Fayetteville, NC Lifestyle Photographer Lea Hartman »

Masthead header

Boys. Can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em.

I admit it. Bringing up boys is like a marathon run at a sprinter’s pace. I don’t know what to do with my boys sometimes. Everything they do is filled with energy and noise. It’s natural, I know. But as I can easily sit and read a book without a sound for hours, I can’t really relate to it. Sometimes I’d give anything for them to just be quiet, yet even as the thought crosses my mind, I realize that it’s probably nearly impossible for them. So I just continue to pull out my hair instead.

It’s hard mothering boys. Because I know I’m raising men. Men who will want to be respected and make their own decisions. And men don’t learn to be men from their mothers. We may teach them proper grooming and good hygiene and how not to be jerk, but ultimately, only another man can teach a boy about manhood. Just as only a woman can truly teach a girl about womanhood. With their daddy halfway around the world, it’s all up to me and I’m at a loss lately on how to teach them to behave appropriately in any given situation without crushing their spirits.

I want them to know that Mommy desires nothing more than to raise them well and I want them to grow up knowing I value their opinions. I don’t want to nag them or chastise them. I want to give them the tools needed to develop self control, discipline and the ability to think for themselves.

That’s so much harder to do when one of them sits at the dinner table picking at his food and complaining for nearly an hour and then eventually forces himself to throw up in the hopes he can be excused from the table.

Boys: 1, Mommy: 0

bringing up boys

Back to Top//Contact Me//Share on Facebook//Tweet this Post//Email to a Friend

It’s no secret that I love a well cultivated space. When shooting interiors, I love them in their own right for their calm comfort and pristine appearance. The OCD freak in me longs for my home to always look that perfect…but of course, I have three children so it never does.

Which brings me to the second thing I love about a well cultivated space. A home that is full of personal touches and distinct style honed to fit in with your unique aesthetic makes the perfect backdrop for storytelling images. I have shot many portrait sessions for families – stand here, do that, smile, etc – and got great results, but photographing people in their own space brings a level of comfort and confidence that is hard to fake anywhere else. Those kinds of images make my heart sing.

I’d very much like to cultivate such a home for my family and since purchasing our home just over a year ago, I have slowly but steadily been replacing furniture I tolerated with pieces I love. I’m not 100% there yet, but I’m well on my way. As I’ve done so, I’ve realized that about 85% of the pieces I’ve been most drawn to are all the same shade. (What can I say? I’m a BIG fan of neutrals). As a result, my living area is one big drab beige blob! Okay, not entirely, but mostly. I need something to make everything pop and add some dimension. My boring beige home makeover has begun!

First up is the great room. It’s one of my favorite features of our house – a combined kitchen, dining and living space that not only makes our home feel bigger, but also allows me to be part of the action when I’m cooking dinner or hosting a gathering. Because I love most of the furniture, I’ve decided paint is the answer! And maybe a new furniture arrangement, though that will be tricky as the sofa only fits along that one wall and the piano needs to be against an interior wall.

boring beige home makeover
I’m very tempted to paint this wall black as it would look like an extension of my chalkboard wall and I’m not really a fan of color on the walls. Clearly, as you can see from the images, I’m not a fan of color when it comes to my home decor in general. (Now, I do love to WEAR bright colors, but that’s an other story entirely). I am worried that it would make the room seem much too much darker but still, I can’t shake the feeling that I should just go for it! I literally can’t picture any other shade on that wall…

boring beige home makeover

But if I did go for it, does it follow that I should paint the smaller wall with the piano black as well? Would that be too much?

boring beige home makeover
I’m obviously on a black kick because I think the stairwell should also be black (but not if I paint the living room wall black, even I wouldn’t do that much). It’s a smaller area that’s visible to the great room and I think it would create some dimension and offer me the black I crave without it being the largest wall in the house! Plus, the stairwell gets the most dirty handprints via my children so a nice dark color seems like a good way to hide the constant dirt and grime.

I’m also going to be replacing a few furniture items that I’m not in love with and possible doing something different in the lighting realm as well. (We never use the overhead light on the ceiling fan). We shall see! I’ll start with paint and go from there!

Oh man, pictures I can do. But design? I’m entering a new realm, but thanks to some awesome blogs I love to drool over (www.designaddictmom.blogspot.com, www.stylebyemilyhenderson.com, www.decor8blog.com, www.littlegreennotebook.blogspot.com, just to name a few) I’m getting my feet wet and learning something new. I hope you’ll follow along!

Back to Top//Contact Me//Share on Facebook//Tweet this Post//Email to a Friend
  • StaceyJuly 15, 2014 - 10:51 am

    It looks like you get a good amount of natural light so a black accent wall or deep dark navy would be nice. I don’t think you would have to paint the piano wall that color. Accenting it with accessories would prbly be better but I could tell better if I saw the entire space. It’s funny how you’re a neutral person and I almost always blind you with color when you come here:)ReplyCancel

    • LeaJuly 16, 2014 - 8:37 am

      I LOVE your colorful home. Probably in part because it’s such a separation from my own!ReplyCancel

Yesterday, I slept in until after 9:00. It was glorious. It took 8 years of parenthood to get to this place, this place of extra rest, this place of having children old enough to linger in bed on a Saturday morning.

It must’ve been due to this that I was feeling benevolent. I sat down at my computer with my yogurt and coffee and began looking up fun things to do with my kiddos. It didn’t take long to decide on the zoo and our Hartman Family Adventure from Fayetteville, NC to Asheboro, NC began!

I packed snacks and water and got everyone loaded up but it was still almost 10:30 when we finally pulled the car out of the driveway. Thanks to some back roads Siri decided we should take, we didn’t arrive at the zoo until around 1:00 and then enjoyed some snacks in the shade of the trees before we ventured inside. Really, I was glad of that – less stuff to cart around with me.

