Thursday, August 16, 2012

Date night

Since the very first week of our marriage (9 years ago as of last week) Ben and I have shared a date night once a week. Adjustments have been made over the years as our family has changed from just him and me to Ben and Mary + 4 but in all of these years I think we have only missed 5 total. At this point we've fallen into a movie/sit-down-meal rotation. So every other week I make pizza or fried chicken or wings (something junk foodish) and we tuck the kids into an early bed routine with books and cds to listen to and we have supper while watching a movie. The other nights we have a sit down meal which usually requires a bit more prep on my part. During this time the kids are allowed to watch a movie while we enjoy a quiet dinner with just each other. I find that every week I look forward to our date night and it helps me manage the chaos of the other 6 days and evenings when we seem to barely get a word in to each other before drifting off into a coma like state only to hit the ground running the next morning.

Our last date night was combined with an anniversary celebration so I made these which have been termed heaven-on-a-plate.

For those of you who know me you know that I don't particularly enjoy cooking so it was pretty amazing that I attempted these. They were absolutely delicious!!

For junk food nights one of our favorite things to have is wings. If you are a fan of wings (especially spicy ones) you have to try this recipe. I have adjusted it, added more spices, and every time we devour them in complete happiness.

I start with Meryln's Seasoning Mix.  With this mix I sometimes add more red pepper, cajun seasoning, or dry mustard or really anything that I feel like at the time. I store this mix in a glass jar. When I am ready to make the wings I take
1/3 cup of the spice mixture and 
add it to 1 cup of whatever buffalo or hot sauce that I have at the time.  

I mix this up thoroughly and pour it over the wings and then let the wings marinate in this spicy goodness overnight. The key to making perfect wings (while baking them at least..I've only attempted frying once and we both thought we were going to have a heart attack that night) is to bake them longer than necessary. I know that this goes against most of you tried and true cooks out there who are very aware that with chicken you normally do NOT want to overcook it. Wings are a different matter. I have found that if wings aren't cooked long enough they tend to taste fatty and are too juicy. Wings are meant to be dipped in dressing, a bit crispy on the outside but they are not as delicious if they are still fatty or too juicy.

Once I am ready to cook these tiny morsels of sauce and spice I place them on a foil lined cookie sheet (mine has holes in the bottom), 
turn my oven to 425 F and cook them for 30 minutes. 
For the last 10 minutes of this cooking time I set the oven to broil but leave them on the lower rack and let them broil until they are starting to crisp on the top. 
Then I take the pan out, turn them over, put more sauce (the sauce/spice mixture left over from the marinade) on the newly exposed side, and cook them for another 20-25 minutes. 
When this is done it is now time to broil them until they reach crispy perfection (about 8-10 minutes in my oven). 
I look to see if they are mostly dry on the outside and the juices on the foil and mostly cooked off. Then I serve these babies up with plenty of dipping sauce..and celery of course.

(Just so I'm being completely honest, this is not a photo of my wings but one I found online because I haven't taken a picture of my wings. One of these days I will post pictures of the entire process in a pioneer woman sort of way)

As you can see our date nights are not necessarily about health. It is also the only time during the week that we enjoy dessert. It is a wonderful and relaxing time for both of us.
I would love to hear what you do for your date night and what recipes I can add to our date night repertoire.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Let the summer reading programs begin!

Most of you are probably way ahead of me in the summer reading program game. I'm blaming our vacation at the beginning of June as the reason we are just now getting started.  If you are anything like me you might be interested to know that there are a lot of summer reading programs available which offer some great prizes. Here are a few I've found. I would love to find out if there are some I'm missing!

