Monday, December 16, 2013

Our Big News

We are so excited to share that we are expecting baby #2!! Ah I can't really believe it still :) I'm just too happy.  We had been trying for a few months then decided to take a break and try to loose some weight.  Then we find out "taking a break" is apparently just what we need :) Because we got pregnant right away.

Due date is July 2nd, 2014.  I'm measuring small (thankfully) and everything looks very very good.  I've lost about 10lbs this first trimester because I have the worst morning sickness.  For real, it's debilitating.  I basically live off of granola bars and water.  My midwife down here at Rosemark in Idaho Falls is so nice and I'm really happy that we chose her!  I got the best impression of her at my first appointment because I had to bring Brynlee with me.  So even with my cute (but very naught that day) toddler running around and throwing tantrums she was so friendly, patient, and just a gem.  She wanted to here all about my pregnancy and labor and delivery with Brynlee (which I love to talk about!) So it was really fun and she totally on board with my approach on how I want to labor and deliver on my own terms again.  I seriously love labor, like really love it!  I'll be the first to admit I wasn't the best pregnant woman the first time around; I gained way too much weight, didn't exercise enough, and was just a grumpy person.  But labor and delivery- man I got that and seriously enjoyed it!

We have guesses that it will be a boy because it feels so different then with Brynlee.  It's still really early in the pregnancy (I'm just shy of 12 weeks), but this time around I don't want to eat anything.  And when I do actually want to eat it's really simple food (nothing spicy, greasy, ew I'm getting sick just thinking about it) and I can only eat a tiny little bit.  I'm also so bloated, I feel like I can't breath well most of the time (okay exaggerating a little), but it is very uncomfortable, and I am beyond tired.  I could sleep like 9 hours a night and still feel like I'm going to snooze off during the day.

Brynlee is so cute.  I love how much she loves on her baby dolls and when I ask her where the baby is she'll come over and touch my stomach and say baby and blow it a case.  I have no doubt that it will definitely be a transition, but I'm really lucky at how much she loves babies and is just fascinated by them.  The only draw back is now when I throw up Brynlee imitates me.  Yea, you read that right.  She runs after me and says "potty yuck" and then proceeds to copy the yucky sounds coming out of my mouth.

I'm retiring!! Maybe retiring isn't the right word, but I'm not taking any more photography sessions (other than the ones I have booked) until I feel much better.  It's too difficult to find the time to edit and honestly the sessions are really taking a toll on me.  Newborn sessions take usually 3 hours and it's so hot.  I usually have to run out of the room at least once to throw up and I am just way to tired by the end and feel terrible the rest of the day and the next day.  It's not fair to clients and it's not fair to me.  So I don't know when I will start back up again.  But to be totally honest, I wont ever be working again as much as I have this year.  I did over 100 sessions and I'm totally burnt out from it.  I didn't pace myself at all and it took me longer to get people their pictures.  While I learned so much in such a short period of time I've also learned about what is most import to me.  My family. Taking a session once a week isn't bad, but you tack on the amount of time you have to prepare for it (emails, phone calls, etc), set up, clean up, actually do it, and then edit and follow up.  One a week right now is too much for me.  Somw people are amazing multi taskers- I am not one of them.  The last couple weeks I have slowed down has showed me that I need to do this for a while.  I feel so much less stress, I'm happy, Brynlee's happy, even Ben is happier.  The extra income is nice, but I barely make anything after you look into how much I have actually invested into it.  In hind sight I jumped in head first and went too big too fast.  Lesson learned!

Also Brynlee is turning 2 this week! Wait, what?  That can't be right.  Yep, my girl will be two years old this Saturday.  I'm going to weep all day probably.  She is just the best little thing in the world and makes us so happy and keeps us on our toes.  I can't wait to see Brynlee with him/her, hold another newborn, and try that breastfeeding thing again ;)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Ideas for Brynlee's Birthday

Okay, so how bad is it that we aren't doing a party?  We did a nice one last year for her first birthday but I feel like the worst mom ever, since we don't have any family coming up and not many friends around here.   Since Brynlee's birthday is December 21st we decided that we are going to do a half birthday party for her in the June when family can come out.  Every adult that I have talked to that has had a birthday really close to Christmas has expressed to me that they feel like there birthday always got combined with Christmas instead of being it's own celebration.  They also told me that growing up it was hard for parents to throw parties for them because people are so busy with the holiday and out of town.  I REALY don't want Brynlee to ever feel like her birthday is lumped in with the holiday because both are so important!  Birthdays are special and only happen once a year and Christmas is special because it celebrates the birth of Christ and is only once a year.  haha it seems like there may not be enough room for both of them!!

