I'm Heather - lifestyle photographer & homeschooling mama. We choose simple and slow. Freedom and fresh air. And I like to make things beautiful.

Let’s be friends?

Can I just share for a moment?

All right, I need to share a little. When I write - as opposed to just sharing photos of what's going on in our world - I usually do so on a particular topic that's near to my heart. But today I just need to use this platform to get some thoughts out of my head and committed to words, and to gather strength from friends. I could use your help, your advice, and your prayers.

These last couple of weeks have really got me down. I know it's good to have these rough patches so I can grow as a person and put my life into perspective, but it's still not fun. A number of things have compounded to stress me out - luckily for me, a state of being I'm not all that used to experiencing anymore. (I do not say this to boast, but only to give you some context for my easy peasy reality and why these things have shaken me up.) We rarely have to leave the house before 10 a.m., I get 8 hours of sleep a night (albeit broken), my kids are happy and healthy, me and the husband are as strong as ever, our finances are in order, I have the best community of friends, and I have all day to get housework done and to enjoy projects and playing with my littles. I am seriously content. But there are these things that just sort of popped up right in a row recently and sent me into a tailspin. I'll start with the most insignificant.

1. My weight loss has plateaued.

Trivial, yes, but still a stressor. Since Milo's birth I've lost 32 pounds! However, I've remained at my current weight for a couple of weeks and still cannot fit into any of my pants. It's maddening. Don't get me wrong, I love wearing dresses and skirts, but when the only "pants" that fit are leggings, it kind of takes a toll on your self-esteem. I've still got 20 pounds to go and am just hoping that as soon as it warms up and we can be active again that the rest will come off.

Also, there are a myriad of other postpartum body-related realities that are just not fun to deal with. Post on that to come.

2. Preschool searching totally caught me off guard.

I knew Alice was ready for preschool this fall, but when a friend mentioned they were already having open houses and registration this week, I panicked. I didn't even know how many preschools there were here in Blair! All of a sudden I needed to do my research, get insight from other mommies, and form an opinion - immediately.

On it's own, not a big deal. But then this got added to the mix...

3. The pressure of vaccinating.

I couldn't even tell you how many hours upon hours of reading and research I've been doing, especially over the last month (well, more like year and a half). Familiarizing myself with every page on the CDC, running tables out of VAERS, listening to doctors weigh in, studying the history of vaccines, requesting vaccine inserts to look up ingredients, reading papers and reports I requested from a CDC topic expert, study every possible argument for and against - it is seriously weighing me down. It's a big choice and I want us to know why we're making it. There is just so much information out there to consider.

And it's not even the decision itself that is drowning me, but people's responses to it. For those of you who know the Color Works, I'm a flaming orange-blue extrovert. I'm sure it's the orange in me, but hearing if we decide not to vaccinate that we should be sued or go to prison while someone takes our children away to vaccinate them only pushes me to cling to my freedom all the more. I need freedom. And anyone telling me what to do is going to get a shut-down version of me PDQ. Not to mention that I can't help but read those threats with fear and that they are writing out of hate. It feels like I'm being personally attacked - and we haven't even decided yet!

On another note, I can appreciate other opinions - heck, I've been devouring both sides of this issue, but the one thing that I absolutely cannot stand is meanness, in any instance, not just debates. For most blues, conflict is their stressor which is on the same level as stupidity for greens, but I don't usually have an issue with conflict (maybe because I'm first color orange and not blue?). The thing that gets me is how that conflict is brought about and gets resolved. Meanness in conflict reveals the pride behind it which downright offends and repulses me - things I see in myself at times and dislike. I'm relational by nature so when someone calculatedly jabs and cuts without a care to our relationship, it hurts in the worst way.

4. Sad news.

A former co-worker/friend of mine got to spend one beautiful hour with their newborn, and then they had to let him go. I don't even know the whole story, but it just breaks my heart. Losing a baby could happen to anyone, and it makes me hold mine even closer. Can't stop thinking about her and the immense grief she's experiencing.

5. Strained familial relationships.

In every single side of our families, there's something amiss. One doesn't want to come to family gatherings if we're there and decide not to vaccinate. Another just plain old doesn't want to see us and has practically missed out on Alice and Milo's lives up until this point. And on it goes. Maintaining relationships with some people is hard work. And heart work. Whether immediate family or cousins, it cuts away at my mental and emotional self all day long. Imaginary conversations ensue, I lose sleep, I get lost in dark thoughts, and all the while it chips away at my soul and morphs into this overly dramatized scenario in my head. I really wish I wasn't blue - that I could just not care - but as much as I don't want to, I do. Just when I think we're getting somewhere with them it unravels even more. I've given up plenty of times, only to have it nag the back of my mind and consume my thoughts again. It's exasperating!!!

Are there other blues out there that know how to deal with this? Especially when you're dealing with a green? Or even another blue? Or how do you just shut it off, throw in the towel, and not let it bother you? I want to so badly, but can't help but think of the repercussions of how it affects their getting to know Alice and Milo. Such messy things, relationships are.

In the grand scheme of things, my issues are trivial - nothing, even, especially compared to your own troubles. But I can't shake this feeling that how I react to mine somehow defines me and means something. Especially when it affects my kids, my family, and my community.

Do you know what I mean? :)

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. I could use them. Thanks for the love, friends.

p.s. If you want to know what on earth I'm talking about with all of these colors, go here to figure out yours. Once you discover yours (and even guess at those closest to you), life makes so much more sense!

Alice & the Backpack

Namesakes | Milos & Alices