For the SAHM’s with littles at home

I want to take this time for you stay at home mommies with littles at home… I read your FB posts and sometimes it really pulls at my heart strings because with my kids now 15 and 17 and just watching old home movies last night, I’m feeling a little sentimental, and reflecting back on all that I stressed about and what it’s like on the other side… So I just want to share with you, very candidly, what I went through and maybe you can take away something that might make you feel a little better…

I married when I was 29, first baby at 31… so glad I got to live out my 20s and be stupid… That said, nothing prepares you for parenting… NOTHING. Not being the BEST aunt in the world (when I was ALSO the best parent). When you have kids, it throws you into 100% personal identity loss and the birth of not one, but two human beings…you shed the single life forever, emerging and discovering who you are as a mother (and subsequently…a new wife who gives less to her least for a while).

I remember when I had my first daughter, my mother in law said, you now have TWO children (meaning your husband and your baby). Didn’t get it at the time…totally get it now. You cannot forget your husband because you have this new baby…although that would be so cool at times, wouldn’t it? 😉

I’m lucky to have married an “all in” guy. He took time off when babies were born and we all bonded together. SO grateful for that. HOWEVER…the learning curve is great. Losing yourself completely is really hard, but you have no choice. In this alone, arguments are bound to start. Both parents exhausted and wanting “Me” time, but no one wins this argument. When you have littles, there really never is a “Me” again, because every decision you make will now forever affect “us”…which is scary.

Over the years we fought a lot and many times I wanted to leave. I was exhausted, resentful that I gave up my very proficient and lucrative life, to stay home with this little creature who changed the course of my life and the arguments that arose became too much at times. My husband “Got” to go to work while I stayed home, but when he came home I wanted to throw the kid at him and leave for a bit… only he’d been working all day and just wanted to put his feet up… Do you see where I’m going with this?? RESENTMENT…ANGER…TOTAL FATIGUE…

As the kids got older, there were other demands…homework, bake sales, back to school nights etc… There was soccer and dance…and dance…and more dance…. THIS took over our lives. Sometimes 7 days a week. We had no vacations…we had competitions and overnights in hotels for early call times. Husband still worked and I carted the kids everywhere. No regrets in that…

But now that I look back I see that the stress of the younger ages is so hard. I hear moms complaining about their husbands, but I want to ask, “What would your husband say about you?” But instead I see moms jumping on the bandwagon that the husband is likely a louse and chipping away at a relationship they truly know nothing about.

So here’s my message…

-Understand that raising kids is the most selfless and never ending act you will do in your whole life.

-Know that your husband IS your first child and needs to be felt special. Especially if you stay home with the kids.

-Realize that staying home is a gift worth ditching your former life for… Your children are learning security and love just by the fact they get to see you every single day.

-YOU get to determine how they are formed in their early years, not a caregiver.

-You and your spouse WILL be stressed and WILL argue more because you are in unchartered territory. But at the end of the day, you are raising a family, and you should come together as a family and figure out the best way to get through it.

-COMMUNICATE (I can’t emphasize this enough!!!!) I was the one who would shut down first in an argument, but my husband ALWAYS made me finish the argument. We learned over the years that because I am SO emotional by nature, that my emotions block my words and I need time to think and come back and discuss. HE, on the other hand is SUPER quick witted and can talk anything through in a second. We had to learn our differences to understand how to come together.

-Do not, under ANY circumstances, stop laughing together. You will get WAY farther on a good sense of humor, I promise you!

-HONOR each other as parents. Your way isn’t any better than his way. Dads are DIFFERENT. I used to worry that my husband would scar my kids with his bad parenting skills…LOL…but what I see is my kids TOTALLY know how to work us both based on our personalities. I may not have agreed with everything he did, but our kids are alive and well (this does not include any physical discipline, just parenting style)

-RESPECT each other. If you are feeling any sort of disdain toward your husband, figure that shit out! Get past it. Divorce may sound like a dream, but before you go that route, talk to a single mom who’s in court every other month trying to collect child support. You thought you were tired as a married mom???

-DON’T FORGET TO DATE!!!! This is the hardest… I never wanted to leave my girls. But when I started doing that again, I started liking my husband more!

-PICK YOUR BATTLES!!! (*with dad AND kids). I was reading earlier (and many times before) about picky eaters…here’s my best advice…. WHO CARES??? Your kids will outgrow their picky eating phase. Worry about other things that are more important. As my mom always said, “This too shall pass!”

