Behind the Camera and Dreaming

Back-to-School Prep for the whole Family!




It's really hard to believe how fast things are changing around our house. It feels like Summer is flying by and in less than a month, we'll be sending Jonah to real Pre-School three days a week. It's funny how you know the day will come but you don't really know how you will feel when it actually shows up!

Are you the type of mom who cries on your kids first day of school every year? 

I think I will be, but then again I am the type of mom that just cries for any ol' reason.



Speaking of! Ezra took his first steps this week. See? Things are changing SO fast. He just did it and did it again and again. (He was exactly 9 months 3 weeks.) You have to prompt him, but he is so happy when he can keep his balance for those few seconds. It's really like he's been waiting his whole life to walk. Which is probably exactly what he's been doing. From day one, this boy has wanted to go and do and be apart of whatever is going on around him! Because of this, I am so glad that we decided to put him into a Mother's Morning Out program too. So BOTH of my boys will have BIG firsts next month as we head off to school!


With such a big milestone for both of them coming up, we will probably be talking a lot about back to school for the next few weeks and what we are doing to prepare for the changes. Sorry guys, no more going to NaNa's in your pjs. . . well maybe on the off days. I have been looking through their closets and trying to make sure they have enough nice, well-fitting clothes and shoes to wear to school. They have both grown so much this summer! We wear shorts well into October usually, so that means I am having to do a little sizing up to get us through until cooler weather hits. 

When I spied the Polo Kids' Olan EZ Sneakers in the #ohsofamous Style Gallery from Famous Footwear, I grabbed them for Back-To-School! (1) They will go with everything. (2) Velcro! (3) They are unbelievably cute and perfect to make the transition into Fall. Not to mention comfy enough for play..because that is what three-year-olds should be doing most of the time at school anyway! 


And since I was picking shoes out for J, I grabbed a pair for Ezra too. They are still pretty big for him (by like two sizes) but they will be perfect when he's a confident walker and with babies you just never know when something is going to fit, so these he can wear all year-round and match his brother because I am definitely that mom! 


The #ohsofamous style gallery is a place to share your style and you have a chance to be featured when you share your photos of your Famous Footwear finds on twitter and instagram! 

I can't wait to see what Jonah learns and how he changes this year!

What are you most looking forward to for Back-To-School? How are you preparing?




I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Daily Mom!



There is some exciting stuff going on around here!

Today is my very first post on Daily Mom... and Ezra took his first steps yesterday.

That is all. Carry on.




The Honest Company

Stitch Fix | July 2015


Sometimes I'm really excited to get my Stitch Fix and other times I'm REALLY excited. At some point during the past month, I discovered the Stitch Fix B/S/T and Discussion group on Facebook and I think just checking in there a bit over past few weeks has made me eager to get this fix. So, Friday when I came home I actually went ahead and tried everything on and had Wesley take a few photos of me in the items. So, I didn't style them (or my hair - obviously). 

ITEM 1 Pixley Ivy Mini Tulip Print Blouse

Flowy, V-Neck, Transitional. It checks off all of my request in my note to my stylist. It's a little big and doesn't look great in this photo with my neutral undershirt - but I really really like the material and the look. Plus I think I can wear it in the fall with skinny pants/jeans/leggings and boots. I think it's a keep. What do you think? 

ITEM 2 Daniel Rainn Hyler Embroidery Detail Top

I really really want to love this top. It's white - which I asked for - and it's a transitional piece I can wear now or pair with a sweater later. It's a burgundy/maroon and turquoise thread. Colors that will be great for fall plus maroon and white. With college football around the corner and those being my team colors - how can I send it back? HOWEVER, it does accentuate the broadness of my shoulders and fullness of my upper arms. The angle of this photo is a little weird making my upper body look kind of shorter but still - I don't know - y'all be honest. They have to go back by Monday night. I would pair it with a cardigan for work anyway...


ITEM 3 Kut From the Kloth Kate (Catherine)  Boyfriend Jean 

If you don't have a pair of Kut From The Kloth Jeans - run don't walk to Macy's, Stitch Fix, wherever they sell them and buy some. Jeans are meant to be flattering but they are also meant to be our go-to piece for comfy days at home or on the go. These are the jeans for that. They are SO soft but don't feel like the get stretched out after wear. I have already worn these jeans and will be keeping them and probably requesting another pair in my next fix. I also heard they were on sale at Macy's which we don't have locally, but hello online shopping, now that I know my size. Anyway, what do you think? Do you like the distressing the cut? I did roll them when I wore them on Saturday. 



ITEM 41 Hawthorn Moni Abstract Chevron Stud Detail Blouse

In my note from my last fix, when I got this shirt (the orange one), I noted that I really liked the fit and flow of it but when they sent this one this month it didn't quit flow the same... I love it though! It's a little snug around the chest and shoulders - so I am in the process of exchanging it for a large. I hope it works - but so glad I found the buy sell trade board in case it doesn't. I really like how it looks in this picture, so I hope the size up isn't that much of a size different. 


