Helping The Border Crisis With Dreamy Baby Photography

I’m interrupting the regularly scheduled blog programming to share a special message. Without going into too much detail, since I’m sure all our hearts have had enough, the crisis at the border was weighing on me heavily yesterday. I can’t fathom a situation so horrible that I’d risk my life AND my child’s life so dangerously in the hopes that things would get better. That’s a privilege I am lucky to have. Others are not so lucky. We should not be punishing these people. We should be trying to find ways to help. I hope that if I was ever so desperate to save my child, that things would finally start to look up for me on the other side. 

From today until July 4, I’ll be donating $20 from each sale of my Dreamy Baby Photography course to RAICES. By enrolling, you’ll not only be able to learn to take photos of your own baby, but be able to help a mother reunite with hers. That’s a donation of over 50% of the proceeds. I created this course with the dream of helping mothers. By donating, together we’ll be able to help the mothers that need it the most. 

Instead, these people are met with force and punished, their children taken away from them and not given proper care. There are young children taking care of babies. There are kids without access to nutritional food, clean clothes, a toothbrush or even soap! The list of atrocities seems to keep growing, but I think the fact that children are dying in these conditions should be setting off major alarms for people. This is not ok. None of this ok. 

There isn’t much I can currently do to help, and so I thought about ways in which I could help, even in a minor way. 

From today until July 4, I’ll be donating $20 from each sale of my Dreamy Baby Photography course to RAICES. By enrolling, you’ll not only be able to learn to take photos of your own baby, but be able to help a mother reunite with hers. That’s a donation of over 50% of the proceeds. I created this course with the dream of helping mothers. By donating, together we’ll be able to help the mothers that need it the most. 

By purchasing the course, you’ll be making a $20 donation to help the crisis at the border. To purchase the course, visit this link. If you don’t have a baby but still want to help, you can forward the link to someone that does or share it on social media. If you have the means and want to donate directly to RAICES, click here. I donated $10 last night, but I felt like I wanted to do more. Alternatively, you can donate to Together Rising, who says “Every penny we receive from your personal donation goes to people in need” by clicking here. I saw that most of their donations were only small amounts like $5 but they still managed to raise 2 million dollars!

Disclaimer: Because the donation will be made ASAP, any course refunds during this period will only be for the value of the course minus the donation. The usual donation to March of Dimes will be placed on hold until after July 4. 

Loving your child is universal. It knows no race, religion, or bounds. I’m sure many of us would risk our own lives to save our children, doing anything we could to help them. So please, imagine the torture these families are going through. Parents don’t know where their children are. Children are abandoned and alone, dirty, hungry and crying. We need to help them however we can. Please donate now to help these families in need.

The Dreamy Baby Photography Course is LIVE!

If you’ve been trying to take better photos of your baby…. have I got the perfect thing for you! I’m creating a baby photography course and it’s now available for pre-sale! I’ve been wanting to launch this for several months now and I am so excited that it’s happening! I’ve been working on baby photography since Hailey was born and I know all mommas want better photos of their babes, so I’ve been taking notes so I can teach my ways to you! I’ll also be answering some FAQ below.

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Why did you create this DIY baby photography course?

Great question! When we took Hailey for her newborn photoshoot, it left a lot to be desired. I decided that I wanted to take better photos of her and I wanted to take them more often than just the milestones. So, I started learning more about photography and applying these new skills to taking pictures of the baby!

Will I learn how to take my own newborn photos?

Yes! There’s a module all about newborn photos! I’ll teach you what I learned from taking photos of Hailey plus another newborn session I did! They’re only that tiny once, so it’s important to capture those little details and to do it right the first time.

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Do I need a fancy camera, or can I just use my cell phone?

No matter what equipment you’re using, I’ll show you the basic principles that will take your photography to the next level! If you’re using a fancy camera, I’ll teach you how to get off automatic mode so that you can get the very best pictures possible.

Can I get this for a mother’s day or baby shower gift?

