Friday, November 26, 2010

A Little Holiday Magic

Here are some photos to get you into the holiday spirit! The woman who runs the store at work asked me to take some photos of Little Man in some of their holiday baby clothing. She felt having some photos displayed of babies in the clothes would help sales. So of course I obliged. And, I roped in his "twin" cousin Sophia to help too. I really needed a baby who could sit up by themselves for one of the outfits, and Sophia, being two months older, already does that on her own. We were able to get some really cute shots - I might even use one for our holiday card. That reminds me - I better get on that. I also hope they help the store sell for the holidays!

I should give credit to Sophia's mom Kim for the props - we had a tight turn around to get these done and I had no time to go get props. Kim picked up the Santa hat and made the little present. They were PERFECT for this shoot. I wanted something that said, "Christmas" but wasn't too over the top. I also want to note that during this shoot, I couldn't get one of my studio lights to work. So, the shadows on the left are from the failed light. But we did the best we could! Here are some of my favorites.

ooak 1
This is baby Sophia in her outfit...

ooak 2

ooak 6
...she was in a great mood for the shoot and was smiling a ton.

Then, Kim got roped into doing some photos too - the lady at the store gave me a matching adult shirt, but when I put it on it was, shall we say, WAY too tight in certain quadrants of the shirt. So, Kim put it on. Of course, it was way too big on her all over, because she is so petite especially compared to me. But it worked for the purpose of getting a "mom and baby" photo.


Then we put the bouncy seat under the muslin to take a few photos of Little Man in the Christmas pajamas, some with the Santa hat and some without. The shadows were more troubling in these photos, so some of them were just unusable. These were OK:

pj 5
I cropped this one to get rid of some shadow.

pj 6
I did this one to include in a photo collage...obviously not much product showing here.

pjsh 4

pjsh 9
With the hat on, the two babies look even MORE alike, don't you think?

Then, I used some of the photos to create some collages. I was going to do more, but then decided to wait to see what might be most useful to the store manager before I spent a ton of time on collages she didn't like or need. Here are two that I made:

pj collage one

first snowflake collage w snowflakes

By the way, I am purposely not mentioning the name of my employer in this post (even though you can see it in some of the photos) so it doesn't come up on Internet crawler searches...they are going to use the photos on their blog too at some point, and I don't want to steal their thunder. Without the name, I think we're probably fine just talking about them as they are!

***UPDATE*** - the blog post is up at work and you can see it too by clicking here.

So anyway, there are the photos from what I'm pretty sure was my first deliberate "product" photo shoot. I learned some things about product photo shooting, and will do a better job next time if I have another I have the opportunity to do it. We had some fun taking the photos, and I think they are going to work out for the store's purposes.

See you soon.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks for Four Months Old

Little Man turned four months old on Tuesday. I can think of no better thing to post about on this Thanksgiving morning. Last year, around this time, I did my big thankfulness project. It was a fabulous way to celebrate the month of November with you. Boy, did I feel blessed, and I hope all of you did too! Turns out, I was pregnant at the time - I just didn't know it yet. And goodness, how life has changed since last Thanksgiving. I am so blessed still, but in ways I could never imagine.

Three months on Nana's quilt.

That is why I think this is the perfect post for today. I cannot imagine a greater blessing than our Little Man. Something in me bristles at saying it - it seems trite and overdone, easy. Obvious. But it is so true that I must say it. My life - our lives - are so very, very blessed - and different - and amazing because of our son. What a difference a year makes.

Really checking out Nana's embroidery work.

So since we last spoke, the LM has done some serious growing. At his four month doctor visit, he was 15 lbs 10 oz (70%), 25 and 3/4 inches (75%) and had a head circumference of 16 and 2/3 inches (50%). This means he grew just under three inches and gained just under three pounds in the last two months. (and his head grew about an inch in circumference. but this measurement is more abstract to me so I pay less attention to it.) The biggest change here in percentiles was his length. At all previous appointments, the boy measured in the 5o% range. So he has grown in length disproportionately to everything else. Funny thing is, he's still a chubby bunny! So, it must be the way a four month old should look, since his height/weight percentages were so close.

During the three month "quilt" photo shoot, he turned over.
Nana was there to check him out.

One from a series of photos Nana took while she was here.

Actually, we went in for a check on his ears last week and he was three ounces heavier than at the four month appointment. This week he's had some vomiting (due to mucus build-up, they presume because his ears are fine and he is otherwise healthy) so I guess he lost some weight from that. Certainly they calibrate their scales regularly, wouldn't you think? So I assume it was this upset stomach that caused him to lose three ounces. I wonder if those three ounces would have made height and weight both at 75%. Who knows. Doesn't matter. Just thought of it. The real message here is - the boy, he's healthy!

One morning before school. Sometimes it's WAY too early for the boy.

