Me on YouTube: Black and White Editing Videos

We've joked about starting a Family Vlog and posting to YouTube because I can't believe how much money those people are making just from daily videos of things their family does.  It's not that simple though and I'm not that mom that is going to follow her kids around all day with a video camera and then spend my evenings editing the video.  Plus our life is super, and I mean SUPERRRRR, boring.  Nobody wants to watch a video of me denying my kid a 5th squeezy for the day.  They just don't.  And the other thing is the moms in these vlogs never have wine.  Obviously wine would be necessary, but then it's maybe not kid appropriate and kids are the ones watching these things.  

You see, a family vlog just isn't going to work for me.

So what do I like doing and what am I at least sort of good at?  Editing pictures of my kids!!!!  When I take pictures of them, I have to load them up pretty much as soon as I'm done.  Just ask my husband.  I'm sure it drives him nuts.

Naturally any YouTube channel I start should be me editing pictures of my kids or talking about photography related things that I love.  Soooo that's what I did.  I'm only two videos in so far and I still get nervous when I hit the record button though and nobody is even listening to me yet at that point.  

So anyway if you want to watch me being all awkward while editing videos, here are my first two videos posted to YouTube.

If you like it go subscribe and give it a thumbs up.  Or even if you don't like it, do it anyway.  Help a girl out.

I Really Wanted to Be a Soccer Mom (Not a Dance Mom)

It's true, I didn't want to be a dance mom.  The only reason I went to dance as a kid was goof off with another friend of mine (as evidenced by the dance recital home video my parents have when that friend and I were both one step behind every other girl in our dance class).  Friend, you know who you are.

My husband and I both played soccer so last fall we put Saida in soccer.  The only way I could get her on the field was holding the coach's hand with a promise of the biggest handful of pom balls she could grab for her pom ball jar (our good behavior reinforcement system).  I wish I could say I had pictures of this, but at the time I was not amused.  She's done one other thing that was more frustrating and that was swim lessons last summer.  I still prefer not to talk about it.

If the girl could do one thing all day, it's dance.  She loves it.  I love watching her, but I didn't want to be a dance mom.  There was a whole show dedicated to those moms and if I remember correctly, it painted them crazy and we're like the least competitive people in the world.  

But what it comes down to for me is letting my kid follow her own path.  I could force her in to soccer all day, but who is that really for?  As long as the decisions she's making are healthy, I'm more inclined to just let her choose the things that make her happy.  I don't have to fight her to go to class and she actually cares enough about it to try.

So here's to being a dance mom.  If you're looking for me I'll be the one in the corner at dance class reading Rachel Hollis and feeling thankful for an hour of nobody asking me to do anything.

By the way, the last day of summer dance was yesterday.  Cutest thing ever.

Pinterest Fail: Detangling Barbie Hair

Bottom line, those moms who’ve tried this successfully must be full of magic or BS.

So if you have a daughter or daughters, chances are you've looked detangling barbie hair up on Pinterest before.  These things get totally out of control and our barbie loving selves from another era really want to make this barbie hair look amazing again.  

Saida asked if we could fix Rapunzel's hair today and I was like sure thing.  We can make a blog post about it.  Of course when this was going through my head I was thinking we'd have super amazing results and every girl mom out there would be visiting this post because hair is important and barbie deserves good hair too.  

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So anyway, here's how this really went down.

First of all I only looked through half the pinterst post initially so I was only prepared for the first half of the process.  

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Also Rapunzel has a mark on her head that I was super sure a magic eraser would take off.  Those things really are magic so I didn't thing for a second it wouldn't work.  Guess what.  I didn't work.

We dipped Rapunzel's hair in a mixture of half fabric softener and half water as suggested and make the hair was good an saturated.  From there we brushed her hair to get all the "tangles" out. and I brushed and I brushed and I brushed and I brushed and I brushed..... for like 20 minutes y'all.  Maybe longer actually.  So at this point I'm like this is a total pinterst fail, but I'm just going to keep going because I've been brushing barbie hair for 20 minutes and I'll be damned if I'm throwing in the towel at this point.  

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What if by some miracle this actually does end up working?  I'm not sure it matters because even though I'm committed at this point, I'm definitely not recommending this method to any other mom unless of course they've hurt one of my children at some point in life.

So this is where I thought we'd be done and then just let her hair dry and voila.  Nope.  Second half of the process required rinsing hair in a water/vinegar mixture to get the extra fabric softener out then combing the hair again using some sort of leave in conditioner.  Natural we chose our Monat Junior Detangler.  

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It's looking better, but I wouldn't say it's looking good.  Bottom line, those moms who've tried this successfully must be full of magic or BS.  On the up side, Rapunzel smells amazing now.  

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Just buy a new barbie y'all.  

P.S. The Monat Junior Line is a much bigger hit on my kids hair than their barbies.

 

Light Obsessed: Black and White Photo Editing Post

If there is one thing that has gotten completely out of control with my love of photography, it's that I'm light obsessed.  

It's true.  Just last week on our way to the beach we passed a field on the bayside of Galveston Island with a dirt driveway making it's way toward a beautiful canopy of palm trees with water on the other side.  I stopped whatever conversation we were having to tell Tyler exactly how I envisioned the light during golden hour.  

I've been known to just stare at this field across the street from Target in the evenings (especially in the Fall) because the way the light hits that field is amazing.  

I went hunting with my husband at an exotic game ranch and sat there looking at light and the way the grass moved in the wind while others looked at Fallow and Axis deer.

I can't unsee light. 

Yesterday evening Saida ran through a little pocket of light we only get in our living room when my office blinds are open.  She let me spend about 1 minute shooting and I had zero time to get proper settings, but I still had to get that light and the vision of it I saw in my head.

What I wanted to share is what I see when I see that light vs. what it looks like coming out of my camera.  So whether your into photo editing or not, you're getting the before and after image of this light.

For those who are curious, I started with my favorite black and white preset in Lightroom, tweaked it to my liking and used graduated filters and the adjustment brush to decrease shadows, exposure, highlights and whites where needed to really make this the dramatic image I envisioned.

This first photo is a completely untouched version of what I took.  Straight out of camera (SOOC).

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And this next photo is what I saw in my head when I saw her run through this little slice of light.

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Well to completely honest I was hoping she'd do something a little more worthy of a picture, but nope.  They never do what you want them to.  I'll take this for now though.

-Monica 

Post Vacation Monday

I have a few choice words for post vacation Monday.  Usually I'm all like Yay Monday! Lets make this week awesome, but today I'd like to take Monday out to the parking lot.

