Hospital Bag Checklist!

Hospital Bag Checklist!

Finally getting around to showing you guys what I packed in my hospital bag ahead of meeting Baby Sis! I want to preface this post by saying that, as someone who prioritizes photos and blogging, I probably pack way more than what’s actually necessary…. so take this all with a grain of salt. The reality is that all your baby really needs is YOU (and an outfit to go home in!). Focus on the essentials for yourself – what will make you comfortable – and the rest will fall into place. It’s amazing how much the hospital actually provides you with… but some people just prefer to have their own “stuff” – and I’m one of those people! I also packed a bag like this when I had Indie and I learned very quickly that NONE OF IT MATTERS. Her birth and NICU stay made all plans go out the window and 90% of my “bag” was literally useless with the exception of a change of clothes. Do not lose sight of this! It’s so important to remember why you’re there: To get baby Earthside safe and sound. The rest is nominal. Read on to check out my full packing list this time around!

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“Shello” Baby! My Beachy-Boho Baby Sprinkle Recap

“Shello” Baby! My Beachy-Boho Baby Sprinkle Recap

I’m so excited to share the details of my Baby Sprinkle with you! If you’ve been following along for a while now, it’s clear as day that I LOVE planning (and executing) beautiful events. In another life, I must have been a party planner! It brings me so much joy to take my vision and run with it, and I’m so lucky to connect with many incredible and local vendors through the power of social media to make these pipe dreams a reality. Read on for the nitty gritty details, and of course, to view the photos from the event!

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2021 Maternity Photos With The Deerwood Co!

2021 Maternity Photos With The Deerwood Co!

I can’t believe the time has come for another maternity photoshoot. This pregnancy has seriously flown by (so much so that I haven’t even written about it on this blog, now that Instagram has become my predominant form of posting) – but there’s no better place to share a huge gallery than in this space right here, so let’s get cracking on THE shoot of all shoots…. what has become hands down my favorite photography session I’ve ever done.

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TWO The Moon! Indie’s 2nd Birthday

TWO The Moon! Indie’s 2nd Birthday I cannot believe that in just a few short days my tiny, brand new baby will be TWO. “The days are long, but the years are short”…. isn’t that the saying? She continues to amaze us in every way. It’s been a unique and challenging year since her first birthday party (which was the last time we really gathered with all our family and friends under one roof) – and the global pandemic has gotten in the way of us having a big birthday bash for her this time around, but I’ll be damned if I let such a special time pass without a little extravagance! Read on for some behind the scenes of our themed birthday photoshoot, and of course, to see the final product! Continue reading “TWO The Moon! Indie’s 2nd Birthday”

Connecting The EA/TEF Community

Connecting The EA/TEF Community

In honor of January being EA/TEF Awareness Month, this year I have submitted a short blog post to DifferentDream.com and I thought I’d share my words here on this platform as well. I have tweaked it so that it appeals to a broader audience, but what you’re about to read is pretty close to the article that will be published later this month. If you’ve been following me from before Indie was born, you probably read her birth story and have been keeping up with our journey as parents of a child with Esophageal Atresia/Tracheoesophageal Fistula (abbreviated EA/TEF). If you’re new, you can read my birth story by clicking here. In the article I wrote for Different Dream, I focused specifically on making connections in the EA/TEF Community and how they’ve helped shape our story. You don’t have to have a child with this specific set of special needs to be able to relate to the article you’re about to read – because when it all comes down to it, every parents need to connect with other parents to feel like they aren’t alone sometimes. Whether it be sleeping through the night, or navigating tough conversations, developmental milestones, or choosing the best daycare – “it takes a village” – and in parenthood, finding that village early on will make a world of difference. So I do hope you read and connect with this on some level – and if you have questions about life with EA/TEF, my inbox is always open!

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2020 Holiday Photos By Little Nest Portraits of Westfield!

2020 Holiday Photos By Little Nest Portraits of Westfield! It’s that time of year again! My cards have (mostly) made it to their recipients and I’m so excited to post our photoshoot here in their digital home! We always enjoy our family photo sessions with Little Nest Portraits in Westfield, NJ and as a part of their Heirloom Membership, this specific shoot is something we look forward to every year. Click to read (a little) more and to view this year’s finished product! Continue reading “2020 Holiday Photos By Little Nest Portraits of Westfield!”

Ikea DIY Play Kitchen Makeover!

Ikea DIY Play Kitchen Makeover! I am extremely excited to be sharing this DIY with all of you! I worked so hard on it, and I’m a very proud mama. Indie had a play kitchen that I accidentally broke. (Surprisingly not her… me!) So I decided to invest in the $89 Ikea Duktig kitchen as a replacement, giving it a complete overhaul to make it special, functional, and eye-catching in our house. Read on for a list of supplies, a written how-to guide, and of course detail shots of the finished product! Continue reading “Ikea DIY Play Kitchen Makeover!”

Halloween 2020 is DINO-mite!

Halloween 2020 is DINO-mite! HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!! I’ve always loved dressing up for this holiday… maybe it was my entire youth and young adult life spent as a “theatre kid” but I get all sorts of giddy when October rolls around, and having a child only makes it more fun and more exciting! Last year we went with a woodland theme – foxes – which you can find by clicking here. This year, Indie was the only one to transform into a special, prehistoric creature. Scroll through to see a visual story of a park ranger becoming best friends with the cutest little dinosaur you ever did see! Continue reading “Halloween 2020 is DINO-mite!”

New Jersey Beach Staycation!

New Jersey Beach Staycation!

