Category Archives: Toddlers

Family Pictures Wearing Handmade Clothes

My neighbor and friend, Heather has a sewing blog and I took her family pictures while they wore clothes that she made herself. How cool is that? Isn’t it such a unique idea? Here‘s the link to her post about making her clothes for the photo shoot. Also, don’t you think the cool big leaves they brought really added to the picture?

On a side note, I’ve taken pictures of a lot of little kids. Little kids are definitely my favorite to take pictures of. Here are some tips for taking family pictures with little kids.

First, use the first 10 minutes wisely because that is probably all the time you’ll have to get your little kids to pose for the picture. My best pictures always come from the beginning of the photo shoot such as the picture posted on the top.  Also, before the shoot, make sure your camera is set to continuous shooting mode so you can snap pictures fast.

Second, go the direction the kid is looking at instead of making them turn to you.

Third, poses while holding the child is best if they won’t stand still for you.

Fourth, after the child/children get restless, just capture the moment as you and the parents play with the children. Bring something that will capture their attention like a whistle or toy. Tell the parents it’s ok if their kid doesn’t want to pose. Little kids gets really upset when they are forced to do something they don’t want to and that doesn’t make a happy family picture.

Fifth, don’t drag out the photo shoot. Once the kid is done the photo shoot is over! 🙂

What are your tips while photographing little children?

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General Conference Recap

Every six months (in April and October) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints holds a worldwide church meeting called general conference. The meeting last for 10 hours over the course of two days. During general conference, we receive counsel from our prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, his apostles, and other church leaders. General conference is broadcast on TV, the radio, and online. The talks are then available afterwards on lds.org to read and study. We believe that if we follow the counsel given in the sermons at general conference that our lives will be blessed. As we listen to general conference, we believe that God can speak to our hearts through the Holy Ghost. Everyone can receive their own personalized counsel during general conference.

After pondering and reading over my notes from conference, two things stuck out to me:

1) Be a Mom

2) Be a Missionary

…. Be a Mother Missionary.

Elder D. Todd Christofferson gave a talk about the influence of a good women. He talked about his grandma and how she “never learned how to drive a car, but she knew how to help boys become priesthood men.” He also posed the question from Neal A. Maxwell “Will what happened in cradles and kitchens prove to be more controlling than what happened in congress?”

Also during the conference, our prophet announced that our church has reached 15 million members and have currently have over 80,000 full-time missionaries.

President Monson said that “Now is the time for members and missionaries to come together to work together to labor in the Lord’s vineyard to bring souls unto him.” He also quoted a past prophet, President McKay saying, “Every member a missionary.”

A couple days before general conference, I got a few of my friends in our ward together for a temple trip. We dressed up our 2 year-old sons as little missionaries and took pictures of them. Aren’t they cute?

I learned during conference being a mother is being a missionary. Mothers in the church are teaching their kids to be future missionaries. Our homes should be like the MTC. Even at this young age, we teach our kids about God and His Son Jesus Christ. We also teach them that they are children of God and that God loves them very much. We teach our kids how to pray to God and how to receive answers to their prayers. We teach them good morals such as sharing their cookies and serving others.

We teach them the reason why they are on earth is to be happy and in order to be truly happy we have to follow of the commandments of God the best we can. We, as mothers, prepare our kids to choose to be baptized when they are eight year old. We teach them that we make mistakes but because of Jesus Christ’s atonement we can change and be a better person.

We prepare our sons to receive the priesthood when they turn twelve and go on missions when they turn eighteen.

We teach our children that the temple is the house of God and we go there to make promises to God to be the best person we can be. We teach them that the temple is where families can be sealed together forever. We are teaching our children to be future missionaries but most importantly we are teaching them to become good husbands/fathers and wives/mothers.

I felt like Heavenly Father was telling me “Don’t worry if your kids take up all your time… it’s what you’re suppose to be doing. Taking care of your kids is the most important form of missionary work!”

So then I asked myself the question “Why do I do missionary work?” For me it is because I know that God lives and Jesus Christ lives. I know that by obeying God’s commandments and following His prophets we are truly happy. Throughout the years my faith has been tested but I still know this day that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God’s true church. I know that the fullness of the gospel has been restored through the prophet Joseph Smith. I love my kids and I want to share with them everything I know to be true.

Why do you do missionary work? What did you learn during conference? Please share with me what you learned! Feel free to share, pin, Facebook these images.

Missionaries loves cookies! It was the only way we got them to sit still and special thanks for all the moms for letting me use their kids. 🙂

Can’t forget my newest little future missionary:

Here are some fun graphics I made:

Here’s a behind the scenes picture of the moms. It’s so hard to get five 2 year-old to sit still! 🙂

2 Year Old Photoshoot

Our little Micah turned two! He is so smart now. He knows that you’ve turned off the music toy so he turns it back on. He has day to day memory now so it’s a sad day when he loses his favorite car toy. I can’t wait to experience the terrific twos!! He is so fun.

