Oh, Mama! My Maternity Photo Shoot

We have a tradition that with each new baby comes new family pictures. I always want to capture my little family in a special way that shows where we are at the moment and where we’re headed. This third pregnancy is no exception. When I started searching for a photographer to take pictures this time around I had a few boxes that needed to be checked:

  • They had to have their own studio or was able to shoot in indoor locations that may not have natural light (We are in the winter in Michigan!).
  • They had to be take our style of pictures — candid, creative, and beautiful shots, of course!
  • They had to be able to shoot us in February or March, at the latest.
  • They had to be somewhat affordable (We’re in the middle of a basement renovation and planning my maternity leave, so finances are stretched!).

I had never had a problem finding a photographer before, so I didn’t think it would be a problem this time. Well, was I wrong. I had great options, but none of them fit all of the criteria. I had almost given up hope until I was blessed to be recommended Yamile Branch. Yamile is the owner of Yamile Branch Photography, and she recently opened her own studio in St. Clair Shores, MI. She’s warm, has a wonderful personality, is professional and passionate about what she does. Did I mention that she takes AWESOME photos? Did you check out her website yet? My goodness. See what I mean?

We decided that we would make this a true maternity shoot with just me and my belly. (We will take family pictures in the spring or summer as a family of five. :-) ) I hadn’t taken professional pictures by myself since high school, but instantly felt at home in front of Yamile’s camera. She really captured how beautiful I felt during this pregnancy, which I totally credit my baby girl for. I love every single shot and hope baby girl loves them, too.

If you’re in the market for maternity, newborn and babies, children, or family photos, give Yamile a call. And tell her I sent you! You’ll be more than pleased.

Product Review :: Onaroo OK to Wake! Children’s Alarm Clock

Product Review


I’m not sure if it’s them sensing that Spring is near, or them being affected by Mercury Retrograde, or if they just don’t need as much sleep as before, but my boys have been waking up before the sun (around 5 am) almost every day for two weeks. With me having my own sleeping issues (I’m at the end of my third pregnancy), I realllllllly need them to sleep in. I’m talking until at least 6 am. Is that too much to ask??? Apparently so. *sigh* In an act of desperation I decided to try something I’d been eyeing for months on Amazon, but didn’t want to take the plunge for fear of buyer’s remorse. So when I saw the Onaroo OK to Wake! Children’s Alarm Clock during a shopping trip at Target I finally decided to buy it. I still cringed at paying $30 for a kid’s alarm clock, but desperate times call for desperate measures, people.

I brought it home and the boys were instantly intrigued. Of course they thought it was a toy, so I had to explain that this was a clock that would glow when it was time to get up in the morning. My eldest, B, is my early bird, so this is more for him than my youngest, Z, but I thought that both could benefit and learn the concept fairly easily.

Here are my pros and cons:


  • Kids seem to easily get the concept of green glow means it’s OK to come and wake up Mom and Dad.
  • It’s easy to program for your desired wake up time.
  • The night light is soft yet enough bright enough to see what you’re doing in the dark.
  • It has a cute, kid-friendly design that comes with a changeable face plate (choose from green or pink).
  • It can be used for naps, too! There’s a separate nap timer you can program to help little nappers know when nap time is over.


  • It runs on batteries. It would be nice if it came with an AC adapter, as well.
  • The batteries were a challenge to install. There’s a teeny tiny screw that needs to be removed to access the battery compartment and I almost lost it twice.

My verdict?

Buy it! Now. :-)

This clock has been like a gift from the heavens. Truly. B still gets up before 5 am, but goes back to bed because the clock isn’t glowing so it’s not time to get up. Sometimes he’ll just lay in bed and wait until it goes off, and other times he’ll actually catch a couple more zzzz’s. Before he’d wake up and come and wake up me and his brother, and, as you can imagine, that wasn’t the most pleasant experience for anyone. Z hasn’t caught on quite yet and will still wake up before the clock and find his way to my bed, but he usually will go back to sleep quickly. Sometimes if it’s before 5:30 am, I’ll take him back to his bed and he’ll sleep until around 6:30-7 am, which works very well for Mama.

There you have it, folks. My very first product review! I hope you get the clock and try it for yourself. If you’re thinking of buying it, please consider using the link above as it’s linked to my new online Amazon store. It won’t cost you anything extra to buy from my store, and you’ll help support my blogging efforts in the process. ‘Preciate ya. ;-) If you do buy it, let me know how much you love it. mmmkay?

Disclaimer: This post may contain an affiliate link. This is not a sponsored post and all of the views are my own. Thanks for reading and for your support!

New Series ::: What’s for Lunch? ::: Week of 2/18/15

Along with my new love for Costco and my goal of transitioning to shopping once-a-month for groceries and necessities, I’m also moving toward making lunches once a week for the boys and me. I thought starting to meal plan for at least weekly lunches would be a good way to easily start getting used to making lots of meals at once so that eventually I can also do once-a-month cooking. I’m a big dreamer, huh? :-)

This is my second week of making pre-made lunches; I didn’t capture my plans last week because I was exhausted and my brain wasn’t functioning. You can see a picture of the lunches here, though. So, since I was more prepared (and rested) this week I thought that I’d start to share them on the blog. I will either post them weekly or bi-weekly at first, depending on how I plan them, and then will eventually post them monthly. For now, I make lunch for three days per week because I work from home the other two days and I make lunch on demand. Things will change once the new baby comes and I’m not working, but will pick up again once we have a good routine and B, our 7-year old, starts going to summer camp all week.

Here’s what we’ve having this week:

Boys: Day 1

  • Cheese Pizza
  • Orange slices
  • Salad w/ranch dressing
  • Animal crackers
  • Yogurt
  • Water

Boys: Day 2

  • No-Nut Butter and jelly sandwich
  • Apple slices
  • Yogurt and granola
  • Veggies
  • Strawberry slices
  • Water

Boys: Day 3

  • Grilled cheese sandwich
  • Chips
  • Applesauce
  • Banana
  • Veggies
  • Granola bar
  • Water

Me: All 3 days

  • Turkey and cheese sandwich
  • Black bean soup
  • Chips
  • Orange slices
  • Yogurt and granola
  • Applesauce
  • Water

There you have it. Making all of the lunches took me about an hour. Not bad if I do say so myself. By the way, we’re creatures of habit so our lunches will tend to follow a pattern however I will make an effort to shake things up a bit here and there. Hope you’re having a great week!

What's for lunch? | Week 2

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