Posts with tag: "Hampton Roads family photographer"
Thursday, May 02, 2019
By Ana's Eye Catchers Photography
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When you're a Mom, every day is the same, and every day is different. We wake up to either one of two alarms; the one we manually set before we go to bed, or the ever-reliable baby face, bright eyed and bushy tailed, morning breath and/or poopy diapers infiltrating the sensitive mom nose at the butt crack of dawn, with way too much energy for the adults who are sleepily squinting, struggling to get one eye open. The hurdles Moms face in the day-to-day to keep the pieces of ourselves together when we spread ourselves so thin over so many different places are endless; the mountain that grows daily no matter how much of it you chip away, similar to the dreaded laundry pile.

Whether you stay home with your babes, you work the 9-5, the nightshift, work from home (while managing your kids, yikes!), your kids are in daycare, you have a nanny, you're a single parent, co-parent, etc.; we are all sitting next to each other on the same struggle bus, and yet we still sometimes feeling lonely. You may have a partner or spouse, or you may be rocking Motherhood all on your own.  Before having kids, when you heard the saying, 'It takes a village', the reality of how many hands, eyes and ears you could use becomes an epic light bulb moment once you take that sweet little bundle home. Sometimes our village is absent, or lacking in villagers, leaving us with this guilt and panic of not being able to simply 'keep up'. Our challenges might not all be paralleled, but they are, in some sense, the same.

We all love and adore our children with boundless limitations, I think that goes without saying. We would die for you, but, no, I don't want to share my doughnut (no shame!).  I would take your illness and suffer it myself in a heartbeat if I could, but if you wipe your snot on me one more time...As I sit here and write this, I am attempting to keep my 3 & 6 year old entertained outside, taking 20 minutes to set up a kiddy pool with toys galore, they have an amazing play set, a 4 wheeler, all the while still requesting something every 2 minutes (I timed it!), 'Mom, look at me!', (adorable), 'Mom, look at this' (still cute), 'Mommy where is [insert toy that is within their eye sight]' (heavy eye roll), 'Mommy I want to go inside', (OMG!!!).  I am one of those parents who works from home, who has one of her kiddos in daycare 2 days a week and the other is in school 4 hours a day. My struggles are my own, but they are everyone elses, too.  While I attempt to get work done after they go to bed at 8:30 every night, some nights it's all I can do to keep my eyes open till 9 pm and I'm super excited to get to that sofa to fall asleep to This Is Us (because I'm not ready for 'bed' yet, damnit, and it's finally my ME time!).  Some nights I'm up till 2 am with deadlines that cannot wait and I'm paying for it the next day with the aforementioned kiddy alarm system. 

Society recognizes Mothers Day in May, but our babies recognize us every day. With the nuzzles so hard you'd think they were trying to get back in your belly, the kisses that eliminate the need for facial moisturizer, the way their little hands grab onto yours when they feel scared, or nervous or overwhelmed. There is literally nothing like being a Mom. But we are so, SO much more than that. We are Strong and Beautiful, Wise and Resilient. We are Resourceful and Creative, Soulful and Selfless. We are Sexy and Loving, Patient and Impatient.  Some of us are Career-driven, some of us have found our joy in being solely a Mom and caregiver.  When you are lucky enough to have a partner in life, an equal, and someone who treats us as such, it is everything. You have won the lottery.  I am not dismissing the idea that Dad's have amazing roles, especially ones that help to fold the continuous loads of laundry, do the litany of piling dishes, change the poopy diapers and handle bath times. But May is for Moms! I am highlighting some local Moms this month who tell us all about their struggles, their role as Mom and Entrepreneur and how they juggle it all. Leave a comment and/or tips other moms can take and apply to their lives. Who doesn't need a little help?!   

