Saturday, July 17, 2010

Baby Antics

A little fun for you while I'm away. While you're reading this, we're all getting some much-needed family friend time with the Carlsons, our dear friends in from New York. We're camping, hiking, cooking, and having a grand old time. I wanted to share Helena's new fun-ness with you, though, and get a little better about posting more often.

I'm sure it helps that it's summer and I'm almost always in a tank top, but Helena is most definitely aware now of where her food comes from. When she starts to get hungry, she starts pulling at my shirt. 

Then she dives in, open mouth, growling and squeeling, slobbering all over what skin she can get to. Hello, seriously? At 5 months? I guess it shouldn't surprise me that the fourth will have to be the most outspoken and demanding. I have never expected to have an easy-going, timid child...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Ramblings Of Life and A Sweet Birthday

My mind is a jumble of so many details right now. I've spent days in front of this computer researching and choosing lenses to buy, thinking of upcoming photo shoots (I have five over the next couple of weeks - family and farm life, senior portrait, tots, family, and dance portraits - super excited about them all). For those who don't know, I haven't had the best of "luck" lately when it comes to lenses. About a month ago, Max knocked my camera off of the couch (totally my fault, shouldn't have left it there) and broke my 28-135 mm lens. I spent $100 to get it fixed, then turned around and broke my 50 mm. The USB cable was stuck in the computer chair roller and my camera came flying off the computer desk after I hooked it up to upload my pics, breaking my lens into two pieces. I cried over that one. I love my fitty. Can't live without it. But I took this as an opportunity to learn and grow, and I think I've finally chosen a new and wonderful lens that will keep me happy for some time. Just last night I finally jumped in and ordered a replacement for my 50, so it should be here for all my upcoming sessions. I also have a new account with a professional lab and have given myself a name - Narratives Photography (insert catchy  little phrase here, which I didn't write down and now can't remember - something about narrating life...). So I've been researching the business side of it all, checking into starting up my web site, and getting together my pricing and packages. Yep, there is a lot going on here.

Life can't be put aside for that, though. We have some dear, wonderful friends who are in from up-state New York and we're spending the weekend camping with them. So today is packing, cooking, and loads of list making so I don't forget anything. But in the midst of it all, with babe on lap, I thought I should at least get on here for a tribute to my Kane, our recent birthday boy. He and Bella have spent the week at Pap's and Nanny's house to attend VBS in my hometown, and truthfully, I have been trying to get this post up for several days, but I miss them so much that it's hard to look at the pictures of his sweet face and not feel heart-heavy. Things have not been the same without him here, and we'll all be glad when they are both home. I wouldn't trade it for the world - they are having so much fun and building tons of memories and relationships that will last their life through - but I still miss them terribly, and thinking back to his birth and the reality that five years have passed hasn't helped much.

Five years ago, this past July 1st, I awoke at 5 a.m. with contractions starting. I called our midwife, Ellen, who lived a good 2 hours and 15 minutes away, and she left for our house. Bella's labor and delivery had been a long haul, but I was so seemingly ready to have Kane at 41 weeks that we had been sent home from our last prenatal with cord clamps, a vial and scissors (I'm Rh- and have to collect enough cord blood to test baby's blood type), and instructions to call Ellen immediately so she could have a hope of making it. I called my birth team all around 7 a.m. My parents headed our way to take care of Bella, my dear friend Julie Zickefoose came to capture our precious baby's arrival on film, and our wonderful, beautiful doula Sam came to offer the emotional and physical support that I needed. I knew if this was to be my first successful home birth, I would need support to get past the failure (as I viewed it) at home birth with Bella, and there was none better than gentle, nurturing Sam. 

Photo by Julie Zickefoose

That fast birth was not going to happen, because I really did have a lot to let go of before I could let that baby out. We all had a relaxing morning, lunch, an afternoon of walks through our field with binocs in hand, and dinner, before finally I decided to get down to business. I spent a lot of time on the birth ball, with my ever-supportive and wonderful husband at my side every minute. 

Photo by Julie Zickefoose

At just after 9 that night, our hulkin' baby boy came flying into this world. Bella cried because he arrived so forcefully, with a big wail of his own. 

Photo by Julie Zickefoose

After 45 minutes or so of chaos, with hemorrhaging and a lot of blood loss on my end and a visit from our local volunteer EMS crew to check my vitals, all settled and we finally got around to our baby boy's check.

Photo by Julie Zickefoose

Weighing in at 9 lbs. 10 oz. and measuring 21 in., he had Bella by a woppin' 3 lbs. and 3 in. His head was 14 1/2 in., with his chest 14 3/4 in.. That was my solid little man. He latched on and was nursing like a champ in no time. Ah, I sighed, I had forgotten how beautiful it was to nurse your newborn baby. He gained half a pound a week for the first few months, and made his way into our lives as our little go-getter.

