Fall Mini Session Uses | Columbus Ohio Photographer

What can I use a fall mini session for?

The short answer… ANYTHING! Fall mini sessions can be used for a wide variety of portraits. I have listed just a few of them for you here. The possibilities, however, are limitless.


For information about our 2018 Fall Mini Sessions, click here.

To schedule a fall mini session with Joyful Moments Photography, click here.

Family Portraits

The most common thing I have had people use fall mini sessions for is updated family portraits. Typically, clients will want a few pictures of everyone together as well as some poses of the children together and by themselves. Some parents even request a photo of themselves together. Think about it, when was the last time you have a professional picture of just you and your spouse? Was it 10 years ago at your wedding? Now is the perfect time to get an updated picture!


Senior Portraits

Not all teenagers want to have a full 2 hour session for their senior pictures with multiple wardrobe changes and locations. A fall mini session is the perfect opportunity to get a nice picture for the year book and a couple different pictures to hand out to family and friends.


Engagement Portraits

Just wanting a professional picture to use for your save the date? Maybe you just want a few pictures to use in a slideshow at the ceremony or in the guest book. Fall mini sessions are a great way to save money and get just what you want. Plus, it’s the most beautiful time of the year.


Maternity Portraits

It is very popular these days to hire a professional photographer to document this very special time in your life. You are welcoming a new baby! Not every pregnant woman feels up to walking around a park for an hour in the heat to get a bunch of poses of her ever growing belly though. If you are wanting to remember this important time in your life with just a few high quality pictures, fall mini sessions are for you.



These are just a few of the ways you can use a fall mini session. How will you use yours?

For information about our 2018 Fall Mini Sessions, click here.

To schedule a fall mini session with Joyful Moments Photography, click here.

“Desperate” Chapter 2 Book Review | Columbus Ohio Baby Photographer

Chapter 2: The-Go-It-Alone Culture (on needing people)

Over the past few weeks, I have written about the book Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs To Breathe By Sarah Mae. If you missed chapter 1, you can read it here.

Chapter 2 is all about the concept of “it takes a village”. Before each chapter of this book, the reader finds a letter from Sarah Mae and a response from Sally. I want to share with you Sally’s reply to a desperate call for help from Sarah Mae who knew she needed community, but didn’t know how to fit it in.

“We were crafted by God to have friends. Motherhood was meant to be experienced with other mothers, aunts, grandmothers, and a community of women sharing the load. Please do not attempt this alone! Find an older woman and ask her to mentor you. create a play group with other young moms and build your fellowship and fun over the same ideals.”

I personally have always struggled to make time to spend with friends. It has only got worse with the addition of a baby. The need has also become greater since my son has been born. I am trying, but I am still a work in progress.

Sarah Mae begins the chapter with the following quote that I can absolutely relate to.

“Failure loomed over me as I realized I couldn’t seem to catch up with my ideals. I made lists, read books, ad tried harder, but I just kept failing at doing all the things I wanted to do: keep up on the kiddos’ chores, teach scripture, play games, read books, train and discipline, clean the dishes, keep up with the laundry, keep my husband happy, etc. All of these noble goals became too much, and I gave in to being tired and depressed. Feeling like a failure as a wife and a mama, I just sort of gave up; I stopped being motivated to try. I was totally overwhelmed; I was drowning.”

Have you ever felt like Sarah Mae? Have you ever felt like you were drowning? I know I have. I am a list maker and when I don’t cross enough items off my list, I get very anxious and stressed. Sarah Mae goes on to tell us the solution.

“I thought I could do this mothering thing without other women, but it turned out, I couldn’t. I needed help; I needed a mentor.”

Since reading this chapter I have tried harder to reach out to other moms. I have found so much encouragement in knowing that I am not alone. I am so thankful for all of the women who have offered advice or simply an ear.


We should not take this lightly, we need to find the right woman who will speak truth and love into our lives. Sarah Mae tells us to pray for God’s direction in selecting a mentor.

“If you don’t have a mentor or a friend to advocate in your life right now who teaches and encourages your spirit, I want you to stop reading and start praying right now. Ask God specifically for what you need as a mama of little ones.”

Sally begins her portion of the chapter by telling the reader why it is so important to find a friend or mentor.

“Going at it alone is, without a doubt, one of the most common and effective strategies that Satan uses to discourage moms. A woman alone in her home with her ideals eventually wears down and becomes a perfect target for Satan to discourage.”

