Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January 365 Catch Up

Catching up on my 365, finally.  :)  And no, I really don't know why some of my mobile photos areshowing up sideways, even though I "saved" them upright.  And I don't have time to figure it out right now... baby Alice will be hungry soon!  :)

013/365: At the doctor's office with my silly babies.

014/365: Timing contractions that turned out to be false labor

015/365: Ben, playing with cars

016/365: "But I don't want to clean up!"

017/365: Not the 'baby' anymore!

018/365: Alice's first kisses from Daddy

019/365: Peace and quiet

020/365: Alice's Birthday Cake!
 021/365: Chryshelle comes by to take photos

022/365: Bookworm

023/365: Alice's first modeling job

024/365: He loves her

025/365: Her last moments with her cord stump still attached

026/365: Naptime
 027/365: All smiles!

028/365: She wants to eat cereal for every. single. meal.

029/365: Socks Rock!

030/365: Riding her pony... er... unicorn
 031/365: My biggest and littlest

Saturday, January 21, 2012

It's a...


Introducing Alice Evangeline
Born January 18, 2012 at 12:57 PM
6lbs, 15oz and 19"


Sophie, Bella, Ben and Lucy are smitten with her.  My talented friend Kelly Garvey was there when they met her for the very first time.  Grab a box of tisues and head on over to her blog see her post:  http://kellygarveyphotography.com/blog/welcome-alice-lifestyle-shoot-houston-tx/


And for your viewing pleasure, here is Lucy as she welcomes Alice home from the hospital.


Thank you ALL so much for your love, prayers, help, thoughts, and advice.  I am so blessed to have such a beautiful family and loving friends!  I love you all and hope that you know it! 

I've taken a photo-a-day, but will not be posting them for a little bit.  Also, a birth story is coming soon.  For now, I've learned as a mom of FIVE that you sleep when the baby sleeps, if you are smart.  ;)  So it is off to bed I go!  

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Baby Wait

That darling little baby girl will no longer be the "youngest" by this time tomorrow.

This weekend was rough.  I haven't been sleeping much since contractions started on Saturday, but things started looking a lot more serious on Monday.  I had to go to the hospital all day thanks to some uncontrollable vomiting and get some IV fluids & medicine.  Once I was hydrated again, contractions slowed way down and I went home.  Tuesday (which feels like today since I haven't slept yet!) I got the lovely news that my every 10-12 minute contractions HAD been doing their job.  I dilated 2 more cm since my release from the hospital.  :)

Contractions are getting more intense and closer together as I type, but if they don't reach the every-five-minute mark before 5 AM, I am still going in to the hospital.  I will be getting some help to speed things along.  I am so excited.  Too excited to sleep.

It always happens to me though... I always end up crying into my pillow with a little co-sleeper next to me, knowing that the littlest one will seem not-so-little soon.  As Adam and Lucy dropped off to sleep immediately, I lay there and cried, snuggling her and wetting her crazy curls with big tears.  My tiny Lucy, by this time tomorrow, will seem to have grown a head taller and 15 pounds heavier.  It always happens to me... holding my newborn, my recently "youngest" child suddenly seems SO big, comparatively.

I truly love being a mother.  I love to watch them grow up.  But this is not my first, second, or even third little toddler to sleep next to me as I lay awake with an aching heart, knowing that it will be gone too soon. 

I am so, so lucky and blessed to be able to be the mother of five healthy, beautiful, brilliant, and kind children.  I am so content to be "just" a mom and wife.  This won't last forever... as I well know, watching my nearly 10-year-old daughter grow to nearly as tall as I am this year... and I am willing to lay down everything else to be what they need me to be right now.  

I just can't wait to see who God has brought into our family this time.  I can only imagine!

I will update when I can.  I promised the kids that I wouldn't tell anyone (not family, friends, Facebook or the blog!) the baby's gender or name until they heard it first.  They will probably be in school when I deliver, so it will be a long wait for me!  We'd take them out early, but there is the dreaded standardized testing going on at exactly the WRONG TIME for us, and they take it pretty seriously around here.  :)
Next time I type here, I will have some news to share!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Little Lulu (012/365)

Thursday was Lucy's shooting day.

With Lucy Cate, I usually only have 5 minutes (no kidding) before she is DONE.  She is very enthusiastic and happy to pose for the camera for the first 30 seconds.  After that, it is one marshmellow per frame until she runs off... usually at five minutes, when her tummy is full.

