fall home decor

It’s officially fall!  This is my favorite season weather.  You know, when you can wear a sweatshirt while not have to wear a coat. 😉  I usually don’t decorate for fall, but this year with the new house, I just had to do little touches of fall throughout the house!  I’m sure if you follow us on our home design page on Instagram, you’ll see that I’m obsessed with neutrals.  …so even my fall decor doesn’t have too much color!

This little area by the stairs always looked so empty, so I knew that eventually a little console table would go there.  I finally found one at Home Goods for the right price, and it fit so perfectly in that space!  Phew!

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These little pumpkins were actually in a garland that I also got from Home Goods.  I love how the pumpkins were a cream felt material, but didn’t want it for a garland so I just took it out of the string.  Now I have pumpkins as table decor 😉

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This garland is from Target!  When you first look at the garland, you might think, “okay, I can make that myself.”  You know what?  Who has time for that?!  It was cheap enough that why waste your time? 😉

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I also got this wreath from Home Goods!  My original plan was to use it for our front door, but this wreath is HUGE!  It was way too big for my door, so on top of the mantle it goes.

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Do you guys remember those $5 pillows I got at Target in our “Target Addiction” video?!  Well, I found a spot for them!

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Here’s those little pumpkins again!

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Hope you enjoy!!  How did you guys decorate for fall?

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Categories: Home Inspiration, Niña
target addiction

Our Target addiction is on camera. TELL us we’re not the only ones! Hope you enjoy the video! Look out for new videos every Friday!

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Categories: Home Inspiration, Videos
as seen on: tiny prints

It was such a nice surprise when Tiny Prints contacted us earlier this year to feature some of our personal pictures for their holiday collection!  They selected pictures from my snow session when we lived in Dubuque.  You can see those here.  They also asked for some pictures for their year in review cards.  I would have to say…I was definitely the right person to ask since we were expecting, moved, built a house, and had a baby all in one year!  Here are some of my favorite cards from their website!  It’s so weird to see my kids (and Nick) on their website 😉  Proud mama!

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Here’s some year in review cards!photography049 photography051 photography050 photography052

Here are some trifold cards!photography045 photography044 photography042 photography043

Here’s some ornaments!photography041

Here’s the new home cards!photography046 photography047 photography048

Love LOVE their cards!!!

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Categories: As Seen On, Kids Style, Niña, Photography
life IS hard

Anybody else think it’s super sad about Brangelina? Forget the celebrity part. Forget the ex-wife that is probably thinking “what goes around, comes around.” This isn’t just a couple going their separate ways. They have 6 kids. They will be a part of each other’s lives…for the rest of their lives. Some who are divorced still are unable to get along or talk to each other even at their son or daughter’s wedding (we’ve witnessed it as wedding photographers).

My oldest son’s dad and I weren’t even married when we decided to call it quits. It was hard but thankful for our co-parenting skills now. 

Communicating IS hard.
Any relationship IS hard.
Marriage IS hard.
Marriage after kids IS hard.
Parenting IS hard.
Having kids and making sure you put your relationship with your husband a priority IS hard.
Making yourself a priority too once in awhile IS hard.
Being a parent, spouse, with a career IS hard.
Staying at home with kids all day IS hard.
Change IS hard.
Life IS hard.

When our best friend told us her and her husband were getting a divorce. We were as shocked very similar to this Brangelina breakup. It was sad. Niña and I were sad. We dropped our weekend plans to be there for her. I drove 4 hours from Minnesota. Niña drove 3 hours from Dubuque, IA. Hopefully, Brad and Angelina have some friends and family to lean on through this very difficult time. Hopefully, their kids will be ok as well.  #reallife#theyareus #brangelina

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Categories: Cecilia, Mommy Writing, Quotes
parenthood in the eyes of 2 kids

These two came up to me yesterday and said that they were a family… Mariah the mommy, Lennon the daddy, and the baby doll. I decided to follow them around and captured all of this like a fly on the wall. It’s hilarious what came out of their mouths. I felt like I just witnessed what all that happens as a parent. Lots of arguing, telling each other what to do, crying, mistakes made, frustrations with each other, and of course looking out for your baby! Enjoy!

