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Letters to My Children | 2 Years + 30 Weeks in the Belly

Letters to My Children | 2 Years + 30 Weeks in the Belly

July 20, 2019

Dear Babies,

We’ve been having so much fun this summer! Preparing for little girl and trying to soak up all the fun an only child gets. I’m trying to cherish every moment with my oldest, because I know too soon my hands will be full of another sweet baby. I am so thankful to be a mother to two beautiful kids. Only a few more letters to my children before sweet baby girl gets here. I’m so excited yet so nervous!

To my oldest:
I’ve already written you a special letter this month, since it was your birthday and you are now TWO! But I thought I’d continue the letters to my children and write you a little note as well. One thing that has already changed is that today you counted to three in spanish. It’s no surprise your favorite show right now is Dora the Explorer!

Another fun thing we’ve done this month is go to a place that had two bounce houses, trampolines, and a fun foam pit. You had a blast! I definitely have plans of taking you back. You were so fearless and would follow all the big kids around you. I was really proud but also slightly terrified that you would get hurt. I had a little bit of an internal battle with myself before I decided to just watch and see what happened, only intervening when I felt it absolutely necessary (which was only one or two times). I’m pretty proud of myself!

I really love it when you’re talking to me because you also call me mom. You’ll say things like, ‘Mom, I’m hungry’ or ‘Good job, Mom!’ or ‘Air go mama, a blue ball’ (here you go mama) it’s really quite adorable. You call me mom, mommy, mama and it just melts my heart. I love you so much, my sweet son.

To my youngest:
Wow are you growing and developing just perfectly. We got to see an ultrasound of you to check on a few things. The ultrasound came back perfect and they have no more worries about your development! I’m so happy because I prayed and prayed that you’d be alright. You are moving a whole lot more and I just love feeling your little kicks and jabs everyday. You’re especially active in the morning and at night (or maybe I’m just paying attention more). Which is the perfect way to start and end a day! I’m also starting to see you move my stomach, which is always such a fun part of pregnancy.

As far as my growing belly, no new stretch marks yet! I almost feel like I haven’t gotten any bigger, but I know that’s ridiculous! Because you’ve gotten a lot bigger! At the ultrasound they said you were measuring at 2 1/2 pounds! So little! I can’t believe you’ll grow to be 7 or 8 pounds! In just 10 short weeks. You have a lot of work to do, my sweet little girl.

I got a TON of clothes for you. Your drawers are completely full (unlike your brothers haha!) and the closet is full of cute little dresses I’m going to put you in. I might change your clothes 3 times a day just to see you in all of these cute outfits. Don’t tell big brother…he might be jealous, but he doesn’t super care about his outfits. They just have to have dinosaurs or spiderman on them!

I’m literally so excited to dress you in most of these outfits. And I even have a few more I want to get you that are just too cute to pass up.

My grandma (your great-grandma) is making me a beautiful dress. And I’m so excited because she has enough fabric to make you a matching dress for when you’re older! Gah I can hardly wait!

I’m feeling great. Chasing your older brother around has been good for me. Only recently have I gotten pretty tired. I’ve taken a few naps here and there throughout this past week. I anticipate more naps haha! I’ve had a few stretching pains, but I’m really feeling great. We’ll see what the third trimester brings (I’ve been in it for 2 weeks now, and it’s not too bad yet!).

All I know is that you keep growing, baby girl, and being healthy. I can’t wait to meet you earth side. I can’t wait to see what you look like. Your ultrasound was SO cute! I personally think your silhouette looked like your Aunt AJ’s silhouette. Which is funny, because people thought your brother looked like Aunt AJ when he was a newborn. We’ll see! I think you looked similar to your brother, but upon analyzing both ultrasounds side by side, I can see some huge differences. So I’m really excited to see what you’ll look like.

I may not be ready for your arrival quite yet, but I will be. I hope you know that you are already loved and that so many people are excited to meet and hold you.

I love you both so much.

