by gillian claire: motherhood



It's January 30th and I Want to Throw in the Towel...

I have a serious love/hate relationship with New Year's resolutions. There is something about the idea of setting resolutions each January that gets me very excited... it's the same way I feel about school supplies in the fall, new planners or notebooks + moving to a new house with empty cabinets and closets full of potential...
(This picture seriously captured my reality as a boy mom- haha!)


Happy Birthday to Roman: My TEN Year Old!

Can you even believe this tiny baby is TEN today? My heart can barely take it. It's gone by in a blink but at the same time it seems like an entire lifetime ago that I was 21 years old meeting my precious purple baby at 3:01 am on a cold winter Cincinnati night.
This boy, my Roman, made me a mother 10 years ago. I always, always wanted to be a mom and Roman made all those years of playing with Cabbage Patch babies come to life for me. Roman's baby years were a dream, we spent almost every moment together and he became my entire world. 
Ten years later, and Roman is still a dream of a child. He's good natured, kind, loving, compassionate and sentimental. He's sarcastic as hell (thanks to his parents) and definitely has a fly off the handle temper. He is the most passionate child I've ever seen and spends hours and hours practicing his sports moves in the living room.
This has been one of the hardest years of Roman's life because one of his best friends was tragically killed in a place crash in September. I've had to watch this sweet, innocent boy venture into those dark places of life that you hope your child will never have to know. It's been hard but he's pushing through; we're pushing through together. The morning we found out he had passed, before I knew, I sensed a deep pressing feeling that I needed to be more for Roman. I had no idea that we would later find out Benny had died but now I know that they were related. That's what I've tried to do since that day, be more for this boy. We've done more arts and crafts and we got a pet cat that we adore. I've spent nights talking and crying with Roman about death and life. 
10 years of motherhood and I'm still figuring it all out. It's a lot harder now than it was in those easier and simpler, sweet baby days. If I could give any wisdom and mothering advice after doing it for ten years, it would be: 

Laugh with your kids and allow them to bring out the child in you. 

Have dance parties and let them jump on the beds. 

Don't ever hold too tightly to your "parenting type" because I guarantee your views will ebb and flow.

Most importantly, tell your kids you love them everyday. Tell them multiple times a day. You can't ever tell someone you love them too much.
Happy TENTH birthday Roman! I love you, moon....

flashback ;)

fish face.

sweetie-pie.4.27.pursuits of a five year old.pursuits of a five year old.IMG_2079




roman turns 8.

_MG_8147 .
Can hardly believe that this little ( BIG ) boy turned 8 in December. The time since he was born has gone by so quickly yet at the same time feels like an eternity. I can barely remember Roman as a newborn, Roman as a 2, 4 or 6 year old. Other than today, all the other days feel like a blur of memories swirling around somewhere high above me out of reach. There are millions of little moments that stick out in my head, playing back in my mind like clips from a movie. That's how I feel as a mother. Their story is playing out fiery quick as I to grab onto a few bits and beautiful pieces to play on repeat in my mind, trying to preserve some of the miracle that is happening right in front of my eyes.
The sweetest you see in that photo above truly personifies Roman exactly. He is sweet and sentimental and wise beyond his years. He feels deeply and loves passionately and I couldn't be prouder or happier to call him mine.
Last night we laid in bed together when I was putting him to sleep. 
He says, "I love you." 
I say, "I love you more." 
He says, "Don't get me started." 
I say, "I love you moon." 
and he says, "I love you star," just like he always has. 
I'll finish this post here before I dip in too deep into that realm of loving my babies so much it hurts. Too late, I'm already there. <3
Here's to the best 8th year for my sweetest boy. 

do you read pictures as poems?

i haven't posted in a bit. but i have been taking pictures like crazy and here are a few i have to share with you today: portraits of ash, pieces of my beautiful, lovely, wonderful and wild-hearted little boy.
do you read your pictures as poems? because i do. i read each one like a story, not necessarily one with a beginning and an end. more like notes scribbled out on scrap paper, thoughts swirling around a beautiful instant captured and frozen in time. the poem here is all about a little wisp of a boy. a boy who is fiery and fierce, but who, when he pauses, can tell stories with his eyes. this poem is about the pieces of the people who came before this little life that the camera captures in his face.
 in this picture i see a boy who is trying to please his mother by letting her take his photograph. but when i look closer i see the pain of how i've tried to please others in my life as well. i see my hopes and wishes for this special soul, expecting that he will meet pain and struggle in life and of course knowing that he already has. stay strong my son, keep making people happy but also take those moments to close your eyes and find what makes you shine.
. _MG_7408_MG_7409 .

this boy...