Problem #1:  We're out of milk.  I've let us run out of milk one other time since Saida became a milk monster and last night was the second time.  The problem is her milk was already poured and in her cup for this morning and she completely drained it before I made my coffee.  I'm not a fan of black coffee.

Problem #2:  Before I could even take one drink of my freshly brewed black coffee, Corbin informs me that the dog just peed on the carpet in my bedroom.  Seriously?  He had been outside for at least a couple hours before I let him in less than 5 minutes before this happened.  

So I'm currently surviving Monday morning on black coffee and Young Living's Stress Away Essential Oil Blend while looking at our freshly painted walls because for some reason we thought it would be fun to spend all of yesterday painting our main living space with kids in attendance.  

Problem #3: I'm tired as hell and my body is like No.

So here's to hoping Tuesday starts out with properly prepared coffee and dry carpet.

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The McKenna Children's Museum

So if you keep up with my blog you know that we were supposed to be in Galveston until today, but family issues resulted in us coming home early. This means we're home, Tyler has time off, and with Saida getting ready to start Kindergarten, we want make the most of this little bit of "vacation" time we have/had left.

We really didn't know what we wanted to do with this time though.  We just knew that we wanted to do it together.  After putting out an SOS to a local moms group on Facebook, we had a few suggestions to fill our time.  We chose to head down to New Braunfels (about 35 minutes away) to the McKenna Children's Museum.  We actually have a children's museum in Austin too that's technically closer, but we like to avoid the Austin traffic whenever possible.  


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Why we chose The McKenna Children's Museum for our Day Trip

  • 35 minutes is a cinch.  I hear the children's museum in San Antonio is great, but we left later than I would have liked and adding on an extra 30 minutes each way to the trip is just something we didn't have time for today.
  • It was cost effective.  We paid $7.50/person to get in.  The Thinkery in Austin would have been $12/person and The Doseum in San Antonio would have been $14/person.  I'm feeling like we definitely got our money's worth.
  • It's inside (mostly).  I thought about going to the Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch, but it's hot.  Texas is sitting at a whopping 100 degress today and wasn't about to go spend nearly $60 to hang out in the sun.  Yes you get to drive your car around, but I still have to wonder if the animals would even be out moving.  We'll save that idea for cooler weather.
  • Our kids really just seem like the ideal ages for a children's museum.  Saida just turned 5 and Corbin is 2 and a half.  Children's museums are a safe place for them to run and play without limits and we love just watching them do it.
  • It gets rave reviews from just about every mom who has ever taken their kids there.

What we found at the McKenna Children's Museum

The Grocery Store Exhibit

I'm going to be honest, I haven't been to a children's museum since I was a kid and I don't really remember much about it.  Actually the only thing I sort of remember from that experience was the grocery store exhibit.  I remember thinking this is what it feels like to be a grown up when in that exhibit.  Oh to be that naive again.  But anyway, the grocery store exhibit didn't disappoint.  I especially loved seeing the things they picked out on their own shopping experience.  Corbin basically filled his cart with cheese.  If there was ever any doubt he was his mother's child, I think that doubt is gone now.  

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The Wonder Shop Exhibit

The Wonder Shop was something Saida was looking forward to.  I showed her Instagram photos of the museum before we went and she's just always down for a good painting session.  I imagined this exhibit a little more out in the open.  I was happy to find it in a room separate from the chaos of the main space of the children's museum.  

I'm not always that mom that's going to hand Corbin some paints and let him go at it.  He's a two and half year old boy which means things almost never go according to plan and I'm typically not in the mood to clean up after what went wrong.  I love that he got to paint next to his sister.  His sister is still upset that he added green to her paper where she didn't want it, but this moment made me happy.  

Helpful Tip: Do this early enough in your visit to allow more time for your paintings to dry.  We did it about half way through and as liberal as my kids are with paint, they were still wet when we put them in the car.  Fortunatley my cargo space was pretty clear and we had room to set them down flat on the way home.  

 


The Great Outdoors Exhibit

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The main attraction outside is the water.  It's basically the ultimate water table full of fishing (for toy fish), waterslide racing (for toys), and a bunch of other educational ways to interact with the water.  My kids loved this area and we sat there and watched them while silently thanking the McKenna folks for having this space under cover.  August in Texas is hot.  

Helpful Tip:  Bring a change of clothes just in case.  My kids can be pretty timid so they really didn't get wet, but I could see how it would be easy to leave this area a bit covered in water.  Chances are you know if your kid is one of those fun loving kids who may walk away wet.

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Also outside was a music area.  Honestly I felt like the music area could have been a little cooler, but my kids still thought it was pretty cool and I guess that is what matters most.  The xylophone was definitely thier favorite instrument to play.

There are also opportunities to climb and build outside so basically this area has a little bit of something for everyone (including benches for mom and dad).  

I knew this would be one of our favorite spots and I purposely saved it for last in our visit because... water.... and kids.  

 

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Hill Country Campground Exhibit

This was a suuuuuper cute area.  I'm kind of a sucker for a vintage inspired play camper and tent.  The photographer in me also loved it because it was close to a wall of windows and natural light is kind of like my very best friend.  Also we went and looked at campers after this so this is just where I am in life right now anyway.  This area also included a little cave with bat wings to put on the kiddos.  My kids probably would have taken those bat wings home.  I smell a diy project sometime in the future maybe.  

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Destination Space Exhibit

I hope my kids explore this one a little more next time.  Saida actually really loved walking through the outter space room which is basically a pitch black room with stars.  I couldn't even see the walkway it was so dark.  For a kid who insists on a night light, I was super shocked she loved it so much.  Corbin hated it.  There was so much more in that area though that they never touched so maybe next time.

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Other exhibits not mentioned that they also really enjoyed are the Amazing Airways Exhibit, The Town Square, and The Kids Clinic.

I mean really this whole place is super adorable and so inviting for play.  A steal for $7.50 per person.  The bottom line is that if we lived even 15 minutes closer, we'd have a family membership.  A family of 4 can buy a membership for only $125 a year.  It would pay for itself in about 5 visits.


So my recommendation is YES, DEFINITELY GO!!!  And if you live close, DEFINITELY PAY FOR A MEMBERSHIP!!!

For more information on the McKenna Children's Museum in New Braunfels, click the button below.


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This is just to add another level of cuteness to the post.  Also yes, he is wearing Tito's Vodka Sunglasses.  They're his favorite.

