If you know me or my family, you know we love photos. Growing up, I remember countless family photo sessions and it’s fun to go back and look through them to see how we’ve changed over the years.
Enter the digital age and smart phones! The photo taking is now out of control, especially now that we have a baby and I was not letting go of the opportunity to schedule a newborn session with one of my favorite photographers out there, Dorothée of Belathée Photography, a team based out of New York and Seattle. I first met Dorothée and Annabel when I was a wedding events assistant with True Colors Events. TC only worked with the best, and the ladies of Belathée are the best! Not only are they supremely talented, they are warm and wonderful to work with and the images they take are always stunning and intimate in feel.
We scheduled a newborn session with Dorothée as soon as Ara arrived and I’m so pleased with these beautiful images. They were taken mostly in our home, when Ara was one week old. It was a lovely spring day in Seattle and the cherry trees in our neighborhood happened to be in full bloom, so we also ventured outside to take a few photos with the flowering blossoms. I’m so thankful to Dorothée for capturing this sweet time in our lives with our little girl. And we actually look (kind of) awake in these!
She’s napping! Which means I’ve been wandering around the house trying to remember the things I need to get done, like folding laundry, starting dinner, clearing out the dishwasher, tidying up the living room because it looks like a bomb hit it, paying bills, petting the dog because the poor guy has been admittedly neglected lately, etc.
Most of the time though during these periods when I MEAN to be productive, I’m really trying to sneak a nap in while she’s napping, or checking my phone and posting the latest photo of her on Instagram because I’ve become one of those parents. Sorry for inundating our followers, I don’t know if that’s going to stop anytime soon, we’re long distance from most of our loved ones, the grandparents love seeing daily photos of her and that’s my excuse.
Missy has been sharing all these great posts about her travels, crafting, and recipes! Unfortunately, my life isn’t very varied these days, although we are slowly coming out of the newborn fog and finding our footing again with each day. Because Ara will not be getting her first round of vaccines until the end of May, I’ve been afraid to take her out, what with all the news about the measles and whooping cough outbreaks here but I’ve realized that that’s ridiculous and I’m only driving myself crazy staying inside. Plus, Nick has been on this difficult rotation and has been coming home in the late evenings so it’s just us girls most days. We’ve been slowly venturing out beyond walks in the neighborhood, and are making an effort to see friends, receive visitors, and go on more outings to various parent groups or baby activities. Small steps! While the days seem long, the first five weeks have whizzed by and it’s nice to be regaining our balance again.
Nick’s mom sent us the journal she kept after Nick was born and I’ve loved going through each entry to catch a glimpse of his early days and read how he grew in that first year. This journal has inspired me to keep my own for Ara, so hopefully one day she could read it and see what her life was like in the beginning. It’s nothing fancy, I try to jot down observations each week of what she’s currently doing- (You have started to track us with your eyes and now turn your head in the direction of my voice! You have started to coo and smile! You love being changed but hate baths!)
I’ve been writing these notes on my phone since it’s easier to access than my laptop these days and have been looking for a service online where I can upload the entries and photos and eventually print out a baby book. Ah technology! Got to love it. I think I’ve found an online baby journal that fits the bill- Kidmondo, which has been featured on the BBC, NY Times, UrbanBaby, Kiwi, and Mashable among others. I’ve just started using it but will let you know my thoughts as we go further down the line.
As for a keepsake baby journal for footprints, mementos, documenting milestones, I was kind of aghast by the limited choices out there (pastel-colored, cartoon-y books anyone? Carter’s, I’m looking at you) and was so happy to find in a local card shop this journal, printed by Compendium, that strikes the right balance of sweetness without being too precious. There are pages where both mom and dad can write a letter to their baby, document the first year, hopes for the future, and an area where you can write down what was happening in the world at that time (big item in the news, latest inventions, our current favorite songs and TV shows, price of a stamp, loaf of bread, movie ticket). Nice, huh?
So that is what is going on now. I’m amazed she slept long enough for me to write this. Hopefully I’ll be able to post again soon. It’s a sunny day so we’re off for a walk with the dog!
p.s. Here’s a great recipes for this quinoa salad I’ve been loving lately. It is from our local natural market, PCC, which has an amazing deli section. I can eat this salad every day. Add chicken to make it more of a meal if you’d like.
Ara on the beautiful quilt her Grandma W made for her
We’ve survived 3 weeks so far! Every day is different and yet it seems like the same routine on repeat: feedings, changings, sleeping (whenever possible), rocking. I’ve googled “New Parenthood Survival” more times than I can count. Here’s the thing- no one told me how difficult the first few weeks would be- maybe because if women had any idea how hard it would be, they wouldn’t go through with it? Pregnancy was a piece of cake compared to this. Every day has been a blurry mess, but there are good days in between (usually when Ara and I can both sleep!)
