Posts Tagged 'Reflections'

August 27, 2016
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First of all, it has been WAY TOO LONG since I have blogged on here! Life has been a little crazy…Norwex business took off way faster than I could’ve ever imagined, went back to teaching last August, welcomed a new baby, Camden, in February, and have just been busy with the three kids and my business since. I hope to begin blogging again now that life seems to be slowing down a little.

Five years ago, on August 27th, 2011, I married Jason and became Mrs. Hamberg. The last time Aug. 27th fell on a Saturday was our wedding day! (How cool is that?!) We sure have packed a lot into 5 years… 3 kids, 3 dogs (but sadly we’re down to just 1 now), 3 houses (Deerpark, Highbrook, and Hargus), a few job moves, and more laughter and tears than I can count. At dinner last night I told Jason how busy these past five years have been. I told him that I think these next five will look much different – we don’t plan on having more babies, we don’t plan on moving ever again, we hopefully won’t have any more changes in jobs, and jury is still out on if we’ll ever get another dog. Although Peyton’s been asking for a rabbit, hamster, or cat…

I know the next five years WILL have more laughter and tears, that’s for sure. I am just lucky that I married a man who can always make me laugh (even though I may roll my eyes at him), and is the best support system when life gets hard. I am thankful he knows the importance of continuing to date your spouse, and that taking time to get away from the kids and life stress is vital. We have had so much fun in Nashville these past few days – lots of nice meals, adult beverages, country music, and laughing at the crazy bachelorette parties! Ha! And my favorite part may be just laying in bed doing nothing…just sayin’…

Jason, thanks for being my better half for the past 5 years of marriage (and more dating!). While I did think about running the other way after our second date, I’m glad I gave you the benefit of the doubt. 😉 You always support me, no matter how crazy my ideas can be, you are the best daddy our kids could ask for, and I know you’d do anything for me and the kids. I am so thankful God took our broken roads and made them meet (thanks to Mandi!). It has been fun not only growing in relationship with each other through the years, but also in relationship with Him. How blessed I am that faith is important to both of us, and we are raising our children to know and love Christ (even if Peyton is currently mad at Jesus for not giving Lei Lou back to us!).

I am so thankful for the past five years, and looking forward to the COUNTLESS years we have ahead of us! Instead of having babies, moving, and switching jobs….let’s just enjoy the fruits we’ve been blessed with and slow down a little!

And just for fun….here’s a walk down memory lane. I made this on my phone, so not the best quality, but it’s fun to see how we’ve changed through the years!

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September 07, 2014
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It is with a heavy heart that I must share that Lei Lou will be getting her doggie angel wings on Monday. For those of you who may not know, Lei was Jason’s dog that he got looooong before me. He also had another dog, Hogan, who passed away in the summer of 2011. So when we met, we ended up with THREE dogs (since I had Sadie), and ever since we’ve been one big dog-lovin’ family. Not gonna lie…three shedding dogs proved more than my patience could handle on many days. Even now, I struggle to keep up with the hair of two. But I digress… 😉

Lei is a pretty timid dog, as she is most happy just laying on the floor and watching what everyone is up to. While Sadie lets the kids sit on and play with her, Lei knows better than to put up with that craziness! It’s funny, because the kids know that she doesn’t like that stuff and (usually) leave her alone. Lei listens, comes in when called, and hasn’t chewed up anything since I’ve known her (I know this wasn’t the case when she was a puppy!). However, she sometimes gets up on couches and beds (the dogs aren’t allowed on furniture), and her hair gets EVERYWHERE. Seriously, this dog sheds so much that I’m surprised she’s not bald! She also decided to mark her territory and peed in our bed…TWICE! While those may not be the best memories, I can always look back on them and laugh.

For anyone wondering, Lei has had some tumors growing on her for the past few years. At first we were told they were harmless, but they keep growing and multiplying. We took her to the vet earlier this summer, and they tested the big one on her leg. It was confirmed to be cancer, and the vet said there’s not much we can do for her at this point, especially since she’s around nine or ten years old. She gave her a max of a year to live. 🙁 We decided that now is the time to put her to sleep, mainly for two reasons. First, her leg tumor keeps getting bigger and harder. It is also filled with blood, and the vet said at some point it will rupture and she will die. We don’t want to risk that happening, for her sake or the kids’. Secondly, we are moving this week. We are hoping that with all of the changes and the new environment, the kids *might* not notice her absence as much. We are so sad to have to do this, but know it is best for everyone. We don’t want Lei to be in pain, and we also need to keep the kids in mind.

Lei, we will miss you so much. I know you have seen your dad through LOTS of things in your lifetime, and I know he is grateful for your loyal companionship. You are so lucky that you two found each other. No matter where life took him, he chose to continue to take care of you. I know this is probably going to be hardest on him. Please be sure to give him an extra dose of comfort from Heaven. Peyton and Aiden love you dearly, and will miss playing with you, feeding you, and having you watch over them. I know that you will continue to watch over them from above, and we tell Peyton that you will soon live in her heart instead of her house. Thank you for being a friend to Hogan, and now to Sadie. I know she will miss wrestling with you and having you sit by her cage until we let her out. I hope that you find Hogan up there, as I’m sure he’s been waiting patiently for you to join him. I hope you can both run and play together again – Hogan free from his hip pain, and you free of tumors. We will think of you often, and there will always be a missing member of our family. We hope to give you a good last few days on Earth, and pray for strength when we have to say goodbye.

