Thanksgiving |Little Princesses

So some of you are probably wondering why I titled this post thanksgiving.  Am I right?  Although I do love me some Thanksgiving (the turkey, dressing, and cranberries…umm yes please), this post has absolutely NOTHING to do with the actual holiday of Thanksgiving.  So why did I name it that?  It is quite simple.  I’m talking about another type of thanksgiving, and that thanksgiving is in our hearts.

Yesterday Sadie had a cardiology appointment.  This was a big one for us.  I wasn’t worried about what the outcome might be because I know I don’t have any control over what happens (contrary to what I might believe sometimes), but I was just anxious to get some information.  The day before her appointment her doctor’s office called and told us she was getting a full diagnostic done.  So naturally this got my mind on the subject of Sadie’s heart.  You see, I forget all the time that she has a heart condition.  She is such a normal happy smiling baby that it is super easy to forget that she has something under the surface that isn’t okay.

I feel like that is how people are a lot of the time.  We see their outside appearance and we think that they must have it all together, they are the best wife, or they must be really happy.  The truth of the matter, is that we all have something going on under the surface.  That is why it is so important to be there for each other and pull each other up when we fall down.  I love my group of girl friends that I have.  I am so incredibly thankful to God for them.  They support me when I need it, cry with me when I am going through a rough time, and they challenge me to want to be better.  When I leave their presence I always feel like I can conquer the world.  That is how it is supposed to be.  Remember that people are always struggling and that they need support and kindness.  Then maybe you can help someone else feel empowered.

Now, back to Sadie.  We got to Mansfield a little early so we go to Taco Bueno (my absolute favorite).  As we are sitting down eating Sadie decides she wants to grace us with a gift.  She has been on antibiotics now for a few days so her bowel movements are what I would call not even remotely solid.  So as I am sitting there eating my delicous Muchaco, Sadie goes.  And she doesn’t just go easily and it is a nice cleanup.  Oh no.  That would be too nice.  She goes so bad that it blows out of her diaper and lands on my arm, shirt, and upper lip…..#momlife.  So I take her, her carseat, and diaper bag to the bathroom to clean her only to find that they don’t have a changing table.  So what does a mom do when she is in desperate need of a changing table??  She improvises.  I got Sadie cleaned up (of course she got a new onesie), and then we went to her cardiology appointment.

Her appointment went really well.  She had an echo done on her heart.  We got alot of amazing information.  We had so many questions regarding what her future could look like and her doctor was really great in answering them all.  She will more than likely have surgery when she is about 4-5 to fix her ASD and her pulmonary stenosis, but neither one of those issues is causing her any harm right now.  She is thriving!  Her doctors are so impressed with her.  Here is my little Sadie Bugg , who has a whole in her heart and a narrow artery, and she just smiles at the world.  God made her perfectly.  Her problems are scary, but they are fixable!

On the way home, I just sat there thinking about everything the doctor had said and you know what I realized??  God is always faithful.  You would think that I would have already realized that with what we went through when Sadie was born.  And the truth is that I did realize it then.  But then life happens. and you get stressed and you worry and things seem crazy.  God is faithful.  Is there a chance that Sadie will need surgery?  Absolutely.  Does that scare me?  Yes and no.  Yes, because I just want her to be okay and healthy.  No because I have a God who loves me and who knows what is best for my Sadie.  He made her in his image.  He tells us “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7).  This is exactly what He has done for my husband and I.  He has given us a peace about all of the situations we find ourselves in regarding Sadie’s health.  He is faithful always.

So today, I want to talk about thanksgiving.  I am thankful for my Sadie’s health.  I am thankful for the strong amazing man that God gave me to go through life with.  I am thankful for the amazing beautiful daughters that I have been blessed with.  But most of all, I am thankful for a God that loves me in my flaws, keeps me comforted even when I doubt His goodness, showers me with his grace, leads me towards His greatness, and is forever faithful.

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Butter Pecan Cupcakes|Sweets

Yumm! These cupcakes are pretty delicous.  We have had Vacation Bible School in the evenings this week at church so we haven’t been getting home until 9pm every night.  It’s quite exhausting.  It is completely worth it, but yeah, it’s tiring.  Well, last night I just really wanted something sweet.  I didn’t get to eat dinner at VBS because my husband forgot Sadie’s diaper bag (thanks Drew!) and I had to drive all the way home to get it.  Mind you, we live about 20 minutes outside of town.  By the time I got back to church it was time for VBS to start.  So that was unfortunate, but because I didn’t get dinner I was hungry when I got home and I decided to make some Butter Pecan Cupcakes.

