I wanted to share this fun little slideshow of my brother’s wedding. It has a rustic feel to it so I duplicated it to showcase the actual color too
This past November my youngest brother got married. Since we grew up in FL and that is where he and mostly everyone else in our family lives, the wedding was held in FL. We weren’t sure if we were going to make it or not. It made me really sad. I worked my butt off to try to make it happen. In the end I knew it wouldn’t happened. Then my husband surprised me with being able to go. We had to get a little creative to make it work and that was basically our Christmas, but we made it and I am so glad we did. My brother has been through some really hard things and it was great to see him happy and to meet his little family. I had a difficult time narrowing the images down and ended up with over 150 images to blog so I decided to just do Bridals and pics of him and his family. The day started out raining and it didn’t look like it was going to stop. Fortunately it did
Congratulations Eddie and Tiffany! We wish you the best.
We did the Bridals the morning of the wedding at the Bed and Breakfast we were staying at. Then we headed to the wedding location.
It’s nearly 3 am on a Thursday morning. I am up once again with another pounding headache struggling to turn into a full blown migraine. My mind is full of thoughts and I can’t seem to focus so I thought I would blog a little bit.
This past month has been a bit of a whirlwind for me. I feel like I have lost nearly three weeks of my life and I’m not sure where it went. After the Holidays I thought I’d have a chance to slow down, edit pictures in a timely manner, catch up on blog posts that have been waiting to happen since July, and just enjoy life in general. But then reality reminded me that I’m a Mom now. Such luxuries are of the past lol.
This month has brought to mind how much I love being a Mom and how incredibly Blessed I am. Lots of hard decisions have had to be made recently and I have been feeling the emotions of it all, struggling to breath and catch my breath while being the loving wife and doting mother.
Earlier this month my dear husband came home from work chilled to the bone and as a result ended up with pneumonia. A hazard of the job I suppose. I must confess. I was quite worried about him. Still, I somehow managed to keep up with all my duties. However, as he was getting better, our sweet baby boy became very ill himself and I needed to drop everything and focus on just getting my boys better.
I have never had anything shake my faith as much as this illness did. Considering that I thought I had lost him at 25 wks gestation, then almost actually losing him at birth, and seeing him go through some extremely difficult things for a “little” guy, I really didn’t think there was much that could shake me to the core with him. I mean, he is the only two year old I know who scales walls and has a few chipped teeth from those acrobatic moments…sigh. To me he had become invincible and perhaps I had begun to take his very being for granted, dreading my motherly duties.
His sudden illness (presumably the flu but no official diagnosis was made. long story.) took us by surprise. This really is quite the long story but I’ll give you the short version. We were quite concerned about him and knew he needed to be seen by either a medical doctor or a naturopath. Just a couple of problems here. I have yet to find a doctor here I trust. I have been deeply scarred by doctors in generally, but I have been traumatized by a few here that have left me with a great deal of mistrust. The other problem was, our Naturopath is 4 hours away and we didn’t feel it was wise to drive that far with a sick child. We considered finding someone closer, but again, we have that whole trust issue thing. We called someone we knew was similar to our Naturopath in UT who confirmed I was on the right track with the oils but also recommended we talk to someone at the drs office if for nothing more than peace of mind. Eventually we got a hold of someone at the doctors office and felt that we were safe in waiting this illness out and to keep doing what we were doing with our oils. That night he took a turn for the worst and for the first time since becoming a mother I truly did not know what to do. Trust in my mother intuition and Heavenly Father or take him to the ER? It must seem so simple for some what the obvious choice should be, right? Crying and holding my baby, trying to make a decision with my husband, and struggling with what my heart was trying to tell me, I silently cried out to my Lord, “Heavenly Father. I don’t know what to do! Please, tell me what to do!”
Confession. Since my surgery, despite the beautiful miracles I have seen and experienced from that moment in my life, I have really struggled with my Faith and my purpose in this life. That was the first personal prayer I have uttered in nearly a year. I truly did not expect an answer. After all, unlike all the other times in my life, I turned away from Him after my surgery. I may have friends, clients, and family members who think my Faith in a Heavenly Father and Savior are foolish and unrealistic, but I testify to you that they are real and they hear us and they know us. I testify to you that in my heart I knew that whatever was wrong with my son was much more than just the flu. I know without a doubt that we were headed for a trip to Children’s Primary if he did not get better within the next several hours. And for some reason I knew that even if I had taken him to the doctors we would still be experiencing this moment of him getting worst. I can’t explain it. I have no idea why I know this. I just do. With that prayer came my answer and nothing short of a miracle. Almost as soon as I uttered those words from my lips and I allowed my heart to hear and feel the Holy Ghost whisper to me, I knew what I had to do. I gathered my oils and with my husband’s help I did my best to do what is called The AromaTouch Technique. You’ll have to Google it if you would like to learn more about it. I am self taught. Not certified and doing this on a two year old who is fighting you most of the time, trying to get comfortable so he can sleep, leaves one wondering if it is enough. As though my thoughts were heard by Heavenly Father, I felt the Spirit whisper to me. Trust in the oils. Trust. Trust in your Heavenly Father. I laid next to my son with my hands on his back and I cried and I literally prayed until I fell asleep and maybe I even prayed in my sleep. I don’t know. I whispered to my son that his body was whole now. That he was healed. And I prayed, begging Heavenly Father to make him whole again. To heal his body.
