Behind the Camera and Dreaming

Find JOY in the Journey | Prim and Proper Signs

Disclaimer: I was given the opportunity to choose a sign at no cost to me in exchange for posting about my experience here. 

I chose wisely. Don't you think?

As we were leaving the beach a few weeks ago, it was around lunchtime as we began to drive home, we stopped to eat in a Burger King. It was less than ideal as we took turns eating, feeding the baby, and going to the bathroom. At one point though, as I looked around, I noticed that we were the only people in there with children. Everyone was with their adult family and friends leisurely eating lunch. We got several smiles and a few hellos maybe. Later as we sat in a booth a elderly lady did make a comment about something Jonah was doing  or saying and I can't even really remember what it was now, but she was amused. We had a short conversation across a few tables and then we went about our personal business. 

I had a thought that maybe all of these people in this restaurant are envious of us with our two little healthy, cute boys and I mentioned my thought to Wesley. The people appeared to have children or grandchildren that may be older or maybe they never had children, I'd have no way of knowing but everyone seemed either unbothered or happy that our children were there. 

I've heard so much from people who "miss those days" or say "they grow too fast" and I so don't want to be the person who looks up and my babies are no longer babies and I didn't enjoy them when they were little. I really do want to find the joy in everything we do... in the little things as well as the big. In that moment I was able to see it so clearly and that, my friends, is rare. 

So, when I saw this sign from Prim and Proper, I knew it was perfect for our breakfast area as a reminder to find those little nuggets of joy that make these the days we cherish... in the present.. in the midst of our journey. 

It's nice to have little reminders around the house. Check out Prim and Proper on ETSYFacebookInstagram, and Twitter

I could buy so many of Amanda's signs. This one is on my wish list too!

As we begin, yes we are still just beginning, to put out house together after moving, I want to keep the pieces that I really love and find places for them that make sense and serve a purpose. This sign meets both of those criteria, plus this is right beside out bird watching window. 

Beach Photos of My Boys

The beach was magical for these two this year. They both loved it so much. That makes me so happy. Jonah remembers going to the beach last year and now he's building his beach memories with both sides of our family. He loved it. We arrived in Miramar Beach well after midnight on a Friday night, when he woke up on Saturday mornings, he could hardly contain himself. He was so ready to go to the beach, so we left daddy in the bed, packed up a few things and headed out to the sand. 

Before I even noticed, he was neck deep being a human bulldozer and as if I expected anything different, Ezra didn't miss a beat. He would have been a bulldozer too if we'd let him. He couldn't wait to get his toes down deep. He kicked a pulled away from me and put those little fists full of sand right in his mouth. I don't know why I would have expected any different. 

This trip was actually very relaxing. I felt like we just kind of went with the flow most of the time. We have taken a trip to the beach at least once a year since Jonah was born. This has been such a blessing for us. I need and crave those little getaways and this is my favorite place. I have learned over that time that babies require as much, if not more (more it's definitely more) work when you are on vacation. So, this time I just decided that I'd go with their needs, whatever they are at the time. I want to experience so much of life with both of them. It's not possible though, because they are at such different stages right now. I decided I had to let go of my expectation and do what I could to be with both of them. I let Ezra stay with my mom and dad in the condo while we went with Jonah to see an alligator. I let my family watch both of them so Wesley and I could go out to eat. I let my Dad take Jonah to the pool while Ezra napped and I stayed behind. I wish we could have stayed a few more days, but it was wonderful while it lasted and we are still reliving it in our stories. 

Taken June 2nd at Miramar Beach, Florida with my Canon 7D and 50mm 1/4 Lens 

What families look like in Nepal | Let's End Child Marriage

I am so happy to be working with CARE again. I have read so much about the organization, their missions, there purpose, their involvement on the ground world wide and on the stairs of the capitol in Washington D. C. 

This Father's Day, I just want to share a little about our family and families around the world. 

This is us.  

Wesley and I met while I was in college and he was working, both by choice. We knew each other for three years or more before we decided to make the commitment of marriage. We then made the decision that we wanted children and wound up with those two little rascals that we love and adore so much. We chose this typical life for American twenty-somethings turned thirty-somethings, but I would be lying if I didn't say these simple things we chose aren't hard. Daily, we do hard things, we struggle, we argue, we make the wrong choice. At the end of the day though, we are warm in our beds and we know we can feed our children tomorrow.

Our lives are SUCH a contrast to many families around the world. Through CARE, I got to learn about families in Nepal. Families in Nepal can start as young as 7 and 8 years old, at which point their parents decide who they will marry and it's mostly based on how much the other family can provide financially. We aren't just talking about girls being married off either, but boys and girls just starting their schools years are married and the girls often stop going to school at that point. There are many reasons, traditionally, why families begin this way in Nepal and you can read more about those here.

