Holiday Photos

Over the summer I was blessed with the opportunity to have a family photo shoot, with the amazing Alli Page. The photos taken that day opened my mind and heart to how precious family photos can be, and with Alli, it was actually an enjoyable moment. It wasn’t your typical family shoot where we were faking smiles or fighting when the camera was put down. Alli’s smiles are infectious and it put the whole family in a great mood.

When we had the chance to have another shoot with Alli, we jumped at this chance. This shoot was at Wagners Christmas Tree Farm. And as with the first shoot, it was amazing. Within 20 min we were done. No one cried or fussed and the photos came out amazing. Mini shoots are a new love of mine because of Alli and her great work. Being able to go in take your family photos and leave still in good spirits is always a win.

If you live in the central, PA area I definitely suggest you check out Alli’s Instagram page to see her work and possibly book her for a shoot. She does more than just mini shoots and I promise you won’t regret it.

 

Advertisements

3 Unexpected Challenges Transitioning to Stay-at-Home-Mom

Both my kids are in school, but I’ve been told being home is still considered being a stay-at-home-mom, so I’m taking it. I’ve always worked and neither of my kids can remember a time prior to now that I’ve been unemployed. They have both have had to deal with late nights and Mama working on the weekends. So when the opportunity came for me to be home full-time I jumped at it. I thought this was going to be amazing; I could finally be a “good” mom. Staying home, to me, meant more home-cooked meals, a cleaner house and that I would always be there for my kids. Some of that is true, but I learned pretty quickly,

Being a stay at home mom isn’t all its cracked up to be.

Just as with everything when you become a parent; the idea of something is completely different than what it’s like in actuality. You think you’re going to be an amazing parent with perfect children… Until you have children and realize no one knows wtf they’re doing.

I have three constant battles I fight with being at home I had no idea would be so hard.

Meals

I thought cooking meals for my family every day would be amazing. I’d make healthy, amazing meals the family would love. The first week was great! I had so many meal ideas; some hits, some misses. But by week 2 I had no idea what to make anymore. I was running out of ideas and enthusiasm. Cooking is exhausting!

Cleaning

How do people keep there homes immaculate. I spend one whole day cleaning one room they come home and its like a bomb goes off the room is a mess again. The laundry basket is always full and the dishes are endless. How is it even possible that this doesn’t improve with me staying home? I am constantly doing laundry and dishes. Does my family make more dishes now? Are they sneaking clothes directly from their drawers to the laundry baskets? How did I do this while I worked full-time?

My Sanity

I feel like I am losing myself. I have always wanted to be this strong, independent, working woman and now I’m not. I feel less than equal to my peers when I have to depend on someone to support me and my children. My guy is doing a great job of it, I have to admit and thankfully, he fully supports my staying at home, but I just feel like a mooch.

I’ve been told by other stay-at-home moms that I’ll get used to it. I’ll get in the swing of cooking and cleaning. I will start to realize that there is no his and mine in a family. But the “Give it time” mentality isn’t doing a whole lot for my adjustment period right now. 

30-Something Mom Seeking Sexy

I never thought I’d do a boudoir photo shoot. 70 pounds ago, I thought that it was something only skinny bitches did. But I kept hearing that it was something that would boost your self esteem and that’s pretty much always good news, so I looked a little closer. And I figured it may also have a pleasant unintended outcome, too. My guy is hard to buy for anyways and if I can make him like me more, I’m in favor of that.

The Prep

I planned it so that the day before my boudoir shoot was devoted to me prepping. I was off from work. The kids were at school so I had time for me. I went to the nail salon early and had the whole place to myself. I got an acrylic set of fingernails and a gel pedicure to ensure it lasted. I even had my eyebrows waxed. I felt amazing, even before my shoot. I dyed and deep conditioned my hair. I even shaved everything below the neck.

Her instructions were pretty detailed. I was given enough time to do up to three outfit changes so I made sure the night before to lay then all out. I didn’t have three outfits that I loved so I kept to two. I mean, at that point I wasn’t even sure I was really going to go through with it. But I did.

