5 on Friday {Island Life}

Hello!  Happy Friday!  This is the third night in a row my baby has slept through the night, so I’m feeling good and got up early.  I’m getting some ‘me time’ to drink my tea and write a Friday blog post!


1.  I was driving around my Island yesterday trying to get my kids to take a little nap before we went on to our next thing and it hit me that I live on a Freaking Island. Like seriously, I was thinking is this real life?  We have to drive over a bridge to get off the island, there are palm trees, and we can walk to the beach.  It’s the cutest island ever with like 3 playgrounds in walking distance from our house and has the cutest houses I’ve ever seen.  I can’t get enough of walking around.  We also have a strip of restaurants and stores just a 10 minute walk from our house.  Oh and one of the coolest cities ever (San Fransisco) is just a 20 minute drive over the coolest bridge.  I really couldn’t have dreamt up a more perfect place to live.


2.  Speaking of my baby sleeping through the night, he actually started doing it a few months ago and then the last month has been going through this crazy ‘leap’ of cognitive growth and sleep regression.  Thank goodness we are almost done with it!  If you have a baby and find that every few weeks or so he’s fussier then normal, or not sleeping as well check out the app the Wonder Weeks.  It doesn’t fix the fussiness but it at least tells you why and how long its going to last.


3.  You guys, I just got a gym membership two days ago and used it for the first time yesterday!  I went to a barre class and it was awesome.  This is the first time I’ve really worked out since before I was pregnant with Sebastian, so like 4 years ago.  I was able to mostly keep up with the group and didn’t feel like I was dying too much…and the after effects were great.  I really felt great all day (after the initial dizziness and shakiness went away). And so far, I just feel a tiny bit sore today, but I always feel more sore two days after the fact, so we’ll see how tomorrow goes.  I only have about 3 pounds left of pre-pregnancy weight on me, but I still feel way squishier then I did before. And the instructor had some amazing arms…I wouldn’t mind having arms like hers… At this gym you can take your kids to childcare for up to two hours a day, which will give me a little break to workout, shower, or just sit in the back of the gym at the bar with my laptop getting work done.  There is also a decent climbing wall so Matt and I have talked about dropping the kids off at the daycare and going climbing together.


4.  Speaking of work, my photo business is picking up some steam here and I’m so excited.  I think I also may have discovered an untapped market here and something I’m really excited about doing.  I don’t want to talk about it yet (I don’t want to jinx it), so be looking for blog posts in the coming months of shoots I haven’t really done before. I also have my friend (and college roommate) working on revamping my website/brand a little and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with.  She always does an amazing job!  Also, if you are on Instagram and want to follow along on with my business, check out and ‘follow’ my new photography page. https://www.instagram.com/silverleafphotos/


5.  Today we are off to a place called Little Farm in Berkeley.  I think it’s basically a petting zoo, which I know Sebastian will love.  He’s so sweet and say’s ‘hi’ to every animal he sees so this place should be right up his alley.  My boys and I get out of the house 4-5 times a week (mostly with our friends) and we are always finding new, fun places to explore.  I love being a stay at home mom and couldn’t imagine having it any other way at this point.


I hope everyone has a happy Friday!



Easter Baskets 2017

This is my second year in a row participating in the Easter basket blog hop and my 3rd year posting pics of my kid’s Easter baskets.  This year is extra special because I got to put together 2 Easter baskets!  I really enjoy doing themed baskets each year.  Last year for Sebastian I did a Cars theme.  This year I didn’t quite do as much as I normally do.  It turns out being a stay at home mom makes it harder.  I can’t just stop by the stop to pick up a few items on my way to pick them up from daycare anymore.  Jess from secrets of a stay at home mom made Sebastian’s basket last year and had to mail me the cutouts this year to make Sawyer a matching basket.  Thanks again Jess!  Miss you guys!




