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Feature Family: Perkins

Post by Stephanie

So I started this post a day or two before I had our beautiful baby girl (the end of June) and have not returned to it until now.  I apologize.  Time flies when you are taking care of a newborn, as many of you understand.  Even as I type this now, it is with one hand, as are most of my typed communications these days.  Anyway, here is the post as was written.  Also note, Haley had a beautiful baby girl the end of July.  We are so happy for them and their growing family.

First of all I want to say a huge THANK YOU to Haley for helping out with the blog the last many months.  There have been so many things I’ve wanted to talk about but did not have the time while photographing all of my wonderful clients.  She is having a baby in July so will be quite busy with her two adorable children.  So I will miss her, but have greatly enjoyed having her on my team.

I am also expecting to have this baby any day now that we have been anticipating.  Well, baby was due last week, but is not in a hurry, so we are just waiting it out.

Something I have been wanting to do is feature my wonderful clients on my blog.  You all have so many amazing talents and fun things happening in your lives that I would love to share your stories.  So here is our feature family for the month, the Perkins Family.  I hope you get a kick out of some of the fun stories they have to tell.

Eric and Chrissie have two beautiful daughters, Alexandra and Madison.  They were so much fun in our session.

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Eric and Chrissie got engaged on top of the Empire State Building, have dined at the Eiffel Tower, and gone scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef.  Eric once matched five out of six numbers in the Virginia Lottery and is a whiz at magic tricks.  I know who is going to be the entertainment at our next party.  Now if only Eric’s magic tricks could make the baby appear.

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Together as a family, they like to play tennis, go to the movies, go to Disney World, and Dave and Busters.  I think these guys have a lot of fun together.  I tried to get them to take me along on one of their next adventures, but I don’t think I was convincing enough.

Alexandra is active in competitive gymnastics and tennis.  She finished second overall at her biggest gymnastics meet ever in Tampa in February 2013 and won her first tennis tournament in May 2013.  Congratulations Alexandra!  I am amazed at Alexandra’s tennis skills.  I think I should have her teach me because I can not get the ball to land in the court on the other side of the net.

Madison dazzled the audience at her first ballet recital in June 2013.  She enjoys swimming, ballet, gymnastics, and tennis.  And she has a great sense of humor.  She kept us all laughing during out session.

Both of them dearly love their “third parent” Keri.  We had so much fun creating images with Keri in our session.  I love the interactions between the three of them.

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Something that I really admire about Eric is that he co-authored “Richmond-One of America’s Best Tennis Towns” chronicling over 100 years of tennis history in Richmond.  The book is a community service project with all proceeds going to the Richmond Tennis Association and has been nominated for a Library of Virginia Literary Award.  Visit www.richmondtennis.org for details on how to purchase a copy or just drop by your nearest Barnes and Noble.  Really, check it out.  There is a lot of great tennis history from here in Richmond.  I know, who knew.  Okay, you probably did.

Chrissie is working toward a Ph.D. in nursing education while also working full-time as a member of the faculty at Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing.  As a busy working mom, Chrissie is still managing to work on her Ph.D.  She is amazing.  She also enjoys teaching children’s Sunday School and going clothes shopping with the girls.  I can just see the three of them out clothes shopping.  A fun adventure to be sure.

Where do the girls love to eat?  Alexandra loves eating at Osaka and Baker’s Crust.  Madison loves Chik-Fil-A.  Both of them are die-hard Sweet Frog fans.  All of them devour Keri’s yummy cupcakes.  I have yet to be a recipient of these yummy cupcakes.  Ahem…

Stephanie's Portrait Design

So every child needs a pet and I love the pets in this family.  They had a lovely group of Sea Monkeys for about three months and a hermit crab that lasted about two weeks.  Now, I don’t know much about Sea Monkeys or hermit crabs, but they seem like fun pets to me.  I am a fan of thinking outside of the box.

Eric is a business attorney with Perkins Law, PLLC (www.ericperkinslaw.com).  He focuses on business startups, acquisitions, and other business transactions and compliance, franchising, capital raising, and nonprofit organizations.  His clients include entrepreneurs, executives, accountants, financial advisors, engineers, architects, physicians, real estate sponsors, and professional wrestlers, among others.  He is also chair of the national tennis rules and regulations committee for the United States Tennis Association.

