Category Archives: Our Everyday
My Review of the Gizmo Gadget
When I first heard about the Gizmo Gadget, I was super excited to try it out. I wasn’t sure it would be as good as it sounded, but I have totally loved using it when Owen has a babysitter, I use drop in child care, or I’m at the gym and he’s in childcare.
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What is the gizmo gadget? It’s a watch for kids where they can send and receive calls + messages. There is a great app that you put on your phone that syncs to their gadget. You decide the contacts who can call them and who they can call. (I believe it’s nine people) Only the people who you have authorized to have the app can message them. Michael and I are the only ones who message him but he has a list of family that he can call/and they can call him. You also have to sync the phone to the app when downloading so grandparents from out of state would have to be in town when you sync if you want them to be able to message them also. The phone calls have been great when I’ve been driving and need to ask Michael a question, “Owen, call your daddy and ask him…”
Messaging – In the app, you can set up some canned messages that they can pick from. Otherwise, they can send you a voice message (there’s no typing out words on the phone) You can send text messages straight to the phone that they can read. So if Owen’s done playing at the gym, he can pick the “I’m ready to be picked up” message from the list or send me a voice message. He also loves using the emojis they have in the app.
GPS tracking. I love that I can GPS track where he is and I can also set it up to send me updates at certain times or if he leaves a certain location. When Owen stayed at my parents and I was meeting my mom at Southpoint to pick them up, I just tracked on my phone to see when I needed to leave – ha!
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The app also gives you a history of every little thing they do, if they are calling people, etc. (As you can see, he likes to change the volume a lot)
Other features of the app
-It shows you how much battery they have left
-You can set the phone to auto answer your calls
-You can give them a to do list that shows up on their watch
-You can turn off their watch from the app (but you can’t turn it back on)
-You can change the display/sounds. (They can also do this on the watch)
-You can set up step goals – there is fun activity tracking/games on the watch. Owen loves the jumping game.
Is it waterproof?
It is supposed to be waterproof. Owen wore his watch in water for about five seconds before we realized, and so we are on watch number two. So you do have to be careful about taking it off, etc, but Verizon replaced the watch for us.
We don’t use it all the time, mostly when we are going out or he has a babysitter. (I love when he sends me voice messages asking for permission – ha!) I just love if I know we are going to be at a big park, etc, that we can GPS track him. Overall, I’ve loved having it, and he has too. It just tickles him so much when he hears it ringing on my nightstand (where we usually keep it when he’s not wearing it) and it’s one of his grandparents checking in.
Verizon has two watches for kids, and we have the gadget.We bought our gadget mid summer and have love, love, loved it!
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Rebecca Keller Photography | As Seen in People Magazine + On The Bump | Verizon Wireless Gizmo Gadget Review
Holden Beach Family Photographer | What I Learned in June
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Memorial Day celebrating the cousins May/June birthday
1. June was a brave month for me. Honestly never having a c section or any kind of surgery, I was terrified to have a procedure on my heart. (see the whole story here) I did e-mail all my newborn clients before having this done and found a backup in case the recovery ended up being worse than it was. I am so thankful for such patient + kind clients. I did quite a few newborns the week before and then the two I did first after my surgery just happened to be born at a great time to wait a little over a week. (thank you sweet babies) The recovery was not bad at all, and I’m thankful for my husband and mom taking such good care of me + the kids that week.
2.I’m so thankful for my neighbors. Honestly, I could cry. I have been so blessed by them. They brought me awesome whole30 food after the surgery and checked on us. One of my neighbors taught me how to make her homemade lara bars because they are just amazing. You feel like you’re eating dessert.
3.That being said, if you are having any procedure done, I learned to plan a crazy busy week right before. I did not have a lot of time to think about it which was great. Owen’s birthday party was the night before so I honestly didn’t even have a second. And I’m so thankful to Ericka for helping me out so much with his party. So much cuteness – more to come soon.
