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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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Saturday, December 29, 2012

A little something different.

I was asked to photograph my friend Kat's band, The Whipstitch Sallies. It turned out to be loads of fun, and I couldn't help but to post a few of my favorites.

He now has two of them missing.

Don't worry, though. My kids are sort of like sharks. Before they lose the first row, there is already a second row of teeth above the gums to take their place.

Hey Norah, you are nine months old!

I took a much needed break from photographing in December. Since baby number five is on it's way, it's a good time to reconsider how often I schedule photo sessions. I like photographing families, but it's become clear to me that I need to scale this portion of my business back. One or two a week is just too many and has left me with no time to photograph anything else (including my own children). I'm thinking one or two a month is a better idea. Hoping this will allow me time to photograph my neighborhood, my kids, a couple seniors, some weddings, and hopefully a home birth or two.
That being said, I'm so happy to photograph this girl any old time. We always have such sweet, relaxing sessions. And her eyes are just so big.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Happy Christmas Everyone!

If you want to know the sex of our baby, look in this envelope.

A couple of weeks ago, we got a chance to see our baby via ultrasound. All looks well. The baby was wiggling, flipping, and covering it's face. The ultrasound tech kept saying that it was a little thing. I was trying to decipher the entire time if that meant the baby was too small, but at the end, all the measurements read 17 weeks 2 days which was right on. Baby looks to have plenty of fluid, a three vessel cord, a four chamber heart, and fully formed spine and brain. The placenta is high and in the back. All suggests that baby is healthy which most likely means we won't have another opportunity to see the baby before he or she is delivered in May.
We had the tech write the sex down and put it in this envelope. My family has looked. Stephen's family has opted to wait. Some friends have been eager to look, and many are afraid they'll spill the beans. I've been carrying this envelope around in my purse so if you see me, and you would like to know, just ask.
If you find this whole thing silly, we've achieved our goal. We've found out before. We've been surprised. We've had girls. We've had boys. This approach is new and fun and devoid of seriousness. We know there is a good chance someone will slip. In fact, I feel like the ultrasound tech already did. It doesn't matter. I'm just trying to enjoy this sweet and fleeting time. The baby will have all that it needs and will be wholeheartedly loved no matter the sex.

Friday, December 14, 2012

So glad to be taking pictures for myself again.

So I was complaining the other day to my friend Julia that my house gets so little light.  The house sits just a few feet away from each house on either side which prevents very much sun from streaming through our side windows.  So even though our kitchen (which was added on at some point in our house's history) is freezing cold during the winter, I look forward to being greeted by the sunshine coming through our back windows.  I took the blinds down awhile ago and hung these in the windows for the winter.  
What's even more wonderful is when I turn the corner in our kitchen to get to our scary cellar I'm greeted by this shadow.  
The sun streaming through the window also showed me that this plastic fruit bowl on our table has a pattern on it.  Who knew?  Well, I like looking at it as I'm cutting peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and apples for two of my favorite toddlers.

What do you get when you cross the words elephant and advent?

Friday, December 7, 2012

Faith Comes Softly

I went up the stairs to turn the lights off at bedtime yesterday.  I was in a hurry because our home group was waiting downstairs.  Let's be honest, I'm usually in a hurry because by 8:30 I'm lacking patience and mommy energy.  As I was turning out the light, I said "Mommy loves you and Jesus loves you."  Julian surprised me with this.  He said, "Hey mom, I already prayed on my own.  I asked Jesus to come into my heart and now I have the Holy Spirit with me always."
This was super out of the blue.  D'arcy is happy to drink the Kool-aid, but Julian is a little slower and a little more skeptical.  I think our last conversation about God went something like this, "Hey mom, If Gabe is going to heaven because he believes in Jesus then I'll believe in Jesus so I can be with Gabe."
All I can do as a parent is share my faith and how important it is to my life, and, of course, to live it.  My hope is that the God that I believe is alive will capture and permeate the hearts of my kids.  This process cannot be forced.  It was so meaningful that he decided to bring this up on his own.  

Julian's mom (tap tap tap), is Santa real?

