She left proof {Aleida’s Challenge}

For this post I went back to the year Biggest Brother was born to pull out just some simple candids of me with the kids. I purposely chose pictures that aren’t “great” photographs…just run of the mill shots. Most are of Biggest and Big Brother….I lost track of time looking at old pics. In fact the only one with Littlest Brother is the second on the top row, the only one with my daughter is the third on the bottom row. It is amazing how many of Big Brother look like Littlest Brother (like under the “mommy” circle)

Last week I mentioned I was speaking to a group of women in Glenpool…I also mentioned that I was excited about a project they were working on. Well, I had a great time with those ladies. They were gracious and hopefully they enjoyed what I shared – I am in no way a speaker. I think I did a lot of rambling. The project they are working on is called “She Left Proof”. Here is a brief summary from the flickr group dedicated to this…it is well worth your time to read it. The below is written by Emilie Ahren:

“Many scrapbookers knew Aleida Franklin. She was a wonderful wife and mother and a brilliant artist. I didn’t know Aleida personally, but she taught me something I will never forget.

She emailed me last year to tell me she loved my blog and to ask if I liked my short hair-cut. This lead to a series of emails which eventually led me to remark that I really loved how often she posted pictures of herself with her children on her blog. And she replied to me, “Have you ever seen a photograph of your own mother and thought to yourself how fat she looked? Or how she wasn’t wearing make-up? Or wasn’t dressed in a glamorous outfit?” Of course my answer was no.

She then responded with saying that she made it a goal to take a picture of herself with her children at least once every month. And that to use excuses about how we look, as women, is ridiculous, since our children will never care what we looked like, but only that we had physical evidence of the bond between mother and child.

Aleida tragically and unexpectedly passed away in an auto accident in September of 2008, leaving 2 small children and a grieving husband. After she passed I thought of how those children must feel to have those precious photographs. I have made it my personal goal to follow her wise suggestion and I try to take photos of myself with my children….double chins, make-up free, bed-head and all.

I invite Mothers everywhere to take Aleida’s Challenge. To photograph yourself with your children each and every month. And to post them here so that we can see Aleida’s legacy unfolding.”


Powerful. I love looking back at pictures of my mom – especially her LONG 70s hair. What a great challenge this is to moms (and dads) – to get over how we look in pictures and capture ourselves with our kids. So grab your camera, a tripod, a friend or a spouse and capture yourself with those important to you!

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  • Courtney Connelly - Ash,
    I checked your blog first thing when I got to work this morning. Thank you for the post, it was a reminder that I really needed today. -Court

  • Trinity - Great reminder….I love looking at pictures of me and my mother…you can see her love for me in her eyes and the way she holds me…..good reminder to leave that for my girls! Thanks! Good way to start out the day…being appreciative of what the Lord has given to me!

  • Jamie - Wow. Thank you for sharing this. I tend to think that my kids would be embarrassed of me years down the road when they look at pics of us bc I rarely have on anything but comfy mom clothes and no makeup; I don’t want them to think I never looked “pretty” so I just avoid the camera altogether and wait for a day that I am a little fixed up — and that never happens. BUT this post has really changed my life. You are so, so right. I absolutely have to start making a point to get in pics with my babies no matter what. I feel like crying now over so much wasted time. This has been a total eye-opener. Thanks for sharing.

  • griswold fun - That’s powerful! I don’t have kids but totally agree… I am emailing your page to my friends who do have kids already!

  • meg duerksen - oh i totally crying.
    it’s so true….my mom always says “i look awful” in every picture of us together and i have never thought that when i see them. she just looks like my mom!

    this is powerful!!!

  • Rachel - Great post! Something I definitely needed to hear.

  • Jill R - Thank you so much for this post. Wiping away tears….

  • bopha - What a great post. Thank you for helping us to take great pictures but for reminding us of why we should do it.

  • ashlee - you did a great job!! i am so in love with this challenge, i know i will be so grateful i did this not only for my kids but for myself as well. I have also decided to do it with pictures of my husband and i:)

  • Alba - thanks for the post! it makes me think about how fragile life is. i’ll also email this post to my friends.

  • Jill J - This was touching to read yesterday. And SO TRUE! Thanks for this. I gave myself an assignment of getting into pictures with my kids this weekend. I just love reading your blog… So inspirational and beautiful.

  • stephanie - that’s such a sad story! thanks for sharing- i’m going to make it a point to take more pics of me with her, even though i usually look horrible!!

  • Kenna S - What a precious reminder and tribute. Thanks for sharing.

  • Tammy - Beautiful. I just joined.

  • julie - Thank you Ashley. This is so real. So true. I have maybe ten total pictures of my girls and I. Out of the thousands on my computer. That is not okay. It will change.
    P.S. you are super adorable in all of your pics!

