Archive for August, 2013

August 29, 2013
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This is another family that holds a special place in my heart. I had Katie in my first grade class, and her twin brother was in the class next door. How freakin’ adorable are these kids?! They were a pleasure to photograph, that’s for sure. Little brother Drew was a cutie pie as well, and cracked me up during the entire shoot. Christy is another parent I am so lucky to have kept in touch with through the years. She is my “go-to gal” when it comes to Target toy sales! 😉

Mizer family, thank you for making the trek all the way to Ault Park for your session! It is one of my favorite locations for sure. 🙂 It was so great seeing all of you, and I appreciated the fun and laughter your kiddos provided! I hope you love the pictures we got as much as I do!

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August 28, 2013
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I have had the privilege of photographing this family once a year since I opened my photography business. If you’ve looked at the Home page of my website, you’ll probably recognize them! 🙂 It warms my heart when families come back for repeat sessions. I love getting to see families grow and change! This family holds an extra special place in my heart, because I taught their oldest son when he was in first grade. Casey was my room mom that year, and I loved working with her! I am so glad that we’ve stayed in touch, and that I get to capture pictures of them year after year.

Thanks again for having me take your pictures, Guion family! It was great spending time with you at Sharon Woods! 🙂

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August 27, 2013
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Jason,

It’s officially been two years since we said “I do!” In some ways it feels like just yesterday we were walking down the aisle. In other ways, it feels like we’ve been married forever! I mean that in a good way, of course! Not too many people can say they have been married for two years AND have two kids (aged two and under, mind you!). Although we have our hard days, I think we’re doing a pretty good job at being married and parents. While I love our kids, and am so glad that we’ve managed to raise them happy and healthy thus far, I am going to try and focus the rest of this letter on just us!

When I think back to when I first met you, I can still remember the butterflies I had. I had seen pictures of you from Mandi, and thought you were so darn cute. I was so excited to meet you on our first date that I watched from the window in my apartment and rushed down the stairs to meet you. Our conversation at Bravo’s was entertaining, and we learned how much we DIDN’T have in common! (Anyone that went to our wedding should remember Mandi’s matron of honor speech!). Even though at the time I thought we were polar opposites, I knew you were a great guy and someone I was interested in pursuing.

The more I got to know you, the more I fell in love with you. While on the exterior you seemed tough and strong, I quickly started seeing that you were really a big teddy bear deep down. I still remember you crying watching Marley and Me in the theatre. But shhhh! Your secret is safe with me! 😉

Those first few dates seem like ages ago, but they rooted our relationship. We never ran out of things to talk about, and were always up for something fun to do. It means the world to me that we still take the time to date one another now. I look forward to our monthly “date nights,” and am amazed that we still have plenty to talk about. I am glad that we both still see the importance of dating, even after marriage and kids. I look forward to still “dating” you in our 70’s! 🙂

Thank you for two wonderful years of being your wife. Like our first dance song lyrics said, “And I thought I loved you then,” I really do love you more today than I did on our wedding day. I love having you as my partner, supporter, and best friend. You are the best dad to our kids that I could’ve ever hoped for. You treat my family like your own, and I know they love having you as a son-in-law. Most importantly, you are the one person I want by my side through all the ups and downs in life.

I love you so much, and look forward to the many more years of marriage we have ahead!

Love,

~Kristi~

BFamily Pics Aug.-3

This is a picture from one of our more recent date nights. We went to see Jason Aldean, and J decided to dress the part for a country concert. We joke all the time about how much I hate that shirt he’s wearing. He threatens to wear it out other places. I tell him over my dead body! 😉 For some more “anniversary appropriate” pictures, check out last year’s anniversary post and get the link to my wedding slideshow!

August 25, 2013
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I had the pleasure of taking some photos of this adorable family earlier this summer. Natasha (or “Tash” as my hubby calls her!) used to work with Jason. She decided to stay home to be with her kids, and I can TOTALLY relate to her choice! 🙂 Parker and Presley had a lot of fun walking around Pine Hill with us, and were all about hamming it up for the camera. I think you can see a lot of their lil’ personalities in these pictures!

