With such a dynamic and full life, we asked May Gunsul, mom and photographer, to try out some Blu Kicks and show us what’s it’s like to live a week in her shoes. As a mother of three kids under the age of five and the owner of her own photography business, she has come to understand the importance of taking time with her husband and by herself. She dedicates most of the weekdays to the kids, spending evenings with her husband or working on her own projects. May tells us that if she is working during the week, it’s more likely post-processing photos than doing photo shoots.

Fitness and wellness are very important in our household. Since having my third baby (in a span of five years), it’s even more so. Having babies does amazing things, both good and bad, to your body! I decided I wasn’t going to let motherhood be my excuse NOT to, but to be my reason TO. My husband is an awesome supporter and has always helped me push myself further. I’m so proud of how strong I am now.

The Gunsul’s are big runners, so May will go for a run at least two or three times a week. “We have a treadmill in our house and that’s the only way I’d get a run in most of the time, because they don’t make three-wide jogging strollers.” Other times they’ll have out-of-the-house adventures like this one: 

“I’d decided we would get all of our errands done by walking. I just have a double stroller, so Westyn has to walk, but if she gets tired she sits on the front. We left the house in the morning and we walked to the library. Then we walked to the consignment store a little further away, where I consign stuff, and the kids all picked out summer clothes. And then we walked to the park to play. So by the time we were done, everyone was exhausted and sweaty because it’s hot [in Portland] right now. We live at the top of a huge hill. We’re all just dripping with sweat; the kids are flushed and sharing a water and I’d put water in Levi’s bottle and he’s chugging it and I’m shoving them up the hill in the double bob. They really do need to start making a three-wide jogging stroller, because I got my leg workout. It was intense, but it was my workout for the day. And then the boys were exhausted and asleep, and I got a little quiet.”

Unless I know I’m going to get a chance to run or workout, getting “ready” in the morning is important to me. I think feeling pulled together is half the battle of motherhood! When I feel good about myself, I think I make better choices for my family when it comes to food, activities, and general happiness. However, trying to get ready can be a challenge with three little ‘helpers!’
The weekends are full of adventure.

The weekends are full of adventure.

I love how Blu Kicks are comfortable and easy to wear. I’m running around all day after the kids, so comfort and ease are incredibly high on my list of needs. Plus, I love how they add a pop of color to a basic outfit... I love throwing on a linen top and boyfriends jeans or shorts, and the red stripes on my Blu Kicks are an understated but sweet addition.

Each weekend is split into work time and family time. May tries to book two to four photo shoots back-to-back on either Saturday or Sunday, while her husband, Matt, is at home with the kids, running errands or doing things around the house. On the other weekend day, they try to do something as a family. “Farmer’s markets are one of our favorite things to do right now. [The market] is about two and a half miles from our house, so Matt and I load up the kids in two strollers and we run there. We’ll have breakfast and buy ingredients for something we’re going to make for dinner that night and then we run home. We are really active.”

The afternoon is admittedly the hardest time of day for us. When my husband comes home, the kids get so excited they sometimes crash and burn.  

The afternoon is admittedly the hardest time of day for us. When my husband comes home, the kids get so excited they sometimes crash and burn.  

There are days, however, when all the stars align and that time feels pretty special.

There are days, however, when all the stars align and that time feels pretty special.

May has booked nine weddings (the most she’s done in a single year) and has multiple other sessions she’s shooting this summer. She recently had to post on her website that she can no longer accept any more projects this season, but admits that she wishes she could do more. “I’m lucky enough that photography is a ‘want to,’ not a ‘have to.’ The hardest part is that I want to do so much more, but I can’t. I’m barely treading water some days because I’m so busy with the kids, keeping up with the house, and [running my business]. If I took on one more session, it would put me over the edge. There has to be a balance, and I have had to start turning people away. I want to still love it and not be resentful. That’s where things are a little crazy right now, just finding the balance. And it is hard when you have little people screaming in your face.”

We’re all morning people, so our day usually “starts” around 5:00am… The baby is usually the first one up.  He’ll have a bottle in bed with us and the older kids usually make their way in, too.