Our official position is this: Our kids do not get gifts from Santa, but I don't mind them enjoying the jolly old man.  That's why you may have seen the picture of Maggie sitting on Santa's lap at the Fletcher Place Holiday Kid's party.  She jumped right on his lap, put her little hand on her chest, and said, "I'm Maggie."  Our kids also received letters from Santa directly from North Pole, AL today thanks to my friend Melissa in San Antonio.  My little ones ripped theirs open and enjoyed having me read them.
Stephen is always eager to remind them that the "Corporate Demon" is in fact a figment of imagination, and I'm always encouraging them to enjoy and believe in him if they want.  We BOTH encourage them to NOT destroy other little children's dreams and declare Santa isn't real.  Julian hasn't been listening to that advice.  Yesterday, I was working at the school's book fair.  Once I was finished, I headed to Julian's classroom to pick him up.  Julian was excited to see me and dragged me over to help him pick up the blocks he and a few other boys had been playing with at the end of the day.  One of the little boys tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I was Julian's mom.  He then proceeded to say, "Well, Julian told me something while we were at our desks today."  This little boy's lip begins to quiver.  "He told me that Santa wasn't real (Julian says behind me "He isn't!") , and I need to ask you if he was right?"
I asked him if he believed and if Santa brought him presents. "Yes."  Then I told him not to worry about what silly Julian says.  He seemed relieved.  I'm wondering if I need to send an apology to all the parents in his class.
Last year, I blogged about why I can't pull Santa off even if I wanted to.  Queue (or is it cue?) 2012 example.  I pulled from the attic a Dora doll complete with her baby brother and sister.  D'arcy received this doll the year she became a big sister, and I put it up in the attic until Maggie was old enough to enjoy it.  I shoved the bag it was in into my locker until I could take it upstairs.  Maggie must have been attempting to pull out some of my shoes to wear when she happened upon the bag.  She  excitedly came into the living room exclaiming that she had found "her babies!"   I grabbed them, and put them back up in the locker and she had a bit of a meltdown.  We worked through it, and I thought all was well until naptime.  I told her to grab her baby to take with her to bed.  She ran to my locker, pointed up to the top shelf, and told me her babies were up there.  Sigh.  At least I know she'll like it.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Melissa + Joy | AT HOME | Potty Time

I've potty trained three kids thus far, but this girl is different.  She doesn't really need my help.  She is potty training herself.  Right after she turned two she started asking to use the potty and had no problem relaxing enough to actually get the job done.  Stage one accomplished.  I wasn't ready to move forward and take the diapers away because I was busy throwing up thanks to baby number five.  But we've recently bought some princess panties that make her very happy, and when I'm feeling up to it or when she insists, she puts them on with her plastic pants.  She can keep them dry most of the day with a combo of taking herself to the bathroom or me reminding her.  She doesn't need a chart or candy or a timer.  Stage two complete.  Now we just need to move into stage three where we totally give up the diapers and she learns to take ownership of keeping herself dry.  I'm in no particular hurry.    I'm guessing in January I'll make that move (if she let's me wait that long).

Please excuse her shiny face.  She's had a runny nose.  Combine that with dry winter weather and her face required some Vaseline therapy.  Excuse the fading bruises, too.  She has trouble bending down beside the desk or coffee table and has whacked her head and cheek.  Just take in the sweet blue eyes and the super long pigtails!

Check out Joy's potty time post here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

How many weeks pregnant am I?

And how long ago was my last blog post?

Both valid questions that when asked, I have a hard time answering.

October was the perfect storm. I was suffering from, most likely, my worst case of morning sickness. I also way, way, way over committed myself in the photography department. Two weddings and like thirteen family sessions. I'm still catching up on editing and CD making. My poor scheduling made me really contemplate why I have a photography business and what I want to do with it. Looking forward to making some positive changes for 2013.

That explains my lack of posting.

I could tell you exactly how far along I was in October because I was counting down the days until that awful first trimester yuckiness would go away. Thankfully, it did, and since then I've sort of stopped counting.

Due to the holidays, it's been almost five weeks since my last appointment. When we arrived at the midwife today, we sat down at her kitchen table to have our usual "how are you doing?" and "What questions or concerns do you have?" chat. A couple of weeks ago, I had this very present worry that my uterus wasn't growing fast enough. It was really a worry for lack of any better worry. I always forget that there is this gap between feeling awful because your pregnant and actually looking pregnant. This is especially true when you stomach is a little squishy to begin with.

Well, this is how the midwife answered that worry for me. She took out her doppler after palpitating my stomach and said, "Well, let's see how many heart beats I hear." She was totally serious, and really did move that doppler around to see if she could find a second heart beat. She says I'm measuring just a bit big for 16.5 weeks. This has happened before. I measured big with Julian and my midwife at the time said she was curious to see if there might be two. There wasn't, and it seems there isn't this time either. Only one strong, lovely heartbeat.

Our midwife today was laughing at Stephen's super calm demeanor despite the prospect of twins. He said he had "reflected" on the idea before, and if it came true he would probably need to do a little more "reflecting". Truthfully, to me, the idea of one baby sounds sweet and divine and the idea of two sounds like WORK! But again, the talk was short lived since she only found one heartbeat, and all will be confirmed next Monday when we have an ultrasound.