Love,
Mommy

Letters to My Children | 2 Years + 30 Weeks in my Belly
Letters to My Children | 2 Years + 30 Weeks in my Belly
Letters to My Children | 2 Years + 30 Weeks in my Belly

5 Pregnancy Products I can’t Live Without

5 Pregnancy Products I can’t Live Without

This will be my second pregnancy, so I’ve learned a few things that I can’t live without! Pregnancy is such a beautiful (and short) time in a woman’s life. It can be difficult and straining on your body if you’re not taking certain precautions. I loved being pregnant with my son, it was such a special bonding experience for me. There were items and things that I found I needed while pregnant. I wanted to share them with you! If you are a first time mom I’m hoping these will help you. They might even help seasoned moms! Let’s get started!



5 Things I Can’t Live Without While Pregnant

I believe each one of these is just as important as the next. With these items and things, your pregnancy should go smoothly. Remember to always consult your doctor if you have any concerns about your pregnancy or how you’re feeling. It’s important to consult your doctor before starting anything new while pregnant. I hope these things will help you have a smooth and amazing pregnancy! And congratulations! Being pregnant is such a miracle and such a blessing.

1. Comfortable Maternity Shirts

You really need to invest is some comfortable maternity shirts! Cute but comfy. I found some amazingly comfortable maternity shirts on Amazon. They are so comfortable. I love all of the beautiful materials! I also love the designs of them. These are my three favorite maternity shirts that I found on Amazon for a decent price. They didn’t break the bank for me! And again, they are SO cute and SO comfortable. It took me hours to find these, but I’m so glad I made the effort to find them! These are some of my favorite pregnancy products.

2. Comfy Maternity Leggings

I don’t know why I never got maternity leggings with my first pregnancy, but I absolutely love my maternity leggings I got for this pregnancy! They are so comfortable and I love the fabric they are made out of! I also had to get some maternity capris (or shorts) because I’m going to be pregnant ALL SUMMER LONG! With my first pregnancy, it was only towards the end that summer started, so I didn’t buy any pants that were cooler. But leggings are an absolute must, because who doesn’t love to lounge around feeling comfortable and good about themselves? Yeah, leggings are for you!

3. Body Lotion

I wished I had taken this advice with my oldest! I didn’t really think much about putting body lotion on my belly. And I got a TON of stretch marks (I’m a firm believer that stretch marks are genetic, though, and that you can’t 100% prevent them). But, you can help slow them down. My favorite lotion so far that also helps fade any existing stretchmarks is Botanic Tree Simply Organic Stretch Mark Cream.

I have noticed my existing stretch marks are fading (very slowly, but that’s fine with me) and I haven’t gotten any new stretch marks yet (as of 29 weeks!). It also smells so good. I’ve tried other stretch mark creams and they smelled horrible. This one smells good and doesn’t make me feel sick (thank you, pregnancy hormones!). I try to put this on at least once a day, but it does recommend you put it on twice a day. I couldn’t live without this pregnancy product – I seriously love it so much!

4. Pregnancy Pillow

I am one of the poor unfortunate pregnant women who get really bad twitchy legs during pregnancy. So bad that I can’t sleep. I literally stayed up all night the other night because I was so uncomfortable. The pregnancy pillow definitely helps with that! I have just a simple pillow that my mom made, but I have heard amazing things about this pregnancy pillow if you’re interested in buying one. This is a must have pregnancy product!

5. Exercise + Drinking Water

Exercise is very important while you’re pregnant. It will help you when it comes time to giving labor. With my first child, I quit exercising cold turkey. That was probably the worst thing I could have done! This time around, I’m staying pretty active (chasing around a 2 year old!). But I still try to get in walking as often as I can. I also drink water more and I love my water bottle, it’s sturdy and holds a good amount of water.

I also love this water bottle because there are two different ways to remove the lid, one to add just liquid or to drink from, and the other to add ice if you want! One of my favorite pregnancy products! It’s also REALLY easy to wash.


That’s it, I hope you found some of this informative and helpful! And congrats on your newest little bundle. I’m so excited to meet mine! Comment below with when you’re due. I’m due Sept 2019!

A Letter to the Birthday Boy | 2 Years Old

A Letter to the Birthday Boy | 2 Years Old

July 12, 2019

Dear little one,

You’re two years old today. I remember when I first found out I was pregnant with you. I wasn’t quite as thrilled or excited as I should be, because I had been pained from a miscarriage just a few months earlier. I was worried if I got too excited, I would miscarry you as well. So, I didn’t let myself get too excited about being pregnant with you. But by the time 12 weeks came along and we heard your heart beat for the first time, I knew you would be just fine. And I started day dreaming what it would be like to have a newborn in the house. What would it be like to be a mom? All the things I dreamed about and thought about, came true, but even better than I could imagine. Being a mom is one of the most amazing things I have ever experienced.

