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Posted by on Jan 15, 2014 in Baby, Birthdays, Children, Christmas, Creative, Family, Holidays, infant, Jessica LK Photography, Lifestyle, Memories, newborn, Photography, Pregnancy, Product Review, Reviews, Stay At Home Mom | 0 comments

Jessica LK Photography

Jessica LK Photography

Our Christmas card this year still has me in awe. (Forgive the poor quality of this first photo; it is a snapshot of our card taken by myself. The quality of the actual card was lovely.)

xmas card

One brisk day in November, we rounded up the Sweet kids and met with Jessica Kemp, the master behind the lens of Jessica LK Photography.

Jessica had the stellar idea to join us at the Strong National Museum of Play, our local children’s museum, which would have never crossed my mind. It is a perfect location for a photo shoot, especially with children! The carousel, the brick wall, the old fashioned diner…all fun and whimsical backdrops for our holiday photos (or any photos, for that matter).

Thank you to By Cee Cee for outfitting our girls with beautiful dresses.

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All images copyright Jessica LK Photography 2013. Girls dresses: By Cee Cee.

We aren’t very good about taking family photos. We have done it formally only once before, and that was when we only had two children. Jessica made us feel right at home, in the vast museum, which must not be easy to do. However, it came naturally to her. She is clearly meant to be with camera in hand. She whisked the kids in a few settings, added us here and there, and we had a lot of fun in the process. We could see the moments taking place, yet we had no idea her eye would turn them into something magical.

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Just look at these captures.

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Image: copyright Jessica LK Photography 2013. Bowtie: Tiny Chaos

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The fact that the children didn’t know Jessica upon shooting made for some very intruiging photos. We were melted by the expressions she captured in our childrens’ faces. There aren’t even words to describe these looks, these expressions.

I love the attention Jessica Kemp pays to detail. At one point she moved some poinsettias into the shot, which added a little festive flair. From the actual shoot to the editing afterward, Jessica LK Photography is a true professional. Browse her website and you will see, she clearly loves what she does, and it shines through in every photograph she makes. The photos you will see can draw you in. It’s as if you want to get to know these people pictured, but you’ve never met them in your life.

Captivating.

From newborn sessions to weddings, she can and does do it all. She even has boudoir sessions available – mighty tempting for the upcoming Hallmark holiday. Her sessions are very affordable and her work, simply gorgeous. One photo is more stunning than the next. It will be difficult for you to choose a favorite, as it was for us. Plan on ooh-ing and aah-ing over your photos when your session is complete. We know we sure did!

We are grateful for Jessica’s time with us and hope to have her create beautiful work for us in the future.

Jessica LK Photography is graciously offering The Whimsical Sweet’s readers a custom timeline cover for those sessions booked in January, February, or March. Perfect timing for Valentine’s Day and Easter photo sessions! Thank you, Jessica!

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Full disclosure: Jessica LK Photography provided us with a mini photo session and images. Girls dresses provided by By Cee Cee. All opinions are my own. All images are copyright Jessica LK Photography 2013.

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Posted by on Jan 10, 2014 in Baby, Breastfeeding, Childbirth, Children, Choices, Education, Family, Fatherhood, Homeschool, infant, Life, Lifestyle, Motherhood, Motivational Posts, Natural Childbirth, Natural Parenting, newborn, Parenting, Philosophy, Potty Training, Pregnancy, Stay At Home Mom, Terrible Twos, Toddler Challenges, Toddler Naps, Toddlers | 1 comment

Patience Is Key

Patience Is Key

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Several times throughout my time as a mother, conversations have come up regarding different parenting styles. Should you co-sleep or cry it out? Should you breast-feed or bottle feed? Should you go natural or have a medicated birth? When it’s time for potty training, do we try boot camp or let them learn on their own? The list goes on…

It has been my experience that I always choose the long road. I’ve had three natural births (including two decently long labors lasting over 24 hours and a shoulder dystocia baby), we co-sleep, I’ve breastfed each of our three babies until they were at least one year old, and we homeschool. We let our kids potty ‘train’ in their own time (which we have really lucked out at so far!) & our discipline methods are few. It seems as though we have created work for ourselves, but I truly believe it will make a difference in the long run.