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Categories: Uncategorized
once a year I become THAT stay at home mom….

A stay at home mom became a “stay at home mom” for the day…

Does that seem confusing to you? Well let me clear something up. There are 2 types of stay at home moms…what everyone expects a stay at home mom should be since they’re home all day, and then there’s the reality of how it really is as a stay at home mom.

Today is my husband, Blaine’s 33rd birthday. I always want to make sure his birthday is extra special. It’s my time to step it up. If you all know me, I am not a morning person. My husband whispers he’s heading to work. I turn my head with my eyes still shut, crazy hair with morning breath and all, and kiss him goodbye. Then about 5 minutes later is when I drag my a$$ out of bed so I can get my son Hendrix to the bus stop in time….. Today was different, I actually got up before everyone! Wowzers. Mariah woke up, and we got dressed and headed out the door. I picked up Blaine’s favorite muffins and some Caribou coffee. The hubby came downstairs after getting himself ready for work. His breakfast was on the table, and his coffee ready to be sipped on with his pinky up (LOL). While he went upstairs, I packed his lunch for work and Hendrix’s cold lunch. I should point out that I usually don’t pack his lunch (like mentioned earlier I’m still in bed usually when he leaves for work). He came back down with a big grin on his face as he sees me packing his lunch. This is what came out of my mouth, “Geez, is this how it feels to be the ‘perfect’ stay at home mom?!’ I’m actually dressed. I had breakfast and your coffee ready. I’m packing your lunch….” Blaine, “I know. You’re not flustered. You’re organized. You’re not rushing everywhere. You’re glowing!” Um, did he just say I was glowing?!? I guess the appearance he usually gets from me is like the zombie crawling out of the grave in the Michael Jackson – Thriller video.

Dylan left to go to school, but we still needed to drop off Hendrix at the bus stop. Yesterday and actually most days we’re running out of the garage door still in our sweats or pjs. I then tell Hendrix “Ruuuun!” while I’m power walking behind him pulling the wagon with the other 2 kids in it. Then the moment I see the other kids still in line, we all play cool (or maybe just me) like we totally were NOT frantically racing to the bus stop. I won’t even mention what happened last week during the kids’ first week back to school. We all don’t want to be “that mom” and I definitely was. I even tried to not be that mom! Today was different. Hendrix made it with plenty of time to spare, and I didn’t have to email or call the school because we missed the bus or forgot something.

Then we hurried back because I had lots to do… Like become Betty Crocker. I made chocolate pie and homemade sugar cookies..both of Blaine’s favorite. I went upstairs and made the bed even though I was not the last one out of bed. *cough* Blaine if you’re reading this. I’ll let it slide since it’s your birthday. I made lunch, vacuumed, mopped, put the dishes away that were in the dishwasher, loaded the dishwasher, and was on top of the kids’ messes. I actually told them not to even play…. Just sit there and don’t touch anything. Ok, I’m kidding but for realz, all I want is a clean house when daddy gets home today. Is that too much to ask?! Well, it is! I got done vacuuming and mopping and sure enough they started eating cookies and crumbs started popping up left and right on our dark hard flooring. The crumbs then followed them as they ran around the house.

Blaine came home to a clean house like we hired a cleaning lady or something (psssshhh…*me breathing into my knuckles and rubbing it on my chest), homemade cookies on the kitchen island, a mouth watering chocolate pie in the fridge, no dishes in the sink, kitchen counters and table wiped clean, and a wife who actually showered (I hate to even admit that). Talk about a birthday surprise!

Well, just wanted to let you all know I’m drained. I got up too early. I felt like I didn’t even get to hang out with the kids much because I was busy doing all these other “important” stuff like making sure the house is spotless when the hubby got home from work. Well Blaine, I hope you enjoyed this chick today. You do so much for our family. You deserved all these surprises, but goodness that was exhausting! That stay at home mom will see you again next year on August 31st!! LOL! Tomorrow, I’ll be back to my normal stay at home mom self…with plenty of highs with sprinkles of “bad mom” moments, rushing to the bus stop (it’s great morning exercise), pick up the house here and there IF I have time, letting the kids be kids, and shower if I get a chance before you get home.

