Maya Laurent Photography
simple is beautiful
July Reading Lately

One thing I’m so happy I mastered as a nursing mom is how to hold a book and nurse at the same time. With Zane, I watched a whole lot of TV and it actually made me feel worse about myself as a new mom. Whether I wasn’t able to cook the meal from Food Network or knew that exploring the world on the Travel Channel wasn’t in the cards anytime soon, it made my current position feel less than ideal, even though it was a beautiful place to be. So with Jude I picked up a book and began to read during the times that I fed him. Yes I spend time looking at Veda and just taking her in too as she feeds but sometimes you need to keep yourself awake and a book helps do that for me. Here are the books I read in July as I fed her and dreamed of her reading one day too.

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1. Carry On, Warrior: This was a perfect book to read after having a new baby. Melton does such a great job of making you feel normal as a mom and realizing the lack of perfection that should come with it. I loved the honesty and openness within the book.

2. The Silver Chair: I have been reading the boys the Chronicles of Narnia. We are starting from the beginning but I wanted to refresh my memory on the other stories so I dove into The Silver Chair. I’m always amazed at Lewis’ way with words and connecting God into these children’s’ classics.

3. One Thousand Gifts: Many people have recommended this book over the past couple of years and I’ve never gotten around to reading it. Again, another wonderful read with a new baby. As I finished the book, I decided to begin writing down a few things each day I am thankful for…which has been a beautiful experience so far. (Although due to the new baby…I haven’t always done it every single day). There are parts of this book that are gut-wrenching but so true to life.

4. The List: I have to jump into a YA book every once and awhile, or sometimes a whole lot more frequently. This book takes you through the starting day of an annual list of prettiest/ugliest showing up at the high school. Each girl that is on the list then tells her story of what happens after being named pretty or ugly. It was a simple read but actually a great perspective on high school drama and troubles.

5. Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald: I kept putting this book on hold at the library and I could never go grab it when it came in. Finally I got my hands on it and dug into the story of Fitzgerald’s wife. Being the Great Gatsby fan that I am, this fictional account of Fitzgerald’s life, with his wife and involving Hemingway, was one that kept me interested in the next turn of events. It was interesting to read about all the research Fowler did for the book and how she tried her best to base it on true accounts. Truly fascinating to have a different perspective on the Fitzgeralds.

6. Hands Free Mama: Oh how I needed this book and all the reminders it held within! The title pretty much speaks to the book’s contents but I was happy to see how it explored other areas beyond just technology-free ideas. I was thankful for the eye-opener on things I do as a parent that distract me from taking in this stage of life with my children. I took a ton of notes of wonderful nuggets of inspiration.

52 Weeks: June & July

Keeping up with the whole 52 Week Project did not come as easy towards the end of my pregnancy and once Veda arrived. However, I’ve tried my best and here is my attempt!

June 2nd Week: Jude got his first black eye while wrestling with Pat and Zane. I say first because I’m sure there will be more with this active child. I was just thankful it went away before Veda arrived so he wasn’t in every photo with his baby sister with a black eye!

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Zane still cannot take a normal photo. He cracks me up.

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June 9th Week: Skipped this week…Veda arrived and that week was crazy!

June 16th Week: Our family was a bit exhausted from a new baby in our house. Some of us fell asleep with swords tucked into our shirts.

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Zane makes his bed and sets up all his stuffed animals. He’s even filmed his stuffed animals before, describing each one in detail.

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Miss Veda! Oh how sweet she is when she passes out.

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June 23rd & 30th Weeks: I’m combining these because with a new baby, again, I didn’t get to pull out the camera a ton…except for Veda!

Jude loves fishing at the lake. He hasn’t caught a single thing but he will stand out there all day trying.

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I can’t capture enough photos of Zane being so precious with Veda. He has taken on such a caregiver role to her.

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Veda relaxing at the lake because that’s what the lake is for!

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July 7th Week: Veda sleeps all the time with her hands like this and when she gets startled she swings them to her middle in a movement we refer to her as “Michael Jackson” because it looks like something out of Thriller.

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We have come to the stage where showing off your muscles is fun.

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Jude does not understand how the showing off of muscles works though.

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Veda: 1 Month

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7lbs, 7 oz / 20 3/4 in

Veda,

One month ago you entered our lives and brought a whole new level of joy to our family. As always, time has a way of flying by and somehow this past month has done just that. Each day can go by rather quickly and we’re trying to take in all of you in those moments.