I started by melting some butter in a pan and adding pecans and sugar.  I let that cook on a low-medium temperature to get those pecans nice and roasted.  The sugar kind started to thicken just slightly before I took it off of the heat.


Next, I mixed up my cake mix.  I used a french vanilla cake mix out of a box, but you could just as easily use your own homemade cake recipe.  Follow the instructions on the box or your recipe to mix up your cake mix.  My recipes called for three eggs, 1/2 c oil, and 1 cup of water.  I added a package of instant french vanilla pudding mix, 1 Tablespoon brown sugar, 1/2tsp cinnamon, and 1/2 tsp butter extract.  Once all of the is mixed together stir in your pecan, sugar, and butter mixture.


Line your cupcake pan with liners sprayed with non-stick cooking spray or your could just spray your pan if you don’t have liners.  Once they are lined, pour your batter into the liners until they are about 2/3 full.

Place in the oven and bake for about 17-20 minutes @ 350 degrees.  I just followed the instructions on the back of the box for this part, so if your recipes calls for a different temperature or a longer time, follow it. When the cupcakes are a nice golden brown on top, take them out of the oven and let them cool.

While cupcakes were cooling I worked on my frosting.  I used a store bought buttercream frosting out of a can.  I spooned it into a bowl and added 1/2 tsp butter extract, 1/4 tsp. maple extract, 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract, 1 Tablespoon brown sugar, and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon.  I mixed all of that together and let it rest until the cupcakes were cooled.


Once the cupcakes were cooled, I frosted them.  I used my Wilton decorating gun, but you could use a piping bag or a spatula and just cover the top.  When they were done being frosted, I topped them with chopped pecans.  These were so good!  They are really great with a nice glass of cold milk. My husband really liked them and will definitely want me to make them again.  I hope you enjoy!


 

Butter Pecan Cupcakes

Makes 24 cupcakes

For the cake mix:

1 box French Vanilla cake mix (or you could use your recipe instead)

1 box French Vanilla Instant Pudding Mix

Ingredients for cake mix (eggs, oil, water, etc.)

1/2 tsp. Imitation Butter or Butter extract

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tablespoon brown sugar

3 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons sugar

2 cups pecans

For the frosting:

1 can buttercream store bought frosting (or you could make your own)

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1/2 tsp butter extract

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp maple extract

1/2 tsp cinnamon

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees or to the temperature your cake mix recipe calls for.

Melt your 3 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan over low-medium heat.  Add in 1 1/2 cups pecans and 2 tablespoons of sugar.  Let this cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar barely starts to thicken and your pecans have a nice roasted smell. Remove from heat.

Mix your cake mix according to the back of the cake box or your recipe.  Add in your package of pudding, butter extract, brown sugar, and cinnamon.  When that is mixed well, stir in your pecan, butter, and sugar mixture.

Fill your cupcake pan with liners and spray the liners with a non-stick cooking spray.  You could also just spray your pan if you do not have liners.  Fill your liners or pan 2/3 full with your cake batter.  Place in the oven and bake for 17-20 minutes or according to your recipe. The tops will be a nice golden brown.  Remove from oven and let cool.

Empty icing can into a bowl.  Add your brown sugar, cinnamon, maple extract, vanilla extract, and butter extract.  Set aside.

 

 

 

Sadie Bugg|Little Princesses

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Whew! It’s been awhile since I have posted.  Life has definitely been crazy.  A lot has happened in the month since my last post.  Sadie is sitting up so much better and rolling over life crazy!  She has graduated to her crib (Praise God!) and only wakes up about once or twice now.  I am not going to lie.  I really thought the transition to her crib would be an extremely difficult task.  She has definitely not been our easy child on transitions, but she surprised me.  Not only does she sleep in her crib without a fuss, but she can fall asleep in there by herself without me having to rock her or give her a bottle before bed!  It is really quite amazing.

