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14/52

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photo55“A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2014″

This is you, a blurry, smiling bundle of joy, I get to call my own.

 

 

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Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset“A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2014″

You wake up each day and stare, marveling at the new day.

The Letters « Reflection

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'A Portrait taken by one of the lovely Mothers  I photographed for 'The Letters.'

Over the past few weekends I've documented 9 Mothers for 'The Letters - A Portrait of Motherhood.' Each and every encounter has changed me deeply, and moved my very soul. These amazing women, you amazing Mothers! are such a gift to each other, the words you've spoken to me, the letters you've written for this book, are tremendous. Each story, each struggle, each triumph, has taught me more about myself than I could have ever imagined.

So far I've spoken to Mothers with terminal cancer, Mothers who battle depression, young Mothers, old Mothers, Mothers who've prayed for their children for years before receiving them, Mothers with special needs children, and Mothers who've lost their children, a loss no one should ever have to face. All different, yet all the same.

Motherhood can be such a lonely road, then again, Motherhood is what we make it. If only we all took the time to sit and listen to each other, lift each other up, instead of casting judgment and condemning each other just because we each "Mother" a little differently than the next, what a different place this would be.

This journey has opened my mind and my heart, and continues to remind me that we are NOT alone, the struggles we face, we face together as Mothers.

 

Peace & Love,

Krystal

12/52

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"A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2014″

Your face when you freshly wake, I don't think there is a better sight than this. Just when I think I couldn't love you more, I do. Promise to always stay my sweet little girl.

Silence is a source of great strength.  ~Lao Tzu

the sling diaries vol. iv ‘everything shines’ « listening

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_DSC0766-Edit_DSC0802-Edit When we were new, fresh to this earth, all we could do was listen, soak in every nuance, and every word uttered in our presence. We listened, and it was enough.

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If only we held onto that, if only we remembered to listen before we spoke, before we poured judgment and snide onto others. If only we remembered to listen to their plights before burdening them with our own, to hear when someones soul calls out to ours for strength.

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Motherhood, as well as parenthood, is a journey, not meant to be traveled alone. It takes a village, a wisdom from generations passed to navigate the seasons that new life brings. It takes support from Mothers Fathers, sisters, brothers, friends. It takes the love of the collective for families to grow.

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We've forgotten, and now some of us journey alone. Saddened by the lack of understanding shown, when understanding should inherently be the first thing we as parents feel towards one other, not harsh words and deaf ears.

We've forgotten.

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I've always been eager to listen, hungry for spoken words. Constantly in search for reassurance in others. Finding a comfort in them that I could not seem to find in myself, no matter how desperately I searched.

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Carrying life has a quieting way about it, a softening of the world around you, it swaddles you in warmth that can only radiate from within.

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With you, my sweet, I looked inward, for the first time in my life I stopped and listened, I mean really listened. To myself, to my body, to my soul, I listened and found comfort in it. My fears were very real, but it was you, your steady heartbeat, your every movement, your very wave of existence that soothed my mind, and opened my heart to a love that at the time, was only a whisper.

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When you came into this world, you came silently, searching for a breath that slowly found you, and took mine away. With your voice came a love overflowing with a peace so tangible everyone in the room cried.

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With only the steady flow of our breath to comfort us, the silence that surrounded us in your first hours of life, was pure magic. It was in that moment I knew that the strength to listen to my instincts, to my gut, to that voice that told me everything would and will be ok, would forever be with me. A precious gift given to me by my first born, the one who so graciously made me a Mother.

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Oh but life is hard sometimes, with it comes many voices, most not our own, and if you let them, they will try to and fill your head with doubt and with fear, robbing the very voice that resides within you.

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Never let others be your sole  guide, don't let what someone says take dominion over your thoughts.

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Listen.

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Listen to your heart, to you gut, to your soul, to that inner voice that guides you, it will never fail you. Just as I will try, with all my might, with all my strength, and with all my soul, to never, ever, fail you.

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To you, I will always listen.

 

Love,

Mama

 

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I’m wearing Elly in the simple linen in plum. Follow along with the sling diaries here.

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”A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2014″

Elly- Outside, where the wind can kiss your cheek, and the grass can tickle your toes. That's your favorite place to be.

Look at the trees, look at the birds, look at the clouds, look at the stars... and if you have eyes you will be able to see that the whole existence is joyful.  Everything is simply happy.  Trees are happy for no reason; they are not going to become prime ministers or presidents and they are not going to become rich and they will never have any bank balance.  Look at the flowers - for no reason.  It is simply unbelievable how happy flowers are.  ~Osho

10/52

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 "A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2014″

 Elly- This week you were, in a word, busy. Busy busy busy, as soon as you discovered one thing you found another, as soon as you crawled away, you crawled back. Busy noming your fingers, busy noming the dog, busy singing, busy laughing, busy loving. You are my favorite busy bee. You are worried about seeing him spend his early years in doing nothing.  What!  Is it nothing to be happy?  Nothing to skip, play, and run around all day long?  Never in his life will he be so busy again.  ~Jean-Jacques Rousseau,Emile, 1762

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 "A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2014″

You love him and he loves you.