2361sharp017 .
i've been looking for a chance to share both of these photos so, here ya go.
this boy.
he is the sweetest sort of sweet. he is the boy who at six years of age, still loves to talk about how he came into the world. how he was a winter baby and how he had "milkies" for three years and has the softest skin to prove it.
even though i used to be a very touchy sort of mother and person in general, having a rather high needs toddler now leaves me feeling extremely touched out a lot of the time.
but this boy, is all about touch and love and every night on our walks he tries to hold my hand the whole time. sometimes i say that i want to take a little break from holding hands but when i do the "good mom" thing and hold his back, he tells me, 
"squeeze tighter, mom."
i can hardly even talk about the piece of love that this one is without getting crazy, and i mean crazy, emotional.
it's out of control the sort of desperate love i have watching roman come into his own.
or rather just grow as the one he has always, always been...
"i was made for love," he told me once.
these are the things that drive me to just plain crazy madness.
love is a dangerous thing.
(p.s. thanks for your wonderful comments on my last post about motherhood. i love reading your comments so much!)

We Are A Top Baby Blog

friday thoughts on motherhood.

IMG_9541 .
     it's been a pretty busy week for us. my husband has been working up in the mountains at a different location this week. that means longer hours for him and jealousy of his awesome scenery on my part especially when he saw baby big horn sheep - ugh! also, i started a new job this week as well! we are feeling super thankful that things might start settling financially a little bit for us the rest of the summer. it's a good feeling for sure.
     today, aaron will be at work and my plan is to take the boys to the park. we had been walking to the park pretty often in the beginning of spring but it's a bit far and i kind of stared losing the ambition. we usually go for a short walk while aaron's at work and every night we talk a long neighborhood walk as a family. i'm trying to step up my game though and strive to do a little more with the boys. currently in my life, i am just not that mom that religiously takes my kids to the library and park dates and splash pads etc. etc. i've never really been that mom and i don't think i really have to either but i also know that a small gesture such as taking my kids to the playground or for ice cream can feel like a big, fun event to them. 
     this year has been stress on top of stress on top of tragedy for me and often i'm left kind of going though the motions and wondering, "what kind of mom am i?" i've always felt so convicted and passionate about the way that i intended to be as a mother. i have always been super laid back when it comes to routine and rules but at the same time super devoted to ideas of how my boys would be raised. right now i just feel sort of lost between still being drawn to the attached and natural ideals that i've always held to - homeschooling and organic foods, sleeping with my babies + breastfeeding my toddlers; but also feeling drained by outside circumstances in my life and figuring out that things like public school, tv shows and spaghetti o's can be a necessity and a life saver. 
     this is certainly a struggle for my right now, one that often causes rapid feelings of confusion and even guilt. but thinking and writing through some of these thoughts, i'm left with the impression that as far as my children go; they really don't care about all of these "things" and "principals" and "ideals", all they really need and want is love. sure i'd like to feel like i'm doing the best always for my children. i'd like to say that they spend their days listening to classical music and having picnics by the stream. i'd like to know that i'm working hard on reading with roman and striving to figure out if asher has allergies. but really, as far as what "kind" of mom i am, right now i'm just being the mom that i can be. my kids are watching tv while i laze around this morning and shower and drink coffee. but later, we'll go to the park - and hopefully they will have a good day for their bank of childhood memories. today is just one day filled with promise for them and for me as well. perfection and ideals can be pushed aside until tomorrow.
happy friday, guys. thanks for reading along. :)

We Are A Top Baby Blog

toddler things.