Since the last post, I have returned to work in earnest and the LM has begun full time daycare. So far that is going well. He seems to like his teacher and most days is tired, but in a pleasant mood when I pick him up. There have been a couple days where he seems sort of wrung out, like he had a long day, but that is not the norm. There are also some days that he is so tired - pleasant mood or wrung out - that when we get home we eat and he goes down for the night before 7pm. Playing and watching babies all day must be tiring. It is apparent he recognizes what a baby is more readily now, having watched them at school all day. When we see his cousins, he watches the babies especially. I figure they remind him of his school.

LM with his teacher, Ms. Jackie.
Ms. Jackie swaddles LM and he likes it.
He has never allowed me to swaddle him. Funny, huh?

Work is going well for me. For the most part I enjoy my job and my co-workers and feel like I am good at what I do. I am pumping breast milk as part of my regular daytime routine and that so far is working out. It is a commitment, I will tell you though, as it interrupts your work flow and is not nearly as rewarding as feeding a baby directly. But it makes me feel closer to my boy and it makes me feel like I am doing something important for him besides bringing home a paycheck during the workday. So I will keep it up as long as I can. My goal is to make it to his first birthday. My kudos go out to not only those mothers who stick with the breastfeeding, but especially to every working mother out there who pumps and pumps and pumps for their baby. It is a labor of love, I can sincerely tell you that. Way to go!

In the exersaucer. He thinks he's big stuff when in there.
You can see we put a pillow behind him to help him in the seat.

In the past month, LM has learned so many new things! It seems like he learns new things every day. I guess that is probably a true statement if you think about all a baby learns in the first year. I surely can see evidence of this in the way he manipulates objects in his hands. It seems he does this better almost every single day. It is amazing! He rolls over from tummy to back and even back to tummy from time to time. This is not something he does every time he sleeps or plays, but certainly something he does with regularity. He often is sitting up on his elbows looking out at me when I go to get him in his crib these days. Little man smiles up a storm and even laughs at certain things. For instance, if you press his feet into his tummy, he thinks this is so funny he laughs out loud.

Playing with an over the top toy.

Tummy time. In what is clearly his "flashdance" shirt.

Tummy time from the back of that perfect little head.
Yes, the "flashdance" shirt says that on the back.
We like a little razzle dazzle around here.

His favorite toy is still probably the handkerchiefs or his burp cloth or blanket. He still loves playing with these items. But, increasingly, he is interested in other toys. He holds them in his hands, moves them between hands and up to his mouth. He pushes buttons to make noises (when the buttons are easy to push - some are too hard for him still). He loves playing "in" things now - interacting with the toys on his bouncy seat, exersaucer and activity gym. He even will play in a johnny jump seat for a while. That is so funny to watch - he gets very serious, like he is working very hard when he is doing that. He looks like his little feet are pirouetting beneath him. So cute.

In the johnny jumper.

Because he is playing more it is more fun to interact with him, of course. He does more than "just lie there." Don't get me wrong - that was pretty awesome all by itself. But now he does more! He watches you, follows your actions, loves to hear you sing or talk or make funny noises with your mouth. He likes to watch your mouth and try to mimic what you are doing. Certain noises are SO funny to him that he laughs. He smiles when you enter the room and makes your heart melt.

Some serious morning contemplation.

Another exersaucer shot. Focus is on his arm instead of his face.
But it's still a cute smile!

I think because he is sucking less at the breast, he has really taken to the pacifier now that I have gone back to work. This is nice because it helps him sleep at school and even at home. He is not really interested in having it unless he's sleepy, and sucks on it to soothe himself. It is nice to have this new way to help him soothe himself. Speaking of sleep, he sleeps 10-12 hours a night now, and usually without interruption.



While on sleeping, he goes down to sleep by himself now, no longer needing to be rocked or walked. This is one thing I did differently than the advice in the Baby Wise book. I read that book and I have him on a eat-awake-sleep schedule. But, in that book they say to allow the children to cry themselves to sleep starting at like 8 weeks to teach them to go to sleep on their own. LM didn't seem to get this - he cried so much when we tried it. So I started reading other baby books for advice on this topic. Without fail, every other book said you should not worry about teaching this skill until four months of age. The books said the baby doesn't understand it until then and can have feelings of abandonment before that point. So I rocked my baby, not worrying about it, and planned to teach him to sleep on his own over this holiday weekend. Turns out, he just started doing it on his own about two weeks ago. So I tend to believe all those other books were more right than Baby Wise on this topic. I know all babies are different, but this baby seemed to fall right into the time frame of all the other books.

So funny.

Freakin' hilarious!

My absolute favorite.

I came to find out the whole Baby Wise notion of getting a baby to sleep "x" long by "x" date also seems to be a slight overstatement. Based on what my pediatrician told us in his normal course of informational conversation (with no reference to Baby Wise) those are just the normal times when a baby learns those skills. I thought this was funny to learn from him after reading that book. The book has other virtues though - like setting up a (non-rigid) routine is good for baby; eating, then being awake is good for baby. Giving a new mama confidence is good for baby, so I think it was good for me to read it. Anyway, this going to sleep on his own - this is nice, but also sometimes I rock him anyway just because I like to hold him. I am spoiling him I guess when I do this since he certainly doesn't need it, but he will only be this small for a short time, so I will do it.