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Your first day home you got to meet Luna, great grandpa and your uncles. It was a great way to celebrate Father’s Day. Luna couldn’t stop sniffing you and finally took on the role of your new protector. At first, every time I fed you, she was right at my feet so that I could barely get up. She certainly loves you.

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Jude makes sure you are okay so he does a checkups on you with all of his tools. Jude seemed a little unsure of you at first but has come around to the complete opposite of wanting to hold you and kiss you at all times.

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Both of your brothers are completely smitten with you. After your morning feeding they are both asking if they can hold you. I love watching them cuddle you, kiss you and speak in really high voices to you saying, “Oh baby girl” or “I love you Veda.” Jude brings you every toy in your room and puts them all around you. They both lay with you as you do your tummy time, trying to get you to look up at them. I am so thankful for the timing of your arrival because the boys are home from school and it gives them both time to spend with you and bond.

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We really can’t complain about your sleeping habits or schedule. You’ve gotten onto a great schedule during the day and slowly are getting there with the night, giving us a couple of nights with big stretches of sleep. Each of us is tempted to hold you the whole time you nap but we know it’s good for you to rest on your own too. Your brothers can’t leave you alone when you’re sleeping and have a tendency to sneak in a kiss and wake you up. Sorry about that…they can’t resist your adorableness.

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For the first three weeks you preferred to fall asleep on Daddy. It began to be a joke with Daddy teasing me and he would beam when he’d take you from me and you’d pass out right away. I felt like all I was good for was providing milk and Daddy was for cuddling. To say you are a Daddy’s girl already is an understatement! The other night we were watching a movie and all I wanted to do was have you fall into a deep sleep on me while the house was quiet and Daddy and I were snuggled up on the couch. You fussed and fussed, so I handed you to Daddy and within minutes you were out on him. Remember that I had carried you around for nine months?! Recall that? Just saying…some snuggles with me would be much appreciated. You’ve started some “resting” with me and I certainly understand your feelings for Daddy…he’s pretty great isn’t he?

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You are still a little peanut. We are used to having babies that started out at 8 pounds, and you aren’t even there yet. But you’re gaining weight after losing some a couple weeks ago and are finally starting to be a little snug in your newborn clothes. I’m amazed how small and light you feel after picking up Jude, who is small for his age too. You seem so fragile to me and I’m constantly checking on you when I know you’re okay sleeping in your crib or passed out in your swing. Even with the third child, the mother worry doesn’t go away.

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You visited the lake for the first time over the July 4th weekend. You looked extremely tiny in the infant life vest and weren’t so sure about the boat ride, crying a lot, passing out and then waking to cry more. It was a perfect time for GaGa and PaPa T to spend a longer amount of time with you and I think you might have been put down for a matter of minutes because they always wanted to hold you. Your other grandparents as exactly the same way, with GaGa C grabbing you at dinner time saying she’s not hungry because she wants one-on-one time with you while the rest of us eat. You are so loved.

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I had so many worries about bringing a third child into our home. Most of them were how we would all adjust, not only your brothers but Daddy and I too. It’s hard enough running two businesses with two kids, how would it work with three? It’s not like we have it figured out yet…that will take time but I know we’ll get there. Now that you are here I can’t imagine our house without you. We certainly still have our moments of realizing we have three and we’re no longer man-to-man. I constantly am double checking that I have you in the car with the boys, afraid I’ve left you in your carseat in the family room. Daddy and I do a check before we go anywhere and our first question is “Do we have three kids in the car?” Bare with us…we’ll get the hang of it and we’ll forget what it was like to just have two!  veda1M27

You are starting to lock eye contact with us which we all love to pieces. You know everyone’s voice and can focus really well, except when your brothers move around too much, which is always!

During your night time feedings, I look at you and try to imagine you at your brothers’ ages. What will you be into, what will our discipline struggles be with you, will you get Jude’s eyes or Zane’s ability to pick up on others’ emotions? And then I remember, you are all your own little bundle of uniqueness. Yes, you might have some of the same qualities of your brothers but you’ll have a special mix that makes you. As each day passes, I can’t wait to see how that blossoms. We love you Lady Veda, baby girl, sis and all the other nicknames we’ve given you.

Love,

Momma & Daddy

 

Veda’s Birth Story

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6 lbs 8 oz., 19 inches born at 3:37pm on June 13th

Veda,

You are here! It feels so good to hold your little self, rub your tiny, long toes and feel you breath on our chest as you curl up and fall asleep. I was so convinced that you would come late and  we had so many things “to-do” before you arrived but that all doesn’t matter one bit now.

