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Friday, September 26, 2014

Wisconsin, America's Dairyland: A Photo Dump

This week little Will and I got to accompany husband Will on a recruiting trip to Wisconsin. Basically, the USAF paid for gas and the hotels, so why not take the opportunity for a little family time? We loaded up the car Monday afternoon and headed north. Neither of us really knew anything about Wisconsin going into it, so color us surprised that we ended up having a really great time. Wisconsin is a pretty cool place that we definitely wouldn't have made the effort to visit otherwise. The following is a photo dump documenting our trip, so scroll and skim as you wish.


We arrived in Madison Monday night, and after checking into our hotel, we headed downtown to a local spot called Graze. 

And experienced cheese curds for the first time. Heaven.

While little Will HATES (I mean . . . HATES) the carseat, he otherwise does really well with all other aspects of travel. Here he is fresh and fancy-free after a great night's sleep in the hotel. 

Will had to speak at the UW ROTC detachment Tuesday morning and then conduct informational interviews at the law school all afternoon, so little Will and I headed to the zoo. 

I dressed little Will up in his monkey outfit and took pictures of him with the gorilla.

I should really be stopped. 

But I won't. Never.

Mr. Gorilla gave us the cold shoulder, which is fine because . . .

We were walking away from the lion's den, just the two of us, when we heard loud roaring. I thought it was fake. Maybe it was a recording indicating they were about to feed the lion or something, I don't know, but I decided to turn around and walk back. Lo and behold . . .

It was the real life lion all like, Hey get back here. 

Staring at us so intently, she was literally fogging up the glass.

This was definitely one of those amazing memories I'll have where I experienced something cool just because I was with my kid. I mean, there's no way I would have been at a friggin' zoo if I wasn't with little Will. And he won't even remember it. But I got to hang out with a lion, just because I was hanging out with my baby. Priceless memories, people. I also met up with some Internet friends from this forum, so I should probably also be thanking Mary Clare and Heather, because they're the ones to suggest a zoo visit.

After the zoo and lunch, we were kind of just killing time. I walked and walked and walked all around campus. (The zoo is right next to the campus, so we walked everywhere. Including up this GIANT hill that overlooks the water. Yeah, a lake. I didn't know there was a lake in Madison, WI either.) Will and I hung out in the law school lobby for a bit while we waited so he could crawl around, you know, without eating dirt or grass or cigarette butts. I just kept thinking to myself how very different my life is since was the last time I set foot in a law school. Over here lugging around 20 pounds of books rather than 20 pounds of baby. 

The campus Mall is right outside the law school. Thus, a UW selfie:

"Go badgas."

Little Will even picked me this lush bouquet. Ever the thoughtful son.

He later tried to eat it. 

When Will was finally finished with interviews, we headed out to dinner at the Ale Asylum Brewery (obsessed with their Belgian Style Ale called "Kink") and then set our sights toward Milwaukee.

Man in uniform carrying a chunky baby. A very attractive combo, if I may say so myself.


Just your typical classy drive-by stadium pic:

Will again had informational interviews at the Marquette campus. And, once again, little Will and I had lots of time to kill. Luckily, there are plenty of places to get your Catholic nerd on at Marquette. We started at the Church of the Gesu. We couldn't get into the upper church, but judging by the lower church, I'm sure it's amazing. We hit up confession, my first one with little Will strapped to me, who started waking up just as soon as I kneeled. Quite possibly the quickest confession I've ever had. I then tried my hardest to get into the upper church, but found that every door was locked, and I just went to confession, so I wasn't trying to do some breaking and entering. Maybe next time . . . before confession.

We went to Starbucks for a PSL because white girls in the Fall cannot be stopped.

There were obviously a couple Marquette selfie fails:

And then we ran into Blessed Mother Teresa while we waited for the St. Joan of Arc Chapel to open. I was like Mother Teresa, I am also mother Theresa. Pleased to meet you.

She didn't think my joke was funny.

Then we made it inside the St. Joan of Arc Chapel. It's a medieval chapel that was transported from France by way of Long Island and reconstructed on campus.

Then there were more cute baby on campus in the Fall pics to be taken. What can I say?

We ended our Milwaukee visit in Bayview (I think what the area is called---I just follow wherever Yelp! takes me) at a little restaurant called Cafe Lulu, where, naturally, we tried more local beer!

