You might be running out of time!

Are you stuck on what to get a mom in your life for Mother's Day? While flowers, or breakfast in bed are sweet... it is always nice to add a little extra spoiling! Besides, it is always great to have an extra idea if you're wanting to spoil a sweet mamma in your life that isn't your mom, or yourself ;) Maybe you need a mother's day gift for a friend who has been extra special to you this year,  maybe you need to spoil a mamma in your church or mom's group that you admire, or maybe you have an aunt or sibling that needs an extra acknowledgement of what a great motherly influence she has been in your life! 

Mother's Day Gifts

A few days ago, over on Valisa Henderson Photography on Facebook, I asked moms to weigh in on what they want for Mother's Day, or to share a great idea they had that they might put to use! I figured I'd share them with you! Feel free to comment below if you have other ideas! Or share this post to your facebook to help out some people that might be scrambling! Feel free to use it if you're the "drop a hint" type of mom too!  There is one week left! Hop on these things if you need it here by Mother's Day!

  • Mantra Bands!  I recently received one of these as a gift from my photography business mentor. It is so very special, for many reasons I don't need to go into... but let's just say God works in mysterious ways! Mine says "What if you fly" From the Erin Hanson quote:

“There is freedom waiting for you,
On the breezes of the sky,
And you ask "What if I fall?"
Oh but my darling,
What if you fly?” 


  • Party Box from Wendy with Your Party Made Simple! Miss Wendy has a beautiful party planning service... she does party consulting and can help you plan a digital purchase, she can get you a box delivered all set to go, and quite a few other ways to help. She's also got monthly box features! I'm of course late to the game... and you can't get the Mother's Day box anymore... HOWEVER, the monthly party planning box is an EXCELLENT idea if you've got a busy PTA kind of mamma in your life! Each month's box is themed and makes an awesome go - to resource for any event that you've got coming up!
  • Pamper That Woman! Find a local day spa, massage therapist, or nail salon! One of the suggestions on that facebook post was from a high-school friend, Lacey. She suggested a gift certificate to Mountain Healing Spa in Etna, Ca. I have been here once... it. is. to. die. for! 
  • LipSense What Mom wants to spend money on expensive makeup, but rarely does because Kids come first? umm... most of us. haha! One of my "side hustles" is being a SeneGence Distributor... Have you heard of that lipsticl that doesn't transfer, doesn't smudge off onto your kiddo's face... it's seriously so amazing. So come talk to me if you want to spoil that mamma with some smudgeproof, kid kissin proof lip-pretties! 
  • Photo Gifts! What kind of photographer would I be if I didn't tell you - that you should collect some images, and get a photo gift put together! You can find awesome ideas with really great quality at Artifact Uprising or MPIX. Create a story board, order stand alone prints, maybe a photo book! Get those memories printed FOR her! <3 This is an especially great idea for grand-mammas! Print a favorite image and getting it framed is an excellent idea as well!
  • Photo Session Gift Certificate! Last but not least, give the gift of capturing a moment, or a life season. A photo shoot is another thing that so many moms WANT to splurge on - but push it away when they feel like it isn't as important to everyone else in the family. Show her that it is. Show her how capturing the memories that are being made in this season of life... is important to you, and that you know it is important to her! My Summer Sessions actually open the day after Mother's day... Photo Session Gift Certificates are available right now though... Simply shoot me an email!  This is a great one for grandparents to gift to their daughters! A big ole hint that you want more photos of those grandchildren! 