We have another five weeks before our next appointment, again due to the holiday. I'm going to work on NOT coming up with something to worry about for the sake of worrying.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Preparing for Baby Penuly.

Stephen merged the two names we have picked out for this baby and decided to call our unborn baby Penuly. If it's a girl, she will most likely be named Etta Penelope May Williams. She will go by Penelope (and I might allow Penny). If it's a boy, he will most likely be named Emmett Ulysses (to be determined) Williams. He will go by Ulysses or Uly. Both first names come from Stephen's dad, Emmett.

Ulysses is a name we picked out together when we were expecting Maggie Lu. We were laying in bed throwing out boy names. I wanted to have some sort of boy name I liked before we went for our ultrasound. I was so afraid that I would cry if they told me I was having my third boy in a row. Stephen was throwing out name after ridiculous name, and I was scoffing. I was throwing out awesome names like Ephraim and Jonas and he was downright vetoing them. Then he suggested Ulysses, and I paused and realized how much I like it. And that was that.

We don't have a third name yet for a boy. We are throwing around the idea of Bucky or Buck. When we have asked Julian what he wanted to name a baby boy for the last several years, he would always get this big smile and sparkle in his eye and respond firmly "Bucky". That smile and sparkle have turned what would otherwise be a ridiculous name into something beautiful. And let's face it, this baby will most likely never use their third name anyway. Plus, we've already given one child Edith as a third name and another Vonnegut. Can it get sillier?

For the last couple of years, I was hesitant to even come up with another girl name. I really, really liked Ulysses and was, for the first time, rooting for a baby boy. The problem is, we don't necessarily get to pick and a baby girl might emerge in May and demand a name. So we started talking about girl names. We had a couple that we had both liked in the past, Gwendolyn and Genevieve, that just didn't seem right anymore. I loved, loved, loved the name Georgia, but that was vetoed. One night, when our small group was wrapping up, we started talking about girl names with our friend Beka. Stephen discovered that Penelope was the name of Odysseus's wife in the Odyssey. (Ulysses is the Roman or Latin version of the name Odysseus.) I sort of nodded and said that I liked it. That meant to me that we could put it on our short list. Then he shouted and slapped his knee, "That's it! We have a girls name." Ummmm....wait please! I need to think about this a second! Stephen is kind of a decide and move on kind of guy. He doesn't dwell on past decisions and fret if he made the right one. It's a fairly good quality about him, in my opinion. I had moved too slow! If I had downright rejected the idea he could have found something else, but my initial acceptance of the name sealed it in his mind. So now we have a baby Penuly.

May is the month that Stephen and I are born in (we share a birthday), the month we got engaged, and the month we married. It will also be (assuming everything goes as planned) the month the baby will be born....even if I'm two weeks late!

So there you go, the very long, complicated explanation of our very long, complicated names.

My friend Joy sent me a onesie for Penuly. We have all the baby essentials. Boy and girl clothes, a swing, bumbo seat, carseat, stroller, blankets, pack n' play, etc, etc, etc. This baby won't be lacking on stuff. It is nice to get a few things just for THIS baby, though. That's why receiving this little "Thing 5" onesie was so special.

I'm planning on just decorating a little corner of our room for Penuly. I'm going to indulge myself and buy a new crib. Crib styles have advanced so much since we last bought one seven years ago. Oh, and I guess the movable sides are considered dangerous now. Since both Penelope and Ulysses conjure up images of the sea for me, I'm hoping to decorate the space above Penuly's crib with sea images from a local artist, Sally Harless. You can see what I've pinned to my little pinterest board here. We went to a local show called Optical Popsicle in October and they had a huge shiny silver whale as a prop. I might have to make a much smaller version to hang above Penuly's bed.

We are scheduled for an unltrasound on December 3rd. Stephen and I will not be finding out the sex of the baby, but we will be having it written down and put into a little envelope. Whoever would like to see it is welcome, they just have to do their best to play with our minds. We know there is a good chance we'll know what the sex is by the time the baby comes simply because someone might slip. It really doesn't matter to me.

I just feel like going against the grain...being nonchalant and almost sacreligious with this information. So many people keep the names and sex a secret. We are only going to keep it secret from ourselves. And we know many of you will dislike or even abhore our name choices, but we love them and will not change our minds. Plus, there is a good chance we didn't like the names you picked for your kids.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Thoughts on this pregnancy and eventual delivery.