This one's for Tess

After dinner, I got a milkshake at a little ice cream shop across the street and had the best whipped cream I've ever tasted. I'll never be able to enjoy any other kind of whipped cream ever again.

Then we drove the 6 hours back home.

The end.

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Air Force Ball

Whew. We are back from a little road trip through America's dairyland (HAHAHA at this little post I wrote about giving up dairy), and there is just too much to talk about. I have been crafting posts in my head for about five days because I am wildly sleep-deprived and over-caffeinated, so that's what I'm into lately. I'll start at the top. As I mentioned in my previous post, Will and I were looking forward to getting all schmancy on Saturday to go to our first Air Force Ball. 

First of all, let me just say, I was worried about the prospect of squeezing into my gown. My only formal piece of clothing. A bridesmaid dress that I've worn at least three times. While the number on the scale is the same as pre-baby, apparently the soft tissue of the abdomen area has done some migrating around. I thought I could make do, since like I said, I'd worn this particular dress a few times. I figured it would be a little stretched out, maybe I could pump up to the very last second and then suck it in for a few hours. 

It'd be fine, right?

Well, as these things go, last week little Will wasn't napping, the temp was gloriously in the 60s, and my white-girl-in-the-Fall-ness took over. I was like OMG PUMPKIN!!!! and so  . . . 

I spent an afternoon in the kitchen.


These babes were a real obstacle to the ascent of any zippers. Kallah gave me her modified recipe from here. (Just substitute melted butter for vegetable oil, organic maple syrup for sugar, and use whole wheat flour.) The substitutions take the guilt down a couple of notches, but it doesn't help when you feel "justified" in having like ten cookies instead of two.  

Oh well.

My second obstacle was my hair. I wanted to go extra formal with an updo (especially if I had to go with a less formal knee-length dress, if I couldn't let out enough air to squeeze things in just right), so I took to Pinterest, because you know I am not about hiring a professional. I came across this image:

Easier than it looks! That's right up my alley. 

Of course Kate makes it seem easier than it looks, but when you try and do it yourself with your t-rex arms, it's more along the lines of just plain hard

Alas, I ended up with . . . 

Strange swirlness. . . I don't even know.

I wouldn't call it a #FAIL, but something more along the lines of #CLOSEENOUGH. A woman at the ball even asked me where I got my hair done (yes, I was way too excited about her asking), so maybe you'd call it a #WIN. Or, she was just trying to determine which hair salon to avoid. I know I should have stopped using hashtags about four sentences ago. Forgive me. Sometimes I try too hard to be clever.

Here is the side view, showing off the thirty minute ordeal that was that little braid, oh, and my earrings:

I would normally crop such a photo, but the football game and the breast pump in the background is just too perf.

I spent basically the entire afternoon getting ready and/or caring for Will and/or taking selfies to send to my mom to ask, "ARE YOU SURE IT LOOKS OKAY?!" Seventy-three bobby pins were carefully affixed upon my noggin, my abdomen was laboriously deflated and precariously squeeeeezed into my overpriced gown, and we finally headed out the door. We dropped baby Will off with some friends and snapped a quick family gem:

Little Will is not impressed with any of our tired efforts.

Anyway . . . Indeed, we had fun! We knew going into it that there wasn't going to be a lot of food. They were serving heavy hors d'oeurves (<--- much too difficult a word to spell, America), which was fine with me because I wasn't fitting any food in there. There was a cash bar, thank goodness. I needed the social lubrication. The theme was "Today's Heros, Tomorrow's Legacy." Some badass servicemembers were honored, of course. Then there was the band that played a few songs . . . 

. . . until they switched to a DJ who played every hip hop line dance (is that what you'd call them?) under the sun. I was taken back to my college laxer days when we would warm up for the warm up by doing the Cupid Shuffle. It was a very serious ritual where every member of the team had to be present. Team sports can be so weird. In a good way. 

I even managed to coax a sober Will Brez onto the dance floor.

Still clings to winning a 5th grade dance-off. Wanted to retire his dance skills on a "high note."

The highlight of the night was when we won a door raffle. Basically, they were going through the prizes (e.g., fast food gift cards, etc.) that were all "meh". . . but our ears perked up when they announced a $50 Schlafly gift card. Craft beer enthusiasts here, as you know. We've already done the Schlafly tour and eaten at their restaurant, as documented on someone else's blog entirely. And we won it! I was probably too embarrassingly excited when I went up in front of everybody to retrieve our prize, but I didn't care. I think I may have raised the roof. I smell a date night like blood in the water . . . . 