Yes! You can either use the person’s email address to send them the course right away, or use yours and update it once you’re ready to give them the gift. It’s really easy to change the email address by going to your account and updating it.

I’m so busy- will I even have time to learn this stuff?

Yes! One of the very first lessons will show you how to find time to watch these videos. Plus, my system is quick and easy so that you’re only taking a few minutes to set up plus how to find the perfect time of day for ideal lighting. Then, you snap pictures for as long as you want! Editing is quick and easy with my method, which I’ll teach you step by step.

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That picture up there? It’s a cell phone picture I snapped of Hailey in the moment! Nothing fancy was done when I took it- she just looked cute so I snapped a pic. Then I edited it so that it was well-lit and dreamy. Which picture would you rather have- dark and dreary or bright and airy?! I’ll also add that this course will teach you how to edit your photos WITHOUT those fancy presets that get advertised. Instead of putting a band-aid over your photos, I’ll be teaching you how to take better photos AND how to edit all of them to look amazing.

So, don’t dawdle! Head over now to enroll in the course and start taking better photos of your baby today! The course is affordable and for every sale, I’ll be donating $1 to March of Dimes. If you have any other questions, pop them below and I’ll be sure to answer them ASAP!


Gentle Mommy Blogging: Avoiding Accidental Child Exploitation

I was on buzzfeed the other night (spending my time taking useless quizzes) when I stumbled down a rabbit hole and ended up reading several articles about mommy bloggers exploiting their children. This new internet thing we have going on has made all the lines blurry and I’m left wondering if I’m doing the right thing. Being a mom seems to be second-guessing everything you thought you knew, and I’m not about to break tradition. 

When you’re learning how to become a mommy blogger, how do you avoid accidentally exploiting your kids for likes? I’ve got some advice on kids and social media, plus some questions to ask yourself. Click to see how to protect your children from yourself. #mommyblogger #momblogs

Let’s backtrack a little bit. Hailey is the light of my life and I absolutely love her. This makes me share about her, a lot. I do monthly updates on the blog and take monthly photos of her (in addition to daily cell phone pics... there are thousands of those already!). I do all this because I love her and I want to have these memories someday. So I can look back at great photos and comment on how tiny she is. I already do this with her newborn photos and 1 month photos, so I can’t imagine how I’ll feel when she’s a teenager. 


I recently did a blog post for a brand where I created some really stinking cute magnets. I dressed Hailey up in pink and red outfits and snapped some adorable pics, which I then printed on magnets. These became the basis of my blog post. After I took the final photos, I giggled and proclaimed to friends via text that Hailey was a model. But... do I want my daughter to be a model? I don’t know. I can’t say I do in the traditional sense, but is it different when I’m the one behind the camera, making the decisions? Is she safer that way? There’s no real answer to that question. 

When you’re learning how to become a mommy blogger, how do you avoid accidentally exploiting your kids for likes? I’ve got some advice on kids and social media, plus some questions to ask yourself. Click to see how to protect your children from yourself. #mommyblogger #momblogs

I find myself now exploring the line between “loving mother” and “exploitative mommy blogger”. At what point does my desire to share her pictures and stories cross the line into embarrassing TMI? How do I avoid inadvertently exploiting my child, when all I want to do is share her with the world? The answer could be simple- don’t share her in any commercial capacity. Or don’t share her at all. But how can I hide such an important part of my life? Is it ok to have her join me in campaigns for a “mommy and me”, business edition? Is it ok only when my husband agrees? Is it acceptable only if I pay her for her work? I don’t really know. 

My job as her mom, first and foremost, is to protect her. In this crazy, fucked up world, do we as parents need to be more careful with our children on social media? We aren’t talking about sharing a story with a friendly old lady at the park, or your mom telling her neighbor the funny thing your kid did. We’re talking full-on photos and video (with commentary) being shared to that guy you went to college with and never speak to anymore. And that former coworker from 2 jobs ago that you barely know. And the chick you befriended at a bar 4 years back that posts funny memes. Are these strangers (let’s call them what they are!) people we really want to know all about our children? Or, more importantly, does it matter that they see it, or is it fine since they just scroll on past your pics because they probably don’t care anyway? 

