Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Mommy's in the Frame

As a child I remember that my mom hated having her photo taken...if we're being honest, she still does! But I can distinctly remember her saying to my dad, "Don't get me in it", whenever the camera came out. And now, as an adult looking back at my childhood photos, my favorites pictures are the ones with her in them, be they few and far between. Of course, losing my dad this past year has made us cling to the photos we have of him as well. But since he was such a ham, there is no shortage there...something we are all so grateful for. But these juxtaposed scenarios have made me really understand the importance of photos and of being IN them, whether you want to or not...

Since I can remember, I've always felt the need to document life. Be it journaling or taking pictures, I could never get enough. Even in high school and college, I was the one with the disposable (and then the shoe-box sized "first digital") camera in my purse at every party and event. Once I had my girls and got my first nice DSLR not only did my love for photography grow, but so did my list of personal insecurities: "I didn't lose the baby weight yet", "I haven't had time to do my hair", "I don't have on any make-up", "I'm wearing yoga pants with baby food stains on them!!"...I can literally still hear the endless excuses that came out of my mouth. Probably because I still use most of them! Ha!

Anyways, I make a "yearbook" photo album every year for our family and this year I looked back on some of the older books and noticed a very glaring theme: every year since Quinlin's birth my presence in the family yearbook has decreased. But then again, the pictures I usually saw of myself in those years made me cringe or start picking myself apart anyways, so I didn't care much that there were only a few to flip quickly past.  Until recently...

 When making the album for this past year, I actually became sad to see how few times I was present in my family's happy memories. 
Everyone playing on a beach, baby puking on Daddy's shoulder, Aunties and Uncles giving presents and hugs, grandparents stealing kisses and reading books...but where was I? 
 I've spent so much time snapping away during important moments or life events, only to look back at my pictures and feel as if I wasn't even there. And if I feel that way, what will my girls think one day when they look back?  

And so, here I am- making an effort to get myself in the frame, insecurities and all. Because I'm not perfect and I'm sure my mom felt the same things I feel now, yet when I look at old photos of her, I don't see her imperfections or self-doubt, I see happiness and I see reminders of amazing memories. (OK, fine, I see some sweet 80's fashion too, but come on...that's all the more reason to love them!)

I'm going to attempt to do this once a month, but I'm also going to make an effort to hand the camera to someone else for a few shots every once in a while, and to not yell at my husband when he tries to take pictures with me in them. Because, I WAS there too, dang it!  Shoot, I probably planned and orchestrated whatever was going on anyways, so why not be a part of the memories just like everyone else. ;)

This is for you, my girls... 
And this is because of you, Mom.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Apr├Ęs Dance

Most children are tired after an hour long dance class. 
Not mine.
It seems that after a day at school followed by play time with her sister, dance class is just the warm up session.
She comes home from dance ready to par-tay! She also just happens to know that her mommy is a sucker for the light in this room...meaning she can get away with pretty much anything, like jumping on this freshly made bed. 
And, hey, if she can have a little fun, so can I.
Dinner can wait..I mean, didn't I just feed them lunch anyways?

Monday, February 8, 2016

Daddy-Daughter Dance

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


So, I don't camp. I'm not a camper. I don't enjoy it, never have.

For one thing- I don't really enjoy most critters and the thought of them near me while I sleep kick-starts my anxiety and sends it into overdrive. Here's the thing- I'd be down to find a beautiful spot by some water, throw some pebbles, hike a bit, let the kids splash around barefoot and enjoy nature and whatnot (aka go to a beach). But then I want to go home. And shower. And close my door to the critters and crawl into my bed...where I am fairly certain I'm the only one doing any "crawling".
Don't get me wrong- I love seeing pictures and hearing stories of people who are pretty fabulous pro-campers and sometimes I wish I could be those people instead of being my control-freak self. But here's the thing- I can't. 
I'm getting itchy just thinking about it, so let's move on.

