Posts Tagged ‘newborn’

Then Someone Hands You A Baby

Friday, November 18th, 2016

A lot of people told me that once you have three kids, adding any more is basically no big deal. You’re already outnumbered and have been practicing zone defense for a while. You probably already drive a minivan. You’re used to multi-tasking while being perpetually tired. The bigger ones can help with the smaller ones.

Although all of those circumstances are true for me, going from 3 to 4 has not been easy. At all. I’m getting my ass kicked a little bit. There’s a Jim Gaffigan bit where he talks about having five kids: “Imagine you’re drowning. Then someone hands you a baby.” I feel like four kids might be the point where I’m still treading water but seriously wondering why the shore is so, so far away.

When I went from one to two, Evan was still a toddler with no commitments. If everyone was tired and wanted to sleep in, we all slept in. When he napped, she napped, and then I could nap. He ate basically nothing but goldfish crackers and cups of milk. We owned 243% fewer toys that could be spread out over the entire house. It was still hard, because taking care of kids is hard, but it wasn’t daunting. By the time I went from two to three, both Evan and Caroline were in school, so although I had to get them up and out the door every day once that was done I just had one newborn to keep alive which I could do entirely from the couch. Linc and I could handle errands or chores or work thanks to babywearing and an infant who started sleeping 8+ hours a night around 6 weeks.

Now I have both big kids who have to be dressed and fed and packed and put on the bus; a toddler who wakes up too early, is trying to give up his nap, needs to be fed a constant stream of pb&j sandwiches; and then I also have a helpless baby who isn’t much of a fan of sleeping.

Being a stay at home mom has always been a weird mix of always having way too much to do and long, boring periods of nothing. There is always something or someone who needs to be cleaned, so my work is never really done. There is so much laundry it feels almost comical – how can we own so many things that constantly need to be washed?! It’s so much mindless work. I can’t trust Linc alone with Finn for very long, so I’m not taking as many showers as I probably should be. (I don’t think he’d hurt him on purpose, but sometimes he gets the urge to just SQUEEZE HIS HEAD BECAUSE HE’S SOOOOO CUTE and doesn’t know that’s not a good idea.) I am currently serving as a 24 hour buffet for the baby, so having to feed everyone else too seems ridiculous. Can’t they all just feed themselves with food that magically appears in our kitchen? I used to love cooking, now it’s tedious. The level of being touched-out has reached new heights – Finn is a very cuddly baby, especially at 2 am, but Linc is also a very cuddly toddler. There are So. Many. Diapers.

I know in my head that this is all super temporary. We missed a lot of our favorite October stuff this year because I was too tired to wrangle everyone out of the house, but there will be 18 more Octobers where I have at least one child at home to do fun fall things with me. Right now I need to choose the less stressful option, maybe let myself be more lazy than I’m usually comfortable with, perhaps do just a little less for the holidays so I don’t end up freaking out completely. I’m hoping my friends and family can grant me some grace for not being as thoughtful and timely with their gifts and thank you notes and baked goods and holiday cards.

One day, in a future I can’t quite imagine yet, having four children will be totally normal for me. It won’t take me 30 minutes to get everyone settled just so I can go do laundry for 5 minutes. I won’t constantly run out of food because I forget how much 6 people eat. I will sleep more than 3 hours in a row and it might even be in my bed instead of on the couch. There’s even a chance I will go to Target and won’t lose ANY of my kids. For now, I will keep my head above water however I can and not pretend I’m doing it very well.

I can, however, occasionally force them into photos.

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The thing about babies
My Week(86) in iPhone Photos
Southwick's Zoo

Finnegan: 2 Months

Monday, October 31st, 2016

Finnegan is 2 months old!

(Lincoln: 2  Months, Caroline: 2 Months)

If tiny babies are good at one thing, it’s making you appreciate how easy tiny babies are when compared to toddlers. But since this isn’t a Lincoln update post, I’ll try to avoid talking just about him. But you guys, the Terrible Twos are in full swing. SO MUCH SWING.

Speaking of swings, Finnegan really loves his swing. He sleeps longer in it (like his sister did) and it calms him down even if he’s fussing. I’m a little afraid we’re going to create a monster who ONLY sleeps in his swing and never flat in a crib, but I also really like sleeping for more than 45 minutes at a time so for now he can swing as much as he wants. I’ve managed to leave the house without him FOUR times in the last week (all for work, because October is crazy for photographers, even photographers who aren’t really trying to work). He’s still so-so about taking a bottle but it’s not really negotiable for me. I need to be able to let someone else do baby-care for a few hours, for my own health and sanity. I’m averaging just under 5 hours of sleep a night, at least half of which is with the baby on me.

Baby Finn is wearing 3-6 month clothes almost all the time now, and I’m not buying anything smaller than 6-9 months. He’s enormous: 14 pounds, 8 oz at his 8 week check up, which puts him in the 90th percentile. I feel like he’s only going to get chubbier too, since the only energy his baby life currently requires is being awake enough to eat and poop and he’s mastered doing both of those in his sleep. He doesn’t hate the car or the store or going places, but he doesn’t seem to really enjoy anything yet. Besides snuggles. He enjoys snuggles. Lots and lots of snuggles.

