Friday, February 5, 2016

Birth Photography.

Angie Knutson Photography
Angie Knutson Photography
Angie Knutson Photography

When I was pregnant with Myra, I did not know birth photography was a thing.  Had I known, my mind likely would have immediately gone to "cervical paparazzi."  NO, thank you.  Pass.  And that's fine.  Trevor and I were both there, we remember, and he got some photos.  We have photos of her all slimy and wrinkly and on my chest and the scale.  Trevor did a great job being there for me, taking it all in, and doing the best he could to get some photos.




When we become a thing, we have an instant common ground with most other people who are also that thing.  Upon becoming a parent, I became part of this club of other parents and this whole new world of conversation topics opened up.  Thrilling topics, really, like how to get your baby to fart and how to appropriately get puke out of car seat straps.  The first many times I heard people talk about birth photographers, I don't think I even paid attention.  Immediate NOPE.  But then I actually saw some photos.  These photos, to be specific.



More photos from this friend's birth here.  Photo credit to Jessica of Family Way Birth.  This friend's baby was born about a week after Myra, so it would be a long time before I would need to consider birth photography myself, but these photos really stuck with me.

Somewhere along the way, I stumbled upon a local photographer, Angie Knutson, on Instagram (@angieknutsonphotography) and started following her.  Then, one day, when I was pregnant with Niko, she posted this video.



And I was sold.  I commented saying I was interested, thought about it, mentioned it to Trevor (who was still mostly in the "that's weird" camp), then actually emailed her.  My first email asked for some basic info and by my second email I was already telling Angie all about my first labor and current placenta.  If anything noteworthy came up at doctor's appointments, I emailed her.  So many "right on track, but who knows what that really means!" emails.  I wish I still had all the texts from the day he was born.  I think she got more updates than anyone, understandably so.  I mean, we hired her to capture all the special moments leading up to, including, and following baby's arrival, so she had to know what the heck was going on.  If you want the play by play of the day Niko actually arrived, and when Angie came into the picture, check out his birth story here.

Anyway, the whole point of this is to show you all, many of whom know our family personally, how incredible these photos are.  I don't think the beauty of birth photography would have struck me in quite the same way had I not seen photos from someone I knew first.  Birth photography isn't for everyone, but I would strongly suggest considering it, and doing so early on.  Some photographers take on more than others, but any birth photographer can only do so many.  Being on call and available to take photos at any time and for as long as it takes sounds exhausting.  Babies come when they want to come, there's so much unpredictability involved.  It was so nice for Trevor to not have to worry about where the camera or phone was and just be there with me and our new baby.  We knew we'd have great pictures, but didn't have to think about them at all.  For the most part, we didn't even notice Angie was there.  Seriously.  Other brand new baby options are Fresh 48 and Newborn sessions.  The rest of these photos were all taken by AKP.  I really did try to limit the photos here, but there are so many incredible moments captured, it was difficult.  I didn't even include any of the grandparents meeting Niko.  And no, Angie isn't bribing me to write all this, we were simply that impressed with how it went.

Enjoying my epidural.
Seeing this picture brings back so many vivid memories.  The ponytail Trevor put in for me because my hair was pissing me off.  The panicky "I NEED A FAN RIGHT THIS SECOND" feeling.  How hard I felt like I was pushing, for what felt like days (12 minutes people, 12 minutes...).  The big jumble of other random feelings like nervous, anxious, excited, will my baby be okay?


The look on his face as he realized, and told me, IT'S A BOY!

We were one.
Getting acquainted with our son.
First time feeding him.
The first time Trevor held Niko.
The first time Myra laid eyes on her baby brother.






Those fresh little toes.

You can also follow Angie on Facebook here.  What can I say, I'm a fangirl.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Birthday Interview: Myra, Age 3.

I have copies of "Your Birthday Book" for both kids, a fun way to document the kids at each age, birthdays, and birthday parties.  I wasn't completely impressed with the interview for this age, so I found another sheet to start doing, too.



