October’s Member Profile

Meet My Own Little Story User Erin Campbell
author of No Chance, Toastypants
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This is a story for anyone who has ever wondered “Am I really good at anything?”
The charming tale of Tom Toastypants and his friend Tobias Beeswax
emphasizes the importance of trying new things, and that trying is much
more important than comparing one’s self to others.

Written by Erin Campell with Illustrations by her husband, Aaron Campbell

 

My Own Little Story’s Kristin Coons got the lucky chance to get
to know Erin Campbell and hear about the book that she wrote. 

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Why did you decide to write a children’s book?

I have always loved stories; I owe much thanks to my parents for fostering this love in me.  The value they placed on books was very evident.  They often had a book in their hand; there were stacks of them on bedside tables and full bookshelves throughout the house.  A new book was part of every celebration – from the first day of school to Christmas and birthdays.  My parents took the time to read to me from a very early age.  It was a tradition to end the day with a chapter from a “big” book.  If I was very still and quiet, my Dad would read another chapter.  I don’t think parents can overestimate the influence they have on their children when it comes to fostering a love for reading.  Even if you haven’t developed a love for reading yourself, spend time reading books with your children!  The development and conversations a good story can inspire are priceless.

All this is to say that for me, the imagining of and writing of stories was just something that was part of who I am.  Would stories have pulsed in my heart if I had not been exposed to so many growing up?  Perhaps.  While writing stories is something I cannot stop doing, publishing them is a different matter entirely!  I had all the mind games so many of us have…these stories aren’t any good, no one will like them, it will be a waste of time, energy and money…I will put myself out there and it will flop, etc.  It wasn’t until we were facing the rather large (for us) financial costs associated with adoption that I was spurred out of my “these aren’t any good” sulky fear party and just went for it.  It was the growing love in my heart for child that would soon fill my arms that gave me courage.  And that is a good rule of thumb for sharing our gifts.  Very rarely will someone go, “This is awesome.  I am awesome.  Everyone, line up and get some of this!”  More often it is a love for that story, that art, that song, that creation that will kick us out of our complacency and excuses to step out and share.  We love it and we know that keeping it to ourselves is a love dead end.  Don’t wait until you think no one will criticize.  If there is an idea that has been rummaging around in your heart for weeks, months or years, do it because that gift that you have is meant to be shared and to bless someone else!

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Tell me what the journey was that led you to adopting your precious son, Jack.

Big question!  I had been diagnosed with stage 4 endometriosis prior to my marriage to my wonderful husband Aaron, so we had some warning that conception could be a challenge.  It was.  After a few years, many procedures and a couple of surgeries (including some ovarian and uterine cancer scares along the way) we had a peace that we had wrestled with this biological process long enough.  My body was tired and both of our hearts were beating in a different direction, that of adoption.  We had always held the idea that we would love to adopt someday; so the transition wasn’t a rocky one.  We had cried it out, felt and shared our grief, been comforted and were in a peaceful place.  Not to say that the process of adoption is not without significant ups, downs, twists and turns!  I am so glad we had each other.  At night, when I hold my son Jack and talk about the day, we snuggle and talk about how we are forever and always family.  We belong together.   He is the child of our hearts.  I have used My Own Little Story to record the story of Jack’s amazing, brave, and loving birth parents, the moment of his birth, what our dog Sherpa thought about it all, the day we stood before the Judge…just everything.  Once we publish our *gasp* two volumes, they will be the Life Book that Jack will have to refer back to when he is wondering the things we all wonder…was he wanted?  Does he have a place all his own in this world?  Is he worthy of love?  Is he loved?  This book shouts “Yes!  Yes you are.  Read it as many times as you want and it will be the same every time.  You are lovable and you are loved.”
Several users of MyOwnLittleStory have expressed lack of time or talent for writing their children’s story.   Since you are a writer, can you give others advice who second guess their ability/time  to record their child’s story.

