In case you were wondering what the best pictures ever taken of anyone ever are, well, here you go.
Yesterday at Starbucks I was chatting with one of the baristas who is pregnant with a little girl, due in January. That was me a year ago, and it feels like yesterday. She was oogling over LJ, and I looked at her and said, "Cherish every moment. It goes by way too fast. And you are going to LOVE having a little girl."
Then the other barista said, "There is no faster hourglass than the life of a child."
OK, Proverbs. But seriously.
Sometimes, I look at my daughter, and I can't believe I'm a mother. I'm still in awe when I'm struck with the realization that God entrusted me with this little life, and how is she already eight months old, and she seems to hit a new milestone every day, and I can't believe how small she once was, and these tiny newborn clothes that I'm packing away are small enough to fit a doll, and she was soooo tiny and there's so much that I will never get to experience again with her.
LJ has been commando crawling for a while now. And now she's getting up on her hands and knees and doing "the rock." She's learned to feed herself with a bottle, and yesterday I had to lower her crib mattress because she's starting to pull herself up. (Feeding herself a bottle? No, no, no! I want to hold her in my arms and feed her!) Obviously it brings me great joy when she reaches a new milestone, but it's always accompanied by this strange, bittersweet feeling that my tiny girl is growing so incredibly fast and I will never get this time back. And, looking back, there is so much I would have done differently if only I had known.
*Enter mommy guilt.* (But that's a whole other post.)
But it's OK. It's my job to help her grow and learn and set her free someday. I am SO thankful that I get to be with her while she is small. I am such a sentimental person that I tend to want to hold on to each precious stage of her life so that I never forget, but I can't. And now I know that as a mom, those memories are etched on my heart forever and ever. I couldn't forget what it felt like to hold my baby in my arms or the smell of her hair or the first time she smiled at me if I tried. This is the first time in my life where I'm not so focused on the
destination that I miss the journey. Perhaps motherhood is God's way of
reminding me that the journey is actually the best part. All I can do is be present every day. And count my blessings on each one of her ten tiny fingers and ten tiny toes.
Moms… what do you miss the most about when your kids were babies?
I went to a dear friend's baby shower this past weekend and LJ had to accompany me since Cody had to work (on a Saturday. Bleh). While there, LJ got her first celebrity look-alike comment: Shiloh Jolie-Pitt. So I looked her up and I couldn't resist:
I don't know… here I thought she was just the spitting image of her dad… who is apparently the new Brad Pitt look-alike! Only without the wife-cheating and seventeen out-of-wedlock children.
Earlier this week I got to visit with my dear friend from college, Iku, who lives in Japan and visits the states every couple of years. We went to La Grande Orange for breakfast where we spied the cutest little stuffed hippo! After we ate, LJ decided to be a fussy monkey, so I picked her up and walked her around the grocer to check out all the fun and original items they have for sale there. I picked up the hippo and made silly voices and she immediately started giggling, she loved it so much. Well, Iku, being as sweet as can be, observed this from our table, and when I went outside with LJ, Iku snatched up the hippo and sneakily bought it for her. She came out with it and was like, "I got this for the baby!" and it was just the sweetest thing!
Iku is such a joy to spend time with and I love that whenever she comes to town she always lets me know so we can get together and catch up. And she always brings me the yummiest Japanese candy! I last saw her two years ago right after Cody and I got married… and I was so happy she got to meet LJ while she's still a wee one. Here's a couple of photos of the two of them together:
Yesterday, LJ had tea time with Hippo.
I have a confession to make: I'm cheating on my husband.
I've been saying for a while now that I DESPERATELY NEEEEEEEEEEEEEDED a DSLR camera because I NEEEEEEEEEEED to be able to take the BEST pictures POSSIBLE of Linnea while she's growing up.
That's my excuse, anyway.
We have a great point-and-shoot camera that Cody's mom gave us for our anniversary- we absolutely love it and take it with us everywhere. I officially caught the SLR camera bug when I went to my mom and dad's house and came across this beauty:
My grandpa's old Voigtlander Vitomatic II that he bought in Germany back in 1958.
No idea how to use it. All I kept hearing from my parents was, "It takes the most GORGEOUS pictures EVER," but didn't have time for a crash course on how to use a fully manually operated camera. As a consolation prize, I dug out my old 35mm Canon EOS Rebel 2000 SLR
(that I bought waaaaaay back in 1999 when I was a photography major for a semester) and took it with us up to Flagstaff for a day trip.
