I’ve been reading many, many baby blogs, which can be a bit intimidating in terms of seeing how much effort other moms put into taking beautiful pictures and keeping records and such. Intimidating but also inspiring. We actually managed to take some decent shots to include in a birth announcement that we sent out mostly to family. I probably wouldn’t have kicked myself into gear had I not been so enamored with the birth announcements of complete strangers on the internet. I believe she was just over a week old when we took these shots:
We took these pictures on the couch with just the early morning light coming through the windows. We somehow don’t own any plain white sheets, so I actually stole one of the window curtains to make a white backdrop. The light angle gave us some weird shadowing, since the big window is off to the left in these shots. I went to town post-processing these, but I wanted a better light solution for future glam photoshoots. And today is Dakota’s one-month birthday, so if I wanted to take monthly photos, I couldn’t delay any more in finding a solution.
Then it occurred to me that a while ago Dave had gifted me some photoshoot tripod/umbrella light thingies, when I had been complaining about how little natural light we got in the house. So I set those up and took some test shots of Loki, who happened to already be sitting in the right spot:
Not bad, not bad, though the poor guy still suffers from having too much black fur and me not being a great photographer. We decided to open the blinds and still let outside light in for the actual shots of Dakota, so I guess we’ll have to try to take all of the monthly photos at about the same time of day if we want them to look similar. Ah well. Here’s our final official photo:
I want them to look vaguely comparable from month to month, so I chose this one since I was able to crop out everything not covered by the blanket. I think we’ll have to position the tripod lights differently next time though, half of her face is kinda in shadow. Boo. Ah well. Here are a few more that I really liked:
She’s starting to smile a bit. 🙂
I’m not sure at this point when I’ll be back to blogging regularly, I’m taking this “first time mom” overkill very seriously. 🙂 For now I want to at least write a little about the whirlwind that was the last few weeks, and maybe I can go into more detail on certain parts at a later date. This post was mostly typed up on my iPhone, and the pictures are mostly ones I snapped with the phone and loaded to Instagram/Facebook, so I apologize now for any strangeness that results…
Let’s see, in my last post, just over three weeks ago, the drywall was finally going up in the bathroom and closet:
That took pretty much all of Tuesday and Wednesday of that week. Thursday was spent with me moping around very moodily about the looming deadline of 42 weeks pregnant and probably looking at an induction.
Then that evening (right after replying to yet another text asking if the baby had arrived) my water broke. I’ll hopefully write up the birth story in detail at some point, but here’s the quick version… I was expecting a lot of time in early labor, but instead, as best as I can tell, I went straight into active labor. I’m still not quite sure what this “transition” thing is, and apparently I’m not very good at listening to my body when it’s saying, “okay, now PUSH!” But I had a great team of midwives and Dave and Julie stuck it out with me. In the end, my baby was born pretty much exactly as we were hoping: at home, in my own bed, and very very healthy.
Unfortunately Dave really only got one day off because we still had this bathroom thing. See, we were looking at a really great refinance opportunity, but the lender understandably wouldn’t go for it while the master bathroom was completely gutted down to the studs. This was exactly the excuse my dad needed, since he wanted to see baby Dakota, but he didn’t want to fly out here unless he could actually be helpful. So we put him to work.
Dave and Dad spent a full week on very little sleep getting the bathroom to a point where it was no longer a health hazard in the lender’s eyes. I spent the week camped out in the living room with Dakota in my arms. The house would have been a mess regardless, but it was even more of a mess with the random tools and supplies lying around everywhere. But we got our refinance done! Here’s the much more intact bathroom:
I felt pretty useless through it all, but all that sitting around meant that I healed up pretty well and Dakota and I have figured out this whole nursing thing, so I’ll still take a victory lap.
We’re still figuring out the whole baby thing, but Dakota is now three weeks old, and while she doesn’t have a check-up this week, at two weeks she was up 1.75 lbs from her birth weight. So she’s not starving, and hopefully we can figure out the rest as we go. We’ve had the good fortune to stay mostly on top of our sleep so far, which helped my recovery a good deal. I don’t know how long the sleep thing will last, but we’re taking it all in one day at a time for now.