4.Renting bikes at the beach is my favorite. We spent a week at the beach in the beginning of June, and oh my, I love the bikes. Harrison can still fit in the baby seat bike (like this one here– holds up to 40lbs) and we used the tagalong bike with Owen. (see one kind of like it here) They both loved it soooo much. We haven’t rented bikes until this year because you have to book them so far in advance, but I finally was able to get them. (See our favorite place to rent bikes and all our Holden Beach favorites here)
5. If you’ve been following my love of whole30, I can now drink coffee again without worrying about a racing heart…So, I thought I would add in one cup a day when I feel like it. So I have tried quite a few things..almond milk, etc. I just haven’t found anything exciting or worth even drinking the coffee. (I am super picky about coffee.) After trying bulletproof coffee, I am super impressed. I made it in the vitamix with grass fed unsalted butter, coconut oil, coffee + vanilla. It was realllly yummy. I’m sure I’ll cheat every now and then at my favorite coffee place, but I need something for everyday.
6. I discovered Nom Nom Paleo. This website might be a little life changing for my whole30 meals. I did download the app, and I am sooo excited about all the recipes. Cauliflower fried rice and the bacon guacamole sammies – such great ideas. She has a lot that are specifically whole30 although whole30 and Paleo are not very different.
7. My favorite summer dress here, and I am also loving the skort trend for the gym. (I got this one + love it)
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Rebecca Keller is a family photographer featured in People Magazine who spends her time sipping iced coffee, chasing after her two little ones, reading, running, and editing. Because we chat a lot about our personal lives on the blog, we may receive commissions on affiliate links in articles. Contact Rebecca Keller Photography for more information about Holden Beach Family photography + newborn sessions.
Strawberry Picking Tips Raleigh NC
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Article by Ericka of Little Apple Styles
My kids love any and every fruit. We are so lucky to live in between so many farms! The Little Apple family has surely taken advantage of the strawberry season. We stop by at least twice a week, in between carpools, to kill some time and Ethan is quite popular. I soon realized he is known by name because I tend to call him a million times while we are there…Ethan come here, Ethan stop, Ethan do not eat that, Ethan we have to pay for it first, Ethan NOT THE FLOWERS….three year olds!
While growing up, Mr. Little Apple spent most of his summers on Alabama Farms helping his grandparents/uncles in their fields. He has mad fruit picking skills! He can pick the sweetest and juiciest strawberries like nobody I know. He has been teaching our kids – and I have been trying to learn by osmosis. Recently I compiled a list of tips for a friend – and decided to share them with you. If you are a novice like me – it will come handy specially when going with kids!
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– Check the weather before you leave. April AND May showers bring the flowers in NC for sure!
– Bring extra cash, most farms will have knick knacks, plants or snacks to purchase while in there. Our favorite purchases are homemade Ice Cream and fresh strawberry preserves.
– Don’t pick berries with green tips – those are not ripe.
– Strawberries are delicate fruit and bruise easily. Be gentle when placing in your basket. They will last longer if they are unblemished
– Do not pick the flowers. Strawberry flowers turn into strawberry fruits. Farm attendants will get mad at you if they see flowers in your basket, or in your hair. Do not ask me how I know this!
– Do NOT wash the strawberries until you are ready to eat them. Unwashed strawberries store better and longer.
– Strawberries store great in mason jars while refrigerated. The mason jar lid creates a tight closure. If you want a fresh flavor consume within a week.
– Lastly, my best kept secret for picking the best strawberries: Bring a small basket, let your kids pick 5-6 strawberries each… and buy the ones pre-picked by the Farm staff. There, I said it!
While we had been enjoying our strawberries in between errands, the rain did not let us document our adventures as often as I was planning too. I was able to convince Becky to join us one afternoon. The weather app was giving us a 30 minute window of no rain, and the light looked perfect…until we arrived there. The sun decided to welcome us in a very hot and bright way. The sun was blinding us and we were sweaty messes – but we were determined! Becky managed to get fantastic photos regardless – but it was definitely an adventure.
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Ericka Jimmerson is a busy mom of two who runs Little Apple Styles, photography + event styling. Contact her at email@example.com if you need help making your event picture perfect!
Rebecca Keller is a family photographer featured in People Magazine who spends her time chasing after her two little ones, reading, running, and editing. Contact Rebecca Keller Photography for more information about family photography and travel sessions.