ITEM 5 Bancroft Esme Beaded Oval Long Necklace

Love it! It actually matches some earrings I received in my last Rocks Box and I'd not kept last month's necklace because it was too similar to something I already have.. maybe that's why she sent this different one. I don't really NEED it...but I like it. Help? I guess if I keep everything else, I'll keep it but I have to decide on the Danil Rainn top above. 



How does Stitch Fix work?

  1. 1. Sign Up and Complete Your Style Profile

    After signing up you can start immediately on your Style Profile. 
    1. 2. Schedule a Stitch Fix

      Pick a shipment date, and we’ll send you a box of 5 clothing and accessory items we’ve hand-picked just for you. You can even opt to schedule a monthly delivery if you'd like.
      You pay a $20 styling fee when your stylist selects the items in your Stitch Fix. This $20 fee will be applied as a credit toward anything you keep from your shipment.
      1. 3. Try On All Of Your Items

        Try on everything we send you—you never know what you’ll like until you see it on. Pair each piece with items already in your closet to try different outfit options. Each item includes style cards with ideas and inspiration on how to wear it.
        1. 4. Decide

          Take 3 days to decide what you’ll keep. Return the items you don't want in our pre-paid mailing bag at any USPS mailbox.
          1. 5. Check Out

            Login to your account and pay for those items you kept. If you buy all 5 items you save 25% off the entire shipment price.
            PS. Feedback is the way to get items you really love and work for your body! Take the time and leave good feedback. If you really loved a fix, you can request to keep the same stylist too! I think I might be doing that this time. Heeeyyy Kasey! 



Stitch Fix

PARENTING A SPAGHETTI LOVER 101: tips from the front lines #tripleclean


Do you too have a spaghetti loving, pasta slurping, sauce spreading little one? I have been there and back and now I'm here to share with you what I learned. Read on Moms for tips from the front lines...


But first... before you check out my spaghetti lover CHECK OUT THIS GUY!

He's cute right? 

TIP 1: REMOVE THE SHIRT... IT IS WORTH THE BATTLE


It may take minutes, maybe even 10-15 minutes to convince him, but by all means do not let him leave his shirt on. Especially, if it's white and new... trust me the red sauce of today will forever be the faint yellow stains of the future.

TIP #2: HIDE THE VEGGIES


Spaghetti is the perfect meal to get in some of those vegetables your kids won't otherwise touch and if you are using a meat sauce, they will likely never know. Mushrooms and tomatoes that were near their death went in last night's batch. When asked "What is this?" always respond with "sauce". 

TIP #3: PAPER PLATES ARE YOUR FRIEND (AND BIODEGRADABLE)


If there's one thing I've learned on spaghetti night, it's that directly after dinner there will be an extensive clean up time for the spaghetti lover. Then a bath, then bedtime stories, then rocking or singing or whatever other hoopla they are requesting on that particular night and your dishes will sit... and sit.. by that time you are too tired to do them tonight and who wants to clean up stuck on spaghetti for breakfast - not me. Just chunk them. You're done.

TIP #4: JUST KEEP THE WIPES ON THE TABLE


No not those little thin squares you've been trying to get away with and wasting your time.. the real deal Huggies® New and Improved with Triple Clean Layers. Even though the Spaghetti lover will try to use umpteen of them - he'll really only need one. Sensitive skin? Got you covered there too. Huggies simply clean wipes are gentle enough for baby's skin and unscented. 


TIP #5: LET THEM MAKE A MESS


Who cares really? It's easy to clean up, so why not have some fun? Not just on spaghetti night but in everything you do! Check out this video for a little inspiration. 

Check out the baby aisle next time you are in Walmart and grab the New and Improved Huggies Wipes Because Kids Outgrow Diapers Not Messes







comparison. compassion.

As much as it feels like we’ve evolved and moved past the mommy wars, it just keeps rearing its ugly head and seeping into the psyche of new moms. I struggle with the comparison game and it sucks when you hear new moms contributing to the problem. How does this happen? We keep continuing this cycle that gets us no where. I know my journey is my own and my choices are what are right for me, or heck, maybe I’ll make some wrong choices along the way. Either way, those choices belong to me.


I am done with comparison. No longer will I let another mom compare her baby to mine. No longer will I let myself compare my body to someone else’s post-baby body. No longer will I allow you to compare your birthing experience, pregnancy, or feeding experience to my own. My experience is mine and that’s how I will share it . . . as mine.

I will talk to you with compassion and share my experience. Maybe you will learn from me, maybe you will feel a little easier knowing I went through the same thing and came out on the other side.
I will also listen to your experience, hope to learn something and maybe give myself a break. I will love hearing about your baby’s first words, how smart they are, how soon they walked or how lazy they were and we will laugh together about how hard and fulfilling parenthood is.

I will not let you tell me, that my experience was invalid, insignificant, or not the best way. It is my way, my journey.