A Repeat of 7 Years Ago

What I had planned for this morning:

Waking up at the beach and watching the sun come up while drinking coffee.

What actually happned this morning:  

Woke up by my child at regular time in our home after vacation abruptly ended last night and we pulled into our driveway at 2 am this morning.  Still drinking coffee.  Getting ready to go grab my second cup because this day isn't going to happen without it.

Why it's the way it is:

We have a family tradition of taking this trip to the beach each year.  It started when I was young with a trip to South Padre Island and since then we've been all up and down the Texas coast from South Padre Island to Galveston Island.  Of course as our family grew, so did the number of people going.  I can think of two years where I didn't go.  One was when I was 8 months pregnant with Saida and the other was the year after the big family fight from seven years ago.  

I won't go into the details, but basically the result of what happened was that I had minimal contact with my mom for about a year and basically zero positive contact with my dad.  I survived off Tyler, Eli Young band's Life At Best album, and the stronger bond forming with my brother and his family.  I cried a lot of tears in this year and it taught me to remain calm (or appear calm) in the face of irrational anger.  I got really good at it actually.  

Very similar circumstances led to Tyler and I choosing to remove our family from this year's family vacation only mid way through.  The fight was not my fight, but my children as witnesses to hateful language is something I have control over.  As their mom my single option was to load them into the car at 10pm and remove them from the home we all stay in together.  

I'm not sure what our foreseeable furture looks like in terms of family relationships, but I'm sadened that my kids lose in this situation.  I can handle myself and I've done it before, but they're just kids caught in the crossfire.  

What's funny is the night before we left to go on this trip I came across all the photos I took from my parent's house after that fight 7 years ago.  I wanted at least a few photographs from my childhood because I didn't know if I would ever enter my parent's house again and I wanted them for my future children.  I wanted to remember that even though things were bad at that moment, we had good memories and moments worth hanging on to.  

I didn't have a bad childhood.  I dealt with things I don't want my children to deal with, but I was always safe and fed and not needing for anything material.  I can't change people.  I can't change what's happened in my life up until now.  All I can really do is keep doing my best and encouraging my kids to be good and kind people.   That's not always easy.  I'm not always the perfect example, but when things don't go exactly how I would like, I'm not throwing in the towel.  We're going to wake up tomorrow, put our big girl pants on, and try again.

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The plan for now is to just take it day by day.  That's all I've got.  Also I'm wondering what the soundtrack of this drama is going to be. Maybe more on that later.

-Monica 

Yes I Love Monat and I Sell It

So a friend of mine just told me she didn't know I was selling Monat Hair Products.  Y'all this means I really really suck at sharing and that I've been letting all the other life stuff get in the way of telling people about these products that I've come to love over the last 10 months or so.  And I really do love them.  Like a lot.  I make the whole family use them and I especially love what it does for my daughter's wild hair.

The Monat Junior Line 

She's like me in that her hair is her pride and joy.  We're not allowed to cut it except for just a tiny bit and she loves to leave it down which means it's always a straight up nightmare to brush out.  I will tell you though, the post bathtime brushing, which used to be the low point of my day, is now so easy.  Most of the time that brush just glides right through her hair.  Also I'm going to be real, her hair gets me the most likes on Instagram.  People love it.  The Monat Junior Line may have save our relationship and my willingness to let her keep her long hair.

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How I use Monat

I'm pretty basic with my haircare or try to be.  I don't always go all out fixing it, but Monat makes it easier for me to low maintenance.  When you're giving your hair what it needs, turns out it's actually a lot easier to style it.  Who knew?  My flat iron only comes out on rare occasions becaue it's just not necessary anymore to tame my hair.  I quick blow dry is generally all I need and then that usually lasts at least two days so at most I'm washing/styling every other day and sometimes longer in between.  For the most part I'm a shampoo and conditioner kind of girl, but I do use the Replenish Masque once a week or once every other week, the Rejuvabeads to stretch out my haircuts a little while I try to grow it out some, and the Rejuveniqe Intensive Oil.  

I have a whole blog post on My Monat Favorites so if you want to learn more about some of these products and what they do for me, please go check it out.



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So what is diffent about my hair since starting Monat?

I honestly thought my hair was healthy before Monat.  It was I guess, but with Monat it's even healthier.  It's shiny and easier to manage.  It's growing in length and also so much of that hair I lost after childbirth is actually coming back.  I can go longer in between washes and it doesn't get gross so quick.  I look forward to washing my hair instead of dreading the process.  It smells wonderful and feels so good.

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Okay so more about Monat.  What is it?  It's a naturally based haircare line that has the ability to penetrate all three layers of your hair and heal it from the inside out.  You could call it healthcare for your hair.  I've watched them grow rapidly over the last year and the product line is growing.  No matter what your hair needs, there is something for you.  Not sure what you need?  Take the Hair Quiz to find your perfect products based on your hair type and needs.



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You may also enjoy reading my post about Monat haters and how they are right, but oh so wrong.  This is one of my most popular posts to date.

DIY Body Wash

So I'm slowly making an effort to rid my house of harmful chemicals.  I mean it's a really slow process and there are probably some chemicals I'll never get rid of, but I'm kind of considering any decrease in chemicals a win at this point.

I started this journey with switching shampoos from grocery store shampoos to using Monat hair products.  Next was jumping on board with the Thieves line from Young Living and then I thought why not make my own body wash.  Buying body was without harmful chemicals is expensive.  

I hopped on pinterest and looked at all the ways I could make my own body wash and then kind of just took what I found there and put some things together.  So far I like the results (aside from I haven't really found my perfect essential oil or combo of oils for my perfect scent).  This combo leaves my skin feeling clean, but never dry and going back to grocery store body wash seems unlikely at this point.

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So what do you need to make that this happen?

I use Dr. Bronner's Unscented Pure-Castile Soap, Now Solutions Vegetable Glycerine, Jason Vitamin E Oil, Naissance Sweet Almond Oil, and whatever essential oil I'm in the mood for.  All of this (aside from the essential oil) can be found in My Amazon Favorites.

