Family Photography Sessions

It’s family picture season! After taking a little hiatus from photography to have two babies, I’m finally back at it! Since I’ve got so much to edit this week, though, today I’m just going to do a quick little post, mostly to brag about some of my favorite pictures from two recent family sessions. But also because maybe this will inspire people everywhere to go hire a photographer for a session of their own.

You might think that all you need right now is one decent self-timered picture for a Christmas card.  But just imagine your delight to have instead decided on a full session that produced 20+ professionally edited photos that give a much better depiction of what your family is actually like right now! (Not just the staring straight ahead, glazed eyes, fading smiles version of yourselves).

Just a thought. I know hiring a professional anything can be expensive, but the old saying “you get what you pay for” is still true. But if you ask around, you might just get lucky and find someone like me who thinks that affordability is of the utmost importance!

Okay, enough about that. Here are some of my favorite photos from two of the family sessions I did recently:

Burns Family:

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Flake Family:

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-Chrissy

(for more pictures or info, search “Chrissy Sloat Photography” on Facebook)

Letting Go

Traditionally, I have been a “pleaser.”  I like to make other people happy, and to put other people first, even if its something I dont want to do.  Its funny though because the word “pleaser” has a negative connotation, and yet the description doesnt sound so bad.  I will apologize for everything even when I didnt do anything (like ALMOST brushing by someone at the grocery store) and I also say thank you a lot, even just out of habit.  When a waitress is being rude, I try to be extra nice.  Partially because I dont want them to spit in my food, and partially because I want to make them happy.  Throughout my life there have been several people who this has really bothered about me.  I have been told to stop doing all of the above things for various reasons by various people.  They think it’s demeaning, or weak, or annoying, or not healthy, etc.  Whatever.  It particularly bothers businessy type women who think all girls need to demand what’s theirs and blah blah blah.  I love this:

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However, throughout my life, in trying to please people, I have realized that I cant always please people. No matter how hard you may try, or to what lengths you may go to, to watch others feelings, or be grateful, or thoughtful, or careful, people will be offended, hurt, etc.  Does this make it a bad thing to try in the first place?  No.  I dont think so anyway. I am always glad I tried, even if the person is super hurtful in return. I once received a hateful letter in the mail for a thank you note.  Im still glad I sent the note. Healing comes with time.  For both people.

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Something else I have learned though, is that you need to be able to let go.  This is particularly hard if it is family. I dont mean cut them off, hate them, etc.  I mean, let it go.  Love them, but from a distance.  Sometimes family, or friends, can be harmful to us.  I have been through this several times, and now as I watch someone near to me struggle with letting go, all these emotions have come flooding back.  Praying to be able to forgive, and feeling like it wont happen, and then having a little time go by and peace comes. I have found that time heals all wounds.  But for a pleaser like me, it is SO hard to let that time pass.  Anyway, this isnt what I was wanting to write about… but its what came out!

Happy Sabbath!

Stephie

Parenting Success!

I just realized today is Thursday and it’s my day to post so this will be kind of last-minute. Today is a chilly fall day here in Idaho and I’m currently huddled up under a blanket in the corner seat of the couch (we have one of those big comfy wrap-around couches –a sectional– so it has a corner seat that is my favorite spot) with my favorite little guy Eli, who has a blanket of his own and socks on his hands (don’t ask). He’s sitting so close to me he is practically on top of me but I don’t mind. He’s watching a show while Sophie naps and I relax a bit. We went on a walk around the neighborhood this chilly fall morning with some friends so it’s been a great day so far for them. They love to get out of the house, and if I have an adult buddy to talk to so do I.

None of that has anything to do with what I’m going to post about today, I just thought I’d share a little description of our day today for you all since it is such a nice, happy day over here.

What I want to write about today is a recent parenting success I’ve had. This parenting thing… well, it’s hard. There’s no one right or wrong way to do things, and even with each child things are different. You have to take so many things into account for so many different issues that come up along the way. I make mistakes. LOTS of them. Every day. I am learning every day how to be a better parent than I was the day before but sometimes I even go backwards for a while. Like I said, it’s hard. We all have those “backwards days” and trying moments/ongoing struggles. I in no way attribute my recent parenting success to my own cunning. I think it was partly a change in Elijah’s developmental growth, but mostly divine help. I also don’t think this will necessarily work for every child as they have different personalities and respond to different things. I am still learning what my kids respond to best.

