23 February, 2015

Maggie: Ten Months


Weight: 18lbs
Length: about 30in
Feeds: nurses 4-5 times a day & introducing bottles on occasion; 1-2 squeeze pouches at meals + a small portion of our dinner; Yogis and puffs for snacks
Diapers:  Tots Bots, Bum Genius 4.0s, Thirsties pockets and AIO, and Bottom Bumpers OS.  Size 3 in disposables (at night)
Clothes:  12 month and 12-18 months; unpacking the 18 months
Shoes: none
Teeth: two bottoms; two tops


1/12/15 - goes from sitting to crawling
1/19/15 - pointed to Eric and said "Dada"
2/6/15 - celebrated best-buddy Josh's First Birthday


Maggie still isn't crawling, but is getting closer every day.  She rolls or scoots on her bottom to get around the room.

She can go from laying to sitting but only in her crib. We're not sure how to she does it.

Thankfully, Maggie is back to sleeping through the night.

Both top teeth are about halfway in.

We occasionally give Maggie a formula bottle. She can easily feed it to herself.

Maggie can sort of pull up on things. She likes to stand when we help her.

One of her favorite activities is to pull things out of bags, boxes, or drawers.  She's great at  put-and-take.

Continues to be great at waving and clapping.

I realized this month that her clogged tear duct finally opened up! It's as if over night it was fine.

And oh, the Bewitching Hour.  Maggie really struggled with this as a newborn, but it's back with a vengeance.  She screams like a pterodactyl from about 4:30-6:00pm, of course when I am making dinner. Nothing seems to distract her.


When Evie comes in to "play" first thing in the morning
Watching the big kids play
Eating shoes (we use shoes as bait to practice crawling)
Eating my phone
Eating paper
Listening to the bells at Mass
Playing in the bathtub with Evie


 When I leave her eyesight
Waiting for the bacon to warm up (no seriously, she screams)
Excessive time in her high chair
Having toys taken away by sister

We Are:

So thankful Maggie is such an easy baby and a great sleeper
Anxious for a third though we know we need to wait
Enjoying every snuggle with both our girls
Really hitting a groove with having two kids - we seem to go out to eat, Mass, travel etc very smoothly now

Just for fun, visit our other monthly updates!

Maggie: One | Two | Three | Four Five | Six | Seven | Eight and Nine
Evie:  Ten Months

20 February, 2015

On Healing and Lent

Usually on Ash Wednesday I share what I am doing for Lent.  It's never to boast or brag - I think there is something fundamentally contradictory in trying to "out lent" or "one up" someone during this season.  I share for the accountability to myself.  If I write it down and tell people I am much more likely to get the most out of it.

This year's Lent requires a little back story.

Many of you know that I have been struggling with binge eating, my weight, back & joints, stomach, depression and anxiety for the last ten or so years.  I have grown tired of pills and being told to "get over it" - it's not a way of life I want to continue.  I shared that I hit rock bottom over the summer when I nearly committed self harm.   (Please know, I absolutely believe there is a time and place for medication especially in these desperate situations)

Over the last three years I have taken an interest in nutrition and food sensitivities and how they correlate to things like anxiety, depression, inflammation, etc.  For some people, all of these things can be healed with a few diet changes.

However, I could never pinpoint exactly what my sensitivities were.  I had a chiropractor three years ago who was helping me get started but she moved out of the country just as we were hitting a stride.  I have no doubt that God lead me to my current chiropractor. She has picked up where we left off.

She referred me to a new doctor who specializes in ailment I have been struggling with.  It's been a few months and we're still working towards a clear diagnosis, but I have something along the lines of adrenal fatigue from too much (self-inflicted) stress and some kind of reaction to food like that of an autoimmune disease. When you're trying to get to the bottom of so many ailments, a lot of time and attention to detail goes into an understanding of what is the cause vs what is the symptom.

Right now I am on a 4 month elimination diet from 14 foods (some are food groups, like all squashes) and some thyroid support supplements as a trial to see if this helps reduce the inflammation in my body.  I am also doing low impact exercise 2-3 days a week. And seeing my spiritual director for emotional and spiritual support.

Given all these changes I am working through, I have decided on the following for Lent:

Prayer -

Read Be Healed: A Guide to Encountering the Powerful Love of Jesus in Your Life per the suggestion of my Spiritual Director


  • Go full force with my elimination diet. It's taking every ounce of my will power to stick to it. Fourteen foods is a lot of work.  Having Lent as an additional motivator is really helping.
  • Because of the foods included in my elimination diet, giving up meat on Friday's is really hard for me to get enough calories/protein to keep up with nursing, so on Fridays I am fasting from social media and keeping to small meat portions.


