My word for this week is, connect. I took a break to focus on my family and some personal things going on in my life right now. I really just took some time to reconnect with life. I went on vacation and enjoyed relaxing on the beach with my children and my husband. On my second day there, my phone’s LCD screen broke to the point that I couldn’t see anything on my screen and my phone obviously didn’t work at all. Thus, I was phone free from Sunday-Saturday. At first it kinda sucked, but after a half a day I honestly didn’t miss it at all! Ha! I highly recommend that you try reconnecting with who and what is right in front of you too and put your phone down! (After you finish reading this blog of course;) )

So…this Scottsdale newborn photographer came back from vacation ready to play with some adorable babies!!! I had a last minute booking for a baby girl that was 2 weeks old. The baby’s Mama requested yellow, purple, pink-and very girly for our session. I felt the need to create after I found out this information!! I had found a gold firewood holder when I was at the Sears At Home store a couple months back. This might sound weird, but I often see objects in stores and think to myself, “Could I put a baby in that?!” I asked myself that exact question when I saw it, and knew the answer was yes, and so it came home with me. I hit up Hobby Lobby for some floral and other supplies. 17 floral stems, a butterfly, a little bit of moss, ZERO glue sticks and about an hour later, I created this lovely floral baby wreath thing…..TA DA!

scottsdale newborn photographer

scottsdale newborn photographer

This sweet little lady is Miss Harper. Isn’t she just a doll?! Her sweet little lips just kill me!!! <3 I am the luckiest Scottsdale newborn photographer ever. I love my job!! I had also purchased a new girly backdrop from the fabulous Intuition Backdrops, very fittingly called “Wren” (which is my last name). I a so excited with how beautifully it photographed! I cannot wait to invest in several more of their backdrops! I’m hooked!!

Harper is the first baby for Mike and Breanna. They were “team green” during their pregnancy. In case you’ve never heard that term before-it means they waited to find out the baby’s gender until birth. They both thought that little Harper here, was a boy the whole pregnancy. Luckily, everything they have is gender neutral, but what a sweet little surprise this adorable princess is, isn’t she?! I think Harper is a perfect first Father’s Day present for Mike! What do you think?? scottsdale newborn photographer

scottsdale newborn photographer

Let your favorite Scottsdale newborn photographer know what you think of Harper’s session in the comments below!

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A dream is a wish your heart makes, and a dream of mine finally came true and I am sooo excited to share it with you all!

Most of you know my story, but for those who don’t here’s a quick recap…5 1/2  years ago I was in a wheelchair. I could only walk with a walker and only for very short distances. There was a time when I feared I would be bound to that chair for the rest of my life. Thank goodness I fell into the right hands of an amazing physical therapy team at Barrows Neurological Institute and was able to slowly regain my ability to walk again. I do still use a crutch to walk, but I am doing much better than I was 5 1/2 years ago! However, because of my disability, our tri-level home was no longer functional or safe for me to live in.

We had only lived in our home for one year when I got sick.  So for 4 years I had been struggling to maintain our home, and when you have 4 kids and 5 dogs, it adds up fast! The three main things we wanted in our new house was:

1.Single level

2.Our kids school was a 20 minute drive one way, so we knew that we wanted to be closer to their school as well.

3.A room or area for my studio

 

We had been casually looking at houses on Redfin (a realty app-if you haven’t checked it out yet, you need to!) over the last two years. One evening while glancing through the app together we found “the one.” It had everything we were looking for and more! It was one level, it was about 8-10 minutes from the kids school, and it had an amazing room at the front of the house -perfect for a studio! Complete with its own bathroom and closet. It was the perfect house for us!

This house that we found wasn’t even built yet. We had the opportunity to put an earnest check down when there was nothing but dirt in the lot our new home would soon be on! It has been so fun to be a part of the whole process, literally from the ground up. We chose the flooring, cabinets, wall color and landscaping at the house. Sounds great right?! Buuuuut….there’s been a loooooot of bumps along the way. If you read part one and two of our moving journey, you know the drama we have had to deal with building this house.

