Friday, November 29, 2013

Twinkle our elf is back!

Last night I surprised the girls with new reindeer pjs (from Target). They were so excited that the end of Thanksgiving meant Christmas was beginning!

Photo: I surprised the girls with new holiday pjs tonight---they were all smiles and they are looking forward to decorating tomorrow and waiting to see when our elf Twinkle returns! If I was a betting woman I'd guess that Twinkle might come back tonight...we'll have to wait and see!  ;-) Love me some Christmas season <3

Then this morning Twinkle came back! And she brought a North Pole breakfast of snowball donuts, along with some cuddly doll Twinkles since the girls can't touch her. The girls were so excited---love the magic of the season <3   (Please excuse my sewing machine---I currently sew at the dining room table so I don't have to go up and down our steps as often with my broken foot haha)



And now today we are decorating the house for Christmas! We are planning to go to the tree farm to pick out our Christmas tree....it's a little early to get a real tree so that it'll live until Christmas, but Lee is going hunting next weekend, since his last trip was cut short....so if we don't get it this weekend we wouldn't be able to go again until the 16th which is way too late!

And to end, here were the girls before leaving for our Thanksgiving yesterday....I had just woken them up from naps and they were a little grumpy haha...but you get the idea.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Tooth Fairy

So last night we were explaining the tooth fairy thing to Brielle. She was all for it *until* she found out that this fairy would be sneaking into her room while she was asleep LOL...she was not interested! She told  me "I will leave my tooth on the table and get my money" ...and that's what she did! She left her tooth on the coffee table haha.



I was unprepared for the Tooth Fairy coming so soon and decided that since she has no idea how much money is worth that I'd just do $4 ....one dollar for every year she'll likely wait until a new tooth grows in! ;-)







(The swelling was already much better by last night)


Brielle woke up and was mildly amused to see money in place of her tooth on the table....but she clearly didn't grasp the whole thing because she proceeded to pass out one dollar to everyone in the family and then forgot about the money soon after that altogether.


So that was our first Tooth Fairy visit! Hopefully we don't have any more for a few years now ;-)

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!




Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Brielle's Surgery

Brielle looks a little rough, but she survived! They said she was the best 2 year old patient they'd ever had....she never even whimpered when they put the IV in! She's my tough girl---and she looks even tougher now with her missing tooth ;-)
 
They said there is still a 50% chance that the two teeth on either side of the missing one might eventually die and need to be removed, since they were involved in the fall too. Sometimes it takes a year before that happens so we just wait and see. He said it's unlikely that her adult tooth underneath was damaged though. Fingers crossed!
 
The tooth fairy is a little unprepared for a visit at this age, but I'm sure she'll come up with something hehe
 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Meet Kovu and Kiara!

**If you haven't read my earlier post yet be sure to check it out---I broke my foot and Brielle knocked out her tooth, so it's been crazy around here! Add to that our two new cats that came home on Saturday and we're all a little nuts! :-)


Here are the newest members of our family---Kovu and Kiara!

Saturday night when they got home we got them all set up in the bathroom for their "home base." Then we introduced the girls to them there, where it was a smaller area and they weren't so overwhelmed. Miss Kiara LOVES the sink!



Then we let them explore upstairs. We learned that Kovu loves to play with this toy!



Kovu (the darker tiger cat) seems to be the more skittish one as far as trying to catch him. But once you catch him he is super friendly and loves to cuddle. And he is also super playful! I also think he's the prettiest of the two ;-)

Kiara (the lighter calico mix) is extremely friendly and well mannered. She lets the girls do just about anything to her! She is the girls' favorite, simply because she's a girl :-P She loves to play with the laser light! She's also bigger than Kovu, and we keep joking she looks kinda pregnant (she does!) but she was spayed and the boys were neutered, and she never left the garage at her old owners house, so hopefully she just likes to eat ;-)

My mom was over to our house the first night, bringing the girls back home...she thought they were super sweet kitties too!
Grandma Donna and Kovu
Raya just couldn't get enough of them---especially Kiara. She is officially in love and cat obsessed!




