Maya Laurent Photography
simple is beautiful
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.

 

Veda: Four Months

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Weight: 11 lbs, 4 oz / Height: 23.5 inches

Veda,

Hello four months! This past month has been the most changes you’ve made so far. You’re constantly attempting something new and surprising us. We are always yelling for someone to come running into the room to witness the new thing you’ve mastered.

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Your feet fascinate you. It cracks me up how you look at them each time like it’s the first time you have ever seen them. If you have a sleeper on or socks, you try to focus in on your feet even more. It’s a stare down to see if they will do anything new this time. As the weather has cooled off, I’ve been able to put you in some tights. I’m still getting used to dressing you in girlie clothes, since I’m used to all things boy. You are drooling like crazy right now so I get to change you several times per day, which cracks up your Daddy. You have plenty of clothes to do this!

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Speaking of Daddy, let’s talk about how much you adore him. I always heard of girls being Daddy’s girls. I’ve seen it when photographing high school seniors while the Dad gets teary-eyed of his growing daughter and they’re holding hands. I watched it at the park as a little girl runs for Daddy’s arms and witnessed it with lots of our friends and their daughters. Your brothers are pretty much Momma’s boys and I always wanted that connection for your Daddy. Then you arrived and I saw it right away in his eyes, and a few short months in and you have the look for him in your eyes. You hear his voice and turn immediately to look for him. You cuddle up with him instantly and fall asleep so fast on his chest. In the middle of the night you’ll wake up just a bit fussy at times and only Daddy can calm you down (I don’t mind this one though). Your Grandma and Grandpa T came to see you and hang out and all you wanted was Daddy. You’d scream while Grandma T was holding you and the second she would hand you to Daddy, you would stop. I joke that it annoys me that you use me just for food and Daddy is for all the fun, but I love it. You are one lucky girl!

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You are on the verge of rolling over. You get your whole body rolled over but one shoulder is in your way of completely accomplishing it. We all watch you and cheer you on to keep going and you look at us and start crying from frustration. Do you realize how many cheerleaders you have in your life? Please don’t take this as a reason to start walking at eight months though! I’m not ready for that! You have started holding onto toys and immediately stick them into your mouth. If you drop something, you immediately bunch your fingers into a ball waiting for someone to show you the next toy to uncoil your fingers and grab it. You clasp your hands together and look so proper. This makes us laugh all the time. Most of the time your hands are in your mouth as you try to fit them both all the way in and chew on them.

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Everyone constantly tells me how much you look like me and especially how much you look like Jude. I didn’t see it until recently looking at a baby picture of myself at GaGa and PaPa’s and I saw you. I am told all the time how I look like your grandma and now I’m realizing how often you will probably get this too. It’s okay, your grandma is a beautiful and has aged well so we have good genes. You did get your Daddy’s ability to move your eyebrows in the most hilarious ways. Your eyes and eyebrows communicate so much to us right now. When you’re startled your eyes open wide with a “what was that” face and when you’re confused you wrinkle your forehead and eyebrows and focus on us or the item to figure it out. I love your expressive face.

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You ooze out joy! There is always action in our house and you take it in and smile back at it, whether it’s stressful or funny. A typical scene: one of your brothers is having a breakdown, we’re trying to check the other one to make sure he doesn’t have a bloody lip, while dinner is boiling over on the stove and you are laying on your blanket, surrounded by the thousands of toys Jude has brought you, smiling. If you could talk you’d probably say “You people are CRAZY!” Thanks for having a sense of humor when we need to see that smile the most.

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I love the connections you have formed in your four months of being with us. Your brothers are enamored with you. Every morning they rush in when I open your door to compete on getting the first morning smile. Luna checks in on you each morning with a sniff. I am on the constant lookout for a cute photo of you, but you hate when I get the camera out and start crying. Luna does not like this and will rush to check on you, like she’s protecting you from my evil camera. Your ability to draw people in with your glowing personality is so fun to watch.

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Veda, you are pure joy. Yes, you have screaming times, and your cries have taken on a new interesting pitch, but it doesn’t even phase us one bit when we see the precious smile of yours. Thank you for bringing more joy into our family. We love every little bit of you down to those precious, tiny toes!

Love,

Momma & Daddy

Veda: Three Months

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Veda,

Hello smiley baby girl! You have entered the stage of pure joy. You smile at us constantly and even light up when we’re not looking. I love cooking in the kitchen only to turn around and see that precious smile as I talk to you. The boys squeal with excitement from the smiles you give them. They might explode when you start to laugh!

 

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It’s amazing how you fit into our lives. You are such an easy-going baby. I feel bad as two of your wake/play times are during breakfast time and the other during dinner prep time, which are two of the busiest times in our family. But you embrace it and are okay with hanging in your seat or playing on a blanket while we cook, read Bible stories and attempt to clean up your brothers for school and then bedtime. As we were getting your brothers ready one morning I asked Daddy how this is all going to work with three we have to prep for the school day. He just laughed and said it’ll be crazy. True, and I think you’ll fit into the crazy just right.

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Your bond with Daddy continues to thrive. He’s still your go-to for passing out. You’ve given me more snuggle time recently but it’s instant sleep once you hit Daddy’s chest. When Daddy enters the room and you hear his voice, you instantly turn your head trying to find him. I won’t be surprised if he is the first person to get a laugh out of you.

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You sleep in the strangest positions when you’re in the swing or seat. You will fuss until you get your neck and head in just the right way and then you pass out. It looks so uncomfortable but somehow you love it. I showed our chiropractor because I was worried your going to mess up your neck. So far, we’re okay but we’ll keep an eye on it.

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You have started to take on a love for your first and arm. We can hear you at night through the monitor sucking on them fiercely. We’ll go in to check on you and the crib sheet is soaked where you’ve been laying because you’ve been sucking on your arm/fist that much!

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Your expressions are priceless! You always stick out your tongue, made your eyes super big or squint them. Those adorable dimples show and people who haven’t seen them will literally exclaim “She has dimples!!!” We have no clue where you got them from but oh my they are precious.

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Thank you for always hanging in with our family. I know, you have no choice really, but you handle it so well. You have been carried to the bus stop, slept in a carrier while we’ve geo-cached through bug filled woods, been carried your carseat in and out as we packed up our office and have been held while we dance around our living room. You are just part of it all now…so thankful for your presence that adds so much.

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Each time you’re sleeping, I have to sneak in and peek on you. You get on your side, put your hands near your face and cross your feet. You breaths are deep and your little flinches make me want to pick you up and never have you sleep in your crib. How can you be so stinkin cute when you’re sleeping?!!

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Each week that passes brings new joys for us discovering your personality and learning more about you. Veda, you are so beautiful and have reminded us how a simple smile, grasp of the finger and baby noise can make a day all better.

We love you beauty!

Momma & Daddy

© Maya Laurent Photography