You have taught me so much, my sweet little boy. I became a mother because of you. You have taught me patience (mainly because you came into this world so late!), you have taught me how to love more, you have taught me to enjoy the simple things in life, and so much more. The day I had you was one of the best days of my life. My heart grew 10 times bigger that day. My love for your father grew 10 times more that day. My love for you grew 10 times more. You helped me feel empowered. You helped me feel wanted. You helped me feel important. I am a stronger and better person because of you.

Things you love at the sweet age of two: Spiderman! If you could have all things Spiderman, you would. You love to watch any movie featuring Spiderman. You love any clothes with Spiderman on it. You are all about Spiderman. You also run around pretending to shoot webs and making a ‘pew’ sound everytime you do it. Oh my goodness is it the cutest thing I have ever seen! You also love to jump off of things lately, which always makes me so nervous! You are constantly on the go and this pregnant mama gets tired. You love to wrestle with your dad or uncle or aunts. You love to sing ‘ABCs’, ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star’, ‘The Itsy Bitsy Spider’, ‘The Wheels on the Bus’, and ‘Monkeys Jumping on the Bed’. I’m pretty impressed because you know most of the words to all of those! I love it when you’re playing with your toys and I just hear you singing one of those songs to yourself. It’s adorable and makes me so happy.

Another thing you love is anything to do with water. Splash park, pool, lake, sprinkler, all the above you love! You also love going on walks and going to the park with your mommy and daddy.

I haven’t counted how many words you know, but I’m pretty sure it’s around 250. You can already say sentences with up to 6 words in them. You also never stop talking, which is fine with me right now! If you ever come across words, you start singing the ABCs song, and it’s really cute! You’re learning so much by talking and repeating what we say. You’re figuring out how to piece words together to make a sentence. And I’m really proud of you for that!

You are extremely good at copying what others do. If you can’t figure something out, I just show you how to do it and then you just do it from then on. It’s quite impressive, I wish I had that ability! You learn really well by watching.

You enjoy spending time with your family; your mommy and daddy, mamo (grandma) and aunts and uncle. You really love going to mamo’s house. I don’t blame you, she has a kid pool and a trampoline and a slide that you just have so much fun with. The images below were taken at your mamo’s house!

A Letter to the Birthday Boy | 2 Years Old Aly Dawn Photography

Lately you’ve started to play with your toys by yourself. This is a huge accomplishment! I’m happy you are content to do things by yourself. It gives me some time to do the things that I want to do. Like blog! Or edit pictures of you haha! Your favorite toy is this hot wheels track. You love taking the track apart and putting it back together again. You also have some blocks that you like to play with, as well as some dinosaur figurines you like to make fight with each other. If there’s cars, dinosaurs, or blocks involved, you are one happy camper!

I’ve caught you a few times reading to yourself, and I hope you continue your love for reading! You get pretty excited when I bring home a new book (which I’m trying to do at least once a month). Your favorite books include dinosaurs or trucks. Which I can’t blame you, they’re some pretty fun books out there that have those two things in them!

A Letter to the Birthday Boy | 2 Years Old Aly Dawn Photography
A Letter to the Birthday Boy | 2 Years Old Aly Dawn Photography
A Letter to the Birthday Boy | 2 Years Old Aly Dawn Photography

You are one polite little human. You are pretty good at saying please and thank you. And I think it’s so cute how you say ‘tank you’. And when you say please, you hug yourself tight. It’s adorable. Sometimes I have to remind you of what to say, but for the most part, you are really good at saying thank you to those who help you.

I’m really proud and happy because your bedtime routine has been pretty consistent and it’s been so easy getting you to sleep! We brush your teeth, put you in pajamas, let you have some milk or water, and then let you listen to a bedtime story on my phone. You go right to sleep. And I’m so happy! Getting you to sleep has always been easy, but it’s nice to finally have a bedtime routine that we can do every night.