And now some pics from day 2! The cats slept great in the bathroom all night...never made a peep and didn't get into anything! The girls woke up and immediately got to playing with them again.

Kiara is such a good sport. Raya literally starts to bawl if we tell her she needs to put the cat down for 5 minutes....she wants to hold her all the time!


THis morning she started calling for me to come in the bathroom...I got there and saw this lol.


She was making Kiara dance!

Watching cartoons together


Poor Brielle. Her mouth is really swollen from her fall and she looks like she was in a bar fight or something! haha. She is supposed to see the oral surgeon tomorrow...


Raya was reading Kiara a book

The cats like to sit at the top of the stairs and listen for our dogs haha. So far the dogs are quarantined away from the cats.



She likes to carry Kiara like "a baby"


Toothless smile girl in the background makes me laugh

Watching a show before bedtime!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Broken bones, oral surgery, worst day ever, oh my!

In case we are not facebook friends, here is my facebook post from last night. We pretty much had the worst evening ever. Please forgive me if I am not very good about commenting on other blogs for awhile---I am kinda stressed out lol. I will continue to update here though as much as I can!

DAY. FROM. HELL. ....to say the least. I broke my foot and Brielle knocked out her tooth! Long story short(er) I hurt my foot walking on flat ground in my kitchen about a week ago ...assumed it was arthritis related and have hobbled around... for days. By today it was so unbearable I couldn't walk...even pushing the gas pedal was intense pain. Go to the doctor and find out I had broken my foot (could be a fluke, but might be that my bones are getting brittle from all my meds, etc....oh joy) ....and then while in the doctors office trying to figure out what I am supposed to do for 6 weeks not being able to drive, etc. Brielle suddenly fell, hit her mouth on the chair, and her front tooth was gone! Got into an emergency pediatric dentist who said the tooth has a huge chip and the stub that's left got pushed up in her gums. Has to have surgery on Monday to remove it and she'll be toothless until her big tooth grows in! We decided that Brielle must have been too cute and so as not to make other children in the world jealous she had to be taken down a notch (or down a tooth ) Thankfully Brielle acts ok, except when she started crying that she wanted her tooth back...I told her only super special girls lose their teeth and the tooth fairy will bring her a new one when she's a big girl in school...poor thing. ....I need a drink, and I don't even drink LOL
 
  I ended up canceling my *5* photography sessions I had coming up in the next week or so....I feel so bad :-( I closed my Etsy shop but I'm going to continue sewing on the orders I already have. I can use my left foot for the sewing pedal, it just takes me longer since I'm not used to sewing with that foot. I am currently looking into a van service to get Raya home from preschool each day and Lee is going to try adjusting his work schedule so that he can drop her off each morning. Not driving for 6 weeks is going to be awful!

Brielle goes to the oral surgeon on Monday. Lee has to take off work. She did awesome her first time at the dentist yesterday and so they said that hopefully she won't need anesthesia and can just have local numbing....fingers crossed. The two teeth on either side of her missing one also have "lines" in them and were involved in the fall. They said we need to keep an eye on them. I will cry if she loses those too, I mean seriously! They also said her big tooth underneath may have been damaged, guess we'll find out when she's in like 1st grade and finally has a tooth again :-/

My poor girl



Lee is coming home tonight, one day early. Hopefully the cats can cheer everyone up LOL.

Oh, and as all that wasn't worse enough, I got a big box delivered yesterday and so after my mom took the girls home to her house I thought I'd cheer myself up and open their new doll horse stable (from my previous update) to make sure it was what I expected for their Santa gift. It was NOT what I expected....because inside the box was a CHRISTMAS TREE! Yes, they packaged a Christmas Tree and labled it "doll stable" lol. So after 30 minute talking to another country the rep said the best they can do if have me mail back the Christmas tree for a refund and then re-buy the toy. She did say I could also drive to my nearest Target to pick one up, to which I said "I JUST BROKE MY FOOT AND I CAN'T DRIVE! I JUST WANT MY STABLE SENT TO ME LIKE I EXPECTED!!!!"

