Category Archives: family

Family Lifestyle Session

Newborn Lifestyle Photos


After Sybil was born in August, it was the perfect excuse to take newborn lifestyle photos! We had our first professional session taken the year before with Lawson. Afterwards we decided documenting our family each year was important to us. I couldn’t love the photos more and wanted to share them with you, as well as my tips for successful family photos.


Tips for Successful Family Photos

  1. Gather inspiration
    • I searched Pinterest for newborn photos and pinned my favorites to a secret board
  2. Decide on the type of shoot you want (indoor or out, home or destination, posed or in the moment/lifestyle)
    • Jim and I looked at my Pinterest board to help us decide what we liked best
  3. Find a photographer that specializes in the type of shoot you want
    • Instagram is a great place to find a photographer. Search hashtags or look for photo credits on bloggers you already follow
  4. Determine the color scheme for your outfits
    • Since Sybil was a newborn, I wanted soft neutrals and decided on grey, cream and blue with a little pink thrown in for the star
  5. Pick mom’s outfit first, followed by the kids and finally dad
    • Dressing a post-baby body is no joke so I concentrated on me first
    • Gap, Zara and H&M are great places for kids clothing
  6. Decide the timing that works best for you
    • The best time for newborn photos is within the first 10 days since babies are still sleepy
    • From Lawson’s birth, I knew recovery would take me longer so we decided to wait until Sybil was 8-12 weeks old
    • Think about the time of day that has the best lighting in your house, as well as when your kids are least likely to be cranky
  7. Have fun!
    • If you’re stressed, it will show in the photos. Lawson and Sybil were both fussy at times during our session, but that’s our normal life!


We loved our photographer, Lauren J Photography, and would highly recommend her. She’s coming out with a pregnancy package with shoots for maternity, hospital, newborn and first birthday. I love this idea and think she’s pretty brilliant!


Newborn Lifestyle Photos

Newborn Lifestyle Photos

Newborn Lifestyle Photos

Newborn Lifestyle Photos Newborn Lifestyle Photos

Newborn Lifestyle Photos

Newborn Lifestyle Photos


photos by Lauren J. Photography

A Letter to Sybil

Why Don't I Love My Baby


I finally feel like I love Sybil. Like really love her, not just love her because she’s my child and I’m supposed to love her. The kind of love that makes your heart swell. The kind of love that only came for me after having children. The kind of love that makes getting up in the morning a joy even after a sleepless night.


I didn’t always feel this love for Sybil. With Lawson the love I felt was all consuming and immediate. I assumed I’d feel the same way when Sybil was born. I believed everyone that said your heart just gets bigger when you have another child. But the feelings never came. And then she was, and still is, a hard baby. It made it harder for me to love her. I wondered “why don’t I love my baby?”


We spent many, many hours listening to Sybil scream and trying our hardest to get her to sleep, or at least calm down. It was heartbreaking. I wanted to soothe her and felt helpless that I couldn’t figure her out. The constant attempts to calm her hurt my ears and made my head and back ache. Even my feet ached from carrying her around rocking and bouncing.


After suffering from reflux and gas pains, she is much, much better. She’s still a terrible sleeper though. At over 4 months old, she has never slept through the night. She doesn’t even come close. Most nights she wakes up every 2-4 hours. I’m fortunate I don’t have to get up for work in the morning and can nap during the day if Lawson and Sybil sleep at the same time. Still it’s frustrating and tiring after 4 months without more consistent sleep.


I’ve struggled with my feelings about Sybil. I remember telling my mom I wasn’t sure if I even liked her, much less loved her. My mom assured me I would once I got some sleep. Jim and I had several conversations about it. He even tried to convince me it was okay if I never felt that deep love for her. Sybil had plenty of other people in her life to love and support her. Of course, it wasn’t okay with me! I wanted my little girl to feel loved by her momma.


Around Sybil’s 100th day, something started to shift. I began to have stronger and stronger feelings of love towards her. Sybil’s smiles make me smile. Maybe it’s because we’ve spent so much time together, but I think I make her smile like no one else can (well except maybe her daddy…she’s definitely a daddy’s girl).


