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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tips for Tuesdays: Post Swaddle Sleeping

A couple of months ago, I posted my method for getting a newborn to sleep, swaddling. This method works until the kid turns into a rolling ninja. You know that swaddling won't work anymore when you find them flipped over and unburritoed! This happens around the four month mark.
So what do we do now? My advise? Move the child away from your bed (or into their own room) and into their crib. This is the point when I begin to expect my children to sleep through the night (confirm this with your pediatrician but don't ask your babies' advice :)). Simply put the baby in their crib (baby should be sleepy but still awake), give them their pacifier (if you use one) and something to squeeze, say goodnight, and walk away. If they cry, wait ten or fifteen minutes, and then go in and touch them (don't pick them up), return their pacifier to them, give them back their lovey doll, and walk away.
If the child wakes up in the middle of the night. Go immediately and repeat this process. Don't wait fifteen minutes for them to totally wake themselves up. If they think they need to eat, don't feed them. Give them a water bottle. I've done this with all three babies, and after about two nights of water, they get the point. I know they really don't need it, but they sure like their midnight snacks. If you are nursing and baby is going through a "growth spurt" you might feed them for a night or two, but if it continues past the spurt, you should reinforce the sleeping all night expectation.
Moms and Dads...stick to your guns, and set a proper schedule. Those nights of sleep interruption do not have to last a full year!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Scheduling Fall Pictures

I've discovered that October and November are by far the busiest times of the year for photography. Already, I've had many emails from clients who want to schedule photo shoots for those months. So, although, my calendar seems pretty open now, I imagine it will be pretty full soon. To make scheduling more efficient for everyone, here is my calendar for the next couple of months.

Monday, September 21, 2009

D'arcy is waiting expectantly for her teeth to loosen up and fall out. I told her that her cousin Gabe's first tooth was already gone. She said, "I guess that means he's a teenager, right?"

Comparing and Contrasting

I was just thinking this morning about a family in Indiana who have five girls. They had a dress that they put each girl in and took a picture. It was kind of a fun way to see the differences in each girl. In that moment, I was sad that I hadn't taken a picture of each kid in the little Led Zepplin newborn onesie we bought originally for D'arcy. Sigh. However, I recently took a picture of Schroeder in my kids' favorite apparatus, the Johnny Jumper. My cousin Jenny gave this thing to me before D'arcy was born, and it has gotten lots and lots of use over the years. Julian spent so much time in this thing that even when he was being held, he would bounce up and down.
I spend lots of time comparing my kids. D'arcy had blonder hair, Julian lost all of his hair, and Schroeder's is kinda red. D'arcy had a ghetto booty (just look at those legs) while Julian and Schroeder are like their Daddy, their legs and their backs connect without really much in between. D'arcy and Schroeder have the same "pointy" ears, and Julian's are just sort of BIG. They all have those blue eyes, though. Their are so many blue eyes in our family that we've started analyzing the shades of blue. Schroeder's are the deepest, Julians are smokey. They remind me of pottery from the Smokey Mountains that have the blue and brown colors melded together. Me and the dog are pretty much the only ones not in the blue eyes club. Not that I'm complaining. I think I told my friend Laura in college that I was marrying Stephen so that I could have a bunch of blue eyed, blond haired babies. I guess God was listening to our conversation.

Schroeder: Milestone Mania

Schroeder is nearly six months old. As expected, he is managing to grow fast and furious. He's still a squishy, little guy, though, especially compared to his enormous and heavy siblings. Over the last couple of months he's tried oatmeal cereal (8.10.2009)and vegetables (green beans 9.12.2009), has successfully learned to army crawl and sit up (beginning of September), has mastered his Johnny Jumper, and can grab all sorts of things including his pacifier which he can plop out and back in with ease. I thought his first tooth had come through. I know I saw the tip top of it, but now it's hiding again. Oh, and I didn't mention, that we dedicated Schroeder to the Lord on September 13th while my parents were in town. No pictures of that, though, because I neglected to bring my camera.

I'm a little concerned about if he's getting enough to eat. I'm still nursing him, but it's always hard to gauge how much he's getting. It's not like the first few months when I know he's getting enough because I can feel every ounce. I spent several minutes this morning comparing him with pictures of his sister and brother when they were babies. He's fitting in 6-9 months clothes, though, so I guess I shouldn't be too concerned. We go to the doctor early next month so we'll get to see what percentile he's in. He's also suffering through some allergic reactions particularly on his face and head. It could be related to the oatmeal cereal or to contact with his sheets and car seat. He has his sister's skin for sure, fair, fair, fair.

