motherhood

ATX Natural Baby GIVEAWAY

A Baby Goodness Giveaway for expecting mothers in Austin/Central Texas

***THIS GIVEAWAY IS FOR AUSTIN, TX AND SURROUNDING AREA EXPECTING MOTHERS***

Enter to win this entire collection of baby accessories hand picked by me for their organic and sustainable qualities as well as for being just plain adorable and a Lifestyle Newborn Photo Session. The gorgeous Honeycomb Baby Goods teether and Plan Toys Sustainable Play Piggy Bank found at my favorite shop in Buda, Thatcher, were the inspiration for the collection of baby items in this giveaway.

The final day to enter the giveaway is November 19, 2018, with a winner being announced on November 21, 2018 via Facebook Live. Good Luck!!

If you’re interested in visiting my friends at Thatcher in Buda, Texas, you can find them online at www.thatcherbuda.com or by visiting their expertly styled storefront at 218 Main Street, Buda, TX 78610.

101 Uses for Monat's Rejuveniqe Oil (Including Mosquito Bites)

Screen Shot 2018-10-12 at 12.52.37 PM.png

If you’ve spent any time in Texas lately, you’ve probably been bit by a mosquito or two or twelve. Like everything else, they’re bigger in Texas and I have an ankle that’s sporting about 4 mosquito bites currently. It’s agonizing. I couldn’t sleep because nothing and I mean NOTHING stops the itching.

I’d finally had enough the other day and decided to give my Rejuveniqe Oil by Monat a try. Worst case scenario it doesn’t work and my ankle is at least thoroughly moisturized. I put a few drops in my hand, spent about 30 seconds rubbing it into my ankle and…… INSTANT ITCH RELIEF!!!!! Hallelujah!!! And it lasted. It wasn’t just relief for a couple minutes. I literally didn’t itch my ankle the entire rest of the day. Is there anything this stuff doesn’t do? It’s liquid gold.

Most often I use the Rejuveniqe Oil in my hair and on my face as a moisturizer when I don’t need to use my stuff with SPF. Turns out you can use it for far more than that though. After figuring out the mosquito bite itch relief thing, I knew I needed to share it and also start figuring out what other magic this stuff works. Monat actually has a three pager with 101 uses for Rejuveniqe Oil I’d like to share with you.

Maybe I also need to try number 27. New moms go check out number 54. Definitely keeping this in mind for the inevitable number 91.

Galveston 2018

Just sitting here pushing refresh from time to time of the parent portal for your school district.  In just under 20 minutes we find out who Saida's Kindergarten teacher is.  Back to school night is tonight and I'm just hoping I'm not a hot mess of tears for the whole thing.  So to distract me from constantly checking the damn thing for the next 20 minutes or so, I thought I'd share some of my favorite photos from our Galveston beach trip because I still haven't done that.  

Saida-0022.jpg
Saida-0116.jpg
Corbin-0206.jpg
Corbin-0190.jpg
Saida-0306.jpg
Beach-0180.jpg
Beach-9922.jpg
Beach-9940.jpg

Monat Monday: What I Ordered During The Latest Flash Sale

You know it's going to be a good week when your Monat Flash Sale order shows up on a Monday.  Plus I'm having a good hair day thanks to Monat, my coffee was just like I like it this morning and nobody has peed on the floor yet today (that I know of) soooooo... life is good.  

So what was the last flash sale and what did I order?  The flash sale was buy a system (including the Junior line) and create your own travel size system for $10.  In addition to that you also got a sample of the color enhance duo FOR FREE.  

Oh and did I mention FREE SHIPPING?  Amazon Prime has made me a sucker for free shipping.

This came just in time because it's been 10 months ish since our first order of the Monat Junior line and we're just about out.  This means one of two things.  I either don't wash my kids' hair enough or this stuff lasts forever.  Maybe it's a combo of both.  

No matter what, I always get a little excited when one of these boxes shows up on my doorstep.



So everything you see below cost me $51 + tax with my Market Partner discount.  That discount is a huge part of why I signed up to be a Market Partner.  The Junior Line is regularly $59, VIP Price is $50, and as a Market Partner I pay $41.  

Photo Aug 20, 2 28 18 PM.jpg

What We Love About the Monat Junior Line

  • It's tear-free, sulfate-free, and paragon-free
  • a child's hair is more fragile and fine and the Junior Line was formulated with that in mind
  • It comes with conditioner!!!  My daughter has long hair that she almost never wants to wear up and she certainly doesn't want to cut it.  Trying to brush that out after shampooing with children's shampoo that was not Monat was total agony.  Having a children's conditioner is saving time, hair from being damaged, and maybe our relationship as mother and daughter.  Okay that's maybe a little dramatic, but you get the point.  The experience brushing her hair after a bath with Monat is night and day from what it used to be.

Photo Aug 20, 2 27 26 PM.jpg

This Stuff only Cost me $10

What is it about travel size stuff that gets me excited?  I don't even travel that much and when I do it's typically not on a plane.  Have you ever seen a dry shampoo so cute in all your life?  