At 2 years old Micah likes:

  • Peanut Butter Sandwiches, Juice, Milk,  Pasta, Pancake, Cake, Peaches, Bananas, Bread, Chicken Nuggets, Beans and Rice
  • Candy
  • CARS CARS AND MORE CARS especially Lightening McQueen
  • Shoes… he won’t take off his shoes
  • Car games on the Ipad
  • Youtube
  • Thomas the Train
  • His balance bike that we made for him
  • TV
  • Reading his Thomas the Train Book
  • The color blue
  • Coloring
  • A Blue Yamaha Motorcycle
  • Going outside

Micah can say:

  • All the alphabet except “W”
  • Please
  • 90% of his prayers at night
  • Count from 1 to 10
  • Lots of two letter phrases some of his favorites are “All Done” “Ball Wee!”
  • Three letter phrases like “There you go”
  • Longest sentence so far “Pee pee in the potty outside”
  • Some of Micah’s favorite words are: Outside, iPad, Car, Bus, E-I-E-I-O, Temple (He calls temple bubble), Church, Popcorn, Juice, Food, Cake… cake cake …, Peaches, Baby, Abulance, Air Plane, Ball, Truck
  • I would guess he can say about 150 words or more

Micah can recognize:

  • All the letters in the alphabet
  • Shapes and Colors
  • All types of cars

Micah’s favorite songs:

  • ABCs
  • I love to see the Temple
  • Book of Mormon Stories
  • Wheels on the Bus
  • Old McDonald

Micah is:

  • 85% Potty Trained
  • Really Funny
  • Clever
  • Awesome napper/sleeper
  • A runner

Things to do with 21 Month Old Toddler

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Micah is a brilliant little child. He is 21 months old. He can:

  • Count from 1 to 6 skip to 9 then 10
  • Knows, says, sings, and recognizes all the ABCs (Struggles with W… he thinks it’s M)
  • Match colors
  • Match shapes
  • Knows his basic shapes: Triangle, Square, Star, Circle, Moon, Heart
  • Knows his colors: Green, Blue, Purple, Orange, Yellow, Red
  • Knows animals and animal sounds: Cow, Pig, Duck, Sheep, Dog, Cat, Elephant, Giraffe, Penguin, Fish, Lion, Tiger, Bear… oh my! The list goes on.
  • Loves to read pictures in his book (example: A – Apple, B – Ball…)
  • He loves to point out letters and numbers where ever we go!
  • He loves to count his toy cars
  • He loves to sign to songs: Wheels on the Bus, Itsy Bitsy Spider, Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbean, Nephi’s Courage, Wise Man/Foolish Man, I love to see the Temple, Open Shut Them, Head Shoulders Knees and Toes… are just a few of his favorites.
  • He knows the difference between a: fire truck, race car, ambulance, bus, train, tractor, van
  • He can make different noises for “car sounds”: Beep Beep! Boom! Vroom! Zoom! 
  • He can spend an hour organizing things

Micah has always done well to routines and he is really good with verbal prompts: 

  • Are you hungry?
  • Are you tired?
  • It’s nap time, close your eyes and go to sleep.
  • It’s night night time
  • It’s still night night time (for the odd times he wakes up in the night)
  • Close the door
  • Go back to your room
  • Clean up your toys
  • Do you want water?
  • Do you want to read a book?
  • Say “Bye Bye” to ______ (We say bye bye to everything)
  • Dada has to go “Bye Bye”
  • Can you say Hi?
  • Fold your arms
  • It’s time to pray

Lately, I’ve realized that Micah needs to be playing, stimulated, or learning every minute of the day. Whenever he gets bored then he starts throwing a tantrum. He needs more than just play time with toys. I recently felt inspired to add structure into his daily routine by making his play time into learning time. I try hard to make sure Micah never gets bored.  It has worked so well! Here are some ideas I’ve come up with:

  • Singing Time
  • Story Time
  • Homemade Car Mat
  • Matching Colors with his toys
  • I spy games
  • Name the object game
  • Homemade ABC flashcards
  • Homemade Shape Matching
  • Homemade Puzzles
  • Water Play Time
  • Cooking Time
  • Laundry Time
  • Cleaning Time
  • Building Blocks
  • Counting Toys
  • Youtube Time
  • Scripture Study Time
  • Snack Time (Creative Snacks)
  • Library
  • Park
  • Playing with Balls
  • Building Forts
  • Zoo

I will alternate activities throughout the day and week. It has worked so well that Micah wants his own free time. The last few days he has been going into his room for 30 to 45 minutes and he’ll close his door to play with his toys by himself. I didn’t know what to do with myself! I thought he was making trouble but really he just wanted time to himself. 🙂

What do you do with your toddlers?

Early Potty Training for Boys – Where to start?!

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This is Micah. He is 19 months old and he can go pee in a bucket. He only wears a diaper to nap, when we go out, and bed time. I wouldn’t say that he’s “potty trained” but it’s definitely a start! If you’re reading this, I’m telling you right now that I’m not an expert. I only have very little experience and what worked for us might not work for you. I’m writing this post mostly for my sake so I don’t forget when I do this the next time around. 🙂

Also, if you’re potty training a girl… this post probably won’t help you very much.

