She’s Here!

This announcement comes a full month late, but I share it with as much excitement as if it happened yesterday.

It’s a GIRL!

Elizabeth Helen arrived December 4, 2014 at 8:11 am, weighing 7 pounds 7 ounces. 

20141207-DSC_291820141204-DSC_2860Everything about her birth was calm and easy – or as easy as a c-section can be.

We arrived at the hospital at 6am and spent the next hour and a half nervously joking with the nurses while they prepped me for surgery. At around 7:40 they wheeled me back to the OR where, again, the mood was lighthearted and calm. At 8:11, the doctor lifted our baby high enough for Jeff to see her and announce that she was a girl, and by 8:14 the most beautiful little girl was lying on my chest. I think we were back in our room by 9:30. Minus having the spinal done, and that moment just before birth when it felt like an elephant sat on my abdomen, it really was that easy. After such a traumatic birth with Kate, I am so thankful we were able to experience a peaceful delivery this time around.

20141206-DSC_2891Her name came to us less than 24 hours before she was born. We had a boy name settled fairly early, but the girl names we had picked never felt quite right to me. Elizabeth had come up in the past, and while we both really liked it, we couldn’t find a nickname that we loved. I had also brought up the name Elise several times (separate from Elizabeth), but Jeff always vetoed it (which he now denies). So when I called Jeff at 4:00 on the the 3rd and asked him what he thought about changing our planned name to Elizabeth with the nickname Elise, I expected him to say no. Much to my surprise, he loved it, too! Her middle name, Helen, belongs to both of our maternal grandmothers, so it was a natural choice, and I love that we are honoring two very special women. I can’t believe how long it took us to come up with a name that feels so right.

20141206-DSC_2889Kate was absolutely thrilled to meet her baby sister, and has since adjusted really well to the new addition. Our first few days home were a little tricky, but with some help from my mom we were able to get into a good rhythm before the holidays (which I’ll tell you more about in another post). 20141204-DSC_283720141206-DSC_2906One month later, we are still doing well. My recovery seems to have been pretty seamless and both girls are happy and healthy (knock on wood!). We just need Elise to figure out how to sleep through the night and we’ll be off and running.

20141204-DSC_2856Once again, I want to thank all of you who sent love and support our way while we hoped and prayed and waited for this little one. Elizabeth truly is a miracle, and we are so, so grateful. 20141207-DSC_2923



October Photography Challenge, Days 2-8

I’m about a third of the way through the photography challenge, and so far I am loving it.  It’s been a really fun way to practice with my camera, and already I’m noticing that I’m getting quicker at finding the settings I want for particular photos.  I have also discovered that I really don’t feel comfortable with landscape photography yet.  I tend to gravitate towards close-ups with shallow depths of field.  So I want to work on that, and I’m glad to have had some days that forced me to do that more.

Also, I have to say, knowing that I’m sending my photos to Sarah everyday, and knowing that they are going to be on here and Instagram, has really helped me step outside my comfort zone.  I don’t always get the picture I want, but it’s really fun trying.

So here’s what I’ve done so far:

Day 2: Every Day

I had to take a picture of Kate playing dress-up for this one because this is something she does every single morning while I’m getting ready.  Her outfits are always different, and she gets a huge kick out of playing in front of the mirror.  This is definitely my favorite picture I’ve taken so far, and I think it’s going to take a lot to beat it.

Kate in Mirror

1/160sec at f/2.2, ISO 1000 (Lens: Sigma 50mm f/1.4)

Day 3: Symmetry

I texted Sarah after trying a few shots for this one telling her I was struggling with ideas, and thankfully she said the same.  Turns out we had both thought about shooting apples (who knows why we both went there?), so we decided to each take a picture of an apple to compare.  I’m happy with mine, but I really love Sarah’s.


1/160sec at f/2,8, ISO 320 (Lens: Sigma 50mm f/1.4)

Here is Sarah’s:

DSC_5147Cool, right?


Day 4: Green

Like I said before – Landscapes are not my thing (yet).

Green Field, Red Barn

1/2500 sec at f/4.8, ISO 200 (Lens: Tamron 18-270mm, f/3.5-6.3)

Day 5: High Angle

Kate on Blue Slide

1/8000sec at f/1.4, ISO 100 (Lens: Sigma 50mm f/1.4)

You have to see Sarah’s for this one, too.  She sent me two, and I agree with her – I can’t pick between them.

DSC_5222 DSC_5265

Day 6: Low Angle

Dog on Stairs

1/60sec at f/1.4, ISO 400 (Lens: Sigma 50mm f/1.4)

Day 7: Depth

For this one, I wanted to get a landscape shot that had a really deep depth of field.  I didn’t get it.  I really don’t like this picture, but it’s the best I got that day.  I want a re-do.  I think my next challenge should be seeing what I can do over the course of a month without going below an aperture of 8, and only using my bigger lens.  Maybe by November I’ll be brave enough to try that.