  • The local library--this seems pretty obvious but still it's the only place we've participated in a reading program up until now.
  • Barnes and Noble--You just print out the reading journal template and once you have completed it you get to go into Barnes and Noble for a free book!
  • Pottery Barn--You can use the list of books from Pottery Barn to complete both this reading program and the one at Barnes and Noble. If you have a Pottery Barn store near you this would be an excellent one to participate in!
  • Half Price Books--If your child reads 600 minutes in June and July and he will get a $5 gift card!
In addition to all that brain exercise if you need a cool place to go with the kids and some time away Regal Cinemas offers a great summer movie getaway. The movies are every Tuesday and Wednesday morning at 10 am and are only $1 per person! 

Just a few things to get us all started and excited about the summer. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Real food for baby

You would think by the time my fourth child was born I would be a pro at all this baby stuff but sometimes I feel like instead of progressing I have completely forgotten everything. When Eliza was nearing solid food age I was determined to try to hold her off and start her a bit later then my general MO which, for the boys, was always around 5 1/2 months. However, as with all of them, my resistance was worn thin when just at 6 months she was insatiable! I was nursing her every 2 hours and she still didn't seem to be getting enough. I even started taking milk thistle capules (which seemed to greatly increase my milk production) but she was still ravenous.
Before giving in and plopping a jar of tasteless cereal in front of her I followed my sister-in-law's recommendation and got my hands on the book Real Food for Mother and Baby. After tearing into this myself it is hard to resist the urge to buy a copy for every new mother. This is an excellent book!

Although she deals with nutrition from pre-conception all the way to baby's first foods I was mosty focused on the latter and it reinforced what my instincts were telling me regarding my new eater's nutritional needs. No longer did I feel somewhat guilty about adding salt and flavor to my baby's first foods or feel somehow bound to start with bland rice cereal that offers no real nutrition.

 I did go somewhat against Nina Planck's advice, and I pureed (and still do) all her food before I served it to her. Eliza has an extremely sesitive gag reflex and doesn't manage chuncks well.

 Here are some of Eliza's first purees:

 The yolk of 1 farm fresh egg
A little bit of fish oil (ideally cod liver oil)
1 mashed banana


 Roasted butternut squash
Chicken broth (homemade from a free range chicken)
Vegetable of choice (usually whatever we had for supper)


 Roast beef
Mashed potatoes
Beef stock


Sweet potatoes
Homemade Chicken stock (from an free range chicken) 

Nina gives several other recommendations but mostly her point is to give your baby the foods you are eating (with the assumption that you are eating real food as well). 
Farm fresh egg yolks contain an amazing amount of DHA and so many other wonderful brain-building nutrients. Fish oils and cod liver oils do the same. 
Nina also recommends salmon roe which I'm sure is a storehouse of omega 3's but I have yet to be able to afford such luxuries. I do have my sister and brother-in-law to thank for their efforts in providing us and the community with farm fresh eggs and free range chicken. It wasn't until I was feeding Eliza food that I really appreciated all the nutrients we have been blessed with by consuming these vitamin rich foods.

I would love to hear more purée ideas from any of you out there and I highly recommend the book to anyone whether you are feeding a baby or not.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


