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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

3 things to remember when raising teenage boys.

Here I am. The mother of a teenage boy. You know, that stage in your life that you have heard countless moms talking about with dread and fear?
If there is one thing I have learned about pretty much every single area of life, it’s this:
Stereo-types are bullies. They come in and get all up in your grill and try to convince you that their way is the right way. They tell you that this is how things are because that is what everyone has always said, and who are we to try to interfere? They don’t care who they affect, and they don’t let up, no matter how much time has gone by.
I’ve never been a big fan of bullies.  And I decided a long time ago that I was not going to sit by and let other people and their opinions boss me around.
With that being said. I wanted to give you 3 things to remember when raising teenage boys. And because I like to make things easy to remember when I write and when I speak, I made them all start with the letter “a”. You’re welcome.

1. Teenage boys need a lot of attention.
You know how things were when your boys were little. They needed constant attention. They needed their meals made for them and fed to them. They needed to be dressed. They needed you to take them to the bathroom, rock them to sleep and sing to them when they were scared.
Obviously, things change the older they get. But they change. They don’t stop. Big difference. Here is where I want to challenge you with:
They don’t need less attention the older they get, they just need a different kind of attention the older they get.
Of course you aren’t doing some of the things that you used to do, but make sure that you are not taking away the attention that they need from you entirely. You may not have to literally put food in their mouths anymore, or sometimes even cook for them. But everyone loves attention. Be sure to make a conscious effort to make their favorite meal every once in a while. Take out a bowl, spoon and cereal and leave it on the counter with a note. Leave messages on the mirror in the bathroom. Do one of their chores, look them in the eyes when they are talking to you, step away from your computer or turn the tv off to make sure you are making it very clear that they are important. Be interested in what they are interested in! When AJ wants to talk about this soccer player, and that soccer stat, I really don’t have a clue who or what he’s talking about. But I still love to listen. I love to hear him talk, hear him laugh, and watch him smile. Don’t take those things for granted. Enjoy being with your teenager. And don’t fake it…they will be able to see right through it.
Never stop giving your kids attention. Never.
Do you know one of the first people I look to when I want attention? My mom! I want my mom’s attention and I am a grown woman, myself! We never stop craving attention from our parents, and that is how it should be.
2. Teenage boys need a lot of affection.
Don’t forget about the stereo-type bully. I don’t know who ever started making it “embarrassing” for a boy to hug and kiss his mom in public. It’s stereo-typical, and it is not something you have to be pushed around with. Now. If you are not a super affection person naturally, I am not suggesting you start getting all crazy for the first time ever once they hit 13. But if hugging has always been a natural and normal part of your family’s life, why on earth would you stop when your boy hits his teen years? And for crying out loud, don’t ask them if it’s embarrassing! Why even put the thought in their head?! Why would it be embarrassing? You should make it so that he would start to wonder what was up if you didn’t hug him! Of course, everything has to start with communication.
A lot of moms I have talked to have told me that their teenager just won’t talk to them. Well…Two things for ya, momma… 1. A lot of people just won’t talk to you, it is not just because he’s a teenager.     2. That doesn’t happen overnight. If your kids are still young? Start making it a family practicenow to be open about everything! I’ve said it many times before, but every once in a while, ask your teenager (or any age child) if you have done anything that day or that week that upset them. Ask at a time that allows for you to apologize and make things right in case the answer is yes! Keeping current is so important in every relationship.
Hug that boy of yours. Rub his back. Kiss his cheeks. Put your arm around him. Show him that you enjoy being with him and you love being near him.
3. Teenage boys need a lot of approval.
I mean, duh. We all need a lot of approval! I think that you have probably picked up on that main theme here. A teenage boy is no different than any other person. We are all just humans, with basic emotional, spiritual and physical needs!
During these teen years there are going to be so many people who disapprove of your son. The biggest one I find disapproving of mine is…himself. They are going through so many changes- changes with their friends, their school, their body, their emotions, their moods! Sometimes I see AJ disapproving of himself, and that breaks my heart. Understand the major importance of teaching your teenager that you approve of him, and that more importantly God approves of him. At the end of the day, the things that you need to be pushing and showing approval in, are his attitude, his service, his acts of love – not only his soccer skills, his academic excellence, or his number of friends. Yes, I think it is very important to show approval in every area of life. You are still building confidence in them! He needs to hear you cheering at his games, complimenting his good test score, and saying good things in his ear shot about how you can tell what a great kid he is because so many people like him. And it is equally as important to be careful not to show disapproval over the temporal, fleeting things. I hear way, way too many parents screaming at their kids when they play poorly at a game. It breaks my heart. I want to scream at them for behaving poorly as a parent! Yes, I see the irony there. Ha!
You can show your approval by actually speaking it. By bragging about him behind his back so he overhears you. By writing a note. By making a special meal. By taking him out. By hugging him. By buying him something. When a teenager feels approval by his parents, he is not going to be desperate to find approval elsewhere. 
Be the place he knows he can be himself without fear of being made fun of. Be the place he can laugh his hardest, burp his loudest, and act his craziest!
Don’t allow the stereo-type bully to push your son around. Don’t let him fall into any trap that make him feel like he has the right to not talk, to not show affection,  or to not honor his parents. He is responsible before God, just like the rest of us to be living a life that is pleasing to God. But he still needs you. He needs you there to support him. To know when to speak and when to listen. When to hug and when to walk away.
Enjoy that teenage boy of yours. They make the best friends.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Follow me on my new blog