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We bought her some new big girl jammies because she has graduated out of three month clothing.  She is now wearing 3-6 month and some 9 month clothing…..guys, I definitely didn’t think that would happen for sure.  Sadie is growing so much.  I am so proud of her!  She is without a doubt our happy child.  I mean you can wake her up, and as soon as she opens her eyes, she is smiling at you.  Be still my heart.  Feeding her has gotten a ton better!  She can now eat an entire thing of stage two baby food.  Now for those of you that don’t know, that is a lot of food for her little belly.  She loves food!  Her rolls are starting to show and I couldn’t be happier.  I am so thankful to God for her accomplishments with her growth.  Heck, I am just so thankful for her and her sister period!  Sometimes (who am I kidding, MOST times) I may not have a clue what I am doing, but man am I glad to be their mommy.

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The Graduate|My Story

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Hello Everyone!  I don’t normally make a lot of posts about myself.  I try to save my posts for my family and photography, but today I feel the need to pat myself on the back a little.  Guess what?!? I graduated from college on May 13th!!  This is a big deal for me.  You see, it is a miracle that a graduated from anything because I have changed my mind on school about 3,000 times.  I got my Associates of Applied Science in General Studies (there goes that indecisiveness), and I am planning on graduating December 2017 with my Bachelors of Science in General Studies.  It has taken a lot of hard work and I know I have some much more ahead of me, but I cannot wait to see where God uses me.  He already has given me a few ideas of where he needs me, and I am so excited to announce what that entails.  I am still working on a few of the details so there will be more on that later.  Anyways, yay me for graduating!! My whole family came.  My girls did so good throughout the ceremony (I also wasn’t watching them which could be why they did so good in my mind), and I even graduated Summa Cum Laude and got a medal.  My little family is definitely my motivation.  They push me to succeed and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I am so thankful for my parents and their support emotionally and financially.  They have made so many things possible for me in my life and I will never be able to repay that kindness.  I love my family and supporters so much!  Thank you God for blessing me with a not just a family, but a team of support.

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The Fourth Trimester | Mommy Help

Children are a wonderful gift from God.  Sometimes I feel like my girls teach me more than I teach them.  My oldest daughter Reagan is definitely in the process of teaching me patience.  She’s two.  Need I say more?  I love every minute I get to spend with them.  With me working, it’s hard finding time for family and house and school and husband.  Throw in a little bit of some postpartum hormones (because let’s be real, there are plenty) and you are looking at one big party of craziness.  Moms, I know that you love your babies, but I am hear to tell you that it is okay to have a mommy break.  In fact, it’s more than okay.  It’s essential to your health and happiness.

When my first daughter was born, I had postpartum depression pretty bad.  It is definitely a real thing.  I stayed home with her for 13 months and then we sent her to daycare.  During those 13 months, I battled myself everyday.  I felt like everything I did was taken for granted and that I did everything in my life for someone else.  I lost sight of who I was and it was tragic.  Now, listen closely.  None of that was my husband’s or my children’s fault!  It was all me.  I let myself get to that point.  In fact, my husband very regularly tried to help, but I don’t let people help me very easily.  I was angry, sad, and in a bad place.  I was having a hard time losing the 50 pounds that I gained during pregnancy and I didn’t know how to get better.

I say all of that to say if I had given myself a mommy break and taken time for myself to enjoy my hobbies I wouldn’t have lost them and I wouldn’t have felt like my world was being rocked.  I mean obviously when you have a child you’re world is rocked, but you can help keep it as steady as possible by taking care of yourself.  As the mother, you set the mood and tone for your family.  If you are angry and sad all the time your family will ultimately begin to feel that way as well.  Reagan can always tell when I am upset.  She looks at me and says “Mommy, you alright?”  It’s unfortunate that my two year old has to even know what anger or sadness is.  Her world should be happiness not tainted by my emotions.

