A Full Day and a Happy Heart

by guest contributor Shalonda Chaddock

You know it’s funny to think back about my life “pre-cheeks girls”, yes I had a full time job, yes I woke up every morning made myself oatmeal and coffee, put on a suit (yes I had to wear a suit everyday AND HEELS). I spent those days doing something oh so very important and oh so very “grown up”. The funny part is, when I think back to those days I don’t really remember too much about how I filled my days, in fact those hazey memories don’t even seem like they were actually my life. The everyday in and outs that have filled my weeks, months and years over the last 5.5 years, since I became a mommy, seem so much more significant, so much more important, so much more about someone else! Each day has been different and brings a new challenge and a new success…each day is a new memory I want to remember forever but will all too soon forget.

If you know anything about me you know over the last year and half I have become very passionate about photographers capturing their own everyday lives, and this is why. You see, your babies are not going to be babies forever. Wow that was kind of harsh wasn’t it, ha?!  But it’s the truth. As mom’s, we are busy, breakfast, swim lessons, lunch, naps, grocery store, laundry (well okay daddy cheeks does ALL of the laundry in our house), but we are just plain ol’ busy.

I’ll admit there are some days I “go through the motions” and head to bed exhausted only to realize I didn’t stop and love my life once that day. It’s okay we all have days like that, right?! But I challenge you to stop, pause for just a moment every day of your incredibly awesome, boring, crazy, chaotic life and breathe it all in.

Being a mommy is the best job anyone can have and being a photographer is the second…because YOU GET TO DOCUMENT IT! Sometimes it simply takes see’ing what you have to truly appreciate it. So the second part of the challenge is to capture one day of YOUR life, of your babies lives, of your family’s life from start to finish.

As you can see while my days aren’t filled with super important corporate meetings anymore, in fact it’s rare I even put mascara on anymore and I cant remember the last time I wore heels, ha, my days are now filled to the brim with MY LIFE. A life I love living.


The face behind Chubby Cheek Photography. Shalonda lives in Houston, TX with the love of her life, aka daddy cheeks, and her two gorgeous girls, cheeks #1 and cheeks #2. Despite her engineering degree from Texas A&M she started Chubby Cheek Photography 4 years ago and hasn’t looked back. Her love for creating and the carefree way children “see” life is truly the heart of her work and inspiration.


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Sarah R. - August 20, 2012 - 9:26 am

Shalonda – I absolutely love your style! Colorful yet creamy and slightly matte. Would you be willing to share a few tips on how to achieve this look?

shalonda - August 20, 2012 - 1:11 pm

hey Sarah R thanks so much for your sweet words…to answer your question…i am no photoshop guru, i know I’m lame, ha…i have only recently started shooting in raw after 4 years of shooting jpeg and loving it, but i was convinced to try raw again and i did…so honestly these images are very basic lightroom edits and then maybe some small tweaks in cs5 but there are no actions run on them which is why they are all a little different bc the lighting was different throughout our day. xoxo

Miranda - August 20, 2012 - 2:31 pm

LOVE this idea and your girls are so adorable! They remind me of my girls only slightly older. I have a 2 year old and a 4 year old! :)

Keith Moore - August 20, 2012 - 2:42 pm

Shalonda I felt like I got up and went to bed with the girls.It is such a blessing to see people inter-twine life and business. Your article was on spot and the pictures told a everyday story. Thanks for sharing and continue to inspire us with your stories and pictures. Sometimes simple is just the touch we need. Great work and great article,just like you stated these moments will be gone before we know it. Now they are eternal. LOVE your site/blog.

Barbara - August 20, 2012 - 2:44 pm

Shalonda, I love the way you document the girls lives not only the important stuff but the stuff they will love seeing when they get older. ie. the crazy trips to the grocery store, hanging on bars everywhere… they will be reminded of all your adventures. I am so proud of you and the wonderful Mom you are.

Marsais Urban - August 20, 2012 - 3:46 pm

Wonderful wonderful wonderful! What a great set of pictures! I love how you capture the everyday–wish I did that more with my son!

Mimi - August 20, 2012 - 8:41 pm

Once again my darling daughter, not only are you the most wonderful daughter,supermom,loving wife to an amazing husband but you are the most incredible photographer and writer. you are truly Blessed.

Kristina - September 30, 2012 - 9:23 am

I LOVE THIS POST! Thank you for reminding all of us to remember to document the every day, even what seems mundane.. because those are the memories that will bring the biggest smiles to our faces.

Crystal - June 28, 2013 - 2:20 pm

Thank you for your post! I really need to stop & document my children & this reminds me to do so. I need to keep the camera out more! Do you have a lens lineup? I was interested in what you used for the water shots assuming you were back a little. I am in the market…thinking about the 135mm, I shoot Canon 5D Mark III. :)

Katie - August 19, 2013 - 3:08 pm

Yes! I just started my photography business – last week! My first blog post was about capturing these everyday moments because they are going by way too fast! I love your images – so bright and crisp! Just beautiful.

Sasha Grigsby - October 15, 2013 - 9:22 am

I just LOVE the target photo!!! 😀 I have your BO from CM and I love following you in FB. You rock!!

Kelly Ingrassia - February 25, 2015 - 11:18 am

I love the lighting in each photo. Indoor lighting is something I struggle with. Can I ask how you got such bright consistent lighting?

Sara - July 21, 2015 - 10:10 am

I can totally relate! There are days when I can’t remember what I did an hour ago, and go to bed exhausted. I love the images!

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