Junie the Unicorn by T.J. Mousetis

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There's something ironic and hysterical about having to bribe your 2.5 year old with candy to put on her Halloween costume... so she can go out and collect even more candy from strangers. 😂 June dressed up as a Unicorn this year (again, thanks to Target), and we got the entire costume on sans wings with little to no tears. Ha ha ha! We weren't kidding when we said we bought it a month in advance so she could warm up to the idea.

June was equally excited about her $2 pumpkin bucket, which she's still carrying around the house to collect all sorts of trinkets, toys, and candy wrappers.

It was a year ago to the day that I posed about June being a Kangaroo for Halloween 2016. Look how little she is in those photos!!! Both her and Clara, her neighborhood BFF, are so small!

They were so excited to see each other this year it was precious. June kept saying "What you wearing?" And Clara would reply "I Poppy." Over, and over, and over... 

My brother Taylor, and his family, joined us for Trick-or-Treating this year in Manheim, since our street is easy to walk around and everyone participates. Pearl fell asleep in the car on the way to our house and was OUT. Like, they couldn't even get her to stand up she was sleeping so hard. 😂 Eventually she woke up and got the hang of things. 

The kids went to about 10 houses or so, and then we were done. It was getting dark so quickly, and quite cold. But June was pummmped up about her candy and all the other kid's costumes. She's still talking about the "scary ones"... 

As always, we're already looking forward to next year--- especailyl cause we'll have a new little lady to dress up in a costume, too!

Family Sessions / Limited Spots Available! by T.J. Mousetis

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I am super excited to tell you guys that I am offering a limited amount of family photo sessions over the next few weeks! Around this time of year, I get so many requests to photograph friends and family for their Christmas cards, that I figured why not make it official and offer it to a few of you as well!?!

Plus: I could have alternately titled this blog post "Sponsor Baby #2's Nursery"... because I have hit the nesting phase hard and am feeling like "I NEED TO PAINT AND RE-DO ALL THE THINGS!" So a little extra cash leading up to the holidays and Baby #2's arrival will be put to great use. I mean, have you seen how cute this mobile is?!?! I need it in my life. 

HERE'S THE DEAL: $300 / 30 Minute Family Session

1. Send me an email -- brookecourtney[at]me.com -- to let me know you'd like one of the session spots, and what you'd like to use it for: family photos with little ones, maternity photos, just you and your Boo and your dogs. Just you... alone.... forever.... I mean, whatever you want! 

2. We will find a date/time that works for both of us. If the weather is beautiful that day, we'll shoot outdoors at one of my favorite locations, of which I have like 15. 😂 If it's a gloomier day, we'll shoot in the all white photo studio at SUPPLY! (Which looks like this!)

3. After photos, you will receive an online gallery of images that are totally yours to use how you see fit. Download them, print them, share them, Instagram them, make Christmas cards, turn them into giant wall murals to embarrass your kids. #youdoyou 

There you have it! Send me an email and we'll get things moving! 🙂 I'll provide you with a list of locations I love, what to wear, and a little advice on how to not be a weirdo in photos. I'm kiddddding, you're all amazing. Hope to hear from you!

Donuts by Brooke Courtney

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Clara, June's neighborhood BFF, turned two last month and had the sweetest little 2nd birthday party in a local park. June picked out a dress for Clara at Target as her gift. 😂 And basically sprinted into the party to give it to her.

On a more important note though, have y'all ever had Duck Donuts? Holy cow... there's nothing like it. Funny, the bacon one and oreo ones are my favorites, and somehow those just happened to end up in my photo. #pregnantbrookelikesdonuts

Our friends also announced the gender of their Baby #2 - arriving December/Jan 2017 for them! It's a BOY! So fun. June and Clara are six months apart, but our next two littles will only be like three weeks apart!