Love one another and you will be happy.  It's as simple and as difficult as that.  ~Michael Leunig

The Sling Diaries vol. IV ‘Everything Shines’ « Education

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With nothing but the sound of my voice and the beat of my heart, you gracefully entered this world, silently, a blank canvas, soaking in every color that danced upon your new skin. Wide eyed and curious, you took me in, you studied the curves of my face. They say babies can’t see when they are born, but you saw me, just as I saw you, and so it began, a journey that has taken my heart and soul to places I had only dreamed real. _DSC0518-Edit

You watched from the safety of my arms and the sling as the world swirled by, kissing your cheeks, coaxing you to soar amongst the clouds.

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I remember waiting for you to roll over, to crawl, to pull yourself up, to stand freely,  to walk bravely into this world. I remember eagerly awaiting to hear your voice, excited to hear the words you would whisper in my ear. In those moments I cried tears of pure joy. I cried when you spoke my name for the first time, my ears, never had they heard such  sweet and magical sounds.

 

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Before my eyes, you grew, disguised by time and fleeting moments. You erupted like a volcano, steadily flowing, plucking bits of knowledge from life along the way. I watched as your hungry eyes took it all in, desperate to learn, anxious to grow.

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Your eyes sparkle, and your toes curl as the world goes on and flutters by, your small hands grasping anything within your reach. Creating the most glorious music with whatever you can muster, smiling from ear to ear as you discover new things.

 

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You grew tall, the length of you stretched over my lap, a tapestry of moments and milestones laid before me like a map.

 

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I am your first teacher, the constant, the lesson giver. I want to teach you everything I can about this world, beyond what you will learn from the endless books that you will read.

 

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I want to teach you to be bold and confident in your abilities to learn from any given situation. To learn from people who you think you can learn nothing from. I want you to know that you can go as far as the edge, and beyond that, you can fill your soul with as much knowledge as you can dream, it’s there at your fingertips, waiting for you.

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There is no wall you can’t crumble, so break through them all. There will never be a short supply of people who will tell you, that you can’t, but remember I’ve seen you crawl and now you stand tall. You can do what ever your heart desires, you can be  anything you want. Never lose that sense of wanting, that joyful quest for learning.

 

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Remember that an Education is not only what you learn within four walls. It’s everything around you, from the sea to the mountains, from the elderly, to the new born. It’s the ability to let every lesson sink into you, like your feet in the sand as the ocean pulls with each crashing wave.

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You’ve taught me more lessons than I can count in your short time on this earth. You’ve taught me things about myself that I didn’t think possible. You’ve grown me into a mother, shown me that my body can go far beyond what I thought it could. You’ve taught me that love runs deeper than any ocean, that patience is a practice, to laugh when you want to cry, to live life each day with a vigor, and that I too, have so much yet to learn.

 

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I strive to let you learn, to push the boundaries, to look/crawl/walk towards the edge, it’s ok to go, it’s ok to roar, it’s ok to color outside of the lines, it’s ok to paint the sky red!

Because it is, at it’s fiery set the sky takes on endless colors.

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No one loves you like I do, we shared one body, and now a piece of me will forever be in you.

 

Love Always & Forever,

Mama

 

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I’m wearing Elly in the simple linen in wheat. Follow along with the sling diaries here.

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 "A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2014"

Elly- The rain came down hard in the last few days, and you welcomed it like an old friend. Pressing your face against the window, you squealed in delight as the cold numbed your lips, yet you kissed the rain anyways.

You taught me to welcome the weather, any weather with a smile and a kiss. Thank you.

Let the rain kiss you.  Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops.  Let the rain sing you a lullaby.  ~Langston Hughes

7/52

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 "A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2014″

 Your rolls, oh how I wish I could gobble them up. They are quickly disappearing  since you started crawling, and now...dare I say it, trying to walk. I'm glad I have this image, so one day I can show you just how delicious your glorious rolls really were. While we try to teach our children all about life, Our children teach us what life is all about. ~Angela Schwindt

Time spent « A Day at The Park

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Motherhood. The most amazing job that's literally 24'hrs a day, all day everyday. Sometimes I feel as if time is spent before it's even arrived. Between projects, work, and mommying, time is indeed already spent. Nap time quickly became the only time where I  have a moment just to sit down and breath. Because let's face it, there's a 50/50 chance that I won't get more than 45 minutes of consecutive sleep any given night, thanks teeth...thanks.

I was living for nap time, and it was always over all too soon. So yesterday, I took a break. For my family, for myself, for my sanity. All it took was a short walk to the park, snacks, and a good read. Elly was happy to get out, it was time to take back all this time spent, cooking, cleaning, and being well busy, it was time to stop and smell the roses.

