Best healthy and low sugar cookies!! Chocolate chips agave nectar cookies

We love cookies in this family.

 

Who doesn’t?? You must not have kids if you hate cookies. I mean… cookie dough itself is the delicious epitome of the baking kitchen.

 

Back to THESE cookies.

 

I try to be healthy, okay? Like occasionally eat kale in my salad and not die healthy 😉

(honestly good raw kale from local farmers can be super amazing…I know, it was a surprise to be too!)

 

 

Cutting white sugar down in our house is a constant goal- some weeks are better than others, but I’m finding if you just DON’T BUY IT, it sure makes it easier to not bake with it.

 

And then you find tasty substitutes, like honey or in this case, agave nectar.

 

I found THIS RECIPE on Pinterest and just substituted the agave nectar for the honey. 

 

What you will need in your kitchen:

 

    • ¾ cup whole wheat or gluten-free* flour

 

    • 1 ½ tsp baking powder

 

    • ¼ tsp salt

 

    • 1 large egg white, room temperature

 

    • 1 tsp vanilla extract

 

 

    • ½ cup honey (or agave nectar)

 

 

 

The kids LOVED it!!! I used the Lily’s brand mini chocolate chips, which are sweetened with stevia- so there’s not processed sugar in these.

 

Win win in my mommy book!! 

Want to see all the other yummy recipes I try out??

https://www.pinterest.com/shannakayefancher/recipes-to-make

 

Surviving the Newborn stage – essential oils, lactation, and massage

The newborn stage is HARD.

I mean. I love the baby cuddles stage and laying with your newborn nursing fabulously and you feel like the entire world is happy…

 

but what about the fussy baby time and exhausted mom and raging hormones stage??

 

 

Here’s a few things that totally are game changers and I just WISH I had known about these people and things with my firstborn!!!!

 

Preface: My firstborn didn’t nurse well, had problems gaining weight from a shallow latch (that I had no idea was a “thing”) and was crying and screaming a ton from an unhappy tummy.

I wanted to LOSE MY MIND.

 

I’m pregnant with baby #5. How is that possible if my first was such a hard baby??!

Well, #1- my husband is pretty darn cute.

#2- I’ve found mom hacks that have been a total game changer with newborns that help me keep my sanity

 

So let’s stop the chitter chatter and get to the HELP ME stuff!

 

First off- two ladies you NEED in your life.

 

Beth Collins of Collins Complete Family Care. 

She is a lactation guru-and helped me keep my sanity with my 3rd baby. I was at a lost, crying, cracked and bleeding by day 6 of a baby who couldn’t get a good latch….and she taught me HOW to nurse a baby where I wasn’t losing my mind every time I had to latch.

If you feel like your nursing is just not what you imagined it would be- EVEN if your baby is gaining weight, if YOU feel bad or hurting, PLEASE contact her.

 

It took me till my 3rd child to realize that pain in nursing was NOT a right into motherhood.

 

I didn’t know that. The RELIEF after feeling how a well latched baby nursed, was amazing.

 

Even better is she is a Nurse Practitioner, and has a family practice… so you can take the whole family to her!!

 

 

Laura Barton of Mercy Touch Massage

 

I love this woman so much.

Here’s why:

2 prenatal massages with her helped my 4th birth become my BEST birth yet. How is that? She worked out my thighs and legs which had NEVER had a deep massage, and MAN I was so tight!!

 

In birth, you NEED strength in your lower body, and I really attest a huge part of why my birth was painless (yes, you read that right, I thought it was crazy too!) was because of her working my body into the best place it could be beforehand.

 

Now, I’m NOT saying you won’t have discomfort in your birth if you get a massage from her. BUT I am saying that getting your body prepped for birth makes a crazy huge difference in how your body preforms…and this was the FIRST time I had done it, and my 4th birth.

 

For Baby:

I had never heard of “Cranio-Sacral massage” before talking with Laura.

It’s basically soothing and slow touching that helps your body feel amazing.

