Majesty in Motherhood: Week One

{Photos taken January 8th 2018}

For 2018, I've chosen the word "cultivate" to guide me in all the things I attempt throughout the year. I've set a number of goals, things that fulfill me, and not change me, necessarily, and I have a lot of projects I have started, and want to start. 

A couple of those goals are to get my blog going again, and to grow and learn as a photographer - to write, to use my camera, simply. To accomplish these two things I have created the Majesty in Motherhood project. It's not a collaborative effort, I am not inviting others to participate per se' though anyone may, if so inspired. 

I am sharing my motherhood. 

My messy, imperfect, fun, exhausting, beautiful, chaotic motherhood. 

Every week, I'm choosing a random day to sporadically shoot as we go about it. Very "day in the life" style, and I will post a sampling of pictures here and others on Instagram {also via the #majestyinmotherhood2018 hashtag}.

Disclaimer, Disclaimer: I am not a professional photographer, and this is not the place for photographic perfection. Expect out of focus shots, experimental editing, noise, a ton of exposure problems. And note that I am not staging these shots to make them pretty. There will be piles of laundry in the background, there is a space in the apartment I call Clutter Island, and without the clutter it couldn't be Clutter Island and I just can't rename it now, so our clutter will remain, my carpet will need to be vacuumed, I will be photographed dancing in my pajamas at 4pm, my children will have messy faces - Elena especially who is notorious for bathing in everything she eats, my me time will include a lot of detangling my hair, journaling and planner stuff - these are things I can pretty much guarantee.

My motherhood is not meticulous, so you'll have to leave judgment at the door. 

Why this? Because motherhood is what makes up the most of my life. And instead of trying to accomplish these goals I've set by doing something out of the ordinary, or prompted, that will leave me ultimately bored and uninspired, I can share something I do every day, our activities, our stories, how I make time for myself, good days, bad days, the messes in between. In the seemingly mundane, I find magic {except, in chores, I just find chores, which is disappointing} I really love this, being a mom, I want to share it in all of its uncensored glory. {Or lack thereof.}

So, without further ado, week one of Majesty in Motherhood. 

DSC_7500.jpg

It's Monday morning. I have, somehow, started listening to country music and can't stop. I don't know how this has happened, but I ask Google Home to put on "God, Your Mama, and Me" and the babies watch me dance as I get dressed for the day. Santino is not quite ready to be awake, and Elena is clearly intrigued by something else. 

DSC_7587.jpg

Santino loves the vacuum cleaner - not enough to want to vacuum for me, but enough to stand in front of it and make it impossible for me to go around him, so I just pick him up and hang on to him when he does. That stuff on the table? Planner stuff. I had a late night working on charms and never put it back on my desk. Oh and clearance Christmas stuff we bought from Michael's and haven't yet packed away. It was all 80% off! 

DSC_7641.jpg

Changing wet diapers - ten minutes later, she pooped.

DSC_7646.jpg
DSC_7680.jpg

Thaddeus, his backwards shirt, and our morning reading time that the babies care nothing about. 

DSC_7738.jpg

She's NOT eating cat food, she just spilled the bowl trying to help me feed Tiberius - she's eating a cookie. She has just become comfortable with Tiberius, whereas Santino has loved him his entire life. 

DSC_7773.jpg
DSC_7770.jpg

Oh, that is literally the door that separates our laundry space - it FELL over the weekend. Just right off the hinges. It is super heavy, and the safest place for it is flat on the floor, so there it is until maintenance comes.

DSC_7762.jpg

We were rescuing Duplo cats that climbed up the furniture and found themselves stuck. 

DSC_7824.jpg

Vacuuming a second time, and had to stop and take an important call. Shirt is a gift from my amazing friend and I had to wear it upon opening it. 

Get in the picture

I've been trying to challenge myself to take more pictures with the children. Not just selfies, but breaking out the tripod and catching us in our minutiae. 

And I have outrageously failed. 

With the exception of one evening earlier this month. I had been dragging around my camera and tripod to no avail, when I got this. The most technically imperfect, unfocused, disaster of a photo -- that splendidly captured our moment.

Mommy and her twins

I'm in the hallway supervising Thaddeus' bath, Antonio was the last to catch whatever mystery summer illness we all caught, and had gone to bed early, so I had to wrangle children and do bath time on my own. Elena and Santino were melting down into the carpet fibers, because they couldn't join Thaddeus in the bath, so I'm trying my damndest to distract them and grab their bottles off of the dining room table. As I walk past the camera I click the shutter button, initiating the self timer and hoped I got something decent.

When I uploaded all of the photos, this one stood out to me more than the others did. My disappointment nagged, this could have been perfect if I'd just taken a few seconds to change the focal point. But then I stopped complaining, and really took in the picture:

I'm exhausted, I'm overwhelmed and I'm outmatched here, I can see it, I can feel it. But both of my babies are leaning on me, Elena is looking at me, and I'm checking on Santino who has just hiccoughed but refused to let go of his bottle. It's still tender and loving, despite being a difficult period. 

