I stumbled across a fantastic read on Pinterest one day on a blog called Baby Making Machine. It detailed a project called “30 Things My Kids Should Know About Me,” and it challenged me to put to paper my thoughts, dreams, goals and the rest of those things that I’d want my kids to know but in the crazy of life might overlook telling them or never have the opportunity to share. I wanted to write it all down and have it there for them when they’re grown. A chronicle of all things Mommy.
I originally started this project on my photography blog, because at the time, that was my voice and place to put my thoughts. You can read my last post HERE and catch up on the rest of the past posts for this project HERE. A great group of my portrait and wedding clients enjoyed hearing the personal side of my life immensely, but this is a much better home for this series, so I’ll be encouraging them to head over here to keep up with the personal side of their favorite photog. (wink, wink)
Here we go with #8 – 5 Passions
1. Music – I don’t even have the appropriate words (I’m not even sure they exist) to properly explain how my approach to and view of life are deeply rooted within music. Every memory, every moment, every creation or experience somehow ties to this endless stream of music running through my head and my heart. It’s something that only another lover of music can understand and I pray one or both of you discover that same passion. I remember the exact part of the song that was playing on my iPod when you both were delivered. The exact break in the music when I heard Ben cry. (Jake, you were so quiet and didn’t cry at all! Scared me half to death!)
2. Jesus – There is a reason why all of my tattoos are rooted in Scripture. My faith is a very personal journey that has carried me through many dark days and elevated my spirit through blessings I never ever imagined (the greatest of all being my children). I’m very passionate that every person should know the great love God has for them. Just as they are. It’s a passion rooted in experience and truth and ultimately love. As it should be.
3. Justice – Being fair is very important to me. My Dad used to always say “Even though I might not like what you have to say, I always know you are just.” Life isn’t always fair, and justice makes room for grace more often than not (as it should). I do my best to be fair and I support those seeking justice. This is the hardest one for me to explain, but it’s definitely part of my core being and perspective.
4. Family – I don’t think there’s another person in this solar system who is as passionate about my family as I am about you. Every single moment of my day is a step closer towards providing you with the life I hope for you to enjoy. All the late night hours, the extra meetings, the crazy Mama Bear protection. I am my family. There is no part of my life that holds a candle to the drive I feel to make sure you have every opportunity this world can offer. And there’s no length I wouldn’t go to keep you safe and make sure you feel loved every moment of every day.
5. Women – Affirming women in their unique beauty is something very intimate and important to me. I’ve been blessed through my art to have the opportunity to encourage women to discover and embrace their beauty, and even though it’s something I often struggle with myself, I am humbled by the calling to bless others in this way. Women should always feel beautiful, in every aspect of their lives and selves, and I hope to raise you to be men that value the women in your lives and aren’t afraid to show them.
30 Things My Kids Should Know About Me: 10 Influential People
If you missed my first post on 30 Things My Kids Should Know About Me, you can catch up HERE.
I’m on #9, which challenges me to list 10 influential people in my life along with the whys and hows of their impact on my journey. Here we go…
1. Jesus. My faith reminds me that it’s vital to forgive, that love is the foundation of all that’s good and blessed, and that fear has no place in my heart. If anyone has influenced my to claim these ideals and to live my life as best I can in perfect love, it is Jesus. God’s love for me teaches me to love. Wholeheartedly and unconditionally.
2. My Grandmother, Yvonne Pynn. It’s been many years since I last saw her face and the pain is still fresh and very real. When I think of her, I think of my first true example of the dignified beauty of a woman. Her grace, confidence, spunk and class set an example that I can only hope to achieve in my own life.
3. My Grandfather, Robert Pynn. He too watches from heaven and is sorely missed. He taught me what it is to have pride and respect for your country, your elders and those in leadership. He was a man of strength, honor and character. He loved my grandmother desperately and taught me the value of the human spirit.
4. My Senior High School English Teacher, Tanya Hubbard. She battled breast cancer right before my eyes, and she did so with an energy, honesty and passion that I consider truly remarkable. She taught me it was ok to have moments of weakness, but to never give up.
5. Jane Austen. I discovered her in high school and she served as my first example that women can accomplish great things, any thing, that they set their mind to. She grounded my heart in literature and captivated me with heroines that challenged and inspired me to reach higher and to not be afraid of my intellect and wit.
6. My Best Friend, Rebecca Scheeley. I have never known a more loyal and sincere friend. She puts me to shame. She is the very bestest of friends and challenges me to be a better person. She comforts and supports, encourages and corrects. She is steadfast and abrasively opinionated. She is gentle and loud. She is the polar opposite of me in practically every way, and has been a remarkable example in my life of how a relationship can be grounded in honesty, trust, acceptance and love, even when you don’t have a single solitary thing in common (except good music).
7. My College Mentor, J Anthony Lloyd. He taught me to laugh through stress, but most importantly, he taught me to lead. He pushed me to consider every dream and showed me how to lead with a gentleness that achieves great heights with love, purpose and hard work. He refused to let me give up and challenged me daily to seize every moment and push it to its fullest.