Embracing New Experiences

When I walked into my boudoir shoot I was visibly nervous. Katie welcomed me and smiled warmly. The shoot was at her home (As a lot of boudoir shoots are) and after meeting her and seeing how kind she was, I was just glad I wasn’t going to get murdered, honestly. Prior to the shoot we had exchanged several text messages and she even sent me google document with detailed instructions on how to prepare for my shoot. So I guess I was “prepared” – even if I pulled up to the address feeling ready to puke.

But then there was Katie. It didn’t take long before I was feeling a bit more at ease. After reading reviews of other boudoir photographers, I’m convinced this is the thing they have in common: They can make you feel comfortable, even when you’re entirely prepared to be awkward and weird. We talked a few minutes about what I wanted and I showed her the outfits I’d chosen. She was very reassuring and suggested I start with the more modest outfit. She said by outfit number two, I’d have the confidence to rock it. And boy, was she was right.

She Knew Exactly What She Was Doing

She took the time to make sure all my poses were, not only flattering, but that I was comfortable with each. She showed me a few images here and there as she shot to build my confidence so the more she shot, the sexier I felt. It was the most secure I’ve ever felt about who I am, while still feeling so vulnerable at the same time.

I did the shoot for me. But showing my better half the results? Well, let’s just say he was pleased, to say the least. And even better, he was proud, mostly. He tells me I’m beautiful all the time but in these images, I finally saw it, too. He was proud to see that I saw it. All my hard work; raising two babies, weight loss and just everything that a working mom life entails. I still saw a sexy, strong, powerful woman in those pictures and honestly, I can’t wait to do it again.

So thank you a million times, Katie; for an amazing experience. I can’t wait for our next collaboration. Check out her website and Instagram to see all her amazing work.

 

 

 

 

5 Reasons I don’t belong in your bougie mom clique

So I feel like I have to start this off pretty blunt.

I LOVE MY KIDS. I SWEAR I DO.

I spend most of my days (and even nights) trying to figure out how I can be a better mom. I mean, I literally lose sleep over it. I see other parents and I always compare myself and think I’m just not doing enough. Or if my daughter is having a fit, I think if I was a better mom maybe I could have nipped this in the bud a long time ago. But, I do try my hardest to be the best mom I can be to my 15 yr old and 6 yr old children. So here is a list of reasons I’m not a great mom.

My Kids’ Diet

My son, that giant man child of mine, is currently 6 ft tall. I swear all the hormones from the over processed foods are shooting my kid through the roof. My daughter wont eat most vegetables and recently has sworn off any meat except chicken nuggets from McDonald’s. Her diet consist of rice and beans or pasta. Meanwhile, my son will eat all his food, her leftovers and then some. With hundreds of options for me to make – none of which my daughter will eat and all of them my son will – I don’t feel especially adventurous. I try to take the easy way out most nights and that includes Easy Mac. Not the greatest, but everyone can agree and eat it with out a fight. Most of the time.

Hygiene

My kid hates bathes. She has sworn off bathes and without much fighting, she flat will not take one. Gross, right?? Well I have figured out a way for her to take bathes with less of a battle. BATH BOMBS! She loves them, but to ensure my kid isn’t going to get a UTI, I opt for the more expensive ones. This is putting a pretty hefty hole in momma’s pocket but no more crying, so I’m taking as a win.

Directions

My kids can not for the life of them follow directions. Like “Can you please get mommy a towel from the linen closet?” Often results in them walking to the linen closet (the home of all things towel like) and tell me they can’t find any towels. Or they’ll come back to me with toilet paper. I mean … but why??

Mommy Juice

I drink wine in front of my kids. I don’t get hammered in front of them, don’t get me wrong. I’m not an alcoholic or anything. But I do have a glass of what the kids refer to as Mommy Juice.

Pinterest Reject

I can not do anything on Pinterest. I feel like a failed mom any time I attempt to do anything I find on there and it’s a little depressing. I feel like that site was created to make creative moms brag and lord their epic-ness over normal people. All bow before the Pinterest Goddess, ye mere mortals.

