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Life is precious

Yeah I know.  I haven’t posted in a LONG time!  I’ve been pretty darn busy.  Work, toddler, new photography business and just, well, life.  I also didn’t want to bombard people with numerous amounts of different posts.  Then I remembered something I told myself when I first started this blog…who cares?!  Read if you want or ignore, I do this as an outlet for me, I like to write, and some people actually do like to read it which is really cool.  I recently had someone tell me she liked reading my posts and missed them.  How cool is that?!  So here I am, and guess what I want to write about today?  You guessed it!  My son!

Life has been really good lately.  I mean, look, I know people will roll their eyes when they read that sentence but I don’t mean my life is perfect. It’s not perfect, no one’s is!  But life has just been really good lately!  I’ve been happy, really happy.  There are definitely moments when I feel overwhelmed with some things and want to rip my hair out but overall it’s been great.  Andrew can drive me bonkers, like “why are you screaming and crying and throwing yourself on the floor, kid?”  Or, “Oh my god, for the fiftieth time, get that out of your mouth!”  Or even, “How many times do I have to say no?!”  Ha!  We all have those moments, it’s just a part of parenting.  Why is it that he wakes up at 6 am when I stay home with him but the two days I have to work and need to be out the door by 7:15, I literally have to wake him up at 7.  It’s nearly impossible to get a toddler changed, clothed, milk in hand, packed, etc. in 15 minutes.  Ai yi yi!

BUT, then there are times, hours, even days when he is the cuuuuutest kid alive.  I mean, everyone thinks their own kid is the cutest kid alive, and that’s a good thing!  He really is though ;).  Yesterday was an all around great day.  We skipped Stroller Strides which I hate doing, but sometimes you just have errands to run and need to be back home by nap time otherwise your day will be a disaster.  So we skipped class and ran our errands.  We went to Target, JoAnns, the bank, the grocery store, got gas, and made it home by 11:15.  Yes!  We had some lunch and Andrew went down by noon.  I prepped dinner while he napped and even had time to do some crafting for photography props.  When he woke up we played.  Just played, for like a couple of hours until dad got home.  Sometimes we get so caught up in getting stuff done that we don’t stop and just play.  I mean, he’s two for Peete’s sake, he needs to be a toddler and play with his momma, that’s important!  It was so fun!  We growled a lot, acted like we were eating his play kitchen food, cooked a fake croissant for wayyyy too long (hehe), played “chase”,  read, crawled on the floor like doggies, well, you get the idea.  It was just fun.  We even took a few selfies haha!  We haven’t done that in a long time actually; we used to like every single day.  What topped it off?  While we were taking a selfie I asked him to give me a kiss, meaning on my cheek.  He leaned in towards the phone and kissed the screen because he saw my face on it.  I giggled and said, “Andrew can you kiss Momma’s cheek?”  He smiled, leaned in and softly kissed my cheek.  It was so stinkin’ cute!  He’s starting to understand me more, and trying really hard to communicate which is just adorable.  He walks around and babbles all day long!  When I ask him what a kitty says his voice gets all sweet and soft and he kind of says something like “nnnoowww”.  Unlike asking what a doggie says where he does this high pitched top of his lungs “Ruh” (ruff).  He kept hugging his stuffed monkey, calling it baby in this cute little voice and he just started kissing his stuffed animals a few days ago.  I know, I could go on forever but my point is, he’s like, super cute lately lol.

I find myself staring at those bright blue eyes a lot.  I think, I’m really going to miss this age.  I don’t want it to end.  He’s learning soooo much in such a short time.  We get to play and he gives me hugs and kisses.  He calls me Momma and he’s just plain silly.  It’s wonderful.  So wonderful.  I feel so lucky, even when we have a rough day where he hits me, throws his bowl of pasta on the floor, has a tantrum every 5 minutes and destroys his toys.  Even then, I feel lucky.  Life is so precious, I say that a lot.  It’s easy to say but sometimes hard to remember.  That’s my goal for the rest of the week.  Remember that life is precious, play with your kid, try to limit time spent on your phone (we’re all guilty), let the stupid drivers pass you going 55 in a 25 (oh my god people are so dumb), just let it go but take it all in at the same time.  That’s just my 2 cents for the day.

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Talk to you soon

 

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Oh, Photography. I just can’t let you go.

Here I go again.  I just can’t let it go.  Photography – you are a part of me.