I found that to be so true in my own life. On the darkest days, in the middle of winter, with no where to go and no one to talk to, I found myself deep in despair.

Sally also goes on to say,

“God made us for community and accountability and close friendship… Young moms were never meant to be without the advice and care of multiple women assisting them and advising the, in their lives. Yet we have become so used to living without support that we often lose perspective on how much we need intimate friendships with other women. This deep need sometimes puts pressure on husband to fulfill needs that they were never designed to fill. No matter how wonderful a man may be, he is not crafted by God to meet all of a woman’s needs… None of us are made to deal with life alone. All of us, even introverts, are made for relationship, to experience God’s grace through our dearest friends around us.”

“Desperate” Book Review | Columbus Ohio Baby Photographer

Chapter 1: ” Ideals and Going Under”

Over the past two weeks I introduced the book Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe By Sarah Mae. If you missed those posts, you can read them here and here. Today, I am going to delve into chapter 1.

Sarah Mae starts off the chapter with this quote:

“I want to set realistic goals that fit who I am, and what God requires of me.”

I realized very quickly that some of the goals I had set for myself in motherhood were unrealistic. Until I lowered my expectations, I was always disappointed because I felt like I was failing. Ultimately, it is what God wants for us that matters. My main goal is to please Him and fulfill the purpose that he has given me.

Sally Clarkson, mentor to Sarah Mae, offers a lot of insight throughout this book. Her input in chapter 1 is no exception. In the following excerpt, she shares one of her prayers.

“As I sat in still darkness, my heart cried out to God, perhaps more sincerely than ever before. Lord, teach me how to be a mother. I feel so inadequate. I don’t know what to do. But you are {insert child’s name}’s heavenly father, and you love him even more than I do, so please show me your way and help me to know how to do the right things.”

I have prayed that prayer more times than I can count. I just want to do what is right for my son. I want to be the best mom to him that I can be. I want to raise him in a way that is pleasing to God. As a parent, there are so many important decisions to make for my child. I want to make the right ones.

Sally is full of encouraging words for a mom who is struggling. Her words made me feel so important. She reminds women every where that God designed them with a specific purpose in mind.

“In keeping with His character, He must have intended something beautiful in creating a woman with the ability to give life, nurture with love, and cultivate the soul of a precious human being entrusted into her hands.”

Such a big, important, and sometimes scary responsibility God has given to mothers. He trusted me to love, nurture, and care for the sweet little boy he blessed me with. I never want to take my job as a mother lightly. Thankfully, he doesn’t just leave us on our own to figure everything out. He leads us and guides us each and every day.

“Each of us has a story, but God who originated the design of motherhood, is the expert adviser to whom we should turn. God has equipped us for every good work, and I am quite confident that he who designed this role to be so eternally significant is the one who is ready to help, support, instruct, and guide. He will provide all we need for the task he has given us to fulfill. But to hear from God we must become women of the word and women who pray, so that His voice may lead us as we grow into this role with grace.”

At the end of the chapter, Sally leaves us with one more quote to tell us just how important she believes the role of a mother to be.

“I have even come to believe that a mother’s role might be the most determining factor as to how history will unfold.”

That quote reminds me of another one by William Ross Wallace that my husband often reminds me of.

“The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.”

I would like to leave you with the two verses of scripture that Sarah Mae included at the end of this chapter.

“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you., for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will uphold you with my righteous hand.” – Isaiah 41:10

“Come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28


1st Birthday Cake Smash Pictures | Columbus Ohio Baby Photographer

Birthday Girl

Emma’s mom is a friend of mine and I was so excited when she contacted me about 1st birthday pictures. I had the privilege of taking her newborn pictures a year ago and I loved seeing how much she had changed and grown. Mom chose a unicorn theme for her party and pictures. Jumbo cupcake by Miranda Huey of Miranda Made.








Click here to see more 1st birthday cake smash sessions by Joyful Moments Photography

“Desperate” Book Review | Columbus Ohio Baby Photographer

Desperate Introduction: “I Can’t Be a Mother Today”

Throughout the introduction of the book Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to BreatheSarah Mae poured out her heart to the reader. I could relate to almost everything she wrote. I didn’t expect to take so many notes just from the introduction. There are three specific quotes I would like to share with you today.

“Depression snuck up on me; there was a shell of a woman where I once was. My ideals, my hopes, my joy, were snatched away before I had the chance to notice. Pleas for help aimed at heaven seemed to be met with silence. The message was clear: this was my life, and I needed to just deal with it.”