It has been fun getting to know this family and I am grateful for the honor of creating timeless memories for them to cherish as the girls get older and they continue to have more and more adventures.  Thank you to you all for allowing me to share your story.

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Best Parks To Visit By Haley Roberts

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Post by Haley Roberts

The weather the past few days has been WONDERFUL! Spring is finally in the air, the flowers are blooming, and the days are perfect for long hours at the park!  Virginia has great parks for playtime- I love going with a group so my girl gets to play with other children and I can spend hours talking with my friends as well.

Here are a few of my favorites in the Richmond Area.

“A PLAYGROUND FOR KATIE AND FRIENDS AT HUGUENOT PARK”

10901 Robious Road, Midlothian, VA 23113 

This park is great for  many ages, but particularly those with toddlers. Created with handicap or wheelchair bound children in mind, it  is easy for the smaller children to climb, walk, and run around the multilevel play-set in order to get to the slides. It has “lazyboy” swings intended for easy use for those with handicap and those are HEAVENLY. My child could swing in these recliner swings for hours. It includes multiple swing sets, a sandbox, multiple size slides, much more. There are also picnic tables for snack time, basketball courts, shelters for grilling, restrooms, a soccer field, tennis courts, and trails for biking, and running.

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BRYAN PARK

4308 Hermitage Rd., Richmond, VA

My family loves Frisbee golf and this park has an 18 basket Frisbee golf course that we love to play. (Make sure you bring your own Frisbees) It also has a swing set play area, although I would not go there for that. It includes walking, running/ biking trails, an azalea bush area (beautiful this time of year), grilling shelters, restrooms (warning- these are not the best), a duck pond, and soccer fields. This park is best for older children who can participate in the Frisbee golf. SO much fun. Don’t know what Frisbee golf is? Learn about Frisbee golfing by clicking HERE. It is easy and fun for an older family- although my toddler loves playing with the Frisbees as well.

OTHER GREAT PARKS IN THE GREATER RICHMOND AREA

Deep Run Park 9900 Ridgefield Parkway, Richmond, VA 23233

Lombardy Park  1500 Hanover Avenue at the right at Lombardy Avenue/Hanover Avenue/Park Avenue.

Rockwood Park 3401 Courthouse Road, Richmond, Va 23236

Meadow Farm/Crump Park Playground  3400 Mountain Road,  Glen Allen, VA 23060 

FEELING ADVENTUROUS?

Two of my most favorite parks in the WHOLE WORLD are not in the Richmond area, but they are in Virginia.

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MUNDEN POINT, Virginia Beach 2001 Pefley Lane, Virginia Beach, Virginia This park is BEAUTIFUL. It is located on the North Landing River, and is just lovely. The 2 lane drive is so picturesque as well. Be sure to stop at one of the fruit stands along the way! This park has multiple  new play-sets, baseball fields, soccer fields, picnic shelters and tables (on the river!!), an 18 basket Frisbee golfing course, nice restrooms, horseshoe pits,  boat ramps, and so much more on its 100 acre park. You can also rent all types of equipment for the various activity you want to participate in!

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Gypsy Hill Park in Staunton, Virginia 600 Churchville Ave,Staunton, Va 24401

This park is AMAZING! Complete with multiple new play-sets, restrooms, tadpole ponds, duck ponds, soccer fields, baseball fields, a community pool, walking and biking trails, a community center building and famous for it’s Gypsy Express train ride during the summer.  We had hours of fun at this park and it is well worth the trip into the mountains!

I hope this will help kick start your spring! Please note* I am not a professional photographer- Stephanie is. All of these images were taken by me, Haley Roberts, the blog writer, not Stephanie, the amazing Certified Professional Photographer.

We hope you can take some time to enjoy a little time with your family at a park during this beautiful spring time!

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Master Photographer

Post by Stephanie

The Professional Photographers of America (PPA) created the Merits and Degree program in 1937.  Those who choose to progress in their art and attain a degree show they have met PPA’s standards of excellence and service.  Only about 4% of members have earned a degree.  Working toward a PPA degree helps you grow as an artist and your work improves.  To earn a degree you have to earn merits by advanced education, service to the industry, and excelling in photographic competition.  Most photographers work toward a degree for numerous years.  And they continue to work on improving their craft beyond earning their degree.

