Go Ape Raleigh NC
July does stress me out a little because it’s like saying, one whole month of summer is done and before you know it, school will be back. We have been trying to soak up as much summer as we can, amidst working and editing, etc. We are starting out the first week of July at the beach which of course, screams summer! One other summer adventure we went on was to Go Ape at Blu Jay Point. If you read my post yesterday, you’d know Owen has been loving ropes courses. Go Ape is great because it’s in the trees, it’s cool, the instructors are very helpful, and I didn’t feel like it was crazy high up in the air. We made reservations over the phone because it didn’t give me the option not to pay as an adult on their website. (If you observe from the ground, you don’t have to pay) Harrison said absolutely not was he doing it, so he hung out with me. (He could have done it if I did it with him) The boys had so much fun, working on all the challenges and going on the zipline and were just nonstop the whole time. And the image I got when Owen stopped to smile at me, be still my Mama heart. I had him wear a hat (because, ticks) and put on lots of sunscreen. You have to wear closed toes shoes, and of course, we all brought our water bottles. It was really fun – Owen loved it so much + we will definitely be back.
- Plan out what I want to do with the kids the rest of summer since it’s 1/2 way through.
- Finish planning NJ/NYC trip with a friend. Read historical fiction books about NY.
- Eat cookie dough here while in NYC.
- Take the kids to the Tobacco Campus for an evening picnic
- Take the kids to Beaches-n-Cream for some Krispy Kreme Ice Cream
- Check out the ropes course at the Shallotte Swamp Park.
What I Learned in June
Raleigh Baby Lamb Photographer
First of all, saying goodbye to June makes me want to cry a little bit, because I love, love, love summer. Ever since Owen started school, I love having the freedom to just get up and go + not have to plan our lives around carpool (my least favorite thing) or spring breaks, etc…. love that the weather is nice enough to go to the beach or be outside. (you know, when it’s not a million degrees) All this being said, I looooove summer.
- For all my pregnant friends, they have dill pickle almonds at Whole Foods. I was like, what, really?
- I have thought long and hard about the pros and cons of reading an actual book vs using a Kindle, trying to decide if I like one or the other better, but honestly, there are just pros and cons to both. The Kindle – first and foremost I love, because if I’m not prepared and I actually have a minute to read, I can just download a book, and bam, read. It’s also super small and fits in my purse so if I’m at dr’s appointments waiting, etc, I can just take it out and read. Which I usually wait at the chiropractor, so I’m always reading while the kids are playing in the kids’ room. The pros of actual books – keeping them and sharing them. (Although this does create clutter, too) And you know I’m a big fan of the library. (we are there every day or every other day in the summer. Seriously) It’s much harder to get the Kindle copy from the library so of course, right now, I’ve been reading tons and tons of library books, because, they’re free. I have so many books reserved and I forget about them, so when they are actually on hold for me, I’m like woo hoooo I forgot about this book!
- Teach Your Monster To Read App. I just found this app and the former teacher in me looooves it as it teaches a lot of phonics skills. My other favorite is Endless Reader or Endless Alphabet.
- The boys picked maybe not the best Father’s Day shirt for Michael. We were shopping in Target when the boys spotted a Galaxy’s Best Dad shirt with a picture of Darth Vader on it. I really didn’t think about how Darth Vader really probably wasn’t the best example of a great dad.
- Cars 3. How many of you saw it? Like I really couldn’t wrap my head around it. Do any other superheroes become not so super in kids movies? I really didn’t enjoy this movie + storyline..it just left me kind of sad. It’s the movies – Lightning McQueen is just supposed to win forever, ha! Harrison, however, is more obsessed than ever. Lightning McQueen may have actually replaced the Thomas spot in his heart. (Um, so glad we did this road trip when we did) He plays with this for hours. I mean, the child has cars in his hand from when he gets up until he goes to sleep and is constantly saying, “I am SPEED.” or going on and on about “Cruise Retirez” how he calls her. He saw a Nascar race on tv at a restaurant recently and was just speechless. The child is all in. And speaking of Cars3 and Lightning McQueen, Harrison finally got a birthday party this year..If you’ve been following me, then you would know he was born on Christmas Day. And, of course, trying to plan a birthday party even anywhere near that time is just crazy. So finally, this year, he had a 1/2 birthday party. And with his love of cars + my love of air conditioning, a movie theater party was just perfect. Everything for his party came in a box from amazon and showed up at our door a few days before the party, because that’s just how I roll. We didn’t even end up using the cute cone cups because I was just so busy trying to get everyone fed + the cake ready. Thankful for Aunt Amy’s amazing cake skills, and Harrison insisted on having cake on his nose.He LOVED having a birthday just for him + it was such a super cute morning. (Cake – Delicious Bakery, Movie Theater – North Hills, who were just so amazing and went above + beyond, Cups (Similar to these), Piston Cups (Similar to these), Road Tablecovers , Pennant Banner)
- Michael made us a Garage Reading nook and it is the best ever. Nothing fancy, at all – just two chairs, a cooler, and a little table, but it’s been fun reading outside with the boys, getting some fresh air. (because they are bookworms like me) Or when they are playing basketball, I can sit in there and read.
