Sarah Suggests … Kid/Toddler Camper & Car Activities

** This year on the blog, we’re diving a little deeper… or veering off course … however you want to think of it. And while pretty pictures and beautiful families, seniors and more are still coming your way, of course, I’m also adding MORE content to be both helpful and entertaining! Starting with a series of suggestions/tips/ideas/resources/recommendations. And since we are T-minus 5 days away from our first big camper trip the first of these posts is all things road trip! Hope you enjoy…..

If you haven’t seen (anticipatory posts on my IG @sarahjaneshorthose), the Shorthose family is about to take our biggest vacation adventure ever. We’ve decided that it’s a good idea with a dog, a 5 year old and a 2 year old to spend 15+ days (“+” because Lord knows if we’ll stay on schedule) traveling from Illinois to Utah and back.

We don’t know what to expect other than the unexpected but we definitely knew we couldn’t just ‘wing-it’ on this trip and that Ryan was going to need to do some planning on the actual logistics … where we are staying, how far could we get in a day, which route was best for our truck/camper to actually make it through the mountains etc (another post on the amazing resources he used to chart our course coming soon!). And that I would need to do some planning on how to keep these girls/dog bearable in the car for a billion hours, because I don’t know if you know this but kids can be bored sitting in a SEA of amazing toys on a sunny summer day with the ice cream truck driving by….. so how are we going to avoid the “I’mmmmmm BOOOOOORRRRRRRDDDAAAAHHHHHHHH!” whines for two weeks in the truck?!?!

This post is a peek at the buckets and buckets (and one literal bucket because #carsick preparations) of activities and toys and #allthethings we’ve put together for our kids to be bored with anyways… and all the essentials to make a cross country family trip amazing for all of us #fingerscrossed.

#1 – Ok my number one necessity isn’t frilly or fun or anything but it’s number one because nothing can ruin … RUIN … a roadtrip like a puky kid. And it took us half dozen ruined trips to tune into the fact that duh, they make meds for this and ones for kids and it works amazing! So we’ve stocked up.

And because you never know… we also snagged this handy reusable/collapsible bucket… #justincase.

#2, 3 & 4 – Now, onto the fun stuff. They’ll only color for so long and coming up with the ‘car games’ off the top of your head is just too much for this momma. We’ve geared up with Highlights Magazines but I was giddy when I found the Highlights books of hidden pictures as that’s a standout hit with our kids and will actually keep them occupied seeing who can find all the pictures first.

Plus the On-The-Go games so we can car bingo, license plate hunt, and so much more and these flipping MAGIC LCD color screens…. like have you seen these!?!?!? IDK how they work but color color color, click a button and POOF – blank page start again!

#5 – Organization (aka, please don’t make me have to pick up & hand you things for 147 hours straight)! Ok so my hopes are HIGH for this thing but it’s yet to be tested. I just want them to be able to reach their own sh** please!

Each girl got her own and it’s loaded down with all the car activities and pens/colors/snacks with the plan that they get to choose something new every hour (because let’s be honest if I let them go to town they’ll be bored with it all in about 38 minutes).

And bonus #6 for the dog … not only are these long days in the car for kids but our pup will be along for the ride too 99% of the time in the cab with us (though she might get some bed of the truck fresh air on the shorter legs / nice days). And once we reach destinations there will be some excursions she isn’t included on so we needed to be sure she had some things to keep her occupied & cozy.

Stay tuned to my IG for real time updates along our trip and for a follow up post to this one highlighting some awesome tools we (ok just Ryan) found to plan our trip.

*This post contains affiliate links. Shopping links gets you the same great deals on these actual products we’ve purchased and earns me a small commision.

| 2020: The year the blog died. |

Oh hi there. Hmm, it’s quiet around here. Wait, actually it’s SILENT around here. Where’d all the pretty faces go?!?!?

The SJP blog was one of the many casualties of the “year that must not be named” … the truth is when March 2020 hit I had months and months of blog content outlined and on the schedule. Like really look….

But then, like all of you, our world stopped. We kept our kids home, I rescheduled sessions out a couple weeks, and we waited. And then, even when the wheels started to slowly turn again MONTHS later and I went back to the studio it felt like a cog in the blog wheel was missing. I just couldn’t get the machine rolling again here. As I sat down with plenty of time on my hands to schedule out the posts as planned, to finish up and fill in the content I had right at my fingertips, I just didn’t have the words…. should I show up chipper and positive when we were all feeling sad and run down? I surely didn’t want to add to the bummer vibes we felt as we saw more and more things canceling around us. So I just stayed silent.

This was a space I couldn’t get my creative juices to flow back into so I just stopped completely. I didn’t try to phone it in just to fill the space. Instead I guess I sort of needed the silence… The big gaping 1 YEAR silence. I needed the permission to take a deep sigh and just NOT do it.

But as we are now officially one year later. I’m here. I’m taking a deep breath as the hint of spring sunshine beings to feed my soul and I’m ready to come back to the blog. I’m ready in so many ways to show you the beauty I was surrounded with this year, because it was here. I’m ready to shower love on the clients who showed up for me in a year that could have been SO much harder without them.

