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Welcome to my blog! You'll find my life, both professional and personal, documented here in the form of photographs and short quippy paragraphs.

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Friday, October 30, 2009

Encouragment to the Parents of 3 year olds

I was watching Supernanny the other day, and JoJo said something to the mom in distress that encouraged me. This mom had two sets of twins who had not been disciplined consistently. After a rather lengthy discipline session with one of her boys, the mom was in tears wondering if this kid was ever going to learn to respect and obey her, and ultimately begin to make better choices. This is the jist of what Jo said..."You can gain the obedience and respect of your children because you are a mom who wants to do right by her kids and are thus worthy of respect. But you have to step up and do the work."
As kids grow, they pass through many phases. Schroeder is in the height of cuteness. He's sleeping through the night. He's smiling and he has this dimple that just melts you. D'arcy is in a mature 5 year old stage. She is sweet, responsible, independent, and teachable. I feel like we are reaping the benefits of all of our hard parenting work.
And then there is Julian. Our quiet, thumb sucking, layed back toddler, has officially morphed into a talkative, rambunctious, three year old! I'm not inclined to use the term "terrible-twos". Growing up is hard, and two year olds are just trying to deal with it. It feels mean to label them as terrible. But now I know that, in fact, the term "terrible-twos" is just downright incorrect. Someone told me, "Whoever created that term hadn't met a three year old."
All of this is to say, that, although wonderful, three year olds require parents who wake up ready to do the work. It helps to remember, though, that Julian was once at the height of cuteness and will eventually be a mature 5 year old.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Moerdyk Family

Three years ago, Laura got my name from another mom I had met at the library. At the time, my business was less than a year old. I was still trying to find my confidence, my technique, and my style. Laura liked the pictures I took that first year, has come back each year for more family photos, and has been great about referring me to her friends. Their business has been really important in building my confidence!

Laura and Wyatt have four whip smart, sweet, and very cute kids. They are really a pleasure to photograph. On our way up the path, Moriah grabbed my hand and was telling me stories. All of them were real quick to say thank you and give me hugs as we ended our session. What a great payment! Plus, October in South Texas is really beautiful. Beautiful weather, a beautiful family, and beautiful scenery make for beautiful pictures, right? Here are just a few of them from our session.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Is the Pacifier the culprit?

Schroeder went to his six month checkup a little over a week ago, and my concerns were verified. He hadn't gained any weight since his four month checkup. He had gotten taller, but not chunkier. I had been concerned that he wasn't getting enough during what seemed to be our increasingly shorter nursing sessions. It wouldn't flow fast enough for him and he would, like a normal six month old, get distracted.

I've nursed both D'arcy and Julian to the age of one. One was my goal, and remains my goal with Schroeder. I breastfeed primarily because it's inexpensive and low maintenance. I see these mommies with their well prepared diaper bags full of snacks and bottles filled with water. That looks like it takes a lot of organization! I on the other hand leave the house with a thin, black nursing cover thrown into my purse and a burp cloth in the car seat. If either two don't make it somehow, I improvise. I also know that breastfeeding can alleviate digestive problems such as constipation commonly associated with formula fed babies. They say breastfeeding helps keep babies from getting sick with common colds and such. That seems to be true for my kiddos. They've all been relatively healthy. Schroeder has only had two days of fever in the last six months. But, of course, one can never be certain that my babies wouldn't have been just as healthy formula fed. And certainly, I breastfeed for the bonding experience it presents. By a year, I've been ready to reclaim my body and space, though.

I've never had a problem with production. From day one, I'm pretty strict about my babies only eating every three hours unless it seems to be a "growth spurt" day. On those days, I let the baby eat on demand. I've never really quantified how much I'm producing, but just been satisfied to see that my babies have grown at a steady pace, seem satisfied, and are continually using diapers.

So finding out that Schroeder was not keeping pace in the weight department made me do a little research. Why was my production not keeping up, and what could I do to jump start it? I thought the answer would be in my diet. I thought maybe I wasn't eating enough dairy, or maybe not drinking enough milk. I've been on Weight Watchers, but they have a Nursing Moms program that I even used after D'arcy's birth. And besides, I've only lost about eleven pounds in the last six months.

I went to the La Leche League's website looking for suggestions, and was surprised to discover that nothing was mentioned on the page entitled "How do I Increase my Milk Supply" about the mother's eating habits. Instead, all the suggestions centered around the baby nursing more regularly. And they mentioned that pacifier use may hinder the baby from prompting more frequent nursing sessions. In fact, the La Leche League's website suggests that pacifier use correlates to earlier weaning.

Our other two kids didn't use a pacifier past the first two months, but we have encouraged it with Schroeder as a way to prevent thumb sucking. It seemed like something we could take away at nine months or a year. We haven't found a way to detach Julian's thumb, yet. He loves his pacifier, knows how to pass it back and forth between hands, and will speed across a room to retrieve it. But no doubt, he was spending too much time sucking on that thing and not enough time nursing in order to build up milk production.