I don't take pictures for technical perfection {have you seen my pictures?} I take them for this precisely. To remember these fleeting times, and my presence in these photos is long overdue. 

Expect to see more of it - and I challenge you to do the same. 

June Adventures

I'm still here!

June was our busiest month so far. Full of sky scraping highs, and dirt sucking lows. 

We spent our anniversary night reliving old joys. On our way to this arcade we found a retro game store and bought my favorite Nintendo game, and after the arcade we had dinner at the same restaurant we had our very first date in. 

We found a small farm slash park and the babies fell in love with swings, while Severus communicated with a cow. 

My mom got to know these grandchildren a little better. 

We played at the on site park. A lot.

We wore babies at a Retro Gaming Expo, where most of us left with fidget spinners - thus sealing my fate as the coolest elementary school mom on the block. And Severus found an indie game that he loved more than all of us combined.

The babies had a Pineapple themed birthday party at home, and dressed like American flags because their parents procrastinated and didn't get them anything cute in time, and then Target. Failed. Me. {And yes they did wear the same outfits on July 4th.}

Severus said "Goodbye!" to the first grade. And hells yes I greeted him with a bouquet of balloons because he left a school and friends behind and never stopped excelling. 

We went on our first legitimate family hike! 

I discovered hair ties made specifically for thick hair, and I feel like my life has been blessed by the gods. In May I became a LipSense distributor {something that still shocks me}, and have greatly enjoyed it as of late! I actually have learned that supporting my friends in their own SeneGence endeavors has been incredible. They know they won't get bullshit answers from me, and I get so excited to watch their ventures grow. At first {and still a lot now} I fought with the unnecessary gendering and ableism, but I'm trying to surround myself with people who are willing to mind their language without acting like it's a problem. On a whim, I opened a Society6 storefront, which has been just as anxiety inducing as everything else I do regarding selling my photography specifically. 

The kids are wonderful. Samara changed her mind about coming this way, it was dramatic to say the least, but had been enjoying her summer at our last talk. Caesar and Mercutio vacationed in Virginia, and met two of their cousins. Severus and Thaddeus are living their best life right now. Days full of slime making, eating blueberries by the handful, staying up late to watch movies camped out in the living room, Sev and I started on Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone again, but this time we're actually getting through it. They have had their troublesome days, but that's to be expected. Elena and Santino are magnificent - they're learning so much, interacting with one another more frequently, and developing those big personalities. I still can't believe they're one - like literally, I have actually sat here and made sure my math was right, because I feel like I'm missing some time. Maybe it was postpartum depression, but I feel like I missed something. There's no way this year moved so quickly. But that's for another post. They are wearing One beautifully, even if I am still six months behind.

Plenty of dance parties, some hiding in the bathroom, and a little bit of Starbucks fuel got me through a difficult, busy, exploratory month. July didn't start out any differently, but I'm going to get blogging back in my sights. I have some reviews on deck, and I am looking forward to sharing more about our great adventures.

Sneaking a peak:

An unsolicited review of this gorgeous Scriver Creek traveler's notebook! I took one look at these and they made my heart flutter so hard I decided to change my whole. entire. planning. system. so I could own one. Yeah.

Year Three

In the morning when I wake/and the sun is coming through/oh you fill my lungs with sweetness/and you fill my head with you/shall I write it in a letter/shall I try to get it down/oh you fill my head with pieces/of a song I can't get out/can I be close to you... -The Paper Kites "Bloom"

{Year One}
{Year Two}

I feel like every year, I look back at what we've been through, what we've accomplished, what challenges we've faced and say "Damn, what a year." Every year has been an outrageous one, the past one was no exception. 

We welcomed a screamy, sassy daughter and a gentle, giggly son into the world and faced our biggest challenge in leaving them in the hands of strangers for nearly three weeks. We spent every single day together for months. We moved across the country - we survived a cross country move together - and we did it in record timing. We argued, we loved, we cried, we laughed, we worried, we fought for this, for us, for our family, harder than any other year so far. I laugh a little, when I think about our first months, when I thought loving me through my flared jeans phase was a significant test.  

Damn, what a year. 

Antonio, I always wake up every day in love with the life we created - even when you wake me up singing Stone Temple Pilots in the bathroom at 6am when I can sleep until 6:30, when I need a break because the life we created is too overwhelming for me sometimes, through the nights we're not tangled up in one another, and through the days we are sometimes so busy we are only allowed to embrace for mere moments before having to go to work, to stop a baby from putting their hands in the toilet, or to run some errand.

Our life is still the only one I want. 

I love you more than I have words to express, thank you for matching my determination, for the times I don't have to tell you that I need to sit in the tub for a couple of hours, or take a nap, thank you for reaching across the couch and holding my hand, thank you for all the little things you think go unnoticed, that make up our enormous world. 

Happy Anniversary, Bunny.