Kassarie & Kayliray

With school letting out and summer right around the corner I’ve been thinking about summer vacations… My kids aren’t really old enough yet for anything too big or exciting, but that doesn’t mean I can’t dream about when they will be! I want to be that family that takes a fun vacation every summer. Something that will create amazing childhood and family memories. So here is my wish list of 5 someday family vacation destinations!

Disneyland Vacation

Disneyland! Every kid I have ever known has dreamed of going to Disneyland. Klara has been there once, but she wasn’t even a year old yet. I want to take both of my kids back when they’re old enough to really enjoy it. I’ve heard little girls LOVE the princess breakfast and I know Klara would go nuts!

Nashville, Tennessee! I have wanted to go there ever since I did a presentation on the city for a competition in high school! My husband and I both love listening to the Sirius Radio broadcasts of the Grande Ol’ Opry and it would be amazing to see it in person with my family. I’ve heard the Opryland Hotel and Gardens are so neat and I would love to check out Music Row with the hubs! As lovers of Sirius Radio you know we’ll be going to the Music Row Happy Hour while we’re there too! ;)

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter! Go ahead and judge me, but Harry Potter has been my favorite since the beginning. I will go there someday, especially since I hear there’s one in California now! And my sister will be going with me, book nerds unite! I can’t wait to introduce the books to my kids! Klara already likes watching the movies with me, so seeing it brought to life as a family would be SO fun!

Grand Canyon! Ok, it’s really only a few hours from home, but especially since that’s the case it’s amazing and awe inspiring and all that business that such a HUGE canyon can exist the way it does. Every family should visit it at least once.

New York City! You see it all the time in movies and read about it in books. There are so many things to see and do there… A play or musical on Broadway, the Museum of Natural History, visiting the set of Good Morning America and getting on TV! ;) This would definitely fall into the ‘when the kids are older’ category, but it would be an educational and cultural experience for them from the rural area where we live for sure!

As I’m sitting here writing this post I realized two things… One, there are so many more amazing places I want to be able to visit with my family! What an amazing country we have! And two… it’s time to start saving… $$$$ ;)

Where is your #1 family vacation dream destination??

Kassi

I’m not an expert on breastfeeding by any means, but I have nursed two babies and feel like I have a good handle on things these days. I made it to 13 months with my daughter and we’re headed toward month three with my son.

Throughout that time I have googled, Pinterested, asked friends and family and by any means possible sought out as much information as possible on breastfeeding… The correct positions, the best way to get a good latch, help for pain in the early weeks, etc. So I wanted to share a few real life conclusions that I’ve come to for those other mamas trolling the internet for answers in the middle of a nightly nursing session.

Breastfeeding Information

The initial pain and discomfort of breastfeeding that sweet baby will pass by about 6ish weeks.

I remember searching for how long it would last those first few weeks when I was aching, engorged and just not very excited each time one of my kiddos as a newborn was ready to eat. I don’t remember ever finding a real answer. So here’s my answer to you… It might be sooner if you master the latch from the beginning, don’t have any issues with cracked nipples and things just go smoothly from the start. BUT if goodness forbid something doesn’t go right, IT WILL STILL PASS! With my son, just a couple short months ago, I caught the flu the second week after he was born. It was death. For real. But the worst thing that came from it was that I didn’t feel good, I got lazy and ended up with a cracked nipple. Like a Grand Canyon sized hole in my body you guys. It was bad. But it did eventually heal. I had to grit my teeth every time he latched there for awhile, but by 6 weeks I was totally OK.

Breastfeeding in public is uncomfortable.

Before you go all #normalizebreastfeeding on me hear me out. I know there’s this huge movement towards making mamas more comfortable to feed their children in any setting. Women are sharing photos of themselves nursing their little loves on social media. And that is awesome! BUT as a new mom, when you venture out of the house for the first time and have to figure out how to comfortably nourish your little one with prying eyes every which direction IT IS UNCOMFORTABLE. I just want you to know that it is OK to feel that way. If you don’t you are a total nursing rock star mom and kudos to you, but for the rest of us, just know that you will figure it out and it will get easier. Nursing in public with my second child was SO much easier, SO much more natural and SO much more comfortable than with my daughter when I was figuring it out the first time.

