Our little elf

Christmas Day was a pretty lazy, relaxing day.  Well as relaxing as you can get with a toddler around.  We started off with breakfast complete with the pecan sweet rolls!  Our little elf opened more presents and rode around on his tractor for a while.

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Then we started playing with our presents.  Like this “drone” thingy that Jacob got, but really has become daddy’s toy.

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When Jake went down for his nap we all got cozy in front of the fire and watched a sappy Hallmark Christmas movie, it was great! When Jake woke up and started watching some of his cartoons, he thought the tractor was the best place to do so.

IMG_3110And that was pretty much it for our lazy day.  Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!

Christmas festivities

We had a bit of a rough start to Christmas this year.  A week before Christmas Jake was running a high fever for two days, then once the fever broke, he had a cold complete with a runny nose, croupy cough, no appetite, little to no naps, restless nighttime sleep, and grumpy mood swings.  Jake has only had a couple of colds prior to this one and they only lasted around 3 days and he has never lost his appetite and his symptoms were never this intense, poor guy was hit with a doozy this time around.  In the middle of all this Justin left to go to his parents a few days before Christmas to help them move into a new house, and my mom came here since we had planned to make my grandma’s pecan sweet rolls for Christmas morning, a family tradition, before leaving to go to my parents cabin to spend Christmas.  We got the rolls made and Justin’s parents moved, but delayed going to the cabin for a day and a half hoping that Jake would get better (and that my mom and I wouldn’t get sick!).  Even though Jake still was not 100% better we figured the worst (and most contagious) part of it was probably over so we loaded up the car and drove to my parents cabin. Over the next few days, we made lists, went shopping for food, continued to help Justin’s parents get settled, Justin saw some clients in the desert and one night we took a break from it all and went to the Living Desert for the Wild Lights.  It was a fun night of sipping coffee/hot chocolate while strolling around looking at the lights, the village with the trains running through (Jake’s favorite), a giant Rudolph and a ride on the carousel.

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The next day my mom drove in to pick up Oma and brought her to the cabin and we started the process of cooking and baking to prepare for Christmas Eve dinner.  At this point Jake was better but still trying to get rid of his cold, we were slathering him with Vick’s Vapo Rub, running a humidifier while he slept and trying to roll with his mood swings.  On Christmas Eve Justin’s parents and grandma came to the cabin.  It was a blustery cold day, at one point we looked outside the window and saw Apollo helping out by holding down the tablecloth on the table outside so it wouldn’t blow away.

IMG_3093Jacob is one lucky guy to have such wonderful grandparents who love him dearly and spoil him rotten.

IMG_1801ed IMG_1800edBut it really warms my heart to see him with both his great grandmothers.  Jake loves his Oma and GiGi!

IMG_1794edJake is not really content just hanging out and playing in the house anymore, he is much happier when he’s outside so he can explore, especially when he knows grandpa has a tractor outside.

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And he likes to kick the ball around for the dogs

IMG_1820edTo keep him busy inside the house we started letting him open presents

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After we had dinner, we gave Jake a bath thinking it would be an early bedtime since he had not been sleeping well due to his cold and was getting a little grumpy.  But after his bath he turned into his usual fun, giggly, playful self so we let him stay up for dessert and to open some more presents.

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I’ll be back soon with more on our little elf on Christmas Day.

A little silliness

Hope you all had a great Christmas!  I have some catching up to do on this blog so I am going to start here…

Christmas is my favorite holiday and having a little one around makes it even more fun. Part of the fun is starting some new traditions.  Last year we got some Christmas costumes from Justin’s parents and this year we added to them, got a bigger outfit for Jacob and took some new pictures.

I am realizing that even though I do love my camera, I do not get along with the self timer and tripod. Every time I use those two things the pictures never come out.

The main culprit it the focus…here we are a little blurry.

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Then when we get a better focus the camera is not as secure on the tripod and moves down cutting our heads off. I bet Jacob had a huge smile on his face for this one too!

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After fixing the camera so it is pointing up, we ended up being off centered.