The drama continued right up until the day of closing. We had been told for WEEKS that our closing date would be Friday March 24th at 11:30am. We had a moving truck reserved, we gave notice to our storage units that we would be out that weekend, we had arranged for help from family and friends, and of course we were all anxious and ready to move in. The day before we were set to close, we got a phone call at 2pm telling us that they needed to reschedule our closing appointment because they messed up on our appraisal. If you read part one of our moving journey, I talked about how my studio room mistakenly had carpet in it. They had to rip out the carpet and install tile. The tile increases the value of the home, and our builder forgot to reflect that on our home appraisal. Which meant that the appraisal was $875 less than what the value of the home should have been. Thus, when a home appraisal is created or changed/edited, there is a federal 3 day waiting period until you can close. THREE DAYS! All because of a minuscule amount of $875! The hardest part was telling the kids that we couldn’t move in that weekend like we had planned. It was absolutely crushing. We had been looking forward to this day for so long.

We thought when we started this journey that we would be out of a house for a couple weeks until our new home was done. No big deal, so we stayed first at my in-laws house and then moved over to my parents house. We have definitely overstayed our welcome, I know that for sure! Lol We moved out of our old house on January 6th and have not been living in our own home for a total of 84 days. 84! Almost 3 months total our life has been turned upside down. Needless to say, we are so ready to get things back to normal again!

Even though building this house has been a rollercoaster of emotions and a never ending drama filled mess, we cannot wait to make our new house a home. My heart is filled with so much happiness and joy. It has been a dream of mine to have a single level house for the last 5 years, and we finally did it!!! Dreams really do come true, if you believe!

 

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When you become a Mom you go through a lot of changes. Your brain suddenly has 50 tabs open ALL.THE.TIME. You become a queen at multitasking. Your focus is suddenly directed on keeping a tiny human fed, cleaned and alive. It’s definitely not a bad thing. In fact, I loved it so much, I did it four times 😉 We love those tiny humans so much, that we don’t even think twice about focusing on our own needs and wants. But what if we did?…Becoming a mother at such a young age, I had to become an “adult” fast. I still had 2 years until I was even “legal.” But I had to take care of this new beautiful boy that chose me to be his Mommy. I’m not gonna lie and say its been a walk in the park, because its been hard. Real hard. But one important thing that I have learned being a Mama for these last 13+ years is that when you take the time to focus on yourself and the things that you love to do, it makes you a better Mom in the long run. Trust me, I know its hard to find time to do things for yourself when you are a Mom. It seems impossible to keep up with the never ending piles of laundry, the cooking, cleaning up all the spills and messes, the wiping of butts and running kids from playdates and extracurricular activities. But it is so important to focus on YOU too! Find the time and make it happen! I realize that this might seem unrealistic to most of you. But trust me, I have been there. As much as we love our tiny humans, they can really suck the life right out of you. Its so easy to get lost and forget who you are and what you like to do. Your children’s interests become your interests. Which is awesome, but don’t lose sight of your own interests in the process. Focusing on me has been hard. It is a journey that I am still trying to conquer. I made a resolution this New Year, that I would stop being so hard on myself. I am definitely my own worst critic. I want to be the best I can be at everything. With that being said, I am so very fortunate that my passion is my profession. I truly love capturing moments in time. It makes my heart so happy! And isn’t that what our children want? They want to see us happy too!!

