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happy new year. new years family photo idea.

Happy New Year – 2018

Happy New Year everyone! 2017 was a pretty great year for us. We did a lot of traveling (Tasmania, Mammoth, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki, St. Petersburg, Tallinn, San Diego, Lake Mead, New York, Bar Harbor, Saint John, Milwaukee and Maui), celebrated big things like birthdays and holidays as well as the small stuff and created a lot of wonderful memories together. Here is our 2017 Christmas card – I’ve been putting a collage on the back for the past few years to show all of the highlight’s of our year. I love looking back on the year while creating this.

2017 Christmas Card. A collage on the back is a great way to showcase highlights of the year.

I’m excited to see what 2018 has in store for us and have to admit this time of year has me thinking about New Year’s resolutions. Are you a resolution kind of person? I used to set 5 goals for myself each year, but found that I would get discouraged if I didn’t achieve my goals. Last year, I completely dropped the goals thing and my only intention for the year was to cut myself some slack and be happy with the present. I really wanted to enjoy the journey and focus less on checking off boxes, which I think I did a decent job at. Perhaps because I had a year of no concrete goals, I find myself craving goal setting more than ever this year. Of course, I already know that my goals are completely unrealistic. In my perfect world I would be organized, we would all eat healthy, I would exercise regularly, I would de-clutter and re-decorate my house, I would keep up with backing up my photos and clearing them off my phone, I would blog more regularly, scrapbook more regularly, learn about photography, be better at self-care and me time, I would go on more dates with my hubby, spend more time with my kids and the list could go on and on. I think my type A personality and constant desire to be better often sets me up for stress and disappointment, but at the same time, I think it is important to make an effort to better ourselves. So my compromise with myself this year is to try out the one little word thing. Have you ever heard of it? You pick one word that will be your theme for the year. My word is STRUCTURE. I have been craving more structure and feel like a good routine sort of went out the window when I became a stay at home mom. I am going to start off by implementing a schedule and my hope is that by following that schedule, I will better be able to plan for fitting in some of those other goals I mentioned above. Instead of concrete goals, though, structure will be my overarching intention for the year that I can always come back to and focus on in whatever form it takes on. I’m excited to see how this works for me and hope it will help me make improvements without getting discouraged.

happy new year. new years family photo idea.

Now that I’ve shared my personal goals, lets talk my blog. I started this blog as a hobby and at times it definitely seems unrealistic to continue it, but I feel like I need this space. After having worked the first few years of the kids’ lives, I feel like this blog has helped fill a void I experienced when I stopped working. I know I could spend the little bits of time I dedicate to my blog relaxing, watching tv, pampering myself, scrapbooking, etc. instead, but I find that having a connection to the outside world and feeling like I can make a positive influence for others is really rewarding. I mean, I already do all the things I share anyways, so I always feel like if I can help even one person by sharing, it is worth it. Moving forward, as long as this blog remains a hobby, it will probably take a backseat to family life, but when I do have time to blog, I want to be able to focus on what people want to see. So, I looked at my most popular posts, my best performing pins on Pinterest and took a poll of my instagram followers and here is what I discovered:

Top Blog Posts:

Finding Dory Birthday Party (8,224 views)

Holiday Photo Booth – Elf on the Shelf Idea with Free Printable (1,296 views)

Elf on the Shelf 2014 (1,152 views)

North Pole Breakfast 2016 (918 views)

Halloween Bathbomb Gift (595 views)

Let’s Get Wild Party Animals Birthday Party (464 views)

May Your Coffee Be Stronger Than Your Toddler – Free Printable (427 views)


Top Pinterest Pins: 

Finding Dory Birthday Party (3.6K repins)

May Your Coffee Be Stronger Than Your Toddler – Free Printable (666 repins)

Let’s Get Wild Party Animals Birthday Party (287 repins)

Holiday Photo Booth – Elf on the Shelf Idea with Free Printable (273 repins)

Elf on the Shelf 2014 (108 repins)

North Pole Breakfast 2016 (103 repins)


Instagram Poll:

