Moms like me-Lori Latch

I’ve had this idea in my head for quite sometime and I’ve decided it’s finally time to execute it.  I’ve been long troubled about the pressures we place on ourselves as mothers and the comparison game.  It’s easy to look at someone’s posts on social media and their lives from the outside and think they’ve got it all figured out.  In reality, they’re probably just as lost as the rest of us.  So readers, I introduce to you a new monthly segment called “Moms like me”.  In this segment, I’ll provide a glimpse into the lives of moms who are just like me and you.  Stay at home moms, work from home moms, workforce moms all with 7 plates spinning in the air at once.  Although I’ve got a few willing participants on my list, I’ve decided to start with myself to break the ice.  Yeah, I interviewed myself, because I’m cool like that!  😉

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Tell us a little about yourself, like the cliff notes version:  Welp, my name is Lorianne Latch but most folks just call me Lori.  I’m a 32 year old Texas gal with a big heart, a deep love for Jesus, and all things artsy.  I’ve been in the photography business for about 6 years now and am still learning more about it every day.  I’ve got a good lookin’ hubby, 3 gorgeous girls, and a rambunctious yorkie poo named Sadie.

What about your other half?  Been married to Dave for going on 8 years now.  He’s truly become my best friend.  We’re pretty much always goofing off and laughing together.
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Let’s meet the kiddos:  I’ve got 3 of them.  All girls.  Yeah, I know, we’ve totally got our work cut out for us.
P is 11.  She’s big hearted and the easiest kid on the planet.  Always has been.  She’s my big helper and an amazing big sister.  She’s my soccer star and my artist.  I can always count on her.
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T is 7.  She’s goofy, smart, and loud.  She’s caring and super sweet but will argue with a wall.  She’s my cheerleader and my horse lover.  She hopes to barrel race when she gets older.
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A is 4.  She goes about a mile a minute from the second she rises in the morning till she lays her head to sleep each night.  Strong willed doesn’t even begin to describe her.  She makes every day an adventure.
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Early bird or night owl?  Night owl. Definietly night owl.
What do you do after your kids go to bed?  Stare at the wall in silence.  For real though.  The day is so busy and noisy that I need like 10 minutes to process it all when it’s finally quiet.  If I’ve got sessions to edit, I usually do it when they’re sleeping and I can concentrate.  Sometimes I color (yes, adults totally do that), read, or lounge in the recliner and peruse pinterest.  When Dave is home, we watch movies and shows together. 
Tell us what a typical weekday looks like for you: 
I typically wake up about 6:30 and get the big girls ready for school. 
I drop them off by 7:30 and try to get some time in the Word in before full on chaos ensues.  
Tue/Thurs about 8:15 I wake the little one up, feed her, make her lunch, and get her ready for MDO.  
After I drop her off at 9, I run errands if there are errands to be run.  Grocery store, bank, dry cleaners, etc.  
I then frolic home to do my chores like a good little housewife.  
If Dave is home, sometimes we use the time to have a lunch date or something since we don’t get out without kids at night much. 
I work on some continuing education classes I’ve got online for a couple of hours and then it’s time to start picking kids up.  
After school snack, homework, and then it’s off to Cheer practice and soccer.  
Home to quickly whip up dinner and feed everyone.  
Then it’s bath, book, and bedtime for the kiddos!
gameblog.jpg(I tried to include some real life stuff here, which is tough when you’re the photographer!  Thanks to my handy tripod and timed release shutter, I was able to get some pretty telling photos of the girls and I playing a game.  Playing board games is one of our favorite things to do together.  Even though I have like 8 chins and P looks like she was picking her nose(she was scratching the side of it actually), I posted them anyway.  Why?  Because the way A is being her sassy bossy self needs to be shared and the way T gets in your face to rub it in when she’s winning is legit)
Let’s talk about your business, how’d you get started and what’s the best thing about your job:  I took an interest in photography in my high school photo journalism class and I’ve loved it ever since.  I purchased my first dslr in 2009 as a way to mainly take photos of my kiddos.  I started taking pictures for friends and family but really didn’t know what I was doing.  I cringe when I look at some of those old photos.  By 2010, I decided to make a business of it and launched Piece of Cake Photography.  I was also making cakes at the time so the name went along with my cake business.  I took a little hiatus after we moved 2 years ago but recently rebranded and relaunched as Lori Latch Photography and I’m super excited about all the new possibilities.  (Like me on Facebook and follow me on Instagram).  The absolute hands down best part about my “job” is meeting awesome new people and getting to see the world through the eyes of a child occasionally.  I’ve gotten to share in some amazing moments from birthdays to weddings and have enjoyed watching some of my clients grow over the years.
What are your biggest challenges balancing your business and your family? Sometimes I’m so swamped with editing or a design project that I need to do it during my children’s waking hours.  It becomes difficult when you’re interrupted repeatedly to get a snack, a drink, diffuse an argument, or doctor a boo boo.  Some days are so busy I don’t have a single waking second to myself and I work into the wee hours of morning making sure my projects are client ready.  
Do you ever feel like society underplays your job as a mom?  All.the.time!  Sometimes I feel like people think I stay home with my children because I didn’t have any other skills or because I wasn’t smart enough for a “real career”.  That’s totally not the case.  I stayed home because I felt like it’s what was best for my family and my children.  If you think I don’t miss the adult interaction of my 8-5 you’re gravely mistaken.  It’s a choice.  A choice that I question daily.
What do you think about the pressures we put on ourselves and other mothers?  I think it’s dreadful.  Mom guilt, it’s real y’all!  We’ve got the weight of the world on our shoulders and we are all so critical of ourselves and other mother’s too for that matter!  If I feed my children anything less than farm raised organic meat and organic locally grown produce with fresh spring water I feel like a failure.  We have this idea of what the perfect June Cleaver mother should look like with a perfectly clean home, fantastically delicious nutritious meals, and perfect hair and pearls and when we undoubtably fall short, we beat ourselves up.  When other mothers don’t parent quite the same way we do, we judge.  
What bit of encouragement would you offer other moms?  You do you.  Worry about what works best for your family and your busy lifestyle.  Worrying about keeping up with your neighbor, your best friend, or that awesome mommy blogger you found on pinterest will only bring more stress to your life.  Seriously, some days I make elaborate meals and play all day with my kids.  Some days we do amazing art projects and things are all unicorns and rainbows and we post those things on social media for all to see.  Other days, we run late , forget things, eat chef boyardee, and have meltdowns you don’t always see.  Some days I have the patience of Job while others I yell at my kids and then feel so guilty I crawl in the fetal position and cry.  The point is, if elaborate valentines, meals, and parties are your cup of tea, you do you.  If they’re not, there is absolutely no shame in your game!  I’ve got to make a more conscious effort to stop holding myself (and others) to some unrealistic standard.  We’re all in this together!

