Saturday, June 30, 2012

this girl

steals my heart everyday

After a failed attempt at a nap and many errands yesterday, Chris and I took Lakin to a Mexican fiesta some friends were throwing.  The couple hosting do not have children, Lakin was only one of two kids present and the house was immaculate and free of kid clutter.

Upon arrival, Lakin's enthusiasm for new places and seeing all her grown up friends got the best of her and she was running around like we'd kept her caged up for the day.  The exhaustion always hypes her up rather than mellows her out and so Chris and I were left chasing a wild toddler around someone else's house and playing damage control.

She wanted to touch all the pretty, non-child proof items on the book shelf and coffee table, she wanted to spin circles in the kitchen where hungry guests were stumbling over her to get to the guacamole, she thought it hilarious to get bottles of water and soda out of the cooler and line them up on the tile floor.  The stairs enticed her in a way she simply couldn't refuse and on multiple occasions she had to be carried down them to keep her on the main level with the adults.

I spoke sternly with her in the corner about listening and respecting other peoples' homes and things.  The poor girl could barely keep eye contact as she strained to see what was happening in the buffet line.  I was not making any headway with my lecture and I knew this night might not end well.  She was too excited and too exhausted to make good choices for herself.

We weren't there 30 minutes before I felt she was a bit too rowdy and I needed to take her home.  I had told her that if she couldn't listen we would leave and now it was time to make good on that promise.  Drama and tears ensued as she began to understand what was happening.  I scooped her up, politely said my goodbyes, and got her buckled into the carseat as fast as possible to reduce the scene I knew she was capable of causing.  Chris stayed and caught a ride with some gracious friends and I was glad he was able to relax and enjoy the evening.

The car ride home, Lakin whined that she wanted tacos.  She wondered where we going.  Where were all her friends?  I thought, somewhat smugly, that I too would have loved to eat one of those pork tacos, just coming out of the kitchen as we had our final meltdown and exit of the night.  I started to feel sorry for myself that I was missing all the fun and all because my kid couldn't behave herself.   This parenting gig is sometimes tough, you know?

Lakin was asleep within 5 minutes and we pulled into the garage and I unloaded the car and took my sleeping girl into her room.  She woke the second I put her in her crib and began crying for me.  In my frustration I picked her up and sat down with her in our rocker and laid her against my chest.  In her sweet, quiet, sleepy voice she asked for a song.  "Prepare me.  Sing it momma."  We sat and rocked our way through a couple of quiet songs together.  She whispered, "Night night momma." indicating to me she was finally ready to let her body rest.  I laid her in her crib and she looked at me with eyes half open and told me she loved me and to sleep tight.  My eyes felt heavy with tears as I felt so thankful to have such a sweet moment with my daughter.

My life is forever changed.  Things will not be getting easier any time soon with the addition of a baby this Fall.  But being a parent is simply a gift.  It's so hard at times and there are many moments where I wish they put out a manual to help you know just what to do in any given situation.  But I'd miss a million taco nights if it meant getting to steal moments like that with my kids.  Even when she drives me nuts, this girl's totally stolen my heart.

Friday, June 29, 2012

A Day in the Life of Lakin

 6:40 am -Wake up time with fake cough to let mom and dad know I'm almost ready to be sprung from the crib.

7:20 am-Fiercely knock on wall to let my momma know I am done reading and singing and I need to get out of the crib pronto.

7:30 am-Do a little b-fast in my high chair, maybe PB toast, maybe yogurt and granola, I switch it up to keep things interesting.

8:00 am- Play with my Dora house and place Dora furniture and legos all over the house for mom to step on, try and spread the pieces in as many places as possible- bonus points for discovering a new spot for Dora and I to play (just yesterday I set up a living room scene on the toilet lid).