-Not all moms groups are for you! Boy did I learn this the hard way. My sister wanted me to join a breastfeeding group (because I was breastfeeding).  She thought I needed mom friends and bugged me until I went.  Well, I finally went to a meeting and what some of those ladies sounded like was a cult against anyone who presented cow’s milk to a baby! That may be fine for them, but I had a bottle of milk in my bag at the time and SLOWLLY and quietly backed away before I was discovered… I found another moms group where I totally fit in when I saw one mom’s kid eating a crayon and she wasn’t freaking about it, rather talking about the fabulous color of their diaper later!!!

YES…long post and so much more to share, but I will stop there for now. This has weighed heavy on my heart and I just wanted to put this out there and really hope it helps!

You are amazing just as you are!!! This too shall pass, but don’t wish it away too quickly as it will go faster than you thing!! (((HUGS)))


Location and Permit fees for Photography

Although my prices are way more reasonable than most of my competition, I have been asked why photographers charge a pretty penny for sessions.  I was reminded this morning as I called a location requested by a client and found out that the permit fee for the location ranged anywhere from $400 – $1500.  And that is for exactly ONE HOURS worth of time.  That additional fee would have to be charged to my client if they choose to go forward.

Crazy, isn’t it?  On top of that, for me to even be considered for the permit, I have to send in an application four weeks in advance, and provide proof of liability insurance for at least $1,000,000.

I do have permits for certain areas, and believe it or not, even the most common areas, such as wilderness parks or state parks require permits to shoot there.  I have been stopped at parks asking for my permit.  This IS standard protocol for photographers.

I have had a few conversations this year with clients who didn’t understand why we need a permit, and can we just shoot and run!  LOL.  I’m not saying I haven’t done this, because there are times that I wasn’t aware that a location required a permit.  But the truth is, my reputation is on the line and it’s not worth it to become embarrassed in front of a client so that I can look like an unprofessional shlub.

So….what is a permit, and why?

I have copied a piece from a professional photographer, David Koster advising on this subject:

Why? Aside from allowing access to the areas that clients want, following the permit process assures that others don’t lose access to those privileges and locations. “And you don’t want to risk looking bad by getting a fine in front of your clients.

It’s not always beaches that are the reasons for permits. In fact, there are four main reasons why you might need a photography permit:

Commercial Photography—In regards to permits and photographing on public lands, commercial photography is defined as photography that is performed in exchange for a fee. It is not a reference to the photographic specialty of commercial photography. This means that if the images are being taken for a client (whether it is an engagement session or a family portrait), then it is considered commercial photography because that client is going to exchange money for the images…and you may need a permit.

Use of Props, Models & Sets—What you bring with you on location can determine your need for a permit. For instance, props and sets include items that may be intrusive to visitors or cause damage to the property. Models can mean any person who might be the subject of a photograph, whether or not they’re a paid model.

What about the camera equipment you need to complete your session? Lee Dickinson, Special Park Uses Program Manager with the National Park Service (NPS), offers some advice: “Generally, I would say that photographers who use more than a camera and tripod should check with the land manager about the need for a permit. Depending on the location, time of year and anticipated visitation, it might be possible for a photographer to use more than a camera and tripod without the need for a permit, but once you start talking about larger equipment (such as light diffusers or reflectors) a permit will probably be required.”

Location—Where you plan on shooting can also have an impact on your need for a permit. Permits are required if you are entering a restricted access area, which means that the location is off limits to the general public or requires an official escort or supervision. “If a photographer wants access to an area not open to the general public, they should contact the land management agency to request a permit,” explains Dickinson.

You will also need to seek a permit if you plan on shooting in a high-traffic or popular location. A permit in this situation will also ensure that you have the site to yourself—meaning it will be free of competing photographers and their clients.

Administrative Needs—If you plan on conducting a shoot that requires any use of park (or other official) personnel, a permit is usually required so the agency can ensure someone is available to assist you on that date. It’s also important to note that any fees associated with the use of staff will be passed along to you in addition to the cost of your permit.

So, though it might sound ridiculous to need permits, it’s a necessary evil in the field of photography.  Photographers invest a lot of time and money in their equipment, insurance, locations and best lighting of the day…. A permit is just a small piece of what we do to make our clients look good.

Do you have any questions for me regarding photography?  I’d love to answer them!  Just email me at and I’ll get back to you!

Chivalry is not dead….it just looks different

I have been sucked in to a starz original show called Outlander.  It’s based on a very popular book of the same name by the author Diana Gabaldon.  If you have read the book or seen the show, take a walk with me……. (and if you haven’t, then let me try to iterate it properly….)