I’m a bit discombobulated these days so here are a few things I wish I knew about beforehand:
– Breastfeeding is hard. Now, I’ve been told this countless times but had NO IDEA the importance of the correct latch, how frequently we would need to feed in order to keep up milk supply, and how you should have some formula and bottles onhand just in case she is screaming her head off at 2am the first night you’re home and your milk supply still has not come in. Lesson learned, folks. Also, lactation consultants are godsends! I cannot believe how my life and worries have now become centered around my chest area, which was merely ornamental before Ara came.
– Take each day at a time. You’re not going to be able to plan ahead too much. In fact, just give up on having a plan for awhile until you and your baby get to know each other better. If you’re like me and MUST be able to accomplish at least one thing each day to feel like a productive citizen of the world (as if looking after a new human being isn’t enough), have a simple goal for the day: get outside for a walk with the dog, mail thank you cards, BLOG, tidy the bedroom, do a load of laundry, drive through the Starbucks (still need to do this), call your mom. Get outside at least once in the day so you don’t go mad inside. Although admittedly, this is hard to do in rainy Seattle. It’s funny how the definition of a “productive” day has changed on this side of parenthood.
– A day on the couch is pretty much the norm. What are you doing on there? How is that possible? See the above routine. Babies apparently need to feed every 2-3 hours!
– Have the house clean before the baby comes, and your refrigerator and pantry stocked. Because you so are not going to get to it afterwards.
– Single moms. So.much.respect. I don’t know how I would to this without a supportive partner like Nick. Let him help. Also, let him take over a feeding so you can get an extra hour of sleep. I’m still singing him praises days after.
– Babies get fussy at the end of the day. I did not know this. Something about them winding down from the day. Baby-wearing in the Ergo carrier is the only thing that has saved us from going into the fetal position and crying along with her. Do we now need to get a swing??
– Mom blogs. I get it now. It’s nice to know you’re not alone out there after you’ve been home for several days with no adult interaction and your newborn’s shifting moods and habits throw you for another loop.
– A hot shower will do wonders. Everything dissolves away during those few minutes in the tub.
– There is no such thing as too many photos. Which reminds me, we need to figure out a better backup system.
– Drive-thrus are pretty much my social life these days since she’s too young to have her vaccines for another month or so. Now if only there was a grocery store drive-thru…
– A 3-4 continuous stretch of sleep and a nap during the day when she naps is all I need to stay sane right now. As someone who was addicted to 8 hrs of sleep before being a mom, this was somewhat comforting news. Check back with me in a few weeks and see if I still say the same thing. And husbands who get a peaceful stretch of sleep each night longer than three hours do not get to say to their new-mom wife that they’re tired without getting major stink-eye in response.
– Babies are made cute because nothing else makes this all worth it! During bleary feedings in the middle of the night, I see her big dark button eyes peering up at me and experience yet another rush of love at this tiny grunting little gremlin. She’s become my world.
Despite the lack of sleep at night, Ara is actually a very, very good baby with a sweet temperament. We’re lucky to have a healthy baby who eats and naps well and who is bright-eyed and alert and so full of life. No real complaints here.
Here are a few photos from her first few weeks! We cannot believe she’ll already be a month next Tuesday!
I’ve only had a brief taste, but to all moms out there, this video circulating around this week says it all. My hat is off to all of you out there.
There’s a funny little part in the movie, About a Boy, where Hugh Grant’s character talks about how he fills his days. Since he lives off the royalties from the Christmas jingle his dad composed, he does not have a job and leads a life of leisure. I used to think he was a lucky bum.
My official last day in the office was at the end of February before going on maternity leave at 38 weeks. I had found my replacement, who is whip-smart and personable, and left knowing my job was in good hands. This “maternity leave” is a bit of an odd situation in the fact that it is permanent, since we’re moving to Utah this summer and it didn’t make much sense for me to return to work for a couple months, only to leave again. The timing worked out perfectly, I would have a couple weeks to have some downtime and prepare for Baby Girl Wegner in the case she went full-term. And since we can never predict when child labor happens, if she decided to come early, we would still be ready and I wouldn’t be leaving the office in the middle of something.