If anything else goes wrong I am wrapping myself in bubble wrap and never leaving the house....except if we get another mouse :-P

Friday, November 22, 2013

Our plans for Elf on the Shelf --and a Santa update

First off, this week is almost over THANK GOD, because this single parent stuff kinda sucks and I can't wait for Lee to get back from hunting on Sunday! I mean, I've even had to give *baths* this week, one of my most hated tasks haha....that is Daddy's job! ;-)

Moving on....our Elf Twinkle will be returning the day after Thanksgiving so I thought I'd share some plans, in case others are wondering what to do with theirs and need some ideas.

Twinkle is returning with a North Pole Breakfast. I bought some Santa plates, cups, and table decorations. I am going to pick up powdered sugar donuts and I have little xmas toothpick decorations to stick in them. Twinkle is going to be sitting on the table with her book and also with two cuddly elf dolls.  This year I think Brielle is old enough to not touch Twinkle, so I'll have more options of where to put her which is good. But as a reminder Twinkle is going to bring a note telling the girls that the elf dolls are theirs to play with and cuddle when they feel like they wish they could touch Twinkle. Hopefully they will like the dolls and leave Twinkle alone! ;-)

Then I of course have many ideas of place to hide Twinkle and funny little things to do. But I also bought some "gifts" that the girls will be getting from Twinkle as well.

One day Twinkle will bring this Elf on the Shelf Movie

Another day she will bring this coloring book, and will have colored a picture in it during the night :-P

Another night she is going to dress up their dolls in new holiday dresses. The exact dresses I got are no longer listed, but here is the shop I ordered from...it's pretty cheap and the dresses were *really* well made! I got the bitty baby ones, which fit any doll that size....we don't actually have Bitty Babies.

The girls are so excited for Twinkle to come back....I'm looking forward to it this year!!

******************************************************

In other news, I ordered the girls' big Santa present and since I posted about my dilemma awhile back I thought I'd update that I did NOT get the talking Twilight Sparkle my little pony toy like they want. I just know them, and I know they will not play with it that much so I am overruling them ....I know, I'm mean!

I hope they forget about that though when they see what I got them! I got them this stable from Target....the one featured in this review HERE 

Then I ordered them two full size 20inch horses and one pony ....not the exact ones in the review above though....I got the horses from Target too. They are so cool and *huge*....they came in the mail already and I think the girls will love them. Horse 1, Horse 2, Pony.

And lastly, I got them each a doll. Personally I don't care for American Girl dolls that much...I don't really like their faces. And I think the Target knockoffs have really creepy faces lol. My favorite American Girl knock off dolls are the Walmart ones! I got Raya this blonde doll, and Brielle this brunette doll .....I "played" with them when the girls went to bed to make sure they were as nice as they looked, and they are! So pretty. Target and Walmart both have tons of fun accessories and stuff for them too. Etsy has the best clothes (I ordered Raya's doll some Hello Kitty footie pjs and Brielle's some Dora footie pjs, off of Etsy hehe).

So here's to hoping mom made the right decision and that Santa is still loved come Christmas morning! If not I guess I will just have to play with it all ;-)

Have a great weekend everyone!! I'll be back on Monday with a post to introduce our new cats Kovu and Kiara!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Mouse update! And belated Trendy Tot Tuesday

Linking up (a little late!) again for Trendy Tot Tuesday with Kelly, Megan, and Lindsay!

Well, after 3 trips to the store yesterday, 18 traps, $30, and one heart attack later we still hadn't caught a mouse!

So I slept all night in my bedroom with the lights on....since I read they don't like that haha.

Then when we woke up this morning the girls and I checked all the traps....and the very LAST one (the lone sticky trap I left inside) had *2* mice on it...ewwwwwwwwwwwww. They are harvesting the cornfield behind our house right now and I guess driving them towards us, although they've never actually gotten inside our house before.

