Naomi Year One: One THIRD of a Year old

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I know Naomi!  I’m just as puzzled.  How are you 4 months old?!

AND also how am I a week late with this?  I know, disappointing…

Oh well!  Yesterday, I decided I wished I’d done more of these plain onsie shots on her beautiful quilt (a gift from a treasured and amazingly thoughtful friend).  You know, like before she turned 4 months.

But, sadly, I did not and I’m going to be probably too honest about how much time I spent trying to fix that problem.  I spent an embarrassingly long portion of my day yesterday trying to recreate one, composite-style, from a less-than-awesome shot I took three months ago.  To say I had a headache at the end of the day would be an understatement.  More like, a sickening headache that wouldn’t go away without medicine and a nap, despite trying a more holistic approach.

I like to make things as challenging as possible for myself, of course, so obviously I used two pictures taken in completely different lighting, in two different rooms, with windows on opposite sides of the rooms.  Because…. um, why not?  I really don’t know.

Can you tell I was a little sleep deprived?  Yep.  And a bit (ridiculously) loopy.

Anyway, without further adieu, the fruit of my labor (psst… it’s the one on the left, in case you couldn’t tell. Ha!):
Naomi_Months_1vs4

After some image flipping, resizing, and layer masking (and other such foreign words to most people), I was able to create what I wanted.  I mostly hoped for a comparison on how much she’s changed in so short a time, which I think worked out.  At the very least, I’m happy that I now have that comparison and I learned a little something about composites along the way!  So yay!

Here’s my month-by-month comparison, which took much less time since I was a little more consistent here:

Naomi_Months_1-4

Side note: I’m going to admit something else because you might notice the tones vary from image to image: the lighting in this room kills me.  The curtains are pink and the walls have pink undertones – pink, pink, pink! – so the light is tinted pink and it just, yeah.  I maybe got a little carried away with all the pink…  Again, I’m hopefully learning a lot by challenging myself!

More about Naomi (or Nonnie as Wyatt affectionately calls her) at FOUR months old:

  • She started rolling over on March 6th.  I was sitting right next to her making superhero capes with one of my closest friends for her 3 year old’s birthday party favor and completely missed it.  I put her down on her back, sat down, started cutting felt, looked back up and she was laying on top of a dog toy on her tummy.  My first thought was, “I didn’t put her on that dog toy, did I?”  Theeen it clicked.  She’s been somewhat obsessed with rolling over ever since.
  • Rolling over = no more swaddle = a few nights of figuring out bedtime all over again.  She now sleeps on her tummy every night and often sucks her thumb to self-soothe.
  • Teeth: two front and center, on the bottom
  • Laughing: she’s starting to giggle a little.  She “chuckles softly” as they put it on her well-check questionnaire.  She laughs when I kiss her cheeks softly or tickle her with my hands.  I’m so looking forward to the giggles!
  • She’s discovered her hands and feet.  She alternates which ones she focuses on, but she’s clearly more fascinated with her hands.  She could spend all day studying her fingers and how they work.  I really don’t remember either of the boys being that intrigued with their hands.  Girl thing?
  • I think that pretty much covers it.  I have a feeling more teeth are on the way.  She has her hands, yes often both at the same time, in her mouth 24/7.

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In any case, she’s our little sprite and we love her so much!  She’s such a joyful and sweet baby girl.  We are truly blessed by her presence in our family.  It’s such a privilege to watch her grow and change.

Centennial CO Lifestyle Photographer | A Little Snow-day Lifestyle Photoshoot

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I pretty much take all the pictures around here.  Well, a majority of the non-cell phone ones anyway.  I have lots of pictures of the kids with and without Andy; pictures of each child individually and together.  On occasion, I hand my camera off or I set up my tripod and grab my remote, but it’s been about a year since the last time I did the latter.

On Saturday afternoon, a fairly substantial snow storm hit the front range.

You might be somewhat amused by the general response around here.  We do live in Colorado after all….

The thing that many people don’t know about Colorado, especially the Denver Metro Area is: it’s not Minnesota.  Or upstate NY or New England for that matter.  The kind of snow we usually get here is pretty powdery, only lasts a day (or even a half-day), and melts away within 24 hours.  Plus, a I’d say a pretty large percentage of the population originate from places like California and Texas, so… yeah. ;)

Hey, I’m from NJ and I freaked out a little when our fridge broke on Friday.  Must. have. supplies.