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Other things you'll need are a measuring cup, measuring spoons, and something to put your body wash in.  I use these cute little amber plastic pump bottles that come with adorable labels and a paint pen.  I know using plastic is frowned upon in the natural world and glass is better, but the reality is if I put glass in my shower, I guarantee it's broke in a week.  The cute plastic amber bottles are also in My Amazon Favorites



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So first things first, start with Castile Soap.  I chose Dr. Bronner's 18-in-1 Hemp Baby Unscented Pure-Castile Soap because it has less ingredients than other castile soaps I came across.  Even if you look at the other Dr. Bronner's Castile Soaps, you'll find this one has less.  Other versions sound nice, but include things like extracts that this one doesn't have.  It's probably not the end of the world to choose one of those other options, but I went with this one because it was unscented and had the least amount of ingredients.  

The amber bottles I'm using are only 8 oz.  They're quite small so I start with only 1/2 cup of castile soap.

Castile Soap can be used for a lot of things.  I have yet to experiment, but word is you can use it to make dish soap, laundry detergent, shampoo, rinse fruits and veggies, mop the floor, wash the dog, or as an all purpose cleaner.  It's very concentrated so this 32 ounce bottle of castile soap is going to last for quite a bit and chances are nobody is allergic.


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Next you'll need to add 1 tbsp each of vegetable glycerine, almond oil, and vitamin E oil.  Just add it to the measuring cup with the castile soap.

You could definitely wash yourself without these products, but I add them as a moisturizer and to keep my skin soft.  I normally wouldn't buy a body wash at the store if it didn't keep my skin moist in some way so I figure why would I make one that didn't do the same thing.  These aren't the only products you could use, they're just products I chose and they seem to work for me.


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Next add approximately 20 drops of your favorite essential oil or combination of oils.

This time I added Young Living's R.C. essential oil blend.  I'll be honest, it's not may favorite.  I did lavender last time and liked it much better, but I still don't feel like I've found my magic combo.  I chose R.C. oil this time because I typically shower in the morning and R.C. oil is supposed to help energize and motivate you.  I could use a little bit more of that each morning so I gave it a go.  

I feel like this is one of those areas that you just need to figure out what it is you need from your body wash and then decide on your essential oil accordingly.  I've heard of people using citrus essential oils and that it works well, but I've also heard that they eat plastic a bit more so I've steered away from them for that reason.  Maybe if you're brave enough to put a glass bottle in your shower, you could try it.


Pour the mixture into your bottle, close, and shake. If you're using an 8 oz. bottle, this won't fill it up.  Open and add water until you're close to the top and then close and give it another little shake.

Voila!  Homemade body wash that is good for your skin.   


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Also if you're interested in Young Living and haven't already signed up, feel free to provide my member number when signing up.

YL Member Number: 14886836

Family Films: A Lifestyle Newborn Session For Baby Harrison

Family Films are something that I've thought about for awhile now, but at first I didn't quite have the motivation to really sit down and figure it out.  It's been a busy year to say the least.  

A little while back I was basically trapped in my house for a week and half while year end house warranty work was done and I decided to make this videography thing a priority.  I spent that time educating myself on all the details that go into family films and figuring out how to get the settings down in my camera and switch back and forth between video and photos.  I bought a few new pieces of equipment and decided there was no going back.  I'm obsessed with the way the idea of family films inspires me.  

I think what draws me to it most is that my clients really have to be authentic for this to work.  It's actually more interesting if we allow the real to shine through.  We  pick real things to do instead of just finding a spot where everyone can be together.  It's less directed than my typical photo session and I like that.  This is me capturing a piece of your everyday as it really happens.  Yeah sure with this newborn session I was directing a few things, but I allowed the moments to unfold naturally.  

Here is the video paired with some of the images from the photo gallery.  I'm obsessed.  I want everyone to have one of these family films.

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Ready to book a family film session?  

Things I've Learned About Myself & Why Yoga Is My Exercise of Choice

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The last two years I've learned a lot about myself.  I'm not necessarily a different person than I was prior to these last two years, but I've paid more attention and in doing so I'm making decisions that are more me instead of me trying to do what I think it is I'm supposed to do.  This doesn't mean my everyday is perfect now or anything like that, but it means I get to enjoy the things I love to do more often.  Life is still life and shit still happens.  

So things I've learned about myself in the last two years (since quitting my traditional job) are...

1. I'm an introvert.  I enjoy people, but generally in smaller groups and then I need my me time.  Basically there is no way in hell I'm working the crowd at a party.  

2. As much as I love light and airy, I love a little moodiness and subdued colors and things even more.  In other words, I stopped trying to be the light and airy photographer because who am I kidding?  And now I see these things creeping into my style in all aspects of life.

3. I love, and I mean really love, quite and calm.  

4. I'm a sensory kind of gal.  I love smelling things that remind me of good memories and diffusing scents that make me happy/calm.  I love music that fits my vibe which is generally pretty chill, but occasionally something with more energy or sadness when the mood hits.  My comfort foods truly give me comfort (that's probably bad) and can bring a sense of all is right in the world.

And you probably read the title and you're wondering how in the world this has to do with yoga.  I've never really been able to stick to any regular exercise routine in my adult life.  We tried doing P90X once or twice and would find an excuse to not continue after a certain point, running was okay but I really wasn't motivated to do it, and Camp Gladiator was an awesome workout but just didn't feel like me.  I joined the YMCA in January and knew the classes were going to be my thing.  I kind of want someone else to tell me what to do, but I don't want to hire a personal trainer and really be one on one.  The classes I tried were Body Pump, CXWORX, Pilates, and Yoga.

Body Pump and CXWORX - I'm putting these into the same category because I always did them together and they were kind of meant to be that way it seemed.  The room was huge, very brightly lit, the instructor has a ton of energy and wore a mircrophone.  It was loud in there and I found the energy, though fun, to be very overwhelming for me (sensory girl who like calm).  It's just not my thing.  It goes against all the things I've learned about myself over the last two years.  I wish I was that person, but I'm just not.  I get enough chaos at home that I just don't need it at the gym too.  Some people thrive on that though and that's awesome for them.

Pilates - I like it just fine.  No complaints really.  I just like yoga more.

Yoga - First of all let's state the obvious. The lights are low, the music is chill, nobody is yelling, my shoes get to be off, we shavasana at the end of class, and I can close my eyes while I work out if I want to.  Do you see how based on what I said up there, is fits me perfectly?  Paying more attention to who I am allowed me to just forget all that other stuff that would probably get me buff a lot faster if I stuck with it and find something that I actually want to stick with.  It feeds my soul and my body and it's just whatever I need it to be on that day.  Sometimes it's just a workout and me challenging myself into the poses.  Sometimes it's my body really needing to release stress. Sometimes it's just the only thing in my whole day that's about me and I just needed that.  

