April 27, 2010

Baby G

Look who I got to hang out with on Sunday . . .

He was such a sweet baby and put up with me beautifully, even though I was bothering him when he just wanted to sleep in peace.

I think one of the best parts of the entire session was seeing how much his parents adore him. He's the youngest of three boys but you could tell that his parents were as in awe of him as they were the first time around (or so I would imagine, since I didn't meet his big brothers until they were older). It was so sweet to see.

On my way home yesterday I realized something . . . this was the last newborn session I have scheduled! I usually have at least one scheduled at any given time, even if it's months away. But Baby G will be my last for a while. It's a little bit sad.

For privacy reasons, I can't post pictures from my sessions on Monday but I will say that they went much better than I had even anticipated!

All in all, my trip to Chicago went really well. I missed my boys tremendously, but really appreciated the night off. When I walked in the door, they pretty much acted as if I had just been in the other room for 36 hours or so.

My drive to and from Chicago . . . well, I'm going to save that for another post. Maybe tomorrow . . .

April 24, 2010

Dear Ben, Month 7

Dear Ben,

Your latest obsession is with Cheerios. You love your toasted oats and if you're in your high chair and happen run out, you whine dramatically until someone brings you more. The problem is that you're getting better and picking up small things, and you've transferred that skill to ever crumb, piece of fuzz and speck of dirt that you encounter. I shudder to think about what you might eat if I'm not paying close attention.

Another new things you've started this month is screaming bloody murder every time I leave the room. The shrieking is almost more than my ears can take, but it's WAY more than my heart can handle. I usually return to you fairly quickly. You win. I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I kind of like it that you do that. I like the special connection we have, Ben.

Tomorrow I leave you for the first time . . . well, for the first time overnight . . . and that connection is what is part of what is making it so hard for me. I'm worried that you'll be sitting in your high chair, realize that I'm gone and not understand why I don't come when you call. I know, I know . . . you'd have to learn to deal with this at some point. But that doesn't make it any easier.

And I know that on Monday night you probably won't even remember that I had left you for 36 hours. That doesn't make it any easier, either.

Your crawling has become faster and I'm having a harder time keeping up with you. On Thursday, I was bringing groceries in from the car and left you playing in the living room. In the time it took me to get from the front door to the car, you crawled out the front door and fell down our porch stairs.

I saw the whole thing happen as if it were in slow motion and I panicked. We're so vigilant about keeping the gate at the top of the basement stairs in place and it never occurred to me that you'd make it to the front porch and down the stairs that quickly. But you were OK, and after a few good cries, you were wiggling to get down so that you could continue exploring.

You've started venturing out and trying to cruise a little, but you usually end up on your bottom and crawling the rest of the way. Yesterday, you were standing at your play table and looked up at me and held an arm out. I one hand out to you and you kind of lunged to me, which resulted in you falling flat on your face. You've bumped your head more times than I can keep track of this month (and you even gave me a fat lip about a week ago).

This month seemed to pass even more quickly than the ones before. Just don't grow up too much while I'm gone, alright?



April 23, 2010

As overheard yesterday afternoon

Jack: Can I put a pull up on?

Me: Um, no. Why do you ask?

Jack: My underpants aren't very faithful.

Me: What?

Jack: My underpants. They aren't faithful.

Me: Huh? What does that mean?

Jack: They always let the pee pee through.

April 19, 2010

Books: Wisdom Chaser

I finished a book a couple of weeks ago. I read it in its entirety. I used to do that weekly . . . sometimes daily. But during this season of my life, it just doesn't happen that often unless it's a board book or features a Berenstain Bear.

I ordered Wisdom Chaser: Finding My Father at 14,000 Feet by Nathan Foster as soon as I heard it was available. I wanted to read it, mainly because I know the author. Kyle and I were in a small group with Nate and his wife, Christy, for a year.

There's so much to unpack from this book, and I won't even try to touch on it all here. A couple of years ago, when I first met Nate, I asked him what his book was about. He responded, "It's about climbing mountains with my dad, and what I learned on each of those climbs."

And it is . . . but that description doesn't do it justice. Nate writes with a unique type of authenticity that makes the words comfortable and uncomfortable all at the same time. I'm still processing quite a bit of what I've read and the corners are turned on several pages marking where I'd like to go back and re-read. But one of the passages that stuck with me . . . one of the things that I still think about daily . . . is this (pages 42 - 43):

"Time lets us know that we are loved. In periods of isolation or sadness when someone shares their time, it doesn't just mean a lot - it means everything. The only thing I have any control over is what I do in this fleeting moment. Time, my most valuable possession, is quite possibly my only real possession.

Isn't one illustration of God's love the offering of his constant presence to us? Even still, my struggle to show up for others remains. What does it say when I withhold this valuable commodity? Busyness is the ultimate trump card. It will get you out of virtually every social situation, or at least buy you amnesty a few times when you let a friend down. 'I'm so sorry I forgot your birthday. I've just been so busy.' . . .