Unfortunately for me, Quinlin has been "ah-sessed" with the idea of camping ever since Princess Sophia the First and her royal troop of Buttercups went off on a camping adventure to collect sparkle rocks and sleep in tents that pop into mini-castles. I wasn't quite sure how to convince her that this {although it may possibly get even Mommy to go camping} is not reality. So I did the next best thing: I created a little glamp-out, right here in the comfort of my studio.
On Christmas morning the girls came downstairs and just about exploded. We ate real marshmallows (cooked over the fire and then carried in), read stories in the tent, had picnic lunches, and even turned on our star machine and played shadow puppets on the walls at night. 
I mean, not to brag or anything, buuut we've been glamping on-and-off for about a month now. Yep, a full month. And guess what? 
Not one spider was spotted. 

But now I need my studio back for an upcoming shoot so it's time for the campground to get rolled up and stored away until another time when we are feeling a little outdoorsy again. ;)

Am I robbing my girls of a classic childhood experience? Probably. But I'm pretty sure they'll eventually make it out into the great outdoors for a night of real-deal "stories around a smokey fire, curl up in a sleeping bag" type thing. It'll happen.
You know, when I make their Dad bring them.

(links below)

Tent, Cloud Pillow, Camp Fire Plush Set: Land of Nod
Pillows, Hide Rug, Green shag rug: Ikea
(Bug-Free)Forest Tapestry: Urban Outfitters

Monday, January 25, 2016


So yesterday was Butterfly Release Day. We've been growing these little guys for about a month now and Q has been anticipating this day with equal parts excitement and dread. 
A little backstory:
My mom gave the girls this butterfly garden for Christmas along with a cup of live caterpillars that were no bigger than my thumb nail when they arrived. I made an exception to my "no creepy crawlers indoors" rule and let them set up shop right smack dab in the middle of our living room. I'm not going to lie, I was pretty surprised by how awesome the whole experience was for us all, and how invested we became in these fuzzy little bugs. I even bought Quin a little Nat Geo kids book on butterflies and I swear to you, she read it daily, asking a million questions along the way. We had one little runt 'pillar who struggled every step of the way and even formed his chrysalis days after the rest of his pals. We were pretty sure he wasn't going to make it, but a chrysalis he did make, and lo-and-behold, a few days after his pals, out he came as a butterfly with his crumpled little wings. 
I wish I could say that I wasn't nearly as excited about a slimy bug hatching out of it's cocoon as I was- but I'd be lying. It was pretty cool, ok?
So when the weather was suitable, we took our "flyers" (as Ardyn called them) out to the front yard. Quin took them out one at a time, the more advanced butterflies zipping right out of the tent before we had a chance to handle them. Out they went: Tiana, Mulan, Pocahontas, and Aurora. We thought we were all finished with the release, and I even starting dumping out the leaves and flowers at the bottom of the tent when I uncovered our favorite little runt, Rapunzel hanging out on the bottom. Q lifted Rapunzel out of the tent and they fully bonded for a few fleeting seconds. She rested on Q's finger and even sat on her nose for a quick moment. Again, I questioned whether or not this straggler was cut out for the real world- but then off 'Punzel went. Q watched her go and then proceeded to have a full blown melt down. She cried for a long time saying how much she was going to miss her "Princess Butterflies". Poor Gal.
I'm pretty happy to have a bug-free living room once again...
but I guess it wouldn't hurt to start planning a springtime butterfly garden. For the girls, of course. ;)

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Q's Room

Well,  it's been about a year since we've moved into this house, and I finally feel like Q's room is finished. As Ardyn would say in her best pseudo-enthusiastic, monotone voice, "Ta-Daaa!"
Ok, let me start by saying that I LOVED Q's bedroom in the old house. There was just something about it. Maybe it was because I can still remember watching Ryan paint the walls when we first found out we were having a girl, maybe it was the set up of the room: the bed nook and the sweet alcoves, or maybe it was the blood, sweat and tears we (ok, Ryan) put into the precious wainscoting around her walls. I'm not sure what tied me to that room, but I found myself struggling with "loving" her room as much in this new house.
 I knew I had to make "loving it" my mission.  It's taken me the better part of this year, but it finally  feels like "home". 
So, here's (what I think is) the pretty-much finished product.  I still think some beadboard or an accent wall of amazing wallpaper would be the icing on the cake, but that's just me. I like to think that a room, like a house, is never really finished, but rather- always evolving. 
(My husband loves this theory.) ;)

