The snow last week made for a quiet, relaxing valentine’s day for my family. Because my office was closed and I forgot the plug for my laptop, I got a 5 day vacation from work. Much needed. I love what I do, but it’s draining, and you have to take the breaks when you get them.

Thankfully, I hadn’t waited until the last minute to take my little man’s annual valentine’s day pictures. These started a few years ago when I found a photo prop that I couldn’t resist.

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Valentine’s Day 2012 – 2 months old

The next year, I saw an idea that was just too cute to pass up.

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Valentine’s Day 2013 – 14 months old

The problem with doing something two years out of two years? The pressure is on for the third year. Never mind that my little guy is becoming more and more independent and will rarely do anything just because you ask. I should also say that I am not a great picture taker. A good camera and photo cropping are my very best friends.

So this year I decided to go simple. I always start with wardrobe, and I knew red converse Chuck Taylor shoes were a must this year. I even got them on sale at JC Penney, even though we all know I would have paid anything for them once I decided that they were going to be the focal point of the outfit. Ironically, you can see them clearly in only one picture that went in the “keep” pile. Otherwise, we kept it simple: a heathered shirt and pair of dark jeans from Gap.

For my scene, I wanted to use something he would be interested in. He has really taken to putting money in his bank, so I thought that it would be cute to incorporate that into his picture this year. I got a white piggy bank from Michaels ($9.99) and put stickers on it so that it was festive. I used the same banner that I used for his pictures last year. It actually looks quite cute hanging in my house too – Target, $3 = win. Then, I wrote on my homemade chalkboard and put it all together right outside of my garage door. My best suggestion for taking pictures of your child is that you can make anything in your home a good backdrop. Anything brick or fence-like is great, or you can always just use a white sheet or foam board to make a background. That’s what we did for his first two valentine’s day shoots.

I so sincerely wish that I had saved some of the god awful attempts we had at cute  pictures. I read this amazing blog once where a woman started off by showing this amazing picture of her four kids. You can only see their backs, they are holding hands and walking over a bridge, and it is beautiful. The woman goes on to show you all of the pictures she tried before that, and she finishes her post by saying something like, “100  pictures and the best one I got is of them walking away from me”. Anyone who has ever tried to take pictures of kids can relate, I’m sure. Here are a few that ended up on the cutting room floor:

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Runner, runner.

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Proud of himself for counting five hearts. Uninterested in the fact that I am saying “Turn around, smile!”

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Insisting that the pig go there.

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Peeling off the stickers and saying “NO.” when I attempted to replace them.

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His new “cheese” face – sideways. Um, what?

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Attempting to clean up the confetti. This was after I stupidly thought he’d understand how to blow it out of his hands. I had visions of this cute picture of him “blowing kisses”. Verdict? He dumped it on the ground and then we spent 10 minutes picking it up, one piece at a time.

We did get some super cute ones though, and after  some many crops, edits, and adjustments, here were the winners. I adjusted the color to make them look a little more vintage as well.

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SUCCESS! Happy valentine’s day!!!

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