So for the past several months I have struggled with Elijah’s bedtime. For the first while when he and Sophia started sharing a room it was difficult because Eli just wanted to play with Sophie instead of sleep. He would get out of bed, turn on the lights, and it became a real struggle getting them both to go to sleep at a decent time. After a while of struggling, and trying EVERYTHING, I just started putting him to bed first (him first because he doesn’t nap during the day like she does and also he is a much heavier sleeper so he won’t wake up when I put Sophie to bed later) and then bringing Sophia in once he’s asleep. Even so, it has still continued to be my biggest struggle with this child (it just doesn’t affect Sophie anymore). Sophie is typically fairly easy to put to bed. Even when she protests, her protests don’t last long and then she’s like “yeah, ok. I’m tired. Let’s go.” Eli will fight to the death, and not just with words. At even the mention of “bed” or even “let’s go upstairs” he would scream, run away, fight, kick, scream, fall on the floor, etc. I tried different things with him from putting him in the corner for that kind of behavior to “If you come upstairs nicely we’ll read TWO books,” or “Which pjs do you want to wear, YOU choose,” or “Let’s go get on pjs and then I’ll tickle your back for a while.” All have worked for a few days at most. Another one that works is offering a bath before bed (they both love baths) but I just can’t keep that up EVERY single night, especially because the struggle then turns into not wanting to get out of the bath so it doesn’t really solve the problem. Then there is the issue of staying in bed and I have literally sat outside his bedroom (or IN his bedroom) for longer than an hour putting him back in bed every time he gets out, every night for weeks. The problem with this is that it works but doesn’t last. Eventually he realizes I stopped waiting outside his door and he starts getting out of bed again. It also doesn’t work well because I have another child I need to take care of (and Alex is often not home yet) so sitting outside a bedroom door for an hour and a half is hard to do.

Because of this, his bedtimes have often ended in tears for him and near-tears for me. Reading stories will always go well and is enjoyable for both of us, but then when that’s over it’s back to the struggle. And at the end of the day, I am NOT at my best. I’m tired. I’m physically, mentally, and emotionaly spent. I’m ready to go to sleep myself. In other words, I’m just as cranky as he is. My patience is spent. I’m just… over it. I just want him in bed and to STAY THERE. I also just want him to go to sleep quickly so Sophia can go to sleep too.

I know I have prayed about it at some point, although I know I haven’t recently. I had just kind of given up and accepted this as my life now. But then, one day, a thought crept into my head… “what if, before bedtime I spend some time praising him for all the good choices he has made throughout the day and pointed out how he chooses to follow Jesus every day by these good choices he is making throughout the day?” (and there really are a lot of things to praise him for because he really is a very good boy, even if this post hasn’t made him sound that way so far). A few weeks ago we had a Family Home Evening about the pre-existence (before we came to earth) and it has really resonated within him. He really cares about choosing to follow Jesus (and NOT Lucifer! like he would say) and make good choices. He talks about following Jesus at some point every single day. By far it is the one Family Home Evening lesson that he has really stuck onto and seems to understand perfectly. So I figured, why not take what he has so quickly and easily recognized to be truth, and use it to make bedtime easier? I don’t think I thought of it on my own. I really think it was an answer to a prayer I offered up a loonnggg time ago. In fact, the idea to talk about the pre-existence for FHE was probably also a part of the answer to that prayer, which is probably why I felt a prompting to do that lesson in the first place. On top of this praising idea, I also offer him a treat (a few chocolate chips) the next day when he wakes up if he makes a good choice and goes to bed nicely (this at least gets him upstairs nicely so we can begin all that praising as I get him ready for bed)- this treat idea hasn’t worked until recently because he was just not old enough yet to respond to a treat so far in the future.

