St Patrick’s Day Photo Series

Every month and every holiday, I take “official” photos of the babies. As they get older, it’s only gotten more difficult. I imagine that there are babies out there who sit still and play with props, but I don’t have any of those anymore. Both of these babies do not want to sit still, and they are too curious about the stuff I put on their heads to keep it on there for more than a second at a time. I don’t even bother doing holiday prop photos of them together anymore; I just do one at a time and make a diptych. (The couch ones do still work with them together, only because they are sort of semi-contained by the couch itself.)

I am no longer able to do photo shoots alone–either my husband or our nanny has to act as prop-placer, wrangler, entertainer. And I figured I should share all the photos I have to take to get something slightly decent. So here is the final St Patrick’s Day photo, with just some of the outtakes. Enjoy the chaos. 🙂

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The M Word

Last week was Mother’s Day. My first official Mother’s Day. (Last year I was secretly pregnant for Mother’s Day, and also we were ending our trip in central Europe.)

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I was hoping that by now I would have been able to put together some words about being a mother.

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But…I haven’t. I can’t. It’s so strange.   DSC_0499-7

See, Mothers are grown-up ladies who know what they’re doing.   DSC_0488-5

That description does not sound like me…ergo, I can’t possibly be one! And yet…

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Here are these two babies that apparently are mine. I have two babies. They are pretty much the best and cutest babies in the whole wide world. Hugging them is seriously one of my all-time favorite things to do. Their giggles, their chubby thigh rolls, their little hands grabbing mine, the way they have a huge smile when they see me first thing in the morning…I love these things and lots more. I love these babies. I guess that makes me a mama.

I hope all of you mamas had a good, relaxing day. All I wanted this year was a nap and a photo of me with my sweet babies. Check and check, thanks to my husband. 🙂

Rhododendron Garden

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Last fall and winter, I joined a bunch of Meetup.com groups, in hopes of meeting people and learning about interesting places in Portland. One was a group called New to Portland Moms. Well! That’s exactly who I was (or who I was about to be)!

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They are a very active group, with outings most days a week. But most of the meetups are early in the morning. So when I saw an outing for the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden at a 11am (an hour past a feeding), on a Thursday, it was like, “Bingo! That’s perfect!” It was close by, I hadn’t been there before, it wasn’t too early, and I wouldn’t have to feed them there. Finally, an outdoor outing that I could feel comfortable attempting by myself!

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The garden is a lovely network of paths ambling among trees and around water, with lots of colorful rhododendron bushes everywhere. All seemed to be in peak bloom. It was a perfect day to stroll, just the right amount of warm. The paths were nice and shady to keep you cool. There are some small hilly sections that were a little bit of a challenge with my big stroller, but for the most part it’s easy to roam. There’s a large lake in the middle. I found a few moms from the group with their kids–all bigger than mine–and after a little loop of the flowered paths, everyone hung out on a lawn while the kids roamed and snacked.

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I laid out a muslin on the grass and took the babies out of the stroller. In less than two minutes, the fussiness started.

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They weren’t screaming or anything, thank goodness, or even crying very loud. It was just clear that they were unhappy. I tried to deal with it for awhile, and a fellow mom even held one baby for a couple minutes. But finally I decided that the hassle wasn’t worth it, and I packed them up again.

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So it wasn’t the greatest outing in the world, but it wasn’t the worst either. I guess I just need to take baby steps–ha!–in getting these babies out and about in the world.

Tulip Festival!

On Thursday afternoon, we did an afternoon outing at the Woodburn Tulip Festival!

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Though I grew up in the Seattle suburbs, I never went to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. I would hear about it and be so interested, but I never made the effort to actually go. A few weeks ago I was thinking about tulip season and wishing it weren’t so far away so I could finally go…then I wondered if there was something similar a little closer.

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I looked it up and lo and behold — a local tulip festival! Woodburn looks to be much smaller than Skagit–it’s only one farm and one field. But it was still so beautiful!

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Rows and rows of different colors of so many tulips!

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Yay!

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Of course half the reason I wanted to go was to take pictures. Of course with two babies and uneven ground for the stroller, I didn’t have a lot of time to really hang out in the field with my camera like I wanted to.

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But I got a few decent shots at least. And I’m already thinking ahead to next year.  DSC_2400-8

Babies will be walking by then, so we’ll have a little more freedom (though of course we’ll be chasing after them too). And we can take lots more cute photos. Imagine this one in another year, with both babies sitting in the wooden shoes. Won’t that be adorable?!!

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(Am I the only one who specifically looks for and plans photos on outings and future outings?)

This was also a good opportunity to get nice photos of each of us with each baby.

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And of course take a family photo! Next year I hope to find a spot with better/closer tulip backgrounds.

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We didn’t have a lot of time to look around before they had to eat. We’d left right after their 1pm feeding and arrived around 3pm (it’s a 45 minute drive from Portland). We fed them in the car in their carseats around 415. They were still distracted and it took longer than normal, but it wasn’t the craziness like our last outing. Unfortunately, Emmett did his freakout thing and Andy had to try lots of different things to calm him down. We finally gave up with an ounce left in his bottle and we left around 530.

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It was really a treat to get out of the city, especially during the week with fewer crowds, and see such a pretty sight. This year all the tulips are in bloom at once, and this is the peak. If you’re local, you should go!

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DIY Maternity Photos

If we had the budget for it, I would have loved to do a professional maternity photo session. This is a once in a lifetime experience (we hope!), and I know that I will enjoy looking back on the photographic evidence of this pregnancy journey.

Alas, we don’t have that budget. I do plan to do a newborn photo session, though. Partly because I don’t imagine I’ll be physically able to take many photos at the very beginning (my last year of hospital newborn photography involved a lot of bending and twisting, two actions that I am currently physically unable to do, and I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to for at least another month, if not longer), and partly because I don’t have a studio setup/equipment to get the kind of baby and family shots I’d love to have.

This week the weather was going to turn icky, and I’m not very mobile any more (am supposed to be mostly sitting/lying down), so Andy agreed to do a few quick photos in our front yard. These aren’t the best or most creative maternity photos around, but they’ll do. 🙂

I set up my tripod and attached my SB-800 flash, using a Demb Flip-It to bounce the light.

Out and About

Here’s what we’ve been up to in October:

When Andy went back to Brooklyn for a long weekend at the New Yorker Festival, I went up to Seattle to see family one last time. I also got to go to Issaquah Salmon Days, my favorite small-town festival! And then some lovely ladies threw me a surprise baby shower. 🙂

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The Portland Nursery had an apple tasting event, with other fun activities like music, free popcorn, face painting, and of course fun kid cut-outs.

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Another weekend we went to a pumpkin patch just outside of the city. Andy got to blow up pumpkins.

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“Pumpkins” versus pumpkin.

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We completed our child/birth/prep classes with the Newborn Care class. Here’s Andy with our practice baby, correctly diapered and swaddled. 🙂