9:00 am- Club kids at the gym, or on this particular day, walk to the park. Mom's got to get her exercise on and I need to get out of the house. 
 9:10 am - Can't start walk until I say hello to my favorite tree and run around the yard a few times, also gotta give a shout out to the baby birds living in our front door.
 9:30 am - Finally walking, got my shades and my Dora peeps to keep me company while mom pushes me to the park.
 9:45 am - Hold up, is that the mac daddy of dandelions?  Absolutely not passing that one up, pick myself a pretty flower and blow all the seeds throughout the neighborhood.
 10:00 am - At the park and mom is graciously teeter tottering with me.  It entertains me for about 2 seconds and then I 'm off to other playground stuff.
 10:55 am- Pretty sure mom just told me it's time to go but if I avoid eye contact I'm certain she'll think I didn't hear her.  Deny, deny. deny.

11:40 am- Lunch and a little Super Why before I conk out for nap time- I'm not sleepy, I don't know why she always insists I lay down...

4:00 pm- And I'm up, maybe I was a little tired.  This cute dress came in the mail for me from my grandma- she sewed it herself.  Of course I strip myself down and put it on right there.

4:30 pm- Ask to wash my hands, one of my favorite past times.
 4:45 pm- Mom's got her camera out again, I guess I'll humor her just this once.

 5:00 pm- After digging through all mom's stuff in the bathroom I find my special "make-up" and apply it to my own cheeks, then mom's, then all my stuffed animals.
5:30 pm- We head outside to draw and blow bubbles and wait for dad to get home.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Musings from the Fat and Sober: Sara Jaeger Style

My mom sent me a link this morning, that has had me laughing hysterically.  I figured I needed my own musings since I am indeed, fat and sober currently as well.

Here's an updated photo of baby #2's progress.  I realize this doesn't make me look as fat as I claim to feel but trust me, there were fifteen takes of this photo and I tried to pick the most flattering one.  So know that you're getting the cream of the crop (which isn't saying much) here and trust that there were plenty of photos that really showcase my ever expanding tummy.

But if you feel the need to tell me in the comments section that I'm "tiny, adorable, so cute, not that big," etc. please feel free to do so.  I can live with your kind words, no matter how untrue they feel on any given day.

On a completely random side note, I was just sitting on my couch which can be viewed from the front door when some lovely Mormons knocked on my door in the middle of Lakin's nap.  Now, I make it a policy to not open my door to strangers when I'm home alone so we made some  uncomfortable eye contact while the Mormons peered into my door and I sat lazily eying them from my couch.  They even rang the doorbell to see if perhaps that would rouse me from my seat.  I silently fought back the urge to answer the door and explain to them that my daughter was sleeping after an hour of stalling and talking to herself and that it would be on their hands if she woke her prematurely in a foul mood.   But I didn't.  I just sat there.  Before they left my doorstep they took a flash photo of the baby birds nesting in the wreath on our door.  I guess that was a nice perk and a funny story to share with their fellow missionaries later that day.  On one hand, I give them props for their persistent door to door evangelizing but I gotta wonder just how many moms they've hacked off by their nap time visits.

Okay, back to being pregnant.

It's hot for Minnesota and I think with this time around I am officially resigning from summer pregnancy.  I am hot and swollen pretty much all of the time.  I sleep with a fan directly on me and wish I could enjoy a little pool action but pregnancy has not been the kindest to my thighs and so all I've really ventured to do is sit in Bug's tiny dish of a pool.  When laying down and submerged my head and arms hang completely off the edge and my belly is higher than the water level, which is always dropping since my body is putting enough pressure on in inflatable sides of the pool to be slowly draining the water.  It's quite a sight.  Trust me.  (There's no photo for this one.)

We've had lots of wonderful celebrations lately, most of which involved a cool glass of wine or a free cocktail.  I would love a margarita.  My neighbors were kind enough to make me a virgin one  the other day, which hit the spot but I am not going to lie, I will be drinking an ice cold beer sometime soon after giving birth.  Possibly in the hospital.  Okay, maybe I'll wait until we get home.  Time will tell.  I don't typically drink more than one adult beverage at any given time but there's something about enjoying a beer with pizza that I am certainly missing these last couple months.  Just keeping it real.

I took Lakin on an adventure walk this morning and wondered if we'd make it up the big hill to get to the park which was our final destination.  By the time we made it to the neighborhood I was a sweaty, huffy mess and Lakin was begging to go home.  But since I'd maxed my current lung capacity we forged on and Lakin found it in herself to play on the playground and I sat my big ole self down and regained some strength to make the trek home.  I don't remember feeling this out of breath with Lakin but I also wasn't pushing a stroller with a thirty pound toddler uphill... both ways.  So I guess I have to cut myself some slack.

