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.

Corn Mazes, Pumpkin Patches, and Fall Festivals 2018

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Here are your local and worth the drive listings of corn mazes, pumpkin patches, and fall festivals in and around the Tampa Bay Area.

Enjoy and Happy Fall Y’all!

**Event Guide is updated weekly, so check back often for new events added**

Please Note: Time and price may change, please verify all information with event before attending!

Corn Mazes

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Fox Squirrel Corn Maze

  • When: WEEKENDS ONLY Oct. 6 – Oct 28
  • Hours: 10am – 5pm
  • Location: 3002 Charlie Taylor Rd, Plant City, FL 33565
  • Cost: Adults: $11 + tax (18 & older) Youth: $10 + tax (3 – 17) 2 & Under: FREE (cash only, there is no ATM on site)
  • Website: http://futchentertainment.com/

Scott’s Maze Adventures

  • When: Oct. 6 – Dec. 9, Sat and Sun ONLY
  • Hours: Saturdays, 10 am – 5pm, Sundays 12pm – 5 pm
  • Location: 26216 CR 448A, Mount Dora, Florida, 32757
  • Cost: $12.00 Admission, Kids 3 and under – free
  • Website: longandscottfarms.com

Harvest Holler Corn Maze

  • When: Sept. 21 – Nov. 11
  • Hours: Friday: 4pm – 8pm Saturday: Noon – 8 pm and Sunday Noon – 5 pm
    Monday to Thursday: by reservation only
  • Location: 950 Tavares Rd. Polk City, FL 33686
  • Cost: 2 and under is free, Kids 3-12yrs old $8.50, Adults 13 yrs and up $10.50, Sr Adults (65) and military $8.50, Field Trip rate $8.00
  • Website: .harvestholler.com

Timberline Farm’s Annual Corn Maze and Fall Festival

  • When: Oct. 5 – Nov. 4, Weekends ONLY
  • Hours: Friday 4 pm – 9pm, Saturday 10am –9pm, and Sunday 12 pm – 9pm
  • Location: 3200 Southeast 115th Street, Belleview, Florida, 34420
  • Cost: Admission is $8.00 Adults, $6.00 Children, Children 3 and under get in FREE. Active military, firefighters, & law enforcement always FREE!
  • Website: https://timberlinefarm.net/

Harvest Moon Farm

  • When: Sept, 29 – Nov. 5, SAT and SUN ONLY
  • Hours: 10am – 5pm
  • Location: 15990 Stur St, Masaryktown, FL, 34604
  • Cost: Adults & Children (ages 3+) $11.95+tax, Miltary Discount –

    $2.00 off general admission For military personnel only & must have ID present

  • Website: .harvestmoonfl

Sweetfields Farm

  • When: Weekends ONLY Sept. 29 – November 4
  • Hours: 10am – 5pm, last admission sold at 4pm
  • Location: 17250 Benes Roush Rd. Masaryktown, Fl 34604
  • Cost: 12 and older $9.50 each + tax, 3-11 $5.00 each + tax , 2 and under are Free
  • Website: sweetfieldsfarm.com

Hunsander Farms

  • When: Oct. 13-14, 20-21, 27-28
  • Hours: 9am – 5pm
  • Location: 5500 CR 675, Bradenton, FL, 34211
  • Cost: Admission $10, Parking $5, Children 12 and under free
  • Website: hunsaderfarms.com/pumpkin-festival

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Pumpkin Patches

HorsePower for Kids Farm Fall Festival

  • When: Every Sat & Sunday in October 6 – 28
  • Hours: 11am – 5pm
  • Location: 8005 Race Track Road, Tampa, FL, 33635
  • Cost: $12 admission and $1 Parking
  • Website: horsepowerforkids.com

Timberline Farm’s Annual Corn Maze and Fall Festival

  • When: Oct. 5 – Nov. 4, Weekends ONLY
  • Hours: Friday 4 pm – 9pm, Saturday 10am –9pm, and Sunday 12 pm – 9pm
  • Location: 3200 Southeast 115th Street, Belleview, Florida, 34420
  • Cost: Admission is $8.00 Adults, $6.00 Children, Children 3 and under get in FREE. Active military, firefighters, & law enforcement always FREE!
  • Website: https://timberlinefarm.net/