Last year I decided to change my blog name from ajnrileysmommy.blogspot.com, which it had been since 2005, to Rachellechaseblog.com. I started out just writing as a typical mommy blog and kind of switched to just writing in general. I wanted my name to better represent what I was writing about which is why I changed it.
So even though you could still get to my blog by going to rachellechaseblog.com, it still came up as ajnrileysmommy.blogspot.com and I never really told anyone about the switch.

So now. I have taken the plunge and decided to switch everything and start using wordpress instead of blogger. It's scary.
I have spent years trying to build a following and have actually made some great friends as a direct result of my blog. I really was a little nervous that I would lose readers and followers if I switched. But there's no turning back now!

I will continue to write every week day and intersperse some family stuff, my photography and some encouraging and thought provoking writing as well.
I would love it if you would continue to support me and share my posts!
I love new friends and I love followers!!
You can find me at www.rachellechaseblog.com.

See you over there!

Friday, August 08, 2014

Senior beach portraits ~ Rye Beach, NH

Being a NH senior photographer on the seacoast is basically the best.
Not much beats the cool breeze, the gorgeous lighting and the calmness that being at the beach brings

When Kelsee contacted me about doing her senior portraits, I was more than happy to go along with her idea of going to the beach!
Rye beach offers a gorgeous location and also right down the road is an adorable white fence so my seniors can easily have 2 totally different themes in one session.

Kelsee is absolutely beautiful and is super sweet. We had an awesome time at her shoot.
Here are a few of my favorites from her session.

She even brought along a few friends and family members to join in on the fun!

Hope you have an awesome senior year, Kelsee!

If you are looking for a NH senior photographer, be sure to contact me for pricing and details!

Thursday, August 07, 2014

If only I could ctrl f everything in life

Something totally weird happened the other day.
I was skimming through a passage in my Bible trying to find a specific verse.
And. I am not making this up. For a split second, my eyes legit went to the top of the page as if I was going to be able to hit ctrl f and the word I was looking for would pop up.
Um. Too much computer time, much?

People. You can not push control and f when you are reading real live books. Did you know this?
Ya. I thought you might not know.

I was thinking of it again today went I went into my barn to try and find the battery charger for my drill. You do know I am a power tool freak, right? I have got some good stories about all of that.
But that's for another time.
Anyways. I was thinking the same thing...wouldn't it be nice if I could just hit ctrl f and the charger would like light up or something.

Can we be getting any lazier? Right?! I mean, how about I slow down and take an extra five minutes and just look?! Why do I think everything needs a shortcut.

How about this one...when people text with "thx" or "R U coming?"
I'm sorry. Was the thumb movement to add in the anks a little bit too much for you to handle today?
Was your day so overwhelming that you couldn't add the a,e,y and u for the sentence?
Seriously now. Maybe we should stop making everything a shortcut!! ha!!

I have been getting so frustrated with my phone lately because it is so stinking slow. And when I say slow, I mean it takes a solid 12 seconds before a page opens. I mean seriously. Do I really have the time in my day to be waiting 12 seconds for things? Come on now.
I have things to do. And here I am, trying to find shortcuts for studying my Bible.
I don't think it gets any worse than that.