I have to admit that my husband and I are both very practical and mostly countercultural. If someone tells me I must do something or observe something I often find that I want to do exactly the opposite. This is true in so many areas but one of those areas is societal holidays. Of course we dive into Christmas with the best of them and I devour as much Easter candy as possible before Easter comes and goes (I'm not sure if that counts as celebrating but to me eating candy is always cause for celebration). Most of the other holidays, however, go unnoticed. A few years ago we decided to stop doing things for Valentine's Day. That might be grounds for divorce with some couples but for us it just didn't make sense for many reasons (all of them very practical) and we both agreed that we should not feel bound to do something just because someone else decided it was the thing everyone "had" to do.
All that brings me to Mother's Day. This too has been a holiday that we have not usually done a lot for. We do celebrate my mother-in-law with a Sunday lunch that the women of the family participate in assembling. I also try to give my mom a little something (although this year I completely dropped the ball on that one). In one sense, it's another one of those, "Why do we let society determine when we tell our mother's we love them? Isn't all of this driven by card companies anyway?" Even with those thoughts running through my mind I couldn't help being a bit more reflective this year.
It most likely had to do with the fact that for the past month or so I have been struggling with the job I have been given. This frustration came on gradually but peaked one Saturday evening after an incredibly busy day and week, I found myself screaming internally, "Why do I have to mop the floors right now! All I want to do is take my shower and have a few minutes of quiet before I crash into bed but instead I'm mopping the floors!!!" That germ of discontentment grew quickly into a full fledged virus and those poisonous thoughts soon skewed my whole perspective. I began to think my husband's life was luxurious and mine was only constant pain and turmoil. Soon I had conjured up this image of him skipping off to a glorious job where he receive acclamations all day about what a wonderful job he does while I toil at home to feed and educate HIS kids, clean HIS house, buy HIS food, fix HIS get the idea.
It all seems so ridiculous as I look back now (he certianly doesn't skip off to work and rarely receives near the amount of praise for his work that he deserves).  I finally had a long talk with him and poured out all of these thoughts. He quickly pulled me back into reality (a reality of which I knew but was choosing to ignore). We are a team and together we strive to serve one another but more than that to serve God. None of us has the better end of the deal and I really believe that to be true. We really do share everything.
I'm not saying all my angst disappeared overnight but as I continued to realign my perspective to what it ought to be things have gradually gotten better. When Mother's Day rolled around I took a deep look at what I am doing. The job I have been given is sobering and so very rewarding if I would only take the time to see those rewards. They don't come in the form of money or continuous praise from my ever thankful children or husband :-) They mostly evidence themselves in little ways. In the laughs we share around the table during the evening meal. In the surprising answers they give that make me realize that they actually do listen to some of the things I teach them. In the love they have for each other, us, and God. I could go on but you get the idea. I was also reminded by my extremely faithful mother-in-law that these rewards will come later as well, when I see my kids leave the home and start families of their own.
To all you mothers out there I wish you a Happy Mother's Day (who says it HAS to be on Sunday?) Your job is huge, often the rewards are hidden but the amazing influence that we mothers hold over our children and the mood of our home is overwhelming and for those who do it well there is much reward in this life but more so in the one to come.

My lovely mother who taught me so many things. Much of who I am today is because of what she taught me through word and action. 
My beautiful mother-in-law who is a constant encouragement and example to me.
My ever supportive husband and the little people who I am trying by God's grace to invest in and impact.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A glance back

April at a glance...

Ben found a slide and made a swing for the treehouse and now the boys finally seem to enjoy playing outside (instead of inside with legos all-day-long!)

In spite of the fact that this is a two story tree house with a trap door it took having a slide and cheap swing to get them out there!! 

Another event this month was that Eliza started sitting up and is now trying very hard to figure out the whole crawling thing. She's definitely more motivated than the boys were (that's not really saying much)

She is known as the Clover Queen at church. Last week her cousins made her a clover crown, bracelet and a bunch of clovers to be her wand. 

The end of April is full of birthdays. First Ben's dad celebrated his, then the weekend after that my mom and dad came up to visit and celebrate my dad's 60th birthday. On the 30th there was a party for me and my sister-in-law. So many reasons to celebrate!

Eliza loved having Grandpa here!

Part of my parents gift to me....I think this should last about a week or so :-)

Ben also surprised me with this amazing cup cake. It was chocolate espresso with espresso cream filling. Who could ask for more? I took one bite and decided it was ALL MINE!
I also enjoyed a cup of tea in my new ceramic travel mug (thanks for my mother-in-law). 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

A Progression of Teeth

A day in the life of Warren-my 7 year old son whose life is very much taken up with his teeth falling out. For quite some time his two front teeth have been loose. We started calling him Tow-Mater because one was sticking out in front of the other. In an amazingly strong moment he pulled out both in a matter of an hour. I was very impressed.

This was the Tow-Mater phase:

After he pulled the first one (as you can see he has a favorite pose):

 After both he yanked both of them out:

Thursday, April 19, 2012

And the Winners Are...

