Jul 02, 2014
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1.  I haven’t done a good old fashioned 10 on Tuesday Thursday in ages.  Feels good.  I miss blogging and really kinda over facebook.  I think I need to refocus.

2.  We celebrated Ty’s 17th birthday on June 7th.  17.  Can you believe it?  time has just flown by…. teen_senior_photographer_austin_texas

3.  Ty had an amazing opportunity to attend a month long camp here in Texas.  I’m so excited for him, but we are all missing him like crazy.  This particular camp is christian based and focuses on a Godly transition from boy to man.  He’s going to be learning so many wonderful things.  He’ll spend a lot of time in prayer, journaling scripture, handling finances, home repairs like electrical and plumbing work, vehicle repair, CPR and rescue skills all with a side of outdoor play, canoeing, swimming, camping and fun.  I’m so excited for him.  A month is so long.  It’s a current toss up on who asks for him more, Maggie or Jonah.  I’ve heard “where Ty?!?” out of Jonah so many times and Mags is a big old mopey pup without him.  She follows me around, plops down and huffs all day long.  Very dramatic.

4.  We are in the process of purging at our house.  Specifically our garage so that we can put in a home gym.  I’m so excited but man is it a job.  Our garage is a huge mess.  Our neighbors asked if we were moving away lol.  I might get brave and post a before and after pic when it’s finished.  We were lucky enough to score a free weight machine last year and then we found someone who was open to bartering their gym quality elliptical machine for pics.  Total win/win for us and I’m so excited about being able to exercise at home on the same equipment I’d be using at our Gold’s Gym.  Our garage is going to look so much better too.  We are in the process of painting and adding new shelving and a work bench.  Can’t wait to get it done!  Jase just finished our over the garage door storage area.

5.  We hired a new mother’s helper.  She started this week and my kids love her.  She comes and plays and wrangles and chases so I can get stuff done.  We love Ms. Meghan!

6.  We scored a super cute metal bed frame for Taryn’s room.  My plan is to take a few cans of pink spray paint to it and finally finish Taryn’s room.  Just in time for my mom to come visit and stay in there too.  She’ll be here next week and I pumped to see her.

7.  As I was writing #6 Jonah just got out of bed, walked out to the living room, climbed up and gave me a huge squeeze hug around my neck and buried his head in my neck.  I carried him back to bed and he hugged me the whole way.  Sweet baby.  He never gets out of bed and that was just the sweetest.

8.  Did you see the video I posted of Jason doing a tutorial on the fastest way to peel a hard boiled egg?  It rocked my world.

9.  This kid…he loves to be outside.  He lives for it.  Go outside, even for one second, without him….END OF THE WORLD.

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10.  Want to hang out with other parents who are Raising Foodies?  Come join our FB group!  You’ll find lots of great ideas for raising foodies and living a healthy, more natural, lifestyle.  I just posted this favorite recipe this week.  Organic chicken cut in strips, sautéed in ghee, garlic and herbamare. You can add red peppers too. I then add 1-2 cups of organic red pepper hummus from costco and a splash of almond milk to make a creamy sauce. I serve over quinoa with a side of steamed broccoli. Super fast and easy.

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One of my sweet little baby planners graduation in February.  It has been SO FUN capturing Ms. L during her first year!  So many memories and fun, sweet, happy moments captured.  I have to start this post with a comparison shot…newborn and 1st birthday!  Can you even believe how much she changed in a short 365 days?!

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That’s the closest you will ever see me to ducks at a session (or otherwsie).  I am terrified of ducks and geese!  After a few family shots we did a little cake smash….

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The End.  Ha!  Thankfully I get to see them again soon!

Summer is here and it’s time for a sale! Beat the heat with some savings.

Also, clients interested in booking fall sessions, NOW is the time to book!

My calendar is filling up fast! Email me at lstradtner@mac.com for available dates.

