CBD & Motherhood

Motherhood is hard.

I used to be an overly social, happy person before kids. Then the anxiousness, irritability, and an overwhelming sensation took over. Maybe it was lack of sleep, maybe it was hormones, maybe it was because my munchkins would never give me 5 seconds to eat a meal.

Who knows!

I just know that after birthing my two chaotic boys, I needed help. I was drowning in all of these negative emotions, and I didn’t feel like myself anymore. I had been on several medications for my mental stability, but nothing seemed to make things better without giving me added issues. This is when I searched for more natural alternatives.

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A friend of mine introduced me to CBD oil, a hemp extract with all the medicinal benefits of cannabis but without the high.

I thought to myself “HA! I’ve never done drugs. I don’t want to start now” Turns out, it’s a dietary supplement that is legal in all 50 states. (Who knew? I felt silly).

This was 6 months ago. I want to tell you how it’s changed not only my life, but my family as well.

Two weeks into using full spectrum CBD oil under my tongue twice a day, I felt like a new person. It balanced my moods completely. I no longer felt anxious, overwhelmed, irritable, etc. I could enjoy my kids without screaming at them for no reason. I felt like I could resume social dates with friends without that last minute “something came up” panic text.

Two months after being on the oil, I realized I hadn’t had any pulsating inflammation in my head in awhile. I couldn’t remember the last time I needed an ice pack, or to sit in the dark.

Once I realized how well this helped me, I started everyone else on the oil. My husband suffers some a traumatic experience which causes him irritability and difficulty sleeping. The first night he used the oil, he slept with no body sweats, screaming fits or any tenseness/twitching.  I couldn’t believe the change I saw in him. My son has a difficult time focusing as he fidgets a lot, and is naturally very impulsive. He struggled in Kindergarten last year due to these traits. After finding a serving size that works for him, it drastically helped him focus and control his impulsive reactions. In his words, CBD makes him “good”. My dogs also use CBD oil in their food, and get beef CBD treats at night to help their anxiousness. They love to bark at strangers and other animals, and would occasionally get nervous during storms. When they get CBD, they are completely mellow.

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Overall, this hemp extract has given all of us a better night’s sleep and more energy.  I can’t recommend this enough. I love it so much, I am now an advocate to help others struggling like I was.

Not all CBD oil is going to be created equally though. DO YOUR RESEARCH!
Ask yourself: 
Where was this grown? 
How was it extracted?   
What are the ingredients?
Is it an Isolate or Full Spectrum?

Do they third party test for purity and potency? Am I able to see those results?
Does it come with a money back guarantee?

If you would like to learn more about the product I use, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me via Facebook or Instagram. I absolutely love talking about it.

Must Have Mom Subscriptions

Must Have Mom Subscriptions

There are so many monthly subscriptions out there, from a personalized selection of clothes picked just for you to fishing supplies, depending on what type of water you fish in. (My husband is all about this by the way.)

This list is in no particular order and consist of things I have personally tried or plan to try in the near future.

  1. Amazon Prime – This first is so obvious but should come with a warning label. I love that I can buy anything on this site I need for my family. My most frequent purchases are diapers and Pediasure Grow and Gain but during the last Prime Day I ended up with a 2-pack of Clarisonic brushes and a shirt. I call that a success. But warning, it’s so easy to add things to your cart, check out and have it delivered in 2 days that you may quickly become a “primanista”. That meaning you’ll have packages arriving every few days. Which, doesn’t sound so bad actually. At around $10 a month its a complete and total NEED for moms, who just can’t go to the store one more time that week.
  2. Shipt – Hallelujah! I wish Shipt had been around when I had a newborn in the middle of the Tampa summer years ago. It’s a freaking life saver. Especially when you’re cooking dinner and need a forgotten ingredient or it’s raining, or you just don’t want to go. This subscription is an upfront annual fee of $99 but often run a $49 special when they add a new store or for special holidays. Current stores include Costco, Publix, Target, GFS, Winn Dixie and ABC Wine & Liquor (ummmmm yes!). If you don’t have it, get it. Now. G
  3. Netflix – This is our  most used subscription in my house. They’re always adding movies – whether they’re good or not is not my place to say. It’s less than $15 a month and you can stream it on 2 devices at one time. Yes, I know this for a fact. It’s usually a fight in my house to see who’s going to stop watching. I lose. Every time. So instead of hauling your kids to the movies to watch the newest Disney release, wait 12 weeks after it’s out of box office and save yourself the hassle and money. Unless its an Avengers movie because who doesn’t want to see Chris Hemsworth on the big screen?
  1. Firstleaf (Wine) – How many times have we had to pick up a bottle for friends on the way to a girls night/playdate – this happened to me 3 times last week. Whether you’re a 3 bottles a week gal or 3 bottles a month this could work for you! Firstleaf offers $20/month subscription which includes 3 bottles. The process is super easy, you take the quiz seeing what you’d like white, red, mix and import preference. The last question asks how many bottles you drink a month. So depending on your answers you’re given a suggestion. The wine is delivered to your door. So, you’re never without wine and wouldn’t that be a shame?
  1. FabKids – similar to clothing subscriptions for moms, it’s for the little’s. This is the way I see it. You’re going to spend money on your kids’ school clothes regularly. You see the cute top at Target, oh but does he have a pair of shorts to match? Can’t remember, may as well grab another pair. You’re doing that once a week while there PLUS the pre planned trips for new shoes they’ve outgrown, picture day..you know the drill. Here’s the fine print. Between the 1st and 5th of the month you’re sent an email for action – to shop or skip. If you do choose to skip your card is debited for $29.95 but you’re given that $29.95 as a credit to be used anytime. You’re charged the $29.95 until you cancel. There’s also perks like free shipping (that always gets me) and a rewards program.