Parties/Holiday 23 yes 0 no

Motherhood/Family Stuff 20 yes 3 no

Printables 19 yes 5 no

Scrapbooking/Craft Stuff 18 yes 3 no

Travel Tips and Trip Highlights 16 yes 5 no


And just for fun, here are my top 9 posts on Instagram in 2017:

2017 best nine on instagram

So, it appears that my elf on the shelf posts are favorites, but since I can’t focus on those all year-long, I think I will try my best to focus on more holidays and parties. 🙂 Parties and holidays seem to be what my instagram followers want and those posts are my most popular too. 🙂 On Instagram, it seems like everyone also likes family stuff, so I will try to post more of that on there. I will also do my best to tackle some of the other categories such as motherhood (let me know specifically what you want to hear about), printables, scrapbooking, traveling, etc. 🙂 I hope you continue to enjoy my blog and if you aren’t doing so already, I’d love for you to follow along on Instagram and Facebook. I definitely share a lot more personal and family stuff on Instagram, especially in my stories. 🙂

I hope that you all have a very blessed, creative and happy 2018!



breastfeeding photo taken by the Letter B Photography for Crystal Campbell of the Creative Copycat

Breastfeeding Past the First Year

This photo was taken at Hudson’s 1 year photo shoot. I never thought I would share it. It was for me to have to remind myself how I had overcome so many challenges with breastfeeding to make it to that one year milestone, but also to remind me what a joy and blessing it had been as well. I really feel that this photo captures that special bond between a mother and child and reminds me of those quiet moments I got to spend cuddling Hudson while I nursed him. I worked really hard to breastfeed for as long as I did and I am proud of it. 🙂

I originally published the below post on July 28, 2014 on my personal family blog. I was 7 months pregnant with Luc and Hudson had weaned himself a few months earlier. I was reflecting on my breastfeeding journey, particularly how the response I got from others changed from positive to negative after we reached the one year mark. Since this week is World Breastfeeding Week, I figured I would share it here in the hopes that it might encourage other mothers to continue breastfeeding until you or your child decide you are done instead of giving into pressures from society. I also hope that this reminds mothers to be less judgmental and more supportive in all areas of motherhood. We are all just doing our best and trying to make the right decisions for our family.

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After 19 months, I am officially done nursing. It is certainly bitter-sweet (and to be honest more bitter than sweet). Breastfeeding takes a lot of energy, which is something I don’t have a lot of these days so having one less baby relying on me for nutrients is a relief. It will also be good to get a break before baby number two comes. I can eat whatever I want after a long time of being on a very restricted diet and I will have a bit more freedom for a while, but in all honesty, it makes me sad. Hudson made this choice completely on his own. He slowly started dropping feeds and the last few weeks he has only done the morning feed, which has been getting shorter and shorter until I finally realized 2 seconds of nursing is silly.

I had a very difficult start to breastfeeding and at times, didn’t know if I would get to do it at all. Our journey started with jaundice, poor latch, weight loss and near hospitalization, followed by hours of time with a lactation consultant teaching Hudson how to latch properly (he was very stubborn), around the clock feedings and pumping sessions, and obsessive weighing before and after feedings. Then once I thought our troubles were behind us, he was diagnosed with MSPI (Milk Soy Protein Intolerance) and eventually allergies to wheat, dairy, eggs and nuts so I went on a strict diet to be able to continue to nurse him. I initially made it my goal to make it to 6 months of exclusively breastfeeding. Once we reached that milestone, I said I wanted to make it a year. After the one year mark, I assumed Hudson would quickly wean like many of my friends children did, but our breastfeeding relationship kept going strong. I secretly made a new goal to make it to two years, so I was a bit sad when he became less and less interested long before the 2 year mark. I really was starting to think I could be one of those moms who nursed both her children, but Hudson weaned himself, which is ultimately what I had always wanted: to breastfeed until he was ready to stop.

