the stress that is in my life ~ today

 hello work week in my office. 

 40+ hours at my desk has never made me happier!

my cousin's little girl zania

  because a slice of my job is seasonal, a few times a year i feel  spread too thin to make a sandwich. schools, dance centers, bunnies... sessions with large quantities of images and a skinny time line.  my office helper is out of the country, i am a business control freak, so i have chosen to fly solo these few crazy-busy weeks.  

because this happens occasionally, i know it too will pass. thankfully i have a husband who during these times says, "tell me what can i do to help you?"  he's not thinking laundry or grocery shopping or cooking or cleaning.... he's thinking, "can i bring you a diet pepsi" or "can i pick up the take out food you called in?" :) but hey... every little bit helps when you are on the verge of losing your freaking mind! plus it helps that is so sweet!

but for real ~ all moms are busy right? i am not the only working mother who has not had a day off or a moment to my self in three weeks. 

this season, despite my best organizational / multi-tasking efforts, my days often feel as if they are spiraling into chaos.  

 if stress were set to music, saturday was my crescendo. 

it's up (extra early) with a whirlwind of thoughts storming through my brain. a mega wedding that will take place in a few hours, the fed-x truck that needs to pull in my driveway before i leave, delivering dance pictures for a recital later that afternoon, the fed-x truck arriving,  checking, packaging... thankfully the dance teacher/friend is going to meet me on the way to my wedding... in one hour. 

i shower, dress, pack my equipment, load the car. my mind is racing. i answer/return a half dozen work phone calls and emails. i look at my watch every two minutes, the next 48 hours is guaranteed madness. anna katherine has a latin project due. my youngest needs a mary poppins costume. a neighborhood meeting. the rain. my bridal portrait and 4 other sessions must be rescheduled for sunday afternoon. a sunday school lesson, i will be teaching. passports must be renewed monday by 8am for our trip. my cabinets are seriously bare, the laundry ~ i'll buy new underwear for everyone. my work to do list is a mile long. 

at that moment mary claire decides to have an all out, fall on the floor tantrum. so much more irritating when they are nine.  why?  because her overachieving self wants a poem project turned in extra early. she argues about her chore list. complains, cries,  stomps out and slams my studio door.

deep breath. i try to never yell. i hate yelling. my calm voice is way scarier. but the sensation of a thousand things pulling on me along with the slam of the door made me loose it. yep. i yelled. 

it's 10 am, i dash out of the door feeling guilty beyond belief for losing my temper. her little love tank is probably on empty. my gas tank is empty. i am already late.

i need to talk to my mom. i need caffeine ~ laced with sedatives would be nice. i answer a text from anna katherine wondering why i yelled at mary claire. answer a call from jeff wondering why i screamed at mary claire. i call my mom about losing it with mary claire. passed the dance pictures off to the teacher, sucked down a cup of coffee and head back home. i hugged and kissed my little one and explained things in a calm voice.  she reminds me that she her project is due early.  

back in the car to wait for my wedding helper. i realize the dance groups, the very ones i worked on until 1am, the very ones i overnighted for a small fortune, were still on my desk! not in the box the dance teacher picked up!  

it was too late. 

 my wedding helper gets the time mixed up and is thirty minutes past our planned leave time. anna katherine is pouting because she is having to work with mom and miss a movie with friends. i failed to offer my sweet friend  encouraging words on an important day. she always does this for me. my gps is not working and i forgot all of my lipstick.

at that moment i felt like a puddle of exhausted failure. "God help me to work through the stress that is in my life today."


i could feel the holy spirit wash over me. the remainder of the day was utter perfection. my helper was fabulous. anna katherine is awesome. we all enjoyed our day and captured some amazing images. 

this week i will start over. 
pray for God's grace. 
catch up. 
try my best to remember what is most important. 