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FAMILY SESSIONS

Beat the heat with a lifestyle session in the comfort of your own home this summer! Set up the sprinkler, eat ice cream, play board games, do the things your family loves and let me capture it! Your memories of your children happen at home and it is the perfect place to capture the love your family shares. The first 3 families to book an in home lifestyle session by June 25th to occur before September 1st will get the session fee credited to their package purchase! This is a $250 value!

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MINI SESSION BOGO

Buy one get one free on all previously un-purchased mini session images from 2014. Images purchased as BOGO are emailed and digital copies only, sample prints are not provided. Offer ends at midnight on June 25, 2014.

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SENIORS

Get a jump start on your senior photos! If you book a session by June 25th to occur before September 1, 2014, you will get 50% off your session fee.

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Don’t miss out on these great sales, you’ll be sad! Cute, but sad!

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The fine print: Sale ends at midnight on June 25, 2014. Sessions cannot transfer. Sorry, no cash value. Sessions booked during this sale must be completed by September 1, 2014.

For complete pricing and details please email me at lstradtner@mac.com.

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I think it’s a requirement that every baby named Taryn Elizabeth be super cute.  That’s my experience anyway ;)

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This is one of my favorite maternity sessions that I’ve had the honor of photographing.  There was just something so simple about it that drew me in.  I loved that with two people, a pretty little bump, a blanket, an open field and some glowing light, we were able to create and capture these photographs.  There was so much love between these two, a quiet, happy, sweet love.  It practically jumped in to my camera as I captured them.

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About midway through their session we discovered that the sweet baby girl they were expecting would share the same name as my daughter.  I only know of two other Taryn’s so I was pretty excited!  They had no idea that I have a daughter named Taryn!  They said they’d had a hard time coming up with a middle name but had finally chosen one and were curious what we’d chosen.  Taryn Elizabeth….ha!  Seriously, what are the odds!  My clients have THE BEST taste in names lol!

Jun 11, 2014
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The last few weeks have been overwhelming.  Mid-may, we went on an amazing camping trip and were lucky enough for my mom to come along.  We made so many wonderful memories and even captured a few.  The day after my mom went back to Alabama, my step dad got sick.  Within a day, he was pretty sick and in the hospital.  He wasn’t responsive, but rebounded after the first day in PICU and we all had hope he’d be fine and the plan was for him to go to rehab upon discharge.  But then he took a turn for the worse.  His blood pressure was low, he had a high fever, pnemonia and was septic.  The infection was too strong for his lungs to battle and his body could no longer fight.  We’d all let our guard down because he had been responsive, even sitting up and talking, the day before.  And then he was gone.  He’d battled with his health for 15 years since his spinal cord injury.  Yet his death felt sudden.  We were all in shock and the sadness hit hard.  It was really important to my mom that my family travel over to Alabama.  We wanted to be there but it was hard for us.  We haven’t traveled that far with Jude in almost 4 years since his vaccine injury and the last time we did, he got really, really sick and the demyelination returned.  We’ve done short trips with him and he did great, so we decided to give it a shot.  I’d just spent 2 weeks planning for my family to be away for 4 days camping.  I think God knew I needed that trial run, plan and mindset to prepare to take our family of 6 and a weeks worth of food for all of us, to Alabama on 2 days notice.  We were nervous about Jude flying and the tickets on short notice were over $4000, so we rented a white passenger van, meal planned and shopped for food as quickly as possible and make the trip to Alabama.  The prep for the trip and the trip itself logistically went very smoothly, we were so blessed and thankful for that.  I was thankful that we got to go spend that time with my family and be there to grieve and celebrate Larry’s life.  He didn’t want a funeral, instead, we held a celebration of life service that was hosted at my mom’s home.  We were so thankful that so many of his friends came and shared their memories of him.  We were able to stay through the week and then Ty stayed for another week.  My mom had 3 of her and Larry’s kids in the house and 11 granchildren, it was a busy place.  She decided she wanted Ty to stay for awhile longer to help out and adjust to being there on her own.  I am so glad he was able to do that and be a blessing to her.

