Stacey Woods Photography Blog » custom lifestyle portraiture for the modern family

Round here

The kids are out of school and we’ve been puttering around the house most of this week.  It’s just soul-soothing to me after a busy rush of school activities, soccer tryouts, projects due, field trips and running around, naps interrupted by school pickup and deliveries and errands.  Home is my refuge, and my ideal morning consists of coffee on the patio, ruffling through a book with music playing behind me, redecorating and moving furniture and tweaking rooms to my heart’s content.  I surround myself with neutrals and natural textures from outdoors, and find so much peace in simple white dishes and fresh greenery in terra cotta pots.  It helps that the kids are always finding and collecting things from the yard and the beach, and so our home is filled with these little treasures: feathers, beach rocks, seashells, bird nests, and leaves shaped like hearts.  They’re the best kind of art, I say.

We’ve also been staying at home because both the girls have been under the weather: Charlotte is getting over croup and Lila is on day 4 of a mystery fever (I truly hope it isn’t a repeat of Parker’s mystery fever a few weeks back, which turned out to be pneumonia).  We missed a friend’s birthday party today and two trips to the beach this week.  Oh you awful virus, please just go away and leave my babies alone.

Here’s to a restful weekend, lots of recuperating and refreshment, and maybe even a nap or two.

xoxo,
Stacey

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  • Anonymous

    Beautiful project Stacey, praying for your little bitties. ReplyCancel

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  • Kelley Alexander Moore

    Your pictures are so beautiful! ReplyCancel

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Our Greatest Treasure | What I Love About Being a Mama

One of my favorite mamas EVER is on the blog today.  Meet Ruth… and Olivia and Maryn.

“Everything has changed. What used to be important seems just silliness now. My every waking moment is focused on these two precious girls and our family.”

“My mom loves to play the piano; she encouraged all of us (6 siblings) to play an instrument.  Since we have grown up, she has continued to expand her talent through lessons and daily practice and is an amazing pianist.  When she visits, I know I can count on daily serenades and even her own compositions.”

I asked Ruth about her favorite characteristic of each of her girls…  

“Olivia: her beautifully kind spirit. I used to pray when she was still in utero that God would allow her to bring joy to everyone she meets–and she does!”

“Maryn: her scream! She is not afraid to let her presence be known. She will need this characteristic as she gets older. :-)”

“I love seeing moms that are calm in the midst of chaos that children naturally create. They give me hope that I too can not worry or not stress about the little things.”

I also asked Ruth to tell me about the most important lesson her own mother ever taught her…. and Ruth’s answer made me tear up.  And I dare say that it will make her mama proud to read her words….

“To honor your father and mother. She was an only child (after her twin sister passed away from Leukemia at the age of 5) and she remained a supportive daughter to her mother until my Grannie’s recent passing in 2011. Her daily emphasis on the importance of family and the sacrifice that daughters/children can and should make to honor their parents has made a life-long impact on me. Family is our greatest treasure.”

Our greatest treasure, indeed.

xoxo,
Stacey

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Sweet When They’re Asleep | What I Love About Being a Mama

“God gives us kids so we’d know how He feels about us.”  - Bob Goff

Do you ever wonder if God looks down on us throwing our “tantrums” and disobeying Him, and instead of getting angry with us, He just thinks, “but she looks so sweet when she sleeps.”  And then He is merciful to us, and forgives us when we ask Him to.  He shows us grace instead of the justice we deserve.

I don’t always show grace and mercy to my kids.  Sometimes consequences are necessary.  They do receive their fair share of discipline and guidance, and I am quick to throw out the “no screens for a week!” card when the rules are intentionally broken or one kid is picking on another.  But I yell too loudly, and too often.  I lose my patience more quickly than I’d like to.  Sometimes I forget to return a permission slip, or I have to break a promise.  I don’t always have it all together; in fact it’s a rare day when I actually CAN say that I have it all together.  I let them play electronics more than I probably should.  I nag them about their chores and I expect far more help around the house than they ever want to give me.  Sometimes we have to say, “sorry, no company today,” or skip a class birthday party.  (Speaking of which, I did not send in cupcakes for Parker’s birthday last month and we didn’t throw him a big party, and I did not feel guilty about either one.)  I’m not always attentive, my iPhone is in my hand far too often, and I do not bathe them every single night.  Poor Lila has been asking for gymnastics classes for over a year now, and I’ve yet to sign her up.

