Running from the Law: March 2014

Monday, March 31, 2014

Just A Swingin'

Every minute I spend with this child feels like a blessing, a gift, a reward for some unknown good deed that I must have done in a prior lifetime. 
He has enriched my life, captivated my heart and changed my soul in a way that I never knew was possible.
 I constantly catch myself looking at him and wondering how I ever got so lucky.
I can't believe he's mine.
I can't believe he loves me.
I can't believe I get to be his mama.
Our days of it being just the two of us are limited and I have been trying to soak up every second of our afternoon walks around the neighborhood, picking up sticks, chasing squirrels and talking about our day.
I don't worry about my capacity to love another child as much as I love him...I know that will happen, that my heart will just grow and accommodate in the most wonderful and unexpected ways.  I know I will love them differently, but equally, and in ways that I can't yet imagine.
But I do worry about my ability to meet the needs of two separate individual children, in different phases of their lives with different wants and requirements.   They need so much.
I hope I can be enough...that I have enough...that I am enough.
Most importantly, I hope they always know how much they are loved, how much they were wanted and how proud we are.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A Letter to My Daughter - 22 Weeks

Dear Mim,

We are now officially past the halfway point of this pregnancy and the weeks just seem to be flying by.  My daily calendar says that you are now the length and weight of a football, which just blows my mind.  My bump is getting bigger and rounder by the day and I absolutely love it.  I'm one of those crazy proud mamas that love to show off my big belly and I honestly can't wait until it's even larger!  Even being the size of a football, I think you have plenty of room to move around in there.  You seem to be practicing your high kicks and karate chops lately and I absolutely adore feeling you move around, flip, kick and punch.  Your dad felt you kick (hard!) last week for the first time and I wish you could have seen his whole face light up.  It never gets old.  At our 20 week ultrasound you were such a little wiggler that we had a hard time getting some of the photos.  At one point you had your legs fully extended all the way over your head, toes pointed and all.  I think we might have another gymnast in the family.  Right now you usually have a dance party in my belly every morning around 7:30 a.m. and every evening right before I go to bed.  I have been resting my book on top of my bump each night and you try to kick it off.  It's a fun little game we play.  I can already tell you're strong and have a great sense of humor.  You're kicking like crazy right now. 
(our little gymnast at 20 weeks)

I had my 21 week OB appointment last week and you are measuring right on track.  Your heartbeat sounded strong and steady, around 140 bpm.  At this time you have fingernails, hair (white hair), eyebrows, tooth buds and a sense of taste and smell.  I still wonder about what kind of eater you'll be, since I have virtually zero cravings this time around.  The only thing that I really want these days is the occasional glass of lemonade.  So different than the intense chicken taco and chocolate milk cravings I had with Mac.  It's probably for the best though, since I would really like to avoid that 60+ pound weight gain I had with him.  At 21 weeks I'm up only 6 pounds, which feels like it should be much more based on the size of my bump.  I did start out a bit heavier this time around, so I'm sure it'll all even out in the end.  I believe my biggest weight gain with Mac was during the third trimester and most of it was swelling, so there's still plenty of time for me to blow up.  But I don't want to be one of those preggos that stresses about gaining weight or complains about being "fat" so I'm just going to shut up about that now.  Bring on the belly!  

We are slowly but surely getting things ready for you at home.  My to do list is about 16 pages long, but we're getting there.  We've been moving things out of your future bedroom and making room for all your beautiful girly stuff.  I've ordered your crib, sheets, changing pad, wall hangings and the rug for your nursery, which should all be coming in the next week or two.  Our UPS man is going to be sick of us.  I've been picking up odds and ends here and there over the last couple months, but we still have a ways to go.  I'm hesitant to get too much stuff right now until I actually see the room and how it all works together.  We still need to put a fresh coat of white paint on the walls and install a ceiling fan (your dad is on it).  Then there's furniture painting and lots of crafting to do.  I hope it all comes together soon so I can stop worrying about it.  It's going to be feminine and classic.  I know you won't be using the room right away, but I do want to get some photographs of you in there during your newborn shoot, which I'm also in the process of booking right now.  So much to do! 
I've said it before, but this pregnancy has been really different than my fist.  This terrible never-ending cold winter has brought a lot of illness and cabin fever to our home.  I've had two head colds and two rounds of the stomach flu, on top of 17 weeks of morning (noon and night) sickness. My last head cold recently developed into a horrible sinus infection, giving me headaches, toothaches and full body aches.  I've been on antibiotics for nearly two weeks now and think I might finally be kicking it.  I'm hoping that all this illness will at least help build up your immune system.  I hate to think all this suffering has been in vain.  I'm ready to start feeling better so I can truly enjoy and appreciate these last few months of being pregnant.  Every time I think about this being my last pregnancy I get incredibly emotional.  Even with the sickness, I really truly LOVE being pregnant.  I love my big round belly; I love feeling you move; I love knowing I'm protecting you; I love the bond we are already forming; I love dreaming about who you'll be; I love it all.  I think pregnancy brings out the best qualities in me and it's really been the happiest times of my life. I hate that we're already halfway through this pregnancy, because I want this feeling to last forever.  But I know that can't happen, so my thoughts move to the day in the not-so-distant future when I finally get to meet you and hold you, which will be even better than this.  

