Checklist for Labor Pictures


I am very excited for the birth of Baby Two.  I was excited with Maisy but this birth presents some unique excitement for a couple reasons.  One, we know what we’re being given.  With Maisy we simply had only the head knowledge that we were getting a baby out of the deal.  We had no clue what that would mean for our family, what life would look like, and how amazing babies actually are.  We knew babies were cute but man there’s a lot more to them when you see all the day in and out with them!  Two, we are having a home birth with the goal of a water birth outside in our backyard.

I’m so excited about this birth and how beautiful and wholesome it is going to be that we have hired a photographer and videographer to capture the whole shebang!  For Maisy’s birth we simply had our doula snap a few (literally there are three) pictures of the laboring process.  After some research I gave them this list of things to keep in mind when taking our pictures. Though, bottom line when hiring a photographer and videographer for anything is to like the work they normally put out.  Trusting your professional is of the utmost importance!

Checklist for Labor Pictures

Please take pictures periodically all throughout labor, birth and postpartum. Try to be modest in most cases so that we can share them with others but some graphic pictures are okay for our personal viewing and cropping or deleting.

1st Stage and 2nd Stage

  • Outside the house (especially if there’s a beautiful sunrise or sunset)
  • Kaia laboring in the backyard
  • Wide shot of each room Kaia labors in (with Kaia in the room at the time)
  • At least one shot of each labor support person “in action”
  • Capture the ambiance of the place (candles, other lighting, diffuser)
  • Activities taking place
  • Labor positions used
  • Techniques used by Mom
  • Techniques used by Dad and others
  • Maisy
  • Midwives
  • Other helpers


  • Full VIDEO coverage
  • Mom’s reaction
  • Dad’s reaction
  • Maisy’s immediate reaction
  • Cord cutting
  • Clock showing time
  • Baby making first eye contact


  • 1st photo of baby
  • Mommy and Daddy
  • Cord cutting
  • Baby procedures (weighing, etc)
  • First breastfeeding
  • Midwives
  • Other helpers
  • Baby with Maisy
  • Baby with Mommy and Daddy
  • Baby with Mommy, Daddy and Maisy
  • Baby with midwife and doula

Wholesome Talk and Children

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“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29

Some weeks ago I attended a new women’s Bible study that revolves particularly around building up and generally supporting our marriages.  It’s been amazing digging into the word with these women and having little (and big) things added to my list to work on.  In one of our first meetings Ephesians 4:29 was referenced only very slightly but it stuck to my bones. Since then it has become somewhat of a life verse.

Since I’m all about being honest, I confess I have intentionally let myself get away with saying exactly what’s on my mind to Maisy for quite some time.  I thought I was being wise – better to say it out loud to the one who’s frustrating me and can’t understand what I’m saying anyways, but I’ve been convicted that there’s more to it than that.  I think that in her spirit she understands exactly what I’m saying, especially now that she’s older.  I’ve also found that saying what I want to her actually encourages more unwholesome thoughts and words rather than “satisfying” those I’m already feeling.  In fact, it’s quite the opposite effect, after only working on my words for several weeks now, I’ve found that not only are my words more in check but my thoughts are too.

Throughout my days now I find this verse popping into my head when I want to swear or say something negative towards Maisy.  I’m so encouraged how quickly my heart and mind were able to correct themselves so holding my tongue became quickly effortless and changing my thoughts.


Maisy, Babies Are For Hugging, Not For Bouncing On


-written November, 2015

My whole day is my favorite part of my day.  But where’s the fun in telling you the fluffy stuff about how I spend the whole day smiling as I watch Maisy follow Harper around closer than a shadow, as I watch Maisy bust a move the very second music hits her ears, as I wake up to Maisy constantly readjusting her wakeful snuggles as she waits for me to willingly greet the day with open eyes, as I serve my weekday brood lunch and watch them converse in their own joyous babble, as I listen to Harper cheer “good job” to Maisy for simply throwing a ball, as I watch Willow grin from ear to ear all day about nothing and everything… and the list goes on for an overwhelming amount of time and space.  There are possibly good stories in those moments, but I tend to find the life-changing stories in the irregularities that are potentially disruptive and undesirable.

Today I turn around and see Maisy riding on top of a flattened Willow – she was mounted on her back like a cowboy on a pony, bouncing and all.  Willow is 1-year-old and a petite peanut.  Maisy is a 16-month-old giant.  Willow had nothing to say about the matter, but I did.  As I remove Maisy from Willow’s back I say, “Maisy, babies are for hugging, not for bouncing on.”

I turn away for one moment only turn back to see Maisy remounted and giggling.  I take her by the hand, guide her off, and say, “time out.”  Maisy walks over to her time out mat and sits down.  And gets up. “Sit down Maisy.”  She sits down.  And gets up. “Maisy, sit down.” She kind of sits down and starts whimpering.  I pick her up and put her in the other version of time out, the crib, the don’t-mess-with-me-and-move-around kind of time out.  She stands up crying.  “Maisy, sit down!”  And the cycle perpetuates and seems like it will never end until she takes a long breath. I seize the opportunity to pretend that breath was a break in naughtiness and ask for her apology.  She signs me “sorry.”  I pick her up and send her off to play.

Now she’s emotionally vulnerable and quick to return to naughtiness for any or no reason at all.  So I redirect her to a corner of toys to play by herself for a moment of regrouping.  She’s doing so peaceably when I realize I’m still in need some regrouping so I pack up the kiddos and head to Target.  I start to feel brand new the minute I shift the car in drive.