When you’re learning how to become a mommy blogger, how do you avoid accidentally exploiting your kids for likes? I’ve got some advice on kids and social media, plus some questions to ask yourself. Click to see how to protect your children from yourself. #mommyblogger #momblogs

When I think about what I want for my child, some days I feel like it’s the opposite of what I’m doing. That whole “practice what you preach” thing is going out the window. I don’t want her to be obsessed with her looks and yet I dress us both up for photos. I don’t want her to be obsessed with screen time and yet all I do is watch tv. I want her to have face-to-face interaction in a world full of likes and LOLs, and yet I spend most of my time on my phone. I try to create a balance, but it’s hard to know where the line is between laying a good foundation and crazy, neurotic new-age mom.

When you’re learning how to become a mommy blogger, how do you avoid accidentally exploiting your kids for likes? I’ve got some advice on kids and social media, plus some questions to ask yourself. Click to see how to protect your children from yourself. #mommyblogger #momblogs

Those articles didn’t open my eyes to these things, because I was already thinking it. They just forced me to confront my thoughts finally. In reading these scary articles, it caused me to see a tiny sliver of myself in these people. I couldn’t judge them too harshly because I understood what they were saying. What they were actually saying... not what the articles were trying to vilify them for. 

Using your child for your social media business is a double edged sword. On the one hand, you’re using your child to gain an income. But on the other hand, in doing so, you’re able to provide them with things they might not be able to have otherwise. I’m not talking about free swag, money for vacations, or even a nice home. I’m talking about quality time with them instead of hiring a nanny or putting them in daycare, showing them how you work hard to run your business, and being available at a moment’s notice for them because your flexible schedule allows it. These are things that most traditional jobs do not provide us. 

If it wasn’t for my efforts on my blog, being at home with Hailey would be absolutely out of the question. We cannot afford it, period. She most likely would be in daycare (at least part time) since both my mom and mother-in-law work. She wouldn’t be waking up to my face every after nap, breastfeeding for every meal, and hearing me sing terribly to her just for a smile. Someday I’ll tell her about how I spent all day playing with her with tears in my eyes full of joy, and then after she went to bed spent an hour feeling happy that I had a break, then would immediately miss her and look at her photos. I’ll tell her all about how I had tears in my eyes at night once again, as I worked from 10pm to 2 or 3 am. All the while looking at her photo and telling her I’m doing this for her. Telling her I KNOW I can do this. 

When you’re learning how to become a mommy blogger, how do you avoid accidentally exploiting your kids for likes? I’ve got some advice on kids and social media, plus some questions to ask yourself. Click to see how to protect your children from yourself. #mommyblogger #momblogs

So you tell me- where does the line get drawn? How do I know I’m doing right by my child? The area is gray and I don’t want to open myself up to hatred and extreme criticism, but I genuinely want to know what people think about this. How do you share your children on social media? Perhaps through kind discussions, we can find the safe middle ground for all our children that doesn’t scar them for life. 

Tummy Time fun (for less than $25!)

Hailey’s been rolling over (a lot) and she seems to be on her tummy a lot more lately! It’s really adorable to watch her do it, but also a little scary when I turn around for a second and all of a sudden she’s flipped on her tummy on the floor, her changing pad, in the crib… I’ve definitely got to keep my eyes on her! Since tummy time is really important for her development, I decided to make tummy time as fun as possible. I wanted a fun toy for her that allowed her to play and explore instead of just staring around and eventually crying. And, since I’m not working right now I needed something that didn’t break the bank.