I felt like she was writing out my story. This is EXACTLY how I felt. I didn’t know who I was anymore. In a single moment, my identity completely changed.

“Adjusting didn’t go well. Anger and resentment were living just under my skin. Exhausted, out of my mind, and still hormonal, every day felt like a fight. Feelings of desperation were like an ever present shadow over the good in my life. Experiencing hope in Jesus felt like chasing gold at the end of a rainbow… getting to it was always out of reach. Motherhood was something I planned for, something I wanted, so why was living it out so drastically different from my expectations?”

Again, was she reading my mind? No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t see the good past all of the bad. I felt like the darkness was closing in on me and I couldn’t find an escape. I have always wanted to be a mom, I had looked forward to it my whole life. Why wasn’t it going the way I had expected – the way other mom’s proclaimed it to be?

“The lifetime commitment that is motherhood will, many days, stretch you beyond what you think you can handle.”

Can I get an AMEN?!?! I never thought I could handle some of the things I have gone through in the last several months. I am so much stronger than I ever knew I could be. God has been there for me through all of it. He never let go of me and he never left my side.


If you missed last week’s post about the forward from Desperate, you can find it here.


Starting Solids | Columbus Ohio Photographer

Introducing Baby to Solids

After doing a bit of research, and after consulting with our son’s pediatrician, we decided to introduce solids to my son at 5 months old. We chose to purchase baby food from several different local stores including Kroger, Target, and Baby’s “R” Us. The very first solid our son tried was baby rice cereal. He was a little hesitant at first but eventually got the hang of it and started eating it several times a day.


Next, we could start feeding him yellow vegetables. We chose to start with carrots. He loved them! A few days later we offered him carrots again only for him to start gagging and refusing to eat them. We discovered he is very picky about textures and will only eat certain brands. All of his foods must be very smooth and creamy. His absolute favorite vegetable is sweet potatoes. He devours them within a few short minutes.


After the introduction of yellow vegetables, we could start on green veggies.  I was a little worried about this one since a lot of babies don’t enjoy green vegetables. Thankfully, as long as the texture is right, Josiah likes green beans and peas. I don’t have a photo of him eating any green veggies, so I will move on to fruit. We started with apples because most babies LOVE applesauce. Not our kid. Remember me saying he is picky about textures? Well, that means he doesn’t like apples or pears because they aren’t creamy. They have more of a gritty or grainy texture which he does not like. That limited us a little for stage one fruits as there aren’t a whole lot available. So, he likes three fruits, bananas, peaches, and mangoes.


Josiah now enjoys rice cereal mixed with banana puree for breakfast every morning. For lunch he eats a yellow vegetable and for dinner he eats a green vegetable and a fruit. We are currently still giving him stage one sized jars as we want to make sure he also still gets enough milk. We offer him breast milk after each meal as well as an afternoon and a bedtime feeding.

Read more articles about our baby adventures here.

Click here to view the Joyful Moments Photography baby portrait gallery.

*Images in this article are cell phone pictures

A Mother’s Regret | Columbus Ohio Photographer

The Regret of Motherhood

Most mom’s will admit that there is something they regret about the way they raised their children or a decision they made. Some moms regret the way they disciplined their kids, while others might regret the way they chose to feed them (bottle or breast). Many mothers wish they would have changed the way they got their children to sleep when they were babies. Maybe you can relate to some of these, or perhaps you regret something completely different. I am only six months in to motherhood, but I too have regrets. Specifically, I have one really big one.

My Regret

Last week I wrote this article about my encounter with postpartum depression. I, of course, regret having ppd, but that isn’t my big regret. At the end of that article, I did hint at my big regret though. I regret not enjoying the first several months of my son’s life. I regret missing out on so much joy because I will clouded with so much anxiety. I have to really work hard to remember good things about him as a newborn. Often times, in order to remember those good times, I have to look back at photographs and videos. That’s one of the reasons why photographs are so important to me and why I decided to become a photographer. This experience has just shown me once again why they are so necessary.


Yes, that was a shameless plug for photography.


Even now, when I have an episode of depression, my husband has to help me remember all the joy my son has brought into our lives. When the darkness comes, I just can’t see any light. Due to my depression, I missed out on enjoying my son as a newborn. I didn’t really want to take care of him or snuggle him while he slept. So, regretfully, I only held my sleeping boy a few times. I can never get that stage of his life back. While I was there in body during all of those sweet little newborn moments, I wasn’t mentally there. I can look back at pictures or watch a video to remind me of that time, but I can’t actually go back and experience those moments with joy like I wish I had the first time around.

