Follow:
    Maternity Style, Pregnancy

    What I Packed In My Hospital Bag

    I am so excited for this post! Mostly because it’s one of my FAVE things to do to prepare for baby. I seriously love collecting and washing things and taking a night to get it all together. I also love reading posts and watching videos from other mamas about what’s in their hospital bags!

    I over packed big time with my first, under packed with Elle, and think I may finally have this whole hospital bag thing figured out.

    I won’t go into things too much as it’s all pretty self explanatory and I’ll be sure to link everything for you guys too! Also somethings aren’t pictured because I don’t have a nursing pillow yet and didn’t think you guys wanted to see my pads and big granny panties – but trust me, any mama knows,  those are like TOP priority as far as hospital packing goes. 😉

    Baby’s Bag

    I’m using my black Fawn Design bag for the baby’s hospital bag. I have the brown that I’m using as my current diaper bag but with all the pockets and compartments and backpack straps, it’s perfect for the hospital!

    In my last two experiences, the hospital provided a lot of what we needed so I tried to pack light and focus on the “fun stuff”. With Dex we ended up staying for a week (so we didn’t have near enough) and with Elle we were home 10 hours later so we didn’t need like anything. I packed for somewhere in between because you just never know.

    I packed:

    Cute announcement/photo outfit + bonnet/bows this floral gown is from Little Miss Dessa, which is one of my ALL time fave shops! I loved this fall floral and it’s so teeny tiny and perfect for newborn diaper changes. I also packed a bonnet (I died when I saw how small this thing is!) and tiny cream bow.

    Onesies and Pants (nb and 0-3 months) – These H&M kimono onesies and footed pants are our faves. We have had them with all three kids and love them for the first few weeks/months. I brought two onesies, two pairs of footie pants and also 2 plain white onesies as well for layering/blowouts/spitting up. I also packed 2 pairs of socks because it will be chilly when she arrives, a warm hat (not pictured) and a warm knit blanket for her car ride home.

    Swaddle Blankets – I use the hospital ones when we are there, but love having one of our own on hand too. This floral one by Kb Cute Designs is so beautiful and I couldn’t resist throwing it in there.

    Burp Cloth – Our hospital has these but I bring one just in case and also if we need it on the way home. We love these cloth diapers as burp cloths and have used them since Dexter was born. They are so inexpensive and absorbent.

    Diapers and wipes – Our hospital does provide these as well but I like to bring my own. I packed a couple of these Honest company ones .  I definitely like to use more natural products and like having these on hand for those first few days. I also pack our own wipes because I am obsessed with these! They are from a company called Water Pura and are 99% water and 1% fruit extract! It doesn’t get more gentle than that and with both my other kids having super sensitive skin, I like to use wipes I’m familiar with. I also brought some organic bum cream from Erbaviva (I could never say enough good things about their products and their stretch mark oil is the best ever) and some baby body oil from one of my fave brands K’Pure Naturals (another brand that I love so much – they have THE BEST natural deodorant I’ve ever tried!)

    Soother and Soother Clip – Dex took a soother, Elle did not, so I threw it in there just in case.

    Baby Book + Extras – We love Promptly Journals and I’ve been filling it out my whole pregnancy. I’m big into journaling and thought it might be good to have there to record any birth details or get her little foot prints done. I also packed this adorable little name tag (Also from Little Miss Dessa and on SALE) for her name/announcement photo.

    Mama’s Bag

    I’m bringing this duffel from Pacapod. I seriously LOVE their bags and how they not only make great and organized diaper bags, but also a perfect overnight bag or purse. This one is the Firenze in the colour Putty. 

