children

What to do when waiting for your pediatrician!

Who likes waiting an hour or so for their child’s pediatrician?! Liam doesn’t:

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I must admit that it’s really difficult to keep a little one sitting still or entertained at a place where there’s nothing to do. But, I remind myself that the pediatrician will stay with me and answer all of my questions for as long as I need her to. So, I don’t get too upset about having to wait.

I’ve come up with a few go-to’s while waiting at the doctors!

1. Bring Snacks!

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2. Books & Small Toys

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3. Bring a few crayons for them to color all over that paper cover on the table they sit on!

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4. When all else fails…. I guess the iPhone of videos and music will help pass the time too!

What do you do while you wait with your kids for their pediatrician?! Tell us by commenting below.

5 tips to get better pictures of your kids

You've got this great space in your entry way or the perfect spot on the mantle. You've picked out the greatest frames or you got some for Christmas! Now its time to fill those frames and who better to adorn your walls and mantles than your kiddos? However, Christmas just was here a month ago, so money is a bit tighter and you don't have the time to hire a professional....Whats a mom to do? 

No worries. Today I'll be offering some tips on how to get great pictures of your kids! I love photography and taking pictures of my own little one and find that taking pictures and having them to look back on is one of the greatest memories. 

 

Here we go!

Tip #1 : Know your kiddos.

This kinda goes without saying but I often mistake this rule too. Know your kids. Know what is the best time for them to get pictures taken. The best time of day to take pictures outdoors is usually before 10am and about an hour before sunset. However, in my personal experience Eleanor just isn't up for having pictures at that time. So we go on her schedule. Sure, it may not be the ideal time but if we are going outside we find a nice shaded area and take some shots there! 

Obviously....not a good time. 

Obviously....not a good time. 

Tip #2: Be prepared and have a friend!

So you've got the right time and the kids are ready to go. However, they aren't looking at the camera...they've decided to start eating grass, run to the tree and try to climb it etc. A majority of my pictures of Eleanor or of other children aren't picture perfect. A lot of times they are crying or fussing or just blankly staring at the camera. It's always great to have someone else help out when you're trying to take pictures of kids. They can help reel them in and look at the camera and help with crowd control. Taking pictures of kids is really hard but if you are patient and ready you can capture those sweet smiles and fun moments.

Tip #3: Get Down

The best pictures you can get of your kids is the ones at their eye level. See how they see the world. Maybe you're just taking snapshots of them on your iphone one day...get on their level, see life through their perspective! :) 

 

Tip# 4 Get outside and watch your backgrounds

The best lighting is outdoors. So if possible try and get outside to take pictures. Try to avoid areas where harsh sunlight casts shadows on faces, such as an area where there are a bunch of trees with sunlight coming through. Find a nice fully shaded area if its in the middle of the day. That also helps so that the kids aren't squinting in pictures and you don't get weird shadows on their faces. Right now it is winter here in Virginia and a bit chilly. To try and take pictures outside just isn't ideal right now. So if you cant get outside find the best natural light in your home. 

No matter where you are...inside or out be sure to check your backgrounds! This is a key element in getting some great pictures. A great background is one that does't have a lot going on. It's simple and doesn't take away from the main subjects you are taking pictures of. It could be a blank wall, a field, the side of a building, a wooded area...etc. 

Eleanor was unimpressed by snow.

Eleanor was unimpressed by snow.

Tip #5 Be silly and Have fun!

The best part of taking pictures is having fun and being silly with your kids. Don't worry if the pictures aren't coming out how you planned. Some of the best parts of taking pictures of Eleanor is the fun I have with my husband to try and make her smile. It would be pretty hilarious if a random person saw us doing it. Having fun and showing the kids it's not all serious allows them to open up and be themselves too. If the pictures you take aren't to your satisfaction try again in a couple of days. Maybe today wasn't the best for your kids and another day will be better! Sometimes the best pictures are the unplanned and un-staged ones. They capture true everyday life. Remember, don't stress, have fun making memories together! 

Have fun. Use your iphone, point and shoot, DSLR....whatever, it doesn't matter you can get great pictures with any one of those tools. Get out and take some pictures today! 

 

 

Things To Do With Your Little Ones - Austin, TX

I'm pretty sure Austin, Texas is the most family friendly city in our country. There are so many things to do... all the time! 

I don't know about you, but I love doing things for FREE .... (or as cheap as possible). So, I have made a list of things that I have taken L&L to on a normal basis. 

Story Times - 
There are many to choose from, and all of them are always free.

 

1. Barnes & Noble - story time + craft of some kind that goes with the story books that are read for that day. 

TIME: 11:00AM
DAYS: Every Wednesday and Saturday
TIP: Barnes & Noble opens at 10:00AM. We usually get here right at opening so we can take advantage of the quiet atmosphere and have the train table, and lego table to ourselves for just a bit of time. Once we've played the train table, the lego table, mom's got her coffee, and we've read and explored all of the books on the shelves it's time for story time! Sometimes I'll pack a lunch and head to a park nearby for a picnic and playtime. (also, free I might add) :) 

Bear Check up at our local library.  

Bear Check up at our local library.  

2. Visit Your Local Library!! - Austin, Round Rock, & Cedar Park Libraries all have monthly event calendars for toddlers and preschoolers. Check them out monthly and plan your trips. Super easy, super free. 

TIP: If you think "Listen, my kid won't sit still for story times, crafts, etc." How are they going to learn how to have these skills if you don't give them the opportunity to learn them? Suck it up, pray for patience, don't have any expectations, but at least try... and keep trying. Your child is just being a child, they're not an adult like you. They're going to do fine. The best thing to remember is we've all been there, if we aren't right there with you. 

3. Austin Nature & Science Center - 2389 Stratford Drive Austin TX 78746 -

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Completely FREE and there's so much to explore. My kids favorite is the dinosaur area where you dig for bones. The scenery is beautiful, and it's an awesome place to have a picnic. We love the Nature & Science Center. 

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4. Visit a Museum in downtown Austin - did you know our local museums have free admission on certain days of the month for families? Look up all of our awesome museums and see which days have free admission. They also always have something fun for the kids to do on these free admission days. 

TIP: just make sure to bring some cash for parking!

5. During the Summer - there are so many splash pads and natural pools / springs to visit! Just google these for your area and tons of options will pop up. There are so many beautiful places to swim or play in the water with little ones here in Austin... it's the best!

6. Lastly, check out DO512Family.com - I visit this site weekly, see what Austin has to offer for little ones in my area for free and plan my week accordingly! This might be my favorite website ever. It has everything that's going on in our area for families.. love it!