As you can probably tell, I'm very emotional these days.  Especially when I think about you and our future.  I worry so much about whether I'll be a good "girl mom" and if we'll grow up to be friends when you're older.  Having a daughter is a responsibility that I do not take lightly and I so badly want to do right by you and help you become a confident, smart, independent woman.  I worry about the example I set for you and how my choices will affect you years from now. I worried about these things so much less with your brother, probably because I knew he had your father to idolize and I have all the confidence in the world in that man being a good example.  Me...not so much.  I've made so many mistakes and I know I'll continue to make them with you.  I just hope you're patient with me and aren't too hard on me during those rough teenage years.  I really have no idea what to expect, but I promise you I'll do my best.

So with that, little girl, I'm off to bed.  Mama and baby need their beauty rest.  I hope you have sweet dreams of me, as I know I'll be dreaming of you.  

Your mama

Monday, March 24, 2014

Boy Moms - Guest Post

Hello!  I hope you all had a wonderful weekend.  Despite more cold weather, we had a lovely rather uneventful weekend at home, except for the fact that Mac decided that he didn't need a nap AT ALL this weekend.  What?!!  Two naps.  This is not OK.  I don't think I realized how much we (as in me and Ryan) need that 2 hour break in the middle of the day to rest and recharge.  What is going on here?  Please tell me this was caused by a full moon or is just a phase and not indicative of what's to come.  He gave up his morning nap when he was only 9 months old, so I am NOT ready for him to give up that afternoon nap yet.  Ugh.  

Anyway, today I'm guest posting over on Elizabeth's blog, "Chain' Mason" as part of her Boy Moms Series, about what it's like being a boy mom and what has surprised me about having a boy.  It's a lot of talk about tractors and dirt and all things little boy.  I hope you'll head over there and check out what I had to say on the subject (or just check out the adorable photos of Mac).  I admit, I wanted to be a boy mom more than anything and it has not disappointed.  I'm excited and thrilled to be adding the title of "girl mom" to my resume this summer, but for now, this whole "boy mom" gig has been pretty darn awesome.  

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Photography for Moms - Step Off and Step In

A while back I got a question from a very insightful reader about how I find balance between taking ALL the photos and actually being/living in the moment.  What a wonderful question!  At the time, I really wasn't sure how to answer this question.  I actually wasn't sure I was finding proper balance at all. Most of the time I felt like I was either wearing my "family photographer" hat (and taking photos of the action, but not really being part of it) or wearing my "mommy" hat (which meant that I was living in the moment, but not capturing it).  It is incredibly hard to wear two hats at the same time.  Usually, I try to get a couple good shots right away (quickly, before Mac loses patience with me), then I put the camera down for the rest of our play session.  That way he doesn't see the camera as a barrier between us and start to resent/despise it.  That seems to work in most situations, but I started to wonder how other moms were doing it.  The more I thought about the question, the more I realized that I bet a lot of moms struggled with this balance, so I figured it would be a perfect topic for the "Photography for Moms" series.