    I packed:

    Clothing for at the hospital – I am probably MOST excited about this. Nothing like getting into some fresh and soft pj’s after all you go through to get that baby here. This mama bundle from Francis and Henry is perfect for new mamas (and would make an amazing gift). It includes a nursing/sleep dress, which is oversized and perfect for nursing, a head band to keep my mane out of my face, the most comfortable robe (not pictured because I love it SO much and am too afraid to bring it to the hospital) and a swaddle blanket for baby. Something about a fresh PJ reward after all that hard work makes me so exited and I can’t wait to snuggle up with our girl in this! I also packed a robe. This one is from Pink Blush Maternity and as I mentioned above, things can get a little….messy after the whole birth thing so I’m packing this for some photos we are hoping to take after she arrives. I thought this would be pretty and easy to throw on. I also pack a pair of slippers and a pair of flip flops.

    Going home outfit – Just a lose fitting t shirt, maternity leggings  and a comfy grey cardigan. I will usually layer a nursing tank under a tee but shooting this post made me realize I don’t have ANY nursing tanks and I’m running out to get some like tonight. I also packed my glasses, a couple pairs of socks, 2 nursing bras, and a fresh pack pack of loose cotton undies. I bring an extra pair of leggings and another cardigan or sweater just in case our stay is a little longer.

    Makeup and Toiletries – Okay full disclosure, I am beauty obsessed. I am crazy about beauty products and have been a professional makeup artist for 7 years and every time I give birth I swear I am going to pull myself together and do a little makeup and every single time I don’t wear a stitch of makeup the whole hospital stay. I pack it and have good intentions but then baby comes out and I’m like “I don’t have time for makeup – I have a baby to snuggle!”. Anyway – I’m totally packing a small makeup bag this time around and I’m sure I won’t use it but juuuust in case. I also bring lip balm, mini shampoo + conditioner, dry shampoo, deodorant, makeup remover wipes, nipple cream, nursing pads, body/hand lotion and some essential oils (I’ve been loving this shop).

    I packed a nursing/car seat cover from our friends The Over Company. This one is called The Haven (named after me!) and I love being able to have my nursing cover when visitors come by and also as a car seat cover to protect our sweet girl as we leave the hospital. I also bring a my own pillow (just make sure your pillow case isn’t white).

    I plan on grabbing our good camera, laptop and chargers, our letter board, some snacks and I’m sure a million other things I’m forgetting as I type this.

    Thanks so much for reading guys!

     

     

    Lifestyle, Maternity Style, Motherhood, Pregnancy, Style

    Maternity Photos and 39 Week Pregnancy Update.

    I can’t believe I’m writing my final update! THIRTY NINE WEEKS! Elle was already born by now but our little miss seems ultra cozy in there for now. The next update will be her arrival and it’s just so crazy when you get to the point of knowing, in at least 3 weeks, she will be here. I still can’t even picture it happening or her being here, but the waiting game is on! I’m so grateful and overwhelmed to have made it to this point. A healthy baby growing safe inside me. It’s a blessing I don’t take lightly and I’ll truly never understand why God has given me this gift and responsibility, or even thinks I’m semi-capable of raising these little people. I am so sad to see this pregnancy come to an end and at the same time so happy to meet our girl. The start of this pregnancy marked the end of a REALLY hard season in our lives and family and the joy and healing that preparing for her has brought has been the most beautiful gift.

    Phew enough bawling my eyes out – on to the update and a TON of photos (eeeeek!!!).

