INHOME LIFESTYLE: You're only 6 months ONCE...

In less than 2 years, I'll have a daughter in college.  I remember when I left for school, leaving behind a younger brother and two younger sisters.  I was marching off into a new, independent unknown...I know I spoke often with my family, but I wasn't there in the day to day...the dynamic had changed.

I missed band performances and swim meets and even a couple musical performances because I, myself, was traveling around the state in my own troupe performing and representing the school. I missed cookie making, fort building and doll playing...

The point that I'm attempting to exhibit is that "life" changed in the everyday...and in all actuality, it continues to change day by day, month by month, year by year...etc...

Because of that fact, my storytelling heart always yearns to capture those accounts...to document the memories...

I'd love if my quick snapshots of my personal everyday life looked magazine worthy every.single.time.

ahem...but laundry, dishes, children....

And so, sometimes it takes a certain amount of purposeful preparation in order to aesthetically record the events of everyday life!

AND THIS IS WHY, lifestyle photography is so fulfilling!!!

Working around Ohio weather...whether it be rain, heat or snow...well, it can always be a challenge.  This family was so gracious in our dilemma to find a day that would work...but, through the icy roads and impending "perilous" forecast, we made it happen!!!

I'm so glad we did too...because you are only 6 months old ONCE in your life!  The gummy grins, the happy giggles, the tummy time...these are all things that are worth remembering!!!

It's obvious the security and love provided in this home from mommy & daddy...a place where gentleness, sweet squeezes, and laughter is valued and encouraged...

Each day is worth celebrating!
















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Letter to my Pre "Mom of Teens" Self

Hello Self,

I remember the days of snuggling those sweet rolls of baby chub...the smell of baby shampoo and making little mohawks of whatever hair might be sticking straight up on the tops of their wee little heads...

I remember well, the days of patting myself on the back for reading sooooo many board books and having the entire day scheduled with storytimes, felt board games, tummy time and the like...

Sure the house was a tad in shambles...because: WE.NEED.ANOTHER.BATH. or THEY.WONT.STOP.CRYING. or some other such catastrophe that inevitably would rear it's head in the middle of perfectly planned days...

But I know you thought it was okay...because you knew you were putting in the hard work...you were doing the nuts and bolts parenting because "things were going to get easier"...life was going to "slow down"...

Oh sweet self...I feel for you! Because you DID do the hard things...you DID work and read all the books, and do all the things...

the funny thing is...

EVEN THOUGH all that...

Ummm, well, I'm here in the middle of what you thought would be the "easy days"...the days of "slowing down" and I'm sorry to be the one to tell you, but you were kinda wrong...It's not that what you are doing now is easy, it's just that it doesn't necessarily let up, as you'd expect...it just shifts...

Let me explain dear one:

*Remember when you'd buy the sweetest little outfits to put on your darling daughters and they'd twirl in dresses...or you'd get them all suited up in overalls and pig tails?

Yes, well, when you arrive in the teenage years...there is a new "fashion" that will appear...it's the spectrum of "I'm wearing dad's old sweatshirt and leggings OR I need Vans/Vineyard Vines/AE ripped jeans OR can't we just go to goodwill and get something cool?" And you will NEVER know which end of the spectrum it will be on any given day...AND SO... they may appear from their room looking like they just pulled off the covers and put on shoes on one day and other days they will be near tears because, "there's NOTHING TO WEAR!"

To go along with that, please remember to adopt the motto, "What's mine is yours"...because all of sudden, your "Uncool MOM self" does not stop them from borrowing EVERY.PIECE.OF.CLOTHING in your closet. One minute you were changing their diapers, and the next they are stealing your shoes (and socks, and sweaters, and leggings, and sweatshirts...)

So, while you're abundantly thankful for the opportunity to shower without a screaming toddler wondering why you're taking so long, you will struggle to find outfits because your wardrobe has suddenly been picked through like a clearance sale at Old Navy.

* Remember when you controlled the playdates and the dinner time and the little family field trips??? Your days of air traffic controller are OVER!

 Your social calendar now is run by 16 different teachers, choir & theater directors, athletic coaches and a youth director...Even when you only allow ONE activity per child because you are scrambling for some semblance of "family dinner" just ONE night a week, it will feel utterly impossible...

Crock Pot meals will become your saving grace! And you will feel giddy when gas prices go below $2, because, honey, you are filling gas tanks left and right at this point in life...

* Though much of the parenting for you, right now, consists of "no touch" or "that is unacceptable, you will obey Mommy right now" or "eat your peas"...it's not so much like that anymore...

Okay, so you will still say, "eat your peas" in the coming years, but conversations aren't so one-sided anymore and "quick-fixes" are extinct...

We are talking emotional, heart-wrenching topics...and hurts and future unknowns...

You thought that "birds and the bees" talk was going to be difficult...sweetie, TIP OF THE ICEBERG...Teenagers are bombarded with SO.MUCH.STUFF. and every single day...from political, to sexual, to relational, to academic, to identity, to spiritual...questions upon questions...and you won't be 100% prepared for any of it...

and it WILL be exhausting...and you CAN'T give up either...

one minute you'll be making out a meal plan for the week and then next, they are sitting in the kitchen with you in tears pouring out their heart to you...

they need you to be their sounding board from school each day...it's what I affectionately call our "daily detox"...and you MUST learn appropriate acting facial expressions because you can not show shock, you must feign calmness and level-headedness.

The thing is, life doesn't get easier, and just when you think you might have something figured out...you'll just second guess yourself in 2 minutes...

BUT,

WOW it gets even richer...the love gets DEEPER...the CONNECTION gets stronger

...and though it doesn't seem to slow down, and it actually feels like it's speeding up, don't worry that you might not be able to handle it...don't fret about being "uncool"...just 

Be Present...
Love Fiercely...
Show Grace...
Keep your expectations high and 
Cheer them on to achieve!!

I'm still here in the midst of the Teen years...and I have no idea whether I'm doing things "right" or not...in fact, if I had a fraction of the confidence I felt during the toddler years in present day, I'd probably pat myself on the back...but, that isn't really the case...

All I know is that it starts with loving their daddy with all I have in me, teaming with him and modeling how relationships work...

it progresses into loving their friends, and flossing in the middle of youth group even though your daughters are begging you to stop...

it means keeping communication open constantly...while walking the fine line between trust and accountability...it means knowing what interests them and giving them opportunities to explore it...

it means standing your ground, even when it means they will hate it...and it means letting them fail just so they can know that failure won't kill them...and then showing them how to rise up from the ashes...

Oh Pre "mom of teens" self, things are NOT going to get easier, and you've got to be ready for the long haul...but oh man is it worth it...I promise!!! 


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"Teach us to number our days, (savor the moments) so that we may gain a heart of wisdom" ~Psalm 90:12

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