Maya Laurent Photography
simple is beautiful
Veda: 9 Months

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13 pounds, 2 ounces / 25 inches

Veda,

Oh precious girl how are you nine months already?! Life is filled with joy with you as part of our family! You wake up first thing in the morning with a smile to greet each person who says good morning. Each morning Daddy or Momma goes in to get you and the second the door opens those dimples are so clear as the widest grin welcomes us. As we walk you out to the rest of the family, each of your brothers has to come up, give you a kiss and say good morning. You adore this, reaching for them and smiling again. And this whole process is repeated with each nap time too.

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We adjusted your schedule so now you have just two naps and go to bed the same time the boys do. It feels weird to not have the night time feeding anymore. Daddy and I both miss the time with you in the quiet of the night while the boys are sleeping. But it’s part of you getting older and we still will sneak out of bedtime routines with the boys to go rock you some nights and snuggle in the quiet of your room. You sleep in the cutest ways but I cannot seem to get a photo of it! I try to sneak into your room and just when I think I’m going to get a photo, you open your eyes looking at me like I’m crazy for interrupting your sleep. I’ll keep trying!

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You aren’t crawling yet and I think we’re all okay with you being content to sit and play. I know you’ll figure it out eventually but you have learned how to lean and push yourself to grab anything you want. Your brothers constantly run and hand you something when it’s out of your reach so you really have no need to move right now. I have to remind myself not to compare you to other babies your age and what they are doing. You’ll go at your own pace.

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I had forgot how fun the laundry basket is for babies. In the past week you have played with it so much by putting toys in and out of it or just hanging out as I fold laundry. You make doing laundry a bit more fun! You seem way more attached to your pacifier than what we experienced with your brothers. It might be more of challenge to break you of them but we’ll come to it eventually. The second you start crying or make any whimper, Jude runs to get you a pacifier. He might be part of the problem! He needs to just get used to hearing you cry but he told me he doesn’t like you sounding sad. You have been crying a lot this week as your two bottom teeth seem to be trying to make their way out at the same time. Poor thing!!! You’re getting extra loving for sure!

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You have started baby babbling non-stop. Of course most of the sounds coming out are “dada” even though I repeat “mama” back to you all of the time. You make the funniest faces as you talk and stop and stare at us if we start laughing. You have my eyes and Daddy’s expressive eyebrows. I don’t know how you move them like that! Your petite features are so adorable!

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It was finally warm enough for you to play in the snow with your brothers. You had no clue what to think of the fluffy cold stuff. We bundled you up and had to put socks on your hands for gloves because everything we had was way too big for you. We tried to explain to your brothers how you would not be participating in snow ball fights but somehow a few still found you. You didn’t cry though, instead you just looked at them with a serious face. You sat with Daddy and watched us build a fort as the snow fell. You were fascinated by it all.

We love watching the world through your eyes. It reminds us to stop and take in something we see as normal to appreciate on a new level. We love you baby girl!

Love,

Momma & Daddy

Reading Lately: Behind!

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I took a blogging hiatus but I was still reading. I’ll admit that my reading hasn’t been as fast as normal…there has been a few distractions with three kids!

1. The Attachments: I just finished this book last week and flew through it. I loved the way Rowell used email format in some chapters. At first I thought it would bother me but I ended up loving it. The way the story unfolds throughout following the emails is a wonderful mix of surprises and trying to figure out how the characters will come in contact with one another.

2. This is Where I Leave You: I loved how this book captured the interactions between siblings and how those relationships/emotions emerge during the death of their father. I’m looking forward to seeing the movie and see how the characters are portrayed compared to how I pictured them.

3. The Circle Maker: If you haven’t read this book, go get yourself a copy and read it now! A friend recommended it and I am so thankful for the way it has changed my prayer life and how I pray already, and that’s just after finishing it a couple weeks ago. The book covers the idea of praying circles around our dreams that intersect with God’s dreams for us. Seriously, go get it.

4. Masterminds & Wingmen: This was another book I picked up after a friend told me I had to read it because I had boys. I am always cautious when reading parenting books but this truly had some great tips. It had a video game contract included and we took it, tailored it for our boys and implemented it right away. There were a lot of issues touched on that we won’t encounter for a bit but it’s a good book to have on the shelf to reference as our boys age.

5. Jab, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: I try to pick up a business book from time to time and this one grabbed my attention after hearing the author interviewed. I have to admit that it didn’t have anything earth shattering in it regard social media and how best to use it for your business. There were some good nuggets, but I don’t feel like reading this book helped me gain any real “new”  knowledge. It would be good for someone who doesn’t have a lot of background on social media and wants to dive into the social media realm.

6. The Leader in Me: Zane’s school is hoping to have The Leader in Me program become part of their culture. I was excited to learn more about it and will be digging into the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens as part of a book study at his school. So excited about this and the potential it has for the diverse group of students at the school.