Path with Blue Sky

1/640sec at f/7.1, ISO 100 (Lens: Tamron 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3)

Ok, let’s do one more because I don’t want to end on that picture.

Day 8: Rule of Thirds

I’m seriously in love with these baby booties.  And I just can’t wait to kiss the little toes that will go into these booties.  Need I say more?

Baby Booties

1/100sec at f/1.6, ISO 500 (Lens: Sigma 50mm f/1.4)

I’ll be back next week with more photos.  In the meantime, if you have any thoughts on what I’ve done so far, I’d really love to hear them – especially if you have tips for what I can do better. I mean it! Please do tell.

Also, here’s wishing a very happy birthday to my amazing friend Sarah!


This Time

Getting to this time was even harder than last time.

This time required more doctors, more ultrasounds, more hours of driving, more blood tests, more meds.  I was a human pin cushion.  I was put on bed rest.  I was so bloated from medication that I could barely move.  And I learned the true meaning of patience and acceptance.

Last time, I woke up early to take a test and cried immediately.  This time, I waited for a phone call and I found out while getting a pedicure.

This time, it was hours before I cried my overdue tears of joy.

Last time, Jeff hoped for twins.  This time, his relief when we learned there was just one baby was laughable.

This time, I was sicker and the exhaustion lasted longer.  Although, like last time, I thankfully never threw up.

Last time, I started gaining weight immediately.  This time, I didn’t start gaining weight until my 2nd trimester.

This time my skin has been clearer.

Last time, I craved fruit and ice cream, and I couldn’t stand tomatoes or garlic.  This time, I crave ice cold water and milk.  And I can’t stand raw onions.  Last time I ate more Tums than I could count.  This time I’ve had 6.

Last time, we chose to find out what we were having.  This time is a surprise.

Last time, I dreamt it was a boy.  It was a girl.  This time, I have dreamt it was a boy and a girl.

This time, I felt baby move around 15 weeks.

Last time, I worried a lot because I didn’t feel baby as much as I wanted to.  This time, baby is moving all day, and sometimes all night.

Last time, I was pregnant at the same time as my sister-in-law and one of my best friends.  This time is the same.

This time, I’m having a much harder time finding names that I love.  Like last time, Jeff has been impossible at helping with the task.

Last time, I had carpal tunnel.  Thankfully, this time I don’t.

This time, I can still wear my wedding rings.  And so far, I still have ankles.  Last time, I lost both those things long before this point.

Last time, I carried high.  This time, I’m carrying lower.

Last time, I wasn’t afraid to give birth.  This time, I have lots of fears.

Last time, I read all the books, planned out an elaborate nursery and prepared like crazy.  This time, I have done almost no preparation.

This time, I’m still waiting for nesting to kick in.

This time, it still hasn’t really sunk in that we’re going to have another child.

And, if it’s possible, this time I’m even more thankful that I get to experience this time.



October Photography Challenge: Day 1

Yesterday I mentioned that I’ve been really excited about doing more with photography.  I recently made the switch from a Canon Rebel T1i to a Nikon D7100 camera, which has been a really incredible upgrade for me.  But I still feel like I’m not getting things quite right with this camera.  Obviously, like with anything, I need practice.  So after browsing Pinterest and brainstorming for a bit, I decided to challenge myself to take a photo a day using specific prompts.  I picked the prompts based on other challenges I found and on some of the literature my photography mentor has shared with me, and I sent it off to my friend Sarah to see if she’d be interested in joining me.  Thankfully she was, so I feel doubly accountable to complete all my photos.

So here’s what we’re shooting for (haha! get it?):

octoberphotographychallengeI don’t plan to post my photos every day on the blog, but I will put them up periodically to stay accountable to the challenge.  With each photo I’ll put the stats, and if it requires much editing, I’ll talk about what I did.  I’m not sure if I’ll get into detail with each picture what I learned or what I would change, but I might try to make some notes occasionally just for my own purposes.  And if Sarah ever feels like sharing, I’ll put those up, too. (No pressure, Sarah!)

(I should also mention that I would love for you to join us in the challenge!  Obviously you would have no obligation to share any of your pictures, but it might be fun to follow along…)

OK.  So.  Today.  Self-Portrait.

Turns out this was a really big challenge for me.

First, I wanted to figure out how to use a remote to capture an image.  This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time, but never did.  As much as I don’t love pictures of myself, I do recognize the value for my kids to have me in the picture sometimes.  So I’m glad to have learned that skill.  (BTW, it’s super simple.)

But the hardest part BY FAR was trying to take a picture of myself that I actually like. That, my friends, is a whole other animal.  By forcing myself to try, I found I was a lot more aware of lighting and angles than I might have been with someone else – not because I don’t want to take flattering pictures of others, only because I’m so much more critical of myself.  I think it’ll be interesting to see how this next month of practicing effects how I approach my self-portrait at the end of the month.

