Ordinary or extraordinary moments?


Documenting life's unscripted moments, is the trade mark of my business, Fresh Outtakes baby albums, but even more than that, it is my passion.

The small, ordinary moments that happen every day are without question the moments that I cherish the most. I want to capture these moments in photos and words so that I'll be able to see them again and so that I can share with my children our story, together. My hope is that their baby album will not only be a fun narrative of their early years, but that it will also serve as a reminder of their individuality and of our unconditional love. Moments become memories very quickly, and I don't want to risk time erasing them away - hence, 'documenting life's unscripted moments'.

In the picture above, we were talking quietly, laughing at his silliness as he plunged his little hand down my shirt like toddlers do all over the world I'm sure. His post nap affection is my absolute favorite. He usually bursts out of his room yelling for me in his low, husky voice. Then, he takes my hand and we walk to 'my spot' on the couch to snuggle until he feels ready to face the world.

Moments like this, though seemingly mundane, are some of my absolute favorites. I don't ever want to forget what it feels like to hold his soft, chubby hand, to see the trust in his sleepy blue eyes as I lift him onto my lap, or feel the warmth of his small body curled up to mine. I wish I could record his rough, scratchy voice as we head down the hall, or his growing giggles as he slowly accelerates up to full mischievousness, every single day.

My desire to hold on tight to these moments, is the reason why I created a line of baby albums in the first place. The pages in these books hold the images and the stories that I cherish. It is the vehicle for me to tell my child their own unique story. I never want to risk forgetting any of it. This is my most humble labor of love.

To purchase an album: www.freshouttakes.com
Gender Neutral theme available
All keepsake albums span from pregnancy to age 6

Using nature to teach life lessons


Nature, is my greatest teaching aide.

My kids are very visual people when it comes to learning and the hands on approach and real world examples help life lessons sink in for them. Here is just one lesson, taught through nature last weekend, but reinforced every single time we find a very still body of water.


Every time we disrupt still water like this I have to remind our kids of 'the ripple effect' in life. I start the conversation about how our action and reactions effect the people around us, our world and those we love. I think that simply tossing a rock into a pond like this can sometimes illustrate my point better than my own words can.

I'm always amazed at how even though we've had this same conversation a million times, they still listen to me patiently, and they relate and reflect with examples of the ripple effect from their own personal experiences. Sometimes their examples are from school, sometimes from home, and when we wrap up these conversations I usually turn to see my husband standing there patiently indulging me in this teaching moment. Secretly, I even turn the lecture onto myself, silently reflecting on my own missteps and occasionally on my finer moments. Regardless, nature continues to teach us all, big and little, about life, respect and how we impact this world.

Parenting is rough sometimes, I struggle to find the right words, age appropriate examples and so on, and so on. Fortunately what I have discovered is that nature is one of the best teachers of all, providing me with moments like the one above. I feel fortunate to have nature as a teaching aide and will humbly accept all the help I can get, wherever it comes from. 

Location: Gold Creek Pond, Washington
Fun fact: The colors are not enhanced in the photos - it really is that amazing in person!

How my childhood influenced my design preferences and product line


This gorgeous color is the root cause of my design preferences. 

My family spent a considerable amount of my childhood on our boat in the San Juan Islands and I feel certain that the water, particularly the salt water, has had a lasting affect on me. I feel irrationally happy when I can be near the ocean, smell the salty air or hear the waves lapping on the beach.

I can tell in my home decor choices, jewelry and even my product development, that the colors from my childhood memories on the water have influenced me greatly.

Take a look at the beautiful image of Deception Pass above and then see my favorite binder colors for my own product line. The proof is in the pudding, as they say. 
Binder colors: Aqua, Navy, Apple

"...we got the Sealife one with a blue cover. It's so gorgeous. It's going to be an heirloom..."
(a very kind customer comment from BabyCenter website)

Ironically, the first baby album that I designed for Fresh Outtakes, which has become my best seller, is named 'Sealife'.  The Sealife baby album is filled with bright images of sea creatures and can be paired with any binder color available.

Fresh Outtakes baby albums can be purchased at: www.freshouttakes.com

The most authentic boys keepsake album


Before my children were even born,  I swore to myself that I would try my hardest not to place any gender bias onto them regardless of whether they were boys or girls. I laugh at myself now because life would teach me very quickly that some things were simply inevitable and absolutely in keeping with gender driven ideology, and those gender assumptions were not all bad or oppressive.

