Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Our Turn...

This is a cross post from my photography blog, but it is a personal post. So, it belongs here as well.


Something has been sitting on my heart very heavily over the last few years. And, it's my own fault. 

 I have never been one to be in front of the camera. But, I sure do love being behind it. I love capturing memories of my kids and my husband. in pictures. I have prints and canvases around the house of my kids from over the years growing and changing. I have all of these changes documented in print and in digital form for us to look back over and remember. There was only one problem. I was never in any of them. It is my own insecurities that held me back. I'd pop out of the view finder any time someone would raise a camera in my direction, I'd put my hand up to block any recognition of myself if I couldn't move quick enough. I never let my husband take charge of the camera during holidays or birthdays to share in the documentation. I always did it myself so I could "make sure the camera settings were right". But, in reality, it was just my way of dodging being in the front of the lens. I know my husband is fully capable of working a camera ( yes, even my BIG camera! ) I kept telling myself, Let me lose a few pounds first, let me get my hair done first, let me do this, let me do that.... and before I knew it, years had past. The last time we had a REAL family picture taken was before my son turned 1. I think he was about 6 or 7 months old in those pictures. He is now 7 YEARS old and we have another addition to the family... and she is going to be 4 at the end of this month. I have waited too long. I know my kids don't care about my insecurities. They see me how they see me. As their mom. Just as I am. And this is how they are going to remember me. Or try to anyway. I know they won't be able to keep that image in their head unless I give them something physical they can hold on to for their memories. Their are a few random shots of me here and their. And their is 1 snap shot of a family picture that comes to mind. But, that is it. Nothing else. 

The issue really started to press harder and harder down a few weeks ago. My kids came home from school one day with letters about Earthquakes. We live in Alaska. They happen. A LOT! A lot more than we are aware of. ( Yesterday we had a BIG one that scared the daylights out of me! It was between a 5.7 and 5.9, I'm not seeing a definite number on it yet ). Anyway, the letter was asking for parents to make each child an earthquake preparedness bag. In it they needed a pair of gloves ( it's COLD UP HERE!!! ), bottles of water, snacks, and extra pair of socks, and..... a family picture. As soon as I saw "family picture" on that list, my mind started racing! We don't HAVE a family picture! What if we have a huge earthquake and my kids are stuck at school! All their friends will be clutching pictures of their family for their own security and to help keep them calm... and what will my kids have? NOTHING! It was at that point that I KNEW I needed to push aside all of my own feelings and put my kids first. They needed a picture of all of us together. But, I also needed a picture of all of us together. The reality of a big earthquake up here is VERY real. Even more real to me today than it was when I got those letters home from school. 

So, this past weekend I made it a POINT to go out and do family pictures. It was -7* outside, but it was beautiful and clear out! Luckily, my hubby was on board with dragging our kids out in the frigid temps. We grabbed lots of blankets, and jackets. Long johns were work under clothing. And the car was kept running with the heat blasting just a few feet from wherever we were shooting at. We did it. We got our family pictures done and I couldn't be more happy! I feel full now. That emptiness has faded and is filled with giddiness over the images we were able to capture that day! I can't even tell you how many times I have said to Adam " I am so EXCITED/HAPPY/THRILLED/LOVING these pictures we got!!". I am so happy to finally be able to fill a big frame with ALL of us and put it up on our wall to display!!! But, I am even more happy that my children have pictures in their earthquake preparedness bags to hold on to for comfort, should something happen. 

I waited too long. I avoided so many opportunities to be in pictures with my kids. And, I regret it. Don't do the same. Make an effort to be in images with your kids. Even if just a cell phone picture. I am going to try harder to do this myself. I am going to have to learn to step in front of the lens more often, to hand my camera over to my husband and say "snap away!", to hug my kids and goof around with them and have it be caught on "film"! I need proof that I was in deed a big part of my kids lives. So, anyway! 

Now that all that morbid stuff is out!!!! Here are the images we got that I am so happy with!!! 