Tell me about your career and/or Title and a little about your business related responsibilities?
I'm Ashley Gillis, I am the founder and Director of Hampton Roads Moms. I run the day to day operations of Hampton Roads Moms and work with other moms to put out new content, plan events and create an online community for Hampton Roads Moms.
What led you to today’s career path?
After becoming a Mom I saw how other areas of the country had fun Mom blogs that were not only producing important resources and content, but were having fun and making an impact in their local community. I wanted that for Hampton Roads and decided it would be a fun thing to do!
What does success mean to you, as a Mom and as a Professional?
Making an impact in a Mom's life and the community mean so much to me! For example, at one of our first events a Mom came up to me and told me that this was the first thing she had come to since moving to the area and that Hampton Roads Moms has been a big help throughout their move and finding things to do in the area. Moments like this mean so much to me. It makes all the work and late nights worth it because I know we are doing something amazing and positively giving back to the community.
Describe a typical day that involves both your professional role and your mom role.
Busy! I am up at 6 am getting everyone ready for the day. I drop the kids off at school and head to work in finance in Corporate America. After work I head home, try to go to the gym, cook dinner and get everyone to bed by 8:30. Then I hop on the computer and work on Hampton Roads Moms nightly from 8:30-10:30. I also work on HRVA Moms on my lunch break or anytime I get a break throughout the day.
What, specifically, brings joy to your daily life/guilty pleasures?
The Office! If I am alone you can usually find me watching an episode while doing my hair in the morning. I may or may not have watched it all the way through 6 times. 
How has your partner contributed to your success as a Mother and as a career oriented woman?
My husband is my biggest cheerleader! He helps to make me successful by being a team mate. We really do step in for each other and cover when the other one needs it. My husband has always pushed me to be the best Mom, Wife, Businesswoman and entreprenuer.
Describe the most rewarding day as a Mom/most rewarding day in your career.
Ooh this is tough. I'm not sure I can pick just one, but any day where we get to spend a day together as a family whether it be out in town on an adventure, or just hanging at home is a Rewarding day for my family! And being nominated for Coastal Virginia Magazines Favorite Social Media Personality was pretty darn cool too!
Describe the most challenging day as a Mom/most challenging day in your career.
There's a lot! Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed being a mom, wife, businesswoman and entrepreneur I can't even catch a breathe. I find if I take a day off and re-calibrate I am good!
Are you the Mom you envisioned you would be? If not, how is it different? 
Not at all! I swore I would be some picture perfect pintrest Mom and I am far from it! I learned quickly that motherhood was HARD and if you strive for "picture perfect" you miss a whole lot of life.
How do you decompress/reconnect with your Self?
A hot shower (ALONE)! If I am having a tough time or just need some me time I turn on Pandora and take a 15 minute shower. I am a happier Mom and wife after that. 
What is one of the biggest challenges you face in being a career-driven Mom?
Time management skills. I refuse to work when the kids are up, so I really have to manage my time so I can get my work done while also enjoying as much time as possible with my family. 
How does your career enrich your relationship with your little one(s)?
YES! HRVA Moms has opened up so many amazing opportunities. My kids were some of the first kids to play at the Chrysler Museum Wonder Studio, how awesome is that! We get to tickets to a lot of local events so that has been awesome for them. But most importantly, HRVA Moms has brought so many amazing Moms into my life that have become friends to me and my kids. 
If you could snap your fingers and change one thing about your life, what would it be?
More time! I wish there was more time to spend with my family, praise God, pursue my passions, get ahead in my career and travel the world. 
What would you say to another Mom who is having a bad day or struggling to balance Mom-life in general?
Just breathe. The days are long, but the years are short. Just breathe and you will make it through. 
What’s one thing you want Moms to know about you that they don’t? 
I'm super nice and approachable, say "hi" if you see me around!
Monday, March 11, 2019
By Ana's Eye Catchers Photography
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This sweet boy has been in front of my camera since he was in his mama's belly! Few things bring more warm and fuzzy feelings than getting to capture a little one from birth to Milestone! 

This little man's mane was something to ROAR about for sure!

How many takes does it take for 3 brothers to look like they're playing nice...more than 4! LOL

No matter how adorable the babies are, you always have to get a 'NOT happy' capture!

I am SO elated to finally have a face diver in my studio!! He went face first into the cake and mama and I were loving it!!!

