Mommy Chat: Surviving Our First Winter

If I were to write a mommy manual one of the first chapters I would write about would be how to survive your first winter and it would simply say: “Stock up on boogie wipes and stay away from other people until Spring.” I might even give advice on how to hibernate for the winter months or how to live in a bubble, keeping every germ possible away from your family.

While I understand that our little ones have to build up their immunity to all the germs we encounter in our lives, why does this have to happen all at once? Can’t it be a gradual rising?

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This winter we fell victim to a combination of flu bug, ear infections, pink eye, and the most stubborn colds we have ever experienced in our lives. I never realized how horrible it is to see your baby sick and for you to be sick at the same time. Being a new mommy in this area has been quite the learning curve for me. I will confess we did the panicked call to the doctor on Christmas Eve. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the first nor will I be the last mommy to do that…

But the one piece of advice I have heard that gets me through each day is that “Your first winter is the worst.” It will get better, you will get healthy again, you won’t be carrying around rolls of toilet paper because you ran out of kleenex and are too sick to go to the store to get more anymore, your nose will stop producing massive amount of snot, your voice will come back to sound like your voice and eventually, you will feel human again. While I know we aren’t out of winter, yet, we have turned a corner and have been healthy-ish for the past month. This is our longest stretch of no illnesses and it has given me the hope that we can make it through our first winter! Don’t get me wrong, we still have boogie wipes all over the house for any sign of a nose issue and we have restocked our supply of kleenex…but, we are hopeful that we will make it through these last few weeks of winter.

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How did you survive your first winter with your little one?

Valentine’s Day 2017

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Regardless of if you have a significant other in your life or not, I hope you feel love by someone in your life, family or friends!

I believe, now, post being married, that Valentine’s Day is a Hallmark holiday. And while my husband and I don’t exchange any form of gifts on this holiday, I do believe, that we should celebrate LOVE.

I want Andrew to grow up knowing how much love he has around him at home and to learn how to love others. So since this is Andrew’s first Valentine’s Day we are starting a few Valentine’s Day traditions!

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  1. Making Valentines – This one I am super excited about because I’ve been dying to bring up my Pinterest board full of cute DIY Valentines. Unfortunately, I quickly realized, after a few Pinterest fails and white paint all over the two of us that resulted with one of us in tears (and no it wasn’t the 8-month-old), that Andrew is too young for any DIY Valentines. Instead of a typical DIY valentine, we did a photographer’s version of DIY and had a themed photo session to make cute little cards with the photo instead.

2. Wear appropriate themed Valentine’s Day clothes – I admit it…I dress my child for the holidays and actually plan his outfit for that occasion.  We have turkey pants for Thanksgiving, monster pants for Halloween, Santa on our butts for Christmas…he needed something special for Valentine’s Day. I found the absolute perfect little Valentine’s Day shirt from Etsy (I think I need to join an Etsy anonymous group ASAP) Since for Halloween Andrew was Darth Vader I decided to carry that theme through to Valentine’s Day with an adorable little Yoda shirt that says “Yoda one for me.”


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3. Read a Valentine’s Day book – I am a huge proponent of building a library for your little one and the power of books to a child’s learning and development so it’s a no-brainer that we celebrate this holiday with a book or two! I got Andrew two little books about Valentine’s Day.  The first is LOVE from the Very Hungry Caterpillar. It’s a sweet tiny book sharing cute little love sayings…our favorite is “You make my heart flutter”. The second book we got was Huggy Kissy. This book teaches us all the different types of hugs and kisses we can get from all the different people in our lives. I personally enjoy acting out all the different ways to hug and kiss Andrew and so far he’s not complaining.

4. Valentine’s Day Treats – Again, this one I will confess that I have a huge Pinterest board just full of yummy treats to make with Andrew when he gets older. But…this year, trying to avoid the same issues we had with making Valentine’s and since we only have the inkling of teeth to enjoy any of these treats we are enjoying some mushed up strawberries as our treat this year. Time will come when we will be decorating cookies or bars for his friends and I will be ready; Pinterest board in hand, for those moments.

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What fun things do you do with your little ones for Valentine’s Day?


Styling Session: 5 favorite girl newborn “props”

I am so lucky to have a little niece who was born right around the same time as my little man because it meant that I got to spoil a little girl and use all my fun girly props on her. Being a mom to a little boy doesn’t mean that I can’t appreciate everything lacey and girly because I do! I  actually have more girl props that boy props in my little collection. Every newborn photo session is different and every little girl deserves to have her own style during her photo session. I love styling each session to fit with the little lady I’m photographing. But I do have a few items that I love using more frequently than other items.

