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Mal: Three Month Old

Hurray another photo actually taken on time!

mal 3 months

I even remembered the ground hog stuffed animal! And I think I got the photo cropped to the same size as last month, though there’s only so much time I’m willing to spend staring at circles on a blanket… 🙂

mal 2 months

mal 1 month

And a bonus picture! Mal’s figured out how to grab the belly sticker, and I’m up on a step stool trying to take his picture, so my special helper kept putting the belly sticker back in place for me. Complete with dinosaur tattoos on her hands. 🙂

sticker helper

And of course, here’s Dakota at 3 months.

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Mal: Two Months Old

Woohoo two month photo!

mal 2 months

And I just realized I forgot the stuffed animal again. :(Oh well, soldier on! Here’s one month:

mal 1 month

And Dakota at 2 months.

Mal: One Month Old

Mal is a month old, hurray!

mal 1 month

He’s not quite as big as Dakota was at one month, but he’s certainly trying to look it with that double chin. 🙂

I’m still taking pictures in the living room, but I laid the (awesome handmade gift) blanket in the middle of the floor instead of on the couch, in the hopes of somewhat more even light. And while the legwarmers were fun for Dakota, I figure there’s enough going on with this new blanket so I’ll keep the clothing super simple this time.

I do have a stuffed animal for his pictures, but I completely forgot about it until I went back and looked at Dakota’s one month photo. Curses! But I’m not going for perfection here, and I’m happy with the shot I got, so I’m not going to drive myself crazy trying over and over. I’ll just have to remember for next month. 🙂

A Year of Monthly Photos

I had a great time getting Dakota’s photo in roughly the same setup on a monthly basis. For posting the new picture each month I just went with whatever cropping and brightness looked good to me, because I knew if I tried to make them all match as I went along it would drive me crazy. After all 12 months were complete though, I figured I could spend a little time and try to make them match a bit better. Here is the result:

Combined Photos

Since the belly stickers were all part of the same set and therefore exactly the same size, I was able to use my photo editing software to crop each photo so that the stickers were roughly the same number of pixels across every time. Just for fun, here’s 1 month old and 12 months old together:

1 month, 12 months

If I were to go back and do it differently there’s really only a few things that I would change. My biggest challenge throughout was getting enough light for a good picture. I had this little hobby photo lighting kit with umbrellas and everything, but having to set it up and take it down was an extra stress and I still generally wasn’t happy with the lighting. I think in hindsight I should have just set Dakota up on the blanket in the middle if the floor. That way she would get good ambient light from both living room windows without the obvious shadow cast by the back of the couch. It also would have made it easier to get up on a stool to get the picture. Dave’s tall enough that he may not have needed a stool at all.

The different colored leg warmers were a bit of a splurge but totally fun. I’ve been a surprised looking back as to which ones actually got the most practical use after they retired from the role of photo prop. The striped ones from the 3-month photo seem to end up matching a surprising number of her outfits, and the solid yellow ones from month 11 are nice and neutral and have been getting a lot of use too.

The belly stickers were a gift, and it was nice to not have to come up with a plan for that aspect of the photo. And again, it was nice to be able to use them after the fact to get all the photos to be roughly the same relative size. But as you can see in the last three photos, it was quite a challenge to keep her from ripping the stickers off towards the end.

I’ve already taken the first of the NEW set of monthly photos, so I’ll have to do another post on that one soon. Spoiler, she’s sitting in front of the fireplace, which is nice and white now. (This time last year it was still brick-colored.) But for now I’m just going to finish this by saying that I love the monthly photo thing, and I’m going to stick with it!

Dakota: 12 Months Old

Wow! She’s a year old! I figure I should write out my thoughts on this whole monthly photo thing… or something… but for now, here’s her 12th photo!

twelve months

And here are the past even months:

10 months

eight months

six months

four months

two months

I have decided that I will keep going with the monthly photos, but I will try a different setup for year two!

Oh, and here are the odd numbered months.

Dakota: One Month Old

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:

Dakota 1 week

Dakota 1 week 2

Dakota 1 week 3

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:

Loki glam

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:

one month

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:

one month 2

one month 3

She’s starting to smile a bit. 🙂

The past few weeks

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:

Drywall

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.

Dakota

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:

Bathroom Progress

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.

Me and Dakota

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:

Dakota Blanket