Breastfeeding

Formula is totally OK too!

I have to say that of all the things that I’ve learned throughout two kids thus far, the most important is that motherhood should be a judgment free zone. As long as you love and do your best to take care of your littles, then you are a hero mom in my eyes. Because honestly, I have known a few mamas that just don’t care. So however you feed your child, as long as they’re getting fed, continue to grow and thrive, then yay you!!! Case in point, my daughter’s little bestie is a cute little blonde headed girl that looks just like my daughter. In fact people get them mixed up sometimes. They are both smart, sweet, amazing little girls. My daughter was breastfed and her little friend was not. It all works itself out in the end, so do yourself a favor and realize that however you choose to care for your child, it is the right decision as long as you care.

What is/was your biggest breastfeeding concern? Any tips you can share for new nursing mamas?

Kassi

29. 03. 2016

Wow… it’s almost April. Kayli was able to sneak in a post at the end of December, but I haven’t written a single thing since November. Oops. Sorry peeps. You know… if there’s any peeps out there left reading this little blog-o here. Shout out to you dear reader… I hope you’ll leave a comment so I can personally thank you for sticking around! ;) I don’t really have a good excuse for not writing for the majority of that time… Unless you can call living life an excuse. But I do have an awesome excuse for the last month-ish. Friends… meet our little cowboy Quade!!

Duncan Arizona Newborn Photographer

Our little miss Klara is completely smitten with her baby brother. She asks to hold him several times a day and even just to see him if someone else is holding him or he’s laying in his bed or swing. Klara brings mommy diapers, helps with bath time and really hasn’t shown a single ounce of jealousy, thank goodness!!!

Greenlee County Newborn Photographer

Since everyone keeps asking, I am doing great. I had a rough week there during little man’s second week of life… His daddy caught the flu and passed it to me. Having just had a baby and then catching the flu is basically hell… In case you were wondering. But I did live through it and all is well once again. ;)

Now that things have settled down a bit I have been thinking of blogging again. So I hope to write some more soon and maybe catch up and share a little bit about what we’ve been up to lately… Casa de Mortensen needs a few posts dedicated to the changes we’ve made so far for sure. But no promises. I do have two sweet little kiddos that need mommy cuddles, so you know, priorities. ;)

Have a happy week loves!

Kassi

We’re still here!!! *Cue excuses… It’s just that it’s my busiest season as a photographer… Senior sessions, family sessions for Christmas cards, etc. Then there’s all the editing that goes with it. No time to sit and write a blog post. BUT… I have a bit of news to share that you may or may not have seen on Facebook, or Instagram… But if you haven’t yet….

Klara Gets a Brother

Klara’s going to be a BIG sister!!!! Her little brother is due in Mach 2016! We are thrilled to be adding a little mister to our family!

It's a boy!

Anyone have any tips on life with two kids?! Not going to lie, I’m freaking out a little about going from one to two… Working from home and all the other things that go on in life… Help a momma out! ;)

Kassi

It’s an amazing thing becoming a mother. One day you wake up and it’s just you and your spouse and literally hours later there are now three of you! Where there wasn’t this extra amazing little person before, there’s now a bouncing, crying, cooing little bundle of awesomeness. Getting to know and bonding with your baby can be just as difficult, or more so, as getting to know a new friend. It takes time to learn your baby’s personality, their likes and dislikes, how they’ll respond to you and those others around them. Here are a few of my tips for creating the time to bond with baby in those first few weeks and a #FormulaForHappiness for the whole family!

Klara and Mommy

Room in with baby if you can. Some hospitals, like the one where I delivered Klara, allowed us to keep her with us in my hospital room. They took her to the nursery for check ups, getting weighed, things like that but the rest of the time she was in a bassinet in my room with me and my husband. You’re going to get to take that bundle home soon and it will just be you and baby from then on, so getting used to it right away can make the transition to home easier and baby happier!

Help daddy bond with baby. This new little person you both created is going to greatly change the dynamic of your relationship, in a good way. But that change, regardless of the positive can be hard on everyone, so help daddy feel close to baby as much as you can. The nurses had my husband do the first several diaper changes and help with her first bath. He stayed with me in the hospital room overnight so he could help me get Klara to feed her, or change her. Plus, mommy needs a break from time to time, so the go to number one helper can be daddy! Even after Klara was several weeks old Nate would take her and rock or play with her so I could just get some sleep.

