Maya Laurent Photography
simple is beautiful
Veda: 7 Months

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Veda,

Oh peanut, you are wrapping this family around your little fingers and sucking us all into your adorable world! We are at that stage with you when there’s a lot of changes and you are so interactive, making us even more captured by you.

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You had your first Christmas and it was so precious to watch you take it all in. We let you sleep when the boys opened up their gifts at our house but you were wide awake at the other Christmas times. Of course, your favorite thing was the wrapping paper!

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You finally started sitting up on your own! We still surround you with pillows in case you decide to throw yourself back, but you generally can sit up for awhile just hanging out. Your brothers love getting the pillows all arranged around you, and sometimes one of your brothers might like to try to “hide” you in the pillows. I witnessed this one day, ran to pick the pillows off of you and you were just smiling. Thanks for going with the flow!

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You most certainly are a baby babbler now. In the past few days you’ve become more vocal and are getting louder too! You watch us all talk and when we look over at you, you’re moving your mouth up and down smiling, but silent. It’s hilarious! Once we get quiet enough to hear you, you start in with your “ba ba ba” sounds. Now let’s switch from those, to ma ma ma sounds. Who am I kidding?! You’re going to say da da first!

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I think in every letter I write to you I will mention your connection with your brothers! It just makes everything in me smile when I watch them loving on you and now you are responding so much to them. I honestly think that they will be such protectors to you and it will be so interesting to see how that develops.

Thumper is your new nickname. When we come into your room, you kick your legs up and down so fast and thump the crib. If you wake up from a nap, we can hear you playing in your crib, thumping away at the wall or the bed. When you get excited, it oozes out of you with your hands waving in the air and legs moving like crazy. It makes us all laugh constantly.

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The process of eating baby food has been one we’ve stuck with and fought you on. At first, you hated everything about it. In fact, it was miserable to feed you because you would cry the whole time with huge alligator tears. It was like we were torturing you or something! Finally you started to open your mouth and let us put some food in, progress was good! After a month you are finally much more pleasant to feed. You’ll open you mouth most of the time but are so distracted that you’re always looking off to the side to see your brothers or Luna. This results in baby food all over your sleeves! Oh well, each step at a time!

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Every night before you go to bed Daddy and I get some quiet time with you since your brothers are already in bed. You are in the best mode after your milk snack before bed and smile, babble and entertain us. You get lots of kisses and then one us takes you into your room and prays for you before you go to bed. When I pray for you, you lean your head into mine and I say the prayer into your ear. You seem to love it and I hope those words are sinking in and you know how loved you are by Momma and Daddy, and more importantly by God.

We are so thankful for you sweet Veda.

Love,

Momma and Daddy

Veda: 6 Months

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11 pounds, 12 ounces / 23.75 in.

Veda,

Hello precious peanut! Truly, you are a little peanut. You are a tiny babe just like your brothers were, but you might be the smallest. Your six month letter is coming to you late as our family has been in a state of non-stop sickness. It has been a month of someone being sick in our family constantly. I have been so worried about you throughout it all and you have been such a trooper, getting sick one time but handling it with lots of smiles.

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The doctor was slightly worried about your itty bitty size so we’ll be going back to regular weight checks but I know that you’ll start to gain weight better as we introduce solid foods. Although you are going to have to learn how to like those solid foods sis! They are not your favorite thing right now but we’re working around it and finding ways to get you to stop crying and take food instead! One strategy is having Zane stand near us and talk to you. You calm down and just watch him as we scoop food into your mouth. You dislike peas for sure and so far butternut squash is your favorite. I’m making your baby food like I did with your brothers so I’m hoping that helps as we discover what you love. Of course, we’re still going to make you keep trying out the other stuff too. Sorry…more peas will be coming! Let’s get this going babe so we don’t have to visit the doctor on a regular basis!

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You are still enthralled by your feet. We can barely get a diaper change in without you reaching for those toes and sticking them directly into your mouth. You’re still soaking your pajama sleeves and feet during nap times as you suck on them once you lose your pacifier. You have the cutest “chunky” legs that we adore. Of course, they aren’t really chunky by other baby standards but for us they are and we think they are the best!