Cankles are just around the corner if I remember correctly from my last pregnancy, so there's something to look forward to.

All whining aside, I am so thankful to have a healthy baby growing inside me.  I'm thankful that our daughter falls more in love with the baby growing in my tummy each and every day.  (P.S. Lakin also claims to be growing a baby in her tummy too, to which Chris said, "she better not be.")  I am eager to meet out little dance star who does gigs on my bladder and has some super rhythmic karate moves in the middle of the night.

Some Sneak Peeks

It's full blown wedding season.  I have had some delicious wedding cake every Saturday for the last three weeks.  Score!  Business for Midwest LifeShots is booming and brides are in my dreams.  I absolutely LOVE shooting weddings.  So far this season has been a gift of sweet brides, appreciative families, and an explosion of creative ideas behind the lens.  Here are a couple sneak peeks from the last couple weekends to give you an idea just what we've been up to so far this summer.

My first wedding of the summer was Emma and John's.  What a beautiful couple with the most outrageous bridal party.  This group was UP FOR ANYTHING and Scott and I had a blast capturing their big day.  The evening ended at John's parent's house where they hosted an intimate and personal reception under a big white tent.  Had some really wonderful butternut squash ravioli from the Canadian Honker.

The next weekend was a double header with a wedding Friday evening and one Saturday.  Jenna and Scott were our bride and groom Friday evening and Scott and I had the pleasure of shooting their wedding.  I was practically drooling over Jenna's gorgeous lace dress.  The couple was totally in love, up for some amazing photos and the evening was super chic and classy.  We rounded out the evening at the Somerby Golf Course with some awesome sunset pictures.  Our feast included veggie ravioli that was seriously some of the best wedding grub I've ever had and cake with two layers; carrot and mocha.  This pregnant woman was in HEAVEN.  Jenna was a gorgeous and gracious bride.

Saturday Jen and I headed to Iowa to cover Sadie and Kellen's wedding.  The entire day was spent at Sadie's grandmother's farm.  The wedding has a sweet rustic feel and Sadie looked like a princess with her flowing blonde hair.  Jen and I enjoyed snow cones and BBQ at the reception and got some rockstar shots with the couple and their bridal party.  Most amazing moment of the night (beside the nuptials) was the guy who played two recorders at once for a surprise serenade at the reception.  Definitely didn't see that one coming.

Finally this last weekend Jen and I shot the wedding of Amy and Wade.  If there was ever a smiley bride, it was Amy.  She didn't stop smiling and giggling the entire day and her excitement was contagious.  We had tons of time to get some super stuff between the ceremony and reception and I can't wait to see all the photos once they're edited and ready for the clients to review.  Amy and Wade were one of the most personable and fun couples I've ever worked with.  We had a blast hanging with them all day.
I am so glad we've started doing these sneak peeks for our brides on our Facebook page.  It's pure agony waiting to see images from the day.

The next couple of weekends I'm off but then it's back in wedding gear for the months of July and August.  This pregnant body needs to hang in there a couple more months.  There are so many weddings I'm looking forward to shooting this summer.  I'll continue to share photos from the BIG  days.  And, I love my job.

All images ©Midwest LifeShots Photography

Thursday, June 21, 2012

ta-gar time

We've been doing a little before bed singing lately with Lakin.  Her favorite song is Ba Ba Black Sheep (thanks Lindy).  We've been trying to teach her some classic Young Life songs as well so last night we attempted to teach her Free Fallin'.  Best moment of the night though, was when we looked up guitar tab for Dora's theme song.  Yes, she thought that was pretty cool that daddy could play her song on the "ta-gar."  Simply the most sweet moment of our week thus far.

Above: Photo from Thursday's on First.  Had ourselves some gourmet cupcakes.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Painting Dreams

We busted out the watercolors late one afternoon and they kept Lakin's attention for longer than 10 minutes.  She was busy mixing colors and rinsing her brush (her favorite part).  It was all her OCD mother could do to allow her to dip her paintbrush in the yellow after having used the black but she left go of all her inhibitions and allowed the painting to happen organically.