I wish I could say that when we got home things were quiet and calm and we settled back in easily.  Not so.  We got home and Kylie, our 17 year old lab mix dog was not doing well at all.  We knew she’d had a few issues thanks our awesome neighbors and dog sitter letting us know.  We took the kids out of the van from the long drive home, took one look at Kylie, and loaded everyone back up and took her to the pet ER.  We were terrified they were going to suggest we needed to put her down and we’d just got in to town after being away from her.  We just couldn’t face that thought.  Thankfully, they felt that with proper treatment of her bulging disk, she’d bounce back.  Thank God!  We wanted more time with her and we wanted Ty to be able to come home and see her again.  It’s so hard to know what to do in situations like this.  We don’t want her to suffer or be in pain, but we love her and want her with us.  Pet parenting is hard.  She was unable to walk and we had to carry her outside to go to the bathroom.  Thankfully, with meds and a visit to a pet chiro, she’s doing really well now, walking, less pain….doing well.  Then that first night home, our AC went out and my laptop broke, again.  I was ready to wave my white flag.  I’ve spent this last week catching up on a massive amount of work for Life in Motion.  Thank you to each and every one of my clients who have be oh so patient with me over the last few weeks.  It really means so much.

Jun 02, 2014
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With a heavy heart, I have to share that my step dad, Larry Lee, has passed away. It’s been a long hard road since his spinal cord injury 15 years ago.

I met him as a little girl, he’d take my mom out dancing. He’d let me and my friends ride in the back of his truck down to the corner store where he’d buy us country lemonades and a kit kat. My mom followed her heart and we left Oregon and moved to live with him in Louisiana when I was 12. My grandmother loved his accent and thought he hung the moon. He adored her and her Maine accent right back. Larry taught me how to 2 step, to build a great fire, to say yes ma’am and yes sir, to cut grass in an exact diagonal line and more than anything, he wanted me to respect myself and others. Both being stubborn, we butted heads a lot. More than often actually. But I vividly remember each time he said “I’m proud of you” and “You are a good mother”. Before 1998, if you drove by 311 Brookter, you probably had two thoughts, first, “what a beautiful yard” and second, “that Larry Lee needs a belt”. He drove a black Datsun that had way too many miles and leaned to one side. He always asked for boots at Christmas. He loved football, the Golden Girls and he’d watch an occasional Scooby Doo if he thought no one else was around. He couldn’t sit through an episode though, he’d get up and clean something at every commercial. Some of our greatest talks were after his injury, Ty was a toddler and we’d drive to go get PawPaw from therapy in New Orleans a few days a week. Sometimes he wouldn’t say a word the whole drive and other days he’d talk my ear off telling me all kinds of crazy stories. He loved my mom and she loved him. They lived strong in sickness and in health. Between them they have 4 kids, 13 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren. While his life held great pain from his injury, it also held a lot of love.

Rest in peace Larry, you made a difference in my life.

My best memories growing up in Oregon revolve around going camping as a child with my dad, and also, my grandparents.  I love everything about it.  So when my mom suggested that instead of our usual girls trip to New Orleans over memorial day, we hunt for a cabin in the woods and take the whole family camping instead, I jumped on it.  It’s hard for our family of six to travel.  We had to give it up for awhile as when we’d travel after Jude’s vaccine injury, he’d regress, have demyelination and various chemical sensitivity reactions.  We’ve tried a few small trips within driving distance in the last year and he’s done amazingly well.  We haven’t taken the whole family back to Louisiana or Alabama though because of the logistics of taking food for 6 people for an extended period.  It’s hard.  We love to travel, we miss our old home territory and not being able to visit my mom in Alabama.  That will be changing very soon as Whole Foods is opening a new store in 2015 near her house at the beach.  I.CANNOT.WAIT.

