My Everyday Featuring ... Karen Stott

[#1] Share with us a snippet of your story.
A snippet? Hmmm…. That’s a difficult task for a wordie like me. I’m a storyteller through and through, and I tend to get a little long winded when writing. So please forgive me, but here’s a shot. 

 I grew up on a few hundred acres in the woods of Oregon surrounded by boys. With only brothers and boy neighbors my days consisted of building forts, shooting bows & arrows and any other adventure you could imagine with a stick in my hand. I didn’t even have a pair of “girl” shoes until I was 13. It might’ve been a little extreme. Lol. 

Isaac and I met in high school but never dated. We actually went on our first date the week before our wedding. If you want to know that story, just write me, I will answer. Like any lovesick girl, I love telling it. I was 19, he was 21 and in the Air Force which relocated me to the beaches of Florida for a few years. I don’t know what he saw in me, especially considering I didn’t wear makeup, or cook, or know how to be girly in any sense of the word. But I guess that’s why I love him so much. He has always seen way more in me than I could ever see in myself. And he pushes me to be my very best and to follow God down scary roads, like laying down our business to start a ministry for Women Creatives. I seriously could not do it without him. 

We now live back in Oregon where we can be close to most of our family. Isaac is a firefighter, and I’m a professional juggler of all things wifey, mommy, bloggery, Pursuit 31-y, businessy, laundry and chauffery. We have two beautiful little souls that are the intriguing ages of 6 & 8, and a new little man coming in just a few weeks. Ava, our oldest is quite the clever mix of her daddies A-type-ness and my drama. I’m going to start writing more about our relationship more because parenting an extreme extrovert as an introvert has to be one of those iron sharpens iron scenarios God speaks of. I have learned so much from her. Isaiah, who is 6, is my mini me. He would prefer to walk through life pulling pranks, with no responsibilities wearing a superhero cape and his chonies. His perspective on life brings so much joy to our household. I feel so blessed to have all of these personalities to hoan me, and mold me and remind me of what really matters.

[#2] What is your favorite part of the day with your little one[s]?
Days with little ones are always such an adventure and rarely are there two days that look the same. But one thing that has always been a constant is the rising up and the winding down. Over the past 8.5 years, those have consistently been my favorite moments with my littles. I’m a snuggler, a hugger. Physical touch is right up there with brown paper packages tide up with string, and if you ever meet me, I will be the one awkwardly running toward you in slow motion with arms open for a long awaited hug. So these quiet cuddly times of the day are all the more precious to me. 

Ava is a morning person so she is raring to go before the sun is, but as the moon says hello and the world becomes quiet again, so does she. Which is pretty rare for her. I love that she climbs up on my lap even though she stands up to my shoulders and snuggles in real close as she watches a movie, or flips through yet another American Girl catalog. 

Our youngest, for now, is a night owl, and resembles the zoned out, don’t talk to me persona that I exude before 10 am.  Because of this, we have a special thing going, and we can talk for an hour without saying a word.   Usually it consists of limbs being intertwined on the couch underneath a fuzzy buzz lightyear blanket. And both of us, completely silent. It’s in these times that the world stands still and I can breathe in the smell of their hair and feel their tiny hands around my middle. The busyness is over and it’s just us… No distractions. Being present. Together. And I can’t think of anything else I love more in the world.  

[#3] Name Three Instagram MOMS who inspire you.
Really just 3!?!?! Is it okay if I break the rules a little??? I’m in love with how these women know who they are in Christ and have a vision for their families. It’s not about survival for them or just getting by, it’s about creating memories, cultivating purpose and enjoying the journey.  I just LOVE that about them.  

@Kristin_Wall / @naptimediaries  / @joyprouty @Kristinrogers / @emilyley / @laraacasey / @scobeyphotog 

[#4] What challenges have you faced in balancing motherhood and your passion for creativity?
Geez!!!! What challenges have I not faced would be a better question! Considering my upbringing, I find it very humorous that God decided to entrust me with a Women’s ministry for professional creatives. Ten years ago I didn’t know the first thing about being a “lady”, and now I am surrounded by them. Haha very funny. It has definitely taught me that what we are meant to do isn’t exactly what we set out to do. It’s something we find when we fall into the heart of God for our lives.  