Drum roll please.....

The 3 runners up and winners of the Castille soap are:

Christy S.

The winner of the baby balm is:

Sarah Johnson!!

Would the winners please e-mail me privately with their addresses so that I can mail your prizes? You can e-mail me at

Thank you all so much for participating. I plan to do many more of these with new products and other wonderful things I just can't help but share.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Happy to Give!

April is one of the best months in the whole year! Partially because the flowers start to bloom, birds start to sing, and the weather is mostly absolutely perfect. The other reason is because my birthday is in April (along with many of my family members birthdays but of course my own is most interesting to me even if I'm not getting any younger).
In order to celebrate this year I felt like giving instead of getting (well, I might be getting too but that's beside the point). The focus right now is giving to my readers and all those out there who love all natural products.

Before Eliza was born I created a baby balm to help with diaper rash, dry skin, and pretty much just about everything a baby and I have to deal with after labor and delivery. I'm not trying to "toot my own horn" but I have to say I absolutely LOVE this stuff!! I have used it on Eliza and myself (for dry skin patches, etc.) since day one. It seems to take care of any diaper rash almost immediately. It also cures dry skin. Every member of my family is inflicted with dry skin and the babies are no exception. Eliza is particularly susceptible to get it under her arm pits, neck, behind her knees and in the creases of her "oh so chubby" legs. So every night after her bath I cover her whole body with it and give her a little massage which makes her and her skin so very happy. The other amazing thing that I love about this baby balm is that it washes right out of cloth diapers. As you might have guessed from that comment I use cloth diapers and some creams and ointments I have used in the past DO NOT wash out! My Happy Baby Balm does, so I love it even more (not the mention that it is completely all natural).

All that buildup brings me to the point--I want to give one of these away! I want you to know just why I love this balm so very much!

Here is the gist:

This giveaway will start now, April 12 and run until next Wednesday, April 18th at midnight. The winner will be announced Thursday, April 19th.

So how do you win?

1.  Comment on this blog. You can say whatever you want to. You can talk about your lovely baby, post pics of your babe, ooh and awe over their tiny toes and fingers or just exclaim how much you love to get free stuff!!

2.  Tweet about it and link to the blog and then comment to let me know you tweeted.

3. Follow this blog. I would LOVE to have more insight from my readers and to get that I would love to add more readers to my blog. So if you follow this blog you get another chance in the running for the  giveaway.

Do all 3 and you get 3 entries!! Bonus!!

So what are you waiting for??!!

Oh, and just so I can spread the love a bit I will be sending a brand new bar of Pure Unscented Castille Soap to the 3 runners up. This soap is not yet for sale on my site yet so it will come wrapped but not labeled. I would love to know what the runners up think once they have used the soap and any suggestions for scents, etc. I plan to add a Castile line to my soap products and would love some scent ideas and feedback.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Better Off?