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Oh well, it is the effort that counts right.  It was a fun few minutes and Jacob was surprisingly going along with it and having fun. Although I am sure the dog would prefer to be left out of this silliness, he doesn’t look like he’s having much fun.

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We will see what happens next year!

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Local Celebrity

A few weeks ago when I was walking out of the bank I saw fliers on the counter for our community Holiday Celebration and we had so much fun at this event last year I didn’t want to miss it this year, so I grabbed a flier, stuck it in the basket under the stroller and continued on with my errands.  When I got home I pulled out the flier, put the date & time in my calendar on my phone, set a reminder and pinned the flier on the bulletin board in the kitchen.  The next night…I was cooking dinner and while I was stirring some rice on the stove I was looking up at all the things I have on the bulletin board and my eyes stopped on the flier.  I kept staring at the picture of the little boy sitting on Santa’s lap…then it dawned on me that the boy was Jacob!  I couldn’t believe it!  I remember I signed a waiver after he sat on Santa’s lap last year because the photographer and other people working the event said he was so cute and so good with Santa they wanted to use the pictures for advertising.  I signed the waiver and pretty much forgot about it.  Until now.

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It was kind of fun walking around the shopping center in the next few weeks and seeing his face on all the fliers in every store and the big posters outside.  On the morning of the event I had some errands to run at the shopping center so I grabbed my camera so I could take some pictures of Jake next to the Christmas tree.  It was the tail end of a big rainstorm (at least big by San Diego standards) so it was cool and still sprinkling.

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The tree was of no interest to him, he was having more fun splashing in the puddles and sticking his tongue out to catch the raindrops.

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Then it was all about the birds and he kept watching them, waving at them and waiting for one to land on the ground so he could chase it.

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I was able to direct his attention to one of the posters he was in.

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See mom…I’m right there!

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That evening, we went back and listened to the carolers, waved at the marines who were collecting toys for the Toys for Tots foundation, watched Santa arrive in a firetruck and then we stood in line to sit on his lap.  I really wasn’t sure what he would do this year.  He didn’t cry, but just kept reaching out for me and saying “momma” the entire time.

I don’t think he will be on next year’s advertisement!

The Whites

I have done several photo shoots at Old Poway Park and this is the 3rd year I’ve taken pictures for the White family, and I think these are some of my favorite pictures I’ve taken both at this location as well as for this family.  Anytime we are working with kids, especially 4 young kids, it’s hard to get them to sit still, and get them all to look at the camera and smile at the same time.  But I think we had a little bit of luck this time around, and it is only going to get better from here on out.  Here are some of my favorites…

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And with this family I can always count on getting a good crazy/silly picture 🙂

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The Cast

There’s this great gymnastics gym that I discovered through my MOMs group that has open play for toddlers 3 days a week for 1 hour.  For $5 they can run all over the gym, jump in the bounce house, play with the foam rollers, wedges, mats, hula hoops, balls, jump on the trampoline, etc…

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It is a great way to burn energy and Jake usually takes a nice long nap afterwards!  There is one section of the gym where the floor mats are different densities and some are more firm than others, one day we were playing in that area and Jake stepped between two of the mats he fell to his knees and cried out.   I was sitting just a few feet away, he crawled into my lap and just sat there holding his left foot.  I took off his socks to see if he scraped his foot and there were no visible signs of any injury.  So I figured he probably just scared himself so we sat there for a few minutes to give him a break.  Then I tried to get him up to walk around and the minute he would take one step he would get down on his knees and crawl.  He didn’t cry, he just wouldn’t walk.  That is when I figured that he probably did hurt himself.  So we got our stuff and I took him home, put him down for his nap and planned to see how he was when he woke up before calling the doctor.  He woke up from his nap and was acting his normal self, no crankiness, no crying, nothing, but he still wouldn’t put weight on his foot and anytime I tried to get him to walk, he would hold his foot and say “uh oh”…so I called his pediatricians office and they said we needed to go to urgent care since we would need x rays.  So I packed up some toys and food and loaded him up in the car and we were off to his first urgent care visit.  We were there for 3 hours and had two different x ray sessions and Jake was a champ the entire time, wooing the nurses with his charm and putting stickers on every surface he could find.

