Monday, April 30, 2018

* William’s ONE Year Pictures *

Can everyone please look at this beautiful boy for a moment! I can barely deal with what a handsome little man he is in everyday life, as he lounges around the house looking all adorable. Then these first birthday photos came along and completely melt my whole soul, I love them so. The colors of the sky, Will’s happy little face, that moon and the beautiful Sandia Mountains reflecting off the Rio Grande River! If I haven’t said it enough, I’ll say it again – Sonnie Bear, you hold your mama, mommy and sister’s hearts in your precious little hands, forever.

In what was easily the fastest and most action-packed year of my entire life, we ended our baby boy’s first 365 days on Planet Earth with a birthday photo shoot at the Bosque Reserve, themed to match the monster motif of his first birthday party. Our photographer offered a pretty sweet photo package that we just had to jump at, which included a 2-hour session with all 4 of us and 2 outfit changes. We decided to combine our first family of four photos with Will’s one-year photo shoot and thankfully, everything turned out beautifully. The weather was gorgeous and Will was in a great mood all evening, even after I had to change him on a tiny blanket in the sand. I’m telling you – most easygoing award forever goes to this kid!

The plan was to take our family photos first, since they would have Gracie and Will in them and it just made sense to get the 2 for 1 shots done before one or both kiddos melted down. What I ended up learning with this session, is that I tend to air on the side of pessimism, worrying about everything that could possibly go wrong… i.e. what if the weather is bad… what if Will gets sick… what if the kids are grouchy… what if we don’t get a single good shot as a family… etc. I really do need to have a little more confidence in my babies and their ability to go with the flow, because they continue to show me that I need to just chill and not worry so much. They can do big kid stuff like look adorable in family and birthday photos, even if it’s evening and they’re tired and maybe a little hungry. Really though, I was so proud of how great they did. Sweet little loves.

Now, about our little dude’s birthday session. I’ve had this balloon idea for years and have had a picture saved of a 1st birthday shoot with a giant balloon in my iPhone photos for the past 3 years. The idea I borrowed was to add an oversized balloon to the mix each year, symbolizing how old your little one is and because the balloons are huge, the bouquet of balloons just grows larger and larger until your 5-6 year old looks like they could fly away in their birthday shoot! We will likely only do the big balloon birthday prop until Will’s 5th birthday, but how cute is that going to be! I just love the idea and he loved it too. He wanted full control of his big blue balloon and held it in every shot with no help from us. We tried a few times to get him to look over at the camera, but he was just way into the big blue thing floating in the sky, which, as luck would have it, resulted in my 2 favorite birthday pictures from this day. They just feel so magical to me!    

William wore a comfy handmade shirt I ordered from Etsy, bright green shorts from Gymboree and his first pair of Nike sneakers, courtesy of his Mommy. Grace was awesome at getting him to look in the direction of the camera and is solely responsible for getting every single smile we got out of our birthday boy. Because we did Will’s birthday pictures last, we were left chasing the sun as it set over RR and much to our surprise, the result was the most beautiful purple and pink sky that looked just amazing!

My sweet boy. Happy birthday, son.

To see Gracie’s first birthday pictures, click here.

Friday, April 27, 2018

A Peter Rabbit Party | Year Six

Our sweet and oh so sassy girl is six years old! I feel like G and I were just going on and on about how crazy it was that we were going to have a six-year-old in 5 months. Then those 5 months flew by at stealth speed and here we are, celebrating year SIX with a BIG Peter Rabbit bowling birthday party!

Since this little gal was a baby, she’s been obsessed with Peter Rabbit. Her first fav stuffed buddy was a Peter Rabbit stuffy and she carried that thing everywhere. We would sneak it away from her as often as possible because he would get so dirty (like literally smelling like dirt) and to this day she still sleeps with him and a few hundred other stuffed buddies in her big girl bed. Gracie's only DVR request is that we record the new Peter Rabbit cartoons that come out each week and she just about lost her mind when she saw the first trailer for the new Peter Rabbit movie. We were there in the theatre for opening night and she loved it! So when she requested to have a Peter Rabbit themed birthday party, Georgia and I melted (because this meant she was still our baby girl, who still loved her baby girl things) and we were more than happy to throw her the biggest Peter Rabbit party of all time!