After photographing my brother’s wedding, I’ve had a serious itch to get back in the business.  Weddings are a bit too stressful for me at the moment but I’ve always loved photographing people.  Portraits are perfect for me!  It’s a little slower pace yet still allows capturing that sincere smile or unspoken bond between two people.  I’m slightly addicted to editing, too.  I spent hours (literally houuuuurs) each day for almost 2 weeks editing Cale and Amanda’s wedding photos.  I had to force myself to close the computer and go to bed.  I love it!

I’m still deciding but I’ve almost made up my mind to try this whole “professional photographer” thing again.  It would just be part time and I would only do portraits.  I’m getting pretty excited!  I just feel like I need to give it another shot because I love it so much.

Once the business idea ran through my head, I immediately thought of this new thing called “Lifestyle Photography”.  It’s really not anything new but it’s become quite popular lately.  I’m in love with this style.  I’ve always loved shooting outdoors and it’s still my preference, especially since I don’t have a studio, but regardless of that, I just feel like scenery and light quality is better.  However, “better” is a personal preference.  Lifestyle photography basically means you capture your life on camera.  You know, everyday stuff.  Snuggling in bed, eating ice cream on the kitchen floor, playing with your kids in your living room, wearing your pajamas at 2 in the afternoon, anything you do on a day to day basis.  I feel like this style really romanticizes your life.  So I decided to try practicing this style with my own life, i.e. my own family.  I think they turned out wonderful.  I really do.

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I especially love this in-home style in black and white, but color is fun, too.

So what do you all think?  Should I go for it again???

Talk to you soon

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C&A Wedding Photos! 5.21.16

After I graduated college I worked with a wedding photographer in my area.  I assisted her as a second shooter for 3 or 4 years during wedding season.  She was an amazing teacher to me.  I learned so much from her and I loved working with her.  Thank you, Morgen!

Although I worked with Morgen for a few years, I’ve never photographed a wedding on my own and I’ve never helped with editing the photos.  I would always show up to wherever Morgen told me to go, she would hand me a camera and I would start shooting.  During this time, she was available to me for any questions I may have had.  It was great!  After 8 or so hours of shooting I would give her camera back to her and leave; she would take it home and process everything.  This is how we did things.

I just have to mention this…Most people don’t realize how long it takes to edit photos.  Editing is MUCH more work than actually taking the pictures…Ok, had to throw that out there! Anyway…

When I talked with my brother a few months ago about taking his (and Amanda’s) wedding photos, I was excited.  Then it hit me that I would be responsible for capturing the most memorable and special day of their lives and quickly became nervous!  After stressing for a few months, the wedding came and went and I survived!  I’m officially finished with editing the photos and I think they turned out well!  Amanda was SUCH a beautiful bride and my brother was so sweet and looked so happy.  Andrew was the ring bearer…or supposed to be…but he was Mr. Cranky Pants on the day of the wedding so he didn’t actually walk down the aisle.  That’s okay though, he still looked super cute!  Overall, the day was amazing and I’m so happy that I was able to give them their wedding gift on a flash drive!  Ha!

I mailed the flash drive to Amanda and Cale a few days ago with 275 edited photos on it.  I really hope they’re happy with them!  I won’t share all of the photos with you, because you probably don’t want to see 275 photos on one blog post, but here are some of my favorites!

I love the twinkly light spots on the knife…I must be a photographer…

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Amanda and my mom basically made all of the reception decorations.  It looked sooo beautiful!

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I bought her that hanger for her bridal shower so of course I had to make sure she used it! 😉

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That dress!! GORG!

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Her bouquet was so amazing!  She made it herself using a ton of different brooches! ❤

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Can you say flawless skin and perfect hair??

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These girls looked so freakin’ pretty!

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I always love a fun “It’s wedding day!!!!!! YAY!!!” photo.

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Had to share this one of my brother and my dad 🙂

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My handsome brother!  This is my favorite of him.

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The cool guys with the most gorgeous background!

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My verryyy tired son but isn’t he just the cutest?!

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Here comes the bride!

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Every girl wants a picture of their groom when he first sees his bride walk down the aisle.  I think Amanda will cherish this one forever.  My brother was slightly emotional, which made it even more special.  I feel like this photo says a lot about how he feels about her.

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And this photo says a lot about how she feels about him.  She looks so happy!

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That stained glass though…so beautiful!

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Pure sweetness.

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Mr. and Mrs.!!

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Set up the camera on a tripod and had someone push the button so I could be in the family photo LOL

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Bride and her flower girl.  So sweet.

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Amanda and her girls, and Xia being super silly! 🙂

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These two ❤

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Cale and his nephew, with a huge bump on his head from falling earlier…

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My Aunt made their wedding cake.  Look how gorgeous it is!

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Ding, ding, ding, time to cut the cake!