Is it for everyone?  No.  That's not the point.  The point is being honest with myself led me to a workout that I love to show up for.  I'm 6 months in, which is longer than anything else I've ever tried to stick with and I have no intentions of stopping anytime soon.  My yoga pants have actually been to yoga y'all. 

{Disclaimer} Also just so everyone knows, I'm not good at yoga yet.  I'm improving though and getting much stronger from doing it.  My shoulders and shrugs are looking pretty sweet and my mom belly is slowly (like very slowly) going away.  My legs are stronger, but I'm probably the only one who really notices that one at this point.  

ThermaLeaf® Fire Retardant Artificial Foilage Review

The awesome people over at ThermaLeaf® sent me this Bird's Nest Fern last week and I'm pretty excited about it.  I haven't really decided on it's final resting place in the house just yet and I'm thinking I need a plant stand that's a bit more elevated because that stool belongs to my kids and they're not going to let me use it forever.  

This plant is fire retardant artificial foilage which is pretty cool.  I love me some real plants, don't get me wrong, but I have my fair share of artificial around the house too.  Truth be told, when I went to set up this quick little shoot for this plant, I had to move some things out of the way, one of which was a plant I probably hadn't watered in three weeks and it really needed some tlc asap. Sometimes I just forget because life is busy.

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So obviously PRO # 1 is that I can't kill this thing.  I love never having to water which is the only reason my cacti are currently surviving in my bathroom.  Apparently the humidity from our shower is enough to keep them alive.  So yeah, I love that I get the appeal of a plant without having to remember to water it.

PRO #2 is that it's fire retardant.  Look, nobody plans on needing things to be fire retardant, but I have a toddler boy and I'm sure there is a reason their pajamas are fire redardant.  

PRO # 3 is that I love the base on this thing.  It came with a black planter pot and I stole the terra-cotta from another plant of mine.  But what I love about it is the base is heavy and details didn't get skipped over.  I was afraid that my kids or the dog would be knocking this over on the regular, but that heavy base should keep it in place and make that more of a challenge.  The folks at ThermaLeaf® actually tried to make the soil look real by adding some natural looking elements.  I appreciate that.  I also just love the base of the stems and the attention to detail there.

PRO # 4 is this thing seems like it'll be easy to wipe down.   I feel like sometimes you can buy artificial foliage that is basically impossible to clean so I'm happy this looks so easy.  Housekeeping isn't exactly my favorite activity.

PRO #5 is that it looks good in my house.  There is just something about plants that adds life to a home and seeing them just makes me happy and just overall improves my mood.  This one reminds me of the beach or somewhere tropical, which is totally my happy place.


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My single CON is that it isn't real.  In a perfect world I'd have all the real plants and someone to make sure I didn't kill them, but that's just not realistic in a lot of situations.  Worry free artificial plants definitley have their place.

If you want to learn more about ThermaLeaf® fire retardant artificial foilage, visit their website at http://www.thermaleaf.com/ 

ThermaLeaf® provided me with a coupon code to share with you that can be used at www.silkplantsdirect.com.  That code is BLOGGER10 and it will get you 10% OFF a non custom order.

5 Things That Happened This Week Because of Tyler's New Job

Probably not everyone knows that Tyler started a new job this past week.  He's kind of a devoted guy and leaving jobs for new ones doesn't exactly come easy for him, but sometimes life is coming at you 100 mph and you've got to figure out which of those life things get to pass you by and which ones are worth reaching out and grabbing.  We're thankful for the time he had at Ferguson, but he needed something different.

You might remember a post I made awhile back when all the things I stress about were weighing on me all on the same day.  It wasn't my best moment, but I was honest about where I was right then.  One of the things that weighed on me most that day was that Tyler works constantly.  Unfortunately the job he was doing was two jobs (at least) meshed into one and by the end of the day he was exhausted on so many levels and came home with nothing left to give (or very little) to his family.  It wasn't healthy for him or us and that was probably the biggest thing going into this job change.  

So some things happened this week that either have never happened or haven't happened in a really long time.

1. I actually got to see him before work and in the light of day (not just a quick hug while I'm half awake in a dark room as he heads out the door).  I could actually tell you what color shirt he was wearing when he left.  I keep thinking he's late for work, but he's not.

2.  The kids got to see him before leaving for work.  I don't know when this happened last, but it makes me happy that it can happen now.

3.  Every single person who lives in our house was home by 5pm on Monday.  The other days were filled with stuff, but it's cool to know that can and will happen.

4.  Tyler had time to build a lego car with Saida on Thursday night and Friday night.

5.  Tyler got to work with people who truly want him there.  He wasn't just some employee that could be replaced with another.  As his wife and someone who has been in love with him for basically 27 years (yes I realize I'm only 33, but it's true) that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy because I know how lucky they are.

These things are more important to me than any paycheck.  Yes money is necessary, but it can't buy these things and I'm excited for what our life looks like going forward.

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Right Where I'm Supposed To Be I Suppose

I decided to spend some time trying to free up space on my computer last week.  I don't do it as often as I should, but when I do it's always interesting to see what I happen upon that I kinda forgot about.

Sometimes it's just old client photos and I sit here thank God those clients actually gave me a shot.  Thier moments were still beautiful like all of my clients today, but my photography wasn't what it is now and I wish I could go back and do their memories more justice.  

Sometimes it's an old resume or job application.  I silently hope I never have to update a resume again, but I hang onto it just in case.  You never know.  It's like insurance.  You hope you never need it, but you don't want to get caught without it.  

Last week it was a scan of an old Air Force magazine cover that was shared with me several years ago.


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What's it's significance?  This photo was taken by my grandfather.  

My grandfather was a photojournalist in the Air Force.  But to be honest, I didn't even know I had a grandfather until I was like five years old.  I have a grandma on each side, my mom's dad died before I was born, and I was little so it never really crossed my mind that maybe I had a grandpa on my dad's side of the family.  He didn't start coming around until later and then it was only occasionally when he needed a couch to land on for a few nights.  It never really felt like it was about us or this want to get to know us.

He's not with us anymore.  Hasn't been for quite some time.  We never had the relationship one would expect between a grandfather and grandaughter and when he died I cried mainly for him because I knew he'd really missed all the best parts of life.  

But no matter what our relationship looked like (or lack of one) I know there is a part of me that came from him and I just use that part of me differently than he did.  I do feel like there is something hereditary that I got from him that is served well by photography.  I feel like I get that part of him and I'm thankful for that part of me.  