The Bean went to a bowling birthday party last summer and then asked as we were leaving if she could have her next birthday at the same bowling party place because she had a total blast! Throwing birthday parties in early March is always tricky for us mamas, because it's still cold out and eventually you begin to run out of ideas of indoor locations. Because of this, we were pumped that Grace decided on the location for us! With that, we started party planning and let me just say, if you are going to throw a rabbit themed birthday party, doing so just weeks before Easter is the way to go! I promise that you'll have access to endless amounts of bunny d├ęcor along with super cute pastel colored decorations! Thanks to Tar.get's dollar bins, we were able to snag a ton of adorable bunny ears of all colors, shapes and sizes from Gracie's buddies. She also wanted "stuff for the boys", so we bought a variety of ties and bow ties along with brown ears. At the end of the day though, most of the bow ties were worn by girls and the boys preferred the more exciting and sparkly bunny ears, so the brown ones ended up being the last to go. Colors are for all kids and I just LOVED that several of the little dudes who came had no hesitation wearing pink and the girlies wanted the stuff that was "for the boys"!

I ordered the Bean's handmade Peter Rabbit Jersey Dress from Joules Kids Boutique and it was just so perfect! The pattern was a floral print with the original Peter Rabbit character illustrations from 1902! It was comfy and adorable and it looked so stinkin' cute paired with her giant pink bedazzled bunny ears. She was just so excited for everyone to see her ensemble, even though her "bowling shoes didn't match". Ha!

This kid, she's soooo my daughter. ;)

We're still super close with the mamas and kiddos from Gracie's preschool, and so they all joined us for Gracie's party along with the hubbies and siblings. One of the mom's just opened a bakery and made the Bean's Peter Rabbit cake, which turned out so cute and was delicious! Everyone feasted on pizza and cupcakes, so the kiddos were obviously happy campers. There's a sports bar on location, so the parents were happy campers too with their craft beers and cocktails. This was the first birthday celebration we've had were there were adult beverages and while I didn't have time to partake until after the party, the other grownups loved it, lol!

We reserved a few lanes for bowling the first hour of the party and the littles did great! Grace has so much fun bowling and is pretty darn good at it, so she had her own little team. The rest of the kids formed teams and I was just so glad that G took on the task of getting that organized, because there was a lot going on every time I swung by... As most couples do, we tag team at birthday parties and G's typically the person in charge of any physical activities and/or grilling, while I'm the hostess with the mostest, tasked with decorations, food refills, pictures taking and keeping things flowing. Once the bowling portion of the party was over, G came over to tell me how happy she was to be done with that portion of the party, lol. Apparently it isn't the easiest thing to enter the info for 20 kiddos in the bowling system + get everyone paired with the perfect bowling ball + get bowling shoes situated and facilitate 4 lanes going at the same time, haha! Thanks babe - you're the best!

The last hour of the party was spent giving handfuls of coins to the kiddos who were busy running around the arcade, loving life! We then sang happy birthday to the birthday girl and at the request of Gracie, watched as she opened her presents in front of guests. We almost always take gifts home to open because we usually run out of time, however we were able to extend the party to 3 1/2 hours, so girlfriend had time to dig in. She was given the cutest ballet outfit from Nani, complete with her first pair of ballet slippers and her Gaga and Papa gifted her a 1 year family pass to the Zoo/Aquarium/Explora Science Center! She also got so many awesome big girl presents like a science kit, a kit for making bath bombs, jewelry making stuff and other learning type things. She was super excited but really lost it when Georgia, Will and Mama gave her the gift from us!

Gracie was given her first REAL guitar made of mahogany, complete with guitar strap, picks, a case and sheet music! She just couldn't believe it and I'm so happy that I caught the whole thing on video, because her reaction was priceless.

Our beautiful six-year-old. I feel like we were just celebrating her first birthday and yet here she is, our smart, kind and so very considerate big sister bear.

We LOVE YOU so much, Bubba and we hope you had a wonderful 6th birthday! Xo, Mama

17 | 52 | Lesbian Visibility Day

Living an authentic life is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. 
Showing pride in who you are and who you love, matters. 
Visibility matters.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Party of 4 | Our 1st Family Photos

To say that I love the way these pictures turned out, just doesn't do enough to explain how much they mean to me. I've been wanting to have our family of four photographed since William was just weeks old, but as much as we tried, we could never seem to get the timing right. Big career changes, followed by travel and then the holidays pushed the date back again and again and now - today, as I look at these beautiful pictures of my little tribe, I'm so thankful that we didn't take photos sooner. Had one of our sessions worked out when Will was a baby, or at Christmas, we wouldn't have these beautiful images! It's amazing how things always seem to happen just as they should, isn't it? This is something I came to learn when our sweet boy joined our family after years of feeling like God wasn't answering our prayers. Trusting the timing of things is a lesson I learned then and it's still just as true today. Things happen as they should. They just always do.

