Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Joanna Monger Photography: Greater Seattle area Photographer

You know that quiet awkwardness you sometimes see in portraits? How your smile is strained, your eyes are just a little fake and your entire posture is so stiff and unnatural? That's because you're trying to show a very personal side of yourself to a complete stranger. Portraits are hard work! 

Shortly after Ruby was born, I had the pleasure of working with Joanna Monger, of Joanna Monger Photography, to take our family portraits. I was a little worried as I was preparing for this event. To call Penny "shy" in new situations is a severe understatement. She was at a very insecure stage; she would cling to me and completely shut down in new situations.  I knew that it would show in a picture that she's uncomfortable. Her comfort level was extremely important to me, but getting a family picture with our new addition was too. I knew this was going to be a very difficult task.

Joanna and I met in January when she was at the tail end of her pregnancy with her second son and I was in my 3rd trimester with Ruby. We initially started out meeting for coffee but ended up at the local burger joint - what a sight we two pregnant gals must have been! We chatted for a couple hours about our two businesses and how we anticipate the addition of second children would be. Not too long after our meeting, she had her precious little boy and a few months later Ruby followed suit.

Ruby was a fresh 13 days old when we visited Joanna at her home studio. In addition to the challenge of getting my toddler to be at ease for the photo shoot, we asked Joanna for the trifecta of a photography session - newborn, sister and a family portrait session all into one sitting. We approached our appointment with caution and hoped for just one great photo. Just one is all I ask for!

As soon as we arrived I could tell that Penny wasn't completely at ease. Her eyes roamed around Joanna's studio, eagerly searching for something to play with. Joanna quickly brought out necklaces, boas and a toddler sized rocking chair. She got down to Penny's level and simply introduced herself. Imagine my shock at how quickly Penny warmed up to her! Words couldn't describe how much it meant to me that this woman knew exactly what to do. It has to be a mom thing, because within a few minutes Penny saw the environment as comfortable and safe...and as we all know, if the toddler is happy - everyone is happy!

Getting along with Joanna was so easy, and that clearly shows in her photography. You can see the genuine smile on our faces - because even our eyes are happy. She caught so many wonderful moments in our studio session and my entire family was comfortable while she was working with us.  Joanna also made sure that I was getting the breaks that I needed to either sit down or nurse Ruby, and took advantage of the few minutes of just Adam and Penny to take very sweet Father/Daughter portraits too.

When it was time for Ruby's newborn session, we sent Adam and Penny home so that we don't have to worry about keeping the toddler content and quiet. I gave my new little lovebug a nice top off of milk and attempted to get her into that sleepy newborn state that everyone loves for their newborn photography.

...Well, Miss Ruby had other ideas. She wasn't letting me put her down so that we could take adorable swaddled poses! Eeek! After a few attempts with only being able to catch a millisecond of snooze time, Joanna suggested that we try taking some pictures of her nestled in my arms. Those pictures ended up being my favorite...

It's so hard to believe that this tiny little girl is now 4 months old and is rolling around, pulling toys to her mouth and will be sitting up before I know it. Looking back at these precious images reminds me just how fleeting these moments are. Thanks Joanna! 

If you're in the greater Seattle area, don't wait! Joanna offers several styles of photography to fit what you're looking for. She offers maternity, glamour/boudoir, family, studio or in home sessions for newborn portraits, and she's currently booking 2015 seniors (better hurry!). She also has a fun "Baby's First Year" program, which documents their first year with sessions as a newborn, 6 month and 12 month old. 


Monday, July 28, 2014

Mom Voyage

I participated in a Blog Blast on behalf of Mom Central for Urbini. I received information from Urbini to facilitate my post as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

Do you find yourself reading more books or online resources as a mother or during pregnancy? For my first pregnancy, I read a handful of books (focusing on Ina May's accounts and natural birth) but once my first daughter arrived and afterwards...shoot, ain't nobody got time for that! I found myself preferring websites and blogs for reading material because my iPad and phone were always handy during our marathon nursing sessions. It was through these online resources that I began to realize that if one looks, it's not hard to find a community (even different communities) of moms who share my interests and goals. The wonder of the internet has brought all of us together and you can quickly ask other moms breastfeeding questions throughout the night via the LLL forums, research a weird rash (of course, never completely relying Dr. Google) and even yesterday I got an answer within a few minutes when I posted in  my local mom's facebook group where I can find cheap stickers in town. It's not hard to find a niche to fit into, where we can easily support and encourage each other in our journeys. Mama tribes, they're called. T

hen I also took the step to instead of simply being a listener in these communities to building my own...The Pierogie Mama. I hope that your place here has given you support, encouragement and maybe you've learned something new along the way. 

