Last week, I shared how I finally grabbed my BIG camera again and became 100% focused on Luca, while snapping all the JOY he was filling my heart up with.  After he had his coconut water fun, he found the play kitchen and sat for a moment to make a cupcake.

It’s these moments that I LOVE to capture, because, first, they don’t last long and second, there’s nothing more heart melting than watching your two-year-old focus 100% on the task at hand.

Trying to velcro the candle on, with his little hands, his cheeks puffed out, his little teeny, tiny nose, his red lips, his eye lashes, his hair, his cute little feet and that sweater!!! Oh, this is what I LOVE LOVE LOVE to savor most of all.

To me, it’s more than just a quick shot so I can remember this moment for years to come and it’s all about capturing all those little details that I wish I could slow down, but am lucky enough to have captured so I can remember the FEELING that this moment brought me for many years to come.

The FEELING of smiling as I watched him.  The FEELING of how proud I was of him playing on his own in this way.  The FEELING of my heart warming as I watched him blossom more into the little boy he is becoming.  The FEELING of remembering him as a baby and how he’s SO not a baby anymore.  The FEELING of how grateful I am that he chose me as his mother and that I get to experience his JOY and my JOY at the same time and SO.MUCH.MORE! 

It’s those FEELINGS that I truly wanna savor and capture!!

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Because, for me, when I finally allow myself to get out of my head with my camera, sit down with my children, in this way, while snapping and just BEing with them at the same time, it’s in that moment, that I realize, that this is the easiest way for me to truly BE present and SAVOR all those amazing FEELINGS for as long as can.

And that my friends IS exactly why I take the pictures that I do and why I love savoring life through the lens.  Because every time I look back on these moments that I captured, I’m still lit up with JOY and LOVE from that moment…every single time!! And I just LOVE LOVE LOVE it, SO, SO much!!

 

Until next time, 

Live life slowit’s the only way to savor what you love (and capture it, too!)

 

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Like I said on Tuesday, It’s been quite awhile since I’ve broken out my big DSLR camera.  I’m SO thankful for my iPhone.  It’s allowed me to continue to snap the moments that STOP me in my tracks and fill me with BIG, happy smiles.

A few weeks back, while Luca was content, playing on his own, I snuck away to the computer to read up on a blogging course I’m currently taking, called Feel Good Blogging, by Alex Beadon.  (I LOVE Alex Beadon!! If you’re not following her, you really should!! She’s SO, SO great!! Such an inspiration!!)

In the background, I could (see out of the corner of my eye) hear Luca talking his sweet talks. When I finally looked over, I STOPPED and just SMILED!! I couldn’t take my eyes of off him and I began to feel all warm and tingly within.

He had lined up a few of my coconut waters (which have been sitting on the floor of the pantry for about 9 months now…Ha!) on the window sill.  In an instant, I was motivated from within, grabbed my BIG camera, blew the dust off of it and went over to him and just watched him, while I snapped away.

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He was LOVING these waters!!  And I was LOVING watching him LOVE it!!

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Who knew that trying to figure out how to open them would keep him occupied for longer than 10 minutes!! WHOA!! lol.

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Once he moved to the table, he had to take a second to look out the window and check on the birds in the backyard.   So cute!!

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After saying hello to the birds, he was after me with the waters and was telling me over and over to look at them. “Look, Mommy! Look! Look, Mommy look!”

Then he dropped them and just looked down at them with his, sweet, teeny-tiny, two-year-old face.   One that I ALWAYS love to savor!!

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Not a minute later, he was off to the slide with his new toys.

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And just like a boy, with a few throws, every single water made it up to the top with him.  Ha!

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And then, a new game started.  He’d throw them all down to the floor.

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And then he’d slide down (but first he had to figure out if he wanted to go down on his tummy or bottom…bottom won every time!)…

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to greet them all.  He did this for about 20 minutes.  Up and down…up and down.  It was the best!!

Until, finally, he had to get another glimpse of the birds outside.

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The entire time I was just BEing with him and snapping away, my insides were fired up.  I had to stop myself from running to the computer to start editing what I had already snapped.