    Movement:
    Baby girl’s movements have changed the last couple weeks. Rather than kicks and punches, it’s been more like rolls and slow movements. I think she’s still feeling pretty cozy in there and I’ve got a feeling she’s going to go over 40 weeks.
     Total weight gain so far:
     I think I’m up to around 145 lbs. Which means I’ve gained around 35 lbs. I currently feel like I’m gaining like 5 lbs a day though.
    Favourite maternity clothes right now:
    I honestly barely have anything left that fits me but I have been living in maternity leggings, shirts/sweaters/cardigans from Pink Blush Maternity and still my Dwell and Slumber dress or my Pink Blush robe at night and around the house. Essentially, the leggings and tank top I slept in and something thrown over top – desperate times at 39 weeks.
    Stretch marks:
     I cant tell. I think I might have some around my belly button but everything is just so stretched I don’t think I’ll really know until after. Still using my fave stretch mark oil! I swear by this stuff!
    Sleep:
    Sleep has been a struggle. Mostly just that rolling over is like a 10 minute process of rolling, arranging pillows, getting comfortable, realizing I need to pee, going pee and then coming back and doing it all again. Also we got a new bed and mattress this week but need a box spring so we’ve been on our old mattress in our living room for the past couple of nights. Nothing like re-doing a room 39 weeks pregnant right?!
    Mood:
    Guys – SO STRESSED! Excited and tired and happy and hormonal and stressed! ALL of the emotions. All day long. I don’t know what’s come over me but legit, I cry daily. Sometimes because I am happy or watched a birth video, or just am thinking about this chapter ending. Sometimes because my husband threw out my cup of crushed ice that I had been waiting to eat and we don’t have any more ice left. So yeahhh, bit of a moving target right now. But honestly, I am feeling good. Physically really really good. Sometimes too good and I wonder if she’s ever coming out. This has been my “best/easiest” pregnancy of the three and I’m going to miss this time and my bump but I also don’t think I could be more excited to meet our baby girl!
    Favourite moment in the third trimester:
    There have been so many. Fall things with the family. Seeing her nursery come together. Doing maternity photos. Our girl flipping head down! The last couple of date nights with my husband before baby. So many good things the past couple of months.
    Most Challenging Moment: 
    For sure the most challenging moment has been dealing with her positioning. She has been breech and transverse and oblique all pregnancy and it’s been such a  stress for me. I think after having a vbac with Elle, I almost thought “phew, that mountain has been tackled. No more c-sections for me” (**I also want to clarify – there is NOTHING wrong with a c-section. I’ve had one. I am SO thankful for it. It brought me my son and I look back now with fondness however, my c-section was an emergency situation complete with NICU stay and subsequently, the death of our dog while we were in the hospital and truly one of the most traumatic times in my life. So the thought of it being on the table again dug a lot of that up – seriously maybe like PTSD or something but either way, the thought of a c-section for me is tied to some pretty stressful times. I plan on accepting and facing the birth of our girl with grace and courage no matter how it turns out – BUT I did want to make every attempt to get her flipped and avoid surgery this time around.) ANYYWAY – that was stressful. I mentioned it on my Instagram and was literally brought to tears (though it doesn’t take much these days) by the messages of support and encouragement and tips I received. I can’t say thanks enough if you were one of those people encouraging me and praying for me. She is flipped and while anything can still happen, I have a peace about it that I didn’t have before.
     Favourite Food: Ice! All I ever want to do is eat ice. How cliche right? But it’s true. I’ve also just totally given up and become obsessed with cranberry ginger ale, crunch berries cereal and baking these pumpkin chocolate chip muffins.  
    Symptoms: 
    My heart burn is still SO bad! It wakes me up at night. I saw a chiropractor and she said an adjustment could help with that (who knew!) and I think it did but not 100%. Other than that not much, I’m just slow and my legs and pelvis hurt if I stand too long.
    Nursery & Baby Gear Preparation: 
    Her nursery nook is done (other than a print we are waiting on) and I’ll be sharing it next week!
    Things I’m looking forward to: 
    Meeting our girl and seeing Dex and Elle with her! That’s it! Eye on the prize. Come to me baby!

    And here are our photos by Mint Photography! Natalie is my bestie and such a talented photographer. She’s taken our photos for years and every time I am more blown away than the time before. I had been feeling so crappy the three weeks before this and had wanted to just forget the whole thing but I am so glad we threw something together and I am so happy with how they turned out! I’ve never done photos this late in the game and thought I would feel more insecure  but I actually really love seeing the final full belly and having the last week or two of her in there captured.

