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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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Thursday, May 31, 2012

I finally figured out how to make animated gifs.

 The key is to plug your computer in.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Stephen and I circa 2006.

Such a proud, special moment for us. We delivered this baby together in our pastor's home, and spent the week just loving on him (and watching the second season of LOST).

Friday, May 25, 2012

Stephen and I circa 2005.

Here we are the day we picked out the lot for our first house. I have never weighed less as an adult. I just wish I would have paid attention to my hair, skin, clothes, etc, etc. This was a sweet time in our lives, though. Leaving Indiana...Cleaving to each other...Finding our way.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

What are you doing this summer?

I strive to be a mom from 1976.  In my mind, a mom from 1976 was satisfied with public schools and didn't pray about school choice before each school year.  She let her kids play outside without her supervision and didn't worry constantly about them being snatched.  This mom didn't structure play time or find it necessary to always be playing with her children (although occasionally she did).  Her kids were often left with stretches of free time that could lead to boredom.  This mom didn't think safety was the trump card in all situations.  She wasn't afraid to feed her baby milk before their first birthday.  And she didn't scour Google for vaccination information.   Her kids didn't get baths every day.
(I also want to mention that I strive to be a little bit hippy when it comes birthing, nursing, and caring for my infants, but I don't necessarily see that ideal with my older kids.)
Ok, I wasn't alive in 1976 and have no way of knowing if this was an accurate portrayal of a 1976 mother.  Maybe this is all in my head.  You'll be happy to know that I've embraced the use of car seats and cribs without lead paint, though.
I'm saying all this because summer is approaching and I have to make decisions about what our schedule will look like over the next two months while keeping in mind my 1976 mom ideal.  Truely, if I didn't have D'arcy who when left with long stretches of free time will be both my most creative child as well as my child most likely to describe herself as bored, I would have less to think about.  The boys play endlessly outside with sticks, in the house with legos, and, yes, on their atari  wii.  So because I will inevitably be asked what we will be doing tomorrow, I need ammunition.  So this is what we will be doing this summer.

Swimming at my parents pool at least once a week (Working on getting Julian and even Schroeder swimming on their own.)
Tennis Lessons (Monday & Wednesday @ Garfield Park for eight weeks for only $15!)
Life Point's Evening Vacation Bible School July 16-20
Edisto Island, SC Vacation June 22-July 1(We will be stopping by Stephen's family reunion on the way there and the (K)notles' house in Atlanta on the way back.  Brilliantly, it looks like for the first time I will manage to go to Edisto without having a baby in the womb.)
Continued Piano lessons every Monday afternoon
Indianapolis Public Library's Summer Reading Program

And hopefully some of the below...
Walking trip to the Downtown Farmer's Market
Walking trip to the local park.
Trip to the Children's Museum
Riding Bikes on the Monon Trail
Camping in the backyard
Walking and picnic on the canal

And definitely some of the below...
Vast expanses of free time
Climbing the neighbor's tree
Using sticks as guns
Playing in the sprinkler (I should buy one) and slip n' slide

and even a little...

The Barton Family let me capture some of their beauty before departing.

Jason & Abby are friends from church.  When baby Jadon made his appearance, I gave them a gift certificate for me to take their pictures.  This is always such a presumptuous gift and something I only feel comfortable doing if they previously inquired about getting their photos done.
I posted some shots on Facebook, but I wanted to share some of the beauty that I was digging while shooting this family. 

Twins on a park bench.

This pretty fountain accentuated by Abby's choice of clothing for her family (totally random).  Love this relaxed pose.

Three year olds spying airplanes in the sky.  Their daddy flies airplanes.

Curly pigtails.

This below image might be my very favorite.  I love how soft it is.  They loved throwing items in the fountain.

Sunlight through curly pigtails.
 A ten month old with a very sweet disposition at 7 o'clock in the evening.

Hands on three year old hips.  The best!

Stephen and I circa 2004.

My first time at Edisto Island, SC. This is one of Stephen's family's favorite vacation spots. I've never been when I wasn't pregnant UNTIL this year. We are headed there next month. Here I am pregnant with D'arcy (we went again when I was 33 weeks pregnant with Julian).

Monday, May 21, 2012

Melissa + Joy : AT HOME | Wake Up Time

Hopefully this series (in it's underexposed glory) give you a true sense of what mornings feel like in our house.  There is lots of laziness (on my side), responsibility (on D'arcy's end), cuddling, Daddy wake up calls delivered by jumping children, and a general easiness to the morning.  Check out Joy's super sweet photos here

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Stephen and I circa 2003.

