Friday, December 19, 2014

{JOY - Reegan's Christmas Recital}

Yet another real life moment that ends in a blessing. If you have been reading about us lately here on the blog you have learned that I'm not super thrilled with the level of involvement I have had at Reegan's school this year. More about that is that I now pick up the boys from daycare and Ryan handles the drop off and pick up of Reegan. Total team effort and it works well for us but my interaction with her teachers is basically nonexistent. Well we had a minor communication error and we thought Reegan's recital started at started at 6:30PM. RUT ROW! So I was wrong when I thought I was 30 minutes early. I was still hopeful and thought I just might luck out and get a decent seat in the middle for pictures but quickly realized that wasn't possible when the hubby gave me the update on our time flub (he took Reegan straight to the show while I picked up grandma so she could join in the fun). This is Reegan's last year of preschool and who knows if I will get to see a sweet holiday recital like this for her for a while...thankful that I still get this experience it for my boys BUT it's still bittersweet and I was hoping to really capture this show of hers.

So back to being late...or just on time rather. The seats weren't good. I immediately ran to the front and shuffled my way through the crowd. I got to say Hi to her, wave from across the stage, snap a couple pictures that were basically not good and hurry to my seat in the very back left of the auditorium. Did I mention that Reegan was at the front right of the stage?! LOL! Great, just great! I had to actually walk grandma up to the stage area just so she could she place Reegan. The seats were just TERRIBLE. Ugh!

If you're thinking I was being a little crazy/dramatic I probably was but pictures are key to remembering these years. Special moments pass by too fast I've been warned so many times. I was disappointed. BUT then...that blessing I mentioned in the beginning of this post happened! My amazing friend Jessica was there! Her daughter was in the very same recital. And Jessica....she is a mega talented photographer AND BONUS she was sitting right in front of Reegan. She snapped away and caught that special show I so desperately wanted to capture. Merry Christmas to of the best gifts this year. Thank you my dear friend. These mean the world to me. #thankful #blessed

Photo credit to Flecky Fotography

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Make a Memory - REAL Holiday Traditions for Our Family

As many of you know we call CCV our church home. Ryan volunteers as a coach for Stars and I am a regular in the nursery on the weekends. Well we recently were called to action to start meaningful family traditions (make a memory) during the holidays. Already my mind was running. I don’t think I’m capable of really impacting my Harding babes in a way that they are telling me to at church. I'm not consistent. I don’t have a “good enough” tradition. They are too young to really grasp the reason for the season. BUT THEN…

This week (12/15) when we were praying over our dinner I see little Huddy, all of 11 months old, put his hands together as we pray. HEART.MELTED. (Tried to photo with no luck but the hubby and I both witnessed it.)

So I realized that they are impacted. Who knows what memories they will keep into their adulthood? So these traditions are in fact important ones. I am still trying to come up with things I think will be special for us. It might sound cheesy but what came to mind with their young ages was to start with things that will be sensory related. The SMELL of the Christmas Tree. The TASTE of homemade Christmas Cookies. The TOUCH of a soft handed down quilt. HEARING a special holiday song (CCV Christmas album for the WIN). SEEING Christmas lights from a warm car we are all crammed into. The cost of these is not much but the impact will be huge I hope. If you know me I prefer all things sentimental over commercial.

In looking at old pictures I see we have already started with our SMELL of a REAL Christmas Tree for three years now. And you know what, I don’t think it could be sweeter!!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


via Dream Photography Studio
So much lately I have found myself longing to slow down and set my own life standards. Imagine that! I keep wanting to "rebel" against what others or society thinks I should be doing/how I should do it! Basically I want to break free from the mold. You know the one that expects a mom to be the perfect homeroom mom, perfect cook, the perfect housekeeper, etc. I had to start asking come I can't keep up?! Why don't I have all my i's dotted and t's crossed?! Then I realized something very important. I can't be categorized with the masses. I asked myself how many friends or family do I have with three kiddos toddler age or younger? One. That's right in my massive network I currently have exactly one friend in a similar situation to ours. Oh but eeeeeeeveryone has opinions/advise/tips on how to successfully parent three littles. Things like spending an hour after we get home cleaning. Purge all their toys. Pack everything the night before for the next day. Have a paper calendar. Make chore lists. And MANY MANY MANY MANY MANY more suggestions. I'm a major advocate on doing what works best for YOUR family.