Sitting under the shade of a lone tree I watched as Elly crawled to this place and that, dragging leaf after leaf along with her. She'd lay in the fresh cool grass as the sun kissed her skin, and the wind spun her hair, closing her eyes as she took it all in, basking in that beautiful moment. I realized she needed this just as much I did.

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So don't forget to take time for you, for your family, for your sanity. All the "stuff" will be there waiting when you get back. Life as we all know is too short, and passes by at lightning speed, so why not stop and fill your lungs with a renewed strength you can only get from taking back your time spent. With that said, I'm off to L.A. tomorrow to photograph a beautiful mother and hear her story for 'The Letters,' I can't wait to share with you all. Have a wonderful weekend! Love & Light, Krystal

No-Sew «« Headband Tutorial

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I was recently asked by a lovely mama to make a tutorial on how I made one of Elly's headbands, and here it is! 

This is by far the easiest headband to make, there is no sewing required, of course if you want to finish the headband by hand sewing it, you can.

What you'll need: 

A pair of scissors,

a piece of fabric, (I used Jersey to allow for some extra stretch and comfort)

and a hot glue gun.

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Fold your fabric into thirds, folding the last third a half inch short. Then turn your fabric over so the short edge is table side down._DSC0276

Pinch both ends and tie a knot, leaving at least two inch fabric tails.

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Then tie another knot.

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Don't worry about the extra fabric hanging out we'll deal with that in a moment.

Turn your headband inside out so the over lapping fabric seam is on the inside.

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Pull the knot tight, by pulling on both sides of the headband, being careful not to undo the knot. _DSC0289_DSC0291

Tuck the free ends of the fabric underneath the knot, and hot glue the pieces to the underside of the knot. If you would rather hand sew the tucked pieces, you can.

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Press the knot firmly to ensure a good bond, and there you have it!

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A quick and easy way to make a headband.

Let me know how yours turn out!

Peace & Love,

Krystal

6/52

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 "A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2014″

"Oh Hiiiii!" I say to you upon waking every morning, along with a thousand kisses and I love you's. Today you replied with, " Hiiiiiiaaa!"  Then immediately started laughing, tickled pink with yourself and your new found word. Hearing you find your voice is absolutely thrilling, the sweetest sounds I've every heard. "Look at everything as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time."  ~Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

The Letter « A Portrait of Motherhood

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I never knew the weight that motherhood carried with it. Not the physical weight of carrying a child, or the pounds you may or may not be left with, but the weight, the gravity that comes with being a mother. It's immense, it dances around your heart like fireflies on a warm summer night. Filling your cup with a joy  that overflows, staining your skin with light, a love, deeper than than any ocean. It's a the purest feeling, a swelling in your soul that's understood by the smile of every passing stranger that has the privilege to call herself Mother.

This realization birthed a book, a project that I'll be documenting here on the blog over the next few months. I have gathered mothers from all walks of life, ranging in age from 24 to 93. Originating from more than 4 continents, in order to take their portrait. I've then asked them to write a letter, to their children, to themselves, to all mothers, expressing, telling, portraying, singing what being a mother is to them. How its changed every cell of their being, how its grown them into the person they are today.

We share a connection, not just with the children that we dare to birth, but with each other, we are sisters, friends, walking the same journey, some farther along than others. We all have a story to tell, wisdom to give, magic to share, a letter to write.

If you would like to join this adventure, or know someone who might, please don't hesitate to send me an E-mail at hello@krystaldonovan.com. This project is something I hold very dear to my heart, and I absolutely cannot wait to share it with you.

 

Peace & Love,

Krystal

To My Daughter «« A Fathers Words

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daddys_arms-5 Hello my darling daughter.

What a precious thing it is for a father to have a daughter.

"I hope its a boy!" I remember thinking thinking in my lack of understanding. I didn't know what joy and mysteries a little girl would bring and unlock. Your precious life brings new meaning to me everyday I watch you grow. You boggle my mind kid! Your laughter is contagious. I love it!

Everyday I hope and pray for you to grow up wise and virtuous. I can see your immense beauty developing with every smile that shines from your radiant being. I love your little teeth!

Oh Eleanor, my little Elly! We love you so much. To the moon and back my little adorable sweetheart.

You are gifted with brilliance... mostly from your mother... With your will, might, determination, and persistence for the truth who can stop you? No one. With your Mama and I for your foundation, you can ascend to new heights.

Love,

Papa

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"You have been predestined, called, justified and adorned with dignity and honor. If Elohim is for us, who can be against us?" - Romans 8:31-32

A raccoon & A kiss

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It was a cold rainy day here in sunny California, so we spent most of the day eating too many sweets and watching the rain come down. As I sat on the floor watching Elly play with her favorite stuffed friend, the sweetest moment took place. Elly accidentally knocked him over, she immediately peered over at him, checking to see if her furry friend was ok. Then she picked him up, squeezed him tight and gave him a kiss. I could have melted into the floor right then and there. Since Elly has been crawling these last few weeks and pulling herself up on just about anything she can, she has had her  share off woopsies. Of course I immediately pick her up, squeeze her tight and give her a kiss to make it all better.

