April 24, 2017

Change is Good...

Think. Type. Delete. Repeat. 

My mind, my heart, has been going round and round, up and down, on this crazy roller coaster of "what do I do?!!" Although I have thought about this for months and months, there is no perfect way to reveal my plans moving forward and my reasoning behind it. But, here it goes...

Recently, I just celebrated my 5th year in business. 5 amazing, growing years. Today, going into my sixth year, I am officially announcing my plans to change my business structure. I am finally taking that continuous advice of "just scale back". It is such a bittersweet decision, but it is the best decision for ME. I started this business as a hobby. As the years went by and my client list increased, it became less of a hobby and more of a business. I kept promising myself that I would never ever lose sight of my purpose in life... and that purpose is being the best mom to my 3 boys. 

We all have our opinions on what defines a "good mother". There is no right or wrong answer. I respect every situation: the working mother, the stay-at-home mom, the work-at-home mom. What works for some, may not work for others. But, as time has gone on, I have fallen into the habit of choosing my clients over my children one too many times. I have risked witnessing my own family milestones for the sake of capturing special moments for, many times, people I may never see again in my life. I can never get back Jackson's game winning RBI to secure his team's placement in the playoffs or Max's very first 15 yard catch followed by a 50 yard touchdown. Yes, there will be other games, bigger moments, but, big or small, these are OUR moments as a family that we all work so hard to earn. And, missing out on their accomplishments not only hurts me, but disappoints them. 

I truly thought that as my children got older this struggle to balance would get easier. But, reality has set in and I am needed more and more as they grow. If you know the Butchers, you know we are INVOLVED. From tackle to flag football, competitive swim to baseball (Pony, tball, AND traveling), to drum lessons to basketball, our list (and calendar!) continues to grow. As parents, Cameron and I do not limit our children. We embrace their drive and desire to be all that they can AND WANT to be. We feel so blessed to have such amazing children and we cannot wait to see what lies ahead for them. Jackson is working towards being an Olympian. Max has dreams of playing for the NFL, MLB, AND even the NBA. And Sam? Well, we will have to wait and see!!! He's only 3 so I can just imagine how crazier life is going to get in another year or 2. 

With that said...
Starting immediately, I will no longer be taking NEW clients. If you have had a session with me in the past or have a future session already booked with me this year, you are considered a returning client and I will continue capturing your special milestones throughout the coming years. I have photographed many of your little ones since just days old and now watching them run, laugh, and talk is just so amazing to me! I want to continue being a part of your lives, watching your families grow through my lens!! I want to stay loyal to those who have been loyal to me over the years. And I want to continue practicing what I preach; quality over quantity. I do want to stress that my family is my priority, as many of you know, so I will be requiring a little more flexibility with the possibility of my need to reschedule a shoot due to mommyhood calling. And, because once-in-a-lifetime moments such as a wedding cannot be rescheduled, and most couples book at least a year in advance, I will not be booking any more weddings after this calendar year. As much as I have thoroughly enjoyed every moment of every wedding I have photographed (especially when my hubby is by my side as my second shooter), I cannot accommodate the advanced commitment. It's very possible this could change again as the years go by, but as of now, I must put my family first. All of the weddings already booked this year will be fulfilled to the fullest. I will be going out with my best talent, I promise you that!!

Seeing as I will only be shooting for past clients only, and on a somewhat limited basis depending on the season, I will have a lot more time to dedicate to my family. But, even on my down time, I will NOT be putting down my camera. I really am looking forward to finally capturing MY children more and more. I will maintain my business Facebook page, but my Instagram profile is gradually transitioning to a more personal view into my crazy busy life. Feel free to follow me... "raisingbutchers".

To my family....

Samuel, I am looking forward to finally stepping away from my computer, away from all the constant edits, so that you can step away from hours and hours in front of the tv. Let's go exploring!!! Let's soak in all this one-on-one time together before it's over.

Maxwell, no more asking if mom is going to miss another game. I am there!! Make those plays as a catcher, score those touchdowns as a wide receiver... I will always be there to be your biggest (and loudest!) fan!!!

Jackson, every time I see you light up with happiness in that pool, I think about almost losing you 3 years ago. You are going to have an amazing story to tell when you are interviewed as an Olympian and this mama will be there to relive every special milestone with you!!

Cameron, what can I say? You have always been 100% supportive of all of our goals and dreams, and, without that, I am not sure where I would be today. I know you are looking forward to having more of me back. I cannot wait to start dating you more. It's hard to believe that we can fall even more in love, but I'm up for the challenge!!

And, finally, to myself... Ashley, you are a great mother no matter what!!! Remember that your children love you unconditionally. They think you are beautiful, smart, supportive, caring, and kind. But don't forget how fast the time goes, how fast they are growing before your eyes. You cannot get back any moment, so soak up every one.

"Sixty seconds now feels more like thirty 
Tick-tock, won't stop, and round it goes
Sand through the glass sure falls in a hurry
And all you keep trying to do is slow it down, soak it in
Keep trying to make the good times last as long as you can
But you can't, man
It just goes too fast."
-Luke Bryan

April 3, 2017

Michael is ONE | Lake Wilderness Park | Maple Valley, WA

The last year has gone by way too fast for Michael's mommy, that's for sure! I can't believe it has been so long since his newborn session. Time sure does fly!!!

We met at Lake Wilderness Park here in Maple Valley for his one year shoot. It may have been chilly (dude, where is the warm sun?!!), but at least it was dry for a change. He is having a lumberjack themed birthday party, so we took advantage of the woods around us and had some fun with props. I even made mom jump in a few shots (always a must!!). 

Happy first birthday, MP3!!!!!