Reminiscing My Childhood

Last night Colby got home a little late from showing some houses, but still decided to mow the lawn. We are currently living on over a half acre property with a TON of grass, so mowing the lawn is no quick task. The sun was going down and the boys had already showered for bed. Cohen heard the lawn mower start up and eagerly wanted to go “ride the tractor” with Colby. Cohen sat on Colby’s lap on the mower while Easton and I picked up the toys from the yard. Trevin decided to stay inside since he was in is pajamas (more like he wanted to play on his iPad instead).

After about a half hour, it was getting dark. Cohen started nodding his head and was definitely ready for bed. I took Cohen from Colby and we headed up to his room to bed. I called for Trevin & Easton and told them to brush their teeth. As I went to lay Cohen in his bed he woke up and said, “Mama lay by me.” Lately hearing him call me “Mama” is my absolute favorite thing in the world. I have been called a number of different names from my kids but never “Mama.”

With all the boys in their beds, I laid next to Cohen. He was chatting and apparently didn’t want to go to sleep. I was contracting, my back hurt, and I was tired myself. I started to quietly sing some primary songs to him and rubbed his back. After a few minutes, he finally dozed off to sleep…

I laid in his bed with him for about thirty more minutes. For some reason my mind drifted off to my own childhood days. The sounds of the cars whistling by in the street below, the old home feel, the glimmer from the light across the street peeking in through the blinds, and the humidity in their room brought back all fond memories of living in Springville. As a little girl, I remember my bedroom looking and feeling exactly the way their room feels. I was reminded of looking out my window to the cars on the street below and the tall lights glowing over at Grant Elementary School. Summer days were spent irrigating with my grandparents, playing night games with the neighbor kids, and riding Grandma & Grandpa’s lawn mower with them, just like Cohen does with Colby.

I never once felt neglected, lonely, or unloved. I had the best childhood and remember nothing but fond memories. Our home was a place of happiness and comfort. I knew when I was at home with my parents that everything was ok. Last night, I wondered if this is how my own children feel. Do they love their life? Do they feel safe in their home? And do they ever feel neglected or less fortunate in any way?

I want nothing but the best for my children. I want home to be a place of comfort and happiness. I want my children to play in the grass, build forts, play in the dirt, jump on the trampoline, ride their bikes to the park, and enjoy being kids. Last night as I lay close by them while they were sleeping, I wondered what they were dreaming of. As a mother, I hope they were dreaming of a childhood exactly like mine.

Maybe, just maybe, I am doing something right.

Today was an amazing day! Church filled my soul with so much gratitude and happiness that I almost couldn’t hold my emotions back even after returning home…

Last night Trevin told me he was going to bear his testimony at church. I was slightly caught off guard knowing I hadn’t really encouraged this or ever asked him about it (because I wanted it to be his choice). He explained to me that his primary teacher had encouraged all her students to bear their testimony on Sunday. Knowing Trevin was considering this made me sort of sad because Colby is out of town. I wanted him to be there to see it, but also didn’t want to discourage Trevin from doing it. Honestly, I had been contemplating even attending sacrament with three kids alone. Looking back, I think this was part of the Lord’s way of telling me I needed to embrace the challenge and attend all three meetings.

I put the kids to bed last night and debated setting my alarm to get up for sacrament meeting. I knew I needed to but honestly, I just didn’t want to. I really wanted to watch a chick flick by myself and eat a banana creamie in silence (it had been one of those days). I went to the freezer only to find someone had eaten the last cherished creamie. Bummer. I sat on the couch, turned on the TV, and couldn’t get myself to pay attention to anything I was watching. After about ten minutes of pointless TV, I decided to head to bed (at 8:30). I set my alarm and said a prayer.

The alarm went off bright and early and I stubbornly went right back to bed. A few minutes later the snooze function on my phone kicked in and I was out of bed again. To the shower I went…

As I walked downstairs from the shower, I found Trevin pouring a bowl of cereal for his brothers. Trevin & Easton were both in their church suit with their shoes on as well. All three of them were eating cereal and getting ready by themselves for church. I was amazed! After breakfast, Trevin grabbed a set of scriptures for him and Easton and while sitting at our small table in the kitchen, he read from the Book of Mormon. That has never happened! My heart swelled as I stood in the bathroom listening to them quietly.

Sacrament meeting came and something was different in Trevin’s attitude. He usually can’t hold still for more than three minutes and his constantly asking for a snack. Today was different. He didn’t move a muscle and sat quietly the entire time. Towards the end of the meeting, he asked if there was enough time for him to share his testimony. I explained we only had a few minutes and it would depend on how long the current speaker took. With about six minutes left in sacrament meeting, I turned to see Trevin walking up the aisle. I suddenly got nervous and grabbed Cohen knowing him and Easton would want to see him.

