Majesty in Motherhood: Week Five

*pictures taken Wednesday, February 7th 2018*

It has been a god damn week.

It's February, which means three significant things for me: it's my bad luck month, because most of the bad things that have ever happened, have happened in a February. And because it's my bad luck month my anxiety is heightened to a level of astronomical proportions, which in turn triggers a depression that had already seasonally set in, and is bad on its own in this frigid, sunless, god awful month. To top all of that off, Antonio is also fighting a bout of bad mental health, and we all got sick with a cold. 

It has been a god damn week.

But I still managed to take some photos for my project here, I didn't want that to fall entirely to the wayside. 


On this day especially, I am tired - the babies woke up at 3am, and I had to restock my Etsy shop then, because of course, I couldn't possibly get it done any time before the last minute, and Severus was heading back to school after being out to recuperate from his cold and I want nothing more than to keep him home and stay cuddled on the couch and watch game and film theories like we had the last two days, but it's time to move on, and so I move on, but I am tired.


So I decide early on, that we aren't doing anything beyond what needs to be done.

Oh, and we're out of coffee creamer, so we are going to Starbucks.


The grocery store is before the Starbucks, but we are bypassing the hell out of it, and pretending not having coffee creamer is a good enough excuse to go to Starbucks anyway.

So we packed our notebooks and Mommy's special pens, a couple of diapers, all of the wipes and headed out after Severus left for school.


We spent an hour playing tic-tac-toe and talking to strangers who thanked me for smiling at my children? This happens every time we leave the house {along with "You've got your hands full!" and "Are they twins?"} but it still confuses me. Are people not smiling at their children? 

We loved it.


But we were happy to be home, sitting in a bit of sunshine. We recharged, I vacuumed, then the kids dumped the basket of toys out again while I loaded the dishwasher. We threw toys everywhere, because apparently that's a fun thing, and jumped on the couches together. 


Which led to ridiculous, spontaneous toddler naps. 


Severus comes home after his short day, grumpy because he hates math. So we both sit together at the table and complain about how awful it is for a while, I make him laugh when I tell him about the time I drew animals instead of writing answers on a math test in high school. He's getting extra math help in school already, and we make a date to play some of the math games his teacher has sent home, and I give him an extra 15 minutes for math games on the computer later.

I am grateful today especially that his school doesn't assign homework, because it would have been a battle that I would not have picked. 


They are also working on narrative writing in class, and Severus was disappointed to find that his story only had one comment, where his classmates each "got loads". And though my heart aches, I ask him "Did you write this book to receive comments, or to express something?" his reasoning was the latter, so I tell him that I'm proud of him for expressing his thought, and for having the courage to share his work with the class. I told him that sometimes people aren't going to like what he does, and that yes, it's disappointing, but if he's proud of it, that's the most important thing.

"Are you proud of this book, Severus?"

"Yes, I am, because writing a book is hard work and I did it anyway, and I like my story a lot."

"Then that's all that matters. Comments from others are nice, but not necessary." 

Easier said.

Majesty in Motherhood: Week Four

{Pictures taken Monday, January 29th 2018}

I've been telling my household that I wanted to wake up at 5am for the past two weeks. 5am to journal, to make charms, to update the shop if it needed to be updated, have my coffee in peace {I do this every day, but I felt like I needed another reason}. 

But as it seems to happen, instead of speaking it into existence, only obstacles came. Someone didn't sleep well, we went to bed too late, woke up before the 5am alarm rang {when I even set the damn thing - because that was an issue too}, so I finally just shut up, and naturally, opportunity came. 

When my alarm went off yesterday I felt good. Ready to get up and accomplish something.

Yes - that's a chair on top of the table. Santino climbs them and there's no more room underneath to store it. No one can reach the chair but the adults, so we're not worried about it being pulled or pushed off. 

Yes - that's a chair on top of the table. Santino climbs them and there's no more room underneath to store it. No one can reach the chair but the adults, so we're not worried about it being pulled or pushed off. 

Morning journal complete, I moved on to charms and crafted three of them before the rest of the house woke, and I had to put everything away. It felt productive, so I created an ambitious to do list, knowing Severus would be home, and rain was our all day forecast. 


I could tell the moment Elena woke up that it would be a difficult day for her, I had no idea just how difficult it would be, but I scratched a couple of things off the to do list to give me additional time to devote just to her needs. 

