• Stephannie Bramlett

Mom, Take the Family Pictures!

One of the things I love most about my home is the feeling of "home". I know that sounds silly, but I have lived in or visited homes where they feel stiff and un-homey (is that even a word?). I want my house to feel warm, inviting... a place where you can kick your shoes off and prop your feet on the couch and snuggle with with a soft blankey! I always want my kids to know they can come home and feel that sense of comfort. I do not seek perfection with cleanliness or perfect matching decor! You will often find toys, some dog hair, and a snack in my living room! I didn't want pretentious...I didn't want big (but I needed more space)... this was tricky to find in our market! I wanted a home anybody could come into and feel welcome. I know that looks different for everyone, but I definitely shopped with that in mind. We host a small group of up to 6 families every other week, and we certainly wanted a home where they could each come in and feel comfortable.

The decor that I enjoy most in my home is the photos. My different rooms are filled with photographs of my family from different stages of life. A variety of sizes of canvas prints and cute frames adorn my walls, and I so enjoy the photos of my husband and I through the years with our kids. My favorites include grandparents and the kids! My children comment on some photo of themselves just about every day. "Oh, look how little I was!" "Mommy, I was so chubby in that one!" "Look at my mad face, mom! I was scared at the pictures and would not smile. I am silly!" It never fails photos strike a conversation with my kids and I love the opportunity to reminisce.

That being said, being my own worst critic, I can look at each photo and pick out my flaws. I can remember scheduling the different photo sessions with photographers and thinking, "Oh, if I only had lost 10 pounds, 30 pounds, etc". There was an opportunity for every single photo session for me to postpone it in hopes I may be a little thinner or have my hair be a little longer or whatever it was at the time I was focused on! If I had done that with each of those photo opportunities, I would have no family portraits. Seriously, I could name an excuse every time for why we should have waited to have the photos done! Yet, they are my most cherished decor.

More recently, I have been struggling with my weight more than usual. Three years ago, I lost a bunch of weight after my last baby. I was the skinniest I could remember being! I used a fad diet at the time and it didn't take much stress or falling of the wagon for me to put all of that weight back on... and then some! The last 12 months for us have been packed with new adventures, lots of fun, but, also, lots of STRESS! And when I stress, I eat (I'm working on some healthier habits!). When we moved back home in April, I was fully aware of my status. Almost nothing fit, and I HAD to do something. I did not want to try another fad diet. I had been there and done that. I have tried accountability groups and even blogged in the past about not allowing myself to yo-yo!

Well, after some research and finding out what I really needed was some mental changes. I needed a slow but steady lifestyle change. I did not want to eliminate entire food groups, as I knew this was something I could not continue forever. That is when I found Weight Watchers Freestyle program.

I began my journey with WW in early June. I actually downloaded the ap in mid-May and joined and researched before I really decided to start. So far, I am down nearly twenty pounds (19.8 as of this morning!). I am at the weight I was fully pregnant with my children (this is SO humiliating to admit), so I still have about 40-50 pounds to go. However, I do highly recommend weight watchers! I will be posting about my journey with it, and sharing some of my favorite recipes! So, be on the lookout! If you are interested, you can sign up with my link and we will both get a month free!

Anyway, I share that part of my journey to say, for years I have wanted to take some family photos with a nearby sunflower field that blooms each Summer! We normally miss the window for the beautiful blooms because we are on vacation. This year, our vacation was not in our typical time slot, so we would be home. I found a precious photographer that was a student in our hospital that I had worked with, and she was posting on social media about taking photos in the sunflowers. I had everything lined up... and then it hit me... Stephannie, you are bigger than you have EVER been for a family photo shoot. The insecurity crept in, and I ALMOST cancelled. I even thought that maybe I should just have her photograph my girls.

Then, I looked up and saw a family photo on our wall and remembered that I have always tried to figure a reason out of photos and I NEVER regret having them done! So, we picked out our coordinating gear and headed out in the steamy, hot July sun and had our pictures taken. The blooms were breathtaking! The memories are priceless. I may never be this size again, and I certainly hope that is true! But, I do not want to forget this stage of our family. I love my husband and our girls and I cannot wait for some new prints with these beautiful photos!

So, I encourage you all... no matter your weight, if you hair has fallen out, if your face is puffy from a medicine, if your skin is broken out... it doesn't matter. Schedule the photo shoot and capture the memories of your family forever! And, don't forget to order a beautiful print and hang it up in your home to share the memories!

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