You were ready to enter the world and started showing signs of wanting out at about midnight. I had contractions about every 20 minutes and then they spread out to every 40 minutes or so. It was a horrible night of sleep and I kept apologizing to your Daddy who reminded me he was in this too and it was totally okay. I had my regular doctor’s appointment that morning at 8:15am. I knew I would be back home shortly so I just grabbed two small muffins to eat on the way and I’d eat more breakfast when I got home. I jokingly threw some clothes out for Daddy saying “Not that is going to happen, but if it would here’s a start to packing. We can work on that today.”
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On the way to the doctor I kept saying a prayer because I had only one worry about you, you didn’t seem to be moving that much since the contractions started. You were always so active at night and in the mornings so I was concerned that you might be having some troubles. I told the doctor when I got there about my worry and she decided to do a stress test to see how you were doing. I had two monitors on me, one to track contractions and the other to check your heartbeat. I also had a clicker to hit when you moved. You started moving which made me feel a huge relief but as I watched the monitor your heart rate would go from the 150s to the 80s or lower when I had a contraction. I sat in the room all by myself with my phone in hand texting Daddy. I was super worried but thought maybe it was normal, until the doctor came in and wanted to monitor the both of us longer. I let fear kick in for sure and just wanted your Daddy there with me. A nurse came in and was wonderful at making me laugh and keeping me talking as they watched your heart rate drop and sometimes drop off the charts. I knew then I was staying there.

Sure enough the doctor told me it was time to walk over to the hospital in the same building and to call your Daddy. They wanted to monitor us more and my contractions were closer together so she felt I was in labor for sure. I called Daddy and I could tell he was freaking out on the other end. He tried to stay calm but as I walked him through what needed to be packed, he kept saying “I’m totally going to do this wrong.” I reassured him I didn’t care, I just wanted him there. After getting off the phone I walked to labor and delivery, was hooked up to monitors again in triage and laid there for awhile until Daddy and Grandma C showed up. I was so thankful to finally have them there and felt my stress level go down once they were. I had been so worried they would quickly wheel me into a c-section or something to get you out and Daddy wouldn’t be there.

The doctor came in, checked everything out and decided it was time to get me into a delivery room, I was staying and you were coming soon. Your heart rate had evened out a bit so that was reassuring. Once we got into the delivery room it started to hit me as I looked around that you’d be here somehow or another and soon, I hoped at least. Grandma T showed up and I was so thankful she was able to make it for your arrival. Earlier in the week I had told your Daddy I didn’t want you to come on Friday the 13th and here we were, with you most likely coming on that exact date. To top it off, it was a full moon! You ended up being part of a very busy labor and delivery day! The place was packed. I got over my Friday the 13th thing.

I was able to get up and move around a bit once your heart rate had stabilized. I had decided I wanted to do your birth natural since I felt so much better after delivering your brother in a natural way (or really that the epidural didn’t ever have a chance to kick in with him). The contractions were strong for sure but I kept thinking of how much better I’d feel after you were here and how I could enjoy you more and those thoughts kept me going. They asked me if I wanted to move the process along a bit by breaking my water and I thought “Of course!” I was ready. After my water was broke then things moved along. The contractions got closer together and I thought I was keeping track of the timing, would tell your Daddy, “that was five minutes” and he look at me like I was crazy and say “no, that was two minutes.” So it moved along faster than I even thought it was!

The room was filled with both your grandpas and grandmas. Everyone was joking around as Daddy and I fought to watch the World Cup games and your Papa T wanted watch the US Open. Once I realized the contractions were getting more intense, we kicked out the grandpas and both grandmas were in the room when you entered this world. I love that they got to be part of your birth and be some of the first to welcome their granddaughter.

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Since I did everything natural I instantly could feel the urge to push and had your grandma go tell the nurse I was having that feeling. Once I was checked the doctor came in and it all moved so fast from there because you were ready to come out. The hardest part of it all was the fact that I was so hungry. Those two muffins that morning weren’t holding me over. Since I stayed, I had nothing to eat all day long and I could feel it as I started to push and felt super dizzy. I asked if I could have anything that had lots of sugar in it and the nurse was so nice to give me apple juice which gave me enough energy to get through the rest of the pushing.

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Daddy said I pushed about 20 minutes or so, but I wasn’t paying any attention to that at all. I held your Daddy’s hand tight, could feel him rubbing the hair out of my face and was listening to the doctor guiding me on what to do next. I just wanted to hear your cry and know you were healthy and it got me through anything my body was feeling at the time.

