Favorites from a few recent photoshoots:

Well, it’s taken a couple months of school to reel back into real life after summer, but I really am trying to get “back in the saddle.” I’m trying to juggle running kids around everywhere, trying to help them keep up with their homework, trying to carve out time to sit on the piano bench with them as they plug through their songs, getting everyone to and from dentist and doctor appointments (we’ve never had so much doctor stuff going on in our lives!), taking family photoshoots, cramming for book club, teaching classes at Blissful Living, and being there for Lucy’s therapy. Sadly, I’m not doing it at all gracefully. I’m groping around trying to hang on for the ride, staying up way too late so I can get caught up and then getting grumpy from no sleep the next day. Dave’s been out of town so that doesn’t help since he’s the one who makes me sleep. And I miss him.

I’m still on the continual saga of how in the heck to do all the stuff that needs to be done without neglecting things along the way. I want SO much to be there for my kids. Getting them where they need to be when they need to be there and making sure they do things like brush their teeth and eat their peas is only a fraction of the battle. I worry about how they’re doing emotionally. What’s happening with their friends? Where has Max’s good grade motivation gone? Who needs more attention right now? Why is Claire being so moody right now? Why is Grace being so more-than-her-usual dramatic? Why is Max suddenly more quiet? How does Elle feel inside that I just caught her in a little white lie? When can I carve out a minute to talk to her about it? How can I help them make their prayers more sincere? Do they really realize not only how much I love them, but do I reiterate enough how much their Heavenly Father loves them?

Sometimes I feel like they’ll be going on and on about what happened in school or what they want to be for Halloween (of course, this changes on a daily basis) and I’ll just be rushing around trying to get stuff done saying “uh huh” when they pause for a second to make sure I’m listening. And I hate that. I want to just sit down on the couch with them and look into their eyes and say, “tell me about your day.” And I want them to look back into my eyes and see all the love leaking out of me over to them.

I hope so much that through the hustle of the day to day they know how much I love them. I need more balance. I need more still-ness. Some day I’ll find it. But first, I have to go to bed and sleep so that I can be on a better quest tomorrow.

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  1. Oh Shawni – I feel the same way on a daily basis and still don’t manage to accomplish half the things you do. Don’t be too hard on yourself. You are so great and your kids know how much you love them.

    I love the pictures…especially that great looking family at the beginning!:)

  2. I have felt the same way so many times. I know I’m a good Mom and I know you are a good Mom…neverhteless, those feelings always creep in.

    I feel I should share something with you. Take it with a grain of salt.:)

    I have always done extra, always said yes and always gone the extra mile for others and my children. The unfortuanate part is that because of human nature, the others always came before my children. Even if I was trying to focus on my children, I was always getting something ready for another “pressing event.” I have slowly been tyring to shed these other activities from my schedule. I recently shed one that has saved my sanity. I taught piano and I loved it. I love music and I want others to learn music. I love children and their eagerness to learn — it was a perfect fit. My kids loved it because they could play with lots of the piano students before and after their lessons. Anyway, I quit two weeks ago and this is the part I have to tell you….

    The peace I feel inside knowing that I just bumped my children up a notch on my ABILITY to help them has been unbelievable. I honestly cannot describe how much the Lord has blessed me with daily peace due to this decision.

    Please don’t get me wrong — I promise I understand where you are, and I LOVE that you keep it real on your blog. It helps us all! I just wanted to share my newly discovered feelings about shedding a layer to be able to “carve out time” for my children.

    See my post re: this “problem”


    How’s that for a LONG comment.:)

    Without even “knowing” you, I can say in confidence that you are a fabulous Mom. You have your priorities straight and your children are VERY aware of your love for them. Just keep on keeping on.:)

  3. I agree, I need to kind of re-evaluate. Call me crazy but I kind of like times like these, (when I start thinking this way) because it makes me stop and think about what’s most important, and change my course a little.

    And call me crazy again, but I like to kind of let it all hang out on this blog because I like to keep it real. Because we all feel like this sometimes, and it’s depressing to just keep reading blogs that claim the “did it all” thing.

    Anyway, just writing it down makes me get my attitude kind of “re-aligned.” It makes me hold my kids (and husband!) that much closer, prompts me to do things like write them love notes or stop and do a project with them, and helps me see the “big picture” a little better. Can’t wait to snuggle during movie night tonight…then all conference weekend.

