617.501.4008 cara@carasoulia.com
How to Survive Being Stuck At Home With Kids

How to Survive Being Stuck At Home With Kids

By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail.

—Benjamin Franklin.

7 Ideas for How to Survive Being Stuck At Home With Kids

While the kids might be cheering over the fact they don’t have school for the next two weeks, I can’t deny feeling a little bit of panic.  I have been a parent long enough to know that the kids’ excitement will wear off sometime during the very first day, boredom will set it, and this will inevitably will lead to incessant requests for screen time.   

During regular school vacation weeks I know the key to happiness and success is getting out of the house.  Everyone in the family is just in a better mood with an activity outside the home. However, since we are going to mostly be home during the next 14 days, I am making a plan.   

Here are 7 ideas I came up with for ways we will survive ( and perhaps even enjoy ) the next two weeks.

Set a schedule

Work with your kids to decide how your day will look.  Set simple rules that everyone can agree upon. This will lead to many fewer battles and less frustration.  ie, no screens during the day.  I based our schedule loosely on my kids’ schools schedules… morning work, outdoor time, activity (art/music/reading), snack break, outdoor time, activity, lunch, outdoor time, alone time, snack, activity, dinner….

Exercise / Move your Body

Without fail, the days during which I am in a better mood and have more patience for my children are the days that I exercise.  Although I can’t attend my favorite hot yoga class, you better believe I’ll be hitting up my favorite online exercise resource this week.  We are lucky to have a trampoline in our backyard, but moving your body can be as simple as a walk/bike/scoot around the block.  While you’re at it, don’t forget to drink your water. I love the recommendation of drinking 1/2 your body weight in ounces.  Will you have to pee constantly?  Yep. But at least you’re at home and near the bathroom ( #silverlining )

 

Connect with your inner artist

It goes without saying that we are experiencing an unsettling time.  It’s hard to explain to our kids what is going to happen, because we’ve never lived through a time like this before.  In our house, we are just trying to stay positive, stay present and stay calm.  One proven way to reduce stress and anxiety is through art.   

You don’t have to be an artist to pick up some colored pencils or a paintbrush.   I personally love to knit and I never seem to make enough time for it.  This week I’m working on some super cute hats to give to friends.   For my daughter, being artistic involves making obscene amounts of slime.  My older son is working on a model airplane.  All my five year old needs is play-doh.  Dedicate a time each day that you and your kids will do something artistic. You might be surprised at how lost you get in your project.  

Complete a project

If you’re anything like me, you have a list a mile long of things you’d like to accomplish.  I have short term goals and long term goals.  Business goals and family goals.  Somehow the list never ends. But what if you committed to finishing one big project during the next few weeks?  Every year I make a really special photo album of our family’s year and I’m embarrassed to say I haven’t completed one of these books since 2015!  I’m committed to spending time each day working on our 2016 family album.  What projects have you been putting off?

Be Alone.

Set aside a time every day when everybody in the house is alone.  Kids can choose to read, play music, play with Lego, train tracks, or just stare at their ceiling!  If your kids can’t tell time yet, set a timer.  60-90 minutes of alone time/quiet time can be a game changer in keeping your sanity!

Do something for someone else.

Use this time to think of ways you can help someone else.  When you focus on someone else’s needs, it helps you reduce stress and anxiety. Check in with your neighbors and friends to see how they are doing and if they need anything.  Make time to sort through the 1,203,456 stuffed animals and toys you don’t use and make bags for donation.  Collect books that you no longer read to donate to the library.   Declutter your closet.  Why are you keeping that dress that doesn’t fit you anymore anyway??  Completing a task for someone else is a great way to focus on something positive and keep your mind off the news.

Enjoy this time.

I know it’s probably easier said than done, but try to just enjoy this break in the pace of your normal routine. How often do we have a mandated 14 days to stay at home? 

If you’re into journaling, write down how you’re feeling or make a list every day of five things your are grateful for.  Write surprise letters to family and friends.  Leave fun notes for neighbors in chalk on their driveway. Have breakfast for dinner (here’s our favorite waffle recipe!) or wear your PJs all day.  Make a huge fort that takes over the entire living room.  Bake a cake for no good reason.  Create a scavenger hunt for the kids. Step outside and listen to the birds or check out that full moon tonite

Do all the things you wouldn’t normally do to make this time special.  In a strange way, you (and your kids!) might actually look back on it fondly someday. 