We entered at the Africa side and just walking across the old wooden bridge got my kids all excited!

nc zoo entrance
The boys sported baseball caps (something they never wear) to keep the sun out of their eyes and I loaded all the kids up with sunscreen, but it turned out that almost all the walkways and even exhibit observation areas were under the cover of trees. I come in only three shades – extra pale, red, and more freckled – so I was very thankful for the shade, having forgotten to spray myself with sunscreen.
nc zoo children
The rock outcroppings just off the main trails simply couldn’t be passed up by my children. Daddy is a rock climber and it must be in the blood. There were also these fun statues of animals that we passed throughout the day and I couldn’t resist stopping for pictures.

nc zoo lions
Nathaniel (my oldest) doesn’t like to have his picture taken unless he’s showing off some new Lego creation so he OFTEN averts his eyes purposely. His little way of cooperating, but not cooperating at the same time. See, even us professionals have trouble getting a great result sometimes! My kids are just so used to the camera that it’s lost all interest for them. (Don’t worry, I’ve never had trouble getting kids to cooperate for my regular sessions.)
nc zoo rest timea
hartman family adventures nc zoo
nc zoo safari jeep
I didn’t take a lot of pictures of the actual animals because I only brought one lens and most of them were too far out for me to get a clear shot anyway. However, the elephant was my favorite. I just love them. This one performed a few tricks for us! We happened to get there just as the trainer was answering questions and feeding this big guy carrots. Throughout the presentation, Mr. Elephant kept making this low sound. Someone finally asked the trainer what it meant and he said it was a sound of contentment much like a cat’s purr. Pretty cool. Also, the elephant/rhino habitat was HUGE. I mean, massive. I’ve always seen elephants in smaller enclosures. Not so at the North Carolina Zoo. All the habitats we saw for these larger animals (giraffes included) were very large, with plenty of space to roam. I’d be making a sound of contentment too.
nc zoo elephant
Just outside of the elephant exhibit was this awesome “tree.” You could just stand under it and cool yourself off as you were lightly misted with water. My kids couldn’t get enough of it! There were also some interactive games throughout the zoo that my children really enjoyed. Alas, I had my camera so I had to forego the misting tree. Maybe next time.:)
nc zoo misting tree
Of course they had to climb into the giant ostrich eggs. They thought it was hilarious. I just barely avoided the how mammals are born discussion. Thankfully. I know it’s coming soon but I’m hoping to hold out until Lover Boy gets home.
nc zoo ostrich nest
Evelynn’s favorite. She couldn’t wait to see PINK flamingos. Once we got up close and personal, she couldn’t stop holding her nose. Seriously, these birds stink. I’ll enjoy them from a distance.
nc zoo flamingo
The tropical frogs were probably Matthew’s favorite. The boys have been really into catching toads and learning about them and frogs this summer so getting to see the brightly colored, very poisonous frogs in this exhibit was right up my little thing’s alley. We actually visited it twice. That’s how much he liked it.:)
hartman family adventures nc zoo
The aviary was a wonderfully cool spot! The air conditioning units blew up from the ground, hence this next sequence of images.:)Plus, the birds were up close and personal and very beautiful.
nc zoo marilyn monroe
nc zoo marilyn monroe
My kids wanted to stop by the honeybee exhibit but honestly, being completely terrified of all insects and spiders, I could barely force one foot in front of the other. (The picture on the left – that’s from the frog exhibit.)
nc zoo honeybees
We stopped to enjoy a frozen treat – frozen soft serve strawberry lemonade. It was pretty tasty, a big hit with the kids and I was thankful they had something lactose free. We had passed several ice cream carts and I was beginning to think we wouldn’t find something that Matthew could enjoy as well. And enjoy it he did!
nc zoo frozen treat
nc zoo frozen treat
We got a late start and only managed to get through half the zoo (just the Africa side) before closing time. But it was enough. My kids couldn’t wait to catch the tram back to the entrance so we could rest our feet in the car. The two hour drive home was much needed. I just love the picture below of Evelynn’s face as the tram arrived.:)
nc zoo tram
nc zoo

And that concludes this chronicle of Hartman Family Adventures. What adventures do you have up your sleeve?

Back to Top//Contact Me//Share on Facebook//Tweet this Post//Email to a Friend

Hard to believe that today is already the last day of June, isn’t it? We long for summer days with their carefree attitude and the promise of playful afternoons and then gasp as we experience how quickly it passes. I have exactly 55 more days to sleep in.

Injury and illness has kept us indoors much more than we’d like this month and I can’t help but feel that my kids are missing out. Then I pour over images of toad catching and ice cream consumption and realize that though we may not have hit up an amusement park or ventured to the beach (yet), the simple pleasures of childhood reign supreme and my kids are having a great time.

All in their own backyard.

toad catching summer days
toad catching summer days
ice cream cone summer days
ice cream cone summer days

Back to Top//Contact Me//Share on Facebook//Tweet this Post//Email to a Friend

I first met Lacey about four and a half years ago at a girls’ night out coffee date planned through the ladies’ ministry we were both a part of at Fort Lewis. She is petite and full of life and from the moment she began to share her story, I was simply transfixed and in awe of her unassuming strength.

She and her high school sweetheart became parents when she was only 15 years old, but by the grace of God, they beat the odds and have been happily married for well over a decade. She is now the mother of four awesome boys and her life and role as a mother is one I find constantly encouraging.

Capable. Yes, she certainly is.

army wives i am project
To view all the images in the I Am Project series, please visit my website gallery.

Back to Top//Contact Me//Share on Facebook//Tweet this Post//Email to a Friend