Florida Railroad Museum Pumpkin Patch Express

  • When: Oct 20, 21, 27, and 28
  • Hours: Trains run at 10am, 1pm and 4pm
  • Location: 12210 83rd St East, Parrish, FL, 34219
  • Cost: see website
  • Website: pumpkinexpress

Harvest Holler Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch

  • When: Sept. 21 – Nov. 11
  • Hours: Friday: 4pm – 8pm Saturday: Noon – 8 pm and Sunday Noon – 5 pm
    Monday to Thursday: by reservation only
  • Location: 950 Tavares Rd. Polk City, FL 33686
  • Cost: 2 and under is free, Kids 3-12yrs old $8.50, Adults 13 yrs and up $10.50, Sr Adults (65) and military $8.50, Field Trip rate $8.00
  • Website: .harvestholler.com

Hunsander Farms

  • When: Oct. 13-14, 20-21, 27-28
  • Hours: 9am – 5pm
  • Location: 5500 CR 675, Bradenton, FL, 34211
  • Cost: Admission $10, Parking $5, Children 12 and under free
  • Website: hunsaderfarms.com/pumpkin-festival

Picking Patch U-Pick pumpkin Patch

  • When: Sept. 29 – Oct. 28
  • Hours: Fridays 3pm -7pm, Saturdays 10am – 7pm, and Sundays 12pm- 7pm
  • Location: 11000 Rolling Hills Road, Dunnellon, Florida, 34432
  • Cost: $5pp and 3 and under FREE
  • Website: dunnellonpumpkinpatch.com/

Sweetfields Farm

  • When: Weekends ONLY Sept. 29 – November 4
  • Hours: 10am – 5pm, last admission sold at 4pm
  • Location: 17250 Benes Roush Rd. Masaryktown, Fl 34604
  • Cost: 12 and older $9.50 each + tax, 3-11 $5.00 each + tax , 2 and under are Free
  • Website: sweetfieldsfarm.com

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Fall Festivals

Timberline Farm’s Annual Corn Maze and Fall Festival

  • When: Oct. 5 – Nov. 4, Weekends ONLY
  • Hours: Friday 4 pm – 9pm, Saturday 10am –9pm, and Sunday 12 pm – 9pm
  • Location: 3200 Southeast 115th Street, Belleview, Florida, 34420
  • Cost: Admission is $8.00 Adults, $6.00 Children, Children 3 and under get in FREE. Active military, firefighters, & law enforcement always FREE!
  • Website: https://timberlinefarm.net/

Oct. 20: Fall Festival at Fellowship Baptist of Valrico

  • When: Oct. 20
  • Hours: 10 am – 1 pm
  • Location: 106 Rolling Hills Blvd, Valrico
  • Cost: FREE
  • Website: facebookevent

Oct. 27 – 28: Fall Festival at the Grove Wesley Chapel

  • When: Oct. 27 – 28
  • Hours: 4 pm
  • Location: Grove At Wesley Chapel, 6105 Wesley Grove Blvd, Wesley Chapel, FL, 33544
  • Cost: FREE
  • Website: www.groveshopping.com/events/

Please always verify all information on each event through their website. Hours may change due to weather.

  • Written By: Shineta A

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

 

Mommy Student

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Going Back to School

So you’re considering going back to school but you just are not sure if you can take the added responsibilities as a mom. I get it, life is already super hectic – but you’re ready to further your career in hopes that maybe you can afford that dream vacation or charming home you’ve always wanted. Going back to school is a huge decision requiring time, money, and a whole of schedule juggling. With the proper plan in place, you can make this happen! Here are a few tips to get you started from a person that earned a bachelors, masters, and now (in process) a doctorate.

  • Be sure of what you want to do. You aren’t fresh out of high school with time and freedom on your side. You now have tiny humans and probably a significant other relying on you and the success of this program. Do your research. See what the job market is like in the field you’re looking into. Make connections with people in the field as well. It’s good to network and find out the skinny on the career you’re looking to launch.
  • Lay out the financial plan. How much will the program cost, what will your payments be when you graduate, and will your income cover it all, plus bills? These are things you need to know. If you already have a degree, you need to see how much more student loans are available to you – there is a max! If you have to find alternative means to fund your education, you need to know up front. Also account for any materials or even time off from work.
  • Plan your plan! Or schedule rather. Not every day will go “as planned”, but in general have a means to get your child to soccer practice when you can’t. Have a dinner schedule laid out. If your children are old enough, have a chore chart. Delegate as much as possible, within reason of course. Using an online calendar that you and your family can access, make changes to, etc., can be extremely helpful. My husband and I use one called Cozi – it’s perfect for scheduling, meal planning, and so much more.