Xoxo,
From the mom who naturally lives my life one hot mess day at a time.

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Categories: Cecilia, Mommy Writing, The Moments
one image // different editing styles

When you first decide you want to become a photographer, you have to decide what your photography style is.  Don’t worry, it might take you awhile to figure out!  When we first started, we had the bright colors / contrasty style.  Eventually it evolved to soft / pinkish / romantic feel.  We changed our editing a few times to really get ‘our’ look.  We were kind of known for our specific look that some people would even tell us that they knew it was our pictures based on the editing.

Every photographer is different, and there are a lot of editing styles out there!  We thought it would be fun to show you how you can get 7 different looks with the same image!  Which style is your favorite?!  Let us know what you guys think!

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edited in photoshop using florabella actions and then touched up in photoshopphotography039

edited in lightroom using erin tole preset and then touched up in photoshopphotography031

this is our very own editing style!  edited in photoshopphotography030

edited in lightroom using Red Leaf preset then touched up in photoshopphotography038

edited in lightroom using Mastin Lab preset and then touched up in photoshopphotography037

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edited in lightroom using vsco preset and then touched up in photoshopphotography032

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Categories: before & after, Photography, Post processing
pick your own fruit

First time for our family to go to a fruit/vegetable farm and pick our own!

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Categories: Niña, The Moments
throwback thursday // balloon classic

Every year in Indianola, IA, they have the National Balloon Classic. Last year was the first time my family and I have ever been to it, and this year we have to miss it, so I figured this would be a good #tbt! It was so pretty, and of course the kids loved the games there. All Beckham cared about was the lemonade! 😉

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Categories: Niña, Playtime, The Moments
wisconsin family trip 2016

For the 4th of July weekend, we decided to head up to Eagle River, WI to my husband’s parent’s cabin.  It’s definitely our home away from home…we love going up there!  We wish we could go up there more often, but it’s a 7 hr drive from Des Moines.  That’s long with 4 kids!

I got Nick a GoPro a couple years ago for his birthday, and I think I use it more than him 😉  Love how it’s small, easy to carry, a wide angle, and waterproof.  One thing I dislike is it doesn’t have a viewfinder.  It’s hard not to see what I’m taping or photographing until I view it on my computer…something I’m not used to!  You kind of hope for the best when you’re using it!

The day before we left for our trip, I was thinking it would be a nice to capture the whole weekend via video.  I knew the GoPro would be perfect for it!  It gets pretty complicated trying to take videos and pictures with one camera especially with a fancy camera like my Fuji.  I knew I just wanted to capture the moment instead of having the video be all fancy with special angles or have it blurry in the background kind of what the professional videographers do in their wedding videos 😉  I just wanted my video to be simple!  If something fun was going on, I just grabbed the GoPro and started recording.  Didn’t have to worry about focus or adjusting the camera for lighting!  It definitely made taking videos super easy.

I edited the video using iMovie.  I just inserted all the videos on there and got rid of the videos/frames I didn’t like.  The hardest part was trying to cut down the video, so it wasn’t too long!  I started off with 20 minutes after everything, but then cut it down more and more until I got it down to 9 minutes!  3 songs later!…oh well!  It was too hard to get rid of the ones that I wanted to remember 😉

Here’s the final video!  Enjoy!


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Categories: Niña, The Moments, Trips, Videos
the going home photo

I was going through some images and came across a photo taken at the hospital when we were about to head home after having Mariah.   I remember that moment perfectly.  I told Nina to take a photo with my iPhone.  Everyone takes a “going home photo” right?  I remember looking at the photo after she took it and did this…

Ok, so that’s really dramatic which is not at all what I did.  😉  I did know that this going home photo was going to be tucked away in my hard drive…FOREVER (until now).

BELOW:  Ready to POP!

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BELOW:  2 days after giving birth and about to leave the hospital and SWOLLEN.