I am honored to finally have earned my Master of Photography Degree.  The Master of Photography Degree is awarded in recognition of superior photographic quality.  It is a rigorous process of submitting your images in international photographic competition and being awarded based on 12 elements of a merit image.

PPA President Tim Walden, M.Photog.Cr., F-ASP, describes photographic competition, “Competition is like exercise.  You don’t jog to jog; you jog to get healthier and stronger.”

As I have gone through the process of earning my Master of Photography Degree, my images have become better.  I continue to improve as an artist and that in turn benefits my wonderful clients.  I love creating beautiful images for my clients and going through this processes has allowed me to give them only the best.

DA4_9692DA4_9698Images by Don Aittama

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Thank you to all who have supported and encouraged me through this process.  It is a long, hard process and I could not have done it without you.  And especially thank you to my wonderful husband who has been there when I thought I wouldn’t ever achieve this goal and who always encourages and believes in me.  It is wonderful to have you by my side.

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Christmas Traditions

Post by Stephanie Adams
As we enter the month of December I am very excited for some of the family traditions Isaac and I have started since we have been married. So I wanted to share some of our holiday traditions as well as some of those we have heard from family and friends.
As you may know, Isaac and I love to read. During the month of December we have a few books we read as we prepare for this wonderful season. This year we decided to start with Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” I am sad to say the only version of this classic tale I know is the one which includes Scrooge McDuck. And yes, as we read this story I can’t help but picture Scrooge as a duck. I really need to work on that. But I am really enjoying the original words by Mr. Dickens.  Find it available here as a free ebook.
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Another book we read this time of the year is “The Mansion” by Henry Van Dyke.  In this book rich and miserly John Weightman dreams one night that he has died and is traveling to the Celestial City, where each person is rewarded with a mansion according to how they lived their life.  This is a wonderful story that illustrates the importance of giving unselfishly.  It is a quick read and available here as a free ebook.

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And one last short story is “The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry.  This story is about a struggling newlywed couple who are anxious to give each other a Christmas gift.  Each one sells the one thing they hold most dear so they can afford a great gift to show their love.  This is a truly touching story.  Find it here as a free ebook.

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In Isaac’s family, each Christmas Eve mom reads The Polar Express while everyone sips their own mug of hot cocoa with a candy cane and whipped cream. My mom also read us the Polar Express on Christmas Eve, among a few other fun stories.

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A tradition we adopted from Isaac’s sister, Amanda’s family is lighting an advent candle and reading in the scriptures about Christ.  I really enjoy doing this every evening in December leading up to Christmas because it is wonderful to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas and Christ, and I really enjoy the ambiance of reading by candlelight.  The first time we did this was while we were in Wyoming a couple of years ago and Amanda and her husband shared this tradition with us.  We would end up staying up talking for hours, sharing stories and laughs, and I loved how it really brought us closer together.

Okay for my guilty pleasure during the holiday season, I really love to watch cheesy Christmas movies.  You know the ones found on ABC Family and the Disney Channel.  Yes, I know…  But they make it feel wintery because they always have snow,  as I write this today it is 75 degrees here (not that I’m complaining, I am loving the beautiful warm weather and I really only like to visit the snow.)  But of course I have to reminisce from my childhood and watch Home Alone.  Also, when my brothers and I were little, we used to watch the claymation shows that came on tv every year.  I think what I like about these movies this time of year is they are always heart warming and end happily.  I’m truly a romantic at heart.

I also love listening to Christmas music.  I will say though that I prefer to wait until December 1st to start listening to it otherwise I start to feel that should be over before it actually gets here.  So to save me from getting burnt out on the season I like to wait until after Thanksgiving and really enjoy Christmas during the month of December.  Some of my favorite Christmas songs are O Holy Night, The Little Drummer Boy, All I Want for Christmas is You, and Baby, It’s Cold Outside.  Yes, that is me singing in the car as I’m driving all over town.