With our 4th child, I had Laura come right after her birth…and that was my first time to see it done. Shaphirah was born with the cord wrapped tight twice around her neck, and she had some restrictions from that, along with tongue/lip ties.

 

After having Laura work on her, she nursed better than ALL my babies had. I was hooked.

 

I went to her after our awful and traumatic car wreck (I totaled our van with all my babies in the car) and I felt more grounded emotionally during my session than I had experienced before.

 

It was AMAZING, mama!!!!

 

Here’s what she says on her website for “what it is”

“Light engagement of the cranium, the sacrum and the nervous system in between. Intended to lead the body to restrictions and release strain patterns in both the myofascial tissue. Further connecting the healing body with unresolved emotional and physical trauma. Intended for adults and children. Specialized approach for those who are planning or who have underwent a tongue and lip tie release.”

 

So basically, schedule you AND your baby to see Laura. You can even nurse during your postpartum session while she massages you!!

 

 

Click that photo ^^ for my favorite oils to use for birth and postpartum!

Every mother who birthed a baby NEEDS ClaraDerm in their life. 

 

It’s the best blend EVER to spray “down there”. Yep, for THAT awful

I-feel-like-my-bottom-is-never-gonna-be-the-same feeling.

It’s relieving and also gives  a numbing feeling that is blissful.

 

I won’t ever birth without it.

Seriously.

 

 

I just started using oils 4 years ago, when I was pregnant with my 3rd baby.  These are a few of my must-have’s for mama and baby, and there’s a fuller list in the video above!!

 

oh oh!!!

 

and I can’t forget Rose Ointment!!

It’s my “booby butter”, to rub on the girls when your sore. Which, with the help from a fabulous lactation gal like Beth, shouldn’t be as often… but still. A good one to use. Also helpful for any bumps, scrapes, or “I need a soothing cream for that” moments.

 

 

Click on the names to grab them-and if your stumped or need something NOT on my list… send me a message over on FB and I can tell you what to grab!!

 

or you can jump on www.youngliving.com, add things to your cart, and use “2004569” at checkout so I can get you in a sweet FB group!

 

 

Lavender essential oil

Great for adding to your diffuser while your nursing, rubbing a drop on your feet to calm your body after a long day….or putting 5 drops in a cup of epsom salt and throwing in the bath.

 

When momma feels good, the world is a better place.

 

Tip: a 5ml bottle (a small one, pictured is the 15ml) comes WITH the Starter kit, so you can skip this one if your grabbing a kit!)

 

 

 

TummyGize essential oil blend

 

Oh man-this is a fussy baby GAMECHANGER.

It has all kinds of help-soothe-tummy oils in it, and it’s diluted for kids and littles so it’s ideal.

You CAN dilute it more if you wish with little babies, it’s totally up to you.

 

Grab one of these roller tops (ps, there’s also one that comes in the Premium Starter Kit!!)

and add it to the bottle.

If your stumped on HOW to put on the roller top, check out this video on youtube

 

Then roll on the bottom of your little one’s feet, and on their belly button area.

 

Mom tip: If you choose not to use oils directly ON your babies skin (which is totally up to you!!) you can put a drop on your palm, and hold close to your little one’s nose and let them smell it.

Even just that can help settle their little tummy.

 

 

Peace and Calming

 

Oh girl. If you have never smelled Peace and Calming…. let me just say, that it is how I survived pregnancy and postpartum with my 3rd child. It was a ROUGH time, let me tell you. I was anxious and overwhelmed a ton, and this blend helped me feel a little more like myself.

 

I use it now ON my kids- when I need to conquer shopping and toddlers at the same time.

And on me, so I don’t freak out on everyone inside Aldi’s.

 

 

Premium Starter Kit – basically what you need!

 

Easiest way to get started is the kit.