 My hubby and I had an idea ( that I saw posted by many photographers over the years ) that we wanted to do for a shot. So, while he was off getting that ready, I started off by getting some images of the kids together. Maddybug had a set of antlers... but, she broke them! lol! This is when they realized what their mommy and daddy's idea was and they were excited about what was going to happen next! Yup! Mommy and daddy tied them up with Christmas lights! They really weren't all that sad about it! In fact, they got a kick out of it! And then.... here is proof!! They DO have a mom!!! I ran off to check the camera settings and the shots we had gotten so far. The older... kids... started joking and goofing off. But, not Maddy! She kept her eyes on mommy!!! Another family picture :) And THIS ..... well, this is about how we were feeling at the moment! Lol!!! It was -7*! We were running back and forth between in front of the camera and behind the camera where the car was running waiting to keep us toasty between shots! It was a bit difficult to get the kids to 100% cooperate. Soooooo, it may have gotten a tad difficult!!! But, this was a fun shot that my hubby insisted on doing! The kids thought it was hilarious as you can plainly see!! Hubby also wanted to do that famous JUMP shot that everyone has to get! Maddy and I jumped a little too soon. So, we landed as hubby hit the shutter button on the remote! But, check out that air the boys got!!!! One lst one before my kids had enough and didn't want to get out of the car anymore. I was hoping to get more shots at this location, but none of the other ones turned out well. This is when the bickering started and we knew we were done. But, we still drove off to explore other places! My handsome hubby was trying to get a shot of Mt. McKinley ( husband ) and Mt. Foraker ( wife ), which you can see from this spot on base. He wanted to get a picture of us under each mountain. But, the sun wasn't cooperating! We did manage to get some pictures of just the two of us together though! Which, I treasure!!!! We don't have enough pictures of the two of us together beyond our teen years and our wedding. These pictures make my heart happy!! All of these images make me happier than I had ever imagined they would! I NEED to get better about this! My insecurities don't matter when I have kids that I need to take care of! And part of taking care of them is making sure they have something of US to hold on to for the rest of their lives. Something they can go back to when they need to remember US as a family!      
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Friday, November 2, 2012

So, a little change of pace...

Yesterday's blog post was a bit rough. I actually regretted it for a few minutes after I posted it. But, I am glad I left it up. I'm sure people may get annoyed with my posts of frustration and annoyances with my kids. But, like I said, I'm human, I'm real. I post the good AND the bad. I find it comforting to read other people's "bad" posts. Not because I take pleasure in other people having a rough time. But, it helps me to realize I'm not alone. I am not the only one having a hard time getting my kids to listen to me. I am not the only mom out there who has a child that can drive her to tears. Sure, it's not something I WANT to read. But, it sure helps me get through the day to know that I am not the worst mother in the world because she just wants to lock herself in the bathroom for a few hours to get some peace and quiet, and that I am not the only mom to a special needs child who sometimes just wants to rip her hair out and scream.

So, AAAAAAANYWAY! On to a good post :)

Halloween!  I had been looking forward to it and dreading it all at the same time!! I was dreading the cold, because really, who wants to walk their kids around in Halloween costumes up and down the street in the freezing cold ( 12* ). But, I was excited because my kids were so excited about it!  They were ready for weeks! Madison was so excited from the time she woke up and her sister told her it was trick or treat day! I had errands I had to run, so she was bummed she couldn't get ready in her costume. But, as soon as we got home and had lunch, I turned her in to a Tiger. Well, I tried to anyway! I had never done face painting before. So, it wasn't perfect. But, she loved it!

As soon as the older two got home from school, they ALL wanted to get ready and go trick or treating. Too bad the base rules wouldn't allow it until 6pm! So, they had to wait! Time passed quickly, our friends got here at 6, and off we went! 

 Erin and I only made it around our street before we got too cold! She had her brand new itty bitty baby girl with her ( who I am photographing TOMORROW!!! ), so she needed to get her out of the cold! But, the daddy's took the kids to the next street over for some more TOT'ing. And then they got too cold! The kids didn't complain about coming in though. They seemed alright with getting out of the cold! Next year, I think we are all going to dress up as an Eskimo Sled team!!! Lol!! Maybe we can keep warm that way!

So, now that Halloween is over, our countdown begins!
  • 20 days until Thanksgiving
  • 24 days until Nicholas' 7th Birthday
  • 27 days until Kenzie's 9th Birthday
  • 52 days until Christmas
  • 56 days until Madison's Birthday

So glad I have put a nice chunk in our birthday/holiday shopping! Now, to finish!

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Thursday, November 1, 2012

RAW! No Sugar Coating Here...

I'm not sure where this is going to go. I just know, I need to write. I'm not going to sugar coat anything. I'm tired of people thinking I have it all together. Because, I don't. Far from it. This is just me. A mother of three who struggles every day to keep her sanity.