Why did we start so early?

I’ve read lots of criticism about early potty training. There’s a lot of negative opinion out there warning people not to start potty training too early. However, both my husband and I felt very strongly that we should start teaching Micah. Micah was getting really horrible diaper rashes and wearing diapers was not helping.

It hasn’t really been easy. It has tested my patience and self control in may ways. I definitely don’t think early potty training is for everyone. It’s taken some time sacrifice and lots of work but, recently, it has paid off for us!

What worked for us?

  • I started by taking of his diaper and letting him run around with a naked bum.  (Scary! I know!)
  • I got a bucket… yes a bucket not a potty. Also, I got lots of paper towels and disinfectant.
  • Then I gave him lots (I mean lots) of water, juice, and milk. This allowed Micah to go every 15 to 20 minutes sometimes.
  • I watched out for his “gotta go” signs. Micah would cross his legs, squat, or hold himself.
  • I watched the clock and kept track on paper when he needed to go. I saw a pattern really fast of when he needed to pee and when he needed to poop.
  • I tried to keep him contained in one area when I knew he needed to go soon. I read him books, watched youtube videos, or let him play with the Ipad in the kitchen next to the bucket.
  • I was on alert and had the bucket ready to catch his discharge at all times.
  • Every time Micah was going, I tried my best to catch his pee or poop in the bucket. Trust me… this wasn’t always easy and I missed a lot! When you miss that’s where the paper towels and disinfectant come in. 🙂
  • Afterwards, I would show him what he did, congratulate him, and give him a piece of chocolate.
  • This helped Micah pay attend to what is going on with his body and soon he figured out how to use those muscles. He also figured out fast that he got chocolate every time he went pee or poop in the bucket. I was trying to be really nice and encouraging at first so I would give him chocolate even if he missed the bucket but then as he got better I would only give him chocolate when he made it into the bucket.
  • Then after a while of doing this catching thing… Micah learned that he can control his bladder muscles!
  • I slowly cut Micah back to normal amount of liquids but I still kept time on his bowel movements. I notice what time during a normal day he needs to go without filling him up with juice. For Micah, it is poop/pee right when he wakes up, then pee ~every 1.5 hours until nap time… ect.
  • By now I could give him underwear which is really nice to prevent him from touching his private parts but not so nice because it’s an extra thing to worry about.
  • Now, when I know it’s time and I see the “gotta go” signs, all I have to do is help Micah take off the underwear and prompted him “Do you need to go pee?” Then I show him the bucket. He goes to the bucket, aims, and pees. Afterwards, he points to the cabinet where the chocolate is and ask me for one. 🙂
  • I also started to say “sssshhhhh” to encourage him to start going when he’s next to the bucket. I don’t really know if it works but it’s just what I’ve read in the books. I also make sure to use the same potty terminology so he understands what I’m taking about.
  • We’re still working on Micah to sit on a real potty to poop but it’s pretty easy to catch that too since it’s only two times a day.

What didn’t work for us?

  • I read online that I could try putting Micah on the toilet/potty every 15 minutes. This got him really frustrated and angry with me.
  • Making Micah sit on the potty/toilet in general didn’t work for us. I tried to read him books on the potty but sometimes it took hours and nothing would happen. Other times he would just go right after he got off the potty.
  • Rushing him to the potty/toilet didn’t work because it scared him and made him frustrated. He would tense up and not do anything.
  • Freaking out every time he peed on the floor didn’t work. At a point Micah was afraid of me and didn’t want to be near me when he needed to go. He would literally go hide in the corner because he was scared of me.
  • Not giving Micah enough fluids was bad because I would be waiting and waiting and waiting and nothing would happen.
  • Giving underwear too early didn’t work because he would just think it’s a diaper pee all over the place.
  • A intense potty training day didn’t work for us because in the long run I needed to show Micah consistency.
  • Too many reminders to go pee didn’t work because I would sound like a broken record and Micah would become resistant.
  • Being overly excited when he had success was actually discouraging. A simple “Good job” made Micah feel better than being overly exaggerating.
  • Potty training on days I felt stressed or overwhelmed was a disaster… on those days I find it better for Micah to be in a diaper so I don’t stress him out! 🙂
  • If I ever got too forceful in anyway, Micah would rebel quickly. We’ve tried our best to allow Micah to choose whether or not he wanted to be potty trained.

Now what?

I have no idea… just keep trying I guess. I don’t know what the future brings. One big thing I’ve learned is God is here to help even with potty training! From the beginning we felt inspired to start potty training. My husband and I prayed about it a lot. We prayed for help. We prayed that Micah would be ready. We prayed that I would be patient. My husband and I both received inspiration on how to start potty training. We counseled together when ideas fail and then celebrate together when things start working out!

What has worked for you? 🙂