This list was composed with you in mind, a little more added convenience to our lives is the way to go. I dread shopping with my kids, even if its a quick trip so you’ll find that all of these eliminate bringing what I’m sure are you wonderfully behaved children in public.

Disclaimer Alert: I haven’t listed all details for everyone of these subscription suggestions. It’s important to conduct your own research. 

36266338_10213004457965528_2216563528326709248_n Written By: Meghan Goodman

Dear MOMpreneur, know your worth! Six tips to help balance your life and business

 

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This is a long post with very little pictures, but I promise it’s worth every word!

Work life balance.

(Please note that this is coming from the perspective of a photographer and a homeschool mom. While this is something I see rampant in my industry, I am certain it is rampant everywhere)

This is such a hot topic these days. How do we make sure our business doesn’t take over our lives, but still get the things done that need to be done? Our worth as a woman is more than just being a mom, more than just being a business owner, more than just being an employee, more than just being a wife. We collectively need to support each other through the guilt of trying to do it all and help each other know that it’s ok to work hard in our business, work hard in our home life, and work hard in our personal life. We cannot do them all at once. We have to know when to say no, when to speak up for ourselves and when to just get the hell out.

The other day I was talking to a dear friend. She is also a photographer, as many of my friends are, and we were talking about life, business, and husbands. This is a topic that often comes up with my female photographer friends (seldom as often with my male friends, but they do talk about it to). We all seem to struggle with the balance. This is a profession that tends to take over our weekends and sometimes our lives.

We were talking about her life (and mine). She recently found out that her husband had been unfaithful and she was restructuring her work life to have more of a home life in efforts to save her marriage. Now, I want to stop right here. I have a lot of things to say about this, BUT I want to make it very clear, this is not the only thing she is doing. THEY are working on things together, but I want to address a few things from the female perspective, because my first reaction to her (besides what an asshole and man that sucks) was, I get it.

I know the hardship of working late nights and weekends to run this business. I hear my husband’s complaints of my late hours, going on shoots leaving him home with the kids and in general the putting of my camera before family.

What.The.Fuck

How dare we blame ourselves for our failing marriage?

Why the fuck do we do this?

Now, I get it, a failing relationship is a two-way street. It always takes two to tango. BUT here is the thing with many women I know, our husbands tend to look at our business as a hobby. They see it as something that takes away from their family, and not as a business. Yes, it might not be profitable this year, but without a shit load of hard work and late nights, it never will be!

There! I said it.

As a __________ (insert business here), I am running a business. A business that will take a lot of hard work and I have to treat it as a business as much as my significant other treats it as a business. 

PERIOD.

This isn’t a hobby, it’s not something I do just for fun (as much as I love it), and it’s not a side gig.

This is a career.

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According to Small Biz Trends, 69% percent of new businesses in 2016 started in the home and a bit more than 50% of those will fail within the first 4 years mainly due to poor money management. Which makes me wonder how much of it has to do with lack of support?

How many of my MOMpreneur friends struggle to balance work + life when all of that runs out of our home and how many have husbands that say, “no it’s my time to take care of the kids while you work”? How many are working nights to get shit done? Would these women get that same dirty look of “oh you are staying up late to work again” if they were leaving the house for a full-time job outside the home?  Do their husbands even realize they give that look?

I get it, what we do isn’t conventional.

Yes, I have some flexibility to schedule things in a way that allows me to leave the kids with their father while I meet clients. Yes, he is not the babysitter (I have one of those too), but actually a contributing member of this family. Yes, I don’t leave my house for 80% of my career. Yes, I can wipe my kid’s butt and edit at the same time (well, not exactly the same time, but you get it), but I still have a fucking job to do!

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And as I spew all this angst, I get that I am to blame for some of it. I should have set office hours (I have tried this, but maybe should try harder…). Yes, at one point this was just a hobby. I should say more often this is my work time and I shouldn’t just say “don’t worry I will do it.”

Fuck this.

Our marriages are two-way streets of support!

PERIOD.

Should our husband cheat on us if he doesn’t get enough wife time? NO! He also can’t roll his eyes and say “ugh, working again?” Like everything else, there needs to be communication. WE, have to work together. I will totally support you, your work, and your hobby, BUT I fucking expect the same in return.

I also get that our husbands work hard. Mine often works 70 hours a week to provide for our family life. Here is the thing though, I NEVER roll my eyes and lay on guilt when he tells me he has to work the 3rd weekend in a row. Honestly, my heart aches for him that he has to work that much. It sucks for all of us. I hate that he has to get up at 330 am to go to work, BUT does he ever hate that I have to stay up till 2 am working? Nope, he just gets mad about it.

Sure I am a “stay at home working mom”. We made the choice to homeschool which complicates things too. My days are filled with school stuff, my afternoons with home stuff and my nights with work stuff. I realize that these are choices I made, but fuck, can’t we get some support in them? Would I get more support if I was bartending or a lawyer?

