As a NH Children’s Photographer and mom of 3, I know just how much STUFF kids come with. With the temperature warming up and school coming to an end next month, the amount of stuff that will be laying around my yard is amazing. This past weekend, we spent a TON of time cleaning out the garage and basement and organizing all of the stuff. My new favorite Mommy Must-Haves are great for the whole family and they will save you so much space.
The Rubbermaid FastTrack system which you can find at Lowe’s has been a lifesaver for me. Here are 5 ways that I love to use this system:
1. The Baskets – You can get these big basket attachments that can hold things like bike helmets, baseball gloves and balls and ice skates
2. Cooler Hooks – These are great for hanging backpacks and any other type of bag with “stuff” in it. Mine are mostly full of beach stuff and ski stuff. We also use them for hanging out skis.
3. The bike hook – This is not currently being utilized because the bikes are in use but this is great storage for our bikes in the winter time.
5. 2-Handle Hook – For the kids, I hang bats from these; for me, all of my gardening tools; and for my husband the garage brooms and shovels hang from these.
As you can see this system is so versatile and can be customized to meet your family’s needs. Summer is coming so get out there and get organized so you can just grab what you need for your next adventure.
As a Family Photographer in New Hampshire, the winters are long and cold so I long for a nice warm getaway. As I am preparing to go on a short getaway with my BFF to Punta Cana in a few days, I thought that I would share some of my favorite travel destinations. Whether is is a trip with your husband, your best friend or with the whole family, it is important for moms (and dads) to get a break from the everyday hustle and bustle. This could be my most favorite blog yet! I LOVE to travel so I have been to a lot of places but these are my favorites and all for different reasons.
TOP 5 VACATION SPOTS FOR MOMS
1. St. John, USVI – This is of course number one on my list because I have been here the most. This small island in the US Virgin Islands is my happy place. I have gone here on my honeymoon, a trip with a big group of friends, with my BFF and then just recently with my husband and two of our very best friends. One of these days we plan to take the kids. There are the most beautiful beaches, it is easy to get around and everyone on the island is SO FRIENDLY. When we go, we rent a jeep, rent a villa (usually through HomeAway or Airbnb) and usually do some sort of boat excursion. Mainly our time is spent on the water!
2. Belize – My husband and I went here a few years ago and had the most amazing time. This is on our list to do again when the kids get older. We did 4 days in the rainforest which was amazing and spent the remainder of our time swinging in hammocks at the beach resort. I highly recommend Coppola Resorts. The history of the Mayan culture is amazing, the food is unreal and the views completely breathtaking. There is also a ton to do! We went zip lining, snorkeling, canoeing in caves, boating to see the manatees and hiked to see the ruins. It was a trip of a lifetime!
3. San Juan – This is a trip to do with JUST YOUR GIRLS! Cheap direct flights from Boston, nice hotels right on the beach and the beachside service is awesome. Just find a beach chair and umbrella and enjoy the view. I love this trip for a short trip just to get away from the cold and to chill with the girls. The San Juan Water Beach Club was super cute and had the best roof top bar.
4. Cape Cod, Massachusetts – If you can’t jump on a plane then just two and a half hours south of Southern New Hampshire, you have the beautiful beaches of Cape Cod. Our family is from the Cape so we try to go down every summer for an extended stay where the kids can hang out with their cousins and we can relax on the beach. Again, HomeAway and Airbnb are the way to go. You can rent and entire house pretty reasonable for an entire week. Grab a beach sticker at the town hall in Brewster and visit my favorite Paines Creek.
5. Sugarloaf, Maine – If you are a ski bunny like me you probably spend you weekends in the winter on the slopes. Well just 4 hours north of Portsmouth, NH you will find what I think is the best skiing in the east at Sugarloaf Resort in Carrabassett Valley, Maine. As a mom of 3 with a husband who doesn’t ski, I am always looking for a place to make it easier on me to bring the kids skiing and Sugarloaf is hands down the best when it comes to kids programs. I can drop my little ones off at ski school and know that they are having a blast while I do a few runs with my girlfriends or relax reading a book by the fire. Even little Charlianne who is only 2 has had a blast skiing at the LOAF
I hope that you get to book a trip to one of these amazing places real soon. To keep up to date on the happenings at White Wave Photography and gain exclusive access to holiday limited edition sessions as well as fall and beach sessions please sign up below to be a VIP. Contact me today to book this years family session.
