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

What I Love About Being a Mama: One Hundred Kisses

“Mama, I want to give you one hundred kisses!”  ~my Lila (about twice a week)

And I’d happily let her.

One of the things that I love most about being a mama is… getting one hundred kisses in a row.  :)  Truly, I love the affection my children give me, and the affection they allow me to give them.  It’s a wondrous thing.  Snuggles are one of our love languages, and we always hug and kiss each other every time one of us leaves the house.  Even if it’s just to the grocery store.

Our favorite way to watch a movie is cuddled up on the couch together, pillows thrown all over the place.

Lila kisses the palm of my hand every morning when I drop her off at school, a la “The Kissing Hand.”  Just this morning, she held up the car line because she jumped back into the van to kiss Charlotte on the head.  No one minded a bit.  :)

Parker melts into a puddle when I scratch his back or run my fingers through his hair.  It’s how I used to get him to sleep when he was a baby, and he still adores it.

Charlotte won’t go to sleep at night without running into the living room to “get Daddy’s kiss” first.

One of my favorite quotes ever is this one:  “Affection is responsible for nine-tenths of whatever solid and durable happiness there is in our lives.”  ~C. S. Lewis

How do you and your kids show that you love each other?  Do you have your own little “love language” or bedtime snuggling rituals?  I’d love to know more about how mamas love their babies, so tell me in the comments below!

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From now until Mother’s Day, I’ll be doing a blog series on motherhood, entitled What I Love About Being a Mama.  Yesterday, I shared with you a bit about sibling relationships and asked you for tips on fostering friendships between your children.  Today, I’m shared with you how much I adore their sweet cuddles and affection.  Stay tuned for the next few weeks of this series… I’ll be featuring interviews, giveaways, and special gifts just for my readers.  I promise, you won’t want to miss a single post!  :)

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Also, don’t forget about Mother’s Day Mini-Sessions happening this weekend!  It’s a terrific gift idea, and one that most mamas will appreciate far more than flowers and dinner out.  Photographs last forever, and I hope you’ll let us encourage you on your motherhood journey by photographing you with your own little loves (and even your own mama too!).  Click here for more information, and register through the CONTACT button at the top of this website or by calling 727-698-0344.  Sessions are limited, and several have already filled up, so don’t wait!  Book your Mother’s Day Mini-Session now!

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What I Love About Being a Mama: Sibling Friendships

Undoubtedly, one of my favorite things about being a mama is when I get to witness how much my kids truly like one another.  Not just “we-love-because-we-have-to”, but actual friendship.  Snuggling, tickling, laughing, playing because-they-want-to friendship.  It warms my heart to no end to see these sibling friendships developing and growing.

I was folding laundry on Lila’s bed yesterday, and Lila climbed into Charlotte’s crib to play with her, like she so often does. They just began snuggling under the covers and tickling each other and giggling like little girls do. My heart melted into a puddle when I saw them being so loving toward each other, all on their own.

My camera was in my office, but my iPhone was nearby, so that is what I used here. After all, “the best camera is the one that’s with you.”  ~Chase Jarvis

I actually texted this photo to my two sisters immediately afterward, because it made me think of them. We’re still best friends to this day, even as mamas ourselves.

Parents, never underestimate the importance of fostering real friendship between your children! I’m so very grateful for my sisters… the way we have always helped each other through different stages of life, having all of those inside jokes that no one else thinks is significant, much less funny. How we support each other even if we don’t agree, how we can call or text in the middle of the night if we need a listening ear or a bit of advice about a sick baby.  How we’ve comforted and encouraged one another through breakups and boyfriends, marriages and babies, through life and death and sickness in between, through prosperity and heart-breaking loss, through cross-country moves and changes that cannot be reversed. I am sp grateful for our undying friendship and our unconditional acceptance and support of each other.  I know that my sisters always have my back, even though we are scattered across the country.

Our parents gave us these most wonderful gifts: each other.

It is my intention to guide all three of my children to not only love each other, but to truly like each other now and forever.  To give them what I have with my sisters.  And it’s a beautiful thing to witness this unfolding before my eyes.

So what about you?  Are your children also friends? Let’s talk!  I’d love to know your tips and ideas on how to develop sibling friendship in the comments below!

I’ll go first!  :)  There were three of us girls, but only two bedrooms upstairs. So the two who were arguing the most would have to share a room until we learned to get along. We didn’t like it at first, but it worked like a charm.  Mom was pretty brilliant like that.

Now it’s your turn!

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Today is the first day of my new blog series entitled, “What I Love About Being a Mama”.  Stay tuned for the next few weeks as we celebrate mothers all over the world.  I’ll be featuring interviews with other mamas, special gifts, and giveaways just for my readers!  Be sure and subscribe so that you don’t miss a single post!

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I also hope you’ll join me this Friday and Saturday, April 11th and 12th, for Mother’s Day mini-sessions at Honeymoon Island in Dunedin!  I’d love to melt YOUR Mama-heart into a puddle when you see images of your children loving on each other, and loving on YOU.  Register now by emailing me through this website (contact link above) or by calling me at 727-698-0344.  It would be my honor to celebrate you and your children, even if they’re grown up and not-so-little anymore.  They’ll always be your babies, after all, right?

xo,
Stacey

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Mother’s Day Mini-Sessions

Mother’s Day Mini-Sessions are now open for registration!  I’m honored to be photographing sweet, sentimental mamas and their beautiful children in Tampa Bay next weekend, and I hope you’ll join us!

I want to be very clear… These Mother’s Day Mini-Sessions are meant to be shared and enjoyed and made as meaningful to your family as possible.  If you’d like to, consider inviting your mother to join in!  Ask your mother-in-law.  Your grandmother.  Your children.  Your grandchildren.  Your special aunt, perhaps.  Or your mama-figure, whomever that is in your life.  Think about how precious a multi-generational photograph would be to your family.