I feel like as women we give, give, give, and then get shit on because we didn’t give quite enough. So to fix the not giving enough, we give up more of ourselves.

Fuck. This.

So tell me, how do I fix this, not just for me, but for all of us? Instead of sympathizing with the next wife who tells me about her husband cheating on her for working so much, what conversation do we have? Instead of her just deciding to cut back on work because that will solve things, how do we rearrange things to make a marriage and a business work?  What do I tell her (and me) to make a difference in this world?

How do we, as working women, get some fucking support in our businesses?

Am I doing things wrong, do I see this problem wrong or do you feel this way too? Maybe it all just comes down to sex right? If we give more of ourselves to our significant other, everything will just be ok? Because I totally want to go to bed after teaching, working in the house, working in my job and give just a little bit fucking more!

So this then leads into another conversation from a dear friend and photographer Maragret. She just wrote a great 3 part series about us as women. She talks about the question, have we done this to ourselves?

“I can’t help but wonder if we as a gender have just accepted the narrative

that our time and skill just isn’t worth as much. 

…when we do step up to the plate and admit our worth, we get scared

that we aren’t falling in line with the norms. We worry we’re coming off

too strong, that we’re demanding too much. No one will love us for not

being like everyone else.”

Do we just set the stage that our time and skill, both in the home and out of it, are not worth as much? Why the fuck do we do this? Are we following some made up standard that we are supposed to do everything? We are to wipe every butt, wash every dish, work a job, teach our children and put them to bed. I know I set this expectation in many ways. It was easier for me to put them to bed with a boob, so I did. It was easier to wake up with them in the middle of the night with a boob, so I did. It was easier to just change the diaper, so I did. It was “easier” to work the job from home while teaching the kids, so I did…

This has to stop!

We are worth it.

If you want to wipe every nose, great, BUT we are not the only ones that can do it. Start asking for help. Don’t just complain about it, make it happen. Start demanding it! Start knowing your worth! Yes, they are assholes for cheating, no it’s not our fault! Could we handle our business better? Sure, BUT we need the fucking support to be able to do that!

 

little girl and brother face painting

Would you like a push in the right direction to help with knowing your worth for your business? I know some fabulous mentors to help you learn your numbers to make your business profitable! Just ask me and I will point you in their direction!

Want some help in your home life? Speak up, and know you are worth it! Take control, do the things that need to be done in your life and business.

  • Ask for help, from anyone that you think could help you
  • Talk to your spouse, be clear in your intentions
  • Write out a weekly schedule and share it with the whole house. Put everything on it from kid time to house time, business time and husband time.
  • Hire help, trade for help, beg for help. Find someone else to clean the house, have the laundry mat wash and fold your clothes, use a service for freshly prepared meals. Delegate, delegate, delegate!
  • Prioritize that to do list, you don’t  have to do it all at once
  • Have the grace to let the guilt go!

Have any more great tips? Tell me, please! Write them in the comments so everyone else that reads this can read them too. Let’s support each other virtually on how to get the support we need at home!

 

Mom and Daughter Selfie

The momma behind Momma Got Soul Photo and Films, Tampa Bay Family Photographer. I am a wife. I am a mother. I am an artistic storyteller. I stay up late, try to sleep late, and drink lots of coffee and beer (usually in that order, but not always). I grew up in sunny (which means really hot) central Florida, never go to the beach or Disney, but try to hike in the woods as much as I can. I remember a time when I said I would never photograph people, now that’s all I do. I think it started with wanting to explore the world and capture that to share with people. Now I just want to tell people that the real stuff outweighs the fake crap every time -Kelly

 

Post Partum Depression + Anxiety. Yup, I have it.

Post partum depression and anxiety. Yup, I have it.

It comes in waves…it was here, and then it’s not. I was fine. And now I’m not.

I denied it when it was brought to my attention that I may have it. Of course, I don’t have it… look at me! I’m not doing anything “crazy”, I’m getting out of bed. I feel “fine”.

To me, in my world, i have the perfect little life, so why do I feel this way? I practice mediation, I am spiritual, i am aware of my energy, thoughts and feelings.

Why is this happening to me??

Well it all started when the last time change happened in November. It got darker earlier. Mike is still working and I’m a FTM, in a new house with lots of windows and doors, all myself.

All of a sudden, every dateline, forensic files, and Law & Order episode would flash through my mind and made me so paranoid that something would happen to me and my new baby and I would be helpless.

My mind would race in protection mode. I was HYPER-VIGILANT.

“Hypervigilance is an enhanced state of sensory sensitivity accompanied by an exaggerated intensity of behaviors whose purpose is to detect activity. Hypervigilance may bring about a state of increased anxiety which can cause exhaustion”

That and I was a bunch of other things cus now I’m a mom. I was getting less than 5 hours of sleep a night for months.

It’s affected my eating, my digestion, my water intake. Everything.

And again, it comes in waves.

It pisses me off more than anything because this is HORMONES. This is not me!!! I can not control this!!!

It manifests itself in so many ways… OCD… picking things up around the house just putting them in a specific spot or in order but not putting it away, paralyzing thoughts and fears and unable to make decisions, rage “where the fuck are my keys!!!”, am I doing this mom thing ok?, loss of appetite, intense irritability at times, panic attacks, crying for no reason.

It’s the inability to think or make a grocery list or be able to have complete thoughts and not forget things and have it interfere with your life.