Our pictures were taken as the sun began to set, on a beautiful evening at our local Bosque Reserve. The location was selected amongst many sent to us by our amazing photographer, M. When we looked at pictures she had previously taken of families in this place, with the Sandia Mountains and Rio Grande River as the backdrop, we were all in. Georgia grew up at the base of these beautiful mountains and to this day, she wants us to move to the Heights to be closer to them and talks about it often. The river speaks to me and always has. I'm a water sign and spent every other weekend of my childhood playing in rivers, streams and lakes and still do, now as an adult. For me, being in the water or near the water, is all I need. This is our happy place.

It's a tricky thing to take "lifestyle" family photos outdoors, and in the Spring, no less. This is because you just never know what weather you're going to get - especially when you live in New Mexico! It isn't uncommon for a rainy day to be followed by snow on the ground and then 80 degree temps, all in the same week around these parts. Still, we LOVED the location and booked our session, so we were going for it - rain or shine! Another thing you have to be prepared for with lifestyle photography is to get your feet dirty and go hiking... Like for real hiking! In every lifestyle session we've had as a family, we've had to climb hills, dig through brush, navigate our way through deep sand and trash our shoes. This is because the prettiest places are almost always hidden away. :)

I was a bit worried with how our session would go having a 6-year-old in a floor length dress and a baby in tow, but it couldn't have gone better! We did have to reschedule once, but on the evening of our second attempt, the weather was amazing! Grace was such a great helper and had zero complaints about all the walking. I will admit that I was surprised by this, because the older she gets, the more I'm seeing a tweenager emerge! We're seeing more eye-rolling from our sassy gal; hearing a bit more grumbling and she seems to grow tired of things at a faster rate then she did at 3-5 years old. I fully expected her to be suddenly starving upon arrival + to need the bathroom 14 times + to ask for water non-stop, and to basically be over it halfway through, but no - she did so great! 

Our beautiful girl helped entertain her brother for our entire 2 hour session. She gave M her real smile and didn't complain once! Even when we hiked from the river pictured behind her in the photo pasted below, all the way up to the bluff overlooking the river, which was one heck of a hike. She was all smiles, all evening and I was just so proud of her. 

Baby bro did pretty great too! I think it helped that he lives with 2 Momorazzis, who have taken his picture non-stop since the moment he was born. Our dude is a smiley guy everyday, but he really hammed it up and was just such a perfect baby boy for Mel! My little loves. My heart just bursts seeing their smiling faces. I legit need a bigger house, ASAP because I want to have all of these up on our walls!

I'm not sure why, but we didn't think to have me take pictures alone with the kiddos this session. This has actually happened in several past photography sessions and I always promise myself that I'll jump in a few with them the next time, but then it slips my mind. I'm not too upset about it because how can I be with how beautifully this one of Will and his Mommy turned out! I mean, seriously. My heart just can't take it with these beauties!

This little guy is such a Mama(s) boy and even though this photo was taken at the end of our shoot and just 2 days following a cold he had, as long as he was being held by one of us, he was a happy camper.   

I'm often told things like - you're brave for taking professional pictures with little ones. I've even been told that it seems like it would be torture to take family pictures every year, as we do. You know how it is with people and their opinions... These are the same folks who warned us that we would never have a social life or travel once kids came along and that we were in for it with 2 kids vs. 1 kid, game over! The thing is, none of this stuff has been true for us. Yes, we're busy, almost always. Yes, sometimes our kids act up and yes, it does take time and investment to have family photos taken, but it just isn't "torture" for us and I can't even take credit for why it isn't a bad experience. They're just happy kiddos and they make it easy.  

My mom said something to me the other day as she was over visiting. She had been in the back yard helping Gracie plant her new succulent, while I was inside making dinner. When she walked into the kitchen the baby was standing in the living room, just across the way and was in the middle of one of his baby babble performances that are hilarious and go one and one, most evenings. The news was on volume 10 as it has to be when there's so much chaos and the house smelled of sauteed mushrooms and salmon; when I looked over to see my mom looking at me with the biggest smile on her face. I gave her one of those, why are you smiling at me? curious faces as she walked over and I'll never forget what she said. 