I love to capture the special bonds between parents and their kiddos. Some of my favorites from this shoot are of Tash and Joey with their daughter and son. You can tell how much Parker and Presley adore them! And I also think it’s sweet how much the kids seem to enjoy each other. There’s no better picture than one of siblings loving on one another!

Isaacs family, thanks so much for asking me to take pictures of your sweet family. I can’t wait to take some more for you this fall in the leaves…I’m sure Parker will have a blast making leaf piles! 😉

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August 23, 2013
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I’ve been meaning to write this post since, um, JUNE…but am just now getting around to it! As most of you know, I am taking this school year off from teaching in order to stay home with our children. I have wanted to share the story about how we came to that decision and what it means to our family, so here we go…

Taking off the rest of last school year after Aiden was born in December was a no-brainer. I had taken twelve weeks with Peyton, and although it was twice as long as a typical maternity leave, I regretted it every day that I wasn’t with her. Don’t get me wrong – I loved my kids at school, my co-workers, and the income that working provided! But something just didn’t feel right. For one, I wasn’t all that great at juggling the many hats I was wearing – wife, mom, teacher, and photographer (in my free time). I felt like I tried to be the best mom I could be, and my job suffered. I felt bad about that and tried to be the best teacher I could be, and felt like my home life suffered. I give so much credit to teachers (or all working mamas for that matter!) that have learned to balance it all. I am so envious of your ability to do so, and would love to hear any pointers that you have to offer! 😉

I quickly discovered that working full-time wasn’t what was best for my family or my career. I tried (and tried, and tried…) to find someone to job share with after Peyton was born, and nothing worked out. So we decided to have another baby! (Logical thinking, right?) The plan was for me to take off the rest of the school year, and then go back part-time the following year. Unfortunately, it didn’t end up working out again. I was devastated. Now I had TWO kids at home that I didn’t want to leave, and my options became working full-time again or taking the year off. Jason and I had many conversations about it, but never reached a decision. The deadline to tell school was quickly approaching, and I didn’t know what to do. So I prayed (and prayed, and prayed…). At one point I got so desperate for an answer, that I asked God for a sign. I asked Him for a rainbow, to be exact. I was driving to meet Jason somewhere for dinner, and there had been a very quick rain – nothing to write home about. I asked God to show me a rainbow if He wanted me to stay home full-time. Well, I didn’t see one driving to the restaurant. I knew it was silly to ask for such a thing, but I still felt disappointed. I started to think perhaps God wanted me to go back to work. Driving home, I didn’t think much of my little conversation with God and had stopped frantically looking for rainbows. Yet it was on my drive home that one appeared! I was stopped at a red light, and I saw the faintest rainbow in the sky. Since it hadn’t rained in awhile, I was shocked to see it. I was so shocked that I actually took a picture of it on my phone as proof! I felt like God had heard my prayers, and was answering ever so quietly, “Stay home!”

Well, that same weekend Jason and I had a fire pit night. We have our deepest conversations out at the fire pit in our backyard, and this night was no exception. I could tell something was bothering Jason, and he finally brought up what he thought I should do in terms of work vs. stay home. Since his company was restructuring their commission plan, his pay was being cut pretty significantly. He felt that I needed to work to ensure we could afford all of our expenses. I was devastated. I didn’t bring up my talk with God or the rainbow. I just cried. I knew in my heart of hearts that I wanted to be home with our kids. Luckily I have an amazing husband who knew my heart, and wanted me to stay home with our kids, too. I knew he was just looking out for us financially, and I had to trust his judgment. So it was finally decided – I was going back to work in the fall. I reluctantly emailed the person in HR that I had contacted to get more info about taking a year’s leave. I told him I was going to come back to work, so no need to fill my spot. I also emailed our sitter and told her we would be using her full-time in the fall. While I knew I had a great job and a wonderful sitter, my heart hurt. My head was able to say things like, “This is for the best,” “Maybe God needs you at school,” And “Your kids will have so much fun with their friends each day.” But my heart? It was having a hard time agreeing.