Veda: 8 Months

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Veda,

Hello little peanut! You are continuing to grow but you’re still our little one. This past month involved a lot of prayers going your way. Since you were born, every now and then you would have milk come out of your nose when you breastfed. I thought it was strange but passed it off until it started happening on a more regular basis. After talking to your doctor about it she saw a ridge in the back of your mouth and was worried it might be some form of a cleft pallet. If you had this, it would mean surgery to fix it.

We had about a two week period before seeing a specialist who could view your mouth as needed to determine what was going on. During that time, we shared with friends and asked them to be praying for you and for the doctor to not find anything wrong at all. At first, the milk through your nose actually seemed to be getting worse and it had us super worried. Slowly, it started to get better and happened less and less. The morning of your appointment I was nervous but prayed again for nothing to be found. We are so happy to say that after a quick look, because there was nothing to see, you are in the clear! We are beyond thankful!!!

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You fit so well into our family. You go along with everything happening in our house. We try to find some way to involve you as we play with the boys. You’ll take part in games with Mickey ears on for Headbandz, you sit in our laps for Uno, you reach for the LEGO bins while we build and you try to put every book in your mouth as we all read.

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To say that you adore your brothers would be an understatement. While Daddy and I get some precious snuggle time with you, the true light in your eyes comes out for those two boys. You watch them with utter curiosity, touch their faces trying to figure them out and grab Zane’s glasses constantly. They run by at lightening speed as they play yelling, Veda Veda Veda!, and you try to keep up by turning your head fast as they pass. In all their creative ways they play, they try to make you part of it somehow. Whether it’s having you be the “human baby” while they are BoxTrolls or you are the princess on the throne of pillows while they protect you, you participate with a smile and only get upset when they leave and are out of your sight.

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The bathtub has become another one of your favorite places. Now that you can sit up really well, you love to splash and play with your toys. Jude always has to come check on you and provide you with more toys than you can handle. It’s so funny to watch you try to figure out how water works.

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We have started calling you Houdini because you have a way of getting yourself out of your pajamas. If it’s a sleep sack, you wiggle your arms out and get it around your waist. You at least always get one arm out! For normal footie pjs, you get your legs completely out of the two leg areas, so when we go to check on you it looks creepy with “empty” pj legs laying on the crib mattress. You have your legs all bundled up and underneath you with your butt up in the air. You just recently started sitting up on your own in the crib and can’t figure out how to get down.

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Every ounce of you is trying to figure out the world around you. Not one speck goes unnoticed on the floor, not one piece of dog hair and of course not one LEGO. Those are going to make Momma a nervous wreck. I think we are banning them just to the boys’ room. You are enamored with Luna and could hang out with her all day long, petting her and pulling her hair too. She puts up with it and is your loyal companion. I still think she doesn’t trust us as we place you on the floor because she is almost always right there to watch you.

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Your joy is contagious and we will get that loud giggle out of you sometime soon! You still are putting your hands in your mouth when you are about to laugh, preventing it from escaping! Those dimples are too much and are the cutest thing we’ve ever seen! Veda, you are so much fun…every little bit about you is joy.

We love you so much baby girl!

Momma & Daddy

Jude: 4 +2 Months

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Jude,

Boomo! To anyone besides our family, they are probably wondering why on earth I would start a letter with that phrase. But you see, it’s your favorite thing to say right now. You made it up and when you are really excited about something or are happy you yell BOOMO. We’ve all picked up on the phrase now and say it too.

Since you turned four it’s like you have a new understanding that you’re getting older and you want to jump ahead to going to Zane’s school and doing all the things he does. We constantly remind you that you’ll get there eventually, there’s no need to rush. You are very into your preschool and love spending time with your friends there. Every time we pass your school you yell out “There’s my school!”

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Daddy and I say all the time that we want to be in your head and know what you are thinking. You play in such an imaginative way and it fascinates us. You are not happy with Mommy interrupting that play to take photos though, so all I get is your head turned! It’s hard to get a photo of you in a winter hat, swimming goggles and Daddy’s winter gloves! I sooo wanted that photo but that meant I’d have to interrupt your creative play and you weren’t having it. I love how you see something and immediately want to create a replica. After watching The BoxTrolls recently, you and Zane first attempted making box trolls from clay and then found your own boxes to decorate and become box trolls. In our family, you know we will continue to foster this.

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Your servant’s heart is bursting right now! Every time we turn around you are right there asking if you can help. You are an all-out cook now, helping me in the kitchen constantly. The other day you pretty much made a whole chocolate bundt cake on your own, all I did was measure the ingredients and put them in, you did the rest. You stir dinner for me, help me whisk ingredients, knead dough and of course taste test. After you are done helping in the real kitchen you go to your play kitchen and make up your own creations. Daddy and I are usually then invited to a “picnic” in which we have to taste test all you have made. Your willingness to help goes beyond the kitchen though. You want to help shovel (even though you use a garden shovel!), you help clean the house and you ask to sit on my lap to help me work. Sometimes it seems so much easier to just accomplish it on our own, but we know you really do desire to help so we try to accommodate as much as we can.

