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Newborns are my favorite.  Newborn twins?  Twice the fun.  Twice the challenge.  And these particular twins just happen to be my nephews.  I’ve never photographed newborn twins before and though I’m not doing much with photography sessions anymore, I wanted to share these photos.

My brother and his wife had to fight pretty hard to get them here and endured quite the battle all the way until the minute they were born.  Love these little guys.

twins

{It’s that time of year again!!  I’ve been offering these headshots for a several years now and keep getting more and more requests.  Here we go again!}

As awesome as school pictures are (and by awesome I mean great blackmail for the future), once my own kids started school I decided to do my own head shots and offer it to others as well.

If you’d like an alternative/replacement for the traditional school pictures that no one ever displays, this is for you.  They’re also nice to have for those times you need a picture of your kid (for a school project, grandparent, special occasion, etc) and realize you don’t have any where they aren’t being a complete booger.

The cost is $10 per kid OR $40 per family (so if you have 3 kids, it’s $30, if you have 4 or more kids it’s $40).  This will include a vertical and horizontal headshot of each kid with a white background.

If you want a GROUP photo of all of your kids together, you can add that on for $25.  

Pictures will be edited in color AND black and white and you will receive a high-resolution digital copy (via Dropbox) so you can print whatever you want.  Cheaper (and cooler) than school pictures.  Non-school age children are welcome as well.

Our school allows us to just buy the class photo, so my kids still get their school picture taken and we just purchase the class photo (in elementary).  Then we use these alternative photos as our yearly photos.

I will be taking “school picture” head shots in LEHI (I will e-mail you the address after you sign up) on Tuesday, September 12th, Thursday, September 14th, and Monday September 18th. 

Click THIS LINK for Tuesday, September 12th to sign up for a time slot. (one spot left)

Click THIS LINK for Thursday, September 14th to sign up for a time slot. (5 spots left)

Click THIS LINK for Monday, September 18th to sign up for a time slot. (one spot left)

Click THIS LINK for Monday, September 25th to sign up for a time slot (NEW DATE ADDED).

 

Sign-up times are first-come-first-served so if a specific time works better for you, signing up ASAP is a good idea (I’ve run out of time-slots each year).  Once you sign-up, please be sure to make your appointed time.  If you need to change your time for any reason, please do it as soon as possible so someone else can take your time-slot.

You only need ONE TIME SLOT PER FAMILY!  (Each kid only takes 1-2 minutes plus a group shot if you want to add that on so just 10 minutes per family is enough time).

If these dates/times don’t work for you, I will probably be doing a make-up date for those who can’t make it.  E-mail me to let me know you are interested and we’ll try to work something out.

If all time slots fill up quickly, I may open another date (in Lehi).

The head shots only take about 5 to 10 minutes depending on the moods of the kids (because you know, kids).

Please mention in the comments (on the sign up sheet) how many kids you’ll be bringing and if you want a group shot or not.

 

To see more samples of what the headshots will look like, click on the arrows to scroll through the photos!

If you have any questions feel free to contact me at ltross17@yahoo.com

***If you have any friends/family you think would be interested, I would love for you to pass this information along!***

When I was in 9th grade, a partial solar eclipse happened in my town.  I’m sure we were warned a dozen times not to look at it, but I did because I was 15 and stupid.  And just as promised, it damaged my eyeball.  I had a bright spot in my eye for around 6 months after and had to wear glasses for a while.  It wasn’t one of my prouder moments.

Thankfully it healed itself (because the human body is amazing) and I got to ditch the glasses.  Sweet mercy.

So when I first heard about an eclipse coming again, I was pretty “Meh” about it.  Burned my eyeball once.  Not super interested in doing it again.  I didn’t pay much attention to the whole thing and wasn’t making special efforts to see it.

The Saturday before the eclipse rolled around, mom guilt got the better of me.  So I tracked down some eclipse viewing glasses (not an easy feat when you procrastinate) for my kids to watch it.  Basically a drug deal in a parking lot, money quickly exchanged, glasses slipped under my shirt, quick exit from the scene with eyes on my rearview mirror.

