Pulling at your heartstrings.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012
At least mine anyway, and those of the grandparents too, I'm sure. Sigh. Makes me want more babies, like now. Not yet though, so don't get too excited. Though I do have this aching in my heart to have a complete family, like something is missing. Knowing that we want more and (hopefully) will have more, I'm anxious for the 1 or 2 more to be here, if you know what I mean. Getting number 2 wasn't exactly a walk in the park, so who knows what's in store for us in the future.

For now, I'll admire these.

Untitled-1 Three_Squares_Three_Rectangles_Grid
My little man. Love the look in the top right. One_Large_Five_Small_Grid Round_Corner_Grid IMG_7130_2 One_Large_Five_Small_Grid2
Lots of love for this one on facebook. Trying to decide how large and where it will hang in the house. IMG_7130 Untitled-2 IMG_7147 IMG_7153

And to pull on the heartstrings just a bit more, this little boy tells me the following hourly: "You're the best mommy ever!" or "You're the best mommy I've ever seen." It doesn't get much better than that.

Oh wait, it does! :) I fixed something for him today to which he responded "Yay, mommy, you fixed it!!!!" And I replied, "Yep, I'm a superhero."

He came back to me five minutes later and said, "You're my hero mommy. I LOVE you."

*off to find some kleenex*.

I wish I could bottle this all up and save it for when he very likely will be saying some opposite things around the ages of 15-18.

A dress fit for a princess.

Monday, April 23, 2012
I gave Target $10 for this beautiful dress. I bought a size 12 month, thinking I'd use it down the line for something closer to 1 year old (and trust me, you'll see this dress again), but when I was going to put it away, I noticed it didn't seem that large, so I put it on her for an impromtu photo session and it fit her quite nicely. A random headband I made a few weeks ago matched perfectly!


On giving it all up.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012
It wasn't exactly supposed to go down like this. I was planning on more thinking time. I actually wasn't prepared for how it went down at all.

For those who didn't know, I was (still am) on a year long (unpaid, of course) maternity leave. Thanks to a wonderful section in our teacher contract, our district allows us to do this and return to our position the next year. However, I wasn't sure I wanted to return next year. Also as a section in our contract is the ability (as a tenured teacher) to request a leave of absensce (without needing a reason) with the ability to again return to your position the following year.

That was my plan. A year of maternity leave and another year of a leave of absence. Thinking time to decide if this staying home business was for me. I admittedly was on the fence. While I am thankful for the opportunity to stay home and love being here, there are pieces of me that did (and still do) miss the adult time and the "ownership", if you will, of my job and the fact that I was pretty decent at it. I had come to a place where I was confident in my skills as a communicator to parents, a strong writer in my IEPs and other reports and in my skills in helping run a classroom and work one on one with my students. This year had been the start of my fourth year already. I was in a comfortable place, a place to call my own in my little closet office. I honestly did (and do miss it).

But then I think back to the year I left Henry at daycare at 10 weeks old. I remember the heart wrenching pain I went through NOT being able to stay at home with him. How the updates and pictures I got (at a one point, almost daily basis) were double edged swords. On one hand, it was great to get updates and see pictures during the day and that my day care mom took the time to do that. On the other hand, it sucked monkey nuts knowing that I had, again, missed something else awesome because I was at work with other peoples' kids.

As much as I was missing pieces of my working, adult life, I knew without a doubt I would miss what I've had at home this year. I got to see Claire's first smiles, her rolling over, her first bites of all the new food, the sitting up and everything else. I've missed nothing. I've been able to teach Henry how to use scissors, a glue stick, make art projects, read books, teach him how to draw a person, write his name, play outside when it's gorgeous out and handle his behavior in my own ways. I'm fortunate, I know. But there's still a piece of me that misses the adult life, and that's why I wasn't prepared for this.

What I didn't read in the fine print was that the request for a leave of absence was up to the discretion of the superindentent. The fine print I didn't read until 2 days before the request was due to human resources.

I found out via email the next week that my request was denied. This meant one of two things. Go back, or resign.

I'm officially a stay at home mom now. I will admit, the resignation letter was difficult to write. I owned that job. It. was. mine. When I think about the money, blood, sweat and tears that went into not only my graduate degree program (which was heavy on the tears) and the entire resume writing and interview process (also heavy on the tears), it was a hard thing to leave behind. But the hardest part of this entire process, oddly enough, was checking out the district website and seeing MY job opening posted. That used to be mine.


But, I'm more than excited for this new phase of my life. I've let go of my career so that I can be here with my kids each and every day and witness all the new things, and be my own kids' teacher until it's time to officially pass them off to school full time in kindergarten. As a plus, I have an expensive Master's degree to help me out in the parenting department every day. :)

I'm not sure how this post will read to some, but it's definitely not meant to say that I haven't enjoyed my time at home or that I wish I was going back. I also don't want it to be a slap in the face to moms who haven't/didn't made/make the choice to stay home, or can't. It's definitely not for everybody. I think a lot of moms who wind up choosing to stay home go through this career mourning and I just wanted to document what this whole thinking process was like for me and how I ultimately came to the decision I did.