I'm the mom of a special needs child. He is diagnosed as Autistic, but it is not a diagnosis that we are 100% sure about yet. Sometimes we see it, sometimes we don't. I just don't get it. But, yes, we are sticking with the Autistic diagnosis for the time being so that our son can get the services he needs. One of the hardest things of being a parent is knowing that there is something not right with your child and not knowing what it is. Having other people tell you that there is nothing wrong and make you feel like you are crazy for even thinking there is when they don't know a thing about your child makes it that much harder. Well, as much as I hate to say it, there IS something wrong. And no, YOU don't get to tell me that there is nothing wrong, he is just a typical kid pressing buttons and trying to get a rise out of you, because YOU don't live with this every day. YOU don't see the screaming, the yelling, the meltdowns. You don't see my son punch himself in his head or in his stomach when he gets so frustrated with himself and he can't get his words out. I see it. I see it almost on a daily basis. And it kills me inside. You don't see how he loses control of himself when it comes time to get ready for school in the mornings. How he doesn't want to go to school, but he does. And he can't find a middle ground. He just screams, I WANT TO GO, but yet he won't get ready to go. You don't have to deal with that battle. I do. EVERY DAY. YOU don't get to tell me your "diagnosis" and dismiss the Dr's diagnosis because YOU think you know better. YOU don't live with this. YOU know nothing about our life! I'm told to try rewards, take things away, use a chart! Well, it doesn't work. What it does, it fuels the fire. The meltdowns get more intense, louder, harder to deal with. In fact, sometimes it can start a whole different meltdown. 

I love my son. He is a miracle. He really is. We are very lucky he wasn't born at 29 weeks when I went in to preterm labor with him. Things could be so much different right now, and not for the better. So, I truly understand just how much of a miracle this child is. And I am thankful for him. But, I struggle. Every day. I am in tears. And every day I feel guilty about how I feel. I live through the guilt every day thinking I did something to "cause this" Was it the medicine I was on while I was pregnant? Was it the medicine they used to stop my labor and keep my contractions under control for 2 months? Was it the vaccines? Was it this? Was it that? I DON'T KNOW! What I know is that my son is having a hard time which therefore means his daddy and I are both having a hard time, too. We struggle seeing him upset, seeing him in the midst of a meltdown and not knowing how to get him grounded again. We are a trying. We are a work in progress. 

I have such a hard time seeing all of these other parents write about how much they enjoy parenthood. How much they enjoy being in the presence of their children. How their child can do no wrong. I hate not feeling like that. I hate dreading walking out of my bedroom in the mornings because I know that the next war is on the other side. But, what I hate the most? Knowing I will be judged for feeling this way. Knowing that all of those "perfect" mom's out there will look down on me and think I am an abomination to motherhood. I'm a mom to a special needs child. I'm supposed to be Super Woman or something, right? Well, I was skipped when the super powers were being handed out. I must have overslept or something. Right now, I feel like my only super power is being able to cry at the first sign of a meltdown from my 6 year old!

I'm real. I'm not perfect. I don't have my sanity fully in tact. I live day by day as best as I can even if it means I begin or end the day in tears or begin AND end the day in tears. I try to push aside the "opinion's" of everyone else for fear of what I might say to them. I try to be OK with the lack of support we get from certain family and friends. I try to understand. Even though, for the life of me I can't. I get by. We are just trying to figure all of this out.

But, most of all I try to embrace the sweet moments that come every so often, and try to forget the rough moments when I feel like I can't do it anymore. I enjoy the moments when homework goes well and we get through sight words without head banging and binder slamming. I enjoy the moments when all three kids are playing a game together in one of their rooms and they are laughing and giggling and thoroughly enjoying each others company, even if it only lasts 5 minutes. Those brief 5 minutes don't come often enough. I enjoy getting the notes home every Friday telling me how many times Nicholas was caught making right choices and being kind to others.  I enjoy the random hugs and kisses and him telling me how much he loves me even when "his brain tells him to do bad things". I love the mornings that are smooth sailing, no meltdowns, no hiding so he doesn't have to get ready, no door slamming or head banging in to walls, and no screaming.

Our life isn't always rainbows and butterflies. But, we survive. I'm sure someday I will look back on all of this and realize life wasn't as difficult as it seemed at the time, that maybe I am stronger than I think. But, right now, it's tough. And, yeah, I complain on Facebook. I post my frustrations. But, like I said. I'm being real.I share my struggles and my frustrations AS WELL as the warm fuzzy moments that make my heart melt.

( Just a disclaimer, the "YOU" mentioned in all of this is no one in particular... so, please don't feel the need to take offense and think it is directed at... YOU! )

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

At least I'm blogging... right?

Yes, yes. Another cross post. Hey! At least I'm blogging!!!!