I mean I get it, I may not be the worst mom in the world. But, sheesh keeping these kids alive requires lots of focus which I mainly have none of. But I try and I guess that’s what counts.

They are healthy and relatively happy. And that’s what matters most to this not-so-great mom.

 

 

The Timeless Struggle of Mothers and Young Daughters

I thought having a daughter would be the greatest thing in the entire world. I thought we’re going to have the most incredible bond and do all the same things together… I could not have been any more wrong.

Because I’m Pretty Sure My Daughter Hates Me

I mean there are days when we are the best of friends. Those days are mainly days I have all day to dedicate to her having fun. It’s when we do make up and nails. Also mommy isn’t trying to clean or organize so we are just chilling the whole day. She knows these days and toward the end of these “good days” I can tell she senses my fear.

Because as they say, all good things must come to an end. And our good days sometimes end badly. Screaming, crying, and throwing things. It’s horrible and on those nights I cry. I get so upset at myself and I think I fall back into postpartum depression. Is that a thing? Can you still have postpartum depression with a 6 year old? I know it sounds insane, but my head goes back to those colic nights where we both cried ourselves to sleep. And look at us now! …Still crying ourselves to sleep.

Oh and the reasons this child hates me.

It can be any number of things. If I hugged, kissed or had a date night with daddy I’m automatically in the dog house. He is hers and I am just the person who birthed her. As she puts it, I didn’t give her life, God did. That little brat, right? Pulling the God card to trump my work. I am also banned from picking out her clothes or shoes. She does not like how I brush and style her hair. I know what you’re thinking: what a spoiled kid.

Because there are days when I compromise. We pick out outfits together. We decide on hairstyles and bed time is a little smoother because I want her to have choices with her fashion. She needs to learn why I do what I do with picking out clothes and hairstyles. I.E. I like my kid to match and for awhile lice was going around so braids were our go-to hairstyle. But after work, I’m tired and there’s still dinner to get ready, so some nights compromise just isn’t possible.

Sometimes she’s just gotta do what mama says.

I am the mom and I always will be the mom. Unless I am causing her physical harm, that little sass queen will wear what I say, when I say it. Shocker, I bet! She hates me because with all her fussing and fighting, I still won’t let her wear Uggs to summer camp. She isn’t allowed makeup outside of the house. And bedtime is when I say, not when she is ready. I don’t always win, though, and those are the worst nights.

Those are the night she hates me and I hate myself a little, too.

Because even when I “win” the act of fighting with her still makes me feel like I’m losing. I will cry myself to sleep. I have no regret in holding her to the rules – don’t get me wrong. She hates me? Oh well. That won’t make me cave. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt. (Not that I’ll ever let her see that.) It doesn’t always work out the way I think it should, it’s true. But she is alive, healthy, relatively well-mannered and most of all, she knows she is loved. I pray this is a phase and these fighting days days are numbered but honestly, next thing I know, she’ll be a teen and the struggle will start all over with a vengeance.

Oh boy. Can’t wait.

“The Talk”

I never really got “the talk.” I mean, not that I remember at least. I do recall hearing “Don’t let anyone touch you here or there.” But a sit down conversation about the birds and the bees? Not really. In hindsight, I may have been so traumatized that I just blocked it out completely. Either way, though, now it’s my turn to give it.

My son, my baby, my first born.

I could never have imagined Michael growing up and getting older. But we’re here now and he is the most gorgeous boy in all the land. He really is. Ugh! I am an obsessed mom, I know. But as cute as he is and as little I want it to happen, he is growing up. My baby is turning into a man and as his parent, it’s my duty to let him know what life has in store for him. Especially when it comes to sex.

By 14, I’m sure he’s heard a few things. Between movies, TV, and the internet there probably isn’t much he doesn’t already know. Or so you’d think. But the talk I want to have goes beyond S-E-X.

I want to talk to my son about consent, respect, and honesty.

I want to teach him that sex isn’t a bad word but a sacred one. I don’t want to scare my kids.