- So without knowing the price because I was buying vitamins, too (I mean, it’s a candy bar, right?) I should have never tried it. This sugar free candy bar was amazzzzing. (1/2 the price at Harmony Farms. I bought them at my dr’s office,too) I’m already a dark chocolate fan so to be able to find it without sugar – my BFF. I can only buy one a year because they are so ‘spensive.
- Chic-fil-A has a gluten free bun. Awesome news for my gluten free friends! I mainly do not eat gluten at all so it’s nice to have the option of a bun. My favorite meal at Chic-fil-a is the grilled nuggets with a large superfood salad – YUM!
- We tried out the Lego club this month, and it is super cute. It is kind of confusing because they have two different club meetings. If you have signed up to be a Lego VIP (which is free) you have to be on the computer at 9 am on the 15th of the month to sign up for a free meeting, which is on weekdays. They build one small thing. If you want to sign up for the regular club meeting on Saturday mornings (9 AM before Crabtree stores open) it’s 10.00 and not only do they get the mini build, you get 5.00 in Lego points and then they get to fill up a little bucket with legos from the wall, build some more and take it home. Super cute + Owen loved it. This month I did the paid meeting, but I was able to get him into the free VIP club meeting in July.
- There is an instapot cheat sheet. Life changing.
- Since we’ve spent a lot of days at the library and I’ve been following Sarah MacKenzie for some great ideas for read alouds based on the month. Harrison and I have been reading a lot of great books about the pond. Over and Under the Pond, In the Small, Small Pond, and The Foolish Tortoise are a few, so of course, I was thrilled when we visited Michael’s parents that they took us to Simm’s Country BBQ. Such a great place with bluegrass, and of course, the kids’ favorite – the pond with turtles and fish. My teacher heart burst when Harrison said, “I see a tortoise.” from his book.
- Three birthdays and Father’s Day is really too much for one month. We made it through – lots of celebrations, but whew, I’m tired. Owen’s birthday was first (June 9th) Then Michael’s birthday (June 11th) Harrison’s 1/2 birthday party (June 17th) and then Father’s Day the next day! When Owen was in Kindergarten, we had some really sweet room moms who went all out when we had special snacks and things for the kids at school. Since I’ve been reading a lot of Sally Clarkson, I really loved this idea of making days special for kids + celebrating them. I’m not a Pinterest/crafty mom, but I can sure show up at the dollar store, head to Walmart, or my favorite, order on Amazon. Owen really wanted to be with his cousins for his birthday, so we spent a day in Greensboro. It started at the Greensboro Science Center, which has some fun new stuff like the Octopus! Loved him! I will be honest I got a little creeped out when I saw this. Like, who feeds him or cleans his cage safely? Also, this poor one fish took shark bait to another level. They said he had gotten bit the day before and they keep trying to fish him out but he wouldn’t let them catch him. We walked outside to see the animals, too, and the new ropes course is just amazing – like a dream for Owen. It just reminds me of Peter Pan…but he needs one more year before he can do it. Then, we went to Delicious and picked up his amazing Minecraft birthday cake + headed to Lucky32. They are always so amazing + helpful with birthdays. I looooooove Lucky32 because collard greens, of course. Mimi brought amazing minecraft sunglassesfor the party. The next morning, inspired by my amazing kindergarten mom friends, I had put up my banner+ tablecloth. He had a few presents to open – a Minecraft torch, gel pens , and a Minecraft Bible. Michael died laughing at how much he loved the gel pens. (Like, whhaaaaa. How much did we spend on the basketball goal and he’s going crazy over 10.00 pens!He spent his birthday at Galaxy Fun Park with a few of his friends…and then his other cousins showed up yaaaaay! Just in time for Michael’s birthday, too! What a fun birthday weekend for him.