Your Birthday Book Interview:
Conducted by: Mommy
I met with Myra on January 22, 2016 at our favorite spot (not really, but it's what the book says), the dining room table.  My subject was dashing in a blue hooded sweatshirt and jeans and appeared quite interested (aka all up in my business) throughout the interview.  We spoke on the record for about 15 minutes.

What were some of your favorite birthday gifts this year? (I will add to this later, she had only gotten one thing so far at the time)

Tell me what you think of when I say these words:
Home: "Good," Favorite color: "Um, purple," Brother/sister: "Niko's very twenty....nine," Love: "A heart."

What's the last thing you were sad about? "S for sad.  Can you sign 'ssss-ah-duh'? Is on your face (as in, the sign for sad uses your face)"

What makes you really, really happy? "H for happy and highlighter." I clarified the question, "Playing.  I'll go play; that makes me happy."

Are you scared of anything? "Um, yah. The triangle hat." (No idea what she meant there, she's been dying to wear her triangle hat for weeks)

What do you think you'd like to be when you grow up? "A dentist"

Who's the last person you kissed? "You.  And Daddy."


Birthday Interview print out:
I am this old: "Three!"
The best show on TV is: "Daniel Tiger"
My favorite thing about school is: "Playing"
The thing I'm best at is: "Home"
If I could change my name it would be: "M-y-r-a"
My favorite color is: "Purple"
My favorite toy is: "Go Gopher. And kaleidoscope."
When I grow up I want to be: "A dentist!"
I like to take these to bed with me at night: "My Baby"
My favorite book is: "And I Love You"
My favorite movie is: "Daniel Tiger. And books." (Movies and shows are both called movies here)
My favorite season of the year is: [silence as she flipped through her And I Love You book]
A food I really like is: "A cake. Pizza."
My favorite animal is: "Elephant"
My favorite sport is: "Soccer ball just like Afton does," (My 15-year-old cousin)
My best friend is: "You." (My job here is done. JK)
My favorite holiday is: [still distracted by the book]
My favorite thing I did this year: "At the clinic.  Twirling.  Very working hard." (We went to the clinic this morning, so that was a fresh, fun memory.  And twirling in dresses has become a new hobby.  I think she was working very hard at the moment with her book.  This was a lot of questions at once and she was over it, more interested in playing, as she should be.


Myra at Three.

I think I will start this, and the next X birthday posts with "I think this was the best year yet."  As so many people have told me, it does just keep getting better and better.  This was a particularly big year for Myra.  A move with a new house, school, teachers...becoming a big sister...outgrowing FPIES.  That's a LOT!


Our first family photo.
A thinker from day one...


I have been meaning to start this all week.  I have so much to say, but I don't know where to start.  Before I get into all the fun things Myra can do, milestones and such, I want to explain who she is.  I feel like I have actually gotten to know Myra as a person this last year.  She's always been a person and I've always treated her as such, but this last year she's been so much more capable of showing me who she is.  Myra is perceptive, always paying attention, gears always moving.  It may come off as shy, and shy is fine, but she's an observer and takes her time to figure people out before jumping in.  This is one thing we have always noticed, others have, too.  She is thoughtful, remembering things about others and wanting to do things that will make people smile.  Just in the last two weeks, a friend's husband passed away and I explained it to Myra.  She told me, "but I can make her a card and that will make her smile!"  So we did. She's great with feelings and doesn't hesitate to point out to me, "Mom, you're frustrated!" which usually quickly turns into "and now you're happy!"

Selfie with Myra on her last night as a two year old.

Her days are spent trying to make Niko smile, helping him, and asking me to help her understand him (can Niko have popcorn? Niko is crying because he is sad, but I can make him feel better?).  She loves to go places, visit people we know, do jobs (putting books away, filling up her water cup, turn her sound machine off and on...all "Myra's jobs).  I keep getting distracted because I don't know how to put Myra the person into words.  She's awesome.  Butting heads is rare, reasoning almost always works.  She thrives in structure, routine, knowing what to expect.  Since life is...life, those things don't always happen, and she adjusts well.  Our hard days typically fall when I'm having a hard day (lots of work at home, lack of sleep, stressing about needing to get somewhere at a certain time, etc.).  Or, if I don't allow enough time for her to realistically try to do something herself (put on shoes, climb into car seat).