So here it is…


1/1000sec at f/2.0, ISO 1000 (Lens: Sigma 50mm f/1.4)

I think the most obvious thing I should have done differently is lowered my ISO.  I could have gotten the shot at a much lower shutter speed since I was using a tripod, and I could have cut back on a little noise.   But I’ll take it.

Heck, I might even put it in the baby book.

Life Lately

So part of the reason I haven’t been on here is because I have felt like I needed to do one big catch-up post to feel like I was starting back in a good place.  And the longer I went without writing that big post, the more overwhelmed I was at the thought of it.  And the more overwhelmed I got, the more tired I got.  So instead of writing, I’ve been doing a lot of napping.

And then it occurred to me that I am, like, 70-some days away from my due date, and once that baby gets here and the holidays hit, I’m going to be a zombie with probably even less desire to write, so I better just get it over with.  Plus, I wasn’t kidding in my last post when I said I do want to keep doing this blog for the sake of documenting our lives.  So… thanks for allowing me that break, and for allowing this totally random, not thought-out-at-all post.  :)

Without further ado…

Kate is three years old.  She got to spend most of August and part of September celebrating her birthday, so I’m pretty sure she thinks her birthday is a HUGE deal.  (It is.)IMG_6863 IMG_6916

From what I can tell so far, three comes with a lot of really BIG emotions that are constantly at the brink of exploding. We may have skipped right over the terrible twos, but three seems to be a different ballgame.  Don’t get me wrong, Kate is still a super easy kid 95% of the time, and I love spending my days with her.  But holy cow… the drama…

She is finally (FINALLY!) potty trained (I know you wanted to know that), she loves coloring and has recently started actually drawing discernible objects (which is SO fun for me to watch), she is still way into playing dress-up, she likes to practice counting and writing letters, and she is equally traumatized and amused when Jeff tries to tease her about something, which is often the cause of those big emotions I just mentioned.  And I think she’s actually truly excited about the new baby.

DSC_1627I’m feeling pretty well. I’m now thirty weeks pregnant, which seems impossible.  I’m starting to get a little uncomfortable, but not nearly as immobile or swollen as I felt with Kate at this point. Thank goodness for a mild summer!  Like I’ve said in the past, I do actually plan to do a whole post on this pregnancy, so that’s all I’ll say for now. (Hold me to it. It’s going to happen!)

Other than being pregnant, I am doing a lot more with photography lately.  I bit the bullet and upgraded my camera, and I am seriously in l-o-v-e LOVE with it.  I second-shot my second wedding a couple weeks ago, and had so much fun doing it.  I’m looking forward to hopefully doing a few family shoots this fall.

PS. If you live in B-town and you’re looking to have some pictures done, hit me up!  Please? I really want the practice!

Jeff is good, too.  He’s writing his book, and teaching his class, and continuing to be an awesome dad and hubby.  I think he’s actually truly excited about the new baby, too. ;)  Oh, and he wants me to mention that he likes pizza.DSC_1585So what else?

We went to Kansas City last month to celebrate my cousin’s wedding.  That was way fun.

IMG_6965We hit up a hot air balloon festival, which was a big hit.  Kate is still talking about her favorite balloons – even though they also sort of scared her.


My parents came down for a quick visit, and it was the most perfect 24 hours. IMG_7134

And as you can see from the pic of Jeff and Kate above, we went to Chicago a couple weeks ago and spent some quality time with Kristin & Greg, and my BFF Lindsey.

DSC_1129 DSC_1611

And that’s mostly it from the last couple months!  It’s been a good end to the summer.

Tomorrow I’ll be back with the start of a photography challenge and some more information about my new camera and hopefully new side-job.

It’s good to be back. :)

Your name is Liar because you’re telling lies!

Ok.  I win.  I’m officially the world’s worst blogger.  I keep telling you I’m back, and then disappearing like Harry Houdini.  (Did he actually do any disappearing tricks? I mean besides his poor joke about disappearing from Appleton? Or was that some horrible thing Willem Dafoe said?)

Anyway, I’m sorry for lying. The blog has obviously been put last on my priority list this summer, behind things like “keep Kate alive” and “sleep.”  But I was going through old posts the other day, and thinking how nice it is to go back and remember things that I would have otherwise forgotten, so I’m really hoping I can make more of an effort here. I’m sure whatever readership I had built up before has gone far, far away from here, but for my sake, I plan to power through.

So what have we been up to? Well, mostly raising one human while trying to grow another one (which, as it turns out, is pretty tiring work). I can’t believe I’m over halfway through this pregnancy. I hope to do a full-on pregnancy post next week, which will include exciting highlights of our name hunt (hint: our list is extremely small), and reasons for being Team Green.  Stay tuned.

For today, though, I’m going to do a little Throwback Thursday to a trip Jeff and I took to Kauai, HI in 2009.  Because, well, I want to go to there.  And if I can’t go there right now, I may as well look at pretty pictures and reminisce. :)