Life is crazy, especially when you add little ones to the mix.  Make time for yourself.  Mommy breaks are crucial to helping you reorient yourself.  I lost sight of myself.  I sacrificed so much of myself that it tore me up.  I didn’t know what hobbies I had, what music I liked, or what I even liked to wear ( I pretty much lived in sweatpants).  When I finally decided that I did not want my girls being influenced by my poor mood and sour attitude I noticed a change.  I prayed that God would give me the wisdom I needed to be the mother and wife that my family deserved.  I prayed that He would help me to be a strong Christian example of what a woman should be for my girls.  And you know what happened?  God went to work.  I started running and eating better and eventually I lost the baby weight and then some.  I started feeling better inside and out.  God was transforming my heart.  He was taking that evil that was nesting there and He was kicking it out.  I began to make time for myself.  Drew would take Reagan with him to feed the dogs (we have many) and I would get that time to run and clear my head. In the evenings I started to read.  I found that I absolutely LOVE a good book.  I started to become the woman that I wanted to be.

After Sadie was born (she is 5 months old now), I prayed that God would help me get through my postpartum.  I would love to tell you that I am completely through it, but unfortunately I am not; however, I am coming up on the other side of it.  I let the evil take root in my heart for awhile, but I am ready to be better.  It’s a struggle.  It truly is, but I just want every mom out there to know that you are not alone in the emotions and thoughts that you have.  Postpartum is a real thing.  It can transform your life if you let it.  Sadie was in the hospital for three weeks after she was born due to the fact that she was 4 pounds at birth.  She couldn’t eat or hold her body temperature.  We lived two hours away from the hospital so every day for three weeks we would drive to Ft. Worth and then drive home in the evenings to spend time with Reagan.  I had a lot of anger build up during that time, and it has taken me awhile to work through it.  The good news is that I am working through it and I feel a lot better.  I give myself a mommy break every night to read and just relax.  Slowly, I can feel the change.  It is so amazing to feel God at work in your life.  He has saved me from myself multiple times.  It doesn’t matter how many times I have been angry at Him, He always forgives and loves me.

img_1416.jpgPostpartum is a very difficult time for moms.  I just want you to know that it can and 9241d76f-8d23-4fad-9536-cc1623726668.jpgdoes get better, but you have to put in the time and effort for that to happen.  Make time for yourself (even if it is just 5 minutes) to sit down and gather your thoughts.  When you have children, a house, a husband (or maybe you are a single mother, in which I say you are amazing!), and a job or school your thoughts run everywhere and that adds to the chaos your emotions are already wreaking all over your mind and body.  Take a mommy break.  It’s okay, I promise.  It will help you to feel like yourself again!

Garcia | Family

Have you ever just met a super sweet family that just makes you smile?  Well, the Garcia family was just that.  They were such a joy to work with.  There sweet little kiddos were extremely well behaved.  I was very impressed!  You could just see the love that mom and dad had for each other and their babies.

Since I am new to photography, I like for my clients to choose their location of their session.  I have a couple of places in mind just in case they can’t think of one, but for the most part I haven’t even had to do that.  Karah (the mommy) asked me to come to downtown Waxahachie, TX for their session.  Philip (the daddy) really liked the look of the downtown area.  I am so glad that I did!  There are so many amazing spots for pictures.  There was a really neat feed store that was covered in old farm signs, an old bridge, and a perfect railroad station.  I am so glad I got to photograph in that spot!

 If you want to see more of my work go to my website http://www.raisingarrowsphotography.com.

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Ripley | Newborn

Wednesday I had the absolute pleasure of taking newborn pictures for my perfect little niece Ripley.  It was so much fun!  She had a ton of different costumes (ninja turtles included).  We were laughing and having fun snapping pictures of sweet little Ripley, when my camera strap decided to break and my amazing camera fell straight into the mud.  Naturally, I freaked out!  Thankfully, my brother is excellent when it comes to technology and things of that nature and he cleaned it right up for me.  Needless to say, we will be having another newborn session sometimes soon due to the fact that the one we had was cut short.

Ripley I a beautiful baby.  No, I am not biased at all!   She truly is a gorgeous little baby.  Anything we put her in she pulled off amazingly.  She definitely does not take after Aunt Bri!

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Emily and Dalton | Maternity

I had the pleasure last weekend to take some maternity pictures for two of my very good friends.  They are two amazing people and they are going to be amazing parents as well.  Baby Ezekiel (Zeke) is one lucky little man.

We had such a great time.  They made it a very easy and fast session!  This was actually my very first maternity session.  I am so blessed that they allowed me to document such an important time in their lives.  Please scroll down and enjoy these beautiful people and pictures.