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The reception ended around 6 pm and we all went back to my parents house.  Amanda wanted a family photo outside with their fur baby Remi.  This ended up being one of my favorite wedding photos of theirs!  I’m loving the flannel, the country setting and the coziness!

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I’m thrilled to see my brother happy and I’m so glad he chose Amanda to be his wife.  Family is everything after all!

Talk to you soon

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Quick to Judge

Critics are everywhere.  I think having a judgmental bone in your body is almost natural.  That’s what we do.  That’s what society has taught us.  You judge first and learn later.  Is this right?  No, not at all.

I’ll be the first to admit that I judge people after first meeting them, heck even after first seeing them.  This isn’t always in a negative way.  Sometimes people “look” nice and this in itself is a judgement.  To judge is to form an opinion or conclusion about something or someone.  Sometimes it is negative though and this is when it’s the most hurtful.

I’ve been following the story of the mother who lost track of her 4 year old son at the zoo.  The little boy fell into a gorilla enclosure.  I’m sure most of you have heard about this fiasco as well.  My initial reaction to hearing about this was, “how the hell does a mother let this happen?”  I mean, I always have my eyes on Andrew.  I don’t trust anyone and half the time I don’t trust myself to lose sight of him.  So how did this child fall into a damn gorilla exhibit at the zoo when his mother was supposed to be watching him?

Is there something wrong with this picture?  Absolutely!  Why wasn’t I first concerned about the little boy?  Why didn’t I think to myself, “that poor mother!”  Why did I automatically assume that the mother is a bad mother because she let this happen.  She let it happen.

Man.  Is this what the world is coming to?  Have we completely lost all compassion and sensitivity for one another?  Have we lost remorse and dare I say it, love?

Let me tell you about my recent experience with my son.  Granted, this is a little different because I’m basically comparing a 19 month old to a 4 year old, and these two ages have very different developmental progressions but nonetheless they’re still children who wander.  Okay here goes:  The last two weeks or so my own son thinks it’s funny to run away from me.  He knows he isn’t supposed to do this but he doesn’t REALLY know.  He doesn’t understand why he shouldn’t run away from me.  He thinks it’s a game.  It doesn’t matter how many times I tell him no and how mad I get, he still thinks it’s fun.  The kid will literally run into the street if I set him down on the sidewalk.  He laughs and he’s fast.  He’s 19 months old but the kid is quick!  As soon as I set him down at the park he takes off.  The first time this happened it scared me.  Since then, I don’t set him down near a street.  That’s when common sense kicks in.  However, I do still let him run around at the park.  I know to watch him extra closely because I know he runs away from me but what about the “what if” scenarios.  What if I set him down and somehow get distracted for just a few seconds.  So much can happen in just a few seconds!  I try not to let this happen.  I try to focus all of my attention on him at all times, but you know what?  We’re human!  We make mistakes, and if you honestly say you haven’t taken your eyes off of your kid for a few seconds then frankly, you’re a liar.

Ok, yes a 4 year old should know right from wrong better than a 19 month old.  Yes the 4 year old should listen to his or her parents better than a 19 month old listens.  Yes parents should always keep a close eye on their kids at any age but especially when they are young, and yes 4 years old is young.  But do we really know what happened?  Do we really know how we would react to a devastating situation?  No.  We don’t know.  We won’t know until we are put in that same situation, God forbid.

Maybe this poor mother got distracted for just a few seconds and lost sight of her child.  Maybe her son was throwing a temper tantrum and ran away from her.  Maybe she walked away from him for two seconds to try and grab his balloon that he accidentally let go of.  OR, maybe she was on her phone and totally not paying attention to him.  Maybe she really is a shitty mother who wasn’t watching him and that’s why he fell into the gorilla exhibit.

My point is, we don’t know! Most of us weren’t there when all of this happened and even the people who were there probably weren’t paying attention to some random family walking around until the kid fell.  Maybe she’s a crappy mother, but maybe she isn’t.  Maybe she’s a fantastic mother.  I don’t know, neither do you, unless you know her personally.  What I do know is that if something tragic like this ever happened to me, and of course I hope it doesn’t and I’ll do my best to make sure it doesn’t, but if it does, I would reallllyyyy hope to be treated differently than this woman has been treated.  I would hope that people wouldn’t just assume the worst about me.  Tragedy occurs daily.  Kids get hit by cars all the time.  Kids run away from their parents all the time.  This is all the same.  Different locations but same type of thing.  People never think that things like this would ever happen to them, but things like this do happen.  Accidents happen.