Klara and Daddy

Accept the help you’re offered, or ask for help if you need it! This one is SO important. I had several family members and friends offer to stop by and help with things, or bring meals, etc. I was embarrassed at first to have someone else throwing my laundry in the washer, or doing my dishes. But you have to relinquish that control so that you can spend time cuddling baby and resting. Plus, they offer because they love you and your little one. Let them show it.
If you are looking for help with more specific issues Gerber® has certified baby sleep consultants, certified lactation consultants or nutritionists that you can schedule a FREE Appointment with to help you get the advice you need. These services are provided thanks to Gerber® Good Start® Gentle.

Ignore the things that don’t matter. Back to those dirty dishes… They can wait. Snuggling with your new little one when she’s just a few days old won’t. It goes so fast. Take the time to enjoy everything you can and to get all the extra sleep you can. You can always ask daddy to help with the dishes. ;)

Popsicles, playing outside, fun with mom and dad are Klara’s #formulaforhappiness these days! But in the first few weeks of her life those things were very different… My tips for bonding with baby are on the blog today! Link in my profile.

A photo posted by Kassi Mortensen (@kassarie) on

Your turn: What are your tips for finding the time to bond with baby in those first few weeks? Be sure to share your tips for baby and mommy’s #FormulaForHappiness with the hashtag on social media!

Kassi

To see more from my daughter’s Strawberry Shortcake themed birthday party, check out her Strawberry Shortcake Birthday Outfit here, her Strawberry Shortcake Birthday Party Decor here and her Strawberry Shortcake Birthday Party Favors here.

Since Klara’s birthday was Strawberry Shortcake themed, I thought it only fitting to do a strawberry shortcake bar for her dessert instead of a birthday cake. Plus, her party was on the fourth of July, so the perfect dessert to celebrate the summer and the holiday as well.

Strawberry Shortcake Bar

The strawberry shortcake bar included sliced angel food cake, sliced strawberries covered in sugar, sugared blueberries and two kinds of whipped cream. I really wanted to do the different flavored whipped creams but couldn’t find any locally.

Strawberry Shortcake Birthday Party Dessert

Regardless I’m positive all of Klara’s party guests enjoyed putting together their own shortcake! I know I did! ;)

Strawberry Shortcake Birthday Party

Miss Klara had a shortcake just for her with TWO of the cutest little Strawberry Shortcake Birthday Candles from DKDelKtables on Etsy to blow out. We even practiced blowing out candles a few days before her party so she’d have the hang of it. Love bug rocked it! ;)

Klara's Birthday Party

Oh look! We DID get a family photo during her party after all… Mommy lighting candles, daddy like a deer in the headlights caught in the background and Klara! ;) haha. That’s her cousin, Taylor, holding Klara.

Strawberry Shortcake Birthday Party Candles

Strawberry Shortcake Birthday Party Theme

Well that wraps up my series on Klara’s Strawberry Shortcake Themed Second Birthday Party!!! Unless you want to see a ton of photos of her opening up presents. Which I assume you don’t… ;) I’ll just post those to Facebook and call it good.

If you’re interested in more Strawberry Shortcake goodness, be sure to check out my other posts. Strawberry Shortcake Birthday Outfit here, her Strawberry Shortcake Birthday Party Decor here and her Strawberry Shortcake Birthday Party Favors here.

Tell me, what was your favorite birthday party ever?? I remember one when I was about 10 or 11 where my whole class came to my aunt’s house and we had cake and games. We still have a group photo. Fun stuff.

Kassi

To see more from my daughter’s Strawberry Shortcake themed birthday party, check out her Strawberry Shortcake Birthday Outfit here and her Strawberry Shortcake Birthday Party Decor here.

I’m going to be honest… the task of putting together birthday favors for several children of different ages, boys and girls was daunting at first. But I did a little Pinterest research, some shopping on Etsy and at the favors aisle in Wal-Mart and they came together nicely!

