Corpus Christi holds a free concert every Thursday evening throughout the summer and I decided that it is a “must go” event! It’s right beside the ocean and there is a constant, cooling breeze, no matter how hot the day. Hubby was working late and I just decided to go ahead and pack up the babies and head out… Boone’s first concert! I got a… “tether”… for Minna, since I just can’t risk losing my sweet, free-spirited 15 month old.
Minna played happily the whole time, dancing to the beat or rolling around in the grass. And she loved occasionally just laying in the grass, listening to the music, and watching the gulls soar overhead.
And hubby was able to meet us out there and enjoy the last hour of the concert, making it an absolutely perfect evening!
I got to do a newborn session and it was awesome! A precious baby girl named Jaina Rayne (super cool name!) did just wonderfully for her first photo shoot. She slept and snuggled and made the sweetest faces. Even though I have a tiny baby of my own, there is nothing like holding a newborn. I think it will always make me ache for more, no matter how old I get or how many babies I have… I should always photograph newborns – a much simpler way to get my baby fix!
I feel very blessed to have four beautiful children. They are smart, gorgeous, and amazing, each with unique personalities and huge hearts! But what touches me the most is when my babies love each other.
Having two babies so close together was a concern of mine. I was afraid that Minna might resent Boone, since I knew he would require a lot of hands-on attention, which meant that Minna would get less. I try to put Boone down when Minna wakes from naps, so she has me all to herself upon waking. I also frequently put him down just to play with her. But never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined how fully she would love him. And if she has any feelings of resentment, they are towards me, and not her baby brother. But I really think she just has a giant, loving heart and a tender side that her brother revealed to us all…
As a photographer, I often find inspiration in nature. And I often want to photograph what I see, to share the beauty I find, to let others see through my eyes.
Often I get the same reaction from people – “Wow, you must have a really nice camera.” I do. I do have a really nice camera. It is ridiculously awesome. But I do not know ONE photographer who doesn’t find this annoying. Seriously. Because it implies that the camera is the reason you were able to get a beautiful shot. It would be like suggesting your hairdresser has a really nice pair of scissors or the writer must have a really awesome keyboard. It’s a bit insulting.
So here are some pictures I want to share… all taken from a point and shoot camera… the kind that fits in your pocket. Oh, and it’s a really nice camera, too.
My baby Boone is 8 weeks old today. And I have missed two months of posting. I finally realized that I would not catch up, but would have to forgive myself and move on. Life, in general, is like that. Forgive yourself, move on, and focus on the present.
Minna has been fabulous! She seems to really love her baby brother, which is amazing, considering she is still just a baby herself. At fifteen months old, she has found many ways to bond with her baby brother.
And the older girls turned 7 and 9… they are as wonderful as ever! Helpful and loving, they are also enjoying the presence of the new little person in the house.
And I am finding my flow. I sit here, entering my first blog post in a while, listening to the soft breathing of a baby in my lap and enjoying the quiet that ensues when the baby/toddler finally naps.
I love being a mom. I love that I’ve done it enough to know a lot more than I knew the first time. I can recognize when I’m about to sink, emotionally, and know to pull back and do whatever I need to do to relax and stay afloat. I know to fully embrace and enjoy each moment of smiles, giggles, or deep affectionate stares from my babies (or anyone, for that matter!). I can recognize and own my emotions. And even when no one else recognizes my needs, I’m old enough to guard myself. There is a peace that comes with all of this. And it allows me to be everything I need to be to those around me. The bigger my family gets, the more people need me. And I am in a good place. I feel confident in what I do.
And I have a neighbor friend to hang out with! This is very exciting, as my regular readers know…
Every mom needs another mom in her life: a friend who understands exactly what she is dealing with and going through without having to explain. The unspoken bond between mothers of young children is immediate.
So, I’m back! I WILL make time for the little things that matter, sometimes only to me: photography, painting, reading, and wine. Even if I only have moments a day to devote to each.
My hubby hung this tire swing a couple years ago for the girls. He spent quite a bit of time braiding the rope back into itself and making it so secure that we would never worry how many kids were playing on it at one time or if the ropes would come unraveled. He hung it horizontally, ensuring that it could be utilized in many different ways. He actually put a lot of energy into it! I would have just used chains and called it good. But he didn’t want the possibility of kids getting fingers pinched or rusty chains making the swing less enticing. As I said, he put a lot of thought into it… and the payoff has been a daily dose of joy in the hearts of these children… and the neighborhood children… and this momma. You can see from the worn patch below, the tire swing is still getting plenty of love. And when the older girls are no longer interested, their younger siblings will be coming up behind them, knowing the joy of the tire swing under the oak in the front yard.
Because this is my last pregnancy…
Because soon this belly will be flat again…
Because I I don’t want to forget how I looked and felt…
Because pregnancy is a beautiful, mysterious miracle and it should be shared…
There are many reasons to take a self-portrait.
This is my fourth and final pregnancy. That thought is bittersweet. I love being pregnant! There are so many amazing things about having a little person, a new life, forming inside you. From the moment you find out, it is always on your mind in some way. Even before the heart beats, you are constantly aware of a life growing in your body… of another being inside of your being. And the miracle that this is can be overwhelming! Your body is growing another person, sustaining a living human, nourishing a baby from before it is visible, until it has its own organs, bones, muscles, lungs, and mind. It is incredible.
And then you begin to feel the movements. It starts as flutters that you know are not from your own body. It feels almost like a butterfly low below your belly. As it grows, the movements become more pronounced. You begin to feel kicks, a rolling motion, stretching limbs. And as it moves towards those final weeks, you feel this other life as much, and sometimes more, than your own. This tiny being feels like it takes over your body. You can touch your baby and know what you are feeling – legs, butt, feet, arms, knees. Sometimes you can even make out the shapes of those parts from the outside of your belly. You can feel every movement; you can feel the strength and power of the new life inside you. It makes you appreciated God, the Creator of miracles, and your feminine form, the producer of new life.
But it is quite taxing! Your body is not your own and it takes an enormous toll on your body. Your bones ache and move. Your body uses a lot of its energy to build that little person inside you. And your body puts baby first! Not getting enough calcium? Baby is… he is leaching it from your own bones. The same goes for any nutrient the little one needs… because your body has expectations of you… your body expects you to take care of what goes in to making this other being. And towards the end, your hip bones have moved (thanks to an extra hormone, relaxin, that softens all of your joints), your spine bends toward the will of your expanded belly and your lower back is compressed in a painful way. You have extra weight that came on rather rapidly and your muscles still haven’t completely assimilated to this additional, constant weight. I feel like, being small, the proportions are amplified.
For me, personally, I didn’t have enough time to recover my full strength before becoming pregnant again. About four and a half months after having my third, I was pregnant again. I had just started getting into a regular running routine. In fact, I may have started that a little soon – I got the first sprained ankle I’ve ever had during that time – and it took about a month to fully recover from it! I had gotten back to the gym. I was finding my flow with two school kids, a baby, obligations, and recovery. And then I was pregnant again.
I have NO regrets. None. I think the timing is quite perfect for our family. Once I’ve recovered, that’s it. This body will once again belong to myself and my husband. Our sweet baby girl will have a playmate close to her own age. Our family will be complete.
So… yes, bittersweet. I won’t get to experience another pregnancy. But my body will no longer be taxed to this extreme again. At least, not in this way.
So knowing what I know, I am cherishing each moment, while still being SO ready and excited to meet our son.
Only four more weeks…