Bye Bye Supaventricular Tachycardia | Raleigh SVT
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My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. -Psalm 73:26
Today I decided to do something brave..super brave for me. I have never even had a C Section, and I guess my wisdom teeth is the closest I’ve been to surgery. So today I had heart surgery to get rid of something super annoying – SVT. Supraventricular Tachycardia sounds really scary, and the first time I had an incident that just wouldn’t stop, I thought it was pretty scary, too. So many of my doctors assured me it wasn’t life threatening and not to worry about it. I wanted to write about it because I’m been too anxious about it to talk about it that much. I also wanted to share everything I’ve learned in case someone else ends up going through the same thing. (SVT is very common) I am not a doctor or expert so definitely check with your doctor if you have it, but I wanted to explain all the things I’ve been through, especially in the last few months.
First of all, SVT is something you are born with – you have an extra electrical connection or a spot where the blood in your heart can get stuck. (Instead of your av node, (which is your pacemaker)making your heart beat, it gets stuck in this spot) It then races around in a circle until you can get it out of that SVT rhythm. I vaguely remember it bothering me in high school when I played sports (I just thought maybe I was out of breath/not in shape because I had not been working out enough) I never thought much about it because when I would sit down, it would go away. I really don’t remember it bothering me in college, but it could have..since almost everytime I have had SVT, it went away quickly, I never thought much about it and didn’t know anything was abnormal.
When I was pregnant, it definitely bothered me. Owen’s pregnancy was way worse anyway, I barely had any time during his pregnancy where I didn’t have something out of the ordinary, but after 20 weeks, the heart racing started. They sent me to the cardiologist, and I wore a monitor for a day maybe, and they said I was fine. I really don’t think anyone mentioned I could have SVT. During Harrison’s pregnancy, it bothered me again around 22-26 weeks. The first time it was awful. I was at a session and was completely embarrassed because it wouldn’t go away. I had never had it bother me for that long of a time, and eventually I had to quit photographing the session. I was so bummed – it was the only time I’ve had to stop a session because of me, I felt like it was my fault, and it totally bummed me out. I didn’t think anything of it because after I sat down for a few minutes, it went away. (plus after Owen’s pregnancy, I knew this was an annoying part of pregnancy for me) It only happened one more time during Harrison’s pregnancy and it was a super quick SVT and went away quickly. I saw the cardiologist again, wore a monitor again, and I really don’t remember anything being said about SVT being a possibility.
About a year after Harrison was born, I had one night with it, and then it didn’t bother me for a while. After that, I got a fitbit charge HR because it calmed my nerves. (Seriously. I would think my heart might be racing and I could look down and see it wasn’t) It never occurred to me though that anything could be wrong..just that maybe my heart would race sometimes, no big deal. Then, in March of this year, I had two SVT episodes that I thought was just a panic attack maybe. I wasn’t sure. So all of this to say, I thought maybe I was sensitive to the little bit of caffeine I drank but I had no idea I could have an arrhythmia . Then, we were at the beach at the end of March this year, and my heart started fluttering alll day. (Fluttering is something entirely different) I went to the ER there because fluttering was something new for me and it scared me because it was all day long.
1.Fluttering could also be called PVCS or ectopic beats. Every cardiologist I saw said that they were benign, maybe I was anxious and needed to relax. Anxiety is one of the things that can cause them (A nurse in the ER at the beach also told me they could be hormonal, which I had my hormones checked a week or two later and they were definitely off) PVCS, ectopic beats or fluttering is separate from SVT. These can happen to anyone and are definitely annoying.
-When you have SVT,you have an ectopic beat (or fluttering or PVC) and then it causes the blood to get stuck in that extra electrical connection spot you have and race around and around. Just because you have ectopic beats doesn’t mean it will get stuck (I was having them all day and no SVT) but you can’t have SVT if you aren’t having ectopic beats. I hope that makes sense!