So since her second birthday is going to be a family celebration for the three of us this year I've been trying to come up with some ideas :)

  • Birthday breakfast- have balloons and a birthday banner and do a fun breakfast like clown pancakes just fun little designs with food and maybe sprinkle bananas (seriously they are delicious haha)
  • Play and have fun in the morning with the balloons and let her open a couple of presents 
  • Nap time in our birthday pajamas 
  • I-jump for wee-jump time 
  • Probably McDonalds (her favorite play place haha) or Denny's for birthday dinner 
  • Home for birthday cake, a couple more presents, and a birthday movie.  
I think like that sounds like a pretty fun day! Last year I kind of went all out with her birthday but it's been much more difficult this time around because of how sick we have all been.  I think she'll have a nice birthday though with lots of fun and love :) 

Thursday, December 5, 2013


We are so excited right now!  Before this time next year we will be completely out of credit card debt (and will NEVER get back into it).  So we have been really productive with our finances right now and cut back our spending quite a bit.  Which is kind of hard to do around the holidays, but it's okay :) We are finally starting to start to save for a down payment on a home, haha in like three years.  We are still good with living in an apartment (or renting a townhome hopefully soon) for another couple of years to save up quite a bit.  We also don't really want to purchase a house in Idaho because we know that we won't be here for more then like 2 years tops. Brynlee will be just two years old still, so she will only see the magic of Christmas and not sitting there counting how many birthday and Christmas presents she got.  However, we did get her one big present for her birthday and one big present for Christmas.  I actually feel really bad for her that her birthday is just a couple days before Christmas.  We make every effort to not lump the two together, but unfortunately some of our family has forgotten that her birthday is not the same as Christmas.  Now I'm not saying that she needs double the gifts or anything. But simply taking one gift from Christmas and wrapping it up in birthday paper with a little birthday card is good enough for us.  We never want her to feel like her birthday isn't as special as others because it's right before a huge holiday.  We think that when she is a little older we are going to celebrate her half birthday in June with the whole party shebang, and then just do cake on her actual's still in the works!

Anyways I've know become like addicted to looking at houses haha.  A little bit to far in advance, but if we stay on track with what we are saving (and that will just about double as soon as cards are paid off) we have a good budget to start with when looking for what type of home we would like.  It's funny to see how different two people are!  Ben would rather have an older home with a little bit more space and I'm the opposite.  I'd rather have a newer home that's nice and may not have as much square footage.  We have decided though that a basement is a must (finished or unfinished is still the debate), we need 4+ bedrooms, and we need a yard.  We'd both rather our kids have smaller individual rooms than sharing a room.

So enough with that.  I'm just happy that we are on track and life is good!! :)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

When I Grow Up....

I have some big plans up my sleeves for the next five years!! We plan on moving when Ben gets done with school in about a 1.5-2 years.  Till then I will be doing newborn sessions in the spare room of our apartment.  However, when we move I am going to totally and completely revamp my business.

We're trying to have another baby, but chances our it's going to take us a while just like the last time!  We are taking a break for 6 months and I'm on trying to loose weight.  I don't want to get pregnant at the size I am because 1) it not healthy, 2) I'll only get bigger!, and 3) I don't know if I would ever loose the weight.  SO we have been eating at home more, using the elliptical, and I've been sure to get outside with Brynlee for a few hours every day.  So far I've lost 10 lbs, but it's all water weight probably.  My appetite has gone down a ton though :)

So ideally we'll get pregnant with baby #2 before we move (and hopefully have her here shortly before we move).  I'll take some time off when we move to a new state and then start up again in a few months.  This is just a dream plan, let's see how life actually plays out!!

I have been talking with Ben how ideally I would really like to expand my business more and because more reputable and established.  I don't want to be known as the "cheap photographer".  I would like to change the name to something more specific to newborns (eventually I want to only take them and babies) and a little bit cute and whimsical because that's my style.

I also plan on 5 years having completely changed the structure of my business.  In 5 years I'd like to be able to earn enough to get an actual studio space outside of the home to take sessions, consultations, and do to preview and ordering sessions.  No more shoot and burn!  Eventually, I won't be offering a print release (unless they want to pay $300+) and I'd like to make a good living selling prints and canvases to a higher clientele.  So this means that in the next few years I will need to invest in more education (I'd really like to attend a workshop), a new camera body, a new lens, better studio lighting, and an external flash.  Also, there is a lot of money and work that goes into making a studio space.  Which means I need to start saving now!! :)

Here's some studio inspiration:




Sunday, June 23, 2013

18 Months

Oh man this mommy job definitely gets harder when you have a toddler on your hands!  Totally worth it though when she gives me great big hugs, holds my hands, and blows me kisses.

We also have raised a monkey.  Seriously, the similarities are hilarious!  We have a very active little child.  She LOVES climbing everything and is pretty adventurous. She knows how to climb up the chairs on top of the table and then into her chair.  She also loves to walk on the counters.  We've had to rearrange some furniture to help curb her enthusiasm for climbing and avoid any broken bones in the future.  She still manages to find ways to climb though.

She also loves her slide!  We got her a little toddler slide and we keep it out in the living room.  Whenever we want to distract her there are 3 things we say, 1) can you show me how to go down the slide, 2) where's your sippy cup and 3) can you find your baby doll.  It's amazing how she can follow directions.  She doesn't say many words, just momma, dada, hi, what's that, who's that, hat, cheese, and occasionally shoes.  She still signs for more and all done though.  However yesterday we told her to go find her shoes and she said, "where shoes?"  while looking in the closet.  I was pretty proud :)

Brynlee is also a total ham.  We went out for dinner at McDonalds the other night (don't judge us!) and the minute we got there she was so happy to see everyone there and was running up to them waving and saying Hi.  Although she definitely has her moments of tantrum she generally is so happy and kind to people.  She has been in nursery twice now and is loving it! She actually gets a little sad when we come to pick her up because she knows she's going to be leaving all her little buddies.