I'm thinking that dry shampoo might just go in my purse.  I feel like you never know when you might need some dry shampoo.

I'm also just excited to try the Colour Enhance duo.  I'm a brunette, but I ordered the Brilliant Blonde because I have blonde-ish highlights.  I've heard other say it really makes them stand out and I wanted to give it a try.



Monat is really expanding their selection of hair products.  It can be a little overwhelming if you don't know where to start.  Take the Hair Quiz to find out which products are right for your hair needs.  Visit my website to make your purchase or learn more about the products.

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.  

BodyWash-0580.jpg

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.  

BodyWash-0591.jpg
BodyWash-0604.jpg

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.  

BodyWash-0609.jpg

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.  

BodyWash-0621.jpg
BodyWash-0631.jpg

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.  

BodyWash-0627.jpg
BodyWash-0637.jpg

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.

 

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.

Photo Aug 13, 9 05 57 AM.jpg

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.

Photo Aug 08, 6 31 22 PM.jpg

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.

Junior-5919.jpg

Saida-8077.jpg
Saida-5627.jpg

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.



Monat-5800.jpg

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.

Monica-9534.jpg

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.



Monat-5824.jpg

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.

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.

Harrison-8162.jpg
Harrison-8174.jpg
Harrison-8262-2.jpg
Harrison-8325.jpg
Harrison-8448.jpg
Harrison-8595.jpg

Ready to book a family film session?  

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."

Photo Jun 18, 7 04 40 AM.jpg

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.  

Photo Jun 13, 12 27 53 PM.png

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.

Photo May 31, 5 43 16 PM.jpg

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.

Saida-8716.jpg

Corbin-9065.jpg
Corbin-9077.jpg

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.


Saida-8815.jpg

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.

Saida-8818.jpg
Mock-8113.jpg

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.

Saida-7990.jpg
Saida-7956.jpg

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.

Saida-8889.jpg

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.


Saida-8982.jpg
Saida-9029.jpg

Saida-8991.jpg
Saida-8815.jpg
Saida-8889.jpg
Corbin-8958.jpg

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.

Corbin-9072.jpg
Corbin-9107.jpg

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.  

Photo Jun 11, 8 06 04 AM.png

Shameless Plus

I have an Amazon Influencer account and if you want to see some of our favorite things on Amazon, click the botton below.


Motherhood Sessions

Tell the truth mom, where are you usually when pics are getting taken on a day to day basis?  Are you the one taking them?  

Photo May 19, 10 15 35 AM.jpg

Not always, but it seems most often moms have taken on the role of family historian in families these days, which means mom ain't in the picture.  I personally have tons of pictures and videos of my husband with the kids, but anything with me in it is a selfie and most likely Corbin is sticking his tongue out because apparently that's what you do when you're two and taking a selfie or you get the fingers in the nose like this picture here.

My solution, motherhood photo sessions.  

I mean, what mom doesn't want beautiful photos of herself with her children?  I've recently added motherhood sessions to the menu of photogaphy services I offer and they're a little shorter than a typical session, which means they're also more affordable.  

"I'm so upset I have these pictures of myself with my children" - NO MOM EVER

I'm pretty sure this sweet photographer momma has zero regrets about treating herself to the gift of beautiful photos of her and her children.


Dean-4282.jpg
Dean-4464.jpg
Dean-4494.jpg

Dean-4599.jpg
Dean-4654.jpg

Dean-4739.jpg
Dean-4955.jpg

None Of This Stuff is Easy

I cried through yoga this morning.  At the beginning, somewhere in the middle, and at the end.

Some days it's just me doing something good for my body. An effort to become physically stronger.  Today it was literally the only thing that had no expectation from me.   The only thing I felt like I'm getting better at instead of failing.  

I've had a rough few days of just letting everything stressful in my life weigh me down.  My house is a complete disaster.  We're still fighting with CalAltantic/Lennar about the floor.  I forgot to dry the clothes I put in the washer yesterday (and Tyler probably could have used some from that load today for work).  Every single diaper change is a full on fight. When am I even going to find a few days to work on potty training?  My daughter cries about everything and our efforts to correct behavior are not working.  My husband's job drains him and we get what little is left, if anything, at the end of the day.  I haven't picked up my camera and really made anything meaningful of my kids in probably over a month.  

And so this morning when I was running late to yoga, still wearing what was left of yesterday's makeup, and quickly trying to get into the same pose everyone was already in, I leaned my body into the yoga blocks beneath my back and the instructor told the class to allow the mat and the blocks to completely support us. And that's when it hit me like a ton of bricks and I cried.  

I wish I had something inspirational and uplifting to say, but I don't.  Every moment isn't pretty.  Motherhood isn't easy.  Being a wife isn't easy.  Sometimes days just suck and as much as I wish they didn't, I still want to feel those days so the good ones feel like the most amazing days.  I don't want sympathy.  I don't need anyone to feel sorry for me.  I just want to be real because we all feel it.

monica-4220.jpg