To witness such kindness from my baby, my not so little baby, humbled me.

If only we all treated each other with such care and love.

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My sweet sweet Elly, may you always show such love and kindness to others.

 

 

The Sling Diaries, VOL. IV: Everything Shines - Confidence

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Confidence is something that grew as I aged. It wound itself from inside to the surface and back in again, layer upon layer, leaving traces of itself in new found strengths. Time taught me that what I think of myself, is far more important than what other people think of me.

I think as women confidence grows, with every birthday, every scar, every leap of faith, every kind word spoken to us, and most greatly, with every birth.

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I've struggled with confidence my whole life. It was never something I could fully grasp with my hands alone, it was something that was cultivated by my mother. You see, I've always been a little "different" besides the obvious color of my skin. Which still challenges me day by day, to stand behind it with my head held high, and to stop making qualifications for who I am.

I dream big, I dive straight into the deep without fear or second thought, I speak my mind. The reality is that living this way always set me apart while growing up, kids look at you differently when you don't follow the pack. Paving your own road takes a certain strength and determination, a confidence within yourself that builds you up when others set out to tear you down. Despite my sometimes crippling fear and constant questioning, "you think this is ok?" I've done many things in my life and pursued passions with every ounce of my being. Whatever arena I've walked into physical or mental, I went, because something in my soul said to, despite people's harsh words and strange looks that told me otherwise. I would do it anyways because I had a steadfast foundation. My faith and my Mother, she filled the holes left by society...but those looks, those words, they would eat away at my confidence, like a termite to a tree.

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I lived this way my whole life, hiding the fact that, confidence, was not something that organically dwelled within me. Then I found out I was pregnant with you, I watched as  my belly grew heavy with life. There were moments of fear and longings for my old body, the one I had just finally started to accept and love. If I only knew the strength my body was about to show me I carried all along.

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Giving birth to you has humbled me, and instilled a confidence within me I didn't know could exist. The struggle to accept and love this new body has been a graceful experience.  Yes, there have been tears, and moments of mourning spent staring in the mirror. Then one day I took pause, I looked at my body, this time with kind eyes and a forgiving heart, I smiled, smiled because I  realized that I am blessed to be "marked a mother." I earned every bit of it. My breasts may not be as far north as the used to be and my stomach may be soft, but the confidence that came along with it all, to love my body anyways, despite what society deems beautiful is unmatched. I created life! I created you! Every lock of hair, every pudgy roll, every toe. You, my love, are my greatest accomplishment. Everything pales compared to you, and no one, no harsh word spoken against this new frame can take away the majesty of what I've done, what any mother has done.

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I am overwhelmed with the gifts you’ve given me by entering this world. The confidence I now have in myself is priceless. My wish, my dream, my mission in life is to give this to you. A knowing, a confidence instilled within yourself, that moves aside all self doubt, and fear.

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The confidence to get up and do "it" anyways, no matter what standards society places upon you.

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By being confident in myself, I hope to show you how to be confident enough to trust in your own instincts. To Believe in your own ideas, and to let them take you to new heights. To know that when one door closes another will open.

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To love your fellow man despite all their downfalls, to learn to humble yourself. To always put one foot in front of the other, even as fear nips at your heels. To stand up for what's right. To be a voice for those who have none.

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And if you need me...

If you need me to fill in the gaps left by someones words that left you feeling empty.

If you need me to hold you up when your legs can’t take you any farther.

If you need me to wrap my arms around you when your heart is broken.

If you need me to stand up for you when you’re afraid to stand for yourself.

If you need me to trust you so you can trust in yourself.

I will.

Know, that I always will. So that you’ll know that confidence comes from within.

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I'll be confident in mothering you.

So you’ll know.

 

Love always and forever,

Mama

 

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I'm wearing Elly in the simple linen in plum. Follow along with the sling diaries here.

By Krystal Donovan on 2014-02-04

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"We are like the little branch that quivers during a storm, doubting our strength and forgetting we are the tree - deeply rooted to withstand all of life's upheavals."

~Dodinsky

5/52

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 "A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2014"

Elly- With eyes full of wonder and light of your ever expanding world,  you stayed close to me. Close enough to take in your breath, and steal kisses whenever I pleased. Teething caused you to need this closeness more than ever this week, and it reminded me that you're still my baby, even though you can crawl and explore on your own now. I will cherish these moments, where I can still carry you, safely tucked under my chin, my skin softly melting into yours as we walk through this world as one.

"Life was meant to be lived, and curiosity must be kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life."

~Eleanor Roosevelt

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"A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2014"

Elly- Your little fingers are finding every piece of dust, dirt, and lint. No matter how many times your Papa and I sweep, you'll find the tiniest treasure that we somehow missed.