He was face first not once but multiple times, he attacked that cake like a little Lion, YES!!!!

What better way to finish off a lathering in icing than a Bubble Bath?!

Tuesday, February 05, 2019
By Ana's Eye Catchers Photography
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This sweet boy was full of personality and spunk, and he only had eyes for mama! I just adore this little sailor outfit, the latest sweet addition to my client closet!

There is something so precious about this stage, as they begin to sit with more strength in their little bodies, they begin to see a whole new world with every inch they rise.

What expressions this baby boy had, he lasted through 3 outfit changes and then he was done!

Gotta love those sweet little feet!!

Saturday, January 19, 2019
By Ana's Eye Catchers Photography
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Hooray! Smiles, Slides & Coffee and Ana's Eye Catchers Photography have come together to provide you with another sweet opportunity to capture your little ones for Valentines Day! What better time to get the kiddos out of the house on Sat, February 9th to keep them entertained in one of the most clean, fun, kid-friendly AND parent-friendly places in Virginia Beach! Even more awesomeness, it's their 1 Year Birthday and there are TONS of fabulous festivities in store! Grab yourself one of their delicious lattes (the 'Pumpkin Spice' is still my fave!) and have your friends meet you there for a play date and some adult-ing! There are is limited availability for this photo-op so snag your spot by booking through Hooray and call (757) 689-1460 ASAP! 

Visit their website for all the fun, upcoming activities and event planning opportunities!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019
By Ana's Eye Catchers Photography
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One of the most treasured things for me is to watch couples grow into families. This mom and dad have been with me for years, planning a different theme every year for their Anniversary sessions and I adore them. The joy I feel when new parents bring their littles to me is indescribable. Mom and I planned this sweet mermaid theme for months. She had seen my Unicorn Cake Smash/Milestone done earlier 2018 and loved it, however, she really loved the idea of a mermaid setting, too. In an effort to bring both her ideas to life, she requested a super cute Narwhal for the cake, edible artistry by the talented Cooks Cakery. Custom set design work was a labor of love at 10-12 hours of shopping, designing and set up for this session, cutting, mounting and propping everything into it's place. Water basin from Amazon as well as twinkle lights, most all the other goodies were items I've purchased from Facebook yard sales over the years!

How fun is this?! Everyone needs a little Narwhal in their life!!

This sweet girl had the face of an angel!!

Time to dig into that cake!

I always encourage parents bring something personal from home, a lovey, or something of the little ones that signifies this phase in their little life, making it a part of the session only personalizes their images more.

Time for the Splash! There are few things more adorable than a baby splashing in the tub with some bubbles! Throwing a little blue food coloring into the water really brought this little mermaid to life!

Monday, January 14, 2019
By Ana's Eye Catchers Photography
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This former boy mom was all too excited to finally get her Unicorn themed Milestone session for her long-awaited baby girl! She sent me some Pinterest images of ideas she had in mind and we collaborated for several months over phone calls, texts, emails and Facebook messenger...being a mom of 2 little ones myself you try to communicate any way you can LOL! I was hoping to come up with the dreamy Unicorn session mom had been waiting the end she said I nailed it! This stunning cake was a work of art by Cooks Cakery. My 12-15 hours later of shopping, designing and set up for this session, ONE letters were hand cut and designed by yours truly, bronze stars also each drawn and cut by hand, gorgeous cake stand from Home Goods, banners from Target, cloud filling purchased from Amazon as well as the backdrop and basin!

It usually only takes a minute for the babies to warm up to me, between playing peek-a-boo, tickling their toes or singing 'wheels on the bus', I've got lots of tricks up my sleeve to ensure they show me those baby teeth!

This sweet girls expressions were cracking me and mama up!!

I am a sucker for some baby toes!

It's cake time!! This girl needed a fork after pulling off all the goodies and was quite determined to dig deep LOL

This brown eyed girl was saving some for later!

Who doesn't love bubbles?!?!

It's Splash time!!

Sunday, January 13, 2019
By Ana's Eye Catchers Photography
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An early morning, blue hour to golden sunrise session.