Pink Wrap

  1. Pink Wraps

While gray is my favorite color for boys, pink is my favorite color for girls. There is something so classic about putting a girl in pink. I know for some it may be very traditional but that is what I love about the color. I have one wrap that is my favorite one to use, because of it’s shade of pink and delicate texture.


2. Light Pinky / Peachy Bows

One of the best parts of photographing newborn girls is getting to play dress up with a real life doll. Playing dress up means getting to change out the headbands as many times as I like…it’s a good thing I have a plethora of pink / peachy colored bows to work through during a photo session. My favorite bows are tiny bows that just add a sweet little touch of color to the photo session.

Strechy Bows

3. Stretchy Bows

I have tried numerous bows and headbands to find my “go to” headband. These headbands are the perfect size, color, and fit. They slip easily on every little one’s head, which is super important when trying not to disrupt a sleeping baby. I love how sweet and simple these little headbands look on newborns…they aren’t too big and aren’t too small, just like Goldielock’s they are just right.

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4. Gray flower Headband

Women love flowers and what newborn photographer would I be if I didn’t have some form of a floral prop for newborn girls? My favorite floral headband incorporates my favorite color, gray but with a nice sweet little twist. This headband isn’t too large for any little lady’s head.

Daddy Arms

5. Daddy’s Arms

So I’m going to cheat again like when I was sharing my favorite boy props but this time talk about Daddy’s arms. Similar to the relations of boys and their moms you have girls with their daddy’s.

Ask A Photographer: What do you bring with to a newborn photo session?

A question I get asked a lot is: What do you bring with for a newborn session?

Since I do all of my newborn sessions at your house I tend to bring quite a bit with me. Isn’t there a motto about “always being prepared”? Maybe that is a boy scout motto…but, with newborn babies you can never be too prepared! I’ll walk through what items you’ll see me show up with to your newborn photo session.

  1. Giant Bean Bag – I use this to pose your little baby on…the bag is large to ensure the safety of your little one
  2. Backdrop Stand & Clamps – I attach the backdrop (blankets) to the stand in order to create the look you see in the images of my portfolio, clean solid color backgrounds
  3. Multiple Backdrop blankets – I bring extra blankets just incase an accident happens, which they typically do, so no worries
  4. Puppy Pads – These are great for catching any accidents when your little one is naked on the bean bag
  5. A Variety of Color Wraps, Hats & bows, Fur Blanket – I will bring a nice assortment of wraps / hats / bows to use for your newborn photos
  6. Wooden Box – This is another item to pose your little one in for a nice added variety of photos
  7. Heater and Extension cords – I use this to keep your baby warm when they are naked…a warm naked baby means a nice sleepy baby
  8. Baby Wipes – Accidents happen and I want your little one to look their best at every angle
  9. Hand Sanitizer – Your precious new baby deserves special care
  10. Receiving blankets – These are used as little pillows under the background blankets to help pose your little one safely and comfortably
  11. Step stool – I’m short so I need some help in the height department for family photos and a place to sometimes sit when I’m working with your little one to get a perfect pose
  12. White noise app – A sleepy baby is important to have during your session so I have some extra help if you baby needs it to fall asleep
  13. Camera – The most important item in my luggage

I know it may seem like I bring a lot of items with me but I use everything and I’ve managed to downsize quite a bit! So please don’t look at me too weird when I show up with my two suitcases and have to take multiple trips to unload my car I promise I’m not moving in, just taking photographs of your little newborn.

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Pope Family {Gurnee IL, Newborn Photographer}

I recently got to photograph one of the most handsomest little men I have ever met…ok, so maybe I’m being a little extreme because I think every baby is super adorable but honestly this little guy is really adorable!  Plus he had the cutest hair ever!

We started his newborn photo session with family photos and I will confess that I fell in love with his big sister first…she was so full of life, joy and excitement. I love how mom and dad have a secret way of coaxing her little crinkly nose smile to come out, I would share their secret but I was promised to secrecy…you know, photographer – client secrecy. Big sister gave her little brother the sweetest little kisses and held his hand so gently. I was secretly dying inside when I captured the image of her smile with his little fingers interlaced in her one hand…trust me, you will to when you see it!

When it came time for mom and dad photos it was amazing how calm this little guy was in their arms. It never gets old seeing a baby held in their parent’s arms.

This little man was a perfect gentleman during his newborn photos…he didn’t make a sound and didn’t have any accidents. I love the color scheme that mommy went with, simple and classic. We had to toss in a little football action for Daddy, even though I must confess that I’m a Packer fan, this little guy sure does look adorable all suited up for the Bears.  Who knows…maybe someday he’ll be a Bear? A Daddy can always dream.

It was such a fun afternoon to spend with this family of four (plus two sweet little fur babies).

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