I also got called to teach primary!  I'm teaching the 7-8 year olds, so the kids who are preparing to be baptized for have already been baptized this year.  It's a pretty sweet gig for the most part.  Granted I never get to talk to anyone in our ward, but my kids are fun.  We have one really special little guy who is severely autistic, completely out of nowhere he will randomly jump out of his seat and start hitting someone.  Ben explained it to me that they aren't necessarily doing it out of anger, but rather the sensation that hitting gives them.  I had my first experience with this today which was completely nuts!  He calmed down though and was completely fine in just a matter of minutes.  I have to say to that he has the absolutely sweetest smile and it seriously melts my heart.  I sit next to him and call him my little buddy, and he told me that I was his favorite teacher.  Ah shucks, this kid really is special!

Work has been good for both me and Ben.  He just finished teaching his training class and had a really good time.  He starts another one at the end of August and after putting in two of those classes he's hoping that a higher position will open up for him within the company.  Work has been really busy with me and I'm still trying to find a balance.  I try really hard not to work when Brynlee is awake, but to use that time to spend it with her or clean the house.  This means though that I typically don't even go to bed until 1 or 2 am.  I definitely can't complain though.  I'm so grateful that I have been able to pursue this dream of mine and help contribute to our income.  Definitely comes with some challenges, but for the most part it's great.

I've had to change my business structure a tad (I'm sure no one reading this even gives a hoot though!)  Before I wasn't requiring deposits but I have been getting a TON of bookings over the last couple of weeks. I now have at least three scheduled sessions a week clear out till September!  Then from September through October I have all my weekends booked but one.  SO if you are wanting a session, be sure to email me right away! I wasn't requiring deposits but then I had one family simply not show up to their Saturday evening session (which are very valuable!) and I had two newborn no-shows.  Stupid people.  So those three bad apples ruined it for the whole bunch.  I now require a 50% nonrefundable deposit to reserve your date, which is then subtracted from the total.  Most people have been really understanding of why I'm doing this, but you always get one person who doesn't want to pay it.  And to them I say...well find someone else then! Just kidding, I don't say that.  Deposits however are NEVER negotiable.  It's also a wonderful way to help me budget actually running a business and estimate our additional income for the month.  Anyways, enough of that business talk.  I have no problem saying though that I am really proud of myself! :)

On a more personal note, we can't wait to have another baby! No baby yet, but we are working on that.  Brynlee is going to be one awesome big sister.  Just the other day at Church this little boy was crying in the hallway and Brynlee went up to him to pat his back and give him a hug, it was so dang sweet.  She loves babies, probably a little too much so we are working on her being a little bit more gentle.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Baby Bug

Oh it happened!  Remember me saying that I wasn't baby hungry...yea not anymore.  Just in the last few weeks we have been thinking and talking about it a lot.  Ben has been wanting us to have another baby for quite some time, but it's me that is a little more hesitant   It's probably because Brynlee is getting older and I see how much she LOVES babies and plays so well with other kids (well, usually).  We want to try to get pregnant sometime in August or September.  I don't care what anyone says; I really really want a summer baby.  I know how hard it is firsthand with Brynlee being born so close to Christmas and we want to try and spread the joy out throughout the year.  Obviously there is only so much we can control though, so I will just cross my fingers :)  I already have names picked out though for a boy or a girl.  I'm going to be keeping them a secret though!  Seriously I don't want to tell anyone until he/she is born.  And no- neither of them start with a B.

Mothers day was good, but to be honest it was a rough day for us.  Brynlee didn't go down for a nap before Church so when we got there she was over-tired and just wanted to run around like crazy.  Eventually we ended up leaving after the first two hours so Brynlee could get a nap in before dinner and I didn't lose my mind.  Ben asked me what I wanted him to make me for dinner and I told him; honestly I want Olive Garden!  I have been dying for some lately so he was sweet enough to take me out for dinner right when I wanted it.  He's a champ.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


You know that absolutely terrifying heartbreaking word right...DIVORCE.  Hold your horses though and don't jump to conclusions, we are not divorcing or even heading down that road.  We had a rough year right before Brynlee was born and shortly after but thankfully we both changed for the better and couldn't love each other and our little family more than we do right now.  Yes, we definitely disagree with each other sometimes, but for the most part we are on the same page.

Just this morning though while I was wasting time on facebook, I came across a little 'announcement' made by a past co-worker of mine.  She had explained on facebook that her and her husband were getting a divorce.  They were sealed in the temple and past students at BYU-Idaho.  In a nutshell she said that she has suffered for three years and has sought a lot of counsel from their Bishop and prayer, and that enough was enough she had to think of herself.

I couldn't help but think to myself one; this is so sad, and two; how does this happen?

How do people who were once madly in love with each other and made such sacred promises get to the point of wanting to dissolve their partnership and move on without one another.  Now I'm not saying anything else about this couple, this is just my own thoughts on the matter of divorce (not their divorce in particular because its frankly none of my business).