A Letter to the Birthday Boy | 2 Years Old Aly Dawn Photography

You’re still a huge fan of your daddy. It’s so cute whenever he comes home and you go running to him yelling, ‘daddy!’. I also really enjoy seeing you two interact and get along. He’s a pretty awesome daddy, but you already know that! I hope you always love your daddy this much!

A Letter to the Birthday Boy | 2 Years Old Aly Dawn Photography

I’m so blessed that I get to stay home with you every single day and watch you grow and learn. Being a stay at home mom is so amazing and fulfilling! Thank you for teaching me so much in the two years you’ve been in my life. I can’t wait to learn even more from you! You’re my little buddy, my partner in crime, my explorer, and my sweet boy.

I’m really excited to see you become a big brother. I have this feeling that you are going to be such an amazing big brother! I can’t wait to witness this growth. I know you’re going to be such a big help when your little sister gets here. I’m excited to see what type of personality she will have and how you two will work together. I think you’ll really enjoy being a big brother.

A Letter to the Birthday Boy | 2 Years Old Aly Dawn Photography
A Letter to the Birthday Boy | 2 Years Old Aly Dawn Photography
A Letter to the Birthday Boy | 2 Years Old Aly Dawn Photography

I hope you know just how loved you are. How special you are. I hope you see your worth and you know that you have parents who love you very much. That you also have grandparents, aunts, and uncles you love you very much. You are loved, my sweet sweet boy. You are amazing. You will do amazing things in this life, I know it.

Happy Birthday. You deserve to have a day to celebrate you! I hope you enjoy it and I hope you have so much fun!

Two years looks good on you, my sweet boy.

I love you so much!

Love,
Mommy

A Letter to the Birthday Boy | 2 Years Old Aly Dawn Photography

Dinosaur 2nd Birthday Party

Dinosaur 2nd Birthday Party

My son is turning TWO in July and we celebrated (a little early) by throwing him a Dinosaur Birthday Party! He had a BLAST! July birthdays are so much fun! I failed him last year by not really throwing a party (I mean, he was turning one…) so I wanted to up my game a little bit. Especially since I am about to have another cutie in my life, I wanted to do something special for my son before all attention went to his sister. #sadbuttrue

I got a lot of inspiration off of Pinterest, I’ll be honest! I am not always the most creative when it comes to things like this. But, I had a lot of fun and I made it my own! All of the graphics were made by me and also the birthday banner.

I also made his CAKE! And I am SO PROUD of it!

All of the images you can download at the end of this post, because I’m just that nice. 😉

Dinosaur Birthday Party Ideas

Dinosaur Birthday Food

So I wanted to break everything down in this post for you, and tell you exactly what I did for his party.

The foods and the dinosaur names are as follows:

  • Stego Chips – Tortilla Chips
  • Diplodocus Dip – Salsa
  • Pterodactyl Pizza – Bagel Bites
  • Carnivore Tenders – Chicken Nuggets
  • Herbivore Valley – Fruits and Veggies (and an AWESOME watermelon!)
  • Jurassic Juice – Green Koolaid
  • Dino Droppings – No Bake Cookies
Dinosaur Birthday Party Ideas
Dinosaur Birthday Party Ideas

My awesome, wonderful sister made the stegosaurus watermelon! It turned out SO good! I am super impressed with it! Don’t you think it’s just the cutest?!

Dinosaur Party Favors

I was a little unsure about doing party favors…but I quickly learned that they are a must if you are throwing a party for a toddler! Sometimes the toddlers don’t understand why they can’t open the birthday boy’s presents…and that’s when party favors come in handy!! So, if you are unsure about party favors yourself…DO IT! You’ll thank me later!

Dinosaur Birthday Party Ideas

These adorable little dinosaur bags (and actually ALL of the party favors) were purchased on Amazon (afl. link)!! Amazon was a life savor for me while planning this party!

The rest of the items in the bag are below (all afl. links):

My son actually picked out most of the things we included in the party favor bag! He was especially excited about the dinosaur stickers part! I wanted to stick with something that doesn’t have a lot of sugar for a snack, so that’s why I went with applesauce. They were being loaded up with cake so I didn’t want to give them candy or anything sweet. I was pretty happy with how they turned out! Plus those bags are just too cute.

