when editing photos leads to thoughts on parenting

We all know that life is never black and white. Never. Ever. And when you have kids, that becomes even MORE apparent.

I mailed off two parenting books to two mommas because I don’t use them.


I’m totally not being all “well, pat myself on the back” about not using them. I just can’t seem to read and then do. I can’t do it with anything – photography books, history books, parenting books. I think of myself as a visual learner, but I actually learn the best by just doing. I lead a mistake-ridden life, but I do learn from those mistakes. Usually.


I really dislike the titles that fly around the internets, but if I had to apply a title to myself, I’d say that I follow the What Feels Right Method of parenting.


New moms or dads or parents-to-be, don’t Google it. It doesn’t exist. I sometimes wish I knew what I was doing or had more of A PLAN, but I pretty much do what feels like the best thing to do at any given time.


There are days where I let Emma just do some quiet time in her room with a movie or a pile of books or some quiet toys. But then there are days when I remove everything and tell her to go. to. sleep. for. the. love. of. your. momma. GO. TO. SLEEP.


There are days when I care very much about what she is eating or drinking, and I keep sweets to a minimum, and I dole out only fruits or veggies for snacks. But then there are days when I let her have frozen yogurt with marshmallows and chocolate syrup and gummi bears. And then a popsicle from the ice cream truck later that same day. I know!! You might as well call CPS right now.


There are days when I run to pick Lucy up every single time she whines … and there are days when I finish what I’m doing and then casually walk over to get her up from the pile of tears she has melted into in those 2 and a half minutes. Because, y’all … Lucy cries about a lot of stuff. And she goes from squeak to FACE IS MELTING OFF in about 12 seconds.


The list goes on. Obviously, no matter how you parent, consistency is key. And we try to maintain a good balance around here. We don’t bounce all over the place and have different rules based on our moods or anything. We follow the same general guidelines on a daily basis. But I like to throw a curveball sometimes … solely to see the look on Emma’s face.

Like chasing down the ice cream truck tonight AFTER she had already had a frozen yogurt? SO WORTH the excitement of watching her run down the sidewalk behind me.

Actually, I’m writing up a blog post about a recent chain of events that lead to Emma getting taken out for that frozen yogurt by my running partner / her K3 teacher. And it was something that took WEEKS of consistency.

But there are some days when we let the rules fly out the window and just have fun. Snuggle in bed together waaaaay past bedtime. Have popsicles with all sorts of crazy fake colors that are probably going to give my kid some kind of ulcer. Ignore the fact that she’s reading instead of napping, because she’s reading. And quiet.


Skip baths to spend more time snuggling or reading before bed. Or tickling babies.


Throw a mattress on the floor and let Emma jump off of every inanimate object in our living room, because it is just too. hot. to play outside.




So … I guess what brought this up is the fact that I was going through some images and converting them to black and white to print & hang for our master bedroom makeover that is going to be taking place very soon. I whispered that because I know I’ve mentioned this before, and I’ve even had my finger hovering over the “buy it now” on some custom flooring at Home Depot for months. But something else always comes up. Until now. I can’t do this carpet any longer. I can’t do these “builder white” walls any longer. I just can’t.

So. From editing photos to a post about parenting … that’s how MY mind works.


Can you see the SMILES??

[all images edited with one of my own b&w presets that I’ve sat on for about a year now … still iffy about it]

And how are you doing today?

33 Comment

  1. The photo editing is beautiful! Also, I wish you were my neighbor. I’m of the “doing the best I can” mixed with “going with my gut” parenting style. You know I think if most people were honest with themselves, that’s what they are, too, or what they wish they could be.


  2. Sarah says:

    I think you are the best kind of mama! Love the photos, as always! You have such a great eye for turning every day into beautiful moments and memories!

  3. Rachel says:

    Love the processing on these, lovely! I have a very similar parenting style, with three of the little ratbags, no book will fit all of them!

    (oh, and I’m going well, thanks for asking. Freezing, but enjoying having husband home on holidays).

  4. Kelli says:

    I love this post, Keli! The pictures are beautiful as usual, and your words are spot-on. This is pretty much exactly how we’ve been parenting Janie so far, and I can’t imagine doing things differently!

  5. Amy says:

    I just love you.

  6. Your parenting style is my favorite kind : )
    I think I am like you. I hope so any way.
    I really, really, really miss having littles around.
    Sometimes I can’t even stand it…

  7. Maegan says:

    Considering that each day is different, kids moods change all the time, mommy’s mood changes all the time, life is changing constantly…I think that your method of taking each moment at a time is brilliant! You have that beautiful underlying theme of love and consistency which allows you to play with the little stuff on a case by case basis! It’s beautiful to actually look at your children and the day for just what it is and be able to adjust accordingly! You rock, Kel!

  8. Marisa says:

    I loved this post. You know, I came here to your lovely little blog a month or so ago for your photography. I’ve stayed because of your words. Thank you for continuing to share your journey and letting us peek into your life.

  9. Katie P says:

    Have to say we have a very similar parenting style.
    Love the pics, as always.

  10. Sandy says:

    love your post! love the images!

  11. Ilene says:

    What an honest, beautiful, delightful post. You are so inspiring…Thank you for reminding me that the true gift is my daughter…and the time I get to spend with her…and not to feel so bad about the piles of laundry and stacks of dirty dishes…or all the dustbunnies that follow me every time I go up the stairs. Thank you! PS.

  12. erika says:

    Why does it feel like the other forms of Parenting get so much cred online? I just want to shake some of those parents and scream “Be honest!” How is it possible to have a child/children and be so perfect? I spend a lot of my days knocking my head on the wall & just praying that my kids don’t turn into jailbirds.