Celebrating birthdays with her Great-Great-Aunt Angie
From what I hear, every parent has rough days but overall we all want to see the best in our kids.  So, it's probably no surprise that I can sit here and say things like Myra is so great, she's such a blessing, she makes me proud every day, and I'm so excited to see her grow.  I look back on pictures of the last three years and I'm reminded of how difficult her first year was, yet I have so many positive memories of her happy face, crawling then her one legged scoot walk then walking, starting to sign and talk, when she mumbled "poooooop" as her first word, the goofy way she used to sign "I love you."  That said, I gotta say, I don't miss it.  Myra makes each age and stage more fun and interesting than the last, so I can have my nostalgic moments, but I really like where this is headed.  With each age and stage come unique challenges, I'm aware, but I'm not worried about it.  I know we are capable parents and us all being put together as a family was not an accident.  Myra gets the job of helping me learn how to be a parent, Niko is now supplementing that of course, and she's teaching me understanding and how to "try better" next time.  I gotta say, I do a great job with these knuckleheads, but sometimes I just don't bring my A game.  I love that I can actually have a conversation with Myra about why that is and know that she's following.

I was in the kitchen. Myra put on boots and brought the milk jug out to the recycling.
Always wanting to help and do things herself, Myra is growing up right before our eyes.  We potty trained over a year ago, but she can basically do it all herself now.  As in, I can say "go pee" and she'll go do it.  It's amazing how every little thing they can do themselves makes life just a pinch easier, putting on her own shoes, dressing and undressing, and even cleaning up after herself.  Myra loves to learn.  And she has her mother's memory, a killer combo.  I'm sure some of that is nature, but some of it has got to be nurture.  I don't just mean myself.  Myra is surrounded by people who make learning fun and encourage creativity and play.  While our friends and family are stellar, I've gotta give a shout out to ECFE.  Myra has been blessed with some incredible teachers who have undoubtedly fostered a love for learning from the age of...six weeks?  I was crushed to leave our ECFE program when we moved.  Those ladies are doing great work and our whole family has been able to witness it.  As kids do, Myra has gotten to know her new teachers and loves going to school here, too.


She can consistently count to 10, mostly get to 20, knows all her uppercase and lowercase letters and most of the sounds they make, too.  Myra knows her colors, shapes, and how to spell a handful of words (most often Myra and Niko).  She's starting to get the hang of writing, it's apparent her strokes are intentional and she can consistently write "10" and check marks.  Her speech and vocabulary are outstanding.  More often than not, she will catch herself, or snap out of it quickly when we catch her, starting to flip out saying "NOOO I want to do it!" and change that to "no, thanks mommy, I'd like to do it."  We're not trying to turn her into a little robot, but being kind (=not being a spaz) goes a long way in the real world...and with her parents.

"Mommy, will you wrap me up right here on your belly?"
Baby still goes everywhere with us, but usually stays in the car to "keep her safe."
We asked her off and on if she wanted a "climb in" bed, rather than her "jump in" bed (full crib) and when she started saying yes, we took one of the sides off.  It went well, really well, for a few days until she started coming to her door and wanting to talk.  There wasn't really any whining or arguing, but when Trevor told her if it was too hard to stay in her bed, he would make it a jump in bed again, she said that's what she wanted.  So, he made it happen and she's still in her crib.  Just yesterday, I asked her "how do you feel when you're in your bed alone?" and she said, "happy!"  Speaking of, sometimes she will grab a book and sit on the couch reading it by herself.  She'll even tell me "I'm just being alone, Mommy."  She has no problem telling Rowdy and Niko she "needs some space."  It makes me happy to see her aware of her needs and confident in expressing them.  My favorite is when she tells me what music she "needs" to hear.  Current favorites are "Exes and Ohs," and "Hello," though just about any music will do.  She also loves water.  The photo below was taken right before Halloween, cold, but she didn't care.