The important thing is not to stop questioning.  Curiosity has its own reason for existing.  One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality.  ~Albert Einstein

Bits of The Weeks End

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This weekend started off as one of the hardest weekends of my life. You seem my best friend died Friday night. For those of you who don't know me, Rusty (my dog) WAS my best friend. 18 years he was by my side, the greater half of my life... he never wavered. He sat by me, licked the tears from my face when I was alone and sad. He was there through every accomplishment, every breakup, every big move, every up, every down, he was there. He was there when I picked up all my things and moved to a city where I knew no one, to pursue my dream. The happiest, cutest dog, everyone loved him. He saw me find love, get married, and have my first child. Elly crawled for the first time, toward him!

All day that day Elly would crawl in his bed, lay her head down next to his and stoke his fur, as if she knew. The sun set, his breathing got heavy...and he left. My heart shattered into a million pieces.

These last few days have been so strange without him, at times I catch myself calling his name. Elly even looks for him around corners, it breaks my heart to watch her miss his presence.

We decided to go to the beach and enjoy some sun in order to lift our spirits.

It was such a lovely day.

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"A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2014."

Elly- We took you to the beach,  hardly for the first time. Though it was the first time you noticed your surroundings. You dug in the sand, gazing at each grain as if they were specks of gold. You weren't a bit afraid of the crashing waves, you gazed out at them, as if you knew the weight that they carried with each crash they beat upon the sand. My wise baby, what a pleasure it is to watch you grow.

Long before we saw the sea, its spray was on our lips, and showered salt rain upon us.  ~Charles Dickens, David Copperfield 

Juicing 1/12 «« Bottoms Up

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New Years Resolutions. We make them, we break them.  This year instead of adding unrealisticly high exspectations on my already full plate. I decided to do 12 things I really want to try, and commit to them for thirty days. At the end of the thirty days I'll decided whether or not it's worth keeping in my life. So far so good!

We're coming up fast on the end of January, so I thought I'd share what my '30 Day Commitment' was for the month of January with you guys, and from here on out. This month was juicing, I juiced almost every day, not only for me but my husband ended up joining in too. I even made a little baby juice for Elly.

I had so much more energy, I almost felt like a person without kids...almost. I've decided that juicing is something I'm going to keep around for the long haul. 

 

Check out my short video I filmed for www.bugsandpeanut.com on how I made one of the main juices I drank. If you want to try out this energy packed juice see recipe below.

 

Recipe

 

3 Chard leaves

3 Kale leaves

10 Large carrots

2 Sprigs of parsley

1 Lemon (optional)

Add 1 teaspoon of chia seeds on top.

Juice all of these ingredients together and serve right away.

« For added sweetness add two apples.

 

Peace & Love,

Krystal

 

 

By Krystal Donovan on 2014-01-20

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'Being a mother means that your heart is no longer yours, it wanders wherever your children do.'

~Author Unknown

Cloth Diapering « The Down & Dirty

6a016766f37c65970b01a511305f16970c-700wi For those of you who haven't cloth diapered before... I know, I know, you think it's too much work and who in their right mind wants to lug poop around all day. Well it's really not all that bad, it actually becomes quite addicting, ask any cloth diapering Mama out there.

 

 

Q. Why do you cloth diaper?

A. We initially decided to cloth diaper to do our part to help the environment and for the savings of course. Disposable diapers use 20 times more raw materials, two times more water and three times more energy to make than cloth diapers. Besides depleting natural resources, manufacturing disposable diapers also utilizes non-renewable energy sources. Disposable diapers take about 500 years to decompose. The millions of tons of untreated waste added to landfills each year through plastic diapers can contaminate ground water. Crazy right? For us, the convenience of disposables is not worth all the byproducts. We want to do our part to leave a better earth for our daughter. Now how much do we save you ask? We save an average of $1751.60 over a 30 month period, per kid! That's vacation money people.

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    We ended up going to a cloth diapering class and quickly became overwhelmed. Pockets and pre-folds and liners, Oh MY. In the end we went with Grovias (leaked EVERY TIME) and  Imagines (more like AMAZING) newborn's. I can't say enough about the Imagines, they are awesome, nev

er leaked and fit perfectly. At six bucks a diaper on sale, who can beat that, I had about 15 Imagines in my stash & 3 Grovias. Instead of buying all the diapers ourselves, I asked people to bring one to my baby shower, in order to enter a raffle where I gave away one of my fine art prints. That saved us another $350.00 on top of the $1751.60 we were already saving for cloth diapering in general. My Father gave us the newborn diapers, so we spent Zero  $$$ on our diapers. 

 

Q. Ok, cool...you cloth diaper, isn't it a big ole hassle?

A. No, not at all. Cloth diapering quickly becomes a part of your every day routine. It's an extra load of laundry every day or two, depending on how large your 'stash' is.  