As I watch the show I find myself completely enamored with Jamie, the gallant chivalrous amazingly attractive main character.  He’s 6ft tall (at least), strapping scottish warrior with red hair, piercing blue eyes and gentle hands…. But he alone doesn’t make the storyline.  It would be nothing without Claire, his counterpart and the reason for the show…..

……Claire….. The name alone rings with trouble  and issues, but Jamie is drawn into her completely with heart, body and soul.  How hot is that???

As a woman, I can’t help but wish I was Claire.   To be able to stare at my very own Jamie and listen to that voice and have him save me over and over again……

…..and then it got me thinking…….

As nice as it is to romanticize relationships, the truth is, they all start out with that passion, and over time it slowly fades.

Even Jamie would get boring after 20 years or so, right???

So what’s so intriguing about this show and the idea of a man that comes to save a woman and has a wildly amazing relationship?

Well…..truth is…it’s how we all start out in our relationships…..and the idea of that passion staying forever is a romantic idea.  And not necessarily impossible.  But what sadly happens is life gets in the way of all the romance and chivalry and we become disillusioned in our day to day life thinking someone else has it better than us!

But do they?

And is chivalry REALLY dead….or do we just not recognize the new FORM of chivalry in the small day to day tasks…..

I’ve been married almost 17 years and we’ve been together 20.  Our relationship has taken many a turn over the years and when I sit down and look back at the journey….. I see Jamie all over the place.

Shortly after we were married, my dad became ill and quickly passed away.  I realized then that I married a Jamie, because as soon as he got word of dads passing, he was on a plane to come and support me.  He was amazing.

After that, when the kids were born, he was a very present dad.  When I said I needed him, he was there.  Now, that’s not as romantic as Jamie scaling down a castle to save Claire from being raped by Jack Randall, but if you’ve ever had kids, it’s not a far cry from the turmoil….

I have friends who’s marriages have ended and they have remarried.  I have seen friends realize that it’s (scuse the term) same shit different address and different issues entirely…. But the Jamie fades over time….unless you look for him……

I recently called my husband “My Jamie”.  He has NO idea what that means, but I do, and that’s what matters.  He’s a little shorter than Jamie, a little older and doesn’t have that cute accent that makes me drool on occasion….but he IS of scottish descent…and HAS worn a kilt…… and he has my back!  And that says a lot!

Marriage is a long haul…and though we haven’t made it all the way yet, I’d like to think we are well on our way.  Because of my husband, I have a home (not a house, but a home), two beautiful daughters, 3 dogs (one of which he didn’t want…okay THREE of which he didn’t want), and food on the table every night.  We laugh together and Cry together (okay, I cry…he doesn’t shed many tears….but then, neither does Jamie), and we do our best to communicate well….and that’s the hardest part.  But when we fight, I can honestly say, I have Claire’s passion and Hubs has Jamie’s determination.  And when we forgive an argument, we move on.

Chivalry in current day isn’t dead.  But we DO have to search a little harder for it.  Stories are written to help us escape to a world beyond our own.  But what happens with stress of life is we start to romanticize what we read, and start looking at our life with a bit of disdain, and ask ourselves why we don’t have what “they” have….  And the truth is, no matter who “they” are, I guarantee that “they” have their own issues that “they” aren’t sharing.  But “they” only publicize the best of everything.  Haven’t you ever heard of “The Jones’s”?  Ya….those people have issues too……

There is a story I heard once about a persian rug.  It was beautiful in all it’s intricacies, but it had a stain on it that couldn’t be removed.  The owner couldn’t see the beauty beyond the stain.  In her mind, the whole carpet was ruined…a throwaway…… That perspective is a CHOICE.

Don’t focus on the stains in your relationship, rather… Remember to see the beauty all around it and look at part of the whole story.  None of us get out of this alive, but I feel the journey is a lot richer when you can appreciate the little efforts made in the small chivalrous acts.

So though you may think chivalry is dead….truth is, it just looks a little different than what you thought.

A small amount of appreciation can yield big rewards…..

This is dedicated to MY Jamie!!

Who hates me now?