 

*Are you a DFW area Mama who might like to be featured in a future Moms like me post?  It’s easy and fun!  I’ll email you a few questions similar to those above and then on a day that’s convenient for you, come snap some photos of you and your family both in a portrait like setting and your natural element.  There’s absolutely no session charge and I’ll link your business page for your customers and mine!  Let’s support each other’s businesses ladies and encourage other mamas too!  I’m looking for work from home mamas, business owner mamas, working moms, and stay at home moms married or single.  It takes a village!*

 

Sheriff Callie Party

I know I’m a little behind on sharing A’s December birthday party but I figured while I’m on a roll, I may as well back track!  She requested a Sheriff Callie party and I’m typically pretty opposed to character parties but I thought I could probably run with a cowgirl theme so I agreed.  Of course our first step was to snap some photos for her invitations.  I stumbled upon the cutest little flea market outside of town that looked like a mini old west town from the outside so we loaded up and took advantage of the scenery.

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I designed a quick and colorful invitation in photoshop and sent it off to my print company.  The above photo was the back and the front was this:

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We used our trusty ole tablecloth trick to transform our garage into the ole west.  We picked a blue color to look like sky and my mother had the idea to use cotton to make clouds.  The result was pretty adorable!  I knew early on that I wanted to make an old west town out of appliance boxes for the party so I called me local Lowe’s and asked them to save me a few refrigerator and washer/dryer boxes.  They called within days saying they had a few and we went to work cutting and painting them.  We made a bank, Ella’s saloon, Uncle Bun’s store, and of course the Sheriff’s station and jail.  I had my husband cut a walkway between a refrigerator box and a dryer box so that we could connect them.  That way when the Sheriff had to throw someone in jail, they had to go through the station door.  We used a box cutter to make the bars and tin foil to give them a metallic look.

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We took pictures of her stuffed animals and added them to wanted posters in photoshop then printed them in sepia tone and taped them inside the sheriff’s station and the outside door.  I used scrapbook paper that looked like old distressed wood from Hobby Lobby for the bank and sheriff’s station doors.  We bought fake money at dollar tree for the kids to play with in the bank, plastic cups and pitcher (also from dollar tree) for the saloon, and brought out some play kitchen foods and shopping bags for the general store.  It’s amazing how much fun kids can have in cardboard boxes!