You have everything you need, including:

 

  • A diffuser of your choice (I love the Mountain Mist-it changes colors!!)
  • 10 essential oils and oil blends
  • + a bonus bottle of Stress Away oil blend
  • Concentrated sample of the only main cleaner I keep in my house, aka Thieves Household Cleaner —make 2-3 bottles with this sample, just add a TBS to a spray bottle and fill with water!
  • 2 Ningxia Red packets-I use this fruit supplement daily to keep my mama energy on point
  • mini bottles to share a few drops of your favorite oil with friends so you don’t feel obligated to share your bottle (hoard those, mama!!!)
  • membership that gets you 24% off retail on the YL website

 

 

PS. Make sure to put my referral number “2004569” in the “who referred you” spot when you make an account, so I can get you into a super supportive Facebook group!!!

 

Now the best part about having a membership with Young Living is you get access to Essential Rewards

 

What is Essential Rewards?

It’s how I save the most money $$, hands down on my oils.

 

I order once a month, for whatever we need that month-and it ships to my door and I DON’T HAVE TO LEAVE THE HOUSE.

Or put on real pants. Which is a bonus.

It’s optional, but is feeling sane…and I really like to keep my sanity.

😉

 

You also get cheaper shipping, (or you can get on the new YL Go program and get prepaid shipping which is the CHEAPEST option!) they send you FREE oils every 3 months for the first year, AND you can score extra free oils and products to try out with qualifying orders!

 

FREE oils just for ordering monthly on Essential Rewards, as found on www.youngliving.com

  • 3 consecutive months: Peppermint Vitality™ essential oil, 5 ml
  • 6 consecutive months: Thieves® Vitality™ essential oil blend, 5 ml
  • 9 consecutive months: Melaleuca Alternifolia essential oil, 15ml
  • 12 consecutive months: Loyalty, a special blend formulated by Founder of Young Living and the modern-day essential oils movement D. Gary Young specifically for Essential Rewards members!

 

 

 

Now it’s YOUR TURN to tell me-what’s something that helped you a ton with the newborn stage???

 

comment below!!!

and SHARE this on FB 🙂

 

Shaphirah’s Birth Story –

My Birth Team:
Co Baby maker/Support: Paul Fancher😉
Midwife: Melēna Sandifer of Cherished Birth
Doula: Colleen Shulenberger of A Sacred Nest
Birth Photographer: Kali Shanti Park of Mama Matters: Complete Doula Care & Birth Photography
Pre-Birth Massage Therapist: Laura Barton of Mercy Touch-Laura Barton, LMT, CPMT
Favorite essential oils and natural baby products I used during birth and post partum in the first week:
PREFACE: Just ignore the ” Left, Center, Right, Remove caption” under the photos… I pulled the photos from FB and can’t get that part to go away!” 

The Scene: Our home.
8:47am.

Sunday morning, Aug 20th.

This was start of my best birthing time (yet). I had stayed up till midnight cleaning the kitchen the night before, like I had been doing for the last 2 weeks. I felt like there were certain things that needed to be clean-and THEN I could sleep peacefully.
I had joked that if I ate some of the chocolate cake at my brother’s birthday celebration (at my house with my big family) Shaphirah might just decide to come. My Papa (dad) asked me when I thought she was coming…and so did my Mama. Funny thing it was the next day 😉
But back to the story. Where were we? Oh yes. Sunday morning.
Church. 3 kids running in and out of the kitchen, while I’m trying to get breakfast together-and I felt the “I need my own space” coming on. It was calm, but like holding your breathe-where I really REALLY just wanted all the kids to be quiet. Breakfast came, I let Paul know I had started to have birth waves-and that if they kept coming I wouldn’t be going to church with them.
This is an odd thing for me cause we don’t “skip church” unless we are like dying…or having a baby 😛
That of course put my husband Paul into a slightly on edge “oh we are getting somewhere” reaction-and I got everyone’s shoes on and them out the door. I told him to drop them off at bible class, tell my parents he may not be back, and come back.
 
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Last bump photo!

