Monday, September 30, 2013

Conversations with Lakin

Lakin: (patting my tummy after I finish a generous portion of lasagna) Full?  Momma your tummy is sticking out. 

Me: Yes, I just ate my dinner. 

Lakin: You having a baby, Momma?

Me: No, not right now. 

Lakin: Why not?

Me: You want another sibling?

Lakin: Yes. But only a baby sister. 

Children. Keeping me humble since 2010. 

Friday, September 27, 2013

Becoming a Photographer

It's been a while since I posted any current images from my time working for Midwest LifeShots Photography.  It's been a busy season.  I wanted to share the above image because so many items on this list ring true.  Funny to thin two years ago I would have no idea what several of them mean.  Hopefully I can get back into the habit of sharing more of our professional work along with personal photos.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Wednesday Friends (actually, every day of the week friends too)

One thing we will miss when it comes time to leave Rochester is all the lovely people we've been blessed to know.  Seriously, I get weepy thinking about it.  Chris' department is full of some pretty rad people.  I look forward to his work socials because I love spending time with his fellow residents and their significants.

Wednesday mornings a few of us who are home with little ones have been getting together to play at the park.  It's so good to spend time with one another while our children play.  Right now it's more while we "ooohh" and "ahhhh" over the tiny additions to the group but this time next year there will be little people all over the place fighting over the swing.

Here are a few snapshots from one of our playdates.

 Ben eating some woodchips.  No big.  Photo bomb by all the babies.
 Sara and Isla.  Those cheeks - me love.
 Brynn and Lindy - 5 months.
 Isla wearing Casey's sunglasses and giving me an icy stare.
 Yawn.... I died too.
 Issac, who will have his pick of the ladies in the years to come.  This baby is the man.
 Lakin putting wood chips in her brother's shirt pocket.  Seems reasonable...
 McKinley, who is one month younger than Bennett.  Isn't she a beauty?
 Oh this boy.  So happy.  (This was his birthday, by the way.)
 Wood chip eating was the hot activity of the morning.
 For as long as I've known Isla, WHICH IS HER WHOLE LIFE... so about 10 months, she is content to just hang out.  She never fusses, always rolls with it, and makes chilling look good.
 Lakin stalks James during his morning snack time.  James' mom thought to bring him snacks.  Lakin can smell crackers from across a playground and she can awkward stare forever while you eat.  James eventually gave a few crackers to his new leech friend.  All was well.  Lesson learned, hide yo crackers when Lakin is around.
 Casey and Issac, doesn't she look beautiful?  Motherhood looks good on Casey.  What a natural.
Love this picture of Lindy and Brynn.  She loves that tiny gal.  So much kissing and snuggling from these two.

I am so thankful for our community of friends here in Rochester.  Also thankful that more and more dear friends are populating the Earth and I get the chance to see them become mothers and know their babies.  It's a privilege.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Preschool. Boss Style.

So Lakin's in Pre-K.  Yeah it's freaking adorable.  Preschool mornings are a wave of emotion as Lakin wakes before the sun and is chompin' at the bit to get to school.  I groggily explain that school is not for three hours and we need to cool our jets.  At least she likes it, right?

I took a few pics on her first day.

That's my girl.

My emotions on the first day were less sadness and more joy thinking about all the fun Lakin would have at school.  She has been so excited since last year when we told her she'd be going to school.  It feels very natural to drop her off at preschool two days a week and the girl is in love with her teachers.  Brought them an apple the other day - all her own idea.

The other day she was playing with the flashlight, which is her current favorite right now.  I told her we needed to turn the flashlight off while we ran inside a store for something and she wagged her finger and said, "God said, 'Let there be light', and there was light.  So we have to keep shining the light, Mom."  How does one argue with that?

So far I know these things about preschool...

Issac had a birthday and he brought CHOCOLATE.

She had snack, applesauce with no CHOCOLATE.

Her best friends are Button Bear and Amber Lamb and they are puffets (puppets).

She never talks in preschool because she is nice and not naughty.

There are naughty boys in her class.  They don't like to put their show in tell in the bucket at the beginning of class.

Show in tell is the greatest thrill of her life.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Bennett Brand: One Year!

This day came so fast.  Like way, way fast.  I'm even tempted to feel a little sad that our baby is now a toddler and that a whole year has gone by... but we've been blessed with one year with Bennett and here's to hopefully many more happy, healthy, love-filled years.  Being this boy's momma is such a gift.
Hard to think that one year ago yesterday I headed to the hospital early morning with no clue what lie ahead.  Ben was a determined baby and he came a mere four hours after we stepped foot in the hospital.  The nurses broke my water and before they could walk out my delivery door, he came a knocking.  Two pushes later we had a pink, screaming BOY!

Before he came I really thought we'd have another girl.  I secretly hoped for it because I thought it would be so sweet for Lakin to have a sister that close in age.  (Those of you with two girls two years apart are probably cackling right now.)  Being an only child, I really had little idea what to do with a boy or what it was like to raise one.  If I'm being honest, boys intimidated me.

But the Lord knew what would complete our family.  He knew that Bennett would be the perfect sibling for Lakin and the blessing Chris and I had prayed for since before conception.  Boys are so wonderful.  So sweet.  So lively.  This little boy of ours won my heart the moment I held him and continues to melt me every. single. day.  I cry almost every time I photograph the mother/son dance at a wedding (occupational hazard) and I'm reminded that this baby boy will grow into a man who will bring so many other people love and joy.

Happy birthday, Bennett!  I am confident you will bless the world with your smile and your generosity.  You make the room light up, love well on people's souls and teach me so much about our Heavenly Father's love.

