Everyday Moms: Amy

I have been a little under the weather the past few days but am so happy to continue with our 4th Mama for Everyday Moms! If you want to check out the past moms, go here. You will instantly love Amy and her sweet personality and all of her encouragement and wisdom! 

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.

I'm Amy and I'm a 32 year old mom of three! My kids are Abby (10) Zach (8) and Lily (who will be 6 in just a couple weeks!) My husband, Jeremy, and I have been married for 13 1/2 years. He is truly my rock and my best friend. I love doing life with him! We homeschool our three kids and are full time missionaries with Youth With A Mission. In addition to being a mom, wife, homeschooler and missionary...I am also a child and family photographer in Sacramento, CA.
Where do you blog and what is it about? 

My blog is so eclectic right now! It is morphing from just being a place where I show clients sneak peeks of their sessions into a place where I can also write about homeschooling and what life is like being a mom of 3! You can find me at www.amyschuffphotography.com .

How do you stay encouraged when you are having a tough season in motherhood?

Tough seasons definitely come for all mothers! I think it is important to remember that God asks us to first seek Him. When I'm having a tough season or just a tough few minutes, I pray out! The kids hear me say, "Thank you Jesus" quite a bit during the day! He is the great encourager isn't He? Also, I feel like Instagram has been given to us as a gift, I'm not joking. I have found some amazing mothers through IG who I have developed real relationships with. I know I can post a quick photo of what I'm going through right at that moment and I can have a slew of encouragement moments later. 
What do you and your hubby do to keep the flames alive in the little years?

My youngest is now 6 and so the little years are really behind us. When we had babies in the house, it was so much more of a challenge to stay connected and passionate about each other. I remember times when the baby wouldn't sleep in her crib so we would put her in the swing just so that my husband and I could actually have a few moments to just look at each other. In those early years marriage is really all about survival! Yes we want to thrive as well, so what rules need to be broken so that our marriages thrive during those sleepless years? Maybe the baby sleeping in the swing just isn't that big of a deal :) 

How do you balance work/chores/marriage, etc in your home?

I couldn't get it all done without the help of my husband. He and I are truly a team. When I'm feeling overwhelmed, he picks up the slack. When I see he has a full plate, I take up some of the burden. Unless we talk about it beforehand, neither of us are allowed to "check out" (if you know what I mean) and neither of us want to! Life together is supposed to be fun! So we do life "together." It's messy, loud, sometimes lazy, sometimes overbooked, but it's OURS and we own the fact that God has given this family, this life, to us for a reason.
What is a typical day in your home?

On a typical day, the house starts moving at around 7:30am. I quickly down my first cup of coffee and I'm on to my second by the time the kids are eating breakfast. We then "do some school," (not bothering to get our of our pjs!) How much school we accomplish absolutely depends on the day and how it is moving for us. Sometimes we dive into our workbooks and some days we don't. The day is usually full of art, pretend play, projects and educational apps on the iPad. I call us "beyond schoolers" where we don't rely on a set curriculum to learn, but we learn 24/7 throughout our day.
 We're big homebodies, but we will venture out to spend time with family close by or hit up the library or go on a field trip. I'm not one that always has to get out of the house and I choose carefully what things we spend our time on since my husband works from home, he's in and out of the house and we love having him around! Once a week he takes over the homeschooling duties so I can get out of the house and work on photography business things. I usually go to my favorite coffee shop and edit photos and write for hours just to stay ahead!
When have you found is the best time to do devotions and spend time with God? 

The morning, for sure! I have to start my day in the Word. I try to have it alone, before the kids wake up at least 1x a week, but usually it is while the kids are eating breakfast. I sit on the couch with my Bible and journal and tell the them I'm having "time with Jesus." No it isn't quiet, yes I do get interrupted a ton, but I feel it is important for the kids to physically see me spend time with the Lord. I want them to see me read the Bible and pray. Maybe one day it will rub off on them :) 

Who inspires you (either online or offline)?
 When I read this question quite a few amazing women popped into my mind. I could recite you a ton of IG accounts or blogs of women who seem to "do it all" and then I could tell you that inspires me. But it just wouldn't be the truth. What inspires me is when a mom can share about what a tough day she is having, but she got through it without losing her cool. What inspires me is when a mom says she lost her cool, but immediately asked her kids for forgiveness. I'm inspired by the women who have three kids under three years old, the ones who adopt, the ones who almost broke up with their husbands but allowed God to redeem their marriages. I'm not inspired by a clean house, perfect decorations or children who do their schoolwork without complaining. I'm inspired by women who confess they would be nothing without their Savior.

If you could go back and give yourself as a new mom in the little years advice, what would it be? 

I would tell her that she is going through the absolute toughest years she'll ever go through in her career as a mom! I would tell her it only gets easier as every day ticks by. I would tell her to knock off the feeling that no one wants to help and actually ASK for help. First and foremost, I would tell her she was doing a good job. A very good job :) 

What is your favorite part in your current season of motherhood and what is toughest?

It is so much fun to spend time with kids that are each day growing and becoming little adults! My husband and I were out of the country last week and I called the kids just to check in on them. My 10 year old answered the phone and proceeded to ask ME how my trip was going. It was such a shock! Being able to carry on grown up conversations with her is food for my soul :) 
The toughest part by far is in my own personal life where I am admitting that the door to having more babies is closed. It has been a bit of a grieving process, the idea that there won't be a newborn in the house again. I absolutely love the time of motherhood that I am in, but doors close and open all the time and the challenge is to fully embrace the Lord's plan even if it wasn't what we thought it would be. 
Your go to dinner? 

Baked potatoes! We serve them with a hefty side of bacon and a veggie on the side like roasted broccoli or carrots. I love it when we find something that the whole family will eat (and not just eat because it's what we're having and they have to eat it!) Thank goodness my husband cooks most of the time and I have to say, neither of us are fancy cooks. We're looking for homemade meals that we all love and would want to make again. 
What are some inexpensive dates with your hubby that you have done and loved? 

After the kids are asleep, one of our favorite things to do is get a movie at Redbox or one we’ve DVR’ed, get coffees from Starbucks and sit on the couch together long into the night. We’ve always made sure the kids have early bedtimes so that we could end the day with each other. 

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Fueled by a little bit of coffee and a whole lotta Jesus, Amy Schuff is a homeschooling mom of three, a wife of over 13 years and a natural light family photographer in Sacramento, CA. In the quest to forever find balance with all the hats she wears, she has focused on an unschooling or "beyond school" approach in teaching her children. You can visit Amy on her blog where she writes about passions dear to her heart, whether it be her kids, homeschooling, photography, or her faith. You can also find her daily on Instagram.