Anyway, it’s hard to travel with food for 6 people and allergy issues since we can’t just drive through or eat out anywhere.  Camping is the PERFECT answer.  I cooked double meals for a week, froze one, served one for dinner.  We prepped all kinds of snacks and we were good to go!  We searched and searched for the perfect spot to go camping within driving distance of our home and found the Frio River Cabins.  We wanted woodsy, campfires, swimming in the river and the comforts of a cabin with a kitchen and real beds.  The location was perfect.  The water was cold but so clear and glorious.  The kids were able to roam, explore, discover, dig, bird watch, chase minnows and skip rocks.  We had hammock time, card games (Jude won at UNO!), meals over campfire, scary stories, wading in the river, swimming at a waterfall, we watching Maggie chase rabbits till she passed our from exhaustion.  We ate and laughed and fell in to bed with sun kissed skin, exhausted.  I felt so content and happy watching my family these four days.  It’s the happiest I’ve been in a very, very long time.  My 3 oldest kids even experienced s’mores!  It was such a big deal for them with their allergies.  For those curious, we used these marshmallows, these graham cookies, and this chocolate.  Far from healthy but an exciting special treat for them.  We even gave Jonah his very first piece of chocolate ever at almost 19 months.  He nodded “yes” as he chomped in to his first bite lol.

And the weather, oh my goodness, the weather.  A cold front came through the day before left.  That meant it was in the 70′s during the day and high 40′s / low 50′s at night.  It was perfect!  Swimming in the crystal clear cold water during the day and cold enough to warm up by a fire at night, perfect!  We couldn’t have special ordered better weather for mid May in Texas!

I can say, we will definitely be going back.  We made so many wonderful memories….I’m counting down the days until we can go back.  These days, they are fleeting.  This will be the last summer Ty’s at home and not working.  He’s about to turn 17 (!?!?) and we will have the challenge of working around his work/life schedule even more.  He’ll soon venture out and that doesn’t escape me.  We have to make as many memories while he’s here as possible.  I want to cherish these days with all 4 at home.  This trip and these memories are ingrained on my heart….

Consider yourself warned, photo overload ahead!  I took over a 1,000 photos, and these are some of the faves.  I used both my Nikon D700 and my new Samsung NX300.

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These crack me up….my sweet Jude experiencing smores for the first time.  So funny!

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We really enjoyed our time around the fire, telling stories, looking at the stars, watching fireflies….

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My baby boy with his very own walking stick??  Swooooooon.  Steal my heart cute.  And I think Maggie loved the river more than all her people combined!

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You know what else makes me swoon?  A baby wearing daddy.

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Right before our trip I stumbled upon Jude’s old “happy camper” tshirt and it was the perfect fit for Jonah.  Great timing and so stinking cute.

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The property was stunning.  Woods, the river, mountains on the horizon.

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I think I’m finally all caught up blogging through the fall and the end of 2013 for client sessions.  I didn’t really blog that many mini sessions in 2013, mostly because of time constraints on my end.  But I have to admit, it’s hard to file images away on my hard drive once they have been lovingly delivered to my clients.  There are just some I love so much and wanted to come share….so here is a roundup of just a few faves.  I love doing mini sessions throughout the year!

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And a few more….

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I thought I’d come share what went in our camping first aid kit after getting some requests over on this instagram photo.

I know going in that my husband is going to roll his eyes joyfully at this post.  I know this because he’s been sweetly snickering every time he passes the pile on the kitchen counter for the last week.  It’s ok, I can embrace my neurotic love of all things first aid kit.  I think it makes me quirky and loveable.  And even though we gave up most things that come in a traditional first aid kits, I still find myself wanting to prepare, prepare, prepare when we travel to the great outdoors.  So what’s a first aid kit fanatic to do when she turns crunchy?  Why, a holistic first aid kit, of course!