Sebastian’s Camping/Outdoor themed Easter basket

We are taking Sebastian (and Sawyer) on their first big camping trip this summer.  Since moving to CA, I have been super anxious to start checking out all the nationals parks within a 15 hour drive.  This year we have decided to meet some friends (who live in Denver) at the Grand Canyon!  I have never been and hopefully the trip will be a success (with a 3 year old and 6 month old).  Sebastian’s basket includes a bathing suit (from Nana) and sunglasses (that don’t break!).  A bubble gun, flashlight, rocket stomper and glow in the dark bracelets for camping.  I also include a chocolate bunny every year because my sisters and I had them in our baskets growing up.


Sawyer’s Baby/Baby food themed Easter basket

Sawyer is a little over 4 months old and we will be starting solids in a month or two.  I figured the Easter basket would be the perfect way to start stocking up on baby food items.  Sawyer got a matching bathing suit and sunglasses.  I can’t wait to match the boys this summer!  For feeding he got silicone bibs, reusable food pouches for when I make baby food, and suction bowls.  I also threw in some cute bandana bibs because he drools like crazy.



I enjoyed linking up and seeing what everyone else did for their Easter baskets.  See you next year!

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Spring Mini Sessions 2017 Part I

I’ve done Spring mini sessions every year for the past few years, but I’d have to say that this year was the best.  I mean, we are in California with super green grass and the most gorgeous weather!  I saw a post a couple weeks ago on a Facebook mommy group page with someone wanting to do a playdate where they could take Spring pictures of their kids.  I offered up my services and the rest is history!  I had 12 families total come and it couldn’t have gone better!  I was a little nervous that it would be a bit of a zoo, and somehow I managed to get all 12 families done in 2 and a half hours.  Don’t ask me how I did it, I’m not even sure, but it went incredibly smoothly.  It was so successful that I would like to do this again for summer, fall and winter pictures.  I’ve already been pinning summer session ideas on Pinterest like mad.  Think watermelons and a camping scene!


Here are my favorites from the day!  Be on the lookout for part II tomorrow.






















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Sawyer 4 months


Sawyer is 4 months old and he is getting so much fun.  He loves ‘talking’ and laughing with people.  Not sure if it’s still too early to tell, but looks like we may have another little social butterfly on our hands.  Sorry Matt, but you may have 3 extroverts on your hands…  He’s also really ticklish and I just live for his giggles and smiles!

We seem to be going through some big crazy cognitive growth spurt as he’s been pretty fussy lately and only wants to be held.  It can be tiring especially when I’m sitting and holding him staring at the messy house but I keep reminding myself that he won’t want to be held for long and to enjoy it.

His hair is thinning out quite a bit on top (and is rubbed off in the back).  But in the sunlight you can see these tiny little RED baby hairs growing in. His eyebrows have always been red and I’m thinking we’ll finally get our redhead.  I’m so excited!  He makes such a cute little redhead.  He is wearing mostly 9 month clothes and I’ve put one 12 month sleep and play on him and it fits pretty well.  I feel like I’m constantly cleaning his closet out because he’s growing so fast!

I’m about 5-6 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight and my old clothes are starting to fit much better.  It feels so good to feel and look more like myself again!  Nursing is still going pretty well but this boy eats so much I feel like I’m just barely keeping up with him supply wise.  I’m definitely looking forward to starting him on solids in a couple months!


Stats: 16.2 pounds (99th percentile!) 27 inches (67th percentile) 

Likes:  Listening to mommy and daddy talk and sing to him. Watching big brother.  Playing on his play mat and batting at toys.

Dislikes:  Recently being laid down anywhere by himself.  All he wants to do is be held.

Nicknames:  Buddy butt (bet you can’t guess who calls him this…)

Firsts: First time meeting Uncle Paul and Aunt Sarah, Nana’s first visit to California,

Milestones: Rolls over from front to back (but not back to front yet), loves being tickled and is super ticklish, put objects into his mouth (and chomps like crazy).  Dr. said no teeth yet…he’s just practicing.

