Sunday, September 23, 2012

Model Baby

SONY DSCYou know that life reality where each child after your first gets less attention, less time with you, less spoiling and far less documentation? All that is true for sweet little Bennett. 

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Except the documentation part.

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Thanks to my life-changing iPhone, and specifically Instagram (How do I love thee? Let me count the ways!), Bennett has just as many pictures, if not more, than Anderson and Max.

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Bennett also had a professional newborn photo shoot.  My talented friend Diana took these beautiful shots when he was three weeks old.  I never did professional shoots with Anderson or Max.  Lucky baby!

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I had many grand visions of how I wanted this shoot to go down.  I had dreams of what I hoped the pictures would look like. 

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Diana was so cooperative in making my dreams come true.  She understood my vision, was fun to work with and had fantastic ideas.  I am SO happy with the results.  A million thanks Diana!  Love, love, love your work!

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It didn’t hurt that I had some new furniture to play with.

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My two favorites are below. The first is the picture we choose for the front of Bennett’s birth announcement.

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And this is the back. Props to Harley who took my idea and nailed it with this design.

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I’m so happy with it we’re putting it on a canvas in his nursery.  (We’re a little canvas obsessed.)

I shot some of my own pictures after Diana left.  I certainly don’t have her amazing skills, great eye or fancy lens, but I like the way some of them turned out.

DSC_0010-001DSC_0062DSC_0012DSC_0012-002Dear Krysta Crane: Totally tried to rip off your awesome announcement here. Totally didn’t work.  Love, Struggles and her Looong Baby and Slippery Blanket.

DSC_0064DSC_0078That monkey fur above?  It’s one of my favorite things about newborns. It’s like their own built in blanket.  Perfect for super soft snuggling.  Bennett’s is all but gone now.  Sniff, sniff. 

DSC_0063-001Good thing I have so many pictures.

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Monday, September 3, 2012

‘Twas the Day Before Preschool

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My baby starts school tomorrow.  The real deal.  Five days a week.  Bus drop off.  Lunches.  It’s just preschool, pre-Kindergarten to be exact, but it feels much bigger to me.  It is his first formalized education.  He’s only been schooled by me and my friends in a mom swap preschool group one to two days a week.  Now he’s going to a real, licensed teacher.  Every day.  Zero to sixty. 

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Practicing his letters.

It’s not my first choice preschool.  I wish it weren’t so many days and so formal and so big.  But it’s by far the best choice for our family and current life situation.  Anderson will be great.  So great!  I will be fine.  Pretty much fine. 

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I’ve been a lame postpartum mom for two months.  I feel guilty we didn’t celebrate summer 2012 and his last two months of freedom with more fun and hoopla. August was tough, especially for Anderson and me. I had moments when I adore him so much it hurts. I had other moments when he’s driving me so crazy I can’t wait to kick him out the door.  Baby number three slowed us down, and Anderson suffered the most. I’m grateful he doesn’t yet know the word “bored” because I’m sure I would have heard it every day. I finally made it to the pool on Saturday.  My second time all summer. Sorry Bug.  They can’t all be Summer of George.

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We may not have lived it up four-year-old style this summer, but I gave him a brother.  That counts for something right?

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I’m feeling sad and sentimental that the last four and half years flew by way too fast. I worry I didn’t appreciate him and motherhood as much as I should have. Did we suck the marrow out of life every day? Did we have enough adventures? Did I snap and shoo him away too much? Does he know just how much I love him? Does he understand I can’t imagine my life without him?  He’ll have 15 hours a week in this whole other world apart and away from me. He’s so ready for it. I am not.

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He took his first shower (with some help) Saturday like it was no big thing.

It doesn’t help my tender heart and unstable hormones that Bennett looks so much like newborn Anderson. I hold Bennett and swear I was cradling my Bug just four days ago, not four years ago.

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It hit me the other day the reason moms cry on the first day of school. I always assumed it was because these moms were going to miss their babies so much they were overcome with emotion. If only it was that simple. For me, it’s a complicated cocktail of emotions that make my heart burst: guilt, pride, love, fear, excitement, protectiveness, worry, adoration. It’s a symbolic milestone that I can’t pass without tearful reflection and mixed feelings.  I think about how we’ve loved and played and struggled and laughed and snuggled and cried and grown in our quick four and half years at home together.  Sure, I’m going to miss him.  But that’s only part of it.  And, by the way, I’m not the only one who will miss him.

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Good thing these two have each other.

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We were supposed to spend the holiday at Greenbrier Lake with friends but remnants of Hurricane Isaac had other plans for us.  It’s for the best.  Harley’s working, and we’re spending the day inside.  Everybody slept in, then one by one joined me in bed for one last lazy morning chill fest.  I’m going to miss this.  7:30AM is going to come really early tomorrow.

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On this, the eve of Pre-K, we’re paying homage to where they will go to college. I said, “say BYU!” and Anderson yelled, “Pre-K!” No sweat, Mama. He’s got this. And so our formalized education journey begins.

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Please, let that journey end here.

Today will melt away with coloring, fort building and polishing off the last of the otter pops. I’ve got laundry to do, in-laws to prepare for, and a 37-item To Do list (no, I will not do it all)  to tackle.  Somewhere in between I’m committed to make time for quality one-on-one with Anderson.  I hope he always feels I made time for him.

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Tonight we’ll have a special dinner, father’s blessings, baths and an early bedtime.  We’ll lay out clothes, read this book and tuck him in.  Then I will curl up with this, to watch this and cry.  It will be a good mix of happy and sad tears, as I prepare to kiss this face goodbye come morning.

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