Yet again, this year I decided to let the girls pick costumes that resemble their personalities. My girls are the epitome of opposites, one is a perfectionist that likes pretty and sparkly things and the other likes to be goofy and silly most of the time. So their costume choices this year did not come as a surprise to me.
When my oldest daughter, Paisley, was 4 months old, I got this crazy idea to take photos of her in a tub of candy corn. Don’t ask, I have no idea!… But to this day, those photos definitely have a “sweet” spot in my heart. So of course, I had to reenact this photo-shoot with Payton, when she was 7 months old and yet again for Kensie who is now 6 months old. Each photo shoot has it’s own personalized touch, and it is so much fun to see their “sweet” personalities shine through.
One thing I learned through the years of doing this photo shoot is that the older the baby, the “sweeter” their sweet tooth! At 7 months old, Payton already had a desire for all things yummy and we had a heck of a time keeping the candy out of her mouth, where Paisley and Kensie just thought they were surrounded by toys to play with.
Over the last few months I’ve been blessed with more time to read due to cuddling a newborn! I decided to soak up some of our snuggles with tunes on in the background (John Mayer + James Morrison on Pandora) and cozying up with a good book. And in doing so, I have been blessed greatly by quiet time and books that have taken me along for journeys, life stories, laughter, tears and adventures.
6 of my favorite Recent Reads
Newborn photos… oh, the good and the bad! They are the most loved photos for documenting the beginning of your new babies life. And yet, they are dreaded by all post-labor moms who are still healing and still packing around the post-labor body weight! It’s generally recommended to take newborn photos within the first two weeks of life. “It’ll be easy”, they said. “The baby will be cooperative”, they said. Well, how bout the poor momma who still looks eight months preggo and is now sleep deprived?! This is the hardest stage for the exhausted momma and family, and yet this is what we do…. and it’s SO worth it!
[Words I live by: The only picture you’ll regret is the one you didn’t take!]
With all three of my girls, my newborn photos have been some of the most cherished photos to me, but looking at them always brings back the reminder of the craziness going on behind the scenes. The lack of sleep, the cooperation of older kids, the spit up, the blow outs, and all the things we do for a good photo… bribery, silly noises/faces/dances and of course the occasion threat… #goodtimes & #stillsoworthit!
So with all the exhaustion, how do you pull it off without sinking the ship altogether?! Word of advice from one mom to another… I have always tried to plan ahead in the last weeks of pregnancy and prep everyone’s outfits for this photo shoot. I highly recommend doing this, so when the day arrives to take these photos… You are not scrambling to pull something together in the craziness of newborn cluster feedings and exhaustion. Well in advance, and with a clear mind, I will hang all of our outfits in my closet, already ironed and ready to go! Why wait until your in survival mode to get prepared and set up?! Also moms, remember that your body is still in eight months pregnancy mode… So choose an outfit that will be flattering to your “still kinda pregnant” body, i.e… a maternity dress, a flowy blouse or a button down top usually work great.
With that being said, here are a few of our favorites! Third time around and I am still so thankful for these photos. Like I said, they are so worth it! They document where we are as a family when our sweet Kensie joined the crew.
Thank you La Brisa Photography for capturing our family in the comfort of our home. These photos will always be cherished! You are the best!
Our third little girl has joined the family our life has been nonstop ever since! Newborns love attention and want to be held and loved on ALL.THE.TIME. While this time is precious for me, it can be hard to do with two other kiddos running around the house. So my “to-do” list has become more of a “if I can get to it” list. One item on my list that kept getting pushed off was making Kensie’s birth announcements. We had beautiful pictures taken by the fabulous La Brisa Photography. The edited images were back in a jiffy and just waiting for me to make the announcement. In my mind, I thought it would be such a daunting, time consuming task. Which is ridiculous because with Shutterfly, it is such a quick, easy and painless creation! I should have made them sooner.
This post was in collaboration with Shutterfly. (#partner) I received some of these items in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. #MyShutterfly
Shutterfly is so easy to use and their quality and results are fabulous. I am a big fan! I was able to upload my beautiful newborn photos and create a photo card masterpiece in minutes. I was beyond thrilled with their card styles and options, that I actually found it hard to pick a favorite. I decided this time around to do something different and I created two cards to alleviate the pressure of choosing just one. I love that Shutterfly offers the opportunity to make each card your own, with the choice of card layouts, colors and fonts… It really is your own presonalized creation.
I made one card in a tri-fold/multi-sided style to give to my family members that want cuteness overload, and a more traditional 2-sided 6×8 photo card for our friends. Both birth announcements turned out fabulous and we couldn’t be more pleased!
