"No one in the world could prepare you enough for Motherhood. From the moment that you find out you're pregnant, your entire life changes almost instantly. Every decision you make from that moment forward, is made around the precious little life that is forming inside of you. This self-less love only grows deeper and deeper, and it is what fuels you on the hard days.
There are three prominent moments in my life that I will always hold onto. The moment I found out I was pregnant, the moment that I pushed out my beautiful son and held him in my arms for the first time and lastly, the moment I was wheeled out of the hospital and back into the world as a Mother. The greatest of these three ,without a doubt, was when I left the hospital with my son in my arms. I was so emotional, so overwhelmed, so tired, so incredibly in love, so scared. Here I was - so happy and so lost all at the same time. I lost it and could barely talk through the tears. I was 100% responsible for his survival and was so grateful to God for the opportunity. He was perfect and completely healthy, what more could I ever ask for?
The first month of my son's life was the hardest of mine. I was so discouraged as a new Mother and so sleep-deprived to top it off. The hormones, the emotions, adjusting to "my new life," none of it was easy for me. I was alone a lot and learning by the second how to care for a child. It was rough.
By 6 months, the rough patch had become a dark memory and my son became an absolute joy. It felt like each day I was slowly grasping this whole "Motherhood" thing, gaining confidence, speaking that mother-baby language where I could read him and know. With each milestone my heart beams with pride. He is my greatest accomplishment, my most precious gift. I have learned that hard days only make you stronger (as cliche as it sounds), and that our lives weren't meant to be lived for ourselves, but for others. He gave my life purpose. I wake in the morning and live each day for my son. He is my number one and my needs will forever come second. In those moments where I am challenged as a Mother, I am reminded that he won't always be a baby who needs me. He's going to grow up one day and be a man with a family of his own, and I will miss the days when all he wanted was my arms.
I have so many moments where I stop and stare at my son. I smile and sob at the same time just watching all his little gestures. His curious eyes that see everything. Man, the love is so powerful and so permanent. I really thought I knew what love was, but I didn't know a thing until I became a Mother."
We celebrated our dear Emma's 3rd birthday a week early this year! While planning for her party, I really wanted to do something that represented her and what she loves doing. So, when my good friend Tesia suggested I do an art gallery themed party, I was definitely up for it!
I worked as a preschool teacher for a while before having kids. Being introduced to Reggio Emilia while I attended college, I learned the importance of finding different ways for kids to express themselves. For me, I knew art was a great way for Emma to express herself, so that's where it all started. There were so many times when I knew an activity would get messy but I trusted the process and let her be and she always created something amazing in the end. It's not easy to give up control in these areas and I too struggle with this but knowing that Emma benefits so much in these activities makes it so worth it.
Now back from our small tangent ~ Emma has been painting weekly already, so this made it a fairly easy process to put this art gallery themed birthday together. For the painting gallery, I introduced Emma to a different medium and had her paint with Sumi Ink on canvas. During this time, she is free to paint whatever she wants. I usually ask her questions about what she’s painting and that's how we come up with a story along with her artwork. Whenever she loses track of what she’s doing, I remind her of what she's working on and she usually regains her focus to finish off her artwork. It's amazing to see and hear what she comes up with. I love seeing her image come to life when she explains her story to me.
For the photography portion of the gallery, we showcased all of Emma’s photos she took by herself! She used her very own Holga Digital to take the photos on our daily walks. There are days when she goes on a hiatus and some days where she'll barely touch her camera, but most times she loves to take photos of random things wherever we go. It's a fun little camera because you get to build up excitement to see what photos you took only after uploading them to your computer. It's really so neat to see the world behind her lens.
For the color portion of the gallery, we've been using primary colors and discovering what colors come together when you mix them. She absolutely enjoys this activity because she loves getting messy haha!
For the nature portion of the gallery, I just laminated her treasures she found on our daily walks. I had her spread out her findings onto the plastic sheets and I laminated it. I loved how it turned out because each piece is unique and is exactly how Emma placed them.
I definitely want to give a shoutout to my generous friends who've inspired me and contributed their amazing talents for this party! My amazing sister-in-law Hanna did all the florals and decorated the balloon garland. My sweet friend Tesia actually made the amazing balloon garland and provided her photo booth for the party. (Who knew these kids would be so obsessed with taking photos?!) Lastly, my beautiful friend Danni provided the decals that really brought the gallery theme all together! Special thanks to my brother Eric and husband David for helping with setting up the event!
This was definitely a special day for not only Emma but for all our friends and family that made it out. Hope you enjoy the photos!