Okay, now I’m crying. Pictures! Let’s move on to pictures…

To give you some idea, here is the biggest tumor that is on her leg. It has gotten even bigger since the picture was taken. 🙁

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Sadie and Lei have been best buds. I so worry about how Sadie will do once Lei is gone. As Peyton says, “Sadie’s going to miss her friend!” 🙁

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Here are some pictures of Lei just hanging around our house. She HATES having her picture taken, so that’s why she looks so sad. (You can also see one of the tumors on her eye…poor girl!)

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Annie (my photographer friend) came a few weeks ago to take some pictures of our family in our old house before we move. I can’t wait to show you the slideshow of her visit once she’s done! But for now, here are some pics she took with Lei in them:

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On Saturday I forced my family outside to get some pictures of them with Lei before she leaves us. I’m sure I’ll take some on Monday, too, of everyone saying goodbye, but I don’t want to feel pressured to capture them when I’m sure we’ll all be sad. So for now, some happy pictures from our last weekend with Lei!

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These next few pictures break my heart. Jason was talking to Peyton about Lei going to live in Heaven. We’ve been having LOTS of talks about this, and she knows that she’s going to live with Jesus. She tells us that Jesus is going to come down and get her at the vet and take her to Heaven. However, Peyton also thinks that she can visit her “up in the sky” and that Lei can come back to live with us. 🙁 Please pray for her heart during this sad time. This girl has such a love for Jesus already, and I’m hoping that knowing Lei is with Him will give her some comfort.

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I love how they both have similar expressions in the following two pics. Like father, like daughter!

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Okay, I need to move on to something else before I spend my entire Saturday night crying. I stopped by the house a few nights ago and took some pictures. This is the last house update before we move in, so the next time you see it we’ll have furniture! 🙂 Here’s a little tour, room by room…

Grass sod and landscaping are in and front door is painted, so the front is pretty much finished:

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The almost finished kitchen (with electric!):

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I’m so excited to have a real pantry! It’s the little things… 😉

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Morning room (where our kitchen table will go):

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Family room:

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Mudroom, which will have cubbies in the future:

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Master bedroom:

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I tried talking Jason into just using this closet…

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But he said no, so we’ll be sharing this HUGE closet, and then using the other one for shoes, hats, bags/purses, etc.

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Master bathroom:

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Upstairs laundry room:

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Peyton’s room:

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The kids’ little nook by their rooms:

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Kids’ bathroom:

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Aiden’s room:

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Backyard now has seed and straw (dirt will soon be a patio!):

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Thank you to everyone that has shared in our excitement. We can’t wait to share our new home with you! Please keep us in your prayers this week, especially on Monday when we say our goodbyes to Lei. Also for the end of the week, that the kids will transition well and not freak out too much about leaving the old house. 😉

April 03, 2014
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Five years ago, at about this time of year, I felt prompted to move from the apartment I was living in and purchase a house. Jason and I had just started dating, and my dad encouraged me that since the housing market was so low, it was a great time for me to go out on my own and buy. After looking at a few houses online, my friend Mandi suggested that I look into building in her neighborhood. As it turns out, it was actually cheaper to build a BRAND NEW house than it was to buy most pre-existing ones. During the whole process, I felt like I was falling right into God’s perfect plan for me. There was a lot just three doors down from my wonderful friends (the Sparks’), and I was able to build a beautiful new home that I could afford on my teaching salary. Really, the only thing I had to compromise on was a basement (for budget reasons), but I was young, single, and so excited to be out on my own I didn’t care. When I moved in, I had so much room that I didn’t know what to do with it all! I remember thinking how empty it looked, and the OCD in me was happy that everything had a perfect spot.

Fast forward to present day, and that house that was so roomy for one (well, two if you count Sadie!) is now home to my wonderful husband, two kids, and two dogs. Every cabinet is full, I use half our garage to store photography stuff, kids toys are everywhere, and we are maxed out in terms of space. I knew we’d have to move, but I didn’t know when that was going to be. Just like five years ago, God has been whispering to my heart the last few months. At first, He prompted me to list the lot Jason and I had bought about two years ago. It was the perfect lot, in a perfect neighborhood, in a great school community. His dad (a custom home builder) was going to build us our dream forever home. The idea of selling the lot made my heart hurt, and even more so, I knew it would devastate Jason. Yet after reviewing our finances and our decision for me to stay home for a few years with our kids, we came to the realization it was for the best. We couldn’t afford the house we were going to build for at least a few more years, and we were outgrowing our current home so quickly we didn’t think we could wait. So, we put it on the market to see what would happen, expecting it to sit for at least a few months. Well, it sold….in a week!

Next up was Jason’s Deer Park house that he lived in when we met. We decided that once the lot was gone, we were going to wait for our renter’s lease to run out and then list that. Once that house sold, we would think about listing our current home. I reached out to our fabulous renter and asked what her plans were, fully expecting her to say she wanted to move. She said she wanted to stay another year! We were so excited, as she really is the best tenant we could ever hope for.