 

Cara Soulia is a Boston Family Photographer who is also a mom of three and she is acutely aware of how challenging it can be to be at home with the kids all day every day.  Cara hopes her 7 ideas to Survive Being Stuck At Home With Kids might be just the helpful advice you need during this trying time.

I’ll Never Forget the Day You Were Born

I’ll Never Forget the Day You Were Born

Boston-Baby-First-Year-Photographer_0008

Reminiscing about what it was like being pregnant with a baby or about the day a child was born is a conversation that happens time and time again in so many families. Maybe you’ve had it with your grandmother or your parents? I know I have. I was born on December 20th, which was actually a week past my expected due date.  My mother loves to tell me how there was “NO WAY she was spending Christmas in the hospital” and so she willed me to finally come into the world just in time to make it home for the holidays.  (Thanks Mom for helping me not having a Christmas Day birthday!)

Like so many other major milestones, we remember some details, some emotions, hopefully all the basic facts. But do we remember everything? No. It’s simply not possible. Do we remember what’s important? Hopefully. Often, people remember specifics because they’ve seen them many times. Why?

Because they were photographed.

Boston Baby First Year Photographer

Boston-Baby-First-Year-Photographer_0009

Ask any family that takes the time to host a family photo session and they’ll tell you that it’s worth every dollar. I love hearing from my clients who truly value the chance to reflect on images that capture their family relationships at a once very special moment in time.

But what if you could chronicle time? The trend is increasing. Perhaps you’ve seen some viral social media posts that show a person or child in the same pose many years in a row. Eventually, looking back on the growth and changes is amazing, right? It’s a time capsule of life.

Boston-Baby-First-Year-Photographer_0019

My Belly to Birth and Birth to Birthday packages aim to accomplish these two fantastic photography goals. I want to capture your story in images, and truthfully, a family’s story is told over many days, not just one. And the best part? I do all the work.

I love seeing my clients regularly. Being privy to the way people inherently evolve after the birth of a child is such an honor. I’m grateful that they have confidence in me to document their experience of creating a family. Like every single one of my photo sessions, I’m present behind the scenes. I’m quietly snapping images. I don’t care if you showered, dressed fancy, or cleaned the dishes.

I’m here for you.

One year later…..

Interested in more details?

Belly to Birth Photo Package

Belly to Birth includes a maternity photo session at the location of your choice plus a newborn session at your home after the baby arrives.

Birth to Birthday Photo Package

Birth to Birthday can be done with either two (newborn and 12 months) or three (newborn, ~6 months and 12 months) sessions.

With any package, you have the choice to purchase:

  • all the digital files
  • a gorgeous, high-quality photo album
  • both!

Contact me so we can talk more!


Cara Soulia is a Boston family photographer who specializes in creating beautiful, emotional images of your family’s story. Click here to see recent newborn sessions or get in touch to find out more about scheduling a session for your family.

Get Ready for the Springtime Blooms

Get Ready for the Springtime Blooms

Boston-Springtime-Photo-shoot-_0004

The low snowfall – and this week’s 60 degree weather(!) in Boston – has me thinking about spring already. Are you?

A Boston Springtime Photo Shoot is a fantastic time to capture gorgeous images of your family. Maybe you’re expanding soon (maternity!), increasing your family (babies!), or your children are growing fast (kids!) or leaving the nest (graduates!).

Read on for all the ways a Boston Springtime Photo Shoot can bring joy and keepsakes to your life.

Boston Springtime Photo Shoot

Boston-Springtime-Photo-shoot-_0014

I love springtime photo sessions. The perfect combination of fresh air, brighter light and new blooms is a dream for a family photographer. The air is warming and the buds are blooming. Families are thrilled to be outside on a regular basis again. Everything and everyone is flourishing.

Many newborn and family photographers have their favorite spots for photo sessions. I am completely in love with Harvard University’s Arnold Arboretum in Jamaica Plain and Roslindale. After ten years photographing families in the park, I’ve become an expert. I know every single area where perfect light meets a perfect landscape of color.

Beyond blossoms, Spring brings so many reasons to capture a moment in time. A family photo session is a perfect Mother’s Day or Father’s Day gift (for grandparents, too!).

But it goes by fast! The blooms come and the season changes in just a few weeks, so reach out now if you’d like to schedule a session.

Boston-Springtime-Photo-shoot-_0002

Spring is my favorite time for new adventures. If you’re welcoming a new baby this spring or summer, let’s capture your new adventure with a Maternity Photo Session at a local park or even your home. Let’s capture your life before the new baby comes.