It was nuts.  I kept saying, “Renee…slow down.  If you stop now, you’ll miss even more special moments that’ll light up your heart with love.”  I have a tendency to get really excited about things and BE so enthusiastic and excited that I completely forget about patience. Ha!  But, photography, for me, is just sitting and BEing in the moment while snapping what I see.  It’s about waiting and just soaking in what I’m seeing.  Because, when I wait, that’s when moments happen that light me up even more than I could have ever imagined. 

I realized that because it had been SO long, I was passionately energized and missed doing what my heart loves.   Because this IS exactly what happens every time I take out my BIG camera.  Once I snap, I can’t wait to get on the computer and edit.  But these days, I struggle, because my kids don’t let me sit at the computer.  And once I start, I can’t stop. And I hate stopping! lol. 

So after this moment (and more moments I snapped after this, which I’ll post next week!), I realized that I was shown exactly what JOY means to me.  For so long, I’ve been trying to connect with what lights me up and what brings me JOY.

Deep down, I’ve always known it’s photography.  But, my head likes to get in the way.  I’ve struggled with pursuing photography because my heart doesn’t like to take ‘posed’ shots.  When I take shots that are thought about ahead of time or require props and perfectly matched clothes I get super frustrated, I sweat because I’m SO frazzled and my pictures snapping doesn’t flow.

My head has continued to tell me that people don’t want the photos I take…they want only the ‘posed’ shots, perfectly matched clothes and requires props. I’d listen and then forget about taking action on putting my photography out there more.

When I take pictures of life, where I STOP in the moment, because I’m moved from within…moved with a BIG smile…moved with happy tingles and saying, “OMG!! I LOVE THIS!! MUST CAPTURE IT ASAP!!”  I’ve come to learn that this is where I truly shine.  It has to move me from within first!!  And my thoughts have to be saying, “I LOVE THIS!!” and not, “let me figure out how to set up this moment and then let me look at where the light is, OK, now I’ll snap”

And, yeah, after 5 years, I’m finally listening to my gut and putting this out there.  This is WHO I am as a photographer and it’s finally time for me to let it shine more and more here.  I can NOT take pictures based on rules that are filled in my head.  I can ONLY take pictures based on inner, happy love tingles and then all those “rules” may (or may not) come second.  It’s the moment that’s lighting me up that matters most.  It’s those moments that I want to slow down and savor for as long as I can.  Because it’s those moments that don’t last long because life moves way too fast!!   And it’s my camera that allows me to do just that!!  And, honestly, it doesn’t matter what kind of camera, but my heart just really LOVES to have control over the settings so I can capture (and edit) the moment EXACTLY how I saw it in person and so whoever is looking at my photos can feel like they are right there, live, in the moment, too! 

So, I’m letting it all out there.  I’m starting to pick up my BIG camera again (and iPhone cameras are still just as awesome! But, I will say, I can get more caught up in trying to edit the pictures and post them to social media while the moment is still happening…which is another great reason why my BIG camera is really great at having me 100% focused on the moment…I can’t edit right away and I can’t post to social media right away) so I can stay connected to WHO I am and what I LOVE!!

And that’s using my camera to slow down and SAVOR what lights up my busy mama heart with love.   Be it, my mama moments, who my kids are, my doodles, my kids doodles, nature and yummy food…anything that warms my heart with joyous, happy love (and even the moments that aren’t happy…because it’s those moments that make me SEE the happy more!!! )

If it wasn’t for my camera, I wouldn’t be easily pulled into the present moment to truly SAVOR a moment like this one above.  I could have just watched my little guy from my computer chair from the other room, all while continuing to try to pay attention to him while trying to continue to read the blog course material.

And we all know multi-tasking does NOT work and does not have you living in the PRESENT moment! 

I would have missed SO much.  But, having my camera in hand, allowed me to forget everything in my head and had me focused on my heart and the present moment that was filling it with JOY.  

The blogging course material will always be there, but my little guy, like this…won’t.  He’ll be outta the house before I know it and playing with coconut water in this way will be the thing of the past.

When he looks back at this moment of himself, I’m sure he’s gonna be like, “I DID THAT???”  And, I’m gonna tell YES and I LOVED every second of it!! 

So, I hope, that I, too, can inspire you to use your camera in this same way.  

