Breastfeeding, our story

Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding has been something that Theo and I have worked together to do for nearing 10 months now and I found out last night that August is National Breastfeeding Awareness Month, so I thought I would share our story. 🙂

It’s not a ‘how to’ video or an affirmation that there is no better way to feed your baby, just simply our story and the experiences we’ve had and choices we’ve made along the journey!

The way you feed your child does not equal the amount of love you have for your child, and every story of a fed child is a success story!! ❤

MINIMALISM to me

 

minimalist purple  living room with dining space
| Photo Cred: http://www.youne.com/keep-it-simple-minimalist-style/ |

I’ve tried to write out all of my recent thoughts on minimalism for some time now, but just couldn’t get all the thoughts in order to make a cohesive blogpost, so I gave making a video of the concepts a shot, hope it all makes sense, and I would love to hear what minimalism means to you or any thoughts you might on living a needs based, simplified life! 🙂

Nine Months of Theo

Well, Theo is 9 months old today.

Officially out in the world as long as he was inside of me.

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I was going to change him to take some pictures but then realized I wanted to remember him just as he is these days, firetruck pajamas on and that belly always peeking out. 🙂

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The other night before falling asleep Justin and I just lay in bed talking about Theo. About his little quirks, his habits, his laugh, his smile and how much we love him.

Theo’s personality is all kinds of wonderful. He’s a slow and steady, joyful, curious, and, most of the time, content little boy who loves any food you put in front of him, though his relationship with avocado struggled for a short while, and being outdoors.

IMG_6243 copyHis eyes are most certainly brown at this point and his hair keeps getting longer, thicker and curlier day by day. He also has two bottom teeth that have a little gap in between them, which I love ❤

I seem to hear two things about him when I’m out, either ‘he’s so serious’ or ‘he’s so happy’ and I’d say they are both correct. He is either very focused or concentrated on understanding or with a wide smile and laugh ready.

I often overhear him laughing at either one of his books or toys when he’s playing on his own 🙂

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He’s sleeping through the night apart from one dream feed around 10:00pm that we just recently instituted to help him get through the night without being too hungry.

He’s maintaining his size and weight of being off of or top of the charts, though I won’t get all his updated measurements until his appointment tomorrow.

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He likes to ‘talk’ all day, says ‘dada’ most of all and laughs when I ask him to say ‘mama’ 😀

He’s finally on a predictable nap schedule and loves to play with his bunny in his crib before falling asleep on his own.

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He also loves to stand up in his crib and throw his pacifier out and then cry until someone comes in and gives it back to him. Really he just loves to toss things in general. One of his favorite pass times is to sit on the linoleum in the kitchen and take his pacifier out of his mouth toss it, crawl to it, put it back in and then do the process all over again…..we wash pacifiers a LOT these days. 🙂

Perhaps some of the biggest news is that he is CRAWLING!! Again, in his own way, he took his time, learning each aspect of the process individually and then putting all the pieces together when he was ready. For some time we actually wondered if he would walk first because he was pulling up and standing on his own before he even tried to crawl, but the crawling won out, though with how much he stands up on his own these days I can’t imagine walking is too far in the future!

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When he crawls he’ll open his mouth and make a chuckling sound like he’s too amused that he can finally move on his own and can’t wait to get where he’s going.

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It may just be the most wonderful thing to see your baby reach milestones, my heart still aches with all the happy feelings when I see him crawling around on the floor and discovering new skills.

I feel like I have so much more to say about him and how much we love him and how much joy and goodness he brings to our life, but it’s all so much and all so wonderful I don’t even think I would feel like I’ve ever said enough, so I’ll just finish up here by saying I honestly can’t imagine life without Theo and feel so incredibly honored to be able to be his mother. ❤ ❤ ❤

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I thought I’d add in a quick video of him so you could see some of his new skills 🙂

Also, that screenshot though 😀 😀 ❤ ❤

growing pains

IMG_6124 copyDo you ever have those moments where you just sit thinking, ‘what am I even doing’

I think those words coming out of my mouth may give Justin anxiety, he knows they mean I’m trying to interpret something that is going on inside me that inevitably comes out by either a desire to get rid of all of our stuff or attempt some other slightly extreme endeavor that I feel will give me a swift sense of purpose or accomplishment.