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As our guests arrived, we got them all fitted in bandanas, cowboy hats, and deputy badges. We got the foam hats in black and brown at dollar tree and the bandanas at Hobby Lobby.  Because they were so large and the majority of our guests were under 5, we cut each bandana into 4th’s.  This was cost efficient and they fit much better on little ones.  The deputy badges came from Hobby Lobby as well.  We also gave each guest a little drawstring canvas bag from oriental trading to keep their gold nuggets in from the panning for gold station.

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Because our party was in the afternoon, we served sweet snacks rather than an actual meal.  We choose flavored popcorns from a local gourmet popcorn shop and put them in little cow print favor bags from Hobby Lobby.  We also made s’more pops by putting large marshmallows on a skewer, dipping them in melting chocolates, and then covering in sprinkles.  These were a huge hit as were the chocolate coins. I raided our American Girl collection and thought this Our Generation horse stable was the perfect addition to our table.  We used it to hang onto our snacks.  12322645_1229405073752640_166357767555459773_o

I found those awesome fabric garlands on clearance at Michael’s for around $3 each and knew I couldn’t pass them up.  We found the tissue fans at Dollar Tree for an extra pop of color.

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Kids colored Sheriff Callie sheets and “roasted” their marshmallows over the “fire”.  I found that adorable inflatable campfire at oriental trading and it was a big hit!  I printed the coloring sheets directly from the disney jr. website.

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My niece, nephew, and girls tried out the panning for gold station before the party started.  For quality assurance purposes of course.  To make this, we purchased a small bag of decorative rocks from Dollar Tree and spray painted them gold.  We then took a large long plastic bin and filled it with sand purchased from Home Depot and sprinkled the “golden nuggets” all around burying them in the sand.  We added water to the top and added some shovels and other sand toys we already had.  We used foil pie tins which we hammered holes into the bottom so the kids could scoop and sift.  Whatever nuggets they found, they got to take home in their little pouches.  There was a steady flow of children here the whole party.  HUGE hit even with the older kids!

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Another huge hit was the Photo Booth area.  To make this, I just took an image of a wanted poster I found online (I’ll link it if I can find it again) and enlarged it in photoshop. I then printed it off in quarter sections.  We cut it out, burned the edges with a lighter to give it an aged look and then glued it to a piece of cardboard that was left over from our cardboard box town renovations.  We used a box cutter to cut out the center and thumb tacks to secure the edges and look like fancy nails.  We used a long thick piece of leftover cardboard to create a stand and then placed it in a small bucket filled with sand and rocks to steady it.    The kids had fun with this but honestly, I think the adults had more fun with it!  haha

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Unfortunately, in my haste, I forgot to photograph the other 2 activity stations we had but they were inexpensive and simple and kept the kids busy the whole party long.  We took a stick horse from our playroom and stuck it in the yard by digging a small hole for the stick.  We set out hula hoops we already had and let kids try their hand at “lassoing” the horse.  It was sort of like a ring toss on a bigger scale.  We also had buckets which I had decorated with pictures of boots I had printed and colored.  We purchased plush snakes from the dollar tree and kids had to try and toss the snake in the boot.  We called it the “there’s a snake in my boot” game.  Because we’re witty like that!  😉

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The Sheriff and all her little pals had a great time and those darn boxes stayed in our garage for a month because we couldn’t bring ourselves to toss them!  lol

Birthday Carnival Fun

Gosh, I’ve been pretty bad about updating here lately.  What can I say?  I’ve been a busy beaver for sure!  The holiday’s had me swamped and then it was birthday parties and traveling and out of town guests galore!  Last weekend, we hosted T’s 7th birthday party here at home.  Even though I never managed to get A’s Sheriff Callie party blogged (I better do that today too!), I thought I would go ahead and get the details for the Carnival party blogged while they were still fresh on my mind.

We decided about 3 months ago that we would be going with a Carnival theme and took to pinterest immediately to begin planning.  A few weeks before the party, I took her out in some colorful clown garb to snap a few photos for her invitations.  They’re pretty goofy but they’re probably my favorite pictures ever of her because they really let her silly personality shine!  Here are a few of my favorites!

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I normally have really cute double sided photo invitations printed from my print company but, unfortunately, I procrastinated a bit and ran out of time.  Instead, I had them printed 2 to a page at my local office depot.  They had them printed and cut down to size for me within an hour and they were on their way to the post office that afternoon!