One thing that I found really interesting about breastfeeding is how quickly opinions change in regards to it. When you have a newborn, everyone praises you for breastfeeding. I always wanted to be an open-minded mom and although I ended up being rather passionate about breastfeeding, I would never judge a mother for formula feeding. I certainly know first hand how challenging breastfeeding can be and I think that loving your child and making the best choices for your family are far more important than breastfeeding. I do however see a lot of formula feeding mamas being made to feel badly about making that choice (or perhaps being forced into that choice for one reason or another). Around 1 year though, the tables turn. Apparently there is some unwritten rule that you are a Goddess Mama if you make it to the one year mark, but if you go past this deadline, you are suddenly committing a social crime. I see mom’s post all the time that the last day they breastfeed is literally on their child’s 1st birthday and the very next day they switch to cow’s milk and breastfeeding is over. As soon as Hudson’s 1st birthday passed, the feelings and comments of praise quickly turned very judgmental. “Are you still breastfeeding?” “Jeez, are you gonna breastfeed until he’s 5?” “Don’t you think he is too old to be breastfed” “How much longer are you planning to nurse him?” (with a weird sideways glance that implies I should stop immediately). “When they can ask for it, you really should stop” “You know it is only beneficial for the first 6 months, right?” “Why haven’t you stopped breastfeeding him yet?” The comments and questions were never-ending. I didn’t let them get to me, but suddenly my formula and cow’s milk feeding mama’s were the Goddesses and I was a freak!

I just don’t understand why we as mothers need to tear each other down. I always had a really hard time defending my choice to breastfeed because the judgmental comments regarding my extended breastfeeding more often than not came from mother’s who either formula fed from the beginning or didn’t breastfeed for very long. I didn’t want to give a laundry list of reasons for my choice that might make them feel bad about theirs. As I said before, we are all doing our best and that involves making choices. No choice is right or wrong, it is the choice that is right for your family that matters and I wish we as women could just support other moms even if they make different choices than us. I really love this response to the Time Magazine cover with the mom on the front feeding her toddler with the title “Are You Mom Enough?” I couldn’t agree with it more!

“Dear Time,

To answer your question-


I am Mom Enough to breastfeed.

I am Mom Enough to bottle feed.

I am Mom Enough to co-sleep.

I am Mom Enough to crib sleep.

I am Mom Enough to cloth diaper.

I am Mom Enough to use disposables.

I am Mom Enough to make my own baby food.

I am Mom Enough to buy baby food.

I am Mom Enough to wear my baby.

I am Mom Enough to use a stroller.

I am Mom Enough to stay at home.

I am Mom Enough to go to work.

I am Mom Enough to do both.

I am Mom Enough to choose what is best for my family.

I am Mom Enough to raise happy, healthy children.

Thanks a bunch for asking,

-a Mom”

bubble gum gender reveal 3

Gender Reveal Photo Ideas

I love making big, important announcements fun and creative so when we found out we were having our second boy I knew I wanted to do a gender reveal photo shoot. My photographer and I had discussed some ideas before the shoot and decided that bubblegum would be a cute announcement. Our original plan was to have Hudson pop the wrong bubble, but he was scared of them and kept running away crying every time we blew one. We still incorporated him into some of the other shots though and to this day this is one of my favorite photo sessions.

Apparently, other people liked it as well because the bubble gum shot went viral! It was kind of crazy, kind of weird and kind of fun. I once had a mom “recognize” me at a Gymboree class and friends were seeing our picture pop up on mom’s groups and Pinterest all over the world.

gender reveal photo using bubblegum its a boy

A friend of mine also recently informed me that a few of our photos from that shoot are included in an article on Tiny Prints that provides gender reveal ideas.Here are the photos featured in their post:

gender reveal photo using balloons its a boy

gender reveal photo its a boy bubblegum

gender reveal photo bubblegum its a boy

Here are a few more of my favorites from this shoot:

gender reveal photo its a boy

gender reveal photo its a boy

gender reveal photo using balloons its a boy

gender reveal photo using balloons its a boy

I hope these give you some ideas for your own gender reveal announcement.

A few quick tips if you plan to do the bubblegum one: We bought the cute blue and pink gumballs for the photos, but used bubbleyum for the actual bubble blowing. Even though we practiced ahead of time, bubble gum blowing isn’t the easiest so be patient and have fun with it. We were cracking up the whole time.

To view more gender reveal ideas, you can check out the tiny prints article by clicking here.

Photos were taken by The Letter B Photography one of my favorite photographers who I highly recommend. 🙂

gender reveal photoshoot ideas using bubblegum balloons and baby clothes