Posted on July 2, 2015
When I was told John and Melissa were expecting their second child I was so thrilled for them! I’d done mini-sessions with their daughter Delaney, but we hadn’t done a full portrait session since their engagement photos in 2010. When Melissa told me she wanted maternity photos I was beyond excited!
The weather was overcast, hot and humid – in other words a typical south Florida summer evening – but Melissa, John and Laney were all in great spirits and their session is one of my all time favorite maternity shoots!
Category: Blog, Children, Featured, Maternity Tagged: baby bump, beach, bump watch, child rearing, childhood, children's photography, family session, Florida photographer, maternity, maternity session, Miami photographer, motherhood, Naples, photographer, portrait, portrait photography, pregnancy, pregnancy photos, Siesta Key, South Florida, Tampa, Vivian Marie Photography, West Coast of Florida
Posted on April 27, 2012
Here are some of our family’s favorite children’s books. Even though these books are primarily aimed at the preschool to first grade age group, all my children enjoy them. The stories have just enough heart, action, and rich illustrations to keep us all entertained!
Zen Shorts by Jon J. Muth
Zen Shorts, is not only one of my children’s favorite books, it’s mine as well. I love the parables that are at the heart of this book. The elegant illustrations perfectly bring to life Stillwater, the Zen panda who teaches three siblings some integral life lessons. Not only is this storybook magnificently magical in it’s expressive narrative but when you finish reading it you feel as if you’ve educated your soul. I know that sounds a bit cheesy, but I really enjoy children’s books with a bit of a deeper, spiritual side to them, my oldest son Vicente has picked up on this and now searches his shelves for books with meaningful anecdotes.
There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly illustrated by Pam Adams
As a child my mother read this book to us, and I knew I had to have it for my children. The repetitive, sing song style of the story is fun for all ages. And the crazy, wacky, bright colors hold even the crankiest toddler’s attention for the duration of the book. My two-year-old daughter Audrey loves to clap her chubby little hands as we sing the song together.
Oh, the Thinks You can Think!” by Dr. Seuss
Dr. Seuss’ books have been a staple in most children’s libraries for the last forty years, and it is no different in my house. This book has Seuss’ typical run on sentences, fabricated words and whimsical pictures. The story not only asks children to think and use their imagination, but it’s as if Dr. Seuss has written the book from within the vibrant, varied head of a young child! My sons adore this book, especially Liam who is four now. It’s not so long that his attention wanders off, but just long enough to have him become enthralled in the kooky creatures.
If You Give a Dog a Donut by Laura Numeroff
The books in the “If You Give” series are considered hysterical in my family. This story is no different. Mayhem ensues when a little boy gives his dog a donut, then the dog gets wilder and wilder. The donut is not good enough; the dog then needs juice, a ball, to dance and so forth. My kids enjoy this book because they think the little dog is so silly, and I love the book because the little dog reminds me of my four children. There is always something the doggy needs; ad the little boy doesn’t rest until the dog has gotten what he wants. The pictures are playful, the tone is lighthearted, all in all it’s a wonderful anytime story.
Clifford The Big Red Dog by Norman Bridwell
I know this might come off as completely ditzy, but Clifford and Emily Elizabeth’s relationships are one of the most enduring and sweet love stories in literary history. All right, that’s a bit much, but in the world of young children, this is one love story for the ages. Clifford was a lost and lonely pup until Emily Elizabeth brought him home and loved him. She loved him so much he grew bigger than a house! Besides the sweet relationship between Emily Elizabeth and Clifford, readers get to meet a whole host of characters (dogs and people alike), which makes this series definitely worth reading! There are multiple stories detailing Clifford, Emily Elizabeth and all the townsfolk’s triumphs and adventures. The illustrations are vivid and just exude a sense of happiness. I think you and yours will enjoy this book as much as my family does!
Posted on April 2, 2012
In fact sing that mantra to yourself “It’s not about me, it’s not about me.” Truly having a child, and especially in the case of multiple children, or children with special needs, you are on hold. Don’t get me wrong; parenting isn’t a selfless act by some martyr. But so many of the things you were accustomed to will vanish upon having children.
I have to admit, in a way I was saved from the shock of this a bit. I came from a large family, was raised by a mother who believes it’s tacky to talk about yourself, and started having children so young I had just graduated from teenager to college student. I hadn’t spent years cultivating an adult lifestyle; I went from accepting my high school diploma to becoming a parent within a very short period of time. I know many people who parenthood has hit pretty hard. They’ve been used to their freedom, their careers, and their weekends sleeping in or traveling. They’ve been accustomed to writing their own ticket, on their schedule, and it seems the more habituated they are to that, the more difficult the transition to parenting can be.