Running our photography business for the past 9 years and now running Pursuit 31 full time for almost 3, I could go on and on about the challenge of finding balance and all of that. But really, as the days go by, I’ve realized the answer to “balance” is pretty simple. It’s all about prioritizing and intentionality. When you get those in line, everything else seems to fall into place. So I guess I would have to say that my biggest challenge in creativity and motherhood is just plain exhaustion.   Motherhood is exhausting. Especially when you’re pregnant and chasing other kids, and it would be SO much easier to sleep the day away then be intentional. 

If I randomly get this amazing idea, or God whispers something in my heart to write, I want to be in a place where I can step out in action right away. I want to hear and then do. I want to actually put my hand to all of the things that are running circles in my brain. But that’s easier said than done, and so often I end up choosing the easy route instead of being a good steward of those gifts.  If I have a few quiet moments I will watch a show instead of write, or take a bath instead of get to work, and that needs to change. The Word says no greater love has a man than he that lay down his life for a friend. I want to have that love. I want to be that friend. I want to have the discipline to lay down what I am wanting in a certain moment and be obedient to the whispers God has breathed into my heart. I can’t be selfish with my gifts. They were given to me to be shared with others. Yet finding the energy to actually DO is my greatest challenge.

[#5] What is a family tradition that you love sharing with your kids?
Hmmmm… wow… There are so many that I love so much. The holidays kind of bring the traditions out in me because I am a huge lover of under the tree Christmas Eve sleepovers, and baking days that leave flour handprints all over the house. 

However I would have to say that my favorite tradition we do with our kids is our “End of Summer Adventures.” When Ava started school I thought about how I wanted to do something fun with her to retain our connection throughout the years. I didn’t want her to end up being 16 and look at me funny when I wanted to take her on a girly weekend because we had never spent time together like that before. I didn’t want to have this “coming of age” awkward weekend where we both knew we had to talk and didn’t know how.  I wanted to establish a pattern of these fun weekends that we could continue and change throughout the years and hopefully, please Lord, even into college or when she’s married. So every year, right before school starts since she was 4, Ava and I have gone on a fancy overnight “princess date” to a hotel. The activities have changed over the years, but we always manage to hit up the hotel swimming pool, paint our nails, get breakfast room service and drink Shirley Temples. Stopping at a photo booth is also a must on our bucket list. Her tastes obviously have changed in the past 4 years and we have done a lot of different things. But the most important thing is that we get each other, uninterrupted, for 48 hours. And we get to do whatever crazy girly amazingness we can think of. The boys get to have their own smelly, cabin-y, manly adventures before school starts too. But they are strictly “No girls allowed”, so I will have to let them share about those.  
[#6] If you could give us a peek inside your home - what image would you share and why?
I love this pic because it is a glimpse into our world. I feel like we are pretty unconventional,  at least compared to how I grew up. We love taking every opportunity possible to find adventure and memories in the everyday. We believe in wrestling, dance parties, blanket forts, pajama days, dress up clothes, tea parties and making dinner together even when it takes 5 times as long. I guess that’s why I love this picture. It’s not a great shot technically, or even of the kids really, but it’s us. And it’s what we do. And I love that.  

[#7] Share a photo you wouldn't typically post on Instagram but depicts real life happenings.
My goal on instagram is to always be authentic, so there isn’t really anything that I “wouldn’t” share. However as an artist/photographer I do tend to be a little picky as far as how things look aesthetically, or the quality of the actual photo. So this isn’t one I would typically post because it’s fuzzy and bright and there is a blurred dog in the corner. But it’s life, and because of that, it’s one of my favorites. We Stott’s are a roudy bunch, and wrestling in the kitchen goes with the territory.  So… here ya have it folks.  

Be sure and follow @karenstott on Instagram! You can also keep up with the series by following @kelliandvanessa or #myeverydaymoms