Everything requires patience. It takes longer to learn how to breastfeed your baby than it does to mix a bottle. It takes more time to sleep with your baby or rock your baby to sleep each night than it does to cry it out. Natural birth takes more work and waiting patiently for that baby to come may take longer than you would like, but it’s worth it! It’s always worth it. Your children are worth it.

Patience doesn’t come easily around our home these days. Juggling all life has to offer while raising children is hard work.

Hopefully our children will, in turn, learn that patience. Patience is a very important quality to hold throughout life. I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t have much. However, what I do have is most often spent on our children, and I have to remind myself of this on a daily, if not hourly, basis.

I realize this post will fire up some defensive parents, but relax. I’m not judging those who don’t do what I do. We are all unique and to each his own. The only difference between you & I is a little patience.

I would like to show my experiences, that what you think may be harder at first glance may actually be easier in the long run.

You see, natural birth often leads to healthy babies, which often lead to healthy bonding, which also often means successful breastfeeding which often leads to a sleepy baby. Don’t you think this is a good start to life, if you can help it? Wouldn’t you imagine children are much more likely to have happy childhoods if this is the way they begin? It seems like so much less frustration and annoyance if the anxiety is lessened by living this way.

It doesn’t stop there (And here is where I need to be reminded most these days). Remaining patient while raising our children hopefully teaches them to be kind and gentle, patient and understanding.

Once again, obviously we will all live how we need to live. And we all will love the way we need to love. A little patience certainly has never hurt anyone. In fact, patience is key.

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Posted by on Sep 28, 2012 in Baby, Baby Product Review, Children, Giveaways, infant, Keekaroo Peanut Diaper Changer, Natural Parenting, newborn, Parenting, Potty Training, Pregnancy, Product Review, Reviews, Save money, Stay At Home Mom, sweet whimsy designs, Toddlers | 10 comments

Keekaroo Peanut Diaper Changer:  Review & Giveaway *CLOSED*

Keekaroo Peanut Diaper Changer: Review & Giveaway *CLOSED*

I was given the opportunity to test a brand new product: The Keekaroo Peanut Diaper Changer. Keekaroo is giving away a changer to one lucky reader! Read further to enter to win.

My initial reaction to the Keekaroo Peanut Diaper Changer was, “Wow! Cool colors!” I mean, really cool. Have you seen the color choices? Go to their website & click on ‘gallery’. You really should go take a peek. You will not be able to pick just one. For all you gender-neutral parents, there are so many great options! The changer fits nicely into our standard-sized changing table, and the safety strap buckles simply under the top platform of the table.

This diaper changer is perfect for all ages. It has plenty of soft and comfy space for a newborn and will grow with you child as they become toddlers. While still in the newborn stage, it is great for baby’s first sponge bath, as it is water-repellent and will not soak up water. I love bringing my infant (no longer a newborn :() to be changed after a bath because I don’t have to worry about a cover getting wet – there is no cover! It is easy to dry once our little one is ready to get dressed. Just keep in mind that the changer cannot be submerged under water. As well, do not drip water in the air vent near the feet, conveniently located far enough away from baby that you don’t need to worry about it.

The Keekaroo Peanut Diaper Changer easily wipes clean with soap & water. Actually, I use the homemade vinegar & distilled water spray that I blogged about in April of 2011.

Something that I always look for in a product intended for my baby’s use is that the product be safe. The Peanut Changer is that, indeed! It is non-toxic and BPA-free among other good things. Don’t forget that babies & most toddlers put their mouths on EVERYTHING! It is reassuring to know that this changing pad is 100% safe! Speaking of safe, it not only comes with a safety strap, it also is slip-resistant which helps immensely for those deep down & dirty diaper changes. You know, the ones when you have to lift your child almost completely off the pad by her feet in order to wipe her little bum clean?! Oh, is that only me?? Hmm, didn’t think so. 😉 She won’t slip away from you. She’ll stay right where you need her.