Being active with my kids and doing activities that they love is something that I love! Over the years, I have found some great ways to get out in nature and stay active with these 3 monkeys. I wanted to share some things that are on my “Mommy Must-Haves” for getting outside and staying active.
Our favorite activity to do as a family is ride bikes. I love taking the kids on trail rides around the Seacoast of New Hampshire. To do this, I have a few must haves:
1. Bike Rack for the back of the car – mine fits up to 5 bikes which is perfect for my family of 5!
2. Bike Trailer– I bought a double so I could tow 2 kids behind and now that Charli is big enough for the bike seat, I use the trailer to haul snacks, diapers and extra clothes for those longer rides.
3. Baby Bike Seat – My kids LOVE riding up high behind me on the bike and they have been known to fall asleep on the back while I get in a nice long ride. I got this Bike Seat that is really easy to use at Philbricks Sports in Dover, NH. They even installed it on my new bike.
4. Baby Bike Helmet – This is for safety but it is also super cute and easy to put on. Charli loves it and she even used it skiing this year.
TAKING WALKS or HIKING
Whether we are hiking through the woods or just walking to the Newfields Country Store for an ice cream, there are a few must-haves that make it easier on Mommy:
1. Bob Stroller – I know I mentioned this one in an earlier “Mommy Must-Have” post this week but it really is amazing. I love this stroller for running, walking on pavement or hitting the rail trail behind my house
2. Bike to push – As the kids get older and they see their older siblings riding bikes, they want to join in the fun so a toddler bike that you can push gives them the feeling of riding while giving you all of the control.
3. Wagon– My kids love the wagon! Especially during trick or treat when I lay down some blankets and pull them door to door while they dig through their candy bags.
4. Hiking Backpack – I have an older version that is no longer available but there are a ton of different ones that you can get. These are great with the flip out legs because if you toddler falls asleep and you want to rest you can still take it off and sit them next to you without having to take them out. I also love that Charli can be all bulked up in a snowsuit and we can take her out for a walk in the snow.
GETTING OUT ON THE WATER
My kids LOVE the water and whether it is at the lake or the ocean we have a blast. Some of our favorite activities to do as a family are:
1. Paddleboading – Last summer we did this for the first time and I am hooked. I took my middle son Reilly on a paddle board ride all around the lake and we both had so much fun. I stood up while he just sat on the front enjoying the ride.
2. Canoeing & Kayaking – The boys are getting big enough to paddle which makes this so much more fun for mommy. We love to paddle down the lake to the ice cream stand after dinner. AND on the way back, I can burn the calories that I have just eaten :).
3. Life Jacket– There are so many options for life jackets but this is a MUST HAVE when doing activities on the water. Even though my children know how to swim, we have a rule that they cannot go down to the dock without a life jacket. I love their puddle jumpers too because they keep them safe but give them more independence while swimming.
As a Children’s Photographer on the Seacoast in NH, I love to photography families doing what they love. If you are interested in having me capture the memories of your family on their next adventure contact me today, I would love to chat with you.
Also, stay up to date with White Wave Photography by signing up for my monthly Newsletter below. By becoming a White Wave VIP, you will gain exclusive access to my mini sessions, upcoming fall and beach sessions.
The first few days at home with a newborn can be a whirlwind. You are sleep deprived and busy learning all about this new little person that you have just brought home from the hospital. AND if you already have children at home, you are learning to juggle the needs of multiple children.
As a nursing mom, this can be a difficult transition due the demands of a hungry baby. But, it can be done and if you are prepared, it is a wonderful thing. I know, I know…it is a natural thing and “everyone” does it. Yeah, well the reality is that it does not come easy to “everyone” AND every baby and mother is different. All 3 of mine were completely different when it came to breastfeeding and by #3 I had it down. Whether you are a new mom or have done this before, I hope that these Nursing Mom Must-Haves/Tips are helpful to you during your breastfeeding journey.
Set up a Nursing “Command Center” – Yes, I know another “command center” from me – if you missed my household command center you can find it here. But this one was the best thing I did. This isn’t to say that you have to ALWAYS feed your baby here but for those middle of the night feedings it is wonderful.
Soothies Gel Pads & Nipple Cream – have these close by on a small table as well so that you can get some relief after nursing (especially after a cluster feeding).
Nursing Tank Tops & Washable Nursing Pads are a must have – I loved to layer with these tanks so that my belly was always covered and the washable nursing pads are so soft and you will save money over the reusable ones.