    Thanks so much for reading! xo


    Family Life, Lifestyle

    Life Lately + Family Video | Fall 2017

    Dusting off the old blog because it might be a liitttttle much to post 10084947 pumpkin patch photos to Instagram. Happy fall guys! It’s finally here. This 39 week pregnant mama is loving the cooler temps and all the coziness and fun that this month brings. I’ve been away from the blog and social media a lot lately and thought I’d do a little life update. So much has been going on and I’ve had my head in the sand trying to manage it all but I think we are finally slowing down, getting in a groove and ready for the rest of the year and our new sis to arrive!

    September was a RIDE! Honestly my husband started teaching again, Dexter started homeschool and part time school two days a week, we desperately needed to find a new car after our original plan car fell through and I was nesting like a crazy person and decided we needed to paint the whole house and refresh the baseboards and purge ALL of the clutter and about 100 other “urgent” things. Needless to say, September was insane. BUT we made it through, didn’t get a car, started to learn and figure out what homeschool will look like for us, Dex is LOVING his 2 day a week school and I am LOVING the break and time alone with Elle.

    October we were excited to actually see other human beings and maybe get outside a little more often. It’s our favoruite month and we couldn’t wait for all the fall fun, especially because it’s the last pumpkin picking/apple picking/halloween as a family of four! Well we started off the month with a stomach flu, which turned into a colds for everyone that are (halfway through October) still hanging on. We did finally find a car!!!! Just in time too! We were deciding between a van and a three row SUV and I asked on Instagram and got such good insight and opinions. We ended up going with a Ford Flex (3 row suv) and so far, couldn’t be happier. I am loving my little mom-mobile and we have so much more room for all three kids! We had been struggling so hard to find the right car and even thought we had found one, and drove three hours to pick it up, only for it to fall through. We were so confused and worried that it wouldn’t happen in time for the new baby and then when we found the car we got we knew it was the right one for us. It’s always interesting to me how we take these things into our own hands and try to hold tighter and control and plan plan plan, when God has it all worked out and his timing and (in this case) car was and is so much better than anything else we could have hoped for.

    This past weekend, even though we all still have coughs we were finally able to get out as a family and do ALL the fall things we’ve been dying to do. We pumpkin patched, we apple picked, we did a long fall drive and made apple crisp for some friends when we got home. It was such a great weekend and around this time in pregnancy, as each weekend passes, I wonder if it will be our last as a family of four.

    Aaaand a little video because I looove making and watching these back! Something about all their little mannerisms. I couldn’t help but see Dex as such a big boy watching this back. I think back to our first time at this pumpkin patch with him, he was just over a month old, and now he lifts all the pumpkins, pulls the wagon around, knows how much each one is, and pays the woman at the end of it all. Becoming a young man slowly (SUPER slowly 😉 right before my eyes.

     

    Thanks so much for reading!

    Happy fall!

     

     

     

     

     

    Blogging, Family Life

    How I Balance Blogging and Motherhood | #THEMOMBLOGCOLLECTIVE Week 4

    Welcome back to another post in our Mom Blog Collective Series! If you’re new here, here’s the scoop. Once a month, our group of amazing and inspiring mamas will answer the same set of questions to do with blogging, Instagram, photography, collaborations, sponsored posts, balancing it all with motherhood, and more. We each have different perspectives and different opinions, so this is a fun way to learn from one another. We hope you’ll join along! Check out the hashtag #themomblogcollective to see everyone on Instagram, and I will also link you to all of the amazing blog posts here at the bottom of my post!

    If this is your first time checking out the series, and you’d like to get caught up from the beginning, you can check out weeks ONE, TWO and THREE here.

    Sooo. We might have missed a couple weeks of this series. Life happens, things come up and sometimes, the old blog needs to be put on the back burner for a minute. This is kind of ironic this week because we are talking about that mythical unicorn of a idea called…BALANCE! Whenever I hear or get asked about balance, I laugh. As a mom, it’s something I’ve just learned is a moving target and something you want and wonder how other people do, but can’t seem to manage any kind of balance in your own life. It didn’t surprise us when we were planning this series that some of the most asked questions among our little blogger group was “How do you find time to blog?” , “How do you balance it all?” and the most hilarious, “How do you DO IT ALL?” (hahahahaha – come see my house, I don’t do it all, I don’t do like even half.)

