Sunday, August 25, 2013

Second Shooting

When I first decided to take the plunge and start my photography business, I swore up and down and around in circles that I would never, ever, EVER shoot a wedding.  I was a bride once, and I remember how important those pictures were to me.  I remember that I didn't meet my wedding photographer until the day before the wedding, and Drew told me not to worry because "he shoots for Sports Illustrated and National Geographic".  I remember the panic that I had because those aren't even remotely close to wedding at all.  However, my fears were ridiculous and Brad did an even better job than I could have ever imagined.

But, I still know how important those images are.  I remember walking up the next morning and realizing that I could hardly remember the day before.  I wanted to see my pictures so badly so that I could try to arouse some of my memory of that day.  We received our pictures a few weeks later and I loved being able to walk through that day as I scrolled through the images.

I always said that I never wanted to be a wedding photographer.  A wedding photographer gets one chance to nail the shot.  The first kiss as husband and wife?  That only happens once!  The moment when they are announced as husband and wife and they beam with love and joy?  That only happens once!

What if I were their photographer and someone walked in front of me during one of those big moments?  What if I didn't meter correctly and my image was blown out or too dark?  What if my focus was off?  What if my camera suddenly decided it hated me and died?  What if I missed their big moment and they had no image to look back on and smile in joy and remembrance?

I just couldn't take that pressure!

So, I swore that I would never photograph weddings.  And I stand by that.

But then, I was talking to Kristen, the photographer who has done all of our photos since my maternity photos.  She asked me if I would ever be interested in second shooting with her.  I told her that I would entertain the idea, as long as I was not responsible for all the important images.  We discussed it a little bit and she asked me to second shoot with her at a wedding in the beginning of October.  I've been a little terrified thinking of it, but knew that it was still a ways off.

Then, she messaged me earlier this week.  She asked me if I was available to second shoot with her this weekend.  My heart leaped into my throat and I panicked.  I didn't have hardly any time to prepare, but she reassured me that she would take care of the hard stuff and that I was there for all the peripherals.  So, I agreed.

And that's how I second shot my first wedding yesterday.  I was so terrified as I drove there.  Of course, once I took out my camera and started shooting, all the anxiety started to melt away.  I know how to use my camera.  (The flash is a different story!)  I just relied on what I knew and gave my best effort.

I quickly skimmed through my images before I sent them over to Kristen and they weren't awful.  There were a bunch of pretty good ones.  There were also a bunch of pretty crappy ones, but hey, it was my first time shooting in that situation!  I definitely learned a lot and will need to work on improving.  I had such a great time second shooting and I actually really, really want to do many more. Of course, it was awesome to get out of the house for a while!

Now today, I have the biggest blisters on my feet from wearing brand new shoes and being on my feet more than I have in a long time.  Next time, I definitely won't be wearing new shoes!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Kid Mansion

I've been trying to take Annelise to the park at least once a week this summer.  I've noticed that she really, really enjoys going down slides.  She also likes the swings.  I started hunting for a slide for the backyard for her.  I'd like to have the option to take her in the yard to play if we're limited on time.  But, whenever I take her back there to play, she always just wants to climb on the deck stairs. I'm not a fan of that activity.

So, I began searching the internet for something to entertain her.  I first thought about just buying a new slide.  But, I knew that I wanted to get a decent sized slide so that we could enjoy it for longer than a week before she got bored with it.  The one that I found was around $100.  Not too shabby, but I felt like I could do better.

Then, I started looking at the outdoor playhouse type toys.  They were bigger, and definitely fit my requirement that they would keep her entertained for longer, but, of course, they also came at a price.  Those ran anywhere from $200-600, depending on the size and features.  I didn't really want to go that crazy either.

So, I took to Facebook to see if anyone was selling a slide.  No one was, but my aunt did suggest that I check out Craig's List.  I swear, I really do hope that one day I get my brain back, because I miss it.  I never even thought to look there.

I searched CL for a couple of days and found one that I liked.  I was able to talk the lady down in price a little bit, and we went and picked it up tonight.  As soon as we got home, we Drew assembled it.  Annelise could hardly wait for us to finish.

Behold, her new kid mansion!
It's a little faded from being out in the sun, but it's still in great shape!  I'm just going to let her play on it like this for the rest of this year, and then maybe fix it up and spray paint it some better colors next spring.
She had such a great time playing on it tonight!  I just love seeing the excitement on her face as she explores a new toy.  I'm excited to take her out there next time and see her face light up when she sees it again.  There really is nothing better than watching the world through the eyes of a child.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Cycle Games

I had mentioned previously that Drew and I have decided that we are ready to expand our family again, and add another child.  If you remember, we still have two frozen embryos waiting patiently for us.  We started trying on our own right around Annelise's first birthday.  I knew that I didn't want to get pregnant before she was a year old, and I honestly wasn't even really ready to think about it until around then.  Plus, the nurse practitioner at my OB's office said that it was best to give my body a year of time to heal.  And, if we're continuing on all the reasons why I really wanted to wait, it was important to me to breastfeed for at least a year and I didn't want to compromise that by getting pregnant again.