So, I should have warned you before you wasted the last 3 minutes of your night reading this...this whole entire post has literally no point.
I just wanted to tell you how I was trying to shortcut things. And I thought it was funny.
And since we are all such good friends, I just knew you would find it funny too!
And I wish you could be all...OMG!! I just did the same thing last week! or...
NO WAY! Get a load of what I did!
But since this is non interactive, me rambling on about a totally unimportant, small aspect of my life is where this is going to have to come to an end.
So with that.
I have to go put my boys to bed. Is there a shortcut for that?
CALM DOWN!! I am joking :)
(but seriously. send me a private message. ha!)

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Zach & Ruth ~ NH Seacoast Engagement Photographer

I have known Zach since he was little. I have gotten to know him through being in my youth group, and now in our young adults group. He is an awesome friend and a great addition to our family.
My whole family has been praying for a wife for him for a while, and last year when I went to a soccer game and saw him sitting with this girl Ruth, I just had a feeling.
I told his sister (Ruthie) "she totally likes him." I guess I was right!
They are absolutely perfect together.

I was so excited to hear about them getting engaged and can not wait for their wedding this November at The Red Barn at Outlook Farm!

They wanted to have their engagement session at Swasey Park in Exeter, and the hardest part of the entire session was trying to get them to give me a serious face for a few poses!
It's pretty obvious that they are both incredibly happy, And I could not be more happy for them!
Here are a few of my favorites...
And when I say "few", I mean more than a few. Because there are so, so many that I love.

Congratulations to one of my favorite couples ever.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Why Christians are so mean

I came across a pretty interesting passage the other day. One that I have read many times before, because it was in Romans. A book I have highlighted, underlined and written many notes in the margin to.  But here I was reading it, and I realized something: This passage in chapter 12 verses 9-16 are written by Paul to other Christians. Now that is not unusual in and of itself, but here is what I never realized. It was written to other Christians, telling them how to treat other Christians.
The first part starts out with how we need to love without hypocrisy. How we need to be kind, not lazy, patient and diligent. And then this. Bless them who persecute you; bless and curse not. 
Wait one second here. I am being told to bless people who are persecuting me, and these people who may be persecuting me could be Christians?? It was so interesting because just the week before, I was having a conversation with Adam about how the people in my life who have been the most hurtful, have been Christians. And I just didn't get it. I still don't. But the thing is, Paul is saying that there is a problem that has been going on for years and that is persecution towards Christians, from Christians.
This should not be. The problem is, people who are "Christians" are supposed to be Christ followers. If you are following Christ, that means that you are doing things the way Christ did them. How was that? Well. He tells us to seek peace and pursue it. He tells us to think of others as better than ourselves. He tells us be kind one to another, to speak evil of no man, and on and on it goes. 
So why is it that Christians are so mean?
I wish I knew. Sorry for the let down, because I just plain don't know the answer. The times I have been hurt the most, the people should have known better. They should have thought before they spoke, they should have thought of someone besides themselves and their own feelings. But they didn't. And so when I think about these people who are choosing self over others, I have to be careful that I don't become that same mean person. 
The way I look at it is: I have a reputation to uphold. And it is not my own. It's Christ's.
If the way I treat other people is a supposed to be a representation of how Christ treated other people?  I better be incredibly careful how I choose to treat people. Makes sense, right?
If I can't uphold the reputation of what being a Christian really is, then I should not even call myself one. Now, I'm not talking perfection. Clearly, none of us can ever get to the point where we are never mean, and are always thinking of others as better than ourselves. But we should be able to recognize the times we are mean, and make things right. We should be able to get to the point where we are not mean the majority of the time. If we don't, we are not holding up to what the name Christian really means.
So the next time a Christian is mean to you. Don't be surprised. Just make sure you don't become so cynical that you start lumping all Christians into the same mold. All "Christians" are not the same. Anyone can say they are a Christian. Not everyone acts like one. 
So the reason Christians are so mean? I don't know. But according to Paul, it's been around for quite a while. And when we find ourselves being faced with a mean Christian, we are told to bless them. Bless them and not curse at them. ha! It actually says curse them, not curse at them. But I think Paul knew. Because, come on now. We are only human after all. And Paul liked to keep it real. So I think he meant both. Basically. Keep your mouth shut from yelling out those words that come to your mind when you are being treated by people who are supposed to be treating you kindly. And not only keep your mouth shut, but bless them. 
Come on, Paul. Don't you know how hard that is? I can keep my mouth shut sometimes when I am thinking mean things back. But now you're saying I have to bless them on top of it? Oy. But hey. If Paul says to do it, it means that it's physically possible. Not easy, for sure. But still. Physically possible.
So if you are a mean Christian? Either stop claiming the name, or start acting like Christ. 
And if you are being treated meanly by other Christians? Don't curse them. Or curse at them. Bless them. You really can do it.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Mommy Monday ~ Formula, crying it out and bottles: Whatever works for you.