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Meanwhile, we begin gathering supplies and prizes for the games and sketching ideas for setup in chalk in the garage and driveway.  Haha  We decided that since A. I would be returning from camp with my oldest the night before the party and B. The party was in the afternoon that we would not serve a full lunch menu but instead opted for snacks and sweets.  While I was at camp, I enlisted my hubby and mama to transform our garage into a big top canopy by using plastic tablecloths.  We’ve used this method for many parties and it always works so well.  Gives us an ample party space while still being whimsical and colorful.  You almost forget you’re in a garage.  Thankfully, weather for both my girl’s winter birthdays has been absolutely perfect!

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I wish I had taken a better picture of the garage because it looked super cute but you get the gist here.  We served popcorn, cotton candy, cake, and ice cream.  I got the cute little carnival napkins at Hobby Lobby, as well as the little cotton candy stand, and the marque looking signs.   Most of the other table decor came from the dollar spot at Target!  We found the colorful popcorn containers there as well as the felt birthday banner and letters, and the cute little red cake stand.  Because I didn’t have a lot of extra time or energy for cake decorating, I picked a super simple design and I’m pretty pleased with the way it turned out.  I rolled the bottom tier in sprinkles and for the top tier, I designed cute little ticket strips with her name and birthday in photoshop and then took it down to my local Wal Mart bakery for them to print on an edible image.  It was quick and easy and the image only cost about $7!  I got the little pennant banner, cupcake flags, and glitter 7 at hobby lobby too.  I bought bags of cotton candy from our local Golden Corral for $1.25 each and just divided them into small portions and put them on lollipop sticks.  They made for a cute display and kids weren’t consuming giant portions of sugar so it was a double win!

We had 5 game stations so each kid was given 5 tickets when they arrived (I got these at dollar tree!) so they each got to try each game once.  Because we had extra time and more prizes once each kid had a turn, we allowed them another set of tickets if they wanted to continue playing which most did. We also hired an amazing local face painter.  She was a huge hit with the kiddos!  Our carnival games were simple and inexpensive as were our prizes.  Most were purchased at the dollar tree with the exception of the pet fish soap which I made myself.

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The balloon pop station was the biggest hit I think.  To assemble it, we used squares of cork board purchased at hobby lobby attached to a piece of plywood we had laying around.  We used thumb tacks to attach the balloons and darts with plastic tips for the kids to throw.  If they popped a balloon the selected a prize (bubbles or play dough) and if they missed they got a piece of candy.  They each got 3 tries per ticket.  We got the dart balloons on amazon and the darts 3 to a pk for $1.97 at Wal Mart.  We blew all the balloons up prior to the party and placed them in trash bags.  We just did a little at a time and within a couple of weeks had them all blown up!  🙂

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For the fish bowl game we used small clear plastic cups from walmart filled with water.  We dropped a plastic fish toy in several of the cups and kids had to toss ping pong balls into the cups.  They got 3 tries per ticket and if they got it in a cup with a fish, they got to take home a pet fishy bath soap.  I made these easily by purchasing a large block of clear glycerine soap from Michael’s with a 50% off coupon.  It totaled about $10 and I still have a ton left for a future craft!  I purchased the vinyl goldfish on Amazon.  They were so simple to make and the kids had a blast helping me.  We cut the soap into smaller pieces and placed them in a microwave safe bowl.  We melted them in the microwave and then poured the liquid into small plastic treat bags sitting in mugs.  We then moved the bags to a bowl of ice water where we used a skewer to push fish toys down into the soap as it hardened.  If you choose to add scent to your soap, mix it in with the bowl.

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For the ring toss, we had the painstaking job of drinking beer to empty those bottles!  I gave my husband that job weeks in advance thinking they would be done waaaaay ahead of time but the week before party time, we only had 2 bottles sitting on the counter!  Luckily, we attended a Super Bowl party the weekend before and managed to collect enough!  lol  I spray painted the bottles and caps and found those super cute carnival soda labels at Hobby Lobby.  The kids each got 3 rings (which were harder to find than I imagined).

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For the lucky ducky game we purchased 50 rubber duckies and this inflatable pool from Amazon and glued washers to the bottom of each duck.  We painted about 12 with nail polish first.  The kids got 3 tries to pick a duck with a colored washer on the bottom to win a prize.  They got a piece of candy if they didn’t pick a winning ducky.

Last but not least we had a bean bag toss.  I didn’t get any pictures of this but it was pretty simple.  We used a lawn game set we already had from Academy and set it out side by side that way 2 kids could play at once.  Each got 3 bean bags.

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After a stop at the face painting booth, our guest were ready to have their picture taken in the ring of fire.  I had my oldest and a friend make this using a hula hoop we found at the dollar tree and red, yellow, and orange tissue paper.  Made for a cute photo prop!

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Overall, I think a great time was had by all.  Even this ole top hat wearing Ring Master!  Thanks to everyone who came to make our girl’s day extra special!

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