2018-01-04_0003

Santa Baby | Photographing My Kids

When you already have themed outfits from the first kiddo, you must subject the second kiddo as well!

Just like my first kiddo, itty bitty was not having it when it was time for the elf shoot. Maybe it’s the location, or time of day, or something, but that shoot went down hill VERY fast and I just gave up. The Santa suit went MUCH better…just like the first time around. Probably because it was out in the open with loved ones around to watch!

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I know I did!

 

 

2018-01-04_0003

Making Time for Myself as a Mom | Photoshoot Fun!

Mom’s have this great ability to take care of others. We often are running around wiping noses, making dinner, doing chores, running errands, and generally just going all the time. During all of this hustle and bustle its easy to lose ourselves, or forget to work in time to “feed” ourselves. Everyone has something, or multiple things that bring them joy and peace. For some it’s reading, or sports, or simply being outdoors. Whatever it is, we all try to make time for it in our lives to stay mentally healthy and happy.

My personal joy is art. Specifically photography.

Photography has always been my art outlet of choice. I have loved all things creative since I was very young, but photography is more my strength. (You don’t want to see me draw!) Art is like therapy to me. It makes me happy to create images, and it also allows me to dream up ways to express feelings and thoughts through images. Sometimes my photography is “deep” in meaning, and sometimes I’m just being goofy and having fun capturing those that I love.

No of course my faith, family, and friends all bring me great joy, but my photography is my form of self-care. Some people like to get spa treatments, some people want nights out on the town, or vacations. I want to create, so I do. As much as I can. I have learned from experience how depressed I can get when I let photography take a FAR back seat to everything else in life. I don’t like the person I become to those I love when that happens, so I take a lot of photos.

When I had my first kiddo I had an instant live in model. And he was super cute! (Still is!) Creating a baby book for him was my creative/photography outlet. My husband rolls his eyes at my giant baby books (and I even restrain myself a tad), but it’s my outlet and joy. Motherhood has also brought on a desire to document our family. Not in a vain way, but in a memory type of way. Life can be amazing, rough, long, and short all at once. I love being able to look back at photos that tell our family story. I love the idea of making that now so that my kids can have it later. I would LOVE to have more images of my parents or my family. I want to make sure my kids have that. That desire has also caused me to make sure I get in FRONT of the camera more…and capture my family more as well, even if I know they aren’t huge fans of being in photos. I know what it’s like to lose family and wish I had more photos and reminders of our time together. I want my kids to see how much their family has always loved them and spent time with them!

For these reasons and more I take lots of photos of my kids. I create themed photoshoots for them that makes my husband question my sanity, and I’ve recently started photographing my sister-in-law…because why haven’t I been taking advantage of a model that I already enjoy hanging out with?!?!

So just know, I will probably start sharing those sessions more on here. I might share some behind the scenes details as well. My mother was always curious how I got such great shots of the boys until she was present for a session and saw just how badly they can go. You just run with it and usually there’s still some great captures!

For now, here’s some of the ones from Little Man’s first year. I’ve gotten better with time, because kids are not my strength, but I’m learning and growing the more I try.

 

2018-01-04_0003

Mommy Wars | Can’t We All Just Get Along?!

Mommy wars. I hate them. So much.

I am a firm believer that everyone should do what works best for themselves and their kiddos when it comes to parenting. Not all parents are the same, not all kids are the same. What worked for your first kid, might not work for your second. What worked for your sister, might not work for you, that’s okay! Love your kids, raise them how you want to raise them, and be supportive of your mom friends who are roughing it without a manual just like you!

I listen to Way FM radio, a Christian radio station. Brant Hanson is on there. He is one of the only DJs that I actually enjoy listening to…and actually listen to instead of changing stations. He just cracks me up. One day he said something that was both a “well duh” moment to me, and a “eureka!” I mean it was so simple and true that I didn’t know how I hadn’t thought of it, but it was just to eye opening.

I don’t remember the exact words, but he was talking about how we as humans don’t like to be wrong, and we really hate it when it’s proven that we are wrong and have done wrong. He then went on to use an example about his family. His kids don’t watch Disney movies. He said it wasn’t a moral choice or anything, he simply doesn’t think they are good, so they don’t watch them. When by chance this would come up in conversation with other parents, he was often met with anger and hostility. He then said that when people hear that they don’t watch Disney, they translate it as you think they are bad for letting their kids watch Disney.

Wait, what?!

That makes so much sense!

I know, I’m probably so far behind the game. Everyone else probably already knew that…but a light went off in my head. I have always hated mommy wars and didn’t know why everyone had to attack each other when parents are already stressed out enough trying to keep our kids alive.