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During the x ray sessions I couldn’t stay with him and had to watch through a glass window in the next room since I am pregnant and can’t be around the x rays while in use.  I gave him my phone so he could play his games to keep him distracted.  It didn’t even faze him, he was totally chill with the whole process.

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As I was watching I couldn’t help but get a bit teary eyed at the thought of my sweet boy with a broken bone and how proud I was at how well he was handling the whole process.  I kept thinking of all those parents who have watched their kids suffer through much much worse, such as childhood cancer or some other kind of painful ordeal.  And watching them go into the MRI machines, receive their chemo and radiation treatments and how strong those kids are.  I’ve heard it said so many times that kids feed off of your energy, and that is true, but I also believe that when the kids are being strong and brave, it helps the parents to be strong and brave as well.  When we were done the radiologist had already gone home for the day, so we had to wait until the next morning for the results of the x rays.  The urgent care doc was not too concerned and said he wasn’t going to put a splint on him since he could easily pull it off. So we went home.

The next morning we got a phone call that his ankle was fractured.  The good news is it is not the weight bearing bone (tibia) it is the smaller bone next to it (fibula) and the fact that he is so young and his bones are so “pliable” he would heal quickly.  They then told me to call a pediatric orthopedic group to follow up with them.  I called them right away and they told me that their first available appointment was 2 days later.  I said, “okay…well since his ankle is fractured and he doesn’t have any kind of splint or brace on it, should I be keeping him from putting weight on it?” (at the same time I’m thinking in my head, how the heck am I going to keep him from doing that?  The kid is constantly on the move!)  The nurse said “Oh!  He doesn’t have a splint on?  Can you come this afternoon?”  So that afternoon, we met the doctor and he agreed that the x rays showed that it was likely a fracture and he said since he’s not putting weight on it then he should get a cast, but he only has to wear it for 3 weeks.  I’m thinking…okay, no big deal, just a little cast to protect his ankle.  Nope, he got a full leg cast all the way up to his upper thigh.  The doctor said that if he put on a short leg cast then Jake would pull it off before we could leave the parking lot.

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Checking it out, hmmmm…what’s this thing all about?

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The first day, he was pretty chill and was content sitting on the floor surrounded by toys to play with.

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Then he started wanting me to pick him up and carry him everywhere so he could be up higher and see what was going on.  He quickly learned how to crawl and scoot around with it and it didn’t take long after that when he figured out how to walk with it.  Justin was calling him our little pirate with a wooden leg.

Since he couldn’t get it wet, and we had to try to keep it “clean” we were not able to go to the beach, pool or playgrounds.  So I was keeping him busy doing things where he can ride along in the stroller or shopping cart.  We were running errands, going to the aquarium and when my mom was in town we went to the Safari Park.  We saw the tigers, elephants and watched the gorillas playing around.

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Jacob had his first visit to the local voting booth on election day.

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I bought him a few new toys to keep him entertained while staying in one place.

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Bath time became a two person job.  Some nights he just got a sponge bath and we called him clean.  However, anyone who has ever experienced an almost 2 year old boy, knows how dirty they get and whenever Jacob eats anything that involves syrup or any other kind of sticky, gooey substance he decides to wipe his hands in his hair.  So we were often giving him a “full” bath and needing to wash his hair as well.  I had the idea of getting his infant bath tub out and putting it on our bathroom counter. We wrapped the cast in a plastic bag and hung it over the side of the tub.  It worked…but again, this boy LOVES his bath and splashing the water is the BEST part, right!? So those nights became a scene from Waterworld in our bathroom and Justin and I (and the mirror and bathroom counters, walls and floor) were soaked!  After a few of those kind of nights, I had the bright idea to put the infant bathtub inside his bathtub so the water would be (somewhat) contained and easily drained.  So we finally got the bath time routine under control.  And the 3 weeks went by (kind of) fast.

We went back a week before Thanksgiving to get the cast off.  By then it was filthy, scraped up and the area around the toes was all worn down from him dragging it around.