After successfully removing them from the house the girls put on their mouse outfits from NEXT and did a celebratory dance....yay for us!  (By the way, if anyone has never ordered NEXT before and wants to, I have 2 codes for new customers only, $10 off a purchase of $50 and free shipping :-) Just message me through my Etsy shop for a code, or if you have it set up that I can reply through email to your comments here that works too.





Monday, November 18, 2013

Our family is growing...

....by *8* feet! :-P

We have decided to adopt a sibling pair of cats! The girls LOVE cats whenever we go somewhere that has them. We tossed the idea around for awhile now of adopting one because Lee also gets a kick out of cats. I have never had an indoor cat in my life, so the idea is foreign to me, but I hear they are low maintenance compared to dogs so here's to hoping I like them lol.

Lee is on a hunting trip but the mom of his hunting buddy had 4 cats (Lee says the are less than a year old, but they are not kittens. They looks almost full grown in the pics he sent me, so they are like adolescents I guess). And anyways, she had already spayed/neutered them, gotten them shots, and litter trained them....so it seemed perfect for us. I picked out the two I thought were the cutest from Lee's phone pics ....a boy and girl pair. The girls have named them Kovu and Kiara (like from The Lion King 2 movie haha).

Today we went shopping for all our cat supplies. When we got home the girls had to start playing with some of it! :-P


They can't get here soon enough either, because today we had a mouse scare! I heard a weird noise under the sink and saw what looked like some mouse poop....yikes! I'm terrified of mice. So I did what any mom would do----I sent Brielle to go investigate for me! LOL




Thumbs up, nothing ran out! :-P

So, anyone have good cat advice for a first timer? Do share!

ETA: No, to my knowledge they are not declawed. I've read that it's horrible, but everyone I talk to says it's necessary. But not sure you can even declaw cats as old as this--like 10 months old or so? Anyone out there successfully have indoor cats *with* claws?

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Movie Day Two

Ok, so if you haven't read my post from last night READ THAT FIRST :-)

This movie is part two :-P

So in the first movie Brielle was showing off her "table top" move from gymnastics. Well of course Raya got jealous, so this movie is her attempting it as well.

The best part is listen for Brielle in the background saying "like this Raya" and then trying to show her haha. So cute. (And sidenote, I love the way Brielle says "Raya" ...its like with a little accent or something lol)

Then the second part of this movie is Raya singing her favorite Halloween song from preschool. I wanted to end with something to show off her awesome skills too! I love hearing her sing preschool songs. Her little voice is so cute.

(Please excuse her lack of pants AGAIN. She had been wearing cute short overalls at preschool but took them off at home.)

Don't forget, watch yesterday's movie first!


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Little Gymnast --A movie!

So on Friday Brielle was told that after Christmas she can move to the next gymnastics level, that is for kids as old as 6 years old! We go on Friday mornings when school is in session though, so the class looks to be mostly 4 year olds I'd guess (I watch them practice but don't know their exact ages). I'm so proud of Miss Brielle! She will no longer be in the mommy and me class, but all by herself. She will be the shortest student by at least a foot haha. Hopefully she does well!

I should preface this by saying that in the mommy and me class they don't do anything too earth shattering. However she really does stand out from the other kids in her current class because she is usually the only one actually participating! The other kids are usually running all over doing their own thing/playing, and Brielle really does the things she"s supposed to do. The other kids' moms are usually right by them helping them do everything and Brielle is very independent. She can walk the balance beam by herself really well, climb up on the bars by herself, dangle from the bars and the rings (she's strong!) and her star trick is the "table top"....none of the other kids in her class even attempt this, but she's really good! It doesn't look like much, but for her age it's pretty hard for them to figure out how to contort their body this way.

So check out her video of her doing the tabletop! (She also attempts hopping on one foot---still too hard for her--- and a somersault hehe. These are skills she will work on in the next level, along with a lot of other things. Basically the next level means she's ready to start learning *actual* gymnastics, and not just play around with mom on the stuff.)


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Things I'm horrible at...

