2.19.2015

portraits of roman.

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My blog has been a little Asher heavy lately. It's natural because Asher is three and at an overall easier to photograph stage.  Roman, who is seven now, is going through a trying-to-be-funny in every photo stage. I mean, I can't blame him - he is a kid after all. As far as photographer-moms go, I'm pretty relaxed about the camera. I don't always have it and I'm very particular about when I bust it out. I try to read my kids and I try not to push it. I just couldn't handle being someone who always takes pictures, it would stress me out. In fact, I definitely need to relax a little more in this regard. I need to let the camera be a little more a part of me, a little more convenient.
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My passion is definitely photographing my children. I enjoy it more than photographing anything in the world. The pictures that I take of them are, of course, so meaningful, a part of me. I also love the laid back feel of photographing my children as opposed to "other people". Don't get me wrong, I enjoy photographing others - but it's more set up, it's a job. Photographing my boys is the purest way to make a photograph for me. They are themselves, I'm truly in the background, recording them as they are.
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But of course, it's not always just happening in front of me eyes. As many other mother/photographers know, there is that struggle of "oh, oh wait, wait wait, stand over here! smile! can i take one more? can you just do this-this-or that?" I know this is frustrating for kids. It is. It's certainly a lesson in patience because I love photography, I love photographing them, and ideas are going through my head and there are those moments I just want them to cooperate. Which of course, are the moments when they want nothing to do with it.
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Even though it can be frustrating, I think the fact that children don't always want to cooperate adds to what is so wonderful about photographing them. Any adult can model and pose and do exactly what you want in front of the camera. Of course there is also an added awkwardness + insecurity that adults feel when having their picture taken. But with kids, it's more pure and real. Yesterday, while we were taking some FabKids photos, Roman was goofing off a little of course but he also, knowing how much it would mean to me, looked into my camera with these wonderful little faces and I couldn't be happier how they turned out. Because, truly, even though these photos were directed in a way and didn't just happen, this is the boys he is - the absolute sweetest boy and these are the smiles he gives me after I say no and he knows that I'll give in, and it's way he looks in the last moments of night when I tuck the blanket up by his face and whisper, "You are the sweetest, sweetest boy," and he says, "thanks mom."


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These pictures were certainly worth the wait. :)
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2.17.2015

happy thoughts.

sharing some happy thoughts today:
  IMG_1296baby hair + sunshine

IMG_0860 i love this photo from the fall that i never shared: my boys <3

IMG_1174IMG_1153 photos from around the town.

IMG_0960IMG_0964 cloud pictures never get old to me, seriously. so cliche - but always good in my book.

IMG_1953 out-take of romey - but look how sweet he looks here?? 

IMG_4166 playtime in the morning sun.

IMG_3938 new moccasins from forever21 ( clearance $8.99! )IMG_4179-2 valentine flowers from aaron.

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sweet notes from my namaw in ohio - missing that lady something fierce right now.
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( other happy thoughts posts: here )

2.16.2015

beauty things / skincare.

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     I have a secret love for beauty products. I find shopping for little things like face wash + makeup so enjoyable and I love browsing the beauty aisles to pick out a new product to try. I go through phases of binging through beauty blogs / vlogs and I love seeing what others are doing in their everyday routines. I thought it would be fun to start sharing my opinion of the things I try since I love when other bloggers share about everyday drugstore products and I feel like it's hard to find honest reviews of products that aren't all high end! Are any of my readers closet beauty fiends as well?
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    This post is about a few skincare products that I've been using lately. This year has definitely been one of the worst years for my skin!  I've never had any terrible skin concerns but I do struggle with on and off breakouts. My stress level has been at an all time high and in turn my eating habits have been horrible. I am sure that those two factors are playing an added part in breakouts for me. I can't say that I've had any ultimate success with a skincare routine but I like knowing that I'm taking care of my skin regardless!
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1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5  // 6
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1 // Julep Bare Face Cleansing Oil - My sister-in-law is an avid couponer and she sent me home in December with a huge bag of beauty products from her stash which was so awesome! I was excited to try this product after being inspired by the whole Korean Skincare Routine ( here's the post that got me interested ) which believes in cleansing your face with more than one product. At night I've been removing my makeup with this oil and then following up with a cream cleanser as well. In the past I've tried removing makeup with coconut oil and it had a negative impact on my skin, but this product which using rosehip seed oil, has been fine for me. ( Maybe because it isn't just straight oil? )

2 // Clean & Clear Deep Action Cream Cleanser - I think I bought this at Rite Aid along with the Biore cleanser because I just wanted to try a couple new face washes maybe hoping to find something amazing? This stuff is "minty" feeling which bothered me at first but I got used to it. I didn't have any problems with this cleanser, just a basic run of the mill face wash.

3 // Clean & Clear Foaming Facial Cleanser - Previously whenever I was breaking out I'd buy a face wash with salicylic acid as the main ingredient but it always just dried up my skin. This product was a game changer for me because after trying it at my sisters house and loving how it felt on my skin I realized I needed to branch out from the salicylic acid idea in face washes.