one of the beautiful parts of roman attending kindergarten has been the wonderful, and quieter, mornings alone with our littlest.
it is amazing the difference in his personality when roman is not here.
truly, amazing.
don't get me wrong - kindergarten hasn't just been a quick fix to asher's high needs.
but it has given us all a couple of hours to breathe and relax.
for many reasons, asher just tones way down when roman is not around.
i am so thankful because this precious little toddler stage that asher is in currently is one of my
 all-time favorites.
in my mind roman is kind of frozen at the 2 year old stage.
he ran around in these same little fleece pants and chose from the same shirts that asher now
"pickles" (picks) from each day.
i am so glad that i get a chance to notice and appreciate asher at this magical stage as well.
his thoughts and vocabulary are just exploding right now.
a mini grownup.
still my baby but about to turn three this summer.
i can't even believe it.
(recent photos of some special asher moments)
still always sleeping with mama
baby // hands in my hair
playing cows // painted little toenails
napping - family bed style // mornings
connect with me on instagram;)


     a few weeks ago, roman started attending kindergarten at our local public school. is anyone surprised? i was a little surprised myself and yes it was a somewhat last minute decision. but it was also a decision that was a long time in the making and a decision that has definitely been the best  for our family and for roman, right now. 
     i certainly would not have believed you if you had told me in september that this year roman would switch to public school. i have always been "homeschool-minded" and that's who i believed i was and who i believed our family was as well. it defined me in many ways as have many of my decisions as a mother and as a person have made me feel "defined". and oh, in ways they do define me. marrying at 19 is a huge part of me. my difficult experience with hyperemesis during my first pregnancy molded me in many ways. giving birth at 21 breathed life into my soul. losing a baby and going through a miscarriage became a part of my heart. my pregnancy with asher, our natural birth, gifted me many things. these events and choices have formed my life and my whole world. nursing my babies and toddlers and sleeping with them and homeschooling them and being with them all the time, all the time, has been so meaningful to me.
     it becomes easy to fall so far into these roles that we become them. our culture is obsessed with definitions and labels. you come to my blog and you read my stories. and i portray and define myself for you here: mother, wife, photographer. i breastfeed and homeschool and wear my babies and sleep with them. i'm married to my best fried and i'm an art student. i'm passionate about birth and babies and art and pretty pictures with words. 
     all of these are very true statements and facts about myself. but these things are not what wholly defines me. i do not wrap nice and tight into a little labeled box. no. many things about myself are not written in my "about me" on my blog and they are not visible at all from the outside. many things you would probably be surprised to know about my life and about my daily struggles. what i am seeing now is that even though it can be overwhelmingly tempting to be packaged neatly and wrapped up with a pretty bow, it is so, so limiting. 
     spending your time living up to the world's expectations is such a grave and terrible waste of a beautiful and worthwhile life. all of these labels that i have given myself are so meaningful to me. they are such a deep and wonderful part of my story.  the lessons which i am now finding from life and the words i want to share with you are these: don't get so focused on what defines you that you miss the chance to follow a different path. don't become so focused on who you think you are supposed to be that you miss a beautiful and wonderful chance to become something new. a chance to change, a change to reevaluate, a chance to be real and honest, and to grow. <3 
IMG_3827then + my almost one year old.IMG_154727.
this post is my first in a series that i am participating in this year with a wonderful group of women in the "mommy blogger collective". i hope that you'll take a moment to visit their blogs below and read their take on this month's prompt, "defined".
The Mommy Blogger Collective

/// The Mommy Blogger Collective /// Christina, Courteney, Dena, Erica, Erin, Gillian, Katie, Misty, Nicole, and Renée. ///


