2018 Mother’s Day Gift Guide

this husband of mine is always really good about holidays and thinking ahead when it comes to gift giving.  he is also super good about keeping a secret list on his phone of things that i mention i like.  months later, when i open a present and am surprised by his sweet gesture…i also find myself also thankful that he takes the time to make notes of what i really love.  and then he always says, “see, i listen!”  it’s super sweet and i love that he is always secretly keeping notes about things i mention.  over the years he has spoiled me with some really sweet gifts that are still my go to items today.  we are really intentional about listening to each other’s likes so that we purchase things that the other really wants.  it makes spending money easier when you know the person will actually enjoy it.  if you are thinking about mother’s day, here is a little 2018 mother’s day gift guide of the items that others have given as gifts or i have…gifted myself.  because giving yourself gifts is okay too…you deserve it when you’ve been mommin’ so hard.

this post contains some affiliate links, which means i get a commission for items purchased through the link.  thank you in advance for supporting my blog so i can continue inspiring you with our everyday.

2018 Mother’s Day Gift Guide

2018 Mother’s Day Gift Guide

free people bralette // my absolute favorite bralette for wearing under tanks and dresses, i bought two!

tory burch flats // i live in these flats!  so comfortable and they go with everything!

white kindle // amazing for reading at night, especially when breastfeeding

madewell purse // perfect for date nights, or outings where you don’t need your diaper bag

the magic of motherhood book // a beautiful source of inspiration for moms, because we all need some!

ugg pom pom slippers //  because every mom needs a cute slipper, cute is hard to find!

coffee travel mug // obsessed with this mug!  love how feminine it is, too.

sigma ART 24mm f/1.4 lens // the only lens i use to photograph my kids…99% of the time

rifle paper co recipe box // because everyone needs rifle paper co everything!

le creuset dutch oven // the most beautiful thing in my kitchen…lasts forever!  we have the circular one.

fujifilm insta camera // super fun with kids to grab some vintage candids!

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happy mother’s day, mamas!  don’t forget to spoil yourself!

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Letters To My Children | April 2018

Letters To My Children | April 2018

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Letters To My Children | April 2018 | Bethadilly Photography

wednesday, april 18th, 2018

dearest babies,

mama is breathing a little easier this month as you both get a little older.  both of you are getting more and more independent each day, allowing mama little spurts of time to unload the dishwasher or get dinner started…before resuming cuddling.  it’s getting easier and easier each day to be outnumbered!  🙂  we are finally taking outings together during the week while daddy is working…mama has braved juggling it all in public.  and to be honest, i don’t know what i was so worried about.  with a toddler who loves to shop and a baby who loves to sleep in her carseat, we really have an easy time out and about!  plus, starbucks drive thru is always good fuel for mama!

to my oldest:

you are two!  happy birthday, sweet baby!  i love that when we ask you how old you are, you say, “two!” with such enthusiasm.  it is so so sweet!  everyone is talking about the “terrible twos” but honestly, daddy and i were talking last night about how two looks real good on you!  you are patient and calm, and oh so sweet.  we have decided to rename this age the “terrific twos” because you aren’t terrible at all.  sure, you have your moments of fussiness…but they are few and far between.  and we are all allowed to have our moments.

we kept up our tradition of having ice cream on your birthday eve!  and this year we had two babies to take to the ice cream parlor!  you had a tiny cup of vanilla ice cream and after about 7 bites…you were done.  you aren’t much for sugar and definitely only want a little bit before you are over it.  daddy had vanilla too, mama had chocolate, and your baby sister slept through the entire outing.  i love that we have started this ice cream tradition on your birthday eve, to remember that night two years ago when daddy and i went out for ice cream the night before you were born.  little did we know that we would be parents in less than 24 hours and now we have years and years ahead of ice cream outings with you!