I honestly don’t know what finally changed. Did Sybil and I get to know each other? Develop a rhythm? Did she just outgrow the newborn stage? Did I have a mild case of postpartum depression? I guess the why probably doesn’t matter.


As I sit here typing with tears in my eyes, I wonder how I could have ever questioned my love for her. I am so very grateful to have two wonderful children that I love with all my heart. I could not be prouder to be their momma.


If you find yourself struggling with similar feelings, be gentle. Give yourself permission to feel whatever you are feeling. Be patient. I promise the love will come. And when it does, it will all be worth it.


Finally, to my sweet little lady Sybil, if you ever read this please know how much you are loved by your momma. I can’t imagine our lives without you. As a wise man once said “I feel like my family is now complete.”


You make also like A Birth Story: Sybil Adelaide Cole and Real Life: The Rollercoaster of Breastfeeding: Part I.

Our Holiday Cards

Birth Announcement Holiday Cards


Heading to the mailbox during the holidays is one of my favorite activities. I love to receive cards from friends and family, especially those that I don’t see in person often. I haven’t been very good about sending them myself in the past, but with Sybil’s arrival this year it was the perfect occasion to send birth announcement holiday cards.


Tiny Prints has a vast selection of holiday card options, including cards specifically for baby’s first Christmas. I was tempted to go with one of those, but couldn’t pass up this white glitter holiday card. The white background worked wonderfully with our photos. The gold glitter adds an understated elegance. The best part is the glitter doesn’t come off and leave a glitter trail!


Birth Announcement Holiday Cards


It’s easy to add a return address and Tiny Prints will even print your recipient addresses for free! Sadly, I wasn’t prepared enough with all the addresses when I placed my order. You can bet I’m keeping a much better list for next year!


I absolutely LOVE how our cards turned out this year. I do have one pet peeve though…it drives me nuts that I didn’t list Cole before Kartak on our return address. It should have been in alphabetical order. Oh the pitfalls of having different last names!



Birth Announcement Holiday Cards


Lawson loves going through our stack of holiday cards. It occupies him for a solid 10 minutes, which is as much as any other activity these days. I think he especially likes to look at cards with kids. It’s fun to watch him study them!


Thank you to Tiny Prints for partnering on this post. As always, all opinions are my own.

Hospital Gift

Hospital Gift Ideas


With both Lawson and Sybil’s births, I had such great experiences with our doctors and nurses. To express our thanks, I put together these hospital gift packages. While I’m sure it isn’t expected, it was important to me to give a small token of our appreciation for taking care of me in my most vulnerable moments and our little ones in their first days of life. Not to mention my primary doctor and physician’s assistant that delivered Lawson and Sybil!


Hospital Gift Ideas


For my doctor and physician’s assistant, I picked this fleur de sel see salt and salt container, both purchased at urbAna in Phoenix, along with a squeeze mug from Lafayette Avenue Ceramics. With Lawson’s birth, my doctor came in after her day was supposed to end to perform my c-section. After a long day of labor, I was ready to get Lawson out safely, but was also nervous about surgery. It was such a relief to have the doctor I’d seen throughout my pregnancy there. With Sybil’s birth, I was more than a little nervous about a repeat c-section. My physician’s assistant visited me in the hospital before the surgery and put me at ease.


Hospital Gift Ideas


For the numerous nurses that cared for us, I gave them the choice of either a standard wax candle or SLATHERlotions mini body lotion or face and hand cream. As first time parents, the nurses taught us how to change a diaper, swaddle and bath our little one. With Sybil we were veterans that knew how to use that call button to ask for help as we knew we’d soon be on our own at home!


Speaking of Sybil, she’s been sleeping 12 hours at night while waking once for a feeding. After 10 weeks of her waking up every 2-3 hours, it feels amazing. It’s only been three nights, but I think we’re on to something good. Not only is she sleeping longer, she’s doing it in her crib! Prior to Saturday, she had only slept in her crib once. Now she will even fall asleep on her own. Fingers crossed I haven’t just jinxed myself and it continues.


You may also like Lawson James Cole: A Birth Story and Sybil Adelaide Cole: A Birth Story