Sleep: So he was sleeping through the night but is going through sleep regression and gets up 1-3 times a night.  This is new territory to me because Sebastian never did this.  Luckily when he does wake up, he eats and falls right back asleep.

Sebastian’s reactions to Sawyer:  Sebastian really couldn’t love his little brother more.  You can also tell that he just desperately wants to play with him.  When we put Sawyer in his bumbo chair, Seb will sit in front of him and put toys on his tray (usually cars) and talk to him.  When Sawyer is crying Sebastian will go to him and say “It’s ‘otay’ Sawyer, I’m here.

A look back:

Sebastian 4 months

Sawyer 3 months

Sawyer 2 months

Sawyer 1 month

Kline Family Portraits

I met Lesley and her two kids at the park within the first couple weeks of living in California.  I’m pretty sure we spotted each other across the park…we were both wearing babies that looked close to the same age and chasing crazy boys around the playground.  She is another stay at home mom and we get together about 4 times a week for playdates and soccer classes and have even snuck away from the kids a couple times for shopping and drinks.  It was talking with Lesley about taking our kids to the park to take some photos that got the gears turning in my head about restarting my photo business. I’ll have to say taking photos of her sweet little family was a great way to get back into it!


This is Esme.  She is 6 months old and the sweetest, happiest baby…and those blue eyes!



Big brother Henry.  Oh Henry, it’s the sweetest when you tell Esme “I love you baby”.

That dimple and blond wispy hair!

Henry looks JUST like daddy.


These next two are my favorites.  I can’t get enough of these fun candid family moments!




I am dying over these palm trees! I can’t believe that I live in a place with so many palm trees and a 20 minute walk (5 minute drive) from the beach!

Baby blues.

Okay, now I want photos like this of me and my baby!

Bringing back my photo business

For those of you who have followed my blog, it’s no secret that my photo business has been on the back burner the last few years.  The year I had Sebastian I had 14 weddings, lots of engagement and family sessions all while teaching full time.  To tell you the truth, I just got extremely burned out that year and knew I couldn’t do all 3.  Photography is what ended up taking a hit. I continued to do a few weddings a year and a few portrait shoots here and there but nothing like what it was, and I was okay with that.  Actually, I hated leaving my family so much on the weekends and missing out on things so much that it made me dislike photography there for a while.  Once I got to the shoot I was fine and had a good time but it was the leading up to it that I dreaded.


Now that I am a stay at home mom, and settled in a new state, I’m starting to itch to get back to it.  I haven’t lost my touch, I mean I have two of the most adorable boys who are probably the most photographed kids on the planet.  I feel now that I am home with them during the week, I won’t mind, in fact, I’m sure I’ll love to get out every now and then to do a shoot.  I may not jump back into weddings right away, but I would love to start doing family portraits again.  And I mean, come on, the bay area is just gorgeous…I don’t think it will be possible to take a bad picture.


So hopefully what that means is you’ll start seeing a few more sessions on the blog (in addition to personal posts).  It may take a while to it get going again being in a new area and all and starting from scratch but I’ve done it twice already so starting is nothing new.  I have a few ideas and a couple places I can reach out to try and drum up some business.  Basically I’m not going to put any pressure on it. I’m going to just put it out there and if I end up getting a shoot or two a month, then great!


My Plans in the next two months:

1: Update website info to California.

2: Start an Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/silverleafphotos/  Follow along if you’d like!  I will surely be posting pics of my two boys as well as client work and mini session info (see number 3).

3: Scout out locations: using my two little models and some great light.

4: Hold family mini sessions and advertise on local mama Facebook page.

5: Come up with a ‘bag of tricks’ on how to get kids to smile.  I already have a ton of ideas for this one!

Adventures in CA part I

In an attempt to start blogging more, I’m starting a series for my little blog called Adventures in CA.  With Matt working at a start up company, you never know how long the job will last and how long we’ll get to stay here…maybe 6 months – a year, maybe forever.  With that in mind, I’m trying to make sure our family takes advantage of living here and try to do all the things.