Believe it or not, the weather’s actually pretty moderate here.  Sssshhh!  Beautiful views, as many sunny days as Florida, 4 real seasons, and moderate weather.  Don’t everyone move here at once.

In any case, we got about a foot. This was my outside view on Saturday afternoon, when the storm rolled in:
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~50mm f/1.4 lens (1/3200 sec at f/1.4, ISO500)~

AND this was my indoor view:

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~50mm f/1.4 lens (1/100 sec at f/2, ISO 1250)~

The boys were watching a movie in the other room and soon after running around, yelling at each other, and getting into trouble.  It can be difficult to catch that with my camera, but trust me when I say, it appears way more calm around here than it actually was most of the weekend.  Little Miss Naomi, however, does add such a bright and calming presence.

When Sunday rolled around, church services were cancelled, everyone recommended staying off the roads, I hadn’t left the house in two days and the boys were busy killing each other, um, playing in the basement, what did I do?  Got showered and dressed and grabbed my camera to get in some photos with the still peaceful child.

I’m pretty much always behind the camera and the one person I have few, if any real pictures with is Naomi.

As always, I started by getting shots of just her.  Because, how could I not?!

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~50mm f/1.4 lens (1/1000 sec at f/1.4, ISO 500)~

Then, I set the camera on my dresser, got in the frame, and played with my baby!

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~50mm f/1.4 lens (1/60 sec at f/7.1, ISO 800)~

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~50mm f/1.4 lens (1/160 sec at f/4.0, ISO 500)~

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~50mm f/1.4 lens (1/125 sec at f/7.1, ISO 800)~

These are the kind of shots I especially love to capture for others.  Especially other moms, since we’re so often the ones taking the pictures.  You don’t need a backdrop, studio lighting, a tripod, or a remote, just a clean, decluttered space near a window, a camera with a timer, and somewhere to place your camera.  There’s nothing more special than the simple, playful, full-of-love moments in a familiar, comfortable setting.  Of course, I’d love to be the one to take lifestyle photos for you, but however you do it, take some time this year to get in front of your camera with your kids!  Even if you never show them to anyone, I believe you and your children will treasure them forever.  I know I treasure all the ones I’ve taken over the years.

Naomi Year One: One Quarter of a Year old

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Three months old and lots of pink, because… well, two boys.

Can I just eat her?  I seriously cannot get enough of this little bug.  I might just wear out the shutter on my camera this year.  I mean: those cheeks! those chins!

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Oh right, three months.  It’s significant for a couple of reasons.  There’s the fact that three is a significant number for most people anyway, as I was reminded by my favorite show “The Mentalist”.  But, for all those parents out there, three months signifies the end of that sleepy newborn/”fourth trimester” stage AND a whole quarter of the first year in the past!

Seriously?  Only three more of these to go before she turns one?!

It’s kinda a big deal.  Plus, I can now drop her off at the gym childcare!  Because, you know: priorities.

I’ve wanted to write this post all week, but it’s actually pretty perfect that I’m writing it today.  Yesterday, her first tooth broke through (and the one next to it isn’t far behind, of course)!  Looks like our little three month old is following in her big brothers’ footsteps as an early teether.  Specifically her oldest brother, though both boys had teeth by 4ish months.  We’ll have to see if she decides to roll over in the next week like Dylan did, too.

No rush, Naomi.  Seriously, n.o.n.e.

That alone would be exciting news, BUT she also slept entirely through the night in her own crib!  Two firsts in one 24 hour period!

She’s done some pretty long stretches at night, but she’s never lasted the entire night without needing to be either cuddled or nursed.  She nursed around 6 PM, went to bed around 7:30 PM, woke up about an hour later with a gas bubble, and then was back down for the night.  As in, I had to wake her up at 7 AM for my own sake.  After TWO boys who couldn’t go more than two-three hours without nursing until they were at least 6 months old and nothing even close to this until 9 months, I’m somewhat in shock.  And completely not expecting it to happen again, although really hoping it does!  It’s definitely worth recording nonetheless.