I made sure to have enough for everyone including the birthday boy, he deserved to have a party favor bag as well!

Dinosaur Crafts

I was pretty excited about the dinosaur craft I had picked out! I totally found this all over pinterest, so I am not claiming this at all! But it thought it was perfect for toddlers, and I was right! This was the perfect dinosaur craft for toddlers!

I got some washable paint that claimed it would wash out of clothing and skin. It worked really well on the skin, nobody got it on their clothes so I’m not sure if it would wash out well or not! But my son loved it! And I just decided to invest in all the fun colors because I knew I could use it for some craft time with my son later on.

Dinosaur Craft at a Birthday Party

So all you do is make a stegosaurus body (you can download my version below, I printed them out on cardstock, cut them out, and glued them to different colored cardstock) and then you use the paint and the children’s hands to make the stegosaurus’s spikes. The kids loved it! Then you make a dinosaur name out of their name. They could pick between adding a ‘saurus’ or a ‘don’ or a ‘t-rex’ to the end of their name. For example, Ethanasaurus, Andrewadon, or Sarahasuarus T-Rex. Super cute, super simple, and SUPER EASY! Win-win-win in my book! Plus they’re super cute, am I right?!

Dinosaur Cake

I found this dinosaur cake on Youtube – the tutorial comes with print outs on exactly how to cut the cake and also instructions. This is a total Pinterest win for me!

I would recommend to do a crumb layer, then freeze it for at least 30 minutes before you put on the final icing layer. That really helped make it look nice and smoother (I’m not an expert cake maker, so if I can do this, so can you!).

Dinosaur Birthday Cake

For the big dots I used the flat Reece’s. Then I used brown M&M’s for the small dots and Hershy Kisses for the spikes. Super yummy and so cute!

Birthday Boy

I’ll probably still write a letter to him, but here’s the birthday boy on the day of his party! I bought him the cutest dinosaur shirt that he absolutely loves! I was looking for one that said ‘two-a-saurus’ or something along those lines, but they were more expensive than I wanted and not quite as cute as I imagined. So I went with this shirt – that way he can wear it for a long time, too!

Free Printables

As promised, here are ALL of the stuff I made and created for his party! In the banner PDF, I included an extra 6 that you can add white letters for your own child’s name. (If they have more than 6 letters in their name, then just repeat some).

I printed these off on white cardstock at a local store. I looked around for which one would print on cardstock for the cheapest! For the stegosaurus body, I bought my own cardstock and printed it on different colored cardstock.

I hope you enjoy these print outs!

June 28, 2019 : A Day in The Life

June 28, 2019 : A Day in The Life

I love doing Day in the Life photography projects! The last time I did this was on my son’s due date. I decided that I needed to do another one since it had been a good two years (almost to the day!).

The reason I love day in the life photography projects is because I really feel like they help you push through creativity ruts. I was so determined to photograph my day using creative light, compositions, and perspectives I had never used before in my photography…and you know what? I was very successful! And I love the images I got throughout the day.

Before I dive into my day in the life, I wanted to explain what exactly it is, in case you are new to the whole idea! But before we get to that, let me tell you real fast about my new course coming out!


It’s all about how to Capture Your Everyday Life and Create Art. In this course you will learn:

-Simple compositions to use everyday
-How to use and see the light
-6 Creative Exercises to help you capture your everyday
-5+ Editing videos
-Tips on taking Self Portraits featuring your everyday
-And MORE!

Be sure to sign up below to be notified of when this course will air, early bird pricing, and what else will be included. I’m so excited about this course!


a day in the life : how to complete one

So, first and foremost I do go over this in depth in my course, Capture Your Everyday Life and Create Art if you are interested in learning more about these type of photography projects.

The basic concept is to capture a full day. The best way to do this is to make sure you take your camera everywhere you go. Make sure it’s charged the night before and make sure you make a plan the night before as well. In my course, I go into details on how to make a plan, how to do a day in the life, and much much more! So be sure to sign up for early bird pricing! (Alright I promise I’m done promoting my course – I’m just so excited to give it to you!).

A Day in the Life is fairly easy to accomplish, you just have to be diligent in taking pictures throughout the day.

I wanted to challenge myself and use different compositions, lighting, and perspectives in my own home than I usually do, and I definitely accomplished this challenge!