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Your smile, along with those dimples, can stop a person from doing anything and want to sit and play with you. Your smile has a way of drawing others in. Your brothers will do anything to get that smile, but generally they don’t have to work too hard because you see them and beam with smiles. You adore them and can’t even focus enough to drink milk when they are around. This can be very frustrating for Momma but I also love how interested you are in them. Now let’s keep some deals that you won’t be a crazy, wrestling ninja like them though?

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Each time I decide to take photos of you,  you turn into a mad baby or you turn on the “I have a thousand faces” personality. You’re still not sure of my camera and will stop whatever cuteness you’re doing to stare into Momma’s lens and try to figure it out. I finally captured your hilarious face of sucking in your lower lip and smiling with your eyes. You have Momma’s eyes but Daddy’s expressive eye brows. This makes for some classic faces and you can’t hide at all what you are feeling because those eyes and eyebrows give it all away!

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Your brothers have their Puppy and Teddy and when you were born Momma and Daddy’s friend gave you an elephant. It has been named Ellie and it already has become your lovey. You love grabbing her arms and chewing on them and love rubbing her silky side on your face. I finally have given in and let you have her during naps. You curl up with her all tucked into you, usually with your bottom up in the air and your head turned the other way. You keep hearing me come in every time I try to take a photo of it though!

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This past month has certainly been stressful in our family with all the sickness. It has also been an extremely busy time for Daddy and Momma’s businesses and everything has flown by in a record pace. I get so mad when I look back and realize I didn’t capture a ton of photos this past month. I can’t be mad at myself for that, rather I’m trying to look back and remember how you brought so much joy to our home in a time that had everyone else upset. You seemed to sense the need for patience and have been amazing at providing smiles and love to all of us during this time. We adore you sis. I think all four of us would sit and play with you all day long if we could. Thank you for being such a light!

Love you to pieces,

Momma & Daddy

 

Veda: Five Months

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Veda,

Hello precious girl! This month has been another of massive changes in you. Your personality is showing and your amazement of the world around you is so fun to watch. We’re approaching the holidays and I can’t wait to see how you take in all the looks, sounds and love you’ll get from family and friends during this time.

One change is the amount of drool you suddenly have! You don’t have teeth coming through yet but goodness you can soak yourself and love to chew on anything. You grab our fingers and clothes and go to town. It cracks us all up. It’s a good thing you have so many clothes because we have to change you more now that you wake up with one arm completely soaked from chewing on it during your naps.

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You had your first Halloween this past month and you were the cutest little artist ever. You didn’t get to go out since it was extremely nasty weather but you still made it into some photos. We headed to Zoo Boo and you just chilled in your lady bug hat and stroller as we made our way through the chaos. You continue to show how you’re cool with just going with the flow.

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You are in complete roll over mode now. With all of you kids, this is when I have reached a paranoid phase. I get so worried about you sleeping on your belly so I go in and move you onto your back. By the time I get to your door, which is right next to  your crib, you roll back onto your belly. So I guess you’re okay! Now you are rolling back onto your back again and make your way to the corner of your crib. You’re not the biggest fan of this spot so you usually choose to start crying when you get yourself wedged there. I could watch you sleep all day long. We are trying to be better at putting you in your crib for naps but I gotta say there’s nothing better than you falling asleep on one of us during the day. I love feeling  your deep, sleepy breathes and leaning down to kiss your soft head. We’ll still be sneaking those times in for sure.

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You and Luna continue to grow your relationship. You get so excited when she comes into the room and follow her with your eyes wanting her to come closer. When she gets near you have started putting up your hands to touch her which usually results in tons of doggy kisses. If we put you down on the floor or on our bed to do something quick, Luna is right there to make sure you are okay. I’m not sure she trusts us with you! We’ll see what she thinks of you when you start pulling her hair.

