Photoshoot Traditions, Polka Dot Skirts & Helping Cure Kids

There are 5 indulgences in my life that bring me instant happiness.
in no particular order...
#1. Dark Chocolate in my computer desk drawer.
chocolate = stress reliever
#2. Straight from the dryer, clean, yummy-smelling, new sheets on my bed.
Nothing feels better... well unless I've just shaved my legs, then it's like DOUBLE awesome!
#3. Jewelry
 It always fits... 'nuff said
#4. Random staycations with my hubby.
Usually in hotels just less than 20 minutes from home.
#5. Fancy photoshoots with my little girls.
Pretty, fun, beautiful pictures of my sweet daughters throughout all different ages and stages of their little lives. It's something that I've done since my chicks were just wee babes.

Most of our photoshoots happen just right outside of our homes front door on our small porch, so believe me, it's nothing too fancy; but that's okay, because to me, it's not really about the background being awesome in these types of situations, it's all just about capturing that moment of childhood in a beautiful way. From the clear, falwless sun-kissed skin and naturally highlighted hair, to that melt-your-heart toothless smile.

90% of our photos are really casual and portray our everyday life; PJ's, messy hair, dirty fingernails, scrapes & bruises, snotty noses, well-played-in clothes... and guess what?... I LOVE THAT! But every once in awhile it's just fun to get all dressed up, put on a little lip gloss, pull out your best poses and look and feel extra pretty.

Besides simple body location prompts and an occasional "chin down a tiny bit" reminder, I let the girls do whatever they please. Sometimes it makes for an interesting set of photos... like this last time when Jocelynn decided that for the first few minutes she only wanted to do "REAL model poses" and didn't want to smile with her teeth, because she's still "waiting for the other front one to fall out, and just having ONE looks too crazy!" 

Yeah, this headstrong chick took me the longest, because I was determined to get a toothy (ehhrr... toothless) smile in at least ONE picture if it killed me.
Mission accomplished!
wonder who she gets that 'headstrong' trait from... hee hee

And then other times, letting these girls take "creative modeling freedoms" is the best payoff EVER!!!
Seriously, I can't tell you how into clothes, shoes, bows and POSING this little 5 year old is. The twins like dressing up, but EVERYDAY is a "fancy day" for our Miss Aubrielle. I pulled her outside after about 20 minutes of photographing the twins and we were finished with her shoot in only about 3 minutes flat. No joke. I need classes from her, I swear! And she's exposed to less than my older girls and still picks up on this stuff somehow.

Oh, and by the way, those nude colored mini heels are ALL Cason's doing. He went to buy hiking shoes one day with her at Payless and came back with these ones instead. (huh?) In his defense, he said she ran into the store, spotted them right away and then proclaimed, "DAD! These are the ones that I've always been looking for my WHOLE LIFE!"
She has been wearing them with EVERYTHING and refuses to take them off until bedtime.

If you would have told me a little over 7 years ago that I would be THIS in love with 4 human beings (husband included), well, I don't even know if I would have been able to comprehend it. It's mind-blowing to me how quickly life flies by. It feels like just a year or so ago that we were bringing Aubrielle home from the hospital to meet her excited little sisters... and now look at them! eep! (tears)

As precious as those baby years were, I'm really excited and looking forward to the new, happy, drama-filled, giggly years that are to come for our little family. I can't imagine going through life's journey without each and every one of my personality-filled daughters by my side.

That being said, I hope you'll allow me to switch gears for a minute, to shed some light on something that really hit hard with me this past week. Childhood cancer.
One morning while laying in bed, I came across an email from one of our readers who wanted to know if I'd like to try out some cute, gold polka dot skirts for my girls. After scrolling through some pictures she sent, I was sold! These summery, cotton skirts looked comfy and super stylish... I knew my kiddos would love them!

It wasn't until later that day, when I finally got back to my inbox, that I realized that 100% of the proceeds from these adorable skirts went directly to CureSearch; an organization that funds and supports Children's cancer research and provides information and resources to those who are affected.

After sobbing for a good 30 minutes while I read Cami's cancer story (the young daughter of Chelsea, the House of Smiths reader who originally sent the email) and Brielle, an adorable, sweet girl who after years of battling cancer, just last week had to go to school and share with her 6th grade class that she won't be here on Earth for much longer... well, I felt the overwhelming need to share with all of you, how you can maybe help, even just a little.

Chelsea and a couple of other Mom's who's children have been affected with cancer, have pulled their time and resources together to create a site called P.S. I Adore you. It's a daily deal site that you can shop from, that gives you the opportunity to purchase great products AND contribute to the CureSearch fund at the same time.

And this, my dear friends, is were you can go, to purchase a gold polka dot skirt for YOUR daughter, granddaughter, cousin, niece, sister, neighbor... or just ANY little girl that you know in your life, for a reduced price of $8-$12, this week. They also have an Aztec Tribal print available in an adult size as well, during this fundraiser, so go check it out!

So often we take our own children's health for granted, and rarely stop to think of those less fortunate parents who have to go through watching the most precious human beings in their world, struggle with diseases, illnesses or afflictions that cause their tiny bodies to become tired, exhausted and sometimes so rundown, that they can no longer even go on.
If you're on the hunt for something comfy, cute, trendy and affordable this summer, for your little Miss, then consider one of these cute skirts to be part of their wardrobe; and also help these little kiddos effected with cancer find a cure, at the same time.