So, we've temporarily taken the pacifier away from Schroeder during the day. Well, maybe it will be a permanent switch. And I'm nursing him on command, and whenever he just needs an opportunity to sooth himself. We are supplementing with eight ounces of formula during the day, as well. I'll keep you posted.

I'm still not anti-pacifier. I think they serve a purpose for a short time, but I'm learning you must use them with care so that they don't mask other needs that the baby might be experiencing.

Joseph & Mychal: Engagement Photos

Mychal found my ad on craigslist. She's a photographer herself and knew what she was looking for so I was a really flattered when she contacted me to photograph her wedding in November. She told me that pictures weren't the first thing on her fiance's "Fun List". He loves her, though, so he suited up and showed up to do some romantic engagement photos. Thankfully, the weather made the whole thing really enjoyable. It was a really lovely evening in South Texas, and since it's been raining a lot here, the Medina River Natural Area was looking nice and green.
I got to spend an hour with this laid back couple enjoying the scenery, using the bride's cool camera, and taking some, in my humble opinion, great photos. Here's a peak at our session.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tips for Tuesdays: Herbal remedies

Herbal supplements are not my expertise, but, through experience, I have found a few that have helped me during pregnancy. Maybe you could benefit from my experience.

Yellow Dock: I was anemic during my first pregnancy. You need more iron when your pregnant so anemia is common. When I was in my third trimester, my OB put me on an iron pill. Iron pills aren't great on your digestive system, and I hated taking them. When I became pregnant with Julian, my pastor, Clara, suggested I take Yellow Dock to help with my iron absorption. My midwife approved and encouraged me to eat lots of high iron food like spinach. Between the herb and topping baked potatoes and pizza with spinach, I never became anemic. Yellow dock promotes regularity, as well, and does wonders for you hair and nails. What a difference from those horrible iron pills!

Evening of Primrose: I've been overdue with three babies. With each one, I'm doing everything I know to get labor going. With Schroeder, my midwife suggested I use Evening of Primrose orally and internally to help ripen my cervix. I only took them after 39 weeks. One never knows whether you would have gone into labor anyway, but lets just say, Schroeder was born after a very short hour long labor! I'm confident this stuff did something.

Of course, talk to your doctor before taking these herbs. Keep in mind, though, that many doctors are not well versed in this kind of information so you may want to locate a doula or midwife who rely on herbs more regularly.

I would love to hear any of your herbal remedies!

Baby Diana

Not long after we joined the Vineyard here in San Antonio, Adrian, Anna, and their two kids, Danny and Catherine started attending. We've spent lots of time together working on Children's Ministry, at Playgroup, and at our community library. You'll notice that all these things revolve around kids because Anna and I are in the same stage of life, mommyhood. She is a great mother with lots of tips on how to discipline better, how to enhance my kids education at home, how to survive dinner, and how to manage my kids' health issues.
Well, now, she has one more little kid to call her mommy. Baby Diana Christine was born in late September. She is such a little peanut, weighing in at just 5 1/2 pounds. I couldn't pass up the chance to get a few photos of her.
We did a little mini photo session this afternoon, and I was able to see her eyes open and to get a smile or two out of her. I had only seen her sleeping before so it was fun to see a little bit of her personality come out. Hopefully it shines through the pictures a bit. Here are some of my favorites.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Cassano Family

I love taking pictures of people I love! I met Nathan and Rachelle way back in 2005 right after we moved to Texas. They met online (we actually know lots of people who've met and married this way) and Nathan had just helped Rachelle move down here to Texas from New York. Since then we've been through lots of life with these people. A wedding, three new babies, four Thanksgivings, one crazy dog incident, and a couple of jobs later, we are still great friends.
Their little boy, Elliot, just turned one, and Rachelle asked me to take some photos of their family. Elliot is a curious, crazy fast, little crawler. Why walk if you can't run? That's his motto. He loves his mommy and daddy and like any one year old, likes being tickled and giving open mouthed kisses. I remember this age with JuJu and can't wait for it with Schroeder.
So Rachelle and Nathan, take a break from all that coding and mommying and check out your sneak peak!

Saturday, October 10, 2009


Way back when when I worked at American Funds, I had the privileged of working with my friend Lisa. Lisa was expecting a baby when I arrived in the San Antonio office. A year later, I was there when she saw her baby for the first time, in a picture sent via email all the way from China. I remember Lindy was standing next to a hand sculpture or something??? in the picture. Anyway, Lindy is four now, and Lisa asked me to take some pictures of her sans the weird hand sculpture.
Lindy is an explorer. We found a rolly polly, a walking stick, and some golden treasure during our little photo session. From the pictures, it's clear that she is a sweet, fun little girl.
Don and Lisa and Lindy are expecting again! Another little Asian beauty is on the way. I'm praying that the process continues to move forward and that your second little one comes to you soon.
Without further delay, here are those pictures I promised.