Capture Wonder (Daily December #3)

I’m no photographer (as you can tell from my over-edited picmonkey tomfoolery), so I plan to be creative with this December photo challenge. What better way to “Capture Wonder” than to get professional pictures of your adorable child and send a holiday card? I’m obsessed with the photography of Chrystal Cienfuegos, and you really should be also. If I could afford to pay her to follow me around full-time with a camera, I would. I can’t possibly spoil our holiday photos, though, so I’ll show you this adorable sample from their first “official” photo shoot.

When your children are this cute, not just any card design will do. Luckily through the wonders of fate and the internet, I have befriended a fabulous graphic designer who just happens to specialize in cards featuring adorable children. Melissa of Sour Pea Design is always coming up with fresh new material for her Etsy shop. She creates custom or pre-made digital files at prices that are realistic for moms. Buying one of her designs and having it printed is not only cuter than your average, it’s infinitely more affordable. I mean, check out these fabulous holiday options:





AND there’s even an option for twin moms (featuring the lovely Steely twins, photographed at their teeny-tiniest by Chrystal, of course.) How could you resist?


Balancing Act

As a mother, I really struggle with the concept of balance. How does one have enough time for kids, job, marriage, household, friends, hobbies, errands, chores, sleep? When there aren’t enough hours, what has to give? How can you avoid feeling guilty?

I really wish I had an answer to all of this, but the truth is I do the best I can each day, in each moment. There’s a lot of buzz out there on the internet about what we should be doing, but not enough about what we are doing. I am raising two beautiful children. I am teaching the youth of America. I am learning more about my husband and falling more in love with him each day. I am running a household. I am making new friends, but keeping the old – and losing some, and that’s okay. I am discovering that my favorite hobby is still reading, I just read Facebook more than I read best-sellers. I am discovering that I can survive on little sleep, but that it’s also not advisable.

Each day, I have positive moments. But for some reason, at night, I focus on what I did wrong. There is so much pressure and so much guilt. I should have had more patience with that student. I should have eaten more than just ramen for lunch. I should have sat on the floor and built block towers instead of sitting on the couch and scrolling through my newsfeed. Why is this? Why do we do this? We should reward ourselves more. We should recognize that some days giving 85% takes 100% out of you, and that’s okay, too. We are not perfect. We shouldn’t strive to be perfect. We should focus on just being.

As my family adjusts to our new reality – two full-time working parents, opposite schedules, ships passing in the night – we have to adapt. It’s a good thing, this change. It involves sacrifices, but also rewards. So my bedroom is a mess, but I get more sleep. My kids can entertain each other sometimes, and other times my needs can wait so I can entertain them. My husband and I – well, we can spend time together when the kids are in college, right? Sitting next to each other on the couch counts as a date night. And I should feel lucky we can sleep in the same bed each night – not a luxury everyone has.

On rough days, it’s hard to see the positives. They’re there, though, buried under the “shoulda, coulda, woulda, not-good-enoughs.” I have a lovely family. I am surrounded by a community of family and friends. I am lucky. Things are hard, but they are also wonderful. I can achieve balance. And on the days that I don’t, I can take a deep breath and know that there is always tomorrow.