. . . If I'm busy, I don't have to be responsible for what I fail to do. Yet my actions send a message whether I intend them to or not. Of course, it's probably no coincidence that most people set up a life of near panic. Like any other addiction busyness works so well. It gives us the edge to avoid emptiness, loneliness, unpleasant memories, hurt, intimacy - and, subsequently, the clarity that silence and an unhurried life can bring. Still, almost everyone I know is trying to get caught up, trying to commit to fewer things, and aching to get away from the frantic race that consumes modern America. Self included. Truth is, sometimes I don't want a slow-paced, intentional life. I have systematically engineered a life of chaos. The consequences at least appear better than facing the reality of my own life. And so each generation is more disconnected than the last. When I look around a the world, I see a bunch of people desperate to know they are loved living in the shadows of a community too busy to pay attention to anyone but themselves."

April 16, 2010

I'll let the pictures do most of the talking

My world has been crazy for the last few weeks, and I can't quite pinpoint any one thing. It's just been a lot of little things. I've slowed down on trying to get my photography site finished because I'm booked through August so the site seems a little silly at this point. I've had a lot of fun working on custom designs for customers and in a few weeks will be working with a school in Chicago (where my sister works) on a really, really cool photo project. I'll share more about that later.

The biggest thing on my plate is getting ready for summer camps to begin . . . this warm weather has me so excited for camps to begin!

Here are a few of the things from the beginning of April that I've missed posting . . .

One night when Kyle had a late baseball practice, Jack and I built a fort under our kitchen table. We ordered pizza (after two unsuccessful attempts to make it earlier in the evening) and ate in our fort. Which sounded good, but Ben got cranky, so I started nursing him under there. Then Jack got bored and I was left sitting under our dining room table alone while nursing Ben.

Jack was sick the week before Easter. Actually, he just had a really high fever. Other than that, he felt fine and it didn't seem to bother hi ma whole lot. Our thermometer suddenly decided to switch to Celcius and we can't figure out how to switch it back, so every time we'd take his temperature, we'd have to google it to get the conversion.

We thought the fever was gone and went to the zoo on the Thursday before Easter, but when we got him he felt warm again and his temperature was over 104. It was scary. But it was magically gone the next day and we haven't seen it since.

Speaking of the zoo . . . can you tell what Jack's doing?

Here's an explanation.

I think he learned this from Jodi, and I don't know why, but it never gets old for me. I crack up every time he does it.

We went to my parents house the day before Easter and spent time with my side of the family.

My sister and I decorated eggs with some craft stuff that I picked up at Michael's and wanted to experiment with. Some of it was disasterous, but these were my favorites. When my sister-in-law saw them, she said it looked like someone had too much time on their hands and I took that as a compliment, because it literally took us less than 5 minutes to do these. Thank you, Martha Stewart stickers. I like them.

Ben pulled himself up to his knees for the first time at their house. I was having flashbacks because Jack pulled himself up for the first time in almost the exact same spot that Ben did.

On Easter Sunday, the boys dove into their Easter baskets before church (actually, Jack dove into both of them and Ben watched him). Biggest parenting mistake, Easter edition: putting a kazoo in Jack's basket. What was I thinking? I've regretted it at least once a day since then.

Kyle's side of the family came to our house on Easter Sunday. I can't remember the last time we had a warm Easter! I hid eggs in the back yard for Jack and Emma to find. It was a lot of fun! Ben pulled himself up to standing for the first time on Easter Sunday, thanks to the allure of Aunt Katie's necklace.

Steve and Joy came to visit the week after Easter and we had a great time with them. Jack still refers to Steve as "Stevie." The highlight of the week was when we were all in the car and Jack asked Joy, "When are you getting married?" No pressure, Steve.

I've been spending so much time getting family/friend & client photos ready that I haven't made it past Easter with our own! Check out all of our April snapshots (so far) right here.

April 10, 2010

Welcome, Ellie

Ellie Michelle was born on March 31.

Say what you will . . . I have the cutest nieces.

This was taken just moments after I explained to her that I'd be subjecting her to this photographing ritual many times throughout her life.

Newborn sessions aren't complete without a shot of their toes, right?

And let's not forget her lovely big sister . . . she was great through everything and cooperated beautifully!

April 9, 2010


April 8

I'm beginning to think that there is not a square foot of our carpet or furniture that hasn't been touched by Ben's spit-up. Sick. Ben keeps banging his head on the sliding glass door . . . in an attempt to escape? At what point I should foil his plans and intervene?

Sometimes, giving your child permission to waste an entire roll of scotch tape is worth it for the few moments of peace.

April 7

How do you explain WHY South Dakota is to our west, rather than to our south, to a toddler?

This week has been busier than a set of jumper cables at a family reunion.

April 6

There are few things that make me happier than clients who are super excited about their photos or completed projects.

April 5

Ben's now pulling himself up to standing. God help us all.

April 4

I've decided that "needle in a haystack" will be replaced by "plastic eggs on Easter" in my vocabulary. They were HARD to find.