I don't think that divorce sneaks up on people; I think it comes gradually over a period of time.  Feelings of anger, resentment, hostility, rejection, and distrust slowly drown a couple.  Marital matters that should be resolved or at least worked on are either swept under the rug or approached in the wrong manner.  By approaching in the wrong manner I mean- when you spouse comes to you with an honest complaint and you get defensive and either want to get back at them or not want to listen to them.  We all have different aspects of ourselves as husbands and wives that we need to work on.  Let's be honest nobody is perfect.  I have met those amazing couples who seem to have so much love, compassion, and admiration for one another but also comes over time.  I can honestly say that even though right now I am trying to be the best wife and mother I can be (an oftentimes I feel like I fall short), I think that in 5 years, 10 years, heck even 20 years down the road I will be so much better than I am now.  Life is about progressing.

As a couple we should strive to progress with one another.  When we stop progressing towards become better and more Christlike than we are slowly opening the door for negativity to enter into our relationship.  This is the same for a marriage- even when one person stops progressing it puts a strain and a burden on the relationship.

Even though I feel like I answered my question; I keep asking myself the question again- how does this happen?  My parents divorce was not one that was drawn out.  I was only 5 years old.  It was a pretty simple divorce and I don't remember too much from that time (that's probably a blessing!).  My parents disagreed a lot (so I've been told), but that wasn't the main cause of their divorce.  My Dad left my mom for another woman.  Pretty plain and simple.  He loved this other 'woman' (I put that in parenthesis because in my opinion any woman who actively pursues a married man loses complete and all respect from me, and I don't think she should be honored with the amazing title that it is to be a woman) more than he loved his family.  He put his selfish and stupid desires above his commitment to his family, and in the end it only left him with heartache.

So I think I've figured it out- divorce is cause by a lack of caring on either one or both individuals part.  A lack of caring about each other's welfare   I think it happens when people turn inward instead of outward   When they put their own needs above others; not only their spouses, but their families, their children, etc.

Well, if you made it to the end congratulations!  This may sound like rambling but I like to write down my thoughts and Ben's at work so I can't talk to him so the internet will have to do.

One thing that I really got out of writing this is that I need to hold my husbands hand more, talk to him more, listen to him more, confide in him more, and especially pray and go to the temple with him more.  I'm so grateful that we have been sealed in the temple and that we can have the Spirit in our home and in our marriage when we are actively pursuing to be better people.  I'm grateful that we both decided to change for the better and that we overcame the rough patch that we had back in Rexburg.  I'm really grateful that we can disagree and constructively come to a decision.  I'm grateful that I don't need to bottle everything up and explode, but that I can talk to him about anything and that he is a great listen.

Hug your loved ones a little tighter today.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

I was that girl who cried at church today...

You know when you are having one of those days...or better yet a week.  I try to be patient, kind, and calm, but then I just bottle everything up and turn into a weeping mess.

Let me start at the beginning for you.  Church is very hard for us to attend- let alone stay all three hours.  It's right during B's nap time and no matter how hard we try to adjust it, it doesn't happen.  So we end up going to Church- basically every Sunday- with a cranky little girl.  When Brynlee has an attitude, it is bad.  Like really bad.  Embarrassing bad; makes me feel like a failure of a mother kind of bad.  Today was no different than the last couple of Sundays.  During the week she is the easiest girl to go down for a nap, and thankfully still does two a day.  However, when Sunday comes along it's all down hill till 4pm when we get home and she goes straight to sleep.

At church all she want's to do is run around.  We live in a very old ward though, if you know what I mean.  So I get disapproving looks from elderly women on a regular basis about her running around.  She's an active kid!  While she does enjoy reading at home- when she is not home she loves to explore everywhere and everything.  Trying to get her to stay in one spot and sit contently is like trying to tie down a wild boar with a piece of dental floss- it's impossible!  I do try though- I try my freaking hardest to get her to be calm and learn to be reverent when we are at Church. Am I succeeding---as far as I can  I'll keep trying though!

Well after a rough sacrament meeting we went into Sunday School.  As soon as we sat down in our chairs Brynlee starts trying to get out of the room.  When you tell her no and try to redirect her attention- sometimes it works and sometimes it's a complete fail.  Today was a fail- with her throwing her body on the ground and yelling for a few seconds.  This is all when people are trying to come into the room mind you- so now Brynlee is making her own human barricade.

I pick her up and she just yells louder and arches her back to get out of my grip.  I give up and put her on the ground- hoping I can redirect her with a snack, a bunch of toys, anything!  Well it doesn't work and she goes running out the door.  Ben goes outside to try and rangel her.  Meanwhile I unconsciously let out a loud, "UGHHH" and put my hand on my forehand.  The lady in front of us turned around smiled and laughed, I just looked at her and said, "it's just one of those days" and she gave me a pitty smile.  I know that she didn't mean anything negative by it at all, she is very nice, it probably reminded her of when her own kids were younger.  However, for some reason my heart broke.  I started crying right there.  I couldn't help it.  Because of my own insecurities I took it as "oh that girl can't manage her toddler", even though I'm positive that's not what she was thinking.

I then had to make the long walk to the bathroom trying to hide the tears coming out my eyes.  And of course as soon as I get into the bathroom- it's completely jammed packed!  I wait patiently avoiding eye contact with anyone because by then I really did look like a mess.  When I got into the bathroom stall I just buried my face into a bunch of toilet paper trying to muffle the sound of me bawling.