I know this sounds crazy, or that I am crazy, but I know I am not. I know this “normal” and this will pass. I know that other moms go through the same thing, but I really, truly, honestly, thought it wouldn’t happen to me because I am so in tune with myself that I would recognize it and stop it.

It’s important for husbands, partners, friends, family, coworkers, and even yourself as mothers going through this, that it is the hormones it is not you. Please give the mother in your life grace, compassion, understanding, support, love, and reassurance.

But here I am 9 months later and another wave is attacking me when everything was just going so good. It sucks.

I will get thru this but I feel the need to share, because I know I am not alone, And I don’t want any of my mom friends to feel alone if you are secretly going through this. I have been feeling like I don’t want to expose but I can’t hide it and feel guilty any more so maybe sharing will help me and you 💜

Valentine’s Day- The unfiltered mom version

By: Nicole Leigh Marcellus

As I sat down to write this blog post, I started to think what could I possibly say about Valentine’s Day? I am probably one of the least mushy gushy lovey dovey people I know. I am the last person that has anything to say on the most Hallmark holiday all about love of the year. So if you are expecting a blog about how I have this wonderful relationship where we can barely stand to be apart, have sex multiple times a day and go on romantic date nights every weekend, stop reading now and find another Valentines Day blog post. This isn’t the one for you.

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Heres the nitty gritty truth of the matter. I write about a lot of things. I am not afraid to get personal. I have never ever written about my husband or my relationship. If I am being honest, I don’t mention him very often. The reason is I am a come as you are kind of girl. I like to be honest. I don’t like to give the appearance that everything is sunshine and rainbows when it’s not. That’s not my jam, guys! Social Media has enough people shoving down your throat that their life is perfect. I refuse to be one of them. That being said, my relationship is far from perfect. It’s not all hearts and stars and rainbows. Because of this I have chosen to stay silent about it. I have choosen to almost pretend like it does not exist, to not be fake. I’m choosing this hallmark holiday to lay it all out on the table.

Our relationship has been through the ringer. The short abbreviated version. My husband and I had an instant connection, dated for a few months, and I got knocked up. While this wasn’t a planned pregnancy, it was very much wanted. Unfortunately, we lost our sweet baby. We still went on to get married as planned, and then had two more children in less than two years. Essentially, in less than three years, we had three children with one that unfortunately is in heaven. We had only month’s of dating under our belt. Now we have a home and two precious girl’s and this loss weighing on our still fresh marriage. On top of that, I went from a stay at home mom at the beginning of last year, to opening my own business, and now I am working at the business full-time. We both have endured our struggles. I don’t feel like it’s my place to share his. I, however, will be blunt and say I definitely suffered from post partum depression, and the loss of our first baby. Pair that with my husband working swing shifts, and be starting a business, and its a recipe for disaster. We have really been in a constant season of survival for years. A relationship cant thrive on survival.

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My girl’s have gotten a little bit older now, my business is a year old and more established. I am coming out of this season of just surviving. This season where guys if I am being honest we were ships passing in the night. We were roommates, not husband and wife, and definitely not valentines. I went into 2018 realizing something had to give.

I have committed this year to not just surviving but thriving. To not pushing my relationship to the back-burner for my kids, or my business. To realizing that the two people we were 5 years ago when we began our journey are still in their somewhere. To letting go of five years of built resentments of me feeling like he didn’t change enough diaper’s, wipe enough snotty noses, hold my hair back when I was vomiting for months while pregnant, or most importantly appreciate me enough. He’s learning to cope with me forgetting or misplacing half of our life. He’s learning to love the imperfect person I am. He’s learning to take on more of the responsibility at home since I started working at my business full-time. He’s realizing how this mom gig may not be as easy as he thought. We are learning to prioritize each other, and our relationship.We are both realizing that this marriage thing isn’t always easy. We are both learning to find some middle ground, and be more than just roommates.

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Season’s come and go. Babies grow up; hard time’s get easier. What I have taken away from it all is this: Stick with it, keep on keeping on. Don’t throw in the towel as long as there is still love there. This too shall pass. I have changed a million times since I married this man, he has changed as well. That change doesnt have to be a bad thing, as long as we can grow together. I don’t have this whole marriage thing figured out, guys. My relationship still isn’t sunshine and rainbows everyday. As I said, I am probably the worst person to write a Valentines Day blog post. I wanted to do it though, because I know I’m not alone. I know there are other mama’s just like myself with little babies, and toddlers, and even big kids, in the thick of it. I know that they are to knee deep in diapers, laundry, and homework to look up at your husband. I am you, and I am here to tell you: we will be ok. You are not alone! I too have an imperfect realtionship in a social media world where everyone else is getting a dozen roses, diamond necklaces, and love notes. I will be getting the Fresh Market meal deal for a simple dinner at home. There is nothing wrong with that. This is just a season as long as we can remember though at some point we have to stop surviving, and start growing forward. At some point we need to look up at our husband’s even when we are exhausted and feel like we have nothing left in us, and make our realtionship a priority.

I’m Nicole Leigh Marcellus

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Photographer, Educator, Blogger, and all around life inspirer, with huge dreams. I’m obsessed with all things farmhouse, chai tea lattes, yoga pants, top knots, and my family.