The donut pinata was hysterical. As expected, June didn't want to participate, but once the rush of kids for the candy had slowed down, she jumped in with her bag and filled it up. I can't even handle the photo of her below where she's got her hand to her head and looks overwhelmed by the kids. HAHAHAHAHAH! Junie, this is how I feel at every networking event ever, as an adult.

I mean seriously, look at her. 

It's parties like this one that make me wish my kid(s) had summer birthdays! Someday I'll have to have a 1/2 Birthday Party for June at the end of the summer.

Pool Day with Cousins, 2017 by Brooke Courtney

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With summer coming to an end, it was time for the annual "cousin's day" at our local community pool. I believe the tradition started a few years ago, when my Mom would invite her grand-nieces and nephews to come swimming with her and my Dad for the day. In the last two years, since both my brother and I have had kids, it's morphed into "any family in the area pool day."

I've been trying really hard to take my camera with me more places, and I'm so glad I threw it in June's backpack for this years pool day. The weather was beautiful and I captured some family moments that would have otherwise gone undocumented. I'm sure my cousins, who were falling flat on their faces off the diving board, wish "undocumented" was the case. 

I'm not sure who started the "follow the leader off the diving board" game this year, but it was funnier than ever. Although once my brother got involved, everyone was very hesitate to do his tricks. No worries guys, I remember feeling the same way on the trampoline with him as a kid, and I was even a tumbler/cheerleader!

June and Pearl (her cousin, 10 months younger than her in age) had the time of their lives going up and down, and up and down, and up and down the ramp into the big pool. All while us adults kept saying "Slow down!" "Don't jump! It's slippery!" "Stop running!" You'd think June would have learned her lesson after falling and going under completely... but no.

Again, I'm so glad that I took my camera along for this day. May it be a lesson to me to just take it, even when I don't feel like it!

And might I add that Pearl is totally peeing in this picture below, and I love it with my whole heart. 😂

A Bathtub Isn't Big Enough For An Orca by Brooke Courtney

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This post was sponsored by Munchkin to raise awareness for Project Orca. As always, all opinions are my own.

To be honest, I don't think I could count on two hands the amount of Munchkin products we have in our house! Wipe warmer, cups, baby gates, utensils, training potty, snack grabbers, car gadgets, and endless bath toys... just to name a few. Their products are always affordable, well designed, usually in stock at Target (which, let's be real, is the main place I go) and seem to be made for real families like ours. I love that.

Which is why when Munchkin asked me to create a post about their involvement with Project Orca, I was honored to do so. After 10 years of making an orca toy, Munchkin decided to put their principles before their profits and have removed the top-selling toy from their sea squirt lineup. As a response to the harmful practice of keeping orcas in captivity, a practice still in effect today, they have decided to kick-start a donation of $1,000,000 to develop the first sea side orca sanctuary in the United States via Project Orca!

(How cute is this little t-shirt they sent us!?!)

June loves animals, like most 2.5 year olds do, and was so excited to wear her whale shirt the other day while we played with her bubble machine on our driveway. I told her about Orcas and how they live in the ocean, and now I'm pretty sure she thinks we're going to see one this coming week while on vacation in New Jersey. 😂 Sorry Junie.

(Also, note June trying to pick up the bubble machine below. Ha ha ha ha ha!)

While I'm not an over the top "no animal should ever be in captivity" activist, it does sadden me that there are still so many Orca's held in captivity in the U.S. and world wide. Several years ago, T.J. and I watched the Blackfish documentary on Netflix (based on Tilikum, the Orca who killed his trainer) and it freaked us out... like for days. And for good reason. (If you haven't watched it, you should!) It was so sad to see how these incredibly smart creatures try to cope with living in tanks, separate from their families.

If you'd like to help support Munchkin's efforts, you can get a t-shirt for yourself, or read more about their campaign at The Whale Sanctuary Project.

And for those of you who I know will ask, the bubble machine is from Target and worth every penny of the $10.99 price tag. 😂 😘