Second-guessing is such a thief.  It robs us of the pleasure and joy of so many good things!  When it comes to telling your child’s story, who better than you?  You don’t have to be perfectly eloquent, or spend agonizing hours at the keyboard pounding out the memories.  Just do something.  It helped me to pull out my phone (yay for smart phones!  A notebook would work just as well…but I never have one with me and I almost always have my phone. My husband will dispute this, but I FEEL like I almost always have my phone) and jot down a few words that would bring back a particular event so that when I did sit down to work on a page of our My Own Little Story book I had some notes to refer to and didn’t have to tackle a blank page with a blank mind!  It is true that the words won’t magically appear, but there will be magic there in the years to come as you and your little one sit down and remember the story of his or her life together.  Each of our stories are worth telling!

 
Erin has graciously offered a Coupon Code that you can use toward the purchase of No Chance, Toastypants and other stories that she has written which you can find on her website.
Use code: STORY20 http://www.erincampbellstories.com/store/

Fun Ideas for Fathers Day

Needing some inspiration for Father’s Day this year? Here are some of our favorite ideas we have compiled from around the internet.
For Cards:

Try Printing these fabulous typography “dad glasses” from Mr. P
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Or, what about making this colorful letter banner Card from Modern Parents Messy Kids
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Or for a more classic dad, try this modern easy washi tape card from Washi Tape Crafts.

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We also love this one for the “Mr. Fix It” kind of dad from Old English Company.

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For ideas to make the day special – 
Make dad breakfast in bed with a funny face portrait of himself.
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Or recreate this adorable photograph

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If you are feeling crafty, these mugs from Coconut Robot would make any daddy smile

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Or, how about baking some of these yummy tie cookies from Somewhat Simple
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Don’t forget about the My Own Little Story’s Father’s Day sale!
A printed story of the little guy or girl that made him a father makes the perfect gift for new dads.

 

For more ideas, check out our Father’s Day Pinterest board

Welcome two new faces at My Own Little Story!

welcome 2 new facesNew face at My Own Little Story, Betony Coons and her family

About Betony Coons:

As a mom and an artist, I try my best to bring my children into the story I’m living. The work I do involves lots of creating: children’s books, murals, set design, and paintings (my husband and I share our story at giantsandpilgrims.com). Right now I am both a stay at home mom AND a full time working artist, so time is always the greatest commodity around here. For me, taking the time to snap little Instagram photos of our days, jot down a note or two of something funny my kids say, or just taking an extra moment to pause and hold these littles dears close, helps me savor the now that I know will be so fleeting. 

Betony is responsible for our new blog, our pinterest boards, our Facebook posts and all things social media related.  Her creative input is helping us see the website and all of our products in a whole new light!

 

My Own Little Story's Julie Johnson and her family

About Julie Johnson:

As a little girl, Julie fell in love with a certain type of art. She always carted around words and images and drawing materials and glue. Luckily, at a young age, she stumbled upon an amazing profession called Graphic Design. But little girls grow up, go to college (UCLA and Art Center College of Design), get married (to a super supportive husband), make a home (in Manhattan Beach, California) and become mom (to Hatcher and Madeline). These days, Julie creatively does a little of everything while appreciating both life’s challenges and also life’s wonderful rewards. She likes to keep her eyes wide-open welcoming new ideas, personal growth, and especially the collaboration with others.

Julie is responsible for the design of our fresh-looking website and newsletters, and collaboration on the development of our new features of our site.  

Four Tips for Taking Better Pictures for Your Baby Book

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1. Don’t say CHEESE (give them a task)

In many of my sessions you will RARELY see me say sit together and smile.  If you have an older sibling, set them down where you want the photo and have the younger ones run to the siblings and hug them.  Usually it’s fun and they run and hug their older sibling and laugh and when I call their names they are laughing AND looking at the camera.  So the photos are so posed but more like everyday life.  You can have them peek-a-boo around a tree (that is a great one that gives big smiles and laughs).  Plus the tree or wall adds color or texture to your photos, and more of an artsy look.  Younger kids think anything stinky is funny.  Have them find the baby’s feet or bottom and pretend it’s stinky.  I always like to get them into a conversation… about their favorite superhero.  Then YOU take that superhero and have him doing something funny.  Does Superman wear pink shoes?  Nooooooooo, trust me, they think it’s hilarious. Simon says is the BEST as well.  Have them jump, twirl and close their eyes, and when they open them do something funny.  Just be silly. Telling young children to sit and smile or say cheese… fake smile alert.