Here’s something you don’t see from way too many products these days: it’s MADE IN THE USA! If that doesn’t matter to you, it should. 🙂

I’ve thrown away our tattered & stained changing pad covers from our previous changing pad as well as the old pad itself. No more constant laundry from messy diaper changes. Just a quick wipe-down and I’m done!

The Keekaroo Peanut Diaper Changer is so strong & impermeable! You cannot destroy this thing!! My husband jokes that the kids can use it as a wrestling pad when they’ve outgrown diapers. It is really, really tough! We have been through two other changing pads in four short years & would’ve purchased a third of the same kind if it wasn’t for the Keekaroo Peanut. The standard changing pads aren’t built to withstand wiggly babies, especially as they grow into kicking toddlers. This changer is built to last forever! In the time that we have gone through two changing pads, the Keekaroo would still be under warranty! It comes with a 5-year warranty! FIVE YEARS!! When we’re talkin’ baby products, that is an eternity!

ENTER TO WIN a Keekaroo Peanut Diaper Changer!

Simply go to sweet whimsy designs’ giveaway on our Facebook page and follow the simple steps to enter to win! Or:

CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

Winner will receive one (1) Keekaroo Peanut Diaper Changer in the color of their choice.

This giveaway is open to the 48 contiguous United States only. Giveaway begins on Friday, September 28th at 12:01am and ends Monday, October 8th at 12:01am.

If there was one thing I wish were different about this diaper changer, it would be that it was released four years sooner! I wish that we could have purchased this before we made the decision to buy a run-of-the-mill changing pad.

We really love this diaper changer. It sounds kind of silly when we say it out loud, but it deserves rave reviews as it is a great product!

Full disclosure: I was given a Keekaroo Peanut Diaper Changer to review, courtesy of Keekaroo. This review is my opinion only and does not reflect that of Keekaroo.

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Posted by on May 10, 2012 in Childbirth, Children, Family, Life, Motherhood, Natural Childbirth, Philosophy, Pregnancy, Stay At Home Mom | 0 comments

Flashback:  The Good, The Bad & The Ugly Of Pregnancy:  36 Weeks + Counting

Flashback: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly Of Pregnancy: 36 Weeks + Counting

I found this written & ready to post in my ‘drafts’ folder. Oops! Pregnancy brain struck again! Ten weeks later, I have to say this summed up how I was feeling at the time. And going from two to three? That will be a whole other blog…

Tick, tock.  Tick, tock.

As I approach 36 weeks, I gain a little more confidence and a little less sleep.

Let’s get one thing out of the way:  I am ready to birth this baby.  My anxiety has turned into confidence & my fears have changed to hope.  All will be well.

The sleepless nights, well, that’s a different story.  I missed my acupuncture appointment last week and definitely noticed a difference.  Luckily she got me in for a treatment recently & everything is better so far.

Here’s some random thoughts from my random brain:

I was folding baby girl clothes and it hit me.

WE REALLY ARE HAVING ANOTHER BABY.

Why is it so hard to grasp this time?  I feel her every move – hiccup, kick, stretch.  She responds to my voice, singing and talking.  I know she’s in there.  It just doesn’t seem real yet.

Oh, I know it will feel real really soon.  I like to plan ahead sometimes, it would be nice to get a sneak peek into what life will be like as a family of five.  Everyone says the shift from having two to three is easier than going from none to one or from one to two.  That is reassuring.  We keep telling ourselves we got this!  I know in my heart that we do.  We are feeling so blessed, so fortunate to be the parents of such amazing children.  And we get to do it again!  So fantastic!

I’ve outgrown most of my maternity clothes in the belly.  It’s stretch pants & comfy shirts from here on out!  I can live with that ;).

I went and bought some yarn today.  Some really nice yarn.  Some really, really nice yarn.  I figured this baby should get a really nice blanket, and hopefully a hat.  It’s beautiful, colorful merino wool…soooo soft.  I enjoy making things from love and this will be no exception.  I’m sure the blanket will not be finished before the baby arrives but you never know!