One of my photographer friends who does boutique modeling with her own little girl gave me the idea of playing her favorite song, and then when the song is over, modeling is over for the day.  It sounded like a plan, and yes... she had tons of fun!  Unfortunately, she was dancing and spinning so much I couldn't get a decent product shot.  HA!  So it was a wash, until I got her later in the day with my normal sugar bribery. I'm armed with mini marshmellows for the shoot itself, and mini chocolate morsels for a treat when we are all done. Since she only "shoots" once or twice a week, I have no problem using sugar to bribe her for good photos. 

Yes, I have tons of photos where she is smiling.  But this one is my favorite.  "Lucy in the Sky" had just ended, and I told her to hold on a second before I turned it on again.  :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Heart Breaker (011/365)

Another day, another boutique modeling shoot.  I am trying rather frantically to get everything done before baby comes.  Adam thinks I am crazy and that I am wearing myself out (and I am!) but it will take a lot of stress off of me to get these things done. 

Not naming any specifics, but I had my very first, very BAD interaction with a boutique this week.  It is so, so bad.  I have never had a boutique be anything less than thrilled and appreciative of the work I do, and it stung especially because it was UNPAID for a FRIEND.  Or what I considered to be a friend!

After this disaster, Adam makes me repeat almost every day now... these people are NOT your friends.  Even if you meet them in person and chat with them for hours at the park... they are contacting you for a service, and even if you've known them for a year... they are a client and not a friend.  I told the person that I need her to stop contacting me, and further contact will be considered harassment.  I have an image rights lawyer, international copyright law, my editor, and my professional photography community on my side.  It is hurtful, but in four years of doing this... this is my first truly bad apple.  So I suppose in the end, those are rather good odds.  :)

Adam wants me to quit all photography altogether, but I am not ready for that yet.  I do so love it.  I just need to find a better balance going forward.  I've already done really well at balancing my time on this sometimes-paid hobby, but now I need to remember to balance my emotions too.  BOUNDARIES, people.  Good fences make good neighbors, no?  :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

38 Weeks (010/365)

Can't even tell you how much I love my little boy... he is the most darling, sweetest, silliest little man in the world and I am completely enamored with him.  :)  Here he is modeling a new line of ties for Petite Peanut Boutique.  Even though I am very sore, he is a cooperative model and let me photograph him today with no problem.

I had my weekly check-up at 2:30 PM.  First we had out appointment rather than having the ultrasound first, as it has been every time before.  Weight, blood pressure, urine test all looked great.  When she came in and checked me, she was surprised to report that she could totally feel the baby's head!  I am at 1 cm dilated and 80% effaced!  She sent us to ultrasound to check on baby anyway, and sure enough... head down, perfectly on track, fluids look great... our little one has finally decided that enough drama is enough.  :)  I couldn't help it... I cried upon hearing the news.

Pregnancy turns me into a crying mess.  I am usually a pretty tough lady, physically AND emotionally... but lately, I cry almost every day about something!  be it hurt tender feelings, anxieties over the baby, or even a touching Facebook update from a friend.  It's really bad!  So embarrassing that I can't hold it together anymore for any reason!  ;)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Wicked Weather (009/365)

It hit me over the weekend... I had given away almost all of my newborn clothing, and didn't have anything for our new baby! I decided that I would go shopping at my favorite resale shop in the area... Once Upon A Child. It is a long drive from where we are now, but so worth it. I don't need a whole new wardrobe as I have mommies standing by ready to donate their own baby's clothes to us once we know what we have, but I did want to buy some newborn onesies. My mom kept Lucy for me, and I thought I would drop off Ben and have some time to shop... alone. That never happens, so it would be quite a treat for me. :)

When I left the house to take Ben to preschool, it was pouring rain. I didn't think a whole lot about it until I tried to exit the highway, and there was flash flooding. It was CRAZY! Cars were stranded everywhere under the overpass, and I very carefully backed up and narrowly escaped the standing water up to the other vehicle's doors! Then I turned on the radio, but there was no traffic/weather updates to be found. Ben was very disappointed to be going home, so I thought about stopping at the mall instead of driving all the way to Once Upon a Child later. He loves the carousel, and there are lots of fun things to do there besides. He perked up after that.

As I was pulling into the mall parking lot, Adam called me and told me that there was a tornado warning in the area, and a funnel cloud was forming just 2 miles from where I was! We of course headed home, but on the way, I seriously saw a funnel cloud off to the left. I was SO afraid it would touch down and I couldn't tell how close it was to us. There would be nowhere to go with the pouring rain. Being very pregnant, I started bawling on the phone. I made it back in five minutes, but those were a scary five minutes for sure!

Needless to say... preschool, the mall, and shopping resale were out of the question in the morning!