  4. Pretty sure I’m crazy x 2 also, becuase I agree 100%. We are constantly re-evaluating aren’t we?

    I almost shy away from writing the “fabulous” stuff — for fear of making it seem like I did it all.:) Once again –moderation!:) Take care!!

    and yes, Happy (slow-down and be uplifted) Conference Weekend.:)

  5. Shawni, you are not alone in your feelings. There are days that it is so hard to be a mom, wife, friend, sister, etc.. You are amazing and inspire so many of us. Thanks for sharing your talents with so many of us. Have a great weekend.

  6. once again amazing pictures. You’re such a great mom. I’m glad you write about these things because it helps me know I’m not alone. I look around and wonder how everyone else makes it look so easy. You’re one I look at alot (not that you make it look easy all the time). I mean 5 kids? How do you do it? Seriously I want to know. I’m dying with 3! I think of having another sometimes but I really don’t know if I can. You’re better than you give yourself credit for.

  7. Shawni & Meggz-you just made my day! I have been feeling just like that and with fall and holidays ahead I feel the need to get on top of my game quick! I am also worried about my 6th grader and so hearing that many of them are "transitioning" helps me help her. Thanks ladies!

  8. Shawni, your kids know for sure how much you love them. If they don’t, just let them read your blog. 🙂 You are a great Mom and I think pretty much every mom struggles with the same feelings. You are fabulous!

  9. Shawni- I don’t personally know you, but I live next door to Laurel and Ryan and down the street from Julie and Seth. My hubby Nic played basketball with Talmage up at Weber State back in the day, so I know your family, but have never had the opportunity of meeting you. I just have to tell ya, Julie told me to get on your blog and check out your pictures and I am so glad I did. Wow!! You are an amazing photographer. I would love nothing more than to come to one of your classes. Unfortunately I won’t be coming to AZ anytime soon. Maybe one day, huh.

    I also want to tell you how much I enjoy reading your blog. I have always been so impressed by your family. What great people!! We just think the world of your brother. You are such a cute Mom, and your kids are so beautiful. Thanks for helping the rest of us crazy Mom’s feel human. It is so easy to get overwhelmed and feel like you are not doing enough, but I think you have got the important things covered…everything else will work itself out. 🙂 Your kids know you love them, you have so much fun with them, and you are enjoying them. That’s all you can do sometimes.

    Anyways, thanks again for letting me snoop. Keep up the good work!!

  10. Thanks for the honesty – I feel that way a lot too. I know photography takes a lot of my time and I’m learning how to balance it with my #1 priority as a mom. My guess is that you posted this in a moment but immediately after you had life back together again.

  11. One day at a time.

    And, like “meegz” says, it is liberating (literally), and peace promoting to know that you “bumped your children up a notch.” We kind of did that when we moved out here. Clean slate and all; deciding to what to put back on the schedule. When you shine (like you obviously do) people want more and more of your time. For me it was really about (and is about) constantly re-evaluating and re-prioritizing. Because life is real, and life is a very fluid concept. Things are constantly changing. Just because things are working one month–doesn’t mean the same things will be what’s right 3 months later. Do you know what I mean?
    Just throwing in my two cents…

    hang in

    and get some sleep!

  12. 7 smiles — I LOVED his talk — it made me feel HAPPY and at PEACE.

    I, for one, am going to rent Music Man and remember the quote — “Pile up too many tomorrows and you’ll find that you’ve collected nothing but a bunch of empty yesterdays”

    Shawni — I know I’ve told you this before but you’re Mom so reminds me of mine. Pretty sure my Mom studied EVERYTHING your Mom wrote while she was raising us, so it’s no wonder.:) ANyway — her telling you to slow down and sleep is sooooo my MOM. They are pretty wise women too.;)

    take care all!

  13. Oh I so know how you feel! Being a mother of 5 is exhausting! Highs and lows galore! Finding time for everything and everyone but YOU! You are such a inspirtation to me! I love reading your blog! I loved your post about newborns I feel the same way some times! And then remember why I can’t have another one well besides that we are fixed! Hope you have a happier day tomorrow and get some sleep! Remember to take care of you too!

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