Let’s Get Real

Welcome to my world! There are lots of dirty (cloth) diapers, sticky hands, and pouting. Everyone in this house pouts, not just the first born photographed here. She still looks pretty cute doing it, though, right?

Pouting Margot - 2 Years Old | Yea Yea Pueblo

Isaac pouts when he’s hungry, and so does Woods. I pout when I’m feeling overworked, and under appreciated, or when Woods cries at the family gym, preventing me from finishing any type of workout. It’s something we’re working on.

We usually bounce back after a snack. Actually, we pretty much always bounce back after a snack. For me it’s Justin’s maple almond butter, for Margot it’s carrots and hummus (she doesn’t eat the carrots, she just licks the hummus off of them, ha!). For Woody it’s bananas, and for Isaac it’s anything. And if I’m forced out of the gym because of my fussy baby then, oh man, too bad, I was sooo into running sprints just now! — guess it’s snack time, instead!

Just a snack or two, and everyone is happy. My family is really easy to please, I can definitely find solace in that.

Margot Collage | Yea Yea Pueblo

I realized this week that I haven’t been taking many personal photos lately. My hard drive is filling with the images of other families, businesses and the women’s ministry. It made me a little sad to see there was nothing new. So I got out my camera during the nap time of one kid or another, and clicked away. I remedied my own pouting with my favorite creative hobby, lifestyle photography!

Sally Hugs | Yea Yea Pueblo

There’s more to it than taking photos, though.  When it came time to flip through and edit, write and publish this post, I ignored the incessant cries coming from both kids’ rooms — they refuse to nap at the same time, despite my best efforts. The dog threw up this morning, so I kicked her outside to avoid any further messes or distractions. And in the hopes of finishing this blog post expediently, I threw a few pieces of bread on the table for lunch and made Margot fend for herself. I tossed her some grapes and applesauce for good measure.

That’s what I have to do sometimes, though. When my sessions pile up on me, or I need time to work on my hobbies, I have to power through it like a snow plow. My dishes pile up into berms, the dust bunnies on my floor roll like desert tumble weeds, and my family eats sad, stale lunches. I think they’re used to it. The kids are familiar with playing in the office, but Margot still gets into everything.  Sitting still is not a practice she’s willing to adopt.

To keep her occupied while I cook and clean, she has a large collection of art supplies that she gets into, and an art wall to show off her work. She loves to paint and sculpt — well, smear paints around on paper, and smash play dough into the table, I should say.

Toddler Life | Yea Yea Pueblo

Mom Life | Yea Yea Pueblo

When I’m in the office, she colors at my feet as I tap away at my laptop. Once or twice while I was preoccupied, she climbed on and then fell off the side of my spin bike, but it was never a spill that her boo boo buddy ice pack couldn’t fix. That’s just one more tally on my mom fail chart.

I’ve become an avid babywearer, as most of you know. I’m partial to my Sakura Bloom ring slings, because they keep Woods happy and close while I work. When he’s not catching a ride in the sling, he’s flopping around on the floor of my office, or rolling around the family room. The kid won’t crawl. He wiggles, and rolls his way around, finding the most roundabout method of mobility. He is also very into co-sleeping. He doesn’t like to sleep on his own, and we’re the enabling parents who go along with it, much to our chargrin.

Waiting for the Mailman | Yea Yea PuebloMargot | Yea Yea Pueblo

It’s only after Isaac comes home from work, and dinner is somehow on the table, that I’m able to appreciate the hurdles thrown at me, and my always-complicated days become worthwhile. The kids are always excited to see Isaac, and when he’s home, it’s play time, story time, then mommy and daddy get  TV and wine time (please no judgment, we watch plenty of documentaries to cancel out the mind numbing reality TV, or so we rationalize)!

When Isaac is finally home to share the household duties, I can look back on the day, and pictures like these, and completely forget about all the pouting, tears, dirty diapers, and sticky hands that went into it.

Sakura Bloom Shabd Shibori Back Carry | Yea Yea Pueblo Toddler Life | Yea Yea Pueblo


Margot Turns Two

Margot - Milestone Lifestyle Session via Yea Yea PhotographyMargot - Milestone Lifestyle Session via Yea Yea Photography

Since the first time I heard Margot babble, I wondered what was going on in that little head of hers. Now I know. Oh, do I know! Let me give you a sampling of her favorite things to say on this, her second birthday.

Hey mama, watcha doin? — she asks me this about a million times a day

Ha ha, baby funny. 

Uh oh, wha happuned? — usually when she sees shadows or light

It’s a [noun] jus lika [same noun]! Example: It’s a dog jus lik a dog!

Play more? — reserved for when she’s required to take a nap or go to bed

More cereal? — a new phrase she has thrown out there after she figured out ‘play more?’ wasn’t working out. Tonight, it worked.

(In a sing-song voice) Uuuuups, come back! — A song sung by adults from Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood to remind the kids to chill out when they leave, because “grownups come back”.

