September 29, 2015


Once upon a time, I had a very specific parenting style. Mostly before I became a mom, but even when I had two little ones just 15 months apart, I had ideals and high hopes. I made baby food and read them books every day. I had a schedule for cleaning and cooked meals. We attended play groups and story time. I bathed them daily.

Somewhere along the way, exhaustion, bickering and constantly being needed beat the standards right out of me. Now my parenting style is more of I Don't Wanna. For example, I think rara would love to take a dance class with her little friend, but when I think about signing her up, paying for it and then having to be somewhere at a certain time every week... well I just don't wanna.

For me it all comes down to time. For the past 8 years almost all my time has been given to my children. Newborns are needy. Newborn plus toddler - forget about it. Then there was Birth to 3 and endless doctor's appointments. Then kids in different schools at different times. Then another newborn and a long drive to school. There were nap times and snack times and early bedtime. So many demands on my time.

Now I drop off the big kids at school and have 7 hours to fill. I find that I'm feeling selfish with my time. I am more than happy to drop the laundry and meet a friend at the library, but I don't want many commitments. I want to choose if we just take the dog for a walk and hang around the house or maybe we have a bit of an adventure.

Of course that guilt as you scroll through Facebook and see all the kids and their sports, theater or art classes. Am I holding my kids back? I was involved in gymnastics and soccer. Are my kids missing out on something? But I don't want to spend my weekends driving here and there and watching a sporting event for one while trying to entertain the other two. I just don't wanna.

The weekends are the time we spend together as a family. To me that is more important than anything else. There will come a day when my kids are going off with friends and no longer want to spend all weekend just hanging out together. Plus they are getting a happy relaxed mom. So until the eye rolling starts when I suggest we all go pick apples together, I'm sticking with this parenting style.

September 21, 2015


Turning 40 brought me a surprising dose of clarity and confidence. I lived a good part of my life feeling insecure, not wanting to stand out and being worried what others thought of me. I wore the clothes I thought I should and kept opinions to myself. I was making choices based on what I thought I should choose and had no idea I was doing it.

Then I heard this organizational guru talk about how you should surround yourself with things that bring you joy. For example, you pile all of your clothes on the floor then one by one, you touch each piece and ask yourself if it brings you joy. Plain and simple, if it brings you joy then keep it.

I realized that none of my shirts brought me joy. I wore them but hated the way they felt on my body. So I bought the shirts I really wanted - ones that felt good to put on and left me feeling confident. I feel like this little change has seeped into all parts of my life.

I'm a big fan of a daily phone conversation with my BFF just complaining and getting it all out. But I think there is a fine line of getting it out and laughing over it (because laughing brings joy) versus focusing on the suckiness and giving it power. The times in my life where I threw pity parties for myself were times I wasn't happy.

Photography has brought me such incredible joy. In the past I tried sketching, crafting and painting. I could do them all, but they left me stressed and produced no joy. For years I had no creative outlet. Finding one little thing that I can do just for me has made such a powerful impact. I don't have the luxury of a lot of time without little ones to look after, so finding something that includes them has been perfect.

Plus being able to look back at their little faces - joy to the thousandth degree.

Of course I believe in moderation and sometimes life just sucks. There are times when you just need to hide and wait for it to pass. I believe that if you focus on the joy in your life and actively search out things that make you happy, it can only help.

Here are a few moments that bring joy to me. May you find something today that brings you joy.

September 14, 2015


A new school year has started. Just like with everything else in life, I totally misjudged how the change would affect each child.

My buddy worked so hard all summer - between home school and summer school that he has had his best transition yet. Sure, there's been some testing of new people in his life. I had to send in the book I made so the teacher could read it to his classmates. It talks about my buddy and Down syndrome and why he is the way he is. I guess he knocked down some block towers that the kids were building and they were understandably upset.

Big sis, however, spent many nights in tears. Her teacher last year had a personality that really meshed with big sis plus her two BFFs were in that class. This year is really different. Big sis is slow to warm up and has been keeping it together at school then completely losing it at home. It's been really hard on all of us. Hard enough that I took a book out of the library about highly sensitive children.

I volunteered to be room mom (which big sis loves) and now I'm the official class photographer (which I love). My first official business was a head shot of all the kids. They all look a little like this:

I know that big sis will adjust soon enough, it's just so hard to see your kids upset.

Rara, on the other hand, LOVES school and wishes she could go more than twice a week. She is equally happy at home with just me and some peace and quiet. The fighting this summer was so out of control, I think everyone is happy to have a little space. Watching rara so excited when she gets to be a big kid then just running into school is the best. (And yay for a teenie bit of me time)