I know this all sounds quite sad, but there is hope. I am learning to be present for each and every moment. When my son is awake and when my husband is home, I put everything else aside and spend time with them. You see, other things will always be there but my son won’t always be in this stage. One day, he will be all grown up and I don’t want to look back any more and regret missing time with him. I want to be present not just physically, but also mentally.

I am still a work in progress, but I hope to encourage another mother of young children or a momma-to-be, to actively be a part of your child’s life as much as possible. If you aren’t mentally present due to an illness like depression, like I was, please do whatever it takes to fix that. You don’t want to look back a realize how much you missed.

Postpartum Depression Is Real | Columbus Ohio Photographer

What is Postpartum Depression?

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), “postpartum depression is a mood disorder that can affect women after childbirth. Mothers with postpartum depression experience feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion that may make it difficult for them to complete daily care activities for themselves or for others.”

The Statistics

The American Psychological Association states that “up to 1 in 7 experience postpartum depression”.

I don’t know about you, but that statistic surprised me. I had no idea postpartum depression was so common.


Treatments options include therapy and antidepressant medications. According to NIMH, “Without treatment, postpartum depression can last for months or years. In addition to affecting the mother’s health, it can interfere with her ability to connect with and care for her baby.”

My story


This is the hard part.

This is where I have to swallow my pride, wipe away the tears, and leave myself wide open for everyone to see. It’s not easy. I debated writing this article for a LONG time. But God kept telling me I needed to do it. He wanted to use my experience to help someone else. I even asked my husband if he thought it was a good idea and secretly hoped he would say it wasn’t. But alas the time has come. As I sit here with tear stained cheeks, I still don’t know what to say.

Here goes…


This was a planned pregnancy. We waited five years for this (by choice). Pregnancy itself wasn’t easy, but I was still beyond excited to be a mother. Labor and delivery went well and there were no major complications for Josiah or I. I had a perfect baby boy. The first two weeks at home after his birth went as expected, sleepless nights and exhausting days, but lots of help from my husband. Then he went back to work and things got a little harder. My son wasn’t a good napper and he never did what all the books said he should. So, like any new mom, I thought I was doing something wrong. I thought I was a terrible mother, incapable of properly caring for my newborn son. My life drastically changed within a blink of an eye and I suddenly had no idea who I was or what my purpose was outside of caring for this tiny human. It all went downhill from there.


I constantly stressed about his sleeping patterns or lack thereof. I spent countless hours browsing the internet for some magic cure to help my son sleep better. The more I read, the more I thought it was my fault. My husband constantly reassured me that it wasn’t and that I was doing my best, but I just didn’t listen. One little thing led to another and before I knew it my mind had turned on me. I was telling myself I was worthless and I didn’t deserve to be a mom. I thought this was a mistake and my son and husband deserved better. I never felt that instant connection with my son and I didn’t feel overwhelmed with love for him like everyone said I would. Remember that quote from NIMH above? It said that depression makes it difficult to connect with your baby. That was me. I didn’t even feel like he was mine. There were times when I felt absolutely nothing towards him. That was the depression talking. I told my husband I wanted to give our son away. That’s how bad it got. I didn’t want my own son. How awful is that?


I often found myself sitting on the couch with tears pouring down my face for what later seemed like no reason at all. I just couldn’t help it. I would literally talk myself into being depressed. Now don’t get me wrong, I had moments of pure joy. My son has always been a happy baby, and my heart would melt when he smiled at something I did. I knew he loved me and I knew I loved him. But when an episode of depression hit, I couldn’t see past the darkness.


I hid it from everyone, or at least I tried. I know a few people wondered. I only ever discussed it with my husband. Not my mom, not my close friends, not my son’s pediatrician (even though he asked), and not my OB. I kept it inside. All bottled up. Eventually, at three months postpartum, my husband convinced me to call my doctor’s office to see what they recommended. The only reason I finally made the call was because I was afraid of my son growing up without a mother.

