In My House

Black Hills Summer Photo Session

I’m finally getting around to sharing the photos from our session last month with Tayhart Photography. Tarin is so talented! My littlest one was not the best participant, but the pictures portray her as the angel she (usually) is.

wiederholt2018-83

I love how Tarin captured the real “us.” She incorporated our love of reading to the girls. She photographed my youngest’s seriousness and curiosity and my oldest’s fun-loving spirit.

wiederholt2018-122

wiederholt2018-39

wiederholt2018-108

wiederholt2018-118

Tarin is a mom of six and so she had no trouble at all making my little ones feel at ease. I love outdoor photos in the beautiful Black Hills. While these were taken a few miles from our house, the images truly look like the landscape of our own backyard.

wiederholt2018-145

wiederholt2018-53

Tarin’s attention to detail is impeccable. Her turn-around time is also super quick, which was great because I was chomping at the bit to see the images she captured. Thank you, Tarin for capturing our little family and the beautiful region where we live.

wiederholt2018-95

wiederholt2018-35

All photos by Tayhart Photography.

Advertisements
In My House

Which is Harder: Backing Out of the Garage or Squeezing into a New Swimsuit?

I hit my driver’s side mirror on the side of the garage door while backing out today. Again. I shrugged it off. I do this about once a month. My car is tiny so I have absolutely no excuse. I live in cattle country where a lot of women can back up a Ford F-150 pulling a trailer in their sleep while applying lipstick. Not me, girl.

Speaking of no excuses and squeezing into tight places, it’s swimsuit season. I was planning to be in super awesome shape by mid-June, but the baby weight (yeah, I know, she’s 14 moths old now) lingers. I don’t feel anywhere near as svelte as I would like to be, but I am getting back into a fitness routine that I can follow at least part of the time. I put the swimsuit on anyway.

IMG_1189

As I was splashing in our hotel pool with my two daughters I totally forgot about the added pounds. I forgot about my work stress and my endless list of tasks to accomplish. My daughters don’t care about a few extra pounds (even though they put them there). They just want to have fun in the pool with their mommy.

As women we are usually our own toughest critics. What it boils down to is that if my daughters feel loved and I am taking the time to care for myself so I have the energy to care for them, I consider myself successful. I will never look like a Victoria’s Secret model or completely cross off every item on my ever-growing To Do List, but there’s more happiness in a little bit of imperfection any day. And please be sure to tell that to my husband when he finally notices the dings in the side of my garage door.

 

 

 

Adventures

The Good, The Bad, The Beefarino: Why We Travel with Small Children

I think this picture is about the most accurate depiction of what it is like to travel with a one-year-old and a three-year-old. My oldest daughter is having the time of her life, basking in the glory that is a pink, sparkly horse-drawn carriage ride through the streets of San Antonio, her new stuffed purple shark from Sea World within arm’s reach. My one-year-old is having a complete, nap-deprived tantrum. Did I mention it is Mother’s Day? Did I mention the horse had just eaten an entire can of Beefarino? I’m kidding on that last part of course (Seinfeld-reference) but traveling with small children, whether by car or plane, is no joke!

IMG_1372

So why do we do it?

I love traveling. There is something about getting away and exploring a new place that completely fills my soul. I think the best part of taking family vacations, even if they’re a modest trip to a hotel (with a pool…always with a pool) in a nearby city, is the time we get to focus only on our little family of four. I’m not thinking about laundry or groceries, I try to keep work thoughts to a minimum, and I’m able to really just be with the ones I love the most.

As chaotic as it can be, I find that almost immediately after returning from a trip with the girls, I only remember the good things. If I think hard enough I can conjure up the images of my one-year-old screaming her lungs out on the airplane or my three-year-old’s disgusting love of using any and all drinking fountains she encounters. Instead I remember their laughter at the sea lions at Sea World, my baby swimming for the first time, and my oldest daughter smiling through every moment of her princess carriage ride. The happy memories always overshadow the inconveniences of traveling with littles ones and make it oh so worth it.

I want to instill this love of exploring in my daughters, and give them memories of fun times during which I was entirely and completely focused on them. And I don’t even want a stuffed purple shark. The only souvenir I need is the happy memories and the fun, focus, and willingness to go with the flow that I hope will linger into our everyday life long after we return.

Adventures

Motherhood Should Come with a Lifetime Supply of Kleenex

She’s three, sitting there bravely waiting to have her ears pierced, and I’m digging frantically in my purse for one of the little packs of Kleenex I can never be without. They’re not for her. I look away, pretending to be interested in a display of tacky pink feather boas, hoping she doesn’t notice my tears.

IMG_1050

Her sister will be one in a week. Again, I am reaching for Kleenex as I put finishing touches on her birthday party plans and wonder where the last year has gone. I can’t help but think that motherhood has made me soft. But in reality, it has also made me incredibly strong because I know I can and would do anything for these two girls.

I kick myself for crying because, well, I’m usually a little embarrassed about it. But, when you think about it, maybe that willingness to be vulnerable and to love deeply is actually one of our super-hero powers as parents. Capes are the new mom-jean.