Now his bedtime routine consists of me announcing it’s time to get ready for bed and then quickly cutting the protests off by reminding him about his treat when he wakes up if he goes nicely without fighting me. As we go I start praising him, starting with what a good job he’s doing going to bed so nicely. He usually reminds me of a few as we go and then I remind him that making all those good choices is how he follows Jesus. I ask him if he wants to keep following Jesus and he always says “yes!” and then I remind him that Jesus wants him to obey his parents and go to sleep both because it is what his parents want him to do, and because it is good for his body to rest. I remind him that Jesus, and mommy and daddy, want him to be happy and for him to be well-rested and grow big and strong. We read a book or two, sometimes we talk and tickle and giggle, I help him with his prayer, and then when it’s time for me to leave the room we are both in a great mood and he is determined to show me (and Jesus) that he can make good choices so he stays in bed and is usually alseep within 10-15 minutes. The difference has been like night and day.

I’m grateful that we aren’t alone in having to make these parenting decisions. Our Father in Heaven knows each one of us, and our children, even better than we do. He knows how we think and what we respond best to. He knows Elijah and He knows what works for him. He also knows me and my capabities as a mom and He knows how to help me help him. He wants us all to succeed, we just have to ask for the help. And that help doesn’t always come right away, but He will always answer those prayers, in His own way, and His own time, when we are ready to recieve the help He is offering.

It has been a few weeks now and this new addition to the bedtime routine is proving to be divinely inspired. It has made a real difference in our home. Bedtime for Elijah has become 100% a joy from the beginning, to the end (the part where he stays in bed!). I’ve even started putting Sophie to bed at the same time as him and haven’t had very many issues. What makes me happiest, though, is that I know he is actively choosing the right every day and wants so earnestly to follow the Savior. What more could a mom want?

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-SJ

Half Marathon Recap – PR!

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PR is “runner talk” for “personal record”, which means that you finished in your fastest time ever for that distance. And I got one! Yay, good for me, right?! Well, since this was only my second race at this distance, I didn’t really have a whole lot to compete with. 

My first half marathon was in April and my time was 2:13:08 (10:09 per mile pace). I did pretty good at keeping up my long distance training going in the 6 months between that are and this one, and even built in some extra strength training to try to lose some extra fat (cuz who wants to lug around extra pounds while they run 13 miles). I stepped up the hill workouts and added “strides” (short little sprints at the end of my easy runs) and “cutdowns” (each mile is a little faster than the one before) to my program. Both of those help train your muscles to perform even when they’re tired. 

I did some research about heart rates and realized how important it is to actually do your “easy” pace when the training program tells you to.  Here’s my non-scientific description of what I mean: When you’re working your heart at the top of its ability, it’s just working to get the current job done and isn’t necessarily getting any better at doing its job. If you run at a slower pace and let your heart beat in that nice comfortable “training zone”, it’s actually exercising to get more efficient at pumping blood. So the next time you work it hard, it can perform better.  Those long, slow runs that seem inefficient are actually specifically designed to work out the most important race-day muscle. So, run sloooooow. Listen to a podcast and focus on your form while you run, and it won’t be so bad. 

I stressed a lot about what pace I should shoot for in this race. I knew that I eventually wanted to clock a half marathon in under 2 hours, and I would really love to do it sooner rather than later, since I like to space out my races so much. In the last race, I hadn’t really tried to push myself all too hard, and I wasn’t sure how my dumb old asthma lungs would react to me starting out too fast. In my training, I’d only ever done up to 4 or 5 miles at that 9:09 “race pace”, and I was always exhausted at the end. How could I do it for 13 miles?! 

I read some more stuff and just repeated this list to myself whenever doubt crept in:

1. On race day your muscles are rested, not fatigued like they are when you’re doing training runs. 

2. Your nutrition situation is always far better on race day.

3. You’re not as worried about injuring yourself.

4. The adrenaline kicks in and the cheering fans with motivational posters help speed you up.

Ultimately, I decided to follow this formula, using my recent magic mile time:

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Here’s a link to the website: http://www.jeffgalloway.com/training/magic-mile/

And I made a pace band, to help me know when to go what speed and to quickly check my progress during the race (and save all my mental energy for things other than math!)

