Category Archives: Parenting

Here you will find parenting stories and topics that I’ve have personally experienced that could be helpful to new, seasoned and soon-to-be parents.


I also include posts with resources that I find to be useful for parents.

No Judgements

I believe in many parenting styles and although you will be able to clearly see what my personal values are, know that my ideas and tips are only one way to parent.

Every Child Is Different

Every child is special and different. I don’t believe in a “one size fits all” approach to parenting and child devlopment. I do believe that parenting is trial and error like most things in life – and that’s okay! Our children are unique and we won’t know what works for them until we try.  My ideas and tips may work for you, they may not. I hope to see comments from you in my posts so that other parents can benefit from your many different and brilliant ideas.

Addy Walks Her Dog

Addy is a very determined toddler.

She would not let us finish our walk in peace until she got to hold Shadow’s leash.

We got scolded trying to help her hold the leash. Apparently, we’re not allowed to hold the leash.

She loves doing things for herself and I admire her for it, but also, I’m hovering close by worried that Shadow will take off and drag her down the street.



Tips For Making Awesome Holiday Photos (And Memories) With Your Family This Season

Moms and Dads, it’s that time of year again: HOLIDAY PHOTOS with your family (cue dramatic music). (Updated, Original Post 10/17/16)

While I love the idea of family photos it’s easy to let the stress of putting everything together get in the way of fun and enjoyment – that holiday feeling! Well, I won’t let the stress of taking bad photos, finding a location, getting everyone together or grumpy kids stop me, and neither should you. Tips from my good friend and family photographer, Nicole Wise will help you set up an easy session with fantastic photos to show for it.

1. This year, we got a late start so we are booking our session in December in hopes of having a new set of family photos for the new year.
2. Don’t let deadlines and due dates stop you from taking family photos. You can take them anytime you feel up to it!

Holiday Photos, Why Take Them?

As I think back to last year when I set up our October photo session, my thoughts were focused on the great year we had as a family – we conquered the year, we overcame problems, we welcomed a new addition to our family, and even celebrated a few milestones. There was no better way to wrap up the year than to permanently capture my family’s memories and milestones into amazing photographs.

Professional photographer, Nicole Wise has given me some golden pieces of wisdom, and I’m happy to share them with you here.

Classic Holiday Photos Backdrop: Nature

Photographer Nicole suggests having your photo shoot outside this year. She is personally drawn to scenic locations with beautiful trees. They provide an interesting background and also great lighting.

“Locations that are filled with greenery and nature give a beautiful sense of adventure. For me, they give the photos a sense of wonder and magic to make your moments a little more special!” – Nicole Wise

Bonus Tip: Bring some props, cozy blankets, and special family items to your session. According to Nicole, “it could add a personal touch and unique feature to your photographs.”

Holiday photo of the Behrens Family set in the woods
Image: Wise by Nicole Photography / Courtesy of the Behrens Family

Classic Holiday Photos Theme: Warm, Cute and Cozy

Holiday photos: Christmas photo of a baby in holiday pajamas playing with Christmas tree lights
Image: Wise by Nicole Photography / Courtesy of Rosalind Prieto

The things that I love most about winter are scarves, coats, blankets and anything else that will keep me comfortable and warm. So I didn’t stray far from my comforts for last year’s holiday photos. My family had our holiday pajamas on and Nicole took pictures of us in our living  room like it was Christmas morning.

“I have been loving the cute and cozy winter shoots! As someone who lives in Southern California and doesn’t quite experience ‘winter’ I love when clients bring their own warmth to our sessions.” – Nicole Wise

For your holiday photos why not try sitting down by the fire in your living room, sip some cocoa, or check on the chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven? Plus, you get to eat the cookies afterwards!

There’s also something about these cute and cozy family settings that naturally bring out our fun and silly sides. From personal experience the sessions could get ridiculously giggly.

“One thing I always tell people during sessions is to enjoy the experience. People often stress too much about photoshoots and the best shots I get are when my clients relax and goof around with their spouse, their kids, their pets.” – Nicole Wise

Bonus Tip: To ensure the best photos, be in the moment. Don’t focus too much on posing and smiling. Engage with your family; tell jokes, play and tease each other. Nicole says that “nothing beats a real laugh in a photo.”

Holiday photos: Little boy dresses as an astronaut for Halloween
Image: Wise by Nicole Photography / Courtesy of Blogger Kristin from Be Mom As F

How to Coordinate Outfits: Don’t Match!

Many of Nicole’s clients want to match outfits in their sessions, but she advises against this.

“Photos often look better when you set a color theme and each person fits the guidelines but doesn’t match completely.” – Nicole Wise

Having just a “pop” of the same color is very pleasing to the eye in photographs, and instead of being identical everyone can show off their personal style. It shows in the photograph when everyone is comfortable and proud of what they’re wearing.