1.  First day exploring the city

I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t so excited about this.  Christie and I had just made the 4 day journey from Indiana-CA with the two little ones.  I wanted to take her to SF for some sightseeing before she headed back to Boston but it was not love at first sight for me.  I think I was just a little over-whelmed from the trip and the city.  Here we are taking a bus ride to the train.



2.  First trip to wine country

This day was so much fun.  It may have helped a little that for the first time in like 11 months, I got to drink.  I fed Sawyer and then indulged in a few wine tastings.  We met some (long time) friends who live in Denver and their cousin’s family.  Overall we had 6 adults, 7 kids (2 of them were babies) and 2 dogs.  We were quite the group!



3. Union Square, a trolley ride, and Fisherman’s wharf

The second time in the city went a lot better.  I met up with the friend from Denver and her kids and the day couldn’t have gone better.  The kids were great and had so much fun playing together.  Even though there were a few problems with the trolley’s, we had a perfect day.16388001_10106328192099187_4711943217682743542_n  16406694_10106328191999387_2636388060683925484_n


4. Exploratorium

Matt’s mom bought Sebastian a membership to this fun science museum for his birthday.  We’ve only been once so far but plan to go back asap (and ride the ferry to get there).

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5.  Golden Gate Park

The kids and I met my sister-in-law here for a playdate/picnic lunch.  This park is awesome and Sebastian had a blast.  It also really showed me how much Sebastian is like me.  He’s such a social butterfly and was busy making friends the entire time we were there.  I just love this about him!  I didn’t take any pics while here…blogger fail.  I really need to clean a whole bunch of photos off my phone so I quit running out of storage.


I have a list of so many things I want to do and can’t wait to do them all.  I also can’t wait for family and friends to come visit so I can show off this awesome place!

Early to Rise {5 on Friday}

I can’t get back to sleep for some reason so I finally got up and put water on to boil for some tea and you guys will actually get a five on Friday post today!  I’m going to be regretting only getting 5 hours of sleep later but at least it’s Friday!  It also feels pretty great to get a bit of me time!


1.  Speaking of sleep…Sawyer is 3 months old and is not sleeping well.  No surprise right?  Well, it is to us.  Sebastian was the best baby, if you’ve read this blog for a while this is not news to you.  He was sleeping through the night at 2 months old.  We definitely didn’t expect this with him and were pleasantly surprised.  Once he started sleeping through the night, (unless he was teething or sick) he continued to do so.  Sawyer was having the exact same sleep patterns as Sebastian did up until a couple weeks ago (sleeping 9-10 hours at a time at 2 months old) so we thought we were in the clear with him as well.  Well last night (and the last several nights) he didn’t go to sleep for the night until after midnight and woke up at 5am to eat.  (and for some weird reason today I couldn’t get back to sleep).  Hopefully it’s just a 3 month sleep regression and he will get back on track soon?? Sebastian has been going to bed pretty late too…not until around 10…am I supposed to admit that??  He’s just wide awake when it’s time for bed. Is it time to drop his afternoon nap?  Please say no!   But at least that means nobody (usually including myself) wakes up until 8 or 8:30. The time change this weekend is going to make this even worse.  Ugh.


2.  In better news my mom is coming the end of next week!  This was totally a last minute decision and the plane tickets got booked last night.  Matt has decided he is either going to fly or drive back (hopefully fly) to NC to tie up a bunch of lose ends at the house.  We left in such a hurry that so many things didn’t get finished…several bags of trash were left, a bunch of things in the garage, a live wire in the attic??, holes all over the walls in the house and it desperately needs paint.  We were quoted over $5,000 to get all these things fixed up for us so hopefully we can save a bunch of money by having Matt go back.  And bonus, I get to show my mom around this awesome city and spend a whole week with her!  We have someone lined up to rent the house for a year starting first week of April (a hopefully at the end of that year buy it).