I guess I just needed a good cry.  I used to be a cryer- but I'm not so much anymore.  I think the stress that I put on myself and that society puts on all of us to be the best mothers and raise the best kids just overwhelmed me today.

I calmed myself down and waited till everyone left and then cleaned myself off and then had a good rest of Church.  I feel much better now too! I guess we all deserve a good cry once in a while.  Happy Sunday!  

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

16 Months Old

Oh my has time flown by!  We are at the 16 month mark and boy have things changed a bit.  My once sweet little lady, has now just as much attitude as she does sweetness. It's not all bad though, she can hold her own in a crowd, is not scared of others at all, plays extremely well with other kids, and does a pretty good job at sharing too.  However, we have also been blessed with...biting (ouch), hitting (absolutely not), and of course bossing mom around (yea, that doesn't go over well).  3 minute tantrums are now a daily thing, however so are lots of kisses, hugs, smiles, and laughter.  It can't be good all the time right?

At 16 months Brynlee is trying to roll over from her headstand.  Climbs literally everything.  And I'm talking actually scales it!  Runs into everything whenever she gets really excited and happy about something.  I swear people probably think we beat her with the number of bruises that she has gotten this week!  When Brynlee gets hurt she doesn't run to anyone for comfort.  Instead she runs AWAY from you screaming.  Within a few minutes though she calms down and will come to you for some lovin'.

Brynlee's also got a few words down now:  no, stop it, up, sit (which still sounds like shiz), Momma and Dada (obviously), what's that, who's that, and occasionally she'll say banana.  We are desperately trying to teach her please and thank you, but so far nothing.

As far as food goes, this child will basically eat everything.  However in the last week she has decided that she desperately HATES peas.  Don't you dare even put them on her plate.  She loves grilled chicken, green beans, black beans, pears and peaches, PB&J's, broccoli  and especially carrots.  She would seriously eat only carrots if I let her.  She's also still in mainly 12 month clothes but is starting to make her way into some 18 month pants.  They are to big around her waste, but fit her legs lengthwise.  My small fry.  She's still has that cute little baby fat, but is light as a feather (except every time I walk up stairs with her I feel like she is 20lbs. heavier lol)

Two months till nursey! We are sooo excited!  Church is so hard for us.  It's from 1pm-4pm so right at lunch and nap time.  Completely throws her off the whole day.  So I'm not really sure how or when we are going to try to change her nap time so that she doesn't get difficult during nursery.

Alright one last thing!  I always take pictures of Brynlee's face or whole body.  I have realized though that I have forgotten to take some good pictures of her tiny little features.  You know those wrinkly little hands, teeny tiny feet, those little curls on the back of her head.  Yesterday I whipped out my camera and tried my hardest to take some pictures of those little details that we sometimes forget.  They go away so fast!  I'm so happy that I did.  When I sat down to go through and edit her pictures I got all choked up and teary eyed because I really see how she is growing up.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not in that stage that wishes their kids would stay baby's forever.  I'm perfectly content, excited, and thrilled to watch her grow and develop.  Yes, this 16 months has been such a blast, but let's be honest....the next 18+ years are going to be blasts to! It goes by fast though, so ladies get out your camera, iphones, whatever you have and take some snap shots of those delicate little features that by tomorrow will have changed.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Good Old Bathtime

One of our favorite parts of the day!  Brynlee rarely sits down in the bath anymore and prefers to stand up dancing, splashing, and stomping.  She is certainly a hoot.

However, after the bath last night all heck broke loose.  We were up all night, she just did not want to go to sleep.  Not pleasant one bit.

Brynlee's nicknames- Bugs, Bear, B, sweets, lil' momma, and Brynny.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

15 Months Old

Holy Moly we are in full fledged toddler-hood!  I have a very sweet, spunky, yet dramatic little lady on my hand.  She is full of personality and determination.  She knows what she likes and what she doesn't like.
She is great at playing with other kids.  She loves just getting into everything.  She's actually kind of a busy body.  When I take her to the park she isn't shy at all.  She just goes up and makes a little friend around her age, or she follows the bigger kids around trying to do what they do.

Brynlee has completely changed my outlook on life.  I feel like I am a much more positive person.  I try harder to see the happy things and I hand conflict and disappointed differently. I love being a mom- it's hard and frustrating at times but the good definitely outweigh the bad- by a lot.  I am so craving another baby, but unfortunately it is not time yet.  Not too long hopefully!  We'd like to get pregnant within the next year, but only time will tell and that's the attitude that we have right now.

I don't want our kids to be too far apart in age and Brynlee loves babies so I think that she would adjust pretty well as long as their not too far apart.  Again though, it's not in our hands so we will take it one day at a time.  Right now I am completely in love with this little ball of energy and she certainly keeps me very busy.