After those two things fell into place, we decided to see what was out there in terms of a new house. We went out three different times with our awesome realtors to look at pre-exisiting homes in the areas we were interested in, and didn’t find anything to write home about. Either we loved the inside but hated the yard, loved the yard but would need to renovate the inside, or loved everything but it was way out of our budget. We wondered if we had made the right decision in selling our lot. Then one night, Jason suggested we go to the model home in our current neighborhood and inquire about some of their market homes. Somehow in that discussion, we ended up walking through a model home in another community and fell in LOVE with the Nicholas floor plan. Better yet? We could get the house we loved, with tons of upgrades, for less than we probably would’ve spent buying pre-exisiting and WAY less than what we would’ve spent building on our lot. We initially struggled with what to do, but in the end, we felt this was the direction God was calling us and we followed.

We signed the paperwork to build, and shortly after, listed our current home. It has been on the market for less than two weeks so far, and we’ve already had four showings and a successful Open House. We have gotten such great feedback from everything, and the people that saw it last night are coming again tomorrow. We are crossing our fingers that they make a good offer, but also that they are okay with us renting back from them for awhile! Our new house should be finished in mid-August, and so we may be living with my parents until then if need be.

Every step of the way, I have felt God’s hand working. I KNOW He wants us to move. I know that when I built this home, I never intended for it to hold a family of four, and of course knew it wouldn’t be my forever home. Yet the idea of moving is breaking my heart. So I decided to write a little letter to the new owners, whomever they may be. Of course they’ll probably never see it, but I just had to share my thoughts on this big life change for our family. So here goes…

To the new owner(s) of our home,

First off, let me tell you how lucky you are! We have loved this house, and it has been so good to us these past five years. We haven’t had any issues with it, and we love our neighborhood. So much so, in fact, that we are building here again!

I’m assuming that when you came for the showing you liked what you saw. I’m sure the kitchen caught your eye, and you could picture yourself on the back patio entertaining friends. You saw that the carpets were clean (you have NO idea what a feat this was with two kids and two dogs!), and that all of the bathroom fixtures were in good shape. I know what you saw, and I am so happy that you fell in love with our home. I want to focus the rest of this letter on what you DIDN’T see. Because there’s no way you could possibly know what this house has meant to my family and me by just visiting for a half hour.

Let’s start downstairs. That kitchen you saw that you loved so much? You didn’t see the hours it took for me to pick out just the right cabinet/laminate floor/counter top combo. I think I went to that design center at least three times to make sure I was happy with the finished product. Those long extended counters into the dining room that set our house apart? I got the idea from my best friend’s mom, and my wonderful father-in-law ordered and installed them. It was quite the afternoon project!

Into the backyard, you’ll see the huge patio that my father-in-law did with his concrete guy. At the time I wanted it to be big to fit a table, grill, and have plenty of room to entertain friends. Nowadays, it’s mainly used by my two kids on nice days. Did you see the playhouse? They love that thing. The patio is the perfect size for riding bikes on, too. Oh, and the fire pit and retaining wall? Let me tell you – THOSE were some PROJECTS! My hubby, dad, and father-in-law worked for who knows how many hours to make our backyard perfect. We joked that if a tornado were to come, that retaining wall would still be standing! Jason and I have had a lot of important conversations around that fire pit. While I was pregnant, we talked about what life would be like once our daughter was born. Later, we decided for me to stay home with our kids for awhile. That silly fire pit symbolizes a whole lot for me.

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Moving upstairs, you’ll see my daughter’s green room that my mom and I painted together. I was on my hands and knees with my big belly, but it felt so good to make that room a nursery for her. You probably noticed the wall art above her bed that says her name and “Every good and perfect gift is from above.” I searched Etsy for hours trying to find the perfect thing to put above her bed! That bible verse struck home for me because she was not planned, but has proven to be the most perfect gift we could’ve ever hoped to receive! (Sorry for the awful picture! It’s all I could find that shows her name on the wall!)

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Our son’s room has a giant baseball painted on it. That was a Pinterest idea that my baseball-obsessed husband saw and made me promise to do! My poor mother got roped into duplicating it, and I think she did a great job. I love sitting in that room and rocking him to sleep while singing “You are my Sunshine.” He is the sweetest little guy, and quite the cuddler. He’s too young to say, but I’m pretty sure he loves his baseball room!

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The house you bought holds many special memories for me. We brought home both our babies there, and I can still remember where we set down their car seats for the first time. We got married while living in that house, and traveled through the many up’s and down’s that our first year of marriage had in store. We built our family there, and most every memory that’s worth remembering happened in that house.

Both our kids had their first bath in the kitchen sink. Our daughter loved watching the Kings Island fireworks from her bedroom window in the summer (yes, she was often still awake at 10:00…don’t judge! HA). Our son did the funniest “gorilla scoot” across our kitchen floor. Our kids had tea parties in the family room. They had dance parties in the loft. I found out I was pregnant in our master bathroom. I would curse the dogs for getting so darn muddy in the backyard. We opened Christmas presents, dyed Easter eggs, and passed out candy to trick-or-treaters there. We made that house a home, and you will never be able to see how much love those walls hold.

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I will cry the day we pack up and move out. I am crying now, writing this letter, just THINKING about the day we move out. I know God has led me to know it is time. It is time for our kids to have a basement to play in. It is time for a fourth bedroom so that we can potentially grow our family if that’s His plan. It is time for more space, and more memories in a new house. Yet I will always hold this one so close to my heart.

I encourage you to paint the walls in ways that fit your family. Hang up your own pictures. Invite friends over to sit on the patio. Make time for fire pit nights that might lead to deep conversation. Bring home babies, if that’s in your life plan. Tuck them into bed in those rooms, and sing them lullabies. Celebrate the holidays there, and most importantly, make your own memories there! Our time in that house is up, and now it is your turn to make the house your home.