Last week I pulled the Neighbors of West Buda Magazine out of my mailbox.  I had seen the image on the cover before because I made it..... The timing of coming back across that old Air Force magazine cover photo feels interesting.  It's still hard to own that my grandfather and I could be anything alike, but I guess it's time to get over that.  


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And so there you go.  

Mom Brain: It's a Legit Thing

I feel like there are endless ways I could start this blog post.  For example:

Does anyone spend most of their day doing all the little things they'd never remember?

The term "pregnancy brain" is bullshit.  It insinuates that maybe you'll get your brain back after the baby is born and obviously that couldn't be any farther from the truth.  

Or my personal favorite...

So this one time my husband was late to work after he spent an hour looking for his keys.  Hell, I even helped and it just so happens I was the one who misplaced them.  Any guesses on where we found them?  

That last one was this morning.  

But for real though, please tell me I'm not the only one.  We moms go through our entire day automatically doing so many things without even realizing it.  Just last week I was getting ready to go somewhere (I can't even remember where) and was in my bathroom working on hair and makeup.  Saida was talking to me and periodically Corbin would come into the bathroom needing something.  I looked down and at him on one of these quick visits and he had an applesauce squeezie in his hands.  I remembered giving him a yogurt squeezie at some point, but not an applesauce squeezie.  How did he get this thing open on his own? I looked in front of me and lo and behold, there is the damn cap to the applesauce squeezie on my bathroom counter.  I opened that thing at some point and handed it over and had absolutely no memory of it.  I was in the middle of something and just did it without thinking. No big deal really, but he was totally taking advantage of me and on his third squeezie in like 10 minutes.  I wonder what else he could have gotten away with.  "Yeah sure honey, let me open this bag of flour.  Go ahead now, move along."

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Or sometimes people will ask me where a small bruise came from that I don't remember getting.  I walk into furniture, walls, doorways on the regular, but could never even begin to tell you which incident a bruise came from.  Likely I don't even remember the incident ever happening, but I have some sort of vague recollection of saying ow at some point... I think.  Sometimes there just isn't enough time in the day to really take note of these things and my head is already filled with too much other stuff.  

So anyway, when Tyler came to me this morning and asked if I'd seen his keys, obviously I said no.  I asked him twenty questions about what was happening the last time he had his keys and blamed the children for maybe moving them (honestly I still blame the children).  We even looked in their playroom and I texted the neighbor to see if we had lost them there a couple nights before.  In a last ditch effort I checked my purse.  There they were.  For about two seconds I tried to come up with places I could hide them that we hadn't looked yet, but I hadn't had coffee yet and Tyler was 5 feet away so I just handed them over.

Someone please tell me how they got in there.  All I can figure is one of the kids handed them to me yesterday when we were on our way out the door and I just opened my purse and slid them in without thinking and I never really figured it out because we were taking my car with push button start and not Tyler's truck.  I don't really know, but this is at least how I imagine it all going down in my head.  

This is my life.  I really don't know what to say.  Sorry Tyler.  For the record, I still think it's the kids' fault.  Good thing they're cute.

 

 

Why We Gave Up On Potty Training After Half a Day

I started wondering if I should be potty training Corbin more than 6 months ago when he started removing his diaper on his own.  This ended up not lasting long and I never did anything.  He wasn’t even two at the time.  

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He turned two in January. This is June and next month he’ll be two and half.  Seems like as good a time as any to try to knock this potty training thing out.  I was hoping to get it done before we go to the beach in August anyway.  It was super easy with my daughter and she was basically trained in 2 days when she was barely two.  

Honestly I tried to do all the things other people suggest doing beforehand with Corbin.  We got all excited over a potty seat he now refuses to use (it sits on the big potty), we read a super hero potty book that he has zero interest in, and I keep talking about all the yummy treats he’ll get for peeing in the potty because treats would definitely motivate him on a regular day.

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The only problem is we are full on in that stage where you fight about ever last thing or it’s a game. And I'm not talking about the stuff that doesn't matter.  I'm talking about things like diaper changes.  Yes, if you have poop, you do not have a choice, I'm changing you.  Of course he'll kick uncontrollably through the entire thing.  Getting into the car seat is a fight and a game.  He wants to do it himself, but if you give him an inch to do it, he's everywhere except the place he's supposed to be and I literally have to climb through the car after him.  Getting out of the car is also a game.  He wants to go out sister's door which is fine by me except when I get over to sister's door we're all over the car again and now we want to go out this other door.  I've gotten to the point where if he told me he wants to go out a door, that's the one he's coming out one way or another.  Otherwise I'd chase him from door to door for a good 10 minutes before he'd actually get out of the car.  All of it is a fight.  I literally have to man handle the kid to get him to do anything.  

So I’m actually not feeling very confident about this potty training thing, but we’re going to give it a go anyway for the next two days.  If day 2 shows zero progress, I’ll scrap it and try again later.  If we make even the slightest progress, I’ll keep going.

Here we go….

Potty Training Day 1

7:00am: Wrangled Corbin on to the potty after he decided potty training wasn’t part of his plan for today.  Doesn’t care if he gets to wear big boy pants and couldn’t care less about the marshmallows I promised.  If he’s going to wear the big boy pants, he insists on also wearing shorts.  This wasn’t part of my plan, but beggars can’t be choosers so oh well.  I’m planning a load of laundry for the end of the day anyway.

7:50am:  Seems okay with sitting on the potty for .75 seconds assuming I also give him the marshmallow while he’s on the potty. Still no pee so followed this up with a cup of water.  Probably should have done that first thing this morning.

8:30am: Sat on the potty again.  Sat longer, but still no pee.  Stepped up my bribe with chocolate chips for actual pee in the potty.  

8:39am: Accident #1 happens, not even 10 minutes after sitting on the potty. Go figure.  He’s content to just sit in it.

9:05am: Sat on the potty again because he wanted a yogurt squeezie and I was like sure, as long as you go pee in the potty.  He didn’t. No second squeezie was given. He’s drinking more water so we shall see.  In the meantime I’m looking at little potties on Amazon, because I’m not sure we’re going to make any progress today on the big potty, but honestly I’m not sure a little potty would make a difference either.

9:35am:  Sat on the potty again.  He seems to be more excited about chocolate chips than marshmallows. Unfortunately no pee this time either.

10:02am:  Accident #2.  Lord help me.  So if they don’t go in the potty a single time on day one, do you just scrap it completely?  

