by Sara Arrigoni | Apr 29, 2014 | Personal Tidbits
This post has been long in the making. As much as I desire to celebrate the everyday lives of everyday families, I realize that not everyday is full of sunshine and roses; many times–especially for us moms–the everyday doesn’t feel blessed. Harried, frustrating, monotonous… motherhood can be all of these things, and sometimes the last word that even I remember to use when describing my everyday is “blessed.”
So what do we do, on those days that feel less than stellar? When our mood is dragging? And what about when those days seem more frequent than not?
Because some days, we all feel like falling apart…
I have no easy answers. Motherhood is tough. We love our little ones, of course. That goes without saying. But we can also feel drained, overwhelmed and frustrated at times. There are no quick fixes for any of the hardships of motherhood, but I do believe that with some intentionality, and refocusing our attention a bit, we can at least bear them a bit easier. These are just some things I have noticed from my life.
When the everyday doesn’t feel blessed…
- Don’t think so long-term, and focus on today’s blessings. I’ve realized that for me, much of my “today” struggle is generated from worries about tomorrow, or next week, next month, or next year. It never ends. I am especially prone to this as a planner, type A, control freak. All that worrying can rob today of its joy. I get so wrapped up in what *might* be coming down the pipe that I miss the fact that there’s some pretty darn amazing stuff happening NOW! And one thing I’ve learned is that much of what we worry about most for the future never happens, while the things that really knock us down are things we never saw coming, that blindsided us. The past year has been tough for me in this respect, but I try to remember the words in the gospel of Matthew: “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to his life? … Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow,for tomorrow worry about itself. Each day has trouble enough of its own” (Matthew 6).
- Take a break from social media. It’s hard. For many of us, Facebook may be the only link we have to adult interaction during the day. But I’m convinced that in many ways, social media is, if not the root of discontent, at least a pretty effective fertilizer. If you’re not seeing your second cousin twice removed on their vacation in Hawaii, then you’re reading about your neighbor’s 3-year-old who is already reading Tolstoy, or checking out the latest pics from an old college friend who just lost 30 pounds in 2 months on the latest fad diet. In Facebook-land, sometimes it can seem like nobody else has problems. You see the highlight reel of everyone’s life, but not the gritty parts, and it can oddly seem more isolating than uniting at times. Plus, I find it definitely spurs me to start comparing my life/job/house/kid/body/cleaning habits/whatever to other people’s, which just isn’t healthy. Try checking in just once or twice a day, if that.
- Make a date to see a friend in person (or at least a phone call if in person isn’t possible). Even an hour of hanging out with someone in real life can suddenly make us realize we aren’t alone. There are other people out there who value you as a person, and their lives aren’t perfect either. I know, I know… immediately the “but I can’t ever get away from the kids” excuse pops up. But you can get creative. Here in the Seattle area, Fred Meyer stores offer one hour of free childcare if you’re in the store… and they just happen to almost all have a coffee shop area, too. One friend and I will check our kids in, go park at the coffee stand for an hour and chat, and then do our grocery shopping after. It’s cheap and convenient, and we both feel better after.
- Get moving. I have neglected physical activity myself for too long, never prioritizing it because life seems so busy with the kids. But I’m slowly realizing that physical inertia only exacerbates feelings of what I call “situational inertia.” It is so frustrating when you are hoping for changes that don’t happen, or life seems to be moving too slowly without a lot of hope for the future. But one way to instantly inject some positive energy into your life is to physically start moving your body more. Whether inside or out, find some way to incorporate physical activity into your routine.
- Start a gratitude project of some kind. Seeing beauty and love is partly a trained skill; we all have things to be grateful for, even in dark times… and learning to see it is a valuable, cultivated practice. Some people journal one sentence a day detailing what they are grateful for. Some people take a picture a day. However you choose to celebrate it, taking the time to consistently acknowledge the good things in life is valuable. My Project 365 this year has done wonders for me…and it’s not that I’m just naturally a “rose-colored glasses” kind of person; it has taken intentionality to see the good everyday, but I am the better for it.