Things got real crazy when the mess dress jackets came off and we were introduced to the phenomenon that is party sleeves. A mullet in shirt form that may only be purchased in Korea. 

Thus concludes the story of our first Air Force Ball. 'Twas a night full of surprises.

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Friday, September 19, 2014

JAG Life: The Military Lifestyle

Okay, I'm back discussing the JAG life. Last time, there was that snooze fest where I talked about what my husband does all day long. Now I'm diving into my extensive 10 months experience with the military lifestyle. Hold onto those socks and prepare yourself for acronyms. 

Getting Orders. I talked about the agonizing wait to get our orders here, which seems to be pretty normal for those first orders. Your orders is a little piece of paper that tells you when and where to report when you are entering active duty. You and your loved ones need this piece of paper for everything: getting military housing, a military ID, health insurance, in order to cancel your existing lease, etc. etc. etc. 

Ours took forever to get because Congress couldn't pass a budget and there was a government shutdown, but that will never happen again, right? . . . RIGHT?!

"I think we're in the right place."

PCSing aka Permanent Change of Station. The military lifestyle is most famous for making its peoples move every 2 to 3 years. I think in the Navy you get 4, no? Anyway, moving can be a real chore, especially when you do it all yourself. I blogged a bit about that here and here. To be honest, though, it was financially a great deal because we got paid to move ourselves. And since our orders took forever we were in a dire financial situation and that basically helped us pay off some debt we acquired during that lovely time period!

Next time, we will be having the movers come. Basically, the military sends people to pack up your belongings while you awkwardly sit around supervising, and then they send another set of people to move all the boxes out of your house. At your new place, more people will come and unpack everything for you! I've heard a lot of stuff gets damaged, but stuff will always get damaged, even if you move it yourself. Rest in pieces, old big screen TV and coffee table . . . . 

Our next door neighbors are currently in the process of PCSing to Italy! This means that there are constantly movers and big trucks sitting in front of our house. Those movers can be interesting looking folks, I won't lie. But they seem friendly enough! I don't care what you look like, just handle my belongings gently . . . . !

For our next duty station (which probably won't be for another two years), we have our fingers crossed for either somewhere super close to family, orrrrrr . . . Europe. Go big or go home.

This is our house. Easily double the living space of our last apartment. Five times the size of our first apartment.

Living on Base. This obviously depends on the base, but we really enjoy living on base here at Scott. While we don't have a gourmet kitchen or anything, it is very comfortable and, to us at least, HUGE. There is an entire room on our first floor housing only a bookcase and a pack n play. Gone are the days of our cramped one-bedroom studio apartment.

When we moved here I assumed there would be, like, awesome military team-building block parties, but it's pretty quiet. I stalk my neighbors pretty hard and have been trying to do a better job of making real life friends. I sound pathetic, but whatever - it's working! And we do go to parties about once every other month with people from Will's office.

The biggest perk of living on base is Will's non-commute. He gets to come home for lunch pretty much every day. And his commute is approximately 8 minutes if there's no line at the gate.

In this area, it was really the best bang for our buck. Will's BAH is taken out to cover rent and utilities (gas, electric, water, and waste are all covered!). It's just money and a bill that we never see, which I like because I handle the finances. We are given an allotment for gas and electric, and if you use less than your allotment you get that money back. We are set to receive about $180 back right now, hence, the A/C is off right now because I'm all about getting a payday when we move out. Huzzah. Word on the street is that the military rental people like to hit you up with charges (just like any rental company - I hope you are enjoying that brand new carpet I paid for current resident of Citation Club!!!), so it will probably definitely go toward that.

Sure, there are also loud planes and trains that goes by, the occasional EOD or firing squad perhaps (not joking), but these aren't really that noticeable to us. In Miami, we lived directly on highway US-1. I guess it's all relative. Baby Will's sound machine is always set to full blast. 

Shopping at the Commissary. It's a real experience.

First of all, it's always packed.


It's no wonder. Everything is sold at cost and tax-free, with a small charge for overhead. Stuff is cheap! But I think I've found my sweet spot, which is the Wednesday BEFORE pay day. I've found that this is generally when things are well-stocked and the prices are the lowest. It was pretty crowded, the checkout line was really long, but I just threw some Puffs at Will and it was all good. Totally worth it.