So with that, I am excited to share today's "Photography for Moms" guest post!  The amazing Erin, from Hello Erin is talking about how to capture the moment, but also live in it and enjoy it. I've been following Erin's blog forever and I absolutely adore her gorgeous photos of her daugher, Lex.  Let me tell you, that is one cute and stylish kid.  I'm pretty sure Lex is going to be a style icon and inspiration for Mim, when she arrives.  I've already got her silver wellies sitting in my online Nordstrom shopping cart, just like Lex's.  I hope you enjoy the post and get some good use from her tips below on how to capture the action happening in front of you, without missing out on the magic moments (and might actually encourage you to get IN the photo).  Enjoy!

hi. my name's erin and I'm totally OCD about pictures. I kid you not, I see the visible cringe from my husband when I whip out the camera and tell him I just want to "take a few shots." even worse is when I hand him the camera - throw him a few directions and expect him to make magic and create the exact image I have in my head. you see, its not my fault. I LOVE pictures, I want to document the heck out of lex's childhood - I can't explain. I just want perfectly perfect pictures to look back on and swoon over. but there's a precious balance between preserving the moment and living the moment.
1. have your camera handy.

there is nothing more annoying than seeing your babe doing something adorable and perfect - and looking around and realizing you don't have your camera. by the time you pull that big boy out your moments gone. get your camera out of the bag and into the rooms you hang out in the most. you won't be sorry.
2. set your settings.

the only thing more annoying than missing the moment is perfectly capturing the moment and later discovering that your picture is way too under/over exposed. sometimes even throwing the picture into black and white in photoshop isn't enough to help. this does not mean to just leave your camera on 'auto'. I repeat DO NOT LEAVE YOUR CAMERA ON AUTO. if anything - learn your settings. know those bad boys backwards and forwards. know your house and where the light's the best. save some time & some heartache & learn that camera!
3. know your style.

I love lifestyle pictures - capturing moments in time. don't get me wrong. I love myself a good photoshoot. . . but there's something about capturing lex 'in the wilderness' that really does something for me. that being said - I've gotten really good at knowing our house, knowing where the light is - and knowing my settings. it's far easier to snap a few shots from afar - rather than attempting to stage an entire shoot. take a few quick photos to capture the moment, then put your camera down and be in the moment!

4. book family sessions with a professional.  

I LOVE getting in front of a professional's camera. find yourself a photographer you feel comfortable with, and love, and book away. over lex's first year we managed to snag professional pictures with her as a newborn, 6 month old, and 1 year old. my goal is to have a few family sessions a year.  it's the best way to get everyone in the shot - and in on the fun.
5. give the camera to someone else.

this is by far my biggest and baddest struggle. when I see a moment, I see exactly how I want it photographed in my head. thrusting the camera in my husband's hands and grunting a few directions his way doesn't always mean he can look into my mind and capture what I want to see. that being said - at least try to set the person you hand your camera to up for success - have your settings set, know what you want the camera to capture (whole bodies? just your faces?), and move around - help a husband out and do different things - give him something to shoot!
6. take a billion shots.

seriously. . . there's nothing sweeter than the sound of a shutter snapping. especially around quick moving toddlers. focus on your toddler, move your body to make sure they stay in the little focus box with they move, and just snap, snap, snap. then put your camera down and swoop in for some tickles.

7. my mom snaps.

this is seriously the cutest book.  it's a favorite of ours - and shows the kids doing activities and the mom snapping pictures of them. it's a fun way to teach kids the reason you're behind the camera. that being said - make sure you get your shot - then put the camera down and join in on the fun!
  IMG_0666taking better pictures isn't easy.  it's not something you can just snap your fingers and learn. it takes time and patience to learn those settings, to figure out your style, and to have the confidence to shoot and know you did good. it takes time. . . and major practice.  so grab your camera and take a lot of really bad pictures. . . its the only way to discover how to take good ones!

a little about me. I was a wedding photographer for about .5 seconds before lex came along - shooting that much definitely helped me define my "style", and definitely challenged me to learn the ins 'n out of all things ISO, f-stop, and shutter speed.  you can find me shooting with a canon 5d with a 50mm 1.2 lens and on a more daily basis with my sony NEX 6 with a 35mm 1.8 lens. I'm a firm believer in prime lenses, finding your style, and capturing life's little moments.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Messy Play