Lets be honest. In the right situation, time, and with the right person, sex can be amazing. I want him to know that all those things should factor into the decisions he makes, though. I want to explain that there are diseases, and that they all don’t have cures. How having sex with a girl can not only change his whole life but the life of someone else. A lot of people think that as a guy, its easy for him. No! That is the reason we have problems in society with regards to sex. Too often we force women to learn all these aspects and put the pressure is on them to keep safe, to say no, to find ways to not be seen or stand out, not to be “misinterpreted.”

But I have a son and a daughter. I want them to both go out into the world and know all the same things about sex and everything else life has to offer. I can not control everything they will do outside of this house. But as a mother of a growing man, I think it is my duty to teach him especially that no one is your property. You don’t have the right to grab a boob or ass cheek; even if it is hanging out.

I want him to know what that makes girls feel and how it can tear a woman down.

Because one day it could my daughter with a boob or a cheek hanging out. How would he feel feel if someone touched or spoke to his sister in a way he didn’t agree? He should (and does!) empathize with all people, and he doesn’t need to picture the person as his sister, but he’s 14. It’s easier for him to see the impact when you apply a big kind of concept (like consent) to someone he cares about.

I know it sounds harsh.

Making him consider the repercussions of actions can be a harsh look, I know. But I believe that being honest and open with him will make him a better man and father. That is all I could ever ask for.

 

 

 

Self-care for the next generation

A few weeks ago my friend’s daughter ran up to me in tears crying because she had fallen and her sister didn’t help her get up. I hugged her and told that it was OK and that people aren’t always going to help you get up. You have to pick yourself up sometimes. I wiped her tears and she ran back down to the playroom and it was all better. If only it were always that simple.

Here we are now and my own 5 yr old comes home upset because she tripped at camp and 3 of her friends ran right past her and didn’t help her up. I gave her the same speech I gave my friends daughter but my sassy queen wasn’t having it. She looked at me and said, “Well from now on, then when I see someone down I’m not helping them get up!”

I stopped and couldn’t even believe what I was hearing.

I got down to her level so she knew it was important (Pro-mom move) and I said “No we don’t do that. You will continue to help people who need help. Don’t ever give up helping others because you didn’t get helped.” She may have understood or  she may not have but she agreed and she skipped away.

I am still left bothered by both situations. Both girls thought someone needed to pick them up. But why? I didn’t raise my kid to think that she was entitled to people at her beckon call. Let me tell you, if you met my friend you would know she definitely didn’t raise her daughter that way either. Still, my question goes unanswered.

Why assume that someone has to help us up when we fall?

Now don’t get me wrong, if I see someone down I am the first one to offer a helping hand. I think anyone who sees someone down should help them back up, always. No matter the reason. But, if I fall I don’t ever expect for anyone to pick me up. Nor should you.

Life is full of so many messed up things and people. There will always be times when you will fall down; literally and figuratively. And when you are down, it’s OK to be down. Take your time getting up when you can. As long as you remember, that you don’t need anyone to get you up. It’s nice, of course, but you shouldn’t always depend on others to help you up – no matter the reason for the fall.

It’s almost as if people are keeping score of who did something nice and who didn’t.

Now don’t get me wrong, if somebody wrongs you, you have every right to stay away from that person. But we shouldn’t bring that into our other relationships, and human interactions. Being kind shouldn’t reflect on how many people have been kind to us. I don’t want my daughter, at 15 years old seeing some on the ground and walking right past them because she thinks, “Well that one time at summer camp my friends ran right past me.”

So many people give up on kindness to total strangers because of one (or several) bad experiences, fear of rejection or just plain laziness. And it’s not to say that everyone is deserving your kindness but we shouldn’t be so quick to give up on all of mankind. Your kindness is a reflection on you; not of how many times you’ve been neglected.

I want to raise my kids to be strong and independent and not need picked up by anyone.

I think most parents want that of their children. But I also want them to be kind and thoughtful. You can be a strong individual and still help other people. Maybe in their kindness, they can help others grown their own kindness.