Electric Breast Pump – once your baby is in a good nursing routine, you are going to want the opportunity to give he or she a bottle so that you can have a break and a breast pump is a must have. If you have it right next to you in your “command center” you can start nursing on one side and pump the other at the same time – this will not only help with your supply but will help jump start your storage of breastmilk for when you return to work.
BONUS: Utilize the lactation consultants in your area. I delivered all of my children at Exeter Hospital in NH and the location consultants and the breastfeeding support group were WONDERFUL. They were so helpful and talking to other moms about any issues I was having was so encouraging.
It wasn’t until I had my 3rd baby that I got most of the items on the list below but believe me when I tell you – they made my life SO much easier. When Charlianne came into the world 2 years ago, my big boys were already 5 and 3 so needless to say I had my hands full. I was looking for things to have for this new baby to help keep her busy while I tended to her older brothers AND to help when we were running errands or attending her brother’s many baseball games.
TOP 5 NEW MOM MUST-HAVES
1. The Tiny Love Sooth ‘n Groove mobilewas a lifesaver for me. Most mobiles only play music for about 5 minutes but this one plays for 40 MINUTES! It was perfect for when I needed to give my older two a tubby and could lay Charlianne in her crib…sure enough she would be out cold by the time I was done.
3. Ergo or Ergo 360 – I LOVE MY ERGO. I used it daily when Charli was a newborn and now that she is a toddler who is into everything, I still use it. When she was a baby she loved snuggling into my chest and I could wear her out and about with the freedom of using my arms. Now that she is older, she loves riding on my back.
4. Bob Stroller – You don’t need to be a runner to love this stroller. It turns on a dime, is great in sand or on rough terrain and it is super easy to fold up to put in the back of your car. Charlianne loves to snooze in it when we are at the beach in the summer time.
5. Video Monitor– These are great especially when you are first transitioning your newborn into a crib. I loved watching her settle into her crib and it gave me comfort knowing that she was safe. Now that she is a toddler, I can talk into it when she is trying to climb out of her crib and she will lay right back down. #mommywin
Whether you are a first time mom or this is your third time around, I hope these products are on your list of must-haves.
BONUS: Newborn Photography – Of course I am going to say this is a must have! The first few days after leaving the hospital are a whirlwind of learning everything there is to know about your new baby and just soaking up the quality time together. Bonding and watching their little personalities develop is such an amazing experience. I love to come to your home and capture these special moments whether they are snuggling, feeding, sleeping, getting a tubby or just sitting together as a family.
I am often asked my maternity and birth clients what they should bring to the hospital. Each labor and delivery is different but I have put together a list of my “must-haves” for the hospital.
Top 10 Must-Haves in Your Hospital Bag
Chapstick – when you are in labor, your breathing is so important and with all that breathing through your mouth – YOUR LIPS WILL GET CHAPPED!
Hair Clips or Elastics – no matter how long your hair is, in those final moments of labor it will drive you crazy if it is in your face so be sure to bring something to pull it back when the time comes to start pushing.
Flip Flops/Slippers – when in labor you will want to walk around and after you deliver, if you are anything like me, your feet will be too swollen to wear regular shoes so flip flops and slippers come in handy
Water Bottle – staying hydrated is very important for both a laboring and breastfeeding mom and I always bring my birth clients a camelbak water bottle to have at all times because the straw makes it so easy to hydrate
Phone/iPad charger – there is nothing worse than having your phone go dead when it is time to call your family to let them know you are in labor – or when it is time to call your birth photographer to come capture the delivery of your baby
Button down shirt & leggings – even though you just had a baby you will want to look cute for all of those great hospital photos – especially if you are having a Fresh 48 Newborn session while you are there. A great button down and leggings will look good and have easy access for nursing.
iPad or iPhone with a blue tooth speaker or headphones – music is so relaxing when you are in labor.
Nail File & Mittens for Baby – those little nails come out SHARP and if you are nursing, trust me you will want them cut and filed ASAP. Plus, the mittens will help them to not scratch their cute little faces.
Soothies Gel Pads for Nursing – these are the BEST THING EVER! If you are a nursing mom, throw these in the refrigerator and then stick them on after you nurse for instant relief
FOR DAD – A Sweater or Sweatshirt – While your wife is in labor and super hot – you will be freezing. As a birth photographer, I am always freezing because laboring moms are always hot and want the temperature in the room turned down.