A few weekends ago, Mac and I went to an event at our local early childhood center called "Messy Play." If you know Mac at all (or any toddler, really), then you know that "messy" means fun.  However, "messy" to a mom, just means messy.  I'm all about fun, but not so thrilled about having the "messy" be in my house, so we were thrilled to get out and get messy somewhere else.  The "Messy Play" event consisted of about 10 different rooms at school set up with 10 different messy activities for the kids - anywhere from play-doh to water tables to painting.  
(the one picture out of a hundred that he's actually looking at the camera)
We hit the Play-Doh first.  Mac mainly just wanted to squeeze it in his hands, but we also rolled it out flat and made it into shapes.  He liked cutting it with the kid-friendly scissors and didn't try to eat much of it this time.  This kept his attention for about 4 minutes.  
Next we moved on to multiple water tables filled with rice, pasta or beans.  Lots of little shovels, cups for dumping, sand toys, etc.  He absolutely loved this and probably would have stayed right here the entire time, had I let him. This kid is obsessed with filling cups, dumping them out and shoveling. He's in desperate need of a sandbox.
I have a feeling he is going to love the beach, next time we go!
Once this area got really crowded (and he was getting pushed around by bigger kids), we left to check out some of the classrooms.  This one had some kind of gluey white goop that stretched and also pulled apart and broke.  The teacher said it was made from Elmer's glue and liquid (laundry-type) starch.  I thought it was pretty neat.  
Mac was less than interested. 
He was, however, very interested in painting.  We love to paint at our house.  We have this same little paint set and we paint all the time in the bathtub.  He loved mixing the colors (purple is his favorite), painting his fingers and dipping the paintbrush in the water.
He is quite the artist.  
But what fun is painting when you can splash?!  Giant water tables filled with dyed water, boats, nets, fish, toys, etc.  This was by far the "messiest" portion of the whole messy play day - not because of the activity, but because of Mac's love of water and "dumping" it.  He wanted to splash and dump and make bubbles in the water, much to the chagrin of the parents of the children he was drenching in the process.  I'd say he soaked 8-9 children before I got him out of there.  Sorry!  
We moved on to the room where they were making Fruit Loop bracelets.  Mac walked in and said "SNACKS!" and proceeded to eat handfuls of cereal out of other kids' bowls.  We ran into neighbors in this room and Mac had to give Molly and Mara hugs and kisses when he saw them.  Such a player.
We also tried painting with shaving cream, but he kept trying to eat it thinking it was whipped cream.  
Honestly, his absolute FAVORITE part of the whole thing was the kid-sized accessible sinks.  He loved that he could reach the sinks, reach the soap, turn on the water and play around in them.  He would rather play in the sinks in each classroom than do any of the planned activities.  Add a kid-size drinking fountain and he was in heaven. 
Have you ever been to one of these events?
What's your child's favorite "messy" activity?  

Monday, March 17, 2014

Lucky Charms Treats

Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone!  I hope you're all planning on enjoying some corned beef and a green beer this evening. Or, if you're pregnant more in the mood for something sweet/carbtastic, I have a wonderful recipe to share with you today.
As part of our "Lucky (recipe) Linkup" I was paired with the lovely Veronika, from Veronika's Blushing and got to make her delicious recipe for Lucky Charms Treats.  These are basically rice krispie treats with Lucky Charms instead.  You absolutely cannot go wrong with this recipe and it's super simple and easy.  I was thrilled to get this recipe because my poor husband is allergic to green food coloring, so had I made something green, I would have had to eat it all myself (poor me, right?).  Luckily, this one could be enjoyed by the entire family.
  • 4 tablespoons butter 
  • 1 large bag of marshmallows 
  • 6 cups Lucky Charms cereal 
(you don't need the giant family size box, unless you're like me and wanted plenty of leftovers)

  1. Grease 9x9x2-inch pan 
  2. Melt margarine and marshmallows in a large pan until smooth.
  3. Let slightly cool (so as to not melt Lucky Charms marshmallows).
  4. Stir in Lucky Charms until well coated. 
  5. Press into pan with buttered hands.
  6. Cut into squares when cool.
Couldn't be any easier.  
And then look at all that marshmallowy goodness.  
I my opinion, you can't ever have it "too marshmallowy" - so feel free to add extra mallows or reduce the amount of cereal used.
This made a giant pan of treats.  They're a bit harder (more dense) than rice krispie treats, but extra sweet and crunchy.  I like to put mine in the microwave for 3-5 seconds and get them warm and extra gooey before eating.  
CAUTION: They will attract lots of attention from toddlers.  Beware of wandering grubby little hands...
Kid-tested....mother approved.
Guaranteed to make you happy happy happy! 
I can't wait to see all your recipes from the Lucky (recipe) Linkup today!
Thanks to everyone that participated.
Linkup instructions and a list of participating bloggers are below.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Check out the other hostesses listed below:
Natasha at Schue Love 
Emily at Dear Owen 
Veronika at Veronika's Blushing 
Erin at Hello Erin
Colleen at Meet the Sullivans
Natasha at Hello Happiness