One tradition that my grandma shared with us every year was making hand dipped chocolates.  She was amazing.  One year I had the pleasure of learning some of her recipes and I love it when I get a chance to dip chocolates to share with friends and family during this time of year.  Of course, this is my busiest time of year so I do not get a chance to dip chocolates, but I do look forward to working that into our family traditions as our children come along.  Some of my favorites that Grandma would make are a variety of flavors of fondent, english toffee, Idle Isle, and fresh butter mints.  I have never attempted to make butter mints myself, Grandma would have blisters on her hands from pulling the mints until they turned in to a delicious treat that would melt in your mouth.  I have never had a butter mint like Grandma’s.  There were many other things she made and would include a sampling in a tin for each of her children and grandchildren as they grew to be adults.  During the holidays Grandma would always offer us chocolates when we came to visit.

A family tradition that I hope to incorporate with our children one day is to work together as a family to serve others.  There are lots of programs out there, coats for kids, toys for tots, the food bank, community kitchens, angel tree, and so many more.  Some wonderful stories I have heard from other families is how they have worked together as a family to provide service.  Be it everyone collecting their loose change in a jar or contributing money to a can each time they walk by or shop for less fortunate kids, getting the kids involved and helping them feel the true meaning of love and service is a wonderful thing.

Most of all what I love about this time of year is getting to spend time with family.  I love doing service for others and I love that it brings people together.

What are some of your family’s Christmas or other Holiday Traditions?

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Fall Family Portraits: Richmond VA Family Portrait Photographer

Post by Stephanie Adams

This has been an absolutely beautiful fall.  I have loved creating family portraits this season.

We photographed the Pearson’s at their new home they built last year.  I really enjoyed photographing them and the boys kept me laughing with all of their jokes and personality.  This is one wonderful family full of love and kindness, and spunk.

And these two are adorable.

I just loved my time photographing the Stottlemyer family.  We have talked about photographing their family for some time now and their oldest son was just about to lose his first tooth.  So we were finally able to schedule their session.  And just in time.  The following morning, not even 24 hours after our session, the first tooth was a casualty of brotherly wrestling.  I really love these images and the love they show between mom and dad and brothers.  They are typical boys and we had a great time horsing around and had lots of laughs.

The Thurston’s wanted to create portraits of their daughter who just turned one.  She is such a sweet girl.  I loved the purple sweaters.  And there is so much love in this family.

I photographed the Young family a few years ago.  Last time we had a crazy session that ended in a downpour.  But we still managed to create some great images.  I was delighted to photograph them again this year.  So much can happen in a couple of years.  The older two kids are off to college and one is married.  They wanted to photograph at the river this year and I was so excited at the thought of the fun images we could create.  It was a beautiful day and I had a fabulous time with them and love the images we created.

We have had a fantastic fall season this year.  We have a full schedule ahead as we approach the holidays and am loving all of the fun we are having.

To view more of our work visit our website stephaniesportraitdesign.com

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How To Pick A Bottle For My Baby

Post by Haley RobertsWhether you will breast feed your baby or formula feed your baby, selecting the right bottle for pumped milk or packaged milk will be a very important decision for you. Selecting the right bottle can prevent fuzziness and gas (forms of colic), tears from babies who are attached to breast feeding only, and in rare cases, subject your baby to potentially harmful chemicals. Fortunately for modern moms we have a WIDE range of choices and information on the world wide web to help us make our decisions.

MOST IMPORTANT THING TO KNOW

All babies are different. No matter how many stars a bottle brand has on the world wide web, if your sweet baby refuses to use it, it does not do you any good. It also needs to be a bottle that works for mom. Before heading off to Costco and buying the best reviewed bottle in bulk, buy small amounts of multiple bottle and nipple types and brands. Find out what works best for baby and mom.

LET’S TALK BOTTLE NIPPLES

Traditional Nipples are dome or bell shaped.

Orthodontic Nipples  are flat on the side that rests on your child’s tongue. This is intended to accommodate a baby’s palate and gums.

Flat Topped and Wide Nipples were created to resemble mom’s breast and recommended for mom’s pumping or weening from the breast.

Nipples also come in a wide variety of sizes and milk flow release. Age recommendations are typically listed on the packaging. Keep in mind that each baby is different and may not follow the exact age guidelines. If your little one is struggling to get milk from the nipple or choking every time he or she sucks, then this particular nipple may not be the right fit for your baby. If you have any concerns be sure to consult your baby’s Doctor.