Looked high and low for this picture and found it in the scrapbook I made to document our wedding. This is us on our honeymoon in Paris.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Stephen and I circa 2002.

Stephen and I in Pennsylvania at my friend Katie's wedding. We were engaged at this point. This was probably our first trip we took just the two of us.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Stephen and I circa 2000.

We went to Detroit Lakes, Minnesota for vacation. I remember having to go back to Tennessee for college not long after this. It sure was hard to leave him knowing it would be months before I'd get to see him again.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Stephen and I circa 1999.

Stephen and I at post prom. Southern Bowl. Beastie Boys Intergalactic. Natalie McNeelan and Brad Goedecker dating. That's all I remember from that event. Whether you like it or not, I sure did love my hair piece with all those fresh flowers.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Stephen and I circa 1998.

Stephen and I will be celebrating our nine year wedding anniversary at the end of the month. Before our wedding, we dated for about 5 1/2 years. I thought it would be fun to show some pictures of us from years gone by. This is the first birthday we shared together. He turned 16. I turned 17.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Maggie Lu is talking.

We weren't worried, but we did ask the doctor about Maggie's vocabulary. In my memory, all of our kids were speaking more often than Maggie at this age. The doctor said that fourth children many times get spoken for so the need to speak isn't as acute. Now, with each passing day, she is adding words to her vocabulary or willingly repeating us. Before I forget, I wanted to document the handful of words she thought were necessary to use before speech was her main form of communication. Most of them are relational, Mama, Dada, D'arcy, Begbie, Hi, bye. She knows the word dog. We met our friend's bunny the other day and she shouted "DOG!". She also uses a few for what she wants you to do with her, up and my very favorite stuck. I feel like we taught all the others, but stuck is something she picked up from Schroeder out of necessity. She uses it as an alternative for down when she is in her crib or high chair. She uses it when a gate is in the way of her getting what she wants. She uses it when she can't get her coat unzipped by herself. I suspect she inherited a bit of claustrophobia from me.
She says D'arcy super clearly, especially when she hears D'arcy's bus pull up. She runs to the door to greet her with a big hug which, of course, D'arcy loves. I was cleaning the house one afternoon and found them in the piano room together reading.

Maybe blogging my weeks goals will keep me accountable...

It's been awhile since I've posted my Weekly to do list which might explain why I've had a dresser half sanded in my garage for a week or two. If I didn't post it, I didn't make it. If I didn't make it, I'm probably still getting some things done, but I'm probably feeling overwhelmed and unfocused. So in order to go through my week with a sense of purpose and calm, I'm going to make this list.

Finish sanding and paint the dresser for Schroeder & Maggie's room.
Work out in some form each day (at least two walk/runs outside) & count my WW points plus.
Organize and upload photos from March.
Read 1 Samuel 31 & 32.
Finalize menu, location, and other misc. logistics for lemonade day this weekend.
Take pictures for blog series.
Check out at least one of the photography books from this list.
Finish my blog post about turning 31 & the one about Maggie talking (with cute picture of D'arcy & Maggie).
Make and deliver at least two of the cards I've been wanting to give to friends.
Locate and print the manual for my grandma's old sewing machine.

These, of course, are all specific projects outside of my every week laundry, cleaning, editing, cooking, shopping, bill paying, disciplining, etc, etc, etc. Hope all of you have the energy and focus for what you have to accomplish this week.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Kids say the darndest things... (This is the mother's day edition.)

Julian brought me some Mother's Day gifts home from preschool today. I received a cupcake, a ceramic disc that he painted, and a sheet with "All About My Mom" at the top. Follow along.
1. How do I show my Mom I love her?
J's A: I tell my mom I love her.

2. My favorite thing to do with my Mom is?
A: Go to Chucky Cheese with her.

3. Her favorite color is?
A. Orange
My response: Um, that's your favorite color, Julian.

4. her favorite food is?
A. Chicken Pot Pie

5. If she had extra time, she likes to?
A. play video games with me.
My response: Untrue.

6. When my Mom grows up she wants to be?
A. A space woman.
My response: If I haven't grown up already, it isn't going to happen.

7. My Mom and Dad first met?
A. When I wasn't born.
My response: True.

8. My Mom laughs when she watches?
A. American funniest Video.
My response: True, but I haven't watched that show since Bob Sagget hosted.