To a world who doesn't know the resurrection, "Peace be with you" is simply in incoherent.

Kazoo in the Easter basket = worst idea I've ever had.

April 3

We're headed to Allen Park for the day. And it'll be a long trip because Jack tells us he has to go potty EVERY time we see a McDonalds.

April 1
I've instituted a no talking policy in the car because JACK WILL NOT STOP.

It's warmer today than it was most days last July.

March 31

Today's sign that Jack is better:"Can I watch a show to help me feel better?"

Yesterday's sign that Jack was sick: "Would you finish watching my show for me so that I can rest my eyes?"

Jack has empathy far beyond his years . . .

March 30

Jack has literally not stopped talking for about 10 minutes now.

Pizza attempt #1- accidentally used salsa instead of sauce. Pizza attempt #2 - realized we had no pizza sauce. #3 -Called Peppi's.

Thanks to the 103.1 fever, Jack just won himself an afternoon full o' sleep & tv shows.

March 29

Jack told me that I'm his favorite 42-year-old. Not cool, Jack. Not cool.

March 25

Two nights ago, I had a dream that there was a civil war over the issue of health care reform.

March 24

RT @RickWarren Worry is practical atheism. It is unbelief; acting like an orphan without a Heavenly Father who's made 6000 promises to you.

April 8, 2010

Dear Jack, Month 34

Dear Jack,

I sometimes lose my patience with you. Quite often, your 2-year-old mindset pushes me to my 31-year-old limit.

A few days ago, I told you it was time for bed and you said you were scared. I rolled my eyes and said, "I promise you that there are no monsters or dinosaurs in your ceiling fan." This is your most common complaint at bedtime.

But you said, "I'm scared that you're going to yell at me."

I immediately wanted to reply, "Well then OBEY when I tell you to stay in bed."

But the very next second, I found myself in tears. I felt a little like I had been kicked in the stomach. You don't always stay in bed, and when you do, you're often jumping up and down or screeching in a way that makes shivers go up and down my spine. And at the end of the day, when I'm tired and still have many hours of work left ahead of me, yelling just seems to be the only option. We haven't ever spanked or hit you, but to be honest, I kind of feel like that might have been more constructive in some situations than yelling at you.

The "funny" thing is that I've been trying to figure out why you yell so much when you're frustrated and angry with Bennett or other kids, and I think my question was answered in that moment. It's how I've taught you to handle your frustration.

And I guess I should define what I mean by "yell." I don't scream at you. But I raise my voice and lose any sort of gentleness and patience that one's parent should have. I know that even when I'm disciplining firmly, I should still be gentle.

But I don't want that to be what you think of when you think about bedtime . . . being scared that I'll yell. I hope that you're young enough that I can replace some of these memories with more positive ones.

So, over the last week, I've been intentional about not raising my voice . . . except for the time that I thought you were going to run into the parking lot at Target. I still reserve my right to yell during times like those. But overall, I've looked for alternative ways to show you that I mean business. And I'm trying to teach you ways in which you can express your anger and your frustration without totally losing your cool.

I think it's important to know that gentleness and patience aren't things at which we can simply "try harder." They're actually a natural result of a deepening relationship with God. They're fruit of the Spirit . . . they the result of rooting my life in Christ so that the character of God will continue to grow in me. Trying to be these things is ultimately futile. The more we're in relationship with God, the more they'll be a natural result of his character growing in us.

This letter is late, I know. I spent a lot of the last week processing these things. I so desperately want to be a good mom, Jack. I love you.


April 6, 2010

3 things . . .

  • Ben is now pulling himself up to standing . . . God help us all. He also does this fun new thing where he lets off a high-pitched, piercing shriek every time I take something away or do something to make him unhappy. It's awesome.
  • My head is so full of the funny things that Jack has said, that I can't even begin to recall every single one. He told me this afternoon, "Mama, I don't wanna be blogged today." So, I'll just leave it at that for now.

  • I have another niece! Ellie Michelle was born last Wednesday . . . pictures are forthcoming.

April 2, 2010

There can only be one winner . . .

The winner of Wild Things is fblife!

So, congratulations to you! E-mail your address to sarawiety [at] hotmail.com and I'll get that in the mail to you.

If you have boys and didn't win, go ahead and buy it for yourself.

As a consolation prize, you can visit the design blog to find free downloadable pillow boxes, perfect for Easter treats. They're not that helpful with raising boys, but they sure are cute!

*And I just realized I posted this before the 9 AM deadline. Whoops. My apologies to anyone who shows up to enter in the next hour. Contact me and I'll see if I can make it up to you.

April 1, 2010

The Bear Crawl

In case you're wondering what Ben's bear crawl looks like, here's a clip of it . . . it's only a few seconds, but it gives you the idea. He's become pretty quick on the carpet, but the hard kitchen floor slows him down a bit. He's started to venture out into other areas of the house . . . for better or for worse. We really have to keep an eye on him.

I can't not laugh when I watch this.

Untitled from Sara on Vimeo.