I have no idea what kind of mother this woman is and I’m trying not to make any further judgements on this situation.  I just hope that people start feeling a little more empathy and little less judgment.  I’m going to try harder and I hope you do, too.

Note:  This post is simply about the effects of judgement.  In no way does it refer to the killing of the gorilla.

Talk to you soon

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Grateful

It’s 10:30 p.m. and you’re exhausted.  You lay down in bed and melt into your bedsheets.  You have to be up at 6 a.m., because that’s when your little one wakes up.  Just as you are about to fall asleep the baby monitor makes that crying noise, oh wait, that’s your son making the crying noise.  Your eyes burn as you open them to push the button on the monitor.  Your son is sitting up, oh no he’s sitting up, this isn’t a good sign.  He’s sick, he has a bad cold and you feel for him but you just want to go to sleep.  You spent all day comforting him, trying to get him to eat something even though his stuffy nose makes it hard for him to breathe, telling him no about a million times for hitting you, etc. etc. etc.  He doesn’t feel well but in a way, neither do you.

Go back to sleep, baby.  It’s okay.  You’re okay.  Go back to sleep.

You stare at the monitor, feeling guilty for wishing him back to sleep instead of wanting to go comfort him.  You DO want to comfort him.  You wish you could go hold him and fall asleep together peacefully, how nice that would be.  That would create a different set of problems though, so you don’t.  Instead you hold your breath and hope he finds his own peace.  Just go to sleep baby.

5 minutes later his head touches the sheet and you know you’re in the clear.  Awwhhh, thank you.

You wake up at 5:50…come on kid I’m supposed to get 10 more minutes.  Oh well.  5:50 it is.  He whines for you.  Your day has begun.

You pick up that little ball of jammies holding his 3 blankies and take him downstairs where you set him on the couch, turn on some cartoons and fetch his milk.

As the day goes on, you look at him in two different ways.  You look at him and see a beautiful little creature.  You made him.  He’s yours.  He’s amazing and wonderful and your heart can’t even love him any more than it already does, it’s so full.  As you’re thinking this he comes over and slaps you across your face.  What just happened?

You put him in time-out because nothing else seems to work.  Time-out doesn’t seem to work either.  You leave him there for a few minutes.  You sit down in silence and breathe.  Just breathe.  He loves you.  He loves you but he’s a toddler.  He isn’t mean, he’s just going through a phase.  How do you stop this though?  Why is he hitting?

These two feelings continue to challenge you throughout the day; two feelings of gratitude and sadness, mostly gratitude.

You love your son more than anything but you haven’t quite figured out how to discipline him yet.  This too shall pass.

Tomorrow’s a new day.  Tonight is a new night.  Tonight you will sink into your bedsheets and hope to get a goodnight’s sleep so you can wake up in the morning with a positive and fresh attitude.  You’re doing great, momma.  Sometimes being a parent is hard, but it’s still the most magical gift.  You’re grateful.  You’re so grateful.  Your son is amazing and learning from you in every moment, and he’s grateful, too.

Goodnight!

Talk to you soon

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“Broken Things” by Kathleen Fleming

When I read Kathleen’s blog post about her son’s anger leading to a broken mirror, I cried.  It’s just so beautiful and a completely different reaction than I would imagine myself having.  I get so frustrated with Andrew sometimes and like Kathleen, I sometimes break down.  I find myself feeling alone and often feeling like a bad mother.  Why is my child feeling so angry?  In my case, he throws things and just recently started hitting.  How do I stop this?  I get mad.  I get really mad.  I never spank him but I yell.  I’m firm and I’m angry right back at him.  Is this what I’m teaching him?  Is it my fault that he doesn’t understand how to control his anger?  I thought that if he knew I was angry at him for behaving this way and he cried because of it, then I was teaching him that this behavior is not okay.  But maybe I’m teaching him the exact opposite.  Maybe I’m actually teaching him about anger itself.  I never looked at it this way.  I still don’t know what is right and what is wrong.  I don’t know which reaction will truly teach your child good and positive behavior, but after reading this I have a new understanding of how your child learns from YOU as a mother or as a parent for that matter.

I will try to control my own anger from now on.  I will try to show Andrew that it’s okay not to understand what happens to your mind and to your body when you feel angry but eventually he will need to express these feelings in a healthy manner.  Maybe he will learn to use his words in a positive way to express these feelings.  Maybe he will hold me the way I hope to hold him.  Maybe he will feel safe and guarded when anger starts to overtake because that is what I have taught him.  This is what I hope for.

I wanted to share Kathleen’s “Broken Things” because it’s interesting, it’s beautiful and in my opinion, powerful.

“Broken Things” by Kathleen Fleming

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“This was my hallway last Wednesday.