it's all worth it :) 
mary claire helps with test shots for a cheer team

so i pray:
My Loving Creator,
You know how really tired I am. On days when things are really frantic, I consider how you made the world in seven days -- and then I try to remember that you aren't asking me to re-create that feat.
Please help me to remain a loving mother to my children and to keep some balance in my life. Help me to remember that you are with me in every packed hour of every day. As I am finishing a work project or planning dinner or buying the kids shoes, (sometimes all at the same time) help me to remember your loving care for me and let me sometimes stop for a moment and just wallow in that.
Most of all, my caring Father, let me remember to ask for help and to rely on you for strength when I have none left; for patience when mine is so often gone; and for the wisdom and endless well of compassion and love I need in my job as mother.

the prom

the day was as fabulous as everyone had hoped! 
the weather, the formal wear, decorations,togetherness was southern perfection! 
prom day at our school is a highly organized affair. it is a day students start looking forward to in middle school.
so it's quite the event!

the day begins with an army of mothers setting up, arranging, decorating... attending to every last detail. my job was to help set up and arrange flowers for the junior dinner party.

the rest of the afternoon ~ it's off to pick up flowers, charge camera batteries, a trip to the dry cleaners, car wash, showers, dress up and out the door again. it warmed my heart to see bennett so excited. he had the sweetest little date.
 we caravanned down as promised. bennett got a head start so he could pick up his date by himself. then we all (both families) met in the park for pictures. and yes, i took a million.

 bennett's date emily is adorable, with the cutest bubbly personality!

this girl loves her brother! the other sister, according to anna katherine, was "off showing herself." not literally, probably just being sassy. all the way home the girls kept talking about how pretty emily looked and how handsome their brother was... slight exaggeration on the brother comments.
we followed him to his car. i wanted a leaving shot. 
this was all he would give... not even in focus :)
then our family of creepers, went to take a look at the prom decorations in the gym. the junior class hosts the prom for the seniors. they have been working their hearts out for an entire school year on the decorations. the juniors vote on a theme that is not revealed until the day of... this year it was disney. i love the sense of ownership the children have in this event.

and then... yes we did...
we wedding crashed the dinner party. 
not really, every other parent of a WH junior was there too. never should these children wonder if they are adored!

daddy offered his table dance lessons ;) bennett was such a great sport... especially we he found out we were only staying five minutes.

immediately after the prom, the kids change into sun dresses, khakis and bow ties for the junior/senior breakfast party... coffee house style. it's quite an exhausting event!

then it is up at school by 9am saturday morning for the juniors... it's prom clean up time. loving that ownership!


boy has it been a wild and crazy week. one of those weeks where there's not a single bit of room on your plate for one more thing. blogging, cleaning, cooking, almost everything has fallen to the waist-side for the sake of work. except  friday. because it is prom day for bennett! we only get to be prom-parents maybe a half dozen times, we're going to live it up honey-boo-boo style. bennett has been mortified that his entire family wants to see him and his date off to the prom. "a caravan? are you all trying to embarrass me?"  

how could these two fashion fabulous people embarrass you?  
hash tag: #whatwerewethinking #fashionemergency #fannypacksrock and yes children, i posted this picture just to embarrass you.
 because i love you and it builds character!

 thankfully we still have one offspring in the golden era of childhood... the time when you get plenty of hugs, hand holding, please come to my school and  hear that you're the prettiest, kindest, best in the whole wide world. our teenagers find us far from fabulous and funny. they find us plain embarrassing! i mean how could this daddy not look cool! and his dance moves are off the chain.  

jeff and i have discovered that embarrassing these two kids, within the confines of our family and the blog world, is one of the most entertaining aspects of our job description. this week we convinced bennett that i am the hired photographer at his prom. the one who will be there to photograph/document everything. from the dinner to the breakfast, his mom and her camera will have a front row seat. this conversation repeats itself... 