Q. Speaking of laundry, how do you wash your diapers?

A. To make the wash easier I take out the inserts of the Bum Genius and unsnap the liners of my other diapers before placing them in the wet bag. You do NOT want to stick your hands in a wet bag that's been sitting for a few days, ooh nooo. I dump the contents of the wet bag, along with the wet bag itself into the washing machine and do a COLD rinse. Then I add Bum Genius brand soap to the main wash on H OT. I tumble dry my diapers on low heat, only because we live in a town home with no yard to line dry our diapers in. However I'm sure I could line dry them in our laundry room, it would just take awhile. 

 

6a016766f37c65970b01a5112780b8970c-700wi Q. What kind of diapers do you use? A. As Elly's grown and I've become more cloth diaper savvy and I've changed things up a bit. She has extremely sensitive skin and I found that the Bum Genius 4.0's and especially the Flips, were starting to dry her tiny bottom out when she was around 4 months. My sister 'n'law introduced me to the cloth diapers she uses and I instantly fell in love. They are made by Mama's, which I love because I'm helping to support other growing families such as ourselves. I still use Bum Genius at night since they're outer layer is treated with a waterproof coating. I double stuff them, allowing her to sleep through most night without a diaper change. I use Hidie Oh's, Cozzy Bunz, and Little Fancy Pants during the day. 

Q. Do they leak?

A. The Bum Genius never leak, unless we put them on wrong or she sleeps for an excessive amount of time, 10 hours or more (she still wakes to nurse multiple times a night). The other brands I use don't necessarily leak, but since they are pure cloth unlike Bum Genius, you will feel a little dampness when their diaper gets really full.

Q. Do you cloth diaper all the time?

A. Yes, we cloth diaper 100% of the time.

Q. Do you use snaps or velcro?

A. The newborn's were a mixture of each. All the diapers she wears now are snaps. Though velcro would be convenient now that she's turned into a little wiggle worm during changing. 

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    We have one "changing station" in the house. It's pretty simple, a changing pad on top of her dresser with a wet bag (the bag you throw soiled diaper in) next to it. I usually stuff (add the absorbent pad) my diapers right after drying them so her actual changing time isn't as long. I've got a crawler on my hands and she waits for no man. I should probably create a downstairs "changing station," but then I'd loose my daily diaper dash stair work outs.

Q. Does your wet bag stink up the place?

A. No, not unless I decided to skip the wash for three day's, then they become a little ripe. Since Elly's still exclusively breast fed, with the occasional bite of food, her poop's don't smell more than day old yogurt, yuuum. 

 

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Our diaper necessities:

1. On the go wet bag.

2. All In Ones (Heidie Oh's, Little Fancy Pants, & Cozzy Bunz) 

3. Cloth wipes.

4. Grovia Newborn diapers.

5. Coconut Oil, great for chapped, dry skin, cradle cap, and eczema, and it smells delicious.

6. Bum Genius 4.0.

7. Imagines Newborn diaper.

8. Baby Bee Diaper Ointment

9. Extra Inserts.

10. Wet Bag

11. Diaper Warmer & wipes (cloth and disposable), who wouldn't want to wipe their butt with a nice warm cloth? 

12. Waterproof changing liner.

Tips & Tricks

« Cloth diapers make for a "fluffy" butt, you might have to go up a few clothes sizes to accommodate.

« Cloth diaper babies need to be changed more often, unlike disposables, they can feel when they're wet and will probably let you know when it's time to be changed. As a result, cloth diaper babies tend to potty train earlier.

« If you're not sure you want to make the initial investment, try joining a diaper swap. They have tons of brands of gently used diapers that you can purchase for a fraction of the price.

« Elly's had zero diaper rash.

 

    It's really not as much work as I initially thought it would be, and now I'm totally addicted to cloth. I mean look at this butt!

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    Every parent has to make their own decision about what works best for their family, cloth may not work for everyone. This is just a guide to what's worked for us, I hope I've answered any questions you might have had. 

Picasso Maybe? ~ Homemade Organic Edible Paint

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     Since Elly's into everything now, and I do mean everything. I caught her in the laundry with my underwear on her head ten minutes ago, don't worry they were clean. I decided to have a little painting party, but since she sticks everything her little hands can reach into her mouth, I knew edible paint was the way to go. We just started  Baby Led Weaning aka  "No...nope, not interested in this at all Mom, thanks, give me some more breast milk please." Besides apple sauce and the occasional avocado, which she ends up making the craziest faces over, she hasn't had much food. So I stuck to the basics, all organic, all locally grown veggies and fruits. 

    At first all she wanted to do was rip the paper into shreds. Once I showed her the paint on the paper she got the hang of it and became a painting maniac. She slowly dipped her fingers into each color, one by one, studying the paint between her fingers. Then full blown body painting occurred. It was so much fun to watch her navigate the different textures and colors.

    Of course she put none of it in her mouth... Go figure. I ended up putting some paint on my fingers so she could taste it.

