This is the last first holiday that Olivia will have. Oh my gosh! That just hit home. I can’t even believe it. Well, technically she wasn’t born yet on St. Patricks’ Day, but we’ll be flying to Disney on that day so I’m not counting it! She’ll be one next month already. A whole year. Ahhhh!!!

I wanted to make this Valentine’s Day extra special so I bought a few things for the girls. Nothing big, just a few small things to make them feel over-the-top loved. Here’s what I got.

Shopping for my older girls can be tough sometimes, but they do have a few things in common. Both love notebooks and journals and anything that has to do with lists. I picked up this bullet journal for my 15 year old and a new Wreck This Journal (not pictured) for my 11 year old. If you’ve got a tween, these are so fun! You’re given a whole bunch of prompts for things to write and draw that end up making a mess. Super fun!

The other thing my older two have in common is their love for chocolate and anything sweet. I picked up some strawberry and cookies and cream Pocky, a couple of heart shaped ring pops, and heart shaped lollipops from Five Below. I scooped up these cute socks from there too.

And finally, what teenage girl doesn’t love to paint their nails? I loved these two Essie colors for Valentine’s Day and these super cute printables from The Ever Co were the perfect way to package them up.

Olivia is a little harder at this age, but books are always an amazing gift. She loves to read. Plus, she loves animals so this one will be a winner for sure.

I didn’t want to do a stuffed animal because she has so many, but I couldn’t resist when I saw these. My family threw me a baby sprinkle that was donut themed so I HAD TO have these donut shaped Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Daisy plushies from The Disney Store. And they came packaged in the cutest pink sprinkle box.

I didn’t get cards. Instead I printed out this template for a love letter from The Mama Notes. I love that it marks their age and leaves me room to write all the things I love about each of my girls. I made one for Olivia and hope to keep the tradition going every year.

And that’s all folks. If I have enough time in the morning, I’ll make them heart shaped pancakes too, but the idea is to let them know on Valentine’s Day and every day in between how loved and special they are.

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Getting all three girls in the frame has proved to be more difficult than I imagined. Someone is always missing. For now I’m going to take what I can get and just make sure it’s not too one sided. Jaime is always a willing participant (especially if there are cookies involved) so I need to make sure I get Julianna in front of the camera too.

Last weekend I tried to get Liv involved in decorating cookies for Valentine’s Day. And when I say involved, I really just mean keeping her from making a mess. I sat her on the kitchen table so she’d be in the shot, but it was tough because she wanted to touch everything. Finally I have her one of the undecorated cookies to try and that gave me a few minutes.

My best piece of advice when photographing wiggly babies, is to set your expectations really low. My goal was just to get them in the frame together. I didn’t really have a shot in mind. I was more curious how things would unfold so I sat back and watched.

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These monthly milestone photos haven’t exactly gone as planned each month. 🥴 

I started using the letter-board and then switched to flowers. But I didn’t think ahead to the colder months so we went back to the drawing board. 

When construction ramped up on the house we lost all the beautiful light in my bedroom and I’ve felt so uninspired. 🤨 

Yesterday it was dark and gloomy and the brightest spot in my house was the kitchen so I just went with it.  

I’ve learned to let a lot of things go with this baby. Lol! So many of the things I dreamt about and tried to plan didn’t end up working out. That’s not to say that I don’t love this photo. And the point is just to document. To record her first year. A year filled with many, many ups and downs.  

Olivia you are 10 months old! Double digits. So much has happened in the last month. You are crawling around like crazy and now you pull yourself up on everything, including your crib. I laugh when I see you standing up peering over the rails. 🥰 

You love books and animals and screaming at the top of your lungs. You are shy when you meet new people and have a feisty personality. You don’t like when people get in your face and you will head butt them if they get too close. Lol!  

Your hair is growing so fast so I’ve been putting it in a ponytail to keep it out of your face. 🏼 You’ve been sick a lot again. Your first stomach bug. Not fun! And thanks for passing it to daddy and I. 🤢 

You still LOVE to eat. Your favorite foods are eggs, pizza, meatballs, pancakes, and broccoli. 🥦🥞

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When she asked me if she could help me at ‘work’ I hesitated because I didn’t have a session scheduled. Still, I had been wanting to get pictures of Olivia swaddled in a knit unicorn hat. Up to this point, Miss Olivia was not a sound sleeper. I never thought that I’d be able to pose her.

So when I wrapped her up and she stayed asleep, I squealed and grabbed my camera. Once I got the shots I wanted, I put Jaime to work and coached her through the rest of the shoot.

The best advice I can give anyone wanting to improve their photos quickly is to move around more. Don’t just stand in one place. Shoot from a variety of angles and perspectives.

I talked to Jaime about light and how important it is to a good photo. Luckily, this was way before construction began on the house and my bedroom was the best room in the house for photos. Lots of beautiful, natural window light!

After we were done taking pictures of Olivia, I let Jaime have a little fun with Lady. Taking pictures of animals is way harder than taking pictures of sleeping babies! Lol!

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