Trevin walked right up to the pulpit without any fear and started his testimony:

“I like to bear my testimony. I know the church is true. I am grateful for my family and my primary teachers. I am grateful to be a member of the church and I am glad Briggs (Wright) could be baptized yesterday. I know Joseph Smith was a true Prophet. I love the scriptures and like reading the Book of Mormon. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.”

Tears filled my eyes. How could it possibly be, that my oldest son was old enough to bear his testimony without any help, with confidence, and with such a positive attitude? He didn’t rush his testimony or say what the last child had said. I truly believe he said what he meant and I felt the love he had for the gospel.

This past week has been a struggle with Colby being gone. While I haven’t complained to anyone, I miss having him here to help me with the boys. I’ve had a lot of struggles with Trevin and Easton especially and found myself wondering what I could do differently at home to help them educationally, spiritually, and also help them know how loved they are. Today helped me understand that although I still have things to work on as a mother, maybe, just maybe, I am doing something right as a mother.

Words of the Wise

Yesterday was my last official day to be able to attend Relief Society in our ward. I was called to be in the Primary Presidency as the Second Counselor. I decided to make the most of my last Sunday and try to really fully connect and listen to what the teacher was talking about. Don’t get me wrong, I love being in the primary, but I just wanted to spend one more week with the ladies of the ward. Lucky for me, I got the wonderful opportunity to hear from my favorite RS teacher Vicki Jackson. She always relates things in such an easy and understandable way and I love it! She discussed two different topics, but the first topic she focused on was the role of the father and mother in the family. Despite this being a fairly easy subject to discuss, I felt the spirit so strongly during her lesson yesterday. At one point during her lesson, I honestly felt like it was just her and I in the room together…like she was talking only to me.

The role of the mother is to nurture and care for her children, to teach them everyday, to listen and be there for her children, to assist in the duties of her husband by providing meals and making sure family dinner is a priority, and so on. I am sad to admit, but lately I have found myself raising my voice at my children more often than I probably should. I have become the type of mother who is running from place to place, who doesn’t pay enough attention to her children, and a mother who probably sets her priorities and wants above her children’s needs. Vicki said something yesterday that really stuck with me. She gave an example of a quote her grandmother used to say which is, “Don’t say NO to your children unless you have to.”

This saying struck me like a ton of bricks. Sometimes I feel like mother’s can get so caught up in the everyday hustle and bustle that we often say “No” to our children just because it’s easiest. “No” in a my personal mind means I don’t have to clean up a disaster after they get done playing with watercolors. “No” means I’m too busy to go play outside with you or watch and make sure you’re safe while you’re playing. “No” means I really just want to sit here and browse Instagram for a little while. “No” means you’re bothering me.

This week I am hoping to pay more attention to the priorities of my family and be attentive to my children more often than usual. I never make a homemade breakfast for my kids or Colby and tomorrow it’s happening. Tomorrow I am going to read books with my kids, get off my phone more, and hopefully play games with them while Colby is at Young Mens.

My kids and my husband are my world. I need to remember that. I need to cherish that.

They Call Me Mom

When I decided to start my photography business eight years ago, I knew I wanted to photograph people for a reason. Documenting those candid moments and those special feelings between people, families, couples, and children is something that just “gets me.” It’s the whole reason I became drawn to photography, especially after having a child of my own. Lately, I have felt myself lacking on the candid moments and those REAL GENUINE feelings. So, the last five sessions I’ve photographed, I have really tried to focus my attention to the real emotional connection between those I’m photographing.

Flash Back…

A few years ago when Colby and I were living in St. George, I started taking the Bell Family’s photos. I always loved taking pictures of Dezie because Josie always had her dressed in the cutest outfits! Anyway, I believe it was the second time I had photographed their family when Dezie didn’t want to cooperate very well for the family pictures. Dezie kept insisting she hold a little girl doll in most of their pictures. After trying to battle with her for a little while and doing anything I could to pull the doll out of the pictures, Josie finally gave in and let Dezie hold the doll. In the end, the photos turned out pretty cute and by the end of the session I was able to get a few family photos without the doll.

At the time of their family photos, Josie was 14 weeks pregnant with their second child. She later found out she was expecting a little girl. To make a long story short, sadly, Reggie was stillborn just a few weeks before her due date. I’ll never forget the pain I felt hearing the news of Reggie’s passing. I prayed Kyle & Josie would be comforted. To this day, Josie still loves the photos we took of Dezie holding that precious little doll. In Josie’s eyes, it symbolizes Reggie being there with them. Maybe, just maybe Dezie knew something we didn’t…

I have photographed the Bell Family several times since Reggie’s passing and have ALWAYS felt something special at their sessions. I have never told Josie that before, but there is definitely something “different” about photographing their family. A few weeks ago I got the wonderful opportunity to photograph them again. While editing their pictures, I came across this image of them walking. The more I looked at the image, the more I felt like Gabby was looking at something. I contemplated making the image “complete,” but didn’t know if doing so would bring back saddened memories for Josie. I showed my husband who immediately said it was a bad idea all around. This morning I woke up and I couldn’t stop thinking about the image. I texted Kyle and asked his honest opinion.

