Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I Scream for Ice Cream

R's birthday fell just ten days after B was born.  We put off her party for another ten days.  And easy was really the main criteria.

A ball pit, various cupcakes that LOOKED like ice cream (I had to give myself a little bit of a challenge, after all!), two little friends, and presents.  Easy peasy.

I can't believe she's three.  What happened to my baby?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Simply Blessed

I should probably follow up my last post with the fact that not ALL of the photo sessions were total failures.  I did manage to get a few keepers.  And when the troops all came home from church a tad too early, I figured I might as well invite them into my little homemade studio (black fleece draped over two chairs).

Ironically, baby B stayed asleep the entire time, even with all the noise her siblings made.

But getting accustomed to a loud environment will be a survival factor for her.  Hopefully she got a head start listening to all the chaos from inside the womb.  Unfortunately, it will never be so nicely muffled again.

But noise isn't the only thing her siblings will expose her to.  A plethora of germs also comes to mind.  But nevermind that, I should be focusing on the positives.  Which are many.   

Baby B has been showered with love and affection since the moment she was born.  She already distinguishes our different voices and turns to find the speaker when they are near enough.  She has ready smiles for every one of us--though R has trouble staying still enough, long enough to get many good ones sent her way.

B has two veteran big sisters to help take care of her . . . and to protect her from any overzealous love from the younger two.  K and S cannot resist giving her kisses or begging to hold her whenever they pass through the room she's in.  S can't seem to stop exclaiming, "she's sooooooooooo cute!"

J has informed me that "babies are the best things in the world!"  And that he's really glad that B is a girl, so that she can grow up like the rest of his sisters and someday have babies.  Then there will be EVEN MORE babies in our family.  He has it all planned out, apparently.

R is working on the big sister thing.  She seems to think that she has to make strange sounds and tilt her head in an unnatural angle to make the baby look at her.  I'm trying to teach her otherwise.

But I realized that she's got the heart of big sisterhood down when she told me ever so sweetly, "I will help her grow up, Mommy."

And I have no doubt she will.  That they all will.

I've been thinking a lot lately, about how blessed this little baby is to have come to such a great family.  But mostly, I've been feeling blessed to BE in this great family.  They are my joy, my sorrow, my everything.

And none of it would be possible at all if it weren't for this great man I married.  The man who makes me laugh.  The man who inspires me to be a better person.  The man who has talked me through every minute of every labor and delivery with an unwavering confidence.  The man who is my lifeline.  My very favorite person in all the world.

He is the heart and soul of our family.  And we are simply blessed to have him here to make our world go round.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Not My Cup of Tea

Newborn photography.  Yet another career that I am glad I do NOT have.

I enjoy looking at photographer's websites, sifting through their beautiful photos, possibly finding some inspirataion.  They make it look so very easy.  So I figured I'd give it a shot, so to speak.  After all, I know a little more about photography and lighting than I used to, and I have a better camera.  Stick a sleeping baby in a bowl and snap away, how hard could it be?

Somehow, I don't think this photo will get the "isn't she precious?" response.  It will certainly never hang on my wall.

First of all, she had a lovely little rash all over her arms and chest.  But whatever.  I could edit that out later.  So I carried on.

Getting her to actually sleep in the bowl was the next near impossibility.  I'd get her carefully to sleep, only to carefully set her down and have her wake up.  Time and time again.  Finally, I just held the whole bowl on my lap with her in it and let her nurse herself to sleep.  Ah, success!  Just not very comfortable, shall we say.

With baby B finally asleep in the trenchbowl, I tiptoed very slowly over to set her down in front of the cloth backdrop.  Shaggy and the kids were all out of the house--no way I would have tried this with them all running around.  I quietly crept over to the radio to turn it down so it would have no chance to wake her up.  Then I secured the dog, so he wouldn't bark at a passing car and ruin my chance for the perfect photo.  Then I knelt down ever so carefully in front of her and turned on my camera.  I put it up to my face silently, finally ready to take my first shot.

And she woke up.  And peed all over the nice, white blanket she was on.  Then she started flailing her arms around and the crying soon followed.

Epic failure.  So I decided to try a different set up.  A cute, fuzzy hat and a white backdrop.  And the diaper stayed on.