3. Ever since we moved here it has been raining a lot in the bay area.  Everyone says this is extremely rare but it’s been doing it ever since we moved mid-January.  It would rain for several days, then be nice for a couple and then more rain.  These last couple months of rain have fixed any drought problems CA has had for the last several years.  It looks like the rain is finally gone and we have started getting beautiful weather in the high 60s and even some low 70s!  I’m so excited for the typical not too hot, not too cold CA weather!  It really is perfect.  Since we walk everywhere (and usually with a baby strapped to my chest) it would be pretty miserable to have too hot weather.  And I hate, hate, hate being cold so it’s pretty great that it doesn’t get below 50.


4.  Sebastian has this sore on his cheek.  It started out as a little scratch and he picked it into a huge sore.  He keeps picking and picking and its been there for months.  This is the third time he has done this in the last year with a sore on his face but this one is worse because its on his left cheek and when he sucks his thumb, his fingers are in perfect positioning to pick at it.  I spent two weeks putting hydrocortisone cream on it every five minutes but he still finds the one time I forget (or at night) and picks until it bleeds.  I then bought a huge box of round Bandaids and after a couple days of putting them on him 24/7, he developed a circle rash from the adhesive that made the sore 10x worse.  My mom suggested I buy hypoallergenic bandaids and will get those in the mail today.  I really hope this works because he’s also started picking at a sore on his chin.  I’ve edited the sore out of most of the pictures I post because it’s just not pretty and I really want my baby’s pretty little face back.  So frustrating!


5.  Living in a city with 2 dogs is a pain.  Especially when you have kids.  We have a tiny little yard but the dogs hate it.  You have to force them to go out there.  They are lucky to get one 20 minute walk in the evenings and one bigger hike/dog park visit on the weekends.  But the dog park is the coolest dog park I’ve ever been to.  It’s right on the bay and has a panoramic view of the golden gate bridge, SF and Oakland.  It’s off leash and has a long path to walk and the dogs can also swim in the bay.  It’s also right next to Costco so we can kill two birds with one stone.  If Sawyer ever starts going to bed a little earlier, my plan is to start taking the dogs for a quick walk in the mornings before Matt leaves for work in addition to the ones in the evenings.  I’ve tried taking the dogs on a walk during the day with the kids a couple of times but I’ve gotten this comment “you’ve got your hands full” twice now and it’s certainly not the easiest thing to do.  Sebastian rides his balance bike, Sawyer goes in my carrier which gives me two hands to walk the dogs.  But for some reason Jake always poops twice, Oliver once…it’s a pain picking up poop and stinks even more having to carry it.  It was also really hard finding an apartment in the city with two big dogs.  We love those damn dogs (especially Sebastian), but man are they a pain these days.


6. Bonus!  I’ve been using Instagram a lot more lately.  Even a lot more then Facebook. It’s just so much prettier and so much less political.  If you want to follow along my Instagram handle is @rachaelallex. Click here to start following me if you aren’t already. I also bought two Chatbooks early this year of my Instagram pictures.  This is actually what motivated me to start posting more pictures on there so I can buy more Chatbooks. They are only $8 per book and will make great flip books for when the boys are older.  You can get your first one free if you click here.  All you have to do is download the app, it automatically fills the pages with your Instagram pictures and posts (I love that it has the date on each) and then all you have to do is press the order button.  So easy!


Also, in case you missed it, Sawyer’s 3 month post was published on Monday.  I still can’t get over how huge this kid is…  Cheers to the weekend! I can’t wait to do more exploring…we may go to a beach…we may take the Ferry to SF, we may hang out with the brother-in-law and his family and we’ll probably take the dogs to the park and go to Costco.

Sawyer 3 months


My big boy turned 3 months old on Saturday!  It seems like he has been with us way longer then three months though!  Of course so much has happened in his short little life…meeting lots of family, celebrating Christmas, New Years, Sebastian’s birthday and Valentines day, spending almost 3 weeks in Indiana with grandparents and moving across the country.  His personality is starting to show through a bit and it looks like he going to be just as happy as Sebastian was as a baby.  I’m definitely not mad about that! I love that my babies are so happy!