EveryDay Moms Photographer List

 

Tampa Area Photographers

In today’s photography world there are so many choices. Choices in photographers, choices in types of photography, different editing styles, full-service luxury or DIY digitals with everything in between. The list goes on and on. So how do you choose the right one? Is a documentary photographer right for you, would you rather more of a lifestyle session or maybe a posed portrait session is more your style? OR maybe like 90% of the world you don’t even know there is a difference in all of this! Maybe you don’t care about the label as much as the results!

 

When you start looking for a photographer the number one best place to start (after you have asked your friends, that neighborhood Facebook group and maybe looked through some Instagram hashtags) is by looking at a photographer’s portfolio. Scan through their website, pour through their latest images on FB and IG. Do their images speak to you? Do they make you feel something? Do you look at them and think, wow I want images like that? Does their editing style match your taste and your vision? Really look at their work and ask yourself if it is something you would hang on your wall! Do you just like their pretty pictures or do they make you feel something inside? Do they create art that you would hang on your walls?

 

Next thing to ask yourself do they fit in your budget? Remember that cheaper doesn’t always mean better but we all have a budget to work within. For some that might mean saving money for 6 months to have that dream session, asking the photographer if they accept a payment plan (many will!) or looking elsewhere to find someone that fits. Your photographer understands that everyone has financial constraints, talk to them about what your budget really is or if you really want them, wait and see if they offer a sale!

Ask yourself:

  • Do you want heirloom art to hang on your walls or an album to pass along to future generations?
  • Maybe you want digital images only to put on your computer or make your own prints
  • Maybe you want all of the above?
  • Does your photographer blog their sessions so you can share that with friends and family?
  • If you only want digitals ask yourself why and what you really plan to do with them
  • Do they offer family films as well as photography services?

Knowing these answers will help you narrow down your choices!

Other considerations are does their service match your needs? Are they a full-service provider to help you through each step in the process from a pre-consultation meeting to helping you put prints in your hands or on your walls? Maybe you don’t want that and just need someone who provides you with digital images and let you do the rest of the work.

tampa bay area photographers

Now let’s talk about different types of sessions. Posed Portrait traditional sessions, Lifestyle session or Documentary sessions.

Traditional Sessions

These can be in a studio or on a location. They are typically stiffer, everyone is placed in a certain position, told to look at the camera and smile. Clothes generally are coordinated, makeup artists hired, the background is pretty.

Lifestyle Sessions

These can also be either in a studio or on location, although more typically they are done on location. While everyone is dressed in their coordinated Sunday’s best, the session itself is much more relaxed. There is still a lot of direction usually given by the photographer, but mainly they are gentle cues to elicit warm funny reactions. These often take place in a gorgeous setting, sometimes with props, but not always. They can be more of a hybrid between Traditional and Documentary.

Documentary Sessions

This is all about real life, real moments and very little to no direction. Sessions like this can take place in your home or other places that contain memories for you and your family. They can be centered around a daily activity or just your everyday real life. No special bought coordinating outfits, no cheese, no stand there, do this. These sessions are more about photographing the pieces of your life that matter the most at this point in time (and yes those important moments vary from season to season, that’s what keeps it fun!). Think about a few things happening in your life right now that you would be over the moon to have in a photograph giving you the chance to remember once they no longer happen, that is what these sessions are all about!

Tampa Bay Area Photographers

Below is a list of local photographers that all belong to the EveryDay Mom’s group. They are moms, friends and post funny meme’s. Scroll through the list, look at everyone’s work and see what style really fits your tastes and needs! 

 

Momma Got Soul Photo and Films

http://www.mommagotsoulphotography.com/

Artistic Storyteller and Documentary Family photographer. Telling your family story through beautiful real-life moments.

Families, Day in the Life, Maternity, newborn and events

 

Running Circles Photography

www.runningcirclesphotography.com

Birth and Newborn Photographer

 

Nicole Marcellus Photography

www.nicoleleighmarcellus.com

Families and Weddings

 

Heartstrings Photography

https://www.facebook.com/heartstringsphotosbytiffany/

Families

 

Lokelani Photo

www.facebook.com/lokelaniphoto

Rather than giving you the same posed portraits you’re so familiar with, I’m more interested in capturing the authentic connection between loved ones.

All aspects of Family Photography from the engagement to the wedding, maternity, birth & newborn, and finally the traditional family photos.

 

Clara Aluri Photography

https://www.facebook.com/claraaluriphotography/

Families

 

Precious Memories by Michelle

http://www.preciousmemoriesbymichelle.com/

Newborn through the first year

 

Mama and Crew

www.mamaandcrew.com

Focused on capturing life’s candid moments

Families

 

Sunshine Smiles photography
Www.sunshinesmilesphotography.com

Glamour

 

Lauren McDonald Photography

laurenmcdonaldphotos.com

Newborn, maternity

 

Sweet Novalee Photography

https://sweetnovaleephoto.wordpress.com/

Capturing candid natural light images

Families

 

Sweet Plum Photography and Boudoir

www.sweetplumphotography.com 

www.sweetplumboudoir.com

Specializing in maternity, birth, family, and boudoir. I love making my clients cry (in a good way!) I find the beauty in you and your family and I capture it.