on your birthday, daddy and i woke you up singing “happy birthday!”  a few weeks ago, mommy asked daddy if he could take the day off for your birthday so we could have a special family day and he did.  we started off the day singing happy birthday in our pajamas and then got you and your sister dressed up for our first birthday surprise!  we took you to the american girl store to pick out your very own doll and we got reservations to have brunch with your new doll too!  you had so much fun looking at the dolls and walking around the store, pushing the babies in their strollers.  we helped you pick out a new bitty baby and during lunch, you and daddy named her betty.  when it came time to have lunch with your doll, she sat right beside you in her own high chair while you ate a grilled cheese sandwich and we sang happy birthday again over a cupcake!  again, your little sister slept through the entire outing… 🙂  now, you love playing with your new baby and putting her in your new doll high chair that you got for your birthday!

your birthday party was a hit!  we had over 30 friends come over to celebrate you and to meet your baby sister…and there is still a pile of presents in the corner of the living room that are waiting to be opened.  every once in awhile you will walk past a gift and grab one to open…we may be celebrating your birthday a little longer.  🙂  just like with the ice cream, you didn’t want your birthday cupcake.  mommy and daddy helped you blow out your birthday candles on your birthday cake and you loved eating the popcorn that we served as a party munchie.  you really loved having a tea party with your friends and your new tea set, as you put on dress up hats and crowns and sat at your little play table.  your friends really love your new playroom and you did a great job inviting them into your space and sharing all of your things!

this morning we hosted a fun playdate at our house and you were the sweetest hostess.  you greeted each one of your friends at the door with an enthusiastic “hi!”  and played so sweetly with your friends while they were here.   once it was time for everyone to go home, you walked towards the door with them, repeating “bye bye!”  you are just too sweet.

at lunch yesterday, mama noticed that your bottom two molars are coming in at the same time!  your doctor said they would come in when you turned two and, having only been two for 5 days…you are already cutting your teeth!  we called daddy at work to share the excitement and he was just as surprised as mama…because, just like with all your teeth, you are perfectly normal and pleasant when you are teething.  you just wake up with new teeth, with no fussing.

you know how to say over 100 words now, and we have honestly lost count of the total number.  you are starting to sing along to songs and you really love saying “happy happy” to elmo’s happy dance song and “never never” to the greatest showman song.  dancing has also become a favorite of yours and we finally found a ballet school that we may join together!

as for swim, you have really taken a huge leap in your underwater ability!  you are now under the water for at least 5 seconds at a time, which is amazing!  we got you some new goggles and played with them in the bath a few times before taking them to swim class and you love them!  you put them on and leave them alone…you must like to see underwater!  your love for your goggles gives us hope that you may love your potential new glasses that you might be getting in the fall, so this is wonderful practice.

here’s to two years of loving you!  daddy and i couldn’t be prouder of everything you are and everything you are going to be.  you amaze us daily and constantly show us how smart you are.  just last night, you opened a gift from that pile in the corner and it was a new puzzle.  we took one look at it and thought, “oh, this is hard!  i am not sure she is ready for it.”  but, we unwrapped it anyways and set it on the table.  a couple minutes later, you took all the pieces off the puzzle and then put them all back together…perfectly…on.your.first.try.  ON YOUR FIRST TRY!  then you looked up at us with a “well, that was easy, wasn’t it?” look and we burst out laughing!  you are so smart, sweet pea!  and then you proceeded to do the puzzle a few more times before bedtime.  we just love you!

to our youngest:

oh my goodness, three months looks good on you!  we lovingly call you “ham” because you smile so much, so often.  anytime we make eye contact with you, you give the biggest grin.  and your smile is so pretty!  you put your whole body into your smile and everything about you lights up.  you love smiling, especially when your sister is near.  you love to watch her and smile when she looks over to you.   your daddy is absolutely crazy about your eyes!  they are a navy blue and we know that you are going to be a stunner!  your eyes are just perfection, just as you are.