We’re all morning people, so our day usually “starts” around 5:00am… The baby is usually the first one up.  He’ll have a bottle in bed with us and the older kids usually make their way in, too.

May and her husband have a very real approach to parenting and she shared that in our world of social media, we are constantly bombarded by “information and people and things.” She doesn’t give in to the notion that parenthood needs to be a certain way. May explains, “We are settled into this life and who our family is. We’re so much more aware of how important it is to just be ourselves, and that Matt and I are important too. I’m my own person. And I need to teach [my kids] that it’s important that you’re your own person and that you have your own needs and cares and wants. It’s hard to do that in our world now. Everywhere you look, there are articles telling you how to be a better parent. It’s overwhelming. But Matt and I are kind of finding our stride and that’s a good thing.” She shares that it was difficult for her to step back and allow herself to be her own person when she had her first child, “I felt like I had to give up everything for her. It felt stifling at times.” But after having her next two children she was able shift into this healthier mindset, that “they’re going to be fine. They can fend for themselves, they have enough stuff -- books, puzzles, dolls, Legos. I don’t need to sit and watch them play. I’m not going to be that parent.”

Bathtime with three kids is messy business, but the best way to wind down.

Bathtime with three kids is messy business, but the best way to wind down.

But that’s not to say that she and her husband don’t love spending time with their children. Matt’s company, Intel, recently announced that they will offer eight weeks of paid time off to any parent with a child under the age of one. And they are able take advantage of this opportunity as their youngest child turns one in July. The company is trying to promote family and encourage more women engineers to join their force. With this time together, they’ll be surprising their older kids with a trip to Disneyland, which will really kick off their summer. Beyond that, May says, they have plans to do some work on their house, “We moved a couple years ago into our house which was built in 1948 and there’s just a lot of work to do. So we’re going to do some projects around here this summer.”

My vanity is my little corner of order and sanity! It has great light for putting on my face.
I love all things clothes and accessories. Our sweet home was built in 1948, so I share a tiny closet with my husband. I’ve been forced to store my wardrobe in drawers and bins. For so long, I figured I couldn’t wear trendy, fun stuff because it wasn’t practical with young kids. Slowly but surely, however, I’ve realized I shouldn’t let that hold me back! Dresses, skirts and heels are back in the rotation these days.
It can be hard to give all three of our kids personalized attention in the hustle and bustle of everyday… So, it’s magic when I get both boys down for a nap and am able to spend some time with my girl.

It can be hard to give all three of our kids personalized attention in the hustle and bustle of everyday… So, it’s magic when I get both boys down for a nap and am able to spend some time with my girl.

Oregon weather permitting, we’re outside at least once a day. My kids are full of energy and need an outlet, even if it’s just crawling around in the grass. We live down the street from a beautiful park and school, so we’re there all the time.

Her daughter, Westyn, has just finished pre-school and her son, Lane, just wrapped up pre-pre-school. During the school year, May would run errands, with her youngest son, Levi, while the older kids were in class. Now that school is out of session, their days are filled with errands and activities as a crew. “Westyn is really active; she has gymnastics and swimming every week. We have a couple of friends that we get together with every week who also have kids that are our kids’ age.”

May is really looking forward to this summer as it’s the last that all of their kids will be so little. Westyn will start full days of school in September and life will continue moving forward, as it does. The end of summer, means a lot of change for the Gunsul family. “It’s a little sad for us, but exciting.”

We put our kids to bed relatively early. My husband and I like to have time together in the evening to chat about our day, catch up on a TV show or work on our own projects. We strongly believe that in order for our family to be healthy, we can’t let our relationship slide. This photo is actually from a little trip we took alone to New Orleans last week.
My husband and I are true believers in the nightcap. We are particularly big on gin martinis and have started collecting lots of local bottles (he even brought a new one home right after I took this photo)!

My husband and I are true believers in the nightcap. We are particularly big on gin martinis and have started collecting lots of local bottles (he even brought a new one home right after I took this photo)!