Birth, Families, and Boudoir

 

Andrea Dwyer Photography

Www.andreadwyerphotography.com

Beautiful heirloom portraits and a fabulous experience with personalized session styling

Maternity Newborn through the first year

 

Miranda Love Photography

https://www.facebook.com/Mirandalovephotography/

Maternity, Newborn and children

 

Sheena Marie Photography

https://www.facebook.com/sheenamariephotos/

Maternity, newborn, families

 

Christine Lee Photography
www.christineleephotography.net

Sessions focused on real emotions, genuine smiles, and honest laughter.

Families and Kids

 

Misty Jones 

www.mistyjonesphotograpy.com

Natural light photographer. Sessions are held in a home studio or on location.

Families, Children and couples

 

Kalyn Parrish Photography
Facebook.com/kalynparrishphotography

Newborn, maternity

 

Amber Lynn Photography

www.facebook.com/amberlynnphotography.ambernanton

Family

 

Anna Faiola Productions 

www.annafaiola.com

Photography and video production company

 

Kimberly Smith
http://www.faithfuljoyphotos.com/

Lifestyle, candid photographer

Families

 

Yanira McCall Photography

http://yaniramccall.com/

Specialize in Family, Women, Children, Senior, and Personal Branding/Headshots style Portraits.

 

Ali Shryock Photography
www.alishryockphotography.com

Families, Maternity, Newborn

 

Nadia Lauchman 
Www.nadialauchmanphotography.com

Newborn, maternity and families

 

Rachel Rayne Photography

https://www.rachelraynephotography.com/

Luxury Maternity and Newborn Photography specializing in beach sessions and an

award-winning experience

 

Memories Captured by Kelly 
https://www.facebook.com/memoriescapturedbykelly/

Family

 

Essentia Photography 

www.essentiaphotography.com

Specialize in beach photography,

Wedding, Lifestyle, and Maternity

 

Lindsay Bove Photography
Lbovephotography.com

Lifestyle, maternity, children and family portraits

 

Darlene Barlows Photography

www.darlenebarlowsphotography.com

I want to document the special moments in your life, whether at your wedding or the birth of your first child, but I also want to be there for the ordinary moments.

Wedding, Families, Headshots

 

Abbey Saxton Photography

www.abbeysaxton.com

I would love to document your family just as they are!

Families, Day in the Life, Maternity, newborn and weddings

 

Jennifer Lynne Photography

https://www.facebook.com/JenniferLynneSelf/

Families

 

Dream Portraits by Olaya

https://www.dreamportraitsbyolaya.com/

Maternity, Newborn and Family

 

Tee Lynn Photography

www.facebook.com/teelynnPhotography

Wedding & family photographer

 

Golden Owl Photography

www.fb.com/goldenowlphotography

Child and Family Photographer

 

Amie Brady Photography
www.facebook.com/amiebradyphotography

Family

 

Chelsea Stewart Photography

Facebook.com/chelseastewartphotographer

Maternity, Children, and Families

 

Allison Ward Photography

http://www.allysonwardphoto.com/

Family, Senior, and Head Shots

 

Jessica Cruz Photography
www.jessicacruzphotography.com

If traditional imagery and shot lists are your thing, we might not be the best fit. Your love is one of a kind and your photos should reflect that.

Weddings, family, maternity

 

Digital Myst Photography

www.digitalmystphotography.com

Maternity, Newborn and Family

 

Cherished Moments Photography

http://dustygirl4.wix.com/cherishedmoments

Family and Wedding

 

Nicole Elizabeth Photography & Design

www.facebook.com/NEphotography11

Family, maternity, wedding

 

Mir Salgado Photography

www.mirsalgado.com

With a very Elegant, Emblematic and Artistic style

Wedding & Portrait Photographer

 

J Morgan Images
Www.jmorganimages.com

Family, Portrait, Weddings, and Beauty

 

Marie Crowne Photography

https://www.mariecrowne.com/

Children, families, maternity, engagements, and weddings.

 

Soul Child Photography

facebook.com/Soul-Child-Photography

Engagement, families and children

 

Austyn Lee Photography

facebook.com/austynleephotography

Families

 

 

Make sure when you reach out that you ask lots of questions and tell them you are a fellow EveryDay Moms Member!

 

Mom and Daughter Selfie

The momma behind Momma Got Soul Photo and Films, Tampa Bay Family Photographer. I am a wife. I am a mother. I am an artistic storyteller. I stay up late, try to sleep late, and drink lots of coffee and beer (usually in that order, but not always). I grew up in sunny (which means really hot) central Florida, never go to the beach or Disney, but try to hike in the woods as much as I can. I remember a time when I said I would never photograph people, now that’s all I do. I think it started with wanting to explore the world and capture that to share with people. Now I want to scream to the world that real stuff beats out fake any day of the week!

Just Breath Supermom

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Thank you. Thank you to the mom that wrote something that moved me so much that I was paralyzed with emotion while sitting in my bed, surrounded by laundry, dust bunnies, and a computer that begged for me to do my homework. Thank you for making me realize that I am not alone. That it is “ok” to not be “ok”. That it is ok not be a supermom all-day, every single day. That sometimes letting the kids eat dinner in front of the TV just so I can sit down and breath for one damn second is OK.

You see we moms are pretty hard on ourselves. Call it biology. Call it societal pressure. Call it what you want – but we often hold ourselves to a ridiculously impossible standard. Why? I am certainly not the one who has it all figured out but what I do know is that I thank all the mommy bloggers and mommy posters out there that at some point, have had a rough day, and then have taken that opportunity to make light of it for the rest of us who just mig

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ht also be having a rough day.

