Thursday, November 29, 2012

sneak peek - the ray's wedding.

I had the privilege of photographing Leslie and Taylor's wedding at the end of October.  They were married at the beautiful Hodgin Valley Farm.  It is a gorgeous location and thankfully the rain held off which made it a perfect evening for an outdoor wedding.  The ceremony was wonderful and the reception was a blast.  I am so thankful that Leslie and Taylor allowed me to document their day.  Here's a quick...err, or not so quick, sneak peek of their day.  Enjoy!

photo by Courtney

photo by Courtney

photo by Courtney

photo by Courtney

photo by Courtney

photo by Courtney

I'm so thankful for Courtney's help as my second shooter.  I could not have done this without her!  

Friday, November 23, 2012

project 52.37


Having y'all has changed our dynamic.  
We are now defined differently.
We are now a family of four.

No more sitting in booths.
No more late night trips to the movies.
No more consistent crafting and blogging. 
No more clean house.
No more sleeping late.

But also, more love.  More fun.  More to be thankful for.
These two sweet little lives that have changed our perspectives. 
We are different people because of you two.

You have changed our lives so drastically and I am so thankful for that.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

bowl covers!

I've had a few bowl cover orders lately!  Thought y'all might like to see :)  

project 52.36


Motherhood is a beautiful thing.
I am right where I need to be.  

I am living my dream life.  
I honestly have no desire to be anywhere else in my life.  It's an incredible feeling.  In any stage of my life I have always looked forward to another stage.  Or another job or another goal.  
But not now.
I can't fathom anything else being sweeter in this life than these days I am spending with the two of you.  

Monday, November 19, 2012

project 52.35


I came across this picture and realized that this first year with y'all has been so memorable.  

There have been so many firsts.  
So many pictures.
Lots of trips.
A handful of difficulties.
And loads of fun.

Y'all have grown so much.
Your daddy and I have grown so much.  
It has been the best year of my life. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

breastfeeding | nursing.


I'm picking back up on my breastfeeding series.  You can find the first few posts here.

Because the breathe, suck, swallow concept is developed in the last few weeks before babies are born, the twins had a little catching up to do.  They were not able to develop this skill in utero so we had some work to do when they were born.  I was not actually able to nurse the boys until their last week in the NICU.  

We would do kangaroo care (skin to skin) every day because it has been proven to help preemies.  They don't have to work so hard to regulate their body temperature because they are against your warm skin, their breathing will sync to yours and regulate while they are laying on your chest and it's just good bonding time for mom and baby when nursing is not allowed yet and there isn't a lot of "hold time" allowed.  

Around the third week, the neonatologists and I talked about what the NICU world calls "lick-n-learn".  I would pump and then once I finished pumping, we would allow the boys to latch on to try and figure out what to do.  Because I pumped first, they were not going to actually be getting any milk.  So, they could work on the breathe and suck without having to add the swallow component yet.  We did this for a few times and then we got to try nursing.  The boys did great.  And the lactation consultants were super helpful.  Since the boys mouths were so small, we had to work on getting them to latch on correctly.  And we had to work to keep them awake.  Once they got all snuggled up to me, it was challenging to keep them awake and alert enough to actually nurse for any amount of time.  We were able to try for 20 minutes once a day at the beginning.  We had to limit our time so the boys wouldn't actually burn more calories trying to nurse than they would gain from the milk they got.  The Lactation Consultant would come in and weigh the boys, help me with nurse them and then weigh them again.  This allowed us to find out how many milliliters of milk they were getting.

When we took the twins home from the hospital, I was able to nurse them twice a day.  The other six feeds were pumped milk given by a bottle.  Each week I was able to increase the number of times I was able to nurse by one time per day.  

First, many people have asked me, do you nurse them both at the same time?  And the answer is yes.  For months it took too long to nurse the boys separately.  If I was to nurse them separately it would mean I would nurse one and then nurse the other and by the time they were both finished I would only have about an hour before it was time to start over again.  It typically would take 30-45 minutes from start to finish.  If I did them separately, that's 1-1.5 hours!

They sell a fabulous pillow called the Twins + Plus Brest Friend.  It is a necessity.  For real. It allows you to do a football hold with both babes and you can nurse, two babies, hands-free. 

There are some pictures below to show how it has worked for me:

A few notes about the picture above:  I just stuck a burp cloth in between their heads so you wouldn't have to see too much.  Which really, pretty much every woman in my life has seen everything I've got.  Except for the blogosphere.  So consider yourselves lucky :)  Secondly, Robin [the wonderful lactation consultant] suggested taking a blanket for each babe, folding it in half [hamburger fold - does that make sense?], then rolling it up and folding it into the shape of a candy cane.  Then, allow the babe's head to rest in the curve of the candy cane.  This helped immensely when the twins were so tiny.  It helped them latch on because they were higher and it helped my back because I didn't have to hunch over to try and get low enough for them.

When we would go out somewhere I would nurse the boys separately but it was stressful.  It almost made it not worth going out for long periods of time because I would spend so much of the time in the car.  But, over time the boys started taking less and less time to nurse.  This made it a lot easier to nurse when we were on the go.  It was definitely helpful to have someone around to hold one of the boys while I nursed the other.  Typically the other person (daddy, grandma, aunt, etc) would change a diaper while I nursed a baby and then we'd switch.  

Just in the past few months the boys have been able to start nursing together without the pillow.  I always use the pillow if we are at home but if we're out somewhere, we can make it work without the pillow.  They have gotten to the point where they realize what the other one is getting to do and they are super jealous that they aren't the one getting to nurse.  Plus, they are able to hold themselves up a little and they can definitely latch on just fine. 