- I read more in the summer. And ya’ll, I really am a speed reader, but I just love books so much. We have done some road trips lately which has helped me sneak some books in. Some favorites this month have been The Jane Austen Projectand The Lost Book of the Grail. I also was lucky enough to get The Identicalsfrom the Lucky Day Shelf at the library..since I was number 367 waiting for it on hold and it was looking very unlikely that I was going to get it this summer! Right now I’m currently reading New York, which is a huge book, but really fascinating. I’ll admit, I get a little intimidated at huge books. I got Alexander Hamiltonlast year and still haven’t finished it because just look at it, I’m like whew, will I ever get through it. I almost need those books to be on my kindle, so I don’t know and I just read.
- This is just a funny quirk of mine but I am loving that facebook has the little emoji button so I can use them on my computer, I am just wishing they would put the most used first, like my phone – ha!
- Bottle feeding a baby lamb is harder than you think! A dear friend of mine invited us over to see her baby lambs + feed them. They were just so cute, frolicking and running everywhere. Taking a second to eat was the last thing on their minds, but they were sure cute!
- My firstborn has always been kind of timid about things, not a big risk taker…he finally passed the swim test this year – so proud of him. I have been kind of shocked that he is a huge ropes course fan. It all started with Galaxy fun park, and he also tried Go Ape and loved it.
- A basketball is better than an x box. Owen has been begging ya’ll for an xbox, and we just aren’t ready for that. We let him play minecraft on the ipad, but I’m just not ready to start the xbox yet. He was pretty sad about it, but we had already told him not yet. After his daddy + uncle spent hours putting together his basketball goal, and he’s gotten to spend so many hours playing with his goal…we were in the car one day, and out of nowhere, he said, “Mom + Dad, a basketball goal is way better than an xbox.” Heart melted.
Rebecca Keller is a Raleigh Newborn and Family Photographer in Raleigh, NC. Contact the studio for more information about family and maternity photography. As Seen in People Magazine + The Bump, and on several other blogs including Lemonade and Lenses and Let the Kids Dress Themselves. Because we chat alot about our personal lives on the blog, we may receive commissions from affiliate links.
Downtown Raleigh Lifestyle Newborn Photography
Having a newborn, you can kind of feel like you have brain fog all the time (lack of sleep and feeling so tired) and yet this group of five managed to pull it together like they’ve been sleeping hours on end. When I arrived, the kiddos had put signs everywhere letting me know what each room was + what it was for so I would be prepared. And their sweet bright eyed beauty, oh my, look at those eyes! She was just as cute as can be and very curious about what her brother and sister were doing. (giggling, lots and lots of giggling, and maybe watching a little Lego Ninjago in between pictures) One thing I loooved was that they had put hearts on each doors and of course, my boy mom heart loved it…”Take me to baseball, let me play minecraft, feed me, read me books, tuck me in at night, watch my baseball games, take good care of me…” You can read the others, but just so, so sweet. I love that her Mama brought out her Moses basket that she slept in as a baby, too – so sentimental and sweet. It was so great to see this sweet family again! I first met them here and we also had a fun family session downtown!
According to Mom…
What did you think when you saw your baby for the first time? I couldn’t believe that she was here (she was born really fast and 9 days late), and I couldn’t believe how big and perfect she was.
What was your favorite part of our session together? It was so low key. You have a really calming presence, and you didn’t care that I had to nurse a couple of times or that the older two watched TV when they got tired of pictures.
How did you prepare the baby for our photoshoot? We gave her a bath and put her in a clean onesie. Otherwise, we wanted her to look the way she does.
How was your experience having your newborn photographed? Were you worried or nervous beforehand? I was nervous about getting all five of us to do anything! It turned out really well, though. An additional benefit was that my mom was in town, and you were able to get some lovely photos with her in them, too. I know I’ll really treasure those.