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This website has a bunch of options for customizing your band based on the course elevation, your “strategy” and goal time: http://www.races2remember.com/PaceBandsInfo.php?sh=1

This was my timeline for nutrition:

2-3 days before: cut out soda (yikes!) and junk food (yikes again!), lots of water, swap complex carbs for simple carbs

15ish hours before race start time: carby dinner that always settles well

2 hours before: breakfast (bagel w/PB on it)

1 hour before: half of a clif bar

5 mins before: pouch of gu

During race: a swig of water every 2ish miles

45 minutes into race: 3 clif blocks (gummies)

1 hour 30 mins into race: 3 clif blocks (gummies)

After the race: whatever the eff I want!!!!!!! (But obviously IHOP)

Here’s my hand-crafted playlist for the race: (Slower songs towards the beginning, “cue” song to tell me its time to speed up, then my favorite, speed-inducing songs to finish it off.) 

Training HITS <– That’s where you can scope it out.

Here’s me and Cam at the starting line:

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The actual course for the race was fun!  It started just outside the Bricktown Ballpark and we ran to the boathouse district, then did 6 miles along the north side of the Oklahoma river, 6 miles back along the south side of the river, with a view of downtown and the Devon tower most of the way.  Then the route took us back downtown, down into the ballpark.  The course finished with us running around the outfield and the announcer cheered us on by name over the PA system. Then we crossed the finish line behind home plate and got to greet our cheering fans:

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And here’s how I did on my 2-hour goal:

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And all my mile splits:

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And the results:

Overall 66th out of 276

Females age 25-29: 5th out of 32

Here’s a link to all of the results: http://www.hitsrunning.com/oklahoma-city-ok-results

Since I beat my sub two hour half marathon goal, why not share my future running goals?  I don’t really know when or how these will be accomplished, and I don’t really care, because it’s always fun to have something more to work toward:

-run a full marathon (OKC Memorial in April, anyone?)

-place in a race (tiny, poorly attended races, here I come!)

-beat my 5k time (I’m not sure by how much yet. Nike+ says my fastest so far was: 26:20, so at least faster than that!)

I’ve got quite a few triathlon goals too, but I think I’d need a bike (and a training buddy) for those, so I’m pushing those back till a little later. For now, I’ll just enjoy having three rest days in a row and spend my gym time concocting a new training plan.

-Chrissy

Change

I’ve been thinking a lot about this word this past week. People say “change is a good thing” and “change brings growth” or people in yearbooks write “never change” (what dumb advice, who wants to be their middle school/high school self forever?) Also when I hear the word change I sing in my head the “if you change your mind” line of “Take A Chance on Me” but I sing Andy’s version when he is singing to Angela on The Office.

When I think of change, I mostly think of it pertaining to big things, like moving, changing jobs, having a baby, or losing someone close to you but sometimes we itch to have change in our lives and none of those things are happening. So we seek to change other things like rearranging furniture, changing what you have for breakfast or lunch everyday or taking a new route to work or the grocery store or the library. But what happens when you try those things but you still itch for change? That’s kind of where I have been sitting at.

This morning as I thought about change, I thought that maybe what I need to change is myself. I need to change my attitudes and my not so great habits. I need to be more of a doer and less of an observer. There are so many opportunities for growth all around me but I think I cling to certain circumstances that keep me in my comfort zone and prohibit me from changing. So, I’m going to try to change by getting out of my comfort zone and seizing the opportunities around me any way I can. I want to be a better mother, a better wife, a better neighbor, a better friend, and more in tune to the world and people around me. Any suggestions on things that have helped you break out of your comfort zone will be most welcome!

Oh and some pictures from this week because I love this boy!

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I love that he holds his blanket while he sleeps.

I love that he holds his blanket while he sleeps.

-Mandy

Create Your Own Sunshine

 

 

 

 

This week we had Young Women in Exellence, a night at our church that is all about celebrating the good things the girls (teenage) are doing as they work on their Personal Progress (a program our church has for them to work on bettering themselves and following the Savior). To learn more go to mormon.org.

The theme we chose was “Create Your Own Sunshine,” which was an idea we found on Pinterest by a Marci Coombs. We didn’t use any of her printables or anything else but the theme idea.

I was put in charge of decorations. As I was thinking of ways to bring “sunshine” into the room I thought, hey there are so many great quotes out there about letting in light shine and happiness. What if I make a bunch of signs with uplifting inspirational quotes and hang them all over the room so people are uplifted just by reading them. Then in our presidency meeting the thought came up: “What if we let the girls each take one of the signs home? They can just choose whichever one speaks to them the most and then there’s our little take-home thing for the night.”