  • Alison R - Wow! What a beautiful post. I am new to your blog and just checking it out. I have to leave a comment on this though. You have just inspired me. I click pictures of my children as often as possible but cannot say that I have very many of me with them. I am going to have to remedy that situation. Thank you so much! I love your blog already and your pics are amazing!

  • Lori McDonough - Thank you for this. I am soooooo going to share this on my blog with my readers. I have never ever thought of it this way, but am now completely inspired by it. I love my mom and cherish every picture of her and I together. I owe it to my kids to do this.

  • sara - this is such a touching story. thank you for sharing it. i have been avoiding getting in any pictures & started changing my ways today! thank you for sharing this.

  • Meredith - Thank you so much for sharing this story and your challenge. I accept! There IS a big hole in my photo journals….one that I’ve accidentally put there. I keep forgetting to include myself in the family photos. Thanks for the reminder.

  • jen@odbt - This is why I post weekly in a “where’s mom” photo challenge. I don’t have any pics of my mom in my childhood and I can’t remember what she looked like back then.

  • Clickin Moms Memebership Special | TidyMom - […] signed up for a year! While we’re talking photography and mom’s…….PLEASE go read this post and be inspired to include yourself in your pictures with your kids! We as mom’s just […]

  • Kristi - Thank you for posting this, I am often telling other mothers these things but you never find me in photos with my children because I am embarrassed of the amount of weight I have gained. I would love to post this story on my site if you wouldn’t mind?
    Thanks again,

  • In front of the lens » Amy Jester Photography - […] blog Under the Sycamore and I have always admired how often the she gets herself into the photos. This post explains WHY she does it and this post is a good inspiration for HOW everyone from the mom with an […]

  • Kendra - Wow. This is incredibly powerful. I have been playing around with my new camera since Christmas and have yet to really get into the pictures, and those are just with friends. Now that I’m pregnant with my first, I will always think of this post which has moved me to tears… Thank you, hormones. I’m so glad I read this now before it was too late! 🙂 I absolutely love your blog and your photo tips & tricks! Thank you!

  • cynthia - What a story and reminder!! On a mission to include myself no matter what. Thanks for sharing!!!

  • Andi - SO INSPIRING! And so painfully true! I hope you don’t mind that I’m sharing this with my loved ones and my clients! Thank YOU for sharing it with me!

  • Marcy Laber - I’m teary eyed looking at these wonderful pictures…I take tons of funny pictures with my kids too..but I like some of your ideas in these pictures. You think you only have 1 chance at a childhood and then you have kids and you get to do it all over again!

  • Candace - I’m usually the one behind the camera and when I go back to look at the pics I’m not in any of them. Well that all changes today. I have to allow myself to hand my camera over to my husband to take pictures with me in it, regardless of my messy hair and no makeup. Thanks for posting this! It has opened my eyes in more ways than one.

  • The Happiness Report #7 - Food, Friends, Kids & Photography | Dine and Dish - […] I’m in 2 pictures in this post and put more on the Dine & Dish Facebook page. Inspired by a couple of things, I’ve decided to try to “get in the shot” more often. There are so few […]

  • Rachel - Amazing… and inspirational. Thank you.

  • A Powerful Reminder {Aleida’s Challenge} » jenny marrs photography {the blog} - […] tonight concerning taking pictures WITH our kids. It is beautifully titled, “She Left Proof. Aleida’s Challenge“.  The brief summary below is written by Emilie […]

  • part of the story… » the finding of me… - […] these images later. Not even a question about that. But that all changed when Renee mentioned a blog post about Aleida. And how she made the decision to start being in more photos with her kids. No matter […]

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  • Maureen - On the other side, we lost our 26 year old daughter 6 months ago and oh am I sorry I didnt give up the camera more and cared less how I looked. Now when a camera comes out I hug my boys and smile.

  • we went to the beach - […] recently read this post and was challenged to get in more pictures with my family, to leave some evidence behind that i […]

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  • She Left Proof Challenge » Christine Martin Photography - […] After reading the “She left proof” photo challenge my sister posted on facebook, I decided to join in and take a photo of me and one of my kids as often as possible. Here’s a couple of my favorites so far and I’m also re-posting the link to the blog with the moving story about how the challenge started. (I also included a shot of the boys with the hubby, I wanted them to also have photos of them with their papa.) It’s been fun trying to snatch photos here and there with the boys, I’m getting pretty good at using the camera timer and running into the frame! […]

  • Mommy & Me Mama Say What?! | Mama Say What?! - […] few years ago I stumbled across this article, She Left Proof {Aleida’s Challenge}, and totally resonated with it. I realized at that moment that I was guilty of taking hundreds of […]

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