Not to sound creepy, but know that we look forward to living down the street. When we go on walks or to the pool and pass your house, I will tell my kids, “Remember when we used to live there? That was such a great house!” I hope that they, too, will hold a special place in their hearts for our first house. More than anything, I hope that you will be blessed with the same joys in that home as we were!

Fondly,

Kristi

And now some pictures of our family in front of our new lot! Peyton is very excited for them to start digging the basement. Every time we go past it, she says, “They gotta dig a hole!”

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November 21, 2013
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If you browse through my collection of personal family photos, you’d think my kids were being raised by a single dad. I love snapping pictures of Peyton and Aiden, and often times my hubby also ends up in the shots (sometimes against his will). I know I’m not the only mom that can rarely be found in family photos. I see it all the time on social media – TONS of kiddo pictures, some of daddies/hubbies, but not a whole lot of the mama’s.

I always scramble around at this time of year, frantically searching for a good family photo I can use on our Christmas card. This year, I knew I’d like a picture of the whole family, but was about ready to settle on one of just the kids. I didn’t think we’d have the time to make a family photo happen, and  had almost given up on the idea altogether. Then I decided to enlist the help of my fellow photographer friend, Annie, at the last minute. Many of you will remember her from our wedding photos and the births of our babies. Since those special events, she has become such a great friend and mentor. I think the world of her, and I honestly don’t know if people come any nicer. Alas, I knew if ANYONE could get a smile out of Peyton, it would be Annie. (For those of you that know Peyton, you know she isn’t too fond of smiling for the camera. ESPECIALLY if her mom is the one taking the picture! HA!) So we all headed to Pine Hill Park in Mason and got a few quick shots in. I kept telling Annie, “I just need a few pictures that I’m actually IN!”

When Annie posted her blog post with some pictures from our session, I was so excited! I found myself going back to the site time and time again just to sneak some more peeks at my cute lil’ family. My (far too kind) friends liked the link Annie had posted to my Facebook page, and many commented on how pretty I was. Me? PRETTY?! I have to admit that I have been in a rut these days when it comes to my image. Staying home all day, I don’t feel the need to wear much makeup, straighten my hair (heck, I’m lucky if it even gets blown dry!), or wear cute outfits/shoes. My staples are jeans, sweatshirts, and gym shoes. So needless to say, “pretty” is not a word I use to describe myself very often.

But you know what? I took the time to dry and straighten my hair for our little family session with Annie. I also put on makeup (even EYE MAKEUP!), and bought a new dress and shoes. And you know the best part? When I saw those pictures on the blog…I thought I was pretty, too.

I am SO glad that I have these pictures to show my kids someday. I can pull out a few and say, “Look! I really was around when you were little!” Sure they’ll probably remember their mom in her sweats and messy hair, but I can also show them that not only was their mommy around, she was also pretty.

On another note, I have been a busy little bee these days taking and editing LOTS of fall family sessions! I had finished one last night, and sent the link to the mom for her to view them. Part of her response was, “I am in for a long night….I could look at my beautiful family all day. Thanks so much for capturing us perfectly!” This struck me, because she was looking so lovingly at the photos of her family the same way I had looked at the photos of mine. It occured to me that I was providing so much more than just pictures for people. Just as Annie’s photography talent has made me see my beauty, I can also give that gift to all the mama’s out there. I hope they see how pretty they are when they look at the pictures I’ve taken, because I think they are all BEAUTIFUL!!!

Another client of mine commented during her recent session that she missed seeing all the blog updates and pictures posted to Facebook from sessions that I’ve done. I told her that my main focus this fall has been editing the photos and getting them to families in as timely a manner as possible. In doing that, I have put blogging on the back-burner. I figure that this winter, when my schedule will more than likely slow down, I will get all caught up on blogging and the “sharing” side of my business. I didn’t really think about my clients and Facebook fans missing my work. You mean, people out there actually care about what I have to write and all the pictures I take?! I was pleasantly surprised. So I decided to take a little time tonight to pick one (or two) images from each session I’ve done this fall and haven’t blogged yet. I still have a handful of sessions left to edit, and even a few more shoots scheduled! I promise that every session will get the blog post it so rightfully deserves. But for now, enjoy these sneak peeks from what I’ve been up to…

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I purposefully chose pictures that the moms were in. Seriously, how gorgeous are these ladies?!?! Cheers to you, mama’s. Thanks for all you do on a regular basis that often goes unnoticed. Your kids will look back on these photos and be so thankful they had their moms “doing life” with them on a daily basis. I’m also sure that each kid will always think their mom is the most beautiful lady on the planet…and I have to agree. 😉

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…

BFamily Pics Aug.-6

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~

March 29, 2013
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As I’ve said in countless posts, I’ve had three passions in life: children, photography, and writing. I feel like I’ve adequately followed the first two. Teaching first grade and raising my own two cuties has been where I’ve invested most of my time and energy. Photography has also gotten a lot of attention. I have loved learning more about my camera, editing software, and how to work with clients during shoots. Writing was a passion I followed more as a child and teenager. English was always my favorite subject in school, I didn’t mind writing papers, and I wrote in journals for years and years and years. In fact, I still have ALL of my journals. While I know they’re just taking up space in my house (that honestly has ZERO storage space left!), I just can’t seem to part with them. They document some of the most influential times in my life, and it’s fun to go back and reflect every now and then.