*This post contains affiliate links

Make tummy time more fun for baby with this water toy! It’s a great baby shower gift idea and perfect for playing with baby. Click to learn more about this baby list must-have item! #tummytime #tummytimeproducts #bestbabyproducts

I went onto Amazon and found this tummy time water mat and knew I had to give it a try. The mat comes folded up, and you fill it yourself with air and water. This means it’s really compact when it’s not in use, and for only $22 you can’t go wrong! There are a few more affordable options (see below) but I picked this one because it seemed like a good size and had good reviews. I didn’t want it leaking water everywhere! 

Make tummy time more fun for baby with this water toy! It’s a great baby shower gift idea and perfect for playing with baby. Click to learn more about this baby list must-have item! #tummytime #tummytimeproducts #bestbabyproducts

A lot of the reviews complain about a smell, but in the words of my husband “it pretty much smells like a beach ball would”. You could definitely air it out if you wanted to, but I didn’t feel it was overpowering or anything. Plus, the baby didn’t seem affected. That being said, the smell was much stronger when we closed it in our baby’s room, so I’d recommend storing it somewhere else.

Make tummy time more fun for baby with this water toy! It’s a great baby shower gift idea and perfect for playing with baby. Click to learn more about this baby list must-have item! #tummytime #tummytimeproducts #bestbabyproducts

As for storage, I keep it filled since I’ve been using it everyday. I’m nervous to leave it on the floor unattended (if it leaks that’s a LOT of water!) so I’ve been storing it in the bathtub when not in use- works perfectly for keeping it clean and safe from my 3 cats and new puppy.

Make tummy time more fun for baby with this water toy! It’s a great baby shower gift idea and perfect for playing with baby. Click to learn more about this baby list must-have item! #tummytime #tummytimeproducts #bestbabyproducts

Hailey’s still getting the hang of it, but she seems to love when I press down and the water sloshes around so the little foam sea animals “swim” across the water. She’s been very observant lately, so she loves studying all the different colors and images on the mat. It’s also comfy for lounging apparently, because she always takes a rest on it. And another added bonus is that tummy time often leads to lots of saliva and spitting up, and with this mat it just gets wiped right off! One less thing to launder is a win in my book. I use these baby-safe wipes to clean it off before and after use :)

Make tummy time more fun for baby with this water toy! It’s a great baby shower gift idea and perfect for playing with baby. Click to learn more about this baby list must-have item! #tummytime #tummytimeproducts #bestbabyproducts
Make tummy time more fun for baby with this water toy! It’s a great baby shower gift idea and perfect for playing with baby. Click to learn more about this baby list must-have item! #tummytime #tummytimeproducts #bestbabyproducts

As mentioned above, I got this mat because of the good reviews and larger size. They also have a pastel version for under $12, a round one for less than $10 and a mini one for less than $6, which is perfect for small apartments or those that don’t have a lot of space! I was soooo close to buying the pretty pastel one but I opted for the larger size and better reviews with the one I ended up getting.

No matter which mat you get, baby is sure to love playing around and watching the little items move inside the water. Grab one today to start your tummy time fun!

Hailey's 4 Month Update

I need to get better about posting these updates on time, but on January 28th Hailey turned 4 months old! Time flies and we’re about to do her 5 month update in just over a week and I’m wondering where the time went. Let’s see what this cute little cabbage patch has been up to!

Hailey’s 4 month update is now on the blog! Learn about all the new things she did this month.

At four months old, Hailey is 13 lbs and 23.5 inches tall. She’s wearing size 3-6 months clothes. She’s outgrowing her second set of clothes, the 0-3 month ones and getting better and smarter each day!

Hailey’s 4 month update is now on the blog! Learn about all the new things she did this month.

Crawling/swimming

Hailey’s fun party trick is swimming on her belly from dad to mom. She’ll be on Johns lap and decide she wants me. So she tips herself forward, goes onto her belly and wildly kicks and flails around to get over to me (I’m usually right next to John). He’s put his hand behind her feet to give her something to push off of and she ventures over to me, slobbering on John’s arm the entire way. 

Hailey’s 4 month update is now on the blog! Learn about all the new things she did this month.

