Book your Fall Mini Sessions and/or a Halloween Photo Shoot

Fall is already in the morning air around here, so I’m excited to start thinking about fall & holiday photo sessions.  Many of my friends were asking, so I decided to do family fall photo sessions again this year. These are mini photo sessions (30 minutes) and a great way to capture memories with your family. If you live in Arizona, I would love to photograph your family this season. See below for details.

stephaniecross-fall-mini-sessions-2016

I’m also really excited to announce that I’ll be doing mini sessions for Halloween! Instead of snapping an iPhone pic of your child the night of Halloween when it’s dark and the kids are running out the door in excitement, let’s dress them up a few days early and take some high-quality photos! For only $50 (per family), you’ll get 10 edited images and the kids only have to spend 15 minutes showing off their costumes. Offer details are below.

stephanie-cross-halloween-mini-sessions

The Halloween sessions will be in an outdoor seating in Phoenix. Location to be announced.

First Day of First Grade

Mom-Blog-School-DaysYou know the phrase, “In the blink of an eye?” I think that phrase was invented by a parent. I cannot comprehend the feeling that I was just bringing Kelsey home from the hospital, and now we are seeing her off on her first day of first grade.

As I was filling her new backpack with school supplies and packing her lunch for her first day (and yes, it includes a handwritten note telling her how proud her dad and I are of her), I started to cry. And not a pretty cry … I had a full-blown adult tantrum, hysterically crying over how big all my kids are getting.

Kelsey came up to me and gave me the biggest, tightest hug. I reassured her I wasn’t crazy and rather, I was just so proud and filled with such joy at how big she’s getting. She’s incredibly smart, nice, helpful and so kind. I know she is going to make a huge impact this year and I am so happy for her. But, she’s my little girl. My first-born baby that I cherish so much.

After I dried my tears and got it together, Kelsey and I spent 30 minutes going through old photos and blog posts of when she was little. She smiled. I cried some more. And we had some great laughs going down memory lane. She’s truly my best buddy and I am so incredibly proud of the girl she’s becoming. Here’s to another year and more school memories ahead.

I just love these two photos of her, you can really see how much she’s changed. I especially love seeing how her handwriting has evolved. See the ‘Y’ in both pictures? Last year’s was backwards and this years comes with a swirl. I love it.

Mother’s Day Morning

“WHY CAN’T IT BE KIDS DAY?” was the first thing Kelsey asked me this morning, in her most whiny voice. And then I responded in the EXACT same way my mom did years before. I said, “Every day is kids day.” And there it was. I am my mother.

Which isn’t really a bad thing. My mom is probably the most patient, loving, hilarious and beautiful woman there is. When my dad met her for the first time he said there was “a spotlight on her.” It’s true. There’s just something so special about my mom. Kelsey has that quality too. Everywhere she goes, the room lights up.

Together with my favorite boys, we celebrated Mother’s Day at church this morning. That’s my favorite place to spend a Sunday. I feel God’s presence in my heart and in the room and I am transformed.

scottsdale mom blogger

While Kelsey & Colton were in Sunday school, Nolan slept on my lap. The Pastor asked all the moms to stand up so we could give thanks and acknowledge the role a mom plays in our lives. I was the only person standing with a baby in her arms. When we were asked what we were thankful for all I had to do was tilt my head down at the little baby laying across my chest to see the amazing work God does in this world. It was a blessed morning.

After church we went to my in-laws house for Swedish pancakes, momosas, and some Bouchon Bakery muffins & scones. You see, my mother in law is one of the best cooks around so when we gifted her the Bouchon Bakery cookbook, she decided to spoil us by making some pastries. One bite of these and I was instantly transformed back to Napa Valley. 

many hats of a mom blog

many hats of a mom blog

many hats of a mom blog - Bouchon Bakery Muffins

many hats of a mom blog - Bouchon Bakery Muffins

many hats of a mom blog

We never get clouds in Phoenix so seeing these white fluffy things in front of a clear, blue sky made for a great backdrop to our day. I was trying to teach the kids to look at the clouds and see the shapes, but they were more interested in climbing backwards out of the playhouse and tackling each other to the ground.

many hats of a mom blog

many hats of a mom blog

many hats of a mom blog
many hats of a mom blog

many hats of a mom blog

Anyone else thing we should get a monthly Mother’s Day? Me too.

7 Tips for Teaching Young Girls about Beauty

The girls at Stellar Day Magazine asked if I would write an article on ways I’m teaching my young daughter about beauty. This is an ongoing process and my approach will change with each passing year, but I had a lot of fun writing this article and reflecting on ways I’m encouraging Kelsey to feel her best.

I hope some of the tips shared in the magazine, inspire other parents with young daughters as they navigate this challenge.  Click here to read the April issue of Stellar Day Magazine. A huge thank you to Jessica Williams for putting this magazine together and for always inspiring women. If I know anything, it is that women lifting other women up is a beautiful thing. No matter how old you are.

tips for teaching little girls about beauty

tips for teaching little girls about beauty

Senior Pictures!

