26 Week Bumpdate

It’s crazy to think that in another two weeks time, my twins would’ve been born. This time around, I am so not prepared for that! Not that I was prepared before, but at least the house was clean and the nursery was painted.

So what does 28 weeks feel like? Heavy. Everything feels so heavy! Baby is about 15″ long and kicking my butt every night night while I try to get some sleep. In all honesty, sleep went out the door years ago when I was pregnant with the twins. Who needs sleep anyway? Because I know the kids apparently don’t care about naps.

Although I feel like a moose, my productivity level has skyrocketed since the first trimester. My daily to-do lists are easily accomplished and my energy is elevated back to a healthy level. I feel like I can conquer anything right about now, except for keeping up with my blog.

I’ve gained about 14 pounds as I enter the third trimester in just a couple short weeks. My normal clothes no longer fit me but I’ve made sure to buy clothing with tons of stretch or flow to avoid the outrageously high mom tax on maternity clothing.

The Digital Era is Stealing Your Family Memories

Something really hit hard tonight, and I’m not talking about my children. I was scrolling through old photos that I posted on Facebook while the kiddos were looking over my shoulder and I came upon an image of myself that I quite liked. It was a photo of my husband and I, before we were married, with the kiddos sitting in my lap in the middle of a park during winter. The boys, who are now in Kindergarten, had a bunch of questions about a photo they seemed fairly clueless about.

When did your hair used to look like that!?

Where did this snow come from?

When did we used to have those jackets?

It had occurred to me that only one year has passed since this photo was taken of the four of us sitting on a blanket of snow. My husband and I brought the kiddos to run around during our engagement session and couldn’t resist a photo with their sweet faces. What was once a fond memory of my family, can no longer be remembered by the boys.

And then it hit me.

Like a box of crayons.

The last 5 years of my life, those years that I treasured so much as a new mother, will mean nothing to my children. All of the laughter, the tears, the cuddles, the adventures, the play dates – were gone! As the boys approach the blossoming age of six, their memories are now starting to turn into something more concrete. Yet, some of the most precious memories that we have as a family are lost deep within their memory banks.

I’ve always wanted the boys to look back on our first years together with happiness and joy and yet they cannot remember some of the most important times of their lives. From building our first home to their first day of school, these memories are now beginning to fade, and it’s made me realize now more than ever how important photographs are.

As a professional photographer, I get paid to create tangible memories for clients and I am well aware of the intrinsic value of an image. Even as a professional photographer, I will admit that my clients come first and often times I am too burnt out for a family photo. Or worse, my standards have become too high, and I often delete that one out-of-focus photo that would have been a perfectly viable addition to my scrapbook otherwise.

I’ve come to realize that living in the moment is simply not enough. There is a lot of truth in the old adage that “time is precious”,  especially time well spent with our little ones. We live in a digital age where we spend more time on our phones than we do with our families. We are raising a generation of selfie takers, where life is lived through filters and photographs are rarely printed.

I cannot stress this enough to my clients: the value of a printed photograph far outweighs that of an image posted to social media. It always amazes me when I get emails from clients asking me to retrieve their digital photos a year later, because they failed to download them. Do we really rely on technology and social media so much that even our most precious memories are held within the confines of the internet?

By not printing our photographs, we are doing ourselves and our families a huge injustice. We are leaving our memories to die on Facebook or various other social media platforms where our little ones will probably never see them. These memories are not only ours to keep, but they are also the secret vault into the memory banks of our children. There is nothing more emotionally satisfying than rummaging through old photographs 20 years later to relive those happy memories that our parents and grandparents so thoughtfully collected for us.

Often times, printed photographs are the one thing we have left of our grandparents. Could you imagine if Facebook existed before our grandparents were born? All of the memories that we hold so dearly in a little box on a shelf, might have never existed. Our most cherished family memories might only exist on a Facebook or Instagram account that is no longer in use. How would we know where to find these images, let alone access them 20 years later? Don’t let the digital era steal your family memories. Print them!