I waited a few minutes. No reply. I got slightly nervous and felt like maybe I should have just listened to Colby in the first place (but what wife listens to their husband all the time). Kyle finally texted me back saying, “Oh Nat. I’m in tears. That is the greatest idea…” I was beyond excited! I told Kyle I wanted to surprise Josie this afternoon with her disk. He came to my house after he got off work to grab the disk and a small note I had wrote for Josie. When he left, I felt anxious, excited, and emotional all at the same time!

Today was special for me. I believe it was special for Kyle and Josie as well. She came over a few hours later, slightly emotional, gave me a hug, and a small note herself. It was everything I needed and more. This is why I love what I do. These are the moments I hope for in my client’s eyes. These are the days that make all those late nights editing worth it.

Newest Member of the Church

Yesterday our oldest son Trevin was baptized as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints by his dad Colby. The morning was a little crazy and chaotic even after preparing outfits and getting a diaper bag ready the night before. We were ten minutes later than what I had hoped we would be (still early) and so of course I was stressing out. I wanted to get some family pictures and a picture of Trevin in his suit. I was sure since we were only 20 minutes early that this wasn’t going to happen.

We got to the church, took our pictures, and went into the church to wait for everyone to arrive. My Dad arrived with my Grandpa Ralph and we took a few pictures with him as well. While I was in the waiting room, I looked up to see my Grandma Giacomo walk into the room with my mom. I held back some tears as I stood to hug my sweet Grandma. I was told her and my Grandpa weren’t going to be able to make it because Grandpa had some stents placed just a few days prior to the baptism. I was thrilled, surprised, and grateful to see her there. Trevin greeted her with a hug and told her thanks for coming.

Trevin was baptized with another little girl from our ward. Her grandma gave the sweetest talk on baptism and wrote Trevin a note. She brought both of them up to stand by her at the end and genuinely hugged them and told them how proud she was they had made the decision to be baptized. Trevin was baptized first. I’ll never forget the feeling I felt when Colby and him stepped into the font. The spirit was so strong! Colby was somewhat emotional while baptizing Trevin and I think that made it even more special to see the love he felt for his son. My Dad and Trevin’s Uncle Riley were the witnesses.

Trevin’s other Uncle Jordan gave a great talk on the Holy Ghost. Trevin loves Jordan and wanted him to speak. Trevin was confirmed by Colby. It was such a neat experience to see so many priesthood holders stand in the circle. If I remember right there were a total of 12 people. At the end of the service, Brother Palmer spoke. His talk made me realize just how many people were there supporting Trevin that day. Brother Palmer told a story about his own personal baptism and how there were only 6 people at his baptism. He didn’t have the support of his family. We are blessed with the best families! Hopefully Trevin will realize how much he is loved and cared for!

Before his baptism, my mom was kind enough to find him a suit (as well as a matching one for Easton). I was slacking and didn’t realize how much I had to get done before his baptism and my mom helped me out a ton! She drive all the way to Salt Lake to pick up parts of his suit, only to find out they were huge, and drove back up north to exchange them for a smaller size. She also hemmed Easton’s sleeves on his suit. She’s amazing!

Throughout the week, I couldn’t wrap my head around having a son old enough to be baptized. I can still remember when I found out I was pregnant. That day seems like it wasn’t long ago. Now he’s eight, going into second grade soon, and turning into such a wonderful boy. Trevin helps me with his younger brother’s, loves to organize and pick up his toys, and appears to be a good friend to those he comes in contact with. One of my favorite things is watching him sing the primary songs on Sunday. Since we’ve recently moved, I don’t get to see him in primary anymore and I miss that time.

In the afternoon, we had a small luncheon at our house and played water kick ball! Trevin had requested to play water kick ball after his baptism and I was determined to make it happen! Kaydon was a huge help coming over yesterday morning and helped us set all of that up before the baptism. All the kids (and even some adults) played in the water. It was so much fun!

Today he was able to be recognized as the newest member of the church. The Bishop asked him to come sit on the stand with the bishopric members during sacrament meeting. I enjoyed watching him sit so reverent. He looked so much older dressed in his little suit and tie (just like his dad he says). I love him so very much and I am deeply honored to be his mother. Trevin will always be my little boy and the person who made me a mother for the first time! He brightens my day and makes me want to be a better mother.

I love you Trevin! Always and Forever my baby you’ll be.

(Pictures and a small video to come soon. My computer is having issues uploading.)