10:33am:  Sat on the potty again because he really wanted that yogurt squeezie.  He wasn’t able to squeezie anything out though, lol.  

11:00am:  It’s been over an hour since the last accident so I thought now was a good time to go sit on the potty again.  I had to chase Corbin around the house and onto his bed where I was just sure he’d pee.  In my efforts to get him off the bed so we could go potty (or at least not pee on the bed) he fought so hard that I ended up bumping him in the mouth and hurting him. 

 For real though

For real though

This is a child who is clearly not ready to potty train.  I don’t think it’s healthy to put either one of us through anymore of this at this time.  Who are we kidding?  We didn’t even make it half a day.  After potty training one kid, this is definitely not moving in a promising direction at all.  I think if either of us are going to do this and stay sane, it’s got to come after the fighting and game playing stage is over or at least not as much of a thing.

Send all your boy potty training tips my way, pretty please.  We’ll try this again another day.

Actually, send all your getting over this fighting stage tips my way.  We give him choices when appropriate and I pick my battles with things that don't matter, but how do you get over it with things that matter?  I've taken on a no tolerance policy with the things that matter so I'm confused about why we're still trying it.  He knows he's not getting his way and 9 times out of 10 it ends in tears.  It can't possibly seem fun for him anymore.

P.S. This is not at all where I thought this would end up.  I actually thought we'd make it through the day before we made a decision to continue or give up and I was totally ready to see it though.  Bummer.

 

 

5 Photography Tips For Capturing Your Children This Summer

Hey Moms, 

This morning it took me 5 minutes to find a parking spot at the YMCA and I was late to yoga.  And because I was late I had to do my practice at the front of the room facing sideways and on display for the whole class.  It wasn't a formal punishment or anything, it was just literally the last spot in the room.  I kind of just assumed everyone would be on vacation with this being the first Monday since school let out.  Nope.  I was wrong and I had really had to be on my yoga game this morning because I was just sure everyone was watching me the whole time (likely that wasn't the case, but whatever).  

Anyway, moral of the story is summer is here and summer adventures start hopefully this afternoon once everyone leaves the YMCA and takes their kids to do cool stuff.  

But what's a summer if you don't have proof it happened?  And if you're going to have photo evidence of this awesome summer, wouldn't it be cool if the photos matched the awesomeness?  I was sitting here brainstorming summer photography tips to capture your kids' epic summer.  For today, this is what comes to mind.


5 Photography Tips For Capturing Your Children This Summer


1. Let them get wet

Mainly this is because getting wet is fun for kids and they're destined to give you some real authentic (and probably happy) moments.  Also water mixed with some sweet light can make an image so interesting and fun.  Just look at the way the light shines through the water droplets here.  The photo wouldn't be the same without it.  So get out the hose, the sprinkler, slip and slide, pool, etc. and let your kids have a good time.  Swimsuit not required.  9 times out of 10 my kids are still fully clothed and soaking wet.

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2. Look for the light (or even wait for it)

So this is kind of an obsession for most photographers.  It doesn't matter where I am or if I have my camera with me, I'm looking at light constantly.  Summer can be hard because a lot of what we do is in the middle of the day and that sun is bright, bright, bright.  That harsh light is fun to play with, but morning and evening light is where it's at for me 90% of the time.  Maybe we'll address the harsh light on another day.

This set of images is from an evening in the backyard.  Saida got on the trampoline and I could see the light streaming in there on her leg (picture on the left) and that light under the trampoline.  Because the sun was almost behind the fence I really want to use backlight (place the sun behind my subject) so I could get that beautiful golden summer glow.  I actually turned the trampoline around so I could shoot through the opening towards the sun and voila, beautiful golden summer evening images.  The light was so gorgeous that Saida didn't even have to do anything. 

 This is what I first saw when I grabbed my camera.  Light coming into the area of the trampoline.  This okay I guess, but not the awesome summer evening vibe I was going for.

This is what I first saw when I grabbed my camera.  Light coming into the area of the trampoline.  This okay I guess, but not the awesome summer evening vibe I was going for.

 Then I moved the trampoline so I could shoot through the open part with the sun behind Saida and this is what I saw.

Then I moved the trampoline so I could shoot through the open part with the sun behind Saida and this is what I saw.


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3. Don't forget the details

I could photograph just the details for the rest of my life and be a happy woman.  Lately my detail obsession as been hand and feet, but it could be anything really.  Hair blowing in the wind will also get me everytime.  Maybe it's also the sweet rock or shell your kid found or their missing two front teeth.  Don't leave these things out.  I promise they'll be a great addition to an end of summer photo album or just something so fun to look at and remember later on.

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4. Capture the everyday stuff too

Summer can be epic and normal, right?  I think so.  These everyday moments are ones we forget about, but are generally just as awesome as those orchestrated summer moments.  Also this is just a reminder that you don't have to spend money or go anywhere to make beautiful summertime photos. You just have to get outside and allow you kids to be kids.

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5. Don't ask them to smile (make them smile)

This actually sounds like I'm holding a gun to their heads and demanding a smile.  I swear that's not what I mean.  What I mean is play with your kids.  In this image I'm shooting and jumping over Saida on the trampoline.  This was actually her request and a great reminder to me.  Look for real smiles and interact with your kids in a way that gets you real smiles.  Get rid of the word "cheese", you don't need it.

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Hopefully this helps with summer plans and with those everyday moments.  Photography helps me be more present with my kids, which is a challenge for a lot of us moms with all the things on our plates.  Put those other things on the back burner (laundry, dishes, etc.) and just be there with your kids (look, I'm just as guilty as you are).  I promise you'll never remember a specific time the dishes didn't get washed immediately after a meal, but you just might remember that moment with your kids. 

Have an AWESOME SUMMER!!!!
 

-Monica 

Things My Kids Pretended This Weekend

I always find it funny the things kids pretend to be doing.  Sometimes it's something they've seen on TV and sometimes they're totally imitating me, which is generally pretty hilarious and sometimes embarrassing.  This weekend it made me laugh so that's not too bad.

Our tiny trampoline was an American Ninja Warrior course.  

Saida took the task very seriously as she maneuvered around the outside.  Fortunately she let me take a few other photos too and we snuck one in of Corbin.


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Like they were helping... (because we all know they weren't really "helping".)

But it's cute and they think they are so you just let them do it anyway and then document it.  Unfortunately I missed focus on my favorite photo, but I'll include it anyway.

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And my personal favorite which I have no pictures of...

