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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Daddy's Girl

Caroline is a Daddy's girl for sure. When Daddy comes in the room doesn't matter what else she's wrapped up in doing (like looking through the pages of her favorite American Girl catalogue...the girl is obsessed with American Girl and she's only 1!) she stops what she's doing and heads to Daddy as fast as she can.

My people. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Urban Inspired Family Portraits

Ashley is one of my good mommy friends. We met by chance while both out on walks with out littles who just happen to be 10 days apart in age. It's been a gift to have a mommy friend who lives just down the road.  There's nothing like having another mother who's going through the same stages at the same time to understand you almost better than yourself! And when she asked me to take their family portraits I couldn't have been more delighted. Friends & photography & Durham...3 things I love? Yes, please! 

Here's a look at a few of my favorites from the family portrait session...

They chose the American Tobacco Campus in the heart of Downtown for an urban inspired backdrop.

Thanks, Ashley for asking me to take your family photos! I could not have had more fun with them!

I felt so blessed to have the opportunity to photograph my sweet friend and her family. There's something truly special about getting the chance to capture images and memories for a dear friend. 

For information on packages and pricing please visit
All images copyright of Bethany Schneider Photography. Do not use without permission.  But feel free to pin directly from this blogpost. Many thanks! 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Caroline's 1st Birthday Party

My baby girl turned 1 last week! It was both the longest and the shortest year of my life. Any other moms relate? She grew from baby to toddler sooooo fast. Too fast. But then those sleepness nights lasted too long. Bittersweet. 

I wanted to keep it small and simple for her 1st birthday celebration. I think there's a lot of pressure among moms to throw really big perfectly planned and themed 1st birthday parties. I know there are some moms out there who just love hosting and that planning a big celebration is fun for them. I'm not bestowed with the gift of hosting. Planning for even just a casual having friends over for dinner stresses me out. I probably worry way to much about food and whether or not I'm making something everyone will like and if my house is clean enough. See, obviously not the party planner type no matter how hard I wish I could be a good party planner. 

So we kept it small and simple this year. And Caroline LOVED it. I think it turned out just right. 

For my own memory sake I want to remember what I served:
chips and salsa, crackers and spicy white bean dip, grapes, candy dish, and vegan pumpkin chocolate chip muffins instead of birthday cake. I was not about to sugar her up and then have to deal with the sugar crash afterwards. I know a smash cake is a hugely popular tradition, but honest it was so much easier serving her favorite muffins- she loved it, no mess, no cranky sugar low for baby (and she was cranky tired enough after all the excitement!)

She also really enjoyed the getting toys part. 
 And putting the gift bows on her head. She kept doing that. Maybe she wants a bow in her hair? I've never tried because I figured she'd rip it out 10 seconds later but maybe she'd go with it. Maybe.

Thank you to the sweet friends and family who helped us make her first little birthday party special.

Happy Birthday, little Miss Caroline! 

What are your thoughts on birthday parties for toddlers? Go big or keep it simple? I'm thinking I'll probably wait to go bigger with them when she can enjoy the theme, the decorations, the treats more. Right now she's pretty thrilled with her favorite muffins and the Elmo balloon she had tied to her highchair.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Caroline at 12 Months

"On the night you were born the moon smiled with such wonder that the stars peeked in to see you, and the night wind whispered life will never be the same.

Because there had never been anyone like you ever in the world.

So enchanted with you were the wind and the rain that they whispered the sound of your wonderful name.

The sound of your name is a magical one. 

It sailed through the farmland high on the breeze. 

Over the ocean and through the trees. 

Until everyone heard it and everyone knew of the one and only ever you.

Not one had there been such eyes, such a nose, such silly wiggly wonderful toes. 

When the polar bears heard they danced until dawn. 

From far away places the geese flew home. 

The moon stayed up till morning next day.

And none of the lady bugs flew away. 

So whenever you doubt just how special you are and you wonder who loves you how much and how far. Listen for geese honking high in the sky they're singing a song to remember you by. 

Or you notice the bears asleep at the zoo, it's because they've been dancing all night for you. 

Or drift off to sleep to the sound of the wind, listen closely it's whispering your name again. 

If the moon stays up until morning one day. 

Or a ladybug lands and decides to stay. 

Or a little bird sits at your window a while. 

It's because they're all hoping to see you smile. 

For never before in story or rhyme. 

Not even once upon a time.

Has the world ever known a you my friend. And it never will not ever again.

Heaven blew every trumpet and played every horn. 
On the wonderful, marvelous night you were born. 

from my all time favorite children's book On The Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman

Friday, November 1, 2013

Thankful: My Constant Companion

Today I'm thankful that that tiny screaming newborn who I could never seem to soothe (new moms can relate) has grown into my little constant companion. There are days where I feel myself thinking "when with this child nap I NEEEEED a break". But then I remember how special it is to have a tiny companion who wants to do just what I'm doing. Including cleaning the floors. 

And yes, in case you're wondering I do clean the floor on my hands and knees with paper towel and spray. 1) I'm neurotic about cleaning like that 2) I have a toddler who loves nothing more than to fling all her food from her high chair tray as fast as she possibly can as soon as I turn my back. A broom/swiffer/mop wouldn't cut it. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Motherhood State of Mind...

The early months of being a mother are fraught with nerves.

 If I give her a pacifier will we ever be able to break the habit?
Is the swaddle too tight? Can she breath?
Crib? Bassinet? Co-sleeping?
Rock baby to sleep or will that ruin her for self-soothing?