Look at that tiny bottom sitting on our kitchen stool like a big girl!

We've been having a lot of Pandora dance parties and getting our fair share of garden visits and bubbles in.  Summer if definitely in session.

Lakin went to the library with a friend and picked out some books to check out.  50% were Dora books.  So, the obsession continues.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Missing you...

I've missed the blog lately.  Have been busy enjoying summer but have thought often of writing down some of our fun family adventures.   I figured an update was in order.

I have decided to put potty training on hold until August.  There was some success but I felt like I was better trained than baby girl and that, I fear, would make for a long, frustrating road ahead of us.  One that involves a three hour plane ride and a week in Seattle.  So, we're taking a tiny break from the potty time and letting things happen at their own pace a bit.  I do think Lakin is close to ready but when it comes down to going in the potty, it's totally by chance and not completely by control or understanding.  You don't know how hard it is for me to take a time out.  When I set my mind to something and publicly announce that I am going to do it, I have a hard time backing down.

I shot my first wedding of the summer Saturday.  I was the second shooter with Scott and our couple, Emma and John, were so sweet and lovely.  They had the most insanely fun bridal party and we had a blast capturing their day.  I cannot wait to see the photos.  At the end of the day I hugged the bride and groom and left feeling like I had made new friends.  That's honestly the best part about shooting weddings is getting to develop relationships with the clients.  You spend a lot of time with them on the most significant day of their lives.  Awesome sauce.

 We did lots of lounging together this weekend in Minnesota's steamy 90 degree weather.  Lakin loves to do what her daddy does.  Here they are just kicking back and watching the news.
 I broke down and bought the cheapest pool at Walmart since last summer's pool did not survive the winter.  For $7.87 it has already proven it's worth.  We've been in that pool the last five days in a row and have totally enjoyed all that it's 3 inches of water can offer.
 Our neighbors are staying with us currently while they have tile installed in their home.  It's a tiny girl's dream to go to bed at night and wake up with her best friend only doors away.  It's been a hopping household with four adults and three kids but we are having a blast sharing our space and pool with the Hoffmans.  
 These two are like sisters.  Extreme love and sometimes extreme opportunity for conflict.  Mostly love though.
Miss Audrey is so grown up with her pierced ears.

Bath time after some chocolate cake consumption.  Oh my word!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Albers Family: A Photography Update

Man, I have gotten behind on showing you our studio work that I've been a part of.  Here's a few of my favorites from a recent session with the Albers family.  We were on the studio property and this family was so fun to photograph.  The littlest is a beauty, isn't she?  It was her 5th birthday that day.

All images ©Midwest LifeShots Photography

Have I mentioned how much I am loving my new job?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

On Teaching

So in my past life I was a middle school teacher.  I loved my job.  I often miss the hilarious antics of my classroom.  Someday I might return to teaching. Maybe.

But for now I am realizing that I am still a teacher.  I have a toddler who is my only student (at the moment) and I am teaching her everything she possibly needs to know for life.  Things I take for granted knowing.  Things like guests get first dibs on toys when they come to our house.  Or that pulling on people's shirts while trying to get in their face is often an invasion of space.  I am teaching her (a bit unsuccessfully at the moment) that we don't interrupt when adults are in conversation and that we wait to begin eating until everyone is seated and we've thanked God for our food.  Stickers are not for walls.  Trash goes in a garbage can.  We must eat what is on our plate rather than demanding a bite from everyone else's plate.  Chips are for dipping once- not using as a salsa spoon (be warned if you eat Mexican with Lakin that she's a tried and true double-dipper).

With potty training I am teaching her how to determine when it's time to go potty, when to wipe, how much toilet paper is appropriate to use, and how to flush the toilet after the deed is done.  We discuss the proper way to wash our hands- and there is one, friends, and it does not involve splashing the soapy water at the bottom of the sink with our hands.

We're learning that words and tone can be hurtful.  That we need to make right our wrongs.  That how we ask for things makes all the difference and is an indication of what's going on in our own hearts (I am being reminded of this as I ask through clenched teeth for Lakin to comply to my own requests).