- Cultivate, celebrate, or share the skills or traits that make YOU special. I’m convinced that part of the reason us moms can get discontented is because often with the birth of our children, we are thrust immediately into a whole new world, and somehow the “old” person falls away and is replaced by someone who seems to exist only to keep little ones alive and well. But there is more to us as people than “just” being a mom; we all have talents, hobbies, skills, or traits that make us special or that we enjoyed prior to having kids. Take some time to honor that part of yourself. Maybe you enjoy sketching but haven’t picked up your pencils in ages; maybe you are an avid reader, but the last thing you read was What to Expect While You’re Expecting; maybe you enjoy singing and miss participating in the church choir. Whatever it is, nurture those parts of yourself; it’s good for you, good for the world, and even good for your kids to see that mama is pretty awesome at other things.
- Realize that your feelings are normal, and give yourself (and your families) grace. Even the moms who seem to have it all together feel really at odds sometimes. We aren’t perfect. Our kids aren’t perfect. Our spouses aren’t perfect. And all that imperfection can sometimes add up to hard feelings and hard times. Give yourself grace. Forgive yourself for the mistakes you make as a parent. Give your families grace. We are all learning together. And our homes are training ground for the big world; it is healthy and good for your kids to learn that love is about forgiveness, sacrifice, and dusting ourselves off from today’s messes and loving one another better tomorrow.
I’m sure we’ll revisit this again in the future, but what are some things YOU do when your days are less than stellar? How do you change your attitude? I would love to hear some thoughts from other moms as well–please comment and discuss. After all, it helps to know we’re not alone, right?
by Sara Arrigoni | Apr 25, 2014 | Sneak Peeks
This year I have intentionally been turning my family sessions a new direction and focusing more on “day in the life” photo sessions. I believe patiently that capturing your everyday life is beautiful, and I particularly think with toddlers, it is wonderful to capture them in their home environment, where they are more apt to feel at home and settle in.
For this session, I focused on photographing my nephews at their home. Big brother B just moved into his own “big boy room” right before turning 2, while baby brother J just turned four months. I sought to capture B in his new domain, including the loving details of his room that mama designed. The small details were important, too. B adores his puppy; it’s his security. Meanwhile, baby J is drooling up a storm and sharing his wide smile with strangers now, no longer a sleepy newborn.
Here are some favorite images of the boys at their home!
What about you? Do you have images of your childhood bedroom? What details of your family would you like to have captured? Let’s chat in the comments!
by Sara Arrigoni | Apr 22, 2014 | Sneak Peeks
I’ve waited a long time to share today’s birth story, a first-time mom’s birth center water birth!
I always respect my client’s wishes regarding whether or not images are shared, and prior to delivery, this mom wasn’t sure she wanted the birth photos made public. I am totally okay with whatever you choose from your session, but I am excited that she has changed her mind and wants to share images from her birth center water birth!
We had been waiting for quite some time for “Nugget” to join the world. We weren’t sure whether or not a boy or girl would be welcome us, but we did know it felt like baby was taking a long time to decide to make its entrance!
Finally, I received word that it was “time.” Yay! I packed my camera bag and headed out after the expectant father said that things seemed to be getting serious.
Mom and Dad had already decided they hoped for a water birth at Eastside Birth Center in Bellevue, but we hung out at home until things seemed to be moving along. We headed in, but after things seem to stall out a bit after being in the tub, mama was sent back home–a bit disheartened and now tired too. (Personally, I think Baby B just knew I would have far better lighting for an early afternoon birth instead of a pre-dawn birth 😉 )
During birth, I try to give the parents space and not be a distraction. With labor now slowed, I decided to leave mama alone, but I hung close since I suspected things would heat back up again shortly. Sure enough, two hours later I got the call to report back. We took our second journey of the day to the birth center, but there was no stopping things this time! Mama was a trouper, while Dad was a tremendous support.