BOTTLE TALK

From angle neck bottle styles, to “natural flow” you will have a wide variety of plastic or glass types of bottles to choose from. Recently, many have become concerned about what chemicals may be contained in plastic bottles such as the chemical bisphenol-A (BPA). Fortunately, this has created a new awareness and new products that are BPA-Free. We strongly caution you against buying anything that is not BPA free.  If you are still concerned, glass bottles are a great option- be sure to get a slip cover to protect them from breaking if dropped on the floor.

From personal experience, I highly recommend specialty bottles such as Dr. Brown’s Natural Flow to prevent colic, spit-up and gas. These bottles have a built-in vent system to prevent air bubbles from entering the baby’s tummy. When we switched to these bottles it changed everything for us!! They are also BPA-Free. As a side note: Don’t be discouraged if you are a working mom and you want to breast feed. YOU CAN DO IT! I did it and it is possible to make it work. 

There are two other materials used to make baby bottles, silicone and stainless steel. Silicone is flexible, BPA-free, safe to heat, safe to clean in the dishwasher, and resistant to scratching. As the years continue on, I think we will see more of this product readily available on the shelves versus plastic. Stainless steel bottles are durable and have a long life. Stainless steel is highly scratch resistant which means there are no places for bacteria or milk to hide after washing. I think it is important to note that stainless steel is the number one material used by hospital kitchens because of it’s cleaning ability.

A FEW RECOMMENDATIONS

To help you in your search, here are a few brands and bottles that come recommended.

Glass Bottle recommendations:

Evenflo Classic™ Glass Feeding Bottles, Dr Brown’s 8-oz. Glass Baby Bottle, Lifefactory 9 oz. Glass Baby Bottle

BPA-Free Plastic Bottle recommendations:

Dr. Brown’s® Newborn Baby Bottle,   BornFree 5 Oz Bpa-Free Baby Bottles

Silicone Bottle recommendations:

Momo Baby 8oz Wide Neck Silicone Baby Bottle, Prince Lionheart Silicone 4-oz. Baby Bottles, Green Sprouts Eco-Friendly Silicone Feeding Bottle

Stainless Steel Bottle recommendations:

organicKidz Stainless Steel Baby Bottle, Eco Baba Stainless Steel 12 oz Baby Bottle, Pura Kiki Stainless Steel 11oz. Baby Bottle

Special thanks to Baby Center for their article on “How To Buy Bottles and Nipples.” Much of the research from this blog post has come from this page.

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Fun Portrait Sessions

I apologize for this blog post being a few days late.  Isaac and I are in South Carolina spending some time with my family as we have gathered at the beach.  I had intended to write this post a few days ago, but then we decided to galavant around Charleston.  Interestingly enough, we used to live in Charleston 24 years ago.  There are all kinds of stories my brothers and I remember from living here.  It was a lot of fun to go and see where we used to live, which has all been torn down and new houses built in their place. But I did get to see where I went to Elementary School.

Anyway, we had a crazy busy September so here are a few of the sessions we enjoyed.

We photographed Madison’s 18 month portraits.  She loves the water and enjoyed watching the ducks.  We had fun photographing near a pond and watching Madison’s interaction with the world around her.  She even loved the dogs who passed by while on their morning walks.

I really enjoyed photographing Paul and Jenn’s family.  I got to hear all about the books the kids were reading and how much fun they were having in school.  We really had a great time.

Elijah was a delight to photograph.  He is a very active 14 month old.  He loved showing us all of the rocks and sticks he found.  One images we captured shows the stage of life his parents are in right now, chasing him non stop.  He is such a sweet boy and I’m grateful for the opportunity to create these portraits of him.

I love creating memories of each stage of a family’s growth and transformation.  With each age of your child comes something new and exciting as they continue to grow and learn about the world around them.

View more of our work at stephaniesportraitdesign.com

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‘Tis The Season To Be Spooky

I LOVE Halloween! LOVE IT. I do not know what I love more; the countless hours making the family themed costumes, the parties, the food, the pumpkin carving!? My family takes Halloween VERY seriously. Here are a few of our favorite things, that you may want to try this year.

First and foremost, let us talk about the food. Sara Wells and Kate Jones are the authors, photographers, and chef extraordinaires of Our Best Bites. They also have written a recipes book of their favorite recipes (MY COOKING BIBLE) with a new book that just came out!