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We are in awe of how amazing your brothers are with you. They are in love with this stage now that you react to them, smile and reach out for them. You have figured out already how to grab Zane’s glasses. With Jude, and all of us, you love to touch our face and try to figure out how it all works. Your brothers love including you in everything they do. At LegoFest, they kept saying we needed to take you to the girly section of stuff so you could play. They want to hold you while they watch Pokemon and have you sit in your chair while they eat breakfast, always scooting the chair closer to them. The other day they were playing “zombies” and I had to yell to your brothers “Zombies! Please stop banging on your sister’s door while she sleeps!” This is the normal in our house honey, sorry it’s so weird! They love you dearly and will protect you from the zombies and everything else! Ha!

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You can finally reach your toes! After about a week of discovering your toes and grabbing them, you finally got them into your mouth. We can hear you sucking on your toes super loud during naps or when you’re on the floor playing. It cracks us up! You also are blowing bubbles all the time. Your brothers think this is the funniest thing ever. I took video of you doing it the other night and everytime you did it, they cracked up. You would stop, look at them and then start up again. You were very proud of making them laugh!

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You love to be outside, even when it’s cold! Being outdoors seems to calm you down and relax you. You love watching the trees move in the breeze and watch it all so intently. We had a bonfire for Jude’s birthday and you snuggled in with Grandma T and were as happy as can be. I can’t wait to see how the love you have right now for the outdoors blossoms as you get older.

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I am so thankful for the time that you and Jude have together. You and Zane just have a natural bond that seems to go with the oldest and  youngest. I realize that your relationship with Jude might look a little different but goodness he loves you to pieces. I am so thankful that he is at home the majority of the time to hang out with you and figure you out a bit. He loves hugging and kissing you and I promise he will eventually figure out how not to squeeze you so hard with his huge hugs. I know you will be all over his toys soon and we’ll have some battles but I also can’t wait to watch  you two play together.

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This past weekend I had  you on the floor taking photos and you started putting your head down, wiggling your butt up in the air and trying to slide your knees under you. No, no, no!!! This is not okay! I can secretly admit that after capturing it on video and sending it onto your grandmas, I didn’t put you back down on the floor like that again. You can’t figure out how to get up on your knees already! That seems crazy! After you tried that you decided to attempt the “flying” look which cracked me up. In all seriousness though…let’s not rush this moving thing please!

Sis, we love you so much! I want to always remember your warm little fingers embracing ours while you tuck into us and nestle your head as you get sleepy. I don’t want these moments to go too quickly. The moments of snuggling, feeding times with just the two of us as you stare at me and the cuteness of watching you look for Daddy the second you hear him. I know they will pass before we can even imagine so I’ll end this letter to go sneak a look at you sleeping and touch your little soft head to take in the moment. Love you baby girl!

Love,

Momma & Daddy

Jude: 4 Years

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Jude,

Hello you big four-year-old! I was reflecting the other day on your birth and how rapidly you joined this world with a labor and delivery totaling only four hours. I hardly had time to even process that you would soon be with us, because you just were there all of sudden! It’s so funny to think about that late night four years ago and see how much you take on the world just as you entered. You enjoy all the world has to offer and greet it with such enthusiasm.

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You are all about creating. You form with playdough, sketch with Daddy and paint, glue and cut to your heart’s content. Daddy and I have labeled this time as “Jude’s doing another art project.” You always have a story to go with each piece you create and show us your work with such pride. We love to watch you create and use your imagination beyond ways we could have dreamed.

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You are also an explorer of the world around you. We are constantly on the hunt for bugs to put in your “bug catcher” and have to keep an eye out for cool things to find in nature. Not only do you love finding these things, you love reading about them too. A trip to the library always includes visiting the section with books on bugs, the ocean and space. We just returned a beetle book which we had to renew three times for you so we could read it over and over. You remember the funniest facts and for awhile you were calling people “pupas” which is a life stage a beetle goes through. I think most people thought you were saying poop!

