twenty-fifteen

Here I am, one month shy of an entire year since I’ve posted here. How sad is that! I love coming here, sharing my thoughts and photos, not only with you, but for myself and for my daughter to look back on years from now.

Being absent here for almost a year can only mean one thing — 2015 was complete craziness. Not only was I absent on my blog, but in a way, from my own life. My days were spent sitting at my desk in an office, working my full time job, and the majority of my evenings were a precise routine of picking up Finley from daycare, making dinner, being a mommy, and then parking my rear end on the couch to work again, this time on freelance projects, the minute Finley went to bed. It was all I could do to keep up. Nothing else mattered. It wasn’t unusual for me to have up to 20 ongoing projects at all times. Everything else seemed to had to  get pushed to the back burner. I would often tell myself that there would be no way I could maintain that lifestyle forever, especially as Finley got older and would have more “activities” in the evenings or when we, God-willingly, bring another child into this world. Plus, I just know there is so much more to life than only doing things to make extra cash.

Here’s the thing, I LOVE my freelance work, I really do. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t do so much of it. But it’s still work, and it’s still taking away from the other things that fill my heart with joy. Freelance work has slowly started to make even my passions feel like too much work — because doing something for “fun” would take up the precious time I had so little of to get my money-paying freelance work done. Even coloring (and I LOVE coloring!) seemed to cause anxiety because I couldn’t finish it fast enough and I’d always feel like I wasn’t using my time wisely enough. That is no way to live, my friends! We only have one life to do all the things that make us the happiest and bring us the most joy.

So, moving forward in 2016, it’s my goal to be more intentional about what work I add to my plate, to focus a whole lot more on me (hello, exercising and making time for eating clean!) and my family (hello, toddler swimming lessons+dance class and date nights with my hubby again!), and doing the fun things that don’t necessarily put money in my pocket. Expect to see more personal photo projects of my two favorite subjects this year too!

With that, before Finley’s third birthday in 19 days (howwwww!?), here’s what her second birthday looked like! Wait til you see how much she’s changed since then…!

2nd Birthday Theme: Vizslas+Sprinkles
“Colorful sprinkles, vizlsa kisses,  & a little girl’s wishes — Finley is turning two!”

2nd Birthday Collage

first birthday | pink ombre + gold glitter

Ahh, the much anticipated first birthday. The first birthday party of many to come… The theme: Pink Ombre+Gold Glitter. My thought was since this was one of about two birthday parties in which I get to call the shots, why not make it lovely and do exactly what I want to do [with no regards to the baby’s interests]. You know, because before I know it, she’ll demand (in a high-pitched 3-year old voice) that she wants a “Dora” party or some other equally-awful theme (sorry if any of you had a Dora party for your daughter…) that I would have to really flex my creative muscle in order to make visually appealing (and photo worthy). Back to Pink Ombre+Gold Glitter.. At the time of planning it, I thought I was pretty creative. But then I saw all over Pinterest that every other mommy was doing the same thing…

As a photographer, thoughts of getting the right photo takes priority for every decision in my mind. (any other photogs have that problem!? It’s kinda exhausting! But great too.)

That being said, I HAD to get not only amazingly-delicious, but gorgeous, cupcakes from my favorite gal at Miss Sara’s Cakery in Hastings. And instead of dusting off my KitchenAide mixer and making a cake for Finley that she would inevitably destroy, I paid $60 for a beautiful pink ombre cake (that was a light mint color inside!). Totally worth it for two reasons: 1. It looked amazing in her cake smash photos. 2. She barely destroyed it which meant that we got to eat it!

Who knew helium was so expensive (and that there is a shortage of it)!? After making multiple phone calls to see if various places could fill balloons I’d provide or rent out a helium tank, we ended up buying a disposable tank ($40) that filled close to 50 balloons. I tied various pink & gold ribbon to the balloons and cut them at all different lengths. Cory had the duty of buying washers from Home Depot (much cheaper than party stores!) to hold the balloons down. The outcome was even more than I expected… while Cory was annoyed trying to walk through a sea of balloons, I was in awe. (Helpful hint: if you buy a disposable helium tank, do not fill balloons even a day before the event. It doesn’t last long!)