Santino woke shortly after she did, and was in a much better mood. Was. 

I crossed another couple of activities off the list.


I get everyone fed, by some miracle, and it is the last time anything goes according to plan. 

Thaddeus doesn't want to paint, he wants to play with Lego, but he doesn't want to play alone, so even though Severus wants to paint {and we get out all the paint stuff} he opts to play Lego with his brother instead. 

The paint stuff goes back in the art drawers, and another thing is crossed off the to do list without having been completed. While they play the babies take turns crying and demanding to go "Up! Up! UUUP!" I cannot carry both of them at the same time, as that upsets them both tremendously, so up and down they go until I distract them with god only remembers what. 


The Lego bucket is in my room, and after about 45 minutes, they both come out asking to wear makeup. I initially deny their request.

Severus doesn't want to try his magic kit, "It's too complicated, Mom." he laments so I suggest he creates a science experiment with Thaddeus instead. That appeals to him, but he needs help, and when I try to help him the babies cry, and while juggling them I place the instruction booklet down somewhere we still haven't found {later that evening I discovered the kit's instruction manual online, which is good to know in case we never find the hard copy}. We are unable to finish making our jiggly crystals, and so to quell their disappointment - I give them my two contour palettes and makeup brushes. 


Almost all of my brushes are now a deep purple, and I clean them while the kids eat lunch. 


After lunch, the big kids and I get through an I Spy book until one of the babies snatches it, and flustered, Severus asks if they can "just watch TV". I acquiesce.

I sit on the floor with the babies, who drift off to sleep. Elena drops her bottle and reaches out for it, flipping it in the process and sleep suckles the bottom of the bottle. I make the mistake of getting up to retrieve my camera, and Santino, who was so, so close to sleep, is up again with his second wind. 


Santino's second wind is fussier than the first because it's in denial about being tired. I don't often wrap him, or wear either of them much at all, truly, but I remember I can do that and grab my Wild Mockingbird from the closet. 

I clean up the toys from the living room floor, while I listen to the laughter of my older children who are *finally* entertained and feel a pang of guilt - but with one fuss nugget asleep, and the other content on my back, it might be the only time I get any chores completed. 

I know I said "chores" but I was also having a text conversation with my friend, so that too.

I know I said "chores" but I was also having a text conversation with my friend, so that too.


Two fuss nuggets asleep. 


I make myself a quick lunch, unload, reload and start the dishwasher, feed the cat for a second time and sweep the kitchen. A mantraband is swept from under the dishwasher. "Do it Anyway" it says, "I'm fucking trying." I mutter under my breath as I take a picture of my late afternoon inspiration. 

The battery icon on my camera blinks wildly for less than a second, and the camera shuts off. 

I'd love to say that Severus and Thaddeus and I salvaged the remainder of the afternoon. That we arted and scienced and wrote two novels, and you just so happened to miss it because my camera battery was charging. But we didn't. 

Instead, I'm hit suddenly with violent cramps, and spent 45 minutes alternating between rocking on the floor and pacing the hallway until the Aleve kicked in. It's day three of my second period of this month, and it has been abnormal from the start so I'm half unsurprised to have cramps when I'm not "scheduled" to have them, but am totally unsurprised when the typical Day 3 brutal exhaustion swoops in to wipe the little energy I had right out. 

Severus asks if they can play the Nintendo Switch. I don't hesitate to oblige.

make red velvet cupcakes

I join in on a few Mario Kart races, but no one wants to continue playing with me because I always win, so I tidy the little things I had left to tidy up. The babies wake up within minutes of one another, in much brighter spirits than they went to sleep in. 


They wake up crying, the eat a snack crying, they take bottles crying, they cry and cry and cry and cry and I pick them up and hold them and hold them and hold them as they fuss and fight and try to push one another out of my arms. 

I don't prefer to use them, but I remember babywearing is a tool I have at my disposal, pull both Tulas from the coat closet and I wear them both. It has been many months since I last tandem wore, I am sweltering and my shoulders are aching within moments, and then the phone rings at 4something when Antonio calls to let me know he's on his way home. 

I decide not to squander my free hands and make the bed. At 4pm.


Both babies are still attached to me when Antonio walks into the house.

