It was a warm spring night- perfect for photos! My good friend and fellow photographer Ari and I decided a few weeks ago that we wanted to get dressed up and do a "mom and me" photo session before Mother's Day. I made a floral hoop that I can't wait to use for spring sessions and found a fun outfit online. I mean, what session isn't complete without a tulle skirt (no matter HOW good I thought it would look in my head)?

I rushed home from my nursing job long enough to touch up my makeup and hair but we needed to get to the park so we wouldn't miss the sunset. I came downstairs and Ethan said "You look beautiful! Like a princess!". I smiled at his sweet little face and said "thank you buddy, that's the best thing I've heard all day."

We headed to Succop Nature Park to meet our friends. Ari, all dressed up in her spring colors looked beautiful. Cali, in her mom's pearls and pink twirly dress and Carson looking so dapper in his light plaid shirt jumped out to greet us. Our husbands decided to sit this one out , can you even believe it? If your significant others are anything like ours, they hear the words "photo session" and take off running the other way!

As women and moms, we all know how much effort it takes to get the family ready for a photo session. From choosing the outfits and actually getting little people into them, getting ourselves ready AND making sure our husbands are dressed, it can be an exhausting feat. I will post another blog post on JUST how to take some of the stress out of the "getting ready" portion! I know my husband is good for one photo session a year and I've already cashed my chips in for the photographer I booked on our upcoming trip to Michigan later this summer. So....Ari and I were on our own for this one!

But we both know as moms, that we truly value photography. We value the candid photos of the little smiles and laughs just as much as the posed ones. We know that one day we will look back on these sessions as memories frozen in time.

I know that when I sit down at the end of the day in our family room, years of memories and growth and smiles hang on those walls. And while those walls are being filled with more memories with each passing year, I remember bits and pieces from EVERY single session. Looking at our walls fills me with such gratitude for all of the blessings in this life.

Of course, our little photo session didn't go off effortlessly or without any hitches. My boys laugh all day long until of course it's time for photos. They didn't want to smile (which is pretty standard EVERY time we do this!). Then while looking at the proofs afterwards, I realized perhaps my outfit (while looking good in my head) was not the most flattering on camera for my particular shape (but luckily we know a lot of posing tricks so I ended up with some that I LOVE). As I write this post though, I didn't want to wait until I reach my goal weight or have the perfect hair day. I could have thought of a hundred reasons not to have these taken. But our memories are happening now, and right before our eyes these little people are growing so fast!

Ari's kids are way more cooperative than my own during photos, but I've learned to roll with it. We get what we get with! But seriously, how cute is Cali in her mom's special pearls? Before the session, Ari told me how she was telling Cali how special the pearls are and how great it was that she was able to wear them. Well.....that is until they ended up in the pond. By this point, we had switched and Ari was taking photos of Aiden, Ethan and I. Carson and Cali were happily playing in the grass and we could see them out of the corners of our eyes. They were living in the moment, dancing and playing, and before sweet Cali knew it, she flung her arm just a little too much and the bracelet went flying into the water. Her tears of despair were calmed by her mom followed by a few laughs as we fished them out!

I can prepare my clients for outfit choices. I can prepare my clients for best lighting scenarios. I can prepare my clients with ways to have a successful session with kids and how to choose the best location. And now, I'm confident to add that "I can successfully prepare you to fish your jewelry out of a pond with nearby stick".

In all seriousness though, I try to make my sessions with clients as seamless as possible. If you've read any of my previous blog posts with my own family sessions, I have seen just about everything! When you book with me, I have little clips all of my past experiences with my own family and previous clients in the back of my mind. So, I will send you an complete experience guide of what to expect before, during and after each session.

After our little aquatic experience, the rest of the photos went pretty well! We played in the grass, twirled our dresses like true "princesses" and watched the rabbits, squirrels, and geese playing right next to us. We made up stories about each of them and named them. Ethan suddenly became a bug and of course got filthy while Aiden and Carson got wrapped up in what I'm guessing was some sort of virtual imagination game.

You see, photos aren't just about the still moments that become frozen in time. They are about the feelings and the laughs that surround those moments that are forever treasured. While the "outtakes" aren't hanging on my wall, they will absolutely make it into our album with the caption something like, "it's all fun and games til the pearls end up in the pond."

So this spring, I urge you to have some photos taken! I will be happy to help you every step of the way so that you have the perfect session to look back on for years to come!