Monday, December 27, 2010

The magic of parentood (and Christmas)

Well, all the craziness of Christmas is over and now it's that week between Christmas and New Year's when there is nothing new on TV, some people (like my husband) are back to work while other bask in the afterglow of the holidays for a few extra days, and we count down the last days of the year.

We had a wonderful Christmas. Sofia may not have had a clue what was going on, but I like to think she enjoyed it. When I brought her downstairs on Christmas morning her eyes widened when she saw all the gifts under the tree, and she sat contently among all the wrapping paper as we helped her open each gift and oohed and ahhhed over all the adorable clothes and fun toys. She even stared excited at the computer and smiled when my family called her name as they watched her play through the wonders of Skype. She even tolerated wearing a Santa hat through the entire ordeal. Needless to say, I got some pretty priceless photos from her first Christmas.

This was the first year in a looong time that I didn't feel any sort of emptiness after all the gifts were opened, turkey was devoured and the silence that followed settled upon us. Instead I felt simply content and happy. There were no big gifts for me under the tree; no iPad or Blackberry (although I am in the process of trying to talk Michael into letting me get a "Crackberry" in the new year). I could have cared less about gifts for myself this year. I just enjoyed seeing Sofia play with her new activity center and one of her three play phones (seriously people, she's going to want her own "Crackberry" before she's 1). And we spent a good portion of the day on Skype with my family (even though Christmas dinner) so it was like we were actually together. 

Now, I'm kind of feeling a little glum being home alone again, but I'm looking forward to 2011 and all that it has in store. I know it will be a fantastic year filled with new experiences and so much fun. Having a child makes you look at the world, and your life, completely differently. It's an amazing feeling and one i wouldn't trade for all the "Crackberries" in the world.

Happy Holidays from our family to yours!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Teething and Christmas do not mix

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve? Really? This is the time when I'm usually in panic mode, rushing to finish my shopping and wrap presents and clean the house from top to bottom. This year, all I had to do was clean the house. Although, between a teething 8 month old and all the chores that have to be done, it wasn't all that easy as I'd hoped.

Here's what I've discovered: TEETHING SUCKS! Ok, that's not really news to most people, but to me it is. I hate that you don't really ever KNOW if teething is causing your baby discomfort or if it's her cold that causes her to not be able to breathe and be up half the night coughing, or hunger or thirst or a poopy diaper. Today, though the process of elimination revealed that the only possibility is teething. She's super cranky, wouldn't stop crying and go to sleep even though she was exhausted and couldn't keep her eyes open and the only thing that calms her down is an ice cube in a mesh feeder. Unfortunately, ice melts, so it's only a temporarily relief to the screaming. Ugh.

I just wish the damn tooth would break through already. And this is just the first one. Oh dear.

And tomorrow is Christmas Eve, when we are going to get all dressed up and take family photos and have supper with Nana and Poppy and go to church. Oh please please please don't let her be crying all day! I know it's silly to have this picture in my head of what Sofia's first Christmas will be like, because I am smart enough to know that babies are unpredictable, especially when they are too young to give a rat's ass about Christmas. But I am allowed to want her to be happy at least, and not in pain (well, I wish for that every day), so that those "First Christmas" pictures show her smiling and glowing in the lights of the Christmas tree. Yeah, we'll see about that.

Merry Christmas to my fellow bloggers and moms! I hope you all have happy babies this Christmas!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Too many pictures? Too bad!

Santa Sofia and her reindeer
A couple posts down, I noted that Sofia met Santa for the first time and didn't cry at all. Well, she met Santa for the second time last weekend and this time she took one look at him and started to wail. I can't be sure, but it may have been the fake beard ... I'm just sure she knew that he wasn't the real thing this time ;)

Christmas preparations are coming along in our house. We received a HUGE box of presents from Nana and Poppy, plus another one from Great Grandparents in Newfoundland, and we almost have all of our shopping done. Well, Santa has gotten all of Sofia's gifts, he just has to get us parents our gifts.

Understandably, we are not nearly as excited about shopping for each other as previous years. I really don't care if I get anything, for two reasons. One, well the obvious, that I'd rather just buy stuff for the baby and open all her gifts for her and watch her play with the paper. And two, I already have my Christmas gifts. Well, sort of. I purchased a new external flash for my camera and my new studio equipment is current en route! I'm so excited!! I have done a few photo shoots with friends the last couple weeks and my photos are turning out better and better each time. Now, I just have to clear space in the basement for my studio and after Christmas I can start making money! Yay!