Audrey April 2018

I know reaching for those little packs of Kleenex is just part of my life now. I’ll be digging for them at first days of school, graduations, and wedding days, and all of the milestones in between. I wouldn’t change it. Motherhood is such a deep, consuming type of love. We can’t describe it, and we can’t contain it, so sometimes the only thing left to do is to invest in a lifetime supply of little Kleenex packs. We are going to need them, and that’s a good thing, because I really believe most of those tears will be the happy kind.

Adventures

Who Gets the Best Version of Me?

A little voice crept into my head a few days back asking this question. I had given my all at work that day, put in extra hours, and was not being as kind or patient with my husband or daughters as I would like to be. I was drained. Who gets the best version of me? That day it certainly wasn’t the three people I love most in the world.

adsad

(Photo by Alyssa Crawford Photography)

We can’t be “on” all the time. Well, at least I can’t. I get tired. I get impatient. I feel pulled in too many directions. I feel guilty.

Something has to give. I have found that I frequently use up every ounce of positive energy I can muster at work or on other tasks that do not include being a loving and kind wife and mother. My husband and daughters didn’t tell me this. They’re not complaining. Still, I can tell I’m not giving them my all. They’re not getting the best me.

Guess what? My endless work email list will still be there if I take a full hour lunch break to recharge. No one will be any worse off if I fully engage in playing ballerinas with my daughters instead of mentally making a grocery list or worrying about the next week’s work priorities.

Who are the people who really matter in your life? Do you dwell on an unpleasant exchange with a person you rarely see or don’t even know instead of nurturing the loving relationships close to you? I know I am guilty of this.

I am not proposing we slack off at work or start being rude to the strangers we encounter, but sometimes I’m a lot friendlier to the cashier at the grocery store than I am to my own husband. Who gets the best version of me? By asking myself this question regularly, rather than beat myself up for being a sub-par wife and mother, I hope to be more aware, take care of myself better, and save some energy and positivity at the end of the day for those who matter most.

Adventures

Momming Jessie Spano Style

Do you ever feel that when Jessie Spano had her epic meltdown on Saved by the Bell, she might have been speaking to how her viewers would feel years later when they became parents of small children?

“No time! Never any time! I don’t have time to study. I’ll never get into Stanford!”

I feel that way sometimes (well, except I’m not really worried about getting into Stanford) when all the tasks of work and parenthood seem like too much. If you remember the episode, Type A Jessie overwhelms herself by trying to be perfect at everything. She can’t accept earning a B instead of an A. Then, her caffeine pill addiction spirals out of control until A.C. Slater, pleated acid wash jeans and all, intervenes with the help of Zack Morris.

1

(Photo by Alyssa Crawford Photography)

Sometimes I feel like I really have it together. I mailed Christmas cards early. My children are fed and have clean clothes. I cook legit dinners a few times a week. I make it to work on time.

But there are many, many moments when any semblance of perfection flies right out the window. I wiped my baby’s nose with my bare hand in front of her daycare provider last week, then proceeded to analyze my action over the next hour. Does this woman think I’m the most disgusting person ever? For the record, I did wash my hands thoroughly a few minutes later.

If there is one thing we can learn from Jessie Spano is to cut ourselves some slack. Perfection cannot be the goal for everything. Something has to give!

Sometimes I need to park my kids in front of cartoons so my house isn’t completely filthy. Sometimes I need to say no to a volunteering opportunity to just stay home for a couple of hours. Sometimes my baby uses a pacifier so we can sleep at night and I bribe my three-year-old with candy to clean up her toys. Sometimes I have a baby bottle in one hand and a glass of wine in the other.

We have to prioritize, be kind to ourselves, stop judging others, and be willing to say no without feeling tremendous guilty. I am working on all of these things as I try to remind myself daily that doing my very best is enough. And if all else fails, let’s launch into our best version of “I’m So Excited” and wait for Zack Morris and his huge cell phone show up before we pop that second caffeine pill.

In My House

The Bond of Sisterhood

Almost exactly a year ago I found out I was expecting my second daughter. This news delighted me, and I could not wait to watch my daughters begin to develop what I hoped would be a lifelong friendship. Having no sisters of my own, I am fascinated by the strong, sometimes-tumultuous, fiercely loyal bond between sisters. Even as young as they are, I can see this between my girls.

Sister

(Photo by Alyssa Crawford Photography)

I am so fortunate to be the person who, along with their Daddy, gets to nurture their independent spirits and help them find their own distinct personalities. I hope that even when they argue, and I know they will, they will always love each other and be there for one another. They are each individuals, yet compliment each other so beautifully.

No one makes my youngest daughter laugh the way her sister can. My oldest is a genuine protector of her baby sister, a characteristic that was present instantly the moment she met her in the hospital room. Both girls light up our world just by being in it.

Those of us without biological sisters find our “sisters” throughout life. I am blessed to have some very close friendships that withstand time and distance. These relationships sustain me when life gets tough. Those ladies are my sisters, not by blood, but by memories, shared laughter, and countless conversations. Whatever sisterhood means to you, there is no denying it is special and something to be cherished.