But.  BUT.  I open my arms to them when they creep into my bed in the middle of the night, scared from a bad dream or that monster under the bed.  I hold her like a baby because she asks me to.  I show him how to stick up for himself and how to be polite and how to respect women and teachers and grandparents and adults.  I know each one of their unique love languages and use them to lavish affection upon them as often as I can.  I pray with them and for them and in front of them.  I read an extra chapter at bedtime just because.  I love their Daddy absolutely to pieces and try to set an example for them for how a strong marriage should be.  I teach them good manners 24/7 it seems (oh little boys, you are so gross).  I tell them about God’s love for them and about Jesus’ sacrifice and about Heaven waiting for us someday.  I encourage sharing and respectfulness and kindness and asking nicely and thinking of others and not spending your allowance all in one place.  I am real with them and show them that I am human as well, and I try very hard to explain truths to them in ways they can best understand them.  I chaperone field trips and help with homework and shuttle them to school and soccer practice and birthday parties.  I pack Lila’s gluten-free school lunch every single day and I bake gluten-free brownies and buy gluten-free cookbooks and make homemade granola bars because they love them and eat them all up within a day.  I nurse fevers and administer Tylenol and hold cold washcloths on their foreheads and pour orange juice and hold their hands and say extra prayers.  I change wet sheets and find missing blankies and dolls and I French-braid hair over and over until it looks like Elsa’s.  I “holdju” and help them clean up their messes, and I fix endless meals and snacks and cut off all the crusts.  And I love them, fiercely.  With all my heart and then some.

I’m not the perfect mama, because there is no such thing.  Repeat after me, THERE IS NO SUCH THING.

But I’m the perfect mama for my children.  And that is enough.  Because He says it is.

I’m convinced that Bob Goff had it right when he stated the quote above, and I am trying daily to view my children the way God sees them. I want to parent them the way God parents us.  He’s not always gentle (after all, even natural consequences do sting), but He always cares for us and even His discipline comes from a place of love and protection and guidance.

Being a mama is a full-time, exhausting, rewarding job, no doubt.  And if I do all of those things above and more, can you just imagine all the little things that God does for us, day in and day out?  And even after we’ve been disobedient and rude and disrespectful, He still thinks we are worth saving.  That we still look sweet when we’re asleep.

Just like our babies.

xoxo,

Stacey

 

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“Mommy, I’ll Carry You.” | What I Love About Being a Mama

With Mother’s Day just around the corner, I asked some of my favorite mamas a few questions about motherhood, how it’s changed their lives, what they love the most.  Some of the things they shared with me made me smile.  Some answers made me giggle, and other responses made me cry.  (You know me!)  I’m very lucky to know so many amazing mamas who have hearts of gold!

I’ve known these sweeties since Ocean was in his mommy’s tummy, and I’m so blessed to have been able to document his sweet family every year since.

Best. Advice. Ever.

Ocean’s Grandma got to join us for our session too, and it warmed my heart to see them playing together.  I know that little boys tend to have their own ideas of what constitutes “fun”, so we decided to sneak up behind the ladies and “trick them”.

Grandma was a terrific sport!  Mamas and Grandmas of little boys are pretty lucky, I think.

And so are those little boys.

Don’t forget that Mother’s Day is this coming Sunday!  All this month, I’ll be featuring photographs of some really inspiring mamas, who are offering their best advice and thoughts on motherhood.  There is even a giveaway or two in the works, so be sure and check back or add this blog to your reader/rss feed.  

And if you’re thinking of having your own photo session sometime in the future, make sure you sign up for our newsletter over there to the left!  I promise never to bombard you with email, but only let you know of fun things, special announcements, and upcoming dates and events.  If you’re sold on a session right away, then click on the word “contact” below this post, or in the menu bar at the top of this blog.  I can’t wait to chat with you.