Saturday night a friend shared a TED talk on Facebook.  The title:  “You owe it to yourself to experience a total solar eclipse”  Pretty bold statement if you ask me.  I was skeptical, but I watched it because that’s what you do at 10:30 on a Saturday night.

As the speaker started to describe what happens during a total eclipse (NOT to be mistaken as a partial eclipse) he mentioned the darkening sky, the distinct glow of the corona of the sun, and the stars you can see in the middle of the day.

Wait.  It gets dark?  And you can see stars??  Why hadn’t anyone mentioned this before?  Or maybe they had and I certainly wasn’t listening.

Maybe this was a bigger deal than I originally thought.  Maybe this was something I shouldn’t miss.  I debated.  Went back and forth.  Read everything I could.  Watched videos from previous total eclipses around the world (isn’t the Internet rad).  And decided I was too close not to try (the total eclipse was happening in a town 3 1/2 hours away from me).

So I packed up my kids, put one outfit for each of them in a bag, threw a cooler full of food and a case of water in the back (because awful traffic coming home and a possible apocalypse was anticipated) and off we went.

Even up until the moment before the total eclipse happened, I was doubtful.  Would it be as amazing as people made it sound?  Would it really go dark?  Would we really see stars in the sky in the middle of the day?  How could it possible live up to what I thought it might be–What I thought it should be for the hype going on?

(Taking selfies with eclipse glasses on is wicked hard)

We went to a spot by a big open field, no trees or tall buildings around so we could see well.  I was concerned with how we would know when we could take our glasses off and look at it (once it’s the total eclipse, it’s safe to look at it without the special glasses–or so people said).  I just didn’t know what to expect.

The moon slowly moved. And the sun slowly disappeared, sliver by sliver by sliver.  We craned our necks up to the sky.  Held our glasses to our face (those three-blind-mice glasses don’t stay on so well).  And then it went dark.  The sun disappeared.

(Took a poor photo of the sun through solar eclipse glasses with my cell phone)

Off the glasses went.  We knew.  It was time.

I’m not terribly dramatic nor would I say I’m easily excited or overly impressed by much.

But I’m not exaggerating when I say looking at a total solar eclipse was the.most.amazing.thing I have ever seen in my entire life. Words can’t describe.  Pictures don’t do it justice.  It’s not just something you SEE.  It’s something you FEEL.

There was the perfect dark circle of the moon blocking the sun.  Around the black circle was a defined bright light, not too bright to look at but the most beautiful light I’d ever seen.  A light beyond description.  The sky darkened.  The stars came out.  There was an orangish-red sunset on the horizon 360 degrees all around us.  The street lights came on.  The temperature cooled.

People yelled and cheered.  Some people cried.  My kids jumped up and down.  I stood there in awe.


It wasn’t just what we saw.  It was how it made us feel.  We saw a part of the universe and cosmos we had never seen before.  I felt a part of something bigger–something more important than our human selves can even comprehend.

In the realm of all that was happening, I was nothing.  And yet, I was everything.

It was as if, for a moment, God peeked his head out and said “yep, I’m really here.”

 

David Baron was right.  “You OWE it to yourself to experience a total solar eclipse.”  Notice he didn’t say “see”.  It’s an experience you’ll never forget and one I dare say will actually change you.

If in your lifetime there is ever a total solar eclipse that is even remotely realistic for you to get to, do whatever you have to to get there.  You won’t regret it.

I was born and spent the first 6 1/2 years of my life in a very small town in Idaho.  It was safe.  It was quaint.  In the summer, my parents sent us out the door in the morning and my dad whistled for us on the front porch when it was time to come home for dinner.  We roamed.  We road bikes.  We played in “the dirt hills” nearby.  No cell phones.  No parents texting back and forth where the kids were off to next.  No parents meddling in what we were doing every second of every day.  In my mind, my parents had no idea where I was much of the time or what I was even really doing.  I don’t say that in a neglectful parenting kind of way.  It’s just the way things were where I grew up.  As a 5 year old in a small town, I had, what felt like, a lot of freedom.