So… there’s this contest that comes around once a year called the Shoot and Share Photo Contest. Last year at the time the contest was happening; I was in the process of switching my focus to newborn and maternity, so I opted not to enter. This year, I was kinda on the fence. It is SO hard to put yourself out there. My work is a little piece of me, and I was about to enter those precious little pieces amongst over 700,000 other images!! But I felt so compelled to enter! So with 2 hours left to submit, I went through my galleries and pulled 22 photos to enter into the contest. The maximum number of entries is 50. In hindsight, I wish I had decided to enter sooner, and gone all in, but there’s always next year! 😉  There was 25 categories to enter in, and I entered in 8 different categories. The voting for the contest is done completely anonymous. What I mean by that is, when you are voting, you are given four images of the same category with no artist name or any other info other than the image. You choose one of the four, and then the site loads another four images from another category. It goes on, and on, and on until you want to stop. Out of the 22 photos I entered, 9 of them received an award. NINE! 4 scored in the top 30%, 4 scored in the top 20%, and 1 image was a FINALIST!!!! I am over the moon excited!!! It might seem silly to some to be so excited over a silly contest. But it means so much more than an award on the top right corner of my images. It is incredibly gratifying to know that other people like this Paradise Valley newborn photographer’s work. To know that they saw something in my images that made them choose me! Entering this contest has been so good for me. Taking the time to focus on something that I am passionate about is so incredibly good for my soul. I want that for you too! Don’t you?

We all want our kids to grow up and be successful, right? Showing our children how easy it is to focus on a goal and achieve that goal, when we approach it with a positive attitude and mind. Here’s what I want you to do Mama’s…get a notepad and keep it handy over the week. I want you to write down 10 things to do/interests that make you happy. Once you have that list, I want you to do one thing off of it a week. No excuses. Don’t have time? Make the time. Do it for your kids, your husband, your family, your favorite Paradise Valley newborn photographer 😉 but most of all do it for YOU!

 

Here’s my images that received the finalist award and 20% & 30% awards! They are in order of how they placed in the competition. Thank you to my beautiful clients for allowing me to capture these precious moments for you!!!

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On Thursday’s I like to reflect on what I’m thankful for. Today and everyday, I’m thankful for hope. Hope is what we hold onto in so many important times in our life. We hold onto hope when we start to fall in love, and plan a future with someone. We hold on to hope when we are going to have a baby, wether that be through pregnancy, surrogacy or adoption-we hope for a healthy baby, and some of us hope for a boy or a girl. We hold onto hope when we think about our children’s futures. We hold onto hope for that new position at work. A new house. Hope is in our lives every day. Hope gets us through!

With that being said, I am holding on to hope as tight as I can that our new home is going to be worth every second of this long drawn out wait. If anyone would have told my husband and I that having a new home built was going to be soooo stressful, I’m not sure we would have dove in headfirst so quickly. We probably would have continued looking for a home that was already built. I keep holding on to my hope that this will all be worth it in the end, but oh my heck! We are really being tested with this house! My husband and our four children haven’t been living in our own home since the beginning of January. We sold our home in 5 days after listing, and closed on February 10th. We moved from our 2200 sq ft house and into my parents house. 3 kids are sharing a room. My husband and I are using our room (my old room as a kid) as an office/ bedroom/storage/mess. I love having my parents help and being able to see them every day but there’s just too many of us and everyone’s patience has been tested lately. We’ve been going back and forth with our builder on a couple of concerns I mentioned before in part one of our moving journey. The biggest concern being the master bathroom. It was not going to be accessible for me with the way the builder had designed it. Which by the way, was a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT design than what we had been told we were receiving. After many, many, many discussions, they finally agreed to fix the bathroom for us to make it more accessible for me at no cost to us. Great! But we had to put a 5k deposit down just in case we decided to back out after the bathroom renovation had taken place ::insert giant eye roll:: Although we are so incredibly grateful they are doing this for us, it hasn’t come without an immense amount of tears, anger, sleepless nights, thoughts of backing out. Not to mention all of the hoops the builder has made us jump through to get here.  We were told right before Christmas that our new home would be done being built by the end of January. Then we ran into this bathroom problem on January 25th. Apparently when we brought the issue to the builders attention, they stopped ALL construction on our house. Guys. Our house didn’t get worked on for the ENTIRE MONTH of February! WTH! We gave them their deposit they asked for, and then they continued to sit on it and do no work for another week after that! It wasn’t until my husband called and spoke to corporate that we are finally getting somewhere. I only wish we had done it sooner! They are now on target for us to close on March 20th and it can’t get here soon enough!!! I am itching to setup my new studio and stop living out of boxes and clothes baskets. Hope will get me through this because I know it won’t be like this for long. Please send me your good vibes and prayers to get through these last few weeks. I definitely need it!

