6 Tips For Taking Family Photos With Toddlers & Babies

Fact: Most of those adorably posed, perfect looking family photos hide a secret most people will never know. The day was most likely a total mess. We’ll ours was anyway.

Our good friend and celeb photog extraordinaire Jensen Sutta came to our house the other day to photograph our family. They were our first formal pics as a foursome and I didn’t really know what to expect. As it turns out I over-planned on some things (poses!) and under planned on others (pretty much everything else.) I have some tips below so you can learn from my mistakes. Some of it is toddler-centric but most of it will help with kids of all ages.

Ditch the over planning:

Pinterest does have a lot of ideas but let them be just that- ideas. You can’t overplay a series of shots that your kids may not be agreeable to. It’s about capturing the moment, joyful play, and real smiles. Pick the clothes (casual or more dressed), and the setting (park, backyard, studio), and let your photographer lead the rest. The pic I like best was on marshy grass (with my heels sinking in) on a little tiny hill right by our fence. Not a sweeping, movie-worthy setting and certainly nothing I would think to choose but he make it look really cool.

Plan it around nap times and meals:

You want rested, fed, happy kids so stack the deck in your favor going in.

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Bring along snacks:

Harper is so enchanted with crackers right now. I think they would’ve gone a long way to bribe her into sitting still, smiling, not running, or whatever else we needed that she didn’t do.

Pack a little kit:

If you’ll be outside walking around it pays to grab a little bag and throw in zippy cups, sunscreen, snacks, safety pins for clothing fixes, and even toys. Anything to keep them happy since you’re basically asking them to be in a play environment (like outside or a park) but not necessarily play.

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Practice:

We didn’t prep our toddler enough. A little role play taking photos (because we usually take candids) would’ve gone a long way so she understood what was expected and what was happening. Make it a game and reward for standing still, kissing daddy on the cheek, or good smiles. We only have a few photos of Harper looking at the camera and giving a real smile. I wish there were more.

Make sure the clothes fit:

When we first tried Harper’s skirt on just days before the shoot it was a little big but nothing major, but once she was running and moving around it was literally on the ground. A quick try on doesn’t tell you how the clothes will function in real life. I should’ve let her wear it around for a while so I wasn’t running home for pins mid-shoot.

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Ultimately though we got some beautiful pictures that we’re thrilled about. Next time, I’ll be better prepared.

How to Get A No-Chip Manicure At Home Using CND VINYLUX

Do I love Shellac- the breakthrough polish applied by pros that stays shiny and chip-free for 2 weeks? Of course, doesn’t everyone? Do I have time to go to the salon for a Shellac manicure? Let me give you a hint: absolutely not.

My sister Stacy works for CND and travels all over the world preaching the gospel of nails so when she promised I wouldn’t be disappointed with their new no-chip at home polishes I couldn’t wait to try them out.

VINYLUX boasts a week long chip-free mani but I’ve found it to last much longer and be just as enduring as Shellac. You don’t need a base coat but using their special top coat is key and you use acetone to remove it. Its as easy as applying any other polish but it dries completely in just minutes without using a curing lamp. It’s pretty amazing stuff.

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From their On the Road Collection: Sun Bleached, Powder My Nose, Mint Convertible, Clay Canyon

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Powder My Nose. I used it on my toes too but I’ll spare you that pic because feet in general are gross.

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I’m on day 4 of my mani and my polish looks day 1 fresh and I got 3 weeks out of my last VINYLUX pedi. I’m so glad to finally have a long-wering DIY option for my typically beat up looking nails.

Everly is 5 Months

Our little Everly. So sweet and perfect.

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Happy St. Patty’s Day!

Here are my two little leprechauns. We’re celebrating with an all-green meal that Mike’s preparing right now (just an excuse to have green chile I think.) So although we aren’t drinking green beer (something I was never into anyway), we’re having fun with our little ones just cooking and laughing and doing our thing. Hope your day was just as fun.

St Patty's Day

My Life Lately

If you’re wondering where I’ve been and what I’ve been up to, these pics pretty much sum it up. Everly is now 3 months and Harper is 21 so I’m elbows deep into this mother of two thing. Aside from everything taking a little more time, I find it to be much easier than I ever thought possible- really it’s not much different than having just one. Helping me big time is the fact that they both sleep through the night and aren’t much for crying (thank god I discovered comfort nursing with Harper!) so I’m getting some sleep. Best of all is my sweet hubby who works from home so he tags in when he can which helps a ton. Just knowing that he’s here when I need him is such a blessing and takes a lot of stress away.

That said.

I’m still always tired from the broken sleep of Evie nursing once in the night, Harper is in constant motion, and my thyroid is still out of whack so not only is my hair still falling out in clumps, but sometimes I’m so overcome with exhaustion that I’ve fallen asleep nursing with my head hanging down. I’ll wake up with Evie staring at me like ‘really mom?’

So there’s that.

But! How cute are these girls? I mean seriously?! There’s little Evie at 3 months perfectly perched in her chair. She’s always smiling and just beams whenever anyone looks her way. And then there’s sweet Harper who is the most gentle and loving soul I’ve ever met giving her sister a squeeze (whether she likes it or not.) She’s obsessed with Evie sitting on her lap and gives her a million kisses throughout the day. The other pic is Harper holding onto Evie’s head while I nursed her last week which I thought was beyond sweet. And the last hard to see pic is me with Harper in her crib. I jump in with her everyday at 5:30 to wake her up from her nap. She’s all sleepy and cuddly so we hang out until she wakes up a little then head down to make dinner together. Everyday I swear she’s the perfect age, her personality just keeps getting bigger and she’s so smart. We’re so lucky to have these little girls in our lives.

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How to Make Glitter Pumpkins

Seeing all of the pretty fall decorations on Pinterest inspired me to make glitter pumpkins for my fall mantle I put together every year at this time. It turned out to be so easy and I love the touch of sparkle they add to an otherwise dull palette. Here’s how I did it.

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All you need is craft glue, a brush, ultra fine glitter, and ‘funkins’ which is what the plastic kind is actually called. I found it all at Hobby Lobby.

Use the brush to spread the glue on the pumpkin then sprinkle on a good amount of glitter to really coat it. Do it over a paper towel so when you’re done with each one you can fold the paper towel and dump the excess glitter back into the jar. The final step I didn’t show was painting the tip of the pumpkin stem black. Not a must but I had the paint sitting around and thought it would add some pop.

It took no time at all and wasn’t the mess I thought it would be.

There are so many ways to display them, but I wanted them on or in something to contain any glitter fall-out. I put two of them on pine cones in large vases and the others on top of a baking dish I turned upside down. I like the varying heights in the display so it’s perfect.

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Be brave and try a little DIY for holiday decor. It’s not as hard as you’d think.