Because life IS about savoring what matters most in life…because as we all know, each stage of life moves fast…so, why not use your camera to shoot beyond the traditional birthday, the family portrait and the first and last day of school moments (which, these are very important, too!!), because it’s those every day moments that fill your heart up with love that are the ones we truly wish could slow down so we can savor them more, right?

 

Until next time…

Live life slowit’s the only way to truly savor what you love (and capture it, too!)

Oh, and be sure to come back next week because I have lots more to share from this day of just BEing and snapping WHO Luca is right now, in his stage of life.

 

  • Love this Renee! You captured so many beautiful moments by being present with your camera. Such a gift. <3ReplyCancel

    • Renée

      thank you SO much Brit! I always LOVE your work!!ReplyCancel

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I have every intention to blog here on a consistent basis.  Every fiber in me wants to be blogging, every day.  But, in this stage of my life, home, taking care of my two little kiddos, leaves me pretty exhausted by the time both are tucked into bed, fast asleep, which then, has me tucked into bed right after, which then leaves for very little time to update the blog.

My heart misses blogging here on a consistent basis, and my heart misses taking pictures with my BIG camera, too (more on this below!), so I’ve finally decided to give myself two days a week to blog consistently.

As of today, I’ve chosen Tuesday and Thursdays to be my “official” post a blog post days.  In order for me to do this, I have to have something set in stone.  If I just say, “oh, I’ll blog whenever the time comes,” doesn’t really work out so well for me.  (And if I miss day, that’s OK!)

Last Spring, I was blogging every day of the week.  I LOVED it, but then summer came, and my kiddos needed ALL of me.  And these days, my kiddo’s are my #1 priority.

Then, C started Kindergarten, and then I told myself to just do NOTHING, when Luca goes down for his nap.  And that’s EXACTLY what I’ve been doing.  During this time of rest and stillness, I’ve become more clear and connected as to what I want to pursue (beyond motherhood).

I picked up my BIG camera again a few weeks ago and I was jolted with my passionate energy that always comes through from behind the lens.  I miss connecting to this SO much.

But, what I’ve come to connect with even more, is that I’m NOT someone who “thinks” about what kind of pictures I’m going to take before I press “click” to capture a moment.

I’m someone who takes pictures based on how I’m FEELING within.  When I SEE something that makes me STOP and puts a HUGE smile on my face and then I go and grab my camera.  This is the only way I know how to capture the moments that I do.

I’m not looking for light, trying to figure out composition or focusing on camera rules…I’m just focusing on capturing the moment, how I see it happening right in front of me.  Sure, BIG camera rules are needed, and I’ve learned how to take my pictures on manual, but my first rule in my picture taking is that it MUST move me from within first.  Then lighting and settings and composition come second.  

And last week, this is EXACTLY what happened.

My in-laws were here for Thanksgiving.  The Wednesday before, I was in the kitchen, getting all my ingredients ready for baking a pumpkin pie.  I was ALONE in the kitchen.  Kids were outside with their Grandmother and my husband and his Dad were out at the store.

I was in HEAVEN!!  It’s been SO long since I’ve baked (or cooked!) in a nice, quiet kitchen, with no little kiddo’s asking for a drink or a snack or me having to leave the kitchen to help bring peace between two siblings who are fighting.

I was literally in tears because I connected with how much I LOVE to be in my kitchen in this way (I had thought I had lost my love cooking, but after this moment, I sure haven’t…oh, thank goodness!!).

While gathering the sugar, the canned pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg and pie crust…I looked out the window and saw my kids giggling and smiling BIG while gathering all the leaves that have fallen on the ground and throwing on each other.

I immediately STOPPED and SMILED and knew, deep within my gut, that I had to STOP what I was doing, grab my camera and go out there and just BE and WATCH and SNAP them while they were BEing filled with SO.MUCH.JOY!!

This is a moment, I knew, was exactly WHO they are right now, in their little, teeny, tiny lives and it was a moment I truly wanted to SAVOR and NOT miss.

Out I went, with my BIG camera and snapped and watched and just soaked in the JOY that they were spreading.

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Ya just never know what’s gonna happen next year, as they grow one year older, if they’re gonna BE this EXCITED to play with the leaves (and be super happy when they throw them on each other, too!).

