by gillian claire



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
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     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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portraits of asher / 31 months.

IMG_6847-3editsharpwebnewIMG_6856editsharpwebnewIMG_6853-3editsharpwebnew i love this boy + these pictures.
he radiates joy and appears so wild and free here. which is exactly how he felt in these moments:
frantically climbing from rock to rock, mountains as far as the eyes can see, happily running and breathing in the fresh air while slyly posing and looking to the side for his mama who loves to take
his pictures.
looking at these photos, i feel once again the peace and quiet and happiness of the moments in when i took them.
just a little glimpse of time,

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 ;)

happy thoughts.

just some happy things lately:
(( photos from instagram ))blog1
mountains, duh.
i pretty much died when i saw this view the other day: perfect, perfect sunny-blue-sky-day reflecting into the water. amazing in person.
more colorado. if you don't live here yet - move here now.
sunshine. :)
and may i note, this little boy is the most intense bath-taker out there. he really goes for it.
and a soaking wet bathroom is the aftermath.
. blog7 .
wyoming road trip // denver road trip.
roman and i went for a photography + target date the other night, and he was his usual sickly-sweet-with love self.  // "i follow the leader" train in cheyenne
blog8 .
mama + baby love // my favorite horse pasture
winter everywhere.
(( follow me on instagram here! ))


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