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This was my 4th rodeo.  At least this time I was prepared.  I had maternity leggings and maternity shirts in my overnight bag for my hospital stay.  When I had my first child, I literally thought I’d be back to my pre pregnancy body so I packed “regular” clothes.  Tell me I’m not the only one who had this thought!  Talk about a reality check…I remember trying to fit my leg into the jeans I brought and well, it couldn’t even get past my thigh.

Since no one really tells you how days after pregnancy really are, here’s an inside scoop….

  1. Be prepared to wear huge pads probably the size of the newborn diaper your baby will wear.
  2. You will bleed…a lot.  (reason for the pads)
  3. Ice packs for your private area never felt sooooo good.
  4. Be prepared to wear huge stretchy mesh granny panties.  Thongs are not going to be holding those huge pads in place!
  5. They will push on your stomach a lot.  Gotta make sure those blood clots are out!
  6. Are you modest?  Throw that out of the window.  You are like a baby yourself.  They will have to check your private area multiple times a day.
  7. Peeing will be such a huge accomplishment.
  8. Take the laxatives consistently that the nurses give you.  If you don’t, prepare to be super constipated.
  9. You will still look pregnant so plan wisely when packing your overnight hospital bag.  Maybe 4-6 months instead of 9 months pregnant.  You may feel and look heavier and more swollen after you give birth than when you were actually pregnant.
  10. Your stomach will be squishy and look like a deflated balloon.
  11. Take advantage of the nursery while you’re at the hospital.  Have them watch your baby while you rest.  When you’re at home, you’ll wish someone was wheeling your baby right next to you.
  12. Once your milk actually comes in, you will look like you had a boob job.  They will be hard as a rock.
  13. Breastfeeding doesn’t come as easy as you had imagined.  It may be easy at the hospital but once your actual milk comes in 3 days after giving birth, it may be a whole new ball game.
  14. Be prepared for nipples to be demolished.
  15. Baby blues do happen.  At least for us….you’re on this all time high at the hospital (you have food served to you, people watching your other kids, everyone helping, giving you medication, peace and quiet) and then once you step inside your home, you have that overwhelming feeling.  You’re now in reality…. your body is still recovering, you need to keep track of your own medicine, you’re adjusting to breastfeeding, you have to take care of your baby (and your other kids), late night feedings, hardly any sleep, your husband goes back to work, your parents/family who were helping have to go back to work/home.
  16. Don’t turn down help…if it’s a free meal, if it’s someone watching your baby for a few hours so you can have a nap, take a shower, or even to go on a date night with your husband
  17. There is no right way.  People will tell you what to do, but you’re the only one who knows what will be best for you and your baby.
  18. Sex after pregnancy may not be very enjoyable for you at first…..or the second time…or the third time.
  19. Even though you may not look your very best or not feel like yourself yet…get in from of the camera.  Those photos may very well become your favorite photos in the future.
  20. ENJOY MOTHERHOOD.  It’ll be tough.  You’ll cry.  You’ll be exhausted.  You’ll be tested.  It will get better.  Days are long, but years will be short.

I disliked that going home image above.  I was swollen and still looked very much pregnant.  Definitely didn’t have a “Heidi Klum body” ready to walk on a runway after popping out a child….and that’s ok.  I look at that image now with a huge smile on my face.  That was the day we got to take home our baby girl who makes our family complete.

BELOW:  December 2015

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Categories: Cecilia, Mommy Writing, Pregnancy, The Moments
fourth of july 2016 // niña

We spent the weekend at the cabin in Wisconsin during the 4th of July weekend.  Unfortunately, we had to leave on the 4th due to Nick’s work meeting the following day, so the holiday was spent mostly in the car 🙁  We didn’t get to our hotel until 7:45pm, so I was definitely that mom that said “Hurry up we’re losing light for pictures!”  I don’t care if we were in the car all day…I need a 4th of July picture 😉  They love me!

Most of the kids’ clothes below is from Gap, and Johannah’s vest is from Target.

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Categories: Holidays, Kids Style, Niña, Photography