Sometimes, living down here in Louisiana, I can look at the leaves at this time of year, and think, man, they don’t even compare to the fall leaves up in Virginia, and it can make me sad that we don’t have the vibrant colors that I experienced while living up there.

But then, when a moment like this happens, that makes me STOP, SMILE  and fills me with warm, happy tingles, that I’m reminded that it doesn’t matter where you live to experience JOY no matter what.

My kids could care less if those leaves were vibrant in color when they fell to the ground.  All they thought was “lets go have some fun in leaves” and that’s EXACTLY what they did.

Every day, my kids remind me of what matters most in life and what’s truly most important…and that’s to let go and laugh more, because there IS so much FUN to be had in life!!

And, every day, I thank them for that!!

Because, for me, what it all comes down to is…living life slow, so I can truly savor what I love (and capture it, too!).

 

So with that, I hope you’re still here with me and I hope you’re continue on here with me as I begin to blog more on consistent basis on savoring life through the lens.  Because, what I know for sure, after my few months of doing NOTHING, is that I’m here to be a savoring life photographer in which, I use my skills and talents to inspire and touch lives through the life ‘as is’ moments that I capture.

Thank you for being here!

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After school settled a bit, we celebrated lil’ bro turning two.  It truly felt like the his day took forever to get here, since we had been going through C’s transition the entire month.

 He turned two the end of her first month of school.  August is the busiest month of the year for our little family!! 

He LOVES LOVES LOVES balloons (and bubbles and balls).  So this year, I found some balloon cupcake toppers for a little balloon theme for his birthday.  And, yes, he was in LOVE!!  He actually had more fun eating the balloons than the cupcake.  Ha!:)

“BaaaallloooooooonSSSSSSSS!!  “BaaaaaaallllooooonnnnnnSSSSSSSS!!”   He stresses the “S” big time. So cute!!

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We took him to the Aquarium and then just hung out as a family and enjoyed him on his new tricycle, that now both kids have of their own.  Whew!! No more fighting over that one…well, now they each want each others! Ha! But, overall, it was a nice and relaxing day.

Once the cupcakes came out, that’s when the party really started. Right!! :):)

Trying SO hard to reach for his cupcake. 

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Let the cupcake eating begin!

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“Mmmmmm….Yum!   Mmmmmm…Good!”  is what he always says these days when he eats something he likes.  Always makes me smile, BIG!!

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Showing him what to do.  Gotta love having a big sibling!:)

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Still trying to figure it out.

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Then Daddy got in on the fun, showing him how to eat a cupcake, step-by-step.  

Pick up the cupcake.

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Take the paper off.

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Take a bite.

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Then look up and say, “MMMMMMMMMMMM…..this is GOOOOOD!!”

Oh!!! That’s how you do it!!  Now, can I have yours!?!

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Then it was back to figuring out how to eat his. 

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While the rest of us chowed down ours.

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The more he played, the more he figured it out.

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And the more laughs and giggles were had.

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Until…it was all gone!   Oh, that face!!

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And, for some fun, I played with video on my camera for the first time.  In this, you get see the birthday boy and hear about a really cool dream big sis had.

She had just gotten a new mermaid doll from the Aquarium, so she had mermaids on the mind and lil’ bro kept trying to eat the balloons, and we kept telling him not too, so she had “something getting stuck in your throat” on the mind, too….which you can see in the 2nd video.  LOL!

 

Like I said, you can see in this video where her dream came from. LOL!  Please be patient with me while I’m trying to figure out my settings on the camera with this one.  I’m hoping to learn more so I can add more video to the blog soon! Yay!!:)

 

We love you SO much, buddy boy!!  You are one shining bright light!!

You amaze me how you ALWAYS have a smile on your face (even in that last ultrasound I had on 30 something weeks while pregnant with you!!) and how you ALWAYS light up everyone you make eye contact with.

It’s such a joy to witness this as we cart you around the stores and you talk to everyone that walks by.  And every single person stops and says, he’s just smiling at me, as they smile back.  Best feeling in the world that you do this for people!!

You complete our little family in so many wonderful ways.  