Well I thought they turned out pretty cute. I designed them all myself and printed them out on thicker cardstock paper (most on white but I also did a few on yellow) and then I used twine and clothespins to hang them up along the wall. It made it easy for everyone to just take one at the end.

Well sometime during the evening, in a conversation with one of our Stake Young Women Presidency members she told me “You should put these up on Pinterest! Seriously! So people who are looking for something like this can benefit from it. People like me.”

So I thought about it and decided that will be my post today. I am just going to share these quotes with you and then pin some of them to pinterest from here so others can find them and use them if they wish. (for free of course)

***Disclaimer: I know full well that those who suffer from cinical depression have a harder time creating that happiness within themselves and often need professional help and/or medication to help them battle their illess. Saying “create your own sunshine” in no way is meant to discredit the real struggles they deal with as they try to bring happiness into their life.

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This one I actually drew a little pair of sunglasses on, at the bottom, with a sharpie. Obviously that isn’t on here because I did that by hand.

 

Letyourlightsoshinematt516

thefuture

thereissunshine

 

 

thislittlelight

youregoingtohavedarkmoments

 

 

 

develop deep beauty

 

don't live your life in despair healing comes I am in charge of how I feel

 

 

 

 

 

If you want to give light

 

life is perfect for none of us

 

 

our quest for light

 

scattersunshine The Lord is my Light themoreweincline there is no darkness

 

 

 

through our mortal eyes

 

 

Dumbledore

 

 

storms

 

we must trust in the Lord

 

With Christ darkness cannot succeed

 

 

-SJ

Things I Love About My House

We have been working hard at unpacking Flossie’s things and finding a home for them in our home so she can find joy on a daily basis when she sees her pretty things. In the process, much of our old stuff has been cleared out, making room for my home to breathe again. I just love this space I get to call home and the people I get to live with. I thought today I would share some of my favorite things about our home.

 

I love my church pew find from Craigs list.  Tim and I built the shelf with hooks above my treasure and I just love that it is in my entry way and I see it all the time!

I love my church pew find from Craigs list. Tim and I built the shelf with hooks above my treasure and I just love that it is in my entry way and I see it all the time! I don’t even mind that it often has things that need to be “dealt with”, waiting patiently for me.

My very big comfy sofa and chair in my living room.  People told me I was crazy to buy white furniture when I had 9 children at home, but these are from a company called Quatrine Washable furniture and are awesome!  Those heavy matelasse covers wash up wonderfully in my washer and the dryer puffs them up.  These were a gift from Tim to help coerce me to want to move to Florida from lovely rural Pennsylvania.

My very big comfy sofa and chair in my living room. People told me I was crazy to buy white furniture when I had 9 children at home, but these are from a company called Quatrine Washable furniture and are awesome! Those heavy matelasse covers wash up wonderfully in my washer and the dryer puffs them up. These were a gift from Tim to help coerce me to want to move to Florida from lovely rural Pennsylvania.

The gorgeous dining room table we inherited from Flossie. It is very old and holds many wonderful memories for Tim and his mom of family gatherings at holidays and special occasions.  I also love the pretty little white couch behind it, also from Flossie.  The little guy and his Legos are my very most favorite part of this room, today:).

The gorgeous dining room table we inherited from Flossie. It is very old and holds many wonderful memories for Tim and his mom of family gatherings at holidays and special occasions. I also love the pretty little white couch behind it, also from Flossie. The little guy and his Legos are my very most favorite part of this room, today:).

 

My incredibly open and light kitchen.  I don't mind that the island is probably too big, and that it is usually littered with evidence of our living, it is inviting and a happy place, mostly.  And when the girls are busy baking, it smells heavenly. Hey, Jenny!  When are you going to make those Oatmeal Cookies you keep promising?? Isn't she a great accessory to the island?  Love her.

My incredibly open and light kitchen. I don’t mind that the island is probably too big, and that it is usually littered with evidence of our living, it is inviting and a happy place, mostly. And when the girls are busy baking, it smells heavenly. Hey, Jenny! When are you going to make those Oatmeal Cookies you keep promising?? Isn’t she a great accessory to the island? Love her.