As many of you have heard, Stephen and I are expecting another baby.  This will be baby number five and as far as we are concerned, our last.  We went to our midwife today and had a chance to hear this little one's heartbeat.  I had two major thoughts while we were there.  First, I had a little bit of fear and eventually loads of gratefulness to even hear the heartbeat.  When I had my first baby, I was twenty-three.  I was pretty young and one of the first gals my age, in my group of friends and acquaintances to start a family.  Now, it seems many, many of my friends have had or are having babies, and many of my friends have experienced some sort of loss.  They have walked into their first appointment to discover their baby had no heartbeat, have lost a baby at 12, 20, or 30 weeks along, have lost their baby during delivery, or have given birth only to lose them too soon afterwards.  Being close to so much loss is making me savor the simple sweetness of a little heartbeat.
I was also thinking how much I appreciate my midwife.  She's a lady I haven't seen in two years, who knew me, knew my history, and welcomed me back into her home with a hug.  She still had my sweet Maggie's picture up on her wall from two years ago.  Gosh, I'm so grateful for the personal care I've received from her and from our previous midwife in Texas.  It's the kind of care that I'm happy to forgo an epidural for (ok...I had like ten contractions total during my last labor).  They have both been personal and educated.
I got a chance to be around for a friend's hospital delivery the other day.  The nurses weren't sure if the baby was breach or not because of where the found the baby's heart beat on with the monitor.  It didn't matter since the c-section was scheduled already. I was surprised, though, that they weren't trained to palpitate her stomach and figure it out right there.  My midwife taught me how to determine for myself several pregnancies ago whether my baby was head down.  I guess they can just use an ultrasound machine....  (I should also mention, just as a disclaimer, that that nurse was kind, professional, and competent.)
I read an article recently about Tori Spelling.  She has had four babies in the last six years via cesarean section.  She had placenta previa with her most recent pregnancy.  A condition that caused her to have some very significant bleeds.  She ended up spending most of the summer in the hospital, delivered a healthy son via c-section, and ended having an emergency surgery within weeks of the delivery when her incision came open.
We knew we wanted to have a large family.  I'm pretty sure we decided on five kids before we even had the first.  After I ended up delivering D'arcy by c-section, I knew I needed to try for a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean).  A huge factor in the decision is that while a c-section can be a relatively easy surgery to recover from the first or second time, with every subsequent c-section your risk for placenta previa, placenta accreta, surgical adhesions, and delivery-related hysterectomy increase.  Babies delivered by subsequent c-sections are also found to make more trips to the NICU.
I'm not saying that c-sections aren't life saving or unnecessary or always harder than a vaginal birth.  What I am saying is, man, I'm so glad that I was able to have Julian without the need for a second c-section which would have necessitated a third and a fourth and now a fifth.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

When you walk out the door with your camera, prepare to be surprised with what you return home with.

I took D'arcy and Maggie out on Maggie's birthday (yes, that was almost a month ago) to take some pictures.  I don't force my kids to sit, smile and take a portrait very often, but I do try on their birthdays.  D'arcy liked her hair band, but disliked her outfit.  She was pouting the whole time.  Maggie turned two.  She was more interested in playing and discovering our neighborhood than sitting still and smiling.  If I pointed the camera at her, she would start waving her hand saying "no pictures!"  I was getting frustrated and started threatening to take away the promised ice cream.  Which is minimally helpful.  
At some point, I remembered that I'm a lifestyle photographer which means I'm trying to capture real, authentic moments.  I very, very, rarely put a simple portrait up on my wall.  So why am I torturing myself and my kids on their birthdays?  I'm always surprised by the picture I love at the end of photographing my family.  Most times it's a picture I didn't set out to take.  It was a picture I took in the midst of life happening.  Here are a few of the shots I took that day that I DID NOT set out to take, but I think show my two daughters' (who are exactly six years and three days apart) relationship.  

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Melissa + Joy | AT HOME | Mommy & Me

This month is a little different.  Let me tell you a story.  Joy and I have a mutual friend, Kristin.  Kristin is pregnant, but was put on bed rest to keep baby safe.  Kristin has a house and a four year old.  It's hard to take care of those things when you are on bed rest.  Joy said, "Hey, why don't I ride the bus up from Texas to Kentucky to help you out for a few weeks."  I said, "Hey, Joy, why don't I pay the difference between a Greyhound ticket and a plane ticket, fly you to Indianapolis, and then drive you to Kentucky to hang out with Kristin."  So that's what we did.  Joy got to see me, my house, my kids, my neighborhood.  I got to see Joy and her six month old, Jax.  We both got to see Kristin who is still pregnant.  Awesome.  
Joy had the idea that we take pictures of each other.  I have been so wanting pics of me with each kid. She made it happen.  and I made it happen for her.  So here they are.  
I love their peaches n' cream complexion.  Both look soft and smooth.
I love this photo.  He looks like his daddy here.  
Moms, do remember this?
Love his little grip on her shirt.