    That being said, wanting to take on another commitment such as blogging or Instagram, does take some level or organization and priority. It’s not always a consistent balance but we do put in some effort in order to be able to achieve our goals when it comes to our blogs or businesses. Today we are sharing some of the popular questions we get asked about this topic and hopefully it will a) remind you that even when it looks like someone has all this time, or does it ALL, they just don’t and b) inspire you to reach and maybe try something new or see how you might be able to “balance” taking on a blog or business!

    1. How often do you post on Instagram? Oh how I wish I had an inspiring or consistent answer to this question (or even took my own advice). I KNOW it’s like THE best and most direct way to grow your Instagram following, get your photos seen more etc etc BUT I just can not manage posting daily. How often I post directly coincides with how I’m feeling and whatever else is going on in my life. Currently, I’m 37 weeks pregnant and so tired that I’m lucky if I manage 2 times a week. When I was feeling like a million bucks in my second trimester, it was probably more like 4-5 times a week. The truth is, I’ve learned where Instagram is on my priority list, I love it and it absolutely matters to me, but it’s easy for me to tell when there are things going on that are more important and I do not feel guilty for not posting enough or anything like that. My blog is the same, it’s a diary for me and a way to document my family life and the photos we take. At this point in my life, I post when I feel inspired and have something to post. I’ve done the whole “I MUST blog 3x a week thing” before and in the end, I wasn’t always proud or inspired by the content I was putting out.
    2. When do you find time to blog/post? I save all of my blogging/posting until the kids are either napping/Dex is at school or after bedtime. That’s just the best thing for everyone in our family. Occasionally, I’ll take a couple hours at Starbucks on the weekend or one night a week to knock out emails and a post or two. I usually photograph when the kids are around. Either I include them and try to work them into whatever I want to post and make it fun (a picnic, jumping on my bed, something like that). If it’s a more involved IG post, I’ll write my caption in advance ( I make a note in my phone).  I usually have a minute or two to post a photo and don’t want to have to worry about writing, spell checking, and coming up with a caption. If it’s something simple or in the moment, I’ll throw up an emoji and call it a day.
    3. How do you manage your time and do it all? We’ve already established that I don’t even come close to doing it all so I’m not even going to go into that one haha. And in addition to that, I’m not the best at time management either sooo there’s that. What I’ve learned, in every area of life, not just IG/blogging/social media, is that something is always sacrificed. We can’t do it all. Especially as moms, it’s almost impossible to even have amazing time management skills because there is just more to be managed than there is time. I have a week where my home looks amazing, I meal planned, my emails are all caught up BUT I didn’t spend a lot of time with friends. Another week, I really played with my kids, got so much done with our homeschool, blogged and posted to IG 4 times but all of our library books are overdue, I have 50 emails in in inbox and I am desperate for a date with my husband. Something my husband and I have started doing to help with time management is a Sunday Meeting. We meet Sunday night, usually just at the kitchen table or our couch and go over the week. Our schedules, we plan some homeschool together, I tell him when I need him for help with photos/blog/IG stuff, we schedule in family time, meal plan, any big cleaning or projects that need to be done, stuff like that. We just implemented that in September and it has helped so much. So if there is something you want to get into or start, even if it seems silly (like me asking Zach to take some photos for me on Thursday at 2pm) the only way it’s going to happen is if you at least try to make it a priority. Writing it down and telling someone else about it helps! Don’t be afraid to add something, see how it goes, and play around until you find a balance and what works.
    4. How many collaborations do you take on a week/month? So for me, collaborations are a way for me to make some extra money, doing something I already love doing and stay home with my kids. For some mamas, this question might be “how many photoshoots do you take on”, “how many conference calls” etc. I don’t have a weekly or monthly limit because to be honest, I don’t do that many collaborations. I take the ones I really believe in, love the product or want to support and turn down anything I know isn’t a good fit. I will also turn down (for now) any collaboration inquiries that I know I won’t be able to deliver on. It’s not only stressful to you, to have this item sitting there staring at you and you can’t find time or the inspiration to post, it’s really not fair to the brand/shop/company that put effort into that item, sent it to you and is now waiting for a post/return on investment. So, even if I love an item and really am dying to work with a shop, I will circle back when I know I have the time to commit. I feel like this whole question is just personal preference and depends a lot on the time you have to dedicate to whatever way you choose to provide for your family. You will know VERY quickly when you’ve taken on too many collabs and it can be stressful so my advice is to start slow and be very selective.