A few days later my photographer friend, Annie, sent me a message asking if we could get dinner. Annie photographed our wedding and both births of our babies, and has been such a wonderful mentor to me. We get together a few times a year to talk photography and catch up. This time was different, though. She wanted to meet that week, if possible. Normally we’ll set a date a few weeks out, so it kind of surprised me that she wanted to meet as soon as possible. We agreed to get together on a Monday night, and met at our usual spot. I filled her in on our recent decision for me to go back to work. She sat and listened, and sympathized with me. Then she told me the reason that she had wanted to get together so quickly. She had seen the pictures I took of Lainey’s birth on my blog, and was impressed. She said that she felt my style was very similar to hers, and noticed how much I had improved since Blake’s birth (a lot of the improvements I credit to my new camera and lens!). Annie explained that she has had a lot of requests for births, and hasn’t been able to keep up with them all. She asked me to be her backup birth photographer. I was shocked. ME?! I had only done two births! I was flattered beyond belief. But in order for me to be her back up, I ideally needed to not be working full-time. I felt a little disappointed that I probably wouldn’t be able to step in for her too often. I told her I’d have to think about it and get back to her.

I called my mom and cried the entire way home from my dinner with Annie. I kept saying, “I think God wants me to stay home! Every sign has pointed to me towards not working!” My mom and dad have always supported me, and this was no exception. My mom agreed that staying home was best for me and our kids. She and my dad even offered to help us out in any way they could in order for me to take the year off. By the time I got home, my eyes were puffy and red and I ran upstairs to Jason. Through my tears I told him all about Annie, the rainbow, my parents, and other little signs that have pointed me towards staying home with our kids. He listened as I rambled on and on, and finally did something that shocked me…he AGREED! A huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. I felt bad that by getting that weight off MY shoulders, I was putting more weight on HIS. I hate that me staying home adds pressure for him to succeed at work. But you know what? My husband is a rock star. He continues to do well in his job, and I am so proud of him. God has a funny way of providing for His children, and I honestly feel that He has his hand in our finances. Not only is Jason doing well at his job, but I have been blessed with a lot of clients in my photography business! This summer was my busiest one yet, and I haven’t even started booking for fall (which is usually my crazy time). I also have two births lined up, and am excited at the possibility to add a few more! My goal is one a month, so we’ll see how that goes! God has provided like I had faith that He would. It reminds me of Matthew 6:26:

“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?”

That Monday night was when I decided to stay home, and Wednesday was the last day of school. All of a sudden I was stressed out about packing up my room (which I hadn’t been in since December, mind you!), finding a place to store all my teaching stuff, and letting everyone know of my decision. Since we don’t have a basement in our current house, storage space is limited. Thankfully an AWESOME teacher friend of mine is renting Jason’s old house, and agreed to let me store my supplies in the basement there. Alleluia! Packing up seven years’ worth of “stuff” was a lot of work, and I tried to go through things without getting too emotional. For the most part I succeeded, but when it came time to take all seven class pictures off my fridge, it hit me. HARD. Those faces…those sweet kids that I had loved and poured myself into through the years…it made me realize what I was leaving. I was going to miss first graders that would hug me, laugh with me, test my patience, and learn alongside me. I packed up all the pictures knowing that I had touched all those lives in some way. That was the hardest thing in my classroom to pack up, without a doubt.

I have been happy with my decision all summer. While I saw tons of posts on Facebook from teachers about getting ready and going back to school, I gave a big sigh of relief. I could enjoy every last minute of summer, knowing that my time off would last at least another year. I hugged Peyton and Aiden a little tighter, thankful that I wouldn’t have to count down the days until I wasn’t home with them all day anymore.

This week tested my decision a little bit. Monday night I saw lots of posts from my friends about meeting their new kids. I saw pictures of little ones so excited to meet their new teachers. I thought about how exciting Orientation was each year. I loved seeing all the new faces I’d be spending the year with and getting to know their parents. I also loved showing off my classroom, as it is always so clean and fresh and ready for the new year ahead. Man…I missed that.

