This morning I go back to school for my teacher in-service before the kids come the following week, which means officially, our carefree, no schedule summer days are over.  This will be the fifth time I have returned to school after summer break as a mom, and I am convinced more than ever, the transition just never gets easier. I am so incredibly grateful for my summers at home with my kids, it’s one of the reasons I decided to return to teaching, but it’s also so bittersweet and one huge emotional roller coaster once a year.  It always gets easier, and we make it work just fine, but I know any working mom can relate.  It’s pretty much the same feeling I felt that time I started bawling crying in front of the ziplock bags (I was getting to pack my lunch the next day) at the grocery store the afternoon before I was returning to school after maternity leave with baby Waverly. 😉
I am at a new school (which I am super excited about!) and will have a new schedule this year, basically going in a little later and finishing a little later in the afternoon as well.  This means that I will get to spend the mornings with the girls, help them get ready and put Waverly on the bus, but also that I will not be able to get her off the bus each afternoon.  This was hard for me, especially since it’s such a big year for her, but I am counting the positives, and am super thankful I get to see her off each day and that we have family & close friends who are able to be with her for the little bit until I get there.  With that being said, I am preparing myself for a crazy day the first day of school, I am not quite sure how I will ever logistically — and emotionally — get all three of us girls ready, get Avalon to her preschool (for the first time ever!), get Waverly on the bus (for the first time ever!), and then get myself to my own new school and not one big hot mess.  I know I will make it work though, because I am a mom, and isn’t that what we do?  And then I know it will take time, but we will find our way right back into a routine and all too quickly, another year will have passed and it will be summer break once again.
Sharing some more summer pictures, it’s been lots of barefeet and bathing suits and ice cream and late bedtimes and allll the summer things.  These truly are the days, the exhausting, long, beautiful and magical days, and I never want to forget them.

I hope that all of you (whether working, full or part time, or staying at home with your babies), are having a good transition this time of year.  I forever support us all! XO

Happy Friday, hope you had the most wonderful week!!  We are making every effort to soak in these last days of summer over here, one more week until I am back to school and the girls have one more after that.  It’s really been such a fun few months, it turns out ages 5 & 2 are much more able to do all the things than when the girls were younger (which is so much fun), but also, they can – and want – to do all the things.  I attempted to have a chill day at home the other day and about twenty minutes in, I walked into Waverly painting Avalon’s toes and having a tea party with actual water all over the playroom.  The chill day at home wasn’t so chill. 

With that being said, for what I think is the first time ever, we have actually crossed off our entire bucket list!  When we originally wrote our list back at the end of spring, we each got to contribute one thing that we wanted to do and mine (hands down!) was peach picking.  My love for watching my babies run through a field runs deep and the fact that we get to come home afterwards with bags of fresh fruit always makes it that much better.  We did this last year as well (post is here), but this year we went to a different place and we liked it even more.  They were SO many peaches and the entire place was just so beautiful, plus we got to have the best homemade ice cream after we picked.  If you are local, we went here and I am pretty sure they still have peaches left to pick!

Wishing you a very happy weekend!

Happy halfway through the week!!  I’m stopping in to share a favorite post from another mommy blogger, Stephanie from Honestly Mommy.  Her post is about taking pictures with your kids, something I know we all can relate to, we all want good pictures of our kids!  Enjoy! XO

10 Tips for Taking Pictures with Kids!

How to get the shot and keep your head while doing it.

Being a Social Media Mom is hard; taking pictures with kids can be one of the hardest parts of the job. But obviously, since you’re a mom, people kind of expect to see pictures of your kids on your feed…Makes sense right? But how do you get the little buggers to cooperate long enough to snap that coveted photo?
If you’ve ever tried taking pictures with kids then you probably know it can be frustrating for all parties involved. I used to find myself up tight and stressed during photo shoots because I was never sure how to get my kids to cooperate and make sure I got a nice photo. The more I incorporated my kids into my photos, the more I began to learn and after each shoot that went well, I’d catalogue another tip or trick to try the next time around.
Luckily for you I’ve learned a few Tips and Tricks for Better Photos during my journey into Social Media Motherhood, and I’m willing to share my secrets for taking pictures with kids! I hope these tips will help you get the shot you’re looking for!