Check out their adorable ideas for Halloween party food!

The breadsticks recipe is a staple in our family’s meal planning.  They are SOOOOOOOOOO delicious and I highly recommend them! For more ideas and recipes CLICK HERE.

The second most important thing for our family during the Halloween season is themed family costumes. Every year we pick a different theme and this year we are stumped! We need feedback and recommendations! Here are a few images of what we have done in years past.

Indiana Jones….

The Mario Brothers and Yoshi

And my husband’s Favorite….The Simpson Family!

What should we do this year?! Suggestions please!

Finally, we love celebrating the season by carving pumpkins. We used to carve real pumpkins only but now we also carve, the plastic/fake kind from Michaels. Michaels Arts and Crafts actually sells these pre-carved by their staff. But you can also do it yourself and it’s loads of fun to do with the family! You can get a scrapbooking knife, pumpkin carving kit, and a plastic pumpkin and WALLA. You can use a template from the pumpkin carving kit or print your own from the internet. We use them to decorate our house for the season. The best part is, you have lots of fun and get to use it again and again and again!

I also recommend carving the real thing…

Can you tell we like the Simpsons? Happy Halloweening!

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Cloth or Not Cloth? That Is The Question.

Anyone who has a baby will tell you- that diapers are the number one item you will buy during the course of your baby(ies’) early life. (Well it certainly feels like it!) A new baby will go through diapers faster than you can change one and a potty training child will stubbornly notify you they need to “use potty” after they have already gone in their diaper.

Did you know at one point in history during the warm, summer months, Americans would let children run free of diapers? Their solution was early potty training! Click here to go to the source of this information and more history on the American diaper. Fortunately, we have more options today and I want to review one of them in great detail today.

Please note, my blog post today is taken from The Real Diaper Association and they deserve all the credit for research and information below.

Cloth diapers were used for centuries and have come quite a long, LONG way. Although I have not personally used them, my mother-in-law used them as well as friends I know. So why cloth?

1. Environment

  • “No one knows how long it takes for a disposable diaper to decompose, but it is estimated to be about 250-500 years, long after your children, grandchildren and great, great, great grandchildren will be gone.”
  • “Disposable diapers are the third largest single consumer item in landfills, and represent about 4% of solid waste.  In a house with a child in diapers, disposables make up 50% of household waste.5″
  • “Over 300 pounds of wood, 50 pounds of petroleum feedstocks and 20 pounds of chlorine are used to produce disposable diapers for one baby EACH YEAR.”
  • A 1991 attempt to recycle disposable diapers was found as “unfeasible.”
  • “In 1988, nearly $300 million dollars were spent annually just to discard disposable diapers, whereas cotton diapers are reused 50 to 200 times before being turned into rags”

For information on the effects on the Environment please go directly to the source of this information The Real Diaper Association.

2.Cost

The Real Diaper Association assumes that each baby will need 6,000 diapers during the 1st 2 years of life.

  1. “Disposables.  For these calculations, let’s assume that a family needs about 60 diapers a week.  In the San Francisco Bay area, disposable diapers cost roughly 23¢ per store-brand diaper and 28¢ for name-brand.  This averages to 25.5¢ per diaper.  Thus the average child will cost about $1,600 to diaper for two years in disposable diapers, or about $66 a month9.”
  2. “Diaper Services.  Subscribing to a diaper services costs between $13 and $17 each week depending on how many diapers a family decides to order.  Let’s assume the family spends roughly $15 a week for 60 diapers a week.  This equals $780 annually and averages to $65 a month.  Over the course of two years, the family will spend about $1500 per baby, roughly the same cost as disposables, depending on what type of covers are purchased and what type of wipes are used.  If one adds in the cost of disposable wipes for either diapering system, the costs increase.”
  3. “Cloth Diapers.  For cloth diapering, each family will probably need about 6 dozen diapers10.  The cost of cloth diapering can vary considerably, from as low as $300 for a basic set-up of prefolds and covers11, to $1000 or more for organic cotton fitted diapers and wool covers.  Despite this large price range, it should be possible to buy a generous mix of prefolds and diaper covers for about $300, most of which will probably last for two children.  This means the cost of cloth diapering is about one tenth the cost of disposables12, and you can spend even less by using found objects (old towels & T-shirts).”