Then there was Wednesday – the big first day of school. I thought about how most of my teacher friends probably didn’t sleep much the night before, as they were nervous they’d sleep through their alarm clocks and were wondering how the first day would go. I thought about them all day, knowing they were teaching their kids how to use the restroom properly, walk in the halls, where to sit, how to raise their hands, the quiet signal, and so many other procedures we take for granted at the end of the school year! That first day (well, first week, really…) is always so exhausting. Teachers are lucky to shove a quick sandwich down their throats before they run to see who from their class didn’t go in from recess and were missing lunch. Yet those first few days are always some of my favorites. The kids look up to you for guidance and trust you to help them maneuver through the big transition from half-day to full-day school. They get on their buses and often run home to tell their parents how much fun they had. And then they would usually fall sound asleep for an early bedtime! I always loved getting emails from parents letting me know how much their kids had enjoyed first grade.

Even though I miss all of the exciting moments of teaching, I know in my heart of hearts that stepping away from the classroom for now was the best decision for me. I traded my year with a room full of first-graders for the three of these people…

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And I wouldn’t have it any other way. Jason, Peyton, and Aiden get me full-time, and I am so grateful for that. I know that someday in the not-so-distant future, I’ll be putting both my kids on a school bus and will watch as they head off to their first days of school. I will get to share in the excitement of a new school year and all that it holds in store. But for now I am going to enjoy them being little. I am going to share in the excitement of watching them grow and learn each day, and create memories that we will treasure for years to come. I know without a doubt that this was God’s plan for me all along. I think back to that rainbow that I saw when I was so confused, and now I think it was God’s way of saying, “You’ll get to stay home…but it’s not going to be an easy decision, and you’ll figure it out at the very last minute.” I have to remember that God’s timing is always perfect and ALWAYS better than mine!

 

To all my teacher friends who have headed back to school,

I know this is a crazy time for you, so hang in there! I know those of you who have kids are trading time with your sweet babies to spend all day with your new students. I know you will give so much of your heart, your patience, and your energy at school that you worry if you’ll have enough for your own family when you get home. I know that for those of you who don’t have kids, your students ARE “your kids.” You will share funny and inspirational stories of them with your family and friends (respecting their confidentiality, of course!). You, too, will give all you have during the school day, and will often return home feeling that you’re on empty.

Thank you for all you do to make learning fun, engaging, and appropriate for each student. Thanks for all the pats on the back, Band-Aids, smiles, and tissues you will hand out. Thank you for the year’s worth of work you fit into nine months. Thanks for all the papers you’ll take home to grade on your nights and weekends. Thank you for keeping a smile on your face through all the curriculum changes, even though you know it will change again in the not-so-distant future. Thanks for all the extra effort you pour into those children that struggle, knowing that in time the light-bulb will go off and it will be worth it. Thank you for answering emails and phone calls at home, because you know that the families appreciate and value your input. Thanks for supporting one another in any way that you can – planning together, sharing materials, and most importantly, being there for each other as friends. Thank you for choosing a profession that isn’t the most highly paid, and is often pretty thankless, because you know that the world needs good teachers. I admire what you do, and hope you all have a wonderful school year!

I hope to see many of my “teacher friends” soon! And to those awesome ladies in my pod, I plan to bring in lunch once you get settled…I miss you!!!

~Kristi~

August 17, 2013
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I’ve known Kelly for what seems like forever. We’ve seen each other through it all – college at OU, getting jobs at the same school (in the same grade…next door to each other!), boyfriends, getting married, and becoming mommies! Her son, Noah, and Peyton (my daughter) are BFF’s. We can’t wait for the new little one to come and join in the fun!

I was so excited when Kelly asked me to take some maternity pictures for her. We had planned to do them outside, but a storm rolled in literally as I was pulling in her driveway. Kelly and Shawn were super flexible, and we took some shots around their gorgeous home. Noah was a great sport, and his Grandma was a BIG help at getting him to look!