Insert the BEST and most blissfully calm part of my day. Honestly I feel like the 20 minute break from ANY distraction helped me thru the whole birth.
 
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I grabbed my Savvy Minerals makeup (which I just feel pretty and good when I get to play with it), put MKTO on Pandora on my phone, and rocked out in the bathroom while I put on makeup slowly. I did everything. Brushed my hair, put on Valor on my bump, back, and Peace & Calming on me (hello emotions!) put all the good stuff on my face-and just felt put together. It was awesome.
Birth waves where coming, pretty consistently, but they weren’t really intense like I usually have in birthing time.
Paul got back-and as I got ready for the day-he started prepping the house. We contacted our doula, Colleen S. and she started prepping to head our way. Then my. Birth photographer Kali Park and midwife Melena were contacted-and we let everyone know that I was having consistent birth waves, some at 6 minutes apart. Since they were not intense really at all, Melena told me I could stop tracking them for an hour or until they picked up.
 
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Honestly I didn’t stop. (Sorry Melena 😉
 
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I kept tracking-and they got all over the place. I would have them at 15 minutes, then 8, then 12, then 6….there was little rhyme to the patterns for a while.
 
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Around noon-1pm (I can’t remember when exactly) Kali came. Colleen was braiding my hair, which I LOVED because then it was out of my face. She was a rockstar in making me feel totally loved emotionally validated. Her touch is soothing, and she knew just what to say or ask. I was working thru birth waves, but again they just weren’t the same intense…but I could tell we were getting somewhere.
It was then I realized I didn’t know if Melena was on her way- I thought Paul had called her, and he hadn’t…he thought I had….so we quickly fixed that and let her know she could head over 😉
I was in my room, with a birth ball that Kali had graciously ran to Wal-mart to grab (yes. It’s a MUST have in birthing time!) and I was “in my zone”.
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Then it hit me and I threw up. My legs where shaking slightly, and my energy just tanked. Completely. Melena walked in, and was quiet and let me do my thing. A few minutes went by, as my body worked thru a birth wave. She noticed I had no energy, and got me a packet of Ningxia red. I took it, and within a minute or so I headed to the bathroom and asked Paul to come in there with me. I had 2 strong birth waves-the strongest of the whole birth-and I threw up twice. As we went back to the birth ball, I told Paul “It’s weird-it’s almost like I’m in transition… because that is the only time I throw up…”
He looked at me with this “Duh-I KNOW” face and I laughed.
I really wasn’t quite sure if we were really there-since I wasn’t feeling really intense birth waves. Except for the 2 I just had ;))
After a few minutes, Melena asked how many waves I had had in the last half hour. “Umm…2?” I replied.
So that’s like, ….nothing in “real birth time”. I mean, theoretically, there would be several in half an hour. So then, I had what everyone assumed was birth waves, for at least 10 minutes.
Kali was picture ready, Colleen was sitting on the bed stroking my arm, and Paul my husband was talking to me and telling me how amazing I was doing. I had my eyes closed-breathing slowly and calmly….
After a good long while, I finally looked up and said “you know-it’s weird….I’m not really feeling them.”
“Wait?!” Someone responded…. “You mean your not having birth waves?” “Do you just like the attention???”
“Well-yes….” I replied sheepishly. “I mean, it feels really good….” Insert everyone but my midwife leaving the room 😉
It was pretty funny. Melena said “Okay, I’m gonna check you and see where we are.”
I said okay-and as she checked, the room was really quiet…and then her eyebrows went up and she said “ohh!”
I was praying- “Lord, PLEASE let me be at least a 5. A 5 would be great….that would be at least halfway…”
“So how far are we?” I asked, holding my breathe emotionally. “Well, your at a 9.” Melena said matter of factly.
Ohh. A 9. That’s like push the baby out stage. Whoa.
“Oh! So-wow. So we are about to have a baby!” I said.
She left the room, and I had a minute to myself. It is the weirdest feeling to not be in pain, and know your at the end of birth. I looked down at my bump, realized I was going to miss it-but also excited to meet my baby girl. I grabbed my phone-texted a friend a photo of me with a super excited face-and tried to let it sink in that we were about to have a baby HERE. Paul came in, grabbed something in the bathroom, and I asked “Soo-did Melena tell you where we are?” “Uh, no-what’s up?” He said. “We are at a 9.” I said-a smile in my eyes.
 