The kids had fun looking around the store as I had fun picking out Christmas presents for Toys for Children of Inmates and Operation Christmas Child.  On the way out I take my favorite seasonal latte to go and I’m better than new and ready to tackle bedtime with my overtired toddler.

Just a day in the life of this mom!

A Letter to Maisy: The End of Nursing

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Dear Maisy,

Today as I lay with you in your bed, snuggling you to sleep, I held back tears.  We haven’t nursed in about a week and a half so I suppose it’s time to realize we are done.  I’ve even thought about offering it to you out of nowhere just to see if you’ll go for it but I told myself I would simply stop when your requests stopped.  I know I’m ready to be done, but there is a part of me that so isn’t either.

Now I find myself wishing I could go back to when you were 15 months old so I could stop myself from cutting off your night time nursing; then again going to when you were 19 months old so I could stop myself from potty training you in order to not cut off the before nap nursing and before bed nursing.  In reality, I know I was so maxed out in those moments when I decided those milk snacks had to go but I wish I could have just pushed past them because I feel we would still be going strong now, nursing 3 – 4 times day, but instead we are all done.  For a long time we held onto once a day, usually just if we hit it first thing in the morning.  I had to ask you to stop nursing usually before you were finished due to the sensitivity of my pregnancy nipples being too much to handle and perhaps that’s why you decided to give it up altogether, to avoid being pulled off before you were ready.  Part of me hopes you’ll start up again in a mere 6-7 weeks when Baby Two arrives, but part of me thinks you simply were ready to grow up that one more big step.

People always told me you’d grow up too fast.  The first year of your life was so long and sleepless, I did not feel it flying at all.  The second year of your life, however, did fly.  Suddenly my baby is a little girl and I am having a hard time keeping up with how fast you’re growing up.  I know a large part of these feelings are due to us leaving behind this last babyhood activity.

In all honestly, though I adore you, I very much did not adore nursing.  To me, nursing had nothing to do with whether I liked it or not but everything to do with aiming for at least your second birthday and from there letting you decide when you were ready to stop.  As a result we nursed for a good, long 26 months. I largely didn’t like nursing a lot of the time because it felt uncomfortably ticklish, awkwardly stimulating, and occasionally it hurt.  What I did love about nursing though was holding you, mostly near the end when I wasn’t doing it all the time.  My favorite nursing sessions with you were often right when you woke from your nap. You needed the transition time back into waking and I liked this session because you were alert enough to keep a solid, comfortable latch but sleepy enough to be mellow and cuddly.

What I really love most though is our time now.  When we snuggle you don’t ask to nurse, I simply get to hold you.  That’s what I loved about nursing anyways, the holding a still you so close to me.  I love that you have to wrap all your limbs into it, that your body molds to mine.  Even now with a baby belly you wrap so perfectly into me.  You snuggle your head into the crook of my shoulder so I can rest my head comfortably on your forehead and breath deeply the naturally sweet scent of your hair.  You curl your body neatly and tightly around my large belly.  And you tuck your knees up at the base of my belly and nestle your toes in-between my legs.  These moments, very honestly are my very favorite.  When they end I know I will be heartbroken.

A Letter to Maisy

My 7-month-old Maisy

Written January 29, 2015


Left: Maisy at 7 months / Right: Maisy now, at 2 years

It struck me, not for the first time, this afternoon that I should write down my daughters likeness as she grows.  It’s become plain to me that the character she reveals at these youngest stages will be a part of her for her whole life.  I love the chance that, as her mom, I can record the “first sightings” of her personality traits.


From the beginning people have unceasingly commented on your big, bright eyes and your joyful demeanor.  You are always at the ready with a spectacular smile that puts the sun to shame.  Your whole face lights up and I often feel like I’m glowing too just because I’m near you.  And though you smile freely it also feels like a rare gift every time because you are also mildly bashful about it.  You smile this radiant smile and then bashfully turn away… only to come back for more.  And those eyes, girl, those eyes!  They are so big and blue and ornamented with stunning long, black eyelashes.  On top of all that your spectrum of emotions reflects out of those big blue orbs like I was seeing directly into your heart.

On the downside, these bright eyes want to stay bright.  Once upon a time you were a good sleeper, for a newborn anyway.  And I had this doomed feeling that it was too good to last.  And so it was!  Since you hit about the 2.5 month mark you have been the anti-sleeper.  At night you wake frequently and I start to think maybe you stopped breathing if you nap longer than 30 minutes.  At least you are, and always have been, an excellent nurser!  Turns out you’re going to be a great eater too because so far food is definitely a highlight of your day and you really go for it – no matter what the food looks or tastes like you’re all over it.  So, to sum up this paragraph, you’re a superb eater and a not so keen sleeper.  I figure, if you’re not going to sleep much at least you seem to function happily off the sleep you do get!

Since your beginning you have also managed to be the most laid back, yet active baby I have ever met.  On the one hand, you are so chill that your perfectly content being just about anywhere, with anyone, doing anything… so long as you’re moving!  That is the one requirement.

You are a people person.  I sometimes like to try and deduce why you take to any given person over another because you definitely have moments of love at first sight versus scared at first sight.  Regardless, you have always loved interacting with people; so much, in fact, that you almost always fuss the minute you’re left alone (this might also contribute to you’re no-sleep disposition I suppose).

What I know right now is that you simultaneously bring more joy and beauty to my world than I ever could have dreamed while also making me so crazy I want to cry and scream at the same time.  For better or for worse, you are my sunshine, my sidekick, my mini me, and my best little pal.  I think we’re going to be best buds forever!

With all my heart,