I’m sure these parents bring a more adult perspective into their child rearing, than perhaps I did at the time. Many though are appalled to learn that babies and children have no schedule. Of course, eventually you can get them into a sleep pattern, school routine, etc. but children are a lesson in unpredictability. Not just in their behavior, but in their very essence. Children become sick at one in the morning, they throw up on you just after you’ve gotten dressed for work, they decide to melt down in the middle of the grocery store when you’re rushing to get home and get everybody fed. They are completely capricious. As their parent, you are as well.
I hate to even think about how many birthday parties, weddings, family gatherings, double dates (and the list goes on) my husband and I have canceled at the very last minute due to our children (or should I say our role as parents). Being a parent requires you putting your wants on hold for your children. Most of the time that is effortless, some days it can be excruciating. Everyone has days where they say to themselves, “I can’t remember the last time I took a shower in peace!”
If you aren’t willing to change your lifestyle, if you think you can just ‘tweak’ a few things and a baby will slide right in, you’re on the precipice of a huge revelation. I’m not telling you to give up going out, to quit your job, become a hermit for 18 years and only venture into the sunlight once your child is ready for college. I’m certainly not advocating giving up your identity, but there has to be a gargantuan shift in priorities. Whether you ease into those changes naturally or surrender to them screaming is your choice.
While child rearing may sound exhausting and almost thankless to some of my single friends, it is the most amazing experience. Not only does loving and caring for your children benefit them, it benefits you. You don’t fathom your own strength until you’re a parent. You can’t grasp the depths of love until you are a parent. Sure you may be giving up many things, but nothing is more amazing than snuggling your newborn, or hearing ‘I love you’ from your child for the first time.
My young sons routinely tell me I look beautiful (usually late in the day when I’m covered in baby spit up, dust and who knows what else), and I have to take a step back and look at myself through their eyes, and that is pretty spectacular. They don’t notice that I still am carrying around baby weight, that my hair hasn’t been coiffed properly in who knows how long, that I haven’t gotten a real pedicure in years. They just know I’m their Mommy and they think I’m great. In the end, what did I really give up anyway?
Posted on March 26, 2012
I have a ravenous love of reading. When I was younger in my BC (before children) days, I read several books a month. Let’s be honest, I was a huge dork. In middle school before puberty hit I was a scrawny 12-year-old girl with round-rimmed glasses, and a bag full of books that probably outweighed my measly 80 pounds. I would read all my older brother’s required reading for high school, and I was the editor of our newspaper and later co-editor of the yearbook. I’m telling you huge bookworm, and back when being a nerd wasn’t cool, but painfully awkward.
While I may not be able to read as much as I used to now that I have four little ones running around, the one thing my husband and I really spoil our children with is books.
These are my absolute favorite board books. I’m sure you’re children will love them just as much as mine do!
In Grandma’s Arms by Jayne C. Shelton and Karen Katz
I simply adore the vibrant pictures and rhyming words in this book. Karen Katz is one of my favorite young children’s authors and babies love her colorful books.
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
Goodnight Moon is a bedtime staple with good reason. What child doesn’t love saying goodnight to all the little bunny’s things? The gorgeous illustrations are just as wonderful now as they were when the book was first published over 60 years ago.
Snuggle Puppy by Sandra Boynton
Snuggle Puppy is one of our family’s favorites. The children love to sing along to fun lyrics and we’re able to give hugs and kisses just like the puppies in the book. Sandra Boynton is another one of our most cherished young children’s authors. Her books are all very musical and playful in tone.
That’s Not My Dinosaur by Fiona Watt
My oldest son was wild about this little book as a baby and toddler. Our copy is over six years old and it’s held up remarkably well. This sturdy little book is fun for little hands to grasp and touch the textures. The pictures are bright and almost comic like.
Sesame Street Mind Your Manners!: A Pop Up Book by Matt Mitter and Tom Brannon
If you didn’t like Sesame Street before having children, you’ll probably need to get over that. My children really respond to Elmo and the other colorful characters. I especially like this book because they teach manners, as well as being interactive with the pop ups. This book is best for toddlers that have learned not to rip books (or eat them), or else you might wind up with no pop ups (like our copy).
Jane Eyre: (Little Miss Bronte: Babylit) by Jennifer Adams
The illustrations in this baby book are incredible! The book is a counter, and shows the numbers one through ten. If you’re a literature buff like me, you’ll love introducing your child to Mr. Rochester and Jane at an early age. Jennifer Adams has more books in this series, and I would recommend them all.
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