They were fine by then, but both cry to be let down, because I'm not releasing them fast enough, and run to him as if I'm the cause of all their emotional distresses. Maybe I am. He takes them in the room with him to change, Thaddeus and Severus had already shut down the Switch and were gathering their bath stuff, and I go to start dinner {which is usually done by then, but I wasn't risking cooking while the babies were being worn, so we had to wait}.

We all sit in the living room and exchange stories about our days. The big kids don't mention the unfinished science experiment, but do excitedly say "Mom let us watch TV!" the frickin' highlight of their day. Great. 

I serve my family dinner on paper plates, because I'm not interested in ever loading the dishwasher again. I forget that the arrabbiata sauce is too spicy for the babies, and didn't reserve any unsauced ravioli, they have oatmeal and fruit for dinner, and I cry in the kitchen because I'm an asshole.

Thaddeus hates it and makes a sandwich, Severus has four plates, when I finally sit down to eat Antonio asks me for something because I'm "closer to the kitchen" and I want to kill him. When I sit down again I say "I'm eating now, if you need something from me - don't." 

I decide I'm not done taking pictures, even though Antonio is here to help.


I've been trying to get Severus to bathe on his own, he'll be eight in October, and still requires constant companionship. But I'm pulling from my nearly empty reserves so he wins this fight before it even begins, and I tell both big kids to hop into the tub.

I ask them not to make a mess on the floor, I can hear them giggling throughout the apartment and I make a mental note to take my socks off when I go in to check on them so as not to get them wet. I forget the mental note immediately and step in the puddle of bathwater on the floor in my socks anyway.


Antonio pulls out his work laptop, and I groan but I know he has something big to prepare for so I take everyone into our room for bedtime wind down. 

Which went a lot like this:

Santino pulled my hair and this "Ouuuuuch" face of mine makes the kids laugh even though it looks kind of ferocious.

Santino pulled my hair and this "Ouuuuuch" face of mine makes the kids laugh even though it looks kind of ferocious.


Within the hour, they were all asleep with little to do from me. I sat in the living room editing pictures and starting this entry while Antonio put the three smallest ones to bed. 

All through the day I'd cursed the sky for raining, cursed my body for doing what it's supposed to do, cursed the television for existing and being more dependable than I was, cursed the school for giving Severus a day off that we couldn't make the most of, cursed my exhaustion, cursed "Do it Anyway", cursed the to do list, cursed how excited the kids were when Antonio came in the door, rescuing them from the misery that was me, cursed the pangs of guilt because I was doing everything I felt I could, and to feel guilty on top of failing was just damned unfair

I briefly considered scrapping this day, and shooting another when the sun came out, when there was more to do, when I wasn't so exhausted. But you know what? Some days I have time to clean out my makeup basket before delicately smearing highlighter all over my face, some days I can move from one thing to another flawlessly, some days I am present and attentive and on top of shit, some days are dry and we can go to the park or to Starbucks. And some days a baby wipes their nose on my shirt and I don't change it until hours later, some days I barely get my hair up and out of my face so I am definitely not taking the time to apply highlighter anywhere, some days I'm bloated, and emotional, more tired than usual, and require patience that I sometimes can't reciprocate, some days I make the bed at 4pm.  

The rough days aren't few, sometimes they aren't far between either, but they also aren't every day.

And, though some days it doesn't feel that way, that's a very lucky thing. 

Majesty in Motherhood: Week Three

We had plans on Thursday.

The rain had let up, and the energy emanating from my two outside kids began bursting through the cracks and crevices of the apartment. We had to go outside.


So, despite waking up at 4am with twins who were disinterested in my pleas for more rest, Thaddeus' wake up 45 minutes later, and everyone's official awakening at 6am, we made plans to do just that.


"What do you want to do today?" I ask Thaddeus as soon as his brother has left for school, and he looks at me all curious kitten like, and he says "I just don't know yet, Mom." so I suggest we get dressed and ready for adventure, and then make some decisions. He agrees with this, asks to watch Special Agent Oso on Netflix, I oblige and begin to get us all ready for the day.


 He comes in to jump on my freshly made bed with his tiny brother and sister, and we make a solid plan for the playground.

But when I call him in to get dressed, he just puts his shirt on. And that's it. I ask him repeatedly to put his pants on, but he is obstinate. Without thinking, I tell him "You have to put pants on before we can go outside." and so he grabs a pair of pajama pants and puts those on. 