I took maternity pictures for Kelly when she was pregnant with Noah. We did some of the same shots you’ll see below. We put a nametag on her belly to announce Noah’s name to their friends and family. Kelly and Shawn decided to do the same with this baby boy. So for all of you wanting to know his name, you’ll just have to scroll through until you find out! 🙂

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Kelly and Shawn, thank you so much for trusting me to take these special pictures for your family. I love you guys to death, and I can’t wait until baby CARTER is here! You will love being a family of four, and you two are the best “boy parents” around! I’m sure both boys will grow to be huge baseball fans. Now who will they root for – the Tigers or Reds?! 😉

August 16, 2013
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We are so fortunate that Jason’s family owns a lake house in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. We go there every summer, and always come home with great memories. Jason has been going up there for pretty much his entire life, and I know he is excited to continue the tradition with his own kids.

I have to admit that when I met Jason and learned that this would be a trip we’d take every year (probably for the rest of our lives), I didn’t know quite what to think of it. I am not much of a boater, ski doo-er (Is that a word? No?), or wilderness person. Like, AT ALL. My ideal vacations are usually spent lounging near a beach or pool, not swimming in fish-infected lake water. The first time I went with him, I found myself kind of in a culture shock. But year after year, I am coming around. Now I enjoy taking a boat out and relaxing, sitting on the little beach near the house, and “roughing it.” And by roughing it, I mean not drying my hair after a shower or putting on makeup. (Really, it’s not bad at all!) I still refuse to pee in the lake, though. Nope…not gonna happen! 😉

Last year and this year have to be my favorite Michigan trips to date. I love introducing my children to our traditional family vacation and start making memories I know they will treasure. My parents came along both years, and it’s always fun spending time with both sets of our parents. Have I mentioned on here how well the four of them get along? They have been known to go out together…without us! It means the world to me that we both get along with our in-laws so well, and that our families have merged so seamlessly.

We all headed up on July 23rd. The usual eight hour car trip took us more like ten on the way up, but with two kiddos, I think we did pretty well. Thank Heavens for the DVD player! On the way up we stopped at the Deer Ranch in St. Ignace. I already mentioned Peyton’s recent obsession with deer in an earlier post, but here are some more pictures from our stop. She LOVED it. She still talks about wanting to go to Michigan to see the deer. Not quite what I pictured us doing on a family vacation, but Peyton had a blast. I’m sure we’ll always laugh about our trip to the Deer Ranch. Be jealous. 🙂

My dad (“Papa Roo”) is the one I credit with Peyton’s deer obsession. They always go looking for deer when we visit his house. Of course he had to be the one to carry Peyton around at the Deer Ranch. Seriously, how sweet is he with her? My heart just swells when I think about their relationship.

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Of course we had to take some boat rides during our stay in the U.P.! Peyton loved every second of her boat rides. She found it so relaxing that she usually fell asleep. 😉 We were so happy to have Krissy (Jason’s sister) and cousin Blake at the house with us this year. Peyton and Blake were great boating buddies! The boat we rode in, Pretty Girl, ended up placing first at the annual Antique Wooden Boat Show a few weeks later! We are very proud of Grandpa Mike (Jason’s dad) for all of his hard work on this boat. It’s a beauty!

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We made our annual boat trip to Mackinac Island, and had so much fun! We started out with lunch at our usual spot, and the kids provided plenty of entertainment during the meal.

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After lunch we were on the hunt to find a horse to ride. Well, maybe not ride…more like pet and sit on for a picture. Grandpa Mike arranged for the kids to sit on a horse named Diamond. Both kids got a turn, but they were a little afraid. Peyton loved petting her once she got off the horse. She STILL talks about petting and riding the horsey. We’re so glad Grandpa arranged this!

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We ended our Mackinac trip with a visit to the Pink Pony. Many a Rum Runner was consumed. 😉 Peyton got whisked away by our waitress, and she helped her wait tables for a bit. I don’t think she understood what was going on, but she sure got a kick out of her new friend!