He also liked sitting in this chair for his 2 month photos, which seems weird to me. Are 2 month olds even allowed to look so big? I don’t think so.

Likes: eating, sleeping, looking at things, his siblings, being warm

Dislikes: gas, pooping, bad dreams, having cold feet

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2 Month Milestones 

Mastered Skills (most kids can do)
Vocalizes: gurgles and coos – Sometimes, not a ton
Follows objects across field of vision – With a lot of head bobbling
Notices her hands – He started sucking on them, but hasn’t really “mastered” that
Holds head up for short periods – You can even see his neck!

Emerging Skills (half of kids can do)
Smiles, laughs – Lots of smiles, but nothing I’d call a laugh
Holds head at 45-degree angle – I’ve never understood this question
Makes smoother movements – There’s definitely less startling than as a newborn

Advanced Skills (a few kids can do)
Holds head steady – No, he’s a bobble head
Can bear weight on legs – Occasionally
Lifts head and shoulders when lying on tummy (mini-pushup) – Hahaha I’d have to put him on the floor to see this and I never put him on the floor. He’d get trampled.

Related posts:

High Expectations
28 Months
Evan: Eight Years Old

My Week(309) in iPhone Photos

Monday, October 3rd, 2016

This week is a pretty good example of my new normal. Except for every photo of anyone looking happy, imagine 15 photos of me shouting at them for being feral monsters.

Sunday:

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Antique car day at the seaport!

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The new exhibit building was…underwhelming

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Successful fun day achievement unlocked!

Monday:

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Very normal toddler for sale

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Taking up as much space as possible

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It’s a good thing I can drink again

Tuesday:

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Rainy morning bus stop

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Wasted a LOT of time trying to make this photo work

Wednesday:

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Still surprised by elevators

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Old Man Grumps

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Bedtime snuggles

 Thursday:

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Everyone goes to school with leaves in their hair

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We found a use for the giant bear

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Too cute for words

Friday:

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YAY FRIDAY!

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Whats up?

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Linc REALLY loves Finn

 

Saturday:

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Watching movies with his camel

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Very scary Halloween decorations

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Hunting Pokemon in Mystic

This current week is going to be the opposite of normal. It’s going to be bananas. I might not even try to do a week in iPhone photos until next weekend. Although I’m pretty sure I triple booked myself for THAT weekend so it might be bananas too. Basically, everything between now and Christmas will be bananas.

Right now I am going to go clean up some of the house disaster and switch the laundry because the baby is asleep and if I don’t do those things now we’ll be one step closer to the spiral that ends with me being crushed to death under a pile of clean laundry that no one has put away for 4 years.

Related posts:

Worlds Collide
My Week(11) in iPhone Photos
Lincoln: 11 Months

My Week(308) in iPhone Photos

Monday, September 26th, 2016

So much baby(toddler)-wearing this week! Linc needed the cuddles and Finn was still so sleepy he doesn’t care. He’ll be attached to me all the time soon enough.

Sunday:

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There are approximately 500 of these on my phone

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This is not how you ride a horse

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My super professional newborn studio set up

Monday:

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Post office assistant

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Where’s Lincoln? No really, where did he go? I keep losing him.

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Best photo of the week

Tuesday:

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Linc calls him “Ev” and loves him so much

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New ups!

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He doubts my choices

Wednesday:

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Picture Day!

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More toddler ups!

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Climbers

Thursday:

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Morning light

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Bus stop selfie

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I need to try this shot again, but for an iPhone photo it’s not bad

Friday:

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House status: trashed, forever

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Where is that baby rolling to? (Also, What is resistant?)

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HATES YOU HE DOES

Saturday:

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We need a 3rd Plasma Car

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PERFECT day for a family fall session

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This Pop2K radio channel gives me life

My baby currently hates everyone and everything, so I’m doing a lot of one-handed Facebooking while I nurse him. I keep running out of Internet, so if you know of any really good drama to read about, let me know. I love a good internet drama.

 

Related posts:

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Finnegan: 4 Months
Finnegan: 6 Months

5 Tips For Taking Newborn Photos Yourself

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

Here’s my first piece of advice when it comes to newborn photography: HIRE AN EXPERT. This is one case where you truly cannot recreate what you see on Pinterest on your own. The time, training, expense, and expertise that goes into becoming a great newborn photographer cannot be replicated with a how-to post on the internet. If really beautiful newborn photos are important to you, they are absolutely worth the money.

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This is professional work. Hire someone for this.

I’ve never hired a real photographer for my newborn photos before. All I have from when Evan was little are snapshots. A friend and I tried to take newborn photos of Caroline but they’re mostly Pinterest fails. The photographer I did hire (for so little money it doesn’t even count) was not an expert and our shoot was a disaster. With Linc, I was so confident I could do it on my own I spent an enormous amount of time and effort trying to make what I was picturing in my head a reality. I never even came close. I am very glad I have those photos and some even live on my walls, but I wasn’t (and will never be) an amazing posed newborn photographer.

