Letters to My Little One | 9 Month Old

Thursday, March 12, 2018

To my little peanut,

You have officially been outside of my womb the same time you were in it. I love every minute I get to be at home with you. You learn new things everyday. Like just the other day you learned how to pick up a ball and throw it. Then you wouldn’t stop throwing it. You would throw it to me, and I would roll it back, and you would throw it right back to me! It’s so cute. Although, after learning how to throw the ball, you now throw everything just to see if it bounces. It’s still cute, though.

You love to read books. By yourself, that is. You’ll sit on the floor, with books all around you, and you’ll flip the pages and look at the pictures. You are really good at turning the pages when I read to you, it’s probably your favorite part about reading the book. I hope that you’ll continue to love books. I hope you become my little bookworm!

You are getting really good at standing by yourself. You’ve even tried to take a few steps towards your aunt. We were so excited and proud of you! You love to crawl up to something, pull yourself up, and then let go and just stand there. It’s so cute! You also love to stand up and bang your hand on hard surfaces to see if you can make noises.

Speaking of noises … you love any and every type of noise. It makes you giggle and smile so big! This morning you started to scrunch your face up just a little bit more when you smiled. And when you smile big, your eyes start to squint and disappear – just like your daddy! Oh, yeah. That’s another thing you absolutely love. In fact, as I type this right now, you are casually sitting on daddy’s lap, just spending time with him. When daddy comes home from work for his lunch break, you run to him. You won’t leave him alone the whole time he is home for lunch. Then when he heads back to work, you cry. You cry and crawl for the door. I have to distract you with songs and toys so that you’ll be happy. But I love how much you love your daddy. And your daddy loves you so much. It breaks his heart when he has to leave you for work. It’s too cute.

You really are such a joy in our lives. We love you so much. I can’t imagine my life without you or daddy.

I am blessed to be your mommy.

I love you so much!

Love, mommy

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read month 1 here
read month 2 here
read month 3 here
read month 4 here
read month 5 here
read month 6 here
read month 7 here
read month 8 here

A Boy and Morning

A Boy and Morning

I have to admit something … I’m not a morning person, and neither is my son. He sleeps in and so do I. Am I proud of this? Not really. BUT, if it means nice snuggle time with my son, then I’m totally ok with staying in bed a little longer. And he’s usually happier to stay in bed longer, too.

On this particular morning, I had gotten up, got dressed, and then saw the pretty light flowing in. And I decided I wanted to play with my camera some, while little man played on the bed. It was fun. I experimented with light, shutter speed, composition. It was a lot of fun. I should do this little exercise everyday. Especially the shutter speed, because I always play it safe and just use a high shutter speed for everything. But I love the way slow shutter speed images look. Hmm, maybe the next creativity exercise will have something to do with shutter speed …

Anyways, I hope you enjoy these photos as much as I did taking them!

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I love this little boy of mine and I love capturing the memories we make together. Thank you for swinging by.

If you haven’t already, please subscribe to my blog (you’ll get a freebie!!). I post creativity exercises, personal posts, as well as tutorials for beginner photographers. If you have any questions, please comment on my blog and I’ll answer them for you!

 

11 Things You Should Be Doing as a Blogger

11 Things You Should Be Doing as a Blogger

When you start your blog for the first time, it can be quite intimidating. There are so many things you need to do for your blog to be set up (if you’re serious about blogging, that is!) and I found that certain things are more important than others. I remember when I first set up my blog and it came time to write my first post, I thought, “what do I even write about as my first post?” mainly because I did haven’t any credit. Nobody knew me. Nobody knew what my content would be about. But my best advice is to just do it! Just start writing. I did, and I haven’t looked back!

In this post I really want to talk about best practices as a blogger. What I’ve learned along the way. These tips have really helped me in the long run.

read about How to Take Better Photos for Your Blog

Aly Dawn Photography 11 Things You Should Be Doing as a Blogger


This post contains affiliate links, meaning I will get a small portion of revenue when you purchase something. Read my full disclosure here.

These tips will get you started in blogging and will also help keep your blog up to date.

1. take a course

Okay, I cannot stress this enough. Seriously. You can’t do this on your own. I really liked the Blog by Number ecourse by Suzi – it really changed the way I blogged. I loved this whole blog course. And the best part is that it’s not that expensive! You get a lot of information on how to start your blog, make money from your blog, blog post ideas, and so much more. Worth the money, believe me! She lays it all out for you, step by step! Go get this ecourse as soon as possible. It’s amazing. I still look back at it from time to time. Review it, make sure I’m doing everything she recommends. Once I started doing what she suggests, my stats have exploded.