I have given up online shopping with PayPal for the next 40 days - so things like Etsy, cloth diapers, B/S/T kids clothing Facebook pages, etc. - I am not sure what we'll do with the extra cash. Probably donate it to Mustard Seed Communities, a group of orphanages in Nicaragua that our parish supports.

What have you given up for Lent?  How is it going so far?

17 February, 2015

A Newborn Session: Meet Ellie + What I Learned (and you should know about newborn photography)

 I wanted to challenge myself and to see how I've grown as a photographer since I did Luke's photos back in 2013 so I gifted my brother and sister-in-law a session as their shower gift.  I have been looking forward to this shoot for months, yet I still felt underprepared.  Newborn photography is hard.  Really hard. 

Paige was very calm and relaxed throughout the entire session, which I know kept Ellie in a sweet sleepy state.  She also had purchased a few outfits just for this session and had them ready to go along with the blankets and a few ideas of what she wanted out of the photoshoot.
 While the end goal of the shoot was portraits, I quickly realized during that day that I certainly favor lifestyle shoots to portraits so I took several of those too.  I made sure to include a few pictures with Paige's wedding ring because it belonged to her late mother. It was my way of including the "three generations"
 This photo of Ellie wrapped in the rose blanket happened by accident.  Paige was snuggling with Ellie to keep her warm between poses and it was one of those right-place-right-time shots.  I consider it my money shot of the entire day.
I love lifestyle photography over posed portrait sessions because I like to capture the natural interactions between families.  My naturally introverted-observer mind really shines.

Technically Speaking:

  • I used my Canon 70D plus a rented Canon 1.2L II from Aperturent.
  • I mostly used the natural afternoon light that came in through the bedroom window. I used a Speedlite in a few shots.

What I Learned:

  • Ellie was within the 10 day scrunchy baby window, but even at 7 days was starting to unfold a bit.

  • Remember extra flash batteries.  The recycle time slows way down as the batteries drain.

  • Think outside the box and be ready for just the right moment.

  • Baby-in-a-basket photographers work really hard to get just the right styling. I confirmed it's not really my thing.

  • Be calm and leave the room to give baby (and mom) some time to relax between poses.

  • I may include a space heater next time to keep naked baby warm!

  • What You Should Know (if you're planning a newborn session):

    • Communicate your vision with the photographer in advance - some shots require a lot of props and set up.
    • Have your baby's outfits ready to go (and spare outfits)
    • Be patient ready to nurse/bottle feed, change diapers, manage spit up, etc
    • Sessions last 2-3 hours because babies take a while to work with, but it's WORTH IT!
    • There is a reason why newborn portrait sessions cost a lot of money: 2-3 hours of photography, plus the cleaning and preparation of the props, and culling & editing time.  (We took 430 pictures for about 20 good ones)
    • As a mother and photographer I encourage mother's to get in a few shots.  I was always too self-conscious with my postpartum body to be in photos and now I regret it.  The photographer can work around the jiggly bits.

    10 February, 2015

    Family Fun Night - Georgia Tech Basketball

    After a ridiculously trying two-year old phase, I am loving having a three year old. Evie's just old enough to go to events and appreciate outings.

    Eric and I wanted to go to the Notre Dame basketball game when they played Georgia Tech a few weeks ago.  I love college basketball. Eric is indifferent, but he's always up for supporting Notre Dame and his local favorite, Georgia Tech.

    We decided to take Evie.  We knew it would be a late night but thought we'd give it a try.  She was mesmerized. 

    Seriously. We were shocked.  We told her which color team uniforms we were cheering for and how we wanted them to make a basket and which side of the court to watch for baskets.  She did get a little antsy here and there, but she'd snuggle up with G.Daddy, Eric or I.

    We had yummy snacks for dinner, saw Francesca and Fr. Josh from our church, and had a blast hanging out with our big girl!

    Grandma had fun babysitting just little Maggie for some one-on-one time. It was a great night all around!

    Looking forward to many more fun family outings now that the girls (well, Evie) can appreciate them more.

    09 February, 2015

    Daddy-Daughter Date Night 2015

    Thank God that our local Christian radio station had a reminder to sign up for Chick-fil-a's Daddy-Daughter Date night because we nearly missed it!  

    After a fun night out last year, Evie remembered how special it was to get dressed up and go on a date with Eric.  She talked about it all week. 

    I let her pick out her dress and then we worked together to find her cardigan, bow, tights, shoes and jewelry.   She was running around in pre-date night excitement. 

    Eric scooped up his tiny sweetheart and posed for a few pictures before they left.

    Eric said they had a great night talking and playing on the indoor playground.

    I love the special relationship these two have and I hope it continues.  Thank you Chick-fil-a for sponsoring such an encouraging night. What a treasure to families.