And here’s one more picture of Dakota for funsies:
My official due date was two days ago, but I’ve been assuming all along that I’d see it come and go with no baby. So I figured a good way to keep me from feeling too bummed would be to go out and take a bunch of pictures of my round self. I felt a bit weird getting pictures taken while attempting to lovingly caress my belly, but it was a fun afternoon distraction. What follows are a handful of my favorite pictures, though we took over 100 and narrowed it down to 30ish that we both liked. You don’t have to read the rest of the text for this post, it’s mostly just there to separate out to pictures a bit. 🙂
It was a good day for outdoor photography, cloudy but not cold, and just a little windy, which occasionally did weird things to my hair and my skirt. Ah well.
Dave enjoyed it because I think it’s been quite a while since he’s really had the time to take some artsy shots. I think he took a little while to get comfortable taking tons of photos, considering I think back when he took Photography in high school they had to develop their film themselves, so a ton of photos would probably be annoying to deal with. Ah… technology!
Unfortunately Dave is not so good with getting humans to pose and fixing their clothing and such. I guess I have high standards after many years of ballet photo shoots. It’s pretty hard to evaluate myself when I’m attempting to pose though, so a lot of pictures got rejected because my hair was doing a weird bump thing or my bra line was showing or whatever.
The park we went to is 5 minutes from our house and not particularly picturesque or anything. This just happens to be a good time of year for random flowers and greenery I think. The yellow flowers in the first picture above are actually just a huge shoulder-height patch of weeds that happened to be flowering this week. The wisteria in these last few pictures was a totally lucky find, it was growing over the fence of a private residence bordering the park. I hadn’t even realized that wisteria was in bloom yet.
Yes, we got a few pictures with Loki too.
I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do with these or the 30-odd other pictures I saved, I don’t particularly feel the urge to get an album printed or anything, especially since I’ve only bothered to post-process these 6 so far. I guess I could at least load them all to a Facebook photo album or something.
P.S. Mom- if you want any of these, I have higher-res versions that I can send you. 🙂
I’ve been off work for two weeks now, but I’ve managed to keep more or less of a routine at least so far… No sleeping in until noon yet! I’ve actually enjoyed getting up right around when Dave gets into the shower and cooking up some bacon and eggs for the two of us.
It’s not an every day thing, but it’s often enough that I’ll take credit for effort. 🙂 I’ve even been slicing up whatever fruit we have lying around as a side dish. Of course this time of year that means mostly citrus, but it certainly looks fancy!
After that my day gets pretty random. I generally spend a good chunk of the morning browsing the web. My preferred spot is at the end of the couch, right by the big window:
It’s a north-facing window, but the whole living/dining area gets a ton of ambient light so I normally don’t even bother turning on the indoor lights during the day. This means I can spend a big chunk of the day inadvertently spying on our neighbors. Julie says I make a pretty good “creeper” since I already have most of their routines more or less figured out. We also have quite a few neighborhood cats that seem to have pretty consistent movement patterns as well.
Julie’s work normally starts at 2pm, so she wakes up a few hours beforehand and we hang out for a bit. If I have any errands I want to run I’ll generally time them so that I can drop Julie off at work and then get the errands taken care of. But sometimes I don’t feel like going out so I just make Julie bike to work, because I’m a big meanie. 🙂
The rest of each day has been pretty much up in the air. Last week we had lovely weather so I spent a lot of the week weeding and aerating the lawn. I also spent a lot of the week goofing off. This is what I really love about not working during my last month of pregnancy: I can really take the time to listen to my body. When I’m feeling energetic I get some chores done or take Loki for a walk. When I’m feeling tired (which is sometimes five minutes after I start in on a chore) I just lie down and read or take a nap or whatever.
There’s no way I can write about bumming around the house without mentioning my furry compatriots… Loki definitely prefers to keep me nearby while I’m in the house, but he hasn’t been following me from room to room, thank goodness. Mostly he just chills on the couch waiting to see if I’ll take him for a walk:
I shift around a lot so generally none of the animals really try for my lap when I sit down, but Loki often will at least attempt to curl up next to me. This is only bad when I’m lying on my side and he goes to curl up against my belly. Any pressure at all there feels unpleasant so I have to push him away. When I’m at the computer he curls up against my back.
The cats spend most of the day doing what cats do best: sleeping. They mostly hang out in the extra room since that gets the best morning sun, and it’s the room that the rest of us go into the least. Here are the boys in their preferred spot on top of the cat tree:
And here’s Callie giving me her best “What are YOU looking at?” face.
All in all, staying at home has been pretty nice. Sometimes I get bored by myself, but Dave has been very good about responding to texts even if I’m probably just distracting him with silly conversation for no reason. I know everything will change once there’s a baby in the picture, but for now at least I’m enjoying this brief period of calm before the storm.