8. Nick. I had the opportunity to mentor Nick through a local program serving at-risk youth. As his photography teacher, I was reminded that art is the universal language that can break down barriers and heal the heart. He challenged me to seek to serve others and to always encourage those around me to explore the freedom that is found in creatively expressing yourself. He brought back my passion.
9. Hannah Hurnard. Her book, Hind’s Feet on High Places, brought me out of a very dark period in my life. It softened my pain, gave worth to the obstacles I was facing and ultimately, gave me the hope I needed to embrace myself in all my unique facets and continue on in the journey God had placed before me. As I look back now, at this very specific point in my life and see the richest of blessings and the miracle that is my family, this book means even more as I see the true evidence of God’s faithfulness to my heart and the joy that comes in the obedience to His perfect timing. This book is a must read.
10. Unnamed couple that danced at a wedding I shot several years ago. They were dancing to White Wedding by Billy Idol. It was an unusually funky wedding (LOVE!!) and they were a most unlikely of couples, and even more unlikely to hit the dance floor if I were to have guessed. But they did and they were and I will never forget that moment. They swayed and twirled and there was this incredible gravitational pull between them. They danced apart but moved as one, if that makes any sense. I remember just staring and marveling at the force between them and how effortlessly they anticipated where the other would be as they moved through the music. It was simple and lovely. It was everything good about art. And music. Love. And life.
30 Things My Kids Should Know About Me: A Day in the Life
I haven’t posted a challenge from 30 Things My Kids Should Know About Me in awhile, and this one happens to coincide with a question I get asked almost on a daily basis. What in the world does a typical day look like for you? As a full time working (IssueTrak), small business owning (The Studio Hampton Roads and Modern Femme), mother to twin toddlers and a teenager (and 1 husband, 2 dogs, a snail and 6, wait 5 oops, fish)…I can tell you one thing, it’s barely organized chaos most days and I’m almost always one tip toe from insanity. But before I get to the real deal of our daily routine, let me catch you up on the last handful of 30 Things challenges I completed in case you’d like to get to know me better:
Alright, are you ready? Brace yourselves!
- 4:30AM (Yes, that’s a 4): Husband’s alarm goes off. He inevitably sleeps through the first 30 seconds, then spends another 60-90 seconds figuring out how to turn it off. He immediately goes back to sleep. I am now awake.
- 4:50AM: My alarm goes off. It doesn’t wake him up, not even a stir, but for reasons unknown, I still scramble to turn it off as quickly as possible so I don’t disturb him. I get back in bed just because it’s still dark out and I’m depressed over the fact that it’s not even 5:00AM.
- 5:15AM: At this point, one of two things has happened. Either he’s hit snooze a million times, or he somehow turned it off completely and I have to wake him so he’s not late for work. My snooze has also gone off twice at this point, but that didn’t wake him either. I have now completed 2-3 leaps from bed to alarm clock, and I consider this the extent of my workout for the day. Until I have to carry around J, who is the bigger twin, at a whopping 40lbs., and demands I constantly work my arm muscles for his sight-seeing benefit. Usually right when I’m carrying two backpacks, another bag full of extra clothes since we are potty training, my purse, and my lunch (if I had the luxury of being able to pack it). Needless to say, my arms are jacked. My butt…is not. (Did you know that my butt died?)
- 5:25AM: Now that the husband has rushed to get ready and has vacated the premises, the bathroom is mine. Sweet Jesus. I turn on the shower and let it heat up.
- 5:27AM: B has to pee. And he wants to watch a show. And he “needs food and milk to stop his cough.” NOW. And he must immediately put on underwear. That he takes 5 minutes to pick out. He has also woken my dog, who now wants to go downstairs with the other dog to be fed and let out. I turn the shower off and give up on cleanliness for the day. J hears the dog running around and he’s up too. He’s peed the bed through his night time diaper, so time for total strip down and he gets washed. Throw yucky stuff in the washing machine. (Note: Child and clothes have now been cleansed. I. Have not.)
- 5:45AM: Dogs are now fed. Kids are now snacking in their recliners while I attempt to get ready for work. I’ll spare you the gory details of that process.
- 6:30AM: Children have now eaten 3 bowls of Cheerios, 1 breakfast bar, an apple and a cup of milk. Each. And maybe some toast. In between refilling their cereal bowls every 3 minutes, I have managed to put on makeup and clothes. Forget the hair. When it doubt, put another bobby pin in it.
- 7:00AM: The dressing war. Battle both children to get dressed. Wind sprints, hide and seek, whining, pinching…general discontent and gnashing of teeth. Somehow I get them dressed. And then they decide to trade clothes.
- 7:15AM: The shoes war. See above description.
- 7:30AM: Dogs to kennels (Yes, this is a THING. J must close the top latch, B must close the bottom latch. Both must give 1 treat to each dog.). Attempt to get out the door.
- 7:45AM: B decides he wants sneakers instead of flip flops because his feet got wet with morning dew. Unlock door, swap shoes. Continue efforts to get them to stop picking leaves off the bushes and to get in the car. B must get to his seat from J’s side. He apparently hates his door. And of course, J hates B going in on his side.