Margot - Milestone Lifestyle Session via Yea Yea PhotographyMargot - Milestone Lifestyle Session via Yea Yea Photography

She sleeps in a twin size bed every night, only climbing out every night until she tires herself out and falls asleep. Usually an hour or two past her bedtime. That’s fun for us. She learned how to open doors the same week she started sleeping in her own bed, so we have had the cruel task of putting a gate up in her doorway to keep her from wandering the home if she wakes at night, or before us in the mornings. It probably isn’t necessary since she mostly yells from her bed.

Mommy, weh ah yew?! has evolved into Daddy, weh ah yew?! at night and in the mornings when she’s totally done with the sleep scene. It’s my new alarm clock. Just kidding, I never sleep, I have a six month old who forbids it!

Margot - Milestone Lifestyle Session via Yea Yea PhotographyMargot - Milestone Lifestyle Session via Yea Yea Photography

She’s polite. She always says thank you, and is even getting the hang of no thank you. She says scuse me Sayee to the dog when she needs to get by, and is fine tuned with others emotions. She is quick to point out anyone who is crying in her princess movies, or on her PBS shows, and she genuinely seems concerned for them.

Margot - Milestone Lifestyle Session via Yea Yea Photography

She loves to nurture her baby brother by bringing him binkies, toys and blankies, giving him hugs and kisses, and trying to entertain him when the adults are busy.

She loves dresses, chap stick, cameras and babies.

She throws her entire body into hugs, and always says mmmm-ah! when she gives kisses.

She is the happiest, most unsinkable human I know. And the cutest.

Happy Birthday, Margot Bryn!

The Two-Kid Transition

Self Portrait with Kids | Yea Yea Pueblo

Oh, Hi!

Five weeks after bringing the newest Ardoin home, we are all alive and well. Woody has grown exponentially since he was born, maxing out of his newborn onesies and diapers almost immediately. He’s almost ready for size 2 diapers, and I’ve already adjusted his car seat straps twice to accommodate his lengthening and broadening frame. It’s wild.

Infant Photography | Yea Yea Pueblo

Margot absolutely adores him and helps in any way she can to be a great big sister. She brings diapers during his diaper changes, she hands over blankies, binkies, and lovies when he cries, and with arms outstretched asks ‘hold?’ when she wants to comfort her brother. I get choked up when I think about how she’ll continue to nurture and love Woody over the years, and I praise God for graciously gifting me such a sweet tempered, and beautiful daughter. And here I am again, trusted with a second wonderful child. Isaac and I are overjoyed.

Also tired. We’re very tired.

Toddler Photography | Yea Yea Pueblo

Poor Isaac is working a night shift during a training exercise, which means I’m left with around the clock child care without much help. It’s difficult to keep the noise pollution in the home to a minimum with two under two while their dad tries to catch up on sleep in the adjacent room during the day. We’re almost done with this topsy-turvy schedule, but in the meantime, we’re each getting about 5 hours of broken sleep a night/day. I’m also averaging 24 diapers a day between the two kids, have I mentioned that? It is excessive.

We’re keeping afloat with copious amounts of caffeine and with patience that can only come from above when we seem to need it most.

Self Portrait with Kids | Yea Yea Pueblo

I still find time to make it to my book club, weekly bible study, and occasional play dates. And I’m glad to have friends like Miss Sarah Lewis (the great Fairbanks birth photographer!) who has to get a visitor pass just to come visit me on-post to talk shop, chat about the challenges of motherhood, or just have fun creatively with double exposures, like we did yesterday. She was also such a lifeline when I was struggling through a challenging cesarean recovery and a gnarly bout of mastitis. I was also super lucky that my friend Megan happened to stop by when I was in a particularly low point, and desperately needing help while Isaac was at work (this was the first day of my mastitis, when my fever was 102F and I hadn’t been to the ER yet).

There were many other women I know from the ladies ministry who brought meals (like sweet Jena who brought food, treats and words of encouragement on three different occasions!), and provided additional support during that rocky period. It’s great to have built such a solid support system in such a remote location.

My dad also sent a tandem stroller that has utterly saved my life while carting two tiny tots around town! I hope my doc martens, patterned leggings and slouchy beanie lend cred as I load my giant stroller into my giant minivan, but even over the sound of the obscure, shoe-gazer synth pop that beats out over the stereo, I have my doubts. I have two kids and a minivan, there’s just no way around the severity of the motherhood there.

Point is we’re surviving.

Toddler Photography | Yea Yea Pueblo Double Exposure | Yea Yea Pueblo

We’re all making it. And in the way of Laverne and Shirleynothin’s gonna turn us back now / straight ahead and on the track now / we’re gonna make our dreams come true! / doin’ it our way! (does the sleep deprivation show from that TV Land reprise?).

Self Portrait with Kids | Yea Yea PuebloSelf Portrait with Kids | Yea Yea Pueblo