I've also had pretty good luck with finding good organics. They have a separate organics section for produce and everything else, BUT there's no organic meat. You can find Perdue cage-free "natural" chicken, but no certified organic meat, which is a bummer.

Some other random commissary deets:

  • You can't check out without your military ID, even if you have a visitor pass that gets you on base. This was a real bummer when my parents were in town visiting to help me take care of baby Will right after he was born. I was NOT in any position to leave the house, but we would need something, so my parents would have to drive further away to Walmart to pick up anything we needed.
  • You have to tip the baggers. That's the only money they make! They bag your stuff and take it out to your car. If I was a single lady this would bother me a lot because I wouldn't really want or need their services, but now that I have a little person with me every time, it's a huge help. I usually tip 5%. 
  • Everyone uses paper bags. It was like twilight zone when I realized this. Everyone was asking for paper bags and I felt like the odd man out requesting plastic. What is it about paper that I wasn't realizing?! And then I noticed the GIANT sign behind the cashiers stating, "Please help keep costs down by requesting paper!" Got it.
  • They accept all manufacturers' coupons. I am not a big couponer, but I see people with their double carts and their big coupon binders going all crazy with the coupons. More power to ya. 
  • Alcohol is sold separately at the Exchange (where the gas station is). The alcohol at the Exchange is also a great deal! But you will pay buttloads for a stinkin' gallon of ice cream. Priorities, I guess. 
TDYs aka Temporary Duty Assignments. One word, JAGGYs: ALABAMA. TDYs are basically trainings you get sent to. Lots of sexual assault trainings, trial advocacy courses, etc. I think Will went to an environmental one and he has an operations one coming up. I think in my last post, he is basically gone, on average, for one week every 1.5 months. Give or take.

Will has been to Maxwell AFB three times for a total of 12 weeks in the 10 months since commissioning and going active duty. JAG School was 9 weeks, then another was one week, and this past one was two weeks. That doesn't even include officer training, which is more time spent in the beautiful Alabama sun. A few months ago Will went to Seattle, which was pretty cool, a bit of a change of pace. 

Deployments. You can't talk military without talking deployments. Obviously, Will hasn't been deployed yet. He has been given a 6-month timeframe of when he could leave for a deployment. I will just say, this makes for tricky family planning as we would like to add to our family. However, we'd also prefer Will to be present for the birth of our second child and for him not to leave me with a 2-week-old again. The whole bit about him actually being gone for 6 months is just something I haven't even wrapped my mind around yet!

Anyway, JAGs can be deployed anywhere in the world, including in the continental United States. While at Miami, we met a woman who was technically deployed in Miami. Fingers are crossed for a Miami deployment, but it's much more likely it would be to a hostile foreign area.

Air Force Balls. This is when you leave the house and get all fancy schmancy and schmooze. I am going to my first ball tomorrow tonight. I will be sure to report back.

7 things!!! Linking up with Jen.

And I hear Will pulling into the driveway now! Hooray!

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Cheers to Health

It's so good to be home.

My dad was here for one day, and in that single day, he mowed our lawn, detailed our car (I'm talking washed, vacuumed, and scrubbed inside and out!), and even did some laundry. That guy does not sit still. Both of my parents are like that, actually. (Remember when my mom ran a marathon?) They seem to have endless, boundless energy during the day, unable to sit still and having to stay occupied lest they just explode.

I think that quality skipped a generation. Little Will seems to have it:

Exhibit A. Will shows off his new favorite activity of screaming at the top of his lungs.

Me? Pass the coffee, please. Like, I may go momma bear on you, but you can say I have the energy of a hibernating momma bear. 

(Pause to yawn.)

Speaking of coffee, when my Duggars finished playing on the DVR, the Dr. Oz program was showing a segment on addiction. Not just any addiction. Coffee addiction. I am only drinking about 4 cups per day right now, which is good for me, but when I stop, I definitely go through withdrawals. Dr. Oz says this is a sign of addiction. When I got pregnant with Will, I went from drinking 6+ cups per day to 0 cups per day, and I am pretty sure my "morning sickness" was actually caffeine withdrawals. We'll never know. 

Fascinating stuff.