Two weeks ago I decided to do a media fast, with possibly the loosest structure ever, I wasn’t going to penalize myself for signing in accidently, or even intentionally, to make sure that no one had attempted to contact me, I was going to let myself post if I felt inclined and I possibly wouldn’t even do the whole month…spoiler alert…I’m not going the whole month.

I realized a few things with my experiment with social media, firstly being that I tend to get very caught up with the scroooooolling on my social media feeds, while often times forgetting to actually interact with anyone. Apparently I feel that people should just telepathically know that I like something they are doing or have a comment on something they are posting without my actually communicating that 🙂

I also found that it didn’t actually affect my mood as much as I imagined it would have. I still got worried, grumpy, excited, inspired, etc. throughout the days despite the lack of social media influence. Which made me think that it’s just life in general that affects me and that social media is just a little compact life that I can disengage from if I so choose, but still isn’t completely responsible for my more easily influenced emotional self.

For a while now I’ve felt like something is off. Not really sure what that means. Not sure if it means anything. And, I feel I should note, it has nothing to do with my marriage or motherhood, two things which I feel infinitely secure and joyful in. I just feel like I’m missing something. Honestly, it may just be hormonal. Not sure, but I just can’t seem to shake it.

I keep blaming social media for it though and I’ve since realized it isn’t tied to social media, or if it is, it’s only ever so slightly.

It’s most likely just growing pains. I think I’m in the thick of some adult revelations that aren’t quite clear yet. My mind is a strange mix of retrospective and future planning and it’s a funny little stage to be in.

I have dreams of living on a farm, or buying a house in the suburbs or planting a church, or growing a blog into a business, or moving to Germany to be a missionary or….it goes on…

My problem is, none of the dreams seem to coexist very well….so I am just plain confused as to where I should put my focus for the future.

And I know life, hopefully, is a long journey and able to contain many different stages in many different places, I do feel as though I am searching for a vision though, that I am supposed to be finding a vision, and I’m not quite there.

The media break I think was an attempt to clear my mind to find that vision, but it’s still foggy.

It’s a feeling that our family is meant to be part of something, some kind of mission, but I don’t quite know what it is. I don’t want to forget the feelings though, because I don’t want to miss out on what I’m supposed to realize. It’s like intentional unrest because you know that something should possibly be different than it is or that something is about to become clear so you want to stay alert.

I have feelings of being slightly rebellious towards life expectations that could be directed towards us and feel a desire to perhaps break a mold in a way I’m still unsure about.

No matter what, I know the ‘something’ has to do with people. Some kind of community. Perhaps it’s much less drastic then I feel could be possible, perhaps it’s positively normal, I just can’t be sure.

I have moments of clarity, things I realize that are important to me apart from anyone else’s opinions or ways of life, a habit or dream that is purely my own.

And, to Justin’s chagrin at times, one of them really is that I do desire to live with far fewer things then we currently own.

I dream of each of us having only 20 pieces of clothing, only owning one set of dishes, basically JUST the things we use and nothing more. Because it’s truly irritating to me many times just to think about how many things just SIT around me that have no function in my daily life or, most times, even in extenuating circumstances.

That’s just a very small example of my current state of mind.

I have more thoughts and ramblings, but I’ll spare you…for now. 🙂

I also fully admit that all of my visions and dreams could change, so I’m not going to say that I 100% believe all of them to be permanent, I do however know I am journeying on a bit of a self-discovery journey and it’s most interesting.

If you have gotten this far in this wordy rambling blogpost you most certainly deserve a medal, at the very least a certificate of achievement, because here’s the point.

I don’t have one.

No point at all, just merely an effort to write out some thoughts of now.

Which I have now done.

And feel glad to have done.

So cheers. 🙂

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I do want to note quickly that I’m not looking for advice or reassurance, though I understand if you feel you’d like to offer either and don’t condemn your intentions, I just want to be sure to say that despite the ramblings I am very sure of many many things in my current life and feel strong with my faith and foundations and merely wanted to record a small section of the internal growth currently happening for me.

thoughts on the creative process & another venture

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entitled: the abstract breastfeeder

I actually struggle quite a bit with the creative process. It’s difficult for me to go through the ups and downs and hits and misses that are all part of finding what works best. I so badly want something to just stick and not have to realize that something I’ve begun isn’t actually working out. But it’s happened before and I’m sure it will happen again. And it’s all just part of the process. I know this because I see it all across the creative community. Starting things and then ending them, trying things out and then letting them go. The lack of stability of creative projects can be frustrating to me many times, loose ends and creative debris flutter around in my creative past and it’s hard not to feel like people won’t trust in my motives because of past attempts that didn’t pan out. But I’m attempting to train myself to be able to go after something while also giving myself the room to let it go if it isn’t working, all the while not attaching the feeling of failure to any of it.