LM in a little man outfit.

With Little Man shoes.

Four months old 2
Kinda blurry, but such a cute smile.
Sort of a splayed arm approach here left him closer to the floor, I guess.

So that is about the story - he is growing and changing and doing just fine. He is our little blessing and we love him to pieces. He is a very good baby and we give thanks for him today and every day.

Four months old 9
Four months old on Nana's quilt.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. See you soon.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Halloween Wrap-up Wickedly Late

Also in October, for those of you scoring at home, was Halloween. And we participated in a small way in that celebration. Before Thanksgiving has come and gone, here are some photos of the festivities:

The Little Man - he was a dragon.

Or a lizard. Or a dinosaur. Something of the reptile variety. I am pretty sure the costume came from my niece Amber in Rolen's hand-me-downs. So of course we went with it. It was cute and it required no other purchasing or decision making. We went out in the front yard and took some photos of the little guy in this get up the day before Halloween. He cooperated pretty well, considering.




That day was also the last day Nana was visiting with us here in Texas. She had to get back to get ready for the birth of Gibson and all. We sure did appreciate her being here, and of course miss her too.

But it also meant she could be dispatched to report on what the Indy kids were wearing.
Cora the witch, Veda as Hermione, Deacon as a construction worker.

I didn't get around to demanding photos of Ryon and Nathon this year. I have fallen down on my Aunt-ly duties. But of course, we trick-or-treated, as it was, with the Dallas cousins, so I have photos of those cute outfits:

LM the reptile, Sophia the fairy, Katherine the cutie pie.
Sophia and LM continue to favor one another. They are "twin" cousins, no?

Andrew the golfer.

Alexandra the doctor, costume made by her mommy.

Of course we did a little bit of trick or treating with the "big kids."

Which made for great photo ops, as you can see.
I think there were like 15 adults and two trick-or-treaters.
Oh well.

So there you go! A Halloween wrap-up before Thanksgiving. Whew.

See you soon.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Little Man's Baptism

Also last month, on October 24th to be exact, we celebrated the Little Man's baptism. It was part of the church service on that date, and S's immediate family as well as my mom and many family friends were able to be in attendance.

Baptizing our baby was an important thing for our family because we wanted to celebrate what God is already doing in our lives and LM's life and what God will do. LM will have an opportunity when he is older to confirm this commitment to God on his own what we on this day took vows on his behalf to do. We no more wait for our children to decide about being in the family of God than we wait for them to decide if they would like to be a part of our human family. As parents, we make many decisions — in matters of health, safety, education, for example — for our children. Of course, they may later reject what we have done for them. But, this possibility does not relieve us of the responsibility to do all that we can for them spiritually, as we do in other aspects of their lives. Thus, we entered in to the baptism service with our precious boy.

Here are some photos from that day:

Reverend Wilson read us the vows we were taking that day on behalf of LM.
LM was very attentive, however, as you can see.

LM got ready for his big moment.

Reverend Bearden baptized LM.
(LM moved so it's blurry.)

Reverend Wilson presented LM to his church family.

LM with Uncle Mark, Aunt Kim and cousins Alexandra and Sophia.

Checking out Uncle Michael, with Aunt Brooke and cousin Katherine.

With his Nonna and Papaw.
Oh my goodness - will you check out the little fat legs!
The socks may be cutting off circulation.

With his Nana.

With Reverend Bearden

With our good friends and former neighbors Mike and Mikee and their girls Sadie and Sophie.

With our boy.

Wagliardo baptism with Dick
With Reverend Wilson.

It was a special day for our family, for sure, and it was very nice to have family and friends present. And, the Little Man was on his best behavior. He was such a good boy.

The next weekend, I tried to take LM to a portrait studio for some photos in his baptism outfit, and to get some "casual" three month photos. Several people asked me why I would do this, since I photograph him myself so much. My answer to that is because I wanted to see someone else's photo of my boy. Sometimes you just get sick of your own point of view!

But, I have to say, the experience wasn't so great. They were running behind...they opened at 9am, and we had a 9:10 appointment. They didn't see us until 9:45. That's an eternity in the schedule of a three month old. At 9:10 he was alert, smiling and happy. At 9:45 he was almost asleep. And I don't think we got the best photographer the place had to offer. She was sort of uninspired. She took 70 photos. There was ONE of seventy that I would call a real winner. But we got a copy of one other one just so I could have one of LM in the entire baptism outfit. Here they are:

baptism full body studio shot
The full body shot.

baptism close up studio shot
The 1/70.

I learned that maybe I can take the better photo of my son. So, that was useful to learn, I suppose. I might try this place one more time for a family shot. If they are as disorganized and unimpressive on round two, then I'll probably call it done. But, you know, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

I hope to get through more of our photos to share with you in the coming days.

See you soon.