This sweet little gem from Flossie's family.  It is an original Hoosier cabinet that I have loved since the day I met Tim.  I feel so happy to have it in my home, it makes me happy.

This sweet little gem from Flossie’s family. It is an original Hoosier cabinet that I have loved since the day I met Tim. I feel so happy to have it in my home, it makes me happy.

 

My view, every. Single. Day.

My view, every. Single. Day. My stars just add a bit of whimsy. They are from Kurt Knudsen’s Etsy shop, I love my stained glass constellations!

The family room, complete with Sam, being Sam.  I love how open my kitchen and family room are with so much light.

The family room, complete with Sam, being Sam. I love how open my kitchen and family room are with so much light. I don’t even mind when the kitchen table has folded laundry waiting to be put away. One step closer than a pile of unfolded, which could be the case, some days.

 

A silly thing to share, but I love that I read and followed some of the advice in the book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.  My drawers and closet look so nice, thanks to a lot of purging and maintaining.  Sometimes, my dresser is piled with my folded things because I didn't want to take the time to put in the drawer properly, but today is a good day and all is tidy, so I will share. :)  You're welcome! HAHA

A silly thing to share, but I love that I read and followed some of the advice in the book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. My drawers and closet look so nice, thanks to a lot of purging and maintaining. Sometimes, my dresser is piled with my folded things because I didn’t want to take the time to put in the drawer properly, but today is a good day and all is tidy, so I will share. :) You’re welcome! HAHA

 

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I. LOVE. MY. BED. A few years ago we were in the market for a new mattress. We had been married 30 years, always bought a Sam’s Club full sized mattress for our neat old Pineapple bed from Tim’s moms youth. But, getting older, we were both waking up without a restful night’s sleep. We looked into and ended up buying a Tempurpedic. Other than me sleeping a little warmer, but that could be an age thing for me, this is the best bed. I sleep so good and the bed is so soft and just perfect!!

Tim and I have lived in several places, starting out in a little apartment in Laurel, Maryland, then on to a larger apartment, then we purchased a little townhouse, then we built a very functional home in Pennsylvania on an acre.  I have found that I can be happy wherever we are, so long as we are together, surrounded by those we love and for me, I do best if there is some level or order.  (the acceptable level of said order has varied over the years, but so long as I am ok with it, we’re good:).  I have always loved the sentiment shared in this old English song:

‘Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam,

Be it ever so humble there’s no place like home!

A chair from the skies seems to hallow us there,

Which seek through the world, is ne’er met with elsewhere:

Home! Home! sweet, sweet Home!

There’s no place like Home!

I hope you find joy in your home, too.

~Venita

Birth Photography!

I think that when most people think of birth photography they primarily imagine hippies, water births and downstairses.  Nothing against hippies or water births or downstairses, of course, but I’d like to assert that even us “regular people” can benefit from birth photography too!

But what about everyone seeing your downstairs, you ask? Your photographer doesn’t need to see anything that you don’t want him/her to photograph! It can be done in a way that captures all of the emotion of the experience, without any distractions.

Being present for the moment a human being is born is such a momentous occasion and seeing the images after the fact will instantly bring you right back to those intense emotions.  I think that’s what makes birth photography different from any other type of photo shoot.  There are very few occasions in life when we have our pictures taken at a moment of intense emotion.  Birth experiences are amazing to photograph because of that.  By the time the baby is born, most people in the room have become completely natural in front of the camera, so its easy to capture their true reactions.

I’ve shot two births in the past few months and I’d like to share some of my favorite photos from those.  A photo is worth a thousand words, right? So I don’t know what I’m doing all of this blabbing for!

For each of my clients, I like to do a video with their images set to music.  These capture the emotion of the whole experience so well, (and make everyone cry!).  They’re also a great way to share the experience of your baby’s birth with friends and relatives, without actually having them in the room.

Baby B Video: (Dad helps deliver the baby!)  https://www.facebook.com/chrissysloatphotography/videos/vb.857158834337654/857163361003868/?type=3&theater

Baby K Video: (Big Sis is SO sweet!) https://www.facebook.com/chrissysloatphotography/videos/vb.857158834337654/907540842632786/?type=3&theater

Here are some of my favorites from both of these shoots:

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(all images property of Chrissy Sloat Photography)

-Chrissy

Ramblings

This past week was a lot of fun. Charlie and I went up to my parents house and helped put on a bridal shower for my little sister. It turned out pretty and the food was delicious! We did brunch and had french toast casseroles, frittatas, a delicious pear arugula salad, bacon, fresh fruit, a divine nutella mousse, and all different juices.