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He was fascinated with the saw as the nurse was cutting it off of him, she found a sticker that he had stuck in there at some point 🙂   We got more x rays and the doctor said that he didn’t see any evidence of a healed fracture, so it was most likely just a really bad sprain.  They gave us the bottom half of his cast and an ACE bandage to use as a splint.  The doctor said not to expect anything from Jake soon and that it would take a little time for him to get back to normal.  He said to put the splint on him and let Jake decide/tell me when he wanted it off, and come back in 3 weeks for a follow up.

Since a sprain actually takes longer to heal than a fracture he still is pretty sore and occasionally will sign hurt while pointing to his foot.  He wore the splint for a couple days and stuck with crawling around.  About a week and a half after getting the cast off he started standing up and walking around slowly.  Every day he gets a little faster and more confident, and I’m sure he will be back to running full speed in no time. In the meantime, he is climbing on every surface he can find.  Every time I turn around he is standing on top of something with a big smile and giggle of accomplishment. Here’s to hoping that we don’t have any more casts in this family!

Senior Portriats

As I said before, it is that time of year where everyone wants family pictures done for their Christmas cards, so I’ve been really busy.  I love that kind of busy though, it is a lot of fun to be with these families and capture special moments with them.  All of the photography I’ve done has been babies, kids and families so when I was asked to do Senior portraits for a friend I was excited to have a different kind of project on my hands.  Not only was it different but having just one, adult subject who stays still and listens to you when you ask her to look at the camera or smile made it so much easier than the kiddos I am used to chasing around!

She choose the beach for her background so we headed to Torrey Pines State Beach to take advantage of the beautiful cliffs.  We had a great time walking up and down the beach taking pictures, talking about life, school, plans for her future and how lucky we were to live in America’s Finest City.  She really is a beautiful person on the inside and absolutely gorgeous on the outside!  See for yourself…

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As we were walking back to our cars we kept stopping to take pictures of God’s beautiful artwork! I will never tire of this view.

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I will be back to share some more of my favorites from the other photo sessions I’ve done lately.

Because “I am going to be 35…”

Usually around 18-20 weeks of pregnancy your doctor will order you a fetal anatomy scan where they do an ultrasound to check the baby’s organs, measure the head/limbs, check the blood flow and just make sure everything looks good.  When I was pregnant with Jacob I just went to an ultrasound tech that was in the same building as my OB.  However, now that I am “going to be 35 years old when I deliver” (a phrase I am hearing a lot these days…) my OB sent me to a “Specialty OB” office to have my fetal anatomy scan.  Simply only because of my age.  I understand that the older the woman is there are more risks involved and they just want to check and make sure that all is well or be able to prepare you if all is not well.  As often as I hear the “going to be 35 years old when I deliver” I also remind them that my 35th birthday is only 13 days before my due date, so there is a chance I may still be 34 when this baby arrives, it is not like I am over the age of 35 yet.  Plus…since this is a frozen embryo pregnancy, then the baby was technically conceived when I was 32.  Anyway, it doesn’t bother me, if anything it gives me a peace of mind.

Yesterday morning was my ultrasound appointment.  When I was pregnant with Jacob the ultrasound tech kept the screen hidden from me and didn’t talk to me or tell me anything while she was doing it, until at the end she gave us a look at him and said he looks good.  This time around the ultrasound tech allowed me to see what she was looking at and explained what she was measuring or looking for, etc… and everything looked great!  Just like my last pregnancy we declined the genetic testing and the amniocentesis. The doctor came in and talked to us and confirmed that everything looks good and one thing we talked about was that the baby was measuring big, 10 ounces to be exact, which is common for IVF babies.  I didn’t ask what the “usual size” was at this point, but according to What to Expect When You Are Expecting…at 18 weeks the baby is around 5 oz.  So the doctor was predicting that he would probably come early, maybe around April 25th.

Here’s a recent picture of our big guy (yes, we confirmed again that it is indeed a boy, no doubt about it!)

18 wksThey also did a few views in 3D which was kind of creepy looking but kind of amazing at the same time.  Here he is with his hands up by his face.

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