The rest of the night is simply a blur. I do not remember falling asleep. I do not remember if any of us woke up in the middle of the night or if we slept clear through. All I know is that at 5:30am our son bounced. Yes. He bounced awake, climbed out of bed, turned on his netflix cartoons, and climbed back into bed, snuggled in between us. I felt his forehead. His fever was completely gone. I looked up at him. He smiled down at me and said something inaudible. I rolled back over and closed my eyes. I figured if he was better and netflix would keep him happy I could sneak in a few more hours of sleep before having to get up. Before drifting off to sleep I thanked my Heavenly Father for his Blessings and healing my son.
It took a few more days for the rest of his illness to go away but I knew we were past the worst of it.
This boy is my world. He is absolutely everything to me. I’m his Mom. He is the Gift that God Gave so Graciously. I love him with all my heart. I never would have thought that these past few weeks would be some of my most difficult times. It is almost humorous to me now and nearly a dream. One thing I know is true, through this I had some incredible spiritual experiences and awakenings. Life isn’t just peachy from here on out, but I have a new perspective on things and I feel ready to move on and continue to heal.
This past weekend we decided to take a little trip to IF to go to the Temple. I don’t travel as well as I use to so when we go we usually stay overnight and try to do something as a family, leaving phone calls to go to voicemail. The Creature and I love it when we have Daddy’s full attention. There is nothing worst than a husband(or in some case, a wife) who can’t leave work behind. I hate when we go on a trip or even on a little outing around town and most of the time is the Creature and I waiting in the truck for Dad to get off the phone. So when he actually puts it on silent and focuses just on us it is something I really cherish and appreciate it. I was so grateful this past weekend was business free
We decided to take the Creature to the Zoo. Our timing wasn’t the greatest. It was fieldtrip day and all the nosing, not so nice kids would scare the animals just as our little guy finally spotted them or became interested in them. I think next time we’ll call ahead to make sure we’re not coming on a crowded day. We were surprised by how excited Little Man was to see all the animals. He was beside himself with laughter and pure joy. He also had quite a few meltdowns when we wouldn’t let him pet the animals. The worst tantrum thrown was when he couldn’t go pet the Lions (they were his favorite.) Luckily he got over it.
As soon as he saw all the other kids he had to take off running after them.
Love this cute little face
He finally got to pet an animal but he was all tuckered out by this point so it wasn’t as exciting for him.
We also went swimming and played at the Temple for a bit. Anything with water and grass this kid loves. Poor baby does seem to have similar allergies as me though. We both have been fighting Hay Fever for several weeks and just when I thought we were finally getting better I realized we had both broken out in a rash on our arms and legs from playing in the grass at the Temple. Sigh.
The best part of the trip for me was deciding to go to the D.I. and seeing what they might have for a nice cozy chair. I honestly wasn’t expecting to find anything and even if I did I was expecting it would cost $50-$100 as these are the prices I am use to for used furniture at most D.I.s and other Thrift Stores. As soon as I walked in I saw the perfect chair. It was 100% my style. It was really beat up though and would require more work than I was willing to put into it. Plus I really didn’t think John would love it as much as me
Nathan loves it too but only because he discovered this morning that it swivels
Since my little guy turned one he has been teething one set after another and his molars started coming in at 14 months. For awhile they just sat partially emerged in his gums but this past week and half they have started to break through completely and the poor little guy is miserable. Bloody gums, high fevers, and lots of pain. I think this past weekend was my breaking point. He wouldn’t eat and barely nursed. He just kept chewing on anything and anyone. Thank goodness for our oils but I sure did have to keep applying them to keep the pain and fevers down. He has three more to go and I pray we are done for awhile! We BOTH need sleep!
Isn’t he still the cutest little thing when he’s miserable?
For as long as I can remember John has placed his large hands over little man’s ears and that always seems to calm him to sleep. Recently the Creature has started doing this himself when he is ready for bed or is already asleep. So cute!