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

We went to our first game of the season last Saturday, and it was gorgeous! Perfect weather to bring two kids (take a look at that blue sky!) Our season ticket seats are great! These are about the only pictures I took though (didn't even get one of Bumpa--and he was there too!), but when you are lugging a toddler, a baby, a plethora of snacks to get your husband, dad, and brother through the game and a giant, heavy diaper bag that includes every thing except the kitchen sink, you lose some energy to whip out the camera for more than that "one good shot". And the line was too long for the big gold glove. We have many more games to go to, so we'll get some more next time maybe.


And, if you haven't yet seen this (I posed on fb yesterday, I think). You must.

Daddy's birthday post below as well.

28 Years

Somebody's inching closer to 30. :)

We celebrated last Monday night with a date night out (we've been pretty good about doing this once a month so far this year!) and Thursday after Ryan and Henry went to swimming lesson we ate enchiladas and cake.

Now, I definitely had a much prettier vision for this cake, but that's ok. My cupcake book told me I could food color sprinkles if I didn't want to buy every color I needed. Since I was indeed too cheap to spend $3+ dollars per color, I went with the food coloring idea and a big bottle of clear sprinkles. Only thing is, I didn't decide to google "how to food color sprinkles" until 30 seconds before I was going to do it. Turns out there is something called powdered food color that works better for this sort of thing. Hence, it became a giant, stained finger mess and all gloppy/gloopy. It took forever. And then the black gel I had was too thick to write my teeny tiny numbers, so that didn't turn out either. The recipe I used was also somewhat of a bust. I tried out a Guiness Chocolate Cake recipe that had rave reviews (400+ of them), but it didn't hold a torch to the standard chocolate dump cake I usually make.

Word has it, there may be a pirate themed cake for Henry's party. Talk of it even being shaped like a Bucky the Pirate ship from Jake and the Neverland Pirates. I better get my cake making skills in gear.

Back to the Mr. that turned 28. He's getting a custom made pool table light and I got him this print in a giant 20x30 size to hang downstairs in his newly claimed man-cave.


Henry had fun helping with the candles.


And because I always love this shot in black and white too.


Happy Birthday to the best husband/daddy ever :)

6 months, aka, 1 half year.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012
6 fast months have come and gone. It's time to really start soaking this all up, because she's going to be a "toddler" all too soon. This is what I remember as the really fun baby stage with Henry. Smiles, giggles, so much more awareness, the beginnings of babbling, and of course the increased mobility--rolling, crawling, and pulling up that will all happen in the coming months. Photography wise this is my favorite, favorite, favorite age. She can sit up, but she can't crawl away. So aside from the sometimes hard work it is to get her to look at me, I've got plenty of awesome images from this session and hope to get outside a bunch as it warms up, but before she decides she's ready to move!

At 6 months, here is what Claire is doing:

-Smiles, all the time, just as in previous months. :)
-Scoots/rotates around in a circle when on her tummy, and pretty much army crawls BACKWARDS. It's funny to watch.
-Continues to sleep through the night, and puts herself to sleep for naps and sometimes at night if she hasn't already fallen asleep on me.
-Gobbles up solid food like a champ. We've switched to the second stage gerber stuff (bigger containers, more variety/mixes of foods). We've decided we don't like green vegetables though. After eating peas with no problem, she wanted nothing to do with green beans, and then decided against peas after the round of green beans I tried giving her for 3 days.
-rolls around. and around. and around. beginning to roll and reach in the general direction of things she wants to.
-beginning to really explore objects and show great interest in the things around her.
-lots of shrieking sounds.
-showing lots of interest in books. if we're all sitting on the floor and Henry wants to read a story, she will completely lose all interest in whatever toy i have in front of her and stop and listen for the whole book. no joke.
-gets really excited when she sees the three of us.
-and, the first tooth has just broken through!

She weighed in at 15 pounds 7.5 ounces (45%tile) and was 25.5 inches long (45%tile) at her appointment today. Her head percentile was 55%. Taking a look back, she weighs just a few ounces less than Henry did at 6 months, but when looking at the graph, she's moving up on the curve way faster than Henry ever did.

She gets to start eating puffs, cheerios, and soft mashed up stuff like bananas, avocados, noodles, pancakes, soft crackers, etc.

These get my own vote for some of my personal best ever. The light was just perfect, her outfit was SOOO cute, and yes, I made the headband. As a bonus, another little one wanted in on the picture action.

How about some love in the comment section, or the link to this on my facebook page. Comments have really been dwindling in recent times, even from those who check this thing multiple times a day. This means you could either be bored with me or unimpressed with my work. I hope it's neither!


Claire Bear

Tuesday, April 3, 2012
I've had a slew of newborns as of late coming in to my new studio and have another handful lined up for the immediate future. All these newborns makes me wonder where this little lady has gone.


She's quickly become this.

It seems to have happened in just a blink of an eye. 1 half of a year next week.
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