    That’s it for this topic!

    Let me know any other questions you have in this area for me and I’ll be sure to answer them! Again, I’m not the most organized or balanced person in the world and my time management skills need some work, but I give myself grace and try my best to keep dreaming and setting goals (even super small silly ones) because forward motion and progress is my goal not “post to IG x amount of times a week” or “take on x number of collabs”. There will be a day and a season where my goals can get bigger and my time gets easier to manage but for now, I’ve got two adorable kids, a husband to love on and a baby to grow and that’s my number one. I don’t want to let go of the things and hobbies and passions I love, so I hold onto them in little ways, knowing that they are still there and that I’m doing my best.

    Annnnd some totally off topic apple picking family photos because we finally went but all we had was an iphone 5 (because my super awesome iphone 6 died at 50%) and it was raining but they still bring me so much joy!

     

     

    My sweater / My diaper bag

    Thanks for reading guys and be sure to check out the other amazing mamas involved in this series!

    occasionallyperfectstyle.com | @occasionally_perfect

    thelovedesignedlife.com | @thelovedesignedlife

    koleimpressions.com | @steph__pollock

    hellobabybrown.com | @hellobabybrown

    mrsseacannon.com | @mrsseacannon

    cultivatemotherhood.com | @cultivatemotherhood

    www.ashleynoel.life | @_ashley_noel_

    our guests this week:

    henaandcompany.com | @henaandco

    momwifefoodie.com | @momwifefoodie

    amandapahls.com | @amandapahls

     

    Blogging

    Tips for Better Instagram Photos + A Cohesive Feed | #THEMOMBLOGCOLLECTIVE Week 3

    Hey guys! Back again for our THIRD installment in #themomblogcollective series! Today is one of my faves! We are chatting about Instagram photography and achieving that cohesive look to your feed! This is something I am always playing with and working on and I love hearing how other people take, edit and plan their photos! So let’s get right into the questions.

    Share a little about your Instagram feed and style. What look do you go for and why?

    I don’t even know how to describe my feed! It’s something I’m always working on and tweaking sightly. I know what I WANT it to be, but it doesn’t always (or ever) come out that way for very long. This is a classic example of being our own worst critic. I’ve reached out to someone in the past to ask them for editing tips/how they got their feed so smooth – and they were like “WHO ME? I hate my feed! I love yours!” and we had a good laugh!

    I do like to go for bright, clean images. I like to keep the same colour scheme in my feed which right now is bright white, grey, soft pinks, greenery, and some brown/beige. I like to keep most of my photos white but honestly doing that for every photo is completely exhausting to me and I find it stifles my creativity. I never want to love a photo so much and want to share it, but hold it back because it doesn’t “match” so I try not to get too themey with it. I do the same editing on every photo so thats how I try to achieve a themed look. Some of my fave feeds include lots of colour and different styles of photos but the same editing throughout and I LOVE how that looks. (here are some examples – Ginger, Kaley, & Chrissy). I love how their feeds still have a look and a theme, but they aren’t afraid of lots of colour or grassy photos and I feel like you get a genuine look at their lives – not just plain white wall after plain white wall.

    How do you create a cohesive feed on Instagram?

    Step one in a cohesive feed is taking the RIGHT photos. I recommend taking photos in natural lighting only. A natural light photo will never look cohesive next to a photo you took at night with the light on.