I like to think I have many talents. I played the piano and flute growing up, was somewhat successful at speech, was fairly intelligent and #4 in my class, taught myself to crochet and sew as well as take pictures, etc. Props to me, I am awesome ;-)

BUT

there are many things I'm horrible at. Here are just a few:

1) Drawing. Seriously, I can't even draw a stick figure without labeling it. You might think I'm a good artist based on my sewing, but I trace everything. Raya can already draw better than me.

2) Handwriting. Growing up my report card would all "S's" with an NI (needs improvement) in handwriting. Thank goodness for the invention of the computer and typing.

3) Cleaning. My mom is a clean freak. It's been years since she dusted her house and actually found dust particles on her rag :-P I on the other hand, just don't really care! I try to keep the house picked up, and I'm someone who wouldn't dream of having company over to a messy house so Lee and I panic clean before people come over hehe....but if you took a dust rag to something in my house right this second you'd find plenty of dust particles lol

4) Driving. Now actually, I've never been in an accident and I'm a "good" driver for everyday travel. However I literally can't drive in the dark. After about 15 minutes my eyes start going crazy, I feel like I'm going to fall asleep, I think there are deer about to jump out everywhere....I hate it! I also can't drive in big cities. Tollways? yikes. More than 3 lanes? Kill me please. Sense of direction? Don't have one.

5) Meal Planning. I don't do it. Therefore we eat the same things over and over because around 5:30pm when everyone is hungry is when I think about what's for dinner. Oops.

6) Eating health Food. I'm going to die happy, with my artificial sweeteners, red meat, and non organic foods. If it tastes good, and it's legal to sell, I'll probably eat it :-)

7) Being outdoorsy. I have a small window of temperature during which I'm comfortable. From about 68-78 degrees I'm outdoorsy. Any variance from that and I'm pretty miserable haha. I have also fainted numerous times from being too hot outdoors.

8) Remembering birthday/anniversaries/etc. Sorry, if Facebook doesn't remind me then it's probably safe to assume I forgot!

9) Dressing myself. I can put together outfits quite well actually...in theory. Give me another person to dress and I'm a rockstar. Dressing myself however? I think it all looks horrible on me :-P So when I was working I wore boring black pants and a top every day. My current wardrobe is jeans and a sweatshirt on most days.

10) Telling the girls "no". They are completely spoiled...I will admit that. My goal is to not spoil them "rotten" and I'm pretty sure that if they started being brats I would definitely address it. But when they are adorable and sweet and Brielle says "pitty peas Mama, I wuv you!" then she gets anything she wants :-P

Case and point, our trip to town yesterday....lunch, a cookie, the Children's Museum, a carousel ride, *and* Princess Twilight Sparkle---with tutus, crowns, and wands---from Build-a-bear. If they stick me in some crappy nursing home in my old age I will come back to haunt them---they better remember this! ;-)


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Trendy Tot Tuesday-- Hand-me-down love

Linking up for another Trendy Tot Tuesday with Kelly, Lindsay, and Megan!

One of many things I love about having kids of the same gender is hand-me-downs lol. It is so much fun pulling out clothes that Raya wore and seeing them on Brielle! Lately Brielle has been wearing some of Raya's Naartjie hand-me-downs....these were actually the very first outfits I ever purchase from Naartjie!

Raya on the left, Brielle on the right---they look so much alike here! I haven't measured Brielle lately, but I feel like she must have had a growth spurt, because these are 3T outfits and she was swimming in 2T just a few months ago.




And then I don't have an individual pic of this dress for Brielle, but she's wearing this hand-me-down today



And here is Raya wearing the same dress:




Speaking of Miss Raya, she strikes this ballerina pose all the time for pics now...she thinks she's hot stuff! And then she says, "Was that an adorable picture?" haha



And lastly in fashion news, I think I may have finally found the secret to saving my sanity!! Raya's sensory issues with "bottoms" has been driving me insane. She acted like she was going to wear jeans this fall so I bought quite a few tops to go with them, and then like a light switch she started freaking out about everything on her bottom half...grrr. She'll only wear loose leggings pretty much...and leggings are NOT pants :-P

So anyways, the other day I found this jean skirt at Old Navy...I got a size *7* ...for my 4 year old lol....so that it would be nice and loose. I adjusted the waist in some so that it wouldn't fall off, and luckily it runs like a mini skirt so even sizing up to a 7 it was an ok length.

