Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Sarah is 15 months old!

Time truly flies. Last week, our little Sarah Joy turned 15 months old! I took this photo of her in December on her Daddy's birthday. She's growing up so fast, getting so tall and saying a bunch of words. Her laugh is contagious, she loves to play with her brothers and we adore her.

What you can't see under the fuzzy sweater she was playing peek-a-boo with, is that she has a head full of soft ringlets. She must have gotten them from her Grandpa Bob (my dad).

What also occurs to me is that this is the longest stretch of time since 2001 that I have not been pregnant. I was pregnant for the first time in December of 2001. Eli was born on his due date in September of 2002. Six months later we found out we were expecting Jacob. When Jacob was 11 months old, we found out we were expecing Thomas. When Thomas was 7 months old, we found out Sarah Joy was on her way. Now, Sarah is 15 months old and we have no announcements to make to that end. A few months ago, I realized that the famed "mommy-brain" had all but dissapeared. I can think again! And, I think I adore my kids!

Ok, off to do taxes.

Gunnar's photo shoot

This morning, I took a great drive up to Albertville, MN to photograph little Gunnar. One of the photographers who worked for me at First Day PHOTO!, Ginger Murray (read her blog about working with us!, took Gunnar's newborn photos almost 7 months ago. They were beautiful, and I was so looking forward to seeing how this little guy had grown. We had such a fun shoot... what a happy baby with an amazing mom. Photos and a slideshow to come~

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A busy week - Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep

Ok, so I haven't really gotten used to blogging yet. I've been so busy these last few days that I've collapsed into be around midnight and don't even remember falling asleep! I had to reschedule a 6 month session for a First Day PHOTO! "graduate," this morning because my kids are sick and I didn't want to get the little boy I was supposed to photograph sick. Oh well, I am looking forward to doing it next Wednesday. Check back for his slideshow!

Today I photographed a little boy on his way to Heaven. I have the privelege of volunteering for a great organization called Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. It's a 501(c)3 orgnization (that means non-profit) set up to provide volunteer professional photographers for babies who will not leave the hospital. I am one of about 40 members in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area - but it's an international organization. In the last 8 days, I've met three of these little angels and their parents and families. I don't usually do so many in one week, we all share the burden, but two of the three families I had relationships with so I was their photographer. On Sunday, I met Baby Maddy, who went to Heaven before her mommy and daddy got to hold her in their arms. I met them as their Childbirth Educator and then got to meet Maddy as her photographer. Maddy had Trisomy 18, just like our first little boy, Eli. (You can read Eli's story at )

I am so humbled that these families invite me into their lives. There are so few people that get to meet their little ones, and to be one of them is a gift. The gift we give, then, is a tangible memory. We offer a photograph of something that would otherwise only be in their minds. Look for me in a piece on NILMDTS on NBC's Today Show sometime soon, probably Feb. '08.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

What I do all day - First Day PHOTO!

I have got to start going to bed earlier! I've been training new photographers for the last several weeks, and have had 2 days off since December 10. I am TIRED. I have the greatest job, though. Brad and I get to work and be with our kids alternately. He's with them when I am at work, and vice versa. Today, we really did just trade. I was at the hospital from 8am-4:30pm, and got home just in time for him to leave to shoot a couple Bethel University basketball games. We love it, though.

In 2003, Brad started our company, First Day PHOTO! in a response to a request from a local hospital to provide newborn photography that was better than what they had (the other company just bought everyone except us, so they are in most U.S. hospitals). What he discovered was that he was able to do SO much more than that. With my knowledge about how the birth centers work and what is important to them and his business and photography expertise, he created a distinctive in-hospital portrait service for newborns that is unmatched in quality and service. The service to the family is fantastic because they are provided beautiful portrait-quality images in their hospital room. For the hospital, the advantages are so many.

So, where do I come in? Brad got so busy with his ministry work and sports work that I offered to help with First Day PHOTO!. That was almost three years ago (and two babies ago!) and I've been doing it ever since. I gently took over all the operations and now I do it full time, and parent full time. Our kiddos are 4 years old, 2 1/2 years old and 1 year old. So, with a growing family and a growing business we are both busy, but we couldn't be happier.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

A quiet house

My house is quiet, except for the hummmmm of my refrigerator and the clicking of my keyboard. Brad went to sleep a few minutes after the kids did and here I sit. I can't describe how rare this is in our household. I am simply never the last one up, so I really don't know what to do with the silence. At least at first. Then I start to compose my thoughts and dwell on my to-do list. I am bit overwhelmed by what I have to accomplish by the end of January, in addition to my already full schedule.

Last September, I completed all my training to be a Certified Childbirth Educator. Upon completion of the course, I was given several months to complete some required reading and submit comments (translation: book reports!). I have finished two of the three books and started reading the third one while I was working out tonight. It really slowed down my mile! The book I just finished, Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin, is far and away the best book I've ever read on the topic. And, truly, I've read many.

Childbirth and family education is one of my passions. I've been teaching expectant families at Abbott Northwestern Hospital for almost 2 years now and I love it. At first, it was a way for me to keep my head near maternal-fetal medicine (I had prepared to go to medical school before having so many children so quickly). Now, I just do it because it is fulfilling and I feel a sense of mission about it.

I do all the management for our company, First Day PHOTO! and that means I have to get employees' tax forms in the mail. I've also got a filing deadline approaching with the IRS. I think I'd rather stick with the book reports.

So, here in the silence, I get a little overwhelmed and then pause. This was a great day. We got to go to church as a family for the second week in a row (yay!), we spent some unhurried time together, I worked while the kids were napping and now I remember what is important. My God is in control, I just have to rely on His strength and pay attention. Everything else is just details.

I think I'll leave you with a quote from Jacob, our four year old. This afternoon, as I was walking out the door for work, he said, "mom, the house would look beautiful if we cleaned all the rooms at the same time." Kissing him on the forehead, I said, "yes honey, it would."

There's always tomorrow.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

My husband rocks!

An interesting way to start a blog, I know. As I type, he is upstairs making me chicken soup and a peanut butter sandwich. Healthy, I know. I'm recovering from a stomach bug (two of the kids have it, too) and I haven't had much to eat in the last day so comfort food it is. Because we are both photographers and run our businesses both together and seperately, he has the kids in the morning when I go to work for a few hours. Thankfully, I had a really light day today and he let me sleep in and took care of the kids most of the day. They adore their dad and so do I!