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LEGOs are still a favorite with all kinds of crazy creations coming out of your room. The only issue we have with you and LEGOs is how you take apart your brother’s creations to make something of your own. We’ll work through that, and I love your input when you say “I just changed it!” You and Daddy currently have a huge castle/fortress on the floor of your room complete with a garden.

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Your laugh is so contagious as well as your fun-loving personality. Our kitchen table never has a dull moment because you talk up a storm, laugh at your own jokes and come costumed in various characters. You’re starting to talk with your hands and are so expressive. You get so excited about certain topics that you jump up and down as you tell us the details.

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Yesterday I sat in Veda’s room before her nap rocking her and you came up, leaned in and starting singing to her. You made up a song for her about not being scared, that her brother was here and for her to sleep well. When you realized I was listening you quickly stopped but I heard every bit of it and I think my heart burst right there. You still hug too hard at times, attempt to squeeze her cheeks and will take toys away from her because you think she shouldn’t chew on them, but when it comes down to it, your love for her is so genuine and deep. You’re a great big brother.

Juders, life would be so boring without you around! You keep our house lively and remind us how serving others is a such a beautiful act of love. Thanks for being you buddy!

Love,

Mommy & Daddy

Our Couches are Embarrassing

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“Our couches are embarrassing.” These words came out of my husband’s mouth as he picked up a couple of toys and placed them into the bins. I quickly whipped around and said, “You’re not embarrassed by our house are you?” He made a quick, whispered statement of “sometimes” and I could relate to him, but at the same time I didn’t want to relate to him on it. Why should we be embarrassed?

We live in 1200-square-foot house with three kids, a dog and run two businesses out of our home. We tell ourselves we are living like we would if we were in a NYC apartment, this makes us feel much more hip than the suburb we’re in. It’s not perfect by any means…not only in the aspects of it doesn’t have everything we’d love in a house but also that it looks lived in. Dents and smudges are on every wall to the height of our tallest child. Our stainless steel fridge has some dents (because I hit my camera on it!) and the doors aren’t even, but, hey, we got a scratch and dent price for the imperfect quality! If you look closely, our handmade lamp above the kitchen table has a whole lot of dust because I have yet to figure out how to properly clean the thing. On any given day you’ll see muddy paw prints from Luna on the floors or maybe something sticky from a smoothie drip not discovered in time for proper wipe up, or truthfully, I forgot to call the dog to lick it up.

And then there’s our couches. Pat has had them since he graduated college. They don’t leave a whole lot to be desired because you can see it all right on the fabric. They were stain guarded so many years ago but clearly it doesn’t hold up to this many years of use and three kids. Zane’s horrible reflux as a baby left massive stains, which I made even worse by trying various concoctions to try to get the stains out. On several at-home date nights, I have managed to spill red wine, smoothie and white wine on our couch. I should apparently follow the rules we have for the kids with no food and drink in the living room! Zane colored on the couch as a toddler and we somehow got it out. Jude colored on the couch more recently, and it’s not coming out because he chose to use a dry erase marker instead of washable. My attempt to clean that off brought out the red marker with a nice faded white hue around it. One corner has a lovely dark stain from where both of our boys rest their cheek constantly when watching shows or while reading books. I can’t get it to budge for anything. I’m sure there’s various stains from all the high school students we have had in our house, and that’s okay, I want them to feel at home and not have to stress about a small spill. Several years ago I tried to revive the couches by hand sewing and stuffing pillows. They looked great and fluffy until the boys made them into bridges to walk across, had pillow fights and used them for forts. Now when I do wash them, they look nice and new for a few seconds before someone grabs one to lay on or puts them on the floor to surround Veda if she falls from sitting up.

Our couches have history. We’ve been in our home for twelve years, it has history. Yes, we could replace both. The couches would be fairly easy to replace. We’ve saved for a new couch multiple times but then have used the money for traveling. I’d much rather travel than sit on a clean, beautiful couch. Now we’re focused on paying off debt and we can live with our historical couches. We weren’t the smartest at the beginning of our marriage financially and now we’re tackling those mistakes and moving on to be able to give more freely. The couches are staying, with the small rips that are starting to show in some areas. I’m not going to be embarrassed but I probably will say something funny about the couch before you sit it on, because maybe I can see your eye focus on the decorative red mark and it makes me think for a second that you wonder what is up with our family. I hope I mentally can change that around to “wow, what a creative family” and I can wave the proud card for our couches with history.

© Maya Laurent Photography