I'll let you in on a secret, I don't have it together and I currently am not doing any one thing successfully to today's standards AND really not even my own if I'm being honest. I've been flaky volunteering at church, I feel less involved in Reegan's school this year, house cleaning is always a struggle (I'm aware it needs to be done can't find time to do the deep cleaning), clean eating/cooking (I won't even go there), mommy wellness (what's that?!), etc. I was talking to Mr. Harding about this today and thinking out loud. "What if there were no standards to which we were held? I wouldn't feel so bad about falling short in so many areas." How freeing would that be I thought!

Well me, I have armed myself with my own internal response to the advice that makes me feel judged. I will simply nod my head and say, "Great idea!" What I will know is that person right there, even if the advise is coming from a place of love, is NOT in my shoes. They don't have my three kiddos to care for on the daily. And there you have it. My ANSWER. I will say to myself, "Self, do they have three kids ages 4, 2 and 11 months?" If the response is YES! I will promptly break out my notebook and scribble the "answers" down faster than humanly possible. But so far the answer is NO they don't. I find a comfort in that. And that's kind of selfish of me. I know there are probably people out there in my situation but none who are in my life with a similar set up.

So I think that this outlook should be used by others too. Consider the source. Are they experiencing what you are? Do they think they know what it takes OR actually struggle with the same daily challenges you do? It only took me a third of my lifetime to figure this one out. My hubby and I become more and more happy with our set up the older we get. Even though it's not up to so many of the standards that others have for us. Because this Harding family would rather snuggle with our kids than start a load of laundry at 7:30PM at night. We would rather give a bubble bath to three splashing sweeties than do some dirty dishes. We would rather spend the very last 30 min- hour of our day with our partner not planning out the next day. We would rather giggle than organize our garage (you guys I'm not kidding our garage is a disaster and a HOT HOT HOT TOPIC among many in our lives). Many think we are crazy and maybe we are but ask you have three kids ages 4, 2 and 11 months? No? Then you know my loving answer to your advice.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

{2014 Harding Family Holiday Photo}

Let me tell y'all that this little family is full of lots of love. We are busy, busy, busy as you might be able to tell from my lack of blogging here on the ole family blog! Check out my Insta for more regular updates. I promise to get back into the swing of things ASAP! But yeah this mom of 3 kids ages 4, 2 and 10 months ain't no joke (well said am I right?!) Hehe!

I have heard it all but what sticks with me most is when Kiki said these are the "Lost Years" lucky for me I have my camera phone to catch this time but yes if it weren't for those pics this time would be lost. One day blends into the next. I often pass out snuggling with at least one of my babes on the couch. I wouldn't have it any other way. Before I know it I will have regular full nights of rest that aren't interrupted with a baby wanting to nurse or a tiny voice asking for something. But hey we still got our holiday photos done thank you to one amazing lady named Stacey!

Stacey's photography company is Dream Photography Studio. She and I own North Phoenix Moms Blog together (my 4th baby)! Be sure to follow us Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest! So much of my time and work has gone into this venture. So check us out!

I'm so thankful for this season in my life. It has majorly humbled me. I can't do it all. When one area in my life gets my love and attention the other areas don't. I'm a work in progress. I'm learning. I'm not good at everything. But what I am excellent at is loving my family unconditionally EXACTLY THE WAY THEY ARE. Beyond thankful for every day that God has given me with them. Hope you are all having a happy Holiday Season like us!