Sunday, June 28, 2009

Our little Avi Dove has flown in!

Meet Aveah Dove-- born 6-27-09 at home, 12:02 p.m., 7 pounds & 5 o.z. of lovable goodness. 

one lucky papa...

one tired mama...

You can count on a LOT more pics and posts in the near future (including our applemoon photography blog for bigger and better images). At the moment, though, our hands are a little full! We will say that our home birth was supreme-- we'll be posting details about that later...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Blessing Way

Maren & Aveah were blessed to have a blessing way in their honor on June 12th.  It was thrown by friends and neighbors at Tierra Nueva and accompanied by most of the females (old, middle-aged and young) at Tierra Nueva.  Afterwards, a wonderful meal was cooked by volunteer men!  What a real blessing - to be served by men!  A huge thanks to Paula and Amy who hosted and organized the event.

Baby's first wetsuit!

Cloth diapers!

The after party, where Michael tests his diapering skills on a teddy bear.  Is that the correct way to hold a baby - upside down?  He's got a lot of learning to do before our little one comes!

Our Last "Official" Date Night

Everyone's been telling us to enjoy your last days as two, because soon you'll be three!  Well, we've been taking full advantage of our last days together.  We sleep in, take walks, watch movies in bed (sometimes a double feature), go places on the spur of the moment (like the late-night beach walk we had the other night at 1:00am).  Recently, we went to Cambria in our little motorhome and had an extended date.  We started with a personal tour at NitWitt Ridge - the poor man's Hearst Castle (see pictures below).  Then we had a nice dinner on the water and watched whales jumping as they migrated North.  Finally, we topped the night by going to a play written by a friend of ours at a small playhouse in Cambria.  It was a memorable day - just the 2.5 of us!

Maren standing in front of NitWitt Ridge in Cambria.

When a beer was finished, the can wasn't thrown away, it was built into a wall!  To this man there was no such thing as "trash"!

Michael walking down some stairs while holding on to the railing.  If you look closely, you'll see the railing is actually water piping.  This water pipe actually carried water over the property to water plants.  I love the multiple uses!

Michael and Maren kissing under the "Chapel" arch at NitWitt Ridge.

On the ride home from Cambria, the moon shining on the water between Cayucos and Morro Bay was captivating!  We pulled over and just admired the beauty.  We used a 4 second shutter speed to capture the moonlight. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

wise words from a friend...

Among the many thoughtful gifts and words at our recent baby shower hosted by our incredible neighbors, were a few words from one neighbor in particular. I'd (Michael) like to share those here, since it made my brain swell to medically-dangerous proportions and it added at least a thousand years of wisdom to my age. Consequently, I now look like Mr. Magoo, nobody recognizes me, and if the wind outside my window picks up, there will be nothing left but dust on my keyboard. Here's what she wrote:
"Maren & Michael, I have come to believe that babies carry all our hopes & best intentions for our universe, world, country, state, town, family, souls. Such innocence and squirming reaction! When we nurture them it nurtures us, & can be us at our best... Get ready for questions that force you to define your beliefs... Love, Candia"

I read those "questions" she refers to as questions that will be coming from our child, questions that will challenge both my idealism about raising a child as well as my pragmatism about living in our paradoxical world. Holy crap, it's enough that I got my own big Questions that insist on swirling around me, you mean I have to make room for more of those in my personal cosmos? 
I'm already tired. And old. Wind, come quickly.   

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Today could be the day!

Today I'm at 37 weeks pregnant. All along, when people ask when I'm due, I respond, "My due WINDOW is June 10- July 22." There are several reasons I'm not up to sharing my due date: 1. is I don't believe in it! How many babies are actually born the exact day they were "due"? 2. Baby is fully "cooked" and would be totally safe and normal to come today (3 weeks early)! On the flip side, babies are safe, normal, and healthy to hang out in the womb for an extra couple of weeks after the "official" due date. Modern medicine doesn't like this, and will usually start pestering a woman to be induced if she is even one week late, but there is really no need to do that! I liked the warmth of my mommy's womb so much I hung out for an extra 2 weeks visit, and my birth was normal and uncomplicated (unlike the person I turned out to be - ha!). 3. Isn't putting a due date on a baby already setting expectations - even before the child is born? I hope to be a parent who doesn't demand/expect certain developments by a certain age, but rather allows the child to develop at her own rate.

So, if you want to make me happy, ask "what's your due window?"

She may be ready, but I know I am not. I still am liking my sleep, being to talk to Michael without having someone else vie for my attention, and being able to leave the house without having to pack extra bags and an extra person. Am I ready to be a mom? I am scared! Not so much about the birth, that will come and go, and be over sooner than a bad stomach flu bug, but parenting lasts forever! That's what I'm scared about - especially the first 3-4 years where they can't use reason or use logic to communicate. Even though I do have these fears of parenting, I am also trying to look at the exciting parts: like seeing her face, looking forward to her first words, and seeing Michael delight in her.

Here's to baby B being born any day, week or month, now!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Who knew babies could be this much fun?

Our clever friends Alaina & Travis (and their baby Caiden) sent us some unexpected gifts in the mail the other day: personalized onsies and bibs from  Michael got the UPS box before I did, so he waited until I came home so he could open them.  (Once he opened one of the 6 onsies/bibs, he knew this was going to be fun, so he kindly waited to share the pleasure with me!  Isn't he sweet?) 
Travis, (super adorable) Caiden, and Alaina.  Thanks guys!

Perfect for photographers:  Michael's wearing one that says "Don't be negative"  Maren's bib says "Peace * Love * Photography"  How cute are those?

Naming someone for life.

Do you know how hard it is to choose someone's name?  The name they will have for the rest of their life.  The name that will be used multiple times every single day for their entire existence on planet earth.  This is stressful!  As the time dwindles down, we have to get serious about a name.  We've decided on one thing: that is to NOT name her until we see her.  We have a list of name possibilities, but we won't commit to one until we see her face and get to know her personality a bit.

Here's a little interesting note from an article I read recently that confirms our plan:
"Every parent has a favorite name picked out for a son or a daughter, but if you are wise, you will keep it a secret until the baby is born.  Never name a baby you haven't met."
- Teresa Bloomingdale, mother of ten

Grandma Carmen - mother of 16!

Michael's maternal grandma, Karriemen, had 16 children of her own, so when she blesses me with her touch and prayers, I indeed feel very blessed.  

Over Easter, we visited Grandma Carmen at her home in the small valley town of Fowler.  She was pretty tired, and in bed (I would be too after 16 children!).  She is so modest, she insisted we not take her picture because she wasn't dressed up - she is beautiful anyways!  So we agreed to have the picture blur her out of focus.  Above: Grandma Carmen's hand on Maren's baby belly.

Grandma's story is interesting.  She was in an arranged marriage at the age of 14.  All 16 of her children all living, and she has over 45 grandchildren, not to mention many great-grandchildren and even a few great-great-grandchildren.  To really get an idea of what her life was like, imagine being pregnant with your youngest, while your oldest son's wife is pregnant.  

We are so blessed to have her in our lives and we can't wait for her to hold our baby girl!

Our last wedding as a "trio".

This last Saturday we shot our last wedding as a "trio".  Maren was 8 months pregnant, but still getting down on the ground to get the best angle!  We had fun, and we will miss Baby B at our next scheduled wedding on August 22 - she will most likely be with grammy Julia!  

To see more pictures from the wedding, check out our photography blog.