by gillian claire: 2020



"Take Two."

Photos: 2017- Ash by the creek, our now house in the background.

Life is lived in circles. Circling the sun, through seasons... and for the 7 years we’ve lived in this neighborhood, we’ve been circling around these paths & trails as well. I have countless pictures of my boys through the years in the same spots. Tiny with big trees, playing in front of mountains, standing by the creek soaked in sunflare. So many walks during some of the darkest times for me. Years ago, in therapy, I shared that the only time I felt peace was on my daily walk and my therapist suggested, “take two.”

These trails hold many ghosts for me, good and bad. Walking to forget & distract but also to be with nature & with my sweet growing boys. I see them through the years, picking flowers, riding scooters, running, laughing, pushing our cat in the stroller... So many memories swirling and circling, sometimes my brain can’t catch up to how we got to today. But we’re here, feet planted as the world still moves.

In July, we bought a house right next to this creek & green path. I’ve been here hundreds of times, so many pictures and memories made. And in the background of those photos, now- I see my future. My fence, our house waiting.

One foot in front of the other, the loops don’t stop. I’m still prone to using distraction to cope. Quiet is always unsettling for me. As the memories spin, I try to sort through these collected snapshots flipping through my mind. I want to learn that I don’t need to constantly be on the chase. But when the stillness gets hard, I’ll keep walking. Circling the past, present & future- trying to make sense of it all.



Idaho Sunsets

For months we've all been seemingly looking at the same things every day. Whatever our views may be... there is a similar sameness to the routine. For 7 months, we've been locked down. 

For us, Quarantine has looked like:

-two parents juggling 40 hour work weeks,

-two bored kids doing 100% virtual school,

-losing my freelance Virtual Assistant work for the time being but being truly thankful to not be working extra during this time and for somehow maintaining a full-time job,

-house hunting like crazy & putting offers on 3 houses,

-buying a home in Colorado, *a huge blessing

-adopting the little white kitten of our dreams, *blessing #2, I've been manifesting this Colorado house & white kitten and they both came true this summer. 

-many tears of overwhelm, guilt & stress, (why do we carry so much unnecessary weight?)

-moments of worry about making the right choices and keeping our kids safe,

-moving/packing/purging an entire home for the second time in a calendar year,

-diving into renovations, 

-going off my antidepressants & struggling with a huge dip in emotions,

-thankful to be some of the lucky ones who kept their jobs & health but thankful amidst pure exhaustion.


The past 7 months have seemed consumed with an unbelievable turn of events on earth: a pandemic, mandatory mask wearing, rules & guidelines we never imagined we'd experience in our lifetime. Our nation has experienced a strong but inevitable divide as we approach this year's election. We've looked towards friends & family members and asked, "how?" as we find our beliefs so drastically opposing. Our land feels filled with devastation: floods, hurricanes & fires. Our fire here in northern Colorado has been raging & growing for over 2 months strong.

The past 7 months have been overwhelming & honestly lonely for me. One of the best decisions we made recently was to get away. We took a 4 day road trip from Colorado through Wyoming, Montana & stayed in Idaho. It was the best decision to spend 4 days constantly lifting our eyes towards something beautiful. 

Our last night in town Aaron, Asher & I  drove down the back road behind our resort looking for rocks and I took pictures of cows.

These were my absolute favorite moments of the trip... silence for miles around, massive mountains reminding me just how little our problems are. My husband looking for rocks with my sweet little boy, and me: taking pictures of some of my favorite animals standing strong as the sun went down. 

The past 7 months have been so ridiculously hard.

I seem to be going through the motions but when I close my eyes, sometimes I still see this Idaho sunset. 

Island Park, Idaho
late September, 2020


Of sunflowers.


In a world filled with disappointment, all I see here is goodness & hope for the future. In a sea of sunflowers, they are turning their faces towards you.

IMG_2592 IMG_2597 IMG_2625
IMG_2628 IMG_2650 IMG_2639 IMG_2635 IMG_2589 IMG_2618 IMG_2600 IMG_2530
Roman, age 12
Windsor, Colorado

Our Little White Cat

Meet our new kitten, Melo!
My desire to adopt a second kitty has heightened since COVID but we wanted to wait until we moved before bringing another cat home. Since we're closing on our house this week so I figured it's as good a time as any! (I couldn't wait any longer, I have kitten fever...)
I came across "Pyrite" on Instagram and fell in love when I came across the photo of this sweet white kitten.
Melo is deaf but it definitely doesn't hold him back at all. He is playful & curious as all get out but also the sweetest, most cuddly baby when he finally tuckers himself out. 
Is there anything sweeter & more pure in this world than a kitten? Asher has dreamt of having an "all white cat" since he was very small. I'm so happy to have made his wish come true.
IMG_2430IMG_2432 .

9 years of magic

9 years of magic with this one!
My rainbow after loss, my dream come true natural childbirth & my miracle NICU baby. I vividly remember asking God to protect this soul and I still truly don't take his answers for granted. 
Happy Birthday Ash. 
9 years ago this month was when this blog was born as well!

Here's a throw back to the post where I introduced baby Asher. :) 

Behind The Mask

Behind The Mask: my sweet firstborn who just graduated 6th grade from home! ❤️

I’ve put in late nights with this one who hasn’t seen his friends in 50 days, who is missing his first season of track and whose dreams of “the best summer ever,” have been put on hold.
Despite his worries that Coronavirus will never go away, he is making lists of what he wants to do during this time, learning new basketball skills and making memories with his family. Stay strong sweet boy, this will end. 

