What’s in a background?

My photography business has been (understandably) slower in the winter, so it’s wayyyy fun to get out and play around with McKenzie & my camera. I miss it! I posted these photos about making a wall-collage with the same pose for every season, which I think is a ridiculously fun idea. Funny thing is, I took the winter photo on the 2nd floor deck of our condo…who would’ve thought?

Surely if you are an experienced portrait photographer (or a photographer in general) you understand the importance of “framing,” but I’m just posting this to illustrate that backgrounds don’t have to be fancy! I only use natural light, meaning I don’t even have a studio. So be creative! Here’s an example:

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And since I’m missing my photography, here is another pretty winter one that I took on our snow day…this tree actually broke in half from the weight of the snow the night after I took this photo. IMG_0672 copy

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Parenting Tips & Tricks: Pandora Lullaby Station

I’m going to be starting a section on this blog for Parenting Tips & Tricks…just things that I have found work very well with our daughter. I understand these tips/tricks might not work for every parent, or every child, but they have helped me immensely and it would be selfish of me not to share!

“Parenting Trick” number 1: Create a “lullaby” Pandora station to help your kids fall asleep.

By the time McKenzie was two weeks old she was sleeping through the night. She was an angel baby, and she’s still a really calm, mellow kid. We are definitely fortunate! ((Does that make us bound to have a hellion when we have a 2nd child?! Crap.))

Anyhow, I know it’s a developmental “independence” thing for children to have sleeping issues around age 3-4, but getting her to sleep at night can be a nightmare. [Insert tantrum here.] We keep the same routine every night: bath, brush teeth, read 3 books, go to sleep. She gets 1 “protector” in her room (aka dog), and multiple hugs & kisses. Yet she still comes out of her room 4-5 times, and sometimes screams & cries. It’s so frustrating!

It occurred to me that music might help soothe her to sleep more easily…so I created a “lullaby” Pandora station on our iPad (you could also use a laptop computer) and set it up in her room. I just typed in “lullaby,” and a bunch of wonderful songs popped up. I prefer the piano ballads because I think some of the songs can be a little shrill for a child who is trying to fall sleep, so I just kept giving a “thumbs up” to the soft piano ones.

It has worked like a charm! She falls asleep much, much more easily! It’s so wonderful. And it’s nice to have more time with my husband too. ;)

If you don’t have an iPad or laptop (or if you’re using it after your kids are in bed!), a CD player or iPod/dock would work just fine. I just like having the variety of Pandora! All in all, the lullaby music has made our lives much easier at bedtime, and I highly recommend it!

A hair dilemma.

I have straight hair. Very, very straight hair. So straight that if I curl it (even with hairspray), it’s flat within 10 minutes. Imagine my surprise when my daughter has fluffy, curly hair. What do I do with that? Curly hair does run in my family (my sister & dad) and on Jon’s side too, so I wasn’t horribly surprised.

First thing I did was ask my sister what to do. She told me 1) never brush her hair unless it’s wet because it separates them, 2) get layers in her hair because it brings out the curls, and 3) use product for curly hair! Well, I’m still not good at it, so inevitably I always just put her hair in a ponytail. Which I do very well, if I do say so myself. But the day I snapped these photos (when we were in California) we left it down. It was pretty, but I did break rule #1, and you can tell. See what I mean when I say fluffy? I just wound her hair around my finger when it was wet to accentuate the ringlets.

And I didn’t realize how red it looks until I saw these photos! She got this horse with a Barbie for her birthday and she was very proud it…I love how she’s trying to ride it (in the above pics). She wouldn’t part with it for days! Not even on the airplane ride home. =)

Her outfit was under $15:

  • Shirt: Target, $7.99 (unusual for me, because I never buy her new clothes!)
  • Jeggings: Target, clearance $3.98 (they’re one size too small, so I turn them into capris by rolling them up once)
  • Shoes: Old Navy, thrifted $1.99 (I threw them in the wash and they look brand new!)