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You love all the pictures you get to see of me on here, don’t you? I am rarely in photos these days because I’m always behind the camera. I insisted that we took at least a few family pictures on our trip so I could prove that yes, I was around when they were little! These were the best we could get.

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Our last day was spent being Pirates. Long story short – people make their boats look like pirate ships and they attack other boats and some bars in town. Most everyone went on the boat, but Grandma Colleen, Grandma Betsy, and I took all the kids to the bar in the car. It was pretty chilly that day, and we didn’t want them being cold after the water attacks. Peyton got a kick out of the pirates. I don’t think she knew what a pirate was before the weekend, but now she knows what they look like and that they say, “Arrrr!” She has now decided that she likes Jake and the Neverland Pirates on the Disney Channel because of it. I think if we ever go up for Pirate’s weekend again, Peyton will have to ride in the boat and be a pirate. I feel bad that the overprotective mama in me may have made her miss an experience she probably would’ve really enjoyed.

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We had a great trip, and are so thankful to the Hamberg’s for having us up for the week! Mike and Colleen, it is truly a blessing for us to have a place we can return year after year and continue with the tradition you started with your family. We came home with lots of great memories, and can’t wait to do it all again next summer!

August 06, 2013
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Aiden

Age: 7 Months

Stats: At least 16 pounds…I’m sure more! Quickly catching up to his sister!

New Developments:

Oh my…month 6 was a big one for this boy! He learned to sit up, got his first tooth, and his first hair cut! He looks like a little boy now. I think he is so stinkin’ cute, but I’m still sad that he’s growing up so fast. Here are some pictures of his new “firsts”:

Here are Aiden’s last few pics before getting rid of the toupee he had on the top of his head! I just love the ones of my sleeping baby waiting for his turn at Cookie Cutter’s.

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Aiden smiled for most of his first haircut. Not one tear was cried…

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…This is in BIG contrast to Peyton’s first haircut!

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Here’s my big guy home and happy to show off his new ‘do!

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And now for a few shots of his first tooth! (Can I just say how hard it was to get a picture of it?!)

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Favorite Things:

Aiden loves the jumperoo even more these days. He actually jumps in it instead of just playing with the toys. He loves it so much that he jumps up and down on ME when he’s not in it! 😉

He loves putting everything (and I mean EVERYTHING!) in his mouth. Sure he likes the typical baby teethers, but his favorite things to chew on are the soft, rubbery spoons that I use to feed him baby food. Speaking of which, he FINALLY has figured out the whole eating thing! It took him awhile to get the hang of it, but now he is an eating machine! He prefers the mixed baby food (such as sweet potato, corn, and carrot) to the single baby food (plain carrots are NOT his thing!).

Peyton continues to be Aiden’s favorite form of entertainment. Here are some pictures I snapped when Peyton decided to climb into his crib while I was taking his 7 month pictures. Look at the face on this boy – he sure ADORES his big sis! (And please excuse her naked bum. We’re still working on the whole potty training thing…I did put a diaper on her once I knew she’d be in some pics! Hehe)

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Note From Mama:

Aiden,

I have to admit that when I first found out you were a boy, I was a little nervous. I had no idea what I was going to do with a boy. I knew girl stuff. I was all about bows, pink, and baby dolls. I loved your sister SO much, and felt such a special connection with her. I worried that I wouldn’t have the same connection with a boy.

Boy, was it silly for me to worry about that! I never thought I could love having a boy as much as I do. You are SUPER cuddly, and you always want to snuggle with your mama. When I feed you your bedtime bottle, you immediately turn your whole body towards me wanting to cuddle after you’re finished eating. There are times I try to sit you up for you to burp, and you keep contorting your body until you’re snuggled up on my shoulder. It is one of my favorite times of the day, and I usually don’t let daddy put you to bed for that reason! 🙂

The older you get, the more personality I get to see. You seriously are the most smiley baby ever. I could spend hours just looking at you, making funny faces and sounds, and cracking up at your big gummy grins and laughter. You LOVE to smile for the camera, which I so appreciate. Of course I rarely take the time to do photo shoots with you, mainly because your sister wants nothing to do with my camera nowadays. Oh, and sometimes it’s hard for me to find time to SHOWER, much less take professional pictures of you guys! 😛 I really need to make more of an effort to take pictures of you though, as you are a photographer’s dream! Every time I edit pictures of you, I find myself smiling from ear to ear. You are such a handsome little guy, and I am so proud to be your mom.