We just want to celebrate you!

Sessions will take place in 30 minute increments:

Friday, April 11th morning
8am – 9:30am

Friday, April 11th evening
6pm – 7:30pm

Saturday, April 12th evening
6pm – 7:30pm

These sessions are limited, and some of the above appointments have already been filled by current clients and email newsletter subscribers.  If you’d like to reserve your session, get in touch with me asap at 727-698-0344, by emailing: stacey at staceywoodsphoto dot com, or by using the contact form on this website.

This year, receive a gift that won’t fade or wilt, one that won’t break or go out of style.  A gift that encourages you, just as much as you encourage your children, every time you walk past it hanging on your wall.

I can’t wait to meet you.

xo,
Stacey

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Better Than Flowers: Mother’s Day Mini Sessions

Ever since I was a little girl, Mother’s Day has seemed so happy and magical to me.  At church, our pastor would give special recognition (large, full hanging baskets of flowers) to the youngest mother, the oldest mother, the mother with the most children present in the service that morning, and the mother whose child(ren) traveled farthest to be with her that day.  My own mom actually won once.  She tied for “mom with the most kids present” by having us three girls there.  She tied with Donna Prichard, who usually won that title, but tied that year because one of her four kids didn’t make it there in time.  ;)  Donna graciously let my mom take the basket of flowers that day, and I’ve never forgotten that.

Mother’s Day has always been a big deal, but even more so when I became a mama myself.

And not because it meant that I’d get a gift.  ;)  Like many of you, I don’t think it’s really about the gift itself… it’s about the thought behind that gift.  Right, moms?  It’s an opportunity to teach our children how to love well, to give with intention, to show honor and respect, and to make someone feel amazing and appreciated for the job they do and the sacrifices they make.

Truly, I could not be happier if I only receive homemade cards from my children, because their love is pure and sweet and simple and these precious art pieces are straight from their little hearts!

But…. Daddy doesn’t get off the hook so easily.  ;)

My husband knows that I want to be recognized, appreciated for all I do for our family.  Whether that may be shown with a sweet gift that he thinks I’ll like, or a special dinner out alone or with the family (so I don’t have to cook or clean up the mess), or a bouquet of my favorite flowers, or lavish attention and a day of extra-special honor in front of our children.

Just notice me.  Recognize me and pay special attention to me today.  Encourage me that I’m really doing okay at this motherhood thing.  Tell me you love me and that I’m making a difference in our children’s lives, even if it doesn’t feel like it some days.

Because some days, don’t you think that being a mama is the most challenging job in the world??

SO.  DO.  I.

Here’s the thing: we all know that even the most beautiful flowers still wilt and fade.  Stylish jewelry goes out of style eventually or it gets shuffled around and forgotten in the jewelry box.  Dinner is only delicious for an evening.  Eventually I’ll have to cook again, and the dishes will pile up in the sink tomorrow.  (Those handmade cards, though?  They’ll be precious forever!)

What I’d really love is a memory.  A keepsake.  A way to freeze this precious time of life, to actually see how much my children love me, how happy they really are, after all.  An encouraging reminder on tough days (cause they’re coming) that I’m still doing a good job.  That I’m doing meaningful work, and that I matter to these tiny people who call me Mama.

Do you feel the same way?  I thought so.

With that in mind, this year I’m planning something wonderful for my photography clients:

MOTHER’S DAY MINI SESSIONS.  

Sweet mamas, these are just for you and your children!  (Or you and your own mama.)  A few wonderful minutes, captured on film, with your children on your lap, in your arms, and holding your hand.  Your place of honor.  A printed, tangible reminder of their love, on the wall for years and years (because don’t we all have kind of a sinking feeling that the teenage years are going to be worse than the teething ones??).

So I chose a gorgeous new location with lush greenery, sand and sea.  I have fun, sweet ideas in mind for getting you and your babies snuggled up close for real, beautiful portraits that will be an encouragement to you for years to come.  I’ve got special Mini-Collections that allow you to own digital files, matted prints and/or a beautiful modern album telling the story of your day.  And I’m offering them to you now, in plenty of time to have your prints in hand (and maybe even framed) by Mother’s Day.

Now.  Tell me that isn’t better than flowers.  

(Mamas, forward this post to your significant other TODAY.  If they are anything like my husband, they truly do appreciate it when you spell out exactly what you want!)

Or, gift this special session to yourself, to your mother, or to your children!  I promise, you’ll never regret making the investment in photographs of your sweet loves.

Stay tuned this week for your opportunity to register for one of these limited-edition sessions.  I can’t wait to give you this beautiful gift and to encourage you in your mama-journey.

xo,
Stacey

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:11 

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Possibilities

Sometimes the most interesting parts of a photograph are the details and possibilities that are suggested.

I’m not sure what I love more about this photograph: the seen or the unseen.

I love the visible part of this sweet girl’s legs and feet, as she’s jumping ever so slightly above the edge of the wave… Daddy standing tall nearby to protect her and lift her should she lose her balance.  It’s a quiet, gentle image of a father and daughter that I find myself coming back to again and again.

But I’m also drawn to the reflection of her, arms stretched upwards in a ballerina’s pose.  That water-filled dip in the sand that suggests that she was just standing in that very spot, just before the tide washed its most recent wave up to the shore.  Just before she leaped over that wave and into the deeper tide.  Bravery and spirit, confident youth.

Daddy — and his shadow — planted as firmly as possible in the soft, wet sand, watching over his little girl to make sure she doesn’t dance too far from his protection.  He knows that someday she’ll dance a little further and further from him as she grows up, as she moves confidently into her life’s path, into her own oceans.

So I’m curious… what do you see?  :)

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