Writing has always given me peace, and unfortunately has been put on the back burner recently. Let’s face it…I am lucky if I get my monthly updates of the kids posted in time! I LOVE to update my blog, though. To me, writing on here feels like a grown-up version of journaling. The only real difference is that when I pour my heart out, anyone that wants to can read it. That’s a little scary, to be honest.

I had created this blog mainly for my photography business. My mentor and friend, Annie, suggested that I get a website with a blog feature, as people like to know who they’re working with. At first I felt kind of silly posting things about myself and my family on my business site, but I totally understood Annie’s reasoning. In fact, I hired her to be our wedding photographer because I loved her website! I felt like I knew her by reading her posts and seeing pictures of her kids.

Gradually I posted more under the “personal” category on my blog, mainly to keep family and friends in the loop on how Peyton was doing and to document my pregnancy. Then one day at school, a teacher friend told me how much she enjoyed reading my blog. She commented that she wished I wrote more. She even suggested that I write about politics (this took place during the election), because she’d be interested in hearing what I’d have to say. Me? Politics? HA! Even though this made me laugh, the conversation has stuck with me. I’ve had a running list of blog posts that I’ve wanted to write, but just haven’t been able to find the time. Do you think the fact that I have two kiddos under two has anything to do with that?! 😉 I am now finding that I NEED to make more time for me. While I LOVE being a stay-at-home-mama for the time being, I sometimes forget to take time out of the 24/7 job for myself. So I am going to try and claim at least one night a week for myself. Hey, if my hubby is gone one night a week for baseball, I should get at least one night a week to myself, too…right?! So I plan to dedicate more time to blogging on here, and not just about my family. Here is a run-down of some of the blog post ideas I’ve been collecting:

Top 10 Items to Put on Your Baby Registry

Tips on Transitioning from 1 to 2 Children

What Raising an Ornery Dog Has Taught Me

Weekly Recipe Posts on Easy-to-Make Meals / Pinterest Recipes I’ve Tried

How to (Attempt) To Keep Your Sanity As A Mom

Things I Want to Teach My Daughter

Things I Want to Teach My Son

Wordless Wednesday’s

(Okay, so that last one has nothing to do with writing…but something I’ve thought about starting!)

I think that’s a decent list for now! Will you do me a favor? Please comment below with the post you’d most like to see on my blog! I will take the most popular vote and go from there. I just need some inspiration to get me going! Oh, and did you notice some changes to my blog? There are now easy ways to follow me in the social media, and you can even get my blog updates emailed to you! Just type your email in the “subscribe to my blog” box. I hope you’ll follow along on my journey – I’d love to have you along for the ride! 🙂

BlogFeb. 2013-55This picture has nothing to do with what I wrote, but my site requires a picture with every post. So here is my attempt at a picture of myself with Aiden that I took using the timer feature on my camera. I felt like I was never in any pictures with the kiddos, so this was my attempt to show Aiden that I was, in fact, around when he was a baby! 😉

December 19, 2012
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I worked my last school day of the year on Friday, December 14th. I only worked the morning, as I had been doing half-days all week due to swelling and the discomforts of being 39 weeks pregnant. I was ready to be done. My body was done, my mind was done, and all I wanted was to spend a few relaxing days at home with Peyton until Aiden decided to make his appearance. So, I marched my class of first graders out to the playground for the last time, gave them all a hug before they ran to play, packed up, and headed home. I felt a sense of relief and closure as I walked out the doors of my school.

I got home, put my feet up, and turned on the TV. I was immediately taken aback by coverage of the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy. At that point, not much was known about how many dead, the ages, etc. Yet as more details became known, the more my heart ached. Twenty first graders and six elementary school teachers/staff members were taken in such a senseless way. While any kind of event like this is upsetting, this one really got to me. Being a mother and a first grade teacher myself, this one just hit way too close to home. I have always been one to process things best through writing, and so I thought I would try to put my feelings into words.

I always knew I wanted to be a teacher, ever since I was a little girl. When it came time to choose a major in college, I knew without a doubt what to pick. People that become teachers choose the profession because they love children. They want to help others, they want to inspire a love of learning, and they genuinely want to make a difference. No one goes into the education profession for the money, the summers off, or because it’s an “easy” job. In fact, teaching is a very difficult and draining profession. I started out my teaching career an energetic and enthusiastic twenty-two year old. I quickly found out how time consuming my chosen profession could be. I would stay late in the evenings, go in to school on the weekends, and spend many hours grading papers at home. Teaching was my life those first few years, and I wanted to be the best educator that I could be. My students became “my kids,” and I would often refer to them as such.

I was dating a guy during these first few years of teaching. We were already on the rocks and the relationship was hanging by a thread, but he came over to hang out one night. I was talking about school stuff and said something about “my kids,” and he got upset that I referred to them as such. He said that they were not in fact “my kids,” and went on to say that in a few years I would barely remember them. Well, that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I told him to leave, and that was the last time I saw him. As I said, we were pretty much broken up at that point anyway, but those comments were enough to make me realize that I could never EVER marry someone that didn’t understand what it means to be a teacher. Luckily only a few weeks later, I met Jason. He lets me talk about “my kids” as much as I want. For all I know, his mind may be elsewhere and he’s just humoring me, but I appreciate it nonetheless!