Edible Paint6a016766f37c65970b01a510f4ebd8970c-700wi6a016766f37c65970b019b04d1cb3d970d-700wi6a016766f37c65970b019b04d1cd21970d-700wi6a016766f37c65970b01a510f4f753970c-700wi6a016766f37c65970b019b04d1dc0d970d-700wi6a016766f37c65970b01a3fc457fd9970b-700wi6a016766f37c65970b01a510f50b7c970c-700wi6a016766f37c65970b01a510f5098c970c-700wi

Voilà ! A painter is born. She was pretty proud of herself. She went through about 4 sheets of paper.

 

    As you can see it's pretty messy and baths are a must after this painting activity, but it's oh so much fun. I hope you try it out with your little ones!

 

Paint Recipie

 

Magenta

1/2 cup Whole Wheat Baby Oatmeal.

Raw Beets. 

Green

1/2 cup Whole Wheat Baby Oatmeal. 

A handful of Spinach.

1/2 Avocado.

Pale pinkish purple..?

1/2 cup Whole Wheat Baby Oatmeal. 

8 Fresh Raspberries.

Orange

1/2 cup Whole Wheat Baby Oatmeal.

2 Large boiled carrots. Instructions   Mix each color individually with 1 cup of water in a blender until smooth.   Notes

* I used the apple/pear flavored baby Oatmeal, which I found to be thicker than the non flavored. It bonded the colors beautifully. 

* Add more raspberries for a brighter pink. 

* You can substitute Rice Cereal if you're not ready to start you little one on oatmeal yet.    *You can also use breast milk, almond milk (be careful of allergies), or cows milk instead of water if desired. What You'll Need Large construction paper A mat or tarp (This get's messy) And that's it, you're ready to paint, and they can eat the leftovers ! ;) Don't forget to let me know how yours turned out, and if you managed to invent any new colors.   Much Love, Krystal

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2/52"A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2014." Elly- Adding to the teeth marks left on the crib from when I was a child. I love these little people; and it is not a slight thing when they, who are so fresh from God, love us. ~Charles Dickens, The Old Curiosity Shop

Crawling « Cribs « Teeth « & Tears

Park1p26a016766f37c65970b019b04a956e0970d-700wipark  

 

I'm not much of a cryer, but I cried today. Twice actually, the second as I write this.

I remember in the beginning I wished for the infant stage to be over with. Colic ran my life, and sleep depravation consumed me. I couldn't wait until solids, crawling and a little independence. This little meatball was testing every fiber of my being, I was ready for the next stage. Well here we are...

This weekend was a weekend of firsts.

 

She's crawling now, I mean really crawling. Her world has grown, and she's into everything. 

 She cut her first tooth, not good news for my boobs, though I wouldn't have it any other way.

 She pulled herself up in her crib, so my husband lowered the crib.

 ~

We went to the park to enjoy what was left of our weekend. I watched as she crawled/scooted around, picking up this leaf and that. Carefully studying the little treasures she'd find. Everything was new, everything was magic. On our way home she quietly fell asleep, heavy against my chest, snug in her sling. I laid her down in her crib, her crib that once held her tiny swaddled self, the crib I slept in as a child. As the last of the sunlight crept behind the hills, I looked down at the not so tiny creature I created, and cried.

I cried because I realized this was it. This is the feeling... this is why mothers have tears in their eyes as their once babies walk, run, drive, graduate, marry, and have babies of their own. 

 Make that 3 times I've cried today. 

~K

 

The Sling Diaries, VOL. IV: Everything Shines: Dreams

butterfly dreams-6-Edit         As the morning kisses the horizon, warming your dewy skin and brushing your eyes with light, I wonder what you're dreaming as smiles flicker across your face. So new and not yet tainted from this world, every piece of you astounds me. Your curled toes and tiny hands constantly reaching for thingsI hope you never lose that sense of childish wonder, and keep reaching for the trappings just outside your reach.