We can’t wait to watch you grown more and more into YOU as you adventure on as being two!!!  And, wow, look how much you’ve grown!!

 

Until next time…

Live life slow…it’s the only way to truly savor what you love (and capture it, too!).  And boy, does lil’ bro remind of us of that while eating his cupcake!!

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Let me tell ya…I had been anticipating this day all summer.  Oh, no, wait!  I’ve been anticipating this day since the day she was born!!  Ha!

If you read, what I learned on my daughter’s first day of pre-k, then I’m sure you know why.

I really thought I was going to have to leave her, arms out, screaming again at me, “MOMMY!! HELP ME!!!” with the most terrified look on her face.  Thank goodness, that didn’t happen.  Her first day went well.  It was just half her class, and she seemed to enjoy it.

Me on the other hand…I was a MESS!!!

As soon as her teacher came out to get the kids, my eyes started to tear and they wouldn’t stop.  Luckily, I had my sunglasses on, so she couldn’t see my tears starting to form.

And after she went on her way, I was thankful that D was with me so he could drive home.  I was a mess for almost over an hour. My tears just flowed and flowed (and I will blame this on Aunt Flo’s upcoming visit!! HA!! Oh, and the fact that lil’ bro went around the house, yelling out, “CEECEE!!! Where are you????”

As a former elementary school teacher, I always knew, that once she entered Kindergarten, that was it. Our days of hanging out, playing and just BEing together all day long, are now lessened.

I’m also very aware of all the work she’s going to have to do now, and I was definitely worried and excited with how she was going to handle it.  It’s  a big difference from Pre-K to Kindergarten, ya know?  Especially these days with SO much testing that goes on in the school system.

So on this morning, I was NOT calm.  I didn’t spend a lot of time with my camera.  So I’m glad I was able to snap these real quick.

When I was younger, I can still remember the pictures my mom took of me, in my uniform, just like hers, in front of our door, every first day of the new school year.  So my intention, is that when my kids grow older, they’ll enjoy looking back on these, posed shots, as much as I did.  Oh, and that little scratch on her face is from lil’ bro.  Guess he wanted to go to school with her, too.;) 

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I was SO excited that she was happy to be going and was still being her silly self!!

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Then the second day of Kindergarten came and that’s when we both spent the next 2 to almost 3 weeks crying.  Oh man!!!

To me, the hardest thing ever, is leaving her in a new setting, not knowing anything or anyone, crying.  As soon as I’d drop her off.  She’d sit down, in the class line, and then she’d start crying.  I’d walk away, trying to hold it together, then get in my car and cry.

Once home, the day would just DRAG!! I couldn’t wait to go pick her up.  But, luckily, when I’d pick her up, she was happy, but TIRED!!

Oh man, some days (and we still have a few here and there) it felt like she was 2 again.  She would have HUGE tired meltdowns in the car.

I made the mistake, on the third day, bringing her to pick up cupcakes for her birthday celebration at school, when I was checking out she saw a Sofia the First table she wanted.  I told her no, and the entire ride home cried LOUD!!!!  Oh, the joy!  Makes your heart break into pieces because you know it’s all stemming from her adjustment to longer days at school and tons of new information she’s learning.  So hard!!

That first Friday, I gave her yogurt in a container, for her lunch.  All of this, bringing lunch to school, is new for me, too.

I thought someone would have helped her opened it.  Well, she didn’t ask and she tried it herself, and it spilled all over her.  It was on her shoes, all over her uniform and her bow.  She seemed fine with it, but man, I felt AWFUL for putting her through that.  I apologized to her and I told her that we’d just save the yogurt for home.  As I told myself, over and over again that I was NEVER doing that again!!!  (But, now she’s bringing the stick yogurt in and is asking for help…Yay!! No spilling since!! )

The following week was still rough.  We had mornings where she was refusing to put her uniform on and was crying and fighting me.  I tried my best to stay strong and not cry with her.  As the week went on, I was still picking her up happy (and TIRED!!), and she was starting to tell me, “Mom, I cried today…” like it wasn’t a big deal anymore.

That was getting me through those rough mornings.

Because her adjustment was longer this time (it only took her 3 days to adjust to Pre-K), I was doubting my decisions that I made for her BIG TIME!!!! 