- 7:50AM: Finally head to day care. Listen to J to determine which songs we can listen to and which have been rejected. Listen to B clamor to have the sunroof opened because he must see the beautiful clouds. Even if it’s raining.
- 8:15AM: Leave day care and head to work after a million hugs and kisses. I love this part of the day.
- 8:30AM – 12:00PM: Work my butt off in glorious non-kid silence. In between sales tasks, answer inquiries for the Studio, process invoices and make a million to do lists. Every minute counts.
- 12:00PM – 1:00PM: POWER HOUR. One of three things happen here – Blog like the dickens, run a crazy amount of errands without having to leave my prime parking spot and instead sprinting all over the downtown area where I work on foot, or by some miracle, I get my butt to the gym (my dead butt). On especially busy days, realtor and lawyer meetings for the Studio and maybe a counseling appointment for my sanity and to renew my prescription to my crazy pills. The one thing that usually doesn’t happen here. LUNCH.
- 1:00PM – 5:00PM: Work my butt off part deux while snacking on company popcorn. Enjoy the remainder of the childless portion of my day.
- 5:30PM: Pick up the kids. Shouts of “Mommy!” fill the air. This is my most favorite part of the day. I feel blissfully loved and I realize how much I missed them.
- 6:00PM: Battle the dinner hour with tired, cranky kids. Try to avoid being a short order cook by offering new foods consistently. New foods consistently refused. If I’ve got my A-game on, I realize if I just sit down and play a game with them, they’ll be happy as clams. If I’m just as grumpy, the warfare continues and everybody’s angry.
- 7:00PM: Begin the transition upstairs. If it’s bath night, pray that Emily will dig in to help because for reasons unknown they behave a million times better in the bath tub if she’s in charge. If I’m flying solo, prepare for constant whining and “Don’t get my hair wet! There’s water in my eyes!” Yup. I have the only two kids who hate bath time.
- 7:30PM: After potty break #1, wrestle them into their night time diapers. After potty break #2, determine if they want “bellies in or out” otherwise known as “Are you going to wear pajamas tonight?”
- 7:45PM: Tuck them in. Repeat the phrase “I love you, I miss you, See you in the morning, Good night, See you later, See you later, See you later” at least 10 times before closing the door. Exactly in that order.
- 7:47PM: Potty Break #3.
- 8:00PM: Tuck them in again. Repeat night time phrase five more times. Hand each child a toy car.
- 8:05PM: Watch them on the video monitor and tell them to get back in their beds.
- 8:10PM: Go upstairs to break up WWIII because someone wants to trade cars and repeat night time phrase again three more times.
- 8:15PM: They finally pass out.
- 8:20PM: Clean the kitchen and dining room from the chaos of dinner. Put away toys. Swap laundry. Drink some sort of alcoholic beverage.
- 8:30PM: Sit down at the computer to begin the grind. Rework blog website, write additional blogs, schedule posts and social media. Respond to Studio inquiries as needed, balance finances. Skype with Somer to strategize marketing and to do lists. Skype with blogger friends. Edit any photos for outstanding clients.
- 10:00PM: Check on the boys. All is well.
- 10:01PM: Back to work.
- 11:00PM: Pass out in bed, trying to close out the night with devotionals and prayer, but struggling to keep my eyes open.
30 Things My Kids Should Know About Me: Most Embarrassing Moment
It’s time for another installment of 30 Things My Kids Should Know About Me!
Most embarrassing moment. Well, jeez. I’m practically perfect in just about every way, so obviously I’ve never been embarrassed for even a nanosecond in my awesome life (translation: it is impossible to choose just one).
Let’s see…there was that one time that I went to see the physical therapist about back pain and got told my butt was dead. Oh yeah, and to put on some super attractive, giant paper shorts so we could do super intimate, really tight in, crazy up close stretches with my legs that hadn’t been shaved for weeks. That was fun. And extremely recent.
Or how about 3rd grade when I was Snoopy in the school play and promptly forgot my lines, stomped off the stage, thought I had it figured out, stomped back ON the stage, only to realize I was still totally and completely lost and just for added flare and drama, promptly stomped back off the stage one more time, never to return.
I could tell you about the hours of old school video footage (seriously thankful that you only have DVD players right now) of our huge family musical variety shows that we used to sell out, but I think I’ll keep the location of those cassettes (do you even know what that word means?!) to myself. They may or may not include red velvet unitards, a bedazzled cowboy hat and Hammer pants. And one extremely tight perm.
I have a friend who literally walked into the wrong person’s house one day. Like…walked in, went through the house and didn’t realize her error until she came upon the family, completely unknown to her, in another room. So at least I didn’t do that.
Morale of the story. Laugh. At yourself whenever you can. And at others. As long as they are laughing with you. Except for my friend from college who tripped into a plate of ketchup and chicken wings in front of the basketball team our freshman year. I was laughing then. She was not. In fact, I just giggled remembering that moment. You can laugh at those too. She’s probably finally laughing now. After decades of therapy. 😉