dreams-106-Edit

    I walk through this life slowly, with eyes wide open, taking in all that it has to offer. I'm a dreamer by nature, it’s who I am at my core. At night, when the streets are quiet, and breathing is heavy, my mind comes alive as I dream of impossible things, bringing them to life in the light of day, forever expanding, changing, and creating. Without them, I wouldn't have gone where my feet have lead me, lived where my heart desired, and loved with a fire so miraculous, it created you.         dreams-94-Edit          I couldn't have dreamt you, you are beyond my wildest imaginings, and they run deep. Pregnant, I curiously guessed who you were, who you might become, wondered what you would look like, sound like. I constantly asked your father who he thought you would be like, who he thought you would become. You were so foreign to me, I couldn't wrap my head around what an extraordinary thing I was doing, carrying you. My dreams, filled with the things I knew, but never you. You were a whisper, a heartbeat, a mystery clothed in warmth and silence.    snuggleuntitled-424-Edit          In dreams, as in love, all is possible. No dream is too colossal, too immense, or too tremendous to chase. There is power and boldness in chasing your dreams, so run, run without fear of falling, because I will always catch you. There is no limit, what you dream, you can do.          Keep your head in the clouds, thats where you'll find them, your dreams waiting to be realized. There’s safety in them, a freedom seldom reached by the masses, for fear grips their dreams and stifles them before they begin. Let them burn in you, forge them deep in your heart, let no one smother them, not even yourself.  dreams-366-Edit      dreams-190-Edit     The greatest enemy of dreams is us. We have this clever way of getting in the way of ourselves. Fear and doubt creeps into our minds like weeds in a field, determined to make it their home.     Prune your dreams, fine tune them, and watch how they grow taller than you had even imagined.            I hope the life your Father and I lead serves as a constant example to you, I hope it gives you the strength to create your own dreams. I promise we'll always help you reach for them, no matter how high, no matter the obstacles you might face, just as my mother did for me.  She gave me strength when I had none, by believing in me when I didn't even believe in myself. We will always believe in you and your dreams my dear.  dreams-266-Edit dreams-157-Edit dreams-203-Edit           You've touched my heart in ways I'll never know. With you birthed a mother I never thought I would be, a love I didn't know existed, so tangible it breathes and twists into my very being. Sinking into me like a stone cast at sea. You are the dream I never could have fathomed. A piece of myself living a part from me.      My dream for you is that you exceed me. That you dream higher than I ever thought possible, reach for things that I can't even imagine. That you do everything you were placed on this earth to do.  There's magic in the air, grab it and make it yours.    dreams-594-Edit Read fairy tales, they will give you unfailing hope when life seems to have none.    Flying pages     Dream of impossible things, make them come true. Believe in yourself, believe in your dreams, as I believe in you.  butterfly   Dream of extraordinary things my love, dream.      Love. Always, Mama

 sling tag

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am wearing Elly in the Sakura Bloom Simple Linen in Wheat

 

The 52 Project

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          By now I'm sure you are all familiar with The 52 Project, where you take a portrait of your child/ren every week for a year. I've followed along as mother after mother documented the amazing wonder that is their children. Longing for the day when I could document my own.

    Well ladies and gents! The time is now, and what a perfect day to start it. Exactly 7 months ago today this wonderful being graced us with her presence.

I'm beyond excited to join in on this lovely project.

 1/52 1/52 "A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2014."

 

Elly- You wouldn't know it by the picture, but my poor little lady is suffering from her first cold. If I could bear it all I would, if only to stop her suffering. Being a mother is learning about strengths  you didn't know you had, and dealing with fears you didn't know existed. ~ Linda Wooten  Peace & Love, Krystal

1/52

    By now I'm sure you are all familiar with The 52 Project, where you take a portrait of your child/ren every week for a year. I've followed along as mother after mother documented the amazing wonder that is their children. Longing for the day when I could document my own.

    Well ladies and gents! The time is now, and what a perfect day to start it. Exactly 7 months ago today this wonderful being graced us with her presence.

I'm beyond excited to join in on this lovely project.

    Vscocam_1389209791.983986.IMG_5123   "A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2014."  

 

Elly- You wouldn't know it by the picture, but my poor little lady is suffering from her first cold. If I could bear it all I would, if only to stop her suffering.   Being a mother is learning about strengths  you didn't know you had, and dealing with fears you didn't know existed. ~ Linda Wooten    Peace & Love, Krystal

2. The Three of Us

I always imagined my life as a single, a lone, wandering, picture taking, jetsetter. Following along where my heart and camera led me, belonging to no one but myself and God. I thought that was the life, the perfect life, only because I couldn't fathom how amazing life could be with a husband by my side and a baby on my back. If only I knew then what I know now. I'm still jet setting, wandering and picture taking, only with an amazing little family in tow. They say don't look at life through rose colored glasses...they must not have had kids.

 

Top 10 Blessings of 2013 from Krystal Donovan Photography on Vimeo.

 

3. Elly

She takes the cake. Both of my Grandmothers died in childbirth. So for me, bearing children was a terrifying thing, something I honestly didn't think I would ever do. Now here I am on the other side, healthy and whole. I moved fear aside and made room for her. She is my world, my light, my little love, the best parts of her father and I.

Top 10 Blessings of 2013 from Krystal Donovan Photography on Vimeo.

 

4. Great Grandparents & Grandparents

Sadly I never knew my Grandparents, let alone Great Grandparents. Watching our parents light up when they are with our little Elly makes my heart flutter. The relationship she has with each one of them is so unique and priceless. To be able to watch the family that you created grow into this beautiful thing called family, is worth it's weight in gold. I can only imagine how it feels to look over your life and see all the children you've made, with their children, and their children's children. I hope one day Elly realizes how lucky she is to have all of her Grandparents, along with one extraordinary Great Grandmother.

 

Top 10 Blessings of 2013 from Krystal Donovan Photography on Vimeo.

 

5. Partner in Crime

 

This man. This crazy crazy man I get to call husband, I'm so happy our hearts belong to each other. There is no one on this planet I'd rather circle the sun with.

Top 10 Blessings of 2013 from Krystal Donovan Photography on Vimeo.

 

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