Well, we are a week and a half into maternity leave and she has not appeared yet and I’m not experiencing any labor signs yet. Maybe she’s TOO comfortable in there?? In the meantime, I’m going a little crazy trying to figure out how to occupy my days now that I’m not working. Having always had something to do (school, work) for as long as I can remember, it’s odd not to have something specific to get up for in the mornings. I realize these days of freedom will be a very short, precious time in my life and I am trying to relax and just ENJOY it but I think our generation, which views multitasking as a coveted skill, is too hard-wired to always be busy. I can see why retirement is hard for some people. It’s a sickness. We really need to learn how to enjoy life more without feeling like we have to be doing something all the time.
The key to avoiding absolute insanity, I’ve found, is to leave the house at least once a day for some fresh air. Go somewhere. ANYWHERE. I know in the not-too distant future, I will one day look back at this and laugh because all I’ll WANT is to have nothing but time on my hands.
So here is how I’ve been filling my units of time. (Warning: it’s not that exciting but at least it has been keeping me busy. Anything I’m missing here or need to do before she comes, feel free to chime in.)
1) Updated my resume and Linked In profile, before I forgot what I actually did in my job
2) Costco and grocery store runs (need to stock up on those staples according to Babycenter.com before baby comes and I don’t have the time)
3) Gathered info for our 2013 tax submittal to our accountant (refund! refund!)
4) Researched new cars because my 13-year old Camry is slowly crapping out
5) Sneaked into the office to have lunch with the ladies, consult on new projects, and run errands downtown doing spy work and gathering new retail packaging ideas for a project (the belly helped a lot here, no one suspects a pregnant lady)
6) Baked scones and cooked some meals (and tried not to eat everything in sight out of boredom just because the kitchen is RIGHT there)
7) Laundry. So much laundry.
8) Set up the baby cam and trained it on the dog since we’ve always wondered what he did during the day. I can tell you now that all he does is sleep and spend most of the time on the couch when he thinks we’re not there. The nerve.
9) Safety deposit box. Insurance. Estate management. Wills. All the grown-up stuff you need to take care of when you’re adding a little human to the family.
10) The weather is finally getting nice (SPRING IS HERE! Kinda) so we’ve been taking a lot of long walks. Both for Miles and my sanity, but also in hopes that this starts labor….
10) And last but not least, I’ve FINALLY been working on organizing our photos. I haven’t printed photos since 2007 (ack) and have had our Greece trip album on the to-do list for quite awhile. What better time to do it than now? I just discovered the photobook website, Artifact Uprising, and can’t wait to see the end product. Their photo uploading and album templates are easy to use, and I love their simple yet artful aesthetic.
Image from Artifact Uprising by @bhurst
Here are a few favorite photos from our trip! We were in Athens and the island of Santorini for a week back in May 2011. What a beautiful beautiful country. We definitely hope to return someday.
Bougainvillea in Oia, Santorini
Parthenon detail, Athens
Exploring beautiful Oia, Santorini
Lounging in our bed and breakfast in Fira, Santorini
Evening stroll in Oia, Santorini
Greek Orthodox church in Oia, Santorini
Hanging out with one of the many free-roaming town dogs in Oia, Santorini
36 weeks this week! We are turning the corner and BGW may be coming any day now. Over the past few weeks, we’ve been racing to get her corner of our bedroom ready (we won’t have a nursery since we will be moving to Utah in July), and to get all of the necessary supplies before her arrival. I’m sure there will be more last-minute errands but for now, I feel much better than I did a few weeks ago when I looked around our house and realized we were in no way ready to bring a newborn into it!
There really is no way to properly prepare for what lies ahead however we tried to at least get the basics down by taking a few classes on how to install a car seat, administer infant safety and CPR, and care for a newborn. Um, did you know that 90 percent of car seats are installed wrong? And that there seems to be a million ways for babies/toddlers/kids to hurt themselves? I bet that comes as no surprise to parents out there. I’m not sure whether these classes were helpful or just served to make us more paranoid but at least I (kind of) know now how to change a diaper. Nick, having been on peds rotations during residency, knew how to swaddle and diaper a baby already. At least one of us will know what to do. Baby steps. Literally.
It has been hitting me lately how much parenthood will change our lives. Everyone tells us this but now that we’re near the finish line, I’m realizing that it will soon be our reality. For the past 12 years, it has been just Nick and me and we’ve been so blessed to have the time together to grow and develop as a couple and have adventures. I’m excited to meet Baby Girl and know that life as we know it will change for the better when she arrives. To be honest though, I can’t help feel a little wistful of letting go of our past responsibility-free lives. But enough of that. Like all major changes, we are moving onward and upward!
I ran across this article a few days back and had Nick read it to prepare for imminent fatherhood. Hopefully his transition will be a little smoother than the author’s, but it still made us both laugh (those plates!). Parenthood is going to be quite a trip. Any advice or insight, veteran parents out there, for the newbies?