2. find your niche

When I first started, I just blogged about anything and everything. Which isn’t always good…unless you have a personal blog, then that’s different. But if you’re looking to make money from blogging, you really need to find your niche! Do you like food? You could start your own food blog where you post your recipes! Do you like helping people learn how to blog? You could dedicate your blog to that. Do you think you are a master at Instagram? There’s another niche. Once you realize your niche, blog about that and nothing else. Which leads me to…

3. update your posts

So, you wrote a blog post about 2 years ago that is totally unrelated to your blog now…what do you do? Should you leave it? My advice would be to revamp it. Either get rid of it or make it relate to your blog now. I’ve already started doing this so that all of my posts look cohesive. Just like in photography, having your blog look cohesive is important, too. You want your audience to know exactly what to expect when they come to your blog. And when you upgrade, upgrade all of your posts. Even if it takes longer, it’s worth it.

4. pin your posts

Make pinnable images for each and every blog post and pin them. No kidding. Also, the Tail Wind App has done wonders. It makes Pinterest so easy. All I do is make a pinnable image, post my blog post, and then I schedule my pin to pin in all types of boards using Tail Wind. I also set up other pins that aren’t mine to post at the best time. Tail Wind seriously does all the hard work for me. I love it! You can do a free trail that they offer – but be warned! If you do the free offer, you’re going to want to do the paid version, too. Ok, I warned you.

Pinterest has been my main source of traffic.

Aly Dawn Photography 11 Things You Should Be Doing as a Blogger

5. be yourself

I’m serious here. When I first started, I wanted to see what other bloggers were doing. I tried to mimic some of my favorite bloggers. And the images I was producing, and the posts I was writing, they just came across as flat and I hated them!! So, my number one advice here is to just be yourself! When I first started, I wanted to be like all other bloggers and have light and bright images. But, that’s not my photography style. Once I accepted this and made blogging work for me and my style, I feel 100% better and actually love blogging. Be yourself. You shouldn’t be starting your blog for any reason except for yourself.

6. guest post

Don’t just write posts for yourself, write for other bloggers! And while I have you here, I am in the market for guest writers, so if you’re interest, please let me know. 🙂 By writing for other blogs, you get your name out there even more. So find a website (in your niche!) that could benefit from what you have to say! Get yourself out there. I wish I had known that when I first started.

7. good pictures

You need good pictures. Pictures draw you in. Make you linger. If you have really crappy snapshots … well … it just looks unprofessional. And it wouldn’t make me want to linger on a site! I know I love going to blogs that have beautiful photography. I’m not saying you need to be a photographer, but you do need to start thinking about how your images will affect your audience. If you’re a food blogger, you need your images to make your audience hungry. You need your subjects to look delicious! That’s what will make them click on your pin. Right? So, practice that photography!

Would anyone be interested in a photography class that is designed to help bloggers get better images? Let me know in the comments below.

8. be original

You need to find a reason for people to wander to your blog. There are so  many food bloggers, mommy bloggers, photography bloggers, etc. out there that it can be quite hard to become noticed. But you need to figure out what makes you original, what makes you special compared to those other bloggers. Once you find it, you blog and blog about it.

Aly Dawn Photography 11 Things You Should Be Doing as a Blogger

9. don’t do it for the money

If you’re doing it for the money, stop. You need to blog about something that really truly inspires you and gets you excited and happy. The money comes later after lots of work.

10. schedule your posts

Pick a day, write your posts, then schedule them for that week. This, of course, comes after you’ve managed to put your blog together. Scheduling posts is a legit life saver. I really don’t know what I’d do without it. In this little sit down I’ve already typed up and created 4 blog posts, that can now be scheduled for later times. That’s one lovely perk of being a blogger. It’s totally up to you to make up your hours and it’s the perfect stay at home mom job. Just sayin’!

11. comment on other blogs

Yes. This is similar to Instagram. You write a blog post, you need to go comment and show love on other blogs! That’s a really nice trick to getting some more traffic. Networking with fellow bloggers can do wonders. 🙂 A little hint I came across one day that’d like to pass on … when commenting, write your name out as Name @ Business Name (example: Alyssa @ Aly Dawn) – that way people know you are a blog and will click on your name. Sometimes the @ can look spammy, so you can also try Name at Business Name or Name (Business Name) something along those effects. When you comment, always make sure you link back to your blog!

And just like with my Instagram hints … leave genuine comments. Don’t comment on a post unless you really love it. Be genuine and be nice. Ask questions. You never know, it might get you comments back!