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10 minutes before she came…. official “last bump” photo

 
He came to sit down beside me-and I asked “Will you take a photo with me? I mean-we have never had time to actually do this!”
 
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I was sitting at the end of our bed, and realized I had a short time frame to decide WHERE to birth. I had a birth wave, and asked him “Is the birth pool ready?” “Ohh, almost…you can go in there.” “No-is it READY?” I asked…I needed it ready to go in. At this point Colleen came in, and could tell what I needed. She got me up, and said “Okay, let’s go!”
 
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And we went to the living room. I realized once I got off the bed and didn’t have the pressure of sitting down that things where going to move quickly. I sunk into the birth pool, and quickly got into my “zone”.
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I was completely quiet (a first for me) and after one mild but firm birth wave, her head crowned. It was the weirdest feeling-because I felt some pressure and then all the sudden everything “opened” and her head descended. I could tell her head was birthed, and I could feel her, and Melena said “Okay, with the next wave, go ahead and push her out”.
Then my body didn’t react. You know that feeling when you KNOW something is supposed to happen and nothing does? It’s that odd-the-world-stops-moving-feeling, and that’s what I was feeling. I realized I didn’t need to push AGAINST my body (like make myself push down) and I felt like that would not be a good thing to do… and then Melena said again “Okay, go ahead and push with the next wave”.
It was then I realized I needed to get her out. I didn’t know why-it was a calm but firm need. I said “I’m not feeling anything” and I don’t think I voiced it but my voice must have communicated “I NEED HELP” because that’s what I was thinking and voicing in my head.
Melena reached down, put her hand in, and firmly pulled-and I pushed down at the same time. Shaphirah’s body came, thank the Lord-and she was here.
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I looked down, and saw her umbilical cord wrapped tightly around her little neck. Twice. Melena swiftly unwrapped it, and it was a moment of quiet as we waited. She cried, breathed, and it was a relief.
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I really didn’t realize how scary it was until a few days after birth.
Come to find out, (skipping ahead) my placenta detached early-all the keep from suffocating her. I am so so thankful God created my body to do what it needed to-and that my midwife was calm and did not give me any reason to panic.
 
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Those first few minutes-the moments of a brand new baby is magicial. It’s truly a gift from God.
 
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I still hemmoragged-but this time I didn’t mind because I know it was a trade for having my baby here safely. It was also different than my others, and Melena helped me get what my body needed. It was the BEST “after birth” experience I’ve had….though with my uterus actually contracting like it’s made to do (which it’s never done correctly before), the “afterbith” pains where just awful. That and the fundal massage….that was worse pain than the birth by FAR.
I never thought I would have an almost “painless” birth experience-but I can say the emotional outcome is incredible. That, coupled with Shaphirah being a total champ at nursing…man. It’s been so so good.
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Paul got to cut her cord after it stopped pulsing (delayed cord cutting)
 
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and my Mama brought Kyra and Noriah to come meet their sister before church. Shaphirah was just an hour old-and the girls were so excited!!
I got an IV of fluids and a ton of juice and water in my system, and that helped the bleeding. I still couldn’t get up, because when I tried I almost passed out. In fact, I DID pass out the one time I got to the bathroom-which I have no memory of. That is SO weird and the first birthing time I passed out in.
While I was getting attention from my birth team, Paul got to bond with our newest daughter.
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Next up was all the stats-weighing, and measuring how big she was.
 
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I was surprised to hear that she was 8.14-the same as her sister Kyra, and bigger than I thought! Her body was more curly so I thought she would be smaller but she wasn’t.
 