"i am so excited that i will get to photograph all the prom action."
"you are not the photographer. i asked. they hired a lady from town."
"oh. so that's what they're telling you?"
"seriously, mom?!"
"i will be invisible. i promise."
"i'm not going."

of course i am not the photographer at his prom. 
so he will be happy when all he has to do is meet his family for a 15 minute photo session in the park.  

monday, i heart you!

it's monday... praise God!
have i mentioned how much i love mondays... my saturday? ;)
i think yes ~ i may have just mentioned this a dozen+ times.
we are all moving at a snails pace after a fabulous weekend. the girls played, enjoyed friends and church activities. jeff accomplished a heap of yard work. bennett went back to his job on the farm. my camera and i drove 500+ miles as we worked and worked and worked... which is a good thing. ready for another b.u.s.y. week... the prom is friday!

now for a few iphone pics!
 kittyboy continues to love a ride in mary claire's bike basket.
 charlie does too...

after a fun evening run/bike ride/wild onion picking, 
our pooch ran his little legs off!

fainting and crying

it's a phobia and a big fat nuisance. blood~pain~injury, making me feel light headed to the point i can faint. the talk, the sight, just the thought makes my knees weak. just recently i have been able to psych myself out enough to not pass out every time i give they take take blood.  

a few years ago  mary claire accidentally head-butted me in the nose, resulting in black eyes and a swollen face. a few days later, with thoughts of a crooked nose, i made a trip to the ent. just in case.  the doctor, who lacked in personality, started pushing and probing around. then he asked me to bend over, in serious cases 'spinal fluid' can drip from your nose.  

oh no you didn't just say that. the blood started draining to my legs... seconds later, without much of a warning,  i was out cold!  this poor personality-less doctor, i forgot to mention to him that i was crazy! when i came to, he was rattled. i tried my best to explain, "i'm fine, really. i am just a fainter. talk bloody to me and i'll do it again."   he would not allow me to leave alone. so my mother drove from across town just to walk me to my car. crazy.  but it would come in handy if i were ever being chased by a predator and needed to play dead. 

anyway. like fainting at the word 'blood',  
i can also 'cry' at the word college. 
and it's coming so soon :'( 
next year i'll be crying a river. 

high school allows a few days during your junior year to tour colleges.  
we decided to take advantage of one and visit a school in the top three choices. 
the citadel

the school was so impressive. the admission counselor was fabulous. first there was an interview followed with a question and answer session. i was very, very careful to reign in my helicopter mom ways.  i did not interject any  comments.... like this school would be a good fit for bennett because he has the potential of being a hoarder.  i said nothing of the sort. 

so i was shocked when the counselor left the room and bennett looked at me with clenched teeth. obviously not happy.

"could you please ~  just try ~ 
to not embarrass me for once? "

what!? what in the world are you talking about?

"you asked him if the citadel had a SWIM TEAM! seriously! 
a military school and you want me on the swim team."

dang ~ my bad. i thought swimming was pretty cool. as in michael phelps cool. they didn't have a swim team anyway! and he's lucky i forgot my big camera ;)
 the above sight made me happy-happy. 

my boy hates a hair cut! 
better get used to it if this is your pick.


we found our kittens a couple days after they were born.
fives precious little guys hidden under a thick patch of briars.

four of the five are ploy dactyls.
i swear this is the cutest thing next to a real life baby.
i'm thankful i can use the excuse (even though it rings some truth)
that we need lots of outside cats to ward off snakes.
yeah that's me freezing my tail off on the boat over spring break.
there wasn't another boat in sight.... but still ~
 i was embarrassing anna katherine.

the track season is coming to an end. 

during these busy weeks, it's nice to have something to look forward to. on a whim we booked another weekend to remember. after my busy time and right after some thyroid therapy. seriously, i'm counting the days.

 {i LOVE this conference}

because we're going to run piggyback at sunset, on the beach while laughing hysterically ... 
i mean really.
could they have at least chosen a picture that depicts real life? 
my educated guess is this couple is engaged, does not have children or they're paid actors. 
just sayin' ;) 

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