Strawberry Shortcake Birthday Party Favors
Strawberry confetti c/o Khloe’s Kustom Kreation on Etsy

Strawberry Shortcake Birthday Party Favors

The Strawberry Shortcake favor bags came from Party City. The crayons, big bag of candy because what’s a favor bag without candy ;), and the jumbo pack of glow favors all came from Wal-Mart. I found them in the party favor aisle. Since we hosted Klara’s birthday on the fourth of July, the kids loved getting the glow goodies to wear during fireworks after her party! The coloring pages were free printables I found via Pinterest on the Strawberry Shortcake website. And my favorite of all of her party favors… The Strawberry Shortcake Elastic Hair Ties!!!! Aren’t they the coolest thing ever?!

Strawberry Shortcake Party Favors

They came from the fun Etsy shop, Oliver and May. She has the cutest party favors for just about any theme! Cute hair ties, necklaces, bows, barrettes! If I would’ve had more girls coming to Klara’s party I could’ve gone crazy with the cuteness… But with so many boys too I tried to keep most of the goodies gender neutral. Klara, her friends and cousins all loved their hair ties.

Klara loves her Strawberry Shortcake bracelets!! They’re actually hair elastics from @oliverandmay but she likes to be able to see them. ;) For the coolest party favors check out Oliver and May on Etsy!! #klarabeth #klaraturnstwo #strawberryshortcakebirthdayparty #strawberryshortcake #partyfavors #toddlerbirthday

A photo posted by Kassi Mortensen (@kassarie) on

 

Klara has been wearing hers as bracelets so she can see them on herself. ;) Not going to lie, I wear them in my hair and even the older “girls”, aka Klara’s older cousins and aunts wanted a set for themselves.

Strawberry Shortcake Party Favor Bags

I arranged her favor bags in a cute basket and handed them out at the end of her party. All the kids were excited for something fun to be able to take home!

Thanks to those that helped bring Klara’s Strawberry Shortcake Party Favors together!!! There’s still more to come from her party so stay tuned!!!!

What is your favorite party favor to hand out?

Disclosure: I received a discounted rate or items for free in exchange for my honest opinion. But always the thoughts shared here are 100% my own!

Kassi

I still can’t believe my baby girl is already two years old!!! We celebrated with a fun Strawberry Shortcake party, her favorite TV show. To see more in the Klara Turns Two series, check out her Strawberry Shortcake birthday outfit here. Today’s post is all about the decor!

Strawberry Shortcake Birthday Party

Toddler Birthday Party Tip: Party City and Etsy will be your best friends! I love Party City for things like character decorations, balloons, napkins, plates, cutlery, cups, table cloths. Things that you can’t get on Etsy, my other favorite shopping spot for birthday decor.

Toddler Strawberry Shortcake Birthday

FYI, Safeway will fill up balloons that you bring in, like the Strawberry Shortcake balloon I ordered from Party City. I got the pink and green balloons at Safeway while I was there.

Etsy is the place for fun centerpieces, favors, paper straws, confetti, and more!

Strawberry Shortcake Party Centerpiece

I just adored the Strawberry Shortcake Centerpiece Sticks we received from Khloe’s Kustom Kreation on Etsy! Hilda was amazing to work with, personalized the set with a 2 for Klara’s age and even sent that fun strawberry confetti!!! I used the confetti on the main table and as decoration with her favors table. So, so fun! For real, check out Hilda’s shop, she has the cutest centerpieces, confetti and die cuts for just about any party theme you could think of!!! {More on the favor bags in a later post. ;)}

Strawberry Shortcake Birthday Party Favors

The red, pink and green Strawberry Shortcake themed candies came from our friends, DKDelektables on Etsy. They would’ve made super cute cupcake or cake decorations, but since we did a different dessert, more on that later, I used them as part of our cute centerpiece. Deann and Kathy also sent us some adorable Strawberry Shortcake themed paper straws. Again, check them out, for straws in any color combo you could imagine!!!

Strawberry Shortcake Birthday Party Decorations

My little love bug had a great time at her birthday aprty featuring her favorite, Strawberry Shortcake. And really that’s all that matters. But I loved that I was able to find some really fun, cute decor at affordable prices!!


Strawberry Shortcake Birthday Outfit c/o Get Stitched by Anna
Strawberry Shortcake Necklace c/o Shannon P. Designs.

Thanks to everyone that made Klara’s Strawberry Shortcake decorations such a success! Hope you’ll come back soon to see more on her Strawberry Shortcake themed birthday party!