In addition to the balloons, we had various pink flowers down the center of the tables (with a gold striped table runner made out of wrapping paper). I steered clear of roses since it was Valentine’s Day (seriously, $8 a stem!? No. The roses you’ll see in a photo were for me from my loving husband who remembered it was Valentine’s Day too!). I bought a tassel banner off etsy (here) and did some DIY glitter heart cupcake toppers and a “ONE” banner for the highchair. That was pretty much the extent of the decorations.

It was the perfect little party! We mingled, drank wine, and ate hors d’oeuvres before opening gifts and singing happy birthday to the birthday girl. I totally thought I would lose it during the singing but surprised myself and didn’t. And then my wonderful friend, Amanda, put together a video of the party that was enough to set me over the edge. If I saw it somewhere else, I would think about how much I wish I had a video like that of my baby’s birthday. I’m so lucky!

As if we wouldn’t remember her first birthday well enough, Finley helped us out by achieving another milestone — pooping in the bathtub! Way to go, little lady!

Here’s a photo recap of her big day… (and don’t forget to watch the video at the end!)

FINLEY-FIRST-BDAY-PHOTO-COLLAGE1 FINLEY-FIRST-BDAY-PHOTO-COLLAGE2

infographic love

Wow. Wow. Wow. I am beyond excited & humbled by the outpouring of love for the one-year infographic I posted for Finley’s birthday. I’ve gotten so much interest in doing custom designs for people around the world. First off,  I definitely want to and am going to try with all I have to do custom orders for everyone interested! I just need to figure out the logistics of it all to ensure I can complete them, not only for each one of you, but also in a timely matter. So please bear with me for a little while longer! My hope/plan currently is to list the infographic as a product in my etsy shop as an easy way for anyone to place an order and communicate with me. I also plan to offer a mounted print or canvas of the artwork as an additional option to the digital file. I will reply back or email each one of you as soon as possible to get things rolling. In the meantime, I thought a blog post would be a good way to communicate quickly so people aren’t left hanging for long. 🙂 I have a few other ideas brewing in my head that I am excited about too… Stay tuned! And thank you, thank you, thank you for the love!! I’ll leave you with a sneak peek of Finley’s 1st birthday photo shoot…

POPPY-DESIGNS

happy birthday, baby!

It’s one of those moments in life when my feelings clash… like it was just yesterday that she was born, yet at the same time, it feels like forever ago! I will be saying the same thing on her 25th birthday, no doubt. (omg, I’ll be 55 then!) Regardless, I cannot believe my teeny-tiny-newborn-valentine-baby-girl is one year old today. More posts about my first year of raising a daughter, thoughts on being a mommy to a one year old, along with a first birthday party recap, will happen in the near future, but for now, an infographic in celebration of her big day! Happy Birthday, baby girl!

(Visit my etsy shop (or click on image!) to order your own infographic like this and more!)

ONE YEAR INFORGRAPHIC

one year.

One year ago today…

One year ago today, I went to work and moved all my stuff into a new office. An office with a gigantic window two feet from my face.

One year ago today, Cory had to pick me up from work early because I had a migraine with an aura in my vision so couldn’t drive (or look at a computer screen). I blamed my migraine on the adjustment to the extreme brightness from the window in my new office.

One year ago today, we went out to eat at a Mexican restaurant. A Mexican restaurant where the food was in front of us just five minutes after ordering. (in other words, it was disgusting.)

One year ago today, I stayed up late to lay on the couch and watch Perks of Being a Wallflower and I just felt “off”.

One year ago today, I took the photo on the left… And 12 hours later, began having contractions.

One year ago today, was the last day of my “old normal” life. 😉

Exactly one year later, I took the photo on the right…

FEB 13 2013 & 2014

If there was only one quote I believed in, it would be this:

“The days are long, but the years fly by.”

If you want time to be put into perspective, have a baby. I still can’t fully believe the baby that was in my belly exactly a year ago, will be ONE tomorrow. It’s so weird, exciting, and even sad all at the same time! She will always be my “baby” no matter how big she gets, no matter how sassy she is, or how old she is. There’s just something special about your first baby…