Do you remember your senior photos? My senior photos were horrible. I was in some poor lit studio with a gray backdrop, laying on my stomach with my hands on my chin, right next to the numbers 00 for 2000. Nowadays, kids have it so much better – don’t you think? I had the privilege of taking non-cheesy senior photos of this cute baseball player last night. I love getting the opportunity to take pictures of special milestones like this, here are some pics.

Good luck in college, Ryan. The world is yours!

senior pictures boy baseball

senior pictures boy baseball

 

senior pictures boy baseball

senior pictures boy baseball

senior pictures boy baseball

senior photos phoenix photography

senior pictures boy baseball

Desert Camping for Spring Break

For Kelsey’s spring break we decided to go camping. Since we have a 6-month old baby we couldn’t go far. Instead, I had an idea (an idea that sounded good at the time) for Kelsey & Ryan to camp in the backyard. Fun, right? We got the tent out, I bought snacks and Ryan even brought down her mattress so she would be comfortable.

As I was kissing her goodnight inside of the tent, she turned to me and demanded, “Mom! I DO NOT want to wake up inside the mouth of a wolf. Got it?” I was dying laughing. Then we played the “what if” game for about 20 minutes. “What if the wolf gets over the fence? What if the wolf opens the tent zipper with his teeth. What if …” I reminded her that we live in the suburbs and wolves don’t hang out here. After that didn’t work, I finally said, wolves can’t get past daddy. You’re safe.

Colton wanted to spend the night with me inside the house so I gladly accepted his request. The reason this sounded like a good idea (but wasn’t actually a good one) was because of baby Nolan. He is teething and was awake every two hours. At about 2am, I came downstairs to get Tylenol and a bottle and I peeked outside to see my husband snoozing away … as I walked upstairs like a zombie I thought, “Great idea, Steph.”

phoenix mom blog

 

The Spring Carnival

We try to go to our local carnival every year (here is 2012 and 2014). It’s pretty much the fastest way to spend $60, but it’s truly a lot of fun. This was our first year going as a family of five. It’s a pretty surreal feeling when I look back at those two blog posts and see how young everyone was (including us!).

Tonight was pretty awesome though. Besides the fact that Ryan took F O R E V E R in the ticket line trying to decide if a $30 (each) unlimited ride pass was a better value than the 40 tickets for $20. He kept looking at his phone to see “how much time we have left in the day to finish these rides.” Oh, Ryan. I can’t take this CPA anywhere.

In fact, today was monumental. Not only did we make it through the carnival with all of the kids in tact, but (are you ready for this?) we made it through with ZERO tantrums! That’s right. Not a single one. I’m speaking to you, Colton! Our spunky three-year-old was the product of perfection tonight. Ahhh … what a feeling!

mom blogger in phoenix

Here are some more pictures of our fun Sunday at a spring carnival.

mom blogger phoenix events 2

mom blogger phoenix events

mom blogger phoenix

many hats of a mom blog

many hats of a mom blog

many hats of a mom blog
many hats of a mom blog

many hats of a mom blog
many hats of a mom blog

many hats of a mom blog
many hats of a mom blog

many hats of a mom blog

many hats of a mom blog

many hats of a mom blog

family

Merry Everything

many hats of a mom blog

many hats of a mom blog

many hats of a mom blog

When I started this blog in 2010, I had one goal in mind: Keep track of (most) everything we did. Take pictures. Write stories. Capture memories so that one day our daughter can grow up and read about her childhood. Since then our family (and my heart) has exploded with love. We have two more children and couldn’t be more thankful for the blessings we have been given.

Through this blog, I have found a love for photography and storytelling. Sometimes I look back at old photos and think, ‘Yikes!’ – did I really edit a photo like that? But that’s the whole point of this blog … to see how far we’ve come through the years. To grow. To explore. And yes, to edit photos in horrible Sepia tones until you finally get it right.

Another goal of mine was to document my children’s milestones so I could reference it later. I can’t tell you how many times I have asked myself, “When do kids get their teeth? At what age did we potty train Kelsey? What did we do for Easter last year?” When that happens, I can go into my blog archives and find the answer. How cool is that.

This little corner of cyber space as been an online journal of sorts. Albeit, I have vowed to be real but never allow this blog to be a place for venting. I have my husband, girlfriends and a good glass of wine to cure my need to vent. Besides, isn’t the world negative enough without me complaining and sweating the small stuff?

I also don’t use profanity on this blog. The worst word you’ll find on here is “shoot” because – like I said – little miss grown up Kelsey will be reading this one day. That’s something that means a lot to me.

So, I guess what I’m trying to say is, I’ll be continuing to blog in 2016. I’m excited to see where my love for blogging takes me next year, and I’m excited to document the things we do, the places we go and the way in which these kids grow up. 2015 was incredibly good to us – we welcomed Nolan into our family and lived our lives in a way that would make God proud. I can’t wait to see what 2016 has in store.

It’s been a treasure and a treat to talk to you through this computer screen. And for that future big girl who is reading this, momma loves you more than you know. Even when you’re throwing sass my way.

See you guys in 2016.