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Before I knew it you were on my stomach and all I could see was the top of your head and hear your cries. I had so many dreams leading up to your birth that you ended up being a boy and we had prepared ourselves for a girl. I heard one of your grandmas say “She’s beautiful” but I still had to check. I said “Is she a girl?!” and everyone started laughing and told me yes. Ha! Sorry honey, was just checking! Shortly after I asked if someone could get me some food as I was beyond starving at that point. This is the funny stuff you have to look forward to with your mom!

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The hours that followed your birth you were held by all your grandparents and their faces were filled with pure love for you. I was so thankful to be able to be up and walking around with fairly good ease and take all of you in. Several hours after you were born your brothers came to meet you. Zane wanted to hold you right away and Jude just kept smiling at you while he ran and jumped around the room yelling “VEDA IS AWESOME!” They visited a couple times while we were in the hospital and each time Zane held you, hugged you and kissed you and Jude bounced off the walls he was so excited. He finally did sit with me on the bed and touched your little feet and hands and leaned into you to feel how soft you were. They are beyond smitten with you and we know that will only continue to grow.

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With your third child, not as many people come to visit you at the hospital and Daddy and I were just fine with that. We had time to enjoy you before throwing you into the crazy world our family of five would be. We rarely put you down, held you while you slept and watched you closely as you opened your eyes. You have a unique bond with your Daddy already and it makes me smile each time I hear him whispering to you, calming you and telling you how gorgeous you are.

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A little story of your name…we have had Veda picked out since we were choosing names when we were expecting Zane. We hoped one day we would get to use it because we just love it and think it’s a strong name for a girl/woman. We did find out that Veda is a family name on Daddy’s side which is pretty cool. Your middle name, Joann, is the combination of Grandma T’s middle name, Jo, and Grandma C’s middle name, Ann. It also happens to be the name of two of your great grandmothers, spelled a little different and pronounced differently. You have a middle name that has so much meaning of four women that have impacted our lives.

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I always get emotional a few days later after the rush is over and the fact that you truly are here sinks in. Daddy and I were watching a movie as I breastfed you the other night and this quote was said…“No one can ever prepare you for what happens when you have a child. When you see the baby in your arms and you know that it’s your job now. No one can prepare you for the love and the fear.” – About Time

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I had tears running down my cheeks and Daddy came over and kissed me on the forehead…one of the most comforting things he does to calm me. But they weren’t sad tears, they were tears of joy. You’re here, healthy, wide-eyed and beyond beautiful. I am so thankful to have you in our arms!

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And it’s so true. All my fears I have had about having a girl, raising a girl into a woman in this world and wanting to protect you from any of the people and things that will try to tell you to change who you are…they are still there. But a joy is also there of knowing we get to watch you grow into a woman, to see you take on challenges and embrace what God has designed you to do. Welcome, Veda Joann, to this funny, wild family of ours!

Love you so,

Momma & Daddy

Reading Lately

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I have been a bit slower in the reading department this past month with how crazy Such Great Heights has been…which has been so much fun! I still managed to get in few though.

1. Radical, Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream: This book was wonderful if you are prepared to look at your life in a new way to see how you can impact the world and go against the idea of the American dream. I appreciated Platt’s honesty and diving into the notion when people say “my calling is to stay here but I’ll support others that go.” He uses Biblical references of why we are all called to go out into the world. This quote is a good indicator of how the underlining message of the book: “The dangerous assumption we unknowingly accept in the American dream is that our greatest asset is our own ability. The gospel beckons us to die to ourselves and to believe in God and to trust his power.”

2. Shotgun Lovesongs: I had several friends that read this book and raved about it. The storyline is based in a small town with a group that has been friends since high school. One friend makes it has celebrity singer and tries his best to keep his small town roots. I appreciated the character development by Butler and could picture the type of people I’d cast if this ever were turned into a movie.

3. Thrive: The founder of The Huffington Post wrote this book after she collapsed from exhaustion and woke up in a pool of blood. After her “awakening” to how she was running her life she dived into different areas to pay more attention to what her body and mind needed. She says, “We’re too busy chasing the phantom of the successful life. The difference between what such success looks like and what truly makes us thrive isn’t always clear as we’re living our lives. But it becomes more obvious in the rearview mirror.” While I didn’t connect with all aspects of her journey, I did feel some pressure lifted off of me of the success idea and how it can tangle us into a place we don’t want to be.

 

© Maya Laurent Photography