    Next is choosing a filter. As I mentioned above, using the same filter(s) on every photo is the best thing you can do! Some people switch between two or three similar filters, I just use one (more on that later). I love using the Copy/Paste Edits function in VSCO. If you have a photo of yours that you love the edit on, you can copy those edits, apply them to another photo and then just make small tweaks from there to fix exposure, warmth, etc.

    As nice as it is to have a filter to slap on and call it a day, I recommend finding something that sets you apart a bit. A small, unique edit that is yours. There are only so many filters out there and a lot of the same ones come up a lot so find something to make your audience KNOW without reading the name that they are looking at one of your photos. Maybe you really cool things down, mix 2 filters, apply a slight pink tone, up the fade a lot for a lower contrast look, anything to make it your own.

    Last thing. Feed planning apps like Snug, UNUM or Planoly are so helpful for achieving a cohesive feed and being able to see how it all looks together before you post.

    What do you use to take your photos and how do you typically edit them?

    I take all of my photos with my iphone 6s. I have a DSLR but honestly hate carrying it around and like the convenience and organic (messy/grainy) look of iphone photos when it comes to Instagram.

    For editing I use a mix of apps. My faves being VSCO, Snapseed and Facetune.

    I always start in VSCO and throw a filter on it. I’d say 90% of the time I use A6, but have done S2 or HB2 on some photos if I was feeling it. Sometimes, the stars align and the photo looks great just like that. I save it and upload it and I’m done. Most of the time it needs a little more work. Still in VSCO, I usually play with the exposure a bit, I always sharpen, I up the warmth, drop the skintone, and add a bit of tint (which gives the image a slight pink tone). I also sometimes drop the saturation if the image has a ton of colour or up the contrast if it needs it. I know that seems like a lot but at this point it’s second nature to me and takes me about a minute. If it still needs some work, I’ll take it into Snapseed and use the select tool to brighten/expose a certain area of the image. I also love the dodge and burn brush if I’m still seeing any yellow or shaddowy spots. I use Facetune for the patch tool to remove anything I don’t want in the photo (gum stuck on the ground, food on my kids faces, a stain on their shirt, stuff like that).

    How do you get your kids to participate/smile for the camera?

    This question makes me laugh. My kids have gone through stages of loving having their photos taken and also running away as soon as my phone comes out. To be honest, about 2 years ago, I used to care so much about Dex being in photos and I just wanted him to enjoy it. I would feel so frustrated when all he wanted to do was run away from me.  After a particularly stressful shoot, I decided I was just done with it and wasn’t going to force it anymore. From then on, when we are planning on shooting something, we do one of two things. We either shoot something natural like a picnic, or the kids being as silly as they want. This way there’s no “smile” or pose required. Just have an actual picnic and we will document that! We also now ask Dex if he wants to be in it or not. Sometimes he says no, and we respect that and Elle (who still LOVES getting her picture getting taken and would yell “mommmmyyyy” the whole time if we didn’t have her in it) and I will snap a few shots. If the kids just aren’t feeling it that day, we just say “not today” and move on from it as fast as possible,or I’ll be in the picture alone (always awkward but better than arguing with two toddlers). It’s just too stressful and not fun trying to force a photo and then in the end none of them work out anyway so we’ve found what works and it usually only takes a couple minutes and then we are done.

    What photos of yours tend to do well? What do your followers really respond to?

    I don’t know if I’ve figured this one out yet. I know you guys love seeing photos of my belly these days haha and I can’t blame you, I LOVE belly pics! I think photos taken in my home tend to do well too – I think it’s just personal and real and people respond well to that. Also really bright, white, clear photos with context/lots going on, tend to do better for me than just me or just my kids and a really plain background. I’m still learning this and always trying new photos and trying to get creative in that way so it’s not just the same photos over and over again.

    Thanks so much for reading!

    Be sure to check out the other mamas in this series my clicking their blog links below!