Photo Credit: CARE

Photo Credit: CARE
The boys often begin their duties as husband, father and provider shortly after they hit puberty. They are forced to grow up, stop going to school, find work and expand their family. While the legal marriage age remains 18 years old, Pannilal Yadev can’t remember much about his wedding other than the carriage he was carried in to meet his bride, 7-year-old Rajkumari. At the time he was a year older than her. They moved in together at age 13 and 14 and when she became pregnant with their first child, Pannilal dropped out of the 10th grade. 
Photo Credit: CARE
Pannilal told the Daily Beast, “I would have liked to have gone to engineering school. If we were allowed to finish our educations, Rajkumari and I would have learned about family planning. Maybe I would have gone to college. Forcing children to marry doesn’t JUST push them deeper into poverty and threaten their health; It crushes their ambitions—whether they are girls or boys.”
Now 25, Yadev is working for The Tipping Point, which is collaborating with CARE to fight child marriage in Nepal. 

Photo Credit: CARE
Photo Credit: CARE

CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE is committed to its mission to serve individuals and families in the poorest communities in the world. CARE seeks a world of hope, tolerance and social justice, where poverty has been overcome and people live in dignity and security.

Catch the Moment 365 | Week 24 + SUMMER OF COLOR 15!

First, I want to say thank you to everyone who visits these 365 posts each week. I love doing this project as daunting as it is sometimes and will continue it throughout the year. I am however backing down from the link up that I have been co-hosting since last year. The interest and participation have been minimal and I just don't have the time right now to try to make it grow. I also don't think it's worth it to post it for 2-4 people to link up! I really hope those people still visit and I will visit them each week, but I will be stepping back from creating and hosting the weekly link-up.

162|365 If you happen to notice my eldest child missing from photos this week, it's because he doesn't really care for nap time - which often means - he falls asleep right after we pick him up in the evenings. I hate that but it's better than dealing with his grumpiness because he didn't nap. Yay for naps!

163|365 My cute little alarm clock would not stop going off this morning, then it followed me around for 2 hours basically saying 'you are going to be late, definitely going to be late!'

164|365 We got to celebrate my nephew's 5th birthday since he's in town this summer! It was fun and super hot! I have more photos but you can see my sister's post about it over on her new blog The Kellum Adventure where she is talking about their month long + in an RV. So fun. I'm so jealous. 

165|365 I got a Stitch Fix after a loong while and posted about it! 

166|365 Also, we celebrated my little sister's birthday on Sunday night with the best Strawberry Cake you have EVER tasted. If you live near a Newks - go now and get some for yourself! the. best. 

167|365 aaannd more Ezra! 

 168|365 Ezra is obsessed with these picture frames, I finally had to move them. I think he is wondering where the heck he is in this picture!? In my belly! 

Now! Something fun for S U M  M E R which officially kicks of on Sunday, June 21st! That's Father's Day too incase any of you have forgotten. ;)

I, along with some blogging friends, am hosting a instagram challenge! We want you to find the bright and beautiful colors of summer in your every day! So, we have come up with a list of colors to inspire you for 50 days! We'll start on Sunday June 21st and go through August 8th! Below you will find the list but it is also on my Instagram @stephaniesclark!

Please find us and join in using #SummerOfColor15

Also linking with Pierced Wonderings again today!

STITCH FIX | JUNE: My Brightest Box Ever!

I finally got a new Stitch Fix after taking off several months. I had a few fixes back in the winter that I kept pieces from, but I think I was just keeping them because I wanted something new and now I'm not really wearing most of them, however, there were a few sweaters I loved and will wear in the Fall. I never posted those because life was just too chaotic and honestly I'm not at my best. My body is not cooperating and I have a lot of negative things to say about myself in most of these pictures - BUT I'm not going to say them. I'm not fishing - just being honest - I'm having a hard time with pictures of myself these days, but in the words of Amy Poehler "Who Cares, Who Cares, Who Cares!" I am not perfect and that's okay. Moving on. 

Stitch Fix is a great way for me to find unique things and typically I love what I keep and wear it over and over and over. I will be going on Season 3 in this sweater this Fall and have no plans to stop wearing it anytime soon. 

If you've never experienced Stitch Fix or have been wanting to try them, I still highly recommend it! Even though I have a bit of an attitude in the unboxing video I posted on the Behind the Camera and Dreaming Facebook page this weekend, I really do think the stylists take time to really pick up on what you want. Sometimes they are on the money, sometimes they aren't, sometimes I keep everything (because I'll get 25% off) and sometimes I send everything back. Here's how this fix played out. 

41HAWTHORN | Moni Geo Print & Camisole Blouse $58.00

When I opened the box and saw this bright orange top, I thought no way. Orange on me is a no no, but when I put it on, I actually didn't hate it. I may even kind of like it. I like the fit and I could wear this to work and where ever really. It's a versatile style for our warm weather and I could wear it in the summer, spring, winter or faaaall. Still though I wish it was a different color, so back it went. 