For the record, I do remember all of my past students. I think about them often, especially the ones that, at the time, tried every last bit of patience I had in me. I want good things for them, and it makes my heart sing when a few come back and visit. (Since my building only goes up to first grade, now second grade, usually I don’t get to see my students as they grow up.) I still refer to them as “my kids,” and they always will be that to me. I love my students as if they are my own. I spend my days teaching them to be kind to each other, feeling foreheads when they feel sick, disciplining with love, giving and receiving hugs, stopping bickering, and keeping them safe. Oh yeah…and teaching them how to read, write, and build their foundation of number sense. So parents, while YOUR kids are in my care at school, in a way, they become MY kids. And if someone came in with a gun and tried to hurt my kids? Well, I’d do what the teachers of Sandy Hook did…anything in my power to protect them, even if it meant giving up my own life. I know all of my fellow colleagues would do the same. I know there wouldn’t even be a second thought.

I am so touched and inspired by the kindness and love I have seen from the teachers that worked at Sandy Hook. In those horrible moments on Friday, they were telling their students that they love them, praying with them, and being parental figures when the children’s mommies and daddies weren’t able to be there. THAT is what teaching is all about. I’m sure those teachers weren’t worried about if their lessons were perfect, the grades they needed to take, or the professional developments they should attend. They weren’t concerned about test scores or where their school ranked compared to others. They were able to focus on the one thing that truly matters in education: the kids.

I am still very excited to have the opportunity to stay home with Peyton and Aiden for the remainder of the school year. Being a teacher was my dream job…until I became a mom. Now, all I want to do is spend time with my own kiddos and make memories with them. When my hopes of going part-time this year didn’t pan out, having Baby #2 was our plan B for me to be able to stay home with the kids more. I know that Peyton (and now Aiden) will only be little once. It killed me to miss so much of Peyton’s life in order to teach other people’s children. I hated that I spent so much of my patience and energy on my kids at school that when I got home, I felt like I didn’t have enough for my own child. The better teacher I became, the worse mom I felt I became. And in turn, the better mom I became, the more I had to let slip while teaching. It was very hard for me to balance my two roles, both that I cared so much about. So I decided it was best to step away from my role as teacher for a while and focus on my role as mom. I don’t regret this decision for a second, and I know many others that assure me I will never look back and regret it. While financially it will be an adjustment, in the long run, I know I am doing the best thing for myself and my family.

While I am confident in my decision, I just wish I would’ve taken the time on Friday to hug and love on my first graders just a *little* bit more, and make sure they knew that I loved them. It is so easy to get sucked into the politics at school, and focus on the things that, in the big scheme of things, really don’t matter. I won’t miss any of that “stuff,” but I WILL miss my kids. So my advice to all of my fellow teachers out there is this: remember WHY you became a teacher. For most of you, I’m sure it is because you wanted to make a difference in kids’ lives. Teach from there. The emails, the grades, the trainings, the meetings…those won’t matter in the end. So as hard as it is, don’t let yourself focus on all of that. Focus on your kids, and doing what you know in your heart is right for them. I just wish I would’ve realized this before I walked out of my classroom on Friday.

As hard as the shooting hit me as a teacher, it hit me even harder as a parent. As I said, being a mom is the single most valuable job I will ever have. My kids are my world. I cannot even BEGIN to imagine what the parents of those twenty first graders are feeling right now. If it were me, I think it would take everything in my being just to get out of bed in the morning. I think about all of the little things I take for granted as a mom – getting the kid out of bed in the morning, feeding meals, brushing teeth, reading books, bedtime routines, etc. All of those little things have a new meaning now. I am LUCKY that I get to make food for Peyton to eat. I am over-the-moon BLESSED that I get to tuck her into bed each night. I am THANKFUL that I have a child to discipline. I know that tomorrow isn’t promised to anyone. So it is my job to make today count, and to focus on what is important.

Last week, I took Peyton to her 18 month check up at the pediatrician. My little peanut is still only 18-19 lbs., and at this point weighs so little that she isn’t even in a percentile for weight. The doctor said we needed to look into things at this point, and said blood work was needed to rule out some possibilities. I was forced to hold my sweet girl down while they drew blood from her arm (all while 9 months pregnant, mind you). She of course screamed in pain, looked into my eyes with tears streaming down her face, while seeming to ask the question, “Why are you doing this to me, mommy?!” It took everything in me not to cry myself. Then they told me that the vein popped, and they weren’t able to collect the blood they needed. They said I had to take her to Children’s so that they could do the blood work. Oh great…we got to do THAT all over again. I called Jason and asked him to meet us there. I physically had a hard time holding her down, and emotionally I just couldn’t watch it by myself again. I felt awful for her. I remember thinking, “I feel so bad for parents of children with Cancer or other medical issues where they have to be poked and prodded all the time.” Now, after Friday’s events, I know what is even worse – having to bury your child. My heart just aches for all of those families.

(Side note – Peyton’s blood work all came back fine. We will continue to monitor her growth with the doctor, but at least we know her body is functioning as it should! Praise God!!!)

I heard this version of You Are My Sunshine on Pandora awhile back, and instantly fell in love with it. I was planning on making a slide-show of pictures of Peyton to it, hoping to make something special for her before the baby came. (Of course that hasn’t happened yet…it’s the thought that counts, right?!) Peyton IS my sunshine. Even on my worst day, I can take one look at my little girl and know how incredibly blessed I am. She lights up my life, and I’m sure Mr. Aiden will do the same. I have sung that song to her over and over throughout her short little life. It wasn’t until Friday that the part of the song, “Please don’t take my sunshine away” really sank in for me. On Friday, those parents lost the sunshine in their lives. All I can do is pray that God will somehow see them through their sorrow, and let some rays of sunshine through the skies of grey.