I compare that childhood reality to the ones my kids live in and I’d say my husband and I have hit somewhere in the middle.  We live in safe neighborhood.  Our kids walk or ride their bikes to friends houses a few streets away.  They play outside in fields nearby, or ride bikes around the neighborhood.  I don’t always know exactly where they are at every given moment, but for the most part I do.  None of my kids have a cell phone yet (my oldest is almost 13).

I know there are some parents who know exactly where their kids are at every moment.  GPS tracking their every move.  Literally.

They say we live in a different world today.  In some ways I think that’s true.  In some ways, I think we make it scarier in our minds than it actually is.

That’s not my point for today, though.

Here’s what’s on my mind.

Just this week, we’ve had a few, incidences you could say.  One where one of my kids had something done to him.  One where a few of my kids were a part of something hurtful to another kid.

And the question keeps popping up in my mind (and one I really struggle with)–when as parents do we intervene?  When do we step in to the kid quarrels and disagreements and fights and leaving each other out?  And when do we step back and let them handle it themselves?

The first incidence this week, my kid was actually being physically attacked and I was there.  I saw it. I obviously intervened because he wasn’t defending himself.  We’ve talked a lot about it since.  I did not tell the boys mom for various reasons.  I did talk to my boy about how to handle it in the future (namely–you won’t get in trouble for defending yourself along with a few other things to think about).

The second incidence, I was contacted by a parent about some friends being left out.  I talked to my kids about it.  Seems to be a recurring conversation I have with my kids and kids in general.  It’s tricky, this whole leaving people out thing.

But I’m left with this frustration I guess you could call it.  My parenting style is definitely more on the “let the kids figure it out” end.  I don’t remember my parents ever ever ever intervening in an issue between me and my friends.  My mom never called another mom to work out my problems for me.  My dad never called another dad to inform them how his kids were being treated.  When another kid teased me or picked on me or one of my siblings, parents didn’t immediately start tossing around the word “bully” (as many seem to do these days).

As a result, I think I became a pretty good problem solver.  Because I had to.  It was up to me to work it out.  I’m not saying my parents didn’t help me figure things out or solve problems.  But I can’t, in a million years, imagine my mom calling another parent and saying “your kid left my kid out”.  She just wouldn’t.  And I definitely tend to lean more toward that style of parenting.

Were your parents the same?  Do you parent that way?  I’m curious.

My kids have a few rules I repeat over and over (and over).  A few of them:  One.  Be kind.  Always.  Two.  Be more aware of how you talk to people.  Three.  Don’t ever intentionally leave someone out and be inclusive whenever you can.  Four.  If you have a problem, yo, YOU solve it.  Then if you can’t, come to me or another adult and see if I/they can help.

Are my kids perfect abiders of these rules?  Not even close.  Are we as adults perfect with these things?  Not even close.

When my kids come running to me with an issue, my first question is “Did you try to resolve this on your own, or did you just immediately run to get someone in trouble?”  Have a conversation.  Try to work it out.  If you can’t resolve it, then come ask me and I’ll see if I can give you the tools or words to try and fix it.  But very rarely do I want to step in and resolve it for them (unless it’s physically violent–then I’ll lay some smack down).  Sometimes I find myself plugging my ears saying “la la la la la–I don’t want to hear it” when my kids want me to intervene in every sibling dispute.

I just don’t think stepping in all the time is doing them any favors.

But as my kids get older and their friend circle grows, I’m quickly realizing not everyone thinks the way I do (not sure why–sheesh).  And many parents are more than happy to step in and try to “fix” things.

My youngest child has a tendency to hit (or scratch or bite) when things don’t go his way.  Yesterday I asked “What should you do if someone isn’t doing what you want?  Should you hit them or throw things at them or freak out on them?” His response:  “You should have a conversation–but he didn’t WANT to have a conversation”.  Took a lot of restraint to not laugh out loud.  Kidding.  I didn’t restrain at all.  I laughed out loud.