Found her foot

Hailey found her foot! I had her on my lap and she looked down and saw a fox foot on her pjs. She was interested in it (step 1 of finding her foot) and then was wiggling it around and seemed shocked she made it move! (Step 2 of finding her foot). It was actually the cutest thing to witness as she pieced it all together. 

Hailey’s 4 month update is now on the blog! Learn about all the new things she did this month.

Throw up monster

Ugh this month Hailey’s been spitting up like crazyyyy and it’s been super fun. We’re going through burp cloths like crazy. One day, she burped and kinda threw up but it was literally across the entire back of the couch cushion, all over the burp cloth and all down my back too! That was fun to clean up but lucky I had spot and stain upholstery cleaner so it didn’t even leave a stain!

Hailey’s 4 month update is now on the blog! Learn about all the new things she did this month.

Great sleeper

This month was a shocker since Hailey has been sleeping at night more than most babies her age- 10, 12 sometimes even 14 hours! It was hugely helpful since I got to do work at night (hallelujah!) but also still get a full night’s rest. She also started going to sleep more easily since she’s found her thumb, and instead of 2+ hours nighttime routine, it only takes about 30 minutes. 

Hailey’s 4 month update is now on the blog! Learn about all the new things she did this month.

Bouncer/Jumper

I think part of the reason she’s going to bed so easily is that we set up her bouncer and she jumps all day long! She’s pretty much sitting in there if she’s not eating or napping and she loves it. At first she just hung there but after teaching her to bounce and putting a book under her feet so she could reach the ground, she go the hang of it and hasn’t stopped bouncing since. We have the Finding Nemo jumper because I figured if it had to be technicolor, it may as well be something I liked. But, my friend has this one from Skip Hop which also turns into a table and chalkboard when they get bigger and I loveeeee how simple and clean it looks! I wish I had found it first because I definitely would have picked that one.

Laughing

Ugh be still my heart. Hailey finally started laughing and it’s the cutest thing everrrr. She really doesn’t laugh that often but I spend all my time trying to get her to giggle. I think she takes after her father- he doesn’t laugh all that much, while I laugh at everything. While it can be frustrating to try and make her laugh but only having her stare at me in return, it makes those few giggles I do get extra-precious. 

Hailey’s 4 month update is now on the blog! Learn about all the new things she did this month.

Crying at strangers

I used to be able to hand Hailey off to anyone and everyone, but not anymore! Now when people come over and try to hold her, she freaks out. She’s always looking to me for comfort and to assess if the person is a friend or foe. I still can’t believe that she’s my baby and I’m her mom. I feel like theres got be someone else who’s really in charge of her! I’ll take all the extra snuggles though, and I’m trying to slowly re-introduce people in a way she’s comfortable with so she doesn’t cry as much around them (like grandmas, aunties… not true “strangers”). It usually involves putting her in her bouncer (safe zone) while they play with her and she gets comfortable with them.

Hailey’s 4 month update is now on the blog! Learn about all the new things she did this month.

Brown eyes

It seems like Hailey’s eye color is finally starting to come through and it’s a greyish brown! They seem dark so she may have my eye shape but Johns eye color. Only time will tell!

One extra long curly hair

Hailey has one single extra long, curly strand of hair! It sits straight up on the middle of the crown of her head. We were fairly certain she’d have curly hair since both of us do, and this confirmed it! We’re still unsure about hair color, since the back of her head is super dark but the top is sorta light and blond-ish in the sun. 

Hailey’s 4 month update is now on the blog! Learn about all the new things she did this month.

Nicknames

Cheese Foot is still hanging in there from her stinky Owlet foot, along with Love Dove, Love Bug, and of course still calling her my best friend! She’s stopped making her bird sounds which makes me sad, so I don’t call her Little Bird anymore. But I foresee many new nicknames coming about!

Well, thats all about Hailey at 4 months old! She’s the cutest baby I ever laid eyes on and I love her sooooo much. I’m so appreciative of the fact that I get to stay home with her daily.