Baby B emerged, and it was amazing. It was almost as if he swam up to the surface of the water to his mama. Tears of joy were shed all around, mama realized she had a brand new baby BOY, and dad cut the cord. At Eastside Birth Center, rooms are set up much like a beautiful hotel room, so mom and dad were able to cuddle the baby right in a big king-sized bed. Grandparents and auntie arrived, and baby B was blessed to be welcomed with so much love!
Dad waited to welcome his new little one.
Mama enjoys a very brief respite between pushes.
Baby B was delivered in the water, and after two pushes emerged completely and was lifted up to mama.
Parents, as well as first-time grandparents and new aunt, welcome the family’s new addition. Eastside Birth Center in Bellevue, WA, features hotel-like rooms to make families more comfortable.
Baby B, still adjusting to the new sights and sounds.
I love capturing the tiny details of newborns… here the sweet little hands and his handmade hat.
I absolutely love photographing birth stories, and am currently booking through the end of the year. I reserve only two spots per month for births, so contact me now if you are interested in reserving your due date!
Let’s plan for your birth story!
by Sara Arrigoni | Apr 21, 2014 | Photography Happenings
Everyone who knows me knows that if I am with my kids, the baby is most likely riding along in a carrier or wrap of some sort! I have long wanted to do something special as an homage to babywearing, and now is the time!
announcing the “Worn with Love” mini sessions!
I have reserved just a few special “Worn with Love” mini sessions to take place in Covington on the afternoon of Sunday, May 18. During your 20-minute session, we will make beautiful photos of you and your little one. Does dad babywear too, or do you want a family portrait as well? That’s great! The only stipulation is that babywearing must be a featured part of your session. We will capture baby cuddled close on you, or perhaps some solos of your little one curled up in your favorite wrap. I am here to capture the intimacy and love that babywearing helps us all share with our little ones!
For $199, you’ll receive a 20-minute session, a beautiful professionally mounted 11×14″ print, and rights to 5 digital images for printing and sharing.
but don’t hesitate, there are limited spaces available, and I rarely offer mini sessions!
To book your mini session, head over to my marketplace page, and select your desired time slot. I will then be in touch with further details, our location, and everything you need to know for a gorgeous mini session!
Let’s celebrate babywearing and our little ones together!
Book your “Worn with Love” session now!
by Sara Arrigoni | Apr 11, 2014 | Project Life
It’s April, and I’ve reached 100 days of Project 365! Project 365 is simple: take one photo a day for 365 days. I started on January 1, but some people start on their own birthday, a child’s birthday, or simply some random day!
Some fun facts from my first 100 days of Project 365:
* 4 photos feature coffee
* 6 photos that I appear in
* 16 photos do not include a face
Being “forced” to photograph everyday things daily can be challenging. Let’s be honest; my life is hardly glamorous. 🙂 But it is mine, and I want to celebrate it! Today I’m sharing 10 personal favorites from my first 100 days of Project 365. (To see them all, please check out #365blessedeveryday or browse my instagram account @theblessedeveryday.)
1/1/14: the first pic of the year. Love this pic of my boys.
1/6/14: “Talk to the Hand”–only 6 days in, and Eli was already weary of pictures
1/21/14: Late-night shenanigans. Giggles in bed.
1/23/14: Not a perfect picture technically, but love the pure joy on G’s face.
2/7/14: at the shooting range, one of the few photos of me so far!
2/8/14: inspired by Hitchcock. Project 365 gives me the chance to experiment with some different concepts.
3/21/14: love the light streaming through the window
3/24/14: Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride? The kids take Lightning out for a spin.
3/27/14: one of my favorite images so far, father and son.
4/3/14: I have lots of sleeping baby photos, but none do I like more than this one, which was captured with the iPhone while Seth was in his carseat.
It’s never too late to start a Project 365. Is this a project you could join? Or is the more modest Project 52 (a picture a week) more realistic for you? Have you ever completed either? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below!