This is why I love day in the life photography projects! I feel like they help push you to see beauty in your everyday life where you normally would have just ignored it. Anything and everything is photographable in a day in the life project!

Well, without further ado, let’s see my pictures! I’m really excited about them and I hope you enjoy this project that I completed.

June 28, 2019 : Day in the Life

The day started like most days: My husband woke up before me and left for work, I woke up before my son and read in bed some until he woke up to snuggle.

Day in the Life Aly Dawn Photography Project
Day in the Life Aly Dawn Photography Project

After he woke up, my son declared he was hungry, so it was off to the kitchen to find some food for the poor starving boy! He says the cutest hungry that comes out as ‘hunny’ and I can’t help but think he’s calling me a sweet name every hour of the day!

While my son was eating, I set him up with some morning cartoons so that I could get ready for the day.

Next it was time to get my son ready. I always place him on top of the chest of drawers, it’s easier for me and my growing belly! We change diapers and get dressed here almost everyday.

Day in the Life Aly Dawn Photography Project
Day in the Life Aly Dawn Photography Project
Day in the Life Aly Dawn Photography Project

After that we ran a TON of errands with the help of my sons uncle!! We couldn’t have done it without him. I was preparing for my sons birthday party the next day, so I had a lot to do. I didn’t take as many pictures while we were out and about as I had hoped, but I made sure to sneak in two at Kroger!

Day in the Life Aly Dawn Photography Project

Then it was home again, where my son demanded a snack and to eat his cereal with a fork. Ahh, two year olds, what do you do?

Day in the Life Aly Dawn Photography Project

After I unloaded all of the groceries and everything else I bought for his party, it was time for some fun play time in his room!

Day in the Life Aly Dawn Photography Project
Day in the Life Aly Dawn Photography Project
Day in the Life Aly Dawn Photography Project
Day in the Life Aly Dawn Photography Project

After he got used to the idea of playing, I snuck off to the kitchen to do the dishes and start making dinner. It was almost time for daddy to get home!

Day in the Life Aly Dawn Photography Project

In the excitement of daddy getting home, I failed to take pictures of our meal (which was spaghetti and very yummy!) and also of my husband getting home. I had thought in my mind it would have been cute to photograph his arrival, but it just didn’t happen this time around. Another day 😉

So, after dinner, it was story time.

Day in the Life Aly Dawn Photography Project
Day in the Life Aly Dawn Photography Project
Day in the Life Aly Dawn Photography Project
Day in the Life Aly Dawn Photography Project
Day in the Life Aly Dawn Photography Project
Day in the Life Aly Dawn Photography Project
Day in the Life Aly Dawn Photography Project

Then we decided to look for swiper (from Dora the Explorer) out the window because I saw yummy light and…I mean, that light!

Day in the Life Aly Dawn Photography Project

He got mad at me when I made him get down haha, so I put him back up for a few more minutes of looking for swiper!

Day in the Life Aly Dawn Photography Project
Day in the Life Aly Dawn Photography Project

Next it was time to put dinner away and I needed to make cookies for his party the next day! So my husband helped me clean the kitchen (again).

Day in the Life Aly Dawn Photography Project

While I was making cookies, I noticed the cutest scene of my husband and son snuggles up, I couldn’t resist taking a few pictures!

Day in the Life Aly Dawn Photography Project

The last light of day is always the best!

Day in the Life Aly Dawn Photography Project
Day in the Life Aly Dawn Photography Project

My husband left to go hang out with some friends, so it was just me and the cutie! We hung out and watched some movies and of course, ate some snacks!! These next images were all illuminated by the tv and my phone’s screen! I had to get creative, my light was gone. 🙂

Then it was time to get ready for bed and brush out teeth!

Day in the Life Aly Dawn Photography Project
Day in the Life Aly Dawn Photography Project

And then he fell asleep watching Zootopia…because when dad’s away, mommy plays! Haha! I let him stay up past his bedtime so that I could start working on these images and blog them.

Day in the Life Aly Dawn Photography Project

And that was the end of my day! Except now I am holding the sleeping baby as I finish this blog post. I hope you enjoyed watching how our day unfolded! And that you find inspiration to do your own day in the life project!

Thanks for stopping by!