So, that’s it! Those are my 11 things you should be doing as a blogger. What is something you think all bloggers should do? I’d love to hear from you!

 

24 Things I’ve Learned in 24 Years

24 Things I’ve Learned in 24 Years

I’m normally not one to publicly announce my birthday. I usually just let people remember … and usually end up disappointed and hating my birthday (seriously, it’s happened before). This year, I thought I’d try a different approach. I’ve been really focusing on self love this year. After I became a mother, I found it was really important to take care of yourself first, before you take care of your sweet baby. If you don’t, it’s really hard to feel pretty because children drain so much of your energy. Anyways, today I am turning 24. I’ve learned a lot in my 24 years of life, and I am excited to learn & improve even more over the years to come.

I set up the tripod, put on a dress that makes me feel beautiful, and took birthday pictures with my boy.

And today I’m celebrating me.

Aly Dawn Photography 24 Things I've Learned

1. make time for yourself

I feel like this is important in all phases of your life. It’s important for me to have alone time. I try to schedule in alone time everyday. Most days it’s when the baby naps. Some days it’s while I’m in the shower (I always linger just a little longer…) but my favorite is when my husband willingly & lovingly says, ‘I’ll watch our son, you do something for you.’ He’s a keeper! But, seriously. Making time for you is very important to keep you sane.

2. confidence is beautiful & powerful

3. stop talking about yourself & start listening

You are important, but so is your friend. So, stop talking about yourself & listen to those people in your life that are important to you. Ask questions about their life. Be engaged. Listen to their problems, excitement, anything they feel like telling. So, it’s OK to stop talking & lend an ear.

Aly Dawn Photography 24 Things I've Learned

4. things work out when you work at them

The first time you do something is always the scariest. How could it possibly work out? It always does, especially when you put the work in.

5. love takes work…

… but it’s worth it!

6. it’s ok to ask questions

Most of my life my pride has gotten in the way of me learning new things. I have learned that asking questions is totally ok and actually helps you even more in the long run.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Aly Dawn Photography 24 Things I've Learned

7. change can be good

8. stop comparing yourself to others

I am enough. I am beautiful. I am perfect just the way I am. I’ve learned that I should stop comparing myself  to others. I’m not better than them, they’re not better than me, we’re just different. And that’s OK.

9. it’s ok to treat yourself

You deserve it! Don’t feel too guilty for that extra piece of cake. Don’t feel bad about buying that super cute dress you’ve had your eyes on. Treat yourself every once in a while. It’ll help keep you sane.

Aly Dawn Photography 24 Things I've Learned

10. care salesmen are the worst

Enough said.

11. it’s ok to have opinions

This has been a hard one for me. I’m a people pleaser. I never would say my opinion to other people without feeling like I was making someone upset … so there was a time where I wouldn’t say my true feelings, just what everyone wanted to hear. But, it’s ok to disagree and to have your own opinions. I don’t think any less of you because you do something differently than me.

12. being a mother is the best and worst job

I’m sure all other mother’s would agree with me. There’s something so rewarding about being a mother. Watching your little one grow and develop. Watching them learn new things from you teaching them, or them learning by themselves. There’s so much joy and happiness that comes from being a mother. But, on the other hand, it is the toughest job in the whole world. I’m constantly worrying about my son. I am constantly tired. Constantly trying to figure out how I could possibly teach him the way of life. Motherhood is definitely the hardest thing I have ever done.

But I wouldn’t change it for the world. I love being a mother.

Aly Dawn Photography 24 Things I've Learned

13. family is everything

14. life is short

So, hug that person and quit fighting. Love, guys, spread love everywhere!

15. god is in the details of your life

I’ve learned this at a young age. He’s always there to guide you. He’s there in your darkest days. He’s also there when you’re happy! He’s working on every small detail in your life.

Aly Dawn Photography 24 Things I've Learned

16. being an introvert is cool …

… and totally ok! It took a long time for me to accept the fact that I was an introvert. But, I am. And you still like to talk to me. I just do better one on one than in a large group. 🙂

17. messy house is totally ok

I’ve had a long day. I’ve been running around cleaning up after my son and the house is still a mess. And that’s ok. Because it’s not always going to be clean. And I have to accept that! But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t strive for it. 😉

18. it’s ok to cry

I hate crying. I really do. But, I have learned that it’s totally ok to cry sometimes. Get it out of your system. Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed. It’s ok (I might need to continue to tell myself that!).

19. your body really does change after childbirth

I didn’t believe them. But they were right. My body is changed forever, for the better.