Even though newborn photographers make their photos look so effortlessly natural, it is really challenging to make a newborn look that way.  They just look downright awkward a lot of the time.  I suppose the above photo is sort of cute, but I just wasn't crazy about the way her position and the hat pushed that roll of skin over her eyes.  Not very beautiful, really.

And here, she's moving her head all around, but the hat wasn't moving with her so it was scrunching her face all up.  Of course, the crossed eye thing doesn't help one bit . . . unless you were just looking for a good laugh.

And here she's sticking her tongue out, ready to box my ears for stuffing her into this cocoon outfit thing.

And here she toppled over and is trying to tell me, oh-so subtely, that she's not perfectly happy about her situation.

These photo shoots took place over the course of several weeks.  They were downright discouraging, much of the time.  I wasn't really looking for a lesson in the challenges of newborn photography, but I got one, nonetheless.

There was one day, when Shaggy was still on baby leave from work, and the kids were in school, that my one and only goal for the whole day was to get a good picture of baby B with me, and one with Shaggy.

She did NOT play ball.

So we gave up on me, and tried to get a decent one of her with Shaggy.  After two pictures, neither of which was very good, she filled her diaper--very loudly and very stinkily.

After we changed her, we set up the photo again.  And she filled her shorts again.  But at least we got one sort of good one of her with her Daddy.

Have you ever seen those photos where a newborn is balanced on a father's arm?  I've always loved those poses, so I decided to try it.  And true to almost every other photo I tried to create during these weeks, it did not go quite as planned.  This is definitely NOT what I had envisioned.

But I suppose that is true of just about every aspect of parenthood.  I really shouldn't be surprised, especially considering this is my fifth go-round.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Summer Days

I'm pretty sure that this summer will NOT go down as a super fun one for the kids.  Probably won't even make the top ten list . . . when they're 50.

We didn't go on any road trips.  Didn't even do any day trips.  No reunions.  No classes other than swimming.  Mostly, we spent a lot of time at home, with a few outings sprinkled here and there.  The older girls earned their stripes for childcare, and even made a meal or two.  The little ones did their best not to go too stir crazy.  Although I don't think I would give them a passing grade in that category.

J was dragged along to lots and lots of appointments.  And I have to give him credit for being a great sport about it, even though he got as heartily sick of them as I did.  In the last 4 months, I have made 6 trips to the dentist, 5 to the eye doctor, 4 trips to the pediatrician, 9 to the OB, 11 to the chiropractor, and one trip to my doc for a PT booster.  Whew!

I suppose it's no surprise that J and R have taken to playing doctor.  But it's the totally innocent kind, not the kind that makes every parent panic.  R has been cured of all sorts of ailments by Dr. J.

So other than a few trips here and there, most of our summer fun involved water.  Which is a good thing considering how hot it gets here in the summertime.

Our trips to the pool happened early in the summer, when I was still able to squeeze into my suit.

 This is at a local park.

And this is our front yard.  I couldn't talk them out of the umbrellas even though it sort of missed the whole point of playing in the sprinklers.  At least they put them down eventually and got themselves soaked.

Trying to be sneaky and attack unsuspecting family members.

That look of pure delight was because he was actually getting away with soaking me.

And how can we forget the classic summer pastime of playing with the hose?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Back To School

R is dying to go to school.  She talks about it all the time.  Of course, sometimes she calls it preschool and sometimes she calls it college.  But really, it's all the same for her.  In fact, she tells everyone who will listen that she's going to go to preschool.  But the poor kid has to wait a whole year. 

She often gets herself out of bed, has breakfast, gets dressed as much as she can by herself so that she can walk with Shaggy and the kids on their way to school.  On this day, she also accessorized with a backpack, hat and water bottle.  Looks to me like she's all set.

K is loving junior high.  She's feeling much more grown up and enjoys being treated that way.

S is now one of the big kids on campus, being a 5th grader and all.  She loves her teacher and is as impatient as ever with her assignments, wanting to finish them almost before she gets home.  She's already started worrying about her science fair project which is due in . . . oh . . . 5 MONTHS!

Shaggy took these pictures.  Since I was busy recuperating with a two-day-old in the house.  Guess J wasn't ready to be photographed by him.

 This pretty much says it all.