But, even though I typically nurse them together, it is so sweet when I get to nurse them separately.  Any time I'm at my mom's house, I nurse them separately.  It is such a sweet time to just look into their little eyes and inspect their little toes and ears and hold their little hands.  I love it.  So, I definitely like having a mix of nursing them tandem and then individually as well.

So, I started working on this post back in March and I finally picked back up.  It is hard to believe how much has changed over the past eight months.  I am telling y'all now, this gets so much easier as you go on.  I promise.  I remember trying so hard to figure out a way to make nursing out in public easier.  But, it's just tough for some time.  But, it is just a season.  The super long, 30 minute nursing sessions will cut in half and then in half again before you know it.  The boys only take about 7-10 minutes to nurse now (sometimes even less)!  All that to say, stick with it mamas!  You can do this!  And you will be so glad you did!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

real is beautiful.

being real is the most freeing thing i have ever experienced.

i am a mess.
my house is dirty 90% of the time.
my kids sometimes have crusty noses.
i don't always speak with love to my husband. 
we eat take-out way more often than we should.
some weeks i cram all my bsf questions into two days.

but i've learned that real is beautiful.

it allows me to sit on the floor in the midst of my house being a disaster and read books with my babies.
it leads to awesome relationships.
it means being vulnerable in a world that pretends to have it all together.
which can be terrifying. 
but it is also leads to the sweetest life i've known.

being real means admitting that i don't have it all together. 
being real means giving up the "good girl" mentality.
being real means that i need Jesus.

and it is a beautiful thing.

doing things differently. and that's okay.

If there is one thing I decided to stand by before becoming a mother it was "to each his own".  I had seen how different each mother does things.  And I had realized that that was okay.  All because it's done differently doesn't mean that it's wrong.  

Motherhood is a beautiful journey.  And I love that each journey is different.  I love learning from other mothers.  Observing the way they walk this road.  And then figuring out each step of my path.  

Kelle [yes, I'm totally going to refer to her by her first name because we're bffs...didn't you know?] wrote this on her blog a while back and I loved it.  It's exactly how I feel about our family, this blog, our life. 

"I have no mission statement for the blog because my brain is far too scattered to ever be summarized into one sentence. But if I had to choose something for this space it would simply be Welcome to Enjoying the Small Things. We might look different than your family, we might believe differently, we might raise our kids differently, and we might choose priorities that are different than yours. But really, we are the same. I hope you feel that and I hope that fact makes you feel welcome and accepted and encouraged to live your one wild and precious life. And if we approached every one we ever met with that philosophy, I think the world would be a kinder, gentler, more understanding place."

 I want my family's life to be an encouragement to others to live their one wild and precious life.

Friday, November 16, 2012

project 52.34


I have wanted for so long to live in a place where we have community.
I want to raise y'all around other families who love Jesus and I want y'all to be surrounded by family and friends.

I grew up with that.  Tons of cousins living within a two mile radius.  Lots of houses to go between.  Lots of meals shared, lots of games played, holidays all together, Sunday afternoons spent hanging out.  
Since your Nonny and Poppy are the only two family members we have locally, I have been worried that we wouldn't have the community I longed for.

But, oh man, did the Lord have a plan.
We celebrated Thanksgiving tonight with our "family". 
[And y'all were there :) Hidden in the picture, but there!]

I am seeing my dream happen before my very eyes.

You are being surrounded by families and friends who love Jesus.  
We do have community.

And I am oh so grateful.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

family self portraits.

over the last two weeks i've done a family photoshoot of both of my families.  i just realized when i sat down to post these of the conklin side that i never posted the scott side!  i'll do that soon.  

family self portraits are hard.  it involved me setting up the tripod, hitting the button and then sprinting to my spot in the picture.  it was a good workout for sure.  needless to say, i've already added a camera remote to my christmas list!

we did the conklin pictures last weekend but i can't really post many because i'm not sure what's going to be used for christmas cards.  so, here are the couple that i can post:

we took individual family photos as well.  but again, not sure what's going to be used for christmas cards.  i forgot to take one of our family so i snapped one really quick at the end.  this one is at the oil company on the dock.  i like that it captures jordan's job and our family all in one :)  

i'll try to remember and post the others after christmas card pictures are chosen!

happy wednesday!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

lost my funny.


i am a scatterbrained mess these days.  my blog has gotten the shaft.  for real.  there are so many things that i want to blog about but i have to make time to actually write it down.  my sister and i were just talking the other day about how we tend to write blog posts in our head before we actually sit down to write them.  well, i've written about 300 blog posts. and hardly any of them have become a reality.  

and the other thing is that i think i've lost my funny.  

i used to blog about bananas shooting across the kitchen like blow darts and my brother thinking mother teresa lived in a shoe.  now i blog about sappy mom stuff if anything.  

but, if you caught that little thing in the beginning of this post, my sister and i were talking about writing blog posts...because she has a blog, y'all! 

you should go check it out.

because she hasn't lost her funny.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

the sutton's sneak peek.

A couple of years ago I took engagement pictures of Whitney and Geoff.  Last weekend I was able to take pictures of Geoff's family.  They are such a beautiful and sweet family.  And, they have some gorgeous property with the perfect yellow tree!  I was so excited when I showed up.  I think this is one of my favorite photo shoots I have ever done!  Yellow trees and sweet families are my favorite!