While I think your sister takes after your daddy personality wise, I think you’re going to take more after me. You seem to be a little more mellow and not quite so daring. I’m hoping you don’t ever get your sister’s strong will! 😉 Of course we will love you no matter what disposition you end up with, but it’s fun seeing myself in you.

I feel like you were born yesterday, and yet I know we’ll be planning your first birthday in no time. I can honestly say that I love you more each and every day, and I can’t imagine my life without you. Thank you for adding so much joy to our family!

Love you, little man!

~Mommy~

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 Peyton

Age: My big girl is TWO! (25 months, to be exact)

Stats: 20 lbs, 12 ounces. Yes, my daughter is only 4 ounces heavier than she was 3 months ago. Technically we should just now be turning her forward facing in the car. (She’s been forward facing for awhile now…whoops.) Sigh.

New Developments:

We’re (still) working on the potty training thing. She does fine at home if she’s bare bottomed. She will go straight to her potty, sit down, and pee. But she’s not doing as well when she has underwear on, and she refuses to poop in the potty. She’ll request (or should I say demand) a diaper if she has to poo. She’ll hold it until she has one on. Also? She hates sitting on big potties. She even refuses to sit on her own little potty if I bring it out with us in public. So yeah, that’s where we’re at right now. Since we’ve been so busy with Summer stuff, and since I’m not going back to my teaching job this year (much more on that later!), I think I’m going to wait until Fall to potty train full-force. Sigh. Shrug.

Favorite Things:

Peyton’s favorite books to read before naps and bedtime are The Big Hungry Bear, Madeline, and Green Eggs and Ham. She has officially transitioned from requesting her typical board books to regular paperback or hardcover books. Yay for better plots! It makes me smile when she picks out The Big Hungry Bear and Madeline, as they were both books from my childhood. They may be a little raggedy, but she loves the stories just as much as I did!

Oh, these next two favorites are funny…

Peyton is on a deer kick right now. She requests to go look for deer every time we go to my parent’s house. I blame my father for this new obsession! It’s pretty cute though. She calls them like you would a dog. “Heeeere deeeeer!” So when we went to Michigan a few weeks ago, Jason planned a trip to the deer ranch. Yes, there is such a place. They rescue and rehabilitate sick and injured deer. I think this was Peyton’s favorite part of the trip. She came home with a deer sweatshirt and deer stuffed animal from the gift shop. More pictures are to come in my post about our Michigan trip, but here are a few of Peyton in her idea of Heaven…

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Another favorite of Peyton’s? Caillou. Yes, that annoying bald four year old on PBS. She started watching it because it was the only kids show on during the time between lunch and nap. I was a great mom and would have her watch it while I was feeding Aiden and putting him down. Yes, he was a little annoying, but she was glued to the TV and it seemed to teach some good lessons for toddlers. She was obsessed with the characters, and would call for Gilbert (the cat) and Sarah (Caillou’s friend) at home and out in public. It took me a little while to figure out who she was calling for! Harmless enough though, right?! Well…Peyton started whining. And saying things like, “No, I don’t want to!” “No, I don’t like that!” and “I want that NOW!” At first I couldn’t figure out where this newfound (bratty) voice was coming from. I chalked it up to her being two, learning to talk, and testing the limits. My oh-so-smart hubby was the one that figured out that her newfound favorite phrases were coming from the mouth of Caillou! After paying more attention, I agreed that she was picking up bad habits from the show. So now we are staging a Caillou intervention. It is not pretty. She asks to watch the show all the time, and I have to tell her that he’s sleeping. There have been a few times I’ve caught her sneaking a fix on the PBS app on our I-Pad. But we’re trying our best to de-brattify our daughter. Sigh. Shrug. Eye roll.