You can even document your whole first year with my Birth to Baby photo sessions. We’ll get together a few times throughout the first year, starting with maternity and ending around the first birthday. You’re guaranteed the story of that first year in gorgeous images. I promise.


Cara Soulia is a Boston family photographer who specializes in creating beautiful, emotional images of your family’s story. Click here to see recent newborn sessions or get in touch to find out more about scheduling a session for your family.

 

Saachi, You’re a Big Sister!

Saachi, You’re a Big Sister!

Needham-Newborn-Photography-Cara-Soulia-_0063

I was so thrilled to hear from Saachi’s parents that they were welcoming another baby. The family had relocated to Needham from San Francisco just over a year ago when I met them for our first photo session. Saachi was just about a year old when we first met for our family photography session. And she was simply gorgeous.

Needham Newborn Photography

A year later and she’s grown — and Niam has arrived! Returning to see this family for a Needham newborn photography session was the highlight of my day. Take the time to scroll through this entire session. You’ll see Saachi is just as gorgeous as ever, even when she’s not feeling 100% like her lovely self.

Needham-Newborn-Photography-Cara-Soulia-_0061

Six days old.

No words really can describe the emotions that come along with simply just being in the presence of a baby that small. So new. So tiny. So precious.

It really is just the beginning.

Needham-Newborn-Photography-Cara-Soulia-_0015

Needham-Newborn-Photography-Cara-Soulia-_0018

Niam is adored already, of course. It was fantastic weaving in and out of the home snapping images of him as his family showered him with love.

Saachi was really hesitant during our session. Not even two years old herself, she was under the weather and likely overwhelmed with all the changes that were taking place in her home. Mom and Dad took it in stride, however. Having worked with me before, they knew they could trust that I’m in no rush. Our session is not formal. It is not posed. No one needs to be perfect and perky.

You’re empowered to Just Be.

And so she was. Isn’t it fantastic to have captured a series of images showing the connection between Saachi and her father? She needed some one-on-one attention. Some peace and calm. I am so glad I trailed them very quietly. Aren’t these images real?

From there, the family came together. And the keepsake images happened. Mom emailed me to tell me they are thrilled with the images, which pleases me so much.

I love this session, not only because the family is so kind, but because it validates my belief that it’s always worth investing in a photographer you trust. I understand how to stay back and be a fly on the wall while capturing your moments without stressing everyone out. I have three children, too, so I understand the personalities and nuances that come in any family situation.

It is always worth the investment.

Welcome, Niam. You lucky, lucky boy.


Cara Soulia is a Needham newborn photographer who specializes in creating beautiful, emotional images of your family’s story. Click here to see more at home newborn sessions or get in touch to find out more about scheduling a one.

 

A Mother’s Work:  Stacy Madison | Founder, Stacy’s Pita Chips, Stacy’s Juice Bar, and BeBOLD Foods

A Mother’s Work:  Stacy Madison | Founder, Stacy’s Pita Chips, Stacy’s Juice Bar, and BeBOLD Foods

Meet Stacy Madison. She is the Co-Founder of Stacy’s Pita Chips and Stacy’s Juice Bar in Needham, Massachusetts.  Stacy is also the founder of a new venture: BeBOLD energy bars.

Photos by Boston photographer Cara Soulia.

Boston photographer Portrait of Stacy Madison

A Mother’s Work:  Stacy Madison | Founder of Stacy’s Pita Chips, Stacy’s Juice Bar and BeBold Foods

Website |Instagram

One of my very pasttimes is to listen to business podcasts while I’m editing photos. One of my very favorite podcast is How I Built This podcast with Guy Raz on NPR. I was so thrilled when I realized Guy interviewed Needham’s very own Stacy Madison last May.  I always knew the founder of Stacy’s Juice Bar was also the founder of Stacy’s Pita Chips, but I never knew all that transpired in between those two business ventures. And now she’s adding in #3: BeBold Foods.

I was so inspired by Stacy’s story: her candor about divorce, raising twin girls as a single mom, her battle with breast cancer, and the struggles of being a working mom.  I knew she was a perfect candidate for my A Mother’s Work portrait series and was thrilled that she agreed to participate.

I met up with Stacy at the juice bar in October and she was just as down to earth as I expected. Read on to learn more.

Boston-Photographer-Cara-Soulia-Stacy-Madison-Juicebar-Needham_0005

Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like?