Four rolls of film, one set of camera batteries and $53 later, we had our developed pictures back the next day. And don't get me wrong- they were great. But some of them were underexposed. Some were overexposed. Some weren't framed right. Sure, I could mail in the negatives to a scanning shop and get the negatives on disk… at $0.69 a pop. Needless to say… I loved shooting with this camera, but it was starting to get ridiculously expensive.
So we finally did it. I had already been researching cameras and decided on the Canon EOS Rebel T2i AND I LOVE IT. It was a HUGE splurge, but to me it was worth every penny we have to pinch in the meantime. I'm still learning how to use it, and so far it has taken some amazing pictures. Meet my lover, Leon:
I know the basics, but I will be DEVOURING the tutorials on The Pioneer Woman.
So what if my kid was the perfect excuse to get a fancy camera? She's the perfect subject. Can you blame me for wanting the best photos possible of the two loves of my life?
Sorry, Leon. As exciting as you are and as much fun as we have together, I'll never leave him for you.
Know any fun photography tutorials? Share them here!
This post is waaaaaaaaay overdue, but too cute not to share, nonetheless. Linnea's first time seeing the ocean. Thanks Jess for taking these for me!
She was only five months old at the time- it's hard to believe how tiny she was, and how fast she's been growing! Also, I'm not gonna lie: I think she hated the ocean. It was a little too loud and a little too cold for her tastes, but with time I'm sure it'll grow on her! That, or she'll be a mountain lake kinda girl, just like her mama.
I used to call Linnea's random vocal exercises "opinions." The kid has opinions on everything. She wakes up with opinions. Very opinionated in the crib every morning, very opinionated. It's cute. But it has evolved. She's become a noisy little monster. Interesting, this has coincided with us introducing solids… hmm… is there something in orange root vegetables that sends kids completely over the edge? I'm really beginning to wonder.
All day long, my child has been screaming. At the top of her lungs. And it makes. my. ears. BLEED. I don't even know when this happened, or FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, WHY, but it is as if the floodgates of Linnea's otherwise innocent vocal cords have been opened and the combined volume of all the choirs in heaven have been concentrated into one shrill sound that now only stops when she is either eating or sleeping or laughing at our dogs. I didn't really notice how bad it was until yesterday when my parents and Amma were over here and my mom was trying to feed Linnea some sweet potato and broccoli and she just started SCREAMING. And my poor mom was plugging her ears and saying "OH MY GOD MAKE IT STOP" and I suddenly realized that my eardrums were vibrating and I had no clue what on God's green earth her problem was, but this nonsense needed to stop immediately. As I looked around at the faces of my parents and my dear, sweet grandma, and saw their helpless and expectant and wholly unamused expressions, I knew that when she started doing something that annoyed these three people, that it had to be pretty freaking bad.
My mom: "OH MY GOD why is she doing this? Make it stop! My ears can't handle this!"
Me: "How should I know? I'm only her mom…………… Um…………… No, Linnea, NOOOOOOOOO screaming. No screaming!"
Linnea: "EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE…….. Heh heh heh. Heh."
So she thinks me disciplining her is FUNNY. Great. Not that I thought reasoning with a 7-month-old made any sense to begin with, but it's not like anyone had any better ideas to alleviate the shrieking. Ear plugs, perhaps?
I'll be honest, I'm not entirely sure she's not completely doing it out of mockery. Like, "Oh, Mother, you think I have no idea this doesn't annoy the crap out of you, but not only am I fully aware, this is only the beginning of my grand master plan to break you down with annoying behavior followed up with acts so adorable you will never be mad at me." Everything I said would never happen with my child is already happening. It will be a battle of wills to the bitter end, of that I can assure you. I always used to say that I would never be that parent in the restaurant with the screaming child, but now I am the parent in the restaurant with the screaming child, and I see now what a drag it can be because all I want to do sometimes is relax at Starbucks with a latte, reading my new Real Simple magazine, and not be spit up on randomly while holding my daughter who would otherwise be screaming but instead is enamored with ripping up the pages of said magazine or pulling out my hair by the fistful or knocking over any interesting object within her reach, because if it's full of liquid or has buttons on it SHE WANTS IT IN HER MOUTH RIGHT NOW OR ELSE.
