Bedtime at our House

I read this quote just a few minutes ago and bowed my head in shame.  I often get so frustrated with my kids at bedtime... the opposite of this very sage piece of advice above.  You see, the last fifteen minutes before bedtime is often the most stressful of my entire day.  I believe my kids are in some sort of contest to see how rotten they can be and how quickly they can make Mama frustrated before she loses her cool.  Are your kids like that too?  There are always a dozen reasons to get out of bed... another request for water, someone's too hot, someone's too cold, he needs another potty trip, Lila needs Bitty Baby, where's Parker's blanket, please turn off the fan, can you find my favorite song?  One wants the door open and one wants it closed, he has his nightlight so Lila wants hers too, please one more book, scratch my back, etc.  Plus, my kids seem to bicker and pester each other until one of them is frustrated and the other is in tears.  And I am both frustrated AND in tears.

But something magical happens once they settle into bed.  As much as they fuss and fight during their waking hours, they refuse to sleep apart from one another.  We have a toddler bed plus a full-size bed in Lila's room, and Parker has a twin plus a trundle in his own.  They can spread their arms and legs out, have their respective bed all to themselves... but no.  Somehow they always migrate to one another before they fall asleep.  Lila begs to sleep in "da big bed" in her room with her brother, and Parker calls to us from his room until we give up and send him in to sleep with his sister.  Girly bedding and all, he could care less.  He's snuggled up with his built-in friend, and that's all that matters.

Tonight when I went in to peek at them (after all was quiet), this is what I saw.  I kissed them both, silently thanked God for these precious angels of ours, asked for forgiveness for being so short with them as I tucked them in tonight... and then I grabbed my phone to take a quick photo.  I couldn't help but share my two sweet babies with you here.

And no, the photo isn't sideways.  They were actually lying crosswise in the bed just like this.  Lila often has her leg thrown over Parker's hip just as she did tonight, and he usually has his arm around her tummy.

Parker spent a week at his grandparents' house in North Carolina last month.  He told me he slept with a pillow behind his back to compensate for Lila not being there with him.  And Lila slept with Chris and me, because she couldn't bear to sleep alone either.  It reminds me of sharing a room with my sisters years ago... when I moved away, we all slept with pillows behind us to fill the space in the bed left by the other sister.

I pray that they always stay this close as they grow up.  And that God will give me the patience to hold on during the frustrating evenings... because these sweet blessings come afterward.

xo, friends.  Sleep tight.

connection | tampa florida lifestyle photographer

From time to time I'm lucky enough to turn my lens on old friends.  This post is for Bill and his sweet daughter Noelle.  Bill has been a friend of ours since 1999, and he and his daughter recently visited us from Philadelphia.  It was funny to see our kids playing together on the beach ~ because when Chris and I met Bill more than ten years ago, we were living in PA and complaining about the snow and cold weather.  :)  Real friendships last through new jobs, cross-country moves, relationships, marriages and the births of children.  And they are some of the most loyal and blessed friendships you can ever hope to have. I took just a few minutes one morning to grab a few images of their close daddy-daughter bond, and I couldn't help but smile behind the camera as I was watching them together.  I simply asked them to play together for a few minutes, and this is what I had the good fortune of seeing from behind my lens...





amato009And maybe my favorite image of the day....

amato006 Just melts my heart.  He's so good with her, and she obviously adores him in return.  Bill and Noelle, thank you for flying in to see us for Chris' birthday.  It made his day, and ours.  Miss you all!!


like mama, like daughter

You know I had to keep that title Southern.  LOL! Nicole contacted me recently and shared the news that her Mom was going to be in town from Arizona for a visit, and that she'd love to have me photograph their relationship together, as mother and daughter.  And for me, it was an honor.  Let me just tell you... I had an absolute blast with these gals tromping all over Clearwater Beach.  Thankfully, they trusted in my vision for the session, and let me have at it.  Even when, during our wandering, I stopped quickly and instructed that they sit down here, yes right here, in the middle of the sidewalk!  :)  I love it when clients "get" my style and just go with the flow. We have such a good time, and hopefully, the results speak for themselves.  I'll let y'all be the judges...

I looooove this combo.  Love how relaxed and beautiful they both look here....

We had the most gorgeous light to work with!  I loooove the golden hour.  :)

We even stopped for ice cream at one of my favorite little hideaways.  :)

Now.  Don't these just make you want to call your Mama??  :)  Remember that this Sunday, May 10, is Mother's Day!  SWP is offering Gift Certificates to give the sweetest ladies in your life.  Show them how much you adore them by giving them the priceless gift of custom photography... either a session to celebrate themselves or one to capture memories with the kiddos.  Inquire for details!

Y'all STAY TUNED to the blog for the next few days.  I have TONS of sneak peeks and sessions to showcase here, plus lots of personal "stuff" to share too.  Bear with me as I catch up from this crazy week!  :)