SHE LOVED IT. No tears, and we were able to wear a shirt that was otherwise sitting in her closet unworn and jean-less haha.

 
So now I think I better go back and get the same skirt in the lighter color, and some more leggings....and fingers crossed my child will stop tantruming every day when it's time to get dressed, while still remaining clothed and not naked from the waist down like is her preference :-P

Monday, November 11, 2013

Countdown to Christmas, Post 1

It snowed today! And it actually stuck :-) Not much, but enough that I look out and see white, which is getting me even *more* in the mood for Christmas!

So today I thought I'd share a little about my plan for the girls this Christmas. I like to be mostly done shopping by December! I hate crowds and feeling rushed at the last minute. I don't care if everything gets cheaper....it's worth the extra money to me to just be done!!

So here is Countdown to Christmas, Post 1 !

At our house Christmas is a big deal---my favorite holiday! I'm not religious anymore so I focus on the tree, decorations, music, treats, Santa, and presents pretty guilt free  ;-) And Lee reads all the religious Christmas stories and does the nativity scene decorations---so the girls get the best of both worlds hehe.  And of course for the girls they are out of their mind excited for Santa! I know that their time of believing is limited so I try to make it super exciting for them....they are at a fun age and I'm going to enjoy it while I can, before they start asking for gift cards and money to buy boring teenager stuff haha.

Ok, so here's my current plan of attack for Christmas gifts this year! ****The links below are not where I purchased from....you should shop around for the best prices!**** I plan to focus on sprucing up some of their favorite toys this Christmas, for example:

Favorite toy 1: Lalaloopsy  ....they play with their lalaloopsy stuff quite a bit so I bought them another "house" to make everything a little more exciting again. Mini lalaloopsy oopsie playset

Favorite toy 2: Wooden dollhouse.....they go in stages of playing with this a lot, and lately seem to be quite interested in it again. I love the quality of this thing and plan to save it for my own grandchildren, so I don't mind putting some more money into it. It's timeless. So I bought them this awesome car and also these pets.  I haven't purchased this yet, but I intend to still get this playground as well.

Favorite toy 3: Barbies. The girls LOVED Barbies but they are still so young that they are pretty hard on the stuff, and it's all so cheaply made. So far I bought them a couple cheap outfits and then might order a couple dresses on Etsy like this Dora one for Brielle. Other than that I will probably hold off on more Barbie things until they are a little older and take care of it more.

Favorite toy 4: Baby dolls. My parents are taking this over. They are pimping out the girls' baby doll corner haha. They are each getting a sit and stand stroller and also the matching carseat and base (this stuff is just like for real babies...they are going to flip haha. I forsee myself needing an extra 20 minutes to get out of the house though, after needing to now load and buckle their dolls in the car I'm sure :-P) Then they are getting wooden doll bunk beds and a doll table and chairs to share.

And that brings us to my big dilemma! Typically the girls fixate on one thing they *really* want each year, and I have Santa bring that. Last year Santa brought their new kitchen set. Well this year they both really really want this stupid toy haha. They've been obsessing over it for months because the commercial is always on TV. I don't want to spend $80 buying 2 of these stupid horses that I'm 99% sure they will only care about for 5 minutes! But isn't Santa supposed to bring your dream toy?! What do you all do?

Ok, we'll end it there for now. Hope maybe this helps someone who is also starting to brainstorm ideas! My next Countdown to Christmas post I'll take about my plan's for Twinkle the Elf's return....we're going big this year since both girls really "get it" ...I can't wait!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Indoor Photography for Dummies

Ok, so the more I do indoor sessions the more I love it! And you guys, I've really been surprised by how *easy* it is! So I decided to give you all a few pointers of things I've learned that have really helped me. If you are a mom who just wants to take better pics of your own kids at home hopefully some of this is helpful to you!

So here is a look at my "studio".