Like many other moms, I never taught my boys how to be rough or make car engine noises, yet I would hear them day after day revving engines and screeching tires. Their race cars sounded fast and I would hear gears shifting and levers cranking for their larger work vehicles. They knew they were good too because they thoroughly enjoyed causing me to pull over thinking their was an emergency vehicle behind me. A little too life like for me, but still, I found it impressive.

So, over time,  I conceded defeat and created the most gender specific keepsake album design that I NEVER thought I was capable of, "Vintage Vehicles".

"I love this one" (from our youngest)
This album was especially fun to create because my first son was already 4 years old and was able to come with me as I searched for the best vintage vehicles for this album. As we shopped, I waited to see his face light up with excitement and then I knew it was the right one.

Every vehicle I photographed for this album was an original, made in the U.S.A., vintage vehicle. When I say that these keepsake albums are "made in U.S.A." it is the absolute full truth from concept to creation. I am so proud of this colorful and fun boys keepsake album!

Silhouettes, one of my favorite ways to photograph my kids


Silhouettes. Over the last few years silhouettes have become one of my favorite ways to document my kids playing and having fun together. Each of my favorite photos has a different level of contrast, sometimes the kids are nearly black allowing the light to create sharp silhouettes and other times less contrast allows for a softer nod to their silhouettes.

There's so much color in this one below...

This one...the sun is behind them but off to the side creating a soft glow outlining those sweet, chubby little cheeks.

And their love affair continues. I have the proof! 
Silhouettes, my favorite.

Sea glass en masse


Today one of my kiddos was home from school and overheard me talking about sea glass, so naturally she asked me "what is sea glass?". 

In case you get this question, it is simply glass that has tumbled around in the water for many, many years. According to wikipedia, it can take 20-30 years and sometimes as much as 50 years to acquire its characteristic texture and shape. When the glass appears frosty, it is from being in saltwater, conversely if it is shiny, it is from fresh water. 

These pieces of sea glass are from the beach in Friday Harbor, Washington. Oh how I love the colors!
Next time I'm at the beach I'm going to keep my eyes peeled for more!

Fun tip:

There's even a beach called Glass Beach in Fort Bragg, California

This baby album goes WAY past the baby stages


Baby albums are an essential for me as a mom, but baby's grow...and I wanted to document the moments that followed with as much enthusiasm as I did when each of my children were brand new.

I created Fresh Outtakes baby albums to be more like a celebration of the early years, baby, toddler and early school life. In fact, my oldest was already 5 years old when I created these albums and so I was able to cruise through filling his out, which was surprisingly fun.

One of my favorite pages was the 'Grow Baby Grow' page because I saw how each month brought small changes in his expression, how he began to smile, how he started to shy away, how he began to show wonder and at last at the one year mark, his personality was shining through!

Filling out the 'All about Mom and Dad' page was important to me because I want my kids to be able to recognize that we (us, the mom and dad) were individuals before they were born, that we were a couple who fell in love, went on adventures, enjoyed actual hobbies before their cute little selves made their entrance into the world.

I chose to dig deep into the archives for a pre-baby photo of us together which was a bit of a challenge as I discovered we really were buried under children's photos! We looked so young...(boo-hoo), a reminder to both of us that we needed to get out more together, but I digress, the page was a nice way to reminisce for a moment about the fun times we had. I've seen how our older kids read this page, hanging onto every, little, detail. I can tell now that it was an important addition to their story and I'm so glad I managed to find a place for it in the keepsake album.

Another favorite page is the celebration pages that include not just birthdays, but Halloween and religious celebrations. Looking at these funny costume pictures from birth to 6 years old is always a crack up. Year after year I can see how my little man began to influence his Halloween costumes by what he was fascinated with at the time - from the skunk, to a UPS driver! Our son gets a kick out of it too - he often sits and thumbs through his book, in awe of his utter cuteness (total bias of course).

Again, expanding beyond the baby years makes this album such a time capsule of our children's lives. I can't wait to get moving on some more pages for them to read!

Home decor with special meaning


The white ceramic balls in this basket each have a number or letter on them, and usually are safely together in a glass jar away from little hands. On this day however, my littlest wanted to see them so they are rolling around on the gentle surface of this woven basket.

As I slowly work on transforming our house into our home I am always on the lookout for little treasures like these. Upon first glance they're pretty unassuming, but...if you know our family you would begin to see the method to my madness. I found these at the Common Folk Co store and searched high and low, deep in the boxes for each family members initial and birth date. 

I love groupings en masse and these provide double duty. To the untrained eye they may simply be interesting to look at, but to me they represent all of the people I love so dearly! I think it is so important to decorate purposefully and try hard to incorporate the little treasures that hold a memory or display found items that remind you of something or someone that you love!
by mlekoshi