Aly Dawn Photography 24 Things I've Learned

20. it’s ok to say no

21. grudges aren’t worth it

22. forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself

I read that somewhere and really liked it … it’s true. I’m still working on forgiveness, though.

23. getting out of the house everyday is a must

For your sanity. I sometimes find myself not going outside at all in the day … and then I realize why I’m getting frustrated with the baby. I need fresh air. So, I plan on scheduling more outside time this year!

24. nobody’s perfect

Easter Basket Ideas For Boys

Easter Basket Ideas For Boys

So, Easter was yesterday. I was a little on the fence of doing an Easter basket, to be honest … simply because my son is so young, he wouldn’t remember it. But, I decided to go ahead and do it and take pictures, so that he can look back and say, wow! You’re an awesome parent, mom! (At least, that’s what I hope he’ll say!!!). After searching and searching, I finally found the perfect items for him. If I were on top of things, I would have posted this the first of March … but you know, motherhood got in the way.

Another thing that got in the way of our Easter basket fun was the fact that UPS took my package to the wrong facility, causing it to be delayed two days, so I didn’t get it until today! Ugh! It should have been here last week. But, I digress. Baby boy won’t know the difference, right? Here’s what our Easter basket looked like.

Aly Dawn Photography Easter Basket Ideas for Boys

This post contains affiliate links, meaning I get a little bit of revenue, at no extra cost, if you click on the links. Thanks in advance for supporting me. You can see my full disclosure here.

easter basket ideas for boys

I really loved putting this together. If I had all the money in the world, I would have gotten a lot more (but I’ll link to it, so you can see what I would have bought!), but I am excited to get all of these things for under $50. That’s a win right there, right? I love Amazon! They made it so easy to order everything I wanted, while I breastfed … which was so nice. I didn’t have to leave the house to get all of this stuff. Talk about lazy … but I’m just being honest, here!

This Easter Basket is pretty plain and simple, but my little man loved it! He especially loved number 4! He played with his new stuff for about an hour! Which is pretty good, considering his age. I’m pretty pleased with how his Easter Basket went.

1. new onesies

I absolutely loved these cute little onesies by Carter. I got the black/white set. I love the little buttons! And the dinosaurs. And the fact that they’re all grey. I think my favorite is definitely the anchor one. I mean, how cute are those?! I was looking at another cute outfit by Burtsbees, but this was the same price and I got 6 onesies for the price of one … no brainer there. These onesies are SO cute. I absolutely love them! They are the first onesies I’ve actually bought my son … because he usually just gets outfits from his grandparents. 🙂 It was fun to shop for him!

2. books

I got him the Love You Forever book, because I really like it, and he didn’t have it yet. I got the paperback version, which will mean he can’t have it for a while. But, oh well! Another book that I got him was the Guess How Much I Love You book. Which is perfect for Easter, since it’s about bunny rabbits!! There are so many great baby books out there, and they’re all for decent price. These baby books would be perfect for an Easter basket, a birthday, Christmas, anything. My son loves books! He will climb into my lap the moment he sees I have a book and he will sit still. Woah. Books are awesome.

3. teething toy

For babies, teething toys are a must. I got him this adorable teething toy! I just love it. Plus it has an elephant on it? So cute. He loved it because it makes noise when he bangs it, but he can also chew on it. It’s very well made and just so adorable.

4. a new toy

I got him a new toy, a wooden shape sorter, and it was the hit of the whole basket! My son personally likes to take the shapes out and put them back in through the opening … not the shapes. But! He’s still young. 😉 I’d say this toy is perfect for 6 months to a year. My son loves throwing the shapes, it’s his new favorite toy. So, that was a hit! Plus this wooden shape sorter is so beautiful! I love the colors and the way it looks. So cute!

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All in all, it was a good Easter. And I hope you are inspired for next year. 😉 I should really work on my marketing skills … my favorite part about this whole thing was how much fun he seemed to have. He loved that there was stuff in a basket for him to make a mess of. He loved his blocks. He loved his teething toy. And maybe when he’s done napping form all the excitement, we’ll read the book, and he’ll love that, too. And I have beautiful images that I can cherish for the rest of my life. My son’s first Easter! I didn’t make a big deal out of any of the other holidays. This year, I plan to take pictures of them all.

Next big date : his birthday! It’s fast approaching and I’m over here being torn. I love how much he is growing and developing and turning into a toddler, but I want him to stay little forever and be my baby forever. Motherhood doesn’t get any easier, does it? Stay little forever. Please?

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Happy Easter.