  1. Thanks for this post!
    It had me in tears but it is so important to stop and think about others and how we can help or give back :)

  2. Your girls are just beautiful! I love these photo shoots and will remember this when I have kids some day!

    I also think it's awesome you're talking about childhood cancer. I ride a charity bike ride every year for the cancer hospital in Boston - Dana Farber. It's my single most important event of the year, they take care of many kids with cancer. I signed up for the site and hope to pick some things out soon to support Brielle and Cami.

  3. Just donated and posted and sent you a shout out! Thanks Shelly! http://imnotatrophywife.com/2013/04/p-s-i-adore-you-daily-deals-delivered-to-help-fund-cancer-research.html

  4. Thank you for sharing this post. Imliterally had tears streaming down my face. I lost my sister to childhood cancer and it brightens my heart when I read posts like yours! I will be buying something from this collection for my baby girl ASAP!

  5. This was a great blog reminding me of when my 4 daughters were little! They are all married with children of their own but I still shed Tears thinking about the love I have for each of them. They still bring so much joy to my life. And now I have 4 bonus sons and 10 1/2 grandchildren that have found a place in my heart that never knew could love this much. I am aware of the blessing it is to be a mother and grandmother and strive each day to appreciate my family. It takes a good man to be a father to daughters. Not every man can handle all the hormones of daughters ( and wife) but are perfect for their calling.
    A great and worthy cause I appreciated reading about. Life's struggles are not easy but I admire so much those parents and family members that struggle through illnesses and sometimes death.

  6. oh my gosh. will you do my hair and take pics of me? haha :) xoxoxox

  7. You make me smile soooo big! I can't wait to order both of my girlies one of these! I also can't wait to explain what they're all about when someone compliments their awesome skirts! Thanks for sharing the oppurtunity to help even a small bit in this large disease! You're already awesomer!

  8. oh those hair dos! and earrings! pretty little things :)

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  10. You are an angel. Thank you for posting this. xo

  11. Seriously, you are an angel. Thank you for posting this.

  12. I love this post! I remember being little and absolutely BEGGING my mom for a pencil skirt. And goes towards a good cause? Sign me up!

  13. Your heart is massive! I feel in love with your blog a long time ago (you inspired me to do my own) but now, just as your family grows in adordability, so do you! Thank-you for sharing, your family and this wonderful cause!

    Bless you,
    Laurie @ Vin'yet Etc.

  14. JUST STOP! they are SO stinking CUTE! i love it!

  15. A little teary after reading. Thank you for highlighting this.

  16. This is such a beautiful post..Thank you so much sweet Shelley! You are so amazing to help out with our cause. Childhood cancer is vastly underfunded and we need all the exposure we can get, it is so wonderful when people like you take a stand to make a difference. THANK YOU sweet friend!

  17. Hey girl, what sizes did you order for your girls? My oldest currently wears a 6x/7 so i didn't know if the medium would be to big? My middle daughter is in a 5 so I was going to go with a small. They are A.D.O.R.A.B.L.E.!!!! I also have 3 girls and these would be so cute for church and benefit such a great cause! Thx so much :)

  18. Hey girl, what sizes did your order for your girls?.....or help me choose the sizes for mine please! My oldest wears a 6x or 7 right now so should I go with a medium. And my middle daughter is a size 5 so a small maybe? Thanks so much for posting about this! Such a good cause. My father is a 2 year survivor of pancreatic cancer. He was given 2 mos to a year to live when diagnosed. My girl would love these skirts for church and my older two both have the same heels from Payless but in white!!! LOVE THEM!

  19. OH my goodness! Thank you so much for sharing this! Not only are those skirts adorable but what a wonderful cause! I just ordered 2 for my nieces because I have 3 boys! ;)

    XOXO Mallory @ Classy Clutter

  20. Your daughters are beautiful. Yes we do need to Thank God that are children are healthy and think of others that are not. It breaks my heart that anyone has to suffer an illness but especially when it is a child.

  21. Just wanted you to know that I signed up and made a purchase. Thanks for sharing.

  22. Your girls are so beautiful. And what an important cause. I know I take my kids' health for granted, and it is so important to remember to support and pray for those families who are battling every day. Thank you so much for highlighting this wonderful site!

    ~Abby =)

  23. I wish, I wish I had little girls in my family! Even now I'm thinking of anyone I can buy for! Ooo Ooo, I think I have it! This was such a sweet post - I can't imagine. You take beautiful photos and I think it's incredible that you used your talent to help others. Thank you for your sweet example.

  24. Thank you for posting these adorable pictures and letting us know about this wonderful cause. I just placed an order for my sweet niece that is about to become a big sister. I think she will love it!And I am helping fight childhood cancer. Wow!

  25. Wow! Thanks for sharing these adorable pictures of your sweet girls...and letting us know about this great way to support the fight of childhood cancer. I just ordered a skirt for my little great-niece that is about to become a big sister. She will love it and I love that my purchase is helping fight cancer. Keep on sharing!

  26. Thank you for posting this,it hits dear to my heart. I want to check out the cute skirts for my sweet niece, Lucca, she is just 7 months old and is ready for round 6 of chemo. She far braver than any other baby I know. Childhood cancer isn't fair and hits without warning.

  27. Your daughters are absolutely adorable... I just want to squeeze lil Aubrielle. Those skirts are too cute.. and her shoes.

    I'll click and read the link when I get home.

  28. Could your kids be more adorable . . . . NO! LOVE them!!!


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