This poor child. My poor husband! I think I am going to drive them both insane!
I have seen so many gorgeous bridges in the area. Only, I have seen them in pictures. There is ONE bridge though, that REALLY caught my eye! The bright, bold, BLUE color just POPS in pictures! I fell in love. So, I set myself on a mission. I have been on this mission for MONTHS! I have dragged my husband and children to several parks hunting for this bridge. But, I could not find it. I've asked people if they knew where it was, but I grew impatient. I think my husband was seeing that. So, my wonderful, awesome, amazing, annoyed husband set himself on a mission. To find this dang bridge before his wife drove him batty!!! And, he succeeded!!! He found THE bridge! After hunting for a while on Google and Bing, cross searching and narrowing down, he finally pin pointed the bridge! And if he wasn't awesome enough after doing that, he even came with me to take pictures of our three year old at THE bridge! ( Yeah, I'm keeping him! <3 p="p">Poor Madison has been my only subject these days, with her brother and sister i school! The poor girl is either in front of my iPhone or my big camera several times a day! ( mostly my iPhone! ) I am pretty sure she is getting sick of me using her as my subject. But, well, let's face it, she is ADORABLE!! ( No, I'm not just saying that because I am her momma!!! ) The camera LOVES her! ( ok, so, it's really me!! But, can you blame me!?!? ) And I am so thrilled with the pictures I got of her at this location! I can't wait to get her brother and sister down there and get some images of them there too!!! Maybe, just maybe... I will get brave and put myself in front of the camera with my husband and kids to get some recent family pictures. I REALLY need to start doing that more!!!!

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I did it again...

I know I don't seem to be on here much these days. In fact, I am not really on here at all. But, I thought maybe if I at least keep up on the appearance of my blog, maybe it will prompt me to write a blog post or more.... And, that it did. So, I did it again, I changed my blog look, AGAIN! This time, I went for the fall look!!! My favorite time of the year! I kept it a bit simple, and I love it!

I love the cold weather! Hoodies & sweatshirt weather is the best! I am not a fan of summer. I never really was. I think living in Louisiana for 7 years, enduring the terrible heat and humidity, has made me turn my back even more on summer. Though, summers in Alaska are amazing! I enjoyed this summer here, the temps never went above 75*. So, maybe I will start to enjoy summer for the first time since I was a kid! I guess we will see next year when summer rolls around again for a brief few weeks!

So, with the fall, school is back in session! Kenzie is in 3rd grade this year. She started school a week before Nicholas did. So, she was by herself on the first day.

She is doing really well all around. We had an open house the week before last and her teacher had nothing but great things to say about her! He is very happy with how hard she is working and how CALM { was he talking about the same kid?? } she is. He is very happy with her readin, though he wants to get her to read a little faster. Math is not her best subject { she gets her skillz from her daddy... }, but he said he is not worried about her falling behind.

Nicholas is in 1st grade. Since it was his first day of 1st grade, I drove him to school so I could snap some pictures of course! I think he was glad that I brought him in myself. He was pretty nervous. This was a new school for the kids. Since we moved before school ended last year, I just drove them all the way up to their old school to finish out the year. They transferred to the base school for this year.

Nicholas is working really hard in school. He is still having a lot of difficulty, but his teacher is AWESOME! She has a background in special education, so she has been able to help him out a lot! And when she can't give him the one on one he needs, she is able send him down to the Special Education teacher to help him with his work. They have both been working really hard with him and he really likes them both! We are working on reading sight words still and we've been working on math! 

Madison is still home with mommy. She keeps my days interesting! I think she misses her brother and sister being home, but I am pretty sure she is enjoying quality time with the dog... and me. Though, I think she likes the dog better! lol!!! She has been very much in to dress up these days! She even dresses the dog up! Ruby has been dolled up in the latest toddler dress up fashions! Poor dog! She just wants to be lazy and sleep... ALL DAY! 

 This kid is crazy wrapped up in a little person!!!
Try letting someone with that expression do YOUR hair!!! 

I think next year we are going to look in to getting this girl in to preschool. I never put my other two in to preschool, just Pre-K. But, I think Madison will really enjoy it. We are working on a lot of stuff at home. She is counting to almost 20 and we are ALMOST there with her colors! She has them for the most part, but she likes to goof off a lot! lol!!! She knows most of the shapes ( that she should know! None of those crazy shapes yet! lol ) 

Anyway, life has been moving a long here! Fall is here and on its way out and winter is coming again We are ALL excited!!! Well, maybe not the dog! lol! She doesn't have much to keep her warm. Pretty sure I will be buying her a few sweaters and boots to get her through the cold temperatures!! We are looking forward to playing in the snow, tubing, hiking, etc!!! We had so much fun last winter in all the snow! We can't wait for it to start again!
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