That it was Amazon Delivery Day

Saida kept putting things in boxes and opening them and saying, "Oh Corbin, look at the boots I ordered for you!"  I asked her where she ordered them from and was incredibly proud when she said Amazon.  That's my girl.  Plus isn't Amazon where everything comes from?  She asked me where babies come from the other day.  I'm wondering if Amazon.com would have been a believable answer.  

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An Honest Look at 10 Years of Marriage

I'm sure my husband is looking at this blog title and sweating.  He's like "Oh crap, what in the world is she sharing with the world now?"  I'm not totally sure where this thing is going yet, but I think for the most part he'll be fine.  In other words, the pros definitely outweigh the cons and I'm counting on another 10 years of marriage and more {insert laughing emoji here}. 

Our story is rare.  The highlights will make you go "awwwww", but it's not alway that simple.

It's our 10 year wedding anniversary today.  For those who don't know, I met and fell in love with Tyler when I was like 6 years old.  My mom was his babysitter.  10 years after that my sister convinced him to ask me to his Junior Prom and we started dating (we went to a total of 3 proms together).  5 years later we got engaged for his birthday and two years after that we were married.  If you're doing the math, that means we've been together for 17 years.  More than half my life.  I know nothing, but him and I wouldn't have it any other way.  See what I mean?  Awwwww!!! So sweet.  This is the condensed story everyone gets and I like this version a lot.



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The true story about this photo is that we agreed not to do this.  I made it very clear it was my wedding day and I didn't need my make up all messed up from the time of cake cutting on.  It just wasn't necessary and we both agreed.  The moment we had that cake cut and in our hands, I saw that look in his eyes that told me everything I needed to know.  Neither one of us needed to say a word.  The deed was done.  This is one of my favorite photos from our wedding.  I love that it comes with a story I actually remember and can still tell.  I was never mad at him for this even though my make up was basically done afterwards for the rest of the night.  


After we were married, I moved in with Tyler at his parent's house for a few months before we rented our first apartment in San Antonio so Tyler could finish school.  The economy sucked and I remember thinking if we could make it through the first year of marriage being out on our own for the first time in the worst economy we'd seen in our lifetimes, then we could probably do just about anything.  It's amazing how difficult something so simple can seem.  Looking back, those three years and two apartments in San Antonio were by far the easiest and simplest era of our marriage.  There were definitely moments of frustration with the stage of life we were in, but our frustrations weren't really with each other.  After three years I really wanted a baby, but we were technically broke and living in a one bedroom apartment with no health insurance.  

This was also around the time things got a little rough for me personally with my family.  I was an emotional mess.  I cried regularly and found peace with music and Tyler became even more my everything.  My guess is he probably never knew what to do with me, but he'd just let me have my feelings and then, being the grounded one, he'd ignore me when my ideas seemed crazy to him.  If he'd gone with everything I said, we'd be living half way across the country right now or something crazy like that.  Now I'm glad we didn't do that.



What we did end up doing was moving back to Austin.  We rented another one bedroom apartment near a part of town we wanted to live in and Tyler took a job downtown that he was initially excited about.   He worked there for 4 months and on the day I finally received a job offer with the State, he lost his job.  I started working in downtown Austin and he went back to work in San Antonio.  After 8 months in that apartment and me finally having a job with health insurance, we decided we needed to buy a house.  The two things we always said we needed before having children was a second bedroom and health insurance.  Buying a house would mean we'd have both of those things.  That was six years ago in May and probably the start of when we began to feel like real adults and living that oh so glamorous adult life (that's sarcasm), but having met our requirements for baby making meant we could actually start working on that.  We announced our pregnancy at Christmas that year, Tyler started working in Austin in July and then Saida was born in August.  Somewhere between buying a house and announcing a baby, we started to work out my family issues.

Aparently Saida was what we all needed when we needed her most.


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Another funny story. Saida was born right before the season finale of the Bachelorette.  I remember watching the Monday before she was born, knowing she was scheduled for induction that week, thinking next week we'd have our baby in our arms doing this exact same thing.  It wasn't the calm, all is right moment I had pictured in my head though.  Like every new mom ever is laughing at me right now.  What were we thinking?  We thought we were ready.  Maybe we were as ready as first time parents can be, but oh my word we had our work cut out for us.  As happy as I was to have my Saida, I'm not a newborn mom and that first few weeks of her life were definitely the most emotionally draining few weeks of mine.  


Kids changed our relationship though or added a new set of challenges you could say.  I have a problem with not asking for help when I need it.  I think I should be able to handle all the things on my own and if I can't then I must not be doing a good job.  I have a feeling a lot of women feel like that.  And then the worst part is that when it comes to our husbands, we just expect them to know what it is we need help with and to just help without us having to ask.  I still do that sometimes, but it is something I'm actively working on most days.

I find now if I just ask Tyler to do something or help me with something, he generally is happy to do it.  I just have to remember to ask instead of going into the mode of he should just know.  When I feel like a nut on the struggle bus, I must actually look like I have it all together is all I can figure.  

I read something recently and I can't remember where, but it was a blog post about why this woman stopped asking her husband to "help" her.  It resonated with me a little bit.  It was basically saying that when we ask our husbands for "help", we are saying this thing is our job (not theirs) and it sends the message that whatever this thing we need help with isn't their responsibility unless we ask for help.  Does that make sense?  I don't know, but maybe I'll try to stop saying help.


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We still make things challenging for each other on the regular.  We're in a stage of life currently where when people ask you how your doing, you can't just say "same ole, same ole".  I can't even keep up with it all.  It's insane.  It's still changing.  Like big, life changing things are literally going down tomorrow, but I can't even talk about it today.  

You know we have this idea in our head of what we want.  It's our end destination, but for some reason we feel like we should be there already and we're in such a hurry.  Sometimes I have to remind myself that I'm only 33 and it's cool if my life isn't completely figured out and it's okay if we live on a tiny lot compared to the acreage we'd like to have.  It's also okay if my house is a little smaller than I'd like it and if the projects haven't been gotten to yet.  I wasn't going to relax when those things were done anyway so what does it matter.  You just move on to the next stressful thing, right?  

Anyway, I guess what all my rambling comes down to is there isn't anyone I'd rather share my stresses and struggles with.  Life isn't easy, neither one of us are perfect, but somehow it all works.  If I'm going to be in the trenches of life, I still want it to be with Tyler just as much today as I did back then.  I kinda love that guy.  I'd marry him again 1000 times. 

 photo by mel christina photography

photo by mel christina photography