Month : January 2016

the trickiest space: the flex room


Our builder originally referred to this room as “the flex room” on their blueprint, and it couldn’t be more true for us. While many would dedicate this space as a formal dining room or an office space, for us, it changes based on the day.


On some days, it is my in-home studio space for newborn, baby, and small childrens’ photo sessions.  I opted for more closed storage for my props and tools as opposed to displaying them. Some were stashed in the white ottoman (which I recently sold), some in the hutch I repurposed from our last dining room space, and any overflow materials are in our built-in bench just outside this room.


On other days, it’s our bare, unstyled, extra room that I can’t quite seem to get some direction on. Crew loves to crawl in there and explore, and it’s nice to sit in the pool of natural light to read a magazine or chat on the phone, or just gaze out the window and check out the neighborhood happenings. Since the above photo was taken, I’ve added a curtain rod and sets of sheers (essential for controlling the light during sessions). I’ve also gotten in the habit of taking the beanbag to the basement when I’m not expecting a newborn session anytime soon.


In the meantime, this room has been serving as the Christmas Tree Room for the season! We went a little Clark Griswold and bought an extra-large tree last year on day-after clearance, and with a curious crawler around, we decided at least for this year, that we’d use this room (and its doors!) to hopefully control access to all those shiny ornaments and tempting cords. But now that the decs have come down, I’m ready to have a plan for this space.

I want this room to be LIVING space, first, and studio space, second. But to keep it friendly for shooting sessions, the walls need to remain neutral (no bright colors or busy artwork to distract) and the furnishings need to be easily moved/rearranged to accommodate a photo set-up.  I’m thinking a simple setup of colorful/mobile furniture and perhaps an interesting rug I can quickly roll up and away as needed.

I’m thinking some inspiration boards are in order…

Crew: One Year Old!


It’s so cliche…but so true. Holy cow, a lot happens in a year…but that year goes SO fast.


I can’t believe this time last year I was cradling this teeny tiny person and wrapping my head around the fact that this sweet thing had been in my belly the whole time and was now a real person and member of our family.


At one year old, you are sleeping through the night consistently (!!!!!) from about 7 at night to 6 or 6:30 (sometimes earlier, but sometimes later!) and taking two naps a day, each lasting anywhere from 1.5 to 2.5 hours. You are super easy to put down and still love to have your pacifier on hand, and blankie to cuddle with.


You are a fairly easy-to-please eater, but definitely have your moments when you suddenly decide that today, no you don’t like applesauce anymore, thank you very much. Only to go back to liking it the next day. In general, you do well and we can always find something that you’ll gobble up. The best advice I’ve gotten in terms of mealtime is to not sweat a meal, but look at the big picture of how balanced you were throughout the week. Good thing — because more than once, a “meal” has consisted of cheddar cow crackers and baby cheetos!


You are getting much better with a sippy cup on your own as opposed to us helping you hold it up (something you never mastered with the bottle, either) and after a couple days of cutting back to only bottles when you first wake up and at night for bedtime, we cut them out altogether and you didn’t flinch. We started a slow switch from formula to whole milk this past month and you didn’t bat an eye. Cold, straight outta the fridge. Low maintenance…love it!


In addition to “dada” and “mama” which you’ve been saying for a while, “bababa” for bottle has become more consistent, and “baw” for ball, and “ah dah” for all done, with which you wave your hands to do the sign. We also SWEAR you say “doh” for door…one of your favorite activities is to open and close every door around the house. You love to give hugs and kisses when asked, and if I saw “aww” when you hug your Babar stuffed animal, you will give him extra hugs for another “aw” reaction ha!


To balance out the lovey side of you…apparently we need to work on sharing a bit! One of your daycare teachers jokingly mentioned that you will go all day not caring about a certain toy, but then once someone else is playing with it, it must be yours instead. Greedy, greedy. Sigh. Goal for year two.


You are starting to fit into some 12-18 month clothing, but pants in general still run a little long on you — short legs like Mom, sorry! 🙂 I’m hoping when you are doing more walking versus crawling, they won’t get in your way so much — all that knee-dragging pulls them down even further. Speaking of, you walk along anything you can grab onto, and do a little standing here and there unsupported. Ultimately though, you know you’re faster if you crawl, so you’ll drop back down to all fours and take off in search of whatever you have your eye on. For the longest time, you would “walk” behind your walking toy but on your knees, we’re finally seeing you walk behind it ON your feet! If we leave a gate open, you BOLT for the stairs and can climb them crazy fast. You are quickly mastering turning around to go feet-first on your belly DOWN them, and slide off the couch, bed, etc in the same way.


Your one-year appointment isn’t for another couple of weeks, but we weighed you at home unofficially the other day and you clocked in at 21 pounds on the dot. Anxious to see how tall you’ve gotten!


You continue to favor cars and balls above all else. Except for the remote. That is your FAVORITE. THING. You actually scoot along the couch and end tables looking for it, yell at it when you spot it (out of reach) and howl like a crazy person if we let you hold it, waving it lasso-style over your head and staring at the TV screen, expecting it to come on. Ri.Dic.U.Lous.


Happiest of birthdays, my one-year-old boy. Since I first learned you were on your way to us, you’ve infinitely changed my world for the better and we couldn’t love someone more. You are such a happy, spunky, strong, and loving soul and I can’t wait to see the life you will lead. I’m so very lucky to be your mama. Thanks for choosing me for the job.

Ticklish neck kisses and extra-long hugs,

ONE in an instant.


We didn’t go all-out on a party for Crew’s first birthday, but I did do a cake and a couple decorations as part of our one-year-later housewarming / new years day brunch with family and friends. It was fun to do a party with so many people (about 40 stopped by throughout the morning), something we haven’t had room in the past to host. Birthday photos of Crew ARE coming…just not in this post ha! He slept through nearly the first hour of the party, and then it was go-go-go. I always sigh and figure if I don’t have pictures from when something is actually happening, it’s a sign it was a good time. 🙂


For the kiddos the bevvies includes chocolate milk shots…


…and for the adults, mimosa and bloody mary bars.


We had figured with so many parents of littles, we should stock up on coffee…but clearly this crowd was ready to drink. CHEERS! 😉


We kept the food simple. Fruit and donut hole skewers, which I repeated after serving at a baby shower last month (SO easy, and pretty to display!)…


…and sausage/egg/cheese breakfast enchiladas, which were still in the oven at photo-time 🙂



Understandably, the bakery could only make me a “camera” cake, as opposed to the actual Instagram logo, but I added a little color once I got it home, to get it a bit closer. 😉


Some Instagram prints, one for each week of his first year, were strung up as garland…


…beginning with my last belly shot and his first photo at an hour old. #sob #washereallythatlittle


Little camera viewfinder favors went home with the kiddos…



…and I made a photo prop that we totally forgot to point out to people until the party was over! ha! IMG_5919

A definite success. It was a very sweet moment to hear everyone sing Happy Birthday to Crew (who grinned at all the attention!) and to be settled in our home, brunching with friends, was a perfect way to kick off the new year.


Cheers to 2016!