 

 

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One of my roommates from college and good friends recently moved near my parents so on Friday I got to see her and her husband and cute little boy! It was so fun to see them and hopefully we’ll be seeing them a lot more in the future! We had a little birthday celebration for Charlie that night and he got more cake and ice cream and more presents. He is a lucky little boy.

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On Saturday Derek studied most of the day but then took some time in the evening to swim with Charlie and then took me out on a date for some ice cream and window shopping in one of my favorite places. We love going out with Charlie but it is nice every once in a while to go out somewhere on our own.

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On the 2 hour drive home from my parents’ Derek and I chatted about our future and our financial plans for our future. I love talking about our specific financial plans for the future because it makes our situation now seem unique and short which is always good to remember because we really want to enjoy this time as young parents of our one little boy. I know that some people may read that and think that we don’t know specifics and we don’t know what things may come up and we don’t but it’s always good to have a plan and then we will just readjust that plan as things come up. At one point towards the end of the conversation Derek said something like “well there’s my ten year plan! Or more like my life plan.” He’s a real planner :)

Now we are back home and I’m putting away some home goods I collected while I was at my parents’ house and I’m loving the new to me things. Well, that’s all that on my mind this morning, now back to laundry, dishes, and cleaning!

-Mandy

Cheeseball: Teaching our Children

Lately I have been thinking a lot about what I am teaching my kids.  I know that what I teach them indirectly will effect them way more that what I teach them directly, especially at this point in their little lives.  Brad and I made the decision last year to always watch every session of general conference as a family. (except relief society and priesthood of course) We talked about how when we were little, we didnt, and I think the main reason for that was that you had to actually GO to conference at the church, in sunday best, to watch.  That was far away, would take all day, not to mention mess with naps, etc.

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Before deciding this a year ago we would watch the sunday ones, and usually at least part of or one sunday session, but didnt worry about missing the other because we could always watch it later.  We started thinking about how our children, while they get very little of what the general authorities of the church are teaching, would grow up knowing that when prophets and apostles speak, we listen.  And we dont listen when it’s convenient, we listen now.  Last April was our first go at all 8 hours of family conference and it was crazy, and somewhat of a fight.  This time, we thought we would actually make it clearly something we were EXCITED for.  We made snacks and had coloring pictures and the kids could play but needed to do so quietly.

IMG_0339How did it go?  I had overwhelming feelings of love for my family, and my Savior, and the gospel.  I had prayers answered.  Anyway, it has inspired me to be even more aware of what I am teaching my kids indirectly.  I wish I could know how Heavenly Father saw me, because so much of the time I feel like Im just trotting along, trying to keep my nose above water, but never trying my best, and making sure I am having fun as I go.  I just think sometimes our inclination is to just do what our parents did, but since we have more available to us, our kids will learn differently about our priorities than we did.

On a different note, cheeseball.  (this applies because we made it for conferfence haha) This cheeseball is a family favorite.  Everyone in my Dimmick family has always loved cheeseballs but I never liked the ones from the store.  They were too strong for me.  I had this one at an office party once and loved it and have changed it over time. I can never find the recipe and so its all from memory.  Here it is!

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Cheeseball

1 can crushed pineapple in juice

1 bag of finely shredded colby jack or cheddar cheese (the 4 cup size)

1 block of cream cheese- softened if you have time and remember!

handful of parsley cut up or 1  1/2ish teaspoons dried parsley if you are lazy

chopped walnuts or pecans

1) get a clean cloth and squeeze almost all the juices out of the pineapple, dunp in bowl.

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2) dump all other ingredients EXCEPT NUTS! into the bowl.

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3) mix thoroughly with hands and form a ball.

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4) roll the ball in the nuts.

5) place on pedestal where it belongs.  Refrigerate until you are ready to eat! Kids love it with Ritz crackers.

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FEELING FANCY? add chopped bacon and green onions to your mix! MMMMM.