I grew up in Upstate New York but moved to Sharon, Massachusetts when I was 13 years old. Growing up we didn’t have cell phones or the internet so we made our own fun. We played outside, rode bikes, pulled wagons with the lawnmower and played with fire in the woods. All the things you do as a kid when you don’t have a phone! I moved to Sharon in my freshman year of high school, so that was difficult. I didn’t know anybody and everyone had their friends from junior high.

Was there something that influenced your path to becoming an entrepreneur? When did that turning point happen?

I think two people influenced my path to becoming an entrepreneur. One my father who a psychologist but he always had entrepreneurial ventures on the side. I think he wanted to be an entrepreneur but he was a psychologist with a family to support so entrepreneurial ventures were too risky. Second my sister, I saw her running other businesses and starting her own so I saw firsthand that it was achievable. The turning point for me was when I was living in Hawaii and working for a startup operation. I learned how to run a business and the amount of work that went into it. Unfortunately, I was called into a meeting where I thought I was getting a promotion and I unexpectedly got fired. So at that point, I took what I learned from that company both what to do and what not to do, and began my journey.

You’re literally a brand in many homes, but you’re more than famous pita chips. You’re a mom, a friend, boss, community member. If you could give yourself an attribute as a brand, what would you want it to be? 

If I could give my brand an attribute I would want it to be inclusion, humanist, realist but ultimately BOLD. BOLD to me is something that inspires you and others to be the best versions of yourselves you can be. I teach my kids to take a second before anything they do and reflect if they are being a leader or a follower. I’ve taken that parenting motto and turned it into a brand.

What was it like raising two babies/ young children while running your business? What were the hardest things? What was the gift? 

And, what’s it like with teenagers?

Boston photographer

I would describe raising two babies while running my business as a run-away train. There is no slowing down. The hardest thing was that I had to make a lot of scarifies to have the future we have today. I missed out on the first few years of their lives but I had to do what I needed to do. On the bright side, I was able to be flexible and make my own schedule, and if I needed to I would just bring the girls to work with me. Now that they are teenagers it is much easier. I still worry but I worry about them differently. It is so rewarding to watch them grow and become women. I’ve watched them become leaders and stand up for others who may not feel like they have a voice. All the things that make you proud as a parent because you are no longer only meeting their needs but seeing them grow into the people you wanted them to become.  

How would you describe each of your children? What are some of your children’s favorite foods/juices?

I would describe one as an overachiever and the other as a free spirit. Their favorite foods are steak and pasta. They love acai bowls from the juice bar because they first had them in Brazil when they were younger and they still love them today.

Why Needham for the Juice Bar? 

I chose Needham for the Juice Bar because I live the Westwood but Needham had a better town center. With it only being 5 minutes away it’s been a great place to run my passion project.

Boston photographer captures Stacy Madison at the Juice Bar in Needham, MA Boston photographer Boston Photographer Stacy's Juice Bar Needham Boston photographer

Do you have a favorite item at the Juice Bar?

I eat at the Juice Bar every day so I rotate what I get, but my current favorite is the toasted salmon avocado sandwich with a cashew spread. My favorite juice is the detox lemonade and my favorite smoothie is the acai bowl or grasshopper smoothie.

Community clearly matters to you — why?

The Juice Bar has made an unexpected difference in the community. Being there for people if they want to make a healthy choice has changed lives.

What is one of the best pieces of business advice (or life advice?) that someone has given you?

Listen more than you speak. I have not only used this with my kids but also with employees and people who are upset. When I listen I avoid sticking my foot in my mouth. I also like to look at each day as a new page in a book. We have the opportunity to write it ourselves and control what our future looks like.

What advice would you give someone asking: I’d love to start my own small business but don’t know where to start.

You’re lucky because you have more resources than I had back when I started my company. Immerse yourself into the industry. If it happens to be the food industry read books, attend trade shows, walk around grocery stores, start living and breathing it first. Then turn to local organizations. For food, there is a specialty food association that will have great advice for new ventures and entrepreneurs.

Is there a promotion I can share with my local audience for Stacy’s Juice Bar? Or for the BeBold Bars?

Between 2/5 – 2/14  anyone who mentions “Cara” (That’s Me!) or this blog post gets a free BeBOLD bar with a $10 purchase. 
 

Website |Instagram Read more features from the A Mother’s Work series here!


Cara Soulia is a Boston Photographer who specializes in creating beautiful, natural images in a unique and artistic way. See more of Cara’s work here or get in touch to find out more about scheduling a photo session. 

This function has been disabled for Cara Soulia Photography - Boston Newborn and Family Photographer.