A Cold Morning Photo Shoot Full of Love and Smiles

The Gardner family was one of my Model Call winners! And let me tell you, I could not have been more happy with this choice! As cold as it was on their session date, little Lillian (not even 2 years old) was ALL smiles! She is such a bright light and brings so much joy to her mommy and daddy. It was very obvious in the short time we spent together that they are a family full of love.

I know they are very busy people who work hard, are devoted church-goers and later I found out they also have many talents, including music (Kimberly has a beautiful voice!) and art. I have no doubt their daughter will grow up to be a talented, loving, respectful young lady. She’s already well on her way! Check out some of my favorite shots from their chilly morning photo shoot at Vander Veer Park in Davenport, Iowa.

Adventurous, Affectionate, Amusing, Adorable...

...and those are just the A words I'd use to describe my baby boy! He is such an amazing (there's another one) human being already and he's only almost 2. Lincoln Kristopher is the piece of our puzzle we didn't know we were missing. He loves animals, especially his Gussy pup. He gets into everything, all day every day. He's daring, climbs things he shouldn't, explores anything he can get his hands on, but can also cuddle up with a book and be as sweet as pie.

I know we all talk about how fast it goes, wonder where the time has gone and wish to halt our kids' whirlwind childhoods. Obviously I am no different. It makes me sad to recognize how little I can remember of the last 2 years already. So many hours, so many days, get forgotten, discarded by our brains as unimportant. This is why I am so incredibly grateful for pictures. Who would I even be without them?! 

My youngest son, my sweet little boy, here are some pictures that I get to hold dear of him at two years old. 

6 Local Places to Take Your Toddler


If you're looking for something fun to do with your little one, read on! 


If you have toddlers at home, you know as well as I do that they need to get out of the house! My kids have been bouncing off the walls and gave a whole new meaning to the phrase stir crazy! I've found so many fun toddler activities to do locally. Most of these are in Clinton since that's where we live, but I'd love to hear more ideas in the Quad Cities if you have them!

Check out this list of toddler-specific programs I put together, all geared toward getting your toddler to think, play, socialize, and learn!    

  • Discovery Center (Clinton, IA)
    Funtime Fridays are every Friday from 10:00-11:00AM. The kids can learn and play, read stories, and have a blast! Discovery Center members get in free, otherwise admission is $4 per person (children under 2 are free). If you haven't been here before, it's definitely worth exploring! There is so much for kids to do; both of my boys love it! 
  • Sawmill Museum (Clinton, IA)
    An early childhood play group gets together here on Thursdays from 10:00-11:00Am to play, sing, craft, and have fun! It's free from 10-11, and if you'd like admission to the museum it's only $4 for adults, $3 for children 4-12 and kids 3 and under are free. This program goes through the end of May, so you still have another month to play before they take a break for the Summer. 
  • Clinton Public Library (Clinton, IA)
    Story time for toddlers is on Tuesdays from 10:00-11:00AM, they're on a short break but will be back in June. We love books in our family so this is a really awesome program for us! They're not strict at all, the kids can listen to the stories or wander and explore. And another perk, it's free! 
  • YWCA Swimming Pool (Clinton, IA)
    Toddler Time is from 10:30-11:30AM on Wednesdays & Thursdays through June! Dates/times may change with the Summer hours and I'm not sure yet what they'll be. Members are free or you can pick up a day pass for $5 per day per person, $15 per family, 3yrs and under are free.
  • Niabi Zoo (Coal Valley, IL) -
    Zoo Tots is typically on the 2nd Thursday of the month from 9:30-10:30AM. The price is $12 per adult/child pair (or $6 for members) and includes admission to the zoo! This fun, one hour program is for children ages 2 to 4 and their caregivers. At each Zoo Tots session, you'll make a craft, do fun learning activities, and get up close with an animal. I haven't personally attended this one yet, but I may be more excited to go than the kids are!
  • Family Museum (Bettendorf, IA)
    The Family museum is so much fun! They have several drop-in classes throughout the week, such as Music in Motion & open playtime (Monday/Thursday 9:15-11:00AM), Tiny Tot Clay art class (Tuesday 9:30-10:30AM), and Listen and Learn Playtime (Wednesday 9:30-11:00AM). The price is $8 for admission, children under 2 and members are free. I definitely recommend checking out their website for even more awesome activities to keep your littles busy!   

So as you can see, there are tons of things to do out of the house for these little humans to keep busy. It's been a long Winter and with the nice weather comes the added benefit of outdoor entertainment, parks, and sunshine! But for those unavoidable rainy days ahead, keep some of these great local options in mind.