I have been charting my cycles since the beginning of the year, and I am beyond frustrated with my body at this point.  I'm not going super crazy charting like I did when I first started charting back in 2010.  Then, I tracked my temperature, used OPKs, and tried to make a note of my CM.  This time, I'm keeping an eye on my CM, and if the mood strikes me, I'll occasionally test an OPK.  Some months get more OPK action than others.  Mainly, I'm frustrated with the length of each cycle.  I keep bouncing around from 26 days to 30 days to 36 days back to 28 days, and everything in between!

This cycle?  26 days!  I never even felt a cramp or like I was going to get my period at all.  It just showed up out of the blue, completely ruining the plans that I had to go to the beach.  Like all, "Hey, let me ruin your life one more time".

How the heck can I expect to make a baby, if I can't even make a semi-educated guess as to when I'm going to ovulate?  And with a 26 day cycle, something is seriously messed up in the ovulation department.  Either I'm ovulating super early, or my luteal phase is all sorts of messed up.  If it's my luteal phase, that leads to a whole other level of problems that need to be addressed.

I keep wondering if I should call my RE and talk to him about my super wonky cycles.  I had a consultation with him back in June about getting the ball rolling on our next frozen transfer.  He told me that since it's been more than 18 months since I've been there, we have to redo all of our initial blood work, and I have to have a Saline Infusion Sonogram (SIS) done.  That is done to check my uterus for any polyps, parts of placenta that might be leftover, or any other crap that may have surfaced since my last pregnancy that would be bad news for a new pregnancy.  I'm not stoked about having to do all of that over again, but I can't argue.  And, I'm pretty sure that if I call him and talk to him about my cycles, that he's just going to say that there's nothing he can do without doing blood work first.

Drew and I have a high deductible insurance plan, so rather than having to pay the deductible twice, assuming that the thaw and transfer is successful, we just planned on waiting until January to start all of the testing.  Hence, us trying on our own.  I really don't put my hopes too high on it, because it didn't work for us for the year and a half that we tried before doing IVF.  But, I still pray about it.  And, I guess that I'm lying when I say that I don't get my hopes up too high, because I still cry every month when my period arrives, just like before.  Ahhhh, nothing like infertility to make you feel broken and worthless.

But, there is a small bit of good news in all of this.  I have been relatively pain free since my periods have returned after giving birth.  I consistently take pain meds in the morning and before bed for the first couple of days, and I always have the heating pad close by in case I start to feel bad.  But, it has been managed very well, and I haven't felt too hindered by it.  I do notice that they are usually pretty heavy, and that's also related to the endometriosis.  It's definitely a relief to not have the pain that I used to experience.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Parades and Homecomings

Today was a very exciting day for us!  This morning, my friend, Heather, and her daughter, Anya, came over to visit and play.  Heather and I met while we were both going through infertility treatments. Similarly, we both have snowbabies for daughters.  Heather and her family live in towards Chicago, but, we both did our IVF procedures at the same clinic.  (My doctor is located here in town, but we are sent into Chicago for the retrieval and transfer.)  Anya is 19 months, and Annelise just turned 16 months, so they are very close in age.

Anya and Annelise spent some time playing, and sharing some goldfish that Heather brought as a gift for Annelise.  After a little bit of playing, I thought I heard some bagpipes playing.  I went and looked out the window, and remembered that a parade would be going by.  Our little hick town had a corn boil today, and a parade always kicks off the festivities.  Before Annelise, I was either working, or just dragging my lazy butt out of bed.  Last year Annelise was still pretty young, so we didn't bother walking down to it.  Today though, I thought that both girls would love to see it.  And, it just so happened to be Anya's first parade too.

We quickly put some shoes on the girls and walked down to the end of the street.  The girls ran around in our neighbor's yard until the parade came by.
At first, everything was great and the girls really seemed to be enjoying it.  But then, the firetrucks came by and started blowing their horns.
Poor little Annelise was terrified!  She turned and grabbed onto Heather and Anya as tight as she could and just held on!  Notice how she didn't let go of the sucker though.  Haha!

The parade was over roughly five minutes after it started.  Our little hick town really knows how to throw a party!  Heather and I took the girls back inside the house and sat them on the couch to get their picture together.
Of course, they had their suckers.  Don't they look like they are gossiping with each other?  I hope that they can be good friends as they grow older.

Heather and Anya left around noon because both girls needed a nap.  I put Annelise down right away.  Once she woke up, she ate lunch, and then we only had about two hours to waste until it was time to go pick up Drew from the bus station!  That's right, Drew came home today!!!

Annelise and I were waiting for him at the bus station when the bus arrived.  We had made a "welcome home" sign for him.  Once Drew had gotten his bag, he walked over and Annelise almost acted like she couldn't believe he was really home.  A guy who had seen us and the sign tapped Drew on the shoulder and told him that he was "quite a lucky man".  I agree!  We got everything loaded in the car and stopped at the corn boil on the way home for some dinner.

After we ate, we came back to the house and Drew had gotten us girls some gifts from Portland.
Drew got Annelise her very first jewelry box.  She kept looking at it and turning it all around.  I really think she liked it.  Drew got me a Pandora bracelet with a charm from Portland and a charm with Annelise's birthstone.  He said that he thinks it will be fun to add charms from places that we travel together.  How adorable of him to think of that!

We are all so glad to finally be back together again.