Trick or Treat: Kids’ Halloween Costumes

October 15, 2009 at 10:23 am , by

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As the leaves begin to fall, there is one holiday on my mind: Halloween. I loved it as a kid (who doesn’t like looking back at their old pictures) and as a young adult (my Monica Lewinsky costume was a big hit) but there’s nothing like being a mom around Halloween. I know the time will come when my kids will only want to be something gory—or even worse, they won’t involve me at all. But for now, I revel in every second of the fun!

I went with the “too expensive option” for my first (do you like how I say my first?), and the “$19.99 at Old Navy option” for the second. Looking back, I think the cheap chicken was just as cute as the pricey lion. What do you think?

This year, Sophia is going to be a princess just like she was last year. When you’re a 4-year-old girl, that’s what you do. Or should I say, when you’re a 4-year-old girl with about 20 princess dresses, that’s what your mom tells you to do. I have no idea what princess she’ll pick on October 31st, but I’ll be ready with the bobby pins and hairspray to give her the proper ‘do.

Lily, who always gets the shaft as the second child, is getting her first costume of her own this year. Last year she wore the hand-me-down lion. (Did I mention it was exorbitantly expensive?) She’s going to be a bunny this year. I’m hoping she’ll keep it on for at least 5 minutes—all I need is a picture!

So, tell me…what are your kids going to be? And what have they been in the past? Tell me in the comments or post a link. I’d love to see your pictures!

Mom-a-razzi: Getting the Shots

October 1, 2009 at 10:31 am , by

Picture 2My brother, an avid photographer, recently turned me on to this term: mom-a-razzi. This is a photo obsessed parent who stalks her children 24/7 in order to take gallery-quality pictures. And I am guilty as charged.

I find the idea of photo studios very intimidating. The concept that my kids are going to be happy, on their best behavior, and having a good hair day when they’re in a strange place, at the SAME TIME (!!!) seems impossible to me. So instead, I always keep a camera with me, in my pocket, at the ready. And believe me, there are a lot of bad pictures taken just to get the one good one but when it all comes together, it’s like magic.

Case in point, two-week old Sophia sleeping with her Daddy (see above)

I had just finished feeding her in bed and she fell asleep. I could see from my side of the bed that it’d be a great shot but only if it was taken from above. So, I quietly sneaked away, grabbed the camera, and then stood on the bed over them.  I don’t think I could have styled the duvet with wrinkles so perfect. It’ll go down in history as one of my favorites.

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Lily on the lounge chair
I love taking a series of pictures when the kids are in good moods. Sometimes I end up with one perfect one, sometimes none, sometimes twenty. This was one of those twenty times.  The morning light was great so I took her outside and sat her on a lounge chair that I had covered with a white towel. I had to stay close because she wasn’t a perfect sitter-upper yet. I got tons of good ones – it was almost too hard to edit!

My tips for taking great pics of your kids:
We’ve all heard the classic tips before (1. get down on their level, 2. get really close, 3. use natural light, 4. make interesting cropping choices, etc.) but here are some more this self taught mom-a-razzi has learned:

5. Make sure you clean their faces. I can’t tell you how many good pics were not great pics because they have a big booger stuck in their nose.

6. Our Photo Director, Clare, who spent 10 years doing shoots at Parents magazine says, “Don’t always look for the perfect smiling picture. Sometimes the ones of them playing quietly alone are the ones you’ll cherish the most years from now.”

7. If you want to get a smile: Rather than asking them to say “cheese”, which usually results in a too-big grin, ask them questions that have answers  with “EEE” sounds in them like, “Who loves Dora?” or “Who wants a lollipop?”. Chances are you’ll hear: “Me!” (I learned this one from the child wrangler who worked on our Jon and Kate Plus Eight cover shoot last December, back when they were still a 10-some.)

8. Make sure you clean up the area that’s in the background. A little imperfection makes it “real” but no one wants to see a pair of dirty socks in the background.

Happy shooting!!!

So, tell me…what great pics have you gotten over the years? Please share!

Objects of Desire

September 22, 2009 at 9:56 am , by

a girl can dreamI was recently in Target when my 4 year old started having a HUGE tantrum. What was wrong, you ask? Oh, just the simple fact that she had spotted a Dora mermaid doll and I said she’d have to wait to ask Santa for it. Her face began to turn red, the waterworks were sprouting, and she started jumping around like she hadn’t peed in hours. I wanted to say “Knock it off! You’re being ridiculous!” but instead I soothed her with some reasoning. “We can’t always have what we want.”

Sure it’s silly when she pulls these tantrums but then again, she is 4. And we all know what it’s like to want something we can’t have. Which reminds me…

I’m on the hunt for some new fall shoes. Let’s face it, it’s not really a desire, it’s something I need, right? Unfortunately, my budget is more “steal” than “splurge”. So, I picked out some nice Banana boots and felt pretty satisfied. Until…I popped into the Saks shoe salon. Prada studded round-toe pumps! Balenciaga lace-up booties! YSL navy sandals! Christian Louboutin patent peep-toes! My heart began to race. My palms started to sweat. I had an achy feeling in my stomach. Had I died and gone to shoe heaven? If so, it didn’t feel very good. I had to do everything in my  power to avoid having a full blown tantrum when I looked at the prices. And suddenly I understood the way my daughter felt about that Dora doll.

The next time we went to Target, I bought her that doll. I know that was probably not the right lesson but I just figured one of us should get what we wanted, right? And since hers was only $14.99, she won.

So, tell me…What have you wanted so bad that it hurt?

Meet the Girls

September 3, 2009 at 10:00 am , by

Sophia and LilyI’m going to be blogging about my life as a mom, so I might as well introduce you to my subjects, right? Here they are: Sophia and Lily—my delicious little girls.

Sophia was born in 2005, so that makes her 4 going on 16. She has long brown hair that’s been cut only twice (if you don’t count the time my mother-in-law decided that her bangs needed a trim, but that’s another story for another day). She has her dad’s long legs and her mom’s smile. She lost her front tooth by smacking it into a piece of furniture right before her 4th birthday. Oops. She is very well spoken—using words like ‘perhaps’, ‘enormous’, and ‘ridiculous’—so she must be brilliant. (But doesn’t every parent think their child is a genius?)  She loves princesses and ballerinas and Barbies and pink and glitter and shoes and pretty dresses and makeup and nail polish and everything else a 4-year-old girl should be interested in. And daddy is her Prince.

Lily was born in 2008. She’s our silly little adventurer—she climbs on everything and babbles all day long. She has strawberry-blond hair and blue eyes—which neither my husband nor I have. (My mom has blue eyes so yes, a baby can get an eye color from only one recessive gene.) When you say the word “dance”, she smiles and shakes her body. Every single thing she owns is a hand-me-down but she doesn’t seem to mind…yet. When we ride in the car with the windows down, she puts her hands up and yells “Weeee!” She is obsessed with her daddy, Dora, cheerios, ice cream, and the alphabet—not necessarily in that order.

So, there they are—my little nuggets. It’s nice to meet you!