Discovering pretty Christmas bulbs
So come Christmas morning I will probably be spending more time taking pictures than opening gifts. I'm wondering if lately people are getting sick of me posting photos on Facebook, cause I just can't help myself! I know my mom did not have this many photos of me when I was a baby, but then she didn't have a digital camera either. Not sure Sofia will be happy to have so many photos of herself, but too bad, she's stuck with a photographer for a mom.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Sleep deprived mommy

I need sleep!!!

I know every child is different and you aren't supposed to compare yours with other people's babies, but when I hear about someone's 8 week old who is sleeping through the night, I am jealous (and a little annoyed). It's going on 8 MONTHS and I have yet to have a full night's sleep. Sofia still wakes up at least twice an night, sometimes more, to eat. I have tried everything aside from letting her cry it out (even if I could handle it, I know daddy couldn't). Last night she ate at 11:30, 4:00 and 5:30. The night before it was midnight, 2:30 and 7:00 (and then slept in until 9, but I'm so used to her getting up for the day at 7 that I couldn't sleep in. Figures). How is it that she can go 4-6 hours sometimes and only 1.5 hour other times?

I'm so frustrated and tired and now I have a head cold on top of it all. I don't want to complain but I just need to get it out of my system.

Doesn't someone have the magic solution? Anyone?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Balancing act

I'm starting to wonder if, in all my supposed "free time", I may have taken on too many projects. Aside from this whole motherhood thing, I've also continued to volunteer for the Lifesaving Society, designing their newsletter, as well as doing some extra work for my former employer. That's on top of my new business, which I haven't officially started yet, but I have been taking some photos for friends to get some more experience before I do launch.

Of course, all those extra things are second behind taking care of my baby girl. When I do take a few moments to do some work, I put her in her Exersaucer or in her high chair with a Mum Mum while I plug away at the computer. It doesn't last long though, because after a few minutes I start to feel guilty for doing other things when I should be playing with her. Even right now, as I type this she is laying on her boppy pillow on the floor next to me and I feel like I'm ignoring her. It doesn't help that she's at the age now where she knows when I'm not paying attention to her, and lets me know pretty quickly.

I know that having other things to do does not make me a bad mom, but I also want to enjoy this time I have with her to the fullest. I was so happy when I finally went on maternity leave and left behind all the stress of work. Being a parent comes with it's own set of stresses, so I don't really want to add more to the mix.

What I need to do is find a balance between everything that is important to me in my life. That's easier said that done, and will be a constant day-to-day challenge. It's something I'm prepared to work on though, if it means I get to stay home with my baby :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Santa, baby

Sofia met Santa for the first time this week. And it was the REAL Santa. It was a good thing too, cause as soon as she sat on his lap she grabbed his beard. She was so cute, she didn't cry at all, and she even smiled a little. I know next year will probably be a different story altogether, but for now I'm happy.

Aside from the Santa picture, I've been taking my own holiday (and every other kind) pictures. Lacking professional studio equipment, I made due with what I had laying around the house. I used my duvet for a backdrop, with Christmas lights and a big snowman for a photo companion. They turned out great! Sofia was adorable in her Christmas dress from Nana.

So with all the picture-taking going on, I made a decision. I am going to start my own photography business. It's a win-win situation for me because I don't have to go back to work full time and I get to do something I already do all the time that I'm passionate about. I can purchase all the equipment I need to get started for about $600 and I already have people wanting me to take pictures of their kids and families. This week I bought myself an external flash, which is the first step to making my photos look 100% better and next I'm going to buy some studio equipment.

The best part of this decision is that I get to stay home with my baby girl. Yay! I can take her with me on photo shoots, or she can visit with Nana and Poppy. Either way, I'm not out doing a job I don't really like for eight hours a day, only to come home exhausted and hardly get to spend any time with Sofia (or my husband).

I plan on officially launching my rates and services sometime after Christmas. In the meantime, I've started a website and a Facebook page (Jennifer Blake Photography). Eeeeee! So excited!