Developing some Wanderlust

Were you someone who grew up with a home base? Do you have somewhere that you go back to that is "home?"  I have an area... but not a structure. Scott Valley feels like "home." As does Northern California in general.   As a kid who mostly "traveled" just up and down I-5 (Medford to Mexico was my range...) I grew up wanting to do the whole road-trip-across-the-country" thing. Once I hit middle school age and was pretty stationary in one area, I never ached to get out of Siskiyou County for good though (like so many other classmates of mine did. Every other Etna High Senior seemed to be dying to get out of town asap!) because I had lived in the city already, and I enjoyed being settled in our safe little Scott Valley. Security... I guess that's all I ever really felt like I needed. HASHTAG:WOMEN lol right?  Thankfully, I find peace in knowing that God

But now - I've gone from one end of the country, and back again... a few times, Lived from California to Florida and a handful of places in between, and enjoyed all of the new places for sure. But have ALWAYS hated the leaving! Do you know the feeling of the slight social anxiety that comes with having to build a new network? Eeshk. Not my favorite.  Aside from the last 3 years... I think that most of my life I've moved every other year.  Whether it was same town and just from house to house or to a different town, different county or different state... packing up, unsettling, and re-settling has been a part of my life... For-Eevv-Eerrr.   And I have always loved that. And I have always not-loved that too... Forgive my awkwardness. Pardon my confusing tone. I'm an INFP and the struggle is real.  (Total side note here - but you know that saying, "I'm not a night-owl... I'm not an early-bird... I'm some sort of exhausted pigeon."?? HAHA! I feel like that is me with anything! - So the moving all over going from place to place, loving it, hating it, desiring being settled, but always having wanted to travel the country..? Yeah.. I'm an in-between sort of person. Don't ask me to pick a favorite. Ever. Of anything.) One of the biggest life lessons that God has used all of this for me is to be present. To soak life up here and now. 

Did you go through a season, maybe early college years, where you loved what you were doing, your life season, the excitement of your future, but at the same time... struggled because you didn't feel like you had a home base? *Emoji girl hand raise* Yes!! Me too!  and that was soo un-nerving. All of the THINGS that couldn't fit with me were in storage in various states (Arizona, Tennessee, Florida and California), and the things that I wanted with me fit into a couple of suitcases. MAN, that was a lot of work toting and loading those all over! lol. But those years where you're not a care-free high school kid anymore, and you don't totally feel like you're capable of adulting completely yet... are confusing, and emotional, while mixed with so much reward and fun memories.  *see what I mean?*

Through ALL of that... I've always and forever, wanted to have a beautiful place to land. I've dreamt of having a "homestead" that my kids grow up in and never have to leave until it's time. One that they can come home to through their awkward exhausted pigeon stages and feel secure, like they know where they belong. Where they can look at a certain hallway or doorstep and be flooded with memories from most any time in their life.   So that is ultimate goal number one. A forever home. 

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BUUUTTT are you still wondering if we're going to get to the wanderlust part? Here we go. Hi, I'm Valisa, I'm a photographer and I'm super settled and don't want to leave but I am addicted to the idea of traveling the country in an RV and homeschooling my kids on the road for a year or two. Bouncing the country from state parks, to towns our friends and family live in that we rarely get to see. 

See what I mean about the confusing thing? I'm a big ole walking contradiction.  I guess it comes with the desire to connect to those I'm close with... And after having lived in a few different states... I've got loved ones all over the place that I do NOT get to see nearly enough. AND... I want my kids to get to know some fun things about this beautiful country we live in. To really explore and learn... to enjoy the company, and glean from the wisdom of godly people we love that SHOULD be big influences in their lives but that live too far away. 

So there you have it. Ultimate Goal Number 2 - Eventually... I want to travel. I want to *safely* throw my kids in an RV. And for a year or two live in state parks, giving my kids an enriching start to life... and I want to do it while they're still young enough to WANT to be with me in close quarters for long periods of time... so that it's me that has to battle the going crazy part... instead of them. lol.... Maybe at some point I'll be able to take my photography business on the road, and come be able to photograph all of you sweet friends that aren't local to Nor Cal and Southern Oregon areas, and that I haven't seen in ... FAR too long. 

Do you relate to this... ooooorrrrr do you think I'm crazy? Haha you're free to tell me either! Start the conversation below: Comment below with your thoughts! And if you're someone not-local to me... how cool would it be? You'd have to get your friends on board to booking shoots and then I could pretty much plan to come to you right? Check out Knorpp and South! They do it, and do it WELL (with 9 children mind you). 

Lifestyle Session - From the client's perspective...