Photo by, you guessed it, Julie Zickefoose

As he has grown over the last 5 years, I am so proud to call him my son. He is kind and generous. When asked what he wanted for his birthday this year, his answer was some money, so he could buy something for his sister for HER birthday in September. When he found out the card he got from Uncle Bubby and Aunt Patti had money on it to spend, he said, "YAY! It's just what I wanted! Now I can buy a present for Bella!" with a gleam in his eyes. I am loving every minute of watching him turn into the man he will be one day. He is helpful, kind-hearted and loving. You can see it in his eyes and his smile. I know five will quickly turn into ten, then fifteen and beyond, but I'm ready to enjoy every moment of it, because through the great times and even the trials, I see the traits that will make for a beautiful person, and I look forward to watching it all unfold. Just as with the weather, I will enjoy the thunderstorms as well as the sunshine, because both are needed to grow a bountiful garden. And he will be bountiful, of this I am certain.

Shirt provided by Julie Zickefoose! She's everywhere! She's everywhere!
I love you, my Kaney. Here's to many more birthday celebrations to come!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

It's My Blog and I'll Vent If I Want To

Sometimes I don't want to have a post in mind. Sometimes I just want to get on here and spit out all that's swirling around in my head on a day like today and it to be okay. But instead I sit and try to figure out how to fit it all in neat and pretty with pictures and a relevant topic to blend it in to. After an hour of fighting it, though, I am abandoning the perfection that I am constantly striving for in so many ways. Perhaps it is just that I haven't taken my extra B-Complex in the last couple of days. They are my happy pills and I oh-so-need them on a regular basis. Or maybe it's just that Adam is staying out of town for work tonight, and I don't do well with him gone - I don't sleep, I eat way too much (like the bag of tortilla chips I'm putting down right now), and I just feel unsettled. Plus, as much as it is completely ridiculous and I fight it, I may not know quite how I feel about him having an apartment in another town for work that we've never seen. Like I said, completely irrational, but it's like some other life separate from us and it feels weird. Maybe it has to do with little sleep last night and an evening of 2 hours to get Max and Helena to sleep. And trying to figure out the ins and outs of starting up my photography business and how some days I feel like I just don't have the time to process the pictures that I want to process.

I am simply off tonight, and I guess I feel the need to get on here and say that I AM OFF. And that happens around here. I paint a pretty picture, but there are just some days that aren't so pretty. I have days when I feel pulled in a million directions and I simply can't be what everyone needs me to be when they all need me to be something different at the same time. There are days when Bella has so much attitude it's ridiculous, and gets things taken away for hitting, shoving, and kicking Kane. There are days when Kane has several temper tantrums and I have to physically carry him upstairs and heave him onto his top bunk. There are days when Max screams like a panther every time someone touches something that he has decided he would like to have, like a plastic orange or a stick. And there are days when I have to try to figure out what the heck I ate because I'm on my fourth shirt and Laini has just soaked it with spit. And on those days, sometimes I even sit down and have a nice cry in the middle of the kitchen floor in the middle of the day. And today really wasn't that bad at all, for some reason I just feel the need to say there are days that are that NOT pretty. I feel like I always get on here and post the prettiness, which makes sense, because there is so much of it here. Most days ARE perfect and beautiful, and I know looking back those are the ones I'll remember. But some aren't, and you just don't take pictures of those.

So there, I have put out the ugliness. And it feels good to have said it. Because now that I have acknowledged the feelings of inadequacy and overwhelmingness that comes with my life, I can move past them and focus on all the beauty. Even the beauty of truth and feelings. Because although I can rant my heart out, I feel blessed to be able to. I am blessed with my husband, my children, my life, my home, my passions, my mind, and my love, and even though it is not always pretty, it IS always blessed. Even when, at the end of the day, it makes me feel like this...

Friday, July 2, 2010

Helena at the Beach

Helena's happy time at our nearby lakeside beach had to do with plenty of hanging out on Mama's hip and nursing. There's nothing much better for a baby looking so cute in her tiny little bathing suit.

 She made some good faces for the camera.

And she got her all important footprint in the sand. It may have been bright, and she may not look like she particularly enjoyed herself, but it made for one heck of a nice blog header picture, didn't it?

She did hang with Papa for a bit after the older siblings were done with him, and was able to then get her feet a little wet. She DID enjoy that.

And in the end, there was some high-flyin' fun in Papa's big, strong hands, because the sky was so beautifully clear blue that I couldn't pass up the opportunity for the photo. With Adam's "Okay, honey, you've snapped 40 pictures now, don't you think that's enough?" I hope he counts it worth the effort for this picture.