Let me tell you some things…

I cloth diaper. I don’t care if you use disposables. I do at night…and usually when I travel. I might geek out a little and want to chat diapers if you do cloth though…but that’s a different topic!

I don’t feed my kid much sugar (usually none) but I’m going to smile at the adorable ice cream mustache your kiddo has, not deem you a bad parent.

I like to use homeopathic medicine for as much as possible…that doesn’t mean I’m going to protest people using antibiotics (I was on them a few weeks back for a sinus infection).

We may not agree on all things…heck, even my parenting is constantly evolving…but that doesn’t mean we have to judge each other for being different. Find what works for you and your family right now and just do it. Stop caring what others think. It’s your family, you know them best. Then, if it doesn’t work, don’t be scared to change it up. Life is full of seasons. We all grow and learn new things and have to adjust our way of life. Parenting fits right into that.

Speaking of which…there’s a post coming up on kids watching TV…and how I don’t like my kids watching TV, but in our current phase of life, it happens WAY more than I’d ideally like.

2018-01-04_0003

The Minimalist in Me

Some will read this and think I’m crazy, others will think, “good luck while having kids!” No matter the reaction, this term has been on my mind a lot the last year or so.

I’ve always been intrigued by the minimalist movement, and I was kind of thrown into it last year. We decided to move, which meant showing our house. I needed a way to make sure I would be ready for sudden appointments. So I packed up half the house.

I got rid of things, and I boxed things up and put them in closets. I reduced the dishes I had out to two of everything (because only Joey and I were using them at that point) and packed the rest. I put away all but a few toys so cleaning the toy mess was simple, and looked nice once cleaned up. I made simple meals so that the kitchen never got too messy. I of course cleaned as I cooked and prepped, but never letting it get too crazy in the first place allowed days of exhaustion, frustration, and baby meltdowns didn’t hinder having a quick clean up.

After doing this for a couple of months until our house sold, I realized how much I loved it! It was so nice having less to do around the house to keep it nice. Especially while having a kid, expecting another, and never knowing when being a mom would mean letting the house take a back seat to my kids!

Eventually I discovered Allie and the Facebook group she created for Purposeful MomLife. I never invested in her material, but I’ve read through a lot of her blog and the group itself. Her ideas instantly resonated with me. Clutter and STUFF was filling my life and time, when I really wanted to be filling my life and time with things I loved…like family, being outdoors, photography, travel, etc.

When we moved to our new house in January, I started pairing down. It wasn’t really new for me. I always purge after a move. Nothing makes me want to get rid of things quite like having to box it all up, move it, and unpack it all! I paired down our dishes and purged our kitchenware. I don’t need 10 of everything! Why were we holding on to things we hadn’t even used in years…even for large gatherings? It’s was just taking up space and stressing me out.

Why do my kids (only one at that point, but now two) need a million clothes?! Yes, they had a million. A MILLION! I paired down to 4 pairs of PJs and maybe 7-10 outfits that fit. I keep them in a laundry basket on a shelf in my closet. Easy access, limited space, no folding or hanging needed. Power to the awesome moms that fold, hang, sort, and/or iron their kids clothes. It looks awesome and I love it in photos, but this mama just doesn’t value it enough to take the time to do it. The way we wear and use clothes, it doesn’t matter if they are wrinkled…or even matching.

I cloth diaper…which does sometimes make me itch with how much “stuff” it accumulates, but I love it more than disposables, so it stays. I have my seasons where cloth diapering can wear thin…like when Little Man was peeing through EVERYTHING…and while Itty Bitty is pretty tiny. He’s just now starting to get to a good size where I find my cloth fitting him well. He’s been in mostly cloth for about a month.

I paired down our towels to 2 per person and 4 guest towels. We have 2 hand towels for each bathroom. I weeded through the toys and paired down greatly and removed about half to rotate out later. Little Man hardly plays with toys at home, and his favorite “game” is dumping the toys and then ignoring them. I’m constantly going back through them and evaluating their value and whether they are even being used. Sometimes I will just put some away to see if I change my mind or toss them in the long car trip toy bag for distraction, and sometimes I send them off to Goodwill immediately.

I’ve also simplified our meals. I’ve meal planned for years, but now we have three of the same meals each week and I just rotate other meals in between them. It gives us some variety, but also some simple meals each week. I’m getting ready to overhaul our meal planning even more to be even more simple. I will write about that after I figure it out the details and see how it goes!

I don’t want to spend my days drowning in laundry, dishes, and cooking. I want my kiddos to have healthy, delicious food, and clothes on their back…most of the time, but I also want to focus on spending time with my kids playing, laughing, exploring, and reading, and I want my down time spent doing things that fulfill me instead of drain me.

All this does is allow for a more peaceful, simple home life full of quality time. This is my hope and dream for my life and our family. Hopefully it continues on for years to come!