you have become very vocal now and love to coo, especially with mama.  you are experimenting with a variety of sounds and really love it when i mimic you.  you get a huge smile on your face when i copy your sounds and we go back and forth for awhile, making sweet noises.  as for sleep, you are doing really good!  we still do a couple night feeds, but you are giving us a longer stretch in the beginning of the night.  you will usually sleep from 9:45pm to around 2am, wake for a feed, and then sleep for a couple more hours before wanting to eat again.  your spit up has definitely slowed down, so you are finding it easier to sleep flat instead of at an incline now.  you still spit up, as you should at this age, but you don’t spit up as much as you initially did so our laundry is slowing just a tad.

you are definitely becoming more and more independent and are content laying on your playmat or bouncing in your bouncer for longer periods of time before wanting to be cuddled again.  and when it comes to breastfeeding, you are finally getting great at it.  you always were great at actually breastfeeding, but you just don’t really love to eat.  you are a speedy feeder and only eat for a few minutes before you are full.  you like to get on there and get the job done, whereas your sister would take her time doing 45 minute feeds.  but your weight gain is amazing, so you are definitely getting what you need!  even the doctor double checked your weight and kept saying, “you are only breastfeeding and she is gaining this great weight!?”  yep!  daddy always says, “mama makes some real good milk and knows how to grow perfect babies.”  he’s so sweet!  you just hit 13lbs 2 oz and are staying right around the 60th percentile for weight, so we are rocking breastfeeding!  yay!  you should be right on track to double your birth weight by four months, which is when you should double.

right now you are snoozing on me, while your sister sleeps upstairs and i am enjoying my 4 hour old cold coffee in peace while i finish up this letter.  i love listening to you snore and, while talking to daddy on the phone just now, he could even hear it over the phone!  growing is tiring and you love your naps!

it amazes me daily at how the two of you are best friends already.  i prayed that you both would love one another and get used to one another quickly and you have.  when i look back on the last few months, there was honestly not an adjustment period…you both just became sisters one day and never looked back.  it is like you have always had one another by your side and you both just perfectly assumed the roles of big and little sister.  daddy and i know how blessed we are and we talk daily about how happy we are that you two are such sweet girls to one another.  you are making this parenthood thing a dream come true.

we love you so much and are so excited for a summer of fun ahead for our family!  we can’t wait to go on our first vacation together and daddy and i are going to make a summer bucket list of all the things we want to do with you girls this summer!  get excited!

love, mama

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A Two-Two Affair | A Peony Ballerina Birthday Party

in my next life, i really want to be a party planner.  or an interior designer.  or, while i am being really honest, a book publisher.  but back to party planning…i love it.  i stress myself out a little throughout the process, as i compile a master list and browse for months beforehand for just the right items that will complete the look i am going for.  but i also have a lot of fun and i love spoiling our girls.  on party day, watching everyone have a wonderful time and appreciating a pretty party is always really fun for me.  and while my girls are really too young to remember these details, my husband lovingly reminded me that birthdays are a celebration for parents as well.  so…we party!  and this year, we decided on a ballerina birthday party.

need some help photographing your kids birthday parties?  here are my 4 secrets to getting great photos and enjoying the party too!

 this post contains some affiliate links, which means i get a commission for items purchased through the link.  thank you in advance for supporting my blog so i can continue inspiring you with our everyday.

after i cried and accepted the fact that our oldest daughter would be turning two, i knew i wanted to do a ballerina birthday party for her.  she has recently taken an interested in dancing and will hopefully be starting ballet soon.  because peonies are such a soft flower, i also wanted to inspire our party around them too.  as well as having our oldest turn two, our youngest turned 3 months on party day!  we decided to host a double party for our girls, both celebrating our oldest turning two and having a “sip and see” for our littlest…complete with rosé!  i have always wanted to host a sip and see with one of our babies, so i was really giddy about popping some rosé with our friends to celebrate our girls and debut our youngest!