Newborn photography is also physically taxing and if you’re trying to do it while you should be recovering from birth, you’re going to get tired and sore very quickly. Every time I’ve photographed a newborn I’ve ended up absolutely dripping in sweat and feeling like I’ve run 10 miles (I can’t run 10 miles). Even if you’re feeling pretty good, the bending and crouching and twisting and kneeling and physical work needed to get the results professionals do for 3+ hours is exhausting and you will definitely feel it later. Just one more reason why hiring someone is worth the expense.

So with Finnegan, my last baby, I hired a professional. A professional who isn’t me. Fellow Connecticut photographer Stefanie Cole came to my house, worked super patiently with my cranky baby, and delivered a gallery of absolutely stunning images. They are art. I want them all on my walls. I am so grateful for her and her talent.

 

That being said, with a newborn in the house I can’t resist taking his picture. Since he’s my fourth baby and about the 40th newborn I’ve photographed (even though I’ve moved away from posed sessions) I feel like I have some experience worth sharing. So here are my 5 tips for taking newborn photos yourself.

    1. Pick the right time. Here is one advantage you have over a scheduled session – you can take pictures of your baby 24 hours a day. Newborn sleep schedules change all the time. Be prepared to take your baby’s pictures the next time you’re expecting them to be sound asleep. Get them stripped down to just a diaper, then wrap them in something picture-appropriate, like a pretty swaddle blanket, a plain white onesie, a scarf or a newborn wrap you bought on Etsy while you were dreaming of newborn photos. Then feed them really well, snuggle them close, and wait for that totally-limp-arm stage where they won’t notice you snapping away. tips to take your own newborn photos
    2. Pick the right spot. You want to find a corner of your house where there is a lot of light, but not direct sun shining in patches. If you have just one big window, you’ll get dramatic, directional light like I did in these photos. If you have a corner with several windows, you’ll get more even, brighter light. A room with white/light walls is even better. Turn off your electric lights and try just using the natural light from the window – your colors and shadows will look more natural. tips to take your own newborn photos
    3. Pick the right background. Professional newborn photos are often posed on a beautiful seamless background that fades out in every direction. That look is about 75% skill and 25% Photoshop. I don’t recommend trying it on your own. So instead of trying to recreate it, put plain white sheets and a plain duvet on a bed and use that space. If you have a beanbag chair, throw a blanket over it and shoot from above instead of the side. If you don’t have a beanbag, make a nest of pillows. If you want something fancier than a blanket, the fur throws most photographers use are called “flokatis”. Genuine sheep ones can cost big bucks, but look at Wayfair, Overstock or Rugs USA for deals. Cream, gray or brown are beautiful colors for newborns. Don’t use fleece, don’t use anything with too many bright colors, and don’t use anything that needs to be perfectly smooth (texture is your friend). DON’T try to stuff the baby in a bucket or a basket or on a tiny chair or in crazy poses. Lay them on their back or side, curl them up a little, smooth out their hands until they are relaxed with their fingers flat. That’s all you need. Besides maybe a cute hat. tips to take your own newborn photos
    4. Pick the right angle. This means don’t shoot up your baby’s nose or from their feet. You want them to look proportional and highlight just how tiny and precious they are in their first couple weeks. Shoot from above when you can, or close ups of all their precious little parts. Imagine the light and your camera is water flowing over the baby from their head down and try to follow that angle. Zoom (or move) in close, then take the same shot from as far away as you can. Turn your camera so the baby is vertical, then at an angle, then horizontal. Some photos will work and some won’t, so don’t be afraid to take a lot and look through them later. Trust me, no parent has ever said “Man, I wish I didn’t have SO MANY pictures of my newborn.” tips to take your own newborn photos
    5. Pick the right equipment. In this case, the right equipment is the camera you have. It might be your phone. It might be the DSLR you got for Christmas 2 years ago. It might be your old point and shoot. The best camera to capture an important moment is the one you have. IF you have a fancy camera and lenses to choose from, a 50mm 1.8 is a great newborn choice. You can shoot in A or AP mode with your f-stop set at 2.8 or just shoot in auto with the flash turned off. If all you have is your iPhone, tap the screen on the part of the baby you want to focus on and it will adjust exposure. Editing apps like PicTapGo, Afterlight or Colorstory can help you edit. But keep it simple – remember, you’re not creating crazy effects or fake tilt-shifts or selective color. You’re just capturing your beautiful new baby as they are.

It’s also important to remember if your baby is grumpy, fussy, uncomfortable or otherwise unhappy you can call it quits and try again some other time. Do it tomorrow. Do it next week. ALL the day with a newborn are both so long and so short, you will barely remember them in a couple years. It’s not like if you don’t get these photos when your baby is exactly 2 days or 2 weeks or 2 months old you’ve failed. Just do the best you can so in 5 years when you send your tiny newborn off to kindergarten you have something to look at and cry over. That’s totally normal, right?

Good luck! Let me know if you take any newborn photos, I would love to see them!

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Wordless Wednesday: Baby's First Bath Edition
Caroline: 12 Months
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