Weekly Dose of Edison – Behind the Scenes in the Photo Studio!

Things have been so busy around here lately that I have not had much time to blog. Edison came into my studio one morning recently while I was shooting a session with pretty little June, and she wanted him in her photos. He was still half asleep and a little confused about what was going on. :) I just love the expressions on both of their faces here!

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Big garden updates coming soon!

Garden Progress!

This project has taken way longer than we expected (of course), but here are some updates! We got everything prepped for our new ground covers. Part of the area will have artificial grass – the play area under the pergola that my husband made when we lived at our old house, and brought with us. The rest of the area will have flower beds, vegetable beds, and some type of hardscape in between. Originally we had planned on gravel, but with my pelvic instability, I have noticed that I have a hard time walking on gravel. For now, we have the layer of base and the layer of compacted decomposed granite down while we decide. It’s actually not too bad on its own, but did get a bit messy after the recent rain.

Below: trenches finished, lines run for irrigation, electrical and ethernet. Yup, my engineer husband is installing ethernet in our backyard. What outdoor living space would be complete without movies, music, and internet?

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The rotted out fence and gate had to come down to make room for the Bobcat to come through.

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All that remained was the reinforcement post that my dad put up when the fence fell down and my husband was out of town.

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Edison thinking, “Hey Daddy, what’s this thing?”
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Edison had to pretend to drive the Bobcat.
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We had two huge piles like this in our driveway, one base and one decomposed granite.
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Bringing back the Bobcat.
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Bringing in the huge roll of artificial grass.
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Sneak peek of one of my small flower beds!

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Weekly Dose of Edison

This little guy has been helping us quite a bit in the garden lately. :) The big exciting thing of the week was that his big birthday present arrived (Daddy ordered it a bit late after spending too much time researching all of the options). Edison has been having a lot of fun playing in his new bounce house/ball pit, and his “sister” Stella even wants in on occasion (and then quickly begs to get out).

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This is probably one of my favorite pictures ever. It’s not technically perfect (bad lighting, etc.). Edison is embarrassingly dirty after running around all morning in the garden and smearing snacks all over his face. But I just can’t get over the fact that the two of them fell asleep together like this for a nap outside. I just love it. :)
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Spring Plant Sale at South Coast Botanic Garden Tomorrow!

One of our favorite places is having their Spring Plant Sale tomorrow! If you are in Southern California, the South Coast Botanic Garden is in Palos Verdes and definitely worth checking out. We have a membership to the garden, and love going on a regular basis. For more information on the plant sale, visit their website.

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Weekly Dose of Edison

In my effort to spend more fun, quality time with my son, I decided to take Edison to one of his favorite places last week, even though I had tons of work to catch up on. We have a family membership to South Coast Botanic Garden, and it is a place Edison and I both really enjoy going. We go whenever I have free time, but I decided I need to start making the time to take him more regularly, even if photos that need editing are piling up. :) This was the first time I actually let him out of his stroller in the children’s garden, so he was pretty excited. :)

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Why I Will Be Significantly Cutting Back My Work Hours

A couple of weeks ago, I did a post where I logged one of my days, minute by minute. Just being a mom is a lot of work. Trying to juggle running a business full time and taking care of a baby and four furry kids as well is a lot to handle every day and I am running myself down in the process.

Previously, I have felt like I have been failing with the photography business because I wasn’t meeting certain arbitrary goals, or booking as many clients as some other photographers on a regular basis. Then I had a couple of weeks where I met my “goal” number of sessions per week and I realized something…it was way too much for me. Some people may be able to handle shooting that much and that often, but I cannot for so many reasons. The main reason, I was in too much physical pain with my limited mobility to handle shooting that often. Second, I am not a photographer who runs a quick couple of presets on my photos and burns them on a CD. Each image I produce gets hand processed to perfection. When I overwhelm myself with shooting too much, that also means that I will be spending hours upon hours editing photos, which is a lot of time away from my family. At the end of Edison’s first year, the thing I regret most is how little time we have spent together as a family. It really makes me sad. I am tired of doing the baby transfer once my husband gets home so I can rush into my office and spend hours in there alone. Things are going to be very different around here going forward.