She asked me, "do you love your life?" I answered, "yes!" She then stopped and said, 'Kristin, I want you to try and take this all in, as often as you can. You're in the middle of it right now. You're living your best life, trust me. These are the years you will treasure forever and one day, you'll miss the chaos and the smell of dinner cooking for your family. These babies will be all grown up before you know it, so try and be in it and just love every moment of this life, where you are right now.'

My eyes filled with tears and I promised her that I would, because I can recognize with every part of my heart that these are the years. The best years.

 We're in it. 

To book a family photography session with Melanie Maxine Photography, click here.

Friday, April 20, 2018

11 Months of William

Ok kiddo, technically you're now a year old and this update, well it about 6 weeks overdue... Still, Mama wanted to document your 11th month on Planet Earth and show off all the super cute pictures and video we took of you last month and all the other fun stuff that filled your March. No way could I just skip month 11!

For starters, you got your first shiner this past month! Yup, you heard that right. Your sister, who is 6 years old, has never had a black eye and you managed to get one before turning one! The incident  happened when you were standing, lost your balance and fell right on top of a tub of toys that sister was picking up right as you started to fall down. You cried for a few seconds, but quickly recovered and even with an owie, you looked adorable and were our always happy boy!

At 11 months old you {were} still me on Mommy's roommate. We thought about transitioning you to your nursery last month like we did with sister at that age, but then we remembered that your uncles were going to be visiting for your birthday and staying in sister's room, which meant that sissy was going to be occupying your room in her tent and it was just going to be too complicated to manage you both in the same room at bedtime. This and we weren't ready quite yet, if Mama's just being honest. 

And we LOVE seeing the sleepy face pictured below in the mornings!

We did start to let you CIO a bit in month 11, at bedtime. Your bedtime had evolved into this routine of Mommy and I taking turns giving you your bedtime bottle before placing you softly in your little bed next to ours. You would then immediately open your eyes, stand up and start crying while reaching for us. We would then pick you up and cuddle you some more before trying it over and over. Some nights this would go on for 30 minutes to an hour. Finally, one night I told Mommy that you had just had dinner with us, so I knew you had a full belly, you were just changed and dry and you were safe, so it was time we let you self-soothe a bit and you know what son? You did amazing! You cried for around 5 minutes (10 minutes was the limit we agreed we wouldn't let you cry past) and after the 5 you sat down, then rolled onto your belly and fell asleep! You cried for around 2 minutes on night two and that was it! We were shocked at how easy it was for you, our big boy!

You still adore being outside! You love the backyard, which is what's motivating us to get the yard summer ready sooner than later. You love walks and going to the park with your grandparents. You love the park so much we decided that it would be the perfect venue for your first birthday party. Now that the weather is warming up we've been going out more and even on evenings when it's chilly, we just layer you and sister in warm clothes and out we go!

You have lots of favorite things, but Little People toys are at the very top of the list! Sister has been building her Little People collection since she was 2 years old and now you're adding to it. Mommy's even started buying some vintage pieces that I love because they look just like Little People used to when I played with them as a kid! To date, you and sister have the princess castle, the knight castle, the farm, the farmers market, the park, the train, the fire truck and the animal clinic. You also have a ton of smaller vehicles and it is, without a doubt, our favorite thing play with together! So fun. :)

You + Papa = are still best friends (but no shocker there)

You're eating pretty much everything except dangerous foods like popcorn, nuts and shellfish and thus far, there hasn't been any foods you've not liked. Well, eggs did like you as you're allergic, but that's not your fault. You thought they were delicious! The only new food that I can think of that you tried for the first time in month 11 was chard, lol.

Blueberry face! They're a favorite of yours, for sure! 