So, I'm on a health kick right now, trying to eat better. I think I've mentioned before that my mom is a super crunchy, hippie propaganda pusher. Seriously, when I visit her house, she sneak attacks my eczema patches with coconut oil laced with lavender oil. She finally convinced me to give up dairy and go low(er) carb to see if it helps with my skin issues and overall well-being. "It all originates from the gut!"she says. I don't know. But almond milk! Not so bad.

Oh, and remember the marathon Will and I were going to run on Sunday? I've been kicking myself for weeks because I keep meaning to mention it, but I kept forgetting. You see, what happened was . . . of course, the Air Force decided to send Will away for the two weeks leading up to the marathon (he returns tomorrow night, late) and for the four days immediately following, so travel-wise it was just not happening. We did a 13-hour drive on Wednesday, Will would have driven 9 hours on Friday night, Saturday would have been a 6 hour drive, followed by a casual 26.2 MILE RUN ON SUNDAY MORNING, and a 6 hour drive back on Sunday afternoon with post-marathon seizing limbs.

We are crazy, but we aren't that crazy. 

Don't get me wrong. I was at the point where I was looking for every excuse to get out of it. I kind of pooped out at 12 milers anyway. Which just so happens to be when DEATH SUMMER fell upon St. Louis. 

But guess what this means. Now we get to go to the Air Force Ball! Getting all fancy schmancy twice in one month might just get to my head. Fashion blogging, here I come!!!! (Side Note: Boyfriend jeans. I bought some. Best decision ever.) J/K. But I'm planning on wearing this dress that I wore as a bridesmaid in my law school friend's wedding. I should probs drop a Hail Mary or seven for God's favor that it zips over the new post-baby bosom. 

I don't know how to wrap this up other than to say that little Will is beckoning me from his crib, so I must be going. His two bottom teeth finally popped through and he seems to have contracted a little bug, possibly from those 5 straight hours he spent screaming in his carseat during our trip home. I still have the itsy bitsy spider song stuck in my head. Where it will be on repeat forever and ever. 

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Mom's Night Out

As I briefly mentioned last week, I made the 14 hour drive from St. Louis to Maryland with our two dogs and a car-seat-hating 7-month-old. Why would I put myself through that again? Well, to witness the certain nuptials of a dear, dear high school friend, that's why. And I will make whatever sacrifices are necessary for some free wine and crabcakes. 

The trip over was . . . okay. My mom flew out to St. Louis just so she could drive back to Maryland with me. (Will is TDY in Alabama, naturally.) We left Saturday around noon, so that my mom could have some time to visit with Will, and then we stopped in Charleston, WV for the night. My dad is actually driving back with us today (and flying back home to Maryland on Thursday).

To the meat of this post. 

My mom generously offered to babysit little Will on the night of the wedding, so that I could be baby-free at the wedding festivities. I was super anxious about how baby Will would handle being away from me all night, being that he hated the babysitter and separation anxiety would rear its ugly head whenever I desperately needed some time away from him for work and/or sanity. But bringing little Will alone to a church just terrified me. His new favorite activity, especially in church, is ripping my glasses off my face and beating me with them while screeching at the top of his lungs (which he demonstrated for all at Sunday's mass). 

He doesn't get it from me.

church photo

Spoiler: He didn't cry once the whole time he was at my mom's . . . he only (surprise surprise!) got a little cranky in the car when my mom drove to meet me at mass the next morning. And obviously was back to being a rager for the actual mass. 

Anywho, I was really excited to get all gussied up and have a big night out with mah girlfraynds. 

Parents of the bride in the background!! AKA Crazy Carl and Momma K.

{Dress deets. I used my fashionable friend's gold membership to get a killer deal, btw.} Everyone who commented on this picture on Instagram, A+ bang up job. Your checks are in the mail. 

The three of us were pretty shocked when we met up with each other and realized we were all wearing black to a wedding. And even more shocked when we got to the wedding and realized that we were the only ones wearing black. I mean, it is unofficially Fall! 

We were NOT shocked, however, when upon hearing our destination was a Catholic Church, our cabbie hesitantly asked whether we were headed to "a wedding . . . " with his voice trailing off because he rightfully feared we were headed to a funeral instead. As I struggled to walk in my heels (hey - it had been a while), I just kept thinking of the final scene from Death Becomes Her where Meryl and Goldie are tripping over their decomposing selves to Bruce Willis's funeral.