Where’s your favorite place to shop for party decor??

Disclosure: I received a discounted rate or items for free in exchange for my honest opinion. But always the thoughts shared here are 100% my own!

Kassi

Recently I realized I have to loosen my tight mama grip on my daughter just a little bit… Her daddy took her to ride horses. He’s taken her once before when I couldn’t go so this was technically her second time riding all by herself. She’s been riding with her daddy or myself since she was only three months old. But now it was time for her to ride on her own!

Klara and Dad on Lady

Let me preface this entire story with the fact that we are horse people. Both my husband and myself grew up riding horses and now want to share that love with our little girl. It’s something we, especially my husband, is completely experienced at and well versed in. My daughter is always completely, 100% safe under his watch for sure.

Back to the story…

Daddy saddled up Klara’s horse with her very own little saddle. Old mister Ichabod has been in the family for a very long time. He belonged to Nate’s granddad and served as his team roping horse for many years. He’s big and sturdy but completely gentle. Daddy got Klara situated on Ichabod’s back, he’d already shown her how to hold on, and off they went. Nate leading Klara and Ichabod around the arena.

Klara Riding Ichabod

I wanted to walk beside her, hold onto her a little longer, but smart daddy that he is, Nate assured me she would be completely fine. And she was. You guys, she held on like a champ! She even waved at mama standing on the sidelines like a little rodeo princess. Killed me! haha.

This is ‘My Little Cowgirl Rides Off Into the Sunset” now one of my favorite videos ever of my daughter. ;) She already loves to ride! She tells me every day now, “I ride Ichabod TODAY!”

My little girl is growing up. And that’s ok. As fast as she’s growing she’s still my baby girl, but I will learn to let go when I should and hold on when I should. Just have to let go a little at a time…

YOUR TURN: When did you realize your kiddo was really growing up? How do you handle letting go when it’s time?

Kassi

My baby girl is turning two years old next month… It seems like I barely finished planning her one year birthday party and now we are on to two!!! This year her theme choice was easy. When I ask Klara what she wants to watch on TV her instant reply is “CAKE!!” Meaning Strawberry Shortcake of course. Did you know Etsy is a plethora for amazing Strawberry Shortcake party supplies?! Well, any kind of party you could ever think of really.

I have some awesome shops and awesome goodies for Klara’s party that I can’t wait to share with all of you! The first ones being those for her birthday outfit! I took some cute photos of her in her outfit to use on her invitations and of course feature her Strawberry Shortcake goods! If you’d like you can check out my other photography work on my Facebook page at Kassi Mortensen Photography.

Gila Valley Toddler Photographer

So amazed at how big and cute and sweet my little girl is. Plus, girl really knows how to rock some piggy tails! ;)

Klara’s Strawberry Shortcake birthday outfit came from Get Stitched by Anna on Etsy. Anna was great to work with! Originally I had my eye on a slightly different Strawberry Shortcake outfit that she used to have in her shop.. But it was sold out! When I contacted her about making another she said she was changing the design and used Klara’s outfit for her shop photos! Very cool!

Safford AZ Birthday Photos

Both the shirt and the fabric on the little shorts is high quality. I was very pleased with the entire outfit! The stitching on the shirt is easy to read and love that it comes personalized with Klara’s name and age!

Toddler Birthday Party Tip: I think a fun personalized birthday outfit makes a great gift for your kiddo if it’s something they truly enjoy. It’s also a fun prop for taking birthday photos to remember the year and your child’s favorite character or thing.

Kassi Mortensen Photography

Klara’s fun Strawberry Shortcake Chunky Beaded Necklace is C/O Shannon Psencick Design on Etsy. She has the cutest chunky bead necklaces for just about any character!!! Klara loves hers and likes to touch and look at the bright chunky beads.

Thatcher AZ Toddler Photographer

You can also check out Shannon P Designs on Facebook.

Stay tuned for more Strawberry Shortcake Birthday goodness as we get closer to celebrating Klara’s birthday! Thanks to all those that have helped with the awesomeness thus far! We appreciate you all!

Disclosure: I received a discounted rate or items for free in exchange for my honest opinion. But always the thoughts shared here are 100% my own!

Kassi