 
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Her head was 13.5 inches though-which made sense why it was so much easier than her brother’s 15 inches head.
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She was 21 inches long-and has grown quickly since then at 2 inches growth by her 3 week appointment!
 
 
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Then Laura Barton of Mercy Touch massage came to do bodywork on little miss. It was amazing to watch her work with Shaphirah’s tiny body-to relax her muscles and get her body lined up. I asked how she was, and as Laura explained she was really pretty good…except for a few small areas, that included her throat being tight…. “Well, did Melena tell you? The cord was wrapped around her neck twice.” I said. “Oh wow!” She replied.
 
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She was totally relaxed!!!
I was surprised and impressed that she could tell something was up, just from working with her body.
 
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Little miss got her own little photoshoot-which made me smile.
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We are just a little tired 😉

And then I got my turn with little miss. BEST feeling ever.
 
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The hard part? Afterbirth pains. Used lots of Cool Azul Pain relief cream for that. And EO’s for my stomach to feel calm.
Was so so thankful to have them-cause it’s no joke.
 
Also being “down”. It is both incredibly hard and a blessing to be told I can’t get up for a week, and then I can’t do normal housework and mommy stuff the following week.
That is something I never did with my other births-and Melena was very firm about it. I’m glad she was (even though I really hate being told to do things I don’t want to 😛 ) because it made me a better outcome.
 
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Katherine Stanglin (Melena’s assistant and my doula with Noriah’s birth) got there a few minutes after she was born-she was bummed to miss the action but I was glad she got to come and make sure I was okay! She helped me stay still and not overdo it trying to get up.
My birth team rocked-it was honestly my FAVORITE team of all so far.
I felt completely emotionally calm-supported-loved-I mean, it was an experience I would do all over again.
Except the afterbirth 😉 I would skip that. 😛
 
Big brother Kidron got to come see her after church, around 9:30pm…and he liked her.
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Bump photo – 10 minutes before- and an hour after

 
 
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And that’s a wrap of our birth of little miss Shaphirah Kaye <3 We are so thankful she is here, and now a month old!

Birthday pictures on his 1st birthday | Smash Cake session

How cool is it that his 1 year session ended up falling on his actual first birthday?

We had to reschedule his day because of the rain we have had, and we are blessed with gorgeous weather for this handsome little guy.

 

 

Man this year has FLOWN by. Doesn’t it though?

One minute we are sleep deprived and looking for any semblance of energy with a newborn…and then you blink and it’s first birthday planning.

 

You may remember the maternity shoot I did last year with donkeys and cows in the background?
That’s this little guy!

 


 

Big brother wanted to get in a couple pictures-and I don’t blame him!, I mean he is pretty cute in that bowtie and party hat.

If you want to see the fun brother pictures we got at the beginning of the session before we pulled out the cake, click here! 

 

I just love his little face!!

Not now, mom. I just want to touch it!!

This whipped topping cake was really cute to watch him smash. It went EVERYWHERE!!

I’d say the smash cake was a SUCCESS!!!!

Look at those chubby thighs covered with blue icing!


What theme did you use for your little one’s first birthday pictures?

Or maybe you’re like me…. and didn’t use the same, you just found an outfit you loved and went with it!

 

Comment below and tell me 🙂

 


I love birthday sessions- and if you have a little one with a birthday coming up,

 let me know here and I’ll style the perfect session for you!!

Good lookin’ brothers | Tyler Texas Kids Photographer

These good lookin’ brothers make me smile. Big brother A enjoys seeing how I take the pictures, and wants to know what fun we are going to have when he arrives.

 

Little brother is just plain adorable and has a huge grin waiting-and now lots of teeth to show off!!!

He turned a year old ON THE DAY of our session-which was pretty special.

 

To see how adorable he was as a newborn, click here.

Now after all this fun, we had SMASH CAKE time- which is about the most fun you can have with a one year old.

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