A Reprieve From the Busy Back-to-School Season

celebrate back to school with groupon (1)

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post with #Groupon. All opinions are my own.

I have been counting it down since August 1. For 21 days, I checked my calendar once and then checked it twice. I posted cute notices on Instagram and Twitter in hopes that others would share in my excitement. This year, I was determined to be ready.

The school emails started in mid-July, and before we knew it, gone were the lazy days of summer back to school 2016 was upon us. In addition to supplies and clothes I needed to buy, I also needed to remember English AP homework, freshman orientation dates, and soccer training schedules. Despite the  extra stress we experienced last month.

Simply put, there are three times of the year that can wreak havoc in the lives of parents. August, December, and May will absolutely send you over the edge if you allow them – especially ifyou have more than one child. When Monday, August 22 arrived this year, I was estatic. Not because I was tired of the kids, I felt that I’d be able to slow down and catch my breath, if only for a moment.  Continue reading

The Back to School Photos

In attempt to boldly stay on top of the back to school activities and not feel pressured as we approached August 24, I mentioned on Periscope and in a post on this blog that we were probably going to to back to school photos the weekend before school started. I announced my plan to the kids and they grumbled a bit, but were not adamantly against it. The grumbling, I believe was in the idea of the actual photo shoot as if they were little.

After a little thought, though, Tyra mentioned that it sure would be nice to have a few photos with her friends taken with the big, fancy camera. Which got my photographer’s mind thinking about how cool these photos of 13-year-olds would turn out.

You know, since 13 is an actual teenager, but not quite in the throes of the teen attitude and still kind of playful. And since I have a photographer friend who’s kids also needed their photo taken, we made it a big family affair.

Except we all weren’t related to each other.

And it was hot. But despite the heat, everyone was basking in the back-to-school excitement and in Tyra’s words, “to be around the squad again.”

The girl squad.

The girl squad.

With a few siblings.

With a few siblings.

The beauty of photographing my own kids is I can experiment with new camera settings.

The beauty of photographing my own kids is I can experiment with new camera settings.

Even though my kids are wonderful subjects, I asked my cousin if her daughter could join us. She definitely helped temper the teen sarcasm of the day.

Even though my kids are wonderful subjects, I asked my cousin if her daughter could join us. She definitely helped temper the teen sarcasm of the day.

These of the photos of my three that were approved to be shared on the blog.

These are the photos of my three that were approved to be shared on the blog.

And the beginning of the school year has come and gone. I’m already starting to look forward to next year’s shoot, as I will have two kids in high school. I’m thinking I need to start researching ideas now!

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Momtography: Mastering Back to School Photos

mommywithcameraHi friends!!!!! Are you staying cool in this heat?!?!? Here in Texas the heat came down on us and has not let up! According to our the weather forecasts, the temperatures are going to surpass 100-degree heat rather quickly.
More importantly though, is the fact that school is starting soon and in Texas, this weekend is TAX-FREE WEEKEND on school supplies, clothes, shoes, and some electronics. So while we are helping prepare our Littles for the upcoming school year, I want to help you get your first day of school photos “on fleek” as my teenagers would say. I shared these types last night on Periscope (follow me there at @twillisbestshot) and I’m posting them here for you today!

  1.  Take a photo of you child holding a photo of themselves when they were little. This one is guaranteed to get lots of oohs and as and you and others can marvel over how they’ve grown.10532067_10152615996940731_2856085934567300787_o
  2. Take a photo of your child with backpack and stack of books currently reading. This is a good way to see changes throughout the years as your child progresses from Dr. Seuss to Captain Underpants to Harry Potter to Twilight and probably back to Dr. Seuss. This is one I wish I did over the years when my kids were younger.

ATTENTION. I interrupt this list to inform you that you do not have to take the photo on the first day of school. If there is too much anxiety in your house, take the photos the weekend before school starts and post it on the first day of school. Trust me, your Facebook friends and Instagram followers are not there to hep you recover in the aftermath of the first day, so take the photos when it’s best for you and your child! Shall we continue?

3. Take a photo in front of the school doors or near the school sign. This is a good one to get before the first day so you don’t actually have to wait in line for other families to get the perfect spot. 1930487_38544310730_3043_n

4. For older kids who may want to get out of your sight as soon as possible, grab a photo of your kids walking away but interacting with friends, greeting teachers, and going to class. If you have a DSLR camera, a 70-200 mm lens or higher could be particularly useful here.


5.  When your child starts kindergarten, get an Adult X-Large t-shirt and use fabric paint to decorate the shirt with “Class of _____” for their high school graduation year. Each year, take a photo of your child in the shirt and you will be able to see the child’s growth throughout the years!

6. Use simple props. You don’t have to be glamorous for this one. Use an apple. a lunchbox, a backpack. Any of those items say “school” to those watching. This summer, Tyra has proclaimed to the world that she is only wearing Converse tennis shoes for the rest of her life. Only. Converse. Forever. In light of that statement, I will probably use her Converse as a prop, especially since I’m certain whichever pair of shoes she wears on her first day will match her backpack. So, even if I am faced with 13-year-old eye rolling and attitude when I pull out the camera on August 24, I will have a cute photo of the shoes and the backpack from the night before. And speaking of the night before…don’t forget to take photos of the outfit in the closet, the inside of the lunchbox, and the school supplies stacked on the table.

7. Find a school bus, any school bus, and use it as a photo back drop. Right now, school buses tend to be parked in school parking lots and are unattended to. Take a photo of your child with the school bus in the background!

8. Involve family members in the fun! Last year, my daughters and I visited their younger cousin for a quick photo shoot on her first day of school. It was fun because now the first day of school became a family affair and it made the social media interaction more fun for our cousins who live in a different state.10603476_10152608913120250_925844826717520577_n

9. Give your child a sign that says “STOP CRYING MOM.” Have them hold it and snap a photo as they are ready to leave the house. This is especially cute for smaller children who are in prekindergarten or kindergarten,

Have you seen any really cool ideas for back to school photos? Please share in the comments below!

The August Disclaimer

Welp. It’s August. How are you feeling about that?

For me, it’s not too bad. Except it’s the busiest month of the year in my educator career. Like insanely busy.

My friends and family pretty much know it. The kids have to be reminded of it, but by August 3, they remember.

And this year, I’m breaking one of my August rules. You see, because August is so busy at work, I decided several years ago to shut it all down this month. And I’ve written about that before. Click here or here if you’d like the refresher. Between work madness and back-to-school madness for the kids, I don’t have time to focus on much else. And my attendance at family events and reunions has definitely suffered because of it.

So this year, I decided to be a little more involved with the outside world and live a little during this month. I’ll be on social media in all my glory taking selfies and engaging in weekend road trips with the kids to the family homestead. And I’ll be blogging, regularly.

But here’s the disclaimer.

My blog will run seamlessly to you, but really, the posts are not in real-time. It’s important for you to know this because if there is a natural disaster and I don’t mention it here, you need to know that I am not as insensitive as I seem. It’s only because I’m taking the month off, but my posts are not. They were written throughout the summer and saved to be published during the month.

If you can’t take the thought of feeling disconnected from me in real time, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest. Because in the sense of the true digital maven that I am, I will be connected via social media.

And here’s to a great month! See you in September!