Imagine a world with little to no technological or electrical assistance. A world free from laptops, ipads, smart phones, cable TV, wash machines, vacuum cleaners, lawn mowers and many of the other toys and conveniences that surround us.  Eric Brende, author of Better Off: Flipping the Switch on Technology, not only imagined this world but took the plunge and decided to live in it for over a year.
       I am definitely no stranger to this type of lifestyle. Not because I have lived it myself but because my dad grew up in the Old Order Amish and lived this life until he was 18 when he decided to set out on his own.  I spent much of my growing up years visiting, staying with, and enjoying the times I had with my dad's family. I can't say I ever revelled in the idea of going without electricity during our visits, especially not when I was a vain teenager who had to somehow manage without every single hair appliance on the market. However, because I was familiar with this lifestyle I never really thought of it as a novelty but just the way they are. Just something some people do.
       When I was formulating my book list for this year I was drawn to this book because of all the technological clutter that fills my life. I was not particularly looking for or thinking about life without electricity. I was more thinking that I needed a good reminder of what life was like before I spent my time surfing the web, checking facebook, texting my friends and envying the person sitting beside me using their ipad. You see, I am technologically bi-polar. On one hand, if I could afford it, I would run out and purchase every gadget that is out there. I was drooling over the new Ipad 3 and I have spent many a conversation with my husband on practical reasons why I might NEED a smart phone. On the other hand, I find myself wanting to run away from it all. Wanting to bury my phone in the backyard. Wanting to pack my computer up and leave it in storage for a few months.
          It's just that sometimes my life feels so cluttered. My thoughts feel cluttered with all the information that is streaming through them and surrounding me at every minute. There are the countless amounts of facebook status updates that I somehow feel a need to keep informed about. There are the many texts and e-mails that I feel compelled to read and answer this instant (not later when I actually might have more time).  If I don't answer them more just keep coming and then I have to wrestle with the fact that I never got back to so and so and they really needed an answer.
  There's not only my phone but my husband's, which is ever buzzing, ringing, and chiming with new e-mails, voicemails and texts. I find myself wondering what it was like before our worlds were so full of technological clutter.
      Just recently we were out on a date and my husband excused himself. I found myself sitting alone in the booth and during what was only minutes of him being gone I felt like I should be doing something. So I pick up my phone (which is not even a smart phone) and start texting just because I had a quiet minute. Why couldn't I just sit there quietly and just take a few moments without communication?
       When I picked up the book I found myself "amening" the sentiments the author was expressing, which very much reflected my own. Still it was not exactly that I was looking for. I'm not ready to live without electricity and don't necessarily feel like that is the answer. I am however ready to read about someone who got rid of the internet (in fact that seems more extreme to me right now than getting rid of electricity).  I am not a farmer or a gardner and truth be told I am not drawn to becoming either of those. I try to garden but definitely don't relish it and I absolutely love living in town. I am also not quite ready to go without my cell phone and obviously since I am posting this on my blog which I will then post on facebook and twitter that means I am not ready to go without my computer or internet.
       Still, there is a part of me that sighs at all of this. A part that feels like something is missing when our family gets together and everyone is listening to their ipods, surfing their smart phones, posting pics on facebook and watching youtube on their laptops. Have we lost something? During an age when there is more communication than any other previous age what are we saying? Who are we communicating with? Are we forgetting about the person sitting next to us, the legitimate need we just heard about on Sunday or the neighbor who is struggling to lug his trash to the street in an effort to reach out to the one who lives in California and we only met once at a wedding?
       These are the things I wrestle with and will continue to do so I'm afraid. The worst thing is I would not argue if my husband bought me a smart phone.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Sick day

We've had to take two days off of school due to a mild sickness in our home. My oldest said just the other day, "I wish I could get sick so that I could stay in bed all day and watch movies." Then on the way home from study, when he said he didn't feel well it was hard to take him seriously. How could I after a comment like that? Still you can't make yourself have a fever so I finally agreed that he probably was sick. However, the skeptic inside me won me over when it came to my second oldest who also claimed not to be feeling very well but had no other evidence except his word to back him up. All the sudden he seemed to be magically better when tea time rolled around and he thought of the freshly baked chocolate chip cookies in the kitchen.  I responded to his miraculous healing by saying, "Sick boys don't eat chocolate chip cookies. I think you're going to have to wait until you are really better." So he settled for a banana instead and has not been sick since. My youngest on the other hand devoured his allotment of cookies exclaiming, "I'm not sick Mommy!"

On another note Ben brought home the most amazing present right after Eliza was born. For ages I have been looking for a vintage high chair with a metal tray. High chairs these days are almost entirely made up of plastic. I have a love hate relationship with plastic and have been looking for ages for one of the old ones there were made during a time when plastic didn't reign supreme. When he arrived home with this treasure I was beside myself (it's the little things). I gave it a try for the first time yesterday. Even though Eliza's meal at this point consists of toy rattles she still seemed to enjoy it and I look forward to using this high chair and then passing it down to my kids when they have kids. There are some things that truly were just better "back then".