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2. Add props! (give them a task)

Bubbles, leaves, favorite books and stuffed animals.  I never want to forget that my littlest had 5 lambies when she was little and how much she loved them.  They are stained, and dirty and missing various eyes or ears, but still she snuggles up to them every night.  Incorporate them into your photos.  They will love to look back at those photos because they will remember what was important to them.

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3. Use sports mode! (give them a task)

(The icon with the little guy running in your mode settings)  It doesn’t mean they have to be playing sports.  Sports mode is intended to capture them in motion.  Essentially it increases the shutter speed so you can “freeze” them in action.  Many times the camera will shoot in continuous shooting mode (take several pictures in a row).  This mode will avoid blurry photos.  If you have a DLSR, there is the same setting or you can bump up your shutter speed. (This is a great time to pull out your manual if you are not sure how to do this).  Kids run, they play and they are movers, but these are the pictures that you will remember too.

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4. Focus on the eyes! (give them a task)

If you look at some professional portraits, the eyes are what usually draws your attention and brings you into the photograph.  These are from the catch lights!  They make the eyes… and your photographs sparkle.  Catch lights are a reflection of a light source.  Here is where it gets tricky, but so rewarding.  You always want to face your subject TOWARDS a light source, except in full sun.  So what that means is face them towards a window, open door, the sky, a white wall, or if you are in a shady area look and see where the sun is and face them that way.  Walk around the block with your camera and keep looking at your child’s eyes… when you see those beautiful reflective catch lights, look and see where the light is coming from.  No catch lights will give you very dark eyes and you definitely don’t want that!  If you do not have a light source, you can always use your flash.  Flash tip for getting rid of the red eye or reducing that harsh “flash” light?  Tape ½ a cotton ball over your flash, less if you have a point and shoot… it gives you beautiful diffused light for your photos.​

BONUS TIP: Timing is everything! (give them a task)

If you are looking to take great pics of your kids, think about when they are best… are you excited about a photo session at the end of the day?  After a long day of work… or for them… school, missed naps or missing you?  Look for a time that they are well-rested and happiest.  Usually for most people that I schedule sessions with, it’s in the morning.  Always plan around THEIR schedules, not yours if you can, you will be so much happier with the end result.

ABOUT HEIDI WALTER: (give them a task)

I am a Southern California natural light photographer and specialize in newborns, children and families.  I love  to capture those little moments of everyday life to remember.  I am strictly a natural light photographer, what is that?  It means basically I travel on location and use whatever light is given at the place we are taking pictures.  I use the sun, the shade, reflections, window lights, & doorways, always looking for that beautiful light.

YOU CAN FIND HEIDI’S AMAZING PHOTOGRAPHS AND MORE HERE: http://www.heidiwalterphotos.com/

Copyright © 2015 My Own Little Story, All rights reserved.

Find us at: www.myownlittlestory.com

Welcome to My Own Little Story

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HOW INSPIRED MOM KRISTIN COONS CREATED MY OWN LITTLE STORY

As a busy mother of three, I have laid in bed numerous nights plotting how I’m going to create a picture-perfect baby book for each one of my boys. I want to remember the first time each one of my children rolled and crawled, walked and talked; I don’t want to forget when my oldest got his first haircut or when my youngest cut his first tooth. But let’s face it – our world is busy, chaotic and fast. Who has the time to put one baby book together…much less two or three? Between careers, parenting and life’s obligations, there hasn’t been an easy way to document each magical moment – until now.

I created My Own Little Story to make baby booking as easy as responding to an e-mail and as fun as talking to a girlfriend. With My Own Little Story, all you have to do is register online and we will walk you through the rest. You’re expecting? Then please register while you’re pregnant and get a head start on making those memories last a lifetime. We will prompt you for photos and fun facts, all you have to do is register. As soon as you’re ready to hold your baby book, just click and order.