I mean literally the list could go on and on and on and on and on and on. But I don't think my fingers have enough endurance to type the long list of worries that cross a new mom's mind. 

I remember getting to the point where I drove three times as long to a grocery store just to find organic avocados because I was afraid if I gave her conventionally grown avocados the pesticides could be harmful to her developing brain.
oh. my. word.
We have driven ourselves IN SANE. 

But as the journey of motherhood continues and our babies grow there comes a point where we're not quite so worried (though still adequately worried enough thankyouverymuch). We've officially let the are-you-seriously-letting-me-take-this-baby-home-from-the-hospital-I-have-no-idea-what-I'm-doing state of mind and successfully graduated into The Motherhood State of Mind. 

You know you've entered The Motherhood State of Mind  when...

1) You laugh at the days you used to sanitize the baby's pacifier when it fell on the floor outside her crib because now you'll let her eat whatever crumbs have fallen on the kitchen floor. We like to call this "building my child's immunity". 

2) Your car's CD player now boasts a stimulating collection of VeggieTales, Lullabies, and The Little Mermaid. And you have no earthly idea what the rest of society is listening to these days. Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star...

3) You change your clothes when you get baby poop on them. But pee, eh why bother changing till the end of the day because no one can see a pee stain like they can a poop stain. 

4) Your jeans are no longer "low rise". Things just...they just aren't tight there anymore.

5) You begin to wonder why on earth you ever carried a purse in your pre-child days. Now you carry a bag stocked with puffs, crackers, sippy cup, paci, toys, diapers, wipes. The only items that could qualify as yours in that bag- your cell phone, wallet, and keys- are really actually toys in last ditch efforts for entertainment when your child begins to melt down in public. We've all been there. 

5) A friend asks you to meet them last minute and you think "Last minute, I have to plan all day like a military siege just to be able to wash my hair before noon." 

6)) Nothing scares you. You've handled the worst of poops...might have even gotten some on your clothes. Again, nothing scares you after that experience.

7) Your skills at blocking out noise are superior. 

8) You don't blink at the word "nipple".

9) You can calculate the cost per diaper across a variety of brands, box and bag sizes, and stores. You know exactly where the cheapest diapers are sold and exactly which ones do and don't let the infamous blow-outs escape.  

10) You talk about yourself in the third person, refer to yourself as "mommy" and your husband as "daddy". You swore up and down you'd never ever do that. Opps. 

Oh, motherhood, how you have changed me. To think I went from wearing stylish pee and poop free clothes, to sanitizing everything that came within a 20 foot radius of the baby like a mad woman, to letting my child eat dropped raisins and Cherrios off the floor. Heck, I've actually been known to encourage her to eat the Cherrios off the floor - if it keeps her busy for 5 minutes so I can finish dinner. 

Welcome to the club, baby. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

11 Months

Caroline, you are 11 Months old!

You love to play with magazines, practice standing up, and playing with the new toys and your favorite teachers at the Y and church nursery.

Your favorite foods are homemade pizza, bananas, grapes, apple slices, sweet potatoes, black beans, bread, and cheese. 

You love playing with your Gramps who carries you around on his shoulders. 

You little vocabulary is expanding with "hi", "bye", "nana" (banana), "mama", "dada" and "bush" (which serves to identify both bushes and trees), and "tanks" (thanks). And you're trying so hard to mimic all our sounds and words but just can't quite get there yet. Soon enough, baby.  

You are a very busy little girl. Crawling all over the places, exploring everything, and standing up as much as you can. 

You like it if we blow on the butterflies on your butterfly mobile in your nursery to make them dance. You ask for us to do this every morning after your bottle by blowing and pointing in the direction of your butterfly mobile. 

You love it when we point out who is who in our family pictures on the mantel and fridge. And get especially excited when we point out "Caroline". 

When you're not in a cloth diaper you were a size 3 disposable and you've just moved up into the 12 month range of clothing. 

You love animals. You get very excited when you spot a doggie while we're out on a walk. And you're very social, intent on waving and saying hello to anyone and everyone we pass at the grocery store. 

We love you, Caroline. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Obsession: Sunflower Seed Butter

I have this tendency where I discover something for the first time and then become borderline obsessed with it. 

Opps. Just did it again.

Am I the only one drooling over the SunButter spread over a graham cracker and sprinkled with raisins and dark chocolate chips?

Hmmm....maybe I am obsessed. 

And no, SunButter didn't give me a dime to say that. I'm just a foodie so what else do I do with nap time but eat food, take pictures of it, then gush about it on my blog?

Wait...that made me sound a little odd, didn't it? Other people take pictures of their food with their DSLR. Right? Right??

Hmmm...maybe I am weird. 

Either way sun flower seed butter is amazing and I can't get enough it. I used to think sunflower seed butter was some weird tasting nut alternative for those who suffered nut allergies (and I use the term suffered because I also have an unhealthy obsession with nuts. Some people pick the M&Ms out of trail mix. I pick the nuts out. Case and point). But my dear friend Ashley who helps me discover all the yummiest foods and recipes got me hooked on sunflower seed butter. 

And I've also got to gush about finally finding whole wheat graham crackers at Target. These were Annie's Honey Graham Crackers. I bought them under the assumption that I'd feed them to Caroline as an on the go snack. But she got maybe one and I ate the rest of the box. Obviously mommy needs to learn to share.

So I've got to ask...what's your favorite nut or nut alternative spread?