Thursday, March 22, 2012


Much of my time lately has been balanced between school and incorporating my new logo onto my labels, business cards, etc. As I was working today on new labels I put Eliza on the bed to play and couldn't resist taking a few shots to help boost my already springtime high. The only thing I'm beginning to realize is that with the arrival of our little girl the boys don't get as much screen time as they used to. I need to change that in the future but for now I'll keep sneaking in some baby shots, all in the name of perfecting my photography skills of course.


Thursday, March 15, 2012


I couldn't resist including this photo before the memories of winter completely faded away. Even though we had a very mild winter I was able to sneak in a few shots of snow before it was all daffodils and robins. 

I know there are a lot of people out there already making all natural cleaners, deodorants, etc. for their home. Not only is this an excellent way to save money but it's also great for you and the environment and I feel better about things if I know it is better for me and my family.
Here are a few recipes I have really found to be perfect for what I am looking for.


For the longest time I have wanted to get away from commercial shampoos. I have curly hair which gives me an added motivation because curly hair is really effected by the sulfates and additives in shampoo.  I tried to make a few shampoo bars and although this is still my end goal I am not yet happy with the ones I have created. My hair longs for moisture and gets tangled very easily so anything that is even slightly drying instantly created a matted mess. Right now I use a conditioner that is sulfate-free. Target has quite a few that make this claim and so far I am getting by with it. 

So here's the shampoo recipe I've been using:

1/4 cup Distilled Water
1/4 cup liquid castille soap (I use Dr. Bonners Almond and every time I use it on the boys Christopher exclaims, "It smells like cherries!!")
1/2 tsp. jojoba or grapeseed oil

Wipes Solution

Another thing I've been doing is making my own solution to pour over some old burp clothes and rags and use these as washable wipes. I love it because not only does it cut down on trash and unknown chemicals that are contained in commercial wipes but also I put a bit of oil so that it moisturizes while it cleans. There are a lot of websites that contain many different recipes for making your own wipes. If you want to check out more you can go here Zany Zebra Designs

Here is the recipe I've been using:

1 Tbsp. Almond Oil
1 Tbsp. Dr. Bonners liquid castille soap
2 drops Tea Tree EO
1 drop Lavender EO
1 cup Distilled Water


The next step is to make my own deodorant. Before I had Eliza my sister-in-law made some for me and I really like it. The only down side at this point is that I am digging it out of a glass jar with a spoon. This process is a bit on the messy side. The frustrating thing is that it is almost impossible to find an eco friendly container for stick deodorant. I like to stay away from plastic as much as possible but in spite of countless research I can't seem to find an alternative when it comes to deodorant. If I can't find a plastic alternative I might just go with a body powder that serves as a deodorant. Until then here is the recipe both she and I use and I must say it is excellent! Much better than the over the counter natural alternative.

She suggests equal parts
Baking Soda
Cornstarch (or Arrowroot powder)
Coconut Oil

I am still in the process of fine tuning this recipe but for now this is working great! It is thick enough to go into a tube so you can put it right in a used deodorant tube as well.

I would love to hear some more great recipes or links for all of you! Please post in the comments what you have discovered or used effectively.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


I just recently purchased these for my niece Eleanor (who by the way looks stunning in them) and had to share how wonderful they are.  It is hard to find tasteful headbands for babies and I think these are perfect.
These were both made by Handmade by Harlan

In my search I also came across this wonderful site JujuBees's & Co.  She features some adorable headbands and I hope soon to order some from her for Eliza. 

I can't wait to add my own photos of Eleanor and Eliza wearing these delightful headbands! 

Friday, March 2, 2012

The Reason for God

The above picture is mostly there to humor the grandparents. I have spent so much time lately taking pictures of other people's children that I decided to get in a few shots of my own babes. I couldn't resist putting a ponytail in Eliza's hair. She has a rather thick patch of hair right at the back of her head and I am so eager see her long curly locks. She's definitely my little sprout!

