November 22, 2014

Baby E (and a few thoughts on growing my photography)

Last weekend I had the opportunity to photograph a friend's gorgeous, gorgeous newborn (and maybe get in a few snuggles too!).  I have to admit that I've daydreamed of going into professional photography a time or two, but I know that before I even entertain the idea, long before I even consider all the practicalities of operating my own business or marketing techniques or branding - I've got to get some experience working with people who aren't family members.  Friends are a great place to start, as it allows me to gain experience with people I know and am comfortable with, and it also allows me to give them a little gift.

You see, I absolutely adore taking pictures of my own family - not only because I'm preserving memories for us to cherish forever, but also because it gives me the opportunity to share those memories with others.  When I capture Olivia's first time playing in the leaves, that exact moment when she realizes they're not for eating, in some small way, the people I share those photographs with get to share those experiences with us.  If her Daddy or her grandma or her auntie can't be there to live those experiences with us as they are happening, at least they have this little chance to be a part of it all.  That's part of my passion, part of what drives me.  I don't know if I'll ever pursue photography in any real professional capacity, but I know that it takes a lot more than a simply love of photography to "make it" in the business, and I think that passion and that drive would be a great asset, a great tool for a professional to have.  That's what allows my love of photography to grow more and more every day.

I had a lot of fun at my first shoot that didn't involve family.  The photos aren't perfect, as I patiently worked with one hungry, hungry newborn; a yucky overcast day with horrid, indoor, low lighting; and most inhibiting, my total newbness - but it was tons of fun, and I'm pretty happy with images I got.  I quickly discovered that the passion I feel when photographing my own family, the excitement I feel when I know I nailed a shot, and that heartwarming feel that this family will be able to share gorgeous photographs, gorgeous experiences, gorgeous memories with the ones they love - it's something I feel every time I press that shutter release button, not just when I'm clicking away for myself.  It certainly gives me a lot to think about, and I'm looking forward to many, many more experiences like this in the future.

November 21, 2014

November 19, 2014

Thirty-Three Weeks

Big happenings with Olivia these past few weeks!  She's quickly taken to solids and will eat pretty much anything now.  While there isn't really anything special in weaning while breastfeeding versus formula feeding, it's all new to me (the older kids having already switched to bottles before weaning), and it's been a bit of an adjustment, trying to figure out the optimal time to offer solids and nursing.  I love that I get to live these new experiences, but with the confidence of a third-time mom.  The biggest adjustment (which comes when weaning any child) is simply remembering to offer solids!  We offer her solids twice a day now, which she is usually happy to accept, still only eating a few small spoonfuls at a time though, and continuing to get most of her nutrients from breast milk.

Livi had her 6-month check-up last week and breezed through her third round of immunizations with no problems.  She's been the best of all my babies in that respect, thankfully.  Also, nursing through shots: best thing ever.  Seriously, no tears whatsoever.  #MomWin

Olivia is also crawling, for real now.  Having mastered the army crawl, the drag, the roll, and rocking back and forth on all fours - she finally decided enough was enough and BOOM - crawling perfection instantaneously.  She was going so fast that she would frequently topple over, face first into the carpet, but she seems to be managing that just fine now.

The BIG big news is that we stopped her reflux meds last week, and have had no apparent symptoms!  This is super good news, as it was quite a pain to get that nasty medicine into her three times a day, and it's also encouraging to see her general health is improving.  Unfortunately she has some congestion right now - we're not sure if it's a cold or a reaction, as I reintroduced tomatoes into my diet and she didn't seem to do too well with it.

November 17, 2014


Winterizing the house with some plastic on the windows (ugh), part-time cloth diapering now, a hot crock pot full of pumpkin chili (because we had highs in the low 40s), a few pre-holiday treats (yum), working on a crochet Christmas gift, and lots of baby snuggles and spam.

We're still floating crazy high on Cloud 9, unnecessarily ending practically every sentence with husband and wife, and just enjoying this time as newlyweds (a "time" I think will last for a few long while!).  I'm beginning to wonder if we're really riding a wave of adrenaline from all the recent excitement, something we will eventually "come down" from - or if these amazing feelings are just our new norm.  Like, is this the real life?  Is this just fantasy?  Regardless, my life has been forever changed this past year, forever changed for the better, and I just couldn't be more proud of this little family I'm lucky enough to call mine.

This past week we began making plans for the upcoming holidays.  With three different families to visit (my mom, my dad, and David's family), needing to cater to Olivia's food allergies, and three crazy kids - it definitely takes a bit of organization!  I'm so excited to have this extra time with family, as David and the kids will have time off from work/school for the holidays, and I'm really looking forward to spending time with those extended families, and also the quiet moments spent at home, simply enjoying us.

This past week I've been feeling extraordinarily inspired.  Different conversations with friends about photography, exercise, home improvement projects, crafts, and more has really lit a fire under me - I'm buzzing with so many idea for projects, challenges, and general to-do's I've been procrastinating on, that I'm having to write them all down lest I lose track.  With a long list of things to get to this Winter, things I'm excited and eager to work on, I'm hoping to stay busy enough that the cold and dreary weather won't get to me this time.

I've already started working on a few small goals, just so hyped with all this inspiration that I can't wait until New Year's, and I'm enjoying this slow and gradual ease into things, gearing up for the few bigger goals I'm setting for myself soon (via resolutions for 2015).  This time around, I'm approaching personal goals (both big and small) with a completely different, brand new attitude.  I'm looking forward to a journey that has no silly preoccupations with numbers on a scale, with "doing" or "having" it all, or with trying to live up to unreasonable expectations I set for myself based on my perception of anyone else's life.  I'm looking forward to drawing inspiration from others without feeling the need to compete or do it "better" than them.  I'm looking forward to comparing the me of today to me a year from now, and seeing how much these goals will allow me to grow and learn, to be a better ME.  Every year I seem to gain more independence, more confidence, more love for myself - and with that in the forefront of my mind when setting personal goals this time around, I'm confident I'll see absolutely perfect results.  I'm incredibly happy right here and right now, but I'm excited to see just how much bigger and better this amazing life can get.  I'll be enjoying a relaxed holiday season this year, dedicating extra time to this deserving family of mine - but I'm looking forward to investing a bit more in myself come 2015, and I can't wait to see how far it will take me!

November 15, 2014

Paper Flower Wedding Bouquet

The paper flower bouquet I made for our wedding, including three comic book flowers, wrapped in a piece of the veil from when my mom and dad got married.