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Going back to school is a huge commitment for the whole family. Make sure to call a family meeting ahead of time and lay out the expectations and what this accomplishment will mean for the family long-term so the kids can be on the same page. If they can see the end-result like you can they might be more eager to pitch in. Bottom line, recruit as much help as possible. There will be many days that you feel like you’re drowning and failing at all aspects of life (mostly motherhood), but your family will appreciate all the effort when you’re walking that stage one day.

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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!

How do you like YOUR peanut butter?

I’m going to try to paint a picture for you…

Imagine you see a very normal looking, early 20’s girl get out of her car in a Walmart parking lot on Christmas Eve.
Now imagine you saw that she’s parked in a handicapped space. What would be your first thought?
Some old people driving by, thought that there couldn’t possibly be a reason for a young girl to have a handicap plate. PLATE, not tag. PLATE. They, considerably annoyed that they missed out on the front row spot, preceded to yell out the window “OH SHE LOOKS MENTALLY HANDICAPPED TO ME!!”

What they didn’t know, is that young girl almost died months prior. That she could only walk about 5 feet before having a really hard time moving. That she relied on that shopping cart for mobility.
They didn’t know her WHY.
It was none of their business.

Now imagine that same girl out at the Dallas Bull with her best friends. When they wanted to go to the second floor, they had to use the elevator because she couldn’t get up the stairs.
The elevator guards, looking for a reason to make sure they were not just trying to use the elevator, wait for a response. Her friends point to her. Guess what? That was ENOUGH. They rode the elevator. Week after week. While that girl, out at a bar with her friends, was re-learning to walk. What an accomplishment it was to be able to walk up and down those stairs.

What if I told you that girl…. was me.
I tell you my story, to remind you that you literally have NO IDEA what others are going through.
We all need to look at things from different perspectives…..

 

Let’s keep painting.

Now, imagine a mom. That first time mom who has questions, and nobody else she can turn to for answers. This is the reason she is in a MOM GROUP.
She asks a question, and gets completely ATTACKED. I’m going to use the most popular reason for receiving this reaction to a question.

Now, imagine that same mom. She gave birth to beautiful twin babies, and after getting the vitamin K shot, one of those babies had trouble breathing. MAJOR trouble. The on-call pediatrician was called umpteen times that night while that mother, fighting to stay awake, feared for her baby’s life.

YOU’RE PROBABLY ALREADY JUDGING.
That’s what everyone does.

What about when that same mom brought her baby back to the pediatrician several times in between the normal appointments because of issues that are not normal?
What about listening to the pediatrician when they said it was ok to get more shots?

Guess where they ended up? IN THE HOSPITAL. A 2 week old baby. With a reaction to those shots.

That is this mom’s WHY. And it’s none of your business.

 

Another picture…

What about that 5/6/7 year old kid you see being pushed around in a stroller in the mall?
Is your first thought “that kid is a little old to be riding in a stroller…”?
What if that kid has MS, or Palsy and their parents can’t afford a wheelchair?
What if the child is on the spectrum and that is the ONLY way to keep them comforted while their parents still have to go on with life? Maybe the kid just woke up from a nap and refused to walk, but the parent had shit to do.
Again, their WHY. None of your business.

 

What about breastfeeding vs. formula?

What about the bedsharers vs. cio?

What about the fast food vs. organic everything?

My point is, everyone is different. Some people need to learn how to be adults.
Let’s realize that our children are watching and learning EVERYTHING we do.

So to YOU, Judgy Mcjudgerson. Yes, you. The one who comments on everything. Turns anything into an argument because someone else has a different way. A differing opinion.

I have a challenge for you.
Take a look in the mirror. Find your WHY.
Do you not get any attention at home? Do you feel like nobody values your opinion? Do you lack adult interaction? Did you have a bad childhood? Do you not know how to make friends?
What does your constant need to undermine others have to do with your life? Seriously.

Find your WHY. Figure it out, for yourself and your kids.

 

And when you find it, guess what?

It’s none of MY business.