Broken.  Sharp.  Treacherous.

This was my hallway.

It was my son who did this.

Sometimes, often really, things break – irreparably.  And it takes your breath away … straight away.

It took my breath away when my son stormed into the bathroom, frustrated, angry, fed-up for his very own, very significant to him, reasons.  And when he chose to SLAM the bathroom door, causing the heavy mirror mounted to the front to slip out of the hardware holding it in place and crash onto the floor – a million, BROKEN pieces were left reflecting the afternoon light.

I was quiet.  I surveyed the damage and took a deep breath.  Put the dog outside so he wouldn’t cut his feet, put the cat in the basement for the same reason.

I walked into the backyard and felt the hot tears streaming down my face.  It’s amazing how alone you can feel as a single parent in moments like these.  I realized how scared and disappointed I felt.  Did this really just happen?  Yes.  This was real.

And as I stood and considered whether or not this was an indication of his developing character, I heard his tears through the window above me, coming from inside the bathroom.

His soul hurt.  This was not what he expected either.  Hello, Anger – I don’t remember inviting you into my house.

Scary.

Terrified.

Ashamed.

Worried.

Scared.

Deep breath, #MamaWarrior.  Deep breath.  That small, fragile soul needs you right now.  He needs your very best.  Your biggest compassion.  Your most gentle and firm mama love and reassurance.  More deep breaths.  Go Mama.

Go.  Go now.  Go open the front door, tiptoe through the broken glass, hear him hearing you coming, watch the bathroom door crack open, see the face you love most in the world red with worry and wet with tears, his voice is suddenly so small: “Mama, I’ll never do it again, I am SO sorry.”  More tears.  More weeping.  Such uncertainty on his sweet face.

Go Mama.  Get him.  Go now.  Scoop him into your lap.  Yup, you’re crying too.  Damn this was big.  Hold him tight.  Watch how he curls into a ball in your arms so quickly.  See how eager he is to be loved by you.  To be reassured by you.  See how small he still is.  See how fragile that spirit is.

I love you.

You are safe.

I am right here.

The worst part is over now.

I’ve got you.

I’m here.

I love you.

Go Mama.  Tell him about Anger.  Tell him now.  Anger is a really powerful feeling.  You have a right to your Anger.  Anger burns hot.  It can purify.  It can also destroy.  He nods.  He feels it.  He’s met Anger now.

There’s a better way to show your big feelings.

We’ll work on it together …. tomorrow.

I’m here to help you.

You are safe.

You are never alone in your anger.

You are never alone in your fears.

I’m here.  We’re here together.

Now we will clean together.

And we cleaned up the broken pieces.  We swept and we vacuumed.  It was quiet work.  It was careful work.  It was thoughtful work.

Sometimes things break.  Sometimes we break them.  It’s not the breaking that matters, the how or why.  What matters is how we choose to respond to the broken-ness.  Does it kill us?  Does it throw us into a downward spiral of blame and punishment?

OR

Does it help us remember how to love deepest?  Does it push us towards compassion and over the hurdle of “rightness” and “wrongness” into LOVENESS?

Yes.  LOVENESS.

Go Mama.  Go now.  Get that baby of yours.  Teach that.  Show that.  Live that.  It’s called LOVENESS.  Go.  Now.”

 

I was given permission by Kathleen to repost her story titled “Broken Things”.  Check out her blog at http://www.majesticunicorn.biz/#happy

 

Talk to you soon

1

Spruced Up Tomato Soup Recipe

I haven’t posted a recipe in a while….I haven’t posted anything in a while actually.  Life gets in the way and a toddler keeps you busy doing other things!  That being said, I have to share this spruced up tomato soup recipe.  I love it!  Serve with some fresh french bread and you’re set for the next rainy night dinner.  This has to be the easiest soup I’ve ever made and it’s just so yummy.

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons butter
2 medium yellow onions, diced
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes
1 – 14 ounce can coconut milk

Directions:

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions really soften up – about 10 minutes or so.

Stir in the curry powder and cumin, and cook just until the spices are fragrant and toasty – stirring constantly at this point. Just 30 seconds or so. Stir in the tomatoes, the juices from the cans, and 6 cups of water. Simmer for fifteen minutes or so, then puree with a hand blender until smooth. Add the can of coconut milk and stir until blended together. Add salt and pepper to taste.

I love this soup served with a squeeze of lemon, some toasted almonds, and of course a slice of warm, soft french bread.  Enjoy!

(I forgot to take photos, but just trust me, it’s delicious whether you see a photo or not!)

Talk to you soon