So far Sawyer isn’t a huge fan of tummy time but is starting to spend a couple minutes on his tummy before getting angry.  He rolled over for the first time on Saturday!  He did it twice in a row and I was hoping for a third time when I got the camera rolling but no such luck.  I tried to get it on video again on Sunday but his rolling was too fast.  He loves his swing but is already about at the max height for it so we won’t be able to use it much longer.  He’ll hang out on his play mat for a good chunk of time batting at his toys.  He’s still sleeping in the pack n’ play in our room.  We only have 2 bedrooms now so once I move him over, he’ll be sharing a room with Sebastian.  I’m not quite ready to do that yet!  Luckily Sawyer isn’t as loud as a sleeper as Sebastian was and doesn’t keep me up at night.


Sawyer has already grown out of so many clothes (and tons of 3 month short sleeve onesies he never wore).  I had to go buy 9 month long sleeve onesies and outfits because the sleeves are too short on his 6 month clothes.  How is my 3 month old already in 9 month clothing!?  Matt is starting to push a little about getting rid of the clothes that are too small but it makes me way too sad to even think about it.  Right now they are hanging out in a bin in the bottom of his closet.


We are totally settled in our California home and loving it.  It feels so much easier getting to walk every where with the boys.  I either put Sawyer in the stroller or carry him in my baby Bjorn.  If he’s tired I have him facing towards me so he can sleep, if he’s awake I turn him around so he can see everything.  We get out of the house at least 4 times during the week.  (last week we got out all 5 mornings)  The unusual rain for CA seems to pretty much be gone and the weather is just beautiful.  I’ll have two little blond (maybe one red…jury is still out) haired California boys in no time!  Sawyer’s hair in the sunlight looks pretty red and his eye brows are definitely red.  He makes such a cute little red head so I hope it gets redder/stays this way.


I’ve finally got my butt in gear and am working to get the rest of this pregnancy weight off.  When I started about 2 weeks ago I still has about 13 pounds to go.  I’ve lost about 3 pounds in those 2 weeks which has really motivated me to keep going and get the last 10 off.  I’m definitely ready to be able to fit back into all my clothes.  My diet so far is 2 hard boiled eggs for breakfast, salad (kit) from Costco (with kale, seeds, dried berries, etc.), snacks of crackers, carrots, fruit, cheese and then whatever we are having for dinner.  Tacos, tilapia, fish, chicken, etc.  I’ve been using the app My Fitness Pal to track calories and have stayed under the count during the week and let myself go a little over on the weekends.  So far that seems to be working pretty well.  I’m still breastfeeding and that is going great.



Likes:  Listening to mommy and daddy talk and sing to him. Watching big brother.  Playing on his play mat and batting at toys.

Dislikes:  He’s not a big fan of tummy time.  He also tends to get a little fussy in the evening (witching hour).

Nicknames:  Sebastian calls him ‘little flubber’ (not sure where he got that from) and ‘little stinker’.

Firsts: First hike, first time riding in the stroller, first time meeting Grandpa and Grandma (Nana Hannah) Allex.  First time I forgot his diapers.  He had the biggest blowout yet, luckily I ate least had wipes.  After cleaning him up I put Sebastian’s underwear on him with a sanitary pad.  Gotta be resourceful as a mama of two!

Milestones: Giggling.  Oh the giggling!  He also gets a dimple in his right cheek when he giggles and I don’t know if that’s just because his cheeks are so chubby or if he actually has a little dimple.  Rolls over from front to back.  He’s also starting to bring objects to his mouth.

Sleep: He is sleeping through the night!  The night after his two month post he had his first 8 hour night.  He has now gone a few 9 and 10 hour stretches.  He typically goes to bed for the night around 10:30 and wakes up between 7:30 and 8:30.

A look back:

Sebastian 3 months

Sawyer 2 months

Sawyer 1 month