I started off with nice sized box I picked up at Bed, Bath and Beyond (couldn’t find it on their website but the one linked is the same.  It folds out and has 3 tiers).  I wanted something that was durable, with a hard case and something that would be big enough to house glass mason jars, etc.  I highly recommend buying small travel containers for most of the products so that it doesn’t look like you are packing everything AND the kitchen sink.  It helps keep the snickering to a minimum.  I like these travel containers as I prefer glass over plastic.

Glass roller ball containers – these are great for essential oils and ACV.
Bottle Droppers – I use these for silver, witch hazel, peroxide and ear oil.
Clear Glass Jars – these are great for baking soda, coconut oil, vitamin c, aloe and gelatin.

While I’m linking amazon above so you can see what I use, I do buy them (not in bulk) from Natural Grocers.  Except the roller balls, I buy those in bulk because we use so many of them!  I wrote the contents of each glass jar on the bottom in sharpie.

Basic supplies:

Bandages
Bulb Syringe
Reusable Ice Pack
Tweezers
Nail Clippers
Small essential oil diffuser
Cotton balls
Fractionated coconut oil
Qtips

Coconut Oil – the single most universally used item in our kit.  We can cook our eggs with it, use it for diaper rash, reduce sunburns and so much more.
Activated Charcoal – we use this if someone has an upset stomach, food poisoning, etc.
Apple Cider Vinegar (jar and spray bottle) – there are a million and one uses for ACV.  My top favorites are for stomach problems, urinary tract infections, apply topically to ease both sunburns and bug bites.
Bentonite Clay – we use this for stomach issues, tummy bugs, food poisoning or at the onset of illness.
Vitamin C – immune booster.  Can reduce sunburn if used with Vitamin E.
Colloidal Silver – immune booster, great for ear infections, eye infections.
Baking Soda – can be used in a detox bath for illness.  Can also be used on spider bites.
Probiotics – we never leave home without them.  They help keep the immune system strong and functioning properly.  We travel with store bought probiotics (live strain, must be kept cool).  We also consume fermented foods and drinks daily and those travel with us as well.

Echinacea – we use it at the onset of illness.
Aloe – sunburns.
Epsom Salt – perfect for soaking sore muscles, ridding the body of toxins during illness or an allergic reaction.  A pinch in some warm drinking water can help ease constipation.
Hydrogen Peroxide – we use it to clean wounds.
Witch Hazel – soothes skin irritation, scrapes and burns.
Gelatin – this is the first thing we consume at the first sign of illness.
Elderberry – immune boosting.  We take it leading up to a trip, especially if air travel is necessary.
Mullein Ear Oil – garlic oil for ear infections.

Homeopathics:

Calm Forte – we call this the “anti-whine”.  It helps calm kiddos who are too hyper, tired of traveling or just all out of sorts.
Calendula
Drawing Salve
Addicide – we keep this in our house at all times and always travel with it.  It’s a homeopathic that removes pesticides, fertilizers, preservatives and dyes from the body.
Arnica – homeopathic pain reliever.
Belladonna – homeopathic for inflammation.  Use for minor injuries, sunburns, etc.
Chamomilla – promotes relaxation and helps with teething.  If you have a restless bunch at the end of a road trip, a quick dose of chamomilla will help calm.
Poison Oak Blend
Nux Vomica – indigestion, nausea

Other homeopathics to consider throwing in you kit include:  Kali Mur, Lycopodium, Ferrum, Phosphorus, Gelsemium, Rhus Tox, Aconite, Pulsatilla, Kali Bich, Apis, Lachesis, Mercurius

Essential Oils:

Thieves
Oregano
Serenity / Lavender
Purify
Eucalyptus
Breath Blend
Elevation
Valor
Balance
On Guard

What is in your holistic first aid kit?  Did I forget anything?

 

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We just got back from a week of vacation on the Frio River last night and I’ll be by to blog our trip.  Until then, feast your eyes on this little sweetie.  Watching his big brother love on him this morning was seriously just the sweetest thing.