My question for you and for discussion in general–where’s the line?  Where do we step in and where do we stand back?  When you do step in, what’s your approach?  When you don’t step in, do you talk to your kids after the fact?  When another parent contacts you, how do you handle that?  What do you say?  Does it irritate you, or are you glad they let you know?  Is there an age where you intervene or don’t intervene?

Are you quick to defend your own kid?  Are you quick to attack another’s kid?

I’d love to hear some respectful responses.  I’m a big fan of open dialogue and discussions, even if we don’t agree.  What’s your opinion on this issue and how, as a parent or someone who is around kids, do you handle this?

  • Sarah

    Honestly, my first reaction to a parent calling me would be irritation. After being bugged though, I know I would try to understand where they are coming from, because really, I want kids to feel included. And it also depends on the level of friendship. If it’s a kid that my kid has been really good friends with, I understand the parent calling a lot more. And I can only see myself calling a parent if I was pretty close to the parent. It would take a lot for me to call someone. I also think it’s so interesting how different people can parent. I am guilty of assuming that people would agree with what I see is logical, but they are coming from a very different viewpoint. Honestly, if I look to past examples, when my kids have felt left out they find new friends.

    I have a friend who is really quick to own up to her kids being part of the problem, almost too quickly. I have to laugh because she basically blames her kids first. I remind her that it likely isn’t just her kid causing the problem. But its refreshing talking to her and makes me realize I need to be sure to have my kids accept responsibility.ReplyCancel

  • Brandy Barnett

    I have 6 kids ages 22 to 7. I have much the same parenting philosophy that you do. I have one child you is quite the extrovert and can be kind of obnoxious. He is one of the younger in the neighborhood and when the boys were leaving him out or being kind of mean, I probably know why. Yes they could have been nicer and more inclusive. I took the approach of him correcting himself and playing the long game at getting integrated into the group. It worked. You can’t make people include you. Maybe they’re not your people. My guess is that the kids is rude, obnoxious, immature, whatever….the type to have the mom call. haha…I just don’t think it helps.

    I did call a parent one time recently, though. There is a kid 2 years older in the neighborhood that REALLY doesn’t get along with my son. My son (8yo) was having trouble climbing up into his bed and we asked him about it and he said the kid kneed him int he butt really hard the day before and it still hurt. This was about the second incident and we told him to stay away from him and defend hinself if needed. I planned to say something to the kid, maybe, not the mom if I saw him. Not mean, just a warning. But I didn’t see him and a month later myson came home with a busted mouth. The other neighbr who had complained about this other kid to me before came over to check on my son and said how mean the other kid was and he should have helped my son , but my son won 3 fights that day with him but when he let the kid up he kicked him in the mouth. Seeing as how the other kid had started all of these fights by stepping on my son’s back…I thought his mom should probably know before he caused some expensive and serious damage. It seems he had lied about it and I knew he probably would, which is why we still almost didn’t call….but we figured if over a couple years she got more than one call….she might start to wonder if the version she was getting was accurate…and maybe not.

    I have also been raked over the coals by me neighbor for not intervening in stupid stuff. Because she intervenes in EVERYTHING. Calls her daughter’s bosses, etc. No, when my girls are teens they are expected to manage their own friends and their own jobs, etc. With my coaching….but I am not going to have a talk with their friends who come over uninvited like my neighbor wanted me to (had nothing to do with this lady or her child anyway.) If my daughter doesn’t want her friends just showing up, she will have to handle it.ReplyCancel

Just like most kids, I learned a LOT of things from my mom.  Most of which I didn’t acknowledge or recognize properly until I got a little older.  And a whole lot more I started recognizing after I became a mom myself.

In honor of her and all the other women who have played a motherly role in my life, I wanted to share a few things I learned from my mom.  Things I think can be of value for all of us as we try to become better people and learn to love (the whole purpose of life).

ONE.  Let them Be.