4 // Biore Deep Pore Charcoal Cleanser - I kept hearing about the trend of charcoal in face washes and I have to admit; I loved the idea of charcoal magically pulling out impurities in the skin! Doesn't it sound amazing? This face wash also has a minty feel. I'm down to the last of this bottle and it's worked just fine as a cleanser but honestly I'm not feeling any magical pore-clearing-charcoal-action going on. It just feels like a normal face wash to me.

5 // Aloe Vera  - I love using aloe vera on my face and have done it for years. I've always been drawn to natural products and slathering aloe vera on my face gives me this feeling that my face is sucking in moisture and vitamins. After doing a little research, I've come across lots of cool facts about using aloe vera on your skin to treat wrinkles, to moisturize, to heal acne scars etc! I'm definitely onto something here but I would like to find an aloe without any added color! It annoys me that they even add green dye to this - why??

6 // Yes to Carrots Daily Facial Moisturizer - I haven't had a moisturizer with SPF in it for a while even though I feel like wearing sun-screen everyday is so important, so I picked this up at Wal-greens to remedy that. I chose the Yes to Carrots brand because I wanted something more natural if I was going to be putting it all over my face everyday. Honestly when I first put this on, the small bothered me A LOT. It smelled like ... well, carrots maybe? The smell doesn't bother me now, so maybe it was just unexpected at first? Like a lot of all-natural sunscreens this stuff is kind of thick, it doesn't smooth on as well as some lotions but it isn't too bad and it hasn't caused me to break out or had any negative side effects. I do wish it had a stronger SPF than 15 though, I'm going to look for a stronger SPF in a product next time.
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     So please, share - which skincare products have you had success with?? Any advice for a girl struggling with breakouts? Gimme every tip you've got in the comments!
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2.11.2015

3.

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The other day I had a revelation that 3 is the absolute, perfect age. Then, I kind of freaked out because I realized that Asher will be 4 this summer. I mean I will have a 4 and 7 year old. I can't believe that I will be a mom of two little boys. Where did my babies go?
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I settled down after realizing that Asher's 3rd year is only halfway up. He is still very much my baby. He is still so little and sweet and cuddly.  He plays with my hair ( his hair, he says, it's his ) and needs me in the most baby of ways. He is learning so much and doing all the hilarious wonderful 3 year old things. He loves when I tell him how awesome and wonderful he is - he lights up. He brings me a pillow and says, "I wanted to do something nice for you Mommy!" He runs around the playground but stops to yell out, "Mommy..... I love you!"
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I still have half a year of 3 and I might need to have more babies one day, so that I can get a chance to do 3 again.
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2.10.2015

mountain drive.

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     I snapped these photos the other day when we took a little drive through the foothills behind our house. One thing that I love about taking photography classes is that since I am a horrible procrastinator, it forces me to have these, "crap I need photos for tomorrow," moments where I do things that I wouldn't normally do such as take quick photos of the mountains through a dirty windshield or of the sunset through blinds in my bedroom. Then later I'm like oh wow, I like those! I love the feeling I get looking at these photos, it's the feeling I truly get when I'm in the mountains as well - peace and freedom and happiness, a breath of fresh air and a reminder of true everlasting beauty. <3
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2.05.2015

cord blood banking / lifebankUSA.



( Asher, a few days old )
     I'm partnering with LifeBankUSA on my blog again today to share a little bit about cord blood banking and to tell you about another great giveaway they are hosting!
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     The right to make choices as a parent is an issue that is heavy on my heart lately with all the talk about vaccination in the mediaWe are lucky to live in a world where as parents we have the freedom to make many choices. One thing I have learned though is that this freedom of choice doesn't come without an uphill battle. I will tell you from experience that whatever choice you make as a parent, someone will have a problem with it and someone will tell you all about it - especially if you go against what society is comfortable with. At the end of the day, no parent is perfect and we all have to make the choices that are best for us and for our family.
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Cord blood banking is a relatively new choice that we have the option of at the birth of our children. LifeBankUSA is a private cord blood banking company and they are also one of few companies that offers placental tissue banking as well. Collecting and storing stem cells from a newborn's umbilical cord and from the placenta at birth could one day be used to treat serious illness in your child or a family member!
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     Private stem cell banking is a little pricy but LifeBankUSA offers a lot of payment plans to help out. Financially, cord blood banking was not feasible for us when our babies were born. With Asher, I planned to not cut his umbilical cord immediately following his birth which would have additionally cut out cord blood banking as an option for us. However, his cord did end up being cut fairly quickly because of complications that required a NICU stay so looking back I wish I would have at least donated both of my babies cord blood. The science of using stem cells from birth to treat illness later in life is absolutely fascinating to me. I definitely recommend doing a little research into cord blood and placental tissue banking if you are expecting!
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LifeBankUSA is currently giving away 3 Uniden Lullaboo Video Baby Moniters (valued at $105 each!) on Facebook! So seriously, go check it out and while you're at it head over to their website and educate yourself a little bit on the latest in cord blood and placenta tissue banking!
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Did you chose cord blood banking for your children? Have you received any negative feedback because of choices you've made as a parent? I'd love to hear your stories in the comments below!
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Also, when Asher was born our midwife noticed that he had his toes wrapped around his umbilical cord and encouraged Aaron to take a photo - such a sweet and special moment! <3
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I was compensated for this post; thanks for supporting my family by reading!



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