These Kiddos Have My Heart — The Wise Children

Seriously, these little kiddos are some of my favorites! I first got the chance to photograph them when mom was pregnant with baby number three, Landen. Since then I have had the opportunity to photograph this family multiple times and share in some of their special moments. It has been amazing watching not only these little ones grow, but the family as well, adding a fourth little one! And every time I see them, the girls just pick right up and talk and play with me like an old family member.

Recently I caught up with them to do a quick little session to capture some updated images of each kiddo. As per usual, Ava & Kara were ready and willing, totally playing up for my camera. And in true Landen fashion, he wanted nothing to do with it and made me work for it :) Greyson, well, he gave me a couple good little rounds of just hanging out and letting me capture him. But he did also have a period of roaming, much like his brother, where I had to keep up with him. But it was a gorgeous evening for their session, and I was so happy to be able to capture a handful of images of this season of their life!

Body Equality

Why is this ok? How is this even still acceptable?

Do you see what I am talking about?

Did you find it? No? Let me enlarge it for you ...

Boys (size) 8-20

Girls (size) 7-16

Girls (size) Plus

Wait.

Those two...TWO....numbers mean that a young, adolescent girl is 'plus' sized, but boys are just 'size 18 or 20'. How is this fair? Better yet, how is this RIGHT?! Why are we still allowing this?

I stood in JC Penney today, and I saw this. I saw this and I was angry. Angry that this is still happening. Angry that we are still allowing this to happen. I was angry enough, that I was this close to walking over there, standing on their display and ripping that 'Girls Plus' sign right down off the ceiling. But I didn't think my family would like me to end up in jail, so instead I took a photo with my cell phone. Instead of ripping that sign down, I'm sharing it with you. You see, if I had just ripped it down, no one else would have known it was there (except for the other customers in the store at that moment).

And it's not just that ceiling sign. It's on their hangers too. (please excuse the blurry cell phone image)

So even if that young girl didn't look up and see that sign, once she picked up that clothing off the rack, she would see it. She would see a hanger that says 'L Plus, XL Plus, XXL Plus'. But do you know what a boy would see when he picked up something off the rack? 'L, XL, XXL'. Why?

Why is this ok? What are we telling our children?

How does that TWO sizes make a girl 'plus' size. Why are we even referring to our children as plus size?! They are still growing. Do you get that? They are still growing. And even once they have finished growing....why is there a difference that we need to label certain sizes as 'plus size'?

So if I had a son and a daughter that wore the same size clothing, when we walked into JC Penny I would tell my son to 'go look in the boys section', but I would have to tell my daughter to 'go look in the girls plus section'? What?

Shame on you JC Penny. Shame on you as a large corporation thinking that this is ok. Shame on your employees, who think that this is ok, who aren't taking a stand. Who aren't refusing to hang these signs. Who aren't sending them back to corporate and saying, this isn't right!

I'm not asking, I'm not pleading, with you JC Penny. I'm calling you out right and demanding you take those signs down. Change those hangers. Create a body equality.

Photographs — Not Just for Today — Motherhood Monday

You guys, I know I say all the time how important it is for us moms to be in the photos. But I want you to know that I really mean it and show you how important it is!

As I was working on some things recently, I came across this session that I had my dear friend Krystal from Brayton Photography photograph almost two years ago.

This session was shot when I was 50lbs over weight, and in the midst of a spiraling deep dark depression. To the point that only a handful of months after this session, I wanted nothing more than to simply die (there is a blog post on that here).

I didn't really want to be photographed, being I was over weight, I was depressed, I thought I was failing at everything, and I hated myself. But at the time, my husbands Grandmother's health was failing and with the possibility of her death, came the possibility of her family camp no longer being in the family. It is such a special place to our family with so much love and fun memories. Not just for us and our children, but for my husband as a child as well.

As we were taking a staycation for a long weekend there, I invited Krystal up one evening to just capture us, as a family, enjoying the things we love about this special place.

When she sent me the gallery of images a few weeks later, I can honestly tell you, I looked through them and while I loved them, I also hated them.

I saw how 'fat' I was. I saw how depressed I was. I saw how exhausted I felt everyday. I saw all the 'imperfections' of me physically and mentally. And after looking through them, that was it. There they sat on my computer and a cd. I did nothing with them. About two months later our babysitter, who is simply such a part of our family that she stayed the weekend there with us and was also in the photos, asked me if I had gotten them. I showed them to her and then again, there they sat.

Until last week, almost two years later. And now I'm so grateful for them. I don't hate them anymore.

When I look at them now, I can look past my weight. And while I can still remember how I felt, how depressed I was, it no longer stands out to me in the photos.

What I see now, is the reason I made sure to have that session, in spite of how I felt at that moment. Because that session wasn't just for me, it wasn't about me. It was for my children and their children. It was about them, what they see. The memories they were making. The images were taken, so that 2 years later, 5 years, 15 years, down the road, they can look at them. They can remember the tiny details that our brains forget. They can remember the feeling of jumping off the dock. The feeling of knowing we cared enough to spend that time with them. To do something ordinary, but so special.

I look at the images now and I see my girls in their puddle jumpers, not quite ready to have me let go and jump in on their own. A boy finally being courages enough to jump off the dock, and the top of the boat.

Them playing on the 'beach' that is only there part of the day. (Because according to one daughter there is 'high tide' even though it's a river).

I remember how much I have always loved the way the water and evening light there always takes my breath way.

I remember how my youngest wouldn't even get on the boat. How we had to shut the engine off before she would even come close, and then she stayed on my lap for most of the ride. How the little things were so exciting, like the 'rain' which was simply some water splashing from us cruising through the water.

A boy so excited to 'take the wheel' and drive the boat.

And how one of our family's favoritest things in the summer is to make smores.

Many of these moments would have been forgotten. Some would be faded. And only a few would linger, with the knowledge that we stayed there for a long weekend. But with these images, we can look back anytime we want and remember. We can one day show our children's children, and their children. And the images will trigger little moments once forgotten, and we will tell our grandchildren all the fun stories.

So now I'm off to work on printing these images in an album so we can do just that!

A big thank you as always to my girl Krystal at Brayton Photography for capturing my family!