Here’s some iPhone pics of the bathroom reno! It is changing daily now, thank goodness! Stay tuned for part 3 of our moving journey! I hope this series is only a trilogy, because this Mama cannot handle a part 4!

This is how the bathroom was when we walked in to check on the progress one day. This is the finished design. Super weird, and not accessible.

Demo has begun! The step is removed!!! YAYYYYYY!!!!!

Plumbing is being moved

New wall going up! The start of a new linen closest! So much better than their “dry off” area in the first design.

Drywall and waterboard are up!

Linen Closet

Plaster and texture are on the walls!!! Getting closer!

Double benches! Yesssss

The door to the new linen closet is up!

Shelves are in! Ahhhh!!! So close!

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This week we celebrated Dr. Seuss’ birthday. I’ve always been a big Dr. Seuss fan. I mean, how do you NOT like Dr. Seuss?! He taught us to use our imagination, and to be different. He showed us the world he created in his mind through his books.  Dr. Seuss was rejected by 27 publishing agencies before getting a YES. 27! And many of them told him that his work would never make it. Do you know how hard it is to put your work out there? It’s hard guys! Let alone, having someone bash you and tell you that your work would never make it. That would be crushing to some. But not to the good ol’ doc! He persevered and thank goodness he did because now we have his stories that are living on generation to generation. Dr. Seuss’s story is so inspiring to me. I have been faced with many obstacles to get where I am today. There are still days that I feel like giving up, but I press on because I know that every good fight is worth the battle.

I am a creative. I live to create things in all mediums. I even created my own army of little people (although my 13 year old is now taller than me.) I love sharing my art with all of you and I love getting feedback too! However, its really really scary to put yourself out there. I think about so many different things before I press the “post” button every.single.time. But you know what? I keep doing it! Because I LOVE creating that beautiful art for my clients. It truly satisfies my soul when I get texts from my clients gushing about their gallery followed by 10 emoji hearts. I live for those texts! I wish y’all could see the smile it puts on my face every time.  Because of this encouraging texts and messages from my happy clients, I decided to enter into the Shoot and Share Photo Contest this year. I hadn’t entered any work since I was in college at GCC ahem…6 years ago. I had taken a little break from photography for a few years to focus on my health. I’ve been back in the game for a little over 2 years now, so I thought I would give it a shot. I decided on the last day you could enter, that I was going to go for it. At 10pm. With a midnight deadline.Ha! The maximum number of photos you could enter was 50. So I thought I’d go through and get some photos for different categories that I wanted to enter and re-crop/re-edit a few to perfection and see how many I could get through in the 2 hour time frame. I was able to enter 30 images. In hindsight, I wish I had decided to enter sooner and entered all 50, but there’s always next year 😉 For those that don’t know, the contest is completely anonymous. No one knows who you are voting for and there are no names or watermarks listed on the images.

As the competition started, I found myself voting for photos every free moment I had. Waiting to pick my daughter up at dance, gotta vote. Waiting for the kids to finish their breakfast and getting ready in the morning before school, gotta vote. Laying in bed trying to fall asleep, gotta vote. You get the idea. My Mom, husband, and I all sat in the same room on a couple occasions, voting. But the entire time, I never saw one of my images! I would check my photos daily and noticed my favorites number kept rising as the days went on. I would get excited every time I saw it. With each round of the contest, I knew I had made it, because that number kept climbing. Over the last few days, I noticed that number had stopped climbing. I thought I was out of the contest….until yesterday. I received an email that I was a FINALIST!!!! WHAT! At least one of my photos made it to the top 3.5% of ALL photos in the contest! I did it! To create is to breathe for me. Thank you for letting me create my art for you. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for me this year.

 

 

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