And to the mom that posted in a mom’s group of 5600 women that today she was just surviving and that it was ok – you freed me from my self-inflicted notion that I suck at this parenting thing just because I feel too overwhelmed to do anything worthy of super-mom status, thank you. Thank you for making me feel, and connecting with not only myself but so many other women than needed to hear your words. Words can do so much. Because of words like hers and the many other women that put it all out there – even on really bad days we can remember that tomorrow is brighter and better than this one bad day. That because I am a mom I can survive this and pick myself up and move forward for not only the ones I love, but for myself.

So moms, let us give ourselves permission. Permission to turn on Micky Mouse Clubhouse so we can read a chapter out of our favorite book. Permission to hide in our bathroom for 5 minutes to paint our long over-do toenails. Permission to do whatever it is that helps us do this mom thing a little better. Some days are awesome – some are not. In those moments when we feel we just cannot do it anymore, remember you are not alone. There are women out there from all walks of life “just breathing” in their closets, bathrooms, and driver’s seat. Go on, and remember to “just breath”, and make tomorrow better.

Play-Dates Indoor Playground

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What do you do with two rambunctious toddlers, during the day, in the Florida heat (helloooooo Florida, it’s officially fall, I’m going to need you to get the memo!) to keep yourself from going stir-crazy in the house?  Take them out to play, of course!  But outside play is still face-meltingly painful, amiright??  That’s where Play-Dates steps up to the plate.  This new indoor playground in Valrico brings it all.  It boasts an expansive play room with everything from a decked out train table, to dress up, to a play house-complete with grill set up, and a full kitchen and laundry station.

My first impression, upon visiting Play-Dates, was that it is open, airy, bright and clean.  There are no smelly feet or stale diaper pale smells here.  The owner, Laura, greeted me with a smile and welcome, went over the easy paperwork ,and admitted my chomping-at-the-bit boys right in to play.  She then gave me a quick run-down of the space.  I promptly took advantage of the free coffee and wifi (that’s right, moms, FREE COFFEE. Take that, Starbucks!) and plopped myself into one of the several comfy lounge chairs.  The room is big enough to allow lots of kiddos to explore and play together with ease, but not so big that you feel like you’re constantly losing sight of your littles.  The sight lines are clear and easy, with one smaller area designated for really little ones that keeps them out of the direct path of any toddler-hulks who might be visiting for the day.  Laura also mindfully included a small snack area complete with toddler sized picnic tables, so that your always hungry munchkin (please tell me my kids aren’t the only ones who need to eat every 5 minutes??) can sit and enjoy a snack or drink that you bring with you, without worrying about them spreading cracker crumbs all around the play area.

Recently, Play-Dates was kind enough to host a private playdate for Everyday Moms that was loaded with fun and goodies, complete with a visit from Eddie Bull the mascot of Eddie Bull’s Cookie Dough, treats from The Sweet Tooth CakerySugar Sun Sweets, and a goodie bag filled with treats and discounts from other local businesses.  We had a great time getting together with friends old and new from this amazing group of moms.

Each weekday at Play-Dates is designated for different daily enrichment classes held at 10:30am that are free with paid admission.  Laura directs the kiddos in fun activities that are easy and geared to their ages.  There’s Movement Mondays, Story Tales Tuesdays, Arts/Crafts Wednesdays, Story Tales Thursdays and Fine Motor Skills Friday.  More info on each day’s activity here.  Our first visit was on a Friday morning and my boys – aged 3.5 years and 1.5 years both enjoyed the fun activity Laura guided them through of using their hands, or tweezers of different sizes, to sort different sized and colored pom-poms into mounted pvc pipes with corresponding colors above the pipes.  I was amazed to see my 1.5 year old take interest in the activity and spend quite a bit of time playing with it.

Laura is attentive and helpful without being overbearing.  She breezes around the playroom periodically picking up and putting away toys that the playful tots have discarded and cleaning off any that made their way into mouths.  She manages to keep the space tidy and organized with an appearance of ease that I would love to be able to adapt in my own home, as my clean up “routine” usually involves a fair amount of yelling and gnashing of teeth (mostly my own).  She also has a fun incentive for sharing photos of your little ones enjoying the space.  She draws winners for a free day of play, each Friday from anyone who has posted pictures on social media and tagged Play-Dates in them.  We actually won a free day of play after our first visit, SCORE!

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Play-Dates also has events and offers party packages.  Who doesn’t dream of a birthday party where everyone gets to play, have fun and you don’t have to clean up the mess afterward?  All the info and pricing for their parties can be found here.  Play-Dates is hosting a fun “Spooktacular Event” on October 14th from 5-7pm with food, music, games, crafts, trick-or-treating and a costume parade.  More info and ticket information here.

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Daily admission Play-Dates pricing for one-day play is as follows:
Ages 1-5 years old are $10
Ages 0-11 months are $6.25
Ages 0-5 months are FREE with a paid sibling.
First 2 adults are FREE. Additional adults are $3.25

They also offer packages including monthly and annual memberships.  I know what I’m asking grandma and grandpa to get my guys for Christmas!

So, as Laura says on her website, “be sure to stop by and play for a bit.  And don’t worry, we’ll clean up the mess.”