Here's a few little tid-bits about Brynlee at 15 months old
  • She's a small fry:  Brynlee is 31 inches long (40 something percentile) and 21 lbs. 4 oz (30 something percentile).  I really thought she was bigger than that but the scale doesn't lie haha She still fits into some 6-12 month clothes and the majority of her clothes are still 12 months.  
  • Climbs everything!  She child is a little monkey now.  She loves climbing up on chairs, steps, you name it she'll climb it. 
  • Loves going to the gymnastics gym on Friday.  It's so fun watching her run around all excited and learning new things like walking on the balance beam for toddlers and learning to jump on the tramp.  I can't wait to get her into the gymnastics Mommy n' Me class next year.  We were there the other day and she wanted to go say Hi to the lady who work the front.  She stood up all the way on her tippy toes to peek over the desk and the lady said- "that's a gymnast right there- pointed toes and check out those calves!" When she stands up her calves look like they have little golf balls in them.
  • She's very brave!  When were at the gym she'll walk right into the foam pit.  This first time was an accident- then she decided that she liked it and wanted to do it again and again.  
  • Loves being naked.  When we take her clothes off and she's just in her diaper she runs around like a nut.  She screams through the house waving her arms.  
  • Babbling a ton- she's on track for words.  She'll say dada, mama, what's that, and occasionally book and sit (which sounds like a word that a little baby should not be saying!) 
The most important thing though is that she is happy, healthy, and loved.  What more could I ask for! 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Happy Easter!

Our Easter was celebrated fairly low key this year.  I had sessions on Saturday and Monday so we couldn't go down and visit Ben's family in Utah.  However I've blocked out a three day weekend in May when we can visit them.

For Easter I woke up early to clean and make a delicious breakfast.  I'm talking the whole nine yards- bacon, sausage, eggs, hash browns, and toast.  It was delicious!  Then we watched Brynlee open her little Easter Basket we made her.  She was so stinkin' cute!  She loves Easter eggs- playing with them, trying to eat them, and especially throwing them.

After we all got cleaned up we headed to Church.  We only lasted the first two hours because Brynlee's naps starts at 1 and so does Church.  It's really hard to stay that last hour because she just gets really fussy and doesn't like to be held while she sleeps.

When Church was over we headed on up to Rexburg to have dinner with some really great friends.  It so awesome having friends who feel like family when we don't have any family near us.

Overall it was a very successful Easter.  I just love having the constant reminder of the sacrifice that Jesus made and the examples that He gives us.  Even though the Easter bunny is awesome and candy is yummy, that's not what it's about.  Easter is all about remembering our Savior and celebrating His life and how He conquered death.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

I'm Running a Business- NOT a Stinkin' Hobby

I definitely feel comfortable saying that I am now a small business owner.  I have had a steady flow of paying clients for the last two months and also a plethora of people who seem to think that photography is some how a bartering trade.  Granted- I did do 8 free sessions to start out, and I'm glad I did!  I got my feet in the water, learned a lot, and felt comfortable charging people afterwards.

I am however NOT doing absolutely anything for free anymore.  Sorry, just not happening.  Unless it's a shoot out with other photographers in the area,, second shooting with an experienced professional, or trading photos with another photographer.  Anything else "free" aint happening with me.

My services are not negotiable.  Sorry- but you wouldn't go into the Gap and say "you know what I know this shirt is $40, but I only have $20- will you take $20 instead".  One word- rude.  My prices are clearly stated on my website and it even says that they are non-negotiable.  I'm sorry, but I still don't understand why people think that I am going to lower my price for them because they say they only have X amount of money.  My prices are extremely extremely competitive in our area.

I put a GREAT deal of time into every session.  Actually taking sessions can last from only 1-2 hours, this is just a drop in the bucket to the time that I invest.  Each edited picture takes roughly 10-15 minutes to create.  Honestly, I spend roughly 4-5 hours per day working on editing sessions, learning more technical skills, responding to emails, improving my marketing, etc.  Not to mention the literally THOUSANDS of dollars that we have now invested into this so it will actually make us money (no joke).  The camera, insurance, my lenses, props, backdrops.  Seriously the list goes on.

I'm not doing this as a hobby- yest I love it, but I'm doing this to help put food on our table and to pay our bills.  I'm doing this to set a good example to my daughter that wives and mothers can pursue their dreams and passions while still loving and caring for their families.  I saw this picture on Facebook today and it just really reminded me of what I have been feeling for quite some time.


Monday, March 11, 2013

A few little Easter pictures

I swear I do do other things besides taking pictures of Brynlee, but with the weather being crappy and Ben working a ton we don't do a lot of the activities like we used to do.  This however will thankfully change when it get's nicer out!  Plus today me and a couple of friends and all of their kids went to the library for their story time which was fun, but too short!  We stayed a while and just let the kids play around in the children's part of the library and then headed back to her house to play Wii games.  I'm so lucky to have such great neighbors!

I think that next year I'm going to actually do Easter sessions or at least mini sessions for children.  I have big plans to!  I want either live baby chicks or a bunny.  I had a lot of fun taking Brynlee's pictures.  However, I do have to admit that it is definitely harder to take pictures of your own kid in your home.  She knows that she has free range and will go wherever she pleases.  Her favorite room right now is actually the studio which is really funny.  To get like 10-15 good pictures of her I do mini sessions with her that last like 10-15 minutes over a few days.    She's such a ham in front of the camera to and I absolutely love her little smile.  It's sometimes looks like pure joy and other times a mix between I'm happy but somewhat in pain haha.  I swear though we always have fun when I take her pictures!  I don't ever take them when she's grumpy.