10 Tips for Taking pictures with Kids

#1 Don’t push them to do something they don’t want to do. If they’re not in the mood it’s easier to just wait until later, trust me. I’ve done way too many photo shoots that I’ve insisted on when my kids are crabby and it just ends up with all of us being grumpy and frustrated; and usually doesn’t result in very good photos.
#2 Always be ready! How often to you set your kids up, they flash you that prize winning smile, but you missed it because you’re fiddling with your camera of trying to swipe left on your phone to open your camera app? Something I learned awhile ago is to have your camera on/open and ready to go as you’re setting your kids up. Kids have a very short attention span so don’t waste time prepping while they’re already posing.
#3 Invest in a tripod and remote shutter. This has revolutionized my picture taking! I used to have a camera with a self timer and spent many a photo shoot running back and forth to hit the button only to realize later that I wasn’t in focus because I joined the photo after the camera had already focused on the group -double ugh. About 8 months ago I invested in a tripod that holds my iPhone and a remote shutter that links via blue tooth, now I just stand in front of the camera and click away.  
#4 Don’t be afraid to bribe or reward. In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with telling your child you’ll get them a small treat if they agree to take a few photos with you. I don’t do this for every shoot, but I like my son to know that when he does the things mom wants to do (i.e. taking photos or going shopping) I’ll do the things he wants to do like go play at the park.
# 5 Always praise your kids for a job well done! My son is 3, and he fully understands when he’s being a bit of a stinker or cooperating well. He beams with pride after every shoot when I tell him how fantastic of a job he did. I have even started showing him a photo or two and saying things like “wow Zeke! Look at your smile!” or “look how nicely you kissed Cici!” I think when you bring attention to the way that you want them to pose and how well they did, they’re more likely to do it again in the next shot.
#6 Plan your photo shoots with your other outings. Very rarely now days do we get all dressed up just to take photos; I plan ahead on church days or other similar outings when I know we’ll be dressed cute and just take a 5 minute pit stop on the way to where we’re going. This has made it so much easier to sneak in photo shoots without taking extra time out of my day!
#7 Tell your kids ahead of time. If I know I’m planning on taking photos that day, I usually talk it through with my son at the breakfast table. “So today we’re going to take a bath after breakfast, get dressed, and then on the way to grandma’s house we’re going to stop and take a few photos, does that sound good?” To which I usually get a peppy little “yep!” I have found that when I give my son a heads up and don’t just spring photos on him he’s a lot more willing to cooperate.
#8 Know when to quit. (This is a big one!) Again, kids have a short attention span, so when they’re done, they’re done. Don’t push photos too long or you’ll end up with crabby kids who start to hate photos. Also, even if you’ve just started a shoot and it’s not going well, know when to quit! I am playing the long term game and want my kids to like our photo shoots, so if it’s just not working that day I’m quick to say “that’s alright, let’s be done.”
#9 Another bonus of having a remote shutter is that you’ll get countless candid shots and it helps with tip number 2; I start clicking before I am ever in front of the camera or have the kids set up. Sometimes it’s fun to get those in between shots of us talking, laughing, or me prepping the kids. More often than not I end up using the “candids” over the straight on smile and click photos.
#10 My biggest tip for taking pictures with kids is to just go with it; whatever mood you find them in, see if you can capitalize on it. Sometimes my daughter is pulling out all the sass and instead of trying to get her to calm down, I tickle her, tease her, and actually try to bring out the sass a bit more. When my son is grumpy and doesn’t want to take part in photos, sometimes I’ll try to capture the grumpy face too because it can be just as cute as a smiling photo! Also, usually I hold my daughter and let my son stand, but during one photo shoot we did recently he was begging to be held and she wanted to be down, so I let them orchestrate the photos and I did what they wanted.

Taking pictures with kids can be easy and fun when they start to get used to them and know that they will potentially be rewarded for a job well done.

My one year old daughter is so accustomed to photo shoots that when I ask her if I can take her picture she goes and stands up against a wall to “pose” -it’s the cutest! My son also has started to love our little photo adventures and has begun asking me if he can take the photos now too.
Incorporating my kids into my life work has been so fun and rewarding and I have endless amounts of cute photos to add to their baby books! With just a little bit of forethought, taking pictures with kids can be easy and fun for everyone involved! No more stress wondering if you’ll get the shot, just confidence that if it doesn’t work out this time, there’s always tomorrow!
If this article helped you, please share it with others through Pinterest of Facebook (simply click the appropriate link at the top of the page)! Other mommies (or daddies) might enjoy these tips also, and of course it would be greatly appreciated by yours truly 😉

Happy Picture Snapping!

We celebrated my husband’s birthday over the weekend with a family camping trip, this is something that we had been wanting to do forever and I am so glad that we finally were able to make it happen!!  It was my brother-in-law’s idea, and even though I might not seem like a typical camper type girl, I’m all about making memories and doing different and fun things with the kids.  I actually ended up loving the whole adventure, and the girls had the best time, they loved being able to spend an entire night with their cousin and especially loved having tons of freedom and no bedtime at all!

Since we had three kids five & under, we decided to stay close to home, just to be on the safe side.  It still was a campground though, and we did all actually stay in tents for the entire night, so I totally count it as legit camping trip — just with a few added benefits. 🙂  We had electricity & bathrooms, and the campground also had a pool and jumping pads (that the kids LOVED!).  This will definitely be a new tradition for us, our girls are still talking about it and this is just the sort of thing that I want them to remember about their childhood.

Fun fact, my husband stayed up way too late drinking way too much, and may still be recovering.  Things change when you get old. 😉  Happiest birthday babe, we love you and loved celebrating you!

We have about three weeks of summer left our way — and intend to savor every minute, but are also getting pretty excited for the start of school and the return of a normal routine again.  This year, all three of us girls will be at new schools, I will be going back to teaching older grades (which I am super excited about!!!), Waverly Maye will be going to KINDERGARTEN, and Avalon will be at a preschool for the first time, half a day, two days a week.  I am definitely prepping myself for some adjustment time with a couple new milestones all at once, but also think it is going to be such a fun year for all of us — I can’t wait to see our sweet girls each thrive in their own way! 🙂

One of my favorite parts of going back to school (since I was a little girl!) is going back to school shopping, both for supplies and clothes!  We haven’t gotten Waverly’s supplies yet, but have been collecting some fun clothes, and most recently teamed up with Mini Boden on back to school looks for both girls.  We have been big fans of Mini Boden forever, I love how their pieces are classic but also keep up with the trends, and are such high quality! 

Each of the girl’s looks reflects their personality so much, Waverly’s is fun and those glitter high tops are so her, and Avalon’s is sweet and innocent.  I know they will get a ton of use out of them in the upcoming year, the biggest thank you to Mini Boden for sending them over!

Now for the really fun part, Mini Boden is giving back to one of you!  One very lucky winner will receive a $1000 Boden shopping spree, you can enter below!  Also be sure to visit the six other bloggers I have teamed up with one this — The Chirping Moms, Jordan & Co, Hello Erin, Seven Graces, Sweet Southern Prep, and Girl in the Red Shoes.  Good luck, friends and happy week ahead!!!!

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