*Image by Gable Photography*

My doctor was out of the office when I called, so the nurse spoke to the on-call doctor. He prescribed me an antidepressant and recommended a follow up visit with my doctor in two months. Seemed simple enough. I took the first dose and hoped for the best. I was going to be a good mom. I was going to be happy and enjoy every moment of my son’s life. Unfortunately, I had almost every side effect from the medication including a few serious ones like difficulty breathing and heart palpitations. When I notified my doctors office, they of course told me to stop taking the medication. I was told “hopefully it will get better after you settle into your new routine with a baby”. If not, they suggested I see my family care doctor because there wasn’t much else they could do for me. So, that was that. I was stuck like this until I could work through it on my own.


My son is now six months old and I still have an episode about once a month. It’s a lot better than what it was and I am finding ways to work through it. I wish I would have let more people in and talked about what was going on. I was so afraid of being judged that I let it cloud my judgement and ignored my husband’s advice. I should have talked to other moms and surrounded myself with friends and family. Instead, I shut myself in. If I had to go out I plastered a smile on my face and played the part. Please, if you feel even slightly depressed, talk to someone right away. It’s not worth missing out on such important moments. Believe me, I would know.


Evenflo ExerSaucer Review | Columbus Ohio Photographer

Product Description

The Evenflo ExerSaucer Triple Fun Active Learning Center, Life in the Amazon is a playmat, exersaucer, and activity table in one. It features 11 age appropriate toys, some of which include lights and music for added entertainment. There is a three way height adjustment that grows with baby. This toy also features a 360 degree rotating seat that includes a removable, machine washable pad.

My Product Review

My parents wanted to get our son something for Christmas that would grow with him and that he could play with for several months. So, we did some research and decided to ask for the Evenflo ExerSaucer Triple Fun Active Learning Center. I am so very grateful that they purchased it for him. What a great gift it has been!


We already had a playmat when they purchased it for him, so we skipped that stage of the toy and moved right on to the exersaucer. When we first put him in it at around 4 months, he had no idea what to do with it. The first toy he noticed and began playing with was the musical crocodile. He loves being able to pick up the pieces and make noise with them. I love that when he throws them down, they don’t fall on the floor (they are attached by a short ribbon).


He also enjoys starring at the three birds, but since they don’t really do much, that’s about all he does with them.


Now that he is a little older (6 months) he really likes the hanging butterflies (although they hit him in the head frequently) and he also likes chewing on the wings of the dragonfly.



His all time favorite part of the exersaucer though is jumping. My only complaint with this aspect of the toy is that it is very loud. I wish there was a way for the manufacturer to make is quieter.

Due to my son’s age, we have not yet used this toy as an activity table. Future review to come.

Overall, we love the Evenflo ExerSaucer Triple Fun Active Learning Center, Life in the Amazon.


See last weeks baby product review by clicking here.

Munch Mitt Product Review | Columbus Ohio Photographer

Munch Mitt by Malarkey Kids

Last week I mentioned in this blog post that we love the Munch Mitt. So, I thought I would write a full review explaining why.

I saw an advertisement for the Munch Mitt on Facebook before my son was born. I don’t usually pay much attention to ads for products like this because I’m always fearful that they will be poor quality. So, I moved on and never considered purchasing one. Then, about a month ago my aunt tagged me in an ad for it. I responded that my son would probably love something like that because he is always shoving his entire fist in his mouth. However, I still didn’t actually consider buying one.

Then, my husband and I were browsing through Babies R’ Us because the one closest to us is going out of business. While glancing down an isle, a bright green Munch Mitt caught my attention. I showed it to my husband and he said, “yeah, sure” so we bought it.

As previously mentioned, my son always tries to fit his whole hand in his mouth during his play time. He also sucks on his fingers through his sleep sack at night as his way of comforting himself. Unfortunately, this resulted in a pretty red, chapped hand. So, we decided to put the Munch Mitt on that hand and see what he did.


He really liked it!

The Munch Mitt is a baby teething mitten. It comes in a variety of colors and includes a carrying pouch to keep it clean. One side of the Munch Mitt makes a crinkle noise (which my son absolutely loves). The part that goes in the mouth is a BPA and Phthalate free silicone material with bumps and ridges to massage the baby’s gums. The Munch Mitt also features an adjustable strap to tightly secure it around the baby’s wrist.



  • Perfectly fits little hands (my son is 5.5 months old)
  • Can be adjusted to fit the size of baby’s wrist
  • Makes a crinkle noise
  • Protects baby’s hand from irritation
  • Easy for baby to use


  • Even when adjusted tightly, it easily comes off my son’s hand


Overall, I highly recommend this product!


*I was not asked to perform this review and I was not compensated in any way for my opinion*