When I got home from the beach, I went to my cardiologist’s office who said the ectopic beats were probably from anxiety, I needed to relax, they were benign, not to worry about them. I ended up seeing my primary doctor the next week who told me to go back to my cardiologist and get an event monitor. You wear an event monitor for a month, it’s hooked up to a cell phone and you are constantly sending your data to a monitoring center that sends it to your doctor. I wore it for a few weeks. Then one day at the end of April when I was feeling stressed I went for a run. I felt a few ectopic beats and then I felt my heart get stuck in the SVT rhythm. (Heart rate was at 190) It was annoying and wouldn’t go away, I was by myself so I got in the car and thought I would go to urgent care. During this time, my monitor service called to see how was I doing since they must have noticed my arrhythmia on the monitor. (If your heart is bothering you, just go straight to the ER) They ended up calling an ambulance and we waited a while for them to show up.(SVT is not life threatening and if they turn on the lights to the ambulance they can cause wrecks, etc) and when they got there, they just gave me fluid and put me in the truck. They didn’t turn on the siren or anything and drove me to Wake Med North. They were the nicest EMTS, and I was so thankful for them. They didn’t make me feel anxious at all. When I got to Wake Med, they just watched me for a little bit and finally my heart went back into a normal rhythm instead of the SVT rhythm where it’s stuck. (If it doesn’t go back, they can give you medicine that resets your heart and I was super scared and thankful that did not have to happen) Since they had the SVT incident on my event monitor and on an EKG at the hospital, we finally knew I had an arrhythmia. (It is something they really want to catch on an EKG to diagnose.I’m not sure the doctors will diagnose it if they don’t catch it)
What every doctor I saw explained to me was that when you have SVT, you have three options.
- Don’t take any medicine. Don’t worry about it – just try the valsalva maneuver or putting your face in a sink of ice water when you have an episode.
- Take a beta blocker everyday. This lowers your adrenaline, helps with keeping PVCS away.
- Have an ablation and get rid of it.
I got a referral for an electrophysiologist, Dr. Hranitsky at Wake Med. It was going to be almost a month before I could get an appointment, so my doctor’s office put me on a beta blocker to try to keep me from having another episode before then. I was on 25mg of metaprolol and the first three days were just so awful. I was walking around like a zombie…kind of felt like the misery of pregnancy. I could barely get out of bed or eat. I think I lost 6 lbs which is just crazy. I called back up there and they changed my dose to half of that, which was a lot more manageable but took a little while to get used to. It did calm my heart, but it didn’t stop the PVCS. It also lowered my heart rate so that didn’t feel great and it was getting pretty low at night so I kept the event monitor on so they monitored that. Even walking at the gym was just difficult because it kept my heart rate down. (less chance of SVT though so that was good) I was not a big fan of the beta blocker at all, but I didn’t really want to end up in the hospital with an SVT that wouldn’t go away again.
The beta blocker at a higher dose would have probably helped the PVCs go away, but at this low dose, I was still having them. Having PVCs meant I could possibly have an SVT episode if the medicine wasn’t strong enough so I was pretty anxious. So I started reading about PVCS and how to get rid of them. Some of the things that can cause PVCs – alcohol (I can’t really drink away. Half a glass of wine and I’m asleep) caffeine, increased adrenaline from exercise or stress, hormonal imbalances, high blood pressure, and I also started reading about magnesium deficiency.While I was waiting to see the electrophysiologist, I wanted to try to get rid of these PVCS so my anxiety would go down. That was a lonnnnng month of waiting. I didn’t know which arrhythmia I had, and I just wanted to find out. I also hated the beta blocker..wearing a monitor 24/7. It was all pretty annoying.
What helped my PVCS almost disappear (I still have one or two once in a blue moon, but not all day like I was ) – 1. I started whole30. I gradually started it but kicking sugar out made a huge difference in my adrenaline, stress level, and how I felt. I highly recommend It Starts With Food. It explains in detail what happens every time you eat and how important what you eat is to your body. I didn’t realize how bad I felt everytime I ate and changing my meals made such a huge difference. 2.No more decaf. I was already a decaf drinker, but I had to cut out my one decaf drink a day. This made a big difference. (Some decaf has as much caffeine as a coke) 3.I went to see Dr. Sachar at the Beverly Medical Center and she recommended some supplements + I started epsom salt baths, too, because she explained after having babies, it’s easy to have a magnesium/mineral deficiency. I haven’t read The Magnesium Miracleyet, but it’s on my ever growing list of what I want to read. I really felt like Dr. Goode and Dr. Sachar are very knowledgeable about PVCS and an awesome resource. They did very thorough bloodwork and found some other things I could be working on with my diet/exercise.