  13. Cameron says:

    As I prepare to head into full-fledged mamahood myself, I am so very thankful that I know you. You are a delight and an encouragement and an inspiration and a comfort. And your photos are gorgeous, and a perfect reflection of the way you live & see your life. xoxoxo

  14. Christine says:

    I think that the consistancy 90% of the time allows you to do those oh-my-word-my-mommy-just-chased-down-the-ice-cream-truck kind of moments without long-term behavioral consequences. In my house, we call them “special treats” and my kids know, without a doubt, that “special treats” happen at special times, not every day. It works. PS– I LOVE that it took me like 3 mins of staring at the 2nd picture to see that Emma is even in it– awesome!

  15. Shari says:


  16. oh gosh, we seem very similar in our parenting.
    I have a hard time applying things I read as well.
    I am much more of a hands on learner. I just DO IT>
    I LOVE this set of photos! they are perfect!!! LOVE that b/w edit too!!!
    your photos are just amazing !

  17. Debra says:

    I personally love these b&w’s an inordinate amount!
    That shot through the partially open door of E napping is priceless. <3
    Cannot wait to see which ones you chose for canvases for the redo!
    "And she goes from squeak to FACE IS MELTING OFF in about 12 seconds" <– ha ha ha! :)

  18. Charade says:

    Believe me, you’re onto something good as a parent. My only two regrets in life? That my parents were so rigid and strict, and that the Pillsbury dough boy never showed up in my kitchen. I love your photo stories.

  19. Becca says:

    You are such a good mom and I love your words and pictures in this post! :-)

  20. kristen says:

    Sounds like you know exactly how to do things to me! And I find comfort and knowing I’m not the only mom out there who thinks a spare mattress on the floor is good healthy fun!

  21. yes. exactly. i think it took me a while to find out that this is where i needed to be (in parenting) and now everything is so much less… drama? controversy? you know what i mean? my work friend was telling me about one of her friends who just had a baby and is THAT MOM, the OH NO I’M DOING IT WRONG THE BOOK SAYS… and we just looked at each other and laughed because… oh dear. either she’ll figure it out or… well she’ll be really annoying. i can’t think of a better way to describe that moment i realized that this was it.

  22. jen@odbt says:

    Another great and honest post. I’ve learned and am still learning that there are no set rules when it comes to parenting – what works for one child, doesn’t work for the other. I’ve learned that I’m human and that saying sorry goes a long way. I definitely have my not-so-proud moments as a mom but then there are those moments where I can say yeah this rocks like when we had donuts for dinner last night.

  23. molly says:

    i’m with erika… i know for a fact that whatever my kids turn out to be, it will be by the grace of God! i have no clue what i am doing! ;-)

  24. Amy says:

    i think your description pretty much fits me, too. i have nothing against parenting books or people that read them, but don’t read them myself,I am definitely not an instruction follower, never have been : ) i love your outlook on parentingoh, and your sweet pictures.

  25. Sarah says:

    I love these. So very true. Consistency has flown out the window since all of Carsyn’s issues. I need to become more consistent again.

  26. Diane McD says:

    Our parenting styles are so similar…but your photos are much better. :) I’m with you on the parenting books…sometimes I can find little nuggets of wisdom, but honestly, the people who write those books don’t know me. They don’t know MY children. Who are they to tell me the best way to raise them? I think the Bible pretty well covers that subject as far as my family is concerned. :) Also, you’d be welcome in my house any day of the week…knowing I wouldn’t have to explain the toy explosion on the living room floor or the piles of laundry in the hall!

  27. Tiff says:

    Your b/w conversions are always ah. maz. ing.

    And, you never fail to make me smile with your posts. Thanks for the constant inspiration, both for motherhood AND photography!

  28. Jen says:

    I love this. The pictures, the sentiment. All of it. You are an inspiration as a mother, I’m being totally serious. I wish everybody could have your outlook. I try my best to just ‘be’ like it seems you just ‘are’ with your girls. They are very very lucky to have you.

    And I SNORT LAUGHED at the paci picture of Lucy. BWAHAHAHA oh her FACE.

  29. Kristen says:

    I just came to your site from adventures in babywearing. I had to comment because I like you have 2 daughters, whose names happen to be the same. My Emma Rose will be 6 on 7/22 and my Lucy Marie just turned 4 on 7/2. I love what you said. The pictures are beautiful! So is your family.
    Kristen in NC

  30. kristin says:

    I’m with you on the books. Kicked those to the curb when I realized that they thought my daughter was a cookie-cutter child. I find my best learning in sitting down with my fav girlfriends, sharing cups of coffee and watching our kids play while we hash out the details of how we go about things, what worked and what didn’t etc. I am all about being flexibly consistent I think! ; ) Really, thats suits reality more in my home.
    And lets face it, if Emma’s running for the ice cream truck, there’s a good chance you were just looking for the excuse yourself, eh? Am I on to ya? Ha!!! ; ) That would be me!
    Love these images!

  31. Tristina says:

    “I lead a mistake-ridden life, but I do learn from those mistakes.”


    Oh this.

    And I love you so hard.

  32. Elaine says:

    Sounds like we have the same parenting style. And don’t tell anyone *whispering* but I think it’s a really good one. ;-P

    No “iffy” on the preset, it’s awesome. LOVE the shot of Lucy’s crawling hand.

  33. stacey says:

    Okay. Love this post too. I better step away from my computer before I read your entire blog. :-)

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