When setting up for pics you want to pick someplace in your house that has good natural lighting. For me that is in my dining room in front of the doors to the deck. So I move my dining room table and set up right in front of the door!



For the most attractive lighting you want your subject to be at an angle to the window...not straight on. See how I have the little crate turned a little to the side above? It will create nice lighting and flattering shadows. (Also make sure you don't have any sun "splotches"....move back further from the window if needed, or wait until a different time of day, so that you have even lighting and not streaks of sunshine shining right in their face.)

Now for the set up. I bought the stand above on Etsy for $40. If you go on Pinterest though they have lots of tutorials for making your own out of PVC piping. And then the *key*....vinyl backdrops! If you search for vinyl backdrops on Etsy you will find tons! I have a neutral one that you've seen me use before, and then recently I got 4 new ones---these here:

I used all of them in the session on Thursday except the blue one....I have another indoor session next week though so I'll have to try that one out too! The shop I ordered from on Etsy does buy 3 get one free. There are different sizes you can order, but I get the 4x5 foot size ....they average around $50 for that size.
These are the quickest way to look more professional when taking pictures at home! If you just want to invest in one I'd pick a neutral and then dress it up for different holidays etc. with buntings or fun accessories. They roll up for easy storage. If they get wrinkled you can iron them (with a towel to protect the vinyl.)

In my opinion the quickest way to ruin an indoor picture is to use a sheet for your backdrop. Sorry, but nothing drives me more crazy that wrinkly sheets hanging up for a photo. It really drives me crazy when studios like Picture People or Sears etc. do this. :-P So, skip the sheet! Get a backdrop haha

Ok, now for settings. If you shoot in manual you will probably need to increase your ISO quite a bit when shooting inside. Even in front of the window my ISO for the pictures I'm sharing below was set to 800. You want to make sure it's high enough that you don't have to increase exposure a ton when editing---this will make your photos look grainy.

Now with your ISO set higher you need to lower your shutter speed for the same reason---to brighten the photo. My shutter speed for these was 200....if I was shooting moving subjects running around I'd increase it to 250.

And then for the f ----I had my f at 2.8 for these....so that I could blur the background. The lower the f the more blur you get. If my f was higher at like 4.0 I'd have less blur.

****Please note, I've never taken a photography class so don't make fun of my untechnical explanations haha....I make this stuff up as I go. It seems to be working though so I figured I'd share! :-)

Ok, now here are some pictures from my session on Thursday! First here is the *unedited* picture

Unedited.

The goal with the unedited is that you want it to look pretty darn good without needing editing, as far as lighting/exposure is concerned. I know my camera settings were pretty good because this photo doesn't look too bad as is

Edited

No matter how nice of a camera you have you need to do some editing if you want to have that more "pro" feel. I use Lightroom for editing. First I gave this picture a more interesting crop. Then I warmed it up by increasing the "temp" slider in Lightroom. See how much warmer the color tone is in the edited one? Then I did some skin smoothing using the "soften skin" function in lightroom. Babies often have splotchy skin, so you want to give them the super smooth creamy skin for edited photos. Then for me I like high contrast/high clarity edits. This is personal preference. So I always increase the contrast and clarity sliders in Lightroom, and also usually the vibrance too.

And viola! Adorable right? ;-)

 
 Here's one more example:
Unedited

Once again, the lighting is pretty good, etc.

Edited.

Much warmer tone and again some skin smoothing, etc. Precious!

One more piece of advice ....props. See the brown and red "blankets" I used? That is just fabric from the fabric store. For one yard of the fabric it was $14, but I bought during a 50% off sale. I bought red/brown/blue for now.

And the crate he's in for the first photo? That is just a basic crate from any hobby/craft store. I think I paid $12. I have a white one and a natural one. You could paint them too. I use these for kids to sit on, stand on, sit in, etc....they are so versatile....a must have for sure.

Ok, I hope that helps someone a little!! :-)

Oh, how about one more quick share. I had twin seniors on Thursday as well....gorgeous, and I was so thrilled that I'm starting to find the catchlights when shooting in the sun...I love the sun haze look!