For information on the cost please go directly to the source of this information The Real Diaper Association.

3. Dryness and Rash

Although cost can be a factor, I will more likely be sold on something because it is better for my child rather than someone telling me the cost is low. If you feel that way too, check out these facts from The Real Diaper Association.

What they have found, is there is no significant difference between disposable and cloth when it comes to diaper rash.

  1. “The most common reason for diaper rash is excessive moisture against the skin.19″
  2. “Newborns should be changed every hour and older babies every 3-4 hours, no matter what kind of diaper they are wearing.20″
  3. “At least half of all babies will exhibit rash at least once during their diapering years.”

So you can rest assured whichever type of diaper you use, you are not promoting the occurrence of diaper rash from that alone. What is more important is what they eat and how often you are changing them.

4. Health

  1. “Disposable diapers contain traces of Dioxin, an extremely toxic by-product of the paper-bleaching process.  It is a carcinogenic chemical, listed by the EPA as the most toxic of all cancer-linked chemicals.  It is banned in most countries, but not the U.S..1″
  2. “Disposable diapers contain Tributyl-tin (TBT) – a toxic pollutant known to cause hormonal problems in humans and animals.2″
  3. “Disposable diapers contain sodium polyacrylate, a type of super absorbent polymer (SAP), which becomes a gel-like substance when wet. A similar substance had been used in super-absorbency tampons until the early 1980s when it was revealed that the material increased the risk of toxic shock syndrome by increasing absorbency and improving the environment for the growth of toxin-producing bacteria.3″
  4. “In May 2000, the Archives of Disease in Childhood published research showing that scrotal temperature is increased in boys wearing disposable diapers, and that prolonged use of disposable diapers will blunt or completely abolish the physiological testicular cooling mechanism important for normal spermatogenesis.18″

This is all great information, but I think it is important to note that as far as this research goes number 3 has not be proven to cause any harm. Simply because something is similar does not mean it is that SAME. Do not panic if you have been using disposable diapers. It is also important to note that they have not clearly defined what “prolonged use” is in number 4.  I recommend going to The Real Association of Diapers to find out more details if you feel concerned.

The Real Association of Diapers is a GREAT website. Seriously! I had no idea one could actually wash cloth diapers at home, without paying of  a service. It has tips on how to switch, support groups, testimonials, etc. Check it out if you are interested! And no matter which type of diaper you choose, be well informed. You know what will be best for your family and child.

Finally, if you find that you are sold on this cloth diaper idea check out THESE adorable ones from Ramparoo!!  Or ones from gdiaper, which are a hybrid biodegradable disposable cloth diaper. I may start on this and my child is almost out of diapers

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Why Should I Hire A Professional?

In our free market society, tools and machines used by professionals in all varieties of fields are now more readily available to the public than ever. If I want to buy a professional grade commercial Singer sewing machine, I simply go to Amazon and BOOM! I can start my own small sewing company. If my child is prone to earaches- you guessed it, I can go to Amazon and buy a machine (EarCheck) that will help my diagnosis of whether she has one yet again. Both of these things are great in there own way, but they do not in themselves make me a Professional seamstress or a Professional Doctor simply because I paid for a machine or tool.

Dictionary.com defines a Professional as  “a person who is expert at his or her work: a person who earns a living in a sport or other occupation frequently engaged in by amateurs:” As the digital world continues to grow and expand, it is becoming easier and easier for the common person to take pictures of vacations, 1st days of school, birthdays, etc (the small moments) and not have them totally stink. In fact sometimes they look pretty good! Because let’s be realistic- one is not going to hire a professional to follow them  around while they are getting the kids ready for school. That being said, it DOES make a difference to hire a Certified Professional Photographer to catch the moments that count. Here are a few reasons why….

HIRE A CERTIFIED PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER

A Certified Professional Photographer  “affirms a knowledge and experience base for practitioners in a particular field, their employers, and the public at large.  Certification represents a declaration of a particular individual’s professional competence. Consumers may not know a lot about professional photography, but they know that certification should ensure professional-quality goods and services. Those who have earned the Professional Photographic Certification have passed a comprehensive written exam measuring their technical expertise, and have successfully submitted their work to a panel of judges for review and approval.” Please note; this Explanation was taken from  Certified Professional Photographer’s Website. Why not let someone else do the work and research of the photographer’s talent for you?! Shouldn’t this process be easy and reassuring? At Stephanie’s Portrait Design we know you want that reassurance of talent and ability which is why Stephanie is a Certified Professional Photographer.