I felt like I kept looking at so many other photographers and thinking wow…if they can shoot so many sessions per week, plus keep up with a blog, homeschool their kids, and grow all of their own veggies, etc. what am I doing wrong that I can’t seem to manage my time better? Then I realized that everyone’s circumstances are totally different, and I am so over trying to work at goals for myself based on what other people are or are not doing. It is a really dumb way to set goals.  My husband works long hours most days, and is usually exhausted by the time he gets home.  I feel bad that I have put so much stress on him to help me with things when he does get home, and it is time to make things easier on all of us.

I also realized when looking around my office today that while I have spent a lot of time photographing our baby Edison, I have spent more time photographing other people’s pets than our own in the past year, which makes me feel so sad. Our poor furry kids are often too shaggy and dirty to be photo ready, so they have been left out on many occasions. I am going to work on putting my own family first, and make more of an effort to do the photos that I want to take for our own use…like more of our furry kids each individually, and more of Edison with his “siblings” (and Instagram pictures do not count). I am going to start putting in bath time/nail clipping/hair cut time for the pets in my calendar and treating it like any other appointment that I have to keep. I have also promised Edison more park/play time and less Mommy working on the computer time. :)

So if you are one of my photo clients and reading this and curious how this may affect you, here is what will be changing. I will be booking less per month, which means some of the session fees have gone up slightly. When I say I am fully booked for a month, it means I am fully booked…whether or not I have days without appointments. Instead of promising that photos will be ready in 1-2 weeks, processing time is going to be extended. Saturdays are premium sessions only, any upgrades to standard sessions come at an additional cost, and Sundays are not available for anyone, ever. We are also thinking about cutting out seasonal mini sessions in the future, but we are undecided on that at the moment. I am really sad that I feel like I was so stressed out and overworked this past holiday season. I am going to make more of an effort to be an emotionally present wife and mother.

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Edison’s Birthday Surprise – His Own Children’s Garden!

I have been searching for months for what I thought would be the perfect birthday present for Edison – a vintage train. The kind that people usually set up at Christmas time, to go around the base of the Christmas tree. He is wild about trains. He loves his Thomas the Train books, his wooden train whistle, and he goes nuts over my old battery powered train that my grandpa used to set up every year at Christmas. Since that one is pretty sentimental to me, I wanted to get Edison one of his own. I couldn’t find one anywhere, since apparently most antique stores only have them stocked around the holiday season.

I was getting discouraged and feeling like the little small presents I had gotten for him weren’t special enough for his first birthday. Edison has been helping me a lot in the garden (actually putting dirt in flower pots, picking out flower seed packets, etc.). When a friend suggested that I make him his own little children’s garden, I knew that would be the perfect birthday morning surprise. :)

The night before Edison’s birthday, we went to the dollar store and let him pick out any of the garden decorations he liked. I also grabbed some other things that I thought would be fun and educational, like giant plastic fake crayons, small hula hoops in a rainbow of colors, etc. After he went to sleep for the night, I went out into the back yard and started prepping a section of garden bed next to our patio. I pulled out all of the weeds (it has been a somewhat neglected area for a while), and set everything up. Most of the plants that I had in there were edible already, which is good since he is still putting everything in his mouth, especially plants.

When I was planning his garden, I saw a lot of horrible children’s garden advice all over the internet. It disturbs me how people recommend poisonous plants for children’s gardens. Tomatoes are great, but the leaves of the tomato plant are poisonous if ingested. Sweet peas are pretty and smell nice but also poisonous. I could go on and on, but instead I am going to make a list of the plants that I will be using in his garden. Some still had to be removed after his birthday morning, and we will be planting more. I am also using plants that mostly require very little water and are drought friendly. Edison’s garden will include:

1. Marigolds
2. Lavender
3. Rosemary
4. Nasturtiums
5. Pansy
6. Red Valerian
7. Pelargonium(which are commonly called geraniums in stores)
8. Mint
9. Lemon Balm
10. Sage
11. Aloe Vera
12. Sedum
13. Various varieties of lettuce
14. Spinach

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It is still a work in progress, but he loves it. :) I will post an update once it is completed!