Sunday, August 10, 2014

a big or small birthday for kids?

September is a big month for us.

It's the month that both our boys were born in.  It's the month we got married in... and while I'm thinking about planning a party for them both, a new part of me is rebelling against the tradition.

Are we setting our kids up for disappointment?

I'm not going to lie, my parents threw me a party every year and they slowly tapered off in my late teens, early 20's.  And it was kind of rough figuring out that I wasn't the center of the world anymore.

I started to learn that in the real world if someone close to you gives you a birthday kiss and you get one phone call- then you're really lucky.  You're someone special. 

That gratefulness feeling with so much less is what I've had to learn.  It's what I want my kids to know early in life... you can be happy with so much less. 

Recently a lot of people close to me have had small celebrations for their kids, no gifts they said... no parties either.  I kind of like the idea of spending such a special day, with my kids and my kids only.  I don't have to put on a show, because let's be honest... who was there the day they were born?  Those are the people who should be surrounding them.

And if you want to do something special for your birthday, then I don't want them to think someone else has got to plan it either... call up your friends and go out to dinner, swimming, whatever!  Make it happen, because in this life you've got to reach out and grab what you really want.  You can't expect anything.

It also just so happens my birthday is this week... and I'm getting free tattoos from an artist who's wedding I photographed and going to dinner with Joel, my babies and my Ma & Pa.  And I'm so lucky and I feel so ridiculously grateful.  It's a day where I can eat a piece of cake guilt free and sit next to the people I love the most.

I'll probably follow my sister's lead and just throw a party for the big years.

We are not entitled to anything.  And we could be so happy with so much less.
Maybe we're onto something new...

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Update


I've missed this place.
This little corner of the world were I let my life bleed into words.

As the summer leaves begin to slowly fall Joel and I have had to make some tough decisions.  Had to deal with some tough situations, and we've had to re-evaluate the way we live our life.

But all this stuff, it's been exciting.  It's made us think twice about where we are and where we want to be.

We have decided to homeschool Jack.

We have decided be more active and healthy as a family.

We're going to start camping!  The 10-second pop up tent has already been purchased! (For some reason this whole idea makes me laugh.)

We have decided to buy the boys a kitten for their birthday (that's confidential).
The catch?  Joel says we must buy an automatic litter box.

I get my hair cut tomorrow and next week we're getting new ink.  And it's my birthday?!  That somehow slipped my mind.

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” 


-Augustine of Hippo

We're dreaming again.
And it feels so good. 
And by dreaming I mean planning a huge road-trip out West currently scheduled for Fall 2015.  The plan is to see the country and visit distant relatives.

I have decided to cut back on work and only do wedding photography.  Come September I am only a wedding photographer.  It is my passion.  It's what I want and by cutting back, I'm looking into a few other avenues for business that I am excited to explore as an artist.  And I need that extra time if I'm going to be homeschooling our boys.

So here's to the new school year, to change, to breaking against the norm and breaking the mold.  We know it won't be easy but it will be so worth it.

Monday, July 28, 2014

ways we punish ourselves

Reading the public comments below a controversial article that you care about.

Reading the comments on a controversial issue on Facebook.

Reading anyone's opinion that you are not actively seeking.

Reading your Facebook feed if you don't hide those with a political agenda or those who post the most depressing shit in the world.

Forcing a laugh.

Checking your email before bed.

Answering your phone when you really don't have the time or energy.

When you every ounce of you is screaming no, and you say, "yes."

When you need to take care of yourself, but you pretend everything is fine.

When you stay up late watching Netflixs when you know how much you'll regret it tomorrow.

When you eat shit and feel like shit.

Forcing a smile.

When you procrastinate.

Judging yourself through someone else's eyes.

....These are the easiest ways to punish yourself if you're me.

We must forgive ourselves.
I must forgive myself.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

overwhelmed

This strangely made me feel a lot better. 
And laugh.
Laughing always makes things better.

source: pinterest (broken link)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Father's Day

I intentionally wrote this post late.

Actually, I had no intention of sharing my Father's Day.  Not because I didn't want to, but because the idea never occurred to me.  But I've decided it's been one of my favorites... as a daughter.

I thought a lot about my Dad this year.  I thought about how he feels about being a Dad, about the Dad his Father was.  I thought about my childhood, his childhood and everything in between.  I thought about the time when I won't have a Father, or he might not have a daughter, because that day will come.

These words have always echoed in my heart...

"Get to know your parents.  You never know when they'll be gone for good."

I have become a bit morbid lately.  Death is on my mind like living life is, because when we accept that one day this will all end... then you live more intentionally, more passionately and you have those conversations that you always meant to have, but never got around to.

So I called my Dad the night before Father's day and invited him out to breakfast.  Just the two of us.  I wanted to be completely present with him.  I wanted to have more than a surface conversation.

Then later I visited my Grandpa's grave.  It's the first time I've been since he's passed. I went out of respect to my Father.  I told the boys stories about Grandpa and they picked nearby flowers (weeds) and mushrooms and placed them on his grave.

I cried for my Dad.

So breakfast rolled around and we sat across from each other. I gave him his gift first.  I told him I remembered how he always wanted a huge fish tank, but that I couldn't exactly afford one and this will have to do.

He pulled out a child like painting of a fish under the ocean, the movie Nemo (my Dad loves all movies), and last but not least, a very old photograph of his father hanging telephone lines.

And we talked and talked and talked.

And I asked the questions I've always wanted to.

And he openly shared with me.

And it was nice.
Love you Dad.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

materialism

“Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work and driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for - in order to get to the job you need to pay for the clothes and the car, and the house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it.” 
― Ellen Goodman

I'm going through a phase.

The one where you get rid of a bunch of shit.

Toys, clothes, things... we either love it or need it or it goes.  We need this right now.  If we're going to homeschool, if I'm going to be healthy, if we're going to be happy- we need this.  

When I find myself thinking how I want something, I redirect my thoughts to the things I already have.  I chose gratefulness and remind myself that things do not bring me happiness.  Such a contrast from the typical American mindset.

It's liberating.  The actual letting go part and the mindfulness of choosing experiences over materialism.
But we are struggling with a different type of materialism and that's the fast food, eating out materialism.  It's expensive and unhealthy.  Thinking about doing a 30 day challenge.  I bet I could do it.


“The reason many people in our society are miserable, sick, and highly stressed is because of an unhealthy attachment to things they have no control over.” 
-Steve Maraboli

Saturday, May 10, 2014

death surrounds us

For whatever reason, death is surrounding our family.  Circling us.  We have another funeral Monday.

While cleaning I looked up at my 100 year old photograph.  The one I bought two summer's ago because it reminded me of Mr. Bentley's photo that he's in twice.

It caught me off guard, and when someone asks about it, I think of you.  Your kindness.  Your gentleness.  The way you made everyone feel like somebody.  I think of the last time I saw you and it makes me cry.

I am so happy a new life is growing in my sister.  Sweet baby, Aria, you are hope for us all.  The reminder that tomorrow is a new day.  That the world goes on.  That death and life are both very much a part of our lives, and we need to accept death as we accept life.

It is a fact, we will all die one day.
I am so happy that my last memory of you is of nothing but kindness and love.

Thinking of you today with a bit of a heavy heart.
I know you are happy and at peace, it always came so naturally to you,
Olivia
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