Here's a few pictures of our little (kind of red headed) little guy.

A Birthday Party for D'arcy doo and Ju Ju too

D'arcy and Julian have birthdays just five weeks apart. D'arcy turned five on August 25th and Julian turns three on October 7th so we had a party for both of them on September 13th. I had to explain the concept of having a joint party to the kids a couple of times, but eventually they got it and became very excited. We invited all sorts of people, but the best guests of all were D'arcy and Julian's grandma and grandpa who flew from Indiana to be with us. We had a burrito bar, lots of cupcakes, a pinata, loads of presents, and s'mores roasted over a nice fire in our fire pit.

Neither of our kids had ever had a pinata for their birthday which, in Texas, is just sinful. After I picked D'arcy up from school on the day I bought it, I told her to go into the laundry room to see what was in there. She ran in there and I heard a scream of excitement.

The screams continued at the party. We had 7-8 little kids running around screaming over every little thing. "Kids, do you want to have cupcakes?" Scream. "Kids, do you want to hit the pinata?" Scream. "Kid's do you want to open presents?" Scream. After presents, all the little girls were inspired to play dress up after D'arcy received some awesome shoes and gloves.

Some of my favorite moments of the day include Julian playing with his new T-ball set and telling me "Mom, I based that ball!" which is his interpretation of the term baseball. It was also the first Sunday for football, and Julian told his grandpa, "Grandpa, stop watching that flipball!" I also enjoyed seeing D'arcy ride her scooter. She bought it with the money GG and grandma sent her for her birthday, and she has been very diligent in practicing her scooter skills. She rides it to and from school, and many times asks to go out and ride after school. Even after several hard falls, she has gotten back up and continued to practice. She has worn out the toes of her favorite shoes which were used as a scooter break.

Here are some pictures from our fun day.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Juan & Melissa's Wedding Day

Two years ago, Melissa moved to San Antonio and joined our little church. Juan has attended our church for years, but I hadn't spent a lot of time with him. In January of 2008, they both joined our community group, and I have gotten to know them very well. Not long after they joined our community group, they went on their first date. It's been fun to see them grow closer together and fall in love. Early in their relationship, I was able to go shopping with Melissa to pick out a dress for Juan's fraternity alumni formal. I got to talk to her the evening before Juan proposed. She had a hunch that she might be getting engaged. I had the opportunity to photograph their engagement photos, and to pray with Melissa as she prepared to become Juan's wife. Yesterday, I had the great privilege of photographing their beautiful wedding.

Melissa and Juan, I'm so excited that you have found each other. I hope that your marriage is full of passion, companionship, and commitment. I believe that the two of you form a beautiful team that will help develop both of you into better individuals. May God bless and keep you all of the days of your lives. May you look back at these photos and remember all the reasons that God brought you together.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Tips for Tuesdays: Birthday Traditions

A couple of years ago, Our family was invited to a birthday party for a little girl at D'arcy's daycare. You know, just a little backyard party for a two year old complete with a full barbeque meal for 40 people, a mini wedding like cake, a cartoonist, a bounce house, and a second smaller bounce house. Oh, and did I mention, there was an appearance from Dora the Explorer who led the children on an an adventure through the backyard using the maps provided to them in their "backpacks". After the kids gave Dora a hug to say goodbye, they proceeded to beat a Dora pinata until she split in half and spilled candy all over the ground.
So here's my question, must parents spend $50, $100 or $100+ dollars on a kid's birthday in order to make it special? Must a child have a birthday party for friends every year? When D'arcy's second birthday came around, I felt the pressure of doing just that, but I knew that this wasn't going to work for me. I wanted to find traditions that meant something to me and to my children, traditions I wouldn't dread.
I know one family who has large birthday parties for their children every five years. I know one family who greets every birthday girl/boy with breakfast in bed. Here is what I came up with. Every year, the birthday boy/girl gets to pick the birthday cake of their choice and help me make it. Every year, we take birthday photos (a 30 minute photo shoot of just them). Every year, I make a dinner they love. So we have dinner as a family, eat our cake, open a few presents from family, thank God for our little blessing, and tell the birthday boy/girl what we love about them. Simple, I know. We've accomplished the most important things, though, celebrating their life, making them feel loved and special, and instilling in them that birthdays can have a deeper meaning than presents.
We can still throw a friendly birthday party if I feel capable, but I'm not obligated to do this every year. So my tip for Tuesday is to get creative with your birthday traditions. Find sincere and fun (not dreaded) ways of celebrating the life of your little one.