I'm kind of a sucker for fresh flowers in the house. Quin recently picked up on my little obsession, insisting on grabbing some pink (her fav color- if you haven't guessed yet) flowers from the grocery store one day. She loves being all dramatic and princess-y about them and I love the way they look- so it's a win-win I suppose. Ok, if I'm being honest, it's a total pain in the butt to keep up with and I'm about one Hobby Lobby trip away from throwing some fake ones in there. We can pretend, right?

I also keep this basket on her dresser of our current favorite bedtime books. We buy books in bulk around here, so the contents of this basket is always changing. (But for the record: Gaston for the win!) I also keep her framed silhouette on her dresser. We get one cut every year from the fabulous Karl Johnson and I absolutely love seeing how different it comes out each year. You know, in a love-hate/stop-growing kind of way. He travels around the country and he's the Real Deal, you guys. You should probably check him out! ;)

Up here, out of Baby 'Zilla's reach, is also where we keep Q's bowl of "Ariel treasures". She has started collecting seashells and rocks from our travels and she probably dumps this bowl out and sorts through them on a weekly, if not daily, basis. Her favorite is this black heart-shaped rock that her Papa found for her in Hawaii. She says it gives her magical powers. Go on with your bad self, Q.

(Sidebar: pink baby cowboy boots. 
That is all. Keep Scrolling.)
 Ok, so this nook is one of the girls' favorite places to play, aside from the playroom. I found this adorable dollhouse on clearance at Pottery Barn. It was actually the last of its kind and was a display item so I got a double discount! [I made sure to make a big deal to the hubs about how much I saved so that he wouldn't notice I also bought some (zero % discounted) bedding as well!]
Right, back to the dollhouse. I struggled a bit finding dolls that would fit inside this little gem, but then I discovered the cutest invention on the planet: peg dolls. I found this set of princess pegs on etsy. They were "ready to ship" (perfect for my impatient self) and on sale. Have I mentioned I'm a sucker for sales?...and also, not sales.
 OK, fine, I'm just a sucker. 
Too. Much. Cute. Stuff!
  See that piece of artwork resting on top of the bookshelf down there? Here's a funny story:
Ryan and I were walking around an antique store one day when I was pregnant and I saw this piece. It's a white out design over an antique painting of a beach. You can barely make out the waves under that stenciled out design. LOVE! Anyways, I saw this and bought it as my "inspiration" for my then-unborn babe's room. It's the only piece in her room that has been there since day 1. I'm still obsessed with it and I will force it into her college dorm room one day. Love ya, Quinnie! ;)

Let's talk about this unicorn for a second.  Isn't it the cutest? Princess Drama is "Ah-sessed" with it. But the best part is that it's actually a speaker! You plug your ipod into the front pocket and it acts as a little music player. Perfect for nighttime lullabies, or daytime play-tunes. Thanks again, Money Pit, I mean- Pottery Barn.

This bookshelf is actually the key to keeping this room remotely/occasionally clean and organized. We keep all of her bedroom toys and books in those three baskets. Easy access, easy clean up. My fav.
 I can't even with this little reading nook and if my rear end would fit into that miniature chair, you better believe I'd be hanging out there all day with my kindle. You know, when I wasn't mothering and all that.

And there you have it. I think she likes it as much as I do, which is marginally important, right?

Sweet dreams, Q.
Wanna switch rooms with Mommy?

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Leapin' Lizards

No, we're not keeping it.

© JJM Photography