I’m sharing this one first because I think I value it most.   We are who we are.  My mom never pressured or pushed or tried to change me.  I was not your typical girl (and I’m still not).  I was about as tomboy as tomboy gets (I wrote my parents a persuasive essay when I was about 11 years old so they would buy me those hightop shoes that had the basketball you pumped to put air in the bottom of the shoes–please tell me some of you remember these).  I never once remember her trying to get me to change that or change who I was.  She let me dress how I wanted (like a boy), play what I wanted, participate in what I wanted and be friends with who I wanted.  I certainly wasn’t what a parent might envision their little girl being, but that didn’t seem to bother her.  I always felt accepted and loved and like I was good enough just the way I was.

I didn’t really see this as I was growing up.  It wasn’t something I thought about because it was always just there.  I didn’t ever question who I was or what I did because my mom never gave me reason to.  She didn’t make me think twice about who I was and who I was becoming because she just let it happen.   Now in all reality there’s a good chance she was worried as hell about what the future held for me, but she sure didn’t let me see that OR feel that.  She just let me be.

This is one thing I admire the very most about my mom and something I think of constantly as I parent my own kids.  Let them be who they already inherently are.

 

TWO.  Selflessness.

What’s mine is yours.  This was absolutely my moms attitude when it came to sharing things with her kids.  She shared anything and everything with me.  And she did it with a happy, willing heart.  I never once heard her complain or hesitate to share.  Her car, her clothes, her things, her treats, her time, anything.  I did not inherent this very well when it comes to my kids.  Get your dirty little paws off my…..    I’m working on it.

 

THREE.  Be a helper.  And a good friend.

My mom was always serving other people.  Not just her kids and husband, but her neighbors, her community, our schools.  She was constantly aware of others needs.  She had plenty on her plate, just like every mom, but she was quick to show up for other people.  One of her friends suffered from a chronic illness and often needed extra care and love.  Some of her bouts had her bedridden for weeks and even months at a time.  My mom spent hours and hours (and hours) at her bedside.  Not once did I hear her complain about helping other people.  She’s one of those you know you can call who will always show up in a time of need. She knows we belong to each other and are all here together so we can help each other.

 

FOUR.  Don’t talk smack.

I don’t remember ever hearing my mom talk poorly about other women or other people in general.  She never gossiped.  She never spread rumors.  She never compared herself (at least out loud to me) to other women.  She never spread stories that weren’t hers to spread.  I tried prying something out of her once that I knew she knew and nothing I did or said would sway her loyalty to keeping people’s business their business (I gotta up my guilt-trip game).  She was a steel vault.  People gave it to her in trust and that’s where she kept it.  I learned a LOT about loyalty from her and a lot about not talking smack.  Ever.  For any reason.

 

FIVE.  Never give up on your kids.

My mom had six kids (Jesus bless her) and we all came with big big BIG personalities.  We’re nothing short of crazy.  She had her hands full.  In every way.  But no matter what any of us did, she would never give up on us.  Ever.  She is endless chances and endless forgiveness.  This is quite possibly one of the biggest blessings she gave us as kids because it allowed us to learn and grow and fail and make stupid choices and take chances knowing we always always always had a mom to fall back on regardless of what we did. Succeed or fail, make amazing choices or insane ones, she will always proudly be our mom and she will always have our back.  My dad is for sure lumped in on this one with her.  They’ll never give up.  I know this because they’ve been put to the test multiple times with their kids.  And they never gave up.

One of my brothers is an addict and in a moment of nothing but pure desperation, my mom plead with God asking “why did you give me this kid?”  The answer she received: “Because I knew you wouldn’t give up on him.”

That is true for ALL her kids.  She will never give up and I’ve never doubted that or questioned it.  She walks the walk.

 

SIX.  Love.  Always love.

I believe in my core I could do ANYthing and my mom would still love me.  I could be anything, do anything, say anything and she’d still love me.  My love from her is not conditional on anything.  It’s just there.  And it will always be there.  She might not always like what I do or say or become, but she will always always love me.  Just as a mom should.  I know this isn’t the way a lot of kids might feel.  I am acutely aware of the blessing this level of love is in my life.