So, my PVCS went away, which was awesome and I wasn’t stressed about having an episode. I didn’t work out from April – June because some of the time I was on my beta blocker, plus I felt like my adrenals needed to rest. I lost 12lbs from Whole30 and I’ve just kept eating that way so maybe I’m Paleo now? I just love the way it makes me feel..(you can read more about my whole30 here) I was just so glad I didn’t have to deal with the PVCs anymore, because then they made me anxious. May 19th was finally the day of my appointment with the electrophysiologist at Wake Med. He was just so awesome, and Michael and I both liked him instantly. He explained everything so clearly – the PVCS and the SVT. He also mentioned the fact that the SVT is never going away and will probably get worse as I get older. (ugh!) The ablation procedure gets rid of it, and I won’t have to worry about it ever again. Even if I have PVCs (because anyone can have them) my blood won’t get stuck and I won’t have SVT. He was also great about explaining exactly what to do if I had an SVT episode, how to get out of it. (valsava maneuver and put your face in a sink of ice water) He also mentioned again that it wasn’t life threatening. There are a lot of you tube videos out there to explain the valsava maneuver if you have SVT. He told me that I specifically had AVNRT, a type of SVT, and that sleep was so important to keeping SVT (heart racing where the blood gets stuck) away. (Since I was pregnant with Harrison, I have always gone to bed early.Now I know my body really needed it!) He also mentioned the three options to me again 1. do nothing 2. take a beta blocker 3. get an ablation and get rid of it. That day, we decided that I would think about it, and he gave me a short release beta blocker I could take if I had a day where my heart raced and got stuck in SVT. Michael and I talked about it, and I decided to be brave and have the ablation to get rid of it. So what is the surgery/ablation? They go through a vein in your leg up to your heart to get rid of the extra electrical pathway so that the blood can’t get stuck anymore (yay!) I know I will have to lay flat an hour after surgery and then sit pretty still for 4-6 hours. (I will probably watch Gilmore Girls or read. I don’t sit still very well.) After finding out I had this, my mom mentioned it to her friends and several women either had it or knew someone who had it, which made me feel a lot better. It is supposed to be more common in women, but since then I’ve met two men who had the ablation surgery and were so glad they did. I know this is a huge long post, and I hope I did a good job explaining it. I feel like this page explains it pretty well, too. I hope this helps anyone struggling with SVT, and feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions. I have barely told anyone about it because I was way too anxious talking about it (I might would burst into tears) or even trying to explain it when I was right in the middle of everything and still had a lot of questions. I am really thankful for my neighbors who have been encouraging me and taking care of me (They couldn’t help but notice my heart monitor for a month) Since my PVCS went away, I felt a lot better, but I was just ready to get rid of this for good. I had an amazing experience at Wake Med. My nurse prayed with Michael, my awesome brother who drove up at the crack of dawn from Camden, SC, and I before the procedure. My anesthesia team was so great – I was mostly nervous I would wake up and it was the best nap and I had ever had. The whole team I had was wonderful including my recovery nurse. So thankful for such a great experience, and most of all, bye bye SVT!
*updated in 2018 to add that I have not had an SVT episode since my ablation. (yay!)
Rebecca Keller is a Raleigh Newborn and Family Photographer featured in People Magazine and on several blogs including The Bump and Let the Kids Dress Themselves. Because we chat a lot about our personal lives on the blog, we may receive commissions on affiliate links in articles.
So if you’ve been following me on instagram, I may have mentioned once or twice that I’ve been trying Whole30. You can read a lot about the program, but I kind of eased into it at the end of March so I didn’t follow it exactly at first because I wasn’t really informed enough. So first, I’d really recommend reading It Starts With Food. I don’t think I would be as committed to the program if I had not read the book. It is really great to read the science that happens every time you eat. It really made me rethink everything I was eating and how I was eating, too. For me this wasn’t a diet, but for my health. I have ended up losing thirteen pounds so that’s always a plus…but I do think it’s really really important to read that book first.