And since my personal photographer, Will Brez, was not at the wedding,
this lousy pic of the back of my dress is all I got.

The reception was at a really cool barn out in the country. The food was out of this world and I totally looked pregnant by the end of the dinner of steak and crabcakes. (I am convinced that the little black dress will be a fab maternity option when the time comes. Just thinking ahead and rationalizing the expensive purchase!)

Because I am the largest turd (FIGURATIVELY speaking here), I decided it was cool to hold up the women's bathroom line at an open bar/wine bottles on the table reception, so that I could pump.

Yes, I took a picture of it to send to Will because I'm a crazy broad and that's how I do. I came out of the stall to see about ten women anxiously waiting to use the bathroom. Oops. 

There was plenty of dancing, plenty of pumping, and perhaps a bit too much wine for this lightweight. The night was capped off with a midnight bedtime where I closed my eyes and did not open them again until 7AM. Seven straight hours of sleep had me feeling like a NEW WOMAN when I woke up, despite having to tiptoe around so as to not wake my temporary roomies.

It was a good night. 

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Photography Tips for the Eager New Mom

mom blog photography tips

If you couldn't tell, I take wayyy too many photos of #babybillybrez (that's really his hashtag - I'm the worst). But! Something tells me I'm not the first new mom to do this, and that I won't be the last. At least maybe I can impart some photography tips I've learned to take presentable looking photos with minimal training and even minimal-er editing. It's the silver lining I thought up just now. 

Professional photographers go ahead let out a collective sigh because I am avoiding your services at all cost! (Unless you catch me in a moment of weakness. Fine.) 

Anyway, sometimes I get lucky and take some decent looking photos to post on my blog. And people are all like dang girl you got it going on (no one has ever said that to me but you get the point). So, here's what I do. 

(Note: Camera and lens deets are over here. Nothing fancy.) 

Lighting - So important. Natural light is the best, as they say. But I don't know about you, I'm not typically schlepping around my giant Nikon bag when I'm out and about in the sunshine. And photo shoots outside? Ehhh. Seems like a bit too much effort to do on a daily basis (i.e., how often I snap photos of my offspring). Put that baby by a window and call it a job well done.

I know that a simple lighting reflector can work wonders when taking photographs, but look. We're new moms. We don't have an extra set of hands for that (usually). So when the lighting looks good (like when happen to be bathing your baby in the sink and the light is hitting perfectly just so), make someone take over bath time so you can get to snappin'.

Aperture Mode - I used to think that in order to take nice pictures, you just had to take pictures in manual mode. When I have one hand on my wobbly baby and another on my camera, I do not have time to adjust shutter speed. I don't know what Pinterest article led me to aperture mode, but I'm so glad we are friends now. Let the camera adjust shutter speed for you. You deserve it.

I like to keep my f-stop in the 2 to 4 range when I'm taking baby portraits. Based on the f-stop I want, I set my ISO, and keep an eye on what the camera is giving me for a shutter speed. Since the little guy is moving, I try for this to be above 1/200s at a minimum. (When he was a fat, immobile blob I could get away with a slower shutter speed, around 1/100s.) For indoor lighting, I'm usually at a 400 or 800 ISO.

This is f/2.8. ISO 800. 1/640 shutter speed. 100% cuteness.

Exposure Compensation - My noob self finally figured out how to adjust exposure compensation on my D3100 via this tutorial and it has been amazing for indoor photography when you don't have the free hands to shoot in manual mode (which for me, is always). A little +.3 or +.5 on the exposure compensation (it's that little +/- symbol on your camera - I had to go into the menu on my camera to find it, but it's an adjustment of two clicks), will change your life

Exposure compensation is how little Will doesn't look like a dark shadow with all that backlight coming in from the window:

f/3.2. ISO 800. 1/400s. +.3 exposure compensation.

Photo editing - Please. Ain't nobody got time for that. I hit up the occasional crop and/or straightening in Picasa. (Phone apps are a different story - filters are a weakness and I could tinker around all day in Afterlight and VSCOcam.)

Oh, and having your subject(s) in focus is always a plus. But sometimes ya gotta share anyway. In which case, it's always better to slap a black and white filter on that bad boy. 

See? Now it's totally Instagram worthy. 

What tips and tricks do you use when you are documenting the ever-important milestones of your cherished offspring? Drop me that knowledge down there in the combox! I'd be ever so grateful.