I had never seen her NOT want to go to school.  She never once refused school while at Pre-K.  She even wanted to go when she was sick.  So this was SO foreign to me, which was part of the reason I was doubting my decisions I’ve made for her (since she was born…ha!).

Did I pick the right school? 

Did I not keep her in the Pre-K program long enough?  

Maybe 3 hours wasn’t as good enough preparation for Kindergarten as I thought it would?

Maybe I was being too selfish by wanting her to be home with me in the afternoons, since I’m home and I want this time with her, before big school comes?

Maybe I started her too soon?  Maybe she should have started Kindergarten next year?

Maybe I should homeschool her?

Oh my head was a mess!! And, I was moving further and further away from trust and faith and that this IS all normal!!

At first, she was mainly crying for me, but then the crying for me moved to telling me it was too much work and she wanted to play.  Which is understandable, coming from Pre-K.  So, I was happy that this seemed to be the only downfall she was continuing to talk to me about.

I also knew, at this time, I needed to work on my inner thoughts.  I started thinking more positively and visualizing all good things for her (and I) at school.  I started to move more into a trust and faith mindset and soon enough, just like I’ve learned every time in life, things ALWAYS work out just as they should and things ALWAYS get better and that every situation is all about GROWTH, so this is NOT a bad thing that’s happening right now.  It’s all actually SO, SO good!!  And, really, there’s SO many more GOOD days than BAD…every single time!! 

I was reminded, again, something I heard Dr. Michael Bernard Beckwith say, on his livestream at Agape, that has stuck with me since I heard it, is that… it’s not what you’re going through…it’s what you’re GROWING through!!

He’s SO right on with those words. I love him SO much!! Such an amazing man!!

So, soon enough, by the end of the third week, everything started to flow more smoothly.  

The thing with C, is that she’s very much like me, how I was when I was younger.  She’s not comfortable around adults.  It takes her time to adjust.  With all those new teachers to meet this year, I knew that was part of the reason she was scared to go.  Once she settled into her “new” schedule, and I settled into mine, things shifted.  Which, I always knew they would.  

But, again, just like last year, I’m put through another growth spurt, just like she is.  And, another round of trusting that life is good!!  SO, SO GOOD! And staying in that mindset longer than the fears, doubts and worries mindset.

It’s been so long since I’ve been in school and I’ve forgotten what it’s like to start a class with no one I know.  So, again, I’m reminded, that right now, I’m living life too comfortable.  And that comfort isn’t helping me grow.

C did amazing!!  Going to a new school, only having one little friend from her Pre-K class there with her, but not in her class.  Meeting new teachers and learning new material, and now she’s so happy (and still tired!! Ha!) and talking about her friends and her teachers every day.

It’s this situation, right here, that is the biggest reminder of all…that walking through fear is the best thing any of us can do, because every time we do this, there’s SO much light and fun and laughter and inner growth and inner strength and inner connectedness to who we truly are and what we truly love is waiting for us on the other side.  I’m SO grateful I have my kids to keep reminding of this.  To show me the way.  To help me stay connected to this no matter how old I am and how much of life I already know. 

It’s this, that builds our confidence and allow us to continue to shine bright.

Camille, you are my #1 teacher and I love you SO much for that!!  You help me to see what’s truly important when it comes to living life and you show me exactly how I need to get out there and live!!  

And most of all, you’ve allowed me to really dig deep within myself and connect to WHO I truly am…someone I’m now ready to let out more!! 

I thank you every single day for that!!  

I’m SO proud to be your mother and watch your amazing, awesome self blossom and grow!!  

What a difference a year makes…for both of us!!

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And now it’s my turn to walk through that fear. :):)

Which I do have major plans in store for just that, which I’m really, REALLY, really excited about!!

 

SO TELL ME….

Does this sound familiar?  Was it hard for you to let your child or children go off into the world without you?  I’d love to know that I’m not the only one who was crying in the car after drop off. :):)   

I do think, when it’s lil’ bro’s turn, it will go much smoothly, since he see’s big sis going to school.  Hoping!!;)

 

Until next time…

Live life slow…it’s the only way to stay more in trust and faith mode and truly savor what you love (and capture it, too!)

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