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Reagan and Sadie | Children

Last Tuesday I got my new camera.  It is absolutely amazing!  Of course I had to do a practice session to see all of the fun features, so I decided to do use my beautiful little girls as models.  Poor Sadie has horrible allergies, so the wildflowers didn’t help.  Needless to say, she didn’t take too many pictures before her daddy was holding her.  Reagan on the other hand took lots of pictures.  I think she likes being center of attention.  What two year old doesn’t like everyone loving all over them?

Drew came with me and was my “assistant” for the session.  He is such a big help.  Anytime I needed him to move a blanket or wipe a runny nose he was right there.  He is always my biggest supporter and I couldn’t be more blessed.

Now, enough of that gooey love stuff.  I had such a great time taking pictures with my new camera.  It’s always a learning process for me, but I truly enjoy it.  The sun was shining, but it was hidden behind the tree line, so we were shaded for most of the session.  It’s always interesting when I am going to take pictures of Reagan.  She doesn’t believe in posing, so we have to bring something along to help her at least stay focused enough not to just run around.  For those of you that don’t know Reagan, she has one speed.  That speed is running everywhere.  Having Sadie there helped though.  She loves her baby sister.  I hope you enjoy these pictures as much as I enjoyed taking them.

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Sadie Bug | Little Princesses

Whew! What a week it has been.  I know it has been so long since I have posted anything, but I’m back.  Last Tuesday, we took Sadie to see her geneticist.  Her appointment was earlier in the day so we thought we could take Reagan with us and then go to the zoo afterwards.  So, we loaded up in the car and made the big trip to Ft. Worth.

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Yes, she is showing off her abilities to blow bubbles.

 

Sadie’s appointment went great!  Her geneticist is so impressed with her development that she said she won’t need to see her for a whole year.  That was amazing news to us as I am sure you can imagine.  She was happy and smiling all morning for the doctor.  Sadie is very much a happy baby.  Not much upsets her.  Her basic states of mind are happy, hungry, playful, and did I mention happy?  Now don’t get me wrong, she definitely has her fair share of tantrums, but for the most part she is a very easy to please little girl.  After her appointment, my husband and I went to a nearby lab to get our blood drawn because we are getting our genetic testing done.  This will let us know if Sadie’s syndrome was a fluke thing or if one of us was a carrier for it.  Either way, she is still amazingly beautifully perfect!

After we were done with our lab work, we took Reagan’s temperature because she was acting off.  Turns out she had 102 fever.  So, instead of the zoo, we gave her some Tylenol and ate lunch.  We went to El Fenix because they have the absolute BEST chips.  Of course Reagan wanted some hot sauce, so what did we do?  We gave it to her, but it was after we told her that it was really hot and she kept insisting that she get some.  Now, for those of you that don’t know my two year old….well she is two and she is the queen of our household so she demands a lot from us.  We are working on that.  But anyways, after she got her hot sauce she immediately stuck her tongue out and looked at me like “Mom, why didn’t you tell me it was hot?”.

Sadie, enjoyed our lunch just as much as we did.  That was until a very sweet older grandma that sat next to us decided that she wanted to hold Sadie while I ate my lunch.  Talk about having a little freak out (On my part).  I had no idea what to do, and before I even had time to react she was holding Sadie.  That was the fastest lunch I have ever eaten.  I mean I didn’t even eat half of it because I was concentrating so hard on the fact that this sweet little lady (which she was incredibly kind and nice) whom I didn’t know was holding my child.  Now, some of you are probably thinking “Why the heck did you let some stranger hold your child?”  Let me tell you why.  I have absolutely no boundaries.  It is horrible really.  I feel awful when I tell people no.  If I feel like I am disappointing or letting someone down, I won’t tell them no.  Now, that doesn’t mean that if I felt like this woman was going to do harm to my child I wouldn’t have told her no.  I promise I would have, but she was very kind and completely harmless.  She even told me that she has three grandbabies of her own!  Anyways, let’s move on.  After our lunch we took Reagan to Academy and Best Buy because her fever was gone.  You will be shocked to know that she arrived home with a brand new pair of sparkly blue flip flops (or “sip sops” as she used to call them) and the movie The Good Dinosaur.  All in all it was a fantastic day and a great little family adventure!