I know this post has been lengthy, as most of my writing tends to be. But I want to challenge all of you that made it this far to do a few things. First, please continue to pray for the students, staff members, and families of Newtown. They need peace that only God can provide right now. Secondly, thank a teacher. I know many parents wonder what to get their kids’ teachers for gifts this time of the year. While Pinterest creations, candles, and gift cards are all appreciated, teachers just want to feel like what they do every day is noticed and appreciated. Write a card, and tell them WHY you appreciate them. Make it specific, make it lengthy, and write from the heart! This will mean so much more to them than anything you can buy in a store. And lastly, realize that tomorrow isn’t promised to anyone. Take time to hug the ones you love, savor the memories you make with them, and thank God every day for all you’ve been blessed with.

**Please ignore the picture I chose for this post (below). My site requires some sort of a photo to go with each post, and I don’t have many pictures of me at school. This one is from the engagement shower my class threw for Jason and I. My awesome room mom at the time arranged for Jason to come to the party, too! It was also the Polar Express PJ day, hence my lovely hoodie! 🙂 **

November 27, 2012
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Okay, so you’re probably expecting to see pics of my 37 week old belly…or perhaps Aiden’s super-cool baseball nursery…both of which I plan to do ASAP! But tonight I decided to put my “37 Week Bumpdate” on hold for this hospital post instead. A little out of order, I know, but I have my reasons. First off – I want natural light to take pictures of the finished room. By the time I get home from work, entertain Miss Peyton, Jason gets home from work, and we eat dinner, it’s dark out. Bummer. Oh, and my belly? It is HUGE, and getting uncomfortable. I come home and immediately change into PJ pants. Once I’m in them, the idea of taking a picture of my large and in charge stomach doesn’t sound too appealing. But I promise I will take pictures of both…just not tonight! 😉

The other reason I am writing this post now instead of my Bumpdate? I REALLY want to blog about this topic before I go into the hospital. And with my luck, I will go into labor tomorrow and it will be too late (yes, those good ol’ Braxton Hicks contractions/cramps have started, and are sending me into panic mode!). So here it goes…my reflection on the post-baby hospital stay…

See this picture? It is what I thought all parents looked like after a baby was born: calm baby, overjoyed mama, and the picture of perfection. And it IS! This is one of my most favorite photos of Peyton from the hospital, taken by our wonderful birth photographer, Annie Varland (who I can’t wait to have photograph Aiden’s birth here soon!). I will always treasure this photo and the memory it holds for me. Before Peyton was born, I would look at a photo like this and think having a baby was all roses and butterflies. I was one of those people that if I heard someone I knew had a baby, I was dying to drive to the hospital, visit the parents, and get my hands on that sweet bundle of joy! I also thought that if I didn’t make the trek to the hospital, the new parents would feel like I didn’t care or didn’t acknowledge the birth of the baby. My oh my how having a baby of my own has changed my mind on that topic!

It wasn’t until I saw a fantastic blog post featuring Jenny Baker, the wonderful lady from Crossroads that married Jason and I, that I realized how important it is to establish boundaries about the birth of your baby. (Click here to watch it…it is full of great info, and Jenny cracks me up!) Don’t get me wrong, I thought about the actual BIRTH of Peyton. I knew I wanted Jason in the room, a birth photographer (which I would TOTALLY recommend if you’ve ever thought of having one!), and my mom. I set very firm boundaries with everyone, especially my mom. They went something like this:

1.)    You will stay by my head.

2.)    You won’t talk to me while I’m pushing.

3.)    You are not allowed to cry.

4.)    You will videotape the birth, but make sure that you don’t see anything “yucky.”

Okay, so maybe I was a little too firm on establishing the boundaries with her! 😉 But the after birth part? I hadn’t even thought of that! The next thing I knew, I had just pushed a kid out of my you-know-what, and people were asking to come in and visit. I said okay, and the room quickly filled with our families. Everyone held the baby, and I was glad that Annie was able to capture a picture or two of each member of the family holding Peyton for the first time. After awhile most everyone went back to the waiting room, and I suddenly felt nauseous. No one told me that might happen. The next thing I knew, I was covered in puke and having to change my gown. Yeah, no one told me THAT might happen either. I so desperately wanted to shower, but the idea of standing up in a shower after a day of labor and the pain “down there” made me cringe. So there I was, disgusting, exhausted, and feeling miserable, all within the first two hours of Peyton being in the world. Mind you, we were still in the delivery room at this point…yes, a total whirlwind of two hours. The next thing I knew, I was put in a wheelchair and felt like my head was spinning as they wheeled me to my recovery room. All of our families were out in the waiting room, and they wanted to steal a quick peek of the baby as we went by. I just remember feeling like I was in a daze, and all I wanted was to get into a semi-comfy bed and go to sleep. I think everyone saw how miserable I looked, said their goodbyes, and headed home for the night. Jason and I got a decent night’s sleep, even with keeping Peyton in our hospital room. I was determined to get her on a “good sleep schedule” from night one, so I was insistent that she stay with us where I could start being the enforcer of the Happiest Baby on the Block techniques (swaddling, shushing, etc.). Just ask Jason – I was kind of crazy about that! I could’ve done without the constant nurse check-in’s throughout the night, but I guess that’s just part of the gig…