 For your birthday we played with balloons in the crib.  You thought this was simply the best.  You were content to play with your spoon and balloons for an hour!
This month...

You started taking steps and standing up in the middle of the room.  You're pretty unstable but within a week's time, three steps have turned to four and five.  Pretty soon we'll be chasing you.  You also got two more teeth making your grand total eight; four on top and four on bottom.  Your mom gave you a popsicle and a haircut.  Let's just say the light of day is much less forgiving than the shadowy kitchen light of the evening.  Next time we'll see someone professional- but for now, this haircut will keep you humble.  You drink whole milk and gave up your bottle for sippy cups with little to no drama.  Nothing makes you as angry as finishing a sippy before you're done with your milk.  You're working on patience (or mom is reminding you to be patient) and have learned to say "aaaaddaaa" when you're finished eating.  Your mother assumes you are communicating "all done," and proceeds as if that's what you're saying, perhaps giving you more credit than you deserve... You clearly communicate, "Momma," and, "Dadda,"and still call dogs, "gawgs."  Otherwise, you have no words and like to look at your mom like she's crazy when she tries to get your to use new vocabulary.  You are no show pony and refuse politely whenever someone asks you to perform a trick for others.  Finally, this month you have started kissing; the wonderful open mouth, slobber infested sort of kisses where you lean your whole body in for love.  Your mom can ask for a kiss and then receive rapid fire smooches for five minutes at a time.  Life is good, Bennett!

And now for some more birthday fun!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Seattle... My Happy Place

Can I just say that having a loved one that lives in a cool location makes a world of difference?  I had never visited the Pacific Northwest before David moved three years ago.  This trip marks our fourth trip to the beautiful city of Seattle.  I love it more and more each time I visit.  Now I have a SISTER who lives there!!!  Guys, I have a sister.  She's awesome.  I love spending time with her.  That is all.

So how about a photo dump?  Ready.  Okay.

 Two puzzles were completed in between all our adventures.  Jessica likes to puzzle too!  Lakin wanted to help, although you can imagine how helpful she really was...
 Gigi taught Lakin the fine art of puzzling.
 We stayed in an amazing town home which served as home base for the week.  The kids had a room to share, Dennis and Geri had a room and Chris and I had a room.  Luxury is vacationing with your children but not having to share a room with them.  Amen?
 Ben opened an early birthday present from Papa and Gigi.  A plate and spoon from his Daddy's childhood as well as some new jammies.  Score!
 And this girl.  She becomes more and more striking each day.  I could almost see her grow up on this trip.  Gone are the whiny cranky days of two and a half.  There were moments on the trip where she was overly tired or hungry, but for the most part she was so sweet, up for anything and wonderfully obedient.
 That face.  I want to kiss it nonstop.
 Everywhere we went there was breathtaking water scenes.  What it must be like to live near water, mountains, city.  Minnesota is beautiful in a different way but being near water was so beautiful and refreshing.
 Here are my boys.  Ben's resting face these days is grumpy.  He was having a good time, you'll have to take my word for it.
 Some quick photos on the pier before we visited the aquarium.

 Inside the aquarium there was a diver giving kids high fives through the thick glass tank.  Also, that starfish is working on it's meal.  If you look closely you'll see a tiny fish being eaten.  Science in real life!
 For David's birthday we did a little bonfire at Golden Gardens and spent time with his Seattle friends.  It was a beautiful evening, Lakin loved throwing rocks into the water and playing in the sand.  By the end of the evening she was covered in soot and sand and had thoroughly exhausted herself.  This evening might have been one of my favorite.

 This romper is adorable on her.  I love the details and she really loved wearing it.  Perfect for summer and the beach.

 Lakin and Uncle David having a serious talk.
 Baby Jaguar was by Lake's side the whole trip.

We went camping one night and after about an hour at the campsite it began to rain... and didn't stop until we left early the next morning.  But this was the view right behind our tent, so I guess there are no hard feelings.
 These driftwood shelters were all over the beach.

 What's a camping trip without some loaded Doritos?  Sad.  That's what.

 Love these two.  Dave and Jess did a fantastic job coordinating this trip, booking a camp site and packing along all the essentials for our camp out.  Camping is a lot of work.  They were prepared with spork knives, paper towel, and headlamps.

 Just a couple of young people on the beach.  Love this man.
 Sassy sisters!
 Sweet sisters.
 Van door overhang to keep dry.  Little did we know this was nothing compared to the rain that was coming.

 Mapping out a hike to the lighthouse.  Thwarted by someone who needed to potty and the rain.
 All the humidity gave Lakin the best little curls.

 So a few things about this trip: We ate at McDonalds before we got to the campsite and immediately after we left the campsite.  We spent about an hour in the van during the heaviest rainfall and told stories.  This is Lakin's favorite part of the trip.  We left Ben at home with Chris' parents, this was the best best decision.

Another thing Jaegers do when they are together is cook and eat.  David and Jess are excellent cooks and they made some of the most awesome risotto the first night we got into town.  Here's some action shots from the kitchen.  We love cooking together.

 Making Jaeger Guac, a delicacy.

 Lakin and Gigi had all sorts of adventures.  They were a bit inseparable
 Attempted gandkid shot.  Fail.
 This might be best we got.
 Serious coloring happened and Lakin broken in (literally) her new colored pencils.

 Uncle wrestling.

 This is a true to life forced moment.  Get used to it Bennett.
 He seemed to think this was okay though.

So there you have it.  I left vacation with a full heart and a bloated tummy.