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Aside from these milestones, she’s just truly a little ray of sunshine. We couldn’t be more blessed by her presence in this family.  She’s sweet and happy and incredibly calm.  It’s pretty amazing that someone so small can have such a big presence.  She brings peace and serenity to this chaotic household and I know we all feel it.

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She’s treasured and I so look forward to every.single.day with her.

Speaking of threes, we’re quickly approaching another little person’s three milestone: Wyatt’s third birthday will be here before we know it! But more about that bundle of personality another time…

Three-nager-2015 Three-YO-fun Best Friends

Five Years Old, Five Years of Motherhood

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On the journey of motherhood, I find myself feeling a strange combination of insecure and yet content about 75% of the time.  The other 25% would be those pure joy moments when everything’s going right.

Actually, it’s probably more like 85% and 15%…

Just when I think I’m getting the hang of things, I’m not.  I fully believe the only thing that makes a mother more “qualified” isn’t how “well behaved” her kids are or how perfect she looks or how many books she’s read, but her security in the knowledge that: no one knows what they’re doing.  Not one single person.  We all make our best guesses and do a little research and tout our knowledge, somewhat in the hopes of helping someone else. But really, mostly to feel more secure.  Parenting teaches us a lot and it all starts with that first child.

I’ve been online, in social media since college, but I didn’t really dip my toes in until having my first baby.  I started a blog, set up a twitter account, and started sharing my struggles and opinions.  Oh the opinions of a first time mom a few months in… even a year or two in.  I kinda wish I could go back in time to sit that mamma down and tell her to calm the heck down.  Just because your baby slept a little more that afternoon is no reason to call the doctor and go to Children’s Hospital (yes, I really did that!).  A little pumped breast milk down the drain isn’t really the end of the world, though it is pretty sad.  Cry-it-out vs co-sleeping/bed-sharing are not the only two options and regardless of how you choose to sleep-train (if at all), eventually your child will get it (and yes, before college).  The world is not black and white and every child really is so incredibly different.

So much has changed in the 5 years since I had my first baby, Dylan.  Some days it feels like yesterday and others a lifetime ago.  He made me a mommy and he’s taught me more than any experience or other person, aside from my own parents.  Ever.  In his disobedience, he’s taught me a lot about myself.  I never really thought about what it must have been like to parent me, until he came along.

Thank you mom and dad!

He’s also strengthened my faith and helped me to draw closer to God.  Through him, I’ve seen so many of my own strengths and weaknesses and realized how disobedient, demanding, and ungrateful I can be as a child of God.  I’ve also come to accept and appreciate who I am more through him because, if I don’t love myself, how can I love him?

I’ve learned a lot through each child, but Dylan’s been through the ringer with me.  We’re on his 5 house, he just turned 5, and we’ve been here for a year.  This is Wyatt’s second house and I doubt he remembers the first.  Dylan was my little buddy when I was still figuring all my stuff out.  And I had a lot to figure out.  All at once.  Poor kid.

Dylan turned 5 years old, two weeks ago.  It completely snuck up on me with Naomi’s birth, then Thanksgiving, then Christmas and the New Year.  Excuses, excuses.  We had some cake with family on his actual birthday, but we ended up scheduling his party for the end of the month.  I don’t think he needs a party for every birthday, but this is a big one, right?  Plus, he brings so much joy to this family, I’m so excited to celebrate him!

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Let me tell you a little bit about this beautiful boy. He:

  • loves God
  • loves to help anyone and everyone
  • thinks superheroes are pretty awesome
  • has so much self-confidence, it blows me away
  • lights up the room when he’s happy and brings in storm clouds when he’s not
  • has imaginary friends he calls his “football friends”, whom he talks to on his Power Ranger phone
  • isn’t really into watching sports and mixes all the sports up, calling basketball football and vice versa, but he loves his Broncos ;)
  • has seemingly never-ending energy and some pretty impressive moves when he dances
  • could be confused with a monkey some days
  • enjoys collecting shells from the beach (last summer) and rocks when we go on walks
  • is completely in love with his baby sister and is great at helping her calm down when I can’t get to her fast enough
  • loves to play with and help his brother, when they aren’t fighting
  • loves animals and could spend all day running around with our dogs