What would be your advice to someone getting newborn photographs taken? Do it! We aren’t planning to have any more kids, and I am so happy to have such beautiful photos to commemorate bringing sweet Harriet home. Having them done in the house was easy, and working with Ericka of Little Apple Styles made getting dressed easy, too.
Did you have a sentimental item at our shoot? My mom slept in our Moses basket (as did her five siblings), as did I and my brother. It’s nice to have our babies sleep in it, and now I can pass it along to a cousin whenever they have a baby.
Do you have other children? How did they react to the baby? The older two love the baby, especially Charlotte (4). The picture of Owen (7) holding Hattie is actually the first time he ever held her. I was surprised that he was willing to! Now he asks to hold her every couple of days.
How would you describe your perfect Saturday as a family? Lazy, and with donuts. We’re all homebodies. That was another nice thing about having the pictures in our house. We just finished a huge renovation/addition in December so this is our native habitat
Any other advice to families picking out wardrobe? Working with Ericka was great, but I think as long as you wear something you like you’ll look great. Don’t be too matchy-matchy, but have fun.
Styled by Little Apple Styles
As Seen in People Magazine + The Bump
Rebecca Keller is a Raleigh Family + Newborn Photographer. Contact the studio for more information.
The Session In The Rain
Holden Beach Family Photographer
The beach is seriously unpredictable right? You really never know what’s going to happen! It could rain at a moment’s notice..it can be super windy especially if a storm is blowing out. If you plan for a beach session, you just have to be flexible, go with it, and laugh a lot. Like I could never have even imagined everything that went with our Coastal Minis last year – a house fire in the middle of our minis that shut down the road in both directions also during a torrential downpour storm, but it cleared up just in time to squeeze everyone in! I’m not sure when it started raining for this session, but we didn’t get too much time to squeeze in some memories in between laughing + getting wet. We even tried to hide by the dunes and see if it would pass over, but it just kept getting worse. The kids did love playing in it though! We’ve never had a session completely rained out since it usually passes over so quickly at the beach, but you just have to hope for the best.
We have our Coastal Minis coming up July 2nd, and we have one spot left – the 8PM spot, if you have older kids, this would work great for you. Also, super pretty sunset light at 8PM. See more Coastal Sessions here.
If you are heading to Holden Beach this summer, check our our posts about Holden –
Favorite Things at Holden Beach
Holden Beach With Kids
Holden Beach Turtle Time For Kids
As Seen in People Magazine + The Bump
Holden Beach Family Photographer
Officially A Big Brother
North Raleigh Newborn Photography
I really love sibling sessions, and I honestly do not get stressed. I’ve been around so many siblings through the years – siblings of all different ages and temperaments that sibling images do not stress me out. I guess, after doing this for so many years, I just know in my heart, that at some point, we will get the shot. I will exhaust all the tricks of the trade…at some point, we will find some common ground and the siblings will be in the same spot for a moment together having a sweet moment that they probably have easily when I’m not around. It is super exciting to have someone new in your home, especially when you have a new baby, and chances are, you aren’t going very many places so that makes it extra exciting when I show up. Some kids are super shy when I arrive and some are super excited. Sometimes there are lots of laughs and sometimes tears from crying so hard to try to get the sibling to show some interest in their newborn baby brother or sister. (which you know, as soon as I leave, they would ask to hold them, etc..it’s just more exciting when I’m there to show me how they can run around and throw things and giggle as long as it’s nowhere near the new baby) So I always feel bad because parents are usually stressed trying to get the two together and during the process, all the while the wheels are turning in my head as to what may work. In case anyone was wondering, the whole session revolves around the sibling… they are calling the shots, we just have to go along with it..and the newborn usually has a lot of say in what’s going on in the session, too. (If they need a snack break, if they are tired of their sibling breathing all over them and poking them, etc) All that to say is that sometimes images appear effortless when there was a lot of giggles and laughing and throwing all the stops to get two little ones in one spot. And usually when we get them together, they love looking at their baby and telling us all about them.
And this little one, amidst all his giggles, loooooves his baby sister. He was just so so sweet with her, and at one point, just laid his head right next to hear and laid down without anyone asking. He was just precious with her and it was so so sweet to capture. Hard to believe, we just took their family maternity portraits! (See that magical session here) Ok, enough of my rambling, on to the sweet photos of this big brother + his baby sister!
As Seen in People Magazine + The Bump