And with all that being said, I’m at it again with another try, this time with freelance graphic design!

I’ve begun a website called Henry & CO. Creations with which I would like to create and sell original art for you all! I hastily second guess my style and skill time and time again, but I’m creating art anyway and I’m making it available anyway, because it just feels too right to put effort into a creative project to shy away from it merely due to my insecurities. There’s a learning curve indeed, being mainly self-taught always brings with it a measure of work that wouldn’t always be the case, but I am looking forward to pouring myself into this effort and really trying to embrace the learning ahead of me as I do what I love to do. Create.

an essay on photography by the photographer

IMG_5177I don’t want to shoot engagements, weddings and family portraits all my life.

Because, most of all, people want to look pretty in them, and there is an unspoken standard of production on those kinds of shoots that I find myself consistently pushing back from.

I started photography years ago with simple and sporadic life documentation, but I knew there was an intentionality and creativity missing from those photographs.

I continued with self-portraits, which is a phase that I completely fell in love with and to this day remember it as being one of the most creative and exciting photography outlets I’ve ever experienced, however, after awhile I grew tired of the over documentation of my image and my limited capabilities by not being completely behind the lens.

I moved forward into more client shoots, engagements, senior portraits, weddings, family portraits and while I found them to be busy, exciting and rewarding in their own way, I still felt the lack of control weigh on my hopes for the photographs. I knew people wanted my style, but I also knew they wanted the classic portraits that they would want to hang up in their homes and I always felt the need to shut down parts of my desire for creativity for the sake of classic portraiture.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of clean and classic portraiture. I think that it has a place in photography that will never be forgotten, because a classic portrait is a special kind of memory and one worth taking.

But it wasn’t one I wanted to keep taking.

I once took a personality test that said with my result I was the kind of person that was passionate and hardworking, but also one that deeply resisted working on things that didn’t interest me.

I think that thoroughly applies to my photography.

I know what kinds of photographs I don’t want to continue taking, but I am still searching for the clarity on what kinds of photos I do want to take and considering the timing of when I should capture them.

But that means that I don’t want to fill the void of photography will photographs I am disinterested in. I would rather let the camera sit. I want to find the focus I am searching for with photography, because I do believe it is more a part of me than any other thing I’ve ever pursued.

I do know one thing. Portraits are my passion.

Faces, bodies, and expression are so enthralling to me, and I crave the ability to capture them clearly, even without the subject realizing their own honesty at times.

I want to manipulate and control the portraits, but I want to elicit truth as well.

It is a fine balance, but one I have found I lack the ability to produce in still lifes, landscapes, and other areas of photography.

My desire for control in my photography is an interesting flame to my passion because it requires so much from the subject.

I’ve had many people offer over the years for me to photograph them, which I always appreciated and felt encouraged by, but also always felt that I couldn’t be sure how willing the subjects really were. I know people like to feel pretty, to look pretty, to be proud of their bodies and their looks, and I don’t think my intention would ever be to make them feel ugly at all. But I wanted the freedom to know I could make them look terrible in the process of finding what made them look the most authentic and that they would still trust my vision despite the process.

I’m not sure people understand fully what it means for a photographer to choose a subject. A subject needs to be so much more than a pretty face, or a supposedly good body, they have to be completely willing.

And those kinds of subjects are few and far in between, because it takes a very courageous person to leave all of their hopes for their appearance in photographs behind and fully attach themselves to the vision of the photographer.

The process of a shoot isn’t glamorous or even fun all the time, it’s slow moving and a step by step process to closing in on the place, the pose, and the emotion that fulfills the vision and purpose of the shoot.

And despite how difficult it sounds, it can be the easiest step by step process you’ve ever encountered, if the subject is willing to walk with the photographer as they understand better the focus.

I expect a lot from photography. From myself as the photographer and from the subject.

Many people have suggested I shoot more candid portraits of people, but I feel like there is such an opportunity for the subject to experience the unique vulnerability that comes with being photographed that it would be a shame to lose that in the experience.

