Alicia & Ben » Blog

I wanted to do a blog post tonight and share pictures of the kids lately.  Only problem???  Most of the pictures I take are of strangers.  When I’m home I want a break from photography. I’ve been taking more and more pictures, but less and less of them are of my kids.  So I’m going to blog about why I’m cutting back from photography.

Things have been busy lately.  I say that a lot.  I’ve been saying it for years. But lately, wow – new record for busyness, and I think I’m on the verge of burnout.   It feels like every moment of the week is scheduled – Monday, Thursday and Friday evenings are usually photoshoots, Tuesday afternoon we have Sadie’s Singer’s Company class, and Wednesday we have Karate.  So every weekday afternoon/evening is booked.  Saturdays are crazy – 9AM soccer for the boys, 11:30 karate for Sadie and Jax, I usually have at least two photography commitments, and seems like there’s always a birthday party, YMs activity, or obligation in the afternoon/evening. Then there’s Sundays…..Ben’s is currently the YMs president and I’m the primary president, so that keeps us fairly busy, too. There’s so little time for free play, parks, bike rides, or lounging at home.

So, I’ve decided to cut back with photography.  A hard choice for many reasons.  Hard to walk away from income and clients when I’ve worked hard to build the business.  And, I like feeling successful and I feel like the busier I am the more successful I am, which I know is not true, but it feels that way.   I told three people no this week.  It was hard.

Then I look at the kids and realize how quickly they’re growing up and how much I want to be with them to play, explore, and create fun memories and the choice is clear.  Who needs money, success, or an early retirement?  I just want more time with these three:

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I LOVE photography and definitely want to continue.  I just want to rework things. I’m trying to figure out my 5 year plan.  I’m considering pursuing weddings more and family photography less.  I like weddings because they’re more profitable and I can get it all done on a Saturday when Ben’s home.  That would open up our weeks.  The only problem is I feel like I’m better with kids/families, and I don’t get many leads for big weddings.  I’m trying to work through those obstacles.

I have a two day photography conference this week in Orlando that I’m really looking forward to and hoping to get some answers to questions I’ve been having.  Hopefully it will be helpful!  And, hopefully, we can get headed down a path that will be a little more balanced.

Meanwhile, the kids are adorable and perfect!  Ben insists they get more love and attention than 95% of kids on this planet, despite my evenings away.  Ben is an extremely attentive parent, so, thankfully, I never worry when I’m away.  So grateful for their support!

A few fun pictures from lately….

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  • June 7, 2016 - 9:53 pm

    Jess - Cute cute pictures!! Love your sweet family :) It’s not easy to walk away from something like this, but it’s inspirational to see that you’re taking more time for family!! Love you, Alicia!ReplyCancel

The kids caught on to the fact that there’s a cool place called “Disney” that other kids get to go to. They’ve been wondering when they would get to visit this cool, unknown “Disney” destination.  And, truth be told, I’ve been feeling a bit of parental guilt that the boys are 4 and 5 and they’ve never been there.  It does seem like a necessary part of childhood.  And we only live 2 hours away.  And Ben and I have been to India, Maldives, Hawaii, and Thailand in the past 3 years. Seemed unfair to not take them even if the expense, crowds, heat, and rides are not my cup of tea.

Kimmy was in town last week and she wanted to go, so we finally went.  My dad came too.  It was nice to have extra adults to hold their hands and sit with them on rides.  Grampie was very much in demand.  All the kids wanted him all day. We bought 4 day passes so we’ll be going back 3 times in the next 6 months.  It was nice to know we’d be returning and we didn’t have to fit every last ride into this visit!  We were there most of the day – from opening until 11pm.  What a long day!  The next morning I had a sunrise session, boys had soccer, Sadie and Jax had karate, we had a party at a splash pad at 1, I had a sunset photoshoot, and then a family dinner in downtown St Pete since Kimmy was in town.  Tiring two days.

Anyways, we rode Buzz Lightyear first and that was their favorite of the day because of the built in laser guns.  It’s A Small World was good but not a huge hit.  They were scared of Pirates of the Caribbean.  Sadie’s favorite thing of the day was meeting the princesses.  Her face was bright red and she was so star struck she could barely speak.  It was darling!  We were all very entertained by the light parade and fireworks show, though, we had  a tree blocking our view.

The kids have been saving their money since Christmas so I think they were most excited to finally spend that money on the toys.  We told them they could each buy a toy during the day and one at the light parade.  Sadie chose Minnie ears, Jax choose a sword, and McKay choose a knife.  Those moments of toy obtainment were probably the happiest in their day.

 

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  • May 2, 2016 - 8:32 pm

    Jess - So darling! I’m glad you all had a good time! I can’t wait for a Disney trip! It seems its been forever, probably since we were all kids!ReplyCancel

  • June 5, 2016 - 2:59 am

    Desiree - I can’t believe y’all hadn’t been. I don’t think we’ll tackle that one for a few more years. For something that expensive they better remember it. :) Looks like a fabulous timeReplyCancel

They say bad things come in threes.  We’ve had 3 broken bones, 3 split heads, and 3 knocked out teeth in the last 3 Years.  So, I’m pretty sure we’ll be good for a while now!!

I thought it would be a bit therapeutic to review the past and lay it all to rest.   **Warning to any with hemophobia.  Proceed with caution.**

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#1 Broken Bone – This kicked off the bad luck!  McKay, at around 18 months, was running in the family room with a toy baseball bat in his hands.  The bat got tangled up in his legs and tripped him, resulting in a broken fibula and tibia.  We were shocked!  Actually, I’m still shocked.  It was such a benign fall.