9. My Mom is_______ year old.
A. A billion.
My response: That makes you a billion minus 25.

10. What my Mom loves the most is?
A. My Aunt.

Happy Mother's Day to me and you (if you're a mother).

Monday, May 7, 2012

I like this.

Stephen and I share a birthday, and more than likely you'll find us spending it together, just the two of us.  This year, our day happened to fall on a Saturday.  I came to the table with the idea that instead of getting me a gift, he should take me dress shopping in the afternoon.  I also suggested we go to dinner at a restaurant I kept calling Picnic.  Stephen couldn't find it on Google and I eventually realized it was named Recess.  Stephen came to the table with the idea of attending the Roller Derby at the state fair grounds.  Our sister-not-in-law hooked us up with some passes (thanks again Meagan!).  It seemed a bit too much to fit in, especially after I arrived home quite early in the morning after photographing Miss Brooke's birth on Friday.  It all came together quite nicely, though.

I'm writing to tell you, though, that I like Picnic Recess, and if you are ever hungry, with two hours to spare, and $150 dollars to burn (for two), you should totally check it out.  Make reservations first, though.  They serve local, organic, in season foods.  You have very few choices, instead the menu tells you what you'll be having instead of giving you options.  This is good for people like me who, when given the choice, aren't very adventurous when it comes to food but sure are glad after great food has been forced upon them.  Our food was great, and I was glad.

I took pictures of every course which isn't very suave and maybe I looked like a hillbilly in Beverly Hills, but it was for the sake of the blog. And, really, this place was not very pretentious. We sat on cafeteria chairs and our waiter wore blue jeans and a plaid shirt. Ok, maybe it was pretentious in a Portlandia kind of way. Our waiter told us where the cow sacrificed for our meal grew up (just up the road in Jasper I believe). We should have been more thorough in asking exactly how he was treated and what were his living conditions. Oh, well, whether he was treated nicely or not, he was delicious.  

What can one do in a decade? (Stephen's response to my question "Do you want to write a guest blog about turning 30?")

So tomorrow is the 5th of May. Some cultures refer to this day as Cinco de Mayo. Others speak of the day after “May the 4th be with you”. Mel and I refer to it as our birthday. This one they say is special for me. I’ll be 30. In honor of this momentous occasion Mel asked me to be a guest blogger. Here is my attempt at fulfilling this request.

30 years is a lot to reflect on. Considering a recent revelation that I honestly remember much less of my life than the average person I won't bore you with an attempt to tap into the first 20 years. In fact even thinking about reflecting on the last 10 years had me fairly nervous and fearful I would not be able to give my wife the one thing she asked for. Fortunately, I recently had another revelation, I like talking a lot about birth stories.

You don’t get the connection do you. That’s ok. This is my first post. It may take a little while to pick up on my train of thought. Well the train is leaving the station. Either get on board or go check your pinterest again. I’m curious if mel will delete this paragraph.

While shocking my co-workers once again with the statement, “I caught my last child”. It dawned on me that the last 10 years has been a whirlwind of activity. In no particular order with it fresh in my mind I sit to capture these thoughts in appropriate professional built point fashion.

  • Married my high school sweathart
  • Anderson for sleeping, Indianapolis for working, Upland for learning
  • Return home to message from wife out to rescue an English Bulldog
  • Informed fellow dungeon inmates (college computer lab) my social experiment of child rearing would soon be underway (begin count down to D’arcy)
  • Graduated with no shoes
  • Coached my wife through 24 hrs of induced labor (14 ish minus epidural)  and a c-section
  • Began seriously considering if we wanted to be known for being as earthy as home births seemed
  • Started what will now be forever known as the nomadic years (Anderson -> Greenwood -> San Antonio (apartment) -> Job 1 -> Job 2 -> San Antonio (house) -> layoff -> Job 3 -> Plotting for Portland -> Greenwood Instead -> Job 4 -> Fletcher Place
  • Discovering the kindred spirits of Vineyard San Antonio
  • D’arcy informs the world of the immanent arrival of a siblling
  • Research discovers San Antonio is home to the largest concentrations of certified midwifes and our new church has a slew of home birth experience
  • mel and i discuss the relaties of how to do the midwife thing and still be close to a hospital (a.k.a. stephen visits hotels in medical center, but l
    • oving pastor and my surrogate mother for 5 years offers her home as a perfect middle point between home and hospital
  • Late evening into early morning, many sore bones, warmed lasagna leftovers, breakfast in bed, Julian is proof mel is not too short
  • Lay off and contract gigs and Costa Rica and security guard checkpoints
  • First getaway for “second honeymoon” surprise Schroeder’s on the way
  • Wonderful new birth center built to make the decision of where to meet our new addition that much easier
  • Baby boy’s grand hour plus ish escape from the womb makes decision null and void
  • More security guard checkpoints plus babysitting contractors on the other side of the planet at 3 a.m.
  • 5 year plan nears it’s end and mysteries of Portland loom ahead
  • Family (ours, mine, hers) brings a change in schedule
  • Maggie Lu wants to join in the fun
  • Change address on resume and everyone wants a piece of me
  • Back to Greenwood (old faces, new places)
  • Discover FSQ and Fletcher Place and Indy is the new mini Portland
  • “Emergency Childbirth: A Manual”, good read, midwife concures
  • Manual unnecessary from my side of the story, with mel doing the work all you need is a clean towel
  • 6 strong plus our bully we settle in deepening our roots in a house appropriately aged

