A grateful mother

We fought, pleaded, prayed, hoped, wished, cried for children. Mothers Day is a day of mixed emotions in my heart of hearts. It's a day that I'm easily brought to tears. Tears of gratitude, tears of pain, tears of loss, tears of joy. I never truly understood the sanctity and miracle of life until I saw with my own eyes a tiny white blob on the screen, heart beating, limbs wiggling. It grew even more amazing with each ultrasound the following weeks. We were blessed (& shocked) that our first round of fertility treatments worked!

At what would have been my 12 week mark, that ultrasound screen was met with tears, anger, confusion, and true heart ache. I'd never experienced true heart ache until that moment. Literal pain in my core, my heart. Our first child's heart beat no more.

We named him Gabriel.

I told Bonnie about Gabriel today. That I longed to hold and hug him when I go to Heaven. She said that she thinks he probably looks like Abram. She may be right.

We don't know what the future holds for our family and if we'll be blessed with more children. While we certainly hope so, I'm challenged to be grateful beyond measure for the children bestowed upon me. They are certainly spirited, energetic, and curious, but the Lord chose ME. He chose ME to be their Mother.

I'm teaching Bonnie about Mary (Christ's mother) this week. Today, she asked why God chose Mary to have Jesus. My answer was simple: She faithfully followed and obeyed God. I pray this as their Mother. I pray that above all, I would follow and obey the Lord with faithfulness. I pray that my children would see me devoting myself to following His commands and leaning on Him.

This year has been particularly difficult. Absolutely mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausting. We are just beginning to rise from the fog that the past year brought, but I remain in awe for how the Lord has protected and provided for our family through and through. We have much to be thankful for.

I am a daughter of the King and I am a Mother. A grateful Mother.

{Images below from our Monterrey & Carmel by the Sea vacation in March, 2017}

Shoot every day

I'm taking a few moments to break from processing, editing, and organizing images from an amazing community Easter Event this past weekend at Busy Bodies Playhouse. If you're a local (Vacaville/ Fairfield area) and have littles, go check it out!

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When others ask me how they can get better at photography, I usually begin some sort of word vomit and make statements in every different direction. Because there is SO MUCH to learn and SO MANY different avenues to take. Not to mention, a bazillion different styles.

But, I regain composure and I finally end on my biggest and most important piece of advice: Just shoot! Shoot every day! Shoot every single week. Shoot and learn. Learn by trial and error. Leave your camera OUT. It's perhaps a miracle that my camera has yet to endure any significant damage seeing as it literally has no home. It hops from counter to couch to end table to coffee table... to dresser to stroller and so on.  Out of sight, out of mind, right? Well, keep that camera in sight! And use it! Out of 100 images, 10 might be keepers. This is normal and all part of the art (& wonder of being able to shoot digital).

When we drove into the garage and I saw that little Abram had fallen asleep in his car seat, I ran in to grab my camera, this little bed prop, and a quilt. I've had my eye on the front bed of weeds for a few days and have held off on pulling them... Granted I knew my luck at keeping him asleep was slim... but I went ahead and plopped him down to see what we could get.

That smile and those eyes are everything. My soon to be one year old... how I'll look back at your precious face and treasure each and every image.

Now, go. Get that camera out and shoot. Enjoy it. Use your cell phone for practice with composition and angles. Use the amazing tools we have today to learn more when you have time. Hello, google and you-tube! Most of all- if you want to truly get good at something, it takes time, effort, and yes... some money too. But, mostly time! Take a work shop. It's an invaluable and perhaps essential investment if you really want to learn.

My photography journey began over ten years ago but I've just finally been able to invest my time and efforts into the art over the past year and a half or so. To those just starting out- keep at it and keep practicing! I learn something new every day. Literally, every single day.

Abram Roy // ten months

Our baby boy is quickly approaching his 1st birthday and I can hardly believe how fast the time has gone. With each month, we learn more and more about this precious boy. Here are a few memorable things about ten month old Abram...

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He's determined as ever! If something is on his mind, he'll go, go, go until he gets it. He doesn't forget about it either! It is difficult to distract/redirect/trick this little fellow. Though this character trait sometimes makes for hard days, I'm thankful that this is one of the first words that comes to mind when I think of our boy. I pray his determination continues with him in age. I hope he uses his strong mind to accomplish whatever he sets out to do.

He smiles and smiles and smiles some more (except for pictures of course). His gummy little smile and "Hiya!" lights up the room. Though we have another strong willed one on our hands, he seems to have a tender, sweet, gentle, cuddly nature to him. This is exactly what we hoped and literally prayed for him to be- gentle spirited.

Under the setting Texas sun- March 2017.

Under the setting Texas sun- March 2017.

Though he's lean (zero fat rolls for his baby boy), he's strong and fast, fast, fast! Reaching his hands into the toilet water and unrolling the toilet paper are 2 of his favorite activities. Smart boy plans it just right to escape to the bathroom in my moment of distraction with big sis! He's got it all figured out... And this mama is starting to finally get in better habit of closing the bathroom door every time.

Other favorite activities include wrestling, dancing (he instantly puts his arms up in the air when he hears music), playing patty-cake, riding on daddy's back, and chasing Bonnie around the living room.

He strongly dislikes getting put in his car-seat or stroller (once in and moving, he's instantly fine....) and diaper/clothes changes.

Abram remains exclusively breastfed as well as a distracted eater. He eats for business and nothing more (one reason why he's on the more petite side). He's been this way from the beginning... an early hint at his strong willed, determined nature. Abram enjoys table food more and more with each day- specifically peas, meats, avocados, and blueberries.

We love you so much, buddy. We love seeing your friendship with Bonnie blossom. She adores you and tells you that she misses you whenever apart. She's getting better at sharing toys and being gentle. I can't wait for you to be able to chase her on foot and give her a taste of her own medicine! :)

Happy ten months precious boy.