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#2 Broken Bone – I wouldn’t say the kids are big risk takers or dare devils.  Most of our injuries are bad luck.  All?  No.  This injury falls into the category of Poor Decision instead of Bad Luck.  We were at my parents house and Jax jumped from the sofa onto an exercise ball.  A bad, bad decision! For which he paid the price.

Actually, I paid the price.

Lesson learned.

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#3 Broken Bone –  Apparently the lesson wasn’t learned.  He broke the other arm almost exactly a year later.  The kids were jumping on the trampoline as I was swinging in the nearby hammock.  Jax was down on all fours, bouncing, and came down weird on his arm.  I watched it happen and it didn’t look dramatic, but sure enough, x-rays said it was broken.  Trampoline bounce gone wrong!  Darn.

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Time for the teeth…..

#1 + #2 Knocked Out Teeth – This injury still pains me to this day and wins the award for The Worst of All Johnson Injuries.  Sadie and McKay were playing in the family room. Sadie was tickling McKay and he fell off the sofa.  No big deal?  Lots of kids laugh and fall off sofas unscathed.  Maybe?  I think???  Anyways, he was laughing so hard he never got a hand down to break his fall and landed on his face.  I heard the cry and ran to him. I knew from the cry this was a bad one!  His tears were flowing, his blood was gushing, and when I wiped the blood away I had two teeth in my hand!  I’m usually cool under pressure but my heart dropped with this one!  I had to sit down because I was a little shaky.  I had Sadie call Ben at work with the message of, “Come home now!”  We sent the dentist pictures but there was nothing that could be done.

Took me a while to recover from this one!  I grieved for days for the loss of that perfect little smile.  We had a retainer made for him with two fake teeth but it always falls out.

I still miss those teeth :/

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#3 Knocked out Tooth – This falls into the category of Poor Decision Making again.  I was at my brother’s house helping him move and the boys were upstairs playing.  Using the lid from a bin, Jax thought it would be fun to replicate the scene from Home Alone when Kevin slides down the stairs on a sled and out through an open door.  Jax was successful in his attempt so McKay decided to give it a go, too.

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McKay was not successful, unfortunately

He went tumbling forward and face-first into the railing.  His tooth was knocked backwards and he split his frenulum.  The tooth was wiggly for a while and it’s a little discolored but it did reattach, thankfully!

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#1 Stitches – McKay was running and fell into the corner of a desk.  Stitches.  That child had THE most perfect smile and plump little baby lips.  Tore me up inside to see it ruined.  The scar has faded, and though I still see it, no one else seems to notice it.

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#2 Stitches

Park.

Swing.

My Head.

Ouch.

There’s a little more to it, but that’s the just of it.  I did what I’ve told my kids a thousand times not to do – moved in front of a swing.  So dumb!  I learned my lesson.

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#3 Stitches – McKay was riding his bike, lost control, and the handlebars met the underside of his chin.  It was a pretty jagged cut so we had it stitched up.  He never shed a tear after the initial 3 minute cry when it happened.  My mom took him to have the stitches removed (we were in Thailand) and he never cried that time either.  My brave little accident-prone soldier.

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That’s it!

At least I hope that’s it.

 

 

 

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  • April 10, 2016 - 11:16 pm

    Desiree - goodness! Mckay has had the bulk of the pain but they all look pretty nasty. We haven’t even startedReplyCancel

Back in mid-January Ben’s oldest brother, Troy, and his family came to visit.  Our kids are similar ages and they had a fantastic time playing together.  This is a blog post from the last time they visited: http://aliciaben.com/?p=288.  A lot has changed since that time!

I wasn’t great about picture taking but I remember a zoo visit, Grimaldi’s pizza, two beach visits, dancing to What Does the Fox Say?, lots of bike rides to visit our horse friend, fishing in our neighborhood park, stake conference with my parents where Joseph got called as Bishop, Sunday supper at the Homestead, Chuck E Cheese, and Sadie’s birthday festivities.

On to the pictures which are not in chronological order…..

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Since Sadie’s 8th birthday was on a Sunday we decided to celebrate the day prior.  She was extra lucky since her cousins, Jadyn and Jace, were staying with us at the time!  Troy and Becky helped us decorate the house the night before her ‘birthday’ and she had presents waiting for her when she woke up.

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After presents we sang to her and she ate her crepe cake.

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Midday, everyone went to Chuck E Cheese – the kids’ favorite place on earth.

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That evening we met at the Seminole ward building for her party.  There are so many family members now I thought the extra space at the church would be refreshing.  And it was!  So nice to have space for the kids to play and everyone was able to sit and eat.  We had pizza, salad, and fruit.

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Ben and Matt helped organize some balloon games in the gym. They were great fun to watch. We had one adult game too, and boy, was that entertaining! Julie and Kimmy were our finalists and had a face-off. In the end, we declared it a tie.

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We sang to Sadie outside since no flames are allowed in the church:)

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Saved the best for last – present opening!

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I think she had a pretty fantastic 8th birthday!  Thanks to all those that helped us celebrate her!

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  • March 19, 2016 - 12:14 am

    Ben - Our kids are so lucky to have you! You are always putting forth the effort to make sure their birthday is a special day. Fun memories! Thanks for doing so much to document them. Love you!ReplyCancel