Here are a few of my tips for anyone who wants to take better pictures of their kids:

  • make sure they are fed
  • make sure they have napped 
  • if possible have something that they can interact with- is there a holiday coming up? (ex. Christmas ornament, Easter egg/basket, even 4th of July flag in the summer, heck little girls love jewelry) 
  • Find a chair!  Seriously this is the best- put them on a little stool, children's chair, anything (ottoman, even a simple crate)- this will give you a better chance of getting some smiles. 
  • Don't just sit behind the camera- you have to make it fun!  Dance, sing, play peek-a-boo.  Have music playing in the background.     
  • Take pictures of them in their element.  I'm lucky that I have a kid who likes getting her pictures taken, but not all kids do.  Take pictures of them playing, reading, outside, etc.
  • A 50mm lens will be your best friend!- For those with a DSLR I highly recommend getting a 50mm f 1.4 or for a more budget friendly a 50mm 1.8.  It's definitely the lens I use the most and then I love my 35mm as well.  


Friday, March 8, 2013

A Little Pep Talk

Seriously this video just made my day! We are all made to be awesome so don't underestimate your potential for greatness.

Monday, February 18, 2013

A little catching up

So it's been a month since my last post because it's been a totally whirlwind around here!
We have totally embraced "toddler-hood"!  You know how people always say that they wish their babies would stay newborns forever?  Well, that is not my case.  Don't get me wrong if I had a cuddly newborn who sleeps, and didn't cry for literally hours and hours at a time, I would probably love it.  However, Brynlee was not like that as a newborn.  She was extremely colicky and literally cried for hours upon hours.  She would only sleep if I held her, so I made our recliner in our living room my bed for the first....four months.  On top of not being able to sleep, I was becoming a total basket-case.  Seriously, I was probably psycho.  Props to Ben for putting up with my crazy postpartum nonsense.  

I love the age that she is right now.  14 months old is so much fun because she thinks basically everything is awesome, funny, and so exciting!  It's so much fun to play with her, teach her new things, and simply watch how smart she is.  Our latest thing is teaching her to folder her arms when we pray.  She has actually done it a few times on her own when I've told her that we were going to pray so please fold your arms.  Most of the time though I fold her arms for her, but they usually stay there till the end of the prayer.  After we get done praying she has a huge grin on her face.  It's honestly the cutest thing ever.  We've also gotten a child's version of the Book of Mormon that we read with her on a daily basis.

She doesn't say to many words still.  Things like mama, dada, hi, "what's that?", "who's that?".  But there isn't anything to worry about.  She is just a women of few words, except for babbling lol she can have a whole conversation with me without ever saying a real word.  She's super curious about everything and is a little social butterfly.  Boy, the personality on her!  She knows how to work a room.  She'll go up to people at church and say hi to them and is so sweet to everyone and love other kids.  Wherever we go in public if she see's someone she likes she'll get a huge smile on her face, put her hand on her cheek, and cock her head to the side.  I've tried so many times to get a picture of her doing this, but she's just so dang fast!

Don't think though that she is all sweet and no sass.  If I tell her no and she wants something really badly she bites.  Seriously, and it hurts!  Other then telling her no, why that's not okay, and giving her something else to do, there isn't a whole lot we can do about it yet.  We don't believe it's ever okay to hit a child no matter how naughty their actions are, and she's still to young for time-outs.  However, sometimes when she get's really feisty we do give her some alone/quiet time in her crib with a book to chill out, and it actually works wonders.

Valentine's Day was pretty low key for us.  Ben woke up earlier and made all of us a delicious breakfast and we opened our gifts and when he got home from work we went out to dinner at Red Robbin.  It was really nice not having to cook anything!

School has been crazy for me.  I'm not doing as well as I have the last two semesters.  I'll be lucky & happy if all my grades are in the 80's to be totally honest.  My business is doing really great though!  Which is why I'm not stressing out about having A's in everything.  I'm booking between 2-3 sessions a week.  Which is a lot!  It's going to slow down though because I'm raising my newborn sessions at the end of April.  Right now they are going for $75, but I'm raising them to $100.  Seriously, there is so much work, time, and money that goes into newborn sessions.  Props, blankets, baskets, etc. all of that adds up.  I'm reading up on how to become an actual legit small business, get a TIN, and all that good stuff so in a few months an apply to be an LLC.  Again though, my prices will go up a little because I'll have to pay taxes.  However, there are lots of deductions, credits, and exemptions that I can receive next year if I have my business squared away with the IRS.  If you know of anyone who is looking for a photographer send them my way before my prices go up! :)

I've had four people now ask me to do their weddings now.  They are really surprised to hear that I don't do weddings!  I know, I'm crazy for not doing it.  I love what I do right now, portraits.  I've never photographed a wedding and I've only actually been to two (mine & my sisters)!  When I think about photographing a wedding I don't get excited, I get nervous and seriously feel like I'm going to blow chunks.  I just don't have a passion for it yet.  Maybe in a year or more when I'm more experienced, but for right now I'm going to stick with what I offer, newborns, babies/children, engagements, maternity, seniors, and families.  Weddings just seem so stressful to me, and since I wouldn't feel comfortable charging a whole bunch because I've never shot one, it just doesn't seem like something that I want to do yet.

