Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Carter's Newborn Photos

I love taking pictures and have enjoyed using my new camera! As I have said before, I have no desire to become a photographer by any means. I leave that to the pros! However, I do not mind helping out friends and family when they need some pics done, as long as they don't have any high expectations or anything! Casey mentioned to me taking some newborn pics of Carter back while she was pregnant and I was pretttttty nervous about it. So much so that I actually debated buying her a gift card from a professional! Once I talked to Casey about it and she explained that she didn't have any type of expectation and was just happy with whatever I took for them, I felt a lot better. 

Working with newborns is not an easy task. I have heard that from many people who do photography for a living...so I knew going into it and being a total amateur that I was in for quite the task. I did a TON of research leading up to our photo session day. I read that it's best to take outdoor photos in the 2 hours when the sun first comes up or in the last 2 hours before it goes down. I also read to have the session prior to 10 days old, to take a ton of different angles of the baby, to position the baby high when being held, to always shoot near a window when indoors and let in as much natural light as possible, and to expect a good solid 4 hours to be able to get the images you want. 

Mrs. Charlotte came and kept my kids for an afternoon so I could go over to Casey's and we could take our time and take pics of Carter during his best times (right after eating). We spread it out over two feedings so I stayed and hung out with her while he napped in-between. She and I both had done a lot of looking on Pinterest for ideas and I let her know the stuff I thought was possible as well as what I didn't think I'd be able to do ;) I was upfront about the fact that I planned to just snap 1,000 pictures and then that way I felt confident we'd get at least a few that she'd like!

When I got home I uploaded them all and edited them to send them to her and, overall, I'm pretty proud of how they turned out! It was a much more FUN experience than I had anticipated and once I got going I was much less nervous about everything. I knew that worst case scenario I had gotten some great shots of him when he was first born so if they didn't like any of the ones from the newborn session that they could use the ones from the hospital for the birth announcements! I think the days in the hospital and taking pics of him there was very good practice for me and helped prepare me for the actual newborn photo session! It was also quite a work out (being so short I had to do a good bit of up and down climbing haha) so if anyone ever wants me to snap some pics for you I know it's a good way to get in some exercise for me ;)

Of course I took like a MILLION but here are some of my personal favorites from our day! It's hard to narrow it down because this child is so stinkin' perfect :)














































I am so glad Casey and Jordan both like the way the pics turned out and I feel much more confident moving forward and taking more pics in the future of my favorite family :) I LOVED getting to spend so much quality time that day with the most precious baby ever! I'm so glad Casey wants to have lots of pics of Carter as y'all know how much I cherish the photos of my own babies!!! I hope these will be photos Casey and Jordan will always love :)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Packing for the Hospital

I'm currently expecting baby #3! I have learned a LOT about the fine art of hospital bag packing ;) With my first pregnancy I way, way, way overpacked. Like I mean I packed board games thinking we'd get bored while I was in labor haha. I also only stayed in the hospital for 24 hours yet had enough junk with me to probably stay a week! With my second time around I knew I was staying in the hospital for two nights so, again, I over packed. Live and learn and now with the third time around I think I've got a very good system going and think that I will actually USE everything I bring!
Since I am a mama with a birth plan I know that the hospital staff may not be too pumped to see me coming through the doors. The best way to win people over? SNACKS! I made these super cute thank you gifts for the nurses last time around and they were a HUGE hit so I made them again this time! You can't go wrong with chocolate so they are filled with m&ms! I have them ready to go in a cute basket and will bring it in with us when I go into the delivery room. You can see how I made them here



The last two times I had a baby I packed a HUGE suitcase. Not only was it a pain to bring in the hospital but it also made it tough to find things I needed when I needed them and made for a cluttered hospital room. This time I organized everything into smaller bags. I have one bag with all my stuff for the hospital stay, a baby bag for everything baby related, a tote for the delivery room, and a bathroom bag with my bathroom things.