And then I would definitely read The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom. It has a lot of practical ways to put into practice the program and also some great recipes. There are also so many great resources on Pinterest. Whole30 is similar to Paleo, so I could say I’m Paleo now and not Whole30 because I’ve been doing it so long, but I’m just a whole30 lifer ha. (I did have one cheat food last week so I may start trying to have a cheat meal here and there soon. It’s been so long since I cheated.) I am doing it a little bit differently because my doctor didn’t want me to eliminate beans. so I am eating organic hummus and beans which is just a little bit different, so you know, always check with your doctor.
The biggest difference for me since starting Whole30 is how I feel. My stress level has gone way down, I’m not addicted to sugar, and I just feel great. It’s kind of shocking to me how sugar is in just everything. If you are feeling stressed, I would highly recommend trying it. (It’s kind of amazing how it cut down my stress level.)
There are some great things I’ve found at stores and reading other people’s ideas. If you are starting Whole30, I just found out you can sign up for e-mails everyday. I didn’t do this, but I wish I had this in the beginning when starting out. I do get their free emails that come occasionally with a lot of great advice, but the everyday ones sound like they would have been a lot of help.
Costco is great for whole30. Organic beef, wild salmon, organic fruit (which we eat a lot of fruit so perfect) the smoked pull pork (so yum and quick) Aidells chicken apple sausage (oh this is so yummy!) eggs (since we eat so many of them, better to buy at costco) and coconut water. I’m sure there’s a bunch more but I can’t think about it right now. Some people have also recommended the cans of wild salmon and the frozen wild mahi mahi.
Trader Joes – so far I’ve gotten the frozen cauliflower rice and their coconut oil spray. Also great for cut up veggies or grass fed burgers.
Whole Foods – so sometimes (a lot) I just skip the spiralizer and get the zoodles refrigerated in the produce section. (Just ask if you can’t find them) I’m also kind of addicted to their guacamole.
Harris Teeter – carries Whole30 approved bacon (no sugar. I didn’t even know almost all bacon had sugar.) Harris Teeter also has aidells chicken and apple sausage and organic produce + grass fed beef of course.
My favorite bars to eat – SO YUMMY.
You can also find whole30 items at Aldi – see a list here.
I also just ordered this salad dressingand they also have this mayonaise so I’ll let you know what I think but you can also make your own pretty cheaply with one of the recipes from the book. There are also recipes in the book for sauces with no added sugar. (Sugar is in everything. ugh. Why does sugar need to be in pasta sauce?)
Two of my favorite meals have been Eggs with Aidells chicken and apple sausage + avacado, side of fresh fruit, and Organic Spinach Meatballs with Zoodles and tomato sauce (You have to make sure you find one with no sugar. Easy meatballs recipe here.) Some Lara bars are also approved, and I usually take almonds or Epic Beef Jerky when I’m on the go. On Owen’s field trip, I just brought the beef jerky, some carrots and a banana to tie me over. It’s really not that fun to try to eat lunch on a field trip anyway so I had a better lunch when I got home. There are also some Whole30 approved Lara bars – (see the ones compliant here)
Are the kids doing whole30? Well, mostly. I eased them into it even more because it took me a while to figure out what I was going to eat. So now since we eat together three times a day, and Owen is home, they are mostly eating all whole30 real food and loving it. (Owen’s birthday is coming up so of course, he’ll have some pizza and cake!) Also, Applegate organic hot dogs have whole30 approved ingredients and you can get them on Amazon Prime Nowwhen you forgot to get something for dinner.
If you want to try any of the whole30 approved snacks, Barefoot Provisions has made some pretty cool kits here.
My mom is also doing it with me which has been great. We didn’t really have a difficult time eating out at the beach last week, so you can definitely eat out and do the best you can.
A few other cookbooks I want to check out:
Nom Nom Paleo – Cauliflower fried rice?!?!? Yum!
I just wanted to share a little bit since so many friends have had questions and have been so supportive. I have really loved whole30. If you’re eating the same way, please share some of your favorite meals!
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Rebecca Keller is a family photographer featured in People Magazine who spends her time sipping iced coffee, chasing after her two little ones, reading, running, and editing. Because I chat a lot about our personal lives on the blog, we may receive commissions on affiliate links in articles. Contact Rebecca Keller Photography for more information about Spring Mommy and Me Mini Sessions Raleigh and Raleigh family photography.