DIY Popsicle Ornaments for Kids

I get a little crazy about my Christmas tree. It has to be magazine perfection with matching ornaments, ribbon and bows. Even the gifts beneath the tree have to match the tree decor because my self-diagnosed OCD is out of control! And since I know I would be a completely horrible mom if I told my children, “you can just put that cute little homemade ornament back here, behind the tree, where nobody can see it”, I have decided to start a new and more exciting tradition of having a mom tree and a kid tree! My husband could care less if he had his own tree.  But his super tall body comes in handy when it comes to decorating the very top branches of the tree that nobody else can reach. Believe me, I have tried, and both me and the ladder fell face first into the tree.

At first I felt a tiny pang of guilt for having a separate kids Christmas tree just so that I can go all Martha Stewart on 9 feet of artificial goodness, but I saw firsthand how my children could careless about helping me decorate. I used to envision these sweet little boys standing on their tippy toes as they hung little ornaments above their heads, while listening to Christmas music. Instead they choose to chase each other around the house, play outside, or tie the furniture together with yarn.

But, when I told them we were going to do crafts and make homemade popsicle stick ornaments for their very own Christmas tree, they were all in! You wouldn’t believe how many popsicles I made my kids eat just so I could create this DIY for you all. I’m totally kidding but I am super excited to share with you all of these cute little ornaments my little elves made.

 

Coping with Gender Disappointment

Snips and snails, and puppy dog tails. That’s what little boys are made of.

While that saying basically holds no truth, (and what is a snip anyway?), I can assure you that I’ve got this whole boy mom thing down to a letter. For the past five years I have been a stay-at-home-mother to a pair of identical twin boys that are about as boyish as boys can be. From playing in dirt, to pinching and yelling, and stepping in various puddles of pee on the bathroom floor, raising boys has been no easy chore. So when my husband and I decided to try for a sweet little girl, we both were pretty speechless when we saw that tell-tale sign between the legs of what looked to be our third baby boy on the ultrasound monitor.

An entire slew of thoughts popped into my head as the ultrasound tech continued with my anatomy skan at 18 weeks. A part of me wanted to cry right then and there, but the classy mom in me decided it wasn’t the right time to cause a blubbering, cry baby scene. In my head, I hoped that there would be some small chance that the ultrasound tech was wrong. Maybe it was too early to tell? But, who was I kidding? A penis is a penis.

For the next few weeks I went through what many would call gender disappointment as I began to cope with the loss of the girl I would never have. I was reminded of my “loss” everywhere I went. From shopping for baby clothes to talking with friends and even strangers.

“Oh, you’re not really done are you? You must try again!”

“At least you have children.”

“You don’t seem like a girl mom, anyway.”

These words really hit me where it hurt as I realized I would never have that mother-daughter bond that I had with my own mother growing up. I would never be able to experience braiding my daughter’s hair before school, or helping her through her first period. There would be no advice to give about boys or a shoulder to cry on when he breaks her heart for the first time. From here on out, I was only ever going to be a boy mom and I wasn’t sure if I would ever be okay with that.

It wasn’t until I talked with a good friend of mine, who reminded me that she doesn’t have a relationship with her mother at all, that I snapped out of this daughter-less fog I was going through. I started to realize that not every mother-daughter bond consists of shopping, tea parties, and dress-up.

While I may have a good relationship with my own mother, that might not be the case if I had a daughter of my own. The two of us could end up being completely opposite of one another as she grows up closer to her father instead. For all I know, she could be a tomboy like I was and despise all those pretty, frilly dresses that I adore so much. Perhaps she would rather play in the dirt with her bigger brothers instead of twirling around in a tutu.

There were so many what-ifs and uncertainties that it no longer mattered if I ever had a girl. After all, I’m still the queen of my castle and I absolutely adore the boys I have. I can only hope that I raise my boys to respect women and to be decent human beings so that one day they will raise a family of their own. Because then I am almost guaranteed to have a daughter (in law) and possibly even some grand daughters to spoil and love. But, for now I am just going to enjoy being a mother.