Day two in the hospital brought lots of visitors. Parents, grandmas, siblings, cousins, aunts, friends…you name it, we had them in our room. At first it was fun to visit with everyone, and I loved showing off our precious little girl. But as the day went on, I was reminded of how crappy I felt after having a baby. (Again, something no one can really prepare you for until you go through it.) I put on a smile and even made myself get out of bed and sit in the rocker instead while we visited. I watched my baby get passed around the room, and I could feel myself getting more tired and overwhelmed by the minute. I felt like I needed to entertain people, even though my only job was to sit in the rocker and talk to them. One of my flaws is my desire to please everyone, and I hate hurting people’s feelings. I knew I could’ve asked everyone to leave and they would’ve understood, but I worried that they had traveled all that way, and I didn’t want them to feel like they weren’t wanted.

If you are still reading at this point, good for you! I have always said that God gave me three passions in life – teaching, photography, and writing. Unfortunately, He made me long-winded! 😉 I do have a point in telling all of this, though. First, I never really had an outlet to share Peyton’s birth story and what I learned from it. I think all women, whether they have had kids, are currently pregnant with baby #1, or dream of the day they may have a child, should know that the time after having a baby isn’t the picture of perfection it’s so often made out to be. We all know childbirth itself is a lot of work, exhausting, and not too pretty.  But no one talked to me about what life would be like in the hospital in the days following. After talking with many of my other mommy friends, I now know that most often times it is TOUGH. Now please don’t confuse all of this with complaining or a lack of gratitude. Having a baby is the single most MIRACULOUS event I have ever experienced! Despite the blood, puke, pain, and raging hormones, I was on cloud nine meeting the tiny baby that I bonded with for 9 long months! I have always said that I don’t know how anyone can have a baby and still question if there is a God. I feel oh so very privileged to be able to have children, and their birthdays will always mean the world to me. I’m just trying to be brutally honest about some of the things I wish I would’ve known about before I went to the hospital the first time.

My other reason for wanting to write this post before I go into labor is to hopefully establish some boundaries about our hospital stay. I am so much better writing my feelings than speaking them, so I thought this would be an easier way for me to share with family and friends my wishes for “Hospital Stay Take 2” (or “Take 3” if you count our first induction with Peyton, which could easily turn into a whole other blog post! Haha). So knowing what I know now, I am requesting that only immediate family visits the hospital (our parents and siblings). While I know Jason and I will be over the moon to share our little Aiden with everyone that we love, I also know that I will probably not be feeling too well and will want to rest. I am seriously considering asking that no one come back into the actual delivery room after his birth, but rather wait until we are transferred to the recovery room (which I think is two hours after the baby is born) for fear of what happened the first time around. I hope that all of our family members and friends understand that this is a personal decision, one that I feel I need to make for my sanity in order to rest and recuperate. After all, I only get two or three days to enjoy my baby before I’ll be home managing a newborn and an 18 month old who certainly won’t understand mommy’s need for sleep! Hehe.

Finally, after talking with another mommy friend, we came up with a list of things people can do for families that have just welcomed a new baby. After all, I know that everyone that wants to visit has the best intentions and just wants to offer their support and love. So if you know someone who is pregnant or just had a baby, here are a few ideas that I think new mommies would appreciate!

*Send them a text, Facebook message , or email letting them know you’re thinking of them. End it with something like, “I know you are busy and need your rest, so don’t worry about replying – just wanted to say I was thinking about you!” The last part is important because, as my friend pointed out, new mommies often feel bad for not getting back with people.  That last part will ease her guilt while she’s busy caring for that sweet new babe.

*Offer to bring over a meal once they are home from the hospital. Better yet, organize a whole group of people to take them meals using an online organizer such as www.takethemameal.com. Make sure everyone knows to drop the meal off on their front porch and knock or text when it’s there. The last thing a new mommy should have to do is feel obligated to entertain! (And honestly, she will appreciate being able to look as raged as she likes without fear of who will stop by and see her in that condition.)

*If you MUST see that baby, offer to watch him or her while the mom takes a nap. I actually had a friend in our Church’s small group already offer to do this once Aiden is born, and I thought it was the best idea EVER! I immediately felt like I could stay in my sweats and not have to worry about entertaining her. Let’s face it…new moms are in DESPERATE need of a nap! But if you offer this, make the mom stick to the deal – send her upstairs while you man the baby.

*Send something thoughtful in the mail, either to the hospital or their house. Flowers are nice, but you can be creative…think a fruit bouquet (make sure there is something dipped in CHOCOLATE in there!), Graeter’s ice cream, etc. Hospital food is for the birds!

*Ask if there are any groceries you could pick up for them. I know this sounds silly, but I remember sending my mom out to the store when we got home with Peyton for simple things like fresh bread, water bottles, etc. Even if they don’t need anything, the new mom and dad will appreciate your offer!

Finally, I want to finish this post by saying that all of the above are my personal opinions. Just as I know many of my friends feel the same way in regards to visitors and feeling overwhelmed, I know just as many that LOVED having visitors and felt great after delivery! You really just need to feel out the new mama and see where you think she stands. Thanks for listening to my pregnancy rantings, and feel free to leave a comment about YOUR hospital stay experience below! I would love to hear how similar or different it was for all the mommies out there!

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