Myra is still happily rear facing in her car seat and will stay that way until she outgrows it or if it consistently becomes a big battle.  We are both hoping to get another year out of it before turning her forwards.  Still napping, not really any complaints there (certainly none from me! we're on house arrest for Niko's naps anyway).


I don't know you guys, I feel like I'm not doing this incredible person justice, but this will have to do.  Myra, if you read this some day, and I hope you do, please know we love you more than we could ever explain and are thoroughly enjoying being your parents.  We can't wait to see what comes next.  Thanks for going easy on us most of the time.

Myra's Birth Story.
Myra at One.
Myra at Two.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Niko at 11 Months.

AHH! The last one until a birthday post, where does the time go??  Niko is a busy guy, and continues to be a very happy baby!  These photos are near impossible to get.  He's fascinated by the stickers.


Niko is right around 22 pounds, maybe a bit over that.  Growing well, still nursing like a champ (never nursed an 11 month old baby until yesterday, high five!).  He loves food, too, especially meat - chicken, pork, ground beef, you name it.  He is legit crawling now after spending quite some time doing this army crawl/worm thing.  He pulls up on everything and just the other day he let go and stood independently for a few seconds.  He has five teeth and it would appear he is working on his sixth right now.  I am trying really hard to get him to attach to his swaddle blankets because man, having a lovey is so handy.  At least he has his thumb!




He loves playing with anything he can get his hands on, particularly non-toys (mixing bowls, spatulas, index cards, the plastic case for my retainer, and SHOES - gross).  ECFE starts back up today, looking forward to seeing him in that environment.  Niko has such a fun personality and he usually thinks Myra is hilarious.  She doesn't realize there isn't much of a weight difference between them, so when she tries to carry (drag) him around, it doesn't always end with smiles.  Myra is a very kind and helpful big sister, always giving him his food or cup when he drops it and good about finding him a new toy when she takes the one he's playing with...



Niko nurses an average of 5, maybe 6, times a day and eats three meals a day.  If he's awake when Myra gets a snack, he gets one, too.  At this point, I'd say we're home free on breastfeeding and will definitely make it to a year.  I have no intention to stop nursing him at a year unless he initiates that, but I think I'll create some boundaries and work towards nursing twice a day at wake up and bed time.  I am getting really sick of my nursing-friendly wardrobe and would love to not need to pump while away (because I get away SO often - HA!).  We recently night weaned him (post in the works about that).  I'm grateful nursing has worked out for us, minus the epic thrush battles of 2015, and would love to keep providing the calories, nutrition, and especially immunity for a while longer.  And, bonus, nursing has some very real benefits to me as well.  While I don't see myself nursing for years to come, I feel like this is a good time to reference one of my favorite extended breastfeeding posts.  So many people think it's bizarre to nurse a toddler, but when does it stop being normal and start being "weird"? On their first birthday? The day before? The day after? Two weeks later? I used to think if a baby could pull on your shirt in an attempt to get it themselves, that was too old, but I now know that happens when they're very much so still babies because babies are wild.  Or, when a kid could ask for it, but lots of babies can sign milk very young, too.  And they "ask for it" from day one by crying, so that's silly.  Anyway, there's my rambling for the day.

Don't be alarmed, I nursed here by choice.  We were at MOA for the morning and I was changing Niko's diaper then he needed to eat.  He gets so distracted, there was no way he'd nurse at Camp Snoopy (or whatever it's called now).  I know MOA has quiet, nice lounge rooms for this, but I'm far too lazy to walk that far to feed him (which takes 5-10 minutes itself).  So, here we are!


Niko and Godfather Nick



I keep  meaning to get my hands on Trevor's baby photos, but here is one of mine:

A year ago we were so anxious to meet our baby, so nervous if baby would come when Trevor was home or not...before or after Myra's birthday?  So much has happened in the last year and I can't believe less than a month from  now he'll be a one year old!  It's been an honor to be Niko's parents and get to know him and we can't wait for more.  Gotta run, I'm sure something around here needs cleaning (myself??)!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...