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As you mature, your relationship with Zane continues to take on new forms. One moment you two are best friends, playing wonderfully, and the next it’s who can hurt the other person the most with their words or actions. I know this is totally normal for brothers but it can be frustrating to see you two go at each other in anger. In the end, you both say you’re sorry and can go back to playing like nothing happened. Zane loves reading to you and you love to curl up with him to listen and ask questions. We love sneaking into your room at night to catch you two reading together.

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Your zest for life and those around you is contagious. We have a lot of laughter in our family and so much of it comes from your silly ways and things you say. You can be serious too and will ask wonderful questions about God, his world and what you are learning in church and in school. We run into challenges with you as your stubbornness butts heads with our rules. The same zest you have for life shows through in how you react when you are upset. It’s very dramatic and loud. We are figuring out how to help you figure out your emotions and how to express them in good ways. Daddy and I take a lot of deep breaths and know how important it is to teach with patience. We try our best!

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Your love for LEGOs has continued to grow. You get sets of LEGOs, have us help you put them together and they last for a couple of hours before you are taking them all apart to create your own structure or character. You found all of the how-to booklets for the sets and started finding all the correct pieces to re-build, take apart, and then re-build again. You are starting to own somethings you are into, where in the past you have taken on the same interests as your brother. Transformers, LEGOs, dragons, Skylanders and Mister Men are your favorite. You build Mister Men castles with wooden blocks, make all kinds of crazy Mixels with LEGOs and name everything uniquely. We took you to LEGOFest to celebrate your birthday and you were in heaven. You ran around yelling in excitement with a huge grin on your face. It was the best to see you in your element.

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Even though you are so outspoken and take on the world full-force, you still have your moments of being shy and reserved. You aren’t a fan of tons of attention and tend to hide behind us or cup your hands over your face when those moments occur. It’s funny to see that balance with your normal crazy ways! You have all kinds of funny ways to show your emotions through your words like:”You don’t get it.” “I don’t love you anymore!” followed two seconds later by “I love you soooo much.” And then there’s the mis-spoken words that make us laugh like fridge for bridge.

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Jude, you are such an important part of our family. I know as the middle child you might feel like you aren’t the top priority at times. Veda needs fed, Zane has homework and sometimes it feels like you’re the last to get the attention. Please know that in those moments I witness your frustration and want to stop everything to just be with you, focused solely on you. You are truly loved, are truly special and unique and we are thankful that you are flexible and so helpful. Thank you Jude for bringing unexpected joy, laughter and a servant attitude daily to our family!

Love you,

Daddy & Momma

September/October Reading Lately

This blog has taken a bit of a hiatus except for letters to our kids. Three kids plus our two businesses have been taking up most of my time but I’ll try to slowly come back to this blog. I’ll start off with what I’ve been reading lately, or what I read awhile ago now. I don’t do long reviews anymore…just a very quick view from me on each book.

You can always follow me on Goodreads to see what I’m currently reading and hoping to read soon.

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1. The Giver: I’m not sure how I never read this before but I knew I wanted to read the book before seeing the movie. I stayed up late one night and finished the book, reading it in a short two days during Veda’s feedings. I was intrigued with this classic and disturbed by it too.

2. The Sun Also Rises: I read Hemingway a long time ago but thought I’d give him one more try. I pushed through this book, which many have claimed to be their favorite, but I have to admit I am still not a part of the Hemingway fan club. As a reader, I feel like I’ve just committed a cardinal sin by admitting my lack of love for him!

3. Eleanor & Park: This YA book is worth a read. It’s a quick read and one I enjoyed. The character development made me instantly want a movie made out of this book.

4. Saved: This book gave me a new perspective on debt and saving money. Hewitt tackles the idea of working so hard to give our families a certain life style but yet don’t our kids just want us? That hit home. I will say that he wanders in his writing but comes back around to the meat of the book.

5. We Were Liars: This is another YA book that I picked up after seeing reviews on it. It’s hard to talk about this book without revealing the twist so I’ll just say that it had me wondering what on earth was going on and kept me interested throughout.

6. Notes from a Blue Bike: A friend passed this book onto me and it truly was a wonderful read. The author’s family reminds me of our family in many ways. She gives some refreshing views on raising a family and balancing work.

 

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