IMG_6786IMG_6774IMG_6790oh this little boy is driving me wild lately.
absolutely wild.
does that seem to be a reoccurring theme on my blog lately?
well, it is a reoccurring theme in my life; that's for sure.
 asher's needs and passions and feelings are strong and sudden.
they are loud and angry and fervent and tirelessly exhausting.
but with the wild, there always comes good.
yesterday, out of nowhere, asher snapped out of one of his tantrums in the car and he looked at me with his turned down eyes and sighed, " i sowwy mommy, i sowwwwy."
 it was heartbreaking to see his little soul take a breath and voice what he feels in his heart.
i know that his tantrums and actions pain him as well.
and today, after an all out furious tantrum, he apologized again,
 "i sorry mommy."
and then he promptly invented a new ridiculous smile that he flashed to us all.
and we all laughed and smiled back.
and he said, "i happy! i happy!"
asher delights in love and affection and when he gets the attention that he craves - he beams with true appreciation and joy.
this is a boy who wants to be loved more than anything.
and he is a wonderful lesson to us all, that love doesn't always come easy.
and it shouldn't.
or it wouldn't really be worth nearly as much in the end.
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thoughts on sleep.

our current sleeping situation consists of a full sized bed and a twin sized bed pushed together to make one sort of mega-bed in our room. and yes, we all sleep there together.
roman and asher do have a bed in their room. it exists, but pretty much solely serves to house a surprisingly large collection of stuffed animals. roman has fallen asleep in his own bed for periods of time in his life. but right now, it's all of us, all together, all night, every night: family bed style.
yesterday, i was telling roman how i think that he and his brother must have little magnets inside their bodies that pull them towards me every night. i'm always scooting someone over or pushing a leg off of my back. these little boys make their rounds all over the bed, and all over us, every night.
sometimes it can be frustrating, but talking to roman about their little "magnets" and seeing him smile that sweet-still-a-little-boy smile, made it worth it in that moment.
 i have so many sweet nighttime memories with my boys and i've felt thankful to be able to love on them all night long for so many years. one favorite memory pressed tight into my heart is of roman when he was less than a year old and nursing for the millionth time in the night. for whatever reason, i just felt so grateful and alive and i stared into his round, moon glowing face, feeling happy and so in love. i still remember perfectly how that face looked, and i still remember that special small moment that i pulled into my heart and savored, many years ago during one random night.
 co-sleeping, or "bed-sharing" is definitely not for everyone, and frankly sometimes it's not for me either. in fact, i am really struggling right now with asher's sleeping situation, and yeah - it would probably be much better if he didn't spend each and every night right next to me. i'm not one to say never or forever, so maybe one day i soon i'll ship these boys out to their own beds; or maybe they'll stay and stay.
so no, it's not always perfect and my decisions are hardly the best or greatest parenting decisions of all time. this is not a co-sleeping public service announcement.
but it is what we chose for our family thus far and right now i'm just mulling it over in my mind.
right now, i treasure these sweet, soft little angels in my bed.
and when I push their warm sleepy bodies aside, trying to find a little bit of space for myself,
i'm at least thankful that they are still there to find me :)

pictures of cows.

we were driving around the reservoir over the weekend, looking for new spots. and first of all, let me just say that i was so dang happy to get a picture of those cows. i have been thinking about taking pictures of cows for years. no really, i'm not just saying that.
many times as i drove home to our house in indiana, i would look at all of the cows that i passed and think about taking photos of them. indiana is full of so much pretty scenery: old barns, endless soybean and corn fields, pretty hazy sunsets and wildflowers. and there are so many cows. they truly became my favorite animal when we lived out there.
but i never took the moment to get the pictures that i wanted. i'm really bad about that; just stopping and getting out of the car to take a photograph. i'm too lazy i suppose.
and frankly, it never seems worth it.
but this day. the other day, when i saw these black cows grazing in the hills like this, i finally had aaron pull over the car and i rolled down the window and i got it. it was just too, too perfect. because if there is anything better than cows grazing in the fields of indiana, it is certainly cows in the mountains. hands down.
asher was stressing out in the backseat and roman was yelling at me and i had one of those mother-fail moments where i snapped for a moment.
and i just told everyone in the family to get used to it.
sometimes i'm going to hang out the window when it's 20 degrees out to take a picture of the creek by the mountains. and sometimes i'm going to ask aaron to turn the car around so that i can get a picture of the orange and aqua sunset even though everyone is tired and wants to get home. in times like these, little boys are sure to squeal at me from the backseat.
but gosh darn it, sometimes i'm going to pull over the car and take a picture of some cows.
and it's going to make me very happy.
oh, and my family is cute too. they forgave me and then i snuck in some pictures of them as well ;)


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