These are crazy times we’re living in, and I think I can say with confidence that life during a global pandemic has taken its toll somehow on each and every one of us. Since you’re here reading this blog post, you likely want to hear my two cents – so without further adieu… after 5 full months of anxiety, lockdown, uncertainty and paranoia, I’m here to advocate for living your life as normally as possible while still complying with the rules and regulations in your state. Our physical health is important but so is that of our mind and spirit. If you haven’t loosened the restrictive reigns yet, I urge you to let that weight lift off of your weary shoulders as you allow yourself to see glimpses of normalcy and let the fear of the unknown drift off to the back (or even middle) burner of your brain. This doesn’t mean you can be reckless or disrespectful of the rules – but the rules are in place for a reason, and I’m here to say that we all have permission to take them at face value and not overboard.

Here in New Jersey, we’re in a decent patch where our numbers remain trending low even after outdoor dining, indoor shopping and larger outdoor gatherings have reopened. Our “Stay At Home Order” has long been lifted, without significant spikes and with a death rate that continues to drop (even though new daily positive cases remain). We can have indoor gatherings of 25 people or less, and outdoor gatherings are capped at 250 which actually opens a lot of metaphorical doors for us Jersey locals! Masks are required indoors, and outdoors they are only required if you cannot remain socially distant. Things can change real quick if we’re not all respectful of each other’s space, but with this in mind and the confidence in the facts reported daily by our Governor, my family and I decided to take a “staycation” to a home right on the shoreline of New Jersey’s southernmost region – the seven mile island of Avalon and Stone Harbor. While the warm weather is still sticking around, if you live here in NJ – now is your chance for a mini getaway and below you’ll find some inspiration on places to go and things to do all varying by your current comfort level!

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DIY At-Home Milkbath Shoot!

DIY At-Home Milkbath Shoot!

So excited to be writing a “real” blog post right now! Lately it’s been a whole lot of milestones and just about nothing else…. but with this lockdown lasting so much longer than I think all of us really expected, we’ve had to get creative with how we’re spending our time at home. 90% of it is ultimate procrastination, laziness and boredom… but when the urge sparks to do something crazy, I answer the call! Last week I put Indie into our very own sink/milkbath photoshoot! On my weekly trip to the grocery store (mask and gloves included) I made sure to pick up a grapefruit, a navel orange, a half-quart of whole milk, and a very simple bouquet of flowers. All from your average grocery store. The supplies were about $12 total, and the photos turned out so fabulous! So I’m going to list out some DIY steps for all you mamas out there looking to get creative at home!

  1. Envision your scene! I decided to work with citrus and flowers, but really anything goes. An instagram friend of mine @stacymaeandco recently did an incredible sinkbath (sans milk) that was Easter egg themed! Get creative!
  2. Clear the entire area around your sink, because you will inevitably get clutter in the background. I pulled nearly everything off of my counter, and arranged all of my windowsill plants around one corner of the sink for aesthetic.
  3. CLEAN your sink!!! I gave it a real good scrub down before putting Indie’s naked little tushy anywhere near where we keep our dirty dishes!
  4. Prepare EVERYTHING before getting your child involved. I pre-sliced the citrus and cut all the flowers off their stems and kept them at the side of the sink. Then I filled the sink about half way with water, and “topped it off” with the 1/2 Quart of whole milk. Believe it or not – for a milkbath shoot, it’s mostly water! That ratio will cloud the water just enough!
  5. Microwave your milk for 30 seconds! It won’t do much but it’ll take the edge off so that the bath is room temp or warmer for your little one.
  6. If possible, swing your faucet away from the shot.
  7. Have a step stool handy and position it so that your subject is facing the nearest light source. For me, it was the window directly above the sink as well as the door that was behind where I stood.
  8. Have an assistant handy too! Things get messy real quick. I would absolutely try this with a significant other or even an older child who can be there with a towel or using something shiny to capture your subject’s attention!
  9. Once you place baby in the bath, quickly set your props. For this bath, I scattered the citrus first and filled in the space with the flower heads.
  10. Keep in mind, this is a FAST shoot and you will have to stop once or twice to rearrange your bath props. As baby moves and splashes, so will your set. So be ready to snap! I stood on the top rung of my stool and then Stephen (my trusty assistant) helped me onto the counter for a few pictures. I took most of these on my Sony A6000 camera but a few were on my iPhone at the last minute – if you can, try to snap some with both! The iPhone (for me) naturally has a wider lens and was able to get more of the surroundings… it was nice to have that diversity of perspective in my final batch of photos.
  11. The last tip (and probably the most important) is to relax and let whatever happens unfold! This is something I’ve been practicing a lot in general lately. I find these pictures to be active, sweet, and a real representation of one-year-old Indie. It’s not all about getting the perfect pose or the toothy smile.

I hope this has inspired some of you to try this at home! After we finished Indie went straight into a real hose-down, so you might want to do this just before your kiddo’s regular bath time (as long as there’s ample natural daylight). Don’t be discouraged by your kitchen. I resisted this project for the longest time because I don’t have a white farmhouse sink and butcherblock countertops (goals!!!) but now that I see these photos, the bath itself is so prominent and everything looked perfectly in-place!

If you’ve been itching to be a better hobby-photographer (even if you shoot on your phone!) there’s no better time than now to take the plunge and try something super cool. The last thing I can recommend is to download Photoshop Lightroom for your cell phone and choose a pack of presets that speak to you to make editing a breeze! Personally, I’ve been using both of Lindsey Badenhop’s packs and I’ve been thrilled with them!

That’s all folks! Currently taking suggestions for the next fun and crazy at-home photoshoot ideas to help pass the time! What would you put inside a milkbath? Is this something you think you’d attempt? We had so much fun! More happening over on instagram so be sure to follow along!

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