Just another initiation into motherhood, I suppose. If I ever come up with a solution to her new need for screaming, I will let you know. If you have a solution, PLEASE SAVE ME. I miss the days when people used to say, "She has such a sweet, quiet cry!" Now all I get are eye darts thrown in my direction because I am That Mom with the Obnoxious Screamer Who Needs to Get Out Before the Angry Mob Attacks.
Sigh. I know. I'm leaving. Enjoy your quiet time, you dart-throwing, coffee-sucking DILL HOLES.
On that note, here's a photo of my dad and his sweet li'l screaming baby girl:
As if the screaming matters. You could just never be mad at that face.
…that this will be the same color coming out as it was going in. I suppose that's what we get for sticking store-bought baby-food squash with fresh avocado in a food processor.
I swear I saw this same stuff in her diaper (and also my shorts) yesterday.
And now it's all over her face.
And just for the record, I don't think a little girl has ever loved her Daddy as much as this one does.
Yes, I did just coin a new term. It means, "a slippery, runny, brown, stinky mixture typically found in a diaper; a hybrid of pee and poo." Genius, is it not?
And also, I KNOW! How very Sarah Palin of me. Or Shakespeare. Or whoever you want to credit with making up new words in the English language.
And yes, I still love my Fuzzibunz.
But I learned an important lesson when it comes to cloth diapering in one-size diapers: MAKE SURE THEY'RE PROPERLY ADJUSTED. If the leg holes are too big, you WILL eventually (deservedly) be punished with clothes covered in pee, poo, or any aforementioned combination of the two.
This happened to me yesterday while I was standing in line to check out at SAS Fabrics in Tempe. Which also happens to be one of my favorite places to spend an afternoon- crafty mamas, have you BEEN there yet?!- but I digress. My daughter disagrees wholeheartedly which apparently was why she decided to baptize me in her diarrhea. It came out of her diaper and ran down my shirt and into my shorts. YES, INTO MY SHORTS. She somehow managed to transfer her peepoo from her shorts to my shorts.
One would expect that if one would find human waste of any variety in her shorts, it better well be her human waste.
Don't say I didn't warn you, because apparently, this isn't always the case. How LJ accomplished that feat will forever remain a mystery, but let me assure you, I was in awe.
"You ate an entire wheel of cheese? I'm not even mad. I'm amazed." -Ron Burgundy, Anchorman
"You ate an entire jar of applesauce, and now your peepoo is no longer in your diaper, but is now in my shorts? I'm not even mad. I'm amazed." -Me, Real Life
That being said, I will forever remain an advocate for cloth diapering. This was not a cloth diaper fail; it was user error. This is the first time that anything of the sort has happened since we began cloth diapering, and I promise you that if LJ were still in disposable diapers that not only would I require a whole new wardrobe, this would have happened at least 8932754837603276980 times (as opposed to once), and peepoo comparable to the volume that shot out of her today would have left an EPIC mess. I still love our cloth diapers despite the fact that changing that diaper on the (leather) backseat of my Buick on a hot (and humid) Arizona afternoon in the dead of summer and having to keep it in the car the whole way home in rush hour traffic wasn't exactly a picnic (it wouldn't have been a big deal had I not forgotten the wet bag). Enduring the drive home in an outfit that made stripping down to my skivvies look like the better option in spite of the lack of tinting on my car's windows didn't even faze me. I would still advise any new parent to do it if they are weighing their options- I had the same reservations everyone has (namely THE POOP)- but it's so easy, and your wallet and your little one will be happier for it.
Anyway, lesson learned. Linnea isn't the only one who needs a spare change of clothes in the diaper bag. And when you are THAT mom in the store, with the shrieking kid on her hip wearing clothes freshly covered in diaper contents, you absolutely have to laugh at yourself.
Before Linnea was born, my mom and Amma and I went to this little craft fair at Hissyfits Resale in Central Phoenix (strangely, they don't have a Web site, but they do have a Facebook page) where we found a booth selling teeny, tiny newborn aprons. YES, I SAID NEWBORN APRONS. Because clearly every baby needs an apron. And every mom-to-be is going to be a sucker who absolutely has to have one.
This would be why.
Linnea has been a rock star about eating her solids. So far, she loves her some sweet potatoes, pears and carrots, but more than stuffing her face with it, she loves to wear her food. The apron serves as a full-body bib- and goodness knows she needs one!