By about 2:30 in the afternoon, the waters had receded, the rain stopped, and all was well. Shopping definitely helped me get over the awful morning. :)

For the first three months of their lives, my babies are usually in onesies with a swaddling blanket, and possibly a cap if their little heads are cold. Onesies at Once Upon a Child are $1 per short-sleeved one and $1.50 per long-sleeved. Many of them still have the NEW tags attached! I totally scored. :) I bought about 15 onesies for each gender, and will either take back or donate the ones we don't end up using.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Comfort Food (008/365)

Sunday was rough!  First, I had to say goodbye to Stephanie, and then I spent the rest of the day sleeping from a phenergan coma or puking my guts out.  I was in a LOT of pain... trying to figure out what the heck was going on with my baby!

That evening, despite my misery, we went to a photo shoot with my friend Melissa.  She had generously offered to do my maternity photos again, and I wasn't going to reschedule a third time on her... and time is short!  So I put on my happy face and made it through a very quick and easy shoot with her.  Oh my... am I ever glad we did.  :)  These are my top three!

Check out more of Melissa's work at www.snappedwithlove.com

After our shoot, we headed over to Adam's parents' home for some fresh beans and chili from Hatch, NM.  No matter how sick I am, a fresh, homemade bowl of New Mexico beans and a soft tortilla always puts my belly right again.  :)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Out and About (007/365)

How is it possible that I BROUGHT my camera with me to Lupe's, with the specific intent to take a few photos of Stephanie and Jon... and I ended up with an image of the menu?  Really?  Hahaha!  I can't blame margaritas, as I didn't get to have any, but I can only blame pregnant brain.  I was in some pretty intense pain and wasn't thinking clearly.  ;)

Apparently, good Mexican food is hard to find in England.  We wanted to be sure to feed them well before we had to send them off! They loved Lupe's.

The best part of Saturday evening was playing Wise and Otherwise.  That game keeps everyone laughing!

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Little Girl with a Curl (006/365)

Don't let her fool ya!  This little one is as moody as they come!  ;)  Lucy Cate is so very two.  Adam had Friday off and helped me get the rest of Lucy's product images modeled for me before this baby comes.  We pulled out all the stops, and the marshmellows definitely helped her smile.  :)

That evening, Adam made a huge pot of Japanese curry and we welcomed Stephanie and Jon in from England!  Stephanie has been one of my very best friends for so long, it's hard to remember life without her.  For my real-life friends and family who read here, you will remember Stephanie as my maid of honor.  :)   I miss her all the way across the ocean, but she is going to school and met a wonderful man who has my stamp of approval.  :)  We stayed up late talking after we got the wild animals to bed.  It was so very nice... Stephanie is more like a sister than a friend.  No matter how long it has been since we've seen each other, it all feels just as it always has been.  :)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Baby, If You Love Me... (005/365)

Yesterday, I had an "okay" day, so tried to finish as much product photography work as I could.  You just never know how I will be doing from one day to the next, and I take advantage of the "okay" and "good" days as much as possible.  ;)

Little Miss Madeleine Sophie... she is 9 going on 13.  She was my first victim of my obsession with photography, and by the time she was 5 or 6... she was over having her picture made.  Now, I can't blame her.  When I got my first DSLR, I spent time with her almost everyday, trying to figure out metering modes and focus and custom white balance... that poor, patient child just finally had her fill.  She never asks to have her picture done now, and often rolls her eyes in frustration when I ask her to pose for me. 

All of those memories... I'm guessing that's why it is so hard to get her to smile.  I have to say and do the most RIDICULOUS things to get her to crack.  Luckily, yesterday, I had Bella along and she does this little "I'm chubba-chubby" thing that cracks Sophie up.  I got a total of 2 happy faces from that one.

Did you ever play the game, "Baby If You Love Me, Won't You PLease Please Smile?" Pretty sure Sophie would be the world champion.  That is, if I were standing there with my camera, anyway.  ;)

Baby Update:  I am in a LOT of pain.  Baby is moving from transverse to breech and back again, I think.  I am ready to meet him or her and put this worrisome and painful time behind us! 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

My Busy Boy (004/365)

This morning, after the big sisters were at school and while the little sister was still sleeping, Ben was hard at work.  He dictated a story for me to write down. Then he changed roles from author to illustrator, as he asked me to remind him what each page said.

What you see there is our hero falling into the water, where he was attacked by a snake.

Exciting, no?

SPOILER ALERT: The boy does eventually defeat the snake and then a giant spider, by using his cheek-gun and eventually crawls to safety through a long tunnel.  He is reunited with his family and the story ends with him safely at home.  