this meant, of course, matching dresses for the girls.

to be honest, this party was mainly inspired around some leftover rifle paper co wrapping paper that i had from making our daughter’s play kitchen.  this wrapping paper is my favorite thing ever, so i wanted to base the party around it’s print and subtle tones as i incorporated the print into my homemade invitations and homemade party hat.

besides rosé for the adults and pink lemonade for the kids, i kept the menu simple.  cupcakes, cake, and popcorn.  my advice when party planning, keep the food easy…especially when hosting kids.  i also liked the idea of having dainty food to pair with the softness of a girly party.  in our experience with hosting parties, we love to mingle and have fun once the party starts.  keeping the food simple makes it so we can do everything up ahead of time and not spend any time in the kitchen during the party.  and clean up?  there is barely any cleanup…which is a win!

this sweet ballerina birthday party/sip and see turned out exactly like i hoped.  not only did we have a wonderful time, but my husband and i were humbled by the 30+ friends who surrounded us while we celebrated our girls and our amazing family who facetimed her throughout the weekend to celebrate her!  and also, that gluten free cake?  my husband made that!  he asked me exactly what i wanted and then MADE THAT!  he is the real deal, you guys.  the real deal!  below you will find all the links of sources i used to put this party together, enjoy!

A Two-Two Affair | A Peony Ballerina Birthday Party

A Two-Two Affair | A Peony Ballerina Birthday Party | Bethadilly Photography

Ballerina Birthday Party Source List

girls’ pink dresses // purchased from target

monogrammed bib // custom made locally, similar idea here

girls’ hair bows // courtesy of cammi and co

girls’ bracelets // courtesy of baby cates shop

ribbon streamer // purchased from target, similar idea here

rifle paper co. birthday sign // purchased from amazon

white letter board // purchased from amazon

pink letter board letters // purchased locally, but can be found here

bunny bowl // purchased at target

gold letter balloons // purchased locally, but similar ones found here

mini cupcake stands // purchased at target dollar spot, similar idea here

2 light // purchased locally, but can be found here

2 cake topper // purchased locally, similar one here

wooden spoons // purchased locally, similar ones here

gold party hats // purchased locally, similar idea here

invitations // handmade, with rifle paper co wrapping paper

wooden scoops // two sizes purchased locally, similar ones here

A Two-Two Affair | A Peony Ballerina Birthday Party | Bethadilly Photography

and finally, a huge thank you to our friend for taking a couple family photos for us, once the party started!  i am a huge believer in putting my camera down and living in the moment, as i am a mama first and a photographer second.  i took all of the party detail photos in this post before the party started, then purposefully set my camera down so i could enjoy our girls’ day.  we were lucky to have our friend offer to pick up my camera during the party and photograph some party moments for us (including these final two photos, which are my favorite!), as well as a family photo before everyone arrived.  i will always cherish these photos!  it’s always nice to be in photos with my family too, and my husband and i are intentionally getting a family photo with our children on their birthday.  isn’t that a fun tradition?

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Turning Two!

“mama, stop crying!  i have to turn 2!”  oh my word, someone hold me…this baby girl of mine that we just brought home from the hospital is two.  T.W.O.  two years of love, laughter and being a mama.  two years of learning what happiness truly is and being a family.  at the risk of being cliche, it has gone by in the blink of an eye.  two years.  and on the day she is turning two, there are so many things i just have to say!  and in between words, i am kissing her chubby baby cheeks endlessly.

 this post contains some affiliate links, which means i get a commission for items purchased through the link.  thank you in advance for supporting my blog so i can continue inspiring you with our everyday.