I always love to have my Boppy! We will bring it in the delivery room for me to nurse that first time and will have it in the hospital room for my entire stay. It just makes nursing SO much easier and more comfortable!
This is my tote for the delivery room! 
In it I have a printed (and signed by my midwife!) copy of my birth plan. I also have my personal hospital gown (from Francie Beth Boutique). While I'm not allowed to eat during labor (hospital policy) I always LOVE peanut butter crackers as a snack after birth. I recently was worried I was in labor so I made the crackers and went ahead and packed them ;) I also bought some of my husbands favorite snacks for him to eat after delivery as well! He may not be pushing out the baby, but he does his fair share of work in the process! And, of course, I also packed our video camera. Another hospital policy states we can't film the actual birth but we do use it when the family comes in to meet the baby and we announce the sex and name :)
I have a small pouch in the tote with some items to help me feel a little prettier for those first pictures with our baby! I have a small mirror, dry shampoo (in case I'm sweaty!), deodorant, baby power, breath mints, eye drops, chap stick, and lip stain. I also have a small hand held fan . It can get hot in the delivery room and having a fan on me helps keep me cool and limit the amount of sweat going on ;)
Additional things that I will be packing in the labor bag before leaving home include:
  • makeup
  • brush
  • hair tie
  • phone charger
The baby bag (I LOVE my new diaper bag for this baby!) is filled with items directly related to the baby! Here is everything in the bag!
Since we do not find out the gender of the baby in advance, I packed some hair bows and headbands (that way if it's a girl I'm covered if it has hair or if it's bald!) as well as some boyish hats. I also packed:
  • a nursing cover (very handy when men come in the room to visit!)
  • the baby book (to be able to get the staff to put the footprints in it!)
  • Sleep Sheep (we use box fans at home for white noise for our babies but the Sleep Sheep is great when traveling and will help if the baby is upset on that first car ride home)
  • three burp rags (I love the Gerber cloth diapers for my burp rags)
  • mittens and socks (the hospital does not put mittens on the babies and my first baby was SO scratched up when he came to us from the nursery...lesson learned! Socks also work well if the mittens don't fit)
  • Miracle Blanket (our hospital uses blankets for swaddling and discourage you from using your own swaddle as they can't guarantee they won't lose it but I am going to bring it just in case we room-in with the baby a lot and want to use our own!)
  • a note book to keep track of feedings and wet diapers
  • another note book to take notes so I can remember all those precious details of everything for when I go to blog about it all!
  • I printed off a sample schedule from when my last baby was 2 weeks old so I can review it and I also packed my copy of Babywise to have on hand for any trouble shooting
  • Lansinoh Cream for to apply between feedings...I also plan to try to let the area "air out" as much as I can between feedings to help avoid cracked, painful nipples
  • Lansinoh Nursing Pads to put in my bra in case my milk comes in while at hospital
  • a board book version of On the Night You Were Born to have all the hospital visitors sign as they come visit
  • a baby blanket (this one is aden + anais ...I've never had one of theirs before but have heard great things and liked the lightness of it for a summer baby! ) to use when we leave the hospital
With our first baby I brought a lot of clothes with us to the hospital but with our second baby I never changed her out of the clothes the hospital provided until we left to head home! So this time I'm only bringing the outfits we picked out as a family for the baby. Since we don't know the sex we always buy one boy outfit and one girl outfit and I bring both to the hospital with us. My MIL will go shopping to get the new baby some gender specific clothes and she'll return whichever outfit we won't be using :) We usually pick from the new things she buys and decide what outfit for the baby to wear as it's going home outfit!

Boy outfit we picked
 Girl outfit we picked
I didn't take a photo of my personal bag for the stay but here is what is included in it:
  • a very comfortable going home outfit for me (I have packed some light weight pants and a casual, cute top)
  • flip flops to wear around room (I have a foot issue so I live in tennis shoes but know they won't be easy to put on and off when getting out of the bed so I'm packing some thick flip flops for this purpose)
  • light weight cotton robe
  • two nursing tanks (my favorite nursing tanks are from Target!)
  • two sets of pjs that have a button down top (also purchased from Target)
  • fuzzy, cozy socks
  • charger iPod as well as the charger for my camera batteries
  • two pairs of underwear (I plan to live in the mesh ones the hospital provides)
  • Spark and Rehydrate along with a new shaker cup I got for myself as a treat
  • several snacks for the room including some of my favorite candies, goodies I know my husband enjoys, and some Advocare snack bars
  • I also have a laptop bag and am bringing my lap top, charger, as well as my iPod
  • I am also bringing my Nikon D3200 camera, extra batteries, and lenses
With my bathroom bag I bought travel sized items in the things I could find to make it easier to have packed in advance. When the time comes there are very few things I need to bring! With my first baby I only stayed in the hospital for 24 hours and didn't even take a shower (gross). With my second I did shower (and fainted in the shower...not good) and I totally plan on showering again this time too. So I want to make sure I have all my regular bathroom things to be as home-like as possible. I also bought body and face wipes just in case I need to do a quick freshen up! 

I also have clothes sitting out to put on when I know I'm in labor. Just something comfortable to wear on the way to the hospital and a a good nursing sports bra to wear during delivery and for that first nursing session! 

As for my husband he hasn't packed anything :) He says he will just grab what he needs when the time comes but I have written down to make sure he packs his bathroom necessities as well as a hoodie for the delivery room. A mama in labor keeps the room COLD and I remember he was thankful for his hoodie in the past!

In the past we have also brought along our pillows from home but I don't know if I will do that this time around. It's just one more thing to keep up with and I don't think that my own pillow really made the bed any more comfortable!?! My husband will only stay the first night in the hospital with me so we may grab a pillow for him if we think of it! 

In addition to all the things for me and the baby...I also put together Sibling Gifts for my older children and plan to bring them to the hospital. I don't plan on giving them to the kids right when they meet the baby, but plan to have them there when they come for a visit or even when they come to bring the baby home. I spent time gathering up several items I know they will enjoy and tried to get things I knew would help keep them entertained during the many nursing sessions I will be having with the baby!
These are the items I bought for my daughter's (she's 2 ½ years old) bag
I got her:
My son is 5 and here is everything in his bag

I got him:
  • hidden picture book along with several small coloring books
  • small toys
  • toy phone
  • Two "old school" movies. His are Wee Sing in Sillyville and All Dogs Go to Heaven
  • I am the most excited about his sibling baby book! It's called My New Baby And Me and the reviews on Amazon looked awesome! There are tons of places for him to write about the baby and I know he's going to LOVE it!
I also have each child a "big sibling" outfit to wear to the hospital and have it set out for whoever brings them to the hospital when the time comes. In addition I have a suitcase packed and ready for them. The first night that I stay in the hospital my husband will stay with me (not sure who will stay with me the second night?!?!) so the kids will stay with my MIL. I have their suitcase packed with the things they will need during that stay!

While I'm in the hospital with the baby I also have things planned for the kids to do with Daddy to help build the excitement for the baby coming home. I put out a large roll of drawing paper for them to make a welcome home sign and they each made a card to bring to the hospital for the baby along with a special gift they will go pick out for the baby together! 

I feel like I am very prepared and well-packed and organized for this baby's arrival! Is there anything I didn't think of that you would recommend adding to one of my bags? 
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