youngest wanted to put a wheel on my camera. I wanted to forever run my fingers through his baby curls and watch his brand new walking legs waddle all day.

And there was plenty of baby loving. Leighton is excellent at loving babies. He’s loved both of my Littles. He’s so gentle and sweet.

And just moments before Lucas had his overtired and ready for a nap RIGHT NOW meltdown, I snapped one of us. Because there are never enough pictures of me, especially me with my kiddos, and I need to make a point to do that more. Even if they are the cheesy arm reached out and neck craned back variety.  And then he fell asleep.

Thank you, Shannon, Leighton, Chase, and Beckett for having us over and being our friends. See you again soon!

 

 

Sometimes, I have to sit back, take a deep breath, and forget all the frustrations and focus on the little things – the happy things.

Losing sight is easy – between 511 diaper changes, 6093 removals of toddler from high places or garbage cans or dog food or bathroom sink, wiping tears, listening to screams and whines and dealing with colic, hearing complaints and sibling disagreements, removing pet hair from every.single.thing I eat, if I actually find time to eat, trying to use the bathroom or shower with no fewer than one extra person, wondering if the laundry will ever get all washed, folded, AND put away, remembering to wash floors but never finding the time to do them day after day, cleaning up baby barf from my hair and shoulders on a regular basis – longing for that shower by myself that rarely seems to come, and just doing all that I can to survive the day with everyone in on piece and put to bed with an extra hug and kiss and knowing that they are loved – despite any craziness they may have encountered from me throughout the day.

Creating a run-on sentence like that takes SERIOUS focus.

At the end of the day, when my head hurts and my arms are weak from holding my precious loves all day, when my eyes just want to slam shut, and I’m not even sure that I can climb the stairs and into my bed, I look back on the things that made me smile and laugh and be so happy to be a mama.

*extra “I love you’s”
*milk drunk smiles
*ice cream bucket hats
*messy pizza face
*teeny tiny fauxhawk
*silly belly laughs
*”wow,wow,wow,wow,wow”
*picking up too many matchbox cars that make cute toddler noises
*chubby cheeks
*curled up baby legs
*baby back arched stretches
*the hot dog dance
*big blue eyes
*lotsa hugs
*daughters that bring home fast food for dinner so I don’t have to cook
*laughing until we cry
*sharing chocolate chip cookies
*sweet smelling baby head
*lashes that go on for days
*the quiet of bedtime and a few minutes to have just to myself to appreciate all of the chaos that was today and to look forward to doing it all again tomorrow.

I extra big love this quite time. I can clear my head a little bit, finish up a few things that got started and never finished, but mostly, I get to look at their angel faces and be so proud of the little people that I’ve made. One day there will be no more diapers, no chubby hands to wash, no sibling squabbles, and no toys to step on. When the kids have all grown and moved on to the rest of their lives, I will look back on days like today and not remember the frustration and the tears, I will be filled with love and joy for having such amazing moments to fill my days. I am so fortunate to be a mama that can stay home to be with her babies. I appreciate James every day for being an excellent provider and supportive dad and partner.

We are so blessed.

Dillan certainly has a style all his own – he’s pretty good about matching his clothes, when I tell him what to wear. He totally does his own thing and doesn’t really seem to care what others think. I love that about all my kids! Now if they could just teach me.

He’s grown his hair off and on for the past few years and this year it grew so awesome and I have loved it. He has just enough natural wave in it to make it flow just right. And thankfully in many ways, he has hair so thick, just like his mama. But that was leading to some seriously crazy bed head.

iPhone picture proof!

[p.s. I love Instagram so so much.]

It got itchy and hot and was getting in his eyes and sticking to his face. When he asked me to schedule a haircut for him, I thought he’d just get a little trim and maybe some thinning – but he opted for a much shorter look. In hindsight, a little shorter than he expected but it does grow quickly so that shouldn’t be a problem in a week or two.

Here are the before and after shots.

 

Is that even the same kid? Oh how I loved the long style, the way it feathered around his face and his bright blue eyes would just shine. I like the short too, but it really changes his look. Is that really my boy? Oh yes, I can see his bright blue eyes! And then there is this proof.

 

undeniable!