My dear friend Brittany, over at the Muddled Mommy, has been writing more lately. A few days ago while I was immersed in her natural raw expression of parenting and pregnancy... I realized.. "OH MY WORD! I need to have her guest blog about her own photo session!" 
Keep in mind, I've already blogged this in home, Lifestyle session myself (You can find that here). But you, my dear client or potential client, don't see these experiences from my side! You see them from the same side as she does... So here is to perspective! Can you put yourself in this position and dream up your own lifestyle family shoot?

Let me introduce you to the queen of mom fails, yes..that’s right, it’s me. There are those moms who have newborn photo sessions done with the birth of each baby (you know, Anne Geddy calendar worthy ones), well my baby got Instagram with a few milestones and some scrunch pooping face ones, (I’m for hire!) sorry kid.
The walls of my home are decorated with hardly any family photos (some from my wedding 7 years ago), I am not a picture person but firmly believe that there should be documentation of the family that dwells within your home. I had been meaning to do a family photo shoot, considering my daughter is 3 1/2, it’s about time. Now the tricky part, my husband feels awkward being told to kiss by a photographer and my daughter rarely smiles for photos, insisting on hiding her face in my chest or shouting a defiant NO! Hmm..Pinterest being my best friend and all, I began a search. After a few scrolls I was introduced to lifestyle shoots. A lifestyle shoot represented what a family was really like, photos ranging from screaming babies to wrestling brothers and you guessed it, a few pooping babies. I was hooked and knew this was going to be the best option for my family.

Cue the entry of my amazing friend, Valisa Henderson, if anyone was willing to step out of their comfort zone with my request it would be her. All it took was a text, “hey what do you think about this?!”, without hesitation she was onboard and we were planning as many details as we could over the phone. I’ve never met a person more willing to serve her friends and clients, this girl drove miles to visit with friends (yes, yes, I’m one of them) and made time for my family shoot before leaving back home. Now this is no easy task, it is exhausting to drive 5 hours..why do I say this? Because she sacrificed sleep the day she was leaving, to be able to provide me with what I had hoped for, first thing in the morning.

We adorned ourselves in normal attire, a blue tee and backwards hat for dad, Z in a mint green top with her hair all nicely done and I in my floral striped top in the most fashionable pair of jeans. The idea of this was to capture the heart of my family and what makes us, US. We had chosen to make pancakes, a favorite in our house, and with Valisa behind the camera, our “lifestyle shoot” began. Now don’t get me wrong, there is still some awkward feelings when anyone is taking a photo of you but, the freedom of being in your own home is unlike any photo shoot I’ve experienced. My daughter was allowed to splash water, break eggs, and get powder on her face. We as a family blew bubbles, read favorite books and played with toys. My husband got to wear a t-shirt and didn’t have to do his hair, total win. What did mom get you ask? Photos that captured the joy and pizazz that make up my daughters personality, you can see that spark of life in her, the one that spreads like wildfire. We laughed, we joked, we splashed, we lived and guess what? None of us had grass stains on our butt or sun in our eyes and best of all, no fits! Life was captured in the sweetest way. From here on out, I’ll choose lifestyle shoots. Pictures will hang upon my wall showing life and joy (maybe a little chaos too) that resonates in our home. You’ll see it, you’ll feel it and be welcomed into it through an image.

Thank you to Valisa for your sacrifice of sleep and time, for your willingness to try and work with the lighting in my home, for capturing the heart of my family and sitting and sharing that same meal with us. You’re not just an amazing photographer but also an amazing soul that has a heart for people. Continue looking at life through the lens, capturing the hearts of families and the start of new beginnings.
— Brittany - the Muddled Mommy

The calendar opens for new bookings again on February 15th! Drop your email here to learn more!  What do you think about Lifestyle Sessions? I'd love to hear your thoughts below in the comments. They're becoming a favorite of mine! There is just something so special about documenting real life! <3  Thank you dear Brittany for sharing your view <3 We'll have to do another one once baby #2 and the new house are part of the experience! <3