How have you evolved through motherhood, like Ocean’s mama says?  Do you stop folding laundry and play with your kids?  (That one convicted my heart.)  I’d love to know your thoughts, so leave a comment below this post!

xoxo,
Stacey

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  • Bree Grossman Hester

    I try to. One thing that has really changed is when the kids come home from school, that is their time. I stop working and focus my energy on them. ReplyCancel

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A little break, and some recognition too. | Mother’s Day Photo Sessions

You deserve a break.  You deserve a little recognition too, for all you’ve accomplished.

Whether you work from home, at home, or away from home, I know that you are busy 24/7, and that you have a BIG JOB no matter what.

Just think about the roles you play on a daily basis…

  • You’re a mama.  And maybe a wife, a fiancee, a sister and a daughter.  And maybe you play the role of Daddy most days too, which means that you totally win my award for Parent of the Year.  Hats off to you, my sweet friend.
  • You’re dependable, and you’re always the friend with diaper wipes on hand or a safety pin in an emergency or the number for a fantastic hairstylist / dermatologist / family photographer (ahem) and your friends just adore you for it.
  • You’re a full-time nurse, and the most fantastic splinter-surgeon with the coolest band-aids ever.
  • You’re a nutrition expert.  You are a sous chef for picky eaters and kids with three different food allergies and a gluten sensitivity.  You’re also a server.  (And the entire clean-up staff, most times, if we’re being honest.)
  • You’re a taxi driver to ballet classes, a baseball coach, a cheerleader for your son’s soccer team and an expert time manager to just keep up with it all.
  • You’re a housekeeper, a lunch-packer, and a laundry specialist. (My most favorite made-up title to date, ha!)
  • You’re an infant-sleep-expert by now, and a toddler-tantrum-diffuser as well.
  • You’re a psychologist.  (Even mamas of the youngest babies have to know a little “sly-chology” from time to time.)
  • You’re still in school, and will be for as long as your kids need help with homework and science fair projects and book reports and learning how to write cursive.
  • You’re a stylist for your family’s wardrobe, your little girl’s hair (and your own), and a master at finding tiny lost shoes under beds at the last minute.
  • And let’s be honest.  (I already know anyway.)  You’re a photographer too.:)You’ve got thousands of photos on your iPhone, your point and shoot, or your dSLR.  Your Facebook timeline is peppered with photos of your children, and who could blame you?  They ARE adorable, we all agree.

However.  YOU are rarely in the photos.  And if you are, it’s just a quick snapshot taken by Dad or a passerby at the beach.  (Sorry, Dad, we know you mean well.)

But guess what?  That’s not enough.

You deserve more.

You deserve a professional photo shoot with you and your little ones snuggling and singing and holding hands and swinging and laughing and hugging and tickling each other and giving Eskimo kisses.

That would make the perfect Mother’s Day gift, wouldn’t it?  Either from someone else, or even as a gift you give to yourself (and indirectly, to your children as well).

And my whole reason – my very heart’s desire – for this special event is that it might just give you a little encouragement to pull that mini-album out of your purse during soccer practice or week’s they’re away at camp.  It might make you stop and be grateful for these fleeting moments when you look at that sweet framed photograph on the wall, after dropping them off at preschool (or middle school) on the first day.  It may make your celebrations sweeter to be able to flip through photo albums with your children each year, as you reflect on how much they’ve grown, and they see through your photographs just how much they were loved, even way back then.

Photographs of my children are my most treasured material possession.  They are what we will grab in an emergency, only after each other.  They cannot be replaced or duplicated or substituted.

And you deserve them on this special day… the day that reserved just for hardworking, well-intentioned, sacrificing Mamas like you.  No matter if your children are still babies or if they are teenagers already.

It would be my honor to give you such a gift.

Session availability is extremely limited, and mini-sessions begin tomorrow.

Friday morning, April 11th
Friday evening, April 11th
Saturday evening, April 12th

Several sessions have already been booked, but there are a few openings left.

They are waiting for you.

Reserve your Mother’s Day Mini-Session now by calling 727-698-0344 or by replying to this email. Your Session Fee will be required to book; all major credit cards are accepted.

xo,
Stacey

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