You are water.

I wrote about you, sweet boy, before you were here. My little Ash- I dreamt of you. First your name, then of your soft golden hair. You are the best secret I even wrote down on paper all those years ago.

If only I could write the rest of your life for you just as easily. I would say: be strong, be courageous, be a peacekeeper.

You are water. Sweetly rushing down the river always chasing the next thought.
Peace between the trees, you've offered the world your time.
You have a spirit boundless as the mountains...
don't forget to find yourself sweet boy.


grasping at snowflakes

This spring is obviously different than any before. Schools are closed and my boys are home doing online "homeschool." The neighborhood kids aren't knocking on the door and we're hunkered down, safer at home. Years ago, I thought homeschool was 100% what I'd choose for these little ones (here's a throwback) but a lot has changed since then. Now I miss the enrichment of school for them and Aaron and I are both lucky enough to be still working full-time jobs but scrambling to make it all work behind the scenes.

I took these photos on April 16th during a 12 inch snowfall. Aaron couldn't get over our hill to work & I was working from home. I had my camera out after doing product photos for work and Roman said yes to a little winter wonderland photoshoot.

I couldn't be happier with these photos. I haven't had time in survival mode to make much art and my heart comes alive capturing memories of these boys.

This Northern Colorado spring day set the scene for the real life snow globe we are living in right now. Our world has become very small but it is so filled with magic and snowflakes. I am the luckiest mom alive. Grasping to catch these snowflake moments while also mentally exhausted as well.
IMG_1822 IMG_1840 IMG_1842 IMG_1870 IMG_1863 IMG_1866
Sending light & love. I hope you catch a snowflake or two today.

To The Squad-less, The Tribe-less & The Ones Raising Kids Without A Village

Seen on Scary Mommy

In a culture hooked on buzzwords like "squad" and "tribe," I'm sometimes left wondering if I'm the only one over here scratching my head... One phrase that really echoes in my brain in regards to child-rearing is, "it takes a village."

But what if you don't have one?

I got married as a teenager and was pregnant by 20. When most of my high school friends were focused on figuring themselves out in college, I was figuring out breastfeeding and completely zeroed in on this new baby in my arms. I surprisingly didn't feel lonely during those young years on the narrow path. In fact, mothering was a dream come true for me and I poured every ounce of my being into caring for my son in our one bedroom apartment, $425/month. This was 12 years ago, before social media was there to remind me at the drop of a hat that I wasn't doing life the same way as everyone else. I carried on blissfully unaware in my little bubble where I truly felt like I had everything I needed.

My husband is very (as he absolutely should be) dedicated to this parenting gig, so I don't claim to know or even begin to imagine what single parents go through. But for me, outside of him, that "village" you hear of seems very elusive... I love my extended family but we were never in a situation of grandparents taking the kids for sleepovers and when our boys were 5 & 1, we moved across the country to start a different life alone.

Of course, I've asked for help from a select few in moments of need but mostly it's been me and my husband tag-teaming. I never thought much was unique about our setup until social media added it to my list of things to feel inadequate about. (Other things on said list include a house on par with Joanna Gaines' standards, the perfect mom bun & kids in matching, monotone pjs.)

Via Instagram, I've started to see that moms seems to have this magical "tribe" whom they couldn't survive without... that bestie who stops by and scoops the children over for a playdate when she's feeling overwhelmed. Friends Venmoing Starbucks gift cards on a rough day and dropping off a homemade lasagna when their kids are sick with strep throat.

"It takes a village," they always seem to say...

My reality has been that my husband and I worked opposite shifts for years to make ends meet, Netflix getting us through the hard times and the only "bestie" dropping off food was the Domino's pizza delivery guy. I don't share this to complain; I'm totally at peace with our lifestyle. In fact, I never felt like it went against the grain until social media gave me a backstage pass to the Jone's everyday. I am very independent by nature and enjoy functioning that way but it does leave me wondering if I'm the only one out here in trenches without my "ride or dies." Just going through the motions and hoping to God I'll get to take a nap or two on the weekends.

I am so grateful for the friends I've met along my journey whether they've stayed for a long time or briefly popped in and out. It's healthy to find human connection but I don't necessarily think I've created a "village" and I don't have a group of friends helping me with parenting, that's for sure.

I value time to myself and am involved in yoga and jump on the invite to join a book club or have dinner with other moms. There are people I enjoy spending time with when I get the chance but I wouldn't describe them as the "people I do life with" or my "tribe." Making friends as an adult is hard! Moving from Ohio to Colorado was one of the best decisions I've ever made but it also meant starting over and meeting people from scratch.

I will say, that even sans village, my kids seem to be making it ok. If anything, they know that their parents love them more than the moon and stars. Being their mother is still a dream I don't take for granted. No, my husband and I don't have a lot of "backup," our family lives hundreds of miles away, but we make it work. We are these boys' world and we will always find a way to provide no matter what.

So, the squad-less, the tribe-less, the ones raising their kids without a lot of help: cheers.

I'm here to say that I DON'T think it takes a village... but it sure as hell takes a lot of hard work.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...