Our BIG to-do for the month was your FIRST haircut! Mama wrote all about it here and now you look like such a big boy. You've already had another cut since your first and we're starting to get a better idea of how often this is going to need to happen for you. Your hair grows like a weed. It's crazy! I held you for your second cut and it was decided that I'm not very good at that job, haha. You did great when Mommy held you for the first one, but with me you were wiggling all over the place and were over it before Uncle D finished. He said I'm not allowed to hold you for cuts anymore! ;) 

Swim school makes you happiest of all the things! You go nuts for it! You splash all the kids who are near you and you're the reason Mama now removes her make-up before getting in the water with you. I thought at first that I could stay looking cute during your swim class, but then on class #2 you completely drenched my whole face and I had make-up running down everywhere. It was so bad that Mommy had to come into the swimming area to hand me a towel because I imagine I was looking a bit scary! Now that I take my make-up off, we have way more fun and splash each other the entire time. Sister swims over to us from her older group during every practice and you two are always so darn happy to see each other! It makes your moms' hearts so happy to watch.
Here's Mama, make-up free and ready for fun!

And, well, it happened... Along with all the other fun stuff you did last month, you also ate dog food for the first time ever! The worst part is that I'm pretty sure you really liked it... #momsofboys

And poof! It's been an hour that I've been sitting here writting this post and it's time for me to pick you up from Gaga and Papa's house. Time flies when I'm thinking about you and sister bear. As we wrap up year one, Mama is left with one feeling that stands out more than anything else, and that feeling is: gratitude. I'm so thankful for you and your sister. I'm so very grateful that you have been 100% healthy this past year and more than anything, I'm thankful that you found your way to us. I can't wait to write you for your first birthday, my sweet boy. 

Happy 11 Months, Sonnie Bear!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

16/52: Peace Out.

Do you ever get so far behind with blogging that you're just like, forget it already! 

Well, that's where I am right now. I love this blog and I always have the best of intentions to get back here to write about the things that mean the most to me, but then life gets in the way. Birthdays (so many birthdays...) work, kids, life, school, sleep, wine, it all gets in the way of me doing something that I truly enjoy. This blog, this space - it's for the kids, yeah - but really it's for me! It's my hobby and it has been for 8 years, which is a long ass time to commit to something. It's my space to share and vent. This is my community of friends whom I really miss when I'm away, so why can't I seem to make time for it?! Ugh. 

To show just how far behind I am, here's a list of post I've written in my head and some in drafts, but have yet to finish or share...

1. Will's 11 month baby update (this one's 6 weeks late for F's sake!) 
2. Gracie's 6th birthday Peter Rabbit party
3. Our family Easter 2018
4. Baby boy's 12 month check-up
5. Will's 12 month baby update
6. Georgia's 40th birthday extravaganza
7. Williams FIRST birthday party
8. Little Monster's 1st birthday DIY crafting projects
9. Our first professional pictures as a family of 4
10. Annnnnnnddd Will's ONE YEAR pictures

I mean, 10 important things that I've been dying to share and yet I haven't. What the hell is wrong with me?? There's so much I wish to contribute to this space and yet, I just can't make it happen. 

* Cue end of self-shaming pity party. 

15/52: My Water Babies

Summer Goal #1: Be in the water as much as humanly possible.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Visiting the Easter Bunny

The past 2-3 months with our little dude have been interesting. From birth until he was around 8 months old, he was the most chill, non-fussy baby I had ever met. He literally never cried, smiled all the time, slept through the night (every night) and would go with anyone who wanted to hold him. Then teething set in and things changed. He suddenly had stranger danger and started feeling all the feels. Because of this, I was a bit nervous to hand him over to the Easter Bunny for fear that he would scream bloody murder! To prep for this handoff, we made sure he napped beforehand, that he was fed, that he was wearing a comfortable little outfit and we didn’t hand him over until seconds before the kiddos pictures were taken.

For whatever reason, our sweet boy didn’t cry and I was honestly totally shocked! Gracie was a picture-taking pro (as always) and sat there smiling the entire time we prepped for our bunny pics. Sure, Will didn’t smile, but he also didn’t lose his shit, so I would consider this year’s Easter picture a total success! Yay! ;)

We took the kid’s bunny pics immediately following our professional family pictures + Will’s one-year pictures and about an hour before the mall closed, so there wasn’t anyone around, which I think also helped with the crying situation. Following pics with Mr. B, we ate at Gracie’s favorite 50’s style diner, Johnny Rockets and snapped a few more photos of our family of four. My people, they’re so stinkin’ cute! 

Our photographer sent us a preview of our first pictures as a family of 4 last week along with one edited photo of Will to share on his birthday, and I’m dying to see the final product!

In other news, our baby boy is going to be ONE in just 2 days and that’s just unbelievable to me. How is he going to be one when he was just this tiny, like yesterday?!

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