Who hates me now?Leave a commentDo you ever feel, as a parent, you are always disappointing SOMEONE?Today it’s a child, yesterday it was the husband, the day before that it was the other child and so on and so on and so on…..  It’s a never ending cycle.I remember when I gave birth to my first child I heard the advice, “Remember, now you have TWO children!”  I thought, “WHAT?”Slowly, I understood.  The ‘first child’ was my husband. Not a disrespectful statement by any stretch of the meaning.  It simply meant that now I have TWO people who rely on me to be there for them in good and bad, in sickness and in health yadda yadda yadda…..But what is hard to absorb, is that one dependent is a child who will literally die without you, …. and the other is a full grown adult who will make it a while on their own….THAT SAID….Hindsight is most definitely 20/20.My husband didn’t marry me so he could be left behind with the first offspring he helped create.  Nor the second….Marriage and children are a constant balancing act.  When my first daughter was born, I had all day, every day to be with her.  It was such a sacred time.  I didn’t leave her with a sitter (aka Grandma) until she was 9 months old.  NINE MONTHS!!!!Where was the husband all this time you ask?  Well, he was there in la la land with me, absorbing, enjoying, and sometimes resenting the beauty we had been gifted.When the second child came along, the first was bumped to the curb (or to daddy as it were) and I continued in la la land with

via Who hates me now?.

Choices and consequences

It’s funny how things change when you get older.  Just tonight I posted about my cholesterol.  Years ago, I laughed at such a thought and now, I feel like I need a banner to show off my accomplishment!!!

I was talking today to a friend whose daughter was pushing the limits and trying to spread her wings.  I know my days are coming with my own kids; so I eat up these stories in the hopes that I will be prepared.  Yet, I know I will be blindsided with my childrens judgment at some point while they grow!

As I listened to my friend, I couldn’t help but reflect back on my own life and the choices I made at the same age.  It’s crazy how life repeats itself.   It is truly the circle and cycle of life!

It made me appreciate where I am with my own kids.  I reminded me to embrace who they are today!  The fact that I can tickle, and giggle with my kids – that they still want me around!

I know my own children will face their own plights, their own struggles….some of which I can’t save them.

But when I look back on my life, I can honestly say I have grown from everything that has happened to me.  I wouldn’t be where I am without my life’s experiences.

And while my friend might be beside herself for what her daughter went through; she is safe and at home with her parents.

My prayer for my children is simply this; As you grow through life, I pray that your life experiences help you see what works and what doesn’t.  I pray that you survive every stupid decision you make along the way, because you can’t fathom two minutes into your future, or the consequences you may face.

May you come to respect your parents decisions; realizing they weren’t perfect, but they were human.  Doing the best they possibly could with the knowledge they had as they raised you.

We’ve all done it.  So to think our children won’t do the same is naive.

We can’t save our children from all their mistakes.  We can only pray they survive and grow from every choice they make.

Happy Monday

I’m in!

Okay, so this morning, I actually logged in to this account to do my blog.  So, I’m settling into my new home at WordPress.

So, I wonder…..who started this whole “BLOG” thing??

I remember a few years ago, my friend told me something about her “blog”.  I had no idea what it was, so I didn’t ask, because I was embarrassed that I didn’t know!  Then I finally asked her and she told me it was her computer  diary log thingy.  It was over my head, so I let it go.

The a year or so later, I started hearing more about it but had no use for it.

Then one day I went in for a massage and this weird lady started reading my body.  You hear about this stuff, but on this day, as the lady talked to me about a recent accident I had (I fell down my stairs and landed on my Tucassss), I was freaked out.  But when she told me I need to do what I LOVED….. I thought for sure she was eluding to my photography.  (Keep in mind, SHE is doing all the talking, I haven’t given her ANY information as I was there for a MASSAGE). 

When she said I need to WRITE….I almost fell off the table……

I never told anyone how much I love writing, and truth is, I never wrote anything more than a page at a time.  My thought was if I was going to write, it would have to be in epic proportions and  I would have to finish a book.

But after that session with her, I decided to start a blog…..  I dove in head first.  And I have been doing it ever since.

Sometimes we have visions of grand happenings in our lives.  But as I reflect on my blog; what I have found is I needed to adjust my own expectations and make my writing in my style in a way that made me feel content.

I have nothing to hide; most of you know this about me.  And I think that is the intrigue because so many people hide parts of their lives thinking they are the only ones suffering and no one on the face of the earth could possibly know the pain of what they are going through.

My blogs goal is to give you a hint that you are not alone.

Is it in Epic Proportions???  Not even close.  But I can honestly say that the feedback I have gotten over the last 18 months (sometimes privately) is as Epic to me as I could want.

I have been met in grocery stores by people who guiltily need to tell me they read my blog.  More often than not, I’m shocked, because they never respond.   But they don’t have to.  That isn’t the purpose.

The purpose of my blog is simply the “Me too!!” 

We all have Me Too’s out there.  But most don’t speak of it.  But if they read it in my blog and they have a small epiphany, then my job is done.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  We are NEVER alone!

Sending you virtual hugs from this thing called a blog that just a few short years ago was foreign to me – and is now a huge part of my life!

Thanks for reading!
Happy Tuesday!