Important Tips for Parents

  1. Make sure to get a good night’s rest and don’t do too much before the shoot!

    Like me you’re probably extremely busy. Most of us have packed schedules filled with errands and commitments such as piano lessons or sports practice. It’s important to try and avoid scheduling something before your session. Nicole warns us, “I have had some grumpy kids in front of my camera and it seems that it usually happens when they have had a full day before the shoot.”

    A suggestion if you can’t keep your schedule light is to set your photo session for first thing in the morning, and it might work better for your little ones!

  2. Let the kids play, run around, goof off, and have fun during your session.

    Don’t worry about kids misbehaving, the regular rules don’t apply in photography. Let them run wild, let them be themselves! Nicole reassures us, “whenever I have shoots with little ones I plan to be running after them taking photos because these candids are the best! Don’t put too much stress on the shoot and let everyone enjoy it!”

  3. Bring bribes, treats, or rewards for the kids just in case.

Holiday photos: Space themed family photo for Halloween
Image: Wise by Nicole Photography / Family: Blogger Kristin from Be Mom As F and her family kill it in this Halloween family photo. They are having fun and coordinating their outfits without wearing the exact same thing. Instagram @Mom_as_f

When To Schedule Your Holiday Photo Session

Okay, so it was my fault this year that I couldn’t find time to set up a session early enough. Next year I’ll be more organized, I promise. Keep in mind that every photographer has a different schedule and different guidelines for scheduling appointments. Nicole’s week by week schedule is unpredictable, sometimes she only needs a couple of days’ notice, and other times she doesn’t have an opening for weeks. To be safe, Nicole recommends that you “always try to plan a few weeks ahead of time or check in with your photographer when you start thinking about scheduling your session.”

Bonus Tip: Keep in mind that your photographer also has to retouch before getting your photos back to you, so allow time for them to work on your images. Don’t try to book too close to any deadlines.

Black and white family photo of three generations of women, including the youngest, a little girl
Image: Wise by Nicole Photography / Courtesy of Blogger Kristin from Be Mom As F

For even more ideas, take a look at Shutterfly’s 100 Festive Christmas Photo Ideas here:

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Hi all! My name is Nicole Wise, I am a photographer located in Ventura (Southern California, near Santa Barbara/Los Angeles). I fell in love with photography at a young age and couldn’t be happier that my passion blossomed into a business. I shoot a lot of different subjects and I LOVE it! Each day is different and with every shoot I learn something new. I am lucky to have a job and business I love! Let me share my knowledge and experience with you; from family moments to photography for your small business, I am here to help. Contact me at or check out my Instagram pages @WisebyNicole and @MomentsByNicole.

Baby Diaper Rash and Diarrhea

The Diaper Rash Mystery


I had just taken my Addy home from the sitter. It was around dinner time when we got home. My husband was still at work but would be coming home soon. The evening was quiet, routine. I fed her apple-pear baby food that smelled delicious to me. Then I changed her diaper. I thought nothing of it when I changed her diaper and saw that her diaper area was a faintly pink with a little diaper rash. I’ve seen it with her before, but we usually kept her diaper dry and the rash would quickly vanish. Rash cream not required. I also noticed that her stool was very little, and runny.

The evening continued and she seemed in her usual mood; she was happy and playing with her toys, babbling and laughing as she crawled around the floor of our family room. My husband came home and had his dinner before joining in with me and Addy in our playtime.

Strange Happenings

Suddenly and out of nowhere Addy started to fuss. Sitting up on her play mat she suddenly started screaming at the top of her lungs, like a switch went off. Her face turned red, and the sounds coming from her were foreign, unbearable. She sounded like she was in extreme pain. My husband picked her up, partly to soothe her and partly to investigate. There were no visible signs of anything that could explain the pain. She did not let up. Mama’s turn – I quickly took her in my arms and held her but the screams continued to flood our two-story home.

Addy was in pain from the rash. Her crying became so hard and uncontrollable that her little body could no longer let out a sound. Tears were running down her red face, and all you could hear was her gasps for air while she cried without sound.

“I don’t know what’s wrong,” I said to my husband. He didn’t either.

She started to settle down significantly. It was getting late so we decided to start her bath time routine, though we were still puzzled about the evening’s events.

Mystery Solved

While I was grabbing her clothes for bed, my husband took her to the laundry room (we have a sink in there where her basin sat comfortably).

“OH MY GOD!” my husband exclaimed.

I ran into the room not knowing what to expect. My husband told me that her diaper area was bright red. Like, beet red. And she also had another bowel movement, and again, the stool was little and runny. Confused, I told my husband about our routine earlier that evening, and about the results of the last diaper change and the faint and minor appearance of a diaper rash.