"Mom, I don't feel like going to the park today. I want to stay inside in my pajamas and eat a lollipop." he tells me as he's pulling his pajama pants on. "Well maybe I want to jump on your bed a little more..." 

As they are jumping, I'm noticing that the babies are rubbing their eyes, their laughter is delirious and their exhaustion is palpable. Had we left when we'd planned, it would have been perfectly timed, and, thinking of a quiet Starbucks date with Thaddeus, say to myself: "I can get these guys in snowsuits and out the door before they fall asleep..." but wave the challenge away, because I am not willing to take on Thad's Fight Against Real Pants. 


I give the babies their bottles, and finish getting myself together. One of my highlighters has come out of its package, and exploded all over the basket, so I take a couple of minutes to clean the mess, and the babies drift off to sleep. 


I take a picture of them, upload it to Instagram, and put on some highlighter, eyeliner and lipstick since I had the time and had them all out anyway.

I honestly don't know if I usually make my highlighter streaks that long, but I do know that I was overzealous because it's Gilded which, yes, is an eyeshadow, but I it's one of my top faaaaavorites.

I honestly don't know if I usually make my highlighter streaks that long, but I do know that I was overzealous because it's Gilded which, yes, is an eyeshadow, but I it's one of my top faaaaavorites.


Babies asleep, I bolster their surrounding area with pillows and stuffed animals, and rejoin Thaddeus in the living room. We tidy it up together quickly and talk about what we want to do now that we're home for the day. He wants a movie day, with popcorn and a blanket fort, but given my exhaustion that's an even bigger challenge than getting him into his jeans, so I ask him if we can still have popcorn, but color instead, which suffices for him. 


And we really loved it, but eventually Thaddeus sighed a weary sigh, and noted "This is like when you make me practice my letters, Mom." and after that he abandoned his book, sat on me, and watched Oso.


{So, I've decided to try to do MIM a little differently, if I photograph most of the day, there will be a lot of the same stuff, so I'm picking days and a handful of hours within that day instead. This also means I have less pictures to pick through, because the first two weeks alone left me with well over 100 pictures, whereas this one gave me 30something. It also allows me to tell more of a story about our moment, instead of just captioning the photos. I'll try it out and see how it goes!

I am trying not to do a ton of pre-planning, but I need to have some idea of when I'm going to shoot so I can make sure my cards are empty and battery is charged, but otherwise, our day is just our day.}

Majesty in Motherhood: Week Two

This week I'd picked my picture day to be Wednesday, but Antonio decided to work from home that day. I still snapped some pictures thinking it couldn't be too big a difference, and I'm glad I did because it ended up being the day that Severus lost his first tooth - but it's not an entirely accurate depiction because it was a big difference - another set of hands and eyes, meant impromptu mom nap, and another set of hands and eyes, which certainly changed things a bit more than I realized. 

One wobbly tooth gone, the next isn't far behind!

One wobbly tooth gone, the next isn't far behind!


So I sporadically photographed our Thursday as well. 


Planning our day together, with some interruption. 


I'd gotten a health cut the day before, and had to brush out my curls entirely so the stylist could even my hair out. I woke up with my hair sticking in all directions and getting caught in my eyes so I plastered it down with some water and curl defining stuff. 


Time to get the muffins dressed. After homeschooling and chores we have to go to the store.


They ended up taking an early, unscheduled nap while I unloaded the dishwasher. Thaddeus threw an enormous tantrum while we tried to homeschool, so I didn't press him. He decided he wanted to play with the small Lego in his room.


It was raining while we walked to the store so I left my camera home. We picked up just a few things, but one of us is at the store every other day replenishing our almond milk supply.


I told Thaddeus he could watch something on Netflix, and he had to climb up on my back to get a higher look at the offerings. This displeased Santino, and confused Elena.


Exhausted Scrub Daddy: Still sexier than Blake Shelton.


Checking my to do list. Again. 


Some Fridays Severus' classroom offers a store, where the currency they earned during their weeks may be redeemed. Severus brought these home for me. Later that evening he took his $5 from the tooth fairy and bought Target dollar spot items for himself and his brother. I really appreciate how thoughtful he is. 


Dinner on the stove ends our photo exhibition. <3

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. 


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. 


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! 


Changing wet diapers - ten minutes later, she pooped.


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


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. 


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.


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


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.