I’m thankful to have been able to see smiling faces when so many work mask to mask all day every day and it’s time those faces show up here again. Thank you for giving me the time for the silence here and I hope you’ll come along for the really epic journey that we are in store for in 2021 and beyond <foreshadowing hahaha>.

Here’s a look at just a bit of the beauty we found in 2020….

The SJP Team | Not just SJ anymore!

Today on the blog we’re going to pop in a bit of an introduction. It’s something I work in from time to time on our instagram but haven’t done here for awhile! And I’m thrilled today to be getting around to not only another peek at ME (Sarah Jane), but also to introduce you to the two newest members of the SJP team, Lisa and Kat! That’s right, it’s not just SJ around here anymore.

But to start, how about we take a page (literally) out of our new catalog to introduce you to ME!

Next up… I’m thrilled to bring on two team members who have honestly been vital in getting us transitioned into the new studio space and keeping you all well taken care of. On the image side of things SJP has almost always been a one-woman-show. I’ve had some great production help in the past (the lovely Ms. Payton being our longest running box-opener, product-packager and project-doer!) but when it came to getting your images done and your designs made it’s always been me me me. It’s a hard thing to let go of as a creative but to take the absolute best care of you all I needed to bring in a couple in-house hands (to maintain SJP quality and style) while also encouraging and inviting in outside creative perspectives too.

Kat is a seriously dynamic talent. She’s like me in that she’s an idea person. I LOVE our conversations about anything from bees to murder to podcasts and space… there are really no topics we can’t seem to spin some wild ideas about and it’s super interesting to see her wheels turn on something. She’s a really great connector and was honestly pivotal in getting SJP off the ground in Decatur and me out into the community. As she and Jay (who were team Thrive Entertainment Guide at the time I moved to the area 10 years ago) were my first YES in a series of cold calls trying to get some freelance work and meet new folks in this brand new place! It’s an honor to have her hands on deck now at SJP and I hope for another decade of involvement in each other’s projects whatever they may be (guys do we have some ideas hahaha).

Kat’s working now on a lot of our design work, website updates, album designs, catalog design and plenty of studio projects too!

Lisa has also come on board to take on much of our image processing work. She’s owner of her own photography business and came on for a few assistant jobs for me in the past and the universe kept us in each other’s circles in various ways via church, local photographer groups and more and as we transitioned into the new studio I was thrilled to bring her onboard to help get your images delivered faster (without sacrificing quality, of course).

Lisa will be working a lot on preparing your image Premiere’s, perfecting your final images (getting rid of those pesky fly aways or heaven forbid blemishes #theyhappen!) and she may be popping in here on the blog soon so we can share/show off more of your images without waiting on me to be free to blog!

**Fun side note to add to Lisa’s headshot… her fiancé and I schemed a bit for that session and told her I needed to grab a couple headshots of her and could use a family model for our Christmas set last season so we got her in the studio photo-ready and AJ had a surprise question to ask. Spoiler alert #shesaidyes !!!

I’m so thankful to have these two talented women working alongside me to help continue to bring you the best possible portrait experience with top quality without delay. I am beyond thankful for each of you wonderful clients of mine who’ve been with me through the last decade from my small little basement in our sweet west end home to our Oreana home studio to our new studio space here to bring you more in every way that I can. You will never know how much you mean to our family when you trust me to create for you and I hope you’ll help me give these two ladies a very warm welcome to the SJP family as well.

| Courtney’s 2 Years as an SJP Senior Model / Influencer |

I really cannot believe that I’ve finished up sessions for our class of 2020 senior model/influencers. This class has been phenomenal and so much fun to work with and my favorite part is how many of them have been in the program for, not one, but TWO years.

One of those early add-ins to the group was Courtney and it’s been a real pleasure to create her photographs over this time and to get to watch her really blossom in her last few years of high school right in front of the camera. Ok I’m getting mushy but I swear these girls become young women right in front of my lens and it’s really such a wonderful part of my job that I get to be a part of that.

Alright, on with the images!!! Let’s take a look back at Courtney’s time over the past two years and a look inside her album which is now being beautifully printed and hand-bound and will be headed our way in just days.

Congratulations on graduation Courtney, I know you’ll do great in the next chapter too.

| Folasadé’s Custom Senior Session at her Family Home |

Folasadé’s session is my third at her family home and I love the chance to create images at a place that’s important to her to close the chapter on her childhood as she begins her journey as an adult. Plus… Winston! I swear this pup is the most chill and is constantly unphased by me and it makes me giggle. And he’s huge and just handsome as heck. And, obviously, Sadé is stunning!

And for some variety, we headed downtown for a more urban look too. I’m so excited the loved so many of her images and I’m a big fan of her final album design! The class of 2020 really was a fun class to work with despite all these curveballs at the end of their year.

Ready for your senior portrait experience? Learn more and book our most popular session directly online HERE.