John’s favorite meal is Pot Roast. He loves it every Sunday. I HATE it. Pot Roast has got to be one of the most flavorless, boring meals out there. I think I attempted to make it in a crock pot once and that was several years ago. Recently I decided I needed to be a better sport and try to make more of the meals John loves. So yesterday I tried my hand at Pot Roast
I am not a cook. I burn nearly EVERYTHING and some items I’ve managed to burn have been pretty impressive (like tea.)
Because I am not a cook and I hate taking more than an hour to make anything, I wanted a simple, basic recipe that didn’t require a crock pot, cream of soup, gravies, or ingredients/spices I couldn’t pronounce. Pinterest and Google were of no help. So, I came up with my own quick, simple, very basic Pot Roast Recipe.
Half to one whole Red Onion
Meat Tenderizing Seasoning
Oven preheated 350 degrees
I coated the bottom of my dish with thin slices of the Red Onion. I then sprinkled the entire Pot Roast with the Meat Tenderizing Seasoning and placed it on top of the onions. I tossed a few carrots and some more sliced onions around the Pot Roast. Next, I seasoned the top of the Pot Roast with Sea Salt and Black Pepper. I finished it off with the Basil leaves and Italian Seasoning and filled the dish with about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water (I just eye balled it so not sure on the exact amount.) I covered the dish with foil and plopped it in the oven for 3.5 hours (I think it ended up being more like 4 since I might have slightly forgotten about it, but 3 to 3.5 hours is plenty.) I checked on the roast at about 3 hours to make sure there was still plenty of water. I recommend not going past the 3.5 hours since ours seemed to be a little dry after being in there for 4 hours. Our roast was really small so I recommend adjusting cook time if you have a larger roast you need to cook. It was a little spicy and still moist despite it cooking longer than intended (but I could tell it was starting to dry out so don’t forget to take it out in time!)
Not bad for my first Pot Roast
I needed this reminder this morning.
“Dear sisters, many of you are endlessly compassionate and patient with the weaknesses of others. Please remember also to be compassionate and patient with yourself.” Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Yesterday ended up being much busier than I had anticipated so I didn’t get to post.
Yesterday I went for my morning walk with Freckles and my sister in law. Then I came home to clean the house (I feel like this is a never ending chore.) And then it was off to the Groomers for Freckles. I returned home to get little man ready for his day at the Salon and off we went to Afton for a hair cut and some errands. When we returned home, with the help of a friend, I finished getting things ready for this weekends Mini Sessions
I was so impressed with how well my sweet boy did. I wasn’t sure how he would do since he had been so cranky that morning (cutting a new tooth – it’s never ending.) I almost canceled thinking it wouldn’t be worth the fuss, but decided to chance it. We went to Toe Candy where my friend Lexi works. Little man loves Lexi. I could tell he was a little confused on why she was in that strange place but once she held him he relaxed a bit and began “talking” to her.
Lexi was great with the Creature. She explained to him she was putting a “blanket” on him and since he loves playing with blankets he thought it was a game and didn’t freak out. He doesn’t like being held or kept still so we decided to see if we could accomplish this task without me holding him, which meant I got to take pictures
I had talked with Lexi before hand about what I wanted and I was so happy with the results. His “hair cut” was more of just a little trim since I’m not ready for his curls to go and him have a typical little boy’s hair cut. I don’t think I’ll ever be ready to say bye to those adorable curls!
Here is his before picture. I think it’s great. Don’t you just love those before pictures of someone who is about to get a make over and they look like they are getting a mug shot? Super Depressing. Well, this kid managed to pull such a face without even being told to. I don’t think he liked me putting his hair in his face lol.
His hair had gotten so long his curls were started to fall and get tangled.
He’s quite the little flirt. Telling stories to Lexi.
He realized he could see himself in the mirror here and was hammin’ it up.
He did not want to give up the phone.
And the after
Photograph taken by Sandy Puc of NILMDTS
This may be difficult for mothers who have lost little ones so I will understand if you can’t read this quite yet or just don’t want to.
Our hearts heal stronger when we (mothers) mourn together.
I had plans today to share a blog post I’ve been working on for awhile now. I was planning on sharing it last week but my sweet baby boy woke up with a scary high fever and I spent the day trying to bring it down. “I’ll just post it next week.” I thought. Then last night I received a phone call. One I honestly never thought I would get in this valley. It is rather ironic actually. I wasn’t suppose to be on the list, but they were going off of an old one so they still had my contact info. I’m glad they did.
NILMDTS stands for Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. It is a non profit organization that offers bereavement photography for parents whose precious newborns will not live more than a few hours/days or are already gone when they are born. The organization recommends this type of photography for babies 25 weeks gestation and older (exceptions can be made for younger babies if needed.)