We are learning to remove our shoes in the house, that jumping on the couch at home is fine but is not respectful when the couch is at someone else's house.  That words are more powerful than whines.

Everything I am teaching Lakin was taught to me at some point or another.  You forget all the learning that you had to do to become the person you are today.

So while my student is a bit smaller than my middle schoolers, I still spend my day teaching and modeling.  My home is a classroom and we're always in session.  Most of the time it's fun.  But some days I long for a little spring break.

A Potty update for those of you who are interested and heck, even those who are not:  Lakin has now successfully used the potty 3 times.  She's peed on the carpet 3 times.  She's went through two pairs of Dora underwear in less than 30 minutes.  And she has consumed a gallon of apple juice diluted in the last 48 hours.  We are very much in the trenches of potty training.  Pray for us if you get a chance.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Working to Kiss the Diapers Good-Bye and our Weekend

Every thirty minutes a special duck timer quacks at Lakin and I today telling us it's time to go to the potty and try.  We've had one success and 7 tries so far today and this momma is exhausted with the process.  We trudge on though.   Lakin earns a Dora sticker for each try and two Dora fruit snacks for each attempt.

It amazes me what she will do for a Dora snack.

I've been reading Skippyjon Jones to her while she sits and waits for potty magic to happen.  I am sick of reading in a Spanish accent and think I may have the LONG book almost memorized.  It will have all been worth it when she's wearing underwear and I'm $50 bucks richer each month from the diapers I'm not buying.

Hard to believe she's old enough for this.

Had a fantastic weekend filled with lots of wonderful time with some special people in our life.

Saturday morning we attended Caitlin's 4th birthday party and Lakin was just in heaven running around the soccer complex and bouncing in the bounce house.  She'd regularly stick her head out the bottom of the bounce house and call for kids or mommy to come bounce with her.
 Asher ready to party!
 bounce house mania
 Party guests had their own "jersey" with their name on it.
 Scarlett and Lindy.  Bounce houses can sometimes be a little scary.
 The amazing birthday girl and her remarkable gymnastic skills.
 Lakin ribbon dancing /doing magic tricks.  Her words, not mine.
Cheesing it up while we rounded the kids for a chaotic group picture to end the party.

Saturday afternoon I had the privilege of attending Amanda's bridal shower.  Patrick and Amanda are eager for their July wedding.  Amanda worked for me a Camp Kingdom Kids last summer but we know her so well since she's Cathy's daughter.  Lakin loves Amanda so much and will probably shout out for her attention as she walks down the aisle.  I can't wait to see how she reacts when she sees Amanda in her wedding gown for the first time.  It will probably be similar to the Dora experience at Mall of America earlier this year.  Total shock and awe.

 Cathy was lovely that day.  Her laugh is just so infectious.  I can't tell you how many photos I have of her in fits of laughter and joy.  Love it.
 The bride and her momma!
So thankful to know such a fantastic young woman.  Amanda and Patrick are headed for Chicago after they wed for her to begin her teaching career and Patrick to attend grad school in film studies.  I'm so excited to see what God has in store for this special couple!

Saturday night we had nachos on the patio of one of our favorite local restaurant with good friends and Lakin enjoyed playing in the sandy beach after dinner.  Melted cheese, outdoor dining, messy feet.  Win. Win. Win.

Sunday was filled with patio table shopping after church, time in the yard with our neighbors, and a delicious veggie lasagna and garlic bread with friends for dinner.


I will have a sister soon!  David proposed to his girlfriend, Jessica, and she said YES!  We can't wait to celebrate the engagement in a few weeks when we make the trip to Seattle.  Jessica is a beautiful woman inside and out and she's captured David's heart.  It's been so fun to hear about their romance  from David's point of view.  He's pretty smitten.

We met Jessica a year ago when we visited David.  At the time they were simply friends but I had suspicions that there wasn't a bit more to that story...

We are thrilled to welcome her into the family and Lakin is looking forward to spending some quality time with her future aunt!

Congrats Dave and Jess!  You two are so blessed to have found one another.