I vividly remember when my high school US AP History teacher's wife delivered their first child. They used an Elmo doll as a "size comparison" each month of his life to show how much he'd grown. I always thought it clever and even back in 2001, I tried to tuck the idea away for future use. Fast forward 12 years and we didn't buy an Elmo doll--I think we've got something WAY cuter: Ella.

Adelaide made her

grand entrance

into our lives at the tail end of May and we have photos of Ella meeting her the day we brought her home, but I think these size comparison shots do the purpose justice. Notice that Ella is blurry in the first month photo because she high-tailed it out of there the moment I was done with one click. Adelaide still made her a tad skittish:

(Adelaide: 1 month, 7.7lbs; Ella: 4 1/2 years, approx 15lbs)

By 2 months, as long as Adelaide was calm, Ella would lay down per our command.

(Adelaide 2 months; 9.5lbs; Ella 4 1/2 years, still approx 15lbs)

It first struck me when she was eight days old: "How do I adequately capture this gorgeous "Bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh"? How do I capture all that encompasses who she is and how much she means to me in a single image?" I dismissed the thought as hormones influencing my perfectionist tendencies to the extreme and tried to toss the thoughts from my mind. But, I've carried that thought with me to every client session I've done since. Without any intention, Adelaide has already made me a better person and photographer in her short 3 month life span. And without fail, the thought came back to me whilst I tried to mark her 3 month milestone.

Really though, how do you mess up a smile like this through any lens? :) 

 Oh the joy that greets me in the morning!

 Ah tummy time. When your body is in the 6th percentile in weight and your head in the 61st percentile, I can only imagine how heavy that assuredly genius brain of your's might feel sweet girl!

 So, yes, sometimes 3 months looks like this:

 A quick clothing change (because, though modest in her ultrasounds, the girl

loves

to be naked) to cheer her once more for a few more photos and her size comparison shot....

Enticed by a treat (Gerard & I are getting smarter here folks!) Ella sat still long enough for me to snap a few:

(Adelaide: 3 months, >9.5lbs; Ella: 4 1/2 years, still approx 15lbs)

A friend of mine asked me the other day, "What's been the most surprising thing about parenthood so far?" It's difficult to detail my answer. I'd say the theme of parenthood so far, for me, is that I've been asked to do more than I thought myself capable-be it physically demanding or emotionally demanding. My recovery was far from routine (my OB described me as an "interesting case") and when you couple that with sleep deprivation, hormones, the constant caring for the needs of another little being, and some more hormones, it can make for a rather grueling situation. There have been occasions where expectations have been placed on me that had me thinking, "You've got to be kidding me! There's no way I can actually do that." and then, sure enough, because It has to, It gets done with God's help. 

I marvel at mothers everywhere. 

The first couple months, I couldn't make it through a day without a nap and if we got out of the house for any ONE outing, it was an incredible feat. To get out of the house twice was a miracle. "They" tell you to sleep when the baby sleeps, but when Baby is sleeping, that's when you can brush your teeth, shower, put some deodorant on and maybe eat a few bites of nourishment. And that's just the necessities! (Nothing extravagant like laundry or sleep!) 

Again, I marvel at any woman that makes this all look easy and keeps herself put together. And husbands that put up with a sleep-deprived crazy woman... (here are some of our favorite phone shots to date...)

The other question friends have posed, "How has the transition back to work gone?" The logistics have run really smoothly. Laidy fell into a routine immediately and actually slept for 6 hours straight the night before we went back to work. It had nothing to do with anything Gerard nor I did! I think placing her with an amazing woman for child care during the day got her on a routine and Laidy always greets her with a smile in the morning. I know she's in loving hands which makes the emotional side of it all easier, but picking her up in the afternoon is definitely my favorite part of any day. I will say that forming habits and routine takes the guessing work out of it so that I don't feel like I'm thrashing around aimlessly.

That same US AP History teacher kept the TV on throughout the day of September 11, 2001 and in his class, I saw the towers fall. I drove home from high school that afternoon wondering how in the world anyone would want to bring a child into this world filled with hate and evil. Now that I've joined the ranks of other parents, I have to entrust my child to the Lord daily. It makes my heart ache to think of her ever scraping a knee, bruising an elbow, having a boy break up with her (when she's 30, and if he breaks up with her, he's an idiot.). It's so heavy a load to think of anything terrible happening to her, I immediately kick the thought out of my mind and pray, again, constantly giving her to the Lord. 

I'm so incredibly thankful for the life He has bestowed upon us. So many blessings: a safe home, a healthy and happy little girl, jobs that we love and an incredible country to raise Laidy in. A lot can happen in 12 years or in a child's first 3 months; an increasing sense of gratitude is just the tip of the iceberg. 

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