 

Becky Phillips

stay at home mom of 2

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You can find more of my posts on Workingwifemommalife.wordpress.com

I’m Still Here

I ran across this quotation today and it stopped me in my tracks. This is true for me, but it almost wasn’t. As a society, in general, we don’t like to talk about our problems, our missteps, our mistakes. But it is so important that those around us, especially those who are in the midst of their own storms, see us struggle and push through. It’s important to be real. It’s also not something I’m good at.

We have Facebook and Instagram and Snapchat. We have filters for our pictures and photo editors on our phones. We crop out the mess, smooth away the wrinkles and post our highlight reel online, while hiding the mess of real life. This gives off a false sense of perfection to those around us.

We have come to value perfection in a way that is unrealistic and unattainable. We also don’t acknowledge a mental health problem for the medical diagnosis it is. If I have a diagnosed heart problem, that caused an emergency, and I go to the hospital for treatment, my friends and family would likely post prayer requests and information for my friends and distant family to see. However, if I have a diagnosed mental health problem, that caused an emergency, and I go to the hospital for treatment, my friends and family might not know much about it at all and they most certainly wouldn’t post about it online. It would likely be considered shameful. This is wrong. And this wouldn’t help me seek support or treatment.

More than ten years ago, through the perfect storm of stress, the ending of a difficult, debilitating relationship, and isolation from friends and family, I found myself in a pit of despair that seemed unending and inescapable. This is almost where my story ended. But instead of being the period at the end of my story, it became the semi-colon. Simply a pause. A break that was painful, difficult and hard to overcome, but oh-so-worth the struggle.

You see, ten years ago me had no idea what life would hold for me now. I had no way of seeing the joy and strength and love that would define my life now. Not perfection, by a long shot. Not struggle-free at all. But beautiful in it’s own messy way.

I want to be more genuine. I’m working to build a circle of friends that I share more of myself with. Women whom I can call, not only when I have joy and excess to share, but also when I’m in need physically or emotionally. Do you have this circle? When something bad happens or your day goes south, do you have supports in place to build you back up, help you find a smile even when it seems impossible, or come along side of you to shoulder the load?

Would it shock you to know that women in our Everyday Mom’s group have very real, very scary struggles right now? What if I told you some of them don’t know exactly how they will feed their children next week? How about if I told you that more than one of us have contemplated, planned or even tried to end our lives? These are beautiful people, who love their families so much, but they are in pain and when they look around, they only see our highlight reels. They are suffering in silence because they don’t know exactly how to reach out. They don’t want to reveal the struggle or expose their own weakness because somehow we’ve sold the lie that our lives are always perfect. This is not ok.

How do we overcome this? How do we move past the fluff and find depth in our relationships with each other? What will emotionally investing in one another cost us? I don’t have all the answers here, I really am asking, how do we help? What would help you?

We do have an awesome local resource in The Seventh Mom Project that advocates “holding the umbrella” for one another as we weather the storms of perinatal mood disorders. I think the analogy holds for any season in life. We can be umbrella holders for those around us, but only if we are allowed to see the storm. Only if we know that it’s raining in your world.

I also think there is opportunity here to put together a more tangible resource for our group. I haven’t ironed out all of the ideas that are floating in my mind yet, but we are so involved in each other’s lives, in one sense, because we interact online almost daily, and yet at the same time we are so distanced from one another that the problems can slide under the radar. There has to be a way to pull together and be there for each other during the storms. For some of us, this may mean offering childcare so a mom can run out for coffee alone. For others, it may mean helping sort through mountains of laundry. I love helping after a new baby comes or when there’s an illness in the family. I like to make a meal, send takeout or gift cards. There’s room to form an organized system for some of this, but it will only work if you will reach out. What do you think? Will you share your struggle, to help others share theirs too?

Hey, Mom and Dad- It’s not your fault.

By: Taylor Arellano

I was a brand new Mom with a sweet little newborn boy. He was the center of my whole world, my iPhone was filled with nothing but pictures of him throughout every part of our day no matter how insignificant. I lived and breathed for every involuntary smile, coo, and wiggle.

Like any new Mom, I spammed my Facebook news feed with pictures of my new baby all day, every day. I was so proud of this little life Zach and I had brought into the world, and I wanted to share his never ending cuteness (no matter how insignificant the photo really was) with the whole world.

So, the day I received a Facebook message in regards to a picture I posted of a photo of my then 2 month old son still makes me question myself to this day…

I had just started my transition out of the Military and was home often by myself with Isaac. Being a brand new, young Mom I was learning how to balance home chores with trying to feed and please a newborn, as well as apply for new jobs, buy a new home, and more. These days were absolutely crazy to say the least.