I will share some facts that I read or what I’m doing to better the lives of myself and my children, but if I’m not the expert, I won’t pretend to be. 


If you are struggling with something, I will offer compassion and empathy. If I’ve been through it, maybe I’ll share my struggles.

If I'm struggling and I share my heart with you, I'd love a compassionate ear, to hear your experiences and to know that I am heard and that my struggles are valid.

If your choices are different than mine, I can respectfully say Good for her, not for me.

Having a baby the living room (on purpose)? Good for her, Not for me. I’d love to hear your story though. I think you are strong and brave.

Homeschooling children? Good for her, not for me – right now, but I’d love to hear more about how it’s going.

Vegan? Good for her, not for me. Breast feeding a three year old? Good for her, not for me. Cloth diapering? Good for her, not for me. 

We are all different. Our children are all different. That's the way God intended it making each one of us unique. The world is an imperfect place and for most of us, we are trying and doing our best. 


Ezra Oliver | 9 MONTHS OLD


We have been through quite a week with this guy. He started having trouble sleeping but we couldn't really figure out what was going on with him. He was just waking up and wanting us to rock him, then he'd get restless and want to lay down and the cycle continued on and on. So, exhausted, we thought maybe his ear infection he'd had a few weeks prior had resurfaced. We waited a couple of days because I knew he'd have his 9 Month Well Baby coming up, but went ahead and took him in on the 2nd. No ear infection, so they just called it his Well Baby and examined him and he got one vaccine. 

The next day he was fine, but went to bed unusually early after a long day of running around. He woke up the next day, July 4th, with a fever and no other symptoms. Delayed shot reaction? Random virus? It is so frustrating when your baby can't really tell you what is wrong. All you know is they do not feel good because they are not acting themselves. His was on and off with treatment throughout the day and into the next, finally after 8pm on Sunday night it was at 102.5 and we called the emergency line, but of course they just gave us instructions on keeping it down - that we were already doing - and to bring him in the next day. Well, Monday he woke up with no fever and it hasn't been back. He does however have a nasty rash on his legs that I'm 99% sure is from the fever. This is the third time this has happened to my sweet boy and it is no fun at all. His little personality is just so big that you really miss it when he's down. 


Thankfully, he is doing much better today! 


Eating

so much more! He is loving purees and some solids especially soft fruits like bananas and peaches.

Sleeping

Hoping this continues to improve after we were thrown for a loop the past two weeks! Right now, he seems to be waking up a lot lately, but hopefully that will get better once we've really gotten this fever virus (or whatever it was) behind us. Sometimes, I think he just wakes up and misses us because I walk into the room and he practically claws at me to get himself out of the crib. He usually goes right back to sleep though after a little snuggle. He won't do it forever, so I'll get in some extra snuggles now, even if it means less sleep. Thankfully though, Wesley and I can split the snuggle times now. 


Learning & Doing

He's standing and cruising like a pro. He pushes stools and baskets around the house and can stand for about 2 seconds unassisted. He has the strength and possibly enough balance to take a step or two but the coordination and everything just hasn't come together yet (which I am fine with - slow down boy). He is such a fast crawler but gets frustrated on the hard floors, so I kind of hope he walks soon. For him. Not me. =) 

Growing

He is so awesomely solid. 21 lbs and 27 inches. He looks big because his head is magnificently large at the 95th percentile. 

Loving

Mommy. I can't walk by without him wanting me! I love that he needs me but seriously kid - go play! He just wants me to carry him around on my hip, then he wants to jump out of my arms. I really love that he loves me. Oh! it's so special! I am often locked into where ever he catches me in the house because he pulls himself up on the back of my legs and of course my hands are full. He also loves looking out the back windows onto the patio. His favorite things to do is kiss the glass and bang on it. It's pretty entertaining for him and for us. He loves his brother still and wants to play with him at full speed. He chases the dog (who runs away) and gets into whatever he can. He also gets SO mad when you take things away from him. I think he might have a bit of a temper... wonder where he gets that? 

We all just love him so! I can't wait to see what he does next. He's a wild one, but he's so cute doing his thing. 


GRAY MORNINGS PHOTOGRAPHY | NEWBORN SESSION


I am so grateful when I get the opportunity to meet a friends new born baby in their first days of life at home. It brings back so much for me as a mom of little ones and I just love seeing how enamored moms are with their newest little ones. Exhausted, yes, but there is always so much love. 

Conner's mom had some great ideas for what she wanted for his newborn photos and it made it a very personalized session. I hope they love the photos as much as I do! 

Behind the scenes, something that's always hard in new born sessions is when the babies are awake for a good portion of the shoot. They get wiggly fast!  it can be frustrating for the mom to try to settle her new baby, but I find it best to just go with the flow and make sure I have enough time to capture lots of photos while they are awake and while they are sleeping.  


This is just a sampling from this shoot, you can see more here. More sessions from GMP here


For more information about Gray Mornings Photography sessions,  availability, and pricing contact stephanie@graymornings.com