CONSISTENCY COUNTS

One of the criteria the images presented for Certification must meet is Consistency.  Often clients are not happy with the photographs their amateur photographer delivers for them.  The client is not sure why that is and often the photographer is not sure either.  They just shoot until they get something that looks good, but they are not able to reproduce that work for the next client that comes along.  From the Professional Photographers of America website, “It should be heartbreakingly difficult to select your favorite images from a family or child portrait session because almost every image should move you. If there are only one or two shots that you’d consider framing, then you’re not dealing with a professional product.” 1 Amateurs can create some great images, but they may not be able to recreate that great shot unless the conditions are just right. A professional should be able to duplicate a great image because she knows what she is doing and why she is doing it. And a professional is dedicated to improving her craft and she is there to help her client display their images in the best possible way.

ATTENTION TO YOU

“I thought we’d get into the studio, see what we could get in a few minutes of shooting, and then they’d move on to the next person. But it was never like that—our photographer was willing to wait around and work extra to get great photographs. We never felt rushed.” -Brandi Sparks (“See the Difference“)

When you hire someone who does this for fun or is a family member they may not provide you with the attention you rightfully deserve. They either already feel like they know you, are doing you a favor, or want to get moving because their 5 year old has a soccer game they need to make in 45 mins. This is your family history! Don’t do that to yourself. When you hire Stephanie, you will have a private consultation before any portrait session occurs. This is so she can get to know you, your family, and your needs and wants! You will plan the session prior to that day. This will MAKE your experience wonderful!! This meeting ensures a mutual understanding about what the goals are so that the day of the session, the only thing everyone is focused on is smiling and having a fun time! This particularly makes a difference as a new mom. I worked with a non-certified photographer for Claire’s baby pictures. I had only spoken with my photographer to schedule a time (she knew nothing about us nor did she ask), she was 15 mins late (which with a baby is BAD!) and then we spent another 15 mins hemming and hawing over what we should do. Also I was stressed the entire time! And although I liked the pictures of my sweet Claire, they weren’t what they could have been nor was the experience great. Don’t do that to yourself!

ARTISTIC ABILITY

Professionals have the ability to see what the image will be in ways we who don’t specialize in this area do not. They understand all elements of the portrait such as lighting and composition. This is especially important as Stephanie will create portraits not only in a studio but in a beautiful outdoor environment, or a wide range of other locations you can discuss at your initial consultation. As each setting will be different in background and lighting,  it is essential that your Photographer understand how to maintain a natural looking image by applying the right amount of direct or supplemental lighting. No red-eye or blurred pictures here!!

SPECIAL EQUIPMENT

If you think your day to day digital camera was high end wait until you see Stephanie’s!  A Professional Photographer will know all the ins and outs of the equipment and how to use it properly.  I know I do not begin to understand what shutter speed or aperture is but if I did I am sure without training I could not use it to the best of it’s ability. It really boils down to- I could have the best camera that money could buy but if I am spending too much time concentrating on how to change the shutter speed I will miss the split second smile of your newborn.

FINALLY- PRINT QUALITY

When it comes to printing your portraits, it is important that they be printed by a professional lab.  Just as you want to select a professional to create your portraits, quality is very important to a Professional Photographer as well. They use professional labs and calibrated equipment to make sure there is consistency and quality in their product. Just like you will and should be picky about your Photographer, Stephanie is picky about where your portraits are printed and how the final product looks! Only the best is what you deserve!

These are just a few of the reasons why I, Haley, strongly believe in Professional Photography. This is NOT a bash local non professional photographers. I think it is great so many people have the ability to have this hobby! I just feel that your family history moments should be as important as all of the items we don’t think twice about spending money on such as clothes and entertainment. After all- your child is only born once, loses their 1st tooth once, graduates once, etc.

On a side note, Stephanie’s new studio is great! Claire and I stopped by for a visit the other day!!

See more of our work on our website.

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