The spit up came out like a volcano. Every single time.

I was a first time mom, and AJ was my pride and joy.
I have no desire to get into a full out debate on breast feeding vs bottle feeding because honestly?
I don't think it's anyone's business what I feed my child, and I don't think it's my business what you feed yours.
I knew I wanted to bottle feed from the beginning, and I loved my decision.
Adam was working a lot of hours when AJ was an infant, and weekends became his special time with his boy. I would sleep through the night, and Adam would do the night time feedings. Perfect.
Fortunately for me, even though there were raging lunatics crying out that I was a horrible mother for not giving my child breast milk, the computer and social media were not nearly what they are today, so I didn't really see or hear them.
(good thing too, because I don't think Giselle Bundchen would ever hire me to photograph her family if she knew I had bottle fed. ha. Because you know she's going to, right?)
I just had to deal with a few comments here and there, and mostly just passive aggressive ones.
So I ignored them.

I tried everything. Every brand of formula. Soy formula. I even tried goat's milk.
You wanna know what goat's milk looks and smells like? How about what it looks and smells like when it comes back up? Ya Trying that didn't didn't last long.
We just kind of waited it out and hoped that by the time he was 5 he would be done.
I remember visiting my sister Melanie at her high school the day she was getting her senior pictures done. She held AJ for about 2 minutes...and what do ya know? Puke central. All over her outfit.
She took it well, but I'm sure she could have done without it!

It's so weird looking back at all these little things that were bigger than big at the time.
They were huge. What was I supposed to do? What did this book say, what did that book say?
It's crazy, really. And even though it was the biggest thing in my life at the time, it's just a funny memory now.
It's the same thing with the sleep deprivation.
At the time? Oh for the love of peter! How was I ever going to survive?
And why, oh WHY are you not just sleeping?!?!?!?!!?!?
Anyone with me on this one?

I knew that holding AJ every single time he fell asleep was not the easiest choice.
(many people reminded me of that)
But I knew it was the one I loved the most.
Looking at his big blue eyes as they started to get drowsy. Looking at his perfect, chubby cheeks and his sweet little lips. I mean, really. Would you want to put him down?

I remember I would lay down with him on my bed and wait for him to fall asleep.
He would lay there. Kind of restless. And I would sing.
Then I would kind of close my eyes slowly in the hopes that he would take the hint!
Then his eyes would start to droop. Then I would move ever so slightly, and they would pop open.
Then he would eventually fall asleep again and I would start to move off the bed and it would shake a tiny bit...just enough to wake him up. And we would start the entire process all over again.
I think it would literally take me over an hour just to get him to sleep every nap time and every night.

It's funny, because there are very few issues in life where my advice would be -
whatever works for you.
But when it comes to formula vs. breast milk. Apple juice vs. water. Bottle vs. sippy cup. Holding vs. laying down. Crying it out vs. picking him up.
Whatever works for you!
It's like people need to stop wigging out already!

AJ does not remember me putting him to sleep that way when he was 6 months old.
But I do.
AJ does not remember that he used to spit up like a mad fool.
But I do.
AJ does not remember that I used to give him sippy cups with juice instead of water.
But I do.
And I love looking back on those things and remembering. I barely remember. Barely.

So really and truly.
Whatever works for you.
Don't let bossy celebrities, or overbearing relatives push you into changing something that does not matter in the long run.

The days of spit up, bottles, crying and diapers will be over before you know it.
And believe me. You will enjoy the next phase, but you will always have a little piece of you that wishes you could have just one more day of those baby years.

Whatever works for you.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Rachelle Chase Photography ~ Seacoast Wedding Photographer

Some people plan for a big, fancy wedding and forget all about the marriage part.
Candice and Don had a simple, fun wedding and were so evidently focused on the marriage part.
Like. They get it.
Life is hard, but God is good. And together they are going to be able to face anything.

Candice didn't want to spend a lot of time with me photographing her getting ready, or a ton of details. She wanted to focus on her special day with all of her friends and family gathered around while she got to marry her best friend.
What a treat to get the chance to watch them interact with their friends and family as they celebrated a beautiful day together.

Here are a few of my favorites from their day!

And then, as a first for me as a wedding photographer, they bowled.
Yes. they put on bowling shoes and had a little fun! So cute!

 Congratulations to both of you!

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