I once watched an interview with Annie Leibovitz where she spoke about photographing her mother. She said it was a difficult thing to do because her mother, who was in her mid to late 70’s at the time, didn’t want to look old. It is actually more difficult to take pictures of family members and close friends, because they tend to close themselves off a bit more in the process due to their own expectations and hopes for the portrait outcome. Annie noted that it was only once the photographs had received positive attention and praise that the mother changed her mind and decided she did like the photographs. It is a rich example of how a subject, while still concerned about her appearance, trusted the photography to capture her vision and also move forward with the photograph of her choosing despite it not being the subjects favorite.

In the end, where there is not a trust between the subject and the photographer, than the result can never be what it could have been.

My passion for my subjects is to make them understand the value in their everyday look. When we interact with people we interact with them from every angle. We don’t just see people in profile, or in a certain pose or stance. And I love searching for the appearance that depicts an authenticity that speaks out of the subject’s confidence in their appearance as well as a uniqueness in the capture. I don’t want my subjects concerned with looking old, or fat, or tired, or ugly. I want them to be concerned with smiling as much as possible, enjoying the moment, shifting their outfit or their hair like they would normally do and truly understand that, almost every time, the best photographs come out of the most natural moments and, I believe, it is in those moments that people should be most appreciated and most photographed.

It is all well and good for people’s bests to be praised, but the reality is we are at our average far more than we are at our best, and I want to learn how to rejoice in the average and the real just as much as our best.

I wonder if it could be possible.

So, remember when?

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So, remember that one time I announced I had made a new website? Like…a week ago. Well, turns out that right after I did that WordPress announced that they would be offering .blog domain names within the year. That coupled with the fact that I could get the domain name I really wanted, really do like WordPress’ format, maintaining the website on SquareSpace costing $26 a month, and that I have used WordPress since the very start of my blog, I decided that I would just return to the good ol’ faithful WordPress.

My goal is still the same however and I want to look into getting a format for my WordPress blog similar to the situation I had on SquareSpace, but for now, to be honest, it feels good to be back to my old routine and familiar space. 🙂

You live and you learn I guess, if there is nothing else I’ve learned from having a baby it’s that life is a process and is constantly a motion of what works best and when it works best and it’s okay to make adjustments along the way! 🙂

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Theo’s First Pool Day!

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Processed with VSCO with c7 presetYesterday we took Theo to the pool for the very first time! Thankfully our apartment complex has a salt water pool too, so we didn’t have to deal with any chlorine! Before we went we stocked up on all baby/pool things to keep him safe and I think he may have epitomized being the first child because we were so careful 🙂 he wore a disposable swim diaper, a non-disposable swim diaper, a swimming outfit, goggle sunglasses, a hat, sunscreen and he was in a shaded floaty, needless to say he did not get any sunburn. 😀

We made a super short little video using Justin’s phone in his LifeProof case, to get the underwater shots specifically, and, despite barely swimming at all, we all went home tired out, but had such a good day together!

Facts about Me (in Threes)

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With the recent website release in mind I thought I’d make a quick ‘facts about me’ video! I’ve never done one of these before and I may or may not have had to film it three times to get it all done right, whenever I try to film a video just talking to the camera the minute I press record all streams of thought and ability to talk vanish and it’s just me staring at the camera…haha. I hope the finished product is at least slightly interesting and if you have any random facts about you that come to mind while watching it, let me know, I’d love to hear them!!

‘Hello Freaver Bog’ Book Release

downloadI am so excited to share that Justin and I published a little book about Freaver Bog and Bockies called ‘Hello Freaver Bog’! I was inspired by my brother Johnny’s new business, Strobo Nota Press, to finally illustrate a story that Justin and I wrote back in college. I had even sketched out the first 7 pages or so with colored pencils while I worked at my school’s library and saved them for almost 4 years now. download (1)If you don’t already know, and love, the characters Bockies and Freaver Bog, they are straight out my siblings and I’s imagination. Characters that we created and personified when we were younger, and even till this day really, haha!

There are so many little bits and pieces of history to each character that are mentioned in this book from Freaver Bog’s home of the Land of Yellow, his eternal age of 3 and 1/2, Bockies connection with the Cluck Cluck, Freaver Bog’s love of $5 and so many other tiny bits that have been solidified as part of these characters long before this book was ever put together.

It was a labor of love to finally sketch out a small piece of their story in book form and hope you enjoy the story of how Freaver Bog and Bockies met as much as we enjoyed creating it!

Find ‘Hello Freaver Bog’ to buy HERE or check the ‘Bookshop’ page on this website!

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