Be a part of The Pierogie Mama community via
  facebook   twitter   pinterest   

Mom Voy√°ge is a community of Mom bloggers sharing their experiences in motherhood from all around the world. You can read blog articles written by mothers from the Netherlands, France, Britain, Holland, Japan, China and Australia as well as the US. Articles include how different cultures name their babies, how they celebrate pregnancies, thoughts on maternity leave, and many other Mom-inspired topics.

Mom Voyage is a part of Urbini, a stroller and car seat company. 
Click to read read my Urbini Touri Travel System review

Monday, July 21, 2014

So I guess I'm Mother Gothel, she's a princess and princesses only eat princess food.

Two big things have been going on around here.

1. I have a very independent two and a half year old. She is fearless, bold, adventurous, feisty and just an all around kick in the pants. Every day she surprises me. These days dinner tends to get in the way of these imaginary adventures and she's been opting for on the go foods. 

2. Princesses. 24/7.
So more often than not we encounter days where the only food she wants to eat is "princess food." Does anyone have any idea what "princess food" means to a toddler? My best guess as to the most basic requirement of "princess food" is that it needs to be pink. What is a mama to do?

So like the wicked Mother Gothel, I've figured out how to sneakily disguise her essential nutrients, with the help of a my Cuisinart Baby Food Maker and Yummi Pouches. Mother knows best!

The first part of my master plan is to create an easy to eat, yet very "princessy" puree that even the pickiest toddler won't be able to resist. One of our standard recipes that I have created is Apple, Strawberry and Butternut Squash with a touch of cinnamon. Butternut squash is an excellent source of Vitamin A, fiber, potassium and magnesium. Apples are an additional fiber source, and pack some Vitamin C. Strawberries have lots of Vitamin K and are an antioxidant powerhouse. Combine all of those and you've got the makings of a healthy snack! Mwwaaaa hahahaha! 

The second part of my evil plan involves one of my henchmen, the Cuisinart Baby Food Maker.  It's an all-in-one appliance, meaning I can steam my apples and squash, then add my strawberries and puree, without pulling out tons of gadgets or adapters. That leaves enough time to meddle in my daughter's affairs, boil some toads and worry about my waning beauty while talking to magical mirrors or tending to a mysterious fountain of youth plant.

Finally, to ensure the assimilation of said wicked potion, Yummi Pouches make normally messy purees portable, so that was a no-brainer in my evil plot to ensure Penny eats healthy. We love Yummi Pouch because...

  • The shape - it's a rectangle and super easy to clean. 
  • Dishwasher and freezer safe. 
  • BPA free, PVC free and phthalate free. 
In addition to pureed food, I like to prepare packs of yogurt, applesauce or smoothies thickened up with ground oats for quick on the go snacks.

Does this sound like a truly evil plan or what? Let me tell you, the unknowing princess surely fell victim to my tricks and walked away satiated.

Want to win a Cuisinart Baby Food Maker along with a 4 pack of Yummi Pouch Brights to put your dubious potions delicious creations in? Enter to win this fabulous prize pack by commenting below:

1. Visit Cuisinart's baby food recipe site and tell me which recipe you think your little one will go "goo goo" for. Please leave your best contact email address so that I can email you if you win. (See full rules below)

2. Gain an additional entry point by visiting Yummi Pouch's recipe page and leaving a comment here with a recipe that you'd  like from there too!

Rules: Entering this giveaway is completely optional; however in order to qualify to enter you will need to leave a comment answering question #1, and for an additional entry option you may also answer question #2 in separate comments. The winning entry will be validated. Open to the US only, aged 18 years or older. The contest ends at 6:00pm PST 7/25/2014. The winner has until 6:00pm PST 7/26/2014 to respond to the email notification. The Pierogie Mama is not responsible for prize fulfillment. The winner will be contacted at the end of the giveaway and will have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen. 

Bluberry Yogurt Popsciles with doTERRA Lemon Essential Oil

Do you use essential oils therapeutically or in your cooking? I recently purchased my first set of doTERRA oils through That Mama Gretchen (Breathe, OnGuard and Lemon Essential Oil) and I've been having a blast experimenting with the lemon in my cooking.

Check out my recipe for Blueberry Yogurt + doTERRA Lemon Essential Oil popsicles on her blog!

Did you see my recipe for raspberry creamsicle popsicles on the blog earlier? I made them using my Zoku Duo popsicle mold, but you can really use any mold you like. Check out that post to see the recipe & enter my giveaway for the adorable Zoku Fish Pops 
(which are sure to make your kiddies giggle). 


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