All in all, life is good.  There isn't too much to complain about.  Here are some of Brynlee's Valentine's Day pictures this year.  I hope she is always this happy.

Friday, January 11, 2013

We Have So Much To Be Grateful For

I had an awesome experience last night at Joann's.  I went in to get just a yard of this fabulous rosette fabric for a little girls newborn shoot that I have coming up.  The lady was so helpful and sweet.  While she was cutting my fabric she asked what I was using it for.  I explained to her how I was starting out in photography and I was using the fabric for a newborn shoot.  She went on to share with me how excited she was to be a grandma again.  Her daughter was just past 22 weeks and they had found out that she was having a boy.  I told her that I was offering newborn sessions at a discounted rate and gave her the address to my website.  She was so happy and said that this little baby boy was going to be a very special spirit.

All of a sudden this sweet women just started crying.  She explained how they had found out just just a couple of weeks ago at the ultrasound that he had spina bifida.  He was going to have a very long and rough road ahead of him.  He will probably never be able to walk without crutches, but may very well be bound to a wheelchair.  They were going to have to have him in Salt Lake City because he will need surgeries immediately after he is born.  As she was telling me this and tears were rolling down her eyes, I couldn't help but join her.  You never think that anything would be wrong with your child.  I would rather have something wrong with me then with Brynlee.  We complain about little things on a daily basis, but how often do we recognize the amazing blessings that we have.  She explained to me how much it would mean to her to have some pictures taken of him.  I leaned over the counter to give her a hug and told her that I would be honored if you would let me take his newborn pictures without any cost.  I explained to her how my sister in law had just been a recipient of new kidney.  Her healthy young women's leader said that she felt prompted by the Spirit to do that for her.  I told this sweet women that this is something so small, but I wanted to do it for them and that I felt like this is something that I needed to do not only for them but for me as well.  I explained to her that I had this strong feeling that I needed to offer this to them.  She was so appreciative and then started crying again, but she was because she was grateful.  I kept fighting back the tears.  Who would think that something so simple such as a photograph could mean so much.  I don't think it was necessarily the fact that I was going to be taking his newborn pictures for free, but I was willing to give of myself to help someone else.  

I'm sharing this story, because this experience really touched my heart.  I feel overwhelmed with gratitude for the health and happiness that we have.  I think that we all need a reminder at times, that life could be so much harder than it is.  We need to acknowledge the blessings that we have and look for ways to bless others. 

I think we all can get caught up in a world of always comparing ourselves to others; whether it's where we live, our jobs, income, or even our talents.  I need to stop comparing myself to anyone else and be less self centered.  I want to direct that energy into ways in which I can help someone else.  I think I'm going to come up with some more ways in which I can help others.  I've been throwing this idea around with Ben, about offering a free photography session for terminally ill patients, I just need to figure out the logistics and details.  Maybe partnering up with hospice?   There's isn't anything more satisfying then being able to help someone by simply doing what you love.        

Monday, January 7, 2013

Brynlee's First Birthday!!

I can't believe that my little Brynlee turned 1 year old on the 21st!  Holy Moly I have a out world!  I'm really grateful for this sweet girl who has been brought into our lives.  I couldn't ask for a funnier, sassier, sweeter, and just down right goofy girl.  Every time I get that smile beaming from ear to ear I know that we must be doing something right.

Brynlee's Update

  • She's completely weaned off of formula and loves her whole milk
  • Eats three solid meals a day, with snacks in between and use her sippy cups 
  • Loves veggies!  We lucked out on this one.
  • Walks like there is no tomorrow.  She's so fast to!
  • Climbs everything
  • Says: Hi, what's that, and dada.  She'll only say mama if she's in extreme pain...the little stinker!
  • Still a daddy's girl.  When he gets home from work her face is completely beaming.  She's got a lot of love in this house.  
  • Weighs 20lbs and is 29 inches long 
  • Follows all of the other babies around in Relief Society.  She's a complete social butterfly.  She'll just walk up and down the room waving and smiling at people.  
  • She's a little flirt.  Seriously, we're going to have to watch this one.
  • Loves her baby doll.  
  • When she does something good she'll clap for herself.  And if somebody tells her good job she'll clap for herself as well.  
  • Throws tantrums....ugh this one is not so good!  
  • She stills sleeps a lot! She naps about 3-4 hours a day and goes to bed from 9pm-8am

We celebrated Brynlee's birthday on the 22nd and had a little party with our family.  I was amazed by all of the toys, clothes, and books that she got.  I have to say though, she really did need some toys so we are extremely grateful for them!

I had a lot of fun getting all of the decorations set up and I have to say as much as I loved creating it, I'm really glad that her birthday is only once a year.  We had a bunch of yummy food; baked ziti, meatballs, veggies and dip, pigs n' a blanket, cupcakes, rice krispy pops, and some more sweets.  Needless to say we were all stuffed.  It was nice being able to celebrate with family and we really appreciate everything that they did to make her first birthday special.  The funny thing was that Brynlee slept about half way through her party.  All of us ate first, and then I went and woke her up from her nap.  It actually worked out quite perfectly.  However, we learned that Brynlee is not a fan of being sung Happy Birthday.  She bawled through the whole thing!! Oh well, it was a very successful and loving little party.  We love you B!

Here are a few pictures from her special day!