Wow that brings us about up to speed. Turns out that was more a timeline of family, home, and work history. I have many an incite on who I was at the beginning of 20 and who I am now that 30 is literally hours away but it may need to be saved for another entry.

Certainly this speaks to how full the last 10 years have been and the next 10 years will be. I’m pleased to announce the nomadic years have come to a close. I once was told two and a half years in a tech job is average. Each month Indianapolis looks less like Naptown and more like Mini Portland or the Silicon Prairie. I’m looking forward to playing my part in skewing that number. I also look forward to tweaking the population of this house ever so slightly. A family born and raised in Indy.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Bethany, Blake, Barak, and now Brooke! This is a Birth Story.

You might remember my sadness when I missed the birth of Baby Jax.  Jax's mother is a good friend of mine who lives in Texas.  She had always expressed her desire to have me photograph her birth, but unfortunately, it's quite difficult to be on hand the day baby decides to arrive when you live 1000 miles away.  She ended up hiring a quite gifted birth photographer who took some really touching, lovely photos of her birth back in March.
Joy and I have a mutual friend named Bethany.  Bethany and her husband, Blake, attended our church in San Antonio.  Bethany had her first child at the same birth center that I used for Schroeder (see her first birth photos here).  Blake recently took a job in Chicago which is a long way away from both Texas (where his family lives) and California (where her family lives).  And SO they contacted me to ask if I would be interested in photographing the birth of their second child.  YES!  Absolutely!  Please!  So for the past few weeks I've been on alert, waiting for Bethany to call and say she is in labor.  Some nights I went to bed thinking that if she were to call, I wouldn't be able to make it because I was so exhausted.  But she went into labor on the perfect day and at the perfect hour (for me at least :)) and I was able to make the 3.5 hour drive in plenty of time to see baby born.
I'm a huge advocate for home births for women experiencing normal, healthy pregnancies.  This birth was so beautiful.  Bethany labored with such grace and she progressed easily.  There little boy, Barak, toddled around the house until the last hour when things got more intense.  But he came back soon after she arrived to meet his little sister.  Bethany delivered sweet Brooke Michell without any complications.  Here is her birth story in pictures. 

Bethany and Blake are discussing whether they want to have her water broken.  She was at 8cm and the midwives felt that breaking her strong bag would help her move through labor much quicker.  They were right.

After her water was broken, Bethany got in the tub and after a few minutes really began to work.  One long moan and all of a sudden every body was up around the tub.

Blake was working too.  He helped push her hips together to give her some relief.
After only 1.5 hrs of strong labor and a few pushes, Brooke Michelle came into the world!  I love to hear what comes out of mom's mouth at the moment after birth.  It's a cry that just wells up inside.  I think I said this after Maggie was born (14 days after my due date), "Thank you for coming out.  I'm so glad you finally came out."  Bethany said this, "I had my baby!  I had my baby, and I love her.  I love her so much.  I had my baby, but I didn't do a good job."  All was true besides the last part.

The midwives took baby aside to check her out and get her to cry a bit to work out some of the wetness in her lungs.

Joyce, Blake's mom had been in Chicago for almost two weeks waiting for baby.  Everyone was so thankful that baby decided to come on one of the last days of her trip.

Barak getting to meet his sweet sister.  He wasn't 100% sure what to think.

Notice big brother in the background checking out the scene as baby gets weighed for the first time.   7lbs 4oz!
Here she is in all her cuteness!  Thanks to Bethany and Blake for allowing me to be there.