We quickly returned our focus to lessening her pain, and we put her in the bath. While in her bath she had another bowel movement. Again, it was little and runny. It was strange, at least for her, to have a bowel movement while in her bath. Addy was still fussing; her diaper rash seemed to hurt her terribly. Sitting seemed difficult for her.

We then knew what we were dealing with. It was her first diarrhea, which had caused a diaper rash.

We took her out of the bath, quickly toweled her off, and the parenting began.

Soothe the Baby

Before her bath we immediately took her diaper off, cleaned her up, made sure she was dry and let her air out for a bit from the diaper rash. At this point, who cares if she poops or pees on our bed or carpet? Priorities.

We wanted to cool her off so we placed her in her bath, making sure that the water was warm and not cold (important!). Cold water could further irritate the skin.

Try to not use soap, but if you have to use mild soap. Soap could cause irritation to the skin as well.

The bath did help Addy calm down a bit. Her cries subsided but she was still in pain. The distraction of playing with the water and her favorite rubber ducky helped. As parents, I think it’s important to incorporate play where we can, as overwhelmed or stressed as we may be, a little bit of play could help our babies feel more at ease.

Infographic on bath time do's and don'ts for children with diaper rash

Dry, Diaper-Free Play Again

Our clean baby was toweled off, and we made sure she was completely dry after her bath, especially in her diaper area. We let her have some diaper-free playtime before bed and she LOVED it. She was crawling around her playroom which helped to keep the diaper rash dry and cool.

Once we were done, we put her diaper back on. Again, making sure she was completely dry. We put her shirt back on but we kept her pants off. It was important to let the area have as much air as possible for comfortable and to keep her dry.

If you feel that it’s necessary to put rash cream on your baby, I recommend Desitin. In later months we use the cream often, but in this particular moment, we decided to not to. After having used the cream for over a year now, I am confident it would have helped us back then.

Diaper Rash & Diarrhea: Change Often

One of the most important things that we did was that we kept Addy contact-free from urine and stool as much as we could. Every time she peed or had a bowel movement we changed her. Lucky for us we had the diapers with the yellow line that indicated whether or not the diaper was wet. As an extra precaution we also checked her diaper every 2 or 3 hours. For babies with diarrhea it is perfectly normal to have to change 8 or 10 diapers within 24 hours.

During the night it seemed like she was feeling better since she didn’t have a bowel movement while she slept. She did pee so we changed her diaper in the middle of the night (we didn’t even wake her!)

How to Properly Change a Diaper

There’s a specific way to change a diaper with a diaper rash. Rule #1: DO NOT WIPE.

Here’s how you change a diaper when your baby has a bad diaper rash:

  1. Clean the area with sensitive, unscented baby wipes. Avoid wipes containing alcohol or other harsh chemicals. Alcohol and other harsh chemicals will burn the skin.
  2. When cleaning, ALWAYS pat the baby clean. DO NOT WIPE.
  3. Make sure the area is dry before sealing up the diaper. You can dry your baby with a thin, clean washcloth. Again, always pat dry, do not wipe. Take your time to make sure that your baby is fully dry.
  4. (Optional) Apply a rash cream such as Desitin after drying.
  5. Seal that baby up!

Infographic on diapering with diaper rash and diarrhea

Dehydrated Baby

Looking for signs of lethargy and loss of appetite, we also closely monitored Addy’s activities and energy level over the next couple of days. To be sure she had enough liquid and nutrition we made sure that she was drinking the same amount of milk as she usually did and gave her a little more if she wanted it.

We were careful not to give her any kind of fruit juice since this would have made the diarrhea worse. If your baby is 6 months or older you can add a little more water to their milk.

I also received advice from other moms to give Addy Pedialyte drinks or Pedialyte popsicles (for teething babies), but when I sent my husband to the store to purchase Pedialyte, the label said to consult with the baby’s doctor first. I think if there were signs of dehydration I would have given it to her, instead she was playful, drinking plenty of milk, eating well and did not have a fever. There weren’t any signs telling me that she was dehydrated or that she needed the extra boost.

Solid Foods

Addy was already eating solid foods, and it was important while she had diarrhea to avoid dairy, high fiber foods and fruits that are known to loosen a baby’s stool such as prunes, apricots and peaches. Unfortunately, Addy already had prunes earlier that day.

Fortunately, there are also foods that could help harden her stool, such as bananas and rice or rice cereal. The first night it was late and we didn’t have bananas so we fed her rice cereal by mixing it into her milk. After that, we fed her bananas and she loved it so much more than the rice cereal. If your baby is eating well, I recommend bananas. If your baby is having trouble eating, I recommend adding rice cereal to their milk.

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