We think we’ve decided on a name.  This one hasn’t changed in about 10 weeks, that’s a long time in pregnancy weeks!  We will still keep it private until we know for sure which will be when we meet the little Sweet.  It’s been fun with both of our children to see who they are before we decided on a name.  Good thing, too.  Tavia was almost Tallulah.  Marsden would’ve been Leighton.  Interesting how things end up the way they are.

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Posted by on Apr 4, 2012 in Bradley Friends, Breastfeeding, Childbirth, Motherhood, Natural Childbirth, Pregnancy, Stay At Home Mom, The Bradley Method Of Natural Childbirth | 3 comments

Introducing…

Introducing…

Hadley Domenica!!!

The newest Sweet arrived on Thursday, March 29th, 2012 at 3:05 in the afternoon!  Mom & Baby are doing REALLY well and siblings and Daddy are falling more & more in love with each passing hour.

Between her super fast delivery & full head of black hair, she has surprised us from conception to birth.  We chose her name after a few days to make sure we got to know her a bit.  Appropriately, we chose Domenica as her middle name after my paternal Grandmother as we feel she has a presence in this baby.

I will post the birth story as soon as I have a minute to recall the few days before she arrived.  It was an eventful birth with a fantastic ending.  In short, I labored for about 22 hours & once again was able to go au natural, with lots of thanks to my amazing support team.  I couldn’t feel more proud & definitely feel the best post-partum than with any other of my births (aside from a little bout of mastitis which I’m working on getting over).

Hadley is a wonderful baby thus far.  She nurses like a champ (has even nursed her jaundice away in good time), sleeps well, is very alert when awake, and has already smiled real smiles for us!  She makes some pretty silly faces & is amazingly cute regardless.  She is so relaxed and comfortable here, and that says a lot when her siblings are spreading their energy, constantly running & yelling around her.

We feel fortunate that everyone is happy, healthy & thriving!  Sometimes it feels like a dream, three beautiful, healthy children and love all around.  We will never take even one second for granted.

With love from The Sweets-

The photos aren’t the best quality, they’re all taken with my phone.  Soon enough I will get some better photos…

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Posted by on Mar 27, 2012 in Childbirth, Children, Family, Life, Moderation, Motherhood, Natural Childbirth, Passion, Philosophy, Pregnancy, Stay At Home Mom, The Bradley Method Of Natural Childbirth | 5 comments

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly Of Pregnancy:  OVERDUE + Counting!

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly Of Pregnancy: OVERDUE + Counting!

40 Weeks

Forty weeks came & went.  I’m not surprised, I was late with my first two babies as well.

I am taking this time to embrace the wonder of it all.

When I got married, I thought, “I want to have lots of children.  Will I be able to have children?”

Then I got pregnant.

Then I wondered, “Will this baby be healthy?  Will it be a boy or a girl?  Will she/he look like us?  Will she/he act like us?”

Then we found out it was a girl.  And she appeared to be healthy.

Then I wondered, “When will she come?  How will it happen?  Will she be big/small/perfect?”

Then she was born.  It happened naturally, when she was ready.  And she was perfect.

These, among other questions that run through the mind of a new Mom, are some of the unanswerable questions in life.  Here I am, faced with the “When will she come?” question all over again.  Rather than be up in arms about going past my “due date” (believe me, I have my moments!), I’m trying instead to embrace it and especially not take this wondrous time for granted.

We are truly blessed.  We feel it every day.  We are so thankful, ever-so grateful for the life we have been given.  We promise to never take it for granted.

And so I wait.  My husband waits.  Our children wait.  And everyone waiting with us waits!

As I put my oldest, very wise “baby” to sleep tonight, I told her we may or may not be here in the morning, as I have been experiencing some pretty strong signs of early labor.  She asked if the baby was going to come tonight, as she had guessed earlier in the day.  I answered her by saying, “Well, it’s one of the sweet mysteries of life, Sweetie.  We get to be surprised as to when the baby comes!”  She answered with a gigantic, genuine grin, “I’m so inxcited!”

So are we, little girl.  So are we.

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