Okay, on to more serious matters. I did have the greatest intentions of finishing my February book, The Reason for God, but apparently being accountable to myself and the readers of this blog just doesn't motivate me quite enough. I am just starting Part 2 and really have solid hopes of finishing it soon. It's definitely NOT because I didn't enjoy the book but it was more because I chose to become obsessed with photography (mostly newborn photography) and running all at the same time. I loaded my arms with books on running (and yes it was a new concept to me that I would need to read a book on running. I mean how hard can it be? but that's for another post) and photography and tried to cram them into my already limited reading time. So excuses aside I'll dive right in.

I must admit that I have been trying to read this book from the viewpoint of someone who doesn't believe in God or at best is a bit skeptical.  I'm not sure if I'm doing that viewpoint justice though since I do very much believe and love God and it's hard, actually impossible, to step out of that and read the book with any other belief system in mind. 
That disclaimer aside, I do think it would be a great book to give to someone who knows little of God or has a lot of questions regarding who He is and how He works with His people. Timothy Keller deals with a lot of hard questions such as "How could a good God allow suffering?",  "How can a loving God send people to Hell?", and "how can their be just ONE true religion?".  I can't imagine that there is not a soul out there who has not struggled with these questions even if right now you consider yourself to be one of the most faithful Christians there ever was. I don't think I will even stop struggling with how God chooses to work and how weak my own faith is so much of the time. 

I think the insight Timothy Keller brings to these questions and the many struggles in and outside the Christian community not only come from his long study of the Scripture but also his real life experiences pastoring a church in New York City. He comes into contact with scores of diverse personalities and perspectives that help lend credence to what he is working through. He also writes in a very understandable way which I find refreshing, especially when considering this book as a future gift to someone who might not be entrenched in the Christian life and lingo. 

I am thankful to the friend who suggested this book and very much look forward to delving into Part 2: The Reasons for Faith.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Not as Easy

I am gaining a new appreciation for photographers out there that capture such amazing newborn photos.
At first glance I thought, "How hard can it be? Once the baby is asleep you just pose them in all sorts of interesting ways and you get amazing shots. It's almost like taking pictures of a bowl of fruit." Those thoughts just prove that I have never tried to take newborn photos before now (not ones of any value at least).

My sister-in-law agreed to let me try my first trial photo shoot on her adorable new little girl. So with camera, boppy, white sheets, and my own 4 month old in tow I arrived on the scene, ready for action.
When it was all said and done I carried away several lessons:

1. The more props the better. I'm fighting the temptation to run out and buy many fuzzy blankets, hair accessories, furniture, some kind of portable white backdrop, and several more things that I see in professional newborn photos.

2. It takes a lot of time. I knew this but didn't really plan for it. There is a lot of soothing, nursing, comforting, more nursing, positioning, etc. that takes place before you're even able to get the shot.

3. I need more confidence. My desire is to know exactly what I'm looking for and then explain to the mom how to get there. As it was, I was doing a lot of asking, musing, sighing and trying to figure it out as I went along.

4. The best place to take photos is on your own turf. I really feel as though I know my environment better. I know the lighting and how it hits certain places during the day. I know how to set the stage and position things. It's much harder to do this in someone else's house when I haven't had time to evaluate positioning, lighting or anything else.

5. A space heater is a must. I was unprepared here. I should have brought my own, had it set up and gotten the room nice and toasty before even introducing the baby into the scene.

I definitely have a LONG way to go and am looking out for more new babies that I can "practice" on. I would love to give anyone a free photo session so I can learn more about what it all takes.  Here are the shots I ended up with. Like I said, I definitely have a long way to go and much to learn. The only thing that saved me with this one was that she is so adorable!

My other comfort...that professionals Tracy Raven and Kelly Ryden, who were interviewed on the Today show, said that little girls (espeically those around 6 or 7 lbs) are the hardest to photograph. So I'm blaming all of it on that (not the fact that I am a complete amateur at this point).