at two years old, she is now discovering the magic of childhood.  (if you missed our easter morning this year with the girls, click here to see!)  she is a lover of dance parties and loves listening to music.  more often than not, she can be found bobbing her head to the music in her carseat when i look in the rearview mirror.  she loves to help me unload the dishwasher and gets a kick out of handing me the clean utensils, one by one.  at two years old, she is a great eater and loves fruits and vegetables the most.  she now has a recent love of salmon, and a long time love of cherry tomatoes and blueberries.  she loves watching for daddy to come home and loves helping him get his shoes out when he changes out of his work clothes and into his casual clothes.  she loves to help feed the puppies dinner and, when asked how much food they get, she will say, “half cup!”

this little sweetheart knows all of her body parts and loves pointing them out on both herself and her baby sister.  and if you ask her how old she is, she will say “two!” and hold up one finger.  🙂  ask her what sound any animal makes, and she will impress you!

if these last two years have taught us anything, it’s to slow down and soak it all in.  to cherish every moment, because they go by too quickly.  to video everything!  because the cute things she says today are so short lived.  and while i love it when she masters a task or a word, i do miss those initial baby ways of doing things.  being a mama has also taught me that being mama is the most important thing.

white letterboard | purchased off amazon

pink letters | purchased locally, can be found here

pink hair clip | courtesy of finn and teags

Turning Two!

Turning Two! | Bethadilly Photography

thanks so much for stopping by my blog.  to learn more about photographing your everyday, be sure to check out my ebook The Everyday Photograph!

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Easter Morning With Our Baby Girls

this year’s easter found us with two baby girls to celebrate with.  it’s hard to believe that two years ago, it was only just us two and each year since we have added a little girl to our family.  last year, our little one was almost one year old during easter so her first easter egg hunt was more like a “scooting hunt” as she scooted her way around the room to find the eggs.  but this year’s easter found her much different.  not only is she a big sister and walking, but she experienced that wonderment and awe that only children truly evoke during the holidays.  and what had her in awe this year?  her easter basket.  i could hardly wait for easter morning this year, as the girls’ baskets have been prepped and waiting for weeks beforehand.  if you missed out, here’s what was in their easter baskets this year.

this post contains some affiliate links, which means i get a commission for items purchased through the link.  thank you in advance for supporting my blog so i can continue inspiring you with our everyday.

all photos within this post were taken with my dslr and my favorite wide angle lens.

the night before easter, carrots were left out for mr. bunny on the cutest easter plates ever!  (i bought two, so the girls can have easter breakfast on them in the future!)  once the girls were asleep, the husband and i enjoyed a slice of birthday cake (my birthday was Easter eve) and nibbled the carrots before turning in.  on easter morning, our sweet toddler loved seeing her basket and was kind enough to help (read: raid) her little two month old sister’s basket too.  she wore a sweet little dress by pippa & julie, which she loved.  upon opening her basket, she immediately wanted to wear her new bracelets and kept saying, “pretty!” as she looked at them on her little wrist.  and, as i knew, the little tube of mini colored pencils was one of her favorite things.  she loved simply sitting on the floor, dumping them out and then perfectly placing them face up back into the tube.  it was endlessly entertaining and something i am remembering should i need to entertain her in the future.  being only 2 months old, our littlest slept through most of the day.  bless her.

the pure joy and excitement from the easter baskets reveal was just plain exhausting for our toddler and she needed a little rest before our afternoon easter egg hunt and egg coloring activity.  and while i love everything about photographing each moment of my girls’ lives, i decided to enjoy the holiday too.  as a way of still being present, i decided to only photograph easter morning and put my camera down for the rest of the day.  sometimes there is a lot of pressure to photograph and document and it’s important to just be mama.  it’s something i am very intentional of always and i encourage you to set your camera down too and just enjoy yourself.  i love that setting my camera down allowed me to savor her cuddles with her new knit dolls and her love for her new bracelets.

Easter Morning With Our Baby Girls

 Easter Morning With Our Baby Girls | www.bethadilly.com

i am already excited for next year and had to stop myself from pre-purchasing easter basket fillers for next year’s basket during target’s easter sale.  but, i did resist the urge.

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