You are probably wondering why I am blogging about something so sad. Two reasons. One, I want others to know about NILMDTS and it’s wonderful cause. Two, It is healing for me to talk about my experience both as a mother and a photographer.
All of my losses have been 1st trimester losses, but they are still painful and I still mourned them. I do not have anything from those losses, except one ultrasound picture I had to request. I don’t even have a recording of a heartbeat or anything to help me remember. My last miscarriage I gave birth to a beautiful perfect tiny little baby, the size of a grain of rice, still in his/her sac with the umbilical cord attached. I was asked later if I had taken a photograph. I told them no, I couldn’t do it. I just wanted to bury my little baby and move on. And yes, we did bury him/her. I regret not having at least one photograph of our little rice grain. I cherish his/her ultrasound picture greatly.
Shortly after, I learned about Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. I knew I needed to become a volunteer. I knew being a volunteer in Star Valley meant I would most likely never do a NILMDTS session, but I still volunteered. Most babies in life threatening situations are transferred to hospitals outside of this area for better care and those hospitals have access to volunteer photographers in their area (usually.) So, statistically, I knew I would most likely never be called upon.
Then I found out I was pregnant. Because of my previous history and knowing that I would need to take excellent care of myself in order to carry to term, I choose not to renew my volunteer status with NILMDTS. When the little Creature was born I still didn’t renew my volunteer status. I knew I would need to be there for the parents and it just wasn’t right in my life at the time. Our little Creature is 15 months today.
When I received the phone call last night I was surprised. They had tried calling on my phone but when they couldn’t reach me (I had just barely put it in my office for the night) they tracked down John’s number and got a hold of me (thank goodness for friends that work at the hospital and a small town where people are bound to know where you are at all hours of the night!) It took me a minute to wrap my mind around what they were asking of me and if I would be willing to come. I decided that although I wasn’t officially with NILMDTS at this point, that I would still go. Being “Official” just seemed so small compared to the treasure this dear family had lost and the comfort they needed.
We went to bed and I prayed that the family would be okay with the bereavement photography, despite trying to understand and wrap their minds around what was happening to them and their baby.
I had just finished nursing the Creature when my phone rang. John jumped up to get it and immediately began getting dress. I don’t see well at night and combine that with winter roads, I didn’t feel safe driving myself. We all piled up and off we went (John and little man slept out in the truck while I was inside.)
The baby was beautiful. Such a wonderful, precious spirit. It was humbling and an honor to photograph him and give his family something that they could look back upon (when they are ready) and know that he was real. He was apart of their lives, their family.
Thank you to the nurses who assisted me.
For more information please take the time to watch these clips.
(photographs taken today will not be posted on this blog or anywhere online by me out of respect to the families privacy.)
I have this amazing 15 month old. There are days I feel like pulling my hair out and I either want to cry or laugh at the irony of my life with a toddler, but for the most part I am madly in love with him. He has evolved into the most precious little creature that has ever walked this earth. He looks nothing like me (he is all Dad and then some) but his personality is certainly from his mother’s roots. His Irish blood can send rapture upon our home within seconds. And yet there is a gentle nature about him that weakens and melts my heart. Sometimes I keep thinking this is all a dream, that I didn’t really experience the most glorious and rawness of his birth 15 months ago. The memory of his existence in my womb is breath taking and I cry that my precious little newborn has grown into a ferocious giant toddler with the heart of a lamb.
He has been through so much already that I wish only the best for his future. He has survived my new mom faults and mishaps. He has brought laughter and joy into a home that was once so meek and dark. There is a game he loves to play with his favorite blanket that was so kindly made for him by an unknown person(s.)
These were taken when he was about 13 months old.
“Oh! There he is!”
My favorite romper on him with the Blue Ribbon Blanket his Great Nana made for him.
I am obsessed with his feet. They are huge (poor kid gets that from me) and they are just soo adorable.
Before the Creature was born I looked everywhere for this stack/ball game. My husband and his niece loved playing with it when she was a baby so I thought it would be fun for him to have it to play with his son. I was very sad I couldn’t find it. Then when little man was about 3-5 months old I found a set at a yard sale for .50 cents. My life was complete
Love his thinking face as Daddy tries to get him to stand/pose for pictures.
He started to get sleepy with this set so here are some of his cute creepy smiles
I LOVE this new background, especially for boys. It’s so hard to find adorable, not so cartoon-ish type backgrounds and props for boys, so when I see something that will work, I snatch it up
He hates wearing hats so I love that I managed to get at least one with him looking at the camera and not trying to take it off
Since he started going all ADHD on us, we played his favorite song, “Call Me Maybe.” Love the facial expressions I got with this set.
I just love this goofy kid. He brings so much happiness into our lives.