Note From Mama:

Peyton,

Even though I may complain about your “two year old brattiness,” you really are such a good girl. You usually listen and do what’s asked of you, stay near me when we’re out in public, use your manners (you’ve finally mastered saying “Please” and “Thank you” at appropriate times!), and are a sweetheart. I love spending my days with you. Our favorite outings this summer have been to the zoo, Kings Island, the pool, and of course play dates with friends. You love seeing all the animals at the zoo, especially the penguins and other birds in the bird house. I’m sure if they had deer at the zoo, you’d want to go there every time, too. 🙂 You love riding whatever rides you’re tall enough for at Kings Island. Your favorite is the Beetle Bugs (or “buggie ride” as you call it). You also love the trains (little and big!), the cars, and the helicopters. I can’t wait for you to be able to ride more adventurous rides next year, as the ones you are tall enough for now just don’t seem to be exciting enough for you. You are my little daredevil…just one of the many reasons you are just like your daddy! You also have an affection for fireworks, so we try to stay for them when we go to K.I. at night. You may be sleepy by then, but you love saying the colors you see and shouting, “Boom!”

You continue to talk up a storm and learn new things each day. You even learned how to say, “Michigan” before our trip. Once we were home, you would tell me, “I want to go to Mich-i-gan” when you would wake up. (Yet another reason you are just like your daddy! You loved that place!)

I have loved every second of having you for a daughter. Sure some days are tough, but that is to be expected. I read somewhere that children know all the right buttons to push with their parents because their job is to help develop their parents’ character and patience. So as much as I try to teach you things every day, you are teaching ME every day, too!

I can honestly say that you are the best thing that ever happened to me. I am proud of many accomplishments in my life, but you are my pride and joy. If everything else was taken away from me, yet I still had you (and your daddy and brother, too, of course!), I would still be a happy girl. You make me love your dad even more, and you put it in our hearts to have your brother. With such a great first born, how could we NOT want another child?! I must say that you and your brother make me want to continue adding to our family. Not for awhile (I have my hands full as it is!), but I think the world can use as many Hamberg kiddos as we can give it! 😉

Thanks for being your sweet and sassy self!

~Mommy~

I have LOTS of pictures of Peyton from our trip to Michigan. I will save those for the post about our trip. For now, I thought I’d share a few of Jason painting Peyton’s toe nails the other night. He will probably kill me for posting these, but seriously…how cute are they?! This girl is so lucky to have him for a daddy. He would (literally) do anything for her! (Oh, and how about that beer box he used to paint her nails on?! Cracked me up.)

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And just a few more of my sweet and sassy girl. Love her to pieces!

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August 01, 2013
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I was contacted by Marion to take some pictures of her huge and fabulous family. I was invited to a big birthday party at her daughter’s house, and was greeted by some of the nicest folks I have met in a long time. No one knew me, yet they welcomed me as they would a new friend. Everyone in the group were great sports for the big family photo, and then each family got some individual shots. The house we were at was situated on many acres of land, and I was so thankful for the beautiful background I was provided with! Plus, this family doesn’t mess around…they were all about jumping in front of the camera, taking a few quick pictures, and then heading back to the party. It sure made my job easy! (And the fact that everyone was super photogenic didn’t hurt, either! 🙂 ).

Thank you, Iori family, for inviting me to your big bash and letting me steal you away long enough to do some pictures! I so appreciate the kindness you showed towards me. A few of you even invited me to stay and eat with you, which was definitely a first! I hope you enjoy the pictures we got. What a fun bunch you are! 🙂

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This last picture cracks me up. I was taking some of Marion’s daughter, her husband, and their grandkids. I just love the picture on the left…I know most would consider it a “blooper,” but this is just real life to me. Maybe it’s because I am now a mom to two kids aged two and under, and this is how most of our photo shoots go! 😉 But the picture on the right shows that even after a little “crazy reality,” we can still come out with a great picture! 🙂

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