**UPDATE** Use the code BETTERPHOTOS for 50% off Kelly's photo course for yourself. Code expires October 31, 2017.
While I stay home with my kids full time, I do not normally find that there is much extra free time in my day. There is certainly more time to accomplish housekeeping tasks and grocery shopping (things I do with kids in tow), but the things I do that interest me the most always happen after bedtime.
I also believe that it's critically important to hang onto your hobbies and interests, especially when you have small kids. Everyone knows the benefits of self-care, and cultivating your interests is a great way of taking care of yourself.
I personally have a few key interests, and those who know me well will immediately think of knitting. I do knit, a lot. Especially this time of year, with Christmas approaching. But, like most people, I do not have singular tastes. I have always owned a DSLR camera because I've always loved to take photos, and I've been fortunate enough to be close with several people who are exceptional photographers, so have been able to learn through osmosis. Until recently, I didn't put much effort into really improving the quality of my photos, but on our recent family trip to Italy, I found myself dismayed that I wasn't able to capture the beauty of what I saw around me. I couldn't take a good photo of literally amazing and incredible views.
Around the same time, Kelly Lawson was running a promo on her online photo course, and from our AirBnb in the middle of Tuscany with weak wifi, I bought it on my cell phone. When I got home, I devoured the course and immediately started to practice my skills. I literally cannot believe the difference in my pictures. It's shocking. My equipment has never changed, but the quality of my photos has significantly.
This has had an interesting side effect, in that I now want to take pictures all the time. The camera comes with me everywhere. I can barely keep it charged, or my SD cards cleared out. I'm always looking for new subjects, so lucky for me when we had some good news in the family. My sister-in-law got engaged over the weekend, and I convinced her and her fiancee to let me take some shots of them. It's not hard to make happy people look happy, but it is a thrill and privilege to shoot subjects other than my kids.