Did I make the right choice? 

Sidenote: I'm so awkward when I ask my husband to take my photo. He gives no direction or feedback on how I look. Basically, he's a tripod that's annoyed with me. 

BANCROFT | Kaitland Spade Charm Long Necklace   $36.00  and  PIXLEY | Maritzia Scoop Neck Blouse  $48.00

I absolutely loved this necklace and it is exactly my style. So, unfortunately that means I already have some things that are too similar and couldn't justify keeping it!

I kept this top. It was just too funky, unique and comfortable not to! Hopefully, it will wash well and be one of my go-tos this summer!

JUST BLACK | Morrie Boyfriend Denim Jacket  $58.00

Despite my super awkward laughter and attempts at making this jacket summery, I just couldn't. I was SO hot taking that photo. It was so soft, pretty heavy, and fit really well. I still just couldn't justify keeping it, even though I really wanted to!

Lastly, there was the dress

KUT FROM THE KLOTH | Evy Dress   $98.00

I did try the dress on and it fit pretty well. It was comfortable and flowy, but I just didn't like how it looked on me. So, I didn't try it back on to take a photo. It's gorgeous though, well made and modest. 

So, this time, I only kept one thing, which I'm totally fine with since my budget is a little tight right now! That's the great thing about Stitch Fix though is you can set your price range and I think I also always find something to put my $20 styling fee towards. 

What do you think? Did I make the right decisions? 

Try Stitch Fix for yourself here

REVIEW | Bumbo Multi Seat

Full Disclosure, we received the Bumbo Multi Seat for free in exchange for a mention on Instagram, which I published about two weeks ago, BUT because I really love it and wanted to give a more in-depth look at this new product I wanted to post photos and opinions here as well! 

 A Bumbo seat was one of the MOST recommended things people told me to add when registering while pregnant with Jonah. This was just a plain old Bumbo - no straps. We loved it and used it often. We even used it later when he could sit up well own is own but wanted to keep him contained in front of us or doing an activity. He loved it!

We still have that Bumbo  and began to use it some with Ezra, but with this child, it needed straps. He is super grabby - wanting to grab onto everything and mostly put all of those things in his mouth. So, I have enjoyed using the new Multi Seat some in the mornings to keep him occupied and strapped in while I'm getting ready or when I need to have my hands doing something else other than keeping him from getting a head injury. I need to remember to use it more!

It is also a great spot for snacks and that tray is awesome. It's stored right on the back of the seat itself. It can be used for snacks, toys, or even feeding him. Also, the strap does come between his legs but it also has a divider for his legs where the tray snaps in. The openings for the legs in this seat are also wider than the original Bumbo - which E's chunky little thighs get stuck in a little. Poor guy! =) For people who put smaller babies in a Bumbo, they made slide down a bit more in this one.

Separately from the Bumbo Multi-Seat itself you can purchase the Playtop Safari Suction Tray to go on the top of the Bumbo Tray or you can use it on your high chair or other surface. It's also a lot of fun. A little cup/snack holder, a mirror that turns kind of like a book and a few little noise makers to entertain - for you know 35 seconds so you can go pee. ;)

The best part of this seat is that it grows with your child. You can strap it to a chair for feeding with the tray or you can push it up to the table for an older child. I mentioned on Instagram that my oldest had to prove that he could sit in it with the Aqua cushion. He was right, but it does come out to grow with them has they get bigger. His skinny little tail probably needs the cushion though! He also insisted that I strap him in, like his little brother of course, because Heave forbid the baby gets to do something he doesn't!

I hope this was a helpful look at this new product! I hope we get lots of use out of it. Let me know what you think or if you have any questions. 

Catch the Moment 365 | 2015 | Week 23

155|365 Ezra eats. There is just something about this picture and the edit that I am in love with. What a mess. More about Ezra and his newly found love for food and much more in his 8 Month Update. 

156|365 MeMe and Poppie came to pick up the boys and take them home with them! I was equally excited and nervous. Oh my anxious Mommy heart.

157|365 Consider the bandwagon jumped. I have been using Essential Oils now for a few months and love them so much. Everyone pretty much thinks I'm crazy (I'm okay with that) but they are becoming so mainstream. Are Essential Oils something you'd like to hear about here or on a separate blog where I'd share how we use them for the family?

158|365 Lavender Pentas. These are the best flower to photograph! I'm getting to work with Monrovia again and talk a little about gardening. #gardennerd

159|365 Pretty Chicks and Hens and Happy Skin! 

160|365 Little by little we are working on our room. It's coming together really well, I need to photograph it with my camera - instead of my phone! I want to get a headboard. What kind do you think would look best?

161|365 Teething baby with a little fever - so worn out after his big trip to MeMe and Poppie's house!

Thanks for stopping by this week to view our 365 project. Won't you join us in the photography fun?! 

I am also linking up today with Pierced Wonderings