: SHUTTERFLY BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENTS :
Girlie number 3 is six weeks new and I am living on caffeine and snuggles! Since we are in the newborn survival stage I thought it would be fun to share a few items that have kept ‘us’ going – items that both Kensie and I love. They are mostly nursing and sleep related because let’s face it, up until now that is all newbies do in the beginning. And if you recall from my previous posts, since we didn’t know her gender prior to birth, practically every item listed below has been 2-day shipped to my home via Amazon Prime. Lifesaver!
To give you a little back story, I have really struggled with nursing all three of my girls, and to say the first few weeks of nursing has been rough would be an understatement. Between the pain, engorgement, plugged ducts/mastitis, latching and what seems to be a never ending cycle of feeds… it is and has been an exhausting journey, again! But, I am hanging in there and the nursing/feeding items below are probably why. Don’t be afraid to admit it is hard, because it is… use whatever aids you need to get through! Not all nursing journeys are easy, so do your best to not doubt your body or be too hard on yourself. And yes, I need to be better at taking my own advice. Which is why I am sharing my ‘breast friends’ below!
This post is #sponsored by Kroger Family of Stores, but all thoughts and opinions are my own. #LoveMyFrys
For anyone that follows me, you know that I love Fry’s and that since having my third daughter I have especially become fond of their Fry’s ClickList grocery pick up. As an AZ resident, my family also loves Arizona Diamondbacks baseball. And yes, we are super excited about their first place start to this season! So you may be wondering… “What do Fry’s and the Diamondbacks have to do with each other?”… Well thankfully for people like me (and maybe you?), quite a bit! I just found out that these two loves of mine have united. Diamondbacks/Fry’s V.I.P Reward program allows you to purchase select items at any of the Kroger Family of Stores to earn Diamondbacks rewards. WIN-WIN!
Here’s how it works:
I don’t know about you, but mornings can be extremely hectic around our house! Now that my oldest daughter is in kindergarten, and a new baby is right around the corner, it’s time she steps up her “help mom out” game a bit more to help manage that chaos of our life! We just started Spring Break and I figured it was the perfect time for her to own a bit more responsibility around the house.
As a momma on the go, our days can be pretty unpredictable, so I decided to use a morning sticker chart to give her a routine. The goal is that she would choose to help out without always being asked or told to do so. Now that she is learning to read, responds well to positive affirmation and loves rewards, a sticker chart was the perfect option for us!
With baby #3 on the way, I am hoping that after 2 weeks of Spring Break, she will have her morning routine down and can carry it on into the rest of the school year, and hopefully create a sense of willingness to be a big helper for me when I’m busy with baby. My other secret goal is that our 3 year old will see her big sister earning stickers and want to join in on the fun too! WINS all around – A mom can dream! (I will keep you posted on the success of this secret goal!)
I created this sticker chart with just a few of the morning tasks that happen every day in our home. These are tasks that she can finish on her own, and she should be able to succeed in and be proud of! As she grows and matures over time, this sticker chart will look a little different. I also left a few bonus spots on the chart to add fun twists to her normal routine… Gotta keep her on her toes! I will keep a folder for her to save her finished charts in, so she can look back on all of the good that she accomplished/stickers received (insert visual affirmation) and if she makes it through each full chart for a whole week I will have a small prize waiting for her at the end (i.e.- new book, markers, candy, etc).
CLICK HERE FOR THE FREE STICKER CHART PRINTABLE –> Mommy’s Big Helper Chart
I hope this FREE PRINTABLE CHART comes in handy in your home as well, and our growing littles can begin to do their share and earn their keep. (JK, but seriously – haha!)
December is here so you know what that means… 2017 Christmas Card Season is upon us.
YAY for Happy Mail! 🙂
This year I decided to order our 2017 Christmas Cards through one of our favorite online stationery companies… Shutterfly! If you are a regular here at Espresso Ever After you already know how much I adore partnering with Shutterfly and all of their personalized options; they make beautiful and quality goods for all to love! To tell you the truth, this pregnancy has really slowed me down this year and I am so thankful that I can trust Shutterfly with this aspect of the holiday season. The tired mama in me wanted to skip the photos and the card making, but since Shutterfly was able to help me with the heavy lifting… It was worth it. Their online program is extremely user-friendly and their options this year are unique and creative. As usual I loved so many of them, that I had a hard time narrowing down my favorite card styles.
We went with a bright and colorful look for our photos this year, and I knew I wanted to pick a card that offered a happy and cheerful theme. When I found this 5×7 Gate Fold Card, I knew it was the winner. It offered multiple text areas, different sized photo slots, 2 types of paper styles and a fun flip-open effect. Thank you Shutterfly for always bringing a winner!
My girls love playing dress up and make believe, so picking out Halloween costumes every year has become an exciting time for all! This year I took my girls to the store and let their imaginations run wild. I gave them each the opportunity to pick out their favorite costumes and they both picked adorable and creative looks!