One day, Isaac was especially fussy, and I distinctly remember it was a day where I needed to be on the phone to talk to the lenders for the home we were purchasing. Wondering if it would work, I turned on a quiet T.V. Channel and placed Isaac in his bouncer in front of the T.V. Stand to occupy him while I was on the phone. To my surprise, it worked, and I actually thought it was cute that my 2 month old was so entertained by a completely random T.V. show, so of course I snapped a pic and uploaded it to Facebook thinking how cute it was that my newborn was just lounging around watching a morning talk show.

It wasn’t but a couple hours later that I signed into Facebook to find a private message from an old High School classmate that I had not even remembered speaking to in at least 8 years. But what was even more shocking, was the context of her message.

In short, the message basically read that she was attending College to be an early childhood educator, and she wanted to advise me that letting young children watch television was extremely damaging to their development and that my “adorable son” (Yeah, she tried to bring me a up a little before she kicked me down) could actually end up with a speech delay or other cognitive disabilities. There was a lot more detail and degrading comments in her message, but I will spare you those.

Immediately, I felt awful. I was a brand new Mom, I had no idea what I was doing. Was that hour of T.V. going to damage his ability to speak in a couple of years? When is he allowed to start watching T.V.? Why do they even make those baby shows? The questions in my head were endless, but I knew that I did not want to ask this “friend” the answers to these questions because I felt degraded and dumb.

Fast forward 18 months later. Isaac is diagnosed as Speech Delayed.

If you don’t think that message from my former classmate popped into my head, think again.

Zach and I were sad, we were worried, we felt so bad. Did we do something wrong? Were we failing Isaac in his development? We by no means used the T.V. as a babysitter, we played outside with him, we played games with him, we read books. Was this still somehow our fault?

The short answer to those questions- NO.

We were assured by our pediatrician, speech therapists, hearing evaluation specialists and more that THESE THINGS HAPPEN. We were good parents.

I am a believer in science and medicine, I am a Nursing Student myself, and I know there is a clinical basis for almost everything. I know that there are predisposing factors for illnesses, developmental delays, etc.

…But I also know that I am a good Mom. Zach is an amazing Dad. Our Son is a healthy and curious little boy, and his speech development is a work in progress that we see improvements in DAILY. We are doing our best as parents, and Isaac is doing his best too.

It took a long time for me to stop blaming myself. I would think back on the message from my old classmate and wonder if this was my fault. If the occasional Mickey Mouse Clubhouse episode made my little boy incapable of speaking at an age appropriate level. If I should have taken our T.V. and completely left it in the garage for 3 years since according to an early education STUDENT ” a child should see no T.V. until age 3″.

I need to add that I am in no way trying to discredit the knowledge of this person. I am sure she knew a lot about the subject. I also understand that television and other factors do have significant effects on a child’s development. That is not the point here though.

I wondered if that classmate (who had no children) knew what it was like to be so burnt out from being home with an 11 month old for 7 days straight and had 1 shower in that time frame- knew what it was like to just need 30 minutes of quiet so she could be a better Mom.

In addition to understanding that we cannot blame ourselves, we also need to think about how our words may affect another parent. Whenever I feel like I have a piece of advice for another parent, I stop first. I think about how I felt when I got that Facebook message.

Is saying this going to make them feel inferior in their parenting skills and decisions? Is saying this going to be helpful? Am I going to make him/her feel like they have done something wrong? Am I stealing this Mom’s joy right now?

OF COURSE- if a child’s safety or well-being is in danger, there are appropriate ways to intervene. But unless you have A LOT and I mean A LOT of probable cause to think someone is really affecting their child’s well-being, we have to think twice before we hand out unsolicited advice to parents.

The words of someone completely insignificant to my family’s life had a lasting impact on me.

Be a good friend. Be a good fellow parent. But be considerate.

And to my fellow Mom’s and Dad’s with a child who may be needing some extra help in one or more areas of development, hang in there. Progress comes with time, and I know very well how the wait for signs of progress can seem like ages. Be gentle on yourself, and on your child. The first time they call you “Mama” or “Dada” with true recognition and affiliation with the word, you will cry. That first “I love you” will make your heart burst, and it is so worth the wait.