1040 E. Bloomingdale Avenue
​Valrico, Fl 33596
Tel: (813) 438-5248
laura@playdatesflorida.com
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Sharon Letsinger is a SAH boymom to two tow-headed cuties.  Her chosen partner in crime, Danny, co-owns The Big Red Barn in Riverview.  She enjoys sarcasm, yoga, dark chocolate, red wine and belly laughs.  She’s not a runner, no matter what Taylor says.

Homeschool Hindsight

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After resigning from my job (two years ago) to stay home with my daughter, homeschool was never on my radar… Now, its second nature.  There are many challenges, but my family loves this life. I can now say with confidence, “I would not have it any other way.”  However, before my family began this Journey, I wish I had heard more of the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Here is a little of mine.

You spend ALL of your time with your child– Every single minute of my day is spent with my daughter. Every question and thought that runs through her brain, comes out her mouth and straight to my ears…every single one! It is mentally exhausting to take the majority of the conversations and turn them into a learning experience. At the end of the day/week I feel more exhausted than I did when I worked full-time, but my heart grows fuller and brighter EVERY single day!

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Not all Homeschool journeys are created equal– When I first started homeschooling, I was constantly comparing my journey with others. I felt a need to get ahead and spent more energy than I would like to admit worrying about why my child wasn’t as far along as others. I am a homeschooler. Where is the fire?? My daughter and I are walking our own path. We do this so that we can go at our own pace. There is no rush or need to compare yourself with others. Do what works for you and your family!

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Join Homeschool groups/Co-ops, but be prepared to leave a few too- We are lucky enough to live in an area with a large amount of Homeschool families. In the beginning of my journey, I joined Facebook groups, attended events and reached out to other Homeschoolers in Everyday Moms. Some groups weren’t a good fit for my family. It took some time to find like-minded groups, but we now have an amazing amount of support. I could not do this without knowing other homeschool mothers. I would honestly lose my mind without them! Their support has been invaluable.

You will doubt yourself constantly – I also see this as a positive. I am constantly questioning myself. Am I doing enough? Am I screwing my child up for life? Could I have approached this better? Is my child happy? Am I happy? Can I do this?. THIS is what drives me and makes us better. The very fact that I question myself means that I want to do this to the best of my ability. I know my child better than anyone else. NO one knows my child better than me!

You are the responsible party- The pressure and responsibility that comes with homeschool is taxing. You have to motivate yourself to engage with your child the majority of your day. Your Spouse, family, and most of all your child are counting on you! Their education literally rests on your shoulders. Sometimes I feel as if I am being looked at with a microscope by many.  Not always the case, but a horrible feeling. Like I said above…’This is OUR journey”. I believe that this lifestyle is best and will do anything to make it work. If for whatever reason it isn’t working, I will be big enough to admit it and fix it!

 

Family– I do not know what I would do if my Husband didn’t support homeschooling. I certainly wouldn’t be writing this if he didn’t. Homeschool is a decision that we made together (my daughter included). We are also lucky enough to have support from our immediate family.

Some days are lonely – There are days when my daughter gets sad and wants a friend to play with. It makes me sad too. There isn’t always someone available to come over and play. Those are the days that I try my best to get out of the house. We go to the park, for a walk or head to the pool for some fun. After all, we eat, sleep, and homeschool under the same roof Every. Single. Day.

We have so much fun- We have lots of time and opportunities to explore our surroundings. We go on nature hikes, field trips at least twice a month, and build long-lasting and deep seeded relationships. Not a day goes by that I’m not thankful for this opportunity! My daughter is more cultured at age 5 than I was. She gets to see and do so much. The freedom we have is priceless. This is why we do what we do.

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THIS IS “OUR” JOURNEY!

Suzette Foister

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SAHM, Wife, Homeschooler, Owner/Artist of Bring Your Own Canvas

 

The Bittersweet Goodbye of Preschool

My daughter just started kindergarten. Her father and I walked her to her door, met with her teachers, and said a quick goodbye. I was already emotional over the whole thing- the beginning of a new chapter, a longer school day, the realization that I didn’t have her at home till later in the day. We walked out of the room with tears in our eyes, trying not to do the ugly cry.

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I loved preschool. We all loved preschool. It was a small, cozy place with a class size of less than fifteen students. There were two teachers in the room, plenty of toys and lots of space to move around. It was the perfect place for creativity and imaginative play. Kindergarten used to be that way and might still be in many places, but as the years go by, I continue to hear more and more how kindergarten is the new first grade. There are less toys, more of a focus on academics, and not much time for free play. It was a hard realization for me to come too. I worried, and still do worry, if she will have the same opportunities she did in preschool to be a kid.

Fast forward to three weeks later and my daughter can recognize sight words, has learned several new songs and routines. She loves to run around and play outside and socialize with her classmates in the cafeteria. One day she came home and told me all about a science experiment that involved a balance scale and a variety of objects. The class had to guess which item was the heaviest. As she rattled off the details I was amazed by how focused she must have been during the lesson. She remembered every detail. She’s learning, she’s engaged. I can see her wheels turning. And that is a wonderful feeling.

I’ll miss her messy preschool crafts. I’ll miss the laid back schedule we had (where tardiness and attendance was a little more lenient). The fact is, as we adjust to our new way of life, I can see that she is ready. I may not have been at first, as it’s hard to say goodbye to any stage in parenting, but now I am. I’m ready to help her grow and thrive and become the best little kindergartner she can be.