 

SEVEN.  Hard work.

You don’t think about this much when you’re a kid, but I don’t remember my mom ever sitting around.  She was always busy.  Always working.  Always doing.  And always working on our behalf.  She worked hard to keep our house nice, to learn, to feed us meals, to get us to all our activities, to fulfill her church responsibilities, to make her a community a better place to live.  She. worked. hard.

The only “indulgence” I remember her having was watching Jeopardy (which she usually did while making dinner).  I dare say she would dominate on that show had she ever had the real chance to compete.  Double Jeopardy’s got nothin on her.

My 7 year old just gave me a book he made all about me for Mother’s Day.  It was about 12 or 13 pages of various things he said about me.  In at least 7 of those pages, I was in a bed.  Sleeping.  Apparently that’s my favorite thing to do (according to him).  Definitely gotta work on the perception of my 7 year old.  I HIGHLY value a strong work ethic and that certainly came from my parents.

 

EIGHT.  Writing actually IS good for you.

My mom has been a consistent and avid journaler since long before I was born.  She has volumes and volumes and volumes of journals.  It’s nothing short of amazing.  She writes.  A lot.  She understood all along the value of writing things down.  Her life.  Her stories.  Her thoughts.  Her hopes.  Her frustrations.  Her dreams.  She wrote them all down (she won’t let us read them yet, but one day–can’t wait to get my hands on those).  And over the years she has become an incredible story teller and writer.  She’s funny, succinct, and clear in her writing.

Learning by watching her, I also started keeping my first journal in the 1st grade.  And somehow I stuck with it and have kept a journal my entire life (minus a few periods here and there when I started having babies and was in the “new baby fog” phase of life).

She inherently knew, like SO many successful and brilliant people in this world, writing things down has a positive influence on our lives and can catapult us in the directions we need to go.  It brings clarity of thought, purpose, and direction.  And it is often a much needed release for the soul.

 

NINE.  Reading is gold.

I definitely inherited my mother’s love for reading.  For as long as I can remember, my mom always had a book by her bed and in the car and on vacations.  And somehow, she passed on the fervent desire to read all the books to every single one of her kids.  I can’t thank her enough for this treasure she helped develop in my life.  Well done, mom.  Well done.

 

TEN.  Music speaks straight to the soul.

In my opinion, my mom has one of the most beautiful singing voices on the planet and I don’t even think I’m being biased.  My earliest human memory was when I was maybe 3 or 4 and I would lay underneath the piano bench at our home and listen to my mom practice with her trio.  I’d lay there for hours and just listen to her sing.  She taught me to love music and to cherish the gift it is to the world.  I will never tire of hearing her sing.  And I will never stop being in awe at the power music can have over the human heart.

 

ELEVEN.  Be who you are.

My mom was consistent in who she was.  Her personality didn’t change around different people.  She was never fake.  She was never striving to be someone she wasn’t.  She didn’t pretend or try to be anyone for anyone.  She was who she was.  And I took that to heart.  Be who you are.  Without apology.

 

I could write a book about lessons from my mom.  I am fully aware I had it better than many in a variety ways.  And there’s no doubt I’ll continue to realize more and more lessons I’ve learned from my mom as I continue to wade my way through life and motherhood.

Thank you mom.  I see you.  And ALL that you did and continue to do for me.  I love you.

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  • Lisel Zito

    What a beautiful tribute to your mom. Also a wonderful list of things I’d like to work on for my own motherhood. Thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • Barbara

    Dear Lindsay,
    I am sure your mom will love this list. Such a beautful way to tell her you how special she is to you.

    Maybe you need to talk to your kids about point 7, because I am pretty sure that your children also see you work hard. Just that they also see you in bed taking time to take care of yourself. And really in today’s world full of distractions, I believe showing your kids that it’s ok to rest and sleep and take care of your body and soul (diary!) is both important.ReplyCancel