Look for "The Boy Who Was Far, Far Away" to hit the New York Times Bestseller List very soon.  This is going to be big.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

37 Weeks (003/365)

Lucy decided at the last minute that she wanted to come with Mommy to the doctor instead of staying with our best neighbor ever, Miss Gina.  She fell asleep on the way home, and since it was a beautiful day, I just rolled down the windows and let her nap there.  Of course we stayed outside, and the three big kids got to enjoy some pretty January weather.

I had my follow-up ultrasound today.  The baby is no longer in breech position, but is now transverse.  My OB is against trying an ECV (manually turning baby) with a transverse little one, saying that there is usually a reason why baby is in that position and it isn't worth the risk.  We are NOT scheduling a c-section at this point.  Instead,, we will be patiently waiting as long as we possibly can safely, to see if baby will turn on his/her own.

Baby's head in on my left, back is right under my breasts, bottom and feet on the right side.  I've been doing all of the rocking, stretching, and crawling I can bear.  If baby is still transverse next week at my 38 weeks, I will visit a chiropractor in hopes that the Webster technique will help the baby move.  The Webster technique relaxes your uterus... but, the problem may very well be that mine is TOO relaxed, having had four babies already and more fluid than necessary!

What we specifically need prayer for is that my water will NOT break.  Baby has nothing in the way to block its cord from prolapsing if my water breaks, and that can be fatal.  As much as I don't want one, I have gotten to the point where a c-section doesn't sound so bad.  A cord prolapse... man, that is much scarier!  However our baby arrives SAFELY is fine by me.  :)

My parents are back with us, and will be staying until baby comes and a couple of weeks beyond!  I am so happy!  I feel so much more comfortable having help during the day, just in case.  :)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Tuppy Love (002/365)

One of my favorite things about Lucy Cate is her wild-woman hair.  This is what it looks like without gel.  I love the way the sun shines through and makes this halo of white... especially when it is bouncing around her shoulders as she runs outside.  Truly a breathtaking sight... I want to soak it all in!

When our first baby, Sophie, said "Tuppy", she was talking about her honorary Aunt Chutney.  But Lucy?  Lucy's "Tuppy" is that yellow pacifier you see her trying to hide from me.

Oh, tuppy.  We have them all over the place, and try to keep them out of sight and out of mind during the day.  However, my big girl is pretty adept at finding them.  And climbing, when necessary.  She is resourceful, after all.

I'm not too worried about it, really.  I get advice from very kind, well-meaning friends that it is time to take it away and save her little teeth.  But Ben and Bella both used their pacifiers until they were 3, and the only child who didn't use one... Sophie... is the one who has an appointment with the orthodontist.  ;)

Lucy was weaned from nursing before she was ready, and it has made the tuppy problem that much bigger.  But again... I'm not worried.  She won't be taking her tuppies with her to college, so I think we'll wait until she is three to reason with her and bribe... I mean... REWARD her for letting go.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Third Time is a Charm? (001/365)

My New Year's Resolution is simple.  A photo a day, every day, for the year... and a blog entry, even if it is a sentence, about our day.

I have (naturally) let blogging slide as so many things have been going on in our family, not the least of which, my most difficult pregnancy of all.  But it is definitely something I plan to work on.  I get a lot from blogging... sharing my thoughts, keeping a record of family life, and staying "in touch" with my family & friends all over the world.

Today, I'm sharing a couple of imperfect snapshots of our day.  :) 

Bella was talking to Adam and me, as he made the traditional ham, cabbage, fried potato, and black-eyed pea New Year's Day Dinner.  Delicious.

Lucy approved of our dinner spread... the girl can REALLY eat. I really should have used a flash here!

And a little funny peek at our little funny girl...

She does this with books, and makes a path to walk on.  She insists that we "Watch!  Watch!" her walk the paths over and over.  Today, she got into the diaper cabinet (bottom right) and made a diaper path.  These are the newborn diapers that Uncle Grant sent for us, as we're getting ready for baby.  (Thank you!!)  Lucy is already enjoying them, apparently.  :)

The pregnancy update:
Things have been really rough this time, expecting Baby Five.  Our 37th week check-up will bring another ultrasound, as we check to see if baby is still breech (as he/she was 2 weeks ago) and make sure everything is well with fluid and growth rates.  I'm having all kinds of not-so-fun mommy issues, resulting in a lot of bedrest and general crankiness.  On Tuesday, we will find out if we will need a c-section or an induction.  Please pray that we don't have to deliver our last cutie by c-section!  I am really scared of another surgery, and while I know women do fine with them every day... I just want my last to be the same as the other four.  :)

Happy New Year!

How did our family celebrate?

Friends, fireworks, food, champagne, watching the ball drop, and of course... a midnight kiss.

Happy New Year to you and yours!